CharactersEvery character is connected to the bugs in some way. You begin by choosing a character role: Adept, Entomologist (someone who studies bugs), Hunter, Ranger or Rider (high ho, silver!). This role provides you will some points to spend on your familiar and novel attributes: Empathy, Entymology, Fitness, Survival, Technology and Willpower. On top of those, you also have a series of abilities, which are analogous to feats and skills. Some of them are profession based (I can do science, me) and some of them are physical or ethereal (stop thinking about me in those knickers, you filth!). You finish with picking your bug companions, pleasant ones, obviously. You don't want to be eaten by your own pet in the first session. Not unless you think that's funny. Which my players would.
SettingHumanity has found itself on the system of Arthra, a delightfully balanced system with both variety and credibility. Humans are native of one planet (no mention of Earth) and live uneasily with a broad selection of bugs. From their homeworld, the humans have yawned and stretched with their 21st Century technology (spaceflight assumed to be vastly advanced) across the other worlds, taking full advantage of the diverse environments Jeffrey has carefully crafted. Technology is well explained, you have all the stuff you have today but you can travel between the planets with graceful ease.
The bugs are where the fun begins. Bugs are served in a broad array from intelligent, bovine, psychic, insectoid, gremlinoid and anything else you can turn your mind to. Some humans live in harmony with the bugs but that alone wouldn't be very interesting for a roleplaying game. In some places bugs and humans are at more loggerheads than teenage siblings. In these cases, the characters are brought in to investigate, understand or bring about the bugocalypse (bugapocalypse or bugalypse?).
MechanicsResolution is pleasantly familiar with a twist: players describe what they want to do. GM chooses the difficulty by giving a number of dice to roll. The player rolls them, sums them and compares them against the attribute or ability score. Equal or lower is a pass. The few dice the GM gives, the easier the task. There is a lean towards leaving the narration with the player but old-schoolers won't find it too obtrusive. Opposed rolls are performed by comparing the lowest-under-attribute score.
Conflicts are performed neatly thus: the person trying to do something rolls first. If they pass, the person trying to stop it, rolls against. If they pass, start again. Keep going until one person fails. Nice! There's a little more on combat, damage and modifiers but nothing too heavy. That's it.
The unfortunately named Currency is a player possessed pool of resources that can be spent to help tip the balance of rolls. Bugs are described in a cut-down version of the character and rules are included for training your bug to be your bestest friend to hug and squeeze and love for ever and ever (please leave a comment if you recognise that reference).