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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!


Kavak posted:

Kind of sexist, but this totally redeems it. Interesting that there don't seem to be any dudes at the nudist beach.

I don't think it mentions the gender of anyone at the nudist beach, honestly.

Also, keep in mind that it's a bit of an older game, from a more conservative corner of Europe, so probably no one assumed that the players might want to run a train on a couple of guys at the orgy instead. It would be the effort of five seconds to swap some genders or add in some neutral pronouns.

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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Yeah, sorry for being pedantic.

The Vosgian Beast
Aug 13, 2011

Business is slow

Cythereal posted:

The Phenomenologists


If truth is in the eye of the beholder, then clearly there is no objective truth at all. This is the fundamental conceit of the Phenomenologists, a philosophical backlash against notions of objectivity and a rational view of the universe. To a Phenomenologist, reality is what you make of it. Certainly it's not down to any claim of truth or fact. The alien power of Inspiration doesn't help their claims to sanity, and Phenomenologists in general are a skip and a hop away from Illumination. Lemurians in general want the world to know about their existence, their power and brilliance, and if there's any overall philosophy to the Phenomenologists beyond a belief that the universe is fundamentally irrational and subjective, it's that if there's any truth to be had in the world it's in the power of Inspiration.

That is not how phenomenology works you loving White Wolf fangame.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Kavak posted:

Yeah, sorry for being pedantic.

It's okay to admit it, though. MiliKK is a rough game in that sense, even if it's not full-blown FATAL awfulness. It's meant to be in good fun, but there's definitely changes to be made in a modern context.

And yeah, the nudists' gender is not specified. I assume some of the ones in the car will be women, given the enthusiastic response of the PC's company, but strictly speaking nothing says there's no buff dudes there.

fool of sound
Oct 10, 2012


Also, to be honest, the trials of the gay soldier in fascist Spain are probably really heavy fare for what is mostly supposed to be a comedy game.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



The Vosgian Beast posted:

That is not how phenomenology works you loving White Wolf fangame.

They're fishmalks. End of story.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I have the awful feeling that whoever did the phenomenologists has a copy of the Principia Discordia with the pages mysteriously stuck together.

MalcolmSheppard
Jun 24, 2012
MATTHEW 7:20


Simian_Prime posted:

All of Genius is basically, "Mage, but using a ray-gun instead of a wand is now mandatory."

Yeah, Genius is basically someone who was mad at half of the old Mage getting even angrier at the new Mage. I think there are even special "ignore Mage" guidelines in the book, that guy was so mad. Basically this is a game for people who want play cool mad scientists, but are also the sort to type SOKAL AFFAIR in all caps to indicate their cleverness. I admire this balancing act.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I find myself quite annoyed that they made a group who are basically the worst false stereotype of the oMage Etherites made flesh, and named them the "Etherites."

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


I would've expected a reference to phlogiston theory, myself. I guess "Phlogistonists" doesn't quite roll off the tongue.

But I do like the idea of a modern Genius who is obsessed with conspiracy theories (reptile men, chemtrails, fake moon landings, etc.) to the point where his insanity makes it all work, somehow.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Hyper Crab Tank posted:

I would've expected a reference to phlogiston theory, myself. I guess "Phlogistonists" doesn't quite roll off the tongue.

But I do like the idea of a modern Genius who is obsessed with conspiracy theories (reptile men, chemtrails, fake moon landings, etc.) to the point where his insanity makes it all work, somehow.

Phlogiston comes up later as an example of an old theory PCs might latch onto for their view of the world. Also, you probably don't want to go to the moon. There are Nazis in a secret base on the dark side.

Also, there literally is a reptile men conspiracy in Genius. :v: Well, there was before the Peerage wiped them out. The Ophidians were the leaders of Lemuria before the Invisible War.

Next bit should be up today. We're getting into the crunch of Genius now, so expect a lot more stuff direct from the text because I'm not very familiar with nWoD crunch.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Green Intern posted:

"You wake up in the cockpit of a baneblade, the remnants of last night's bender strewn around you. If you don't get this thing back to base fast and with a good excuse, you're probably going to be executed."

"It would also be important to come up with a reason why the nearest town no longer exists."

Hyper Crab Tank posted:

I would've expected a reference to phlogiston theory, myself. I guess "Phlogistonists" doesn't quite roll off the tongue.

But I do like the idea of a modern Genius who is obsessed with conspiracy theories (reptile men, chemtrails, fake moon landings, etc.) to the point where his insanity makes it all work, somehow.

If said conspiracy theories become true not because of an individual nutjob, but because of several people believing it, we've got ourselves Paranoia Agent: The Satoshi-Kon-ing.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Doresh posted:

"It would also be important to come up with a reason why the nearest town no longer exists."

