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hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


Lightning Lord posted:

If the cult popularity of Harn shows us anything it's that there's a small audience of people who really do want to play smiths and bakers in their fantasy RPGs. I'm not sure about the game itself in terms of rules, but Harn is a pretty cool setting and there are interesting scenarios like 100 Bushels of Rye. But FATAL isn't the game to do this with, or anything.

Oh, Hârnmaster. Now there's a special game if ever I saw one. I have the PDFs of Hârnmaster Gold 2.0, and it's, well, special. I've never played this game, to be honest, but from reading through the rules it is easily the most detailed and realistic fantasy sandbox game you will ever come across. Unfortunately, it's also the most detailed and realistic fantasy sandbox game you will ever come across.

If you wanted to play a game set in Westeros, it'd probably do that pretty well - it's one of those systems where it's easy for a character to be taken out of action (and potentially suffer permanent injury), but it's actually quite hard to die in combat.

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Harnmaster is a really good game for what it is - a bunch of people back in the early 1980s looked at AD&D and said "this is good, but way too comic-booky and unrealistic" and then looked at RuneQuest and said "that's better but it still needs work" and then went to work making and testing a "realistic" medieval fantasy RPG. It's both simultaneously a fantasy heartbreaker (hey guys, lets make a more realistic version of AD&D!) and the exact opposite version of a fantasy heartbreaker (it's actually very tightly designed and shows evidence of being extensively tested and limits itself to supporting a very specific playstyle and is professionally produced). It's just a really, really, really, really good and focused variant of early D&D. The world it's set in is pretty excellent, too.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 8: Having faith. And focus.

Last time we hammered our way through the Torg magic system, which had a bunch of unnecessary mechanics because they can't let you do anything more complex than using a simple skill without a bunch of drawbacks in place. But this is the miracles section, right? I mean, can't we just take it on faith that divine magic just works?

Ha ha of course not. Because Torg, that's why.

Unsurprisingly, there's a completely different system for miracles that has very little relation to the magic system.

quote:

Religion and spirituality differ from magic in a fundamental way: magic bends the forces of the universe according to alternate laws of nature; religion creates a spiritual community linked by a divine will separate from each individual's will.

Magic is much like an alternate technology limited only by the practitioner's mentality. A wizard can study in his tower for years, never see a living soul, and be unhindered in his quest for magic. Religion, on the other hand, connects people to their cosm through the community. When people of a belief gather and interact in a service or ritual, the community is reaffirmed. Even hermits begin their lives of faith in the community. When they leave to seek solitude, they are still bound to the community by their faith, linked to others through the divine principles they seek to explore.

The game refers to a religion and its associated stories, symbolism, and such as a mythos. Why they can't just call a religion a "religion" is beyond me, but anyway.

To be able to perform miracles, you need to accept all the core beliefs of your mythos. If, for whatever reason, you stop believing in even a part of your religion, then you can't perform miracles anymore. That seems...unfair, especially since a) we're looking at this from a 2015 standpoint, and b) most practitioners can't agree on 100% of their own religions 100% of the time.

There are, surprisingly, only two skills needed for performing miracles: focus is the skill that's used to actually cast the miracle, and faith is the skill used to determine the actual effect value of the miracle. Both skills are based off Spirit.

Here's the thing, though. When you cast a miracle on someone, it's the faith skill of the beneficiary that determines the total effect. This is where terminology gets confusing: if the miracle is helpful to the target, the target is the "beneficiary" and you use his faith score to determine the outcome. If it's a harmful miracle, though, then the caster is the beneficiary and uses his own faith score.

On the plus side, if you're performing a miracle and there are other believers around, they can help you perform the miracle. Every character who wants to help with the miracle has to make a faith roll against the miracle's community rating. The total number of people who succeed is then added to the caster's focus total. Or you can just use this formula if you don't feel like rolling for 50 NPCs.

quote:

Value of number of characters
+ average faith
- community rating of miracle
- 2
- bonus modifier for focus character
That'll give you the bonus to the caster's focus roll.

There is a limitation on this, though: people who don't have faith in the main caster's mythos can't contribute. Due to the book's poor organization, this important tidbit isn't mentioned until the next section. Instead of, you know, just saying that the people who help have to be of the same belief system as the caster.

It is possible to cast a beneficial miracle on a willing subject of a different faith as normal, but if you do so then a spiritual struggle will erupt as the two belief systems clash. Each character must generate a new faith total using the other character's faith skill total as the difficulty. Then you look up the result on the Combat Results Chart and apply the damage to the characters.

quote:

Example: In a pinch, Father Bryce performs a healing miracle on an Edeinos companion. The miracle succeeds, the Edeinos is healed. Even though the Edeinos wanted to be healed, there are still consequences to performing a miracle on a "disbeliever," or accepting a miracle from another faith.

Bryce's faith value is 13. The Edeinos' faith value is 14. Bryce gets a total of 13; no effect on the Edeinos. The Edeinos rolls a total of 19. Bryce takes 6 result points of stun damage (O 2). There are also "spiritual consequences."
I bet you think the next section is about these "spiritual consequences", you'd be wrong. Have I mentioned that the book isn't organized too well?

For some reason, the next section is about "evil enemies"; if you're around someone who shares your mythos but is an opposed side (like a Satanist around Christians), then the evil character's faith adds are treated as a penalty to the "good" character's rolls.

For some other reason, the next section after that is about conversion. It's possible to convert from one religion to another; doing so will reduce your faith adds by 1 (but if you go to 0 adds, you're still considered to have the skill), and converting clears all spiritual damage effects you're suffering from. Also, if you don't have the faith skill and someone performs a miracle on you with a spectacular success (beating the difficulty by 12 or more), then the target will automatically convert to the caster's religion whether they want to or not, and must immediately buy an add in the faith skill for 2 Possibilities whether they want to or not.

Again: Torg gives no shits about your character concept.

Oh, hey, we finally get to the spiritual damage rules! Like backlash, this is normal damage with special fun riders:
1) If you're KO'd by spiritual damage, you lose your focus skill. You can't get it back until you either convert, or are the subject of the ritual of purification miracle.
2) If you suffer any wounds from spiritual damage and become heavenly wounded, you lose both your faith and focus skills, and can't get them back or be healed below wounded until you are the target of the ritual of hope miracle.

Hope you know an NPC of your mythos who knows those rituals!

Next up is a list of various belief systems (monotheism, animism, polytheism, etc.). Surprisingly, the nature of your belief system doesn't have a mechanical effect on your character.

Unless you are an atheist! If you're an atheist, you can actually cancel out a miracle of any religion by making a faith roll and beating the caster's focus total. Yes, this means you can have faith in being an athiest.

Moving on from that interesting theological paradox, there's some information on the spiritual axiom. Interestingly, the higher a cosm's spiritual axiom, the more likely the belief systems there will become literal truths.

quote:

In cosms with lower spiritual axioms such as Core Earth, the documents of a religion tend to be slightly altered or vary more from the literal history of the religion — but they are still valid beliefs because they are true for the originating cosm of the religion, and faith in that religion will yield spiritual power in any cosm (at least those with an axiom greater than zero). A worshipper's faith tenuously connects her with the originating cosm, as well as other members of the community who hold the same faith.
Also, the higher a cosm's spiritual axiom, the more likely there can be religious artifacts. Artifacts have their own faith and focus skills, and someone of that faith can use the artifact's skills in place of his own.

Then out of nowhere we get some stuff about spending Possibilities on miracles. You'd think this would be back with the information about, you know, making the skill check but whatever.

quote:

Only one Possibility may be spent to enhance this roll, as usual; however, since there are two participants in the miracle, there are limitations on who may spend the Possibility. The focus character may spend the Possibility if and only if the focus total did not exceed the difficulty of the miracle before the additional roll. If it did, the faith character must spend the Possibility.

Oh, by the way, this rather important bit is just tossed out there:

quote:

If a miracle fails, the character may not attempt the miracle for 24 hours, or until he undergoes the ritual of purification. In addition, the character providing the faith must wait 24 hours or be cleansed in a ritual of hope before he can use his faith in any miracle.

If a character is providing both faith and focus, both restrictions apply.
Interestingly, there's no equivalent mechanic for spells. You can fail to cast spells with no penalty beyond backlash, but even then you don't lose access to the spell. Also, it would have been really nice to know that back when the book was telling us how to cast miracles in the first place. :argh:

Oh, and because there's not enough stuff to keep track of, there are global modifiers to the difficulty depending on the situation the miracle's being cast in.


Because god forbid we have a chapter without charts

There are a few more small rules bits before we get to the actual miracles. First off, a character can only receive healing once every 24 hours because. Also, if you want to cast a miracle on multiple targets, it's not one-on-many, it's considered a multi-action. No, I don't know why. Oh, and the targets aren't all affected at the same exact time; if the miracle is beneficial then it affects everyone in descending faith order, and if it's harmful it's in ascending order. Again: why? Was that a concern?

There are also "freeform" miracles called invocations, which is an appeal for direct divine intervention. The community rating and focus difficulty for an invocation is 20 + (33 - local spiritual axiom). For instance the Nile Empire has a spiritual axiom of 17, so the difficulty for invocation is 20+(33-17)=36. When you invoke, there's no faith roll because the deity is powering the invocation. If you succeed, the degree of success determines the overall effect. A minimal success means that the effect goes off, but in a way that doesn't really disturb the world and can be written off as a coincidence, but a spectacular success will be undeniably a divine act and will also have an extra divine effect.

