Skip to content

The Failure of Monte Cristo

Dave wants to run a campaign titled “Bastards,” for the PCs will be bastards in more than one sense: cut off from (what they consider) their rightful respective inheritances, and willing to sink to extreme and contemptible methods to secure them again.

If we can really stick to our resolve, it should stretch our boundaries, which I feel need some stretching. Still, I worry; neither subtlety nor pathology come naturally to me as a player. So I’m going to turn to books and movies to help get me into the appropriate frame of mind, beginning with The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m about a third of the way through the tale of elaborate vengeance, and it’s not proving very satisfactory. I’d expected a blackhearted tale; instead, I get a lighthearted adventure.

Oh, the vengeance is there—or will be, I presume—but events conspire to make everything easy. The implausible coincidences don’t end with Dantés inheriting a vast buried treasure to accompany his escape from prison; they continue to pop up like coins for the bouncing Mario brothers. Everyone involved in his vengeance has met everyone else, across national boundaries and social strata, and in a way that none knows the significance of the tales they tell one another. And tell one another they must, for they share their darkest secrets with the mysterious Count no more than two minutes after introduction. Anyone with an honest face, it seems. The language doesn’t match the theme, either. There’s no brooding, no anguish; merely rapid, even flippant, commitments to undying love or enmity, often on flimsy grounds.

The celebrated novel could make a fine resource for a GM, suggesting how to keep the pace of a tale of vengeance lively. For a player on a crash course in playing nasty, it’s a failure.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *