Cartoon Action Hour blew me away in the past. A few days ago, as for being prolific with CAH, the Cartoon Mistress give a free copy of the rule book for Season 2. From this point on CAH: S2 will mean Season 2, while CAH: S1 means the previous edition.
SCANNING THE FILE:
It is a color file with act looking decent--though the most of the stuff in the third series are repeats from it's Season 1 book. The words are easy to on the eye--but you miles may vary. The file is a 145 pages-144.
As usual: Cartoon Action Hour" is split up in Channels--a silly reference to it's theme. Cartoon Action Hour allows you to play retro-cartoons.
CHANNEL #1: Introduction
The first CHANNEL is the introduction. This channel is longer then the introduction channel to the CAH: S2. They make own definition of Retro-Cartoon, which I copy from the PDF file
"Retro-Toon: n.; the style of action-adventure cartoons produced during the 1980s."
After giving that definition into a few reason why Retro-Toons were/is/still are popular. They move on talking about the game itself. This means CAH: Season 2. It's explains it's goal to have fun with the Retro-Toons of the 1980s. They is a small purple box asking if you can play in other decades (70s, 90s, & the present.), they said you can--but the game is more focus on Cartoon Action Hour--and talk about changes to Cartoon Action Hour between the CAH: S1 and CAH: S2.
You get a good page on role-playing games--this is even better then the one from CAH:S1 complete with how CAH is done. On these pages, you get blue bars revealing that the failed villian, Kraggor is back--joined by his heroic rival, John Bravesteel. There are from the same failed terrible retro-cartoon series, "Galactic Heroes". They start appearing in blue boxes in Channel #2 to the end of Channel #5.
Then it's time for gear up. You need pencil, some scrap paper, a CAH: S2 character sheet and a handful of D12s, twelve-sided dices. Next is definition of what's important terms: Traits are what the character can do and how well, or what he possesses and good the item, animal or vehicle is. OOMPH is certain edge of the heroes have other villains. OOMPH can be use to amazing thing that can help the heroes.
This channel ends with cartoons that you should view before playing the game: From "Blackstar" to "Visionaries". Though I think Jem should have the queen of the Action Girl Queen instead of She-Ra, but to make a new saying out of old phrase, "Different shows for different folk!" Hey, I'm not the only who had a love for Jem. As a reviewer for CAH: S1 said, "Go ahead and laugh."
CHANNEL #2: THE SERIES
This series guides the GM how to create the series for his players. They also tell you can really wreck the rules as usual. The first step to the series is the name:
I.E.: Jessica wants to make a series. She decide to make "Weird Adventurers Inc." as she's been waiting a real world weirdness programs for a week.
The next step is the tagline:
I.E.: Jerrica thinks for a while and come up with following tagline:, "When the evil crime lord, Mr. Big, threats the world, only the members of 'Weird Adventurers Inc.' can stop Mr. Big and his criminal-minded friends."
The next time is the premise--a summary of what's the series is all about. This sliced up for five sub-sections: originality (who fresh or stale the series is), gimmicks and fads (what might be in the toys), protagonist roles (heroes), antagonist roles (villains), and primary setting (where the story takes place.)
I.E: Jerrica thinks for a while--and comes up with the idea of having humans that are descents of mythical creatures--and comes up with the following for her premise for the series: "All mythical creatures really exists--and those mythical creatures who were written as evil written as . Mr. Big wants the legendry mythical objects to might allow him to control everyone on Earth. Five descents of these mythical creatures started a "Weird Adventurers Inc." company to find and kept mythical items save from Mr. Big."
The next point stuff to do it tell how much Proof of Purchase Points (the CPs of CAH:S2), the Maximum limits for Regular Traits and Action Traits (weapons, gadgets, vehicles and companions), and Miscellaneous Rules (extra rules for the species)
I.E.: Jerrica thinks that 80 would be perfect for this series. She decide the limit of Regular Traits is 6, and takes 10 as the limit for Action Traits. Under miscellaneous rules, she writes: "PCs must be workers for "Weird Adventurers Inc." & "PCs must be decent from a mythical creature."
The following ends the series creations, New Rules (Any new rules that the GM comes up), Modified Rules (Any rules modified by the GM), Primary Cast Members (the PCs and their characters), and Support Cast (list of important NPCs)
CHANNEL #2: CHARACTER CREATION:
This channel deals with the creation of the PCs characters.
The first step in the name of the character.
I.E: Amy is making a PC in Jerrica's game of "Weird Adventures Inc." She decide on Wotera, a decent of a mermaid. She doesn't know which kind of mermaid, Wotera would be. She will figure that out once she gets to the appearance.
The second step is the series.
