Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Mandalorian Killed Katie Holmes

In the Ghostbusters: Who Ya Gonna Call D20 Modern RPG book, Michael Tresca gives his take on finding appropriate adventure hooks for Ghostbusters. Read the tabloid headlines. Each headline is a potential adventure, combining absurdity with an ounce of horror or the supernatural. The same formula can be applied if you want to do a comic relief Star Wars mini adventure to break up the tension in your campaign’s main plot.
For the Corellian Diet Breakers adventure I wrote, I saw the tabloids ragging on Tom and a sad-looking Katie. I found myself thinking “those guys can’t get a divorce; it would financially destroy both of them.” Then, my mind went down that film noir dark alley. I thought, “What if they each hired someone to kill the other, so they’d inherit millions and get really good press for being a poor little widow/widower?”
So in the module, when the PCs visit a crime lord’s nightclub and are waiting to see the gangster, two of the PCs get dragged away respectively by my version of Katie (named Kat Hadz)  and a henchman for the adventure’s Tom (called Chaz Barris). Both halves of the couple offer, “Kill my spouse in the next 15 minutes and I’ll activate this credit chip I’m giving you. Escape through a window in the backstage props room. There will be a speeder waiting.”
In playtesting, the mechanic-soldier turned down Kat’s offer, and the Mandalorian happily slipped Kat the poisoned cig.
The Tom-Katie encounter had nothing to do with the adventure’s main plot, but it allowed for character development, fleshed out the environment as far as celebrities and scandals are concerned and reinforced campaign themes about the elusiveness of good and bad, right and wrong – traditional film noir material. Plus, the players felt like they were not only interacting with Star Wars characters but roleplaying a bizarre situation with a flimsily transparent Tom and Katie.
Check out the latest antics of Jen Aniston, Lindsay Lohan and Nostradamus’s reinterpreted predictions. These people and issues are significant enough in our cultural consciousness to repeatedly appear on the front page of profitable publications. They must resonate with us for some reason. When you discover what their appeal is, you can transfer it into your game, where it will be equally fascinating or at least, good for a little vacation from high level intrigue.

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