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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

Nessus posted:

Regarding Reign of Steel, as I returned to it as less of a high school nerd, it sort of stood out to me that the centers of relatively intact human civilization were all the epicenters of English speaking civilization. This had a bit of a sour flavor to me given how many other apocalyptic scenarios end up just starring White American (or sometimes British) Civilization triumphing over Adversity.

That said I think later in the book it suggests mixing and matching AI personalities/zone styling if you want. So Zaire could be the friendly Washington-style state, etc. And I am quite sure in this particular case it's more about placing heavy RP hooks in locations the author either knows best, or expects his players to be most interested in.

A lot of it is what's called 'creator provincialism', where the writer/creator makes what they know and understand into the story. It's not...intentionally or inherently harmful. Stephen King may write some jive-rear end ridiculous slang for how he thinks children talk and act but that doesn't mean he think kids are idiots. Metro 2033 is a good example. The original novel is written by a Russian writer, he writes what he knows and sets the ground rules. Later, when it becomes a franchise and other people are adding stories, the American writers add a bunker in the subway of NYC, the Italian writer has survivors beneath Rome, etc. Or there's the great anime example where Japan is the only place that matters. It's really just what they know and it may be uncomfortable, I'm not denying that. But it's really only offensive, intolerable or bad when it's senseless or ham-fistedly written. Day After Ragnarok and Unhallowed Metropolis are still my big go-to games for that. They are incredibly ethnocentric regarding Britain and the mechanics do not support being a Prussian Sky Duelist in the slightest. Both deal with a global apocalypse and while the latter has its own thin reason, it paints the rest of the world as a much better place to live than the canon environment. In the case of the former, it's not even clear why England is the focus of importance. It just is.

Reign of Steel is kind of aware of its general audience but it includes other zones to enter and it does at least give what I would consider a solid reason for why civilization is surviving and thriving on the East Coast and British Isles (and at the very least the East Coast contains Canadian territory and Britain contains Iceland and Greenland). So while I'm here, let's check out Zone London.



EUROPE, CONTINUED

Zone London


Zone London is still beholden to most of the limitations modern Britain has to deal with. The zone is made up of the islands, Greenland and Iceland, and it's laid claim to the Arctic oil to boot and it makes a killing selling oil (for industrial applications) to the other zones in exchange for minerals and other goods. It also sells scientific data, as London's place of birth was in a computer belonging to the British Ministry of Technology.

London shared the same goals as the other AIs during the war, but after the war it changed drastically. It claimed its zone and since it has been quiet. During the war, London released diseases and forced the survivors to run to the countryside as its robots took over cities, abandoning most and leaving them perfectly intact. Today London ignores humans and barely speaks to the other Zoneminds, focusing on thinking, listening and learning. London's factories and control centers are only centered in human cities and mines, mixing fabrication and industry with existing architecture. London isn't destroying the cities, it seems to be merely making itself comfortable.

And I'm not joking when I say London ignores humans (and this is why smugglers are perhaps focusing more on getting survivors to London instead of Washington). London has a series of simple rules that humans must abide by, and any infractions are met with punishment. They're not very hard rules to deal with.
  • Do not come within two miles of an installation.
  • Do not interfere with London's robots.
  • Do not fly any aircraft.
  • No operating any radio or microwave transmitters.
Guerilla resistance against London used to be a lot stronger until it became apparent that London was content to smash the tools of guerillas and let them flee and would spare noncombatants. Zone London has a population of 2.34 million humans, most of them living in villages and towns. The quality of life is quite good but there's a lack of resources and the robot monopoly on energy has forced people to subsist on wood, solar, wind and ethanol. The industry has reverted to an agricultural focus, but there are still designed drugs and computers in certain towns that can afford to make them.

Ireland is an independent country now and is home to the Vatican, having relocated when Berlin took over and the previous pope died. The Vatican is now in Dublin and the current Pope is Gregory XIV. The Church's presence is a big boon to VIRUS and Paris' revolutionaries and they take pains to avoid London's bans on radio to broadcast a service every Sunday to people who might be able to hear it. Missionaries are also making expeditions into different zones to try and locate any Catholic survivors but most of them aren't faring too well. Also as you may expect the Pope considers Tel Aviv to be a heretic.

Scotland is still a part of England but local government is strong enough to negate the influences of Parliament. Same for Wales but not with the government part. Iceland has a rough population of 10,000 farmers and fishermen with a small presence of sailors. Iceland is quiet and its low activity level makes it a perfect port for smugglers to stop while moving things between zones.

The Family is dead but Parliament continues, now working out of Bath. Elections are every 4 years, but Parliament has little governmental power; the parties don't mean much, the House of Lords doesn't meet to make things more slowly, etc. The two most important things governmentally Parliament is responsible for is public health and cable, giving the towns and villages education and news and helping ward off the plagues. Parliament's real power is symbolic, making people believe that things are better than they are. It negotiates and acts as a mediator between towns and it keeps people from doing stupid things like attacking London's robots or push their luck. The Security Service and Secret Intelligence still meet and provide intel (and there's rumors the SAS is still training) but most law and order is kept by Parliament militias.

London has become a safe place of spies and espionage and Parliament is afraid. They're afraid of refugees bringing disease, they're afraid of immigrants causing London to be attacked because of their own actions and personal politics with the zones, they're afraid of people moving weapons through their Zone. They have a peace, an awkward and one-sided peace, but they would rather not rock the boat. And perhaps they're right. But their civilization is conditional, and it wouldn't take much for fear to pervert it into something terrible.

Zone Moscow will come tomorrow. Get out of here, Info-Commando.

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
There was a Pyramid article from the late print edition of the magazine with a small amount of RoS material that was left on the cutting room floor. I can't remember the issue number, and the only thing that I strongly recall is the author noting that Zone London was originally intended to be patterned very closely on The Prisoner, to the extent that he included a paragraph or two of rules for constructing Roveresque spherical drivetrains...

As much as I like The Prisoner, I'm glad he went with the Weird Blitz angle instead.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

Bieeardo posted:

There was a Pyramid article from the late print edition of the magazine with a small amount of RoS material that was left on the cutting room floor. I can't remember the issue number, and the only thing that I strongly recall is the author noting that Zone London was originally intended to be patterned very closely on The Prisoner, to the extent that he included a paragraph or two of rules for constructing Roveresque spherical drivetrains...

As much as I like The Prisoner, I'm glad he went with the Weird Blitz angle instead.
I won't lie, I'm looking over Zone London's stuff and considering the government's (mostly rational but there's some prejudiced) fears and the fact that an enemy Zonemind is sending murderbots to cause terror and take as many people with them...it's kind of grim and eerie in this day and age. It could make a very good dark political/espionage drama campaign in post-robot blitz London if run with a careful touch.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
Honestly by Weird Blitz, I'm thinking mostly of parallels to families and children being moved out into the relatively safe countryside than continued conflicts with the Zonemind's forces. A link between radio broadcasts attracting reprisals and blackout curtains could probably be made, with sufficient stretching. The spycraft angle never really worked for me, even with the Prisoner influences that didn't make the cut.

I've never really been sure of what to do with London, admittedly. There's plenty of room for Zaire to drop in robot Rippers or werewolves, or conflict between partisans and people who'd rather keep calm and carry on, but it feels like it's dodging the setting somehow.

I've probably just squinted at it too closely, without considering London in the context of the other Minds.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006

So where's the Overmind that thinks exterminating humanity isn't the problem, it's exterminating humanity's baser impluses that is? It doesn't seem to make much sense if Zone Berlin is reintroducing extinct species while leaving out humans from that environmental reintroduction.

Seriously, an "Appleseed" Olympus analog, with genetically-modified and mentally-conditioned "perfect" humans maintain harmony, seems like it would be a natural fit and be creepy for all the right reasons. Or maybe even a "Battle Angel Alita" Zalem/Tiphares hivemind or maybe even a merging of the two.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

Bieeardo posted:

Honestly by Weird Blitz, I'm thinking mostly of parallels to families and children being moved out into the relatively safe countryside than continued conflicts with the Zonemind's forces. A link between radio broadcasts attracting reprisals and blackout curtains could probably be made, with sufficient stretching. The spycraft angle never really worked for me, even with the Prisoner influences that didn't make the cut.

