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Golden Bee
Dec 24, 2009

I came here to chew bubblegum and quote 'They Live', and I'm... at an impasse.

pkfan2004 posted:

Granted, now you have to absolutely rewrite the Skin from the ground up, but. Also please share the mechanical aspect of the Proxy, because that seems like a great idea done absolutely terribly and I want to see the nitty-gritty.
I thought Gazz had stopped posting updates, but I revised my Proxy draft to include all the moves and will go back to it again soon. I personally enjoy his reviews and won't be doing another of the skins for the skinless.

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Tulpa
Aug 8, 2014
The Proxy is seriously terrible, it's the only one from the "Skins for the Skinless" that I've actually seen in play, and it really is the case that there's no reason for anyone to interact with that character.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

ZorajitZorajit posted:

Wait, Monsterhearts does involve actual, verifiable, supernatural events? I've been under the impression that all of it existed on a magical realism level of metaphor and the characters strictly exist as normal teens that are just being described as movie creatures. Although, now that I say this, I'm pretty sure the answer is "you can play it either way, stupid cis-het."

Pitching in, just to give my 2 cents:

The characters in Monsterhearts are literally monsters, in the sense that the Werewolf is actually a skin-changing wolfbeast and a Ghost is literally a dead person, but in addition to this they are also teenagers, and each of the Skins also represents some teenage problem or issue. So, even though in a literal sense the Infernal actually has demons in their brain, on a metaphorical level it's about addiction, and in this metaphor their corner-man is the demons in their brain.

But now that you said that, I really want to run a magical realist game of Monsterhearts.

e: Also, this is also why the Skins for the Skinless are so bad: they're all movie-monster, without a firm grounding in teenage issues.

Ratpick fucked around with this message at 11:21 on Nov 9, 2014

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011


I was a little disappointed that the Matilda reference only went that far. :( I thought that seemed like a good chance to introduce a move where you benefit for immediately lash on people slighting you with mind powers but I guess that might overlap with the Witch too much.

Also yeah, please cover the Proxy.

Golden Bee posted:

I thought Gazz had stopped posting updates, but I revised my Proxy draft to include all the moves and will go back to it again soon. I personally enjoy his reviews and won't be doing another of the skins for the skinless.

*her

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.
I want to run a Monsterhearts game set in the Monstergeddon universe. How do I make this happen? Dare I play the ultimate teen-angst genre RPG for laughs?

EDIT: How crap, just realized... you got the MonsterHearts version of The Hunger Games! Genius.

Punting
Sep 9, 2007
I am very witty: nit-witty, dim-witty, and half-witty.

Simian_Prime posted:

I want to run a Monsterhearts game set in the Monstergeddon universe. How do I make this happen? Dare I play the ultimate teen-angst genre RPG for laughs?

EDIT: How crap, just realized... you got the MonsterHearts version of The Hunger Games! Genius.

WHERE CAN WE SIGN UP

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth

Simian_Prime posted:

I want to run a Monsterhearts game set in the Monstergeddon universe. How do I make this happen? Dare I play the ultimate teen-angst genre RPG for laughs?

EDIT: How crap, just realized... you got the MonsterHearts version of The Hunger Games! Genius.

Do this please, I would so play.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012

Kai Tave posted:

I kind of feel like this partially infringes on the Ghost's territory given that skin already has some of that "generally ignored by everybody, but you can also be the person that that they come to vent to before they go back to ignoring you again" going on in it, plus other interesting stuff besides.

I dunno, maybe there's a way to do something with the base concept of "that one kid who has an invisible target painted on his or her back," which is definitely a thing I think everybody who's been through high school can recall an example of, but I don't think "literally Carrie" is it.

"Literally have an invisible target painted on their back" would probably have a name like "The Cursed" or "The Haunted" but I feel like that would play into more of knowing or having done something that they would never want to mention and being haunted by it.

I think the "Lonely Outsider/Victim" thing could work, but the horror connections are a bit tough. The Darkest Self would obviously some sort of blowup where everyone is forced to notice them and end either with them getting knocked out or something. Their Sex Move, imo, should basically turn them into a Yandere/Obsessive Stalker and reward the player for doing everything they can to tie themselves to whoever had sex with them and keep anyone else away from them.

ActingPower
Jun 4, 2013

Burgundy Twelve, at your service.
Hey, everyone! Here's my last post for the short One.Seven Design games. After this, I'll get to work on a Lady Blackbird review. (Though I'm a bit busy at the moment with classwork and whatnot.) For now, though, here's my review of Ghost Lines!

Ghost Lines:

"All glory to his majesty the Immortal Emperor!"
Ghost Lines is an Apocalypse World hack where you play as a team of "bulls" that drive powerful trains across a series of mountain ranges. It plays a lot like Apocalypse World and Dungeon World, but it has quite a lot of life all to its own. Let's see exactly what it's got!

