In Flames is a mini6 sci-fi RPG set in a fictional star
system known as the flames world, players take on the roll of Exiles, god-like beings who, as punishment for
some (at this point) unknown crime, have been forced out of Understar (a Utopian paradise and home of the “Loa”,
your race before you were exiled) and have to live in a mortal body in the physical world. The main goal of the
characters is to seek redemption for their crimes in order to return to the paradise of Understar.
The first thing you notice is the book itself, it is a small,
digest-sized book that will fit in better with your novels than with your usual A4 RPG books. However, don’t let
the size fool you as there are a lot of good things crammed into this little package.
In Flames uses the Mini6 system, a variation of the D6 system
published by West End games. Character creation is fast and is easy to pick up, and good selection of social skills
means players can really get stuck in to the role-playing. Skill are linked to attributes so characters all start
with at least their attribute dice in every skill, meaning players can attempt every skill on their sheet rather
than being limited to a list based on their class. This is a rules-light game that never gets too bogged down with
tables and stats etc. However, although In Flames advertises itself as stand-alone game complete with all the rules
needed, play goes a lot easier with a copy of the full Mini Six rules that can be downloaded for free
from www.antipaladingames.com .
In Flames has a very unique setting and has some interesting ideas
when it comes to campaign creation. The basic setting of the Flame worlds is a hard science fiction setting not too
dissimilar to Earth in the near future. Technology has a “credible” feel to it, no faster-than-light travel or
replicators here, instead smart-materials, nano-tech and biological manipulation take centre stage. Details such as
a planet’s gravity and atmosphere have a huge effect on how the inhabitants live and function, and make the worlds
much more believable. The political structures of the worlds are described as well as tech levels and habitation,
but no specific locations which means GMs will have to do some work preparing this information for their game. What
you do get is very well thought out and is packed with story hooks and most sci-fi fans will find their creative
Characters try to seek redemption by fulfilling missions given to
them by the Ghede, Understar’s representative in the flame worlds. Again, not many specifics are given with regards
to the Ghede as it is left up to the GM to flesh them out.
Many of the details about the nature of things in In Flames are left
to the individual groups to decide upon and come up with some interesting mechanics to support this. Players are
encouraged to come up with “memories” about understar and their crimes both at character creation and as a reward
for good role-playing at the end of a session. It is a very collaborative approach and some people/groups will find
this a breath of fresh air compared to the majority of games where the GM creates the world alone. However, some
people, and am afraid to say this includes myself, will find this method of campaign creation quite difficult to
work with. With all the mysteries this game presents, having a clear idea of what Understar is like and what crimes
the characters have committed makes it a lot easier to come up with a compelling storyline. By allowing the players
to have so much input, they could easily come up with something that completely contradicts what you had planned. I
must stress that I do not view this as a flaw of the game and although I personally won’t use this aspect of the
book, it is very easy to completely ignore and so does not detract from the game and I can imagine that to some
groups it will be the game’s biggest selling point. Give it a try, you will either love it or hate it.
Despite being so small, In Flames fits an awful lot in. It is a game
that can be played in a number of different ways, from fast-paced action adventure to in-depth, in-character
soul-searching. It has some interesting ideas that make it stand out from the crowd, and groups can pick and chose
which they want in their game. This game comes Recommended,
loosing points for the layout and editing, which if these were fixed in a second edition then this book would be a
must have for all sci-fi gamers. Well worth the relatively small cover price.
Want to try another system?