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Serf
May 5, 2011




Why are so many people allergic to using the word "women"?

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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



One of the better campaigns I played was a one-on-one where the PC was a governess for a victorian-esque family as their world's version of the Jack the Ripper incident turned out to be the predecessor to a massive zombie uprising (I love All Flesh Must Be Eaten) and doing the interplay of class struggle, the cool political marriage between the head of the house and his wife, the PC's feelings that she was the 'real' mother of the family's six children, and doing all this while trapped in the upper floor of their manor-house with a bunch of other survivors and surrounded by zombies was fun as hell. Playing with discrimination and injustice and inequality can be fun. Just I've grown instinctively wary whenever a game trots it out as part of the core book anymore because holy poo poo is it rare to see it done with any real respect or a coherent theme in mind.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Serf posted:

Why are so many people allergic to using the word "women"?

I think it's because "female" sounds more scientific or official, and so they use it to make it sound like they're impartially discussing facts rather than possibly being sexist. Sometimes this works, but most of the time it just feels really awkward and strained.

I think that this sidebar is about as good as it could be, given the content of the rest of the book. It treats "GM forcing women into inferior positions" as more valid than it should, but at least the default assumption seems to be to let the PCs have fun, no matter their gender?

The Bretonnia book from WHFRP had the best explanation for women in roles that are - in theory - exclusively men. Namely that it happens all the time that women pretend to be men in order to be knights, but the penalty is severe if caught. Namely, they must go on an epic quest to restore their honor. Being Bretonnian Knights, they were either already doing this, or looking for the thinnest excuse to go do this.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Night10194 posted:

It's less that they're obviously Actual Neonazis and more that the fascism has gotten increasingly unironic, with stuff like the incident where the Grey Knights find a bunch of Sisters of Battle who are successfully holding out against a demonic artifact and so butcher them, smear their blood on their armor to get its purity, and go fight it themselves. And this is treated as heroic. Or stuff like the Marines being increasingly treated as the full good guys.
There's a point where "presented without comment" becomes de facto approval and the authorial voice can't pretend to be neutral.

I had the same issue with Werewolf: the Apocalypse, though it's not nearly as bad.

Serf posted:

Why are so many people allergic to using the word "women"?
It implies a distinction between girls and women as sexual objects and an acknowledgment of women as adult humans with rights and agency.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


Hostile V posted:

Barrow kids sell stuff like flowers or matches, mudlarks go hunting for treasure in the mud along rivers, pick pockets pick pockets, urchin means you had a general dodgy crime existence on the streets.

Okay so only 3 out of 4 are various careers for indigent street children. Still feels like an excessive amount of categorization outside of a game specifically built for playing dickensian street gangs...

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

A game that isn't as focused on the desperately poor lower-class as, say, a|state probably doesn't have room to distinguish and describe all the jobs done by poor folk, no. But there are some distinctions worth making in any game that cares deeply about class. (Mudlarks, for example, were the lowest of the low.)

In Victoriana, I halfways suspect these things were included because they were just copypasting a list of synonyms for lumpenproletariat jobs. But it should tell you something that the Victorians had numerous words for specific types of scavenging and people who made their living by sifting through garbage.

With regard to my comments on class in general, I don't expect every roleplaying game to make a study of every nuance of the class system. But a game obsessed with Victorian England had drat well better. To make a game about a historical era obsessed with class, and have a totally wrong idea about what "middle class" means...it's stupefying.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Nuns with Guns posted:


also: did that legend of the five rings book seriously just smarm about how you can't do romeo and juliet in rokugan right as it was spinning a tragic tale of star-crossed lovers with hoturi and kachiko????

See, Romeo and Juliet would be player characters in this case, and thus wouldn't have the truckloads of writer favoritism behind them necessary to even get their otherwise sad and tragic ending. Hoturi, and particularly Kachiko, have never been bound by those rules.

And on the note of peasant revolts, an Ikkō-ikki uprising campaign would rock. Attain the Pure Land by kicking Scorpion rear end!

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Traveller posted:

Seppun Baka

Does this game also have an Otaku Genki? Or a Hikikomori Hentai? It certainly does now in my headcanon.

The Sin of Onan posted:

I'd play a game where you massacre the Scorpion with machine guns (probably most of the Rokugan nobility, actually).

Pull a John Wick style campaign derailment by opening a rift to the world of Tenra Bansho Zero. Now the machine guns will be attached to supersonic ragebots.

