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MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


I don't think nobody was reading it, I just don't think anyone was commenting on it because it's way easier to wallow in the terribleness of poo poo like Beast than to get into the enthusiasm for something cool.

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Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



I fully admit I'm terrible about providing feedback on reviews. I need to get better with that.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I read a lot of reviews without providing feedback, and I think a lot of other people do, too. Sometimes people don't have time to follow and comment on everything as it's posted, especially when there's multiple big reviews being posted simultaneously.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


like now that I know I wasn't just shouting into a void with the Beginner Box review I might actually do some more. It's one of those things where it's really hard to tell if people are reading and enjoying it or just skipping past it to get to the next Terrible Things The RPG discussion, especially when there's nothing particularly controversial in the topics you're covering.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I'm another one of those quiet readers for the most part. Given I remember feeling the same kind of worries while chewing the furniture with my Superbabes review, I really should try to make more of an effort.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


potatocubed posted:

The background stuff isn't great, no, but I'd feel like a bit of a hypocrite laying into it while I'm a-ok with Captain America or Jenny Sparks.

Also, the scientists jumped straight to human trials because they were "eager to impress the world" and that doesn't seem far out of line with 1920s scientists. They went full Mengele only later on because all the ones who didn't want to were disappeared by the eeeeevil multi-government conspiracy responsible for the whole thing.

Which is all w/e because a) none of it will be important by the time we get to the modern day except to establish that governments are eeeeevil and b) there are plenty of other things to rag on this game about.

Well, Captain America had an origin devised 75 years ago and Jenny Sparks had more the notion of an origin than anything else; I'm not sure they're comparative examples. I think Wolverine was the one who popularized this sort of origin, thought he wasn't the first (Power Man and Miracleman also come to mind).

It's just kind of goofy where they have some serum what they think will make superhumans, even though they have no seeming evidence or basis for it (given they pointedly haven't tested it) and think torture is necessary to activate it because... well, that's how it's worked in other stories, I guess? There was some unethical human experimentation during that time period, though it didn't ramp up until World War II when it really got into fashion (on just about every side of the war). Before that, it was generally done on prisoners or minorities (if you had dark skin in America, look out) who were already dehumanized in the eyes of the experimenters. Even at humanity's worst, you need something that makes people take that step to go "This isn't really a person I'm injecting with Syphilis" or "well, it's okay if he's a mutant with goofy hair". That sort of thing.

In any case, it's just your usual "authority / governments / science is bad" cliche presented without justification, and I may have researched and reasoned this post out more than the authors did.

MollyMetroid posted:

like now that I know I wasn't just shouting into a void with the Beginner Box review I might actually do some more. It's one of those things where it's really hard to tell if people are reading and enjoying it or just skipping past it to get to the next Terrible Things The RPG discussion, especially when there's nothing particularly controversial in the topics you're covering.

There's several things that go on in my observation:
  • A lot of folks read and don't necessarily post.
  • Some games just don't have as much to discuss, particularly when covered in a straightforward fashion.
  • A controversial or popular game can very often suck up discussion.
  • If posting is heavy, it can drown out some writeups in the general pace of the thread.
Sometimes I've waited for certain reviews to finish before posting because of this, but at the same time you can't predict when and what folks are going to start posting about. I've had reviews like Low Life or certain Rifts books that feel like I struggled to have them be noticed. You can always just ask "do people want to see more of X?" and see what you get out of it, though. Silence always feels very negative but it often isn't intentional; I've had people comment on how much they enjoy certain reviews who never post in this thread at all, so I'd just ask and see what kind of response you get.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 18:49 on Jun 3, 2016

Monathin
Sep 1, 2011

???????
?


Alien Rope Burn posted:

[*]If posting is heavy, it can drown out some writeups in the general pace of the thread.[/list]

This, among other reasons, is the reason I pulled back on Exalted 3e for a while. (That and Chapter 4 is my least favorite chapter in the 3e book). I figured it was probably a good idea to pull back on the White Wolf/OPP saturation, since we had God-Machine, Beast, Exalted, and Mage 2e/WtF 2e running all at the same time.

I plan on putting an update up here in the next couple days since the posting's thinned out some, though.

Spiderfist Island
Feb 19, 2011


MollyMetroid posted:

like now that I know I wasn't just shouting into a void with the Beginner Box review I might actually do some more. It's one of those things where it's really hard to tell if people are reading and enjoying it or just skipping past it to get to the next Terrible Things The RPG discussion, especially when there's nothing particularly controversial in the topics you're covering.

I felt the same way with my Runequest 2E review, though the main reason it's been on hiatus is more out of laziness than anything else. (I guess I should continue it, it's not like 180 total pages is too much to cover)

Serf
May 5, 2011




I also am planning to continue my review of Adventure! soon. I just want to hammer out a few updates in advance so that I have something to post when the inevitable laziness hits me or work becomes hellish again.

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.

Do more runequest. God-Machine is the only interesting thing being posted right now. Everything else is just a big wall of text to scroll past.

Speleothing fucked around with this message at 19:12 on Jun 3, 2016

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Y'all care about old GURPS or possibly a Y2k-themed Palladium game?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I'm always down for Palladium reviews, especially when they involve Bill Coffin.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I've also been guilty of letting reviews slack because I wasn't getting as much feedback as I wanted. But the main reason is that I have a bad habit of reading 6 books at once and chewing through each of them a bit at a time.

quote:

I've had reviews like Low Life or certain Rifts books that feel like I struggled to have them be noticed. You can always just ask "do people want to see more of X?" and see what you get out of it, though. Silence always feels very negative but it often isn't intentional; I've had people comment on how much they enjoy certain reviews who never post in this thread at all, so I'd just ask and see what kind of response you get.
I actually went back to read some of your Rifts reviews that I'd missed on inklesspen's site a couple days ago. There's just so much in this thread, I never have time to read, respond, and work on the stuff that I should be working on.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



Yeah, things like Rifts are reviews that I appreciate and cherish, just time-offset until I have a lazy Saturday afternoon to read about DBees and South American vampirostates and stuff for few long hours.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Would there be interest in examining a pathfinder adventure path?

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

So can I write up-

Yes. :justpost:

Would anybody have any interest in a writeup of-

Yes.

There was already a writeup but I want to write-

Yes.

I know it's not a bad game but I'd like to write-

Yes.

