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FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013
Bieeardo, I salute you. Once, a long time ago, on a forum far away, I was given a free copy of Superbabes if I reviewed it, and 'rewards' if I did a playtest review. So, I put a game together.

It lasted exactly one session because statting up enemies was such a chore that it was actually more fun to make a spreadsheet to do it for me. Combat was a pain in the rear end, even against mooks.

I think I gave up on my eventual Let's Read around Go Places. It just started getting to me. It didn't help that I really didn't want to get into the skills because they get... incomprehensible and are further proof that they were just throwing numbers at the wall. The Super Skills are a special brand of Number-Fail that I can go on about when you've hit them.

On a related note, I actually have in my possession one of the adventures for Superbabes. Game of the Century, which was actually part of a series of adventures about a rich man who wanted to buy all the fun in the world, and this time he'd set his sights on Baseball. Notable for containing a sex offender bathmat. Just because Superbabes wasn't creepy enough already. (The Sponge, said sex offender bathmat, is an actual character from the comics.)

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FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Bieeardo posted:

But oh god, WGA. I'd put that whole awful thing out of my head a long while ago, but you're right. They're both built on the skeeviest sort of exploitation, aren't they?

I don't know. Superbabes(and the comics it's based on which are... somewhat less skeevy) is at least honest about it. It's the girlie magazine game where everything is out to humiliate you. That's the point of it. Are they doing it well or right? Hell no. Da hell? How and why am I defending Superbabes? Anyway, it at least makes an attempt to be playable without making it too much of an overt fetish game. Too much.

Witch Girls Adventures make no apologies and doesn't admit anything. It's trying to be subtle about it's kink content, and hell, it kinda is. Kinda.

So, okay two things. First of all, I looked it up and the spelling for the Sex Offender Bathmat who is playing a baseball game to get an early parole is Da Sponge. He's not statted in the adventure itself, so he's either in Knockouts and Powerhouses or one of the other adventures in the series.

Secondly, in a moment of masochistic fury, I actually bought both the WGA bundle(which contains the Adventure, the core book, the quick start, an expanded experience system, and the In-Universe magazine(as well as Witch Girl Tales and a Princess Lucinda comic)) and a bit of Chris Field's work... Mostly, the "Guro-Strike" and the Razor Subculture book from the Otherverse America setting. I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but at least it all came up to under ten bucks. Part of me really wants to go over the poo poo in the WGA package... but for now, here is the experience chart.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Mr. Maltose posted:

4 or 5 funbux, it says it right there.

You'd obviously be drawing a Witch Girl Adventure character doing Witch Girl Adventures!

Actually, I think it'd only be 2 funbux as it'd be a group picture by necessity. Though, you could rule that mortals don't count as cha-- the hell is wrong with me?

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I don't think Superbabes is honest so much as it is transparent. It doesn't at all admit to what it's about, it's just so blatant about it that it's unmistakable. Though, certainly, I have known folks with sufficient cultural ignorance to have it all fly over their heads, too. :(

But I think the key element is that Witch Girls Adventures adds children to its kink content, and exults in depicting abusive, disgusting cruelty perpetrated by or upon children. The other difference is that Superbabes is at least modestly self-aware (if shameless). On the other hand, Witch Girls Adventures feels like it's written by people who are just completely devoid of self-awareness (and probably basic ethics). They're both reprehensible embarrassments, but WGA takes the cake, and then vomits it up all over your nicest guests.
You've got a good point. When I was writing that, I was hip deep in Witch Girl Adventures. All About The Voodollars is definitely going up on the chopping block when I can get up the fortitude to go through it again. Like, Witch Girls gets to you, and you stop thinking about the fact that there's a Heritage that exists pretty much just to put things in people's drinks and watch them turn to gold or mind control them. Like, after going through the core book with a friend, all the Crush, Giantess, and transformation stuff just sorta... stopped registering. The Covered In Grunge picture jolted me back to reality.

gently caress both of them though. You're right. Looking over Game of the Century, there are so many preplanned wardrobe malfunctions and various bits of psychotic messing about that you'd think it was football. Except, in football, being covered in cooking spray is an advantage.


Bieeardo posted:

I'll admit it: if I'd somehow got my hands on Super-Babes at release, the skeeviness would have flown straight over my head. The mechanics probably would have sent me right back to GURPS, too.

WGA... Christ. It's like someone took one of Bradbury's demonic children stories, like The Veldt, threw in some of Roald Dahl's darker bits, and then tried to extrapolate an entire culture from that sordid little snapshot. It's nonsensical, insulting and ill, even before the corkscrew-twisted power fetishes and their underage vehicles come into play. Speaking of vehicles, that XP table a few posts up looks like a recipe for astroturf. 'Make art' (and upload it to DA!) 'Make a blog' (and help boost our SEO numbers!) People do that sort of thing all the time, but most games don't offer bribes to get the word out.

I actually want to take a step back and talk about that. Your comment that it's The Veldt + The Witches is pretty spot on actually. They say again and again that it's supposed to be an Addams Family style dark comedy. A couple big name reviews of it even name check Roald Dahl and Charles Addams. Specifically, Paul Dini called it like the work of Charles Addams when he was writing an intro to one of the comics. I doubt any of them have played the game or even know that it exists.

As for that extra experience table... Yeah. I know some people that would be well on their way to godhood after that. Given that they're artists who draw constantly... Of course, like everything about this game, it's rear end backwards and promotes selfishness. Group photos should be five, not two, and drawing someone else's character should be worth more than drawing your own. And never mind the fact that it increases the GM's work load by turning him into an art critic.

Still, the whole book is that bad. Thankfully, it's short. Unfortunately, it makes 13 Magazine and a couple of the adventures worse because it gives a guideline on how much an allowance point is actually worth.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

(The above image links to the bundle on RPGnow, in case you wish to fund their madness. You'll get seven products for seven dollars.)
Witch Girls Adventures: All About The Voodollars: Part 1 Knowing The Price Of Salt Helps You Sleep.

The core book is already covered, as well as the Playable characters from The Pirates of Buccaneer Hill, so I'll concern myself with the two other supplements. The comics are out of the scope of this thread, even if Witch Girls Tales stats out the cast.

First on the chopping block is All About The Voodollars, a twenty four page pamphlet designed to give the setting more depth and realism. Gasp.

The cover, as you can see, is about what you'd expect from this system. Blinged out teens on thrones with skulls. Also, this book alone used to go for seven dollars. So I guess I got my money's worth with this bundle. Yeah, you don't need tags to see that I don't believe that one. It claims to have been edited and proofread by a one Jess Hartley. Don't believe it for a second. I'm kinda glad, I've got about as much grounds to sue them for false advertising as they do to sue Disney over a witch named Lucinda.

Anyway, the index contains a side bar by Abby Soto, Princess Lucinda's creator, going on about how she needs to know the price of salt to have a meaningful game, and she's weirded out by the fact that Witches Have Money... so this book was created to help her sleep at night. You might think I'm being fanciful. You'd be wrong. She makes all these points. Oh, and it also contains a picture of three little girls robbing a bank. In the most adorable, non-violent fashion possible. By blowing a hole in the wall and lasering the lockboxes open.

Once you get past that, the first actual section is called "All about the Voodollars", and deals with the perks and perils of giving people bonus XP. This is the source of the above chart. But we'll get to that. The layout of this section makes no drat sense. There's a nice big picture of a girl magicking up money on the left side, with a couple paragraphs under it explaining what Voodollars are and why you should give them out for anything fun. And then the chapter head shows up, along with a paragraph that says that just playing with your friends should be reward enough, but hey, XP!

After going on about this, it tells you to limit yourself to ten Voodollars per person per game. I think that's what it says. It actually says "To balance encouragement and value, we suggest limiting the number of Voodollars handed out each episode to ten." If it meant you should only give out ten bonus XP points an episode, it becomes a sort of scrabbling Witch-Eat-Witch free-for-all as everyone competes to be the biggest brown-noser. It's about as conductive to a stable group as running Carebears in Amber.

I'm just making a screen shot of this next part. Not the worst has to offer, but hell.

How to what them? One more word and we'll have a sentence. How to hate them? How to swim through them like Scrooge McDuck? How to give herself paper-cuts while gently caressing herself with them? And yes, that whole book has that paper texture. It's actually worse on the left edge, with a lot of letters getting soaked up by black boarders.

The next section gives directions on making a group fund. They suggest that you make everyone chip in an equal amount so that no one feels entitled. Sane enough. Almost too sane.

Moving on... Here's the chart. "Earning Voodollars in new ways". There's a paragraph explaining the chart and it moves onto spending Voodollars in new ways. This too is just a paragraph or two justifying a chart.

Yes, you're reading this chart right. You can give up XP to heal damage, remove spells, or increase your rolls. Because that's exactly what you should be doing with a resource the GM is encouraged to keep a tight hold on. Spending it for temporary advantage so you'll forever be a second banana. The art on this page is a nice color picture of three Hex Scouts fighting a cyclops. I have no idea what that has to do with anything, but hey, it's there. I think the girl with the pink hair and boots is supposed to be a Dwitch. No, you don't know what a Dwitch is yet.

I'm going to speed through this next bit because it's uninteresting, minimal setting work. I bring you "New Voodollars", which are print out and cut-out play money to hand over as XP. It comes in color and black and white and tells you all about the person on the bill. The One Voodollar Bill has Hecuba Morbane; the current High Enchantress. Her background text has a few weird values judgments. "In her youth she was on the front lines of holding together the tedious alliances between witches and vampires and even marrying one (Claudius Morbane)". So, it seems witches find having to deal with other sentient species tedious. Good to know.

The two dollar bill has Queen Gothel, the evil witch from every fairy tale ever. Also a boarding school headmistress. Nothing to say other than I'm still pretty sure Frau Totenkinder's reaction to meeting her would make what she did to Baba Yaga look kind.

The three-dollar bill has Abby Bruja, a political activist with Hags Syndrome and apparently toes for fingers. I know it's just the angle and that the trace job on that photo is terrible, but... Look at that.


The five has a picture of Boddica. She's some sort of war hero who died in World War two. We're walking. The ten has a picture of Josephine Baker... Who apparently was a witch who discovered it late in life and helped preform the ceremony that ended World War Two... and according to this picture looks just like Eartha Kitt. And the twenty dollar bill has a picture of Raven from Teen Titans. Just with the serial numbers filed off poorly. Raven Sinclare is from a parallel universe where superheroes exist, and she's the most powerful Sorceress. Yeah.

Each one of those dollar bills was given an entire page, with so much white space you could write a better game in it. We're about to get into actual setting stuff and spells... so I'm going to stop here. Because drat it. I am not reading this whole book in one sitting for a third time.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Bieeardo posted:

I want to suggest that autocorrect turned 'tenuous' into 'tedious', but it seems pretty honest as it is.

Google and I had the same reaction to Boddica: did they mean Boudica? Because god drat it, there's appropriation, and there's appropriation.

Gich. My skin's crawling already. I've always hated demonic child stories.
First: Yeah, they did. Now that I can see it, they totally did. I also misspelled it in my write up because they spelled it "Boddicaa". Two As. She really has no introduction aside from "Warrior, priestess, chieftain and witch, Boddicaa fought the Romans and established the groundwork of the nation that would become England." Then brief witch nonsense then, she gave her life during World War Two.

Secondly: If you have trouble with Demon Children, you should skip the Babysitting article in 13 Magazine.

Mr. Maltose posted:

Dammit Syrg you're going to run this poo poo aren't you.

Syrg Sapphire posted:

I ENTIRELY AM
Oh good, saves me the trouble of running it. I had a short campaign of sorts worked up called "Bring Me The Head Of Lucinda Nightbane". Looks like I can throw away those notes.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Read and learn, I suppose! Also, I think your dollars funded at least three horrible witch girls to learn about hope again. Or unhope. Whatever giving them money pays for.
Lawyers, to sue Disney for W.I.T.C.H. and Sofia the First. Both lawsuits that have happened, though the latter is currently in the process of being rejected. Not kidding. They also sued another comic book company over Witch Girls. Which is why Second Edition and the Princess Lucinda Movie are on hold. And why their website is down.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, it's time for the next installment of...

(there was A LINK here but now its gone)

Witch Girls Adventures: All About The Voodollars: Part 2: loving Money, How Does It Work?

So, now that I'm through with the whitespace and tables, it's time to get the densely packed stuff. The first thing I have to say is I was wrong. The black boarders are on 13 Magazine. Now to the book. The page heading is Money In The World Of Witch Girls. However, we get another bit of their amazing proof-reading(as Syrg can now attest), where it takes the text of the last page and repeats it, giving us another thing of Raven's history. It's under History that this actually picks up. It goes on to talk about how Ancient Witches tend to look back on the past as the good old days, ignoring that there were just as many wars and diseases and just as much greed back then. But you could get away with telling people, and I quote "Give me what I want or I lay waste to your village with a plague of fire-breathing, flying sharks." and they'd probably open up a temple in your honor.

This resulted in every supernatural creature Child of Lilith declaring themselves divinity and killing people for profit. Then they all decided it was a bad idea and sat on their thumbs until humans invented The Economy(Civilization Style, I suppose), and then traded good and services until those wacky humans invented racism. So they had to go to the Gnomes Of Zurich, who are in this case, literal Gnomes living under Zurich.

The Gnomes Of Zurich operate the Luna Bank, which offers universal currency exchange, credit cards, and stocks and bonds, both magical and mundane. Thats right you can buy shares in Microsoft at the Luna Bank! The Luna Bank board is made up of two Gnomes of Zurich, one dwarf, and one of every type of Otherkin... and one human. Despite this, it's mostly run by the WWC. There's a note about the Longevity Account, which is a special type of bank account that six year old witches(as well as Vampires and Immortals) can open which will lock away their money until their hundredth birthday, and it accumulates interest until then. There are branches in every major city, and every magical city, which means that yes, you can go from school to the bank. Or more likely, there's a bank in the school.

The Great Vault is potentially the most interesting bit of the Luna Bank. Three miles beneath a Swiss mountain is where all the world's gold, that isn't actively in use, is kept. The vault is made out of Cold Iron, so only Dwarves, Gnomes, and people of Dwarf and Gnome ancestry can enter without "succumbing to the magic-negating nature of the vault".

The vault also contains the GOZ's computer system and various special meeting rooms, but they're buried in the granite, far below the Cold Iron Holding Vault. Nearby is the hidden dwarf/gnome/dwitch village of Ironheim.

And now we're onto the Law of Economic Influence. Basically, a couple paragraphs on what happens if you try to get rich quick. Generally, they'll just take the money away, but they might ground you without magic for a month, or freeze your account.

