Keeping it Rated “PG” in RPGs.

It was okay to shoot guns, swing swords and blow stuff up, as long as you didn’t show blood, guts, gore, or dismemberment.


Well, maybe PG-13 because of the “fantasy violence” and stuff.

I think one of the hardest parts of running Power Rangers RPG is going to be to remember to keep it somewhat kid friendly. Luckily, the Essence20 system is written is such a way that there are no death saves to worry about. The GI Joe RPG has a similar situation going where 0 Health means your character is Defeated, not dead. This is definitely unrealistic given the amount of blasters, guns, swords, and other implements of destruction around, but hey- It’s based off of kids’ TV.

My family knows I should come with a trigger warning and a language filter.

I gotta behave.

My wife loves to kid me about how often I successfully stick my foot in my mouth. The common running joke is, “Shovel’s over here if you need it.” Meaning I tend to dig the hole I’m in deeper every time I say anything.

I’m going to have an easier time keeping it clean around the kids with a system that is pretty much designed non-lethal. Basically if it’s something a Power Ranger wouldn’t do on TV, it’s restricted from the game.

“Aww shucks. Golly. Gee whiz that’s sure a lot of blood.”

No. No. Not blood. We’ll say “goop.” The monsters still explode, but they just go off to a different dimension or get revived by the bad guys. Putties still explode and get remolded. (Reduce, reuse, recycle.) Fights against anything remotely human result in defeats or knockouts. No blood.

I’m proud of myself for losing some of my drunken sailor talk around my family. It took the better part of a decade to stop dropping f-bombs like they were someone’s name, but I did it. Certain situations still cause me to let some fly, but I try not to do it around the kids.

I grew up in the 1980’s when cartoon violence was a big thing.

Relatively “normal.”

Somehow I turned out relatively normal. We had Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry cartoons, and some pretty heinous acts would get committed there, but somehow none of the kids on my block turned into ax murderers. There were no riots. Parents could still sleep at night. Makes me wonder…

If only we had known that society was going to devolve even further, we might not have had people freaking out about our beloved cartoons. I remember they talked about bans on D&D, Thundarr the Barbarian, Pole Position (Yup, that was a thing.) GI Joe (duh…) and M.A.S.K. cartoons because they were supposedly too violent for kids. Even the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers took some heat, but somehow it survived.

It was okay to shoot guns, swing swords and blow stuff up, as long as you didn’t show blood, guts, gore, or dismemberment. Something similar happened a couple of decades prior with the Comics Code Authority. It was sort of the death knell for horror comics, but overall a healthy thing.

Besides, who cares if the foam rubber monster disappears in a huge propane explosion. Those buildings were obviously all evacuated and no one really got hurt. Even the guy inside the monster suit is okay. It’s all just pretend, kids.

Tradition keeps it nerfed appropriately.

I intend to run the Power Rangers RPG the same way the TV series presents itself. No swearing. No actual blood. I’m staying away from YouTube indie series such as Unworthy where characters can straight up die. (It’s fun to watch as an adult, though…) Foam rubber monsters still explode and go to a nice, quiet parallel dimension and live happily until resurrected or whatever.

I’m still working out the details regarding civilian casualties. Godzilla stomps out an apartment complex and hoots fire everywhere, there should be some degree of threat there. We have to still show some danger without actually killing any NPCs.

GI Joe can still launch all kinds of missiles and people might get injured a little. But if a vehicle blows up it’s guaranteed the occupants will parachute to safety. If their hummer flips over, they will crawl out of it alive. Yay. Robots and monsters probably won’t be so lucky. That’s how it’s pretty much always been for Saturday morning kids programming.

Hope you’re having a lovely week. Take care. Please stay safe and hydrated. See ya soon.

My spaceship exploded and I still managed to bail out in time.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa always looking for more work. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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