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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

Kai Tave posted:

poo poo, I'm getting my terrible licensed RPG publishers mixed up.

Aliens as a Phoenix Command game almost, almost makes sense though.

The sawed off Phoenix Command rules they used for the Aliens RPG are actually very playable. I had a lot of fun with that game, even though it should have been titled 'Colonial Marines' since the Xenomorphs were only a small part of the universe that was created for it. There was corporate warfare and a bunch of other xeno-biology that hated humans (no Predators though).

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Kai Tave posted:

At the same time this (the RPGnet thread plus Twitter beefs et al) is still a ridiculously overwrought reaction for what's essentially some random dumb podcast (no offense theironjef) making fun of a 20+ year old RPG about a fantasy novel series that most people don't give a poo poo about anymore. Like, people are getting seriously loving pissed that two random dudes on the internet aren't displaying rigorous critical standards when they make fun of Stormbringer: The Fantasy Epic: The Game. Taking criticism effectively is a learned skill, yes, but there's a difference between not being able to take criticism and irrationally stripping a gear whenever someone says a mean thing about something you like.

This is why I shouldn't post five minutes before I have to leave the house: I always forget something important.

I agree entirely, and I definitely wasn't trying to excuse any of what's been discussed. Taking and using criticism is a skill, and on the flip-side it seems even easier to take uncritical encouragement and build it up into a lovely house of cards and ego. The folks behind Fyxt, like Evil Mastermind mentioned, or those guys who have been circle-jerking the Elric RPG for twenty years, or (god help us all) way too many artistes on DeviantArt are unfortunately good examples of that.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The Supernatural RPG was actually bad; it was like the Serenity RPG in that it just used the generic Cortex system (before it got altered into a system that actually enforced genre) and was just a generic resolution system paper-clipped to a license. In fact, I think it might have been the last "basic" Cortex game they did before Smallville.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I thought Smallville came before Supernatural but since I don't really care about either of those properties I could be mistaken.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


AmiYumi posted:

Not only am I joining the "please continue" bandwagon, I'm requesting that your future subjects be in the same vein. Like, I know there's a Song of Ice and Fire RPG, there's a Firefly RPG that I'm pretty sure has multiple editions...is there a terrible "Superwholock" RPG out there, somewhere? :getin:

Speaking of terrible affronts to Man and God, I looked into getting you guys a copy of the Dragon Ball Z: The Anime Adventure Game, but it's just monetarily infeasible unless I sent you guys my personal copy, which I don't want to do.

I'm seriously thinking about doing an F&F of the Song of Ice and Fire RPG. It's... special. When the numbers are balanced it's pretty fun, but the numbers unbalance easily. Like, "a starting character can accidentally be literally unbeatable by anyone but the greatest (swordsman/schemer/whatever) in the land" unbalanced.

Anyway, enough musing about Beyond the Wall house rules, let's knock out scenario creation!



The Angered Fae
Someone or something has greatly angered the faerie court in the forest near the village. Now the fae are sowing discord among your friends and family, and village life has been turned on its head. You and your friends must find a way to appease or coerce the fae in order to sort out the mess.

So, when last we left our heroes, someone or something had pissed off the fae. The first thing to do is figure out who and how. We've got a blank 1d8 table (well, blank except for the 8 spot, which is "a stranger did it!") that we'll fill in with various interesting NPCs from the character creation process. Looking back over the list, I'm going with:
pre:
1     Arawn's father (who we'll name Ambrose the Smith)
2     The Witch (she might be missing, but she could still be responsible)
3     Tara
4     Math the Miller/the Black Fox
5     Ludus
6     Salty Ambrose
7     Pwyll
8     A stranger from another place is actually the one who loosed the fae.
And with a roll of 5, it turns out Ludus the Thief-Taker is responsible. Let's roll again to see how he pissed off the fae:

1d6 How did the character above bring this problem upon your village?
They broke an ancient seal of protection which had been hidden for long years somewhere in the area.

Well, sounds like Ludus went poking around places he shouldn't have looking for the master thief's lair and unleashed something bad. We've already got a mysterious wizard's tower in play, which seems like the kind of place you might expect to find a hiding thief, so maybe that's where it all went down. (Keelin's ancient book of magic probably has some clues or something in it.) The PCs, of course, don't know any of this yet.

Next up we have a couple of charts to define the nature of the faerie court:

1d6 Who is the local lord of the fae?
A kindly ogre hoping to find a consort and gain an heir.

1d6 What is this faerie lord’s secret weakness?
The fae lord has fallen in love with a mortal from the village.

1d6 What strange rule of etiquette or whimsy is enforced in this court?
The faeries here have a strange and strict code of behavior. Anyone in the forest must make a saving throw vs. spell in order to lie, betray, or steal.

