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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Midjack posted:

Palladium called out specific cars by name in their equipment sections too, including such commonly seen vehicles as the Delorean.

One of my all-time favorite things about Rifts was how Simbieda basically just assumed that the only stuff that would survive the apocalypse to get into the hands of TK Wizards was the cool stuff. DeLoreans? Sure, take 'em! P-51 Mustangs? There's about 180 flying ones in the world(a lot in California, which is destroyed), but I'm sure that all of them will survive the end times, why the hell not?

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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Something slightly different, my goon buddy and I review old dead RPGs as a podcast. We just put up episode 11, which is covering Haven - City of Violence. Check it out if you're bored at work, especially for the batshit Skyrealms of Jorune and Ghostbusters RPG systems.

http://systemmasterypodcast.com/2014/01/22/system-mastery-11-haven-city-of-violence/

Only registered members can see post attachments!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



No no, we know. That game was messed up. Straight up hyper-realism as imagined by the brain of the kind of guy that would have an uninformed and yet deeply held opinion about which shape of ninja star is best.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

It gets better, this is Louis and what he loves...



No that makes it way worse. We took his belief that hiding on Rome Island is nearly impossible as a sign that he is pretty drat racist.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

So I gather that the author of Haven loves complicated d20 games, but where is Rome Island and what does it have to do with racism?


It's the in-game island neighborhood where all the black people live. The gist of it is that the game has a "streetwise" ability that governs your ability to blend in in a given neighborhood. Downtown is relatively easy, Rome Island is "nearly impossible".

theironjef fucked around with this message at 20:18 on Jan 22, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.




Oof no thanks. We did an OGL thing a few weeks back, the Everquest D20 RPG. Surprisingly tolerable given that double nut-punch for parents.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



We'd never heard of him or his games. Bought it (like we try to do for all of these reviews) off the used shelf at the FLGS. The fact that he's credited for like 9 of the 11 jobs in the making of the book promised some highfalutin' crazy, and the fact that the DM in this game is called G.O.D. sealed the deal.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 20:18 on Jan 22, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

Pfft. I bet he's not even an Illumination Administer.

He's certainly bigger than a Briefing Officer, but probably smaller than a Sholari.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Evil Mastermind posted:

Do you have an RSS feed for the podcast that I can plug into my podcast reader? This is right up my alley.

We absolutely do!

http://feeds.feedburner.com/systemmasterypodcasts

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



System Mastery Episode 12 is up and active. This time we're reviewing D20 Modern. Next time we'll be reviewing the Urban Arcana expansion. I've read them both so extensively that it was difficult to review one without accidentally talking a bunch about the other, but I'm definitely looking forward to talking about gnoll pimps and basketball minotaurs.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Evil Mastermind posted:

I do want to say that I really like your podcast. My fave so far is Haven (...City of Violence) but they've all been really enjoyable.

Thanks! We've enjoyed it a bunch. Gettin' drunk and talkin' games.

Fossilized Rappy posted:

Since there are often cases of passing over reviews and that leading to a misconception that they aren't viewed, I figured I'd chip in and note that I've been enjoying your podcasts when I'm having to get out to town. I heavily disagree with you on the majority of the comments about d20 Modern (which, I'll admit, is probably due to my own biases), but you're still entertaining in spite of that, which I'd say is a testament to doing your job well.

Also thanks! And it's all good, I actually put forward the notion of reviewing D20 Modern because my own copy is all dogeared and well-beloved. I think it takes a bunch of tweaking to get really good, but I have a soft spot for it.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Guest hosts, eh? I don't see why not. We've had some difficulty in the past recording over a distance, and of course we like to take about a week to read the books before we actually talk them over, but it's certainly not impossible.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Episode 13 of System Mastery is live, and we're finally straying off core books to talk about a campaign setting, in this case the D20 Modern expansion, Urban Arcana.

