Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RPG Wish List: Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future

This  introduction will evoke a level of warm nostalgia in a small percentage of males who are now approaching middle age. It was, after all a program that let you shoot real lasers mounted on the Captain Power toys, directly at the TV, aiming for the Bio-Dread’s epilepsy educing flashing chests. Not that this actually did anything, but it gave you the illusion of participating.
It was also a show that introduced a lot of us to the concept of CGI, and post apocalyptic settings for those of us still too young to see The Road Warrior. The setting in modern terms was kind of a Terminator-lite, or possibly a prequalesque Matrix where humanity was fighting a (losing?) battle against Machine Overlords of their own creation that had risen up and squashed us like insects.

Never hugely popular it was cancelled after one season and I was never able to get a hold of any of the toys. Instead I remember building Captain Power ships and Bio-Dreads out of Lego using pictures out of toy catalogues. While disappointing at the time, it was probably better for me in the long run.

As a roleplaying setting it has a lot to offer; ready made archtypes, cool gadgets, formidable bad guys and more than your average world building, thanks primarily to the input of writer Michael J. Strazinski, the man who would go on to create Babylon 5.

This is Pilot. Don't get
too attached.
There has been the suggestion made to bring back Captain Power, turning it into an hour-long drama, ala Battlestar Galactica with lots of heavy emoting and questions about the nature of humanity. This strikes me as a little absurd. Despite the fact that Captain Power was a very rare kid’s show that had a proper story arc, some mild innuendo and swearing (Damn and Hell), and was willing to kill its characters, it was still an extended toy commercial for laser tag action figures and had its hero exclaim, ‘Power On’ to activate his super-suit.

I’m honestly not sure I would actually run this as a stand alone ‘campaign’. But in a fit of nostalgia, I might certainly throw in a few of the fun elements, or create a short adventure based on the synopsis for the unproduced Season 2.

Suggested Supplements
Soldiers of the Future. The Bio-Dread Empire. Eden II.

Suggested Rules
Mutant Future or Gamma World. If you wanted add a little gonzo, RIFTS.

Captain Power on Wiki (with info regarding unproduced second season)

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