Roleplaying In A

6 Important Game Lessons from the Twilight Zone

In General on March 19, 2010 at 9:00 am

I was reading “6 Important Life Lessons From The Twilight Zone” over at IO9 and had to share these thoughts. First, it’s great that the Twilight Zone is 50 years old! While the show itself was never my cup of tea, the eerie oddness of it really influenced science fiction in a great way, pushing the sophistication levels farther than ever before.

The End of The World Isn’t The Worst Thing That Can Happen

It really isn’t. Screwing up the things that characters need to reach their goals, like breaking Burgess Meridith’s glasses in the Io9 example, really mucks up their life.

Be careful though, because doing this too often or in the wrong way can foster a GM vs Player atmosphere. Use an NPC to screw things up, rather than a random accident or world event, and foster hate of the enemy rather than yourself. Make the author of the mishap something they have a chance to defeat so they don’t lose hope or motivation.

Aliens Are Dicks

Corollary: anyone with money is the enemy. In a dark future, everyone is out for themself and money means they have the power to keep you down. Make your bad guys rich with alot of resources in equipment and people.

If You Can’t Be Good, Be Clever

Truth. In a game like Cyberpunk, the skill you’ve dumped points in might not be the one you need. Think out of the box and try something you’re not as good at. It might work and even if it doesn’t, might spur the other players on, the ones who hopefully have skills you don’t.

Also, be creative enough and surprise the GM and they might reward you for it. Modern Game Masters get bored with the “shooting solution” pretty fast and really enjoy creative players.

Children And Other Small Things Are Evil And Must Be Destroyed

It was a lesson learned from Vietnam, horrible as it’s going to sound. Take something small and cute and destroy them with it. Wire the kid when they don’t expect it, make the puppy a decoy that gets them hurt when they follow, lace that Cinnabun with addictive drugs. Whatever it takes to make them look around and wonder where the next hit is coming from.

The dark future is just that – DARK. No one should be walking through it without looking over their shoulder and it’s your job to make them do that.

Machines, Robots, And Technology In General Are Evil. Smash It All With A Hammer

Unless you own it. And even then it might turn around and bite you.

Read the news and give the bad guys the latest carbon nanotube spider silk armor that hasn’t hit the market yet. Booby trap that garden with genetically engineered plant life that no one expects to have a taste for blood. Be sneakier and have their own tech misfire or malfunction.

Cyberpunk kills.

It is hard, deadly and mean. Characters do win but trust me, when they do they should appreciate their good fortune – and then look for the people who want to take it away.

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  1. I completely agree with you on this post. Dark means DARK and people should be paranoid and always thinking about the end game and who’s gonna try and screw em over on their way to it.

  2. Indeed.

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