Siivola posted:

Well, sort of. The movie makes no sense historically, and Tom Cruise's character was actually French. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Brunet

Was Jean Reno too old for action flicks at that point?

Nuns with Guns posted:

also why is is it believable for a woman to be a cutpurse but not a river pirate???

It's not like there was once a female Chinese pirate captain so badass that neither the Chinese government nor the British friggin' Empire could stop her. Oh wait.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 16:09 on Oct 17, 2016

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Doresh posted:

Does this game also have an Otaku Genki? Or a Hikikomori Hentai? It certainly does now in my headcanon.

Well, there was a Shinjo Genki...

Funny thing is, that he's not even the only NPC named Baka. And then there's people like Otomo Yoroshiku (from the set phrase yoroshiku onegaishimasu) or Suzume Mukashino (as in "mukashi no hanashi", "old tale")

IShallRiseAgain
Sep 12, 2008

Well ain't that precious?



Serf posted:

Why are so many people allergic to using the word "women"?

It's because using females is age neutral.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Doresh posted:

Does this game also have an Otaku Genki? Or a Hikikomori Hentai? It certainly does now in my headcanon.

There's also Shiba Himitsu. Shiba Himitsu's role in the story is that -- to the PCs' shock -- he has a dangerous secret.

Himitsu literally just means 'secret.'

L5R names are silly.

Serf
May 5, 2011




IShallRiseAgain posted:

It's because using females is age neutral.

At the cost of sounding like a ferengi, sure.

slap me and kiss me
Apr 1, 2008

You best protect ya neck


If you can use 'male' in the same sentence, using 'female' is okay. If you can't use 'male' in the same context, then you're being a weird creepy goony goon.

quote:

Male Adventurers

Victoriana is set in the 19th century, which held few opportunities for men to get an education and pursue a career. That said, Victoriana is also a world of high adventure, where it isn't uncommon for ladies to treat their valets more as friends than servants, or for male hermeticists to throw around aetheric bolts with the best of them. Also, adventurers of all stripes rarely follow conventional paths. Players shouldn't feel constrained by the mores of historical Victorian society when it dampens the fun of playing within it.

All that aside, Backgrounds marked with '*' are those that a historical Victorian would expect to include males. We've marked them here for Gamemasters who want to design conventional adventurers or for players who want a traditional background for their male adventurers. Male adventurers are not barred from other backgrounds; using one just requires a bit of rationalisation (such as being a hermeticist or technologist). If the Gamemaster still feels that a particular background is being stretched a bit too far, then he can either require the adventurer to take the Blackguard Privilege or simply disallow the background.

The only real bad sentence feels like "All that aside, Backgrounds marked with '*' are those that a historical Victorian would expect to include males." (I'd write men here instead).

The rest of it is okay grammatically (notwithstanding how lovely it is to tell people that women can't be adventurers).

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

I think the rule of thumb is that you use male and female as an adjective, but not as a noun.

Serf
May 5, 2011




gradenko_2000 posted:

I think the rule of thumb is that you use male and female as an adjective, but not as a noun.

Bingo.

Anything else makes you sound like an alien.

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.

Serf posted:

At the cost of sounding like a ferengi, sure.

"Here are the adjustments for HEW-MON FE-MALE characters. They begin with no starting money or clothes."

Ferengi turn out to be descendants of 21st century Earth grogs.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Quark is way more likable than grogs.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



I've said it before, but The Strange broke my heart. I was hoping for "Torg, but with a better system and the dumb bits removed", but instead we got...well, Torg, but with a system that's bad in a different way and with different dumb bits.

quote:

In the Cypher System, the GM Intrusion is an unexpected complication for the character. It’s suggested that GMs can introduce GM Intrusions whenever a character manages to reduce a skill roll to 0 in order to force a skill roll anyway at the starting Task Difficulty. They can also be introduced whenever the GM feels like it. The examples given in these instances are forcing a character who is trying to climb a wall to roll because who doesn’t love failing climb checks, and forcing a character to drop their weapon in the middle of combat because why not? When a GM intrudes in these instances, they give 2 XP to the player. The player can also spend 1 XP to resist the Intrusion. If the player accepts the Intrusion, he or she gets to keep 1 XP and give 1 XP to a different player of his or her choice. The player has to explain why they gave the XP to that person. That’s an interesting touch at least. But yeah, this Intrusion economy is based on XP, your experience points. If a player doesn’t have any XP they can’t refuse the Intrusion. GMs are advised to Intrude like this at least once per session, but no more than once or twice each session per character. Oh, and on a natural 1? The GM can Intrude without giving any XP. Yaaay!

