After my absence of the Carrusel Bloguero de Juegos de Rol (an initiative similar to the RPG Blog Carnival) I’m jumping in it again for this edition, hosted by the blog Fénix Oscuro and devoted to parallel worlds and RPG.
This month’s edition participants have fully treated this them talking about alternate universes and its application to role-playing games, so I will focus concretely in dystopias albeit the blog La Alegre Tabernilla de Azatoth has done it.
Dystopies are characterised for being the dark side of utopia (the ideal world where all goes well and without problems), so there could be a set of anomalous and problematic facts to mark in an obvious way life of main characters. Inside this genre its common to find fiction works that (as a warning of future times or as a denounce of current events) shows us seemingly benevolent and egalitarian societies, but hidden within with the seeds (or the direct expression) of cruel tyrannies that not hesitate to use any method to control population or future and apocalyptical times where society as we know it has ended and hopes of survival are really very little.
Me and gamers of the Cofradia testing Todo Empieza con Igor Gouzenko
An example of all previously said can be seen in Todo Empieza con Igor Gouzenko, belonging to the Cacería de Bichos de Demonio Sonriente, based in works by Philip K. Dick, with the added treatment of alternate history (for more information about this consult the post of this month at Los Diarios de John Dreshiker.
In role-playing games with settings in dystopic universes some classical and some recent ones can be highlighted:
Covers of Twilight 2000 (1st and 2nd editions)
Twilight 2000, written by Frank Chadwick, Dave Nilsen. Loren K. Wiseman and Lester W. Smith and edited first time bywritten by Frank Chadwick, Dave Nilsen. Loren K. Wiseman and Lester W. Smith and edited first time by Games Designers’ Workshop in 1984, takes us to a hypothetical Third World War ignited by tensions experimented in Cold War; players will interpret United State soldiers belonging to a destroyed unit in destroyed in combat in Poland and forced to fend for themselves to survive in the devastation caused by the conflict and having to confront deserters, warlords, bandits...
Twilight 2000 had two editions before GDW close down in 1996 and a third one (Twilight 2013) by 93 Games Studio in 2008. It’s available nowadays from FarFuture Enterprises
UPDATE: A Catalan reader (Oddball) has suggested an alternate chronology for Twilight 2000 in the website El Argonauta, following this link there is a translation by Google.
Covers of Paranoia and Paranoia XP
Paranoia, written originally by Greg Costikyan, Dan Gelber and Eric Goldberg and published firstly in 1984 by West End Games, portrays a future society inhabiting Alpha Complex (a nuclear shelter after Third World War) controlled by The Computer, which is your friend and wants you to be happy. Happiness is mandatory citizen, so not to be happy is a traitorous act.
Paranoia had six editions (the former Joc Internacional published the second edition in Spanish in 1991), the current edition, Paranoia XP, is published by Mongoose Publishing.
Cover of Cyberpunk 2020
Cyberpunk 2020, written by Mike Pondsmith and firstly published in 1990 by R. Talsorian Games (following Cyberpunk 2013) it’s a game with a setting which borrows the works of William Gibson and with a style reminiscent of the Blade Runner movie, where great corporations have taken over the planet at the expense of governments (well, just a little as is happening now but without advanced cybernetic prosthetics or similar technologies).
Cyberpunk 2020 was edited in Spain first by M+D Editores in 1993 and then by La Factoría de Ideas. Cyberpunk V.3, the third game edition, continues to be published by the original editor but there aren’t a Spanish edition yet.
Cover of Last War
Last War, written by Alfonso Carrillo and presented in the freely downloadable games line offered by Demonio Sonriente has a post apocalyptic setting that mixes characteristics of Twilight 2000 and Cyberpunk 2020 and elements that can be considered to be inherited of the cinematographic saga of Terminator because of the androids and other high technology elements.
Cover of Señor Oscuro
Señor Oscuro, written by Diego Pastor Campos and also available as a juego gratuito en Demonio Sonriente, shows us a fantasy world that, after the apparition of the Dragon and his fight with Sargon (perhaps gods themselves), became an inhospitable place where only exists the city of Sargopolis, theoretically created to protect humans from the Dragon but in which many would not want to live because of the terrible living conditions of the poorer classes.
Cover of Penumbra
Penumbra, written by Javier Cuesta Cañas and available as a free download (he accepts donations, so if you like it don’t doubt to help him), shows us a post apocalyptic world that is born in the ruins of our civilisation and it’s influenced by the gothic style and the steampunk among others.
To finish this post of the Carrusel Bloguero I offer a pdf document where I review a series of ideas to consider if we want to create a dystopia using any role-playing ruleset we like (the lists can be used with a dice roll, choose the distinct options as we like, mix them or use them as a basis to create your own versions).
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