This is just a fan work and not a published book can I-

Yes.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Halloween Jack posted:

I've also been guilty of letting reviews slack because I wasn't getting as much feedback as I wanted. But the main reason is that I have a bad habit of reading 6 books at once and chewing through each of them a bit at a time.
When I restarted the Torg review, it was because work was stressing me out to the point where I wasn't able to do anything even after work, and I fell out of the rhythm of writing.

Now I want to finish just because of the time and effort I've put into it (over three years :psyduck:); and after Aysle I still have four more cosm books and War's End to cover. :smithicide:

Monathin
Sep 1, 2011

???????
?


MollyMetroid posted:

Would there be interest in examining a pathfinder adventure path?

If you do this, I think Kingmaker is the one most ripe for review, considering it inspired a whole set of secondary rules and was kind of a beta test for Ultimate Campaign, which remains pretty cool.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I love to see more adventure/campaign reviews, it really helps to examines the flaws in the system, or what the writers expect players to do with their game.

Robindaybird fucked around with this message at 22:09 on Jun 3, 2016

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

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

Monathin posted:

If you do this, I think Kingmaker is the one most ripe for review, considering it inspired a whole set of secondary rules and was kind of a beta test for Ultimate Campaign, which remains pretty cool.

Alternately, Iron Gods, since it plays with/introduces stuff that'll show up in Starfinder.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


I was thinking reign of winter which also plays with other planets and is the weirdest one so far. I don't have kingmaker so it's not really one i could do. Iron gods might be possible though.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Robindaybird posted:

I love to see more adventure/campaign reviews, it really helps to examines the flaws in the system, or what the writers expect players to do with their game.

I actually thought about that, since I'm rather dissatisfied with my review of Eternal Boundary. I'll cover the other adventure modules, but do it the way Ettin wrote the Cthulhutech adventures (but without the rape monsters. At least I hope)

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!



Planescape: Planes of Chaos - The Abyss (part 1)



The Abyss is an entire universe that wants to kill you. You need to be quick on your wits and sure of your strength, because this Plane does not gently caress around. There are either infinite or near-infinite layers to The Abyss, and each one has its own way to horrifically murder you. And thatís before you meet the locals.

Tanaríri saying posted:

Ah, the infinite wonders of The Abyss. If thereís anything you donít like, youíll find it here.

A lot of folks, particularly Primes, come to The Abyss on accident, either through loving around with magic or as sacrifice victims. Or a dumbass mage (are there any other types? :downsrim: ) thinks they can outwit the Tanaríri, with really predictable results. The book advises that if a berk absolutely needs to get a fiend to enact revenge or some silly nonsense, he or she should talk with the Baatezu, ďwho at least cheat her honestly.Ē


That's a minus 50 DKP you stupid gently caress!

Assuming you arenít a complete idiot, you can get into The Abyss by taking a portal from Sigil, travelling along the Great Road, riding in on the River Styx, or going through the gate-town of Plague-Mort. Any of these methods can be used to leave. The portal back to Sigil is usually the safest, assuming that the portal is stable and works both ways. Reaching Plague-Mort is probably the second best way, It could be a long journey there depending on where you start, but at least it takes you to the Outlands. Using the Great Road or River Styx will usually just take a berk from one bad situation to another (paths to Carceri are in caverns, while paths to Pandemonium require jumping from a cliff. Be sure you have the right cliff). Wherever you are, bribery is an extremely effective survival tactic, as is making oneself useful to the higher-ups. Tanaríri hate each other as much as the rest of the Multiverse, and smart adventurers will learn to exploit that. Of course, thereís no telling when the Tanaríri or Abyssal Lord theyíre working for decides to smash the new toy they just acquired, so cutters need to keep their eye on the exit at all times, or working the betrayal angle as much as possible. It can be maddening trying to play fiends against each other, but the alternative is just waiting for Sword of Damocles to come down.

There are three priorities to survival: surviving the climate and terrain, not getting eaten, and having enough unspoiled rations. One thing to keep in mind when on The Abyss is that while every layer is nasty, some layers are much worse than others. Itís important to do your homework before venturing to the Abyss and know which layers are survivable and which are not. Obvious hazards on a layer include poisonous water, burning sunlight, no light, no air, noxious air, or no level ground. Other layers have dangers that are less obvious but no less deadly; stealing memories, rotting from the inside, or slowly turning a cutterís alignment to Chaotic Evil. Still other layers donít hurt a sod directly, but conditions are such that the natives will come down like a ton of bricks, like a layer where thereís no food but other sentient beings, or berks with good alignment shine like beacons (making it impossible to hide from Tanaríri.)

Magic can alleviate some of these problems. The bad news is that Tanaríri (and by extension The Abyss itself) hate mages because of their tendency to summon and enslave them. Not every wizard does this of course, but if you think a Tanaríri would care about such nuances you havenít been paying attention. As a result, just using magic draws attention on The Abyss, particularly from Abyssal Lords who donít like potential challengers to their authority. Of course, not every spell is going to bring down the hammer, because that would be no fun. Instead, there is a priority as to what magic will draw notice. Spells that trick or inform (so illusion or divination) are the least likely to get noticed. Defensive magic and wards against evil are somewhat dangerous to use. Offensive magic is likely to get a reaction, and finally spells of binding or coercion will really rustle the jimmies of Tanaríri. Aside from this, where a spell is used is also important. On open layers, the ones without an Abyssal Lord, thereís not likely going to be a response unless a True Tanaríri is being affected. On layers with an Abyssal Lord, a spellcaster has to be more careful with magic, and direct challenges to a Lordís authority will almost certainly get noticed. Finally, retaliation is based on what the spell targets. As strong as Abyssal Lords are, their power is finite, and going full blast on every caster would drain that power quickly. Spells cast on powerful Tanaríri will have more severe effects than buffs or healing spells. You might have noticed that there arenít any percentages or rolls to make. Thatís because there arenít. Instead, the book tells the DM that these responses should occur once or twice an adventure, and be tailored to the situation, rather than an excuse to wipe a party.

The Book of Chaos posted:

The best use of the Abyssís magical backlash is an ever-present threat, and just the knowledge that spells may backfire or set off arcane alarms is enough to make smart players more cautious.
Finally, there are a whole slew of changes to spells both for The Abyss in general and on individual layers in particular. ďBecause of the extreme variety of terrain, the DM must arbitrate the effects of individual layers of the Abyss.Ē Letís go over the changes to each school, because hoo boy, they are a doozy.

Master-Scriver Jarvel of the Guvners posted:

If there are laws that govern The Abyss, I donít want to know them.

