Monday, July 8, 2024

Summer LEGO RPG Setting Jam

Just like everyone else, I was super excited when I read Anne's announcement for the jam. And also just like everyone else, my thoughts immediately turned to adapting my own personal favorite LEGO sets from my childhood. But whereas most of you probably thought of easy themes like Castle or Space, I had a much trickier one in mind.

One year for his birthday, my older brother received the Scary Monster Madness Kit, a collection of four sets that made up a sub-theme of the LEGO Studios theme, which was a fairly obscure product line based on Hollywood movies and filmmaking. In this case, these four sets were inspired by classic Universal Horror movies. It should come as no surprise that my siblings all share my obsessive enthusiasm of all things spooky and Halloween-y, and so you can imagine that those toys were very well-loved in my household.

But there's a problem with the premise. How do you adapt this theme into an RPG setting? Every other LEGO theme presents an imaginary scenario that's not far off from an RPG setting already. Fictional characters, a secondary world, dramatic situations, etc. But the entire conceit of the LEGO Studios theme is that they are not depicting "real" people, places, or situations within the context of the set's universe. They are specifically fictional within the diegesis itself. Each set depicts not an actual scenario of monsters and heroes, but of actors and film crew members playing the parts of monsters and heroes. It's very literally an example of anti-worldbuilding. How do you adapt that? How do you preserve the premise of that theme while also making it into a gameable world?

This is my strange answer to that question. I hope you enjoy it.


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