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  • Locked thread
Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

Impermanent posted:

People never did this with Vampire, and I think this has to do with the fact that Vampire was marketed at a time when emotionally distant vampires were still more of a masculine fantasy than a feminine one.
I don't think so. Vampire is a giant ripoff of Anne Rice, which was women-oriented gay softcore porn from the beginning. I think it's more that there are probably not terribly many people who are not emotionally immature teenagers in highschool who would see the appeal in roleplaying an emotionally immature teenager in highschool. It wasn't that fun the first time around.

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Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Impermanent posted:

This isn't an indictment of your personal preferences, but your title is literally from a work of simulated angst.

Monsterhearts is at its heart as much of a pulpfest as any clockwork steampunk dungeon game and it makes me sad that the gaming community approaches its (still pulpy, popcorny fun) angst-fest so tepidly.

People never did this with Vampire, and I think this has to do with the fact that Vampire was marketed at a time when emotionally distant vampires were still more of a masculine fantasy than a feminine one.

It's also possible that it has less to do with masculine vs feminine fantasies and more why people game in the first place. Angsting through teen melodrama is something a lot of people did in real-life and found unpleasant. Also at its heart Vampire was mainly a power fantasy which doesn't really have much to do with Monster Hearts other than genre set pieces.

LeastActionHero
Oct 23, 2008


Impermanent posted:

They're not bisexual, they're going through the fluid process of maturing through teenage sexuality.

Bisexual/ is likely to be turned on and have sex with people regardless of gender; Po-ta-to/po-tah-to.

Either way that's just something I can't directly relate to.

psychopomp posted:

Honestly this is a "realistic" (but unfun) attitude that would be perfectly valid when discussing almost any role-playing game.

In most other games you pretty easily have some obvious motivation to interact with the system. Defend your community, get rich, get revenge, whatever. In monsterhearts, what motivation does either character have in this example (from the fae writeup)?

Ratpick posted:

Fun fact: in the very first Monsterhearts game I played, the Mortal and the Fae ended up having sex. The Fae immediately extracted the promise "Promise you'll never leave me" from the Mortal. Now, because the Mortal's sex move triggers the other person's darkest self, the Mortal narrated that while the Fae was putting her clothes back on, she suddenly heard the door to the room slam, and once she looked around the Mortal was nowhere in sight. Hilarity tragedy ensued.

Impermanent
Apr 1, 2010








People still watch Shakespeare (hell, people put work into acting in Shakespeare for free in community theatre) and Romeo & Juliet is, for example, just teenage melodrama as foundational driving force.

TV shows where people act out teenage melodrama are very, very popular. Buffy is a huge nerd culture icon TV show and it is primarily about highschool relationships (and a major inspiration point for MonsterHearts.)

People game to do a bunch of stuff, and it could ~potentially~ be as varied as the reasons they watch a show or read a book. It is the overall fandom's inhibitions and unwillingness to move away from power fantasies that prevents gaming from being as artistically expressive as it could be.

I am not saying that anyone's preferences are wrong, I just think that they are emblematic of a certain way of thinking about games that fails to capture their full potential.

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

Impermanent posted:

This isn't an indictment of your personal preferences, but your title is literally from a work of simulated angst.

Monsterhearts is at its heart as much of a pulpfest as any clockwork steampunk dungeon game and it makes me sad that the gaming community approaches its (still pulpy, popcorny fun) angst-fest so tepidly.

People never did this with Vampire, and I think this has to do with the fact that Vampire was marketed at a time when emotionally distant vampires were still more of a masculine fantasy than a feminine one.

I didn't buy my title and I really want to know who did. Also I despise Vampire with every fiber of my being.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Dilb posted:

In most other games you pretty easily have some obvious motivation to interact with the system. Defend your community, get rich, get revenge, whatever. In monsterhearts, what motivation does either character have in this example (from the fae writeup)?

The particular tidbit you quoted was from a one-shot game of Monsterhearts I played. Regardless, the events that I described actually had a context and didn't happen just because: in character creation we defined our characters' relations, and it became apparent that the Fae had caught the Mortal's fancy and the Mortal thought them to be (at the time) their one true love. So, awkward teenage romance was the context for that particular event. (e: As far as the motivation went, well, all the in-character motivation we needed was "They like each other and they're teenagers" but the metagame motivation was something closer to "If those guys do it it's going to lead into some amazing drama")

Secondly, I haven't got as far as that in my writeup, but Monsterhearts is about more than just teenage monster sexytimes. Someone already mentioned the Growing Up moves which represent the characters actually maturing as people. Secondly, while the first session of the game is mostly meant to be used to establish the characters and who they are in the context of their hometown, their school, and their community, by the second session the MC should've been able to draw some big old Menace for their game from the events of the first session (or even better, straight from the characters' backstories). The main idea though is that the action is character driven: even when there is a big old Menace out there terrorizing the town, it's up to the PCs' actions to determine which direction the story takes.

It also helps when you realize that Monsterhearts doesn't follow the traditional RPG "adventuring party" model. The game is based on Apocalypse World, which is basically "RPG based on a fictional HBO show set in the post-apocalypse." The structure of Monsterhearts is similar: it's not the PCs vs. the world, it's the PCs with their individual wants and needs, sometimes coming to blows with each, sometimes the other PCs having something the other PC might need. Hell, the couple of times I've run Monsterhearts a couple of PCs have stood out as the big villains of the story, to the point where I didn't even need to come up with an outside villain (but had I wanted to, the Infernal's Dark Power would've provided a good starting point, as would've the Faery King since the Fae took the move which allowed them to commune with them).

So, yeah, Monsterhearts isn't exactly about action, it's about drama. With the right group composition (I'm thinking Chosen, Mortal and Queen, maybe with a Witch thrown in) you could easily run it as a monster of the week type of deal where it's the PCs as a group against the monsters lurking out there, but even then the game's system provides a framework for creating melodrama within the group, and it's best suited to that.

