[Review] THOT Audition (Alpha Blue); Ultratelluric Tarantino

[Adventure]
THOT Audit (2018)
Zoltar Khan Delgado (Kor’Thalis Publishing)
Summary: (Reservoir Dogs + Pulp Fiction + From Dusk Till Dawn) * Alpha Blue

Disclaimer: Sponsored Content

To continue in the space-vein we picked up after Thief of Whispers considered doing an SWN-conversion of B2 in the previous post, which I think we can all agree is an absolute necessity, THOT Audit is an adventure for Alpha Blue, courtesy of Kor’Thalis publishing. I wanted to go to the pharmacy and pick up my heart-medication but I found the prescription I absolutely needed had vanished along with my passport and had been replaced with a usb-drive containing a pdf-file of THOT Audit and a note that said “You’ll get em back hoss. In the meantime would you mind writing a review? Don’t take too long. Time is ticking haha VS.”

At this point in the Federation’s history, 2374 standard years, one out of six female lifeforms engage in some kind of sexual activity in exchange for monetary
compensation. That’s a lot of exploitation!

The Federation crackdown on sex-work came as no surprise. However, even the most fanciful of economists never guessed a tax rate of 69%. And it’s long been recognized that hos within the Federation rarely declare their income.

The totalitarian regime realized it could kill two birds with one stone – enforce the draconian tax laws to pay for their ceaseless expansion throughout the universe
while reducing the number of females succumbing to a life of prostitution.

So, the lovely working girls in the Alpha Blue universe are being audited by the Federation…

THOT Audit is a 16-page module for Alpha Blue inspired by a real life event taking place in late 2018, when a selfless band of concerned citizens took it upon themselves to assist the IRS in claiming its just desserts from a plethora of camgirls, e-gold diggers and other assorted species of parasite, to much wailing and bemoaning of the pink and fluffy corners of the internet. Unfortunately this module is not about a team of heroic Judge-Dredd esque auditors fighting to preserve the moral purity of their great space nation from the depredations of gold-digging space hoes but a band of criminals who steal a cargo-vessel with the passengers still on board only to have it boarded by Federation troopers. The rest of the adventure presumably unfolds like an R-rated Tarantino movie, with the characters attempting to evade death at the hands of the troopers whilst various colorful sleazebags reveal their own agendas, and also lots of dirty dirty sex ending in a shootout.

THOT Audit begins by giving everyone some reasons for being on Beeblebrox Prime [1] and hijacking a ship, which are fairly entertaining: You yourself did a little sex-work on the side. Somehow, you were caught up in the THOT audit and now owe the Federation High Council 2d100 blowjobs or else imprisonment on Cygnus Alpha. 

The module seems suited for completion within a single session and can very well serve as a jumping off-point for future space-sleaze, which is in keeping with the spirit of Alpha Blue. It starts off in medias res. A surface-to-orbit missile strike disables the freighter and it is now about to be boarded. You have also just discovered there is about 20.000 credits worth of the purest Blue Crystal [2] onboard. You have received word that your buddies are on their way and will be there within 2 hours. The federation troopers have just docked, there are 3 of them. Go.

I have a few gripes with this scenario. The first is that as written the Troopers have a minor advantage in hit points and armor in first level PCs but there is no clear indication that they can’t just hole up at the front entrance and blast their way out. The module works best if the PCs are forced to explore the ship in an effort to evade the troopers and find some sort of advantage. The troopers are differentiated from eachother by ability but I would have liked some flavorful differentiation as well (like, say, one sporting a ‘fro and wearing armor that says ‘Bad Motherfucker’ on it) since they are to serve as the primary antagonists.

My second gripe is the structure of the ship does not allow for evasion. The ship is laid out like the millenium Falcon, with a ringshaped walkway with doors leading off into different, unconnected rooms. There is a massive Premium-snapchat centre building in the centre, which can be entered from 4 different directions. If the troopers stick together (which they tend to do as the module informs us), holing up in any one room will generally mean you get boxed in pretty quickly (with the exception of rooms 5 & 6, which are connected directly as well as via the walkway. It is not GAMEBREAKING, the troopers would presumably sweep the ship in a clockwise motion, giving your PCs opportunity to hide and/or stay ahead of them for some type of cat and mouse game but the possibilities are limited. Or perhaps you will simply be captured and will have to talk your way out of the situation or resort to some form of trickery.

The myriad NPCs are otherwise well done. There is a federation spy among the THOTs, a space princess moonlighting as a porn-starlet is preparing for a murderous rampage and is being hunted by a replicant prostitute assassin, a Punk Porn Star who wants to give the PCs control of the ship “…because anarchy,” a telepathic cartel alien, a delegation of Klyngons riven with factional infighting and a degenerate gambler named Frank with a million credit debt and a bounty hunter with a Haley Joel Osment tattoo. The mixture of NPCs is colourful and brimming with volatile potential (and sleaze obviously).