Spoiler alert: We loved it. Also really enjoyed reviewing an expansion since it set a limit on how much time we had to spend explaining basic mechanics. Given that, I'm thinking I'll throw Exalted: Fair Folk on the pile.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 17:17 on Feb 17, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Without wanting to repeat myself too much from the episode, I can still say that I really loved Urban Arcana, and you can actually see a lot of what would become 4e lurking in the margins while reading it. It has a Rituals mechanic, for example, so that the various high-level utility spells that plagued 3.X are restricted by time and materials instead of by class. Are you playing a Strong Hero/Archaic Weaponmaster/Bodyguard? You can still pick up some ritual knowledge and learn to teleport.

Granted the whole game still has D20 bones, but the meat they draped on 'em is straight-up delicious.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



System Mastery 14 throws a quarter on the rail this week with a review of White Wolf's Street Fighter - The Storytelling RPG. We basically agree between the two of us that this is a great board game buried under a mountain of White Wolfiness and cheap stereotypes.

http://systemmasterypodcast.com/2014/03/05/system-mastery-14-street-fighter/

theironjef fucked around with this message at 17:09 on Mar 5, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

I'll still defend it as the best-executed attempt at the White Wolf approach to special powers and moves.

We fully agree. It's probably a little heavy on gating mechanics (Want hadouken? Put points in Focus, Chi, Shotokan, and Fireball), but beyond that the whole hex-grid, move when you attack, no rolling to hit thing is excellent overall. We'd play this one.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Barudak posted:

This also applies to Akuma in most versions of the actual game so at least its accurate.

Having come out in 1993 between the releases of Super Street Fighter 2 and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, the game is sadly(?) bereft of Akuma. But hey, if you want to play as Paco "The Icepick" Juarez, or Eric the Red So Fine, this has got you covered.

Real edit: As soon as we figure out how to. Our sound system is literally just a snowball mic on my desk and my semi-nimble Audacity fingers, this is a low-rent outfit. Speaking of rent, I'm moving very shortly so the next episode will be a week late. This gives everyone a big chance to tell us what to read during our extended break.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 19:54 on Mar 5, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

Contenders makes me mad. A book of NPCs should be the easiest thing in the world to make for Street Fighter. They could have gotten away with lots of silly characters, sure, but instead they were just stupid characters and injokes nobody outside the White Wolf office was supposed to get.

My problem with like 90% of the NPCs is that they are just "lovely E. Honda" and "sub-par Zangief" and "Vega with a girl brain." Outside of the very occasional monster or cyborg, the fact that they didn't go that far outside the world warriors for movesets meant that you got a lot of cut-rate clones.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Barudak posted:

All of whom are eventual Capcom fighting game characters.

By the same token, every time they said "Real Street Fighters don't use weapons" in this book, which is a lot, I would wince and think of Eagle, Maki, Rolento, Sodom, Cody, Ibuki, and I am sure there are more without having to dive into crossover games.

Edit: Before anyone says Vega, they point out that Vega is a dick and his fighting style is evil.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Barudak posted:

Eagle was in Street Fighter* so not even.

*The first one. You know, where if you jump kicked your opponent was doomed to die and hadoken was an unlisted move that was like triple secretly hidden.

Shoot yeah, you're right. Also Geki was in the first game, so I guess he is an additional honorless dog. Honestly for a game called Street Fighter: The Storytelling RPG, they don't mention a single character from Street Fighter besides the three that made it into SF2. Oh well. More likely the White Wolf people did research exclusively by getting drunk and playing SSF2 a bunch. They mention offhandedly at one point that Ken shouts "Ayu-Ken!" when he does his dragon punch, for example. I think the full extent of available research materials (or available license) was SSF2, and the issue of EGM where they mention Gouken.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Sean Lang, the writer of the SF RPG, was in my old gaming group in Baltimore.

Was he awesome? Because whoever eschewed the standard White Wolf theater of the mind combat for that hex grid no-accuracy system had to have been pretty awesome.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Grnegsnspm posted:

I can believe that. I'm sure they were more concerned with marketing to people familiar with their current product rather than establishing some kind of persistent world narrative that tied in Street Fighter. Also, you would want the RPG to focus on whatever the current game was in an effort to boost sales.

