Friday, July 13, 2012

Roll Your Own Life (5) - Story? What Story?

So, Star Frontiers. That was where things really took off for me. Free of the shackles of fantasy, and after being obsessed with Star Wars since it first came out, this was a great chance to fuel my need for more space opera.

I don't remember much of the initial party, it was probably the same craziness that always accompanies the first game - everyone wants to try a different race to see what they're like, even the six legged insect dudes or the sentient lumps of putty.

Milo was taken by Star Frontiers as well, running his own game with a group of Dralasites (the walking putty) who were part of a rock group causing chaos around the galaxy, calling themselves the Dark Judges. But my game was lacking something. A story.

I really never had any idea about plots. D&D was simple - go into the dungeon, kill nasties, steal their stuff. That was all RPGing was to me back then. Soon, Star Frontiers was little more than an excuse for the characters to don ridiculously oversized powered armour (yes, there's a "u", I'm British!) wading into impossible amounts of Sathars and kicking alien butt.

While this wasn't inspiring game-play, it did inspire other things. I'd started doodling caricatures of the players, adapting events in the game into little comic strips. Soon, we'd started playing these characters of ourselves within the game, building a bizarre mythology of "The Eight". The movie Ghostbusters had just hit the cinemas and I'd gained a new obsession (yes, I wanted to be Venkman when I grew up), and these cartoon versions of ourselves became the "Wormbusters" - dedicated to stamping out those pesky lizards wherever they appeared.

Me, years after all of the Wormbusters goings on, but the
same GM chair in my old backroom.
(1989 - about to run Star Wars) 
Libelously ripping off storylines from Howard the Duck and the amazing comic strip The Travellers that originally appeared in the UK's White Dwarf magazine, the adventures of the Wormbusters became a desperate attempt to gain attention from my school classmates as they demanded not only to see the next episode, but also to make cameo appearances in the strips.

Before you ask, yes - I do still have all of Wormbusters. Why? I dunno... it wasn't very good, my artwork was awful, and very little of it was original, but it was a little piece of history that evolved into bigger things - the characters became darker, more serious and contemporary. Milo started writing huge novels of their military and vigilante exploits, Pete wrote epic comic scripts and I started taking the drawing of comics more seriously.

But in both of these cases, I didn't have much input with stories. I was just plain rubbish at writing them, and my gaming remained in that state until I discovered what could possibly be called the first of the "story" games (at least in my opinion) - Ghostbusters - A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game. 

More on the awesome Ghostbusters RPG and how it inspired me to write RPGs next time...

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