The Dream Heroquest of Unknown Kadath 2: The Actors

Phil Nicholls blogs at Tales of a GM, where he writes about narrative gaming, faster prep and more story. He is currently running a HeroQuest Glorantha campaign in a home-brew setting. Phil has written for Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips newsletter and has a selection of self-published pdfs.

This essay is taken from the archives at Tales of a GM.

As noted in the first post in this series, the idea came from other blogs. To recap, the conceit for this article is that I can choose any six people in the world to game with. I can also nominate the dream GM, and determine which system we play.

A Recurring Dream

The previous Dream Heroquest of Kadath involved a generic list of Players. For the second in the series, I chose a group of actors to game with. My original list included three actors, in the shape of Emma Thompson, Viggo Mortenson and Wil Wheaton. Wil made the list more for his Geek credentials than for his acting ability, but this is not to take away from his talent on-screen.

Previous nominees to the Dream Heroquest are not eligible for re-selection, as this would be dull. Instead, I have to choose a fresh list of famous people whom I am only ever going to meet in a Dream.


The Rules of Dreaming

Before delving into the list of Players, I first need a rules system. Despite the name of this series of articles, I do not want to choose my beloved HeroQuest this time. If I cannot choose the same Players again, then it would not be fair to choose the same rules.

So, the name of the series will remain as homage to the great HQ. For this Dream Heroquest, however, I shall choose another Robin D Laws creation: DramaSystem. This narrative game revolves around the relationships between the Heroes. The game needs a lot of improvisation, and as such makes an ideal game to play with a group of actors. Doubtless, it will play out similar to the theatre games with which they will be familiar.


Dream GM: Vin Diesel

Having chosen the rules, I now need a GM. Tempting as it would be to call on Robin D Laws again, this is not allowed under the principles of these articles. Thus, I must designate a new GM. Who better to GM for a group of actors than another actor? Vin is famous for his Fast and Furious films, as well as a strong performance in Saving Private Ryan. He is also famous for being a long-term D&D player, so could cope with running an RPG.

It would be fascinating to see how an actor and screenwriter set up the drama and paced the scenes. This role might have been suited to a director, but I think I would rather see a more consensus-led approach to the game. However, I am sure Vin could switch on his tough guy routine should the Players grow too fractious.


Dream Players

So, with the GM and the rules chosen, it is time to look at the Players for this Actor’s Dream Heroquest. As before, the “rules” of the post are that I have six choices, one of which is to be the GM. Thus, I now have five Players to select to join me on the Dream Heroquest of Unknown Kadath.


Claudia Christian

First choice for Players is Claudia Christian. Claudia has appeared in many roles, but is best known as the fiery Susan Ivanova in Babylon 5.

Babylon 5 is easily my favourite SF show, so it would be great to meet her. I once read an article about Claudia playing Commander Ivanova during a game of the  Babylon 5 RPG published by Mongoose. As to be expected, she was brilliant and stole the show. Thus, she already knows about roleplaying, so would be a great addition to the game. I would love to see her bring another fiery, strong character to the table. It would be quite a challenge for Vin to keep her in check.


Claire Danes

Next up is Claire Danes who first came to my attention in the critically acclaimed TV show My So Called Life. Her Geek-cred comes from brilliant performances in Stardust and Terminator 3.

I love the intensity of her acting. She is very expressive on screen, so I would expect her to produce great drama in the game. Given her previous roles, I can see how Claire would bring emotional conflict to the table, which works brilliantly in DramaSystem.


Natalie Portman

The stunningly intelligent Natalie Portman completes the trio of women at the table. She has a varied resume and shot to fame in the Star Wars Saga trilogy. Her latest work includes the Thor films, but I have chosen her on the back of her intense performance in V for Vendetta.

I am sure Natalie would add depth and insight to the game. Her background suggests she would play a strong, intelligent character. Perhaps someone with a troubled past, ensuring plenty of conflict in the game.


Ian McKellen

The final spots at the table go to two men. The first of which is Ian McKellen. For me he is forever Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings films, but he has had an extensive career ranging from soap operas to regular pantomime roles.

I believe Ian adds a fatherly figure to the game, being supportive of everyone and keeping the story flowing. From his appearances in the Lord of the Rings extras, I sense he is kind and a giving actor. He would be a great asset in an improvisational game such as DramaSystem.


Morgan Freeman

My final choice is for the wonderful Morgan Freeman. He came to prominence in the charming Driving Miss Daisy. I always enjoy watching Morgan, especially in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Shawshank Redemption.

There are many ways in which an actor can establish a presence on screen. Morgan is a prime example of the power of the voice. I just love the sound of his voice and could listen to him read a telephone directory. Thus, Morgan makes it to the table on the basis of his voice. I am sure he would bring a great character to the game, but I just want to listen to him talk.



So, another six choices for a Dream Heroquest. How awesome would this DramaSystem game be? Who are your favourite actors? Which actors would you want to play an RPG with? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy Gaming



For more essays from Phil, and updates about his latest campaign, visit Tales of a GM.


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