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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



It's also a cuckold for Cocoa Puffs, which takes some explaining and is gross.

Poison Mushroom posted:

I love how C*ntinuum handles time travel, and from a "great ideas, terrible execution" angle, the skill-learning system too.

If anything, the simplicity with which time travel occurs is nice. They didn't make a big mechanic out of finding portals or having to scavenge crystalline time gas for your time ship. It's just travel when you want. On the other hand, keeping track by measuring in minutes the amount of travel you take when you span back a few weeks by writing it down on a notecard in case you are tested later is not the best design. Ideas > Execution, basically. All the way through.

Oh and when you get to near the end of the book and they explain how the time travel works, it's majesty falls off. It's all nanites in your heart and your heart is just the world in miniature and the Van Allen Belt is us and lizard people mind control the staff of the Denver International Airport.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 19:20 on Jul 29, 2014

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Well, I definitely have to listen to this one now. Immortal is my current gold standard for "It's very intriguing and makes sense once you puzzle it out, which is not to say it's not totally bugfuck crazy."

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

Well, I definitely have to listen to this one now. Immortal is my current gold standard for "It's very intriguing and makes sense once you puzzle it out, which is not to say it's not totally bugfuck crazy."

I've read Immortal. Is that the one with such as Himsati? I read that years before the podcast and it's in my top 3 for confusing games. My copy was so cheaply assembled that it fell apart during the first read though.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Yep, that's it. My copy is pretty fragile, too; I was able to pick it up for half-price because it was pretty worn on the shelf.

They released a revised edition called Immortal: Millennium in 1999, when multimedia was still the new shiny. It was a very slim corebook accompanied by two or three other "core" books that were free to download. This edition got some attention for having Claudia Christian on all its covers. (There are some funny gaming business politics behind that, but long story short, Precedence had the license for the Babylon 5 CCG and got to interact with the cast.) I will review it eventually! I believe that the author reined in the crazy, and learned how to write a book for people who hadn't already been playing in his homebrew campaign for years.

The most fragile game I've ever seen was WEG's DC Universe. They printed it on newsprint, in paperback, for that comic-book feel. I didn't buy it because the "new" copies looked like poo poo after sitting on the shelf at Waldenbooks for two weeks.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



The entire thing is, at first glance, just a really weird RPG with bad mechanics but neat ideas and a truly insane storyline.

And then you hit the end of the book and the author is kind of gloating about how the Van Allen Belt mysteriously has more energy than scientists originally expected, isn't that interesting and you realize that he totally buys into everything he wrote.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

Yep, that's it. My copy is pretty fragile, too; I was able to pick it up for half-price because it was pretty worn on the shelf.

They released a revised edition called Immortal: Millennium in 1999, when multimedia was still the new shiny. It was a very slim corebook accompanied by two or three other "core" books that were free to download. This edition got some attention for having Claudia Christian on all its covers. (There are some funny gaming business politics behind that, but long story short, Precedence had the license for the Babylon 5 CCG and got to interact with the cast.) I will review it eventually! I believe that the author reined in the crazy, and learned how to write a book for people who hadn't already been playing in his homebrew campaign for years.

The most fragile game I've ever seen was WEG's DC Universe. They printed it on newsprint, in paperback, for that comic-book feel. I didn't buy it because the "new" copies looked like poo poo after sitting on the shelf at Waldenbooks for two weeks.

I had a first-print run of Tales from the Floating Vagabond, and if a friend picked it up off my shelf, I'd warn them "a page is going to fall out while you're flipping through, just try to keep them in order."

Also goddamn I would love to see an attempt to explain Immortal. It's unreadable, one of those games where the rules are battered in a thick coating of goofy names and metaphoric titles and then deep-fried in a vat of oily fluff text, such that you can never tell if you're reading a game rule or a poem at any given moment.


Mors Rattus posted:

The entire thing is, at first glance, just a really weird RPG with bad mechanics but neat ideas and a truly insane storyline.

And then you hit the end of the book and the author is kind of gloating about how the Van Allen Belt mysteriously has more energy than scientists originally expected, isn't that interesting and you realize that he totally buys into everything he wrote.

Multiple times throughout the book he drops hints like "this is why players haven't quite figured this out" and "Soon we will all know the reality of this game."

