Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Locked thread
Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



JamieTheD posted:

Heavy gravity, on the other hand, is where you will get poo poo on quite heavily. It goes from 1.2-2.0G (slows you down by 25%, make an exhaustion check every day... Exhaustion checks? Those are to do with Fatigue. Y'know, that thing you never use? ... Adds a +1 difficulty mod to doing things), to 2.0-4.0G (Add another difficulty step, make that -25% move a -75% move, exhaustion checks each hour just for doing things), and then, there's 4+ G... A total of +3 steps of difficulty, you cannot move without special suits, and you make an exhaustion check each minute. Life does not tend to evolve on such superheavy worlds.
Have you ever read The Ballad of Halo Jones? In the last book she's soldiering on a heavy G world - so heavy that you get pancaked without protection and there are time dilation effects between the base which is constantly protected and the missions that the soldiers do in the outside.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Later supplements upped the weird occasionally but it remained usually with the realm of modern technology, with the stranger things being things like icedroppers, gauss guns, x-ray lasers, paint rockets, limpet beacons, flame cloud ejectors, gyrosluggers, sonic cannons, etc. Oh, and nuclear weapons, which have stats for... some reason. There was always a fan contingent that argued for realism (x-ray lasers were quite controversial) and would get up in arms about any gadget or weapon that toed the line. We did get rocket boosters and jump jets, but they were one-shot sorts of deals. There were bladed wheels, but they were only really good for chopping up pedestrians. There was eventually overdrive (for all engines) and turbochargers & nitrous (gas engines only).

If I remember right, there was also a "Chassis and Crossbow" supplement in Autoduel Quarterly that had stats for low-tech weapons, for those who wanted their Car Wars games to be more Mad Max-esque.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Selachian posted:

If I remember right, there was also a "Chassis and Crossbow" supplement in Autoduel Quarterly that had stats for low-tech weapons, for those who wanted their Car Wars games to be more Mad Max-esque.

Yes. It was expanded upon in the Dueltrack boxed set, since that also included the gas engine rules, in case you wanted to portray the whole post-collapse era. There were plans to do a whole Chassis & Crossbow supplement but it never came out, likely just due to the game line being closed after Uncle Albert's Catalog From Hell.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Once again, it's Monsterhearts time!



After the depressing and disturbing skins like the Ghost, Ghoul and Mortal, it's time for something not all that heavy. It's the Queen.



To explain what the Queen is in Monsterhearts terms, I'll just dive straight to which horrible part of teenage life they're supposed to represent: the Queen is all about the horrible nature of teenage cliques and how prone kids are to tagging with the cool kid in school just to get a piece of that popularity. The horror of the Queen arises from their controlling nature and the petty politics they play.

The Queen is one of the few skins that supports playing either an entirely mundane character or one with a touch of the supernatural. If you want, you can play the Queen as Cordelia from Buffy. (That is, Cordelia when she was still a somewhat antagonistic character.) Cordelia is even listed as one of the example names for the Queen. However, some of the Queen's moves suggest a more supernatural influence, and can be easily used to build the Queen as a more supernatural character: occult leader, firstborn of the hive mind and source of the infection are all listed as potential origins for the Queen. The three-episode mini scenario for Monsterhearts, The Blood of Misty Harbour, features a Queen as the leader of a demonic cult, borrowing one of the moves from the Infernal to give them a more cultish demon-worshiping feel.

Basically, the Queen gets a gang for free. In case you don't remember what the rules for gangs are: PCs can manipulate gangs of NPCs, and whenever a gang helps a PC out with something they get to add 1 to all their rolls. So, if you're ganging up on someone to kick their rear end, you could add 1 to your roll to lash out violently, if your gang derisively laughs at the insults you throw at someone you could add 1 to your roll to shut someone down. Hell, if you're playing up the occult leader angle, you could even have them chanting some mumbo-jumbo around you to add 1 to your roll to gaze into the abyss.

Oh, and in case you're wondering: yes, your character can be a male Queen.

Stats: The Queen starts with 1 in Hot and Cold, and a -1 in Volatile and Dark. They're all about being social characters and will generally not excel in physical conflict (unless they've got their gang backing them up) or the occult.

Moves: The Queen gets the Clique and gets to choose one more move.

The Clique gives the Queen a gang at the beginning of play. The Queen also gets to choose one strength for their gang:
  • they’re armed (with guns and real dangerous stuff)
  • they’re connected (with money and designer drugs)
  • they’re talented (in a band or sports team)
  • they’re cultists (with dark oaths and willingness to die)

No mechanics are stated for their strengths: basically, the strengths are just narrative tags that inform what sort of stuff you could sensibly have your gang help you out with, and also what sorts of things you may be able to get from them through manipulating them.

The Shield gives the Queen a bit of protection from others: whenever they're surrounded by their gang, all players reduce 1 from all rolls against the Queen. NPCs act at a disadvantage (a mechanic that will be explained in the MC's section).

Bought Loyalty allows the Queen to give someone a String on them in order to add 2 to their roll to manipulate an NPC. Normally a player can spend a String held on an NPC to get a hefty bonus to attempts to manipulate them, and this moves gives the Queen the alternative of giving someone more power over the Queen instead of losing power over them.

And Your Enemies Closer really emphasizes the Queen's focus on loyalty, betrayal and backstabbing politics: whenever someone betrays the Queen, the Queen gains a String on them.

Many Bodies turns your Queen into a pimp (sort of): when you promise one of your gang members to someone, you can add 2 to your roll to turn someone on. Also, whenever a member of the Queen's gang has sex with someone, it triggers the Queen's sex move.

