If you're the parent of kids in the 5-10 year age cohort, chances are you have heard of Skylanders. If you have kids like mine, every conversation you have with them quickly turns to Skylanders. Before they will tell me if they want cereal or waffles for breakfast, I have to decide if I prefer Drobot or Flashwing (Drobot, of course). For the uninitiated, Skylanders is a toy line and a video game all in one. It includes a line of collectible figures, not surprisingly known as the Skylanders, divided up into eight elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Life, Undead, Magic and Tech. Within each element are several characters, some are elementals, some are robots, there are also elves, dragons, undead creatures and anthropomorphic animals, and a few that simply defy easy description. The really clever part is that each figure has a radio frequency identification chip embedded in the base. When the figure is placed on a device called a portal, which is available for both Sony Playstation and Xbox, it becomes the character in the game.
The game setting is a world called the Skylands (what can I say, it's a kid's game), where towns and villages float in the air high above some unknown land below. Airships fly from one skyland to another, which are populated by a race of anthropomorphic animals known as the Mabu. There is also a wide variety of bad guys including the lowly (but annoying) Chompies, Drow (rhymes with snow), various troll-like things and Arkeyan robots. The Arkeyans were a race of evil robots than conquered and enslaved the Mabu 10,000 years ago. Although the giant Arkeyan robots were defeated (by the original Skylanders) and locked away in the Lost City of Arkus, many of the lesser Arkeyan robots remained scattered throughout the Skylands. There's a lot of potentially good stuff in there for a role-playing game, but it doesn't get developed much in the third-person shooter game. As my kids are getting close to the age at which they could handle a tabletop game, I'm curious if anyone is aware of any attempt to design a Skylanders tabletop rpg. Given the wide range of abilities displayed by the various characters, I would guess the best system would be some sort of superheroes game. Anyone know of an supers system that elementary school kids could handle?
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