Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Grim Frontier

After seeing The Revenant this weekend in all its visceral frontier glory, a setting idea occurred to me: Take the resource management of the dungeon and combine it with survivalist horror in an American-ish (though ahistorical) frontier setting: The Grim Frontier.

The bullet points:

Elements: Potentially easy death, resource management, and some horror elements beloved by many old school gamers; an evocation for modern audience of the strangeness or alienness of new environments through use of Roadside Picnic-esque zones elements (like my random tables for those); possible implication of post-apocalypticness of the level of The Gunslinger. The wilderness as an area of unsettled reality like the Weird of the Hill Cantons or the West in Felix Gilman's Half-Made World. Ancient mounds, giant skeletons or mummified dwarfs borrowed from the real folklore of the West; vaguely late 18th to first few decades of the 19th level of technology, probably with low magic.

Differs from: The Weird Frontier (more emphasis on horror and resource management, perhaps, hence the "grim"); Fantasy Western (earlier time period than the classic Western); Fantasy American Frontier (not specifically the American continent with the attending ethnic groups, political, and religious struggles).

Film: Black Robe, The Revenant, Man in the Wilderness, Aquirre: The Wrath of God, Ravenous.
Comics: Manifest Destiny, Pilgrim.
Books: The Gunslinger, Roadside Picnic, Half-Made World and The Rise of Ransom City.


Uncle Sam said...

Love this idea. May I suggest this to possibly mine things from.

evildm said...

I would like to add "The Missing"- Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchette. To the list of movies for inspiration

Trey said...

Both excellent suggestions, guys!

Billy Longino said...

There's a sort of hallucinogenic quality to Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian that might fit well with this, too. Even though it's not actually "weird," it definitely shares some of those qualities.