Streaming gives the Queen a telepathic connection with their gang, allowing them to always hear their emotions and fears. Also, whenever the Queen wants to hear their exact thoughts, they can gaze into the abyss and add 1 to their roll to do it.

So, that's pretty straightforward. A bunch of moves that give the Queen a bit more social currency while using their gang as pawns.

Backstory:
The Queen names three NPCs that are members of their gang, and gains a String on each.

However, the Queen also finds someone threatening. They take one String on the Queen and the Queen takes two Strings on them.

Gang:
As said, the Queen already starts play with a gang. However, they can take an advancement to take The Clique again, detailing another gang.

Now, the real meat of the Queen:

Sex Move posted:

When you have sex with someone, they gain the Condition one of them. While the Condition remains, they count as part of your gang.

Remember how Conditions work? Whenever you could narratively justify a condition giving a benefit to one of your moves, you add 1 to your roll.

The Sex Move combined with the rest of the moves results in so many potential narratives: combine it with Streaming for listening to the rest of the group's thoughts. Take Many Bodies to make membership in your gang a sexually transmitted disease.

And finally, there's the Queen's Darkest Self:

Darkest Self posted:

They’ve failed you. This is all their fault, and there’s no reason why you should have to suffer the consequences of their idiocy. You need to make an example out of each of them, a cruel and unwavering example. You escape your Darkest Self when you relinquish part of your power over to someone more deserving, or when you destroy an innocent person in order to prove your might.

So, what do I think of the Queen? Well, I kind of love it. First of all, you know the sort of person it's supposed to represent, not necessarily from your own life but from popular culture, so it's an easy to understand concept. Secondly, the more supernaturally oriented moves like Streaming and Many Bodies give it just enough of a supernatural edge to really drive the metaphor of the class through. Speaking as a guy with a minor in education, it can't be stressed enough how important the teenage years are to a person's development of social skills and group dynamics. Having said that, and this is me speaking as a guy who was a teenager once, teenagers are also kind of horrible and left to their own devices they will develop the worst possible social dynamics based around excluding others and even playing those within their immediate peer group against each other.

The Queen also deserves distinction as another Skin that would work perfectly as an antagonist: they certainly have enough social power to potentially be a threat to anyone in a high school setting. That said, I think the Queen also works perfectly as a character not explicitly taking sides but pursuing their own agenda on the sidelines. Since the Queen often has a lot of capital (not only in terms of social power, but also in terms of having all the coolest drugs/weapons/money) the MC could easily build social triangles where two players whose characters were at odds with each other would be able to gain an edge over one another if they could only petition the Queen for help.

Only three more (core) skins left one. Next time, put on your fake plastic fangs and black cloak, as we look at the Vampire! :drac:

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



theironjef posted:



Here's some links, go see a Car War.

Well... listen to. And it's just the one link. I'm no Lucille Bluth. Anyway, this week we reviewed Car Wars, and it was super fun times.

Haven't listened to this one yet (I'm behind on both the podcast and the thread in general), but man I love Car Wars. The little plastic box basic set was one of the first games I ever bought, and me and my friends used to build cars during our classes in middle school.

I still have the Autoduel box set that came with the boat rules, and the first two Uncle Al's catalogs.

The catalogs are great; they're like the Aurora's Whole Realms Catalog of insane car-mounted weapons.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Spoiler alert: We found it rich with overly complicated rules, but also rich in dumb charm. It's about as easy to like for that reason as a Palladium game, or one of the better GURPS supplements.

We're gearing up now for a recording tomorrow. Our discussion of a ridiculous LARP guidebook (not Mind's Eye Theater, this is something crazy we found for three dollars) should be up on Tuesday.

Though after getting terse comments from both Car Wars and Tales from the Floating Vagabond creators, I'm eager to go hunting for even testier whales in the RPG seas. I wonder if we can lure Simbieda out of his cave with a pissy review of Palladium Fantasy 1st edition, or Macross.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



theironjef posted:

Spoiler alert: We found it rich with overly complicated rules, but also rich in dumb charm.
Yeah, it's very 90's design.

quote:

Though after getting terse comments from both Car Wars and Tales from the Floating Vagabond creators, I'm eager to go hunting for even testier whales in the RPG seas. I wonder if we can lure Simbieda out of his cave with a pissy review of Palladium Fantasy 1st edition, or Macross.
Wait, you did TftFV? I don't see that episode.

I'll never understand why people who can't handle people being negative about their games putting out stuff to the public, some of whom will be negative about their game.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Evil Mastermind posted:

Yeah, it's very 90's design.

Wait, you did TftFV? I don't see that episode.

I'll never understand why people who can't handle people being negative about their games putting out stuff to the public, some of whom will be negative about their game.

It's way back. Episode 3. Garvin was nice, he just wanted to point out we have an edition with an extremely glaring typo in it that has plagued him for 20 years. Apparently the second printing gave players enough health to die to the first thing that hits them, basically every time.

We pulled the mp3 off the site to save space, but the zip is still there along with Garvin's comment: http://systemmasterypodcast.com/2013/09/13/episode-3-tales-from-the-floating-vagabond/

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

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

Other players can get kind of weird about their characters getting One of Them, especially if Streaming is involved. If people start actively avoiding getting that condition put on them, it can more or less ruin the fun fo r the Queen. There are a few skins that that kind of thing can happen to, but in my experience the Queen gets the worst of it because people tend to view them in an instantly antagonistic light. So you kind of have to watch out for that sort of thing and address it early on if you see it happening in a game you're running.

