Sunday, December 30, 2012

Game Idea: Adventure Time!

Adventure Time
The Simplified Table Top RPG

by Tobie Abad

So you love the show?  Here's a quick way to play a game with your friends inspired by the show.  For this game, you will need the following:

Three six-sided dice for each player.  (The colors do not matter)
A pencil/pen and a sheet of paper for each player.
A extra sheet of paper for the game itself.

A minimum of two players can play this game.  But it gets more fun if you have around three to five players.  Six might get a tad complicated.    Unlike most role-playing games, in this game everyone gets a chance to be a storyteller and control the narrative.  However, every player also controls two characters of their choosing.  The two characters may be friends, enemies or whatever.  The only rule is they should not be the same as other players.  Only one person can play Jake.  Only one player can be Princess Bubblegum.

The basic system works this way.  Each character will have three things he is good at.  Then two things he is clumsy at.  Be sure to mark them with a (1) to (5) as appropriate.  For example, a player playing Finn and Jake may have the following sheet:

So on a single glance you can see the three things and the two things listed.   Now each time you attempt to do something, say have Finn attack a monster, you roll your three six-sided dice, and each die that comes out matching a number you have listed that relates to what you want to do is a good thing (a success).

Each success means I get to describe a detail of how I accomplish it.

Finn is attacking a Wolf man that is threatening Princess Bubblegum. I roll my dice and get a 1, 3 and 4.  This means I have two successes in my action since #3 is for fighting bad guys and #1 is for being a hero.  So I describe how I (#3) leap to the Wolf man and swipe my sword at him to knock him down.  Then (#1) stomp on his head and smile at Princess Bubblegum as I tell her, "Got it under control PB."

As you can see, sometimes you can benefit from more than just one number being rolled.  You can combine results to have creative descriptions.  In the same example, I might have rolled instead: 4, 4 and 5.  This means I didn't roll anything applicable to the action, so I describe how I flub it and if possible, incorporate an appropriate Clumsy stat.  "I rush to the Wolf man to attack, but then realize, she is actually the Wolf Princess!  I drop my sword because I see how pretty she is."

What happens when you roll a six?  You get a success as well.  However, you can only get that success by describing the action with a key catch phrase or statement from the character.  So if you for example roll 1, 3, 6 in the example above, you can say, "Finn swipes the sword to knock down the Wolf man and says, 'Beating bad guys and saving PB in one action, Rhombus!'"

Now once players have chosen their two characters to play, roll a die to determines who starts the story.  If there are two players, you can assign odds for one player and evens for the other.  If you have three, then allocate two numbers per player.  If four, just roll the dice and if it comes out five or six, roll again.  You get the idea.  The selected player starts the game by describing the scene, and choosing a character who is in the scene.  The character may or may not be one of the player's two choices.  But each time another player's character is mentioned, that player should join the "scene" as per the story.  If the player narrating the story has to portray the character, the narrator automatically becomes whoever is on that player's right.  The narrator can always add characters, monsters, and other things that are not represented by the player's choices.  These added things are written on the extra sheet and ANYONE can choose to play them.  If two players want to play the extra characters, whoever does not have a selected character in that scene gets first dibs.

For example:
Adam, Bill and Charlie are playing.  Adam is playing Jake and Finn.  Bill is playing Marceline and Princess Bubblegum.  Charlie is playing Treetrunks and the Lich King.   A die is rolled and it comes out four.  Since there are three players, the distribution was Adam (1-2), Bill (3-4) and Charlier (5-6), so Bill starts as Narrator.  He describes, "The scene begins in a forest.  Two giant spiders are arguing about what tastes better, animals or candy people.  Jake walks into the scene."

With that mention, Adam now plays Jake, "Hey spider people.  How're you hanging?"  Bill replies as one of the spider people, "All good.  Just you know... being bugs."  Charlie, since he hasn't had either character added into the story yet, decides to play the other spider, "Hey, wait, aren't you an animal?"  

Bill decides to make it interesting and so he adds a new scene.  "Meanwhile, in Candy Kingdom, Finn is talking with Marceline about the upcoming party."  Adam and Bill now start talking as the characters.  "Hey Marceline, I'm stoked about the upcoming party tonight.  How about you?"  Bill sighs aloud, "Hey Finn.  I'm not too keen on the party.  I think Princess Bubblegum in insistent on playing dubstep instead of letting my band play."  Charlie becomes the new narrator since Bill is now playing a character.

Damage and the like
If a character is ever hurt or injured in a scene, a player can decide whether or not that player is knocked out or still able to fight.  The narrator in that moment can always ask for a roll, and the player basically needs to roll any number from 1 to 4 or his character is knocked out for that scene.  No one really dies in this game.

Catchphrases and Signature Moves
Whenever a player uses a catchphrase or signature move appropriately even before a roll is made, he can adjust the next roll of one of his dice by one value (If he rolled 2, 1 and 1, he can adjust the 2 to make the roll 1, 1, 1, for example).  This means the more your portray your character better, the better your rolls.

This game system is intended to be a simple free-flowing system that allows anyone to try playing a game inspired by the show.  More complicated systems can be made (and probably do exist), but I thought this would be a nice New Year's present for all of you readers of my blog.

So yeah, What Time Is It?

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