Alteration - When an alteration spell is cast, either the caster or recipient (if there is one) must make a saving throw versus spell. If the save fails, then the target is corrupted. Living creatures turn into a more evil form. So humans become tieflings, tieflings become Tanaríri, githzerai become githyanki, elves become drow, bariaur become lamia, and so on. If the target is a Tanaríri, it becomes either a stronger or weaker form of Tanaríri. If the target is inanimate, it becomes useless goop.

Conjuration/Summoning - Thereís a 10% x spell level chance that a Tanaríri answers the summons.

Divination - True Tanaríri and Abyssal Lords in The Abyss always know when theyíre being snooped on, and can reach through the spell to retaliate. This retaliation takes the form of the divination spell used, and the counterattack is of lower or equal level to the divination spell cast. The exception to this is ESP, and this is more a rule for Tanaríri than The Abyss. But basically NEVER DO IT! Of course since many Tanaríri can shapechange, itís possible to do so unknowingly. If you do try to mind read a Tanaríri, you have to make a saving throw versus death magic. Succeed, then you are feebleminded for 2d6 hours and only remember fragments of useful information if you recover. And if you fail? Then the caster suffers from madness (of a type agreed by the Player and DM) until treated with heal, restoration, limited wish ďor a more powerful cureĒ. The mage also loses spell-levels based on how powerful the target Tanaríri is (so mind-reading a True Tanaríri costs four spell levels, which means a loss of a 4th level spell, 2 2nd level spells, or however the mage chooses). Half the spell levels lost are permanent (the rest are restored when the madness is cured, I guess?).

Illusions - Tanaríri love deceiving foes, so this magic is actually enhanced.

Necromancy - Reincarnation in the Abyss is always in the form of a Tanaríri, mostly as least Tanaríri too. Otherwise, necromancy works well on most layers. Notably on the layer Thanatos, however, thereís a flaw worked into the Animate Dead spell that allows Petitioners to hijack the spell.

Wild Magic - Wild Magic is enhanced, but when a wild surge happens, you roll twice and and take the worse of the rolls.

Elemental - Even when you have the right Spell Key, thereís still catches you have to deal with. Whenever a protective spell would prevent or reduce damage, the caster has to make a Breath Save to see if it functions (and thatís with a Key :psyboom:). On the other hand, damaging spells do 1 extra damage per die.

Speaking of Spell Keys, on The Abyss Spell Keys are bribes, usually in the form of blood or money (often not the casterís). As with anything here, a caster should mind who is giving the keys, and how much it costs. As a general rule, if the price is too good to be true, then it is. False keys usually cause damage to the caster and may even mess with their ability to cast spells. Conjuration keys are closely guarded, but again they take the form of bribes, in this case the spell level x 100gp. And stronger Tanaríri require payment in gems or even magic items (did magic items have gp costs in 2nd Edition? I donít remember). Divination spells require specific keys to cast, and sometimes require using a Tanaríriís True Name (not easy to come by for anyone). Fake divination keys are a surefire way to provoke a response. Power Keys are rarely handed out by Abyssal Lords, but when they are they take the form of shrunken Manes skull. Other Powers give keys that are basically unholy symbols.

The next part of the chapter explains what an Abyssal Lord is. Like the Baatezu, weaker Tanaríri can advance into stronger forms, but unlike the Baatezu itís left nebulous how this happens. Whatever the process is, once a Tanaríri becomes True, the next phase of his transformation is to wrest control of their own layer. At this point, a Tanaríri is now an Abyssal Lord. In order to gain even more power, an Abyssal Lord now has to recruit worshippers, particularly worshippers on the Prime. At this point the Abyssal Lord faces a challenge-it has to attract worshippers, but it has substantially less to offer Priests in terms of spells. At most, an Abyssal Lord can in person grant 4th level spells. Even a gullible prime is going to wonder what makes an Abyssal Lord special when he can be just as much a d-bag worshipping, say, Loki, and get the full slate of spells. To overcome this disadvantage, an Abyssal Lord has two tricks. First is to provide cultists with magic items and Tanaríri servants. Second, an Abyssal Lord can corrupt the followers of actual Powers. Lords typically poach from evil deities, since itíll be less obvious that who theyíre following has changed. Corrupted priests still receive their spells from their original power until discovered, and an Abyssal Lord can hide the signs of the conversions. If an Abyssal Lord can keep this scam going long enough, it becomes an actual Power and is able to grant high level spells on its own. Abyssal Lords that have graduated to become Powers include Baphomet, Demogorgon, Jubilex and Yeenoghu. Other Lords named in this book include Fraz Urblu, Grazízt, Kostchtchie, Pazrael, Sessíink, Zuggtmony, and many more. Whether they have achieved godhood or not, Abyssal Lords can use Tanaríri as proxies. These proxies serve out of fear, and have little loyalty to their masters.

You might have noticed that one name is conspicuously absent from the list. At the start of Planescape, the Abyssal Lord Orcus is in the dead book. As part of one of Planescapeís big story-arcs, Orcus is eventually restored to power, so that when 3rd edition rolls along, heís back in the Abyss, ďclutching his terrible rodĒ (:heysexy:). What I donít know is if TSR killed him off before they started writing Planescape or if they came up with the idea of an Abyssal Lord returning from death as a storyline for Planescape and picked Orcus to fill that roll.
EDIT:

Bieeardo posted:

The last Bloodstone module (which predates 2E itself by about a year) is mostly a trundle across multiple layers of the Abyss and through the stomping grounds of several of those named Lords, on the way to assaulting Orcus's palace and stealing his Rod so that it can be destroyed in the Seven Heavens. I always imagined that someone at TSR figured that the events of the module were Forgotten Realms canon, and that whoever got through it probably had to cut Orcus down to get the Rod out of his clutches.
I guess that answers my question.

The Tanaríri and Abyssal Lords are not the only inhabitants of The Abyss. Depending on the layer, undead or sea monsters for example are more prevalent. Besides the Abyssal Lords, the most infamous Power to reside in the Abyss is Lolth. The one real-life god that I recognize living here is Kali. Most of the other deities are monster gods like Vaprak of the ogres or Grankhul, the Great Mother of the Beholders. The proxies of these Powers are more likely to be monsters associated they are associated with, like Lolthís myrlochar and yochlol.

From an outsiderís perspective, Petitionerís have a pretty miserable lot, but the truth is that they love it here. Abyssal petitioners not turned into Manes are a foul lot of thugs, killers, traitors and poisoners. They have to live with the Tanaríri, so theyíre surprisingly tough for petitioners. Like the Tanaríri, they are suspicious of each other, so itís not hard to turn them against each other.

