2 hours ago
Friday, January 20, 2012
Railroading All Gamers Can Enjoy
Hell on Wheels on AMC tells the story of a mobile camp accompanying the construction of the first intercontinental railroad. It has the usual assortment of characters and professions one would expect in any boomtown, plus individuals looking to actively escape civilization for reasons of there own.
The series (which just completed its first season) would obviously be good inspiration for a Western or Steampunk game, but I think it has something to offer fantasy gaming, as well. Non-traditional fantasy would be the most obvious (Mieville has a railroad being built in Iron Council and Eberron has got trains) but a good old fashion wilderness hexcrawl might be informed by the series, too.
All that’s really needed is a reason for a raucous camp of adventurers and hangers-on to be travelling through the wilderness. Perhaps they're doing something as mundane as cutting a new road (like Daniel Boone and his men in Cherie Priest’s Those Who Went Remain There Still) or maybe they’re doing something more exotic, like riding a giant monster so they can mine stuff from its body. Whatever. They just need to be travelling across the wilderness and dragging a bit of civilization with them.
One of Hell on Wheels’s promo posters proclaims: “Blood will be spilled. Lives will be lost. Men will be ruined.” Sounds like a call to adventure to me.