The Troubleshooters: 60's Cartoon Themed RPG

With influences like Tintin, Scooby-Doo, and The Man from UNCLE, The Troubleshooters is a "new action-adventure tabletop roleplaying game in the style of Franco-Belgian comics" from Swedish designer Krister Sundelin. The first adventure is called The U-Boat Mystery (which gives an idea of the tone we're talking here). Oh, and your character sheet is a passport.

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Coming to Kickstarter on April 7th, with a release this summer in English and in French, it'll be published by Helmgast AB and Modiphius. Here's the full announcement:

"Helmgast AB proudly presents The Troubleshooters, a new action-adventure tabletop roleplaying game in the style of Franco-Belgian comics.

Imagine a world where you travel the world like Tintin, unmask heinous villains like Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Gang, unravel mysteries like Nancy Drew, do heists like Carmen Sandiego, stop evil masterminds like Spirou and Fantasio, solve crimes like The Saint, and even catch spies like The Man from UNCLE. That’s the world of The Troubleshooters.

In The Troubleshooters, the characters are drawn into other people’s problems and band together to solve them. Ranging from athletes and explorers to journalists and mad scientists, the characters will travel all over Europe and across the world. Explore exotic locations, glittering metropoles, lost temples, or valleys that time forgot, and face spies, wild beasts, mafia, villains, and the nefarious graf von Zadrith, the leader of the secret organisation the Octopus!

Written by Krister Sundelin, author of the acclaimed Swedish roleplaying games “Järn” and “Hjältarnas tid”, The Troubleshooters takes you back to the mid-1960s in a world of fast-paced adventure and fun!

The Troubleshooters Core Book will be the first in a line of products for the game together with the adventure The U-Boat Mystery, followed by adventures and background books. The text for the core book is already written and has been playtested for a year and a half, and the text for the first adventure is almost complete.

The Troubleshooters is planned for release in the summer of 2020 in English and French, with a crowdfunding campaign starting April 7th. Modiphius Entertainment will be handling the distribution of the English edition into retail stores from the Autumn 2020. Arkhane Asylum will translate The Troubleshooter to French."


According to the website, "The Troubleshooters will take the characters all over Europe and across the world. They will find themselves at exotic locations, glittering metropoles, deep in the wilderness, or even in cozy country villages, where they face horrible foes: spies, wild beast, mafia, mad scientists, villains, and relatives!"

It's a percentile dice system, with a passport for a character sheet -- "The system is based on d% task checks against a skill value. With skills, abilities, complications and a Story Point economy, the system is designed from the ground up to fit the genre. Skills, abilities and complications are recorded in the character’s passport."

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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Bercilak

Explorer
First line of the OP - Scooby Do and the Man from UNCLE are mentioned.
I wasn't clear earlier. My apologies. What Franco-Belgian comics besides Tintin influenced this game? I'm interested in this game, but also interested in reading some of the source material that influenced it However, aside from Tintin and Asterix, I'm not very knowledgeable about Franco-Belgian comics.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I wasn't clear earlier. My apologies. What Franco-Belgian comics besides Tintin influenced this game? I'm interested in this game, but also interested in reading some of the source material that influenced it However, aside from Tintin and Asterix, I'm not very knowledgeable about Franco-Belgian comics.
Dunno! I'm sure the author is well versed in the comics of his own region, but this press release is directed at Americans.
 

JeffB

Legend
If the creators have not experienced the original Johnny Quest, then they should make a concerted effort to do so. That show ran in primetime originally in the US, Which was nearly unheard of at the time.. It would be wise from a business standpoint and as mentioned will likely draw more potential US customers than my avatar as a example of the bad guys.

But who knows.. I have no idea what Franco-Belgian comics are. I sure as hell would buy a Johnny Quest or MFU game though.

Robert Vaughn lived near me. Used to see him at the local diner all the time. First time I saw him, I just gave him a wave . After that time he always waved to me and my son and gave us a genuine smile first when he walked in. I never went over to gush or introduce myself and pester him like other customers and I think he really appreciated that. He died in recent years. Great actor. RIP.
 

