December 30, 2019

Toy Story #ifthiswereaTTRPG

The previous two #ifthiswereaTTRPG posts dealt with characters who succeeded in their “rolls” – Frodo, and the President of Melcor – so today, we’re going to examine a famous failed roll from a favorite movie of mine: Toy Story.

Those that love Toy Story know the scene well: Woody, consumed with jealousy and envy over Andy and the rest of the toys’ obsession with Buzz, stares down the spaceman as he helps another toy atop the desk. Hoping to be the “one toy” Andy gets to take to dinner at Pizza Planet, Woody is confronted with a decision: does his envy overwhelm him and he try to trap Buzz in the gap behind Andy’s desk? Or will his better judgement and morals allow Woody to keep a level head?

#ifthiswereaTTRPG, and this exact situation arose, the GM would ask the player playing Woody to make a Wisdom check to see where the combination of his heart and mind takes him. A difficult roll, compounded by Woody’s two-pronged jealousy over both Andy and the rest of the toy community’s attention to Buzz.

The player playing Woody rolls: a terrible result! The GM shakes their head: “not good my friend.” before telling the Woody player that they’ve finally snapped: they rev-up the RC car and, in an ill-fated attempt to trap Buzz, instead knock him out of the nearby open window to his surely certain death below.

It’s a great scene and a great point of growth and maturity for both Woody and Buzz’s characters: Woody realizes that it’s Andy’s happiness that comes first and Buzz realizing that his worth doesn’t come from being a superhero: it comes from the choices you make and the actions you take.

If this roll were to have been a success, there would be no Toy Story. And the same is true for many TTRPGs: no all failed rolls are bad folks! Let Woody and Buzz be a lesson to all of us.