It didn't come up much in the review, but I do love that there's advice in the book on how to dissuade your players from messing with you by traveling to the near-future and asking pointed questions about stuff that hasn't happened yet. Like you're playing an RPG and Mike says "I travel to 2015 and watch Avengers 2, describe it to me in total detail please." As if that's a terrifying prospect for a DM to face that you must have special tools to avoid it beyond "Knock that poo poo off Mike, there's an adventure we're doing."

theironjef fucked around with this message at 19:40 on Jul 29, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



quote is not edit

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

theironjef posted:

Also goddamn I would love to see an attempt to explain Immortal. It's unreadable, one of those games where the rules are battered in a thick coating of goofy names and metaphoric titles and then deep-fried in a vat of oily fluff text, such that you can never tell if you're reading a game rule or a poem at any given moment.
That's the one that's essentially Highlander done as a 1990s WoD game, right? Seems like a can't-miss proposition, but IIRC they screwed it up by thinking the only problem with White Wolf games is that they don't have enough made-up jargon and vocabulary, so every sentence has at least three Ominous Capitalized Proper Nouns that aren't explained until many, many pages later. Almost a perfect example of a 90s heartbreaker.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



FMguru posted:

That's the one that's essentially Highlander done as a 1990s WoD game, right? Seems like a can't-miss proposition, but IIRC they screwed it up by thinking the only problem with White Wolf games is that they don't have enough made-up jargon and vocabulary, so every sentence has at least three Ominous Capitalized Proper Nouns that aren't explained until many, many pages later. Almost a perfect example of a 90s heartbreaker.

throw in a soupcon of "use the sanskrit word for that stat name, it's more mystical" and you're dead on.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Halloween Jack posted:

Well, I definitely have to listen to this one now. Immortal is my current gold standard for "It's very intriguing and makes sense once you puzzle it out, which is not to say it's not totally bugfuck crazy."

Continuum was also an F&F super review back in the first thread, if you want to read while you listen.

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Can someone post a link to the list of reviews? I lost all my bookmarks in an OS reinstall.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



ThisIsNoZaku posted:

Can someone post a link to the list of reviews? I lost all my bookmarks in an OS reinstall.

Table of contents for all of the reviews are on the first page in the first post.

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


pkfan2004 posted:

Table of contents for all of the reviews are on the first page in the first post.

Oh, thanks!

Platonicsolid
Nov 17, 2008



Listened to the Continuum review and was in stitches. Glad you guys took it on!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




theironjef posted:

Also goddamn I would love to see an attempt to explain Immortal. It's unreadable, one of those games where the rules are battered in a thick coating of goofy names and metaphoric titles and then deep-fried in a vat of oily fluff text, such that you can never tell if you're reading a game rule or a poem at any given moment.
I did a complete review of it, but I'm not sure that I can claim to have explained it. I covered it chapter by chapter, so that I could try to make sense of it as it presented itself, but also demonstrate my utter dismay as the game throws around references to things that aren't actually defined until a hundred pages later.

Immortal is often dismissed as a Highlander ripoff, and it's definitely more than that. I've been told that much of the setting is a ripoff of Clive Barker's Weaveworld, but I've never read that.

Immortal is really loving bizarre and difficult for a lot of reasons. The first is that the book just rambles. It's not a corebook that presents the setting and teaches you how to play the game. All of that is in there, but it's scattered, and the book often repeats itself or presents ideas totally out of order. I've heard that Ackels ran Immortal as a homebrew campaign for years before he published it, and that makes sense. The book is written more like a sprawling, meandering setting bible for people who already get it.

The second problem, and probably the biggest, is that Immortal has too many conceits stacked on top of each other. The basic premise is that the KPg Extinction Event was really a godlike entity crashing into the earth. It shattered into pieces that merged with animals, transforming them into sentient immortals who learned to mimic human form. It still lives as a malevolent spirit that wants to reconstitute its physical form, so immortals live among humans waging a secret war against it.

