RPG Licensing Fun: Futurama

Once more: Our look at how intellectual properties might be interpreted as role-playing games. How would any given franchise be handled?  System design, look, supplements, what characters could be played in the setting...

This time: Futurama. How would you handle a humorous game in the far future? What would you include in the sourcebooks? Any appropriate system tweaks that are absolutely required?

The sourcebooks would be great just as reading material and resource for the show, and while I don't think the game should necessarily be Toon-like, it should be fairly quick and simple, and have some kind of brownie point system that allows you to warp the rules of physics (or of the game) to do a gag. The gags, after all, are everything, if you want to capture the spirit of the show.

Maybe Toon-like Shticks mixed with more standard skills? Maybe just one or two abilities per character, but lots of latitude using them...
-Leela: Cyclops martial arts!
-The Professor: Mad Scientist
-Fry: Stupid
-Bender: Surly robot (robots should have a set of standard abilities they share, like a bottomless pocket/chest, super-strength and durability, limbs that can be removed, etc.)
-Zoidberg: Mad Doctor
-Hermes: Bureaucrat

Some of these don't sound like they'd be that useful, from their names alone, but then, this would be a game where your characters' flaws were more important than their strengths. (Personal note: This wouldn't be difficult for MY players, as they always start the character creation process from a flaw on up, making sure there's comedy to be had in their portrayal.) The Futurama RPG should encourage it, perhaps by putting it up front as part of the initial concept. Most games put "disadvantages" just before equipment, i.e. second-to-last in the process. I'm a fervent believer in the idea that the way chargen is structured informs a game's focus - so even if D&D can be used for talky fantasy politics, players and DMs will gravitate towards fighting and looting because that's the stuff the game makes important - so this small innovation would be a key idea.

Suggested campaigns can be mined from all over the series: Brannigan's Zeroes saving DOOP from Neutrality, the Professor's previous short-lived Planet Express crews, Central Bureaucracy, RobotTown, Old New York Mutants, Mars University (shades of GURPS IOU), and more. The show's done crime stories, horror, sword & sorcery, you name it.

Damn, now I want a copy.

System help
Maybe we should look for another space opera comedy game, like the Red Dwarf RPG. From everything I've read about it, it seems to fit the criteria set up above. It just needs a Futurama expansion with that show's tropes and terminology. Probably a greater range of character types, alien races, etc. It does seem to be a bit too lethal for our purposes though. Well, maybe not. If accept some of the space medicine available in Futurama, I think characters could and SHOULD be able to use whatever brownie points we give them (call them what you will) to make a resurrection happen through the craziest means available. Cloning, God-like aliens, parallel worlds, whatever.

Teenagers from Outer Space is another possibility, quite free-wheeling and able to handle comedy stupendously well. Toon would be a third choice, though really made for Looney Tunes-type skits, the Tooniversal Tour Guide gives longer-form, genre fiction a good treatment, including science-fiction.

Anybody for a quick game? Meet me at the Head Museum to choose your character.


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