Only War would be vastly improved by being about a bunch of fuckups navigating bureaucracy and trying not to die while seeking to get whatever booze, drugs, and real food they can.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Doresh posted:

If said conspiracy theories become true not because of an individual nutjob, but because of several people believing it, we've got ourselves Paranoia Agent: The Satoshi-Kon-ing.

Bardos are similar, but not exactly that. A bardo is what happens when an idea long believed - not just by geniuses - is scientifically disproven. The release of Mania and desperate belief in something that has now been proven not to exist causes it to spring into a strange sort of existence. They'll be covered much later in Genius, but example bardos include lost continents out of Gulliver's Travels, a grey communist/dictatorship where nine in ten people are spies for the Party, and The Grid, which is Tron so you can hack the Gibson. Also, Martians and Nazis in a secret moon base.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



...wait, what? No one ever actually believed Gulliver's Travels was true. Pliny's humanoid species, maybe, but that's an entirely different thing.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Night10194 posted:

Only War would be vastly improved by being about a bunch of fuckups navigating bureaucracy and trying not to die while seeking to get whatever booze, drugs, and real food they can.
I'm imagining something in between Paranoia and Warhams now.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Night10194 posted:

Only War would be vastly improved by being about a bunch of fuckups navigating bureaucracy and trying not to die while seeking to get whatever booze, drugs, and real food they can.

They're called Ratlings. In the Hammer of the Emperor supplement there's even an advanced class that basically makes you the most terrifying social force in the immediate area. You can even get a posse of other ratlings that boost your social skills so high you intimidate the commissar instead of vice versa (and are so hard to hit :commissar: doesn't actually work)

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

...wait, what? No one ever actually believed Gulliver's Travels was true. Pliny's humanoid species, maybe, but that's an entirely different thing.

I meant that as an example of a lost continent - think Atlantis or Mu or the like. A lost world filled with weird stuff and probably a degenerate offshoot of humanity.

ZorajitZorajit
Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...

Mors Rattus posted:

...wait, what? No one ever actually believed Gulliver's Travels was true. Pliny's humanoid species, maybe, but that's an entirely different thing.

That's actually a little hazy. Gulliver's Travels was an early novel and was originally published as satire without crediting Swift.. A lot of knockoffs followed it, because it became quite popular and there are accounts of people apparently believing it to be a true account. How many of those people were idiots that, if they were born today, would have been the sort of people that believe themselves to be Harry Potter characters waiting for their owl.

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


Cythereal posted:

I meant that as an example of a lost continent - think Atlantis or Mu or the like. A lost world filled with weird stuff and probably a degenerate offshoot of humanity.

Or, indeed, Lemuria.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Genius: The Transgression, Character Creation

The first parts of character creation for geniuses are standard nWoD stuff: choose your concept, your skills, your attributes, etc. However, there are some notes to the process that may be helpful to the particular needs and concepts of Genius. Intelligence and mental attributes are prized, while the fundamental madness of geniuses means that most severely lack resolve and composure, leaving them psychologically vulnerable.

Genius posted:

A genius' Skills often determine what approach he takes to his Inspiration. Mental Skills are often primary,
but which Skills receive the most attention can tell a person much about a mad scientist. Experts in Computer
research artificial intelligence and networks beyond the dreams of MIT or Tokyo Tech, while Inspired who
take up Academics are super-psychologists and philosophers. Students of Medicine are not just doctors, but
biologists, surgeons, and biochemical engineers. Geniuses who focus on Crafts can master everything from
aerospace engineering to transatomic metallurgy, and experts on the Occult can catch amazing glimpses of
worlds far removed from this one. The Science Skill serves as the one field tying these disparate branches of
knowledge together, but some geniuses specialize here, too, becoming renowned theorists among the
Peerage.

The mortal Skills a genius gained before his Breakthrough can also determine his foundation. Psychologists
and people with high Social Skills are likely to become Directors, while experts in Medicine look toward the
Progenitors. High-energy physicists and explorers often end up as Navigators, as do scientists with high ranks
in Drive and/or Survival, while Academics, Investigation, and Occult are important to Scholastics. Fiddlers,
hackers, and craftsmen often join the Artificers and focus on Crafts or Computer. Conversely, a genius may
take the opposite approach, getting picked up by a foundation first, and then fleshing out the most useful
Skills with the help of a tutor.

I don't know how standard this is, but geniuses receive three skill specialties.

Next is adding the genius template, and the standard no overlap between supernaturals applied. Inspiration will never come to a mage, werewolf, vampire, or other supernatural being. Geniuses never Awaken as a mage, experience a werewolf's First Change, cannot turn into a changeling if taken by True Fae, die if a vampire attempts to Embrace them, and a promethean made from a genius is simply a promethean.

