Sunday, November 17, 2013

[Resources] House of Cards

One of the standards of American Television is it's tendency to poach T.V. shows from other countries, often the United Kingdom.

Before the House of Cards (U.S. series, 2013), there was the U.K. version (1990). While I haven't seen the U.S. show (I have it added to my Netflix queue), the British show is going to be very hard to beat.

Francis Urquhart (played with distinction and style by the late Ian Richardson) is the Conservative Party's Chief Whip, a thoroughly amoral character that is an excellent template for villainy. Urquhart spends the miniseries wheeling and dealing all the way into 10 Downing Street to become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

No deal is too low for Francis–he gleefully blackmails other politicians, leaks sensitive information to the press, manipulates a young journalist into an illicit affair, murders one of his drug-addicted underlings with delight, remove rivals to the PM's office and ..., well, I don't want to give all of his crimes away.

But he's so likeable! He frequently breaks the fourth wall by talking directly to the audience in a tongue-in-cheek manner and has his own, unique catch-phrase "You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment" that he uses with aplomb.

Much like the character of Harry Lime that I wrote about in 2011, Francis Urquhart is another amoral archetype that a GM would be crazy to omit from their NPC toolbox.

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