Monday, 1 May 2017

SLA Industries, A New Game and a New Passion

Now let me tell you of my new passion in the world of Flippingshinyitis that I have and why I love this so much but I guess I should tell you what it is. Years ago like a good many of us, I used to play RPGs and there was a game that I always though wow wouldnt it be great if it had minis but that was back in the 90s, yes I am really that old, and back then besides D&D you couldnt find minis for games, so I when played my RPGs with the aid of minis. This RPG was SLA Industries and I will explain more.


What is SLA Industries? In 1993, the Scottish company Nightfall Games released SLA Industries, its roleplaying game of science fiction horror, a very British antidote to the slick and angsty settings that were popular at the time. Set in The World Of Progress, the sphere of SLA Industries’ influence in the known universe, players take on the roles of operatives, employees of an all-encompassing company that controls a frightened population with reality TV and violence while a creeping horror claws its way through the edges of reality.


The game has seen renewed popularity recently, as Nightfall Games reclaimed publication, releasing source material as PDFs over the last few years. With the game returning to print in the near future, Nightfall Games partnered with Daruma Productions to produce a line of miniatures (including iconic characters like Halloween Jack and Delia the Destroyer) and a skirmish game to allow more people to enjoy the setting and characters of SLA Industries.

So this is my journey back into a long lost love of mine SLA Industries. SLA (pronouced Slay) Industries was, actually is, a RPG from the minds of Dave Allsop and Jared Earle and was first published in 1993 by Nightfall Games in Glasgow, Scotland. The game is set in a dystopian far-flung future in which the majority of the known universe is either owned or indirectly controlled by the eponymous corporation “SLA Industries” and incorporates themes from the cyberpunk, horror, and conspiracy genres.

The game combined concepts inspired by a range of aesthetics and ideas. Elements include: song lyrics from David Bowie and the Industrial music scene, cyberpunk fiction (including Blade Runner and Max Headroom), anime / manga (including Akira, Appleseed, Bubblegum Crisis, and Trigun), and the growing cultural obsession with the media (including 24-hour news services and the Gladiator TV Show).

There is a very rich background and SLA Industries itself is a fictional corporation run by a mysterious and seemingly immortal creature called “Mr. Slayer”, whose upper management team includes two other creatures like himself, “Intruder” and “Senti”. The corporation is headquartered in “Mort City”, a densely populated city-sprawl larger than Eurasia and surrounded by the urban ruins of the “Cannibal Sectors”. It is all located on a vast planet (also called “Mort”) that had been stripped of its natural resources to the point that the ecology had been utterly destroyed. SLA Industries controlled an undefined but vast number of planets, collectively referred to as the World of Progress, and governed them in accordance with Mr. Slayer’s Big Picture. The setting is bleak and surreal, with much left deliberately ill-defined in the source material.

Players take the role of freelance employees of SLA Industries, called Operatives, living in Mort City and taking care of odd jobs assigned to them by the corporation. These jobs usually involve keeping the peace—chasing serial killers, hunting monsters in the sewers, quashing riots, foiling terrorist plots, and silencing dissidents are common themes. Appearance, style and branding are emphasized in the game world as much as combat ability, due to the omnipresence of television; for ambitious Operatives public persona and TV ratings are often as important as professional abilities. A supplement, the Contract Directory, also provides the option for players to play as celebrity gladiators called Contract Killers. As a role-playing experience, the game tends to be predisposed towards splatterpunk horror, noir, dark satire, and/or gunbunny high action. However, the complexity and Byzantine politics of the setting allow for slower-paced campaigns based around subversion, inter-departmental rivalry, and cut-throat power struggles within the company.

Along with humans, playable races include the drug-addicted mutant humans called “Frothers”, the stealthy feline “Wraith Raiders”, the formidably violent saurian “Shaktar”, and the two ‘Ebb’ / pseudo-magic using races: the emotionally sensitive and charismatic Ebon, and their more sadistic and violent evolution, the “Brain Wasters”. There are also a variety of biogenetic vat-grown warrior races called Stormers, produced by SLA to fight in their endless wars.

