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Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Inspectres: “Because it’s not just a vampiric infestation – It’s your vampiric infestation!”
Part 1



Inspectres is a game written by Jared Sorenson, and published in 2009 by Memento Mori Theatricks. The illustrations are by Jon Morris and Manning L. Krull. It’s a sort of comedy-horror take on Ghostbusters combined with some mechanics that hearken to Reality Ghost TV, like Paranormal State, Ghost Hunters, or A Haunting. I’ve only run the game once, but I think I should be able to give my honest opinion about what I like and dislike with the system. Feel free to disagree with me (or correct me!) if you’ve played it and think I got something wrong. It’s a pretty short book (80 pages), and is relatively rules-light, so we’ll see how much I can eke out of it.

I will say this now, though: overall, I think it’s a fun idea, but there are some glaring problems with certain aspects of the rules. That’s for a later update, though. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

The Premise of Inspectres
In the world of Inspectres, supernatural and paranormal events are on the rise, so much so that they are well-documented, recognized, and enough of an annoyance that there is a market for removal services. Inspectres, Inc. is a small startup/franchise chain that’s attempting to fill this niche. The players themselves take the role of the poor saps who’ve decided that hunting these ghosts and ghouls (and mummies, and aliens, etc.) is better than a 9-5 job.

The actual setting of the game is left essentially entirely open, although the baseline setting is some urban/metropolitan area. There’s no reason that the game won’t work in a rural area, though. The reason for the wide-open setting is that the players and GM often trade off in narrating and setting the scenes, based upon the success or failure of skill rolls, but that’s for another post. The author calls his game “collaborative storytelling without a net.”

He’s wrong, because there is a net, and it’s made of razor wire. Again, we’ll deal with that a bit later.

Character Creation


Employee of the month.

The character creation section is fairly brief. It first advises the players to create a name and basic personality for their character, including a former occupation. Players are encouraged to try and keep their characters at least somewhat grounded, since Inspectres, Inc. is a business, and is probably not going to hire crazy gun nuts or completely antisocial people. Of course, there are always exceptions. Players also select a talent for their character, which represents a special area of expertise.

The meat of character creation is assigning your skills. Characters get 9d6 to assign between 4 skills, which are:
*Academics – Used for researching forbidden tomes, theorizing, and recalling important facts.

*Athletics – Running, Jumping, Punching, Flexing. Also covers most any form of combat.

*Technology – Fixing stuff, rigging up ghost-traps, and using high-technology weapons like Proton Packs and the like. Technology is also used when determining what equipment you can purchase or have access to. No reason for the low-tech party to have a Mini-Large Hadron Collider!

*Contact – Literally your ability to talk to people, generally clients. It’s specifically stated that it’s not for use on anything but normal people.
Inspectres, Inc. is a “shoot first” kind of operation when it comes to creepy-crawlies.

No skill can have more than 4 dice in it, or less than 1. So by necessity, you’ll probably end up with a relatively balanced character.

Talents are an additional perk that every character has. They represent an additional area of expertise, and grant a character an extra die to roll whenever it would apply to a skill. Following the game’s somewhat freeform philosophy, Talents can apply to any skill area, as long as it makes a certain degree of sense. The book gives a couple examples:

Inspectres Rules posted:

So if your ex-mechanic gets into a scrap, boost your Athletics roll by using a monkey wrench as a weapon. If your agent is sexy as all-get-out, maybe you can get the team a good deal on a used car (a bonus to the Technology roll).

Skills never improve their base values. Instead, players can accrue bonus dice of various kinds, which can be applied to rolls. I think that this post is long enough, though, so I’ll cover that in the future. We'll also be getting into some of the more problematic stuff soon.

NEXT TIME: We learn how to run a business.


Put it all on the company card.

Green Intern fucked around with this message at 20:23 on Apr 3, 2013

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Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

I'll have you know, foxes have the finest call in nature


Syrg Sapphire posted:

A couple of people tried translating things from other countries but those usually fell off really fast.

Yeah, I'm one of those people.
I gave up on Defenders of Tokyo halfway through after spending a couple of weeks without my book. The second half is basically a long list of GURPS-esque Advantages and Disadvantages, a painfully generic and short GMing section (seriously it's like 4 pages) and a painfully generic short introductory adventure (find warehouse, fight mooks, go through a trapped corridor, fight big bad, find mcguffin). I don't think it's much of a loss

Gerund posted:

Welcome to Changeling: The Lost
Yeessss
My very favourite World of Darkness book. It pushes all the right buttons for the experience it sets out to create.

Green Intern posted:

Inspectres: “Because it’s not just a vampiric infestation – It’s your vampiric infestation!”
Even more yeessss! I've always wanted to get to know this game. Ron Edwards puts, in his annotations for Sorcerer, that "in the past decade, rules for who speaks when, relative to other game mechanics, have undergone a sea-change. The breakout games for it were inSpectres and The Pool."

Cyphoderus fucked around with this message at 21:12 on Apr 2, 2013

END ME SCOOB
Mar 27, 2007

Like, I shoulda known the dog would smell it, man. I was way too high to bury him deep enough! I guess we gotta do this, huh? Alright, Scoob, get ready for my full power! DON'T HOLD BACK, PAL!

ZOINKS!

Cyphoderus posted:

Yeah, I'm one of those people.
I gave up on Defenders of Tokyo halfway through after spending a couple of weeks without my book. The second half is basically a long list of GURPS-esque Advantages and Disadvantages, a painfully generic and short GMing section (seriously it's like 4 pages) and a painfully generic short introductory adventure (find warehouse, fight mooks, go through a trapped corridor, fight big bad, find mcguffin). I don't think it's much of a loss

I'm not slamming you. It's more work than I ever did.

(I'm writing something RIGHT NOW for this thread and it's going to be wildly stupid.)

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012


You know, I've actually been missing Fields.

After all, it feels really nice to know that, no matter how far you fall, you'll still be less of a sleaze than him.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


Who did the art for Inspectres? Kinda reminds me of Matt Digges, I think.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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


Syrg Sapphire posted:

Someone else came up with a 100+ year old German wargame and that was loving awesome.

Holy poo poo, which game is this? I have to check it out.

I've got two ideas for contributions to this thread, one of which may or may not drop me into the category of people starting and then abandoning translation writeups of foreign-language games.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


ProfessorProf posted:

Holy poo poo, which game is this? I have to check it out.

Kriegspiel, the wargame. Little Wars was an adaptation of Kriegspiel for non-military types, and Little Wars spawned the whole wargaming genre, so Kriegspiel is actually the grandfather of all the tabletop wargames you play today.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



HitTheTargets posted:

Who did the art for Inspectres? Kinda reminds me of Matt Digges, I think.

The credits list two artists: Jon Morris and Manning L. Krull.

All of the art (except the logo, which is by "Fufu Frauenwahl") in my first write-up post is by Jon Morris, because I don't see it listed with Krull's stuff in his gallery.

I'll add the artist credits to the initial description.

Edit: Fufu Frauenwahl's gallery is awesome. They should have illustrated this whole book.

Green Intern fucked around with this message at 22:19 on Apr 2, 2013

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Does Teenagers from Outer Space have any connection to the 50d b-movie of the same name or is it all early anime?

MalcolmSheppard
Jun 24, 2012
MATTHEW 7:20


Count Chocula posted:

Does Teenagers from Outer Space have any connection to the 50d b-movie of the same name or is it all early anime?

It's all Yurusei Yatsura and Ben Dunn Ninja High School style stuff, but it has a loose setting that doesn't just emulate these things.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007



MalcolmSheppard posted:

It's all Yurusei Yatsura and Ben Dunn Ninja High School style stuff, but it has a loose setting that doesn't just emulate these things.
More or less, yeah. It's entirely unrelated and mostly intended to play with 80's anime and cartoon tropes (Galaxy High is probably as big an inspiration as UY or NHS really), but the "setting" is presented in such broad strokes (we're not there yet, but one of the advice given is "just set it in your hometown") that you could easy throw in 50's B-movie tropes, modern webcomics, and other such easily mockable genre elements.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011



Part 3: Well, "Races" IS In The Name...

Kijimunna


Not only is this rather good, it's totally removed from the actual race description, except for the leaves.

A race of arboreal Peter Pans, grandchildren of the Great Universal Tree, with an irresponsible, hedonistic nature resultant of having no in-born concept of linear continuity. Physically resembling adolescent human children with "faint, pre-teen ghosts of pubic hair, [...] woven from strands of long, soft grass" (guess that bit from the core book about lolicon being the exclusive purview of villains has gone to poo poo, surprise surprise), they can remain ageless for centuries, only beginning the long road to adulthood when they first experience self-doubt, hate, or anger. Clothed in leaves and vines if at all, and females are specified as being osmotically fertile.

