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Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





The Lone Badger posted:

Clones seem like a lot of work for not much return. Yes you create artificial life... except not really, because you had to use better artificial life as an ingredient. You're just taking an engine apart and puting it back together shittier.
If you want something with no existing mind that you can indoctrinate just use a regular human baby. It's 1/10,000th the price and will last longer.

Well, apparently you can slap some headphones and a 'How To Be A Corporate Assassin' Throne-brand training cassette on there and you have ready-made minions. I can see why to a certain kind of person that's extremely appealing.

The same kind of people, if they Awaken, become Seers who use Hollow Ones - i.e. people whose sense of self has been fed to a Thing From Beyond, which the Seers keep locked in a monastery basement for this purpose. The state of 'utterly objectified person' is one that the villainous types in Chronicles are really keen on, for obvious metaphorical reasons.

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The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



But for every one you've got to hunt down an elusive target who's always hiding and has supernatural powers, then capture them alive for vivisection. And do it every few years for each clone you want active.
Just take whatever resources you were using for that and assign them to whatever you were going to have the clones do.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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To be fair, you can get multiple dots of Azoth per Promethean if you try.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

FMguru posted:

Williams actually did a good job running TSR in the 1980s. She pushed heavily into book publishing (which led to money spigot that was Dragonlance and then the money geyser that was Drizzt/Forgotten Realms). She oversaw the creation of the Gold Box games. She invested in cover art and physical presentation. She presided over the single most intellectually fertile period of D&D's history, with a zillion interesting world settings being created and published under her watch. Plus she dragged the company away from the family of grognards who were systematically looting it at the start of her tenure.
It seems like the more or less "official" narrative of her tenure is the opposite of the actual problem. Like, there were false rumours that she forbade playtesting on the clock, and so on.

If anything, she didn't interfere in the design process enough. Just as one example, the 2e team should have been encouraged to keep improving on the 1e mechanics. On the whole, I think there should have been greater variety of games and campaign settings, with more unified rules design.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Deniable Assets 2/x

In this update, we'll look at a playbook and then start delving into the mechanics of the game. Since only one person had playbook requests, and I forgot which they were, I'm going with the Fastlane, which sounds right. From the book,

The Fastlane is a dumb, flashy young idiot who acts impulsively and crashes and
burns quickly. If a new player’s just joined, it’s an ideal starting point, not least
because pretty soon they’ll be ready for their next character.


Mechanically, this is your normal PbtA game at the core: When you trigger a move, roll 2d6+stat and hope for a 10+ or at least a 7+. DA has more structure - the corporate environment and trying to get a project to market - than most PbtA games, and it has the mechanical structure to make that work.

The stat array in DA is:

+beast: How aggressive is your character?
+grip: How stone-cold is your character?
+eyes: How aware is your character?
+slick: How charming is your character?
+outtabox: How’s your character at things not taught in business school?

The game also suggests that your stats inform how other people see the character. Someone with low +grip won't be relied on in a crisis, while a high +slick character will be seen as, well, slick and/or charming.

And like all PbtA games, your character is their playbook plus the basic moves.

Mechanical terms like Authority or Damage will be bolded on their first use. I will be using only limited quotes from the text, this is still in playtest after all.

All of the following Moves have an example of play (except Get Help). I'd say they're almost done with the basic moves, but there are a few spots where they know what they want, but just haven't gotten the wording right.

Basic Moves in Deniable Assets

Shoot the Devil. +any. When you finally make your play for a seat on the Board you pick a stat and narrate how it helps you make your move. On a 10+ congratulations ! You're an NPC now, but the player get to do a metaphorical victory lap because this is the only happy ending for a character in this game.

Test the Waters. +authority. Authority is the first of the unique to DA mechanics. Playbooks generally start at 1 Authority. This stat represents your ability to do fire people and defend your own actions. It plays a crucial role in DA's version of Harm. It's also restricted in scope; Debbie from accounting can't tell two security guards that they're fired - she has to cut Security's budget and try and get into the archives after staffing cuts have been made.

Test the Waters is rolled by someone at the start of every session. On a hit, everyone gets budget equal to their allocation, and whoever rolled gets handed a new and exciting opportunity. On a 7-9, the division has hit an obstacle and someone is in trouble. The player who rolled decides who was responsible and who was blamed for it. The scapegoat doesn't get their allocation, and the session starts with them being dressed-down by the division's Executive or one of the Bosses. On a 6- the division is in crisis mode. Nobody gets their allocation, except for one person of the rolling player's choice; everyone else gets a hook on that character.

Allocation is another secondary stat, and budget is your in-game currency. A hook is like a string in Monsterhearts: you have some mechanical influence on the other character.