I guess I could gripe about the references to various factions in the Alpha Blue universe being described in later supplements but since most of the factions in AB are references to existing science fiction IP I can’t really see that being much of a problem. Did you get the reference to the Albino Klyngon Koq? Atta, boy!

The room contents are appropriately sleazy, accompanied by computer-generated porn art reminiscent of Mass Effect (Ass Effect?). Glory holes with random occupants, chicks getting stuck “half-way” while repairing the engine, a space diversity and inclusion seminar and a meeting of panicky THOT investors that might end with them deciding to do anything from throwing a party and getting black out drunk to executing every audited THOT (or both)! The potential for comedy content is pretty high with this one.

The module ends with a list of possible Alerts (say, Rainbow Alert if you get a diversity related hazard) or Condition Alpha Blue if there is a potential for extreme sleaziness. There’s a little sub-table for determining the outcome of pussy power checks (i.e your ability to pick up dudes if you are playing as a THOT, which I don’t know if I recommend).

THOT Audit is pretty funny and works well as a volatile single-session scenario with a minimum amount of tinkering, providing plenty of surprising and awkward surprises to what will undoubtedly be a group of exclusively male players. If you are easily offended by political incorrectness or nudity you should probably not get this but then again you should probably just fuck off of the internet anyway. As it stands, THOT Audit is a fun, explosive and characteristically messy scenario more reminiscent of Fiasco then Dnd with plenty of possible solutions that should make for interesting replay value…if you can stomach the porny thematics.

It’s a good set-up with a decent execution with some minor flaws, and more coherent then the 2018 Venger Modules I have checked out as of late. For a PWYW adventure of this genre, I’d give it about a 7 out of 10.

THOT audit is PWYW so you can check it out yourself here. The recommended price of about 2-3 bucks seems on point.

[1] A planet that is in the throes of civil revolt as a result of the new tax.
[2] Space meth.

 

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20 thoughts on “[Review] THOT Audition (Alpha Blue); Ultratelluric Tarantino

  1. Man, the more I read about AlphaBlue the more I am convinced I need to check it out.
    I never played a “over-the-top-parody” system that I liked … but I am a huge ScienceFiction Fan and this sounds like AlphaBlue breaks right trough any barrier of good taste and crashes into the dopamine center of your brain … leaving you grinning like an idiot.

    If you want to continue the space craze even further you could check out “Mothership” and its Sandbox module “dead planet” from Tuesday Knight Games. Bryce review “dead planet” and gave it a “the best” tag…
    http://www.tuesdayknightgames.com/mothership

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    1. I think the porn part is a big no-deal for me personally, I MIGHT be able to get a configuration of players together to make it not horrifically akward but its a doozy. I liked Paranoia a lot the few times I have played it and I think you can qualify that as an over-the-top rpg, just a really interesting one.

      [Dead Planet]

      Edgewise recommended it to me a while back so I will put it on my reviewing list.

      Like

    2. [Alpha Blue]
      I don’t have a problem with the porn or the akward sexual shit that will be going down, but i’m with you when you say that you need a carefully choosen configuration of players for it. And if thats not possible (con game or such stuff) you need to make it abundantly clear, that this is all in good fun and so on.

      [Paranoia]
      Never played it … but not because i find it bad or something, just never had the chance. Heard some good stuff, some bad stuff …

      [over the top rpgs]
      What I meant wasn’t exactly systems that are over the top in their setting or mechanics, that can work fine … but systems that try too hard to be funny or rather systems that encourage players to be too funny.
      I played the GURPS Discworld game some years back and everyone at the table tried to be Terry Pratchett … tried so very hard … I swear I heard every halfway good Discworld quote on that table that day … we also met every character in Ankh-Morpork that was in any of the books … the only discworld-thing the DM didn’t try to cram in was a good plot.
      Same when I played toon … everybody tried so hard to be funny …

      [Dead planet]
      Cool, cool.
      My group and me will start a little Stars without Number campaign shortly. Everyone wanted a strong scifi-horror element. So I am thinking about adapting Dead Planet for this.

      Like

      1. Grutzi and Prince will probably get a kick out of knowing that my in-person playtest of Beneath Kra’adumek had an “Alpha Blue” moment.

        Remember that silver wand? I described it as vibrating the purple crystal out, and later the PCs encountered some nubile sacrifices. Yeah, that happened.

        All it takes is a couple of perverted players and a lenient GM for Alpha Blue to manifest itself like a slutty drunk girl at a dive bar.

