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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Not sure how kosher it is to call dibs on RPG's, here, but I foolishly promised a friend that I'd review this loving thing if it got funded, once it got published, and it got funded. Oh boy.

quote:

Creating a Gorean roleplaying game and worldbook will create a resource for fans of Gor and role-players of all kinds for years to come, hopefully another fifty years to come. I am devoted to making this project a reality, having already spent eighteen months researching the books, cross-referencing, extracting information and writing both the guide and the game rules.

I have successfully completed two RPG projects previously, ImagiNation - an RPG about depression and mental illness - and Machinations of the Space Princess, a science fantasy 'old school' game.

Anyone know if this guy's previous RPG's are bad or interesting enough to review while I wait for him to push his great big Gorean turd out?

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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Kai Tave posted:

Well I suppose you could argue that as a character rises in personal skill and capability that it gives them more of an opportunity to say "screw carefully aiming and single-shotting all the time, I need to move over thataway and shoot as many rounds as I can at that rear end in a top hat" and still maintain a reasonable chance for success. Though that players and group are likely to consider a reasonable chance for success is one of those things where you ask ten different people and get eleven different answers.

Also something that really requires a GM to talk to his players, and for the RPG to be coherent.

Rogue Trader, for instance, bills itself as more high-power than DH, and all the characters are described as experienced and capable, but the actual mechanics mean that they'll gently caress up everything they do at least one in two times at chargen, if not more often, like a bunch of stupid bumblefucks, and also that several of the character types have Intelligence as one of their hardest-to-advance stats while having basically only Intelligence skills available at chargen.

If the players read the fluff more than the mechanics, they might expect to be reasonably badass, which will be a nasty surprise to them if the GM mostly looks at the numbers and runs things by RAW, because their first fight can pretty easily be their last.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Kai Tave posted:

Also, characters always seeming to fumble and fail all the time seems to be an issue with d100 systems in general where there's no bell curve and even an expert doctor with Surgery 80% is still cutting the wrong leg off one time in five whenever he has to roll for it. Like, Unknown Armies is generally regarded as a pretty decent implementation of a percentile based system and a big part of the advice it gives you boils down to "don't actually roll unless it's a stressful situation." Of course combat is always stressful, so.

The problem with that implementation is that, in my entirely anecdotal experience with GM's, most GM's will err on the side of more rolls, rather than less, no matter what the system. A system that only works when GM fiat uses the system less is expecting a lot from its users.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


theironjef posted:

Well you're also gonna want a Vespid and an Ethereal on that team. Heck why not toss in a demiurg.

And then it just needs an Ork Freebooter riding a Looted Carnifex, with his sidekick: a Necron wearing a top hat and flamboyant moustache, and you've rounded out the team.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Evil Mastermind posted:

It's amazing. I've played 40k RPGs like five times and I've never seen so many 90+'s rolled in my life. It's like our dice knew.

In the Rogue Trader game I play in, we almost had the game die on the second session because no one wanted to deal with the cursed dice any longer. Out of some 20-ish rolls, 18 were failures, and three of them 100-critfails.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Kavak posted:

Which one of you did Numenara? Because they made an... interesting supplement earlier this year.

(Seriously, this thread could survive for a year just of the stuff that comes up when you search Adult Content on DTRPG)

From the comments on DTRPG:

quote:

I've found one part of this book somewhat confusing, and was wondering if someone could clear up for me. It says that becoming pregnant is a Level 5 Task involving two people

I sometimes feel bad for prejudging Numenera just based on the synopsis and who's involved in making it, but then I see things like this and I realize that my judgment was entirely correct, no matter how prejudiced. Crunchy mechanics for pregnancy of all things, just brings to mind a slightly less juvenile version of FATAL.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Evil Mastermind posted:

Apocalypse World, because it deals with sex as just "when two characters have sex, here's how it affects their relationship". Likewise Monsterhearts.

In short: because they deal with the EMOTIONAL and SOCIAL aspects of sex, while giving basically no screentime to the actual squishy organic parts which, frankly, are less interesting than the former when it come to a story.

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 17:53 on Oct 11, 2014

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


I'm guessing this is Eclipse Phase for people who felt it lacked enough animal dicks. Downloading it for free from Drive-Thru RPG now.





Let's see what happens.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Evil Mastermind posted:

Purple, have you even recovered from the Chris Fields stuff yet?

Probably not, but I kind of miss reviewing terrible poo poo and it feels like ages since I last found something that got my blood heated up enough to review it. Still waiting on that loving Gor RPG from Desborough, so may as well warm up until that hits with a soft, disgusting splat, plopping all over the internet, waiting to be shoveled up and disposed of.

Night10194 posted:

How many of those can there possibly be? Was Chris Fields prolific?

Oh, you have no idea. I think he's got at least two dozen things of his own on Drive-Thru, but you have to keep in mind that a good few of them are just, like, small supplements/splatbooks or, quite literally, single-class add-ons for stuff, often his own RPG's which, I hope, no one actually buys to play.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


I can't even get over how loving cheap the art in that Warcraft RPG is. This is literally "high-schooler's sketchbook during the 90's"-tier art. I also find it telling that about the only competently drawn female character, the Tauren, is also the only one that doesn't have her tits hanging out. Jesus.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones



I'm not actually sure how to intro this, I have no idea how bad it is, maybe it's a hidden gem. All I'm going by is the ATROCIOUS SCI-FI FURSONA on the goddamn cover, it promises the sort of badness I've been needing a fix of ever since I tapped out Chris Fields' more noteworthy atrocities. So, let's see what we've got waiting for us!

292 pages, 70-ish for the setting, about as many again for chargen, and then about 150 pages' worth of rules, pregenerated enemies and the like.

The Theme posted:

A quick page-through of this book will give you a general idea of what you’re in for in a HSD game, but only a general one: space fantasy, animallike characters, an apparent lack of humans, and the presence of a few creepy looking monsters, all pretty cut and dry. But, if this setting were only about being a fox person in a space suit, this book would be dramatically shorter. There’s much more in here than just that, and it’s in those nuances that even people who aren’t fans of the visual motif can find fascinating possibilities.

I think this may not be a hidden gem, as I read the very first page. It tells me about how this game is set after humanity destroyed itself, in the process replacing itself with cyborg furries, and how this somehow destroyed all old biases and reasons for discrimination.

quote:

Their old planet was leveled, as was the vast majority of its cultural history and heritage, and all the previous biases associated with slavery, racism, classism, sexism, and so many others that all grew out of thousands of years of human cultural growth and change were effectively wiped out as the old race died and the new race took its place. Are such biases gone forever? Of course not.

At least it admits that those things aren't going to be gone forever, but I'm feeling a strange sense of deja vu, product of roughly 2003, on the Portal of Evil forums, where an evangelical furry ranted to us about the amazing future that science was going to bring, when he could have a self-lubricating anus and catgirl slaves, because science was going to provide that, it was just around the corner, any moment now, a furry Utopia.

quote:

HSD is not about ‘getting in touch with your animal side’, as so many anthropomorphic systems encourage. You’re welcome to, if that’s the way you’d like to play it, but the setting is intended to allow you to get in touch with your human side instead. Not the culture you were raised in, or the history you’ve experienced; not whether you’re black, white, red, yellow, or polychromatic; not your geographical history or the wars your species has been in; your humanity. Just that. Devoid of the centuries of cultural momentum that currently governs our thinking and thrust into a brand new world with its own unique challenges.

Completely unlike all those other RPG's set in a world completely unrelated to Earth. So I guess this is gonna teach us all about love, friendship and the true meaning of Christmas.

But outside of acting like it's going to completely shatter the mold and blow our minds, HSD(I'm refusing to type out the full name any more than I absolutely have to, gently caress it) starts out with the same "what is an RPG"-section we've seen a thousand times. Explaining to newcomers to the hobby what roleplaying is, what dice are, what a GM does, Rule Zero and all that stuff. So I'm not going to recap it, and instead we're going to dive into the lore chapter.

LORE

The Lore section starts off by explaining to us that most historical conflicts are because we're too separated by geography to understand each other, and governments brainwash us, but thanks to the magic of the internet, people finally started realizing that those living in other countries were human, too. Except of course for the staunch conservatives who couldn't understand the wonders of being online and playing Mortal Kombat against your friends in Vietnam.

quote:

At first, this divide was a minor inconvenience. Acts and laws would come and go attempting to govern, censor or control internet based association. Most would be blocked or voted down by citizens more attached to their internet relationships than to their geographical ones, which only furthered the divide. When conflicts between nations arose, the situation grew dramatically worse. Now, communication between best friends suddenly became “consorting with the enemy,” and the public outcry was tremendous. As the world became more and more integrated, the chasm between the old regime and the people still trapped within it became more than many could stand. Civil unrest was on its way toward civil war when a new opportunity released the steam, if only to throw fuel on the fire later.


The Geomat? If that's a river or a road next to it in the lower right, I want to know how the gently caress it's mobile. It's also described as "battleship-sized" in the text, this looks a tad bigger.

I feel like this isn't quite the 21st century that most of the rest of us are living in, where aggressive censorship is the last resort of a few, autocratic states and most governments don't try to legislate who you can talk to online, or what you can say to them, unless it involves something that's illegal in the physical world, too. But anyway, there's a New Opportunity! Coming along, it's the GeoMat(tm), a giant, mobile factory that can core raw materials out of the ground, 3D printing to make just about anything(including new copies of itself, I suspect 3D printing magic may be HSD's version of Eclipse Phase's nanotechnology magic) and is effectively self-contained. The description of it, is followed up by this paragraph:

quote:

In stark contrast to the stationary mountain that is Government, there was the fluid river that is Business. In the free market, businesses could turn and twist and adapt, market themselves for different audiences, sympathize with different needs, and operate without the same tethers that bound so many private citizens. Theirs was the power of money, without which government could not sustain itself. Money bought leniency within the rule, and the simple greed of capitalism portrayed a sort of bizarre purity next to the holier-thanthou declarations of principles made by most governing bodies before they charged into some act of violence, conquest or general dishonesty toward their own citizens or others.

Well yes, obviously, who has ever heard of business involved in deceit or violence? This makes perfect sense and is a completely believable description of the real world.

quote:

The knowledge that an entity was motivated purely by a desire to increase their profit margin in return for goods and services was refreshing next to the slew of lies, scandal, deceit and violence disguised as moral allegations and broad declarations of right and wrong that dripped from government bodies.

Hc Svnt Dracones, an accurate description of human psychology and behavior. I know I'm certainly more well-intentioned towards entities that I know are going to gently caress me over, rather than ones that may be benevolent! But anyway, because the humans of HSD have terminal brain damage, they all love the corporations and swap national loyalty for brand loyalty, moving to Corptowns built by the Geomats. Also the Geomats were environmentally friendly, too! Because a mobile strip-mining operation totally isn't going to poison huge swathes of the countryside or anything. Mind, these things also apparently changed the entire world, but I'd love to see one of these loving things trying to move around in Europe. Sure, in America, there's plenty of free space to strip mine, lots of empty space to move around in, same for most of Asia, Africa, South America... but I know that in Europe, at least, you'd never have that loving thing far enough from a settled area not to be poisoning their water supplies or wrecking their roads, power lines, water lines, etc. when rumbling across them. But all the world's just one big homogenous blob, here. Every place loves corporations and benefits from Geomats

But, you know, CORPTOWNS, obviously now you get corporate citizens, they get corporate education, etc.

quote:

Corporate education would leave a person in debt, but not impossible debt. Citizens that played the game could see light at the end of the tunnel, and it was reachable, unlike the old days of company stores. When the system was actually working, it worked beautifully, and corptowns shone like diamonds amongst the comparatively undereducated populations around them.

"Okay, so we're going to acknowledge that the corporations might be mean, too, but at least they're way more efficient than governments, and more HONEST about being mean, and people have better chances with them!" I'm going to almost be surprised if there isn't a line about how the trains in the Corptowns always run on time, this is leaning dangerously close to some people's worship of fascist/autocratic figures for being strong/efficient, even if they're dishonest/amoral.

quote:

Space exploration long sat fallow due to an overall lack in returns. It was a curiosity, a public showing, but to most governments, not much else. That changed with the second generation of GeoMats, which were designed to operate in vacuum and under varying degrees of pressure. They were originally intended to work in watery environments to help alleviate the growing population of Earth by building out into the ocean, but when faced with environmental complaints and activism groups concerned about the potential impact on Earth’s largest feature, the corporate entities of the world turned their eyes skyward, and hit upon a new idea.

Why would we need to build into the OCEAN? We've got SHITLOADS of empty space on land, goddammit. Do these people even know anything? And operating undersea and in space aren't quite the same thing. Not to mention, like I've said, Geomats are described as battleship-sized. Getting something the size and weight of a battleship into loving space, isn't a minor loving accomplishment, and there's no mention of any new technologies that would make it workable. No warp gates, no space elevators, no big honking mass drivers.

