Wednesday, September 7, 2016

'The Lost Saucer' 1975 Kids Show As A Quick Random Encounter For An Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaign Jump Starter.

The Lost Saucer was one of those 1975 Saturday morning CBS entries in the Kroft Super Show which was slotted back to back with a whole package of other kids shows. The reason why I mentioned Lost Saucer is that last night's game jarred a very old campaign idea from the dark recesses of my mind. First let's look at the basic plot and opening of The Lost Saucer. Fi (Ruth Buzzi) and Fum (Jim Nabors) were two really annoying androids who landed on Earth and invite two kids to go up with them in their space ship. Umm yeah righto. But hey this was a Saturday morning kids show and we really weren't thinking of strangers with vans or candy at the time.

Now I've been on a Logan's Run post apocalyptic kick as of late what does this have to do with the Lost Saucer? Everything and nothing at all but when your a dungeon master you make odd leaps and connections with stuff especially as a kid back in the 70's & 80's.
"The Lost Saucer was about two friendly time-travelling androids from the year 2369 named Fi (Ruth Buzzi) and Fum (Jim Nabors) who land their flying saucer on present day Earth. They good-naturedly invite a young boy named Jerry (Jarrod Johnson) and his babysitter Alice (Alice Playten) to check out the interior of their craft.

As onlookers begin to gather though, the two androids become nervous about attracting attention and abruptly take off with Jerry and Alice. The flying saucer has the ability to travel through time, but the controls which allow the androids to specify an exact date become damaged, thus preventing the androids from returning Jerry and Alice to their rightful time and place."
Here's where we part ways with the Lost Saucer right out of the gate. We're going to start taking a look at the nuts and bolts of the basic plot of the show but only superficially.  If we start taking apart the basic plot  outline of the Lost Saucer there's a lot of stuff to use for an old school game campaign there especially with a time travel  or alternative world twist to it. Way back when I was nine year old dungeon master I didn't have huge number of players for a Gamma World campaign. The guys wanted a Dungeons & Dragons campaign & I had the Dragon magazine with the crossover article. So without blinking an eye I got rid of the kids and the annoying androids ( I switched em out for some Gamma World androids) & suddenly the party was off to other worldly adventures. Mess with the androids and the saucer blows up killing you and your party out of the local time space continuum. That saucer is the classic 'Forbidden Planet' type with a time drive or two fitted in. This means that its easy to use and a sweet ride.

My androids from most of my post apocalyptic games come straight
from the Time Travelers 1964 show room.

There several important elements that work with this type of a campaign especially for smaller groups of players. The androids are time travelers from the year 2369 and in my own Gamma World campaign they were being sent from Cybernetic installations back in time to try and figure out what had happened during the Apocalypse. They also gathered local specimens to take back with them to the science facility located in a Thundarr the Barbarian style future. Add in cowboys from Boot Hill, Gangsters From Gangbusters, or any monster from the Monster Manual or mutant menace as needed. This sort of a campaign works especially well with a smaller venue of players and requires none of the really major dust up for a huge amount of prep time. Flipping adventurers from Labryth Lord or Mutant Future is only a saucer ride away and it retains the saucer in the DM's purview and control.

Sorry no Dorses are required on this trip.

Back in the Seventies it seemed that UFO's were everyplace so why not take full advantage of this situation.Where original show tried to work in moral lessons & hit its kid audience over the head with some great truth;"Each episode had a specific theme, usually a social or environmental one. "Fat is Beautiful", for example, depicted a future in which people were grotesquely obese due to over-dependence on push-button conveniences, and leanness was in fact outlawed. In "Get a Dorse", two scientists kidnap the Dorse to use as a power source because the world's fuel supplies were finally used up."  What we're going to do is to use the saucer and androids as a means to get your adventures from point A to alternative world or time line B. One of the retro clone style games this works well with is Dungeon Crawl Classics & incorporating in getting your adventurers over to Merica from the Crawling Under A Broken Moon fanzine.

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