Bercilak

Explorer
As an American, the only reason I'm asking about influences is because the sub-title of the game is "Action-Adventure Roleplaying in the Franco-Belgian Comics Tradition." And I don't know what that means. If it's copyright-code for Tintin, cool. But if it's something else, I'm curious what it is. I'm with JeffB, finding MFU and JQ pretty cool, and if there are other comics in the vein of those or Tintin, I'd like to read them and then use them as inspiration for running this game.
 

Clansmansix

Explorer
This looks great! Of course, knowing my players it will quickly turn out to be less "Johnny Quest" and more "Venture Brothers" but that could be okay too. LOL!
 
It is my understanding that the maker of the game got help from a native speaker (I might be wrong on that, so don't quote me)

Edit: @WisdomOfWombats Appearently some of the phrases is taken from a real passport and some is google-translated. The creator would very much like better suggestions if you spot somthing that is outrageously wrong. He would also like to know what "torpedo loading hatch" is in German. ;)
Just some quick ones:
Handlungshaken sounds strange in German (even though it's technically a correct translation). You'd rather say Handlungsaufhänger.
From the Skills section:
Contacts would also be plural: Kontakte
Credit would be Kreditwürdigkeit
Entertainment as "Underhaltung" is a typo, it would be "Unterhaltung"
Investigation is usually translated as Nachforschungen instead of Untersuchung
Machinery would be something like Maschinerie instead of just Maschine

Also "Torpedo Loading Hatch" would be word-by-word "Torpedo Ladeluke", but I guess using just "Torpedoluke" is a lot shorter.
 

Tonguez

Hero
I wasn't clear earlier. My apologies. What Franco-Belgian comics besides Tintin influenced this game? I'm interested in this game, but also interested in reading some of the source material that influenced it However, aside from Tintin and Asterix, I'm not very knowledgeable about Franco-Belgian comics.
Im guessing Blake and Mortimer is a key influence as thats the most prominent Franco-Belgium comic of this particular genre I can think of besides Tintin.
Of course Im far from being an expert and most of the Belgian comics I can recall are comedic in nature. Blake and Mortimer is about a British scientist (Mortimer) and an MI5 Agent (Blake), their enemy is Colonel Olrik a Hungarian spy working for the asian ‘Yellow Empire’ who have conquered the world
 
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Undrave

Hero
I wasn't clear earlier. My apologies. What Franco-Belgian comics besides Tintin influenced this game? I'm interested in this game, but also interested in reading some of the source material that influenced it However, aside from Tintin and Asterix, I'm not very knowledgeable about Franco-Belgian comics.
As an American, the only reason I'm asking about influences is because the sub-title of the game is "Action-Adventure Roleplaying in the Franco-Belgian Comics Tradition." And I don't know what that means. If it's copyright-code for Tintin, cool. But if it's something else, I'm curious what it is. I'm with JeffB, finding MFU and JQ pretty cool, and if there are other comics in the vein of those or Tintin, I'd like to read them and then use them as inspiration for running this game.
Franco-Belgian comics are, of courses, French-speaking comics from France and Belgium, often rendered as "Bandes dessinées" or "BD". Specifically, in this case, those who were first presented weekly/monthly in magazines Pilote, Tintin and Spirou, later collected in hardback 'albums' (usually A4 format, 48 pages or so, one story or a collection of comedic strips) from the 60's onward.

There is, of course, a lot of comedic stories in those (looking at you Gaston Lagaffe), but there is also a lot of non-superhero adventures stories. Tintin and Asterix, and also Lucky Luke, are the most famous but not the only ones.

There's off course Spirou & Fantasio. Spirou had a cartoon in the 90s that actually had an English dub so you can check that out if you want some inspiration. It got popular enough to create a 'genre' of comics about 'Two guys solving crime', usually with a vague 'journalist' job. A lot of short lived knockoffs exist out there, like Jacky & Celestin.

