Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Two Birds, One Stone

On Good Friday I stepped into the breach to run a filler game whilst our regular DM was absent, and I used the opportunity to complete two firsts. One was to run a game of TOON RPG, which I enjoyed playing for the first time a few months back, at Dragonmeet 2011 and the other was to attempt to GM my first session using an iPad.

TOON

Having only played TOON was no real barrier to GMing, but I did kind of struggle with writing the scenario until I found THE TOON ADVENTURE GENERATOR in my copy of TOON SILLY STUFF.  Clearly, I was overthinking this whole thing and as I recalled the game I played, the players pretty much drove the whole plot with their character choices and actions.  With this in mind I just came up with the plot synopsis:

Save The Cows Save The World
The PCs are all farmyard animals who have to save the cows on their farm from being rustled by an invading Martian with a penchant for strawberry milk shakes.


I grabbed an image of a farmyard from googleimages and drew a rough map in inkscape to give the players an idea of what was on the farm.  This then gave me enough to start fleshing out some of the zones to give the players enough ammunition (literally) to see off the bad guys.  This was then converted into a PDF and loaded onto the ipad.  A quick search of the interweb rustled up MP3s of the opening and closing credits for Looney Tunes which would help get my players into the mood.  I also stumbled on a great site with some free sound effects (http://www.freesfx.co.uk/) which I hoped to use during play and these were installed in the usual way via iTunes.

Using the iPAD

I've been trialling a few RPG apps on the iPad (which I'll cover in another post), but the most useful ability is to read and annotate PDFs and after a few false starts I found eDocReader Multiple PDF.  As the name suggests this app allows you to open multiple PDFs at the same time as tabs in the same application, allowing you to have a copy of the rules open as well as your scenario.  The simple annotation tools enable you to make notes directly onto your scenario by either typing or writing with a finger or stylus.

The Experience

The game ran very smoothly which was surprising as all my players were TOON newbies, but from the opening credits to the "that's all folks" they let their imaginations run riot.  The PCs were a duck billed platypus in search of a mate, a dumb but incredibly fast guard dog whose kennel sat atop a subterranean hi-tech lair, a machinating pig who had been ordering ACME products for years and last but not least a bull whose sole mission was to impress the 5 dairy cows with his muscle poses.

All the classic cartoon capers occurred; the pig dressed up as a female Martian to woo the bad guy into eating strawberry looking grenades, the bull became enraged by anything red and broke open the yellow barn to reveal an Indiana Jones style warehouse full of ACME crates, the platypus dropped a gigantic fake bomb on the pond squishing the piranha and the dog and his Martian double ended up having one of those cloud fist fights.

However, the playback of MP3s in the Music app was troublesome, particularly having to stop the iPad from playing the entire playlist.  There are lots (and I mean lots) of SFX pad apps in the appstore but no free ones that allow you to allocate your own custom sounds to buttons as triggers (please correct me if I'm wrong).  I am also on the hunt for ways of embedding sounds into my scenario PDFs so I can play them back from within the PDF Reader as I read out the relevant description text.

Although this first experience wasn't an unquallified success, the main advantage with the iPad is that you can GM with just an iPad and a few player handouts, so the days of carrying whole libraries of books around with you everytime you want to run a game are definitely over.  My new motto from now on will be "Have iPad... will GM".

You can download the Save The Cows Save The World PDF for free if you want to try running this game yourself.

4 comments:

  1. From what I saw as i was walking back and forth for a smoke, id say you had a great success, made me laugh and I was playing on another table.....

    Stig

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  2. Thanks Stig, I had a lot of fun and it's definitely a game I hope to GM again soon. Also nice to see a Hobbits Holer commenting on the blog, hope you enjoy reading it.

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  4. having been lucky enough to be in a room with a 'toon game and talk to the GM afterwards, he told me his game had less of a plot than yours, but still ran for over 7 hours. Sounds like my kind of game. (Sorry if this double posts, some capcha issues at my end)

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