Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Human Occupied Landfill

Game Premise
In the incredibly distant future, space has been colonised and all inhabited planets are ruled by the Confederation of Worlds (C.O.W), an empire presided over by Emperor Rupert and the Church ™. It's treason to suggest that life in COW is anything less than perfect and the people who rule it fair and awesome, so I'm not going to do so.

Of course even the most enlightened empire needs a place to store its refuse, whether that refuse consists of snack wrappers and used diapers or criminals and political, 'social deviants'. Thus, a small world on the very distant edge of the Confederation has been designated the one-stop dumping ground for trash, dubbed Human Occupied Landfill or H.O.L for short. It is on this garbage filled crapheap world of intrigue our insane rant about a bunch of weirdos with a penchant for violence epic tale of heroism takes place.

Game Overview
If you want a serious game about mature themes that is easy to read and presents information in a clear and concise manner, this is not the game for you. Human Occupied Landfill is written for comedy as much as it is playability, so it's presented in a handwritten format that crams text into every corner and the writing is full to the brim with tangents and intentionally sloppy editing. The art is very much reminiscent of the Tank Girl comics and the humour is the kind that doesn't just reach for low-hanging fruit but would quite eagerly leap on the chance to make a crude quip about low hanging fruit.

The mechanics are fairly simple, roll 2d6, add modifiers and check the chart. If you roll a 15 or more then it's a success. If you roll snake eyes (pair of ones) you automatically fail (and the GM is encouraged to make your failure as painful as possible) and if you roll boxcars (pair of sixes) you get to roll again and add.

Technically there aren't character creation rules in the corebook. The idea is that you're supposed to play as one of the characters presented, ranging from parodies of Dirty Harry and the Hulk to oblivious nerds to killer clowns to paedophile priests (yes, really). If you want to make your own you're supposed to just work out something reasonable with the GM. The rules I will be using here were presented in the game's first and only supplement, BUTTery HOLsomeness, although since that book adds extra characters that include a murderous, cannibalistic potato and the goddamn Pope you might just pass over it altogether.

The Character
Step 1) Pick a Totem
Your Totem, despite being named after an animal and having an astrology-style psychoanalysis of your character, merely serves as the base template. It determines your starting Stats, which in HOL are Meat (brawn and toughness), Mouth (charm and social ability), Feets (moving fast and kicking things), Nuts (courage and guts) and Greymatta (general smarts). It also determines your starting kudos, which are the resource I'll be spending to roll on the tables which make up the bulk of character creation.

Technically I could choose my totem here, but I'm going to roll randomly on the chart, just to get into the spirit of things. Turns out my character has a Platypus totem, apparently meaning that they like randomness in all things and derive most of their joy from schadenfruede. It also means that all of my starting stats are at 1 and I get 20 kudos to spend later.

Step 2) Early You
Where you come from is important, so in this step we're going to determine what Homeworld my character originated from and what their favourite Pudding flavour is (just because). This could net me a small boost to my stats, a few more kudos or even a free roll on one of the charts.

Rolling on the Homeworld chart, my character originally came from Orlando IV, the retirement planet. This will net me 100 Chits (currency) for every chart I roll on, and I get two free rolls on the Galactic Shopping Network chart before I start! Sweet, I'm loaded. I'm going to be greedy and assume my two free rolls will net me 200 chits. My two rolls net me one weapon of the GM's choice and 5000 chits. For the weapon, since I have no GM to supervise me I'm going to take an offshoot of The Harbinger of the Void, the custom plasma weapon wielded by Led Pighp, a small boy and the game's mascot. It has an Attack of 20, which is added to my attack roll to determine the Anguish Factor which will cause the weapons Damage of 6 to be multiplied by a certain amount. Without even rolling I can do 24 damage with this bad boy and everyone, everyone has 20 hit points, so my opponents had better hope either I roll poorly or they have a lot of armour. Super loaded and super equipped already, a great start.

On the Pudding chart I discover a weakness for Chocolate (seems fair). This will net me an extra 4 kudos.

Step 3) Charts Up the Ass
Yes, that's what this step is called. No, they aren't kidding, this is going to be lengthy. Basically, I begin rolling on charts. Every result will lead me to more charts. Most charts will require me to spend Kudos to keep rolling, and I can also spend kudos to either roll on the Chart Chart to even more to go to a specific table. I'll keep doing this until I run out of Kudos. Once I get below 6 kudos, however, I have to make a Gump Roll, rolling a d6 equal to or under my remaining kudos. Fail to do so and I have to go straight to the HOL Chart, which will end my rolling spree. When I've finished, any remaining kudos I have may either be spent to increase my stats on a one for one basis or my Skills on a five for one basis.