I realize this may seem like silly nitpicking, but I'm treating this like the Wraeththu RPG, when it pretended that its mutations were scientifically somehow viable, rather than just saying "TECHNOBABBLE!" or "IT'S MAGIC!" This goddamn thing is really trying to present itself as a believable path the future might take, so I'm going to put it through the wringer. But anyway, let's pretend this makes even a whit of sense. Now the corporations are going to Mars! They establish colonies on Mars! And then...

quote:

For the first time in history a company was created completely outside geographical government ruling, as no nation had yet established recognized control over any territory on another planet. By merging and splitting off from their parent corporations, this new entity severed its ties to any Earthlocked contracts, and refused to continue paying taxes to the nations from which their employees originated. It sent Earth’s political machine into an uproar, and made several very wealthy people in very tall buildings smile slyly as their Corp-loyal populations cheered this first decisive blow against the ancient sleeping dragon of government from which they had originally fled.

This is described as about two years since Mars settling begins. I'm sure these colonies are entirely self-sufficient and won't just horribly starve as governments embargo any attempts to send them food supplies. But maybe they just use the magic of 3D printing to print Martian dust into pizza or whatever the gently caress. Also yes, I'm sure that people would cheer and praise corporations for refusing to pay taxes. Now, yes, sure, this is their corp-indoctrinated population, but one of the very first things the book told us about was how The Internet was freeing people from old, nationalist indoctrination. Is it somehow not able to free people from corporate indoctrination? Hmmm. It's almost as though the authors might have a bias here.

Also I suspect that legislation on outside-of-Earth territoriality would be fast-tracked and sorted out as quickly as possible the moment someone started mentioning the idea of off-world colonies. Gah, none of this makes sense.

I'm four out of twenty-ish pages of "History" in, and there's already this much stuff that strikes me as poorly-thought-out trash. I think I'm going to need to put this down for a moment.

Next time, more lore! We're going to get to the bit with the GENETIC MODIFICATION that makes the super furries that will inherit the Solar system(not Earth, though, Earth is totally hosed, because this wasn't cribbing enough from Eclipse Phase). I wonder whether it's going to make any actual biologists/chemists froth as much as Wraeththu did.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


AmiYumi posted:

Pretty sure the giant "SAMWISE" in the corner of every image would that it is not Metzen.

A couple of the pieces have Metzen signatures, though, like the very first line-up of races.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones
It was a lion, and it had wings.



Still Lore

quote:

That is, until the wild card arrived, walking cautiously out into the sun from the dark confines of one of the many bio-research labs that now littered the planet.

It was much smaller than a GeoMat, couldn’t reshape a mountain or boil rock into iron, and sustained mostly on fish and raw meat.

It marked the beginning of the end of the world.

It was a lion, and it had wings.

So whoop, OUTTA NOWHERE, hyper-awesome genetic research just happens. And dudes can just graft HAS_WINGS=YES into lion DNA and it flaps its way across the landscape eating people. Apparently, though, this level of genetic expertise hasn't come with any sort of wide-ranging, society-affecting consequences, like designer-babies, vat-grown organs or other things that vastly prolong human life. No, this avenue of research just made a beeline for WACKY PETS, and after making a Sphinx, it's apparently easy enough to also make "Griffins, dragons, hydras, all the marvelous beasts of myth and legend." Because identifying the necessary work to add feathered wings to a lion means you just need to copy-paste that genetic code to an alligator and you've got a dragon! Right?

Biology 101, sheeple.

And of course, while outraged, the governments are helpless before the CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY and can't do a drat thing about it when they decide to make hybrid monstrosities.

quote:

Before the governments of the world could so much as finish their gasps of shock and outrage, a brand new, multi-billion dollar industry was created. Clothing, accessories, custom pens and care-giving tools, and millions of requests for more elaborate and impressive creatures surged through the internet in an unstoppable wave of commerce.

Which leads to this quote I still have trouble parsing, I'm not sure if it's implied that the clothing, pens, etc. were somehow also genetically grown, or whether they just need to point out that HSD humanity is such a bunch of loving suckers that they're now feeding their corporate overlords with billions upon billions of money's worth of merch. The quote's not that bad, though, it's just a breather before the part that's going to make every biology major's head explode.

Ready?

quote:

It was only a matter of time before some overzealous geneticist activated bipedalism in animals and tipped the final scale. To many, those bounds had long since been ground into dust, but this marked the inescapable truth. The first line of bipedal animals had human posture and anatomy paired with the animal-like dedication of domesticated pets, and the implications were too blatantly obvious to ignore.

Just a matter of "activating" that one line of "WALK UPRIGHT"-genetic code and BAM, now you've got fursonas walking the streets! And obviously the VERY FIRST GENERATION also look like humans have tits, no time for fuckups and intermediary generations that are shambling, drooling, damaged monstrosities. Nope, instant jump to something you wanna spank it to, just to make the moral outrage and claims that this whole thing is for dogfuckers seem even more absurd.

quote:

Sexual exploitation, abuse, allegations of bestiality and moral outrage, and to top it off, ludicrously high demand filled the media coverage of the day.

...

To some populations of the world, the new races were accepted as a logical progression of scientific expansion and the perfect companions for the elderly or infirm that needed loyal and constant companionship and something with the ability to manipulate their world. Up until now, that task had been delegated to helper robots, and this seemed a vastly superior alternative. Others were so disgusted by what they took to be blatant hedonism and hubris that they opened hunting up on the creatures, and piled the corpses up on their owners’ porches to show the community who owned them to begin with. On more than one occasion, the owner’s corpse was piled with them, with all mannor of profanity scribbled on their naked bodies. Lobbyists be damned, something had to be done.

This gives me a really strong Lifers vs Wiccans(I can't even remember what they're loving called, now) vibe, the conflict from Otherverse: America. Because one side here has some genuine worries, the fact that people are creating a servitor species which have short lifespans, yet apparently are smart enough to serve in care positions for the elderly and infirm, and sexual characteristics, but are suggested to also lack the self-awareness and will to say no to someone who's their "master" or "owner." Yet there's no acknowledgement that any of these concerns have any kind of legitimacy, only vivid descriptions of the maddened extremes that the "conservatives" go to.

But, anyway, the governments finally get off their asses and, quite sanely, ban having any of these loving monsters outside of Corptowns, or making new ones.

quote:

forcing corptown citizens to cloister further into their private utopias and watch as progress was crushed by the overbearing weight of stagnation.

Right back to describing Corptowns as utopias, so much for the brief moments of admitting Captains of Industry as having flaws! Also, you know, maybe the Corptown citizens could just own up and admit that this latest "progress" was loving skeevy and creepy, then they could leave their towns with no worries. "Thankfully," someone mails all the project files to the Mars corporations. And having nothing better to do, and certainly no resource shortage, because why would a young colony on a barren world have that(no years are really attached to this, but since the first "sphinx" was to celebrate Martian independence from Earth's governments, and the Martian colonies existed some two years before that, I'm going to guess it's not much more than a decade onwards), they're clearly the greatest place in the world to start producing a population of limited-intellect creatures that can't really contribute, only consume.

Hilariously, the message attached to the data was "save them." The Mars colonies look at it, go, "Hmmmm... they're gonna be kinda retarded and useless. So how about we do something entirely different, that's not going to actually save the original designs?"

The original hybrids were animals combined with other animals, and some novel genetic code, these new ones are literally just human fetuses with bits grafted on while they grow in vats, which raises a whole bunch of OTHER ethical questions about what right someone has to alter an unborn child for the sake of their own amusement, aesthetic preferences or corporate profit.

quote:

MarsCo chose to approach the problem of intelligence from a different direction: they would turn the human into the animal, instead of the animal into the human. By manipulating cloned human “blanks,” or genetic fetuses built from scratch, and endowing them with the same appearance and features of the previously abolished species of bipedal pets, MarsCo reset the evolutionary clock and emerged with something new.

...

Armed with the full set of from-scratch genes at their disposal, MarsCo removed vestigial organs, improved the efficiency of critical organs to help increase lifespans, integrated various stopgaps to combat common health problems and even developed a muscular maintenance enzyme that would combat atrophy in low gravity environments and allow for the rapid adaptation between one world and another. Body heat maintenance was assessed so the presence of fur wouldn’t cause the instant smoldering of the person it belonged to, and secret communication to prominent genecorps who supported the plan helped fill in the blanks in the science to ensure that the experiment would succeed on the first attempt, out of fear that they may not get a chance at a second try. As Mars’ terraforming operation entered its final stage, the first non-human sentient race known to man was created. Due to the nature of their development, Vectoring human evolution down a dramatically different pathway, the new species were called “Vectors.”

Wait a moment. What?

"As Mars’ terraforming operation entered its final stage"

I realize that they're being very vague about the timeline, and that it could've been five years, ten years, maybe twenty years since the first settling, but it's described as though all of this happened rather quickly. And even if we're gonna be very generous and say that Mars can be terraformed at all, it's definitely not gonna be terraformed enough to be human-habitable on anything resembling a short loving timescale, or with the resources of only three small colonies when, apparently, all Earth's major governments are opposed to them, and still maintain enough strength to enforce their legislation with regards to hybrid monstrosities on the Corptowns. Goddammit, loving, poo poo.

Oh, yeah, and, I guess the "science" reminds me an awful lot of Wraeththu. "UH THEY MADE THINGS MORE EFFICIENT, THAT'S HOW THEY WORK."

They also made a breeding population of fursonas at first and steered and organized their breeding, which also isn't creepy or abusive or anything like keeping slaves, or anything. Totally not loving weird, yo.

But anyway, cue the whole "THIS IS CREEPY, BURN THE ABOMINATIONS"-theater again, except this time the pro-furries are busting out the SICK BURNS.

quote:

Others argued that this was the realm of God, and humanity did not possess enough responsibility as a race to foster a new one. That too became a trick pedestal to stand on, as humanity certainly seemed to possess enough responsibility to kill a race. The sheer level of extinction on Earth was evidence enough of that.

...

Governments played the long game, and built their societies to endure under singular principles for the duration. The very presence of this new species would cause such a dramatic shift in those principles that many feared a general collapse. Vector phobia gripped mass populations, fueled by campaigns for support among their governments, as though the very presence of one of them on Earth would result in a viral collapse of modern civilization.

I literally do not understand half of that second statement. I'm not sure what the hell they mean about "Governments played the long game, and built their societies to endure under singular principles for the duration," but I guess it's meant to be something about how national governments don't tolerate dissent, because earlier there was a bit about how innovative and embracing of all new and awesome things the corporate governments were.

But anyway, the Martians keep sending Earth videos of happy furry children, which pisses everyone off. Nationalist militias raid corptowns, corporate militias and secury forces raid suburbs, both sides declare war. All of Earth's nations join together and organize an economic policy to guard themselves against the corporations crashing everything... and then the corporations crash everyone's economies within seven months and this is enough to make half of all the pro-nation forces defect or switch sides just for food and medicine for themselves and their families, because somehow corporations, without standing militaries or military traditions, manage to hold out for over half a year despite being scattered across Earth in widely spaced enclaves, and Earth's nations can't manage to stockpile food and medicine for their armed forces and their families for half a year's time.

What's Mars doing during all of this? Making more furries, because that's what really matters, I guess. Also it turns out that a couple of casual mistakes in genetic work don't create drooling, downsy fursonas, but instead makes "taurs." Yes, cat-taurs, lion-taurs, all the loving furry something-taurs you can think of was because someone was sloppy at coding his fursona.

quote:

One wave was nearly completely lost when the bipedalism gene sequence utterly failed to express, and MarsCo was forced to try an experimental living-mutation technique to save them lest over three hundred fetuses be lost. The emergency save allowed the growing bodies to complete their gestation, but resulted in sentient beings that were completely animal in appearance. The irony of the accidental creation of a subspecies with human intelligence and an animal body from science that resulted from the destruction of a subspecies with animal intelligence and a humanoid body was lost on no one.

I love that even though they care so little for the rights of self-determination of the unborn to gently caress around with them prior to their birth, just aborting them when they're clearly gonna have grievous birth defects isn't acceptable, instead they're going to try EXPERIMENTS that are gonna leave them hosed up forever. Wonderful. It's sure gonna be great having a human mind but no loving opposable thumbs or ability to stand upright or, you know, generally exist in a human environment or manipulate human tools. Woo! Go Mars! THESE ARE OUR HEROES, GUYS!

quote:

By late in the second year of open war, corptowns were fighting back, building buffer zones around their territory to avoid falling victim to long range shelling. To the armies outside, they were now aggressively expanding, and lending legitimacy to the long standing rumor that all of this was just one more trick to destroy the traditions and values of the countries in which they existed. Civilians who refused to leave their homes as the corptowns reached outward to the surrounding cities were captured and imprisoned, or quietly disappeared.

More imprecise writing! Who was disappearing these people? Were the corporations kidnapping and executing people who refused to vacate territory for them? Or were the nations killing people simply for not being afraid enough of the corporations? This poo poo cannot possibly have had an editor. Anyway, Earth's nations still can't get their poo poo together economically, because corporations are ~just so dreamy~, so they decide to use nukes.

Thankfully the corporations have TECHNOMAGIC defenses so they can just "redirect" ICBM's, somehow. Just how much of the loving Earth is corporate-owned, anyway? It's stated that the corptowns are all bottled up after the first furries pissed everyone off, but apparently they've got enough territory that even multiple successful nuclear strikes, despite the redirects, don't break their back. Also they're literally why the Earth gets nuke-hosed, because they force the nations to throw four times as many nukes at them, because three out of every four get "redirected."

