The Slayerbot Series: Concept

         The defining character of the campaign is Barbara Dixon, a girl from 1959 reincarnated by accident into an android body. In her time, she was a Slayer who was contacted by a Watcher but killed early in her career. The android body is a human-looking robot (like "Ted" or Warren's androids from the Buffy series) built by Johnny Archer, a boy genius who found secret correspondence from the 50's as his guide. Johnny lives in Santa Cruz in Northern California.

         The concept is basically a good 1950's Jersey girl who finds herself in a robot body in a town of tatooed weirdos, vegetarians, and worse -- and those are the normal citizens (!). My idea is a series similar to Buffy, but drawing more on 1950's sci-fi horror films (like "Them!" or "The Thing From Outer Space") and less on the classic vampire/werewolf flicks. It would have less angst, and more fish-out-of-water comedy.

         As a hypothetical campaign, the central plot device is Barb as the fish out of water: a good girl from the 1950's trying to fit into 2000's Santa Cruz as well as being a Slayer reincarnated in a robot body. The others are on her side, but while generally well intentioned they confuse her horribly. Johnny is a nerd who constantly speaks in modern techno-babble, then there's Tori with more piercings than a seive, the New Agey Ashley, the pot-smoking surfer dude Owen, and the psycho theater geek Max (with due nods to Rushmore). I originally hadn't defined relationships among the PCs, instead leaving that up to the players. However, I added relationship notes for the second event.


GMing Style

         This pseudo-campaign was used as my first test of the Buffy system, and since has been informed by playing and GMing a more long-term Buffy campaign (Silicon Valley Slayage). My modus operandi is to have a thin wrapper plot, which largely amounts to a symbolic bad guy of some sort -- and then give the players a lot of leeway in dealing with it.

         For a convention game, I find that having obvious character types and a known genre pattern is extremely helpful. The key of running this game is having everyone quickly get into their characters. Moreso than the GM, the players are the ones who themselves dominate visible parts of the game. I see a large part of my job as getting them on the same page and interacting.

         One of the tricky parts has been getting players to use their Drama Points for things like Plot Twists. Still, the action has been pretty brisk so I think it's gone pretty well overall. I continue to work on improving the character sheets.


Game As Television

         I bought the Buffy RPG in the summer of 2002, concurrent with the Season 7 of Buffy (i.e. Caleb vs. potentials) and Season 4 of Angel (i.e. The Beast and Jasmine vs. the World). Thus, I originally pictured this as a spinoff whose first season would run concurrent with Buffy Season 7. Since this was prior to the series finale, I looked for odd concepts to have a Slayer without stretching canon too far -- hence the robot body. At the same time, I wanted a different flavor.

         Like early Buffy, this is very much about high school. It's not a gritty realistic drama, but a comedy that plays with real issues in a light-hearted way. However, this is less vanilla than Buffy's high school -- featuring more prominently topics like drug use, homosexuality, and so forth. I suppose one would see it as more of an HBO series than mainstream.

 


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John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Wed Aug 24 12:39:39 2005