What comes to mind when you hear about Role Playing Games? Long hours of deep storytelling, in depth character creation and considered world crafting by some enthusiastic individual with an eye to balanced statistics and sadistic scenarios for unfortunate player characters to enter.
What if there was another way to enjoy a Role Playing Game, one in which the whole experience can complete in just one sitting, with little preparation, and less statistics, where the world building lends itself to the best in B movie plot lines and characters that are straight out of the best in SciFi pulp fiction?
Lasers & Feelings is a one pager RPG system that provides games masters and players a single page from which to understand everything about the game system and how to play. World and Character creation are kept to the simplest terms. Sweeping generalisations identify the players race, role, and a number from 2 to 5 defining their Emotional or Technical abilities. The Games Master can assemble the scenarios from the roll of a dice building the ‘Threat’ which ‘Want To’ do something to ‘The’ and ‘Which will’ result in the scenario, played out like some pre credits scene. The system gets the story kickstarted and before you know it players and games master are working out some grand, almost ludicrous, space opera which might cross Borderlands by way of Lexx and Orville and end up on Space 1999 in some Steampunk moments.
The games system determines players actions to be determined as success or failure by allowing defining them as either Logical, Technical, or Scientific , in other words Lasers; or Emotional, Passionate, or Angry, the Feelings. This by rolling one six sided die and allowing extra dice for how prepared or an expert the character might be you roll under for Lasers and Over for Feelings where each is considered individually as ladder of success of failures. Everything in Lasers & Feelings is focussed on quick rolls and easily understood results, no maths ,or modifiers , or appendices to be considered. The aim is not to drag out a scene but like a Vulcan Nerve Pinch or some Storm Troopers bad aim the story is more important than the mechanics.
The introduction sets the mood, everything else is the candy; so set Stazers to Phun and Grab your Towel and read the introduction:
“You are the crew of the interstellar scout ship Raptor. Your mission is to explore uncharted regions of space, deal with aliens both friendly and deadly, and defend the consortium worlds against space dangers. Captain Darcy has been overcome by the strange psychic entity known as Something Else, leaving you to fend for yourselves while he recovers in a medical pod.”
The Game Designer, John Harper, is responsible for a number of other game systems available on his site over at OneSevenDesign; and whilst I have only played this single system it seems that there might now be more excuses to delve some of his other works and see what adventures that might yet be discovered.