I Need to Make a Spreadsheet for This.

Putting together Monster of the Week stat tables for Power Rangers RPG. Please send help. Lol!

Dear Renegade Studios,

Thank you for finally giving Game Masters a “Fan Preview Guide to Power Rangers Role Playing Game Threats.” This sounds vastly better than just telling us to wing it. I appreciate your efforts. I was glad you mentioned this at Renegade Con.

Here’s what else is needed:

I’m still going to build my own spreadsheet to make things easier to break down as monsters go from normal/Large size to “Mega Mode”(as I call it,) or Gigantic in game terms. Things such as damage, Speed, area effect and Toughness should logically improve. The table on Page 168 of the Core Rulebook is a big help.

I’m still making a spreadsheet that breaks down the formula from the FAQ and the “Fan Preview.” Still not sure why they’re calling it that, but okay. I’ll publish it here and to some of the RPG social media when it’s done. I think Renegade has done an okay job explaining everything so far, but it’s nice to have a visual representation, too.

Oh, and on a side note, why does a 140′ tall chicken need Stealth? Couldn’t those points gone into something useful? I mean, really, guys?

I can crunch numbers all day.

Modern number crunching at its finest. Need Monster stats and an energy drink. 🤪

As I’m planning to. I’ve already got my spreadsheet in motion entering Size, Health, Toughness, Evasion, Willpower, Cleverness, attacks, etc trying to find some correlations amongst Threat Level and experience awards. I’m still trying to extrapolate some sort of experience system for taking down the weekly threats. I feel like there needs to be a bell curve here, but it may slope. Renegade has now given us some kind of indication of threat levels, but no XP awards yet. Much like D&D, it’s still got some growing to do in that regard.

Trying not to turn this article into math class. I’ve crunched and optimized stat blocks in other systems, many of which are miniatures wargames. I can make a peak performing battle mech from scratch or choose based on tonnages and types available. All I need is a calculator and a piece of notebook paper. These days we have spreadsheet programs to do it for us, thankfully.

I’ll post my findings in a somewhat generic fashion when I’m done, since the verdict is still out on any kind of Community Creator program or OGL. Hopefully, Renegade Con Virtual shed some light on the subject over the weekend. I wasn’t able to attend due to family obligations but I’m scrounging around to get filled in.

Until then, game on. Have a great week! Please stay safe, stay hydrated, and pass the slide rule. If anyone needs me, I’ll be swimming in the numbers. Thank you!

Cartoon Villainy at its Finest.

I love designing season villains or Big Bad Evil Guys (BBEG) in the same fashion as Cobra Commander or Rita Repulsa. Is it any wonder I love Renegade Studios so much?

I grew up on Hanna-Barbera and Hasbro cartoons.

Any time I hear a villain in any cartoon utter the words, “Get them!” I can’t help but laugh. I grew up watching Super Friends, Space Ghost, Herculoids, Captain Falcon, Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, Johnny Quest, and a whole host of other cheesy cartoons of the 1970’s-1980’s. Cheesy American cartoons aside, I also remember Robotech, Voltron, and G-Force. Of course, I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention GI Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, and the only live action series of the bunch- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Then Warner Brothers broke the mold with Batman: the Animated Series, Superman, and Justice League cartoons. They had real plot and fewer dopey teenagers and dogs that sounded like Scooby Doo. Oh, I watched Scooby, too.

“I’ll finally have my revenge!”
(Image courtesy of <a href="http://By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Peace_is_contagious&amp;action=edit&amp;redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Peace is contagious (page does not exist)">Peace is contagious</a> – <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0&quot; title="Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>, <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=109082090">LinkWikipedia.)

I’m mentioning all this because I’m working on Power Rangers RPG stuff, and it brings back fond memories.

One thing that has always influenced the way I look-at/write for RPGs are those old school, kinda cheesy, easily defeated villains that have an endless supply of lackeys and minions. I also dig the ones who get captured at the end of one cartoon only to show up two episodes later with an all new crazy plan. Admittedly, it’s harder to explain to players in an RPG, but as long as they understand it’s going to happen and it’s part of the genre, we’re good.

The Power Rangers RPG is somewhat similar to Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3. I like both and they have the concept of genre emulation down. (Editor’s note: I really wish Spectrum would develop CAH:S3 more. So much sourcebook potential there.) Both games play heavily on certain tropes. Power Rangers could easily be rolled into CAH:S3 as a set of toys. (You have to know CAH to fully get the logic.)

The Power Rangers pattern is an easy one to follow.

