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A Fancy 400 lbs
Jul 23, 2008


Young Freud posted:

No one man should have all that power.

:golfclap:

If you really want to see nerd poo poo hit the nerd fan, do an afterthoughts exclusively on Alignment systems.

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Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


theironjef posted:

We got a tweet like "I couldn't disagree more with their review of Stormbringer." then "Do you guys like ANY games?" then finally "Hey followers, is there a GOOD podcast that reviews the GOOD things about old roleplaying games because the NEGATIVITY of systemmastery is something I don't need in my life."

I'm so confused by this. One of the things that always strikes me about System Mastery is how good a time you guys seem to have with it, even when you've clearly gone through two weeks of torment to figure out whatever the hell they're talking about in something like Skyrealms of Jorune or Prime Directive. You also aren't shy about talking about games you enjoy and why you enjoy them. Even tropes like Jef's fervent hatred of Advantage/Disadvantage systems have been offset by the occasional game that does them reasonably well.

It's like getting mad at any of the dozens of youtubers who make reviews of bad movies. They review bad movies, so they don't like them. System Mastery focuses on bad/old games, so you generally don't like them. It's not rocket science.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



Just Dan Again posted:

I'm so confused by this. One of the things that always strikes me about System Mastery is how good a time you guys seem to have with it, even when you've clearly gone through two weeks of torment to figure out whatever the hell they're talking about in something like Skyrealms of Jorune or Prime Directive. You also aren't shy about talking about games you enjoy and why you enjoy them. Even tropes like Jef's fervent hatred of Advantage/Disadvantage systems have been offset by the occasional game that does them reasonably well.

It's like getting mad at any of the dozens of youtubers who make reviews of bad movies. They review bad movies, so they don't like them. System Mastery focuses on bad/old games, so you generally don't like them. It's not rocket science.

Some people will only react to the negative. My podcast's only one-star review on iTunes is because of a single negative opinion my co-host expressed fifty minutes into an off-topic episode where we otherwise gushed about everything else.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

I'd think that opening each episode with a variation on "beating a dead horse" would make the tone pretty obvious, but, well, internet people.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007



FMguru posted:

RPGnet is mostly full of older nerds, and they're often very very provincial about their particular nerd tastes. And any game out there, no matter how mediocre or stupid or downright bad, is somebody's favorite game, and they are going to defend it to the death against all criticism. I mean, there was one poster there who battled everyone for the honor of Gary Gygax's otherwise unloved DANGEROUS JOURNEYS: MYTHUS until he was run off the forums for reasons unrelated to his Gygaxophilia.

Culturally, the forum tilts left-of-center, and the moderation takes positive steps to weed out the worst neanderthal impulses of fans (casual homophobia, lecturing transpeople about what their gender really is, and denying the experience of rape and harassment victims are all bannable offenses). But fan tastes are fan tastes and most nerds never lose their attachment to the things they loved in their late teen years.

Yeah, this is pretty much the reason I left RPGnet after posting daily for several years. Maybe it's changed since then, but around 2005 it was basically Nerd Hugbox 101.

The only thing worse than people being disproportionately passionate about nerd stuff is when they're hugely passive-aggressive about expressing it. You'd make a joke about a game and then suddenly HOW COULD YOU NOT REALIZE THAT WAS AN INCREDIBLY HURTFUL THING TO SAY and I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW that SMEGLORDS OF BLEEM was the ONLY THING IN THE WORLD that made them survive highschool bullying, or something.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Comrade Koba posted:

Yeah, this is pretty much the reason I left RPGnet after posting daily for several years. Maybe it's changed since then, but around 2005 it was basically Nerd Hugbox 101.

The only thing worse than people being disproportionately passionate about nerd stuff is when they're hugely passive-aggressive about expressing it. You'd make a joke about a game and then suddenly HOW COULD YOU NOT REALIZE THAT WAS AN INCREDIBLY HURTFUL THING TO SAY and I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW that SMEGLORDS OF BLEEM was the ONLY THING IN THE WORLD that made them survive highschool bullying, or something.

Some RPGnet guy today posted:

Stormbringer/Elric realy doesn't spend much time talking about the doomed albino. Some of my best Stormbringer games were with players who had never heard of Elric much less read the books, so the game stands very well on its own.

