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404GoonNotFound
Aug 6, 2006

The McRib is back!?!?


Green Intern posted:

Don't say I never gave you anything.

Soos

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

Nice. I would have also accepted Former Owner of SS Cool Dude or Half Question, Half Man.

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TheDemon
Dec 11, 2006

...on the plus side I'm feeling much more angry now than I expected so this totally helps me get in character.


edit: Wait, nevermind, I am loving up my french vocab royally.

GimmickMan
Dec 27, 2011



Giant Allege is more beautiful than I ever imagined.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.



The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game

2: Backgrounds, or, "How To Do Races With Only Two Humanoid Species"

So here are the character sheets for WoT d20. These will probably look familiar to a lot of you! And if you were familiar with 3e you can already probably see where things are gonna get weird.

As I mentioned a few times, the "race" choice for this game comes down to your nationality of origin (with a single exception). The problem is that, as someone mentioned, there are some really interesting lands in this world, and a few of them just get hosed over. Humans can start out as Aiel, Atha'an Miere (any further reference to them will be by their common name, "Sea Folk" - gently caress this apostrophe poo poo everywhere, ugh), Borderlander, Cairhienin, Domani, Ebou Dari, Illianer, Midlander, Tairen, Tar Valoner, Taraboner*, and in the lone additional book for the line (Prophecies of the Dragon - it's 99% adventure hooks and plots, I'm just gonna cover the additional stuff in this writeup), there were rules for the Seanchan**.

* Tell me you don't giggle every time you see that name.
** According to a friend, this really is pronounced how it's spelled, if the audiobooks are anything to go by, so please, imagine the empire of the Sean-chan, kawaii desu~


Every background gives you the following: background feats (pick one, you can choose another on the list later when you have feat choices though), background skills (pick one, it becomes a class skill), a home language, a short list of bonus choices for language should you have high enough INT (utterly idiotic aside from three backgrounds' bonuses, because again, YOU ALL SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE), and three equipment packages (pick one). Aiel are locked out of ever picking a specific skill and weapon, and Sea Folk are locked INTO picking a skill so... I don't know why they have a full list. Nothing mentions a way around that choice or how to get a second choice off the skill list. Onto the nationalities, then!

Aiel

This game pretty much tells you "if you are an Aiel, you are going to be this class".

The Aiel live in a massive desert known as (shockingly) the Aiel Waste. You know the Fremen, from Dune? These are basically them. Aiel are one of the two nationalities that you would classify as "the hardest motherfuckers alive", and if you had to put it down to one they'd probably win out. They have a rather in-depth system of clans and sub-clans which don't play into this book at all, and so I'm going to just overlook that to keep from becoming That Dude Who Goes On About WoT Lore. They're generally redheaded, with some being more blonde than crimson, and have dark, tanned skin which doesn't really match how that works in our world at all. I'm gonna hit on more of their cultural stuff in the class section, given that one of the classes is virtually Aiel-exclusive, and mechanicschat will be better there.

If you are an Aiel, you are forbidden to ever wield a sword, or learn to ride*. Most of your background feats, though, are pretty solid, being "+2 to (pair of skills)" or "+1 to (save), +2 to (skill)", without any of the awful restrictions some other nations get. Overall, this game goes real low on the numbers, as you'll see, so bonuses like this are pretty solid for a long while. You'll be going stealthy (Hide, Move Silently) or scouty (Spot, Wilderness Lore) with your background skills. Then we get to language choices. Aiel get Common (Aiel) by default, and can choose from Common (Cairhien)*... or Aiel Hand-Speech. Nobody else gets this, but to keep it from being overpowered, you get to pick it for one clan or society at a time. There are 12 of each. Not so handy unless you plan to be around the Wastes a lot, but who knows, maybe your world takes place after they get involved in prophecies or start to migrate out of the desert.

* I do find it hilarious that, given their usual cultural fear of large rivers/oceans/lakes, Swim isn't the restricted skill.
** A bit of a sick joke. At the time of the books, it's been 20 years since the Aiel War, when they came out of the waste and beelined for Cairhien to murder the king who cut down a tree representing an ancient treaty. They had good trade with them once! Really!


For equipment, you're either getting:
  • a tent, a cadin'sor (Aiel-specific armor, desert camoflage), a buckler, a waterskin, and 2 healer's balms (the right answer most of the time)
  • Jewelry (60 mk value) (cash in this game works as follows: copper penny, silver penny, silver mark, gold crown - a vast majority of items are in silver marks)
  • a shortbow (Aiel), 20 arrows, a buckler

Best class(es): algai'd'siswai, initiate

Atha'an Miere (Sea Folk)

Sometimes images are in frames. I don't know why either.

The Sea Folk really shouldn't have been a character race. I'm just gonna throw that out there. These dudes do not leave their ships unless forced. It's said that making them head onto land is the kind of thing that can make experienced captains cry. (For some reason there is also lore that speaks of them heading off land into rowboats to give birth should a pregnant Sea Folk woman's water break, so. That one's always confused me.) But just offhand from lore these dudes stick to their ships, won't let Aes Sedai on board their ships unless there's massive need (to hide that their Windfinders can be channelers), and are secretive to amazing degrees, having fast ships and the gall to head out into areas nobody else will (or killing anyone who heads into some of those regions, to protect their secrets).

That said, they're pretty solid folk to deal with. They keep their word once given, won't gently caress you on a deal, and if you travel with them, they refuse payment, instead just asking for a "gift" (which, technically, amounts to payment, but if you have great enough need, they'll probably waive fees for some sort of trade or lower "price"). Their background feats are all based on their trading or sailing skills, and skills follow the same theme (Intuit Direction, Profession (Sailor)*, Swim, Use Rope). Their additional languages all correspond to the coastal nations, since... c'mon, do I really have to explain that one? You also basically get hosed on all your starter kits as a Sea Folksman:
  • a rapier and an hourglass
  • 2 healer's balms, a hooded lantern, 50ft. silk rope
  • Jewelry (100 mk value)

* Profession (Sailor) is a required skill. So I'm pretty sure you just... have to take it? Unless you're one of three classes, maybe, but one of those is "Woodsman", and another locks you into channeling. Sometimes I hate d20.

Best class(es): wanderer, wilder

Borderlander

Have I mentioned the art is inconsistent in this book? The art is wildly inconsistent in this book.

Now these dudes are the poo poo. Recall when I said Aiel had competition for the hardest men alive? This is that competition. The Borderlands are four (formerly five) kingdoms* on the edge of the Blight, the region** where the "patch" on the Dark One's prison is located, and where his taint is strongest on the world. They're very poetic, actually: living so close to a brutal, unforgiving land where hordes of horrors might come down at any time, the culture prides itself on the little, peaceful moments in life. A lot of the traditions and eccentricities in the north revolve around Trying Not To Die: streets are kept fully-lit at night by any means necessary (to prevent various creatures from teleporting in via shadows), and it's illegal to cover your face in a few kingdoms (so a faceless, but otherwise human-looking Myrddraal can't go undetected).

* For ease of summary, anytime we have a 'nation' that's a mashup like this, I'm just going to cover the common ground rather than get into a bunch of seperate kingdoms worth of fashion and exports? I hope nobody minds.
** Yes, I'm going to post a map later, there's a chapter about the world and different regions I figured it'd all fit better in.


