Meddling Kids by Eldad Assarach
Introduction & Character CreationOriginal SA post
Well, as most Goons will have found out by now, Casey Kasem died today. Given that he was most famous to most of our generation as the voice of Shaggy, I thought it'd be fitting if I did a rundown of a little-known game called...
Part 1: Introduction & Character Creation
This was a little slice of genre emulation from our good friends at Pandahead Productions, the people who gave us XCrawl! This was written in 2004 by Allyson Brooks, and was aimed at getting younger people into tabletop roleplaying games, which is certainly something that hasn't been tried very often (I'm struggling to think of any that tried it before Pandahead - this book is 10 years old). This is reflected in a disclaimer just beneath the acknowledgments.
Meddling Kids posted:
PLEASE, do not go and solve mysteries on your own! This is a game, and if you play it as a game, then you will have fun. Real mysteries are solved by the police. If you want to be a police officer when you're older, that's great! But until then, just practice safe at home, okay?
Taking the law into your own hands is like if you french-fry when you need to pizza - you're gonna have a bad time!
Going into the introduction itself, it starts off not with the usual rundown of what a roleplaying game is, but a brief history of animation. And I do mean "brief" - a paragraph on Charles-Emile Reynaud , one line chiding him for giving up on his dream, then another paragraph on how Saturday morning cartoons were a thing in the 60's, and how Fred Silverman came up with the idea came up with Scooby-Doo.
Okay, now we get onto what a RPG is; according to Brooks, it's pretty much the "Let's Pretend" games we all played as kids, only with settings and statistics and stuff like that. Oh yeah, and there are roleplaying computer games, but those are way more restrictive creatively and not nearly as social as pen & paper rpgs. Honestly, this is probably the most honest "What Is A RPG?" section I've ever read.
It also mentions LARPing; no actual hitting, you need permission to do it on somebody's property and it's kind of like being in the school play, only without a script - just make it up as you go along, and have fun doing it!
The art in Meddling Kids lurches between "pretty good" to "clip art".
As for Meddling Kids itself, it doesn't need fancy costumes or the most expensive ccg deck; just paper, pencils, dice, friends and imagination. And the book. It's sort of like the rpgs your parents or older sibllings might've played, but it's not about rescuing princesses or slaying dragons, just having adventures in a world pretty much like this one. There are rules, but don't worry - they're not hard to figure out. Besides, without rules the game would be booooriiiing , because limitations make us work together, just like in real life. Of course, you can just change a few rules, if you don't like them.
You'll also need a GM. A GM must be fair, and not bossy or strict; their job is to make sure everybody's having fun and that the players are following the framework that's been set before them. The GM also plays the Wild Card, who will be explained in the GM Section. It's suggested that the GM be somebody older and/or the most experienced with this game.
Now, onto character creation!
This kid has put more effort into his character concept than half the people I've gamed with.
As you'd expect, it's pretty straightforward in a gentle sort of way - think of your character's background first; hobbies, personality, whether or not they're the new kid, etc. Nothing huge, just a paragraph (your character is going to grow over the course of the campaign anyway). Also, it's okay to just play a character who's basically a carbon copy of you, if that's what you're comfortable with. Of course, playing as somebody completely different can be fun too!
There's also a big box on playing a character of the opposite gender. If you want to, go ahead. If other people don't like that, then who cares? If they're going to be huffy about it, they're not the sort of people you want to play with anyway. It's your character, not theirs. Of course, it's okay to want to play somebody who's the same gender as you. After all, it's just a game.
Now we come to Archetypes! It's all pretty self-explanatory:
The Jock : As I said, self-explanatory.
The Fluff : Basically, Daphne.
The Brain : Velma, I guess.
The Goof : Shaggy.
The Temper : The lone wolf who doesn't play by your rules, bub!
The Sidekick : You can always count on them.
The Innocent : You see the good in everyone.
These guys and gals are sample PCs, showcasing all 7 Archetypes, that can be found at the back of the book. The Jock is "Clutch" Sellers, and we go through his chargen throughout this section of the book - I only skipped it because I want go into chargen more deeply later on.
These Archetypes all come with a different skill that you get for free, but we'll get to that in a later post. You can only be one Archetype, even if your concept fits into two. Of course, by that logic Fred and Shaggy wouldn't be allowed (technically, Fred's a Jock and a Brain, whilst Shaggy's a Goof and a Sidekick) but it's just too game-breaking to let anybody be more than one Archetype. Party balance is ideal (a party is referred to as a "Clique" in this game), but if two people want to be the same Archetype, then you should ask the GM's permission first. Just because there are two Archetypes the same doesn't mean there should be two completely identical characters (think of Rocky and Apollo Creed - they're both Jocks, but they're different people).
Stats are unambiguous, but that's nothing new here; Strength (no explanation necessary), Moves (Dex and Speed, not how well you can boogie), Smarts (Wis and Int), Health (HP).You have 24 points to use up, and yes you could just put 6 into everything, but that'd be boring.
Abilities are covered later on in the book, but for now all you need to know is you have 26 points to spend on all them, not counting the one your Archetype gets for free. If you have any left over then that's too bad, because you can't hoard those points for later - you either use them now, or they're gone forever.
Next time: The GM's Guide!
GM's GuideOriginal SA post
Well, I guess I'm committed!
Part 2: The Game Master's Guide
Yes, the GM's Guide is smack-dab in the middle of the book, before we get to
Abilities or even what the system mechanics are! Meddling Kids is a fun game, but its layout is all over the place for a "beginner-friendly" RPG.
As for the GM Guide itself, it starts off by asking if you're the kind of person who is a natural leader and can get everyone organised, or who just comes out with cool ideas a lot. If yes, you're probably the right one to be the GM.
Meddling Kids posted:
The Game Master creates a living story, and weaves that tale around the player characters. The Game Master holds the power to make decisions about the fate of the characters, almost making him or her King Of The Universe!
Yeah, right. Let's get back down to Earth, okay?