Now to the part that breaks the system wide open. How Much Is An Allowance Point? An allowance point is around $50 or 35 Euros. Look at the prices and know that that's fifty bucks. Your average Witch Girl gets a hundred and fifty bucks a week. This will be important when I read 13 Magazine

Now onto new Talents and Heritages. The New talents are Covetous(which gives you a +1 to get stuff you want, including begging mommy for more money), Generous(+1 rolls to "being giving charitable", or +2 to social rolls), Poor(Which sets "the character's monthly weekly allowance to 1(10 starting allowance savings)", but gives you +2 life levels and +1 to will rolls), Stingy(which lets you use broken items like new and get an extra dose out of all potions and a +5 to starting allowance savings).

The Heritages are up next. We've got the Alchemist who is actually pretty cool. She makes potions instead of casting spells like a normal witch. She gets a +2 to her potions roll for free, and all of her potion spells will run off it. An alchemist can make liquid, gas, or dissolving powder cake forms... That's right, you can drop tablets into people's drinks that will turn them into gold, a mouse, or make them more generous. She also gets a +3 to resist non-magical poisons and a +2 to resist magical poisons and harmful potions. Which means you can totally poison everyone's food and rely on an acquired immunity. On the down side, you've got a -2 to all rolls for casting spells normally, and casting normally costs two more zap.

Half-Dwarves(or Dwitches) have some of the worst non-dollar bill art in this book, and also are kinda offensive so I'm just going to give you the image...

That thing in her hand? That's a special magical dwarven smithy hammer. So, she's even being kinda singled out in universe.

The final new heritage is the Magi-matician. Which have magic math powers. You can spend two Zap Points(or, as the exchange rate between Zap Points and voodollars is one to one, a bag of cheetos) to reroll any roll once, and take the better outcome. Also, a +1 to the Basics skill and a +1 to math rolls. Due to their uncanny predictive abilities and memory, they get a +2 to either of those thing. Their down side is that they're bad with people, reducing their die type one step, and if their rerolls fail, they lose an extra zap point and become flustered.

And this is where I stop for the night because I really don't want to stare at the picture of a woman getting turned into gold or the spell that lets you steal another life form's magic to spend as cash. Hopefully, I'll get through the last of this book next post.

FourmyleCircus fucked around with this message at 19:25 on Sep 17, 2013

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013
Witch Girl Adventures: All About The Voodollars Part 3: Rainbow Connection

(there was a link here, but now it's gone)

New Spells, get'cher new spells! Most of these are illegal, so don't tell anyone where you got them.

Ace in the Hole is second level Divination spell spell that gives you a +2 to Resist Magic or Reflex against the next attack of whoever you specified in casting, or a +2 to your Games skills if just playing a game. By itself just kinda cool. But combined with the Alchemist you go straight into addiction kink territory. Taking a moment in battle to drink something before coming back faster than ever.

Advance Alchemy(Alteration 2) is probably a victim of their inability to hire a decent proofreader. What was probably meant was Advanced Alchemy. It turns a base metal into gold, silver, or some other precious metal for the duration of the spell. Don't sell it, that'd break the law of economic influence. But what spell do you use to turn the resulting gold into cookies?

Beggars Choice(Mentalism ?) forces the victim to be free with their money. They gain the generous trait for the duration of the spell, and lose any trait that would make them stingy. If cast successfully on a parent, that parent will increase a Witch's Allowance (for a minimum of a week) by 1 point per MTR of the spell. That's right, Alchemist. Slip fizzing poisonchemical cakes into your mother's OJ to get an extra hundred dollars a week.

Cha-Ching (Conjuration 1) allows you to make 1 allowance point(fifty bucks) per MTR... and requires a Hard Sense, Art, or Mind roll to detect. Also illegal and will probably get your rear end tracked down by the WWC if you use it to buy anything bigger than a hamburger.

Insider Trading(Divination 3) gives you insight on the stock market and economic changes. Simply focus on the thing you want to know more about and cast it. You can use it on a stock future or an eBay bid equally. If you succeed, you'll know how much it'll rise, fall, or what the high bid will be in an auction, for one day per MTR. Once again, when combined with the Alchemist, you get someone constantly taking various chemicals because they're more 'in touch with the universe'/better that way.

Midas Touch, just in case you thought I was joking about turning people into gold. Alteration 4/Curse 5. Two different spells, same name. With the alteration version, you can choose to either turn everything a person is carrying to gold along with them, or just them. Meaning you could theoretically strip down your rivals and leave them naked and frozen in public. Thanks WGA, just what I always wanted. But, hey. It makes for a good Non-Lethal Takedown. And remember, using magical gold to buy things is illegal, so you can't just melt them down and make them into jewelry without the Magi-Maticians and Gnomes of Zurich looking at you funny. Well, unless you keep the jewelry for yourself. It also presents us with the first overt fetish picture of the book.

The curse is just the curse of King Midas with the limitation that it won't turn anything bigger than a grown human adult into gold, and you can designate whether it's the hands, feet, or mouth.

Net Robber(Cybermancy 2) lets you take money from one online account or bank and transfer it to another. It can be used legally or just to steal funds, which is of course illegal.

Paying the Ferryman(Necromancy 4) is actually a really interesting spell on it's own. You can bribe death to leave you the hell alone. Two life points are returned per Allowance Point spent. Of course, there's a down side. You lose an extra zap point for every life point recovered. If you run out of Zap in the next day or so, Death's Boss notices the bribery and sends a Dread Wraith after you, with intent to kill you.

Rainbow connection(Elementalism 4) should be a fun, happy spell. It allows you to turn rainbows into physical objects which you can hide behind, use as a slide, use as a ladder, whatever. It also allows you to find a Leprechaun's crock of gold, if there's a hidden one in the area. The reason this isn't a happy thing will come up when I get to the new monsters.

Space Vault(Time and Space 3) lets you turn anything(living or not) into a storage space. When activated, the spell opens a hole in the target 1Ft by 1Ft per MTR of the spell. The hole can befilled with anything, then closed and sealed(not harming the vessel). At any time, you can just open that sucker back up, so long as you're the same person who put the spell on them and you use the same spell. Yet another reason to carry around a shrunken human in your purse. So you can use them as a second purse. Undo the shrinking for a moment, pin them down, cast the spell, and put stuff in them. Or, I suppose, you could store stuff in your best friend in a totally consensual manner.

Space Vault is technically the last spell in here, but there's copies of unproof-read versions of Paying the Ferryman, Rainbow connection, and Space Vault after it...

New items!

Alchemist Globes are basically grenade cases that cost 1 allowance point for every two. Nothing more to them. Make your own Gold Gas Grenades.

The Alchemist Shooter is actually really cool. It's this nice raygun thing that shoot potions up to fifty foot. It can hold six different spells, and three doses of each. As you can make gas versions of spells... You know you want to be like Darkwing Duck. A drug addicted, preteen Darkwing Duck. I have no idea where I was going with that... Anyway, it's 7 AP.

The Credit Card Broom is... a broom that turns into a credit card. Or more specifically, it's an enchantment that lets you turn your broom into a credit card for an extra two allowance points.

The Luna Bank card is a bank card. The only new magical thing about it is that it can summon cash directly, and it makes it harder for people to steal from you. If you get less than 4 allowance a week, it costs 1 AP, if you get 5 or more, you it costs 2 AP.

The Money Charm is a charm braclet or necklace that lets you trade in Zap points for cash. More specifically, your maximum Zap goes down by one, but your allowance goes up by a point a week for as long as the charm is worn. You can only wear one at a time, and it costs Five AP... which means it takes five weeks to pay for itself. Now, what I'm curious about is how it works in a way that doesn't mess with the laws of Fincancial Influence. Is there another partner charm out that there that gives an extra zap in exchange for an allowance point? Are the Gnomes using it to power Magic!Google?

The Wammer is a one foot long hammer with a smaller than normal head that acts both as a smithy hammer and a wand. That's right, you can have a Dwitch and her wammer. Anyway, it has all the same properties as a basic wand, but it gives a +1 to enchantment and Fix rolls. Like the Alchemist Shooter, it costs 7 AP.

Casting Call!
So, here we are, in the home stretch. I'm almost done with this accursed book... and then I'll have to move onto something worse. Why didn't I read The Void instead?

Dwarves are immune to Cold Iron, they know where all precious metals and gems are within twenty feet of them, and they get two extra life levels and ignore one point of damage for being short and tough. They have three to eight(so... 1d6+2) ranks in magic, but can only place it in Conjuration, Elementalism, Divination, Illusion, Healing, Offense, and protection. They can't get higher than 4 ranks, and only the oldest have a four in anything. They're just... dwarves. The live in small villages, together. THey don't fear people, but they don't care for them either.

The Jikininki are zombies that eat people and things, and are obsessed with eating certain things, and go after greedy people. Not much to say here.

Leprechauns are alcoholic potheads who can get you stoned by being the same room as them. They're also amazing good with numbers and can count any amount of money instantly. This makes them good bankers. They're good liars, and amazing tricksters(+2 to any roll to be sneaky and tricky), and oh yes. Their crock of gold. All "leperacauns" have a crock of gold with 50-100 AP of gold in it. If anyone takes their gold, the know. The more gold you take, the weaker they become. When all of their gold is gone, they lose the ability to use magic and become normal people until they manage to refill it. They also turn into axe murders and will track your rear end down. Rainbow Connection no longer looks so innocent, does it?

Luck Spirits help you get lucky. No, not like that. That's what magic roofiesLove Potions are for. Luck Spirits are teleporting spirits that can curse you with a -5 to all rolls or your allowance, or bless you with a plus five to all rolls or your allowance. It takes a Very Hard roll to resist, but is simple enough to break. For a negative one, you knock on wood or toss salt over your sholder. If you want to break the good one, just break a mirror. Luck spirits live in objects and if that object is destroyed, they die. They only appear if their homes are in danger, to watch games of any sort, or if someone wrongs them. Oh, and if you abuse spells that make you lucky, they'll show up to kick your rear end. So don't rig the super bowl or the lottery.

Sphinxes are witches and the descendants of witches that sided with Echidna. So, now they're giant winged lion women who can turn to stone, petrify people, and track people for two thousand miles... And yes, they're good with riddles. Sphinxes guard stuff. They're also an all female egg-laying species that lays every hundred years, and has a life span of five hundred years. I don't know why the game felt I needed to know that.

Yaotl are stone golems in gold armor. Which means they're immune to electricity and ignore two points of all damage. They're Aztecs golems that will steal stuff to bring back the Aztec empire. A cool idea, actually.

And that's it. I'm done with all about the Voodollars. Join me next time when I go through 13 Magazine, a supplement presented as an in universe magazine. So it tells you more about Witches than you ever wanted to know.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013
Not a problem Adnachiel. I kinda started with the least objectionable of them. Although, The Adventure might be Okay.... I doubt it.

13 Magazine has actual content, so it's... well.. It's about as troublesome as the core. I assume it'd be okay to cover the adventure, if it comes to that. After all, it's kinda a combination adventure and setting book, from the brief skim I gave before getting entirely creeped out by the icon they use for the contacts.

And to continue that little tangent about Channel M, they've recently been going ape over the show Sofia the First, which is about a low born princess and her witch friend Lucinda. Lucinda starts off a fearsome, mean little poo poo who hexes everyone she comes across just because. Naturally, Channel M claims that they stole Lucinda from them. Totally ignoring that Lucinda is a pretty classic Witch name and Disney's Lucinda had actual character growth and becomes friends people who aren't as bad as she is and, most importantly, stops hexing people because it amuses her.

On an unrelated note, I know a guy who used to roleplay with Lucinda/Abby when City of Heroes was still up. He hated her, but she loved pestering him. He explained a fair bit about how they guys at Channel M saw roleplaying. Apparently, a good deal of the messed up vibe of this comes from the fact that they don't see things like internal consistency and consequences as part of having fun. They also assume that all characters are self inserts at best. If you decide to get angry, it's because you think a fight scene would be cool right then.

Kinda weird, but understandable. Doesn't excuse this train-wreck.

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: :effort:, 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.

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.

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.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Bieeardo posted:

...and we're done. So long, Super-Babes.

Only not.

I've got a short stack of Super-Babes supplements, and I'm going to touch on at least two or three. The first, because they had at least a brief brush with funny. The second, because it's just a horror of their brand of 'game balance'. The third... because I think it might have a sex offender bathmat in it.

What a wretched loving book.

Two things... I'll do the adventure if you actually do this.

Secondly, you left out the best/worst part of those sections. The Cam and Marc Sez "sidebars". The Law one is kinda boring, just common sense. Your supers act like thugs? Sue them or put them in jail.

But the Stuff...

Summary: Players like getting stuff. Give them stuff. But not too much stuff. And remember to take away their stuff, but only do it on occasion so your players don't take you out behind the woodshed and redecorate your epidermis.

And of course, their comment on the absurdly powerful aliens.

Summary: Yes, we gave Cthulhu stats. Don't punch him. it won't work. Don't use him, because your players will want to punch him, and it won't work. And oh yeah, you shouldn't have too many of these.

I apologize for the crap scans, but I didn't want to damage my copy any more than it already was. I've got like, six pages about to fall out.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013
Speaking of making GBS threads On Bad Games... I'm going to go through the Superbabes Adventure because... Well, frankly, I don't have the intestinal fortitude to pull of 13 Magazine right now. Or enough vodka. Friend of mine suggested making a drinking game out of WGA. Not sure my liver would survive it.

Superbabes: Game of the Century


This is a sequel to a module I don't have, called Return of the Ravagers. They somewhat assume you've played it, but just in case they felt the need to give nearly a full page of back-story on how the owner of the New York Patriots was trying to own the spirit of baseball by buying a possessed bat. And when that didn't work, stealing it from the current owner, who bought it in at garage sale. Welcome to the Stonebrenner and Casey show. You guys? The Players? Not actually that important, he just needed a bunch of super-powered women in skin tight outfits to get the bat into the open. Not kidding.

See, without the Spirit Of Baseball being actively used, baseball was going into a slump, which is what was causing all those scandals and such during the 90's. So Casey started playing in various exhibition matches. A phrase which is going to take a darker meaning today. Thus, Stonebrenner decided that the best way to get the bat from her wasn't to hire a crack team of super-thieves or anything, but to use his extensive network of contacts to blackmail two teams worth of super-humans. :psyduck:

Which is how you're brought into this mess. The adventure assumes that you're using the core FemForce team and have been playing with the villains from the book. If you're not... well, you'll have to improvise, but there are three characters that have to remain. Those being Casey(of course!), Proxima(one of the villainous characters, and plot important), and Yankee Girl(because having her as the designated catcher reduced fatalities when they tested it). And now, to draw your players into being part of this charity baseball game/overly elaborate heist. First, you blackmail the characters emotionally by the "It's for charity!" and the Make A Wish Foundation. Then you go after their backgrounds. Old high school coach, their corporate masters, or for the country. Just get them out there, even if it means revoking their stuff privileges until they cooperate.

