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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Changeling bent over backwards to play up the magic of feudalism and colonization, while making it explicitly clear that modern contrivances like the scientific method or psychiatric medication were Bad Things that could kill fairies dead and make people not see The Truth.

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

wdarkk posted:

Was one of the writers mad about being taken to psychiatrists as a kid or something?

In all seriousness, I wouldn't be surprised if the thought processes that led to the creation of Banality as a character stat, and all of the thematic fallout from that came from someone having an epiphany while watching a stage production of Peter Pan. Like, what if nobody clapped and shouted that they believed in fairies, and Tinkerbell died, man?

And sure, belief as a cornerstone of metaphysics-- hell, the global metaphysic-- is a cornerstone of the old WoD. That can work, and interestingly... until you start throwing in the kind of stuff that makes people surprised to hear Charnel Houses of Europe: the Shoah was actually a good book.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

My first brush with Mage was actually GURPS Mage, and I read it backwards. gently caress if I know why, but it gave me a headache. It also got me an early look at the bestiary, and I loved the Paradox spirits they had in there. They were unpleasant at best in retrospect, but goddamn.

Wrinkle (I just realized his name was probably a reference to A Wrinkle in Time) was my favourite. Mess around with the timeline, and this friendly old fellow shows up to ask if you'd set it back straight, if you could. You tell him off, he goes back and makes sure you were never born. Hilarious. Hell of a stick for the players who can't keep it in their pants, but if you whip that one out you're bound for more problems one way or another.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I always saw most of it as a matter of perspective and ignorance. Mages and woofs both go to the Umbra, but mages generally give no fucks about the Atrocity Realm (being about the mind, maaaan) and both IT-X and the Glass Walkers have an unfortunate fixation on Autocthonia. There was definitely a link between Gnosis and Quintessence (hence caern raiding) and I suspect there was one between them and Glamour as well. But all of the core books just gave little shrugs about the other splats, maybe with some goofy theory about them, like how Changelings think all of the others are Kithain who have really fixated on poo poo. Most of them didn't know for sure, and the rest didn't really give a drat.

And maybe they were all expressions of something bigger-- Disciplines and such as rotes, from a Mage perspective, only whatever is underlying even that. Or something. I was always against mixing splats. Playing Mage? Those tomes of Vampire data don't apply; it's not the world that Vampire describes, run by a bitey Illuminati.

Honestly, I think it all poo poo itself when Demon came out, and those rumoured angels haunting the occasional sourcebook turned out to be real. That nailed a lot of things down, and sat really queerly against all of those other bits that came before.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I haven't looked in the Autumn People book in years, but I remember that some of the sub-types were particularly eye-rolling. I vaguely remember that some of their high-end powers got dropped from the book too (whoops!) and was later stuffed into an entirely different sourcebook.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The first ad I saw for oChangeling was a two page spread in Dragon. It may have been a fold-out, because those two pages were just pog-sized cameos of the stock kiths scattered around the pages with capsule descriptions for each. They mapped to high school cliques almost instantly-- you might have had to do a little work for the other splats, but this stuff was obvious on its face. So I wrote it off until my ST picked up a copy and fell in wish-fulfillment with it.

Frustratingly, while it's the gently caress-you-dad crap that rises to the surface, there was a lot of interesting conflict bubbling beneath the surface. Survivor commoner versus invading/refugee noble, modernity versus dreamlike tradition, sanity versus the lovely collectible card magic system, even vague nods toward the Apollonian and Dionysian in the relationship between Seelie and Unseelie.

Even more frustrating, a lot of that conflict and resentment went *poof* with the second edition printing. Everyone was suddenly happy living in a Barbie dream-castle world, 'explained' by a short essay that claimed people and changelings harkened back to the 'good old days'... which was kind of bullshit, given indications from Vampire: the Dark Ages that the medieval WoD was even less pleasant than the modern one. The somewhat interesting seelie/unseelie dichotomy got clamped down to a deeply frustrating traditionalist-good/modernist-bad arrangement. There wasn't a whole lot of depth even before that, and as someone involved in the SCA (which got name-dropped multiple times in the books, and had endless, smug associations drawn between by people involved with both) it was downright embarrassing. The World of Darkness definitely wasn't the place for the Middle Ages (as They Should Have Been), even if you could 'freak the mundanes' by waving rattan 'swords' around in both.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

GimpInBlack posted:

Final Thoughts: This is such a weird chapter to me. On the one hand, it's some nice world-building and gives a solid sense of reality to Hepta Sophistai. On the other, this game is heavily pitched as a "road game" like X-Files, where most of the action will be in the field, not at home. And for all that the detail's nice, it's all kind of... mundane. Apart from a few bits of weird decor and the post-disappearance books in Usher's room, half of the chapter is basically just a description of a fancy house in the woods. I would have liked to see more weirdness about the house itself. Maybe not full-on House of Leaves weird, but enough that you could hang a whole investigation on the house itself, apart from the annex and its teleportation doors. Hell, at least give us quirkier supporting cast than "Russian dude named Jeffrey."