Page 1: Character Sheet

I can't believe I've never seen this before. Each character has 4 stats (force, finesse, insight, and steel), and if you want to do something involving one of those stats, you use the move... called that stat. So if you want to be insightful, you use the move "insight," you roll+insight, and guess what? You gain insight! Now how about that? To be fair, there are a few more moves among the system, such as the assist and downtime moves on the first page, but we'll get to the rest later. For now, all I'm gonna do is explain what each move does. Force is basically your "do harm to things" move; Finesse is your cautious, sneaky-sneaky approach; Insight is basically Discern Realities; and Steel keeps you from freaking out or taking extra damage.

The top of the first page has the "harm clocks," which are very similar to Apocalypse World's. Ghost Lines, however, has two sets of two: The Physical set (composed of Harm and Scars) and the Mental set (composed of Trauma and Horror). Basically, whenever you would take harm (or trauma for the mental set), you can instead take a scar (or horror). Scars are permanent, however, and you can only take four of them. Every other scar you take also causes you to lose a stat (Finesse and Force for scars, Steel and Insight for horror).

From there, we move into the inside of the page. It has a spot for your name (your two names, actually; we'll get there), your level, your Role (which I'll explain shortly), and your homeland. All of these you choose at the start of the game, except for the Role... I think. From what I can guess, each time you head off on a route, you choose one of the Roles and maintain it until you hit a station. It's not very clear.

Moving down, we get the stats: Force, Finesse, Insight, and Steel. We also see the special bonuses you get for choosing a certain homeland. People from Skovlan are the Northerners: big, brash, and wild. Their stat bonuses revolve around Steel and ignoring bad effects. Sevoros, the Western section, is full of vicious, cruel people. Their stat bonuses are about Force, being powerful and harsh. Akoros is the Eastern section, and they rely on Insight for sharp, noble attitudes. They're basically the politician and merchant types. Lastly, Iruvia in the South is the Finesse area, all nimble and swift. Their abilities let them help people better and move more quickly.

Beneath that is the list of gear you'll have on you, as well as the benefits of your Role. All characters have pretty obvious stuff: gloves, goggles, attack hooks, magnetic boots, and other sundries. From there, each role improves something you have: The Rook (the grab-and-thrower) gets a stronger hook; the Spider (the one who ties up the ghost) gets a web-thrower and ghost-containment bottles; the Owl (the analyst) gets better goggles to see the ghosts with and lightning-oil to fight them better; and the Anchor (the tank) gets a stronger suit of armor.

Last, we have the progress bars. The second section (I'll come back to the first) lists which lines you've worked on. This is important for a variety of things, such as how well you face up against a ghost should you be on an unfamiliar line. The third section keeps track of how many ghosts you've "silenced" and how many you've "cleared." I... honestly have no idea what the difference is. The only time it mentions one or the other is that major ghosts are worth 5 clears. :confused: The first section is your Level. Instead of getting XP, you have to complete certain tasks to level up. To become Level 1, you have to clear 10 ghosts, work 3 lines, and take on 2 different roles. (See? That implies that you have the ability to choose your role. There's also the Anchor lottery on page 2.) Level 2 requires you to clear 30 ghosts, silence 1 (???), work 6 lines, and be every role at least once. Level 3 requires you to clear 60 ghosts, silence 12, work every line, and train a new bull.

All right, last things on page 1. We've got the last two actions: assist and downtime. Assist is basically like Assist in Dungeon World, letting you either help someone or interfere with their actions. Downtime lets you do some extra stuff when you get to a city. You can heal trauma, heal harm, or earn some extra money. Speaking of money, there's three little circles to keep track of how much of each type of money you have. There's chits, which is the main currency (which you have to use to pay for healing and restocking supplies... maybe?); Stash, which is more like Victory Points; and Favors, which... are basically cheat codes, I guess. You can use Favors to add extra roles, lines, or ghosts to your progress bar, get super special equipment, or connect with an important contact.

Page 2: Being a Bull

Page 2 starts with character creation. Here's where it tells you to choose your homeland and your two bonuses. It also tells you to put numbers next to your stats so that they add up to +2. (So, +1, +1, +0, +0; or +3, -1, -1, +1, whatever.)

Next, it lists all the different names you can have. Your Badge is a last name: Brogan, Clermont, Booker. The description calls it "the registry of the Purified," so that's interesting. Your name, then, is a first name. Although a very steampunk, fantasy name: Alric, Larn, Tesslyn, Carissa. They're... always listed in that order, so maybe the Imperium is like Japan? Although Badges decidedly aren't chosen by lineage, so... anyway.

Now, we move on to fighting ghosts. In case you couldn't tell by the last one, John Harper loves rituals, and fighting ghosts is no different. There's an entire list of bonuses and benefits depending on a whole host of things: what your level is, whether the team has sworn to follow the leader's orders unflinchingly, whether you held a lottery for the Anchor. Yet all those things do is help with the start of the event. The rest of the match goes according to your Role, like I described before. The Rook uses Force, the Spider plays with Finesse, the Owl gains Insight, and the Anchor relies on Steel.

