01. Pigeonholing

When I first envisaged this setting I immediately wanted the story to take place in a small town in the 1950’s, I really wanted to play out some cheesy B-Grade horror movie. When explaining this whole crazy idea to my wife for the first time she asked.

‘Do you really want to pigeonhole people into having to play the game the one way? There were a number of zombie movies set in the 80’s which would be fun to play out.’

After thinking about this for a minute I realised she had made a good point, (not that I will admit it to her.) While I only want to play a 1950’s setting, if I create the setting to solely be based in the 1950’s this might limit the amount of other people who would be interested in playing it as well. But If I designed a setting that could cater for any time period then it would appeal to more people. This however would mean a lot more work on my part, and bigger book (not necessarily a bad thing.)

And so began my internal debate, to pigeonhole the setting or not to pigeonhole the setting.

First I had to look at the pros and cons of this debate. (As a side note at this time I had not yet decided to use the Savage Worlds rule set, I was still thinking about creating my own rule set.)

Pros of pigeonholing the setting to the 1950’s

  • I was eager about this idea right from the start;
  • I had 3 to 4 mission ideas roughly laid out in my head for the 1950’s;
  • I had a vague ideas of 8 pre-generated characters I wanted to design and supply in the setting;
  • I don’t want a lot of guns to be available, the main guns will be a revolver, rifle and shot gun. The kind of guns that a cop in a small town might have or a farmer might have;
  • No mobile phones, computers, or high-speed communications (it’s easier for an outbreak to happen and communication to be cut off, leaving the players to feel outnumbered and alone in a world gone made.);
  • If I release a setting based on the 1950’s I could always release other supplements later.
  • Less rules for me to create in regards to weapons, attributes and abilities (eg. The skill Hacking would not be needed in a 1950’s setting but would be needed in a source book that comprised of multiple decades.)
  • I feel I could make the setting a more character driven game and less hack and slash as weapons would be less available.

Pros of NOT Pigeonholing the setting to the 1950’s

  • Other time periods would be fun to play in think return of the living dead, 1985;
  • More people would have an interest in playing this setting;
  • Sometimes blowing a mob of zombies up with a rocket launcher is just plain cool;
  • Supplied missions could be tailored for any time or easy enough to create a couple of generic missions;
  • Who doesn’t want to be Ash or Alice (see Evil Dead and Resident Evil if you don’t understand this. If you don’t understand this then shame on you for being a gamer and/or zombie fan and not knowing.);

So as you can see I had a few good points for both sides of the coin. From the beginning I knew I wanted the story to be character driven and not just hack and slash. Don’t get me wrong I love a good dungeon crawl, but for this character driven is my goal. (If you want to know what I mean about character driving zombie story I suggest reading ‘The Walking Dead’ comic.)

I wanted guns to be limited, thus the characters having to rely of their skills more than a fire arm. I wanted the process of creating it to be fun; I want the game play to be fun, fast and easy to learn. These things I had in mind when I first thought of ‘Aim for the Head’ and they are the key goals I am going to build the game around. So no matter which way a went these key goals will not be compromised

So what was the final decision you ask. The first ‘Aim for the Head’ campaign setting is going to be set in 1950’s, there will be some guidelines in the book on how to tweak the setting for other time periods and a few generic missions that could easily be converted for any time frame. I may release other books that are more in-depth for other time periods but this will depend on how the first book is received, I do have a few ideas bubbling in the back of my mind for this.

For now this has been the first creative hurdle I have had to get past, I am sure there will be more to come so please stay tuned.

Till next time,
Cheers Ray

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