Ratpick fucked around with this message at 22:05 on Aug 20, 2014

LeastActionHero
Oct 23, 2008


Ratpick posted:

The particular tidbit you quoted was from a one-shot game of Monsterhearts I played. Regardless, the events that I described actually had a context and didn't happen just because: in character creation we defined our characters' relations, and it became apparent that the Fae had caught the Mortal's fancy and the Mortal thought them to be (at the time) their one true love. So, awkward teenage romance was the context for that particular event.

The sex was actually the part I found the least confusing. I meant more like why did the fae want that particular promise? Why did the mortal immediately leave without saying anything?

This is not a problem that I think should be fixed, exactly, but I'm having a hard time imagine how I'd engage with the system. If I were seriously trying to play I'd need to set up meta-goals for myself, like "have sex with everyone" or "trigger everyone's darkest self, aimed at someone else". I'm not sure why I'd want to interact with most of the rules, unless I was just deliberately trying to stir up trouble. I had that same issue when I was reading Mosterheart game writeups in the notable experiences thread.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


Dilb posted:

I'm having a hard time imagine how I'd engage with the system. If I were seriously trying to play I'd need to set up meta-goals for myself, like "have sex with everyone" or "trigger everyone's darkest self, aimed at someone else". I'm not sure why I'd want to interact with most of the rules, unless I was just deliberately trying to stir up trouble.

Are you a robot who doesn't understand the concept of playing a game to play through cool story moments, or the idea that people might like RPGs that emulate genres other than "kill nonhumans to steal their stuff?"

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

"You're talking to cats."
"And you eat ghosts, so shut the fuck up."

Dilb posted:

In most other games you pretty easily have some obvious motivation to interact with the system. Defend your community, get rich, get revenge, whatever. In monsterhearts, what motivation does either character have in this example (from the fae writeup)?

Ratpick gave a pretty good answer already that applies to the table at large. I'm just going to add to it by saying that every individual skin actually has its own specific motivation, which may (will!) conflict with those of the other players. Jackson Tegu, the guy who wrote the Monsterhearts: Second Skins supplement, describes every MH skin as being its own minigame in of itself, and that's the best way to describe it, I think.

If I am playing a Ghoul, then I am basically playing a game where my objective is to fulfill my hungers -- I am both mechanically and narratively compelled to do this, and likewise I am both mechanically and narratively rewarded for fulfilling them. So my job is to go around doing lovely and morally troublesome things in order to feel remotely human while the MC makes sure that I still end up feeling conflicted about it -- this is complicated by my having a background connection with another character at the table essentially saying that I really like them.

Meanwhile, someone else is playing the Fae. They are playing a game about getting people to promise them poo poo and/or punishing them for breaking those promises. And their primary means of gathering strings and making other do what they want relies on their good hot stat. They've even potentially got two moves that make them better at Turn Someone On. So their job is to flit around being sexy and fickle, gaining leverage on people and cashing it in to obtain promises. The MC is meant to create situations that lend themselves to this, and also make you feel guilty after you punish someone for breaking an arbitrary promise.

I could probably give you a decent rundown of what mechanics exist in the Fae and the Mortal skin that would motivate the kind of scene that happened with Ratpick's group, but it's Ratpick's writeup and they haven't covered the Mortal yet, so I'm not going to jump ahead and talk about how it works in any detail. Just suffice it to say that the Mortal's player is playing a game that is entirely about creating scenes like the one described above.

Gazetteer fucked around with this message at 22:40 on Aug 20, 2014

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Dilb posted:

This is not a problem that I think should be fixed, exactly, but I'm having a hard time imagine how I'd engage with the system. If I were seriously trying to play I'd need to set up meta-goals for myself, like "have sex with everyone" or "trigger everyone's darkest self, aimed at someone else". I'm not sure why I'd want to interact with most of the rules, unless I was just deliberately trying to stir up trouble. I had that same issue when I was reading Mosterheart game writeups in the notable experiences thread.

I'd say that stirring up trouble is a perfectly valid approach to playing the game, simply because it leads to interesting drama. A lot of stories I've heard about Monsterhearts have had a Mortal character at the center, usually portrayed as innocent and naive and the sort of person who easily falls in love, all the drama being about all the various monstrous characters caught in a perpetual state of warfare because of the Mortal. I mean, that's basically True Blood right there (except that Sookie's not exactly mortal but who cares the big reveal about her powers was terrible).

Also, sometimes it's just fun to play the villain: as I mentioned in my previous post, one of my players actually provided me with a villain for a short run of Monsterhearts I ran, simply because his Vampire was kind of an rear end in a top hat. While the other characters weren't in any way united (the Infernal wanted revenge on the Queen for a lifetime of bullying, the Witch wanted to know what the hell was going on with the Infernal, the Mortal wanted to get into the Infernal's pants and the Fae was sort of just looking at everything that was going on from the sidelines) they were all united in thinking that the Vampire was being a murderous sadistic rear end in a top hat and should be taken down a peg. Everyone had fun and the Vampire's player relished the opportunity to play the villain (especially after he triggered his Darkest Self).

I think someone in the chat thread said that Monsterhearts is tragedy at heart, and in my experience most games of Monsterhearts tend to gravitate towards a big showdown where a lot of emotions are at stake, lots of blood is spilt, and then the Mortal who caused this loving mess dies dramatically.

e: and just when I post I notice that Gazetteer said everything I should've said much better than I ever could. Also, don't worry about spoiling the Mortal's sex move, I think it's come up in this discussion a couple of times already.

Ratpick fucked around with this message at 22:37 on Aug 20, 2014

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Impermanent posted:

It is the overall fandom's inhibitions and unwillingness to move away from power fantasies that prevents gaming from being as artistically expressive as it could be.

I am not saying that anyone's preferences are wrong, I just think that they are emblematic of a certain way of thinking about games that fails to capture their full potential.

