Disney Noir

Category: Cussin' In Tongues
Created on Friday, 29 May 2015 Written by Steve

A year or so ago, a game I was playing in had to go on a temporary hiatus because of the GM’s work schedule, so we started talking about what to play in its place. At some point, the idea of a Grindhouse-style game about Disney Princess came up, and after a while that evolved into the idea of doing a Sin City style game set in The Magic Kingdom. We came up with some general details and made plans to play, but  more scheduling problems got in the way and the game never happened. 

Fortunately, the players at the conventions I regularly attend are used to odd game premises from the Hex team. They’ve played League of Kick Ass Dudes (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but with 80s TV action heroes) and Lock, Stock, and Two Ruby Slippers (The Wizard of Oz as a Guy Ritchie modern crime movie), not to mention Waxman’s Warriors (The Dirty Dozen in Jack Chick’s Hell) and Fratboys Vs. (exactly what it sounds like) and several other dumb ideas we’ve managed to turn into actual products. So this year at DieCon (along with a game where all the characters are the lame versions of Rob Lowe from those Direct TV commercials), I’m running this: 

Sin Kingdom: Powderkeg

Walk down the right back alley in The Magic Kingdom, and you can find anything. It’s a place where life is nasty, brutish, and short at the best of times, but even worse times are coming. The Princesses have ruled Old Town as their own personal fiefdom for years, but it’s no secret that every major faction in the city wants a piece of the action. Rumor has it that Prince Charming has brokered a truce between the Mouse and Duck crime syndicates and they’re getting ready to make their play. When that happens, it’ll be blood for blood and by the gallons. Miller meets Mickey in this Disney Noir adventure. 

What happens in this game is going to depend entirely on what characters the players choose to play and what kind of mix between Disney and Sin City they choose. The only preparation you can really do is to come up with some ideas about the setting and have a vague conflict that you can use to keep the action moving if the players aren’t proactive. That’s why the blurb I wrote leans a lot more toward flavor than details. It gets across that the game is a mashup of Sin City and Disney, that Prince Charming and the gangs are about to make a move on Old Town, and that presumably the conflict will impact the PCs’ lives in some way. 

It’s a good thing I kept the description vague, because it just occurred to me that I might want to rethink the premise a bit. So far, I’ve been thinking of Old Town as the red light district just like in Sin City, in part because that fits best with the original premise. In that game, Charming was in charge of the Kingdom and the princesses had been exiled to the bad neighborhoods (or maybe even the underground tunnels). The basic idea was that we’d be playing the Princesses as they plotted their coup attempt. The characters were Disney characters with Sin City attitude, in part because the whole idea started with the premise of “wouldn’t it be cool if Disney Princesses were shotgun-wielding badasses who kicked in teeth?” 

Anyway, earlier this week it occurred to me that the game might also work if instead of a merging of Disney and Sin City, it was more of war for dominance between the two styles. In this version, Old Town is Main Street USA, the only place in The Magic Kingdom that still retains some sense of magic and wonder. The rest of the park has become a corrupt, crime-ridden noir hell  just like Basin City. I really wish I hadn’t mentioned Mickey and Donald being gangsters in the blurb, because the perfect set-up would be for the Mouse to be the real ruler of the town and the Princesses to be figureheads with no real power. That would allow for a blatant “childhood imagination vs. corporate cynicism” theme. It could probably still work with Charming as the corporate stooge, but it’s not quite as perfect. 

So, which version of Sin Kingdom will I go with when it comes time for the game? Good question. I might end up doing one version at DieCon and another at OMGCon (where it’s also on the schedule). It depends partially on what kind of mood I’m in, but mainly on which version feels best for the characters that the players come up with. Until game time, I’ll just have to keep thinking of ways to use both versions and hope I don’t get them too mixed up when I run the game. 

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Disney Noir.
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