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Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



It's really annoying when it does get everything wrong. The Red Dawn remake claims to be in Spokane Washington, but was filmed somewhere in Michigan and claimed Ballard (a Seattle neighborhood) was in the city, and even claimed the state's in the midwest.

That's an extreme example of getting geography wrong, but it certainly made any critics in the state who might be charitable go 'you know what? gently caress you guys, if you can't be assed to pretend you know something, no stars'

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Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



I wouldn't be surprised because it was also set in the States, where most of the players were.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Robindaybird posted:

It's really annoying when it does get everything wrong. The Red Dawn remake claims to be in Spokane Washington, but was filmed somewhere in Michigan and claimed Ballard (a Seattle neighborhood) was in the city, and even claimed the state's in the midwest.

Don't get me started on Fargo. Which was filmed basically everywhere in North Dakota/Minnesota but Fargo, and many of the places in the movie are completely fictitious anyway.

And no, everyone up here does not have the accent, it wasn't funny the first 30 times.

Rohan Kishibe
Oct 29, 2011

Frankly, I don't like you
and I never have.


I have no experience of Torg outside of this thread, but it just sounds like such a disappointment. I mean, the idea that you have to create a reality bubble to sue your poo poo is rediculous, just go "you're a Storm Knight, your poo poo always works that's why you are special". Reality bubbles should only exist as a way for your character to turn a donkey into a rad motorcycle or a rusty gladius into a lightsaber or something.

Hell, lets look at a Living Land dude, forget all the ideas about playing a robot-dinosaur, which is awesome, lets say you are just some caveman dude. You come from a reality where technology and magic don't work, so if someone puts a gun to your head and pulls the trigger, it should do about as much good as just throwing a pebble at your head, as the bullet transforms in mid flight, that instantly gives you a reason to just play Captain Caveman, going around slicing tanks apart with your spear as the metal armour becomes hairy mammoth hide under your glass spear. It's such a cool setting idea and it seems like actually doing the cool poo poo that made you want to play in the first place would be impossible.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Prison Warden posted:

Hell, lets look at a Living Land dude, forget all the ideas about playing a robot-dinosaur, which is awesome, lets say you are just some caveman dude. You come from a reality where technology and magic don't work, so if someone puts a gun to your head and pulls the trigger, it should do about as much good as just throwing a pebble at your head, as the bullet transforms in mid flight,

Except it transforms mid-flight still going 1 kilometer per second. You can literally stand on the border of the Living Land, fire lasers into it, and, if they don't hit fog or storm, they'd still probably damage poo poo on the other side because they're still concentrated photons moving at the speed of light.

Edit: Essentially, part of the reason the Living Land gets hosed is that it can't fight physics. The only time reality bubbles really come into play is if you're throwing items that contain technology, like electronic-fused grenades. It feels very much like the Del Ray short story "For We Are A Jealous People" (which is referenced in TORG at one point), where the God-backed aliens defense against nuclear weapons is bypassed when human suicide bombers are there to keep God from disabling the nuclear detonators.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 00:00 on Jan 9, 2015

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

No, that accent will never stop being hilarious.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Evil Mastermind posted:

The Bundle of Holding just posted this:

quote:

And on Thursday we present an all-new offer featuring one of the classic multi-genre RPGs of the past.

Dare I hope? :ohdear:

Yessss...

YYYEEEEEEESSSSS

Now you can all ache like I ache! :getin:

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



quote:


Yessss...

YYYEEEEEEESSSSS

Now you can all ache like I ache! :getin:

And wouldn't you know, Living Land is nowhere to be seen.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

Yessss...

YYYEEEEEEESSSSS

Now you can all ache like I ache! :getin:

And wouldn't you know, Living Land is nowhere to be seen.
[/quote]

Haha I completely missed that. Amazing.

(You're not missing anything)

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


man, DTRPG is getting hammered. I hope you're happy for this horrible idea.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kurieg posted:

man, DTRPG is getting hammered. I hope you're happy for this horrible idea.

You have no idea.

And yes I bought the bundle. Even though I own half those books in hardcopy.

e: The bundle has the first novel of the trilogy, which is worth the price of admission if you like terrible writing.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 00:12 on Jan 9, 2015

Rohan Kishibe
Oct 29, 2011

Frankly, I don't like you
and I never have.


Young Freud posted:

Except it transforms mid-flight still going 1 kilometer per second. You can literally stand on the border of the Living Land, fire lasers into it, and, if they don't hit fog or storm, they'd still probably damage poo poo on the other side because they're still concentrated photons moving at the speed of light.

The speed of light? Light doesn't have a speed, it just is! And a rock couldn't move at a 1000km an hour, that's ludicrous, even the fastest proto-cheeta or dino is nowhere near that speed! Next you'll say that in the Victorian cosm someone could build some kind of horseless carriage that would move upwards of 50 miles an hour, when any good natural philosopher knows that the very wind would flay the flesh from a man at that speed.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Prison Warden posted:

The speed of light? Light doesn't have a speed, it just is! And a rock couldn't move at a 1000km an hour, that's ludicrous, even the fastest proto-cheeta or dino is nowhere near that speed! Next you'll say that in the Victorian cosm someone could build some kind of horseless carriage that would move upwards of 50 miles an hour, when any good natural philosopher knows that the very wind would flay the flesh from a man at that speed.

I suggest dropping this for now, because we haven't even gotten into the cosm where personal perception ACTUALLY has an effect on the real world and what the consequences that has. Let's just say that in everywhere else, physics still wins out despite the inhabitants' internal observations.

Hint: it's the cosm with high Magic.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 00:32 on Jan 9, 2015

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Young Freud posted:

Let's just say that in everywhere else, physics still wins out despite the inhabitants' internal observations.