Oh my. This is really perfect. Arawn the smooth-talking liar is forced to be honest and true by faerie magic. We've also got a real "love and marriage" theme going on here between these results and Arawn's backstory. I kind of want to just pile it on Arawn here and say the kindly ogre has fallen in love with him. Oh, that's why the kindly ogre is mad! Ludus broke the seal, then the fae lord's spies and agents spotted him harassing Arawn (because Ludus saw the stolen lockpicks maybe?) and now they're coming after the village because nobody hurts Balor of the Evil Eye's bae.

So that gives me a pretty strong idea for an opening scene, with Ludus accosting Arawn and then some weird stuff happening. We also get a couple of mid-game events to trigger: one about 15-30 minutes in unless the game's humming along at a good pace, and one to happen just when the players think they have a handle on the crisis.

1d6 What problems are the neighbors having?
A random character’s parents are having marital difficulties, and the relationship is dissolving due to financial problems. Both sides come, separately, for help.

I swear I'm not cheating these rolls guys, my dice just really like the marriage options. Anyways, even though it says "financial problems," I'm going to say this is a symptom of the fae lord's unhappiness--in that Celtic "the king is the land" sort of way, his marital dissatisfaction is bleeding out into other couples. We'll say it's Cait's parents this time, since Arawn's got a lot to do already and Keelin's are, well... dead.

1d6 How does the faerie lord summon the characters?
An emissary from the faerie lord arrives in town. Angry villagers surround the creature, but he has a proposal for peace.

Probably the least inspired summons (my favorite is "Two villagers go missing from their beds. Bundles of twigs and a note of summons to the faerie court are left in their place." Creeeeeeeepy.) but hey, we've got enough strange poo poo going on already. And given that the terms for peace will be "Arawn comes back to Elfland and marries the Ogre Lord," I think we've got plenty to work with.

The last set of tables before we get to the Recent Events actions is to build a mini-dungeon. In this case, it's a quest the fae lord might send the PCs on, if the story spins out that way. Maybe Arawn tries to deflect the fae lord's proposal by pointing out he's already engaged to Tara, but the lord can nullify that oath as a boon in return for worthy deeds. Maybe Cait will threaten to kneecap every goddamn faerie in the forest unless Arawn doesn't have to get married and the lord makes a counterproposal. Or maybe Keelin convinces the fae lord that they can find him a worthier consort than Arawn. Whatever way, let's see what we got:

1d8 What do the faeries need the characters to do in order to be appeased?
Yours is a mission of mercy and not of arms. The lord asks for your help in mending fences with two of his warring subjects.

1d6 What prevents the characters from reaching the site of their quest?
Pukka crosses the characters’ paths while they are on their quest and tries to strike a bargain with them.

1d6 What makes the site of the quest dangerous?
A wizardly blight dampens all magic. All magic, including that of magical items, has a 25% chance of failing outright when used here.

1d6 What stands in the way of the culmination of the quest?
Other humans block the characters from accomplishing their goal; these may be fellow villagers, bandits, or strangers from other lands.

Okay, lots of good stuff here. Arawn gets a chance to out-blag the trickster spirit, some magic stuff for Keelin and Cait, and probably a climactic confrontation with Ludus, possibly driven mad by vengeful faeries. I'll probably leave the details until I see what plays out in the game, though.

And with that, all that's left to do is Recent Events. Each player gets to roll on the table for a "pre-game" event with the player on their left. Each event has an attribute check associated that can change the course of the scenario slightly: usually by introducing a boon or a complication. I'm not going to try to play these out, but here are a few of my favorites:

  • All of the milk in the village has turned to butter. Test Intelligence (Investigation or Agricultural skills may help). Success: you see a pattern in the butter and know the true name of the sprite responsible. Failure: you are mystified by these strange events (GM: the sprite takes offense at your investigation and will trouble you during the adventure).
  • Unlikely couples have been falling in love throughout the village as a result of faerie magic. Test Charisma (gossip related skills may help). Success: you learn that one member of each of these new couples has recently angered a wisewoman in the forest. Failure: your favorite cousin falls in love with someone you disapprove of.
  • The village well is filled with wine and you are sent to the witch to ask about it. Test Charisma (social skills may help). Success: the
    witch tells you to save some of the wine; begin the game with two healing potions. Failure: the witch turns the wine back to water,
    but not before the whole village gets drunk.

To be fair, that last one was probably Cait's fault.

And that's it! It's obviously less in-depth and engrossing than the character backstory, but most of the details would be filled in during play, based on how things go and what the players jump at. All in all it's a decent setup for an evening's gaming, though. We'll talk more about Beyond the Wall's long-form campaign prep when we get to Further Afield. It's pretty cool, though.



Next time: We wrap up the core book with magic and monsters.

