Gaming Curriculum: Extra Credit


Just in case the lists we gave you in our last episode weren’t enough for you, here are a few other things I’ve found useful in my gaming:

Kingdom of Heaven – I like this movie for its treatment of religion and morality, specifically because it treats religious fervor and personal virtue as two entirely separate axes instead of ends of the same continuum. There are good people of various faiths, bad people of various faiths, and people who don’t have particularly strong faith at all of various moral colors. There are also some really good character archetypes to be explored in here.

Wanted – I’m referring specifically to the movie and not the graphic novel that inspired it. The film has a bunch of intriguing ideas about bullet-curving supernatural marksmen, Fate as an active entity in the world that communicates through a mystical fabric loom, and all kind of other juicy, gameable bits. The graphic novel turned my stomach in the initial set-up of the story and I never finished it.

Night Watch – Really interesting Urban Fantasy from Russia, in either film or book form. Light and Dark exist in an enforced stalemate with each keeping an eye on the other through its own police force, dark mages use video games as divination devices, characters step into a sub-layer of reality called The Gloom, and more. There are so many neat ideas in here, I’m genuinely disappointed that nobody ever made a licensed RPG from it. If you’re running a modern game with any fantastic elements at all, it’s very much worth a watch or read. I haven’t read all the way through the series, but what I have read of it has been good.

Brotherhood of the Wolf – An incredibly stylish movie about the hunt for the Beast of GĂ©vaudan. Lots of juicy setting and character ideas, a really interesting monster, and one of the coolest weapons I’ve seen in a movie.

God’s DemonParadise Lost, but backwards. One of the princes of Hell decides that he’s done being on the side of evil and wants to go home, and resolves to take anyone who wants to come with him, demon or damned soul, in his quest for redemption. An interesting companion piece to In Nomine, Frank Peretti’s Darkness books, and The Great Divorce if you want to play with Judeo-Christian spiritual warfare tropes in your gaming.

Security Now – A surprisingly-entertaining podcast about computer security. Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte cover a lot of ground, and in the initial “banter” segment will talk about science fiction, coffee, nutrition and other various things. The various hacks, breaches, and exploits covered in the main part of the show are where a lot of the material germane to gaming comes in, and for something so firmly grounded in reality, it’s amazing how much there is that’s gameable.

Lost – While it does come off the rails at some point (what point that is is the subject of much debate) the show is a cornucopia of interesting characters, plot elements, and setting details. There’s also a fantastic redemption arc for one of the characters (Sawyer) that takes place over multiple seasons and really feels natural.

The Art of Intrusion – Kevin Mitnick’s collection of hacker tales is actually more accurately described as an oral history of several modern heists. Great inspiration for any campaign that includes covert action.

As with the episode, if you’ve got stuff to add, please leave it in the comments. This is a discussion Grant and I would both love to have with you folks.

-Peter

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