:psyduck:
I've only played a Cypher system game once, and the GM was making us roll to climb the side of a building with a rope even though we weren't in any hurry and there was no immediate threat. I thought it was because she was a bad GM (she actually was a terrible GM), but I never knew it was because it's something the book encourages.

Every time I think "maybe I should give the Cypher system another chance", I remember GM intrusions and that kinda kills that.

Serf
May 5, 2011




GM Intrusions feel like Cook went "how can I take Compels from Fate but make them lovely?"

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case






The Great Modron March Part 2: The Cat’s Bidding

And so we set off on the great adventure.

As I mentioned earlier, The Great Modron March is actually a linked series of mini-adventures that tell the story of the March. This format is carried through in the direct sequel, Dead Gods, and I like it; it makes it feel more organic, like you can inject these scenarios into an ongoing campaign. A March takes a long time to finish, after all, and running the adventure this way can make it feel like an epic event going on the background that the PCs will periodically have reason to involve themselves with. It’s less railroad-y.

Each adventure tells you how many PCs are appropriate, what levels they should be, what kind of PCs are best, how the factions will get involved (which is useful if PCs have strong faction affiliations) and has a brief synopsis at the start. This also lets you pick and choose which parts are appropriate for your campaign. If you want, you can run them all very gradually as the PCs level up, and thread the narrative of the March through the campaign as a whole. It’s a neat idea.

We begin with Chapter 1: The March Begins. This is meant for 4 to 6 PCs of 1st to 3rd level, and is ideal for fresh PCs since it brings them together and begins in Sigil. Good-aligned PCs are probably more likely to want to help, though any will do so for the reward. No faction alignment is required.

Our story begins in Sigil, where the PCs, either individually or collectively, are minding their own business. Without warning a psychic pressure begins to push at them, beginning as annoying but growing to a throb that threatens unconsciousness. They find that stepping forward relieves the pain ever so slightly, and if they do not do so, they fall unconscious in three rounds. Ok, so it’s a little railroad-y, but only at the beginning. Anyways, the pain is relieved by following a specific route which they can discover through trial and error, and it takes them to a little two-story building a couple of blocks from the Bazaar labeled “Jysson.” The door is unlocked and entering ends the pain completely.

Inside, it appears to be an abandoned clerk’s office, strewn with papers and debris etc. They have a moment to investigate, but soon hear a quiet voice say “Oh, dear. I had no idea that would be so… painful for you. Please accept my apology.”

The voice comes from the back of the room, but there’s nobody there. If the PCs check it out, a small grey cat jumps up on the table; if they ask the cat if it just spoke or summoned them, it’ll say “Nope. It wasn’t me.” In response, a large leather-and-metal bound book will flip itself open, revealing a face between the pages (which are blank). It tells them, in that same voice, “I really am sorry,” before continuing using a long-outdated version of Sigil’s street cant:


“I needed to call for help, so I reached out and tried to curb some ‘pertish folks off the street. It’s been so long since I’ve done that, I guess I grabbed too hard. Perhaps some sparkle would make it up to you? After you’ve heard me out I’ll see to that, I promise. You see, we need a few kind pivers who will take myself and my associate here to the gate-town of Automata. Have you heard of Automata, gate-town to Mechanus? It’s still there, isn’t it?”

After this, introductions all around. The cat is Ydemi Jysson and the book is just called The Book. Jysson is, naturally, the former owner of this building. He died, as mortals do, and became a petitioner on the Beastlands, where he was very happy. One day the cat lord of the Beastlands asked him to deliver a message to someone in Sigil, which he agreed to do (though he hated to leave). On his way back, something seemed to beckon him into this building, where he met the Book and was told about his past life.

When he was a human, he had owned this building and lived overhead, working here as a clerk. He bought a magical book to help him with his work and made regular payments on it, but when he died he defaulted on the terms. He feels bad about that and wants to bring the Book back to its creator, but as a small cat there’s no way he can carry a big book like that all the way to Automata. The Book therefore called out to the PCs to help them return it to its rightful owner.

The Book was created by a wizard named Heiron in Automata, who specializes in powerful sentient magical items. Jysson doesn’t remember anything from his previous life and knows only what the Book told him, but the Book is pretty sure it can find Heiron. It also offers all of Jysson’s stashed money to the PCs, as well as the building (a handy base of operations in the City of Doors). The Book has some limited ability to read minds and defend itself, but isn’t really a tome of great power. It’s really good at math, I guess, but very uncreative. It is impressive looking at least, with an intertwined HL on the cover, the sigil of Heiron Lifegiver.

