Game Worlds

Movies, TV and books provide a great source of inspiration for Game Leaders and Groups using the Generic / Modern setting. Plots and character ideas can be lifted wholesale and used around the gaming table (in a way that does not infringe intellectual property rights of course). Identified below are some suggested types of game words and advice on fine tuning the Generic / Modern setting to fit.

A major difference between genres is how the characters' abilities relate to the average person. In pulp or action adventures the character's 70 CP places them head and shoulders about the average person. Apart from the occasional boss monster, most of the enemies they face will be mooks. The more realistic the setting the closer the average person is to having 70 CP and fights become less frequent and more deadly.

Crime & Punishment

Police and crime-related dramas fill our TV screens. Featuring dirty realism, hi-tech forensics or quirky detectives, their on-going storylines and characters are a great format for role playing games.

Police Procedural

A dedicated team of detectives, forensic experts and pathologists investigate crime based in a hi-tech, well-funded lab. The characters are a cut above the average person in the street in terms of abilities but not by much.

Cops & Robbers

A throwback to 1970s cop shows where the good guys were good and the bad guys were bad. Generally all the criminals died in a shoot-out at the end of the episode so the writers did not have to worry over messy details like trials or awkward moral questions about the way the cops gathered evidence. The characters are significantly better than the average person (especially the average criminal).

East Coast Grit

Whether it focuses on a team of detectives, a mob family or a whole precinct, some cop shows are all about realism. The people are flawed and at times it is hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. For some reason cities like Baltimore and New York are often the setting for this style of drama though occasionally it strays to the west coast. The characters in these games are no different from everyone else and there is no such thing as a mook.

Murder / Mystery

There is a dead body and a maverick / flawed / genius / psychopathic detective arrives to investigate. All the other detectives are either baffled, think it is suicide, or believe the obvious suspect did it but the hero knows better and sets out to prove it. Sometimes these detectives are not even policemen and can be specialists or simply nosey. Games in these settings are about the discovery of clues and not combat and characters are generally about equal to their adversaries.


From the cold war to the hunt for Bin Laden, people spying on other people has long been a favourite of book and film. It almost doesn't matter whether the bad guys are terrorists, foreign nations or megalomaniac businessmen, the heroes rarely change.

Shaken Not Stirred

Brand name cars, peculiar drink orders and exotic locations are all common in this genre. Looking cool and having a selection of one-liners to deliver as they push the villain into the volcano is all that matters. This is the genre which practically invented the mook and characters can expect to kill them in large numbers.

Tinkers & Tailors

Slow moving, character driven and populated by double or triple agents. With intricate plots often spanning years the focus is on investigation, betrayal and the motives behind the treachery. The characters are no different from ordinary people and they will probably never need to draw a weapon.

Super Spy

Top secret government training programs seem to produce an unlimited number of highly trained killers. Surprisingly often they suffer from amnesia and are quite nice people despite the years spent working as an assassin. Characters are at least 20 CP better than the average person and mooks often find employment working security on top-secret bases.


What do the undead, serial killers, psychos and alien creatures have in common? They all like to feed on isolated groups of people with a definite preference for college-aged teens. Though as mobile-phone coverage has improved and more smartphones have video cameras, unstoppable killers have had to innovate and find new ways of working.


For absolutely no reason, the dead refuse to stay dead until their brains are destroyed, challenging film directors and special effect departments to find many and varied ways of showing someone's head exploding. The key to a good zombie-based setting is to make the zombies easy to kill. They are simple mooks who are no threat to the well-organised character. The real threat to characters is their own stupidity and other living humans, all of which have the same CP as the characters.

Urban Fantasy

Vampires, werewolves, ghosts and demons are often found living in small-town America. Fortunately for the average citizen there are also teenage demon-slayers, "good" supernatural monsters and the occasional FBI agent who will happily kill these creatures without being troubled by the questions they raise for science and belief systems. Characters are definitely heroes in this setting, a large step above the average person who is little more than a mook waiting to become a supernatural creature's lunch. The monsters themselves are very tough, often taking on the entire group single-handedly.

Investigative Horror

With its focus on humanity's insignificance in a unbelievably big cosmos, investigative horror characters spend a long time looking for something they really don't want to find. Madness and death feature a lot in this genre. Characters are just ordinary folks and completely outclassed by the majority of the creatures they face. Fortunately, insane cultists high on hashish make convenient mooks who gladly die just so the players can feel in control before the minor god turns up and drives them all mad.

Action / Adventure

Big budget movies with guns, car chases and explosions are a genre all to themselves. It doesn't really matter what their supposed subject matter is, they will all follow the same three-act play format the script-writer learnt in college. The heroes will be white, male, wise-cracking buddies unless it stars Will Smith or Denzel Washington when the heroes will be one cool black guy plus a bunch of wise-cracking white guys.


Definitely sci-fi and not science fiction because there is no thought given to science during the writing of these books and films. They often involve the end of the world, alien invasion or robots taking over. Whatever happens, there will be big explosions and big-budget special effects. The heroes are always notably better than everyone else with the average survivor being only 40 CP compared to the characters' 70 CP. The strength of the opponents will vary depending on the desired style. There may be waves of alien mooks or solitary, almost indestructible robots.


What is it good for? Having heroes blow things up of course. Even in the most historically accurate war film, there have to be large explosions. In recent years blockbusters have focused on more modern conflicts and the producers have wanted to honour the sacrifices of the fallen, or at least not dishonour them and cause bad publicity. Characters in war settings are only slightly (about 10CP) better than the troops around them and they face similarly realistic enemies.


Terrorism can fall under Crime & Punishment or Espionage but there is a particular form of action thriller where the bad guys are terrorists. They take over buildings or battleships and the good guys have to rescue the hostages and save the day. Sometimes the heroes are elite special forces and other times they are just the wrong person in the wrong place. Characters fighting terrorists are noticeably better than the person in the street, at least 20 CP better, but they face a small number of similarly highly-trained terrorists. Unless the characters are attacking a terrorist training camp they will see few mooks.

Conspiracy Theory

The premise is simple: there is a "secret" which powerful people do not want exposed. It might be the existence of aliens, advantage weapons systems, the truth about JFK or a simple multi-billion dollar fraud. The heroes either discover the secret by accident or are insiders who have found themselves surplus to their boss's requirements. Cue lots of chase sequences, gun fights and things exploding. Thanks to technology or intensive training, the heroes are notably better than the average Joe in the streets and a steady stream of mooks provides them with target practice.


From the simple stick-up job to robbing Fort Knox, all heists boil down to get in, grab it and run. The only thing which changes is the sophistication of the thieves and the implausibility of the crime. The heroes of heist adventures can be the criminals or the police and generally both sides have a level of professional respect for each other. To make life difficult a separate gang of criminals or a rival police force is often involved. Mooks are common in these settings with many working as guards trying to protect banks and museums.

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open/settings/generic/settings.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/13 17:04 by darth_tigger
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