Spatula City : The Roleplaying Game
Or, "Beating Up Orcs on the Information Superhighway"
DISCLAIMER Any relation to net.personages is strictly
parody-oriented. Relaxation of the flame instinct is mandatory
A cyberfantasy (whooweee!) adventure game where you and a group of
hardy individuals go on a quest to purge the net of various evils.
It's a wacky paper and pencil virtual reality game that's
All you need to play this game is a really good suspension of
disbelief, a pencil & paper or handy word processor, some printouts
of any junk here you don't feel like memorizing, 2-49 players and
plenty of time to kill. The rules are very basic and meant to be
ignored when they get in the way of the fun.
You and your band of miscreants work and/or shop at that glorious
kitchenware junkie's fix center, Spatula City, which is a small
stop on the gloriously complicated World Wide
Web where most of the adventures take place. The Internet is
divided up until Four main areas of interest for this game.
More info on these realms later. As living things in the net, your
characters have to react as if they are in danger; this ain't
Netscape, folks, you can get your ass kicked in this literary
translation of the net very easily if you don't watch it.
- Spatula City itself.
- The World Wide Web, which will not
be meta-linked again because I hate typing out hrefs. The web is
a wild place teeming with things both dull and interesting, and
very easy to get lost in.
- Usenet is a bit more wild at times, but easier to
- Anything Else such as MUDs, IRC, or America On-Line.
The object of the game is to A) Survive and B) Have Fun. Those who
do not have fun die of boredom and those who do not survive die of
death. Usually objective B is fufilled simply by going on a quest
or being tossed into the mix by your SysAdmin (the Spatula City
equivilant of a game master).
The Universe Mechanics
You have the option of taking these rules and ditching them, since
they're really simplistic. Replace with any butt-kicking setup of
your own; just look for equivilancies between the two systems for
weapons and skills.
Netizens, aka the player-characters, have four main
Every netizen in this game has two main skill areas; Combat and
Programming. Combat is just that, the ability to rend things
asunder with your bare hands (or guns, or spatulas, or nuclear
bombs, etc). Programming is the magic of the net, letting you do
all sorts of cool stuff that normal people cannot.
- Modem Muscles, which dictates how well you kick ass.
Used as the default value for any Combat skills you don't
specialize in. Scale is 1-6. Roll one six sided die to obtain.
- Brains, which demonstrates your mental skills or
complete lack thereof. When you try to Program and you don't know
the routine, your brains can act as a default value. Scale is 1-6.
Roll one six sided die to obtain.
- Kludge Factor, your hit points. You get kludged too
many times and you're dead. Scale is 1-12. Take your Modem
Muscles, multiply times two to get this... pansy SysAdmins may let
you add one or two points if your Kludge Factor sucks.
- CPU Cycles are the resources you drain upon program
execution. Losing all of them isn't bad, but it means you'd better
seek shelter, because you can't blast people with programs anymore.
To obtain your total possible CPU Cycles, take your Brains and
multiply times two. We'd suggest against modifying this, pansy
All skills, combat or otherwise, work the same. You roll a
six sided die (or boot a random number generator) twice, add the
results and check your skill; if the die roll is equal to or less
than your skill at that weapon/coding routine, you've succeeded.
If you screw up, roll again; if you get a one, you've made a
Boo-Boo, which is generally bad news, because it means
you're gonna be hurting yourself in the process of screwing up.
You can by default use any skill, using your Modem Muscles or
Brains where applicable. However, MM and Brains are both 1-6...
you're rolling up to a 12 for skill checks. That's not good. So,
you can buy skills. Each netizen gets SIX points to toy with upon
character creation. You can add to a particular skill this way,
buying more than your base MM/B values.
Okay, so you have attributes, some skills, etc. Now you need to
suit up. You can pick one ObWeapon and one
ObProgram. Ob means obligatory, a given gift for starting
netizens. Nuclear bombs are right out; let your SysAdmin decide.
You'll probably want to pick a weapon that matches skills you
EXAMPLE : Kibo has a Modem Muscles of two, which is so-so,
and Brains of six, which rocks. He figures he can kick ass with
the Brains normally, so he concentrates on getting some Combat
skills going. He pumps three of his six starter points into Blunt
Objects, giving him a Blunt Objects skill of five. He also adds
two points to Throwing People At Other People, giving him a four
there, and the last point he invests into the Program of Flaming,
giving him a nice seven to toast people with. For his ObWeapon, he
picks a pointed stick, and for this ObProgram he picks a Flame.