So, after the ghost fighting, we have an odd move, the approximations for Harm and Trauma, and the bonuses you get for leveling up. The move is called "impose your will," and it just says, "Roll." It doesn't say what stat to roll with, so it must be... none of them, I guess. You can get bonuses if you have a high Steel/Force/level or if you are a Noble of Akoros. The end part says this:

Ghost Lines, page 2 posted:

On a 10 or 11, they choose: either do what you say, or take 2 trauma.
So your will is so powerful that they will take trauma equal to getting too close to a ghost. On the other hand, if you threaten bodily harm, they can choose a vicious beating instead. O_o

The Harm and Trauma tiers are pretty straightforward. Bigger numbers are worse. The leveling is a little more interesting. Remember, you can only level up three times. Each time, you get another bonus from your homeland (or from a land where you've worked a lot). When you hit level 3, you get to boost one stat. And... that's it. On to page 3!

Page 3: Life on the Rails

I haven't mentioned the pictures, but they are quite nice-looking. On page 2, there are a couple pictures of bulls in eldritch gas masks. This one has a picture of a train riding on the rails, crossing through the mountains.

Anyways, this page is separated into 4 columns. The first one is backstory for the setting of the system, which, while interesting, isn't very discussion-worthy. It talks about how ghosts are formed, why they gather around trains, and what bulls do to get rid of them. (To summarize, electricity.) At the bottom of the second column, there's also a brief glossary of some ghost terms. Although... most of them aren't used much anywhere on the sheet anyway (like Witch, who is someone who can interact with ghosts). Although it is the only place where "silenced" is defined. Silencing is destroying a ghost as opposed to merely... getting rid of its influence, I guess? I'm not sure.

Anyways, after that, we get the real meat of this page: the dice rolls. These tell us what sort of randomized events can happen while out on the ghost lines. These range from "the train stops for some weird reason" to "a major ghost causes crazy trouble." We also have a side-job table. Remember how I said that was one thing you could do when you reached a station? Well, this table tells you how well that went. A 1 means something bad happened, a 2-4 is normal, a 5 is a little good, and a 6 is very good.

Lastly, we have the section about chits, stash, and favors and an extra section about gear. It says how many Chits you make a trip (which is worthless, since nothing on the sheet tells you how much anything should cost), what a certain amount of Stash means in terms of success, and tells you what Favors can be exchanged for. The gear section gives you a little more gear that the characters can buy, as well as explain what "lightning-oil" is. Basically, it's what makes the ghost stuff work. Other than that, there are three items listed: a physical health potion, a mental health potion, and an electric cage for confining ghosts.

And that's page 3! Page 4 is also super-short, so let's get into it!

Page 4: More Tables!

There are a grand total of five tables on this page.

Table 1: A random plot generator. Gives you things like, "The night market is run by the undead," or "An inventor has built a 'spirit-locator' and needs testers." A lot like the Lasers & Feelings random plot chart, but designed for longer campaigns.

Table 2: A randomized table of freelance patrons. (You can get freelance work if you roll a 6 on the off-work job table on page 3. ...Yeah.) These are some jobs to help inspire you a bit as well. You could get work from a collector, an underworld boss, or a pimp! (No, seriously, he's in quadrant 6x4.)

Table 3: Randomized City events. So when you pull into town, there could be a festival going on, or riots, or cult gatherings.

Table 4: A table listing the qualities of ghosts from least to most. I think, when the GM creates a ghost, they're supposed to roll on this table to decide how nasty it is. So if you roll low, it's a fleeting, curious ghost, but if you roll high, it's a territorial, destructive ghost. So... that's helpful, I guess.

Table 5: A list of NPC features. Kind of the same deal, though it's not really good-to-bad as you go up. 1 is Patient and Kind, while 6 is Loyal and Headstrong. So... it's a table of NPC features. There you go.

So, in the end, what do I think of Ghost Lines? ...Truth be told, I'm not as impressed as I am with the others. Lasers & Feelings, The Mustang, even GHOST/ECHO all feel really tight in their design. They have exactly what you need to get an interesting game going. They pique your curiosity and give you just enough to go off of. Ghost Lines, in trying to flesh out the backstory more, only makes the story feel more confusing. The presentation is muddled and restrictive, and I frankly have no idea how to play it. GHOST/ECHO gives you nothing but some names and a resolution mechanic and tells you to go nuts. Ghost Lines gives you a randomized table to tell you what happens. It sticks you on a train, shoves you into roles, and expects you to figure out where the creativity is. And, frankly, I don't see it. To me, it's constraining where it should be open and open where it needs some restraint.

But hey, that's just me. I certainly couldn't do any better. :v:

ActingPower fucked around with this message at 22:10 on Nov 9, 2014

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

Xelkelvos posted:

"Literally have an invisible target painted on their back" would probably have a name like "The Cursed" or "The Haunted" but I feel like that would play into more of knowing or having done something that they would never want to mention and being haunted by it.

I think the "Lonely Outsider/Victim" thing could work, but the horror connections are a bit tough. The Darkest Self would obviously some sort of blowup where everyone is forced to notice them and end either with them getting knocked out or something. Their Sex Move, imo, should basically turn them into a Yandere/Obsessive Stalker and reward the player for doing everything they can to tie themselves to whoever had sex with them and keep anyone else away from them.

Except for the invisible target/haunted angle it sounds like you're essentially describing the Mortal there.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012

Kai Tave posted:

Except for the invisible target/haunted angle it sounds like you're essentially describing the Mortal there.