The responsible reaction to Earth becoming a nuked-out wasteland is just to jab people up with random, animal-like mutations in the hope that a half-labrador or a half-tiger will be able to survive a nuclear war better than a human. Are there even any living things particularly resistant to nuclear fallout outside of some insects and, I guess, some molds/fungi? So far we've been told that the only "vectors" made have been mammals. So good luck surviving nuclear fallout because you've got a pretty mane of hair. Somehow, though, despite a NUCLEAR WAR GOING ON, there's still enough orbital lift capacity to shuttle most of these people to Mars until the nationalists smuggle a nuke on board one transport and blow up the spaceport on Mars.

quote:

Mars continued on alone, its doors to space now closed and too hindered by trying to support its local population through barely established agricultural systems to attempt to repair its damage or lend Earth any support.

GEE, MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE SPAWNED A COUPLE THOUSAND EXTRA MOUTHS TO FEED JUST TO MAKE A POINT, YOU CHUCKLEFUCKS.

Despite all the nuclear war, though, the Earth is largely surviving, and the corps are getting their asses kicked, but then someone, some loving idiot, releases a MAGIC TECHNOVIRUS. Called Hydra.

quote:

It transcended digital communication, almost as though it could step behind the 0’s and 1’s and simply move electromagnetism to where it wanted.

It takes it literally an hour to hijack all of Earth's nukes, and then it just starts firing them all off until Earth is glassed. Simply because.

And after Earth gets snuffed out, there's still, like, ten loving pages' worth of "lore" to go through. This is gonna hurt.

EDIT: Also, just so everyone knows, I haven't been ignoring any art, this book just basically has none. It's practically nothing but walls of loving preachy text.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Red Metal posted:

hmm yes why would someone want to live out their fantasies in a medium custom-built for escapism

Not every RPG is escapism, though, in fact I'd say that most aren't, unless the players make it so.

Keep in mind, we've got ten pages of PLOT and LORE left, I'm sure that'll set up some FASCINATING TENSION for the Space Furries, especially because if I remember right we've got, like, seven hundred years' worth of time to cover in that span. Considering that they've spent twenty pages covering about two decades, I'm sure it'll be greatly detailed.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones
Cyborg Cat-tains of Industry. In space.



And we're getting right into the meat of it with the part that'll make you laugh at their insistence that this totally isn't a fetish RPG, guys. Honest. HONEST!

quote:

The destruction of Earth cemented the need for the Vector race to prosper more than ever before, and shortly after the war ended, the third generation project began with the intent to bolster the breeding pool and correct some of the errors of the previous generation. Dubbed “the Omega generation” by its progenitors, this was to be the last of the artificial creation projects for the Vector race.

...

allowing species that were normally genetically incompatible to breed and give birth to offspring that shared a species with one of the parents, but the necessary genetic variety of both.

After all, it'd be a drat shame if there were some characters that couldn't knock each other up! An outright loving travesty, that.

Also, since it's an Eclipse Phase ripoff, it needs some obligatory horror elements. Now, where Eclipse Phase relied on the potential annihilation of humanity at the hands(or pseudopods, possibly) of a rampant, techno-organic virus with powers that broke the laws of physics itself, HSD one-ups them by going for something way more scary. Something way more sinister. Something way more... fowl. Sorry, I meant foul. No, wait, I meant fowl because their SCARY THING is owls. loving owls. Apparently when trying to make owldudes, they hosed something up and the only one that grew to maturity loving murdered everyone in sight, scrawled something sinister on the wall and then snuck away. And of course that meant everyone gave up on making owl guys ever again.


Slender-owl

quote:

In the next few years, Mars’ terraforming operation would complete, transplanting the majority of Earth wildlife, with some variation, to Mars’ new climate. The deep canyons ran with fresh water and the largest mountains in the solar system sported snow and the finest views in recorded history.

...

First Generation Vectors were now 23 years old, with 30 of the original 108 females known to be pregnant, and the entire first generation population recorded as sexually active.

The need to point out that all the first mutants are loving isn't really what I'm concerned with here, it's just another lovely "this is a fetish RPG"-detail. I just want to hammer home again, the point that makes me want to flip a table. Somehow these loving people terraformed Mars in less than three decades, if the first Vectors aren't any older than that. But, anyway, after hammering the final nail in how lovely that is, the whole thing just... leaps forward 150 years to talk about what Earth is like 150 years after getting nuked out. Apparently Earth's water is drinkable again, 150 years after a worldwide nuclear war(is that even plausible? And why is it relevant? And how would anyone loving find out from Mars?), and to complete the Eclipse Phase knockoffery(though I doubt it's the last we'll see of it), of course photography(from Mars, I guess? Since no one's ever mentioned a Lunar colony or anything else closer to Earth) shows that there are mooooonsteeeers on Earth. Totally nothing like TITAN monstrosities, I bet.

Hahahah, actually, I'm right, it's worse than that.

So they decide to send the last humans first to Earth's moon, to make a colony there, then the humans, literally all of them, apparently, decide to travel to Earth, on and off, to do some in-person investigations. It says there are 300 of them, but that they're also literally all killed in their sleep. So I guess either the horrors on Earth can leap to the Moon or all 300 of them decided to take a camping trip, without any security precautions or guards despite knowing that huge, mutated monstrosities were roaming Earth's wastelands. But then again, I guess it could also have been because what defeated them was worse than a monster. Worse than a TITAN exsurgent. Worse than a Chris Field RPG. It was... a meme!

quote:

Manned expeditions stopped for the immediate future as financial needs steered MarsCo toward other avenues of production and development, but the cameras continued to broadcast for 30 years after the deaths of their caretakers, before each one was systematically destroyed by an unknown life form resembling a tall, thin biped. It had the intelligence to remain out of the camera’s view until it was forced to approach the last one from the front due to its sheltered location. Naught but a shadow, with limbs too long and a skin too smooth, and a glimpse of a face with no eyes in it. The video reached viral status through Luna and Mars, but no further signs of the creature emerged within anyone’s lifespan.

The last humans were killed by loving Slenderman. Jesus Christ,

Anyway, we're suddenly jumping ahead again. I think 200 years or so? And now Earth is totally safe again. All radiation, gone, all ecological damage, reversed, but I guess the place is still full of monsters. Slendermans and godzillas and whatever else. So anyway, being idiots, the furries decide to send more dudes down to Earth to try and scavenge, and of course after some more tacticool chatter about how they're taking precautions, they get murdered by Slenderman, too, after, of course, finding scribbled, mysterious "scripture" all over the stuff they were planning to scavenge. Again, I'd like to point out, we're getting no detail on some 200-ish years of technology, development and society, but we're instead being told about Slenderman killing furries on Earth. I'd also like to point out that one of the huge things promised in the intro was how the furries had abandoned all traces of old human society, yet the few descriptions we're getting sound basically identical to human behavior and society.

And of course the untelligible "scripture" corresponding to no known language was the exact same as what their hosed up owlthing wrote a couple hundred years earlier. Why they expect it to be text, and not just graffiti or modern art, I don't know.

We got more horrors in store for you, though, now I give you... FIAT CURRENCY!

quote:

Currency had been a point of some fluctuation and concern ever since Earth’s fall, but a more or less stable form of measure simply referred to as “credits” had been adopted and maintained for the better part of a century. Basing a currency on nothing wasn’t a new idea, but it was always a dangerous one. By now, rampant inflation and a lack of a stabilizing force was making the Credit dangerously unstable. Add to that the proliferation of micro transactions throughout the system that attached miniscule fees to everything from walking in front of buildings to opening doors, and Vector society was looking at financial ruin in short order.

They still seem to not be catching on that a corporate-run world is usually described as a dystopia for a reason. There seems to be just enough self-awareness, at times, to accept that corporations might do awful things, but they never actually seem to wake up. Also this next bit, I'm... I'm pretty sure it's retarded, because there's no way it isn't, but I'd love it if someone could pick apart just how terribly retarded it is, because I don't even know where to start.

quote:

The solution was a deceptively simple program developed by a 17 year old ferret on a bet, and subsequently cycled through the web until it appeared under the nose of MarsCo execs, who hailed it as the monetary equivalent to a miracle. It took the form of a stand-alone system of micro-investments that bought and sold in tiny amounts, constantly. A miniature stock broker that could plot long-term growth goals in a much smaller scale, making them profitable in the short term. By linking this system to the micro-transaction section of one’s bank account, it could offset the constant drain caused by everyday living. Issuing one of these programs to every Vector at birth ensured it had a lifetime to grow, making its comparatively small profit margin substantially larger, while at the same time fueling exchange. The constant and consistent exchange lent stability to the value of the Credit, which was in turn linked to the number of people using the system. In effect, the program turned the population of the Sol system into a physical base for the value of currency, one that would (barring an extinction event) continue to grow at a steady, predictable rate. The program was dubbed “the Ledger,” and became the closest post-humanity Sol had ever come to social security. Everyone got one, and it stayed and grew with them throughout their life.

So there's that, but it's starting to get hard NOT to quote everything, because EVERYTHING is loving retarded, and getting dumber.

quote:

Mars reached a population of three billion in 400 years of colonization. Luna colony maintained a population of roughly 35,000 people, and produced personal space flight vehicles capable of travelling between Mars and Luna in less than a month’s time.

I'm going to crack the numbers here and I don't think they're gonna make me happy.

Humans: All dead and gone.
First generation Vectors: 180 individuals.
Second generation Vectors: ~3000 individuals.
Earth-Mars Refugees: ?????
Third generation Vectors: 10000 individuals.

The book clearly has informed us that a few thousand individuals is not enough to continue a species, because a few thousand humans survived the war and they died out(unless the humans just plain chose not to breed and elected to die out as penance for their sins), hence the first generation, second generation, and refugee generations of Vectors have all died out or almost so(remember, only the third generation can actually interbreed despite being different types of animals). This means we've got 10000(even if we assume the third generation can gently caress everyone and knock them up, even outside their own generation, that's, what, twenty-thousand, max? Fifty-thousand if we're super generous with refugees?) individuals who have somehow managed to gently caress their way up to three billion individuals in 400 years. And a society which, on a relatively virgin planet, has managed to boom its loving infrastructure and agriculture absurdly enough to sustain them all. Captains of industry, totally believable science.

While I find another table to flip, because the first one's already gone through the wall, the terraforming of Venus into a habitable, Earth-like world is just sort of a footnote that happens without any real problems aside from space hippies complaining that maybe there are native Venusian lifeforms that are dying because the furries are cleaning out all the acid clouds they need to survive in. Oh no. There's also a footnote about a potentially interesting era where all ship-to-ship combat is with nautical boarding actions, due to ineffective weapons and heavy armor plating, but that's just swept away as "this interesting stuff is in the past, we're in a more generic space-world, now, where you've got all the stuff from your favourite space sim game. Pew pew, lasers. Also space cops."

So there's also an expedition intended to scope out Europa for settling, but, gasp, the scouts, before disappearing completely in the depths of Europa, find MYSTERIOUS STRUCTURES. They find signs of life once existing there and... THEY FIND THE MYSTERIOUS "SCRIPTURE" AGAIN. And their last transmitted message is "Hydra." Because Hydra couldn't just have been a goddamn computer virus that went haywire, it had to be a loving ripoff of Eclipse Phase's alien virus that made the TITANs flip their poo poo. Congratulations, furries, you couldn't even be original about that.

Despite this, of course, and despite their probes still roaming the depths of Europa's oceans, now haywire, aggressive and mutated to vast, threatening sizes(did I forget to mention? They were BIO PROBES, modelled on orcas. Because there's nothing ethically shady about manufacturing relatively intelligent creatures as servants), the idiots decide to colonize Europa anyway.


The depths of Europa. Spooky

Lacking capacity for pattern recognition, the furries decide to go back to Earth. This time with mechs, and lasers! And of course they're too loving stupid to think to quarantine the people returning from a hostile, by now rather alien, world, that has claimed all search parties so far. And wow, gee, oh gasp, some of the returning crewmembers are infected with nano-sized things that cause them to mutate, and which appear to break the laws of physics! Ooooo. Aaaaa. Wooow. A novelty the like of which we have never seen before. But anyway, the nanoviruses explode out of people, harvest people for more resources, and are crystalline things that look totally like a recolour of Slenderman with a tail.


OC Donutsteel

But anyway, because the furries are idiots and incompetents, everyone on the Moon, and a lot of people on Mars, die. And then all of Earth and the Moon start turning into red crystal and grow together into one big red crystal tumor. This just sort of happens and then nothing more really gets said about it. It's just a thing, okay, something exists that can infect literal planetary bodies. That doesn't seem to shake society or anything, or cause everyone to make nukes and just bombard the loving thing until it drops into the sun. Nope, let's just cut the lore chapter here with a summary of things as they are!

So how are things? Well, governments are megacorps, which are enlightened enough to only have small mercenary wars, no great wars of conquest, and they never make WMD's, and also they allow all sorts of small, private competitors to pop up, because a truly enlightened business never attempts to become a monolithic monopoly. That would be ridiculous. Everyone's a furry now, except for the ones who are robots. Wait, what, robots? When did they mention robots? They didn't.

quote:

Substantial populations of robotic Cogs shore up the overall sentient contributors to everyday life and have lived alongside Vectors for centuries, in varying gradients of peaceful coexistence.

