It Came From the Late Late Late Show

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It Came From The Late Late Late Show
LateLateLateShow.jpg
RPG published by
Stellar Games
Authors Bradley K. McDevitt
Walter H. Mytczynskyj
First Publication 1989


Setting[edit]

A mixture of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Paranoia. The system is comparable to a simplified version of Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, or Basic Roleplaying System. Players play actors in bad movies worthy of being shown on late night public access television, where the GM takes on the role similar to a film director. The game's mechanics incorporate breaking the fourth wall by allowing the players to walk off the set and storm to their trailers, or gambling their fame points to create a film break, which fast forwards the action to a future point in the movie where the players are out of harms way, as long as they can come up with some reason for how they escaped whatever monster was about to kill them. Settings are usually in typical horror locations: cabins deep in the woods, campsites near stagnant lakes, and so forth.

Mechanics[edit]

Character Abilities[edit]

The character's core abilities are:

  • Build - Measures core physical power and fitness. Affects hand to hand combat and talents like melee weapon use, intimidation, construction, ect.
  • Dexterity - Measures dexterity and agility. Used for stats like driving, hunting, and lock picking.
  • Brains - Measurement of mental faculties.
  • Looks - Measures overall attractiveness. Acts as a sort of charisma stat.
  • Fame - The stat that sets the game apart from other RPGs. Fame measures how well known an actor is, and since this is about B-movies they don't start with much! But it works as a stat and a bennie system all in one. It can be used to try to throw your weight around to get your way if you don't like the way a movie is going. Once per movie (adventure), an actor/player can roll vs. fame to storm off set until they get their way. Successful rolls means the GM has to find a way to meet the actors demands, or come to a compromise. Failed rolls, means the player has to accept their fate. Can also be gambled to break the film and forward the film to a safe point in the future, where the actors have escaped danger. Functions as somewhat of a Luck/Charisma stat. It affects almost everything in one way or another. Good GMs can work this for scenes outside of the movie.
  • Survival Points - Basically health points. Determined by adding an actor's build and fame.

Character Generation[edit]

It Came From The Late Late Late Show (LLLS), while being a fairly rules-lite system has something of a drawn-out character creation system.

First, the player rolls 4d10 for each ability except Survival Points which are added together from two other abilities. While the game doesn't specify if you can roll first then assign them to preferred abilities, it's permissive enough that it would be reasonable to allow it. When you've statted out everything except Survival Points, add together Build and Fame. Second, the player rolls 20d10, yes that's rolling a d10 20 times, and lists out the numbers so he can assign them to the talents (skills) they want to. A player can add a number to a skill more than once, however they cannot divide a single number among multiple skills.

A character can boost a talent in certain movies by "Talent Coaching" which boosts a talent to 20 if it's something they'll be using heavily for the adventure, but are lacking it on their sheet. A player can also be coached by an Expert, boosting it to 50.

At the end of a movie, the player gets 10d10 to be spent on talents, and 1d10 that can be added to their fame.

In Game Mechanics[edit]

LLLS is a percentage based system. When you attempt a talent, you'll attempt to roll under. A roll of 00(100) is an automatic failure. Monsters who surprise the actor have a chance to scare them. Roll vs. Fame, to see how the actor reacts. Combat is straight forward. Monsters have an FX skill (Special Effects), that dictates all their abilities. Their attack damage is a set number that they do every time so long as they successfully hit. There is no Initiative. Combat order of operations is always:

  • Actors first allowed to perform a move and/or a talent.
  • Extras and Co-stars (Main actors played by the GM) go next
  • Main movie monster next
  • Extras that work for the monster

Characters can have a stunt double that can be called, allowing him to take damage for the player. He has survival points equal to the player's character's survival points. Once they're exhausted, they can't be used for the rest of the movie.

Acting Appropriately Stupid[edit]

Since this a game about shlock horror, and not actual good horror, extra fame point rewards are encouraged to be awarded for particularly stupid acting, so long as it's not too obviously suicidal. Be an easy blond, then wander off alone into the woods. Go investigate the killer in the basement with a flashlight that has a dying battery. "Are you guys out there? Stop it you guys, this isn't funny". "Let's split up the party". If the killer seems to be dead, NEVER empty the gun into his forehead.

Tips for Game Masters[edit]

  • A player can use their Fame to walk off the set. So can a monster. If things are going to well for the players, have the monster throw off his Halloween store mask and storm away until he can be a better threat for the actors.
  • Have them play a certain amount of game outside of filming so they can do things like sneak stuff out of the Prop department, then roll vs. the Fame rating of the item to see if anyone notices it going missing. If so, have studio security show up and take it from them when they need it.
  • Abilities other than Survival Points and Fame are set in stone. Or you can offer them to chance to take a job between movies, and then let them trade Fame for abilities.
  • If you're haven't a clue what schlocky, campy horror films are or how their typical plots go, a good place to start is to watch the Grindhouse series of movies from 2007 and its myriad fake trailers, which were made to parody the low-production values and outlandish, less-than-believable plots of old exploitation flicks that used to be screened in old drive-in movie theaters and crusty, ill-maintained "grindhouse" movie theaters. Watch the entire collection and you'll have ideas for 6 new LLLS game sessions just there for the writing.

External Links[edit]

  • Here's a good intro video and a good ending video for an LLLS campaign. Coming soon to a Drive-In Theater, an old film reel projector, a rabbit-ears TV set, and even a Windows 95 PC near you!
  • If GURPS is your thing, they have a book called Atomic Horror that covers a lot of similar material involving cheesy horror.