And then you make them wait three weeks. Now, to be fair, it's only three in game week and doesn't suggest you put it off for three sessions. Which would be a little much, even if you were running the One Night Stands in-between. Yes, they're actual Superbabes products, and yes, they're called quickies. Anyway, back to the game at hand. If the players ask any questions about what's going on and you don't want to answer them... Don't! That's the game's advice, have Stonebrenner's lawyers and PR stonewall them.

So, it's time for the pre-game PR publicity shoot and all that, the GM is invited to get all of the BE out of the way here, and then make hints that there will be more BEs to come... That's Bimbo Events, not the other one. Although with this game, it's hard to tell. During this point, real baseball players show up to warn the players that the Bat is a mystic artifact and blah blah. The above back-story.

And so, it's time to move onto the locker rooms, which are booby trapped every which way. Two pages of nasty things to do, each one of them done to set off the next. They've drilled holes in the walls for Celebrity Skin, the Corporate Heroine's costume has been replaced with a string bikini and matching thong accompanied by a forged note from PR saying "This will really show off our assets to the folks at home!", the benches are coated in Crazy Glue, dyepacks are put in the shower heads so that they start dying people after about ten minutes, and the locker room has a very nice bathmat. It's a large absorbent sponge. It is, in fact Da Sponge. He's just going to lay there and try not to move. Staring at all the beautiful naked women with water running down them.

Yeah. Da Sponge is... one of the skeezier elements in this. And you do get a roll to determine if something's wrong... but only if you've dealt with Da Sponge in the past. Though, if you do something to get him riled up, a brawl might start. Or you just catch him moving.

Moving on, there's a Limburger cheese bomb in someone's locker, a d10 table to determine what color you turn if you go back into the shower after the ten minutes of safety are up, the Government Sponsored hero has had her costume replaced with a non-Span-X version that's two to three sizes too small, and the character with Get Big(if you've got one) has a perfectly fitted non-Span-X replica... And if you've got a guy in the party, just to make sure he doesn't miss out on the fun, he gets assaulted by Morgana the Kissing Bandit.

Finally, right before the game start, it's revealed who they'll be facing, all an star line-up of super-villains! We've got Proxima, Krone, Alexandria The Greatest, Maidenform, Vaklyra, Cherry Bomb, Prom Queen, XT, and finally, you know him, you loath him, Da Sponge! If you don't know him yet... you will. There's a listing of who plays what position and what they're getting in return... and Da Sponge is just happy to be here. Very, very happy. They note that Da Sponge isn't a woman, but it's arguable that he's not a man, either.

Anyway, it's time for the game. The usual Pre-Game stuff happens, there's a "Lush Rimbaugh" joke... They give a 'nice' little rule that just play the highlights reel. And then they give rules about how fast the ball should be going. Which is Ten MPH for every point of muscles the pitcher has. And then it gives a formula on how to take that number and determine how hard it is to hit. The problem here is that their numbers don't add up. They say that it's hittability is the MPH diivided by ten... Which would up it at the Muscles of the pitcher, and then they say that a ball thrown by Proxima would be at hittability 5, because she has forty five muscle, and... Oh screw it, I've scanned it, you can see their insanity.

Anyway, there's some nice advice on how to run the villains they've assembled for you that amounts to "Only two of them even knows how to play, ones the robot and the other is stuck in the outfield."

And then they decide to break it down by inning. First Inning, the thugs try to steal the bat while Casey is pitching. And the first PC to get to second base will be knocked the hell out by Alexandra... Who didn't know that you can't punch people in baseball. Second Inning, Cherry Bomb has rigged your helmets to explode, doing 3d10+10 damage if you get beaned. And Poxima will very much try to bean you. If you're using the team given, she'll go after Stardust, who can take it due to invulnerability... If not, well, you better hope that the first person to bat can take forty damage to the head plus whatever the ball does. Flying at 450 Miles Per Hour, a baseball is a lethal weapon, I'd say. Close inspection will reveal which of the remaining helmets are fitted with explosives.

The Third Inning, the mascot tries to steal the bat from the bat boy(who will be oogling the players) and thus being a constant thorn in your side. Unless you actually hit him, he's not going anywhere as he's the official stadium mascot. When the Away Team is on the field, Valkyra(a reanimated defrosted nazi) will try to kick the Government sponsored player back to second base... Fourth Inning, it's time to roll to see if the PCs piss themselves. No, it's not random, apparently Prom Queen has spiked the GatorMaid with a powerful diuretic. I wish I was making this up. If your Health stat is under a hundred, you'll be in the bathroom, a lot. The lower your stat, the sooner and more often you'll be fleeing to the locker room and/or ending up mocked on the news as your costume abruptly changes colors.

Okay, we're halfway there. Fifth Inning, Promixa and Krone start shouting insults and eventually they start throwing punches at each other and anyone dumb enough to break it up. And then, as they can't get replacement players for a game like this, they have to shake and make-up. The Sixth Inning... Well, see for yourself.



Yeah.

Seventh, Alexandria gets a call and goes off to confront Casey because she's just been informed that Casey is cheating by way of magic possessed bat. After some bickering, Casey hands Alexandria the bat, and the bat explains that it's the spirit of competition, and Alexandria respect competition, blah blah. Long story short, she doesn't hand the bat over to the literal big bad. Eight, Valkyria murders a man on national television. You know those nutters who used to parachute into major sporting events? One of them show up, and Valkyria being "a nasty nazi" really doesn't want to be here, but an opportunity to kill someone perks her up and she'll hit a homer right through the guy. Unless you've got someone who can fly to catch the ball.

Nine, Stonebrenner just says to heck with it and goes Giant, starting the final battle. I just wanna take a moment to be a huge nerd who has actually read the comics... It states that Stonebrenner used the Giganta Serum. The problem with this is that the Giganta serum has flaw in it that makes you ultra-empathic, and that's why Giganta was out of her head with rage all the time. She was feeling everyone's fear, anger, and guilt and lashed out at the things people felt were oppressing them. Eventually, this was fixed, but at no point was an Improved Giganta Serum without this fatal flaw made... and it didn't really allow her to resize. She was just Giant.

Anyway, they've choreographed this battle nicely. Maidenform, the robot I didn't mention because she doesn't do anything useful, stands around like a post because she's been reprogrammed to play baseball and doesn't know how to fight. So she'll be used as a weapon. Proxima will go after Stardust, any other character from Stardust's planet, or Krone, in that order. She'll fight until there's no point in fighting anymore. If all of her preferred targets are taken out, she'll try to blend in with the crowd. Krone will try to kill Proxima. If Proxima is out of the fight, Krone will just sit there. Alexandria will wrestle a member of whichever team looks to be strongest. Theoretically, it'll be the heroes, but she'll switch sides in an instant. Again, she's just playing the game. She'll compliment everyone while trying to wrestle them into submission.

Valkyra, the Nazi will use Maidenform as a bat and beat the crap out of whoever she can. If Stonebrenner accidentally steps on her, she'll go after him. Cherry Bomb knows she's never going to be paroled, so she'll just try to blow everything up that she can. And if you ask for a grenade, she'll throw you a live one. Casey will take advantage of this. Prom Queen goes nuts and tries to take own whoever is around, but she's pretty much just a normal human and will go down like a chump. X-T will just sit there until someone gives her an order that doesn't require too much thought. Which will probably be one of the players.



And then, you have to take out Stonebrenner... After that, it's time to deal with the aftermath. The suggest taking a quick break before this part, and for once I agree with them. What happens is... Stonebrenner gets off scot-free because he's got expensive lawyers and he doesn't even have to pay for the damages to the stadium, his insurance will cover it. The players get 4 Fame points, plus some extra for their bimbo events, 5500 XP. Casey moves on, and the game ends. That said, I'd strangle any GM who ran me through this and then said "lol, the big bad has money! Nothing happens!"

The back has character Sheets for Casey, Stonebrenner, Cherry Bomb, and X-T. The rest, we're told, are in Knockouts and Powerhouses. Nothing really to say here except that they accidentally put Casey's picture on Stonebrenner's sheet. Either that, or he has a wonderful rack for a 64 year old business man.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Adnachiel posted:

I'll take it off your hands, if you like.

I'll give it another try. Part of the burn out is that it shows some promise, then immediately shoots itself in the foot with it's "Black Comedy". The other half is I live-blogged it when I first got it. To said friend that has played with Lucinda.

The fact that turning someone into a mouse forever is a Novelty Product from the Witch Equivalent of Wham-o Toys doesn't really help.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Adnachiel posted:

Alright.

Hex-O is credited with this monstrosity.:nms: I was under the impression that they were an in-verse producer of educational materials and the disclaimer for the thing you're talking about was just a way to cover their rear end from... magical lawsuits or something.

Ah hell, I'd forgotten about that. I'm a child of the Nineties so I just saw Hex-o in the spikey starburst thing and thought of the old school Wham-o logo. The New and Improved bit didn't hurt that impression any. So, I think between these... I have no clue what the hell Hex-o makes. Yet another thing the setting is mysteriously silent on, even if they want to go into detail about how all magical items are made by dwitchs and dwarves, and leprechauns can get you stoned on their breath, and are also the people handling your money.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013


I've lost count of how many times I've started this, only to get trampled by the unending incompetence of Harris and his trained monkeys. Or maybe he's the trained monkey. It's hard to tell. As you can see, it claims to be the First issue, and thankfully, it's also the last.



You're reading that right. They wanted eleven dollars for this 40 page 'magazine'. I can't say it isn't a cute way of doing it. But I've seen better. Cheaper too. Almost feel bad for whoever that is on the cover. Ten years from now, fifteen, someone's going to link her to this abomination against all that think and feel, and all she'll be able to say is "I was a kid, alright?" At least, I hope that's what she'll say.

Cripes, I'm getting depressing. Sorry folks. First thing we see when we flip the page and crack this thing open is a note from Pandora Spocks. The magazine is mostly in-universe material, and so, this note is too. She proceeds to awkward penguin all over the place.

Pandora Spocks posted:

Welcome to 13 Magazine. The first magazine for Witch-Girls. Now, I know your asking what does a 300 year old witch like me know about being a Witch-Girl? Most people who know me will tell you I'm on my third if not fourth childhood. That that any of you are children. You are all young-ladies gifted with powers and abilities mortals could never wrap their little heads around.

You are quicksilver. You live in the twinkle in the star and the tide the wind and all the world is your playground.... or will be.


It goes on like that for two more paragraphs in the worst italic script font I've seen in a while, and I'm a typography geek.

Over on the other side is a Please read from Malcolm, stating yes, this is a fictional magazine, and also that all information contained in this is cannon and official errata. Oh good, I like errata. There really isn't much that can be considered Errata in this issue though.

The Table of contents is rather thorough skipping only the ads, both fake and real.

I'm actually going to talk about these ads. Gertrude Xapp, Alien Witch sounds like a game I'd rather be playing. In one page it gives the character a backstory, a motivation, and a task. She comes from beyond the stars to save the universe from the Cosmic Troll Sarbross. Now if only the art wasn't of an obvious Hero Machine like. Her clothes are painted on, her wand looks like some sort of laser buzzsaw and... well, It's barely acceptable as an amateur layout project. Also, yes, it name checks two of the shows mentioned in the core-book My Pet Mortal and Goblins Ate My Dad.

The next page has the thing we were talking about, Forumla No. 86. It turns people into mice. Even witches. You have to make a Hard magic roll or be instantly turned into a mouse forever. Only, not really. If you're magical in anyway, you can spend a Zap point to reduce the duration to an hour, or two to just out right negate it. 12 allowance points, or if you remember the last book, $551-$600 gets you three doses.

It is of course made by Hex-o. While Abby Sotto said she wanted to know about the janitorial staff at the local bank, I want to know what Hex-o actually does. Are they a novelty company, like this ad would imply? Do they make Educational products, like the poster would imply? Or do they just make everything because they never thought they'd need more than one company?

Page three brings us the first real article, a tell all Expose on the Argus Society. It's also the first page to run afoul of the awful watermark they've got going on. Remember how certain White Wolf books were printed in a way to be impossible to read? Yeah. The lower left hand side of every page suffers from this burnt, aged texture they're using.

The history is well thought out, oddly enough. Basically, a 700 years ago guy is born to a Witch, keeps a diary of the weird stuff and lives and dies in Belgium. Then 425 years later, Emile LeClair finds the book, copies it and starts selling it. Following the hints laid out in the diary, he finds a local witch and starts stalking her. She was being the sort of rear end in a top hat you expect, hypnotizing the locals into giving her free stuff. LeClair's buddy, who has no name, exposes her and gets her run out of town... and later killed.

So, he set up five rules so that he'd never meet the same fate.

LeClairs posted:

1. Observation is the goal not exposure or fame.
2. Do not reveal to anyone what you observe.
3. Be clandestine in your observation.
4. Keep precise notes of your observation for your own records
5. Never let the one you observe know you observe them.

Then, he died, his daughter got his books, and traveled the world observing witches and other weird stuff, forming the Argus Society. Which continues to this day. With their own website, EyesofArgus.org they're pretty much annoying Instagram users that try not to get killed by using high tech bs. Their updated code reflects this.

And this is where it gets interesting. There's behind the scenes stuff for the Director,detailing the ways to use them in their game. I'll go over the types of specialists in brief. Debunkers can summon up so much "Yeah, Right" that they can force spells to simply fizzle out. Detectives can figure stuff out about you. Hunters stalk you. Infiltrators are... actors so good they can make you think they're a witch, vampire or whatever. Yes, even if you are what they're pretending to be. Soldiers have lazy mohawks and smug grins. Also they can give themselves +1 to athletics rolls, fighting rolls, or ignore a point of damage. Techies are Velma, and they can jury rig things.

The Equipment is... interesting. The Alpha Wave Detector detects alpha waves... Including those left on objects or locations? Somehow? Because Magic leaves your alpha waves on things. Apparently. They cost 5 allowance points.

Argus Goggles let mundanes see magical stuff and avoid Mortal-Avoidance charms, also gives you a +3 to rolls to see invisible things. They only cost 2 Allowance points.

The Cloaker explains how the the Infultrator can pretend to be a witch. By emitting an... alpha wave pulse. And it also lets you turn sorts invisible by acting as an alpha wave scrambler... I guess that works. I mean, if you destroy conscious thought around you, it's pretty hard to see you. The first setting gives a -5 penalty to any rolls to detect if you're magical or not, and the second gives you a plus three to hide. It costs 7 Allowance points.

Communication Pieces are just ear mounted cellphones with walkie talkie functionality. 2 AP.

The Float-Camera, given the more interesting name of The Eyes of Argus further down in the blurb, are remote controlled cameras that can fly at 100MPH. They send a live feed back to you, and cost 10 AP.

Sticky bombs, or Bad Apples, are apple sized red grenades that cover people in sticky goo that traps you. Score one for the fetishists. No, you can't get out unless you can make a hard body roll or get help. You're stuck for an hour. Each one cost 3 AP.