Well that's as dumb as everything else about TORG so far. If you're going to have multiple realities uneasily co-existing next to each other with mutually exclusive sets of narrative physics then you ought to commit to it, none of this halfassed "actually I think you'll find that science is universal" nonsense.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kai Tave posted:

Well that's as dumb as everything else about TORG so far. If you're going to have multiple realities uneasily co-existing next to each other with mutually exclusive sets of narrative physics then you ought to commit to it, none of this halfassed "actually I think you'll find that science is universal" nonsense.

Magic and miracles are also universal. Casting divine magic is the same for a Cyberpapal priest as it is for an edinos.

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

"You're talking to cats."
"And you eat ghosts, so shut the fuck up."





The Proxy

Gazetteer posted:

Okay, yes, [The Ancient] is utterly incompetent for basically being beamed in from an entirely different genre and really not fitting in with how the game is supposed to work at all. I mean, one thing you can say for Topher's skins is that he seems to understand what Monsterhearts is supposed to play like, he's just not always great about reflecting it in his mechanics. Whoever made this skin is like... bad on a completely different level.
When I made this post I was a younger Gaz. A more innocent Gaz. A Gaz who hadn’t really put enough thought into the Proxy. Melodramatics aside:

The Proxy is a kid who is being stalked by an unknowable evil. Something ancient and terrible, that can’t really be defeated, so the Proxy is forced to rely on buying time and distracting the creature by directing its attention to other people. This creature is known only as It.



Sorry, not that It. It as in a mysterious figure who appears out of the corner of your eye, or as brief glimpses in grainy videos or out of focus photographs, and you don’t know where It came from, but it’s hunting you for vague and unexplained reasons and

Okay, gently caress it, it’s Slenderman. Slenderman, or some other "urban legend" monster that people on some dumbass forum made up. This is a skin where you play someone from an Internet creepypasta story. Specifically, it’s mostly based off of the Youtube series Marble Hornets, which is about some guy who is supposedly uploading footage from his friend’s lovely student film and Slenderman is on the tapes, and then he starts getting harassed by some random rear end in a top hat wearing a mask. When you’re playing the Proxy, that’s you. No, you’re not the guy viewing the tapes, and you’re not Slenderman. You’re this one jerk in a mask from this one particular Youtube creepypasta series.

And yes, this is a loving terrible basis for a Monsterhearts skin because it’s incredibly specific, and it just doesn’t work in the genre. Not that the concept of “PC cursed by terrible monster” could not work at all, but this particular take on it is way too interested in recreating things from this Youtube series to actually work with Monsterhearts. It is bent on recreating a tone which just cannot be maintained within the often intentionally silly and melodramatic context of this game’s particular brand of horror. As a result… there’s no metaphor here. The skin doesn’t present you with one, and there’s no real way to extract one short of like… reaching really, really far. This is literally just “let’s recreate something from a thing I like in another thing I like.” It flat out does not work.

Mechanically, my first thought was “okay, so it’s a bargain basment Infernal.” It has a horrible demonic creature associated with it, and it tries to bring other people to that creature’s attention in order to avoid punishment. But when I actually got to looking closer at it… most of the skin’s moves actually just prevent other people from doing things while allowing you to gently caress with them anonymously and from a distance. Repeatedly, this skin’s moves attempt to shield you from the kind of petty retribution that a Monsterhearts character can normally expect over the course of a game. It’s closer to playing an NPC Menace than an actual PC, while managing to be less fun that most PCs that take on the narrative role of “bad guy.”

Origins include “student filmmaker” -- a direct Marble Hornets reference, “delved too deep” -- an inexplicable Lord of the Rings reference, and “created a hoax that became true”, which is at least cute.

The Proxy’s good stats are Dark and Volatile. “Social idiot stats”, as I’ve termed it previously. Skins like that usually have to rely on brute violence and whatever magic tricks they get from their high Dark stat in order to compete with more socially capable skins, lacking easy access to the Hot and Cold powered moves that dominate social conflict. This combination fits this skin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make terribly effective use of it.

For your backstory, you take a string on everyone to start with, because you’ve been secretly recording them all. You also take an additional string on your Subject. You have also been obsessively recording yourself, though, and someone has found and watched these tapes -- they take a string on you. It takes 5 strings on you. This is seriously the closest this skin ever comes to defining It in any useful way -- I think it’s an attempt to keep It as being all mysterious or whatever, but the end result is that it’s not very scary because it can’t do anything to you beyond ordinary MC fiat, unless the MC takes it upon themself to stat the thing up as a proper Menace.

Skin Moves

You start off with The Sickness and two other Proxy moves.

The Sickness

You choose one of the other characters to be your subject. You may change which character is your subject at any time, but you must have at least three strings on a character to make them your new subject. After the fifth time your subject accepts experience from you spending a string on them to get them to do something, they need to use their next experience to buy a Proxy move.

This move implies that this should be a skin about offering strings to people, since this move relies on it. That kind of requires that you have a method for acquiring strings on your subject, though -- Cold/Volatile skins are not great at that. Unfortunately, only one other Proxy move will help you out with that, and it’s entirely possible to just not take it.

Another thing I’m a little bit concerned about is that this move doesn’t tell you what happens if your subject accepts their fifth experience from you, but they’ve already used up their two “take a move from another skin” advances. Do they take a Proxy move anyway? Do they just ignore it? It’s supposed to represent you throwing someone under the bus by drawing It’s attention to them, earning you a reprieve. But the skin’s continued insistence on not actually defining what It is or does means that there is no actual mechanical effect to this. And most of the Proxy’s moves do not actually tie into being stalked by Slenderman or whatever, because as previously mentioned, they’re too busy trying to let you recreate moments from Marble Hornets. So… not a great move, which is bad, because this is the move that the whole skin is supposed to be hung on.

