Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Actual Play: Buggin'

Another of the roleplaying games I played over the July 4th holiday was Buggin', . This game had T.B. as a scorpion named Scorp; T.A. as Dragon the dragonfly; M.A. as a pillbug, Bill the Pill; my brother A.B. and his youngest O.B. teamed up to run Bob the cyborg grasshopper [2]; E.A. as an Aunty the Ant; and L.B. as Maria the bee. Several of these characters had been played in earlier games of Buggin'.

The characters, having done some troubleshooting for the local ant colony in the past, were assigned to find out why communication with a neighboring ant colony had stopped. They escaped an Ant Lion trap, lots of fun was had with the ant lion throwing sand at the PCs and the flying PCs trying to rescue the non-flying ones who'd fallen in the trap. They made a new trail around the trap and moved on. They found the neighboring ant colony deserted, passed through the strangely rectangular rooms and corridors of the lowest levels, found the huge cubic room and black floating rectangular monolith, climbed up the ledges and across the bridge and passed oddly through the black monolith, to find themselves huge jellyfish-like creatures floating in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, where they set about building cities for new homes, along with lots of other jellyfish-like creatures.

And then they woke up, and found themselves back to normal and remembering the Ant Lion trap as the only problem with other colony. And then they woke up, and they were Jellyfish Colonists on Jupiter again. And so forth.

Some of the kids thought this was funny, and others thought it was just strange. M.A. thought it was really neat.

L.B. was very worried that those characters would be constantly flipping back and forth between being Jellyfish Colonists on Jupiter whenever they went to sleep, so I assured her that it was just for this one game.


I find that Buggin' is less work for me to run than Toon. The system is simpler, a character sheet and the character creation rules all fit on one page of paper [1], and I don't have to worry about making things funny, since the genre doesn't require humor (although the players usually add plenty of it themselves). It's usually pretty easy to come up with adventure ideas on the fly, since the genre is ubiquitous in TV and movies; I'd still find an adventure generator useful for inspiration, though.

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