View Full Version : SF / futuristic cartoon series to prep the players

06-14-2012, 04:44 PM
One way to prep players for your chosen style of campaign is to show them episodes from appropriate cartoon series.

There have been so many cartoon series involving SF & scifi, including comedy/satire (Futurama & The Jetsons), pulp adventure (Jonny Quest), planetary romance (Flash Gordon & Planet of the Apes cartoons), dark future (Aeon Flux & Invader Zim), cyberpunk (Batman Beyond & Ghost in the Shell), virtual reality lifeforms (ReBoot), space opera (Captain Havelock & Battle of the Planets), giant robot (Transformers & Voltron), or weird world (Land of the Lost -- live action, I suppose, but too good not to mention!).

One advantage to using episodes from a cartoon series is that they take up maybe 20 minutes of time and they don't belabor the plots as a way to cut costs on SPFX.

So, name one or more cartoons you might use to prep your players, and tell specifically WHY that cartoon would be the one you choose. (Or it might be a specific episode.)

-- thread inspired by (and credit therefore goes to!) celinasinha (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/member.php/19864-celinasinha)'s thread http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php/22952-What-is-your-Favourite-animated-shows

06-15-2012, 07:39 PM
i mine cartoons for ideas. having never gamed in a cartoon game world (other than d&d, technically) it never occurred to me to do that.

06-16-2012, 01:51 AM
it never occurred to me to do that.

It's amazing how effective it is at getting players in the mood, and unlike live action, you don't have to worry about the players' mood prep being waylaid with gossip about all the actors. (Well, most of the time -- although one group did start discussing voice actors.)

06-24-2012, 04:12 PM
yeah, my group would tangent off onto discussion of the merits of all the various cartoons, voice actors, related movie quotes, the merits of playing in game worlds versus borrowing from them, and so forth.

for us, mood is set by an intriguing bit of plot information, a rollicking combat, or a tricky puzzle that they can't quite get.

06-25-2012, 11:08 PM
Well, SF/futuristic cartoons help when the players have all voted to challenge themselves a bit by playing a campaign set in a subgenre they have never gamed before.

For example, a lot of players who enjoy reading scenery-chewing pulp tales of the 1950s and their modern homages may have trouble thinking of those in terms of game play. An adventure or two of the original Jonny Quest (not that loathesome "real adventures" atrocity but the original 1960s series) can help inspire the pulp style.

Visual hand-outs help a player get a sense of what a planet or space looks like, but a cartoon can also provide a sense of how the spaceship moves. The lion Voltron transformation sequence can not really be captured by a series of still pictures, and while it might be interesting to read in a well-written Voltron novel, it would be tedious to hear narrated by a game master. Instead, I can show the players an episode of Voltron, and they all know exactly how it transforms. It can even become a marvelous shtick in the campaign, with the player's team receiving a bonus to initiative and one-time bonus to hit in any battle sequence they begin by reciting the transformation mantra: "I'll form the" . . . "and I'll form the head!"

06-25-2012, 11:52 PM
for pulp adventure inspiration, you cannot get much better than tintin.

gunbuster has some interesting transformation sequences too.

06-26-2012, 06:29 PM
for pulp adventure inspiration, you cannot get much better than tintin

I don't recall there being any decent Tintin cartoons out there (unless you mean that horrible movie?). As it is, this thread is about how cartoons of a usefully brief 15-25 minute length can be used in addition to or instead of either a full film or a reading assignment given to the players, so if you want to discuss using a movie or a book, please begin another thread rather than threadjack this one, please.

If you know of any decent English-language (or subtitled) animated Tintin television series out there, please let me know more. I really enjoyed Hergé's work overall from the moment I found translations into English.

That said, I would advise sticking to Jonny Quest not Tintin if you are game mastering a group of American gamers. From an ethical level, remember that the goal is to inspire your players, not to kidnap them into a lesson about understanding Belgian/European pulp styles! From a more practical level, watching an example of Belgian/European pulp tales has very little to do with prepping for an American pulp tale RPG campaign.