Am I interrupting?
You can spend two strings on someone in order to secretly enter their home, identity, and social media accounts. You can make “irreversible” changes to these accounts and film this character while they are sleeping without being detected by any means or leaving behind any trace that you were there.

Right off the bat, here we are again, with a move that relies on you having strings on other characters and no guarantee that you have any kind of reliable way to obtain them. Not that you’d want to, because in terms of a Monsterhearts game this is kind of worthless. There’s no real mechanical effect that comes into play from accessing their social media stuff or filming them, it’s just here because this is the kind of thing that happened to the protagonist in Marble Hornets. And it’s always going to be bullshit when a move lets you do a risky activity with literally 0 chance of you being caught. Compare this to the Ghost’s Creep move, which rewards you for spying on people, but does not shield you from the consequences of it (Taking Creep when you already have this move would be a pretty broken combination, incidentally).

Cryptic Bullshit
When you Shut Someone Down through indirectly through sending them a video or text message, you roll Dark instead of Cold. If the target is your subject, add 1 to the roll as well. The messages can consist of “mysterious but meaningful images, phrases written in ciphers, or recurring symbols”.

Well, this is something at least. It lets you ignore your lovely Cold stat, encourages you to go after people indirectly, and to target your subject in particular. At first glance it seems like Am I Interrupting would have some synergy with this, but that’s not really the case. You just need to be able to contact your targets through text or video -- having access to their facebook account doesn’t necessarily make that significantly easier considering you can activate this by literally shoving a note into their locker already.

The Collective
When you Gaze Into the Abyss about your subject, if you roll a 10 or higher, you gain a string on them and do 1 harm to them. If you roll a 7-9, choose one from the following list:
  • You gain a string on them, but It gains a string on you
  • You gain a string on them, but you take 1 harm
  • You do 1 harm to them, but you take 1 harm
  • You do 1 harm to them, but It gains a string on you

If you roll a 6- , take 1 harm and It gains a string on you.

Okay, so, this is pretty much the Proxy’s only reliable method for taking strings on people. Except, the move that the Proxy needs to take requires you to spend string on people to actually work, so either this should be a required move, or else there should be other ways that let you easily gain strings on people.

As for the move itself… well, it’s not great. For one thing are these effects in addition to the ordinary effects of Gaze Into the Abyss? Are they instead of them? If the latter, why tie this into a Gaze roll at all? Furthermore, It’s a move that lets you deal harm with your Dark stat… except Volatile is also one of your good stats. So this is just an incentive to dump all your points into Dark, because this skin literally does not care about you using any other stat. Apart from that, the chief benefit is being able to deal harm anonymously from a distance whenever you want. Which is pretty bad, in a game that likes to deal with the social consequences of violence more than the physical ones. The Fae can hurt people from a distance, but only after they break a promise with them.

Half of the options on the 7-9 list also involve It taking a string on you. That seems ominous, and one would think it would tie into your Darkest Self or something. But it doesn’t. It literally does nothing. I guess the MC could spend them on you the same way they can with strings held by any other NPC… but that basically means that It is only about as threatening as Becky from homeroom. Compare this to the Infernal’s Dark Power, where you know that bad things will happen when it eventually gets enough strings on you, but are given good reason to let it collect them on you anyway.

Oh and it dictates your hard move on a 6-, gently caress that forever, you all know the drill by this point.

Distortion
You can cause weird distortions in any video, audio recording or photograph that you appear in. This can range from “mild static to severe interference.” Or, one presumes, really terrible and distracting redeye. Anyone who views or listens to the recordings needs to Hold Steady. On a 6-, they take the condition “Fatigued.”

Once again this basically does loving nothing. Like, this is just a random disconnected power that fits the vague theme of “does weird things with technology!” but does not actually have any sort of real unity with any of the skin’s other moves. All it does is maybe apply a condition to another character, which is something you can already do by Shutting Them Down with Cryptic Bullshit. And yet again, this whole thing hinges on dictating the MC’s hardmove on a 6-.

Masky
When you’re wearing a mask, others must Hold Steady before they can Turn You On, Shut You Down, or Lash Out Physically against you. In addition, I have to assume, to the ordinary effects of Hold Steady, on a 10+ you then make the proceeding move normally. On a 7-9, though, you take a -1 to whatever it was you were trying to do. On a 6- (sigh), they don’t get to make the move and instead gain the condition “Hazy Memories.”

This is a move that stops people from being able to mechanically interact with you through most of the basic moves they'd usually use to do that. That is not a good thing -- it’s pretty boring for you and for all the other players. Basically it’s just yet another move to remove you from regular play so that you can hide in your pillow fort and send confusing text messages to people without them being able to do anything about it.

Path of Black Leaves
Unless you allow it, no one can successfully Run Away from you. You will always be waiting just around the next corner, or they will find themselves passing through the same halls or doorways over and over again.

I know this is supposed to be scary but all I can see here is Scooby Doo. Seriously, though, like Masky, all this is doing is making it so people can’t use regular moves against you. gently caress this move. gently caress this skin.

Sex Move
When you have sex with someone, they become your new subect. It doesn’t matter how many strings you had on them. Both of you mark experience, and that experience counts as your new subect accepting experience for the purposes of The Sickness. You carry 1 forward toward harming you old subect.

Okay, sure. Why is this carry 1 forward mechanic present here and not in the regular "you switch subjects" thing you have in The Sickness, though?

Darkest Self
It is closing in on you and you’re desperate, so you pick someone close to your subect and sacrifice them to It. They might die, or become “memory wiped”, or wind up as “another Proxy like yourself.” You escape your Darkest Self when you either successfully sacrifice someone, or when someone catches you on camera and stops you from hurting someone. They specifically need to catch you on camera -- they can’t just bash you over the head with a rock and call it a day.

