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Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Kavak posted:

Can we at least get a snapshot of the adventure? Is it really racist, really railroady, really poorly balanced, etc.?
The adventure involves fighting the Japanese at a port they've built in Papua New Guinea. Seem innocent enough? Well, the endgame involves descending into the "Valley of Death", home to a group of Neutral Evil demon-worshipping headhunter savages (the book even calls them savages). You have to rescue a Dutchman who was captured alongside Japanese soldiers to be sacrificed by the local witch doctor to the crocodile demon the tribe worships.

And the kicker? There are heroic Papuans in the adventure as well...but they're the loyal plantation servants of a rich Aussie.


The adventure is also poorly balanced, since you asked. The witch doctor is a level 15 Adept, while the characters for the adventure are stated to be around level 3 to 5.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 23:38 on Sep 27, 2013

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occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 21: “A bunch of hippie poo poo that isn’t in England”



Magic stones and crystals are grown by and a part of Wormwood. They grow wild outside of Unholy territory and and can be summoned deliberately at great cost. They can be used loose but are often worked into ornaments. As with other Wormwood items, they wither and die immediately if taken off-planet, which I think is weak. Rifts talks about awesome magic items all the time but the examples we get are often underwhelming and/or prohibitively expensive compared to technology that does the same thing. These would still be expensive but some of them are at least useful.


crystals and sausages, things you don’t want to see made

Blood stones work by augmenting the human body, but apparently without having to sink living tendrils into the user and look like a bug like symbiotes. They are always completely red, never given a faceted cut, range in size from robin’s egg to soccer ball. They’re somewhat rare but three times more common than crystals.

Greater stones:

Battle Stone: Doubles damage of a weapon or MDC of armor when set in it. Keen!

Bio-Booster Stone: Sadly, not a Guyver. Does boost physical attributes temporarily for PPE cost, of which PB is for some reason the most expensive.

Bio-Field Stone: Various protection fields may be activated with a 60 PPE limit.

Eye Stone: Adds a few visual powers and +5% () to several skills (including carpentry) at a cost of 1 PB and 1 ME. Also must be worn Eye of Vecna-style.

Healing Stone: Heals stuff, and in worst case, healing trances stuff up to four hours.

Psi-booster stone: Boosts psionic powers and ISP, which is weird since psionics are completely non-native to Wormwood.

Next we get ‘lesser stones’. These do stuff like add nightvision, mimic the effects of greater stones with smaller PPE reserves, purify water, and make characters immune to negative emotional magics. None of these are bad, they might even be reasonably balanced things to hand out occasionally. If they worked outside of Wormwood.

Now we’re on to magic crystals. They are usually faceted, and usually a bit larger than blood stones. Wormwood people also just refer to them as ‘gems’ since Wormwood doesn’t have native mineral resources.

Control Gem: “Super rare!” Amplifies magic summonings and controls by five times. Also grants 8 castings of several summoning-related spells per day. It can also work like a crystal ball on one’s summoned slaves. A shifter would probably knife your mom’s puppy to get one of these. Vespers stole one from Salome in the intro comic, basically grabbing something worth the price of a small city. If Wormwood used money.

Crystal Ball: I remember there already being a least one item called this in the line already, but w’ev, here’s another. It allows observation for thirty minutes for twenty PPE, please insert another twenty PPE to continue. Only observes places the viewer is familiar with but can actually ‘enhance’ or zoom in on images. Can also follow a target into an unknown area but must remain fixed on target. Also, it has to stay on a claw pedestal. Specifically.

Energy Cell Crystals: Contain mystic energy, vary by size, used all over the place to power TW motorcycles and other machines. Naturally regenerate daily.

Life Essence Crystals: Can store the whole essence of a person and preserve them, though they are unaware of space or time unless A) someone holds and permits communion with the crystal, allowing the stored essence to observe, B) It gets put in a new body, including a robot. I am quite honestly surprised that the upper class of Wormwood do not have this done as frequently as possible--it’s basically immortality that doesn’t even require human sacrifice and isn’t particularly evil of itself. Also the crystal has 1000 MDC and regens 200 every 12 hours.

Eye of Wormwood: Does not require eye-replacement for usage, grants some useful Wormwood spells at 6th level potency.

Heart of Wormwood: Large and sparkly yellow thankfully, allows a slightly different set of spells to the Eye.

Magic Booster Crystal: Doubles duration and range of magic spells, raises PPE and PE by 25%. Pretty neat.

Spell Gem of Destruction: Quite the moniker. Can cast several offensive spells like 6th level.

Spell Gem of Dimensions: This is super-useful, it permits casting a list of teleport/travel spells and Open/Close rifts up to eight times per day. Given how most shifters are crazy and evil and Wormwood loves it some dimensional trade, these should be vital infrastructure.

Spell Gem of Illusion: Illusion stuff, I can’t remember how good the spells are but a lot of enemies and even some friends are immune to them in this book.

Spell Gem of Ma--you know, we get the idea that they’re spell gems, make up some new names. Casts an assortment of spells, some useful, some status effect, eight a day.

Spell Gem of Protection Like the others, protective spell list.

Lesser Magic Crystals

Lesser Energy Cells, Lesser Spell gems of various kinds (two spells twice a day, 1st or 2nd level), ‘Light Crystal’ which is not a final fantasy artifact this time, Finder crystal which does a few of the ‘locate’ Wormwood spells, Shadow Crystals allow some stealthy stuff, and a ‘Spell Gem Blank’ which is like the other lessers but a practitioner of magic can imbue it with two spells that it will then retain. And you can use any kind of spells, temporal, elemental, etc.

The lesser crystals are again not bad, not overwhelming. Some of the greater ones might be kind of overpowered (control) but in general they’re pretty good items and would give Wormwood a very competitive set of trade goods.

Next: Forces of darkness. Yay!

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


So I'm seeing Battle Stone + apok as a heavy duty killdozer. How will Rifts' rules & restrictions be a wet blanket this time?

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

I always did want to play a Holy Terror. A group of an Apok and Holy Terror, and a few others perhaps using a Battle Saint, would make a nice party to steam roll some of the enemies in Wormwood.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013


Adnachiel posted:

As a bit of an aside, I've thought about actually trying to rewrite this game on and off (including proposing it in this thread as a goon project. But I know how those usually go). I want to like this game, but it's just so god drat terrible on every single level. The reasons I haven't done so are 1: , 2: I'm an idiot when it comes to hard game mechanics and unlike Harris, I'm not going to pretend that I know what I'm doing, and 3: I'm just completely overwhelmed by the idea. Even if you didn't completely scrap the setting, there's still very little that's salvageable.

And of course, in the time it takes a person to do that, they could've just ran an age appropriate game with another, better constructed system.

Kai Tave posted:

Yeah, I'm not sure why you'd want to "salvage" Witch Girl Adventures, I've seen nothing to suggest that there are any pearls either mechanically or fluffwise that deserve to be rescued from there. Even Cthulhutech has a handful of interesting and cool ideas buried underneath the hot mess that's 90% of everything else but strip the poo poo out of WGA and you have, what, the concept of a game about magical teenagers going to magic school and dealing with crazy hijinks of a magical nature? Just run Monsters and Other Childish Things, call it a day.

(Likewise, all the calls I've seen from gamers over the years who think it'd be a good idea to "revise" RIFTS always baffle me...it's like, take your favorite relatively flexible system and then throw in everything you thought was cool when you were 12, bam, done.)

Yeah, Adnachiel. That way lies madness. I've tried to salvage Superbabes, so trust me. I've also actually run Superbabes, but the point remains. You'll work on it, you'll get I don't know... Character creation speadsheets done, and maybe a little more... and then you'll wondering why you even bothered as no one will want to play it because there are other, decent games out there.

And yes, this is speaking from experience, as I'd reverse engineered the tables, skills, and so on for Superbabes, and even wrote up new Silver Age style powers and a bimbo events table culled from the covers of classic DC comics. And then I decided my time was better spent rubbing mustard over my whole body and pretending I was a hot dog. On that note, if for some god forsaken reason anyone wants the tables and my notes on how to make Superbabes playable, PM me. I have this phase every year where I go back to it just because I never finished.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

My god. Bimbo Events based on the covers showcased at Superdickery.

"I'm sorry, Useless Man, but I have only enough water to prevent either you, or Cross-Dressing Lad from dying of thirst. Decide!"

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

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

Bieeardo posted:

Cross-Dressing Lad

Best Jimmy Olsen moniker ever.

(why yes of course I know that cover instantly)

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013


Bieeardo posted:

My god. Bimbo Events based on the covers showcased at Superdickery.

"I'm sorry, Useless Man, but I have only enough water to prevent either you, or Cross-Dressing Lad from dying of thirst. Decide!"
What can I say, Marvel was never as fun. Even if Doctor Strange ended up dating two inter-dimensional deities. Well, okay, only one of them was a goddess in her home realm, but the other was still a witch from a place where everyone could do some magic. Yes, the Event table was based on Superdickery covers. As in, I was going through them and Dial-B-For-Blog while writing it.

On a related note, I've posted my little screed on how messed up the skill system in Superbabes is in Murphy's rules, because... well... It belongs there, and I couldn't wait until Bieeardo lost their mind again and posted the next section of Superbabes.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Dude, Dr. Strange alone could add "Your significant other is seduced by Ben Frankin!" to your table.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013


You don't need Doctor Strange for that. That's just the consequences of living in a universe where Ben Franklin exists. The man rode around France on his massive balls and got paid to to do it by not only the women he was screwing but the governments of both France and what would become the US.

I don't see how spandex would change his ways any.

Ahem, that said, you're probably right, it's just... Marvel never seemed quite as wacky.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


It was more Marvel never pasted their wacky poo poo on the cover.