As you'd expect with a game that bills itself as an introductory game, the GM advice is on the level... in a mellow kind of way; prepare beforehand (we'll come back to that in a bit), be familiar with the rules (the book suggests you skip ahead to the next chapter and read the mechanics until you get the overall gist of them) but don't stress over them, and don't be afraid to wing it if you're not sure. And if it looks like a player might not overcome something very difficult... just fudge things to make them easier for your players, but don't do it too often .
Meddling Kids posted:
As GM, you are King of Your Domain. But, as King, if you mistreat your subjects, no one will want to play in your domain, and you’ll be King of the Big, Fat Nothing. As leader, a GM is expected to be patient, responsive, flexible, and respectful towards the players and their respective characters. After all, games are supposed to be fun! No power trips allowed!
Give your players some agency; guide, don't shove. Don't interrupt somebody roleplaying, unless the monster is nearby and wants to attack. Don't let your best friend take all the glory and solve the mystery on their own - after all, there's no "i" in "team". Above all, make sure everybody's having fun. Give the Clique realistic goals they can achieve in-game, and just make things so nice that your players will come back for more!
I love the art in this book, but I'm rationing myself on it so I don't just include everything and make this post twice as long.
Remember when I mentioned doing prep before a game? Well, the best way to begin is ask The Big Six Questions:
Who is involved with the story? Teachers, parents, celebrities?
What is happening? Is something being stolen or haunted? Both?
When is this taking place? Summer camp, school trip?
Where is the story set? Creepy old abandoned house, creepy old abandoned amusement park?
Why is this happening? Is the "monster" scaring people away, or does it want to steal something
How are the Clique involved? Is somebody's relative in trouble, or do they just want to avoid getting detention?
Don't be afraid to crib from books or TV shows - maybe a PC was given a ring by an elderly relative, and somebody else wants the ring for the cryptic message written on the inside of it. Can't think of any? Ask your parents or a teacher for recommendations! Either that, or just crib from real life!
If the story takes place in a real location, then do some research on its local history and customs to add some colour. But don't add too much colour, because the players will add some of their own to proceedings. If they're getting off-track, just roll with it - it might make the story even better!
The final piece of advice the book gives you is pretty simple; keep a notebook with you. If you're the GM, odds are you'll get a lot of different ideas floating through your head, so it's best to jot them all down so you don't forget. Out of all the advice given, this is probably the most important.
That's enough of basic-yet-helpful GM advice, let's move onto the Wild Cards!
I love how even the pirate monkey isn't sure what's going on here.
What are Wild Cards? They're the shark who has a thing for bratty percussionists, the 18th-century ghost who talks like Bert Lahr, the green dog who turns invisible when he's scared (except for that stupid bobble hat he always wears for some reason). More importantly, they're a way for the GM to play the game as well. The Wild Card may be a weirdo, but they always point the Clique in the right direction. Don't ever use a Wild Card to give the Clique a red herring, because that's just cheap and everyone will (rightly) hate you for it.
They get 24 points for Stats and 26 for Abilities, same as the PCs, but a Wild Card has their own special list of Abilities (they can get the same Abilities as a PC, but it'll cost an extre point per Ability). Another unique thing they get is a Quirk; it doesn't provide any in-game advantage, it's more to give an extra dimension to the Wild Card, and maybe make the players smile every so often.
Let's take a look at a sample Wild Card given in the book - Cap'n Bingo!
Yes, ladies - he's single.
Cap'n Bingo posted:
Quirk He cannot resist bananas in any form (banana bread, banana splits, banana taffy, music by Bananarama, etc.)
Wild Whiz-(The Sea)
Former lab chimp named Bingo who is now imbued with the spirit of a dead pirate captain (more specifically, a privateer for the budding US Navy of the mid-1700’s). Can’t remember his name as a pirate, so the kids gave him his new name. Often seems cranky towards the kids, but likes them very much—especially Andrea, who rescued him from the lab, and Clutch, who tries to protect her. Loves bananas, hates stuffy British seamen, and wants to own a parrot one day.
I will let you guy know what all those Abilities mean soon, I just want to highlight the frustrating way Pandahead messed up - we're about a third into the book, and we still don't know the rules yet!
Anyway, as for running a game, the book makes a number of suggestions; at home on a rainy day, at a sleepover, in... a car on a long journey?
Meddling Kids posted:
Special Pandahead Note to All: don’t play at school during class time — give your teachers some respect, and don’t get you and your friends in trouble!
You could even ask your Friendly Local Gaming Shop for help - they'll be more than happy to help out!
As for the game itself, try and make sure everyone's doing something. Ask the more extroverted players to help bring the shy players out of their shell, let the players develop their own roleplaying styles, etc. There's a cute example where one player gets really into the concept of non-existent ice cream, which is pretty rad.
Meddling Kids posted:
Being a GM takes a bit of effort, but once you get the hang of it, your game play and story will flow easily. Just be flexible and have
fun. And, after a while, don’t be afraid to let others take a stab at being a GM—they may even come to you for advice!
Next time: The rules!
RulesOriginal SA post
I would've posted yesterday, but my body just crashed for some reason.
Part 3: Rules
Well, it's only taken about a third of the book, but we're finally learning how to play the game!
Roll 3d6, add the relevant Stat and any modifiers from your Abilities, see if you get the Target Number or higher. The TN ranges from 4 to 34; the higher the number, the more difficult the task. 17 is the halfway point if you want something reasonably difficult, but the GM is advised to wing it and not stress too much about it. Conflict Resolution e.g. running away from a monster, then the player and GM choose the relevant Stat and adding Ability mods for PC and monster respectively and roll. Whoever's highest wins, check the Stats for both on a tie. If the numbers are identical, just reroll until somebody gets a higher.
Meddling Kids posted:
Ever watch a chase scene in a cartoon that seems to go on so long that you notice that the background keeps repeating itself? That’s what’s happening in the game! Just as it can be funny in a cartoon, you’ll find that this kind of situation can be very, very funny in a game.
