Is everyone enjoying Muppet Madness Month so far? I hope so. I've got a lot more fun things in store for you.
Right now, let's go straight to the heart of playing a Muppets RPG. Once you've learned the rules, created a bunch of characters and gathered together with some snack foods and friends (which in the world of the Muppets could very well be the same thing), you're going to want to run an adventure. If the adventure works out, maybe you go so far as to make a campaign.
As Bobo the Bear once said, "Baby steps sir. Baby steps."
Let's make an adventure shall we?
The most basic but also the most versatile format for a Muppets adventure is to use the Muppet Show as a guide. There is a reason the series lasted 5 seasons and is remembered fondly by so many people. It worked. Later attempts to update or modernize the concept leave out the element of timelessness that made the Muppet Show so special, IMHO.
When generating a Muppet Show adventure the best way to go is with a theme. Theme Episodes, at least in the context of the Muppets RPG, are game sessions in which the session has a unifying motif or meta plot going on in addition to the essentially random array of crazy antics the Muppet characters are participating in. Often themes are related to the Guest Star.
In the episode featuring Vincent Price, a large majority of the scenes and sketches are horror, monster or ghostly themed in honor of Price.
When Lynda Carter was a guest, Scooter is inspired to purchase a mail order course on how to be a superhero. He and several other Muppets wear outlandish superhero motif costumes and make various attempts at developing superpowers.
Remember the example of play Fozzie created in which Gonzo is reading a tabloid newspaper about alien invaders? Let's revisit that with the idea of turning it into a full-fledged adventure.
The Director declares that for this adventure, the Guest Star is someone related to sci-fi movies, aliens or the like. I'll discuss Guest Stars in more detail this coming weekend but suffice to say the show could easily go with an extraterrestrial theme.
I recommend starting with a Cold Open...a sort of teaser before the real adventure starts. Maybe a few characters meet with the Guest Star and the first hints of the episode's theme is mentioned. I personally love having Scooter poke his head into the Star's dressing room with his famous. "15 seconds to curtain..." line. In our opening for this adventure/episode, Gonzo and Rizzo on in the Guest Star's dressing room. The three of them are discussing the possibility of life on other planets and the idea that they come here. The Guest Star shows Gonzo the newspaper 'Weekly Weird News Weekly'.
I would than do the show's opening...ideas for that include playing a video of it on youtube or from the DVD's, playing the theme music on your mp3 player, having everyone sing it or whatever. It gets everyone in the mood.
Next up you point to a player at random and say, "Let's set the Scene. Which Muppet are you performing and where are you?" For our example let's say the Director pointed at Gonzo's player who says he is continuing to play Gonzo.
Gonzo the Great is walking around backstage reading the paper. He is convinced alien doubles are walking among the populace of Earth. According to Rizzo's player, Rizzo agrees.
Rizzo: "I'm convinced. These blurry photos and nameless eyewitness accounts are veeery compelling."
All the players join in with characters declaring their particular take on the story when Kermit calls them to attention. According to Kermit's player Kermit does not only think the story is false and silly but he needs the group to clear out and make way for the opening number. Kermit's player decides, after a quick discussion with the group and the Director, that the opening number is a bunch of filthy, slimy, ugly Monsters singing 'Puttin' on the Ritz'.
Each player picks a Monster Muppet if they have one, Custom or Whatnot and we begin a sketch. The general goal is to sing the song. Big Mean Carl wants to be known as the best Monster singer on staff so he proceeds to try and eat the competition (all the other Monsters). Carl manages to defeat everyone, with Shakey Sanchez the last to go in his mouth (Big Mean Carl's player says 'Hold Your Applause' and uses his Swallow Hole Routine, complete with Exploding Die to get Shakey since he got a bit beaten up trying to eat the first few Monsters).With the Sketch over, the characters go backstage for a new scene. Kermit tells everyone they did a great job. Kermit is especially impressed by Carl and Shakey. The Director slips a note to Shakey Sanchez's player who chuckles, nods and says, "You can see Shakey in Carl's mouth. He looks unusually calm and serene."
Wait! Doesn't Shakey need to get and hold Applause before he can do that? No, because no action was taken. Shakey did not engage a Shtick, move to assist or counter another character, etc. It's a freebie.
Moments after the Monsters have cleared the backstage area, Shakey Sanchez runs up to Kermit apologizing for being late. He wonders if he missed the opening sketch. Kermit is confused. Shakey was in the opening. According to Shakey he couldn't have been. He had car trouble and just arrived.
Kermit: "But...you were just...Carl...What kind of car trouble."
Shakey: "We...well, ya' know. Th-the k-kind where everything st-stops working and a l-light comes from above and (looks around nervously) the car, ya'know, is lifting off the gr-ground and then you b-black out."
Minimum Fiasco: "I was abducted by aliens once."
Ernest: "No foolin' What was it like?"
Minimum: "I can't remember. But I do receive the loveliest card from them each year around the holidays."
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2!
Miss Piggy: Midnight. The lone alien stands before a naked sky. The mood is tense. My hair looks *great.*
Here's A Muppet News Flash!
First, a Barking Alien shout out of thanks to Muppet Mindset for mentioning my Muppet Madness Month. If you haven't checked out Ryan's blog you should.
I intend to post an Appendix N (hmm...maybe it should be 'M' for Muppet) describing a variety of sources of info and influence that contributed to my Muppets RPG ideas.