The miracles listed in the core book are the "Miracles of Core Earth", but some of them have a Spiritual Rating (the axiom level of the spell) higher than Core Earth's spiritual axiom of 9. Which means that, even though "a Core Earth character who has a focus value has access to all of the miracles below", you couldn't try to cast them without risking creating a contradiction. It also begs the question of how Core Earth PCs can learn them in the first place, because as far as anyone knew divine magic wasn't a Thing until the invasion happened three months ago; before that it seems like miracles were impossible. Maybe nobody just thought to try?

So let's take a look at a typical miracle.

quote:

Healing

Spiritual Rating: 10
Community Rating: 11
Difficulty: 15
Range: touch
Duration: na

Effect: reduces damage and wounds by number of success levels

If the miracle succeeds at all, the target removes all KO-conditions and shock. In addition, each success level of the miracle reduces the target character's wound level by one. For example, a character with a heavy wound who received average healing would be completely healed. A character suffering a loss of faith due to spiritual damage may not have his wounds fully healed, even via this miracle, until he undergoes the ritual of hope.

We've already covered what this all means since a lot of it is from the magic chapter, so let's do an example again.

I'm playing a Cyberpapal priest with a faith of 15 and a focus of 13. I need to cast healing on Sir Franklin, a friend from Aysle who has a faith of 10 (he's a follower of Dunaad, god of honor), a focus of 13, and has been hurt pretty badly: 4 shock, a K, and two wounds. We're in the Cyberpapacy, so the local axioms match my character's axioms.

The Cyberpapacy's spiritual axiom is 14, so that's not a problem. I make a focus roll and get a final result of 20. This isn't an immediate need situation, so that increases the difficulty by 5, but I still made it. The miracle is cast successfully, but now we have to see if it takes. Sir Franklin is the benifcator of the miracle, so he makes a faith roll and gets a 14.

So the miracle has taken effect on both sides because I made the initial casting roll and Sir Franklin got a positive result. All his shock and KO effects are healed. We look up his focus total on the General Results Table. Unfortunately, at no point does the book tell me what the target number is for the faith roll so I'm going to assume it's 0. 12 is a "spectacular" success (4 levels), so he also heals all his wounds.

But! The two characters believe in different mythoses, so there's a spiritual struggle. Each character rolls their faith against the other character's focus.

I bomb and get a total of 10 against Sir Franklin's focus of 13. I missed the roll by 3, so I take a K and 1 shock. Sir Franklin gets a 12 against my focus of 13. He takes 1 shock.

Now, if I had beaten the difficulty of the initial faith roll by 12 or more we would have bypassed the whole spiritual struggle thing because Sir Franklin would have converted; he'd have to reduce his faith adds by one, and would become a devout follower of Cybercatholicism. Which will be interesting when he tries to follow the tenets of the religion and get some cyberware that wouldn't be supported by his personal axioms.

So what kinds of things can you do with miracles? Uh...not a lot. There's the standard-issue bag of cleric tricks; healing, bless, create/purify food. There are 17 miracles in the core book, three of which are meant to communicate with different kinds of spirits. There are the two rituals mentioned under spiritual damage, but their whole purpose is to deal with the effects of spiritual damage.

--
Overall, miracles are just like all the other Torg power structures: overly complicated and full of unneeded drawbacks. And like the other player abilities, you can see what they were going for before it gets buried in theorycrafting and extra rolls.

Like, why do we need to worry about conversion? If anything, it can make people leery of performing helpful miracles on friends because it's pretty much brainwashing. It doesn't matter if I don't want my gun-toting merc to suddenly become a follower of Lanala and not want to use his guns any more, or if I convert to Cybercatholicism and suddenly feel the need to get a bunch of cybernetics installed even though they'll make me a perpetual contradicition.

In fact, it's a setup that actually punishes someone else when you roll too well on your miracle.

Seriously, would it have been so bad to just say "roll your Cast Spell/Miracle skill"? Why make all this?

The answer is the same one it always is: verisimilitude.

NEXT TIME: Equipment you can use about half the time!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Honestly, when I was young I liked Rifts, but I never liked TORG that much, and now I'm understanding why. Rifts is what happens when you develop your game too little, and TORG is what happens when you develop your game too much. People assume TORG is better written because it has more :words:, and that's true to a certain extent, but drat, here's some words I didn't think I would type: Rifts is actually more playable. Despite having dozens of settings and different dimensional effects, if you play a Glitter Boy, you don't have to think as to whether your boom gun works or not, just whether or not you have ammo for it and how badly it's been damaged. If you play a wizard and hop settings, you might do more or less damage or recharge your mana faster or slower, but otherwise your stats remain entirely unchanged.

TORG overthinks about every aspect of the game to the point it outsmarts itself and becomes just as dumb.
A lot of 90s games overwrite and overthink themselves, but RIFTS and TORG seem to be the heavyweights. I can't think of any other games I've ever seen that dig so many rules-related holes for you to step into when you're trying to run the game.

Edit: I'd have to say the difference is that the Palladium system is just horrible through-and-through. Whereas Torg's basic task resolution, attributes and skills, etc. is fine, but then the game throws all kinds of bullshit at you at every turn.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 16:05 on Jan 12, 2015

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


Evil Mastermind posted:

The answer is the same one it always is: verisimilitude.

Ah yes, the one thing my RPG about alternate realities, dinosaur men and a cyborg pope needs - realistic depictions of the mechanics of Quantum Bullshit.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


"Well. I rolled super well on my healing roll, so Jim needs to convert to Catholicism."
"But I'm Jewish? We respect Jesus just don't believe that he's the messiah. Also Being Jewish means a lot more than jus"
"No, you're Catholic now, spend XP on being Catholic immediately."

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kurieg posted:

"Well. I rolled super well on my healing roll, so Jim needs to convert to Catholicism."
"But I'm Jewish? We respect Jesus just don't believe that he's the messiah. Also Being Jewish means a lot more than jus"
"No, you're Catholic now, spend XP on being Catholic immediately."

That's nothing.

Let's say we have one person playing a cybered-up street punk from the Cyberpapacy, and another person playing an Edenios, i.e. a normal Torg group.

The lizardman heals the cyberpunk, and rolls high enough to convert him. The cyberpunk now worships Lanala.

In Lanala's religion, the use of "dead things" is the ultimate heresy. "Dead things" being anything that's not organic and alive; a follower of Lanala wouldn't even pick a rock off the ground and throw it at someone because that's an insult to their goddess.

Now imagine you got forcibly converted to this religion when a third of your body is unliving metal.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

A lot of 90s games overwrite and overthink themselves, but RIFTS and TORG seem to be the heavyweights. I can't think of any other games I've ever seen that dig so many rules-related holes for you to step into when you're trying to run the game.

Edit: I'd have to say the difference is that the Palladium system is just horrible through-and-through. Whereas Torg's basic task resolution, attributes and skills, etc. is fine, but then the game throws all kinds of bullshit at you at every turn.

It seems like they were the heavyweights primarily because they were miraculously able to get books published. I've read so many RPGs from that era that are as bad or worse, but they're all one-and-done affairs where the book failed to generate enough interest to spawn more material.

I understand Hero System might also be fairly close, like while it's fair and relatively well balanced, a new player looking at character creation is akin to an ape looking at an astrolabe.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Evil Mastermind posted:

That's nothing.

Let's say we have one person playing a cybered-up street punk from the Cyberpapacy, and another person playing an Edenios, i.e. a normal Torg group.

The lizardman heals the cyberpunk, and rolls high enough to convert him. The cyberpunk now worships Lanala.

In Lanala's religion, the use of "dead things" is the ultimate heresy. "Dead things" being anything that's not organic and alive; a follower of Lanala wouldn't even pick a rock off the ground and throw it at someone because that's an insult to their goddess.

Now imagine you got forcibly converted to this religion when a third of your body is unliving metal.

I know it wasn't this way, but it would have been cool if something like that caused the cyber to become super advanced biotech prosthetic instead. In fact having strangely evolved biotech dinosaur equipment would have been a cool way to spice up the Living Land.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


PresidentBeard posted:

I know it wasn't this way, but it would have been cool if something like that caused the cyber to become super advanced biotech prosthetic instead. In fact having strangely evolved biotech dinosaur equipment would have been a cool way to spice up the Living Land.

His belief changed, but his cosm hasn't changed. Though he's probably a walking contradiction just waiting to disconnect into a functioning character.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



PresidentBeard posted:

I know it wasn't this way, but it would have been cool if something like that caused the cyber to become super advanced biotech prosthetic instead. In fact having strangely evolved biotech dinosaur equipment would have been a cool way to spice up the Living Land.
Biotech will actually come later in the game line, but not from the Living Land. Spoilers! :ssh:

Kurieg posted:

His belief changed, but his cosm hasn't changed. Though he's probably a walking contradiction just waiting to disconnect into a functioning character.
Not really, since his religion doesn't directly affect his axioms, but he is a walking heresy to his new beliefs and would be hunted down by Edinos as an abomination unto their goddess (assuming he didn't try to kill himself for offending his goddess so).

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Evil Mastermind posted:

Not really, since his religion doesn't directly affect his axioms, but he is a walking heresy to his new beliefs and would be hunted down by Edinos as an abomination unto their goddess (assuming he didn't try to kill himself for offending his goddess so).

I REALLY want to like Torg. But every time something comes up that could result in something cool the answer is "Well, no, actually the exact opposite happens after you roll on these 4 tables".

