Monday, March 8, 2010

Game-Fu 8: Premise

As much as Fairy Tale + Espionage intrigues me, I think I'm going with a sort of fairy tale-influenced cross between "The Lost Room," "Warehouse 13," and... I dunno... "G vs. E," maybe. "Warehouse 13" is admittedly not great TV, but as a premise for an RPG, it's fantastic. "The Lost Room" was interesting, even if I liked the setting more than the actual plot, and the first season of "G vs. E" (as opposed to "Good vs. Evil," as it later became) was, as we all know, absolutely bad-ass.

So here's a rough outline of the premise:
  • There's a fairytale world, and the real world. They exist side-by-side as alternate dimensions. There used to be a lot of travel between the two worlds, with fairies meddling in the affairs of humans and humans wandering accidentally into the fairytale world on the way to their grandmother's house. At some point, the Fairy Queen decided that all of this contact was bad for fairykind, so she established a barrier between the two worlds to prevent cross-contamination. Most humans couldn't find their way across anyway. Fairies still could, but doing so was grounds for severe punishment. Even so, the barrier has a dramatic effect on fairies crossing over: It turns them human.
  • Fairy tales are true stories, or at least have a kernel of truth. Centuries of these stories being told over and over has imbued them, and the fairy world, with increasing magical power. Certain artifacts from these stories that are still around are saturated in this power -- in the world of man. In the fairy world, they're just ordinary objects: a red cap, a silver pitcher, a pair of boots, a key, a book, and so on. Take them to the world of man, though, and they're suddenly supernaturally powerful. That key makes any door open onto a secret room in Bluebeard's castle. That red cap? Whoever wears it can find any location without getting lost. Dr. Knowall's ABC Book contains any piece of information that's currently known by a living person. And so on.
  • The fairy world is still accessible from the world of man, and vice-versa, through certain points of commonality -- rings of mushrooms, stone circles, strange doors, dead-end alleyways, etc. These paths are all but unknown to mankind, but fairies know of them. Each of these paths only works once per year.
  • Perhaps because it's forbidden, more than a few fairies are drawn to the world of man, even though it means being human while they're there. To compensate for their lack of magic there, they're often known to take a fairytale souvenir with them. Consequently, they frequently become highly successful, thanks to the power of the souvenir.
  • Naturally, this doesn't sit well with Queen Mab. These fairies are to be tracked down and punished, and their souvenirs confiscated. That's where the PCs come in: They're agents of the queen, tasked with going to the world of man (on official business), recovering these souvenirs, and capturing the rogue fairies.
  • Most of the action takes place in the world of man, but it's conceivable that stuff can happen in the fairy world, too.


  1. So, if a faerie crosses BACK into the Fairytale world, they go back to being Fae, right? It's not a one-shot crossover, right?

    "License to Confiscate Souvenirs"

    I wonder if there would be a double standard with respect to "capturing" rougue fae, but no guidelines were really provided for how much mayhem could be created in the real world? Seems to me that by and large the fae weren't generally very concerned about humans.

    Or could that be narrowed down to be something along the lines of, "don't make waves in the Human realm, but heaven help anyone who steps in the fae realm, because it's the deep (dark) end of the pool."?

  2. Well, this is a slightly different take on fairies -- not so much "fae" as fairy tales. Think "fairy" as in "fairy godmother," as opposed to, I dunno, Changeling, or the way "the fae" are usually presented in RPGs. Y'know, all alien and implacable and sorta friendly but actually casually murderous.

    Not so in fairy tales. All the supernatural stuff in fairy tales comes from this fairy world: the wolf in Little Red-Cap, the cat in Puss-In-Boots, the seven (eight) fairies in Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella's fairy godmother, etc. According to fairy tales, fairies take a great deal of interest in our world. Or used to, anyway. Likewise, we used to end up in their world without even realizing it, like Hansel and Gretel, or Jack (he of the beanstalk), or Hop O' My Thumb and his six brothers.

    And yes, once you cross back over, you go back to being your fairy self again. It didn't used to be that way, of course, until the Fairy Queen put up the barriers between worlds. Paths back to the fairy world are a lot harder to find when you're human, though, so if you're crossing over without a map, as it were, prepare to be stuck there (here) for a long time.