The Queen's probably not a great match for every group. Luckily there are more than enough skins now between the limited edition and the second skins, without even dipping into the questionable waters of third party material -- that you can more or less exclude a few from consideration and still offer a big selection to your players.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

Though after getting terse comments from both Car Wars and Tales from the Floating Vagabond creators, I'm eager to go hunting for even testier whales in the RPG seas. I wonder if we can lure Simbieda out of his cave with a pissy review of Palladium Fantasy 1st edition, or Macross.

Sadly, that ship has sailed, as far as I can tell. Kevin has avoided internet slapfights for about the last decade; I'm 01%-93% sure Palladium is perfectly aware of the reviews occamsnailfile and I do at this point. And to be fair, presuming Kevin has no interest in changing his tune in regards to how he handles his business, that's probably a smart move. They don't have a lot to gain by acknowledging criticism if they're not going to take it constructively.

It could be that SA is a protective umbrella and if I stepped out and did that sort of thing on a blog I'd get C&Ded, but the era of Palladium aggressively threatening legal action against the internet entire seems to be over. I'd be surprised if they think they have the money or time to pursue petty disputes. It'd certainly look dim for them in the midst of the Robotech kickstarter controversies.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Evil Mastermind posted:

Yeah, it's very 90's design
Car Wars is a very 1980 design. It started off as a fun little $3 mini boardgame in a little ziploc bag, taking its basic design from Star Fleet Battles (the impulse movement, the ablative directional armor, the vehicle display that you check off damage boxes - we sometimes called it Car Fleet Battles) and Jackson's previous Ogre game (focus is not on an army of dudes but on controlling one big unit with a bunch of systems). The design system was the thing that made people fall in love with it, along with the endless stream of new equipment and weapons and systems and vehicle types that were released in supplements and magazines. It pretty much paid SJG's bills until GURPS came along. But yeah, it never transcended its mechanical wargame roots.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



I don't think it ever should. I maintain that a redesign of Car Wars with the scale upped to the point that the cars are "coincidentally" Hot Wheels-sized and with a focus on arena combat would be an amazing game for players and modelers. I am already looking around my desk at work at things that would be the right size for aftermarket rocket launchers on a repainted Hot Wheel.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


FMguru posted:

The design system was the thing that made people fall in love with it, along with the endless stream of new equipment and weapons and systems and vehicle types that were released in supplements and magazines. It pretty much paid SJG's bills until GURPS came along. But yeah, it never transcended its mechanical wargame roots.

Yeah. It's easy to forget in retrospect, but it supported a magazine for ten years, along with dozens of official AADA clubs paying their regular dues to SJG across several continents, as well as regional championships leading up to a world championship. It was a big deal in gaming for a long time, which has made its absence all the more conspicuous.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



FMguru posted:

Car Wars is a very 1980 design.

Oh god, you're right...I was in middle school, it had to be the mid-to-late-80's.

I'm old. :(

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Evil Mastermind posted:

Oh god, you're right...I was in middle school, it had to be the mid-to-late-80's.

Car Wars: 1981-1993.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Stop making me feel old! :argh:

(The one I first bought was indeed the pocket box version, so about 1982 or so.)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Sadly, that ship has sailed, as far as I can tell. Kevin has avoided internet slapfights for about the last decade; I'm 01%-93% sure Palladium is perfectly aware of the reviews occamsnailfile and I do at this point. And to be fair, presuming Kevin has no interest in changing his tune in regards to how he handles his business, that's probably a smart move. They don't have a lot to gain by acknowledging criticism if they're not going to take it constructively.
Kevin Siembedia can barely use a computer! And he can sue me for saying Nightbane without a TM at the end if he likes.

FMguru posted:

Car Wars is a very 1980 design. It started off as a fun little $3 mini boardgame in a little ziploc bag, taking its basic design from Star Fleet Battles (the impulse movement, the ablative directional armor, the vehicle display that you check off damage boxes - we sometimes called it Car Fleet Battles) and Jackson's previous Ogre game (focus is not on an army of dudes but on controlling one big unit with a bunch of systems). The design system was the thing that made people fall in love with it, along with the endless stream of new equipment and weapons and systems and vehicle types that were released in supplements and magazines. It pretty much paid SJG's bills until GURPS came along. But yeah, it never transcended its mechanical wargame roots.
I am something of a loss to understand why "80s design" is synonymous with meticulous rules and customization. For contrast, I think I understand why "90s design" resulted in games that professed story but obsessed over rules--this was a time when the hobby was growing creatively, but still dominated much of the time by AD&D, which continued releasing new versions until 1995, and hadn't fundamentally changed since 1977.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

I am something of a loss to understand why "80s design" is synonymous with meticulous rules and customization. For contrast, I think I understand why "90s design" resulted in games that professed story but obsessed over rules--this was a time when the hobby was growing creatively, but still dominated much of the time by AD&D, which continued releasing new versions until 1995, and hadn't fundamentally changed since 1977.

It's borne out correctly with the stuff from the 80s we've talked about on the podcast. Prime Directive, Car Wars, D6 Star Wars, and Skyrealms of Jorune are some of our episodes where we really get into how rulesy they are, and they're all 80s games. I think the one big exception would be the comically light Ghostbusters RPG.