The Stunner is a gun that fires electricity and Beta waves I don't know. Anyway, the green lightning it shoots forces a hard body roll, which will knock your rear end out for d6 minutes if you fail. Or they can use up twice as much ammo and do ten points of damage a shot. Range is thirty feet, and it costs 10 AP. That's right, choose a gun or a camera.

Tags are just what they sound like. You knock out a witch, and put a tag under her ear. tags are dime sized and let you monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and 'increased alpha waves', as well as hear everything she's hearing and saying. They last two weeks, have a range of 25 miles, and give you extra creeper points. I mean, cost 3 AP.

Okay. Okay, I get it. They're not scientists. That's why they're writing a book about Lolita murder dominatrices fighting bondage Puritans, not sci-fi. But really? Knocking someone out with a burst of beta waves? Alpha Wave Scramblers? What is this, Star Trek Voyager?


Anyway. We now get to Doctor Hyperion. A 200 year old superhero from another dimension that has a d10 in everything but magic. He runs the Argus Society. He wants to find a way home. This is why he sends people to creep on little girls. He's super skilled at everything mundane. So...

Yeah, he's pretty much a plot device with no brain that's created a bit of a plot hole. He's from another dimension. He's a superhero. He's probably from the Superhero Dimension. Which means the most logical thing for him to do is to show up at Witch HQ, which he knows about either from his Argus Minions or from the fact that he can just roll a hard mind check to know anything, ever. then he waves around a twenty and demands to be taken to Raven. Boom, character solved.

Anyway, the Argus Hooks are "Babysit Doctor Hyperion after Professor Xavier mind wipes him", "Protect mortal friend from being dissected by Mystery Inc", and "There is a cute boy who wants to watch you undress cast spells".

I thought I was going to get further than this tonight. Looks like my dreams are unrealistic. I can't handle the Magical Roofies chapter right now. Instead, have an Art Round-up.



Huh. That's... rather restrained for Lucinda. I guess she turns him into cake off screen.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013
Adnachiel, you know far more about WGA than is sane.
I'm not surprised on a lot of that. I just didn't have the energy to go and do research about this abomination, and... Yeah, about the Enchanted thing, not going to lie, I glossed over that because it was term that never got defined to my knowledge and honestly? Charles Victus is the least important part of the whole Argus Society thing unless you're running around with a female version of the Master.
Regarding the Reformatory, from what I can gather from talking to the guy that knows them and so on, it probably exists either for background drama and for epic prison break stuff. I say this because of Lucinda's tendency to kill cops while 'fighting crime'. That, and the whole assumption of "it's whatever you think would be fun this time." Sometimes you just want to be an oppressed little angst muffin. He figures it involves Mind Control, probably to be used on Goody Goodies and anyone who doesn't toe the party line.


Today on Witch Girls Adventures, we'll be covering Love Potions! With step by step directions on how to make your own love potions! :science:

Hosted by Dr. Aimee St. John, Aimee the Alchemist is here to help young witches with their first potions, and what better thing to give a young child than the ability to control who is and isn't friends with them? But this goes further than simply friendship, you too can catch your own Hunky Humbert!

Yeah, okay. That's getting a little too creepy for me to continue. Love Stock is an easy roll to make, and is necessary for all the other potions in this list. You need three inches of Unicorn tail, three cups distilled water, one cup of distilled Care, and the petals from a dozen red roses. Simmer for four hours and there you go!

Friendship potions make people your friends! All it needs is some of your hair, a pink rose, and some distilled sunshine added to the above stock, and you'll be the belle of the ball! It's also an easy roll and can be delivered either in liquid, powder, or candy form, so be sure to put it on all of your friend's meals.

Is there just a friendship that should not be? Someone little skank steal the love of your life? Feel like recreating The Death Of Family? Grade "A" Hate is here to help! Simply let your Love Stock go bad to create Hate Stock, cook it down into a charred black mass, rehydrate with swamp water and red cap spit, make a Hard Roll, and you've ready to ruin lives, you little homewrecker you! Anything they like, they'll dislike, anything they love, they'll hate! The more they loved it, the more they'll hate it. While you should be careful with this potion, you just add some hair that's been soaked in love stock and the hate will never come around to you!

Love Potion #1 is just Love Stock, so you've already made it! Yay! You can then dry it out or turn it into a candy like Friendship Potions. It just increases the imbiber's ability to feel love, period. If they like something, they love it. If they love it, they adore it.

Love Potion #9 is a great movie about the dangers of mi- Oh, wait. Love Potion #9 makes they imbiber fall madly in love with the first person or animal they see. Which can be both funny and horrifying, and occasionally involves making out with squids and mules. Simply add a finger length of whole ginger, a cup of crushed verbena(not crushed vertebra, you don't want to know what happens then) and 2 ounces distilled infatuation. Simmer for two hours, strain, and make your Hard roll, and you'll have your love potion.

Now that we're done with the potions, it's time to cover the basics! This issue, Aimee covers bottling emotions. All you need is the emotions you want to bottle, and Mercurial. What's Mercurial? Why, it's distilled, clarified form of Ectoplasm. So just go get some ghosts to donate some... willingly or otherwise... or buy it at your local potion supply store for one to two Allowance points($1-$100).

Aimee notes that you can make good money farming the terror of your loved ones and friends by slipping a quart of this stuff under their bed and summoning a Closet Monster every night to scare the crap right out of them. It takes about twenty hours of exposure to imprint a quart of the stuff with an emotion, and bottle emotions sell for 3-4($101-$200) a quart, so you can make decent money starting up your own terror farm. Or simply projecting your own emotions into it, if you'd rather have a part time job that doesn't pay as well.

I'm... not sure exactly what happened there. I think writing up Pretty Poisoner Penelope, my Alchemist witch who's solution to everything is more chemicals may have made it impossible to not read this whole section with bizarre, sadistic optimism. Have an Image.



Twenty Spells every Witch Should Know just goes over some spells from the core book, but with added history and fluff. I really don't see any reason to cover this section, because, well... It's redundant. I comment, however, that Unlucky 13 makes a reference to Gypsies, and Lucky charms says that the Lucky Charms commercials are racist and silly. "We all know leprechauns prefer a more... liquid breakfast." Oh, and Zap-Finger includes a fat joke about a 200 lb ancient Japanese man getting blasted the length of a football field and landing on a 400 lb. ancient Japanese woman.

So have a picture of someone being turned into a toad.


Alien Rope Burn, were you the one that hated demonic children stories? Because it's time for the section on Babysitting!

It's a pretty standard take on baby-sitting for the first couple paragraphs. And then, just to remind you that it's Witch Girls Adventures, it warns you that if you piss off the wrong rival baby-sitter, she might eat you.

I don't know if any of you know anyone who ran a baby sitting service, but my mother did when I was a kid. A twenty four hour service that was notable for getting even the worst behaved kids to behave. If this chart were realistic(and remember, one allowance point is roughly fifty dollars), she never would have quit.

Baby-Sitting Payment Chart posted:

Mortal Child: 1 Allowance Points a night (about 2-3 Hours)
Bad Mortal Child: 2 Allowance points. (About 2-3 hours)
Magical child: 2 Allowance points
Bad Magical Child: add +2
Baby sitter comes comes highly recommended: +1
Baby sitter has no references: -1
Bay sitter has a negative reputation: -1
Parts are in a rush for a sitter: +1
Part is well of (rich): +1or +2

I transcribed that directly, all mistakes are from the book. So, for my "little sisters" the three kids with ADD who were over all night every weekend, and almost always dropped off when their mother was working would be getting my mother 3(Bad Mortal Children, good reputation) allowance points each for every three hours... Yeah, I don't think mom would have quit an become a baker if she was making a thousand dollars a night.

The next page is dedicated to all the ways the kids are going to make your life a living hell. Rigging your wand to explode, simply being stronger than you, getting kidnapped by Jareth, eating people, and so on. It breaks it down by species. After a quick bit about how the parents might react to how you treat the kids, highlighting that the usual witch girl strategy of turning them into pillows and watching TV using them as a cushion until their parents pull up might be a bad idea, it gives you a way to strike back. SassySitter.wtch gives you a way to talk smack about problem clients, and avoid them.

And then it has an interesting and useful idea that's tainted by being in this drat setting. There are Hex Scout merit badges, for doing various things related to baby-sitting, and if you manage to get all six, you get a special power. Okay, so it's just +1 on resistance rolls for all spells cast by Witchlings and +1 to all social rolls dealing with kids.

Two new Cliques, Creepy Kid and Witchling. Creepy kids get a +2 to being scary and creepy, and can spend a point of zap to give you a -1 penalty to resist their spells as well as all rolls. Witchlings can spend a point of Zap to give the innocent eyes and... something. Aside from getting more allowance, it leaves it up to the GM. They get a +2 to being mischievous or doing things they think would be funny.

Two new mundane skills, Charlatan and Sitter. Charlatan lets you pass off magic as tricks. Sitter is what it says on the tin. Given the way the skill system works, if these are introduced mid-campaign you'll probably never pick them up.

One new Magical skill, Animator, which lets you animate plushies and other objects. The more Zap you put into it, the longer they last. They can be recharged for only one Zap at any time, but it only adds the original duration back on. If you animated it for a day, you just give it an extra day of life. You can't add past that. Supposedly, they cover the different types of animated things in the cast section but... no, they don't.

Three new talents, Big Stster which gives you a +2 to all social rolls involving kids that are four or more years younger than them, but doesn't effect teens.

Brat give you a +1 to any roll(including spell casting) to make things go your way. Mundane gives a +2 to any roll to convince, trick or coerce someone into believing you're not a witch.

Heritages...

Animator gives you the ability to animate at range(10 FT. without a wand, 20 with) a +?(It doesn't say...) to the Animate skill, and all the lifespan of animated things is doubled.

Twin gives you a identical twin. Twins can pool Zap, and read each other's minds for free. They, however, also share damage. If your twin gets hurt, you take half damage. It's also next to impossible for them to have secrets, which in this case means a Hard Will Roll.

There are a couple variation, Good Twin Evil Twin lets one take Goody Goody and the other Wicked. If you go with this, you don't get the ability to pool zap, but you still read each other's minds. These bonus talents don't count against the starting maximum of two.

Identical Cousin takes away the mind reading, but lets you keep the zap pooling.

New equipment! Oh boy! Things to spend my hard earned money on, so I can earn more money! So I can buy more things! How realistic!

The Nanny Trinket costs two Allowance points for the nanny charm and one charm for a kid, and five points for every kid after the first. It lets you eavesdrop on them, and glows if they're in danger. Practical.

The Big Box of Games holds every mundane game ever, so long as it's not dangerous, you just need to spend a zap to change games. 5 AP.

The Diaper Djinn is, thankfully, a Djinn that changes diapers, not a Djinn whose diaper needs changing. 10 AP

Ever Lasting Bottle or Sippy Cup will hold milk or formula, and infinitely reproduces it. At least until you empty it. It's kept at the perfect temperature. 2 AP.

Jelly Meals are Jelly Beans that act as a full meal. 4 AP gets you a bag of 24.

Perfect Picture is a pentacle that holds 12 holograms. 3 AP.

Who's The Witch game is a board game that uses either moving pictures or holograms, not sure which, to show the kids someone getting burned at the stake. It plays like Hangman, in a way. There are questions on how best to hide your magic, and for each one you get wrong, the mob grows and eventually the person is burnt alive. 8 AP and a life time of therapy bills.

There's an invisible Pet for 10 AP. It's an invisible pet. If you're around it, you can spend zap to become invisible.

Remote Control Brooms are... well, exactly what they say on the tin. 15 AP.

And now we get to the thing that made me go... WHAT?! Have an image.

I just didn't want you thinking that I was making up the child seat designed to smear your kid all over the nearest building... and instead of fixing the design problem, they just slapped invincibility on it.

My First wand is a want that prevents you from taking damage from your own spells, makes all spells cheaper, and has a safe word your parents can use to turn it off. 10 AP

And now we get to monsters! There's Boogie Men, who change shape, can hurt you by scaring you(And banish you into the world of nightmares forever), can teleport through shadows, penalize all rolls(-1 to all rolls because you're creeped out) and take half damage. Luckily, they're banished by sunlight and magical sunlight.

Booger Men, however, are made of snot. They're sticky, they shoot sticky blobs, and give you the sniffles.

Changelings are four foot tall fat little... things with no motivation beyond capturing people and copying them to have a purpose in life. They cocoon people and copy their attributes, abilities, and skills. The cocoon individual falls into a deep sleep and don't need to eat, drink or age. Which causes the amusing and terrifying mental image a kid getting kidnapped, and the changeling living to a ripe old age, "dying" and finding someone else to copy, letting out this six year old some seventy, eighty years later in a world they don't understand, where everyone the know is dead.

Closet Monster.
The closet monster makes me head hurt. The proof-reading is non-existent, resulting in this sentence: "Closet Portal: The Closet mortal can instantly enter a clioset and appear in another closet anywhere in the world" The Closet Monster is immune to Alteration, Mentalism, and Time And Space magic. Also has a +2 to damage. Description. "There is only one Closet monster. It is all closet monsters. The Creature resembles a Hairless Wolf man with blue green skin and oversized maw with metal blade teeth and Over sized hands with metal blade Claws. The Closet monster is a notorious coward it will run if at tacked or if someone shows its not afraid of him"

Can't make this up folks. It then provides a spell to lock out the closet monster. It's a Time and Space spell, which the Closet Monster is immune to. But I guess as it's cast on the closet, it doesn't count.

This whole thing leads to some weird mental images.
Kid: "There's a monster in the closet!"
Witch 1:"What color was it?"
Kid: "It was orange and bumpy!"
Witch 2:"OH THANK GOD. Little poo poo's making it up."
Witch 1:"That or… a non-closet monster somehow got inside the closet."
…..
Witch 2:"Wouldn't such a monster become The Closet Monster?"
Witch 1: "Marissa, I don't loving know. Wipe the kid's memory, we don't want the parents knowing I said gently caress."
Witch 2: "On it."

Cooties are small invisible beetle like creatures that live under your skin. They eat 1 life point and d10 zap points a day until cured or they move on. The spread by touch. Luckily, the spell for curing them and granting immunity is only a level two healing spell, and we all know it. Say it with me "Circle Circle Dot Dot, Now You've Got Your Cootie Shot".

Jennie Green Teeth is a class of creature. Hags that eat kids while living in swamps. They're ugly, aquatic, and have a paralytic bite.

Mortal kids are mortal kids, and I'm giving them about as much as they did.

Red-Caps are super fast kids that live under buildings. They run at 60 MPH and have two actions a turn. Their boots are made of cold iron, making their feet and only their feet immune to magic. The boots give them a +1 to damage when kicking and allow them to run up walls. If you take their hat, they die after a minute, and while they're dying they get a -2 to all rolls and can't use magic. They tend to run in gangs of three to six.