If the System Mastery people are saying that the game spends all of its time talking about Elric and can't stand on its own, they obviously never read or played the game, and I don't want to waste my bandwidth listening to their podcast. Sorry but this is not a convincing argument to me that it is "a really good podcast", quite the opposite in fact.

My favorite part is the scare quotes around good podcast, like it was shocking that someone else might like a thing.

Also I'd wager the mentions of Elric/page count of Stormbringer ration would be like 1.3 or so. It's rare he isn't mentioned on a page. The monster section is a real kicker because every monster is presented in terms of the fact that Elric fought it once.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




I feel this vestigial diplomacy that makes me want to clarify that lots of editions (usually) means lots of differences, and sometimes an edition of a beloved thing just sucks. Of course, that would be a waste of time, probably leading down some dumb, nitpicking rabbit hole. I barely had the energy to try reasoning with the thread the first time.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Plague of Hats posted:

I feel this vestigial diplomacy that makes me want to clarify that lots of editions (usually) means lots of differences, and sometimes an edition of a beloved thing just sucks. Of course, that would be a waste of time, probably leading down some dumb, nitpicking rabbit hole. I barely had the energy to try reasoning with the thread the first time.

I'm sure he's got anecdotal evidence to counter that ("I have friends who have played every edition of Stormbringer so the game is good"). We probably still picked up a few listeners off the namedrop into the new forum, and we don't have to catch them all.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




You can't argue with someone who's been playing an old game for so many years that they can't even begin to approach it like you or I approach it: in the present day, as adults, with many other competing options. The leading example is, of course, those who insist that AD&D1e is a quick, simple system that's perfectly intuitive for new players (because the DM has an encyclopedic knowledge of the game and only uses 10% of the rulebook anyway).

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

It's also a small industry where everybody is struggling, so I don't think it's really surprising for fans to get defensive and try to push back against bad reviews, since they can meaningfully hurt the game by putting a few people off who might have been interested.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Halloween Jack posted:

You can't argue with someone who's been playing an old game for so many years that they can't even begin to approach it like you or I approach it: in the present day, as adults, with many other competing options. The leading example is, of course, those who insist that AD&D1e is a quick, simple system that's perfectly intuitive for new players (because the DM has an encyclopedic knowledge of the game and only uses 10% of the rulebook anyway).

That, and sometimes, you get a GM that just clicks with a specific system, flaws or no. Every now and then, you have an experience with a GM who is just really good at managing a specific system (and often spot ruling out some of the flaws) and setting, and it can make a much more average system look really good to have played a couple fantastic campaigns in it, which makes it harder to judge objectively.

I mean, one of the most fun campaigns I ever played in was in 3.5, caster supremacy and all that other bullshit included, but I got to be a city guard captain who turned out to be the secret king of the werewolves unbeknownst to him, and who got to be the sensible straightman on a wild quest to save the world. The rules sucked, sure, but the game was fun enough to make me look more charitably on 3.5 for years, until I tried running it myself.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 17:43 on Mar 27, 2015

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Night10194 posted:

That, and sometimes, you get a GM that just clicks with a specific system, flaws or no. Every now and then, you have an experience with a GM who is just really good at managing a specific system (and often spot ruling out some of the flaws) and setting, and it can make a much more average system look really good to have played a couple fantastic campaigns in it, which makes it harder to judge objectively.

I mean, one of the most fun campaigns I ever played in was in 3.5, caster supremacy and all that other bullshit included, but I got to be a city guard captain who turned out to be the secret king of the werewolves unbeknownst to him, and who got to be the sensible straightman on a wild quest to save the world. The rules sucked, sure, but the game was fun enough to make me look more charitably on 3.5 for years, until I tried running it myself.

I'd say most of the time the best stories you ever hear about gaming would still be great stories if the system had been the DM flipping a coin. It's exceedingly rare to hear a story that captures how the rules of the game were super awesome one time. And most of the time when you do, it's just some random chance thing that could have occurred anywhere. You'll see "D&D is the best! I was playing this campaign and I rolled two natural 20s!" Occasionally you see a story by a group of people that are gleefully breaking the bad stuff about a system and having a great time like "Well because the high end of this chart wasn't well thought out, my space marine threw the rest of the party and then himself to the base on the moon!"

