Tortuga
 member, 1885 posts
Tue 8 Oct 2019
at 22:06
A Very 80s Game
I'm considering running a game that's essentially a love-letter to 1980s television and movies. Basically the players would be encountering - and dealing with - elements from the shows of the decade, year by year, from 1980 to 1989. I wouldn't *require* players to be personally familiar with the decade's media, but for sheer nostalgia factor that's probably who'd get the most out of it.

Back to the Future, the Terminator, Escape from New York, Alien Nation, GI Joe... there's a lot of cool media to draw from and blend together into a frappe of *weirdness.*

And that's not even bringing John Hughes movies into the mix. Which we totally will.

Anyway, the big question I'm focusing on, and what I need help with, is "who are the PCs?" They have to have reason to get involved with all the weirdness the 1980s have to offer. So I'm going to lay out some potential ideas here, and would welcome anyone who has other cool ideas I can steal use.

1. Teens (with or without attitude): The players are high school kids drawn into strange situations by the merciless hand of fate. They end up going to camp crystal lake, aliens move in across the street, their friend/little brother/love interest gets kidnapped by Dracula, and of course the authorities are no help. All while navigating the rigors of going to Typical 80s High School filled with Jocks, Goths, Nerds, and Preppies.

Disadvantages: 80s teens aren't entirely equipped to go toe to toe with, say, The Predator or Freddy Kruger. But hey, who is? And maybe, just maybe, they'll evolve into a more powerful form over the course of the campaign as they learn karate/psychic disciplines/the secrets of magic/the meaning of love.

Advantages: 80s teen movie tropes are easy to grasp, and provide a good base for adding on powers as they learn the secret truths of the world, karate, psychic disciplines, weird science, or forbidden magics. Out of all the options, Teens have the broadest potential for growth and improvement.

2. Agents: Members of a secretive foundation dedicated to keeping the unsuspecting public safe from the unknown and unknowable/a special police unit/a federal task force. They operate in an official capacity, taking on clear cut missions to pursue specific goals as their employers desperately try to stave off the many apocalyptic situations.

Disadvantages: As Agents the players have mission parameters and a higher power to which they answer. They also begin as fairly capable individuals, which doesn't offer a great deal in terms of growth potential.

Advantages: The mission structure is cut and dry, providing clear directives for the player group to pursue. They generally go into a situation knowing more than random unlucky individuals would, though of course this intel might be incomplete, and by the time it comes to The Agency's attention things might already be dire.

(I've tried running something like an 80s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen campaign in the past with PCs taking on fictional characters; power levels were too disparate for a consistent game.)

I'm open to other potential character group focuses if anyone wants to suggest them. Just keep them very 80s! Also willing to answer questions, take comments, etc.
airellian
 member, 482 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 01:13
A Very 80s Game
Interested! :)
ThaClown
 member, 7 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 04:01
A Very 80s Game
Very interested :)
Tortuga
 member, 1886 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 15:36
A Very 80s Game
Good to see there's interest! Do you guys have a preferred player group, or would you like to suggest other options?
airellian
 member, 483 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 15:58
A Very 80s Game
I like Teens (with attitude!). :)
Tortuga
 member, 1887 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 16:11
A Very 80s Game
I'm also trying to decide on a system for the game. I don't want anything too complicated, or something that would drive away players that might otherwise want to play... but I do want something that can play out the transition from "normal teens" to "80s movie heroes" by the end of the game.

GURPS comes to mind but it's very crunchy and has a relatively small fanbase.
FATE might work but I'm not sure about the power curve.
RISUS is dead simple and might work. IDK.

Might be easiest to just blackbox the system, have people describe their characters, and run it all behind the scenes, but that does turn some people off.

This message was last edited by the user at 16:11, Wed 09 Oct.

steelsmiter
 member, 2053 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 16:17
A Very 80s Game
quote:
Might be easiest to just blackbox the system, have people describe their characters, and run it all behind the scenes, but that does turn some people off.


Me in particular. Of ths systems you provided I'd consider jumping in on this if it was Fate (Core specifically)
Tortuga
 member, 1888 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 16:23
A Very 80s Game
See I'd be drawn to going Accelerated or even Aspects Only as that makes it easier to change the scale from "normal teens" to "action badasses" just by reframing what a +2 means; harder to do when skills enter the picture and have to remain somewhat consistent.
steelsmiter
 member, 2054 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 16:39
A Very 80s Game
Well, not remaining somewhat consistent would also put me off it anyway.
zeone3000
 member, 524 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 17:25
A Very 80s Game
I thought about a game very similar to this. It was going to be horror based where the characters were Shadow Chasers i.e. Modern d20, traveling across the USA taking down the famous movie bad guys. Jason, Freddy, Chuckie and more obscure to some like Pumpkinhead, the Tall Man, etc.

