Saturday, November 30, 2019

Rules option #1: The Masters of the Universe RPG

I'm keeping my eyes and mind open for rulesets that can serve as a core for Project 5.5, my take on gaming with ridiculously buff action figures in the style of the old Masters of the Universe line.  These will likely be dedicated miniatures or RPG rules (or both), and as I mentioned last time, I have a few key elements I'm looking for...with ease of play and use of D6s for resolution probably being the most important.  At the moment, anyway.  I could honestly see myself altering the goals if I hit upon just the right set of rules.

So...with all of that in mind, I figured I should begin my quest by going straight to the source: FASA's Masters of the Universe Role Playing Game from 1985.

From BoardGameGeek.

I now know from reading up on this game a bit (primarily this review) that a common reaction, upon learning that it actually exists (and especially once one realizes that it was made by FASA, of Star Trek RPG and Battletech fame), is to assume that it's a must-have piece of gaming history.  And I'll admit...even after reading about how terrible it is (such as in the review linked above), there's a part of me that thinks this would be a holy grail of sorts for my small RPG collection.  But...well, it apparently really is terrible as a game...not even a true RPG (to the extent that it has a page on BoardGameGeek), and pretty much impossible to play as presented, even as a board game.

It sure LOOKS like it'd be awesome, though.  Plus, I'm mostly interested in how I might tweak it to work as a minis game.  Here's the character card layout:

Also from BoardGameGeek.

Those skills...which include combat ratings...are apparently resolved with a D6 roll (and certainly pass an eye test for being on that scale).  So, check on that.  And the double-digit values for Strength, Agility, etc. at the top of the card look to be based upon some sort of 2D6 roll, probably a roll-under resolution.  (I don't know that those numbers even get used in the game as written...)

The Life Force and Magic Points look like they could be fiddly in the sort of game I'm trying to make, but overall, this looks like a definite contender.  I think it'd be pretty fun to take the bare-bones rules presented here and attach enough chrome to make it playable as a miniatures game.

More options to come soon...!

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