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Back to the 80s

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
If you did a modern campaign set in the 80s what would be your take on it and which system would you use?

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Sithlord

Adventurer
I would probably focus on movies like nightmare on elm street and hellraiser. Even though it’s a little later I may also borrow ideas from Dresden files. If I wanted to use a different magic system i would use the classes and magic system out of the hellboy 5E game. But I like the full on spellcasters like d&d 5E. I hate playing in games where they nerf magic.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
If you did a modern campaign set in the 80s what would be your take on it and which system would you use?

My first instinct would be to do something with Miami Vice.
My second instinct would be to something for ridiculous 80s action movies (Schwarzenegger/Stallone- Commando as a template).

But do you know what? I think I'd merge function and form, and dredge up the old TSR-era Top Secret for some cold-war era highjinx. Or, maybe for a twist, merge the 80s TSR-era ruleset and use aspects of the 80s spoof-era movie, Top Secret!

Listen to me, Hillary. I'm not the first guy who fell in love with a woman that he met at a restaurant who turned out to be the daughter of a kidnapped scientist, only to lose her to her childhood lover who she last saw on a deserted island, who then turned out fifteen years later to be the leader of the French underground.

Yeah, that's what I would do. Top Secret to Top Secret! There is sauerkraut in my lederhosen.
 


Yeah, I'd second Top Secret, though I might use the more recent NWO ruleset, which is super-elegant and so easy to learn.

I've been on a Miami Vice kick lately, too - they're all on STARZ, so I could get behind that. I also might want to do something inspired by Roger Moore-era Bond and Schwarzenegger action movies - which pretty much describes how I ran Top Secret at the time.

Yeah, that's what I would do. Top Secret to Top Secret! There is sauerkraut in my lederhosen.

Alternately, if I wanted to do something that inserted more hi-tech/fantastical elements into the 80s, I'd use Fantasy AGE + Titansgrave or Shadowrun Anarchy.
 



Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Yeah, I'd second Top Secret, though I might use the more recent NWO ruleset, which is super-elegant and so easy to learn.

I've been on a Miami Vice kick lately, too - they're all on STARZ, so I could get behind that. I also might want to do something inspired by Roger Moore-era Bond and Schwarzenegger action movies - which pretty much describes how I ran Top Secret at the time.



Alternately, if I wanted to do something that inserted more hi-tech/fantastical elements into the 80s, I'd use Fantasy AGE + Titansgrave or Shadowrun Anarchy.

So the other thing is if you were going Miami Vice (or even Top Secret), you could start with the Jan Hammer, but then play some more modern bands that are so 80s. Desire/Chromatics, or Mitch Murder would work great in the background.
 


MGibster

Legend
I've thought of running campaigns set in the 80s for Vampire and Delta Green. Honestly, I'd probably play things straight rather than create a 1980s parody pastiche. Actually, that part about not creating a 1980s parody pastiche is partly a lie. In my Deadlands Hell on Earth campaign I had the players travel from the 2080s to the 1980s in a hot tub time machine. But other than that I pretty much played the 1980s straight. I mean, if you can count getting into a gunfight with muscle bound mooks at Muscle Beach to be playing things straight.
 

There's a ton of Synthwave that would fit perfectly. Some of that stuff is practically made for RPG background music.

So the other thing is if you were going Miami Vice (or even Top Secret), you could start with the Jan Hammer, but then play some more modern bands that are so 80s. Desire/Chromatics, or Mitch Murder would work great in the background.
 

MattW

Explorer
Inspiration depends on what amuses your players. If they want complex interaction, then it has to be inspired by Soap Operas like "Dynasty", "Dallas", and their rivals. On the other hand, if they want ACTION, you can't go far wrong with "The A Team", "Starsky & Hutch" or "Charlie's Angels" (and let's not forget "Knight Rider" or "Magnum PI").

Non-American sources might include "The New Avengers" or the so-bad-it's-good "Dempsey and Makepeace" (I think you can find both on YouTube).

Although.... I'd really like to play in a Cthulhu game where the players have to deal with the woman from "Murder She Wrote" (Jessica Fletcher).... "Every week she sacrifices someone to her eldritch god and frames some innocent bystander for murder! Every week, I tell you! This maniac must be stopped!"

The chosen system depends on how much realism is wanted. It could be anything from "It came from the Late, Late Show" to GURPS.
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Monster of the Week would be a hoot set the 80's. Spy stuff would also be awesome. I like the 80's tech level for a whole bunch of reasons there.
 

Grendel_Khan

Explorer
Weirdly enough I'm about 8 months into running a campaign set in the 1980s, using Shadowrun 5th edition rules..but minus the cyberware, decking, riggers, etc. Players can't even play non-humans, since it's not actually in that setting, just using the system.

I know, what's left, right? Nothing but lots and lots of magic. Adepts, full magicians, aspected magicians, etc. Probably too many options for magic, honestly, when you include every non-high-tech spell and mentor spirit and quality and adept power from all of the SR5 books. But so far it's been a lot of fun, and stripping away the tech, but leaving the borderline-excessive amount of crunch, makes for an interesting time.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The only tabletop RPG that I set in the 1980s was a one-shot game of Dread that I did for a Halloween party a couple years ago. I chose to set it in the 1980s because I wanted to do a classic "haunted house" story, but I didn't want the players to have access to cell phones, Google, and other Internet technologies.

It was a lot of fun. I might do another one later this year, in fact...
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Weirdly enough I'm about 8 months into running a campaign set in the 1980s, using Shadowrun 5th edition rules..but minus the cyberware, decking, riggers, etc. Players can't even play non-humans, since it's not actually in that setting, just using the system.

I know, what's left, right? Nothing but lots and lots of magic. Adepts, full magicians, aspected magicians, etc. Probably too many options for magic, honestly, when you include every non-high-tech spell and mentor spirit and quality and adept power from all of the SR5 books. But so far it's been a lot of fun, and stripping away the tech, but leaving the borderline-excessive amount of crunch, makes for an interesting time.
You should check out Gnostigmata. There's some cool ideas there for 80's cyberpunk.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Delta Green seems a natural for running some sort of strange 80's game, pull it from Cixin Liu's "Ball Lightning".

Otherwise, maybe a cold war espionage game using Top Secret.
 


MGibster

Legend
Delta Green seems a natural for running some sort of strange 80's game, pull it from Cixin Liu's "Ball Lightning".
I have an entire Delta Green mission revolving around The Alan Parson Project's "Eye in the Sky." Agents keep hearing the song over the radio and on the phone in early 1982 a few months before the song is actually released. Oooooooh, spooky.
 

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