I don't think you're accusing anyone of badwrongfun, but it always bugs me when people get dismissive of most games as being nothing more than power fantasies, and how games could be so much more if people would just be More Mature.

I tend to see it not so much as glorifying power but agency - the ability to make meaningful choices as a PC and have them reflected back by the gameworld. Why play an RPG that emphasizes futility and powerlessness? It's what makes horror have such a niche appeal - horror only works well when your options narrow, when the chances of survival are more remote by the moment and you dig into someone's primal fight-or-flight-ohgod-please-flight response.

Not liking that isn't a sign of immaturity or narrow-mindedness, it just means that's not something you feel the need to seek out in your recreation. Hearing that Monsterhearts is intended to drive towards a conclusion where everyone is a well-adjusted adult is fantastic. Way, way, way too much of this genre is focused about the spiral down into the dark, without chance of escape.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Vampire, as much as we like to joke about it being about angst, and as much as the original developers swore up and down that it was about personal horror, turned into a power fantasy. Back when I played it in the Nineties, we took to referring to it as 'superheroes with fangs'.

And yes, Buffy, and Romeo et Juliet, and whatnot-- these are stories that we observe. Curtains go down, credits roll, and one of your buddies isn't nursing a grudge over another ganking his high-level Mercutio.

Look at the Catpiss thread. Count the number of references to the Geek Social Fallacies, and the number of looong posts about one or two players who turn a perfectly normal game into a shitshow. All of us have or have heard stories about why tabletop PVP is something to be avoided, if not banned outright.

I've come to really like Monsterhearts as a concept, and my respect for its author has only grown, but it's something that I can't see myself ever playing because every local tabletop group I've been in has had at least one player who would turn it into a house of horrors. Consent, discussion? Are you kidding? We're talking decades of dice/DM's word is law, and skipping over the talky sections of rulebooks. These are precisely the sort of groups failed by the writer's original decision not to hold the players' hands through the processes of mature communication, because we've already been taught to just grin and bear it. I had to learn things like consent and fading to black from MUDs, because even games like Old Vampire only really tickled at it with ostrich feathers.

I really like Monsterhearts. I'm hugely keen on storygames. The things people do with PBTA never cease to amaze me. All the same, I'm unlikely to play it myself, and the idea of introducing it to my local groups fills me with dread because-- I want to say it's because my groups have historically not been mature enough to handle things like that, because it sounds hilariously ironic to me. That we're from a generation that was taught to internalize grievances and avoid the risk of escalation, is much closer to the truth, and something like Monsterhearts probably isn't the best tool for trying to unlearn that behavior.

...and that sucks for me and mine, because it doesn't bode well for our ability to grok games that will inevitably branch even further from the murderhobo roots we're still playing among. At least I have places like TG here, because I'd never get the kind of discussion or play I do here, anywhere locally.

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

"You're talking to cats."
"And you eat ghosts, so shut the fuck up."

Dilb posted:

The sex was actually the part I found the least confusing. I meant more like why did the fae want that particular promise? Why did the mortal immediately leave without saying anything?

This is not a problem that I think should be fixed, exactly, but I'm having a hard time imagine how I'd engage with the system. If I were seriously trying to play I'd need to set up meta-goals for myself, like "have sex with everyone" or "trigger everyone's darkest self, aimed at someone else". I'm not sure why I'd want to interact with most of the rules, unless I was just deliberately trying to stir up trouble. I had that same issue when I was reading Mosterheart game writeups in the notable experiences thread.

"But why do I want to go into the dungeon and fight goblins? It would be way more logical to just stay back in my village and farm rutabaga!"

"Because we have all sat down to play a game about raiding a dungeon tonight, Jim! Why do you do this every week?"

Ratpick posted:

e: and just when I post I notice that Gazetteer said everything I should've said much better than I ever could. Also, don't worry about spoiling the Mortal's sex move, I think it's come up in this discussion a couple of times already.
Alright.

Basically the Mortal has a True Love. Like, at the beginning of the game they pick another player, and their character has a weird obsession with that person. Their job is to insinuate themselves into the other character's life as much as possible and create a really messy, unhealthy relationship. Usually this is romantic. The Mortal gets a bonus to all rolls pertaining to obtaining their true love's affection. They've additionally got a couple moves that basically reward them for putting themselves into situations where other characters push them around or treat them poorly. So they are pretty much the skin where their whole mechanical and narrative drive is "get with this specific character, rationalise away all their flaws." Then if the Mortal manages to seal the deal so to speak, afterward their sex move causes their partner to turn into a literal monster and probably hurt them in some way (emotionally, physically, whatever). So the Mortal can forgive them or ignore their faults, pick up some rewards for doing that and continue the cycle. So, yeah -- scenes like the one Ratpick described are the kind of thing that most games with a Mortal playing in them contain.

(Of course then later on when the Mortal gets their own darkest self triggered, their player uses all that leverage and poo poo they obtained by acting like a doormat to go on something of a rampage. It's definitely the most complicated skin out of the ones that come with the base game, and it's one that is often difficult for new players to really gel with).

Forums Terrorist
Dec 8, 2011



Gazetteer posted:

"But why do I want to go into the dungeon and fight goblins? It would be way more logical to just stay back in my village and farm rutabaga!"

WRONG

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGWRAa5uTUQ

LeastActionHero
Oct 23, 2008


Gazetteer posted:

Basically the Mortal has a True Love. Like, at the beginning of the game they pick another player, and their character has a weird obsession with that person. Their job is to insinuate themselves into the other character's life as much as possible and create a really messy, unhealthy relationship.

Ah, thanks, that explains a lot. edit- I hadn't absorbed the 'skins have their own goals' thing, so that really clears things up.

I'll just reiterate I am enjoying reading about monsterhearts, so thanks for all the effort.

LeastActionHero fucked around with this message at 23:35 on Aug 20, 2014

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."



Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine

Introduction

quote:

Sometime after the world drowned I found myself on one of the boats that go to Town.

I didn’t know yet that the world had fallen.

Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine is the latest game by Jenna Moran, also known for Nobilis and for her work on Exalted and Weapons of the Gods. If you're familiar with Nobilis, you might describe Chuubo as a low-powered version of Nobilis designed around slice-of-life shenanigans and small-town adventure.

If you're of a more mechanical turn of mind, Chuubo has a number of new features that make it very different from its parent game in practice. Nobilis used a point-bidding system for mortal characters, so that everybody had 8 points of Will to commit to all their various projects in a given day, with more Will allowing you to buy stipulations like "I do this correctly," "I do this and it works," "I do this and it makes things better," or maybe just "Well, I pleased myself, at least."

Chuubo still has this system but it's secondary to the Quest and XP systems, which are essentially ways to help players answer the question "What should I do next?"

quote:

Being and nothingness were swallowed, both of them, by the tidal wave of the Outside, but I hadn’t noticed yet, because I’d been living in one of the places that got covered by it, and so I’d stopped existing in any kind of defined way for a little while.

Then one of the exploring boats found Suzhou, where I’d been living. It made Suzhou exist again, more or less. It stopped being a wild, chaotic delirium and became a place again... more or less.

There's also plenty of miraculous powers for those who want to turn into a giant snake (this never helps) or command the waters of Big Lake, or something like that. The core of the gameplay comes from XP Actions, however, where you hit the right emotional beats for the genre you're aiming at in order to add XP to the pot. These XP go towards your quests, and completion of those quests allows you to make progress on the larger goals in your life. (Quests also have their own specific XP conditions, but we'll get to that later.)

quote:

I don’t think I was fully real again yet when I boarded.

I didn’t wake up, not all the way, until the boat crested the horizon of Big Lake and I saw the dockside settlement of Fortitude for the first time. Then it was like my heart woke up, and everything that had been black and white became color, and the textures of the world came back, and sound had richness and deepness once again.

It wasn’t because I’d been unreal, exactly.

It was part of it, I think, but only part of it. It was because... it was because as soon as I saw Fortitude I understood that work would be rewarded; that things had a beautiful simplicity; and that I had a home.

Basic Principles

The first part of the book is the standard rundown on "What Is An RPG and Why?" that all RPG manuals have to have. It also includes a few basic principles that are more specific to this system like "you can always act". I think you guys mostly know the drill by now, though!

The first game element that comes up that really needs explaining is going to be the eight Arcs and their colors. The path your character is moving along is an Arc, and Arcs can be customized via both the quests you take moving along them, the color of the Arc, and by a miraculous set of powers that you acquire for completing the Arc if you're playing on the miraculous scale.

(Oh, yeah, that scale is a thing. You can play a game of Chuubo's equally well with or without miraculous abilities. I almost think it would be better without, but I seem to be alone in this opinion.)

  • Blue arcs related to dealing with sealed or forbidden things—doing something you shouldn't or "shouldn't"
  • Orange arcs involve taking on a formal role and working within it
  • Green arcs involve interacting with the world and otherworld via dreams, nature, and communication with spirits
  • Red arcs involve telling stories; usually, you'll have a specific kind of story that you embody or facilitate
  • Golden arcs involve training hard and pushing yourself to become better
  • Purple arcs involve guiding, guarding and protecting others.
  • Silver arcs involve suffering, maybe a little and maybe a lot
  • Black arcs touch the unknowable and involve you walking into the hands of higher powers.

Exactly how you use this in practice will be something we explore in the next chapter, Campaigns! I will continue updating this WIR if you all wish hard enough, so please keep your hands locked in the wishing position until next time!

quote:

I guess that if you’re reading this then you are real. As I write this, you are mildly notional, of course. You can’t possibly be as real as the wood of the buildings, the depth of the air, the sounds of fish being sliced open and the smell of marlin cooking on a limestone slab. You’re part of the diffuse potential of “you could be reading this.”

But by the time you actually see this I guess you must be someone real. You must be a real, physical person, in one of the reclaimed regions, and maybe not even knowing that the world was lost. You might not even realize that you’ve been cheated, that there could be—

That there was more.

So come. Come to a little place called Town, in the middle of nowhere, circled by its reborn sun. Come, at least in play, and maybe in person if you can stand giving up some of the modern luxuries, and feel what it’s like to really live.

There is so much to experience here. You could live.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Dilb posted:

Bisexual/ is likely to be turned on and have sex with people regardless of gender; Po-ta-to/po-tah-to.

Either way that's just something I can't directly relate to.

Most people just aren't all the way one way or the other on the Kinsey scale. I think of myself as a straight male; I can still say that goddamn, Aldis Hodge is one sexy dude. People have exceptions. And how they react to that is part of what Monsterhearts is about. Suppose a character thinks of himself as straight but finds themselves awkwardly turned on by the weird guy in the next row. How does he react?

Does he get violent and angry over it? Entirely possible! Does he rethink his sexual identity? Also possible. There are many possible reactions, which include but do not require 'I am now bisexual.'

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

Lemon Curdistan posted:

Are you a robot who doesn't understand the concept of playing a game to play through cool story moments, or the idea that people might like RPGs that emulate genres other than "kill nonhumans to steal their stuff?"

I guess I am if those 'cool story moments' involve depression, angst, and melancholy.

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

"You're talking to cats."
"And you eat ghosts, so shut the fuck up."

I've never found Monsterhearts to be a particularly melancholy game to play. You're often dealing with potentially tricky subject matter, but most of the time everyone's having fun making intentionally bad life decisions, playing off each other's character flaws and working together to wring as much melodrama from every scene as is possible. I like roleplaying overwrought relationship and identity drama in a group with people who have likewise signed on for it, because it's fun to do that in a safe environment, and with this game we're not derailing anything because that's what the whole game is about at the end of the day. It's just genuinely fun and relaxing for me.

