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.

More Weird MotW Names for Power Rangers RPG

Just some random Monster of the Week names and suggested powers.

Here’s another batch of weird monsters for the Rangers to tangle with:

Roll 1d12 or choose one.

  1. Asterisk Interrobang, the confusing monster.
  2. Awful Aardvark, the rolling armored wonder.
  3. Blasting Bass, He’s a walking, talking, shooting fish. “Pew Pew.”
  4. Extratentacle Terrestrial. Part humanoid, part octopus. *Not cthulhuoid.
  5. Frognotist, a walking, talking frog with a dynamite hypnotic gaze.
  6. Mavelous Monster. He’s here to save us from ourselves by wrecking stuff.
  7. Trash Monster: A walking, talking trash heap. Messy.
  8. Cat-tastrophy: If you thought kitty knocking things off the table was bad…
  9. Gaze-elle: A deer with a crazy stare.
  10. Bomberpuppy, name says it all.
  11. Sleepy Squirrel, Excitably putting others to sleep over here, over there.
  12. Exacto Spoon. Spoons for hands, concealing deadly lasers.

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.

Essence20. Who Knew?

I really like Essence20 as an RPG system so far. It’s a lot easier to work with and more flexible than a lot of games out there right now.

We’re now a couple of games into this system, and I like it.

This is the GI Joe character sheet. So far very similar to Power Rangers RPG.

I like Essence20 from Renegade Studios so far. The player and core mechanics are where this company really tends to shine. I’ll talk a little more about combat crunch in another article. I wanted to really highlight some of the character features of both Power Rangers and GI Joe RPGs so far.

They’ve kinda cornered the market on borrowing from other systems.

One of the things that impresses me most about Essence20 as a system is that it borrows from several RPGs that have been around for a long time and makes it fresh. Obviously there’s the D&D d20 aesthetic for most skill rolls and damage, etc. It runs off character classes and the Influences are sort of what I expect D&D races are going to start to resemble. Origins are also kind of in that category along with a mashup of backgrounds.

The pips under the Essence categories resemble another classic- namely White Wolf’s World of Darkness. The broader skill categories and specializations sort of remind me of that WoD character sheet as well. I like the way each Essence score has a separate defense tied into it, the way I remember opposed skill checks work in WoD just simplified.

The other mechanic that smacks of both Cortex and Savage Worlds/Deadlands is the way skills work. Each skill has 6 pips and each pip is associated with a die type from d2 (coin) all the way to d12. Skill rolls are accomplished by rolling a d20 + the skill die OR the dice all the way up to the highest skill die and picking the best if specialized.

For example, if I want to make an Infiltration check and I have three pips (d6) I would roll a d20 + 1d6 and try to beat the target number. If I’m specialized in Stealth, I would roll a d20 (always base) +1d2, 1d4, AND 1d6 choosing the highest of the three to add to the d20 and then compare to the target number.

They break it down into fewer scores and skills to remember.

When you look at a D&D or SWADE character sheet, there are a lot of moving parts to consider and character creation is slightly more involved than Essence20. 4 Essence Scores- Strength, Speed, Smarts, and Social. That’s it. There are only five or six skills under each Score, and only a few specializations for each skill. It’s like a streamlined version of Shadowrun or D6 Star Wars. I hope and pray they keep it that way going forward. We like simple here. Really.

I think Essence20 was really developed with fans of specific franchises in mind like GI Joe and Power Rangers. It’s fast to learn and build characters and emulates whichever series in question quite well. They’re almost as good at genre emulation as Spectrum Games. You can already recreate just about any character from either GI Joe or Power Rangers series pretty rapidly just by knowing the character and looking at Essence20.

Let’s look at one of my favorites from GI Joe lore. He was a Martial Artist (Influence.) Former Hollywood stunt man so Civilian (Origin) and trained pretty extensively under good old Snake Eyes- Commando (Role.) Give him a sword and some shuriken. Fill in the rest of the bells and whistles accordingly prioritizing Speed and Strength for the most part. That’s Quick Kick. It’s easy.

That day of GI Joe vs Transformers is right over the horizon. It’s gonna be beautiful. I hope my voice holds together through my Starscream and Cobra Commander dialogue.

I would love to see Essence20 as a “generic” game system.

Maybe there’s a larger plan at work here?

I could easily see Essence20 Core selling as a book on its own. The only thing the GM would have to figure out would be Roles for whatever specific genre or franchise they wish to emulate. Influences and Origins have been pretty consistent so far as have the general skills. There might be some genre or series specific tweaks, but really it’s pretty easy to master as a framework.

