Saturday, March 19, 2011
Our Very Special Guest Stars
I'd like to take this moment before the next big phase of my Muppet Madness Month to review the rules, guidelines and suggestions for how to handle Guest Stars in the Muppets RPG. This iteration of the 'Guest Starring...' section of the game owes pretty much all of its content to the genius of Erin Palette of Lurking Rhythmically. She is amazing! She's been a great friend, a good sounding board to bounce ideas off of and has come up with some doozies of her own.
As noted above, this is one of them.
When determining the Guest Star for a session of the Muppets RPG, especially in a Muppet Show campaign, a campaign with a similar format or just to determine cameos in a more open ended Muppets game, the following approach is recommended:
1. The Director states "We need an Guest Star. Everyone give me an Adjective or an Adverb (Your X factor); another Adjective or a Noun used as an adjective (i.e. "French" or "country") (Your Y factor) and finally, a noun (Your Z factor). By answer the question of who is a X-Y-Z you will have your Guest Star. The players take turns shouting out their ideas, mad-libs style, until everyone is out of ideas or the Director has had enough. The Director should be clear and make sure to call out each request in sequence. The director then assembles the ideas into a sequence he or she finds pleasing, such as "Sultry French Actress" or "Famous Country Singer" and then inform the group.
2. The players look at this collection of words and again take turns suggesting who best fits that profile. This could be a current celebrity, a deceased historical figure or an entirely fictional person. If at any time a suggestion is made that results in the entire table going "Ooh", "Aah", "Sweet", "Booyah" or "Yeah Boyee!" in an appreciative awe, you know you have a winner. If not, continue until there are no more ideas and have the Director choose the most interesting choice.
3. Once you have determined who the Guest Star is, determine 'Why Are They Here?'. Certainly a big star like them has been things to do then play the Muppet Theatre, right? Have the players suggest whimsical reasons why the guest would be there.
Plugging a movie
Needed to pay bills
Came in out of the rain
Accidentally crash landed their ship into the Theater
Shanghaiied (Tricked, fooled or otherwise forced to take part)
These are always good standbys but many more ideas would work. If a player can devise an amusing reason why one of his Muppets could have some sort of pull with the guest, so much the better.
4. Now the Director must determine who will play the Guest Star. The suggested default is to draft a friend who is always hanging around but never playing and have him join the fun. It's a great way to get a wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, older brother, kid sister, etc. to play. Another benefit of this option would be that the individual doesn't know the rules, which is so much the better since many guest stars seem to be clueless about how the Muppets' world truly works.
Of course, the Director could always play the guest themselves is need be but that just isn't quite as cool and wacky.
5. But what if you have no spare people lying around? Another option is a form of bidding, whereby players bid by giving up Stars for this session from their pool of Muppets in order to play the Guest Star for the night in the scenes in which they appear.
In a campaign where the Director has everyone perform three Customs and two Whatnots:
Will is using Kermit, Crazy Harry, Swedish Chef, an aqua blue Frackle and a cat named Nicky.
Dave is using Fozzie, Rowlf, Beaker, a pig named Meyer and a Head of Lettuce.
Patricia is using Miss Piggy, Janice, her original custom Coco La Moore, a Sheep and a Duck.
Wait, just one sec...LMAO!...Damn but I love this game! Sorry.
The words fly about until the Director comes up with Tough Cowboy Actor.
The players flip a coin between John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Heads. John Wayne it is!
Dave does a mean John Wayne impression but Will's got some great ideas for scenes with Miss Piggy. Patricia considers bidding but knows the boys are going to duke it out over The Duke so she saves her Stars for the game itself.
Will takes a few from here and a few from there and bids 7 Stars!
Dave bids 8.
Will goes up to 9. He's got Kermit and the Chef so he can spare it.
Dave goes to 11 which puts Meyer and Head of Lettuce in a real bind.
Too rich for Will's blood. Will keeps his Stars and Dave takes 11 away from his little troupe.
Dave is John Wayne.
Note that the guest stars never appear in every single scene, making it perfectly possible for a player to play his regular PCs as well as the guest, though not in the same scene. It is possible for the player acting as Guest Star to use his Whatnots to appear as supporting characters in scenes with the guest but not his Custom Muppets.
You could always say your Custom is there in the background but it gets no speaking lines and can't take any actions.
Well that about wraps that up. I've got to get going now. I think I need to take the A, B, C or 1, 2, 3 trains to...wait, I'll ask somebody. You there, can you help me a second?
"Sure! Hee hee ha. Elmo loves to help."
Great! Can you tell me how to get...how to get to Sesame Street?
Kermit: Boy, it wasn't spooky like this when Vincent Price did the show!Sam the Eagle: [to Alice] You sir, are a freako!Alice Cooper: Why, thank you!
Sam the Eagle [ashamed of this reaction]: Freakos: one, civilization: zero!Miss Piggy: [giving Ethel roses] Miss Merman, from all of us, to you.Ethel: Oh, how kind of you, Miss Piggy...they won't explode, will they?
Here's A Muppet News Flash!
Richard Pryor was supposed to guest star on The Muppet Show but was unable to make the taping and so one of the show's writers, Chris Langham, replaced him. Within the context of the show, Langham played a messenger or delivery boy who was asked to star on the program when the original guest, Benny Brillstein, The Yiddish Yodeler, couldn't make it.
In reality Benny Brillstein was the name of Jim Henson's agent.