Resources For Every GM: Movies Part 2
Following up from the last Resources entry, I have three more movies that I am sure many of you have at least heard of. These movies are some cult classics that you cannot help to enjoy, but they are also a great source of inspiration for any GM in need of an idea. While the premises range from a bit silly to completely outlandish, these movies each hold the framework of a very doable and enjoyable adventure that could be reskinned for any RPG.
A John Carpenter classic that isn’t horror, Big Trouble In Little China features Kurt Russell as a truck driver who ends up saving the girl (and probably the city) from an ancient Chinese sorcerer. While the film itself is full of over-the-top antics and is noticeably a product of other times, it manages to remain enjoyable every time I watch it. The reason I included it here is because it is a perfect example of how things seem to go at the D&D table. There are insane events and our heroes aren’t even supposed to be there. This is a classic case of “adventurers” getting caught up in something they should have, having a chance to get out, getting pulled back in, and somehow saving the day. I mean, what good adventurer can say no to an NPC friend or their kidnapped fiance?? Even when it means fighting magic, monsters, and a whole load of henchmen with more training and weapons than them! There are unlikely allies and all kinds of crazy events that play out in this movie that could give you an idea for your next dungeon or adventure!
This one is a little less insane in the premise and antics, and perhaps even more attuned to what you want to see at the table. A couple of construction workers stumble into what seems to be some kind of secret conspiracy theory cult. The conspiracy isn’t so much theory as it is a wholesale true story of aliens taking over the world through subliminal messages and illusion. The average joes who save the world? They do it because they have little to lose and a desire to try to help reveal the truth of the evil conspiracy. Like most adventures the “PCs” fight each other, say great one-liners, and go wild doing things that most by-standers don’t even begin to comprehend. The whole plan works out but it is almost entirely made up as they go along and there is little in the way of actual planning. Nevertheless, things are pretty cut and dry in terms of plot. I have personally reskinned the aliens to be dopplegangers with less reach than the aliens (more a township scale) but acting in much the same way. The results we astoundingly fun and I can think of ways to use demons, devils, or even fey to represent the aliens threat. All you really need is some sunglasses or goggles to reveal the truth and excitement ensues. More than that, this is a plot that rewards fast action as the players will continue to be more hunted down for their knowledge and only swift and decisive revealing will ensure they get out of it on top. What fun!
Carpenter and Russell bring us another fun movie that can be adapted to great success at the table. This time we have a classic rescue mission, but it is not so simple as a kidnapped princess. You see in this alternate future we have the entirety of Manhattan converted into a maximum security prison. Prisoners go in and never come out. What happens inside is of no concern to those on the outside. That is, at least until someone important accidentally ends up inside. So who better to send in then a convicted robber with an abundance of audacity and skill? I can well imagine the scenario at the D&D table. Imagine a massive city who closed off a district with magic and militia, sending all the criminals in to live the rest of their lives. This could even be a whole island that used to be settled and part of a larger city. An airship prototype carrying the king/queen/insert important NPC here crash lands inside and our heroes are sent in after them. Would be a could starting plot for mercenary, anti-hero types especially. Either way, if you haven’t seen this movie give it a try!
Sure these movies are not the greatest ever made but they are some of the most entertaining out there. The plots fit right at home among RPG adventures and can be a great source of inspiration and instruction on how to structure some of your own!