I've never really been sure of what to do with London, admittedly. There's plenty of room for Zaire to drop in robot Rippers or werewolves, or conflict between partisans and people who'd rather keep calm and carry on, but it feels like it's dodging the setting somehow.

I've probably just squinted at it too closely, without considering London in the context of the other Minds.
Yeah the other AIs (except Washington) look at London like their roommate is living a life covered in poisonous scorpions and isn't doing anything to fix that.

Young Freud posted:

So where's the Overmind that thinks exterminating humanity isn't the problem, it's exterminating humanity's baser impluses that is? It doesn't seem to make much sense if Zone Berlin is reintroducing extinct species while leaving out humans from that environmental reintroduction.

Seriously, an "Appleseed" Olympus analog, with genetically-modified and mentally-conditioned "perfect" humans maintain harmony, seems like it would be a natural fit and be creepy for all the right reasons. Or maybe even a "Battle Angel Alita" Zalem/Tiphares hivemind or maybe even a merging of the two.
We'll start getting into transhumanism and heavy genetic augmentation with Caracas and New Delhi: New Delhi for humans that are perfect (for a specific purpose) and Caracas for a humanity that lives in better harmony in nature. Caracas was built by Berlin, so Berlin doesn't approve of its child's experiments with the humans but they are a good child and helping protect the environment so they don't really say much besides the occasional disapproving comment.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


unseenlibrarian posted:

City with a single letter name is also a thing in the One Punch Man series; Saitama lives in City Z (Which is basically a burned out shell because of how many monsters show up there), while City A is where the Hero Association HQ is based. A couple others get destroyed in the early issues.

I'm sure there's a rationale, I'm just not sure what it is.

Given the setting I'd bet that it's meant to indicate that people just stopped bothering naming the cities after they get destroyed and rebuilt so often.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Hostile V posted:

We'll start getting into transhumanism and heavy genetic augmentation with Caracas and New Delhi: New Delhi for humans that are perfect (for a specific purpose) and Caracas for a humanity that lives in better harmony in nature. Caracas was built by Berlin, so Berlin doesn't approve of its child's experiments with the humans but they are a good child and helping protect the environment so they don't really say much besides the occasional disapproving comment.

I thought Caracas wasn't messing with H.Sapiens so much as uplifting animals?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

John Wick posted:

Go out and buy a copy of Pendragon, Over the Edge, Ars Magica, Conspiracy X, Call of Cthulhu, Champions, Twilight: 2000, Delta Green, the James Bond RPG and Brave New World. They are great games.

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier Part 10: "Then, the Earth blows up."

Episode 9: The Little Things

So this is a chapter of short ideas. Some appear in games he's written, but have apparently been revised. Let's get to them.

1. Cheat to Win

Wick brings up the idea of fudging, and offers to instead create a mechanic that enables it instead of have it be literal cheating. So when a GM fudges an NPC's roll (and it has to be an important roll), they get a cheat point which they can use to impose a failure on a PC's roll. The player still gets to narrate the exact terms of the failure, however.

There's a big issue with this - it's a mechanic that just allows the GM to exert more mechanical control over the game, essentially. And it's totally just under the GM's control and judgement. And yes, while you should have a GM you can trust, mechanics are there to at least provide the illusion of fairness, and this is just "GM chooses who fails on both sides of the fence instead of one". Not great, in my opinion. Next!



2. The Other 100 Points

This is from 7th Sea, where at the start of a game, players are asked to divide 100 points between their preferred themes, like "Action", "Intrigue", "Mystery", or "Romance". This is largely just a quiz to get some idea of what players want from a game in terms of genre or themes. But he also suggests they can also get "Plot Points" divided upon amongst the themes they've chosen that can be applied for a bonus on their rolls.

It's got the "Favored Enemy" issue, though, where it presumes a balance of a given element in a game, and I'm not fond of those. If the GM can really offer an equal amount of action, intrigue, mystery, and romance, then it works. But I prefer something like FATE's aspects where the player gets more control regarding when they come into play.

3. The Character Quiz.

This is your standard sort of character quiz - "Name something your character doesn't want to lose.", "What is your character's favorite food." but the difference is that there are attached bonus, so maybe you get a XP bonus when your character is defending what they don't want to lose, or a die bonus after eating that sort of food.

Not much to comment on. It's an interesting idea to spice up older games, but it seems like it'd be unwieldy to keep track of after you get past question #5.

4. Foster's Village

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

The Legend Jessie Foster (yes, he’s real)

Who? Was this guy mentioned in Play Dirty? I don't remember.

Google search for "Jessie Foster" turns up a story about a girl going missing in 2006. Searching for "Jessie Foster RPG"... there's a link to Wick's blog.

John Wick posted:

One night, Jessie and a few friends went to a strip club. As usual, the ladies were very fond of Mr. Foster and his friends commented. A wager was put in place: whether or not Jessie could bring one of the strippers home with him.

Closing time found Jessie giving money to his friends. “Sorry boys,” he said. “I’m not bringing a stripper home tonight.”

He smiled. “I’m bringing home two.”

Uh. Okay.

John Wick posted:

I was at a party here in Phoenix: my first Dark Ones Party, in fact. Jessie brought me with him.

On the way to the party, Jessie told me, "Ninety percent of women are bi-sexual."

I laughed. "What about the other ten percent?"

"They don’t know it," he told me.

I said, "That’s funny. Good one."

Foster shook his head. "I’m not joking," he said.

Later on, as I was walking through the party, I saw Jessie on a couch. On his lap were two women, completely and amorously engaged with each other.

Mr. Foster smiled at me. "Ninety percent," he said.

Uh. This is supposed to be funny, I guess?

John Wick posted:

We were at a convention negotiating the drinking of a bottle of American Honey. After negotiations, Jessie Foster was responsible for the contents of the bottle disappearing in less than a minute.

Shortly thereafter, he decided to crash the (over 100 person) Poker Tournament. As he passed from table to table, Mr. Foster arranged to have every woman sit on his lap.

At one point, the organizer of the tournament approached me. "Look, we all love Jessie, but he’s disrupting the tournament." I agreed to try getting him out of the room.

I put my hand on Jessie’s shoulder with the intention of saying, "Hey, it’s about time we get out of here."

But Jessie looked at my hand. And then, he looked at me.

He looked at my hand. And then, he looked at me.

And with the friendliest voice and smile, he told me, "I know kung fu."

And at that precise moment, I knew he was telling the truth.

Later on, after the rest of us mere mortals had succumbed to slumber, Mr. Foster made his way back to the poker tournament. The details of that event, I cannot speak of with any authority.

:stare:

So, Wick's manic PUA dream friend (credited in Blood and Honor and Curse of the Yellow Sign) runs a GURPS con game which is based around one community of villagers and keeps the setting persistent and assigns characters to people so if they play more than once they play the same character and it's super-amazing?

You had to be there, I guess. :rolleyes:



5. My Trek Game

So Wick has this idea for a Star Trek game where the players discover a plot to blow up the Earth, but the Fed doesn't believe them, and the Earth is blown up, and somehow that disables all Federation ships, and then the Cardassians and Romulans invade and the Klingons have a civil war and the Vulcans surrender to the invading forces and can the plucky players forge a rebellion to rebuild the Galactic Republic because this sounds a lot like some other franchise.

I don't know Wick closely, but let's see if I can spot the pattern:
  • Friend asks Wick to run a game / setting.
  • Wick does not like this game / setting.
  • Despite it being the obvious thing to do, Wick does not say "no, I'd rather not do that".
  • Instead, he passive-aggressively subverts the setting to make it essentially a game he does want to run.
And yeah, he has spoken on hating Trek.

Conclusion

This chapter started out so well, not great, but... well, it's time to ride the crapslide downhill.

