Gaming in the Universe of: G. I. Joe
Recently I asked for some help from fellow RPG Bloggers writing these articles. The response was larger than I anticipated. Quite a few folks volunteered to write some GitUo articles. Michael Morrison of the Rhetorical Gamer was the first turn in this little gem. He’s mining G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra for your D&D campaign
G.I. Joe The Rise of Cobra as reviewed by the family.
GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is one of those over-the-top, wild action blockbusters that resonates with fans and non-fans alike, for the explosions, the new takes on old characters and the obvious invincibility of its main characters. No matter your opinion of this current movie incarnation of the 80s military cartoon, the movie offers up some interesting inspirations for a DM.
Feeling lazy? You could just “steal” a huge chunk of the plot and have a mini-campaign for your players. Imagine if you will, the characters are travelling the countryside, looking for adventure, and they enter a Barony where the old Baron died a while back and his Baroness (yes, that’s right…) is now ruling the area with an iron fist. She has taken a new lover, a knight who goes into battle wearing a shining silver helm, and they have begun building up their power. They are taxing the locals into the dirt, building up their military and performing terror raids against their neighbors. And then, just when the PCs get really into the fight, when they really think this Baroness is the worst of the worst… You spring the surprise.
She’s being dominated/blackmailed/cursed by a powerful cult of serpent worshippers. What fantasy world doesn’t have an evil snake cult or two? And you’ve layered on the next set of challenges for the PCs to face.
This idea works well in the new D&D 4e “Points of Light” type settings, because without a central authority it is a lot easier for small nobles to fight one another in this way. And with the Yuan-ti, and now psionics have joined in with the release of Player’s Handbook 3, you have a custom built mindbending snake cult. Also, the transition between fighting the Baroness and fighting the snake cult is a good transition from heroic to paragon tier. A solid turning point for a game.
Without being so blatant, the movie has much more to offer. Imagine a kingdom, recovering from a devastating war, a young king in need of champions. He goes to the veterans of this war and forms a team of the finest warriors, heroes, mages, and everything else to protect the kingdom. You would be spies, diplomats, undercover operatives, warriors, and whatever else the kingdom needs. Sounds very much like a group of adventurers. Now imagine what happens when you are captured, in an allied city, after failing to protect that city from the destruction wrought by the people you were sent to stop? Who bails you out? And of course, who doesn’t want to be a ninja?
GI Joe has far more to offer than I can reasonably go into here… Watch it again, think about your game, or your next game, and see what might fit. You might be surprised.