East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

A community to back my heroes

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I’m doing some work on a forthcoming sourcebook for a roleplaying game.
Savage Worlds being the engine, the rules are not a problem.
As long as I do not re-invent the wheel, I’ve ample margin for trying new stuff.

Now, in most “heroic” stories – no matter if we’re talking fantasy, science fiction, historical, western – one of the key elements is, the hero speaks for a group, for a clan or tribe or culture.
It’s a simple mechanism, it has lots of anthropological implications (the hero as everyman, etc.) but it also has a very good, simple  effect on storytelling: the hero (or heroes) have somebody they care abut, and that cares about them.
Maybe non even in a personal, one-on-one way, but community is important.
Think about the way in which Spiderman is an expression of New York and its people…

periconi_pulp-417So, what I’m trying to do here is – I’m designing a number of ready-made groups or communities, taken from the classical clichés of the genre.

The idea is, once I have a number of easily-defined, standard groups normally appearing in a certain genre of fiction (say, in westerns – the classics being the native tribe,the settlers on their road west, etc.) I can work out a system to

a . describe in game-terms the community as character (so that “the guys” can get to work together as a single NPC, to help the heroes)
b . define a series of story hooks I can reasonably enbed in the community, with an eye for tradition and one for surprise twists
c . define in game terms the advantages the hero gets when he has a community backing him – and a specific community (being the darling of the local Apache community gets you different perks than being friends with the soiled doves in town)

This being Savage Worlds, I’m also trying to work this out using a deck of playing cards.

It’s a very different way to look at storytelling and story-writing.
But it’s good.
This is what I’m working on at the moment – and I call it writing.
I should call it fun – but then they would not pay me.

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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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