Saturday, December 30, 2006

Let The Thievery Begin!

Some time ago I talked about chillin' out on the whole creativity thing and not expecting myself to create perfect ideas all the time; and, furthermore, to take help where it's given i.e. rip stuff off.

Rip stuff off from anywhere.

Ever hear of a movie called Star Odyssey? It's a horrid little turd from Italy, crapped out in the wake of Star Wars. It's awful. You can get the DVD from Target for a buck, so naturally my wife did just that and gave it to me for Christmas.

No, it's not 'cause she hates me, or is clueless. It's because she knows I can dig on craptacular cinematic mishaps like this one.

Anyway, I've been watching it bit-by-bit, mostly when no one else requires my attention or wants to watch something, you know, safe for your brain. I'm only about...I dunno, 20, 25 minutes into it, sure, but I can already tell that as bad as it is, it's got stuff worth stealing.

You can read a lengthy, amusing review of it right here, but the gist is as follows: Evil Alien Overlord comes to Earth to enslave the populace. His ship is made of Unobtainium (or whatever), so shooting him out of the sky is a no-go. Bald psychic scientist who's gone rogue and shady (or something) knows two chemists who can create anti-Unobtainium, but said chemists are in jail on the Moon (or something). Ergo, he enlists a hotshot Space Command (or whatever) guy to bust 'em out. First, though, the Spaceboy needs some help breaking into the pokey, so the scientist sends his busty niece to a casino (or something) to recruit her old flame: a career criminal with a sparkly spider on his velour shirt (nope, not joking).

Or...hell, I dunno. That's what I'm getting out of it and that's what I'm gonna steal from. Mercilessly.

So -- my Mom taught me that making a list is a great way of getting organized, and while I'm not Johnn Four, I've had success with that. So let's look at the utterly thievable elements present in the 25 minutes of trainwreck so far:
  1. Maverick scientist
  2. Lunar penal colony holding pair of human McGuffins
  3. Futuristic casino
  4. Busty niece
  5. Scruffy criminal with bad fashion sense
  6. Evil Overlord
  7. Impenetrable Hoozits
  8. Bartending robot (not important to the plot, but present and accounted for)
  9. Planned prison-break from said lunar penal colony

A peek ahead reveals there's a guy who boxes with robots, and a pair of robots in love. That's great, let's hold those guys until later and work with what we've got. Shake the crappy movie off of those elements, clean 'em up, and put on your Traveller cap. What've we got?

I'm already seeing a whole scenario in the above list of stuff; we've got interesting NPCs (what did that scientist do to get himself kicked out of The Egghead club?) including a criminal with horrible fashion sense (lots of roleplaying opportunities, potential for banter, gimmicks to make him memorable) and a busty niece. The space-casino is an interesting adventure location, and it can be spiced up with other elements as you see fit.

The prison break on the Moon, now -- that's what's really firing me up. A hell of a major Obstacle in a scenario.

The Evil Overlord is pretty standard and cliche, and might not fit into my Traveller game as a pulpy Ming knock-off. What to do with him? Here's where I'm learning to recycle: He can easily be reduced to his role in the story -- a bad guy presenting an unsurmountable obstacle. He can be anything that sets up the need for a Magic Bullet. His defeat is the goal. Scale him up and down to determine the scope of the adventure. Can he be a nasty corporation, like Tukera in the OTU? A local warlord or something?

I can have this stuff off to the side when I start putting this into a funnel; I might go with a different goal altogether and just use the NPCs and the locations. I might mix it up with stuff stripped out of Robot Monster, another One-Buck Wonder my wife got me for yuks.

Holy crap. This is what chopshops do! But I will do it for great justice.

Rip Off Every Zig!