Draw Blood. +beast. When you gently caress with someone (violence, lies in the lunchroom, sabotage, altering archives), roll +beast. There's a list of damages you can inflict and slips you can suffer. On a 10+ choose two damages. On a 7-9 you choose a Damage and a Slip. On a 6- The Board chooses two slips. For Damages, you can take a hook on the target, damage their target, take less Harm if they retaliate, or outright take something from them. Slips can be making a bigger mess, exhausting an asset, drawing unwanted attention, or giving a hook to another PC.

Eat Trouble. +grip. When you try and move your own rear end out of harm's way, roll +grip. On a 10+ You avoid the danger and can get a hook on the responsible party. This move is currently poorly written. Avoiding the danger can be limited if The Board rules you just can't avoid all of it, and you only get the hook if you already know how you'll get revenge. I can see that the designer is putting a lot on interpreting the fiction, but this stands out in a game with a lot of mechanics to help prop up the fiction. On a 7-9 you get a choice; get ALL the way out, taking ourself out of the picture and into a panic room, or cheap motel room two states over; saving yourself costs you something important,; saving yourself costs a favor. On a 6- you narrate your action but "The Board, or player who put you in danger, puts you in the way of worse trouble." Again, weak as rules and relying too heavily on the fiction.

Read the Room. +eyes. When you size up a situation, roll +eyes. On a 10+ keep 3 (keep is just hold renamed) and gain a hook on someone in the scene. On a 7-9 keep 1 and gain a hook on someone. On a 6- you left your guard down and someone gains a hook on you.

You spend keep during the rest of the scene to ask questions from a long list; "What are they hoping I don’t ask them?", "What’s getting left on the table?" and so forth. The move doesn't specify who answers the questions, I'd assume The Board for NPCs and the other player (oh yes, there is PVP in DA) for PCs.

Play Somebody. +slick. When you're messing with someone's head and trying to use them, choose your scam (there's a list) and roll +slick. If you spend a hook you have on your target you can choose your own scam. This move works differently on NPCs than with PCs.
On an NPC, when you Play Somebody you pick your scam and roll +slick. On a 7-9... yes, 10+ is missing, on a 7-9 "pick a loose end too." So I guess the 10+ result involves "...and they buy it" and/or "take a hook".
On a PC, when you Play Somebody, choose a scam and roll +slick. On a 10+ either they believe it and they act accordingly or you gain a hook on them. Also, they tell you what you learned about manipulating them. On a 7-9 they gain a hook on you if they believe you and act accordingly. Tell them what they learned about you while you were tryin to scam them. On a 6- they gain a hook and have the option of believing you or not (in an adversarial, weird, cyberpunk game this makes a certain sort of sense).

Scams:
❏ I’m more important than you thought
❏ You’re more important than you
thought
❏ Don’t worry, I’ve got your back
❏ I’ll tell you who doesn’t have your
back...
❏ Relax! It’s under control
❏ Listen close, because the poo poo’s about to
hit the fan

Loose Ends:
❏ The longer your scam lasts, the more
pissed they’ll be when they figure out
you were playing them
❏ They seem to believe you a little too
much for your liking
❏ Your scam is not going to stay secret for
long, and somebody out there won’t like
it
❏ You have to sell the scam by doing something you’d rather not.


This move works whether or not you're lying, but it doesn't work if you're being earnest or sincere. The trigger could be polished a little, but the name of the move is "Play Somebody" and if you aren't playing them, you don't roll this move. We're still in playtest, it can get cleaned up.

Enter The Mix. +outtabox. When you search for advantages in the surreal and illegal VR network known as The Mix... This is your attempt to look for clues, dig up secrets, or buy illegal poo poo. The player is expected to describe their personal VR environment.
Fun thing mechanically: there are 5 options to choose from and you can take as many as you want. If you get greedy, you'd better get a 10+. WIth a 10+ you pick one Hangover, they range from leaving a clear trail to drawing law enforcement attention. On a 7-9 The Board picks as many Hangovers as you chose options. On a 6- you also take that much harm. you always get what you wanted, everything else is just haggling over the price.

Get Help. +bleed. When you’re about to go down in flames and are forced to put your fate in someone else’s hands, name your savior and roll +bleed. You can name a PC, but if they’re not willing to help, you get an NPC instead.
This move is about target and hooks. Target is basically hit points. You have 5, this move can recover up to 3 of them. The tradeoff is, whoever saves your worthless, well-tanned rear end gets as many hooks on you as you regain target. Hooks are good for die modifiers against them - both if you're rolling something or they are, fictional leverage, or make up a scam for the Play Someone move. You can 'forgive' or give up hook at will, especially if you can use it as leverage; “Back me up on the Marlinspike deal and maybe I’ll forget about my little vendetta and just in time for your big presentation.”

The last two moves are project management moves. No matter how much wheeling, dealing, mind games, thuggery, and cocaine you do, you do still have a day job that all of that is in service of.