That's a great premise for a modern fantasy game, but they layered a bunch of other poo poo on top of it! Like:

a) To alleviate the ennui of being literally millions of years old, immortals use a ritual to give themselves amnesia, die, and reincarnate as humans, possibly through several lifetimes. When they eventually reawaken, all those past lives are still rattling around in your head, wanting to take over. The GM has to ignore this, build plots around it, or let it derail the campaign.

b) Immortals are shapeshifters who learned how to appear human; they still have a true form (that "himsati" thing). So your character is a werewolf, or a werespider, or even a weretree or a wererock. There is a mess of problems associated with taking your himsati form. The GM has to ignore this, build plots around it, or let it derail the campaign.

c) Immortals used to live in a bunch of parallel dimensions, but they had a big war and now they're all polluted, diseased shitholes. If your spiritual energy becomes completely tainted, you get sucked into them. This means immortals have to be psychic vampires stealing energy from mortals, or risk being sucked into a hell-dimension.

d) Immortals spend a lot of time in pocket dimensions they create, which are basically giant theme parks where it's always medieval Japan, or ancient Rome, or even Buck Rogers.

e) Immortals never really die; at worst, they drift around as ghosts who can only sort-of interact with the real world.

All of this stuff is best ignored entirely unless the GM wants to build a plotline around it, lest it derail the entire campaign.

The third problem is that the setting is incredibly overwritten, right in the corebook. Immortal's setting isn't any more complicated than, for example, Vampire...but it's all crammed into one book, and starts rambling about the most obscure stuff on the first page!

The last problem is that, as you know, the writing is incredibly pretentious. There are literally hundreds of setting jargon words, and they're flowery and mostly drawn from mythology or not-quite-Latin: Immaculum, Lethe, Sanguinary, even Colostrum, I swear to God. Not only that, but this is one of those games that thought they needed to rename every common bit of terminology in roleplaying: players are "actors," a combat turn is a "clash," a penalty to your roll is a "hostile" and on and on. It also bounces back and forth between setting and rules at will. Like, the life-draining and past life stuff I mentioned previously? Those are basic, vital components of playing a character, and you have to read between the lines and make many inferences just to understand what they mean and how they work.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



You forgot that you're supposed to play yourself as a reawakening Immortal.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Ooh, a game where you play as yourself? I haven't seen one of those since Time Ship. Also, drat if it doesn't make the medical term for early breastmilk into a game term. That's just fantastic.

The Lemondrop Dandy
Jun 7, 2007

If my memory serves me correctly...




Wedge Regret

Halloween Jack posted:

... even Colostrum, I swear to God.

Okay, I'll bite. What could this even mean as a game term? Like, royal jelly or something?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Magic royal jelly. One of the immortal clans summoned a cosmic entity which, due to shenanigans, is now a giant lobotomized queen bee that makes liquid magic. It's also an addictive drug.

The other setting twist I forgot to mention is that the Sanguinary (giant evil Sauron meteor thing) lives in the collective unconscious of mortals, so immortals go on dream-adventures to fight the Sanguinary in the dream-world. So, how does that work? What is it like? What are they trying to accomplish? It doesn't say, because that would get in the way of more flavor text about what the signature NPCs and NPC factions did literally millions of years ago. All dream-adventuring is handled using a single magic power that gets a paragraph telling you what it can do.

Immortal has plenty of rules, but there is so much poo poo to cover that important stuff is handled in ways that are simplistic to the point of uselessness. The dream-power is just one example. Other immortal powers include telling the future, locating anything or anyone you want, and time travel, and there's not much the GM can do about them except negate them by fiat.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

In this episode of Monsterhearts...



The Ghost :ghost:

The Skin with the best piece of prose attached. Each of the Skins has a bit of really flowery prose that's supposed to get you really into the character. The Ghost has this:

Ghosty ghost. You're dead.

Okay, so the Ghost is one of those Skins that at first seems like a hard fit for the genre of Monsterhearts. If the characters are supposed to be teenagers that are able to fit in (although awkwardly) in high school and pretend to be normal teenagers, isn't a literal Ghost kind of going to kind of blow that cover?

The truth is, the game is kind of vague on this part. It's implied that while the Ghost is, well, literally a Ghost, they have a corporeal form to an extent. Furthermore, since one of the Ghost's themes is being caught in a perpetual cycle of unresolved trauma, having one hanging out at high school, going through the motions, actually kind of works. The Ghost is that kid who no one really pays attention to, the one whom everyone just sort of ignores, only sometimes stopping to wonder about their out of place look and their outdated style of dress.

