Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's Time To Play The Music

"Heads up hip cats and blues dogs. Allow me to lay some unbridled grooviness on your ears. I'm Floyd Pepper and with me is the sultan of smooth and his court of cool, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem!

My main mellow fellow Adam has asked us to help explain a key if sometimes funk-tastically frustrating element of the Muppets and how to game it. I am of course talking about Music."

Music is as much a part of the Muppets as comedy, furry monsters and exploding...well...everything. Practically every Muppet Show episode's opening number is a musical number.

Gamers, by and large, are not known for their musical talent. That's a generalization and I've gamed with a number of very talented musicians and singers over the years. However, for the most part a combination of personal doubt, not wanting to appear geekier than we already are and (in my own case at least) lack of any real life skill make it unlikely that the players will actually try to sing at the table while playing a Muppets game.

And you know what? That stinks.

The world needs more music and anyone willing to play a Muppets RPG should be sufficiently over themselves enough to belt out their rendition of "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" in their best bad impression of Miss Piggy.

"What my brother is laying down for you is this. Ain't nobody gonna make fun of you since you and your band are all there for the same game you dig? It's not like all but one of you are gamer's and that last dude is Fats Waller."

Right on Floyd.

"Oh wow, like, what if it's still just too hard. Like, what if the anxiety harshes the game's mellow?"

I hear you Janice. I am a big advocate of trying new approaches and getting outside your safety zone in gaming but in the end all I'm hoping for is that people have fun with this. If you're not having fun it's no good. If that's the case and getting people to actually sing goes against enjoying the game I suggest...

Having an mp3 player with various songs on it that you want to play for the session/episode.
Using a laptop and internet access to run any one of the numerous music videos and mp3's available on the web.

Checking out the great deal of Muppet musical numbers on youtube.

"Any way you slice the dice make it nice. You've got to do what works for you."

Wow. Well said Dr. Teeth.

"PLAY GAME, PLAY GAME! Heh...heh...Gaming good."

And Animal brings it on home.Anything to add Zoot?

"Huh? What? Are we on?"


Barking Alien

Muppet Quotes

Floyd: Me and the gang have decided not to end our gig here...if I can write the new theme song.
Kermit: Oh, that'll be fine with me.
Floyd: No, it won't, man.
Kermit: Why, not?
Floyd: You'll hate the music! You won't understand it. Nobody understands my music. I mean, I don't even understand it.
Kermit: You don't?
Floyd: If I didn't know I was a genius, I wouldn't listen to the trash I write.

Here's A Muppet News Flash!

Very close to the release of the PDF. The artwork is taking the longest time (no surprise there) but otherwise I believe you'll see it by or around next weekend.
The number of comments I get is inversely proportionate to the amount of views I receive, which means I am getting tons and tons of views lately! lol

Still, I'd still love some commentary. Anything people would like to see addressed? Any Muppets you'd like to see appear? Have a favorite flavor of Sulfur Based Sucking Candy? Let me know!

Incidentally, this post took almost an hour and a half to put up even though it only took a short time to write because, for reasons unknown, blogspot kept changing the formatting at random. Gah! Is this music thing really that confusing?


  1. Here, have a complimentary comment. ;)

    The reason I haven't been leaving many comments is because we chat nearly every night, and I'm giving you interactive, real-time feedback rather than leaving you tiny masterpieces of appended opinions.

    I am greatly enjoying this series, though I feel it is in dire need of subversive humor as some sort of game mechanic or theme.

    Hmm, some thoughts on those:

    Applause should be given whenever someone makes a joke or dirty pun/innuendo that everyone at the table snickers at... except for the one person (usually the most innocent) who goes "What? What's that mean? Why is everyone laughing?"

    More points should be given if someone (not necessarily the original jokester) can come up with an innocent explanation that is either funnier or dirtier than the original.

    There should also be some kind of reward (additional one-use exploding die, perhaps) whenever a player is able to suggest an idea that so breaks the mind of the Director it forces a hard reboot (speechlessness, lots of staring and blinking, slowly sitting down to reconcile the nature of the world with this new notion).

