24XX: BREACH - A BADASS GAME ABOUT DEMONS IN SPACE
Lately, I’ve been looking at games using the 24XX system developed by Jason Tocci. There are a number of great games using this system available for free, namely 24XX: Breach, a game by Adam Schwaninger. I pitched the game to a couple family members, one of which was entirely new to RPGs, and ran it for them. The game is based on the 24XX system, which is fairly rules-light and is designed to be easy to get going quickly.
The premise of the game is that you work for the Company. When ships enter hyperspace, they’re taking a shortcut through Hell itself and are prone to picking up nasty things that tend to wreak havoc. As a player, you are part of a Breach team - your role is to enter derelict ships after a jump goes bad, eliminate the threat, and oftentimes complete a different objective at the same time. There’s not a lot of actual description for the game, which is typical of games using this system. The description that exists is really more of an elevator pitch, which I think lends well to the pickup game style of play. It definitely feels like it’s in the same vein as Doom and Dead Space, so if you’re a fan of either, it’s worth taking a look at this one.
After Action ReportWhile the game comes with some handy roll tables for getting an adventure going quickly, I wrote up a quick, simple scenario to run. In the scenario, a Company freighter, the SS12 Hibiscus, entered a star system a few days ago experiencing power issues after a hyperspace jump. The crew were evacuated by another Company ship that happened to be in-system and a team of engineers will be sent soon to get the ship to its destination. However, several hours ago, the distress signal from the ship was reactivated. The players’ goal is to see if there are any survivors on-board that were missed.
I ran this scenario for my dad and one of my brothers, and combined with explaining the rules and going through character creation, the entire session lasted about three hours. My brother created a character named Hauser, a big beefy salvage expert who saved everyone on his first mission. My dad created a character named Dutch, who was a tall exorcist with an eyepatch and had an axe made of fire from his first mission. In the scenario, due to a difference in docking mechanisms as a result of a feud between manufacturers, the characters needed to take a four-seat shuttle from their ship to the freighter.
Once aboard, they met Gerald Langley, a mechanical systems maintenance engineer who was sick and trying to get the main power supply running. He showed them around the ship a little bit, despite their immediate suspicion. After seeing the other couple survivors hanging out down in the cryosleep chambers, they went to the engine room to see if they could get the ship running again. Once inside, Gerald refused to go into the reactor room, but Hauser and Dutch wanted to check it out, so they put on anti-radiation suits and stepped inside.
Inside the reactor room, they found metal from the reactor cores eaten away, exposing the inside of the reactors. Blue slime was tucked away in the corners of the room, residue from a slimy demon that doesn’t like radiation (but happened to show up in this room during a hyperspace jump, causing the power failure). They experimented with radiation and the slime, and then after doing a quick check-up on him, Dutch coerced Gerald into entering the room with a radiation suit. He was fine until Dutch shot him, suspicious that this man could be infected by the slime, and the man’s body violently split in half as radiation entered the suit. A blue, slimy demon blob emerged and escaped the room.
After trying to catch up with it and accidentally collapsing a column of shipping containers with explosives, they lost sight of it in the maze of containers on the freight deck. After poking around the ship, deactivating the distress signal, and considering whether they should abandon the job and go to the beach or something, they settled on getting the two other survivors and leaving. Hauser waved the radioactive rod around like a TSA agent at an airport looking for anything you forgot to remove from your pockets, confirming that the survivors were not infected.
They headed towards the shuttle and the slime demon confronted them, as eager as they were to leave this ship. Hauser lost a foot, Dutch pelted it with plastic water bottles full of holy water, and the demon, reduced in size by this point, tried to enter Dutch. Hauser pulled it off of him, but inadvertently got the slime on his face as it entered his mouth. Finally, Hauser finished it by chugging a thermos full of irradiated water from the reactor core, and the demon was dust once again. The pair got the survivors off the ship, now safe for Company engineers to board and restore to working order.
ReviewI chose this game because the rules are simple and easy to understand, it’s one that I was interested in running, and it has a fairly quick character generation system. My brother is new to TTRPGs - this was his first time playing one - and my dad hasn’t played a game in several years. One of the things that I like about this game, and a major selling point for me personally, is that it’s fast-paced and it’s easy to keep the action moving without the rules getting in the way. The longest part of combat resolution was deciding what bad things would happen or complicate the situation.
Unlike some other 24XX system games, this one is pretty combat-forward, and it was a little difficult for me initially to decide how to handle what damage to this shapeless demon blob looked like. I settled on every solid hit reducing its size by a third of its current mass, with eight “good hits” until it’s finished off. While this was my own interpretation of how to handle combat with this demon, it felt a little antithetical to the spirit of the system, which doesn’t use hit points or points for damage. The other thing I had difficulty with was really caused more from my own inexperience with the system and as a GM, rather than an issue with the game itself. The system explains that you should only roll when taking risks, and I definitely missed that a few times, however I don’t fault the game for this.
I had a lot of fun with this game, I love the premise and it’s a great game to run. Both of my players really enjoyed it as well, and I’m pretty satisfied with this game being my brother’s introduction to role-playing games. Again, if you’re a fan of Doom or Dead Space, this has a pretty similar feel to both, but if you’re not, I think there’s enough that’s different, so it doesn’t have to be that kind of game. I’d definitely run this again, and if I do, I’d like to use some of those random roll tables for the environment and monster. 24XX: Breach was created by Adam Schwaninger and can be found here.