It would also explain why the splatbooks get crazier instead of introducing more Street Fighter elements. If the choice is spending a bunch of time and effort on wheedling Capcom to give you access to Akuma or ... I guess Adon and Lee, or just add the basic elements of fighting game power in (elementals! cyborgs! half-animals!) and churn out a bunch of EZ-Bake NPCs, it's an easy choice to make.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Evil Mastermind posted:

You know, listening to the Street Fighter episode actually reminded me a lot of Scion, which was another WW-style "jam <concept> into the Storyteller system, even if it doesn't fit" deal, with the same issue of giving players very limited options to the point where all you can really do is recreate the signature characters except with one different power or something.

Also how has nobody done Scion for these threads?

We have a copy right here actually. It's on the list.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Also, there was basically no narrative in Street Fighter at that point beyond "punch some guys, punch some evil stronger guys, get on with your life". There's really nothing too complicated until Street Fighter Alpha 3, which came around a decade later.

The narrative in the book is my favorite part by a country mile. It opens with a line about how you rarely see a black kung-fu dojo owner in San Francisco anymore (when was the heyday of that, anyway?) and proceeds into total lunacy, as that guy fights a spanish ninja (because those are actually common). By the end, the book is consistently suggesting that there are Shadaloo bases everywhere moving 'contraband' and 'drugs' all over for whatever reason, and moreover, they are guarded by what could be shorthanded into "well that one is guarded by a zangief, two vegas and a chun-li."

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Robindaybird posted:

What's obnoxious is all the space they wasted for the adventures of the pregens could've been used to clarify rules (there were bits my then GM found confusing) and go a little more in-depth about the gods.

It's not a white wolf book unless you're skipping the first third because it said "preternatural" too many times. Or wait, is that an Anne Rice book. Probably both.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Eh, that'd all be rad if you were playing a Norseman, but you're playing a Norse god, and they are basically universally assholes and thieves and jerks that played fast and loose with their own rules. Check out the Mead of Poetry legend, I'm pretty sure it's where the inspiration for Jotunblut came from. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mead_of_Poetry

Basically, the gods made a giant by spitting in a bucket, then killed it and used its blood to make mead, knows as Mead of Poetry, that changed hands a bunch until eventually Odin stole it all. Then he dropped a bunch. It inspires people to beserker rages, poetry, and scholastic pursuits, and it's basically giant blood, or jotunblut. I agree however that they could have done better with the story. Maybe mentioning Kvasir or the mead story at all would have helped.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 22:13 on Mar 6, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

But but but Haggar!

Haggar doesn't show up in a Street Fighter-y game til Marvel vs. Capcom 3. I was confused because I could have sworn Sakura was in the first Alpha, and that would have been perfect for White Wolf and their love of upskirt art, but apparently not!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



It's cool, as we mention in the podcast they take a look at Blanka and say "well, South America.... so capoeira, right?" Sure, that's characterized by biting and delivering shocks (and being from South America). So Elena is surprisingly easy to make, provided you want her to deliver electric shocks.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

The especially funny thing is that when they published a bunch more martial arts styles in the Player's Guide, they veered toward realism in ways that make no sense. There are rules for groundfighting and "Pankration" as a style, but when you look at the rules for real-world martial arts like Savate, they don't get much embellishment...if kung fu guys in the Street Fighter world get flaming kicks and death touches, shouldn't a savateur get Dragon Punch and Hurricane Kick?

I always felt that way about a bunch of the characters in Alpha. Like "If Gen represents the pinnacle of rad kung-fu master, where's his special effects? All I see him doing is switching stances!" It's the same with Guy. He is severely lacking in mysterious ninja magic. But in the book, it's the exact same way, like they were afraid of introducing a Savate kick that would appropriately follow a down, down-back, back+kick maneuver in a video game. Maybe a low heel spin with automatic tripping, and why not some smoke effects or some lightning? It's "best savate man in the world" after all.