As cheesy villains go, Rita Repulsa had more longevity than most and got smarter as time went on. She’s almost as powerful as Zordon made her out to be originally. Shocking.

We still have that kind of cheesy “Get them!” mentality from the big bosses such as Rita and Zed. They send some poor lackey out who encases everyone in magical bubblegum and a bunch of putties to guard him. The putties end up getting blown to pieces and the lackey gets defeated in his small form only to go Mega mode and have to get put down again. The really lucky ones get teleported away and revived. In later episodes, some of the lackeys/lieutenants manage to survive for a few episodes. Woo. Neat.

One of the best features of a series villain is that they manage to adapt and come back in later series (somehow.) The challenge I find in RPGs is how to do this without making the PCs feel like their actions didn’t count for anything. Goons, lackeys, and lieutenants can stay dead, sure. But what happens when the group offs the series BBEG? What if Darth Vader, Cobra Commander, or Rita Repulsa died way ahead of canon?

Here’s where alternate timelines and other reality shifting tomfoolery enter. Okay, the group killed the BBEG in Episode 7 accidentally-on purpose. Oops. Who’s to say the next poor sop to take up the mantle won’t be better at the job? Or the lieutenant that takes over won’t be better at staying alive and worse at scheming. (Talkin bout you, Starscream.) Who’s to say some other villain from somewhere else in the canon won’t step up. (Remember Serpentor from GI Joe? Or Lord Zed in Mighty Morphin..?)

Food for thought. Sometimes it’s better just to arrest the Joker, bring Cobra Commander to justice, or allow Rita to escape. Let the BBEG fall out of the window during the last battle or have the ever-so-convenient teleporter on standby.

Alternately, as with many Power Rangers series of the past, second season leads to an even bigger, scarier and sometimes smarter BBEG. That of course leads us to shinier new toys in both toy and RPG industries. Woot! New equipment, bigger transformations, new powers, possibly even new NPCs. Good times.

Hope your week is going swell. I’m off to save the world from the weather dominator/take the kids to swim practice and make dinner. Stay hydrated. Stay safe. See ya soon.

Power Rangers RPG More Monsters

Roll 1d12 on the following table. Monster ideas may be combined for more amusing results. Octopus Cowboy anyone?

Roll 1d12 on the following table. Monster ideas may be combined for more amusing results. Octopus Cowboy anyone?

  1. Cowboy
  2. Pro Wrestler
  3. Samurai
  4. Chef
  5. Astronaut
  6. Punk Rock Star
  7. Athlete
  8. Gardener
  9. Knight
  10. Scuba Diver
  11. Barber
  12. Clown

Bonus Table: Weird Ray of the Week

Roll 1d12 on the following to see what the Rangers might be getting zapped with today.

  1. Shrinking
  2. Sticky Goo/Glue/Webs
  3. High Gravity
  4. Sleep
  5. Petrification/Paralysis
  6. Nausea (That could get messy.)
  7. Sensory Deprivation. (Blindness/Deafness, etc.)
  8. Two Dimensional
  9. Love
  10. Polymorph into slugs, crabs, cookies, etc.
  11. Fur/Hair growth.
  12. Uncontrollable Laughter

Actual game effects and a serious ray table to follow. Have fun!

d12 Chart Power Rangers RPG Monster of the Week

Please note that the element does not have to be literal. For example, “Wind” might take the form of giant fans on an octopus body. Feel free to mix and match this table with other tables. Alternately, the beast can be a living statue embodiment of the element.

Continuing my series of random monsters of the week. This time: Elemental baddies.

Roll 1d12 and consult the table below:
Please note that the element does not have to be literal. For example, “Wind” might take the form of giant fans on an octopus body. Feel free to mix and match this table with other tables. Alternately, the beast can be a living statue embodiment of the element.

  1. Fusion. Roll twice on this table and ignore further 1’s.
  2. Wind
  3. Water
  4. Rock
  5. Putty
  6. Fire
  7. Slime/Muck/Sticky Goo.
  8. Plant
  9. Metal
  10. Bone
  11. Glass
  12. Radiation. (Probably non-nuclear. Can be a variety of effects.)

Bonus Table: Sea Life

Roll 1d12 and consult the table below.
Beware, Team. These beasties can walk, talk and breathe on dry land.

  1. Turtle.
  2. Octopus/Squid.
  3. Shark.
  4. Manta Ray/Stingray.
  5. Piranha/Barracuda.
  6. Whale/Orca/Dolphin.
  7. Jellyfish
  8. Flying Fish.
  9. Clam.
  10. Lobster.
  11. Shrimp.
  12. Crab.
Photo by Vova Krasilnikov on Pexels.com

Power Rangers RPG Review Continued.