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones
The missing ingredient for benevolent corporate overlords: Cat-ears and tails



Corps

We're now on to the section of the book that's about the current state of the world, not the highly implausible way in which the world reached its hugely implausible state. And just from the first paragraph, it's a loving doozy. The chapter starts off by saying that sure, corporations have been dicks to people before, and unions will fill your ears with tales of it(of course phrased as though the unions are kvetching excessively and without merit), but that's not all there is to the story of person/corporation interaction!

quote:

But as was the case with many human endeavors, work and labor problems didn’t arrive out of nowhere. They trickled in from earlier problems of classism and mentalities of people-as-property, and in the American example, were assisted by an as yet undefined role of federal government in business affairs.

...

In HSD, the origin of corporate control stems from drastically different circumstances. At its heart is a single corporation that fled its own world with a message of unity, cooperation, innovation, and acceptance of the personal ideal.

To summarize, corporations and people only got along poorly because people believed in socio-economic classes, and because humanity hadn't made as perfect a corporation as furries were able to. Also, in some undefined way, The Sleeping Dragon of Government helped make people and corporations not get along well. One paragraph in and they're already knocking it out of the park. But how did furries, who are basically, at heart, just humans with bits stapled on, manage to do what humanity never managed to?

quote:

Seven hundred years is a very long time. People have had a chance to hammer out the major issues.

"They just worked at it real hard for a real long time! Duh! And now it works!"

quote:

Without a federal government to point their finger at, most corporations have had to serve as both representative and employer, and as such have become significantly more accountable to their employees. Those corps that ignored the needs of their citizens were removed, often violently, until they eventually got the message that certain behaviors were not going to be tolerated.

I am literally at a loss for words. The book is now mocking itself. If anyone actually believes this poo poo is vaguely plausible, they need to be admitted to a mental institution immediately. Without a system of checks and balances, without a legal system to prevent abuse of employees, corporations are somehow more responsible, not less. And the great, wide mass of furrydom is somehow a bunch of omniscient, self-sufficient consumers that cannot be manipulated by propaganda and disinformation, or bullied by monopolies or private corporate armies. No, instead, brave citizen militias totally take care of any mean corps so only the good ones remain! No business would ever act short-sightedly! No consumer would ever act illogically!

quote:

As for those born in a situation they couldn’t agree with? Well, competition is a wonderful thing. Somewhere out in the big empty is a Corp waiting for a citizen like you, and they’re all eager to bring in newcomers, if only to sap them from their enemies.

And in this theoretical market of wonders and fairy dust, there's always a shortage of manpower and workforce, so the employee always wields the power in negotiations and can simply go somewhere else! Even the janitors are, somehow, surely, something that there's a shortage of! Just join another corp because someone wants to deprive your current corporation of freshly-mopped floors!

No one who worked on this RPG has ever held a job.

quote:

At the top of the heap, however, is the Corp that runs the corpornation itself, to whom all others pay rent for the privilege of doing business. Its similarity to traditional government is clear, and the argument that all corpornations are benevolent dictatorships holds more water than many within them would care to admit.

...

For one, all megacorps are publicly owned, meaning the ones living within them have stock in their success. For two, there is no election, and as such, no campaigning, for advances in corporate status. Promotions work differently in every corp but still tend to hinge on performance rather than popularity. Corps will only move people up who have a better capacity to make the business successful or strong, and that strength filters down to the ledgers of their citizenship, who, by the very act of living there, all have a piece of the pie.

"It is like a traditional nation, except not, because it's better! And no one is ever promoted because their boss likes them more! Or because of nepotism! Only because of skill! It may be a benevolent dictatorship, but it works! The corporate trains run on time!"

The corporations also offer free schooling for everyone and they totally respect people who decide to break free of their pre-made assembly lines for educated employees, who actually get way better odds at advancement for BUCKING THE SYSTEM and being INDEPENDENT THINKERS! Corporations would never suppress your free expression!

After making my head explode, the book decides to explain what big corps there are.

MarsCo

To summarize: They're incredibly dull and generic, do a bit of everything, and are omnipresent on Mars. Also huge. Literally there's nothing interesting about them, not even anything to mock.

Applied Sciences and Robotics

They invented the first sentient robots, and those robots are considered to have a "soul" as long as their brain(the Core Consciousness) is powered. Which brings up a lot of weird questions. Is this just a political thing, somehow? Are they considered non-persons if powered off, say, for maintenance, and then powered up again? CAN they be powered down and powered up again at all, or does running low on batteries delete their brain? It's implied that whichever it was, it's an intentional choice of their design/legislation regarding them, and didn't have to be that way, so it seems odd and meaningless. They hit on the brilliant idea of raising their machines like humans, so they'd grow up to think and act like humans, but also got the bizarre idea that they needed to be child-sized when "born," and so keep having to have their brains transferred into new chassis as they grow.

Why? Because.

Also they somehow got it right on the first try. No fuckups or false avenues of experimentation or anything. First try just BAM, nailed an artificial, conscious brain.

Pulse

Did you know that genetic code needs to be "pure" and "streamlined," otherwise some random genetic flaw might just pop up a few hundred years later and turn everyone sterile? HSD taught me that! Wow, poor humans and animals on current Earth, with our "messy" genetic code, I bet any day now our children will come out looking like crawfish.

Pulse does sports for the genetically augmented, which seems pointless, seeing as how it's like sports with sanctioned doping. Also for some reason Pulse was tasked, back in the early days, with inventing new sports, since most Earth sports "wouldn't function on Mars" due to the reduced gravity. Personally I can't think of many that wouldn't. Maybe a lot where records would be rapidly broken or you might need to enlarge the playing field, or account for players suddenly being able to acrobatically leap over each other with limited effort. But I think most of them would work just fine except for being way more loving fun to watch.

In addition to never having held jobs, I think we can clearly say the HSD devs have never played sports.

Also, each Corp has their own WACKY NAMING CONVENTIONS, I haven't mentioned the MarsCo and ASR ones since they're dull as dirt, but the Pulse ones are retarded. Instead of having last names, they just jam symbols next to their names, for instance: “James!!@-"(actual example from the book). Apparently this is meaningless as said symbols are never pronounced in any way, but Pulse employees tend to run around with, I poo poo you not, bright signs proclaiming their WACKY NAMES!!!!!!

Spyglass

Spyglass is basically the capitalist CIA-for-hire.

quote:

In the interests of preserving a working system of competition that served billions wonderfully, they were universally denounced and almost every major corporation in Sol outright refused to commission their services.

Good thing all the CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY are too noble and upstanding to use underhanded means to defeat their opponents on the free market! Also Spyglass isn't just the CIA, they're somehow also the legal system, and somehow their being RUTHLESS and AS EVIL AS EVERYONE THINKS THEY ARE is a "virtue," because they're equally evil to everyone? In some sort of weird vigilante justice way? How this, somehow, protects the free market, is admirable and is a workable business plan, I have no loving idea. But apparently they're filthy rich despite actively declaring war on everyone with those statements.

quote:

And so the Spyglass Corp Community doctrine was established: we will be every bit as bad as everyone else, and we’re not going to pretend it’s not happening.

Since then, Spyglass’ primary goal has been the promotion of a truly open market without the facade of decency that has forever clouded it. Let the buyer beware, as they say. But more than that, let the seller beware that the buyer may shoot them in the face for lying to them, and if Spyglass courts find that there was in fact a lie involved, the buyer will be absolved of all crime. It’s a harsh system that leads to two possible outcomes: you get a lot of very honest people, or you get a lot of people who are very good at lying. Spyglass breeds both, and holds both in equal regard. If you’re going to deal with someone, anyone, know that they are a liar. Know that they want to cheat you. If you can accept that and pick your battles accordingly, things move along at a pretty even keel. If you want to call them on it, you call them as hard as you want to. But if they’re a good enough liar to survive legal scrutiny, well. You should have thought of that before you pulled your gun. Spyglass does not promote open violence or murder, but it does hold other general rights and decency in fairly low regard.

...

If you’re willing to just accept that someone, somewhere, is constantly watching you, and that everyone’s out to gouge you, and you play by the same rules, Spyglass corptowns are actually damned honest places to live. You know where everyone stands, you pick your friends carefully, and you keep them for life. You can find plenty of decency in a den of thieves; you just have to expect it to take a little while.

Add to the list of things the HSD devs have never done: Interacted with human beings outside of the internet.

Inner Ring Police Force

The private space police, whom everyone was absolutely terrified of when they actually had the fleet power to impose their will on corporations, but who are now "put in their place" and only police when people hire them to police. Thank goodness. They're described in more suspicious and negative terms than Spyglass, somehow.

Progenitus

So all of the health care corps were actually evil and capable of curing all illnesses and injuries and cancers forever, but not doing so to prolong their profits, and when a Spyglass group called Progenitus found out and released this to the public, everyone loved them and paid them a constant, minor tax to safeguard this vital knowledge and keep everyone safe from the Space Flu forever. Welcome to the corporate utopia, plebs.

Also they invented a substance that could literally free anyone ingesting it from all biological needs(breathing, eating, drinking, having organs, etc.), but somehow it was "unnatural," and they decided that it wasn't to be used.