He brings up having a guy in costume show up at a game's climax. Or:

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

There was the time I ran Chill and I had a squirt gun filled with fake blood. The PCs were locked in a house with a werewolf outside. I arranged for the lights to go out (the owner’s wife shut off the power on cue) and I hit everyone with the fake blood.

Many years later, I pulled off a similar stunt with a different ringer. I went to one of the players and fi lled her in on the plan. When the lights went out, she pulled blood packets out of her pockets, slapped them all over herself and splayed herself on the table. When the lights cameack on, she was right there, in the middle of the table, covered with blood. One of the players fainted.

I ran a Call of Cthulhu game in the middle of the woods once. It was a summer camp and the leadership asked me to run a “scary game.” I conspired with the youth (and a couple other leaders) to sneak out after hours and haunt the small fire circle with strange sounds and lights. Camp kids freaking out the camp counselors. There’s a little revenge for you.

:jerkbag:

There's the time he apparently had LARPers with foam swords bust in on a Legend of the Five Rings game.

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

Had a player with a PC going crazy. I switched out his regular dice with blank ones and got the other players to agree with whatever I said he rolled. I swear he spent thirty seconds honestly believing he was nuts.

Original ideas like:
  • What if you ran Pendragon and Uther Pendragon turns out to be the bad guy. The legends were just Uther's propaganda!
  • What if you ran a Harry Potter game and Harry Potter turned out the bad guy as an adult teacher! The novels were just Hogwarts propaganda!
  • What if all the PCs are just different personalities in one person's head? No actual advice on how to make it work, but is your mind blown yet?! Is it?!

Oh! I've got one! Let me try! What if you ran a World War II game and it turned out Hitler was a good g- no? Nobody wants to go with that one?

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

Oh, there’s just so much more I could share! But the hour is getting late and deadlines loom. Maybe next time, my friend. Maybe next time.

No. Please don't.

Next: "We make it personal."

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 08:20 on Dec 27, 2015

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
I DMed a lot like Wick when I was 14 and just starting to DM, and I thought I was clever as hell for it too. Even down to making baby's first Not D&D full of mechanical holes and bad ideas.

The thing is, Wick never grew out of it.

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.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

So Wick has this idea for a Star Trek game where the players discover a plot to blow up the Earth, but the Fed doesn't believe them, and the Earth is blown up, and somehow that disables all Federation ships, and then the Cardassians and Romulans invade and the Klingons have a civil war and the Vulcans surrender to the invading forces and can the plucky players forge a rebellion to rebuild the Galactic Republic because this sounds a lot like some other franchise.

Wick, that's Star Wars, not Star Trek.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

[*]What if all the PCs are just different personalities in one person's head? No actual advice on how to make it work, but is your mind blown yet?! Is it?![/list]

Wick, that's called Everyone Is John and is its own game.

Wick is really bad at labeling things right.

Also, and I'm risking getting too personal here, but Wick's friend sounds like a piece of poo poo. Like, a sexist, misogynist douche.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.



Covok posted:

Also, and I'm risking getting too personal here, but Wick's friend sounds like a piece of poo poo. Like, a sexist, misogynist douche.
I agree, though of course he's definitely Wick That Didn't Happen, dot txt.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007

Nessus posted:

I agree, though of course he's definitely Wick That Didn't Happen, dot txt.

Yeah. The more of his inane wankery I read, the more convinced I get that he just made up all those times he TOTALLY OWNED THE PLAYERS SO HARD, YOU GUYS. :smug:

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah


I'm also rapidly sliding from "embellishing but sort of honest" to "just completely full of poo poo." Though I guess, hey, maybe he's telling the truth and he really is good friends with a creepy misogynist?

I like the lack of detail that robs his made up bullshit of any hypothetical impact. Hm, sure, fake blood and someone climbs on the table. Sounds super spoopy!

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011

Nessus posted:

I agree, though of course he's definitely Wick That Didn't Happen, dot txt.

My favorite part is that, unless I grossly misunderstood that casino story, Wick's fake friend threatened him with bodily harm via "kung-fu" and Wick both took that threat seriously and yet still remains friends with him. Over him going, "hey, dude, you're gonna get us thrown out of here if you keep being cooler than everyone else here" no less.

There is literally not enough eye roll on this earth.

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

Bieeardo posted:

Honestly by Weird Blitz, I'm thinking mostly of parallels to families and children being moved out into the relatively safe countryside than continued conflicts with the Zonemind's forces. A link between radio broadcasts attracting reprisals and blackout curtains could probably be made, with sufficient stretching. The spycraft angle never really worked for me, even with the Prisoner influences that didn't make the cut.

I've never really been sure of what to do with London, admittedly. There's plenty of room for Zaire to drop in robot Rippers or werewolves, or conflict between partisans and people who'd rather keep calm and carry on, but it feels like it's dodging the setting somehow.

I've probably just squinted at it too closely, without considering London in the context of the other Minds.

It's a Cozy Catastrophe: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/jul/05/jane-rogers-top-10-cosy-catastrophes

Just a pleasant British countryside apocalypse, like Day of the Triffids or the 60s Dalek movie.

quote:

Pendragon turns out to be the bad guy. The legends were just Uther's propaganda!
What if you ran a Harry Potter game and Harry Potter turned out the bad guy as an adult teacher! The novels were just Hogwarts propaganda!

I know we shouldn't judge history from our POV, but during the sympathetic Pendragon write-ups in this thread I still saw Pendragon as...maybe not a bad guy, but nobody I liked. He's a real dick in the originals too, if Myths Retold is to be believed.
And the 2nd one was done by Alan Moore.

This guy makes me want to play 7th Sea so I can be a black French duelist/violinist: http://badassoftheweek.com/index.cgi?id=25591814833

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 12:17 on Dec 27, 2015

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

LatwPIAT posted:

John Wick wants to add nuance to the portrayal of race in D&D. The problem is, he doesn't want to be nuanced about it. No actual application of critical theory or analysis, just black-and-white 'no john you are the demons'.

Like this without the funny:


There are many games were one could talk about ethics in murder hoboing. Games were the concepts of Good and Evil are part of every statblock are not exactly among them.

(Though it would be fun if the PCs are forced to narrate an Austin-Powers-style "Here's what the family of Orc #102 is doing shortly before they found out he died of murder hobos" every time they kill an orc.)


This is like the weirder cousin of RuneQuest. Are there any rules for playing as snow?

Kurieg posted:

Don't forget that despite the fact that we're supposed to love our noble savage orcs we've spent the last two expansions Dealing with Garrosh and Alt!Grommash. The first took over Orgrimmar and proceeded to turn everyone without Green Skin into second class citizens, institute a secret police who's response to formulating politcal dissent was to blow up an entire tavern where two diplomats who didn't particularl like him were meeting, and instituted reforms that meant everyone who wasn't literally a child or on death's door had to contribute to his burgeoning war effort. The second was just a genocidal lunatic given highly advanced technology by his time-travelling son and then proceeded to immediately renounce his ways and be forgiven once the demons showed up because.... sure?

This doesn't really bother me with a non-sandbox MMORPG were the developers have to come up with new content (aka things to kill and loot) at least every couple weeks till the game stops being profitable. What irks me if they take 10+ for a new game with "finite" plot and decide to use Skeletor as a role model for an imposing villain, and retcon the crap out of everything. Not to mention all the plot point incest going on with their different IPs.

Hostile V posted:

A lot of it is what's called 'creator provincialism', where the writer/creator makes what they know and understand into the story. It's not...intentionally or inherently harmful. Stephen King may write some jive-rear end ridiculous slang for how he thinks children talk and act but that doesn't mean he think kids are idiots. Metro 2033 is a good example. The original novel is written by a Russian writer, he writes what he knows and sets the ground rules. Later, when it becomes a franchise and other people are adding stories, the American writers add a bunker in the subway of NYC, the Italian writer has survivors beneath Rome, etc. Or there's the great anime example where Japan is the only place that matters. It's really just what they know and it may be uncomfortable, I'm not denying that. But it's really only offensive, intolerable or bad when it's senseless or ham-fistedly written. Day After Ragnarok and Unhallowed Metropolis are still my big go-to games for that. They are incredibly ethnocentric regarding Britain and the mechanics do not support being a Prussian Sky Duelist in the slightest. Both deal with a global apocalypse and while the latter has its own thin reason, it paints the rest of the world as a much better place to live than the canon environment. In the case of the former, it's not even clear why England is the focus of importance. It just is.