If that's not the case for you, well, whatever; it doesn't need to be. There are lots of different genres to play around in. There's no rule saying all people need to enjoy all types of fiction. Personally I think MH is worth reading just for the interesting mechanics even if it's not your speed to actually play, but I guess that's your call too at the end of the day.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Tiny mouse man with pants helping to haul in that catch on the boat. :3:

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Tasoth posted:

Tiny mouse man with pants helping to haul in that catch on the boat. :3:

Oh, yeah, and there are talking rats. They have adventures!

quote:

“You’ll be fine,” said the rats, “even on the tech-roofs, as long as you are loyal, brave, and true.”

“But I’m evil,” I protested.

Dragomir stared at me a long moment, and then he shrugged. “Mind the lasers, then,” he said.

We moved on.

— Entropy II, Magister, the Angel of Fortitude,
as played by Edward Jordan

Impermanent
Apr 1, 2010








kaynorr posted:

I don't think you're accusing anyone of badwrongfun, but it always bugs me when people get dismissive of most games as being nothing more than power fantasies, and how games could be so much more if people would just be More Mature.

...

Hearing that Monsterhearts is intended to drive towards a conclusion where everyone is a well-adjusted adult is fantastic. Way, way, way too much of this genre is focused about the spiral down into the dark, without chance of escape.

Granted, and I think the part of Monsterhearts that really makes it interesting is the Growing Up section, too.

It' not that I think that Games Need To Grow Up, it's more that I think that games can do the power fantasies and also other things. There's nothing anyone can do to prevent people from wanting to go on power trips in their minds. From a certain perspective that may be what our minds are for. But I think that there's merit to exploring the possibility space of ~games as experience~

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



The existing writeup is here

http://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/angrymog/nightlife/



Last post we looked at the edges. This time we're looking at the flaws, basic game system and combat.

Flaws aren't things like 'Bad Hairdo' or 'Angsty' like you might find in the WoD, but are linked to the Kin-type of the character. There's nothing particularly special amongst them, they just model the standard monster vulnerabilities such as being harmed by specific substances or enviromental effects, being disliked by animals, not beign able to go near certain symbols and so on.

Most of the flaws are ignorable with a successful WILL roll, which is made easier or harder based on how far above or below 50 the character's humanity is.

The Skills section is next in the book, but we already covered it in an earlier post. Like a lot of 80s and 90s games, the skill list is very detailed in its quantity of skills if not the amount of detail each one has. A level of 20 is considered competant in the skill - no roll is required for everyday use of it.

To use a Skill or an Edge, make a d100 roll and score below your rating. Rolls may be modified by the GM with a modifier range of -30 to +30 applied to the die roll.

Combat

Nightlife uses the 6 second turn, and characters may move 20 yards or Dex whichever is higher and may also use a Combat skill or Edge in the round.

Initiative is based on your score in your combat skill or edge - highest goes first, then people doing non-combat things rank their initiative in the same way.

Apart from that, Combat is your basic roll under your skill, total up your damage, remove effects of armor and apply damage.

There are actually two sorts of armor - the one provided by the Edge simply removes damage done, whereas worn armor adds to the difficulty of landing a blow based on the percentage of body covered - e.g. a flak vest covers 40% of the body, so attack rolls against a target wearing one take a 40% penalty.

There are special sections for Fighting on a Dancefloor - +25% penalty due to lighting, noise and people, and then the usual rules for blind fighting, aiming cover, falling and fire. Nothing really special here.

There's a Fear table - results range from mildly shaken to totally catatonic, and a section titled "Putting the Splatter back in Splatterpunk"

Someone once said that if something was worth doing, it was worth overdoing. Whoever said it had a good idea of what splatterpunk was going to be, because it's not a movement that deals well with restraint.

You couldn't really play Splatterpunk in a normal role-playing situation without an exhorbitant bodycount, but the near-immortality of the characters in Nightlife allows for a bit more leeway.


The rest of the quite short section is about how the amount of damage received equates to wound sizes, for instance an impaling attack will penetrate 2" for every 5 points of damage inflicted, whilst the wound by a slashing weapon will be 2" long for every 5 points of damage.

It seems a bit clinical - I think I'd just go for describing Fist of the North Star style blood sprays for big damage numbers rather than precise numbers.

There's rules for Nerve Rot, a disease which turns Kin into unthinking and depowered zombies. It is curable in all except the last stages by consuming vast amounts of whatever your Kin-type needs to feed on, but will destroy your skills and powers if not stopped fast.

In regards to death, all the Kin types return to life at the next sunset unless they're killed by their special method, though staking alone isn't enough to kill a vampire.

There's also a weapon table, but it's mostly boring, though does include Ice picks, Switchblades, Motorcycles chains and broken bottles, but oddly, no chainsaws.

Next post will be Slang and Fiction.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 20: "This is a large combat robot, also built with a fantasy motif (the Naruni Marketing executives decided that these lines were ideal for a world where both magic and technology exist). "

Naruni Robots & Powered Armor

You didn't think we'd get through a Rifts book without entirely superfluous sets of power armor, did you? Well, to be fair, there are a good number of Rifts books without power armor. But this isn't one of them.

Mecha-Knight Medium Power Armor


"Jedi knight" interpreted literally.

This is supposed to be a superior flying power armor, and has a solid M.D.C. that can be supplemented with the earlier force fields (and if you're willing to drop 25 million credits on a power armor, you may as well spend the extra 0.16 million for the upgrade). Mostly It flies around 300 mph, has a decent particle beam rifle and meh sword (actually pretty great for a sword, but meh as a weapon), and a dinky laser. You get a penalty if you try and use the sword and the rifle at the same time, but since Rifts has no rules for stowing or drawing weapons, presumably it doesn't matter since you can swap them instantly.

Death-Knight Assault Robot


Cleave your foes or yourself!

This as a robot vehicle designed around looking like a magical fantasy warrior (because the Naruni are marketing this robot directly at Earth's market), but the skull sometimes causes people to think it's a Coalition robot. It has a middling particle beam gun, a pretty great plasma axes, short-range missiles, a laser gun and a rail gun that are nearly identical. Kind of a dull bot, but I like the idea of the Naruni marketing a robot with a skull on it because they think Earth digs that sort of thing.

