Monday, November 30, 2009

Concerning the Little Worlds RPG System

In the interests of enlivening the discussion surrounding the comic, I thought it might be helpful to explain a bit about the role-playing game from which all these Little Worlds originate.

I myself was first exposed to Little Worlds last school year when a planned Dungeons and Dragons session fell through for one reason or other, and Peter proposed a standalone ("one-shot", in gamer parlance) session of this roleplaying game which he had devised. I forget precisely what information I was given before we began play, but it was more or less "you are a person in the real, modern world. You should have some reason to be in the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario)". I decided to be an extreme-sportswoman who would if pressed into combat defeat her foes with X-TREME stunts! (this didn't actually happen, but that is not to say I did not have my badass moments).

So, the real, modern world. Yeah, not for very long. As soon as we had completed our character introductions, we were thrust into a magic-mushroom (note: "magic" here is sort of halfway between magic-sorcerous and magic-psychotropic) fuelled ancient-egyptian themed parallel world nightmare thing. With mummies. And bats. Fortunately, one of the other player characters (Aaron AKA The Duke) was a preacher, which turns out to be a pretty useful profession to be when battling the living dead. The bats I dispatched with extreme prejudice by way of improvised grapeshot (gold coins) fired from an antique musket.

Little Worlds is not, by nature, combat-oriented. There's a lot of emphasis on strong characterization and roleplaying (in a later session* the same characters stumbled into a pagan fertility ritual and made rather more love than war). The rule with Little Worlds seems to be that there is someone or something who has become a sort of nexus of unreality. Usually they are a bit (understatement) CrAzY. If LW the comic were happening around a gaming table, you can probably guess that the experience of the players would be more or less that of Derby, with The Duke projecting his demented parallel existence onto those unfortunate enough to cross his path.

*"But wait, what was that about 'standalone' you were saying earlier?". I guess we liked those characters enough to play them again?

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