I've been thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know) about science fiction, specifically about that weird sub-genre blend of surrealism and sci-fi. Watching the trailer for the Zero Theorem
and a Moebius comic-binge got me thinking about how this can be explored through play.
I'm struggling to think of examples, but maybe Eclipse Phase
or Into the Odd
would fit? Can anyone add to the list?
What systems or practices make for a good sensation of the surreal in a sci-fi setting? Whether that's entering "weird space" like in old Star Trek episodes or PCs exploring more metaphysical locations as surreal entities themselves, or some other method.
Is random generation of events and generally obscuring the nature of the game-world from the players an essential part of preserving the mystery of the surreal or can we be more open and definite and say things like "So this is how the Howling plains of Nggul-Tur work" with the expectation that players don't meta-game away the challenge the plains present? Does anyone have any experience of playing in either way?
In terms of system or mechanical considerations. Is surrealness something that is added as "fluff" around a more grounded/trad play procedure, or does anyone have experience of rules that invoke or encourage the weird?
Not terribly certain how I want this discussion to progress, but hopefully we can go over the terminology, get some examples and chat about surrealness in gaming generally.