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

Forgot to note that you can add another notch to the "copies of Beyond the Wall sold thanks to your review" tally. This one's probably the least shameful of my F&F-inspired purchases, considering that the previous additions to my library have been Double Cross (which I can't get anyone to play) and CthulhuTech (which is easy to find players for, and difficult to find THE RIGHT players for).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


AmiYumi posted:

Forgot to note that you can add another notch to the "copies of Beyond the Wall sold thanks to your review" tally. This one's probably the least shameful of my F&F-inspired purchases, considering that the previous additions to my library have been Double Cross (which I can't get anyone to play) and CthulhuTech (which is easy to find players for, and difficult to find THE RIGHT players for).

What's been your problem finding players for Double Cross, exactly?

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

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


Halloween Jack posted:


The Tales from the Crypt boxed set was one of the first RPGs I owned. It's actually pretty interesting, although I'm not sure it can capture the feel of the show even if you run it as a series of one-shots. The concept for ongoing campaigns is that the Cryptkeeper drops the PCs' minds into the bodies of people in a horror scenario, so it's sort of like a cross between the show and "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream."

It goes without saying that Masterbook is a weird old clunky system that the game doesn't really need.
I remember that having the most disconcerting of disadvantage descriptions. I remember the example given for illiteracy being is that since you couldn't read you gave your daughter poison.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



MadScientistWorking posted:

I remember that having the most disconcerting of disadvantage descriptions. I remember the example given for illiteracy being is that since you couldn't read you gave your daughter poison.

Perfectly in character for the show though. I mean you wouldn't normally have an RPG where "Roll to give your daughter some juice" comes up, but it would totally happen on that show.

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

Night10194 posted:

What's been your problem finding players for Double Cross, exactly?
Too crunchy for the anime fans, too anime for the groggy crunch fans. I could probably assemble a group by public recruiting instead of pitching friends, but I like sticking with people I know. :shrug:

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

I'm surprised no one brought up the other two original Doctor Who RPGs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doctor_Who_Role_Playing_Game, and Time Lord, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Lord_(role-playing_game). They're both probably on par with the other licensed RPGs from that era and Time Lord was apparently released for free online. Adventures in Time and Space isn't a bad game by any stretch and it does a great job of using story elements from all of the seasons as adventure material instead of relegating you to being a random loser who will never be as good as the Doctor. It's also being supported by Cubicle 7, they're almost caught up with the Doctor books, and is pretty well received. The older ones would be better.

I don't think the older games will elicit the same response AITAS would because these deal with the 8th Doctor at most and most of the Who fans are obsessed with the second generation of Doctors. You might get the old time Who fans who carry on about how much better written and meaningful their show was when it was just inflatable couches eating people and the Doctor being chased through a quarry by a guy in a rubber suit. That's about on par with the people who really care about Elric these days.

Grnegsnspm
Oct 20, 2003

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

Kai Tave posted:

Don't forget the Lawnmower Man RPG! I actually briefly owned a copy of that thanks to an RPG book white elephant exchange and it was about as dumb and pointless as you might imagine.

I found a copy of that on ebay a while ago and I am still kicking myself for not picking it up for the podcast. I love that incredibly stupid movie so much and I really wanted to see what the hell you would even base a game in that universe on.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer


I'd like to see that. I've got some AITAS material and it runs on the same odd system as FASA's Star Trek game, which feels a little Traveller with percentile scores. Flipping through one of the adventures really gave me that quarries and rubber monsters feeling, though I imagine some of that came from the layout and somewhat primitive art.

(...Four was my Doctor, but the only issue I have about the new series is with trying to cram a whole Who story into slightly less than an hour.)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

I'm surprised no one brought up the other two original Doctor Who RPGs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doctor_Who_Role_Playing_Game, and Time Lord, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Lord_(role-playing_game). They're both probably on par with the other licensed RPGs from that era and Time Lord was apparently released for free online. Adventures in Time and Space isn't a bad game by any stretch and it does a great job of using story elements from all of the seasons as adventure material instead of relegating you to being a random loser who will never be as good as the Doctor. It's also being supported by Cubicle 7, they're almost caught up with the Doctor books, and is pretty well received. The older ones would be better.

I don't think the older games will elicit the same response AITAS would because these deal with the 8th Doctor at most and most of the Who fans are obsessed with the second generation of Doctors. You might get the old time Who fans who carry on about how much better written and meaningful their show was when it was just inflatable couches eating people and the Doctor being chased through a quarry by a guy in a rubber suit. That's about on par with the people who really care about Elric these days.
I thought I really cared about Elric but apparently I'm not angry enough.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




theironjef posted:

We have an industry guy that listens and contributes, Plague of Hats, and I know he made it through our Exalted episode without exploding, so hopefully there's a few more like that around.