Meanwhile the 90s output has all been forgettable, relatively rules-light garbage that tends to focus on one small idea writ large for setting. Haven, Don't Look Back, Furry Pirates, BESM. There are also exceptions, of course.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 18:31 on Sep 5, 2014

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

theironjef posted:

It's borne out correctly with the stuff from the 80s we've talked about on the podcast. Prime Directive, Car Wars, D6 Star Wars, and Skyrealms of Jorune are some of our episodes where we really get into how rulesy they are, and they're all 80s games. I think the one big exception would be the comically light Ghostbusters RPG.
Even Paranoia's 1st edition (1984) couldn't escape the hobby's wargamey roots - it had legal-case numerical rules organization, complicated tables of weapon-type versus armor-type interaction, pages of equipment price lists, charts of different vehicle weapons and their stats, plus you had to keep track of five different kinds of points as your character went along (commendation points, treason points, secret society point, cash credits, experience points). And this is a game that was supposed to support a freewheeling zapzapzap ridiculous kind of play. Fortunately, second edition cleaned a lot of this cruft and is therefore the best edition (sorry, XP).

Not all games in the 1980s were rules-heavy simulations - some exceptions I can think of were Pendragon, Call of Cthulhu (although it had some leftovers from its SCA combat sim roots, like %impale and lots of unnecessary skills), Toon (although it had an experience point progression system that rewarded careful, smart, objective-driven play, which was hilarious on so many levels), and even Star Wars 1E (which was a fairly light and zippy game, especially compared to the complex and leaden version the podcast reviewed). But they were an exception in a world filled with Twilight:2000 and Rolemaster and Chivalry & Sorcery and Villains & Vigilantes and MegaTraveller and Champions.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Toon is on my short to-do list. I'm totally fascinated by the rare attempts to make pure comedy RPGs, and Jon tends to hate them, which I love. I'll probably give the Steve Jackson folks a few months so they forget about us first though.

I spent three months in a campaign of Toon playing as a sentient copying machine (thanks random tables!). It was a bizarre experience, not least because we were playing it sitting crosslegged on a giant trampoline.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Halloween Jack posted:

I am something of a loss to understand why "80s design" is synonymous with meticulous rules and customization.

Champions, GURPS, and motherfucking Phoenix Command.
also rolemaster, the true ancestor of d20

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Champions, GURPS, and motherfucking Phoenix Command.
also rolemaster, the true ancestor of d20
Oh sure, but I mean, why did those games get made?

I have a feeling that the answer is as simple as "It was a different reaction to D&D for a different era."

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



theironjef posted:

...
We're gearing up now for a recording tomorrow. Our discussion of a ridiculous LARP guidebook (not Mind's Eye Theater, this is something crazy we found for three dollars) should be up on Tuesday...

Oh poo poo, is it the L5R larp book? A former friend of mine was in charge of the "art" which is why it's full of fat white guys in kimonos posing awkwardly with samurai swords.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



8one6 posted:

Oh poo poo, is it the L5R larp book? A former friend of mine was in charge of the "art" which is why it's full of fat white guys in kimonos posing awkwardly with samurai swords.

No way, but I'll totally add that to the list, I've never heard of it. On the other hand, NO ONE will have heard of what we have coming. My google search for it only dredged up a few online clearinghouse retailers that carry it and a bunch of suggestions that I probably meant something else.

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

theironjef posted:

It's borne out correctly with the stuff from the 80s we've talked about on the podcast. Prime Directive, Car Wars, D6 Star Wars, and Skyrealms of Jorune are some of our episodes where we really get into how rulesy they are, and they're all 80s games. I think the one big exception would be the comically light Ghostbusters RPG.

Meanwhile the 90s output has all been forgettable, relatively rules-light garbage that tends to focus on one small idea writ large for setting. Haven, Don't Look Back, Furry Pirates, BESM. There are also exceptions, of course.


You really need to take a look at one of the FGU games from the early 80s (Just not Chivalry and Sorcery unless you need a sleeping pill). Villains and Vigilantes, Daredevils, Aftermath, PsiWorld, Flashing Blades, or Space Opera would be my recommendations.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



theironjef posted:

No way, but I'll totally add that to the list, I've never heard of it. On the other hand, NO ONE will have heard of what we have coming. My google search for it only dredged up a few online clearinghouse retailers that carry it and a bunch of suggestions that I probably meant something else.

If you can't find it I might be able to dig up a copy.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

You really need to take a look at one of the FGU games from the early 80s (Just not Chivalry and Sorcery unless you need a sleeping pill). Villains and Vigilantes, Daredevils, Aftermath, PsiWorld, Flashing Blades, or Space Opera would be my recommendations.
That's a good bar game for old RPG nerds go back and forth rattling off the names of FGU games until someone can't come up with another or gives a duplicate answer and loses and has to pay for the next round. From memory: also Privateers & Gentlemen, Year of the Phonenix, Lands of Adventure, Gangsters!, Wild West, Bushido, Merc, and Other Suns, and I know I've forgotten a couple.

Every single one of which had a different core system.

e: Checked wiki, saw that I missed Bunnies & Burrows, Swordbearer, Star Explorer, and Freedom Fighters.

FMguru fucked around with this message at 20:59 on Sep 5, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

You really need to take a look at one of the FGU games from the early 80s (Just not Chivalry and Sorcery unless you need a sleeping pill). Villains and Vigilantes, Daredevils, Aftermath, PsiWorld, Flashing Blades, or Space Opera would be my recommendations.

Okay, we'll get that in the queue. Specifically I'm gonna do Flash Gordon & The Warriors of Mongo. Fuckin' A.

edit: Holy cow it uses the average die! A D6 with faces reading 2,3,3,4,4,5! Anyone remember those?

theironjef fucked around with this message at 21:04 on Sep 5, 2014

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Halloween Jack posted:

Oh sure, but I mean, why did those games get made?

