Friday, March 5, 2010

The Omega Man


The Omega Man is another movie I haven't seen in years, perhaps decades. My blue ray player though, is low on films and this one was very reasonably priced.

Having seen the last remake of I Am Legend with Will Smith, I was curious how the Omega Man played out and what would be useful to a game.

This is the second of three movies based on the novel by Richard Mateson's book. The first, The Last Man on Earth, the second, Charlton Heston's The Omega Man, and the third, I Am Legend all have some common features as they all come from the same book.

When looking at it from a gaming perspective though, what potential benefits are there?

1. Equipment. The main character doesn't suffer from a lack of equipment. This includes his housing, weapons, clothing, vehicles, and other bits. If he loses a toy, he gets another one. In a role playing game, this goes heavily against the grain of many fantasy campaigns that assume equipment comes to the characters after appropriate challenges.

2. Endgame. The characters may be able to change the world. They may be able to save it. But they will not live to see it. Something stops the characters from making it to that new world even though they lead others to it.

3. Society is gone. This can be a hard one to role play out not because it's not an interesting concept, but because if you're playing with a group, the difficulty of being an outsider, of being alone, of being the last of your kind, is gone. On the other hand, with fantasy games having dozens of races, allowing the players each to only make one of each race and each of those is truly the last of their kind, can make things far more interesting.

4. The enemy: The enemy has some serious weakness in their hours of activity and their lack of technological mastery. What they lack in that field though, they more than make up for in numbers. Using minons and other low level enemies makes it easy for the game master to throw waves of enemies at the players. To make these foes stand out though, the game master needs to give them personality. In Omega Man, Matthias is the nemesis. He's the leader. He's the one who wants to tear down the modern world and live life before the era of the wheel has begun. Without him, the main character would have nothing but nameless faceless masses to deal with.

For a short campaign or one that takes place in an isolated land, a scenario where the players are the last of their kind and the only hope for the future may be an interesting change of pace.