The Setting

I Love the Corps is a military action, science fiction and horror game set in the year 2450, 200 years after the Earth was abandoned and possibly laid to waste by humanity. The dregs of humanity are all that are left; not long ago, a bunch of disparate colonies begrudgingly banded together as the Colonial Dominion, forming the United Colonial Marine Corps for mutual protection against both public and hidden threats.

On the surface of it, the galaxy is filled with human dangers; the pirates, smugglers, activists, terrorists, Separatists and rebels that refuse to accept the Dominion, and that is what the Corps is supposedly there to deal with. And this much is true. But there is much worse.

Whether they know it or not, marines are also there to deal with terrifying self-aware artificial intelligences, out of control experimental viruses, marauding science projects, corrupt mega-corporations, extraterrestrial parasites and animals, horrific mutants, hunted and vengeful Psychics and meddling and malicious sentient aliens planning the downfall of humanity.

All player characters are usually members of the United Colonial Marine Corps, from captains, sergeants and basic grunts, to scientists, envoys and the like that may be attached to a squad.

Players can fill the roles of the squad from the leaders and the rank and file grunts, to the sniper, scout, engineer, heavy weapons expert, mech pilot and more. Marines can be standard humans, revered cyborg warriors, mistrusted, psychically-aware Sensitives, genetically enhanced Augs (like the bestial Feral or the humongous Highgrav) or even robotic Dupes.

Rules Overview

Play in I Love the Corps is based around the abilities that characters, Friendlies and Hostiles possess and using these abilities to defeat other combatants, resist Horrors and avoid Hazards.

The game is a story that is broken into narrative and action scenes, which are broken down into beats: moments of drama and excitement within a scene.

In each beat, you can use an active and passive ability to dictate dramatic actions; active abilities take the ability's score and then add a single D6 roll and any situational bonuses to determine the total, whilst passive abilities add the score to a static number (which is 3 during a narrative scene, 1 during an action scene).

Whilst abilities in general reflect the character's learned skills and natural capabilities, an active ability represents that skill combined with extra effort. A passive ability during a narrative scene represents how a character shows their know-how with time and no complications, whilst in an action scene, it is an action that requires little thought or focus.

In either scene, often trying an ability for the first time won't bring total success; you can't just hack into a computer in five seconds unless you are the absolute best. But if you start hacking into the system successfully, further concentrating will let you continue to amass what are called success levels until you succeed. The more success levels you have, the better; and if you have negative success levels... pray you have strong armour.

Each character has a lethal, non-lethal, psychology and sensory status to determine their physical and mental resilience. All abilities can be used against each other to create success levels, which are then reduced by the target's Hardass or Stay Frosty scores, to see what is added to the status. When that status hits a threshold, you're in trouble!

A compromised marine could be concussed or bleeding out, finding actions more difficult, and a neutralised marine is either knocked out, instantly killed or on their very last legs, refusing to go down but suffering horrific physical trauma. If you are Freaking Out, it is harder to do things from the panic, and if you are Losing It, then you do something crazy for the scene.

In order to survive, marines are helped massively by earning themselves GLORY! If you create impressive moments of role play and story advancement, you earn Glory Points to spend later to aid your character. And for each Glory Point, you get a Fortune Point, the only way to improve your character.

Game Development

I Love the Corps was created as a mostly free-form role-playing game for friends at University. It started life as a few one-off games used to represent the setting of a certain demon-filled first person shooter PC game on Mars, and then changed setting, became 'No-one Can Hear You Scream', and soon enough player characters had creatures bursting out of their chests.

Soon enough, encouragement from players led to the creation of an original setting. Stood outside a cinema, the basics of 'The Corps' were hashed out, which became known as 'I Love the Corps' after about three game sessions. Players poured their love and ideas into it, the demand for the game kept increasing. This has eventually led to the decision to try and publish and sell the game via crowdfunding.

The rules are entirely written by Christopher Dean, thoroughly tested by a large network of friends and strangers who have and helped form the rules, background and imagery. The books are edited and proof-read by Stuart Crump and Steve Gilbert and concept art and logos featured on the website and Facebook group have been kindly produced by Lewis Marvelly, Marisa Montaldi and Stef Brooke-Harris.