I have a feeling that the answer is as simple as "It was a different reaction to D&D for a different era."

I can't speak to Phoenix Command, but I'm pretty sure both Champions and GURPS tried to become more universal versions of their antecedent genres (supers for Champions, D&D for GURPS) and hit convergent evolution. And as it turned out, between the two of them there really wasn't any meaningful space for a third universal game engine so a lot of other players withered and died there.

And then 20ish years later you get Powered By The Apocalypse, which is arguably very close to a universal game engine for narrative instead of simulationist play.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








Anyone have opinions on Tribe 8? One of my roommates acquired the first edition sourcebook at a secondhand shop and the system sounds interesting (if gritty and 90's). That said, I've not delved into the setting (which takes up the first half of the book) so I'm not certain if anything weird came up there.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



theironjef posted:

I don't think it ever should. I maintain that a redesign of Car Wars with the scale upped to the point that the cars are "coincidentally" Hot Wheels-sized and with a focus on arena combat would be an amazing game for players and modelers. I am already looking around my desk at work at things that would be the right size for aftermarket rocket launchers on a repainted Hot Wheel.

I've seen some designs being passed around on Thingiverse of an open-source Car Wars-type game with the weapons on pegs that are placed into a car body. It's a real simple idea that could use some expansion, like having higher-damaging weapons taking more than one peg space; peg-on armor, wheel, and engine upgrades (like placing a little blower to indicate a better engine); a HeroClix style wheel under the car that acts as an ablative armor counter (per location or general body), etc. A single point could remove a weapon, damage armor or a component that players could relish in pulling off their opponent's cars. It's definitely something that could be made into a tabletop game.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Gazetteer posted:

Other players can get kind of weird about their characters getting One of Them, especially if Streaming is involved. If people start actively avoiding getting that condition put on them, it can more or less ruin the fun fo r the Queen. There are a few skins that that kind of thing can happen to, but in my experience the Queen gets the worst of it because people tend to view them in an instantly antagonistic light. So you kind of have to watch out for that sort of thing and address it early on if you see it happening in a game you're running.

The Queen's probably not a great match for every group. Luckily there are more than enough skins now between the limited edition and the second skins, without even dipping into the questionable waters of third party material -- that you can more or less exclude a few from consideration and still offer a big selection to your players.

Oh yeah, I agree with this 100%. I'm not sure if it was a type of antagonism towards teenage cliques (i.e. "them bastards that bullied us back in high school") but the first time I ran Monsterhearts for my university RPG club everyone seemed to be ready to hate the Queen simply by virtue of her being the coolest kid in school. The fact is, the Queen represents an archetype that is instantly familiar to most people and most people are willing to hate the poo poo out of that archetype. I mean, okay, the Infernal was literally worshiping the Devil, but who cares? That girl and her gang are being total bitches to everyone, they need to be dropped down a peg!

Actually, that's also one of the reasons I think the Queen is a perfect character to use as an antagonist. As before, if your players are guided by an instinct to win the game (whatever that might mean in the context of a story game like Monsterhearts) then they will probably avoid getting too close to the Queen, but if your players are going with what makes the best story then the Queen is a pretty great source of potential stories that can unfold.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

NGDBSS posted:

Anyone have opinions on Tribe 8? One of my roommates acquired the first edition sourcebook at a secondhand shop and the system sounds interesting (if gritty and 90's). That said, I've not delved into the setting (which takes up the first half of the book) so I'm not certain if anything weird came up there.

The setting's incredibly flavourful in that quintessentially 90s sort of way - big themes, interesting factions, a metaphysic that informs everything in the setting and interesting conflicts out of the gate. Unfortunately, the system is also highly 90s, and includes spending XP to get one-off bonuses to rolls, agility as a god-stat, poorly thought out XP math, and many other issues besides. I'd say it's well worth reading the setting, and even the metaplot books have some good ideas, but I'd run the game in some other system.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Welcome to post one of two for this book with a rather interesting-looking cover. Do you remember the conspiracy genre boom of the 90s? I do. RPG developers sure as hell do, to the point where it was extremely difficult to figure out what thing I wanted to cover first in the genre, even with the caveat of “no starting on a setting with further sourcebooks below it before Cerulean Seas is done”, which eliminated Conspiracy X and a few others right off the bat. The conspiracy theory has been around for far longer in both reality and fiction, of course – the book Voodoo Histories is a good introductory look at conspiracy theories from Victorian anti-Freemason sentiment up to modern Trutherism if you are into that – but the Clinton years seemed to have a perfect storm of the sentiment that fuels conspiracy theories and squeezed the genre into fiction in a big way with media such as the X-Files series and the rather bluntly-named film Conspiracy Theory.

My original plan was to review 100 Conspiracies and 100 Conspirators by James Desborough, who you are probably familiar with if you read the Grognards.txt thread, but the constant repetition of the same “[conspirator] wants to kill [person], players protect them” plot points repeatedly sapped my will to live before I could actually get to the creative or stupid/offensive parts. So what made me choose this particular title to start off with instead Well, this sourcebook is special because it has the involvement of actual conspiracy theorists. Developer David Jarvis looked to the amazingly insane minds of Ground Zero radio, including its creator Clyde Lewis (whose Wikipedia you should read, it's loving amazing), as creative consultants.

Introduction
Our introduction to this title is through the eyes of Clyde Lewis, who tells of his supposed encounter with a Man in Black who tried to kill him in a car bombing later. The author labels this in the table of contents as 'introductory fiction', which both amuses me and makes me wonder if that angered Lewis doing the creative process. The whole thing is a gold mine, but the ending paragraph definitely helps set the town for the title.