I'll renounce my toxx—or, more likely, cost myself $10—to say that even when I was still Exalted A#1 Superfan, it had been a long time since I wouldn't freely admit that the system and presentation were kind of poo poo. Loving Exalted has pretty much from the beginning been a very "Yes, but…" exercise. I know there are people out there who allegedly like 2E's system as-is, and I suppose I even believe a few of them, but they have to feel in their heart of hearts like the loneliest motherfuckers on the planet.

I can sympathize with an "against all-comers" attitude about a game. I'm sure everyone's been there for at least a brief little while about something dumb they loved. I was in that headspace for an embarrassingly long time. It's kind of sad for that thing to be a 20+ year-old licensed RPG, though.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 01:09 on Mar 31, 2015

Hypnobeard
Sep 15, 2004

Obey the Beard





Whitehack

Game Mechanics

The actual mechanics of the game are reasonably simple, as befits an OSR game that's drawing heavily on 0e D&D. The chapter opens up with a quick description of the player and GM roles, basically the usual RPG stuff: the GM describes the world, the player decides how their character reacts.

There's a nod to "rulings not rules" and an explicit inclusion of narrative power for all players:

Whitehack, p. 14 posted:

"... There are also things that the rules don't cover. This is by design. It lets you and the Referee find your balance and gives you space to negotiate. It also urges you to collaborate on game world creation, as the use of groups and many class powers will inevitably say something about the setting. Always remember that you are creating a collective narrative on the game world's conditions, where each agreement serves as a precedent for the next. Even during the course of a single session, you will develop your own borders and content for the open spaces, making this your game in your world."

XP is gained for killing monsters (varies by monster), gaining treasure (1 gp:1 XP), and quest goals. Quest goals should be about 50% of XP gained at lower levels, and that percentage will increase as levels go up.

Saving Throws are just that: there's some kind of hazard and luck and/or experience can impact whether or not it affects you. Roll d20 equal to or under your ST (based on class & level) and you succeed. If something is resistant or vulnerable to whatever is being saved against, a positive or negative double roll can be made.

The basic mechanic for task resolution is the attribute roll. Your character tries something, the GM decides what attribute it best relates to, and you try and roll d20 equal or under it. If necessary, the face value of the roll determines the "quality" of the success--closer to your target number/attribute, the better your success. Rolling your attribute exactly results in a crit, while a natural 20 is a fumble.

If the task is really hard or really easy, the GM can assign a bonus or a penalty to the attribute as desired (+/- 2 is suggested but there's no limit beyond "you're a dick"). If this drops your target below 1, you can't roll; above 20, and 20 is just a regular failure (not a fumble) with a 19 critting. Points above 20 add to the quality if desired (so it's easier to crit).

"Skills" are basically narrow applications of the groups assigned to attributes during character creation. If the character's making a test against an attribute, and the group(s) next to it are relevant to the task (e.g., a Dex roll to climb a wall and you've got "Blackburn Ninja Potluck" next to Dex), the roll is a double positive roll. If the task would seem to require someone trained in whatever your trying to do (pick locks, say), you need to have a relevant group somewhere on the sheet to roll in the first place. If you don't have a relevant group, it's a negative double roll.

Pairs on a double roll result in an additional effect (either positive or negative, as appropriate), regardless of the outcome of the roll.

Contests are just both sides rolling (may or may not be rolling against the same attribute, depending on what's happening), and comparing results. Successful positive pairs are the best, and failed negative pairs are the worst. Quality is compared withing a given category (if both succeed, for example), and if both sides fail the highest roll wins.

The last die mechanic is auctions. These are used for longer contests, like chases or card games. Depending on the contest, the GM determines the relevant attribute. Each participant (GM included) secretly rolls d6 and adds that to their attribute. Then everyone bids what quality they will equal or exceed on the actual task roll. The other participants then have to either bid higher or "take a 1 bid" which ends the bidding. This continues until no one is willing to up the bid, at which point the hidden d6s are revealed. The highest bidder then has to roll against their modified attribute. If successful and the roll exceeds the quality bid, that participant wins whatever is being contested. If he fails, the next highest bidder makes the attempt, and so on. If everyone fails, the lowest bidder automatically wins. Multiple 1-bids roll normal contests to determine a winner.

This is a bit weird, and I'm honestly not sure how well it plays in practice, but an example:

Auctions posted:

Joe and Bob are a pair of thieves chasing a target through an alley. Briggs, the GM, decides to make it an auction to see whether or not their target eludes them in the twisting slum. She decides it's a WIS roll, as they try to maneuver and corral their prey. All three roll a d6 secretly. Joe's got a 10 WIS, and rolls a 3. He bids 2, which means he'll need to roll between 3 and 13 to succeed. Bob's got a 15 WIS and rolls a 6; he bids 8, which means he'll need to roll between 9 and 19, with a +1 on the quality (since 15+6 is 21). Briggs, running the target nobleman, decides he's got a 12 WIS (he's been in these alley a lot, slumming) and rolls a 1. He decides to take a 1-bid and end the auction.