Form the Project. +budget. When you kick off a brand-new project, spend budget on it. The amount you spent is equal to the project’s target, and that times the number of players is the project’s prestige. Then roll +budget spent.
Budget is a resource, it comes from the Boss and from executives. The more you can amass before formally launching the project the higher profile (prestige) and harder to cancel (target) the project is. The opening phase of the game is about - as I read it from here - gathering as much budget as possible and maneuvering to be the one who formally launches the project. This move is a choose from a list move, there are four potential problems; on a 10+ you can avoid 3, on a 7-9 pick 2, on a 6- pick 1. In high-level corporate life holding a "get-out-of-If the project fails, you’re practically guaranteed to get blamed for it" card is golden.

Launch the Project. +viability. This is when everyone gets their goodies, or rather track. Track is basically XP, you advance you character after every 5 track you accumulate. A lot of track will come your way through familiar PbtA means, like rolling a highlighted stat, but when a project is launched its prestige is split up as track for everyone involved, at, of course, The Board's decision. Since a project's prestige is its budget/target multiplied by the number of players, there's generally a LOT of track tied up in a product launch - you only need 20 to take your shot a joining The Board. Viability is accumulated through play as actual work gets done on the actual project.
So someone rolls this when a member of the team presents, sends off, or otherwise steps up to push a project to market, roll +viability. The example in the book is about someone putting on a prototype personal defense shield and handing another player a loaded gun to test it. What I get out of that example is that this move is for when you test the product with real stakes and find out what you've got. In the example they get a 7-9 and find out that the shield is only good for one shot. At least they know that before they have to stand up in front of an audience with their pitch deck.
The roll mostly determines how prestige gets split up for track. On a 10+ any flaws remain hidden and The Board divvies up track however the people upstairs would see it. On a 7-9 at least one glaring issue shows up in the demo. The Board divvies up track again, and also assigns blame - often to the person who got the most attent... track. On a 6- everything sucks and everyone is rolling Eat Trouble because upstairs is pissed.

That's the basic moves for Deniable Assets 0.31. On the whole, the designer knows what they want and is almost there in terms of nailing down the exact wording of moves.

Next time, more detail on the mechanical terms introduced here and possibly a look at a playbook.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Halloween Jack posted:

It seems like the more or less "official" narrative of her tenure is the opposite of the actual problem. Like, there were false rumours that she forbade playtesting on the clock, and so on.
I'm 99% certain that she banned employees playing their own personal campaigns on company time. You could play D&D on the clock, it just had to be actual playtesting of an actual product in development and you had to file playtest reports and feedback. Which naturally led to infinite bellyaching from the grogs who had their completely sweet deal (play D&D with your friends and gently caress around all day, collect a paycheck and benefits for your efforts) torpedoed.

quote:

If anything, she didn't interfere in the design process enough. Just as one example, the 2e team should have been encouraged to keep improving on the 1e mechanics. On the whole, I think there should have been greater variety of games and campaign settings, with more unified rules design.
She wasn't a designer, she came from completely outside the game industry, she wisely left the game design decisions to someone with actual game design knowledge and experience.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





The Lone Badger posted:

But for every one you've got to hunt down an elusive target who's always hiding and has supernatural powers, then capture them alive for vivisection. And do it every few years for each clone you want active.
Just take whatever resources you were using for that and assign them to whatever you were going to have the clones do.

Hollow Ones are also way more work than the general Seers project of 'pay someone a lot of money to be the evil henchman' combined with 'artifacts that let us possess people.'

They offer a specific kind of appeal to a person, not a good person, who wants to have someone utterly under their thumb. When a mob boss wants a mindless puppet body bodyguard it is precisely because they don't want a real human. Think about Thulsa Doom in the Schwarzenegger Conan movie: "Steel is weak, flesh is strong." The kind of person who wants to be able to order their henchman to kill himself without a second thought, just to prove they have that absolute power. That's what the Hollow Ones and Promethean Clones appeal to in a villain. That or just... y'know, it's a boondoggle like many weird secret projects. But the appeal of the boondoggle is that you get to say 'this human being is mine, all mine, and utterly without independent existence.' Sure, you can try to raise a child utterly indoctrinated to serve you, but that's slow and takes patience and personal involvement. Clones give you that right out of the box, in theory.

Plus 'utterly dehumanized created humans' fits very well into Promethean's themes as, like, a thing someone would want to cut you up to make. Prometheans are messy, self-willed, and in a sense very human - the demiurge who makes a promethean for a servant is going to run into problems. So the 'solution' if you're an evil mad scientist is to chop up Frankenstein to power your free-will-less Frankenstein Mk IIs.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The other thing is clones can do the whole Body Snatcher thing, like the CIA are aiming for, which is its own very valuable trick.