The Ghost's got high Cold and Dark, but low Hot and Volatile. Neither very physically imposing nor alluring, the Ghost is still very controlled and cool, and in tune with the occult.

So, moves. The Ghost starts with Unresolved Trauma. When the Ghost projects the fear and trauma of their death on someone else, they roll Dark. On a 10+ they give the blamed condition to up to two people. On a 7-9, same, but for each person they pick they have to choose one of the following:
  • They gain the delusional condition.
  • They can't speak during the scene.
  • They suffer one harm.
  • They start re-enacting the scene of their death.

Unresolved Trauma is the backbone of the Ghost, because blaming people for your death, lashing out at those you blame for it, and forgiving them is effectively what the Ghost is about.

Creep gives the Ghost a String whenever they secretly witness someone in their most intimate moments, like showering or sleeping. This is the one you pick if you want to be the creepy Ghost that is mostly about spying on the living for kicks.

Vengeful is the move you pick if you want to play an angry poltergeist: when you Lash Out Physically at someone with the blamed condition, you roll Dark instead of Volatile and deal one extra harm. While fighting isn't the main focus of Monsterhearts, this move makes the Ghost a real threat when punches start getting thrown.

Forgive and Forget lets you mark experience whenever you forgive someone and absolve them of the blamed condition. This is another move that rewards you for playing the Ghost like you're supposed to: caught in a cycle of blaming others and eventually coming to terms with it and forgiving them.

Hungry Ghost basically turns you into everyone's best friends, but also lets you get off on their sadness. When the Ghost lets someone dump their problems on them, the Ghost rolls with Dark. On a 10+ the dumper loses all their conditions, but the Ghost either marks experience, gets to carry one forward, or gains a String on them. On a 7-9 the person dumping their problems chooses to either lose all their conditions or to gain a String on the Ghost. I don't quite get the theme behind this move, but apparently it turns you into a ghostly shrink?

Dissipate lets you walk through walls, like in the movies. Yeah, that's all it does. In a more rules-heavy game at this point there'd be a huge explanation of the exact mechanics of walking through walls, but in a game like Monsterhearts the statement that you can walk through walls is explanation enough. I'm not sure I'd take it personally, because some of the other moves are much more thematically interesting, but it's a well-designed move in its minimalism.

The Ghost's backstory is as follows: Someone knows that they're dead and how they died, and they gain one String on the Ghost. However, the Ghost has been inside someone's bedroom while they slept, so they gain one String on that person.

Sex move. When the Ghost has sex with someone, they both get to ask each other one question, either character-to-character or player-to-player. Whatever the case, they must answer the question honestly.

Darkest self. When the Ghost's darkest self triggers, they turn invisible. No one can see them, feel them, or hear their voice. Their only avenue of communication is through being able to move inanimate objects. They only escape their darkest self until someone acknowledges their presence and demonstrates how much they want them around.

The darkest self is enough on itself to really drive home what the Ghost's biggest tragedy is. I mentioned them being the kid whom everyone ignores, and that's basically the worst thing you can do to someone caught in a cycle of unresolved trauma, willing to blame everyone around them. Turning invisible at your darkest moment just reinforces that, but also gives you a pretty good avenue for enacting your vengeance upon those who you think you've wronged you.

Next time, the creepiest motherfucker in Monsterhearts: the Ghoul.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Ratpick posted:

Hungry Ghost basically turns you into everyone's best friends, but also lets you get off on their sadness. When the Ghost lets someone dump their problems on them, the Ghost rolls with Dark. On a 10+ the dumper loses all their conditions, but the Ghost either marks experience, gets to carry one forward, or gains a String on them. On a 7-9 the person dumping their problems chooses to either lose all their conditions or to gain a String on the Ghost. I don't quite get the theme behind this move, but apparently it turns you into a ghostly shrink?

It turns you into a sin-eater.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Ratpick posted:

Hungry Ghost basically turns you into everyone's best friends, but also lets you get off on their sadness. When the Ghost lets someone dump their problems on them, the Ghost rolls with Dark. On a 10+ the dumper loses all their conditions, but the Ghost either marks experience, gets to carry one forward, or gains a String on them. On a 7-9 the person dumping their problems chooses to either lose all their conditions or to gain a String on the Ghost. I don't quite get the theme behind this move, but apparently it turns you into a ghostly shrink?

