Realism in Power Rangers RPG?

How realistic do you want the damage in Power Rangers RPG to be? Are we talking Friday the 13th or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse?

It’s based on a kids’ show for cryin out loud!

I had a little something come up during Zord battle training the other day and I’m still trying to decide how to handle it. See, we have these big, intelligent, heavily armed machines called, “Zords.” They have cannons, lasers, missiles, and powered melee weapons.

The Megazord, formed from all of these heavily armed machines is a force to be reckoned with in its own right. By the rules, it gets to use the team’s Enhanced Melee or Ranged attack. It can also rely on any given (strongest) Zord’s melee or ranged attack. In theory, a Megazord is capable of launching attacks that would make a 100 Ton Battletech mech blush.

Martial Arts aside, the Rangers themselves are packing some serious heat.

They’re Power Rangers, so it’s not like we’re talking about regular modern firepower. The Ranger teams have access to the Morphing Grid and a truly fabulous amount of lasers, powered tonfas and concussion grenades for examples. Even the act of morphing itself causes a massive explosion (of propane) behind the Rangers. Kaboom! (Pose.)

But what about their surroundings?

Mysteriously, most of the Ranger battles seem to happen after all the innocent bystanders clear out. Where do the civilians go? No idea. Just not in the battle zone. What about all of the cars, homes and businesses in the blast radius?

How many people lose their cars because a Zord squished them? Was the car empty? <cringe> Hopefully. What about restaurants? Food trucks? What happens to the business owner when the proverbial china shop gets trampled by the Bull Zord?

How do innocent bystanders recoup their losses?

Does Zordon have a massive expense account with the City of Angel Grove? I get series such as Beast Morphers where Grid Battleforce has military powers granted by various cities. Power Rangers RPM is another unique case where damage is pretty much expected.

But what about in a “regular” campaign? Is the mayor going to send Zordon a bill? Are the police coming to arrest the Green Rangers after the Dragon Zord flattens a police station accidentally? Has anyone seen Fong’s Taco Truck? Oops. Insurance is gonna hate that one.

Pure monster smashing firepower in the hand of teenagers…

Has anyone in the history of Power Rangers ever thought this through? If we were talking real world 9mm-120mm rounds ranging from handguns to artillery pieces, not to mention bombs, missiles and rockets- would you really want that kind of damage in the city?

Ranger Team (In Unison:) Ranger Cannon- FIRE!
Slimy Tentacle Monster: Oh no! (Fiery explosion.)
Pink Ranger: Wasn’t there a taco truck behind him before the explosion?
Red Ranger: Monster vanquished.
Slimy Tentacle (Mega) Monster: (Growing to Towering Size) Gigantify!
Zordon: Send in the Zords!
Crazed citizen Number 1: They’re calling their Zords! RUN for your lives!
James Fong: My taco truck! NOOOooooo! I had one payment left!
Tammy Chen: No worries, I got out before it blew and recorded the whole thing on my phone.
James Fong: That’s great that you’re alive. My poor truck. (sobbing noises.)

That’s just a regular battle in the TV show. Imagine the bloody nightmare if we added graphic realism. What if the Rangers successfully summoned a 60 Watt laser? Even one shot would still be going for quite a ways. Yeesh. Messy and expensive.

Let’s not even bring in the wound trauma and psychological damage. Rangers are wearing powered composite armor shells that shield them. Your average innocent bystander is not. Corrosive slimy tentacle blasts could get seriously messy. Luckily for us, it’s Nerf or nothing.

Yup. Foam rubber monsters and Nerf guns.

We’re dialing it down considerably for our campaign with the kids. GI Joe is probably going to look similar. We’re going from Texas Chainsaw Massacre down to well, Power Rangers TV. Although I still intend to occasionally point out collateral damage to the group. If they’re going to fight in a heavily populated area, there might be some consequences.

In the end, it really is up to each individual GM as to how much “realism” they want to insert into the game. I’m keeping the violence within PG-13 standards. I’ve been in mecha campaigns that were far worse. Your mileage may vary.

Thanks for being here. I appreciate all of you. Have a great day.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

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

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