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Mutant Headcrab
May 14, 2007


theironjef posted:

Movie characters is this case is assumed to include such luminaries as "Ewok with a rock." Return more or less scrubs the notion that stormtroopers would look super badass if they weren't always hunting the heroes.

Only because the Ewoks successfully ambushed them. They started to turn things around once the Ewoks lost the element of surprise and ran out of traps. The only reason the Imperials lost that fight was because Chewbacca managed to steal an AT-ST.

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Redeye Flight
Mar 26, 2010

God, I'm so tired. What the hell did I post last night?


theironjef posted:

Good things to come out of EU: Admiral Pellaeon. Maybe Talon Karrde if you change his dumb name. Maybe the Noghri. Maybe Thrawn. The end? Okay, maybe the Drall.

Oh poo poo nearly forgot the complete bonkers insanity of the "Tales of Lando Calrissian" stuff. I am 100% on-board with Vuffi Raa the starfish robot, and their battles against a space wizard that is in fact a tiny toad monster masquerading as a space wizard.

Hey, I'm calling you out--you're forgetting the X-Wing books and the majority of things associated with them, particularly on the Wraith Squadron end.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Redeye Flight posted:

Hey, I'm calling you out--you're forgetting the X-Wing books and the majority of things associated with them, particularly on the Wraith Squadron end.

Ooooh.... no I'm not. Those books have an Ewok X-Wing pilot and Corran Horn might be the Mariest of Sues (isn't his solo book called "I, Jedi"? I would kill that book with a gun). Granted the fog of Star Wars love was starting to lift from my eyes at the point, but yeah, I remember those books, and Michael A. Stackpole.

To be fair I only read a few of them, and so I might be missing some awesome in there.

Forums Terrorist
Dec 8, 2011



Mutant Headcrab posted:

Only because the Ewoks successfully ambushed them. They started to turn things around once the Ewoks lost the element of surprise and ran out of traps. The only reason the Imperials lost that fight was because Chewbacca managed to steal an AT-ST.

Besides, at that point the Empire was going full Gotterdammerung. You don't raise the best troops when that's happening.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




Wraith Squadron was legitimately a dark humor book in the style of Dirty Dozen. Its the only book(s) that reads like it was written by Han Solo, while the rest read like they were written by Luke Skywalker.

MalcolmSheppard posted:

This reminds me of being surprised in WEG Star Wars when stormtroopers kicked our asses because we didn't know they were scaled for the movie characters and not us--new characters who assumed we'd be like the movie characters. Silly us.

The WEG game had supplements that also created the alternative 'Rainbow Force' that I still roll my eyes at every time its mentioned.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



theironjef posted:

Ooooh.... no I'm not. Those books have an Ewok X-Wing pilot and Corran Horn might be the Mariest of Sues (isn't his solo book called "I, Jedi"? I would kill that book with a gun). Granted the fog of Star Wars love was starting to lift from my eyes at the point, but yeah, I remember those books, and Michael A. Stackpole.
Stackpole never wrote a book with Lt. Kettch in it, he was Allston's character from the bloody great Wraith Squadron series. And he was a TIE pilot, dammit. :colbert:

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Siivola posted:

Stackpole never wrote a book with Lt. Kettch in it, he was Allston's character from the bloody great Wraith Squadron series. And he was a TIE pilot, dammit. :colbert:

I, Jedi is still totally a thing though. Oh well, at least the Spanish version of that book would have been called "Yo, Jedi". At least we'll always have that.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

Erebro posted:

Although I think the creator admitted that the dolls were actually a little too skeevy still. Don't quote me, but I think he did say there is also art in there he's embarrassed by.

You may be thinking about Diaper Girl*, the unfortunately-dressed ninjette under the dust cover. I'm not going to tread on Prof's writeup, but the director's commentary about that part may be what you're thinking of. It's also pretty much gold, and something I wish more RPGs would come with, translations or not.

*

Let me stop you right there. It's not actually a diaper. But it is dumb as hell.

InfiniteJesters
Jan 26, 2012


Where is this director's commentary, if I may ask?

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's creepy even in the English version, mind, but the whole thing is supposed to be tragic and cruel. Like many things in Tenra, really.
That isn't really a defense as you can write most of the problematic elements in a way that doesn't reads like someone who was shut in wrote it.

grassy gnoll posted:

You may be thinking about Diaper Girl*, the unfortunately-dressed ninjette under the dust cover. I'm not going to tread on Prof's writeup, but the director's commentary about that part may be what you're thinking of. It's also pretty much gold, and something I wish more RPGs would come with, translations or not.
Are we talking about the translator or the original creator because for the most part the translator kind of slams a lot of the artwork in the book?

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

InfiniteJesters posted:

Where is this director's commentary, if I may ask?

It was a Kickstarter exclusive, to the best of my knowledge. The TBZ storefront doesn't offer it as an option.

(But there are still hardcover copies, which are fukkin' radical, let me tell you. Get those if you get a physical copy.)


MadScientistWorking posted:

Are we talking about the translator or the original creator because for the most part the translator kind of slams a lot of the artwork in the book?

The translator, Andy Kitowski. I'm not familiar with Inoue commenting on much of the original, but I'd be interested as hell if you can source something in English.

InfiniteJesters
Jan 26, 2012


grassy gnoll posted:

It was a Kickstarter exclusive, to the best of my knowledge. The TBZ storefront doesn't offer it as an option.

(But there are still hardcover copies, which are fukkin' radical, let me tell you. Get those if you get a physical copy.)

Aaaaaaaaaaaargh. DAMMIT, why did I only back the lowest tier?

(Oh right, because I was unemployed at the time. :v: )

EDIT:

http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/product.php?productid=19150

Does it come with that big bundle?