Sock Monsters are monsters made out of socks who sneak into houses to replace lost biomass sock-mass. They are not aggressive and just want your socks. Electrical damage heals them.Their sock-fu knocks you over if you fail a body roll... We're walking.

The Tooth Fairy! The Tooth Fairies in this are monstrous little shits. If your resist magic is under 13, you're unconscious. They cause tooth decay, and can mind control you twice per tooth they get. And they can eat Witch Teeth for zap. They're trying to take over the world by building houses out of teeth.

And now, I'm going to do the adventure hooks, before closing this file for the night...

A changeling will do you no good is a about a "croup" of changelings replacing local kids and adults, ruining the star's babysitting business. Interesting. The planned resolution is the stars find a way to detect changelings and find the cocoons before the changelings take over the town.

Alice's Adventure is Alice in Wonderland, with the stars having to play dodge ball with armadillos to rescue the kid they're babysitting.

Cootie Outbreak! Spell resistant cooties pop up, and the only cure is eggshell from a freshly hatched dragon egg. So your players are off to kidnap dragons!

Painfully Perfect has your players getting baby sat by a good-natured and swee magic nanny. "The Nanny a powerful goody-goody witch and over protective prevents the character from having any fun." But secretly she's an evil witch who kidnaps kids and brainwashes them into being socially responsible! I mean, Goody-Goodies.

Seeing Red: A gang of redcaps extort kids. You're free to kill them, they're only fae, after all.

Sitter war. A rival group of Mortal Baby Sitters set their sights on your turf. You're free to kill them, they're only mortals, after all. The pre-programmed resolution is that the groups learn to co-exist. And that's it. I'm free! For tonight. Still got ten pages to go. All the magic hats. Hat magic hat...

FourmyleCircus fucked around with this message at 04:38 on Oct 12, 2013

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Bieeardo posted:

I think that might have been me. These write-ups aren't improving my disposition toward them one iota, either!


And it's even more expensive than a remote-controlled broom and... well, gently caress. Instead of adapting an actual bicycle child seat, since the visual/riding metaphor for both are very similar, they... decided that witches would just sling bucket carseats underneath on ropes and let inertia play. Genius.


No lie, something like this could be an awful, effective Changeling: the Lost character background.


Mine too. Why have a boogeyman and a closet monster? Is it related to this specimen?

I know, right? The broomseat's like this one-off gag that they some how screw up, and the Changeling and the Tooth Fairy are artifacts from a much better, darker game. Like if they actually followed through on the "It's Addams Family inspired!" chant that they pull out whenever people criticize the tone.

Also, I didn't post the numbers because, well... Why bother, but the Boogie Man is a rank 3 monster and the closet monster is a rank 2. So presumably, the Closet Monster is there to provide a challenge to less skilled witches who would be forever banished to nightmare dimensions by the Boogie Man... or Boogie Women, as they note that there are female boogie men. After all, the Closet Monster will run if you put up a fight, where as the Boogie man will wreck your poo poo.

On an related note, I have gotten shanghaied into running WGA... possibly using Mystic to do the GMing because they want me to play my alchemist. I'm not sure who to curse for this. Probably myself.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Down With People posted:

:catstare:

Why would you do this

Why would you consent to this

Because the other guy is too incredibly enthusiastic, thinks it would be hilarious to mock the the setting from the inside, and generally wouldn't shut up, and kept going on for two hours after I asked him to shut the gently caress up. And they're the third person, at least, who went "Man, I would play with you!" even after I said I had no intention of playing it. Ever.

Most of the others went Ew! and stopped after looking at the quickstart rules. Usually, it was that the quickstart rules don't contain that section on playing older witches.

This guy got so wrapped up in little setting details, he read the intro comic in the quickstart and spent nearly half an hour asking me about the Unicorns and Pegasus because there were things that were implied and needed that weren't quite said. After seeing the broomseat, he started asking if there was a way to de-age someone without them losing their powers, so that they could use the broomseat and mind control someone else to pilt it.... and then when I pointed out the remote control broom, he went on to create a invincible armada of brooms with child seats.

And surprisingly this isn't the friend that created the supervillain that summons an entire evil planet. Or the one I got into a Superbabes Min-Maxing match with.

Mainly though, the guy won't give up.

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.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

AccidentalHipster posted:

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

As I have no idea who that is, I'm going to take the route of least pain and pretend he's respawnresponsible for ShatterZone.

Because dammit, I wanted to like it. A focused version of the MasterBook system? A Sci-Fi game that wasn't trying to combine the worst bits of Star Trek and forensic accounting? Or Star Wars and Conan? Sign me up.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

AccidentalHipster posted:

If you mean Dan Brereton, he's the guy who drew my avatar, the Spider. He also did the Nocturnals series which I love to pieces. ShatterZone sounds awesome though.

Oh dear lord, it took me two days and several re-readings for me to realize you meant that you, the fan of Dan, wanted me to read it. And not that you wanted me to read it because you were a fan of him. I'm going to blame this on my bleaching my hair for Halloween. That said, I had no idea that that was supposed to be The Spider in your Av. Actually a fan, but I'm more used to him looking like this:


And sorry for the blank stare on the name. I know I'd get the same treatment from most people if I mentioned Warren Murphy or Lester Dent. Just... yeah. I've apparently only seen one of his works in my life, aside from your Av, and that was the cover of Hellbilly Deluxe.

I didn't want to come back without content.


Shatterzone is an odd duck. Originally produced by West End Games back in '93, it was sort of a dumping ground for all the ideas that were Veto'd by the boys at Lucas Arts in regards to things to add to the Star Wars system. Theoretically, it was supposed to be a new world for Torg, too, but it ended up being it's own thing. Some of you might have gotten the wrong idea when I called it a focused version of Masterbook. It might be more accurate to call Masterbook a generalized version of it and TORG. As you can see from the above link, you can get it, and many fine related products from Precis Intermedia Games.

A little more background on the name itself. Shatterzone comes from a 18th century geological term referring to a network of fissured rock forming veins of mineral deposits. After World War 2, it gained it's own socio-political meaning. A Shatter Zone is a borderland, where the traditional ideas of Government and Economy are broken and people are filling in the cracks in a personal way. Shatter Zones are places of isolation and resistance, where people solve their own problems. Places where refugees and rebels congregate, where war is just outside, but here, for now, you're safe. Where no one trusts the government, nor finds they need one.

This is a good peek into what the book promises. Does it deliver it? Well, that's in the Universe Book.

I'm going to be using the Reprint version, as that's what I have. All three books, The Rule Book the Player's Guide, and The Universe Guide, in one PDF. I'm going to start with the Player's Guide for the sake of those following alone at home. The Rule Book is first in the PDF, but it's probably best to ease you into this gently...



Ah, who am I kidding, The Player's Guide has the most interesting and infuriating bits, and it really doesn't matter which direction you come at this from. I mean, you open up the players guide, and first page of actual content, you see this.



It's 1993. Wicked Evil GrinWest End Games has just come off of Torg and Ghostbusters International, some of their most inventive and Different roleplaying games of the era. They're still publishing new Star Wars D6 books. And they decide to put the Roleplaying VS Roll-playing argument in their Players Handbook for their new system. They know fun, right? They're the masters of fun. Bow before them. I can't be too hard on them, it's the 90's. This stuff happens. I mean, The World Of Darkness got pretentious right off the bat too. But look at the above art. Guy getting blasted in half. This is how they introduce you to the system and setting. And you're being told to think about the whys and hows of your character's life. But it's not like they're encouraging you to use pregens rather than actually make a character.

Once again, I'm kidding. The next thing it talks about are the "Character Profiles". "Character profiles is the term we use to describe the written and calculated information about a character created using the Shatterzone character generation system. There are two type of Character Profiles: those we make for use in the game, and those you construct for use in the game."

They've put in sixteen completed, ready-to-run Profiles. They're a "smattering of different type of fictional characters you might want to play in the Shatterzone game universe". That's right, you've got sixteen pregens. And you're encouraged to photocopy them off and just toss names on them. This should be no surprise for the people who played D6 Star Wars. If you want to change the gender of the character, invest in white out because they've got character portraits. The first half of character Generation is about how to use and read the pregen characters. So, have a pregen.



I don't want to harsh on this game for this, actually. I mean, other games have rocked it. It was Okay in Shadowrun, and certain versions of Talislanta. Hell one edition of Talislanta didn't really have any other character generation system.

Step One, Choose your profile. The sixteen in the book are Old Scout(above), Corp Marine, Kestarian Temptress(Four Armed Blue Skinned Alien Babes), Megacorp Freelancer, Hard Warrior(Mutant with natural armor), Glahnite Trader, Vizzben Con Artist, Cyberchopper(Cyborg Criminal), Bolter Refugee(Ratman who can't speak English), Shatrat Blacklunger(Mutant Space Scavenger that speaks in Thieve's Cant), Alien Adventurer(Lizardman that regenerates), Hot Shot Pilot, Man from Intel(Spy), Mercenary Veteran, Streetrunner(Skill monkey that NPCs will hate. So... Bard), and Student Ganger(Martial Artist with no social graces).

Step two, fill in your name, character name and so on. The sex and species, are of course, set by default, so you'll have to white out some stuff if you want to play a female scout or a male Merc. But age, weight, and height are yours to mess with. They they recommend certain combinations, like you're not going to find very man fat fast people. Or short strong people. Oh, the freedom! The story! Step three, gaze over the Attributes and skills without really understanding anything as they'll cover it later.

They do go into a little detail on it. The way things are set up on these sheets is that You've got the Ability, then the Skill(With and focus it might have), and then a specialization. They'll cover all this stuff in the next chapter. Points in skills are called Adds, because the skill just adds onto the attribute. If you want to tinker with the skills... Tough. The book recommends the GM make you just make one from scratch. It gives some basic information on how to do it though, by telling you that each profile is built on 65 attribute points and twenty skill points. Attributes are assigned on a one to one basis, except for toughness which is derived stat following this formula ((Endurance*2)+Strength)/3. Because, hey, it's 93. Skill points turn into Skill Adds at a one to one for general skills and one point will get you two points in specializations.

Step four is to look at the Backgrounds list. Backgrounds are split up into advantages and compensations. Or Disadvantages, if you're used to any other system out there. Different backgrounds cost different amounts, and give different effects. You know how this works. Compensations are complications that make up for or explain the above. These will be explained in chapter three, Background generation. And no, it's not something fun like a Life Path system like Star Trek, Cyberpunk 2020, or Traveler. It's just "numbers on a sheet". If you want to tamper with the background stuff of a character, don't. Just make a new one. That's their advice.

Step Five is the Description. The Basic Description isn't the physical description, that's what the Illustration box is for. It's more of a summary of your characters history and general attitude on life. Yep. Play your character the way the piece of paper tells you. Take a good wiff of freedom boy! You won't smell anything like this in yer Dungeons and Dragons. The Quote is simply something that the character would say.

Equipment is pretty much whatever things they've got laying around, excluding "really mundane items like clothing". You're also assumed to have a hundred credits in pocket change at the very least, though most characters will have more. If you want to know what any of this does, you'll have to check chapter eight of the Universe Guide.

Step five is glancing at the Combat box with an uncomprehending eye because they don't tell you exactly how you take damage, just that you're supposed to circle wound levels when you take them, and that they'll explain Life Points(which start at 5) in chapter five, and Skill points(Which start at zero) in chapter two. And with that that, you're done! Just go play. They'll wait. What, how the dice work? You don't need to know that. Just play.

I'm going to break sequence a bit and actually explain some stuff quick. Life points are kinda like Fate Points and the like. Life points You spend them for various effects, including preventing your character from dying, and also rerolls. That bar on the bottom of the character sheet is the bonus chart. The way things work is you roll 2d10, and then check the chart. This tells you what you can add/subtract to/from your skill. As you can see, the most common rolls get you jack, so you're going to be going off your skill most of the time. A lot like FATE. Unlike FATE, tens explode. And there are all sorts of things, including spending a Life Point to roll again and add your new total to the old one.

Confused? Good. They don't explain any of this stuff for four more chapters.

Let's go to making your own character. Step one: Copy a blank character sheet. Step two... Create a character concept. "Every character in Shatterzone should be summarized by a central concept." In other words, come up with and play a stereotype in a fictional world you barely know. Hey, maybe I am reviewing a John Wick game! You want to be pretty general here, because you may play this same character half a dozen times in different ways. There's a helpful little example sidebar here... showing what sort of twisted thought process they've got going on, and giving you a peak at the setting.



So, this is where I'm going to break. Who wants to help me, knowing as much about the setting as your average player who hasn't been handed the Universe Book, come up with a concept for this? Over the next few chapters, I'll make whatever abomination I'm given and try to fit it in. And before you say this seems strange, everyone I know would say "If you're using pregens, what's the point?" If I don't get anything, I'm going to write up my Mass Effect character because... well... The actual setting makes me thing of a hosed up Mass Effect AU. Humans will be easiest, as they're going to be the most common, but Aliens can be weirder because you can literally take "They're an alien!" as a flaw.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013
God... Play Dirty. Someone actually asked me to run my game according to his advice. Actually, they wanted me to choose between Play Dirty, Play Unsafe, and Robin's Laws. Just, as an experiment. I think the group voted for Play Dirty, but the game never... Happened. Thankfully. I did read all the way through it, multiple times though... Some of his advice was good. Just... only the stuff of about "Run with whatever the players say" and "Let them define NPCs for you."

Sorry for being slow with Shatterzone, came down with some Lung Rot and spent the last few days watching GI Joe and Leverage. Content soon, I've got Mary half statted up.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013
This is neither here nor there, but a couple of the people I know who know John Wick tend to talk of him as two different people. There's John, who is their friend and a game designer, and The Wick, the biggest cheating bastard they've ever had the misfortune of running into. And when he runs games, he'll spend months as John, being perfectly normal, and then some nights he's just holding himself different and they know tonight is going to be hell because it's not John running. It's The Wick. Some of them refuse to play when he's The Wick, but The Wick doesn't seem to care, even if he calls the next day to apologize.



Traveller posted:

I want you to make Space Mary Poppins, which is most certainly an appropriate concept for this game I know nothing about.
See, this was always my experience with this sort of game anyone. No one wanted to use the pregens and always wanted to do something totally weird. I'm no exception. In Shadowrun, I didn't just want to be the Face, I wanted to be the Ultimate poser who looked like he couldn't get anything right. I actually got the GM to let me take both Orc Poser and Elf Poser. Which forever made his head hurt.

Without Further Ado, I give you the concept you requested... The Nanny.
The Nanny exists outside the system, working to preserve order by any means necessary. Not Social Order, as others may do, but house hold harmony. If you can find her, if you can afford her, she can turn the worst problem child into an angel(rarely literally, but it's been known to happen). One part event planner, one part psychologist, one part spy; The Nanny is a miracle worker par excellence. No one knows more about children, or what secrets they hold.
Of course, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. Rumors have it that her charges become agents in their own right, shaping those around them to fit Her will. Beware. Beware the Nanny, for she knows more about you than you ever will.