Remember the time where the Punisher turned black? Or Nightcrawler got caught in the middle of a leprechaun gang war? Werewolf Cap?

Defiance Industries
Jul 22, 2010

A five-star manufacturer




Capwolf was absolutely on a cover. I know this because I had that issue.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Yeah that one totally is. I'm just listing wacky Marvel crap.

Also, X-Statix alone contains all the oddness Marvel needs to stand up to Silver Age DC.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


"In the core Marvel universe..."

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

We interrupt this special news bulletin for...



Skills

Super Babes's skill system is simultaneously surprisingly elegant, and totally out to lunch. Skills are largely superfluous to most powered characters, who have burnt most of their points on stats and powers, but they're the bread and butter of the Adventuress, whose player is probably crying into his beer over the asinine skill resolution system.

A sidebar advises players should buy skills that fit their character concept, because being able to do everything is boring, and buying abilities for mechanical bonuses is depriving oneself of the true joys of gaming. The GM is also told to 'keep a hand in the creation process' to make sure that a character that began with one concept doesn't end as another. Because you know, you really can't trust those goddamn players.

Skills are broken into three sections:

General skills are basically an excuse to charge CP for starting funds and yearly salaries... again.
Unskilled labourers get 1d6x100 bucks in the bank, and 1d10 thousand dollars salary per year, for free. The book claims that the player and most of the people they know are probably one-skilled labourers: secretaries, mechanics, and such with 2d6x100 bucks socked away, and make 2d10 thousand bucks a year, for 10 CP.
Meanwhile multi-skilled labourers include comic book producers, journalists, and... industrialists, with 1d10 thousand in starting cash, and 5d6 thousand in yearly salary, for 20 CP.
At the top of the heap, One-Skilled Experts like doctors, lawyers and... college professors demand 40 CP to join their club, but offer d% times a thousand dollars in starting cash and the same in yearly salary. I'm not sure what's funnier: the idea of a filthy rich college professor pulling in a hundred grand a year in 1993 dollars, or their argument that a nuclear physicist might be able to fix a shower pipe because there are lots of steam pipes in a nuclear reactor.

Super Skills can cost as much as mid-range powers. Mainly they're just package deals on individual skills, but some have skills or abilities unique to them. We'll mainly gloss these and focus on their unique traits.

Super Skills are... not necessarily a bad approach. The original Mechwarrior RPG had a similar semi-optional 'package deals' skill system, discounting the cost of pilot-necessary skills slightly, simplifying the math a bit, and leaving a few points for loose off-duty skills. Unfortunately, Super-Babes takes this concept and runs with it like Forrest Gump. What might have been an interesting little carrot-and-stick approach to specialization turns out more like caber-and-dinner-at-the-Ritz.

Finally, there are the Individual Skills. These range mainly between 10 and 30 CP. Interestingly, there are no skill levels; they do not improve unless you improve whatever STAT they're based on. Borrowing from then-current AD&D, they're like non-weapon proficiencies. In more modern lingo, they might be considered Feats.

Of course, all of this is at the rear end-end of chargen, so unless you made an Adventuress and skipped everything past STATS, or read ahead, you probably can't afford to be an unskilled labourer, let alone a soldier of fortune.

Skill Resolution

I have to get this out of the way first, because goddamn. I go on a lot about how cack-handed this system is, but they really pulled the stops out here. Basically, there are three separate resolution systems:
  • No system at all. The skill is simply for flavour, or an excuse for your GM to drop some narration on you.
  • Roll d20 under something, typically a STAT.
  • Roll d% under something, typically several STATs.
That sound? That's the Adventuress trying to decide between headdesking herself senseless and drinking herself to death. Remember, she's the only one with a good shot at affording these skills... and all of her STATS cap out at a paltry 20.
Take heart, Adventuress! You won't run into those nasty percentile rolls unless you want to do something really special, like Super-Skill special skills, or... computer hacking. Or other heroic uses of skills. Erm. I think I'll have what she's having.
Of course, nothing can help the fact that 'something' might mean Stat + Level, or Stat + Stat, or Something Else. Guys: this isn't what Emerson meant by eschewing foolish consistency! Jesus.

Oh, yeah. Auto-fails, because there always has to be a chance to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! Natural 20 on d20, 96+ on d%. Not really noteworthy, except that this is noted dead between the Super Skills and the Individual Skills, while the individual skills each have their various rolls folded into their descriptions. If ever there was a need for a chart in this stupid book, here it is.
It's also possible to auto-succeed on a roll with a natural 1, which seems like a pointless footnote because I haven't seen any penalties that go that deep yet, and you can't use skills untrained.

Anyway. The Super Skills.

Agent covers your secret agents, your special forces, your highly trained and possibly disavowable. For 100 points (45 points discount) you get Communications, Computer Operations, Cryptology, Demolitions, First Aid, SCUBA, and Stealth & Concealment.
And, as FourmyleCircus pointed out, no swimming. You can dive, put on SCUBA gear, know how not to get the bends... but basic swimming eludes you.

For 80 points, the Athlete looks like it was made specifically to fit someone's pet character, because drat. She gets Acrobatics, Animal Handler, Catwalk, Climbing, First Aid, Juggling, 1 Melee Weapon, Pole Vault, Running, SCUBA, Skydiving, Swimming, Swimming and finally Tumbling. Jesus. That's at a savings of 100 points too. Yes, that's over twice the cost of the skill itself.

Inventor. Remember this? This is where 175 points of that humongous 200 CP cost for the Origin went. Inventor lets you make Gizmos, cheap Powers that can be destroyed, stolen, or otherwise used to make you wish you'd never bothered. There's a catch, which I mentioned before, and which bears mentioning again.
You can only make one kind of gizmo. Their word is 'savant'. For 175 points, you are a one-trick pony... which probably has the effect of funneling every Inventor with two brain cells to rub together into specialing in weapons design.
The funny thing is, the Inventor opens up with a 'Has This Happened To You?' nightmare of an Inventor short-circuiting an adventure by doing what inventor characters do... then follows with a rule allowing them to build a plot-device (their words, again).
Inventors get First Aid, Inventor (which is turning into a matryoshka), Jury-Rig and 1 Science (or Occult) area of knowledge.

Jury Rigging is unique to the Inventor. Assuming you've got parts to hand, you can roll under level + BRAINS, and it takes 100 less your margin of success rounds to complete. This is called out as usually being used to 'save the day' or otherwise as a plot device, which... gently caress it, I shouldn't think too much about this.

Inventor (the skill) is also unique to Inventor (the super-skill). It lets you create a new gizmo each time you level, or modify an existing one, with the points you get for leveling up. There are caveats. Of course. Creating something new takes 1 day per CP invested (so, a month and a half if you're spending a whole level-up's worth of CP). Modification takes half as long. Actually doing it 'flawlessly' requires at roll at twice your Jury-Rigging odds. There is no comment, here at least, on what happens to flawed Gizmos. My guess is that they're sent to the Island of Misfit Toys... which I'm totally keeping for another campaign, now.

Oh, and to confuse the poo poo out of matters, this one repeats that an Inventor starts play with 3 Gizmos (or 1 Gizmo with 3 effects)... which begs the question of what the gently caress the other 25 CP were for way back in the Origins chapter.

Oh, that's right. Not getting super-cancer.

Anyone remember the unarmed combat and grappling rules from 1st and 2nd Edition AD&D, or the martial arts rules for those games? Super-Babes's very own Martial Artist skill climbed right on out of that extra-special Hell.

Martial Artist costs an ouchworthy 50 CP per level. It's the only skill that comes in levels, and it adds a layer of complexity that would have found a much better fit in a game that focused on martial arts. This is the return of the sperg that drove things like Flight and the Government Sponsored origin's pay schedule.

quote:

Someone, somewhere out there just got really excited. "Ooooh, martial arts!" Every system has some sort of martial arts rules, and ours is no exception. Once again, let's remind the purists out there that no game system can truly duplicate any martial arts style, so this is our compromise. If you don't like it and want more realism, there is an alternative. Get down to the dojo and start working out.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I was expecting something closer to 'house rule it' than 'GTFO' and 'Do you even lift, bro?', but I should have known better from Super-Babes.

Anyway. Each time you buy Martial Arts, you get 2 offensive maneuvers, and 1 defensive maneuver... oh, and your Martial Arts level goes up by 1, which has no bearing on Character Level... while Character Level does influence Martial Artist level. Only it actually doesn't.

gently caress me.

It gets worsebetter. If you drop 250 CP to get five levels of Marital Arts, attacking with your kung-fu adds an extra attack (which can be doubled with the Doing it Twice maneuver, giving you four attacks in a round) because... something pebble something Grasshopper.

Coincidentally, there are ten offensive maneuvers and five defensive maneuvers, which means you've got the whole set if you buy all five levels. The Offensive maneuvers are for the most part anemic: 1d6 damage with a minor modifier. The big kahuna is definitely the Spear Finger: 1d6 damage (plus MUSCLES, etc) at -4 to hit... but 1/4 of the damage goes straight to the target's HTK. They all have generic names like crescent kick, high, middle and low punch, and the like.

The defensive maneuvers, on the other hand, look potent-- and three of them are actually affected by your Martial Arts Level, which none of the attacks are, but they're splitting hairs.
One lets you roll under Level + MA Level on d20 in order to take half damage from a melee attack, or knock a quarter off an incoming projectile's damage.
Another trades off the ranged resistance for the ability to stop a melee attack cold.
But wait! The third one lets you block a melee weapon attack on the same roll... which is making all of them look somewhat more situational.
The next lets you roll level or under to simply evade being tagged by any one non-area attack.
Finally, the last one takes two moves, and provokes a to-hit from the 'Artist when they're attacked in any sort of melee scenario. On success, they catch the attack, take 1/4 damage, and set the attacker up to take a -3 penalty on their next defense.

