Kill Sector - Free, Rules-Lite, Doom-Mod-Inspired Sci-Fi TTRPG

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Noah Eadie
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Kill Sector - Free, Rules-Lite, Doom-Mod-Inspired Sci-Fi TTRPG

Post by Noah Eadie »


I'm Noah Eadie, one of the lead developers behind Kill Sector, a tabletop roleplaying game directly inspired by - and now directly linked to - the Doom modding community. We've actually been going on for a few years now, but it never occurred to me to post in the actual modding forums about it until now - so here we are!

Kill Sector is a sci-fi gladiator themed tabletop roleplaying game that's all about three things: ease of play, tons of character customization options, and intense moment-to-moment breakneck arena action. Essentially, you get to design and then embody a sick action figure that fights other sick action figures in brutal combat. This Wargamer article points out that we blur the line between a narrative-driven roleplaying game and a traditional roll-and-kill wargame, a sentiment which we wholly agree with and proudly display. In Kill Sector, the action and the storytelling are one and the same, combat the ultimate dance, the oldest and truest means of self-expression.

Several years back, I was enamored by the absolute volume of badass weapons, enemies, characters, game modes, levels, and full-on games created by the Doom modding community. It's like an endless virtual toybox that taps into our most primal fight-or-flight instincts in a violent, ever-expanding miasma of mechanical and aesthetic possibilities. I wanted to capture that magic in tabletop form, in a way that makes it even easier to quickly make and share this specific kind of viscerally-cool-stuff-fighting-each-other weirdness with others. The result is Kill Sector - a system hand-crafted for making action figures for the mind.

Me and my buddy Tyson are the founders of the system, but among our ranks we count prolific modders as regular devs - including, but not limited to, Marian of Broadsword Jim, and Sgt Shivers of Final Doomer. It's actually genuinely wild to me that some of the people that inspired Kill Sector are now working on it - Final Doomer has always been one of my favorite mods, and Skelegant has drawn art of Lt Typhon high-fiving Iron Helga, the final boss of one of our example adventures (and who is very transparently inspired by Typhon herself).

The system itself is, as I describe it, rules-lite, mechanics-variable. This means that the rules you need to know to play the game are straightforward and few, but we've engineered a design space where you can make your character to be as simple or complex as you want. On both a mechanical and narrative level, we strive to make sure you can play as quite literally whatever you can think of, so long as it's capable of killing and dying. Just a few examples of recent entries in the character showcase channel of our Discord:
  • Wrestling scarecrow witch that cuts up her opponents with autumn leaves
  • Nun with a shotgun and heelies protected by her divinity
  • Feral murderer with a stolen sentient buster sword, capable of jumping across the battlefield in a single bound
  • Cyborg centaur that can craft her own weapons on the battlefield, and comes equipped with a crystal-blaster arm weapon
  • Keeper of the eternal flames of darkness, blazing paths of burning shadow in their trail
This is all done with a very chunky point-buy system, wherein you build characters with ten points worth of "functions", which describe things your character can be, have, or do. Though I don't have an exact number off-hand, the core rulebook has over a thousand function listings, and the official documents we've released over the years detail hundreds more.

Of course, being inspired chiefly by Doom mods, there's a noticeable bias towards weapons, particularly firearms. Ultra Forge and Brave Lil' Roaster are both supplemental sourcebooks that focus heavily on this aspect (the latter even allows you to play as a sentient weapon!). Not only is there an incredible amount of weaponry at your disposal, but with our modifier and flaw systems, you can customize any of our ready-made weapons into truly unique armaments.

Customization goes far beyond just what weapons you wield - we also have cybernetics, superpowers, magic equipment, biological mutations, and much much more, to ensure you can build exactly the kind of character you want.

Once you and your buddies have made your perfect action figures, a Gauntlet Master runs them through a deadly gauntlet of challenges. The default suggestion is for them to fight in some sort of death arena, but quite regularly gladiators are also hired to take on other lethal missions - bounty hunting, VIP protection, point defense, asset reclamation, so forth and so on. The gameplay is all about being thrown in strange new tactical and strategic situations and navigating your way towards glorious victory. Survival is not guaranteed - to make it out on top requires equal parts cunning and bravery!

If you're not usually the type to get into tabletops, this just might be the tabletop for you. The rules are explicitly made so that anyone can pick up the rulebook, fully understand the rules, make a character, and play in a session all in a single night. In our years of playtesting, we have on countless occasions helped people who've never played a tabletop before do exactly that, and without simplifying the rules either. We've found that Kill Sector is consistently the perfect tabletop for gathering some friends around a table (or voice call), making up some cool dudes, and making them fight other cool dudes, with minimum hassle with trying to get the rules.

I can go on, but at this point, I'll let the game speak for itself. It's available completely for free on drivethruRPG (4.7 star rating after 21 ratings and 7 reviews). If you like what you see, you can download everything we ever published, also for free. We are constantly releasing new content, including a quarterly zine with short stories, functions, GM tips, example gauntlets, and much much more. Our official Discord features a community chest of homebrew content, glorious tales of arena battle, regular virtual sessions to play Kill Sector online, the most up-to-date errata on all our documents, and just a genuinely awesome community of swell people that like making cool fights happen.

I love both the Doom modding community and the Kill Sector community, and it's high time we get the two really acquainted with one-another. If you love Doom for its expressive and artistic capabilities, I strongly encourage you check out Kill Sector, as it's been handcrafted from the ground up with a laser-focus on doing the same for tabletop roleplaying.
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Sgt. Shivers
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Re: Kill Sector - Free, Rules-Lite, Doom-Mod-Inspired Sci-Fi TTRPG

Post by Sgt. Shivers »

I can vouch for this game being a ton of fun. If you're wondering why I haven't been posting much mod stuff lately it's because I've been absorbed by Kill Sector. It's a great game!

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