IshmaelZarkov
Jun 20, 2013



These Promethean/Geist 2E reviews are killing me.

I was content as an oWoD grognard. I was happy knowing the this.... new... World of Darkness was just some poorly thought out waste of time that I never needed to care about or invest in.

And now, here's me, like an idiot, looking at Geist, Demon, Prometheans, and Woofs, and not being able to choose between them.

Thanks a million, you jerks. You inspiring, wonderful, dickbags.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





IshmaelZarkov posted:

These Promethean/Geist 2E reviews are killing me.

I was content as an oWoD grognard. I was happy knowing the this.... new... World of Darkness was just some poorly thought out waste of time that I never needed to care about or invest in.

And now, here's me, like an idiot, looking at Geist, Demon, Prometheans, and Woofs, and not being able to choose between them.

Thanks a million, you jerks. You inspiring, wonderful, dickbags.

Mage: The Awakening and Changeling: The Lost are also very good (I have personal experience with Mage, which is a joy to run, but not with Changeling).

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Demon is the best by far. By miles. Geist etc. are fine, but they're not "ice-cold soul-stealing robot angel lawyer wearing a Pittsburgh soccer mom's entire social existence as a suit while it figures out how to reprogram God" good.

IshmaelZarkov
Jun 20, 2013



Something in my soul just loves the idea of "You are a cold war style undercover operative. Your cover is Carol Kowalski, devoted mother and etsy page owner. None can find out you are actually Zebistaniel, a fifty foot tall ornado of eyes and smokless flame that has four faces,"or "K9! SPIRIT COPS!" or "You're a golem that just wants to own pants and pay taxes, some assholes show up, everything explodes, and then it gets better-worse somehow".

I am down for this.

mercenarynuker
Sep 10, 2008

i am the bruce of the willis


I feel like I missed something for Promethean, because whenever I read the phrase "generative act," I just imagine one of the player characters hunched over, jerking off onto a corpse

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 just Swedracula

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





mercenarynuker posted:

I feel like I missed something for Promethean, because whenever I read the phrase "generative act," I just imagine one of the player characters hunched over, jerking off onto a corpse

They have so many Proper Noun Names for every other thing in the book it seems like a weird omission.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Midjack posted:

They have so many Proper Noun Names for every other thing in the book it seems like a weird emission.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I am told nVamp is also extremely better than oVamp. Basically, that nWoD is better in every way (except Beast because we live in the worst timeline.)

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Also Changing Breeds, but let's pretend that didn't happen. Everyone else is.

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


The Lone Badger posted:

Also Changing Breeds, but let's pretend that didn't happen. Everyone else is.

Changing Breeds is notable only for that cat-woman in that one Beast short story (By Dave Brookshaw, no less!), where it turns out Changing Breeds can totally no-sell Beast Nightmare Powers because CBs are spiritually animals and thus the Primodial Dream nonsense doesn't apply to them.

I can't fully hate anything that fucks over a Beast, even if both splatlines would have been better off not existing.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

I mean if it's between Beasts and furries, yeah, I'm backing the furries.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Yeah... Changing Breeds would be less dire if it didn't completely have a side bar about how loving your dog is kosher in CB society. It'd still be a terrible splatbook of sparkledog mary sues, but without Brucato's brand of sexual weirdness, it'd be laughable.

While Beast is just terrible execution, muddied concept, and pure 100% justifying abuse.

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!


wiegieman posted:

I am told nVamp is also extremely better than oVamp. Basically, that nWoD is better in every way (except Beast because we live in the worst timeline.)

Maybe I just hang out with the wrong people, but I've yet to hear a single, well, story, or positive comment about nVamp. Like, that's not to say that I hear bad stories about it. Just no one mentions it. Ever.

Geist comes up, nWolfs, nMage, nDemon, nPromethean, sure. But Vampire? Might as well just not exist. Which suggests that even if it's, say, mechanically better or story-wise more solid than oVamp, there's gotta be some sort of magic lacking if no one ever talks about it. Like maybe in tightening it up they also lost some of the goofy poo poo that gave oVamp character and let people have fun with it. Or something.

Or maybe I should get off my rear end and do a review of it as someone who, despite recognizing all the terrible things about oVamp, can get completely lost in reading a ton of its dumb supplements for hours at a time. :v:

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





PurpleXVI posted:

Maybe I just hang out with the wrong people, but I've yet to hear a single, well, story, or positive comment about nVamp. Like, that's not to say that I hear bad stories about it. Just no one mentions it. Ever.

Geist comes up, nWolfs, nMage, nDemon, nPromethean, sure. But Vampire? Might as well just not exist. Which suggests that even if it's, say, mechanically better or story-wise more solid than oVamp, there's gotta be some sort of magic lacking if no one ever talks about it. Like maybe in tightening it up they also lost some of the goofy poo poo that gave oVamp character and let people have fun with it. Or something.