In a sidebar that's surprisingly reasonable, the authors note that the maneuvers were given generic names in order to allow players to attach names or styles of their own, and the same kind of special effects that regular Powers can have. So if you were stuck in the Everglades for weeks with a hankering to play the Street Fighter Storytelling Game and nothing to hand but Super-Babes... you could probably work something out.

Occultist asks only fifty CP and three easy payments of your immortal soul for absolute knowledge of the occult. This is, up and down, a plot-device skill, an excuse for your GM to pass you cryptic notes and whatever. There are no skill rolls for Occultist.

The Scientist is like the Occultist, only 80% less likely to be burnt at the stake! The Scientist is a polymath, like Doc Savage, or... yes, book example, the Professor from Gilligan's Island. This 'skill' works the same way as the Occultist, only for things that can be rationally explained and don't go bump in the night.

Soldier is really poorly named, because it takes them a paragraph to admit it's meant much, much more for Green Berets and Navy SEALS than infantry. At 200 CP, you better believe it. Ignoring the unique skills, this saves you... surprisingly, only 125 CP.
Soldiers get a whack of single skills and two unique ones: Acrobatics, Demolitions, Detect & Deactivate Alarms & Traps, Pilot Land, First Aid, Fire Pistols/Rifles, Fire Unknown Weapons, Mechanic, Melee Weapons, Skydiving, Stealth & Concealment, Squad Tactics, Survival, Thief and Trapping.
Fire Unknown Weapons is a BRAINS vs d20 roll, +1 per round spent studying the device. This is presumably intended for things like alien ray-blasters, since the other Fire skills cover virtually every Earthly firearm.

Trapping lets you boobytrap things... or try to. BRAINS + MOVES vs d%, with failure causing the trap to go off in your face, plus potentially other rolls like Demolitions makes this one kind of a liability. The fact it takes 25 - Level rounds (minimum 5) to set a trap makes it even iffier. Plus the idea that you need literally superhuman abilities to have a better than average chance of successfully placing an IED or punji pit is pretty ridiculous.

While we seem to be missing the Tinker and Tailor, the Spy is here, walking off with a whopping 405 CP worth of skills for only 150 CP. They get Communications, Computer Operations, Contacts, Cryptology, Demolitions, Detective, Piloting 1 Area, Electronics, First Aid, Find & Deactivate Alarms & Traps, Fire Pistols, Gambling, Interrogation, Mechanic, Persuasion, Quickdraw, SCUBA, Stealth & Concealment, Streetwise and Thief.
Detective: "This skill is for those players who cannot effectively do their own clue spotting." Adorable. Oh, better. If your character misses a vital clue, the GM will prompt you to roll BRAINS vs d20. If you fail that... "...the player should take this as a sign that he is missing something and should look over his clues more carefully."

I... wow. We didn't have a word for that when I was playing back in '93, but we did know that people who did it were generally dickheads.

The Individual Skills

Acrobatics eats 20 CP and lets you do flips, rolls and other stunts... assuming you can roll under MOVES on d20. You can also use it to take 1/2 falling damage, or boost your hittability while flying.

Animal Handler allosw you to calm skittish animals, groom critters, and even ride them. The example they give is a rhinoceros. It's noted as being regionally relative... but in Super-Babes parlance, Earth counts as a discrete region. 20 CP, no resolution systems. You are the (insert animal) Whisperer.

Blind Fighting is a perennial favorite, described here as a 'Zen' fighting style. When blinded in some way, you can still fight people within 2" on the map without penalty, and only take half penalties at ranges beyond. Nice. 25 CP.

Catwalk has nothing to do with modeling, but is all about balance. With this skill you can move across narrow spaces at 1/2 speed, or at full speed if you roll under MOVES on d20. "Failure indicates that she plunges to her doom or teh ground, whichever comes first." Love you too, Super-Babes. 20 CP.
Characters without catwalk are apparently completely unable to move across narrow spaces.

Climbing lets you climb 'climbable' surfaces at 1/4 move. Sheer surfaces are not climable, unless you make them climbable by gouging handholds. If you're attacked while climbing, roll under MOVES on d20 to hang on. "If not, she goes splat. Got it?" Got it, rear end in a top hat! 20 CP, and I think someone was really cranky about putting these skills in.

Communications takes 20 CP and has to be quoted.

quote:

Communications allows the character to operate known communications equipment. Radios, television cameras, broadcast towers, whatever. A simple skill for a simple task; no roll required.
Not only hilariously wrong, but... does that mean you can't use a CB radio without 20 CP to spend?

On the other end of ridiculousness, there's Computer Ops. 20 CP again, requires a BRAINS roll on d20 to do poo poo like... running programs, bringing up files, using the printer... on your own computer. If you're trying to break into another system... oh, wait, I was wrong. Here's another d% roll: BRAINS + level to pull that one off, and you probably need Cryptology too.
So. Broadcast engineering: easy. Everday computer use: requires a genius intellect. Hacking? Break out the fuckin' spandex.

Contacts costs 20 CP, for a poorly defined benefit. Every 5 PERSONALITY gets you 1 (one) friend (or victim) in high places that can be tapped for backup or info once a month. The example they cite is "...a certain police commissioner over at another comics company..."

Cryptology lets you break and write codes with a BRAINS roll on d20. Or if you're feeling frisky, and probably aren't an Adventuress, you can roll d% under one half your BRAINS to decipher hieroglyphics or alien squiggles.

Demolitions basically outclasses the Soldier's trap-setting schtick for 25 CP. You know how to set and defuse bombs, and can blow poo poo up by rolling BRAINS on d20. They only go off in your face on a critical failure.
Better still, you can make your own out of household substances!

quote:

Note that if the character wants to use it, the player must prove to the GM that htis idea would really work from a book or something... Watch McGyver, he does this all the time!
I'm going to go see if I've still got that ridiculous little Anarchist's Cookbook printout from my primary school years.

Detect & Deactivate Alarms & Traps costs 30 CP. Detection is BRAINS on d20, removal is MOVES, and the writing takes pains to remind us that it's two separate turns to find and remove. Thanks, Mom.

Disguise has two uses. To just not look like yourself, you don't need a roll. Presumably a hat or Groucho glasses, but no roll. Looking like someone else in specific is the realm of witchcraft super abilities, so screw you, celebrity impersonators.
The other use is... voice mimicry. It's apparently an uncanny imitation, only requiring a PERSONALITY roll on d20 if you're speaking directly to someone intimately familiar with the voice you're copying.

Electronics lets you fix or break electronic components. Apparently hatchets and hammers just don't hack it in the Super-Babes universe. 20 CP. Normal use wants a BRAINS roll on d20. Use with alien or 'unknown' technology demands d% under BRAINS plus level.

Etiquette costs 10 CP. No roll, implies that characters that don't have it wouldn't know a dessert fork from their elbows.

Equestrian lets you ride horses... like Animal Handler. It also lets you do all kinds of un-named stunts, the most difficult of which might require a MOVES roll on d20. Yee-haw. 20 CP.

Fire One Pistol. Yep. For 10 CP, you know how to fire exactly one specific make of pistol. Useful, maybe, for all of those firearm-building Inventors, since it isn't limited to your origin point in time and space. Anything other than that specific weapon and you're out of luck: "They won't even know how to take the safety off..."
I'm going to take a moment to look back at Communications and Computer Ops. Goddamn.

Fire Pistols! Any pistol! As long as it's from Earth, in the contemporary period, or wherever your character came from. 25 CP.

Fire One Rifle and Fire Rifle are the same costs with the same effects, only they're longer.

First Aid lets you heal a day's worth of HTK regen on someone with a BRAINS roll on d20 and (their underline) a first-aid kit handy. It takes 10 non-combat rounds and someone can only be so healed once per fight. You can also perform CPR on someone, which adds a -4 penalty, with another -1 per minute since their heart stopped. If you blow the roll they're dead, "...having drownded, asphyxiated, whatever." If you succeed, they get to roll HEALTH on d20 or get dead permanently. 20 CP.

Forgery costs 20 CP and requires you to roll BRAINS plus MOVES under a d% roll in order to convince the school secretary that you get to skip school Friday.

Gambling requires a PERSONALITY roll on d20 to understand probability and win games of chance. I must be the world's shittiest person, because I don't understand how the gently caress that's supposed to work. 10 CP though, and with the right GM you might be able to quit your job as a Multi Skilled Laborer!

Interrogation is fussy. Add the interrogator's BRAINS, WILL, PERSONALITY and level. Subtract the subject's BRAINS, WILL and level. Bake at 325 for 1 hour per point of the subject's WILL, then roll the result on d%.
Failed rolls can be repeated at a cumulative -1 to the subject's WILL, and if you want to make a party of it, each additional interrogator adds +1 to the roll. No word on the effect that a designated Good Cop might have on the proceedings. 30 CP.

Juggling. You can juggle objects up to 1/2 your maximum press. Why? "Well, haven't you ever wanted to juggle cars before?" Not personally, but I don't have the super-strength fetish these writers seem to. Anyway, a cute schtick that shouldn't have 10 CP asked for it.
...oh christ, they just had to include rules for it too. Can't do anything amusing in this system without a chance of embarrassing failure!
Roll MOVES on d20 each round. Failure on the first round means you couldn't get started, but nothing untoward happens. Failure afterward means poo poo starts raining and you have to roll 1/2 your MOVES on d20 to avoid being struck. Wunderbar.

