Gauging Interest - It's a 30s Sci-Fi pulp Ripping Yarns jokey sort of thing...


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  1. #1
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    Gauging Interest - It's a 30s Sci-Fi pulp Ripping Yarns jokey sort of thing...

    What Ho!

    Looking to see if anyone is interested in a light-hearted Boy's Own Adventure* kind of pulp sci-fi game, with simple mechanics and general daftness all round, where the good guys win because Johnny Martian doesn't understand the rules of cricket.

    Inspirations:
    Boys Own Tales, (as spoofed by Palin and Jones in) Ripping Yarns, war comics (e.g. Commando, Victor), Saturday serials (e.g. Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon. King of the Rocketmen, Undersea Kingdom, anything with Larry “Buster” Crabbe or Ray "Crash" Corrigan), Johnny Weismuller’s Tarzan, Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes, any film starring Doug McClure, Bulldog Drummond, Dick Barton Special Agent, The 39 Steps, Jules Verne, HG Wells, Dan Dare, Willans and Searles’ Molesworth, Girl Genius, Daily Mirror’s Jane, Rudyard Kipling, Enid Blyton, Arthur Ransome, Biggles, etc...

    If you have some life to waste at TV Tropes, look up Raygun Gothic, George Lucas Throwback and the film Bullshot, with pretty much every reference therein, for more genre tropes to play with.

    Setting:
    1930s SF. Thirties era aesthetic in politics, clothing and projected technology, set in far future (2011!) but with backward looking ideals (Empire, Pluck, Public Schools and lashings of ginger beer). King Zagrox of Mars, green-skinned, dome-headed Martian ruler of a pseudo-fascist dictatorship with plans to conquer the whole solar system with his fleet of saucer ships. Blue-skinned, four armed warrior women ride dinosaurs through the jungles of Venus. Mysterious races beyond, perhaps intelligent blue gasses from Pluto who speak only in bad poetry. Earth is protected by the brave men and women of the Space Ranger Corps, culled from the finest that each nation has to offer (but led, naturally, by the valiant British**).

    Potential story arcs:
    Warrior Queen of Venus, Deathray of Doom, Warlords of Saturn, The Scurrilous Scheme of Doctor Awful.

    Post your interest, and I'll transform this thread by the power of SCIENCE! into a character creation thread.

    *Girls are allowed too, as long as they promise not to talk about dresses and kissing and stuff.

    **Well, they think they're in charge and everybody respects them.
    Last edited by Dr Simon; Thursday, 4th June, 2009 at 05:24 PM.
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  • #2
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    Sounds great! Will it be rules-system free, or do you have something specific in mind?
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    Hi I'm a comic and rpg nerd. Don't hurt me, please.

    PS: English is NOT my native language!

    May the 4th be with you!

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  • #3
    Na Bith Mo Riocht T! COPPER SUBSCRIBER
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    Intriguing, and I second WDs rules question.
    "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
    -- H.L. Mencken

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    The rules are like a super-light version of GURPS or FUDGE. Here's what I had in mind:

    All characters start with two “Good” skills, one “Great” skill and one “Poor” skill. Optionally, you can add another Good Skill by taking a Rubbish skill. Skills are loosely defined, although you are honour bound to make Poor and Rubbish skills something that might actually be a handicap (so no Rubbish: Knitting) for example.

    Examples Characters:

    Algernon “Squiffy” Atkinson
    Archetype: Absent-Minded Boffin
    Hooks: Unruly blond hair, glasses, unfeasably long scarf.
    Skills:
    Great: Fixing Things
    Good: Alien Flora and Fauna
    Good: Accidentally Avoiding Trouble
    Poor: Noticing Non-Trivial Things

    Andrei Alexeivitch Obromov (Andrushka to his mother)
    Archetype: Robust Boffin
    Hooks: Huge bear of a man, big beard, effusive, Russian
    Skills:
    Great: Making Things
    Good: Wrestling
    Good: Making Friends
    Good: Resisting Poisons (includes homemade vodka)
    Poor: Firing Guns
    Rubbish: Being Quiet

    The Basic Mechanic: Roll 2d6, add modifier. Beat difficulty or opposing roll

    Typical Difficulties
    20 Nigh Impossible
    16 Very Hard
    13 Hard
    10 Difficult
    7 Average
    5 Easy
    3 Very Easy
    1 Trivial

    Skill Modifiers
    Legendary +8
    Excellent +6
    Great +4
    Good +2
    Average +0
    Poor -2
    Rubbish -4
    Dreaful -6
    Hopeless -8

    Added refinements: Degree of success may be a factor. If you only need an Average success, for example, but your total is high enough for Hard success, then you may achieve more than you hoped for.

    Damage and combat is fairly abstracted. Using the above examples, if a Martian footsoldier fired his ray gun at Squiffy, Squiffy could use his Accidentally Avoid Trouble skill to oppose the roll. He just happens to notice a rare example of a Martian Poisonous Daffodil and ducks to examine it at the moment the footsoldier fires. Andrei, on the other hand, has no defensive skills to speak of. The footsoldier would have to make a straight attack roll based on range. If he missed, though, Andrei could then employ his wrestling skill to crush the little martian.

    Wounds etc. are abstracted. The heroes can't get killed outright, but a good shot might incapacitate them, and a really good one might give them a wound that could be fatal if not treated. Goons tend to go down on a single hit, henchmen and named bad guys tend to be a bit more durable. If you want a really tough hero then give them a Shrug Off Damage skill or similar.