Combat skills are nice because weapons are good solid objects that
won't screw up on you. Programs are more powerful, but take CPU
cycles to execute, as detailed above. Each program varies in
total cycles needed; when the program is executed, regardless of
success, cycles are eaten.
Fightin' works like this; the players go around in a circle,
announcing attacks on whomever. We roll against the appropriate
skill, 2d6. If the person succeeds, remove the roll amount from
the victim's kludge.
(Yes, it would be nice to assign individual damages to all
weapons and programs, but I'm lazy. This way, if you're semi
skilled you can semi hurt people, and very skilled you'll be a
force to be reckoned with. As I said, feel free to scrap these
rules and insert your own, just keep the weapons and 'spells' the
If we screw up, we roll a six sided to see if a Boo-Boo has
occured; if we're lucky, the netizen's weapon/program doesn't have
a Boo-Boo. Otherwise, do whatever the weapon/program's Boo-Boo
suggests and continue to the next fighter.
To increase a skill beyond the six spending points given intially,
players must complete a full mission. One to three points for more
spending are given out by the SysAdmin based on sheer entertainment
value of player antics.
- Combat Skills
- BLUNT OBJECTS. You can take chairs and lamps and Pepsi(tm)
cans and beat people over the head with them. Or, better yet, you
can get a Spam Tin or Louisville Slugger and own it for close
encounters, removing the need to find impromptu blunts at the sign
of trouble. If you don't have a blunt handy but want to use this
skill, you'll have to grab a nearby object (bar stools work nicely)
and have your SysAdmin decide how much total damage it can do.
- BLADE OBJECTS. Cut 'n cut 'n slice 'n dice! These are a bit
harder to find lying around, which is why you'll want to buy a
knife to utilize this.
- WAE SPAT, the Recent Art of Fighting, with spatulas. Spatulas
work like combination blunts and blades, so you can cut or bash
whatever you'd like. Notice that Blunt and Blade together do not
make Wae Spat, nor does Wae Spat imply you can use Blunt and Blade.
- THROWING STUFF AT OTHER PEOPLE is like throwing knives, darts,
medicene balls, etc. Pretty basic.
- THROWING PEOPLE AT OTHER PEOPLE is very fun in the middle of a
brawl, and your SysAdmin can decide how much damage the tosee does
based on weight.
- DEFENSIVE DRIVING is handy when you're in a car, plane, web
browser or whatever and you want to play bumper cars.
- SPAMMING enables you to chuck Mystic Usenet Spam at people,
which typically does twice the damage of normal blunt objects.
Spamming is the equivilant of chucking ultradense lead slabs at
- MARTIAL ARTS is fun for breaking skulls with your bare hands.
Any Anime based Netizen will be requiring this. Cool SysAdmins
will let you combine this with the other skills, so you can have
stuff like Martial Arts Spamming, although how this combination
would be done I have no idea.
- GREEN CARDS are deadly plastic cards that, when thrown, do
cutting damage from across a room. Green Cards act like normal
throwing weapons, but with an added bonus; any spam chucked at the
victim in the next round is double-damage!
- DOOM skills are basic weapons skills, like shotguns and uzis
and rocket launchers. Anything that requires aim falls under DOOM.
- Programming Routines
- The ever-popular FLAME is a way to blast someone with mystical
fire from your own Ego. It's a basic Usenet weapon and is
typically found there. Flames can do anything from toast lightly
to make a hole in rock depending on your skill level and anger.
Flaming takes a single CPU Cycle. BOO-BOO will direct the
damage at yourself!
- CROSS-POSTING can double the strength of your next combat
attack, NOT programming routine. It essentially clones you off
into two parts for a short time. If you have the CPU cycles and
enough forewarning, you can have a nice strike force comprised
entirely of crossposts! Crossposting takes a lot of CPU cycles --
three to be exact, and five for any clones beyond two. Netizens
that can apply this skill creatively to non-combat situations can
get a discount on cycles, SysAdmin permitting. BOO-BOO can
mean anything from simply failing to shrinking yourself depending
on SysAdmin sadism.
- BAD HTML is a stun tactic, which can prevent the victim from
acting for a single round. It slams the victim with huge, SLIP
crunching images and gaudy blinking text. Cost, one cycle.
