Licensed RPGs

Toadmaster

Legendary Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
2,204
Reaction score
4,832
Only very roughly, if I remember correctly. Not the same stats, not the same classes (no clerics), energy points for magic instead of Vancian casting. Actually mostly good ideas ;)

Agree maybe inspired by but if so the developers took a lot of liberties.
 

Gabriel

Legendary Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
2,420
Reaction score
6,102
I think someone may have made a game out of the Dungeons and Dragons movie.

Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie: The Game
The Roleplaying Game based on the Movie Based on the Roleplaying Game

Buy now and get a special discount on The Lord of the Rings: The novelization of the movies based on the novels by JRR Tolkien by Alan Dean Foster.
 

PolarBlues

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
1,606
Reaction score
3,801
Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie: The Game
The Roleplaying Game based on the Movie Based on the Roleplaying Game

Buy now and get a special discount on The Lord of the Rings: The novelization of the movies based on the novels by JRR Tolkien by Alan Dean Foster.

The Expanse, the roleplaying game based on the hit TV series, based on the novels based on the roleplaying game.
 

Gabriel

Legendary Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
2,420
Reaction score
6,102
Technically, I know of at least two RPGs that are based on convoluted licenses akin to the "game based on the movie based on the game."

Prime Directive. RPG based on the SFB board game universe based on the Franz Joseph Designs Starfleet Technical Manual based on Star Trek: The Original Series.

Decipher's Lord of the Rings. RPG based specifically on the Peter Jackson movies based on the books. Steve Long says that he didn't take that into account when writing it, but that was the nature and restriction of the license that it had to be based on the movies, not the books.

And then there was Robotech RPG Tactics. If I understand how the license worked for that game, it was the tabletop miniatures game based on the roleplaying game based on the Robotech cartoon which was based on the original Macross animation. The only way they could do that one was backdoor it in based on the license for the RPG.
 

Toadmaster

Legendary Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
2,204
Reaction score
4,832
Decipher's Lord of the Rings. RPG based specifically on the Peter Jackson movies based on the books. Steve Long says that he didn't take that into account when writing it, but that was the nature and restriction of the license that it had to be based on the movies, not the books.

With the book relying heavily on movie stills for illustration I expected it to be fully based on the films. I thought they actually straddled that line quite well, gently pointing out differences between the books and film where they exist.
 

burbles

Legendary Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
211
Reaction score
405
During Shooter's run as EIC, one of the rules was that there were only two characters who had to stay dead: Bucky and Uncle Ben.
OK. I haven't followed Marvel in a while. Uncle Ben I'll agree with, but isn't the Winter Soldier Bucky?
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
28,320
Reaction score
78,237
OK. I haven't followed Marvel in a while. Uncle Ben I'll agree with, but isn't the Winter Soldier Bucky?

Yeah, that story came 20 years later. This was Bucky back then:

James_Buchanan_Barnes_%28Earth-616%29_from_Official_Handbook_of_the_Marvel_Universe_Vol_2_16_0...png

An embarrassing reminder of the sidekick trend of the Golden Age started by Robin The Boy Wonder
 

The Mad Hatter

Tea Party Connoisseur
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Messages
488
Reaction score
1,263
I think Cyberpunk 2020 had a module licensed off a novel series?

When Gravity Fails

There was indeed a setting supplement for both When Gravity Fails and Hardwired. The one for When Gravity Fails was best in my opinion.
 

Ravenswing

Iconoclast
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
718
Reaction score
2,120
She's an idiot... as if that's going to stop anyone who wants to play in Hogwarts, through homebrew or some 'not-Potter' but close enough product. It's just an arrogant finger to her fans that like RPGs.

Well, no ... nothing will stop gamers from doing anything they want, which isn't at all the point. I know I'm coming late to the party here, but you've got to look under the hood.

For one thing, licensed properties are complete pain in the ass all around. Alright, what do you need to know to run the Potterverse as a game? What do we actually know about the gameworld from the original books? Damn near nothing. We know about Hogwarts. We know about Diagon Alley and the Ministry. We know about Beauxbatons and Durmstrang ... but we don't know where they actually are. (Hell, Beauxbatons could be in Belgium or the French-speaking parts of Switzerland, for all we know.) We know that there are wizards in Godric's Hollow, but that Hogsmeade is the sole wizarding-only community in Britain. You can't run a game on that little.

So the putative writers of a licensed HP property has to invent things, that become quasi-canon at the minimum. And the property owners universally despite that. (Hell, the Tolkien estate compelled Iron Crown to write most of their plotlines centuries earlier than LotR, however much JRRT was many years in the ground and not writing anything more.) From my personal experience, for example, DC Heroes didn't want anything created that might tie the hands of the writers of their current comics.