        Like

      2. [Paranoia]

        Paranoia is really interesting because it fucks with one of the core-assumptions of RPGs, which is that you are all on the same team. You play as clones in a post-apocalyptic underground bunker complex goverened by an insane AI called ‘The Computer.’ You get impossible missions, unreliable equipment, and everyone has an ulterior motive and a secret objective, the trick is simply making sure it won’t be you that’s blamed for it it will be someone else. Also you have a six-pack of clones so you can die multiple times.

        [Over the top]

        I think you and bluemenbestmen might be of one mind on that subject. I kind of agree that forced funny is the worst funny and the default state of an rpg is a comedy/shitposting elf-simulator.

        [DP]

        I’ve played SWN for…3-4 years? Great game. Does everything that isn’t epic space opera pretty well.

        [Alpha Blue]

        Does Roll20 have an X-card?

        Like

      3. @Thief:
        Thanks man. I will take a look at it. After a first quick glance I had to smile … adapting the Silent Legions Madness rules was also my intention 😉

        @Venger:
        Ha .. I knew something was wrong with that dungeon 😛

        @Prince
        [Paranoia]
        Sounds interesting … as someone who played a lot of Legend of the five Rings and Vampire the Masquerade (in the dark days in my WoD phase) i can dig the “not on the same team” thing … if it is executed right. Vampire was really shitty in that departement sometimes.

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  2. More sponsored content eh? Someone has been getting a lot of handies in the porta-potty. Good review though. In general the theme of AB seems a lot of fun but I don’t understand who it’s for. I like fan service and a good bromance as much as the next red blooded gamer but I don’t see myself playing this with friends. I guess it would be very interesting to run this at a con but probably not in a good way.

    Like

    1. That’s basically my problem with something like Alpha Blue, the target demographic. Sex isn’t really an interesting dimension to explore with other guys (or now that I think of it girls through the medium of elfgames), maybe dudes with the exact right sense of humor, mixed in with some perverts. I can see some guys I know that I could run it with without it turning into a shitshow (or at least people who would be able to ironically appreciate the shitshow) but its a niche. Maybe Venger can offer his insights on where he finds his, ahem, players.

      [Comedy game]

      I think you told me that once and I agree in principle but I think certain games work better as comedy games then others. Having a setting that is conductive to comedy means the comedy adds to the game, rather then detracting from it. A campaign setting or game that relies strongly on atmosphere, harrowing tension or weighty themes (like Call of Cthulhu or some White Wolf game) for its appeal is going to be destroyed by a comedy take, rather then enhanced by it. Ergo, suitability for comedy is a dimension you can arrange games on, and comedy games therefore exist and can have merit.

      [Alpha Blue con-game]

      It’s weird, the format seems almost perfect for quick pick-me up games. It’s like the opposite of James Raggi. Instead of doing something serious and pretend you are ‘only joking’ Alpha Blue presents itself as a joke but executes it well. I will agree that I have a hard time seeing it as non-creepy. Maybe the internet would help…no wait…

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      1. Good point about the comedy game thing. I will keep that in mind for when I find grown-up players. All it takes to break immersion is one clown and honestly I love that.

        Like

      2. Thanks for the review, hoss! It probably is more like Fiasco than D&D. I have yet to play the former.

        On finding players… half of my “local gaming community” are cool with Alpha Blue. Don’t start off by describing it as porn until after you’ve played the first session. But let them know it’s definitely R-rated sci-fi… that may include adult situations.

        Ease into it slowly. It can be weird at the beginning, just like having sex with another person for the first time. Although, you’d be surprised how many anonymous internet dudes are DTF non-player characters from the get-go. Or maybe that wouldn’t surprise you at all?

        Like

      3. That explanation, while enlightening, only made me more concerned, not less. It’s like I don’t agree with anything you said but I am glad you exist? Curiouser and curiouser.

        Like

  3. Also I don’t see the need for comedy games. In my experience nearly every game can turn into a comedy game if the DM stops cat-herding for a few minutes. Get out the booze and it’s pretty much guaranteed.

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    1. It’s a series of subtle coincidences that coagulate to form an inescapable impression; A group of minor criminals finding/acquiring a fortune or pulling off a heist that puts them in for more then they bargained for is a staple of both Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and From Dusk Till Dawn, both Reservoir Dogs and THOT Audition are essentially heist movies, the berserker slut princess reminded me of the Bride and the Sleazy atmosphere of drugs and porn evokes shades of Tarantino’s Grindhouse aesthethic. If I don’t get at least three references or concepts during a read through that means you are either blowing my mind or you have created the elfgame equivalent of a slab of concrete.

      Like

      1. I gotta think if I would describe anything I’ve ever reviewed like that. Thick, indigestible, boring, bland, monotonous…I think I read part of the heartbreaker RPG Kromore once and it was terrible enough to merit the description but it was also more then 600 pages long and I don’t do hack reviews so that one is out. Even terrible products tend to be shit in an interesting way, I just haven’t found the right boring garbage yet.

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