M. Danson (m_danson) wrote in roleplayers,
M. Danson


Random converstation and watching "The Scorpion King" resulted in the creation of a game for role playing bad action movies. This hasn't been play tested yet but I thought I'd post it here anyway for your amusement. Feel free to use it if you want... but if you do play it I'd appreciate it if you let me know what you thought.


Danson studios presents...

The Prophesy of the Ancient Barbarian God-King
and the
Secret of the Alien Tomb of Doom

by ms_danson

"Once, long ago in the mythical land of Hollywood there was a Hero..."

This game is designed to simulate silly, campy and cheesy barbarian adventure movies (such as "The Scorpion King") in a role playing game setting. Bad plot, stereotypes, skimpy costumes, set-up jokes, fantastical monsters, and minions who die a thousand to a sword stroke are all fair game. But remember, the Hero is the one who survives.

"The Hero was skilled in the ways of the plot hook..."

Each character has eight (8) skills: Combat, Stealth, Humour, Chutzpa, Influence, Knowledge, Luck, and Honour. Each skill has a number between one (1) and five (5) assigned to it which corresponds to the number of d6's that are rolled when using it. Each skill starts at a base level of one (1) die. During character creation the actor (player) has ten (10) dice to distribute amongst the skills.

A roll of one to three (1-3) on a d6 is a Success. A roll of six (6) on a d6 is a Side-Effect. The level of success of an action increases with the number of Successes rolled. More difficult actions may require different levels of success (ie more than one success rolled). The number of unforeseen and unfortunate (but not crippling) consequences increases with the number of Side-Effects rolled. Successes do not cancel out Side-Effect.

Bonus dice may be assigned by the Director (GM) for especially creative or dramatic actions. Penalties consisting of a reduction in the number of dice rolled, to a minimum of one (1), may also be assigned by the Director if actions lack drama. Bonuses and penalties may also be applied for cinematic reasons at the Director's discretion.

"And lo it was seen that the Hero did die ... again... and again... and again..."

There are five health levels: Healthy, Wounded, Maimed, Critical, Killed, and Vanquished. Every character starts at Healthy. Important villains and all characters may recover from Killed given appropriate care as they are only mostly dead. Minions and innocent bystanders cannot. Vanquished is really dead. Characters may not become more dead than Vanquished.

"With the mighty sword of Eddie did the Hero slay the beast in a single blow..."

Combat comprises contested combat rolls. Combat rolls are simultaneous. Each Success rolled may be used to reduce the target's health level by one rank or to block an incoming blow. Each Side-Effect rolled represents a failure of the characters defence wherein an incoming blow can not be blocked. The choice of action is made after all rolls are made. For the sake of drama, a platoon of soldiers (or like foes) facing off against a character will require only a single combat roll and health level for the group.

Example: Conan rolls 3 successes while his opponent rolls 3 successes and 1 Side-Effect. If Conan attacks with all his successes and his opponent blocks with all of his then Conan will be Healthy and his opponent will be Wounded. If Conan attacks with all his successes and his opponent also attacks with all his successes then Conan and his opponent will both be Critical. If Conan blocks with two of his successes while his opponent blocks with all of his then Conan will be Healthy while his opponent will be Wounded.

"CUT!! ... Didn't you people get the memo??"

Every Actor (player) has five (5) "Script Change" points. Actors use these points to activate the special skill of their own or another Actor's character. The Actor must shout "Script Change" then say which character the point is being spent on. Once activated the Actor who owns the character may use the character's special skill to perform one Heroic Action. An Actor spending a point on another Actor's character does not get to dictate how that character acts. However, since "Script Change" points are given to the Actor and not the character the Actor is allowed to use them even when the character is Killed or Vanquished. The Director may give out extra "Script Change" points as rewards for good role playing.

"The Harem Scene... Take 69... "

The Movie (game) is divided into scenes. At the beginning of each scene the characters appear at their desired location and are returned to full health and grooming unless they are Killed or Vanquished. If characters are Killed the group may do something special to revive them. If characters are Vanquished the group may look through their pockets for loose change.

"I can do that... I am the King of that..."

Each character has a few schticks. Schticks are specialized role playing instructions which fit the stereotype for the particular role. Schticks are guidelines. The Director can use these schticks when determining Bonus/Penalty dice and bonus "Script Change" points.

"Now auditioning for the role of cute talking animal..."

The following are generic character packages containing a Heroic Action and a set of Schticks. Each Movie should have at least one Barbarian Hero and any number of other characters.

