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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Aramoro posted:

Surely there are no more Rifts books left? Please say there are none left.

You're not serious, are you? Surely you're not serious.

Hm.

Sure, let's go with that.

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Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




A map of Europa but not a single mention of Scandinavia. Of course. :sigh:

BerkerkLurk
Jul 22, 2001

I could never sleep my way to the top 'cause my alarm clock always wakes me right up

My favorite part of Rifts Italy, which they filled out in an issue of The Rifter, is that the Mafia is alive, well and running around in MDC suits with Vibro-Garrottes.

All part of the master plan of Rifts to dump every genre trope into a blender and pulse until a typical party consists of a mutant possum, a robot, a cowboy, a ninja and a trans-dimensional bug-eyed wizard.

Good God, just hope no one starts writing up The Rifter. It's bush league Palladium. It's a monthly publication.

BerkerkLurk fucked around with this message at 16:12 on Oct 18, 2013

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Aramoro posted:

Surely there are no more Rifts books left? Please say there are none left.

ahahahahahahahaha

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

BerkerkLurk posted:

Good God, just hope no one starts writing up The Rifter. It's bush league Palladium.

Ugh. I've got a few early issues, and one has... issues. There's some plant-woman-demon on the cover and the write-up on it makes sweeping statements like 'all female demons are vain, cruel, and a litany of other things I learned after my whore of an ex dumped me'. Or at least that's how it came across, editorialization worse than the monster.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Cooked Auto posted:

A map of Europa but not a single mention of Scandinavia. Of course. :sigh:

It's better if you think of yourself as having dodged a bullet by not having to read a writeup of Rifts World Book 35: Thorvania and the Cyberzerkers.

BerkerkLurk posted:

Good God, just hope no one starts writing up The Rifter. It's bush league Palladium.

Let's put it this way: occamsnailfile and I have covered Rifts releases from 1990 to 1993 so far. The Rifter doesn't come out until 1998. We'd have to have a lot more writeups done before that's even a question, at least for us. Speaking of which, there's going to be a bit of a wait before the next review, presuming we don't have a fit of sanity anytime soon, it's possibly the toughest writeup yet.

Bieeardo posted:

Ugh. I've got a few early issues, and one has... issues. There's some plant-woman-demon on the cover and the write-up on it makes sweeping statements like 'all female demons are vain, cruel, and a litany of other things I learned after my whore of an ex dumped me'. Or at least that's how it came across, editorialization worse than the monster.

Look, I've got two words you never needed to hear in this context: swimsuit issues.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Every time I think I've hit a nadir of respect for the industry and the clowns that serve as its misshapen figureheads, someone springs another pit trap.

Cheneybeast
Dec 19, 2012



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Look, I've got two words you never needed to hear in this context: swimsuit issues.

Oh my goodness gracious, I'm just so excited for this. Just hot rear end gurgoyles in MDC bikinis, playing vibro-volleyball, as far as the eye can see. You should post a teaser.

Majuju
Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

Cheneybeast posted:

hot rear end gurgoyles in MDC bikinis, playing vibro-volleyball, as far as the eye can see

Gonna need some stats for this Weird Boner RCC that I appear to qualify for.

Also, d20 Modern update: I have most of a post written for character creation but my work schedule and Pokemon has stalled me out. Should be putting a few things up in the next couple of days.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Cardiovorax posted:

"Awful" is the word you're looking for. Glad to see Siembieda's German is as good as everything else about him. "Überkavallerist," what a wonderful abomination of a word.

"Überkavallerist" sounds like sounds like a villain from a no-budget Hammer Horror parody.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Is it wrong to really like the idea of Wolfen Legionaries? :ohdear:

Warlocktopus
Aug 18, 2006
Post Post-Modern Man

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Is it wrong to really like the idea of Wolfen Legionaries? :ohdear:

I'm kind of with you. Along the same lines, Werewolf Rome is an angle I sort of like. With the werewolf curse being Proof Of Roman Citizenship, and all kinds of Ghoul-Gauls and client states trying to fight for their rights to that sweet, sweet wolf power.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The Wolfen, Coyle and Cetera always weirded me out in the context of RIFTS. I think it's because I had only a very, very basic grounding on the particulars of the Palladium Fantasy world.

Contrariwise, I think they're rather neat in the Phase World setting, and I don't know why about that, either.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Hey Syrg, can you mark my Armageddon review as on hiatus? Even dedicating all my waking hours to course work still doesn't leave me enough time for course work. And whoever was interested in doing a ConX review, have at it.


And since we're on Wick, have some o' this.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Honestly the wolfen are interesting because they're put at a position of rivalry with humanity, rather than filling some niche humans don't. That, and they're a non-Tolkien race given some importance in the Palladium Fantasy setting, where elves and dwarves are clearly on their way out, wolfen are on their way in, so they're interesting depending on your tolerance for anthropomorphic races. That being said, it's pretty on the nose to take his existing analogue for the Roman Empire and rift them into Rome. Granted, being gratuitously on the nose is what Rifts does really well. (See the "Lightning" jet earlier in the review for an example.)

