Thursday, September 2, 2010

Those Meddling Kids!

I wanted to talk some about super heroes this week.  Really I did.
But I got sidetracked by the boxed set of D&D4. And what is it about an RPG in a box? When box sets were in vogue all I wanted were hard cover books.  Boxes of soft cover books were for kids!

Well in that vein I ended up with another "new" (new to me) RPG that honestly I am a little surprised I didn't know about; Meddling Kids.

I guess it was out in 2004, but somehow I missed it in the tsunami of d20 books.  But it is now at DriveThruRPG so I picked up a copy.  The company is still around, but they don't support the product that much.  I am still searching for more information (I'd love a character sheet) but until then I am on my own.

So what is Meddling Kids?  Well it is an introductory RPG for "kids of all ages" but recomended for ages 7 and up.  The writing is very clear and concise and frankly one of the better "intro" games I have seen.  It is designed as an intro game and is listed as "Stage 1 of the Starter System". I don't know if other stages were produced or not, but the feel here is one of "this is your first game so have some fun, and when you are ready we will have more for you".  As with most starter sets there is lot the seasoned (or grizzled in my case) player can ignore, but it was still a very fun, light and fluffy read.
The premise is simple.  You create a teenage mystery-solver who belongs to a clique of other liked minded teens.  Like in the TV show that this is so obviously taken from, different teens of various social standing and family incomes mix together well in a group united by their love of solving a mystery.  Or maybe it's the talking dog. Or dune buggy. Or chimp. Or genie. Or...you get the idea.  If you grew up in the 70s-80s then you know what I mean.

Character creation is simple.  You create a background for your character, then are given points for Stats and  Abilities.  Pretty simple.  Since we are talking about cartoons your Teen is put into an Archetype.  So think Jock, Brain, Fluff, Goof and so on.
The system is a simple one of Stat  plus a roll based on Abilities plus a d6.  Compare to a Target Number or resist the roll of something else.

What sets MK apart though is the use of the "Wild Card" character.  This is a character, usually an animal, that hangs with the clique and is run by the GM.  Not an NPC or even GMPC (though very close).  The Wild Card is the one that helps in the adventure/mystery.  So yeah, think Scooby Doo, or even Jabber Jaw or Captain Caveman.  It is a fairly clever idea really and one of the only games I have read that encourages a GMPC like character.

The book is small, less than 100 pages with pretty clear large fonts, so this is not a hefty tome to learn, it is a simple game that does exactly what it sets out to do and it does it rather well.  It is a great game to teach the little guys how to play using something that both parents and kids will know all about.

There are a lot of comparisons that could be made between this and Cartoon Action hour or even BASH (which has a similar feel to it).  But MK really does it's thing rather well.

So obviously a game using this based around the Hex Girls makes a lot of sense.  Though there is no magic system really, though the Wild Cards have some magic like abilities.  Plus the game is aimed a teen characters, not really young adult.  But fortunately there is a good solution.  I can do a "Season 0" or pre-season, and deal with the adventures the girls had before they discovered their magic.  I would cheat a little and give the girls each one of the magical Wild Card abilities, but under only under special circumstances, say once per "scene" or something like that.  It would be hard to do with a group that has played the Witch Girls Adventures, Unisystem or Cortex versions first though.  It could also be a link in my life-span development chain, put it in between Little Fears but before Witch Girls.  Truthfully it should go after Witch Girls, but in WGA the characters would develop their powers.

So what would be a Intro Season or a Season 0 of Hex Girls be like?
Well lets go with the mythology set up so far.  We know the girls know about magic (from "The Witch's Ghost") and Thorn has some (can read a spell at least).   So.  Let's start at the begging.  They are not big stars yet, they are touring around local clubs and solving mysteries.  These will be of the Scooby-Doo variety; a haunted house, a spooky amusement park, sightings of a ghostly pirate ship.  No overall story arc or main bad guy, but a string of Monster of the Week episodes.  And nor more than 6 total.  After that I think most kids will be ready for other games.

What are the girls like?  Well younger. Let's make them all teens.  Thorn is 18, Luna is 19 and Dusk is 16.  This would be right about the time that Thorn and Luna formed the HG and brought Dusk in as their second drummer (all great bands have had at least two drummers).  So this might even be a bit before TWG.  So much for continuity...I'll say it is right after since that make the next thing make more sense.
Who is our Wild Card?  That is easy.  I am going to rob from myself (and Charmed) and say the Wild Card character is the ghost of Thorn's Great-great-grandmother.  She is here to guide the girls to their magical destiny.  She can only rarely interact with others and only the girls can see her.  So in Meddling Kids terms she has "Ken" with their "clique".
So the game takes place right after The Witches Ghost and was the basis for the Hex Girls song, "Those Meddlin Kids".  Sure. Why not.