Or maybe I should get off my rear end and do a review of it as someone who, despite recognizing all the terrible things about oVamp, can get completely lost in reading a ton of its dumb supplements for hours at a time. :v:
I think it's a mix of oVamp having been kind of the big splashy flagship of the World of Darkness to the point of embedding concepts of it into the cultural concept of the vampire for the foreseeable future, and also nVamp having taken in some ways a lot of pains to "not be oVamp," which produced... a good system, and fun lore, but very much Not Old Vampire. And what is the opposite of a very memorable thing?

By comparison, most of the other splats were either a push (nWolf, imo), an improvement (Mage, Changeling), or completely novel (Promethean, Demon).

IshmaelZarkov
Jun 20, 2013



I looked into Requiem when it first came out and... it wasn't... great. I should probably check out 2e though.

There's just something I still love about these extremely long, self-contradictory histories. I really love knowing that the rise of Guilds and the merchant class through europe were heavily influenced by the Nosferatu, or the various options that went down with carthage and why folk are still pissed about it two millenia later, despite no one agreeing about the truth.

Without those weird historical footnotes? It's just not vampire to me.

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


It’s also that Masquerade is the one game that nuWhite Wolf have managed to bring out their own version of, so Onyx Path’s relatively underfunded marketing of Requiem is swamped by their own marketing of their V5 books, plus Modiphius’ and White Wolf’s big push on Masquerade.

Look at yesterday’s weekly dev blog for OPP, and right there with the “please go back Deviant” is the cover art for the next Requiem book. Requiem is one of the few CofD games to still have a dedicated line Developer. It’s, what, four or five books into its new edition, while Forsaken just hit three and Awakening’s third just came back from the editor (while its second isn’t even print-available yet).

My regular RPG as a player is a Requiem game. I much prefer it to Masquerade. It’s just never had the kind of online buzz that it deserves.

rodbeard
Jul 21, 2005



Super interested in the Buck Rogers game, but I can't find any resources for this 30 year old out of print licensed DnD adventure for some reason.

Baku
Aug 20, 2005

by Fluffdaddy


Apart from the suggestions others are making about V:tR's lukewarm reception and general irrelevance - including the (I think) very interesting argument that some of OWoD's problems actually thematically served V:tM, a game about the politics of ancient, self-important, senile perverts - there's this: Requiem (at least the first edition) is a loving ugly book. That is, regardless of your opinion on its crunch or fluff, it's just a garish, aesthetically unpleasant, occasionally illegible book.

It sounds superficial, but I think those kinds of first impressions are very important, especially when you're offering a new version/edition of a game that already exists. I have a similar theory that some nontrivial percentage of the backlash against 4E D&D - not the majority, but enough that it should be seen as a creative mistake - came from people who had a bad time with the first official adventure module (Keep on the Shadowfell).

Baku fucked around with this message at 08:33 on Sep 24, 2019

lofi
Apr 2, 2018






I'll buy that - we have a random VtM splatbook on the bookshelf, and it's really gorgeous - that blue-green marble and red rose just ooze gothic grandeur, it's a first impression that 100% tells you the type of game it is.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




No. 1 Apartheid Fan posted:

I have a similar theory that some nontrivial percentage of the backlash against 4E D&D - not the majority, but enough that it should be seen as a creative mistake - came from people who had a bad time with the first official adventure module (Keep on the Shadowfell).

I can sorta buy that in 4e's case. Seeing as the main books layout was so good it even won prizes for it back in the day if I remember right.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



IshmaelZarkov posted:

I looked into Requiem when it first came out and... it wasn't... great. I should probably check out 2e though.

I think that to this day a lot of old hands who were playing tabletop during the oWoD/nWoD changeover still have the same image of the nWoD gamelines, especially the first core three, that they did when those first edition corebooks first released, and that has a lot to do with the impression of nWoD's settings as dull and diluted. The oWoD people were familiar with at the time had evolved and fleshed itself out through multiple supplement lines, crossover hooks, and integrations of that supplement material back into the core rules with Second and Revised Editions. The same has happened for the nWoD over time, but you only get one shot at a first impression, and a lot of folks read the first book of the line, found it wanting, and just assumed the game continued to be that book, but more of it.

Requiem's 1e core in particular is exceedingly dry, a problem the gameline as a whole fully shed when it underwent its renaissance mostly under Rose Bailey, with Damnation City, Requiem for Rome, and the five clanbooks. The 2e core is the farthest thing from dry; as a matter of fact, it occasionally drips too wet for my tastes.