Because it's not like sentient loving machines might merit major mention or have any sort of noteworthy impact on society! Better talk more about furries fighting loving SPACE SLENDERMAN, wait, sorry, "Whispers" or "Pale Men." Better use the appropriate terminology.

quote:

The invention of transcendent technology has opened up amazing and terrifying new avenues of advancement, and keyed in a critical piece of the ancient and frightening puzzle that is the final days of human kind. Some who have received transcendent implants go insane upon tapping them, and exhibit behavior not unlike the Owl catastrophe centuries ago.

W-wait, what? What is "transcendent technology"? This is somehow connected to the metaplot but no one ever really bothered to mention it or explain what it is? Hello? Is the editor there? Or did he loving kill himself after reading two pages and just leave the rest unedited? Christ. gently caress it, I'm done with the Lore, so that means I can take a break, you guys can look at this lovely art, and I'll be back with more miserable poo poo when I want to hate life again.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Kurieg posted:

Also I choked on my pop when I saw Slenderdog, it's so amazingly blatant it's stupid.

I missed your reviews Purple.

And I missed showing you all the dumbest poo poo I could possibly find within the realm of RPG's.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Fossilized Rappy posted:

I'm going to guess she's some manner of reptile, because the random yellow splotches seem to be an attempt to evoke scales.

Between the lizard-ish scales and her eyes, my guess is that she's supposed to be part chameleon, even though she's lacking everything else that might make her look chameleon-y, like their creepyweird little splithands, their horns or the REALLY weird way their eyes actually look. But yes, she's standing around looking clueless, unprotected, while people right next to her are wearing full-body protective suits and the place apparently merits armed guards(in the background). Also the artist got lazy with the X-Ray which apparently just shows a spine and nothing else.

I also can't tell if that's tentacles bursting out of the dead furry or the artist not knowing how organs and intestines actually look. 50-50 odds of either.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


LatwPIAT posted:

The growth rate itself is not outside human norms; to go to 3 billion from a starting population of 20,000-50,000 corresponds to a yearly growth rate of ca. 2.7-3%, which is not unprecedented in human populations. Taking mean age of childbearing among preganancy-fetishiststhe Vectors to be 25, this gives a population mean fertility rate of 3.98 - i.e. each woman has four children on average. This is perfectly within human bounds, and can be found in countries like Sudan or Ghana. I recommend looking at this chart to get an idea of what this means for Mars economically.

Whether this is feasible when you also have to terraform the planet and build all the industry from the ground up is another question, hand-wavedhandily solved by magic nanofactories.

Yeah, exactly, I went over the numbers with someone else after I made the post to see whether my statement was totally absurd. It's feasible, but not so much in line with what we'd generally consider a "happy" society of well-educated, economically well-off individuals with low child mortality and generally, well, "Western" behavior.

It's also not accounting for the fact that literally every breeding member of the population is a lab experiment that was cobbled together pretty much on the fly, and who the gently caress knows how many of their kids, despite their supposedly being genetically compatible, are going to come out with five legs and zero heads. Or just. Gaaaaaaaaaaaah. If you start remembering all the things that might actually complicate their reaching those three billions, then Jesus Christ we're talking clowncar vaginas from day one to offset all the stillborn, the colonists that abscond to Venus and the Moon(until it gets eaten up by slendermen), all the people who might simply elect not to have children(I mean, again, it's trying to seem like a very happy "Western" state, and plenty of people in the West are choosing to have only one, or no, kids), all the potential injuries and casualties during high-intensity terraforming and infrastructure construction, unless you handwave it all with nanotech psychic powers GeoMats.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones
The missing ingredient for benevolent corporate overlords: Cat-ears and tails



Corps

We're now on to the section of the book that's about the current state of the world, not the highly implausible way in which the world reached its hugely implausible state. And just from the first paragraph, it's a loving doozy. The chapter starts off by saying that sure, corporations have been dicks to people before, and unions will fill your ears with tales of it(of course phrased as though the unions are kvetching excessively and without merit), but that's not all there is to the story of person/corporation interaction!

quote:

But as was the case with many human endeavors, work and labor problems didn’t arrive out of nowhere. They trickled in from earlier problems of classism and mentalities of people-as-property, and in the American example, were assisted by an as yet undefined role of federal government in business affairs.

...

In HSD, the origin of corporate control stems from drastically different circumstances. At its heart is a single corporation that fled its own world with a message of unity, cooperation, innovation, and acceptance of the personal ideal.

To summarize, corporations and people only got along poorly because people believed in socio-economic classes, and because humanity hadn't made as perfect a corporation as furries were able to. Also, in some undefined way, The Sleeping Dragon of Government helped make people and corporations not get along well. One paragraph in and they're already knocking it out of the park. But how did furries, who are basically, at heart, just humans with bits stapled on, manage to do what humanity never managed to?

quote:

Seven hundred years is a very long time. People have had a chance to hammer out the major issues.

"They just worked at it real hard for a real long time! Duh! And now it works!"

quote:

Without a federal government to point their finger at, most corporations have had to serve as both representative and employer, and as such have become significantly more accountable to their employees. Those corps that ignored the needs of their citizens were removed, often violently, until they eventually got the message that certain behaviors were not going to be tolerated.

I am literally at a loss for words. The book is now mocking itself. If anyone actually believes this poo poo is vaguely plausible, they need to be admitted to a mental institution immediately. Without a system of checks and balances, without a legal system to prevent abuse of employees, corporations are somehow more responsible, not less. And the great, wide mass of furrydom is somehow a bunch of omniscient, self-sufficient consumers that cannot be manipulated by propaganda and disinformation, or bullied by monopolies or private corporate armies. No, instead, brave citizen militias totally take care of any mean corps so only the good ones remain! No business would ever act short-sightedly! No consumer would ever act illogically!

quote:

As for those born in a situation they couldn’t agree with? Well, competition is a wonderful thing. Somewhere out in the big empty is a Corp waiting for a citizen like you, and they’re all eager to bring in newcomers, if only to sap them from their enemies.

And in this theoretical market of wonders and fairy dust, there's always a shortage of manpower and workforce, so the employee always wields the power in negotiations and can simply go somewhere else! Even the janitors are, somehow, surely, something that there's a shortage of! Just join another corp because someone wants to deprive your current corporation of freshly-mopped floors!

No one who worked on this RPG has ever held a job.

quote:

At the top of the heap, however, is the Corp that runs the corpornation itself, to whom all others pay rent for the privilege of doing business. Its similarity to traditional government is clear, and the argument that all corpornations are benevolent dictatorships holds more water than many within them would care to admit.

...

For one, all megacorps are publicly owned, meaning the ones living within them have stock in their success. For two, there is no election, and as such, no campaigning, for advances in corporate status. Promotions work differently in every corp but still tend to hinge on performance rather than popularity. Corps will only move people up who have a better capacity to make the business successful or strong, and that strength filters down to the ledgers of their citizenship, who, by the very act of living there, all have a piece of the pie.

"It is like a traditional nation, except not, because it's better! And no one is ever promoted because their boss likes them more! Or because of nepotism! Only because of skill! It may be a benevolent dictatorship, but it works! The corporate trains run on time!"

The corporations also offer free schooling for everyone and they totally respect people who decide to break free of their pre-made assembly lines for educated employees, who actually get way better odds at advancement for BUCKING THE SYSTEM and being INDEPENDENT THINKERS! Corporations would never suppress your free expression!

After making my head explode, the book decides to explain what big corps there are.

MarsCo

To summarize: They're incredibly dull and generic, do a bit of everything, and are omnipresent on Mars. Also huge. Literally there's nothing interesting about them, not even anything to mock.

Applied Sciences and Robotics

They invented the first sentient robots, and those robots are considered to have a "soul" as long as their brain(the Core Consciousness) is powered. Which brings up a lot of weird questions. Is this just a political thing, somehow? Are they considered non-persons if powered off, say, for maintenance, and then powered up again? CAN they be powered down and powered up again at all, or does running low on batteries delete their brain? It's implied that whichever it was, it's an intentional choice of their design/legislation regarding them, and didn't have to be that way, so it seems odd and meaningless. They hit on the brilliant idea of raising their machines like humans, so they'd grow up to think and act like humans, but also got the bizarre idea that they needed to be child-sized when "born," and so keep having to have their brains transferred into new chassis as they grow.

Why? Because.

Also they somehow got it right on the first try. No fuckups or false avenues of experimentation or anything. First try just BAM, nailed an artificial, conscious brain.

Pulse

Did you know that genetic code needs to be "pure" and "streamlined," otherwise some random genetic flaw might just pop up a few hundred years later and turn everyone sterile? HSD taught me that! Wow, poor humans and animals on current Earth, with our "messy" genetic code, I bet any day now our children will come out looking like crawfish.

Pulse does sports for the genetically augmented, which seems pointless, seeing as how it's like sports with sanctioned doping. Also for some reason Pulse was tasked, back in the early days, with inventing new sports, since most Earth sports "wouldn't function on Mars" due to the reduced gravity. Personally I can't think of many that wouldn't. Maybe a lot where records would be rapidly broken or you might need to enlarge the playing field, or account for players suddenly being able to acrobatically leap over each other with limited effort. But I think most of them would work just fine except for being way more loving fun to watch.

In addition to never having held jobs, I think we can clearly say the HSD devs have never played sports.

Also, each Corp has their own WACKY NAMING CONVENTIONS, I haven't mentioned the MarsCo and ASR ones since they're dull as dirt, but the Pulse ones are retarded. Instead of having last names, they just jam symbols next to their names, for instance: “James!!@-"(actual example from the book). Apparently this is meaningless as said symbols are never pronounced in any way, but Pulse employees tend to run around with, I poo poo you not, bright signs proclaiming their WACKY NAMES!!!!!!

Spyglass

Spyglass is basically the capitalist CIA-for-hire.

quote:

In the interests of preserving a working system of competition that served billions wonderfully, they were universally denounced and almost every major corporation in Sol outright refused to commission their services.

Good thing all the CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY are too noble and upstanding to use underhanded means to defeat their opponents on the free market! Also Spyglass isn't just the CIA, they're somehow also the legal system, and somehow their being RUTHLESS and AS EVIL AS EVERYONE THINKS THEY ARE is a "virtue," because they're equally evil to everyone? In some sort of weird vigilante justice way? How this, somehow, protects the free market, is admirable and is a workable business plan, I have no loving idea. But apparently they're filthy rich despite actively declaring war on everyone with those statements.

quote:

And so the Spyglass Corp Community doctrine was established: we will be every bit as bad as everyone else, and we’re not going to pretend it’s not happening.

Since then, Spyglass’ primary goal has been the promotion of a truly open market without the facade of decency that has forever clouded it. Let the buyer beware, as they say. But more than that, let the seller beware that the buyer may shoot them in the face for lying to them, and if Spyglass courts find that there was in fact a lie involved, the buyer will be absolved of all crime. It’s a harsh system that leads to two possible outcomes: you get a lot of very honest people, or you get a lot of people who are very good at lying. Spyglass breeds both, and holds both in equal regard. If you’re going to deal with someone, anyone, know that they are a liar. Know that they want to cheat you. If you can accept that and pick your battles accordingly, things move along at a pretty even keel. If you want to call them on it, you call them as hard as you want to. But if they’re a good enough liar to survive legal scrutiny, well. You should have thought of that before you pulled your gun. Spyglass does not promote open violence or murder, but it does hold other general rights and decency in fairly low regard.

...

If you’re willing to just accept that someone, somewhere, is constantly watching you, and that everyone’s out to gouge you, and you play by the same rules, Spyglass corptowns are actually damned honest places to live. You know where everyone stands, you pick your friends carefully, and you keep them for life. You can find plenty of decency in a den of thieves; you just have to expect it to take a little while.

Add to the list of things the HSD devs have never done: Interacted with human beings outside of the internet.

Inner Ring Police Force

The private space police, whom everyone was absolutely terrified of when they actually had the fleet power to impose their will on corporations, but who are now "put in their place" and only police when people hire them to police. Thank goodness. They're described in more suspicious and negative terms than Spyglass, somehow.

Progenitus

So all of the health care corps were actually evil and capable of curing all illnesses and injuries and cancers forever, but not doing so to prolong their profits, and when a Spyglass group called Progenitus found out and released this to the public, everyone loved them and paid them a constant, minor tax to safeguard this vital knowledge and keep everyone safe from the Space Flu forever. Welcome to the corporate utopia, plebs.

Also they invented a substance that could literally free anyone ingesting it from all biological needs(breathing, eating, drinking, having organs, etc.), but somehow it was "unnatural," and they decided that it wasn't to be used.

Transcendent Technologies

That super-substance? These guys love it and use it to make all sorts of grotesque, modified creatures and even living spaceships. Despite their very existence being founded in "gently caress THE LAWS OF NATURE, WE'RE GONNA MESS WITH GENETICS" and their society already having created one other species from raw cloth(the sentient machine people), these guys are totally weird and bad and taboo.

quote:

Though still very much in its infancy, Transcendent technology has already redefined the rules of reality. Much of its function remains a well guarded secret, but the premise is that certain things in the universe gain resonance and power due to their very construction. The arrangement of their molecules interacts with the waves of radio in the air, and other unseen forces. Crystals, for instance. By arranging these reactive constructions in patterns that also react to each other, complex harmonies can be made. Like a series of reeds all being blown over by a single wind, a sophisticated symphony emerges that is more than the sum of its parts. The beauty of it is that these structures work on the scale of the universe: from atomic to galactic. Their size is irrelevant, they simply...work. No power source, no special attachment, no port, no plug, no emitter or receiver. They are, and so, they function.