So, assuming the PCs want to help, the first question is how to get to Automata. Finding a good portal and key is an adventure in itself but the Book happens to know one. In the Clerk’s Ward of Sigil, one scribe’s shop has a portal in the doorway. The key is a piece of paper torn in perfectly even halves with the letter E printed on each half. The DM is encouraged to add some Sigil flavor and maybe some trouble getting to and through the portal, but not too much; the real challenge is in Automata.

See, Automata’s a lawful place, but people there aren’t automatons. There’s a black market and a whole criminal underworld, the Council of Anarchy (though they’re more organized than most organized crime, it must be said). Heiron’s got one foot in each world and he’s been shorting the Council their fees. They’re not pleased, and he’s had to go into hiding to escape them. They’re on the lookout for intelligent magic items, his tell-tale handiwork, and the PCs are about to bring one right into the middle of Automata.

Anyways, the portal drops them off outside a building in Automata, where they get their first look at the gate-town. It’s composed of regular rows of well-made, well-organized buildings of identical grey-red stone, all at right angles and set out in orderly straight lines. The people wear grey robes and likewise move in neat little rows. An armored guard greets them and informs them that they must register at the Office of Visiting Entities. They can skip this—Jysson, a chaotic petitioner, certainly wants to—though doing so means that later on they’ll have to pay a 10gp fine if they are stopped by a patrol or approach a minor official. The procedure for registration takes three or four hours in a large office staffed by petitioners and modrons alike, and after a lot of boring lectures and a 5sp fee each the PCs will get street passes.

Either way, they should find navigating Automata easy; it’s all uniform, rectangular buildings, with all of the blocks being dedicated to one thing (offices, homes, shops etc). The identical grey-robed inhabitants are petitioners, but there are a number of planars and primes as well, and you might see rilmani, baatezu or archon walking around. Of course there are a few modrons here on inscrutable tasks of their own. The Book can lead them right to Heiron’s home, but upon arrival they see they’re at a shopping district and the exact address is now occupied by Thandol’s Smoked Meats. Inside, the petitioner Thandol can tell them that Heiron’s not around anymore—he left a few months ago. He doesn’t know where, but he knows that the wizard used to hang out at The Divine Machine, a nearby tavern. He suspects that Heiron wasn’t completely on the up-and-up, but doesn’t know anything concrete.

The Divine Machine is a Halfling-owned and Halfling-sized tavern, so PCs may have some trouble sitting comfortably (although most of the patrons are not halflings). PCs who want to mingle, buy drinks, and rumormonger will hear that Heiron’s in hiding. He sold his shop, packed his things and vanished a while back. Some think he skipped down, but others remember that he’s occasionally had to hide out to let something blow over before. He’s a law-abiding guy, but it’s hard to live in Automata and never break a law. He’s hiding somewhere around, they assure the PCs.

They can’t get more information than that, but they catch a lucky break here. One of his friends, a tiefling named Muenscaal, sees the PCs asking about him and recognizes the Book. She’ll watch them long enough to be sure they’re not Council of Anarchy stooges and then approach them privately outside the tavern to ask what they plan to do with the Book.

If they tell her that they want to give it back to Heiron, she’ll help them find him. If not, she’ll shake her head and walk away, using darkness to escape undetected. There are other ways to find him, but they’re more difficult. Meanwhile, the Council has spotted them and is tracking them; if they’re being careful, the DM should give them a chance to spot their tail, though it’s difficult and losing them is even harder. They can pick a fight with the agents, though they’re outmatched, and it’ll bring the town guards down on both of their heads and a short stint in the pokey to cool off.

Heiron’s actually hiding in a pretty safe place: the Council of Order building. A closet inside the building, to be precise. Now, he likes some space, so he’s been casting Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion every 14 hours or so to maintain a luxurious dwelling, while he keeps his belongings in a portable hole. He figures nobody will think to look for him here and he can just hole up until the heat is off. To get him to come out, enter the closet, knock five times and whistle.

Getting into the building at night is very difficult, since it’s patrolled by Fraternity of Order guards. Getting in during the day is easier and might just take some forging or creative lying. Remember that you need a permit for just about anything in Automata, but failing to have one generally just results in a stern lecture and directions to the proper office. This isn’t a very violent place.

