Books to strand your kids in
I made a vague offer to run an RPG for some of the kids in my family’s younger generation, and have yet to follow through. I have no doubt that I could just wing a simple D&D adventure and we’d have fun. I will do that sometime. I should set a date.
I have another idea, though.
My plan is to run a game of Fate. The player characters will be winners of the lottery (think “draft,” not “numbers racket”), conscripted into service troubleshooting for the Great Library. The Great Library’s troubleshooters are in many ways ripped off of the Jurisfiction group in the Thursday Next books. If that doesn’t help: they are fictional characters, living in a world populated by other fictional characters. The Great Library is an imaginary place where every revision of a book is shelved, and all of its characters are free to intermingle. The specifics of how all this works can be hand-waved. I may obsess over it at length, but I know the group of grade schoolers at the table will not get too nit-picky about everything… at least not at first, anyway.
Every character in the game will be a fictional character. The player characters, for example, will have a boss who is in charge of their assignments. This will probably be Albus Dumbledore. One early assignment may be to find out who has stolen the treasure from Long John Silver’s chest and reburied it, thus threatening the integrity of the story. The thief may end up being Sir Harry Flashman. And so on.
The player characters will also be fictional characters, but the kids don’t get off that easy. They don’t get to pick Percy Jackson, Laura Ingalls, Jem, and Green Lantern (and yes, those are my predictions for the choices if they could). Instead, their character sheet will have a slot for the name of the book from which they spring, and maybe the name of the antagonist (or protagonist, if one cleverly asks to play the bad guy).
Apart from seeming just generally fun, this should be a way I can introduce some worthwhile stories or characters to the kids. They can help Sherlock solve a case, rescue a marooned Huck Finn, or deal with a reprogrammed Chip Carson. It should also be fun to play with genre-mixing, for both me and the kids.
What I need to do next is compile a list of adventure plots, or even just characters and books that would be fun to use — both ones that the kids know and don’t know. Suggestions welcome!