Language grants you the use of one language that isn't your native tongue... assuming you can make a BRAINS roll on d20. The authors suggest that trying to converse in broken speech can make for "interesting role-playing". Linguistics, care of the armpit of Florida. Oh, each language that you're kind of lovely in costs 10 CP.

Mechanic "...enables the character to fix most conventional engines or transports (relative to her origin) and jury rig repairs on most things mechanical. It is not the inventor or scientist kit, and shoud be closely monitored by the GM to insure that it is not abused."
It might have made things slightly more understandable if they'd kept the 'kit' nomenclature instead of going with 'super-skills'. I'm particularly amused by the warning not to let Cooter down at the garage outshine the poor schmuck who decided to be an Inventor. 20 CP.

One Melee Weapon works like One Pistol before, but with a twist: each time you pick it up for a weapon, you get +1 to damage... which is actually really kind of poo poo for 10 CP a shot.

Melee Weapons lets you use any melee weapon. This time there's no mention of locality, and they specifically state that it's generalized... and then they add a note in about using unfamiliar weapons at a -3 to hit and damage. 25 CP.

Persuasion is explictly not a means of controlling people, since there's an app power for that. PERSONALITY less the target's WILL on d20, modified for a good speech, the character's fame, or anything else that might be brought to bear for a bonus that ranges between +1 and +10 (GM's discretion). 20 CP.

Piloting One Land lets you shoot cars. No, wait. You can drive one land vehicle that doesn't necessarily need to be contemporaneous to your origins. 10 CP.

Piloting Land is like Fire Pistols again: anything contemoraneous to the character. It's specifically called out as the skill for someone who wants to be able to drive virtually anything, and do it well.
...which is kind of funny, because when you hop into the seat of an unfamiliar vehicle, you have to roll BRAINS on d20. If you fail, you just can't find the starter. Combat or stunt driving in an unfamiliar vehicle requires a MOVES roll on d20 for each round it's kept up. No word on how long it takes to become familiar with a vehicle. 25 CP.

Pilot One Sea might include a hovercraft, because Piloting Land explicitly excludes them. 10 CP.

Piloting Sea lets you captain everything "from a dinghy to a hovercraft", and explictly excludes aircraft carriers. Same rules for unfamiliar vehicles as for Land. 20 CP.

Pilot One Air, because alphabetical order is for chumps! We all know the drill now, 10 CP.

Piloting Air: third verse, same as the first. 25 CP.

Piloting One Space costs 15 CP, because nothing says 'gently caress you' like charging more for something you will very rarely use.

Piloting Space follows the rules laid out before, but with the cost raised to 30 CP. Because space.

Pole vault costs 10 CP and the example of Jungle Girl scooting around the battlefield with an 18' pole is giving me the giggles, imagining other superheroes using light standards to the same effect.
Pole vaulting basically lets you... move 1.5 times your regular move, or jump over an obstacle that's 1.5 times as tall as your pole, with a roll of MOVES on d20. And a pole. Because an 18' pole is convenient to carry.
To land safely, you need the Tumbling skill. Yes, that's stated in the book.

Quickdraw lets you not have to spend an action drawing your weapon. It lets you duel, too! Add MOVES to a d% roll for each character, and the highest result wins. Cute! 20 CP.

Running. Long-distance (10 rounds per point of HEALTH) running. Slightly faster running too, +2" to movement. No roll, and 10 CP. Seems cheap, given that it grants a measurable tactical benefit.

SCUBA grants knowledge of the use of SCUBA equipment, safety hazards and how to mitigate them. It does not teach you how to swim, which may be why it only costs 10 CP.

Skydiving, shockingly, does not require any rolls to pack your chute, deploy the thing at a safe altitude, or land without the risk of death or serious injury! If only juggling were so easy! 10 CP.

Speed Reading lets you skim a page of text per round, per point of BRAINS you've got. Recall requires a BRAINS roll on d20, and you'll only retain the information for half your BRAINS stat in days. 10 BRAINS. Er, CP.

Stealth & Concealment requires you to move at 1/4 your regular rate, and roll the sum of BRAINS, MOVES and (bafflingly) HEALTH on d%, less any searcher's BRAINS score.

Streetwise "...enables the character to walk the walk and talk the talk of the street folk." Roll PERSONALITY on d20 after spending 20-level minutes "...on the street hitting the bricks." 10 CP my man. As it were.

Squad Tactics doesn't actually grant any tactical training, and spends a thick paragraph to say 'roll PERSONALITY on d20; if you make it, and everyone you're trying to combine an attack with can hear and understand you, they get +2 on their attack rolls'. 20 CP.

Survival is another hilarious exercise in WTFery, requiring a BRAINS, HEALTH and MUSCLES check on d% every day or... it doesn't say. How do pre-agricultural cultures do it?! 20 CP, and every four days the roll gets a cumulative +1. Does that mean it gets harder, or easier? Who knows?

Swimming costs 10 CP, and without it you can't swim. At all. End of story. Apparently you can't even dog paddle, because only with the skill can you move at 1/4 your regular move in water. Brought to you by a state surrounded by water on most of its borders, and covered by it on a large amount of its surface area.

Swinging (from trapezes and lines) requires no rolls! Throwing a grappling hook requires an agonizingly long paragraph that boils down to 'make a to-hit roll. If you fail by 1, it's going to give way at a plot-convenient moment.' 10 CP.

Teaching begs to be abused. For 30 CP, any skill your character has, can be taught to others at one half the usual CP cost. This doesn't apply to Super-Skills or their unique abilities, but still. It does beg the question of why a statted teacher is so much more effective than a lifetime's learning.
No rolls. No time required, either. Apparently it just drops you into a training montage.

Thief lets you open locks, crack safes, perform B&E's, and is vague enough that it tells the GM to watch it like a hawk. The "basic" roll is Moves on d20, modified by -1 to -10 depending on difficulty. 30 CP.

Thrown Weapons lets you throw weapons that were meant to be hurled, going into some pedantic logic to explain that manhole covers are neither weapons, nor meant to be thrown. It also mentions that bows go under Fire Rifles, because their two-handed projectile throwers. 20 CP, and my first-year phil teacher would have been amused.

Total Recall has nothing to do with superfluous mammaries on characters used mainly as eye-candy, which is a bit of a surprise given this book. Roll BRAINS on d20 to bring the desired data to mind. Works on incoming information, no penalties for the age of the memory, and probably dovetails really well with Speed Reading. No word on what happens if you fail the roll. 15 CP.

Tumbling lets you roll with impact and take half damage from falls. The authors mention that it has other applications, but they're rare so they're not going to bother mentioning them. 20 CP, no roll.

Weaponsmith lets you build, repair and modify conventional weapons. There are no rules for this, save a BRAINS roll on d20 at a penalty between -1 and -20 (!) "depending on the outrageousness of the stunt being attempted".

Gizmos

Gizmos are devices that "imitate" super powers. Except when they're not. This section spends half a page explaining that anything that can be bought off the shelf is not a gizmo-- so an alien's laser blaster is a gizmo on Earth, but not back on the homeworld where they can go to X-Mart and get them off the shelf. Presumably the same goes for Earthly weapons taken to strange new worlds.

Gizmos can also be things that don't have powers, but are too complex to be bought off the shelf. This feels like a definition being pulled out of someone's rear end, because just before they describe hero bases being filled with supercomputers and ferraris and stuff at the cost of mere money.

Gizmos are available to anyone, you just need a friendly Inventor! ...and be at least second level. Typically the user pays the CP cost, but for some baffling reason there's also an option for the Inventor to pay the price... which seems like it's begging to be abused.

Adventuresses can add a new power to their gizmos (or get new ones entirely) every two levels; the Supernatural Pupil can do the same. The Inventor can do it every level. Everyone else can only add a gizmo every four levels. Only one person can spend CP on a particular gizmo-- if you're fortunate enough to have an Inventor blowing their CP on your gear, then you can't.

A Gizmo can duplicate one Power, one Skill (the example given is a sword with five ranks of One Melee Weapon for a +5 damage), or one STAT, which doesn't affect the character's PP levels. A Gizmo with an ability that requires a roll also requires the related STAT to be bought up-- it can't just piggyback on the user's abilities. STATs bought for this purpose can't be used to buff the player.

Building a Gizmo takes 1 hour per CP, and the book notes that even the most dedicated Inventor can only handle a twelve hour work day. Oh, and it should cost between two and five grand per CP, because. No inventors based out of junkyards here, nosiree. Reconstructing or altering a Gizmo takes about half as long and costs half as much.

Gizmos can be stolen, which is a really assholish thing to do because there's no clear mechanic for getting those points back unless you're an Inventor. Worse, stolen Gizmos can be used against you... or by you, but the rule given indicates that borrowed or stolen Gizmos lose their oomph after one to three adventures unless they're returned to their rightful owners. For this reason, mass-producing Gizmos doesn't work. Nevermind that thing about mass-produced alien devices counting as Gizmos on Earth.

The things can be damaged, too. If it's lying on the ground, it's an easy target. If it's being carried, it's a Trick Shot (called shot) at -5. Gizmos have HTKs equal to the number of CPs invested in them, stop functioning at half health and are destroyed completely at zero. A damaged or destroyed Gizmo can be repaired by an Inventor at no cost, but redesigns are only possible every X level. Inventors themselves have the benefit of being able to tear their old inventions down and build new ones with the same CP... which isn't a huge benefit when your options are 'gun' and 'gun'.

There are three classes of Gizmo, and oh my god who thought this was a good idea? Incredibly Obvious Gizmos are not only that, but easily snatched away when their owners are distracted. They're also effectively worth three CP for every CP actually spent on them. A credible threat... only if your GM bothers what that sort of thing. Otherwise, triple points.

Moderately Obvious Gizmos are typically worn: gloves, cloaks, jet packs, that sort of thing. These ones wring 2 CP out of every 1 spent.