Eager to make sure that no retarded idea is left out of the book, HSD also insists that "crystal energy" is totally a real thing.

Thankfully this is where the chapter ends.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones
Would you believe there's still more fluff/setting bullshit to crunch through?



Setting

This section starts out with a glossary of Space Future Terms, which are basically a bunch of tiny fluff snippets to tell us more about living in the SPACE FUTURE, most of them are dumb and pointless, but a few of them are dumb and hilarious, and I'll paste from those.

Did you know that in the Furry Space Future, stores are outdated? Instead of buying physical goods, you just buy limited-use licences to 3D print stuff... which actually seems like an alright idea for a setting where 3D-printing/nanotech forges replace most traditional construction. Though it's partnered with the bizarre idea that you can only buy said blueprints in certain areas, called "BuySpots." That seems weirdly anachronistic. If you've done away with physical stores, why still tie purchases to a location?

Space suits are now called "Suck Suits," which sounds more like something related to some really bizarre fetish.

quote:

A physical surface that contains digital components capable of processing information and displaying it. Almost every piece of glass, metallic or reflective surface in a Vector community is a smart surface.

It seems weird that HSD's society is so much more "civilized" than EP's, everyone's on board with the hypercapitalist thing(so far, anyway, there's an antagonist chapter later on which I guess might include filthy unionist scum and others who want to share wealth), because it appears to be a perfect playground for anarchist/anti-establishment pranksters. Make an infinite-use 3D blueprint for dildos and go swamp some corporation's "BuySpot" with dongs, hack an entire city to display nothing but your taint on every loving surface. But no, everyone seems to have just mindlessly gone along with the whole idea.

quote:

When they were first developed, smart surfaces blared advertisements and followed Vectors around with digital salesmen to the point that the community as a whole demanded a stop to it.

Also, as much as EP is hostile to hypercapitalism, I think it displays it more realistically than HSD, because in EP, corporations largely have power over their employees, yet still have to avoid massive scandals, since they're not invincible. In HSD, on the other hand, corporations instantly bow to the wishes of the public and their employees and seem to either have no actual power to throw around, or to be innocent of any real desire to ever abuse people, committing misdeeds largely out of ignorance rather than selfishness. Not to mention, did the corporations not need the advertisements or anything? Could they just cut them with no harm to their revenue streams? Nope, must've just been on a whim that they advertised for stuff, since they could just cut it out at the drop of a hat.

quote:

Ledger: An autonomous investment system that works on behalf of each individual to make them a functioning part of the flow of commerce. Its profit offsets the cost of living in a society with chronic nickel-and-diming, and ensures a partial income. Ledger systems are not distributed after birth, cannot be bought, and cannot be traded. Their encryption relies on certain codes and programs only possessed by a handful of people in the universe, and the system itself operates on a constant basis. It is not updated, tampered with, changed or modified, which makes it easy to notice if someone is meddling with it. By and large, Ledgers cannot be hacked. They do what they do based on centuries-old equations that grow naturally with the inclusion of certain variables, and anomalies are very easy to spot. The systems themselves are contained within the sealed archives of the corptowns in which people are born, and might be accessible by one in every 10 million people.

I just want to repeat the whole "Ledger" thing because it's so loving stupid. I love how it's "not updated" and "based on centuries-old equations," and clearly in the centuries since the start of the setting, computing power has grown massively if we've now literally made every loving reflective surface a computer, and Transcendent Technologies surely has holistic crystal power quantum computers or something, yet despite this program never being updated, and being based on ancient equations, apparently no one has ever thought to use this massive flood of computing technology to either exploit bugs in the system's equations or crack the encryption?

quote:

Also known as the Human Aural Resonance Effect, this phenomenon is the largest piece of unaccounted-for evidence known to Vector-kind that perhaps their understanding of their own history might not be all they thought it was. The human voice, specifically human singing, resonates in the Vector mind in an almost hypnotizing fashion. While Vectors can still function more or less adeptly in the presence of human singing, they become somewhat placid and susceptible to suggestion, and can even be calmed or manipulated if the right person is exerting the right pressures.

...

Very few uncompressed original human pieces have survived 700 years past the death of their world

...

When combined with the other curious discrepancy in the early days of Mars: the last of humanity choosing to die off or transform rather than push onward, this paints a disturbing potential alternate to the end days of mankind, in which they attempted to gain control of the Vector population, failed, and were subsequently killed off by the early Vectors themselves. It would mean an awful lot of early history was entirely manufactured, but it wouldn’t be the first time.

I want to point out that I have not read ahead at all, so if the book is setting us up for some sort of surprisingly rad twist where it turns out that everything we've read so far has been blatant propaganda bullshit, I'd be pleased, but I doubt it. If anything this seems more like "the humans were evil all along, only the furries have true moral purity, that's why hypercapitalism works for them."

quote:

The Shadow President is a single, faceless, nameless civilian that exists above the CEO. Each megacorp has one. Their job is as profound as it is simplistic: watch. Be the stopgap. Hold the corporate machine in check when it needs to be reined in, allow it to roam free when it doesn’t. Be silent and uninvolved while the business flourishes, but when it oversteps its boundaries, when it pushes too hard, bring the hammer down on it. It is suspected by those in the know that nearly every megacorp CEO assassination was only possible because the Shadow President determined that the CEO had to be stopped, and arranged it.

...

The nature of the order of succession is as mysterious as the people themselves, but it is suspected that the titles have been passed down from person to person for generations, carefully selecting brilliant individuals who can accomplish the weighty goals held before them. They’re geniuses, whose job is not just to keep the system from snowballing, but to use its assets in ways that will profoundly influence the universe while the greater machine worries about what this year’s spring fashion line will be. They walk the streets as normal people, see the effects of their titanic corporations, monitor their books and research, and silently weigh in their hands when it’s necessary. A slip of paper containing even one of their names would be worth billions. So far, no such document has been found.

In short, all those checks and balances, those distributions of responsibility and decisionmaking, such as shareholder councils and the like, don't actually work. What's necessary for corporations to act correctly and morally is a single, powerful CAPTAIN OF INDUSTRY with ultimate power over them. At least they just decided to go, "UH, IT'S A MYSTERY" rather than trying to bullshit up a way in which none of these SHADOW PRESIDENTS would ever be corrupt assholes or fuckups. I also want to point out that the book describes one of the reasons to need the SHADOW PRESIDENT as being because the other entities controlling the company are too far-removed from the public, and can too easily seek safety in bunkers or in orbit if their decisions ever really piss someone off... so I want to ask you, what protection is better than PERFECT ANONYMITY? At least people know who to loving blame with the rest of them.

Next, we're on to locations! Which starts out by describing that "skirmishes" ranging from "a couple of employees" to "a few hundred thousand" in size, happen with some regularity and often little warning. This is described as "worrying" to us, that is, us, the reader, and perhaps unsettling to us. But apparently to the people of THE SPACE FUTURE, this is just how business is done and nothing to whine about, highly implying that it's just a matter of culture and not, objectively, a bad thing. I'm absolutely boggled by whatever thinking came up with this... and then it turns out that the "locations" section has a dire dearth of actual locations, instead just describing types of locations like "urban city" and "a big cave" with a single, sparsely-detailed example of some of them.

About the only interesting parts are a couple of incredibly wanky space-stations briefly mentioned, one for idiot furries with mythical-esque forms, who live on a big space station where they permanently LARP themselves into a delusion that they actually ARE mythical creatures, like dragons, sphinxes, etc. They're somehow described as "noble" and "self-sacrificing," even though I remember most mythical monsters as being selfish and concerned largely with wealth and/or stealing attractive human women. The other's for idiot furries who idolize being ~wonderfully one with nature~ and all live as feral predators on a single space station... with no mention of what they hunt there, are there other furries there who worship the glory of being prey that gets messily murdered as food for the predators? Do they hunt targets? Do the predators hunt each other? Of course, despite ~abandoning all technology to live beautifully one with nature~, they're somehow still a match for the hunters with plasma rifles and railguns who regularly visit to hunt them for sport.

quote:

Being feral does not make you stupid, and smart animals hunt in creative ways.

Gotta make room for everyone's fursona, after all.

Blightspots are one of the few ideas in this book I actually like. Basically, growing bioships, like Transcendent Technologies does, is a tricky business. And sometimes, rather than forming correctly, they become a tumor, complete with the original ship's defenses and self-repair abilities, but now just sort of... spread across their construction facility(whether in space or planet-side), and aggressively resisting attempts to destroy them. But then again, I've got a soft spot for body horror type stuff.

After that is the bit that's about actual, defined, locations, the various planets.


Mars

Mars is incredibly dull, it's just Earth with taller trees, literally. About the most interesting part is the detail that Deimos was just casually demolished by automated debris-clearance machines in orbit, at which point I have to ask what challenges can really remain for players or anyone in this setting if a loving moonlet can just be recycled for trash without anyone apparently noticing until it's too late.

The bit on Venus and its terraforming just makes me laugh, though, apparently it was a casual operation to increase the planet's rate of spin and give it an artificial magnetic field to shield it from solar radiation, and so I repeat: What loving challenges are left? What technology even needs to be discovered? Faster-than-light travel seems to be about the only thing missing at this point. There's already a substance to make you immortal and planetary-scale engineering seems like a wave of the hand away.

quote:

During the course of the Venus terraform, the planet’s rotational speed would accelerate from one turn every 238 Earth days to an almost perfect 24 hour spin, in the opposite direction. Its core would be liquefied, its magnetic field restored, and its atmosphere stabilized.

When they terraformed the place, they were also loving idiots, I'd note, deciding that what an awesome, habitable world totally needed was herds of giant sea monsters and dragons. Why yes, I would love to go settle on a nice, Earth-like planet where a giant, flying loving goose with scales might incinerate me.

Europa's somewhat interesting, since someone's actually bothered writing up a bit of local culture beyond "this is where all the corporations live" or "they like taking trips to Mars."(for Venus) With the Europans described as superstitious and, in fact, particularly in dread of Jupiter, the entire surface colony effectively going into blackout when Jupiter's in the sky, and leaving it ambiguous whether being farther out-system, more isolated, and dominated by a single, odd, corporate culture(Transcendent Technologies) is what's making them weird, or whether it's because the heart of their planet is full of ineffable alien artifacts.

Lastly, there's Ganymede, which is dull. It's just a generic space-frontier, a moon basically covered in jungle, and Earth, which is also dull, because it's got even less of a purpose in the setting than Earth does in Eclipse Phase. Earth in EP at least has a canonical reason to be scavenged-on, and a canonical number of scavenger inhabitants. Earth in HSD has half its surface literally covered in Whispers, the red gooey crystal shell covers half of Earth and extends almost all the way to the moon(and the entire moon is also covered), and apparently it's made of Whispers that can just wake up and murder people. So like, good luck visiting Earth, everyone who ever has, in canon, has loving died.

But on the bright side, that taps out setting and lets us see how badly done chargen is, which I'll do next post.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Wait a moment, a loving Paranoia novel? Does it end with the reader getting shot with a laser for having read about adventures that are clearly above his security clearance and involve treasonous content?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones
Transhuman Dicekin



Character Creation

Family

At long last we actually encounter some rules for playing the game. As is pretty much bog standard for most RPG's, we've got a plethora of values and numbers hurled at us right out of the gate, before we even really have much of a grasp of what they do, mechanically, because the chapters containing the actual rules aren't until after this one. I may skip ahead a bit to the rules chapters while doing chargen, in case I need to gain an understanding of whether a given chargen option is really as retarded as it looks, mechanically.

First step: Pick a "Family." This basically translates to "decide what kind of furry" you want to be, since they've got names like Canidae, Felidae, etc. what boggles me is that the rundown of chargen at the start also lists "species" and "morphism," as things we need to choose, so I suspect we're going to get incredibly detailed with what kind of ridiculous loving space poodle we are. Also of course the families aren't organized alphabetically, that would almost make a whit of loving sense. At a glance, each family provides a couple of generic "+1's" to stuff, no telling if that's particularly huge yet, though at a glance they already look ridiculously unbalanced, since you've got "resistance to exhaustion" basically equal to "has wings, can fly." Additionally you get to choose a retarded stereotype based on the kind of furry you are, like, dogs can choose to have SUPER LOYAL as a bonus, cats can be twitchy, birds can be claustrophobic, etc.

None of this makes any loving sense from a setting standpoint, mind you, since all of the Vectors were made from human fetuses with animal features grafted on, basically. There would have been no reason at all to add animal instincts or neural structures to those kids at all. So there's no reason they'd adhere to animal stereotypes, especially seeing as how, canonically, most old human media is gone, so they wouldn't even worship human stereotypes of given animal groups.

The five families are Canidae, Felidae, Reptilia, Mustelidae and Avialae, and after the brief stat bit, we get a painful revelation that someone on the writing team was way too loving fond of White Wolf, as it basically copypastes the thing that every old White Wolf splatbook did, wherein every single [family/tradition/club/whatever] shared their opinions and stereotypes on every other major faction. Mind you, though, wasn't one of the big things the fluff started on, something about how THE INTERNET and similar wonderful inventions basically disassembled everything resembling evil stereotypes except among the willfully ignorant? And hasn't the former chapters worked on establishing that corporate culture largely replaces nationstate loyalties? And so far we've heard nothing about any particular furry "families" preferring any particular corporations, so isn't it completely illogical for a given "family" of furries to even really have a shared culture, mindset or opinion of any sort?

