Wednesday, February 6, 2013

RPG Wish List: Community the RPG.

RPG Wish List
Movies, Games and Books I wish were available as Roleplaying Games

Community Season 4 starts on Thursday. My personal fear is that with the loss of show creator Dan Harmon it will degrade into simple parody. However, if you are not watching the show, you certainly should be.

But beyond the obvious I believe that like Arrested Development, Community will go down as the defining sitcom of its age. Ignored and ill treated by the network and mainstream audiences who seem to have a never-ending appetite for Reba and Tim Allen, it will live on as a well loved cult classic in people's DVD collections (and torrent file) long after Reba and Tim have moved onto whatever sitcom afterlife is inhabited by Jim Belushi, Kevin James and Alan Thicke.
"You have successfully rubbed your balls on his sword."
What it does better and more consciously than anything since the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons is play with, and deconstruct, genre. It took the concept of a group of characters going back to community college and effortlessly supplanted them into cult films such as 'My Dinner with Andre' and 'Pulp Fiction' (in the same episode) to westerns, conspiracy, horror, documentaries, Anime, Christmas specials, video games and many others. Beyond that is that it is, you know, actually very, very funny.
Computer Annie just killed this humble blacksmith. Before it is over, she will have killed his entire family and burned his business to ashes. See, I told you it was funny!
It even did a fairly passable D&D episode, complete with the pre-generated characters Zipadee Doo, Marrrrrrr, Bing-Bong, Hector the Well-Endowed, Lavernica, Brutalitops, and Kyle; names that I MUST use somewhere. It also features the greatest depiction of in-game nookie ever filmed (mostly because it is Allison Brie doing the miming).

All of which got me to thinking about how you could run a Community rpg game where a group of friends who get together a couple of times a week around a table and get into all sorts of trouble. How meta is that? It would require a very flexible rules set, possibly even multiple sets as the group jumps genres.
"I won Dungeons & Dragons, and it was advanced!"
But why not up the meta-factor even more by create a Community specific RPG based on a storytelling system where characters are described by certain Tropes that give them modifiers to the dice roll.
(Jeff Winger: Charm +8, Cool Factor +5 etc). Plus you would get one slot for Wild Trope where the character can suddenly  display an incredible, one time, episode specific talent (ie. Shirley: Foosball +10). Players can choose a Wild Trope at any time in the 'episode', but once locked in it cannot be changed until the following 'episode'.
"Draconis, an all-powerful red dragon,
 crashes through the trees of
the clearing. Riding atop his shoulders, 
naked as the day he was born, 
controlling Draconis with the amulet is
 ... Pierce Hawthorne."
The Nadir (a participating character, but one who is fully aware they are in a game) would do all the rolls, based on a simple D20 chart. The higher the roll, the better you would do with some Difficulty Numbers applied for specific circumstances.

For damage and combat, the AM rolls a D20 to see if you hit vs the opponent's natural 10+Armour. Anything beyond the Armour plus weapon rating would count as Damage. For example, the opponent has a To Hit of 18 (10+8 armour). The AM rolls 16 plus your sword of 6 for a total
of 22, thereby inflicting 6 points of damage. This could be actual Hit Points, or a scale like 1-5 Minor wound, 6-10 Major wound etc.

While the Nadir would do all the rolls, they would also describe the situation that the group is facing. The Nadir can also elect to switch off with another player, even in mid episode. The other players interact in a more storytelling fashion, helping shape the plot, but also abiding by the Nadir's judgments. I think there is an rpg like this (Godlike?), but I can't seem to find it right now.

Okay, now I really want to play a group of college kids playing 'The Caverns of Draconis'.

"In about 13 turns, he will die of exposure.
Jeff." "I wait 14 turns."

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