Playing CODE/X

This is a game of dungeon crawl. Despite the guns, the science, the setting, this is a game of dungeon crawl, with contemporary or futuristic analogues of typical fantasy archetypes. There are mercenaries instead of fighters, scouts and ex spec-forces instead of thieves, scientists and medics instead of magicians and techies instead of dwarves and bards. Treasures are money, superscience items and the reward for completing the mission. Monsters are usually man-made horrors of evil scientists and experiments dating back to Nazis or even before. Focus is on action and achievement, with horror and character immersion coming in second.

CODE/X is dubbed a Survival Horror roleplaying game, but what is survival horror in the first place? The game has the setting of a horror game but unlike in Call of Cthulhu and other traditional horror RPGs, they are taking the fight to the enemy. It is a just like in fantasy dungeon crawls: it is the characters who are intruding into the monsters´ territory and gunning them down in search of riches and glory. While CODE/X bestiary features incredible, horrible and powerful monsters, characters themselves are even the deadliest creatures in the game. Their odds of survival are no better or worse than in most fantasy roleplaying games and should they fall, they will take quite a few enemies with them. “Horror” does not come from fears of personal safety, but from the contrast between the mundane, everyday setting, and the existences of monsters and secret laboratories.

CODE/X draws its one half of its inspiration mainly from video games such as Resident Evil, Far Cry, Half-Life, Doom, Cold Fear etc. These in turn draw upon a wealth of books and movies covering both horror and action. Sometimes these cross over and the film Resident Evil is a very good example of what CODE/X is trying to achieve. Although this game is set in our time and world, it has plenty of futuristic and sometimes also ancient themes. The overall approach is more scientific than occult, but there are elements of both. Before attempting to run CODE/X, the Gamemaster should be familiar with at least some works of the genre and pay attention what kind of characters they feature and how stories and settings are constructed.