Thereís a small section on the Tanaríri, in case you forgot what those are. No faction has a big presence here-no Abyssal Lord would tolerate them. Besides, the Tanaríri and other inhabitants donít care about philosophy, just power. Oddly, the Ring-Givers have a small foothold here. Abyssal Beggars believe that giving up physical things assumes that they receive power and stature in return. Most of the other inhabitants in the Abyss are scavengers, servant creatures, or creations of the Tanaríri that they lost track of.

Norglemist the Nabassu posted:

If I donít rend you limb from limb, who will?

The layers of The Abyss arenít actually stacked on top of each other like the layers of other planes may be. Instead, each layer connects to the Plain of Infinite Portals. The layers are numbered in the order that it was discovered and then reported to the Fraternity of Order in Sigil (it can be assumed that several layers were ďdiscoveredĒ many times before ever being officially reported). Of the 679 layers that have been catalogued, 141 are habitable by by most planars. Realms and layers in The Abyss typically mean the same thing, since Abyssal Lords and other Chaotic Evil powers donít like to share If a layer currently has two Lords, one will eventually kick out the other). There are a number of layers (including the topmost layer) that donít have a Power or Lord ruling them. And a few layers have been sealed off. These layers are only known by reputation, and any attempt to summon from them fail. Abyssal Lords fear this happening to them, but would love to visit this fate on their enemies.

Describing 679 layers even briefly in one booklet would be absurd, so instead provides a summary of several of the more prominent layers and then provides further details on a small selection of layers. Think of it as The Abyss giving a small sampling of middle fingers before showing off the full goatse.cx.

6th: Realm of a Million Eyes. Home of the Great Mother. I hope you like Beholders!

7th: Phantom Plane. The Ayssal Lord Sessíinek wants gently caress all to do with the Blood War, and so heís sealed his layer on purpose.

12th: Twelvetrees. Once upon a time, the Tanaríri took twelve devas here and murdered the poo poo out of them. Their screams can still be heard here, and the Tanaríri use this layer to make magic devices for the Blood War, like the Ships of Chaos described later in this booklet.

13th: Blood Tor. The Baatezu once invaded this layer and messed stuff up. Today, itís home to two Forgotten Realms deities: Beshaba, goddess of misfortune, and Umbrelee, goddess of the seas.

23th: Iron Wastes. Lots of ice, cold and frost giants, little light. Ruled by Kostchtchie.

66th: The Demonweb Pits. Lolthís realm! This layer is a giant, geography-warping spider web. Lots of Drow and spiders, and Lolth herself rides around in a big spider fortress. This layer actually has a lot of portals to worlds where Lolth has worshippers.


not DiTerlizzi art, but still pretty metal

74th: Smaragd. Trippy acid jungle. This layer is actually home to two deities: the previously mentioned Merrshaulk and Ramenos, god of the bullywugs. Both gods are lazy goons that sleep all day and only respond to direct threats.

88th: Gaping Maw. This layer is the domain of Demogorgon. Demogorgon is the lord of krakens, ixitxachitl, and other evil sea monsters. So of course his physical form is a 2-headed baboon with tentacle arms. Because what else would he be? :v:

181th: Rotting Plain. This layer of dry savannah and shallow swamplands is home to the troglodyte god Laogzed. Laogzed goes about the layer eating everything that enters it.

222nd: Shedaklah Also known as The Slime Pits, itís home to all the intelligent oozes, slimes and molds would ever want. This layer is the home of Jubilex. It also used to be the home of Zuggtomy. You may remember her from the Temple of Elemental Evil adventure. Currently, sheís imprisoned beneath the temple, and her realm is shrinking in her absence.

274th: Durao. This is an open realm which consists of makeshift piers on the River Styx. Tanaríri use this layer to gather armies and shove them onto barges to go fight the Blood War.

303rd: Sulfanorum. ďThe 303rd layer is a place where Tanaríri come to relax and smoke a pipe of dried flesh, dung, or whatever it is they smoke.Ē Itís almost unbreathable for most travellers, but Tanaríri donít care.

399th: Worm Reach This is a layer of endlessly twisting and changing tunnels. Itís home to Urdlen, the evil gnome mole-god. If the collapsing tunnels donít kill you, then the fungal infections will.

400th: Woeful Escrand Newly arrived petitioners in The Abyss arrive on this layer, and are herded towards the Mountain of Woe. Once there, Nalfeshnee on flaming thrones decide what form of Tanaríri the petitioner starts out as (or just eat them) and then boots them to somewhere else in the Plane.

422nd: Yeenoghuís Realm. This layer consists of endless dry forests and savannahs. The grass is razor sharp and the water diseased and poisonous. As the name implies, the Abyssal Lord Yeenoghu lives here, ruling from a mountain-sized pile of bones. His gnoll followers hunt down lesser Tanaríri and anyone else that visits this layer.

586th: Prison of the Mad God This layer is a swirling vortex of rocks and gas. At the center of the storm is Diinkarazan, the mad god of the duergar. He sits imprisoned on a stone throne. Once every 50 years he snaps out of his madness, but heís so revenge obsessed that heíll probably still kill visitors in these moments.

643rd: Caverns of the Skull. Hoo boy. This layer is the realm of Kali. It is ďa place of perpetual blood sacrifices and suffering.Ē Petitioners run around murdering each other, but are reborn to kill again. Naturally, theyíll try to kill any visitors that stumbles in here. The only ways of leaving are to kill a proxy, because the gates are literally keyed to their death.

Next Time: :goatsecx:

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 02:55 on Jun 4, 2016

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Hopefully folks are enjoying the Whispering Vault review, I actually worry sometimes that I editorialize too much because when I get into the guts of a system it doesn't take too much to make me grouchy at it. But hey, the art's neat to look at, unlike the WLD or PDQ games I'm not just left with big text-dumps.



The Whispering Vault: Part 4
Servitors


Servitors are pokemon written by Clive Barker. Unlike Shadows they don't fully manifest in the Realm of Flesh and so they're invisible to anyone except for Sensitives and beings of Essence. They have singular roles so they're less like summoned monsters and more like spells.

Summoning a Servitor is a Strenous action so attempting it costs a point of precious Vitality and the difficulty is non-trivial. There are vague guidelines: it's Easy to summon a Servitor if you can take as much time as you want and are free of distractions and it's Very Hard to summon one in a single combat round in the middle of a fight, taking two rounds reduces it to merely Hard. If you've Mastered a particular servitor you only pay the Vitality cost on a failed roll. Considering the very small Vitality pool characters have and the difficulty of summoning a Servitor it's pretty much only useful if you Master them.

