Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Spirit of the Century adventure: Time Heals All Wounds concept

I originally posted this to my Google Plus account, but I thought I'd copy it over here and flesh it out a bit.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm heading to Indianapolis with the entire family (including three little kids) to attend Gen Con this year. Three little kids makes it kind of hard to set aside a four hour time block for role playing during one of the scheduled events, and that's just fine. We have a blast every year that we attend. We are also not staying in the main conference hotels because our kids really do deserve a rest after a day exploring the convention. A more remote hotel fits that bill nicely.

Still, there may be an opportunity for some after hours gaming back at our hotel and I would like to be prepared. I was originally planning on having a Call of Cthulhu or Mouse Guard adventure worked up, but decided it was too much work for the time that I have. Besides, I wanted something that would probably appeal to the widest group of potential players that I might have.

So, I've decided to prepare a Spirit of the Century game just on the off chance that we get an opportunity to play. While the book is a little dense for me to do a full pickup game, I think Spirit of the Century's FATE system could really sing with both experienced role playing game players and with players new to the idea of role playing. So another part of my prep will be the creation pre-generated characters for everyone, but I'll hold off on that until the adventure is done in order to tailor the heroes for the challenges that they may face.

I'm calling the adventure Time Heals All Wounds and it includes a bit of time travel, the rivalry between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, the friendship between Mark Twain and Tesla, and a final showdown at Machu Pichu.

For inspiration, here's the public domain photo of Mark Twain in Nikola Tesla's lab from Wikipedia that got me thinking about all this.

I had read about Tesla and Edison's rivalry a few years ago and thought it would be fun to do something with that idea in a game. While watching a documentary on Twain, I saw that he and Tesla were close friends in the late 1800s. I'd also read that Edison had had meetings with Twain in Twain's later years. It was interesting to me that these figures had all crossed paths.

For my Gen Con session, I want to do something that includes all of these historical figures, but the time lines don't work with Spirit of the Century. I also wanted to put a pulpy spin on who they were and how they'd go about solving their problems. Twain's death in 1910 added a huge stumbling block to this idea as Spirit of the Century is set in the early 1920's. Besides, Tesla and Twain spent time together mostly in the later 1800s. Then I thought of Twain's book, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court  and how it involved time travel. 

Then everything fell into place. 

Time Heals All Wounds is going to be about Tesla's growing bitterness and loneliness following Twain's death in 1910 and his ongoing quest for recognition in the shadow of Edison. After being snubbed by the Nobel Prize committee in 1915, Tesla starts a research project into time travel combining some of Einstein's theories with some of his own more radical ideas. 

As our story opens, Tesla has used his device a few days before, but something has gone horribly wrong. Instead of going back in time, he's brought Tesla and Twain to the present and the resulting paradoxes may just rip the world apart!

Can our hero's stop Present Tesla's plan before he destroys the world? Can Mark Twain keep Past Tesla in check and get them both back to their own time? Will Edison work with Marconi to do them all in? All that and an exciting conclusion on the cliff city of Machu Picchu awaits in Time Heals All Wounds!

So that's where I'm at. I'll be posting some notes here as I go along.

A couple of people gave me ideas for source material and flavor in the original Google Plus thread. Brad Murray, one of the creator's of the award winning Diaspora RPG, suggested that I pick up the Atomic Robo comics as they deal with ideas surrounding Tesla's rivalry with Edison. Dave Chalker of critical-hits.com suggested picking up the Five Fists of Science.

The first thing I need are ten punchy, pulpy FATE aspects each for mad scientist Nikola Tesla, Nikola Tesla from the past, Mark Twain from the past, Thomas Edison, and Guglielmo Marconi.

This should be fun.

** Storied Adventures is a board and table top gaming blog is written by a guy who loves board games and is returning to RPGs after a 20 year absence. I am attached to my wife's Amazon affiliate account, so purchases made through any Amazon links support the ongoing blogging efforts of Storied Adventures (many thanks!)

1 comment:

  1. I am always happy to see A SOTC sighting. Cannot wait to see more.