Also, I'd say one of my favorite things about that whole aspect is that they were so hard-up for what to do with Vega that they basically just said "gently caress it, he's a Spanish ninja and he trains other Spaniards to also be Spanish ninjas and Spanish Ninjitsu is a thing. Done." It's weird because based on his arena and mode of dress it wouldn't have been out of place to say he's just an especially acrobatic toreador.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 23:13 on Mar 7, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



PleasingFungus posted:

Stormgale was doing it, but stopped midway through.

We'll do Scion over at System Mastery soon. I figure we'll get to it after our next episode, which is going to be the very very old TSR Indiana Jones game. We're just a little behind schedule since I've been moving. Scion is a rare game for us to review, since we've actually played it.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



System Mastery Episode 15 is now live. Thrill to the high adventure and endless charts of TSR's Indiana Jones! There's extra room for charts because there isn't any character creation!

http://systemmasterypodcast.com/2014/03/26/system-mastery-15-indiana-jones-rpg/

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

As an aside, the only Kevin J. Anderson Iíve ever read was Jedi Search, a book I picked up in middle school. It features a barren planet where giant underground creatures create a substance which is mined for its ability to give people psychic powers.

As a child, I was burdened with such great love for Star Wars that I voraciously devoured any and all literature with the logo on it. And for this reason, I have read Anderson. While he committed many offenses on Star Wars, I'd say a critical examination would start at the very beginning, with the "Jedi Academy" trilogy, which finds Luke attempting to build a Jedi school on Yavin 4. Here's the summing up. Kevin J. Anderson writes as if he is a seven-year old boy having an imaginary superhero fight with Star Wars. "I have a Death Star," he imagines Star Wars to boast, "and it can destroy a planet!"

"Well well, I have a Sun Crusher, and it's like a million Death Stars because it can destroy a whole sun!" replies Anderson, whipping his imaginary saber around in a brilliant display of one-upsmanship.

Star Wars counters: "I have lightsabers, they are laser swords that are the iconic emblem of a knightly order, and they come in a few light colors that help visually identify the affiliation of the wielder."

Anderson, undaunted: "Nuh uh because saber crystals are mined... they're mined on... on a dark planet and there's a million kinds and my lightsaber is rainbow colored and clear in the middle and has a switch that can make it 3 times longer than a regular lightsaber because it has extra crystals in it!"

Repeat as needed. If Luke is a cool Jedi Knight who's an amazing pilot due to limited desert flight experience, then Kyp Durron is a crazy ultra super Jedi who can move planets around and is an ace of space despite growing up in a mining prison. He even takes potshots at the other expanded fiction writers. Is Thrawn cool because he's an Imperial Admiral and an alien? Well Daala is way cooler because she's an Imperial Admiral and a WOMAN so nurrrrr!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Zahn was the best of a bad thing, basically. Oh man, remember Vonda McIntyre, and her book Crystal Star which was basically her way of introducing a Mary-Suevian race of golden-skinned, cat-eyed people with naturally two-tone hair, called the Firerreo? Leia is all getting seduced by them and poo poo, and meanwhile Luke is off on Crseih station being intrigued by the mystery of a giant, magical, armor-plated fart.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

What's funny is that's always saw Thrawn as an enormously back-patty character that's pretty much defined by How Much Smarter He Is Than Darth Vader And Everybody Else Really But Mostly Darth Vader, and it turns out he's one of the better new characters compared to a lot of self-congratulatory EU introductions. Go figure.

Good things to come out of EU: Admiral Pellaeon. Maybe Talon Karrde if you change his dumb name. Maybe the Noghri. Maybe Thrawn. The end? Okay, maybe the Drall.

Oh poo poo nearly forgot the complete bonkers insanity of the "Tales of Lando Calrissian" stuff. I am 100% on-board with Vuffi Raa the starfish robot, and their battles against a space wizard that is in fact a tiny toad monster masquerading as a space wizard.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



MalcolmSheppard posted:

This reminds me of being surprised in WEG Star Wars when stormtroopers kicked our asses because we didn't know they were scaled for the movie characters and not us--new characters who assumed we'd be like the movie characters. Silly us.