I'm not completely familiar with Monsterhearts so I'm probably stepping on more than a few toes there. The base Characters fill in quite a lot of room and can definitely be stretched to cover up quite a lot more so finding purchase in the remaining room is somewhat tough

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011
I think a target of ridicule/abuse could work if you stuck some kind of overarching tormentor on them, like a ghost, demon or their throat slitting parent who is stalking them. Give them a base move that lets them handle incoming damage/resolve suffered damage better and build around the idea of the party/player getting benefits for the abused drawing the bad things to them. Give 'em another move where they get a bonus for fabricating the abuse coming from a genuinely good act and make their Darkest Self turning into what is haunting them, making them complete the cycle and dishing out torment and abuse against their nature to round out the concept. Make the character's story less about a countdown to wiping everything out and change it to whether they can break out of the cycle, realize there are those who do care about them and become a good human(ish) being.

Saguaro PI
Mar 11, 2013

Totally legit tree

Tasoth posted:

I think a target of ridicule/abuse could work if you stuck some kind of overarching tormentor on them, like a ghost, demon or their throat slitting parent who is stalking them. Give them a base move that lets them handle incoming damage/resolve suffered damage better and build around the idea of the party/player getting benefits for the abused drawing the bad things to them. Give 'em another move where they get a bonus for fabricating the abuse coming from a genuinely good act and make their Darkest Self turning into what is haunting them, making them complete the cycle and dishing out torment and abuse against their nature to round out the concept. Make the character's story less about a countdown to wiping everything out and change it to whether they can break out of the cycle, realize there are those who do care about them and become a good human(ish) being.

See, I think this is why the Slenderman angle of the Proxy would still work. "It" then becomes a metaphor for the horrifying, complicated bundle of things that turns someone into this hosed up person, hard to understand and something most people don't want to understand anyway. Something that acts in such an incomprehensible fashion that we can't really be sure how many of the hosed up things the Proxy is doing are being driven by this outside force and how much are simply the proxy being caught up in the cycle that it's all they know.

Also, "I like this monster, let's make a playbook" is totally an acceptable starting point for making a Monsterhearts playbook, sorry guys. I understand you've got to really think about what teenage experience analogues you're using the monster to represent if you want it to really shine. But I'm not going to blame someone for using "what monster do I think is cool" as a starting point and I think "why not just play a ghost or werewolf" kind of misses what's trying to be achieved.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011

Saguaro PI posted:

See, I think this is why the Slenderman angle of the Proxy would still work. "It" then becomes a metaphor for the horrifying, complicated bundle of things that turns someone into this hosed up person, hard to understand and something most people don't want to understand anyway. Something that acts in such an incomprehensible fashion that we can't really be sure how many of the hosed up things the Proxy is doing are being driven by this outside force and how much are simply the proxy being caught up in the cycle that it's all they know.

Also, "I like this monster, let's make a playbook" is totally an acceptable starting point for making a Monsterhearts playbook, sorry guys. I understand you've got to really think about what teenage experience analogues you're using the monster to represent if you want it to really shine. But I'm not going to blame someone for using "what monster do I think is cool" as a starting point and I think "why not just play a ghost or werewolf" kind of misses what's trying to be achieved.

I'll disagree with your disagreement for a simple reason: considering the teenage drama aspect directly alongside the monster is important because it makes the social aspect central to the design. Most of the skins that are broken are terrible are specifically bad because they and/or the other players have no incentive to interact with them. That comes primarily from that lack of focus, looking instead only to make stuff that fits with the monster theme.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib
Yeah, the thing is that the guy who didn't realize Monsterhearts was a game about literal monsters was on to something in that the primary focus of MH lies with the high school tribulation angle and you could honestly run a game of MH where the monstrous angle was largely metaphorical. A Skin that doesn't have a solid high schooler angle at some point in its development is gonna fall flat which is what seems to be happening with a lot of these Skins.

It doesn't help that the main selection of Skins already cover most of the obvious and iconic high school drama roles right from the outset.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


And the one that does have a high school metaphor is the Fury, which is basically a school shooter.

Saguaro PI
Mar 11, 2013

Totally legit tree

LornMarkus posted:

I'll disagree with your disagreement for a simple reason: considering the teenage drama aspect directly alongside the monster is important because it makes the social aspect central to the design. Most of the skins that are broken are terrible are specifically bad because they and/or the other players have no incentive to interact with them. That comes primarily from that lack of focus, looking instead only to make stuff that fits with the monster theme.

Well sure, I'm not denying it's important to good playbook creation, I'm saying it's perfectly valid to start from "I really like creepypasta/harpies/minotaurs, can we make a playbook out of that?". I think a little too much of the criticism here goes straight past the failure to match the monster and highschool aspects correctly and goes all the way into "well the werewolf is already violent, why would you want to play <some other monster that's violent>?"

Eldad Assarach
May 1, 2014
Remember when I said I'd cover After The Bomb? Ah, those were the days...