Transcendent Technologies

That super-substance? These guys love it and use it to make all sorts of grotesque, modified creatures and even living spaceships. Despite their very existence being founded in "gently caress THE LAWS OF NATURE, WE'RE GONNA MESS WITH GENETICS" and their society already having created one other species from raw cloth(the sentient machine people), these guys are totally weird and bad and taboo.

quote:

Though still very much in its infancy, Transcendent technology has already redefined the rules of reality. Much of its function remains a well guarded secret, but the premise is that certain things in the universe gain resonance and power due to their very construction. The arrangement of their molecules interacts with the waves of radio in the air, and other unseen forces. Crystals, for instance. By arranging these reactive constructions in patterns that also react to each other, complex harmonies can be made. Like a series of reeds all being blown over by a single wind, a sophisticated symphony emerges that is more than the sum of its parts. The beauty of it is that these structures work on the scale of the universe: from atomic to galactic. Their size is irrelevant, they simply...work. No power source, no special attachment, no port, no plug, no emitter or receiver. They are, and so, they function.

Eager to make sure that no retarded idea is left out of the book, HSD also insists that "crystal energy" is totally a real thing.

Thankfully this is where the chapter ends.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The Deleter posted:

I've always been a bit leery of "stat pools as hp" since I got burned on Numenera. I presume that since there's no single stat used as hp that it works out better? In Numenera the physical stuff stat was also HP, which meant warrior-types got screwed over pretty hard if they wanted to exert themselves.

The big difference here is that you don't really lose them as HP very quickly and that you take actual physical damage a bit differently than you might expect, which I'll explain when I get to combat. 'Stat damage' is more used to temporarily reduce your capacity in a stat to represent social missteps, combat fatigue sapping your willpower and ability to concentrate, or the extra effects of injury. Actual damage works differently than spending stats to get dice benefits or activate abilities, basically.

Also, HVD makes me want to go more thoroughly into Albedo's actual setting, because it's pretty much the polar opposite. One of the core issues for characters in Albedo is their lack of a history; they don't really have religions (though I'd argue the way they treat the Net borders on worship) except for a few colonies that maybe worship the Creators sorta, they're doing all their political philosophy from scratch because they started out with a vaguely socialist semi-utopia only possible with the assistance of an incredibly powerful AI that can, in fact, make a Planned Economy work efficiently, they started with no baseline concept that one race is superior to one another and without the idea that there's a difference in merit between a Bear and a Fox, and yet they've still ended up where they are. They're haltingly trying to invent art, slowly coming to understand music and things and developing a creative writing tradition, some of them have, for reasons of political expediency or ideological experiment, redeveloped fascism or even monarchy in a couple colonies. Some have fallen completely to existential nihilism, with no belief in anything beyond their own life and the seeming corruption and constant surveillance. Some have nervous breakdowns from the constant SPI testing and Net monitoring. Some absolutely love the world as it is and will do anything to defend it. Others look for ways to alter and exploit it, to make sure it's 'more fair' for them.

All of this is a hell of a lot more interesting than 'Uhhhh...get rid of all human history and make furries and paradise happens!' Albedo's main question is, in the absence of history, what kind of history will you try to make and what sort of person will you try to be. If you're from the Inner Worlds, you live in what could definitely be described as a paradise. Robotics do almost all manual labor, a (seemingly) benevolent AI will personally tailor a part of itself to help you see to your social and psychological needs (up to and including trying to convince you to get outside and meet other people in person), your survival and income are guaranteed and work is a completely optional thing, done to earn additional privileges and funds. Most Inner Worlders work primarily because life doing nothing but living on the ensured minimum wage would be crushingly boring. Yet the whole system is under threat by those at the top, who are quietly finding ways to lie to the Net and alter the data it operates on to their own benefit, which risks bringing everything crashing down. For the Net's economic monitoring to work, its information has to be accurate. Similarly, as I mentioned, the constant surveillance, the SPI testing, the urge to be someone who fits in and doesn't cause trouble and doesn't make waves, and the increasingly heavy hand of EDF crackdowns on protests and crime drives some people insane. And, of course, if you start to go mad, guess what starts dropping like a rock? Your SPI. At which point you'll likely find yourself losing your job, shunned by others, and eventually committed without your permission to a mental institution, which may help you, but where you're going to come out with a record of instability and you guessed it, a lowered SPI. The crushing surveillance and lack of history and idea of being a created people also drives some people to lash out at the existential emptiness of their lives, and the omnipresent gentle oppression of the state has also created numerous rebel and terrorist groups, which cause the state to crack down further.

Albedo is intentionally partially a dystopia. The system is not wholly evil, but it definitely has evil elements that, if they don't change, will eventually overwhelm the good. It reminds me a lot of Buro from Feng Shui, except not as over the top or played for laughs; there are some real good intentions and results (no-one starves to death, genders are treated equally, alternate sexual identities like LGBT people are safe and protected by law, the state works to promote tolerance and cosmopolitanism) but at the same time there's deep corruption at the top, despite the supposed equality there are still huge disparities in wealth and power, and the state grows increasingly heavy-handed in defending those disparities, which creates more need for the state to use violence because another crackdown just convinced a protest group to start buying bombs and 3d printing guns.

Of course, if this all isn't to your liking you can go to the colonies, and found a planet with corporate backing in order to build it to your ideological vision, but that's a dangerous and difficult job. Life on the frontier is tough, living with the same 50,000 person colony seed group for ages on a mostly untamed wilderness and only hearing from the homeworlds every few months when the next courier torpedo makes its way out. While there aren't any sentient aliens or tentacled gribblies waiting for you out in the dark (the desire to encounter another sentient race and discover if they were alone was a huge driver in the FTL program, and the characters in Albedo still haven't found anyone else) there are plenty of diseases, natural disasters, potentially dangerous wildlife, amino acid mismatches, and of course, there's always the threat of the ILR showing up to 'protect your ethnic Lapines'. This leads a lot of colonies to be forced to accept the EDF's protection, which comes with a demand for them to supply troops and material aid to the EDF, as well as abide by EDF charters and bylaws. With the corruption at the top of the EDF, this also leads to painful demands on the new colony's economy and damage to its political autonomy, which can lead to independence movements, which can easily turn violent or make the mistake of accepting weapons and 'advisers' from the ILR. The colonies are a big giant set of proxy wars and political struggles, torn between a desire for independence and the realization that the ILR is loving crazy and that a 2nd generation population of a hundred thousand people can't really fight off an invasion.

I used to hate Albedo's setting when I was first exposed to it, but I've come to rather like it. It treats a lot of its own conceits with respect, and it's less that there's no good guys and more that the EDF has some serious problems with its rulers and generals. It's a dystopian setting without being grimdark; the situation is bad, but there's room for you and your squad to try to make a difference for people, to try to expose corruption and work your way up to the top to try to help make things right. More importantly, almost all fights have political consequences and you're often better off not fighting if you can avoid it. Talking down protestors and protecting local populations rather than going in with baton and riot shield or causing massive collateral damage to kill a few insurgents will get you much further. It's pretty explicit that things are how they are because a lot of folks at the top are taking the easy way out instead of trying to handle things more humanely.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 17:41 on Jan 12, 2015

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



I love how much of HSD's background basically boils down to "a wizard did it".

homerlaw
Sep 21, 2008

Plants are the best ergo Sylvari=Best


Evil Mastermind posted:

I love how much of HSD's background basically boils down to "a wizard did it".

More like an

did it.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Again, I must thank the writers of HSD for focusing on the really important parts of a setting, like "Just how do they keep their currency stable?". Who needs to know how people stopped being egocentric jerks, or how magical crystal technology (that is somehow in tune with the universe despite breaking every single law of it) works?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 9: Gearing up, template creation, and finishing the main rulebook.

The last real chapter of the core book is the Equipment chapter, and there's really not much to talk about here so this is gonna be a short one.

One thing that should be pointed before we get going is that all prices are given in Core Earth dollars. Each cost also has a value to look up on the conversion tables for different realms' monetary systems.

It should also be pointed out that each piece of equipment has a tech axiom level. Remember, using an item not supported by the local axioms can cause contradictions.

First off is armor. Armor is pretty straightforward; it has a value that adds to the wearer's Toughness when determining damage, and bulky armors can reduce your dodge value. Leather armor is Tech 5, gives +2 Toughness, and costs $400. A bullet proof vest is tech 21, and gives +6 Toughness. One interesting thing is that there's a significant tech jump from plate mail (tech 13) straight to a bulletproof vest.

And as a reminder, armor has a "max value" that it can increase your effective Toughness to, generally in the low 20's. A few armors have special rules to add to the realism:
  • Bone and hide armor can break if you take a wound while wear armor that isn't specifically fitted for your character.
  • Bronze and plate armor can cause you to take more shock damage when you're fatigued because they're so heavy.
  • Kawana Corp security armor is actually a bit better than subdermal plating.
  • You can get special "silk lining armor" that's as good as chain mail, but doesn't protect you from guns above tech axiom 19. Chain mail, however, can stop bullets.

Next is general gear, and this is mostly statless items you'd just buy or have. Again, the tech levels look weird here; a normal wristwatch is tech 20, but an electric watch is tech 21, and a pocket watch is tech 18. A glass mirror is tech 10, and an iron spike is tech 10, which again doesn't jive up with the tech axiom example I gave way back when: at tech 8 "medicine and astronomy are possible", iron is smeltable and metal armor is invented. If astronomy is possible as an organized science, wouldn't that imply that lenses have been invented?

And this is the biggest problem Torg runs into with the axioms: they spend all this time and effort laying down hard numbers about what's possible where, then run into problems when what they intend for realms/gear/powers doesn't line up with the axiom numbers. Really, after a certain point axioms really stopped being a part of the setting and just became numbers you had to worry about to avoid disconnecting.