Sorry, Renegade and RPG family, but I’m really gonna harsh this one. I really felt there needed to be an apology for the non player specific parts of the book. You can’t call it a “Core” rulebook and ignore the GM’s needs entirely.

I gave a first take review a while back and I want to elaborate on some things.

The first glance review can be found here. Some discussions on RPG Twitter about freelance RPG writing and just creating RPGs in general got me thinking about this book. That, and my physical copy came in the mail the other day. I’m pretty excited about the game itself.

To sort of echo what I and others have said about the book already, the production quality and the system are excellent. The physical book is marvelous and even comes with a cloth bookmark sewn in. The game mechanics up through what should have been the GM section are outstanding, well-written and easy for new players familiar with D&D to pick up.

Everything from Page 206 onward should have been handed back to the writers, carved up with red ink and exclamation points.

Needs work! Where’s the rest of this?! What were you thinking here? Have you ever run a game in your life? Pages 223-226!?! Where’s the GM Section?! MORE MONSTERS! Did you get in a hurry? Why did you give up?

I feel very strongly about this.

Sorry, Renegade and RPG family, but I’m really gonna harsh this one. I really felt there needed to be an apology for the non player specific parts of the book. You can’t call it a “Core” rulebook and ignore the GM’s needs entirely.

I get that Renegade wants to sell us more sourcebooks. That’s how most RPGs make money. The company produces a main book with solid mechanics and then lots of sourcebooks with more GM advice, monsters, in this case canon characters, and so on. I have a major issue with the way Renegade handled this in a $55 hardcover and charging print prices for the pdf.

If your main book, and this applies to any RPG that has typographical, formatting and text errors on top of entire sections of the book people feel are missing or poorly done? It’s time to have a long chat with your staff before they do anything else with any other books.

*Please note, I’m being a big meanie here and I hope I don’t trigger anyone at Renegade. Notice I said, “a long chat,” and not “fired outright.” The writers did a good job right up to the monsters and GM sections. Then it’s like they just got in too big of a hurry or something? Or they just gave up to go work on GI Joe and Transformers? I just can’t tell what happened.

I feel bad blowing off this sort of steam on the nice folks at Renegade in public. As an editor, I would have the decency to call you into my office and go over everything quietly in person. I admire and respect what you did, we just needed way more of it. If it helps any, I had two different college professors chew my fanny over my lack of compassion and people skills as an editor.

They should have called it “Book 1” or “Player’s Guide.” I would have felt better going in knowing that the GMs Section wouldn’t be anything spectacular. (Or have one in the book at all for that matter.) I would have also liked to know the monsters were only a sample or examples instead of all-we’re-getting-until-???

Here’s a list of suggested fixes.

No red ink on this one. I promise. I’m probably going to rewrite the monster section and post it on my site somewhere eventually. The rest could come from Renegade as an addendum or something? Or more likely go in another sourcebook at some indeterminate time down the road.

First, the monster section is a good rough start.
– You’ve mentioned Threat Level, but we have no definition to go with it. A breakdown of the monster stat blocks would have been useful a few pages preceding the monster stats.
– The included creatures were cute. More example creatures would have been great.
– GMs would benefit from a quick and dirty monster creation system complete with scaling.
– What was the point of including Finster if you weren’t going to do more named characters such as Rita, Goldar or Zed?
– If a creature has the potential to go “Mega Mode,” why not include the stats for the giant version alongside the regular sized one? What’s the point of having Zords and Megazords if we never get to really use them?

Second, you mentioned an experience system earlier in the book, but then never gave the GM any kind of guidelines for giving out experience. How is this relevant to the players? Okay, some characters start out at higher levels. Why not start everyone at Level 3 and enjoy the full benefits of Zord ownership?

Third, that adventure has got to go. I feel like somewhere there’s a GM at a convention game wondering where his ICONS module went. It’s like someone took a convention game for some other superhero RPG and slapped a Rangers nametag on it. It felt very gamey and not very Ranger-y. Where’s the real Putty battle? When does Morphin become a really good idea?
– Why not include an adventure where the teens with attitudes get their Morphers? Or the team meeting their Zords for the first time?
– Or maybe do a section of scenarios that could build into larger adventures.
– Why not include an adventure format? The Power Rangers TV show tends to follow a set formula. Why not use that in the RPG? It might lead to shorter sessions, but it would be a lot of fun!
– Advice and a scenario for the group’s first Megazord battle would have been fun. What’s more gamer oriented than a giant robot battle?

