Thursday, May 16, 2019

Why Isn't There a Game for That? [Update]

I originally wrote this post in 2014, so it's probably time to check back in and see how the rpg landscape is changed. There are a number of genres/subgenres that are under-utilized or not utilized at all in rpgs, despite the fact they would probably work pretty well. Here are a few off the top of my head:

Humorous Adventure Pulp
Basically this would cover the whimsical, fantastical, and often violent world of Thimble Theatre (later Popeye) and the Fleischer Popeye cartoon. A lot of fist-fights, fewer guns. This would also cover Little Orphan Annie, various kid gang comics, and (on the more violent end) Dick Tracy.
Update: Still nothing. It's probably not a genre that has a lot of cachet for modern audiences.

Wainscot Fantasy
Little creatures hiding in the big world. Think The Borrowers, The Littles, and Fraggle Rock.
Update: I've found forums and blogposts where others are asking about this sort of thing, but no games still. Well, no published games. There's a quick and lite Fraggle Rock game here.

Kid Mystery Solvers
Scooby Doo is probably the most well-known example, but you've got several Hanna-Barbera returns to the same concept. Ditch weird pet/side kick, and you've got The Three Investigators, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. 
Update: Looks like there is a game called Meddling Kids. I don't know anything about it though.

Wacky Races
I've written about this one before--and Richard has run it. Still needs a game, though.
Update: There is a board game, which perhaps is a better fit for it.


Random Randomness said...

While not quite Wacky Racers there is the Thunderball Rally mini game (d20, muscle car racing adventures across America) in Polyhedron Magazine #152.

Random Randomness said...

While not quite Wacky Racers there is the Thunderball Rally mini game (d20, muscle car racing adventures across America) in Polyhedron Magazine #152.

jdh417 said...

For kid's mysteries, there's Kids on Bikes, inspired by Stranger Things.

Here's a live-play at Hyper RPG:

Cominius said...

While neither of these would really be much in the vein of the OSR (if that matters for this article), I think both Bubblegum Shoe and Kids on Bikes (pdf copies of both are for sale at DriveThruRPG, while paper copies can be purchased from various sources) qualify for the Kid Mystery Solvers category.

Sean said...

Phil Masters has printed a Fate system RPG called The Small Folk. And wouldn't Mouseguard also qualify as a Wainscot Fantasy? I haven't read either.

Random Randomness said...

Polyhedron #158 also has Hi-Jinx which is basic a Hanna-Barbera RPG.

Allandaros said...

The Forest Hymn and Picnic, from what I've seen, might be able to stretch to cover humorous adventure pulp.

Justin Ryan Isaac said...

Dark Places & Demogorgons does Scooby Doo really well.

Trey said...

@allandaros - This a thought, though the degree it seems to tied to its settings may make it less generally useful for that.

Noah S. said...

There was a "Hanna-Barbera" flavored 3.5 mod called, uh, Hijinks? maybe? About bands and mystery capers. Dungeon magazine add-in. I really like it, but it sort of needs grids 'n' minis to work

JB said...

There's a couple of Fairy RPGs (well, at least one, but its name escapes me at the moment) suitable for Wainscot, or at least adaptable to it.

Kids on Bikes *could* be used for Scooby, but it's not the best. I've played Scooby crew themed one-shots using Risus Monkey, and I think it wouldn't be too tough a stretch to adapt Fiasco for it. However, I have my own Scooby-esque project going (currently backburnered) using Call of Cthulhu as its working title is "Scoobthulu."

[Bubblegumshoe is the RPG for Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys type games]

Josh Burnett said...

I think "Ryuutma" could probably do the humorous adventure pulp pretty well. It focuses on a group of "common folk" travelers discovering new places and helping folks with their problems, all with a generally up-beat attitude. It's got a heavy manga/anime vibe to it, but it wouldn't be hard to kit bash that into Popeye or or similar.

Ned said...

Dreaming Cities was an urban fantasy rpg published by Guardians of Order. One of the settings included in the book was a wainscot fantasy that was the Borrowers/ Littles with the serial numbers filed off.

What a Fine Hand said...

I would be willing to see what one could make of a humorous adventure pulp. While I do like the genre,I feel like its supposed to be watched more than played in.