Air vehicles are next, and are split into piston aircraft, rotary, and jet-powered aircraft. Not that it matters because they all have the same stat types.

In fact, all vehicles are pretty much stated up the same way; tech axiom, speed, number of passengers, and Toughness.

In the interest of brevity, let me just hit a few high points on vehicles:
  • Gliders are tech axiom 19. Sadly, you can't pull an Ator.
  • A DC-3 ($150k) is cheaper than a Spitfire ($200k).
  • You can buy an SR-71 Blackbird, assuming you have $32,000,000.
  • They list the prices for several era's worth of trains. To buy.
  • Also submarines and tanks. Because those are all things you can just, you know, buy.
  • They actually have US Space Shuttles as a vehicle you can buy. Space shuttles.
All aircraft are at least tech axiom 20:

quote:

20 — Radio voice transmission possible. Crude airplanes. Radioactivity understood. Discovery of relativity possible. Automobiles reliable enough to replace animal-drawn transport. Sonar invented. Brain surgery successful. Automatic pistol. Submachine gun. Movies, including "talking pictures."

But let's get to the important part of the equipment lists: weapons!

Melee and man-powered ranged weapons do damage based on the wielder's Strength, but also cap out at a certain damage level. A broadsword or longbow does STR+6, but tops out at 20, so no matter how much your strength is above 14.

There's more tech axiom wonkery here, too. A short sword is tech 8, but a longsword is tech 9. A "Baseball Bat/Club" is tech 6, but a spear is tech 5!? None of the values feel like they make sense, even when you go back and check what the axioms actually represent. Why is a club higher technology than a spear? What is the technological leap that allowed people to look at a shortsword and say, "maybe we can make the blade a bit longer"?

I admit I do like the idea that someone could pick up a large piece of wood, try to swing it at someone else's head, and suddenly disconnect because clubs aren't supported by local axioms. Not that that could happen, because the lowest tech axiom in the game is the Living Land at 7.

It's all just another casualty of the need to model everything mechanically and keep the various realities separate. I can understand not wanting people hopping from realm to realm and wind up with magic and superpowers and cyberlimbs all at once. That's fine if that's the theme you're going for. And I get wanting to keep realities from mixing as a Thing in the game. But again things get taken too far and you end up with these weird situations where your short bow can stop working (the bow's tech 8, Living Land is tech 7. It can happen.)

The main difference between firearms and melee weapons is that the damage for firearms and related weapons is a flat value, usally in the 20s. There's not much to see here, but just for reference the available weapons range from muskets to automatic pistols to mounted rifles to anti-aircraft cannons to loving hellfire missiles. Where are they expecting people to buy these things?

I mean, I understand that you need to include heavy artillery for when NPCs bust them out. But adding prices is just silly. Why would PCs want to buy a train? It's not like they can take it with them everywhere.

The last chapter of the book is a page on freeform character creation for people who don't want to just use the provided templates. Basically, it boils down to spending 66 points on stats, 16 points on skills (and three on the tag skill), and 10 possibilities. Oh, and if you're a magician you get the 12 points for magic skills and spells.

You also have to pick starting equipment, but instead of saying how much cash everyone starts with, you just get stuff appropriate for the type of character you're making. Sort of.

quote:

If the player wants possessions which do not appear on the equipment list, she is responsible for providing you with enough information about the item so you can make up your mind. For example, if the item in question is a weapon, the player would have to describe, in game terms, how effective the weapon is, and what sort of ammunition or maintenance is required, how she came across the weapon, etc. A picture would be useful.

If the player wanted a mansion, she would have to draw the floor plans of the mansion, a map of the grounds, delineate the caretakers, and give you enough written description so that the mansion can fit into the campaign.

In short, if a player wants lots of equipment or material possessions, she must pay for it. The payment is not only in game money, but in imagination; she must work the equipment in so that it contributes to the story, and is fun for you and the other players, as well as herself.
The game can't even let a super-rich character just have a mansion, or the soldier type just have an extra weapon. Because god loving forbid the PCs just get stuff.

And...that's the end of the core book.

The core box set came with two other small books. One was the World Book, which gave a run-down on each of the cosms and some of the cosm's unique skills/powers/spells/etc. Unfortunately, each cosm gets maybe a half-dozen pages so there's barely enough information to sink your teeth into. And there's absolutely nothing about each realm's tone apart from the high-level stuff that comes with the realm's general genre.

I'm not going to cover the Worldbook on its own, since it's better to fold that info into the cosm book reviews where they belong.

The other was the "Adventure Book", which contained a starting adventure and some GMing advice. The advice is all general stuff, but oddly enough there's no advice on how to get a group of five characters from vastly different and distant parts of the world together at the start of the campaign.

What it does have, however, is a warning of what Torg's adventure and fluff writing would be like for the rest of the game line.

Get ready for some railroading and the purplest of proses!

NEXT TIME: Sample adventure time!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Evil Mastermind posted:

I love how much of HSD's background basically boils down to "a wizard did it".

HSD convinced me to get to reviewing Albedo because every word I read of HSD makes me appreciate Albedo's setting more.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 17:57 on Jan 12, 2015

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


TORG and HSD seem to have the same problem in that they are taking way too much time and effort to explain/simulate poo poo nobody cares about. TORG cars so much about its simulation it prevents players from doing anything cool with the setting, and HSD is typng its meme-filled Bitcoin Randian wank fantasy with one hand.

If your setting is any good then you don't need to make more reasons to play it! As long as there's decent systems in place appropriate for the setting then I don't need 30 pages of backstory! Let me play super-dinoman already! Christ!

Also I'm sure that the trains and planes are listed because they anticipated players building a battle train, which would own until it turned into lumps f metal in Dinosaur World.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:



So did they fix the "Owls are Evil" Gene or is our cheetah here a dead woman?

quote:

Applied Sciences and Robotics

They invented the first sentient robots, and those robots are considered to have a "soul" as long as their brain(the Core Consciousness) is powered. Which brings up a lot of weird questions. Is this just a political thing, somehow? Are they considered non-persons if powered off, say, for maintenance, and then powered up again? CAN they be powered down and powered up again at all, or does running low on batteries delete their brain? It's implied that whichever it was, it's an intentional choice of their design/legislation regarding them, and didn't have to be that way, so it seems odd and meaningless. They hit on the brilliant idea of raising their machines like humans, so they'd grow up to think and act like humans, but also got the bizarre idea that they needed to be child-sized when "born," and so keep having to have their brains transferred into new chassis as they grow.

Why? Because.

Also they somehow got it right on the first try. No fuckups or false avenues of experimentation or anything. First try just BAM, nailed an artificial, conscious brain.

Other SpecSci settings have done this too, where the way to keep robots from rebelling is to basically raise them like humans so they form human ideals and pathways. Except that they were smart about it and raised them together in a simulated environment with the clock speed maxed out so that it didn't take 20 years and 50 chassis to get to that point.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


I think that might just be an eagle or dove. The artist apparently paid too much attention to the mohawk to get the head shape even remotely right.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


No, the leg shape makes that pretty obviously an owl, and that's some kind of technology thingy on it's head.

Also the owl is wearing a button up polo.

It doesn't have fingers.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Kurieg posted:

Also the owl is wearing a button up polo.
Ah. Clearly, it's a Penguin.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


And what's up with the eyes? There just white strokes, a shape that doesn't really make sense for any kind of bird.

I think that cyber mohawk contains little robot arms for him to use.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

That's nothing.

Let's say we have one person playing a cybered-up street punk from the Cyberpapacy, and another person playing an Edenios, i.e. a normal Torg group.

The lizardman heals the cyberpunk, and rolls high enough to convert him. The cyberpunk now worships Lanala.

In Lanala's religion, the use of "dead things" is the ultimate heresy. "Dead things" being anything that's not organic and alive; a follower of Lanala wouldn't even pick a rock off the ground and throw it at someone because that's an insult to their goddess.

Now imagine you got forcibly converted to this religion when a third of your body is unliving metal.

Doesn't this get worse when you consider that one of the World Laws for the Cyberpapacy is the Law Of The One True God. which states that the Cyberpapal Catholic Church is the only God?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

Doesn't this get worse when you consider that one of the World Laws for the Cyberpapacy is the Law Of The One True God. which states that the Cyberpapal Catholic Church is the only God?

That only applies when you're performing a miracle in the Cyberpapacy that's from another religion.

Although it would make performing a Living Land miracle a lot harder at +7 difficulty, so I guess if the above scenario happened in the Cyberpapacy conversion probably won't be an issue.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

PurpleXVI posted:

quote:

But as was the case with many human endeavors, work and labor problems didn’t arrive out of nowhere. They trickled in from earlier problems of classism and mentalities of people-as-property

...but the classism and mentalities of people-as-property is the inevitable result of the proletariat not controlling the means of production and the bourgeois being parasites on their labour! :ussr:

PurpleXVI posted:

I am literally at a loss for words. The book is now mocking itself. If anyone actually believes this poo poo is vaguely plausible, they need to be admitted to a mental institution immediately. Without a system of checks and balances, without a legal system to prevent abuse of employees, corporations are somehow more responsible, not less. And the great, wide mass of furrydom is somehow a bunch of omniscient, self-sufficient consumers that cannot be manipulated by propaganda and disinformation, or bullied by monopolies or private corporate armies. No, instead, brave citizen militias totally take care of any mean corps so only the good ones remain! No business would ever act short-sightedly! No consumer would ever act illogically!

