The Island of Doctor Moreau - Q12: Gaming

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“It would be impossible for me to describe these Beast People in detail”

The scenario presented in the book seems eminently adventurous. Can you think of a use in gaming? Are there any games that capture the themes? Would you ever adapt the island to another setting? Uplifted animals are common in SF gaming these days, but are are they just anthropomorphic people, or are the consequences of uplifting ever examined in depth?

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    One decent treatment of uplifted animals is the supplement Ancient Echoes for the Blue Planet game, that deals with uplifted cetaceans in detail. (I think it's a treatment that gives a somewhat idealistic view of cetes, but that's just me). There's also Trollpak for RuneQuest, but the trolls are mostly thuggish humans.

    The book does a good job of presenting the beast-folk as being full characters, rather than just monsters to be fought or avoided. That's something worth incorporating into gaming, I think.

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    I wouldn't use it. My players would try to help the animal folk when all they really want to do is eat each other.

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    My first thought was that this could more or less be lifted wholesale into Glorantha, and perhaps set in the Eastern Isles. "The Island of Duck Tomoro" - a place run by Tomoro the duck, who purchases human prisoners and exiles to bring them to the island where he can experiment with turning them into ducks. You could have all kinds of fun with that, surely.

    There are lots of themes:
    Unwholesome experiments performed for 'a greater good'.
    Trying to discover the secrets of the gods - in this case, the creation of humankind. Very reminiscent of the Tower of Babel story.
    The nobility of beasts - or at least the anthropomorphizing of them. What's that old story about the fox ferrying the snake across the water when the snake bites it? Sinking, the fox asks why, and the snake says "what did you expect - I'm a snake!" So do we anthropomorphize, or uplift, beasts because we need to re-make them in our own image. But they are beasts - will they not bite us? Lots of SF settings have uplifted animals, but I'm not sure any of them examines the 'why' of uplifting, or the dangers involved, or even whether it's morally justifiable from the animal's perspective.

    There's also the classic 'stranded on an island' theme. Here the castaway is surrounded by dangers, seemingly only held at bay by the force of one man - a god on the island. What if that 'god' then dies? You could apply this to a lot of settings - a spaceship on the brink of mutiny, or a submarine like The Nautilus, the island of King Kong where Kong gets killed.

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    @Apocryphal said:
    My first thought was that this could more or less be lifted wholesale into Glorantha, and perhaps set in the Eastern Isles. "The Island of Duck Tomoro" - a place run by Tomoro the duck, who purchases human prisoners and exiles to bring them to the island where he can experiment with turning them into ducks. You could have all kinds of fun with that, surely.

    There's the Stitched Zoo from the Second Age of Glorantha, which is remembered with revulsion.

    There are lots of themes:
    Unwholesome experiments performed for 'a greater good'.

    Similarly, there's the eugenics angle. Rather than creating humans from animals, creating better humans to rule over us all. It also fits into transhumanism, itself perhaps the "man as god" story told through a modern SF lens.

    There's also the classic 'stranded on an island' theme. Here the castaway is surrounded by dangers, seemingly only held at bay by the force of one man - a god on the island. What if that 'god' then dies? You could apply this to a lot of settings - a spaceship on the brink of mutiny, or a submarine like The Nautilus, the island of King Kong where Kong gets killed.

    Does this fit with The Man Who Would be King? The natives are held to be little better than beasts, easily manipulated by the European soldiers.

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