InQueli
 member, 50 posts
Thu 29 Sep 2022
at 15:31
Freeform slice of life ideas, anyone?
For some reason I've noticed endless variations of the "small town in the Eastern US" setting for freeform games. Nothing against it, of course, but what are some different and interesting settings you would like to see?

And by "see" I mean "play in".
steelsmiter
 member, 2174 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Thu 29 Sep 2022
at 18:57
Freeform slice of life ideas, anyone?
I usually play in "Westernized Japan Analogue" but I don't necessarily do freeform 'cause those are just as likely to be SoL as they are actual adventuring games, so I prepare for either possibility.

I have considered "what if we're civilians with non-combat augments in an otherwise cyberpunk society" for freeform though.

This message was last edited by the user at 00:25, Fri 30 Sept 2022.

shapeshade
 member, 202 posts
Thu 29 Sep 2022
at 19:58
Re: Freeform slice of life ideas, anyone?
InQueli:
For some reason I've noticed endless variations of the "small town in the Eastern US" setting for freeform games. Nothing against it, of course, but what are some different and interesting settings you would like to see?

And by "see" I mean "play in".


I don't want to play freeform.

BUT SINCE YOU ASKED AN INTERESTING QUESTION: One time I tried to run a game where everyone worked in an office together.

BUT: Each character had some amazing secret (that was slightly hard to keep). One was an alien, one was a witch, one was from the fairy realms, one was, I don't know, a robot or something, you get the idea.

Also the company they worked for was ever-so-slightly weird and Kafkaesque and you could hardly tell what the company actually DID. It mostly seemed to be marketing itself as a great company (but a company that does WHAT was really hard to tell).

It fell prey to RPol's usual attrition where Real Life Problems made everyone disappear (faster than usual, even), but I thought it was pretty fun in the meantime. At least one player figured out that a co-worker had a secret and what it was, but the game petered out before they decided if they should confront them about it...
bazhsw
 member, 63 posts
Fri 30 Sep 2022
at 21:21
Re: Freeform slice of life ideas, anyone?
Funnily enough, I often ponder a similar question.  Not that there is anything wrong with 'small town USA' as a setting for slice of life freeform (I've had great times in them) but at this stage it isn't something that particularly inspires me right now.

I think there are lots of options for settings if one is comfortable with changing time and location.  In the past I ran something set in a normal, working class community in the UK and I loved it but the problem with it was that I had a very clear vision of what inspired me, but unless others have it you haven't a viable game.

I do take the view that one can set a SoL in most places in the world where people live, and without a lot of work set it any time in history.  I do go back to why 'small town USA' works and I think it is because it is vaguely familiar to anyone who consumes western media without to much work.  Change the setting to a small town in the Australian outback and it's possibly a bit more work for players understanding what's viable and what isn't.  The more work and research a player has to do, the less likely it is people will join in.

Some of the ideas I've had that I have never followed up on include:

A touring rock band (with crew and all kinds of hangars on) touring the world.  Could be a travelling circus, could have an overarching plot but is a fun area to have colourful characters, see the world and also have a contained space for the game.
A 17th century village in England swarming with witches and accusations thereof
A SoL inspired by giallo suspense films set in a 1970's Italian film studio.  Eurochic style and panache mixed with murder and drama and gubby things going on in an studio where films are made about murder and drama...

I see a lot of games which are variations of 'you live here but are also a werewolf/zombie/ fairy'.  One I haven't seen is a game set in a place where all the players are ghosts (admittedly stolen off a TV show on right now).  I think that would give scope for players to be almost anyone at any point in history and would be fun to bounce off.

Singular locations are often popular - schools, castles, islands, ships, prisons too.
shapeshade
 member, 203 posts
Fri 30 Sep 2022
at 21:37
Re: Freeform slice of life ideas, anyone?
bazhsw:
A SoL inspired by giallo suspense films set in a 1970's Italian film studio.  Eurochic style and panache mixed with murder and drama and gubby things going on in an studio where films are made about murder and drama...


Thumbs up
bazhsw
 member, 64 posts
Sat 1 Oct 2022
at 09:24
Freeform slice of life ideas, anyone?
shapeshade:
bazhsw:
A SoL inspired by giallo suspense films set in a 1970's Italian film studio.  Eurochic style and panache mixed with murder and drama and gubby things going on in an studio where films are made about murder and drama...


