Friday, 26 August 2011

Genre Awareness, Or Lack Thereof

This page comes from the first issue of Warren Ellis's run of Secret Avengers. Note the character descriptions.

Have you ever been in a superhero game like that? Have you ever been in a superhero game not like that?

I've seen my share of players and characters who stick out like sore thumbs. Generally this is a most significant issue in genre-simulation-y games, which are the kind I run. But then all games have genres, even if they're genres that only exist in those games, and I'm as out of place in a classic dungeon crawl as classic dungeon crawl styles are at my table. But hey, I know that.

Maybe it's because I've played a lot of superhero games, but these seem particularly prone to That One Player. Perhaps because "superheroes" is purposely all-encompassing, in terms of tones and styles as well as powers and backgrounds.

I've had some out-of-kilter PCs in Buffy but I've never had someone try to play a costumed superhero, whereas I've seen plenty of plain-clothes vigilante PCs in superhero games that were meant to be four-colour.

I've seen game-crashing moral dissonances in several games (some which killed games in one session flat) but I've rarely seen a superhero game that didn't have any.

It seems some people hear "you can play anything..." and not "... that would fit into this comic." And so we get 90s antiheroes in retro-60s games, uberbeings in games about street-level heroes, murderous vigilantes in city-sponsored rescue teams.

So yes, bit worried about offering super-y games this year. But fortune favours the brave. And the bold.

No comments:

Post a Comment