An official Monty Python tabletop RPG is coming to Kickstarter next month, Dicebreaker can exclusively reveal.
Monty Python’s Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme, as literally no-one will call it, draws from the British comedy troupe’s entire back catalogue of TV shows, movies, live performances and music albums, from Flying Circus to Holy Grail and Life of Brian.
As you might expect, it’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail that serves as the key inspiration for Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme’s mock-medieval world, with players setting out on epic quests in a Middle Ages Britain - albeit with a heavy dose of Pythonesque absurdity.
The RPG will couple its setting with an original gameplay system said to be rules-light and designed for one-shot sessions and shorter campaigns.
Replacing the stock classes seen in the likes of Dungeons & Dragons are “situations” inspired by Python’s roster of ridiculous on-screen characters, varying from oppressed peasants, ne'er-do-wells, monks, nuns and troubadours to knights, clerics, magical enchanters, nobles and royalty.
These character situations determine and combine with five traits, drawn from a list of 20 defining attributes including glibness, musicianship, sorcery, valour, wisdom, the ways of science, chastity and humility. Each character also begins the game with an item picked from their situation’s starting selection.
As players encounter tests, they’ll roll using a die - from a d4 to a d20 - determined by how “silly” or “serious” the relevant trait’s current level is. Rolling critical hits or fails will shift the trait towards either end of the scale, as well as triggering ‘dire consequences’ on a random roll table with predictably surreal outcomes - including the chance for characters to be abducted by aliens, arrested or just plain killed.
In place of a trait, players can instead be accompanied by a member of their retinue - a companion or mount - who can be helpfully thrown in the way of danger or replace a player’s character if they do come to an unfortunate end, something said to be a regular occurrence. Or, y’know, they might just bang some coconuts together.
One player controls each session as the Head of Light Entertainment, standing in for the traditional RPG game master as a mixture of demanding television producer and overly-enthusiastic teacher. The Head of Light Entertainment is assigned one of 20 different personalities, from a sports fanatic or stuffy historian to a Member of Parliament, which can influence their decisions and trigger further dire consequences in response to the players’ actions. The Head of Light Entertainment can receive complaint letters as the result of some consequences, with the risk of replaced by another persona if things steer too far off course.
Alongside its clear Holy Grail homage, the RPG’s pseudo-medieval setting is replete with references to other Monty Python sketches and characters that form a combined Pythonverse, be it the world’s religion of Brianism - spawned by Life of Brian’s accidental Christ figure - or a medieval precursor to the Spanish Inquisition.
In an exclusive interview with Dicebreaker, Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme designers Brian Saliba and Craig Schaffer insisted that the RPG would offer more than Yet Another Monty Python Quoteathon around the table.
“What we were adamant [about] is it can't just be replication of scenes from the movies and TV shows,” said Saliba. “It's more a matter of providing a toolbox of stuff that people can create stories that feel very Monty Python without recreating scenes.”
Alongside details on character creation and the game’s original system, the RPG’s core rulebook will include pre-made adventures, a bestiary and a set of roll tables to help players randomly generate elements of the world and quests.
Also mentioned is a “backgammon-based minigame that involves dice catapults and farm animals”, named - what else - Fetchez la Vache.
Publisher Exalted Funeral will launch a Kickstarter campaign for Monty Python’s Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme in October. Among the add-ons offered through the crowdfunding campaign will be a set of Fetchez la Vache dice catapults.