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View Full Version : IOU: an immodest proposal



Stormhound
09-29-2008, 11:48 AM
I'm going to float this as an idea. It's not a recruitment thread, per se, as I cannot be certain how long it would take for me to gear up for the effort, just more of an invitation to the community to comment...on viability, on style, or anything else that seems appropriate. If enough people figure I'm not any more out of my gourd than the average GM for even thinking about such a thing, then I'll see about getting serious. So to speak.

As I was pondering the merits of running a PbP game, I thought I should probably try to provide something that nobody else was offering. Then, as I was digging through boxes full of various gaming materials, the answer fell into my lap:

GURPS IOU

As a longtime fan of the works of visionaries like Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Robert Asprin, Piers Anthony, Phil Foglio, David Morgan-Mar, John Kovalic, Wierd Al Yankovic and PDQ Bach, I've had more than a few glimpses into the strange, ludicrous, and insane-but-true. For those who don't know yet (and I know who you are, because you haven't run screaming for the exits), IOU is Illuminati University, the educational institute of choice for mad scientists, would-be world domineers, crazed wizards, corporate schemers, political leaders, and deus-ex-machinists from across the multiverse...as well as anyone else rich (or unfortunate) enough to end up there. IOU is the intersection of college life with the Twilight Zone...along with field trips to X-Files, Eureka, and Tonganoxie.

It can actually be played in several flavors, but my favored one is Silly: bad puns, warped gadgets, even more warped humor, and incompetent (or incomprehensible) conspiracies to take over the world (or the campus, or maybe just the de Sade dorms). The tabloids tell the truth, and there's a lunatic behind almost every bush (except for that one right behind you...it's carnivorous, and quite possibly motile). Your dorm roomie might be an alien...and so might you. Magic runs wild, and super powers are almost a prerequisite for joining The Team, IOU's heavily decorated (and armed) moopsball squad. Death is largely an inconvenience (and to some professors, an unexcused absence), and some of the faculty are rumored to have had strange forms of treatment that render them (mostly) immune to damage.

In short, it's a wild ride, with plenty of laughs (hopefully) along the way. This is not to say that the characters wouldn't take themselves (and their classwork) quite seriously, but the players shouldn't and the GM certainly won't. And while we're not talking about a game quite at the level of TOON for sheer slapstick and looniness, we are most assuredly talking (in hushed, even tones where the ArchDean and COUP students won't hear us) about irreverent parody, impious lampooning, and wicked satire, with sacred-cow burgers and a side of fries. Our brave protagonists will battle for truth, justice, and the Illuminated Way...or at least for a higher GPA, off-campus housing, and a parking spot within walking distance of class.

It's my thought that such a game might work, especially in the hands of people who enjoy a good satire and are willing to be the more-than-occasional butt of a joke to further the amusement of the players and anyone else gullible enough to keep reading. It would also lend itself very well to episodic play, with "main characters" dropping in and out as players did, and even the occasional "guest star" showing up to help (or not). In short, if everyone gets really serious about having a silly time, it might just fly.

Would anyone else care to venture a comment?

nijineko
09-29-2008, 03:13 PM
sounds like a fun game, and one that i would enjoy... and other even more. ^^ i have a unique sense of humor... it might be more accurate to say that i understand when something is humorous... usually. not that i'll react to it in any predictable way, mind you. let's just say that i get the jokes in samurai flicks... the ones in japanese note, and leave it at that.

very unfortunately for me, i seriously do not have *any* time available for adding a game at this time, much as i think i would like something like this.

Stormhound
10-06-2008, 04:31 PM
Well, judging by the volume of the crickets (except for nijineko, whom I thank), I get the idea that this notion would fly in almost exactly the same way a brick doesn't. Guess I'll just have to continue looking for my humor from US politics...

nijineko
10-09-2008, 05:49 PM
perhaps if you posted a copy of this or at least a link in the campaign invite section, perhaps more people would find it? just be sure to note that it is pbp, if such is the intention.

Stormhound
10-11-2008, 06:07 PM
Worth a shot...

Bearfoot_Adam
10-11-2008, 08:40 PM
Nice shot! I'd be up for a little Quad domination. Especially the all girls dorm. I've only heard stories about what goes on there (mostly cause I never get invited) Oh but the day will come. Yes, the day will come. When I am no longer bound by my P.E.D. and I can walk the floors of young coeds and all their frivolities. Muahhahahahaha

Stormhound
10-12-2008, 07:46 AM
There's a very interesting section in GURPS Discworld...which I shan't reproduce here...about Comedy Characters which would apply quite well to the IOU setting.