Notably if you excise your story down to "I got to be a city guard captain who turned out to be the secret king of the werewolves unbeknownst to him, and who got to be the sensible straightman on a wild quest to save the world" it sounds like you had an awesome time and it could have been in Palladium Fantasy or FATAL or something. It sounds like the rules got out of your way (for example, D&D werewolves know they are werewolves) instead of adding to the fun. Note that this is an endorsement of good gaming and not an indictment of bad rules.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Exactly what I meant, yeah. A good system will make a good game even better, but a bad system basically requires really good friends and a really good GM to get anything fun out of it. The game would've been fun in any other system, and more fun in pretty much any other system, because 3.5 is terrible and my character could only accomplish anything because the DM kept conveniently leaving large groups of armed men for him to lead occasionally to keep up with the wizard, who needed no such convenience.

What I meant was mostly that there are a lot of times where people confuse 'I had a great time with my friends and a good GM who liked the system' with 'It's a great system'. When I tried running 3.PF for myself, I quickly discovered the rules were fighting doing anything fun pretty much every step of the way.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 18:21 on Mar 27, 2015

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




theironjef posted:

I'd say most of the time the best stories you ever hear about gaming would still be great stories if the system had been the DM flipping a coin. It's exceedingly rare to hear a story that captures how the rules of the game were super awesome one time. And most of the time when you do, it's just some random chance thing that could have occurred anywhere. You'll see "D&D is the best! I was playing this campaign and I rolled two natural 20s!" Occasionally you see a story by a group of people that are gleefully breaking the bad stuff about a system and having a great time like "Well because the high end of this chart wasn't well thought out, my space marine threw the rest of the party and then himself to the base on the moon!"
One of my favorite gaming memories is the time I was playing (reskinned to be something modern-day but without affecting the mechanics) 4e and I Wizarded a big scary monster so hard it never got to attack. Which, since our Striker hadn't made it to the session that day so we were down a lot of damage potential, meant I had to do this for a while.


... the rest of my good gaming memories boil down to "And then I rolled well" or "And then a thing unrelated to the mechanics happened" though yeah. :v:

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Night10194 posted:

Exactly what I meant, yeah. A good system will make a good game even better, but a bad system basically requires really good friends and a really good GM to get anything fun out of it. The game would've been fun in any other system, and more fun in pretty much any other system, because 3.5 is terrible and my character could only accomplish anything because the DM kept conveniently leaving large groups of armed men for him to lead occasionally to keep up with the wizard, who needed no such convenience.

What I meant was mostly that there are a lot of times where people confuse 'I had a great time with my friends and a good GM who liked the system' with 'It's a great system'. When I tried running 3.PF for myself, I quickly discovered the rules were fighting doing anything fun pretty much every step of the way.

Yeah. The fact that good DMs exist doesn't mean that bad games do not exist. Honestly the whole "My group played D&D 2nd edition for years just perfectly (whoops I forgot to mention the boatloads of houserules)" mentality is more damaging to the industry than the critics in this thread or any gaming podcast. Because someone already published an RPG, and if the only difference between a good game and a bad game is a good DM, then the industry is done already and can stop. And for a guy that refuses to believe the industry can improve on the stuff he bought at 13, he's not even really a part of the industry anymore. He isn't going to support the new stuff coming out, in fact he's going to sit in game stores and try to stop people from buying them, because they are obviously just paper MMOs.


Rand Brittain posted:

It's also a small industry where everybody is struggling, so I don't think it's really surprising for fans to get defensive and try to push back against bad reviews, since they can meaningfully hurt the game by putting a few people off who might have been interested.

The edition we reviewed was out of print by 1993. The editions that the forum fans are championing were out of print by 2007. There isn't a current Elric RPG to damage the sales of. Your argument is definitely true when people are deeply critical of modern RPGs currently in print though. Or also true if you mean "shrink the potential playerbase" when you say "hurt the game" which I don't think you meant, because that's not really a function of the industry.

Zereth posted:

One of my favorite gaming memories is the time I was playing (reskinned to be something modern-day but without affecting the mechanics) 4e and I Wizarded a big scary monster so hard it never got to attack. Which, since our Striker hadn't made it to the session that day so we were down a lot of damage potential, meant I had to do this for a while.

