Actual Play – Sinnin’ Never Tasted so Good (7/3/2010)

GM: The Russian
Players: Fattig, Sean, Shaun, Travis, Matt, Randy
System: octaNe, (Grindhouse variant)

I’ve never played ontaNe before but it struck me as a typical first generation game. Lots of enthusiasm about the setting, stacked on top of a nearly non-existent system. The game encourages crazy action, and in this case, employing all the tropes of b-rated grindhouse flicks.

The core mechanic is that you roll for narrative control, rolling three dice plus an extra die for every chip (can’t remember the name of the currency) corresponding to narrating in new facts (like I’ve got a crowbar in my pocket AND I’m happy to see you). The higher you roll, the more narration a player gets. The interesting twist I found was the Hazard rating mechanic that made players lose the highest die rolled at a rate of 1 die per point of hazard. So a hazard 3 roll meant that if you didn’t spend chips you had no chance at all of narration, and even then you lost your three best dice. Rough.

Definitely the other thing I noticed thought was that narration went hand in hand with success. If you narrated, I suppose you could narrate a failure but it never happened. So it seemed to be roll well: you succeed and narrate. Roll poorly: you fail and GM narrates.

The game itself was all kinds of wrong fun. We play horrible, horrible people in a horrible world. The game itself (as suggested in the rules) was light on plot, heavy on sex, violence and drugs.

What rocked

We were pretty much all on the same page from the get go. In a game like this, I think that’s important otherwise someone is likely to be offended, annoyed or just out of touch.

There were some pretty killer action moves and one-liners. Wish I had written them down at the time, but end result was crazy laughs, a couple “oh my gods”, and a pretty minimal amount of squick, even if there should have been more.
I particularly liked the time Black Payne (my character) was trying to get Cindy (the man hating lesbian) to try men out. The dialog was a profane as you’re guessing.

What could have been improved

At one point the femme fatal character lost her leg and it was replaced by a tire iron. She was later raped (or nearly raped, timing was a little uncertain here) by some goon. While both in the spirit of the game, the scenes felt like they left the character unable to maintain her shtick. I wasn’t playing the ultra vixen but it was a concern I had. It felt like trying to reconcile Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! with Juliet Lewis in… er… well anything. I think each character needs a way to maintain their essential shtick, which I imagine is something that could be handled through a bit of negotiation during the narrations, or just not being too attached to the “dignity” of your character.