Intergalactic Rockstars Playtest Summary; Play-off at the Playoffs

I don’t have much to preamble about with this post. This article is a summary of the short scenario I wrote for testing my first two-page rpg system, Intergalactic Rockstars of Ill Rapport, as well as some details about how it went. This can be used as inspiration for running a session of your own, and worked well as a one-shot adventure. Onto the good stuff!

Here’s a link to the game system, completely free to download and play-

When pitching the session for character creation, explain to the players that they’re attending a big sporting event on another planet, but not as team bandmembers. They’ll get to play music eventually, but it should come about as a surprise (when the halftime band falls ill). Players can choose to know each other beforehand or not, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference. Just make sure they have a reason to be in or around the stadium, whether it be attending as a fan or trying to pickpocket drunken attendees.

“In the distant reaches of space, far from planet Earth, hundreds of beings gather beneath the waves of an ocean world. Species of all shapes and sizes, extraterrestrial and not, make their way to the green-tinted glass domes of the underwater city of Craullu, on Xerxes V. Horrifying alien amphibians that put our own deep-sea creatures to shame menace and flit just outside the air-filled habitation areas. One of these see-through domes is filling to the brim with life. One that seems to hold another… dome. A grand stadium, oddly similar in design to a human football field, bleachers and all. A long strip of grass in the center marked with white, painted lines, big TV screens around the rim of the arena, a commentator box, and high-tech hover-cameras zooming around capturing the feed of the impending big game are visible to all in the stands. A dozen metal platforms, big enough to fit only one or two people, are lined up neatly on either side of the field. And as the fish-people caretakers of this facility finish their last touches, the screens both on the inside of the dome and mounted along the outside light up.

A sporty intro theme plays as the inside of the commentator box comes into view. Sitting behind a curved conference table littered with papers, markers, and microphone wires, are two creatures. A sort-of handsome, stubble-faced man, and a green slug creature wearing a brown suit and exuding mucus on his surroundings. ‘Heeelllooo galaxy! I’m failed Stars movie star Bob Cosmas‘ ‘And I’m Jack Slug, the slugman. We’ve got a very exciting game ahead of us folks. Tonight’s match of F.P.P.S.A. (pronounced ffff-pppp-sah) is between the Space Sydney Skyhoppers of Space Australia, and the current league frontrunners, the Grollorglorgllorgs from Nonconquered Habitation Zone 608. It looks like it’ll be a hot one tonight, so grab your synthetic hot dogs and space vegemite, cause you won’t want to miss any of it!’

At this point you can take the scene to the players. Ask them why they’re there, what they’re doing, how their character feels about the sport. At some point you can explain that F.P.P.S.A. stands for Flying Platform Positional Skill Activity, a deadly sport where teams ride around on flying high-speed platforms, avoiding arena hazards and the enemy team, last one standing wins. Saying ffff-pppp-sah is still fun though. While there are some random aliens about, there are three main species in attendance; The local Xerxes Fishmen, known for their advanced technology and poor combat prowess. Viocrations, something akin to a fusion between a giant slug and a frowny-faced lobster, and the species that makes up all but one of the Grollorglorgllorgs. And Space Australians.

Each team is made up of 8 members. The Space Sydney Skyhoppers are all Space Australian, but the Grollorglorgllorgs have 7 Viocrations and 1 human man, named Pete. He’s a transfer from the Patrovian Petunias, who were banned for breaking the “overwhelming violent tendencies” rule of F.P.P.S.A. He’s also coincidentally the only surviving member of said Petunias.

The players don’t have to perform until halftime comes around, so feel free to come up with ideas for scenes during the first half of the game. The field hazards in F.P.P.S.A. don’t come out until the game is half over, so it’s just the speeding hover platforms to worry about, particularly since the lack of any crowd protection is “part of the fun.” I’ll list off a couple ideas for this part of the session that I used here.

Have a robotic food vendor approach the players and offer some crazy sci-fi snacks. Entire jars of space vegemite are selling like hotcakes. And yes, people are just drinking them. Have one of the flying cameras zoom in on someone for the “Kiss Cam.” If you think the players would have a laugh at being on it, do that! Otherwise you can have it show a pair of Viocrations who promptly beat the everliving hell out of each other in response, as a show of dominance. You could let players explore the stadium– it has restrooms, janitor closets, locker rooms, some rooms for local sports memorabilia, etc. Have the mascots for either team (a Cyborg Kangaroo and Viocration Reaper Shrimp) go into the stands and mess with people, pulling pranks and doing little dances that the players can join in on. Stuff like that.

Once halftime comes around, the hover platforms all calmly return to either side of the field and the surviving players disembark to take a break. The Viocrations are in the lead at the moment, with Pete having taken out one of the Sydney Skyhoppers in a brutal fly-by. Both teams have their own bands, the Space Sydney Field Orchestra and the Viocration Humbrogloglorlgurs, respectively. However, as the players hear, the Space Sydney Field Orchestra members fall ill with the Hyperion Super Flu, as announced by Bob Cosmas and Jack Slug. At this disappointment the Space Australians in the stands start chanting. “WE NEED MUSIC. WE NEED MUSIC.” This is where the players come in. Hopefully, either spurred on by the rhythmic chanting or seeing the opportunity to earn some fame and cash, they step forward, coming together to represent good ol’ Space Sydney. As the opposing band clatters up onto their team’s hover platforms, the players should do the same, taking flight as they prepare for the performance of a lifetime. It’s at this point that they may remember; the arena hazards activate when the game is half over, INCLUDING halftime. Just as they get stuck up on the flying metal discs, the grassy field folds backwards on mechanical panels, revealing a deadly array of traps. Moving micro-meteor swarms, star-powered flamethrowers, miniature black holes, medieval spiked maces spinning at dangerous speeds, and more! These hazards don’t have a mechanical effect, but they make the scene more fun and can be used by you and your players for describing scenes in more exciting ways. And with that, the Battle of the Bands begins!