Not sure I'd describe having to reroll for the same thing a few times "funny", but kudos to them for trying to keep things thematic.
The game then talks about getting Bonked. See, if a character is hit for more damage than they have HP then you're knocked out, or Bonked, for as many minutes as the damage went over your HP i.e. If your Sidekick was hit for 7 damage, and you had a 4 in Health, then the Sidekick is Bonked for 3 minutes.
Meddling Kids posted:
The GM can decide whether those minutes are real time or game time.
Every 10 feet of falling is equal to 1d6 worth of damage, so I guess a particularly unsubtle GM can throw 20ft cliffs to railroad his players. To hit somebody with, say, a smelly fish (hey, that's the example given) then the hitter and one about to get the fear of cod beaten into them both roll Moves. Whoever gets the highest roll wins; if the guy weaponising the fish wins, then he batters the other guy for his Strength+1d6. There's no weapon list, but the book does say that you can house rule any rule you like.
I really love the art in this book. The artist here is Brian LaFramboise, who sadly appears to have retired.
The game discourages you from just smacking everything that looks at you funny. For one thing, violence isn't always the best answer. For another, it's not like Mystery Inc went around kneecapping the likes of Miner Forty-Niner or The Spooky Space Kook. There's one thing they did do: set traps! That's right, we're going old-school!
A trap's Target Number is the sum of a monster's Health and Strength (the book mentions a werewolf, who has 8 in both) which I guess is given to the players so they at least know what they're aiming for - the book isn't clear on this. A trap can be as elegant or as complicated as the players want, but it has to have several steps to it - each step adds 1 to your roll. However, the steps a PC can have to their trap is only equal to their Smarts. The Clique can work together to make the trap, which means that you can take the PC with the highest Smarts (let's say it's 10), and add 1 - that's the number of steps you can have in your trap. But that doesn't mean you can just say that your trap has 11 steps, the trap has to actually make sense at every stage. Realistically, that means that your trap probably won't have the maximum amount of steps. Either way, you roll 2d6 and add the result to the number of steps in your trap. There's even an example of play!
Meddling Kids posted:
Clutch and Andrea have come up with a trap that has Clutch finding the Werewolf and getting him to chase him (step one), leading to a
skateboard that he borrowed from Thrasher that the Werewolf will step on (step two), that will run him into a rope that the kids have
pulled across the room (step three), making him fall forward into a pile of pillows that they put in the middle of the room (step four),
that has a big horn in it making a loud noise (step five), that tells Andrea to untie the rope holding the chandelier (step six), that then falls on the Werewolf, trapping him (step seven). See, even though Andrea and Clutch could have had up to eleven steps, they couldn’t come up with more than seven, giving them a Trap with a Rating of 7.
If your trap succeeds, it's time to call the police and see just who's really behind all this. If your trap doesn't work, you'll just have to use a completely different trap - the monster won't fall for the same trick twice. Now, for Optional Rules!
Kid Points : At the start of the game, the GM rolls 2d6 - the result determines how many Kid Points you'll have (I think you have to do this at the start of every session, the game isn't clear on this). You can add Kid Points onto a roll, with one Kid Point per actual point. However, you can't use them for your own rolls, and you can't even hint that you want another player to give you Kid Points. The idea is that everyone is paying attention to what everyone else is doing and working together. Of course, you have to actually tell the GM you're using a Kid Point - when they're gone, they're gone.
Chase Scenes : When players see a monster, make them roll for their Smarts (lower the TN the more they see it). If they flub the roll, the chase is on! Now players can use their Abilities (we will be getting to them, I promise) to outsmart the monster; think of all the times Shaggy and Scooby gave the monster a facial or something similar. The player trying to do this rolls to beat the TN of 10 + the monster's Smarts. If they succeed, then they get away scot-free!
Then the book goes into some things to bear in mind:
Don't interrupt, or argue over rules!
Ask questions about what your character sees/hears/smells/tastes!
If you're unsure of your surrounding, politely ask your GM to draw you a map!
Put on a silly voice when talking in-character!
This is just cute.
Experience points goes from 1-4 points, with 1 being "You sort of helped" and 4 being "Wow, I didn't see that one coming!", and the number given is for every player - nobody has to play catch-up. Abilities cost the same levelling up as they do in chargen, except you can hoard them for the good stuff now, but upgrading Stats costs more; 5 times the current Stat level (so getting from 4 Heart to 5 costs 20, and going from 5 to 6 costs 25). Wild Cards get half the experience points The Clique got, rounded up.
Next time: The Dragon's Eye!
In the meantime, would anybody like to think of a trap to catch Ziagnork the alien? His Strength is 3 and his Health is 5, meaning the TN for his trap is 8.
The Dragon's Eye, or The Origin of Cap'n BingoOriginal SA post
I like your style, Green Intern! Anywho, I might as well carry on...
Part Four: The Dragon's Eye, or The Origin of Cap'n Bingo
Pretty much every corebook has a sample adventure, and Meddling Kids is no exception. It mentions that there are character sheets available on their website, but you should ask permission before going online (if that doesn't date this book, I don't know what does – do kids even ask permission for stuff like that these days?). It also mentions that people who've already played RPGs will know not to read a sample adventure if they're not running the game, because metagaming is for buttfaces. That said, if the GM is going to make his own setting and adventures, then go right ahead. It then lists everything you'll need; dice, notebooks, character sheets, etc.
Before the session begins, the GM must write the word "HOPE" on a small piece of paper and fold it up twice.
The adventure takes place in Port Juliet, a quaint (if kinda touristy) little town along the coast of Rhode Island, surrounded by islands and inlets. Its main attractions are the lighthouse on the far side of town, and the statue of the town's founder Juliet... at least, that's what the local legend says.
To be more precise, the adventure mostly takes place at Port Juliet Museum, where the Clique are going for a field trip (they're all sophomores at Patrick Henry High, the local high school, so they know most of the locals already). The GM is supposed to read some flavour text:
Meddling Kids posted:
“The Port Juliet museum is a small, one-story building, built with a red brick exterior and tall columns. A real iron anchor is mounted in the middle of the walkway on a sturdy pedestal in front of the building. A great bronze seal of Rhode Island, which is an anchor with the word “Hope” floating above it on a banner, is above the grand entrance.”