Those same license writers then have to confront contradictions, inconsistencies and often the sheer illogic of their settings. I don't need to parrot the Potterverse's shortcomings in these areas; tens of thousands of writers on fanfiction.net alone have done that. (I do question how ready the average gamer are -- soaked in the premise that the PCs are the cocks of the walk and the masters of all they survey -- to play in a game setting involving a stultifying and thoroughly corrupt parliamentary dictatorship, where the routine reaction to children being tortured and abused is "Gosh, what a shame.")

Then you have those 64 Knut questions such as: movie or books? Do we include Fantastic Beasts? Can we touch the material on Pottermore? Is Cursed Child in play? What about Rowling's interviews, the initial source of the material about Dumbledore's sexuality, for instance? Does Rowling have control over all of that? (I'd have to think not exclusive over the movie content, anyway.) What she certainly doesn't have control over is the vast backlog of fannish/fanon presumptions choking the setting like weeds. Remember how the fanbase went bonkers over Hermione played by a black actress in Cursed Child ... with Rowling asking rhetorically, in the background, precisely when she'd stipulated that HG was white?

Finally, as is commonly the case with licensed properties, the more intense the fan, the more they're likely to hate the result. They gave HOW many points to Potter? To Dumbledore? To Voldemort? Whaddaya mean there are men attending Beauxbatons -- there weren't any in the movie!!! Did you see that those bastards decided there was a school of magic in WALES??? The characters they loved weren't prominently featured, the characters they loathed were, and so on and so forth.

This is the mother of all snake pits, and for a woman with more money than God, what could possibly be the benefit to diving in?
 

lategamer

Writer, Filmmaker, Sailor, Irishman
Joined
Dec 7, 2021
Messages
381
Reaction score
789
So the putative writers of a licensed HP property has to invent things, that become quasi-canon at the minimum.
...
This is the mother of all snake pits, and for a woman with more money than God, what could possibly be the benefit to diving in?

I've not seen a perfect answer on a forum post in a long long time. But that was one. Nice work.
 

Toadmaster

Legendary Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
2,204
Reaction score
4,832
Well, no ... nothing will stop gamers from doing anything they want, which isn't at all the point. I know I'm coming late to the party here, but you've got to look under the hood.

For one thing, licensed properties are complete pain in the ass all around. Alright, what do you need to know to run the Potterverse as a game? What do we actually know about the gameworld from the original books? Damn near nothing. We know about Hogwarts. We know about Diagon Alley and the Ministry. We know about Beauxbatons and Durmstrang ... but we don't know where they actually are. (Hell, Beauxbatons could be in Belgium or the French-speaking parts of Switzerland, for all we know.) We know that there are wizards in Godric's Hollow, but that Hogsmeade is the sole wizarding-only community in Britain. You can't run a game on that little.

So the putative writers of a licensed HP property has to invent things, that become quasi-canon at the minimum. And the property owners universally despite that. (Hell, the Tolkien estate compelled Iron Crown to write most of their plotlines centuries earlier than LotR, however much JRRT was many years in the ground and not writing anything more.) From my personal experience, for example, DC Heroes didn't want anything created that might tie the hands of the writers of their current comics.

Those same license writers then have to confront contradictions, inconsistencies and often the sheer illogic of their settings. I don't need to parrot the Potterverse's shortcomings in these areas; tens of thousands of writers on fanfiction.net alone have done that. (I do question how ready the average gamer are -- soaked in the premise that the PCs are the cocks of the walk and the masters of all they survey -- to play in a game setting involving a stultifying and thoroughly corrupt parliamentary dictatorship, where the routine reaction to children being tortured and abused is "Gosh, what a shame.")

Then you have those 64 Knut questions such as: movie or books? Do we include Fantastic Beasts? Can we touch the material on Pottermore? Is Cursed Child in play? What about Rowling's interviews, the initial source of the material about Dumbledore's sexuality, for instance? Does Rowling have control over all of that? (I'd have to think not exclusive over the movie content, anyway.) What she certainly doesn't have control over is the vast backlog of fannish/fanon presumptions choking the setting like weeds. Remember how the fanbase went bonkers over Hermione played by a black actress in Cursed Child ... with Rowling asking rhetorically, in the background, precisely when she'd stipulated that HG was white?

Finally, as is commonly the case with licensed properties, the more intense the fan, the more they're likely to hate the result. They gave HOW many points to Potter? To Dumbledore? To Voldemort? Whaddaya mean there are men attending Beauxbatons -- there weren't any in the movie!!! Did you see that those bastards decided there was a school of magic in WALES??? The characters they loved weren't prominently featured, the characters they loathed were, and so on and so forth.

This is the mother of all snake pits, and for a woman with more money than God, what could possibly be the benefit to diving in?

Isn't a lot of the basic premise of Hogwarts minus the magic, basically just life in an English boarding school? Probably any boarding school really, with just a change of accent, add some magic and Dead Poets Society could be "Not Harry Potter".

Hmm add some Cthulhu instead of regular magic and the Dead Poet's could have been a much darker society. :skeleton:
 

VisionStorm

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
628
Reaction score
1,439
Isn't a lot of the basic premise of Hogwarts minus the magic, basically just life in an English boarding school? Probably any boarding school really, with just a change of accent, add some magic and Dead Poets Society could be "Not Harry Potter".

