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Tabletop Game / Toon

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Finally, a Munchkin-proof game! (Or not...)

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.
    • Exaggerated 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.
  • Acme Products: The Toon Ace Catalog is devoted to this trope. The setting's equivalent to Acme, as implied by said book's title, is "Ace Manufacturing", and their products (along with anything else characters might buy) are just as unreliable as Acme's are.
  • Adults Are Useless: Invoked in the "Toony Tyke Adventures" setting from Tooniversal Tour Guide.
  • Affectionate Parody
  • Anvil on Head: A common threat in the game. An anvil is treated as "the limit of common sense" when it comes to items that can be brought into an adventure.
  • Attack Reflector: Supplement Tooniversal Tour Guide
    • "CarToon Wars". Rubber Armor Coating can be applied to a vehicle to protect it from attack. When any non-sticky attack is made against the vehicle, the attack will bounce off the vehicle back at the source of the attack, harming it.
    • "Dungeons And Toons". The spell Mirrorshades gives the recipient a pair of mirrored sunglasses. If a creature with a gaze attack (such as a medusa) looks at the wearer, the monster's gaze attack may be reflected back at them.
    • In the "Star Toon" chapter, starships can have a Rebound Shield that bounces two points of damage back at the ship that attacked them.
    • "Supertoon" chapter. The Reflection superpower must be chosen to affect a specific type of attack (Physical, Mental, Energy or Magic). If hit by that type of attack, half of the damage bounces back and hits the attacker.
  • Bag of Holding: The "Bag of Many Things" shtick.
  • Banishing Ritual: The supplement Tooniversal Tour Guide, chapter "Crawl of Catchoolu". One type of spell available to Investigators is Banish, which allows you to send a Catchooloid creature back where it belongs. Each creature has a specific spell that affects it.
  • 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.
  • The Comically Serious: The Serious Police in Toonpunk, whose entire purpose in life is to be Boggled and humiliated by the Toonpunks, and characters who've lost all their insanity in Crawl of Catchoolu, whose players are advised to be as annoyingly logical and literal as possible, until the other characters make them Fall Down.
  • 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.
  • Either "World Domination", or Something About Bananas: Characters who fail "Read/Write" skill checks can wildly misinterpret what they read, like reading a "DO NOT ENTER" sign as saying "DONUTS IN HERE".
  • Emergency Taxi: This is one of the standard-issue "cartoony things". If you are in trouble or danger and need a taxi, no matter where you are, no matter what you're doing, raise your hand and yell the magic word and a vehicle will pull up immediately. Whether that vehicle is a taxicab, a tandem bicycle, or the USS Nimitz is up to the Animator's whim or a random table.
  • 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.
  • Hammerspace: 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.
  • Inflating Body Gag: One of the possible side effects when eating the moon cheese in "Spaced Out Saps".
  • Intrepid Reporter:
  • Instant Home Delivery: Toons can order an item they need, and it'll arrive by the next turn, though there's a good chance the resulting item will be "shoddy goods" that malfunction hilariously when the player tries to use them.
  • Ironic Name: A frequent source of cheap laughs, such as "The Anvil of Joy and Peace" (which falls on an unsuspecting victim's head).
  • 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. Your characters run the risk of being driven sane!
  • Mechanical Animals: In the Star Toon setting, the science officer on the USS Oversize is a robot cat named Lt Commander Input.
  • Mock Headroom: In the Toonpunk 2020 1/2 setting, "Max Playroom" is an artifical intelligence who appears as the digitised face of a cat, and can make any screen he appears on grow arms and legs.
  • Money for Nothing: There's no need to collect money to buy items- any character in a position to buy something that's not a MacGuffin or Plot Coupon is assumed to have enough money to do so.
  • Mr. Imagination: Kid characters in "Toony Tykes Adventures" gain the power "Overactive Imagination" by default, which allows them to enact this trope.
  • Negative Continuity: Mentioned as a feature when running Cartoon Series. The heroes can win an ultimate victory or have the world be destroyed at the end of an adventure, and you can still continue the series in the next session with everything back to status quo.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Characters don't die, they "Fall Down", taking them out of the action for a few rounds. (In cases where there's only one player and the Animator, they just keep going anyway.)
  • Non-Natural Number Gag: The Toon parody of Cyberpunk 2020 (in the Tooniversal Tour Guide) is set in the year 2020½. The parody of Transhuman Space (in Pyramid vol 2) is set in the year 2100 3/4.
  • Nuke 'em: Tooniversal Tour Guide. In Atomic Monster Theater, Colonel Rock Daring's policy towards giant monsters is literally "Nuke 'em!''
  • Parody Names / Punny Name: All over the place. Especially prevalent in shout-outs to popular games, movies, books, or television shows.
  • Pie in the Face: A common threat, and always stuns a PC for one round.
  • The Prankster: Your character can be one, but this pretty much defines the attitude of all Foogle Birds.
  • Reality Warper: The Cosmic Shift power allows limited invocation of this trope. When Wile E. Coyote paints a tunnel on a wall and the Road Runner runs into it, that's Achievements in Ignorance. When an eighteen-wheeler truck comes out of it and hits Wile E., that's Cosmic Shift.
  • 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.
  • Rummage Fail: This can happen to a character trying to use the Bag of Many Things shtick.
  • 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>".
  • Shout Out: Multiple examples, often via Parody Names, all with the subtlety of a falling anvil.
  • Slapstick: The game draws heavily from this style of comedy, since it's based around zany cartoons.
  • Talking with Signs: Characters can pull out signs with messages on them at any time- not only can they be read, but they can also be used (one time only) for some practical purpose, such as bludgeoning opponents or even burning as firewood. If getting firewood is the goal of the adventure, though, the signs are all made of cardboard- and vice versa.
  • 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 2020½" setting features a Toonified version of Real Life hacker and GURPS Cyberpunk author Loyd Blankenship, called Floyd Blinkingchip.
  • Vehicular Combat: "CarToon 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.
  • Zany Cartoon: What Toon does best. If you want to play a game of '80s-style action cartoons, see Cartoon Action Hour.