Hey, we're learning stuff about Rhode Island! When the Clique go inside, more flavour text abounds:
Meddling Kids posted:
“The museum’s atrium is well-lit from the three skylights above. To your left is a permanent display of the pre-history of Port Juliet,
with a closed cabinet filled with ancient Indian artifacts. To your right is a display of the history of Port Juliet, with a painting of
Juliet and a closed-cabinet display of some of her personal items (diary, lace handkerchief, flintlock pistol), plus some old photos and
other historical items. In front of you is the entrance to the main exhibit hall. On either side are the ticket booths, and on the
outside of the ticket booths are two doors with signs that read ‘Employees Only.’ ”
Wait, I thought Rachel was just some local fakelore or something? After all the the GM shows the players the map of the museum (which I'm not posting because it's not that interesting) noting where all the olde-timey stuff is with a pencil. The Clique are allowed to go where they want (their teacher Mr. Kepner is a pretty cool guy, so he's giving them an hour before they all have to meet up at the entrance) but they've already seen all this stuff a bazillion times, so it's total snoresville. Good job there's a new diamond exhibit in the main exhibition hall!
The Clique won't be allowed into the new exhibit without a stamped ticket (there's a guard outside the door, making sure nobody sneaks in) but they can get one from the ticket booth. The booth is staffed by Holly Bennett, the museum intern who's fresh out of college, who'll stamp all their tickets. She'll be cheery at first, but her boss Professor Dorchester (who she refers to "Professor Dorkster") is around, so she can't slack off and talk to kids. After explaining this to the Clique, she will then ignore them and concentrate on paperwork. Rude! Hey, who wants some more flavour text?
Meddling Kids posted:
“Once you have your ticket stamped, the guard will let you into the main exhibit hall. As you step in, you are momentarily blinded by bright, dazzling light. As your eyes adjust, you notice that around the room are ten big, glittering diamonds that have a spotlight aimed directly on them. Each has a plaque next to it explaining its history. Also, a few interactive kiosks are interspersed between the diamonds; they show the different uses of diamonds, how diamonds are mined, and other interesting things about gemstones. In the center of the room in a glass case is a huge, pale pink diamond resting on red velvet. Two armed guards stand on either side of the diamond, and a plaque is attached to the front of the case. This is the Dragon’s Eye Diamond.”
According to the plaque, The Dragon's Eye was recovered from an old wreck just off the coast by divers, who donated it to the Museum. Experts say it was probably owned by the King of Korea, who had kept it safe in the Temple of Yong Wang, Dragon King of the Seas, until pirates stole it. The other parts of the exhibit aren't covered in the book, and it's suggested that the GM just make something up, or do some research on diamonds.
Some art to break up the walls of text.
Already in the exhibit hall are Mr. Kepner, who is talking to Professor Dorchester, who they all know already, and a woman they've never seen before. If somebody goes up to Mr. Kepner, he'll introduce the lady as Nora Cochran, the Touring Exhibits Specialist to the MegaCity Museum. All the players will then have to roll Smarts; if anyone gets over 14, they'll notice Nora's badge doesn't have the official MegaCity Museum seal on it. If they point that out to her, then she'll immediately go look for it - it must've fallen off somewhere!
If they stick around and haven't asked the question already, Mr. Kepner asks Dorchester if a diamond this valuable is safe in such a small building. Dorchester laughs, saying he's had high-tech security installed, and only he knows how to work it. If a player beats a TN 17 on a Smarts roll, they can overhear him whispering to Kepner that only he knows when it switches itself on every night, patting his jacket.
Wanna take a closer look at The Dragon's Eye? You get surprised by Crazy Walt, the weird janitor! Fortunately for you, you know Walt well, so you're almost inured to him sneaking up on you. Almost. He'll start ramblng on about how the diamond has a curse put on it by one of the temple priests - "May your life never be the same". That's why the divers gave it to the museum. If you question him further, he'll mutter something about "nosy kids" and slope off. Yeah, Walt's an asshole. He's also Holly's uncle. He's worked at the museum for 20 years and knows more about the museum and its contents than anyone else, and was offered directorship of the museum... but he prefers "informing" visitors in his own inimitable style. Holly wishes he'd accepted; suffice to say, she's kinda peeved about the whole situation.
If some PCs want to have a look round and make a TN 15 Smarts roll, they'll spot a shady guy talking into his shoulder. If they want to eavesdrop, they have to make a TN 22 Moves roll to sneak up on him, then another TN 15 Smarts roll to not get caught. If they make it, they'll hear him mutter in a French accent "Yes, yes, everything is going as planned. Meet me in the back at 10:30 tonight". It's then that he spots them, mutters something about "nosy children" and stalks off like he just smelt an ungodly fart. If you try and tell an adult about this, then they'll laugh it off and tell you that you have an overactive imagination.
(l-r) Dorchester, Cochran and shady French guy
Remember that note I mentioned earlier? The Clique have to roll Smarts, and whoever gets the highest roll "finds" the note in-game. They then decide whether or not they show the note to the other players. Whether they do or they don't, the field trip is over and everybody has to get back on the bus - Mr. Kepner's going to take everyone for lunch at Super Clucker's!
The scene then shifts to early evening, at Gigi's, the pizza place just opposite the museum where the Clique go to hang out every Friday night. Joining them for the evening is Bingo, an old ex-lab chimp whom Andrea (the pre-genned Brain found at the back of the book) rescued from her parents, who work as animal behaviourists. He's stronger than he looks, but he's very gentle and pretty smart; he knows a few words of ASL (No, the other kind ). He's there because Andrea's parents told her that she has to take Bingo with her when she goes out with her friends. If Andrea isn't being played, then a PC is taking care of Bingo as a favour to Andrea.