InfiniteJesters fucked around with this message at 00:41 on Mar 28, 2014

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

It doesn't seem to say, but I bet you could get in touch with Andy and ask if you can purchase the PDF version. He goes by DiamondSutra on these here forums, though it's been a while since he was active, I believe.

Fake edit: Have a contact page for the relevant website. http://kotohi.com/?page_id=10

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Gerund posted:

The WEG game had supplements that also created the alternative 'Rainbow Force' that I still roll my eyes at every time its mentioned.

I'm sorry, what?

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




Rulebook 1: Introduction

Like every RPG rulebook over 100 pages, TBZ opens with a brief section explaining what, exactly, RPGs are, nothing too special there. After getting past the basics, we get a high-level overview of the things that set this game apart from its brethren!

  • The Emotion Matrix! Randomly determine first impressions when two characters meet for the first time. This sounds bizarre at first, and will continue to sound bizarre, but it's actually one of my favorite aspects of the system.
  • Aiki chits! The book tries to make them sound like a completely original idea, but they're not.
  • The Karma system! Accumulate Karma as you grow in power, and try not to go insane with the burden of worldly attachments!

Those are the big points. The rest is pretty straightforward, nothing surprising to the seasoned player. On to the real introduction!



The stuff up ther was the "Welcome" chapter, so sort of the pre-introduction. This is the introduction proper, which dives straight into chargen!

TBZ character creation is a bit clunky, and I get the feeling reading the book that it's aware of this. The first suggested method of chargen is using premade characters from the back of the book. It talks about being conscious of the kind of scenario the GM is planning to run (if they've made any plans) and doing chargen as a group, but at the same time, this isn't a system where you need a balanced set of character roles in the party. Wanna do a ninja game? Everyone's a ninja, no problem. Doesn't really cause any problems.

Of course, we're all pros here, so we're gonna want to make a character from scratch. Taking it step by step:

1. Archetypes
In the place of a class system, there are Archetypes, ranging from specific (Priesthood Double Agent, Ninja Apprentice) to the general (Thief, Aristocrat). You can mix and match Archetypes freely (Ninja Apprentice from a noble background, who is also a thief, and a double agent for the priesthood), provided you can afford all of them.

Like all aspects of character creation, Archetypes give you Karma. Each Archetype has a Karma Cost, and when you finalize your list of Archetypes, your Karma is set to the sum of their costs. At no point during chargen can you exceed 108 Karma, and even being too close to that to start is dangerous. About 70 to 90 Karma is typical to start with. More about that later.

Each Archetype, in addition to a Karma cost, has a set of skills, equipment, attribute requirements, possible Fates, and all sorts of other fun stuff I'll talk about more as I go.

2. Attributes
Basic D&D-style stats. The list is Body, Agility, Senses, Knowledge, Spirit, Empathy, and Station. Most of those are fairly obvious, but Station s your social status and influence, and Empathy is about what it sounds like but has a very important usage I'll get to in the Karma System. Low Empathy characters are seldom viable.

Between these seven attributes, distribute 40 points. Max 10, min 1, recommended to not go below 3 for anything. Some Archetypes have minimum attributes (you can't have an Aristocrat with a Station below 2) and some also have Attribute penalties - if you have two Archetypes with Attribute Penalties of 1, then you only get 38 points. Pretty simple.

Most mundane humans have attibutes in the 1-3 range. PCs are special.

3. Sub-Attrbutes
Calculated stats. Three of these:

  • Vitality: Body + Spirit. Ability to not die. If these reach 0, you are out of the fight, but do not die.
  • Soul: (Knowledge + Spirit)x2. Mana. Magical abilities drain this, and if it reaches 0, you lose consciousness.
  • Wounds: Something kind of like the stress track in Fate, you have various tracks of boxes representing different severities of injuries. More on these later, but you have Light wounds equal to your body, half that many Heavy wounds, half that many Critical wounds, and one Dead box.

4. Equipment
Some equipment is provided automatically by your Archetype, and the rest you can get for yourself. However, many items (more advanced weapons) have a minimum Station requirement, and many also raise your Karma. Money exists in the setting, but there aren't really any rules for it. If it makes sense for you to have a certain amount of money, you do, and if it doesn't, you don't. Wing it.

5. Fates
Fates are the emotional core of your character, and very integral to the Karma economy in ways that, once again, I'll get into later. They can be destinies, emotions, or goals.

Archetypes have associated Fates. From the list of Fates from all your Archetypes, pick two, one rated at 2 and one at 3. Honestly, though, if you've got a character concept in mind, just make up Fates. Just go crazy.

6. Special Abilities
Then, the fun stuff. Which of these you get is based on your Archetypes. Some fun ones:
  • Meikyo Soul Mirror: A device used by agents of the Priesthood and some kinds of armour riders that can be used to interact with The Reflection, which is a magical Shinto internet. It's also used to interface with an Armour and to communicate at long range with your fellow Shinto Illuminati agents. This interacts with Karma in strange ways.
  • Kongohki Overdrive: Oh hey, we don't know what Kongohki are yet, do we? This chapter is full of mystery terms. It doesn't even try to define this one here, aside from saying that Kongohki can boost their attributes temporarily.
  • Annelid Implantation: Annelidists are people who implant monster worms into their body and then control them to do all sorts of freaky poo poo. This costs Karma.
  • Oni Resonance: Oni get magic powers. More on this later.
  • Samurai Ability: Samurai have magic gems implanted into their body, and can use them to transform into a pseudo-monstrous alternate poo poo-wrecker form.
  • Shinobi Arts: Implanting gems into your body that make Ninja magic easier. Can't do this if you're a Samurai.
  • Kijin Modification: Cyborg parts. Get a hand that turns into a gun. Usually comes with an Attriute cost.
  • Kugutsu Butterfly Dream: Illusion magic, only available to artificial humans called kugutsu. Hypnotize someone and draw them into the dream world.
  • Yohjutsu: Abilities used by Ayakashi or half-Ayakashi. Monster people. Karma cost for them can be reduced by taking Weaknesses.

