Sunday, September 22, 2013

Riddick (Movie 2013)

Took the mother out to see Van Diesel in his latest movie, Riddick. It's a sequel to a character that's had a few video games, movies, and even a carton movie made about him. there was even a motion comic to help fill in between the previous movie, the Chronicles of Riddick, and this one.

As far as movies go, I didn't have a lot of expectations. I knew that it wasn't going to have the budget, the world hopping, the massive special effects or scale of the previous movie, but rather, would harken back to Pitch Black with some variances thrown into the survival horror bit. And I was pretty dead on in that assessment.

In terms of special effects and overall structure, it's not a terrible movie. The monsters look pretty slick, Riddick is at a very high competency level here, the story is simple but told in a way that I wasn't shaking my fist at the screen every fifteen minutes like I was with Elysium so thumbs up.

I'll be doing some spoilers below so if you want no spoilers for Riddick, read no more.

In terms of inspiration, it really is an old school type of adventure not necessarily in role playing purposes but in the genre it fits into. Riddick goes from being a king who doesn't want to rule to being an outcast refuge again. This is a bit harder to capture in a role playing game because character power level tends to only move in one direction and that's up.

However Riddick's personal fighting ability hasn't been diminished. Rather he manages to stay atop his game even when using improved weapons. This movie would make a good Dark Sun episode in those terms.

But in terms of using it for RPG purposes, well, it's so simple that it would essentially take up a part of a session. Step one would be stranding the players in a hostile territory. Step two establish some of the hostiles. Step three, provide a method and reason that the character needs to get out of the hostile territory right away. Everything else is character interaction.

By making the territory hostile, it changes from say, Cast Away, to well, Riddick. Without motivation to survive with action and deeds, the characters pretty much don't have a lot of potential motivation unless something big and important is happening where they left off.

Some games are able to do this with an island setting. others do it with demi-planes. Others do it with large ships like say, a Space Hulk.

In terms of establishing the hostiles, many games have specific creatures that are only native to one part of the setting, to one particular plane, or are just not used that often. The old adventure Island of the Serpent was one prototype of third party settings back in the Role Aids days although it wasn't Role Aids, and they crafted a ton of weird monsters for that local. It helps bring in flavor and design and shows how this area is different.

In terms of method and reason the characters need to go, if they have no way out or can't find one, again, the possible motivation to leave diminishes if not outright fades. In terms of needing to go? Aliens used a reactor getting ready to explode. Riddick uses a host of monsters riding from the ground when awakened by a rain storm. The need to escape is high in both instances because well, you gonna die if you stick around.

Riddick provides some great monsters and action moments for those looking for quick entertainment.