Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's Time to Raise The Curtain...Part 1

"Greetings to you Mr. and Mrs. America and our allies overseas, lesser though you are. I am Sam the Eagle and it is my great honor to finally introduce the entries to this Muppets Role Playing Game Project that actually involve good old-fashioned rules.

I am a long time and dedicated fan of rules. Rules make the world go around if I may be so bold. And I may be so bold because I am, after all, an American. So enough with the sick and weird notions such as drawing your character to create it and having 'Shticks' and 'Props' and other silliness. Let's get out those slide rules and chits and play a real game.

Thank you."

Um...thank you Sam.

He may end up a bit disappointed.

Some, if not most, of the ideas in this section are a long time coming.

I first developed some of these rules as far back as 1984 for use with Toon. Later I would modify, adapt and add new ideas of a similar nature to Teenagers from Outer Space and other comedy games. Eventually these concepts or variants of them found their way into my Galaxy Quest RPG and of course, my Muppets RPG.

I found that one of the key elements missing from most comedy games was that for a game about comedy you never really see mechanics rewarding players for bringing the funny. For serious gamers, you cannot die or suffer any permanent penalty in most comedic games so it lessens the interest in long term play.

For the Muppets to really work as a game I needed it to be able to make up for the last of both of those elements. Only you the viewers can determine if I succeeded.

So here are the basics...


When you want to use a Shtick you roll the number of 6 Sided dice equal to your Shtick's score and try to get a least one success. A success is the difficulty number for the task or better (higher) on a die. The Director determines what the difficulty of a given action is. For the most part a good guide line is...

Easy - 3
Tricky - 4
Tough - 5
Hard - 6

The Director may require you to make more than one success. Imagine if you were trying to do something fairly simple, like unlock the supply closet and get in before the horde of zombie vegetables find you and attack. Not too hard. One '3' or better should do the trick. Now if Pepe was with you and loudly declaring how he could 'Take out each and every Brussel Sprout all by myself, hokay', you might need to roll at least two '3' to get the same job done.

For each additional success over what is needed, the Director is encouraged to embellish on how well you did. Do too well and it can backfire on you a bit. It you receive triple or more over the number of required successes, the Director show have the effect of your good fortune become a bit overwhelming.

For example:

On the space ship Swinetrek, Dr. Julius Strangepork have invented the Scentotronic Transmogifier, a device capable of giving anything any smell you want. Miss Piggy sneaks over and programs the machine to make her smell like Dragonfly Ripple Ice Cream (Ah-Yuck-ah), Kermit's favorite flavor. She rolls the dice for her Romantic Strategies Shtick and gets four 6's! It works and when she gets backstage Kermit just can't seem to help himself. He can't get enough of hanging around Miss Piggy. Neither can any of the other frogs on the show. And a number of birds. A lizard or two. Arnie the Alligator is looking kind of interested...

If you are engaged in an action that is contested by another character, be it a PC or NPC, things work a bit differently but not by much. In that case each participant in the contest roles their appropriate Shtick dice with the 'difficulty' set by whomever rolls the highest number. So, if Fozzie gets three 3's and Waldorf gets two 6's the old coot wins because 6 is higher than 3. If on the other hand Fozzie rolls four 6's and Waldorf only two, Fozzie wins. In a combat situation, whether it be verbal, physical, mental or whathaveyou, the Defender sets the difficulty that the attacker has to beat it. If the Swedish Chef is trying to chop a Turkey with a Meat Cleaver and the Turkey rolls one 5 among his dice to escape, the Chef rolling five 2's still misses. The Turkey (Defender) set the difficulty at 5.

Whenever there is a tie, whichever character have the most Stars wins. If that is also equal check who has the most applause up to that point. If that is also equal roll one more die until you get a tiebreaker.

If no successes are rolled during a normal instance of Shtick use something really bad/embarrassing/stupid/unlucky or generally chaotic should occur. Director's discretion of course.

OK, here comes the genius...I hope.

Barking Alien

Muppet Quotes

Kermit the Frog: We will also see a rousing finale from Sam the Eagle. What's it called, Sam?
Sam the Eagle: It's called "A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America".

Here's A Muppet News Flash!

I am not entirely sure how to host the PDF version of the rules on my blog! Gah! I need a free, reliable PDF hosting site someone has actually used. Please let me know if you have any info or leads.

Originally I really wanted to use the One Role Engine for the basic game mechanic of my Muppets RPG but I think I like the simple elegance of what I have here. When I get into Combat and Damage it is kinda, sorta similar to ORE meets Risus I suppose.


  1. A (s)mash-up b/w Risus and ORE? Wow. As an aside, the Muppet dialogue and potential embarrassing/exciting/educational situations for the characters to get into during play rings true to me. It makes me long for the days when the Muppet Show was still on, Jim Henson productions was releasing a movie every couple of years, and the Muppets comic strip! I bought compilations of the last back in elementary school.... I need to dig those up outta storage.

  2. I love the Muppets obviously but some of their production choices confuse me.

    The Jim Henson Hour was pretty cool and Muppets Tonight was ok but the format of the original Muppet Show could still work today completely unchanged.

    There seems to be a belief in the entertainment industry that things need updating when said things are either period pieces or timeless. The Muppet Show harkens back to vaudeville but is also a simple way to pitch fun ideas. It just works.

    Put the damn show back on the air you silly Mouse. Geez.

  3. 'the format of the original Muppet Show could still work today completely unchanged.':
    Absolutely. And it would rock!

    'There seems to be a belief in the entertainment industry that things need updating when said things are either period pieces or timeless. The Muppet Show harkens back to vaudeville but is also a simple way to pitch fun ideas. It just works.':
    And the 'update' almost always reeks, even in the eyes of those they're trying to interest with the redesign! More shows like the Muppets should be in the air, imo. Hell, there's hardly anything like it any more... It's its own niche. Ratings gold, I'd say.(With complaisant sponsors, of course.)

    'Put the damn show back on the air you silly Mouse.':
    Heartily seconded! Let new fans discover Henson's genius and the manic fun of the classic. But, Disney. Where's my Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck Final Season Discs, huh? How about the Black Cauldron Sequel? More Aftertoons? And so on.... *sigh*