They're dumping all of their problems on you. Your problems are ignored. It's part of the same voyeuristic archetype as Creep, while also feeding into the general theme of being ignored.

Tulul fucked around with this message at 21:48 on Jul 30, 2014

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 9: "Typically, these warriors are up to no good and can be found slaughtering and torturing enemy troops, slaughtering innocent civilians, looting and pillaging, conducting seek and destroy missions, sabotage, assassination, kidnapping, extortion, theft, espionage, dangerous or deadly magic rituals, and more."

Armageddon Unlimited

Look, there are stories about this company doing war atrocities, driving their employers mad, mass slaughter, and all that. But nobody believes those stories! They've obviously being slandered.
siembieda.txt

It doesn't say, but this is almost certainly a Siembieda piece. So this is a company that's secretly made up of demons that work for Ahriman and their minions, and travel across the MEGAVERSE causing lethal hijinks. More recently, they've been sent to Earth to scout it for invasion. They avoid the Coalition, fearing exposure, but are trying to figure out if they want to seek employment with Tolkeen to encourage an open war against the Coalition.

Tactics

Anyway, they're fast and overwhelming. Or sneaky and slow. Or they get your to surrender and murder you like the opening scene out of Fallout 2. They also try and encourage their clients to do eeevil things. Here's some pure, uncut Siembieda for you:

Rifts Mercenaries posted:

"You could ignore it, but I think they'll see your actions as a sign of weakness. I know I would... if I didn't know better. Just the other day, I overheard some enemy soldiers laughing about how they showed you. How you're to stupid (or cowardly) to dare retaliate. They said you were washed up. A has-been whose power is slipping through his fingers, and too feeble to do anything about it. One even suggested that old age has made you soft. A coward. Oh well, you're probably right. It's best to ignore them."

Rifts Mercenaries posted:

"They despise you. They think you're weak! A coward! Destroy them! Show those worthless D-bee swine (or humans, or whoever) your strength. Show them your righteous anger (or justice). Make them grovel at your feet and beg for mercy. See if they mock you when you hold their lives in your hands. Violence is all these vermin know! They live like animals, spreading their filth and pestilence. Destroy them!! I'm with you! Say the word and my legion will ride down upon them tonight!! We'll teach them a lesson they'll never forget. Show them who holds the reigns of power! You must, or you'll never know peace and your people will suffer for it. My god, man, is there any other alternative? No! What do you say? Let me do this for you. It will be an honor."

Whoa, slow down there, Skeletor. :v:

Also sometimes he goes to cause evil and pin the blame on somebody else, and then offers their services as mercenaries to resolve the matter (with murder). It notes that they tend to underestimate mortal foes (essentially all supernatural monsters have this "drawback" in Rifts) and use magic too much (ditto) and draw attention with their body counts (double ditto).

On to the company's directory:


Ursus, N'iall, Urlik, Leon, and Sargon
  • General Ursus (Dysasha Ley Line Walker): Ursus is a "dysasha", which apparently the bigger, near-extinct cousins to the raksasha that serve Ahriman. They're described as alternately ursine or canine (it can't decide with). In any case, he's an agent for Ahriman, is demigod-level, and eviil, eeeeviiil! He's enjoying loving with humanity but knows he's just a small cog in a big conquest machine. Turn-ons: murder, chaos. Turn-offs: characterization, nuance. There also rules to play a Dysasha, presuming the GM lets you play a 4000 MDC psychic ley line walker shapeshifting invisible teleporter with a special bear hug attack. Sounds reasonable!
  • Colonel N'iall (Raksasha Wizard / Mind Melter): The local Starscream, N'iall is not happy about being second in command or being on Earth, and so always tries to undermine Ursus when he can get away with it. When he can't, he takes it out on innocents in all sorts of horrible ways. He's supposed to be the company's scout, which seems like a super idea. Oh, and he has all psionic powers, which means his power expands with each (rare) psionics supplement. Otherwise, he's got all the Raksasha powers from Rifts Conversion Book.
  • Urlik Blackhand (Ogre Tattooed Man): An Ogre from a world ruled by the Splugorth, he fought in a war against Ahriman's forces. He surrendered and switched sides, becoming one of Ursus' solders. He really dislikes the Splugorth and has the magic tattoos from Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis that all look like something that came out of a toy dispenser.
  • Leon Pasquali (Witch): A summoner that tried to bargain with Ahriman and became his Earthly buttmonkey. He's not thrilled with following Ursus, but doesn't have any choice, and often acts as the good cop and PR man for the group. Conversely, he sucks souls from the battlefield with a ritual to use them to weaken Ahriman's prison (there are no rules for this). Oh, and Ahriman can cast spells through him, so he's potentially top of the pops when it comes to magic as long as Ahirman allows him to be.
  • Sargon the Hunter (Psi-Stalker) "... a wild psi-stalker who enjoys killing and torturing. He no better than the demons he works with." Not much else to add, except that has a group of scouts that flies around on stolen Coalition sky-cycles, like some sort of air bikers. For whatever reason, he's loaded down with magic goodies including the rune weapons that are supposed to be rare except for all the villains that have them. Oh, and he has a Beauty of 5. Whee.
They manage to keep 67 demons in line and disguised... somehow... and have about a hundred other troops. Unlike the other writeups, it doesn't have adventure hooks, instead just saying that such is "obvious" and that the PCs might be brought to oppose them in a number of ways, and that they've vengeful and can be used as a recurring foe. (Siembieda always frames villains as recurring foes, on account of taking most of his cues from 80s cartoons, I suppose.)

