Advanced Brains: Hardcore Punks Against Dead Guys The Role-Playing Game

By Jesse Harrington

We approach the building. It looks empty, though was that a light on inside? We'd heard this was a good place to put on shows, but I'd never been to one before.

We try the doors. Locked. I remember hearing something about a key hidden somewhere so we check the alley around back, but there doesn't seem to be anything there. We search more of the grounds and eventually find the hidden key holder.

It's also locked.

The lock on this one is a combination lock. We try a couple of variations, hoping to figure out what the right combination will be, but with no luck. Then I remember a friend! We give her a call and she tells us the combination. We're in!

We stumble around inside, before managing to get the lights on. Hey! This would be a good place to hold shows. We start setting up for playing music and scrounge up some cables and manage to hook up the ancient equipment we find. Success!

And then more people showed up and we were able to actually start playing Advanced Brains, a game where we broke into an abandoned building in order to put on a punk show.

This is a homebrew RPG that is pretty extensive in the rules it includes, and I have no idea how well it would work if you'd never played something like this before. I had to keep checking back and forth through the book to find out what the players should do when a security guard starting chasing them, or how being drunk would affect their combat against zombies.

However, everyone that played had a blast, and playing an RPG in which you go dumpster diving, shoplift alcohol, crash vans into zombies, and play punk shows (poorly) was really fun. After we finished the adventure included in the book, we started going through the rest of it and trying out various things we hadn't had a chance to do (dine and dash! smashing more things!).

The consensus seemed to be that it would be fun to just play the game without any plot ("Let's go dumpster diving!"), and see where it grew from there, instead of following a premade story. I can certainly see the appeal of that, and the number of actual RPG campaigns that have been sidetracked by any number of things is countless.