Hmm add some Cthulhu instead of regular magic and the Dead Poet's could have been a much darker society. :skeleton:

Yeah, all the stuff about the pains of dealing with a licensed IP aside, you don't really need to know every detail about the Potterverse to build a game around it. You could base it all in Hogwarts and call it "Harry Potter: Adventures in Hogwarts!" or something like that, and maybe include a few minor details about the world for flavor to provide a general idea of what it is about, but just focus it all in the school and students getting into trouble going off on crazy adventures and that could be enough.

There's enough stuff in the books about the Ministry of Magic, Diagon Alley and magical society to extrapolate from it and provide some basic guidelines without going into full hog detail about the world at large in every corner of the planet.
 

Sosthenes

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
491
Reaction score
976
Isn't a lot of the basic premise of Hogwarts minus the magic, basically just life in an English boarding school? Probably any boarding school really, with just a change of accent, add some magic and Dead Poets Society could be "Not Harry Potter".
Tom Brown's School Days is in the public domain, and what worked for Flashman could also work for sorcerers.
 

Agemegos

Legendary Member
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
490
Reaction score
1,540
The main thing I take from licensed RPGs is that they are doomed. Maybe not in the first or second year, but they'll struggle to keep paying those royalty cheques to the rights holder in year 3, 4 and 5

Quoted for truth.

What have been the best licensed RPGs - not just in rules or presentation, but support and sheer enjoyment that they give for playing in that particular universe?

Gotta plug James Bond 007 again. The Q Manual was an excellent gear book for the franchise, Thrilling Locations was outstandingly well put together as a resource for the days before we had the WWW, and the people who liked running prepared adventures reported that it had a slew of fun and really well-designed, well-written, and well-presented adventures that represented the movies without being spoilered by them.

  • Goldfinger (1983)
  • Octopussy (1983)
  • Dr No (1984)
  • You Only Live Twice (1984)
  • Live and Let Die (1984)
  • Goldfinger II (1985)
  • The Man With the Golden Gun (1985)
  • A View to a Kill (1985)
  • You Only Live Twice II: Back of Beyond (1986)
  • For Your Eyes Only (1986)
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1987) (a collection of solo adventures)
And then the movie people found themselves unwilling to accept any royalty that an RPG licence could afford. It was still selling well for an RPG, and Victory Games were keen to renew the licence on the same terms. Eon Productions were keen to renew the licence to — for a larger licence fee.
 
Last edited:

Agemegos

Legendary Member
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
490
Reaction score
1,540
Isn't a lot of the basic premise of Hogwarts minus the magic, basically just life in an English boarding school?
A British boarding school of the Thirties. Perhaps earlier. Like 'Stalky & Co.', 'To Serve Them All My Days', or the 'St Trinians' series were the source material. It was astoundingly retro. They didn't even have telephones.
 

Ravenswing

Iconoclast
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
718
Reaction score
2,120
Yeah, all the stuff about the pains of dealing with a licensed IP aside, you don't really need to know every detail about the Potterverse to build a game around it. You could base it all in Hogwarts and call it "Harry Potter: Adventures in Hogwarts!" or something like that, and maybe include a few minor details about the world for flavor to provide a general idea of what it is about, but just focus it all in the school and students getting into trouble going off on crazy adventures and that could be enough.

There's enough stuff in the books about the Ministry of Magic, Diagon Alley and magical society to extrapolate from it and provide some basic guidelines without going into full hog detail about the world at large in every corner of the planet.

There's really not. A bunch of people thought the same thing about Middle-Earth, and how very much Tolkien scribbled about it, with fill-ins in the appendices. And Iron Crown wound up writing thousands of pages of setting material in consequence. (Being one of those writers, I'll be happy to expound on that until your ears bleed.)

But sure, let's take on your presumption, and make the rather amusing assumption on top of it that you can keep a gaming group satisfied with NOTHING beyond the walls of Hogwarts for anything beyond a strictly railroaded one-off. The players are likely going to want:

* A complete list of what courses are taught;
* A complete map of the grounds;
* A complete list of professors;
* A good many more NPCs named and statted out;
* The magic system defined, in detail;
* A notion as to how many students are actually enrolled ...

How long are class periods? What kinds of magical herbs/potions/materials are there, in what quantities, and what do they do? What are the layouts of each House? What are the exact stats of Veritaserum -- duration, resistability, color, scent? How many unused classrooms are there? (And come to that, doesn't that suggest that Hogwarts used to have a lot more students, and therefore in consequence, a fair bit of empty dorm space?)

And good grief, how much precisely is in the Room of Lost Things?

Rowling didn't set out to write any of this. And in sober truth, she wasn't out in the first place to write a world that could resist deconstruction from hundreds of thousands of fanon-hungry fanfic writers or gamers. She was out to write an entertaining series of children's books.
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top