At the Movies


This campaign setting is a bit different from most in that it does not revolve around a location or a time or even a mood. It can, in fact, change from film to film. The campaign could go from action to comedy to drama to horror and back again. It is the world of the movies. Some GURPS 3rd material can be found near the end.

Character Creation

All of the characters in this campaign are from movies, usually primarily roles. The PCs are characters, not actors. Indiana Jones cannot fly the Millennium Falcon, and Johnny Dangerously wouldn't know a batarang if it hit him in the head. Some restrictions may be imposed by the Director (GM). Sample restrictions might include:

No 'Toons - Roger Rabbit at others cartoonish types. This does not necessarily prohibit CGI characters such as Gollum, but may if the Director wishes. Live action cartoons (Grinch, The Mask) are also gray areas to be decided.

No Animals - Babe, Gus, Lassie, Shadowfax etc.

No Giant Monsters - Godzilla might seem like a fun character, but he never solves a mystery.

No Machinery - Data, Bishop, Hal

Film styles - Action characters, Gangsters, Comedy duos, Played by Harrison Ford.

Source - Theatrical releases only, Theater and Video, TV only, etc.

The Director will decide what fits the plot.
Once the restrictions are decided, at least in the director's head, the casting can begin. Players suggest whom they'd like to play, and the director approves or disapproves. While character approval usually comes after creation, doing it before ensures the director knows the character and can debate the end product. The players then create their character as close to the movie as possible using their allotted points. I've used 300 quite often, but character choices will reflect available points. The Director then determines if the PC accurately reflects the character. The PCs should also downplay appearance frequency of Allies, Dependents, and Enemies. The Director will decide what fits the plot.

What Characters Know

The PCs in this campaign think they are normal folk, but they do not find it unusual that they wake up in western attire when they were a space freighter pilot the day before. They accept it as a part of life. Pirates and Vice Cops work together because when they woke up, they knew they were working together. PCs also know what the other PCs are capable of as if they had known each other for a long time.

At the start of the Film (adventure) the characters should know what their objective is, or be able to figure it out in short order. Solve the crime, stop the wizard, pay the back taxes, these are lead and supporting characters because they have something to do, they don't just ride along on the world. Characters also know that almost everyone speaks the same language. Japanese Samurai, French Musketeers, German Nazis, Cowboys and Indians, all speak the same language, but with appropriate accents.

What the Characters don't know

The characters do not know why the world can change overnight...
The characters do not know why the world can change overnight, why their best friend on Wednesday can not be found anywhere on Thursday, yet they don't miss them. They don't know why some days have unlimited ammo without reloading and other days they have only 1 bullet. They don't know why Conan can walk through the airport with a great sword slung on his back, yet Bruce (Almighty) gets stopped for a nail clipper at the knife show. They also do not know why certain special effects (see below) affect only certain individuals. In fact, they do not even notice the indiscrepancies.

Things and Stuff

Things in the world of the movies are made of "Holly Wood". It is a remarkable material that can be strong or flimsy, heavy or light, or exhibit a myriad of other physical and chemical properties. The deciding factor is the director's opinion of what would be appreciated most by the audience (himself and the players). Properties of items may even change from second to second. A comedic character might bounce off a plate glass window, where an action hero would go right through it, especially if leading with his head, and probably take no damage.

All characters come with Stuff or equipment. Like everything else, this may change from adventure to film. One key is signature items. Batman always has the grapnel gun and Indiana Jones has his hat and whip. The director decides at the beginning of the film what items a character has. Heavy weapons are never signature items but might be included if the director thinks they won't unbalance the film.

Special Effects

These are the cinematic rules. Some rules apply all around, such as Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Other rules apply only to certain characters. Rambo and Conan enjoy the rewards of Bulletproof Nudity, while Rocky Balboa and Batman do not. Some characters have "Off Camera Reload"; others might have "Chambara Attacks and Defenses". Comedic characters recover from wounds in hours instead of days, and wealthy PCs always have plenty of cash. The discriminating factor is the character and their movies. Everyone can use unspent points between scenes to heal damage.

Other Edits

Characters may only learn and improve skills appropriate to their films.
Character improvement: No matter how much the magnificent seven train, they will never be competent with a blaster. Characters may only learn and improve skills appropriate to their films.

Credits: At the beginning and end of the adventure (Film) PCs may or may not observe backwards letters moving up through the air.

Take 2: If a character dies, and really shouldn't have, due to playing out of character, etc. Shoot the scene over.

Dramatic Effect: Play it a little loose with the rules and the Laws of Physics. Example: Batman is after a group of desperadoes in a barn. Using his grapnel he hoists himself up to a door to the loft. He knocks firmly then kicks away from the wall. At the apex of his swing, he commits a wait maneuver until the door opens, then swings in kicking his foe.

Other Rules

Head Not a Vital Organ: If Health and Strength are both more than 5 over IQ, and IQ is lower than 9, head and brain hits do only normal damage. 15 points

Uncommon Sense: Once per session the PC must do something Stupid. GM should feel free to point out opportunities. -5 points

Can Hear the Music: The PC can hear the music shift from normal background to ominous danger, or to any other mood. 5 points and requires Danger Sense.

Chewbacca Tongue: You speak a unique (or nearly so) language. Other party members can understand you and you can understand their Language, but no one else can understand you. -5 points

{much laughage from the gherkin}

If anyone ever runs this as a PBP I think I know some people who'd be up for this one!

(Not me though - sadly too much of my time is already committed - but I'd be a spectator)

Is this thing actually playable?

- reading a signature is silly -

Submitted by zipdrive on Fri, 2006-04-28 12:41.
Is this thing actually playable?

I've run the game for 2 distinct (no overlapping players) on a half dozen occasions. One group leaned more towards evil with Beetlejuice, Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter, Predator, Firestarter, and Cheech and Chong. The other group was more heroic, Spock, Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Batman, The Punisher, American Ninja, and Sir Kay.

The mivies have included western, 20's detective, Cyberpunk, and Space genres.


We've done something similar...except we used Action Figure (which, granted, also covers movies to some extent). I was Jaga from the Thundercats.

Of course...we were also toy-sized...well, we were actually the toys...and only gathered to fight when the family was away.

But it was a lot of fun.