Once the PCs make it to Heiron’s closet, they can give the signal, which causes a previously invisible door in the wall to appear and open. Heiron sticks his head out but, not recognizing the PCs, he’ll immediately gasp and pull back. He’s recognizably cagey at the moment but quick thinking can get his attention—that or the Book. He likes the Book and always did, and he assumed it was stolen; getting it back is a pleasant surprise, as is getting an apology from a cat. Heiron will admit that death is a good excuse and will even invite particularly polite and friendly PCs into his mansion for a meal and a rest.

Unfortunately, it’s not to be. The Council of Anarchy have used the PCs to find Heiron and use this moment to strike. They have the proper permits to get in, and they fling open the door to the closet. It’s a gang of human thugs led by an elf wizard named Jezrene Quickeye, and she orders them to “capture the old man but kill the rest of these sods.”

The PCs should be a little outmatched by this—the suggestion is one 1st level thief and one 1st level fighter per PC, but the DM is encouraged to tune the encounter based on the group’s capabilities. Heiron will, of course, immediately retreat into his mansion, but it’s no good; Jezrene will cast dispel magic to shut it down and dump everything inside out in the closet.





Jezrene and Heiron will focus on each other. Good thing, too, since she’s a 10th level mage/10th level thief and would mop the floor with the party. He’ll be trying to escape, and she’ll be trying to capture him. Meanwhile the low-level thugs square off against the PCs. Nobody’s attacking the cat, but PCs should still protect him, since if he dies off of the Beastlands his essence is forever lost.

This is a chaotic little brawl in a confined space, and of course the guards are immediately alerted, but in a moment everyone’s going to have more on their hands: the gate to Mechanus slams open and wave after wave of modrons starts pouring out. The Great Modron March has begun… 150 years early. Everyone in town is completely floored by this, even Jezrene, and this is the PCs’ (and Heiron’s) best chance to make a break for it. He can use fog cloud to cover their getaway if need be.

So, hopefully Heiron and the PCs escape and hole up somewhere safe. He’s grateful for the assist and the return of the Book, but not particularly generous. Jysson and the Book will happily tell the PCs where to find Jysson’s secret stash (734gp, plus the deed to his building). Of course, all of this is secondary to the main thing of note: the Great Modron March has started and it’s off schedule. Everyone’s talking about it and Automata is thrown into temporary chaos. People are predicting doom or salvation, calling it the end of the multiverse, and so on. It takes 20 hours for the full March to pass through the gate, after which people calm down a little—but it’s still the talk of the planes, and it’s only just begun. At least there’s no devastation. Automata has a great open lane called the Modron Way kept permanently clear for the March and thus avoids the ravages and trampling that occur elsewhere.

PCs can head back to Sigil the same way they got in, with only an inkling that something weird is going on, but they’ll soon be drawn into the orbit of the March for real.

A note on art: the art in this book is mostly the incomparable diTerlizzi, but unlike in RTTOH it’s not all neatly encapsulated at the end. I’ll do my best to cut out some good pieces to break up all my text.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


Evil Mastermind posted:

I've said it before, but The Strange broke my heart. I was hoping for "Torg, but with a better system and the dumb bits removed", but instead we got...well, Torg, but with a system that's bad in a different way and with different dumb bits.

I've only played a Cypher system game once, and the GM was making us roll to climb the side of a building with a rope even though we weren't in any hurry and there was no immediate threat. I thought it was because she was a bad GM (she actually was a terrible GM), but I never knew it was because it's something the book encourages.

Every time I think "maybe I should give the Cypher system another chance", I remember GM intrusions and that kinda kills that.

GM intrusions are definitely one of the dumbest design choices in cypher but even if you cut those out you'd have the dullest and most aggressively Monte Cook games possible. Im hoping to get the second part up tonight or tomorrow and I should have enough word space to at least get started on the classes.

Guess what the three class archetypes are in The Strange!!

Serf posted:

GM Intrusions feel like Cook went "how can I take Compels from Fate but make them lovely?"

A few bits of the cypher system really do come off like at least someone on the dev team read Fate and thought they could do it better. What makes it great is that every pseudo-Fate thing is consistently worse

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:



The Great Modron March Part 2: The Cat’s Bidding

I try to picture hordes of Modrons crashing the PCs little party, and all I can think of is a Lawful Neutral version of the Paprika Parade.

Nuns with Guns posted:

Guess what the three class archetypes are in The Strange!!