Well, if the corporations were held accountable for their actions, then naturally they would have to be responsible. Of course, we already try to hold governments accountable for their actions, with a very mixed success rate. The idea seems to be that if you remove the government, then the corporations are no longer protected from accountability by a corrupt government (which is true - if there's no government it can't protect anyone, much like if there are no laws you can't break them), and will then be held accountable by the free market (uuuh...).

LatwPIAT fucked around with this message at 20:17 on Jan 12, 2015

Platonicsolid
Nov 17, 2008



LatwPIAT posted:

Well, if the corporations were held accountable for their actions, then naturally they would have to be responsible. Of course, we already try to hold governments accountable for their actions, with a very mixed success rate. The idea seems to be that if you remove the government, then the corporations are no longer protected from accountability by a corrupt government (which is true - if there's no government it can't protect anyone, much like if there are no laws you can't break them), and will then be held accountable by the free market (uuuh...).

We'll just give the corporations 'scammer' tags and everything will be fine!

Platonicsolid fucked around with this message at 20:30 on Jan 12, 2015

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I like how we got in expecting to mock furry wankbait, and instead it's anarcho-capitalist libertarian poo poo obviously written by an upperclass twit who never had to struggle in his life.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Except with the fact that being swallowed by a 50-foot-tall Babs Bunny is a sexual fantasy you can't satisfy in real life.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Robindaybird posted:

I like how we got in expecting to mock furry wankbait, and instead it's anarcho-capitalist libertarian poo poo obviously written by an upperclass twit who never had to struggle in his life.

Either way masturbation was the cornerstone of the creative process.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 10: Keep on rocking in the Still World.

So the original Torg boxed set came with a sample adventure/campaign starter called "Before the Dawn".

Sample adventures can be useful. They're easy, convenient ways to communicate what the game should look like "in motion" and can provide a few sample encounters for GMs and players to cut their teeth on as they learn the system.

Not this one, though.

See, at the end of the first Torg novel, the Gaunt Man put a supernatural device called the "vortex machine" at the bottom of the ocean near Indonesia. The device was designed to slow the rotation of Earth; the stolen rotational energy (which is a thing, I guess?) in his Darkness Device as the physical energy needed to become Torg.

Unfortunately for him, he got stuck in the dimensional prison by the Heart of Coyote before he could use the stored energy. Unfortunately for everyone else, nobody else knew about the vortex machine in the first place. So the thing is still running, slowing Core Earth's rotation and causing all sorts of fun problems. At the start of the adventure (and the default start of a Torg campaign), it's been three months since the invasion, and people are starting to notice the slowing of Earth. It's generally accounted to the invading realities loving everything up, but no one knows what to do about it.

Except that Dr. Mobius has learned about the vortex machine, and knows where it is. He's sending agents to sieze the vortex machine for himself.

The gist of the adventure is the PCs stumble into Mobius' scheme while delivering supplies to survivor colonies in the Living Land. They get involved because that's what the adventure says happens.

And that's the first of the three central problems with Torg adventures: they're very heavily railroded, with the whole thing assuming that the PCs will follow the plot as imagined by the author. It's assumed that the characters will get involved because they're the Good Guys and thus want to stop Mobius doing whatever he's doing. Which is a fair assumption, yes, but as things progress the adventure is written with the assumption that the PCs will notice clues, interpret them correctly, and follow the lead to the next act. But this is decades before the GUMSHOE system, so there's a lot of "roll to see if you find the clue. You didn't? Oh well." in there.

The second problem stems from the first: there's no assumption that the PCs might fail at some point. A lot of the published adventures gave zero thought to "so what happens if the PCs fail to complete this task?" There are some adventures that have major impact on the setting, but even at the big climax where the characters need to use the thing on the thing to stop the Bad Guys from doing it there's no sidebar of "here's what happens if the PCs don't win".

The third problem is that you can tell that the fiction writers really wanted to be novel writers, but weren't very good at it. All in-game fiction and boxed text is stilted, wordy, and has a lot of "you think/you feel"-isms.

As an example, here's the boxed text the GM is supposed to read to the players at the start of Act I of the adventure:

quote:

The world has surely gone to hell recently. The USA has been invaded by dinosaurs and lizard-men; the United Kingdom and Scandinavia have been overrun by knights in armor, Vikings and sorcerers; France has been transformed into a dark-ages theocracy; the Middle East has been taken over by a raygun-wielding lunatic who wishes to recreate the glories of Ancient Egypt. It's been a bad couple of months.

And now the Earth has stopped moving. The sun has been in the same place for over 20 hours — somewhere over the ocean near South America — and the temperature over North America has risen almost six degrees above the record high for this day. You shudder to think what it must be like in South America now — and what it will be like here in a week.

But there's nothing you can do about that, so you are doing the best you can, running supplies into the boundaries of the so-called "Living Land" - a place that used to be called Ohio. Despite the invasion of the dinosaurs and the Edeinos, despite the destruction of the cities, despite the collapse of technology, people still live there, refusing to leave their beloved homes.

They may be foolish — even crazy - but you cannot simply let them starve or die for lack of food or proper medicine. So, every day for the last couple of weeks, you have been running a truckload of supplies into Ohio from still-normal Kentucky, at the same time, attempting to convince the people to leave.

After a few terrifying experiences in the first trips, you've gotten the hang of it by now — more or less — and this trip has so far been uneventful. You are heading down a dirt road back toward Kentucky. The road has degraded significantly, and, hitting a sharp rock, your front left tire blows out.

(This is also an example of what winds up being the only real "adventure" the developers could come up with for the Living Land: p-rated people driving supplies to survivor colonies in the Living Land. A lot of humans can't leave due to not wanting to transform, not wanting to be eaten by dinosaurs, or not having anywhere else to go.)

Torg adventures are universally broken up into Acts, which are then broken up into Scenes. GMs are supposed to do this too, because they hand out Possibility rewards at the end of acts.

So anyway the driver has to make a save vs. car crash or people might take a little damage. Presumably the PCs will want to fix the jeep. Good luck with that.

quote:

The deuce-and-a-half is so-named because it weighs around 2.5 tons; it's not so easy to change a tire. The difficulty of changing a tire is 8 (land vehicles skill); the base time value is 17, or around 40 minutes.Subtract one from the time value for each level of success above minimal the character receives (that is, on an average success it takes 25 minutes; good success, 15 minutes; etc.). The coordination difficulty of this task is 5.

Not that it matters, because before they can finish something starts running through the jungle towards the party. This is Hildy Marlen, daughter of a Nile Empire scientist and Damsel In Distress. Of course, people might be a little trigger-happy due to being in a jungle full of dinosaurs.

quote:

Under no circumstances should the Knights be allowed to kill Hildy. If anyone foolishly wishes to fire off a burst before seeing what they are firing at, Hildy gives off a frightened scream (she saw a large snake in the trees) just as they are about to fire. If the Knights insist upon firing anyway, they miss. Period.

Hildy runs out of the brush, latches onto the "nearest handsome male", and starts frantically asking for help in German.

See, as per the way reality in the Nile Empire works, any kidnapped scientist has a beautiful daughter, and should said scientist be kidnapped for nefarious purposes, his daughter will escape and find a hero to help her and probably fall in love with. This is actually accurate to the reality of the Empire, so I can forgive it somewhat. I really do have to ask if they needed to make her as helpless as they did, though.

Once people get Hildy to calm down, she manages to remember her English and exclaims she's being chased by lizards just as an Edeinos hunting party shows up.

And here we are at the shakedown fight! The hunting party is six warriors and an optant (Edeinos priest). They've been chasing Hildy longer than they needed to because they love the feeling of the hunt, and thanks to a handy miracle they can see through the Living Land's Deep Mist up to 40m, as opposed to 10m which is the normal draw distance in the Mist. That means that this is pretty much going to be an ambush since the PCs probably won't see the Edeinos first. They spread out around the jeep, the optant casts an Animate Plant miracle, then they attack.

What this means is that all the plants in the miracle's area of effect (20 meters) start attacking the PCs in an attempt to wrap around them. The plants are only animated for one round, but if they hit a PC then that character is at -5 to all Dexterity-based rolls for the rest of the fight or until they break free.

This is a pretty rough fight for the first of a campaign; seven NPCs attacking at once when some of the characters are at a severe defensive penalty means that people are going to have to start paying out Possibilities to not get wrecked.

Anyway assuming the PCs win, the adventure continues. Now people can question Hildy, who gives the following exposition dump:

quote:

"I am the daughter of Herr Doctor Heinrich Marlen, a famous engineer. We were in Cairo when the Pharoah came. My father was captured, and forced to work for the Pharoah, under the direction of Professor Shariff." (Here she gives a pretty shudder.) "Professor Shariff said he would do things — terrible things! — to me if my father did not work for him.

"In the next two months, my father built a fantastic digging device. He could never do this before; I think he changed somehow when the world did." (In fact he transformed into a weird scientist.)

"Three days ago, Professor Shariff took my father and myself onto the digging device and forced my father to drive it to this place. During the two-day trip, we overheard the Professor talking to the soldiers. He told them that they were to meet some Edeinos, to trade weapons — there are several hundred rifles on the device — for a key. He said that Pharoah would be able to use the key to unlock the power of the Still World!"

"When we arrived here this morning, the Professor met with some of the lizards — I do not know what they said. Then the lizards left; we have been waiting ever since. Two hours ago, my father and I were let out of the device to get some fresh air. My father hit our guard on the back of the head and told me to run and get help. As I left he was struggling with the guard.