AccidentalHipster posted:

Don't sweat it man, I'm used to being a total hipster. As for character, I vote for Joseph Joestar, kung fu monster hunter and lighthearted trickster with the psychic ability to predict his opponent's one-liners because I wanna know how psychic powers work and we need something to balance out Dio and the other Jojos that fought him aren't as funny.

The next thing you're going to say is, "You really like Jojo, don't you?"
Always good to find another devote of the immortal vampire who ages backwards. Joseph's also the Joestar with the most screen time. His own series, a primary role in Jotaro's, and he gets several chapters of appearances(felt like half the arc, to me) of Josuke's. Actually, unless you count his influence during the Stone Ocean arc, Joseph appeared more than Dio did. Obviously, not counting New!Dio of Steel Ball Run as Dio.

Anyway, Young Joseph is... The Psi-Rat
Growing up without parents is never easy, but it's worse still when you're a second generation Psionic. If they know, no one trusts you; if they don't you have to be careful not to let the cat out of the bag. You grew up hard, on the streets and in labs. Your rich "uncle" was little more than a researcher trying to find out more about you, to use you as a weapon. Your 'kindly teacher' is prepping you to use as a war machine against Xenos unseen by the rest of the galaxy. The only person you can depend on is yourself. The only weapons you need are your fists and your mind.
And the occasional bottle of Neo Coke Classic.

Now that the concepts are out of the way, it's time to start working on step three, Attributes and Skill points. This isn't, as you might expect, allocating the skill points, that's step four. No, this is determining how many you get. There are two ways of doing this, and I've got two characters. The first is to just take the 65 Attribute Points and Twenty Skill points that all the Pregens are based on. Sounds good for The Nanny. The other is... Random roll! Looks like I'm not the only liar here. Remember?



This looks like both assigning numbers without why or how, and rolling up a character. But hey. Let's go to the chart.



Roll 2d10, sum the result, and check the chart. A one and a three gets me 62 attribute points and twenty six skill points for the Psi-Rat. Which is nice, because he'll need them.

The eight attributes in Shatter zone are Agility, Dexterity, Endurance, Strength, Intellect, Mind, Confidence, and Charisma. Agility is your gross motor control, while dexterity is your fine. Endurance is how well you can take hardship, and strength is a measure of how physically powerful you are. Intelect is how inventive and flexible your mind is, while Mind is how much you've learned. Confidence is how self-assured you are and how well you can project that, while Charisma is how charming and Witty you are, with maybe a little bit of beauty thrown in.

Attributes can't be below five or above thirteen at character creation, at least, not this stage. Background generation can change that somewhat.

Now that we know how many points we have and what they do, it's time to move on to actually assigning Abbility points in step three. They'd like to remind you, once again, that it'd be so much easier if you just used the pre-generated characters. Let's start with the Nanny.

The Nanny is more of the party face, and certainly not a front line fighter. She's got 65 points to spend. Now, you have to understand that the player hand book says nothing about what is an average difficulty or anything like that, so if you couldn't pry the GM's Guide Rule Book from the GM's hands like our fictional group, you have no idea if having eight in everything is even enough to be "average". Checking the reference sheet, though, the Average Difficulty number is 9. So if it's something you're skilled at, eight's enough...

Futzing around, and jumping ahead to see what each attribute actually covers, and each skill does, I decided on this spread for The Nanny.
Agility 8
Dexterity 6
Endurance 7
Strength 6
Intellect 12
Mind 12
Confidence 8
Charisma 8
Everything will be explained when I get to skills.

For The Psi Rat, his 62 attribute points are split up as so:
Agility 9
Dexterity 5
Endurance 6
Strength 8
Intellect 11
Mind 10
Confidence 6
Charisma 6

If they seem a bit low, that's okay, he's a Young Prodigy. And by that I mean I'll be abusing the specialization and skill rules.

And remember "You will want to assign your attribute points so that they will affect your Skill Values in a positive way (unless you are creating a really interesting character)." It tells you to go check the Master Skill List on page 14. So... Here you go.



Step Five, Buying Skill Adds.
Long story short, there are General Skills and Specializations. When rolling for a relevant skill, you add your Skill to your Stat, and then you add the Bonus to that total to get your roll. Not that this is ever explained in the Player's Guide.
At character creation, buying Adds is a linear thing. One skill point gets you one Skill add. In play, it... varies. And I'll get to that next time I post. What you need to know now is that the Bold Skills require training, and are thus more expensive, and the normal ones don't require normal training and are thus cheaper. But at character creation everything costs the same.

So, here are the skills I chose for the above. I'll give consolidated sheets when I get through everything.

The Nanny
Agility:
Stealth 2
Dexterity
Endurance:
Resist Pain 2
Strength:
Lifting 2
Intellect:
Perception 2
Scholar: Teacher 4
Mind:
Artist: Song and Dance 2
Hypnosis 3
Psychology 3

The Psi-Rat

Agility:
Dodge 2
Martial Arts: Tai Chi 4(Chosen because I can BS most GMs into letting me get a +2 on psionic attack rolls)
Endurance:
Resist Shock 4
Intellect:
Psionic Manipulation 3(Psi-Strike 4, Influence 2)
Trick 4
Mind
Psionic Resistance 6

Next time, we cover what these skills actually do and background stuff. Psionics will have to wait.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Plague of Hats posted:

Hey so I made a site to put F&F reviews on both in case of thread archiving, to make them a bit easier to read (site formatting aside) and to allow them to be read despite the paywall. It is currently sparse, but I can copy-paste with the best of them. I am interested in getting permission from reviewers, though I can also abandon all my heroic work in the face of stern disapproval. Suggestions and pointers on how to make things look better or more readable are also a plus.
You can put my stuff up too.

MadScientistWorking posted:

This kind of predates Fatal and Friends as a lot of talk about John Wick being a horrible person used to occur back in grognards.txt. Its kind of hilarious too because apparently the discussion that happened in that thread apparently involved stuff in Play Dirty. And man if he is like anything like how he presents himself in Play Dirty a huge manchild is the only thing you can get out of that.
EDIT:
And you're right too a lot of his ideas aren't bad but you have to strip the smug assholish nature from them before you can even begin to use them.

Part of me wants to argue about the whole Play Dirty thing because once I choked my way through, and I took it with the salt due a guy who was making his fortune on being an rear end in a top hat, I actually thought some of it was pretty good. But yeah, you need to take away the Jefferson Carter bullshit to have even the smallest chance of it being... Readable? Reasonable? I mean, knowing that they signed on knowing he was going to pull this poo poo makes me dislike him less. But...

Traveller posted:

I dig you idea for The Nanny! Training minispies all over the cosmos.

Thanks Traveller, I really didn't have to do much with Mary Poppins, after all, she did teach the kids psychology tricks in order to make the whole house better. Though it hurt to give her Scholar: Teacher for reasons that are about to become clear.

AccidentalHipster posted:

Joseph really is the best Jojo. And I'm surprised that this character concept worked out so well! If it's not too much of a spoiler, can The Psi-Rat actually do Joseph's "The next thing you're going to say is" trick and if so, how?

Actually, he can do it two ways. The first is that skill Trick, which lets you briefly wrong foot someone by misdirection, bluster, deception, what have you. As someone who does the "Your Next Line Is" thing to people in real life... no, you don't need to be precognitive. You just need to have an idea of the sorts of things they say and be able to talk really fast.

Something I enjoy doing to my SO, actually. My record is not only predicting that first sentence, but speaking in exact unison with them for nearly a full minute as they tried desperately to find something to trip me up. I left it at four rather than making it, say, Trick 2 (Bluster 4) or (Bluster 2 Misdirection 2) simply because of how often he switches between that and doing stuff like unraveling his clothes to make a ripple net.



Alright, as trying to follow the actual structure of the book is becoming too much of a pain(as the first chapter is pretty much just See Page XX), I'm going to go through the chapters and pop back to One whenever it actually has something useful to say. I really don't want to have to do this, but it forced my hand. And I suppose it's my one complaint about the Reprint PDF I'm using(aside from the simple fact that it's ever so slightly rotated)... it doesn't have PDF links. It's got bookmarks though, so that's good.

So, Attributes And Skills. You already know a lot of this being long time gamers, but Attributes are Raw Ability, where as Skill Adds are knowledge and expertise. If you want to dodge something, it's Agility, unless you have Dodge, in which case it's Agility plus Dodge.

Now, there are Four types of Skill Adds(which will never stop sounding clumsy to me, even in Masterbook). Trained, Untrained, and Macro skills, as well as Specializations. Untrained skills are skills you can use untrained, and, in play, only cost one Skill Point per level. Which is to say that if The Nanny wanted to boost her Stealth from Two to Three, it would cost her Three points. With Trained Skills, it costs Ten Skill points to bring it up to level One... unless you can find a Teacher, in which case it costs five. From there on, it costs double the Skill Rank you're going for, so to raise it from One to Two, it costs four... Unless you can find a teacher, in which case the cost is the same as for Untrained skills.

So, For The Psi-Rat to raise his Psionic Manipulation from 3 to 4, it would cost him Eight Points, unless he found The Shadow or someone, in which case it's four. You got that?

Macro Skills follow the Trained and Untrained pricing scheme, but they have to have a focus. This is how they get around needing to put Riding Horses, Riding Dolphins, Piloting VTOL, Driving Tanks, and Knowledge Toes in the skill list.

Specializations are pretty much as you'd expect, they're restrictions on skills that cost exactly the same as getting a new level in the regular skill, except that the first one costs half. So, they're only really a bargain at character generation, or if you really suck. If you have a Let's say the Nanny wanted to get a new specialization Stealth. She's at Two now, so a new level would cost three points. she doesn't Hide, but she does sneak. So, she decides to take three specialization points. The first one costs her 2 points(half of three, rounded up), the second and third cost three each. For thes same eight points, she could have improved the base skill only twice. There is a little side bar on How Special Does a Specialization have to be, stating that Rifles is a good specialization, AK47s are not.

Attributes can also be increased with skill points, but it costs three times the target attribute in skill points. If you wanted to raise an eight to a nine, it'd cost you twenty seven skill points.

You can get Skill Points in three ways. Sacrifice a Life Point(fate point, whatever) to get three skill points, you can turn in certain Drama cards(this'll be covered in the rule book), or the Gm may(but is under no obligation to) hand them out at the end of an adventure.

Skills may be learned whenever there is down time(between adventures, during transit) at normal costs. If you need to learn a skill mid adventure, it costs double and you can only get one add per skill per adventure. Teachers, as always, halve this cost.

Now that we have all of that out of the way, it's time to go over the skills. I'll be keeping it short and sweet because I'd like to get done with the Shatterzone core-book before the Alien Rope Burn finishes Rifts.

Agility

Acrobatics is an untrained skill that does what you'd expect it to do. You can tumble about, do circus stuff, and reduce damage from falls. The Specializations given are Tightrope Walking, Combat Acrobatics, and reducing damage from falls.

Beast Riding is an untrained Macro skill that lets you ride animals. You can use it to get the animal to go faster, to dodge, and to use the animal's attacks.

Climbing is an untrained skill that lets you climb. Specializations are Rope, Wall, and Mountain. The rules are about as complex as you'd expect, with a chart for the varying difficulties and bit on how to determine terminal velocity. Due to a type on the chart, it is easier to climb a smooth stone or metal wall than a tree. The tree has a difficulty of 5, where as the metal wall has a difficulty of .15. It's pretty clear that it's just supposed to be 15 so don't try to pull one over on the GM. YEs, the falling rules are in the climb skill. We're walking.

Dodge is an untrained skill, and it's exactly what you think it is. Your passive dodge score would pretty much be your Armor Class in Dungeons and Dragons. Active dodge is what you roll to get out of the way, although it takes up a whole action. This, however, increase your dodge score for the whole round. Or decreases it. You can, in fact, accidentally throw yourself into a bullet this way. Specializations are Active Dodge, Passive Dodge, Missile weapons, energy Weapons, and Traps.

Flight is a trained skill with the specializations mechanical, and whatever other type of flight your character may have avaliable. Jetpacks, flying squirrel suits, wings. Whatever. Usually a Special OPs thing, or an alien thing. There aren't any alien races that can fly be default, but hey. You never know, they might add one. So, if I really wanted to have that magic umbrella, The Nanny would need this. As would the Psi-Rat if he decided to take telekinetic flight. If you're forced to use Flight Untrained(Like being cut loose in Zero Grav... yes, that also uses the flight skill), the GM is told to up the difficulty a lot.

Long Jumping is an untrained skill with the specializations of Broad Jumping and Running Long Jump. Long Jump is really just used to push past the normal limits. It's not the only skill like that.

Maneuver is an untrained skill with the specializations: Combat, trecherous terrain, and EVA. Basically, this skill lets you flank and go across unever terrain.

Martial arts is a trained Macro skill, with specializations being the style of martial arts. Long story short, martial arts work like normal unarmed strikes, except they give you a further +2 to other skill rolls. In the case of the Psi Rat, his Ti Chi adds to his Psionic Manipulation.

Mechanical Manuever is a trained skill with the specializations of Power Suit and servowalker units. Basically, it's a tax skill. If you don't have the skill, whatever you do in an exoskeleton has a -8 applied to it. If you have the skill, you add the skill adds to what you're trying to do.

Melee Combat is an untrained skill with the specializations of Sword, knife, axe, powered blade, cybernetic slashers, and table legs. You know what this does.

Running is an untrained skill with the specializations of Long Distance, Sprint, Over Rough Terrain, and Encumbered. I almost wish I'd taken that specialization for someone. "Hurry, jump on my back! I'm not as fast if I'm not carrying a sweaty old man!"

Stealth is Untrained, and you've got Hiding, Stalking, and Sneaking. There's also(OF COURSE!) a special difficulty chart so your GM doesn't have to wing it.

You know what? I'm not even out of Athletics, I need to speed this up. From now I'm going to us (U) for Untrained skills, (T) for trained skills, and just go Specializations: like the book.

Swimming(U) is like running. But in water. There are two difficulty numbers for it, and you have to make two rolls. One to see if you actually went anywhere, ne one to see how fast you went. You can fail the speed roll. Specializations: Long Distance; sprint; underwater; scuba

Unarmed Combat(U) is exactly what it says on the tin. Specializations: Boxing; kickboxing; "barroom" brawling; fighting armed attackers.

Dexterity

Energy weapons(u) let you use energy weapons, which are clean and slightly less lethal than projectile weapons. It also lets you clean, maintain, and reload. Specializations: Laser pistol; plasma rifle; laser rifle; blaster; blaster rifle; pulse cannon.

Fire Combat(U) is using normal projectile weapons. Specializations: Rifle, pistol, shotgun, submachine gun, gyrojet.