Bob would then roll a test--if he rolls 9 or better, he and Joe successfully catch their target. If he fails, then Joe gets to roll. Should both fail, their target automatically eludes them.

We've covered the basic die mechanics, and now we'll start getting into some specific applications of them (like combat).

Time in Whitehack is generally pretty loose; rounds are the only specific "game time" unit, and are about 10 seconds. Within that, a character has a turn, which is their place to act in that 10s period. Movement is couched in terms of feet per round, though rates in 5' squares are also given. Movement is affected by both species (with smaller folk getting a slight penalty compared to, say, humans or elves), and carried weight.

Given the fairly vague combat rules, the inclusion of specific movement values and encumbrance is a bit annoying--it feels like one of those obligatory OSR things. On the plus side, however, it's remarkably easy to ignore, since there's not a lot of rules emphasis on it.

Combat

Combat's pretty straightforward: roll initiative, take your actions, repeat until one or both sides are defeated.

Initiative is a d6 modified by high Dex (+1/+2 depending on the score). This is rolled once, at the beginning of combat. If you don't do anything during a round, you can change your initiative to a 6 for the following rounds. You can also voluntarily drop your initiative to any lower number.

Surprise is entirely up to the GM; surprised characters can only move and draw weapons and don't actually roll initiative until the second round (presumably everyone else goes before them, though this isn't explicitly stated). Any attacks made against them have "combat advantage."

You can do three things in a round: attack, make a move, and do a small action like drawing or dropping a weapon. You can convert actions from left to right but not vice versa, so if you (for example) forgo your attack, you can move twice and do a small action.

Attack rolls are straightforward: Add any bonuses or penalties to your AV and make a d20 roll. To hit, you have to be successful and beat your opponent's AC with the quality. (I think this is functionally equivalent to subtracting the AC from your AV, but less math? I dunno.)

Melee and missile attacks are pretty straightforward; missile attacks getting a -1 to AV for every range increment ala 3e. Firing into melee means you hit a friend if you don't beat the target's AC by 4 or more--so if they've got AC 2 you need to roll a 7 or you peg one of the other combatants.

If you're not "on guard" (that is, you're doing something besides trying to prevent the other guy from bashing your head in), and you're in melee with someone, they get a free attack. Most characters and NPCs only get one free attack a round, no matter how many opportunities are given. Strong characters can make up to their level in free attacks in a round, though, giving them *some* capability to prevent a horde from rushing by them.

"Combat advantage" is given out at the GM's discretion, and amounts to +2 AV and +2 damage. This is used for things like flanking and surprised folks. The GM can double or triple this if they decide it's warranted. In general, conditions and effects are at the GM's call, and can be combat advantage, AC penalties, or whatever seems appropriate. There's a short list of suggested formalized options for things like charging, grappling, etc, but the gist is you're supposed to decide on it and write it down somewhere so you can use it again consistently.

Casters are hampered in combat: they have to concentrate to use a miracle, and anyone in melee with them gets a free attack when they start. If they take damage while casting, they need to make a ST or have the miracle casting disrupted.

Damage and Healing

Damage is straightforward: roll your weapon damage (generally d6 or some variant), add bonuses/penalties, and subtract from HP. If you're at 0 HP, you're knocked out. Negative? Make a ST or die (you can substitute a Con task roll if you like). Any further damage to someone at zero or below means they're dead, no save. Once a battle you can opt to try a ST when you get damaged. Success means d6 damage is removed from whatever you would have taken.

If you die, you take on "Ghost Form." You basically follow the party around as a ghost--you can talk to them and you have you full abilities.. except you can't affect anything corporal. You can't pass through doors or walls despite the incorporality, but you can fight undead or incorporal opponents as normal. At the end of the session, if you're not brought back to life (or presumably on the way to that goal) you have the option of giving up and just making a new character.

If you're at positive HP, you heal one HP every morning and evening; two if you succeed at a Con task roll. 48 hours of rest will restore all HP. If you've gone to negative HP and aren't dead, someone with a healer-type vocation needs to treat you before you heal or you'll get a permanent disadvantage (like a limp, nasty scar, etc.). Basically, you heal to 1 HP normally and then you can choose whether to try and wait for a healer or take the disadvantage and heal up. Wise characters heal at double this rate (4/8 per day) but can't be affected by magical healing.

Magic

Whitehack is pretty broad with its definition of magic--it's the old "anything sufficiently advanced" rule, though it also covers traditional D&D-style magic spells.

