One of the players in the T&J campaign I’m playing in has been going hog-wild making paper minis on cardstock and with original art (he happens to be IMO a pretty brilliant artist too), which were surprisingly helpful all around when we had a big battle against a bunch of mooks. For no apparent reason he made a Master Chief, and I wound up getting inspired to try and tackle an idea I’d been toying with for a looong time now — a Halo RPG. It seems like minis are at once underrated and overrated in RPGs. They make a really kickass visual aid, but they can also turn an RPG into a boardgame sometimes. Still, a lot of the fun of Halo is in the tactics, so it makes sense to include minis and maps in some capacity.
I’m kind of designing with a specific mini-campaign in mind, about a group of marines who, after endless weeks of boredom, find the planet they’re stationed on suddenly under attack by the Covenant. I’ll be using a highly customized flavor of Fudge–basically a simplified version of the stuff I was talking about for Ether Star, with templates and hit points–with character creation geared towards getting characters put together and into the action as quickly as possible. You pick a profession (just Marines for my first game) and a specialty (demolitions, sniper, ODST, etc.) to determine all of a character’s skills, one free Gift, three personal skills at Fair (+0), and a Quirk (Whiner, Ice Queen, Slick, etc.) to give some personality.
Fudge Points are definitely going to be an important part of the game; it’ll be not unlike Cinematic Unisystem how PCs use them to stay alive. Also, there’ll be an NPC Spartan whom the players can spend FP to give tactical direction, thereby giving them the collective tactical brain of the whole group (and the badass with the regenerating force field is someone you want to stay alive, after all).
The actual adventure is still a bit on the sketchy side, but between various Halo machinima series and entirely too many Megadeth songs (Return to Hangar, The Disintegrators, Crush ‘Em, Rust In Peace, Train of Consequences, etc.) I’m starting to put together what I hope will be a rocking experience. As usual, I’m going to put a lot of time into having a soundtrack for the game, in this case a mix of heavy metal, Halo OST selections, and whatever other soundtrack stuff seems appropriate. A lot of it will play out like an action movie (or god forbid an FPS) with a bunch of action sets where much asskicking happens, and some of these will definitely be based on Halo multiplayer stages.