The book states that one of the advantages of Servitors is that they have nearly unlimited area and duration, limited only by the Forbiddance. Of course, we have no idea what the Forbiddance is so that's not particularly helpful.

So, with that in mind, lets get to the servitors:



Chronovores: These are capable of "loosening the grip of the Chronosphere" on Mortals and Minions. Basically its a slow spell, which reduces the attack attribute by 1, Defend by 2 and Initiative by 3. Not bad...except that you've got to sacrifice your action, spend a point of Karma or an extra point of vitality each round. If this worked on Shadows or the Unbidden that might be worthwhile, but since it only affects Mortals it's a hefty cost.

Cloudlings: Make it rain!!


This is the stupidest Servitor by far. They absorb moisture from the air and rise up to release it as rain 10-20 minutes after they're summoned. That's all. Oh, and you can dismiss them before they "burst" in order to simply leave the air dry. I suppose that secondary option might be useful for clearing some fog...but honestly I can't imagine they're very useful. This isn't a setting where rain or running water has any special properties...this just produces a moderate rainstorm with a 10-20 minute head start.

Devourers: This servitor is fairly interesting and actually fairly useful (it certainly makes the Disintegrate discipline look like a chump). Devourers will consume matter, up to several tons of inanimate matter, regardless of the durability of the substance. However, barriers or objects that have been enchanted cannot be harmed and the Devourers are forbidden from consuming living flesh and the taste of fresh blood will immediately banish them. See, that's an interesting servitor, it's got flexible utility and enough weirdness to make it more than just a re-skinned disintegrate power. I wonder if any of the rest will live up to this.

Dreadwyrms The servitor version of the Terrify power, less intense but broader and harder to resist...but at the cost of Vitality. It causes any Mortals who hear the Dreadwyrms telephathic whispers to become Terrified (lowering their Die Cap), unless they are Driven or Inspired. It can also cause a panic, but no rules are provided for when this happens, just saying that it might happen. Panicked mortals lash out violently and get +2 to attack but -3 to defense, fleeing immediately if injured.

Ferretters: By describing something you are looking for the Ferretters will find it. They can fly and go through walls, moving 10 times faster than a human. They'll continue searching for whatever time you ask them to and return to you when they find it. They're too dumb for abstract orders however, so you can't tell them to "find Shadows" or "find the Unbidden".

Flits: This is a "shield" effect where the Flits apparently bodily hurl themselves into the path of fast-moving objects. Reduces ranged damage by 1 die, 2 die for high-velocity projectiles like guns. This only affects melee attacks if you are using Frenzy, which also inflicts a -2 penalty. Not particularly impressive.

Glamours: This one beats Cloudlings for the record of "stupidest Servitor". Glamours produce light-shows that can only be seen by Sensitives...so it doesn't affect normal mortals and it won't affect Shadows or the Unbidden...just Sensitive Mortals. Furthermore, only Sensitives with a Perception of 12 or higher and a Resolve of 13 or lower. That's an incredibly narrow class. All the lights do is reduce Initiative and Perceive by 2 while its going on...except there's also a 1-in-6 chance that minions will become enraged by the lights, granting a +1 bonus to attack! And like all servitors this costs a point of Vitality to accomplish.


Lets comfort ourselves with this cool looking image

Glimmergaunts: The glimmergaunts produce an ethereal light visible only to beings of Essence and Sensitives with a perception of 15 or higher (by the way there are no example Sensitives in the book, so it's not clear what their stats "normally" look like). This makes physical objects transparent, allowing you to see through them. There's no limit to the depth you can set it to but it can obviously get hard to interpret stuff past a certain point. The light is also disturbing to other Servitors, driving them away unless the summoner spends a point of Karma.

Gremlins: you can probably guess what these do. It only works on high-tech equipment, which may be an issue considering the Stalkers cover the entire time-stream, but given their utility any time after 1900 it's probably still worth someone getting them. Theoretically it should shut down all such devices in the area of effect...but then it says "there is always a chance a device that should be affected will work properly". Of course, no rules are provided for what that chance actually is...it's just up to the GM whether or not some important item is still working or not.

Marrowdires: Wow, really stretching on the name for this one. These are parasites that feed on the Vessels of Stalkers, Shadows and Unbidden. Anyone in the area of effect (including Stalkers, so be careful) has their Fortitude reduced by 1. However, an attack that inflicts damage will drive out the parasites, resetting the Fortitude until the start of the next round (assuming you don't escape the area).

Martyrs: These servitors sacrifice themselves to prevent others from feeling pain. That's sweet. It reduces all damage in the area by 1 Vitality and the cloud of Martyrs can absorb up to 9 vitality before they're all killed. Pretty effective if used wisely.

Negators: These creatures eat up Essence in the area. This prevents a Sensitive from "reading" an area and blocks most form of mortal magic which requires access to this essence.

Nightwings: The nightwings block out light in the area, causing anything from a dimming to pitch blackness as you wish. However, "they may linger longer than their master desires". There are no rules for what that means. I should point out that there also aren't any form of standardized "situational" modifiers so there's no actual guidelines on what penalties or bonuses darkness would provide.



Rippers: These creatures rip off skin, the little darlings. This de-husks Minions and inflicts 1 point of Vitality damage to mortals with Fortitudes of 1-2 or lower. The Unbidden can take control of these servants, turning them into a 6-die attack against the summoner. Considering that they're not very impressive to begin with, that's a pretty hefty penalty.

Rotlings: 1-6 rounds after exposure mortals in the area fall ill if their Fortitude is less than 4. The illness drops attack, defense, strength and initiative by 1. Exposure can be fatal to sickly victims but otherwise it'll run its course in an hour. however, the disease can be transmissable to others, meaning a mini-plague can start.

Slashers: A big area of effect attack from spinning little monsters, they are treated as a 4dice attack against everyone with a die-cap of 5 against shadows and 4 against stalkers and the unbidden. They also won't attack anyone already wounded.

Spinners: These guys spin invisible webs that can only be seen by Sensitives. The webs have no effect on beings of Essence but cling to mortals (including the Husks of Minions) and "slowing them to a crawl". Unfortunately no actual rules are provided for what this means. Can they defend themselves? Can they attack? What about objects like mortal weapons? either way the webs apparently dissolve in an hour or when cut by a "living knife" or the sound of churchbells. These weird little conditions you see on some Servitors are interesting and hint at an interesting setting but since its so scattershot whether or not a particular servitor has a limitation like this then it ends up being too forgettable.