There's a discussion about setting HP costs for miracles a player uses. Basically, depending on the effect desired, the wording of the miracle, and the character's vocation, the GM will set a HP cost. There's a scale used: 1, 2, d6, d6+1, d6+2, 2d6, 2d6+1, 2d6+2. Based on that, the player can try to rework the wording or the effect to reduce the cost. More specific wording, allowing the target a save, limited duration, etc can be used to drop the cost; large area of effect, long duration, or lack of save can bump the cost up--there's no set list of elements to choose from. The GM and player *are* expected to write down the miracle and the cost, so there's consistency. Since each miracle's "base" cost is dependent on the specific character's traits, you make up the character's spellbook in play. (Later, in the GM section, there's some discussion about coming up with miracles and costs before play begins, with the examples given being very close to D&D spells.)

Scrolls, potions, and other items can be used by those who don't have the ability to use magic themselves (i.e., Deft or Strong characters), but there's some restrictions/tasks to do so successfully.

Creating magic items isn't hard--you essentially have to write down some kind of "make scrolls" or similar miracle or vocation--but it bumps up the HP cost. Multiple charges multiple the HP cost--no 50-charge wands in Whitehack. Permanent items can be created, but it's a permanent loss of HP until your next level and requires a ST. Failing this ST drops you to 0 HP.

The rest of this chapter is a series of gameplay examples illustrating all of these rules. These were added in the 2nd edition and are very helpful--it was a bit unclear how auctions were supposed to go, or how miracle HP costs were determined. I'm not sure why they're all bundled at the end instead of being in the section they refer to, but at least they're in the book.

This is the end of the player's section--everything else in the book is for the GM's use.

Next: We start the Referee's section of the book, which includes advice on running the game, campaign and hexcrawling, and a complete campaign setting and sample adventures.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


GimpInBlack posted:

I'm seriously thinking about doing an F&F of the Song of Ice and Fire RPG. It's... special. When the numbers are balanced it's pretty fun, but the numbers unbalance easily. Like, "a starting character can accidentally be literally unbeatable by anyone but the greatest (swordsman/schemer/whatever) in the land" unbalanced.

I've seen this from personal experience and it's absurdly batshit how easy it is to unbalance everything by having someone really focused on a given skill. In this case it was Archery and that meant most enemies got taken out fast and early before they even could get close.

I also remember reading up on Cubicle 7's Doctor Who RPG and it's a neat little point buy system with multiple tiers of resolution. If I remember correctly, it's along the lines of, from worst to best: No, and; No; No, but; Yes, but; Yes; Yes, and.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




With ASIF I get the impression that they wanted you to be able to build Jaime Lannister or Hodor right at character creation, and they didn't really care that in the D&D-ish system they were using that Hodor is an incredibly poo poo character. And then they put out that setting supplement where even the kids have inflated stats and Jaime himself has ridiculous loving numbers all over him.

I actually like a lot of little things in the game, and they did a pretty good job of trying to represent all the stuff people would want to recreate from the books. Then their system was BMX Bandit + Angel Summoner, plus there's the whole reprints/errata clusterfuck, which still wasn't resolved before I stopped paying attention literally years later.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 02:49 on Mar 31, 2015

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Xelkelvos posted:

I've seen this from personal experience and it's absurdly batshit how easy it is to unbalance everything by having someone really focused on a given skill. In this case it was Archery and that meant most enemies got taken out fast and early before they even could get close.

The thing that baffles me is that, as jacked as the probabilities are, they published a chart of the probabilities in the book. Like, how do you look at that chart and not go "hmm, that's a lot of 95%+ results. Maybe I should rethink these numbers?"

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

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

Plague of Hats posted:

With ASIF I get the impression that they wanted you to be able to build Jaime Lannister or Hodor right at character creation, and they didn't really care that in the D&D-ish system they were using that Hodor is an incredibly poo poo character. And then they put out that setting supplement where even the kids have inflated stats and Jaime himself has ridiculous loving numbers all over him.

I actually like a lot of little things in the game, and they did a pretty good job of trying to represent all the stuff people would want to recreate from the books. Then their system was BMX Bandit + Angel Summoner, plus there's the whole reprints/errata clusterfuck, which still wasn't resolved before I stopped paying attention literally years later.

My group likes the game, it kinda has a special place in the shelf of 'this is not a great game but we make it very fun so who cares' games, but yea BMX Bandit and Angel Summoner is the best way to describe it. Like, last time we played we kept things 'simple' by just playing a small group of members of a small noble house trying to keep their heads down and survive the wars and poo poo. We still wound up with one of us playing a house knight that was able to solo most everything we encountered and another guy playing a Maester who knew a lot of neat things. Both of these characters were very useful in their own ways but, ya know, when one was helping the other was just kinda going 'yep, good job' and if the 'help' was something like 'you need to hold the bandits off' or 'the lord is gravely ill and you need to figure a cure out' it wound up with a couple people just sitting on their hands.

We had fun making jokes and table talking and all, and it WAS a good representation of the books, but yea, in the books you don't care when there's a whole chapter about Jamie being a cool guy knight while Tyrion isn't mentioned because Tyrion isn't sitting at the table next to you as you read the chapter waiting for Jamie to be done being a cool guy.