Geniuses receive a free dot in a mental attribute of their choice, subject to normal limitations on attributes.

Every genius receives three favored axioms: one predetermined by her catalyst, a choice between two from their foundation or baramin if they belong to one or one of their choice if not, and one purely of their own choice. A favored Axiom costs fewer experience points to increase. Further, a genius receives a +1 bonus to all attempts to build a wonder from one of her favored Axioms. Finally, a genius can buy her favored Axiom up to any level. Non-favored Axioms can be no higher than the genius' Inspiration.

If for any reason a genius develops a derangement, the first derangement is preselected by their catalyst. Subsequent derangements are rolled normally.

Inspiration is the genius' power stat and all geniuses begin with one dot. Additional dots may be purchased with three merit points each.

A beginning genius has three dots in axioms, which must be selected from the genius' favored axioms but can be distributed between them however she wishes, be it three dots in one, one dot in all three, etc.

Seven dots of merits.

Willpower seems to be standard, adding three dice to any roll and may be spent in the same turn that the genius spends Mania.

Genius posted:

Obligation:

A genius' flesh is mortal, but her mind is something greater, and the Inspiration enhances more than just her
intellect. It somehow redefines her moral system, elevating her to a position of guardianship or stewardship
over humanity. Though a genius might loathe the common man, she is charged with protecting and guiding
her fellow human beings.

Many of the Inspired have an ideal in their minds: the cool watcher of humanity, aloof from its everyday
affairs but concerned with its development as a whole, not passionate but acting out of compassion for those
teeming masses that deserve the benefits of the genius' work. During the Breakthrough, the genius' mortal
Morality is superseded by this new, stronger sense of Obligation.

Ridiculed by peers and despised by common people, many geniuses nonetheless realize that to abandon their
Obligation to humanity entirely reduces them to cruel and inhuman manipulators, utterly alone and willing to
interact with others only as victims, lackeys, and test subjects.

It's the morality stat.

Virtues and vices are normal.

New geniuses are allowed five rolls to build their first wonders, receiving a +1 to each roll due to them being from favored axioms, and represent the fruits of the genius' initial forays into mad science. However, these first wonders have the following restrictions:

* They cannot be kitbashed, nor can they benefit from extra time spent on their creation.
The genius cannot spend Willpower or Mania.
The genius can internalize or graft these wonders to himself automatically with no additional rolls.
If a "failure" result is obtained at any point, the genius loses the roll but can immediately try again to create the same type of wonder.
The genius can benefit from Beholden Ability, but cannot receive aid from anyone else or anyone else's beholden.
The Assembly Line Merit does not apply to these wonders.
The genius gains the full benefits of her Laboratory Equipment or the collaborative's shared Equipment.
The genius must finish construction of at least one wonder. If he has failed to construct a wonder after five rolls, he gains additional rolls until he finishes at least one wonder.
The genius can scrap wonders with which he is not satisfied at any time during this initial creation process, though making the wonder still costs at least one roll.
The genius can stop making wonders at any time once she has at least one.

Standard DM caveats and options for more advanced gameplay rules are sprinkled throughout - obligation drops for more inspiration, starting with more dots of experience, etc.

Geniuses begin with a full pool of Mania as determined by their Inspiration. Mania is a pool of points that can be spent, not a dot rating.


After that, it's the standard advice for starting up a character and a chronicle - determining who you were before the Breakthrough, how the Breakthrough happened, etc. It's all very par for the course.

Genius posted:

What Do You Look Like?

What is your ethnicity? What fashions do you favor? Do you have a separate "mad scientist" wardrobe, or do you
wear regular clothes in the lab? Or do you walk around "in character" when interacting with normal society? Do
you look like a scientist, mad or otherwise, or would be people be surprised if they found out you have a death
ray in your briefcase?

How Hard Was Your Breakthrough?

Was it a process of gradual revelation, or a sudden thunderbolt from the Heavens that burned out most of your
normal-person circuitry? Did you lose your job, your friends, or your mind, or did you manage to hide the
madness? Are you trying to rebuild, trying to hide what has happened, or happy to let your old self disappear?

How Much of "You" Is Left?

Do you view yourself as basically the same person as you were before your Breakthrough, or do you see yourself
as an inhuman mentality inhabiting a mortal body? How certain are you of that assessment―do you feel
comfortable relating the disparate parts of your higher and lower thoughts, or are you tormented by your new,
warped identity?

Who Matters To You?

Are any other geniuses your friends, or just co-workers? Are you married? In love―perhaps unrequited? Do you
have a beautiful daughter? (If so, be careful―if you turn evil she'll probably betray you to the hero and let the
monster eat you.) Do you have an extended family, or a network of friends that care about you, or are you alone
in the world except for your fellow geniuses? Do you have a home, or just a workplace where you spend the
night?