I.E: Amy writes down "Weird Adventures Inc" for the series.
The third step is the group affiliation
I.E. Amy writes down "Weird Adventures Inc." for the group affiliation.
The fourth step is appearance:
I.E.: Amy decides that Wotera is a regular mermaid--half-woman/half-fish, but she's about as pretty as a half-woman/half-fish were written. She decides to write down, "Wotera appears to a dark purple hair, dark gray eye, snake-green tail mermaid, her skin is littler grayer then a regular mermaid. She covered her chest area with a dark brown shirt."
The five is factoids-small facts about the characters, so you had to write. This could help you out in the following steps.
I.E.: Amy thinks for a while, and writes down the following facts for: "moans in her sleep", "not as pretty as the written mythical mermaid", "doesn't like to perform anything for non-friends"" and "drinks too much soft drinks for her good."
The fifth step is Subplots. These are stuff that can wreck your PC's day--but you get OOMPH for them when they come up in play and effect your PC badly.
I.E.: Amy decides on the subplots: "Physical Flaw (no legs)", mermaid are half-human/half-fish--so they don't have legs, & "Metal Hang-Up (Hyper-Active)", dude to the factoid: "drinks too much soft drinks for her good"
Step 3 is the creating Traits. Using the PoPPs you GM give you. You have the write to make anything. You can write "Superhero", "Wizard" or "Ninja" and that would be good--but you will up the river with out paddle to help you if fight guy "Tank Superhero", "Fireball Tossing Wizard" or "Martial Artist." To get Bonus you pay +1 PoPP for every bonus--until you past level 4--then it doubles by 2 and you get 1 PoPPs back for every Restrictions--but they are a few exception: You pay 3 PoPPs for the "Bonuses of Clusters" & "Specialty"
I.E.: Amy read the rule book and decide on listing what she summaries mermaid to be, avoiding "No Legs" which she written down as Subplot, on follow list with number
Fish Skin 6 [Enhancer +3,Disadvantage: Only protect from bottom half of Wotera.](8 PoPPs)
Swimming 4[(Specialty] (7 PoPPs)
Sweet-Talking 3 (3 PoPPs)
Clever 4 (4 PoPPs)
Trident 6 [Enhancer +3, Advantage: Can be only touch by a mermaid,, Accessory] (10 PoPPs]
Singing 6 [8 PoPPs]
Junk Food Knowledge 2 [2 PoPPs]
Mythical Knowledge 3 [3 PoPPs]
Strong 3 [3 PoPPs]
Good Eyes 4 [4 PoPPs]
Cannon Ball 6 [Enhancer +3, Disadvantage: Must drive from high group into water, Disadvantage: Target must be in the water, One-Shot] (6 PoPPs)
Pop Culture Knowledge 2 [2 PoPPs]
She stops here--and allows Jerrica to check her characters. Jerrica approves the cartoons. It's all downhill from here now for Amy.
Between this step and the following are the rules for creating companions, vehicles and alternate forms--but all their cost by numbers go up by 1. So you don't pay 8 PoPPs for a Trait with 6 for a one of these, but 6 PoPPs for that 6-ed Trait.
The final steps are the Stats: OOMPHs, Threshold, Batting Rating. Base Oomph start 2, It cost 4 to up your OOMPH by one, and starting character can't be higher then 4.
I.E.: After talking with Jerrica for while, Jerrica decides take the left 12 PoPPs and will add to PoPPs Amy get after the season is over. This leaves 8 for Amy to use. This means she move up 3 and 4 with no problem. She pays the 8 and writes OOMPH 4 on her fold.
Threshold is how hard tough it to get your character Insta-Defeated. It's figure by adding your starting OOMPH + 8.
I.E.: Amy adds 4 + 8 and gets 12. Wotera's Threshold is 12.
Batting Rating is used for scene-based combat--it's shows the character's overall efficiency in a fight.
I.E. Amy writes down 6 for Wotera's Battling Rating--matching the Fish Skin and Trident traits.
This channel ends with some rules--as well as sample traits to swipe if you are in hurry.
CHANNEL 3: RULES
This covers the rules--covering when the rules come up, time in CAH:S2, tasks, making checks. Checks are numbers from he GM that shows easy or hard a task is. The PCs offers a traits--and if the Gm rolls the D12 to see either or not he does good
I.E. Wotera is looking in for clues to find out who stolen old key from a history museum Jerrica sign is as 8. Amy offers up the Good Eye Trait 4. Jerrica thinks his is good, and drops the DN down to 4. Now Amy rolls and get 2+4=6. 6 is higher then. Wotera will find the clue.