“Introduction by Clyde Lewis” posted:

I know what I know and I am not afraid of the future. I am not fearful of the Men in Black because I have met them. I don’t wait for UFO’s because I have seen at least two. DEA agents fly black helicopters. God is an extraterrestrial and the more I see what is going on in Washington, I can only speculate using circular logic that the aliens have landed on the White House lawn. They may even be hanging out in your local desert, smoking a cigarette and swapping girlfriend stories with your red-blooded American G.I. Joe. If you’re lucky, they may even pose for a photo. Just don’t go telling everybody that you have a picture of an extraterrestrial. It just alienates people.

:haw:


Chapter 1: Alien Invasion Campaigns
The first question asked by Alien Invasion is the rather important one of what type of extraterrestrial campaign you want to run. The assumed campaign type is Infiltration – this is the style of the X-Files and the like, wherein aliens have had contact with Earth and may even have agents and shapeshifters on the ground, but their overall current actions are on the down low. Occupation is a similar but bleaker campaign type wherein the aliens have already taken over Earth in disguise without any struggle and the player characters are basically playing Rowdy Roddy Piper in They Live.

The other two campaign types both have aliens out in the open but on different ends of the spectrum. Education has the extraterrestrial forces doing what they feel is best for humanity in the long run (though that may end up coming in unpleasant ways, such as forced artificial insemination or peace by force), while Raid is the beginning of a full-scale military invasion.


History of Aliens in Our World
This segment is exactly what its name implies, and starts by diving straight into old school Von Daniken with the ancient astronauts/aliens as gods concept. The pyramids worldwide? Aliens. Nazca Lines? Aliens. The moai of Easter Island? You guessed it. And top it all off, the greatest creation of the aliens is humanity, created as a slave race by the Elohim of planet Nibiru. The Elohim eventually lost Earth due to their own stupidity, deciding that the best way to stop a growing human rebellion was to flood the whole planet. The humans survived in an ark submarine (!), while the Elohim bases were wiped out and they headed back home after deciding the whole effort wasn't worth it.

Apparently nothing interesting at all happened between ancient times and now, though, as the timeline hops straight to 1942 and the “Battle of Los Angeles”. This is a real event in that on February 24, 1942, something airborne spooked the Army enough to light up the sky with anti-air fire. In real life, of course, this was most likely a stray balloon that was exacerbated by post-Pearl Harbor paranoia, but here it is a genuine alien craft. The inability to knock the UFO down is seen as an embarrassment and a sign of weakness, which leads to the creation of an anti-alien military unit known as the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit (IPU). The IPU later goes on to nab the debris from Roswell and replace it with a torn up weather balloon, as well as capture and vivisect the Grays that were piloting the saucer. This is where the “history” technically ends. The rest of the 20th Century is covered, just farther on in the chapter for no apparent reason.


Documented Evidence
Where's the evidence? It's all around us, the text proudly claims, we merely need to be able to identify it. And identify it we can. The main check is a Forgery check, whether or not the evidence is real. If the evidence is hoaxed, the Forgery check is the investigator's Forgery check versus the hoaxer's original Forgery check to prove it is false, while actual evidence has a flat Forgery check DC of 20 and success equates you realizing it is actual evidence. Specific forms of evidence can be scrutinized further for details – a Knowledge (Art) check can be used to determine the speed, luminosity, and composition of a photographed UFO, Knowledge (Technology) can pinpoint the specifics of radar scans, Knowledge (Mechanical) is used to identify anomalous equipment malfunctions caused by a UFO's presence, and Knowledge (Earth and Life Sciences) is a big grab bag that lets you uncover various physical evidence ranging from magnetic anomalies in the soil around a UFO landing site to anomalies left on a living being.


Sightings
This section is a UFOlogy 101 lesson on the “encounter scale” designed by J. Allen Hynek. In the time after his work on Projects Grudge, Sign, and Blue Book, Hynek designed his six-point encounter scale. This scale is nocturnal lights (lights seen at night), daylight discs (daytime visual confirmation from 500+ feet away), radar visual (radar confirmation), close encounter of the first kind (UFO clearly seen less than 500 feet away), close encounter of the second kind (UFO interacts with the physical world, like torching plants or leaking radiation), and the ever-famous close encounter of the third kind (a seemingly living and animate being is encountered).

Various UFOlogists after Hynek decided that the close encounter of the third kind just wasn't cutting it. Under this methodology, the third close encounter is limited to when the occupants of the UFO are seen but not interacted with. Anything further is reclassified as close encounters four through seven.
  • Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind: The aliens abduct you, maybe scan and probe you, but don't engage in any activitiies beyond that.
  • Close Encounter of the Fifth Kind: The alien speaks to you, be it verbally or telepathically. You don't have to understand what it's saying for it to count as this kind.
  • Close Encounter of the Sixth Kind: Something gets killed. A cattle mutilation, human killing an ET, or an ET killing a human are all sixth kind encounters.
  • Close Encounter of the Seventh Kind: There is an exchange of human and extraterrestrial genetic material. :heysexy: Oh, and this can also include mutations instigated by aliens.

These have no real bearing on the mechanics, but it's nice to have a lot of fluff to back you up sometimes. Having your crazy conspiracy guy be able to spout off specifics of the case at hand certainly helps add to the feeling of the session.



