Kickstarting Papers & Paychecks, an RPG where you play "workers and students in an industrialized and technological society"

A thirty year old joke by Will McLean in the first edition of the Dungeon Masters Guide features a group of fantasy adventurer types crowded around a table playing an RPG where they pretend to be "workers and students in an industrialized and technological society."

Now that game (almost) exists, in a kickstarter called Papers & Paychecks, where players must cope with a perverse universe in which the inanimate objects seek to frustrate their goals and undo their ambitions (the game's author cites "'Drop The Dead Donkey', 'Corner Gas', 'The IT Crowd', 'The Office', 'Utopia', and Interns" as influences).

I'm sure this isn't the first time this has been attempted -- certainly, the gag has a long provenance. Didn't Robert Asprin's characters play this in his Myth books? It's also featured -- as "Offices and Bosses" -- in the outstanding improv podcast Hello From the Magic Tavern.

The game will be published with assistance from the nonprofit RPG Review Cooperative Inc, who have an excellent track record, making this a very safe bet as crowdfunding projects go. AUS$5 gets you a PDF; AUD$10 gets you a PDF and print edition.

As with other classic games, "Papers and Paychecks" is a "gold piece system", but in reverse. Whereas in traditional RPGs one received "experience points" for acquiring treasure, in "Papers and Paychecks" your character will receive "treasure" (i.e., a paycheck) for having experience. "Papers and Paychecks" is also a "class and level" game however the classes are not a straight-jacket which restricts the character but rather is a set of abilities which can be changed regularly.

Like the original cartoon, task resolution in "Papers & Paycheck" is carried out with a 2d6 roll against a target number with modifiers from the characteristics, situation, etc.

Will McLean passed away a year ago on the day this Kickstarter is being launched. There is no easier way to support the humour he provided than by contributing to this Kickstarter and receiving the funniest roleplaying game ever written.

Papers & Paychecks [Lev Lafayette/Kickstarter]

Notable Replies

  1. EB01 says:

    Thanks for the article informing me of the kickstarter. I put in a pledge out of nostalgia of AD&D book that I have which had that cartoon (I still remember that cartoon).

  2. Reminds me of Cubicles & Careers. Funny shorts if you have 10 min.

  3. Thanks Cory for mentioning our Kickstarter. I was wondering whether one of the big geek fan sites would pick up on this, and it looks like you've come to the party. I was getting worried that nobody got the reference!

    (BTW, thank you for your presentation in Melbourne in 2010 - and thanks to Boing Boing crew through all these years; I remember when it was hardcopy!)

    Dan Davenport interviewed me recently on IRC as part of the interview and commented:"I have to say, this game has some solid mechanics for a game based on a joke". The review is located at the following URL:

Continue the discussion

5 more replies