Journal of the Emerald Specter 68: Resurrecting Awesome IPs (Part 3)!

Well, in this column I’m going to talk a lot about the history of dirt and really dig deep in on the subject…

Naw, just kidding. It’s part three of the “IPs as solo RPG settings” series… and I will do my best in order to get into the setting descriptions a bit more, like fleshing them out.

I have some good ones!

I’m going to kick you right in the face with this first one… playing in a setting like Mortal Kombat! Yep, the ultra-gory fighting game that revolutionized the genre!

You can certainly look at Street Fighter, Tekken, King of Fighters, and Killer Instinct as examples, but the grandest of stages I want to examine are those in Mortal Kombat’s storyline.

A series of warring “realms” that were created by some Elder Gods formed a tournament, known as Mortal Kombat, for control of said realms. On these many different realms came a variety of combatants, some having different appendages while others having fantastical powers, each with their own stories coming into the tournament… and that’s only the surface!

I’d be interested in this type of setting, as it fulfills the “what the hell is going on” factor, has built in combat, and the story is literally as deep as I would want to take it. In evaluating the original revelations about the MK storyline, Shang Tsung was on the cusp of winning the tenth (and final) required Mortal Kombat tournament to take over Earthrealm, Liu Kang won in favor of Earthrealm… Shao Kahn was then revealed as pulling Shang Tsung’s strings and was really wanting to be the one to rule Earthrealm, and failing a second time Shao Kahn lures Earth to Outworld for another one (failing again). Shinnok then tries his hand at it, resurrecting the Dragon God Onaga for another installment, and things spiral out of control from there… basically, the stakes were raised with each installment but without doing what movies fail at doing (by going so large in the first installment that there was nowhere else to go).

They are in the process of a “soft reboot” of the franchise, but the idea is that I (the warrior of whatever origin I decide) would have my own interest in completing when I’m dragged into some sort of weird tournament that draws me into something much larger (like a tournament for the fate of the realms), but still needing to resolve my own issues in the process… perfect!

Moving right along, I’m going to dive head first into Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra as the next stage!

A long time ago, I was privy to a conversation between a dude who was going to formulate a way to create a “Last Airbender” RPG set about 10-25 years before Aang was found… and that was something I was very much interested in participating in! Unfortunately, said dude turned out to be a vindictive, unreasonable asshole who decided to steal from the very business he was so proud to have “helped run” in which he suggested this game…

But now I am taking that idea, and digging into it!

While the impulse is to play as the “Avatar,” or the world’s grand superpower individual, I wouldn’t necessarily like to be the center of all the attention. There are other things that could be interesting to develop and this is probably the first of the ideas that I’d actually run IN the actual setting… I’d also probably go closer to the Korra era (or after), which means I’d be simply wandering around the world that was already established…

During this whole journey, I’ve been talking about remaking the IPs in order to produce a setting that would be original (or very closely modeled after) so that there wouldn’t be any sort of worry about the owners of the IPs getting in the way of producing results… basically, I have been proceeding with the intent of “owning” the property I’m creating. The “Avatar” setting is the only setting I’d be willing to go into without worrying about that. Then again, I could make my own and discover it from scratch like the audience did way back when…

Enough of that dwelling! Let’s talk about the next “big idea” to expand on: Assassin’s Creed!

If you’re new to the Creed saga, then the idea is basically that a progenitor alien species have all kinds of highly advanced technology that two secret societies formed to find and control: the Templars and the Assassins. Basically, the Templars want to remove free will from humanity to create peace… and the Assassins fight for free will to allow humanity to make their own choice.

My broad stroke concept I’m looking at here isn’t being an assassin, far from it… though murder may be involved, I’m actually concentrating on the opposing secret societies idea. Both groups basically move around in the shadows, manipulating world events or searching for some mystical super thingy that grants them whatever they, as a whole society, actually want to achieve. The Templar/Assassin balance is actually kind of present in Ingress, where the Resistance is fighting to enslave the minds of humanity for peace and the Enlightened are looking to expand the human consciousness. I’m on the green team in that one.

With the opposing societies, it really wouldn’t matter what they’re called unless a “usually deep undertone” could be thought up in the process, would basically both be fitting into that mold. One to enslave and the other to remain free. CrossGen comics signature “Sigil” embodies that in a simpler form: red is selfish, yellow is selfless.

I’d take the role of a member in one of these societies, becoming (more than likely, as treasure hunting is something I love) a sort of expert at finding whatever it is we’re looking for, and in the process battling the opposing society’s agents after the same things. The possibilities are wide open and since I’ve included CrossGen and Ingress as references, you have also probably already mentally equated this same thing to other properties I didn’t even mention (like the Jedi/Sith from Star Wars, another great example).

This entry is going to be a little on the shorter side because I don’t want to get into another property with the deepest focus I’ve already applied to the ones above. I do want to dive deeper in what I’m looking at but I’m also interested in actually playing in one of the settings I’ve talked about in these three parts.

I do have more entries to add to this one in the future and I’m sure that I will go ahead and do further expansions, maybe even going back for a deeper dive on the settings I’ve already mentioned, too… in any case, since I actually want to get playing one of these I’m looking at formulating some basic information to start.

If you’re wondering, as I write these words the “Tron” setting (my own version) is where I’m looking first. I do have some other ideas I’ve never even mentioned as settings but this is the one I’d like to begin with, I think.

More to come as things develop and next week I’ll hopefully have a topic that doesn’t revolve around what I’ve covered over the last three weeks!

Thanks for reading!