Clown, Pantomime and Hobo.

quote:

A few bits of the cypher system really do come off like at least someone on the dev team read Fate and thought they could do it better. What makes it great is that every pseudo-Fate thing is consistently worse

Man, is Fate already old enough to have heartbreakers made in its "honor"?

Doresh fucked around with this message at 19:07 on Oct 17, 2016

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

The voice comes from the back of the room, but there’s nobody there. If the PCs check it out, a small grey cat jumps up on the table; if they ask the cat if it just spoke or summoned them, it’ll say “Nope. It wasn’t me.”
:allears:

DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

A note on art: the art in this book is mostly the incomparable diTerlizzi, but unlike in RTTOH it’s not all neatly encapsulated at the end. I’ll do my best to cut out some good pieces to break up all my text.
The best thing about the Modron March is the tiny flip book Modron marching in the bottom right corner of the book. :shobon:

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


The wizard using magic to hide inside the Council of Order closet is brilliant. I love it when some of the utility spells get some screentime, rather than just the #d6 of damage spells.

slap me and kiss me
Apr 1, 2008

You best protect ya neck



Mike Wazowski?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Evil Mastermind posted:

I've only played a Cypher system game once, and the GM was making us roll to climb the side of a building with a rope even though we weren't in any hurry and there was no immediate threat. I thought it was because she was a bad GM (she actually was a terrible GM), but I never knew it was because it's something the book encourages.

Serf posted:

GM Intrusions feel like Cook went "how can I take Compels from Fate but make them lovely?"
I don't think I could ever be happy playing with a system that is obviously just another system imitated badly. "It's like D20 combined with lovely Fate!" No thanks. The best thing you can say about it is that you could just convert the whole thing to Fate.

Nuns with Guns posted:

A few bits of the cypher system really do come off like at least someone on the dev team read Fate and thought they could do it better.
No, it reads like Monte Cook read Fate and decided he could rise to the level of adequacy.


Crasical posted:

The impression Mage always has given me (and part of why I'm... just not very interested in the line) is that they always have the 'snap your fingers' solution to all problems, "lol ur a lanwchair nao', without anyone else being able to do anything about it as long as it's done 'cleverly' and they have Prep Time.
My best guess is that what the designers wanted (in Awakening, anyway) was for them to be more like John Constantine than Harry Dresden, capable of great ritual magick but without much instantaneous "kaboom magic." But Mage doesn't have Prep Time mechanics, and in practice, "prep time" means pretty much the same thing for them that it does for D&D wizards: a magic force field and lightning bolts in your pocket. No cleverness required.

But I admit, making magic magical is an age-old problem in RPGs. For example, how do you model influencing someone through magical bardic song in a way that's more than "roll skill, get desired effect?" (I'm not thinking of D&D "Diplomancy," but to The Wicker Man, which I rewatched last night.)

Night10194 posted:

I've always hated Mage, but I think mechanically and thematically they've tried to cut down on that part and that a lot of that was fanon.

Something about the Consensual Reality bits in it always rubbed me the wrong way, though.

Nessus posted:

I think the two big flaws in old Mage were that, first, the fact that the consensual-reality metaparadigm was stated outright and repeatedly in so many ways kind of made all the various Traditions and forms of magick sort of cheaply interchangeable. While this was obviously intentional I think it could have been de-emphasized or made more clearly "optional." This system, while cleverly divided, also raised the question of "So where do we go from here." Like, you had to spend XP to make your Smart Person character realize a basic, obvious truth of the setting.
My main beef with Mage is that it tends to subsume the cosmology of the other WoD games into itself. All the games have stuff that can't be totally explained by the cosmology of some other game's protagonists, but I find Mage goes farther than any of the other games in trying to wrap up and explain away how all the monsters work.

(Part of my complaint goes beyond the text--I used to have a Mage-obsessed friend who would explain how the Abrahamic universe of Vampire is just a "paradigm" and so on, and I've read reviewers who said explicitly that as far as they're concerned, mages are the ones who get how the WoD works and all other outlooks are provincial. And if forums posters are nitpicking the boundaries of the various astral planes and underworlds of the WoD, it's probably a Mage-related discussion.)

That, and depending on how you run it, Mage has more potential than any of the other games to be a silly kitchen sinky genre mashup.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Serf posted:

GM Intrusions feel like Cook went "how can I take Compels from Fate but make them lovely?"

