Creating a birthday-themed one-shot

So, last year, my friend made a funny little homebrewed RPG one-shot for his birthday (we were baked goods in a supermarket choosing coatings & fillings for upgrades and making our way to his house… to be eaten) and this year I wanted to make an amusing one using the SCRPG system as a surprise.

So far, I have the concept of him being Birthday Boy. A hero who must protect birthdays from being ruined by the nefarious Party Pooper. Birthday Boy will have sidekicks like Ann Iversary and The Ent-ertainer (because some players have been a little slow with creating actual characters for our proper campaign).

I’m thinking a simple setup of trying to stop a kid’s party being ruined or a trap which transports the heroes to a pretend ‘worst birthday party ever’ for Birthday Boy himself. In terms of the environment, minions, lieutenants, obstacles and challenges, etc. I’m less sure at this stage. Clowns are an obvious inclusion, maybe something to do with a bomb in a ‘pass the parcel’ setup, maybe some actual ‘musical chairs’ with sonic attacks…

Any suggestions would be most welcome, even some extra sidekicks that would be silly fun (I’ve kept Birthday Boy himself as more of a straigntforward Supercaptain Americaman).


How about practical gifts for a minion? Plain white socks and underwear, the horror!


The heroes have to spend part of the day navigating through the Lazer Tag Maze.


That’s . . . disturbing.

On to your actual request.

There could be a lieutenant themed around pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, who is blindfolded and flails about while randomly stabbing heroes.

You could have some sort of stage magician enemy, who has illusions and teleportation and perhaps an army of rabbits.

Another option could be some minions made out of animate balloons or streamers, or both.

There could be some innocents trapped inside of a giant birthday cake that the heroes will have to rescue from being sliced up by an automated knife-robot when a timer runs out.

Or, alternatively, burrow something from one of the Adam West Batman episodes and have a giant cake made out of quicksand. (It makes just as much sense in context.)

Environment ideas could be a ball pit or a bouncy house, both of which would likely reduce the damage from attacks.

As for your main villain, here are a couple of things you could do with him:

  • He siphons the fun and enjoyment from partygoers into himself. (Archetype: Inhibitor)
  • He steals gifts from others to use for himself against the heroes. (Archetype: Inventor)

Also, a resource I would like to recommend using is this excellent Environment created by @FrivYeti.


Thanks for your help, guys.

I ran this yesterday and it went really well; better than expected, actually.

I kept things pretty simple and prepared a lot of stuff that I wound up not needing, but it definitely helps to have it ready.

So, the hero team was:
Birthday Boy: A superhero from a long line of superheroes tasked with making sure children’s birthday parties do not end in disaster.

Party Dude: The team member responsible for bringing the party vibe. A normal man called Michael Angelo, who received his powers from the mystical ‘Party Rock’, transforming him into a party animal (figuratively). With his duplication powers, he can literally create his own party as well as hype up others with his mega-megaphone. Even though he’s not a beastie boy, he will always fight for your right to party.

Disco-Tech: The one in the team who provides the music and tech. A professor who turned themselves into the ultimate disco-powered cyborg, they can light up their foes and the dance floor with both their suit and their inventions. They’re just as comfortable in a night club as a fight club.

The Ent-Ertainer. A fey creature who loves a party and thrives off other people’s joy. Hence why she took to performing magic tricks and acrobatic feats. But when it comes to defending a good time, she can sway like a weeping willow and stand strong like a mighty oak. Spoil her fun and your ass is grass.

The super villain was The Party Pooper (Disruptor/Inhibitor) who makes it his miserable life’s work to ruin birthday parties. His sheer presence is a downer for everyone as his traumatic memories from a disappointing childhood manifest as both underlings as well as disheartening thoughts that invade the heroe’s minds as if they were their own.

His two (d10) lieutenants are Boss DJ and Mister Magic, a fearsome DJ and annoying stage magician as their names suggest. They are accompanied by six (d6) clowns (who come with an impossibly small clown car that actually contains a portal to a universe of evil clowns).

As I’d not really run any homebrew stuff I was a bit apprehensive about how difficult to make it and so I didn’t bother with any of the bonuses to lieutenants and minions or extra villain abilities, etc., especially since Party Pooper was going to be messing people up with hinders quite a bit. I created a couple of straightforward challenges but only used one at first, since I figured the heroes could consider it a victory if they at least saved everyone without needing to stop the Party Pooper himself.

Birthday Boy received an ‘invitation’ from The Party Pooper, for The Worst Birthday Party ever at a local Party & Play Centre. He checked his calendar and realised it was [his real life name]'s birthday; a child whose birthday he’d saved last year. He gathered the team and they rushed to the building, finding their way to the main area where the doors locked behind them. Inside was a ball pit, a dance floor area and a bouncy castle (I printed off little location things and tokens to give a sense of space and location as we’re more typically Pathfinder/D&D people).

The first challenge up was ‘Four Candles’ (yes, a Two Ronnies reference) as four ‘candles’ (sticks of candy striped dynamite) were flung across the hall. These needed dealing with before the scene reached the red zone. Fortunately, this proved enough as the heroes contended with the Party Pooper making them relive childhood memories of receiving pink socks as a present, or weird balloon animals or Jaden not liking them really. Birthday Boy actually completely fumbled the last candle and I included an extra step to find it again. Party Dude managed to create a massive bundle of duplicates to stifle it.