What Are You Working On?

What are your long-term mad science plans? Do you have a half-built time machine that you lack the expertise
to finish lying around the lab? What sorts of wonders do you want to build, once you master the necessary
Axioms? Do you have ambitions in the mortal world―in politics, in finance―or in the weird halls of power
created by the Inspired?

Names among geniuses tend to be standard given that they're [crazy] humans, but most geniuses call themselves Doctor or Professor or the like whether or not they actually have a degree, and many opt for witty or fanciful names and titles based on their field of study like Doctor Horrible or Mister Thinkgood. Asking a genius if they actually have a degree is considered a major faux paus in mad science circles.


Next time, we'll get to the down and dirty of Inspiration, Obligation, and Mania.

Jothan
Dec 18, 2013


Night10194 posted:

Only War would be vastly improved by being about a bunch of fuckups navigating bureaucracy and trying not to die while seeking to get whatever booze, drugs, and real food they can.

Relevant: The All Guardsman Party.

Not exactly that specific scenario, but certainly too close not to bring it up.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Fight! - The Fighting Game RPG


Chapter 5: Combat

This chapter is not only the most important one (it's a fighting game RPG, after all), but certainly the most interesting, as Fight!'s combat rules are quite unorthodox at times, so we'll tackle it one at a time.

Note that any tournament fight conventions like "best 2 out of 3, one round lasts till one man goes down or the timer runs out" can be expected to still apply to "real" fights outside of a tournament, with the time between rounds used for some dramatic dialogue. Since Life Bars are restored between rounds, you can emulate the classic "Half-dead hero suddenly gets a second wind and starts pummelling the bad guy" shtick with this.

Roleplaying is also encouraged during combat, as every turn ends with the players narrating the events (I think Know Your Role does that, too, or at least its spiritual successor Wild World Wrestling).

At its core, Fight!'s combat system is a pretty simple "Everyone rolls initiative every turn, and hits are rolled with d6 + Accuracy modifiers vs the defender's Defense Total" system. Why just a d6? Because a Fighter's inherent Accuracy and Defenses don't increase all that much (unless you want to turtle, which does get better with your PL). If he doesn't go too crazy with Fighting Spirit or turtles like crazy, an "endgame" Fighter won't have the passive stats to become unhittable. Things will look much worse if he's outnumbered, as he'd have to spend Fighting Spirit for every incoming attack.

Die Shifts

Fight! uses die shifts for a lot of stuff. Your Basic Qualities work with that, and most (de)buffs and modifiers do this, with the big exception of Accuracy and Defense. The default die size for most things is d6, and they can shift down to 1 or up to 12. Damage rolls can go even further, with ever additional shift becoming a +1.

Fighting Spirit

Aside from damage rolls, every Fighter can generally spend Fighting Spirit on any combat roll he does (except for damage), and he can add the points to his Accuracy and/or Defense. Fighting Spirit is also used to activate certain elements and perform whatever techniques the GM allows for the campaign. Super Moves also eat up a Fighting Spirit, but you can still do them if you've run out.
As you can't spend more Fighting Spirit on any single thing than your Power Level, this is what really separates higher-level Fighters from lower level ones (if they're willing to spend that much Fighting Spirit, that is).

Control & Time

The thing that makes Fight!'s combat stand out is how it introduces unpredictability in areas where you wouldn't really expect it, namely when it comes to your action economy and the passage of time. While anyone can make one action per turn (with one exception), what exactly you can do if you want to attack is limited by your Control. The higher it is, the more powerful Special Moves and combos you can pull off. Control is rolled every turn just like Initiative, so you can't make long-term plans for your actions and have to make the most out of what the die gives you. If you like to combo a lot or focus on high-level Special Moves, better put some Combat Bonus points into Control and shift that die up.
Time is measured in counts (which are more or less seconds), with each round of combat typically lasting 99 of them. The thing is that turns take a variable amount of counts to finish (more precisely the amount of time needed for everyone to perform an action), determined by a die roll that any participant can shift around by spending Fighting Spirit. Why is this important? Well, all buffs and debuffs last a certain amount of counts (with a minimum of 1 turn), giving you incentives to either pick up the pace or try to buy some time. This can also work well for special timed conditions like a doonsday countdown or if you're just trying to survive for a certain amount of time.
All in all, Fight! feels a lot more real-timey than your more rigid turn-based combat. You have to flexibly react to your shifting Control, and the variable turn length can lead to calm moments followed by hectic bursts of punches and kicks.