Another one of that genre that's got some legs is Tif & Tondu, about a pair of private investigators. Those two are well known for their enemy, Monsieur Choc, a mysterious super genius criminal who always wears a medieval helmet and a smoking. The guy is believed dead multiple times and you never see his face!

Another series that was going to be a knock off 'two guys on adventure' is what eventually became the Yoko Tsuno comic. The author first created the titular heroine's two male sidekick, Vic and Pol, and had them encounter and hire Yoko, a Japanese electrical engineer, to help them on their first investigative report... But then a few pages later she judo throw an alien security guard and the author realized SHE was his new main character. Yoko Tsuno is also one I would recommend and that has some English version out there. Yoko Tsuno's author got started doing planes and other machines in Tintin and it shows in the details of his air craft and spacecraft. It's a sci-fi series with Yoko dealing with all sorts of issues on Earth, on alien planet Vinea and even deals with time travel.

Another one that would be a good influence is Clifton, a comic about a retired british spy who ends up being pulled back for investigations all the time. I remember one particularly fun story where a computer glitch causes him to be put on an assassination hit list and he has to survive for like 7 days until the assassins checks back in and can be called off.

And of course the aforementioned Blake & Mortimer. Blake & Mortimer also had a cartoon series.

Another series that is set in contemporary times and often deals with international politic is Natacha, a series starring a stewardess who usually end up in complicated situations.

One I could see working is Les Petits Hommes, a series about the population of a whole village who was shrunk down to the size of action figures by a mysterious meteorite who then begin living in secret in caves and now try to keep away from humans. Their lower weight allowed them to develop fantastic flying machines and they even created a temporary shrink ray based on the meteorite. The series ends with them taking off for space.

I could also see Marsupilami. The Marsupilami was a fantastic southamerican creature created by Franquin for Spirou & Fantasio and then spin-off into its own series. The conceit being that the main character is a wild animal with no dialogue or whatever, but he always ends up implicated with various adventures in the fictional Palombian jungle.

A few others I'm not super familiar with but could work:

  • Buck Danny about an American fighter pilot, with adventures ranging from WWII to the Bosnian conflict.
  • Archie Cash which his basically Charles Branson as a detective and vigilante in South America.
  • Gil Jourdan a story about a private investigator and his former criminal sidekick.
  • Michel Vaillant starring a race car pilot
  • Soda about New York City police officer Solomon David who never told his ailing mother, who now lives with him, that he's a police officer and not a pastor and has to hide his dual life from her.

A few more adventure series of note that are not set in contemporary times, or too far into sci-fi or fantasy, or too far into a more realist style, or not from the same era as those mentioned previously :
  • The Smurfs
  • Johan & Pirlouit
  • Valerian & Laureline
  • Les Tuniques Bleues
  • Papyrus
  • Barbe Rouge
  • Scrameustache
  • Blueberry
  • XIII
  • Technically Blacksad
  • Philémon
  • Lanfeust de Troy and its spin offs.

And you could always read the Bob Morane pulp novels, which also had its own comic adaptation and a cartoon series too.
 
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Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Franco-Belgian comics are, of courses, French-speaking comics from France and Belgium, often rendered as "Bandes dessinées" or "BD". Specifically, in this case, those who were first presented weekly/monthly in magazines Pilote, Tintin and Spirou, later collected in hardback 'albums' (usually A4 format, 48 pages or so, one story or a collection of comedic strips) from the 60's onward.

There is, of course, a lot of comedic stories in those (looking at you Gaston Lagaffe), but there is also a lot of non-superhero adventures stories. Tintin and Asterix, and also Lucky Luke, are the most famous but not the only ones.

There's off course Spirou & Fantasio. Spirou had a cartoon in the 90s that actually had an English dub so you can check that out if you want some inspiration. It got popular enough to create a 'genre' of comics about 'Two guys solving crime', usually with a vague 'journalist' job. A lot of short lived knockoffs exist out there, like Jacky & Celestin.

