Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Street Wise

"So this is Sesame Street? Finally!"

"Haha! Mr. Adam, this way. Elmo wants to show you around."

"Right, coming Elmo."


There are so many ways to go with a Sesame Street game it's hard for me to know where to begin telling you all the ideas in my head. For starters, let's just say you could play this exactly the same way you'd play a 'standard' Muppets RPG. Character Creation, Applause, Star Power, Routines, the whole nine yards, could all be handled the same way. However, that's not really what I have in mind...


"Oh Telly! Telly this is my new friend Mr. Adam. Mr. Adam this is Telly. He's my friend too."

"Hi Telly. Just call me Adam."

"Oh, OK...Hello Adam. Um...nice to me you."

"You alright Telly? You seem down."

"Well...I'm feeling lonely and kind of bored. Elmo was at the Music Store with Bob and Baby Bear is with his family. Oscar doesn't want to play and Big Bird is over at Mr. Snuffleupugus' cave."

"Ooh. Elmo thinks Mr. Adam didn't pick the best day to come to Sesame Street. There's no one to play with."

"Guys I've got a great idea. Telly, Elmo's back now and I've got a game I want to play. I made it up."

"You made your own game. Wow."

"Thanks Telly. Yeah, I think you guys'll like it. It's called a Role Playing Game. You use your imagination and we make up a story together. What do you say?"

"OK. Yeah, I'll try it!"

"Elmo wants to play too."


First, most of a Sesame Street game should take place on the street. In the vernacular of the show these are called 'Street Scenes'. They are just like the backstage, outdoor or other non-sketch or skit scenes we discussed in the Muppets RPG section. These can be and should be interspersed with sketches and skits but in a way, a more Street Scene focused game works best for gaming Sesame Street. More on that later...

Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood?

Unlike the standard game which features Custom and Whatnot Muppets, Players in a Sesame Street game should take a look at three options: Customs, Anything Muppets and People.

Custom Muppets here and there are the same.

An Anything Muppet is similar to a Whatnot but not identical. Generally an Anything Muppet can be changed around at any time and few of them retain any individual identity. In addition, there are often multiple copies of Anything Muppets where as there is only one of each Whatnot. People are Human actors and actresses who are similar to Guest Stars but regulars who live and work on the street. These characters, like Bob and Susan and Gordon, are as important to Sesame Street as Oscar and Cookie Monster.

Creating a Custom Muppet works the same here as before. If working with younger kids, this is a great way to teach and explain averaging. Additionally, you might tell each person voting that they can only use each number from 1 to 5 once during voting. That means, much like when you assign scores to your own Custom in the regular Muppets game, everyone here only gets to use 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 one time each!

Shticks are renamed Specialties but essentially do the same thing. The same holds true for Applause and Star Power which become A-B-C's and Sunny Days . Note that in an upcoming post I will detail how A-B-C's and Sunny Days are more than just name changes but a potentially different way of approaching the game as a learning tool in addition to being a RPG.

Anything Muppets will be addressed in an expanded post a bit later. Right now let's go to People...

The Human cast members of Sesame Street anchor the strange happenings and colorfully furred monsters in a 'real world'. As such, I imagine them built a bit differently in the game rules than a Guest Star. These will be reoccurring character who need more specific stats and who, over time, may provide you will a more deeply realized campaign world. See what I mean about long term campaigns for Sesame Street? We've seen Maria date and marry Luis and have a child, Gabby. Gordon and Susan have Miles. The old Fix-It Shop became a Mailbox Store and now (I believe) is back to being a Fix-It Shop. Mr. Hooper pasted away. Things change on Sesame Street and remain part of a continuity only adults who watched the show as kids will appreciate.

To this end, Humans are created by assigning the character somewhat more traditional Traits and Skills. Traits are akin to the stats or attributes found in most RPGs. Someone could be Strong, Smart, Knowledgeable, Quick, Handsome, Wise, etc. Pick 3 Traits, assign the numbers 1, 2 and 3 to them (1-2-3, each used once) to determine how many dice you'll roll and assume everything else is about average. For Skills, assign 1-5 as a Muppet would with Shticks/Specialties but be more realistic and specific. Bob might have Teach Music and Sing. Luis might have Repair Appliance or Repair Device (since he can fix anything from a Toaster or a Clock to a Refrigerator).

So if I lived on Sesame Street, I might look like this (if I was being generous to myself):


Creative - 2
Friendly - 3
Smart - 1

Draw Picture - 2
Swim - 1
Tell Story - 5
Think Up Crazy RPG Ideas - 4
Train Dogs - 3

Maybe the Street needs a guy who owns and runs a game or toy store. I wonder what the rents are in that part of town.

"Mr. Adam, Elmo and Telly found more players."

(Small group consisting of kids, adults, and monsters are gathered around chatting)

"Awesome! Alright everybody get out some paper, pencils or crayons or whatever you have, and I'll get the dice."

Just a few more things to go over first...

Barking Alien

Muppet Quotes

Santa Claus: You wished for a glass of water?
Elmo: Uh huh.
Lightning: Why?
Elmo: 'Cause Elmo was thirsty.
Lightning: But you could've had anything!
Elmo: A diet soda?

Telly: (after Jon Stewart and others are stuck in the dressing room) Oh, no! If they can't get out, that means there's no show. And if there's no show, then all those people who wanted to hear the music will be sad. And if all those people are sad, they might not go to work tomorrow! And if they don't go to work tomorrow, the economy will collapse! And if the economy collapses, the country... will be... DOOMED! DOOMED, I tell you! This is terrible!
Elmo: Easy! Easy! Easy! Easy! Easy. Easy, Telly. It's just a T.V. show.
David: (gasps) Watch your mouth, little guy! Now, I'd expect that attitude over on cable. But this is network!

Here's A Sesame Street News Flash!

Can you believe we only have a week or so to go. Man but time flies when you're have fun.

I think, following April's A to Z Blog Challenge, I will most assuredly be instituting Muppet Mondays to continue with this idea and my general love of all things Muppety. Yay!

UPDATE: Left out a key note that first time I wrote this. Please be aware that Shticks are called Specialties in the Sesame Street version of the rules. Thanks.