The Clique has to make a TN 19 Smarts roll. If they make it, they see the suspicious French guy sneaking round to behind the museum. If they try to tell anybody, even the police, the grownups will laugh it off and tell you that you have an overactive imagination. Any PC with the Nosey Ability will want to investigate, no roll needed.
Whether they go to the front or back doors, every door will be open and the keypad next to the door will have a red LED readout saying "Auto Activate at 10:00 cancelled" and there's a green light on the keypad lit up. Inside, the museum is dark, but not impenetrably so, and there doesn't appear to be anybody around. If everybody decides to sneak in, then the entire Clique has to make a TN 21 Moves roll to not tread on a squeaky floorboard. If somebody doesn't make it, then the entire building becomes quiet and a huge white dragon with an orange crest bursts out of the main exhibit hall and yells "Who dares approach Yong Wang, the Dragon King of the Seas?”. If they do make the roll, then they manage to sneak into the main exhibit hall and interrupt Yong Wang, who turns around and asks them the same question as if they'd flubbed the roll.
This art was at the very start of the adventure, but I really needed to break up the text.
Everybody now has to roll TN 28 Smarts to avoid fleeing in terror. If they don't, then it's time for a Chase Scene! When that's over, the Clique and Yong Wang are all trapped inside the museum. The Clique now have to set a trap for Yong Wang. If it works, then the dragon will laugh, gesticulate wildly and say:
Yong Wang posted:
“Foolish little humans! I am the Dragon King of the Seas, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll leave now, before I have you for dinner! I am here to get what is rightfully mine - The Dragon’s Eye Diamond. It was stolen from me, and now I shall take it back!”
Everybody now has to roll Smarts and beat TN 24 - if they manage it, they'll notice that as Yong Wang is waving his arms around, there's a small hole under his armpit, like when a rip in a t-shirt...
Whether the trap worked or not, Bingo will now launch himself at Yong Wang, knocking the dragon into the displays. This makes the diamond roll onto the floor, distracting Bingo. When he picks it up, The Dragon's Eye will glow red and give off a big flare of light. When the light fades away, Bingo will be dressed like a 17th century pirate, and will also ask the Clique "What be ye starin' at?". As for "Yong Wang", it's very obvious that the "dragon" is just somebody in an elaborate costume. The head's still jammed on, though, so nobody can tell who it really is.
Just then, the doors open...
Next time: The conclusion of The Dragon's Eye, and we finally get to Abilities! In the meantime, who do you think Yong Wang really is? Also, pitch ideas for Wild Cards, and I'll have a go at making them in future posts.
Conclusion to The Dragon's Eye, and AbilitiesOriginal SA post
Part Five: Conclusion to The Dragon's Eye, and Abilities
... and in rushes the police, along with a worried Professor Dorchester and the shady French guy, who warns the police not to arrest the Clique. Instead, they cuff Yong Wang, who is revealed to be none other than Nora Cochran... or rather, international jewel theif Georgianna Fortuna! Her dragon costume is made of white silk, orange feathers and glow sticks, and the big booming voice was thanks to her jacking into the p/a system with a special microphone.
Professor Cochran is pretty embarassed at having been taken in by such a world-renowned criminal, not to mention having his pocket picked and getting his note stolen (the word "HOPE" on the note refers to the security passcode; 4673, the numbers which the letters H-O-P-E correspond to on a standard keypad. If a PC returns the note, that PC will receive one extra experience point for being so honest).
The shady French guy is in fact Detective Joseph Vendredi of Interpol. He apologises to the kids for being so rude, but he was simply trying to catch Fortuna in the act she hates the Association of Gemologists (she was their Director, but was fired for being greedy) and a valuable diamond with hints of having an extraordinary history was too much to resist. Just then, Bingo walks up to Georgianna and gives her what for:
Cap'n Bingo posted:
Missy, ye aint no dragon, an ye certainly aint no pirate! Yer a common, thievin wench, an iffn ye were on my ship, Id make ye walk the plank!
Vendredi sees a cute chimp poking Fortuna on the nose, and will joke about her stealing Bingo's banana. If any of the Clique points out that Bingo's wearing a pirate outfit and can talk , both Dorchester and Vendredi will tell you that you have an overactive imagination. Georgianna is the only grown-up who sees Bingo for who he truly is, as she was also present when The Dragon's Eye worked its magic. However, she's not saying anything because holy shit a talking chimp dressed up like a pirate what the hell .
When Georgianna's been taken away, the Clique can ask Bingo any questions they want. He's been possessed by the last owner of The Dragon's Eye; a privateer from the American Revolutionary Navy, who was captain of Juliet the Beautiful (named after a woman who he had a major crush on... but didn't even know who he was) until the ship crashed off the coast of Massachusetts - now Rhode Island - and that's all he remembers. As he can't even remember his name, he suggests on henceforth being called Cap'n Bingo.
Meddling Kids posted:
Now, after such a harrowing adventure, Capn Bingo suggests that they go out to find a tavern where he can get a big banana split!
The book concludes the adventure with a brief section explaining that the adventure doesn't have to end there. After all, real life involves new adventures and seeing new places, so why shouldn't the game?
Alright, now we can get to Abilities . I'd have skipped ahead to them earlier, but I wanted to point out the only real flaw of Meddling Kids - the downright weird layout that makes you flip back and forth for no reason. It's bad enough with a rulebook like Savage Worlds', but this isn't even 100 pages long!
Animal Friend 3 points, Sma+2 : You can befriend any animal, even the meanest junkyard dog or the wildest coyote.
Best Friend 6 points (Sidekick gets it for free), Hea+1d6 : Anybody you meet will like you.
Bookworm 7 points (Brain gets it for free), Sma+1d6 : You can remember something you read a while back, or you happen to find that one vital clue when doing research in the library. This doesn't apply when you Google something.
Bottomless Stomach 1 point, Hea+1 : Name says it all - you can stuff your face and not get ill.
Bug-Free 2 points, Hea+4 : Sadly, this doesn't allow you to produce an anti-insect forcefield - it just means you don't catch that cold that's been going round.
