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[HotNW] Stray Thoughts and Unusual Inspirations.

Started by mythusmage, September 09, 2003, 06:41:01 AM

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I must confess, Gareth's Heroes of the New Wave has me jazzed. Just the idea alone is pregnant with such possibilities.

Consider the villains, fell fiends and foul fellows such as Professor Moriarty, or the insidious Fu Manchu. There is even an historical version, the infamous Cardinal Richelieu of 17th century France. A real life Fu Manchu who schemed and plotted, his goal to make France the pre-eminent power in the world. From Alexander Dumas pere to Eric Flint and David Weber (the alternate history novel, 1633) writers have used the Cardinal as villain in numerous stories. Indeed, most villains in this type of story are often thinly disguised versions of Cardinal Richelieu.

On a tangentially related subject, here are three inspirations. Rather than give you a list of stories and books you may be familiar with, I now present three Disney Cartoons.

We start with Duck Tales. Based on the Disney comic of the same name the animated Duck Tales deals with the adventures of Huey, Louie, and Dewey, their Unca Scrooge and the inept pilot Launchpad McQuack. The five have adventures all over the world, hunting down lost treasure, visiting lost worlds, and unwitting, outfoxing, and in various manners getting the best of a variety of evil doers. Late in the series the character of Webby was introduced to serve as a distaff to the three boys.

Launchpad later became the sidekick of Darkwing Duck; a spoof of Batman. In Darkwing Duck Drake Mallard is secretly the title character, doing battle against villains such as Megavolt, Bushroot, and the vile Negaduck. Darkwing is joined in these adventures by his daughter, Goslin, and her best friend Honker, the youngest child of Drake's next door neighbor's, the Muddlefoots. Drake is a blowhard who is rarely assisted to any good purpose by Launchpad, and very often saved by Goslin and Honker. Much to his dismay. One thing to note about his villains, Megavolt and Bushroot are sometimes sympathetic characters, and on occasion come to Darkwing's assistance.

Tale Spin took Baloo of The Jungle Book and made him a barnstorming pilot. One time owner of The Sea Duck and employee of the air freight company Higher for Hire, Baloo and his teenage sidekick (who's name I've misplaced, Baloo calls him, Little Britches) encounter bad guys, search for lost treasure, encounter exotic peoples in exotic lands, fight air pirates, and try to stay on the good side of the owner of Higher for Hire, Rebecca Cunningham. Who also holds the title to The Sea Duck. Other characters from The Jungle Book include Old King Louie (a bar owner is Tale Spin) and Sheer Khan, an industrial magnate and Tale Spin's version of Cardinal Richelieu. The main cast of characters is rounded out by Molly Cunningham -Rebecca Cunningham's 5 year old daughter, and the leader of the air pirates, a manic menace of a French wolf who's name I've quite misplaced.

Of the three series named above it is Tale Spin that best exemplifies the spirit of the old "Mystery Men" stories (as Gareth has termed them). Indeed, well before Disneys Gargoyles there were episodes where situations would turn dark and dire, a great contrast to the more lighthearted adventures in Duck Tales and Darkwing Duck. (Though the Negaduck episodes of Darkwing Duck could be dark indeed.) As a matter of fact, a 5 parter where the air pirates attack Baloo's home base of Cape Canard marked a sea change where Disney television animation was concerned.

All three can be seen on Toon Disney, Disney's answer to The Cartoon Network. But it is on digital cable, so if your cable provider doesn't provide digital cable you're out of luck. Along with these shows you can also catch programs such as Aladdin, the aforemention Gargoyles and Bonkers (the last 'inspired' by Who Framed Roger Rabbit and a spoof of 'cop buddy' shows and movies). All in all the three shows I wrote of above are great sources of ideas for a Heroes of the New Age game and are wonderful for giving the viewer some idea of the spirit of the Mystery Man story.

Hope this helps.

Being the protagonist in an RPG does not confer authorial immunity.



Don Karnage is the Talespin air-pirate baron.

Otherwise, a good summation.  You're making me want to seek out all three cartoons again.  :P
Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming


Rescue Rangers was my favorite.  Its a truly odd sight to witness a dozen beer swilling college guys crammed into a dorm room every afternoon to watch Chip and Dale.  It was pretty light fare, but very Indiana Jones meets The Rescuers in tone.


Ooooh.  I forgot the rescue rangers.

Not in the same "milieu" as the other three (as Rescue Rangers was basically "intelligent animals in the real world") but dang, that was a fun show...

Arg.  One more show to add to my hit list.
Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming


Another cartoon inspiration for HNW:

Jonny Quest--the original 1964 series.   Definitely has the neo-pulp feel that I'm shooting for.

