Grab your darkest sunglasses and trenchcoat, this week we’re jumping into the internet of 1999 as we play D&D in The Matrix.
I fell down a bit of a rabbit hole making this sheet (pun only partially intended). How would you play any approximation of The Matrix as a tabletop campaign? What would that world look like? Is there an official Matrix RPG? After probably too-much research on my phone and some heavy-duty nostalgia I found that no, there never was an official RPG even if it would have been very cool. The Wachowski sisters apparently didn’t have enough time to commit as much time and energy as they would need to oversee an entire roleplaying game. While all of that is a bit of a bummer, it did lead me to find a few man-made options and got me thinking a whole lot about how to add some of those elements to my next D&D game.
Right from the top, The Matrix would be a wild tabletop campaign to actually play. You would make a level one character, spend one session trying not to die as the GM throws weird scenarios at you, and then offers you an NPC with an invitation to the rest of the game. And then in the next session, you are suddenly nine levels more powerful and have an entire adventuring team. Honestly, that sounds pretty awesome. I made Neo from for shortly after that initial power boost. Sure, he eventually gains god-like powers and can eventually fly, but those come a little later.
For powers, speed, and abilities I thought that monk was the obvious choice for Neo. Extra attack and stunning strike? Evasion? Ki Powered strikes? All perfect for his actual abilities within the movies. And Deflect Missiles is basically just stopping bullets. I decided on Astral Self after a lot of personal back and forth because the concept of their body being an illusion is pretty on the money and I thought some of the Astral specific abilities felt very Matrix-esque.
To add a little more oomph I gave him a few feats including Telekinetic to simulate some of his other abilities that aren’t as obvious within D&D, Mobile for that extra speed boost and for the kip-ups you know he’s going, and Weapons Master, because…. well, that one feels obvious. He’s had every fighting style uploaded into his brain, he’s a weapons master. Despite how he can pick up and use any weapon, he’s a little light on them aside from a gun and then a dozen other guns. But as a monk, he doesn’t need too much more. The ability to land multiple strikes per turn without breaking a sweat is basically their entire M.O. And for when he’s a little farther away, “gun” is pretty darn okay.
How would you incorporate the Matrix into a Dungeons and Dragons adventure? Were you also a little sad to hear there was never an official tabletop RPG? What movie, show, or characters would you like to see me make next? Let us know in the comments!