Movement

Movement is probably where you see the most direct influence from the video games: If it's a 1-on-1 fight, you only track the relative distance - or Range - from each other (with a distance of 0 being throwing range and 5 being "pretty much out of combat"; most Special Moves can reach up to 2 Ranges, and movement can cover up to 3). Fights between more than 2 combatants are duked out on a one-dimensional grid with 6 squares. In such multi-man matches, one can add a bit of depth by having a Fighter try to stay away from someone else independent from their actual Range, or two guys can decide to have themselves a fair duel apart from the rest.
This one-dimensional grid is not only close to the source material, but detailed enough for some tactical depth while keeping it abstract enough as to not require the use of miniatures. You can also use the rules as-is to have DBZ-style fights where people punch each other from one continent to the next.
Things get a bit crunchier with Environmental Hazards, which are you walls, ring-outs, electrified fences and similar stuff. Unless you simplify the basic stuff like walls and ring-outs, Environmental Hazards don't really exist on the grid. Instead, you track their distance from each Fighter separately, with various rules devoted to change that distance. Suffice to say, don't try to use too many of these, or things might get a bit confusing.

Defense Options

If you're attacked, you have to decide how you want to avoid the attack. This is where the 3 Defense Skills come into play:
  • Defense is your plain fighting game block. Boring, but reliable. While it is the only Defense Skill with two elements it is weak against ("Hits Low" and "Unblockable"), those are significantly weaker against the other Defense Skills. Still, they can be quite nasty in situations where you're forced to block, one of which we'll cover shortly.
  • Evasion covers evading attacks through ducking and jumping. A succesfull evasion allows you to either move towards or away from your opponent, or get into a better position for some Accuracy bonus. You can also pull off a "crouch block" (or "air block", if the GM allows that in the campaign), which is basically a synergy bonus between Defense and Evasion. On the downside, the element "Hard to Evade" is quite common in the source material.
  • Tactics is the wild card. It is used for a lot of other stuff (like elements whose effects requires precise timing, or anything related to maneuvering around people on the abstract grid), but you can also avoid attacks with it. Tactics requires the usage of a "Defensive Response", a defense option that usually allows you to immediately retaliate with an attack of your own if the opponent misses. The most straightforward of these Responses is the Interrupt Response (aka "I try to hit him before he hits me"), which you can do with a Basic Move or a Special Move that has the Interrupt Element. The advantage of such a Response is that you'll force the opponent to block at half his skill. And since Control is never actually spend to perform Moves (it's more of an upper limit), you can make a full attack with each successful Response, giving you multiple attacks if you're outnumbered (though doing such a response attack costs you your normal action that turn if you haven't already acted ).
    As there are quite a lot of Defensive Responses, there are some more unique ones, like the classic Counter Response that actually uses Defense instead of Tactics, or the Ranged Response that isn't actually a counter-attack of sorts, but just allows you to defend with your Ki against other Ranged attacks. This makes Ki-heavy user pretty hard to hit with Hadokens and such, but you can slap an element on your ranged moves to make this Response useless (simulating projectiles that are actually spikes protruding from the ground, for example).
    To counter these useful Responses, you don't have the same kind of synergy bonus you can get with the other defense options, making them a bit more risky.

Damage & Combos

Damage rolls are die-shifted according to the attacker's Strength and the defender's stamina (Strength 2 vs Stamina -1 hurts). Much to my delight, we finally have a fighting game RPG with Hit Stun, which reduces your Control with every hit you take, which can result in you losing your turn. You also suffer Knock Back, bringing some distance between you and your opponent.
Other nasty things that can happen to you is a Knock Down (forcing you to waste a turn getting up, though nobody can hit you while you're down; if the GM allows Breakfalls, you can essentially pay Fighting Spirit to cancel the Knock Down), and getting properly Stunned (wasting two turns, unless someone hits you before). Similar to what you see in most fighting games, it gets harder to stun someone in a fight the more he has already been stunned.

Combos! These allow you to dish out more damage than you could with any single move. Just pick a combination of Special Moves and/or Basic Moves that doesn't require more Control than you have and doesn't include more individual moves than your Combo Skill. There are of course some combos that are prohibited (Moves that knock people down can generally only be used as the last Move, for example).
Interestingly, Combos in Fight! work opposite of how the work in Thrash. In that game, you make combos do decrease the total Action Point cost (if the combo is pre-made) and make it harder for the opponent to evade the following attacks if the first move hits. Here in Fight!, longer Combos actually increase the Control cost of Special Moves included, and you get Accuracy penalties based on the number of hits. Also unlike Thrash, Combos are done as a single attack, making partially successful combos only possible narratively (when you keep comboing from turn to turn, for example). You either hit with everything, or miss completely. You still roll damage for every move involved, but the damage of everything after the first Move is cut in half, and whatever Combat Bonus you add to damage is added to the total sum, not each hit individually.
Overall, they are handy for some sweet damage spikes, balanced by a handful of drawbacks that can make them quite risky to use.