Their background feats are somewhat generic (ride horses well! sneak and hide well!) but they get one Borderlander-only feat which makes them excellent Ranger-alikes: "Shadowspawn Hunter". When fighting Trollocs (fodder-tier Shadowspawn), you get +1 on damage, and improved critical range. Take it again you can add either Draghkar or Myrddraal to the bonus effects. Take it a third time (and anytime after should you go for 4-5) and add Darkhounds or Gray Men to the choices. Those are the only 5 choices, but it's still a solid buff given that all of these are creatures you do not want to gently caress around with when fighting. Every single one save Trollocs has a pretty lethal leg up on a normal human, ranging from save-or-dies, to poisonous blood you need to resist on every melee hit, to... it goes on. Their skills consist of not letting anything Shadow-spawned get the jump on you (Knowledge (Blight), Listen, Move Silently), or riding horses (Ride. Duh). In an interesting twist, they can learn Trolloc as a bonus language, for those times when you want to sneak up on a band and figure out what they're up to. Equipment, though, leans in a very specific direction...
  • horse (heavy), bit & bridle, military saddle, studded leather armor
  • horse (light), bit & bridle, riding saddle, 2 healer's balms
  • a mail shirt

On the other hand, the horse and equipment can probably be sold for more equipment than a lot of starter backgrounds might net you, right?


get hosed, horsehavers

Oh. Well poo poo. You pretty much always want the mail shirt when not playing a Borderlander as a horsemaster: it's worth 10 gold crowns IF you don't want the strongest light armor you can get in the game.

Best class(es): armsman, woodsman

Cairhienin

A nation of mall-goths

Cairhien's a nation that's effectively on the wane at the time of the books. They had a massive trade monopoly and routes with the Aiel and other people to the west of the world, all hosed up in a single instant by their last king's decision to cut down a tree given to them by the Aiel centuries ago. The events of the war left farms fallow, refugees still crowd some of the larger cities, and everything is spiraling downwards into further misery and poverty. The nation is mostly known at this point for its "Great Game", where the nobility are born to try and one-up/undermine all other nobles at the expense of any other activity. Everything you do, especially if you're an outlander sniffing around in Cairhien (doubly so if a foreign noble), is going to be analyzed and studied by these guys, looking for a) what's in it for you/what you might be planning, and b) how they can use it/you to their advantage.

Straight up, if you're playing a Cairhienin, you're gonna be a noble. This is another one of those times where the classes are effectively locked in for the nation you choose, and where the game suffers from being a d20 product. There are almost twice as many nationalities as classes, and it really would have been better if they weren't trying to work off of a race/class foundation, since all the "bonuses" just limit your path massively if you don't choose the right complimentary pairings. The game runs on lower-than-D&D numbers, so every bonus you squeeze out from your starting skills is going to last a while... and any gap you have will hamper you for the same period. It's also, again, another nation that kinda sucks lore-wise over some of the things overlooked.

Anyway. Your feats/skills are all going to be social, you can grease the right palms, know what districts are worth heading to if you need information, or pick up on the innuendo/motive people have when you're chatting. Your equipment also follows the theme of being some ponce from a nice house:
  • military saddle, longsword, small steel mirror
  • hourglass, 2 healer's balms
  • noble's outfit, signet ring

Best class(es): noble

Next time: More backgrounds, more griping

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE - Getting funny!

Now, for some context, back in 1987 the concept of "genre emulation" didn't actually exist, at least not in the idea of a singular specific concept that a designer would actually create rules around. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of games that were testing the waters of trying to emulate the "feel" of a genre or medium rather than simply being a game in a setting (an early example I own would be 1984's Marvel Super Heroes where XP (karma) was explicitly tied to acting heroic, and I know there's many similar examples from around and before that time), but oftentimes these rules tended to be experiment or insufficient, and often came with the assumption that players would already know the genre/setting and at least make a vague attempt of emulating it. Which presented a problem for a game like TFOS, since it not only had a playstyle that wasn't very common for the era (narrative and comedy-focused), but it was for a genre that was easy to grasp but not quite common knowledge.

The answer to this problem? A big section on how to properly run an humorous anime game.

It's a bit more complex a problem than it sounds, mind you. The book needed to cover both how to actually try and get the feel of play down, while also trying to explain the tropes of the genre (not in as many words of course) in order to play them right. Nowadays a lot of this might just go unstated, but honestly it's pretty nice to have, and TFOS has some pretty good advice. For the most part anyway. It winds up as one of the longer sections of a somewhat short book, but for good reason. And to start off, it goes into advice in how to do the metagame right, something that you don't see often. Listed things include:

  1. Getting Physical: Some simple but silly advice... which is important for a silly game anyway. Some encouragement to go and overact, gesticulate wildly as you explain what your characters are doing, scream in horror as your characters scream in horror, and other such things to try and keep an open and outgoing mood. In what would likely be shot down by liability lawyers these days, it even encourages the referee to throw things at players who are appropriately Bonked.
  2. Maintain a manic pace: I really appreciate this particular item since it's something that is almost always forgotten in GM advice. Pacing is important! Speaking as an old and crotchety game master, you absolutely want to have things going and people acting as often as possible, and if there's any periods of dead air then something has gone horribly wrong. Granted, this is an old game, so most of the advice is along the lines of dropping something to shake up the players (like the sudden intrusion of a horribly obnoxious and repulsive classmate) if they dither around too much. Which I admit is not entirely ineffective...
  3. Steal shamelessly: TFOS also encourages both referee and players to, well, steal characters and jokes and skits from whatever's been most amusing lately. This is one of those moments where you're reminded that this game came out in the 80's, well before that "internet" thing was a household word and any comedy game would inevitably be inundated with internet memes. You had to settle for where's the beef!? traditional word of mouth memes instead.
  4. Use running jokes: Somewhat similar to the above, but honestly more important for a comedy game since it tends to be an easier sort of humor to work with at the table. This piece of advice is also absolutely amazing solely for the given example;

    quote:

    For example, one of our players attempted to grow a mustache. His success roll was so incredible the Referee determined he had not only grown a mustache - he had grown the Ultimate Mustache! For weeks afterward, the mustache jokes flew fast and furious. Girls asked his mustache out on dates. Tiny mustache-shaped aliens began to worship his fringe as a god. Articles on his mustache began to appear in Time and Newsweek ("Man and Mustache in America"), People ("Doug's Mustache tells all!"), the National Enquirer ("Mustache in Love Triangle with Liz and Jackie - Flees with UFO princess!"), and even National Geographic ("Expedition into the Deepest Mustache"). The final blow came when the U.S. Government nationalized his face as a "Treasure of the American People", placed a 24 hour guard around it, and least oil-drilling rights to his hair.
    Behold. Teenagers from Outer Space.
  5. Dare to be stupid: While somewhat anticlimactic after that, it's still important advice. TFOS is quite intentionally a stupid game, and should be played as such.

From there, the book moves into what it calls "Routines", but what we'd probably refer to as TV genre tropes these days. Particular comedic notes, characters, and situations that are instantly recognizable and that people would presumably know how to play off of. It starts off with examples you'd find on campus, such as...

  • The Principal: A mysterious and ultimately terrifying entity. None dare speak of him/her/it, and merely being called to their office results in a (mostly ceremonial) 10 Bonk.
  • The Vice-Principal: Somewhat more public, but no less visible and terrifying. Something the players should avoid interacting with at all costs, but at least have a vague chance of escaping without detention.
  • The faculty: Examples are given for the various sorts of cliché teachers you'd find in this sort of thing, from the (Mad) science teacher to the helpful Shop class teacher to the hot Art teacher who isn't very good but has a mysteriously popular class for some inexplicable reason.
  • Hall monitors: Obstacles to be avoided. Likely heavily armed, and getting moreso as the protagonists escape time and time again.
  • Alien control officers: The somewhat pathetic attempts by the world governments to try and do something about all the alien teenagers blatantly running around, and who mostly exist to be thrown into an ongoing altercation by a mean referee in order to turn an orderly bout of violence into a chaotic clusterfuck of property damage.
  • The Parking Lot: Teenagers aren't very good drivers, alright?

And from there, to assorted off-campus problems! A prominent one, right at the top of the section, is... well, sex. Fear not, this isn't some creepy horror like Cthulhutech or what have you, and TFOS is quite up front with how this is supposed to work:

quote:

Skip the moral questions. Sex, in a roleplaying context at least, just isn't funny enough. Now frustration... that's funny.


While most of the following advice is stuff that would be readily obvious to anyone who's ever watched a sitcom, a romantic comedy, or a harem anime (you poor bastard), it's still helpful to be reminded that the most amusing part of sending teenagers on dates is watching them go horribly wrong, and there's a handy sidebar full of things that could conveniently interrupt a romantic liaison, from "a phone call" or "parents come home", all the way up to "comet hits earth" or "Godzilla escapes". Naturally this is yet another area where one's RWP score is likely to get put to the test too...

From there, it goes into other examples of things that might make a teenager's life difficult. From horrors like "having to take the bus because your UFO broke down" or dealing with the media (if you're some famous figure or alien), to simple things like one's parents. The example Mom given has the single stat of Guilt +10, but like everything else in TFOS it's pretty obvious how you could spin this a variety of ways, or insert other family members to make one's life difficult.

Going to be honest, my mom's in politics. She's pretty cool, lets me do whateeeever I want!
The less said about mom, the better. But she's an amazing cook, really great with barbeque, roasting things on spits, that sort of stuff...
"Mom" is a the ruling AI of planet M3CH-A. ... I should probably phone home though, she might be getting worried. I know she's usually too busy sending those giant robot monsters to try and conquer earth, but she means well.



Most of this stuff is things a modern player could think up with ease, what with all our narrative driven games and whatnot. But it's still handy to have, and if nothing else it makes for some good reading and helps in giving advice. A TFOS character is arguably more about their interactions with family, fellow students and faculty, and the world around them than about their own stats and scores, and that's a good thing. It makes for a better game, even if it's not about crazy students from space!

And next time... sample adventures and advice on how to make your own adventures and campaigns! Yeah, honestly we're almost done, but this is only a 78-page book.

Asimo fucked around with this message at 09:09 on Apr 4, 2013

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Syrg Sapphire posted:

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

Aw, no disciplinary knives? What a gyp.


Part 4: Alternates For Everybody!

Tanuki


Heh. Yeah, not really.

Tanuki are vulgar, fun-loving, shapeshifting jesters with comically huge testicles that they can blow up like balloons and play like drums. And that's just in the original folklore. Really, Fields didn't have to do much to fit these guys in. Except for some bizarre reason, he saw fit to include the option of female tanuki, who also have enormous gonads "hanging like bizarre tumors from their swollen labia". Oh, and there's a trick to breaking their illusions that I don't recall hearing before: coins tarnish and paper money wilts in their presence, so pressing either against their skin will quickly show their true colors. As a bonus, this also explains why they're constantly running out on bar tabs.

Baseline racial traits: racial bonus to Stealth and one free rank in Perform (Comedy) for every rank of any other Perform skill, Tanuki Tracks (transform into an ordinary raccoon-dog and back at will, triggers involuntarily if splashed with a full jug of sake), Tanuki's Testicles (those drums I mentioned can be used once a day to induce fear in opponents, also you can heft your scrotum over your shoulder and turn it into a "Handy Haversack" for one hour).

Alternate racial traits:

    Mujina: Ha ha your balls are soooo tiny! In exchange for being the laughingstock of the tanuki world, you get to change into a couple of different animals, and your movement speed and DEX score aren't nearly as impaired. Replaces Testicles.
    Tanuki's Purse: Once per day, you can take a pile of sticks and rocks from your scrotal purse ("Why it carries rocks and twigs in its scrotum is a mystery best left to the ages.") and Bluff it into a pile of coins for 1D4 days. Replaces Testicles.

Ubume

The ghosts of women who died in childbirth, the Ubume of the Tatakama blame themselves for having been too weak and have willingly rejected reincarnation, wandering the world with the soul of their dead child in their arms in the distant hope of finding some way to bring it to life. Strikes me as more of a pre-packaged character concept than a viable race, but whatever. It's not like "consistent world-building" has been high on my list of expectations here.

Baseline racial traits: slow movement speed due to pregnant waddling, darkvision, racial bonus to Diplomacy checks against children or childlike undead (coming soon!), Burdened Womb (carrying your child leaves you with only one free hand, or you can absorb it into your womb, but take a penalty to WILL saves), Dust of Guilt (summon a chilling wind to blow detritus from your child's corpse into a tornado of despair, shaking up anything that fails its WILL save; women are at -2 to this save, and if they've had a miscarriage or undergone an abortion themselves, they're shaken even on a success and rendered absolutely helpless on a failure), Motherhood and Rebirth (an instinctive ritual that can only be performed after "decades of unlife", the Ubume passes her dead baby to a willing, living, sentient female who either makes three increasingly difficult STR checks and brings both mother and child back to life, or fails any one of them and dies without hope of resurrection).

Alternate racial traits:

    Compassionate Motherhood: Divine midwives. Cast Stabilize three times a day and a racial bonus to Treat Injury checks. Also, casting Stabilize on a pregnant female ensures a healthy, pain-free pregnancy. Also also, once per level, you can touch a pregnant woman or infant to give the child a permanent bonus to CON and any other one ability score. Replaces Dust.
    Envious Motherhood: Predatory instead of penitent. Inflict an additional damage die against pregnant females, and automatic maximum damage against children. Cause miscarriages with critical hits. Shouldn't this be a monster or something? Replaces Rebirth.
    Ubume-Chan: Hoo boy. So, here we have an Ubume who died so young that she doesn't fully understand the tragedy of her situation and treats her dead child as a playmate rather than a self-imposed onus. The book says this is "cute and disturbing in equal measure", but I have my doubts. The dead baby counts as a sorcerer's familiar, and can be set down on the ground to walk under its own power. This sets your Initiative score to 0, though, since all your attention is diverted, but you also get the Alertness feat which probably does something neat. Replaces Womb.

That's all there is for Tokyo originals, but wait! Surely, I hear you say, such a vibrant and varied world as the Tatakama has its own unique twists on the more traditional races! Well, aren't you the bright one!

Alternate Traits for Core Races

    Blood Immortal (Humans, Half-Orcs, Elves): You can't die. At all. Ever. A sidebar freely acknowledges that this completely breaks any game where it's allowed to exist, but is included for anyone who wants to play Manji from Blade of the Immortal or Tokyo Red Hood from first level. No mention of why anyone who'd play such a character would want die rolls or any rules at all getting in their way.
    Chochinobake (Dwarves, Gnomes): Walking paper lanterns. All you can really do is shed light. Dumb as hell.
    Elven Cruelty (Elves, Half-Elves): Bank your race's reputation for sadism and depravity for a hefty bonus to Intimidate non-Elves, and deal an extra damage die against helpless or unaware opponents. Flavor text points out for no reason at all that Elven women are even worse than the men. Man, just this one post is making Robert Jordan look like Gloria Steinem.
    Forest Fairy Patrol! (Elves, Half-Elves, Gnomes, Halflings): Non-magical animals frequently come to you for help resolving mundane concerns. If you successfully aid the animal, you get an XP bonus; if you solve the problem and bang the animal and/or any issue-related animal spirit/forest-dwelling fey/cosplayer in the process, you get a double bonus! FIIIIIIIEEEEEEEELLLLDS!!
    Hannyo (Humans): You're half-spirit, and have some sort of animalistic physical deformity, such as talons instead of feet or a tail. But you also get super-smelling powers and a racial bonus to Handle Animal.
    Kintaro Dwarf (Dwarves): Gain the Kintaro feat as a racial bonus. Yep.
    Little Pet (Halflings, Gnomes): Specially bred kemonomimi midget sex-pets who wandered in from the Cthulhutech set next door. Whenever you gain a level, roll a die for a CHA bonus and a random effect (+2 Combat Maneuver Bonus from being hug-happy, bonus move speed and REF from being all lithe and poo poo, or Alertness from your cute little animal ears).
    Prowess of Steel (Dwarves, Humans, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, males only): Super-samurai! Racial bonus to attack rolls with two-handed swords, and also to Perform or Profession (Sexual) checks, because
    Setotaisho (Dwarves): You're actually a golem who formed itself from broken earthenware and was raised by a dwarven family. Huh?
    Umi-Nyobou (Humans, females only): Want to play as Princess Ruto from Ocarina of Time? Here ya go.
    Yama-Oroshi (Goblin, Gnome, Halfing): A radish grater that achieved sentience and grew a body.

