Thursday, March 27, 2014

A rose, a key, a door, a revolver (March Madness, Day 27)

27 What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?

Stephen King's Dark Tower novels.

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

How evocative is that? Add in vast tracts of desert, a tough kid from late 70's New York, succubi/incubi, slow mutants, a wise-ass heroin addict, lobstrosities, heroin kingpins, sadomasochistic psychopaths, a multiple personality disorder demure civil rights lawyer/foul-mouthed cracker-hating nymphomaniac, giant cyborg bears, irradiated wastelands, deranged AI trains, The Wizard of Oz, Marvel comics, Star Wars, vampires, an evil organization dedicated to using psychic slaves to destroy the world, robot banditos, references to many of King's earlier and subsequent works, universe-hopping doorways, cthuloid horrors, evil crystal balls, cowboy knights-errant, Randall Flagg, six-guns forged from Excalibur, IT, and at the end of the path, in End World, surrounded by a vast field of roses called Kan'-ka No Rey, that tall black twisting spire, the Dark Tower itself.
An abstract map of a world where time and space have come unglued

Talk about a kitchen sink RPG! It's a Western post-apocalyptic sci fi fantasy horror transdimensional setting.

I had plans way back when (when King was finally finishing up the series) of running it with a mishmash of d20 system source books. These days, if I were to run it, and there wasn't a dedicated game for the setting, I'd run a mishmash of OSR stuff (Labyrinth Lord, Stars Without Number, Go Fer Yer Gun, Mutant Future).

The game could definitely benefit from a dedicated system/rule book. Mr. King, are you reading this? Or your agent? You've successfully marketed the series in book and comic book format, with talk of TV and/or movie deals. How about an RPG?

And really, this seems to me like a great setting for an RPG. Got just about any sort of character concept? Well, there are doors between all sorts of worlds. And the ruined mess that is Mid-World is ripe with adventure.


  1. Yeah, the DT blew me away when it first came out. I think I've only read the first three so I'll have to finish the whole thing at some stage.

  2. I enjoyed the first one. The second and third less so, and I never bothered finishing the series.

  3. I thought the third to be the best in the series, myself, but the first book (the non-revised version) has a weird, disjointed beauty to it.

    The last three books had a very different feel to them, but I did like how he wrapped up the series. Plus, there's lots of good ideas for using the world as an RPG setting in all of the books.

  4. I'll second the statement about The Wastelands being my favorite book in the series. I've occasionally wondered myself how to run a Dark Tower RPG, but find endless system mechanics spiraling through my head, causing discomfort only rivaled by listening to a 'thinny' for days on end.

    I think if I were to go through with it I'd try to run something through a timeline of the golden age and eventual fall of Gilead, a la the Great Pendragon Campaign.

    Actually, I could really see the Pendragon system being used for running that type of Dark Tower game. Holy shit.

  5. There is a BRP hack fot it floating around the net.