Detriment Dices for when things are a problem for a character. A Goon Squad usually comes with this. 1x means one Detriment Dice, and 2x means two Detriment Dices
Benefit Dice for when the character has a specialty or facing some one with less focus trait.
I.E: Wotera is trying to swim fast to catch up to Mr. Big's boat, Amy uses Wotera's Swimming Trait. GM said DN is 9 This has a specialty attack to it. She rolls 4, 2, and 10. 10 + 9 = 19. Wotera easily catches up to Mr. Big's boat and may be right on the deck of it..
The following pages after the dices explain the following: trait rating adjustments, difficulty numbers, flubs (if the dice lands on 1, it's an auto failures), Boons (if the dice lands on 12, you get to double the trait or +1 if the trait is 0), Degree of Success, Opposed Checks, Situational Adjusts, Apply Trait Focus, Teamwork, Chases, Turn-Base Combat (This talks about normal combat in CAH: S2), Defeat (when happen when characters' lose.) And finally OOMPH is talk about--Every PC has OOMPH and send it some stuff--you need to get it by doing: Dealing with the characters' subplots, role-playing creativity or in spirit of a retro-toon genre, and participating in accomplishing the primary goal of the episode. Thought the GM may add to this list.
Similarly the GM can take away OOMPH if the PCs does the one of the following: Attacking another PC; Acting in an extremely violent manner, A male character striking a female character (a big no-no in the retro-toons), Acting in a very uncooperative or anti-social manner (some characters have personalities that allow them to get away with a little bit of this but not an excessive amount), Attacking an innocent NPC without provocation, Failing to help friends in need (even heroes with selfish tendencies always ended up coming through in the end), and having their characters curse or use tasteless humor.
These rules had expectation is "After-Show Messages"--as they aren't of the show's continuity. Oomph is 'tough money' to help your characters when the going get tough. They is no limit to OOMPH, but it's easier to send then to hang on.
What you can send OOMPH on: Re-Rolls (to redo a roll.), Counter-Attack (to attack after an enemy attacks.), Extra Effect (for a extra dice on a check) and Creative Control (which is sliced up into tips--Scene Alterations (for location changes) and Traits Alterations (for characters changes. You can't get OOMPH back from a episode, so "go out and send do impractical stunts with enough irresponsible to make a teacher have a very big nervous break-down." You can toss OOMPH to you help your pals or a good NPC out of a jam. and you can send them on your companion (a pal that always with you) or your vehicle.
After this, they is a pretty good sample of turn-based combat. Them discussed scene-base which this used on the follow three things: 1) When time is short, 2) when the fight is not totally important, and 3) When the PCs are fighting Goons. It's only one dice. Flubs and Boons act like they usual do. Oomph send be send but only for Re-Roll.
The next stuff to talk is how to improvement characters. You tally experience points on the episode where PCs play a important roles--this doesn't count brief appearances and cameos. You get 1 EXP for every episode. The exception is "After-The-Show Message", characters doing things gets 1 EXP for it. This is not cumulative--so you can't get two experience for appearing in two of them. Once Experience Points are count, you can roll the dice for improvement roll.
I.E.: Wotera had appeared in 7 of 8 episodes for the season. She appeared in one "After-The-Snow Message". 7 + 1 = 8. Wotera has 8 EXP. Amy rolls a dice and gets 7 for 3 PoPPs. 8 + 3 = 12 PoPPs. she thinking of modifying a few traits as she knows base OOMPH can't go higher then 5.
You revamp by your character by doing one of the following: Get rid of a Trait and gain a number of Proof of Purchase Points equal to the amount itís worth, Reduce the rating of a Trait by any amount (down to a minimum of 1), With GM's permission you can remove a subplot for keeps or replace with another, With GM's permission you can add and subtract any number of factoids, increase a trait rating, Add a new trait with the GM's permission, add a bonus to a trait, add a restriction to a trait, removing a bonus from a trait, remove a restriction trait. Don't forget to change the Battle Rating if you character's primary combat has been increased.
I.E.: Amy adds a new trait, "Agile" with 6 to it. Amy doesn't do any more. Since 6 is the Battling Rating, but Amy now have some new choices for combat moves.
Channel 5: Game Mastering
If you a fan of CAH, you should have read this chapter--as it's was the sneak preview. Every role-playing game has a Game Mastering expect--and CAH: S2 is no expectation to that rule. NPC don't have OOMPH written up--but they aren't OOMPH-less as the GM has a OOMPH pool he uses for. The GM can do the same players with the expect of Creative Control. The amount is equal to the number of player in the game + 6. The GM can get up to 4 OOMPH by active the NPCs subplots.
I.E. Jerrica has 4 players for the latest episode of "Weird Adventurers Inc." Jerrica adds 4 + 6 = 10.
