In the core rules of Spirit of 77, each Role features specialized artwork and usually a gimmick page that references the Role preceding it (for instance, the sweet fight poster between El Fantasmo and Bigfoot in honor of the Tough Guy role.) On page 91, you can see the “Buy Ten 8-Tracks for $1” ad that started everyone’s recollection back in the day. Come to think of it, we may still owe them money. However, in honor of the upcoming Double Feature #3, we thought you’d find it amusing to know just who we were referencing in that original list.
We found all sorts of stuff online recently about Spirit of 77, and all of them are great!
- One of Us – Randy Plays Games! – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3
- Happy Jack’s RPG Podcast – Don’t know how we missed sending you this, considering the Happy Jacks folks are our friends. In this specific podcast, Dave ran the Happy Jack’s gang through “The Kaboom! Show“.
- Six Feats Under
You can find these and even more at our Spirit of 77 website!
I tend to have a weird sense of humor, which probably surprises no one. When walking through the Dealer’s Hangar at GenCon last year, I noticed a trend that one out of every three games being advertised either had zombies or Cthulhu. Superheroes fighting Cthulhu, superheroes fighting zombies. Pathfinder with Cthulhu. OR zombies. Spaceship battles against Cthulhu… And zombies.
So naturally I come up with the idea of eliminating the middleman and have zombies fight Cthulhu. Efficiency and all that. Over a few drinks, I start contemplating this, giggle to myself and then order another. Bob and Jeff naturally ask what I’m giggling about, I tell them and they promptly cut me off. As probably they should. But the idea never leaves my head, it just gets backburnered for a little while. Over the past year, I have toyed with the idea, written a few scribbles here and there, and then put it back in the drawer while I try to work on other things. Usually the challenge of folding a fitted sheet.**
It wasn’t until the last Strategicon here in Los Angeles I thought I would give it a whirl and do the game gonzo – basically, give myself a week to actually construct the game, smoke test it once and bring it to con with no safety net in place. To be honest I was probably hedging a little by smoke testing it once. The game was christened “NecronomiZOMBIEcon” and the next seven days (okay, nights) was spent piecing today how this game would look and play out. I was actually sweating this more than the debut of Bedlam Hall that weekend, despite being a zany little game that was intended solely for a giggle. As my buddy Jeff likes to say, “Short on time before the deadline? TIME TO GET FANCY.”
Players surprise me continually, but not always through wacky antics. Sometimes it by pulling something out of themselves that they have never shown the rest of their gaming table, whether it’s a character concept or decision or sometimes a hidden talent no one knew about.
I was introducing a group of people to Spirit of 77 through the use of the pre-generated game, “Wrath of Cons”. “Wrath of Cons” was created for MechaCon in New Orlean, a one-shot about the cast of a cancelled 60’s sci-fi television show brought together to make an announcement about an upcoming moving revival of the series when gunfire and trouble ensues. It’s kind of Galaxy Quest, So77 style but being the biased dude I am, I like our version better.
The player sheets are pre-generated, but as we settled into getting started, no one at the table had selected the role of the actress behind the first officer, Melinda Smythe (an homage to my friend Mel, by the way). Everyone in the group had picked different Roles, and we were just about to start when one of their players arrived late, sat down, and just picked up the character sheet in front him (Smythe).
My wife joined us in playing Spirit of 77 , and I couldn’t be prouder of the name she chose for her character, a Vigilante from Humble Beginnings looking for Justice: Harvest Gould.
If you’ve been a fan of Spirit of 77 for a while, chances are you’ve played our free adventure, Cruise Ship of the Damned. If you haven’t, we highly recommend it – the premise is a celebrity cruise ship that’s plagued by what appears to be a zombie outbreak (there’s more to it than that, but for the sake of brevity, that’s the gist). The game comes with several pre-generated celebrity characters including one of our favorites, the glorious glam rocker, Gemini.
Gemini is unique, because anyone can play the character however they want, even gender. Much like Bowie himself in the early 70’s, the character is specifically androgynous – If you want to play Gemini as a male or a female or a mix of the two or even neither if you really want, Gemini is a character that allows that. Oh, here’s an interesting aside – Cruise Ship has three male characters, three female and Gemini. Totally available to anyone. (And by the way, Gemini is listed on pg. 91 in the Rocker 8-track List in the core book, along with Tino and Rozz from Cruise Ship, along with a lot of Easter Eggs. If you’re curious, we’ll tell you someday).