The first thing I'd do is something with those stairs to nowhere. I immediately flashed to the Winchester Mystery House, and with the portals there it seems like a gimme that it's weird too. Well, just as likely a red herring or something that kicks in during a dramatic end-of-season moment, but that seems unfair. I'm not surprised by the lack of lab equipment, since those doors are pointing at adventure thousands of miles away, one-way trips at that, so getting samples back to the house would be kind of difficult. Makes for bribing/sneaking/begging lab time RP too, I suppose.

Character concept: The Witch. Well, that's not fair. She was really into Wicca in high school, and she does still kind of look like one of Neil Gaiman's Manic Gothy Dream Girls, but these days she's an agnostic with an anthropology degree because she's seen poo poo that Gardner and Starhawk can't explain. She sees ghosts. She describes it as psychometry with an auditory-visual synesthetic component, and it's triggered by any strong emotional impression, but 'she sees ghosts' is less of a brain-ful.

Rand Brittain posted:

Changeling was actually fond of modernism insofar as democracy was involved—sidhe trying to be rulers were almost always jerks, except when they weren't. It's not hugely consistent, since the game seemed to be generically in favor of kings and dukes and medieval pageantry as a general thing, but didn't fail to mention that people who think of themselves as having a divine right to rule their lessers tend to be tremendous assholes.

There are like three good games that were sewed together to make the horrifying Frankenstein that was Changeling: the Dreaming, and none of them are happy to be sharing space with each other.

These are true. I remember thinking that the Parliament of Dreams had one of the best names ever, and it's still up there now. I remember hearing someone say the same thing about it being multiple, potentially good games... and it's disappointing, because while I do like nChangeling, I don't think it's one of the ones that the oWoD game might have been. Definitely closer to what a number of folks on alt.games.white-wolf wanted after watching Neverwhere, though.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Kurieg posted:

I don't know, there's a lot of oChangeling players who absolutely hate nChangeling. Because to them oChangeling is already a plenty dark game because it's about the death of childhood. Which is the worst thing ever.

Oh, no, one newsgroup definitely isn't representative of general sentiment, but there was a fair bit of 'oh, this would have been much cooler' floating around in that one group. I'm sure my old ST would have hated nChangeling beyond words.

When I was at Pennsic War, many years ago, the ST's boyfriend suggested that we pretend to be our Changeling characters, who were pretending to be us, who were pretending to be our SCA personae. This was the year that the campground owners banned non-SCA LARP because some Vampire game got out of hand. I just stared at him, because it seemed like a great way to get booted, and a really dickish thing to pull over everyone else.

I think that was the year I drifted away from the game, them, and the Society.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Kai Tave posted:

I remember reading years ago an essay by one of the White Wolf writers who worked on oChangeling...first or second edition, I can't even remember...where he talked about how, as an experiment, he went and brought in a bunch of toys to the WW offices one day, action figures and Transformers and stuff, and he set them all out and invited everyone to come around and play with them. Y'know, like you do...

I remember that essay. I think it was in the 1E Player's Guide, which also had the rules for not using the collectible cards (that were vanishingly rare around here) for spellcasting. I remember it being awfully self-indulgent, even then.

There was another one, titled something like 'Why We Need Fairies', that I liked more. It made them excuses for tradition, the hammer that comes down when you don't go through all your cultural rituals. It made them a handy wink and nudge for when you went out and did something transgressive, but tacitly acceptable: arranged marriage? Sneak out for a night of passion with your trueheart before the wedding, then claim the fairies swept you away, and Bob's your uncle. Thought it was an interesting way to frame things... but then, I didn't even blink at WoD: Gypsies at that point either.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I just paged through Alethia a little earlier tonight (thanks for pointing out that it was on sale!) and... yeah. I think there's a line in there about 'sometimes' you 'might' get in a fight says something about the intent of the game. I think the automatic victories are supposed to cover for shifting target numbers, similar to the way the investigation system works: unless you're working completely at cross-purposes to the plot, you're probably going to succeed.

The powers are bigger and more static than I expected. I can't really complain, because it REDACTED REDACTED fnord REDACTED but you know.

And speaking of without actually speaking of, god drat does this poo poo get late Seventies Disney, fast.

Bieeanshee fucked around with this message at 05:56 on Jan 14, 2014

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Ugh. That whole section on sin-eating offends me on a philosophical level. It's like they read Gaiman's 'Murder Mysteries', heard the concept named in passing, and started scribbling furiously.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Meinberg posted:

Edit: Oh that's right, the nockers are very, very Yiddish.

