written by Zak Arntson
inspired by Ryan Greene
dedicated to Golden Girls Roleplayers worldwide
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Getting Good Reception
Everyone Player gets five dice. The GM begins with only one (and gets more as the game is played). It doesn't matter how many sides, so long as everyone's dice have the same number of sides. Remember that the more sides, the longer the game will tend to last. Six- or ten-sided dice are recommended.
You get to invent a character. Someone who whines, gets in trouble, is afraid to admit he's wrong: A typical sitcom character. If you fancy yourself a major part of the Sitcom, your character's first name is the same as your own.
Pick something about your character that annoys the audience. This is called your Annoy. For example, Ray Romano whould have an Annoy of Whine, alien Dick's Annoy is Pretentious Overacting, ALF's annoy is Being ALF.
Putting the Situational in ...
The GM deviously sets up some bizarre and stupid situation that can conceivably be solved in thirty minutes. This should allow for the Sitcom format: Problem introduced, problem seems unsolvable, stupid fix three minutes before credits roll, everyone laughs.
A Seat on the Couch
|gameplay, conflict and failure|
Most of Sitcom is roleplayed as normal as possible. Characters milling about the apartment set, the coffee shop set and so on. Whenever there is some conflict, anyone even remotely involved rolls their dice. The GM also rolls her die (or dice).
Every five minutes of real time the GM gets another die in her hand.
What Happens When We Roll?
First take a look at your roll and the GM's. If you or the GM rolls doubles, you must use your Annoy! If you rolled 3, 5, 5, 6, and the GM rolls a 6, you must use your Annoy.
Now, take another look at your dice and the GM's dice. You lose any dice that match the dice the GM rolled. In the example roll above, you lose one die where your 6 matched the GM's.
Once you've lost your dice, look at how many you have left and consult the Script Chart below.
5 Dice - It is obviously the beginning of the show. You do something that you think is amazingly cool but is so asinine that the other Characters will eventually want you dead for it. Remember that by the end of the show everything's fine.
4 Dice - You done good. A random Character (if you can't randomly pick, the other Players may rock-paper-scissors or fight for the honor) sees only part of what you are doing and misinterprets it as something unbelievably malicious. At the end of the show the offended Character realizes the mixup and everything's fine.
3 Dice - Slapstick. Something stupid happens, like you get sprayed with a hose or the door slams in your face. Oh, and you only achieve roughly half of what you were trying.
2 Dice - Commercial Break. Whatever you do it must end with a cliffhanger.
1 Die - Time for a Serious Moment. Your Character fails and another random Character (again, if you can't randomly pick, the other Players may flip coins or fight for it) feels very bad about themselves in the sappiest way. Cue rainstorms, lonely dinners and children asking poignant questions. But by the end of the show everything's fine.
Zero Dice - When anyone reaches zero dice, it's time for the Wrap-Up.
What's On After This, Honey?
|ending the game|
When someone reaches zero dice play moves to this stage, the Wrap-Up. Everyone rolls the dice they have left. Order of play goes from the lowest die rolled to the highest. If you don't have any dice, you go extra-first. Each player gets thirty seconds to try and wrap things up. Everyone automatically succeeds at any action geared towards fixing all the problems.
After this, there should be a round of forced laughter and the credits begin to roll.
Let's Try Something New!
If you are trying to emulate a Sitcom, you may want to introduce some house rules. You could hold an improv skit during the credits, or force everyone to roll twenty- or thirty-sided dice. Try rewriting the Script Chart or replacing Annoy with a Catch Phrase.
A Very Special Episode (submitted by Matt, named by pblock)
As well as an Annoy, each player also gets a Moral. Instead of using their Annoy they have the option of trying to force a totally inappropriate moral lesson into the events.
May Sweeps (submitted by Moose)
During Sweeps Week, you may elect to introduce a Guest Star (of the celebrity variety) at any time you would normally have to use your Annoy. If you want, you can use your Annoy in conjunction with the introduction of the Guest Star (making smart ass comments about your transsexual father, played by Kathleen Turner, for instance). Work them into your character's crisis somehow.
Porn Sitcom (submitted by James V. West)
[Alternately called the Nighttime EuroSoap -ed] Whenever you and the GM roll the same number, your character must have sex with whoever is in the room. If you roll more than one die that is the same as the GM's die, your character must have sex with one more person per die. If no more people are in the room, you must create a situation in which the appropriate amount of people do enter the room. If you lose all your dice, you went out with bang. Get it?
Season Finale (submitted by Moose)
Instead of a Wrap Up, introduce a Cliffhanger into the story. This Cliffhanger does not have to pertain to your character! It should leave some major crisis unresolved until the first episode of next season.
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Turn That T.V. Off!
This entire document and all contents is Copyright © 2001, by Zak Arntson. Permission to duplicate for personal use and captions for review purposes is granted. You must receive explicit permission from the author (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to use this game and any portion therein for public use, such as publication or convention play.