This sounds great. I'm all for teens with attitude. I do have to disagree about the Agents lacking growth potential. That depends on where you start them and where you want them to end up. Also, having mission parameters makes it so there's less stalling when you know what you need to get done.

I'm all for GURPS as it was definitely made with this type of game in mind. M&M is another system that comes to mind
Tortuga
 member, 1889 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 17:48
A Very 80s Game
What I've done in the past (and could do again) is let it be GURPS for people who are big fans of numbers (and the system) and let the other players not worry about it - keep the mechanics off-stage for them as much as they'd like.

It's worked well in the past. *shrug*
airellian
 member, 484 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 21:42
A Very 80s Game
I am a fan of Fate Accelerated. :)
sbodmann
 member, 111 posts
Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 22:02
A Very 80s Game
I thought there was a new pbta variant made to simulate Stranger Things. That sounds pretty perfect for kids/teens.

Agents might work better in the pbp medium. I've found it helpful to have that extra structure to keep things moving
evileeyore
 member, 247 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 00:41
A Very 80s Game
What's the likelihood of this one making it past 400 posts?
rabideldar
 member, 178 posts
 Role Playing Bastard
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 00:45
A Very 80s Game
Sounds like Pulp. I could be wrong but a lot of those style movies are very pulply. It's pretty hard to pull off but I agree that some people have said that Fate Core or Accelerated.
Tortuga
 member, 1890 posts
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 00:46
Re: A Very 80s Game
evileeyore:
What's the likelihood of this one making it past 400 posts?


80% of the time it works every time.
evileeyore
 member, 248 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 01:37
Re: A Very 80s Game
Tortuga:
80% of the time it works every time.

So, 2 out of 15 then?
steelsmiter
 member, 2055 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 02:04
Re: A Very 80s Game
evileeyore:
Tortuga:
80% of the time it works every time.

So, 2 out of 15 then?

I was thinking "perfect 5/7".
Tortuga
 member, 1892 posts
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 02:58
Re: A Very 80s Game
5/7? I like those odds!

I'm leaning towards the Agent framework at the moment. Something that gives the PCs a strong directive but operational freedom in the field.

I'm thinking something similar to MacGuyver's Phoenix Foundation or Knight Rider's FLAG - so let's call it Daedalus, a non-profit think tank that contracts its services out to governments and acts independently to address issues that the legal authorities cannot, or will not, address.
Tortuga
 member, 1894 posts
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 19:23
Re: A Very 80s Game
Working on a timeline... I'm positing that a lot of 60s and 70s TVs and Movies actually happened. For example: Superman 1978. He's there. Everybody knows, though of course not his exact deal.

And Linda Carter's 1975-79 Wonder Woman TV series and the 1978+ TV show... but Wonder Woman was a covert agent calling herself Diana Prince and David Banner's Hulk is a rumor at best, so they're not going on the timeline... because the PCs won't know about it.

But can anyone suggest any other 50s-70s media that would be common knowledge if they happened? I'd like to avoid anything apocalyptic unless it could be toned down to leave the year 1980 "more or less" the way it was in real life. Also avoiding including anything that would be, essentially, covered up by the world's governments.

This message was last edited by the user at 19:29, Thu 10 Oct.

sbodmann
 member, 112 posts
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 20:16
Re: A Very 80s Game
In reply to Tortuga (msg # 20):

Starsky and Hutch, and all the various cop shows come to mind. Those are probably a bit localized to necessarily be nationwide common knowledge.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind was 1977. That would probably be another rumor thing though.

Other 70's movies that might make the national news:
Jaws
Godfather
Rocky
Dirty Harry

Other TV shows (these are probably mostly rumors)
Charlie's Angels
Mork & Mindy
Love Boat
Bionic Man
Bionic Woman
Fantasy Island

Some of Steven King's stuff came out in the 70s.
Tortuga
 member, 1895 posts
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 21:13
Re: A Very 80s Game
Good stuff. Rocky and Jaws are definitely national news. Death Wish was as famous as the case that inspired it. The rest is either very regional or might have been covered up.

As far as King goes; if there's a movie version, it happened the year the movie came out. (other than period pieces) Carrie was 1976, and there was a 1979 Salem's Lot, but I'm going to say that the full scope of those wasn't revealed.
Tortuga
 member, 1896 posts
Thu 10 Oct 2019
at 22:24
Re: A Very 80s Game
Best to just play it by ear, I think, as it comes up.

For now, the game is up and accepting applications. Feel free to submit. link to another game

Decided, in the end, to go with GURPS; if you don't know how to GURPS that's fine, I'll deal with all the numbers for you, or if you want to learn how to GURP we can certainly figure that out together.