Clown 5 points (Goof gets it for free), Hea+2 : You're so funny, you can even make monsters laugh.
Computer Guru 8 points, Sma+4 : You're as good with computers as everyone's parents assume thir child is.
Connected 1 point, Sma+2 : You can always find out information from somebody. That doesn't necessarily mean it's true, though.
Diplomat 3 points, Sma+3 : You can stop people bickering over pointless shit.
Disguise 4 points, Hea+4 : You can resemble somebody visually - clothes and face.
⤷ Actor 8 points, Hea+1d6 : It's not just looks, now you can imitate somebody's voice and mannerisms.
Dodge 5 points, Mov+1d6 : You can dodge stuff whe it's thrown at you.
Double-Jointed 5 points, Mov+3 : Again, clue's in the name.
Drive 6 points, Mov+4 : You can drive anything from a semi truck to a forklift.
Fast Talk 8 points, Hea+1d6 : You become the Micro Machines guy and make everyone go
Fearless 6 points, Sma+1d6 : If you're feeling scared, then this Ability will let you shake it off and carry on.
Flirt 2 points (Fluff gets it for free), hea+1 : You can get the attention of somebody who's the opposite gender.
⤷ Ultra Cute 6 points, Hea+4 : Pour on the charm, and you can get somebody of the opposite gender to do whatever you ask of them.
⤷ Total Hottie 11 points, Hea+1d6 : Pour on even more charm, and you can make your intended target forget what they were doing, or just stop entirely. And yes, I know this Ability subset is kinda weird, but given that this game is aimed at children, it's pretty innocuous.
Geek 4 points, Sma+2 : Sort of like Bookworm , only with specifics fandoms and fiction genres.
Good Eats 2 points, Sma+3 : You can cook well.
Gross-Out 1 point, Hea+1 : You can make somebody grossed out just by doing something.. well, gross.
Hard-Headed 5 points, no roll required : When you're Bonked, half the time you'd normally be Bonked.
Hip 3 points, Sma+2 : You're always up-to-date with the newest trends.
Immovable 5 points, Hea+3 : NOTHING MOVES THE BLOB! No, really, you can't get knocked down if somebody charges at you.
Intimidate 7 points, Str+3 : Roll high enough, and even a monster will think twice about messing with you.
Intuition 8 points, Sma+1d6 : This pretty much gives you Spidey-Sense.
Leadership 5 points, Hea+3 : You can inspire other people to follow your lead.
Level-headed 3 points (cannot be taken by The Temper), Hea+3 : You never go
Lucky 15 points, +1d6 to the stat of your choice : Botched a roll? You can reroll and add 1d6, even if you had other d6's, thanks to other Abilities. Just one catch you can only do this once per session, so tough shit if you rolled bad again.
Magician 2 points, Mov+2 : You can do little sleight-of-hand tricks. I guess it'd be useful for palming clues without grown-ups noticing.
Mechanic 6 points, Sma+6 : You can fix up or build any gadget or doohickey.
⤷ Jury-Rig 8 points, +1d6 to your Trap Roll : You can cobble together something that could be part of a Trap.
Monster Mind 6 points, Sma+3 : No, it doesn't make you the bad guy in Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors it just means you're familiar enough with a monster's habits that you know what it'll do next.
Musician 4 points, Sma+1d6 : You can play any instrument you like.
Nature Buff 3 points, Sma+3 : Like Bookworm , but for flora and fauna.
Nimble 3 points, Mov+2 : If somebody's trying to bull rush you, you can get out of the way.
Nosey 2 points, Sma+2 : It's basically a Will save to see if you actually want to continue with the investigation. I have no idea why this would be in an investigation-based RPG.
Outdoorsman 4 points, Sma+3 : You're good at camping.
Pack Rat 5 spoints, Sma+1 : You can bring out any object you like out of your purse/handbag... provided it's small enough to fit in there no Mary Poppins shenanigans for PCs.
Perfect 1 point, Hea+2 : You never get your clothes dirty, even if you step in a muddy puddle.
Popular 8 points, Hea+2 : Everybody in town and your school likes you, and may give you a lead on account of you being so great.
⤷ Famous 13 points, Hea+5 : You're a national star (athlete, pop star, etc.) and you get recognised in the street.
Rich 7 points, Hea+3 : You can buy that cool new bike
⤷ Really Rich 10 points, Hea+6 : You can buy that cool new electric moped.
⤷ Rich Beyond Belief 14 points, no roll needed : You can buy anything... or any one .
Singer 4 points, Hea+1d6 : Ablilities That Pretty Much Explain Themselves In The Name - 3
Slam 3 points, Sma+1 : You always have a snappy reply to anybody being a jerk to you.
⤷ Super-Slam 7 points, Sma+3 : Your reply is so snappy, it makes the would-be jerk shut their stupid mouth.
Sleuth 4 points, Sma+3 : Ablilities That Pretty Much Explain Themselves In The Name - 4
Sneak 4 points, Mov+3 : Ablilities That Pretty Much Explain Themselves In The Name - 5
Sprint 4 points, Mov+4 : Ablilities That Pretty Much Explain Themselves In The Name - 6
Sporty 4 points (Jock gets it for free), Str+3 : You can be an all-round sportsperson.
⤷ Super-Sporty 1 point, Str+6 : This gives you a specific skill, like riding a horse or swimming in rough water. And yes, I'm pretty sure the point cost for this skill is a typo.
Stir The Pot 6 points (Temper gets it for free), Sma+3 : If you think one person is misleading somebody else, then you can make the second person believe that.
Steel Memory 3 points, Sma+3 : if this was called Photographic Memory, my ATPMETITN counter would be at 7.
Strong-Willed 7 points, Hea+5 : It's pretty much a Will save to see if you cave in to a bully. If you pass, you can either laugh it off or act like you don't know what they meant.
Suspicion 6 points, Sma+4 : It's pretty much this system's answer to Sense Motive.
