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Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious 
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
My wife and daughters have been on vacation for a week and change. As such, I’ve been able to watch shows I never would with my little ones around. One such is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.

Watching that and reading the Victorious rules – at least the character creation rules – got me thinking. How would you run a game like that, what would the needed changes be to the assume power setting.

In rules as written, one could have a character that shoots ice, or fire or such. That is well outside the power range – of at least the “heros” – of the show. However, the more gritty underpowered horror setting may be too low. I don’t know where the balance should fall.

Also, how could you give the heros a fighting chance against the powerful dark forces ? Enhanced – compared to normal humans – attributes, fast healing, occult powers (being a man of faith, I’d also argue the flip side of the coin to include blessed holly power to counter evil ) … but what else. When my ideas travel darker paths, I default to Poe, and in him there aren’t a lot of good hope, outside of luck/fate.

Whatever it is they will have to be able to have a chance against super human supernatural powers. Speed, luck, protection will be critical. But, what else (but keeping the penny dreadful feeling). All the blast powers etc they don’t fit, at least as I see it and picture it.

For characters – Dr Frankenstein is a contraptionest –with a focus of medical inventions – & Ms Vanesa Ives as the occultist fits the magician perfectly. Of course there is a place for inquiry agent, paragon, strongman, and vigilante all fit. Not sure on hypnotic, I guess it depends on his powers. Radiant I don’t know esp with the inference on the ‘human lighting rod’ …

What do you all think or suggest ?

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:37 am
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Ulthal
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
Good luck. Victorious is a great fit.

I don't agree that the show is a 'gritty' setting as described by the game. The characters all have a lot of power. Enough to meet the situation presented to them for sure. A gritty character is someone like Watson or Holmes. He has intellect and some fighting skills but he isn't a werewolf or the greatest witch of her age. Let alone immortal.

I didn't like Penny Dreadful very much though I wanted to. The images were cinema level quality. A good cast. The setting and characters were interesting. But the writing was terrible. I'd like to say the plot was slow to start but I am afraid it was stillborn. A whole lot of build up leading to nowhere. Which is telling. That they couldn't do something with all the rich themes and ideas of some of the best writing from the 19th century is kind of embarrassing. A much better treatment of the conflicts and themes in Vanessa's story can be found in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. An absolutely brilliant work. 10 episodes. No kipple. Way more goth even if it does look pink on the outside.

So as someone who has played Victorious and seen the series my advice would be: put your effort into crafting interesting conflicts.

As for inserting Christianity. Do what you like of course but I think inserting that misses the point of the drama. It is a story about the human spirit. Well at least I think that was what was intended.


Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:58 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
I think it would be fun to play by candlelight during a thunderstorm while drinking absinthe if Eva Green was the Genteel Magistrate.

With the lights on, it's just Monster Squad.

Or Drak Pack.

Image

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:13 pm
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Ulthal
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
Truly. Eva Green would get my vote for Genteel Magistrate.

hahaha Drak Pack. Think that was the inspiration behind Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? That is hilarious.


Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:54 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
I have no beef with Alan Moore, but I found that movie to be pretty dull.

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:40 pm
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Ulthal
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
I want a shark submarine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nmkh95oWODA


Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:48 pm
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
I think we own season 1 of the show, but I've never watched it. (My son thought it was great, however.) This thread may inspire me to hunt around and look for it. :-D

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:26 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
Also, absinthe improves most games.

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:53 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
finarvyn wrote:
I think we own season 1 of the show, but I've never watched it. (My son thought it was great, however.) This thread may inspire me to hunt around and look for it. :-D

It's on Netflix, FWIW.

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:27 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
Penny, I agree, it could have been better with the material / characters they had to mine. Such fertile ground at their disposal ... However, that may have been a problem, sooooooo much great stuff that could be covered and only so much that could go into it with the time they had. That said, I'll have to give Puella Magi a look see if I can find it.

As for your putting effort into interesting conflicts. I'd argue that is true for any game or setting, but will also say it would be doubly true with a era as rich as this.

For adding religion. I know this is thin ice, and I don't aim to be 'preachy' - pun intended - As one of faith, I wholly admit that Christianity (and every other religion) misused HAS lead to some horrid events. However, at times it has also lead to amazing accomplishments. Plus as you say the theme is 'human spirit' and religion - true religion, not abuse or mishandled religion - is focused on proper guidance of said human spirit. As such it could be the balance to Dorian Gray's eternal empty beauty hedonism . Plus, it does give the needed ammo to fight utter evil.

