Monday, January 16, 2012

Muppet Mondays! - RECESS Replay - Part I

As I mentioned previously, this past Saturday I attended the first RECESS game event of 2012, running two sessions of my Muppets Role Playing Game. The first was a Sesame Street adventure called 'D is for Dungeon' and the second was a variant Muppet Show adventure called, 'The Muppets: Big Time Hollywood Movie!'.

Where as in the past I've given you guys the complete, play-by-play breakdown as a session recap, this time I'm just going for the highlights. Trust me, there were a lot of them.

At the same time, I will mention that the second of the two had a somewhat slow start. I was really afraid it wasn't going to go over well. For starters, it used a more open ended framework instead of the structure of a typical Muppet Show episode. In order to run a Muppets RPG, you kind of need that structure to give the craziness form, otherwise it can turn into either an amorphous blob of silly or fall flat to the ground and go inert. I feared we were in danger of the latter. It was totally my fault as I'll explain in the next post but I also figured out how to save it about half the way through so 'yay' me.

Sesame Street - D is for Dungeon

So the plot...

As Susan reads fairy tales to some kids and monsters, a few other kids are playing at being knights and wizards. When someone asks, "Were there really Knights andWizards and Kings and Monsters and Castles?" Susan and Gordon clarify that while Knights, Kings and Castles were real long ago, much of the other stuff is from stories.

*POOF!* That's when a wizard shows up and says the magical fairy Abby Cadabby is trapped by a Dragon and an evil wizard in a castle beyond a mystic forest. It's not far actually. It's a few blocks past The Count's castle and the Amazing Mumford's castle. You can't miss it.

The wizard claims he tried to save her but his wand was broken. After convincing various characters to go on a quest to rescue her he heads to Luis and Maria's Fix-It Shop to get his wand repaired.

After facing numerous perils including as a smelly, slimey swamp, a puzzle at the front door, a terrible timpiece and a lightly sleeping Dragon, the heroes manage to reach Abby who is trapped in a large, birdcage like prison. Eventually, it is revealed that the wizard the PCs first spoke to is actually the evil nasty of the castle. In truth, Abby broke his wand while they were dueling before her capture. In the end, the quick thinking of Bif and Sully, Ernie, Snuffleupagus and Elmo saved the day.


"I'd like to thank you all for coming and choosing to play this game. I also think we should thank NerdNYC and RECESS for their awesome event. Also, I'd like to thank The Children's Television Workshop, The Association for Public Broadcasting, The Sears-Roebuck Foundation and a grant from The Helena Rubenstein Foundation. And remember, we couldn't do this without the contributions and support of viewers like you."

My opening monologue for the Sesame Street RPG, paraphrased from what we hear before the show airs in New York on the Public Broadcasting Service/Channel 13.


Me: "Any last questions before we get started?"
Player: "Yes, on Mr. Snuffleupagus's character sheet it says he has...Snufflekinesis."
Me: "Yes."
Player: "What is Snufflekinesis?"
Me: "What's telekinesis?"
Player: "The ability to move or manipulate objects with your mind."
Me: "Right. So what's Snufflekinesis?"
Player: "The ability to move or manipulate objects with your...Snuffle?"
Me: "Exactly."


A fellow by the name of Carl who runs
BrickQuest at RECESS played Forgetful Jones and Sherlock Hemlock, among others, totally flooring me with his portrayal of these rather obscure characters. It's incredible but it never fails. At every session someone turns a third or fourth string Muppet into a star.

We had two couples playing and it was awesome. One couple were huge Muppets fans (and in fact, the fellow ran a Fraggle Rock game using the
PDQ system on Sunday. Sadly I had to work and couldn't attend. If anyone knows how it went please tell!). The other couple was simply very in sync and did an excellent job playing as the Two Headed Monster (one head per player).

Other notable characters and actions included Bert's player trying to use Windex to clean a swamp, Oscar (played by the same player) ignoring the adventure to bath and play in the swamp, Cookie Monster showing responsibility with Gordon's Metrocard (only to eat it at the very end), Elmo and Mr. Snuffleupagus teaming up to spend Sunny Days and literally Sweep the Clouds away by blowing enough air through Snuffie's trunk (or Snuffle as it is properly called) to part the dark clouds above and let the Sun shine through. This had the effect of ruining the mean wizard's powers and clearing the darkness (much to Oscar's dismay).


Here's a Sesame Street News Flash!

A few Easter Eggs and in jokes from the Sesame Street game...

D and M are the letters of the days. As in Dungeon Master, since the whole thing was a D&D parody.

Although the adventure is 'D is for Dungeon', there is technically no dungeon in the adventure. The PCs enter the front of the castle and progress upstairs, higher and higher into the place.

The smelly swamp around the castle is a reference to the 'Bog of Eternal Stench' from Labyrinth.

The description of the castle itself was a homage to Jareth's (David Bowie) castle in Labyrinth and the castle of the Skeksis in Dark Crystal.

The Terrible Timepiece on the second level of the castle was inspired by Jim Henson's 1965, experimental short film,
'The Timepiece'.

The dragon on level three was
Delbert, the La Choy Dragon.

When the clouds part at the end, breaking the wizard's spell and freeing Abby, the scene is a homage to the end of The Dark Crystal.

More to come,

Barking Alien

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