Fourth, You included a great deal of description about Angel Grove. Could this space have lent itself better to other areas such as a Monster section and a GM section? Why go to the trouble and leave out the map? Couldn’t Angel Grove be a sourcebook in and of itself?

Fifth: If you are concerned with new GM’s running the game for the first time, you’re going to have to give them a lot more than three or four pages to help them learn their part in the game. Advice on building monsters and creating encounters would be extremely helpful to new GMs. If other RPGs can do entire books on the subject, surely we can do better than three or four pages.

Until next time, may the power protect you!

Power Rangers RPG Random Monster Table Part 2.

I’m still making random tables for Power Rangers RPG Monsters of the Week. This will eventually lead to a master table and some statistics.

I had so much fun with the first one, let’s do it again!

Roll 1d12 for the Monster of the Week based on American Movies.
(American horror movies were big in the Japanese pro wrestling scene which is where this idea comes from.) The monster’s personality does not have to match the movie character. In fact, it should be far more cartoonish and kid friendly other than the appearance.

  1. Freddy Krueger.
  2. Jason Vorhees.
  3. Michael Myers.
  4. Ghostface (Scream.)
  5. Chucky.
  6. Terminator (T-800.)
  7. Alien (Geiger.)
  8. Predator. (Claws, Invisibility and Tri-beam cannon only!)
  9. Pinhead. (From Hellraiser. Use caution with this one…)
  10. Werewolf
  11. Dracula
  12. Frankenstein’s Monster.

Added table: Kaiju
No sentai game would be complete without kaiju. Please use the character type and not the name. (It may help to Google “Kaiju” for pictures.) Roll 1d12

  1. King Kong. (Or Mighty Joe Young. Some kind of huge ape.)
  2. Mothra (Giant moth or butterfly.)
  3. King Ghidora. (Three headed flying dragon)
  4. The Smog Monster aka Hedorah. (Google this one. It’s epic!)
  5. Rodan. (Vulture-like Dragon.)
  6. Gamera. (Giant dragon turtle. flies by spinning,)
  7. Mecha Gojira. (Mecha Godzilla for Americans.)
  8. MUTO 1 or 2. (Both if you really want to challenge the group.)
  9. Destoroyah. (Demon-zilla? You just have to see it...)
  10. Gigan (One eyed Bird beak-mandibles with hooks for hands…)
  11. Megalon (Giant bombardier beetle with drill hands.)
  12. Gojira. (Godzilla himself or a clone. Pick your era.)

The best part of using Kaiju is you might not have to mess with their small forms. One of these things could march right out of the ocean and attack the town. A desperate military might call on the Power Rangers to prevent having to pull out drastic measures. It’s kind of their thing, anyway.

Power Rangers RPG d12 Monsters

d12 Tables for Power Ranger Monster of the Week. First samples.

I’m making my own Monster of the Week tables for Power Rangers RPG.

Please feel free to adopt these into any game where random monsters appear. There are going to be a couple of d12 tables that precede the one we’re about to roll on, but this is a good example.
Monsters Based on Tools:
Power tools or hand tools and location of said are GM’s choice.

  1. Hammer
  2. Chisel
  3. Clamps
  4. Drill
  5. Saw
  6. Wrench
  7. Screwdriver
  8. Paint Roller/Power Painter
  9. Wire Strippers/Side Cutters
  10. Crowbar
  11. Tape Measure
  12. Air Compressor
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Bonus Table: Garden Tools

Garden Weasel
  1. Rake
  2. Shovel
  3. Post-Hole-Digger
  4. Ax
  5. Big Tooth Saw
  6. Shears/Trimmer
  7. Leaf Blower
  8. Lawnmower
  9. Garden Weasel
  10. Wood Chipper
  11. Weed Eater
  12. Chainsaw

No joke. Some of those garden tool monsters could go all Friday the 13th real quick. Hopefully they roll the “Nerf” version of the monster on another table. The gore factor could spell a lot of trouble for our heroes.

Power Rangers RPG Update: Episodes

Because Power Rangers RPG is based on the popular TV series, I think the RPG episodes/sessions should lay out in a somewhat similar fashion. Not that I think Renegade will take notes, but if they ever get around to making a GM’s guide, I hope it goes something like this.

I’m working out what an episode will typically look like using a formula similar to the TV series.