At this point you should run a Battle of the Bands between the Viocration Humbrogloglorlgurs and the player band. Ask them what they want to call themselves as a group, letting them discuss in and out of character what they want their band name to be. You should also ask them if they have any custom decorations or changes on their instruments, for flavor and fun. Decals, patterns, special effects systems, etc.

This is a 5 Sway Battle, however Sway should scale based on how many players are in the game. Make sure everyone has a chance to do something, but if you only have 1 or 2 players you can scale down the amount of Sway needed to win to speed things up. You should also scale the amount of enemies to the amount of players. Matching 1 for 1 should be fine. I’ll list out the enemy NPCs here. Feel free to make your own changes and roleplay them as you like. GM Tip; You don’t have to play the enemies completely optimally. Sending in soloist rivals, divas who haven’t had the spotlight for long enough, or confident instrumentalists can keep things varied, especially if the players are struggling. Generally erring on the side of the players is fine, since the system is small and meant for raucous one-shots and not a super complex tactical experience.

The Viocration Humbrogloglorlgurs;

Erflerfl, Lead Vocalist
Skillz – 1
Passion – 2
Mojo – 2
Trait – Diva
A bit of a Diva, Erflerfl is well-known and beloved amongst Viocration music-heads. His aggressive, gravelly tones are music to the ears of the conquest-focused species, and he lives for their adoration. His most noteworthy trait is his make-up, covering his chitinous visage with stark white facepaint dotted with pitch-black stars and lightning bolts, as well as his wig of long curly black hair.

Veteran Castewarrior Shalzar the Horrible, on Keyboard
Hotness – 0
Skillz – 3
Passion – 4
Mojo – 0
Trait – Pyrotechnics
Gruff, bulky, and covered in scars, this cruel crustation is a veteran of the Astral Wars, one of several Viocration genocide attempts, this time on the Astrasauruses, a peaceful lizard race from the edge of the galaxy. With several war medals attached to his shell pauldrons, Shalzar found a love of music while obliterating enemies with explosive rhythm. He now plays a small hot pink keyboard, slamming away upon it for the honor of the Viocration Empire. He’s also known to have kept one of his killstream bazookas from the war, filled with fireworks, which he uses for his pyrotechnics to sway and distract the crowd while intimidating opposing bands.

Post-War Propaganda Family Unit 28, on Drums
Hotness – 3
Skillz – 1
Passion – 1
Mojo – 2
Trait – Supporting Rhythm
A robotic facsimile of Viocration life, 28 is a Propaganda Family Unit, designed and implemented to show those they conquer that Viocration’s have a pleasant and desirable family life. This, of course, is far from the truth, as Viocrations are rather Spartan in their upbringings, but that doesn’t matter if the occupied enemy doesn’t know it. There’s also the question of how convinced they are when the android is very obviously made of gray, shiny metal with glowing yellow diodes for eyes and robotic paneling all over its slug-shaped body. Its Propaganda programming has rendered 28 kinder than most Viocrations, and it seeks to fulfill its new role entertaining the masses to the best of its abilities.

Zargyle Influence, on the Thrombonian Claw Whistles
Hotness – 1
Skillz – 3
Passion – 0
Mojo – 3
Trait – The One & Only
Zargyle Influence is a legend to the Thrombonian people. He was once a wandering vagabond, an adventurer who traveled the universe, a great musician and the last member of a race of radiant statue-like humanoids capable of swaying ferocious animals to their side with just their songs. His heart cried out when he came upon the Thrombonians (fuzzy bird people) in the midst of a Viocration invasion. Using his musical skills, innate influence powers, and sheer luck, Zargyle somehow managed to sway the hearts of the Viocration warlords, something that has never been done before or since. They made a deal with the wanderer, promising to leave the Thrombonians alone if he’d come and perform for their empire. He’s been in various bands across Viocration space ever since. He plays a set of Thrombonian Claw Whistles (categorized under the Other category), sharp metallic tubes with various holes on them placed on one’s fingers or talons. They play a horrible shriek when one strikes out with the claw to attack an enemy, but can be played like an instrument by pointing different fingers out when slashing forward to play different notes. This set is beautiful and ornate, and was gifted to Zargyle in thanks for his service to the Thrombonian People.

After the Battle of the Bands is finished, give the players a chance to bathe in the limelight (or reconcile their defeat). Have them describe how they react to the crowd chanting their band name and cheering for them all, as the F.P.P.S.A. teams return to the fields and the bands disembark the hover platforms. Feel free to have one of the commentary hosts approach them about their success and ratings, and offer to take them on tour or whatever else you think would be fun. This can also be an easy way to continue the campaign if you so desire.

And that’s the end of Play-off at the Playoffs! I may add a section or make another post about the playtest groups’ characters and what they actually did, but for now that should be all you need to give Intergalactic Rockstars of Ill Rapport a shot! Thanks for reading, it means a lot to me!