Trackers: A more limited version of Ferretters. Trackers also run through walls and will find the nearest creature of Essence and then howl just loud enough to reach the summoner. Mortals cannot hear the howl but sensitives and beings of Essence can...so it's not terribly helpful when pursuing prey to alert them to the fact that you just found them.

Vampires: The reverse of Martyrs. Vampires will seek out the wounds of Mortals or the Host of an Unbidden and drink from the wounds, increasing vitality damage by 1. Once they get 9 points of vitality they're sated and leave. If they are not sated within 3 rounds they will start to feed on Stalkers as well (but apparently not Shadows or the Unbidden's Avatar).

Voidoids: Winner of the "stupidest name". They resemble floating jellyfish with eyeballs on their tentacles. They can mute, but not neutralize just about any sort of energy. This lets them do things like reduce fires, interfere with radio signals, dim lights etc. Definitely an interesting ability, hampered by the fact that there are no guidelines for doing things like reducing damage from energy sources or actual guidelines for how much you can reduce a signal.



So, servitors are more interesting than Disciplines but the Vitality cost renders them pretty-much a non-starter unless you're a Master and many of them are just flat-out not worth the effort.

Next we'll be looking at Skills!

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012





Chapter 4, Part 11: The Southwestern Wilderness
The "Other" category for land portions. We're down to the parts where we don't even get the Geography and History sections, and even the Nomad Lands got those.

The Great Desert
It sure is a desert. Probably not all that great, though. The only things that live out in its mana-void and desolate stretches of shifting sands are monsters and tribes of traveler-eating reptile men. There are also scattered elven ruins from the time before the Bane scoured the landscape, which sometimes still have arcane lore stuffed in their depths.


The Southern Plains
Technically part of al-Haz on paper, but not in any real governing capacity, the plains west of the great mountains are home to nomadic Muslim tribesmen. Their existence is technically a Hazi state secret, as is the border with the Djinn Lands in general, but some Caithnesser merchant caravans and Cardien trade ships have managed to force their way around anyway and reached these tribes to trade with them for copper, ivory, and glassware. They'll tell anyone who wants to go to the Djinn Lands that they're crazy and need to go home immediately, though, as some things just aren't worth the risk even after you've braved the Hazi border patrols.


The Djinn Lands
And speaking of the Djinn Lands, here it is, at least. Those scant few who have gone into this forbidding land of open desert, craggy mountains and wadis, and salt lakes and lived to tell the tale bring back stories that say the djinn are human Ė ridiculously powerful in their magic, beyond almost anything else known in Ytarria, but human nonetheless. Of course, the truth is more complicated.

The Creation of the Djinn
The truth of the matter is that in the time before the Bane, there was a strange sect of elf archmages in the southwestern forests that sought to shed the shackles of the flesh and become unto as gods (only not quite, because elf religion has no concept of deities). They certainly succeeded, but not to the extent they had hoped. While these elves had become energy beings with phenomenal power and dubbed themselves "Ascended Ones", they were ultimately still tethered to their meat suits, being forced to remain close to them in order to still draw out the mana of the land to fuel themselves. For centuries, they waited and watched, trying and failing to tempt elves and dwarves that traveled their way into a pact wherein the Ascended One would ride within their body. And, even as desperate as they were, no Ascended One would dare desecrate themselves by taking on an orcish vessel.

Humans as Vessels
The Ascended Ones' big break finally came through the Bane ritual and the first Banestorm. Muslim tribesmen that encountered the phantasmal elves called them djinn, as there was nothing else that came to mind to compare the strange entities to. The Ascended Ones found humans a bit homely but ultimately servicable to their causes and a handful of the humans found the Ascended Ones' offers to live together in immortality appealing, and thus a pact was formed. The two species merged into one, each Ascended one and tribesman fusing into a gestalt consciousness capable of immense magical power and truly became what is now known as a djinni. Most djinn are still practicing Muslims thanks to the curiousity and tolerance of their elven half, though a few have had their human half pushed to follow the path of secular thought by particularly pugnacious Ascended Ones.

Effects on Mana Levels
Ultimately, however, djinn are chained by their own past. The rituals used to originally create the Ascended Ones sapped the mana around their mummified elf corpses and continue to leech it from the very air they breathe to maintain the arcane link that allows their existence. They typically build their castles in nearby high mana areas but keep extensive wards and other magical defenses and a handful of mundane traps within the ancient buried ruins that house their original body, for destroying it would dispel the ritual and kill the Ascended One.

Retinues
The area around a djinni's castle is a community unto itself, made up of the descendants of servants that they have gathered over the centuries. These retinues are made up of craftsmen, warriors, entertainers, and concubines that are well-treated but ultimately seen mainly as pawns in the djinn's greater schemes. While djinn usually use magical contraception when engaging in "the pleasures of the flesh", some djinn-human hybrids have been born. While a few have arcane markings that show their heritage, most of these individuals are indistinguishable from a normal human wizard.

Djinn Contests
Millennia of being an energy being can sometimes be boring. That, along with the consideration of the limited real estate in high mana patches, has lead to the djinn often playing games with each other. Unfortunately for their warriors, these "games" are often war games, staging two armies against each other in blood-spewing competition. While this is ultimately not all that different from any other feudal nation in Ytarria and the warriors accept their place in the scheme of things, it is nonetheless disturbing when you realize how minor they treat the affair of having a whole troop of men march to their potential deaths. Other djinn contests will actually involve two of the djinn themselves or selected champions doing some sort of test of skill or athletic competition, which fortunately doesnt' lead to anyone's violent demise.




Chapter 4, Part 12: The Oceans
The Ocean Environment
Finally, we reach the ocean at the end of our chapter-long journey. Most of the ocean on Ytarria's continental shelf is warm, shallow, and filled with life. Vibrant coral reefs are found throughout Araterre, and throughout the region there are numerous fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. Beyond is the abyssal plain, a realm of shadow and strange creatures that are sometimes so freakish it's assumed they have to be magical in origin. The waters of the continental shelf are mostly normal mana with spots of low mana, while the abyssal plain is low to no mana with strange patches of very high or even wild mana.

