Today’s #RPGaDAY2015 topic has the clunky title Favorite Media You Wish Was an RPG, which really translates to “What thing would you like to have licensed as an RPG?” I sort of answered this last year on day sixteen1 when I went with Crimson Skies. However, recently I’ve been really wanting something set in Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century novels.
I initially resisted getting into the author’s works, primarily because the geekerati2 were heavily pushing the first book, Boneshaker, and it seemed like you had to read it. It’s the hip new thing our nerdy alt-culture embraced! I wound up holding off a year before reading it and man, was I wrong. It was good. Strangely good.
See, when I exhibited at San Diego Comic Con back in 2004, it seemed like zombies were over. There were plenty of zombie things out and it seemed passe. Here we are, more than a decade later, and zombies just won’t die out. Boneshaker came around that time, with a fusion of steampunk and zombies in a walled city filled with toxic gas and it just was plain good. Once Priest went outside those walls to explore her world — more dieselpunk than steam — the series went from good to seriously interesting for me.
The American Civil War had been going on for much longer than in our real history: alt-history, specifically around that war, is something that always fascinated me. I loved looking at what spin Priest put on the political situation. Texas, her own independent power, checking the South and North, occupying New Orleans and controlling the Mississippi River. Mercy working in the Confederate hospital, travelling west across a wartorn countryside. The Pinkertons and their role in the Union. Everything outside the walled city of Seattle would make for a great game.3
Where I’m at now: I’m trudging through The Inexplicables, the penultimate book in the series. Trudging, I say, because it takes us back within the walls of Seattle — to me, the least interesting place in the world she created (I want to go outside!) — and follows a protagonist that, several hundred pages into the book, I still dislike. I’ve actually been skimming the book instead of reading, because I want to get to Fiddlehead, which is supposed to resolve the ongoing war and take place outside, in fresher air.
All while reading the series, I thought how much I wanted to play a game set in the world. However, the series has ended and the author has gone off to other writing endeavors. The time to pick this up as a licensed RPG was three or four years ago.
But I wish someone had.