Which, while it works with the sweary Miracle Max angle, is kind of funny because they're Cornish in origin.

And just wait until you meet the goddamn Clurachan. You can probably guess what their frailty is already.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

AmiYumi posted:

Of course, if you want a real "interesting idea, unplayable execution" you should check out Denizens of the Dreaming. Hoo boy.

The C:tD Year of the Ally book was barely usable too. Kinain were potentially more powerful than any given Kithain in narrow fields, but if you kept them juiced up with glamour or kicking around in a freehold they had a bad habit of slipping into a catatonic, dream-mazed state.

Kai Tave posted:

Changeling: the Dreaming - otherkin before otherkin.

The weirdest thing for me about Otherkin when I first read about them, besides the wish fulfillment being reinforced to unsettling degrees, was that the vast majority of them claimed to be spiritual weres, and used Werewolf as their shared canon. I don't think I read about any changelings, though there were fursonae, dragons and angels by the bushel.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

'Sidhe' would be my first guess, but that combination of self-loathing and cognitive dissonance probably borders on physically explosive.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Donovan is so disappointed in you people.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I remember someone involved with UM posting here in Trad Games about the game a long while ago. I also remember photographs of fans in very elaborate costume, that were apparently offered up for use in one of the books.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

UM feels less like a game and more like a story bible to me, from what we've seen so far.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The thing that really gets me is that London feels like the kind of hell-pit fortress-city that you sometimes see in other post-apocalyptic stories and games-- the one that you avoid until Miss MacGuffin gets dragged inside and you have to spend a handful of harrowing sessions sneaking into it and getting her back out again.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I began reading that opening quote from the last Everlasting update in Rod Serling's voice. A few lines in, it had attenuated into a nasal whine.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I'm reminded of a discussion about Carcosa invading a shopping mall where the PCs are security guards, here. It's definitely influenced by Tynes and Night Floors, being on a DG community site.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Down With People posted:

So let's say you roll a 3. You get a fuckload of ears, worms for legs and insect wings. What if you're playing a Rive-zella, and already have insect wings? Do you get a second set? Or how about a Vahs-vra? Do you think having worm legs instead of snake legs is going to be a huge difference in your life? Is this something Fiends are going to notice, that you're walking on worms instead of snakes? It feels like another mechanic that's poorly thought-out, but lets Dishaw come up with more scary monster descriptions, so it went into the book.

Here's a question: What happens when your SS rating starts bouncing up and down like an excited kid? Do you lose the mutations when you go below 6, do you just become more and more of a clusterfuck of oog, or is the first hit the one that sticks?

And if SS is something that you spend, why would you? The overfiends probably aren't.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Ningyou posted:

Oh, and a sparrow pooka definitely can't give birth in sparrow form. You know, if y'all were wondering.

Well of course not. She gets a stork to drop it off for her! :v:

I think my favourite line from KB: Nockers is 'Nockers don't make love; they spawn.' It makes me imagine a nature documentary filled with sweary salmon.

Down With People posted:

This poo poo is

~never explained~

I am beginning to sense a theme!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

And with one chapter, Aletheia suddenly goes from X-Files or Fringe to Witch Mountain and The Watcher in the Woods, with a side order of The Black Hole's ending sequences. You could probably do a scenario based on Watcher fairly easily, even.

I was turned off by the Apocryphal references at first, but I think it's because I don't like the idea of antagonists focused on destroying humanity or the Society. The combat systems aren't really great, and it doesn't really jive with the slow coalescence of cosmic realization for me.

GenericServices posted:

I'd sure hate being a wizard in here. How many scrolls have actually gone by at this stage? You're hitting level ten (hypothetically, anyway) by these regions and I'm honestly not sure if you'd have found one scroll per level by this point. It's like they saw the whole "kick down doors, kill monsters, take their stuff" formula and stopped reading part-way through. Did these people even play D&D?

The whole thing sounds like something an incompetently groggy GM I had would do. Nonsensical layouts, ridiculous traps he probably sourced from someone else or lifted entirely, and a bare sprinkling of magic items because his proofreader pointed out that there were none, the PCs were expected to stay in there long-term, and he totally forgot to itemize the drat dungeon.

AmiYumi posted:

I'll make a rules post later today, but instead of using the examples in the book, how about a little audience participation?

Punkyhickey is skinny and likes to skulk.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

No, that's the one. Watching the trailer and the alternate(?) ending on Youtube a few months ago still spooked the Hell out of me.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The blurb after that legend about the statues is nonsense. By the very description of the tale, it is not a story of the interior of the bloody prison, and the statues could very well have found their way into the lake above before falling in and somehow surviving along with everything else.

