roleplaying games

Blade Runner, Cyberpunk, and The Veil

This week my Cannibal Halfling post was early, so my personal post will be early as well! Early logistically if not in spirit, at least. I saw Blade Runner a few weeks ago (the new one), and absolutely loved it. The aesthetic was perfect, and it extended the themes of the original very well. It also got me thinking, unsurprisingly, about what I’d be aiming for in a Cyberpunk game the next time I run one.

The Veil is a similarly aesthetic approach to Cyberpunk as Blade Runner, of course in a different medium. This was one of the reasons I was quite tentative to run it with my group as a campaign, though that hesitation has softened. In the end, I had a clearer mechanical vision of my fantasy game, and at the moment I still do…though at the moment I damn well better, because that game is starting within a month.

Still, watching Blade Runner reminded me that I do still want to run The Veil. That movie brought up some of the weirdness involved in “Lifting The Veil” in a way that I understood better than seeing it in text, which made it much more clear that I have the capacity to attack the material. It also of course gave me some ideas, altogether too many ideas. The good thing about this is that when the genre is giving me candy store grade enthusiasm for its wide range of themes and milieus, it becomes much easier to do what The Veil requires you to do, which is give the players a hand in creating your setting with you. Wanting your players’ input instead of being nervous about it is a huge deal given the unique social contract of a PbtA game.

The timing of running The Veil will work out, because I don’t want to run the game without the supplement Cascade. Since that’s still being worked on, it helps cement my choice to run the fantasy apocalypse campaign as the right one for right now. I’m also getting more comfortable with the idea that even if this D&D game runs its course, it may not be a 1-to-20 long runner in the way I’ve fantasized about. I’m OK with that…I don’t need to get to the end of the progression curve to tell the stories I want to tell. It’s an important mental milestone to reach as the pre-game prep starts to give way to the during-game prep. Like any campaign I’m about to submit this one to the will of my players…but given the sandbox structure I may be doing so much more acutely than usual.

As I’m getting ready to GM again, I finally feel like my campaign brain has settled into something sustainable: give over most of my brainspace to my upcoming/current games, with just enough thoughts about the next one some time in the ill-defined future. I know there’s more I will want to do, but for now this is good.


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