TANGO TANGO 82
An RPG Homage to John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’
WHERE I TALK ABOUT MY LOVE OF THE MOVIE
MY RPG GAME THAT RE-CREATES IT
AND OFFER THAT GAME TO YOU ALL TO PLAY AND ENJOY (see below)!
“Trust’s a hard thing to come by…” R.J.MacReady
I first saw the 1982 movie The Thing when I was 14. My Dad was outraged and ordered me never to watch it again. But it was too late: John Carpenter’s vision had already caught me; Ennio Morricone’s haunting score had already chilled me to the bone; Rob Bottin’s special effects had already both horrified me and made me laugh at his black humour (a tough trick to pull off, but take a look at the Norris scene if you don’t know what I mean!); Kurt Russell’s MacReady had already given the teenage me a role model.
It remains one of my favourite films of all time, if not my Number One.
I first ran an RPG scenario based on the film in 1986 or 87. I used the system from one of my favourite games (Call of Cthulhu), which was simple and effective, and wouldn’t get in the way of the players roleplaying. But this game was a risk. I’d been roleplaying and DMing (as it was back in the day) for a few years but I’d never run a scenario in such (to use the modern vernacular) a sandbox, where I was setting a basic scene then throwing the floor completely open to the players. I’d never run a scenario that was so (to use more vernacular) PVP. Would they look at me blankly? Would they get bored with the idea of no obvious plot, no guidance from the GM? Would they “get it” and get into it?
Well damn, they did!
I knew my friends and players and I really shouldn’t have worried. They got stuck into what became an iconic game in our roleplaying history.
Thirty years later I resurrected the idea. Using a different game system (the core of Mutant Year Zero but with lots of Coriolis elements) I put the scenario together and played it with a group of players, none of whom had played the original (and four of whom weren’t even born in the 80s). It was another great game, with suspicion and paranoia, funny moments and lots of great roleplaying and problem solving.
We all had a brilliant time, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out well for humanity…
But maybe you’re thinking it could turn out differently for you?
Well, why don’t you try it and find out?
I’ve added here all the materials you’ll need to run a version of this scenario for you and your players. Feel free to make full use of it (with only one condition – that you promise to feedback either here, or through social media & G+, how it went and any ideas to improve the scenario further), and of course feel free to take what I’ve done and mould it to suit your group.
The resources here are:
- A GM’s Guide to the scenario – TT82GMGuidance
- Scenario Introduction – TT82Intro
- A GM’s Game Aid – TT82GameAid
- A full cast list of pre-generated crew – TT82FullCastList
- Character sheets:
- A Station Sign with Crew list – TT82Sign
- Maps of the Outpost (apologies that these are handwritten – I’ll update with better ones when I get the chance):
- A GM’s Reference for Essential Stats – TT82GMStats
- A GM Random Events Table – TT82Randoms
- An Outpost Storage Inventory – TT82Storage
For more information have a listen the The Coriolis Effect podcast, Episode 10, where I talk about game and how I played it. And feel free to sling your questions at me, either here or on The Coriolis Effect Facebook page or the G+ forums, where I can often be found!
I really hope you play it, and enjoy it. And don’t forget:
“Watch whoever you’re with – real close…”