"An hour later, I was discovered by the Edeinos. They chased me until I met you.

"My father is an old man; they are sure to kill him! Won't you please rescue him?"
This is the first time the PCs have even heard of the concept of the Still World, which is Earth with the brakes applied. The adventure states that "The Storm Knights may be more interested in the 'key' to the Earth-stopping device than in rescuing the doctor", but Hildy doesn't mention anything about an Earth-stopping device so I don't know why they'd think that. Still, it's not hard to assume that the PCs will be operating on the assumption that "High Lords = bad" so the party follows Hildy to the next scene.

This scene takes place around a good old-fashioned drilling vehicle, with giant drills at both ends and everything. Hildy leads the group to the machine, which is being guarded by ten Nile Empire stormtroopers armed with machine guns. Hildy knows that there are ten troopers plus Professor Shariff, and that the digger takes a long time to start when the engine's cold, but that's it.

There are four guards outside the digger; the rest are inside. If the PCs are spotted (or just run in guns blazing), the visible guards will sound the alarm by firing their rifles into the air. Next round, the rest of the troopers come pouring out of the digger, then Shariff the round after that.

So that's 11 NPCs versus the group, with no mook rules, and all the bad guys will fight to the death. Shariff is also armed with two weird science gizmos: a sonic pistol and a personal force field generator. On top of that, this is a "Dramatic" scene, which means the Drama Deck is stacked against the PCs.

Amazingly, there is something here to say what happens if the PCs lose.

quote:

If so, Professor Shariff will attempt to capture them and imprison them in the digging machine, so that he can gloat over them at his leisure, and bring them back to Dr. Mobius as prizes. If this occurs, you will have to give them an opportunity to break free of their bonds and overwhelm their opponents, either during the trip, or when they reach the base (see the next scene).
If the price of failure is going to the next scene anyway, then why's it a dramatic scene? Just to pound on the PCs?

The adventure also says that the PCs shouldn't be allowed to blow up the digging machine since they need it to get to the next act, so assume it's mostly underground and thus has tons of armor.

But wait, you ask; what if the PCs decide that something pretty big's going on here and try to head back to Kentucky for help? Don't worry, the writers got you covered.

quote:

Finally, you may be in trouble if the Knights decide not to attack at all, instead preferring to return to Kentucky to get help or do something else altogether. You have a number of choices: you can use Edeinos to herd them back to the encounter; once they are in Kentucky, you can feed them clues and hints suggesting that they go to the Nile Empire and find the hidden base; or you can somehow get them directly to Act Three in Indonesia, skipping Act Two altogether.

Anyway, either the PCs win and save the Doctor (who's tied up in the back of the digger) or they lose and get taken prisoner. If they win, they can reunite Hildy with her father and search the digger. Searching the digger will turn up a few crates of assault rifles and Shariff's diary. The diary states that Shariff is here to trade the rifles to the Edeinos for an egg, then he has to bring the egg to a Nile base. But don't worry; if the PCs don't think to search the digger then it turns out that Dr. Marlen knows all this because he managed to sneak a look at Shariff's diary during the trip despite being held prisoner

And this leads to an actual character decision point! Holy poo poo! The group can either stick around and get the egg from the Edeinos, or go straight to the Nile base.

(Oh, in case you're wondering about lizardmen using modern weapons despite the fact that their religion expressly forbids the use of dead things...Baruk Kaah has been subverting the worship of Lanala by creating a special "priesthood" who are allowed to use dead things, like rifles. He also likes to give the rifles to his gospog since the mindless constructs don't give a poo poo about religion. The Edeinos all believe that Kaah is speaking the will of Lanala and thus belive this is all kosher with her, but even so very few Edeinos know about his use of dead things because Kaah knows that this would be pushing it with his followers. This is one of many plans that eventually bite Kaah in the rear end.)

If the PCs decide to stick around for the trade, then they have a few hours to prepare. They can set traps, sabotage the rifles, disguise themselves as stormtroopers, and so on. The Edeinos aren't expecting trouble, but even so there's a dozen of them and they brought a Bor Aka, "a dinosaur roughly the size of a bad-tempered football field." On the plus side, the Edeinos won't test the rifles (since they're dead things, and they don't know how to use rifles anyway) or realize that these aren't the people they're supposed to meet (all humans look alike to them). The PCs can get the egg without a hassle if they play it cool.

Oh, and it turns out it's not an animal egg, it's a Faberge Egg. This fact is not revealed until a sidebar near the end of the adventure, so thanks game writers!

Regardless of whether or not the PCs get the egg, the next scene assumes that the PCs take the digging machine to the Nile Empire base. Presumably they take Dr. Marlen and Hildy with them, since only Dr. Marlen knows how to drive this thing.

And that closes out Act One! For completing the act, the PCs each gets "around two" Possibility Points. Better play gets them three each, playing "below average" only gets them one each. Regardless, they're probably going to have spent more points than that so they're gonna be in the hole.

The first scene of Act Two takes place at a Nile Empire airbase that's in a Nile pure zone. Oh, the digger apparently has an autopilot that takes it back to its dock under the airbase, so the party doesn't need to bring Dr. Marlen along after all.

Anyway, the airbase is ten miles out in the desert and is pretty bog-standard; prefab metal buildings, some hangars, guard towers, kennels, and so on. There are also 40 fully-stated stormtroopers, a pilot, a bunch of faceless workers, and a p-rated colonel.

Presumably, the PCs are here to learn the location of the Earth-stopping device, but again: nobody tells them about any Earth-stopping device. Neither Dr. Marlen or Hildy know about it, Shariff's diary doesn't mention it, and the Edeinos don't know about it. All the PCs know is that Mobius wants the egg because it's the key to the Still World, which is another thing they don't know about.

The PCs can deal with the base however they want; given that they're probably outnumbered at least two-to-one, they'll probably want to be sneaky. This is a standard scene, not dramatic, so at least the PCs have the advantage there.

quote:

Try to run this encounter as though it were a scene from your favorite Macho American Bodybuilder vs. the Dimwitted Foreigners who Can't Shoot Worth a drat film. The hero wades out into a storm of automatic fire, taking not a scratch, and, with a single burst of his M-16, knocks the enemy soldiers down like tenpins. Encourage the players to be flamboyant — let even outrageous plans succeed, if they are cinematically appropriate to the genre.
...except that Torg doesn't support enemies getting knocked down like tenpins. Everyone has full stats and wound tracks!

And that still doesn't solve the problem that the PCs don't know what (if anything) they're supposed to be looking for. It turns out they're supposed to be looking for flight plans to a location off the coast of Indonesia. The flight plan also includes a manifest of the cargo of one of the planes here; underwater gear and weapons. This is the hint that they need to take the provided plane to their destination, so I hope someone knows how to fly a plane!

Scene two assumes the PCs took the seaplane from the airbase and are en route to the vortex machine when they encounter some boxed text.

quote:

You've got the flight plans; you've got a plane capable of getting there; and it's loaded with the equipment you need to complete your mission. Considering that you have had to go through 50-odd guards to get this, everything has gone quite smoothly, indeed. Why does that make you nervous?

In a moment you find out why, as two Nile Spitfires come screaming out of the clouds. Taking up positions to your rear, they call over the radio and demand to know who you are and what you are doing.

This is a dramatic scene, so again things are stacked against the PCs. They can try to talk their way out of the situation, but don't worry! It turns out that one of the base's mechanics has been taking a nap in the plane's secret compartment (since his boss can't find him there) and wakes up around this time. So now you get to have a dogfight while someone's trying to brain the pilot! Fun!

Again, assuming the group isn't shot out of the sky,

quote:

It is dark and very, very cold - outside of the range of Dr. Mobius's artificial sun, it is about 15 degrees colder than it should be. Below you, you see the lights of a few cities and towns bravely attempting to carry on in the face of the unending night, but you know that, if the Earth does not soon begin moving, they will all die in the cold darkness.

Hours pass. You cross the Indian ocean, flying south to avoid Indian airspace — a good thing to do, flying a Nile airplane. Up ahead you see lightning and dark black clouds. It is the border to Orrorsh, the dark realm. Beyond, in what used to be the Indonesian Sea, is your destination. You tighten your seatbelts and prepare to brave the storm.

That's the end of the act, so everyone gets a flat three Possibilities and we move on to Act Three. And this is where the bullshit kicks into high gear.

The first scene picks up with the plan approaching a giant vortex of energy spiraling out of the sky into the ocean, glowing in the darkness and begging the question of why nobody else has noticed this yet.

When the plane lands in the surprisingly calm water around the vortex, they're attacked by the demon Gibberfat. Gibberfat was bound to protect the vortex machine by the Gaunt Man, and is an old-fashioned three-form boss fight.

When the plane lands, Gibberfat attacks them in the form of a giant white shark before the PCs can even get into the water. Gibberfat is p-rated, his attack skills are all 14, and his bite is damage 21. Killing the shark doesn't actually kill Gibberfat; he just sinks into the ocean.

Now the group will probably start gearing up to get into the water. If they stole the plane from the airbase, then not only are there ten sets of 30's style deep-water suits, there are also ten "Sun blades" (basically neon swords), "octi-grenades" (grenades for uderwater use) and "torpedo pistols" (guess). If they didn't take the Nile Empire plane, then I guess they're out of luck because Gibberfat makes his second appearance once everyone's in the water.