Yes, yes it loving is. HSD, ladorks and gentlegeeks. HSD.


I'm angry, angry about punching bags

Let's see what the non-existent, both in the real world and in this fictional world, nation of space dog people thinks of other space animal people! I might have missed it in the blur of retarded statements in the earlier chapters, but we learn here that dogs and cats were the first "Vectors" made, with the remainder arriving later. And of course they're of the opinion that cats are flighty, reptiles are cold and emotionless, and space person ferrets act wacky exactly like real world ferrets do! Totally not about playing a yiffy animal person in space, guys, this RPG is about being human. And seriously I can't even find anything to mock here, it's just so loving dull.

Also I won't bother copypasting any of the stereotypes, or even mentioning them much, because they're just... the same poo poo for all five families, and really dull. Completely unimaginative.


In space, no one can hear you yiff

quote:

Felines were second in line in the first generation Vector wave, and sported the most females of the initial release.

...

At 700 years later, no one has any idea why, but the anomaly has helped produce an almost matronly bearing in the family.

...

They have been a part of every major conflict, every major boon, and every major development since the race began. Of course, so have the dogs and a handful of others, but they get enough credit already. Felines are known for ambition, trying to reach the top of their social or economic ladder and refusing to come down. Of all the Vector families, their social behavior most closely mimics that of their progenitor race. They’re typically stubborn and strongwilled, and are fiercely protective of what they’ve earned.

dictionary posted:

matronly
ˈmeɪtr(ə)nli/Submit
adjective
characteristic of an older married woman, especially in being staid or rather fat.

I DON'T QUITE THINK THEY KNOW WHAT WORDS MEAN. None of the above particularly reads "staid old married woman" to me, especially not the bit about them basically being ambitious and adventurous. Also why in God's name would starting out with more women make them more hsdsdsdsdsds. This book is gonna give me a stroke.


In the future we will all have bare midriffs for no good reason

Reading the bird people chapter, I get the impression that the writers weren't all on the same page, as their quotes mention the cats starting "three race wars." Firstly, again, if loyalties are to corporate nations, not species or location, how did "the cats," as a group, start anything? Secondly, "race wars" are a thing at all in the setting? Thanks for the loving heads up, you loving useless writers. Jesus. For some reason the "taur" bird people also fly better, but... why? Wouldn't they be way loving huger and even less aerodynamic than the rest? I... I don't see the logic. I DO NOT SEE THE LOGIC. But hey, apparently in this setting, they do, and the bird people love their "angels" a lot!

Their art is also poo poo, try to figure out how they ever pick up anything without knocking it over.


Good luck drinking coffee, shitbird

The reptile section is another part that seems to jar with the earlier chapters. Nothing about the third wave mentions that they weren't just more "humans with bits glued" on, like the first wave was, during the actual fluff chapters, but the reptile section describes them as though they originated from reptiles that needed to be adjusted to human shapes and functioning, as apparently the "base creatures" they were made from were coldblooded and needed to be made warmblooded. The book also describes how they're "detached" because they're the most "visually different" Vector family... but then you get to their family art and they just... look like any other furry. When they're all basically human shaped with a few bits glued on, none of them are really that hugely distinct. They can even grow hair, so being the only superbald race doesn't even make them stand out.


Completely different from all the other furries, honest.

Mustelidae is the obligatory fishmalk family who're WACKY and UNPREDICTABLE but totally, like, DEEP, anyway, duuuuude. Just because ferrets are kind of wacky critters in real life. Since their "family" also includes a bunch of poo poo beyond ferrets, like loving wolverines, it seems weird to base their entire stereotype on FERRETS SURE ARE GOOFY, HUH GUYS? I'd also like to point out that throughout this entire chapter, there's been all sorts of delightful references to craft-your-own-fursona options that I look forward to, like having two tails, or being a "snake," i.e. having literally no legs but just a weird, serpentine lower body. It also sounds like it's not restricted purely to the reptiles. So go ahead and enjoy imagining that applied to, like, a dog dude or whatever. Yuck.


Mustelidae is also loving ugly, even compared to the rest

Species

quote:

the solar system is filled with billions of examples of every individual species, all intermingled and mixed. After 700 years,it’s awfully difficult to point to any single one and say “All wolves behave like you do.”

B-but that's. Hrrrrgh. That's what you fuckers just DID! gently caress you! Anyway, this chapter is mercifully short, there are five subspecies for each of the five families(except for the birds, who only get four, because NO OWLS, THEY'RE SPOOKY DUDES NOW), and the only difference is that they each get one small skill bonus and snakes have to have no legs. Considering that the differences between, say, a cougar furry person and a lion furry person, is pretty much entirely one of appearance, it seems kind of weird to tie actual stat boosts to such a choice, since it basically just seems to go: "Hey, if you want your character to have a bonus to this particular trait, he/she has to have stripes!"

It caps off with this retarded piece of art that I have to comment on, though, beyond the usual pissy little italicized textsnippet.



Okay, let's just look at what's loving happening here. Easy shots first, the loving font they use for all of these chapter-separating splash images is loving poo poo. I hate it. I hope whoever made it has his dick splashed with acid. Secondly, this snake appears to be doing a SUBTLE ASSASSINATION(and, apparently, the "YOU ARE A SNAKE"-disability also means no arms! That's loving retarded and hilarious at once), but it's got a loving GUN STRAPPED TO ITS HEAD. How is it going to make a subtle getaway? How? HOW? It doesn't even have any hands to take it off with after shooting that giant chicken! What's the point of an assassin who can't even OPEN DOORS? How is it going to get in anywhere without making a huge, obvious hole in [whatever barrier] or asking someone to open the door for it?

THE FURRY SPACE FUTURE, YOU FUCKERS

Anyway, next post I'll poke a bit more at chargen, maybe actually get far enough to understand what all these bonuses do or whether they really matter, and then make a retarded fursona. In space.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Actually, I just loving realized something. The actual start-of-book fluff mentions "aquatic races" and "herbivores" as some of the species created as Vectors, where the gently caress are they? Where are the cow people, the shark people and the manta people? The loving writers and crunch-designers of this book are so disconnected from each other that even Exalted starts looking coherent by comparison.

Also, with regards to "dragons" and the like, I suspect that we make those once we get into the "morphisms," where we take, say, a gator-guy and slap some wings and firebreath on him or something.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones
This post contains art of Mormon Charizard



Morphisms

So, in case everyone blocked it out, this setting has weird body shapes. I mean, weirder than being a cat or whatever, poo poo like "taurs." This is the chapter that has all of the weird deformities you can end up with, though you can bet that the amount actual treated as deformities with drawbacks are probably going to be minimal. We also can't just be Jeff Jenkins, Dog Detective Dude(Pththya, I want to point out that I made this comment before I saw your post, and only saw you when I previewed, so that's some weird loving hivemind), we have to pick a wacky physical trait. This is an RPG about being human, guys. Each deformity has a drawback, a perk and a "momentum trigger," i.e. if you do a thing in combat, it "triggers" your "momentum" and you get a momentum boost, which is some temporary advantage. Some are generic, some are just weird and meaningless.

quote:

You must pick a Morphism, but if you don’t want to have any of the anatomically bizarre ones, take note of the first option: Plantigrade/ Digitigrade. All this does is describe whether your character walks on feet that look somewhat human (with the heel on the ground) or on paw-like toes. Pick the one most suited to your mental image and your Morphism requirement has been met.

So anyway. Let's go through the list!

Plantigrade/Digitigrade: For some reason, having normal person/animal person legs just makes you better at fighting and gives you more proficiency points. I don't know why. This is just how the setting works.

Atypical Patterning: You look real wacky, refer to the below image just for how loving wacky you turn out. Looking like a GOFFYCK RAVER FURRY means you're camouflaged, no matter what your pattern is, as long as you're really acrobatic in fights, attacking enemies and then running away from them again. I'll also note that all of these weird deformities run with the whole "have a quote from each family of animal," despite them not being able to be stereotyped, and the ferret ones remain annoyingly fishmalky/hyperactive.



Hemivector: You look more human than most! Because humans are inferior to furries, you're more fragile, obviously, yet because humans are also sinister and deceitful, you become better at lying to people and talking them into things. Sneaky humans.

How did THAT get here?: Despite us being told about how the Vectors CLEANED UP THEIR GENES and MADE THEM MORE EFFICIENT, some weird mutation popped up in you anyway, and you get to mix and match animal traits. So you can be an alligator with feathery wings, a bird with fangs or something otherwise weird. It notes that these modifications are "non-functional," i.e. entirely cosmetic, and then a paragraph later notes that it just takes one brief doctor's visit and they become totally functional. Unless you actually do that, though, it's entirely a drawback that just makes you slower and, for some reason, it makes you a better wrestler/grappler in combat.


Mormon Charizard wants to tell you about Jesus

Hybrid: This finally explains a term I never really noticed much, earlier in the text, and hence skipped over. "Mutt-Reduction," which is a thing that means that while two given species can bang, and have kids, the kids won't look like a weird mix of the two, but instead purely inherits one parent's traits, appearance and family. Sometimes it fouls up, though, and the RACIAL PURITY of the Furry Space Future is despoiled, resulting in a Hybrid. It also means that anyone from either of your two parent species dislikes you, because RACIAL PURITY is good. The only advantage is that you get to pay for more "Gene Refreshment" boosts later on, whatever they are, I guess we'll learn. The "momentum" advantage for this one is the same as for the prior deformity, being "YOU ARE GOOD AT WRESTLING IF YOU PUNCH PEOPLE THREE TIMES IN A ROW."

Lateral: Remember those unfortunate furries that ended up with plain animal bodies because no one would do the merciful thing and abort them while they were in the types? This is them.

quote:

Being a tiny Gecko could be useful, but it also makes you rather vulnerable to boots. Lateralism affords the greatest advantage to disadvantage ratio of any of the Morphisms present here. Being able to slip through air ducts as a ferret or run at a cheetah’s true speed could be tremendously useful. But at the same time, you don’t have fingers or thumbs and you don’t stand upright. Consider your day to day tasks, and how many of them would be affected by even those simple changes.

Clearly the best use for this deformity would be to fluff your character as a pack of tiny geckos in a trenchcoat or suit who pretend to be a normal animal person. But I doubt the game would let you do anything quite that fun.

quote:

It’s worth noting, for the sake of roleplay and general association, that Laterals wear clothing. Despite the relative inconvenience of having to wiggle into pants, Laterals are Vectors: intelligent, integrated, contributing members of society who have been present since the earliest days of their existence. As such they are subject to the same rules of decency: you don’t wander around nude on the street. Laterals rarely begrudge it; they have as many feelings of modesty and as much desire to decorate themselves appealingly as any other person does. It’s a bit more difficult to get dressed without hands, but no one said having a rare morphism was easy. In most casual situations the illusion of decency is enough: a jacket, shirt, something to cover the majority of the body. Other people can then exercise the restraint of not looking where they shouldn’t. If nothing else, it keeps them from being confused for wild animals.

(Note that one of their bonuses is actually that they can be confused for wild animals, so, say goodbye to that minor bonus if you don't want people looking at your balls all day)

Good luck, you get to look like one of those pitiful animals whose owners make them wear pants, a shirt and some sort of retarded hat. Who even came up with this miserable loving idea? Also, I note that snake-species furries HAVE to take this. I guess this means that no snakes, first off, have any limbs at all, and secondly, that most of them are loving tiny. Unless you're a goddamn boa constrictor or something, what are you even gonna do? All you really CAN do is coil up on a chair all day and watch TV. At least a lateral, say, tiger, would have some paws to bop stuff, or a lateral bird would have a beak and claws to maneuver things around.

Aside from whatever advantages you might get, whatever minimal ones they might be, from your choice of animal, your only real advantages are in combat(socially and skill-monkey-wise you get completely shafted with massive penalties for just about anything more complex than pushing a button or saying hi), where you don't provoke HSD's version of Attacks of Opportunity and have a constant cover bonus due to odd size and shape. So you're great at fighting! With a body that can't wear most armor. And paws(or claws, if any), that can't wield most weapons. And. Well, I guess maybe we can glue a sword to your head.


This tiger looks so sad that someone made it wear a dress.

Micro-ism: You're tiny. Or, at least as tiny as your originator species was. I guess this is a better choice for Swarm Of Geckos Man than actual Lateralism, which just makes that modifier even more pointless. Their main advantage is, obviously, being absolute dodge monsters in combat, and the fact that they can still wield weapons(though they assume them as being some size categories larger), so they're basically Laterals except better, they even get the same permanent cover bonus on TOP of more dodge bonuses. This deformity is an excellent chance to highlight how loving annoying the Mustelidae quotes for all of them are, though.

quote:

Mustelidae: YOU’RE ADAWWWARABUUUUU!

Imagine that sort of poo poo for every single "morphism."

Note, that while Micro-ism applies hard maximums to some physical stats, lateralism does not, and while lateralism allows, even outside of the GM fiat usually required for multiple morphisms, and even suggests, combining with micro-ism, it's not required. So technically you can be a tiny Lateral animal with absurdly maxed physical stats. Play a loving sparrow and min/max your way to one-shotting people with one peck of your beak. I wonder if the game will let us do that.