Gunnery(T) is for ship mounted weapons. They all work alike anyway. Specializations: Laser weapons; missiles; blaster cannon; mass drivers

Heavy Energy weapons(T) lets you use big honking guns. And maintain them. If you don't have the skill, it's +8 points harder to use and reload. If you roll a 2, you break the weapon. Specializations: Heavy Blater Rifle; Plasma cannon; Pulse cannon; flamethrower. As an aside, I'm glad to see flamethrowers listed along side the other plasma weapons. I mean, yeah, most people don't consider fire to be Plasma, or vice versa, but I was taught in chemistry that Fire is Plasma, dammit.

Heavy weapons(T) is for heavy projectile weapons. As above. Specializations: Mortar; heavy machine gun; heavy needler; catapult; ballista(!); personal rockets; bazookas.

Lock Picking(T) is what it does. There's a chart for this too, and if you want to be able to pick a regular padlock, you need to be able to hit 12 on a regular basis. Assuming it isn't a well constructed padlock, in which case it's a 14. If you're doing it untrained, you're doing it with a minus eight. Having the right tools will drop the difficulty by five, so be sure to keep a locksmith's kit on hand. Specializations: Door Opening; Safe cracking.

Missile Weapons(U) lets you use 'muscle assisted projectile weapons.' Strength determines the damage, Dex determines if you hit. Specializations: Bow & arrow; sling; slingshot; crossbow.

Prestidigitation(U) is a slight of hand and has a little chart for how obvious things are. Welcome to the 90's, we like charts. Specializations: Stage magic; card dealing; pick pocketing; concealing items

Thrown Weapons(U) determine how well you can play baseball. No, seriously, it's mentioned in here. Aside from that, it's exactly what it says on the tin. There's again, notes as to how atomosphere effects the flight of things, and that balanced items may fly further, but really, if we want to know how thrown weapons work, we're supposed to put down the Players' Guide and take the Rule Book from the DM. Specializations: Throwing knife; Glahn throwing stick; axe; rock; baseball; bola; lasso; grenade

Vehicle piloting is a macro headache. So, okay, you have to choose a type of vehicle to have the Vehicle Piloting skill in. Wheeled; tracked; spaceship; winged plane; rotary engine; hovercraft; sailboat; motorboat... Which is fine, but it's either a Trained or an Untrained skill according to the DM's will. And, the DM is encouraged to tack on penalties for forgien manufacture, which is fine and all, but not exactly fun. "Oh, it's a Toyota? You usually drive a BMW right? Difficulty jump!"

Endurance thankfully only has two skills.

Resist Pain(T) lets you use it instead of Willpower to resist the effects of torture. And anyone who's deal with kids pulling their hair and trying to shove toy trucks up their nose knows how to resist torture.

Resist Shock(T) works differently from every other skill in the game. Instead of having unlimited adds like anything else, your skill adds for Resist Shock are limited by your endurance. Each add of Resist Shock lets you take an extra box of shock before going unconsious. Great for if you want to have people ask "How is that guy still standing?"

Strength

Damage Increase(T) is a metal... er... macro skill that lets you add damage, but for particular types of weapon, unarmed combat, martial arts, whatever. It's still limited by the maximum damage the weapon can do. Unarmed combat and Martial arts stuff is limited to 13 for Human Unarmed Strikes and 13 plus your martial arts adds for Martial arts.

Lifting(U) lets you lift more. You roll it on a round by round basis to figure out how much you can actually lift this second, instead of using your Strength value. The difficuly number of the Lifting skill your character's natural strength.

Intellect

Camoflage(U) is for hiding things that can't use stealth on their own. Trucks, wallets, whatever. Use the Stealth chart. Specializations: Natural; using man-made tools.

Compture Ops(U) Is suprisingly not(for a nineties game) a tax on knowing how you use your E-mail. If you know what a computer is, you can use it for all basic tasks. Like posting game reviews in forums. You just need it to use it really well. Trying to get unusual information is a DN 8, so... there you go. It has it's own chart, and trying to actually hack with a computer requires that you get at least an 18. Specializations: Accessing information; programming; breaking into secure files

Oh boy! Cyberdeck Ops(T)! If you've played any 90's game, you know that decking was always the way of the future with it's own complicated system. I mean, if the decker wanted something in shadowrun, it was time for the rest of you to run to the Seven Eleven... for a few hours. So let's see how Shatterzone handled it!



Yeah, you read that right. "We'll wank later. Right now, just treat it as a much better computer."

Demolitions(T) is two wonderfully handy skills in one. It lets you figure out how much boom you need, and makes the boom of your Demobricks bigger. For the first bit, you just tell the GM what you want to destroy, and what other effects you want. Then you roll. For the second, you have to make a roll vs half of the damage value of the explosives and if you make it, check the result on the General Push Results Table. Which is something we'll be hearing from a lot. Technically, I should have mentioned it back at lifting. But hey. Anyway, the difficulty for figuring out how much explosives you need has it's own chart, that splits things up by familiarity. Specializations: Bridges; buildings; armor.

Forgery(U) also has it's own chart. It's just for Licenses and Receipts and other text documents, though. If you want to be an art forget, you have to use the artist skill. You'll also have to use other skills for things like DNA-samples and holographs and security strips. Specializations: Licenses; receipts.

I'm halfway though this infernal section. I've been typing for what feels like days. This is all you guys get today. I'll try to have another one up Sunday.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

GorfZaplen posted:

:getin:

Black Tokyo: The Races of Black Japan

I'd like to point out that in Chris Field's new setting, Heavy Future, there is to be an ero-bot source book soon, not that this robot fetish is surprising to begin with. I'm going to review Heavy Future and it's parent setting, Galaxy Command, after this.

Isn't that the one with the Bacta Hot Tub? Or did that not make it into the book? A "friend" of mine linked me to his blog a while back, which explained the new type of elemental damage he was adding in Heavy Future. Pleasure damage.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013
Okay, I think I've finally got into the swing of things here...



It's 1993, do you know where you hilariously exhaustive(and exhausting) skill list is?

Time to move on to Language(T). It's a Macro skill, so you have to choose what language you're actually learning. That's right, you need to spend points in every language you can speak, but don't worry, you get the first one free. Generally, you want "Terran", which doubles as Galactic Common. Because this chart is actually amusing, you get to see it for once.



Joe Generico, with a straight Eight in everything, needs Two adds in Language(German) to have a fifty fifty chance of asking the bus driver for the bus schedule or regretfully informing him that he must sing. He needs two adds to have a fifty fifty chance of (This is a Finnish example) informing someone there's a King Cobra about, not just a Married Snake. How hilariously realistic. Part of me always wanted to hold whatever players I might get to this so I could have everyone talking like the cast of Buffy. "Dammit Fortunato you're never getting the... uh.. Big shooty burny thing again! Crap, how come that's a DN 15?"

Linguistics(U) is it's own skill. Of course it is. It's specializations are whatever languages you choose. Mostly, it's for understanding whatever languages you don't speak, but it doesn't actually allow you to be remotely fluent. It's a DN 3 for an American to understand a Canadian. Actually, I'm generalizing a bit, it's also a DN 3 for a New Yorker to understand a Californian. It's a DN 10 for a Frenchman to understand a Spaniard, and a DN 15 to understand Chinese. A completely alien language is a DN 25. But don't worry, if they're asking something simple the difficulty drops by three. That's right, Bathrooms, the universal language. "Scuse me guv, I need to spend a penny." "Ah. The outhouse is over there, pardner." "Thank you." Automatic.

An Ancient Roman shows up and asks for lunch? DN 7(After all, English is related to drat near everything, and Romance Languages are common). "Who was that?" "Marcus Agustus, I think. Wanted to know where the food court was."

Perception(U) is this game's spot. Except it covers drat near everything. It's specializations are as follows: Find, evidence analysis, smell, see, taste, resist surprise. Did you know that it's impossible to startle a CSI? I didn't. Granted, not being surprised is it's own specialization but geeze. No getting the drop on Sherlock.

Psionic Manipulation(T) Very important for the Psi Rat. Now, you have to have the Alien background advantage "Psionic Abilities" to even get it, but that's next chapter. You can only get it after character generation if the GM decides your character has the Psionic Potential. It's got it's own chapter later but what you need to now that it's(rather appropriately) a bit of a book keeping headache. Each power has it's own Base Difficulty Number. That's right, you have to roll to see if you can even summon up the willpower to use the power this round. But that's not all! Each power has it's own requirements of how high the Psionic manipulation skill has to be to even be able to use it. But at least to can specialize in particular powers.

To sum up, each psionic power has three hurdles. First, you have to have spent some of your background on being psionic. Secondly, you have to have spent enough of your skill points on Psionic Manipulation to be able to even know a particular power exists. Thirdly, you have to roll well enough/have a high enough skill and attribute combination to do it. Aren't you excited to have requested a Psionicist, Accidental Hipster? Because they're sure happy to have you./scarcasm

Scholar(U) is a Macro skill that basically takes the place of Knowledge for all of you familiar with D20. The Focuses given in the book are Chemistry, Criminal, Physics, System, and Teaching. only two of these really need explanation. System is about one particular solar system, not about computers. It pretty much lets you bullshit asteroid feilds and other minor features into existence. Teaching is important... It lets you teach other skills so that other people can learn them at half the cost.

That's it.

Yep. You can only teach as many Skill Adds as you have in Teaching. But it can be anything you already know yourself. I'd call it a point sink, bu in a way that's actually a really nice party member to have around. Instead of the deticated Heal Bot you have the Teach Bot.

Sensors(T or U) lets you use sensors. Ships Sensors is a trained skill, and it lets you use the ships sensors. If you don't have the skill, you have to get the ships computer to do it. Personal Sensors is Untrained, and lets you use metal detectors, geiger counters, motion sensors, electronic noses, whatever. Good for defeating stealth. Okay as prospecting.

Tracking(U) lets you track things. The base difficulty for tracking is 8, no matter what you're following. Then you look at the table to find the difficulty. If it's been a day the difficulty is +2, +5 if it's been a few, +8 if it's been a week. +5 for tracking in a snow storm, +10 for hard surfaces. -5 if it's a car, -5 if you're tracking something in mud or snow. Simple enough. You can specialize in certain types of terrain.

Trick(U) is practically Young Josephs signature skill. It's for brief deception and confusion. You want something longer lasting, go for Con. It's main purpose is for putting people off guard so you can really lay into them. It can also be used for tricking guards to let you in and losing tails. THe specializations avaliable are Misdirection, Deception... whatever other type of trick you can think of. If you want more information you'll have to pry The Rule Book out of the GM's hands.

And that brings us to Mind skills.

Artist is a trained or Untrained Macro skill, meaning that you can't just write down Artist and be done with it. You have to decide if you're a painter, a singer, or whatever. And as it's based on the same stat as Computer Tech and Cyber tech(well get to them), pasty research scientists with no life are better at singing than pop stars... so you too can be The Very Model of a Scientist Solarian.

My wonderful SO is shooting me dirty glares and stating that most painters are probably better singers than most pop singers, too. Moving on...

Business(U) is not for running a business. That's Scholar: Business. No. Business is for sizing up other companies, finding their strengths and weaknesses, and even putting a price on them. It's also for playing the Stock Market. Guessing the value of a stock or business starts at DN 10 and the difficulty goes up based on how complicated the situation really is. Just looking at the stock market and picking a winner at random is a DN 14. Luckily, you can specialize in either guessing the value of things or Stock Speculation.

Computertech(T) lets you repair, assemble, and modify personal and ship computers. The difficulty of or enhancing a computer is the current value of the computer, which is absolutely meaningless to you as it's not in this book. It takes time and money to make a computer better, but most computers are as good as they can get without totally rebuilding them, so stuff that in your pipe and smoke it. Repairing is based on the damage, but most minor damage is DN 8, with major damage being DN 14. Specializations are specific brands of computers and types of operations. So even in the Generic Space future where everyone is running from some threat at the center of the galaxy, you can still say "Sorry, I don't know how to repair an Apple."

Cybertech(T) is... oh god dammit. Cybertech is pretty much a craft skill, except for the fact that anything you build will never quite as good as what you buy unless you put an insane number of points in this. It's for building, repair, and modifying Cyberdecks and cyberware. Every bit of cyber equipment has a Cyber Rating, from one to six. You have to beat a difficulty number of related to the rating to even assemble the drat thing, much less repair of improve it. The Difficulty starts at ten for a Cyber Rating of 1 and hits 22 for a Cyber Rating of 6.

But wait there's more! Building things isn't a simple Pass/Fail experience here. Oh no. How well you succeeded changes things a lot. If you only get a Minimal Success, it'll malfunction any time you suffer a setback while using it. Depending on how you read that, it can be Anytime you get a Stymied or Setback result(Two more terms that mean nothing yet because we haven't gotten to the Basic Rules chapter). On an Average success it only malfunctions on a Setback. With a Good one, it doesn't malfunction at all. With a superior success, not only does it cease to malfunction, but it counts as one cyber rating smaller. So if it was CR 4, it's now CR3.

Improving things works the same way, except with Fewer downsides. A Minimal success gives you a +1, and a Superior gives you a +4, on top of the reduced Cyber Rating thing.

SO what does this actually mean? Let's assume Joe Genero went into Cybertech school. Wit his Eight mind, he needs are least 2 Cybertech Adds to even be able to hit DN 10 half the time. So, half the time, our generic average person would only be able to produce basic products that explode when their owner is stymied. I had to pull out the Rule Book here to figure out exactly what the probabilities were, but.... Here we go. If hit the Difficulty Number on the nose, that's a minimal success. 1-4 over the Difficulty number is average, 5-9 is good, and 10 and over is Superior. The dice will subtract half the time, so again, for a fifty fifty chance, you gotta be right on.

Joe Genero needs 4 adds to be able to not totally fluff up a Cyber Rating two device. Good to know.

Okay, so onto repairing stuff, that's bound to be easier right? Well, sorta. You use the same chart as before, replacing the Cyber Rating with how many wounds the device has taken. So once again, he needs four adds, for a total of 12(Attribute + Skill Adds), to not make a hash of the device. Well Joe, looks like your career as a Cybertechnician is a short one.

I just gotta take a break here to say: I hate lovely craft skills and systems. I've bought entire books just to have better Craft Systems(Those books being [ur/=http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/1107/Guns!-Guns!-Guns!-v1.1?it=1&filters=0_10134_0_0_40030]Guns! Guns! Guns![/url] and the Atomik series, both of which I recommend. Atomik cyberware really livened up my Shadowrun games because it resulted in a character having a complete set of cooking implements in his right hand....) Yes, there's a reason I'm not allowed to play a crafter in Dungeons and Dragons or an Alchemist in Pathfinder. But back to Shatterzone.

