Witness Protection RPGs

Posted: 27 March 2015 in Reflections

“Retma in his caution, Estelle in her compassion, Dee in her fear all would be giving birth to some version of the standard model; but Amalfi had driven the standard model until all the bolts had come out of it, and was so tired at even the thought of it that he could hardly bring himself to breathe.”
– James Blish, The Triumph of Time

Here’s another thought experiment along the lines of Desert Island RPGs: Witness Protection RPGs.

While that was about choosing a limited number of items to be cast away on a desert island with, this one is about starting over.

Here’s the premise… On your way home tonight, you’re taken into witness protection. You literally can’t go home again; you’re given a new name, relocated to a new town, and can’t contact any of your family or friends again, because it’s too dangerous for you and for them. You can still enjoy gaming, but you can’t do anything that could be traced back to your old life.


  1. What games that you currently own would you buy again? How would you change them to be new, exciting, and unrecognisable?
  2. What new ones would you buy and gamemaster, or hope to play?
  3. How would you find new players?


Nobody who has seen my usual level of tweaking and mashups would suspect me as long as I stick to the Rules As Written and just a couple of games. Especially if neither of them are Traveller.

  1. This one is easy. I would repurchase Savage Worlds Deluxe and Beasts & Barbarians, and possibly Stars Without Number. I would run those exactly as written, casting aside my reservations about things like starting at Seasoned rank.
  2. This one is harder, because it has to be a game I haven’t tried before; but I’m tempted by Night’s Black Agents, because it rocks and I don’t normally do horror.
  3. I’d try Google Hangouts and Roll20 for online gaming.


Tell me about your answers, please; I’m curious. Then, look at them – carefully. They’re telling you how to break out of your comfort zone and reinvigorate your gaming.

What’s stopping you?

  1. Brass Jester says:

    1. Savage Worlds DL, Beasts & Barbarians, Stars Without Number, 50 Fathoms and Slipstream. I would probably set up the PC’s as being the underdogs; on the run from the authorities, rebels, Blake’s 7 crew, or struggling to survive in the middle of a war zone.

    2. Has to be Nights Black Agents, I’m just giving it a good read and putting together some notes. The Savage Gamers are going to be reeling from the initial shock from the word go on this one. Thanks for the review.

    3. I would take Mythic GME and a copy of the 9Q’s. Plus I’d use my solo stuff and the Story Cubes. Using these, I can create a whole circle of imaginary players to RPG with and would never have to interact with the real world again.

  2. thetailrace says:

    Good grief just as I finally overcome my own inertia and start refereeing again I get whisked off into witness protection! 😛
    Ah well might as well make the best of it.
    1. 1. Mongoose traveller core book, Traveller liftoff, Savage Worlds Deluxe.

    2. Get the Clement Sector supplements for Traveller and some of the supplements for Savage Worlds. The Sci fi companion for a start, Beasts and Barbarians appears to come highly recommended. Deadlands has never appealed but Space 1889 does.

    3. Time to check the local paper ( assuming there is such a thing at the place I’ve been exiled to) Failing that perhaps check ou tthe nearest university/college campus.

  3. Greg Stanyer says:

    1. SWD with Day After Ragnarok, Totems of the Dead and Solomon Kane – I’ve loved reading them all, but never got to play in any of them. Call of Cthulhu, because there’s nothing better. And if I’ve got CoC, I’d be a fool not to grab Delta Green again as well.

    2. I’d throw them off the scent by grabbing some of the indie games that have always tempted me – Fiasco, Dogs in the Vineyard, The Mountain Witch – along with a slew of classics settings such as Twilight 2000 or Dark Sun either hacked into the Apocalypse Engine or run with the rules-light USR (just to file off the serial numbers…)

    3. Finally, I’d cast a wide net – play by post, Roll20, Google, LGS – all under different aliases, to sow the seeds of confusion.

  4. Charles F. Blakely says:

    1. I would buy Megatraveller, Mongoose Traveller, and Stars Without Number. Rather than use the Imperium, I would start with two different governments, then detail them using Factions and start creating my own interstellar history and playing background. Then I would use online sector generators and layout the two polities on the map. I would make sure one polity had a completely different tech than the other. Perhaps very much higher than the opposite polity.
    2. New games? Shadowrun, Numenera, and perhaps Firefly.
    3. Google Hangout, Roll 20, and find a local game shop and setup my books and layout charts, books, characters, etc. and entice players.
    4. This actually brings up a question related to 1, which is, “Which games that you have GM’d before would you like to dig into deeper? That is, which ones could you go back and do more with due to whatever factors – more time, more resources, more inspiration, etc.”. For me, 2300AD, comes to mind because the Mongoose version has many more resources for it than were previously published.

  5. […] a year ago now, Charles Blakely made this comment on the post about Witness Protection RPGs: “Which games that you have GM’d before would you like to dig into deeper? That is, which […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s