In the beginning was The Megaversal System, and it was bloated crap. And Kevin saw The Megaversal System, and convinced himself it was good. Thus, Kevin begat Palladium Fantasy, which begat Heroes Unlimited and Beyond The Supernatural, as well as some other poo poo nobody cares about. Then Kevin did befriend the founders of Mirage Comics, and they gave him the license out of friendship, as well as a desire to make even more money from their potential cashcow. And so Kevin (but mostly Eric Wujcik) did begat Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness, which begat After The Bomb. Here endeth the first lesson.

Part 1: Introduction

I'm mostly going off of the very first After The Bomb book, which we'll call 1st Edition for the sake of convenience. 2nd Edition was something published in 2001, about two years after Mirage and Palladium parted ways, so they just crammed everything from TMNT&OS, ATB splatbooks and a few Rifts book that he could get away with, got some other artists to draw mutant animals (all the art for 1st Ed ATB was by Eastman & Laird) and called it a day. As it's more or less just a hodgepodge of other Palladium books with a few new bells and whistles thrown in, I'll be mostly referring to 1st Edition, and only refer to 2nd Ed every now and again, just to show how things changed.


I'll also be including art from both editions, and the '01 version has some drat nice stuff. Also, a "Seriously, we're not Satanists" boilerplate, just because.

As for After The Bomb itself, it started out as just another adventure for the TMNT&OS corebook, but those boys at Palladium grew more and more in love with the concept of a world where mutant animals are the norm, so they decided to spin it out into a whole supplement. This book only covers the Eastern Seaboard; Wujcik claims this is to give creative GMs something to work with... but hey, if you want more books covering other areas, go ahead and let everyone at Palladium know!

And yes, this is a Wujcik book. Whilst that may automatically induce eye-rolling for some of you, I'll just come out and say that I kinda like Wujcik's writing style. Yes, most of his GMing advice stinks, but you have to admire the gumption of any man whose idea of a good introductory adventure is "Save children being held hostage by terrorists (also, the terrorists are barnyard animals)". You may be interested to know that ATB was Palladium's first (but by no means last) post-apocalyptic RPG. And hey, at least he's not Siembieda.

The introduction in ATB 2nd Edition is a lot longer, and starts off with Wujcik discussing how society has always had fascinations with anthropomorphic animals, and even mentions the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in passing. He then goes on to say that whilst ATB sounded a little silly back in the mid-80's, science is (allegedly) catching up with the world he created. He then goes on to cite an article from an old issue of New Scientist about an artificial virus made from a scorpion gene, and the advances made in mapping DNA.

Erick Wujcik posted:

When I first wrote After the Bomb, the idea of a mutant sentient dog was closer to fantasy than science fiction. Looking at it in 2001, it seems like we'll be talking to genetically modified canines in the not-too-distant future.

Then he apologises for not putting every single animal in existence in character creation, but we'll get to that later.

As this is a TMNT supplement, it gives you guidelines on how to convert your characters from that setting into this one. Nothing too strenuous, just one little table. Well, it's little by Palladium's standards it only takes up most of one page. Basically, you replace the Cause of Mutation table from TMNT&OS' character generation, and replace it with the Mutation Background table in this book. As the name suggests, it's not so much how you mutated as what kind of community you were raised in. They are:

Technicians: Raised in an actual city, you got a good education (+15% Scholastic Bonus with 5 High School skills, 10 College skills and a dozen Secondary skills) so you tend to think of most other mutants as being a little slow. You hate the Empire of Humanity (who they?) but you're no anthrophobe. 2d6x$1000 for your starting cash.

Militia: You had a more agricultural background, but frequent raiding from the Empire of Humanity "and their New Kennel allies" (who they?) meant your society made military training compulsory; you don't get much in the way of educational skills (+5% Scholastic Bonus, 8 High School skills), but you do know how to fight (3 Military skills) and you get the Agricultural and First Aid skills for free. Because of your minimal contact with humans, you instinctively see them all as enemies. Your starting cash is 2d6x$100

Elite Militia: Less farmy, more shooty. You were raised in a self-sufficient military compound whilst your parents were between skirmishes. As a result, you're less smart than somebody from a regular militia (no Scholastic Bonus and 4 High School skills) but you're twice as deadly in a fight (6 Military skills). You're probably going to treat a human "with professional cool". You only start off with $100, but you also get a pistol, a rifle (sniper, shotgun, submachine, etc.) and "a complete set of military equipment". I have no idea what that would entail.


2nd Ed art again, but it fits very nicely. There's a lot more art in 2nd Edition, so get used to it.

Guerrillas: You're from a small community "far removed from the protection of Cardania" (is that a bad thing? Who knows!) so you've had to fend off the Empire and "mutant renegades" and learn how to avoid traps and minefields. As such, you ain't got much fancy book learning (no Scholastic Bonus, 2 High School skills) but you're good at Tracking (75%), Basic Survival (50%) Prowl and Basic Explosives (both 40%). You most likely hate humans, but you've learnt how to keep your feeling towards them well-hidden. You get 1d6x$100.

Scouts: Where you lived was so far off the grid, you saw a stranger about once a year... which for some reason makes you perfect for being hired as a scout. Once again, no Scholastic Bonus, but you get a poo poo-ton of skills and bonuses which, whilst thematic, verge on broken.



