As I wait (impatiently) for the arrival of the definitive printed edition of Villains & Vigilantes 3.0 to arrive, my gaming-related thoughts stray to 'stranger' things.
No doubt prompted by my rewatching of season one of Stranger Things ahead of the arrival of season two in October, and my investment in the multiple ENnie-nominated Tales From The Loop RPG (I can't even begin to explain how I justified this to myself), I've been entertaining thoughts about running this for the Tuesday Knights or something else, other than superheroes.
The more I think about it, the less convinced I become that a superhero RPG (V&V or any other) is the way forward for my return to behind the screen at the head of the table.
With sessions that only last a few hours once a month, and little to no interest in pursuing sub-plots away from the table (ie. blue-booking) - hell, I don't even think many of our gaming group even read this blog that often (if at all) - then the idea of an expansive superhero campaign, emulating the in-depth worlds of comics, is pretty much dead in the water anyway.
My development of Knight City will probably continue, but more as a thought experiment, a slice of creative writing, taking tropes and ideas from comic books and TV shows and just running with them.
Meanwhile, I'm juggling a number of alternate systems that I might develop as potential campaigns once Pete decides he wants to step away from his role as Administrator in our current Top Secret SI campaign.
As I mentioned above, I'm rather taken with Tales From The Loop, but more for its 'small town mystery' vibe that any attempt to game in the world created by Simon Stålenhag's paintings.
I really like a lot of what I've read and heard about the game so far, and I like Stålenhag's art (who doesn't?), but I'm not sold on the compatibility of the two.
How can you create a sense of mystery and wonder in a retro 1980's game setting when giant robots and flying cars are already part of the landscape?
If I ever ran this, I reckon my influences would be more Stranger Things (obviously), the original Witch Mountain movies, Twin Peaks, Stand By Me, IT, E.T., and Abstract Nova's Heaven & Earth rpg (which has long been an underlying influence on Knight City).
A big problem with Loop, though, is I'm not sure how the Tuesday Knights will feel about playing kids?
And I'm not sure if this will have the legs to become my long-dreamed of "forever campaign".
Other game/system ideas I'm kicking around include:
A Western campaign using Simon Washbourne's Go Fer Yer Gun!, which is my favourite Western RPG because it uses a simple hack of old school gaming mechanics.
Simon's brought out a new game - Blood & Bullets (Old West RPG) - which I have yet to pick up.
My big problem here is, although the mechanics will be solid and easy to grok whichever 'edition' I opt for, I'm pretty certain I'm the only one in our group who really loves Westerns, let along gaming them.
It was a wonderfully inventive - but again quite straight forward - game and, luckily, I have a print-out of the game in an old binder that I revisit often.
However, again, as with Westerns, I fear wuxia might be another niche genre that only I'm really interested in.
Keeping with the theme of old school hacks, as both these last two ideas were, I'm still cogitating the practicalities of reskinning Swords & Wizardry for a contemporary setting (drawing heavily from Supernatural and similar monster-hunting TV shows and movies).
But, of course, there's always my beloved Cinematic Unisystem, which is perfect for my vision of this genre (particularly the Army Of Darkness iteration).
System is key to a lot of my thoughts. My addled brain can't handle the complexities of rule-books that are several hundred pages long and full of complex legalese in tiny print.
Perhaps I might revisit the Ubiquity system. Triple Ace Games' Leagues Of Cthulhu will, hopefully, be out before I run a game again and it'd be rather nice to use a book at the table that was purchased for me by a pair of the Tuesday Knights as a 50th birthday present (husband and wife team, Nick and Clare).
These are just some of my more concrete ideas at the moment. There's plenty of time this year for many more ideas to percolate to the surface. I just need one of them to stick...