Wreckage: A survival roleplaying game
I’m always glad when I see a new game created on OngoingWorlds, and I especially like the bespoke games with a very stand-alone story. A story created recently that looks extremely promising is Wreckage, created by Mike, who recently wrote some articles for this blog. Stand-alone games (and I mean games that aren’t based on an existing franchise like Harry Potter, Star Trek etc) are often tough to get started because it can be difficult to attract players, but are great because you’ve got complete freedom over the world and characters, and Mike’s game has made a brilliant start at creating a gripping story.
I asked Mike 3 questions about his game, and here’s what he wrote:
What gave you the idea to start the game?
I’ve been interested in wilderness survival stories since I was a young boy. Some of my favorite books, movies, and television shows involved characters, sometimes groups of characters, trying to survive in the wilderness after a plane crash or some such disaster. So I guess that the idea for Wreckage as a Roleplay was born out of a desire to revisit and participate in an old childhood fantasy of mine.
One thing I have noticed that is lacking in many Roleplaying games including the professionally published systems and settings is a way for characters to be connected to one another prior to the actual start of the story. I mean, characters usually show up without knowing each other at all and must overcome their awkward unfamiliarity with one another as well as the game’s many obstacles. I’ve even seen GMs try to gloss this over by starting their campaigns with a short statement similar to “your characters grew up in the same village and know each other by sight.”
What I wanted to do was give players a stronger and more familiar connection for their characters. All characters created for Wreckage must belong to one of five families who have been cruising around Indonesia together on a luxury yacht.
Characters won’t be just depending on strangers to help them survive, but their own flesh and blood. The dynamics this can bring to a game are pretty unique if players are willing to embrace them. After all, who better to protect a child than their own mother or father? Sadly, family members are the very same people who usually know our deepest secrets or weaknesses and can harm us the most with just a simple word or two.
Giving the characters from the game who are not directly related to one another a little bit of history together was also important. Sure, they may not know everything about everyone that was on the yacht, but it sure is likely that they have made a friend or two during the trip. It also is not impossible that a character knows at least something about every other character.
Although it has not been brought up in the game yet, it is highly likely that at least one person in each family knew someone else in each of the others prior to the trip. Why else would they all be on the same yachting trip?
What’s happened in the story so far?
Our story begins the morning after the luxury yacht has crashed into a reef and sank off a small uninhabited island.
The characters awaken on a wreckage strewn beach to find that none of the crew have survived. John Parker awakens injured on the beach and after quickly treating his injury, he and his young daughter Lizzie discover the dead body of his wife and her mother. Joe Parker, their son and brother, is also currently missing and causing them to worry.
Meanwhile, Lester Groveland awakens to witness the Parkers’ grief and begins to frantically search for his own family members. However, he is interrupted just after finding his daughter Tanya when a pair of fierce babirusa hogs charge out of the jungle and onto the beach fighting each other.
The oblivious hogs run directly toward the mourning Parkers and are dodged successfully by Lizzie, but only partially so by John who receives further injury from one of their long tusks before running into the jungle.
Lizzie, Lester, and Tanya have all fled into the jungle leaving the beach and hogs behind and are currently looking for the injured John.
Would it be easy for a new member to jump in right now?
Our story is only beginning and there is plenty of room for others to jump in as a member of one of the two existing families or start one of the other three. In fact, as a reward for creating the first member of a family, that character’s player gets to pick the family surname to be used by others in the family. OngoingWorlds player jackj98 chose the surname Parker when he created the first character of the game.
As a GM I wanted to give players at least some basic information that they can incorporate into their stories if desired. That is why our RPR group site was formed.
On the site I have tried to include useful info on what items have survived the wreck and are awaiting discovery, a basic map of the island, and lists of the flora and fauna that can be found. (If you think those babirusa hogs were odd, check out the other animals that could be roaming the island!) It’s not required that players make use of this info, but it is there to help when writing up their story posts if desired.
Extra Info about Wreckage
I’d like for players who are considering whether to join Wreckage to know a few more things about this particular game.
- As Wreckage’s GM, I do plan to throw some dramatic obstacles into the game for characters to overcome, but I do not do this is an attempt to injure, thwart, or kill your characters. I want them to overcome the obstacles and survive until they are one day rescued. After all, the best stories have a happy ending!
- Though it may sound or feel odd to create a character who is automatically related to other players’ characters, you may find the rewards of the connection far outweigh the game restriction. Your character has someone that they can count on, even if only when danger lurks. Your character is not alone!
- You don’t have to be a survival expert or know anything about Indonesia or the tropics to join and enjoy this game. This is a game based on something that could potentially happen in real life and that means that characters can be a lot like you or the people you know. They may not have magical powers, laser weapons, or ultra cool sounding names, but these characters can potentially face life threatening situations and inner drama the likes of which we have yet to imagine. If you still struggle to embrace the game, ask yourself “What would I do if it were me stranded on that island?”
Thank you so much jackj98 for your amazing posts so far, and thank you David for giving us a place to play out one of my childhood fantasies. OngoingWorlds is an amazing site and I am glad to be a part of it!
Banner image: http://www.photoeverywhere.co.uk