I have 24 kudos to blow, so let's get started! My first roll on the Chart Chart puts me on the Soap opera chart, a good source of drama. This chart won't cost me any kudos. Rolling here it turns out my character has royal blood, which may come in handy but also means my Meat is reduced by 1.

This takes me to the Loinage chart, the chart of auspicious lineage and costs me 1 kudo. I'm the Seventh son of the seven sons of some pop culture reference I don't recognise, meaning once per game I may spend one Gift of God point (a point that usually lets you ignore a very messy death) to essentially change the narrative how I please.

This in turn would take me to the Ham chart, the chart of ham, but a quick view of the possible results sees that unlike actual ham everything is pretty dire. I'm going to spend 2 kudos to go back to the Chart Chart, which in turn will get me to the Mentor chart, costing me 1 kudos. I was trained up by some kind of asteroid cowboy, which lets me shoot twice per round every second turn.

Now the Technology chart, 1 kudos again. Turns out my character has the Turn Radios into Howitzers skill at 4 (the general McGuyvering skill).

This brings me to the All You Can Eat chart (I'm down to 19 kudos presently). Turns out I really love pudding, letting me choose my own favourite pudding flavour. I'm going to switch Chocolate to Indian, which reduces my kudos by 4 but gives me +2 to Greymatta. Oh, it also gives me Spot Watsit (a dangerous looking critter that resembles a squashes marshmallow) at 5.

Parental Misunderstandings, a free chart! Because of my parents' hedonistic lifestyle, I turned to the church. I will go out of my way to help the church and get free lunch at the Church and Munch on my birthday.

Yay, back to the Galactic Shopping Network! I get another 5000 credits for this roll. Hell, I love this chart so much I'm going to spend 4 kudos to roll on it again. I get a set of limited edition commemorative plates that will go up in value 100 chits every game session.

Hhhmm, my stats aren't amazing, so I'm going to spend another 4 kudos to go straight to the Stat Gain chart. This result nets me an extra 4 meat.

The Bad Monkey chart seems ominous, so I'm going to spend 2 kudos to avoid it. However, that means I have to make a Gump roll. Unfortunately, I fail. This will take me straight to the HOL chart. However, turns out I avoided HOL for my first crime and go to the Stat Gain chart again, nabbing myself another 3 meat in the process!

I fail the Gump roll again, so back to the HOL chart. This time I don't avoid the planet, get +1 kudos and am done rolling.

I'm going to put the remaining 3 kudos I have into 10 points in Shooting Symbols of Divine Right and 5 into Get Someone to Do What You Want By Droning Endlessly About the Obligations of Serfs. Both of these are actual skills, albeit renamed to suit the character, something the rules encourage. Oh, I should also tally up the chits I received from my charts, for another 1,100 credits.

Step 4) Make Sense of This Mess
This isn't an official step, but what the heck I might as well get a coherent concept out of this. So, my character is a member of the royal bloodline, can alter reality (sort of) and is filthy rich. He's quite brawny and moderately smart. OK, so, a small corner of HOL is packed with scions of Emperor Rupert's bloodline. They think that they've been sent to tame the planet's miscreants and win favour in the court. In fact, they've been sent there to die messily, their every move entertainment for the court. Algernon VIII, not quite as inbred as the rest of them, has kind of realised this, and that's why he's decided to find folks to team up with instead of taking on his various cousins solo and getting himself killed.

The Finished Product
Algernon VIII

Greymatta: 4
Mouth: 1
Meat: 8
Feets: 1
Nuts: 1

Skills (stats already factored in)
Get Someone to Do What You Want By Droning Endlessly About the Obligations of Serfs 6
Shooting Symbols of Divine Right 11
Turn Toasters into Howitzers 8

Total Armour: 8
Bent: Fucked up and not enough branches in his family tree
Oldness: Around about the time Duchess Beatrice became the star of 'Tipsy and Titled in Tijuana', most watched program among college teens that decade.
Sex: Not unless you're from the right family (probably his)

Excaliblowdicus (20/6), Commemorative plate of birth (current value 100 chits), 2,100 chits, royal finery of sorts.

How I'd Run It
The characters you create by randomly rolling tend to fall on the lame side, so I might just have players pick from the books or come up with an appropriately fucked up concept. I actually wouldn't mind doing some kind of extension of what I've come up with for Algernon, have all the characters embroiled in the Royal Heir deathmatch in some fashion. Heck, one of the characters in the book is a gameshow host, I could have the party be members of the production team, making events interesting and occasionally stepping in to royally wreck some snotty Marquis' offspring like the house robots in RoboWars.

1 comment:

  1. Were you on adderall when you couldn't sleep at 5:34am?