Author – Mr. Ray (@Mr_Ray_rpg)
Art – Meghan Murphy
Where to Buy – https://mr-ray.itch.io/3-baddies-and-a-baby
Before setting down to write this review I had to ask myself, “Is it logical to write a 500-word review on a one-page RPG?” After all, the game in question is only 567 words so, in reality, you could read the entire game for yourself in about the same time it would take you to read this review.
But then I remembered, as a reviewer, I’m unfettered by things like “reality” and “logic”. If you’ve read my earlier reviews I’m sure you’d agree. And so, bravely, we must press on!
In 3 Baddies and a Baby, players take on the roles of supervillains trying to pay the rent on their villainous lair. To achieve this, they’ve come up with a brilliant heist but, in the last few moments, one of their siblings drops by and asks them to babysit. Oh, and the baby in question is just starting to develop superpowers. No biggie.
Character creation is beautifully simple, letting players flesh out their baddies with five familiar attributes and a handful of points to distribute between them. This game isn’t overly concerned with balance (and that’s good, because balance is the fun killer) so players are free to dump all of their points in a single attribute or spread them out semi-evenly.
In many games featuring superpowered characters, creating/selecting superpowers is an onerous task. This is not the case in this one-page RPG, as you may have guessed. Players just decide on a power or suite of powers and, with DM approval, they’re ready to go. If a player’s powers could replace one of the other attributes, the player should use their power ranking as appropriate. For example, if a player were trying to befriend a security guard, most players would roll using their Charm attribute. If the player in question had pheromone powers that beguile people, they would roll with their Power attribute instead. That’s about as crunchy as it gets, which is absolutely perfect for a fun and quick narrative-focused game.
Every task that could result in failure is assigned a target number by the DM, ranging from 2 to 17. Players will then roll a d12, add their attribute, and hope to beat the target. If they fail, the DM rolls on a 1d20 table to see what nascent power activates in their superbaby ward. This could be anything from turning incorporeal to becoming a kaiju and wreaking havoc. I love games that make failure exciting and fun, and 3 Baddies and a Baby certainly does that. In fact, there really is no downside to failing a roll. There’s no mechanic for taking damage, being removed from the scene, etc. so the worst thing that happens is…the game gets more chaotic and exciting.
This is superb design, especially in a short-form game.
3 Baddies and a Baby is an uncomplicated, high-concept game that is perfect for a night of ridiculous fun. And for only a dollar! If only the rent on an evil lair was that low…
DISCLAIMER: I do not know anyone involved with this game, nor did I receive anything for free in exchange for this review. I did interview Mr. Ray for a forthcoming episode of our Hearthside Chats, so stay tuned! Also, if you like actual play podcasts, go listen to Mr. Ray’s Monster of the Week podcast $2 Creature Feature!