This is basically the Infernal’s Dark Recruiter, but less interesting.

Other Stuff
The Proxy’s gang is a “Secret Cult.” Because clearly the only way to make this all even better is for there to be more of these assholes running around.

I’ve changed my mind. I like The Beast better than this. The Beast is completely and utterly mechanically broken, but it does feel like an attempt to make an actual Monsterhearts Skin. The Proxy has no business being in Monsterhearts and doesn’t even want to try to fit in. I find that to be less palatable, somehow.

Next Time: The Unchained -- Bipolar disorder does not work that way

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



The "hoax became real" origin is probably referencing this one episode of Supernatural where that exact thing happened due to thousands of people on a creepypasta/urban legend site sharing a magic symbol along with their versions of the story. It was way more interesting than this skin.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

When it comes down to it "I like a thing and want to recreate that thing in [RPG] no matter how out of place or terrible it is" is the basis for like 90% of all RPG homebrew.

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?


Green Intern posted:

The "hoax became real" origin is probably referencing this one episode of Supernatural where that exact thing happened due to thousands of people on a creepypasta/urban legend site sharing a magic symbol along with their versions of the story. It was way more interesting than this skin.

It's also the plot to the EverymanHYBRID video series, which is about some guys making fitness videos on Youtube who decide to get some of those Marble Hornet views by having a friend in a Slenderman costume stand in the background of their videos only to have Slenderman actually start showing up. And that is also more interesting that this skin, because it's a Youtube series and not something that you're supposed to play.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

A non zero amount of bad MH ideas are victims of 'I like this as a non interactive, solo, media concept, WHY WOULDN'T I WANT IT AS AN INTERACTIVE AND MUTLI PERSON GAME?!'

A good amount of general RPG failures are, really.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Thanks for explaining the Proxy, because I've read that playbook a couple times and could never understand it. I know what Slenderman is, basically, but I had no idea what the PC's relationship to the monster is supposed to be.

Tatum Girlparts posted:

'I like this as a non interactive, solo, media concept, WHY WOULDN'T I WANT IT AS AN INTERACTIVE AND MUTLI PERSON GAME?!'
There have been a downright stupid number of homebrew Highlander games.

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

You're fucking subhuman


Gazetteer posted:

The Sickness

You choose one of the other characters to be your subject. You may change which character is your subject at any time, but you must have at least three strings on a character to make them your new subject. After the fifth time your subject accepts experience from you spending a string on them to get them to do something, they need to use their next experience to buy a Proxy move.

So if the player doesn't want their PC to take a Proxy move, this just removes any motivation to accept XP from the Proxy. Good job.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Much as I love Highlander, it really wouldn't make a good game

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Tatum Girlparts posted:

A non zero amount of bad MH ideas are victims of 'I like this as a non interactive, solo, media concept, WHY WOULDN'T I WANT IT AS AN INTERACTIVE AND MUTLI PERSON GAME?!'

It can be a little tricky to do even when you're aware that that's a need. My tabletop gaming group put together a homebrew MH skin I posted over in the apocalypse world thread that took a few revisions towards that end, starting off with a teenage metaphor, then matching a monster to it, then trying to figure out a way to get it interacting with other PCs and vice versa.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Robindaybird posted:

Much as I love Highlander, it really wouldn't make a good game

I would only play a Highlander game if it included a Beheading Trajectory Table.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Evil Mastermind posted:

Every reality has three or four world laws, although Core Earth didn't get any until about halfway through the game line because I guess the designers forgot or something. Kind of like how they forgot that technically all of Core Earth should be a pure zone and thus make life incredibly difficult for characters from other realities.
Here's a solution to that: You can only get up to the full mechanical bullshit of a Pure Zone if the relevant Darkness Device is present in the zone.

Make Darkness Devices more vulnerable somehow, and suddenly there's some interesting stuff to be done with them. You can't fully overwrite the target's reality with yours unless your Darkness Device is present, but if you do you're making yourself vulnerable.

(Also make it so Ords have a hard time holding onto things like the rules say Storm Knights do, and Storm Knights don't have any problems using their gun to shoot dinos or whatever unless they're literally in the same room with the dinoland Darkness Device.)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I would actually be totally cool with Torg forcing your cyber-samurai to become a caveman with a stone fist and a macahuaitl, and so on, but only in a system where the precise difference between a monokatana and an obsidian knife isn't modeled in the first place.

How would you be modeling this in FATE, anyway? Like, have some of the characters' Aspects be "floating" ones that change with the scenery?

Golden Bee
Dec 24, 2009

I came here to chew bubblegum and quote 'They Live', and I'm... at an impasse.


Halloween Jack posted:

I would actually be totally cool with Torg forcing your cyber-samurai to become a caveman with a stone fist and a macahuaitl, and so on, but only in a system where the precise difference between a monokatana and an obsidian knife isn't modeled in the first place.

How would you be modeling this in FATE, anyway? Like, have some of the characters' Aspects be "floating" ones that change with the scenery?

Your high concept never changes, but "This Dimension is DIFFERENT!" and "All Dimensions are alike" becomes setting aspects. You can compel the former when your Cyberarm doesn't work. You invoke the latter when you realize that Renaissance politics are pretty much dealing with the Yakuza.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


In 2003, a particular rulebook hit the shelves, much to college aged me's chagrin.