Because Power Rangers RPG is based on the popular TV series, I think the RPG episodes/sessions should lay out in a somewhat similar fashion. Not that I think Renegade will take notes, but if they ever get around to making a GM’s guide, I hope it goes something like this.

Intro/Encounter 1:
It’s another typical sunny day in Bennett’s Cove. Class is over for the day and the kids are relaxing at their favorite hangout, The Commons, a strip mall sandwich/smoothie shop and place for people to gather/study. There might be a brief skit with the comedy relief duo. Then, Alpha breaks in with news of a putty attack/monster sighting in ____ (location.)

Encounter 2:
Rangers, still in street clothes, battle putties for a few rounds, long enough for the civilians to finish fleeing in terror. It’s Morphin time. More punching and kicking of putties and maybe a few shots at the monster itself. The monster of the week (in small humanoid form) does whatever they’re going to do. (Zap a a bunch of civilians or a random Ranger with the weird ray of the week, casts a love spell, or whatever.) The monster then usually drops a threat of “when we meet again, you won’t be so fortunate,” and teleports away.

Encounter 3:
The Rangers are then left to deal with whatever weird effect they’ve been hit with or regroup at HQ to figure out how to help the zapped civilians. There could also be a next day sequence at school where Blue tries to stop the computer virus or Yellow tries to help a homeless kid. Basically a roleplaying encounter to showcase the non-power talents of one or more of the team.

Encounter 4:
The Episode baddie is back, causing whatever chaos happened in Encounter 2 on a more grand scale. The Rangers show up and morph to slug it out with the baddies. Along the way, they discover a cure or reverse the effects of whatever the monster did in Encounter 2. The Rangers call for their combined weapon to blast the small version of the monster to tiny bits.

Encounter 5:
“Gigantify!” A beam comes down from the ship in orbit, zombats, some kind of spell, etc to turn the defeated monster into a giant monster. Zords are called up. Megazord is formed. Rangers use their Mega sword, beam cannon, Shark fist attack, etc to vanquish giant monster. Hopefully no civilians are crushed under the falling monster or injured with all the beams and booms everywhere. (Hint hint. I’m going to make the group take the fight away from town or else.)

Encounter 6:
With everything back to normal, the Rangers can celebrate over pizza. We have another short vignette with the comedy relief duo. Everyone laughs. Roll credits.

What I forgot to mention:

Somewhere in most TV episodes, one of the Rangers usually receives some sort of power up unique to their color. It usually starts with Red getting some sort of overpowered sword, gun, or motorcycle. Then the rest of the group gets their benefits either as a share with Red or sometimes their own. Unless it’s some of the later seasons of the show in which case one wonders why the rest of the team even shows up. “Ah. No worries. You got this Red. I mean, yay teamwork…”

At some point new add-on Zords will be created to attach or swap out with parts of the Megazord. We might even introduce all new Zords halfway into the season. Of course, I’m again basing a lot of my plans on later series such as Ninja Steel, Megaforce and Super Samurai.

Upgrades are all the rage in the show and with gamers (especially my kids.) I’m still saving the Super armor upgrade for the second part of the season. The TV series usually do this with the second season of whatever team they’re running.

I’m also going to encourage my players to earn extra experience by challenging some of their character quirks in the first, third and last encounters. Maybe someone has an after school job or is tutoring Spanish students. Possibly have the message of the week like “Stay away from drugs,” or “Always be nice to others.” I mean, after all, it can’t always be punching, kicking and blasting our way out of things, right? Hint hint- Ranger Code.

We’re probably going to do some things to make it more “gamey” for the RPG.

We already know I’m not huge on the comedy relief portions of the show. That may go away completely. For example, Bulk and Skull may eliminate themselves in some horrible way early on and never be heard from again… ever. Instead, we may build more on one of the character’s backgrounds. Maybe Red chose impoverished. We’ll do a visit to his parents’ house over in the rough part of town.

Also, I’ve only described a formula for about half of the episodes. Without railroading the players completely, there will be some very specific plots with monsters, lieutenants, and other special characters that are not monsters of the week and may actually be featured in recurring episodes. I even have a specific subplot involving our campaign world’s Zordon that is going to come up. Unlike the TV series, we’re going to be seeing some different things happen across the Multiverse timelines that affect the Rangers of Earth 129. While Rita and Zed haven’t and won’t be making an appearance, I’m not ruling out having the Triumvirate calling upon some other classic baddies.

It’s also no coincidence that the Triumvirate’s battle cruiser is somewhat modeled after Galvanax’s ship from Ninja Steel. I mean, the thing was bristling with firepower and they used it to film a TV series in space called “Galaxy Warriors.” Talk about wasted potential. At some point in the RPG series, that thing is going to open fire on a major Earth city or at least threaten it. More on that next time.