BOO-BOO will stun yourself and anybody near you.
- CANCELLING is a very, very deadly program which costs a full
ten cycles to execute, since it means instant death for the victim.
BOO-BOO on this is harsh; the netizen executing it dies!
- KILL FILE is a weaker cancel, which only costs two cycles.
Succeeding with this will multiply your success roll times two and
reducing your victim's kludge by that. BOO-BOO knocks you
our for three turns and takes away your own kludge.
Inventory is always nice, so here are some example objects you
might find around.
- Unholy Mace. Pretty basic blunt weapon.
- Assorted knifes, cleavers and chainsaws make great
- Throwing Spatulas. Perfect for Wae Spat, since you can
slice up close and throw from a distance. Sleek, aerodynamic and
- Attack Spatulas. Basic spatulas, designed for close
combat and meelee... they can act as blades or blunts and are
- Ukyou Special. Takes more Modem Muscles to heft one of
these, but it's worth it; you can throw, flip, pound, cut and
mutilate quite a bit with one.
- Spam. Comes in a variety of sizes, each in special
radiation shielded containers. VERY heavy, hard to throw without
spamming skill; impossible, really. Spam is a very dangerous
substance and can mutate if left out of the container too long.
- Hotlist. A small book with blue pages ("Always... blue
pages...") which you can use to link to places. Eliminates the
need for kite string when travelling the web, but can lead to limb
degeneration from lack of walking. Go play MYST for a good use of
hotlist books. :) It's not a weapon, btw.
- Really Big .SIGs act as blunt weapons, although they're
considered poor sportsmanship to use.
- The Book of ObCultRef is a MiSTie's bible, and provides
light entertainment when on the road. Beware, reciting cultural
references too often can lead to people pounding you. Not a
Okay, mayhem aside, here's some info on places and locales your
netizens can visit.
The web site of silliness and fun, where your netizens can hang
out, eat good food, purchase stuff and kick back. There's an
okonomiyaki stand, a deli and a small cafe available for
socialization, and a good magazine rack featuring everything from
Mad Magazine to Hustler. Locales of note are the Manager's Office,
home of Twoflower and the Master Control Center (hidden by secret
door)... the Shub-Manager's Office, where customer relations
hides... the Checkout Lanes, featuring the world's most inefficent
staff... and of course the Aisles, which contain more
pandimensional vortexes and sentient demonic beasts than you can
shake a number six spatula at. Whooweee.
The World Wide Web
The web is a messy place, easy to get lost in. It's essentially
like a million planes of reality, all tied together by Links
-- objects which pulsate with blue light. Pressing your palm on a
link will port you somewhere else in the web. The Transition Zone,
a null-space you float in while linking to another web page, is a
blue filled void that lasts until you can get all the inlines
loaded up. Some web pages take longer to reach than others based
on inlines. Of particular note are the Commercial Pages, which are
teeming with scrawny little salesmen that chase you around and try
to get you to buy things and Hotlist Pages, which are stopovers
contianing nothing but links. Popular or Infamous places do go on
the web are the Internet Underground Music Archive, CyberSell,
Spatula City, CyberSight and too many home pages to count.
WARNING. Netizens should enter the web with a bit of string tied
around thier waist and secured to the bike rack outside Spatula
City... the string will let them return safely. There is no
instant 'back' button in THIS web. If you're lost, you are lost
for good. Eeek.
When viewed from the outside, Usenet is a large walkup apartment
complex, slightly scorched on the bottom floors. The heirarchy
goes up alphabetically; alt first, bio, sci, rec, whatever and so
on. Inside, you can find each newsgroup as an apartment where
anywhere from five to five thousand people are packed in yelling
and shouting and trying to carry on a conversation, frequently
interrupted by bursts of flames. Most of the ALT floor is
fireproofed, although the users aren't. Usenet people are
vehemently against spam as a weapon, and Netizens that try to use
it risk Cancelling by the legendary CancelMoose, who lurks in the
corridors and shadows of Usenet and will zap you if she catches you
not working and playing well with others. This is good, because
Usenet walls are very weak; spam can damage them to the point of
building structural damage, causing a roof to collapse. Also,
rumor has it that speaking the name of KIBO while inside the Usenet
building proper will echo back to him.
