Big Mac wrote:I saw a Tarzan movie where he was brought back to the UK and told that he was an upper class dude who owned a ton of stuff...or something like that. I'm not sure if that's in the novels, or if they changed the story.
Yes, I believe the Lord Greystoke stuff is very much canon in the stories. I suppose I could list Britain or simply the "civilized world" as a place for Tarzan RPG campaigns to visit, though it would likely serve more as a backdrop location rather than the main focus of the campaigns.
But, I would have thought that the appeal of a Tarzan RPG would be to make characters similar to Tarzan, who are able to communicate with apes and other animals. I can see how you can have solo-play as Tarzan himself (like in the Endless Quest roleplaying books) but I'm not sure what sort of options (other than Tarzan-clone) you can have in a game set in the Tarzan universe.
Well, we are getting close to discussing what a Tarzan RPG should be about which is the focus of this thread
, but I agree with you that it makes sense to have wild animals be an important part of such an RPG. I can think of three ways an RPG coud handle this. 1) I like how later Tarzan movies tended to get a slightly environmentalist message where the villains would often trap animals or kill them for sports etc. If you want something like this in the RPG, there could be a rule that protecting animals, freeing them from captivity etc would gain you an XP bonus. 2) Archetypes and classes. While I think a wide range of early 20th C professions and tropes could be open to campaigns in this setting, I think that you could have Jungle Lord be a class. This means Tarzan is not the only person to have been raised by animals and become their protector. Tarzan is unique in the stories, but he could still be the most powerful character of such a role in an RPG, while allowing to have others mimick his abilities. Intelligent Ape characters could also be a viable class, especially if given abilities that make them cool in the game. 3) Have animal mastery be a kind of "magic system" of the RPG. Animals are more intelligent in the Tarzan universe than in the real world. Perhaps Jungle Lord characters and even others as well can learn to befriend animals and call upon their aid. This could be an ability that improves as the characters gain more experience, allowing for different types of animals to be called upon, or even hordes of animals.
And if you pull Tarzan himself, out of the story, do you have anything other than an African setting where some white explorers have arrived?
Well as we see others posting in this thread, there are many other cool locations in Tarzan's Universe. You could run a game with a group of European explorers, perhaps accompanied by a few African warriors exploring the jungles of Africa, but later moving on to Pellucidar or even ending up on Barsoom in a campaign that doesn't involve Tarzan-like characters at all. That is the beauty of RPGs though that you can take the setting and do things with it that are very different from what the author imagined. Assuming that is what they players are interested in of course.
Does anyone ever want to roleplay some of the apes that were in the Tarzan stories?
I mentioned this above, but if apes are viable characters in the game you need to do things to make them an interesting class. The "Animal Mastery" ability I mentioned above could easily be an area where ape characters are as talented as human Jungle Lords. Perhaps it should be added something about PC apes being particularly intelligent. PC Gorillas would also have the advantage of being physically powerful if they would even be allowed as PCs. Their big disadvantage is their inability to communicate with humans. I like how the Star Wars RPG handled Wookie characters in that they would have at least one human friend who could act as an interpreter. As long as that character was in the same room as the Wookie, the player of the Wookie could speak normally. The same could be done with an Ape character. There is an RPG called Terra Primata using the Unisystem that is designed specifically for ape based campaigns (from "Planet of the Apes" to "Congo" type scenaros).