On the other side of things, the Doctor Who game by Cubicle 7 that was mentioned actually does the whole 'this is a story about people with very different skills coming together' fairly well because of how things are resolved and unless you just make a soldier type who has LITERALLY no skills but 'I murder things good' even Jimmy Jarhead can help The Doctor try to settle a dispute between alien families without coming to blows and poo poo.

sexpig by night fucked around with this message at 04:26 on Mar 31, 2015

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


occamsnailfile posted:

Like I get that Moorcock was hugely influential in that era of sci-fi and fantasy with promoting the New Wave stuff and trying to pull genre fiction away from the Gernsbeck/Campell rut it had kind of been stuck in but reading him now is less...groundbreaking?

Yeah, the thing is, the RPG doesn't give an inaccurate depiction of how wanky Elric is as a character, having read some of the books. The writing is interesting, but Elric is the archetypical doomed highborn manchild. I never found him particularly interesting or likeable, given the plot hinged on him being a whiny self-important addict with ambitions of incest who couldn't see his own doom coming even it was a screaming choo-choo train with the sun for a headlight. Seeing him wreck the world is basically inevitable and obvious from the start and I didn't need to read every book to work out how it ends.

Moorcock is an interesting writer historically but I found Elric solely just notable for his influence on other books.

Plague of Hats posted:

I'll renounce my toxx—or, more likely, cost myself $10—to say that even when I was still Exalted A#1 Superfan, it had been a long time since I wouldn't freely admit that the system and presentation were kind of poo poo.

Yeah. Thanks to Chung and others, the Exalted fanbase has been keenly aware of its systemic faults for a long time. I remember asking the actual designers how to use things like statblocks that were literally three pages of charms and got a shrug and "uh, use only the ones that you think are important and design some combos to put them in". It was not a system that had a lot of thought put into the design until it was far too late. Exalted 2.5 was a horrendous mess of bandages that mostly just obscured the issues, but it could never have fixed the game despite all the hard work that went into it.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Ah yes, snakes, noted for their association with music and - oh god they're a snake charming gag, aren't they.

e: whoa this was about the changing breeds thing, I see this thread was not in fact eight pages long

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Nessus posted:

Ah yes, snakes, noted for their association with music and - oh god they're a snake charming gag, aren't they.

e: whoa this was about the changing breeds thing, I see this thread was not in fact eight pages long

If it helps Changing Breeds is currently being discussed again, for bad RPGs are a flat circle.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Nessus posted:

Ah yes, snakes, noted for their association with music and - oh god they're a snake charming gag, aren't they.

e: whoa this was about the changing breeds thing, I see this thread was not in fact eight pages long

I was thinking Rattlesnakes

KittyEmpress
Dec 30, 2012

Jam Buddies



Xelkelvos posted:

I was thinking Rattlesnakes

Man if a game had magical snake men or women associated with maracas or something similar (and ONLY those) I would probably forgive a good few other faults just because that'd be hilarious.

Serenade people with your sick maraca skills.


This isn't to say maracas aren't amazing, they can make awesome music, but they aren't exactly what people think of when they think 'music'

Grnegsnspm
Oct 20, 2003

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

I need a Snakeman named Cuban Pete

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Question to GimpInBlack: how well suited would Beyond the Wall be to a one-shot convention game with a four-hour slot? Your review is giving me ideas.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




theironjef posted:

If it helps Changing Breeds is currently being discussed again, for bad RPGs are a flat circle.
Yeah that very topic (snakes = music) just came up again in fact.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Kai Tave posted:

poo poo, I'm getting my terrible licensed RPG publishers mixed up.

Aliens as a Phoenix Command game almost, almost makes sense though.

One of Leading Edge Games' first major successes was the Aliens boardgame, where you play the retreat from the xenomorph-infested reactor at the beginning of the film using a cut-down version of Phoenix Command. Supposedly a quite fun - if extremely hard - game. The Aliens RPG is a game about playing soldiers or mercenaries who go out to colonies and fight aliens. Aside from the PCCS-derived combat system, it's a very bare-bones system that pretty much epitomizes 80's RPG design.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Ratpick posted:

Question to GimpInBlack: how well suited would Beyond the Wall be to a one-shot convention game with a four-hour slot? Your review is giving me ideas.

It's practically designed for that kind of game. Rolling up playbooks shouldn't take more than 45 minutes tops, and the scenarios generally play out in about 2-3 hours. Only thing I'd suggest is that you curate your selection of available playbooks; all told there are 24 available right now, and that's a bit much to ask people to skim through and pick from in a con slot.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




LatwPIAT posted:

One of Leading Edge Games' first major successes was the Aliens boardgame, where you play the retreat from the xenomorph-infested reactor at the beginning of the film using a cut-down version of Phoenix Command. Supposedly a quite fun - if extremely hard - game. The Aliens RPG is a game about playing soldiers or mercenaries who go out to colonies and fight aliens. Aside from the PCCS-derived combat system, it's a very bare-bones system that pretty much epitomizes 80's RPG design.

