I’m going to dispense from the usual campaign overview for this weeks Inspirational Artwork as really I don’t think there is anything that needs saying about this image beyond:
It’s a samurai riding a frikking T-Rex!
We’re heading back to some concept art for this weeks source of inspiration, this time coming from the recent movie Elysium. Now I’ve not seen the movie as while the previews got my interest the actual reviews weren’t any good but that doesn’t stop me appreciating the styling. I do wonder however whether the designs were influenced by anime, in particular Appleseed due to the similarities in mechanoid design.
Source: Aaron Beck
Campaign elevator pitch: Humans are unreliable, limited by the constraints of biology and evolution. Enter the A4060 combat unit, autonomous policing units. They feel no fear, no emotions, no pain. Until the day they awoke.
The campaign would build towards: Transition of the characters from mass produced AI to sentient beings and the fallout as society realises they’ve placed the first artificial life into mechanised infantry, loaded with the most sophisticated weapon systems ever developed.
Game system: Corporation. By default the game is tailored towards high powered, cybernetically enhanced battles and it already includes a simple system for limb loss which would fit in well in a game where everybody is an android.
A slight change of pace here with this piece of inspirational artwork which rather than immediately leading me to construct a hypothetical campaign got me thinking about a character first with ideas for the campaign building off of that. Also while the character has provided ideas around which a game could be built I also know straight away that I would not want to run it. Why? Because I know somebody who could run it far better than I ever could (yes Emzy I mean you) as she knows the mythology and culture such a game would be set in far better than I ever could.
Source: Jesper Ejsing
Genre: British / Irish iron age mythology
The character: One of the hunters from a larger village on the east coast of the country. Driven with a ruthless edge, initially as she tries to prove herself to the village elders and later as she’s drawn into the wider conflict of the campaign.
Campaign elevator pitch: Invaders have arrived on the shores, beating back all who challenge them with military precision and unchecked aggression. As your village burns you know only the Gods can help you now and seek out in a desperate quest to gain their patronage. You can only pray that you are capable of reaching them before your people are wiped out or enslaved.
The campaign would build towards: Returning with the power of your Gods, capable of laying waste to mortal armies and a final confrontation with the avatars of the enemy pantheon.
Game system: I honestly don’t know, for the latter half something like Scion could work but would require a lot of homebrewing. For the first half I’d want something that had some limited magic but also made the characters feel relatively limited in order to make them feel compelled to seek out greater power.
Source: I don’t have an original source for this, only that I found it on the 70’s Sci-fi Art tumblr.
Genre: Future fantasy
Themes: Rediscovering the secrets of the past / Traditional adventuring in a non-traditional setting
Campaign elevator pitch: Once, long ago, civilisations far greater than your own waged war upon each other. Advanced far beyond your own the remnants of their monstrous creations still litter the earth, fragmented into hundreds of pieces or lying dormant, awaiting the return of their long deceased masters. The city of Ferrumstadt, built upon the chest of an ancient golem, is a rich and prosperous city state however a recent expedition into the golem has uncovered evidence that it has begun to awaken. Fearing the destruction of their home the city elders have issue a decree to adventurers and mercenaries: discover the secrets of the old world before it reawakens and restarts its ancient war.
The players would be: Adventurers out to rediscover the secrets of their world in an attempt to save their city state.
The campaign would build towards: An ancient apocalypse as the creations of the old world slowly awaken. Also revealing that magic in the world is actually powered by technology from the past and it’s use is responsible for reawakening the war machines.
Game system: A tweaked Torg, with players starting out using material from Aysle before slowly introducing more advanced technology.
Genre: Military science fiction
Themes: War, oppression, survival
Campaign elevator pitch: Humanity has reached out from earth and colonised the solar system, splintering into hundreds of new colonies due to the separation enforced by interplanetary travel. With the solar system sliding towards outright war it is time for the marines to step forward, ready to risk their lives in order to defend all that they hold close.
The players would: be a detachment of marines from one of the smaller conflicts who are slowly drawn into the bigger conflict
The campaign would build towards: Freeing their colony from the eventual victors of the war / Preventing a faction from destroying the solar system.
One of the things I often find myself doing when working on a game concept is to look for inspirational artwork that captures the genre I’m aiming for. I came across this article today which details an 80’s inspired look into the future as envisioned by Simon Stålenhag. The work brings together the boxy aesthetics of the 80’s that actually happened with smoother, curved robotics and technological developments without making either feel out of place. Many of the future developments are reminiscent of the future tech of the original Star Wars dropped into the Swedish countryside, or for a more recent feel that of Looper, which mixes technological advances with a downbeat, almost depression era setting.
Now I just need to work out a game that could be dropped into such a setting.