Role Playing Games - The Lyorn's Den
Sun Sep. 2nd, 2012
12:27 am - Role Playing Games
Yesterday we played "Necropolis 2350", which is a quite tactical RPG with miniatures and a tape measure. I like tactical, and I like having stuff to see and touch. Usually, tactics is no fun in unfamiliar systems and settings, but the game engine is enough like Deadlands to give me an idea what I can do and how to do it.
There is one problem, though: I find that more and more I dislike games where my character is not only a card-carrying member of a lawful neutral organisation, but has sworn a sacred oath of goonship. It's OK as long as there are monsters to fight, but every shade of grey just messes up the game.
I can do it, playing a Dragon-blooded in Exalted, because while we are members of the legion and part of the chain of command, while we have history and family and are damn arrogant bastards, we are sufficiently powerful and arrogant to have (or create for ourselves) a lot of discretion in how to follow our orders, and are sufficiently important that should we throw a fit over some command, the result will be drama and not a firing squad.
I can do it in Werewolf, because while Werewolves are fanatics, the things they are fanatic about leave me a lot of room to decide on implementation, and disagreeing with one's Elders will usually lead to fur flying re-negotiations.
In Vampire, rebelling against one's own and one's society's destructive nature is one of the very themes of the game.
But in Engel, and now in Necropolis, I feel the characters have no damn agency, and the setting does not lend itself to creating some for them. When the character is some grunt in the trenches defending the Fatherland against the subhuman hordes, when he's been indoctrinated from birth, when the game is not about "how we came to join the revolution" because there is none, the very set-up of the world in its bleak dark grey and black does not allow for it, can't reason with the undead -- how driven by the spirit of enlightenment can the character be?
Good thing I am playing a greenhorn of limited intelligence. When in doubt, wait for orders.
What makes it very strange is that the setting reminds me a lot of "Outsiders", only with undead instead of killer cyborgs and church/corporate instead of states/corporate/misc. Can't reason with killer cyborgs, either. But in Outsiders I never felt that my character had no agency. A difference in handling (GMing) or in genre? Have to think some more about it.
Does any of this make sense?
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