The eighties is a time famous (or infamous) for toy properties with synergistic multi-media marketing. It seems like every one of them came complete with cartoon series and comic book in addition to the usual merchandise. Very few (okay, none) had role-playing game tie-ins. That’s a pity, because several of them had some potential...well, at least some potential elements suitable for swiping for rpg inspiration.
Everyone will immediately think of the big guys like Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe (which my friends and I did make an rpg for back in the day, based on TSR’s action table games), and Transformers. Those are all good, but I’m going to dig a little deeper...
Inhumanoids tells the story of an armored-suit-wearing group of scientists fighting a trio of newly re-awakened part kaiju, part Lovecraftian, subterranean monsters--the Inhumanoids. The scientists are aided by the surviving members of ancient, prehuman races, who had imprisoned the monsters in the first place. Armored heroes battling subterranean monsters? The rpg applications ought to be obvious.
The Saga of Crystar, Crystal Warrior played with the timeless brother against brother theme, as a personalization of the very rpg-like battle of Order against Chaos. The heroic brother, siding with Order, and his retinue get turned into living crystal. The other brother sides with chaos, and he and his cronies get turned into rock/magma. Both of them got a wizardly advisor, too. Crystar probably doesn’t warrant its on game, but crystal-men and magma men would be pretty cool editions to an already existing one.
Sectaurs. It’s another fantasy, though this is one is perhaps a post-apocalyptic science fantasy taking place on a distant planet. The current natives have insectoid characteristics--the good guys are humans with antenna and compound eyes, while the nasties are more insectoid humanoids. Both sides use giant insects are mounts, and use carapace-derived armor and weapons. There are also the “Keepers of the Way,” a secret society trying to resurrect the lost knowledge of the ancients and pull the world out of medievalism. Sectaurs might make a good campaign, but again might mainly inspire an insectoid race (or races) to drop into a game.
1 hour ago