    None of these sound exactly right, but there needs to be a certain something to keep things strange and loose, and not just silly.

  2. While I agree with the premise and partially the mechanic (I'll explain in a moment), I'm not sure how to add it in in a way that makes sense to every player who would pick up the game. That is, not everyone has the same sense of humor. That said...

    Erin is very right in that the key to the humor of the Muppets is that it is or can be subversive, absurdist and even a tiny bit risque' (though being careful not to cross the line into un-Muppet-y territory can be tricky).

    At the same time, points for every little chuckle and snicker would result, on average, in PCs getting Applause (which are basically XP) every few seconds in some cases. At least with my NJ group it would. :)

    Now, the idea of a special bonus for not just a cheer or applause but downright wigging out the Director to the point where he or she questions the concept of their own reality is awesome and fits what I'm going for in spades.

    Maybe it's an Exploding Die, maybe something else. I like the idea of it being directly related to the weirdness at hand.

    Very often in Muppet productions, when one character pulls something like this the other character(s) present freeze or tremble uncontrollably, unable to react. So how about this...if you Weird Out the Director and/or all the players, they and all NPCs lose their next action. Basically no one can move but you while you do something crazy. In addition, you get a free Exploding Die to pull it off.

    Hmmm, I wouldn't mind some kind of saving throw for the victims of this though. Often one character in the instance can still talk but do nothing else. Their dialog is often as funny and smart as what's happening. (Check out the Muppet Studios 'Stand By Me' video for an example. Pay close attention to the bunny that Big Mean Carl holds for a bit before eating).

    What do you think all?

  3. Regarding the first part... it's not so much "give applause when you make the table snicker" so much as "be rewarded for making a joke that was deliberately subversive/with double meaning and at least one person didn't get while most people did". Basically, you're being rewarded for cleverness and subtlety. Let me see if I can explain...

    Thaddeus Mouse, a player character, is being sued by a collection of mosquitoes and leeches in business suits and ties. Exasperated by this, Tad starts complaining (loudly) to anyone who will listen. Meanwhile, a postman, or perhaps a delivery boy, is wandering backstage with a package.

    "It's horrible!" cries Thaddeus to a sympathetic Fozzie. "They're always after me! They want to drain me dry! They just keep sucking my blood like I'm some sort of.."

    "Titmouse?" asks the muppet with the pacakge at precisely the right time.

    "TAD Mouse," says Thaddeus, annoyed, as Fozzie begins to eat his hat.

  4. I get what you're saying.

    In this particular case though the Applause would definitely go to Thaddeus. He delivers the punchline, subtle though it is. The Muppet with the package (an NPC?) helped set him up.

    The 'eating of the hat' is more to indicate Fozzie got the innuendo in the joke. The Muppet equivalent of biting ones lip.

    The key component here (as Erin and I have discussed offline) is finding the right way to reward this that makes it distinct from the 'usual' Applause mechanic.

    I think the key is in what the reward is. I somehow think is should be different from the standard set up since its a different kind of humor. Also, keep in mind it isn't only humor that can garner Applause. They can be obtained by making the group all go 'Awww' over a romantic moment or do the heroism, bad ass move, arm-pump.

  5. "The number of comments I get is inversely proportionate to the amount of views I receive"

    Having seen you comment on this before, I shall refer you to this: and will follow the rule by saying how much I'm enjoying this so far. The tone is spot on, although I'm not sure I could pull one of these off myself! It may be something for the next late night at a convention...

    Keep up the inspired work!

  6. Thanks Astronut. A lot. Seriously.

    This project is something I would do even if I didn't have a blog and no one cared but me. Heck, I've been working on it in one form or another for over 20 years.

    At the same time I can't deny the fact that I would be really, really jazzed to learn that someone liked it enough to try playing it someday. I mean, that would just warm this latex foam heart of mine.