So that didn't make much sense, but clearly we're in for a wild ride here. Chargen's layout is kind of a mess, isn't it? Next time, back to the Worldbook.

InfiniteJesters
Jan 26, 2012


grassy gnoll posted:

It doesn't seem to say, but I bet you could get in touch with Andy and ask if you can purchase the PDF version. He goes by DiamondSutra on these here forums, though it's been a while since he was active, I believe.

Fake edit: Have a contact page for the relevant website. http://kotohi.com/?page_id=10

Works for me. Thanks!

girl dick energy
Sep 30, 2009

You think you have the wherewithal to figure out my puzzle vagina?


ProfessorProf posted:


So that didn't make much sense, but clearly we're in for a wild ride here. Chargen's layout is kind of a mess, isn't it? Next time, back to the Worldbook.
I've only ever made one or two TBZ characters, and I agree, character creation had me flipping back and forth much more than I should have been.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MadScientistWorking posted:

That isn't really a defense as you can write most of the problematic elements in a way that doesn't reads like someone who was shut in wrote it.

It wasn't intended as a defense, just context. I don't know how far the Japanese version goes. I'm giving the benefit of the doubt for the moment, but I don't know.

Character creation is hella flippy, in any case.

InfiniteJesters
Jan 26, 2012


I find TBZ's chargen to get a lot easier after you do it once or twice.

The game's website has some fillable character sheets, too. That helps.

EDIT: As for the doll people, PC doll people are apparently usually characterized as trying to evade their former 'owners', unless their former owner was nice enough to send them free of their own volition. So I don't know how creepy the original was but at least the English version is moving in the right direction I guess. :shrug:

On the other hand I didn't pay too much attention to them because of those reasons and also because I was too busy statting up an Evangelion that could fire swarms of bees out of its nostrils. So the doll people are a moot point to me. :v:

InfiniteJesters fucked around with this message at 05:10 on Mar 28, 2014

MalcolmSheppard
Jun 24, 2012
MATTHEW 7:20


theironjef posted:

Movie characters is this case is assumed to include such luminaries as "Ewok with a rock." Return more or less scrubs the notion that stormtroopers would look super badass if they weren't always hunting the heroes.

If I remember right, in the old pre-EU WEG game movie main characters were statted with lots of dice in their best stuff Han with 10D ib Blaster Pistol. Ewoks? I got nothin' to defend the relative badassitude of stormtroopers in that case. In old WEG stormtroopers were supposed to be an elite military force based on Ben Kenobi's assessment of their So Precise Blaster Fire. (Remember, this is pre-EU, so the lore since then doesn't matter). I don't demand that games be exactly like movies because they have different objectives, but we never see these regular units stormtroopers are supposed to be better than, we came to shoot stormtroopers, and we should at least be of plausible stormtrooper shooting ability.

I don't know. Maybe Ewoks are chimpanzee strong or something. That would be a hilarious thing to make EU canon. It would remind me of Zahn's Secret Wookiee Claws.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Yeah, character creation being as flippy as it is why I keep procrastinating on the Ayakashi writeup for the characters thread. (Since it involves special power bits from 3 sections and doesn't use an existing archetype.)

Cyborg Grandpa was pretty easy though.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



grassy gnoll posted:

You may be thinking about Diaper Girl*, the unfortunately-dressed ninjette under the dust cover. I'm not going to tread on Prof's writeup, but the director's commentary about that part may be what you're thinking of. It's also pretty much gold, and something I wish more RPGs would come with, translations or not.

*

Let me stop you right there. It's not actually a diaper. But it is dumb as hell.

If I recall correctly, that right there is actually the cover of the book as published in Japan. Andy, rightly leery of trying to put that in front of a foreign audience, negotiated for an option to deal with it. The publisher (possibly with the backing of the creator, though I don't recall if that was made clear where I saw the story) wouldn't allow any art to be removed or significantly shifted in the layout. So he made the compromise that she would remain on the cover but the book would come with a dust jacket with an entirely different and less questionable illustration. I believe it came up in a Q&A he did and sent out through the backer notifications.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Yeah, I found TBZ to have been rather flippy as I was running an Onmoyji-type character (who I belated realized was somewhat like Garrus Varakian in concept). Unfortunately the game kind of fell apart.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


LornMarkus posted:

If I recall correctly, that right there is actually the cover of the book as published in Japan. Andy, rightly leery of trying to put that in front of a foreign audience, negotiated for an option to deal with it. The publisher (possibly with the backing of the creator, though I don't recall if that was made clear where I saw the story) wouldn't allow any art to be removed or significantly shifted in the layout. So he made the compromise that she would remain on the cover but the book would come with a dust jacket with an entirely different and less questionable illustration. I believe it came up in a Q&A he did and sent out through the backer notifications.

He's was right to be leery of putting that in front of a foreign audience. The only reason I bought the hardcover over the softcover was so that image wasn't on my game's cover. I can't imagine the reputation I'd get if my gaming group saw that I owned a game that looked like that.

Kaja Rainbow
Oct 17, 2012

~Adorable horror~

Regarding the doll people, yes, they aren't handled quite as well as they could be, but not as badly they could be. I certainly felt it was viable to play one in a non-creepy way (and she was created for a different purpose than companionship anyways). I'll discuss it a little more once Prof's actually covered the relevant parts of the setting.