There's also what Nessus mentions. Requiem 1e is easily the nWoD corebook most afraid to step out of the shadow of its predecessor. It makes a few attempts to throw a bone to old ideas otherwise left behind (the Toreador and Malkovian bloodlines, for example) that do nobody any good: too hollow and divorced of context to appeal to fans of the old ideas, and too timid and mealy to add anything for readers looking for new ideas. Reusing huge swaths of recognizable jargon from Masquerade does little to convey a unique character to a game of Requiem. By the time Requiem 2e was published, the presumption of specific offices common to each domain had faded into the background if not dissolved entirely, and words like "caitiff," "Rötschreck," and "Wassail" were entirely absent.

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 10:14 on Sep 24, 2019

Baku
Aug 20, 2005

by Fluffdaddy


Cooked Auto posted:

I can sorta buy that in 4e's case. Seeing as the main books layout was so good it even won prizes for it back in the day if I remember right.

Maybe. To be clear, my objection was with the actual content of Keep on the Shadowfell and not its art or typeface or whatever. I was kinda crossing wires there; my overall point was just that first impressions of a game probably haunt it forever, and V:tR 1E didn't make a good one.

Gantolandon
Aug 19, 2012



I Am Just a Box posted:

I think that to this day a lot of old hands who were playing tabletop during the oWoD/nWoD changeover still have the same image of the nWoD gamelines, especially the first core three, that they did when those first edition corebooks first released, and that has a lot to do with the impression of nWoD's settings as dull and diluted. The oWoD people were familiar with at the time had evolved and fleshed itself out through multiple supplement lines, crossover hooks, and integrations of that supplement material back into the core rules with Second and Revised Editions. The same has happened for the nWoD over time, but you only get one shot at a first impression, and a lot of folks read the first book of the line, found it wanting, and just assumed the game continued to be that book, but more of it.

Requiem's 1e core in particular is exceedingly dry, a problem the gameline as a whole fully shed when it underwent its renaissance mostly under Rose Bailey, with Damnation City, Requiem for Rome, and the five clanbooks. The 2e core is the farthest thing from dry; as a matter of fact, it occasionally drips too wet for my tastes.

There's also what Nessus mentions. Requiem 1e is easily the nWoD corebook most afraid to step out of the shadow of its predecessor. It makes a few attempts to throw a bone to old ideas otherwise left behind (the Toreador and Malkovian bloodlines, for example) that do nobody any good: too hollow and divorced of context to appeal to fans of the old ideas, and too timid and mealy to add anything for readers looking for new ideas. Reusing huge swaths of recognizable jargon from Masquerade does little to convey a unique character to a game of Requiem. By the time Requiem 2e was published, the presumption of specific offices common to each domain had faded into the background if not dissolved entirely, and words like "caitiff," "Rötschreck," and "Wassail" were entirely absent.

Mage: the Awakening 1st ed had the same problem: bland and dry first book was a real turnoff and the scant fluff there was pretty mediocre. The mage society, so well expanded in Sanctum and Sigil, looked like a bunch of larpers pretending to be ancient wizards, Paths were described as narrow stereotypes, and the world history was pretty much "Atlantis fell, then the entire society remained stagnant until 1900". It seemed like the game doesn't really know what it wants to be: its focus were "exploring mysteries", but the actual mechanics to do that didn't really exist. I was one of those people who were really convinced that Ascension was better until at least 2012. I never thought I will be able to genuinely say nWoD is better than the old one.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



No. 1 Apartheid Fan posted:

...I have a similar theory that some nontrivial percentage of the backlash against 4E D&D - not the majority, but enough that it should be seen as a creative mistake - came from people who had a bad time with the first official adventure module (Keep on the Shadowfell).

loving Irontooth! :argh:

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Wapole Languray posted:

-Action Points ala XCOM in D&D.


BRB, rolling Sense Intent to find out whether this cat is friendly or not with regards to how many AP I have to spend to pet it.

Why am I petting a cat mid-combat? Why wouldn't I be?

Wapole Languray posted:

-Chance for weapons to break when used.


Jesus Christ, I didn't think that weapon durability could get more dogshit than papier-mâché swords in Oblivion, YET HERE WE ARE

PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012




KingKalamari posted:

Where we’re going you don’t need Gods...Except when you do. It’s...



The Wilderlands of High Fantasy Part XII: The Gods of the Wilderlands is a Land of Contrasts


Bunch of dead images in this post...

IshmaelZarkov
Jun 20, 2013



I Am Just a Box posted:

I think that to this day a lot of old hands who were playing tabletop during the oWoD/nWoD changeover still have the same image of the nWoD gamelines, especially the first core three, that they did when those first edition corebooks first released, and that has a lot to do with the impression of nWoD's settings as dull and diluted.