The next thing is a bunch of templates for the various castes inherent to feudal Japanese life, which looks boring so I'm gonna skip 'em. Next time: sacred bodily fluids, "retard strength", and see-through vulvae! I can't wait!

Bitchtits McGee fucked around with this message at 11:30 on Apr 4, 2013

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



All those alternate options for the other races are, again, drawn from Japanese Yokai stories. Of course, they're terribly out of context, but I'm pretty amused they included the Seto Taisho. Little dishware warriors made of discarded and unloved cookware. They can be easily smashed, but will always come back once there's enough broken plates and crap hanging around.

What's with all the creepy sex poo poo, though?

Edit: Actually, there's a ton of sex and woman-related yokai in Japanese mythology. Fields is just being hyper-creepy about it.

Green Intern fucked around with this message at 14:14 on Apr 4, 2013

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

I want to see a real Yokai based game now...Fields is making cool concepts awful.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I want to see a real Yokai based game now...Fields is making cool concepts awful.

Yokai are awesome, and a Japanese Ghost/Yokai Hunter game would be amazing.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I want to see a real Yokai based game now...Fields is making cool concepts awful.

Could've sworn there was a game released last year or something that handled Yokai pretty well and in a cute way too. Sadly I can't remember its name though.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Green Intern posted:

What's with all the creepy sex poo poo, though?

The Tatakama books (of which there are three in total) are supplements to the infamous Black Tokyo. That should explain a lot.

Cooked Auto posted:

Could've sworn there was a game released last year or something that handled Yokai pretty well and in a cute way too. Sadly I can't remember its name though.

Golden Sky Stories?

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Bitchtits McGee posted:

Golden Sky Stories?

After looking at the cover I have to say that was probably the game I was thinking about.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


It was briefly covered in the first thread under the name Yuuyake Koyake. Basically you play animals who turn into people to hang out & be bros.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


HitTheTargets posted:

It was briefly covered in the first thread under the name Yuuyake Koyake. Basically you play animals who turn into people to hang out & be bros.

Well that's probably the best lead in I'm ever going to get.



Hengeyokai was the Werewolf: The Apoaclypse entry in the 'Year Of The Lotus', which also gave us Kindred of the East which was reviewed in the last thread. Unlike Kindred of the East this was the only published book for the setting. Hopefully by the time we're finished you'll see why.

The Back of the book blurb gives us this

quote:

On Hemmed-in Ground, Resort to Stratagem...
The Wheel of Ages turns steadily to the age of blood and fire, the age that Westerners call the Apocalypse. The ghostly roars of battles yet to come resound in the Yang realms, and the cries of wild devils echo between mountaintops. And the beast-changers, the moon's children - the hengeyokai - hear them all. The Tigers watch the sun descend; the goblin spiders crawl in the shadows; the foxes whistle to one another; the dragons below the mountains wake. The time of great war is here.

On Desperate Ground, Fight!
Hengeyokai: Shapeshifters of the East details the werecreatures of Asia, their sorcery and tactics, and their blood enemies. What's more, there's information on the spirit world of the East, as well as setting information on the Middle Kingdom and the Beast Courts. Finally, the elusive werefoxes - the Kitsune - appear in all the detail of a changing Breed Book proper. Ignore this wisdom at your own risk.

Hengeyokai: Shapeshifters of the East includes
  • Details on the many Changing Breeds of the East, including Hakken Garou, Tengu and Zhong Lung
  • Full details on the Kitsune; an entire changing breed book included within
  • Specific cosmology on the Asian spirit worlds, new Gifts, rites and powers, antagonists and more
Yup, once again the spirit world is completely different BECAUSE ASIA. Also, that note on the Kitsune is true. They technically did not exist before this book.

As per any of the other details, that won't be explained for two chapters.

They have far more important things to show us first

LUNA BEAST SENTAI GAIAMON!



No you aren't missing anything, these are the first two pages of the book. I have to admit I like their attention to detail in trying to get the Manga style down, right down to the chibi-fox head in the speech bubble.


Pardon me miss you appear to have fractured your neck, and perhaps your back considering the way you're thrusting your chest out for our benefit. Apparently her name is Bareiho, and she's a Were-Fox. The werewolf in the background is Okami(Yes). The Guy with the feather cloak is a were-Crow named Kuei. Kim is the guy wearing the headband and he's a Were-Tiger. And the dour looking guy screaming 'you idiot' is Gajani, and he's a Dragon.

Yeah, a Dragon, what?


Something's wrong with Gareiho's face again.


Here we have Gareiho's contribution to the combat... she makes an origami squid, and throws it at the bad guys, who look marginally surprised, then she smashes a guys neck between her shin and thigh... Also on this page: Okami being a literal lone wolf. And yes, throwing razor sharp feathers at people, magic origami, and cutting a 50 yard path with a sword strike are things you can do in this game.

Remember though, this is supposed to be a serious look at the culture of Asian were-beasts.


I know what you're wondering, and this came out about a year before Naruto's original Japanese manga release.


Yes, Tiger Kamehameha's are a thing too.



I have no idea what's happening here beyond the fact that someone Okami knew is dead now, he may be as well. Whatever.

Need I point out that at a few points the game actively discourages you from running a game like this, because it's silly and kills the mood?

Next time, Rulahahaha no. We've got another two chapters and a 3 page glossary to go through before we get to anything even remotely resembling setting information or rules.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 22:33 on Apr 4, 2013

Tzarnal
Dec 26, 2011



Kurieg posted:

Well that's probably the best lead in I'm ever going to get.



Next time, Rulahahaha no. We've got another two chapters and a 3 page glossary to go through before we get to anything even remotely resembling setting information or rules.

Okay, If you had told me this was a comic about Exalted instead I would have actually believed you. Except for that even exalted comics were higher quality. So Okay, exalted Fan Comic. Heaven Thunder Hammer is even just straight up a charm in Exalted. The main characters could all be lunars and the dragon is just a dragonblooded, I mean so far he hasn't actually turned into a dragon yet. It all WORKS.

Tzarnal fucked around with this message at 18:41 on Apr 4, 2013

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.

Bitchtits McGee posted:

Aw, no disciplinary knives? What a gyp.

Good news: I hosed up, they're in here. I think I forgot Ebou Dar existed entirely because the whole section on them is making me go "buh... huh... what?"

jadarx
May 25, 2012


HitTheTargets posted:

It was briefly covered in the first thread under the name Yuuyake Koyake. Basically you play animals who turn into people to hang out & be bros.

There was also an expansion where you could be a ghost, alien, oni, etc. I'll check the pdf, provided I can find it again, to see if any of the folklore creatures showed up.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009



While I'm enjoying your coverage of :fields:, could we perhaps not do this? There are non-racist ways of saying "I feel cheated" or "what a let-down." Thanks!