And it's interesting trivia that the artist actually stopped drawing stuff like the cover after he got a girlfriend, if I correctly recall what I heard.

Kaja Rainbow fucked around with this message at 07:47 on Mar 28, 2014

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



grassy gnoll posted:

It was a Kickstarter exclusive, to the best of my knowledge. The TBZ storefront doesn't offer it as an option.

(But there are still hardcover copies, which are fukkin' radical, let me tell you. Get those if you get a physical copy.)
I don't know if they still have them, but Leisure Games in the UK had a small stock of the Hardcovers available at the start of the week - I ordered and they are lovely. (both LG and the books)

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Kaja Rainbow posted:

Regarding the doll people, yes, they aren't handled quite as well as they could be, but not as badly they could be. I certainly felt it was viable to play one in a non-creepy way (and she was created for a different purpose than companionship anyways). I'll discuss it a little more once Prof's actually covered the relevant parts of the setting.

And it's interesting trivia that the artist actually stopped drawing stuff like the cover after he got a girlfriend, if I correctly recall what I heard.

Yeah my second character was one of these doll people, she was given to a Master Martial Artist as a gift, and he ended up training her, much the the chagrin and jealousy of his pupils. When he died his students took out their anger on her, using her as a training dummy. In the process she got injured/broken and had various parts replaced with kijin stuff, making her an even more deadly training dummy. Eventually someone came through and dealt with these jealous pupils and she went off in the world to try and understand her place.

This character had a massive Empathy, and the fighting style that let her use Empathy to fight, and ended up with tons of aiki and then burned for all the kiai and went Asura. This character was my second character and replaced the Guyver like character I had that used a Demon-of-Battle annelid and the one 5 karma archetype that automatically had the Dead Box filled, which does things but makes it more likely to outright die. This character lost control and was sniped by another character.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



MalcolmSheppard posted:

If I remember right, in the old pre-EU WEG game movie main characters were statted with lots of dice in their best stuff Han with 10D ib Blaster Pistol. Ewoks? I got nothin' to defend the relative badassitude of stormtroopers in that case. In old WEG stormtroopers were supposed to be an elite military force based on Ben Kenobi's assessment of their So Precise Blaster Fire. (Remember, this is pre-EU, so the lore since then doesn't matter). I don't demand that games be exactly like movies because they have different objectives, but we never see these regular units stormtroopers are supposed to be better than, we came to shoot stormtroopers, and we should at least be of plausible stormtrooper shooting ability.

I don't know. Maybe Ewoks are chimpanzee strong or something. That would be a hilarious thing to make EU canon. It would remind me of Zahn's Secret Wookiee Claws.

poo poo I love that. All instead of throwing rocks off a quaint little wooden bridge they just plant their little bear feet on the stormtrooper and wrench his arm off at the shoulder?

Also this has me in the mood to add the WEG Star Wars to the System Mastery queue. We just finished Indy, couldn't hurt.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



EDIT: Wrong thread.

Robindaybird fucked around with this message at 21:21 on Mar 28, 2014

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Barudak posted:

You can build him in lots of games. Is he effective is the question.

If the answer is yes my group has no hope, they're already playing this game.
With a few actions worth of setup time, punching things can be by far the most damaging attack available without calling the gods for orbital death lasers or something.

You can also spend a metagame resource to get more actions on your turn.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!









Vox: The Hard To Explain One

Vox came out back in 2009 very shortly after Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies. It's also the only PDQ book I own an actual physical copy of (the author sent me one to help playtest).

Weird more or less sums up Vox. It does a lot of things in an unusual way and like I mention in the title it's kind of difficult to explain exactly what the game is about and what I'm talking about when I summarize it. Lets start with a bit of system history to show you what I mean:

PDQ is the core rules that has been used for all games up until PDQ# was introduced as a lead-in to Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies. The PDQ book often makes a few small changes to the core rules, but for the most part they focus on adding new rules and ideas rather than altering the basics. PDQ# is the first "new edition" for the Core Rules, making significant changes and introducing several new concepts. However, it's heavily geared towards the "swashbuckling" genre, and it doesn't quite fit into a more generic game (the biggest change being the fact that all Conflicts are now Duels, one-on-one (or one-vs-mooks) fights).

The writer of Vox took many of the new concepts from PDQ# and created PDQ2. PDQ2 (also called PDQ Too!) resembles PDQ#, but lacks several of the more "swasbuckling" elements such as Duels and Techniques. Basically, the only reason this isn't an official "2nd edition" PDQ system is because it isn't freely available and it wasn't created by Chad.

Layout

Normally, I don't focus on the layout, but with this book it bears mentioning. The book has an unusual 9 x 7 format, and it's a "flipbook". The front cover (colored white) is the "Lux" section for players and is about 95 pages. To read the rest you flip the book over and start from the back, black, cover for the "Nox" section which is the GM and setting section, also about 95 pages.

What the hell is this about?

That's a drat good question. Like I said, Vox is hard to describe and is definitely "high concept", approaching pretentious. The main concept is that each of the PCs has a voice in their head. What this means will vary greatly depending on the game and the setting.

Are the voices a product of insanity? Are they spirits? Ghosts? Split personalities? None of these questions are definitively answered and are left to the GM to answer (or preferably not answer). So, what sort of game is it? Horror? Definitely maybe. Conspiracy? Sort of could be. Urban fantasy? *awkward shrug*.