Secret Gizmos are intended as hole card powers, Q-branch devices, items that no one would ever suspect harbored outre powers. Naturally, the authors punctuate three paragraphs sniggering about a mystic shirt. Hilarious. These ones are bought at a 1:1 CP rate.

Of course, obviousness really isn't a very good yardstick here. Your average suit of powered armour is pretty drat obvious, and it's also pretty drat difficult to pry off an aware and active wearer. Guns too, and they're not usually hanging around at your side like a heavily armed Skeets either.

Oh. Whee. Gizmos have their own goddamned PP score, equal to the effective CP cost of their powers-- so for an Incredibly Obvious Gizmo, you're looking at a PP three times the cost of the device itself. Arguably fair, given that the power(s) in that thing are probably going to eat PP like candy, but it doesn't exactly discourage using that sort of Gizmo either.

Magic Gizmos regenerate all of their PP once a day-- the suggestion given is midnight, but you know. Technological inventions regenerate 1 PP per round... but each one has one specific method of recharging. This can be as simple as plugging into a wall socket, to as awkward as needing a specific mix of fuel or bombardment with high-energy radiation. The book suggests that the method be non-portable and stashed at HQ, and that the Jury-Rig ability might be used to rig an adapter during an adventure.

This section ends with a full-page sidebar which is surprisingly cogent and free of slandering the players. Use discretion when approving gizmos (because they're probably all going to be weapons) and try to maintain verisimilitude (no guns that give Acrobatics, get fussy about what should go in what sort of Gizmo). Watch out for "PC NPC Inventors", which are apparently characters that players make, then half-retire, so they can make Gizmos for the characters they really wanted to play, and-- I almost said 'what' here, but then I remembered that the writers think their readers are stupider than they are. At least they finish up with an admonishment against stealing or wrecking Gizmos too often... though that makes the Incredibly Obvious ones that much more powerful again. That is, don't do it too often, unless the players are doing it first. And if they don't get that it's not D&D, "then find some new players."

Ah, there we go. That's the Super-Babes I've come to loathe.

quote:

And be careful about handing otu stuff that could be a Gizmo. An experimental plane tha tthe government gives to the PC group to test and use as their transport is fine, but don't go overboard....

Aaaand we're back to blurring the lines between 'thingy' and Gizmo. Ranks of supercomputers, satellites in orbit, ferraris in the garage... but only the loaner jet might be a Gizmo. Because.

quote:

Trust us on this one. Moderation in all things.

I am in awe at the oblivious lack of self-awareness encompassed within that quote.

And... would you believe it? We're finally done chargen.

No, wait! There's a page of poo poo on character descriptions!

Three quarters of a page. With some art. On character descriptions. Because...

quote:

If the character is going to look pretty much like the average Super-Babe, then that's nothing that the GM has to worry about. However, let's say that the character wants to be 8 feet tall and weigh 800 pounds. This is the point where the GM has to step in and arbitrate... An unusually large bust size does not necessarily fall into this category, but a second head might.

AKA: The 'Can I Fap to This?' Rule. Nevermind that the game explicitly supports characters of unusual height. The GM is instructed to come to an 'equitable' solution, either by making the player change his description or punitively buying a power that covers it. Because these assholes can never decide if they want to play fast and loose, comic style, or demand that ~verisimilitude~ be fellated at every turn.

quote:

And fill out the measurements section with at least a touch of realism in mind.

Imagine a cluster bomb of psyduck emotes going off, right here. None of the characters in the back of the book is smaller than a double C cup, and I think the average works out to a D.

Finally. We're done with chargen. gently caress me.

Next Season, on Super-Babes: The Part For the Guy in Charge!

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Remember how I said that I'd be trying the idea of vignette-style snapshots posts with a collection of small RPG supplements from one publisher, such as Chris Field? Well guess who I decided would be the best water-tester for the idea


As I've mentioned before, d20 Modern is my roleplaying game system of choice. Yes, as with almost anything, it's flawed, but it was the first roleplaying game I ever played rather than read, the first I dug deep into, and it has stuck with me in my consciousness. What a shame, then, that I have to give it a snapshots introduction in such a way as this.

D20 Modern doesn't exactly have many supplemental publishers anymore. Some of the most prominent ones either disappeared or jumped ship to either True20 or Savage Worlds, leaving the role of most prominent vanguard of paid supplements for the system to...Chris A. Field. Chris is a roleplaying game freelancer who has managed to net work with five different third party publishers over the years, describes himself as a creator of "innovative and unusual roleplaying games" which I guess is true in the most broad sense, likes Rifts, and is a fan of RPGPundit. He's also pro-choice and pro-creator's rights, though, so I guess we can't call him all bad.

We can, however, call the majority of his work pretty loving insane. I mean, let's quote from the spell list one of his works in progress for starters:

Chris Field posted:

Sexy Furover (restyle a felinoid’s pelt to grant a +1 bonus on sexually oriented Diplomacy checks for a day)

Tit Show (turn armor and clothes transparent for one round, allowing you to activate abilities requiring nudity while wearing them)

Stunning Orgasm (target suffers 1d6 Pleasure and is stunned for ½ that number of rounds, minimum 1 round)

Shahteyan Puberty (female subject gains +2 WIS and CON temporarily, plus an awesome bush)

Anthropomorphize the Problem… And gently caress It (replace any skill check with a DC up to 20 + caster level with a DC 15 Perform (sexual) check instead)


Need I say more?

...Probably not, but I'm going to anyway. FATAL and Friends writers far braver than I have already delved into the depths of the larger sourcebooks of Field's such as the Black Tokyo, PsiWatch, and Otherverse series, but I'm going to do my duty as a cleanup crew for this snapshot post.



Advanced Class Updates
A series from Skorched Urf Studios, Advanced Class Updates consists of supplementals that each deal with one advanced class (basically a prestige class that has 10 levels - for whatever reason, d20 Modern decided to only call 5 level prestige classes by the name of prestige class). While not entirely written by Field, he does make up a brunt of the supplements in this line.

American Nomad: The American Nomad is an advanced class that, in spite of its name, is a worldwide concept: that of the wandering hero who can sniff out problems better than a bloodhound and is hell-bent on solving them. While class is for the most part a defensive-oriented version of the combat-oriented Martial Artist from Wizards of the Coast's core d20 Modern rules, it also has some neat new ideas such as having a small pool of temporary action points that you gain the first time you enter a town that must be used in order to solve that town's problems and the ability to take 10 on Sense Motive checks to sniff out a town's problems. An actually good idea and execution by Field to start us off? Don't worry, it's very much a fluke.

Cold Bringer: A generic cryomancer-type class. Not really anything objectionable, but the only thing that is particularly weird about it is that you need to be able to speak Russian to take the class. Not be part of a Russian experiment as stated by the flavor text of the class, just speak Russian.

Digital Sorcerer: Another unironically interesting idea in the form of a spellcaster that augment themselves with subdermal USB ports that allow them to "download" their spells rather than store them in a traditional spellbook. They are also capable of creating EMP fields and eventually using their computer and magical knowhow to teleport to the source computer of a website. The new spells that they get, however, show them to be huge assholes. These include a spell that deals untyped nonlethal damage when anyone in the spell's radius does an action the Digital Sorcerer deems as rude, a shoplifting spell, a spell that causes the target's gut flora to rebel and eat them from within, and a spell that deals more damage the wealthier its target is. The piece de resistance, however, is the spell Biological Imperative, where classic Fieldian hallmarks begin to show up on our journey:

Digital Sorcerer Spell List posted:

You take basic control over the target’s bodily functions. With a shouted word, you can induce vomiting, uncontrollable bowel movements, heart palpitation, short lived seizures, orgasmic contractions, or many other bodily functions. The victim might experience extreme pain or pleasure, but is virtually crippled by this vicious, invasive spell.
Charming.

Forbidden: And with this, we plunge head-first into full-on Classic Chris Fields with an advanced class for a BDSM mage! With this class, you too can conjure psychic chains, force a save-or-die with your gimp mask, and even become immortal and raise people from the dead. I...I...what?

Gravity Slinger: A generic telekinesis-focused advanced class, which Field of course decides to "spice up" by having the introductory fiction for the class involve a pedophile rapist having his bones snapped one by one by a little girl gravity slinger.

Grendel Spawn: An advanced class that emulates the powers of cannibal giants such as the wendigo and is in no way related to the monster of the same name from Wizards of the Coast's Urban Arcana campaign book. Field, being Field, decides that a good choice of introductory fiction to get us to want to play this class is an ad executive Grendel Spawn eating a hooker and some FBI agents.

Hollowpoint Monk: Congrats on making a perfectly useable gun-fu class awkward by unironically using the term "Chinaman".

Innocent: I was sure I mentioned this class back when Bitchtits was doing the rundown of Black Tokyo, and it turns out I was right.

I posted:

The character is basically an adult-child that can change their age category at will and learns such class features as magic that cannot be used to kill unless you spend an action point, a de-aging touch attack, and the crafting of clockwork soldiers.
One thing I forgot to note back then was that you can permanently give up your adult life and get to be an ageless member of the Fey creature type in exchange.

Lightweaver: A class that lets you manipulate light and eventually transform into a being of light. Field, of course, describes transforming into pure energy as being like an orgasm. Because why wouldn't power be associated with sex at this point?

Luchadore: If you were expecting a mundane fighting-based advanced class, you came to the wrong place. Field's Luchadores are all monster hunters whose masks give them superpowers such as punching incorporeal creatures and being able to intimidate undead even if they are mindless.

Mind Reaper: A Psiblade by any other name would make psychic blades just the same.