"Holy Crap! A Warcraft roleplaying game!? How can this possibly be bad?"
The answer was, unfortunately, "so many many many ways."
That's not to say it was all bad, for one it was published by White Wolf under their Arthaus and Swords&Sorceries imprint. Which admittedly was basically a "We want to publish a bunch of OGL stuff but don't want d20 fans to not buy it because it's White Wolf." Also, Blizzard desperately wanted this to succeed. The hype train for World of Warcraft was leaving the station and they wanted to get more people involved, so the RPG actually has some very accurate setting information and some various bits and pieces of info from the WoW Dev bible slipped into the book.
As for the bad, it was unfortunately timed. It came out literally one week after 3.5 released, but it's one of those lazy OGL books that basically goes "for everything else check the PHB", so while that does mean you can just use the 3.5 PHB and it's class/feat fixes... it's not really a saving grace because, almost everyone on the dev team was either a first timer or had no previous d20 experience. There are some revised class changes mentioned in here but they won't really apply for reasons that will become apparent by the end of this post. Despite the fact that White Wolf had been pumping out Scarred Lands books like clockwork for two years at this point. Their unfamiliarity with concepts shows particularly in the race and class design, and then they tried introducing new mechanics and they really lose track of what's going on. Also: despite the fact that it says "Warcraft: the Roleplaying Game" It's basically "Warcraft 3: The Roleplaying Game", it focuses exclusively on Kalimdor, almost completely ignores the eastern kingdoms, and for the most part pretends that the Undead campaign in Frozen Throne never happened.

They later released a 2nd edition of the game that fixed a lot of the issues people had with this one and started making departures from vanilla d20 to make it's own game. I'll go into that edition in more detail once we get there, but there's a couple of books to chew through before we can get to that point.

The first chapter of the core book is a history of the world of Kalimdor, there's really nothing here that wasn't in the instruction manuals for the first 3 games. And if you're interested you either already know it, or I can just direct you to the wiki.

The second chapter opens up with races. Where the next big issue I have with this book comes to light

Unfiltered Metzen artwork
There's about 3 different art styles going on up there and maybe one of them is good.

Anyways, Humans are mostly untouched. They keep their feat and skill points, gain a +2 save against fear related effects because "humanity is known for it's courage", a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Know(Royalty) and all of those skills are class skills for all of their classes, and a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against orcs. So they took the best race and made them better. Dwarves, oh sorry "Ironforge Dwarves" are unchanged save for the addition of some guns to their Weapon Familiarity trait and the ability to use Stone Flesh once per day which gives them +2 natural armor for con+char level rounds. And the natural armor bonus increases as they level up too.

Elves are where we start to see the big differences. High-Elves are d20 elves with +2 int added to their stat spread. Any elf with a int of 10 or higher know 4 cantrips and can cast them as a 1st level sorcerer a total of 4 times per day. They also have a +1 bonus to their caster level in all arcane classes and a +2 bonus to concentration, Know(arcana), and spellcraft and these are all class skills. They also get sudden empower, once per day. Unfortunately they're also addicted to arcane magic and must spend an hour each day fighting off cravings or they take penalties. and they're a +1 Level Adjustment race. This is the first sign that these are some new developers, yes, technically this is an unbalanced stat spread, but the +2 dex and +2 int are unlikely to come into play on the same character. Yes the +1 caster level is powerful but it's completely negated by the +1 Level Adjustment, and completely useless to any elf that isn't a wizard or sorcerer, but of course both wizard and sorcerer are their new favored classes.

Nigh Elves are weirder. They get +2 wisdom and -2 Intelligence. Superior Low light vision, Cold and Fire resistance 1 (:psyduck:), a +10 circumstance bonus to hide at night or in shadow. +2 bonus on Knowledge Nature and Survival checks, oh, and spell resistance 5+character level. So yeah that's a +1 LA race right there. Also, uhh, there's this.

"Hey DM, I wanted to play against type and see about making a Night Elf wizard, you know, trying to recapture their lost heritage."
"You spend a week making GBS threads out your intestines and you're a high elf now."
So yeah, two rookie dev mistakes, either handing out spell reistance at low levels or just handing out spell resistance to players at all (I know DMs that outlaw Drow for this reason, having a rather sizeable player race with a flat 25% chance to ignore spells is crazy), and taking away choice and options from the player. We'll be seeing that last bit again quite a bit.

Goblins are 3.0 goblins except they get bonuses on Appraise, craft(alchemy), craft(mechanics), diplomacy, and listen checks. and Have Tinker as a favored class. Half-Elves are completely unchanged. Half-Orcs are different. +2 con -2 wis. Low light vision. +1 saving throw against fear effects(they've either inherited something from their human half or are just dumb and stupid and want to act fearless) and a +2 bonus on intimidate ans sense motive. Orcs are very different. +2 con -2 int, they can rage once per day(or one additional time per day), are automatically proficient in the battleaxe, get a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humans, and a +2 bonus on handle animal(wolf) and intimidate checks. So yeah they lose out on a bunch of strength but basically become the god-tier barbarian race. I'll take that tradeoff.

Tauren were created from whole cloth and are a large race, which means they get +4 str and con, -2 dex, a +1 LA, and little else. Because that's what large races got back then before people realized that just being large by itself wasn't really enough of a draw. They have horns but can only use them to charge, or as a set defense against a charge. And they treat a few Tauren exotic weapons as martial.

Now we get to the classes... and if I were keeping a tally of bad design decisions this is where I'd just start making ticks and forget to stop for a few minutes.

Why yes, that is every core class except for Barbarian, fighter, rogue, wizard, sorcerer and every prestige class except for the archmage and duelist. This strikes me as lazy. I mean yes, they do have legitimate reasons for omitting the druid, paladin, and cleric. But if you're only keeping 5 classes, just reprint them in the book.

The rogue, barbarian, and fighter are almost completely unchanged. Fighter gets some new feats to choose as their bonuses, and they all get a new class skill or two.