In the next installment of campaign building for Power Rangers RPG, I plan to talk more about behind the scenes monsters and plots. It’s one detail we get in a TV show that can’t really be emulated by an RPG very well. I’m also devising some sort of Monster of the Week tables, since Renegade is, well… Let’s just say I could be more impressed with the “Core” book in those regards.

Not sure how I’m going to cook up a Morphin Monster Manual without art, but we’re going to try anyway. 😁 (See what I did there?) MMM…

I also want to talk more about Earth 218 and Power Rangers: Unworthy

I live to plan stuff like this campaign. Planning campaigns is tons of fun for me. Even if they never run, at least I had some amusement coming up with plots and settings. Many ideas overfloweth from my brain…

Take care. Please remember to hydrate. Please be extra nice to one another.

Power Rangers RPG Campaign Season One- GO!

My intention here is to enjoy building the campaign, share its construction with you, and hopefully not get in massive copyright trouble.

Power Rangers Lightning Force.

I’m putting this together because one of my kids already has his character put together before I’ve even shown him the PDF. This kid is stoked for Power Rangers RPG. Which of course got me excited to build a campaign.

I mentioned last time I had a plan for villains. I may have to take this whole thing down, so I’m going to do this the wrong way all in. My villains for Season One are referred to as The Triumvirate. They are Generals Gnarl, Krohn, and Slayn. Besides Putties, each General has his own types of troops.

Of course, I’m borrowing heavily from the Warhammer 40K Universe for villains and (probably miniatures, too.) I have plans for Season Two to revolve around Dreench and his Machine Empire. (Machine Empire is borrowed for the bootleg Power Rangers movie, but I’m not going all ultra violent with this.)

There is a LOT of stuff behind the scenes in this series and I’m excited to discuss more. I’m not going to use “demons” or even “daemons” so much as freaky, somewhat campy, rubberized suit versions of many of the 40K Chaos monsters. Obviously I have to tone Khorne way down from the usual frightful mess that he is.

General Gnarl is basically Nurgle. I’m going to have his creatures be a slimy mess and we’re probably going to do a Halloween episode where he raises zombies from the town cemetery. General Slayn has a lot of sound based monsters, such as a kind of cartoony thrash metal guy. Slayn will mess with the Rangers’ powers, too.

That’s going to lead us to Season One Part Two: Super Lightning Force. where basically the Rangers get access to new Zords, new powers, and a new Megazord. So far we don’t have a Pink or White Ranger planned. There’s also other Ranger Aspects, such as Gold, that I want to introduce.

I don’t plan to use any GW images and I’m going to be really careful with the Ranger art that I put here on the site. My intention here is to enjoy building the campaign, share its construction with you, and hopefully not get in massive copyright trouble.

My plan is to run episodes like the TV Series.

Other than my distinct plots for the two-part episode to start, episode six, twelve, and 22-24, I don’t have specific plots for the episodes. We’re going to run monster of the week type stuff in between. We might even be looking at doing two episodes per game session depending on how fast the format goes.

I’ll talk more about pacing in my next installment. If you watch any of the Power Rangers TV series, like- ever, there’s a pretty distinct formula to most of them and it changes very little from one series to the next all the way from Mighty Morphin all the way up to Dino Fury? Which one are we on now? (Honestly, my youngest has watched Ninja Steel about three times all the way through. I dunno what’s current.) There are some distinctly different episodes in every series, but some episodes are pretty formulaic and I’ll break it down for you next time.

There is so much behind the scenes I haven’t even discussed yet.

Lightning Force is going to be set on the East Coast of the United States unlike most of the other series that seem to take place out in California. I’m borrowing some from Angel Grove, but I want to call the town Bennet’s Cove. I know I originally said I was going to keep Angel Grove, but I kinda want to make this more original and I’m no stranger to designing fictional cities. I might be using some really awesome products for ICONS RPG. I love Stark City for building a lot of superhero stuff.

The best plot point and creation of the entire series hinges on the fact that Lightning Force is set in an alternate Earth timeline. Tentatively it is Earth 129. Rita Repulsa from a different timeline threw a spell that had unintended consequences across several Earths. Zordon from Earth 129 knows most of what happened, but will keep it a secret.