My favorite was when I used the 2nd edition Exalted craft rules to brew 12-year old single malt scotch in a year and a half, thus catapulting the economy of the region my Twilight was living in dramatically without being too obvious about it. Suddenly amazing aged whisky was available from an unremarkably swampy fenland, how long had they been keeping this to themselves, etc. etc. Rule-supported, sort of silly, and fun. No nat 20s needed.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 18:45 on Mar 27, 2015

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Some people not being able to differentiate "this set of rules was fun to use" and "we had fun around this set of rules" is one of the reasons I don't like trying to talk to most nerds about game design. How much fun you had is both really important and completely irrelevant to how a game works.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Lynx Winters posted:

Some people not being able to differentiate "this set of rules was fun to use" and "we had fun around this set of rules" is one of the reasons I don't like trying to talk to most nerds about game design. How much fun you had is both really important and completely irrelevant to how a game works.

The thing is, I've also played games where I absolutely know the rules contributed a lot. I review Albedo for this thread because it was one of those times; the rules really reinforced the tone the game was going for well and provided meaningful decisions to make in combat, with dice mechanics that were pretty well thought out. Mechanics are a big part of tone; if you want to get across that the world is dangerous and combat shouldn't be taken lightly, having major mental and physical consequences for combat is really helpful (especially when you take Sanguine's usual route of making it much easier to be beaten than outright killed instantly). Want to get across that the PCs are big drat heroes? Mook rules, flashy powers, etc are going to really help.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

theironjef posted:


Afterthought 2 - Listener Mail. This week, it's mostly joking and sexism.
Pretty late, but I wanted to applaud your mention of fighting back against CCG titty-playmats with MANSERVICE. I've heard of manchildren who'd rather drop out of tournaments than sit across from some beefcake. Y'all are doing the Lord's work. :allears:

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





My brother tell me that nearly naked men on your play mats are a very important strategy for paid magic tournaments. It lets you just skip matches against the rich netdecking kids. The 20 dollars you spend on a high quality map more than pays for itself in prizes you get from forfeits. The only downside is when you play against the guy printed on your mat, though as far as I know my brother may be the only person this has happened to.

A Fancy 400 lbs
Jul 23, 2008


You can't drop that gem and not finish the story.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Lynx Winters posted:

Some people not being able to differentiate "this set of rules was fun to use" and "we had fun around this set of rules" is one of the reasons I don't like trying to talk to most nerds about game design. How much fun you had is both really important and completely irrelevant to how a game works.
Of course, because tabletop gaming is an entertainment medium, some people will read a statement like this and say "These ivory-tower design geeks don't care about fun!" and be defensive about the very idea that games can be critiqued.

This is taking me back to the marketing for CORE-7, that flop universal system I mentioned. Its marketing used the word fun like 10 times in a few pages.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





A Fancy 400 lbs posted:

You can't drop that gem and not finish the story.

It was just awkward all around and the matched ended with time being called. Afterwards though the mat model turned out to be a really chill dude and bought everyone lunch. Sorry the story isn't more interesting.

Grnegsnspm
Oct 20, 2003

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarian 2: Electric Boogaloo

Rand Brittain posted:

It's also a small industry where everybody is struggling, so I don't think it's really surprising for fans to get defensive and try to push back against bad reviews, since they can meaningfully hurt the game by putting a few people off who might have been interested.

This is entirely why we went with the out of print/super old qualifier for the games we review. We don't want to make it so that some local game store loses out on some money because we dumped all over the Dark Legions of the Shadow World 8th Edition New for 2015. Getting super defensive about a game you already own and that isn't for sale anymore confuses the hell out of me. I guess if it's something you define yourself by, like "I am a D&D 2nd Ed player" then someone saying "2nd Ed was a dumpster fire of bad ideas and worse implementation" might seem like they are attacking you personally.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Grnegsnspm posted:

This is entirely why we went with the out of print/super old qualifier for the games we review. We don't want to make it so that some local game store loses out on some money because we dumped all over the Dark Legions of the Shadow World 8th Edition New for 2015. Getting super defensive about a game you already own and that isn't for sale anymore confuses the hell out of me. I guess if it's something you define yourself by, like "I am a D&D 2nd Ed player" then someone saying "2nd Ed was a dumpster fire of bad ideas and worse implementation" might seem like they are attacking you personally.