Baseline racial traits: can burrow through loose earth, sand or mud at 1/3 speed, Plant Traits (immune to sleep, paralysis, stunning, critical hits, or massive damage; cannot drown, do not need to eat, but require twice as much water to survive), +4 to Stealth in natural terrain, Nimble Moves as a bonus feat, lowlight and darkvision, Earth Child (+2 to Combat Maneuver Defense while in contact with soil), Ripened (produce berries from the vines on their body which count as a full meal and heal 1 HP when eaten; having them plucked counts as a sexual act for the purpose of sex-magic feats), Death By Metal (Allergic to metal, plastic, and other such modern-day materials. Double armor check penalty if worn, DC 18 FORT save vs. dying with 6D6 damage on success if sexually penetrated with it. Elder kijimunna actually use this as a preferred suicide method. FIIIIIIIEEEEEEEELLLLDS!! )

Alternate racial traits:

    Nightshade: Mushrooms instead of berries, +2 STR for CON hours instead of HP. Still sexy! Replaces Ripened.
    Spirit of Wood: No damage from wooden weapons. Replaces Child.
    Sustaining Rice: Rice instead of mushrooms instead of berries. No benefit other than making you less hungry, but is can be produced at will, fully cooked, "in a variety of styles", and in virtually unlimited amounts. Still sexy! Replaces Ripened.

Kitsune

Foxes who survive fifty years turn into humanoid fey tricksters. You get the idea. They have to hide their tails (one for each century, up to nine) under long kimonos or dresses, but their facial tattoos and foxy ears only show up in a mirror.

Baseline racial traits: +2 racial bonus to Bluff, +4 to Climb and can use the higher of STR or DEX as a modifier, lowlight vision, Four Footed Trickster (can shapeshift from fox to human and back at will, but must make a Bluff check if anyone's watching), Foxy Disguise (cast Alter Self once per day per five character levels), Liver of Immortality (consuming a kitsune's liver grants immortality, and a dying kitsune can will it to rise from their body and seek out a specific beneficiary).

Alternate racial traits:

    Amagitsune: Divinely sanctioned foe of oni-kind. Three times per day, force a non-good Outsider within 30 feet to reroll any D20 check and take the worse result. Racial type changes from Fey to Outsider, and replaces Disguise.
    Emptiness Fox: Servant of the Void Element, source of all wisdom. Once per day, channel the Void and cast Invisibility and Fox's Cunning on yourself as a full round action. Replaces Disguise and racial skills.
    Hainu Kitsune: "Your foxy blood is somehow mystically mingled with the spirit of a long ago white dog, who flew like a sparrow and fought like an eagle"... Krypto?! Gain a flight speed of 40 feet, and +2 racial bonus to Fly checks. Replaces Trickster.

Koropokkuru

Dour, kvetching, staunchly traditional earth spirits, like tiny wrinkled old men with coal-black skin but hair "as colorful as a peacock's plume". They keep and train animals like classic Rangers, but unlike them, have no bestiality taboo; in fact, the basic family unit is comprised of a husband, a wife, and one companion animal for each. Closely associated with the Daughters of Kirin, who are singled out as one of the few things in the universe that can make a koropokkuru smile.

Baseline racial traits: can count as either Humanoid or Animal (whichever is most favorable at any given time), Hit Die, skill ranks and some other unimportant number junk is similarly split between the two types, +4 racial bonus to Survival, Ride, and Handle Animal checks, lowlight vision, Ancient Wisdom of the Forest (substitute Survival for Knowledge while in "favored terrain"), Half an Animal (sex with beasts counts as sex with sentient for feat/magic purposes, and can tantrically uplift a beloved animal to true sentience once per season), Beloved Beast (animal companion always has the maximum possible Hit Points for its type).

Alternate racial traits:

    Abura-Sumashi: Even uglier than normal, with skin like rock and a head like a potato. STR boost with a CHA penalty, +2 natural armor bonus, and can squeeze a flask of lamp oil from any rock. Replaces Wisdom.
    Azuki-Arai: "You are a surprisingly jolly little man, always singing cheerful songs of rape and cannibalism, but despite the morbid tunes you sing, you are mostly harmless." No CHA penalty, may cast Cause Fear, Lullaby, or Open/Close as a same-level Bard once per day. Replaces racial skills.
    Kumo: Half spider. Racial types are Humanoid and Vermin, Climb speed of 30 feet. Doesn't outright mention the bestiality but oh god

Next time: huge hairy ball sacks, miscarriage zombies, and Fields shits all over the traditional race choices! I can't wait!

Effectronica
May 31, 2011


Fallen Rib

Asimo posted:

Human
Smarts 6, Bod 4, RWP 6, Luck 4, Looks 5, Cool 2, Driving 3, Bonk 3
Knacks: (2 points to distribute)
Power: Connections (You know lots of people, and can get lots of favors... and probably get asked to give too)

Near Human
Smarts 4, Bod 3, RWP 2, Luck 2, Looks 2, Cool 2, Driving 3, Bonk 5
Knacks: (4 points to distribute)
Powers: Teleport, Monster Out, Superstrength

Real Weirdie
Smarts 2, Bod 1, RWP 1, Luck 5, Looks 2, Cool 6, Driving 6, Bonk 2
Knacks: (6 points to distribute)
Powers: Fly, Shapechange

A human character:

Ferris Bessho
Smarts 6, Bod 2, RWP 6, Luck 4, Looks 3, Cool 5, Driving 4, Bonk 3 (rearranging the stats slightly, if this is kosher)
Knacks: Tell Believable Whoppers +1, Hack Computers +1
Power: Connections

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


I wonder what the thought process is for writing things such as Fields does. What makes someone look at sex, both the actual act and preconceptions about it, and make them decide that it would totally make a sweet RPG and there should scads of rules involving it? I could see if sex as a mechanism in the game was a supplementary item, like in some Clive Barker stories, but it's center stage and is just handled so poorly.

PublicOpinion
Oct 20, 2010

Her style is new but the face is the same as it was so long ago...


Asimo posted:

Human
Smarts 6, Bod 4, RWP 6, Luck 4, Looks 5, Cool 2, Driving 3, Bonk 3
Knacks: (2 points to distribute)
Power: Connections (You know lots of people, and can get lots of favors... and probably get asked to give too)

Near Human
Smarts 4, Bod 3, RWP 2, Luck 2, Looks 2, Cool 2, Driving 3, Bonk 5
Knacks: (4 points to distribute)
Powers: Teleport, Monster Out, Superstrength

Real Weirdie
Smarts 2, Bod 1, RWP 1, Luck 5, Looks 2, Cool 6, Driving 6, Bonk 2
Knacks: (6 points to distribute)
Powers: Fly, Shapechange

My contribution towards turning these into characters:

I figure devil-girl's 'Monster Out' can be going full on pit-fiend.

I'm assuming that 'Shapechange' can be skinned as a do-anything robot.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Adding some Knacks and names inspired by those nifty pictures, as I'd like to help.

Human
Jacqueline Kennedy
Knacks: Stay Sane+1, Common Sense+1

Devil Girl
Triska Azrael
Knacks: Scary Girl+2, Project Confidence+1, Awesome Speeches+1

Awesome Robit
AL-EX9000
Knacks: Right Tool For The Job+2, I Can Fix It+2, Good Timing+2

Basically, a straightwoman who can kinda sorta keep her cool when exasperated, a confident, hot-blooded girl who can intimidate and bluster, and a helpful robot who always seems to have the right thing at the right time to get them all out of trouble and into bigger trouble because that's how it goes.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007



PublicOpinion posted:

I'm assuming that 'Shapechange' can be skinned as a do-anything robot.
Easily, yes. While the powers aren't quite narrative, the game's simple enough that it doesn't really matter and you're encouraged to just make poo poo up anyway.

tofuwizard
Feb 22, 2013


Mutants and Masterminds 3e - Introduction and Chapter 1

Introduction
Mutants and Masterminds 3e is the latest iteration of a pretend super heroes game published by Green Ronin using a variation of the D20 system. Unlike other D20 games it uses entirely point-buy character generation and doesn't use classes and mostly doesn't use levels (you'll see what I mean later on). One other major difference is that all your fancy polyhedral dice aren't needed; the only die required is a D20. How does that work? we'll find out.

Green Ronin also released the DC Adventures rpg which is the M&M 3e corebook except with DC artwork. In fact, from what I understand, because DC Adventures came out first the M&M corebook actually has some errata included. As mentioned there is an online SRD (http://www.d20herosrd.com/) that does most of my job of explaining how this thing works.