One of the changes is Alpha Four or “Alphour” as we’re calling him. I’m going to sketch him as a sort of praying mantis style robot with a more serious tone and demeanor than the dreaded Alpha Five of the TV series and Rangers RPG main book. Honestly, I’m one “Ay yi yi yi-yi.” away from jumping out of a window. I wanted a slightly more serious helper for Zordon. She’s going to have almost a creepy tone to her voice, like the one Google uses. I’m going to do a whole bit with the group and her being able to change her voice at will.

I’ve got other plot stuff in mind that I’m going to discuss later, along with a timeline build for the campaign. I’m pretty excited about this. We’ve got villains, monsters, a place to roam… Next time we’ll talk about the Zords and some other plotlines.

Have a great weekend. Stay safe. Please stay healthy. See you soon,

Power Rangers RPG First Flip Through Review

In all fairness, I can only give this game 3 out of 5 stars. I really want this game to do well. It has a lot going for it. There are three major improvements that would help.

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a new release.

Please bear in mind this is all my opinion. Your experience may vary. I think this game is phenomenal; Mighty, even!

I’ll be posting a short review on Renegade’s website sometime soon as well. My loving wife, knowing my love of the TV series, gave me a pdf copy of the new Power Rangers RPG from Renegade. I’m pretty excited! If you’re a fan of the show or just a fan of superhero roleplaying in general, this book is a treat. I’ve been playing and making homebrew campaigns set in the Morphin universe for years, but it’s difficult to publish something when multimillion dollar corporations can sick their legal teams on you. Luckily, Renegade Studios is doing everything the right way and it’s awesome!

The book jumps right into the action helping you get your character made. Character creation is handled similarly to D&D 5E. No real surprises from what is essentially a heavily hacked D20 game in those regards. Please note, this is not intended as disrespect. There are a LOT of derivative D20 games out there and this one is definitely ahead of the curve. I suspect Renegade is trying to pull players in from 5E, given they both same parent company.

If this is what the Essence system is going to bring to the GI Joe and Transformers RPGs, I’m all about it. The system is really smooth in appearance from the outset. It combines some of the character development aspects from FATE and Powered By the Apocalypse that we like, but still has freeform character creation enough to prevent cookie-cutter characters. For example, you can build a Red Ranger as a class clown who takes care of his aging grandmother. The combinations of Origins, Roles, Influences, Hang Ups, character bonds, and so forth are going to lead to endless degrees of interesting characters.

The system itself reminds me a little bit of Savage Worlds or Cortex in that you get to add in different dice from a d2 (Coin) all the way to a d12 to your roll depending on your skill. Sure, certain ranger types are going to be more prone to certain categories. Blue Rangers get a bonus to Smarts, for example, but the system allows enough flexibility for anyone to be good at almost anything. Yes, you really can make a Green Ranger belly dancer who is also intimidating in heavy armor. The baseline stats are Strength, Speed, Smarts, and Social. This is one place were the game moves away from D20’s normal 6 stat spread. (Think of Speed being a little like Dex in most D20 games.) Skill tests work much the way one would expect in a D20 game.

I should mention there are rules for playing rangers outside of the regular Ranger Spectrum, such as the famous White Ranger. However, the book ONLY gives us the rules for White. Gold, Purple, Grey, and so on are promised in a later sourcebook which has not been announced yet. No surprise that sourcebooks are already in the works. I can imagine potential for dozens of them. I doubt we’ll see them open up an OGL because of the Power Rangers Trademark, though.

Combat looks smooth in the Essence System.

I haven’t tried combat yet, but it looks much like what you’d expect from an episode of the TV show. Putties go boom in one hit. Bad guys require a concerted effort from the team. Zord/Megazord battles are huge. Think I’m going to make some house rules for civilians caught in the crossfire, but that’s another matter entirely. You can’t expect the writers to do everything up front, right?

It’s most of what you would expect from D20 system combat in terms of initiative, movement, and actions. It will look a lot like D&D up until you go to attack and do damage. Getting knocked out as a Ranger pretty much looks like it does on TV- oops, there goes your armor and good night. Same thing with losing a Zord battle. I was surprised vehicles can actually explode in the rpg, claiming the lives of the occupants. That’s a little meatier than the TV series.

I should mention you get to customize your character’s loadout from the very beginning. You get to define your character’s weapons, fighting style, even your Zord from the get-go. That’s pretty darn cool. They give plenty of examples throughout, but you’re free to do as you choose.

I love that they’ve worked out the scaling all the way from human size all the way up to Megazord/Gigantic Monster size. Combat looks to be pretty well written if you want to have your character take on something 10 times normal size. The writers have a good sense of scale. Humans are squishy. Watch where you step. The column shifts kinda gave me Marvel Superheroes flashbacks from back in the day. Lol!