I smell another rewrite without a proofreading pass.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I think the only real revisions made to the reprinted material were stat changes. XP values at least, if I recall correctly.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

It's been proven beyond even James Randi's doubts that people who play RPGs can read minds. Why else would ridiculous riddles... riddle badly written adventures?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

These latter sections really make me think that the dungeon was designed by committee. Not just on a writing level, as the downright goofy credits list implies, but in-character with representatives of dozens of Powers with wildly differing philosophies regarding crime and punishment making a penal nightmare for mortals to eventually deal with.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I'm just envisioning a bunch of slaad running around with paper angel masks a la Team Fortress 2.

It's the only sensible explanation.

Angel masks, and the halos they gave out to people who didn't use hacks to unlock achievements.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I recall a secondhand story about a Space Law campaign or something, where everyone went through the long chargen and such... only for something like the first roll of the game to result in their ship's antimatter plant losing containment and blasting them all to atoms. The impression the chronicler got was that this wasn't an uncommon occurrence for that group.

There was another one about a party of plate-clad adventurers who got stunlocked by a room full of crazed prostitutes, because while their armour stopped direct damage from the clawing and pummeling, the the GM still rolled well enough to knock them on their asses round after round.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

It's definitely a lot different from what I expected after reading the ad blurbs years ago. I like it.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Undermountain was really big, but only parts of the first couple of levels, and a couple of the later levels, were detailed, the latter in a separate box.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The most horrible thing about Scion for me were the write-ups on the gods. Not only was Artemis a 'skirt-chasing lesbian', but most of the potential divine mothers were described more as divine MILFs. I think it was someone around here who pointed out that the 'jotunblut' power of the Norse group as written up was shockingly insulting to Norse culture-- blood was something you shared with a man that you felt confident calling 'brother', not lesser bodies who might qualify as minions, and certainly not animals.

And for some awful reason, the only thing I can remember from the Demigod opening fiction is a line alluding to a bunch of minotaurs jerking their beef while one of the signature characters gives them a pep talk.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Sorry Raggi, but every time you editorialize I see this classic Onion article.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The parts where he's editorializing read like the whingings of a teenager trying to cut himself on his own edginess. That juvenile sequence with Joy (paraphrased, "don't make the paramour totally opposite to the PC's preference-- though that would be fun!") really exemplifies it. Which is a pity, because there's some interesting weirdness in there when he isn't bitching and snarking at the reader worse than Siembieda throwing one of his laser tantrums.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The array of D&D CRPGs being published around the time of the 1E/2E torch passing probably didn't help the next generation much, either. They were solid games, but being developed by a company that specialized in strategy put a heavy emphasis on big, long tactical-map battles. The interface and tech of the time didn't really offer much opportunity for role-play-- it was mainly yes/no confirmations on tile triggers ('Get out of my house!' Do you? Battle ensues...) and an odd 'parley' system with a handful of options that might avoid or provoke a fight depending on the monsters involved. Starting with that and old crawls like Keep on the Borderlands has definitely had a long-term effect on at least one of the GMs I know.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I'm still bitter that the Valkyrie got saddled with an XP progression so absurd, I'm pretty sure it was slower than the Godling.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

CJ was RIFTS for me, to be honest. Sure, I got in with pictures of SAMAS and UAR-1 Enforcers and stuff, but Siembieda's stuff just got too fussy after a while. Carella's designs were like something out of the old GI-Joe cartoon: toyetic, energetic and just plain ridiculous, with lasers the thickness of your arm and mini missiles firing out of tailpipes, and arrays of silly, themed vehicles with big tires.

And then he left Palladium and KS squeezed the Coalition War Campaign out, and I stopped collecting the books.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

South America and South America 2 are my favorites of the early books. They're so unapologetically crazy and actually more mechanically refined at the same time than earlier Rifts books. The only other book I think I enjoyed as much was Madhaven, which I doubt I'll ever get around to.

The South America books were fantastic. They were also where my group started joking about every corner of the Earth being stuffed with multidimensional empires, who couldn't expand to take over the planet with all of the other ones standing cheek by jowl with them.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I have to wonder where that originates from. Was that an AD&D-ism? Hmmm. :raise:

My first brush with it was at the end of the Time of Troubles in Forgotten Realmsland. Prior to that it was all propitiation and avoidance.

Hm. That'd be a cute schtick: reskin the math on divine blessings and such, so that instead of getting a boost from a god, he's just getting off your back a bit while continuing to rain poo poo on everyone else.

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

That's what I was thinking: everyone and everything is equally cursed to some degree, so the penalties from those curses are basically invisible; things like old-school bless spells are the gods hating you slightly less for a little while. Usual math, just with a somewhat more antagonistic slant.

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