Any MUDs you happen to be on are fair game; think of them as really
big web pages in terms of the game. IRC works too, sort of like
the Usenet building only less organized, with rooms ceasing to
exist every now and then and more noise. Anything is possible on
You've seen the places, let's meet the people involved. Here are
some example characters, good for use as Netizens or NPCs.
NPC CHARACTER SHEET : Twoflower
Twoflower owns Spatula City. He's a shortish, sarcastic
little person who enjoys slackness and superior HTML and really
wishes he had some CGI-BIN.
MODEM MUSCLES : 2
BRAINS : 4
KLUDGE FACTOR : 6
CPU CYCLES : 12
Running Away : 8
Wae Spat : 5
Kill File : 6
1 Walkman loaded with a NIN remix tape
1 Grunge tape
1 Anime tape
1 Garage Door Opener
LINKS : IUMA, Ranma Homepage, Spatula City, Afterlife
of Bob, Cybersight and others
2 Assault Spatulas
NPC CHARACTER SHEET : Ukyou
Ukyou is the owner of the Okonomiyaki Shop at Spatula City, a
branch out from Ucchan's in Tokyo. She has a bandolier of small
throwing spatulas and one large Ukyou Special.
MODEM MUSCLES : 6
BRAINS : 4
KLUDGE FACTOR : 12
CPU CYCLES : 3
Wae Spat : 12
Cooking : 12
LINKS : Ranma Homepage, Spatula City
15 Thowing Spatulas
1 Ukyou Special
NPC CHARACTER SHEET : The Duck
The Duck is a small bath toy, made out of a blend of metals
and plastics, chemically treated to be slightly malliable and soft.
The blend includes the body of a New York checker cab, a Volvo, and
the same stuff they make little girl's dolls out of that survive
plane crashes so news crews can find them.
MODEM MUSCLES : 1
BRAINS : 1
KLUDGE FACTOR : Infinite
CPU CYCLES : 0
Squeaking : 5
Other potential NPCs you can use : Kibo, Joel Furr, Adam Curry,
Serdar Ardric, Andrew Beckwith and Wednesday.
Okay, you and a few other netizens are geared up and ready to go.
You've got your skills and your ObPrograms and little personality
quirks, etc. What now? Adventuring, of course! Get out into the
net and rid it of evil. Here's a little number a yearning SysAdmin
can drag a group of two to forty-nine netizens through.
THE TASTE OF SPAM, or THE SPAWNING OF CANCELMOOSE
It is a quiet day in Spatula City. The netizens in your party are
kicking back and perusing the crossword puzzles over a quick
okonomiyaki when a Usenet poster rushes into the store, half-mad
and babbling, with spam-impact marks all over his body and little
nicks and cuts.
NPC CHARACTER SHEET : Insane Usenetter
MODEM MUSCLES : 2
BRAINS : 2
KLUDGE FACTOR : 4
CPU CYCLES : 4
Babble Incoherently : 8
Provide Useful Information : 4
Flame : 5
Further interrogation and Provide Useful Information checks reveal
that two new warriors named Canter and Seigel have shown up in
Usenet, and they're busy tossing around blobs of spam and little
green cards. Conversation/open warfare has slowed to a crawl as
users try to swim through the meatlike substance and several
newsgroups have caved in. Usenet is in shambles. The signal to
noise ratio is terrible. The great warriors of Usenet are MIA.
Kibo is reportedly distressed. Canter and Siegel have taken over
most of the ALT floor and are moving up the stairwell to the SCI
and REC groups.
What do your players do? If they sit back and laugh and continue
goofing off, three days later Canter and Seigel will storm Spatula
City in part of a campaign to commercialize the Web and plaster the
netizens with spam that suffocates and kills them. That ought to
teach them not to follow an obvious lead.
Upon arrival at Usenet, the smell of spam and carnage hangs thick
in the air. Users are buried here and there in knee-deep spam.
Movement is very hindered because of this; netizens will get one
turn compared to anybody elses's two turns unless they can figure
a creative way to surf the lunceon meat piles. Very few people are
of any help here, but by studying the damage a pattern develops,
which allows them to follow the trail of destruction.
The spam runs thicker near where C&S have recently visited, and
stops after alt.culture.internet, the last stop before the
stairwell up to the last of the Usenet heirarchies. Inside, the
netizens will find a small girl who is still alive because she
managed to flame any incoming spam, creating a blackened circle of
meat around her. (Since flames don't normally cut spam, this is a
clear sign of innate programming POWER.)
