Dice and Disney: Gaming Main Street U.S.A.

The first thing guests encounter when they enter the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is Main Street U.S.A. This land is an idealized representation of an American town at the turn of the 20th century. It features shops and walk-around characters steeped in this sense of small-town Americana.

Main Street U.S.A. doesn't have many of the attractions visitors think of when they envision the Magic Kingdom. In fact, it officially has two, but a third attraction that spans all other lands begins here. The Walt Disney World Railroad and the Main Street Vehicles are conveyances, but the Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom game mixes interactive video with trading card game elements.

So how can we use the attractions of Main Street U.S.A. to inform tabletop roleplaying? How about a worlds-spanning campaign frame that features an entire multiverse threatened by a conspiracy of villains led by the god of the dead himself?

Walking Right Down the Center

There is a town somewhere in middle America that has no name. Its few inhabitants refer to it only by the name of the central thoroughfare: Main Street. On Main Street, it is always July 4th, 1900, and no one who lives there can see differently. The town is hidden, but whoever finds it is welcomed without reservation.

The power of Main Street is in the act of moving from one end of town to the other. Any who follow the Street to its end finds that they have left Earth behind. Instead, they stand in a hub of many worlds, at the foot of an ancient castle. In every direction, paths lead to other lands: jungles of deadly adventure; an endless frontier and the birthplace of liberty; a fantasy kingdom with magic in every corner; a spaceport serving tomorrow's galactic travelers.

The wizard Merlin makes his home on Main Street to study the outsiders who stumble upon the town. He approaches those with the spark of power inside, warning them of a great threat to all the lands. Hades, god of the underworld, has grown ambitious. He seeks to rule all realms and has recruited powerful malefactors to his side. Together, these villains terrorize the denizens of all lands.

Merlin hopes that visitors from outside can defeat Hades' minions and protect Main Street and the world hub with heroism and a little magic of their own. The characters, being such heroes, must travel to all the lands, uncover the villains' plots, and foil them. If they fail, the castle will fall and Hades will rule every world that Main Street touches, including our own Earth.

This campaign frame would make for a very different GURPS Infinite Worlds game. With some tweaking, it may work in The Strange. And of course, a system like Fate could handle the world-hopping and the wide range of abilities of both heroes and villains.

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