Adventuring Beneath the Waves
Assuming you aren't playing a sea elf/merfolk/shark man party, how the hell do you work Ytarria beneath the sea into anything? Beyond some really crude diving bells, there's not any diving technology that gets past the Ministry of Serendipity, so that's right out. The answer is magic, of course, you silly. The Breathe Water spell lets you do the whole "not drowning: thing, while Swim and Walk Through Water are spells that get you past the issue of movement. The greatest challenge lies in water pressure, the continental shelf requiring Pressure Support 1 and the abyssal plain Pressure Support 2. There are no spells as-is that do this, so GURPS Banestorm handily offers that "Generous GMs" can optionally rule that Breathe Water comes packaged with providing Pressure Support 1 as well.


The Sea Elf Tribes

GURPS Banestorm posted:

Of course, a water-breathing sibling species to an air-breathing, apparently-mammalian race makes little sense in scientific terms. The most likely explanation is that they were created by some very ancient act of magic.
Nothing gets past this writer.

Magical origin or not, sea elves have been around since long before the coming of humans to Ytarria, and once had vast cities and farming towns all around the continental shelf. Unfortunately, their cities were built around high mana zones, and when the dark elves unleashed the Bane these were ripped to shreds its arcane feedback. Tens of thousands of sea elves died, and the species as a whole has never forgotten nor forgiven the worst of their land-dwelling cousins for that incident. The survivors were slammed all the way back to the Bronze Age and forced to adopt a nomadic tribal lifestyle. It's only recently that they've been able to sustain a population large enough to begin rebuilding settlements and advancing their technology once again.

Yrth Dolphins
Also known as "your reminder that this setting was originally written in the 80s". Sapient dolphins are probably Yrthian natives, but nobody's really 100% sure. They don't use technology or magic, they don't create structures or tools, and are pretty much just dolphins that happen to be able to hold a conversation. Most are friendly, but there are individuals that succumb to the same vices that any sapient species does.


The Banestorm Underwater
Just as Banestorms appeared above the waves, so too did ones below. One was so powerful that it never dissipated, instead becoming the source of power for the Maelstrom near al-Haz. The Maelstrom is so strong, however, that anything that gets teleported through it just gets ripped to shreds, save for the very rare sea monster that is so large and durable that it can get through battered but not broken.

Merfolk
The merfolk have a tribal culture that is either nomadic or village-based, with Stone Age technology that utilizes stone, bone, and seashells for crafting. While they are respectful of their village elders, merfolk as a whole are vain and self-absorbed, only sometimes making friends with other species. Those who have magical knowledge typically select spells from the Illusion or Mind Control colleges and use them either out of self-defense or just to amuse themselves (sometimes at the expense of others).

Shark Men
The shark men have an honorable warrior culture led by individuals that the Sahudese refer to as samurai. Their tribes have Stone Age technology and little knowledge of magic, seeing it as most likely dishonorable on the field of battle but at the same time useful on practical terms and sometimes pleasing to their eldritch gods. Almost all shark men are found off the coast of Sahud; those that aren't are almost always going to be exiles, who are dishonorable and often have no qualms about killing other sapients to eat them.


Beyond the Waves?
Nobody knows what's on the other continents of Yrth beyond Ytarria. Teleportation spells are out of the question, and a combination of ferocious storms and wild mana makes conventional or magical sailing tricky as well. Of course, in a metacontextual sense, there's the far simpler explanation that the writers of the setting wanted to give the Game Master the freedom to put whatever they want on however many other continents might exist. The game gives a few ideas as well, including a nation where goblins rule over a slave caste of humans, a continent the Banestorms never touched that is still ruled by elves, and a land of wild magic overrun with demons.



Next Time in GURPS Banestorm: Chapters past 4 actually exist! Chapter 5 is all about characters, including dealing with advantages on a modern character entering a Medieval setting, character classes occupational templates, and the sapient species that weren't important enough to get billing back in the first chapter.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

The servitors are definitely more interesting than the disciplines.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, Captain America had an origin devised 75 years ago and Jenny Sparks had more the notion of an origin than anything else; I'm not sure they're comparative examples. I think Wolverine was the one who popularized this sort of origin, thought he wasn't the first (Power Man and Miracleman also come to mind).

It's just kind of goofy where they have some serum what they think will make superhumans, even though they have no seeming evidence or basis for it (given they pointedly haven't tested it) and think torture is necessary to activate it because... well, that's how it's worked in other stories, I guess? There was some unethical human experimentation during that time period, though it didn't ramp up until World War II when it really got into fashion (on just about every side of the war). Before that, it was generally done on prisoners or minorities (if you had dark skin in America, look out) who were already dehumanized in the eyes of the experimenters. Even at humanity's worst, you need something that makes people take that step to go "This isn't really a person I'm injecting with Syphilis" or "well, it's okay if he's a mutant with goofy hair". That sort of thing.

I always wonder why, when it comes to the trope of Nazis supersoldiers, we don't have some concentration camp prisoners hulking out from Ubermenschen serum/treatment/process and tearing guards and doctors in half before running into the wilderness to pursue a superpowered guerrilla campaign? Because those are the guys they would have experimented first on.

You can tell I think the best thing about BNW is the Superior origin story

Also, I know Captain America's origin had a "Tuskegee experiments"-style retcon with a group of African-Americans being experimented on develop a copy of the Super Soldier Serum.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

That's a significant factor in Greg Stolze's GODLIKE. Super powers only manifest in life and death situations, so the most beleaguered and oppressed populations wind up with a surprising number of Talents. The setting has a default timeline going through the end of the war, implying that this will be a big problem for the Great Powers in the post war era.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

SirPhoebos posted:

You might have noticed that one name is conspicuously absent from the list. At the start of Planescape, the Abyssal Lord Orcus is in the dead book. As part of one of Planescapeís big story-arcs, Orcus is eventually restored to power, so that when 3rd edition rolls along, heís back in the Abyss, ďclutching his terrible rodĒ (:heysexy:). What I donít know is if TSR killed him off before they started writing Planescape or if they came up with the idea of an Abyssal Lord returning from death as a storyline for Planescape and picked Orcus to fill that roll.

The last Bloodstone module (which predates 2E itself by about a year) is mostly a trundle across multiple layers of the Abyss and through the stomping grounds of several of those named Lords, on the way to assaulting Orcus's palace and stealing his Rod so that it can be destroyed in the Seven Heavens. I always imagined that someone at TSR figured that the events of the module were Forgotten Realms canon, and that whoever got through it probably had to cut Orcus down to get the Rod out of his clutches.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

I read a lot of reviews without providing feedback, and I think a lot of other people do, too. Sometimes people don't have time to follow and comment on everything as it's posted, especially when there's multiple big reviews being posted simultaneously.

