Thursday night and its my rotation as lead game master at our local Brisbane one shots. This week I had decided as an experiment with a Rick and Morty themed game. Rick and Morty for those of you unfamiliar with the hit animated comedy from Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. It is a show about a jaded cynical scientist, Rick and his impressionable grandson Morty where they juggle inter-dimensional travel and domestic life. The show blurs the lines between improv, dark humour, existential horror and philosophy.
I did my research leading up into the game, mind you this predominately consisted of watching Rick and Morty and looking at common the tropes. It also consisted of researching systems that might best handle the tropes and themes of the TV show, also listening to the RPPR actual play of their own Rick and Morty adventure using a homebrew of Monsters and Other Childish Things.
The three systems I felt that would handle a Rick and Morty adventure were; Primetime Adventure, Cubicle 7’s vortex system and Monsters and Other Childish Things (a mod of the One Role Engine).
Primetime Adventures – This is a game that’s very mechanics are aimed at creating scenes in your own or your favourite TV shows. One player takes the role of the producer while the other players take the roles of the actors/characters in the TV show. The game itself is built into 4 acts and is then broken down further into scenes where each player takes a turn and deciding if their character wants a character development scene or if the character wants to succeed in something furthering the plot. This system’s beauty lies in its high level approach to enable the telling of stories of any genre by breaking down the TV structure and gamifying it.
Monsters and Other Childish Things – In this system each a player’s PC is a child but that child also has a beast friend. A monster and they get up to all sorts of michief. Rolls are quite simple and a number of d10 are assigned to each of the child’s attributes. In RPPR podcast altered the system slightly by making the child Rick and the monster Morty. This worked well in the podcast as each of the players played a Rick from another dimension with their own Morty. I ended up avoiding this system for this very reason as I was thinking of running a game with Rick, Morty and some others in the supporting cast.
Cubicle 7’s Vortex System – The Vortex system is the one used in the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game. Rick and Morty have many parallels with the Doctor and their companion. Travelling through space and facing existential risks at every adventure. Its just that Rick ad Morty don’t bounce back from the existential horror that the Doctor and his companions do. The system itself utilises those techniques used in improvisations like; Yes and, No but and such forth. The system also uses Story Points that give power to the player to improve their roles or directly change the world. When it comes to combat it is generally lethal and generally pushes players to talk or run their way out of trouble. This is also reflected in how initiative is handled with Talkers going first, then Runners, Doers and finally Fighters.
I ended up going with the Vortex system, as I am very familiar with the system and I was wondering how the system would handle the genre.
In the next part I will give the outcomes from running, including character sheets for Rick, Morty and Summer.