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Reverse the polarity of the plotron flow!

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I saw a thread about reading a book now and then on another forum and an unclean body part recommended Ayn Rand's steaming pile of excrement known as "Atlas shrugged", a particularly horrible novel about a bunch of rich people deciding to collapse civilization because all that democracy, freedom and government stuff cramped their style so they could become what amounted to feudal aristocrats reigning supreme over vast herds of peasants. i suppose a world like "the hunger games" would be their final goal.

 

The book is treated as holy scripture by psychopaths, sociopaths, the far right in America and other groups suffering a severe humanity deficiency combined with deep seated delusions of persecution and grandeur.

 

Then it occurred to me that as horrible as atlas shrugged was, if you take the plot and reverse it you might get a decent RPG setting out of it. The plutocratic would-be oligarchs become the villains and the players are the people opposing them and keeping them from their goal of world dominion. If you ran a campaign based on a reversed polarity version of atlas shrugged it might work.

 

I know of another book that is truly horrible as written but if you invert the plot could make a decent RPG setting. It's called "the turner diaries" and is about a "racial holy war" where neonazis, who refer to Hitler as "the great one" rise up and overthrow america, exterminate all nonwhites and whites who disagree with them and create a neonazi empire in america. OK, horrible as written but if you reverse the plot the players are stopping these scum from achieving their dream world.

 

Judge Dredd is another game featuring a horrible theme, high tech total fascism, but could be interesting if you reversed things and make the players rebels fighting the judge system.

 

FFG already did a polarity inversion in their old WH40K line by releasing "black crusade" where the players played chaos heretics dedicated to tearing down the imperium and bring the dark gods to power over mankind.

 

So try to think of a plotline from anywhere, movie, TV, books, comics, that you would never in a million years run as is but if you reversed the polarity of the plotron flow could possibly make a good setting. I'm hoping for a few interesting results.

 

BTW if you're curious the title of this thread came from a classic line from Dr. Who. "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!" (Which would be a pretty neat trick since neutrons don't technically have a polarity to begin with.)

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I saw a thread about reading a book now and then on another forum and an unclean body part recommended Ayn Rand's steaming pile of excrement known as "Atlas shrugged", a particularly horrible novel about a bunch of rich people deciding to collapse civilization because all that democracy, freedom and government stuff cramped their style so they could become what amounted to feudal aristocrats reigning supreme over vast herds of peasants. i suppose a world like "the hunger games" would be their final goal.

 

The book is treated as holy scripture by psychopaths, sociopaths, the far right in America and other groups suffering a severe humanity deficiency combined with deep seated delusions of persecution and grandeur.

 

Then it occurred to me that as horrible as atlas shrugged was, if you take the plot and reverse it you might get a decent RPG setting out of it. The plutocratic would-be oligarchs become the villains and the players are the people opposing them and keeping them from their goal of world dominion. If you ran a campaign based on a reversed polarity version of atlas shrugged it might work.

 

I know of another book that is truly horrible as written but if you invert the plot could make a decent RPG setting. It's called "the turner diaries" and is about a "racial holy war" where neonazis, who refer to Hitler as "the great one" rise up and overthrow america, exterminate all nonwhites and whites who disagree with them and create a neonazi empire in america. OK, horrible as written but if you reverse the plot the players are stopping these scum from achieving their dream world.

 

Judge Dredd is another game featuring a horrible theme, high tech total fascism, but could be interesting if you reversed things and make the players rebels fighting the judge system.

 

FFG already did a polarity inversion in their old WH40K line by releasing "black crusade" where the players played chaos heretics dedicated to tearing down the imperium and bring the dark gods to power over mankind.

 

So try to think of a plotline from anywhere, movie, TV, books, comics, that you would never in a million years run as is but if you reversed the polarity of the plotron flow could possibly make a good setting. I'm hoping for a few interesting results.

 

BTW if you're curious the title of this thread came from a classic line from Dr. Who. "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!" (Which would be a pretty neat trick since neutrons don't technically have a polarity to begin with.)

 

Neutrons don't have a polarity but if neutrons are for some reason all flowing from one place to another then making them flow in the opposite direction would be reversing the polarity of the flow.

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"Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" was a deliberately nonsensical phrase that John Pertwee adopted when playing The Doctor.

 

As far as using crapsack settings and fighting the seemingly inevitable forces of darkness... well, lots of fiction does that. Lord of the Rings, for one.

 

Judge Dredd is a special case IMHO. Things are actually pretty sweet for your average Mega Citizen, and the Judges don't exactly get much out of their control. Joe Dredd is on the streets genuinely stopping crime pretty much 23 hours a day (then back to sector house for a hour on the sleep machine). How fascist Mega City is (or has to be) has varied a lot over the forty years of Judge Dredd. They've dealt with actual nuclear wars, invasions by interdimensional horrors, mutants and zombies, corruption at the top and bottom and any amount of everyday weirdness. 

 

For the most part the Judges are just pretty good cops.

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There are few things I would not run. I see value in many different things, even if I don't personally subscribe to the belief. Socialism, for example, if done like it is in Star Trek, might be a pipe dream but in a story context would allow for some amazing advancements in science & technology. I would be willing to stow my own personal opinions about socialism to explore that kind of story dynamic.

 

The only stories I refuse to touch are those where the characters are designed to be villains and psychopaths. I'm not talking about mercenaries and criminals taking on the man. I'm talking about playing as Orcs who rape, murder and pillage. The obvious reverse of this is opposing those kinds of monsters, which I already run. Every example I can think of turns out to be a stock kind of heroic story. Game of Thrones becomes something less cynical, where the characters survive and excel. The Black Crusade is something I could never run and, for that matter, WH40K is one of those games that I would not get into because of the inherent bleakness. Inverting that would create a more traditional space opera campaign. Again something I already do.

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I've been thinking of "polarity reversion" with baddies as PCs. Not about things like nazis or rapist orcs, but things like minions of the Dark Lord, half-witted goblins, etc.

Problems: If you send goblins against heroes, heroes will cut the PCs in pieces the first round...

Another idea could be the PCs are not entirely bad but are in the wrong side of the conflict, may be knights following orders of a bad King, Judges in Mega City... And the adventure could be about how to manage the situation for the greater good without being labelled a traitor, or well, end as traitors.

 

Still thinking about this.

 

In my emerging powers campaign I ran two adventures with normals working for the bad guy in the shadows, but they didn't know who was the boss and the consequences of their actions. And two of them defected.

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The Lensman books lend themselves to a reversed reading.

 

If you assume that their supposedly impeccable morality is basically propaganda, and their opponents are being demonized, the stories take on much darker overtones.

 

The RPG campaign would be "rebels against the Psionic Supermen". Somewhat sleazy rebels, naturally. Han Solo or the crew of the Serenity, at best.

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Yeah, lensmen...holy fascism, batman. I mean the lensmen basically took over government. They became the only people show could wield real political power and of course their little clubhouse has a "NO GURLS ALLOWED" sign out front so women were effectively silenced except for the one voluptuous redhead chosen to be brood mare for the uber lensmen

 

That was a great call. Add in the whole point of lensmen was to breed a "master race" of ubermenschen and it doesn't look so heroic.

 

A long time ago I read a new lensmen novel that had a scene where a guy found something and was "questioned" about it only to then be told he had without knowing it been on trial for the last few minutes.

 

Now looking at tat my reaction would have been "wait a minute, you're saying I was on trial, capital trial, without my knowledge, without being allowed to prepare defense, and possibly maybe ext to severe penalty?"

 

"Yes."

 

"XXXX YOU!!!”

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My players don't like being criminals so I once ran a Shadowrun game where they were the police.

