Screenwriters Should Run Every Script As An Role-Playing Game Before Production

It might cut down on some of the colossal plot holes, stupid characters and bad “heroic plans.”  I have nothing against screenwriters per se, but they simply turn out so much crap that would never pass muster on a game table.  Their characters have the same IQ as the overpaid actors portraying them, the monsters have glaring, but never exploited weaknesses and the character’s tactics are bad. Bad like “Star Trek: Enterprise” bad. Give it up you Hollywood vermin, let the real experts on adventure work your script over and get it right! How may villains did you kill last year? What was that? None, you say? Pathetic. I killed so many orcs, dragons and Evil Overlords in the past year that I developed “adventurer’s elbow” from all of the dice throwing.

Screenwriters need to face reality. Gamers have a vested interested in their character’s survival and have the creativity to make a good story work.   They are the ultimate test of  common sense, as applied to your screenplay. There are few “rpg-like” movies and TV shows that would not benefit from a gamer makeover.

I will use the BBC show “Primeval” as my whipping boy for this post.  Not a great show, but it will do as an example. For the uninformed, the show’s premise is rips in time occasionally dump dinosaurs or future beasties into our current time. Our heroes have to deal with them with a minimum of fuss and bloodshed. Ignoring the issue of the “team” only have 5 people when it should be a battalion of Navy Seals (oops, BBC show. I should say “SAS”), due to the usual BBC budgetary limitations, lets move on to their number one non-human nemesis, the “future predator.”

Think large, man-bat with no wings and lots of teeth. Our heroes barely escape these creatures on a number of occasions by the skin of their porcelain veneers. It is all very dramatic and involves lots of running and some cost-effective gunfire(BBC remember).  Time to remove the actors and drop in some gamers.  My first question when I saw this critter was “why are they not blinding it?” I think a nice 200 decibel airhorn blast would do nicely, but an LRAD is just  cool.  Hard for Mr. future predator to hunt when he is deaf. I live to fight another day and the bad guy loses. This solution took me all of 30 seconds to come up with and yet the characters soldier on with the same ineffective tactics. Did the writer think everyone watching would not notice or did he just not think about it. Either way, one decent gaming session and the problem is obvious. At the end of the second combat round the critter is either dead or captured is a signal you need to make a change. Either fix it (the beastie has ear flaps) or scrap the critter for something less vulnerable (it hunts with magic widget waves that we cannot see or hear).

I know this rant will fall on deaf ears (sorry, I could not resist) in the entertainment community, but there is a serious thought peeking through in this rant. I am weary of all the stupidity in plots. I spend many hours every month thinking of creative and original ways to escape impossible situations and defeat the villain. It would be nice if  the media I consume did the same.

End of rant.

Trask, The Last Tyromancer



Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.