Movie characters is this case is assumed to include such luminaries as "Ewok with a rock." Return more or less scrubs the notion that stormtroopers would look super badass if they weren't always hunting the heroes.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Kurieg posted:

Didn't one of the books state that one of the reasons why the stormtroopers of the 4-6 era were so terrible is that they had to resort to less effective cloning methods, and that the aristocracy of the Empire paid extra to get their DNA used for clone lines for the prestige, completely discarding the fact that clones of aristocrats make for really really lovely soldiers?

So the bulk of the Empire's army is made up of cheap expendable lovely clones that go insane after 2 years anyway. While all the Jango clones are kept in Vader's/Palpatines personal guard.

Man, why even clone, I wonder. Like... they control a vast imperium. Thousands of planets ending in "...ooine," just thousands. Training readily available chumps has got to be cheaper than growing them. Honestly, if Star Wars prefaced that there were like a grand total of six planets and soldiers were rare and difficult to come by, I could see the sense in a clone army. Oh well, wrong thread.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Redeye Flight posted:

Hey, I'm calling you out--you're forgetting the X-Wing books and the majority of things associated with them, particularly on the Wraith Squadron end.

Ooooh.... no I'm not. Those books have an Ewok X-Wing pilot and Corran Horn might be the Mariest of Sues (isn't his solo book called "I, Jedi"? I would kill that book with a gun). Granted the fog of Star Wars love was starting to lift from my eyes at the point, but yeah, I remember those books, and Michael A. Stackpole.

To be fair I only read a few of them, and so I might be missing some awesome in there.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Siivola posted:

Stackpole never wrote a book with Lt. Kettch in it, he was Allston's character from the bloody great Wraith Squadron series. And he was a TIE pilot, dammit. :colbert:

I, Jedi is still totally a thing though. Oh well, at least the Spanish version of that book would have been called "Yo, Jedi". At least we'll always have that.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



MalcolmSheppard posted:

If I remember right, in the old pre-EU WEG game movie main characters were statted with lots of dice in their best stuff Han with 10D ib Blaster Pistol. Ewoks? I got nothin' to defend the relative badassitude of stormtroopers in that case. In old WEG stormtroopers were supposed to be an elite military force based on Ben Kenobi's assessment of their So Precise Blaster Fire. (Remember, this is pre-EU, so the lore since then doesn't matter). I don't demand that games be exactly like movies because they have different objectives, but we never see these regular units stormtroopers are supposed to be better than, we came to shoot stormtroopers, and we should at least be of plausible stormtrooper shooting ability.

I don't know. Maybe Ewoks are chimpanzee strong or something. That would be a hilarious thing to make EU canon. It would remind me of Zahn's Secret Wookiee Claws.

poo poo I love that. All instead of throwing rocks off a quaint little wooden bridge they just plant their little bear feet on the stormtrooper and wrench his arm off at the shoulder?

Also this has me in the mood to add the WEG Star Wars to the System Mastery queue. We just finished Indy, couldn't hurt.

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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, Endor was originally supposed to be the homeworld of the Wookies, which would certainly facilitate stormtrooper disarmament.

WEG Star Wars is certainly a testament to "how RPGs gently caress up licenses". It's not nearly as bad as some, but if you were expecting to be big space heroes stopping Sith and Death Stars, back the gently caress off. You're space trucking.

Weird, that was exactly how I felt about Star Wars Galaxies. Like are you a big hero? No, you're a weak, terrified chump, who can't risk going near a space bunny without visiting a doctor and a stripper first, and your primary job seems to be building ugly huts. Granted, Indiana Jones wasn't much better, what with that opening story of "Indiana Jones and the Forcing a Student to Engage in Light BDSM Play In Exchange For Grades" which I don't even think you could find in the section of the video store behind the beaded curtain.

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