Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Propaganda Depository => RPG Ghetto => Topic started by: Cramulus on July 15, 2013, 06:19:04 pm

Title: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Cramulus on July 15, 2013, 06:19:04 pm
Human Occupied Landfill, or HOL, is a tabletop RPG printed in the 90s.

Game Rulebook: http://www.scribd.com/doc/96485292/Ww5900-Hol-human-Occupied-Landfill

Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hol_%28role-playing_game%29

At this point, I'm really used to playing overproduced, highly polished RPGs. Books with a dozen editors, a highly trained design & layout department, and tons of official branding and merch. I'm used to books with proper spelling and well-playtested rules.

HOL has none of that. But it has more spirit than any RPG book I've ever read.

First, take a scroll through the rulebook in the link above. Notice how the book is ALL HAND WRITTEN? It screams 90s zine. It makes me want to write a 90s zine. It was picked up by White Wolf's Black Dog division. Black Dog specialized in edgy, fringe, often experimental games which probably wouldn't work for a mainstream RPG audience. All the black dog publications have attitude. This book has a bad attitude which will get it sent to bed without supper, but instead it stays up listening to punk rock and drawing pictures of guns.

Writing an RPG is a labor of love. HOL was clearly a labor of hate. You can tell from the blurb on the back cover:

Quote
We know that look.

That "If I have to check for traps one more time, I'm going to sneak a spoonful of drain cleaner into the GM's yoo-hoo and start screaming "GUESS YOU FAILED YOUR SEARCH CHECK ON THAT ONE MR. TEN BY TEN STONE CORRIDOR."

You need help.

You need HOL.

Science Fiction Roleplaying for gamers who've had a really bad day. Get it before you hurt someone.

These guys hate D&D. You can tell. They played it to death and now they're bored as hell. You can see it in their parodies of D&D munchkins and "gary" style gaming. They want something more, but they're not entirely sure what. Just that it's loud, and rude, and might result in personal injury.

I get the sense that HOL was written more or less as it popped into the authors heads. You can tell they were making it up as they were writing it. The rules are difficult to understand. They self-contradict. They ramble. They go off on diatribes. The example text for how to parry an attack goes in circles until the GM (or HolMeister as they are called in this game) decides its too complicated and tells the player to fuck off and just dodge the goddamn attack already.

Most games start their book with a disclaimer which tells you it's just a game. This game begins with a claimer, promising you that playing this game will lead to drug use, psychosis, and kitten murder.

I'm not sure if HOL is playable. I'm going to find out. The rules are really weird. The setting is there, but there are no plot hooks or story ideas, just a lot of setting elements. There are no rules for character creation. Just "come up with a character, and the GM will gut it, then give you some numbers." I'm not really sure if the numbers even matter. It's like the whole game is about the attitude.

We're gonna play this week. My friend is going to run it--he says he played a few sessions back in the 90s and it's actually playable. I'll believe it when I see it. I started to make a character - I'm going to be a Health and Safety Inspector who specializes in trivia and quiz shows. I'm not going to take any combat skills, but I will have the ability to throw fundraisers and make my voice sound really important. If I understand the game properly, at some point I should punch another player in the face. (right, Player, not Character.)

So that's a quick intro to HOL: Human Occupied Landfill. Take a flip through it, check out what I mean. It's like a fractal. If the book feels like it's flipping you off, it's because every paragraph, every sentence, every piece of punctuation, is also flipping you off.

Any of you guys seen this book? Tried it? Lived to tell the tale?
Title: Re: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on July 15, 2013, 07:43:42 pm
I've read the print version before, and I know folks who have made the attempt to play. From what I could gather:
     - You need the *right* crew to play this. Being slightly inebriated is probably a plus. You need to be at least familiar if not sick to death of more typical role playing games, and you need the desire to break things. The group should all be people you could reasonably get into a fist fight with over something and still be friends the next day. Girlfriend gamers and barely-tolerated hangers-on need not apply.
     - You need to be in the mood for this. This is not a dungeon you can go through half-assed because your friend really wants to run it.
     - Do not expect a long campaign out of this.
Title: Re: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Telarus on July 16, 2013, 06:01:00 am
I read HOL over a summer RPG blitz while playing Earthdawn (in high-school, mid 90s) and loved it. Even tried to play half-a-session once...



We ended up playing Tales From The Floating Vagabond instead (the system hangs together better).
Title: Re: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 16, 2013, 03:09:05 pm
HOL is an awesome beer & pretzels kind of game, on the same level as Kobolds Ate My Baby. 

9/10, would play again.
Title: Re: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Pergamos on July 16, 2013, 10:51:16 pm
Kobolds ate my baby is so much fun.

I may have to check out HOL.
Title: Re: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Pere Ubu on October 07, 2013, 03:13:05 am
HOL is one of my go-to RPG books for readin', as opposed to playin', because it's a damn hoot, right up there with Paranoia.

That said, I'd play it in a nanosecond.
Title: Re: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Red on March 04, 2014, 05:35:07 am
     - You need the *right* crew to play this. Being slightly inebriated is probably a plus.
     - Do not expect a long campaign out of this.
The first one is true! I used to run HoL for my brother back when he still lived out here. We had a ton of fun spinning the tale of GRAGGH the janitor with a flamethrower where his eye should be. As a game master I can get pretty crack-tastic so HoL suits me well. I can run it sober.

GRAGGH's story ran for several months, actually, and never was finished. This actually was a pretty long campaign! It also helps that I got the supplement, BUTTery wHOLesomeness  (http://www.amazon.com/Buttery-Wholesomeness-Christopher-Elliott-Shaughnessy/dp/0966476522)for extra inspiration.

One of these days I really should get a copy of both for myself so I can run this game again... not that there's much in the way of rules. Ever read the DM section, guys? Here's a quick snippet.

Quote
You're the storyteller. You've run games before. Make shit up.
Oops, I accidentally posted the whole thing. OH WELL!
Title: Re: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Chucklemaster on June 23, 2014, 12:17:37 am
I actually played HoL once; not the best decision I ever made. it is fun to read, though.
Title: Re: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Arnie on September 13, 2016, 07:29:30 am
HOL is one of my go-to RPG books so click here (https://www.tenderbuttons.com/testo-max-review-results) fro testomax for readin', as opposed to playin', because it's a damn hoot, right up there with Paranoia.

That said, I'd play it in a nanosecond.

Anyone here still play HOL?
Title: Re: Human Occupied Landfill
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on September 16, 2016, 03:53:09 pm
Anyone here still play HOL?

That's like asking "are you still stomping on broken glass?"