You’ve literally got the start of a generic universal RPG franchise here with a little work. There is so much potential for this system to expand into specific setting and genre books just like d20 Modern, SWADE, GURPS, and FATE did before it. On the other hand, it could also get bonkers out of control like some of those games did. Could this even be the future of D&D? Time will tell.

Star Wars, WWE, Street Fighter, Marvel Superheroes, Indiana Jones, James Bond, and so many other franchises could all field Essence20 games and they would run quite smoothly. I’m not sure about horror yet, but I suspect it could work. The time consuming part is going to be figuring out the Origins, Roles, specializations, equipment/vehicles and threats for each genre/franchise. The character framework could readily be hashed out by a designer or two in a couple of days. It’s really not that daunting compared to using D&D 5E for everything.

Thanks for stopping by. More on Essence20 to come in future articles as I am enamored with this system so far. Please stay hydrated. Think positive. See ya soon.

Random Power Rangers RPG Monster of the Week Names.

Roll 1d12 and consult the following table:

  1. Fire Marshall X
  2. Wild Drill Icebox
  3. Clam Trap
  4. Boom Trunk
  5. Pug Boat
  6. Lag-O Lamb
  7. Beast Boxer
  8. Blowhard
  9. Coffee Cat
  10. Tenticlare
  11. Splitzen
  12. Binderino

Bonus Table: Plans to defeat the Rangers

Roll 1d12 on the table below to see what the random threat this week is going to try to do to our heroes.

  1. Infesting the city with camera drones to reveal their secret identities.
  2. Contaminating all the drinking water with a transformative substance.
  3. Trapping one of them in a seemingly inescapable bubble.
  4. Putting one or more them to sleep with special poison darts.
  5. Luring one or more Zords into a snare.
  6. Posing as regular people to find the Rangers secret base and destroy it.
  7. Kidnap one Ranger to lure the rest into a diabolical trap.
  8. Posing as the Rangers doing bad things to ruin their reputations
  9. Disabling their Morphers with an energy pulse.
  10. Wiping their memories with a spell.
  11. Using an energy pulse to cause a strong emotion in one or more Rangers.
  12. Encasing them in cement, foam, or some other gooey substance.

A Little Surprise in the Mail Today.

So far I have very, very good things to say about this game. Renegade has outdone themselves on this in terms of RPG playability and nostalgia/fan content.

I’m pretty excited about this!

I’ve only been waiting something like, 35+ years for this one. Yo Joe!

An early birthday present from my wife. Dang.

Foreword by Luke Gygax. Unbelievable. I’ll have a full review up when I’ve had more time to drool over this book. My physical copy showed up and the pdf dropped. (Giddy noises.)

So far, it’s been flashbacks and good crunch.

While I’m still pretty much obsessed with Renegade’s other recent release, Power Rangers RPG, I will say GI Joe is very impressive so far. They seem to have gotten their acts together between books somehow. The system is the same Essence20 System used for Power Rangers. It’s a much better fit for this game.

I grew up playing with GI Joe toys among other things. I remember pretty much all of the characters listed in the book and wondered about several they haven’t mentioned. I think the sourcebooks for this game have the potential to be loaded with awesomeness.

The art in this book brings back so many fond memories of both the toys and their packaging. I’ve lost track of the “oh yeah” moments looking back after opening this book. There are characters, vehicles and stories in here that I haven’t thought about in years.

They realized they couldn’t fit 500 dossiers into the first book. Go figure.

I remember when I was first introduced to roleplaying games for the first time when I was nine and thinking, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a GI Joe game.”

Other than Spycraft and Cartoon Action Hour, I don’t remember anyone really doing much of a knockoff. It’s just way better with the actual GI Joe cartoon art and characters. Conveniently, Hasbro appears to be working closely with Renegade on GI Joe, Transformers, and even My Little Pony.

As another side note, I absolutely adore the book referring to “Knowing is half the battle,” throughout. I still think there should be extra XP given if characters want to do a public service announcement vignette between episodes.

I sincerely hope they put together sourcebooks with more Joes, Cobras, and lots of vehicles very soon. Renegade seems pretty determined all around on this one. I also should mention that another dream come true is on the horizon- Transformers RPG. Imagine the crossover between GI Joe and Transformers in an RPG. Almost as good as that movie we’ve always wanted.

Thank you for being here. Stay safe. Stay hydrated. More to come.