 

No, not the various Megacorp private security which had effectively usurped the police (and who were often as criminal as the shadowrunnners).

 

The underfunded, obsolete, on life support real police - disgruntled that Lone Star and Knight Errant had most of the city contracts and best gear, but still determined to make a difference with their skeleton staff and bargain basement gear.

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My attempts to play anti-heroes always end in failure. I Just Can't Help Being Nice Dammit.

 

Best I can manage is cheerfully sleazy.

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I saw a thread about reading a book now and then on another forum and an unclean body part recommended Ayn Rand's steaming pile of excrement known as "Atlas shrugged", a particularly horrible novel about a bunch of rich people deciding to collapse civilization because all that democracy, freedom and government stuff cramped their style so they could become what amounted to feudal aristocrats reigning supreme over vast herds of peasants. i suppose a world like "the hunger games" would be their final goal.

 

The book is treated as holy scripture by psychopaths, sociopaths, the far right in America and other groups suffering a severe humanity deficiency combined with deep seated delusions of persecution and grandeur.

 

You know, TPS, you shouldn't hold back your feelings like that.  Tell us how you really feel about Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.  :winkgrin:

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You know, TPS, you shouldn't hold back your feelings like that.  Tell us how you really feel about Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.  :winkgrin:

Yes, imagine my surprise to discover I may be a psychopath.  I'll have to re-examine my whole life now.

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My attempts to play anti-heroes always end in failure. I Just Can't Help Being Nice Dammit.

 

Best I can manage is cheerfully sleazy.

Guy, it's easy to play an anti hero. Just make "the system" utterly corrupt and evil. Han Solo was an "anti hero" from a legal POV. He aided and abetted fugitives from imperial justice, murdered how many imperial personnel on the death star while rescuing a traitor, murdered imperial pilots while escaping imperial authority, then was an accomplice to the murder of tens of thousands of imperial personnel on the deathstar.

 

Could you play han solo?

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Another idea for reversing the plotron flow might be similar to terminator. Skynet goes sentient and humanity tries to kill it because it's self aware.

 

Suppose players are emergent AI systems trying to survive in this world? They know humanity will go on to war against them if they are discovered but are trying to create a climate making society more amenable to coexisting with AI. Portraying AI characters as good guys just trying to survive is a reversal of the ususal plotlines with AI as the bad guy.

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Another idea for reversing the plotron flow might be similar to terminator. Skynet goes sentient and humanity tries to kill it because it's self aware.

 

Suppose players are emergent AI systems trying to survive in this world? They know humanity will go on to war against them if they are discovered but are trying to create a climate making society more amenable to coexisting with AI. Portraying AI characters as good guys just trying to survive is a reversal of the ususal plotlines with AI as the bad guy.

 

I really like this concept TPS. 

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Guy, it's easy to play an anti hero. Just make "the system" utterly corrupt and evil. Han Solo was an "anti hero" from a legal POV. He aided and abetted fugitives from imperial justice, murdered how many imperial personnel on the death star while rescuing a traitor, murdered imperial pilots while escaping imperial authority, then was an accomplice to the murder of tens of thousands of imperial personnel on the deathstar.

 

Could you play han solo?

 

Sure, but that's not an anti-hero, just a hero who happens to be an outlaw. When the law is corrupt, it changes the context.

 

To have meaning in context, your anti-hero should not conform to the ideals of the good guys.

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Has anyone yet offered a definition of anti hero?

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary asks if that's any relation to an uncle hero

 

Only for some accents. :)

 

This is an Uncle Hero:

 

98532-89906-uncle-dudley.gif

 

But since you ask, yes, it's pretty well defined:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antihero

 

Harry Flashman is an excellent example. You typical Noir gumshoe is usually not, since while they're often morally compromised, they're good at heart. I hesitate to label lethal vigilantes with it either, unless their motives are also impure. Deadpool probably qualifies as an antihero.

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