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Sword and Planet for Role Play Inspiration.

RoadScholar

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The classic role playing fantasy party has the nine companions from lord of the rings as a literary genre base, along with the Argonauts, the knights of the round table and many more. Supers come in teams. Military games come prepackaged as party/group settings. These genres have support background for group based role playing, a shared world meme easily referred to. ("Think of it as Robin Hood and his merry men crossed with The Princess Bride." "Gotchya.")

I look at the Sword and Planet genre and see mostly individual protagonist [John Carter, et al], sometimes with a sidekick. The only exception I've read is Jerry Pournelles Jannissary series [well, the first couple], and thats kinda-sorta on the edge of the genre as I see it*.

Any other authors people might recommend? I've got some gonzo idea for a game based on a mix of the two [Barsoom with tanks], but I wouldn't mind seeing what else is out there to strip mine for ideas.

*No claim made to any definition of the genre
 

etyries

Nick Brooke
Validated User
In Leigh Brackett's "Skaith" books, Eric John Stark arrives on Skaith on a solo rescue mission and ends up leading a veritable host of hangers-on, including a rescued Earthman diplomat, native tribal armies, voluptuous oracles, strange alien allies, telepathic fearhounds, etc.

In Jack Vance's "Planet of Adventure" books, Adam Reith arrives on Tschai as the sole survivor of a crash and ends up travelling in company with a Dirdirman (human assimilated by an alien species) and the boy-chieftain of a weird native (human-transplant) culture.

Both highly recommended for Sword-and-Planet source material.

Cheers, Nick
 

LordDraqo

Technical Shaman
Validated User
The reason that most Sword-and-Planet stories tend toward a single heroic figure is that the heroic figure is the stranger who is out of his element, and discovering how odd the new world is. For more team/party based stories you can look at Brian Daley's Doomfarers of Corramonde and Starfollowers of Corramonde, as well as Pohl Anderson's The High Crusade.
 

RoadScholar

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I agree with regards to the genre reasoning behind solo heroes in the literature, its just nice to be able to point to things people might have read/watched or could do so.

Thanks for the author suggestions, I'll be scouring the second hand bookshops for copies.
 
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Asen_G

#3 Anti-Illusionism Squad
Validated User
The classic role playing fantasy party has the nine companions from lord of the rings as a literary genre base, along with the Argonauts, the knights of the round table and many more. Supers come in teams. Military games come prepackaged as party/group settings. These genres have support background for group based role playing, a shared world meme easily referred to. ("Think of it as Robin Hood and his merry men crossed with The Princess Bride." "Gotchya.")

I look at the Sword and Planet genre and see mostly individual protagonist [John Carter, et al], sometimes with a sidekick. The only exception I've read is Jerry Pournelles Jannissary series [well, the first couple], and thats kinda-sorta on the edge of the genre as I see it*.

Any other authors people might recommend? I've got some gonzo idea for a game based on a mix of the two [Barsoom with tanks], but I wouldn't mind seeing what else is out there to strip mine for ideas.

*No claim made to any definition of the genre
Most protagonists in a Sword and Planet game tend to quickly gather a party of native...creatures, for lack of a better term. It just so happens that they often gather THE natives, with their friends being among the best of the locals on their respective areas, so the players can roleplay them instead;).
Besides, nothing says that you can't have a group of protagonists transported just as easily as a single one - in fact, if they travel with "normal" means, just more sophisticated, it is probably more likely that they will travel in groups for economic reasons!
 

Teataine

Registered User
Validated User
Egads!

I just started writing a game partially* inspired by John Carter a week ago, thinking how "original" I was, seeing how there really aren't really any proper planetary romance RPGs out there (not that I know of at least).

If anyone is interested, drop me a line and I'll provide you with the playtest document once it's done.

*and I really mean partially
 

Miss Atomic Bomb

Welcome to your life. There's no turning back.
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Any other authors people might recommend? I've got some gonzo idea for a game based on a mix of the two [Barsoom with tanks], but I wouldn't mind seeing what else is out there to strip mine for ideas.
If you want gonzo ideas for sword and planet, you want Planet Algol.
 

Thalaba

Registered User
Validated User
You might look into M John Harrison's "The Pastel City" and "In Viriconium". The planet in question is a far future (and unrecognizable) earth IIR. It has swords, heat rays, a dwarf, creatures from the radioactive miasma, and so on. There were things in these books that reminded me of Hawkmoon and also the Beatles Blue Meanies!

I have to say I read The Pastel City and didn't especially enjoy it, but these novels ARE considered classics and I've seen both Moorcock and Harlan Ellison write frondly of them as being influential.

They're not big books, and for the 2 or 3 dollars you might spend on them at a used bookstore I think they're worth getting.
 
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