Friday, December 17, 2010

A Comedy Tonight

This Friday night, Barkley and I have decided to have a guest blogger come in and discuss a matter of great interest to us. We met him at GenCon sometime ago and did not know he was a gamer and we're pleased he could join us. Ladies and Gentlemen, Fozzie Bear...


"Hello there game blog people! Wokka Wokka! It is indeed me Fozzie Bear and I can not tell you what an honor it is to be here. Wait...I think I just did. No? Well it is an honor.

I was looking at this...this...the blogging thing and I noticed on more than one occasion that comedy role playing games and even comedy moments in standard RPGs are not always well received by the general RPG community. I find this not only sad but downright silly.

That's right people, I said it. Its wrong and I am aghast. I was a ghoul but this got my dander up so I was able to amass more hit dice.

Ahhh and you thought I didn't really play.

But seriously folks, I find all the grim, scary, gorey, vampire angsty, conspiracy theory...y games as interesting as the next guy, assuming of course the next guy is dead.


It should not be forgotten that our hobby is playing games. We play games. Say it with me. Say it out loud, proud and strong. We roll dice, draw pictures of mazes, make weird voices and play with tiny figures of bearded men. If you can't laugh at that you have more issues than Crazy Harry."

Thanks Fozzie,

Personally I find certain comedic games to go deeper into what I love about RPGs than many of the serious ones. They are often faster playing, easier to understand and get into and hold very few limits on your creativity. Toon is a great game to get kids interested in gaming and a bunch of laughing teens aren't running over to turn on their X-box.

I once ran a Sesame Street RPG session at a day camp and I remember this one kid who I knew was destined to be an awesome GM. I asked each kid who they wanted to play and they said Big Bird or Cookie Monster or Oscar the Grouch...but this one kid said Super Grover.

Me: "Ah, good one. Grover is my favorite too."

Kid: "Not Grover. Super Grover. I want to be able to fly and have super powers."

Oh yeah.

Ghostbusters, which I ran not long ago using a hack of the original WEG game and InSpectres was one of my best games in a long time. As noted by comments here from some of my players, it got creepy and dark as much as funny. The PCs were developing into characters more three-dimensional than you see on many TV shows let alone RPGs.

Getting back to Toon, its amazing how many people have made comments on the OSR blogs about not be able to get into Toon. Toon was made in 1984 and while it may not be as old school as D&D or Traveller, it comes from a period of time when some of my favorite games were made. Perhaps the reason I'm 41 and not an OSR guy per se is be cause though I started in 77', my foundest memories are of Teenagers from Outer Space, Mekton, Star Wars D6, Star Trek, Paranoia and others of that era. Paranoia. Damn, that is a cool game. Reward your D&D players for doing what they will normally do anyway by playing a game where backstabbing each other for glory is encouraged!

Anyway, I could speak volumes on the merits of comedic games (and I will over the course of a few more posts). The bottom line is that comedy RPGs have a lot to offer and while that may not matter too much if you only play the same game again and again, if you're up for a change and a real challenge, give one a try.

I'll never forget playing at the house of some acquaintances who had a really big house. Two separate games with 5-7 players each could be run simultaneously. The dinning area and the living room were within earshot of each other but you could still do it no problem. A few weeks after running my second or third Star Wars session with a group there I was told that the owners of the house (the other group playing) assumed I was running a comedy game. The term was laced with a definite negative connotation. When I asked what gave them that idea I was told that some had commented, "Well, no PC has died yet. And they're always laughing."

A gaming table filled with laughter. How awful huh?

I leave you with...something for everyone

Barking Alien

P.S. My thanks and apologies to Henson and Frank Oz for the completely unapproved use of Fozzie Bear. I am and will always be a huge fan of the Muppets. I've seen the first Muppet Movie 50 times. That's more times than I've watched Wrath of Khan, Empire Strikes Back and the Princess Bride. Jim Henson is one of my all time heroes, but more on that another time...


  1. Was this the same house that a player uttered: "I've had a horrible day. I want to kill something. Let's play supers!"?

    If so, it was also the house where...

    Player: "I'm going to land the ship, now."

    GM: "Okay." *rolls some dice* "The planet makes its dodge roll."

  2. It was. Although I believe the former line was said by others and the latter one was said by me in an attempt to get one of them to loosen up. :)

  3. Aw, the best games I've played have had us laughing. Isn't the whole thing about having "fun"? (What a novel concept!)

    P.S. How did you score Fozzie as a guest blogger? I've been calling his agent for weeks!!

  4. As I said we go way back. Met him and Gonzo at GenCon in the late 80's or early 90's. Fozzie's mostly into comedic RPGs while Gonzo will play anything indie or Gamma World, any addition. When I asked why he liked Gamma World so much he shrugged and said, "It reminds me of home."