[Adventure Suggestions Needed] Wild West, Far East, Victorian Adventurers and Dinosaurs, oh my!

General discussions about role-playing games. Share stories, ask for advice, talk about the industry, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
Ares
Site Admin
Posts: 1908
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:40 am

[Adventure Suggestions Needed] Wild West, Far East, Victorian Adventurers and Dinosaurs, oh my!

Post by Ares » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:18 am

So, I'm going to be visiting some friends out of state later this month, and they all want me to run a one-shot RPG while I'm there. I'm more than happy to, and I thought I'd come up with a couple of games prepared to surprise them. Let them vote on them when I get there, that sort of thing. I've got one fleshed out and completed, and two rough ideas I need to work on. This is one of the latter.

So, the basic idea is to run something like a Pulp adventure, but using pre-built character archetypes from the later part of the 19th century rather than the 1920s or 30s. The reasoning for this is fairly simple, given that in the 1870s, 80s and 90s you have some fairly iconic archetypes from many cultures around the world still existing to some degree. This was the age of the Wild West, the age of Victorian heroes like Sherlock Holmes, many wuxia films are set during this time in China, and samurai were fighting before, during and after the Meji Revolution/Restoration.

The characters would be on one of the newer steam-liners of the time on an international voyage, with people from across the world on said ship for various reasons. The ship would be attacked by one of the few major pirate operations of the era to give the group an early action scene, during which a strange storm kicks up and both ships are wrecked.

When the survivors wake up, they're on some unknown land, and they're the only survivors they can see. The threats of the island will force them to band together and explore the place, with one of the major threats being that the island has dinosaurs on it, and naturally all of the fun, dangerous types.

Now, to me at least this seems like a lot of fun, but I'd like some suggestions for a few parts of this.

• 1) The Island: Where the characters end up is a big focus of the adventure, and fighting dinosaurs is never not going to be cool. But I don't have anything really sketched out beyond that. If I just have them dodging dinosaurs all night, I imagine it's going to get old quickly. But I don't have any concrete ideas about the island beyond "heroes wind up on an island with dinosaurs".

Right now the two main ideas are for this to be some temporal anomaly or a Hollow Earth scenario. The island is literally part of some temporal hullabaloo that fades in and out of existence every few decades, or it's actually some chamber deep within the Earth for a Hollow World scenario. Along with that, I think there has to be something else going on there. Maybe there's one or more ancient civilizations there, some place full of stuff out of the likes of Burroughs, Howard and Lovecraft. Maybe there's people from across the centuries stuck on that place, maybe the place is home to some Doctor Moreau type madman or Thoth-Amon style Hyborean sorcerer, a King Kong style super beast or something even more out there.

Some suggestions on a greater idea for the place beyond "heroes survive on dinosaur island" would be appreciated.


• 2) The Tone: Given this story is very much a Pulp-influenced game, it's designed very much as high cinematic action. I'm torn over just how cinematic I want to make it tho.

This is a setting where ideally, a cowboy and a kung fu master could both be fighting some pretty out there creatures, and I want both of them to be equally successful in their approaches to action. So by that notion this is going to have some wuxia elements to it to make martial arts roughly on par with firearms, while the cowboys will be more "action movie" cowboys than the grittier, more realistic versions. But I'm wondering whether I should leave it there or go full on Deadlands/Supernatural with things like psychic abilities, sorcery, true faith, chi techniques, weird science and mesmerism all being actual abilities in this world.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on which way you'd go with it, your reasoning, what you'd allow or disallow, and some suggestions.