Recovery

By default, a Fighter's Life Bar and Fighting Spirit is completely restored after every fight or round of combat. You can use an optional rule for a much more gritty recovery rate, but even then nobody actually dies or gets injured unless the plot demands it.

Team Combat

Team Combat happens in two very typical forms: Traditional King of Fighters rule where the two teams duke it out a 1-on-1 match where a defeated Fighter is replaced by the next teammate.
The much more fun-sounding alternative is Tag Team Combat, where you can tag in mid-combo to rack in lots of hits.

Just like with the "2 out of 3" rule, team combat can happen in actual combat, either because of honor reasons or because the heroes are facing a boss character who isn't too far above their Power Level and might end up getting hit stunned to death if the PCs are allowed to attack simultaneously.

The chapter ends with the so-called "combat sub-systems", which comprise one addon of sorts to normal combat and an alternate set of combat rules.

Thug Thrashing

The first combat sub-system, aka "rules for cannon fodder". A Thug is anyone who isn't a bad enough dude to be considered a Fighter. They are rated in levels from 0 aka Normal (non-combatants) to 5 (an elite mook that is not far behind a PL 1 Fighter; also used for tanks and stuff), with what is essentially Level 0 for non-combatants. They are greatly simplified stablock compared to a Fighter, with neither Fighting Spirit, fancy defensive options or a Life Bar (they use a Life Save, essentially a Saving Throw vs. getting KOed). Thugs can be customized by shifting some numbers around or giving them Qualities depending on their level, which can be used to make them more Fighter-like, boost their stats or customize the only Move they can use.
Thugs of the same typ are condensed into groups of up to 10 Thugs each. The groups are a bit like swarms, able to attack anyone in range (up to the number of Thugs), but unable to attack any single opponent more than once. Using combos against a Thug Group allows you to hit multiple Thugs at the same time.

Thug Thrashing is where we see more skill use: Your Thug Thrashing skill gives you extra actions against Thugs, and you can use your Agility skill to dodge ranged Thug attacks. Especially the latter can be quite useful, as Thugs have access the the "Gun Element" that allows their attacks to hit people beyond Range 5, effectively giving them at least one free attack before combat actually starts.

To spice things up, every Thug Group rolls on a random event chart each turn, with the roll modified by the number of Thugs and their level. The results can vary from a total rout to some beefy buffs.
For out-of-combat stuff, we get rules for Thug skill use, for those situations when you try to sneak past some guards or want to know just how good your hacker bufdy really use.

Lumped together with the Thugs are rules about temporarily picking up weapons and guns, which essentially beef up your Basic Move (unless your Fighter actually uses such a weapon as part of his fighting style), meant to be used as a sort of "power-up" against Thug groups.

Dramatic Combat

These are more cinematic combat rules, meant to either replace the normal combat rules entirely, or be used instead of the normal rules for more dramatic occasions. They essentially remove a lot of crunch from the core rules (no combos, no Control, Hit Stun is simplified), cut Life Bars in half and have everyone accumulate Action Points, which you can spend on performing special actions, like making a freeze frame attack, pushing your limits or doing a classic Kamehameha clash. This is also the combat system with the most skill use, allowing stuff like mind control, a last-ditch desparation attack or spiritual combat. Lots of neat alternatives to Basic Moves for low Strength characters.
Special Moves are handled quite differently under Dramatic Combat. They are noticably more powerful here, but they are also used much rarely as you have to spend Action Points to use them. Said cost is quite cheap when using a Special Move for the first time during a combat, but further usaes are prohibitively expensive. This mimics how animated versions of Ryu don't just spam Hadokens all day.
For a more "epic" combat, the GM can give everyone normal Life Bars and increase the amount of Action Points gained.

Fight! certainly delivers on the video game adaption department. Important fightnig game concepts are logically adapted, and there's just the right amount of crunch for the kind of mind games you see in the games. Heck, your fighting game skills even translate into helping you come up with good tactics.
The rules certainly take some getting used to, but they're not actually hard, just different. Thankfully, the book provides one example for each of the 3 combat systems.

Next Time: The Worlds of Fight! aka the GM section.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

So, when I finished my writeup of Monsterhearts last year I promised I'd do Golden Sky Stories next. Then real life and my Master's Thesis got in the way. Since I'm almost done with my Master's Thesis, I'm thinking of getting back on the F&F horse. But not with Golden Sky Stories. With an RPG I didn't even remember I own (because I got it for free at a convention a couple of years back).

The Secret of Zir'an!