Nomad Scout Robot


McMech.

Not exactly stoking the fires of creativity with that name, there. It's a 16' tall stealth bot, like you do with giant robots, you make them into stealth scout suits. Logical! It has mini-missiles, a passable laser and rail gun, and that crummy camouflage system from earlier. Not much else to add.

Crescent Moon Delta-Wing Spaceplane


Not known for its looks.

Wait, wasn't this a section on robots? gently caress it, it's time for planes with no transition! This plane can go into space, but "nobody has bothered to try". :v: In any case, this is supposed to be the fastest and tuffest fighter plane on Rifts Earth at this point. There's a weapons pod with a plasma and laser that can combine-fire for Boom Gun-level damage, medium range missiles which you can dump for 16d10 x 10 damage, a ennnh laser, and can hover around like a UFO. Pretty impressive, and could really change the face of a campaign just by its inclusion.

Boomerang Attack Aerodyne


It'd be even more thematic if it shot itself.

This aircraft got its name for being so maneuverable as to quickly change direction after its first attack sweep, but, uh, there are no maneuvering rules in Riftsm, so that's just flavor. It's a much lighter aircraft that's supposed to be like a gunship that goes up to 300 mph, and has a mid-range rail gun and missiles. And that's it for the Naruni arms show!

Next: Angrar Robotics makes no robots.

Rohan Kishibe
Oct 29, 2011

Frankly, I don't like you
and I never have.


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I guess I am if those 'cool story moments' involve depression, angst, and melancholy.

I don't understand why melodrama necessarily equates with a strictly sad sad negative let's all cut ourselves emotional tone for a game. Or that something where the focus is interpersonal character interactions and relationships is just everyone sort of farting around not doing anything, both of those seem to just be a result of a lack of creativity. Buffy is one of the primary inspirations for the game apparently, and that show had a big bad guy every year, multiple plot things interacting with the characters, tons of jokes, maybe three times where Buffy had to fight evil robot us's AND an episode where everyone turned into what they dressed as for Halloween.

Communist Zombie
Nov 1, 2011


It seems Wildfire, the infamous developers of Cthulhutech, have released a new game line: The Void. A sci-fi horror game thats more near future and gritty than Ctech. I heard it described as more Alien/s than Ctech's Pacific Rim. And the core book is free to download and is Creative Commons licensed!

And it seems to be a all around good game, and has made quite abit of progress from all the issues plaguing Ctech. And they recognize that they're not done! Here a dev agrees to remove the grognardy sidebar defending their use of only male pronouns! Seriously it seems the only apparent issues are that sidebar, this line from the history section: "Global religious intolerance had finally declined, but so had spiritual passion and the moral compass that it provided.", and maybe the section on making players uncomfortable when appropriate (there was no rape mention and was talking about the character getting horribly murdered).

There might be hope for them afterall. :unsmith:

And it seems theres a Cthulhutech 2nd edition in the works Ettin. :kheldragar:

Kenlon
Jun 27, 2003

Digitus Impudicus


Prison Warden posted:

I don't understand why melodrama necessarily equates with a strictly sad sad negative let's all cut ourselves emotional tone for a game. Or that something where the focus is interpersonal character interactions and relationships is just everyone sort of farting around not doing anything, both of those seem to just be a result of a lack of creativity.

Contrast is what makes this sort of game (or book, or tv show, for that matter) work. You can't have an unrelentingly depressing tone, or you'll lose people - it's all about balance. Whedon shows, when they work, are built on this. And given that Buffy is very obviously the core inspiration for Monsterhearts, it's not a stretch to think that's where you're expected to go.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Mercenaries Part 21: "Profiteers who try to buy the suits cheap and resell them for more (the suit could go for as much as 40 million in the open market) will be found and killed (remember, the armor suits are partially sentient)."

Angrar Robotics

Wow, with a name like that, they just have to be bad guys, or a thrash metal band. One of the two. People with ESP feel that their products are evil when they use Sense Evil, and that's because their products are evil. Subtle. This is actually a front for Ahriman's forces from Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse, as it turns out.

Angrar Mark II Power Armor


Spikes help concentrate pure evil.

This is actually a demon shaped into a fake power armor that can spy on people for Ahriman, and drains the life of the pilot. After a few months, a pilot becomes more eviler and murderier, and gets all hairy, has sharp fangs, and basically becomes a demon or maybe a wolfman (with nards). If they kill too much or spend too long piloting it, the armor eventually sucks the pilot up, though you can exorcise the evil out of them. Trying to take the robot apart causes it to go berserk, and if it's restrained for examination for more than two days, it breaks down into demonic goo. It strikes me as a confusing plan. You put people in the machine, corrupt them into demons, the demons get sucked into he machine, and then they have the experience and knowledge of humans but are his demonic servant... and then are transported back to his demonic prison. Where they're just as trapped as he is. I guess that gives him a ready-made force if he ever breaks out, but it's odd that he would just lock them up with himself when he doesn't really have to.

It notes some evil wizards are instead to summoning the the devil robots, getting their minions to pilot them, and then when they get sucked into the robot, the wizard binds them inside the power armor and controls the robot anyway. Clever, but awfully roundabout. You already had a loyal minion piloting it, wizard!

As far as a war machine goes, it's passable, with lots of M.D.C. to take damage, but not much means to dish it out, with only the bare minimum in armaments, like a rail gun and a plasma gun. The only real upside is that it self-heals, so you save on repair costs, but it takes extra damage from silver, rune, holy, and Millennium Tree weapons. In case somebody lobs a stick at it.