Chapter 1: Basics
Skipping the obligatory 'What is a Roleplaying Game' bit we get into the mechanics.

M&M measures the value of a thing in terms of ranks. This is basically the modifier for a stat or skill or power and roughly used to determine how potent certain powers are. Its also used for measuring weights, distances, times, and volumes, with a convienent chart for all four. These are used for figuring out various things like how much a character can carry, how fast can someone can move in a given timeframe, or how far can a charcter throw a heavy object.

If you've played a D20 game you know how the basic mechanics work, roll a D20, add modifiers, try and equal or beat the DC. However M&M also considers the degree if success, or failure, of your roll. If you match the DC you get 1 degree of success, every 5 points you beat the DC gains you another degree of success. Likewise if you miss the DC you get one degree of failure with additional degrees for every 5 points under. Mostly this is just for fluff but it becomes more important when we get to combat.

Next the book details conditions, which are basically keywords for various penalties that can be imposed on characters by injuries, circumstance, or powers. I don't know why this section is here in the beginning and not in the combat chapter.

Anyways next up is extra effort a mechanic that helps fit into the super hero genre. Basically players can once per turn declare they're using extra effort to gain another standard action, gain a temporary bonus to strength or speed, gain a +2 to any roll, temporarily boost the effect of a power, or outright gain a new temporary super power (provided you can relate it to one of your existing powers). The cost is that your character becomes fatigued with subsequent actions going from fatigued->exhausted->incapacitated. There are ways to mitigate this however.

Hero points are the main way. Hero points are bennies that allow players to provide themselves with mechanical benefits such as activating certain advantages, gain boosted re-rolls, counter powers targeting you or automatically recover from certain conditions (like fatigue). They can also be used to narratively edit the scene such as gaing clues or insights into the villians plan or allowing you to declare there is a salt truck down the road while the party is fighting a giant slug monster in the streets. Its up to the GM to adjudicate these but the book does point out this function exists to allow players more control of the story and boost their chance of success. Hero points are gained through complications which I will be detailing next chapter.

Next time: Character Creation!

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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


quote:

Ground Judge.

In this land of untamed wilderness, since time immemorial, conflict has been resolved in the courts. The rules of court are simple: Justice to the victorious, and nothing else.

In order for the weak to also see justice, proxies can stand up for their clients in court. Thusly do people raise great sums of money to hire defense attorneys to claim justice for them. Defense attorneys with strength peerless throughout the land.

Why are the defense attorneys so strong? That's simple. Because they're piloting giant robots!



Giant Allege is, in its own words, a "Heart-Pounding Robot Courtroom RPG" from Japan, which boasts the following key points:

It doesn't require a GM or a scenario! The rules establish everything necessary for play, and the system has no particular need for a game master.

It doesn't require roleplaying! It certainly spices things up, but it can be played like a board game.

Everything is player VS player combat! Use your giant robot and battle skills to defeat the opposing players and get your way.

It might not actually be an RPG! As all the above suggests, it exists in a strange place in between RPGs and board games.

Each of the players controls a giant robot pilot slash lawyer in post-apocalyptic Australia, fighting to claim justice for their client. The last one standing gets the verdict they desire. The rulebook is distributed as a 28-page PDF, so hopefully this won't take too many entries to get through.

Next, I'll properly kick the book off with the setting chapter!

Quinn2win fucked around with this message at 15:27 on Apr 3, 2013

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Huh... Wuh? I... I don't know what to make of this but I think I am in love.

InShaneee
Aug 11, 2006

Cleanse them. Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin. Bathe them in the crimson of ... am I on speakerphone?

Fun Shoe

ProfessorProf posted:

Giant Allege

Please, please tell me that there's a way for us godless Americans to get a hold of this. It's rough enough with Meikyuu Kingdom being stuck in limbo.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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


InShaneee posted:

Please, please tell me that there's a way for us godless Americans to get a hold of this. It's rough enough with Meikyuu Kingdom being stuck in limbo.

As far as I know, there's no translation. It's short, so I'll at least try to make my writeup thorough enough that it can be played from.


Also I'm really sorry for bailing out on the Meikyuu translation I just really don't have the time for a project that intensive

InShaneee
Aug 11, 2006

Cleanse them. Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin. Bathe them in the crimson of ... am I on speakerphone?

Fun Shoe

ProfessorProf posted:

Also I'm really sorry for bailing out on the Meikyuu translation I just really don't have the time for a project that intensive

Oh geez, I forgot that was actually you. Sorry, I didn't mean to accuse you specifically. Really, my hope is that someone buys the rights so I can get a badass hardcover someday.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007



TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE - How to actually do stuff!

Sidebar posted:

If you've come this far, it's too late; you might as well play the game.

Now, as I've implied, TFOS isn't... horribly complex here. It's definitely geared towards explaining the details of RP more than having rules for same, probably because it's exceptionally rules-light for the era so you couldn't just play it half like a board game like you could get away with in AD&D. So what's actually there for mechanics is... well:
  • Actions: Everyone gets to do one thing per turn. Be it "zap someone", "bribe a teacher", or "crash your UFO".
  • Initiative: "Pretty immaterial", with heavy encouragement that it doesn't really matter and that you should just draw straws or go clockwise around the table or whatever.
  • Rolls: Pick an appropriate stat (Bod for zorching someone, Drive for trying to do a sweet handbrake turn, etc). Add any applicable Knacks. Roll a die. If you're competing against someone, it's a contested roll against whatever seems most fitting. If it's just difficulty related, the referee picks a target number from 1 (trivial) to 10 (nigh impossible). Highest numbers wins, Ref wins on ties. And that's... it, really.

Okay, so... it'd be something like 1d6+4 if I wanted to startle someone, right? Looks plus the "+2 scary girl" knack. Probably a contested roll against their Cool.
And Driving and my "I can fix it" knack to make sure the UFO's still running! 1d6+8! Probably against a target number unless someone rigged it with a booby trap! Nothing can possibly go wrong.
... And just a straight Luck roll, 1d6+4, to make sure I'm standing over there when something explodes.


And really, between the chargen rules and these bits, that's all players really need to concern themselves with. Handy, isn't it? The only issues is that this isn't all the rules, and referee obviously has a bit more to concern themselves with, but a lot of it's just finer explanations for questions that might come up in game when people don't really... get how TFOS is run. For example:
  • How long is a turn?: However long it takes the players to do their actions.
  • Who gets to go first?: Doesn't really matter. There's advantages to only going after everyone else has made idiots of themselves anyway.
  • How much can I do in a turn?: One thing. It may be a complex thing, but it's up to the ref.
  • Is it in range of my attack or whatever?: Everything is in range. At all times. Everything.
  • Can I outrun that flying saucer?: Mostly a common sense thing. Obviously faster entities are going to win (someone with superspeed versus some poor human), but if it's not clear both competitors in the chase just roll a die, the higher gets a lead... for that turn.
  • What happens if I miss an attack?: You still hit something... or someone. Everyone rolls luck, lowest gets hit, even if it's an ally. Retaliation is highly encouraged.
Beyond these general guidelines, there's a few more discrete rules that referees need to know. One of the larger sections is how the stats relate to rolls and what they tend to be good for, but honestly this is pretty self-explanatory. The notable exception is RWP, where in addition to the things that you can roll for (getting an advance on your allowance, etc) there's also lists of things that can penalize it (from -1 for "got home late" to -6 for "caught with your boy/girlfriend", though it comes back at a point per week) and the punishments you'll doubtlessly receive (from "lectured" to "grounded forever").



Damage (or rather, Bonk loss) is another slightly more complex bit, in that doesn't quite work as traditional hit points. As noted back in the first post where I explained the stats, there's no real downside to being bonked out besides losing some turns (and more worryingly, your dignity), but it's critically important to note that you don't only lose Bonk from being attacked physically. Verbal attacks and other means of stripping someones dignity is perfectly allowable as well. The amount of Bonk lost depends on a few things. Some powers and equipment just cause a flat "damage", like the Zap power doing 2 points. Failing that, flailing at someone with your fists, wits, or whatever else is handy does 1 point. The referee may just assign some Bonk loss (1-3) if the players do something particularly incompetent to themselves but isn't quite an attack (such as flying into a wall.

Or... if you're feeling stupid daring, you can describe some particularly inglorious attack or insult, and put it up to a vote from the players, where everyone picks a value from 0-3 and the score with the highest votes wins (and the ref tiebreaks). This, of course, is highly encouraged when the player characters eventually start feuding amongst themselves, since the voting is public and everyone knows who kept giving them high-bonk-damage votes...