Like, holy poo poo, I can't decide whether this game is terrible or actually kind of brilliant. It's got a really terrible layout, with nearly every page having a sort of watermark type of deal behind the text in a glossy grey ink, making reading this book kind of painful. It's got your standard early aughts standards of having dwarves but not calling them dwarves (they're dolonorri) and vis a vis elves (they're zhalanti). It's got an advantages/disadvantages system, but because they had to come up with a game-specific piece of vocabulary so they're called Valdreyr.

The game's got some kind of a Final Fantasy VII/VIII vibe, so there's magic but also guns and cars and flying ships and television and mass communications, and also big birds you can ride on, so that's cool. I wish this book wasn't so painful to read, because I just know that behind that horrible layout there's bound to be at least a few cool ideas. Based on reviews I've read, the magic systems in the game (Rune Magic and Shadow Magic) are kind of cool.

Does anyone else know anything about this game? Would there be any interest in me doing a writeup of it?

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


:justpost:

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Ratpick posted:

Does anyone else know anything about this game? Would there be any interest in me doing a writeup of it?

Wasn't this done by some ex-White Wolf people? It very much has that feel to it.

And yeah, I'd be interested. I have a copy myself but I haven't looked at it in ages.

e: found my copy; it was made under WW's ArtHaus imprint. Not only does the back cover not tell you anything about the game or setting itself beyond "we have mechanics!", on page 7 it actually says "made by gamers for gamers". :allears:

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 18:49 on Apr 19, 2015

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Evil Mastermind posted:

Wasn't this done by some ex-White Wolf people? It very much has that feel to it.

And yeah, I'd be interested. I have a copy myself but I haven't looked at it in ages.

Yeah, it was released under White Wolf's Arthaus imprint, which was where they basically threw all their low-producing games like Aberrant, Adventure!, Trinity and a bunch of other games they'd picked up throughout the years. Not sure if the guys behind this game (Paragon Games) had any actual White Wolf credentials.

e;fb


I'll start writing my introductory post, then! Do note, it might still take a bit of time: I just sent my Master's Thesis to my professor, and barring any changes proposed by her it's finished, but I still might need to revisit before I turn it in at the end of next week.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

When people talk about games that use made-up fantasy alphabet soup words for common things and then refuse to explain what the hell they're talking about, they're talking about Secret of Zir'an. The equipment section is full of poo poo like that with lists of gobbledigook for sale that the book refuses to elaborate on expect by inference, and not always very well.

Also that watermark thing behind every page is worse than your typical White Wolf "let's put poo poo behind the text, there's no way that'll hamper readability." The print run of the game was misprinted so that the background stuff was much, much darker than it was intended to be which means there's a chunk of the book that's so completely illegible that they actually had to release a .pdf of that part for download just so people could actually read what was supposed to be there.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Kai Tave posted:

When people talk about games that use made-up fantasy alphabet soup words for common things and then refuse to explain what the hell they're talking about, they're talking about Secret of Zir'an. The equipment section is full of poo poo like that with lists of gobbledigook for sale that the book refuses to elaborate on expect by inference, and not always very well.

I hadn't checked the equipment section, so I was like "Nah, it can't be that bad," but then I looked and... well. Instead of a dwarven war-axe, have you considered a dundregash? Don't know what that is? Oh, it's obviously a Ballinorian Thunder-Head axe.

Like, reading the description it actually becomes quite clear what it's supposed to be (it's a big axe with a thunder rune on it, so you when you hit someone on it does thunder damage or some poo poo like that), but seriously, the insistence on a special name for every piece of weaponry in the game is pretty weird. I guess the authors thought it'd be more immersive for players to describe their characters hitting their enemies with their dundregash? Who knows. Anyway, when I get to character creation I totally want to make a not-dwarf who wields a not-dwarven thunder-axe.

Kai Tave posted:

Also that watermark thing behind every page is worse than your typical White Wolf "let's put poo poo behind the text, there's no way that'll hamper readability." The print run of the game was misprinted so that the background stuff was much, much darker than it was intended to be which means there's a chunk of the book that's so completely illegible that they actually had to release a .pdf of that part for download just so people could actually read what was supposed to be there.

Most of the time it's not that bad, but where it's bad it's really bad. Worst part is, the pages where it gets the worst are also the ones you'll need to read in detail and often page back and forth from, like the pages that feature the skill packages. God.

Oh, that's actually one thing I quite like about this game: it's got sort of a combination point-buy/lifepath system, where you buy skill packages representing your character's training throughout their life. No idea how it works in practice, so it might actually be really convoluted and terrible.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kai Tave posted:

When people talk about games that use made-up fantasy alphabet soup words for common things and then refuse to explain what the hell they're talking about, they're talking about Secret of Zir'an. The equipment section is full of poo poo like that with lists of gobbledigook for sale that the book refuses to elaborate on expect by inference, and not always very well.

