A CineMORTic Experience?

by Dirk, Resident Antichrist

Just to make it perfectly clear, I'm writing this article on short notice (mostly because I'm a procrastinator), and really don't feel like dwelling on movies too much. In other words, who knows what this article will truly be about?
I don't.
So, without further ado, on to...er...something....

If you haven't seen Wag The Dog yet, see it. Pretty damned good, in my own twisted opinion. The whole plot really makes you think about how the media 'dictates reality,' and made me really appreciate how much more intelligent I am than just about every other idiot out in this great big fishbowl we call the world. In any case, it was good, and definately worth seeing.

Yes, I am getting to some sort of point here...
Basically, I felt this needed to be compared not necessarily to a particular RPG, but to a class of 'em: Conspiracy games.
From Paranoia to On The Edge, Dark Conspiracy [EdNote: Now at Dynasty Presentations?] to Paranoia (and no, I didn't say Paranoia twice. You must be mistaken, Citizen), Paranoia to Paranoia...the list goes on and on. If you don't understand the similarities, you should be summarily executed.

'Nuff said.
I suppose I should go into more detail, but I can't say as I really feel like it. So, in my usual manner, I am now going to digress towards something that really has nothing to do with gaming at all: my job.

Why can't people learn how to use their computers? I mean, c'mon! It's not like it takes a genius to learn how to point and click. Hell, I've seen 5-year olds who could pull up a porn site faster than you can say "What the Hell do you think you're doing, mister?" In any case, for all of you that are reading this, please learn to use your computer. Spend an hour or two a week reading some computer literature or just plain going through your machine, learning about all the little things that make it what it is. Most importantly, don't call me until you've frustrated yourself silly trying to solve your inconsequential little problems.

Thank you.

Where were we? Oh, yes...conspiracy stuff. Well, since we're talking about this, let me go over the last Twilight:2000 campaign I ran. It started out as a normal "you're in Poland, find a way home" sorta campaign, pretty much the same one just about every other TW2K GM runs. It went like this for awhile, with only a minor bit of conspiratorial fluff involved, until the fated day when I stumbled upon a used copy of Dark Conspiracy: Creatures of the Dark II (or something to that effect). As both DC and TW2K run off of the same engine, it took only minor modifications to port some of the nasties over into my TW2K game.

It was about this time that I came to the conclusion I couldn't just throw in aliens for no good reason; I needed PLOT-BACKGROUND (shudder in fear, mortal players!!) So I sat around for a couple days pulling up all the conspiracy theories and paranormal info I could get ahold of (mostly from my memory, actually), and twisted them together to form my own "Real History of the World and Everything Else." This wasn't an instantaneous thing, mind you. It wasn't until a good 2 months later that I actually had a complete mental picture of what exactly was going on, much of the ideas and conclusions being inadvertently inputted by the players themselves.

Next up was getting the players confused and quite paranoid, a main ingredient of any conspiracy game. This really wasn't that difficult, as this group had never trusted anyone, but a few strange happenings here and there did throw them off (for instance, one of the main NPCs in the game apparently existed in a couple different locations at once, had different jobs, and had died at least once. Good stuff like that). Over time the players would learn more about the "Grand Scheme," only to have their hopes crushed as new information came to light. Eventually they got a pretty good idea of what was really going on, at which point that particular part of the campaign ended.

Yes, I did have a point to all this. What I wanted to demonstrate was that you can turn just about any RPG campaign into a conspiracy-based one with just a tad of resources and a lot of imagination. GURPS books work real well for this, as they are normally more info than game mechanics (Warehouse 23 is great). Since you're obviously on the internet, do some searches for whatever conspiratorial topic you're interested in -- you may be surprised how much of it there is out there. [Ednote: Interesting...isn't that?] If you don't have a clue where to start, but are interested, the Art Bell webpage (www.artbell.com) is a very good place to start.

Lemme throw out a few ideas for those of you who need something to run with:

-Cattle and dragon mutilations are occurring left and right, the princess was abducted by a strange glowing blue orb of light, and the Kingdom of Garr has reportedly captured a "Sun Chariot" intact. PCs get hired to do this and that, eventually finding out that nothing unexplainable or outlandish was actually occuring. Or that the king is actually a Grey.

-The crew of a Mech Dropship are terrorized by a "demon" they picked up while on a distant planet. Film at 11.

-The fist-fightin' heroes of a Feng Shui game...nah, that's too easy.

-A bunch of wily Garou youngsters are tasked by the Elders to determine who it was that did in a GW Don. JFK-style investigation ensues.

-The Computer sends the Troubleshooters on a mission of utmost importance: clean DRT sector. Nothing at all dangerous happens, and no clones are killed. The debriefing is absolutely non-violent and pretty boring. The Computer congratulates them. All is well for the Troubleshooters.

(Ahem.)

Well, there you go. Another fun-filled article by yours truly, the Lord of Darkness, High Instigator of Extraneous Affairs, Dirk. May players cringe in fear and GMs gloat over secrets. Until next time!


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j n m ( m n j )
Well-ventilated, soundproofed, [Prince Mazarati's workshop] contains vast amount of poisons and antidotes to all that have antidotes (most), all meticulously labeled with the exact opposite of what they are. Thus, "antidote to cyanide" will be rather unhealthy.
-- from Saint Raven's Complete Guide to Mazarati