A special situation is listed for anyone who actually tries to use serious weapons. Guns, knives, all that sort of stuff. In addition to sort of missing the point of the exercise (aliens or not, it's still a came of high schoolers here), the target has to roll their Cool, and if they fail they go running screaming for cover. It doesn't really matter anyway, since "real" weapons don't actually inflict any harm besides awkwardly torn wardrobes. It's just not that kind of game, you know?



The last really "complex" rule is Experience Points. The game admits that it isn't really necessary, and you'd probably have better luck training your players by tossing them M&M's or something when they did something funny. But there's still some chance for progression if they insist, at least. Stats can't be changed, but you can raise or buy new Knacks whenever you want, spending your Life Experience on a 1/+1 ratio. And how much of that do you get? Well... it's vote time again, where everyone (secretly! And including the ref) gives the each of the other players a 0-3 vote, and the average result is what experience they get. If anyone complains, well, it's not the Ref's fault, it's a democracy...

Eric Wujcik would be proud. Of course if you wanted to move this away from somewhat confrontational gameplay, it wouldn't be too hard to houserule just giving a flat amount, or leaving the vote open. If you're playing TFOS right, there's probably a few moments everyone loved and would want to reward anyway!

In any case, we're done with the rules for now, but that's only part of the Referee advice - and we're only halfway through the book. Next time we'll some advice on how to run this crazy game, since keeping to a crazy humor theme is probably a bit difficult if you're used to crawling through dungeons with murderhobos.

...

And completely unrelated to this writeup: translations and reviews of foreign games is amazing and I highly encourage it. It's one thing to pull old american games out of the bin, but most people here have never even seen stuff like that.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


InShaneee posted:

Oh geez, I forgot that was actually you. Sorry, I didn't mean to accuse you specifically. Really, my hope is that someone buys the rights so I can get a badass hardcover someday.

It was sort of me, actually. Ewen "Maid" Cluney has it on his List O' Projects, and there was someone else working on another APS game (I forget who and what off the top of my head ) that had their sights on it next, so even though the goon project may have run out of steam, the appearance of a gaijin edition is a matter of "when" rather than "if".

END ME SCOOB
Mar 27, 2007

Like, I shoulda known the dog would smell it, man. I was way too high to bury him deep enough! I guess we gotta do this, huh? Alright, Scoob, get ready for my full power! DON'T HOLD BACK, PAL!

ZOINKS!



The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game

1: Introduction/Loredump
So once upon a time there was an author named Robert Jordan. He wrote one of the larger "epic fantasy" series of the 90s, and, despite dying, did manage to leave solid enough notes to finish the series (supposedly satisfactory - I have no idea yet. I dug out my old copies and bought the new stuff to just give it a final readthrough. I'm in the middle right now). In 2001, though, there was also a Wizards of the Coast tie-in to their rather-fresh d20 system. It is... questionable. There are highlights to it, but man, when it whiffs, it whiffs.

Just gonna say right now: if you plan to read these books, may want to skip this post, I'm gonna go over the relevant bits of lore that'll fill in the actual system posts, and it'll probably spoil big twists of the first few books for you (when this game came out, 9 of the eventual 14 had been released).

The Wheel of Time & The Pattern
The cosmos of the WoT world are formed by the titular wheel, a massive loom that spins The Pattern, tapestries of time and space which are massive chunks of history broken up by Age. The novels, and thus 99% of the material in the RPG, take place in the Third Age, but there was a lot of leadup given for how things became the way they did in the Second Age, also known as...

The Age of Legends
The Age of Legends is pretty much your perfect utopian society, lost to the disasters which ended that Age. Imagine an optimistic near-future of our world and you'll have the basis of it - among some of the stuff mentioned in the histories or shown as relics of the past were TV-like devices, weather control machinery, personal flying vehicles, a lack of wealth or currency, phones, endless lightbulbs, AC... etc. You get the point I assume.

The big difference was that there were also the Aes Sedai ("Servants of All"), men and women who could channel the One Power (we'll get there). It wasn't full-on wizard supremacy or anything - we know that there was still science and technology, but sometimes the Power would be used to further research a theory or create some of the wonders in question.

The One Power
Despite its name, there were two halves to it, and five elements. Women channeled saidar, and men saidin. Spells were "weaves", made up of the elements of power (air, earth, fire, spirit, water) "channeled" into configurations that caused an effect, thus, the common name of any spellcaster as "channelers". Men tended to be stronger in earth and fire, women in air and water. (Spirit seems to be equal among genders.) There was a single, disasterous time when the Power was truly "one", and that was...

The Bore
Researchers reading the Pattern (this was an actual thing they could do, study the cloth of time and space - seriously, Aes Sedai could do some crazy poo poo in the Age of Legends) discovered what seemed to be "raw" energy of the One Power, neither broken into saidar/saidin. A linked pair of male and female Aes Sedai channeled it, in one amazing burst of energy... and bored a hole into the prison of the Dark One (effectively, the devil). From this point on, evil was an actual force in the world, and poo poo went bad, leading to...

The War of Power
Some people signed right the gently caress up with the Dark One, who, while still imprisoned, was now able to affect the Pattern subtly through the hole in his prison. They came to be known as Darkfriends, and among them were some of the most potent Aes Sedai known (the Forsaken). As the Age of Legends came to a close, the battles between Darkfriends and the forces of light culminated in a man named Lews Therin Telamon ("the Dragon", and the most powerful channeler of record) leading his Thirteen Companions in an assault on the Bore against the Forsaken*. The Companions created a seal on the prison, and trapped the Forsaken inside with their master. The only problem with this, however, was the Dark One did not go quietly, and struck back before he was locked away.

* I'm doing this so late at night that only when I double-checked did I realized I had written "an assault against the Foreskin" here

The Taint/The Breaking
The Dark One ended up turning the Companions' success into a stalemate, as his backlash against the world was to leave a taint upon saidin. Within years, every male channeler* would go mad, and in their utter insanity, the Breaking of the World occurred. Cities were levelled, oceans were dried, mountains were destroyed/created, and, when even Lews Therin went mad, his rampage earned him the title "Kinslayer" for the fate he inflicted upon his wife and children. A brief moment of clarity where he realized what he had done led to the climax of the crisis: he summoned up enough of the Power to try destroying himself, but in the process, reshaped the entire face of the world. Continents split, islands sunk, climates changed, and millions were dead. "Dragonmount", a massive spire, was the final resting place of Lews Therin, his body entombed inside the peak that rose to swallow him whole.

This is actually pretty huge for the game world as it exists - this is basically the Tower of Babel of the WoT universe. Everyone still speaks the same tongue, but the nations that formed at the beginning of the Third Age would all be seperate, and become their own entities. Given that there are only two naturally occuring** races in the world, national divisions/cultures are where the 'race' choice on your character sheet comes in.

* Okay, so any Darkfriend channeler was immune.
** I don't think I need to explain that Darkfriends created some really vile poo poo in the War of Power. It was hard to get that genie back in the bottle once the taint became a thing.


The Third Age, in Brief
Nations rose and fell over time, and massive amounts of talents or knowledge were lost to the ages. "Aes Sedai" now refers only to female channelers, who work from the White Tower and go out into the world to try and keep order or shape events in ways that can keep the world intact. Male channelers are "gentled" (cut off from the One Power permanently) whenever found, as their fate is pretty much common knowledge at this point. Still, channelers of all stripes are ill-liked in large parts of the world, as the history paints channelers dicking around with what they shouldn't have leading to the Breaking.

Still, everyone knows, to some degree, of the Prophecies of the Dragon - that Lews Therin will be reincarnated in a new form, and rise up to reunite the nations of man before the Last Battle against the Dark One. Every once in a while, a male channeler evades notice and comes onto the scene as a mover and shaker. Nations go to war and innocents die in the wake of a "false Dragon", but as the novels/game begin, such occurances are becoming more and more frequent. The Aes Sedai know that the patch on the Dark One's prison won't hold forever, and two girls were present for another channeler's dying vision: "He is born! On the slope of Dragonmount, he comes!"

The Novels (as of the RPG)
A young man named Rand al'Thor is the Dragon Reborn, and has begun to fulfill the Prophecies of the Dragon. Reluctantly, he leaves the farming village of the Two Rivers, and is dragged into the world when a festival ends in his farm (and those of two other boys, born within days of him) being burned to the ground by Darkfriends. Talents from lost histories are beginning to reappear in humans, and the three boys, all ta'veren (they bend the Pattern around themselves, causing strange events in their vicinity... more when they're clustered together, and Rand being the strongest ever seen), are now shaking up the world massively. Nations swear fealty to him, and others prepare their knives for his head, thinking him yet another false Dragon. The Forsaken are walking the world, some of them climbing openly into positions of power to flex their muscle, others hiding and waiting for an opportunity to kill Rand. The rules take place after al'Thor has founded the Black Tower, inviting all male channelers to learn from him, and prepare for the Last Battle. Everything has gone loving nuts and the world is going to be through a lot more misery before anything can get better...

