What is an RPG you would like to see published?
Is there a game that creates gameplay experiences like Oz, Orange is the New Black, or even Prisoner: Cell Block H? Something with the full spectrum of visceral tension and humour that you get across those types of programme?
Hollywood shows me that prison makes for a great sandbox. You’re starting with characters that have an interesting past, and a power and status that is going to motivate them – or at the very least – create conflicts to resolve.
With a largely closed community (especially for inmates) in a well-bounded world space, I can imagine character relationships, networks and antagonisms are going to be amplified. If not amplified, it’s certainly going to be hard to resist or avoid them.
Staff and visitors lend a narrative mechanism to broaden the scope, introduce new twists and external threats and opportunities.
Maybe something like this already exists. Jason Morningstar’s Durance does a great job of taking the idea of 17th century penal colonies and fast forwarding it to futuristic off-world prisons where the harsh environments create more challenges to pile on top of (or rather, shape) the misfortunes of the incarcerated population. It is rolicking, but more Alien 3 than the references above.
When I think about what the playing experience of this (as yet unpublished) game might be like … perhaps it would feel like you start off playing Fiasco, then discover you’re in a game of Hot War, before you are finally taken to the brink in a climax that would be perfectly at home in a game of Unknown Armies. Depending on how long your sentence is, rinse and repeat. Just a little bit more hardened next time.