I haven't picked on the art as much because I've been formatting it for clarity with the character lists, but I have to bring up some pieces here.



That's supposed to be a tiger-headed guy, for the record. I don't know what was actually drawn there, because it looks more like a bearwolf. Maybe this was supposed to be Ursus? It's embedded with N'iall's statblock, though.



Does this guy have a bone through his nose, or is he supposed to have weird scars that somehow skip over the nose or... what's actually being depicted here?

Hopefully the artists here have improved, it looks like John Livesay has gotten a fair amount of DC work as an inker. Scott Szczesniak, the penciller, however, has vanished as an artist aside from a few pieces done for other games like Warcry.

Next: Colonel Marcus "Sue" Larsen.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 17:19 on Jul 31, 2014

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Tulul posted:

They're dumping all of their problems on you. Your problems are ignored. It's part of the same voyeuristic archetype as Creep, while also feeding into the general theme of being ignored.


Kai Tave posted:

It turns you into a sin-eater.

Yeah, that makes sense. Monsterhearts keeps surprising me, I always find these bits that felt really disjointed upon first reading but actually make perfect sense when you look at them the right way. Actually, Hungry Ghost is actually a pretty terrible move, not in game terms but in terms of how it encourages you to play your character as the one whose problems get ignored, even when those problems amount to "I suffered a hugely traumatic event but I can't talk about it and everyone just ignores and shuns me and being reminded of said trauma causes me to re-enact the emotional turmoil caused by it..."

Holy poo poo, I think I just got the Ghost for the first time and it's horrible. :(

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

General Ursus (Dysasha Ley Line Walker): Ursus is a "dysasha", which apparently the bigger, near-extinct cousins to the raksasha that serve Ahriman. They're described as alternately urine or canine (it can't decide with).

I know you mean ursine, but I prefer to assume that Simbieda has a secret pee fetish I didn't know about.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


theironjef posted:

I know you mean ursine, but I prefer to assume that Simbieda has a secret pee fetish I didn't know about.

Dare you enter his magical realm?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

I know you mean ursine, but I prefer to assume that Simbieda has a secret pee fetish I didn't know about.

Fixed it with the power of editing!

Really anything would be more interesting than "like rakshasas from D&D, only with a bear I mean wolf head and 10x the hit points".

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Fixed it with the power of editing!

Really anything would be more interesting than "like rakshasas from D&D, only with a bear I mean wolf head and 10x the hit points".

Honestly the little tossed off stat blocks for RCCs that occasionally accompany the weirder NPCs in big lists of groups are some of my favorite stuff in Rifts. I've always wanted to see a party that's just those. Like a Dysasha, Uteni, Pog-Tal, and a Dreamer just out living the post-American dream.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Aw look it's not Master Splinter, it's Master Wood Fragment In My Thumb.
I like how Sargon the Hunger has animal fangs. Like, he is gonna eat minds and how else are you gonna eat minds? Sharp teeth, duh! I'M SPOOKY AND EVIL! Also come on. "The Hunger"? Not "The Hungerer"? He doesn't hunger, he is hunger?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

Like a Dysasha, Uteni, Pog-Tal, and a Dreamer just out living the post-American dream.

