The Gamer's Codex

The Gamer's Codex

Brain Slugs From Planet X

Brain Slugs from Planet X

From: Silver Gryphon Games

Reviewed by: Sitting Duck

If I were to play some word association with you and said, “Fifties cinema,” most of you would likely respond with, “Alien invasion.” However, a few of you might instead go with, “Teen angst.” Both of these genres were well-represented in film during that decade, so it’s no surprise that the two were sometimes combined (with The Blob probably being the best known of the lot). It’s this particular genre mash which Brain Slugs From Planet X employs.

From page 1:
Low-cost, often formulaic, with hammy acting, yet, despite these ‘flaws’, the B-Movie continues to fascinate us. To bring us back to fun days of childhood huddled before the glow of a late-night TV when the world was perfect as we sat there eating popcorn and waiting for the rubber monster to pop out of those shadows, causing us to giggle and squeal with delight.

Before the scenario proper, Brain Slugs From Planet X starts off with a discussion regarding the appeal of B-movies, as well as some of the more commonly applied tropes. Very handy for getting the GM into a proper frame of mind. This is then followed up with a list of common high school movie archetypes, each with a sample character profile at Novice level. However, the profiles are not fully balanced against each other. There are a couple of instances where the writer forgot to take into account that raising a skill above its linked attribute during character creation costs two points per advance instead of one. While this is a simple enough for the GM to correct, it’s a bit sloppy.

The scenario itself consists of a broad outline which covers the movements and actions of the Brain Slugs as well as the more prominent human NPCs over the previous few days. At what point the player characters start off can largely be left to the discretion of the GM. This lack of set pieces can be daunting for beginner GMs, who should probably give it a miss for now. However, the loose structure makes the scenario ideal for gaming groups who prefer sandbox-style gameplay. This is then followed up with character profiles of the Brain Slugs and human NPCs. Suggestions are also provided on the sort of improvised weapons to be found in a high school and how teachers may react to the shenanigans the player characters are likely to get up to.

From the front cover:
They came from the stars to send you to the grave!”

When it comes to the motive for the antagonists, Brain Slugs takes a slightly unconventional approach. In the typical “Thing From Outer Space” B-movie of the Fifties, the aliens are here either to invade or engage in some recon and/or infiltration as a prelude to an invasion. Here, the aliens simply crash-landed and are attempting to repair their ship. Unfortunately for them, the school’s delinquent has swiped a critical component of the ship’s engine. The fact that they’re acting more out of desperation than malice means that players can opt to employ diplomacy. Of course, your players may be more inclined to resolve matters with violence anyway, but it’s nice to know that the choice is available.

In conclusion, as long as both players and GM are fine with winging it to a certain degree, Brain Slugs fully emulates the vibe of Fifties-style teen angst and alien invasion B-movies. But though the default time period may be the Fifties, it can easily be set in a more recent decade should that be desired.

Rating: 16

Product Summary

Brain Slugs From Planet X

From: Silver Gryphon Games

Type of Game: RPG Adventure

Written by: Dave Baymiller

Contributing Authors: Kevin Rohan

Cover Art by: Brian Brinlee and Ben Overmyer

Additional Art by: Brian Brinlee

Number of Pages: 12

Game Components Not Included: Savage Worlds Core Rules

Retail Price: $ 5.00

Website: http://www.silvergryphongames.com

Reviewed by: Sitting Duck

About the author

Sitting Duck

Sitting Duck was first introduced to tabletop gaming back in the seventh grade, when a friend brought his copy of the AD&D Monster Manual 2 to school. Since then, he has dabbled in a wide range of games. His current go-to RPG system is Savage Worlds, and he has a particular fondness for Lovecraft themed games, both serious and silly. You can also find him hanging around the Pinnacle Entertainment Group forum

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