Cheneybeast posted:

You should post a teaser.

I really shouldn't.

Cheneybeast
Dec 19, 2012



Cheneybeast posted:

Oh my goodness gracious, I'm just so excited for this. Just hot rear end gurgoyles in MDC bikinis, playing vibro-volleyball, as far as the eye can see. You should post a teaser.

drat, I really should have used "gurlgoyles." How did I miss that???

Everything Counts
Oct 10, 2012

Don't "shhh!" me, you rich bastard!


My favorite entry from that list of supposed German: "die Vernichtung: fair nick tung (rhymes with Jung.)"

"Since we're assuming you don't know how to speak German, we'll teach you how to say this German word by rhyming it with another word you might have no idea how to pronounce!"

GimmickMan
Dec 27, 2011



I can never get enough of Wick ruining perfectly good ideas by being... Well, himself.

I mostly skim the RIFTS updates to laugh at the art, because at least it kinda sorta had its heart in the right place. Good to know I won't have anything left to respect there soon.

Redeye Flight
Mar 26, 2010

God, I'm so tired. What the hell did I post last night?


Edit: gently caress, no, this isn't the Experiences thread, I didn't look hard enough. Sorry, guys.

Redeye Flight fucked around with this message at 05:40 on Oct 19, 2013

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Tasoth posted:

And since we're on Wick, have some o' this.

$50? For a loving setting book? Eberron wasn't that expensive and it's pretty much the best D&D setting out there! I'll eat my plaid trilby before I spend another penny on a Wick product, let alone $50! And please don't anybody take that as an invitation to give me Wick crap. At least, not until I've done an F&F of something non-Wick. I don't want to end up becoming "the guy who reviews Wick products".

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 15:33 on Oct 19, 2013

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

But the Wick lit at both ends burns twice as fast!

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

AccidentalHipster posted:

$50? For a loving setting book? Eberron wasn't that expensive and it's pretty much the best D&D setting out there! I'll eat my plaid trilby before I spend another penny on a Wick product, let alone $50! And please don't anybody take that as an invitation to give me Wick crap. At least, not until I've done an F&F of something non-Wick. I don't want to end up becoming "the guy who reviews Wick products".

Monte Cook wins just for this

New it cost $119.

I have a copy...

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Monte Cook wins just for this

New it cost $119.

I have a copy...

Is it bad? I vaguely remember reading positive things about it.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Bieeardo posted:

But the Wick lit at both ends burns twice as fast!

You don't get quality double puns like that very often. Well done.

Majuju
Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

Is it bad? I vaguely remember reading positive things about it.

It's actually pretty loving cool, but it's also 900 pages of meticulously-detailed cityscape, so it's very unwieldy and the chance you're going to get $120 of True Setting Value out of one book is pretty slim.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Monte Cook wins just for this

New it cost $119.

I have a copy...

That at least has about 900 pages a bunch of extra stuff like cds and maps that might justify the huge price tag on some level. And is written by someone who is only a total smeghead when it comes to wizard supremacy. Wick is just selling a 300 page book that will no doubt be full of :psyduck: and :smug:.

Bieeardo posted:

But the Wick lit at both ends burns twice as fast!

I'd yell at you for that pun, but the idea of burning Wick alive is too entertaining.

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 17:58 on Oct 19, 2013

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

Is it bad? I vaguely remember reading positive things about it.
It is good, and worth it. It's an impressive artifact, and really well put together and edited and laid out and printed and bound. Lots of extras, too, including a CD ROM full of additional material and handouts and adventures. And the price is low, considering what else $120 buys you (a half-dozen black-and-white $20 splatbooks for another game line that are 96 or 128 pages and full of padding).

If you don't like Monte Cook's style, or the 3.x ruleset, then give it a pass. But if it sounds at all tempting to you, it's worth checking out.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Majuju posted:

It's actually pretty loving cool, but it's also 900 pages of meticulously-detailed cityscape, so it's very unwieldy and the chance you're going to get $120 of True Setting Value out of one book is pretty slim.

It's also almost comically huge. We had a demo copy at my FLGS we used to threaten to bludgeon people with if they didn't play nice.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

Is it bad? I vaguely remember reading positive things about it.

It is excellent and I have never thought I did not got my money's worth. Ptolus, Arcana Unearthed/Evolved, Iron Heroes are all good.
And yes, it is heavy enough to use as a melee weapon.

Payndz
Sep 22, 2006

I'm Peter Graves, and I was wondering if you could direct me to the natatorium, as I'm attending a Scuderia Ferrari team-building exercise. Thank you. I'm Peter Graves.


I've probably missed something out of the 3000 Rifts splats featured in F&F, but is there a reason why Glitter Boys are called Glitter Boys? It's such a ridiculous name! Considering that the anime/manga the artwork plunders has things called Gundams, landmates, mecha, mobile suits, Valkyries, hardsuits, Metal Gears, battlemovers, labors and buster machines, why the hell did they go for a name that sounds like a camp 1970s glam-rock act?