For two OOMPHs, the Master Villian can do tricks such as: Villainous Escape, Traps, Motivate, Big Speech, and Kaboom.
The talk about how to create NPCs in two different ways--standard to how the PCs were built or now by the freeform method. Following is two commercial break tables that either help or hinder your players. You can use to three of them. To use it, have the person that send the most OOMPH up to the commercial break since the last or the being the episode if this was the first vs. the GM . If the GM wins he rolls a Table #1, which is fill with mostly bad stuff with the expect of "Snack Time!", which means he helps the others with food and soft drinks and gets a point of OOMPH in return. If the Player wins, he rolls on Table #2, which seems to have mostly helping hands.
I.E.: It's time for the second commercial break for "Weird Adventurers Inc.", Amy has send the most of OOMPH since last commercial break. Amy rolls a dice and gets 8. Jerrica, the GM, rolls a 5. Amy is the winner and rolls on the 7. This is "Kid Power!" This means the kids want the heroes to squash the bad guy very badly. A random Player can force a vile NPC to roll a Detriment Dice. This must be declared before the roll is really made and can be use before the next commercial break.. It can only be use once.
The next summarizes hazards: falling, drowning, fire, and quicksand.
The following takes about NPCs--using the system as the characters or not using the system. The first once allows you to balance out both the heroic and villainous characters, while the second one saves you time. Next, they talk about types of heroic NPCs: Lone Ally , Teammates, and Comic Relief. After that it's the vile NPCs; the Rogue Gallery (the villains that the heroes will face more times then not.) They are four characters of vile: Master Villain, Leader, Henchman, and Goon. Then they give you the rules for creating Goon Squads. After this, it's three-act summary of a 1980 cartoon: The Set-Up, The Confrontation, and The Resolution. Then there is a good list of goals after a episode. Next up to bat is secondary plots, followed up by using themes--and something worse then Commercial Breaks--mini-series, episodes that take longer then 30 minutes to tell a story.
Following that are job of the GM: Master of the Storytelling (explain area and what NPCs are doing), Master of Acting (voicing NPCs), Master of Refereeing (keeping players in-line.), and Master of Rules (Controlling the rules). Follow by basic GM skills: Descriptions (how to do descriptions correctly), Fudging (cheat in favor of the players), Pacing (doing pace correctly.)
Now it's time for whipped cream on the top of the CAH:S2's sundae: Embracing the Genre: Cartoon Logic (Weird stunts that heroes and villain do), Cheese And How to Do (Ways of making it look and sound like a real retro-toon.), After-The-Show Message (how to run this--moral of the story and safety taps.), Multiple PCs (For load of character show similar to "G.I. Joe" the Player might have more then one character per person.), 30 Minutes Episodes (How to run the game in the same amount the time the real retro-toons of the 1980s usually air for.), The Movies (how to make movie for your series.), The Star of The Show (How to use the Star of the Show as part of your fictional series.), and Cut Scenes (how to use cut scenes)
Appendix 1: Featured Series
Finally, we get to the three cherries on top of CAH: S2's huge sundae: which are the fictional series. Which contains 2 old pals from the CAH: S1, and somewhat old kid that some how become adult. Each series contain guidelines for the PCs, NPCs stats, and of course, and episode seeds.
We start with the first old friend from the CAH: S1's rule book, "Warriors of the Cosmos". This is science-fiction/fantasy in the style of He-Man. The evil Nekkrottus and his Blackskull Empire has conquer most of the largest countries on Iconia. Only one country is still free: Haven. The king of Heavan, Rastor, put to together group together to defeat Haven and stop Nekkrottus and the Blackskull Empire for good. It's fictional present is looking good.
Next up the old kid that somehow become adult. It's a Series Seed written Tim Kirk for CAH: S1: "Strikeforce Freedom". This is military series in the style of the comic book version of "G.I. Joe." The heroic "Strikeforce Freedom" prevent the evil General Arachnid and his terrorist group, "SPIDER", from putting it's boss in control of the entire Earth. It's fiction life ended when the another show lure the kiddies away.
The second old friend is CAH's answer to "The Transformers", "The Transbots" like "The Transformers" is a science-fiction with it's feet grounded on Earth with exception of two episodes taking on the moon. The Transbots are the only one that can stop Vandal and his Warbots from allowing Maximillian Mercy from conquering the world. The fictional reboot went badly for this fictional series.
Appendix 2: Miscellaneous Stuff
This appendix contains the following: A column from Norbert Franz on how to transform CAH: S1 characters into CAH: S2 characters; the series sheet, the character sheet, and some designer notes from our Cartoon Mistress.
This season of CAH is one that should be air every Saturday morning.