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 before continuing.


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 CYBERRIFFIC!(tm).

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.

The Setting

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.

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 attributes.

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.

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 purchased.

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.

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.


Cool Junk

Inventory is always nice, so here are some example objects you might find around.

The Realms

Okay, mayhem aside, here's some info on places and locales your netizens can visit.

Spatula City

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.

Other Places

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 the net.


You've seen the places, let's meet the people involved. Here are some example characters, good for use as Netizens or NPCs.

     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.

     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
     1 Hotlist
          LINKS :   IUMA, Ranma Homepage, Spatula City, Afterlife
                    of Bob, Cybersight and others
     2 Assault Spatulas

     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.
     Wae Spat : 12
     Cooking : 12
     1 Hotlist
          LINKS :   Ranma Homepage, Spatula City
     15 Thowing Spatulas
     1 Ukyou Special

     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.
     Squeaking : 5

Other potential NPCs you can use : Kibo, Joel Furr, Adam Curry,
Serdar Ardric, Andrew Beckwith and Wednesday.

A Mini-Adventure

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.


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
     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.)

     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, where C&S themselves are busy coating the room in a thick layer of spam.

     Spamming : 10
     Blunt Objects : 7
     Green Card : 7
     Unlimited Industrial-Strength Green Spam
     24 Green Cards (24)
     1 Briefcase (blunt object)

     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 unconvincing disguises.

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 ending.

Two, if they manage to defeat Canter and Siegel, we skip directly to :

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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