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Payndz posted:

I've probably missed something out of the 3000 Rifts splats featured in F&F, but is there a reason why Glitter Boys are called Glitter Boys? It's such a ridiculous name! Considering that the anime/manga the artwork plunders has things called Gundams, landmates, mecha, mobile suits, Valkyries, hardsuits, Metal Gears, battlemovers, labors and buster machines, why the hell did they go for a name that sounds like a camp 1970s glam-rock act?

Their armor is super reflective and shiny to counter lasers.

Edit: V :smug:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




They have shiny reflective anti-laser armor! :downs: That's literally the only reason yeah.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

I thought they were Mariah Carey's background dancers?

Mimir
Nov 26, 2012


From what little I got a chance to read of Ptolus, I quite enjoyed the fact that it explored the effects of a world operating on the 3.5 ruleset. Like, city guards who use wands of web. Honestly, it reminds me of Eberron more than anything else, both in that and in other ways. Like, the deemphasisis on doing Planar stuff at high levels that 3.5 seems to gravitate towards.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013


Tasoth posted:

Hey Syrg, can you mark my Armageddon review as on hiatus? Even dedicating all my waking hours to course work still doesn't leave me enough time for course work. And whoever was interested in doing a ConX review, have at it.


And since we're on Wick, have some o' this.

Oh hey. I have that. Got it when it was on sale. Not my best purchase, but considering I'm sitting on both Shatterzone and @ctiv8, not nearly my most disappointing. Obviously, the ones I knew were going to be bad when I bought them aren't very disappointing.


This should be the last of this... and then I can do something happier. Like play a Chris Fields adventure or read the entirety of The Void. You know, that Cthulthuian Stars with it's own system. It's still written by the Wildfire guys. At least they have editors. Or... something that passes for it, in Chris's case.

So, the first thing we've got here is a Cryptid Database Entry. Basically, it's an Ecology of article, hosted by Artemis Olympia. Today we've got the Bandersnatch. As in the beast from Jabberwocky. We're told that "The Bandersantch family line descends from Echidna as are most so called monstrous beasts." Apparently, they're related to Dragons, but aren't as creative or civil. They're solitary predators that live for the hunt. They're native to Asia and the Middle East, though rarely found there these days.

"Bandersnatch children are after being trained in basic hunt by the parents sent off to establish their own hunting area." Said area starts at thirty kilometers and increases as they age.

"Bandersnatches snatches don't nest but rather used their camouflaging ability (picked up from their dragon ancestors) to lie low disguises ad a small rise in the land scape a large log or something harmless during the day leaving their hunting to early evenings." This is your majestic desert ambush predator...

Their psychology is simple. Eat things, don't get killed. Something tries to kill it, it tries to eat it. They can't be reasoned with.

They are apparently warm blooded, and strict carnivores. Thankfully, for the poor miscolored desert creature, it chameleonic, and able to puff itself up into various shapes. It uses it's third set of legs for climbing and gripping, and can stretch itself thin to get through tight spaces. It's a rank four creature and... actually slightly less dangerous than the rank 3 Boogieman. But that's neither here nor there. They provide four spells for dealing with the Bandersnatch.

Bad Taste is either a level one illusion or alteration spell that makes the subject taste bad, and cause nausea if swallowed.

Dragon Ward is a Level 2 Protection spell that lets whoever it's cast on ignore three points of damage from any draconic source, including dragon-kin like the Bandersnatch. It's protection goes up with the protection ranks of the caster, but it doesn't say how much.

Ignore Camouflage lets you ignore camouflage. It's a level one Illusion spell, or a level 2 Divination spell.

Screech of the Jabberwocky let's you give off Jabberwocky noises, which are the only thing Bandersnatches are afraid of. Level one Illusion, seems somewhat specialized, but then, a lot of things are afraid of Jabberwocks.

Desdemona's Dating Advice Collumn is written by Desdemona. From Othello. She just wants you to know that she's not dead, and hates Shakespeare for writing her death into the story. For two paragraphs. Then it turns to regular da---, ha. no. This is WGA.



And we're covering vampires. Not that you should feel obligated to date vampires, as "Being a witch no matter how you look, how you talk or how cool you are or are not you should have no problems getting a boyfriend if one is wanted. You are a bright,. sparkling unique star ."

Vampires are exactly what you imagine them to be. They're undead blood suckers who are so in touch with their emotions that they'll spend days chattering on about how they're so cursed.... and then it promptly shifts into talking about how it's a good thing, because then you can use their empathic nature and their need for a "muse" to control them... And then it shifts again to talking about how "our blood is like a Vanilla soy latte with extra cinnamon and spiked with redbull."

I'm actually kinda torn with this. On one hand, it's a nice article on the difficulties of interspecies relationships. On the other, it's a piece of racist claptrap(being in universe, after all) that talks out of both sides of it's mouth. Long story short, vampires and witches don't trust each other, and you will be considered your boyfriends pet. But that's okay, because you can kill him with a thought and can just as easily save his life. You may be the only thing keeping him alive, and he's emotionally vulnerable and co-dependent. So there's that.

Toss in a bunch of stuff about what each blood tastes like and does for them, the various snuggly groups that want to kill them, and you've got a decent ecology of Foo article, presented as a racist manipulative Dating Advice column.