Lemon-Lime fucked around with this message at 22:02 on Apr 4, 2013

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012


Lemon Curdistan posted:

While I'm enjoying your coverage of :fields:, could we perhaps not do this? There are non-racist ways of saying "I feel cheated" or "what a let-down."

Funnily enough, this is the first time that I've noticed that that term references the Romani people.

Huh.

I don't think he/she/it/they were meaning to be racist there.

Numerical Anxiety
Sep 2, 2011

Hello.


In its etymological sense, it probably derives from a Welsh word and originally didn't have racist intent, but yeah, it's acquired such an association that it's best avoided.

Winson_Paine
Oct 27, 2000

Wait, something is wrong.


Try not to use racist terms guys, even well meaningly. This concludes the language lesson for the day.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Amechra posted:

Funnily enough, this is the first time that I've noticed that that term references the Romani people.

Huh.

This was pretty much my reaction, as well. Sorry about that.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.

Let's steamroll over that awkwardness, shall we?



The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game

3: More Backgrounds, More Problems

So many of these suuuuuuuck. Or their art does, anyway.

Domani

The lone time "Sexy Lady" would be appropriate art and they gently caress it up somehow

The Domani are a pretty divisive people (their nation being Arad Doman). They're at war with the nation of Tarabon in the "current" time period, and a lot of their culture is... hedonistic, to summarize. The women are generally seductive and crafty, the men are similarly erotic but are more known for having tempers akin to the metaphorical bull in a china shop. Nobody really holds back in Arad Doman. They use what are pretty clearly chopsticks for their incredibly spicy food, and accept travellers right up until said outsiders give them poo poo about part of their culture. That said, the aforementioned war is over land between Arad Doman and Tarabon, and despite this, nobody's made a move on it, and trade continues. That's right: there is a straight-up cold war in this world.

Their background feats are actually broad - gain some weapon specializations, take a free class skill (repeatable), gain better bluff/gather info checks, and their somewhat-flawed unique feat, "Seductive", wherein they get +3 bluff/diplomacy... with the opposite sex. Gonna be honest, I know why it's limited like that (+3s are rare, especially in starting feats), but I would have just made it "with one sex (pick)" given we're dealing with the hedonist nation. Skills match this: Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Info, and, just like Seductive, the one that stands out/is innuendo-y: Perform. Equipment isn't nearly as interesting, sadly:
  • jeweled signet ring (70 mk value)
  • courtier's outfit, fine wine (2 bottles)
  • masterwork musical instrument

Best class(es): noble, wanderer

Ebou Dari

Nobody gives a poo poo about the Ebou Dari: these are the only two pictures of them in the book, neither from the backgrounds chapter like all the others I'm using

Ebou Dar is an incredibly ordered, formal society. Duels are commonplace should you offend someone, and the general advice given dealing with them is "brush up on the rules before heading there". Also, everyone has knives, "curved daggers of distinctive shape and decoration" are an easy way to identify an Ebou Dari outside of their homeland. Probably the most interesting bit of their culture are these two facts: "Every married woman wears a dagger called a marriage knife, hanging between her breasts from a choker. It is a gift from the woman's husband, who gives it on their wedding day with a solemn instruction to stab him with it should he ever displease her." and "Ebou Dari law presumes any woman is justified in killing a man, unless proven otherwise." I realize technically by telling someone Altarians weren't in this game I was a little off, since Ebou Dar is the "capital" of the nation... but nobody outside of the city really pays them any heed at all, according to text. They're kinda their own weird thing. As a result of that, plenty of wilders seeking to avoid the White Tower hide in the city, keeping a low profile.

Their special background feat? Duelist, of course (somehow this means +2 on Diplomacy and +2 on initiative). There is seriously nothing amazing in their skills or languages (for some reason, they can get Balance or Open Lock as a background skill? I have no idea why), and the equipment is similarly odd. Am I forgetting some character from the novels who was an Ebou Dari thief?
  • jeweled dagger or marriage knife (60 mk value)
  • disguise kit, grapple hook, hemp rope 50ft.
  • masterwork thieves' tools

Best class(es): wanderer, wilder

Illianer

This guy is going to open source your royalty.

Illian is the closest a major nation gets to democracy as we know it. There's a king, but he's kept in check by their two other ruling authorities: the Council of Nine (noblemen who "advise: the king) and the Assemblage (merchants/shipowners who "advise" the other two). They won't force similar onto other nations, feeling that would make them the tyrants they despise, but if someone starts loving with one of their neighbors or trying to take over, they come to the rescue ASAP. The three bodies are also hilariously petty. The Council's meeting place is known as the Great Hall - it resides across a plaza from the king's palace. The king said they could design it however the hell they liked so long as it didn't trump his house. In response, they built an exact replica of the building, 2 feet smaller on every side.

Lore sidenote: this is where the Great Hunt of the Horn begins every time the ceremony is called. Thousands from across the world show up to recieve a blessing and be declared an official Hunter of the Horn*, and then go seeking the legendary Horn of Valere, in groups or individually. The Pattern has played a massive joke on them, though - the Dragon Reborn already found it and hid it away, to keep the artifact out of Darkfriend hands before the Last Battle.

* The Horn of Valere is an ancient artifact said to call the dead heroes of legend back to life for whoever blows it. If someone does blow it, they're linked to the horn until their death, making them a prime target for any opponents wanting the thing.

Background feats are generic bonuses, and Illianers don't have a special feat of their own. Skills are Craft (pick one), Intimidate, Knowledge (pick one) or Search, and they get one of the better, broader sets of equipment to run with, fitting with the sheer variety of roles an Illianer could fill:
  • courtier's outfit, light crossbow
  • short sword, trail rations (20 days worth), 2 healer's balms
  • trade goods (roll on a table in chapter 7)

Best class(es): noble, armsman, wanderer

Midlander

Pretty much every character you love in the novels came out of the Midlands.

Hooooooly poo poo the "Midlands" region covers plenty. I'll show you on the map in chapter 12, but this is the actual text from the book: "Midlanders come from[...]: Andor, Murandy, Far Madding, Ghealdan, and villages including the Two Rivers region, Edmond's Field, and Baerlon. Characters from Amadicia and the northern regions of Altara, Illian, and Tear could also claim Midlander background." Dudes are literally too stubborn to ever give up. The villages in question were once a kingdom known as Mantheren, who fought down to the last man when the armies of the Blight tried to come down into the kingdoms of man. The scattered villages in the region are the legacy of those warriors and kings.

The big two we ought to point out in there are the Two Rivers region (where Rand al'Thor and his two ta'veren companions were raised, a place where the old blood runs strong) and Andor, a queen-headed monarchy that technically controls a lot of those villages but hasn't really bothered in ages. Andor is the only nation that sends its royal heirs to train in Tar Valon and the White Tower growing up, the women and future queens learning from their scholars (and, rarely, how to be an Aes Sedai if they can channel), and the male heirs training under the Warders to become some of the finest swordsmen and guards in the land.

They've got one of the most solid all-rounder feats in the game with Luck of Heroes: +1, all saves, no downside. Similarly, "Bullheaded" just sums up the people to a T. If, for some reason, you wanted Handle Animal as a free skill, this is the only background that can grant it. Equipment-wise, we're also scattered as hell:
  • horse (light), healer's kit
  • boar spear, longsword, leather armor, small steel shield, tent
  • Two Rivers longbow

That last one is the craziest bow in the game, being a massive bow one can wield from a saddle, 110+ft. range, and solid construction allowing it to function with minimal upkeep so long as you've got some replacement strings.

Best class(es): armsman/woodsman (pretty even depending on build)

Next time: The last backgrounds, and where they get WEIRD.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011



Part 5: Talents for the Talentless

For those who came in late: Talents are like highly specialized mini-Feats that you can only take at character creation to supplement your character concept. I, uh, can't think of anything else to say about them, so...