Generally speaking, you don't care if somebody's human or mutant, you're just friendly to everyone. All you get to start off with are the clothes on your back, an old weapon and "a gunny sack of cooking tools and useful scavenged items".

Feral Scouts: When the Empire raided, you got cut off from everyone and you had to make it on your own. You guessed it, you don't get any Scholastic Bonus, and your skill package makes a regular Scout's look downright anaemic.



You're antisocial to everyone, mutant or human. You'll have scrounged up $200 worth of "government-supplied" stuff weapons, supplies, etc.

Free Slaves: You were just another piece of property for the Empire, but you made a bid for freedom! You get 6 Secondary Skills, 2 Military, Escape Artist 50%, Basic Survival 30%, 25% to your Structural Damage Capacity and 5% to your Physical Strength. Scholastic Bonus isn't even mentioned - I presume Kevin just forgot about it. Due to your treatment by the Empire, your body and mind are both scarred, and you long to destroy every single human. You also managed to... scrounge up $200 worth of... "government-supplied"... drat it Kevin, did you just copy-paste the exact same thing?

Scientists: You were an exceptionally bright child, inducted into a special training program mostly run by human geniuses. Not sure how that'd work in a post-apocalyptic scenario, but okay! As a result, you get a poo poo load of skills (6 High School, 12 College and 15 Secondary) and... why, it's our old friend Scholastic Bonus! What's that, Scholastic Bonus? You're +20% for Scientists? How nice for you! Oh yeah, and you're perfectly fine being around humans and mutants alike. You have $3000 in equipment, supplies and weapons.


Professor Teeny finds your hypothesis intriguing, if a little far-fetched.

Ninja: Well, of course there were going to be Ninjas. Adopted by ninjas, yadda yadda, you know how this goes. Quite a few skills (5 High School, 2 College, 3 Military & 6 Secondary) and you get Hand-to-Hand Ninja for free, along with proficiency in one of three ancient or ninja weapons. You tend to err on the side of caution when dealing with other mutants. You get $250 spending money to start out with, but your teachers will provide your main weapon.

2nd Edition goes for the slightly more interesting notion of rolling for where you were raised; freed slave, raised by bandits, raised in a town, raised on the outskirts of civilisation, part of the Academic Underground, etc. This gives little bonuses and can let you take Apprenticeships (I'll be covering those later, but not in great detail because they're really boring). All in all, a nice tweak. :golfclap:

There's also a brief section on how to run the After The Bomb setting with the Heroes Unlimited ruleset; it basically boils down to swapping out the Revised Random Power Table from TMNT&OS with a much smaller Revised Random Power Table from ATB.

And that's it for tables... for now. Next time, we actually learn something about the setting!

Eldad Assarach fucked around with this message at 02:14 on Nov 10, 2014

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP

Saguaro PI posted:

Well sure, I'm not denying it's important to good playbook creation, I'm saying it's perfectly valid to start from "I really like creepypasta/harpies/minotaurs, can we make a playbook out of that?". I think a little too much of the criticism here goes straight past the failure to match the monster and highschool aspects correctly and goes all the way into "well the werewolf is already violent, why would you want to play <some other monster that's violent>?"

I think one of the issues with that approach is my personal response of "Why are you trying to make an entirely new Skin for a very similar concept rather than renaming/refluffing an existing Skin, maybe with one or two move tweaks?"

The game design of almost all the base skins is very, very good, so I'm in favor of not messing with it too much. When my group has played Monsterhearts, for example, we've refluffed the Infernal as tied in with the Fair Folk and caught in a perilous web of fae "hospitality" and gifts, and completely redone the names and fluff of the Ghost as a time traveler.

Saguaro PI
Mar 11, 2013

Totally legit tree

Cythereal posted:

I think one of the issues with that approach is my personal response of "Why are you trying to make an entirely new Skin for a very similar concept rather than renaming/refluffing an existing Skin, maybe with one or two move tweaks?"

The game design of almost all the base skins is very, very good, so I'm in favor of not messing with it too much. When my group has played Monsterhearts, for example, we've refluffed the Infernal as tied in with the Fair Folk and caught in a perilous web of fae "hospitality" and gifts, and completely redone the names and fluff of the Ghost as a time traveler.

Refluffing is cool and I am in favour of it, but it's not the 100% the solution every time. I think trying to boil down every monster that's kind of stalkery to the Ghoul or every monster that's actually an ordinary person tied to a supernatural entity to the Infernal can get needlessly reductive and discourage people from looking at new design space.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP

Saguaro PI posted:

Refluffing is cool and I am in favour of it, but it's not the 100% the solution every time. I think trying to boil down every monster that's kind of stalkery to the Ghoul or every monster that's actually an ordinary person tied to a supernatural entity to the Infernal can get needlessly reductive and discourage people from looking at new design space.

An ordinary person tied to a supernatural entity can just as easily be a Serpentine (say, the family next door are aliens but the alien kid just wants to play with her human friends and doesn't really want to be an extraterrestrial invader), or an Angel, or a Witch, or a Queen, or just about any other skin if you want. I've found Monsterhearts' core themes and mechanics are extremely flexible to a variety of archetypes, perhaps with a little tweaking, and I'm reluctant to mess with what is on the whole a fairly elegant balance of archetypes and moves.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib
I think it's definitely to an RPG's credit when it makes people want to create their own content for it, that's cool. On the other hand, a lot of people make stuff without really asking anything like "okay, what lets this playbook stand alone, bring something new to the table, and differentiate it from these other playbooks."