I also read quietly without commenting much anymore. That said, I find I am way more likely to comment and read if the review I'm reading actually has a fresh take. A few reviews in here (and I'm not pointing fingers) are less of reviews and really more of paraphrasing the entire book, which I'm not against, but I do skip over a lot of that.

MollyMetroid posted:

I don't think nobody was reading it, I just don't think anyone was commenting on it because it's way easier to wallow in the terribleness of poo poo like Beast than to get into the enthusiasm for something cool.

I have also been skipping all the reactions to Beast. I get it already, it's the greasiest poo poo that ever was pooped. Doesn't need to be Friar's Club Roasted every page.

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



That bit about Djinn Contests made me think that the djinn are basically Advance Wars COs.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012


To chime in on the lack of feedback thing, that was part of the reason why I stopped my two non-Witch Girls write-ups. (After a while, I worried I was doing something wrong in the oWoD Demon one.) WGA at least stays bad in enough interesting ways to keep my attention and want to share it with others. And I hope it's that way for others and not just a minor version of Beast chat.

Adnachiel fucked around with this message at 01:15 on Jun 4, 2016

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Halloween Jack posted:

The servitors are definitely more interesting than the disciplines.

It's just too bad that only a few really live up to their potential. I think the Devourers are still the best written in that they are both useful, flexible and with interesting flavor to it. A power that just generically doesn't work on living flesh (like the Disintegrate Discipline) is just an obvious band-aid to prevent it from being used as an attack...a power that summons beings who are banned by cosmic laws from feeding upon the living, to the degree where the taste of blood will drive them back from whence they came is something cool and evocative.

Sadly the rest are rarely as neat. There's a few interesting bits here and there but so many of them are cost-prohibitive since you've got such a small Vitality pool and no way to heal outside of Weaving. Just a little bit more work could have turned a lot of them around (for instance, if cloudlings actually were able to control the weather instead of just producing a rainstorm).

That kind of defines my read on the Whispering Vault so far...there's a really cool mixture of cosmic body-horror adventure in the concept but its dragged down by rules that are just a few polishes away from being functional.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MollyMetroid posted:

I was thinking reign of winter which also plays with other planets and is the weirdest one so far. I don't have kingmaker so it's not really one i could do. Iron gods might be possible though.

I'm honestly perplexed at how low-level parties are supposed to survive the early portions of Reign of Winter.

theironjef posted:

I have also been skipping all the reactions to Beast. I get it already, it's the greasiest poo poo that ever was pooped. Doesn't need to be Friar's Club Roasted every page.
I think Beast is a more important review than people give it credit for. It's probably getting more attention than it deserves overall (in this and other threads), of course. I'd rather see bad RPGs like it just die a quiet death, but with it hanging onto the top RPG sales charts right now, raising awareness is pretty important. And there's going to be the eternal train of people asking "so what's so bad about Beast?" in the World of Darkness thread and elsewhere, and having something to just point people to instead of having to explain it endlessly should help out future generations.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


:shobon: That's probably the best damning praise I could have ever asked for, I'll see about getting another chapter up some time this weekend. No promises though, I've got a graduation to attend tomorrow that lasts until question marks.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


I was hoping Whispering Vault would be, well, better. I mean it has neat ideas, but it feels like it's incomplete. Did the authors get rushed on it or did they just not put just enough polish on it to fill it out? Bastilles & Barker has some untapped potential.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I think Beast is a more important review than people give it credit for. It's probably getting more attention than it deserves overall (in this and other threads), of course. I'd rather see bad RPGs like it just die a quiet death, but with it hanging onto the top RPG sales charts right now, raising awareness is pretty important. And there's going to be the eternal train of people asking "so what's so bad about Beast?" in the World of Darkness thread and elsewhere, and having something to just point people to instead of having to explain it endlessly should help out future generations.

Honestly, yeah, such reviews are important. Barring some exceptions, there's an unwillingness to give negative reviews. Nobody wants to feel like the bad guy if it comes time to tear apart a cruddy product which one guy poured his heart and soul into making. I've gotten negative reviews and criticisms of my own work, and while it doesn't feel good worthwhile criticism can help a writer improve.

Things like Beast are on another level. Take for instance Sisters of Rapture which I did for Fatal & Friends. Honestly I kind of wonder if I was too hard and personal at times, but at the time I was writing it no other reviewer was pointing out the genuinely squicky parts of the game. One of OneBookShelf's top reviewers was enamored of the product and helped promote it in places, in spite of including a disturbingly transphobic spell and 'slut-shaming' text about whore-boots which attract rapists, among other things.

Granted, becoming a self-publisher has genuinely changed my outlook on things. Not only for the fact that I don't have the time to do such reviews of this magnitude, but it becomes a "stick in one's eye" situation if you yourself end up coming up short.

But yes, Kurieg's write-up of Beast is good. Good enough that I will seriously consider using it as a resource to show people its problems if it ever comes down to that.

We need such reviews, especially for products which perpetuate disturbing implications.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Okay so do more people want to see a writeup of Iron Gods (which is a campaign about ascending an AI to godhood and includes a city built on top of a crashed starship) or Reign of Winter (which is about Baba Yaga but involves travel to another planet and a chapter called Rasputin Must Die, in which our heroes go to 1918 Russia and fight Rasputin in a Siberian fortress)? Also available are Wrath of the Righteous (fight demons become demigods), Mummy's Mask (NOT-EGYPT and flying sky pyramids), or Jade Regent (Go to not-Japan and help your friend become empress, also includes bioware style NPC relationship rules.) My personal preference would be one of the first two but if more people want to see one of the others I could be convinced.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



MollyMetroid posted:

Okay so do more people want to see a writeup of Iron Gods (which is a campaign about ascending an AI to godhood and includes a city built on top of a crashed starship) or Reign of Winter (which is about Baba Yaga but involves travel to another planet and a chapter called Rasputin Must Die, in which our heroes go to 1918 Russia and fight Rasputin in a Siberian fortress)? Also available are Wrath of the Righteous (fight demons become demigods), Mummy's Mask (NOT-EGYPT and flying sky pyramids), or Jade Regent (Go to not-Japan and help your friend become empress, also includes bioware style NPC relationship rules.) My personal preference would be one of the first two but if more people want to see one of the others I could be convinced.
Reign in Winter a thousand times.

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Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Awww yeah Reign of Winter.

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