Sunday, August 7, 2011
Logan's Run--A Post Apocalyptic Setting...Sort Of.
When it comes to role playing games, fantasy and swords and sorcery is my cup of tea...the one exception being post apocalyptic themes.
The Book of Eli, the Planet of the Apes, Road warrior, etc....these are great stories and films and also, in my opinion, great settings for games.
Logans Run (1976) is one of those films that stuck in my consciousness as a kid. I was five years old when the movie was released and have vague memories of watching it with my parents. There were some notable scenes and concepts that stuck in my memory and I've always remembered it but never watched it again until this week.
I am glad I did.
This is a solid little film. It has some interesting sets, a plausible and frightening plot premise, very good acting, and the theme that has always interested me the most.....Man vs. the State.
It also has very sexy female lead who poses for some incredible shots during the film--but of course, that is not why I like it so much....
In a futuristic society, population is controlled in a vast domed city by killing off everyone at 30 years of age. Your age is revealed to you by the Life Clocks which cause a crystal set within your palm to glow with an age-specific color. You don't have to work much--the city is controlled by servo-mechanisms that cater to your every pleasure and whim. The only police are called Sandmen--they are there to make sure every one submits to the policy of voluntary termination. When you are to be terminated, you go to a device called the Carousel--a select few are spared termination and are "Reborn" at the dictates of random determination.
The catch is that some people resist the policy.
These are called "Runners". Runners attempt to flee the city to the near mythic world outside the domes. They are hunted down and killed by the Sandmen.
A Sandman named Logan Five is given an assignment to pretend to be a Runner and infiltrate the Runner underground system and find a legendary place called "Sanctuary" , the place of Refuge all Runners seek outside the Domes. He is accompanied by a female Runner named Jessica Six who seems to have feelings for him. Logan receives information that leads him to believe that the idea of being "Reborn" on the Carousel may be a myth created by whoever it is that actually runs Society. The movie tales off from there and I won't spoil it for you.
I will say that the world outside the domes is a world in ruins-- a world which is for all intents and purposes "post apocalyptic", although the cities were not destroyed by any stellar or thermonuclear disaster but were apparently simply abandoned, falling into ruins through simple neglect rather than any cataclysmic events. There are implications that ecological disasters occurred, notably shortages in animal food supplies due to unspecified environmental changes.
This would be an interesting premise for a role playing game, if not for an entire campaign then perhaps for a few sessions. I possess the boxed set of the Post Apoc game from the eighties called Aftermath which allows the GM to choose from a variety of "Endtime" scenarios provided or to create his or her own. Logan's Run is a simple and uncomplicated possibility for such a setting.
If you have never seen the film, I heartily recommend it. It did not receive highly favorable reviews from mainstream critics but did receive numerous awards from science fiction communities, spawned a very short lived comic series, and a few seasons of a TV series by the same name.
My take: good stuff for entertainment purposes or for a good watch...and thought provoking as well. The best sci fi hits a little close to home and has shades of horror film...Logan's Run does this nicely.