Home Forums General Books and Magazines Rivers of London: Basis for RPG?

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  • #106882
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I’ve been reading Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London/Peter Grant series for a few years now and it has only just occurred to me (I know – bit slow on the uptake!) that it would make a great basis for role playing games.

    Peter Grant is a Metropolitan policeman who stumbles into a ‘specialist unit’ (one officer until Peter arrives) responsible for looking after interactions between the human and magical realms. Its humorous without losing sight of the fact magic is dangerous and the magical realm angle has a logical consistency to it that doesn’t leave you with any ‘with a bound he as free’ moments.

    Given the present day urban setting and the ‘organised mystical crime’ vibe at times, it would seem to offer great potential for a system that involves ‘career path’ Mage development (Peter starts with potential,but no ‘wizzo super skills’ from the off – he has to learn and progress)* as well as physical/mystical combat – loads of Fae/Gods/Goddesses/Underground dwelling things and all types of humans.

    I’m not an RPGer normally, and certainly not a fantasy/magical RPGer but this suddenly made me think it might be worth a go. Anyone done anything on this? Is there already an entire game system based on it? Are there scenarios for other systems?

    Enquiring minds and all that…

    *sorry about the initial missing bit of that post – no idea what I did 

     

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by Guy Farrish.
    #106883
    Fredd Bloggs
    Participant

    CoC would do it perfectly, there is a lot of this Urban Fantasy about that could become one big setting.

    #106884
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Not reading what you actually said, I am minded of Mage, an old White Wolf RPG game.

    MAGE

    #106915
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I love the books, so I like this idea, no clue as to which RPG would work to roleplay them.

    #107432
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Thanks gents.

    I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately so have done nothing about this (and that’s my excuse for not checking back in on this earlier to reply) yet.

    I’ve been remembering a fighting fantasy type book from decades ago which might form a basis for a person making their way in the world and progressing through a magical training at the same time – it had game master controlled and solo variants I think. I can’t remember its name – I think I’ve still got the book somewhere – I’ll have to have a rummage – it was set in Elizabethan(ish) times or late mediaeval I think, but it shouldn’t be too difficult(!?) to update.

    #107434
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Another great and similar setting would be Charles Stross’ Laundry Series.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #107474
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Missed them – I’ll have a read (note to self  – don’t get sidetracked), thanks Thaddeus.

    Right, in between an abortive trip to the nearest town to a bank which is no longer there (not my bank, which shut in Newport recently but they allegedly carry out transactions for my bank, )  – as they have closed too,, and half an hour in a ‘chat’ with a call centre (which didn’t solve the issue) I managed to find the book I was thinking of.

    Alexander Scott’s ‘Maelstrom’.

    my Puffin copy is 1984 but apparently it was republished recently in pdf format and is available from RPGnow along with more supporting material and scenarios. Having had a quick read through, the Mage section may work, but it is going to require considerably more tweaking than I was thinking of at first. However the main work of scenarios is probably taken care of by the Peter Grant background – though I think one of the minor or a new invented character would be best to follow in a game. The interaction with the river Gods and Goddesses and the Fae etc will need a bit of thinking. I’m not sure whether I can make this as a solo system and fool myself or whether I need a mug, sorry, happy player, to practise on I’m not sure.

    Need calm thoughts not about banking, and a sit down to work out whether this has legs.

    #107521
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    It’s like “The IT Crowd” meets Call of Cthulhu meets James Bond on a modern British public services budget.

    “I want an Astor Martin.”

    ”You’ll take a Smartcar4two and love it.”

    The second book in the Laundry Files series is the best one and I suggest you start there.

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #107523
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Sounds distressingly familiar.

    #107526
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I know, right? 😀

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #107529
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Just put a request into my Metro Library for the Landry Files books. Ben Aaronovitch is on Facebook and there is a Rivers of London group.

    #107543
    Fredd Bloggs
    Participant

    There is already a Laundry files spin off setting for CoC I believe. I still have plans for the Black Ops Concord…..

    Also fits in the Benjamin Jacka Books. And if you wanted it to get really fun, Charley Fletchers Oversight books (while Victorian the ideas remain).

    #107573
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Yes, just found the Laundry Files RPG (just being rejigged to a new engine apparently – whatever that means – copyright issues? Cynic.)

    I seem to be reinventing the wheel – oh well.

    Or maybe not – Rivers is about ‘real’ magic and not b****y space aliens dressed up in gothic flummery (I have issues with Cthulhu, although I enjoy some of it).

    I shall probably bang my head against a wall for a bit to see if I can a) make a game I enjoy about magic in the modern(?) police service and b) remember it stops hurting when you give up.

    Looks like I have a lot of reading to do.

    Tim Price has done games sort of like this in his Footfall series at COW for years – generally ‘ordinary’ sneaky beak spec ops with sinister X Files type twists. I should probably just nick his ideas.

    #107656
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Could you not use a game system that is established that deals with this sort of thing, like Delta Green or Shadowrun, as the framework for the engine?

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #107660
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    It’s worth noting that Call of Cthulhu is basically just a slimmed down version of the “Basic Roleplay” engine. It works outstandingly as a generic RPG system, even if you ignore all the tentacle bits.

    There’s also the “big yellow” Basic Roleplaying” book from a couple years back.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #107664
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I have absolutely no idea about rpg ‘systems’.

    Not being snotty but I just don’t play them normally – we did a few in the 80s but they were scenarios we made up in the pub and talked them through – pinched a few basic concepts – but to be honest it was a bit like free kriegsspieling small scale skirmishes.

    I enjoyed those but it needs buy in from players and I don’t regularly see anyone interested in that style of game – so I was looking for suggestions for solo/casual group play – then I remembered Maelstrom – which I probable nicked quite a few ideas from before – seem to remember a group starting an ‘adventure’ in the Bear and Billet in Chester and getting ‘recruited’ and sent to Ireland in the Elizabethan period – with attendant ‘orrible goings on in the mists and marshes of the Emerald Isle, fighting O’Neill, the Morrigan and a Mara (transported from Eastern Europe). Can’t remember if anyone ever made it home.

    Thanks for all the suggestions – I have missed c30 years of commercial development bar a few games of Arkham Horror, thanks to recommendations on this forum, so all ideas warmly received.

    #107858
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Started reading the Laundry Files books I like them so far. Thanks, Guys!

    #107859
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Which one are you on, Kyote?

    A couple of years ago in a sci-fi bookstore in Toronto, I was looking for a new read. The store manager asked what I liked and I replied “The Laundry Files”. She indicated the Rivers of London series to me. They are a good match.

    If you can, start with the second book, however. It is by far the best and you won’t miss a thing.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #107861
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    By far my favorite Laundry quote:

    “Don’t mess in the affairs of the Elder Gods, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #107862
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I have book 3 The Fuller Memorandum. The library didn’t have the first 2.

    #107863
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Remind me on Facebook tomorrow. I can get you those first two books very easily.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #107877
    Fredd Bloggs
    Participant

    I like his boss, the deeply scary sorcerer!

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