5 TV/Movie Franchises That Would Make Epic RPGs.

There’s recently been a bloom of RPGs based on old cartoon franchises. In that tradition, I’d like to offer up some that I think deserve an RPG or a campaign at least.


Some would make great campaigns, others probably deserve the full treatment.

Number 5: Mission Impossible.
While this could literally be plugged into any modern or spy game ever written, it would make for an interesting campaign. Personally, I think DwD’s Covert Ops is about perfect for this campaign. Confession: I want to have all of the characters on vacation just long enough to get interrupted by the famous MI mission delivery system. That, and the theme music.

Number 4: Combat!/Rat Patrol/Band of Brothers/Saving Private Ryan.
For those who didn’t watch old school black and white TV shows, Combat and Rat Patrol were set in WW2. One was a group of GI’s trudging through the war. The other was a band of Jeep riding Americans fighting Nazis in Africa.

I know Operation White Box sort of covers the WW2 niche pretty well. I just wish someone would build more of a Twilight 2000 style game about the war. (Looking at you, GDW fans…) There are plenty of historical minis games about WW2, but no one really covered it in an RPG for some reason.

Number 3: The A-Team.
How has this game managed to not have been made yet? Again, it would make a freaking awesome campaign! You’ve got the military cops chasing our heroes while they try to right injustices all over the place. Meanwhile some reporter is tagging along with them trying to write a good story and clear their names.

It was a good TV show, and we know that doesn’t always make for good RPGs, but c’mon. It’s The A-Team! Okay, honestly Cyberpunk kind of fills this niche in a roundabout way. I think it made for a cool Spycraft game back in the day. One could probably tweak the Covert Ops rules or any other modern game to fit. FATE might be a good choice due to the quirky personalities of the iconic characters. I do love it when a plan comes together.

Number 2: Thunder Cats
We debated back in the day about doing this as a Marvel Superheroes (FASERIP) campaign. The only problem was the vehicle rules and less powerful characters always took a back seat to the big bruisers in that system. It would probably work better as a D&D game now.

I suspect the biggest holdup with this cartoon/anime is the intellectual property rights and trademark issues. Still, what if Lion-O’s team wasn’t the only group to escape Thunderra’s destruction? (Okay, I know they weren’t, but…)

This game might suit itself well to Hasbro/Renegade Studios’ Essence20 system. The only downer is I think the toys were actually made by Bandai? (It’s the interwebs. I’m sure someone will fact check me.) So, the game rights might still be up in the air. Still, if a franchise ever deserved an RPG of its own, Thunder Cats surely has to make the grade.

I was going to mention GI Joe and Transformers in this article originally, but Renegade beat me to the punch. Other honorable mentions that have a game include Starship Troopers, Aliens, Predator, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Battlestar Galactica.

Number 1: He-Man/She-Ra
I’ve been watching the reboot He-Man series on Netflix along with the miniseries that ended the original franchise (Revelations.) I’m sure there’s probably some kind of copyright/trademark funkiness going on with this one, too. Still, it would be amazeballs if someone would put out a game for this. (cough-cough Renegade cough.)

This cartoon is also well suited to a campaign in Cartoon Action Hour by Spectrum Games. The playsets for this thing were epic in a genre of cartoons designed to sell toys. Eternia is big enough and diverse enough that one could easily make a group of characters outside of Castle Grayskull or even set a campaign in one of the eras before or after Prince Adam was He-Man.

This was fun.

It’s not really a Top 5, because there’s no particular order. Sorry for the lack of pics on this one, too. I’m trying to be sensitive to the IP rights of the various shows’ creators and you never know who might be looking to start trouble. I link several RPGs because it’s nice to go see what I’m talking about a little bit. I don’t make any additional money for mentioning the companies or products.

(*Although we can always talk sponsorship deals. Wink wink, nudge-nudge.)

Have a great week! Take care. See ya soon.

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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