I couldn't speak now as to how accurate this is, but I remember at the time a solid feeling that the nWoD lines were more designed for the LARP than tabletop crowd; especially the Camarilla organisation. It was a significant blow to be told, "We've killed off the line, and a bunch of larpers in another country are strongly driving our design." If they came out with something new and vibrant and filled with plot hooks - like I'm seeing with tehse 2e reviews - then I don't think there would have been nearly the problems.

So... uh... yeah. What Box said.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



It definitely took a while for 1st edition to really figure out what it wanted to do, especially with the first three games.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



At the time, Forsaken certainly felt like a downgrade. From 'the Earth is dying and you must rage to save it' to 'you're the neighborhood watch but for spirits.'

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 18: Every Gene I Own Is A Hand-Me-Down


Oh, there's something on my scalpel.

Dr. Mabel Ventura wanted to improve life for her family. That's all. She was a child prodigy, though some believe that she was held back in rising further when she got pregnant with twins. For her own part, Mabel loved her kids deeply, and she managed to keep up with her university classwork while cooking dinner for them, helping with their homework and seeing them to school each day. However, the day of her doctoral graduation was the last day she would ever see her boys. The very next day, they got killed by a drunk driver. The grief destroyed her, and she spent several years in a daze, changing jobs randomly and trying to deal with her loss. One day, she was invited to join a new start-up, the Vivitas Health Institute. There, she met Arno Nederlander. He taught her about the miracle of Azoth, and she became one of his best employees after realizing the potential of cloning. She was often first in and last to leave each day.

Dr. Ventura has always been bothered by the limited lifespan of clones - she clones her boys every few years, but she can't keep them alive longer than that. Nederlander's goals never matched Dr. Ventura's, and he's always been content to have limited lifespan on his creations - keeping them around for only as long as required suits him. Ventura, on the other hand, wants clones who will last forever. As her sons degenerate near their due dates, she goes into a manic state and struggles to find a cure. Each time she loses her child feels like the first time again, and focuses her ever more on finding the solution. Every time, she becomes more desperate, more willing to use cruel methods to achieve her aims and more convinced that her work with Nederlander in harvesting Azoth is for the greater good.

As long as Mabel's not in a manic phase, her life is very orderly. She has seven identical suits, in order to reduce choice fatigue each day in choosing what to wear, and she keeps her gray-streaked blonde hair in a bun at all times. She showers each morning, eats healthy meals and takes scheduled time off for mental refreshment. She wears a locket of a cross with two wings, which contains pictures of her sons. In many ways, she acts like a clone herself, going through the motions of life without ever really thinking about it. She socializes out of politeness, but her mind is always busy running calculations on her work and reviewing the longevity problem of cloning. She never takes risks, preferring to err on the side of safety because her sons depend on her. She views Prometheans as aberrations, abnormalities in nature which are best harvested for resources to improve humanity's lot. If helping Vivitas drain them of Azoth means she's that much closer to having her beloved children back for good, then so be it.

Mabel is a proud woman who truly does feel compassion for other people - she just doesn't think Prometheans are people. She's very smart, but otherwise fairly average. She can't fight at all and would never try to, and socially she's not particularly skilled and couldn't tell a lie to save her life. She is an exceptional investigator, scientist and doctor, but that's about it.


Literally generic villainous thugs.

Burke and Hare are a pair of clones - crude, vicious, brutal clones. They are responsible for capturing Prometheans for their master, who decided that since he was going to need more parts and Azoth for his experiments, he'd draw inspiration from the body snatchers of the 18th century. He created these two to be loyal, combat-capable clones that could beat a Promethean in a fight while still being expendable. They aren't expendable any more - their creator has no idea what he'd do without the pair, whose powers and extreme physical skill allow them to capture Prometheans that normal humans never could. Their personalities are largely drawn from the vast amounts of TV that their creator allows them to watch when they aren't working. Specifically, they are cruel and nasty to the point of cartoonish villainy. They bluster and act arrogantly, but behind the facade of goofiness they are dedicated, fanatical hunters who never stop. Both claim to be the original clones made by the doctor, but in truth they're on the third Burke and sixth Hare.

Burke and Hare are twins, and are asymmetrically symmetrical with each other. That is to say, Burke's left ear is slightly lower than his right, and Hare's right is exactly the same amount lower than his left. Both have slight scars over their ears where the doctor's reprogramming tongs were placed when their new bodies got grown. They always wear black clothes with navy caps and pea coats when outside, though despite this they do their best to blend with crowds. It is not always successful, I would assume. They're flunkies that obey their master's commands almost slavishly. They act witless and stupid, but in truth this is to hide their calculating, devious minds that are always at work figuring out the best way to perform their kidnappings and how to get them back to the lab safely. Their combined skill has grown over the past decade of hunting Prometheans, and even when they fail, their experiences and memories are passed on to the next clone. While they dress identically, Burke wears a small fox pin on his lapel and Hare wears a small rabbit pin, to allow their master to tell them apart.