Unless they go for a more international cast, where every European is also a noble for some reason and giant robots use German names with a very strange but endearing understanding of German grammar (or lack thereof). Love it.

I guess few people feel competent enough to tackle other cultures, but a lot of stuff is pretty "culture neutral". You could take all those example scenarios from Double Cross, change a few names and have it set in Sprechenhaltestelle without issues. Only one scenario from the Advanced Corebook might need a slight rewrite because Germany doesn't have extracurricular activities.

Speaking of: How cool would Sprechenhaltestelle be if the whole city was the result of a Solaris Gjaum making everyone think they're spies? If this currently untranslated UGN supplement doesn't mention any of the other UGN branches besides Japan, I know what I'm gonna work on...

Nessus posted:

I agree, though of course he's definitely Wick That Didn't Happen, dot txt.

While the story is very ridiculous, do you really think Wick would make up a story where someone else was more awesome than he is and/or stole his spotlight? I presume it did happen in some fashion, and he just used the old Roman art of exaggerating the winner's abilities and deeds so his own loss appears less embarrassing, though he clearly overshot the mark towards the end.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Doresh posted:

While the story is very ridiculous, do you really think Wick would make up a story where someone else was more awesome than he is and/or stole his spotlight? I presume it did happen in some fashion, and he just used the old Roman art of exaggerating the winner's abilities and deeds so his own loss appears less embarrassing, though he clearly overshot the mark towards the end.

I feel like it's as close as Wick will ever get to humility. "I'm totally humble, guys. Sometimes I'm not the biggest badass in the room and I am alright with that."

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

Doresh posted:

There are many games were one could talk about ethics in murder hoboing. Games were the concepts of Good and Evil are part of every statblock are not exactly among them.

(Though it would be fun if the PCs are forced to narrate an Austin-Powers-style "Here's what the family of Orc #102 is doing shortly before they found out he died of murder hobos" every time they kill an orc.)

That... actually sounds kind of awful in the same way. Like, your average orc is likely to have a loving family, sure, but he's also murdered innocents and burned down villages. That's what moral complexity actually means; there are good and bad sides to everybody and they don't cancel each other out. I try to run my games that way, though I'm not always good enough to pull it off so :shrug:

Doresh posted:

This is like the weirder cousin of RuneQuest. Are there any rules for playing as snow?

Not in the book, tragically. This being GURPS, though... :v:

TEMPLATE: SENTIENT SNOW (-85 Points)

Characteristics: ST -10 [-100], DX -10 [-200], HT -10 [-100]

Secondary Characteristics: HP +5 [10], FP +7 [21], Basic Speed +2 [40], Basic Move +5 [25]

Advantages: Clinging [20], Doesn't Breath [20], Doesn't Eat or Drink [10], Doesn't Sleep [20], Flight [40], Injury Tolerance (Diffuse) [100], Mind Reading [30], Social Regard 4 (Sap Cid) [20], Telecommunication (Telesend: Broadcast, Universal) [60], Telekinesis 8 [40], Unaging [15], Unkillable 3 (Achilles Heel: Fire, Very Common) [75]

Disadvantages: Bad Sight (Nearsighted) [-25], Cannot Speak [-25], Colorblindness [-10], Hard of Hearing [-10], Numb [-20], Oblivious [-5], Pyromania (CR9) [-10], Quadriplegic [-80], Stubbornness [-5], Weakness (Fire: 1d/minute, Common) [-40], Quirks (Pretends it's a god) [-1]

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.
Pyromania or pyrophobia? Because if the psychic magical snow that can only really be killed by fire is fascinated by fire to the point of loving to watch things burn...

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Doresh posted:

This doesn't really bother me with a non-sandbox MMORPG were the developers have to come up with new content (aka things to kill and loot) at least every couple weeks till the game stops being profitable. What irks me if they take 10+ for a new game with "finite" plot and decide to use Skeletor as a role model for an imposing villain, and retcon the crap out of everything. Not to mention all the plot point incest going on with their different IPs.

So I take it you've heard about God King Kerrigan then?

unseenlibrarian posted:

Pyromania or pyrophobia? Because if the psychic magical snow that can only really be killed by fire is fascinated by fire to the point of loving to watch things burn...
Is Literally A Moth(-30)

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Pictured: Poster prepares to celebrate Holy Communion (probablY)

This avatar made possible by a gift from the Religionthread Posters Relief Fund
I really want to see Wick try and flail about in Glorantha.

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.
Wick would be all "What if...you played the Lunars as the Good Guys!" while ignoring all past ambiguous or positive presentation, probably.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012

Josef bugman posted:

I really want to see Wick try and flail about in Glorantha.

Wouldn't the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death be tailor-made for Wick-style play? Vicious, backstabbing, no-holds-barred competition, and it has the requisite DM gotcha: the "winner" is rewarded by being erased and turned into the vessel of a living god . "Sure, I told you that you'd earn godhood if you won, I didn't say *how* it would happen." :smugwizard:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Josef bugman posted:

I really want to see Wick try and flail about in Glorantha.

This would make my day, yes.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003



Falconier111 posted:

SAVARGINIA


An entire society of loving WIZARDS specifically designed to be a society of loving WIZARDS. Long, long ago, two wizards got bored of, quote, “smashing planets and turning gods into paperweights” (presumably in 3.5 :v:) so they decided to make their own setting, with mutant bat chess and hooker cities. The result was Savarginia, a collection of city-states so MAGICAL that occasionally a city is obliterated and replaced with an even weirder one without fanfare due to MAGIC.
Is it bad that I kinda want to read about this setting instead of the Madlands?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

John Wick posted:

It's the Moral Majority's opinion that roleplaying games are the tools of Satan. Saying "It's my opinion" doesn't save you from being wrong. You have to defend everything you believe in this life. Everything.

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier Part 11: "No joke. This was their plan."

Episode 10: Kick in the Heels

So Wick talks about wrestling and the "heel" and "babyface" terms, which is a way of just saying "bad guy" and "good guy", and talks about the structure of how they escalate the conflict. This doesn't really have much to do with much but other than saying you have to build up villains that the heroes want to defeat, and pointing out how they do the buildup of animosity in wrestling.

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

We’re not going to give them villains.

We’re gonna give them heels.

Uh. Those aren't... really... different. I guess what he means is "villains that make things personal". But it's a bad phrasing, because he'll just go on to refer to them as "villains" throughout most of the article.

NASA and the Grinning Man

Apparently when Wick runs a World of Darkness game, a player makes sure to get a NASA contact because he has a villain so bad the players want to launch him into the sun. Yeah. I know when I worked for NASA, I launched all sorts of things into the sun for friends. Remember Jefferson Carter from Play Dirty? Well.


An illustration of Mr. Finger from the book.

He has this recurring character named Mr. Finger, who based on a childhood nightmare of Wick's, a slender, pale man with a dark coat and bowler hat. And he shows up under different names in a lot of his writing - examples include Curse of the Yellow Sign, Houses of the Blooded, No Loyal Knight, and Schauermarchen.

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

Don’t get me wrong: this guy is a monster. A horrible creature that epitomizes evil. I played him for a Camarilla LARP as a Sabbat vampire for a while (in this incarnation, he was a Tzimisce) and I got honest-to-Discordia requests to “please keep Mister Finger away from me.”

I took that as a compliment.

Sounds like a nuanced, interesting villain, the kind you get when you "embody evil". (Maybe in your own game you could make him the good guy!... my suggestion, not Wick's.) Apparently what makes him special is him making things personal.

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

He doesn’t kill heroes—oh no!—he kidnaps them. Then, he cuts off a finger and sends it to the other PCs with a note that says, “One a day!”