There's a new talent: Emo where you have to make an easy Will Save or... get a truckload of bonuses. +1 to Reflex, +1 to Art, and +1 to social rolls when dealing with other Emos(Ie: Vampires and the Gothique).

Three new spells: Cryptkeeper (Necromancy 2) lets you restore 3 LP per MTR to an undead creature. Rosy Cheeks(Healing 2) makes undead things appear alive, even to medical equipment. Sunscreen (Elementalism 2) lets vampires walk in sunlight.

White Wolf style opinions on various groups follows, and frankly, they're too boring to comment on, aside from the fact that despite the fact that it says above that Vampires don't trust anyone and as a rule don't really like witches, because witches have been oppressing them, here they call Witches their "almost equals" and "give them the respect that a new equal deserves".

Vampire Specific Organizations... Great. Okay, first is The Clan Of The Peaceful night. They're basically the vegetarians of the vampire world, no humans! Anything else is okay. Okay, so they're somewhere between Vegetarians and AA, as you meet every week to talk about how to reach out, and how to promote their agenda.

The Legacy is the generic evil group. They follow Echidna. They'll find you if they think you're suitable for their club.

Helseing is... well... You know what Helseing is. Hunters. Mostly human, some witches and immortals. And possibly a crazy elder vampire locked in the basement. No, I'm adding that last sentence. They have a cover company of Harker shipping.

Sanguinistas are what other games would call Renfields. They're vampire groupies. A page break and a brain break causes any detail about their orginization to be lost. Not that it matters.

Plot hooks! Branded! Your boyfriend is being framed for being a member of the Legacy. My Bloody Valentine: There's a Valentines day dance going on. His folks don't want him to go. Stakes and Fires! Witch Hunters and Vampire Hunters have teamed up to kill you. Yep.

Apparently, Desdemona is supposed to be a stand up comic. Right then. Could have fooled me.

Denora Is Always Right.

Oh god. Right, this is why I put this down for a week. Denora Desade puts the agony back in agony aunt. You ever wanted an advice column on how to be a total and utter dick to everyone? of course you did. And I'm sure someone's already mentioned it, but Denora is one of their old characters. Dating back to the Poser 'art' on Geocities days.

So, a couple paragraphs of self congratulatory introduction later, we're catapulted into our first letter. A girl in India has been forbidden the use of magic, and isn't allowed to talk to other magical folk! What should she do? If you answered Bribery And Brainwashing, you're thinking like a wicked witch! And here's a spell just for doing jedi mind tricks on your parents. Parental Control (mentalism 2) manipulates the parents love for a child so they'll do just about anything.

Next up is a witch who has been trying to balance a mortal life and a witch life, and is tired of it. She wants her mortal and witchy friends to mingle at her birthday party, but isn't sure how to go about it. Denora gives the advice to hire a professional party planner... Or just ditch the mortals because they're so short lived and have stupid ideas of "fun". If you go through with it pull out some extra security handy spell: Instant Minions(Conjuration 3) makes 1d4 average minions with a d2 mind, 5 skill points, and a huge sense of loyalty. They'll fight were-sharks. But not real sharks as they're water soluble.

The third and final letter is from a bullied girl. Denora first suggests the entirely sane tactic of remembering that you're going to live longer than them, and waiting for them to drop dead and dancing on their grave. If you want something a little more immediate, just disintegrate them. It's clean, easy, and doesn't leave a body. If you're squeemish, you can do this instead.


Heckle Hex(curse 2) makes their teeth fall out whenever they insult you. And causes them to get zits. Petty, but still more mature than I expected from Denora.

And finally, we're to Abby Bruja's fashion column. After all "witches invented fashion!" Today, we're talking hats. Magic Hats.

The Grimm-Grin is your typical floppy witch hat, except this one talks and has up to four ranks in any non-magical skill. I think you can take multiple skills with it without paying more, because it says "skills it is programmed witH'...Anyway 5 Allowance Points for floppy purple witch hat that talks.

The Wychlerro never gets dirty, and prevents you from getting wet in the rain. 2 Allowance points.

The Sassy Sorcery Cone is a magic, retro "comical" hat. Yes, once again, spell check has made things more honest. Due to being an enchanted cone(which can grow up to two foot tall), you get a +1 to all Will and Mind rolls. Cheap, for only 5 allowance points.

The Arcane Aviator is a helmet that lets you see through clouds, gives you night vision, a +1 to all vision based senses rolls, lets you ignore 1 point of damage from falls and impact, or two if you fall from a broom. 8 allowance points.

The Top Hat, from Hoodoo Haberdashery, is exactly what you might imagine. A magical top hat that's so awesome it breaks their font and makes them shout at a higher pointage. No, I mean. It gives you a +1 to conjuring rolls, and anything you conjure with the hat lasts twice as long, and you can conjure twice as much. It's also a bigger on the inside purse, letting you store 100 pounds of miscellaneous items in it, so long as they'd fit into the hat.

