Confession time: I haven’t stolen from Kelly’s Heroes…yet.
This summer I’m running ‘Rotwang’s Heroes’ with Starblazer Adventures. The plan is to run a Kelly’s Heroes scenario set in a steam-punk post-apocalyptic WWI environment. So really, as far as thefts go, this one is close to my heart.
As I try to resume blogging over the next couple of weeks—and try to be a decent dad—I’m going to chime in on how I’m stealing from Kelly’s Heroes.
Today I’d like to talk about stealing from the film’s basic scenario.
In Kelly’s Heroes you have a motley band of soldiers deserting to steal a fortune in gold. It’s a zany hybrid of war and caper genres that lends itself to adaptation as a one-shot.
The key elements to the scenario are:
A tight window: If you stick closely to the film’s set-up, even though the PCs are the only ones to know about the treasure (even its guards are unaware of what they are guarding) a clock is ticking. If they wait too long:
A clued-in member of the opposition will move the treasure
Their absence from the front will be noticed and their allies will start looking for them
Or, horror of horrors, their allies might get to the treasure before they do, screwing up the whole gig.
Multiple Hazards: The PCs should face a situation with myriad of potential hazards.
They should be behind enemy lines (or the equivalent)
Faced with environmental challenges (how are we gonna cross the river Kelly?)
They should also be in danger from the side they deserted from (if caught the best case would be for them to be hailed as penniless heroes or, more realistically, hung).
The key thing is that, from the moment the scenario starts, damn near everything is challenge the PCs need to overcome.
The climax of Kelly’s Heroes is, perhaps, one of my favorite endings of all time. It’s such that I really don’t want to ruin it. Needless to say, it is exactly the kind of lateral thinking that your players will probably come up with once you are ready for the big boss fight. The key here is to go with it. There is no obstacle that can’t be overcome by the left-field awesomeness of your average player.