Basically it's a bit like Unknown Armies with the weirdness dialed up, the magic dialed down and a narrower focus. It doesn't have any kind of specific "goal" or built-in driving forces, rather providing a wad of inspirational materials to try and get the players and GM to come up with their own goals and purposes. You could also say it's "First Season of Lost" the RPG. Basically lots of weirdness which hints at a larger pattern which may or may not exist.

Well, lets get started. We'll begin with the Lux side of things.

-----------------------------------------

Patient Handbook

This is essentially the introduction. The first paragraph points out that this is a game for "experienced" roleplayers which is usually code for "this is an obscenely complex fantasy heartbreaker". In this case, it's code for "this is a really weird, indie RPG that won't provide much guidance".

There is no "what is an RPG" section although there is some very deep musing on what a character is. Like I said, this game can seem fairly pretentious, although it doesn't get anywhere near as bad as Everlasting at least.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Know Thyself

Here's where the game's core concept is laid out. You've got a Voice in your head. One day the Voice started speaking to you, telling you things, asking you things, or even demanding things. It's been getting louder, and harder to ignore.

Each character has their own voice. There's no set explanation for why this is. Maybe your Voices told you about one another and arranged for you to be together. Or maybe you all went through some kind of significant or traumatic experience together.

It goes on to point out that many serial killers, murders and psychotics have claimed to hear voices. But so have political, religious and spiritual leaders throughout history. This doesn't actually mean anything...or does it...no it doesn't...but maybe...

Next we've got a discussion of common causes of Voices. This bit is somewhat confusing because it's not clear if this is a discussion of what causes a PC to hear voices in the context of the game, or if this is a list of real-world afflictions which cause hearing voices as a symptom. I say this because the first three entries (Drug-Induced Paranoia, Dissociative Disorder, and Schizophrenia) seem to be relatively straightforward explanations of real-world problems, but the fourth Vox, seems to be entirely fictional (as I can find no information on a disorder with that name).

Finally there's a brief section on "what the voices sound like", which basically boils down to "whatever". they can have any characteristics or none at all, they may stay the same or be different over time, they may come from inside your head or without.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Tabula Rasa

Now we're on to character creation. There are actually two methods of character creation. The "Blank Slate" method and the "traditional" method. The Blank Slate method is actually fairly interesting, although like all the rest of the game it's very "high concept".

In this method, PCs start with nothing at all beyond, perhaps, a description (if that). They're all experiencing an amnesiac state together. Why and where is up in the air, but there's kind of a "standard" scenario provided in the form of a subway. Players may be required to roll to attempt to overcome difficulties as normal for PDQ, but at this point they have no Qualities or other defining traits so all rolls are a straight 2d6.

However, pass or fail the GM should consult a table after the player rolls to see what the roll revealed about the player. A roll of 2-4 reveals some kind of failing or flaw, a roll of 5-6 provides some significant insight into your past, a straight 7 gives you some knowledge of your present, an 8-9 gives some remembrance of a future hope or ambition, and a 10-12 gives you a Karma Die (identical in function to S7S's Style Dice).

The player comes up with all of this information, the dice just provide a cue for when it is revealed.

So we've got a bunch of amnesiacs (who, at this point will usually not have Voices)...

Scene 1: The Subway
Everyone is in the last car of a subway, with only flickering emergency lighting on. The car has stopped in between stations and there appears to be no conductor or other passengers. The PCs should at this point give a brief character description and may or may not know their own name at this point. They can roll (target number 7) to search the train or their own person. On the train are some random things: a laptop with 2 minutes of battery life, a wrench, and a set of keys. Each PC may have (depending on how well they roll) an ID, some cash (a lot of cash actually: 2d6 x100$), and maybe a cell phone with a wiped memory. There's also a shopping bag that has some Salvia, a throw pillow, a page of words in Yaralde (extinct Australian language), and a page ripped from a latin phrasebook (Vi-Vo).

After the PCs are done investigating and get ready to leave the subway, a hippie appears.

Seriously. His name is Roger and he shows up from somewhere on the train that has been passed over. He's an aging hippie who seems friendly and probably stoned.

Scene 2: Buddy

Roger is friendly and unusually likable and seems oddly familiar. He appears to be stoned but a high roll (11+) will reveal it's a ruse and he actually seems to be sober and a little nervous. He'll claim the bag is his but can't remember much about it other than he wanted to smoke the Salvia and look at weird words for some reason. He doesn't know why the train stopped as he fell asleep. He doesn't seem to bothered and just suggests getting out and walking to the last station.

Scene 3: Tunnel

Opening the door (TN 7) is possible in a variety of ways, and will presumably be managed eventually. Roger will immediately set off towards the last station. Whether or not you follow, someone will bump into something in the tunnel, it's a protrusion that turns out to be a circular door set in one wall labeled "this is not an exit" but the word "not" has been obscured by a greasy handprint.

Roger will ignore it and just head towards the station which he insists is just a little ways ahead. Anyone following him may notice an excessive amount of cables and metal debris on the floor of the tunnel. If someone does open up the door and the group heads into it, Roger will turn around and follow them. If they ignore the door then you should skip to scene 5.

Scene 4: Stairs

The room beyond is initially dark and full of cables, but after someone steps further in some kind of monitor is triggered and all the lights in the room come on. The door will also swing shut, only open-able by a key pad. Theoretically it could be disabled but the TN is high enough that it's only possible if the PC rolls well and has already established a relevant Quality related to such things, and even then its unlikely. However, there is a flight of stairs leading downwards. The stairs lead to a panel set in the wall with no knob or handle. After reaching the bottom a soothing female Voice will speak (this is capitalized), saying "welcome 23704773" and asking you to wait for a retinal scan. however, the only result is a spray of sparks as something shorts out and the voice stutters to a halt. At this point Roger is suddenly nowhere to be found. If the PCs return to the upper floor (the only real option) they may (TN 9) spot a wallet which upon investigation has roger's license (expired), a library card, a coffee card (9 of 10 holes punched) and a single 5,000 dollar bill.

