Wednesday, July 28, 2010


So I had an opportunity recently to play a game of octaNe. You see, I bought a copy for my friend Wade a while back, as its theme seemed to be the sort of thing that would spark his imagination. And it was.

Within seconds of touching the book, he had an idea for a game that he'd like to run: "The War Zeppelin of the Iron Man." (WZotIM) This game ignores the setting that octaNe includes, and takes place in the mind of a teenage metalhead named Todd in the 1980's. Plot Points were replaced with Rock Points, and we achieved them not only for good rolls (as in the basic game), but also for performing actions that were awesome enough for the GM to throw the horns.

Five years later, he got around to running the game. It was the usual one-shot group with two of Wade's old friends added to the mix. The character list is in this post on his blog (which, by the way, you should be reading if you aren't already).

Before play, he also took the time to express his fears, too.

While I understand his pre-game jitters, they didn't show (much) once he arrived. The prologue had some rough spots while we figured out what we could do with complete control over the story (answer: anything that rocked), but once we got through the prologue, it ran smoothly. Every character had a 'snapshot' moment or two. "That," someone would say, "would totally be the album cover."

There were a few rules tweaks that - for the variant setting - served to make the game more awesome. The most significant rules tweak was how players spent Rock Points - as written in the basic game, you spend Plot Points to (basically) add detail to the setting to tip things in your favor. The restriction on spending points is that you can't overwrite someone else's details or add a detail that wouldn't make sense (the example in the rulebook is having cars kicking up dust in a rainstorm). For WZotIM, we could spend Rock Points (I keep wanting to call them RAWK Points) any time we could make the scene more AWESOME!

Since you gain points when you roll a five or a six, it reached the point where I spent all of my points every roll - if you're rolling six or seven dice, you're going to roll a fair number of fives and sixes, which immediately gives you those points back. It means that Plot Points flowed like water in the game, and it got more and more awesome as the game went on.

To give you an idea how much fun we had, here were a few of the snapshot moments:

1) A one-armed ninja standing on a fire-breathing devil-bat, nunchucks in hand.
2) A Demon Biker driving his bat-winged bike along the top of an exploding zeppelin, jumping off of the end of the zeppelin just as the last bit explodes.
3) An ancient superweapon that is basically a super-advanced fighter jet firing its afterburners and flying through a portal to Hell.

As my wife said the next morning, "A+. Would game again."

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