Sorcerers and Wizards don't lose or gain any class features, but they do lose a bunch of spells from their spell list. All planar binding spells all monster summoning spells, and almost every necromancy spell, especially any spell that makes undead. "Such spells are the exclusive purview of the Warlock and Necromancer prestige classes". Also, the Necromancer isn't included in this book, so look forward to the Alliance & Horde Compendium! (please give us money)
There's also some odd prejudice against the sorcerer, since they weren't "properly trained' most people just assume they're evil, or already on the path to becoming a warlock. Since any person with a sense of self preservation and arcane talent would obviously become a Wizard.


Now we're into the new classes. First up is the Healer. The Healer is the Cleric with the numbers domains filed off. They lose access to medium and heavy armor and gain 2 more skill points a level(for a total of 4+int) Good healers can spontaneously cure, evil healers can spontaneously inflict, and good healers get access to the healing domain's spell's, and cast those spells at +1 caster level. Evil healers get the evil domain's spells. They do not get domain slots. They do not get the ability to turn undead, instead getting brew potions and some bonus feats every 5 levels ala a wizard. Their spell list is mostly the cleric's spell list. Except no summon monster spells. no spells that manipulate plants, nature, or the weather. And no spells that make undead.


Next up is the Scout, which is a ranger with all of it's combat abilities removed and replaced with tracking abilities, woodland stride, trap sense, venom immunity, and the ability to cast some divination spells to find the thing they're tracking. There's no real reason for anyone to want to be a scout except to fulfill the requirements for a prestige class, it's just uninteresting in every way.


Finally is the Tinker, which is just straight up terrible. d6 hit die, 8+int skill points(on an int focused class!?!), but a wizards weapon and armor proficiencies. They get a bunch of class features but almost all of them are focused around the classes core defining trait "They have access to the craft(Technological device) skill". So they're a glass cannon without the cannon, because they have to build one themselves using the technology creation rules. It will probably take 10 weeks to do so, and then they have to spend a feat to become proficient in the cannon.

Next up: Prestige Classes or "It wasn't in Warcraft 3? Then no, you can't."

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 15:48 on Jan 9, 2015

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

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



Clapping Larry

Kurieg posted:

In 2003, a particular rulebook hit the shelves, much to college aged me's chagrin.

Oh boy, lookin' forward to this writeup.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Halloween Jack posted:

I would actually be totally cool with Torg forcing your cyber-samurai to become a caveman with a stone fist and a macahuaitl, and so on, but only in a system where the precise difference between a monokatana and an obsidian knife isn't modeled in the first place.

How would you be modeling this in FATE, anyway? Like, have some of the characters' Aspects be "floating" ones that change with the scenery?

I probably wouldn't worry about transformation too much, and just make world laws general aspects. Transformation should be a big deal; even in the core game it's not supposed to happen too much because the only thing that can cause you to transform is a reality storm.

Of course, there's reality storms around every realm border, and any p-rated PC or NPC can invoke a storm against another p-rated PC or NPC.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Evil Mastermind posted:

I probably wouldn't worry about transformation too much, and just make world laws general aspects. Transformation should be a big deal; even in the core game it's not supposed to happen too much because the only thing that can cause you to transform is a reality storm.

Of course, there's reality storms around every realm border, and any p-rated PC or NPC can invoke a storm against another p-rated PC or NPC.

I think the complaint is more that taken in a vacuum this idea is really cool. And if it could come up more often without it smacking you down to an Ord for the privilege it would probably be cool. Like say, a Living Land Veloco-rider turning into a Nippontech biker with a monomolecular chain temporarily. It's a unique and flavorful part of the setting but it doesn't come up often in normal gameplay and when it does it's almost universally bad for everyone involved.

Glazius posted:

Oh boy, lookin' forward to this writeup.

You can really watch the progression of the writers as they get more comfortable with the d20 rules. The Alliance and Horde compendium seems to be them hammering out the race creation rules and figuring out exactly how powerful different things are and what they want to do with races going forward. Magic and Mayhem is them hammering out the technology creation rules and introducing a new class that's thematically awesome but mechanically... clunky, to put it mildly. (There's also two books that are essentially Warcraft Lore Bibles, including one that's pretty much the only source of information that's ever been published about the Titans, Ancients, and Eternals. But I don't want to review those since it's kind of dry reading for people who aren't interested in the setting)

By the time they got to their 2nd edition they're confident enough to fully gut the divine and arcane casters and weld them back together into something wholly unique.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kurieg posted:

I think the complaint is more that taken in a vacuum this idea is really cool. And if it could come up more often without it smacking you down to an Ord for the privilege it would probably be cool.

I should point out that you can never be changed back into an Ord. Even if a storm drains all your reality adds, you don't lose the skill and you can still stockpile Possibilities. You do have to re-buy the ranks again, though.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


I thought it said that if you get altered by a reality storm you lose all your possibilities forever? Or does that only apply to vanilla Ords?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kurieg posted:

I thought it said that if you get altered by a reality storm you lose all your possibilities forever? Or does that only apply to vanilla Ords?

No, they just all go away. You don't lose the ability to store them. You're basically starting from zero.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



Bieeardo posted:

If you meet the designer on the road, kill him.


Amazing Engine.

You mock, but Amazing Engine had some really cool world books. Hoping they come up on dndclassics so that I can plug the holes in my collection.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Amazing Engine had some great ideas bizarrely executed. Bughunters, Galactos Barrier, and Kromosome were kind of generic. But the rest, especially Tabloid and Once and Future King (Camelot 3000, the RPG!), were actually pretty cool.
I think Kromosone is an interesting cyberpunk world, and hasn't aged that badly.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 6: Storm Knighting 101

Now we finally get to what the PCs are supposed to be doing in the game. You'd think that would have come first (or that it'd be in the players' section), but why be surprised at this point?

On the plus side, this is a short chapter so it's a nice little break in the :psyboom:ness.

When a invading cosm touches down and starts spreading its axioms through the new world, most people are transformed into the new reality. These are Ords; people who have only one Possibility point.