Thumbs up


Yep, that's my big itch right now.  What's putting me off a little is making sure it's not just a copy of a slasher game set somewhere else (there are already '80's influenced slasher camp games on here).  Also, as much as a GM can endeavour to get the look and feel right, if the PC's can't see / feel it, it will lose it's essence.

But yeah, I think the broad scope of who you could pull in is massive (actors, actresses, film crew, hangers on, doctors, dealers, 'assistants'.  Could easily squeeze in police, bar owners, dancers, partners, priests whatever).  Gives players a lot of scope to have a character and story.  Overarching plot is a giallo being made and someone is killed.  Everyone else has a reason why they may want to kill.  If people want to do their own thing they can, if they want to find / protect the unamed killer(s) they can.

Influences are all those films of the period that look awesome, have the convoluted plots which barely hang together.

Back to the posters original point, I think a lot of SoL games end up being quite similar in terms of pitch and content when they get going.  (Give people a sandbox and people will still find others to hook up with because relationships and interacting with each other is always going to appeal to write irrespective of setting)

I think the balance between niche and unique is quite hard, and there are also historical and cultural considerations.  I have always championed SoL set anywhere outside of 'small town usa' but one has to be really careful they don't mess up culturally- I don't mean the odd error, but if one set a story in, say Buenos Aires any time in the second half of the 20th century one would need to be aware of the political and social elements to not mess it up or offend or disrespect Argentine history, culture or people.  There is some significant labour there for GMs and players balanced with a wonderful opportunity to write about different people from a time and place elsewhere.
InQueli
 member, 51 posts
Sat 1 Oct 2022
at 10:17
Freeform slice of life ideas, anyone?
Heck yes, gimme 70s Cinecittą any day!

This message had punctuation tweaked by the user at 10:17, Sat 01 Oct 2022.

tibiotarsus
 member, 276 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Sat 1 Oct 2022
at 10:22
Re: Freeform slice of life ideas, anyone?
bazhsw:
I think the balance between niche and unique is quite hard, and there are also historical and cultural considerations.  I have always championed SoL set anywhere outside of 'small town usa' but one has to be really careful they don't mess up culturally- I don't mean the odd error, but if one set a story in, say Buenos Aires any time in the second half of the 20th century one would need to be aware of the political and social elements to not mess it up or offend or disrespect Argentine history, culture or people.  There is some significant labour there for GMs and players balanced with a wonderful opportunity to write about different people from a time and place elsewhere.


Amen, and I think the indefinite nature of plotless/near-plotless freeform with the tendency of players to drop in and out makes it much harder to create a sense of an actual community: small US towns are often also like that in that people are very mobile there and there's often cultural/racial segregation inherited from decades of housing policy watering down any specific cultural flavour to a mass media-accessible level, so the form fits that particular landscape very well.

I would love to be a little Inca peasant trundling my potatoes to market and negotiating village feuds and feast days and who gets sacrificed to the mountain this year, for instance, but that's a lot more work for everyone, and needs a stable village community to feel vaguely real. It's unlikely to happen with a high turnover.

I suppose my personal answer to this question depend a lot on whether the other typical elements of the freeform change - i.e. do we assume this is an Earth setting with an A rating? It would take a lot to get me into a freeform, but a lack of those might work.

That or being an ant colony like those people from the Book of Faces a while back. That is surely the definition of low-energy, drop in/out entertainment, and you could put different objects near the "colony" sometimes to see if we could work out what they were. Character death wouldn't be a big thing, so the cosmic perils of a dropped ice cream cone could become an epic mystery.
Lauriebear
 member, 84 posts
 There is no truth. There
 is only perception
Mon 3 Oct 2022
at 15:56
Re: Freeform slice of life ideas, anyone?
Going toss my idea out there...  I had thought a good "slice of life one would be around the Titanic, what if it made it to Pier 56?  Or as survivors, - something like they happen to cling to each other or IDK a few ideas really all kicked in my head.  Just wasn't sure I could sell the idea.

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was off-topic, at 16:55, Mon 03 Oct 2022.