Nuns with Guns posted:

A few bits of the cypher system really do come off like at least someone on the dev team read Fate and thought they could do it better. What makes it great is that every pseudo-Fate thing is consistently worse
It's been said here before that the Cypher System is Monte trying, but not quite getting, how narrative systems work.

It's like he saw the "on a 6-, make as hard and direct a move as you like" in Apocalypse World, but missed the part about the trust needed between the players and the GM.

Like, a compel isn't a punishment. It may look like one at first, especially if you're new to the system, but really they're a reward for playing your character as designed. That's why you can self-compel. But on top of that, the GM is specifically told that a compel should just make things more difficult in that situation, and to not just screw over the characters. On top of that, compels need to tie into the current narrative.

Likewise in Apocalypse World, one of the MC's principles is "be a fan of the players' characters". You're supposed to put challenges in the character's way, set stakes, and have failure have consequences. But (again) the book is very clear that you're not supposed to just screw over players because of a bad roll. And, again, what you have happen has to follow the fiction.

But in Cypher, intrusions don't have to be based on what's going on, and as near as I can tell there's no inbuilt assumption of trust or fairness on the GM's part.

Serf
May 5, 2011




Evil Mastermind posted:

It's been said here before that the Cypher System is Monte trying, but not quite getting, how narrative systems work.

It's like he saw the "on a 6-, make as hard and direct a move as you like" in Apocalypse World, but missed the part about the trust needed between the players and the GM.

Like, a compel isn't a punishment. It may look like one at first, especially if you're new to the system, but really they're a reward for playing your character as designed. That's why you can self-compel. But on top of that, the GM is specifically told that a compel should just make things more difficult in that situation, and to not just screw over the characters. On top of that, compels need to tie into the current narrative.

Likewise in Apocalypse World, one of the MC's principles is "be a fan of the players' characters". You're supposed to put challenges in the character's way, set stakes, and have failure have consequences. But (again) the book is very clear that you're not supposed to just screw over players because of a bad roll. And, again, what you have happen has to follow the fiction.

But in Cypher, intrusions don't have to be based on what's going on, and as near as I can tell there's no inbuilt assumption of trust or fairness on the GM's part.

The really big thing to me is that Intrusions are a punishment in the worst way. Either you accept it and let the GM dick with you, or you pay XP to ignore it. Now to someone like Cook this may seem the same as paying an FP to ignore a Compel, but Fate Points are constantly-renewing, expendable resource that is meant to be used and awarded consistently. XP is literally how you advance your character in the Cypher system. So paying to not have the GM screw with your character hurts even more because it represents slowing down leveling your character!

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Halloween Jack posted:



My best guess is that what the designers wanted (in Awakening, anyway) was for them to be more like John Constantine than Harry Dresden, capable of great ritual magick but without much instantaneous "kaboom magic." But Mage doesn't have Prep Time mechanics, and in practice, "prep time" means pretty much the same thing for them that it does for D&D wizards: a magic force field and lightning bolts in your pocket. No cleverness required.

But I admit, making magic magical is an age-old problem in RPGs. For example, how do you model influencing someone through magical bardic song in a way that's more than "roll skill, get desired effect?" (I'm not thinking of D&D "Diplomancy," but to The Wicker Man, which I rewatched last night.)


There are rules for extended tests in Awakening and later CoD but these tended to work in 'hours' rather than 'seasons' a la Ars Magica. Ars also encourages mages to work on completely crazy useless academic crap to prove a philosophical point to the local dragon or something while Awakening has you occasionally crossing paths with very violent angels working with obscene machinery underlying reality or werewolves tearing apart the local landscape or whatever. It's hard not to think a little bit of lightning in such cases.

Possibly one could keep a more Constantine-esque tone by slowing down the pace of an Awakening game but that's hard to do both socially in the modern world and and mechanically without a lot of re-writing. There's also just going to be part of the playerbase (and probably designers) who want Dresden no matter what you tell them.

jadarx
May 25, 2012


Traveller posted:

Well, there was a Shinjo Genki...

Funny thing is, that he's not even the only NPC named Baka. And then there's people like Otomo Yoroshiku (from the set phrase yoroshiku onegaishimasu) or Suzume Mukashino (as in "mukashi no hanashi", "old tale")

Let us not forget Kuso
http://imperialassembly.com/oracle/#cardid=4618

which means poo poo..