• 3) The Characters: To save time, this game is going to be run using some pre-built characters based on character archetypes of the era. I've got some in mind, but I'd also appreciate some additional ideas. I do realize that the types of characters depend on the adventure. A psychic or sorcerer won't be much use if they're a charlatan in a game that doesn't support mysticism, and a scientist might not be useful if there's nothing to science up. I'm overall looking for thoughts on the existing concepts, which ones you think need to be excluded or added, how you'd spin those individual character types, etc. It should be noted that the character archetypes are open to being played by either gender.
- Cowboy / Cowgirl: Iconic western hero, likely going for the two guns/fast draw/trickshot type. Will also include a few perks about riding animals, and see if that inspires the player to try and tame a dinosaur. :)
- Hunter / Tracker: I'm thinking of either going the British "Great White Hunter" route or possibly an Apache Tribesman, two archetypes who are more adept at wilderness survival, tracking animals, and are more long ranged experts or close in fighters, but not the "medium range" fighter a Cowboy/Cowgirl might be.
- Samurai Swordsman: Classic cinematic swordsman, likely trying to get away from the political turmoil in Japan. A close in fighter with a few "specialized" techniques. A little Kurosawa, a little Ruroni Kenshin.
- Martial Artist: Chinese Kung Fu expert, based on wuxia martial arts films set in that period. Because you haven't lived until you've used a jump kick to break the neck of a velociraptor.
- Masked Hero: Someone in the Lone Ranger/Zorro/Shadow mold, likely more Zorro than anything. Because who doesn't want to be a masked mystery man on an island like that? Along with the Hunter/Tracker, likely to be the most stealthy/detective type, but I'm on certain on what kind of combat specialties to give him. Gun + Fisticuffs, Sword + Whip, Sword + Gun, etc.
- American Adventurer: This would probably be the catch all "Two-Fisted Adventurer" type for someone who wants a wide range of skills and is equally at home shooting, punching, stabbing or bludgeoning someone. Very much Brendan Fraser's Rick O'Connell from the Mummy films.
- European Fencer: An alternative for someone who wants to swordfight but not go the samurai route. Likely a French/Spanish trained swordsman, possible an aristocrat or the like who's a bit of a charming rogue. Basically someone with some good interpersonal/social skills when not swordfighting.
- Strongman: This one is pretty much being built for one of my friends. He's hispanic with a love for both American wrestling and Lucha Libre, so I'm basically having a Mexican strongman who fights largely using a cinematic type of wrestling. I very much expect to see him Five-Star Frog Splash someone in this game.
- Victorian Scientist: I'm thinking along the lines of an "action scientist", but I'd want to be able to make sure their science skills could come into play on the island. This one might be a bit iffy.
- Psychic / Mesmerist: Another iffy one, but potentially fun. I'm thinking more along the lines of a "Mandrake" type, using cinematic mesmerism to do things like control animals, hypnotize opponents, detect things and so on, maybe even going the full "stage magician" route. But in a high enough powered game, I might allow for full on psychic abilities.
- Occult Expert / Sorcerer: Again, this could be someone who is just an expert in the supernatural, to the more advanced types who actually have some capacity to cast spells. Depends on whether magic will be involved here.

So, I turn the metaphorical microphone over to you guys. What are your thoughts/suggestions?

Spectrum
Posts: 1451
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:08 pm

Re: [Adventure Suggestions Needed] Wild West, Far East, Victorian Adventurers and Dinosaurs, oh my!

Post by Spectrum » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:19 pm

The cowpoke would be a great opportunity to use one of my favorite game tricks. A very slow telekinesis with a foci of a pistol to represent trick shooting.

So, your basic story inspired this:

Give each character a reason to be hunting Doctor Sin, the nefarious Oriental master of the eastern arts, upon the ship. They catch sight of him, about to catch him when everything fades to gray.

They wake up on a spooooky island, an area clear of the mists that stretch in every direction. There are signs of natives but even more troubling are signs of some great beasts.

Insert scenes of them trying to get back off the island.

The natives are snake people, beautiful women and bestial men... that have lived in harmony with the dinosaurs since time began. Now Doctor Sin has found a way to take over the big brothers and you have to save the natives from the evil Doctor.

Maybe insert some love scenes depending upon the preferences of your players.

Save the natives and they send our heroes home to the outside world. Maybe with a heartbreaking scene of saying goodbye to the beautiful love interest and the kid sidekick that has stuck with them in their adventures.
We rise from the ashes so that new legends can be born.

User avatar
L-Space
Posts: 720
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:40 pm
Location: Nebraska

Re: [Adventure Suggestions Needed] Wild West, Far East, Victorian Adventurers and Dinosaurs, oh my!

Post by L-Space » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:28 pm

Ooh, sounds like a fun idea. Pulp adventures are always cool.

1) The Island
I think I'd go the Hyborean/Lovecraftian route. In addition to the dinosaurs have some beast-men tribes the inhabit the island and give hints of a darker Lovecraftian presence surrounding the island.

2) The Tone
I'd have the various powers/abilities be present, but not too prevalent with maybe 1 or 2 powers max and leaving the rest to extra-effort. That way people have the option of going with the neat abilities that help out, but someone can still be the badass "normal" as a counterpoint.

3) The Characters
The only one I'm super iffy about is the Scientist because depending on the island I'm not sure how much use he would end up being outside specific instances.

Also, the thought of a martial artists fighting raptors is beyond amazing to me :D.
Image
Formerly luketheduke86

Post Reply