And I'm free, as the other magazines that never were have been covered, and I don't have to talk about the dreadful Coming Soon page. The back cover, however, reminds me that the Princess Lucinda movie got funded. I hope we never see anything from that.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


FourmyleCircus posted:

Oh hey. I have that. Got it when it was on sale. Not my best purchase, but considering I'm sitting on both Shatterzone and @ctiv8, not nearly my most disappointing. Obviously, the ones I knew were going to be bad when I bought them aren't very disappointing.

You probably shouldn't have mentioned that because now you've got a certain Dan Brereton fan hoping you'll take a bullet for him. Speaking of dapper goons with great taste in comic book artists, I have a few things I need to get off my chest about

John Wick's Eldritch High

PART 6: FINAL THOUGHTS

I'll try not to make this an e/n post.

I've bitched about this game over the course of a 5 part review so I don't think that I need to tell you all that I hate this stinker. But why is this game so awful? Why is it that I regret the :10bux: I blew on this but not the hundreds I spent on Kickstarter? I could just say "because Wick" but that wouldn't really explain much, would it?

The fluff is one half of the problem. Wick's antagonistic and grim "I got my start GMing by getting my ego stroked over my lovely, not-technically-death riddled Champions games" style saturates this game and the product suffers as a result. The GM chapter rambles on and on about stories focused on awful personal experiences like betrayals of trust between students and teachers or having monsters kidnap your parents while stories about discovering doorways to Narnia and fighting off daemon infiltrators "They Live" style are barely given a paragraph each. Alien Rope Burn said it quite nicely in response to part 5.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Wick's "life is pain" ethos is extra-problematic, once again, we're talking about playing a kid - or at least a teenager - in an inherently punishing world. What's the fun of being a teenage wizard if it's being just a versimilitudey child soldier? It's trying to be Harry Potter with a sneer, and sounds pretty charmless as a result.

And it's just as charmless as it sounds. The child soldier angle isn't even really explored, Wick just uses it as an excuse for the academy to press gang the students in to going to the school. Yes, Wick is so cynical that he's casually equating compulsory education with child soldiers.

The crunch is what ultimately kills the game for me. Since the awful fluff isn't baked in to the rules, I could just do the same thing I do with Witch Girl Adventures and ignore all of the fluff, but that doesn't change the fact that the rules are unplayably bad. Customization is a joke, most of the moving parts (like Cheating) are superfluous, and advancement is so unbalanced that Studying (the intended primary form of advancement) needs to be completely thrown out and rebuilt from the ground up. A third of the rules are flat out missing, and yet, the product is the better for it.

Let's compare this to the Robotic Age playtest rules. Yes, weapon elements are very poorly balanced and non-combat abilities are largely glossed over, but everything fits together. There are no truly superfluous parts (except maybe the split between cyborgs and transhumans), almost every option has merit, and nothing important is missing. Robotic Age knows what it wants to be and does it quite well for a playtest, but Eldrtitch High regularly thwarts itself and shows a total disregard for editing, playtesting, and most importantly, the player.

So what should be done to fix it? For one, use Aspects like Ven did to make the characters stand out instead of crap like your dorm or stereotype. For another, drop the rigid class schedule and either give the players enough points to have a fleshed out set of courses or pare down the courses into something simple and maybe representing a general way of doing things instead of ridiculously precise crap like how many hours you've wasted studying the history of the Jesus Fish. And throw out the grimderp setting as well in favor of something fun and pulpy. In short, just use Fate.

I'm still a little bitter over the :10bux:, but I did enjoy tearing this game a new rear end in a top hat. I got to flex my writing muscles, get a feel for the thread, and I even got a few laughs out of an IRL friend. And I got to bond with my fellow goons. Thanks for sticking with me to the end guys and gals. I couldn't have finished this without your support.

Next time, A NEW REVIEW? or So let me tell you guys about…

I don't think I'll be posting another F&F for a while, but if I do I want to do something good. Like maybe Dungeons: The Dragoning by LawfulNice (I kinda wish that the first one wasn't abandoned) or Giant Guardian Generation by our very own TK-31 (probably unnecessary, but I still wanna gush about it). So until next time, be good to yourselves and those you love!

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012


Here, have a triple post about magical boarding school games.



Hellcats and Hockeysticks: Intro: British Schoolgirls Behaving Badly



Hellcats and Hockeysticks is a Corone Design joint; written by one Andrew Peregrine, and released in 2009. Peregrine’s worked on a bunch of things, including some 7th Sea books and the Victorian Lost supplement for Changeling: The Lost, which isn’t listed on that site. Corone Design is his own imprint. Like WGA and Super Babes, it’s a game where all of the PCs are girls/women. Unlike WGA and Super Babes, it’s not a fetish game trying to pretend that it’s a wholesome genre definer… Assuming watching teenage girls be complete bitches to each other isn’t a fetish, that is. The narrator in this book is really into that idea. There’s also more references to a nebulous “daddy” than I’m comfortable with.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s what Andrew himself has to say on the matter in the back of the book.

quote:

While I have you all gathered here, I wanted to take a moment to address anyone who might doubt my motives for creating a game like this. OK, you got me, to a certain extent a game about schoolgirls is going to do well in such a male dominated hobby as gaming. However, in truth I wrote this game for the girls, not the boys. This game is about young women taking control and deciding who they want to be, and what they want to do, and drat the consequences. Sure, the guys may look at the book and say 'whoa, she's hot' but I'm hoping the girls will also look at the book and say 'drat, she looks cool'. This is why I made a point of using women artists, so that the characters were powerful and attractive, but not just male fantasies.