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

occamsnailfile posted:

Possibly one could keep a more Constantine-esque tone by slowing down the pace of an Awakening game but that's hard to do both socially in the modern world and and mechanically without a lot of re-writing. There's also just going to be part of the playerbase (and probably designers) who want Dresden no matter what you tell them.
To be honest, whiz-bang-boom vampires-to-lawnchairs-LOLZ! annoys the piss out of me because I'm a Vampire player at heart, and if you do a mixed chronicle, Vampire always suffers the worst from power creep. (Getting meta again, it also suffers the worst in the hands of groups who don't want to engage with the Morality rules.)

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Serf posted:

The really big thing to me is that Intrusions are a punishment in the worst way. Either you accept it and let the GM dick with you, or you pay XP to ignore it. Now to someone like Cook this may seem the same as paying an FP to ignore a Compel, but Fate Points are constantly-renewing, expendable resource that is meant to be used and awarded consistently. XP is literally how you advance your character in the Cypher system. So paying to not have the GM screw with your character hurts even more because it represents slowing down leveling your character!
Oh, right, I forgot that you're paying with XP, not a separate pool. Fate and PbtA games don't tie their compel/failure mechanics to the advancement system.

How in the poo poo are we still doing "pay XP to do non-advancement things" in this day and age?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Halloween Jack posted:

My main beef with Mage is that it tends to subsume the cosmology of the other WoD games into itself. All the games have stuff that can't be totally explained by the cosmology of some other game's protagonists, but I find Mage goes farther than any of the other games in trying to wrap up and explain away how all the monsters work.

(Part of my complaint goes beyond the text--I used to have a Mage-obsessed friend who would explain how the Abrahamic universe of Vampire is just a "paradigm" and so on, and I've read reviewers who said explicitly that as far as they're concerned, mages are the ones who get how the WoD works and all other outlooks are provincial. And if forums posters are nitpicking the boundaries of the various astral planes and underworlds of the WoD, it's probably a Mage-related discussion.)

That, and depending on how you run it, Mage has more potential than any of the other games to be a silly kitchen sinky genre mashup.
Mage did seem to appeal to the kind of people who read the books on the john and didn't really play them. I mean, all of WOD did, but they were particularly strong.

Also, Christ, who could get excited about the oMage spirit world? It was like the GURPS Lite of the spirit world. Say what you will about Werewolf, their vision of the spirit realms was evocative and pretty easy to get your head around.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I think the biggest sticking point about Intrusions, as opposed to Fate and PbtA mechanics, is a minor-seeming one that EM pointed out: Compels in Fate and success/failure of Moves in PbtA need to be tied to the narrative in an interesting way. You don't just use them whenever, regardless of whether or not success or failure would be interesting.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Evil Mastermind posted:

How in the poo poo are we still doing "pay XP to do non-advancement things" in this day and age?

Because tradition.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Doresh posted:

Because tradition.

Now I'm just thinking of a person I saw in the community for Shadows of the Demon Lord, a class/level game that uses session/adventure-based advancement, trying to create and bolt on an XP system for no other real reason beyond having an XP system.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Evil Mastermind posted:

Now I'm just thinking of a person I saw in the community for Shadows of the Demon Lord, a class/level game that uses session/adventure-based advancement, trying to create and bolt on an XP system for no other real reason beyond having an XP system.

It was written like that in the Books of Gygax and by God, we will make it work.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

PbtA is played by people who like the idea of playbooks and the 2d6+ mechanic, then immediately make a "hack" with no grasp of the underlying assumptions that make the system work. These are the people who complain that Monsterhearts doesn't have a table of weapon stats or a Blood Meter mechanic for vampires.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Evil Mastermind posted:

Oh, right, I forgot that you're paying with XP, not a separate pool. Fate and PbtA games don't tie their compel/failure mechanics to the advancement system.

How in the poo poo are we still doing "pay XP to do non-advancement things" in this day and age?

I think it's possible to have "Spend XP to do things other than make your character better" work, depending on how strictly you interpret it. Exalted 3e's Sorcerous Working system is quite good, and it lets you spend xp to effect a lasting change on the world. It also explicitly and repeatedly tells the ST to give you the XP back once your working either A)stops mattering B)gets destroyed or undone or C)isn't beneficial

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Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Actually, now that I'm remembering, it was also so people who missed sessions would lag behind people who were there through the whole game because who loving knows.

"Sorry I couldn't make it last week; my kid was sick."
"Well, I'm afraid that means you're going to be half a level behind everyone else. Maybe next time you'll think of the group."

What's even funnier is that SotDL is mechanically designed around the fact that everyone in the party is always the same level. "Party level" is a thing.

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