Next time: Races, and how this license really shouldn't have been attached to d20

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



ProfessorProf posted:

Giant Allege is, in its own words, a "Heart-Pounding Robot Courtroom RPG"

Is this the latest installment in the Ace Attorney series? I want to see more!

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Ah, Wheel of Time. Do you get to play as Altarans? They were always my favorite.

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...



Syrg Sapphire posted:

Talents from lost histories are beginning to reappear in humans, and the three boys, all ta'veren (they bend the Pattern around themselves, causing strange events in their vicinity... more when they're clustered together, and Rand being the strongest ever seen), are now shaking up the world massively.

I love how the world has a mechanic for being the protagonist and covering yourself with plot armor. Can you imagine trying to explain to a little kid "No, you're not ta'veren, so nothing you do will ever matter and you'll never amount to anything in the grand scheme of things..." Of course, uncapping the unintended consequences of some of Jordan's other world inventions would take an entire thread of its own.

I had this book as a kid, and I must agree, d20 was not the best system to represent this world.

Hel
Oct 9, 2012

Jokatgulm is tedium.
Jokatgulm is pain.
Jokatgulm is suffering.



Syrg Sapphire posted:


The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game

I fished the last book a few days ago, mostly because I felt I owed my younger self, but since I still have it in mind it will be interesting to see how they did the RPG.

shoplifter
May 23, 2001

bored before I even began

InShaneee posted:

Please, please tell me that there's a way for us godless Americans to get a hold of this. It's rough enough with Meikyuu Kingdom being stuck in limbo.

Yeah, there's no translation, but you can buy a PDF HERE. I bought it last year but haven't carved out the time to attempt slogging through it with my total poo poo-level Japanese. Really makes me regret not keeping up with it as I should have.

END ME SCOOB
Mar 27, 2007

Like, I shoulda known the dog would smell it, man. I was way too high to bury him deep enough! I guess we gotta do this, huh? Alright, Scoob, get ready for my full power! DON'T HOLD BACK, PAL!

ZOINKS!

Bitchtits McGee posted:

Ah, Wheel of Time. Do you get to play as Altarans? They were always my favorite.

Sadly no. They dropped the ball on 'races' in this game, and you'll see why later, I'm writing it up now.

Spoilers Below posted:

I love how the world has a mechanic for being the protagonist and covering yourself with plot armor. Can you imagine trying to explain to a little kid "No, you're not ta'veren, so nothing you do will ever matter and you'll never amount to anything in the grand scheme of things..." Of course, uncapping the unintended consequences of some of Jordan's other world inventions would take an entire thread of its own.

Wait until we get to NPC descriptions. All of the ta'veren have feats as a result of that which are listed nowhere in the book/errata.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Isn't the first Wheel of Time heavily derivative off Lord of the Rings? I remember reading that somewhere, but now is a good time to ask it seems.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Inspectres: Fighting the Forces of Darkness so you don’t have to!
Part 2
Taxman, leave me alone: Franchises in Inspectres.

So last time, I went over the basics of making a character. This time I’ll cover another important aspects of the game: creating your Inspectres Franchise.


How can we help you today?

Your group of Inspectres Agents isn’t just some motley crew of paranormal investigators – they’re a motley crew with a company credit card. The strength and resources of your franchise are something that actually have an effect on skill rolls within a given mission.
Franchises are created after everyone has made their character, and the author has provided some helpful questions to get players thinking about what they want out of their business, including:

• How big is your franchise? How long have you been in operation?
• Are you the Main Office? An established franchise? A start-up operation?
• Where is your franchise located? How many people work there?
• Who runs the show? A board of directors or the agents themselves?
• Do investors privately fund it or did you all max out your credit cards?
• What does your franchise look like? What amenities does it feature?
• Are you the only InSpectres franchise in the area? Are there any competitors?
• What kinds of gear do you have access to? What do you use for transportation?
• Do you have a specialty (ghosts, vampires, demons, crypto-zoology)?

These are all very reasonable questions, and I’m glad that they’re there. New players especially might not be as comfortable roleplaying or getting invested in a game setting.

The Technology skill also comes into play during this process – the GM is instructed to ask players to roll Technology whenever a significant piece of equipment or detail comes up. A new copy-machine might require a minor success on the roll (rolling a 4. More specifics in a later post), while a state-of-the-art ectomorph containment unit might require something more major (rolling a 5 or 6). In addition, succeeding on these Tech rolls allows players to elaborate further on the purchased equipment. It’s all up to negotiation between the players and GM, of course, as are most things in the game.

Players are also encouraged to decide who should be the Chief Executive/Financial/Technical Officer, along with any other positions that they might want to include. These don’t grant any special abilities, but they do help inform roleplaying decisions, and could conceivably be the spark for some good interaction between players.


Unless of course, all of the players decide that the CEO gets some kind of SMG as a perk. Then it matters.


After deciding the flavor details of the franchise, the players get to decide the dice pools – yes, more dice pools! This stage of making a franchise is very much like making a character, which is a good move on the part of the designer. The players are given a certain number off Franchise Dice to distribute, ranging from 5d6 for a completely new branch, all the way up to 30d6 for The Main Office. You could have more, I guess, but that’s “just silly” as the rules say.

Like with characters, there are different areas to divvy up dice for a Franchise. The difference is that there are no restrictions on the number of dice in the three categories, unlike with skills. The categories are as follows:

• Library Card – The library card represents academic resources, like access to the Inspectres Main Database, or an archive of dusty old occult tomes. It is used to add dice to Academics rolls.
• Gym Card – The gym card represents access to training facilities, firing ranges, and really nice swimming pools. It is used to add dice to Athletics rolls.
• Credit Card – The credit card represents…a credit card. Its only use is to help you purchase new and dangerous technology, and to cover the costs of technical training. It can be used to add dice to Technology rolls.

It’s recommended that players divvy their dice up according to the strengths of the team, but there’s nothing stopping players from dumping all of their dice into the Gym Card, so they can have the buffest agents. Any dice that are not assigned to one of these three categories go into…

The Bank – Dice in the bank can be added to any skill roll, which might make you think that you should dump all your Franchise Dice in there so that you can have maximum flexibility. That’s not a good idea, though, because dice can be lost during gameplay, both to bad Bank Dice rolls and to Stress, which is essentially the GM’s way of dealing damage. Dice in the Bank can be used to alleviate the effects of Stress, but this also removes them from play. You can imagine why it might not be a great idea to spend them all over the place.

I’ll talk more about Stress, skill checks, and how to complete missions in the next post, since they’re strongly linked, and I've got a fair bit to say about them. For now, let’s make some characters, and set them up with a Franchise.


Dipper Pines

Academics: 4d6
Athletics: 1d6
Technology: 2d6
Contact: 2d6
Talent: Sneezes like a Kitten

Mabel Pines

Academics: 1d6
Athletics: 2d6
Technology: 2d6
Contact: 4d6
Talent: Aggressively Optimistic

Soos

Academics: 1d6
Athletics: 3d6
Technology: 3d6
Contact: 2d6
Talent: Amiable Sidekick with a Pickup Truck

Inspectres Franchise Dice
-Library Card: 2d6
-Gym Card: 2d6
-Credit Card: 0
-Bank: 1d6

So Mabel and Dipper operate a very small branch out of their Grunkle Stan’s Mystery Shack. They have some access to occult lore, and a lot of places they can run around and get prepared for all the physical exertion of missions. They're totally out of cash, though. At least they have an Amiable Sidekick with a Pickup Truck! We’ll see how they get into (and out of) trouble in the next update, when we get into the real mechanics of the game. It’s going to get messy.

Green Intern fucked around with this message at 21:33 on Apr 3, 2013

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Tasoth posted:

Isn't the first Wheel of Time heavily derivative off Lord of the Rings? I remember reading that somewhere, but now is a good time to ask it seems.

Eh, not remarkably more so than other boilerplate fantasy novels. So god drat many of them are "innocent, reluctant hero thrust from idyllic pastoral life into long quest to find/take/destroy thing far away while pursued by the forces of darkness." Wheel of Time stood out for having pretty decent world building, story threads that weren't just check boxes on "fantasy novel 101" and, obviously, was the set up for a meaningfully different setting and larger story.