Some folks, however, experience what's called a "moment of crisis" where they unconciously try to hold on to their original axioms. This moment happens when the person in question has to make a strong moral choice for good or evil, and causes the Everlaw of Two to strengthen the link between the person and their reality. When this happens, the person in question gains more Possibility energy and immediate adds in the reality skill.

This is where PCs come from.

High Lords refer to possibility-rated people as stormers, due to how they're created in the wake of reality storms. However, major setting Mary SueNPC Tolwyn of House Tankred didn't like the condescending tone of that name, and coined the phrase Storm Knight to refer to those p-rated people who fight against the High Lords.

Before the invasion, the High Lords knew that Earth was going to create more stormers than other worlds; the early estimate was that 1 in 100,000 would "transcend", and while a number of them could be convinced or manipulated into serving the invaders, more would probably fight back. But when the invasion happened, more stormers than even the invaders expected started appearing. What's more, due to Core Earth's high amount of Possibilities, more Knights are appearing the longer the war goes on.

To add insult to injuries, it turns out that Core Earth has a high affinity for other realities. As a result, Knights from the invading realities have managed to find their way to Core Earth to aid in the fight; even cosms where Knights have been effectively stamped out more and more heroes are appearing to fight back against the invaders.

But how do you do that, exactly?

Technically speaking, to take back territory from the Possibility Raiders you need to uproot stelae to destroy the barriers keeping Core Earth's reality out of the realm. But, of course, it's not that simple.

As stated previously, all Ords have only one point of Possibility energy, which is spent to survive the transformation to the new reality, and the Darkness Devices prevent these people from refreshing that energy. If you uproot a stelae, and allow Core Earth's reality to retake the bounded area, these people will be transformed back to Core Earth's reality. But without any possibility energy to power the transformation back, the Everlaw of One fuels the transformation with their life energy instead.

In other words, destroying a stelae boundary will kill every single Ord in that region. Not exactly what you'd call a "victory".

Now, if you could somehow give the Ords a possibility point back, then they could survive the second transformation. Which begs the question: how do you do that?

Technically a Darkness Device could do this quite easily, but as you can imagine the High Lords aren't in a real hurry to empower their six-or-seven-digits worth of believers/hostages.

Storm Knights can re-empower the people by giving them hope.

quote:

To reclaim the people the characters need to re-imbue them with a small amount of possibility energy before
destroying the stelae. High Lords can do this through a Darkness Device, which the Storm Knights do not have.

But they do have legends.

Stories, myths and legends are ways of framing events from a particular point of view, a point of view with its own beliefs and visions of reality. Certain stories can even serve as a spark for the Everlaw of Two, a slender thread of idea which the Law strengthens to reconnect a person with her former reality. Once reconnected by this tenuous thread, and given a tiny bit of energy by the Storm Knights to initiate the living/unliving link, the person is slowly refilled with possibility energy. The process may take a few days, or a few weeks.

And how do you do this? By being loving awesome.

Remember a while back when I talked about the Glory drama card? That's the one you can only play if you roll a 60 or higher on a dramatically appropriate action. When you play this card, what you're doing is fixing that action in the minds of the people and focusing the magnitude of how awesome you are. Once you do this, you can spread the legend among the people. Yes, you actually have to tell people what you did, even if everone saw it.

Torg actually mechanically supports "let me tell you about my character".

Spreading the legend requires a character to be designated the "storyteller" for the legend. This person must then spend a Possibility (because god forbid you don't pay a Possibility for something) and make a persuasion roll against the person in the audience with the highest Mind score. Succeeding at this roll means that you've convinced that key person of how cool and important you are (and can retell this story elsewhere in the region); failure means you wasted the Glory card (and associated Awesome Thing You Did) and have to start over again from scratch.

Once you've done all that, a story seed will start to spread for every time you successfully told the story. This takes a while as the legend works its way from person to person. How long does it take? Well, that's kind of random. When you're finally pulling the stelae, one person rolls for every story seed in play in the region. This roll doesn't get rerolls with Possibilities or cards, but still rerolls on 10s and 20s. You then look at the Transformation Table and find the next highest row to the amount of time that passed from when you first told the story.


This table was in the last chapter, in case you need to know how long it takes for everyone in a zone to transform.

If any of the rolled dice beat the "Roll #" in the dominant area column of the table, then the story took and you can finish uprooting the stelae without committing mass murder. So if I told the story 4 times in a region, and it's been 9 months since the first time was told, I need a total of 14 on at least one of my four dice to be able to keep everyone from exploding.

Now, if you successfully plant three different story seeds in the same region, then you get to use the Roll # for the Pure column instead, because you've managed to neutralize all three boundary stelae.

So there you go. Tell people you're awesome enough times and you can save the world, right?

Wrong. It's a bit more complicated than that, for a couple of reasons.

First off, stelae are extensions of the Darkness Devices, and as a result the Device (and its High Lord) know when someone's loving with them. Darkness Devices are capable of informing all bad guys in the immediate area what's going on, so once you start to uproot the thing you can drat well bet that you're going to get a lot of company real quick.

Second, you can't tell that something's a stelae just by looking at it. Every realm's stelae are different, and the High Lords like to keep them well guarded or hide them in plain sight. Dr. Mobius' stelae look like jackal-headed idols, so he puts jackal-headed idols on every street corner, building, and outpost. In Nippon Tech, stelae in the cities are functioning ATMs, and in the country they're telephone exchange boxes.

Third, the weaking the barriers between worlds creates reality storms as the axioms duke it out. This can cause even possibility-rated characters to transform. The storm attacks everyone in the area, and has an effective skill of 20. Being attacked by a reality storm can drain your possibilities, and once those are gone it starts draining your reality skill adds. Once you're out of adds, you immediately transform.