Well, having a woman draw the pictures doesn’t really mean anything or prevent that. Some people will draw anything if you give them enough cash to do it. But I’ve skimmed your book, Mr. Peregrine. Your stuff seems sound and not full blown sleaze. I am willing to give you the benefit of the dou-

”Inspirations – Role-playing Games” posted:


“Excellent”? Seriously? Are you just namedropping the only magic school RPG for girls that you can think of, are you just an idiot, or is that code for “I thought it was poo poo and could do better, but I got to credit it anyway”? Because I wouldn’t call a game where at least 4 of the NPCs in the core are either illegal or unplayable due to bad editing, amongst many other things, “excellent”.

And the obvious answer to that last thought is to bet all on Lucinda. And then immediately realize that it’s useless to bet in this case since one of the parties is made up of overpowered Mary Sues and it would be a squash match.

Another notable thing that Peregrine claims is an inspiration for this game is Panty Explosion, a game where you play psychic Japanese schoolgirls who battle demons and the evils of the high school social scene. This game even uses one of the systems from PE, the Best Friends/Rivals system, which is special and only serves to create a bunch of pointless conflict among the PCs.

But the biggest inspiration for this game is the St. Trinian’s series of comics and movies, which, as Peregrine correctly points out, I have never heard of because I’m an American. For all you fellow “colonials”, as Peregrine puts it, who have never heard of this series either, read this, and then come back. This game is pretty much St. Trinian’s with the serial numbers filed off and magic, mad science, and demons thrown in, as far as I can tell. But you don’t really need to know anything about its inspiration to “get” this game.

But enough about that, back to the front of the book. The book’s layout is minimal: Black on white with no fancy borders, backgrounds, or fonts, and a smattering of black and white drawings throughout. The drawings are very same facey, but competent. Each chapter begins with a picture of a blackboard with some stick figures doing bad things drawn on them and two quotes. One from a well-known male historical figure, and another from a (usually) female pop icon that contrasts it. Chapter 1’s quotes are from Einstein and Cyndi Lauper.

quote:

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

quote:

When the working day is done, girls just wanna have fun.

The first chapter lays out the basic premise of the game via a scene with the headmistress of the game’s setting: St. Erisian’s. The unnamed headmistress is an old, crazy drunk who thinks gin is an anytime drink, that Anne Bonny and Lizzie Borden are proper role models, and that there’s nothing unusual about a bunch of sixth form students saving some younger ones from the piranhas in the swimming pool. As for general information: St. Erisian’s is a private boarding school for girls created out of an old manor house surrounded by rumors of witches and blood sacrifices (“But I’m sure we both know the sort of japes girls will get up to!”) and nestled somewhere in a part of the English countryside that’s secluded enough to not attract the attention of the rest of the country, but not enough to prevent them from visiting other schools and performing shenanigans in the local village. The building for the school, which dates back to sometime in the early 16th century, was bought on June 6, 1866 by the first headmistress, and the current one is the fourth. The school is named after Eris, the Greek goddess of chaos, as you probably already figured out, to give the students something to “inspire them”. The requirements for getting into the school aren’t strict; only whether or not the girl’s parents can pay the tuition fee.

For its curriculum, St. Erisian’s has a sort of Montessori style one, in that the teachers teach the girls anything they want to learn that’s even remotely related to the subject of the class, and they let them teach their fellow students, or they’ll probably get shivved in their sleep, I assume. Because of this and a lawsuit, the government will only let them offer their own diploma and not any standard qualification papers. But that doesn’t really matter because colleges and businesses honor the St. Erisian’s diploma anyway, according to the headmistress.

At this point, Peregrine steps in, puts the “old girl” to bed, and sends “daddy” on his way home. He points out that St. Erisian’s is the most dangerous girls’ school in the world, and new students to need to find allies by joining one of the various, you guessed it, cliques of the school if they want to survive. But fortunately, “we’ve never killed a new girl yet”.

The next section is the “What is this… roles playing?” section.

quote:

What? You think we're going to make it easy for you, new girl? If you don't know, ask one of the older girls or work it out for yourself. You ought to know anyway, having got this far. You could always ask one of the boys in the shop where you bought the game to tell you all about it. Tell one of them you're a girl who likes to play games and they'll be putty in your hands.

In H&H, the GM is called the Headmistress, and is given carte blanche to be an unfair rear end in a top hat to the players and “smack them with a ruler”, if need be. “Remember, we don’t play fair. We play to win.” The book also uses the female pronouns exclusively for “obvious reasons”, and not to be “politically correct” like other games. “If you have to ask why, we’ll get the 1st years to set fire to you.”