Power Rangers RPG More Random Threats

This time: Mundane items and Freaky Flora.

I’ve been watching Power Rangers Beast Morphers for inspiration lately.

I’m all caught up on Dino Fury, so I went back and started watching Beast Morphers. I love how new monsters are born from an injection of Morph-X into common objects.

Roll 1d12 for common objects turned monstrous. Please consider powers and perks appropriate for smashing those pesky Rangers.

  1. Bicycle tire pump
  2. Vacuum cleaner
  3. Golf Ball
  4. Satellite Dish
  5. Stapler
  6. Video Game Controller
  7. Lamp
  8. Clock
  9. Fire Extinguisher
  10. Frying Pan
  11. Comb/Brush
  12. Pillow

Combine with other monster types for even more freaky threats.

Bonus Table: Freaky Flora.

Please roll 1d12. Can be combined with monsters from other tables.

  1. Pine Tree
  2. Rose Bush
  3. Carnations
  4. Pansies
  5. Shrubbery
  6. Oak Tree
  7. Grass
  8. Vines
  9. Dandelion
  10. Fruit Tree (Apples, oranges, mangoes, etc.)
  11. Fern
  12. Venus Flytrap

New Power Rangers RPG Random Threats

General Gnarl’s main henchbeasts are on tap today.

Today we’re diving into some of my Lightning Force Rangers campaign bad guys. I’m starting off with the freakiest of the bunch, General Gnarl. His lieutenants are designed around a horror/ooze theme. Not all of the lieutenants listed will be used this season, hence the random table.

A little bookkeeping first. Unless we are specifically referring to a Monster of the Week, all creatures working on behalf of the bad guys are now called, “Threats.” This comes following Renegade Con and the appearance of the “Fan Preview Guide.” Dunno why we’re calling it that, but hey- we’re cool.

Renegade did us a solid.

They also did us another solid with this little tidbit in their FAQ:

We finally have a formula for generating new Threats.

That having been said, here is a list of General Gnarl’s monsters presented here in name only. Stats to follow at a later date if/when we ever figure out how the OGL works with this game or if there even is one…

Please roll 1d12 and consult the table below:

  1. Necrolord Abominus: Raises zombies (Putties, but mud and bone.)
  2. Oozemaster: Slimy abomination determined to spread goo everywhere. Yuck.
  3. Bonehead: Dude is literally a giant skeleton. Shoots cool eyebeams. Hard to hit.
  4. Boiler Belly: Metal monstrosity with a belly full of green fire and a door to blast it with. Superheated when angry, which is quite often.
  5. Zitius Maximus: Rubbery monster covered in small holes capable of spewing nasty slime. Slime turns people into gelatinous masses. Mega mode is volcanic.
  6. Wrecking Ball: Ball of solid metal with arms and legs. Uses the chain on his head as a weapon. Super tough, not necessarily super smart. Arm chain tentacles?
  7. Achoo Chu: Somewhat comical train with a huge nose. (Think Thomas the Tank Engine costume.) Spreads an incapacitating disease called the “Sneezles” causing uncontrolled sneezing in its victims. Disease is cured when monster is defeated.
  8. Double Fist: (Picture Hitmonchan from Pokemon made of solid metal and a smooth head.) Has four arms. Boxing beastie that doubles itself when damaged.
  9. Tri-Cycler: Three headed Centaur with two small wheels in the back and one huge wheel up front. Cannon on the back.
  10. Spawn Camp: A walking, talking miniature log cabin that releases small, bipedal humanoid minions. Has a mortar on its back.
  11. Gas bag: A hot air balloon shaped humanoid biped that sprays sleeping gas everywhere. Its noxious odor is also capable of stunning people.
  12. Gunnarl: Gnarl’s shorter, pudgier version of himself. Carries a gun almost bigger that he is. Acts and talks like Gnarl only in a smaller, cuter voice.

Bonus Table: Serious Damage.
Please roll 1d12 and see what any give threat might be able to shoot:

  1. Heat Ray
  2. Freeze Ray
  3. Lightning Bolt
  4. Laser Blasts
  5. Cone of Fire
  6. “Toxic” Gas
  7. Force Blast
  8. Projectiles (Spikes, arrows, shuriken, bullets?)
  9. Explosive Projectiles (Cannon balls, propane canisters, etc)
  10. Energy Beam (Pure power, plasma?)
  11. Sonic Blast
  12. Acid.

Game stats to follow. Have a great week. Thank you for visiting.

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.

%d bloggers like this: