Take the 2-minute tour ×
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Janelle Monáe has created a compelling --if lightly-defined-- science fiction future setting:

In the dystopian world of The Metropolis Suite, an android is condemned to death for falling in love with a human and flees to the underground, where she becomes a prophet and heroine to the oppressed masses. While organizing a rebellion, she sends a duplicate, the Janelle Monáe we know, back in time to the 21st century to inflame the people of the past with Rock. With the power of such singles as "Cold War" and "Tightrope," she will inspire us to fight the Man in the past while her duplicate fights the Man in the future. (source)

The Metropolis concept series is so far described mostly through the songs and music videos of three albums: Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), The ArchAndroid, and The Electric Lady.

Since concept albums have never been famous for their detailed and internally-consistent renderings of fictional worlds, the setting is pretty fast and loose. Monáe's music videos for Many Moons and Tightrope depict the albums' bizarre future in which a diverse and improbable decadent elite suppresses creative expression (such as dancing, which can be literally magical) and treats living, loving androids as property (hunting them down like foxes if they dare to act too human). It is a world where science fiction staples like time travel, androids, and clones exist alongside the fantastic such as mirror-faced asylum wardens and dandy vampires; where humans forbid music and love while machines fight this oppression with the magical power of dance.

I want to play a game in this world.

  • Has any content been created for running a Metropolis RPG? I seriously doubt it's been done officially, but fan content might exist.
  • Since even fan content might be sparse-to-non-existent, what existing systems/settings would be an easy fit for running such a game?

Edit: Microscope looks like a great fit for a poorly-delineated setting like this, but it doesn't seem to actually put much emphasis on running in the setting. I want to prioritize playing a game in the world, not playing with the world.

share|improve this question

As this is a game-recommendation question, please adhere to the FAQ, the rules for subjective questions as outlined in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and our rules for game recommendations. All responses must cite actual experience or reference others' experiences!

    
Sure, but you must know from hanging around this site how great a variety of games there are out there. For instance, if you wanted to actually play a consistent character, I don't think Microscope would be a good fit. –  starwed Oct 2 '13 at 23:49
    
@starwed Yeah, Microscope looks entertaining but it's a good answer to any "I want to play an as-yet-unsupported setting" question. –  BESW Oct 3 '13 at 0:06
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If I understand this correctly, Metropolis is really a collection of ideas and concepts rather than a formal setting. In that case, I'll suggest a system that might just be perfect for your game: Microscope.

Microscope is a GM-less game where all players collaborate to create and flesh out the history of a fictional setting. The game switches from very high-level perspectives (millennia and centuries) to very detailed views (minute-by-minute reenactments of key moments in the setting's history).

Microscope can be used for any type of setting. In order to play in the Metropolis setting, simply discuss the big picture with the other players in advance, then put important concepts on the "Add" list. You might also want to put out-of-place concepts on the "Ban" list, so that they cannot show up in the game.

It's important to note that Microscope is based entirely on the idea that players can create and destroy elements of the setting at any point, so if there is a lot of existing continuity, it might not be a good fit. If my understanding of the Metropolis setting is correct, that shouldn't be a problem.

Finally, the Microscope rules advise against including time travel in settings, even though it's not explicitly forbidden. This might be a problem for a setting like Metropolis (but it's arguably just as problematic in other systems).

Update: If you are interested in Microscope but also in some of the other systems recommended here, a good compromise would be to first run a session of Microscope in order to flesh out the setting, then choose an event in that setting to explore further within another system. This is actually one of the recommended ways of using Microscope.

share|improve this answer
    
Huge +1 for define via microscope then play with another system; it's a fantastic world generator. –  Rob Oct 4 '13 at 15:44
1  
Through my experience playing Microscope, I've come to the conclusion that playing with an already-decided-upon setting is not a good idea. It practically says so in the rulebook, too, with that players shouldn't share ideas. –  Emrakul Jun 25 at 8:22
    
I agree that Microscope shouldn't be used with existing settings. I'd say that the crucial question here is whether the description of Metropolis constitutes a setting or simply amounts to what the players would have otherwise set up as a premise. –  Jakob Jun 25 at 11:07
add comment

My recommendation is Misspent Youth. From the webpage:

In the game, you play 12- to 17-year-old kids in a future world [screwed] up beyond recognition by The Authority. The Authority is a force that you create together at the start of the series and played by one person.

As you play the game, you're encouraged to test your principles and see how far you're willing to go to change the world. It's pretty neat, and would easily accommodate Ms. Monae's science fiction world.

If you're looking for something more traditional, I'd go with R.Talsorian's CyberGeneration, a youth-centered and anime-influenced (well, moreso) implementation of Cyberpunk.

I'd avoid Starchildren: Velvet Generation, though. Although it's explicitly about musicians sent from the stars to change the world and has a fun, glam feel against its dystopian aesthetic, it's not all that well put together and it's poorly edited.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.