The trick here is that the previous Voice was not saying "23704773" but "to 3704773". If the PCs don't figure this out then after a few minutes fumbling around the lights flicker to blacklights for a moment and the code is visible in fluorescent ink.

Scene 5: Train

If you skipped Scene 4 Roger goes missing at this point, basically just disappearing into the darkness. A few moments later the power turns on and the rails begin to vibrate. a train is coming. The hatch door has locked now and won't open again and there is no space off the side of the tunnel to avoid a train. The PCs must run towards the platform (the train that they were on has gone now), making a TN 7 check to make it. even if everyone fails a hand reaches down from the platform to help them up just in the nick of time. There's no real risk here since no one has any Qualities yet.

Scene 6: Platform

On the platform is a young girl named Ezter in a teddy bear costume pushing a coffee vending cart. She'll give everyone free coffee.

She was here when things went dark, and said that some people freaked out and didn't seem to know where they were anymore. She says security guards came down and helped them upstairs. At least she thinks so.

If they talk to her further (TN 9) she'll reveal that she'll relate a surreal story involving a glass eye and someone jumping off the platform. This is what inspired her to quit and now she only has to take her cart back to drop it off.

Roger's coffee card can be used for a free cookie.

At this point other subway goers begin showing up on the platform, and there's nothing else here, so likely the PCs will head up to the streets. The game seems to assume they'll look for Roger's home address (123 Fourth street).

Scene 7: Street

The PCs will having a nagging urge to return Roger's wallet at this point. This may or may not take the form of Voices, depending on how reluctant the PCs are. They can walk the 10 blocks or try and catch a cab or find a bus (TN 9).

Odd sounds and maybe even footsteps are heard as the PCs make the trip. They may (TN 9) notice an ice cream truck parked nearby. A TN 11 roll will notice the same kind of truck parked in several places along the way.

Scene 8: House

Roger's house is a huge gated mansion, with a damaged intercom. Climbing the gate is TN 7, but it will set off a silent alarm.

The garden is overgrown and neither door is locked. In the backyard behind a shed is an ice cream truck.

Once all PCs enter the house the doors slam open and the room is filled with men in suits with mirrored shades and earpieces. All carrying silenced pistols.

A black man with a blond mullet introduces himself as Mr. Samson, and he wants to talk about Roger.

Scene 9: Emerge

Since no one has Qualities yet and there's no real combat to speak of if the PCs decide they want to fight they're outnumbered 3 to 1 and have to roll an 11 or higher to "take out" one of the agents and they only need a 7 or better to take down a PC (wrestling them to the ground).

However, Samson just wants to talk asking for any details about their encounter with Roger. If the PCs hand over his wallet he'll search through it and discard everything but the coffee card. If it's not completed then he'll hand the card to an agent who hurries out. If it's been used then he seems disappointed and puts it in his pocket.

Samson will then loudly instruct someone to "take him out", at which point there's a gunshot (silenced) as one of the agents suddenly turns on one of his fellows, shooting them in the arm. He'll then grab the wounded agent and hold the gun to their head. He seems confused, alternatively pointing the gun at his hostage, Samson and his own head.

"No, that's the Divanorum up there!" he'll shout. This seems to confuse and shock his fellow agents and guns begin to wave in all directions. At this point a Voice only the PCs can hear tells them to get down.

Samson admits that he is eliminating the Divanorum, at which point several of the "agents" begin weeping or praying and before long they begin shooting, basically firing randomly at one another. Samson will pull any PCs who haven't ducked to the floor, pull out a small silver pistol wrapped in duct tape and give it to one of them and tells them to "do the right thing" before getting back up to shout at the agent who attacked first, named Daniel.

At this point time seems to stop, and the PCs are told what exactly will happen in the next few seconds. Samson will approach Daniel who will shoot him, first wounding then fatally and then turn the gun on himself. The PCs feel like this has happened before many many times and now they have the chance to influence events. Depending on what they choose to do they may interrupt the chain of events.

If Daniel survives he'll say "not what I expected" and toss a blank black business card to a player before leaving. refusing to speak further.

If Samson survives he'll drop a blank white business card, shake everyone's hand and leave.

Scene 9: Rest

If the PCs explore the house they may find a few hundred dollars in loose change in different jars, sorted by year (from 1960 to 2008)

Roger is upstairs on the bed, dead. No sign of violence and he seems to be smiling. There's also an electroshock machine.

In a few minutes there's the smell of gasoline and shortly thereafter a voice instructs you to "Get Out". The ice cream truck in the back starts up and drives away, playing CSNY's "Ohio".

The house the erupts in flames, reduced to ash in a few moments.

Epilogue

By this time the PCs should have a sheet full of different memories and clues to their past lives. They should take one each of the Past, Present, and Future memories and turn them into one of their 3 Core Qualities: Good [+2] Past, Good [+2] Defining Quality, and Good [+2] Motivation. Memories of failures or problems becomes your Quirk, and a Karma memory becomes either a new Good [+2] Quality or an increase to one of the 3 Core Qualities.

The GM should also construct everyone's Voice at this point, based on the memories and events of the prelude.

Also, by this time they are probably thoroughly confused. The Tabula Rasa method is interesting but it's obviously unsuitable to "reuse" and only really fits one of Vox's 4 settings (Oversight, a modern-day conspiracy setting). The core idea can of course be adapted or adjusted to different settings or scenarios...but I get the feeling that after the first time wandering around with no skills or memories isn't going to appeal.

