zigguratbuilder (zigguratbuilder) wrote,
zigguratbuilder
zigguratbuilder

Andy's TORG

So, my old favorite (from 1988 to 1995) West End Games, makers of the original Star Wars d6 system (rights no longer owned), as well as others like the classic Paranoia game (rights no longer owned), Masterbook, Shatterzone, Necroscope (rights no longer owned), Tank Girl (rights no longer owned), and others, is for sale, with all its properties up for grabs.

I'm thinking of making a play for TORG. I'd spend, hmmm. $3,000 for the license. Maybe $4,000 if a friend chips in some.

Here's what I'd do with it:

1) Open the system.  I'd take the TORG rulebook/setting book reprint (the hardcover that came out a year or two ago), and turn it into a download, for perhaps $5.00. I'd create a forum for online discussion and development of the original system.

And on the side, I'd allow for people to take their favorite free system or homebrew, and create support products for it. If someone wants to create a Savage Worlds-based PDF that takes the TORG system and translates it into that system, then go for it. They can even sell it if they want (that is, if the SW license permits).  RISUS conversions, The Shadow of Yesterday conversions, homebrew conversions, whatever people want to play the game of TORG with, they can. They can even put their love into it, and give it to others (or sell it, if they put that much work into it and feel like they deserve a few bucks for their efforts). Let people do something creative with the ruleset more than squabble over rules interpretations (the state of the old TORG mailing list, back in the 90s). And of course, that also includes letting people take the original rules and add their own stuff to it. New spells for Nile Engineer-Mages, new katana rules for Nippon Tech, etc.

2) Open the setting. I'd probably not allow people to copy-paste text from the original TORG worldbooks. But I would let people write their own Cosm Guides. Or write their own setting material based on the established material (a setting within the Cyberpapacy; a guide to adventures within the Living Land; some new horrors for Orrorsh, coupled with a fake diary of the Gaunt Man; a remaking of Nippon Tech more in line with 2000-era social thought: Number Whatshisface is replaced by a computer-generated pop idol, controlled by a mysterious cult that operates out of the 2ch message boards, etc). Let people design their own setting material.

3) Open the game. Fan-created player's guides. Fan-created scenarios. That sort of thing. And again, encourage a Comiket/Doujin Manga style social structure of doing it with friends and posting it online, or charging $2-5 for their efforts. With no restrictions of what is produced.

And make sure the game never dies.  If I get sick of my efforts, then I turn the game into a 100% Creative Commons endeavor. In 100 years, we'll see 5 people in some corner of the Earth getting together weekly to play Torg with the original rules (perhaps as a kitch novelty, but still).

Oh, what's in it for me? Aside from the 100 or so copies of the $5 PDF I can probably expect to sell in its lifetime, I'd also put together a reimagined TORG setting guide with the help of friends, get some hot manga drawings from my Japanese connections (some of my friends used to write original TORG material in Japanese back in the 90s when it was popular over there), and bring the game screaming into Two Decades Later. I figure with one reimagined setting book with light rules, and perhaps 1-2 supplements, I could recoup the $3K on a 200-copy print run of each. But I think it'd be worth it to keep the game alive, as it's been basically entombed since its inception, some 18 years ago.

Anyway, that's what I would do with TORG.
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