Disclaimer: SLA Industries is a horror based RPG and therefore isn’t recommended for young people. I think this important to point as a lot of parents or siblings involve young people to bring them into the glorious world of roleplaying, and personally this is a dark RP that most likely will upset some children.
SLA Industries was first published in 1993 by Nightfall Games, created by Dave Allsop. It is set in the future where most of universe is owned by SLA Industries, the planets that are owned, either directly or indirectly, are collectively called the World of Progress. SLA Industries is a corporation owned by the abstruse and mysterious Mr Slayer and you play as some of the freelance employees, known as Operatives, that live on Mort. Your aim is to keep the peace. It is a 2d10 system (2 lots of 10 sided dice) that is for 2 people or more, with the optimum number of players being between 4 and 6.
Mort City, where the corporations HQ is located, is a bleak and dark setting. It is a heavily populated city that is surrounded by urban ruins that are known as the cannibal sectors. . The planet has been stripped of all natural resources and the ecology has been destroyed. The city has no natural beauty, only solid structures.
You have a choice of species to play; Human, Frother – human clan born drug addicts, Ebon – beautifully coloured humanoids that manipulate and understand Ebb , Brain Waster – similar to Ebon but are generally more aggressive and arrogant by nature, Stormer – About 2.60m hulk that is covered in thick muscles with an overall facial feature that resembles that of a skinned horse, Shaktar – Similar to that a Stormer but covered in scaly skin that is similar to an alligator, and finally Wraith Raider – Resemble large humanoid lions that are covered in fur that thickens on their home planet. There is a 2 page spread for each species (with drawings) but I’ve condensed it into one sentence the best I could. There is a large range of weapons that can be chosen too depending on what you prefer, my eldest brother was quite general, my second eldest brother preferred a claymore and I was a sniper freak. I also had a motorbike, just because I felt a Wraith Raider should have one. There is a lot you can add to your character and make your own little life for them that may affect an assignment but then again may not.
That is a very quick and condensed overview of where the game is set, what you have to do and what you can be. The corebook is exceptionally detailed.
It describes the history of SLA Industries, discusses important people within the corporation, gives articles from operatives, and discusses the races in depth. The races section will tell you an insight into each creature, their background, their appearance, quotes from them, and their opinion of other species. You will be able to get a clear image of exactly what these guys are meant to be. The corebook even has paperwork (you don’t have to do all of it) which adds to the overall feel of it all. There is a character sheet, corporation contract, extermination warrant, medical exemption certificate, release form, and Blueprint News. A BPN tells you what you have to do, what level you have to be within SLA Industries to take it on, what the pay is, and how much media coverage you will get. That’s right you get media coverage in the world of Mort for doing your job, the more exciting it is the more you could be rewarded. To the right is an example of a BPN.
Word the Nerd’s very own Jesse Grant, tried to play SLA Industries with others but found it hard, as GM, to portray the rich world to the players. His view was backed up by one of my own friends who said that it was such a detailed world that it requires a lot of time just to set the scene and have everyone on the same page. This, I agree with, but I think the richness of the setting and the detail that it goes in to makes it a lot more appealing, there isn’t an assumption that everything is like Earth and it makes the game is a lot easier to get lost in.
One of my brothers has played SLA Industries for at least 15 years and says it is a game of its era. The rule system isn’t as smooth as it could be but it was made in the early 1990’s. However, once you get past the initial paperwork there is a brilliant opportunity to go crazy with your imagination, which on many occasions he did so and my character was torn apart only to be rebuilt later. It’s also these details that allow players of completely different styles to play together.
I’ve always enjoyed reading about Mort and the world I would be playing in. I’ve happily spent time reading articles by Operatives, interviews with various people, and learning more and more about this dark world. However, I am a woman who does enjoy horror, violence, and a chance to go mental so the game seemed perfect for someone like me. I will never grow tired of the blissful moments where I roll 20 on 2d10’s and get to snipe some guy and take out his friend behind him. I will always look back and laugh at moments where one of my other brothers was a Frother and would fully re-enact scenes, or where a friend of mine rolled two 1’s and was a Shaktar worm that managed to bite the head off a carnivorous pig.
SLA Industries does require time to get everyone on the same page in regards to setting and the mood, and if wanting to do all the paperwork can seem more like a mini live roleplaying event rather than a couple of mates/relatives sitting in a room. However, the very detailed world allows you to escape and fully immerse yourself in the environment of Mort. What operatives do can be so vast and, of course, is only limited by the imagination, and the playing style of your fellow operatives doesn’t matter as everything is resolved by the dice.
It certainly isn’t that mainstream, and isn’t recommended for children. If you’re a horror fan who likes slicing, dicing, and shooting stuff then you should certainly give this a go.