Pog-Tal? That race is almost never referred to by that name, you're in too deep, pull up, pull up. :(

But yeah, reviewing Pantheons and Africa also reminded me there are lots of weird, broken races nobody brings up because godlings and dragons get all the attention, but stuff like phoenixi and norse giants are frig-uggin-diculous.

pkfan2004 posted:

I like how Sargon the Hunger has animal fangs. Like, he is gonna eat minds and how else are you gonna eat minds? Sharp teeth, duh! I'M SPOOKY AND EVIL! Also come on. "The Hunger"? Not "The Hungerer"? He doesn't hunger, he is hunger?

I just... should have triple-checked for typos. It should be "Hunter". Of course, it should say something about Rifts that such didn't register as a typo in my mind until I double-checked the book.

Of course, one of the things about Sargon is that he's a psi-stalker, and psi-stalkers actually have a canon "look" since they're mutants where they're hairless and have copious amounts of shadow around their eyes, and Sargon doesn't look anything like that. Maybe they're not mutants and Sargon is just trying to pass as normal? Or maybe he's wearing a wig or a rubber mask. It's a mystery!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Pog-Tal? That race is almost never referred to by that name, you're in too deep, pull up, pull up. :(

But yeah, reviewing Pantheons and Africa also reminded me there are lots of weird, broken races nobody brings up because godlings and dragons get all the attention, but stuff like phoenixi and norse giants are frig-uggin-diculous.


I just... should have triple-checked for typos. It should be "Hunter". Of course, it should say something about Rifts that such didn't register as a typo in my mind until I double-checked the book.

Of course, one of the things about Sargon is that he's a psi-stalker, and psi-stalkers actually have a canon "look" since they're mutants where they're hairless and have copious amounts of shadow around their eyes, and Sargon doesn't look anything like that. Maybe they're not mutants and Sargon is just trying to pass as normal? Or maybe he's wearing a wig or a rubber mask. It's a mystery!

Never! The big slobbery mouth-giants are one of my favorites! Plus yeah, that guy is nowhere near a psi-stalker, he looks like the art call was issued to a late-90s X-Men penciller with the instructions "morlock vampire".

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Alien Rope Burn posted:

I just... should have triple-checked for typos. It should be "Hunter". Of course, it should say something about Rifts that such didn't register as a typo in my mind until I double-checked the book.

Ah poo poo, sorry. Yeah, blame RIFTS.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



While I fully admit I am ridiculously behind on the Torg megareview, I do want to point out that it looks like all the Torg books are available on DriveThru now, with the news that "there will be new Torg titles forthcoming in 2015", whatever that means (please be a new game line).

e: Gah, looks like it's a bunch off stuff except the core cosm books. What's the point of that? :argh:

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 19:46 on Jul 31, 2014

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Evil Mastermind posted:

While I fully admit I am ridiculously behind on the Torg megareview, I do want to point out that it looks like all the Torg books are available on DriveThru now, with the news that "there will be new Torg titles forthcoming in 2015", whatever that means (please be a new game line).

e: Gah, looks like it's a bunch off stuff except the core cosm books. What's the point of that? :argh:
The last I heard, the Torg license is owned by Ulisses Spiele, the German company that publishes Das Schwarze Auge. They bought the license in 2010, and they commented that they were still waiting for good ol' Eric Gibson to send them all the relevant materials. They also said that because none of them are native English speakers, they would need a licensee if they wanted to publish new Torg stuff.

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

Evil Mastermind posted:

While I fully admit I am ridiculously behind on the Torg megareview, I do want to point out that it looks like all the Torg books are available on DriveThru now, with the news that "there will be new Torg titles forthcoming in 2015", whatever that means (please be a new game line).

e: Gah, looks like it's a bunch off stuff except the core cosm books. What's the point of that? :argh:

I have all of those in hard copy. :smug:

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I have all of those in hard copy. :smug:

Same here. Maybe not all of them, but just the cosm books plus a few others.