Someone made it into a Flash video game; it's free to play here on Newgrounds. And yes, it's extremely hard.

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

LatwPIAT posted:

One of Leading Edge Games' first major successes was the Aliens boardgame, where you play the retreat from the xenomorph-infested reactor at the beginning of the film using a cut-down version of Phoenix Command. Supposedly a quite fun - if extremely hard - game. The Aliens RPG is a game about playing soldiers or mercenaries who go out to colonies and fight aliens. Aside from the PCCS-derived combat system, it's a very bare-bones system that pretty much epitomizes 80's RPG design.

This boardgame?

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/408816

beaten like Hicks in Aliens 3

Humbug Scoolbus fucked around with this message at 12:46 on Mar 31, 2015

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


KittyEmpress posted:

Man if a game had magical snake men or women associated with maracas or something similar (and ONLY those) I would probably forgive a good few other faults just because that'd be hilarious.

Serenade people with your sick maraca skills.


This isn't to say maracas aren't amazing, they can make awesome music, but they aren't exactly what people think of when they think 'music'

It's not that I enjoy crushing your dreams, but I have bad news.



He's one of the sample characters.

His name is Copperhead.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Tatum Girlparts posted:


My group likes the game, it kinda has a special place in the shelf of 'this is not a great game but we make it very fun so who cares' games, but yea BMX Bandit and Angel Summoner is the best way to describe it. Like, last time we played we kept things 'simple' by just playing a small group of members of a small noble house trying to keep their heads down and survive the wars and poo poo. We still wound up with one of us playing a house knight that was able to solo most everything we encountered and another guy playing a Maester who knew a lot of neat things. Both of these characters were very useful in their own ways but, ya know, when one was helping the other was just kinda going 'yep, good job' and if the 'help' was something like 'you need to hold the bandits off' or 'the lord is gravely ill and you need to figure a cure out' it wound up with a couple people just sitting on their hands.


Yeah. Taking a page from the Telltale video game (and the books themselves), you could probably do some kind of troupe play to minimize the "sitting on your hands while Jaime Lannister kills dudes" problem: have everybody create a member of a noble house, then spend the first session contriving to scatter them to the four winds and explain that these are the "main" characters of the story, but everyone will be creating a supporting cast member in the same vein. So, like, you send the family's eldest daughter to King's Landing to play politics and have the rest of the group play spies, ladies-in-waiting, etc. who can engage with the Intrigue system as well, send the heir off to fight a war and give everybody else lieutenants and banner knights, etc. Or just have everybody create one "fighty" character, one "intrigue-y" character, and one, I dunno, "wildcard" or whatever, then you can just pull whoever you need for a given scene.


Too bad there's little to no support for that kind of game in the book. Of course, having four Jaime Lannisters to go off and kill dudes really doesn't help the "it's hilariously easy to break the system over your knee by specializing" problem, but still....

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Kurieg posted:

It's not that I enjoy crushing your dreams, but I have bad news.



He's one of the sample characters.

His name is Copperhead.

He's also, like, literally the only decent thing in the entire book.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


GimpInBlack posted:

Yeah. Taking a page from the Telltale video game (and the books themselves), you could probably do some kind of troupe play to minimize the "sitting on your hands while Jaime Lannister kills dudes" problem: have everybody create a member of a noble house, then spend the first session contriving to scatter them to the four winds and explain that these are the "main" characters of the story, but everyone will be creating a supporting cast member in the same vein. So, like, you send the family's eldest daughter to King's Landing to play politics and have the rest of the group play spies, ladies-in-waiting, etc. who can engage with the Intrigue system as well, send the heir off to fight a war and give everybody else lieutenants and banner knights, etc. Or just have everybody create one "fighty" character, one "intrigue-y" character, and one, I dunno, "wildcard" or whatever, then you can just pull whoever you need for a given scene.


Too bad there's little to no support for that kind of game in the book. Of course, having four Jaime Lannisters to go off and kill dudes really doesn't help the "it's hilariously easy to break the system over your knee by specializing" problem, but still....

Ars Magica would be a great system for ASIF, yeah.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

He's also, like, literally the only decent thing in the entire book.

If you ignore where the weresnakes are implied to have come from, yes.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Kurieg posted:

If you ignore where the weresnakes are implied to have come from, yes.

Yeah but which Changing Breeds weren't created by bestiality?

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




I thought it was a reference to that Eve and the Apple bullshit, which is just an extra layer of worseness.

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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


They're implied to be the children of eve and the snake.

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