NeoWitch Avenger and Guardian: Anti-witch hunter witches, proving that even classes get into evolutionary arms races. The NeoWitch Avenger is an offensive class with blood magic and Constitution draining powers, while the NeoWitch Guardian is a defensive class that can use a broom as both a flying tool and a quarterstaff. Surprisingly unoffensive classes for Field, even if the name "NeoWitch" is a really stupid-looking without a hyphen.

Perfect Archer: Green Arrow: the advanced class. This would be our best shot at replicating the balance of good game design and non-Fieldian fluff since the American Nomad, but the introductory text describes a teenage Perfect Archer as "faggoty". Our man Field is pretty good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Prince of Doggs: Male rappers who literally become ravening beasts. The class features have such creative names as "Foam at Da Mouth", "Dark Eyez", and "Muzzle 'Em". I don't think I even need to make snarky jokes at this one, it speaks for itself.

SLAM (Subspace Looped Armor Materialization) Soldier: This advanced class is apparently meant to be for the PsiWatch setting, so I have no idea why the hell it wouldn't be in a PsiWatch sourcebook instead. This class is entirely focused around letting you teleport in requisitioned gear.

Scion of Masada: You are a Hassidic Jew who has become a mystic assassin for Mossad. You are so Jewish that Jewish martyr ghosts flock to you and give you superpowers that grant you strength when fighting elementals, demons, and conveniently undefined "enemies of Israel". You can also get possessed by martyr spirits to temporarily have no need to use your lungs (wha?) and have automatic critical hits with your sacred martyr-knives.

Sentai Spectrum Ranger: You're a Power Ranger. That's about the only way to say it. For whatever reason, rather than giving a list of archetypes you could apply, the type of Power Ranger role you get is defined by your suit color, like so:

Sentai Spectrum Ranger posted:

Pink Sentai Rangers are compassionate and sexy healers. They’re often flirtous and seemingly shallow, but they’re committed to getting all their troops home in one peice. Add Bluff and Treat Injury as class skills. The Pink Sentai Ranger recieves a +1 bonus on all Bluff checks made against someone who finds her sexually attractive, and recieves the Surgery feat.
This also confirms that Chris apparently has issues with "I before E except after C".

Shotgun Surgeon: The Perfect Archer advanced class, but with shotguns instead of bows.

Skele-Teen: An advanced class that gives you a collection of abilities associated with the whole "zombie lord" archetype. This would be okay on its own, but Field decided that the class would be restricted to teenagers that committed suicide after years of abuse and rape from their parents. is with you, Field?!

Soul Collector: Wasn't this an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000?

Unbound Soul: You just spent 10 levels in an advanced class to get the powers of a ghost instead of taking a template. Bet you feel pretty dumb after that, huh?

Voidsparrow: Another class stated to be meant for PsiWatch, this time one that lets you be a space-flying cyborg who fights starships and pretends to be a bird-person. There's also a class feature that lets you get a marriage bond with another member of your "flock", because Field.



Giants in the Earth
After all of those advanced classes, I'm going to wrap this up with a bestiary of all things. If you couldn't guess, I love dinosaurs. Few people don't. Chris Field certainly doesn't, given he decided to do a dinosaur bestiary.

Somehow, though, he managed to gently caress the simple premise of a dinosaur-centric monster manual up. I'm fine with reasonable speculation such as those that show up in the excellent palaeontological book All Yesterdays by Darren Naish and John Conway, but Field apparently decided that there was a point where logic just hinders you. While some of his speculation is quite reasonable, such as having the fish-feeding dinosaur Baryonyx have a septic bite thanks to rotting flesh caught up in its ragged teeth, there are a few that must be noted for how far beyond logic they go.

Microraptor: A small theropod from the now famous feather-filled fossil beds of China, Microraptor has sailed on a breeze of popularity thanks to having four wings. Field, however, thinks that rather than being one of the evolutionary innovators of flight, Microraptor was an amphibious creature that used its four wings to paddle through prehistoric swamps.

Carcharodontosaurus: While Field makes a big statement at the beginning of this tome that his dinosaurs are totally up to date and realistic, he decides to give the large north African apex predator Carcharodontosaurus this special quality:

Giants in the Earth posted:

Mindless (EX): The Carcharodontosaur has one of the smallest and most basic brains in the dinosaur kingdom. It is a mindless, predatory eating machine, driven purely by instinct. The creature is completely immune to all mind-influencing effects, as if it were vermin. The dinosaur cannot be communicated with, trained or influenced.
I'm sure there were even some early 20th Century palaeontologists that would have felt embarrassed at that line of dialogue.

Spinosaurus: Spinosaurus: is pretty upfront about what it probably did in life: big "fishhook" claws, crocodile-like head, and namesake sail produce a picture of a well-adapted giant coastal carnivore. Field, however, claims that Spinosaurus should be a saurian cheetah that runs at high speeds and leaps at its prey.

Triceratops For this dinosaur that needs no introduction, Field decides that a "logical" hypothesis is that its horns leak neurotoxic venom. Not only do venom-producing bones tend to have clear grooves, but why the hell would you even think that? Is the idea of a 30 foot long cow-rhino from hell goring you to death not deterrence enough?


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

And with that, you've probably had more Chris Field in one dose than you would have ever desired and the first test run of the "Snapshots" style FATAL and Friends post has been made. Whether it's a successful idea or not, I'll probably be doing a more traditional post that deals with a singular book next time.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 05:57 on Sep 29, 2013

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kai Tave posted:

(Likewise, all the calls I've seen from gamers over the years who think it'd be a good idea to "revise" RIFTS always baffle me...it's like, take your favorite relatively flexible system and then throw in everything you thought was cool when you were 12, bam, done.)

The problem is that there isn't a great system for it, on account of the fact that Rifts puts its chief emphases on vehicles and supernatural powers, and finding a game that does both well is a very tall order at the present time. Add in the fact that Rifts loves to layer on magic systems and unbalanced character types (unbalanced even just conceptually, not just rules-wise), so conversions rapidly turn into a headache even at the conservative end of things. There are systems that come close, like Savage Worlds or Crafty d20, but even those would require a fair amount of hacking to get there. Of course, the alternative is just using something like FATE or Risus, which achieve their strong universal quality through what is often, frankly, bland uniformity, which a lot of Rifts fans aren't going to find satisfactory. So it goes.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 05:58 on Sep 29, 2013

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


I don't know what's better, the legitimately excellent Luchadore class (What if Luchadore Kayfabe....WAS REAL) or the fact that the PsiWatch classes are still ripoffs of Wildstorm characters.


Of course El Hijo Del Santo can punch ghosts, just like dad!

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Alien Rope Burn posted:

The problem is that there isn't a great system for it, on account of the fact that Rifts puts its chief emphases on vehicles and supernatural powers, and finding a game that does both well is a very tall order at the present time.

But RIFTS doesn't do that very well either so, y'know, it's still not like you're trading down no matter what you do with.

Honestly, if I were going to run RIFTS I'd use a supers game like Mutants & Masterminds or maybe Wild Talents if I wanted to put a more lethal spin on things, games that are designed to handle mixed parties consisting of a guy in power armor, a telekinetic, a wild mage, a fledgeling dragon, and a regular dude who happens to be really good with a gun and lucky as hell.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Fossilized Rappy posted:

Anthropomorphize the Problem… And gently caress It (replace any skill check with a DC up to 20 + caster level with a DC 15 Perform (sexual) check instead)

FIIIIIIIEEEEEEEELLLLDS!!

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


That would be a great skill if you replaced the Skill Check (Skeeve) with an Attack Roll.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Fossilized Rappy posted:

Spinosaurus: Spinosaurus: is pretty upfront about what it probably did in life: big "fishhook" claws, crocodile-like head, and namesake sail produce a picture of a well-adapted giant coastal carnivore. Field, however, claims that Spinosaurus should be a saurian cheetah that runs at high speeds and leaps at its prey.


Considering Spinosaurus size and it being one of the largest theropods found so far makes that last claim extra dubious/retarded.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Of course, the alternative is just using something like FATE or Risus, which achieve their strong universal quality through what is often, frankly, bland uniformity, which a lot of Rifts fans aren't going to find satisfactory. So it goes.
Actually, FATE is probably the only game where you could do everything in RIFTS without having an aneurysm. The problem is that you have to get used to the mechanics and how they work but once you reach that point you can effectively distill down entire RIFTS books down into a couple of pages while keeping all of the insanity.

MadScientistWorking fucked around with this message at 14:27 on Sep 29, 2013

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MadScientistWorking posted:

Actually, FATE is probably the only game where you could do everything in RIFTS without having an aneurysm. The problem is that you have to get used to the mechanics and how they work but once you reach that point you can effectively distill down entire RIFTS books down into a couple of pages while keeping all of the insanity.

If for some reason I was forced to run a Rifts game tomorrow, then yeah, FATE is what I'd use, no question. Ideally I'd like some system where the magic and technology felt different, and it'd take a fair amount of hacking to get to that point. The core issue I have is that aspects like "has an NG-M56 Multi-Bot" and "has a Titan Combat Robot" should feel like the provide different advantages, and in vanilla FATE they'd be mostly the same.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Alien Rope Burn posted:

If for some reason I was forced to run a Rifts game tomorrow, then yeah, FATE is what I'd use, no question. Ideally I'd like some system where the magic and technology felt different, and it'd take a fair amount of hacking to get to that point. The core issue I have is that aspects like "has an NG-M56 Multi-Bot" and "has a Titan Combat Robot" should feel like the provide different advantages, and in vanilla FATE they'd be mostly the same.

Well, what would differentiate them in Fate would be when the aspects were able to be used, which would be handled during character creation ("So what does 'Has a NG-M56 Multi-Bot' mean"?)