    Angelic Little Loli (female only, Young Adult or younger): Bonus to all Saves made against the "hostile intentions" of evil creatures. This benefit is temporarily lost "if you engage in consensual penetrative sex, though you can engage in masturbation, oral or fetish acts with a lover". FIIIIIIIEEEEEEEELLLLDS!! (Wow, that one came early.)

    Bara (male only, Adult or older): Hyper-virile gay man. Add CON to Bluff/Diplomacy vs. other men.

    Bishonen/Bishoujo: Well, Japan does love its androgynes. Pretty much a fixed bonus version of Bara.

    Body Sheath: An apparently natural pocket that you can only use for hiding weapons for some reason. Wouldn't be notable, except it's described as "like a warrior’s vulva ready to accept your blade". Stay classy, Fields.

    Broken Doll: You look your best when you're beaten. CHA bonus while at half HP or less.

    Carnal Inspiration: Sleep with someone beautiful enough, get a bonus to Conjuration/Enchantment spells.

    Demon Hunter's Semen (male only): Glowing jizz that grants a temporary bonus vs. Outsiders when "accepted into the body".

    Dimwitted But Mighty (at least -1 INT/WIS modifier): FATAL flashbacks, woo! Add your INT/WIS penalty to your STR. The dumber you are, the stronger you get!

    Ecchi Adventurer: Pick a fetish. Indulge in that fetish, and get an XP bonus for one hour afterwards.

    Exorcist's Tongue: Communicate with any incorporeal Undead. Not at all what you were expecting, was it?

    Fertile Skin (female only): Get pregnant just from touching semen.

    Gooey Lubrication: Your sexual fluids can be used as sovereign glue. Potentially quite embarrassing.

    Holy Milk (female only): Constantly lactating, functions as holy water.

    Incestuous Siblings: You don't just share a bed, you share Save scores! Can be selected multiple times for multiple siblings!

    Magic Maid Service: Summon a swarm of "semi-real" pixie maids to make out with each other at will. Can be used to stun a target, but I'm willing to bet nobody who takes this remembers to try.

    Megane-Ko (female only): The old "sexy librarian" trick. Use INT modifier instead of CHA for Bluff/Diplomacy.

    Necro-Freak: Exactly what you think.

    Never Ending Hymen (female only): Also exactly what you think.

    Omorashi: Rules for having a tiny, tiny bladder.

    Phallic Tongue: Yep.

    Piss Connoisseur: Conjure a perfect mental image or determine a woman's next menstrual cycle by well you get the idea.

    Possessor's Mark: Permanently brand a creature with a glowing rune during sex. Doesn't do anything, really, it's just sort of there.

    Play Pregnancy (female or Bishonen only): Perfectly mimic pregnancy, swollen breasts and everything. And yes, this can be taken by androgynous men as well. Probably. As I understand it, you're only supposed to have one Talent, and Bishonen is another Talent, so...

    Pleasure Tattoos: The magic of your ink heals anyone you gently caress. Sure, why not.

    Pretty Meat Pussy (female only): You can turn the skin over your genitals transparent at will for a sexually-oriented Bluff/Diplomacy bonus vs. cannibalistic creatures.

    Sexy Little Witch: Prepare two extra spells a day if you get your rocks off first.

    Storm Piss: Urinate into a body of water, and it becomes choppy and storm-tossed.

    Swinging Testicles (male only, Tanuki exempt): You have to carry your balls like a duffel bag. Bonus to Perform (Comedy) and CHA-based checks against Tanuki.

    Teasing Little Loli (female only, Young Adult or younger): Bonus to Bluff vs. Adults. Bigger bonus the older they are, plus more if their last name is the same as their first name. Okay, I made that last part up.

    Tsundere (female only): Deal an additional point of damage on melee attacks against anyone with a romantic or sexual interest in you.

Getting tired, so keeping it short for now. Next time: magic made of poo poo, wings made of blood, and the secret to immortality! I can't wait!

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


I'm not going to lie, if a story had a sorcerer piss into a body of water to screw with pursuing ships or an enemy fleet by causing a storm to arise from it, that'd be pretty neat.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



I am amazed at how each and every one of those talents seem to reach a new and terrifying level of creepiness.

That pissing into the sea one sounds perfect for a Drunken Sailor/Sorceror.

In other news, I'll be doing my next Inspectres post tomorrow.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011
I AM A BIG FAT STUPID FUCKER WHO SHOULD STAY THE FUCK OUT OF CSPAM

Hey guys I'm gonna start a metal band named Storm Piss, look for our first album to drop soon, it's called Piss Connoisseur and will feature our no doubt quickly iconic song Pretty Meat Pussy. It's only going to be sold at Hot Topic.

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

See Dimwitted but Mighty kind of sounds fun to play, just like some of the races occasionally sound interesting. But then everything devolves into FIIIIIIIEEEEEEEELLLLDS!! tm

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


Tasoth posted:

I'm not going to lie, if a story had a sorcerer piss into a body of water to screw with pursuing ships or an enemy fleet by causing a storm to arise from it, that'd be pretty neat.

It reminds me of the shaman pissing around his human skin when he turns into a bear in Sandman, and would be cool. I feel "Possessor's Mark: Permanently brand a creature with a glowing rune during sex. Doesn't do anything, really, it's just sort of there." could be used as a Sex Move for an Apocolypse World playbook (same with the healing tats).

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I think the most hosed up thing about all of this is how Fields just kind of shrugs at the ability to permanently brand someone as part of the sex act. gently caress the wrong person, and get a big 'ol red A somewhere on your body.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bieeardo posted:

I think the most hosed up thing about all of this is how Fields just kind of shrugs at the ability to permanently brand someone as part of the sex act. gently caress the wrong person, and get a big 'ol red A somewhere on your body.

To Fields, sex is just an extension of the combat rules; i.e., a means of establishing mechanical dominance.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Bieeardo posted:

I think the most hosed up thing about all of this is how Fields just kind of shrugs at the ability to permanently brand someone as part of the sex act. gently caress the wrong person, and get a big 'ol red A somewhere on your body.

There's a bit I forgot to mention: the target can make a WILL Save to resist the branding. It still lasts a couple of days even on a success, though, and the roll has a penalty if the sex is non-consensual. Yeah.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

To Fields, sex is just an extension of the combat rules; i.e., a means of establishing mechanical dominance.

Right on page one of the core book, he says: "Hentai reminds viewers that we are meat machines, and revels in spurting fluids and heaving flesh." So I imagine you're not far off.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bitchtits McGee posted:

There's a bit I forgot to mention: the target can make a WILL Save to resist the branding. It still lasts a couple of days even on a success, though, and the roll has a penalty if the sex is non-consensual. Yeah.

Alternately, you can just skip trimming your nails and save yourself a feat slot.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Inspectres: Who ya gonna call (when you don’t have any money)?
Part 3


Some Disassembly Required

Skills, Stress, and How to Succeed at Missions!
We’re finally getting to the more mechanical side of things. We’re also getting to the part of the game system where I feel there are some serious design flaws, so that’s fun. This might be the last post I do, since there's not much else to the system beyond some supplemental bits.

Missions and You
Obviously, every Inspectres Franchise needs to actually get paid in order to survive and thrive. A mission is basically one session of play (this game really lends itself to one-shot adventures, but you could definitely string several together into a longer overall campaign)

Game flow generally follows this helpful list:
Employee Interviews – Did I forget to mention this earlier? The author suggests having confessional booth-style interviews to introduce characters to the party. My players really enjoyed their fake job interviews. The Confessionals are even suggested as an aid to developing scenes later in the game, if things are getting stagnant, or if someone has a funny or inventive way of adding something to the scene. Always adding, never detracting.
Getting the Call – A client contacts the Inspectres with their problem. This can be randomly generated from a table ( roll 2d6 on each column), or the GM can present something they’ve cooked up.