Now that is the background and a petty messed up “World of Progress” it is, but there was never a range of figures to go with this RPG, much to my disappointment, even though there was rumours, over the years that suggested that there might be one in the future and this is where Daruma Productions stepped in and said this…

“SLA Industries: Cannibal Sector 1 – Tabletop Skirmish in the World Of Progress

Whats this, a range of SLA figures and a skirmish game, please tell me more went the voice in my head, actually it screamed “SLA toys, I want them all” and what is this Kickstarter thing and I jumped in. So after looking further into this, meeting the chaps from Daruma at a couple of shows and their love for this is off the scale, safe hands I think, I jumped in on the Kickstarter, thanks Beast of War for pointing me in the direction of this game, and brought some of their minis and this is the start of my fun.

There are six different factions:

Shivers


Shiver Units operate chiefly as SLA Industries’ main police force, but they also serve as the primary line of defence along the Sector Wall. 24 hours a day, the men and women of the Shiver Units patrol the perimeters, and more increasingly, journey into Cannibal Sector itself to drive back its ferocious inhabitants. To work in the sector the Shivers give up the green armour for grey, and switch from the standard ball bearing round for the lethal flechette in their Gauss Rifles. They are brave, loyal, and, most importantly, expendable.

Carrien


Carrien are a strange, highly aggressive indigenous species of Mort. With their canine-skulled heads and hockey-stick weapons, the Carrien are instantly recognisable, and they are commonly found in the dark passageways of Downtown. The bulk of their numbers, however, live and thrive in the Cannibal Sectors. Carrien exist solely to feed and they perpetually stalk the ruins in search of fresh prey, beating them to death and gulping down their flesh raw in great chunks.

Scavs


Many consider the Scavs to be the greatest new threat in the Cannibal Sector. They are a race of beings cloaked in mystery; their faces hidden behind gas masks and bodies shrouded in piecemeal armour and filthy rags. Despite their dishevelled appearance, Scavs are a force to be reckoned with, having an intellect to match their towering statures. They work ceaselessly to gather scrap from the city ruins to then convert their recovered junk into powerful weapons and vehicles. Only their low numbers stand against them, but each individual Scav is an equal match to a SLA Operative.

Cannibals


Lack of food, clean air and water created the cannibals of Sector One. They have existed, threatened and neglected by SLA Industries, since its earliest days. As the centuries passed, the cannibal clans were formed, and their numbers swelled to alarming proportions. The cannibals began as impoverished humans, but toxic waste, horrors of Sector life and natural selections have created hulking monstrosities that can hold their own against neighbouring Carrien and Scavs.

DarkNight


DarkNight Inc. are the age-old enemy of SLA Industries. The two companies have been locked in bloody corporate war for centuries. This battle has been played out on the savage war worlds, the subterranean streets of Downtown, and finally, in the wreckage of the Cannibal Sectors. Dark Night send out their best and most notorious agents far into the dead cities to slaughter Shivers and Carrien alike.

SLA Operatives or SLAops


Operatives are the finest trained and best equipped staff in SLA Industries. Their principal directives are to protect SLA Industries from rival company attacks, destroy hostiles subversives on Mort and throughout the World of Progress. SLA Industries selects only the best trainees to become Ops; the majority are human, but they will readily employ alien races like the Wraithen and Shaktars, pseudo-magic wielding beings knows as Ebons, and biogenetic warrior Stormers. Operatives fulfil a selection of different missions for the company; these will occasionally take them into the depths of Cannibal Sectors in order to exterminate high-level threats, like marauding Scavs or particularly well-organised cannibal enclaves.

The rules are available for download from here and are very quick and straight forward but I will tell you more about it later.

What I am planning do is a step by step of the various factions involved in the game as I slowly get through them starting with the Shivers.

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