(I know I should be working on any number of other projects right now, but this is one of those “Write it down or I’ll forget it” things – and the best place to keep things I don’t want to forget is one the blog.)
Since Jem and the Holograms is one of Robin’s favorite childhood cartoons and Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is one of her favorite anime, I have, from time to time, contemplated running a campaign about musicians. Attempts so far have not been particularly successful, but I think I might have figured out how to make it work.
Music = Magic
Not (necessarily) in the D&D bardic style, but rather in using the mechanics of spellcasting in order to simulate the drama and challenge of performing. It seems to me that the music itself should be some sort of mini-game with its own evocative flavor, rather than being a dull series of skill checks. There should be some magic to making music, and an obvious way to do that in a tabletop RPG is to use the game’s magic system.
(Alternatively, of course, we could always bust out the karaoke machine or LEGO Rock Band, but that has its own limitations.)
I’m just tossing out ideas here – I would certainly not claim to have the whole thing thought through – but…
Actually, doing “magic songs” could be perfect for Jem. Let’s think about that for a moment in Savage Worlds terms. Got an orphan who is down in the dumps because peer pressure’s getting to her? That’s being Fatigued and can be cured by a song of succor. Want to race in the Indy 500 in order to show up your rival? Sing a thrashing song of speed to get your car moving or boost/lower trait in order to boost your Driving skill so you don’t crash into a wall. Want to jumpstart a new romance? That would be… Umm… We’re going to need a few new powers.
Concerts could be a way to earn Power Points or Bennies. Maybe they’re essentially rituals? There should be some reward system where the difficulty of the set list (or successes for invoking certain effects) grants extra benefits. Maybe they’re used to generate Fame points for something similar to Pirates of the Spanish Main’s fame/infamy scale…
Dang it. I think I’m on to something. Too bad I don’t have the time to work it up properly.