Oh Boy! The Horny Housewife heard a Haunting at the HStore!

Research/Investigation – Research or Investigate the problem, to try and figure out an explanation or solution. Players will be rolling Academics here, more often than not.
Suiting Up – Procuring all the equipment and gadgets they might need to deal with the problem. Or any other preparatory stuff for the actual mission. So Tech rolls to invent or purchase new gear. Contact to bargain with shady scientists. Athletics to steal poo poo from military labs. You get the idea.
Fieldwork – Traveling to the job site itself, and solving the problem. This will necessarily have to follow from what the players have determined in the previous parts.
Cleaning Up – Transfer Franchise Dice to Cards or to the Bank.
Vacation – Spend dice to remove stress penalties from agents.

Obviously, this doesn't need to be a strict flowchart of events, save for Getting the Call and Cleanup/Vacation. Throughout all of this, players will be rolling their Skills, in order to find out more about the client, the job, and how they can solve the problem at hand. The twist is that who gets to narrate the story changes based on the degree of success. Yup.

Skill Rolls and Augmenting
Inspectres is a collaborative storytelling game, with some light skill roll mechanics. Skill rolls are called for essentially whenever the players are doing an action that would move the plot forward. So in the research and investigation phase, players might be rolling to determine the true source of the client’s misery (beyond “there are strange noises in my attic”). Results are determined by the following chart:


So, let’s take Dipper as an example here. Dipper heard that Lil’ Gideon’s show had something strange about it, so he decided that he’d do as much research on the pint-sized psychic as he could. The GM calls for an Academics roll. Dipper has an Academics skill of 4, so he rolls 4 dice. Sadly his talent (sneezing like a kitten) doesn’t apply here. His dice come up as 1, 3, 4, and 3.

For skill rolls, you only look at the highest die rolled, and discount all of the others. Dipper’s roll is a minor success! Dipper’s player decides that he finds out that Gideon’s amulet is granting his powers, but that in the process of the Investigation, Gideon falls in love (creepy, creepy love) with his sister, Mabel. Play then continues following these new developments in the story. The next time that a skill roll is required, the story will evolve from those results as well (and will probably get even crazier).

A negative roll should not result in the players being irrevocably screwed over, but it does mean that there’s a setback involved. If Dipper’s player was really worried about getting a bad roll, he could take a 4 (a minor success) on the Academics skill roll, because he has 4 dice in that skill. If he were to somehow lose dice in his Academics skill, he would no longer be able to take a 4 on those skill rolls.

If Dipper’s player wanted to go for broke and try to ensure that he got a 5 or 6, he could Augment his roll, either with dice from the Library Card (or another card, for another roll) or with dice from the Bank.

Augmenting involves spending dice from Cards or the Bank. Dice used from cards are always lost after rolling. Bank dice have a chance to be saved (or even multiply!) when you roll them, so they should be rolled separately from the normal dice to avoid confusion. There is significant risk involved in rolling Bank Dice, so it shouldn’t be done lightly. This is because you check each and every Bank Die rolled against the results on the chart, which means you’re far more likely to suffer a bad roll that cancels out any successes if you’re rolling multiple bank dice. It seems needlessly cruel to me, but it isn’t the worst part dice mechanic of the system. That falls to Stress Rolls, which I’ll be covering at the end of this post.

Roll a 6, 6, 6, and 1? Well Jared Sorenson says gently caress You.

Players can also assist each other. This is done by another player or players declaring the assist, rolling their skills as normal, and then passing one die (preferably a high one) to the player performing the major skill roll. They don’t even need to use the same skill, either. Dipper could be translating the spell destroy Gideon’s amulet from his tome (Academics), while Mabel tries to distract Gideon (Contacts), and Soos leads the Gnome Golem away from the group using his truck (Athletics +1d for his talent!). Mabel and Soos' players can pass their best dice over to Dipper, since he's the one making the skill roll to advance the story.

Franchise Dice
You probably noticed that the top two results on the skill roll chart mention Franchise Dice. These dice are how determine how close (or far) you are from completing the mission, and they should help determine the flow of events and narration. At the start of a game, the GM should set a target number of Franchise Dice that the players need to collect from their skill rolls. The suggested amount is twice the number of Franchise Dice that the players start with, so 10 for a completely fresh team. The only caveat to all of this is that you can’t earn Franchise Dice while purchasing equipment with Technology rolls, only through actually using it to solve the case.
Ideally, once the target number of Franchise Dice is achieved, the players should also have solved the client’s problem. You can’t gain more Franchise Dice than the target number, according to the rules, but if the players are really having fun, and there’s still a bit of narration to round things off, I might let them grab a couple more. All that’s left then is Cleanup and R&R!

Cleanup and Vacation Time
This is the best part of course: You get paid. Franchise Dice earned during the mission can be funneled back into the various Cards and the Bank. Unallocated Franchise Dice don’t do anything except give you some padding for the next mission. One of the major uses (and something that I kind of hate) is that Franchise Dice can be used to remove Stress Penalties from Agents, on a one for one basis – aka Vacation Time. What’s Stress, you ask? It’s bullshit. Plain and simple.

Stress Rolls and Cool Dice, or: This is Complete Bullshit

Me, reading this section

We've covered how to make your character, your business, crafted sample characters and even gone through skill rolls and mission completion. Now it’s time to get hosed over by Jared Sorenson.
Stress rolls are what the GM throws at the players to make their lives harder. They represent anything from being cut off in traffic, to coming face-to-face with Viggo, the Scourge of the Carpathians. Players will roll from 1 to 5 dice, depending on the severity of the roll. Some sample situations are listed in the book:



So you can see what kind of action Sorenson considers commonplace for this game. One of the problems with Inspectres as written, is that there is no guidance on how often Stress Rolls should be called for. It’s left entirely up to the GM. I suppose you could call for them whenever players get bad results on their skill rolls, but you’ll see why that’s a bad idea on this next chart. I’ve included the text from the rules, so you know I’m not making this poo poo up.


Prepare to Die Edition

That’s right. You take the Lowest Die and disregard all the others. It’s the complete opposite of a Skill roll, and the consequences are far direr, because the risk on a stress roll becomes exponentially greater as you add to its difficulty. We have 3 different types of rolling mechanics (Skill, Bank, and Stress), and the last one is riskier than the other two combined.

Cool Dice are supposed to be a way to defend against Stress, but in my experience they fall short, since they can be lost as a result of Stress Rolls. For every Cool Die you have (and you start the game with 0), you can ignore one die of each Stress Roll. Cool Dice can also be spent to remove penalties accrued by bad Stress Rolls, or as additional dice on any skill roll. The problem in this system, is that in order to get cool dice, you need to risk Stress Penalties, and once you start getting those, it becomes far harder to achieve the rolls you need to succeed on skill rolls. At the end of a mission, if you do succeed, you’ll need to spend most or all of your Franchise Dice on repairing the damage to your characters, instead of putting them into your Cards or Bank (which you may have emptied trying to make up for the skills you lost due to Stress).

If you hit 0 in a Skill, you can’t use that Skill, unless you have a talent that would grant you a die, or are willing to use dice from Cards or the Bank. Run out of dice, and you probably should have already narrated your character's grisly demise or injury.

The problem, as I see it, is that Jared Sorenson didn't intend for people to play more than single-shot games with the system, and then didn't bother to balance the Stress mechanic against the chances of players rolling 4 or lower on individual dice. The fact that you can lose accrued Cool is just insulting.