The Iron Rose
May 12, 2012

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:


Man Monsterhearts sounds all kinds of cool and awesome.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

The Iron Rose posted:

Man Monsterhearts sounds all kinds of cool and awesome.

It's got a pretty good pedigree: not only is it one of the best (if not the best) implementations of the PbtA engine (and not just according to nerds like me on the internet, but also according to Vincent Baker himself. Yeah, during a panel at a Finnish con last year he literally said that.), but it also manages to deal with dark and mature subject matter in a mature way, which is something in an industry where most people's litmus test for maturity in an RPG is "gratuitous amounts of gore in the art, casual mentions of sexual violence in the flavortext".

I'll probably do the Ghoul tonight after work. Where the Ghost is one of the saddest Skins in Monsterhearts, the Ghoul is definitely the most creepy, at least in my opinion. Also, the Ghoul also contains the one thing (and the only one thing) in Monsterhearts which I consider potentially problematic, but even then it's mostly a case of "a catpiss group could turn this into something sick."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 10: "The man has no fear."

Larsen's Brigade

This is a jam between Siembieda and Carella, and the star company from the fiction. They're ridiculously expensive to hire at 30 million credits, though they sometimes put out small squads for smaller prices. Their big specialty is armored and mecha warfare, and prefer overwhelming force. Not terribly deep, really.


Marcus, Antonio, Perrin, and Ralph.
  • Colonel Marcus Larsen (Coalition Military Specialist): A distinguished soldier for the Coalition, he got in trouble for speaking out for mutant animals and, eventually, refusing to exterminate a village of D-Bees. When he was court-martialed, he broke out with his most loyal men and became renegades, forming a band hundreds strong. Rather than engage him in a potentially embarrassing conflict, the Emperor gave him a pardon with a warning to stay out of Coalition business. (He hasn't.)
  • Antonio Giordano (Juicer): Larsen's bodyguard, he's a hard cold man who knows no fear and has the image of death in his eyes. No real backstory, just a ridiculous steam of nonsense about how tough he is. Moving on.
  • Major Perrin (Dog Boy): One of the original troops that defected with Larsen, he has wolf genes which make him less submissive and more wild. He's in charge of sensing and countering magical threats.
  • Ralph the Destroyer (Holy Terror): A "Holy Terror" from Rifts Dimension Book One: Wormwood, he accidentally was shunted to Earth when trying to rift across his home world. He met Larsen's Brigade when they were fighting a generic necromancer and decided they were good people to fight alongside.
Strangely enough, the Larsen's Brigade characters from the fiction in this book - Pedro, Greg, Crunch - don't get writeups for whatever reason. For being the iconic company of the book, their writeup is surprisingly anemic.

We get a breakdown of their 3,000-4,000 soldiers (!) and 5,000 support personnel and noncombatants. They're ridiculously well armed and supplied with maybe a thousand vehicles and power armor suits. For whatever reason, there are no adventure ideas, not even a peep, but you could probably squeak some out of the metafiction and metaplot stuff earlier, since they figure into the Coalition / Tolkeen conflict.

And if you're not familiar, Larsen's Brigade is a obvious copy of the eponymous Hammer's Slammers, with Larsen being an analogue of Hammer and Giordano being quite similar to Major Joachim Steuben from the books. And yes, they do use hovertanks, though they rely more on power armor and robots as a whole.

Edit: You know, let's just share some the descriptive text about Antonio Giordano.
  • "Antonio is Larsen's latest bodyguard, a quiet and withdrawn Juicer who is a living weapon at Larsen's beck and call."
  • "The Juicer has no qualms about murder or torture, as long as his boss thinks it's all right."
  • "He often defuses quarrels among the troops with a snarl and it's claimed that he can frighten low level foes simply by staring at the enemy with his cold, unblinking eyes."
  • "Some people, have even claimed to have seen the image of their death in those eyes."
  • "As long as he is alive, Colonel Larsen will be safe from danger."
  • "He always stares at people in an unnerving manner, as if he's sizing them up for a coffin or something equally unpleasant."
Oh, Carella.

Next: Secret Splugorth spies sneak suspiciously.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 12:35 on Aug 1, 2014

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Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I have all of those in hard copy. :smug:

Yeah, I have all the cosm books, plus the three "sub-cosm". None of the adventures, though, because they were all garbage.

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