Taurism: This is the only way for snakes to have limbs(arms only, though, no legs), which also buffs them up to normal human size, meaning that you can't be a tiny snake with a pair of beefy arms, like a horrible mutant Trogdor. Avians get another special variant of this, in that it just detaches their wings from their arms, actually making them angel-shaped, and explaining why they might be less poo poo at flying than other avians... though I'm not sure whether that would actually be the result. I mean, it actually seems like a way more awkward location for the wings with regards to actual flight(though perhaps better for dramatic posing, angels can look pretty cool).

One of their combat advantages is that you can attach a machinegun to their back and use them as a "stable firing platform." That's actually a reasonably entertaining idea. Aside from that, all they're good at is rushing enemies and shoving them around, which I guess is handy, assuming that this game has non-poo poo grappling rules. But what are the odds of that?


Can't be a furry RPG without fetishbait. Why is her midriff even exposed? Can't she afford clothes that fit?



Twin-Tailed:

quote:

Canidae: Alright, alright, I get it, you were young, you thought the kitsune look was hot, we’ve all been there, it’s time to get it removed. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s natural? Are...are you doing anything tonight?

Not, and I repeat, not, a furry fetish RPG, guys. Get it straight. But aside from helping someone at the game table get their rocks off, all it does is let you slap people around with your tail better in combat, and make you a mild pariah in social interaction.

With that out of the way, though, we can start to actually touch the system! Because now we're gonna do the things that actually affect our dice and things!

Actual character creation!


Beats the character sheet from Eoris, at least

So, anyway, note the Mind/Body/Community/Economy columns. We assign dice to those, we've got a D12, two D10's and a D8. For everything we roll using one of those columns, we use that die, and it's about rolling high, so obviously we've got one good, two average and one poor category. If we assume we put a D12 in Body, and need to roll to do something STRONG, and we've got five dice in STRENGTH, we roll 5D12, and we need an 8 or better on any one of those for a success. I've heard of worse systems. Most modifiers add or subtract dice, and specialties(called "proficiencies") add static modifiers to every die in the pool. So if we had a proficiency called BEING REAL STRONG, we'd be rolling 5x1d12+1, hoping one or more of them would be an 8 or better. If something is trying to do something to us, we roll a "save" instead, which is a single die(if we somehow use our Body to make a save, then a D12), plus one of our "defenses," which then has to beat whatever the difficulty of the incoming attack is. This is my understanding of the system so far.

And... it's actually not a bad system as such, I've certainly seen worse. Of course, it takes more than the core mechanic, we also have to assume that none of the numbers we get to use are completely unbalanced.

It's also not just aesthetics that the four columns are split into two blocks. We've got eight dots to assign to one block, and six for the other. Everything has one free dot to start with, we get another free dot from our choice of Family, and everything maxes out at three on chargen. Crunching a few numbers, this comes out to roughly ~70% chance of success for 3d12, ~65% for 3d10 and ~35% for 3d8, assuming no bonuses from proficiency, circumstance, morphism, etc. and that it's a totally standard out-of-combat roll. This, again, actually seems pretty fair. We can have a decent number of 3d12 and 3d10 skills to roll, and we start out with a reasonable chance of success, so we're not going to be failing at everything right out of the gate.

My main issue with the next part is the terrible terminology and some overlap.

Mind posted:

Mind:Dexterity represents your mind’s ability to wrap itself around new ideas and come up with creative ways to approach a situation.

...

Mind:Resilience represents your ability to bounce back from or resist mental trauma.

...

Mind:Acuity represents your ability to perceive patterns. In everything.

...

Mind:Strength represents your intelligence, in terms of sheer horsepower. It is how well you cogitate, how quickly you can compute a solution to a problem, or how much knowledge you can absorb and retain.

...

Mind:Presence represents your spiritual wholeness of being. A little abstract, but it plays a role in your ability to resist supernatural attack, operate supernatural equipment, and in some cases, exert your willpower over others.

For instance, Mind:Dexterity and Mind:Strength... how do I decide whether a situation needs RAW THINKING or CREATIVITY? Mind:Acuity feels like it should just have been called "perception," and Mind:Presence like it should just have been called "charisma" or something just a bit more traditional, though I appreciate the urge to try and stuff everything into a neat scheme, it doesn't always work out well.

Body posted:

Body:Dexterity represents your physical ability to manipulate small or complex tools, move, stretch, or contort.

...

Body:Resilience represents your ability to bounce back from or resist physical trauma.

...

Body:Acuity represents how acute your body’s sensory organs are. How well you see, how well you hear, how well you smell and what information you might pick up from your various senses.

...

Body:Strength represents the physical strength of your body. It also represents your endurance.

...

Body:Presence represents how wholly you embody the paragon of your being. Don’t confuse this for “beauty,” as it has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a pretty person.

A few minor oddities here, Body and Mind:Acuity could both overlap at points, it seems odd that Body:Strength is for Endurance, when there's a Body:Resilience right there, and I'm really not sure that any game needs more than one "Charisma"-esque stat. Though I do appreciate that they point out that Body:Presence can also be used for stealth, so stealth isn't purely a function of being dexterous(which often ends up being a god stat in a lot of skill-based RPG's), but also a function of knowing how to look unobtrusive. But seeing as how Body:Presence is entirely about LOOKING EXCEPTIONAL, it seems odd to put it in there, it would seem to fit better with Mind:Presence, in that it would seem to be an understanding of how your appearance works and how to modify it... if that makes any sense, I've been looking at this thing on and off for like, over an hour now, and it's probably doing bad things to my SAN score.

Community posted:

Community:Dexterity represents your ability to move throughout different communities without committing social mistakes.

...

Community:Resilience represents your ability to recover gracefully from failings in your reputation, or typecasting caused by your breed, career or morphism.

...

Community:Acuity represents your ability to pick up on problems, events or shifts in the local community simply by being there.

...

Community:Strength represents your reputation. It doesn’t necessarily make it a GOOD reputation, it’s just how widely your name is known in your community.

...

Community:Presence represents your influence throughout the communities of the galaxy. The higher the rating, the more fingers you have in other people’s pies.

This whole thing just gives me unpleasant flashbacks to Exalted and its desire to basically try and make "social combat" function like physical combat, right down to initiative rolls, but with arguments instead of swords. I repeat that I really think this is way too many kinds of charisma, and that a third kind of perception that only works on people, seems like a step too far in that category, too. You can already use Mind:Acuity to note if something's up just by people-watching, just look for patterns. And Body:Acuity should let you help spot anything that stands out or that people try to hide, simply by being eagle-eyed, so Community:Acuity seems to exist just to get shafted.

Economy posted:

This Stat governs many of the behaviors of your Ledger, which is one of the primary means characters use to advance their wealth and influence in HSD.

Economy:Dexterity represents the diversity of your Ledger. It helps keep your finances safe from market fluctuations and makes you more appealing to corps looking to hire someone with good market presence. In the balance process, this lets you re-roll the dice used to determine your credit value for the day.

...

Economy:Resilience represents the ability of your ledger to recover from outside attack.

...

Economy:Acuity represents your ledger’s ability to pick up on new opportunities and invest in your absence.

...

Economy:Strength represents the strength of your investments, and how much they pay. It also contributes to a corp’s willingness to pay you more for a contract, and your ability to demand more money for a sale.

...

Economy:Presence represents your physical footprint on the landscape of the corp market. You can use this Trait to “throw your money around,” which can get you admission to events or locations only interested in dealing with a certain class of individual.

I had a few gripes with the other three categories, but they were largely okay, perhaps with a few adjustments here and there, but this one is loving poo poo. Firstly, how can your ledger even be different from anyone else's? They're all running on the same, ancient calculations and software, that no one is allowed to edit and no one can hack. So everyone should just have flat 1's(defined as "normal") here. Secondly, outside attack? How is anyone even going to attack your ledger? It's unhackable, as we're told, and since everyone's investments are automated, how would anyone even attack yours, specifically? And hell, if ledgers CAN be attacked, sabotaged and people's finances actually damaged, doesn't that mean that, despite all we're told, there probably are, poor, suffering furries that can't afford all the necessities of the day?

And wait, "in my absence"? So ledgers AREN'T automated, after all, but actually require furry intervention to function? And if people can intervene, and hence potentially gently caress up, again, doesn't that mean that there are probably plenty of furries that DON'T have what they need, and the whole concept of the ledger as automated, behind-the-scenes welfare doesn't work? Colour me loving amazed.

As for the Strength and Presence, options, here, I mean, come on, aren't they basically Mind:Presence and Community:Presence? But with a modifier called "filthy loving rich" for Economy:Presence? The existence of this entire column is a terrible loving idea. Go home and revise your homework, furry designers. They even admit that this whole column, on the whole, gets less checks and has less game impact than the others, so can't players just loving dump this one hardcore down to its d8's and survive by stealing gear off dead enemies or starting the game by robbing some stores and whatever, since they can min/max themselves into unassailable superthieves/adventurers who now just need gear?

Now, what I will congratulate the devs on, even if they bungled it a bit, is the way they did their "specializing." It's a better version of White Wolf's Physical/Social/Mental split, in that even if you go Body, you've got some degree of social interaction to fall back on, if you go Mind, you've got something willpower-esque to fall back on. Unfortunately with the huge, missed thing that there's no combat whatsoever outside of Body, and nothing about knowing and thinking outside of Mind. The attempt at mixed categories, a sort of "archetypes," if you will, was a decent idea. Maybe if it had been something like... Savage/Civilized/Noble instead... Savage has RAW PHYSICAL CHARISMA, savage weapons(melee, brawling, etc), knows about nature, survival, that sort of thing. Civilized knows society, understands books, uses firearms, makes reasoned arguments for social interaction. Noble gets along socially by dressing in a way that impresses people(he has the money for shitloads of diamonds, after all, why not make a hat out of them?), has fancy, flashy weaponry, and uses his social connections as his form of "charisma."

But that's basically just designing a game from scratch, rather than pointing out how they could have not hosed up, so, eh.

At any rate, what I'd like to do at this point would be to read through the rest of the chargen, make fun of what needs making fun of for being stupid or poor design(and praise any of the, unlikely, gems to be found), then try and see how hard I can break the system. So, what sort of breaking should I aim for? Combat monsters? Invisible stealth guy? Something completely absurd like a five-inch gecko that Fist of the North Star's his enemies? Someone who breaks the game with money?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Well, may as well make an entire party, then. Scrooge McDuck, Master of Money, Luchadore Gecko, half a foot high but still able to wreck you with a folding chair, and Darkblood Ravenfeather Whytewolf xXxSephirothxXx, the Chosen One. How's that sound?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Yeah, so far not a single thing that's been brought up really deals with any sort of existential crisis. The furries apparently have no religions, don't really care much that the humans all vanished, just casually founded a megacorporation to invent them new sports when they(for some reason) decided human sports wouldn't work on Mars, etc.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Mors Rattus posted:

Think we all missed this part: this is the first mention of the furries going extrasolar. In the stats.

To be fair, considering it's this loving book, someone on the writing team might just not know that a solar system isn't a galaxy. I think that's more likely but... you know, I don't, I don't loving know. gently caress this book.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Pussy Cartel posted:

Wait...did Mr. Furry Libertarian write rules for tech advances in the setting or something? :crossarms:

I think Urch is more referring to the fact that about a hundred years after destroying humanity, and everyone having magical Ledgers that provide them with enough to survive permanently(hence basically abolishing profit motives) and no humans(the sources of all war and insanity), the furries just casually invent amazing power sources and effortless planet-scale engineering/terraforming projects. Plus the bit with reaching Mars, which the corporations... didn't really have any reason to do, there was no established reason why corporations would see any profit in Mars, especially since they had their magical GeoMats that could basically recycle everything and provide them with all the materials they'd ever want on Earth.

But like, looking for logic in HSD is kind of a lost cause, because no one in the loving setting behaves even vaguely like real human beings... except for the nation states of Earth in the intro fluff, who are Bad People.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


The description of the GodNet and the Cyberpapacy in general gives me huge Shin Megami Tensei vibes. I don't suppose Torg has rules for demonic pokemon, does it?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones
Fursona Construction Simulator v1.0



Character Creation

Alright, let's see how badly we can break this game. The orders were for one combat monster(Lateral), one money monster(Scrooge McDuck) and one Total Fursona Nightmare(as many Morphisms as possible, Taur and Multiple-tails required). I'll start off with a detailed run-through of my Lateral Reptile(Gecko) character, and I'll probably breeze over the others a bit more. We'll start from the order the book presents things, so first Family, Reptilia, which contributes +1 die to Body: Resilience(though it doesn't let us go above 3 at chargen, so it's not really that noteworthy since we're not THAT hurting for points to share around) and a +2(a static +2, not a die, mind) to rolls to resist poison and disease. For Species, we're obviously a Gecko, so we get a (static) +1 to Medicine(but why, anyway? Are Geckos in any way stereotypically related to health or anything?) and two further +1's that we can share around as we please.

Now, I'd like to note that literally every species gets a "+1 to X, +2 other proficiencies of your choice," so why not just give them all a +1 to X and then have the "+2 to proficiencies of your choice" in the generic chargen sections that apply to everyone? Augh.

And then there's Lateralism, which gives us -1(dice, not static) to Community:Presence checks, but only conditionally, so I guess it's up to the GM if anyone finds us unappealing for looking like a normal animal, and a -3(static, in this case) to the generically named "Operate" for anything that's not specifically made for us to use.