-----------------------------------

So that’s essentially Inspectres in a Nutshell. I really love the collaborative storytelling aspect and the premise as a whole, but I feel like the Stress rules as written really drag the game down. I’d recommend playing it, if you’re willing to do a little bit of tweaking to make things work better. There’s a lot more guidance sidebars for GMs, and sources of inspiration within the book itself, which is pretty nice.

There are a few other things that I could cover, including the optional Weird Agents rules (vampires, ghosts, etc), some free supplements (including a Kids Playing Pretend one). I haven’t used any of the supplements, so I’d have to give them a closer look first. There’s even also apparently a movie in production by Reactor 88 Studios, although I think that’s A) outside the purview of the thread, and B)I don’t think it’s even been released yet.

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012


So, I'd assume that you should just roll Stress checks as Skill checks?

Seems a lot more sane...

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

So, uh, how do you get back skills lost to Stress? End of the case?

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Glazius posted:

So, uh, how do you get back skills lost to Stress? End of the case?

If I remember correctly, you take a vacation/time off at the end of the case with what exactly you do based on how stressed you are. I also think you can still come back with some stress. Been a while since I read the rules.

Shoombo
Jan 1, 2013


So, I guess you guys have noticed that it's been a while since the last Dungeons the Dragoning post. I'm really sorry, but I don't think I'm able to keep to any kind of schedule. As such, I'm going to have to abandon the review. If anyone else wants to pick it up, they can. I might not be the best person to review the game anyway. I really enjoy the game, both in plot and mechanics in a lot of places, but I'm a lot less well-versed in Warhammer than I should be to tackle this. Maybe I'll review something else, when my life is a little less hectic.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Glazius posted:

So, uh, how do you get back skills lost to Stress? End of the case?

I did cover it in this last post, but it may have been glossed over in my haste to get it done. You spend either accumulated Cool or Franchise dice, the latter only at the end of a mission. This can ensure that you will never be able to recoup your losses from your Cards or Bank, if you've been using them heavily.

Running out on those basically means that your business has gone bankrupt. I think I also forgot to mention that a character can store 3 Cool max, normally. So yeah. You're never safe from stress rolls.

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Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE - Getting down to business!

Why do games tend to not come with sample adventures any more? I guess it is a bit of a waste of space, but it does tend to be handy. Ah well! We're down to the last quarter of the book here, and honestly I'm going to skip over most of it; it's not like this is a game where there's deep metaplots or something, and I'm assuming anyone reading this on this forum could think up a dozen sort of scenes to alien teenagers in trouble in without much effort. There's a single sample adventure (TFOS even gives some sample characters for people who still aren't used to this "RPing" thing, but we already have our own. ) and more general GM advice afterwards.



Our sample adventure? Enter the Drag Race, just in case you were still worried about the utility of that Driving stat. To start off, <character's> long-lost sibling gives them the gift of a sizable amount of debt and a wrecked-up old star racer. Fortunately there's the upcoming Galaxy 5000 race with its sizable prize that could certainly get our hero(ine) out of trouble, and surely her friends would be happy to help! Of course, you can't enter with a wrecked racer, and even if the teens can scavenge some parts off their own vehicles they'll still need to borrow (or steal...) a bunch more. Not that it's even that simple, since assorted rivals from the race would want to make sure the previously prize-winning UFO doesn't get back into the race. And even if the teens manage to get through all that, there's still the matter of winning...

Don't worry, this is my specialty!
It better be, considering your mechanical family started this mess to begin with...

It's also important to note the book provides active encouragement to completely ignore this scenario if it spins off in a weird and amusing direction. And it's the only fully written-up scenario, short as it is... but fear not! For the book continues to provide plentiful advice on making your own adventures. This sort of GM advice is almost universal these days, but again it's important to remember that TFOS was in an... unusual niche back in the day (and even now, to a degree) so having all of it written out was a good idea.

Sidebar posted:

Each Teenagers session should be like a half-hour episode from a T.V. show. Fast, direct and mindless. Don't worry about whether the players follow the scenario you set up or not. They only came to eat your popcorn, drink your Cokes, and trash your living room for the weekend.

The main thrust of the advice is to treat writing the adventure like writing a television script... or at least a sitcom scenario. You need the situation, the cast (the feature cast (PCs), supporting cast (major NPCs), and guest stars (NPCs important to the scenario)), and the major scenes that make up the plot (including the theoretical goal of the teens, even if things may well get derailed early on). It gives some examples of how to lay out rough scenes (in this case, the teens finding a stuffed animal that is actually the vanguard for a fluffy invasion force, and the ways this... escalates as they go along), but this is basic advice, even if coming at it from a scripting direction rather than the classic D&D "here's a dungeon to clear" angle is still useful to consider.

There's also some guidance in how to run a longer campaign (a "movie") rather than a one-shot scene (the "episodes" above). Again the advice is obvious... even if the reminder to end sessions on a cliffhanger is probably useful for any sort of campaign, not just TFOS.



Oh, and of course there's the usual photocopiables at the back. Not just the character sheet, but also some little cards to help with the "create strange gadgets" thing and some sample Space Dollars to help your players keep track of their budget, Monopoly-money style.

But wait, isn't there a later version of this book too?

Well... yes! In 1997, ten years after the reprinting of the original book, R. Talsorian put out a new version of TFOS. Overall the text isn't a whole lot different, and large portions are pulled straight from the original edition... not exactly a surprise, since there's not a whole lot of rule complexity to update and expand upon. But what is changed? Not to get too specific, but...
  • A horrible eight-page comic at the front.
  • A sample "adventure" right at the front... or rather, a little solo exercise to try and get new readers into the mindset, a "choose your own adventure" follow-the-numbers deal. Not very useful in teaching the rules, but shows "all you have to do is play the part of a Teenager and make decisions."
  • More and different sample characters, each with a full page writeup and more art. Also lots more teenage girls in miniskirts and things, but that's probably straying closer to the source material...
  • A sidebar with conversion to Fuzion for the two people who actually gave a gently caress about Fuzion and also thought it'd be a good idea to port TFOS to it for some unfathomable reason. Sorry Pondsmith, it didn't work out very well.
  • More powers! Not... a lot more, but there's five tables instead of three and players randomly roll from any three they like, adding a little more variety. Human talents are unchanged but that's what you get for playing someone normal you know?
  • A little more detail in the equipment section, including explicit permission to have weirder vehicles (yes, you could tool around in a giant robot or strap a hyperdrive to a Buick if you want) and more... weird gadgety things listed.
  • The rules and GM advice section are mostly identical, but there's a new section about explicitly anime tropes routines if you wanted to push that angle, which is honest but horrible. Well, at least ~moe~ still wasn't really a thing in 1997...?
  • The sample adventure's a bit longer and plays off the setup in the starting comic. Makes sense, though more animeish, yes.
Honestly? As long as you don't mind the extra anime art and tropes, it's the superior version of the book. The same rules, but more advice and more examples. While I've been reviewing the original for nostalgia's sake, the pictures I've been using in this review have been pulled from the 1997 release, so if you don't mind that then definitely go for it.

So... overall?

I regret it's a short book, it was fun to re-read and review. I almost sort of want to see a campaign now.

To reiterate my thoughts from the prior thread, I hadn't actually read it in over a decade, and I was sort of expecting it to clunky and archaic, but the staggeringly simple and permissive rules are if anything even more useful these days, now that concepts like "genre emulation" and "narrative control" are things that people actually think about when setting up a game. TFOS has held up surprisingly well, a lot better than most 25-year-old games, and what few problems it might have are easily fixed with one or two simple house rules. I highly encourage folks reading this to go pick it up, especially since all three versions are under $25 or so on Amazon right now. Go! Do it! Own something from gaming history that you could actually play now without feeling like the groggiest of nards!

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