Sometimes a singular genre, while awesome, feels overdone. Perhaps it’s from the overuse of tropes, or the fact that you’ve played one game too many of that stripe. Familiarity breed complacency, and people fall into behavioral patterns. The GM tends to repeat himself, using old ploys and plot twists that leave the players yawning, or predicting what will happen next.
So what do you do the bring something new to the table?
Well, to some people, the answer is creating a genre mashup. Taking two different genres and blending them together to make something new, and refreshing. Old expectations are upturned, funky combinations discovered, and interest renewed. This is a concept very popular with GURPS players, who can put on a blindfold, and grab two random GURPS books and try to make sense of what they’ve picked out. Sure some combinations might not be readily obvious, but sometimes it’s this element of surprise that can kick-start a campaign.
So, how about giving it a shot? Let’s grab some odd combinations of Genres and see what works:
- Wuxia + Steampunk + Pulp = Wire-Fu martial artists with clockwork body parts and steam-powered Kung Fu fighting atop Airships used by the Western powers who wish to crush China under their boots in 1920′s Shanghai.
- Sword & Sorcery + Modern Day = Cursed by a powerful spell, a group of adventurers are flung into the modern day. Desperate to find a way back to their time, these time-displaced characters must come to terms with all the technological advances of the modern age, while proving that civilization has forgotten what it means to be truly strong.
- Chanbara + Supers = None could tell what happened to trigger an age of heroes in the Sengoku Period, but when Oda Nobunaga struck a deal with strange powers that turned his samurai into bloodthirsty demons, the Samurai of the Warring States Era united, bound together by talents that could only have come from the gods themselves to stop the warlords ambitions.
- Western + Espionage = Union Agents sent South behind Confederate lines to perform various missions, from spying to sabotage for the good of the Union.
There’s bound to be a lot more strange combinations people can come up with when it comes to blending genres. I’d love to hear what other GMs have managed to successfully slap together to form a new campaign. Feel free to add them to the comments below!