Voting Your Way To A Better Role-Playing Experience: 5 Reasons Why An Election Should Be Part Of Your Next Campaign
* High Level Games does not take political positions, we take funny ones. This is meant to be funny. Just sayin'. -VP Quinn
Jingles, cheer and joy will soon be upon us once again, and with them, the sheer happiness, mutual respect and thoughtfulness of the election season. One of those statements is sarcastic.
While the entire world is waiting with bated breath to see what lies in store for the political landscape as a whole over the coming year y, some of us like to approach what is certainly a grave business... With a not so grave tone (back in your hole, you bloody ghoul!). As Heath Ledger so adequately put it, why so serious?
The spirit of debating, scheming, undermining, feces-hurling and posturing exercises could very well translate into our favourite gaming environment. To that end, we will regale you with a short list of great things you can get out of organising an election of in your next campaign, while vehemently denying we had any sort of extramarital relationships with that particular individual.
Whether your players will be actively running for office, running a campaign, or just aiding a candidate on the side, the possibilities here are endless, bound to birth a few twists and turns, and definitely prone to uncovering a lot of dirt on the front runners...
As the electorate would say, impeach it, brother!
1. Them's be Lovin' yer Speakable Skillses!
Nothing can get your creative speech juices flowing faster than having to go against someone else running for a position… say... mayor. That position can apply to more settings, so let's go with it.
You'd be addressing your constituency on a constant basis, dealing with issues that arise during the campaign, unforeseen situations, and the odd monkey wrench nobody would even waste time preparing for.
You don't even have to be the one that's running... Maybe someone asks you for advice/help thanks to your extensive wisdom on the matter of rampant wererats in the hillsides of Nothalapagus. Maybe you come across an election and feel the urge to get vocally involved.
Maybe you're just good at making banners?
Maybe it's Maybelline.
2. The Thrill of the Hunt...
Dirty deeds, skeletons in closets (sometimes actual skeletons in peoples' closets), buried secrets (or skeletons), all of these can surface if you were to organise an investigation into an opponent for that high-prised General Assembly position...
The amount of shenanigans, quirks and downright weird events that can result from such an endeavour make my twisted little mind jump for joy... Which in turn is giving me a headache.
Seriously now, how cool would it be to discover that the current and running-for-a-second-term mayor's taxidermy hobby also extends to a rather 'passionate' relationship with their trophies?
Talk about flogging a dead horse...
3. Diversity, Thy Name is Politics!
Modern-day politicals may seem cut from the same mold, but certain differing personalities arise once in a while, and that's a breath of fresh air. Which would become a breadth of fresh air in a role-playing campaign since GM wants important characters to have some memorable attribute.
Thankfully, due to the very nature of the game, these attributes can transcend normalcy and you can end up with a sentient platypus standing up for pachyderms' rights against a licensed hunter.
The platypus is also a mage that dabbles in necromancy, and his favorite target are hunters who he kills before bringing them back as thralls. He's also got a lisp and loves collecting unique headdresses which he wears to each gathering.
The hunter is in cahoots with the taxidermy-afficionate mayor.
4. Mark-My-Words-Age Galore
Never has so much infinitely quotable material been owed by so many to so few. I'm coining that phrase. It's mine, I tell ya!
From 'the bastard brat of a Scotch peddler' or 'the candle in that great turnip has gone out', through 'a lot of our imports come from other countries' to 'I will build a wall', history has taught us that even the weakest of jokes/insults coming from people in high places can turn them into one-liner gold.
Imagine, if you will, how far one could go inside a fantasy/cyberpunk/sci-fi setting with well-defined social norms and discriminations, hatred and bigotry, those 'above' looking down on the 'lesser' people (dwarves, mainly), and the odd maniacal megalomaniac who just wants to build a wall to solve everything.
"But sir, the rats are flowing into the city from below it..."
"Then build the wall lying down, dammit!"
5. Victory in Death
We all have that one candidate/political figure/outright ass we'd really like to gouge the eyes from, beat over the head with their own skull and then feed them to themselves one tiny morsel at a time... In no particular order.
While the oh-so-annoying laws that govern this big, blue, round bulb of a thing we call a home would prevent us from doing that and enjoying the fact for too long – provided we even got into a position where we'd be able to perform such a wonderful feat of justice in the first place – fiction is something entirely different.
It's true there may be repercussions there as well, but those are easily mitigated by a lucky dice roll, a well-placed bribe, or the complete relocation to the nearest neighbouring kingdom and the pledge of allegiance to its king.
Let's face it: could you think of a better final debate between the front-runners than an all-out no-holds-barred battle royale? In a pool of piranhas? Inside a lion's cage? Surrounded by fire? Suspended high in mid-air by the league of varyingly-intoxicated monks that may or may not be able to sustain their spell until the end of it all so there's always the risk of the election process literally crashing down to smithereens?
No. No you couldn't.
Fox News, make it happen!
Wildly rampant as it is, I hope you've enjoyed this short take on what a satisfying election with a side of (literally) bruised egos could yield were it to be done within the confines of tabletop role-playing.
I'm sure there are plenty more examples and variations, so don't be shy to share your opinions on how to best serve rotten political bastard stew at noon down in the comments.
And be sure to make it juicy!
Writer, gamer, and - provided he's got the time for it - loving husband, Costin does not rule out sacrifices to the Great Old Ones in order to get into the gaming industry. He's been role-playing for the better part of 6 years, but has been a joker, gamer and storyteller for as long as he can remember.
His greatest pride is once improvising a 4-way argument between a grave digger, a dyslexic man, an adopted child and a sheep, all by himself. That moment is also the closest he's ever come to giving himself a role-playing aneurysm... thus far.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.