(I still don't recommend reading it, though, unless you feel you can oddly satisfy yourself with the first one to three novels. I'm interested in the breakdown of the RPG, I even owned it once upon a time. It's just that the middle books were so loving interminable, and the more Jordan brought in his female characters the clearer it became that he was excruciatingly bad at writing female characters.)

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 20:45 on Apr 3, 2013

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012


I'm going to assume that this is free game now since Xand_Man only got through the intro and his last post was in April of last year.



Demon: The Fallen: Intro and Prologue


quote:

History, as the saying goes, is written by the victors. Whether an uprising is seen as a glorious rebellion or a treacherous insurrection depends entirely on who held the upper hand at the end, with the losers consigned to posterity as traitors, tyrants, or worse. Their story is largely forgotten.

We are told that demons are the incarnations of evil, spirits who exist to seduce the innocent and lure the virtuous to destruction. They are driven by a relentless hate of all things holy, consumed by a malevolent hatred of light and life. They are the purveyors of lies and misdirection, clouding the minds of mortals with promises of power and glory. At least, that's what the good book says. That's why they were hurled into the darkness of the Pit, bound in chains of fire until the end of days. Only God knows what would happen if these evil spirits were ever freed.

Now mankind is about to hear the other side of the story.

Demon: The Fallen was released by our good friends at White Wolf in November 2002. It was the last completely original game released for the old/"classic" World of Darkness line (the actual last was Orpheus, though that's tied to Wraith: The Oblivion) and is pretty much the culmination of all of the things the writers had learned while working on every single terrible oWoD book that has been featured or will be featured in a FATAL and Friends thread. If you couldn't tell by the name and the intro quote, the players are fallen angels who have just recently escaped from the WoD equivalent of Hell. The world that they've returned to is a tattered shadow of its former self, and God, the Heavenly Host, and Lucifer have all appeared to have vanished. Even worse, the very humans that they protected and helped flourish now see them as evil and worthy of destruction, if they believe in them at all. Still seething with anger over their millenia long imprisonment and trapped within the bodies of humans whose emotions and wills sometimes override their own, do they try to save Creation, the very thing that they had a hand in bringing forth, or destroy it?

Now, with a premise like that, you would think that this game would spark another "D&D turns kids into Satanists" scare like the one that occurred back in the 80s. White Wolf, or at least, the ad agency that they hired to promote this game, took that as inspiration and created a parody website for a fictional priest complete with a parody of the infamous Dark Dungeons Chick Tract to promote the game. According to an RPG.net thread that I found, they even pretended to be protestors and passed the mock tract out during GenCon. (Most people threw them away, thinking they were real Chick Tracts, and got into arguments with the "protestors".)

Aside for gamers getting upset and saying that the ad campaign was "distasteful" and would bring unnecessary heat on the community and start another backlash, and at least one store not carrying the game because the owner was offended by it, nobody really gave a poo poo. Not to mention that the game itself is overshadowed by other, more popular and established oWoD lines like Vampire: The Masquerade.

I adore this game just for its premise and fluff alone, and seeing as White Wolf has announced that they are making a new World of Darkness version of the game, I think this would be a good time to take a look at it.

Prologue: Stage Fright

The prologue of the core book is a short story about Melbogathra, a demon hell bent on tearing Creation apart who has just escaped the Pit and found himself backstage in a theater. He is very confused, very angry, and very in love.

Melbogathra is inhabiting the body of an actor named Max. Max tried to hang himself because his theater company's makeup artist, Becky, would not return his love. Melbogathra now loves Becky himself, along with every other thing Max used to love. He also hates everything Max hates, has all of his memories, and, to some extent, even has his personality. "Max and I are that close."

Unfortunately, the company is 15 minutes away from putting on a performance of Caryl Churchill's Light Shining in Buckinghamshire. Melbogarthra/Max knows his lines, but the message of them doesn't sit well with him. So when he gets on stage, he improvises.

quote:

I play the wealthy corn merchant, Star, recruiting young men for Christ's army, and my line reads, "If you join in the army now, you will be one of the saints. You will rule with Jesus a thousand years." [sic]

Only I didn't say that line because it's bullshit. I know it is, I fell for a lie just like that once. So instead I ask, "But what if we're all Christ?"

That's the bitch of it. We "demons" were the first messiahs, the first saviors. We were three-million-plus martyrs trying to save humanity, but we still failed. Yet one man thought he had a hope of swinging God's mercy. Why? Did he think he had a better chance because he was God's son? We're all His sons and daughters. If God did listen to Christ's pleas over anyone else's, you know what that makes mortals? Christ's pets. I don't buy it. So I ask what if Christ was like every other mortal crying on their personal Mount of Olives, trying desperately to attract God to their plight... and what if Christ's death on the cross was all just a sham to keep people from discovering that God didn't care?

Naturally, he gets kicked out of the group for this little stunt, but it does spark a kernel of faith in someone in the theater; someone desperate to believe his words. It turns out to be Becky. Becky, we learn later, is a drug addict, and Melbogarathra uses the power that her faith gave him to clean the drugs out of her system.

After leaving the company, Melbogarthra gets an offer from another company called HolyWorks, which does improvised mummer morality plays. He accepts, seeing it as a chance to get others to believe just as Becky did. He continues his schtick while playing numerous important religious figures, and gains a large following, including 5 other people who follow him as devotedly as Becky does.

Unfortunately, he's also attracted the attention of someone who hates him and, after one performance, pulls Melbogarthra aside and tells him that he knows what he is and is going to kill him. (Melbogarathra would have killed him right there, but the Max side of him found the thought horrifying.) Later, he breaks into Max's apartment and kills Becky.

Melbogarthra isn't happy about it.

quote:

Max wants to cry and lie next to her body, but the Melbogathra in me is howling pissed. My wings are slamming against my ribs like a hummingbird in a small cage, and I want to bellow with that same voice that once spawned tornadoes. Problem is, I can't anymore. So I focus on all that seething anger and hatred instead - the same storm of misery that bore me through God's torment - and I drown Max out.

[...]

I bring my strength up to the surface of my skin. I'm manifesting, and my chest shines like a furnace of light. Being with Becky had stemmed much of my anguish, but I'm caught between states now. I manifest in hellish blaze and regalia, but I'm still an angel's lingering shadow. My crooked wings are dust motes, my spiral horns shred my temples, and my 100-watt nimbus burns red.

I may be mood lighting compared to the Burning Bush, but I'm still a loving angel.

This display makes his stalker crumble and break down. The stalker tells him that he wanted to kill him because he made him believe in God when he didn't want to. His parents are dead and his wife is dying of cancer. If there is no God, then there is no possibility of some divine being who could have prevented these problems actively ignoring him and letting him suffer. ("But poo poo happens, right?" "There is no God, so it can't be His fault. It's just poo poo, right?") Melbogarthra tells him that he's not going to kill him, since he's right about God not caring about him, and living with that knowledge is punishment enough. However, the stalker is mentally and spiritually broken, and seeing an opportunity, Melbogarthra makes him promise, on his soul, that he will never come after him or his friends again, and in return, he will make him forget about this incident and all of the times that he saw him act. The stalker accepts. Unfortunately for him, he is now connected to Melbogarthra, who is able to suck his life away. The pact also doesn't erase his knowledge of God not caring. So he will have to suffer with that knowledge for the rest of his life.

After the story is the usual standard intro chapter to any White Wolf book. There's the credits, (Go here if you want to see who worked on this.) the "if you have trouble separating fantasy from reality, don't play this game" disclaimer, the general explanation of what roleplaying, the Storyteller system, and the World of Darkness itself is, the lexicon (whose terms I will be going over as I come to them), general rules of conduct for LARPing, and the list of inspirational source materials. Amongst other things, the list includes John Milton's Paradise Lost at the very top, the movie The Devil's Advocate, and American Gods, which I find to be an odd choice, to be honest.

Up next: "In the Beginning"

Adnachiel fucked around with this message at 00:39 on Apr 4, 2013

404GoonNotFound
Aug 6, 2006

The McRib is back!?!?


The fact that Soos does not have a statblock is a crime against humanity

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



404GoonNotFound posted:

The fact that Soos does not have a statblock is a crime against humanity

Don't say I never gave you anything.

Soos

Academics: 1d6
Athletics: 3d6
Technology: 3d6
Contact: 2d6
Talent: Amiable Sidekick with a Pickup Truck

Green Intern fucked around with this message at 21:33 on Apr 3, 2013

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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






Chapter 2: Civilians and Operatives

The character creation chapter also opens with a few paragraphs of fiction, about a woman named Isabella. She always loved swimming, surfed without a wetsuit, and as a adult, felt the sea calling to her. It’s not until she’s pregnant with her first child that she discovers she’s a hybrid Deep One, and while it’s too late for genetic therapy to prevent her transformation without wrecking her psychologically, she has choices to make for her child. It’s a surprisingly good insight into the setting for just a few paragraphs, because there doesn’t seem to be any judgment or shock on the part of the doctor--just the difficult prospect of finding out she’s inhuman and has to decide what choice to make for her child.