The Whiz 4 points, Sma+3 : You know in D&D you could put "Knowledge (____)"? Well, this is pretty much the same thing, only for school subjects.
⤷ Mega Whiz 9 points, Sma+1d6 : You're so good at this subject, you're in an Honors Program.
Wallflower 2 points, Hea+2 : You can slip into your surroundings unnoticed the bigger the crowd, the better.
Webworm 7 points, Sma+1d6 : Like Bookworm , only for online searches.
Weirdness Magnet 3 points, no roll needed : ATPMETITN 7. The book suggests somebody with this Ability would make good bait for your Trap.
Winning Smile 1 point, Hea+1 : When you smile, you put somebody at ease. I'm pretty sure this is the crappiest Ability.
Xtreme Sporty 5 points, Mov+3 : You're great at using a skateboard, BMX bike or snow/surfboard.
Well, that's all the PC Abilities done. Let's move onto Wild Card Abilities!
Bag O' Tricks 4 points, Mov+4 : Remember how Captain Caveman could pull anything he wanted out of his hair? Well, it's sort of like that, only the Wild Card can pull items out of anything you want. Of course, if you don't meet the TN, then you just pull something useless out.
Brawler 7 points, Str+6 : ATPMETITN - 8. It does mention that you can literally fight tooth and claw, if you want to.
⤷ Martial Artist 9 points, Str/Mov(whichever's highest)+8 : ATPMETITN - 9. This only counts for one particular school of martial arts.
Call To All 2 points, Hea+2 : This pretty much lets you go "To me, my X-Men!".
Fade 5 points, Hea+3 : You can slowly disappear from sight.
Fish Out Of Water 5 points, Hea+1d6 : You can adapt to any situation, even if you're, say, a mermaid on dry land.
Fly 4 points, Mov+3 : ATPMETITN - 10. You do need a special object to fly, like a magic carpet or a jet pack.
Ken 2 poins, no roll needed : The Clique can understand you... but nobody else can.
Mechanized 16 points, Str/Sma/Hea+1d6 : The extra dice is added to any of the stats... although the book doesn't say if you can swap it around. It also states you can be a robot or a cyborg!
Melee 7 points, Str+6 : You gain proficiency with a certain type of weapon i.e. swords or knives. You have to buy this several times for each weapon type.
Perfect Direction 3 points, Sma+3 : You never get lost
Skit 6 points, Sma+5 : You remember those chase scenes where Scooby and Shaggy would pretend to be barbers and give the moster a haircut? Well, this Ability lets you do that... but you have to say what the Skit is.
Speak 2 points, no roll needed : Everyone can understand you. Not sure why this has the same cost as Ken , but whatever.
Spectre 16 points, no roll needed : You're a ghost, able to detect and converse with your fellow spirits. You also get Super Fly, Transform and Fade for free.
Strong 5 points, Str+4 : You can lift your own weight.
⤷ Super Strong 9 points, Str+8 : You can lift more than twice your own weight.
Super Fast 8 points, Mov+7 : You can move quicker than the human eye.
⤷ Exit Stage Left 9 points, Mov+10 : You can grab a PC and hightail it out of there before anybody can figure out what just happened.
Super Fly 8 points, Mov+5 : You can fly by yourself.
Telekinetic 8 points, Sma/Str+7 (add to whatever's highest) : ATPMETITN - 11.
Telepathy 6 points, Sma+6 : ATPMETITN - 12. The only catch is you can only be telepathic with one character you pick at the start.
Transform Object 8 points, Sma+4 : You can turn something into anything else, as long as it's the same size.
Transform Self 8 points, Mov+6 : You can turn yourself into anything else, as long as it's the same size.
Wild Whiz 6 points, Sma+6 : Like Whiz , only you can pick any subject you like. I'm not even sure why this exists, when Geek is already an ability.
And that's all the Abilities; sorry for the lack of art, but there wasn't much and I didn't want to make this post even longer. I'll finish things up tomorrow with the statblocks for all the sample PCs and an overview of my thoughts on the game and what could've happened with it. In the meantime, why not throw a few idea for Wild Cards at me, and I'll see if I can make them!
Sample PCs, Wild Card chargen and summing upOriginal SA post
Part Six: Sample PCs, Wild Card chargen and summing up
Remember those kids way back in Part 1? Well, I said I'd go into them a little more deeply, so here we go!
Weldon "Clutch" Sellers, Jock
Abilities: Sporty, Immovable, Nosey, Fearless, Outdoorsman, Intuition, Bottomless Stomach
Clutch is the school football team's nose tackle, and a Nature Scout (the uniform's always too small for him). His parents are loving (even if they did name him Weldon); his mother's a housewife and his dad is a college football hero turned used-car dealer. He rescued Andrea (more on her in a bit) from bullies back in 6th grade, and he still crushes on her pretty hard. He's a pretty easy-going guy, especially to people Andrea is friends with, but don't make him angry. You won't like him when he's angry.
Andrea Davis, Brain
Abilities: Bookworm, Dodge, Leadership, Steel Memory, Wallflower, Whiz - Math, Whiz -Science, Level-Headed
Andrea's your typical shy nerd; her parents love her, but they're usually too focused on their work (researchers for AmeriGen Labs) so Cap'n Bingo is usually her only companion. She was picked on a lot before Clutch scared the little shits away, but she socialises well in her own little circles - Math Club, Science Club, the school library - and she's willing to help people with their homework (usually Clutch, that's only because Smarts is his dump stat). Sadly, she seems to be oblivious to Clutch's true feelings towards her, crushing hard on...
Brian "Thrasher" Carson, Goof
I'm not a violent man, but I want to smack this kid in the face.
