Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's Time To Get Things Started...

"Hi-Ho and welcome to the Muppet Show! We've got a great show for you this month ladies and gentlemen, as our guests are Adam Dickstein and Barkley of the RPG and general-related-nonsense blog 'Barking Alien.'(Oohs, aahs and a smattering of applause).

Yes! So without further adieu, we begin our show with this simple question, "Have you ever wanted to know what it was like to be a Muppet?"(Nods as he looks across the audience).

We didn't think so. However, blatant disinterest has never stopped us before. Instead here's Adam with... "

The idea for a Muppets RPG first struck me at the age of 12 or 13, roughly around the beginning of 1981. I have since forgiven it. The Muppet Show was in its final season (though I didn't know it at the time) and I remember sitting around watching an episode with friends and saying something like, "Man this show is awesome. I was there was a Muppets RPG", to which everyone around me said, "Yeah!" and then ate more Doritos.

And that was it. The initial concept lasted all of 10 seconds in its debut and then it was forgotten. You see, 13 year olds in the early 1980's who were into RPGs thought anything and everything that was cool should be an RPG. Who am I kidding? I still think that.

Several months later while I was attending day camp at the Y*, a pretty severe rainstorm and a bus with a mechanical problem ruined the day for numerous youngsters in the lower age division. Instead of going to see a movie as my group had planned (I had already seen it), I decided to hang back and help out with the little ones.

At one point I was sitting at an arts and crafts table with a bunch of 5-7 year olds who looked pretty bored when I said, "Who wants to play a game?" I got a pretty good response and followed up with, "Its a Role Playing Game. A...Sesame Street Role Playing Game." The kid's were intrigued but also a little unsure of what I was talking about.

I will save the details of that encounter for another post (I will address the Sesame Street RPG idea separately next week) but suffice to say it was my accidental, experimental playtest for a working Muppet Show RPG and it went over really well. From that point to now I have continued to work on the concept, going through numerous alterations and revisions to arrive at its current form. I still consider it a work in progress and probably always will.

The present incarnation is a mixture of several of my favorite RPGs including Risus,
Sketch!, Teenagers from Outer Space and Toon. Added to this potent and peculiar mix is a subsystem or two based on lessons I learned from my Galaxy Quest game.

I'm going to break down the basics here, from character creation to 'skills' and other mechanics to what you can do with a game like this. It's really that last part that I think is kind of different and innovative. As a special bonus, I may try to collect all my info and notes into a free PDF at some point before the end of the month. Lastly, if anyone does the insane and actually runs a session of my Muppets RPG before month's end, I will personally create images (either drawn or photo shopped or a combination) of each of the player characters created (as best I can).

And now, as we cut to commercial, Gonzo The Great will eat a rubber tire to Nikolai Korsakov's 'Flight of the Bumblebee'. Music maestro!

Barking Alien

Muppet Quotes

"How long has it been since you watched a good old fashion human sacrifice...too long you say?
Kermit the Frog, The Muppet Show Episode 419, Guest Lynda Carter

Here's A Muppet News Flash!

At the bottom of some of my posts this month there will be a section under my signature entitled, "Here's A Muppet News Flash!". This section will contain footnotes, trivia, Easter Egg ideas or other fun tidbits that relate to the post. Ooh! Like this one! Weird.

*My reference to going to camp run by the "Y" is the YM-YWHA not the YMCA.

Also before I get too deeply into this...this is a work of gaming silliness created solely for the fun and enjoyment of myself and those who read it. This is not a professional work of any kind and I have no intention of making a penny off of it. Any similarity between characters and/or people (or pigs, chickens, frogs, bears, dogs, frackles, fraggles, monsters, prawns, rats, aliens or whatnots) living, dead, undead, felt or in a form such as a gas or a liquid is purely coincidental.

Basically, don't eat me Mr. Mouse.


  1. Oh man, that actually sounds really cool! I loved the Muppet Show and I'm thinking that my kids are just now getting to the age where RPGs would be doable. Plus the Muppets RPG probably would even be able to win over my wife. Go for it!

  2. Maybe the character sheets should only be printed on construction paper.

    I'm also hoping there's a mechanic to support pulling the nose off of someone's face as Ernie is wont to do from time to time. That's something you can't easily do in most games.

  3. Happy Whisk! I need your assistance if you would be so kind.

    Please email me at BarkingAlienATGMAILDOTCOM.

  4. As for the rest, JB and Blacksteel, you ain't seen nothing yet. Get ready for one crazy ride...

  5. Oh, I just saw this comment. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. But I did get your message on my blog and have emailed you back.

  6. Yay! Even more big surprises in store for my viewers. Woo hoo!

  7. 'anything and everything that was cool should be an RPG. Who am I kidding? I still think that.':
    So we BOTH struggle with society's unenlightened view of imagination and its stubborn insistence that everything that is cool SHOULDN'T be an RPG? Awesome! :-)

    Enjoyed the recap of MPTsRPGs beginnings!