My first exposure to cross-genre gaming was an article in Dragon Magazine about using modules from one game in another… the tagline of the article was something like “You open the door and find Cthulhu and 20 Daleks. Roll for surprise!”
But the first game that really beat me about the head about crossing genres? R. Talsorian Games’ “Dream Park” based on the novels by Niven and Barnes. The game has the players playing… players. And those players in turn play characters in the Dream Park. And every Dream Park adventure is different, so there’s no need to stick to one genre for more than one session. The game itself was a quick point-buy system so you could make your character on the fly in only 20 minutes or so (ok, more likely an hour, or longer if you don’t have multiple copies of the book or work sheets for the players).
The sample adventure in the book was “The Big Zombie Pirate Game” – set in a cyberpunkish near future, but the adventure is a combination of swashbuckling pulp lost-world pirates, zombie horror, and of course dinosaurs!
Other suggested game genres? Space Pirates! Western Gangsters. Victorian Cyberpunk. Zombie Swashbucklers! Fantasy Superheroes? Post-holocaust Western!
Oi… I look at that list now and think of movies and games that cover them already.
- Space Pirates? Arcadia of my Youth (anime movie & TV series).
- Victorian Cyberpunk? The whole steampunk thing.
- Zombie Swashbucklers? Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Post Holocaust Western? Fallout New Vegas.
Of course, Mike takes it one step further, mashing THOSE genres together to get Swashbuckling Zombie Space Pirates, Postholocaust Gangsters of the New West (again, isn’t that Fallout New Vegas?), and Fantasy Cyberpunks with magical cyberware fighting Dragon Superheroes.
My own games of Dream Park were a wild collection of odd-ball adventures run by Jim and Marcus (they took turns writing and running Dream Park games one summer).
- Dinosaur-riding Ninjas of the Tyrannosaurus Shogunate – we were ninjas, samurai and shugenja, and we had to include a dinosaur in our point-buy to ride on. We foiled a plot by a group of ronin to poison T-Khan.
- Tank Girl 2099 – six insane mercenaries, three bizarre space ships like the tardis (small on the outside and full of shit on the inside), two mutant kangaroos from Jupiter, all pursued by the Earth Fleet as we traveled from Pluto to Venus to figure out why there was no beer at our reunion party.
- Reservoir Lizards of the 20’s – Classic 1920’s gangster plot, but everyone was some sort of human-sized lizard in a suit and we all had the most creative names… Mr Gecko, Mr Iguana, Mr Gila, and so on.
- The Heresy of Tribbles – The Trouble With Tribbles, redone as a Warhammer 40k scenario. I was a space marine in terminator armour. Storm Bolters seem like such a waste against tribbles.
- Hitler’s Dark Young – Call of Cthulhu meets World War II and a dose of Hellboy.
This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by my friend ShinobiCow over at the Dump Stat. The theme? Crossing Genres. Want to get involved? Just post your own genre-crossing post and mention it over at the Dump Stat!