The opening section is called “Creating Heroes” and reminds us that yes, characters are heroic, campaigns are called “series” and gameplay is meant to be “cinematic.” It gives some good advice that can be summed up as “The Director and the players should discuss what kind of game it’s going to be and what characters are appropriate.” It refers you to Chapter 7 for advice on designing a campaign Series, and told that if you want to run a game where Indiana Jones and Robocop beat up Cthulhu, go hog wild.

We aren’t told how the Unisystem works yet, but this chapter more-or-less explains that you’re rolling Attribute+Skill, you want both to be high, and what levels are considered “poor,” “talented,” “professionally skilled,” etc. This is what a character creation chapter has to do in order to not piss me off.

If you’ve ever played any Unisystem game, you know that the Director has three options for starting power level, which are basically “Heroes, Experienced Heroes, or Normals.” Angel has Champions, Veterans, and Investigators, Army of Darkness has Heroes, Experienced Heroes, and Primitive Screwheads, and so on. The options here are Operatives, Veterans, and Civilians.

I won’t bore you with the point breakdowns, but Eldritch Skies PCs are formidable, as befits characters in a pulpy movie or TV show. Even a “Civilian” has enough points to buy the Special Forces Quality or be a polymath genius, and Operative characters can be both of those things or put super-powers on top of it. Veterans aren’t just heroes but hero sandwiches; it’s like playing an action movie hero or a video game protagonist several sequels in, when they’ve become multiple flavours of badass. I wouldn’t want to run a Veteran campaign, at least not for players new to the setting.

Attributes

Like I said, Unisystem is an Attribute+Skill+die roll setup. The attributes are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Perception, and Willpower.

The attributes don’t make complete sense to me. First, I think there’s a good argument for combining Strength and Constitution into a Body attribute. Strength, I believe, only gets used for hand-to-hand damage, Life Points, and athletic activities that rely primarily on power, like swimming and climbing. Only the most detailed systems really try to model how important overall body strength is to doing all kinds of Hero Stuff effectively without getting injured, loving up, or collapsing from exhaustion. Aside from that, I have only one complaint--the Attributes correspond roughly to D&D’s ability scores, but we aren’t told in character creation which Attribute is important to social skills.

The Attributes are self-explanatory, but there are also derived attributes. Life Points are hit points, and when you reach 0 you’re mortally wounded--you get Strength+Constitution, times four, plus 10. Speed measures movement, and they actually bother calculating how many kph you can run, before telling you that you can run (Dex+Con) yard per second and (Dex+Con)*5 yards per turn. Yawn.

An Attribute at 1 is poor, while 2 is average--most people will have most of their attributes at 2 with the occasional 1 or 3. Level 3 is above average, 4 is “a near genius” or a “top amateur athlete,” and 5 is the domain of prodigies and Olympic athletes. Level 6 is the “true human limit,” with only a handful among billions. It says people with “freakish” attributes can achieve level 7, but I don’t know if that means supernatural characters or super-rare talents like Einstein and people who set longstanding Olympic records.


He’s not human, I tell you!

Qualities and Drawbacks

Qualities are an odd mix that will be nonetheless familiar to anyone who’s played another Unisystem game, or anything from the new World of Darkness--they encompass social advantages, special training or abilities that don’t quite fall under any skill, career “packages” that gives you boosts to attributes and skills, and supernatural abilities of all kinds. Drawbacks are weaknesses that give you extra points. Let’s go over the fun ones.

Drawbacks

Addiction (1-5): A variable Drawback with options ranging from smoker to caffeine freak to alcoholic to heroin addict. This one actually gets a full page with a chart and discussion of impairment, potential consequences, and the process of breaking addiction. The mild stuff is only worth 1 point, and rightly so; there’s really nothing to worry about at all unless you get stranded someplace where you can’t get your fix. (See “The Beast of the Breakroom,” by Clark Ashton Smith.)

Amnesia (2): It can’t be a “cinematic” game without this old chestnut. You’ve lost part of your memory for any of a number of reasons, and while it doesn’t affect any die rolls, the Director can impose new Qualities and Drawbacks if you start to recover your memories. Expect all your players to take this Drawback; it’s basically 2 free points with the potential for exciting mystery prizes if the Director’s feeling generous.

Clown (1): You can’t help but making jokes, even when it’s inappropriate. There’s nothing about a Willpower roll to resist or anything. A free point to the player who was going to do this anyway!

Covetous (1-3): Covetousness comes in four varieties; greed (money), lechery (sex), ambition (power) and the awkwardly-named conspicuousness (fame). Mild covetousness is another 1-point, free-for-pretending-to-roleplay Drawback that means you spend a lot of time trying to get what you want, while more severe Covetousness requires Willpower rolls to avoid stupid risks or even naked betrayal to get what they want. Consider this if your Series calls for a corporate executive or a serial rapist.

Emotional Problems (1-2): This is mostly more free points for roleplaying. Who knew that becoming a badass secret agent could be compensation for depression, anxiety, or a fear of commitment? (Seriously.)

Humorless: See “Clown.” The opposite of that, except the part about getting a free point.

Mental Problems (1-3): Unlike the Emotional Problems, these mostly represent personality disorders and psychosis and have concrete mechanical penalties associated with them. Antisocial cruelty, delusions, obsessions, phobias, and paranoia for all your shell-shocked veteran needs.

Minority (1): I mention this because it doesn’t say what’s considered a minority in 2030. There’s clearly still prejudice, but it seems like that would depend on where you are. It’s automatically part of the package for Deep One hybrids.

Obligation (1-3): I only bother mentioning this one because it’s part of a lot of “package” Qualities. An Obligation to follow an organization’s rules isn’t worth anything by itself. People like cops and OPS agents who have to obey rules in risky jobs have 1-point Obligations; the 2 and 3-point versions are reserved for people like spies, cultists, and high-level operatives and soldiers.

Qualities

Astronaut (4): You’re an experienced spaceperson. You automatically have Space Training (which removes penalties for zero-G action), +1 Constitution, +1 to a Mental Attribute, and +1 to Acrobatics, Engineering, and Pilot. The only downside is an automatic 1-point Obsession with double-checking everything to make sure it’s safe. A Good Quality.

Athlete (3): This doesn’t require you to be a pro athlete. You get +1 to each Physical Attribute, +1 to Acrobatics and Sports, the downsides being a 2-point Obsession with training and fitness and needing to purchase at least another level of Acrobatics and Sports.

Attractiveness: This can be a Quality or a Drawback ranging from +5 to -5, and the effects are dramatic--a bonus or penalty to all your attempts to persuade someone (usually with the Influence skill). Ugliness can even induce fear checks.

Contacts: Rated from 1 to 5, the suggested categories are criminal, governmental, supernatural, and professional. A contact who only feeds you rumours and gossip is worth 1 point, minor favours (like a night of shelter or running a background check) are worth 2, and allies who will really step in and assist you cost more.

Criminal/Insider (2-3): A versatile package deal, Criminals get +1 to any Attribute, +1 Crime, and +1 to a skill related to their field. On the other hand, they have a unique weakness that requires a Willpower roll to avoid a chance at a quick buck. Insiders are organized criminals, with 2 free points of criminal Contacts but a 1-point Obligation to their syndicate.

Danger Sense (1): You get a free Perception+Notice test to be aware if a situation is dangerous if you didn’t already know that.

Eidetic Memory (1-2): The 1-point version gives you a photographic memory. The 2-pointer gives you a +1 bonus to any skill roll where memorizing facts is useful, or a +1 to +3 bonus to any rolls specifically about memory. This is a really cheap deal on a bonus that can apply to a lot of rolls. There’s something about maybe not being able to forget things you’d like to (like seeing monsters) but, of course, no rules for it.

Fast Reaction Time (2): Finally, another one for the gunbunnies! +1 Initiative and +1 on fear tests. Why cower in a corner when you can shoot the Lovecraft mythos in the face?

Genius (5): Another fat package deal that’s totally worth it. +2 Intelligence, +1 to Perception or Willpower, 4 points in academic skills, and a 2-point Obsession with “your latest project.”

Hard to Kill (1-5): +3 Life Points and +1 to Survival Tests per level. You’re flat-out told to put any leftover points into this Quality.