There's a organization that can serve as a campaign focus in HNW, called the Quinn Foundation, headed by a guy named Erasmus Quinn.  In his write-up, I mention that he was the subject of a thinly-disguised biographical cartoon series when he was a teen.  :)

Gareth-Michael Skarka
Adamant Entertainment


I wrote a partial screenplay about Johnny Quest, once.  It was about a secret service agent {Race} being "put out to pasture" by sending him to the boonies to take care of a scientist and his kid.

When Race arrives a weird little dog {Bandit} barks at him and leads him to Dr. Quest.  Race finds out that Bandit was genetically created by the Dr - who is estranged from his son, Johnny.  Jonathan Quest's wife was basically raising Johnny and with her death, the two don't know how to relate.  Dr. Quest, being the mad scientist type, showed his love for his son by creating a dog for him.

Only lines worthy of mention:

Race:  That's a real smart dog you've got there, Doctor.
Dr. Quest:  Smart?  He has an I.Q. of 160 - he understands 7 languages and he even walks himself.
{Dr. Quest turns away, Bandit "grins" at Race.}
Race (quietly): Yeah?  Well I've got opposable thumbs.
Bandit growls

I like most of the cartoons mentioned, though I've always regarded Tale Spin as Disney's version of Tales of the Gold Monkey, which isn't a bad thing by any means.

Oh, and a note on Cardinal Richelieu, part of why his myth endures is because he wasn't a two-dimensional antagonist.  In fact, it is hard to call him a villain... D'Artagnan eventually ends up working with him.
Servant of Mantorok since 1863
Rumpuncher - Nocturnal's Scribe


Hmmm.  I seem to be having a Thomas Dolby-esque "Test for Echo" moment.
Servant of Mantorok since 1863
Rumpuncher - Nocturnal's Scribe


Ah, Don Karnage. A Spanish wolf at that. My memory isn't what it never was.:)

In non-Disney cartoons there Mighty Max. Left the gruesome stuff to your imagination, which usually does a better job than most script writers.;)

Being the protagonist in an RPG does not confer authorial immunity.



Quote from: TSL

Oh, and a note on Cardinal Richelieu, part of why his myth endures is because he wasn't a two-dimensional antagonist.  In fact, it is hard to call him a villain... D'Artagnan eventually ends up working with him.

Oddly enough, this ties in with Tale Spin. Sher Khan is a multi-faceted fellow, and runs his corporation according to a strict code of honor. He's not above driving someone out of business, but he makes sure to follow the letter of the law.

There's one episode where Baloo saves Khan from Don Karnage and his pirates. In return Khan offers Baloo anything the bear's heart desires. Baloo doesn't come out of the affair smelling very good.

There's another where one of Khan's employees tries to take Louie's island away from him. Khan finds out and puts a stop to it. Reminding all there, but especially the employee, "I always abide by my agreements."

Being the protagonist in an RPG does not confer authorial immunity.



Another few inspirational series that I haven't seen mentioned (these aren't necessarily Pulp, but they're on the border):

Live Action TV
- Misfits of Science
- Riptide
- Tales of the Gold Monkey (set back in the 30s or 40s, but still)
- Simon & Simon
- MacGyver (The Phoenix Foundation probably maps to your Erasmus Quinn organization, too)
- Beauty and the Beast - Sort of Pulp/Romance, but still, a variety on the Lost World style pulp adventure, where the Lost World is right under everybody's feet.
- Voyagers (this was the Time-travel show with the "Omni")
- Powers of Matthew Starr (Smallville with Louis Gosset Junior!)
- Greatest American Hero
- Tenspeed & Brownshoe - Ex-con Ben Vereen teams up with straight-laced ex-accountant (or lawyer, or something - I was never very clear on it) Jeff "I must warn you.  I know karate." Goldblum
- Remington Steele
- Max Headroom - Aired in the 80s, and only took place 20 minutes into the future... =)

Animated TV
- Dangermouse.  If you're going to include Darkwing Duck, you have to include Dangermouse, too...  I mean, come on:  how can you possibly beat "Baron Silas Greenback, the World's most Villanous Toad"?
- Ghostbusters, particularly the Cthulhu crossover episode.
- Inspecter Gadget (many parallels to Darkwing Duck in the shows plot-structure.  Penny and Brain were awesome. I gather they removed them from the Matt Broderick movie)

- Ghostbusters
- Back to the Future

Older stuff:
- Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman - yeah, it was on in the 70s, but I think it should still count.  "Gentlemen, we can rebuild him!"
- The Man from UNCLE - I always thought this was one of the bigger influences on The X-Files, although Kolchak seems to have gotten most of the press.  :/

A lot of these are sort of comedy oriented, but I think they have stuff that's worth stealing/riffing on buried in them.
Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.


Oh gods, the Misfits of Science are SO incredibly 80s Neo-Pulp!!! I now must ru a game of HotNW based off of that ;)