Awww but I always liked playing as those utterly worthless kits that farted up all the browncover splats! *cries into character sheet for an amazon-kit ranger*

Oh hey our fallen twitter fan and now mortal twitter enemy is still going strong, over a month later:

some guy posted:

Getting tired of these podcasts telling me how they think a game will play. Would much rather listen to people who actually tried the rules.

Quit listening to them, some guy. Go make one! It's cheap and easy, some guy!

theironjef fucked around with this message at 21:08 on Mar 27, 2015

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


theironjef posted:

Quit listening to them, some guy. Go make one! It's cheap and easy, some guy!

That's too much effort, he'd much rather just badger you until you change.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Night10194 posted:

I mean, one of the most fun campaigns I ever played in was in 3.5, caster supremacy and all that other bullshit included, but I got to be a city guard captain who turned out to be the secret king of the werewolves unbeknownst to him, and who got to be the sensible straightman on a wild quest to save the world. The rules sucked, sure, but the game was fun enough to make me look more charitably on 3.5 for years, until I tried running it myself.

No game system is perfect (though some are significantly more non-perfect than others). What matters is the fun you have with it.

And there has been way too little F&F in here. Let's fix that!

Many moons ago (aka around 2 months or so) I reared my ugly head in this thread with a review of Thrash, the spiritual homebrew successor to White Wolf's Street Fighter RPG. Quite entertaining and all, but things quickly fall apart once you take a look at the maneuver customization rules and see how easy it is to at least quintuple the amount of attacks you dish out per turn, curbstomping anyone not as optimized as you.

Fast forward to 2010, we have another pen-and-paper fighting game, brought to you by the one-man publisher Divine Madness Press aka Christopher Peter, whose previous contribution was a sourcebook to a game called "Wake". Will this be a King of Fighters '98 / Marvel vs Capcom 2 / [insert other fighting game considered to be a holy grail or something], or another Rise of the Robots? Let's find out!

Fight! - The Fighting Game RPG

"You can't defeat me. I have the high ground!"

(Maybe not the most evocative RPG name, but it gets the job done.)

Introduction

quote:

Welcome to the worlds of Fight! The Fighting Game RPG! In this game, players have the opportunity to
create characters of epic proportions with fighting skills rivaled by few others in history. Their adventures will cross time, space, and sub-genre, as such fighters might be found in stories of modern supernatural conspiracies, globe-spanning terrorist plots, urban crime drama, historical fantasy, nearfuture techno-thriller espionage, and even fantastic space operas.
Hadokens transcend the boundaries between genres.

Fight! aims to port the essence of fighting games over to the tabletop. Certainly sounds like it will be more gamist than those other two fighting game games (if you believe in that classification system, that is.).
Fighting games are all over the place in terms of setting (at least the 20% of them that aren't set in a modern day city), but there are certain tropes common to all of them. They can be summed up as follows:

  • Everyone is a biological WMD like Kenshiro
  • Boring protagonists love honor and stuff
  • There is no problem that can't be solved by punching stuff
  • If you spend more than one scene not punching stuff, you're doing something wrong
  • Punching stuff is srs bsns

We get a short overview of what the following chapters will bring. Of special interest is Chapter 5, the combat rules. Not just because this is kinda important, but because the paragraph mentions two sub-systems you can swap in and out as you please: One deals with fighting mooks (so Fight! can also do Double Dragon and Final Fight), the other is a more narrative system (aka "Fight! - The Animated Movie" mode).

Before the obligatory "What the heck is roleplaying?" section, we get a nice little info box about how the rules in this book are based on fighting games first and proper martial arts... not at all.
The box also tells us that Fight! features an (optional) meta-game aspect, where the players aren't controlling PCs in a fighting game setting, but rather the players playing the fighting game. Though not suitable for more serious campaigns, you can actually create a PC who has an awesome theme and a lovely sprite.

Well, that chapter was a bit short, so onwards to stuff about the book/pdf itself!