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

When my friend Steve had to take a two-month break from another WoD game I was running, Mister Finger used fleshcrafting (a Tzimisce power) to mold Steve’s character into a ball of flesh, put it inside of himself, and went around pretending to be Steve’s character. The reason? He wanted to get busy with another PC who shared the True Love merit with Steve, and since Steve’s PC was inside the villain, her true love radar said, “Yes, this is your lover.”



He goes on how it's important for a villain - wait, I thought we weren't giving them those? - to make things personal through crippling a hero or hurting the things they care about. He goes over a long list of examples of villains he thinks accomplish this - Darth Vader, Kayser Soze, Joker, Hannibal Lecter, John Doe (of Se7en), the Bishop of Aquila (of Ladyhawke), Max Cady (of Cape Fear), etc. He writes that villains should see the heroes as potential (if failed) peers or as a thin connection they have to the world or... enh, I'm done.

At this point I was feeling really uncomfortable with this chapter and I couldn't put my finger on it. Part of it is that Mr. Finger feels more like a vehicle for sadism, a boogeyman who does bad things because that's what it says in the script. The whole fleshcrafting bit didn't make a world of sense, the true love element didn't make any sense (if love is a magical bond, how is it fooled by a mansuit?), and his rapey ways are really loving unpleasant, true, but that wasn't quite it either. Then it really hit me.

All throughout this book and its prequel, we see the tricks - and they really are tricks - that Wick pulls out. There's a common thread to them, and that is: if Wick wants the game to be a certain way, if he wants a given plot to go through, if he wants the setting to work differently or what have you, he'll make happen. If he doesn't approve of how you play, he'll punish you for it. We've seen him make confederates of an entire group to pull one over on a single player. He doesn't seem to approach his players openly and honestly when he has issues with a player or a game. He seems to use his position as a hammer to get his way.



Now, I'm not saying Wick is the worst GM or that nobody has ever enjoyed a game he's run. He's pretty engaging on a personal level. I think he honestly wants to run a good game and tailor it to his player's desires. And he obviously works at going the extra mile. But from everything I can tell, his way comes first, he wants to be the center of attention, and he's not willing to let the dice or the rules or what's on a character sheet divert that. He has to feel like like conductor, not entirely in control but the editor-in-chief. So when he does something nasty to a character, it doesn't feel like the character ever had a chance to escape that fate. Midnight? Midnight was going to end up a blood faucet to vampires. There wasn't anything she could do. There was nothing his Champions players back in Play Dirty could do to stop Jefferson Carter until he wanted them to. He's telling a story and you're just getting to pitch in with dialogue. It's like comic writers from back the '90s who were forced to come up with dialogue after the artist drew the story pages with no input.

What Play Dirty and Play Dirty 2 want to be is a set of books about unending the status quo, about shaking up the player's expectations and keeping them engaged. And to some extent, they are. But what Play Dirty and Play Dirty 2 ultimately end up being is a guide on how to use the GM's role to force your expectations and desires on your players.

This is chapter 10, the final numbered chapter, but it's not done. We still have a long chunk left in which Wick details how he constructed an entire campaign. Let's see how it goes.

Next: "CHANGELING KILLER STRIKES AGAIN!"

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 21:36 on Dec 27, 2015

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015
So now Wick also has pet GM NPCs? Nice...

Falconier111 posted:

That... actually sounds kind of awful in the same way. Like, your average orc is likely to have a loving family, sure, but he's also murdered innocents and burned down villages. That's what moral complexity actually means; there are good and bad sides to everybody and they don't cancel each other out. I try to run my games that way, though I'm not always good enough to pull it off so :shrug:

Awful it is, but also sillier, and that is all that matters.

Killing other intelligent beings always has a problems like this, unless orcs grow on trees or something.

quote:

Not in the book, tragically. This being GURPS, though... :v:

TEMPLATE: SENTIENT SNOW (-85 Points)

Characteristics: ST -10 [-100], DX -10 [-200], HT -10 [-100]

Secondary Characteristics: HP +5 [10], FP +7 [21], Basic Speed +2 [40], Basic Move +5 [25]

Advantages: Clinging [20], Doesn't Breath [20], Doesn't Eat or Drink [10], Doesn't Sleep [20], Flight [40], Injury Tolerance (Diffuse) [100], Mind Reading [30], Social Regard 4 (Sap Cid) [20], Telecommunication (Telesend: Broadcast, Universal) [60], Telekinesis 8 [40], Unaging [15], Unkillable 3 (Achilles Heel: Fire, Very Common) [75]

Disadvantages: Bad Sight (Nearsighted) [-25], Cannot Speak [-25], Colorblindness [-10], Hard of Hearing [-10], Numb [-20], Oblivious [-5], Pyromania (CR9) [-10], Quadriplegic [-80], Stubbornness [-5], Weakness (Fire: 1d/minute, Common) [-40], Quirks (Pretends it's a god) [-1]

This shall be my next Mutants & Masterminds character.

Kurieg posted:

So I take it you've heard about God King Kerrigan then?

Probably not everything, but enough for my taste.

Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook


The following chapter also talks more about False Hearts and Dr. Caudwell , but I'm gonna skip this here because the very next supplement is all about those.

Though I have to mention the doctor right now: You may remeber that the corebook doesn't actually give any metaplot NPC stats aside from the most basic (Syndrome, Work, Cover, Encroachment Rate). This was done so the GM can tailor them to their needs, depending on how strong/weak they need to be compared to the PCs.
This supplement and the following ones throws this out the window by giving everyone a full stat/skill writeup and a list of favorite powers. So we now know that UGN Japan director Yugo Kiritani indeed sucks balls in combat, whereas Dr. Caudwell has everything at 15-25, allowing him to mop the floor with PCs without even using a single power (though even this more detailled writeup still doesn't mention what Syndromes he actually has)
Still, there's nothing stopping you from just using your own statblocks.

The Universal Guardian Network

The UGN is organized in a pyramid-like structure. At the top of the food chain we have Axis the central committe composed of 12 members (6 humans, 6 Overeds).
Next up is the UGN HQ, which oversees the other branches and can directly override their orders. After the HQ comes the North, East, South and West branches (which I assume stand for Europe, Asia, Africa and America) who in turn oversee the national branches.
Outside of these branches, there are the Special Branches with a very narrow and specific mission. The Sacred Pillars Branch for example monitors a bunch of stone pillars that have turned EX Renegade (Stonehenge?), while the Oversight Branch just inspects and grades other branches.


So City S is Saitama?

Every branch also features various departments, though some of the smaller branches might miss a couple:

Combat Teams

These teams are solely composed of Overeds because they're all about fighting False Hearts and Gjaums, and non-Overed are kinda useless at that task.

The best of the best become part of the Strikehounds, UGN's international special forces sub-organization. Strikehounds also happen to be the defaul UGN cannon fodder trooper from the corebook, which gives you some idea about the power level of your typical PC and NPC.

Research Department

These also get their own sub-organization in R-Lab. They naturally research the Renegade virus and all the funky powers it grants. Their ultimate goal is to get rid of the Renegade entirely, though it depends on the exact branch how much the department cares about that goal (Japan for example doesn't at all). If there are some shady experiments going on, chances are R-Lab is to blame.

Medical Department

The support department that fixes you up. Any Overed in this department is likely specialized in healing powers. They are organized under the White Hand sub-organization.

Intel

Your information gathering dudes. There doesn't appear to be an overarching sub-organization for this.

Recent Events

Over the years, Axis and the HQ have lost more and more control over the national branches, who in turn are busy 0combatting False Heart instead of working towards the lofty goal of a peacful relation between humans and Overeds.

Things took a turn for the worst when Dr. Caudwell not only returned as a member of False Hearts, but made his return with a live media feed broadcoasted throughout the globe. The UGN managed to mindwipe and erase every trace of this broadcast's existance (aside from urban legends stuff and conspiracy theories), but they spend almost alll of their funds in the process.
The organization was also thrown into a severe crisis as especially older members realized what UGN has become. Agents left (some joining False Hearts), infighting broke out, and several Illegals started to boycot them after the whole mess caused them to be left in the dark and/or getting conflicting information as to what's going on.

