Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Playing a RPG with a famous literary person

I have the last few days been on a Sherlock Holmes high. Since I managed to score a mint copy of Sleuth Publications The Queen's Park Affair for only $15 I have been absorbed by the Victorian age and its famous sleuth. Now after reading about Holmes I start to wonder about a rpg in that setting.

As far as I know, the only Victorian mystery game there is must be Cthulhu by Gaslight, which never was big seller. I don't think it's been in print for ages. Maybe it's because it's hard to portray the era? But, we seem to think we can play elves, right? Maybe it's because Victorian London just isn't the same without Holmes himself, and then the players will be left out in the cold.

One game I have played a lot is Stormbringer and I never had any problem not including Elric in the game. While it might seem strange I never felt that game was very much about Elric at all, even if it was once published under the really bad title Elric!, including an exclamation mark. For some reason I don't have the same relaxed attitude to a Victorian mystery game. I just couldn't do it without including Holmes. I'd love to hear if somebody have done it, and how it worked. Also, are there really nothing more than Cthulhu by Gaslight out there?

16 comments:

  1. There is Victoriana (2nd edition published by Cubicle 7) which is a mystical/occult riff on the Victorian era. Ghosts of Albion from Eden looks like a Victorian urban fantasy/horror setting. The out-of-print Castle Falkenstein mixed magic and steampunk with mad results. Space: 1889 was a etheric space romance in the Victorian era.

    The soon to be release Kerberos Club for Wild Talents is mad superpowers in the Victorian age.

    Etherscope and Unhallowed Metropolis are Victorian-inspied, but not properly set in the Victorian era. Tangentally, all (American) Wild West games are also 'Victorian Era' games.

    That is all I can think of right off.

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  2. Hmm. I guess there are a few. Probably I wasn't thinking of those because of the magic and monsters. I've found sometimes historical eras are made more "interesting" by adding magic and monsters, which usually just makes it more bland.

    That reminds me I have to read 7th Sea one of these days.

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  3. Sherlock Holmes plays a minor role in the plot point campaign for the Savage Worlds setting Rippers which is set into the Victorian era.

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  4. He does? Interesting. I do have some kind of minis game based on Rippers, which I got as a freebie.

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  5. I once ran a player playing Sherlock Holmes through the classic Ravenloft module. Holmes ended up locked in the vampire's treasury, starving to death surrounded by piles of coldly gleaming gold.

    Beat that :)

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  6. Stargazer is referring to the Rippers roleplaying setting, and not the "Rippers: The Horror Wars" miniatures game. They are both based on the same concept, are by the same company, and use similar rules sets, but the campaign setting for Savage Worlds has a nice scenario featuring Holmes.

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  7. The Savage Worlds product lines never cease to confuse me.

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  8. Sherlock Holmes starved to death in Ravenloft! Priceless! :D

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  9. The trouble with Victorian England is that it's so stuffy. And by that I mean, there's so much stuff. How many layers of clothing did people wear? How many layers of society were there?
    Still, something could be done. HOw about: Ripper, the game of cleaning up the streets?

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  10. The Cleaners(tm) a game about Doing Something About It!

    It is indeed stuffy.

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  11. Good site for an overview of Victorian RPG's

    http://www.victorianadventureenthusiast.com/guide.htm

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  12. Look especially at Forgotten Futures. A very good source for that time

    http://www.forgottenfutures.com/

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  13. I second the recommendation of Forgotten Futures; they're a lot of fun to read. My favourite is Carnacki the Ghost Finder.

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  14. I will take a look at victorianadventureenthusiast.com and thanks for the hint!

    Forgotten Futures for some reason makes me snore. Marcus is a nice chap, but his game just don't work for me.

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  15. For me Space 1889 goes off too far into science fiction to feel like a true Victorian era game.

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