The Werewolf doesn't have to have a monopoly on violence, but if you're going to make a Skin that's all about violence and anger and lashing out like a dumb rear end in a top hat then you probably should be asking yourself "what makes this meaningfully different and worth pursuing than the Skin that's already all about this?"

And in the case of something like the Proxy I can't even tell what anything is supposed to be about there beyond "is a guy from some Slenderman video apparently." You're being hunted/are hunting some sort of Cthonic entity...so what does that have to do with flawlessly editing someone's social media stuff? And what's with the mask? Why does anyone want to interact with you, exactly? I haven't seen the whole thing yet but so far what I have seen looks like a jumbled mess with no rhyme or reason.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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2014-2018

Apropos of nothing, I am very entertained by the fact that 'chthonic' has come to mean 'weird, Cthulhu-esque thing', since all it actually means is 'underground.'

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011
I think the Proxy could work well with a focus on obsession and you can work the hand that tugs the pull as potentially being made up so that the character can justify their creepy acts. It's probably enough to break into two different playbooks, but basing something off that lackey who does horrible poo poo but blames it on someone else forcing them when confronted about it works pretty well in my opinion.

ActingPower
Jun 4, 2013

Burgundy Twelve, at your service.

Tasoth posted:

I think the Proxy could work well with a focus on obsession and you can work the hand that tugs the pull as potentially being made up so that the character can justify their creepy acts. It's probably enough to break into two different playbooks, but basing something off that lackey who does horrible poo poo but blames it on someone else forcing them when confronted about it works pretty well in my opinion.

I assumed that, at least through one interpretation, the Proxy was It, and all of the harassment and darkness they experienced was self-inflicted. They have a mask alter ego, they can appear anywhere in the forest, they are stalker-obsessed with someone... It all points to someone who believes in It but is the only true executor of the things attributed to It.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Libertad! posted:

We had Call of Cthulhu and Deadlands D20 in 2001, D20 Modern and Afghanistan D20 in 2002, Silver Age Sentinels and BESM D20 (highly unbalanced anime game) in 2003, and so on and so forth.

What's funny is that BESM D20 actually has a fairly insightful diatribe on how the D&D 3e classes are unbalanced, but then goes and... has a bunch of really unbalanced classes. Alas.

Eldad Assarach posted:

Then Kevin did befriend the founders of Mirage Comics, and they gave him the license out of friendship, as well as a desire to make even more money from their potential cashcow. And so Kevin (but mostly Eric Wujcik) did begat Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness, which begat After The Bomb. Here endeth the first lesson.[/i]

Bear in mind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness predates the major licensing of the turtles (notably, the cartoon) by about two years. It wasn't a "cash cow" at this point, but was a surprising cult success in comic stores, at least.

I recently found out Kevin Siembieda originally tasked an unknown freelancer with writing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness, and wasn't happy with the result (a pattern we'll find repeats itself throughout Palladium's history). So he asks his friend Erick to do it... in four weeks. He wrote in five weeks. It's a lot more impressive now that I know that, particularly with the fact that TMNT is a lot more innovative than most Palladium games (which isn't saying much, but still).

Eldad Assarach posted:

I'm mostly going off of the very first After The Bomb book, which we'll call 1st Edition for the sake of convenience. 2nd Edition was something published in 2001, about two years after Mirage and Palladium parted ways, so they just crammed everything from TMNT&OS, ATB splatbooks and a few Rifts book that he could get away with, got some other artists to draw mutant animals (all the art for 1st Ed ATB was by Eastman & Laird) and called it a day.

It's noted that After the Bomb 2e was also born of the need for Palladium to be able to sell backstock of old After the Bomb supplements after they lost the license for the corebook that powered them. That's not to say no passion went into it, but it was very much a product of necessity. It's also worth noting that the AtB art is strictly Peter Laird - Eastman isn't involved, as far as I can tell. You should post more of the Laird art, tho, it's rad, and he did a crazy amount considering how little art he actually did for the turtles comic as time went on. He was never prolific, so it's surprising to see.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

ActingPower posted:

I assumed that, at least through one interpretation, the Proxy was It, and all of the harassment and darkness they experienced was self-inflicted. They have a mask alter ego, they can appear anywhere in the forest, they are stalker-obsessed with someone... It all points to someone who believes in It but is the only true executor of the things attributed to It.

The question then becomes how does this fit into the supernatural romance framework that Monsterhearts is, at its core, all about? Being a monster is really secondary to being an actor in a high school soap opera, and while I'm sure there's plenty of skeezy Slenderman fanfiction out there it isn't quite the same thing.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

Kai Tave posted:

The question then becomes how does this fit into the supernatural romance framework that Monsterhearts is, at its core, all about? Being a monster is really secondary to being an actor in a high school soap opera, and while I'm sure there's plenty of skeezy Slenderman fanfiction out there it isn't quite the same thing.

