Dark Crystal RPG? Really?

ICv2 is a site I really enjoy for getting my comic/gaming news and today I read and today an announcement I was pretty excited about — for all of a minute — then I grabbed my eight-year old self by the scruff and started to wonder about it…

Dark Crystal RPG announcement

On the one hand, I love the Dark Crystal and will always have a soft spot in my heart for it… but I think an RPG about it has a few issues.

One of those issues being the Dragonlance problem. What I mean by the Dragonlance problem is, “the most important story to be told in this world has already been told.” It’s a problem that is easy to have when you are creating an RPG set in a license-world.

I mean, don’t get me wrong — it’s possible to overcome this problem, look at Star Wars and the EU. But ultimately, much like Middle Earth properties, I think it can depend on how you handle the setting. The last incarnation of the Middle Earth RPG (which I really liked btw) from Decipher was a neat game, well written, interesting in execution, but it was so tied to the movies instead of presenting Middle Earth as a living world full of exciting stories to tell that it practically put a chokehold on the game from release.

Maybe I’ve talked myself out of this concern. Maybe the writers can present a Dark Crystal RPG that feels like a living world full of interesting stories that doesn’t tie directly to the story of the film, but that leaves you walking the tightrope of how to keep engagement with a fan-base that may only know the story from one movie. I’d say that’s a tough gig to have.

On a more personal, gaming-related note, the system is going to be similar to Mouse Guard. I know this is hugely popular with some groups of players and I won’t knock it for it’s creativity or execution, but it’s really not for me. So if I ended up buying the book, it would be solely to read the “world” sections anyway because I wouldn’t use the system. So that’s a bummer.

Wednesday is a hard day to post happy thoughts on. I’m going to sign off here before it gets worse…

What do you think? Licensed properties to epic stories a tough sell for you? Like Mouse Guard and want to change my mind? Comments welcome. Thanks for reading.

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2 responses

  1. I think that some could be done in the Dark Crystal universe, but I am not a big fan of the Burning Wheel system. And yes in general licensed games are hard to pull off.

  2. Using content from any universe has its challenges. However, I think one thing that helps is if you don’t always stick to the canon of that universe, but instead build your own, you can make things run a lot smoother.

    For example, with The Dark Crystal, you can pick and choose parts of the canon or adopt the whole bit. Or perhaps just borrow a few of the races and concepts.

    This was the idea when I built The Dark Crystal RPG with the GURPS system. If you’d like to check it out, let me know.

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