TV Shows That Would Make Awesome RPGs

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers

I’m not ordinarily a fan of the whole “wild west meets space” thing, but damned if this show didn’t do it right. The mechanical horses were a bit annoying, but they built an enormous back story that would make a terrific setting for an RPG. The Super Troopers, the Queen of the Crown (and the Crown Agents), the myriad of aliens… it is a gold mine for RPG goodness.


Oh. My. Gods. How did Disney never turn this into an RPG? Magical creatures, mutants, robots, and cyborgs, and Shakespeare (MacBeth– yes, THAT MacBeth–, Oberon, and Puck are recurring characters, for crying out loud!). There are some epic themes that resonate through this series, and the notion of finding new and unique variations on the “European gargoyles” trope could keep such a game (and game supplements) going for quite some time.

Disney’s Aladdin

The movies were good, but the TV show was better. They vastly expanded the rogues’ gallery with really interesting villains (Abis Mal, Mozenrath, and Mechanicles “the greatest of the Great Greek Philosophers”), and gave the whole setting a lot of heft. You could play an entire campaign in Agrabah and never encounter Jasmine or Aladdin (although you might well encounter Sadira). The quantity of other characters makes it a worthy candidate.


You could make a lot out of this show; different types of cats having different abilities, and there are an infinite number of potential “hideous mutant” types, not to mention the Lunateks. And Mumm-ra is the ultimate recurring villain; defeatable in the short term, but never defeatable in the long term. Add in the Amazons, the Berbils, Wollows, and Bolkins, and there’s a decent lineup of NPCs.

Pirates of Dark Water

Ignore the whole “lost 13 treasures” thing; this cartoon had possibly the richest background of any 2-season cartoon ever made. And if you’re looking for a template for a maritime-based game, look no further. Noy Jitat! What a game this would make.

That’s my five. What show would you like to see turned into an RPG?

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

14 thoughts on “TV Shows That Would Make Awesome RPGs

  1. "Masters of the Universe"
    Skeletor would give Mumm-ra a run for his money!

    "Star Blazers"
    Gives a new meaning to "explore strange new worlds".

    C'mon…it's Ninjas…in space!

    "Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac"
    Mythology galore and lots of potential for making new twists on old myths. I actually converted many of these characters into my old Marvel Superheroes Campaign…it was a blast.


  2. Allow me to make the obvious joke:

    There was this great Saturday-morning show, early-to-mid '80s, with a bunch of kids riding a roller coaster into this fantastic world full of monsters and magic, and this little munchkin guy gives them weapons and sets them against the big evil guy. Totally cool, but I can't remember the name…

  3. Avatar, on Nickolodeon. I'd be happy just to get a fully illustrated guide to that world without a hint of RPG in it. Avatar put the cartoons from my childhood to shame.

  4. @Jayson: I missed the first sentence, "Allow me to make the obvious joke" and got to the end of the description and thought, "Hey, I remember that. That was…" (face-palm smack)


  5. Tale Spin should probably be a setting book for an existing anthromorphic-animal RPG. It would be an opportunity to include rules for pulp prop flying machines as a rule expansion as well. And it would assume the existence of gun rules for things like machine guns – if you didn't have those yet it would be the expansion to add vehicular weapons at least. Maybe the hand guns would be introduced in another setting. I certainly don't remember much in the way of hand guns going on, but there was a lot of machinegun fire. Possibly some rockets.

    And it's more thematically grounded than, say, Duck Tales (pretty much a salad/soup of every genre).

  6. There already was a Masters of the Universe roleplaying game, from FASA. Legend has it that it was so nice that it had no combat system.

    The aforementioned Avatar is a good pick. Doctor Who obviously, but that's on its way. Part of me would get a kick out of a Grange Hill rpg, but I'm not sure where that perverse desire comes from. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya seems like it would make for a fun one-shot indie-type game, with each session's plot rolled entirely randomly.

  7. Pirates of Darkwater was made into a role-playing game by Mondgames back in 1994… I remember seeing it at their booth at Gen Con many years ago. It is rather difficult to find these days; eBay is probably your best bet…

  8. Talespin would be excellent inspiration for mad pulp adventures. Darkwing Duck for tongue-in-cheek Pulp/Superheroes melange.

    Early Scooby Doo for simple, yet amusing, mysteries with mock supernatural elements (and you could always make it real . . .).

    And I also have a secret desire to use a version of Eureka's Castle with the serial numbers filled off as a setting.

  9. I second Thundarr, it's got Gamma World written all over it!

    As far as Talespin goes, a friend and I worked on using that as a backdrop for TMNT.

    Blake's Seven would make a decent RPG. It's a darker Star Trek. I mean the earth federation is actually an evil, totalitarian government. And the main characters are basically freedom fighters/pirates who fight the establishment.

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