God drat it, this installment is already late and now I have to finish typing it with two fingers taped together? gently caress me for missing that tackle.

Iron Mind (3): You’re flat-out immune to psychic powers and mind-affecting sorcery. On the downside, you can never be psychic or benefit from helpful telepathy.

Law Enforcement (5/8): Another good package. All cops get +1 to a physical Attribute and +1 to Crime, Driving, and Guns, and are assumed to be active-duty with legal authority and a 1-point Obligation to the force. The 8-point version makes you a federal or international agent, with 2 points of Gov’t Contacts, 2 points of Rank, free Espionage Training, and a stricter Obligation. You can be a former cop for fewer points, but just getting the stat package is boring, no?

Occult Investigator (4): +1 to two mental Attributes, +2 Occultism, and +1 to Fear Tests. The only catch is having to make a Willpower roll to resist opportunities to learn about the supernatural. Who can resist a sneak peek behind the mask of Nyarlathotep?

Resources (-5 to +5): The writers wisely give summaries of various income levels in 2011 dollars and trust the Director to make decisions about the inflation of the NeoEurocredit or whatever. PCs who don’t take any level of this are presumed to have a gross income of $30k, and the Quality ranges from -5 (the clothes on you back and a stolen shopping cart) to +5 ($5 million in assets and making $2.5 million a year). You can actually spend even more points, getting another $5 million per point, but you’re flat-out told that no one gets to play a billionaire in Eldritch Skies. Job creators aren’t welcome in Obamathotep’s America.

Special Forces/Soldier (3/9): Soldiers get +1 to any Attribute, +1 Guns, Military Training, and 2 points of skills related to their specialty, along with 2 points of Gov’t Contacts and a 2-point Obligation. Special Forces get +1 to 3 Attributes, +2 Guns, +1 Brawling and Archaic Combat, 2 points of specialty Skills, 3 points of Gov’t Contacts and a 3-point Obligation, since the military runs their life and sends them to die trying to give Shub-Niggurath a pregnancy test.

Special Training (1): These are a little odd; they mean that you don’t take penalties for certain highly specialized stuff that’s out of the purview of normal skills. Espionage Training lets you use surveillance equipment, Military Training is for military vehicles and heavy weaponry, and Space Training eliminates the penalty for zero-G movement.

Spy (5): +1 Willpower, +1 to another Attribute, +1 Guns and Crime, +1 to 2 specialty skills, 3 points of Gov’t Contacts and Espionage Training. You’re also stuck with a 3-point Obligation and mild Paranoia.

Deep One Hybrid (6): You’re part Deep One, but not enough to ever “take to the water,” in Lovecraft’s words. Maybe you got genetic therapy, or maybe your ancestry isn’t strong enough--or maybe you will transform, just not for several decades. You might have fine, skin-coloured scales, or the “Innsmouth Look” with bulgy eyes and-

His age was perhaps thirty-five, but the odd, deep creases in the sides of his neck made him seem older when one did not study his dull, expressionless face. He had a narrow head, bulging, watery-blue eyes that seemed never to wink, a flat nose, a receding forehead and chin, and singularly undeveloped ears. His long thick lip and coarse-pored, greyish cheeks seemed almost beardless except for some sparse yellow hairs that straggled and curled in irregular patches; and in places the surface seemed queerly irregular, as if peeling from some cutaneous disease.

--yeah, I’d take the scales. Either way, you get +1 Strength and Constitution (which can go up to 7), Low-light Vision, Amphibiousness, a point of Natural Armor, and you’re comfortable in temperatures down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. On the downside, your minimum Hyperspatial Exposure is 1, and you have the Minority Drawback.

Half-breed Ghoul (6): You have a ghoul parent, or some ghoul ancestry which mysteriously expressed itself. You look totally human, except for slightly sharper teeth and eyes that range from yellow to orange. Ghouls live somewhat longer than humans, and half-breeds have a cast-iron stomach and a taste for “well-aged meat.” You get +2 Strength, +1 Constitution, Low-Light Vision, Acute Senses (Smell) 1, Resistance (Poison/Disease) 1, and your Strength and Constitution can go up to 7. The negatives aren’t so bad: Minimum Hyperspatial Exposure is 1, and you have to take a 1-point Mental problem of Cruelty or Violent tendencies.


Next time, on Eldritch Skies: Character creation, part 2. Psychic powers, magic spells, Augmentations, skills, and the writers actually spend some money on artwork!

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 04:44 on Apr 4, 2013

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Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




Giant Allege part 2: Post-Roboapocalyptic Australian Legal Deathmatch


Place names liberally localized.

This is where the game takes place. It's never explicitly called Australia, but I mean, poo poo, look at it.

This chapter is dedicated to establishing the key aspects of the setting before we dive into the nitty gritty details.

Giant Allege is the name of the type of giant robot used by defense attorneys. They have the same movement range and speed of a human, except they're 9-30 meters tall and made of metal. They come in an endless variety of shapes and armaments. They are the most powerful weapons on Ground Judge.

Giant Alleges made during the previous era are manipulated via telepathic controls. Alleges made in the modern day are controlled via the "Marionette Control" system, which exactly mimics the motions of the pilot. A Giant Allege is activated by a special activation key in the form of an attorney's badge.

The Lower The Lawyers are the people piloting the robots. Mighty Lawyers who use their giant robot fists to claim justice for concerned parties. Trials are decided by Giant Allege battles between defendants and prosecutors. Because Giant Alleges are expensive as poo poo to keep running, a single defense from one of these great Lawyers can cost as much as 100,000 Kappa - more than a year's income for the average family. (Yes, the book misspels it as Lower.)

Controlling a Giant Allege requires abilities and reflexes far beyond that of regular humans, so Lawyers are usually the best of the best of humanity. There are even some rare cases of Lawyers becoming more powerful than their Giant Allege.

To become a Lawyer, one must travel to the Divine Audience Mountains and seek the Tower of Deliberation, where they will face a mighty trial known as a Legal Examination. If they are triumphant, they will be granted an Attorney's Badge. The areas tested in the Legal Examination are swordsmanship, Giant Allege piloting, and defensive ability, all held to extremely high standards - less than one percent of challengers pass the test. Once the Examination is cleared, the new Lawyer must climb Gears Rock to receive their Giant Allege and begin making a name for themself as a Lawyer.

Judgment is the term for the battles fought in the name of justice on Ground Judge. When there is a dispute between people, it is resolved by a brutal battle to be the last man standing. If someone is weak, but has a strong need of justice, then they can hire a Lawyer to fight in their place with a giant robot.

Judgment Satellites are the silent guardians of Ground Judge, looking down from the heavens since a lost age thousands of years ago. From the surface, a call of "Frugativi et Appelavi" is made to the heavens, and one of the Judgment Satellites will shine a light down on the place that will be the battlefield of Judgment. One week later, the Giant Allege will meet there for a decisive battle to claim their wanted verdict.

Ground Judge is the name of the suspiciously Australia-like continent on which the game takes place. Until 500 years ago, countless criminals were sent here, but now it has been cut off from the outside world by an impassable barrier of wind called the Nonaggression Wind Wall. A cruel land, where power is justice. With a hot and dry climate, the inhabitants manage a grueling survival.

Gears Rock is an enormous rock in the center of the continent, 20 kilometers long. Countless Giant Allege slumber atop it.

The next section of the book is on the economy and culture of Ground Judge, which are similar to America's Wild West (or at least how it's remembered in modern popular culture). Guns and airplanes exist. Alcohol runs free, and the blood of the guilty flows thick. Many conflicts are simply resolved by force between the involved parties, but if a conflict gets too big, then it is settled by Giant Allege. Next, we get some quick descriptions of some of the cities on the map:

Western Mining Cities Holzo and Eastern Mining Town Alkata: Two mining communities on opposite ends of Gears Rock. Primary exports are copper.

Rest City Tomal: A connection point between Gears Rock and Guilty Town.

Subterannean Capital Unground: A massive Geofront made to escape the heat of the surface, and the capital of Ground Judge. A popular living place for the fabulously wealthy.

Port City Hotalica: Harbor city with a thriving fishing trade. The go-to place on Ground Judge for goods from the sea.

Atonement City Tada: Those found guilty in Judgments are sent here.

Swindler City Hatari: A ruthless city where Judgment fraud runs rampant. As long as you win, even fraud can become justice.



This is the book's only real fleshed-out NPC, Prosecutor J, and his noble steed, Justice The Giant Allege. J is a humanoid android sent to Ground Judge from the Judgment Satellites whenever there is a disruption in a trial of Judgment.


All of the setting information in the book is delightfully incoherent and full of unanswered questions. Next, I'll get into some of the actual game mechanics.

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