Surveillance: Lasers & Feelings, Scrolls & Swords

Surveillance is my category for not-quite-reviews of other games. Often I get a game, read it, mine it for ideas, but never get around to playing it.

Lasers & Feelings from onesevendesign, and the fantasy variant Scrolls & Swords. Go read them now, they’re 1 page each, you have time.

This is beyond “lite”, yet a little crunchier than my old SIX WORD RPG (“Describe character. Roll dice. Gamemaster decides.”). The style & role descriptors are used to get more dice for actions. I’d probably require that everyone choose different ones, maybe put them on cards? The cards could be face-up, and everyone fights for the card they want, or dealt at random. At first a Sexy Doctor and Sexy Engineer and Other Sexy Engineer sounds fine, but the catfighting over who’s sexiest or senior engineer? Don’t need it.

The ship in Lasers & Feelings, and the comatose Captain Darcy, are kind of boring, like if it has powerful Fightercraft, the Pilot is enabled but nobody else really is. The Bond with fellow characters in Scrolls & Swords is much more interesting.

The basic mechanic is clever. Using your number to represent two traits, and adding extra dice for circumstances, works perfectly. However, the “Laser Feelings” (exactly your number) coming up so often might be annoying; maybe only if ALL rolled dice match your number you get Laser Feelings?

I think I don’t like the lack of combat tracking. “It goes wrong” and “inflicts a complication, harm, or cost” really isn’t enough for me. Perhaps -1d per injury?

Now the awesome bit: The Space Adventure! While this is a very short table, only 6 mostly vague ideas for each, the mix-match results still generate a reasonable variety of adventures. Rolling 6, 5, 3, 3: Alien Brain Worms want to Build the Star Dreadnaught which will Enslave a Planet. Fair enough. Why aren’t they brain-worming? Maybe this planet has brain-worm scanners. Obvious plot hook is to sabotage the construction, or evacuate the planet.

So steal that idea, but with many more specific entries.