Angrar Assault Robot

This is a giant robot made out of several demons, and requires several pilots. If they all get corrupted, they get all culty together regarding the precious, precious robot. Presuming they all fail their saves. Despite the fact it has around eight times the mass of the previous robot, it's only modestly tougher... which still makes it one of the toughest robots in the game. It has a pretty badass hellfire cannon, mini-missiles, and lovely energy claws. It notes, randomly, that people that try and resell these robots for a high price will be murdered by the robot (which is an interesting means of price fixing, I guess). It also has the odd effect that if you blow up its main body / torso, the various bodies will revert to being demons, which get an exceedingly brief statblock.

And that's all Angrar makes, two evil mecha. Certainly, nobody could catch on to this cunning plan. And to think people are worried about the Naruni, but not the obviously and egrigiously evil Angrar? Well, that's Rifts for you.

Next: Chipwell, makers of the finest mook fashions.

Tulpa
Aug 8, 2014


Regarding Monsterhearts, the Growing Up moves and the implied advancement scheme of pushing terrible teenagers towards healthy adulthood reads great on paper, but those moves are actually pretty terrible. I really want to remove the dice rolling from them because nothing undermines 'my vampire is slowly maturing into an emotionally available adult' like failing every single 'share pain' roll I attempt.

That's something that happened in my actual ongoing monsterhearts game, I was the only one that took growing up moves and kind of regret my choice.

There's a lot of weirdnesses to the game that I don't believe to be intentional. I wish all the best for Avery and their games, but I'm mechanically minded enough that I usually manage to trip over every unintended quirk in the rules. (Here's another one, at least half the moves can be triggered without any change in fictional positioning, so the MC will often have to make a move in response to none of the characters actively doing anything.)

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Communist Zombie posted:

There might be hope for them afterall. :unsmith:

The fact that the very first thing in the book is a fic about a woman being attacked by a tentacle monster did make me narrow my eyes, but well wait and see.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


The Lone Badger posted:

The fact that the very first thing in the book is a fic about a woman being attacked by a tentacle monster did make me narrow my eyes, but well wait and see.

After all the positive buzz in the rpg.net thread, opening up the book to story + art of groping tentacles certainly gave me pause. :crossarms:

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

After all the positive buzz in the rpg.net thread, opening up the book to story + art of groping tentacles certainly gave me pause. :crossarms:

As long as it doesn't have a Nazi automatic rape carousel I think it still counts as an improvement.


No place to go but up, after all.

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Prison Warden posted:

Buffy is one of the primary inspirations for the game apparently, and that show had a big bad guy every year, multiple plot things interacting with the characters, tons of jokes, maybe three times where Buffy had to fight evil robot us's AND an episode where everyone turned into what they dressed as for Halloween.

It's the difference between watching the show, writing the show, and being Buffy. RPGs ask you to put yourself in the character's shoes, and the "default" mode for such things is that you want your PC to succeed and achieve his/her personal goals. The more invested you are, the more individual and structural setbacks sting.

Horror RPGs require you to maintain a delicate balance between investment in the character and distance so that your character's almost inevitable ruin doesn't make you go, "welp that's it I'm going to play Halo". It's not for everyone, and requires a significantly greater degree of finesse and agreement at the table between players and GMs.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

kaynorr posted:

It's the difference between watching the show, writing the show, and being Buffy. RPGs ask you to put yourself in the character's shoes, and the "default" mode for such things is that you want your PC to succeed and achieve his/her personal goals. The more invested you are, the more individual and structural setbacks sting.

Horror RPGs require you to maintain a delicate balance between investment in the character and distance so that your character's almost inevitable ruin doesn't make you go, "welp that's it I'm going to play Halo". It's not for everyone, and requires a significantly greater degree of finesse and agreement at the table between players and GMs.

Monsterhearts isn't exactly a horror game though. It's horror in the same vein as Buffy and Twilight, i.e. it's not really about the horror but the drama between the characters, with the horror elements being there mainly as spice. Okay, I know that's arguable in the case of Buffy, but it at least applies to Twilight, which is the clearest inspiration for Monsterhearts (the game first formed as a simple Apocalypse World hack themed on Twilight).

The game does have some elements of the horror genre though: I already mentioned Menaces, which are basically the game's version of Apocalypse World's fronts. They're basically big bads working behind the scenes making the characters' lives more difficult and horrific. However, the Menaces aren't the center of attention: they're mainly there to give a context to the drama between the characters. Like in Apocalypse World, the MC is encouraged to frame the situation not just as the PCs versus the Menace, but have the Menace act as an independent agent that might try to work the PCs against each other. A great example of a good Menace would be the Infernal's (which I'll write up soon) Dark Power, which definitely exerts a degree of control on the Infernal and can basically play the Infernal against the other characters.

Furthermore, while in traditional horror RPGs PCs are often helpless and powerless, in Monsterhearts that isn't necessarily the case: should a character take four harm it's not an instant game over, as players can still save their characters by either triggering their Darkest Self or coming back having lost all their held Strings.

And finally, Monsterhearts is very explicitly a story game: the game doesn't reward you for success, but for doing things that fit into your character's theme, as determined by their Skin. You mainly get experience for two things: highlighted stats, one of which is chosen by the player whose character holds the most Strings on yours and one by the MC, and for Moves picked from your Skin that give you experience for doing certain things. The former acts as a reward mechanic for putting your character in situations that other players want to see them in (i.e. if someone highlights your Mortal's Hot stat, that means they want to see them trying to seduce and manipulate people), while the latter acts as a mechanic for acting according to type.

For an example, with the right Moves a Mortal will be rewarded for getting in way over their heads in supernatural stuff, a Ghoul will be rewarded for sating their Hunger, and a Werewolf will be rewarded for turning into a rampaging wolfbeast, because those are dramatically the most interesting situations those characters can get into. In many ways, the system often rewards you for putting your character into bad situations, simply because it makes for the best dramatic outcome.

That's an important part of playing Monsterhearts: not playing your character as a rational agent, but using them as a vehicle for getting some juicy drama out of the situation at hand.