Alien Abduction
Welcome to Close Encounter Four. Aliens are stated to not actually like to abduct people too often, as humans are a species "intelligent and prone to violence". Their paralysis fields have a Fortitude save DC of 20, so it's not exactly easy to break free, but they'd rather not risk having their scrawny gray asses kicked here to kingdom come if they can help it. Assuming that you don't have that great a Constitution score (which most average Joe NPCs don't), the routine is simple: get blood and tissue samples taken, have an unwanted proctology exam, and if you are really unlucky you may have aliens that are sick fucks rather than the usual sort.

Alien Invasion posted:

Abductees might be subjected to sexual intercourse with aliens or other abductees while under observation. The partners might even appear disguised as a spouse or celebrity.

[...]

Depending on the motivation of the aliens, they might even witness other humans undergoing experimentation. Sometimes corpses are routinely mutilated and stacked in piles, a threat of what will happen to the abductee if they don’t cooperate.

And we're the violence-prone species? :stonk:

Rather unsurprisingly, there's a chart of side-effects that can happen due to these horrific procedures. None of them are exactly pleasant, but some are definitely more actively harmful than others. Sure, having a 20% miss chance in dark areas or having fatigue-inducing nightmares if you fail a DC 10 Will save may be unpleasant, but others are far worse. 9 to 17 on the percentile dice roll? Your nails grow so fast that you have to spend a full round action to clip them once every minute, lest you suffer a -2 penalty to Dexterity-based skill checks. 60 to 64? Congratulations, you have a permanent 50% reduction of your movement speed due to bone and muscle deformities.

There's also a high likelyhood that the aliens may have put an implant in your body during the procedure. These are all from d20 Future, but since you may or may not have read that, I'll note that the implant types are skill (+2 bonus to one skill), anti-stun (you cannot be stunned/paralyzed), feat (you gain a free feat that meet the prerequisites for), initiative (+2 to Initiative), mindscreen (+2 to saving throws against mind-affecting effects), rage (go into a Barbarian rage once per day), and psi (Wild Talent for free, congrats on your psychic powers).

There are also two somewhat out of place notes here. One is for using a Knowledge (Behavioral Sciences) check to psychoanalyze an abductee, which seems like it would have made sense to put under the "Documented Evidence" section further back, and the other is NPC stats for a farmer (a Rural occupation human Tough Ordinary 1).


Alien Cults
Well, two of them, at least. Both of the alien cults given pages of profile info here are real, though obviously they have been embellished for a world where they are completely and totally correct about aliens existing.

The Aetherius Society is the more magical half of the pair. This UK-based alien cult conveniently answers to an extraterrestrial race known as the Interplanetary Parliament. Members of this Parliament include Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and Aetherius, the guy who the society takes its name from. Aetherius contacted founder George King back in the 50s and was all "hey man, you're loving up the planet with all your capitalism and pollution, be Magic Socialist Planeteers in our service". And became Magic Socialist Planeteers they did. Most of the activiities of its members involve prayer, meditation, and supporting green movement ideals such as nuclear non-proliferation and anti-pollution efforts. Aetherius Society members get access to their own spellcasting advanced class, the Aetherian, which is described later in the book.

On the other side of the coin are the Raelians, a psionics and superscience-themed organization. They revere the Elohim - you know, those guys who flooded the planet when they got huffy about humans having a slave revolt - and have received their secrets of perfect cloning technology because they apparently changed their mind about the whole "wipe out humanity" thing some time in the past millennium. The ultimate goal of the Raelians is a world ruled by the smartest people and genetic manipulation on a mass scale to please the genius nature of the Elohim. They also have a lot of free love, because what's an alien cult without at least one hippie trait? As with the Aetherius Society, the Raelians get a namesake advanced class that won't be covered until later.


Cattle Mutilations
Why do aliens mutilate cows? Why, for science, of course! To be more specific, cattle and other large mammals apparently have the right chemical and physical composition to grow special organic devices that can be used to filter out pollution and stabilize (or imbalance) hormones. That rage implant you got? Came from a cow. It's also used by Grays in experiments to try to figure out how to make themselves fertile again, as they are completely sterile and have been for a long time.

There are also stats for a cow as a CR 1/2 Large Animal. The d20 Modern Core Rulebook already had generic herd animal stats said to be applicable to cows, but apparently the authors of Alien Invasion thought that CR 2 was too high for cattle. I've been around cattle enough to disagree, but fair enough.


Crop Circles
Messages from outer space? Not quite. Crop circles are, in fact, just the footprint left behind by a saucer landing. A footprint that happens to be crazy-radioactive, admittedly, given that the text states that for 1d6 hours after the landing a crop circle is three times more radioactive than the normal ambient radiation of the area. The strangest thing about this radiation isn't that it's left by alien spacecraft, though, so much as it doesn't act like normal radiation. Rather than use the standard d20 Modern radiation rules, the crop circle instead requires a Will save rather than a Fortitude save and does not cause radiation poisoning. Instead, creatures heal at twice the normal rate while in the crop circle's radiation if they succeed the save, and are either shaken, dazed, nauseated, or disoriented depending on how much they fail the save. I guess this is meant to be "psychic radiation" or something rather than gamma radiation.


Conspiracy Theories
It turns out that the conspiracy exists entirely because of H.G. Wells and family. The famous Orson Wells radio drama of "War of the Worlds" was actually a test to see whether we could handle the truth of extraterrestrials, and we failed big time. This incident ensured that the powers that be would not trust the truth of aliens to be revealed to the masses, which was further compounded by the fact that the powers that be are assholes:

Alien Invasion posted:

Finally, conspiracies help reinforce the superiority of those in the know, ushering in the few who know the full conspiracy into an elite group that can sneer at the unknowing populace (sometimes called “sheeple”).