Hypnotism(T) is a mass of words. Basically, if it's a willing subject, it's really easy because the difficulty number is 18 minus their Mind. Which means that The Nanny, with her Mind of 12, is surprisingly easy to hypnotize. If she's willing. If she's unwilling, it's either her Mind score or her adds in the Willpower skill+8, whichever is higher.

Once you have someone hypnotized, you can either interrogate them, in which case you add your result points(however much you exceeded the target number by) to your Interrogation attempt when you roll. The hypnotized interogatee can still resist, but can't reroll tens or spend life points. So yes, as it stands now, Marry Poppins is better at reading your mind than Joseph Joestar.

Planting a suggestion is more difficult. The difficulty of planting it is based on how friendly the character is to suggestion. So it's easier to get someone to cluck like a chicken than it is to flip out and kill their boss when they next hear "Blue berry pie". The better the success, the longer the suggestion stays in their mind. The duration is determined by the skill roll, not by result points. Which means at at a 15, all of The Nanny's post hypnotic suggestions stay in your mind for sixteen and a half hours unless she rolls really poorly, or rolls well. So Mary Poppins is better at Mind Control too.

Medicine(T) does whatever medicine does. The specializations are Battlefield Medcine, Cybernetic surgery, surgery, and Alien Species. It can be used instead of First aid, but also lets characters who are Healing heal faster, with the aid of the doctor. Naturally, the more serious the wound the higher the difficulty number. Light wounds are DN 10, Wounded is 12, Heavily Wounded is 13, Incapacitated 15, and Mortally wounded 17... And if you're mortally wounded, you have to roll every round until they're stabilized. Luckily, first aid packs have an effective skill of 18, and will make that roll every round until you're either put in a Cold Sleep module or in the hospital.

If you're using it instead of First Aid, use the First Aid chart. It's also used for surgery. That uses the above chart, and something in the equipment section in the Universe guide to determine how much damage you take for getting the cyberware put in or removed.

Navigation is for... Navigation in star ships. You have to roll an 8 to find out information about the star system you're in, then you roll again to find Q-Point, safe places for your ship to jump into. Normally, it takes Ten minutes to find a safe jump point. If you want to find one faster, you have to make a roll against DN 14, and then consult both the general push chart and the Value chart to see how much time you shaved off. If you just wait the ten minutes, it happens automatically.

Psionic Resistance(T) is the Psi Rat's big skill and a big boon for anyone doing Psionics. Hell, who am I kidding, you have to have it. See, when you use an ability, there's a chance of Backlash. This skill lets you not kill yourself whenever you punch someone with your mind, or make them crave coffee. It's also used to resist psionic skills. If you don't have it(and thus aren't psionic) you use Willpower instead.

Psychology(U) is basically medicine for the mind. That's pretty much the whole use of it, rules as written. If you want to actually use it for anything else you'll need Hypnosis and Scholar: Psychology, I guess.

Science:science:(T) is a macro skill with such diverse and fun things as Electronics, Mechanical, Spaceship engineering, Space Weapons, Weapon-smithing(Energy), and Weapon-smithing(fire). And yes, you need Energy Weapon-smithing to make a flame thrower. I guess you'd also need Science: Chemistry to make chemical weapons and the like, as it out right says that Scholar is theoretical knowledge and Science if for practical knowledge involving construction and building of things.

And hey, we're onto Confidence. I said nothing about the other stats because it didn't seem like I needed to. But this one is different. Confidence is your self-image and belief. You can browbeat people, and resist based on it. Keep this in mind as I go through the skills.

Con(U) is Con man stuff. If you want to be Nathan Ford, this is what you need. It works like Persuasion/Charm. but it involves being a treacherous cockbite. The difficult is based on the plan, so the more elaborate(IE: Other skill checks you have to make) the easier it is to pull off. The more hasty, the harder. You can specialize in certain types of con. So, as GM, I'd recommend the specializations Hacker, Hitter, Grifter, and Thief.

Faith(U) has you spending skill points to believe in god. Any god. Or your own divinity. Or be a patriot. Or really like the XBoX360. Faith is sort of a combination of Willpower(we're getting there), and Scholar:Whatever you have Faith in. You're only supposed to take adds in it if you believe in something big, but... it can be anything bigger than yourself. Even your own ego. As willpower is used to resist interrogation, you can indeed use your Faith(Toyota) to resist torture. "The Toyota Tacoma wouldn't break down if you demolished a building under it! I'm not going to break from a couple battery cables!"

Interrogation(U) lets you interrogate people. It has it's own section on the interaction chart. The specializations are types of people you like to torture, and ways you like to torture them. Moving on.

Intimidation(U) is what it says on the tin, and has it's own section on the Interaction chart. It's specializations are types of people you like to scare the crap out of, and the ways you like to paint their trousers brown.

Moving on... You get another chart!


Streetwise(U) is exactly what everyone expects it to be. It's being able to survive in a slightly lawless urban environment. I love, however, that in, say New York City you only need an eight to ask a police officer "How much do I need to pay you for you not to take me to jail right now?" Naturally, it's the 90's, there's more to it than that, it's just not written down on that chart. First you generate the skill total, and then you take into account other things like how much money the person is spending trying to find out, how specific they are, how well known, and a bunch of other stuff that you, the GM, will have to deal with. Specializations: Certain Cities, Criminal Organizations, Certain types of people.

Survival(U) is a macro skill, so you have to chose what type of place you're good with. Jungle survival, Desert Survival, Forest Survival, even Urban Survival. And then there's specializations within the focus, like if you're good at finding food, shelter, places to crap, whatever. The chart is pretty much exactly what you'd expect, and there's a note stating that it's humanocentric, if your character is from a desert world, that'd be Easy instead of grasslands and woods. The part where it gets all 90's is that you have to figure out how close the environment they happen to be in is to whatever their focus is, and subtract Adds for every step away. A guy with forest would only be a slight disadvantage in the jungle or grasslands, but totally lost in the city.

Willpower(U) is your catch all defensive skill for interaction abilities and mental attacks. It's good against Intimidation, interrogation, torture, and Psionic Attack. You can specialize in any of them, but if you have Psi resistance, you can't use Willpower to resist psionic attacks.

Charisma

Charm(U) is used to make friends and influence people. It's a long process and it's "involves serious roleplaying --- not just rolling the dice". Complete rules are found in the rule book. You can specialize in Seduction or Friendliness. Meaning you too can be a pick-up artist, so long as you don't mind creeping on your GM.

Disguise(U) alters your features. Base difficulty is eight, and it's got a chart. Long story short, though, it's no surprise Joseph failed the trick the Nazis, as he had to get 12 with no ranks in the skill. Your success levels determine how well they hold up. You can specialize in Stage Costuming and Impromptu Disguises.

Persuasion(U) covers bargaining, browbeating, and bribery. It also covers Logic and reason but those don't start with B. Short story is the other guy resists with willpower. Long story is, look at chapter three in the rule book.

Taunt(U) is also explained elsewhere, so they're not going to give you more than "It is used to insult, upset and annoy a target so that he will think less clearly and will not be able to react with good judgment."

So that's attributes and skills done.

Bonus Character Concepts
Reading through this with intent to explain it has resulted in my noticing weird confluences of skills. When I get done with the player book, I'm going to post a PDF of various Wacky, not for serious use characters that have been inspired by both the thread and the rules. So that if you ever have a Shatterzone GM, you can at least drive him half as mad as he'll drive you. They're incomplete for now, and just sketches of the sort of insane poo poo you... won't actually find in this game.

Detective Tongue
It's strange how few people understand what you understand. The world is a veritable cornucopia of flavors, and they all mean something. From the pain and fear the meat went through as it died, to the type of motor oil used in the car... you know it all. Of course, given that your species communicates through taste and only uses sounds when you cant touch each other, you tend to be looked at funny for licking people's hands and peeing on the carpet. It's not easy being a three foot tall pink lizard.
Quote: "Lick! Licki-tongue."
Mind 13
Perception:5 Taste 6
Background Advantages: Eat Anything(Xeno-Ability 2) Extra Skill Add (Perception) Fame 2(It's that alien detective that licks things!)
Background compensation: Alien Prejudice 3(non-humanoid), Metabolic Difference(Eat all the things!(Xeno-Flaw 1)), Alien Outlook(Xeno Flaw 2), Language 1(Can understand Terran/Standard, can't speak it)

A.P.C.
You're really, really good at moving people. Freakishly good, in fact. Not terribly bright though. That's okay, the little man you wear on your back does the thinking.
Quote: "Push wheel?"
Mechanical Maneuver 3
Running 2 While Encumbered 6
Lifting 1 People 6
Faith: Little man in bag 5

Captian Corp
All these people, they don't understand what you understand. The Company is Mother and Father. The Company takes care of all of us. Especially you. They wouldn't have put so much time and effort into you if that weren't the case. You're their hands on the street and their face on the ceral box... and occasional serial bus.
Quote: "What, you think this A on my head is for Omni Consumer Products?"
Fire Combat 2 Rifles 6
Faith: Megacorp of Choice 5
Charm 2 Friendliness 6
Persuasion 2 Buy My poo poo 6
Background Advantage: Cybernetics 3(Top of the line, rare stuff)

Scientist Solarian
Quote: "Do you want me to sing the song? I can sing the song again."
Fire Combat 4
Intellect 13
Scholar: Medicine 5
Mind 14
Artist: Singing 5(Total 19)
Medicine 5
Science:science::Genetic engineering (5)
Background Advantages: Ability Limit Increase: Mind(3 points) Extra Skill Add(Medicine, Artist, Scholar Medicine, Science Genetic Engineering)
Background Compensations: Cold Blooded (Xeno Flaw 2) Metabolic Differences(Xeno Flaw 1)

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Halloween Jack posted:

I have a soft spot for the Masterbook system; I owned a couple of the games. But the system is just so...complicated where it doesn't need to be, and the places where mechanical complexity could be useful, like starship combat, it's always, like, the wrong kind of complicated.

Of all things it was World Of Tank Girl that got me interested in Masterbook, though Bloodshadows is still my favorite Urban Fantasy setting. And hey, the current publisher of Masterbook has a somewhat open license so if you've got an old campaign world for it you wan tto put out there, they'll even put it up on their site.

But yeah. As you'll get to see in Background Generation(And when I do the Rule Book), Shatterzone is it's beefy older brother when it comes to needless complexity. I love the idea of the Universal Measurement Chart and the rest, but it just makes the whole book read like a mess of See Page XX. It was a problem in the DC game too, admittedly. Less so in Mutants and Masterminds.

The Space combat in Shatterzone was nice as far as that went. It was well weighted, neither too crunchy or too quick. Piloting skills matter, as do gunnery. That said, yeah, it being a roll off every attack can be a bit of a pain. Let's see... Roll Init, Roll Manuevering, Roll actions(From list of approved actions) and every crew member counts, Tally damage, Do missile stuff, new turn. It's not Star Thugs(Still my favorite space combat game) but it's certainly not the Vehicle Combat Rules from Shadowrun(It was... Second that had the "Everyone but the trolls die" vehicle combat rules, right?).

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

AccidentalHipster posted:

I'm very much looking forward to see how deep the psionics rabbit hole goes. I wonder if there's any reason to take Scholar or Willpower.

Concerning my write-ups, I still haven't decided on which system to do (I have two votes and both are for different things) although I'll most likely start posting something soon-ish. As a reminder for the people out there that care (all three of you), I'm considering Tenra Bansho Zero (cyberpunk/high fantasy feudal Japan), Dungeons: The Dragoning (40k+Exalted+D&D+WoD+Mass Effect=:iia:), or Strike Legion (super soldiers fighting Imperial hordes IN SPAAAAACE!)

Well, the official rational is that Faith is a fluff skill and also a lot more narrow compared to Scholar:Whatever. Scholar Chemistry gives you all sorts of theoretical knowledge on chemistry, such as how to speed up or slow down a reaction, but it doesn't actually cover more practical things because it was 93. They figured that you wouldn't need it for anything but handwavium, and you can just buy explosives anyway. For instance, Faith America would only get you the history of America and whatever other patriotic things; while Scholar: Earth History would cover a lot more. Likewise, Faith is only supposed to help when resisting the enemies of your faith(or anything you can rationalize away as such), whereas Willpower would be for any situation where you're being smacked upside the head. Though, admittedly, Faith might, depending on your creed, defend against seduction as well.

The real question is what good is Resist Pain compared to Willpower? Resist Pain is pretty much Willpower: Resist Interrogation at a much higher cost as it's a Trained skill and Willpower is Untrained, and the specialization is cheaper still. Not to mention that the Willpower specialization will defend against The Nanny's hypnotism while Faith probably won't. I didn't make any of these characters truly optimized because, frankly, it's not worth it. It's better to have interesting characters. Especially as the math will get really confusing if you have a poo poo load of specializations. Not like Mutants And Masterminds "How exactly did you manage to summon Counter Earth as a free action?" or "How did you manage to hypnotize the UN in a single round?" confusing, but bad enough.

Anyway, not to make it hard on you, but I want to hear Tenra Bansho Zero for purely selfish reasons. Mainly, peple keep asking me to run a Henshin Heroes game in it.I ultimately went for The Last Stand, but I haven't gotten around to running for personal reasons.

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FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013

Davin Valkri posted:

Just to make it clear for those of us who got into RPGs in the 2000s (like me), what is meant when an RPG is described as "very 80s" or "pretty 90s"? Is it just a theme of general whiny angst, or something else?

At least when I say something is very 90's, it has more to do with the mechanics. The 90's was plagued by mechanics that didn't support what they were trying to do at all(See Vampire's many combat Murphey's Rules), immense equipment lists for the sake of having equipment, PCs have little impact on the setting(Either due to reams and reams of metaplot and bad adventure design or, like Shatterzone and Masterbook, insane target numbers on things making things a bit wiffy), characters having multiple actions a round and other such foibles. Having Grim Dark Serious settings makes it especially 90's, though.

Don't get me wrong. I like SLA Industries. But it's about as 90's as you can get. Big Metaplot? Secrets the GM isn't even allowed to know? Serious business Dark Setting? Reams and Reams of Fluff that your characters would have no way of knowing? It hits all this and more. It's Glasgow Shadowrun, and it's not going to let you forget it. From the drug addicted Soccer Hooligans as a playable race to Undead Heroin Addict Psychics, the setting reflects the troubles of the time, and really makes you want to say "Take a prosac or something".

As much as I tease Shatterzone, it's kinda middle of the road for an early 90's RPG. At least, the core books are. Haven't actually bought any of the many setting books or novels. Might, now that I'm sitting down to see what's what with it.

ETA: Oh yeah, how could I forget all the "We don't want to get sued by Wizards, let's call everything something weird. You're not the Game master, your the Gomi-No-Sensei." stuff. Keeps tripping me up with Shatterzone too. Everytime I see Difficulty Number, my fingers want to type Difficulty Check instead.

FourmyleCircus fucked around with this message at 20:07 on Nov 12, 2013

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