Thursday, June 23, 2011

TaleSpin D6

TaleSpin was an animated television series that came out in 1990 and lasted 65 episodes. The cast featured many of the characters that were introduced in the 1967 animated Disney film The Jungle Book. However, TaleSpin departed from the story of the Jungle Book placing the characters in pulp cliffhangers of the 1930s and '40s where the plots revolve around a community of aviators and their aquatic aircraft after the 'great world war'. All of the characters are anthropomorphic creatures and there are no human characters in the show.
TaleSpin poster by Chris Gould

There were many similarities between TaleSpin and the 1982 live-action series, Tales of the Gold Monkey. Many of the characters mirror each other in both series. The pilot, his girlfriend, the crazy mechanic, the nautical planes in the pacific, the era, even the name of the protagonist's planes are both named after sea birds- Cutter's Goose and the Sea Duck. The show was named after the saloon that centers around many of the episodes- The Gold Monkey owned by a character named Louie while in TaleSpin, Louie the orangutan owns a very similar club and hi is [gold-ish] monkey!

There is still a pretty strong following of the show and there are many great online resources for TaleSpin out there, but there is one site in particular shines for information about the setting- The TaleSpin Source Page. This site is not a wiki (I suspect it predates the wiki phase), but it is complete. The TaleSpin Source Page reads more like a digital campaign sourcebook. What makes it Geekflag worthy is the creators of the site went through a lot of effort to convert pretty much everything about the show into the D6 roleplaying game statistics.

The D6 game system was introduced in the Ghostbusters roleplaying game by West End Games. The game mechanics were developed by Sandy Peterson, Lynn Willis, and Greg Stafford of Chaosium (the Chaosium dragon logo even appeared in the Ghostbuster RPG's credits!). It became quite popular with WEG's Star Wars RPG where it found a very successful run for several years. WEG used the game system for many other liscened products, including the Indiana Jones RPG. The D6 system is a very basic dice pool system that is easy to teach and served as many's gateway game system through Star Wars. D6 is still around and is currently an open source game system.

There were a few other Disney shows that felt like they belonged in the same family that could easily be merged together into the same universe. There was Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers which was kind of the animated version of Magnum P.I./Indiana Jones and Darkwing Duck which was an animated version of the Shadow/Spirit/Batman (not that Batman needed another animation). All can be easily made into RPGs with D6 and the TaleSpin Source Page is a fantastic place to start.

The TaleSpin Source Page and sites like it are why I love the internet.

If you want to see more animated films like this, I recommend Porco Rosso.

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