RPPR Episode 116: LARPing Quietly In Your Head

heisteryNews: The Fan Creation page on RPPR Actual Play is online. The handouts for Boiling Point are available for download if you need to print them out. Red Markets is in alpha playtesting and you can help. Read this thread for more info.

Synopsis: At a certain point, most gamers will start looking at places they visit or learn about and daydream about what kind of game could be set in that place. Caleb and I discuss how we look at spaces we learn about and incorporate them into games. From our regular haunts to places we only read about, there are many ways to look at interesting places and integrate them into a game. It happens in video games all the time – this picture shows the Freer Gallery of Art vs the Diamond Heist in Payday 2. Tom is not in this episode, so no letter, but we do have shout outs and anecdotes.

Shout Outs

Song: ?? by 2 8 1 4

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  1. Aryan-nid…totally appearing in my next Monster of the Week session! Works perfectly!

  2. gahhh! I didn’t know Caleb was writing what he knew! we’ve gotten windows on his window on American poverty already, which he’s been underlining with magnificent daggers ever since he started talking about Red Markets. but I didn’t realize that Lover in the Ice was both about American poverty AND some REAL PERSON CRAZYFUCK JOURNALIST? I’d say my mind doesn’t get blowner but I bet next week we’ll hear about how Know Evil was a project you eavesdropped on from the biotech lab next door in grad school

  3. Author

    Ayranid actually was a Base Raiders villain in Bayou Beatdown first before he was a gun dealer in Call of Cthulhu.

  4. Great episode guys! Definitely got me thinking, especially now that my job has me traveling. Plenty of hotels and Best Buys to draw inspiration from, along with any more exciting sites I come across.

  5. Great now i need to go through my local hospital and map it out for a dungeon. it’s a “small” local hospital that blossomed over the course of +30 years and has had CONTINUOUS construction adding on for at least +20 of that.

    New Dungeon…or Red Markets Colony

  6. also i have a thought for red markets game/campaign.
    Disney Land!

  7. I think vaporwave would be great fodder for Unknown Armies. A small cabal on the internet that creates vaporwave that can open doors to extra-dimensional spaces or simulate drugs.

    They attempt to hack their way to power with 80s nostalgia and mashing up obscure tracks on outdated equipment in the hope that they can ascend to the invisible clergy.

  8. Like crawlkill, I’m surprised by the writer in Lover in the Ice being based on an actual writer. He was such an excellent Lovecraftian protagonist and I thought the description of the mountains of legal pads describing this crazy story was especially vivid; I guess now we know why.

    For places, I think the economy of drawing on everyday places and pulling out the most evocative (or potentially horrifying) elements was very helpful. Picturing a place you’ve been or researched enough makes scenes there feel much more grounded.

    Oddly, the Randian paradise of servants toiling around you while you take in splendors shows up in an old Jack Vance story, the Eyes of the Overworld.

    The descriptions of vaporwave remind me of how I heard Leyland Kirby (The Future is Not What it Was) described on the somethingawful forurms: the world has ended and you’re on top of a building by yourself with a ragged blanket. A bit pretentious for sure. But I get a kick out of it and it’ll be good reading music so thanks for the link.

    I also got a copy of Cthulhu’s Vault from the kickstarter and had a similar experience. We had better luck with the card bonuses (with four people playing) but misread the rules so the Old One didn’t come out until we were out of cards, too.

    At that point it killed us all in, I think, three rounds? Yig has an ability that can kill multiple investigators in a round if they roll poorly. While very in-genre, we were left wondering if the Old Ones are even possible to defeat.

    While the art was good and the story portion was fun, the end battle mechanics felt like an entirely different game that was stapled onto the collaborative story. I’d definitely agree overall; there’s some neat ideas in there but it needed a lot more playtesting.

  9. Cool episode. What does Caleb say at 62:25 during the discussion of vaporwave? It sounds like “Come Trues” or something.

  10. Ah, right, that guy! But gee, now I’m thinking of what “Come trues” might be…

    Tomsawyer: that frickin’ UC Davis building puts the Engineering building at the University of Missouri to shame — though our local maze building has the added charm of containing basement high tech labs and an actual, classified US military installation accessible only via keypad-locked elevator (it’s right above the library).

    Speaking of the varied architecture on college campuses, here’s an idea for a Ruin game: each building on campus projects a different psychic field on its inhabitants based on its style and purpose, molding them into its idea of the perfect university environment. For example, the neogothic library overwhelms people with an urge to conduct deep scholastic research on meaningless esoterica, the modernist engineering building compels them to construct elaborate and dangerous mechanisms, the sleazy pseudoclassical frat house absorbs them into a Greco-Roman orgy of booze and drugs, the smooth glass health center makes them want to exercise themselves into perfect physical specimens, etc. The PCs have to figure out a way to work out the different influences, maybe combining together artifacts from the different buildings to resolve the competition and return the campus to normal.

  11. Hey, as the player that in the online game that came up with the plan to use Arachnobob’s muscle to get to the murder hobo bounties, I’ll stand by my hopelessly illegal plan. We were told REPEATEDLY they bought a LOT of weapons. We needed more meat shields, damnit!

    But yeah, simply calling the detective instead of forming a incredibly stupid plan to have pretend to have a crappy car breakdown in front of a METH LAB WITH GUARDS would have been. . . more efficient, I suppose.

    Great episode about constantly looking around to find things to implement in games. Scary ass dive bars are full of possibilities. This is especially good in fantasy games, wherein the players head to a tavern, but don’t specify where or how they go to a tavern, so when they end up in a fantasy hole-in-the-wall full of magical substance abuse and the fantasy equivalent of the Cosby Cocktail (Quaaludes + Cheap Wine!) and get slipped a rufie by a cultist and wake up naked in a the sewers with a branding on their ass, they have no reason to complain about their luck.

  12. @PaulyMuttonchops

    All in all it worked out though, and I walked away as the only one alive with most of the bounty!

  13. The Cthulhu Vault game sounds a bit like two other fun storytelling board games Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island & Tales of the Arabian Nights so I’ll have to check it out hopefully when it’s a little more tested. Thanks Ross for that info on that game.

  14. Western Kansas…After driving through it en route to our new abode, I am of the opinion that, although it would not work for a Cthulu game, it would be perfect for a Dying and/or Dead Earth scenario.

    Western Kansas…It does for wheat and sunflowers what Lawrence of Arabia did for sand.

  15. @darren t. – I wouldn’t say Cthulhu’s Vault plays too much like Tales of the Arabian Nights, if that’s the one with the big book of story stuff you read to each other. Cthulhu’s Vault is much more freeform in the story phase.

  16. Caleb was talking about floor plans for a nursing home, did he have a particular example of it? id like to see exactly what hes talking about?

  17. @Tomsawyer That building is amazing. Looks like it was made to be a citadel, barricade the first few windows and it would be impossible to take intact without insane losses. A perfect red markets too i think. (as long as those holding had the building plans or knew its layout well enough.

  18. That isolated Alaskan town would also be a cool setup for a Bioshock-y game.

  19. You know, all you have to do to build a memory palace from these imaginary spaces is imagine the things you wish to remember at each particular spot.

    Just watch out for the blue man.

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