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Hyper-Killer

Reviewed by D. Andrew Ferguson, Copyright ©2001

Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion

 Hyper-Killer is a "beer and pretzels game" written by James Mathe and produced by Minion Games. It is a 60 page Adobe Acrobat file that you download and print. The cover art is color, and the interior is gray scale, or black and white.   It is for sale on the rpgnow.com website.  

First Impression

My first impression of Hyper-Killer was that it would be Paranoia meets Cyberpunk.  Life is cheap, guns are everywhere, and somebody always has better technology than you. All of this can combine to make Cyberpunk-like characters with Paranoia-like life spans.  Actually, my current view of the game isn't far from that initial impression. 

Artwork

The artwork ranges from adequate to excellent, and oddly enough the piece that I liked the least was the one chosen for the cover.  Most of the art depicts gun-wielding maniacs in vicious firefights; these are probably supposed to be the PCs.  There is a wide range of subjects for the artwork, similar to what you might expect to see if you read a Rifts sourcebook and a Warhammer 40K sourcebook. 

Nothing Going on but the Rent

Nothing Going on but the Rent is a five-page short story by Pete Hernandez that acts as an excellent introduction to the setting.  The story really catches the gritty tone that the game strives for. It does not carry over into the game, but the potential is there to mine it for setting and NPC ideas. 

The Game

The game mechanics are very simple with one rule surpassing all others: the GM has the right to make up the rules.  The rules presented in the book are a great set of skeleton rules that allow for most situations that trigger happy PCs will find themselves in.

 The four stats are: Brains, Cool, Dex, Power.  Each stat is generated by distributing 90 points among the four stats but you are required to put at least ten points into each stat.

Attack and skill rolls are percentile with rolls of 96 or above being open ended.  Damage is done in multiples of d6; for example, a hit from a Needle Pistol does 4d6 damage (rolls 6, 4,3,1 doing 14 points of damage) and if the attack roll was over 100 then an additional D puncture critical is added to the damage. However, if the PC being hit had "2d6 armor" the armor would absorb the two highest rolls (6 and 4, letting 4 damage penetrate to the character).  All characters start with 50 Kill Points, which is the amount of damage that they can take. 

This game was designed to be used a filler game and as such has minimal game mechanics with easy to use character generation steps. It is best used with miniatures.

As a quick game it actually does an excellent job. An average game can run anywhere from one hour to an entire evening. This, however, will vary greatly depending on the Game Masters style and whether the PCs kill each other or not.  From the games that I have played it does seem that it would be a bit difficult to use this system to play an entire campaign, but this is due mostly to the campaign rather than the rules.  

Weapons and Equipment Lists

The Weapons and Equipment Lists span eleven technology levels (from muskets and sabers to gauss rifles and tachionic shotguns) and have enough gear to allow for many great Sci-fi items, and lots of opportunities to surprise the PCs with something that they haven't encountered before. 

Critical Hits Charts

The game comes with several Critical Hits Charts that are reminiscent of Rolemaster or Spacemaster Critical Charts.  The critical categories are Crush, Heat, Impact, Puncture, Radiation, Shrapnel, Slash, and Unbalance.  Each of the critical types has its own table and each table has several amusing critical resolutions.

Expandability

Hyper-Killer is very expandable so you can take ideas from your favorite games and stories to incorporate within the game.  It would also be quick and easy to produce a lot of your own material for various races and such that are not covered in the book.

A Final Note

This game is well worth the $5 US price tag, and I really would like to see expansions or even a module or two in the future.  This game really does succeed in fitting into the often-overlooked quick, easy, and fun games category, and I would suggest it for anyone who would like a space filler game.

 

Editor's Note:

Hyper-Killer is published by Minion Games. You can purchase Hyper-Killer at the following web address:

http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=10            

 

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