Thorn
Archetype: The Fluff  (she is the center of attention)
Strength: 5
Moves: 7
Smarts: 6
Health:  6

Free Ability: Flirt

Intuition (8 pts) Smarts+1d6
Leadership (5 pts) Health+3

Monster Mind (6 pts) Smarts+3
Musician, strings (4 pts) Smarts+1d6
Singer (4 pts) Health+1d6
Weirdness Magnet (3 pts)

Luna
Archetype: The Brain (to cover all her music knowledge)

Strength: 5
Moves: 6
Smarts: 8
Health:  5

Free Ability: Bookworm

Level-Headed (3 pts) Health+3
Musician, string, electronic (8 pts) Smarts+1d6
Popular (8 pts) Health+2
Steel Memory (3 pts) Smarts+3
The Whiz (music) (4 pts) Smarts+3

Dusk
Archetype: The Temper (fits well with the image I have of her)

Strength: 7
Moves: 7
Smarts: 5
Health:  5

Free Ability: Stir the Pot

Fearless (6pts) Smarts+1d6
Intimidate (7 pts) Strength+3
Musician, drums (4 pts) Smarts+1d6
Rich (7 pts) Health+3 (though she keeps this hidden)
Hip (3 pts) Smarts+2

Gram
Archetype: Wild Card (Ghost)

Strength: 4
Moves: 7
Smarts: 9
Health:  4

Quirk - Speaks and acts like she did in the 17th Century.  Has all the girls call her "Gram", she calls them "dearie".  Likes the girls' music, but thinks it is too loud.
Call to All
Ken (2 pts) no roll
Specter (16 pts) no roll
- Fade
- Super Fly
- Transform
Telekinetic (8 pts) Smarts +7

Again, I like these builds. I think they work out nicely for starting characters and players which is exactly the point of "Meddling Kids".  Gram needs to be better defined obviously.

5 comments:

Bruce Hill said...

Funny. Just bought this yesterday to play with my 6 and 7 y.o.

Found the following

site

which contains links to a character sheet and a second adventure.

Narmer said...

I'm going to have to give this a try. My young ones like Scooby and the gang.

Anonymous said...

G'Day Mate Danny Illiwara,

I was wondering if you'd seen this new toyline and website called Monster High? I saw a commercial for it on CN and went to it on a lark. It turns out that Mattel is putting out a new series of dolls starring the daughters of Universal Studios greatest monster stars! Thats right, there's a mummy, wolf girl, zombie, gorgon, vampire (who'd make a cute Thorn doll- she's got red highlights, a pink and red outfit, and fangs!), creature from the black lagoon, and a frankenstein. Only thing I don't see is a witch;-). They're really cute. The tag is "Freaky, just got Fabulous!".

It's highly ironic that monsters that used to scare little girls are now being sold to them. www.monsterhigh.com The website is full of cute little webtoons. That are like a throwback to Beverly Hills Teens.

And guess who their favorite band would be? I smell a crossover!

Here's their little live action music video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGawAhRjtoA

As for Hex Girls: The Pre-Season... Thorn's great-great-great-great-granny that helps them out could be lots of fun. She might have something to say about Lord Salem if she came back for the 2nd season. Also we could meet all the girls parents (we've only met Thorn's Dad so far) and siblings. They may have "The Touch" as well.

You could do some stats for "Crush" and the rest of the Scooby Gang as they are the original Meddlin' Kids.

Tim Brannan said...

Danny,

Yeah I saw this. Kind of funny really. It seems like a trickle down effect from Twilight. It reminds me of the Eerie Cuties web comic, http://www.eeriecuties.com/

Seems like a Hex Girls series would be a big hit!

Anonymous said...

G'day mate Danny Illiwara,

It seems like everyone is on the magical bandwagon- I just read about how Nick is bringing back the Winx Club in 2011! Mattel's got Monster High. Disney should bring back W.I.T.C.H. Warner Brothers should make a Hex Girls show. They have a strong base- with all the Scooby fans. And of course "Music Is Magic" so they'd have the magic and music fans covered. There'd be plenty of opportunities for merchandising too- dolls, CDs, clothes, toys, playsets, card games (kids eat that card game crap up!), etc.

It just seems sometimes that CN goes through cycles of not wanting any shows with female lead characters. It's been a long time since PPG. Disney Channel's cartoons are all boy centric too. It's been a while since KP.

I don't think it'll ever happen. Somebody would have to pitch the idea to CN and I doubt they are even aware of who the characters are or what show they come from.

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