The rules are presented in typical two-column format, with occasional info boxes and black-and-white artwork from various artists, ranging in quality from so-so to "OMG that's a lot of detail"


Wow o_O

As there is no core setting to speak of, the art itself is naturally random, though it mostly consists of people duking it out like in the above picture, or a single bloke just posing around, though most of them can clearly be identified as martial artists of some kind.


Most of them

Next time: Character Creation. Should I recreate the characters from my Thrash review (aka "weakest shoto/grappler ever" versus "Scottish Kenshiro-chan"), or should I make some "Original Fighting Game Characters (Do Not Steal)"?

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.




This artist received a request for a fighter in fishnets and did not first think of Black Canary.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

It took me three looks to notice that there was more than one person in that picture. Anyone else?

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





AmiYumi posted:

It took me three looks to notice that there was more than one person in that picture. Anyone else?

Same, I thought it was one person in a ghillie suit. And I'm still not entirely sure what's going on there.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Midjack posted:

Same, I thought it was one person in a ghillie suit. And I'm still not entirely sure what's going on there.

Best I can determine one of them is frozen and/or Spawn and attacking the other one with murder-wire and chains.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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



Intro Chapter
The introduction chapter is something else. I'm just going to quote the first bit in its entirety.

quote:

In the heart of every man and woman, there's a beast. And that truth fascinates and terrifies us all.

We like to think we're different. Unique. "Higher" in form and function than "mere" animals. And perhaps in the towering cities of our era, that's true. But in the rugged landscapes of the jungle or savannah, in the ocean depths or the forest shadows, our advantages disappear. Stripped of tools and technology, a man or woman in the wilderness becomes simple, naked prey. To survive, that person must return to the primal soul. To the beast. To the animal within.

So of course first he trots out the common chestnut of "We are animals so we must live as animals". Meaning we revert to a communal hunting tool user? Take a chimpanzee and toss it into the middle of the savannah on it's lonesome I'm fairly certain it isn't going to survive very long either. Also yes, we would die in the ocean depths, as would a great many seafaring creatures.

quote:

Some people are closer to that beast than others. In them, Beast and Man share one skin.

Man is a clever monkey. An abstract animal, he reshapes his surroundings to suit him best. Sometimes, though, he forgets that he is, at heart, an animal. In the shadows of his world, though, the beast-folk remind him. Not through crude terrorism or remote perfection but by simply being there. As always they haunt those secret places where he thinks he's in control. And as they have since Man's inception, they haunt his dreams as well.

As legends say, the beast-folk have always been with us. These days, though, they seem to be everywhere: weasels in the boardroom, tigers in the bedroom, crow-folk on the side of the road. Look carefully at the reflections of your friends and neighbors. Spot that cat-like gleam in your lover's eye? The bullish tilt in a rival's head? The feathered shadows cast behind that homeless dude in the park? You see them now, don't you - the signs of the beast? Did you, perhaps, ever see them in yourself?

And here's where the metaphor just completely breaks down. We have lost touch with our animal selves therefore people with the souls of completely unrelated animals just kind of show up and remind us that we are animals. Also cats are totally sexy, if you've ever had sex you are probably a cat furry. Just accept it now.

quote:

These "changing breeds" aren't strangers. They're us. Not some different species but distillations of our own. For whateve reason, they defy what Man calls "possible" to let a deeper truth emerge. We all have animals inside. Sometimes, that beast claws its way out, and when it does, the laws of Man bleed. Nature becomes the only Law. A man becomes an animal in fact as well as fancy.
Most folk have divided souls.
Not the beast-folk.
In them, Animal and Man are joined.
And now, you're one of them.
gently caress "man" and his "laws"! How dare people come up with laws of conservation of mass? Nature doesn't care about that! In fact everyone has an inner animal spirit and it's just up to you to reach down in there and find it and let Nature run wild.


The next heading, however, is eager to point out that "This transformation is imaginary - the only magic working here is your mind." But in the magic and etherial landscape of the World of Darkness we can swim with the fishes, soar with the eagles, and run with the wolves!(except not really)

We also finally find out why the Changing Breeds exist. To punish mankind for his hubris. "Man has hosed Nature inside out. His boundless ego, carelessness, and absolute conviction that he is the center of his universe have torn the wild world apart. Forests Fall. Oceans have become cesspools. The weather itself screams with protest, and while it's fashionable to blame outside entities for this catastrophic state of affairs, human greed and stupidity are the real demons here. Man is the animal that shits where he eats, then proclaims himself a god for it. And now Nature has had enough." That bit at the end about blaming outside forces is yet another Dig at Werewolf: The Apocalypse. In which while mankind did terrible things, the Weaver and Wyrm were at the root of the problem. Not so in Changing Breeds! The true enemy is man, and his interior plumbing. And the Changing Breeds will see him die for it.

