Thats the question that I have been asking myself as I have been diligently expanding and combining my omniverse ruleset and my MI:666 setting. The process has been quite simple. Slip the two pieces together so that they run smoothly. Edit in any new terms or rules clarifications. Change all of the examples to MI:666 referenced material rather than generic action cinema. Et voila! Le Roleplaying Game!
However, when I look at it, it seems so ... lifeless? There's something wrong somewhere in the core of it and I cannot put my finger on it. It could be that familiarity has bred contempt but I'm not sure thats the thing. It shouldn't be that the genre is something that I am turned-off by, because it certainly isn't. It might have been that I was doing it without any real end-product in sight, but thats clearing bollocks as I have a two session playtest and then a game at GenCon lined up. So thats clearly not right!
I was listening to a Fear The Boot podcast this morning and I heard something that I thought might have been it. One of the presenters said that Call of Cthulhu was 'the last game on the market that wasn't following the hero fantasy model'.
One of the things that I have beefed up in this rewrite of MI:666 is the role of the devils as tempters and manipulators, and thus the role of the PCs four 'triggers' - Love, Hate, Desire, Fear. So if you succeed in accomplishing one of these triggers instead of getting back 1 Flux you get back your Destiny of Flux (Ok, this is really making sense to about a half dozen people!)
I have also added in a Secrets mechanic which I think is pretty cool. Each player has a sealed envelope that they are given at the beginning of the game and in that envelope is a really important campaign secret. In the game of infernal cat and mouse, devils are willing to betray their secrets if they can corrupt the players. So on the envelope is a list of actions that the players must fulfil before they can open it - betrayal, lying, destruction, greed, avarice, death, murder, whatever. If they want the secret, they push themselves further towards the grasp of the devils.
I'm wondering whether the initial concept of 'omniverse' - an emulation of blockbuster cinema with explosive character development - is suited to this darker, more moody setting? I think it is, but it just needs that extra something to make it gel together. It will come.
On the flipside, and to be fair this might well play into the indecision as well, I have about 101 ideas for Duty and Honour! After the playtest there were a load of things that needed tweaking but nothing very mechanical - it was more about bringing more awesomeness to some of the character traits and talents and generally applying that first playtest shine to the game.
I've been on a bit of a Sharpe-fest of late and I can see now exactly what needs to be done to make the game a true emulation of the source material. Party construction is key - 1 Officer, 1 Sergeant, everyone else Privates or Chosen Men. A little guidance about creating adventures and about the format of such and some rules for running the odd larger skirmish and it's pretty much a ruleset that I could run a campaign around. Tomorrow.
Well, lots of work to be done over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully by the end of it I will have come out with something more than passable!