The Gassy Gnoll: Some Movies Don’t Make Good Stories, But Can Make Good Campaigns…

This past weekend, this Gassy Gnoll sat in a movie theater with 3D glasses on and watched a horrible movie. It was boring. It was overly serious. It was washed out on-screen. And it was Priest, starring Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, and Maggie Q.

If you’re interested in my movie review of the film, you can check that out at my other blog – The Lair of the Green Knight. But I don’t want to focus on why the movie didn’t work for me here. I want to focus on the gaming-related thoughts going through my head while I watched…

I was intrigued by the world. Based on a Korean comic by Hyung Min-woo and set in the future of that fictional world, Priest takes a post-apocalyptic horror approach and mixes it with some of the Western genre. The world is a mess. Humans and vampires have fought forever and evidently we were losing the war until the Church found men and women possessing supernatural abilities to fight these eyeless fanged slimy vampires. They eventually drove them to “reservations” and killed most of them. But the constant wars managed to destroy most of the planet as a result.

By that point, most of mankind was living in crowded, industrial, dark walled cities in fear of what’s outside but thinking the vampires were eradicated by the Church. Outside the cities in the wastes, people were trying to reclaim the land and live productive lives without hiding behind walls. After all, if there are no more vampires, why should they worry?

As you might imagine, the vamps aren’t all dead. Like all vampires, they seem to have a cockroach-level ability to survive forever. And in fact, they have a leader – Black Hat. He could have been so much better in the film, but I digress. Black Hat is leading the charge of the vampires against humanity in an all-out push to take over the world again.

Now, in the movie I was really rooting for the vampires. The characters were just about as boring as the wastes themselves (except for Maggie Q’s Priestess), but again I’m off topic.

That said, I think this world would work beautifully as a campaign mixing supernatural, technology, superheroes, and Western genres together. It would be fun to play a priest leading the charge against a vampire incursion. A campaign built around the same plot points as the movie would work simply because it *HAS* to be more interesting than the characters in the actual movie.

I’m not sure what rule system I’d use. But bringing together a group of PCs from different walks of life – religious priests, warrior priests, lawmen from the badlands, and just your average Joe (there always has to be a Red Shirt) – and setting them on a “mission from God” as the Blues Brothers would say, you could have a few hives of vampires set up, a few towns pre-built, and a city or two to fall back to.

(It’s funny that just a week ago I was pondering how to cross genres and get away with it for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival (see that article here), and Priest might do that without too much trouble.)

Here’s the question though…

The Gnoll Wants to Know… What other movies simply don’t work on screen, but would make great campaigns? Curious minds want to know. Priest can’t be the only film that fails in one medium but succeeds in another.

Leave comments below or drop me an e-mail via my contact page!

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