This time, he appears as a giant electric eel with better stats and a stronger attack. This is still a rough fight, but winnable. The body of the eel will once again sink into the depths, where Gibberfat will take on his terrifying true form! That of...a cubby naked red guy with gills and webbed feet and hands.

quote:

The demon will swim up to the Knights and tell them in a sonorous voice: "Flee puny humans! Or I will send you to the coldest pit of hell, where you will writhe in agony for all eternity!" He will ruin the effect somewhat by sneezing violently at the end of his recital.
Now the PCs need to fight Gibberfat at his most powerful. He suddenly gets the ability to cast spells, and has Charm Person, Weakness, and a few other spells to make people's lives difficult.

Or the PCs can offer him the Faberge Egg. Gibberfat wants the egg because he can use it to buy off his demonic supervisor and get a better assignment, and is so grateful that he'll warn the PCs that the device is guarded by "some dead humans, I believe." He then teleports away, leaving the way free to the last scene.

And again, there's nothing to hint that the egg is for Gibberfat. It's not in any of the notes the PCs come across, the NPCs apparently don't know, so how the PCs are supposed to figure this out is beyond me. In fact, if the players do have the egg, odds are they're going to think they need it to unlock something, since it's referred to as a key.

Regardless, here we are at the last scene of the adventure. It's a dramatic scene, of course.

The base of the vortex is coming out of the wreck of an old pirate ship 100 meters below the surface. The instant the PCs touch the ship, the vortex starts spinning faster and skeletal figures start crawling out of the wreckage.

There are 12 pirate zombies guarding the vortex machine, and their only goal is to stop the PCs from reaching the vortex machine. As an added bonus, they do not take shock damage, can't be KO'd, and heal completely when a Villain Up result is drawn on the Drama Deck. Oh, and they can only be killed-killed if you dismember the body after "killing" them (which takes three full rounds) otherwise...I don't know, it doesn't say. I guess they just keep fighting. Oh, and because the PCs are in underwater gear they have a bunch of penalties to deal with that the pirates don't.

Believe it or not, the writers felt that wasn't hard enough so they added a timer! See, the vortex machine is belowdecks, which means you have to get past the pirate zombies to get to it. The machine is huge, and is actually sunk mostly into the ocean floor, but there's still a control panel available. The PCs can't break the device because the Gaunt Man has imbued the thing with Possibility energy so it can fully buy off any damage it takes.

He also put in a security measure that causes the machine to start heating up the instant the PCs touch the ship (and wake up the zombies). As soon as the PCs touch the ship, they have 20 rounds to deactivate the vortex machine via dramatic skill resolution or the whole kit and kaboodle will burn so hot it burrows itself deep into the earth where nobody can reach it to turn it off, it keeps stopping the world from turning, the PCs are par-broiled, and everything sucks forever (which is three months, tops).

As near as I can tell, there's no indication that there's a time limit apart from the GM telling them flat-out.

So here's how the last scene probably shakes out if the PCs aren't told what they have to do:
  • The PCs reach the shipwreck.
  • The zombies wake up.
  • Everyone tries to fight the zombies, wasting a bunch of their 20 rounds.
  • They reach the machine.
  • They start trying to blow it up, wasting more time.
  • They try to turn off the machine in whatever time they have left.
That's...really unlikely. And I have to admit, I'm surprised they didn't add in something about the vortex machine boiling people around itself while it heats up.

Even if the GM does just tell people what to do, they still have to try to complete the dramatic skill resolution while being attacked by zombies that probably outnumber them. Good luck with that!

But assuming everyone manages to get things together long enough to deactivate the device, it destroys itself in a burst of energy (which is another security measure to prevent other High Lords from using it against the Gaunt Man) but surprisingly no boxed text.

quote:

You are ready to begin a Torg "Infiniverse" campaign.

Saving the world gets you 12 Possibilities.

So there you go. You've saved the world against some pretty high odds! Way to go!

But what if you didn't? What if the PCs couldn't overcome the arrays of bad guys or cause the vortex machine to sink into the earth?

Well, that's a problem.

Two days after the adventure, the earth's rotation stops completely. The American half of the planet is now stuck facing the sun, and Eurasia is now trapped in shadow. Temperatures in the Americas start to rise, eventually hitting 140 degrees Fahrenheit while Russia drops to -80 degrees. Technically Europe is still livable, but the Americas are pretty much screwed as the heartlands are rendered useless.

After a month, things still get worse. The centers of the Americas are uninhabitable as temperatures top 160 degrees, and now the lack of food production is having its effect on the still-inhabited areas. The Amazon rainforest is also destroyed, but at this point it's not like it's going to break the environment any worse that it's already been ravaged.

And three months after the vortex machine sinks into the earth...well...

quote:

Alaska basks in the 80s, only the southern tip of South America is livable. The Greenland icecap melts more rapidly. Britain, France, Spain, and West Africa are the only other livable areas on Core Earth.

Unless the High Lords provide magical, spiritual, or technological means to support life on Earth, the planet and its lifeforms will die. This does not make for fun roleplaying. We suggest that you stop the dramatic temperature changes at something livable(via a High Lord's intervention) or allow your Storm Knights to restart Earth's spin at some point during your campaign.


The end of the world as we know it

So there you go. You get to play The Road: The RPG for a few weeks before the world ends and you restart the whole thing without the whole earth-isn't-turning factor.

But here's the really dumb thing: at no point in the game line after the core set is any mention ever made of the Still World. The default assumption of the game like is that the PCs succeed at the adventure, fight their way past about 100 fully-stated bad guys and stop the vortex machine in 20 round while being pounded on by underwater zombie pirates.

And let's be honest here; the High Lords aren't going to help Earth. At best they're going to cut their losses and pull their forces back up the bridges once it's clear that Earth is doomed, and at worst they're going to leave their forces behind. The only one who'd want to help is Lady Ardinay of Asyle, but what could she do? She can't use her Darkness Device without dooming her own cosm, and you can't exactly move the entire population of Core Earth to Asyle.

If the PCs fail the adventure, then none of the rest of the game books will apply. But it's clear that the writers didn't want this outcome for the adventure. Which begs the question: why include that in the first place?

I mean, I get wanting to show that this is a game about high-stakes events and global-level threats. But you can't just do that out of the gate! The sample adventure should be a way to ease people into the game, to show off the core concepts. But the adventure barely spends any time in the Living Land before heading to the Nile Empire and then back to Core Earth. And do you really need higher stakes than a six-way battle for control of reality?

And you know what the funniest part is? This isn't the worst published adventure by a long shot.

NEXT TIME: Touring the cosmverse!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Robindaybird posted:

I like how we got in expecting to mock furry wankbait, and instead it's anarcho-capitalist libertarian poo poo obviously written by an upperclass twit who never had to struggle in his life.

Not that different from Furry Pirates then, where you expect to go in mocking furries but instead boggle at how boring a book detailing historical pirate stuff could be, and then remember every few pages that oh yeah, these people are all bears and dogs.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Robindaybird posted:

I like how we got in expecting to mock furry wankbait, and instead it's anarcho-capitalist libertarian poo poo obviously written by an upperclass twit who never had to struggle in his life.

It's because none of the furry poo poo matters to what all this crap is actually about, which is gently caress YOU GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WILL LEAD THE WAY. Like, they could be whatever and it wouldn't change the ridiculousness of the core message and the furry bit is entirely tangential without any stylistic grounding or reason to exist.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


The Deleter posted:

TORG and HSD seem to have the same problem in that they are taking way too much time and effort to explain/simulate poo poo nobody cares about. TORG cars so much about its simulation it prevents players from doing anything cool with the setting, and HSD is typng its meme-filled Bitcoin Randian wank fantasy with one hand.

If your setting is any good then you don't need to make more reasons to play it! As long as there's decent systems in place appropriate for the setting then I don't need 30 pages of backstory! Let me play super-dinoman already! Christ!

Also I'm sure that the trains and planes are listed because they anticipated players building a battle train, which would own until it turned into lumps f metal in Dinosaur World.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6i3Z1tmfMA

Unless it became a Dinosaur Train!

The Deleter
May 22, 2010



Teaching our heroes all about the wonderful biology of the God-Emperor-Lizard. And poop.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

Halloween Jack posted:

Except with the fact that being swallowed by a 50-foot-tall Babs Bunny is a sexual fantasy you can't satisfy in real life.

I've spent five minutes bashing my head against a post implying that, on account of the quality of my posts, I've been to a Bohemian Grove party where such a thing happened, but ironically it's just not coming.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




grassy gnoll posted:

I've spent five minutes bashing my head against a post
Oh, there are plenty of clubs you can go to for that one.

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Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Man, I actually had to take notes on the HSD review.

So what's the origin of the Libertarian view that if you remove government, business is a benevolent entity run by benevolent people? Because that poo poo is divorced from the reality that people are still animals that feel animal instincts and overcoming them requires some considerable effort.

With Spyglass and the whole 'WE TRAIN DISHONEST MOTHER FUCKERS' is going to lead to the Prisoner's Dilemma where depending on how well lying pays off and how many dishonest fucks are running around the system, you're going to get a whole lot of people who do not do honest business. I can't imagine that'd actually be good for nations that are corporations.

Finally, I realized what HSD struck me as: Mutant Chronicles without the whole 'The Megacorps are the problem' included in setting. The blurb from Transcendence is one 'AND IT'S EVIL AND FROM OUTSIDE THIS DIMENSION' from employing Dark Symmetry. There is already rogue technology that may or may not be the vessel for an alien force invading this reality.

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