As Disco-Tech had handily taken out 5/6 minions with one group attack (I rolled five 1s!), I figured I would spawn more in. This provoked Birthday Boy into booting the clown car into the stratosphere with an overcome action that succeeded beyond expectations. For rounds afterwards, evil clowns were travelling through the portal into the cold expanse of outer space.

Once the candles were taken care of, I figured it was worth introducing the second challenge. Since Party Pooper had barely been attacked, a better ending was probably needed and it felt there was more time to do that than go after him. Cue, the party hearing the muffled cries of a boy calling for help. The heroes would need to find the child and release them.

Birthday Boy absolutely tore the place apart, discovering a coffin-size birthday cake, decorated with the words “Happy Birthday, Just Happy Birthday” (the classic ‘instructions taken too literally’ error) buried beneath the dance floor. However, a minor twist meant they created a hazardous area which would make freeing the boy a bit harder. Still, they managed it and, with everyone on their last legs but all the clowns and the DJ down, made one last push to take down Party Pooper.

Disco-Tech burned all their bonuses to make a whopping big attack on the villain and then I decided to fudge it a bit by allowing Birthday Boy’s red ability that boosts hero damage to also work for minions (i.e. hero targets). This was partly because Party Dude had been rolling really terribly when trying to create minions and they’d been sacrificing themselves to ‘keep the party going’ so I wanted them to have a big contribution. This allowed the team to take down Party Pooper once and for all on the very last red zone space. With only two turns remaining, Disco-Tech finally harmed Mister Magic, only to see him throw down a smoke bomb (magic!) and escape… to exact revenge another day?

It was a great session and I love that it came down to the wire as well.


Nice! That sounds like you had a fun time, @HotHeart.

This is one of the greatest sentences I have ever heard. : )

So I see that Ann-Iversary didn’t make the cut?


Your recap of the season was a fun read!


Thanks! Yeah, it was cool that everyone got into their roles really well. I’m still a bit inexperienced with the system and got caught up in running it and making sure everyone was engaged/not being whomped on too much, so was a bit lapse with the thematic flavour of minion & lieutenant attacks but it still worked out well overall. The system really allows for lots of fun and cool moments without feeling too ‘loose’ or getting bogged down in movement speeds, AC, spell slots, etc.

I will definitely need to reintroduce the escaped Mister Magic and the space-roaming clown car at some point if we do another one or in a different campaign.

Ann-Iversary does actually exist, but wasn’t needed, ultimately. I jumped straight into creating heroes (because it’s a lot of fun!) with the knowledge that one may end up spare as the final team would depend on whether we were doing things online, including another person, or in-person without them. It turned out to be the latter and when it came to making up a ‘birthday party team’ I went with Birthday Boy having found all the right elements with Disco-Tech, The Ent-Ertainer and Party Dude: one for music, one for entertainment and one for the party vibe.

To be honest, I also wasn’t 100% satisfied with what I’d managed to build. I mean, they’re powerful in terms of die sizes and ability synergies, and I’d love to play as them (Storm & Tempest are some of my favourite super heroes), but they were pretty much a ‘weather-power super hero’ as that was how I was trying to capture the idea of all four seasons. That no longer worked with the environment I’d settled on anyway and before I altered them to another concept and to be more energy-based, it was confirmed that only three other heroes were required. The three I went with also had a nice combination of loose roles: one for boosting, one for crowd control and one for single target damage (with Birthday Boy focused on overcomes).

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This is so campy and cheesy, I just love everything about it. :smiley: Glad you all had a good time!


Love Disco-Tech! This is kinda off on a tangent, but ever since playing vs. Greaser with his hunter tech I’ve wanted a variant for him. Update his getup a couple decades and you’ve got Saturday Night Greaser who uses disco tech instead! Glad to hear there are other minds on similar tracks. :man_dancing:


Funnily enough. One of Disco-Tech’s abilities using ‘Inventions’ was Saturday Knife Fever.

Here are the heroes and the cheesy ability names, etc.


Those are some really slick character sheet templates. :open_mouth: Where’d those come from?


Fun session read, like the character concepts.

Heh. At one point in the 90s a friend of mine was writing a gonzo miniatures game (which never did get finished, much less published) and he tapped everyone in the local community to write army lists for the rules. I called dibs on the circus-themed army he wanted done up. The clowns were the basic infantry for the list, and of course their transport vehicle was a clown car with infinite carrying capacity. Also had guys on stilts with improbably huge pie-launcher cannons - really fast mobile artillery, impossible to pin down in melee but every time they fired they had to check to see if the recoil knocked them prone and left them immobile for a turn while they struggled back to their feet…er, stilts.

Fond memories of playtesting that nonsense, even if nothing ultimately came of it. :slight_smile:


This is from the amazing module for Foundry VTT created by RabidRaccoon. Roll20 is okay but this is waaaaaay better.

There’s another thread on it here: Foundry VTT support? - #2 by RabidRaccoon

It has a great compendium, which a web developer friend also tweaked with macros so you can do guided and constructed hero creation (at least I think he did that part. I did write up every single ability before a compendium came included as well. D’oh). It’s mostly drag-and-drop with a little editing, and his journal covers it step-by-step with the dice rolls as clickable buttons which spit out your options for guided mode.

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