If the 90's were the era of Metaplot, then the early 00's were the era of We Need New Words For Everything.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

What was the point of all those 1990s RPGs having dark screens and patterns behind the text? Anti-photocopying measure? Thinking it looked "kewl" to have have pages with blood-spatter patterns on them? Discovering that PageMaker 4.0 let you do that? People cargo-culting V:tM 1E because it did it and was successful? Because between those and those pages and pages written in handwriting-style fonts, 1990s RPGs were drat-near unreadable.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



FMguru posted:

What was the point of all those 1990s RPGs having dark screens and patterns behind the text? Anti-photocopying measure? Thinking it looked "kewl" to have have pages with blood-spatter patterns on them? Discovering that PageMaker 4.0 let you do that? People cargo-culting V:tM 1E because it did it and was successful? Because between those and those pages and pages written in handwriting-style fonts, 1990s RPGs were drat-near unreadable.

Yes, except for the first one.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Let's arumuglu those marigashy gambooloos with some bashinks from our dundregashs.

Arthaus is also the imprint of all the Guardians of Order stuff they bought. It's where IPs go to die.

FMguru posted:

What was the point of all those 1990s RPGs having dark screens and patterns behind the text? Anti-photocopying measure? Thinking it looked "kewl" to have have pages with blood-spatter patterns on them? Discovering that PageMaker 4.0 let you do that? People cargo-culting V:tM 1E because it did it and was successful? Because between those and those pages and pages written in handwriting-style fonts, 1990s RPGs were drat-near unreadable.

I think it's the same reason why contemporary superhero costumes have basketball textures: It looks more expensive and complex that way. In in the case of the '90s books, it's also artsy.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 19:49 on Apr 19, 2015

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Evil Mastermind posted:

Yes, except for the first one.
One of the best things about the late 2000s was the way games (especially D&D 4E and WK40K) shifted to a clean white unadorned page layout.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013
Probation
Can't post for 3 hours!


I always got a very Nausicaa/Castle in the Sky feel out of Secret of Zir'an.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2ahT77mipE

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Apparently the silver script stuff in Zir'an, which is where most of the complaints about the backgrounds centered, were actually in the form of -secret in-setting messages written in a crackable cipher. So the main point of them was to be an easter egg for cryptography nerds, I guess.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

FMguru posted:

What was the point of all those 1990s RPGs having dark screens and patterns behind the text? Anti-photocopying measure? Thinking it looked "kewl" to have have pages with blood-spatter patterns on them? Discovering that PageMaker 4.0 let you do that? People cargo-culting V:tM 1E because it did it and was successful? Because between those and those pages and pages written in handwriting-style fonts, 1990s RPGs were drat-near unreadable.

The worst thing? Zir'An was made in 2005, so it doesn't even have the excuse of being a product of the nineties.

unseenlibrarian posted:

Apparently the silver script stuff in Zir'an, which is where most of the complaints about the backgrounds centered, were actually in the form of -secret in-setting messages written in a crackable cipher. So the main point of them was to be an easter egg for cryptography nerds, I guess.

That's actually kind of cool, I guess. Then again, given that this was really a niche product in a market suffocated by D&D 3.5 and derivatives, did they ever think that anyone would actually go to the bother of deciphering the secret messages behind the text?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

FMguru posted:

What was the point of all those 1990s RPGs having dark screens and patterns behind the text? Anti-photocopying measure? Thinking it looked "kewl" to have have pages with blood-spatter patterns on them? Discovering that PageMaker 4.0 let you do that? People cargo-culting V:tM 1E because it did it and was successful? Because between those and those pages and pages written in handwriting-style fonts, 1990s RPGs were drat-near unreadable.

Oh christ, I remember trying to read the IC front matter for Changeling once. A dozen photographed pages starring various rooms in Martha Stewart's house and handwritten sheets that would have been cramped and hard to read before the 'artiste' resized the images.

I think I got a page or two in. Some time later, someone uploaded a transcript somewhere. After that effort, I couldn't be hosed to read it.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


unseenlibrarian posted:

Apparently the silver script stuff in Zir'an, which is where most of the complaints about the backgrounds centered, were actually in the form of -secret in-setting messages written in a crackable cipher. So the main point of them was to be an easter egg for cryptography nerds, I guess.

So it's like The Secret Fire, except not as insane and/or pretentious?

(At least I hope it's not as insane and/or pretentious.)

FMguru posted:

One of the best things about the late 2000s was the way games (especially D&D 4E and WK40K) shifted to a clean white unadorned page layout.

True, stuff like Mutants & Masterminds and those new BattleTech books are pretty darn sexy.

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Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Doresh posted:

So it's like The Secret Fire, except not as insane and/or pretentious?

I don't think we've ever seen anything as pretentious as THE SECRET FIRE (tm).

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