Barbarian Hero:
1) Heroic Recovery/Rescue - May return self or one other person with a Killed health level to Healthy. ("My Hero! You saved me from boiling to death in lava and being eaten by cannibals. How can I ever thank you?")
2) Schticks - I am wise in the ways of the wilderness but I require a guide to skillfully navigate civilization.
I will wind up with little more than a loincloth by the end of every fight.
I must pursue my vices.

Exotic Love Interest:
1) Heroic Distraction/Seduction - May distract or surprise any one person causing them to become momentarily oblivious to their surroundings. ("But darling... I thought you only had eyes for me...")
2) Schticks - I will insist on playing hard to get.
I can seduce and distract any appropriate villain but cannot escape or fight successfully alone.
I possess at least one special power or secret that must be foreshadowed throughout the adventure but cannot be revealed until the climax.

Plucky Kid:
1) Heroic Escape - May escape from captivity as soon as captor's back is turned. ("Giggle.")
2) Schticks - I will not do what I am told when it is obvious that such advice will prevent me from getting killed.
I will be underestimated and ignored whenever possible and show up where I am least expected.
I will be easily captured and inevitably escape.

Comic Side-Kick:
1) Heroic Discovery/Blind-luck - May, after cracking a joke about being lost or never finding what you are looking for, suddenly discover something useful. ("Ouch!... found it. Ooo... pretty birds...")
2) Schticks - I cannot be killed as long as I remain funny.
I will die or be seriously injured the moment I am no longer funny.
I will serve no practical purpose in a fight save boosting morale or providing a distraction.

Rival Best-Friend:
1) Heroic Assist - May add two (2) Successes to any die roll. ("I just saved your ass... now who's the best fighter in the kingdom?")
2) Schticks - I must show off my prowess and superiority at every opportunity.
I will watch my friend's backs even when I say I won't.
I will sacrifice myself for my friends if it becomes necessary... but I'll still fight to survive anyway.

Anachronistic Inventor:
1) Heroic Artillery - May cause a small inanimate object to explode and further expenditure of points will create a larger explosion. ("Ah! Horse urine was the final ingredient I needed!")
2) Schticks - I can solve any problem with a sufficiently complex machine given enough time.
I cannot solve a problem by the most obvious or simplest method.
I must create 'black powder'.

Surprise Traitor:
1) Heroic Evasion - May tell one absolutely convincing lie that will be believed by any single audience. ("I was talking to my dear deathly ill mother. That is why I was in the brothel.")
2) Schticks - I will deny that I am a traitor until I publicly declare my intent.
I will soliloquy at my moment of triumph.
I will betray my friends, family, clan and pets when it suits me.

"I am the Director... you may address me as Your Omnipotent Majesty..."

A few notes to the Director... Feel free to blatantly steal the plot to your favourite action adventure then spice it up with creatures from your imagination. The Actors should be able to massacre the cannon fodder easily but some villains should be stronger than that. There should be a Villain for the heros to confront in the exciting climax. This Villain should have a Heroic Action which is appropriate to the Movie you are trying to create. One such Heroic action may be: Heroic Recovery - May return self from either Killed or Vanquished to merely Critical health state ("Don't think you can kill me that easily!"). It is possible (especially with a Surprise Traitor in the game) for Actors to spend their "Script-Change" points to aid the Villain. Whether or not this is allowed is left up to the Director's discretion.

To create a tougher combat villain increase the number of Combat dice or increase the number of Successes required to injure that villain. To create tougher skill challenges just increase the number of Successes required to succeed. Apply skill rolls at any point they appear useful. Don't worry too much about the details if the Big Picture works... after all if the actual movies don't care about historical accuracy, why should you? Be creative. Have fun. Blow stuff up!

"The Sequel... Son of the Barbarian-God-King..."

So you loved this game so much that you want to know how you can apply it to different types of action movies... simply change the Hero and keep all of the other character packages the same.

For a spy movie (i.e. all of the Bond movies):

Master Spy:
1) Heroic Recovery/Rescue - May return self or one other character with a Killed health level to Healthy. ("My Hero! You saved me from boiling to death in lava and being eaten by cannibals. How can I ever thank you?")
2) Schticks - I will remain calm, cool, flirtatious, and maintain my signature habits at all times.
I will always look good and be overly well dressed.
I must pursue my vices.

For an archeologist adventure movie (i.e. The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, all of the Indiana Jones movies):

Archaeologist Adventurer:
1) Heroic Recovery/Rescue - May return self or one other character with a Killed health level to Healthy. ("My Hero! You saved me from boiling to death in lava and being eaten by cannibals. How can I ever thank you?")
2) Schticks - I will never use scientific methods when prying treasure from archaeological sites.
I will wind up covered in dirt and debrie by the end of every fight.
I must pursue my vices.

"That's a WRAP ... somebody get me some rum..."

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