This article was written by Matthew Ipock, for RoleplayingTips (see the original here), I thought it was useful to look at an iconic film & think about how it can inspire your roleplay.
The Princess Bride has become a great romantic-comedy cult classic. This is because the film has all the ingredients of a great movie: action, comedy, memorable characters and dialogue, and “true love.”
Because the movie has these essential ingredients, The Princess Bride can also serve as a wonderful tutorial on how to run a roleplaying game that includes humor, and as a treasure trove of basic roleplaying tips for almost any game your group plays. Read More
If you’re creating a new brand new world for the setting of your roleplaying game it helps to look at some examples first, demonstrated on the big screen. Below are some worlds from films which might give you a good starting point when creating your own world. You might also want to look my other article about world ideas to use for the setting of your game.
Pirates of the Caribbean
In this world of Pirates and swashbuckling, the films follow the same characters but there’s actually a lot more going on in the world. There’s a crew of undead pirates, a crew of seamonsters, and toffee-nosed gentry from the East India Trading Company, as well as some voodoo magic for more of a supernatural element to the world.
It would be easy to take this world and use it for a roleplaying game. Your characters could be the crew of a Pirate ship, and you raid any ship that comes near whilst avoiding any ships that are hired to catch you. Or if you want to be more legitimate, you could be a simple trading ship which moves from port to port transporting cargo, and avoiding being raided by Pirates. Or you could take on jobs from port Sheriffs to track down and destroy all Pirate ships that are causing problems for other ships. As the world has supernatural elements like voodoo magic and curses, this could give your characters plenty of interesting and ludicrous things to do.
In the Terminator films we see snapshots of the grim future where robots have taken over, and in Terminator Salvation we see more of that world. The robots have huge flying ships, as well as human-like robots and many other weird contraptions.
Humans are farmed, and collected and kept in colonies. The Humans that have escaped work as freedom fighters, fighting against the robots.
Your characters could be the Human resistance, fighting against the robots. This world also has a lot of scope for time travel, as time travel is used by both the robots and the Humans to alter the course of the future. This means possible missions could be to travel back in time to before the robots took over (to our present, or further in the past), and try to stop the robots, or to prevent the robots from travelling back to the future and attempting to kill John Connor, or even your characters own parents.
As part of Flashback Week, encouraging you to write flashbacks about the early life of your own characters, here are some films which also include character flashbacks.
A son tries to learn more about his dying father, who is renowned for telling ridiculous stories which are always blown out of proportion. The flashbacks show his father’s early life and how he met his wife. Details in each flashback are exaggerated, due to the father’s ability to embellish his stories.
Flashbacks show Mafia chief Michael Corleone’s father Vito, showing how he came from Sicily in his youth in the early 1900’s to the founding of the Corleone family in New York in 1925. These flashbacks are more substantial than most, and take up almost half of the film. The flashbacks of Vito Corleone are an interesting parallel to his son Michael Corleone in the 1950’s who is trying to expand the family business into Las Vegas, Hollywood and Cuba.
There are many PBEM games around, many set in their own fantasy worlds where the GM has done their own worldbuilding to create a world for their game, but there are many films and TV series which have already done the worldbuilding for you and provide a great setting for your PBEM game.
George Lucas has created a diverse fantasy world with spaceships and limitless types of aliens. It is popularly extended through many films, books and games. Creating a new scenario within this world would be easy, and because if it’s popularity you will have a large audience who are already familiar with the world.
Settings for this game could be a planet, a spaceship, or a group of people travelling the galaxy. There are also multiple time frames you can choose from when creating your game.
This is a rich science fiction universe described in all of the Star Trek series’. Each spinoff series has focussed on exploration so there are many locations already described, and it is not too hard to invent many more for new adventures.
The classic way to create a Star Trek PBEM is to think up a name for your ship, set up a goal (usually exploration of new alien worlds) and populate your ship with members as your crew. Because of Star Trek’s popularity, you will have a large audience already familiar with the world and technology within.
The TV series’ episodic format can be easily converted into a PBEM format – discover a planet, perform a mission, then leave to planet and go onto the next adventure. It can be tough for a GM to keep coming up with new worldbuilding ideas for new planets however.