My Little Pony and RPGs – a perfect match?
Friend of the blog Erin Palette has been running a series on the My Little Ponies done up in D&D stats.Right after I saw that, I ran across a storygames thread about “MLP” that, among random indie silliness, pointed at a really good Savage Worlds MLP mod. And that in turn mentions “My Little d20”, a d20 MLP RPG.
Of course, this made me think of the 2006 WotC April Fool’s joke about – a My Little Pony RPG!
Even at the time, it pissed me off. It pissed me off that such an obviously good idea, an idea that would result in a pretty darn popular game, was regarded as a joke by Wizards. I still remember this article unfondly, 5 years later. Now there’s so much demand on the heels of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series (which I somehow haven’t seen, despite having a nine year old daughter) that it is clearly just plain stupid that they haven’t done something like this.
Imaginative play is at a high premium with kids! Parents pay a lot for things to promote it. If they resisted the urge to make a rules-heavy abomination like D&D the engine behind it, a My Little Pony RPG (or “Adventure Game”) could be huge.
I put some thought into this when my daughter was younger. You could quite easily make a commodity RPG based on, for example, Dora the Explorer. Those episodes are very rote, the girl is on a quest and has to pass three different obstacles. You print up some “adventure sheets” with three to-do things, and a harried parent can “run the game” while doing housework. “Here, to get by the rhyming troll you have to write down a poem! Work one out together, Dora, Nora, and Whoever-you-are! Back in 5! Remember to play pretend!” It can be made appropriate down to a very young age. That article came out when my girl was 4 and I easily specced out some kid-compatible mechanics (who rolled higher on a d6 + arts & crafts!).
Of course, this is hard for most RPG companies to do. It’s not like they’re part of a huge corporation that owns the rights to a bunch of children’s properties! Oh, wait…
It’s pretty sad that we want to get a new generation into the hobby, but the most obvious and high value things that could do that are despised, and instead we think all we need is yet another 300 page rulebook slaughterfest game. Get a child psychologist, combine simple to-dos with pony figures, run a TV spot during the show (retask some of the money being flushed down the toiled advertising Green Lantern toys), and voila, the My Little Pony Adventure Game has more people playing it than every other extant RPG within weeks.