When I see a new roleplaying game, the first question that pops up is “what do you do?” It is sometimes called the “elevator pitch” – you’re in an elevator with a top producer and you have thirty seconds to sell the game.
The elevator pitch for The Troubleshooters is this:
“Imagine a fantastic world of the 1960s, divided by the cold war, where evil organisations try to take over the world, and superspies and secret agents try to stop them while fighting each other.
Imagine a world where you travel the world like Tintin, unmask heinous villains like Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Gang, unravel mysteries like Nancy Drew, do heists like Carmen Sandiego, stop evil masterminds like Spirou and Fantasio, solve crimes like The Saint, and even catch spies like The Man from UNCLE. That’s the world of The Troubleshooters.
Together, you and your band of troubleshooters help people, and fix the kind of problems that only you can fix.”
I think that clocks in at almost precisely seconds if I talk fast, and it covers “what do you do” as well.
So what precisely is the soul of The Troubleshooters? If you have not read any French or Belgian comics, you’re up for a treat. Most people have probably heard of Tintin, arguably the most famous bande dessinée (as they’re called), but outside that, there are hundreds of titles to look up in a variety of styles, from detailed to simplistic, from realistic to exaggerated, from fantasy to science fiction.
The main inspiration to The Troubleshooters starts with a handful of titles, set in our own world in roughly the modern era. The pair of Spirou et Fantasio, bell boy and journalist; and the young journalist Tintin and his friends Haddock, Professor Calculus, Thomson and Thompson have already been mentioned. It is curious that the two of the three main characters in the two biggest titles are journalists. It says something about the respect that journalism used to have when the characters were invented.
There are also the electrical engineer Yoko Tsuno and her friends Vic and Paul; the lawyer Gil Jourdan and his assistant Queue-de-Cerise, the pickpocket Libellule, and inspector Crouton; the military and academic duo Blake and Mortimer, and many more. All these titles are available in English by the way, should you want to read them.
Although it is in those titles that you find the core of The Troubleshooters, there are other sources of inspiration – like Lupin III, The Saint or Carmen Sandiego – which are very similar in tone and style. In fact, you could probably steal the plot of any episode of The Saint and make it into a Troubleshooters adventure. Mystery solving like Scooby-Doo or Nancy Drew would also fit nicely as inspiration for The Troubleshooters.
You can get ready to support The Troubleshooters on Kickstarter by checking out the preview page here.