Lars, D&D and Chrome Dystopia

So I have some good news to share.

On the 13th January 2017 my son Lars was born! Consequently the YouTube channel has been a bit quiet. I have substantially less time for such things these days, but we’ll get back to filming our Five Cities D&D 5e next week and our DM roundtable should follow soon after. We’re going to focus more on roleplaying in the next 6 months, to try and bring you some really strong material in both rpg advice and actual play shows.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Five Cities actual play yet, click the image above the twitter feed on this page or go here.

While I’ve had some late night and early mornings with Lars I’ve actually found myself rewatching all the classic 80’s sci-fi action movies; the greats such as Robocop, Running Man, Scanners and more. I love these films, having been effectively brought up on them, and I thought that Lars should get his education started early. The mix of tongue-in-cheek sci-fi, excessive explosions and straightforward plots make these a great re-watch every time.

As I was watching through these I had a strong desire to create an rpg setting that emulated the feel of these movies. So I started thinking about this. First off I decided that this would be a roleplaying experience based around heroic, rebellious figures in a dark retro-future city. This gave me a kernel of an idea that I could work around. This blend of sci-fi and dark future gave me the setting name: Chrome Dystopia. Which I think summarises pretty well what I’m heading for.


I knew that I could have a slightly cheesy approach to the world and flesh things out borrowing the feel of the movies themselves. Several of these have introductory scrawls or narration that gives an overview of the world you are about to experience. This kind of introduction was a great place to start to flesh out the city. This city then needed a name. I rattled around a few ideas and settled on Grid City. This has a heavy urban feel, but also a certain generic feel (which is important later).

I then thought that what kind of characters the players create would be important to the setup of this city. For example, if a psychic character is created there needs to be some plot behind the idea of psychics. The movies that are at the heart of Chrome Dystopia have the hero’s origin and archetype as the central axis of the plot. I wanted to reflect this. So players will get to contribute to the development of Grid City for the campaign depending on their character.

This then led onto what origins and archetypes persist in these movies and should therefore be available to players. I wanted to have things like cyborgs and mutants, but also allow someone to be a martial artist on a mission, or the hard-bitten cop trying to save the city. This was a lot of fun, wracking my brain and checking imdb for types of heroes that have been in these sci-fi movies.

As I was considering this I also thought about system. Originally I thought about modifying D&D 5e. To be honest this thought came from the fact I want to eventually film a campaign of this game and D&D is the most popular rpg system out there. However, soon into the rebuild of races and classes I realised that this was not appropriate. I then moved to GURPS 4e, as this provides the flexibility that I need and the correct style of character progression I see relevant to this type of campaign.

So currently, while I’m indoors with the boy a lot, I’m working slowly on this setting. I’ll trial it at the St Albans Roleplaying Club first, in order to make sure it works and to refresh my memory of running GURPS. Then hopefully that group will move to filming as they struggle onwards to right the wrongs in Grid City, whatever it is that they determine they are!

More to follow soon….

Pete (@archalofax on twitter)

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