Fear The Con 2013: Atomic Robo The Roleplaying Game

Robo-Cover-600pxEditor’s Note: Fear The Con happened the first weekend of May, 2013.  The entire Funnybooks crew was there enjoying the festivities and…yeah, we’re WAYYYYYY late with this coverage, but today you’ll get Paul’s review of Atomic Robo RPG, yesterday we saw Tim’s feelings about the event, and on Friday, Paul’s review of Thistledown John‘s Chill game.  Take it away Paul!

Yeah…I know we’re about two months late (almost three) with our Fear The Con wrap-up articles.  To a certain extent, part of it was laziness, while another was difficulty in trying to find the right words.  See, some of us IoMers actually skipped out on the last session and went to see Iron Man 3 at the AMC Dine-IN Theaters.  Not only that, my session 5 game was a particularly rough session because of some issues with my fellow players.  It hardly felt like it would be fair to review Fear The Con itself, as really…for myself (Tim’s experiences, posted later this week, are different), I didn’t really embrace the full FtC experience this year.  I did play in five sessions, but I cut out on Wing Night early to party it up with the Funnybooks crew.  You can hear the result of that in the drunken podcast we recorded. 

I really did have a blast in St. Louis this year, and played in some tremendous games.  Those looking for the typical convention experience need not apply – Fear The Con has two or three dealer tables, and panels?  Nah.  It is almost 100% a gaming experience – three-to-four hour gaming sessions, three a day, two days in a row.  Cheap food, beer and soda, and tons of time spent playing tabletop games.  It’s truly a fantastic experience, and, other than the aforementioned experience with slot 5, I enjoyed every single one of the games I played. 

Later this week, I’ll tell you about the Chill game I played.  As for Year 6 of Aron’s And A Little Child Shall Eat Them is more of an experience to HEAR rather than to read about.  We’ll be dropping the audio soon(ish) here on the site.  If you haven’t listened to the last couple of years, jump no it – they’re fantastic.  My sesson one game, Tim’s Dresden Files game, was my first foray into playing a Fate-based game.  As a relatively inexperienced gamer, my primary experience is with Savage Worlds, so jumping into something else was a little intimidating.  Luckily, Tim as a GM helped us (most of the players weren’t experienced in it) to pick it up really quickly, and we were off to the races.

Which set us up nicely for session 2, which is what I want to focus on today – Atomic Robo RPG: The Fungus Among Us.  My review of the session after the jump!


Biome 3, a remote Tesladyne research facility has gone dark. You and your fellow Action Scientists are being sent in to shed light on the situation. Make sure to pack your lightning gun!

An adventure using the rules from the new Atomic Robo RPG. Characters will be provided.

 In the game, the audio of which will be released here on IoM soon(ish), we played as Action Scientists, investigating a Tesladyne research facility that we’ve lost communication with.  Atomic Robo RPG is a setting based on the Fate Core rules, and for those unfamiliar with it, won’t take you more than 10-15 minutes to pick up as a player, if your GM is as good as Tim (Dresden Files) or Andrew (Atomic Robo). 

GMing from preview files of the book sent to us by the authors, Andrew did a stellar job on a system and setting none of us were familiar with.  As a huge fan of Atomic Robo, this was one of the games I was most looking forward to playing, and it didn’t disappoint at all. 

We took the first 15 minutes or so exploring our characters and getting an understanding of the rules, including the new Hypothesis part of the game, where you step out of the game to brainstorm a hypothesis that actually helps inform the structure and story of the game.  Quite possibly one of my favorite moments of the convention as a whole was experiencing this in action.  We keep talking about how something like it would fit perfectly in a Star Trek setting…

Atomic Robo RPG is like that fun pulp adventure game you’ve always wanted to play, but ended up playing something darker and less fun instead.  It’s full of life and excitement.  As players, we laughed almost the entire time, and the setting encourages experimentation and imagination to the point that you feel like you have a hand in actually telling the story.  For example, we insisted on jetpacks.  Even though there were no jetpacks in the materials provided, we wouldn’t let it go.  Andrew conceded to his players and the finale of the game involved us flying on jetpacks and attacking a dinosaur made out of fungus.    I laughed so much my cheeks hurt.

I don’t think a single player left that table unsatisfied.  We all loved the experience and, good Funnybooks host that I am, I provided players who were unfamiliar with Atomic Robo a copy of volume 4, Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness, gifted through Comixology.  If you’re unfamiliar with Robo, you can start with volume 1, but I find Volume 4, and it’s done-in-one stories, a helluva great jumping on point for folks.

Though no official release date has been announced for Atomic Robo RPG, you can get the Face Core System for a name-your-own-price at the office site, faterpg.com.  I found Fate to be easy to pick up, and allowed for gaming that wasn’t so focused on specific rules.  Combat didn’t get bogged down with rules, or having to break out a calculator to add up dice, but was fast paced and exciting.  And I anxiously await my next chance to play Atomic Robo RPG. 

Audio of the session itself coming soon(ish) to this very site!  Later this week, I review The Curse of Khantukh, a Chill adventure!

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