Burke and Hare are cunning but gullible. They're exceptionally strong, but weak-willed. They are, however, more manipulative than they let on, and while they're no geniuses, they're about average intellect rather than the bumbling fools they pretend to be. They're surprisingly good investigators and trappers, with decent combat skills in a brawl or gunfight, and despite their ridiculous outfits they are rather sneaky. They're also very good at intimidating people and handling street-level information gathering. Oh, and they know Parkour. Their innate power makes them even better at intimidation, as they're able to evoke fear in their targets, sometimes to the point of actually knocking someone out from it.

Next time: The Hagen Candidates, the Limb Trees

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


KirbyKhan posted:

Been reading these Diongenesis write-ups for a litteral year and we've gotten to character creation and mechanics.

What a time to be alive

On one hand, I could have covered the rules before the setting. On the other hand, I was more interested in the setting and the book and chapter layout strongly incentivizes getting through all the setting BS first.

Mors Rattus posted:

Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 18: There's Always Two Of Me Just A-Hangin' Around

Clones are immune to wound penalties. They do feel pain, but it's dampened - they can't pass out, and will only stop attacking (if that's their purpose) when they get killed or are physically prevented from continuing their assault. Azoth takes on the role of adrenaline, allowing them to perform superhuman feats of endurance and making them immune to the Beaten Down Tilt. (Which is one of the nastier ones, and the main way of nonlethally taking someone out of a fight without, you know, beating them to unconscious.) Clones also have no negative reaction to the deaths of other clones; indeed, on a subconscious level they feel emboldened by being closer to being the only one left. This means that whenever a clone sees another clone from the same batch get aken out, they gain 1 Willpower.

Dioscuri Executive Solutions is owned by Diego Reines, a Rathben who has always had a fondness for the tale of the warriors Castor and Pollux. He was an engineer that worked with the US military during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. He discovered cloning when he acquired the notes of a researcher in a Republican Guard compound who, it turns out, was a Rathben, and he realized that clones could save countless US lives if employed in military operations. His dream of making perfect, soulless fighters with no families to worry about led to the foundation of Dioscuri, a PMC with only a few listed operatives. That's because these operatives, considered the best of the best, are made from carefully curated cell collections of dead soldiers, given life in Reines' lab.

Reines believes the potential of cloning is limitless. Tailor-made soldiers can handle any environment, are completely loyal, and are totally expendable assets, not real people. (At least, Diego's decided they're not real people.) He sells his soldiers' services to the highest bidder to fund his research into making better clones, and his teams are trained to return the bodies of his clones to the lab for further research. While he's only been operating for a few years, Reines has a shocking number of contacts across the globe, allowing him to keep an eye out for Promethean activity over a wide area. He knows that the need for Azoth will always keep his numbers low, and so he has hired a number of other Rathbens to develop more efficient means of Azoth harvest.

The Mellifera Group wants to turn cloning into a profitable business. (In, presumably, a different way than Dioscuri and Vivitas have.) Specifically, they want to create healthy, long-lived clones, and their efforts to do so have resulted in the creation of a number of Hybrids which they sell to fund their efforts. They're only interested in cornering the cloning market, and they've dedicated themselves to two things. First, monitor clones worldwide. Second, identify their Rathbens and bring them into the company. Any that refuse their offer of employment are murdered. As far as the Group is concerned, clones themselves are chattel, to be bought and sold. Often, their corporate meetings refer to clones as "units," with the latest models theorized with potential luxury add-on enhancements.

Mellifera offers free psychiatric services to all executives in order to monitor their loyalty. Those that grow a conscience and find themselves unable to continue their work developing clones are replaced, and only the chairman of the board, Shelby Tycho, has a totally accurate count of how many Mellifera execs are clones now. Currently, Mellifera is working on trying to develop more Hybrid breakthroughs. To date, only one Hybrid has proven stable, but that's not stopped them from trying to create all manner of hybrid creatures. The most popular line they have developed for their limited but wealthy clientele is the Model-B, derived from genes taken from prize-winning bulls throughout the Midwest. Their massive forms are designed to be shock troops in dangerous areas. Other succesful lines include the Model-C, using cobra DNA to produce natural assassins, and the Model-D, using dog DNA to make loyal bodyguards.

If you're asking who the gently caress is buying hybrid furry clones in the World of Darkness and how no one knows it's going on, the answer is 'wealthy assholes' and 'how much do you know about the operations and products offered by Blackwater?'

Next time: Specifics.

Refinement of Metal Gear Solid: Soldier Genes and Warrior Azoth.

Paging doctor LatwPIAT, doctor LatwPIAT to the thread. You may need to fire up another PbP RPG.

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