Skip to main content

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Dungeon Crate, May 2016

For my birthday last month, my friends got me a subscription to DungeonCrate.  This service is the RPG-focused entry in the current "crate" craze, where you pay a subscription fee and a box of themed stuff is sent to your home monthly, quarterly, or whatever. Well, my first crate arrived today, and I thought I'd go through it here on the blog.

Discworld RPG Review

The Discworld Roleplaying Game is a standalone fantasy RPG written by Phil Masters with rules based on GURPS Fourth Edition by Steve Jackson Games. It is the second edition of Discworld RPG, following the original GURPS Discworld published in 1998 and reprinted under the Discworld RPG name in 2002.

For those who may not be familiar, Discworld is the setting of an extremely popular series of fantasy novels written by Sir Terry Pratchett. The Disc consists of a flat, circular plane resting on the backs of four elephants who in turn stand on the shell of an enormous turtle which swims through space. It began as a fairly traditional — if satirical — fantasy world, but through over 40 novels, Pratchett advanced the setting into a rich canvas on which to poke fun at the peculiarities of modern life.

The first edition of the Discworld RPG was based on GURPS Third Edition, and it included GURPS Lite, a pared down version of the core system. Still, it relied perhaps too much on knowledge of th…

Voting Is Live For The 2016 Ennie Awards

The 2016 Ennie Awards are now open for voting. Go to to vote for the great gaming products in two dozen categories.

While you’re there, I hope you’ll consider voting for It’s Element-ary! for Best Family Game. I’m up against some very worthy competition, and I’m honored just to be nominated. But who knows what could happen, right?