Saturday, April 23, 2011

Metal Gear as an RPG?

For at least several years my mind has been toying with a concept.  Never really put forth great effort to make it work or anything...but there have been pieces of efforts floating in the aether of my mind.

So, for those of you who do not know, the Metal Gear franchise is a video game series (possibly with other media...I am not sure) centering on a special operations force soldier guy named Solid Snake or someone very much like him such as his counterpart a generation back named Naked Snake.  He, controlled by you the player, infiltrates heavily secured enemy military bases.  Generally he does it alone and with very little in the way of equipment.  His main two goals are to stop the enemy leader and to stop the Metal Gear, which is usually a bipedal tank equipped with a nuclear payload.  Usually along the way is an army of highly-trained soldiers and a squad of unique elite soldiers with special gimmicks or traits like being a pyromaniac or being obsessed with bombs or possessing psychic powers.  Also featured in the game is bleeding-edge technology such as nanomachines, cybernetics, supercomputers, and much more.  Perfect concept for a video game, I know...but an RPG?

The concept does fall apart a bit.  The games are about a one-man-army going into a base to stop a military/terrorist group and their fancy tank.  This could be an interesting concept for a one-on-one game with one GM and one player.  But with multiple players, it could work as a squad infiltrating.  Remember the squad of unique soldiers from above?  One of those squads could be the PCs.  But as a squad of "good guys".  Maybe the good guys cannot find a legendary super soldier like the games had...and so they have to send in a squad.

It still remains an interesting idea.  But what gaming system to construct it in?  I've toyed with d20 Modern but the problem is that it isn't quite deadly enough and the character creation tends to make characters more suited to modern fantasy than modern science-fiction.  I've toyed with Alternity as well but there is not much support for the system and I don't know how well it would work...but it might need a new look.  I've also looked at the CODA system and the MADS system as well.

My current champion is working with the Shadowrun system.  You have the emphasis on gritty deadly combat with firearms.  You have the cybernetic-nanomachine-weirdscience thing going on.  You have the mysticism magical psychic elements.  You have crazy vehicles and their big guns in the game.  The only problem is having to carve off the dystopian future cyberpunk elements...and having to regulate character creation.  And then there is the question of having to "purchase" their equipment, vehicles, cyberware, etc.  Does the Resources allocation correspond to the amount of stuff they enter the squad with...or the amount of stuff the squad gives them.  Surely, the financiers of the squad would not let them go into battle without the best of the best of the best in the way of equipment.  Is the battle helicopter something assigned in game or does the vehicle guy have to buy it?  If the heavy weapons guy needs a cybernetic part to shoot faster and better and didn't have the "money" wouldn't the squad pay for it to be installed?  I guess Resources represents the ability to requisition stuff as well as stuff already accumulated.  Or maybe it determines the "usual" equipment and anything extra is not guaranteed but might be awarded.  But then...why not short yourself on equipment so that the squad has to hand you the heavily armed battle helicopter or else you'll fail.

As for timeline of the game, the Shadowrun system would work well with the near future...say somewhere between 2020 and 2050 (around when the default Shadowrun game happens).  This is convenient since the last game event was in the 2010's and it is always easiest to work after the established timeline rather than in the middle of it.

Any other ideas on other systems?  Or how to implement the theme and style of the game?  Or something else?

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