Friday, February 10, 2012

Video Games as the Enemy

by MPuncekar
Video Games as the Enemy
by Tobie Abad
written on February 2012

Time out! Time out! Trolling and flaming should be put on hold! I know I know the title sounds very controversial and that was in many ways what made it a catchy title.  But what this article is really exploring is ways you can take your favorite video game and use it as the springboard for fantastic villain concepts and environmental challenges in your game.

Far too often, people who don't grasp the fun of table top games cite how video games are visually stimulating as one of its key strengths.   While such topics are always open for debate, I will step away from that debate and instead make use of the said key strength as something we table top gamers can use to make our games even more fun.

Consider the following examples:

The Hungry  Seed
It began some time in the night, moving through the darkened alleyways with its insatiable need to feed. It did not matter what it found as it hunted; organic and inorganic matter was all the same to it.  It would latch on to whatever it could get its hundreds of hands on, and slide it down its massive gullet in one single swift motion.  The thing was like a living black hole, devouring anything that could fit its bottomless maw.

The thing was growing.   When it was first sighted the previous night, it was tumbling down alleyways and tearing through fences.  Today, barely 24 hours later, it had gained so much mass that the thing was towering past four-storey buildings.  The sound of its movement was a defeaning roar of steel shattering glass grinding against stone.

And there were the screams.
The poor and unfortunate ones who were unable to avoid its approach.  The people who were absorbed by the growing mass and somehow lived long enough to add their screams to the horrible dirge of its motions.  No one knew how to stop it.  No one knew if it could be reasoned with.  All everyone knew was that it was hungry.  And nothing seemed to hurt it.  At most, weapons trained at it would force it back a few meters.  But the thing would redouble its efforts and approach again.  It was relentless.

Why use The Hungry Seed?
Because it can make for a disturbingly classic villain.  Dungeons and Dragons gamers can imagine the thing like a massive living portable hole.  Or a Gelatinous Cube of Collosal proportions.   7th Sea gamers might imagine the thing to be a creature from the depths.  Or perhaps some monstrosity the Sidhe have unleashed upon Theah.  Tagers from Cthulhutech might consider the thing to be a new Dhohanoid crated by the Chrysalis Corporation.  The possibilities are endless.

Who would have known such a horror was actually inspired by this game?

The Pumper
No one knows who he is.  Or where he has gone.  But every news outlet knows of the list of names of his very many victims.  Police officers who arrived at the scenes where he had left his victims remained psychologically scarred; their nights are forever filled with nightmarish glimpses of the horror they had seen.  The Pumper, you see, was a serial killer who was active some years back.  He seemed to follow no clear pattern when it came to his victims.  There were women, men, even children.  Some still remember the absolute horror and revulsion that overwhelmed that anchorman from CNN when he was sharing the report of one of the Pumper's victims:  a young woman who had been pregnant when she was assaulted.

The Pumper, you see, somehow lulls his victims to a calm state.   None of them are seen to have any signs of struggle.  None of them show signs of having physically been restrained or tied up.

And in this moment of calm, the Pumper then slides into their mouth a thin tube.  The detectives are uncertain if the tube was plastic.  Or rubber.  Or maybe even glass.  But the tube is slid into the mouth, and stops only once it is an inch away from the bottom of the stomach.

Then the Pumper introduces the gas.

Forensics has not found any strange kind of gas in any of the victims.  Deductive reasoning suggests what is used is either oxygen or carbon dioxide, however the large amounts used baffle investigators.  The victims, you see, are pumped full with the gas.  Pumped so much until they get engorged.  Pumped until they explode.

All the Pumper's victims have died that way.
Burst open from within.

The Pumper had over 30 victims in the one year he was active.  Then, he suddenly just stopped.  No one knows where he has gone or why he stopped.

Or if he will re-surface again.

Yep, this was based on this game.

You're Raping My Childhood!
Our childhood is a rich and fertile ground for ideas for all sorts of things!  Why limit yourself and keep all the cool stuff from being utilized into even more awesome stuff?  Just try looking at the games you love from way back and see which ones you can re-image in a much more interesting role-playing game-appropriate way!

Try it today!
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