Do you remember being young and skipping school with your friends to travel to a dimension made of purple sand? What about running from robot cops after throwing crushed cans at the Worm God’s palace? You will after playing Slugblaster, a new tabletop RPG from designer Mikey Hamm and Spire publisher Rowan, Rook and Deckard.
In Slugblaster, players fill the shoes of a teen in the sleepy, do-nothing town of Hillview. There’s almost nothing to say about the ‘burg - except for the fact that the fabric of spacetime here is so thin that rebellious young ne’er-do-wells frequently slip through for fun. Using a stripped-down version of John Harper's Blades in the Dark, the game structures sessions around where in the infinite universe your group of friends end up, the trouble you cause and how you manage to make it home before curfew.
Every character comes with a piece of signature gear - such as a hoverboard or ray blaster - and try to accumulate style points by doing rad tricks and dropping the perfect one-liners as often as possible. Escaping sticky situations might sound easy, but doing so accumulates trouble that must be offloaded before consequences come home to roost. Nobody wants to end their adventure being grounded.
50% funded in 4 hours. WOW. Well, let's keep it going I guess!— Mikey Hamm Slugblaster Nov 12 (@mikeymaybe) November 12, 2020
Slugblaster is a forged in the dark #ttrpg about teenage hoverboarders who sneak into other dimensions to goof around and get away from their problems at home. Kickflips. Giant bugs. Heart.https://t.co/tkU4uXR374 pic.twitter.com/1RiqRV8tsd
In FitD style, sessions end with downtime, but that takes the shape of formative teenage experiences in Slugblaster. Characters might survive the molten glass slopes of a dying planet only to come home and find their best friend went to that basement concert without them. Heartbreak, fights and getting past it is all part of play.
The theme feels weaponised against people who grew up in the ‘80s and early ‘90s - amateur skate culture and mall-hopping mixes with the dregs of the satanic panic and war on drugs that spawned McGruff the Crime Dog. It’s loud, messy, emotionally fraught and feckless in the face of any authority. So, you know, your average pre-internet teenager.
Oh, and the physical version comes packaged in a no-joke pizza box that doubles as a DM screen, complete with art on one side and charts and information on the other.
The Kickstarter for Slugblaster runs until December 3rd, with shipping to backers expected to begin in July of next year.