Abilities: Clown, Bottomless Stomach, Computer Guru, Gross Out, Mechanic, Weirdness Magnet, Xtreme Sporty
Thrasher's not as douchey as he looks - he's a pretty chill guy who cares a lot about the environment and loves skating, figuring out how stuff works (his mother really wishes he'd stop taking the kitchen appliances apart) and video games. Speaking of his mother, she's the only parent in his life - he doesn't know who his dad is, and his mother works day shifts at Super Clucker's and goes to night school to get a hair stylist's license. He goes to Science Club (but thinks everyone except Andrea is an uptight lamewad) and loves Drama Club... when he remembers to show up. He's trying to turn Cap'n Bingo into the next Captain Dan which Cap'n Bingo finds... interesting, to say the least. Oh, and he's always hungry. Always.
Roshandra Ngyen, Fluff
Abilities: Flirt, Fast-Talker, Hip, Singer, Rich, Perfect, Nimble
Roshandra's kind of a brat - she's head of the Drama Club, is the school paper's Fashion Editor and has several boys fawning over her at any one time. However, it's all for show; her parents (Dad's an investment broker for a Korean bank and Mom's a civil rights activist trying to get into politics) are never around so they shower her with money and gifts, which makes her very envious of Clutch's family. She just wants to be liked - not that she'd ever admit it - and always wants to give everyone a makeover (except Cap'n Bingo - she digs the pirate look).
Siddhartha "Sid" Johnson, Innocent
Abilities: Strong-Willed, Best Friend, Bug-Free, Double-Jointed, Good Eats, Nature Buff, Musician - Strings, Weirdness Magnet
His family (Dad and Grandma) moved to Rhode Island from San Fran to open a health food store called It's All Good; Sid's a vegan, but he's not a dick about it because hey, it's a free country. Sid loves Mother Nature so much he's started a school recycling program, and he's always trying to get Roshandra and Thrasher to start a band. Grown-ups tend to think he's a moron, but his friends know better and usually ask his advice on any problems they've got.
Daniel "Spike" Spikelson, Temper
Abilities: Stir The Pot, Slam, Drive, Geek, Intimidate, Monster Mind
Like Thrasher, Spike isn't as douchey as you'd think; he just doesn't suffer fools gladly, and will prank them in order to teach them a lesson. Thrasher is Spike's best friend in The Clique (he lets Thrasher monkey around with his car) but he likes them all and will stick up for them no matter what... usually in a way that could lead to a ruckus. This attitude of his leads to some of The Clique getting annoyed with him (Cap'n Bingo loves his shirt, for obvious reasons). He's got a job at the local punk boutique (yes, really) and he keeps Roshandra up to date on the latest fashions, because he's got a crush on her.
Jeff Younger, Sidekick
Abilities: Best Friend, Animal Friend, Level-Headed, Lucky, Wallflower, Winning Smile, Magician
Even the book admits Jeff is pretty boring, but that's mostly because he wants everyone to get along. He and Clutch are second cousins (Jeff's mom is Clutch's dad's secretary). He hikes, reads mystery novels, watches David Blaine and collects... coins. The book was right - he is boring.
Okay, let's get onto something more interesting - statting up Wild Cards!
An super-smart Archaeopteryx that someone created out of amber-extracted DNA as a fad pet - it can talk like a parrot and likes tricking people.
Archie T. Ryx
Abilities: Call To All, Speak, Skit, Super Fly, Nosey, Nimble
Quirk: Loves pulling pranks.
A Harlem Globetrotter but for Euro-Football instead of Basketball.
Lian S. Mann
Abilities: Clown, Skit, Nimble, Sporty, Speak
Quirk: Must play keepy uppy with anything round.
A very special guest appearance from Mister Guy Fieri.
Abilities: Bottomless Stomach, Good Eats, Speak, Famous, Geek - Cookery
Quirk: Brings an element of rowdy, mass-market culture to American food television.
A super-spy and master of disguise who doesn't actually accompany the players but is always hiding somewhere nearby when they need help.
Abilities: Connected, Actor, Sleuth, Sneak, Speak
Quirk: Never seen in full.
Your older cousin Tim who's kind of a gruff jerk to the others and makes extra pocket money selling home-made cherry bombs and firecrackers but when push comes to shove he'll stand up for you and your buddies. He likes to pretend he doesn't believe in ghosts because it's dumb kid stuff, but he scares easily. He also drives you guys around because you're not old enough to drive yet.
Abilities: Drive, Sprint, Stong-Willed, Speak, Steel Memory
Quirk: Kind of a douchebag.
10 ducks operating a trenchcoat in tandem to look convincingly like a guy.
Abilities: Actor, Nature Buff, Super Fast
Quirk: Voice sounds a lot like... quacking.
A perfectly normal father of one of your friends who certainly isn't an octopus at all.
Abilities: Ken, Actor, Mechanic, Magician
Quirk: Walks funny.
Vincent fucking Price.
Vincent Leonard Price, Jr
Abilities: Speak, Actor, Good Eats, Singer, Bottomless Stomach
Quirk: Creepy laugh.
The fusion of Vincent Price and Don Knotts after a freak teleporter accident.
Abilities: Speak, Actor, Good Eats, Singer, Bottomless Stomach
Quirk: Godless abomination.
A talking car, no wait, a talking shark, agh, shit. A goofy American Revolution-era ghost! Damn it!
Abilities: Speak, Strong, Mechanized
Quirk: Weird speech impediment.
Abilities: Musician - Percussion, Exit Stage Left, Speak
Quirk: Has a thing for bratty tambourine players way outside his league/species.
Jonathan Wellington "Mudsy" Muddlemore
Abilities: Spectre, Speak, Super Fast
Quirk: Talks like Snagglepuss.
As you can see, choosing some specific Abilities can really take a chunk out of your starting Character Points, especially if you're following a particular concept. It doesn't help that Wild Cards have to buy regular PC Abilities at a point higher than a PC, with an extra +1 to the roll to balance things out.
Well, that's Meddling Kids . It certainly isn't a bad game, just a badly-edited one (the editor is Brett Brooks, husband of Allyson Brooks... the writer of Meddling Kids ) and it has a lot of fun ideas. Sadly, this was the only book in the series; I believe two supplements were planned, but something happened to make the idea no more than that.
All I've got left to say for this post is this: keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.