While lots of different creatures in the world of darkness may shapeshift into animals, the Changing Breeds are unique because they are humans who share a "metaphysical connection" with their inner animal. A connection that is "Innate, Primal, and Mysterious". Compared to their innate harmony other shapeshifters are but cheap imitations. Except Werewolves, maybe. They have gone by many names throughout the centuries but to the modern supernatural culture they only have one.

Ferals.

Get it? because they're humans who've gone wild again. Kill me now.

Each Feral has to come to an Accord with their animal soul. Accords are the "arbitrary division of five" that every White Wolf splat has to have. There's the Den-Warder, Heart-Ripper, Root-Weaver, Sun-Chaser, and Wind-Dancer. And while you might be able to guess what the first two do, I will forgive you for not figuring out Satyros' logic naming the last 3. He's also quick to point out that ferals do not share a common culture. They might collaborate but it is rare... outside of the fact that you're supposed to get 5 of them together to make a play group. It's rare to find more than two ferals in one place unless they're of a very social species, or they're gathered in a Bukota or common sanctuary.

Yes. Despite them not having a common culture they have a universal language.

Most shapeshifters come from the "Great Beasts", not just predators but bulls, stags, bison. horses, elephants.

quote:

The feral heart of a shapeshifter is Nature incarnate, not a "beast" as vampires understand them but a channel to animal instinct. That mixed blessing includes sharp senses, startling directness, raw physicality and a visceral awareness about the blood, breath and bones of the natural world. On the downside, a feral person is touchy about things such as pollution and other forms of human carelessness. Her ideas about hygiene and personal space can seem rather... primal, and her very presence seems attractive to some folks and freakish to others. In general, a shapechanger is quick to love, quick to bolt and quick to anger. She can sense the thrum of possibilities all around her, and can kick into fight-or-flight in no time. Just as animals, the werefolk seem very much alive. This makes them charming, puzzling and sometimes terrifying company.
The feral heart of the shapeshifter does not, however, include knowledge of the oxford comma.

Yes their true animal souls rail against the human injustices of hygiene, indoor plumbing, and pollution. Though I have to admit the idea that everyone's pets are secretly filled with a desire to murder them because their animal instincts tell them that toothpaste is wrong is a hilarious one.

quote:

The word Animal comes from anima - "Life, Breath." And just as a person breathes at her first moment of life, so the beast is with her from the beginning. That animal often slumbers until puberty, but signs of that wild heart might emerge at infancy. The child might seem curious as a cat, quiet as a mouse, or stubborn as a mule. He might have unusually thick, luxurious hair and uncannily sharp senses. He may ramble through the woods or watch the Discovery Channel with palpable longing.

All teenage angst is just your animal spirit trying to break free of the chains your parents place upon you. Also there's no real climactic first change like what Werewolves have, you just sort of wake up one day and you're a shapeshifter. Congratulations. Here we also find out that your true animal soul is actually called your Nahual which is an Aztec word that he's appropriating because it sounds cool. It more accurately refers to the person doing the shapeshifting, and would have been a better word to use than Feral.

Then he shifts topics again to talk about how all Ferals are driven to fight against human society. And that they are anguished by this because they love their fellow man even as they rip their throats out. Feel pity for the poor furry, you know not his plight.

Yes, the crow woman has tits, no, they aren't feathered like the rest of her. No, I have no loving idea how she's flying either.

Then there's a list of myths and facts about the Changing Breeds, most of which are answered with "Well no, but Mages/vampires/werewolves/hosts/skinchangers/sorcerers can do that" But "Can you be turned into a werecreature with a bite" is answered with a No, because the animal spirit is already inside you. And "Are Ferals vulnerable to silver" is surprisingly answered with a Yes. They can't explain how but apparently Werewolves did it because they were jealous.