Aerg .... with her running the game, I doubt I'd be able to focus on said game all that well

As for absinthe ... real absinthe ... I had it once. I put it right up with real Mescal and the worm, eating the worm that is .... something that is very dangerous and one of the few things that takes me from being the happy wall flower that I am to a more dark place ... not for the faint of heart, or sane for that matter !

Fin, the show is a perfect idea mine for a Victorian game ... regardless of the quality of the show itself ... you can't watch it and not go Hmmmm How would I run that scenario or if a player, what would I do ...

Now for an idea ... my mind wandered on the drive home from work ... Wouldn't a contraptionst work for one that can make truly effective holy items (as a faithful version of the class) or one that knows how to truly make herbs poultices and natural talasims to protect and hinder the darker forces (as a naturalist rustic version of the class). However, I'd shy away from it being someone that would make holy water squirt guns and the like.

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:51 pm
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Ulthal
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
Your original post asked for suggestions so I suggested prioritizing your effort into constructing conflict because it seems even professional writers made the mistake of thinking these characters were so awesome that the story/drama would kind of write itself. Didn’t happen because cool characters are never enough. Exhibit A: Drak Pack.

Your preaching is your business but the story you are talking about is in direct opposition to what you are suggesting. Not sure how anyone could reconcile the difference.

The story (as of the season 2 ending) is about the human spirit defying corrupt society, religion and the supernatural. John Clare, Frankenstein's monster, is presented as the story's moral compass in a universe where god is explicitly dead. Solitude, compassion, art and reason become Clare's guides. The season two finale even says Vanessa must rely on her strength in order to defeat the demon. God cannot rescue her. Dorian Gray's corruption is there to illustrate the danger of drifting away from humble human values. Etc for the rest of the characters.

And as I type that paragraph I think that all kind of sounds interesting. I wish the writers could have pulled it off but the plot didn't meet the challenge. Plus, the racism, sexism and transphobia subverts their own progressive narrative and frankly is repellent.

As for Madoka ... I think the series can be found on HULU. [EDIT: sorry, Netflix streaming.] It is a true masterpiece. Not safe for most children but perhaps a must see for adolescent girls assuming there is a decent adult around to discuss the disturbing bits. It is one of those films that truly needs spoiler warnings so I can't provide any details but it really does a much better job of exploring the same field of issues Vanessa Ives is presented with. Plus it is more religion friendly. I honestly think you might like it as you seem like someone willing to consider issues like pain, suffering and the human condition.


Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:32 pm
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
Hey all, sorry...been out of state for the past week (and out of computer range).

I wanted to like Penny Dreadful, just like Penny Whistle said. What got me, besides it being SO fun and light hearted (LOL), was the sex. I'm no prude, but when Dorian Grey starts trying to sleep with every single member of the group....c'mon! That's just gratuitous!

The story was interesting, and the view of the 'traditional' tales like Dracula and Frankenstein were not quite what you'd think. Acting was very good, from Timothy Dalton to Billie Piper were good. It just made the LXG seem like a G rated romp.

As to how to do it, I would say its a grim chronicle. You'd want to limit characters to skills (and primes), with maybe a single supernatural power with no packages other than Invention. Your idea of the magical contraptionist could be handled with the Magick package, just limit to gadgets.

This way, you end up with skilled mortals and perhaps one supernatural ability, like Mesmerism or Lightning Speed. Sort of a Carnacki the Ghost Finder instead of a full spell-slinger.

I'll think on it more, though we stopped watching PD after the above Dorian Grey slept with the cowboy whose name escapes me. So, dunno how much help I'll be!

Mike

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Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:54 am
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Penny Dreadful – The Show – ala Victorious
It only got worse in season 2 ... I finally gave up ... I wanted to like it and push through the more graphic scenes , but it just kept getting more and more ... I understand a headiest can't be to toned down, but come on ... I don't want to be shown complete depravity ... It is who Dorian Gray is but still don't rub my face in it.

As for a game in that setting. I'm afraid I would under power it too much and end up with a Lovecraft everyone dies, goes insane or both. Which even at my darkest wouldn't be fun. At least I wouldn't think it would be.

However, I agree on the no packages to reduce the cost of the powers. Also, it would take a great back story (with lots of implied negatives and game hooks) to get more than 1 or 2 powers. Even then, I'd say no "Flash Bang" powers. Especially the heroes and double especially at the start of the game.

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Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:15 pm
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