It's also possible to invoke a reality storm against another p-rated character; in this case both sides roll their reality skills against each other (with a +3 bonus if you're in your home cosm). Invoked storms actually seal the two characters off from the rest of the world, which means that nobody can interfere, aid, or otherwise help out the people in the invoked storm.

So you're in a reality storm. You've got two characters, or the storm and one character, rolling off. Each side rolls, and whoever has the higher number wins that round. You then look up how much they won by on the Storm Results Table to see what happens.


The table is, of course, part of another table

The number is how many Possibilities are drained by the loser. The winner doesn't get these points, they're just lost. The other results have other effects:
  • Storm Multiplier causes the storm to expand and gain in strength. The stronger the storm, the more carnage it causes.
  • Maelstrom means that the storm stops growing (ignore all "strom multiplier" results until the end of the conflict) but is breaking down the participant's axioms and rebuilding them from scratch; when this comes up the only way to end the storm is for one person to be drained of all Possibilities. On top of that, for the rest of the contest the round's winner may chose to gain a number of Possibilities equal to the table's result instead of having the other person lose them.
  • Transformation means that, well, the loser is transformed. Said character immediately loses all their Possibilities, up to five of which are gained by the winner. The loser then makes a contradiction check; on a 1 he transforms to the cosm that defeated him.

Now, I'm sure at least one of you is thinking, "wait: if I can just invoke a reality storm on any p-rated character, what's to stop me from trying to do that to a High Lord?" And the answer, surpisingly, is not much. It's entirely possible to invoke a storm against a High Lord (assuming you can get to him in the first place), except that High Lords have an insane amount of Possibility points stored in their Darkness Devices to mitigate losses. Now, that makes it sound like you couldn't win...BUT! If you get a "maelstrom" result, the High Lord will actually be cut off from their Darkness Device. If the High Lord loses, he'd have to re-bond himself with his Darkness Device...and that's assuming the Device will take him back after losing. Most of the Devices have a few "back up" candidates they keep an eye on in case their owners start to lose or just piss off the Device enough. No honor among thieves, after all.

The only piece of the puzzle we're still missing is how you're supposed to actually find a stelae in the first place. To do that, you need an eternity shard.

Eternity shards are items powered by the Everlaw of Three with a bit of power of Apeiros, the creator of the cosmverse. Eternity shards are legendary items of a cosm (such as Excalibur, or the Ark of the Covenant), and always had a red-and-blue marbled appearance. Each shard is unique, and p-rated characters can bond to them and tap them for power.

The first use of a shard is that it's a Possibility battery that can contain dozens, if not hundreds, of Possibilities. You can make a reality roll against the shard's "tapping difficulty", and succeeding will get you one to five Possibilities depending on how well you succeeded. The only thing is, they have to be used right away. On the plus side, these points get around the "one Possibility per roll" limitation.

The second use of a shard is accessing its group powers. Every shard has a few of these, and they're pretty drat powerful. Buying a group power simply requires everyone in the group to spend a certain number Possibilities between them. Once that's done (it doesn't need to be all at once), then anyone in the group can access the power by having everyone chip in to pay the Possibility cost.

For example, one common group power is stelae sense, which lets you detect and identify stelae. It has a group cost of 10, so everyone in the group has to pay 10 points total between everyone to unlock the power. Once they do that, then they can use the power by spending the Use Cost of 5 Possibilities between them.

Of course, despite paying a ton of XP for these powers, you still have to make rolls. One person has to be the "lead character", and everyone else are the "supporters". First, each supporter rolls reality against the power's Coordination Difficulty. The number of people who succeed is used as a bonus number of the lead character's roll. If nobody succeed, then the power can't be used.

Then the lead character rolls reality, adds the bonus from the supporting characters, and tries to beat the power's difficulty. You do all that, the power goes off.

And what kinds of powers are there?

Well, there's self-explanatory ones like Create Hardpoint or Stelae Sense. There's Gate, which lets you create a teleporter. Herald lets you send a message to someone in another cosm...or, at least, to a point within 10km of someone. It's not that accurate. The most powerful is probably Send, which allows you to send the soul of a dying Storm Knight through time and space into a new body that's being...uh, "vacated".

So here's what you have to do to take back territory from the High Lords:
  • Get an eternity shard with the "stelae sense" power.
  • Pay the 10 Possibilities to unlock it.
  • Perform an act so awesome you can play a Glory card.
  • Tell people what you did and succeed at a skill roll.
  • Wait a month or so.
  • Spend 5 Possibilities to use stelae sense.
  • Have everyone make skill rolls.
  • Hope you roll high enough for the power to home in on the stelae.
  • Fight your way through whatever defensive forces are around the stelae.
  • Uproot the stelae, which is a dramatic skill resolution (which means the A-B-C-D card flipping).
  • Survive the reinforcements that show up once you start uprooting it.
  • Make the roll to see if the story took.
  • Survive the ensuing reality storm.
  • Defeat or escape from the bad guys who survived the storm.

Easy! :downs:


Don't worry, next chapter we're back to the really complex poo poo.

NEXT TIME: Getting your mojo working!

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Evil Mastermind posted:

So here's what you have to do to take back territory from the High Lords:
...
Easy! :downs:

I realize that TORG is terrible on many, many possible levels - but given TORG's elevator pitch as warring realities, I kind of like that they've provided a default campaign frame with enough detail that you can fill in the blanks and go. GM invents the relevant eternity shard and stelae, then the rest can essentially be a player-driven romp. The execution, of course, is beyond bad - but if anything in the entire goddamn book is worth this level of detail, it's how to actually fight a possibility war.

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Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Angrymog posted:

I think Kromosone is an interesting cyberpunk world, and hasn't aged that badly.

I meant generic as in you've seen this concept before. Not that the setting is bad.

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