Another one of that genre that's got some legs is Tif & Tondu, about a pair of private investigators. Those two are well known for their enemy, Monsieur Choc, a mysterious super genius criminal who always wears a medieval helmet and a smoking. The guy is believed dead multiple times and you never see his face!

Another series that was going to be a knock off 'two guys on adventure' is what eventually became the Yoko Tsuno comic. The author first created the titular heroine's two male sidekick, Vic and Pol, and had them encounter and hire Yoko, a Japanese electrical engineer, to help them on their first investigative report... But then a few pages later she judo throw an alien security guard and the author realized SHE was his new main character. Yoko Tsuno is also one I would recommend and that has some English version out there. Yoko Tsuno's author got started doing planes and other machines in Tintin and it shows in the details of his air craft and spacecraft. It's a sci-fi series with Yoko dealing with all sorts of issues on Earth, on alien planet Vinea and even deals with time travel.

Another one that would be a good influence is Clifton, a comic about a retired british spy who ends up being pulled back for investigations all the time. I remember one particularly fun story where a computer glitch causes him to be put on an assassination hit list and he has to survive for like 7 days until the assassins check back and can be called off.

And of course the aforementioned Blake & Mortimer. Blake & Mortimer also had a cartoon series.

Another series that is set in contemporary times and often deals with international politic is Natacha, a series starring a stewardess who usually end up in complicated situations.

One I could see working is Les Petits Hommes, a series about the population of a whole village who was shrunk down to the size of action figures by a mysterious meteorite and then began living in secret in caves and try to keep away from human. Their lower weight allowed them to develop fantastic flying machines and they even created a temporary shrink ray based on the meteorite. The series ends with them taking off for space.

I could also see Marsupilami. The Marsupilami was a fantastic southamerican creature created by Franquin for Spirou & Fantasio and then spin-off into its own series. The conceit being that the main character is a wild animal with no dialogue or whatever, but he always ends up implicated with various adventures in the fictional Palombian jungle.

A few others I'm not super familiar with but work:

- Buck Danny about an American fighter pilot, with adventures ranging from WWII to the Bosnian conflict.
  • Archie Cash which his basically Charles Branson as a detective and vigilante in South America.
  • Gil Jourdan a story about a private investigator and his former criminal sidekick.
  • Michel Vaillant starring a race car pilot
  • Soda about New York City police officer Solomon David who never told his ailing mother, who now lives with him, that's a police officer and not a pastor and has to hide his dual life from her.

A few more adventure series of note that are not set in contemporary times, or too far into sci-fi or fantasy, or too far into a more realist style, or not from the same era as those mentioned previously :
  • The Smurfs
  • Johan & Pirlouit
  • Valerian & Laureline
  • Les Tuniques Bleues
  • Papyrus
  • Barbe Rouge
  • Scrameustache
  • Blueberry
  • XIII
  • Technically Blacksad
  • Philémon
  • Lanfeust de Troy and its spin offs.

And you could always read the Bob Morane pulp novels, which also had its own comic adaptation and a cartoon series too.
Great survey.
There's also Herge's own Jo, Zette & Jocko which was recently published in English - at least by recently, within the past 20 years. I know this because I have them on my shelf at home.
 

Undrave

Hero
Great survey.
There's also Herge's own Jo, Zette & Jocko which was recently published in English - at least by recently, within the past 20 years. I know this because I have them on my shelf at home.
Not sure how well it would mesh with the style but it is indeed worth mentioning.
 

JeffB

Legend
I know what TinTin is. Haven’t the foggiest what Johnny Quest is. 🤷
It is by far the most well known and popular 60s action cartoon in the USA and ran in primetime slots, which made it a BFD here. Cartoons did not run in primetime slots on a friday or saturday night in the USA. I thinkn. perhaps the Flinstones was the only other one.

 

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