The gist of it is that characters in a humorous campaign don't need to be silly...in fact, that many of them aren't, and that the humor arises from situation and personality. A simple, straightforward character who's just trying to deal with the insanity that is IOU can be every bit as entertaining as one built purely for laughs, if not moreso. I would also imagine they'd be a bit easier to play, and to build some depth into.

Bearfoot_Adam
10-12-2008, 11:16 AM
Yeah I was able to read through Gurps Discworld but have never found a copy that I could afford. Wonderfully done book that really nails the world.

Another good inspiration for this concept would be Dr. Horrible. The Evil League of Evil could all be Alums who give scholarships to those with potential.

Imposter
10-12-2008, 12:34 PM
Sounds like a lot of fun, I just finished listening to the BBC broadcast of Hitchhiker's guide.
To be honest I think it might be more enjoyable to skip beyond the student thing and just hop right into full fledged madness. Perhaps the illuminati work in poorly organized cells, and existing members are truly unaware of each other. Saves on introductory time, as I can see people getting killed rather rapidly in a whimsical and evil world.

That being said I'm sure the deaths would be comical.

nijineko
10-13-2008, 01:08 AM
spy vs spy for the primer class.... ^^

boulet
10-13-2008, 08:30 AM
Awesome concept. Sorry I didn't spot this thread two weeks ago. Learning a system like GURPS is a bit intimidating in the perspective to share the madness though.

Bearfoot_Adam
10-13-2008, 10:42 AM
To be honest I think it might be more enjoyable to skip beyond the student thing and just hop right into full fledged madness.

I'd disagree with that. I think the fact that we are college students adds a whole new challenge to the campaign. Think about all the stuff we "Knew" when we were 18 vs. what we really knew. Now think about being an 18 bent on world domination. The hubris would be so thick you'd have to cut it with a chainsaw. Or perhaps a giant proton laser. (as learned in evil physics 204)

nijineko
10-14-2008, 03:36 AM
still poking around in remedial studies? all the "normal" classes are in the thousand range, don't you know.... giant proton laser is sooooooo freshman year.


;D

Stormhound
10-14-2008, 09:46 PM
Well, students have to start somewhere. Besides, there are fewer forms to fill out on the proton lasers...

Stormhound
10-14-2008, 09:56 PM
Awesome concept. Sorry I didn't spot this thread two weeks ago. Learning a system like GURPS is a bit intimidating in the perspective to share the madness though.

Granted, though the Lite version (http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/lite/) is free and the basic campaign concept insists on RP and non-min/maxed characters, as the attempt is at humor rather than body count.

Bearfoot_Adam
10-15-2008, 11:08 AM
So is this something we are going to do?

nijineko
10-15-2008, 12:31 PM
it seems you have your interest level and numbers now. it just took time for their nefarious plots to hatch before the publicly announced their candidacy. =D

Stormhound
10-15-2008, 05:34 PM
So is this something we are going to do?

It's certainly something I'd like to do; just note what I said in the first post, as I'm seeing who'll shoot at the trial balloon before I commit to becoming ArchDean.

There would be some decisions to be made first; IOU was written for 3ed GURPS, though the 4ed rules seem to be a somewhat better set from what I see in the Lite version, but all of my rules and supplements are 3ed. I'm pretty set on character power (100 points), and figure I'll likely use the peer-honor system for chargen (use supplements to taste, but you have to post the mechanics of your PC publicly and say how you arrived at your final build, so anyone else can check it and red-flag any egregious errors). Then there's post frequency and such. If you want to discuss that side of things, hop over to the pre-recruitment thread (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7880) and pound keys.

If you want to talk style...for instance, what kind of humor seems appropriate, or what sorts of "adventures", or what elements should be emphasized (or glossed over), then this is the right place.

And if all of this seems confusing and arbitrary, then you may consider it a gentle initiation to life on the IOU campus. :evil:

Stormhound
10-15-2008, 05:35 PM
it seems you have your interest level and numbers now. it just took time for their nefarious plots to hatch before the publicly announced their candidacy. =D

I'll be sure to name one of my NPCs after you, to show my gratitude. :madgrin:

nijineko
10-15-2008, 11:25 PM
=D maybe i could even guest star every now and again! can i help you design that npc? pretty please? i have a great idea for a character. ^^

Stormhound
10-16-2008, 06:30 AM
=D maybe i could even guest star every now and again! can i help you design that npc? pretty please? i have a great idea for a character. ^^

Sure...insanity loves company. Just PM me with your thoughts...