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Dharma

This is Vox's "traditional" character creation section. Characters have two parts: your Persona and your Voice.

Your Persona is the "real" you, the guy everyone can talk with, walks around, picks things up, puts on pants, etc. The Persona has 3 Core Qualities at Good [+2] (Past, Defining Quality, and Motivation) as well as a Quirk to represent a failing and a single extra Quality rank which can give you a Good [+2] Quality or improve one of your Core Qualities up to Expert [+4].

Needless to say, Vox characters are not badasses, with only 3-4 Qualities to start with.

Your Voice is the thing that only you can perceive which speaks to you. Voices may have a name, a description, a Good [+2] Past Quality, a Good [+2] Motivation Quality, a Quirk and a rank to buy an extra Good [+2] Quality or improve their Past or Motivation to Expert [+4]. Since they have no physical body Voices never have physical Qualities.

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Karma

This bit deals with Karma Dice, Vox's equivalent to Style Dice from S7S. Like Style Dice you have both the Box (an infinite source of "mechanically driven" dice) and the Bowl (a limited source of "good form" dice).

Karma Dice are earned in much the same way as S7S, however there's one new source: playing Voices. This will be detailed a bit more later on, but basically your Voices are usually roleplayed by the GM or the other players. Whenever you take the role of another player's Voice for the first time in a session you get a Karma Die.

It's also worth noting that Karma Dice belong to the player, not to their characters. So if Steve is currently roleplaying Jake's Voice, he can use his Karma Dice if he wants to make a roll better but he can't dip into Jake's pool of dice.

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Core Rules

Like I mentioned, this is PDQ# with the buckles filed off the swashes. Like PDQ # it's got a larger range of possible Target Numbers, uses Spirit Dice (ie Karma Dice) and you earn Training Points for failing at a roll. You've also got unranked Quirks (Foibles) instead of Poor [-2] Weaknesses

However, Fortes have turned back into Qualities, and the standard PDQ Conflict rules are back instead of divvying up dice between attack and defense.

The system has one significant new addition:

Metanoia

In times of great stress your Voice may attempt to take control of your Persona. At these times you must make a Metanoia check, using your Defining Quality vs your Voice's highest Quality. The winner becomes dominant for the rest of the Scene.

Since Voices are often played by other players, Persona and Voices are going to get swapped around a lot. Bob might end up controlling his own Persona, plus RPing Jim's Voice when Jim fails a Metanoia roll causing Bob to take control of his Persona as well.


Next Time: more rules for Voices and personalities before getting into the Nox section.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

poo poo I love that. All instead of throwing rocks off a quaint little wooden bridge they just plant their little bear feet on the stormtrooper and wrench his arm off at the shoulder.

Well, Endor was originally supposed to be the homeworld of the Wookies, which would certainly facilitate stormtrooper disarmament.

WEG Star Wars is certainly a testament to "how RPGs gently caress up licenses". It's not nearly as bad as some, but if you were expecting to be big space heroes stopping Sith and Death Stars, back the gently caress off. You're space trucking.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, Endor was originally supposed to be the homeworld of the Wookies, which would certainly facilitate stormtrooper disarmament.

WEG Star Wars is certainly a testament to "how RPGs gently caress up licenses". It's not nearly as bad as some, but if you were expecting to be big space heroes stopping Sith and Death Stars, back the gently caress off. You're space trucking.

Weird, that was exactly how I felt about Star Wars Galaxies. Like are you a big hero? No, you're a weak, terrified chump, who can't risk going near a space bunny without visiting a doctor and a stripper first, and your primary job seems to be building ugly huts. Granted, Indiana Jones wasn't much better, what with that opening story of "Indiana Jones and the Forcing a Student to Engage in Light BDSM Play In Exchange For Grades" which I don't even think you could find in the section of the video store behind the beaded curtain.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, Endor was originally supposed to be the homeworld of the Wookies, which would certainly facilitate stormtrooper disarmament.

WEG Star Wars is certainly a testament to "how RPGs gently caress up licenses". It's not nearly as bad as some, but if you were expecting to be big space heroes stopping Sith and Death Stars, back the gently caress off. You're space trucking.

Apocryphally, when writers in the late eighties/early nineties working on Star Wars novels asked for a setting bible, they'd get shipped a big box of WEG Star Wars books. So basically the entire EU is their fault.

Except maybe the Mofference room.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




Worldbook 2: Sacred and Inviolate, the Priesthood is Impenetrable

Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan, being casually practiced by 80% of the population. It teaches ways to cleanse ritual impurity for the sake of one's own spiritual and mental well-being, and-- oh wait, I confused Earth with Tenra. Let's start over.

Shinto is an all-encompassing god-empire that controls all aspects of Tenra politics. The only thing more impossible than knowing the Shinto Priesthood's machinations is defying them. Shinto technology, such as the Meikyo soul mirror, is given to Tenra's official rulers and regents, then used as collateral to control them.

Now, things have changed, and the Fall of the Phantom Star hit right at the heart of the Priesthood's power, and they have since fractured into two courts.

The Northern Court


Depicted: Empress Genshi Daigo, age 14 (of course), and the fall of the Phantom Star.

When the Phantom Star fell, there was a two month period where nobody saw the sun and everything was terrible, aside from the slight perk that everyone thought the Priesthood had been wiped out. Unfortunately for them, immediately after the Two Month Night ended, the Northern Court appeared with a floating island capital called Genshikyo, and proclaimed their return with the announcement of the first ever publically-visible Priesthood Empress, Genshi Daigo. Genshi (who may or may not have been an artificial human built by the Priesthood) declared this to be the beginning of a new era of "open" Shinto, with all of the secrecy and cloak-and-dagger of the old Priesthood to be over. This started with the reveal of the secrets of construction behind Meikyo soul mirrors.