    Example Archetypes:
    Square-Jawed Hero
    Brash American Pilot*
    Loyal Batman
    Spivvy Corporal
    Plucky Heroine
    Bluff Old Colonel
    Fierce German Officer*
    Louche French Agent*

    Venusian Temptress
    Venusian Amazon
    Noble Martian Partisan
    Oily Martian Double Agent
    Nervous Robot Butler
    Single-Minded Robot Bodyguard.

    Notes: There are two types of Martian. High Martians are the Mars Attacks kind of green, bulbous headed sadistic types. Low Martians have golden skin and little antennae on their heads. They are ruled by the High Martians.

    Robots have the aesthetic of the clanks from Girl Genius, or Forbidden Planet and Lost in Space.

    *Crass racial stereotypes are part of the genre, and can be overturned if you like!
    Last edited by Dr Simon; Thursday, 4th June, 2009 at 05:50 PM.
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    Hee hee!

    I can't decide if I'm into this or not. On the one hand it sounds like a real hoot...on the other, I'm not sure I can pull off that era and genre...

    But I have this goofy idea for a Square Jaw type. Flint Steele - Man of Action!

    If it goes anywhere, I may submit it. If not, I will definitely be following this thread.

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    Na Bith Mo Riocht T! COPPER SUBSCRIBER
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    I'm definitely interested, but have no experience with either of the mentioned rule sets.

    I've read some of the genre and seen several of the movies (I was a HUGE Buck Rogers and Tarzan fan growing up) but I'm also not sure I can pull off the role play. Definitely willing to give it a try, though . . .
    "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
    -- H.L. Mencken

  • #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mowgli View Post
    I'm definitely interested, but have no experience with either of the mentioned rule sets.
    Well, Fudge is sort of a meta-rules set, and its free so you can check it out for yourself. Mainly I was thinking that both systems involve rolling some d6's, adding a modifier to the total and comparing the result to a target number. Pretty much like d20 system but with a bell curve of probabilities rather than linear, so your character tends to accomplish things within his capability most often, with extremes being more rare.

    Fudge is quite free-form, with player-defined abilities like the ones I've given here. GURPS is a lot more point-buy based, infamous for extreme min-maxing of flaws and traits.

    Bottom line, though, is that the system is not too important.

    Edit:

    @Shayuri: Yeah, Flint Steele, Man of Action sounds appropriate!

    Edit #2:
    Just to make it clear, you invent the skills for your character, there isn't a preset list.
    Last edited by Dr Simon; Thursday, 4th June, 2009 at 04:34 PM.
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    Sounds like a blast! Put me down for the Brash American Pilot. Half Tom Sawyer/ half Buck Rodgers!

    Lesse:


    David "Crash" Jones
    Archetype: Brash American Pilot
    Hooks: Unruly brown hair, Charming grin, Worn Leather Jacket
    Skills:
    Great: Flying Things
    Good: Mixing it up
    Good: Shooting Things
    Good: Conning Suckers
    Poor: Holding his Liquor
    Rubbish: Keeping his mouth shut
    -Andor, Grognard

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    Na Bith Mo Riocht T! COPPER SUBSCRIBER
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    How 'bout this:

    William "Will" Larson
    Archetype: Competent Texas Cowboy
    Hooks: Unfailingly Polite, Texas Drawl, Classic Cowboy Outfit
    Skills:
    Great: Riding Anything
    Good: Roping Stuff
    Good: Brawling
    Good: Shooting Stuff
    Poor: Gambling
    Rubbish: Resisting Gambling

    Stocky black cowboy dressed in classic tan duster and low crowned, broad brimmed hat. Matched six-shooters, lever action Spencer Carbine rifle.
    "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
    -- H.L. Mencken

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    Zig'Knock "OVERLORD" Lil'Britches
    Archetype: Alien Mind Controller
    Hooks: Superior Arrogance, Mind-enhancing Helmet (HUGE shiny dome), Short Alien/Long Cape.
    Skills:
    Great: Mass Mind-Control
    Good: Mind Over Matter
    Good: Telekinesis
    Good: Mental Force Shield
    Poor: Dealing Damage
    Rubbish: Anything Athletic

    Life at three foot is lived under the rule of larger animals, unless you control the larger animals brain! Mwa HA HA HA!!!

    Zig'Knock is your typical Martian would-be overlord. Green with a huge head, only made to look larger by his comically oversized "Mind-enhancing Helmet".

    Zig'Knock can stun large numbers of foes using his Mass Mind-Control abilities.
    Using Telekinesis he reaches items... On The Top Shelf!
    Bolstering his allies to knew feats of supreme epic-ness using Mind Over Matter!
    And when things go truly south, Zig'Knock protects himself with a Mental Force Shield.

    However being three foot tall doesn't lend to hurting anyone, so Zig'Knock has others do that for him! Even while invading someone's mind, Zig'Knock has trouble causing lasting mental problems.

    Telekinesis has made Zig'Knock even less athletic than he was born, be it running, jumping, or simply walking up stairs, it's all difficult to Zig'Knock...

    How does Zig'Knock control others minds, if you ask him it's because, I'M BETTER THAN YOU!!! MWA HA HA HA!!!
    Last edited by CaBaNa; Friday, 5th June, 2009 at 04:53 AM.

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