But for special gear like bots and power armor and such, you'd want to stat them as Extras so they have the mechanical backing they need. Remember: Not Everything Is An Aspect.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The differentiation lies in all the fiddly little numbers that aren't quite all alike. It presents a scenario similar to the TORG one confronted the other week: the numbers are integral to the very execution of the game, and much of its concept. Siembieda might have long-standing pretensions to story-gaming, but when you take the numbers out of the picture you're just left with an enormous toybox filled to the brim with those weird Chinese knock-off Transformers. They're perfectly good toys, but they lack the obsessive branding that gave the originals their appeal.

If you're going to remake RIFTS, just grab the basic concepts: future war, world is hosed, dimensional holes, fascists and monsters and poo poo running around. Keep some of the names: Glitter Boy sounds like an awesome name for some kind of mecha-riding cowboy. The rest? FATE just doesn't go down to that level of mechanical differentiation, and trying to will only bog it down worse than RIFTS does in the first place.

Punting
Sep 9, 2007
I am very witty: nit-witty, dim-witty, and half-witty.



As Kai Tave said up above, Mutants & Masterminds would do a pretty serviceable job of running Rifts. Everyone would be on or close to the same power level, but it's just crunchy enough to make differentiating the various flavors of crazy possible both mechanically and fluff-wise.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

If I wanted to run Rifts as a FATE game with more mechanical complexity, I'd consider hacking in some of the mecha rules from Camelot Trigger.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I've never really been convinced of Mutants & Masterminds' use as a "universal" system by some, I think it's really aimed at aiming at a particular genre - that is, with how complications work, or the fact that powers like flight or invisibility are a lot cheaper than their utility would imply. I've played M&M essentially on and off since its inception, but it also runs into similar issues as FATE where a blast by any other name is still +10 ranged damage.

Bieeardo posted:

If you're going to remake RIFTS, just grab the basic concepts: future war, world is hosed, dimensional holes, fascists and monsters and poo poo running around. Keep some of the names: Glitter Boy sounds like an awesome name for some kind of mecha-riding cowboy. The rest? FATE just doesn't go down to that level of mechanical differentiation, and trying to will only bog it down worse than RIFTS does in the first place.

Yeah, I've had some thoughts on how to do a heartbreaker, inevitable given the number of Rifts reviews I've done (or will do). I'm a big fan where the mechanics and setting work hand-in-hand, and FATE is a perfectly fine functional system when you don't want to put a lot of work in; it's just not ideal, I think.

Platonicsolid
Nov 17, 2008



Fossilized Rappy posted:

Soul Collector: Wasn't this an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000?

That would be Soul Taker, featuring everybody's favorite discount Martin Sheen, Joe Estevez!

I had no idea any of this existed and am so glad I never really touched RPGs until the late 90s.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Alien Rope Burn posted:

If for some reason I was forced to run a Rifts game tomorrow, then yeah, FATE is what I'd use, no question. Ideally I'd like some system where the magic and technology felt different, and it'd take a fair amount of hacking to get to that point. The core issue I have is that aspects like "has an NG-M56 Multi-Bot" and "has a Titan Combat Robot" should feel like the provide different advantages, and in vanilla FATE they'd be mostly the same.
Except when I wrote than I kind of guessed that you didn't know how the game runs which is really tricky on how to figure it out. Mechanically they would actually incredibly different as long as someone pointed out earlier in the thread they aren't doing what a large percentage of Rifts mechanics does and just shuffle numbers around.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MadScientistWorking posted:

Except when I wrote than I kind of guessed that you didn't know how the game runs which is really tricky on how to figure it out. Mechanically they would actually incredibly different as long as someone pointed out earlier in the thread they aren't doing what a large percentage of Rifts mechanics does and just shuffle numbers around.

Yeah, that's the thing, if you're not doing a pure Rifts conversion, the sensible thing would be if you're going to have so many robots to differentiate them somehow, probably by giving them more unique capabilities. Later as the books go on you start to have more vehicles and robots with unique weapon systems to differentiate them (often with terrible mechanics, mind).

I admit I'm not deeply versed on FATE mechanics beyond Dresden Files and the new Fate Core / Fate Accelerated, but it seems to me more like a make-your-own-game kit than anything else, much like its predecessor, Fudge. As such, a lot depends on the quality of the implementation in the first place.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, that's the thing, if you're not doing a pure Rifts conversion, the sensible thing would be if you're going to have so many robots to differentiate them somehow, probably by giving them more unique capabilities. Later as the books go on you start to have more vehicles and robots with unique weapon systems to differentiate them (often with terrible mechanics, mind).

I admit I'm not deeply versed on FATE mechanics beyond Dresden Files and the new Fate Core / Fate Accelerated, but it seems to me more like a make-your-own-game kit than anything else, much like its predecessor, Fudge. As such, a lot depends on the quality of the implementation in the first place.

I kinda feel like Apocalypse World or similar Apocalypse Engine game could do well; the incredible range of character archetypes is a great fit for the playbook approach, and it makes it very easy to give each character type unique rules that don't fit with anything anyone else has. Heck, with the release of the Space Marine Mammal playbook there's even official giant mech rules.

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

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


Flavivirus posted:

I kinda feel like Apocalypse World or similar Apocalypse Engine game could do well; the incredible range of character archetypes is a great fit for the playbook approach, and it makes it very easy to give each character type unique rules that don't fit with anything anyone else has. Heck, with the release of the Space Marine Mammal playbook there's even official giant mech rules.

I feel like people tend to recommend AW for everything, but yeah, in this case, it's really the best choice. Apocalypse World was explicitly designed to deal with a wide variety of different characters, each having their own unique gimmick. You don't even have to go too far: vanilla AW has rules for the supernatural, vehicles, gangs, religious followers, being the mayor of a town, freezing people with your death-stare, firing big gently caress-off guns, owning a bar, doing odd jobs for money, among other things. If there's a system that wholeheartedly accommodates spectrums of varied things, it's this.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, Apocalypse World has come to mind in the past, it's just a lot of work to adapt new settings (though arguably, some of the existing playbooks might only require mild modification). It would potentially be a lot more work than something like FATE but I think it would be potentially stronger.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, that's the thing, if you're not doing a pure Rifts conversion, the sensible thing would be if you're going to have so many robots to differentiate them somehow, probably by giving them more unique capabilities. Later as the books go on you start to have more vehicles and robots with unique weapon systems to differentiate them (often with terrible mechanics, mind).

I admit I'm not deeply versed on FATE mechanics beyond Dresden Files and the new Fate Core / Fate Accelerated, but it seems to me more like a make-your-own-game kit than anything else, much like its predecessor, Fudge. As such, a lot depends on the quality of the implementation in the first place.
Honestly it really depends on how much of a conversion you want with Rifts. I've done stuff approximating a technowizard, fusion elementalist, and parts from classes like the rogue scholar with the core game system.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, Apocalypse World has come to mind in the past, it's just a lot of work to adapt new settings (though arguably, some of the existing playbooks might only require mild modification). It would potentially be a lot more work than something like FATE but I think it would be potentially stronger.
Actually they are fundamentally the game system with Fate actually having a better designed core than the Apocalypse Engine. I know for a fact you can port of most of the moves from Dungeon World characters sheets on a 1 to 1 basis but I'm not entirely sure about Apocalypse World.

MadScientistWorking fucked around with this message at 13:26 on Sep 30, 2013

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 22: “Now, the badguys”



The Unholy, Forces of Darkness, evil, or just “demons.” These get used interchangeably in the book and by the people of Wormwood, since they are facing one major threat and don’t really need to develop a complex taxonomy for what exactly is menacing them today. The Unholy rules with an iron fist, the despotic demon rule is law, justice is a joke and humans are mistreated cattle among the turmoil of the empire. They perhaps enjoy some basic rights as long as they profess loyalty, and the war zones are obviously exempt from this. It does say the Forces of Darkness actively ‘need’ human slaves and worshipers, which is more than any of the ‘pantheons’ we’ve been presented with admit to--it doesn’t say why they need them, just that they do.

Then they give one of those squad breakdown things Kevin loves to write and we’re on to the Dark Priest NPC class.

Dark Priests are the corrupted ministers of the Unholy, humans who have forsaken anything but their own gain and create the corrupted parasites and objects that the Host uses to enslave the surface of Wormwood. Their powers are almost identical to the Priest of Light but with a much bigger spell list. The spells list said that “Dark priests get fewer and access to a restricted list” but that seems to be a total lie--if anything about a third of the list is ‘only evil characters would do this’. They can also let the Unholy or one of the Host possess them to gain some temporary power. The possessing entity can sense if its real body falls under attack and can return in 1D4 minutes. The Dark Priest suffers no downsides to possession.


also, dark priests may have some issues with black people

Unlike Priests of Light, they embrace symbiotic armor and wear other armor over that as long as it doesn’t have a prowl penalty. Even evil does not use money in Wormwood, but the Dark Priests expect to be at the top of the food chain and get the best food and lodgings and etc, and will have ‘4D6x100,000’ credits worth of valuables. They can have up to four symbiotes but not before level three--the limits for symbiotes are poorly explained all over--and they’re willing to use Life Force Cauldrons and other evil stuff. Also at third level they get minions that increase in time. These are meant to be at least medium bosses so they’re passably tough and surrounded by annoying monsters and supporters. Killing one would not be the impossible feat of striking down any kind of Intelligence (especially since they can’t dimensional teleport) but they would definitely be a handful.

Next we get Dark Minions. Aside from the parasites being formerly part of Wormwood, I don’t know why those weren’t in this section. Instead we start with the Air Fish RCC, the first of a shitload of enemies.



