Edge of Inspiration: Zero To Hero

Edge of Tomorrow not only has a great soundtrack, but elsewhere I reviewed the movie and gave it a pretty good rating. What more is there to say about it? What else, but how it can inspire your role-playing games.

There are a bunch of elements to Edge of Tomorrow and not all of them are going to work in your game. The first problems is taking the main character and changing him into a group of characters. Changing a main character into a group of characters isn’t difficult if the character has multiple facets – I like to use James Bond as an example. For Bond, he’s an expert, a talker, a tech, a gunner, and a fighter all rolled into one.* If you divide him up into his components, you have a good PC group with five different niches.

The character of “Cage” in Edge of Tomorrow really only has the talker part of that. He grows into a gunner and a fighter, but that is the point of the movie – his character arc to becoming a warrior in order to save the world. There is no point in dividing Cage up into multiple characters except you get multiple characters who are emphatically not soldiers.

And that can work. It’s a tough sell unless you do “fate” and “destiny” in your game – as these four or five characters, all of whom are not warriors, are destined to become warriors or otherwise save the world.

If that is all you are taking out of the movie, I think that works. Each of those characters can have a different skill which contributes to the group’s success. Cage’s growth isn’t just in skill – he learns to be selfless. This could be the crux of the change for the PCs. Instead of the talker becoming a warrior, the talker comes to believe in the cause, to be willing to place the community/nation/people/world before his or her own interests and then uses talk to move the plan closer to success. The group does not need to learn skills to succeed, they need to gain the will or interest to apply themselves to the mission.

The other characters can each have their own hurdles to overcome. If you are using more than just that character arc, the time travel aspect (the Groundhog Day part) could be how they learn, just as it is for Cage. It might not be the constant repetition of activities that teaches them, as it was for Cage, but seeing the results if they don’t band together, seeing what happens if they don’t embrace the cause. They might even be right to be cynical or otherwise justified in their previous disinterest, but the destruction of the status quo carries with it other consequences for the innocent the PCs aren’t willing to accept.

This is just one aspect of the movie that can help inspire your games, and there are others.

But that’s another story . . . or article.

* I’m using expert as a term for social sciences and current affairs knowledge as opposed to the tech, who deals with technology, while gunner is a warrior with weapons and fighter is a hand-to-hand combatant.

You can read more about Edge of Tomorrow at Wikipedia and IMDB.

You can read my review of Edge of Tomorrow here.

You find more Edge of Inspiration articles here.

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