Non-Priesthood Soul Mirrors are so lovely that they look like something made out of actual technology.

Despite their open policy, apparently the Priesthood didn't reveal all the secrets of Meikyo, because there remained an enormous gulf in quality between their soul mirrors and those made outside of the Priesthood. The massively inferior lovely knockoff mirrors are called Kimenkyo, and while they're not the flawless works of art that the Priesthood produces, they can be mass-produced, and can still be used to produce Armours, so while the Priesthood still has unknowable secret technology on their side, the common folk can at least have massive armies of giant robots.

Priesthood technology secrets are obviously in huge demand, and here's the other thing - just because the capital has been turned into an ocean by a natural disaster doesn't mean that everything there was destroyed. The result of this was the establishment of a number of salvaging operations along the coasts of that sea, with specialized underwater Armours being sent to the bottom of the ocean to dig up artifacts from the ruins of Jinrai.

The Southern Court

While the Northern Court is doing everything in their own new and interesting style, the Southern Court is being as traditional and reactionary as ever. They considered Genshi to be a vile traitor and pretender to the throne, and viciously outlaw the production of Meikyo technology and hide their secrets as much as possible. Ruling from their stronghold on New Mount Jinrai, the Southern Court considers themselves the only true Priesthood. The Northern Court controls the northern half of Yashima and the Eastern Continent, while the Southern Court controls the south half of Yashima and the Western Continent.

Shrine Maidens and Priests



The agents of the Priesthoods are organized into an elaborate hierarchy, from the Emperor down to common Priests and Shrine Maidens recruited from the general populace. High-ranking members rarely leave the Priesthood capitals, and (with the exception of Genshi) are forbidden to show their faces in public. High-ranking Agents always wear face-concealing masks and generally try to be as cool and mysterious as possible.

Low-ranked agents are recruited from outside the insular society of the Priesthood, and are the main way for the Priesthood to interact with the world at large. These agents are Taira, the lowest rank of the Priesthood, and are called onshi if male and miko if female. Onshi visit regions without shrines to provide protective amulets and rituals, and miko maintain shrines and use Meikyo mirrors, some of them piloting great Armours on the side. Both have the authority to freely travel across Tenra, and both wear smaller masks only covering the eyes, and can show their faces under certain circumstances.

Transcendent Technology

Humans are known to not be native to Tenra - we came to this world from somewhere else (there are various hints that this used to be a full spacefaring sci-fi setting, but this particular world lost all contact with the greater human race and the technology with which to reach them - that's my take on it, anyway). According to the Priesthood, they came from afar to discover this land, and non-Priesthood humans are its native inhabitants. However, there's another bit of lore that contradicts this: The oni say that all humans are outsiders to their land, and the Priesthood took control at some point, taking all the higher technology for themselves.

Most currently-used Priesthood tech is based on Onmyoudo (taoist magic) and Sha (power inherent to the land of Tenra), but they still have some remnants of a much older power, transcendent technology from before humans ever came to Tenra. The most famous example of this was the old capital, built around a bridge connecting Tenra to the heavens themselves (orbital elevator), but they have plenty of other great ancient artifacts. Massive flying battleships, living machines, Shinto magic that calls down stars and lightning from the heavens to annihilate their foes.



In the days before the Phantom Star, the Priesthood easily had enough power to rule and unify all of Tenra. However, they never did so, instead spreading chaos and blodshed from the shadows. Their true purposes remain a mystery, but much of their control over Tenra was lost when they split into the two courts. Much development in the modern world happens outside of the Priesthood, with Buren, leader of the powerful domain of Hakusen, having openly declared war on them. The balance of power is shifting in Tenra, and the Priesthood is not getting the best out of it.

NEXT: Actual action resolution rules!

InfiniteJesters
Jan 26, 2012


MOTHERFUCKING MIKOS WITH STARSHIPS.

Welcome to TENRA BANSHO MOTHERFUCKING ZERO.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Yeah, I think what makes TBZ so appealing to me is that all the setting details and flavor mean I'm totally willing to play anything, whereas usually I'm pretty picky about classes (3 and 3.5 instilled a reflexive dislike of casters in me). That and the actual advancement rules make the system surprisingly appropriate for Persona roleplay. In fact, I believe somebody is working on a hack to better accommodate that thanks to a stretch goal from the Kickstarter. Haven't heard anything about it in awhile though.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


The bit about the origins of humanity on Tenra reminds me of Lord of Light, that could be an interesting lens to view the setting through. I'm imagining a game where history repeats itself as a Commodore Perry style advanced fleet suddenly appears to return Tenra to the jurisdiction of the larger human space empire.

Rangpur
Dec 31, 2008



Hell, you could make one of the things they dredge up in the drowned capital motherfucking Godzilla if you wanted. Whatever else you might say about the setting, it practically bristles with fun plot hooks.

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LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

I saw some posts earlier in this thread talking about the horrors of Phoenix Command and Living Steel. Would there be interests in doing a commentary on Phoenix Command and its derivatives? I'm actually quite fond of the system in spite of its major flaws, so I would perhaps not mock it as relentlessly as other people might, but I imagine myself as having a fairly deep understanding of how it actually works and what absolutely hilarious interactions there are in the rules. I could write mockingly about that, at least.

Like how smarter people run faster, or how putting scopes on a rifle will make it more accurate when fired from the hip. Or just how incredibly poorly written some of the rules are.

Or more pointlessly detailed things like how the creators created an incredibly detailed system for modelling firearms ballistics, and then made up numbers because their favourite guns didn't feel right...

Would there be any interest?

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