Maybe the focus is on someone who obsesses over saving people from things when they're the true danger? Sometimes you're hacking someone's Facebook to "prove" their boyfriend is cheating on them because you're paranoid the boyfriend's abusive, sometimes you're putting on mask and terrorising people so they go nowhere near the "haunted" ruins and you save them from the monster.

JohnnyCanuck
May 28, 2004

Strong And/Or Free

Flavivirus posted:

...sometimes you're putting on mask and terrorising people so they go nowhere near the "haunted" ruins and you save them from the monster.

And under the mask... Why, it's Old Man Wick!

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Flavivirus posted:

Maybe the focus is on someone who obsesses over saving people from things when they're the true danger? Sometimes you're hacking someone's Facebook to "prove" their boyfriend is cheating on them because you're paranoid the boyfriend's abusive, sometimes you're putting on mask and terrorising people so they go nowhere near the "haunted" ruins and you save them from the monster.

So the Nice Guy(tm) who thinks all the guys the object of his affections go for are assholes and never realize the reason they don't get laid is because they're a creepy obsessive freak?

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

Robindaybird posted:

So the Nice Guy(tm) who thinks all the guys the object of his affections go for are assholes and never realize the reason they don't get laid is because they're a creepy obsessive freak?

Could certainly go that way, sure. Thinking about it though it might also be interesting to take the angle of the person who's been traumatised by the entity/infidelity/abuse/whatever and now sees it everywhere, and tries to protect others from suffering the same without realising that they're using the same methods they fear. It makes the playbook a bit more sympathetic, I think.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP

Robindaybird posted:

So the Nice Guy(tm) who thinks all the guys the object of his affections go for are assholes and never realize the reason they don't get laid is because they're a creepy obsessive freak?

Isn't that the Witch?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

JohnnyCanuck posted:

And under the mask... Why, it's Old Man Wick!

"And I would have gotten away with it too, if you drat kids had been playing Bliss Stage instead!"

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Cythereal posted:

Isn't that the Witch?

I think the Witch is more that loner who acts like they're superior to everyone else and somehow special to cover up feelings of loneliness

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Bieeardo posted:

"And I would have gotten away with it too, if you drat kids had been playing Bliss Stage instead!"

"But we don't want to play Bliss Stage."

"Shut up Billy, your character is going to kiss Mike's character and you're going to like it!"

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

god. Bliss Stage - brings up some bad memories.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth
Bliss Stage needs like...not a full on trigger warning but there has to be a gap between when you start talking about it and when you actually say the name.

Covok
May 27, 2013

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

Flavivirus posted:

Thinking about it though it might also be interesting to take the angle of the person who's been traumatised by the entity/infidelity/abuse/whatever and now sees it everywhere, and tries to protect others from suffering the same without realizing that they're using the same methods they fear. It makes the playbook a bit more sympathetic, I think.

That's how I took it and, to be honest, I think that idea could work if executed a lot better albeit possibly a bit dark.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Tatum Girlparts posted:

Bliss Stage needs like...not a full on trigger warning but there has to be a gap between when you start talking about it and when you actually say the name.

It's the most TV-Tropes of TRPGs. Your character's relative power is based on your massive network of relationships, ones where you have sex being more powerful. If you've got some kind of incestuous love icosohedron going you can basically summon Unit-01.

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Eldad Assarach
May 1, 2014

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Bear in mind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness predates the major licensing of the turtles (notably, the cartoon) by about two years. It wasn't a "cash cow" at this point, but was a surprising cult success in comic stores, at least.

Hence my referring to it as a potential cashcow. I was genuinely amazed at how quickly Palladium grabbed the franchise - only a month before the fifth issue of the original series!

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I recently found out Kevin Siembieda originally tasked an unknown freelancer with writing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness, and wasn't happy with the result (a pattern we'll find repeats itself throughout Palladium's history). So he asks his friend Erick to do it... in four weeks. He wrote in five weeks. It's a lot more impressive now that I know that, particularly with the fact that TMNT is a lot more innovative than most Palladium games (which isn't saying much, but still).

It's depressing how unsurprised I am by that anecdote. Erick really was Kevin's workhorse, bless him.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's noted that After the Bomb 2e was also born of the need for Palladium to be able to sell backstock of old After the Bomb supplements after they lost the license for the corebook that powered them. That's not to say no passion went into it, but it was very much a product of necessity. It's also worth noting that the AtB art is strictly Peter Laird - Eastman isn't involved, as far as I can tell. You should post more of the Laird art, tho, it's rad, and he did a crazy amount considering how little art he actually did for the turtles comic as time went on. He was never prolific, so it's surprising to see.

There's an in-house ad at the back of 2nd Edition ATB for all the supplements that's basically "Hey, we've still got some copies, if you want them! Please want them.", so you certainly can't accuse of being disingenuous. I will be covering the rest of Palladium's TMNT/ATB books, knock on wood. As for Laird's art (you're quite right, Eastman didn't do anything for this book), I will definitely be including it throughout the review, along with a few choice selections from 2nd Ed - System Mastery was right, the art in that book is an embarassment of riches.

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