Toon: The Cartoon Role-Playing Game
is a silly little role-playing game, originally developed by Greg Costikyan
and Warren Spector
, and published by Steve Jackson Games. In it, players take on the roles of cartoon characters, then engage in all sorts of slapstick misadventures, either in standalone sessions or the game's equivalent of a campaign, a "show" (a recurring series with the same characters or in the same setting). They can choose just about any sort of species, give them a number of cartoon powers (from super-speed to a Bag of Holding
to shape-shifting), and then go nuts.
Several supplements — The Tooniversal Tour Guide
, Toon Tales
, Toon Ace Catalog
, Toon: Silly Stuff
, and Son Of Toon
— expand the game with new props, new abilities, new scenarios, and other additional forms of insanity.
The game is currently out of print, but e-book versions of Toon: Deluxe Edition
(which includes material from the main rulebook, Toon: Silly Stuff
and Son of Toon
) and The Tooniversal Tour Guide
are available from SJ Games' online store, Warehouse 23
This game features examples of the following tropes:
- Abnormal Ammo: Used for comedic effect in some of the settings. "Car-Toon Wars", for instance, allows players to equip their vehicles with machine guns that fire jelly beans, cream pie homing missiles, and instant-wall mines.
- Achievements in Ignorance: Characters can successfully pull off certain cartoony stunts by failing a Smarts roll, meaning their character fails to notice that what they're doing (like walking on thin air) should be impossible.
- Turned Up to Eleven by the Bozonians, an alien race from the "Star Toons" setting of Tooniversal Tour Guide, whose highly advanced civilization stems not from being super-intelligent, but from being too stupid to know that the things they build should be impossible. Visitors to the planet are strictly forbidden, to prevent someone from shouting "That's impossible!" and destroying their civilization.
- Adults Are Useless: Invoked in the "Toony Tyke Adventures" setting from Tooniversal Tour Guide.
- Affectionate Parody: The settings in Tooniversal Tour Guide, Toon Tales, and Son of Toon parody a number of genres, including spoofs of other role-playing games (like CarToon Wars, Dungeons and Toons, and Mektoon).
- Ace Products: The Toon Ace Catalog is devoted to this trope.
- Animation Tropes: Just about all of them get a nod here.
- Anvil on Head: A common threat in the game.
- Bag of Holding: The "Bag of Many Things" shtick.
- Behind a Stick: The illustration in the core rulebook for the "Hide/Spot Hidden" skill shows an elephant hiding from a hunter behind a parking meter.
- Bland-Name Product: Tooniversal Tour Guide had quite a few in the "CarToon Wars" and "Dungeons And Toons" settings.
- Born Lucky: Toons with the Incredible Luck power.
- Damage Typing: Parodied; depending on the situation, you may take anything from "Rich Buttery Flavor Damage" to "Not Being a Texan Damage" (they all just knock down your Hit Points, though). Gamemasters are encouraged to call out attacks with highly specific names, such as "slapped silly by an improbable martial arts weapon on live television damage" or "kicked in the rear by an enraged buffalo while falling down a flight of stairs holding a Ming Vase damage".
- Do-Anything Robot: The Coat of Arms power provides a similar effect.
- Fun Personified
- Funny Animal: The game provides a long list (several tables' worth!) of suggestions for your character's species.
- Furry Confusion: Discussed; the game makes a distinction between "real" animals and Funny Animal characters.
- Game Master: The Animator.
- Hammer Space: Your Toon's "back pocket".
- Improbable Weapon User: Featured prominently in the "Masters of Toon Fu" setting from Toon Tales, with weapons like double-piechuks (nunchuks with cream pies) and the hobo staff.
- Intrepid Reporter: Tooniversal Tour Guide. Scoop Mellin in the "Atomic Monster Theater" setting and Gibson Williams in the "Toonpunk 2020 1/2" setting.
- Kaiju: A prominent part of the "Atomic Monster Theater" setting from Tooniversal Tour Guide.
- "King Kong" Climb: Tooniversal Tour Guide, "Atomic Monster Theater" setting. The illustration for the Giant Hamster Kaiju shows him climbing the Empire State Building and being attacked by biplanes.
- Lightning Gun: Tooniversal Tour Guide, "Mektoon" setting. One possible weapon for a Mek is a Lightning Cannon, which is a cannon that fires a Lightning Bolt. It doesn't just damage an enemy Mek but can fry its computer and controls as well.
- Lovecraft Lite: The "Crawl of Catchoolu" setting from Tooniversal Tour Guide.
- Mr. Imagination: Kid characters in "Toony Tykes Adventures" gain the power "Overactive Imagination" by default, which allows them to enact this trope.
- Nobody Can Die/Non-Lethal K.O.: Characters don't die, they "Fall Down", taking them out of the action for a few rounds.
- Nuke 'em: Tooniversal Tour Guide. In Atomic Monster Theater, Colonel Rock Daring's policy towards giant monsters is literally "Nuke 'em!''
- Parody Names: All over the place.
- Pie in the Face: A common threat, and always stuns a PC for one round.
- Reality Warper: The Cosmic Shift power, which allows limited invocation of Toon Physics.
- Reverse Polarity: Tooniversal Tour Guide, "Atomic Monster Theater" setting. Professor Doug Graves can reverse the polarity of his portable razor and create a vibration to drive a Giant Potato Bug back into its cave.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The "Apocalyptic Big Finish" tables in the core rulebook and the Ace Catalog.
- Rule of Fun: The 50-50 rule is explicitly one of these.
- Rule of Funny: The game literally runs on this. Players can actually get bonus experience points for making the GM laugh.
- Running Gag: The rulebooks are full of these. The Toon Ace Catalog frequently mentions "small round paisley things that go 'poing'".
- Sanity Meter: Parodied in "Crawl of Catchooloo"; since toons are already crazy to begin with, they have an insanity meter instead, and hanging out with the minions of the Elderly Gods drives the PCs sane, causing them to become boring and strait-laced.
- Schrödinger's Gun: Toon characters can take up to two "Gizmos", which you later declare "oh yeah, this gizmo is a <thing I happen to need right now>".
- Screwy Squirrel: Your character can be one, but this pretty much defines the attitude of all Foogle Birds.
- Shout Out: Multiple examples
- Toon Physics: All over the place! You can fit anything up to about the size of an anvil in your back pocket, you can avoid falling off a cliff by failing to notice you're standing in mid-air, etc.
- Tuckerization: The "Toonpunk 2020 1/2" setting features a Toonified version of Real Life hacker and GURPS Cyberpunk author Loyd Blankenship, called Floyd Blinkingchip.
- Vehicular Combat: "Car-Toon Wars" from the Tooniversal Tour Guide is a parody of Car Wars.
- Wild Take: A character who gets "Boggled" (stunned) may pull off one of these.
- Writing Around Trademarks: The game is called Toon. The characters very carefully aren't.
- X-Ray Sparks: Tooniversal Tour Guide, "Dungeons and Toons" setting. The illustration for the High Voltage Handshake shows a victim of the spell displaying his skeleton through his skin.