No really. Air Fish. Char had to fight with some of them in the intro comic. They’re basically flying piranha, if piranha were actually dangerous to people and three to five feet long. They’re intelligent, but generally wild hunters and scavengers. The Unholy brought them to Wormwood from somewhere and they do a lot of evil’s grunt work. Oh, and they’re an RCC, but the note at the bottom says they’re not available as PCs. They’re not too tough or strong, but they hunt in packs.

Beast Guards are next, another non-player RCC. They were apparently once human, but sold their souls to become TMNT. The pact they made makes it physically impossible for them to raise a hand to their masters, even if they wanted to. They’re among the lowliest demon servants and come in two types: the hyperactive canine and the more stoically sadistic armored guard. The canine is much weaker than the armored type, which suggests that they got a raw deal for soul-selling. The canine typically doesn’t use weapons, the armored type likes polearms--though they have to enhance them to get MD out of them, or buy vibro-weapons or whatever.


helpful identifiers i guess

Demon Goblins: ‘perhaps a distant cousin of the goblin faerie’, but more powerful and cruel. They are actually minions of Salome rather than the Unholy but they work with the Forces of Darkness generally. They’re not very tough at all (6D6x2 MDC) and have a few classes with way too many skills to bother writing down for something so cannon-foddery.


short people are always so angry

Demon Hounds are a demonic predator larger than a horse, and can be ridden. Simvan Monster Riders are inevitably mentioned. The demon hound riders are a specific humanoid species that has an empathic link with the mounts, and dress like Mel Gibson’s version of the Coalition.


seashell kneepads?

Hounds and rider work together for themselves and share a link over five miles per level of rider. Killing a rider brings down the Hound’s vengeance. Riders and Hounds are gentle and cool with each and completely hostile to everything else. They and the Sky Riders (whom they hate) seem to have joined the Unholy from elsewhere, and not all of their species is loyal--the rest are just back on the homeworld. Very rare good or less evil Hound Riders could be PCs, the book supposes, but they’re probably going to get hunted down.

Next is the Entrancer. Most of these are evil illusion and mind-controlling monsters (which the book amazingly gives defenses against) but 10% have turned against the path of evil, which impresses me a little bit, that evil beings would show free will. Also another 25% are independent mercenaries.


the one on the right is the Entrancer, the other one is just some goat guy

They’re pretty tough, Wormwood-nerfed Mind Melter powers with 1D4x100 MDC and a lot of illusionary/mind-controlly magic knowledge. They feed on strong emotions and may become affected by said emotions themselves, or react in moments of great stress according to a percentile table of Very Unstable Personality reactions that range across the emotional spectrum including 81-100 being Love and Happiness.

I’ll close this post with the Feathered Serpents. No, not Quetzalcoatl or anything related to it. They’re more like sky dolphins in terms of being fairly smart jerks. They’re the preferred riding animal of the Sky Riders (enemies of the Hound Riders as mentioned before) and very loyal to their riding partner, though this relationship is somehow “nothing like” the symbiosis between Hound and Rider. Its tongue can ensnare prey and it’s extremely strong.


sky...hammerhead...sharks?

It has six attacks a round and a couple hundred MDC and when it is killed it will ‘thrash around and attack everything for 4D6 minutes’. You can at least shoot a 90 MDC wing off to tie it to the ground, though it’ll grow back in five months. Mean and vicious and ridden by warriors who are probably also pretty tough.

Next: Morphworms! And other strangeness.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Alien Rope Burn posted:

I've never really been convinced of Mutants & Masterminds' use as a "universal" system by some, I think it's really aimed at aiming at a particular genre - that is, with how complications work, or the fact that powers like flight or invisibility are a lot cheaper than their utility would imply. I've played M&M essentially on and off since its inception, but it also runs into similar issues as FATE where a blast by any other name is still +10 ranged damage.

I think just like GURPS is neither particularly Generic or Universal, most universal systems (ORE, M&M, etc) actually have pretty strong biases as to what type of game you're going to play.

If I run superheroes in GURPS or ORE, the way damage, skills, and the like work in those games without significant houseruling and/or optional rules automatically makes it far more Aberrant meets Warren Ellis where people die and superdudes and dudettes are lethal, world-changing demigods, whereas if I run one in M&M they're basically 4-color or modern nobody dies comic books by default because of simple things like how damage works and the like.

In general I find that a system will always put its own spin on events and the game in general. Playing a RIFTS-style kitchen sink everything goes post apoc game in GURPS is going to be way different than playing one in M&M or ORE or in, I dunno, the new World of Darkness system.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

MJ12 posted:

I think just like GURPS is neither particularly Generic or Universal, most universal systems (ORE, M&M, etc) actually have pretty strong biases as to what type of game you're going to play.

If I run superheroes in GURPS or ORE, the way damage, skills, and the like work in those games without significant houseruling and/or optional rules automatically makes it far more Aberrant meets Warren Ellis where people die and superdudes and dudettes are lethal, world-changing demigods, whereas if I run one in M&M they're basically 4-color or modern nobody dies comic books by default because of simple things like how damage works and the like.

In general I find that a system will always put its own spin on events and the game in general. Playing a RIFTS-style kitchen sink everything goes post apoc game in GURPS is going to be way different than playing one in M&M or ORE or in, I dunno, the new World of Darkness system.

I think you're right here, and I've played a lot of both M&M and GURPS--and they were both good, for different things. GURPS might be slightly more actually 'universal' in that M&M actually breaks down hard at lower power levels where a lot of modern-day campaigns are going to be, but it is definitely crunchier. For Rifts, you'd kind of have to pick the feel you wanted and run with it. One downside to M&M is that a lot of the stuff would have to be built as Devices which are...a complicated set of rules that are kind of broken. You could wave them out, mostly, since they kind of hinge on being a jerk to players by giving you a hefty discount on points for powers by declaring that you are going to lose them. A lot. This gets abused heavily in games where that does not occur and isn't a lot of fun in games where it does, so it might be better to just kind of leave that to Complications.

I think I'd be fine with FATE for a Rifts-esque game, as the 'generic power template' thing has never bothered me terribly. Others might feel it more and want their different ro-bits to 'feel' different in the numbers, but for a long time in Rifts they were pretty similar as people have observed. Then again at the point where I am now I kind of like reviewing Rifts more than the idea of really playing it again.

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deadly_pudding
May 13, 2009

who the fuck is scraeming
"LOG OFF" at my house.
show yourself, coward.
i will never log off


MJ12 posted:

I think just like GURPS is neither particularly Generic or Universal, most universal systems (ORE, M&M, etc) actually have pretty strong biases as to what type of game you're going to play.

If I run superheroes in GURPS or ORE, the way damage, skills, and the like work in those games without significant houseruling and/or optional rules automatically makes it far more Aberrant meets Warren Ellis where people die and superdudes and dudettes are lethal, world-changing demigods, whereas if I run one in M&M they're basically 4-color or modern nobody dies comic books by default because of simple things like how damage works and the like.

In general I find that a system will always put its own spin on events and the game in general. Playing a RIFTS-style kitchen sink everything goes post apoc game in GURPS is going to be way different than playing one in M&M or ORE or in, I dunno, the new World of Darkness system.

This is pretty accurate. Sometimes they are kind of bad at doing what they want to do, too

I haven't looked much into the 6th Edition, but I have played me some HERO System 5th. HERO is super cool for being a "make a super hero and then play as it" engine. However, I've found that it's nearly impossible to balance combat unless you use it for a lower level of power, like D&D-style fantasy.

With actual superheroes, you're better off in HERO, as the GM, running it like FATE. Just define NPCs as a collection of their most important powers, skills, and stats, and then fill in the blanks as an encounter goes on.
"Your character just punched him in the face for HOW much damage?" *scribbles furiously*

It's the only way to avoid a weird arms race with the one guy in the group who inevitably min-maxed a character for combat supremacy without resorting to GM faux pas like Mind Control powers. The best solution I ever found for that guy was to distract him with a similarly beastly opponent, while the rest of the party mopped up minions. Usually also they would handle the detective work. Either way, it was always a struggle to balance a fight unless I fudged the NPC character sheets for dramatic effect.

The reason boils down to the costs of things in the point buy. Damage and damage reduction both are relatively inexpensive things to acquire. There's no reason why every character shouldn't have at least one method of attack that does the GM's campaign cap for damage, even if it's under limited circumstances.

Accuracy and evasion, however, are quite expensive. For the same cost of raising your overall accuracy/evasion by 1, by purchasing 3 levels of Dexterity, you could instead increase an attack by 1d6 AND give yourself 2 points of lethal defense. In a low-points build, like most fantasy or other "elite normal" characters, this means you have to choose between accuracy and damage, evasion and durability. Plus you have to account for Skills. However, it goes out the window when you have 3 times that many points to work with. A player willing to sacrifice versatility for fighting ability can only be stopped by GM audit, which is kind of a big "gently caress you". It's not hard, with 3-400 points, to make a guy who is nearly impossible to hit without area attacks, almost never misses, does huge damage, absorbs huge damage, but knows how to neither make nor eat breakfast.

This guy can be fun if the rest of the party is on board- they take care of the background work and basically weaponize this guy when the villain appears, like the hulk. If they aren't on board, though... well, all that Dexterity that Combat Guy bought maximize his probabilities also gave him a bunch of extra actions per time, so he dominates the entire combat round both in and out of game, creating a weird cycle of boredom revenge. Combat Guy is bored during all non-combat scenes because he can only solve problems by punching them through 5 buildings. Everybody else is bored during combat scenes because Combat Guy has punched all of their problems away before they have gotten to do anything cool.

TL;DR: Point-based generic systems are only fun if either nobody min-maxes or everybody min-maxes, with the small exception of people who are willing to weaponize the min-maxer.

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