Rube Goldberg Machine Mechanics

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Savage Daddy
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Rube Goldberg Machine Mechanics

#1 Postby Savage Daddy » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:57 pm

I"m a huge cartoon fan; Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo, etc. One of the thing I love about these cartoons are the overly elaborate traps. You know what I mean, right? A mouse trap clicks, throwing a penny into a funnel, which drops on a scale, which lights a match, which burns a fuze on a fire cracker...... Hilarious every time.

I decided to the run an old-school Scooby Doo game for some players at my monthly mini-con and I have to say I was wracking my brain over how to pull of the Rube Goldberg Machine that Freddy and the gang would have to build (using Scooby and Shaggy as bait of course).

Well, here was my solution:


When it's time to build the trap, each player makes a Smarts check. The highest result, including aces, becomes the number of steps they may use to build the trap. If they can only think of 6 steps, then that is the number of steps in the trap. The player characters may use a number of items equal to the number of steps. These items may be anything available in the setting, from a piano to a match.

Once they've designed their trap and explained how it is supposed to work, they use the Dramatic Task rules to make relevant skill checks (Stealth to hide the trip wire, Repair to jerry-rig a blender, etc.) at the standard -2 modifier to actually 'build' the trap.

The trap starts with a +2 modifier to the victim's Notice check. Each success, and raise, lowers the modifier by one, but no lower than -2. The final number of steps becomes the Trap's Agility die rounded down for the purpose of interrupting a victim's attempt to disarm the trap, or escape the trap once it is sprung. An activated trap is considered to have 'the drop' on its victim.

Acting as bait, Scooby and Shaggy do something to goad the victim to chase them into the trap. This is a Trick maneuver and adds -2 to Notice the trap. Because Scooby and Shaggy know where the trap is, they don't make a notice roll. However, they are running toward the trap and must make an opposed agility check against the trap to avoid activating it themselves.

For example:

Velma rolls 17 on her Smarts check. The group uses all 17 steps (Trap's Agility = d12).

The Scooby Gang gets 5 successes on Dramatic Task rolls. The trap's modifier to its victim's Notice is -2.

Scooby and Shaggy pose as IRS agents and serve the ghost with an audit notice (opposed Stealth vs Notice for the disguise). The ghost actually believes he is being audited and chases them in anger. Before he reaches the trap, the ghost has a -2 Notice.

Scooby and Shaggy each have Agility d8 vs. the trap's Agility d12. GM rolls for the trap vs Scooby and Shaggy and gets a 10. Using bennies, they each explode on their wild die and barely manage avoid the trap.

The ghost reaches the trap and makes a Notice roll at a -4 (-2 Trick & -2 Trap) His Notice is d6. He rolls a 5 and activates the trap. Because the trap has the drop, it gets +4 to any opposed Agility roll to escape. The ghost rolls an 8 on his opposed Agility check (6 on Wild Die & a 2 second roll). Players roll Agility for the trap d12+4 and get 11.

Mystery Inc. for the win!!!!!

Oh, and I also let them set a vertical domino on the board for each step in the trap and push it over when I announced the result of the ghosts Notice roll.
Until next time, keep rolling and Stay Savage!
Savage Daddy, Las Vegas NV

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