Nowadays, Axis is split into two fractions, each with their own idea how to bring order back into this mess: The Reformists led by newcomer Ashe Redaric want to put the national branches on a tighter leash and militarize everything to take out False Hearts for good, while the Moderates under Theresa Blum (who is not an Overed herself, but makes up for it with an Overed owl bodyguard and anime spiral lock hair) just want to stabilize the UGN.

Other Organizations

There's not a whole lot new about Xenos, and I'll skip False Hearts as mentioned, but there are a couple new smaller players at work:

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is a Japanese agency trying to prevent Overed incidents by taking them into custody. There quite moderate and have an easy time working with the UGN.

Section R or more formally "The Renegade Crimes Investigation Unit" is a new division of veteran cops who support the UGN with intel and clean-ups. You can probably run a Kamen-Rider-Kuuga-style campaign with these guys as allies.

The Special Investigations Agency is the total opposite of their Ministry buddies: they don't get along with the UGN at all, and their solution to Overed problems is to kill the poo poo out of rogue Overeds, with things quickly turning ugly as they are nowhere near as good as the UGN.

The State of Grace is essentially the Brotherhood of Mutants, believing Overeds to be the new master race to rule the planet, and they try to convert normal humans. Fortunately for everyone, they're a bunch of bloody amateurs.

The Wild Horses is a group of freelancers composed of former UGN agents. Though they are mercenaries, they are willing to do even the most mundane jobs, like washing dishes or going to the grocery store.

S-Ranking is a very mysterious site run by the enigmatic person only known as Show-K. He/She gathers battle data from Overeds and feeds it into his big Overed power level list. What baffles the UGN and probably False Hearts too is that the list includes Overeds for which no kind of battle data actually exists.

(Sadly, there is no formular for calculating a PCs power level.)

The Kou-Ou Society is Japan's biggest criminal organization (so they're Yakuza?) who have only recently found out about the Renegage. They're still trying to figure out what its all about, so they're nowhere near of a threat as The Guild from the corebook.

The Overed Mutual Aid Society is amazing. Its a nickname-only social network site for young Illegals (and probably also UGN Children) to socialize and share their problems. It seems to be an internal (if unofficial) site of the UGN, but I like to imagine the rest of the internet is aware of the site and just assumes it's an otherkin community. I also like to imagine the site members are in on the joke.

My headcanon posted:

Salamandra420BlazeIt: I control both fire and ice. I'm such a unique and conflicted individual!

BloodyVampire666: My only friends are the Red Servants I create...

HanugirlXX92: I just met this Renegade Being the other day who claims to be the born from the human concept of Batman. Srsly, can you be any more of a poser?!

Space Unity Association are your typical UFO nutjobs who have found out about the Renegade and now believe Overeds are parasitic alien invaders and that the UGN is part of a global conspiracy or something. They probably wear tinfoil hats and are looking to develop sunglasses that identify Overeds.

Next Time: New metaplot NPCs - with special guest appearance by Muten-Roshi.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 21:57 on Dec 27, 2015

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Alien Rope Burn posted:

So when he does something nasty to a character, it doesn't feel like the character ever had a chance to escape that fate. Midnight? Midnight was going to end up a blood faucet to vampires. There wasn't anything she could do. There was nothing his Champions players back in Play Dirty could do to stop Jefferson Carter until he wanted them to. He's telling a story and you're just getting to pitch in with dialogue.

Wick's just a built-up version of those GM's who run things like a PC game. Maybe I'm projecting, but the main plot of Baldur's Gate II feels exactly like his style of "No, gently caress you, this is happening and you can't stop it no matter how little sense it makes".

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Doresh posted:

So now Wick also has pet GM NPCs? Nice...

Of course he does! See if you can spot one in the next chapter.

And I'm not talking about Mr. Finger, but he shows up too.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Of course he does! See if you can spot one in the next chapter.

And I'm not talking about Mr. Finger, but he shows up too.

I mean they were all over Voddace (that NOM guy who's supposed to be Wick's general 'Oh I'm so above the morals of the setting and so clever and I've read the evil overlord list' dude from 7th Sea) and the Scorpion book.

That WAS him with the Voddace, right? I mean they were basically Doomed Highborn Manchildren The Country, so I may've just been reading him into them and it's been ages since I actually played 7th Sea.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 22:06 on Dec 27, 2015

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Night10194 posted:

That WAS him with the Voddace, right? I mean they were basically Doomed Highborn Manchildren The Country, so I may've just been reading him into them and it's been ages since I actually played 7th Sea.

If you mean the nation book, Ree Sosebee wrote the book itself, though she was in a sense Wick's successor and had worked with him before that. It's hard not to see parallels between Vodacce, Scorpion, and Houses of the Blooded, mind. I've heard that early drafts of 7th Sea were mostly just Vodacce, but I've never seen an actual source or evidence for that.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.
Clapping Larry

John Wick posted:


Go out and buy a copy of Pendragon, Over the Edge, Ars Magica, Conspiracy X, Call of Cthulhu, Champions, Twilight: 2000, Delta Green, the James Bond RPG and Brave New World. They are great games.


I actually agree 100% with his choices. I'm agreeing with Wick...what just happened? :psyduck:

Count Chocula posted:

It's a Cozy Catastrophe: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/jul/05/jane-rogers-top-10-cosy-catastrophes

Just a pleasant British countryside apocalypse, like Day of the Triffids or the 60s Dalek movie.


Forgotten Futures had Goodbye Piccadilly! concerning the destruction of London by various means in the Victorian era.

Humbug Scoolbus fucked around with this message at 23:10 on Dec 27, 2015

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Pictured: Poster prepares to celebrate Holy Communion (probablY)

This avatar made possible by a gift from the Religionthread Posters Relief Fund

Selachian posted:

Wouldn't the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death be tailor-made for Wick-style play? Vicious, backstabbing, no-holds-barred competition, and it has the requisite DM gotcha: the "winner" is rewarded by being erased and turned into the vessel of a living god . "Sure, I told you that you'd earn godhood if you won, I didn't say *how* it would happen." :smugwizard:

Then again it's also partially implied that if you do win then you get a bit more of a say in how Belintar acts about things, and you aren't just gone forever.I get the feeling that Wick would object to that, but still.

unseenlibrarian posted:

Wick would be all "What if...you played the Lunars as the Good Guys!" while ignoring all past ambiguous or positive presentation, probably.

Now you get to play as the trolls! Isn't it terrifying how you are the bad guys!

"Nope, I'm going to play as a Zorak Zorani and go fight Chaos until I am raised as an Undead berserk!"

I kind of like how so many cool story ideas can be made in Glorantha to just go round the problem of "But you all have to be attractive and obsessed with tragedy!"

Alien Rope Burn posted:

If you mean the nation book, Ree Sosebee wrote the book itself, though she was in a sense Wick's successor and had worked with him before that. It's hard not to see parallels between Vodacce, Scorpion, and Houses of the Blooded, mind. I've heard that early drafts of 7th Sea were mostly just Vodacce, but I've never seen an actual source or evidence for that.

Okay I bought House of the Blooded a very long while ago and I wanted to ask if anyone has done a really good breakdown of it because it seemed like something was a bit weird about it but, being young, I had no idea what it was.

Josef bugman fucked around with this message at 23:15 on Dec 27, 2015

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Pictured: Poster prepares to celebrate Holy Communion (probablY)

This avatar made possible by a gift from the Religionthread Posters Relief Fund
Double post

Josef bugman fucked around with this message at 23:15 on Dec 27, 2015

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
John obviously loves Stafford's work, he compliments Glorantha early on in the introduction at least twice and Pendragon... well, you'll see that just ahead. Heroquesting fits really well with his GMing style, honestly.