Peregrine then points out that he asked a bunch of anonymous women who were assholes when they were teenagers to share their stories, which are scattered throughout the book. I suspect some of them are cases of poo poo That Didn’t Happen, like the one after the content summary; the speaker set fire to her school’s bike shed by accidentally lighting some barrels with “flammable liquid” in them that the groundskeeper set by the shed for some reason with a cigarette.

Up next: Character Creation

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


I had planned on this being up sooner, but I ended up being consumed by Pokemon busy. Very, very busy.



Released in May of 2003, Urban Arcana was the first supplement Wizards of the Coast produced for d20 Modern, for both better and worse. It was a pretty solid sourcebook in my opinion, giving a lot of new options for urban fantasy games such as fantastical species and new spellcasting classes as well as options for more down to earth campaigns like the Street Fighter Warrior and Swashbuckler advanced classes, lots of urban gear like glass cutters and various rescue tools, and new vehicles such as fire trucks and tug boats...but also helped perpetuate the stereotype of d20 Modern as "just D&D with guns" by deciding that the campaign setting part of the book should have mentions of gods and concepts from Greyhawk like Kyuss and his spawn, St. Cuthbert, Pelor, and Wee Jas. Modern Magic is more or less the Modern Player's Companion equivalent for Urban Arcana's urban fantasy aspects sans the Greyhawk baggage, and it's what we are going to be looking at today.




It's Magic, You Know
Not one to tease, Modern Magic's very first chapter is a glut of new spells. They are broken down into twenty-two arcane spells, six divine spells, and five spells that are accessible by both arcane and divine spellcasters. For school coverage, there are no Necromancy spells, one spell without a listed school, one Enchantment spell, two spells that are listed as having two schools at once, two Abjuration spells, three Evocation spells, three Illusion spells, four Divination spells, eight Conjuration spells, and a whopping nine Transmutation spells. And level coverage? Definitely a bit front-loaded, with five 0-level spells, eleven 1st Level spells, five 2nd Level spells, six 3rd Level spells, four 4th Level spells, and two 5th Level spells.

The spells themselves may have a predilection towards two schools and lower levels, but they still have a decent variety to them. There's no real favoritism toward "spellcasters should be fighting" versus "spellcasters should be helping" or "spellcasters should be stealthy", instead having a little something for various roles. I've cherry-picked some of the book's spells that are particularly interesting or I am rather fond of to list below.
  • Cellular Hand (1st level arcane Evocation): Holding your fingers in a way that pantomimes holding a cell phone is a bit more useful when you are actually capable of magically broadcasting and receiving a signal from your hand.
  • Fingernailgun (0-level arcane Conjuration): You can shoot iron nails out of your index finger. It's more meant to be a handyman aid for repairs and does very little damage in actual combat, but who cares because you are firing nails from your fingers. :iia:
  • Hypnotic Screensaver (1st level arcane Illusion): This spell allows you to transform a computer screen into a dazzling display of, and I quote, "magically enhanced pixels". A spell that is both useful and amusing to see when you do something like stun a dangerous but dim-witted foe with the Windows hyperspace screensaver.
  • Itchy Trigger Finger (3rd level arcane Transmutation): Touching someone with this spell makes them fire off a surprise round shot with a firearm they are holding. Given that the material component of the spell is crushed poison ivy powder, I can't say I blame them for firing wildly.
  • Reverse-View Mirror (5th level divine Divination): You get to see up to 15 minutes from the last trip the vehicle you are sitting in took as seen through the rear windshield.
  • Save to Disk (5th level arcane Transmutation):[/b] Simultaneously really neat and kind of creepy, save to disk is a spell that allows you to "write" a willing individual onto a CD-ROM. The creepy part is that the spell doesn't say whether you are conscious or not when on the CD, just that you reappear in the real world next to the CD when the file is clicked on a computer, the CD is broken, or 72 hours pass without either of the former happening. The spell also happens to not specify what can be put on a CD beyond "a person", so theoretically you could put something like a troll on it as a horrible trap.
  • Vigilant Vermin (2nd level arcane Conjuration/Enchantment): Nothing says "I'm a weirdo" like summoning a horde of pigeons or rats to spy for you.
  • Whorlooparch (1st level arcane Transmutation): A really devious spell, whorlooparch twists and contorts your fingerprints every time you touch something during its duration, causing the prints to be left as a jumbled mess that looks more like someone hacked up their finger and glued it back together than what an actual fingerprint should look like.




Words and Actions of Power
As I have stated before in at least one previous review, incantations were a system introduced in Urban Arcana to allow 6th level and higher spells to exist in the form of long, complex rituals that anyone capable of making the proper Knowledge (Arcane Lore) checks could cast. Modern Magic decides to take the incantation system and tone it down, creating a form of swift but still Knowledgee-based rituals that more closely replicates things such as Hermetic magic and Lovecraftian magic compared to the standard d20 system's "boom fireballs!". The head honcho of lesser incantations is the Ritualist advanced class, which focuses on magic circles, charms, and enhancing the casting of elemental spells and incantations. Lesser incantations themselves are basically just incantations that have short (usually instantaneous with a duration) casting times, small Knowledge DCs, and minor effects.