This also happens to be where the rest of the timeline disappeared to. Why isn't it all just under the "History of Aliens in our World" section? Hell if I know. In any case, the story picks up with the fallout of Roswell. The Air Force and CIA got into a slapping match over who had the rights to UFO parts, which was settled by Truman going "gently caress both of you" and creating the NSA as the premiere alien snoop group. The Bilderberg Group was created soon after to insure that both sides of the Cold War would similarly get along when it came to extraterrestrial threats. he big breakthrough, however, was after Eisenhower came into office.

In 1953, Eisenhower met and negotiated with the leader of the Gray aliens, Omnipotent Highness Krill. The terms of the treaty were that the Grays would provide their technology to the US and the US alone, and in exchange the US would turn a blind eye to abductions and mutilations. Of course, both sides were full of poo poo. The Grays were secretly negotiating with the Soviets as well, and the US was prepping a squadron of secret soldiers called Majestic 12. Majestic 12 were put to use both to dissuade the Grays from pushing their luck and to keep the conspiracy a secret. They assassinated Kennedy, they forced Nixon to resign, and controlled the flow of information to purposefully leak certain key ideas into the media.

The present day is more or less the near completion of the escalation between both sides. The Grays are implied to be the cause behind widespread rage virus outbreaks spread by infected chupacabras, while Majestic 12 prepares to engage in massive ethnic cleansing of anyone with extraterrestrial DNA before conquest of the Moon and Mars. Why is the ethnic cleansing needed? I dunno, I guess everyone's potentially a species traitor or something.



Next Time...
It's been pretty fluffy going so far, but it's going to get teeth-breaking very soon in the second half of Alien Invasion: the Crunchening! Big Gubmint, player character options, and aliens from Ataiea to Zeta Reticula await.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 01:07 on Sep 6, 2014

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Gazetteer posted:

Other players can get kind of weird about their characters getting One of Them, especially if Streaming is involved. If people start actively avoiding getting that condition put on them, it can more or less ruin the fun fo r the Queen. There are a few skins that that kind of thing can happen to, but in my experience the Queen gets the worst of it because people tend to view them in an instantly antagonistic light. So you kind of have to watch out for that sort of thing and address it early on if you see it happening in a game you're running.

Like the Ghoul, the Queen immediately made me think of another old playmate and the worst-case scenario letting him play one would have engendered.

NGDBSS posted:

Anyone have opinions on Tribe 8? One of my roommates acquired the first edition sourcebook at a secondhand shop and the system sounds interesting (if gritty and 90's). That said, I've not delved into the setting (which takes up the first half of the book) so I'm not certain if anything weird came up there.

I only read a preview for it, one of those big two-page spreads in Dragon I think, and was immediately turned off. The pitch dripped Nineties: very cliquish, each not just deeply but embarrassingly flawed, with the implication that PCs were members of a supposedly dead eighth group destined to something-something. Not sure I've ever seen a copy in person; Heavy Gear fell flat around here, and I wouldn't be surprised if that affected stores picking up other DP9 product lines.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Gazetteer posted:

Other players can get kind of weird about their characters getting One of Them, especially if Streaming is involved. If people start actively avoiding getting that condition put on them, it can more or less ruin the fun fo r the Queen. There are a few skins that that kind of thing can happen to, but in my experience the Queen gets the worst of it because people tend to view them in an instantly antagonistic light. So you kind of have to watch out for that sort of thing and address it early on if you see it happening in a game you're running.

The Queen's probably not a great match for every group. Luckily there are more than enough skins now between the limited edition and the second skins, without even dipping into the questionable waters of third party material -- that you can more or less exclude a few from consideration and still offer a big selection to your players.

Just looking over this... as a non-antagonist, wouldn't the Queen make a lot of sense as the leader of a group of PCs? Not in the same way that the Chosen might be, but in the sense of the heart of the team, the real people person who can balance out the others and get them working together effectively?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In theory, but Monsterhearts and 'working together effectively' are not always things that go together.

Tulpa
Aug 8, 2014


I've played in a frankly ludicrous amount of Monsterhearts games and I have actually never seen anyone play a Queen. There's something about it that's instinctually unappealing to the locals here.

Cythereal posted:

Just looking over this... as a non-antagonist, wouldn't the Queen make a lot of sense as the leader of a group of PCs? Not in the same way that the Chosen might be, but in the sense of the heart of the team, the real people person who can balance out the others and get them working together effectively?

Now I kind of want to hack monsterhearts to be about Sailor Moon instead of teen angst and abusive relationships.

Erebro
Apr 28, 2013


Fossilized Rappy posted:

And we're the violence-prone species? :stonk:

From what you wrote, the book didn't say anything about humans being violence-prone in relation to the aliens. It's less like "loving cavemen wouldn't know a good thing if it bit them in the rear end" and more like "loving cavemen will kill your rear end dead if you get in teeth range, check your restraints regularly!"

Erebro fucked around with this message at 13:39 on Sep 6, 2014

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Erebro posted:

From what you wrote, the book didn't say anything about humans being violence-prone in relation to the aliens. It's less like "loving cavemen wouldn't know a good thing if it bit them in the rear end" and more like "loving cavemen with kill your rear end dead if you get in teeth range, check your restraints regularly!"

drat right we are.

"Human bites can be fatally infectious even to other humans."

http://imgur.com/gallery/gCxtRhl

  • Locked thread