Cartoons as RPG Settings

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The mind-blowing success of Avatar: Legends has gotten me to thinking: what other popular cartoon(s) would make a successful TTRPG setting?

Here's my modest proposal:

Gravity Falls/Call of Cthulhu
So hear me out: ancient secrets, alternate realities, elder gods, cryptids, puzzles and mysteries and aliens and pyramids and madness--Gravity Falls has all of the staple ingredients for a Call of Cthulhu campaign setting. I think it would work.

Why Gravity Falls?

My wife and I have almost finished a re-watch of the whole series (it's only 2 seasons long), and it's better than I remember from the first time I watched it. The puzzles and ciphers that are hidden in the credits, and throughout each episode in the background, really stand out on a second viewing...and solving them is a very satisfying experience (especially if you manage to do it without consulting the wiki. Yes, there's a wiki.)

Strong character development is a staple of modern animated series (Steven Universe, She-Ra, even Adventure Time) and Gravity Falls does it just as well as we have come to expect. As you watch the show, you get to watch Grunkle Stan go from being a crotchety old grump to a world-saving Man of Action. You watch Dipper go from awkward kid to master paranormal investigator. And so forth. It's easy to see the character progression in the story, and see how it could translate into character advancement in an RPG game.

And my final point is admittedly my weakest, but here goes: Gravity Falls has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the same rating as Avatar: The Last Airbender. Data point of 1 and all, but it's at least feasible that a Gravity Falls RPG would also do well.

Why "Call of Cthulhu"?

I would pick this system because it's popular (it's one of the top RPG systems currently in print), and because the mechanics lend themselves well to the variety of technologies and fantastical elements present in the cartoon. Ancient spells, unicorns, and gnomes all make it a great fit for D&D 5E too, but things like grappling hooks, ray guns, flying saucers, and televangelists might require a little more elbow grease than the average DM would like. (That said: Bill Cipher would be an excellent Warlock patron.) And like Call of Cthulhu, the cartoon doesn't focus as much on combat: there isn't an epic battle scene in every episode, and even the few combat scenes that do exist are usually won by clever thinking and puzzle-solving, not attacks and damage.

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So what about you? If you were making an RPG adaptation of a cartoon, which cartoon and RPG would you choose?
 
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Greg K

Legend
I would have loved to have seen official versions of GI Joe and Transformers using Cartoon Action Hour Season 3. Also would like to see official versions of Thundarr the Barbarian, Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, The Real Ghostbusters, Thundercats, Pirates of Dark Water, M.A.S.K. He-Man, She-Ra using CAH: S3 as well.
 


Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
One Piece. Huge world, easily able to create your own islands as a GM. Plus nearly unlimited character customization with devil fruits, and additional options in tech, sword styles, sniping if you want to forego superpowers. Really great for just gonzo gaming. I'm thinking when the Netflix series approaches, the chances of someone licensing this are likely to skyrocket.

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Although, I have heard that Seapunk Unleashed is essentially One Piece... it's in Spanish though, so cannot read it myself.

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I like the idea of a Samurai Jack themed game... though I don't know enough about different systems to hazard a guess which would work well for an RPG adaption. Any suggestions?
Well, you'd probably want to go with a Wuxia-style system, to fit the theme and flavor of the cartoon. Not required, but it would keep certain elements from getting lost in translation. So if it were me? I'd pick Legend of the Five Rings, from Fantasy Flight Games, and then rework the World of Rokugan to fit the setting of Samurai Jack.

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Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
Well, you'd probably want to go with a Wuxia-style system, to fit the theme and flavor of the cartoon. Not required, but it would keep certain elements from getting lost in translation. So if it were me? I'd pick Legend of the Five Rings, from Fantasy Flight Games, and then rework the World of Rokugan to fit the setting of Samurai Jack.

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Considering how many robots and aliens there are in Samurai Jack, I think it needs a few elements from some other systems. I honestly don't know what, but the world has mechanical vehicles and high-tech firearms so not sure LotFR can cut it.

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Considering how many robots and aliens there are in Samurai Jack, I think it needs a few elements from some other systems. I honestly don't know what, but the world has mechanical vehicles and high-tech firearms so not sure LotFR can cut it.
Hm, that's a good point. I've only watched the first half of the first season of Samurai Jack, so I'm probably not the best person to ask. I haven't gotten to much of the high-tech stuff. I've played plenty of Lo5R, though, and that game system is pretty flexible...but I admit, robots and vehicles might be too much work in the long run.

Hm. BESM also comes to mind, but...no. I don't think that would work either.

EDIT: Maybe OVA? It looks promising, but I've never played it.
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
I would like to see the following:

Macron-1 The system here need to be good for cooperation, relationships and the occasional battle. If it wasn't for the latter part, I woudl say Good Society.

Ulysseus 31 the system here would have to be something that was good for exploration. Maybe based on BRP?

And maybe Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. This is more gonzo stuf, but I think FATE Core here.
 



jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
I'd like to see an official Miyazaki RPG set in an original world of his design. I mean, I'd play a RPG set in any of his worlds, but having one designed specifically for a RPG would be amazing. As for cartoons that could successfully be adapted, I feel that One Piece is dead on. I also wouldn't mind seeing one based on the universe of Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers. Note that Pirates of Dark Water had an official RPG release, but it sucked, so seeing somebody do that correct would also be good.
 
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Kevin Siembieda managed to produce successful RPGs based on the Robotech cartoon, as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book...

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(Taken from this hilarious zine)
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Also, I recall that Mike Pondsmith's R. Talsorian Games did adaptations of classic anime Bubblegum Crisis as well as Armored Trooper VOTOMS... I even played a sexaroid repairman in a campaign of the former...
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Galaxy Rangers!

Tbh I think 5e could do it, doing something similar to one of the various sci-fi 5e games out there.

I’d love to play around with the cybernetics, sentient robots, cool ships, weird aliens, psionics, etc.

Also the fantasy sci-fi cartoons like Thundercats.
 

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