Anyway for whatever reason, Gemini really opens up players to do things they wouldn’t normally do in-game. I’ve seen extremely quiet players open up and become full-on, raging sex machines (in-game of course), using Gemini as their opportunity to really come out of their shells (kinda like a Rocky Horror thing).
Now one time I was running Cruise Ship at a convention, and a player had walked by who’s original game had been cancelled and we invited him to sit down and play. He wasn’t sure at first if he wanted to, but the other players coaxed him into the game and soon, he was playing Gemini as his introduction to Spirit of 77.
Like all good 70’s movies, there was, of course, a group of cheerleaders on-board. You know. It happens. And for whatever reason, Gemini went back to his hotel room and after missing a dice roll, was confronted by a snarling, slobbering cheerleader zombie. I of course ask the question, “What do you do?”
“I seduce the zombie.”
Now I believe in player agency, mind you. But my mind paused briefly. The visuals really took a minute for me to wrap my brain around. Luckily though, I’m pretty bent so we went with it.
He rolled the dice.
After thinking about it for a moment, I described to the table how a disco ball descended from the ceiling, low seductive Barry White music started playing…. And then a soft fade as we switched to another group in the party.
And ever since then, I have always kept Barry White music queued somewhere on my musical soundtrack iPad when I’m running a game, because you never know… When a zombie might come into the game. And you need to seduce it.
Somehow, The Walking Dead would be a waaaaay different show that way.
If you’re a fan of game-related podcasts, you may be a frequent listener of Happy Jack’s Broadcast (and if you’re not, you really should be). Both Bob and Dave have been featured on the show from time to time, but in addition to the beer-driven game talk, its host Stu also does an additional series about GM tips and skills called “The GM Briefing”.
Every so often, Players do something that defy expectation and catch me off-guard. Doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s a doozy. Careful, there may be spoilers in this. Kind of. Sort of.
In play writing, it’s called Chekov’s Gun – if you introduce a gun in the first act, someone needs to fire it in the third act. Basically, it’s a guideline about plot development and detail conservation – whatever you introduce in the initial moments, should be utilized at some point toward the end as part of the twist, resolution or whatever really. Good advice when you’re running a game, and most of the time, it’s a telltale sign that if a player wants to tell you something about their character in advance, they’re going to find a way to work it into the game session whether you want it or not.
I was running “Women’s Prison of the Apes” at a convention which, as it says right on the tin, takes place at a women’s prison. While doing initial character introductions, a player proceeds to tell me about the breakaway pants of his Honeypot character. He was very specific about it too – red, white and blue with snaps on the side. I think his name was even on the backside. He then finished with, “Oh, and I don’t wear underwear.”
Now, my momma didn’t raise no foolish child. I knew this was going to show up at some point, but had assumed it would be used in some random, romantic encounter in order to get to business quick, fast and in a hurry. Not what happened.
Instead, the players decide they’re going to cause a distraction by staging concert for the inmates. The only problem is only of the players was a rocker, the rest of them..l not so much. But hey, prison entertainment. How choosy can they really be. During the performance, the honeypot is trying to playing drums behind the Rocker and doing a frightening job. When all of a sudden, he jumps to a speaker and announces, “YOU KNOW WHO INVENTED TWERKING? I DID!” He then proceeds to rip his pants off (exposing his wedding tackle, naturally) and start shaking his moneymaker at the female inmates. Rolled his dice… And succeeded in causing the female inmates to start throwing their underwear at him.
In a women’s prison. Run by apes.
Chekov’s gun, folks. If you introduce a gun in the first act, someone needs to fire it in the third act. And if you introduce rip away pants in the beginning of your game, dollars to donuts they’re going to be ripped apart in the third. Usually with an audience.
The Spirit of 77 Guys are headed to Gamestorm 18 in Vancouver, WA! Not only will they be on hand for several Q&A panels, they’ve got some games planned for the occasion:
Friday March 18, 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM – Cruise Ship of the Damned
Saturday March 19, 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM – Wrath of Cons
Saturday March 10, 9:30 PM – 12:00 AM – Masterpiece ’77
(…and maybe a secret game or two!)
In addition, they will be on hand at the Guardian Games booth to say hi, sign books and explain why Gator is a superior movie to it’s predecessor, White Lightning. Come by and say hello!
Gutentag all you cats and crazies! What is this you may ask? Why it’s the shelves of Sphaerenmeisters-spiele in Germany! That’s right, they were big fans of our Kickstarter campaign and wanted to get both Spirit of 77 and Wide World of 77 on the shelves mach schnell! We love ’em for it, and wanted to show the great photo they sent us! Thanks guys!