[JRRM] Setting Options and Thoughts.

Posted: July 17, 2009 by Guy Shalev in Uncategorized

This is partially an addendum to the post on the module option, showing where else the module could be taken, or hacking the original game into. Also thoughts regarding clarifying a couple of points from the original game.

So Luke has a thread where he points to a thread on the Forge, asking about why have it a war in space, amongst other things, and it got me thinking, regarding JRRM. This could be relevant as these are settings to put the module into, but it could also be used to “Hack” the original game.

First, I ascribe to the “Issue makes for Science-Fiction” school, so even if you change the colour from sci-fi space-war to a fantasy setting, to me it’d still be Sci-Fi at its core. The space is a metaphor/tool of distance and loneliness. The characters are removed from society, and it’s basically a one-way trip with very little information before you make the choice.
And more importantly, you are now separated, both from most of humanity, whom you are defending (you’re defending those you now are losing your relations to, I’m now reminded of Scalzi’s Old Man’s War with the Ghost Brigade troops), and from those who gave you your memories.

It could easily be changed into fantasy colour: You are summoners, your “Mecha” are demons, and you lose consciousness in order for the demon to manifest in this world, with the strain of the summoning and release taking their toll on your psyche.
This could be taken another step, being made into a high-school/academy style of place (anime style), and this also adds into the cast more characters (even if only NPCs) who are staff and actually care for you, rather than just other pilots and staff who only care to keep you fit for one more round of fighting. This also opens the characters up to being able to interact with fellow humans more, including people they care for, and actually able to form new memories! that matter! And change their Morality outside of combat.

This could be taken to varying degrees of comedy, with some rule-changing and mostly advice. You can deepen the tragedy of the pilots’ fate by having a scene or two, or even an episode where the scenes (there are no free scenes in the original game) are not poignant and introspective, but light-hearted and even comic, just to contrast with what usually happens, and even have all that is golden be tarnished later.
You can on the other hand make it much more comic. In a more light-hearted setting, I’d make memory switches rarer, or their effects more light-hearted, or conversly, for a comic backdrop to a poignant game, have the memory switches be rarer (perhaps by making actual combat something that occurs say, every two sessions), and then have a lot more scenes that explore the profound change brought by such changes. Perhaps adding more scenes, or enabling a measure of free-scenes.

Here’s an example that could go either way: Have Bob kiss Gwen, and form a memory of it. Then Bob’s memory ends up in Mike’s memory, who of course goes up to Gwen and kisses her again, because as far as he’s considered, he’s the one who’s kissed her before. This could be played for laughs, or (and) to explore the measure of relationships, and how can you form a relationship when you can’t retain your memories of what built it and of the other person, and when you know some of your memories of someone may not be yours?

After all, if we are nothing more than the sum of our memories, is it not us that now love person X, regardless of had we actually generated those memories?

Also, after reading the Game Chef bits again, a couple of points:
The lack of information about “The War” is on purpose. It could be that they are fighting a civil war, actually attacking another culture/race, defending their world. Could be that what they were told and what’s really happenning is different. They could also be sent to quash union strikes on asteroid belts!

Part of it is, that who said the pilots actually see/know what happens outside? The information they get through their machines could be altered/rigged, without a clear visual link to outside.

Regarding “Heart Scenes”, which aren’t here, because they’re part of Juiced Rider itself, I’ll want to clarify that piece again: It’s not possible for such a scene not to be important to the character it’s built for, or for that issue to not matter to it, it’s designed according to the character’s Moral Code, so the character has to decide if to uphold the moral code or not, and the character if not the player will care for it.


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