NPC CHARACTER SHEET : Moose
MODEM MUSCLES : 2
BRAINS : 6
KLUDGE FACTOR : 5
CPU CYCLES : 200
Suck : 100
SPECIAL SKILL : Transfer CPU cycles or skills from
victim to herself.
Flames : 12
Kill file : 5
Cancel : 2
The girl introduces herself as Moose, and says the Green Card
demons killed her mother, her father, her uncle, her dog, her Sea
Monkeys and her joy. She wants some revenge, even though she's
just a little kid. If the party refuses to let her accompany them
they'll get flamed; she's VERY good at flames. Any further
attempts to keep her away result in Sucks. When Moose Sucks
someone (NO sexual implications there, you hentai loons) it will
transfer CPU cycles over to her.
The party continues up the stairs, to the next floor; REC. (Not
the next floor, I know, but it seems to be C&S's next target).
There, the trail ends at rec.music.industrial, where C&S themselves
are busy coating the room in a thick layer of spam.
NPC CHARACTER SHEET : Canter
MODEM MUSCLES : 6
BRAINS : 1
KLUDGE FACTOR : 25
CPU CYCLES : 5
Spamming : 10
Blunt Objects : 7
Green Card : 7
Unlimited Industrial-Strength Green Spam
24 Green Cards (24)
1 Briefcase (blunt object)
NPC CHARACTER SHEET : Siegel
MODEM MUSCLES : 3
BRAINS : 6
KLUDGE FACTOR : 18
CPU CYCLES : 30
Spamming : 6
Green Card : 10
Industrial-Strength Green Spam (unlimited)
Green Cards (48)
Note : Both are impervious to flames or kill-files.
Canter and Seigel immediately try to sell you green cards. Players
who purchase them recieve them at high velocity and aimed at key
internal organs. Players who deny them get spammed. Combat
ensues; Moose takes out a small spatula and tries to carve the
surviving NIN fanboys out of the mess.
If the netizens lose, Moose will escort them to safety on the ALT
floor to recover at 80% strength. Every failed attack on C&S after
that point reduces the recovery by 20% until they hit 0% and die.
If the netizens can't beat them off, they need to find a creative
way to destroy the spammers, which is generally more acceptable
than blindly whacking them. Canter is fairly gullible, but Siegel
is not; any attempts to trick them require Brains rolls on the
spammers' behalf to see if it works. Both will fall for
The adventure can end three ways.
One, if the players can't take down the spammers at all and die.
Canter and Seigel get out of control, Usenet shuts down from the
sheer bulk of spam weighing it down and they move onto conquering
the web. It is a dark day for the net. Game over.
If they're floundering around and going nowhere, Deus Ex Machina
has to be employed. Moose explains her Suck power, and that if she
could remove skill points from the players, she could build up her
Cancel enough to destroy Canter and Siegel. If the players refuse,
they'll be toast. Otherwise, she'll strip from the player's
highest skills (a little punishment for them not being able to do
jack during this whole adventure), pump up her Cancel and go after
Canter and Siegel with a vengance. SysAdmins can roll out the NPC-
on-NPC fight if they'd like to assume Moose wins. Go to the happy
Two, if they manage to defeat Canter and Siegel, we skip directly
THE HAPPY ENDING. Canter and Siegel are dead on the ground, but
the spam still prevails. Many Usenetters have died horribly,
drowned in the meat. It's a dark day for the net.
But wait! Moose advances on the zoned lawyers, and employs the
Suck power. With some really wildly awesome Digital Domain style
special effects, Moose changes into CANCELMOOSE, heroine of the net
and destroyer of spam. She proceeds to vaporize spam all around
Usenet, and thanks the netizens for helping her discover her true
calling. The cleanup continues as the netizens go home, with
smiles on thier faces and blood in thier hearts. Award skill
points to everybody and have some nachos.
That's all, folks!
That, as we say, is the end of this fabulously unplayable RPG. If
you'd like to organize a Spatula City RPG campagn, lemme know so I
can say 'Wow, someone's actually PLAYING this?' and possibly get
involved. It adapts well to IRC or any other medium, because of
the lack of little 'hex' maps (although you can add some if you so
desire). Share and enjoy, and may the spatula be with you.
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