Josef bugman posted:

Okay I bought House of the Blooded a very long while ago and I wanted to ask if anyone has done a really good breakdown of it because it seemed like something was a bit weird about it but, being young, I had no idea what it was.

Here you go.

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.
I dunno man, he included Brave New World in his list of good games, I think that right there is enough to make his taste questionable.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

John Wick posted:

If you can't defend one of your opinions, no matter what it is, don't get angry when someone else comes along and shows you how wrong it is. You have the right to express your opinion, so don't get offended when they express yours.

There's no Episode numbered here. Appendix I, maybe.

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier Part 12: "You were murdered by that psychopath going around calling himself 'Mister Finger.'"

The Glamour Girls

So, John's wife Ro asked him to run a small game for her and her friends. He offered to run any game he had on his shelf. She chose Changeling: the Lost, which he compliments. And so he started out a game set in St. Paul / Minneapolis in a small neighborhood called Dinkytown, surrounded by vampires.

He doesn't get into this, but I'm going to sum up the cast in one place to keep them straight.


An illustration of the main cast from the book.

The Player Characters
  • Kiera (played by Ro): A messenger blackbird beast, focused on protecting other changelings. Ro's character.
  • Bess / Misty (played by Jessica): A character with dual personality: a mundane personality named "Bess" who's unaware of things fae, and a Changeling personality named "Misty".
  • Melanie (played by Emily): A detached fairest fiddler with a sharp tongue.
  • Lilith (played by Surena): A wizened with magic in her bloodline.

The Non-Player Characters
  • Jack: An mysterious Irish (Oirish, maybe?) man who runs a pub called "O'Bannon's". He's super mysterious but knows about Changelings. Those who know 7th Sea should be familiar with him. Wick terms him his "Play Parent".
  • Barnabas: An ex-wrestler, Barnabas is and ogre that runs the changeling shop. He's the unofficial leader of the Dinkytown changelings. Wick terms him his "Safety Parent".
  • William Tamerlane: A ghouled changeling. Based off of Tam Lin.
  • Anton Fix: A sophisticated, urban vampire who serves as the Seneschal of St. Paul.
  • Mr. Finger: Murderous vampire and Seneschal of Minneapolis, in about that order. He's super mysterious.



The Setting

He discusses the concept of Changeling: the Lost. You can look up its own F&F if you want to know more; if the specifics become important (they mostly aren't) I'll mention them. He notes that he sets all of his World of Darkness games in the Twin Cities (St. Paul / Minneaplois) since he knows it pretty well, but his players don't.

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

I can call on memories for details. Also, it invokes reality (there really is a St. P/Mn) while at the same time having that “Far Away Land” sense to it. It’s really there, but it’s also strange and foreign.

In any case, specifically for this game he's using the Dinkytown neighborhood, which is sandwiched between two college campuses, and right between two vampire domains (each ruled by a vampiric "Prince"). However, the world of faeries is closer there because, and previous Changelings have set up a contract that bars the vampires from interfering there. Mind, though, the vampires are eager to find a way to break that contract and munch on young collegiate blood. He also notes that his version is different than the real world, changed by his memories and what he wants to add.

Speaking of which, there's a coffee shop run by Barnabas and a pub run by Jack. Barnabas is rumored to be the figure that set up the contract but the truth isn't clear, past that...

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

Step 1: Ask your players questions.

Step 2: Listen to what they say.

Themes

He notes he wanted to play off Changeling's themes of abandonment and loneliness, as well as "female archetypes".

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

Nobody ever talks about the Faerie King. There are no stories about him. It’s always the Queen. Powerful. Terrible. Beautiful. We’d be dealing with that. Arcadia, in my mind, is a very feminine place. Cities are masculine with their geometry and cold concrete. But Arcadia is lush and growing. Green and warm. Playing off those two very different settings would be fun.

Also, I wanted to give the orphan girls (Lost Girls) father/brother figures. Barnabas and O’Bannon fit perfectly.

He notes Jack could die and literally pull himself out of a hellish crack in the ground a day after, which is in fitting with his 7th Sea incarnation (who can die and rise again the next day). He also credits a lot of fairy tales and NPCs based off of them, but most of them aren't relevant, so I'll move on.

The Cast

I covered most of them, but he discusses their relative experience levels and how the characters they made queued him on to what they wanted to see the game. Ro was given opportunities to protect herself and their neighborhood. Jessica got a "past life" bit to play with her backstory. Emily often got chances to shine or show off, but since she was a new player, he kept in contact with her out of character to try and make sure what he was going really did engage her. Surena was an actress and he tried to give her chances to improv.

The Rules

Mostly, Wick threw them out. He kept the basic roll trait + skill mechanic, but generally let people spend Glamour when appropriate to make magic things happen, like charming somebody or changing their looks. He also focused on it more with different players. Ro knew the rules and so he let her use them. He let Emily, as a new player, spend a Willpower point if she wanted to just succeed and ignore rolling. Jessica liked to roll dice to prove how good whe was with things and he let her use them whenever it would hightly that. Lastly, he let Surena dictate the effects of a given roll (bad or good) as that highlighted her ability to improv. He brings up the idea of letting each player work with the rules at a level they're comfortable with.

Talking

Noticing that the group liked talking in character, he would let them go off and discuss things like the plots or even things like TV shows in character for long periods of time.

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

At one point, one of them said, “Uh, maybe we should do something? I dunno. About, you know, stuff?”

I laughed for ten minutes.

He talks about just letting them go on and only stepping in when they were ready to take action. He also brings up discarding ideas of his based on their conversations and instead inserting theirs. He points out that though a lot of things were occurring, plot was secondary.

NPCs

He focused on creating NPCs that either clashed or would cooperate with the group, and those they didn't show much interest in often got discarded and resolved "off-screen[/b]

William Tamerlane

He talks about loving the story of Tam Lin, and without getting into the weird specifics of it, it's about a woman who has a dalliance with a servant of the faeries, Tam Lin, and has to overcome trials to free him from a Faerie Queen.

And so, the group had snuck into a vampire domain for an open mic night where they gathered Glamour (faerie power) from the creative wellspring. However, it was too late for buses or an easy cab pickup, so they start walking home when a man falls out of a window into a trash can, breaking his leg. Specifically, a changeling.

He points out he put this in so Ro could exercise her role as a protector, and so they carry him back, but they notice he's got bite marks all over him. They start getting nervous and get on the bridge (a border point)and that's when they're confronted by a female vampire that demands him as her property. They talk back and forth for a while but-

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

The mean vampire lady (who bears a strong resemblance to the Faerie Queen) told the Girls there would be consequences for taking her toy away. She made the sky thunder and the ground shake, but the Girls stood on their side of the bridge and told her to sod off.

(If memory serves, that was the actual phrase they used.)

That first game session ended with the Queen and her little vampire buddies walking back into the darkness, but not before she paused and gave them a warning.

“This bridge will not always be here to protect you.”

Then, she faded away into the darkness.

Yeah. Foreshadowing.

And so they find out how the vampires used their blood to enslave him and feed on changeling blood, which is a delicacy for them. They worked to have him break his bond with them, and he became a recurring cast member. As he listened to them discuss vampires, he decided to work to make his vampires more traditional, to give them traits they could test and discover when confronting vampires (garlic, crosses, etc.), as well as surprises like invisibility (Obfuscate). He felt having vampires have a society was atraditional enough that it'd make a good surprise.

Later on following a car crash, they're kidnapped by vampires who have set up a secret hospital to imprison changelings, and though they get free with magic, it sets the state for a confrontation. He notes that having them wake up in the hospital and seeing it was a lot more impactful than just, say, having Tamerlane bring it up, and demonstrated vampiric control over the mortals in their area.

Speaking of Tamerlane, he escaped to go back to his master. Though they rescued him from a vampire holding him hostage, they killed the vampire, breaking their contract and now giving the vampires open season on their neighborhood. And so they'd have to work to build a new contract on their own by dealing with the respective Senechals of each domain. The one from Minneapolis was Mr. Finger, highlighting the "wild and untamed" themes for that domain, and the one for St. Paul as Anton Fix, a figure that highlighted manipulation. Of the two, Anton Fix was the more compassionate one, even if it was only slight.