The chapter on ritual magic also introduces the Laws of Magic, ways of decreasing the Knowledge DC of proper incantations. The Law of Names posits that those who know the name of a target hold some magical power over it (ranging from a -1 to the Knowledge DC for just knowing the full name of the target to -8 for having knowledge of the target's "true name"), the Law of Connection is tying ownership to the spell (ranging from a -1 for having a personal possession of the target to -4 for having their blood or some other body fluid), and the Law of Sympathy indicates that like is stronger with like (ranges from -1 for a doll or toy representing the target to -4 for physically manipulating the target during the ritual in an appropriate manner, but also has a potential +1 to +4 penalty if you do something counter to the incantation's purpose such as lighting a candle during a water-related ritual).




(Magic) Army Strong
The third chapter of Modern Magic deals with a very specific topic, namely the military applications of magic. In addition to the idea of military-issue spellbooks where your commanding officer limits what spells you can utilize, there are three campaign ideas for military magic presented: Rare and Secretive (there's a dangerous hidden world out there and one or a handful of shadowy agencies capitalize on that with magical agents), Available and Specialized (magic is open knowledge but very few people actually know how to control it, with intelligence agencies being one of those that hold the power), and Common as Dirt (eldritch tanks and foot soldiers shooting lasers out of their hands are no big deal). To augment these concepts there are various new game rules, including a new advanced class and two new prestige classes. The Magic Grunt advanced class isn't the most powerful spellcaster around, but augments its lesser magic functionality by casting better in armor, broadening the area of spells' effects, and resisting enemy magic. The two prestige classes, the Thaumaturgist and Arcane Spec-Op, are both meant to augment spellcasting advanced classes: the Thaumaturgist basically grants Mage class features to spellcasters who don't have the Mage advanced class, while the Arcane Spec-Op is a dangerous foe who is skilled in assassination techniques and combining guns and spells.

If you want even more military magic fun, there is also a new feat called Armored Caster that lowers your arcane spell failure chance in armor by -10%, as well as two metamagic feats called Fork Spell (doubles the amount of targets of a spell) and Mass Spell (increases the targets of a spell to half your caster level, so have fun with that smoldering crater of foes).




The Emporium
Last, but certainly not least, in Modern Magic is the chapter on magic items. There are a total of thirty-eight new magic items, ranging from silly but clever entries like the balloon of air elemental summoning to more down to earth and practical devices such as the marksman's bullet. As with spells, I'll be listing some that are either interesting or I am personally fond of to give you an example of what you'd be getting into.
  • Door Hangar of Privacy: This magic item combines a noise-cancelling aura with a "don't look at me" compulsion to give the room behind the door privacy for any number of reasons. Perfect for your secret meetings or covert assassinations.
  • Hand Buzzer of Voltage: The classic "joy buzzer that actually deals 1d8 points worth of electrical shock". An oldie but a goodie in my book.
  • Light Bulb of True Seeing: One of those items that is easy to overlook but really interesting to think about, the area illuminated by this lightbulb is affected by the true seeing spell. I can imagine a particularly paranoid individual having their house just littered with these, making sure that no invisible being or illusionist can get past them.
  • Nosferatu Fangs: You know those novelty vampire fangs you can get as Halloween knick-knacks? Well, it turns out you can enchant them to become hard fangs that deal 1d4 bite damage and can do blood drain like a real vampire.
  • Pet Rock of Earth Elemental Summoning: Need I say more than the name of this one?
  • Sunlike Floodlight: A special bulb implanted in a floodlight that allows it to produce the daylight spell six times before it burns out and needs to be replaced.
  • Voodoo Doll: While you know what a voodoo doll is, I figured I'd at least inform you just what the magical item does. It deals 2 damage to one ability score of the target as long as they are within 10 miles and the pin is in the doll, depending on the location the pin is placed: Strength for the arms, Dexterity for the legs, Constitution for the chest, Intelligence for the forehead, Wisdom for the stomach (?), and Charisma for the face.

There are two appendices after the final chapter, one showing what lesser incantation elements can be used to replicate existing spells and another that has d20 Modern conversions of size Large elementals of the four classic types. Hooray.

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

Next time: Modern Magic Volume II, wherein varied divine spells, Haitian rituals, and magic CSI occur.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 08:02 on Oct 20, 2013

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


The new season of American Horror Story, Coven, looks like its going to be a mix of Hellcats and Hockeysticks, WGA, and Chris Fields.

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darthbob88
Oct 13, 2011

YOSPOS


Fossilized Rappy posted:

[*]Voodoo Doll: While you know what a voodoo doll is, I figured I'd at least inform you just what the magical item does. It deals 2 damage to one ability score of the target as long as they are within 10 miles and the pin is in the doll, depending on the location the pin is placed: Strength for the arms, Dexterity for the legs, Constitution for the chest, Intelligence for the forehead, Wisdom for the stomach (?), and Wisdom for the face.
You said Wisdom twice. I assume the face is Charisma, because you're affecting how the victim looks? Wisdom being attached to the stomach is appropriate as well, because Wisdom is gut instinct and such.

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