There's a quick Lexicon section but it's mostly going over what we already know or will be informed about later. Two things that stand out are the "Aiaetha", which is the reflection of your beast soul that you can see in the mirror. And "Alpha" which is the leader of any group of werebeasts, even if their Nahual doesn't have an Alpha, werebeasts do because that's just how it is.


I didn't censor this one, it came pre-smudged. You can still see it though meaning that the person actually drew a giant dog man's dick. And I'm not sure why but the proportions on this guy are just all sorts of hosed up. He's roughly 80% torso by mass, his head is way too small, and his limbs are gigantic. I'm also pretty sure that both hands and paws can't do what his left hand is doing in this picture. This is the quality of 90% of the art in this book, hang on folks, we're in for a ride.

Also yes that is a were-dog, while there are wolf-shifters in this book they cannot assume the hybrid form for reasons.

Next Up: The Wild Heart

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




quote:

weasels in the boardroom, tigers in the bedroom, crow-folk on the side of the road.

I love this. Is "roadside crow" an actual thing, or did the writer just run out of metaphors and forge ahead with whatever bullshit popped into their head?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I think Changing Breeds is what happens when you watch too much Captain Planet.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


I suspect he's referring to when they do this on powerlines because they often run parallel to highways for ease of maintenance.


But otherwise no I have no idea, he probably made it up like everything else. I did a quick google search on Aiaetha to see if he was stealing it from some other language and the only things that come up is someone's gaia online account and things that reference this game.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Midjack posted:

Same, I thought it was one person in a ghillie suit. And I'm still not entirely sure what's going on there.

I think the picture shows a female fighter doing an awkward backwards lunge away from a dude while being way too close to him, with stuff that looks like blood and/or barbed wire.

Thankfully, this and another picture are the only pieces of art by that artist (at least I think they're from the same artist) that involve more than one person. The others are significantly easier to grasp.

Kurieg posted:

So of course first he trots out the common chestnut of "We are animals so we must live as animals". Meaning we revert to a communal hunting tool user? Take a chimpanzee and toss it into the middle of the savannah on it's lonesome I'm fairly certain it isn't going to survive very long either. Also yes, we would die in the ocean depths, as would a great many seafaring creatures.
Going by the fluff, I would say "Hunting tools - or really any kind of tool - is the work of the eeevil human society! You're supposed to ward off predators with your poop!"

And man, this sounds very promising :allears:

Doresh fucked around with this message at 13:27 on Mar 28, 2015

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Fight against the civilized man's tyranny of hygiene.

Clearly roleplaying games have reached their apex in terms of concept, we can just pack up the hobby now, it's over.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Doresh posted:

Going by the fluff, I would say "Hunting tools - or really any kind of tool - is the work of the eeevil human society! You're supposed to ward off predators with your poop!"

This guy isn't familiar with the remarkable variety of animals that make and use tools, is he? Not just primates, either.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Doresh posted:

Going by the fluff, I would say "Hunting tools - or really any kind of tool - is the work of the eeevil human society! You're supposed to ward off predators with your poop!"

You are going to love chapter 2.


Cythereal posted:

This guy isn't familiar with the remarkable variety of animals that make and use tools, is he? Not just primates, either.

Would it surprise you that there is both an entire chapter of were-apes, as well as a merit that gives you a bonus on problem solving rolls because animals are such great tool users?

His entire mindset seems to be that humans evolved "too far" and lost our animal souls and somehow picked up other ones because animism.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kurieg posted:

Would it surprise you that there is both an entire chapter of were-apes, as well as a merit that gives you a bonus on problem solving rolls because animals are such great tool users?

His entire mindset seems to be that humans evolved "too far" and lost our animal souls and somehow picked up other ones because animism.

That seems... hypocritical. The entire purpose of learned behavior, including tool use, is to make life easier.

Given that this is WoD, I'm expecting my question of "So what was the magical point at which we suddenly went too far?" to be answered with "The literally magical point at which we went too far was this..."

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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Cythereal posted:

That seems... hypocritical. The entire purpose of learned behavior, including tool use, is to make life easier.

Given that this is WoD, I'm expecting my question of "So what was the magical point at which we suddenly went too far?" to be answered with "The literally magical point at which we went too far was this..."

Yes. If I'm reading this correctly, farming was the tipping point.

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