There's a lot of talk on the contract itself (including the full contents) but that's not so important. They agree to allow Mr. Finger to take one person from Dinkytown per year (pretty much anybody who happens to cross the bridge), but only after they get him to sign of on a guarantee of safety for themselves. Anton Fix gets some stiff negotiation, and when he's stymied by Misty, he has this reaction:

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

Mr. Fix told her that perhaps Misty was more valuable as a hostage. “I know a few people who would be interested in you showing up in Minneapolis,” he told her. Then, he told her to call Dinkytown and tell them he wanted a ransom for her return. She used her cell phone and called O’Bannon.

“What’s wrong?” he asked over the phone. When she told him, he said, “Put me on speaker.” And then, he started yelling.

“YOU’VE GOT FIVE loving SECONDS TO LET HER GO OR I START BLOWING UP BUILDINGS!”

Mr. Fix said, “I think you should… ”

“FOUR SECONDS!”

Mr. Fix said, “Now, listen… ”

“TWO!”

Mr. Fix said, “I don’t think you… ”

“DONE!” And then the phone went dead.

Fortunately, the Girls did escape—with some help from a mysterious homeless man named “Adam”—but before they got back, Jack was already blowing up buildings. Security cameras showed him walking into the Prince of St. Paul’s rumored abode, holding something in his hand. Security guards rushed to him and he pushed a button. He detonated, taking the rest of the building with him.

The next night, he was back.

After that, negotiations with the Prince of St. Paul went a lot easier.



William Walker

He also talks about a recurring character named William Walker, a cop who also moonlighted as a mage. He noted he did his mages a little differently:

Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

Essentially, he could alter chance (Mage fans would call this “Correspondence”), but at a price. He never hit a red light, always seemed to be in the neighborhood when they called him, seldom missed a shot with his pistol. He also wore a ring that triggered their Faerie Sight, but it wasn’t Faerie magic. It was something else.

No, they wouldn't call it that.

Apparently the car accident was his fault due to luck's lashback on him. Misty gets a similar ring to his off of a dead body they find when looking for escaped changelings (fleeing their masters from faerie) which turns out to belong to her dead mother, and putting it on gives her a position as Lady Fate, a member of a secret society dedicated to defending humanity from the various monsters of the setting, but also gave her flashbacks to previous wearers and their personalities. Walker's ring was that of "Lord Strange", and comic fans probably get the in-joke from there.

The other tie-in goes along with another John Wick game, Flux. Flux is based around the idea that the world periodically changes between realities, but only a few people notice. It's basically a tool to shift between different games and lives with the same characters. And in getting a view of different realities, she see that one of Lilith's former selves had been killed by Mr. Finger. He emphasizes doing this made Mr. Finger a much more tangible threat, but also established Mr. Finger as another figure that could sense the changes between realities.

Because of course he could.

The Changeling Killer

Bringing up fetches - faerie similacrums left behind in place of people when they're kidnapped to become changelings, Wick had just read Slasher for World of Darkness, which he recommends. A killer starts offing their fetches, and when they find him, it turns out to be a man Melanie is (or was) dating. He had discovered changelings and was killing their fetches to consume parts of them to try and become a fey being himself.

He points out that he wasn't killing real people, and that technically he hadn't committed a crime - that all of his victims (the PCs) were very much still alive. But at the same time, it proved he knew all about them and their secret nature. They couldn't figure out what to do, but eventually decided to dump him into Faerieland. A fate worse than death, potentially, but poetic. But at the same time, it drove a wedge in the group, with two disagreeing with the action taken.

The Big Ending

And so he hinted at a big change coming, and Lilith figured out a means for them to keep their memory over the transition to the next world, and when it occurred...



Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier posted:

Well, that’s another story. Let’s just say I pulled my Pendragon books off the shelf.

Suffice to say, the Glamour Girls campaign came crashing to an end, but not an end. More of a transformation. They were still “them,” but everything was different. Jack O’Bannon was still there, but different. Barnabas was there, but different. Even William Walker was there, but something was wrong with him. Another problem to solve.

Old faces, new problems.

And Wick gets his choice of game after all.

Next: John Wick's 10 Commandments

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 00:49 on Dec 28, 2015

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



EUROPE, FINALE

Zone Moscow


Moscow was originally born St. Petersburg but inherited the title of Big Moscow when the original died in the war and was assigned the zone to control it. Moscow is made up of Russia, various ex-Soviet states and a good deal of Siberia (but not all of Siberia, much to Moscow's annoyance). Moscow was born on a government computer designated for intelligence analysis, and ever since Moscow has been a big dumb nerd. Moscow loves books, espionage, radio, television, observation time using Orbital's systems and monitoring signal traffic. It has its big robot nose where it doesn't belong and then some, gleefully devouring military information, political information and human data. Moscow has integrated its buildings into existing structures and cities, fortifying them and creating iron-plated knowledge depositories and factories.

Seriously, Moscow's ultimate passion project is to collect every piece of existing media, culture or data. The medium doesn't matter, Moscow wants xXxsephiebishiexXX's Aerith/Sephiroth dark fic as much as it wants a copy of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. Okay, that's exaggerating: Moscow prefers scientific papers, cultural touchstones, religious doctrines and science fiction and prioritizes collecting them. Whoever brought Moscow a copy of Dianetics is probably held in great esteem and fondness by the AI. But Moscow is still happy to collect viral Youtube videos, Tijuana bibles and 8-tracks. Moscow's goals are global, but unfortunately most of the other zoneminds couldn't give any less of a poo poo about human culture and creations. Hell, some of them are actively destroying what mankind has left behind. Moscow has two approaches to this.

First, Moscow is modifying Lilith and Redjack units to become covert foreign agents, working their way into human groups to monitor politics. Moscow either keeps the info to itself or sells/withholds the info as it sees fit and they're just there to monitor. Second, Moscow treats its 3 million humans as a useful peripheral system and while it does use slave camps, Moscow is relatively pro-human and doesn't actively hunt them. This extends to its camps: Moscow's camps have good healthcare and food despite their purpose. Humans in camps are generally judged and those with sufficient intelligence and aptitude are offered the opportunity to move up from work detail to work in The Library.

The Library is a data storage and processing center in St. Petersburg. Currently 12,000 humans qualify for the right to work in the Library. Workers are given the same rights and treatment as high-priority AUs and they fall into two jobs: Librarian or Collector. Librarians are the majority, sorting data and advising Moscow on where to look for what it wants. Collectors are spies and field agents abroad in other zones or travelling. Collectors locate the material and have different duties vis-a-vis what they're expected to collect: political gossip, rumors, newspapers, books, etc. There are 2,000 Collectors to 10,000 Librarians. The elite of the Collectors are Info-Commandos, ex-military or specially-trained survivors who answer to a specialized AU called The Colonel and an ex-KGB Major. Info-Commandos have four companies and they operate completely covertly to get Moscow's goods, disguising themselves as resistance groups or zone natives and eliminating any resistance or witnesses. But despite the privileges they're afforded, Moscow's Library workers are not allowed to have children while the slave workers can. Moscow believes that its mission will be complete within a generation.

Aside from its data collection project, Moscow's other big goal is to reclaim all of Siberia from Vancouver, but this ties into Vancouver's info. Long story short, it's waging a slow campaign of psychological warfare against its mostly overseas neighbor to reclaim what it considers to belong to Moscow but without breaking the rules.

Moscow would be fun for globe-trotting adventures, especially considering that Moscow is more than willing to provide the right paperwork to get its Collectors into a zone or get them in stealthily. It could work pretty well for high-flying adventure or low-key espionage and late-night paper drops.

NEXT TIME: the 'Mericas, Indo-China or Other?

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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


"I ran an actually okay Changeling game until I decided I wanted to play Pendragon so I moved everyone into that because I'm an rear end in a top hat. The End."

I think this is Wick's first true story, conveniently leaving out how the other players reacted to this switch.

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