It’s set in a pulpy, gonzo version of a post-apocalypse America, clearly inspired by a mixture of Mad Max, Six-String Samurai, and pretty much any B-Movie from the last century. Imagine a group of players consisting of a luchador, a Vegas showgirl, and a fast-food ninja, barrelling down a desert highway in a classic muscle car. That’s octaNe.
Basic Game Mechanics
The basic mechanic is simple (it’s the same as Inspectres, if you’ve ever played that). Whenever the player has to do something interesting, they make a Stunt Roll, usually a 3d6. The highest number is the Die Result. This result determines who gets to narrate the results of the player’s action. Players make all rolls – the GM never needs to pick up the dice.
If the Die Result is 5 or 6, the player gets to narrate the results of their action. If it’s 1 or 2, the GM gets to narrate the results. If it’s a 4, the player narrates, with input from the GM. On a 3 it’s the other way around.
Players can spend Plot Points to add extra dice to their roll. GMs can remove dice from the roll, after it’s made, by setting the Hazard level of the scene.
There’s a list of the various settings in North America, with a short description for each. There are cities like Shangri-L.A., Lost Vegas, AridZona. Hawaii is now Monster Island, full of kaiju.
The various people and creatures of octaNe are described as well. The highlights include the mystical Repo Men, the intelligent Smartcars that rule Detroit Rock City, and Death himself.
There’s a list of roles, character templates that players can choose from. Each of these fill out details of the world, and suggest the kinds of adventures you might run. My favorites include Disco Robot Gigolo, Masked Luchador, and Ultra-Vixen.
This game is a delight. The rules are quick and simple to learn, and the setting is a glorious mix of B-movie and psychotronic culture. It’s probably best for one-shots or short campaigns, due to the light rules. As it’s a heavily narrative game, make sure you have players who are willing to do a little storytelling as they narrate their actions.
Here are some more detailed reviews of the game:
There’s an official character sheet available. A lot of the game assumes the players will be driving around in classic cars, so the character sheet is designed to look like a car dashboard. Both a US and UK version are provided (same sheet, but the steering wheels are on the opposite side)
I’ve made a fillable version of the character sheet, and added the ability to import an image to the blank space just next to the steering wheel. I’ve added it to my unwieldy, increasingly hard-to-navigate, list of character sheets.