Chapter 11: Exploration confused me a little at first. Like, why are we talking about medieval fantasy style exploration in a day and age where we have Zords, satellite GPS, and infrared imaging? The rest of the chapter made sense dealing with different environments and conditions. Maybe the chapter could have been named differently?

The other thing I have to laugh about is you can make this game as campy as a 1960’s superhero TV show or as gritty as the “bootleg” short film with Katee Sackhoff as Kimberly. (That movie was dark, btw.) Personally, I’m leaning a little more toward the Mighty Morphin era and the more recent major motion picture in terms of “realism.”

The art in this book is top notch. The graphics and layout are phenomenal. I think a lot of credit should be given to the design team in terms of art and layout.

I give this game Three out of Five Stars. Here’s why:

  • Access to more seasons of the TV series.
  • Monsters! It needs so many more.
  • A more defined GM Section.
  • A different adventure entirely.
  • A little less gamey, a little more Morphin.
  • Little things like a map of Angel Grove, experience, etc…

To be very clear, I don’t hate this game. I really want it to be more mighty! I truly wanted to be absolutely in love with this game. I’m still stoked to run it for my kids. I really do like the game, but I think it needs some improvements. I hope someone at Renegade hears my pleas for improvement.

This game does an awesome job emulating the early seasons of the TV series. I suspect there might be some copyright/Trademark issues which is why a lot of the later Ranger teams don’t get mentioned? Hopefully they do Samurai and Megaforce down the road. My kids love those series. I’m big on the plot and Zords from both myself. Gosei is probably my favorite Ranger commander ever.

I felt the thing most seriously lacking from this first book: Monsters! Other than the Putties and a few examples, we don’t get much for monsters. Rita and Zed are mentioned, but no stats yet. Goldar is mentioned, but no stats. So far the Mighty Morphin area has been the main focus for bad guys. I hope someday we’ll get to see other seasons’ villains.

This book would have really benefitted from a quick and dirty monster creation system, maybe even a set of tables to quickly make the monster of the week. Also, as crunchy as the rest of the system seems to be, I wish they had gone into more detail about what happens when a monster goes Mega Mode. Right now there are two stat blocks for everything and I think it could be simplified to one stat block with dual listings. I kinda wonder if they’re leading up to a Monster Manual type book, but I haven’t heard anything specific about sourcebooks yet. (I think my wallet just cringed a little.) There is so much room for diverse monsters in Power Rangers from the extremely silly pineapple-octopus all the way to murderous giant robot bristling with firepower.

The other thing I think needed improvement was the adventure section. It’s a good intro adventure, I guess. Were it written for any other rpg, it would work pretty much as well. It does not scream “Power Rangers episode” at me. To me, it seems like it would be more at home as a convention game, maybe? I was hoping for more of an introductory adventure where the group receives their power coins for the first time, maybe a little more obvious monster fight, and more of an obvious BBEG. Without getting into spoilers, I think it’s a little game-y and not as much Ranger-y?

I found leveling up to be another source of mild confusion. We get a tiny bit of it on page 19. What we don’t get is any kind of experience system, guidelines or GM advice. I’ve been a GM for decades, so I’m just going to hand out levels as I see fit, but they really gave us nothing to work with here. It’s like Renegade is winding up for a GM’s Manual or something. I would have liked more specifics up front.

Personally, I would have rather they left the adventure out of the book entirely in place of more monsters, the other ranger aspects, more weapon and Zord design options, and a thorough GM section. Sorry, I’m still in shock that the entire GM section was basically three pages and spent one page explaining gamer terms to new players. It’s an extremely player heavy focus throughout. Maybe I’m just an Old Grognard, but it seems like a little more effort could have been focused on GMs in a $55 hardcover intro to the system and the world.

There are some minor things that bother me about this book. A map of Angel Grove would have been nice. I would have liked to have seen more back-and-forth between Alpha 5 and Zordon in the text portions. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of Alpha 5 and I could have seen a lot less of him. I think they could have maybe used that space for GM tips or even comic panels for other characters.

Overall, great job. A few adjustments would have made it 5 stars. I’m sure there are good things coming in the weeks and months ahead.

I normally don’t do tl:dr, but…

TL;DR: Great game. Great genre emulation. Needs a bigger, better monster section, monster creation rules, and a LOT more of a GM section. Great D20 mechanics. Beautiful artwork. Definitely a good first attempt on the part of Renegade Studios.

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