Following my last post about linked games, I’ve been mulling it over a bit more. I think there may actually be potential there, even if I still believe it’s not an easy road to take.
Let’s say you do want to run a linked game, where do you start? System usually. Pete’s asked for recommendations, so here goes. I think system follows genre, and the single best genre for linked games has got to be time travel, and for that we need to look at supers games. Let me back that up a bit. With time travel, you essentially get to play your one shot multiple times, in as many parallel timelines as you like, and they can all have an effect on each other if you so choose. I won’t go into huge depth here about this, but I’d point anyone who is interested at GURPS Time Travel (looks like I’ve made a system recommendation already). Time travel links can also include flash backs and flash forwards. One memorable Con example was a Cthulhu game run by a Good Friend of the Smart Party™, Mr. Paul Fricker. He started the game with us all playing kids in the old west. For a hour or so we were roleplaying away quite merrily, and really enjoying the change of pace. Then he hit us with a big fast forward. We came back to the story 20 years later and he’d switched the characters around the players. So this time we’re all grown ups who haven’t seen each other since the days when we were kids. Think Stand By Me. A brilliant game, not linked to any other session per se, but with two seperate components that worked off each other. Had he run the two halves on seperate slots this would have been a classic example of a linked game that worked.
Now if you really want to work the time element then Supers is where it’s at. In comic world this is standard fare. Flashbacks, retcons, parallel worlds, alternate universes, all before breakfast. I can’t think of a Supers system that couldn’t accomodate such events as they pretty much all have it built in from the outset. For me, the single best Supers RPG is Truth & Justice, certainly from a one shot perspective. Give it a look if you get the chance. I wrote this review recently.
What form does the link take? Well the simple way is to have the first game provide consequences for the second. If you’re running the sessions on different days it means you pretty much have to write your second scenario in the gap between the two. If you have a good ‘spine’ then the customisation part shouldn’t be too tricky. I’d certainly take note of a Con slot that advertised itself as ‘TBC when the first part has finished’. in that sense you’re really just running a two part game. a nice twist is to have the events of the second game take place earlier than the first. Essentially, you could go with the old assassinate Hitler to prevent WWII angle, where WWII is the events of your first game. Much fun to be had if the PCs run into younger versions of themselves too.
I’ll take a break there. Let me know your thoughts though, I think there’s good gaming here.