Ratpick fucked around with this message at 16:52 on Aug 22, 2014

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Ratpick posted:

Monsterhearts isn't exactly a horror game though. It's horror in the same vein as Buffy and Twilight, i.e. it's not really about the horror but the drama between the characters, with the horror elements being there mainly as spice. Okay, I know that's arguable in the case of Buffy, but it at least applies to Twilight, which is the clearest inspiration for Monsterhearts (the game first formed as a simple Apocalypse World hack themed on Twilight).

The game does have some elements of the horror genre though: I already mentioned Menaces, which are basically the game's version of Apocalypse World's fronts. They're basically big bads working behind the scenes making the characters' lives more difficult and horrific. However, the Menaces aren't the center of attention: they're mainly there to give a context to the drama between the characters. Like in Apocalypse World, the MC is encouraged to frame the situation not just as the PCs versus the Menace, but have the Menace act as an independent agent that might try to work the PCs against each other. A great example of a good Menace would be the Infernal's (which I'll write up soon) Dark Power, which definitely exerts a degree of control on the Infernal and can basically play the Infernal against the other characters.

Furthermore, while in traditional horror RPGs PCs are often helpless and powerless, in Monsterhearts that isn't necessarily the case: should a character take four harm it's not an instant game over, as players can still save their characters by either triggering their Darkest Self or coming back having lost all their held Strings.

And finally, Monsterhearts is very explicitly a story game: the game doesn't reward you for success, but for doing things that fit into your character's theme, as determined by their Skin. You mainly get experience for two things: highlighted stats, one of which is chosen by the player whose character holds the most Strings on yours and one by the MC, and for Moves picked from your Skin that give you experience for doing certain things. The former acts as a reward mechanic for putting your character in situations that other players want to see them in (i.e. if someone highlights your Mortal's Hot stat, that means they want to see them trying to seduce and manipulate people), while the latter acts as a mechanic for acting according to type.

For an example, with the right Moves a Mortal will be rewarded for getting in way over their heads in supernatural stuff, a Ghoul will be rewarded for sating their Hunger, and a Werewolf will be rewarded for turning into a rampaging wolfbeast, because those are dramatically the most interesting situations those characters can get into. In many ways, the system often rewards you for putting your character into bad situations, simply because it makes for the best dramatic outcome.

That's an important part of playing Monsterhearts: not playing your character as a rational agent, but using them as a vehicle for getting some juicy drama out of the situation at hand.

That last bit is where you're losing people, I'm pretty sure. Mostly people play their characters straight and even many actor-types will still only allow their characters to dive into inevitable badness based on clearly defined and obvious potential rewards from a character perspective. The thief runs off to rob a crime boss even though the player and everybody else knows it's a bad idea because that loving score! The problem they're having here is that they're systematically encouraged to do those things but often those incentives don't translate in character: the Fae does those things and causes drama because that's just what they do and not for any particular goal, as it's been described up to this point.

Overall, though, I do actually understand it. The point is what actual goal they're pursuing is vague so you can determine it from a character basis, because the goals of a Monsterhearts setting are intrinsically personal and character-driven.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kurieg posted:

As long as it doesn't have a Nazi automatic rape carousel I think it still counts as an improvement.

Improved and good are two entirely different things, though. Not that core Cthulhutech had the round-a-rape either, so it's not the best means of comparison anyway. When the argument boils down to "well, at least it's not literal rape" we may still have a problem.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Have to say as potentially triggering as Ghoul's darkest side is, I find the mortal's sthick almost as bad as it's about someone more or less deliberately courting an abusive relationship.

It's an amazing sounding game, but definitely needs the right kind of players.

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Ratpick posted:

That's an important part of playing Monsterhearts: not playing your character as a rational agent, but using them as a vehicle for getting some juicy drama out of the situation at hand.

I would contend that this is one of the major reasons that Monsterhearts IS a horror game, because there is such a profound tension between acting in-character and getting the juicy drama. The strength of the game is that the mechanics support there - there is a reason to be the obsessive stalker, the shadowy sexpot, the raging jock. But that reason is the metalevel of a story about angst, confusion, and the painful process of becoming mature. "I'm doing this thing but I don't know why I'm doing it, or even worse I know why I'm doing it and I HATE THAT." is particularly difficult in the context of a role-playing game where you are in the driver's seat, much more so than a passive medium like TV.

It's a great game, but I think there are reasons why a lot of people (including some in this thread) will have some unease about actually playing it, precisely because of that tension. Color me extremely disappointed, though, by the suggestions that the Growing Up stuff isn't as mechanically solid as what came before.

PleasingFungus
Oct 10, 2012

in my pope game,


Alien Rope Burn posted:

And that's all Angrar makes, two evil mecha. Certainly, nobody could catch on to this cunning plan. And to think people are worried about the Naruni, but not the obviously and egrigiously evil Angrar? Well, that's Rifts for you.

Well, their plan seems to be idiotic and pointless, so maybe people are just catching onto that that?

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Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

LornMarkus posted:

That last bit is where you're losing people, I'm pretty sure. Mostly people play their characters straight and even many actor-types will still only allow their characters to dive into inevitable badness based on clearly defined and obvious potential rewards from a character perspective. The thief runs off to rob a crime boss even though the player and everybody else knows it's a bad idea because that loving score! The problem they're having here is that they're systematically encouraged to do those things but often those incentives don't translate in character: the Fae does those things and causes drama because that's just what they do and not for any particular goal, as it's been described up to this point.

Monsterhearts, by default, is a game about high school students. I'd say if people can't figure out "what's my motivation?" as a supernaturally empowered high school student that they aren't trying hard enough. What do high school students usually want? To be popular, to be accepted, to be respected, to be taken seriously, to get revenge, to impress someone, to score, etc.

I don't think Monsterhearts has to be for everyone any more than any other game does, it's perfectly fair to say "eh, not my bag," but I think it's kind of silly to say that characters in Monsterhearts have no incentives to kick up a whirlwind of drama just because it's not a game where you steal and kill and wreak general havoc like most RPGs.

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