We get three of our family-specific "Reclaiming Surgeries" for free, and, having read ahead, the "reclaiming surgeries" are basically a bunch of stuff related to the animal's pre-furrification form that give bonuses. For reptiles, some of them are pretty rad. Nobody gets attacks of opportunity against us, so we can run right up to someone and suplex them, this pleases me, and we get an "automatic +1 cover bonus." Since I haven't read up on combat, I have no idea if this is bonus dice or a static bonus or what the hell it is. But I'm guessing it's good.


El Gecko with his favourite futuristic weapon: a folding chair

With that out of the way, we can start cracking on the raw numbers. Obviously our D12 is going to be assigned to our Body stats, El Gecko is a legend among brawlers, D10's for Mind and Community, and the D8 for Ledger, because El Gecko cares not about money, only justice and sick suplexes. Five of our eight dots for the Body/Mind side of things go to pushing Dexterity, Resilience and Strength up to three dots each(each starts at a free one, we get another one for free in Resilience from being a reptile), a further two go to Presence, because what's the point of a wrestler if he's not flashy, ridiculous and attention-grabbing? And the last goes into Acuity because we want to see enemies.

Our Mind stats are solid 1's because El Gecko has taken a lot of blows to the head from folding chairs over the years. Ledger also gets left entirely at 1, because El Gecko is too stupid to realize his corporate agent has been ripping him off on contracts ever since he was first signed up, and that leaves our six free dots on that side of things to be assigned to Community. We pick Acuity, Strength and Presence to get our dots since El Gecko is all about raw charisma, not about subtle maneuvering or figuring things out.

As is my habit by this point, I'd also love to point out all the potential character builds/concepts the system prevents. Remember that the 8/6 has to be assigned Body+Mind or Community+Ledger. So you can't, for instance, make a rich and popular celebrity, because anything applied to Community stuff(popularity) would make you poorer(Ledger). Likewise, anyone strong is basically draining away his brains. So you couldn't, for instance, make a poor and somewhat socially awkward(due to isolation) ascetic who's been meditating, training and studying for some task for the last five years.

pre:
                 Body(D12)/Mind(D10)/Community(D10)/Ledger(D8)

Dexterity       ***/*  /*  /*
Acuity          ** /*  /***/*
Resilience      ***/*  /*  /*
Strength        ***/*  /***/*
Presence        ***/*  /***/*
At this point we can start calculating a bunch of derived stats... the calculations for which were unhelpfully and pointlessly presented at the very start of the chapter, before we got into any numbers of any sort, but which are, helpfully, reproduced on the character sheet.

Hit Points: 60
Readiness: 2(I think this is our Initiative)
Movement: 6
Nerve: 10
Range: 6

Mind Dodge: 2
Mind Resist: 2
Body Dodge: 5(Edit from Future Purple: Despite what anyone might think, no, this isn't actually used in combat at all, except against grenades. You can't actually DODGE attacks at all.)
Body Resist: 6

Thankfully we have no loving clue what any of these numbers really mean, as all we've been told so far is really the difficulty for beating an unopposed roll(get 8 or above, with modifiers, on one of the dice we roll).

Next up, proficiencies! While our raw dots in something decide how many dice we roll, proficiencies are the static modifiers applied to all of our rolls. First we pick one corporation, and assign eight points to their allowed proficiencies. Then we pick a second, and assign six points to their allowed proficiencies. We also get +1 to a specific proficiency from our species, and a further +2 proficiency points to assign from it, but it appears there's no limitation on where we can assign those. We also can't have more proficiencies at 3, than we have dots in Mind:Strength, and nothing can be at 4 or higher at chargen.

Now, they hosed this part up a bit, because there's basically no proficiency you can't find by just taking two different corporations during chargen(fluff-wise they're the ones you've been raised by and worked for, respectively), yet MarsCo's entire "thing" is that they have access to all proficiencies... but none of them can be raised above two. There's literally no reason to pick MarsCo at all, it's 100% disadvantage. It's also a POINTLESS disadvantage, since at most you can have three proficiencies at 3 at chargen, and you can just raise those proficiencies, most likely only one or two, with the proficiency points you get from another corp and then pick all of your others from MarsCo! It's stupid.

Anyway, we go with Pulse because we're a jock, and raise "CQC"(Close Quarters Combat, apparently the catch-all melee/brawl skill) to three, or "Masterful," rating. None of the other skills seem particularly relevant to being a combat character at all(except for Ranged Combat, but obviously we won't be using that with El Gecko), so I'll save the proficiency points there for later in case it turns out that any of them have any actual combat application. Now, I'd like to point out that Operate is one of the proficiencies here, and that you can casually increase that to a +3 at chargen. Laterals get a -3 to Operate for anything not made for them, and that's applied to all laterals, whether they're snakes, dogs or whatever. With three d12 in whatever stat Operate uses, and the proficiency and penalty cancelling each other out, you've got a ~75% chance of success, meaning that a snake or a ferret can operate heavy industrial machinery about as well as a trained operator on most days.

I'm not sure if it's to their credit that it's possible to circumvent hard-set penalties and do ridiculous poo poo if you want to, or if it's the devs' failure that they made their supposed hard penalties so easily avoided.

We also get nebulous "allegiance points" for the corporations that we choose to have been raised by or been related to, but as most other things in this chargen so far, we really don't know the impact or importance of anything we're doing, but we're informed that it's on a scale of -5(worst enemy of a given corp) to +5(Board of directors!). Considering that +3 is the minimum necessary to be EMPLOYED, that's a very narrow loving hierarchy of power. Not much room for middle management.

quote:

Being an Employee of a megacorp as a player character is a little different than being a general, run of the mill corporate peon. Player characters are always considered valuable assets, and are held on retainer rather than being put behind a desk all day, which leaves them free to pursue their own interests until they’re needed.

Yes, this is what being employed is like.

But anyway, chargen isn't over yet! Now we have to pick a "Focus!" Skills are organized into five more or less arbitrary groups(for instance, CQC, Ranged Combat, Security and Survival are in the "Combat" group, but stuff like Athletics or Sneak, which would most certainly be relevant to a combat situation, definitely more so than Survival, a skill for surviving in rough terrain, are in the "Generic" group. Booksmarts is in the Science group, but not in the Engineering group. Streetsmarts are Generic, rather than Communication, and so on.). For each skill in a group that you have at 3 or higher, you can get a Focus Ability!

Focus Abilities are a bunch of abilities that can be used Once Per X, anything from once per Day to once per Combat to once per Session(a terrible measure, mind, some groups have short sessions, others have very long ones. And Days are lovely measures, too, some adventures have barely one encounter per day, others have dozens in short, compressed spans of time). The large majority of the abilities outside of the Communications group are all combat-related, though, having little roleplay use, and the Communications abilities can be mostly described as "how to make the GM hate you utterly," since they largely amount to "social mind control," that allows you to effectively brainwash NPC's without really having plans or arguments to back it up, and just go wherever and do whatever.

And, once again, this whole chapter is full of numerical bonuses that we still don't know the worth of. Is a potential +3 to damage for an entire fight worth it? Overpowered? Tiny? We don't know, because we have no idea how much damage anything does yet. What is a "Battle Pool," even, and why would I want a bonus to it? Some concepts can be deciphered just by their name, but what the gently caress is a "Battle Pool"? And of course there's also the usual paragraph-to-paragraph inconsistency we've come to know and love. An ability that temporarily boosts your Allegiance with a corporation to (by investing money from your ledger in them, and how, again, do we do that, if ledgers are all automated?) 3 gives you some pull with them and describes you as an "investor," but that doesn't make sense since we've been told that 3 is the bare minimum required to be an entry-level employee, so why would that give you any pull or interest to them at all, especially when the description states that they "know investors are temporary"? So it's effectively the same as them giving a temporary data entry monkey access to corporate benefits.

Actually taking any of these abilities before you've read how combat works or what equipment does wouldn't make any sense, so we'll put that on hold temporarily

Now we hit the "Ledger" part, i.e. how to figure out your starting funds. You add two of your Ledger stats together, roll 1d8 multiplied by that, and add 30. This is your starting money for weapons and armor, roll it again for your starting money for "general items"(what's a general item? Anything not gear and armor? What about implants that have offensive or defensive functions?) and roll it a third time for your starting savings, that you aren't allowed to use at chargen... but can use after the first session or whenever your GM arbitrarily states that you're allowed to. It's supposed to prevent players from making "too big" purchases right at the start of the game, but unless the GM rushes players into somewhere out on the cold fringes of civilization right away, I can't see how this would prevent the players from just saving some money for after the first session. It's stupid.

Also "any money not spent goes to your general funds," so, again, you can ignore their arbitrary start-up purchase categories and just save your money, then spend the first session going shopping(or second, if your GM is going to be retarded and follow the advice about restricting the savings).

How do we get more money? Our Ledger makes us more money at the end of literally every session. We roll a single Economy die(so if we've got our D12 in Economy, one of those), add our ledger score(those two stats added together from earlier, Econ:Strength and Econ:Presence) and then multiply it by the total number of dots we have in Economy. We can also make an Econ:Resilience+Finance and/or Econ:Acuity+Finance check. For every die we get on that which is 8 or higher(I assume that's what it means by "number of successes, since it's not been defined yet"), we get a success, and we multiply by number of successes(and if we get zero successes, multiply by zero, you fail). This is kind of a terrible decision if you've not focused in Economy, but it could basically mean that after a couple of lucky rolls from the first session, you've quadrupled or quintupled your starting funds and are now ridiculously rich.

There's an alternative rule which gives every player 75 credits, flat, at the end of every session instead of rolling for it. This, hilariously enough, basically invalidates all your Ledger stats and completely lopsides the entire chargen system by cutting out a quarter of it. Brilliant game design.

Anyway, on to Equipment! A category that already gives us some incredibly retarded things from basically the first page, like the Cleansweep(tm), made for Search and Rescue teams. It indicates lifeforms... and, on purpose, doesn't indicate where those lifeforms are, since it would make the search-and-rescue teams be lazy and not thoroughly sweep everything, if they could just, you know, head straight to whoever's trapped in the loving burning building or buried under the avalanche or whatever. Jesus Christ. The book even calls this design "annoying, but a good decision," yet never justifies why it was a good decision.

There's also a bunch of stuff I can't see why a PC would ever need, like a "Flowform Generator," that allows you to levitate water, and that's literally it. It's a bulky, complicated device that allows you to fling water into the air and keep it there, which, I guess, might be handy if you're fighting enemies in a boat or something, or if everyone can swim, you could make a hugely obvious set of stairs to let you swim to/from something, though since it caps out at 30 feet of height, I can't really imagine it being easier than just finding a loving ladder, and since it's huge and obvious it won't be useful for stealthily circumventing something. The field is also complicated to reposition, so it doesn't have any use as a portable device for drowning enemies or anything of that sort. And no, sadly, it must be from "pools at least a foot deep," we can't use it to levitate the water inside people and throw them all into the air then run past.

Remember how being a limbless or fingerless/thumbless lateral was supposed to come with disadvantages? Nope, for a tiny price(20 credits) that literally anyone can pay at chargen, you can have a telekinesis hat that allows you to glue guns to your head and push buttons(or pull triggers), albeit at short range, with your mind.

But most of the "general" category of equipment is frankly pretty forgettable, unless you really want to keep track of how many tents you've got or how many months' worth of rent you can pay. I have seriously yet to experience the gaming session that was made more exciting by figuring out whether the PC's could pay for their apartment or not. El Gecko doesn't care until we get to the weapons chapter, browsing through like fifty descriptions of futuristic assault rifles and reaching the "Hard Edge," which does our Body:Strength + 3 in damage(6, or maybe 7 to 14, because for some reason Hard Edges, despite being melee weapons, have an "ammo damage" listed as well, of d8, even though they don't actually use any ammo, being swords. I have no idea if its a misprint or intentional because it makes them pretty unambiguously the best possible weapon without even being the most expensive or hard to acquire), costs 50(the max we can start with among our three rolls is 168, but since we're already min/maxing a combat monster, obviously we rerolled until we got three maxed rolls while the GM was distracted) credits and is available from all corporations. We just choose that we aren't buying anything with our funds, El Gecko doesn't pay rent because he's always looking for new opponents to fight, and start the very first session by hitting up the nearest BuySpot to grab one, fluffed as looking like a folding chair with really sharp corners. We also glue the Vibrox boost to it for 20 credits, allowing it to basically ignore most armors and chip away at the remainder.

(Also, while all the generic gear, like drug injectors and tents, notes whether Micros/Taurs/Laterals can use it, or whether it costs more for them, nothing, at any point, makes such a distinction for weapons and armor, so presumably any dog can carry a Percussion Hammer in its teeth and wear power armor to make the Brotherhood of Steel jealous)

Speaking of armor, said chapter makes some annoying omissions that seem to refer to rules that were edited out at some point. Living Armor, for instance, can sometimes freak out and act on its own, rather than doing what you want it to(either berserking or sprinting for cover), and it says that when it does this, it uses its own stats, not necessarily yours. Yet at no point are its stats, or which specific stats it overrides, listed. It does work interestingly, though, rather than just being a static wall of defense, armor is a raw pool of extra hit points, which can be destroyed or worn down. This is actually something I'm a fan of, since it prevents annoying issues from other games where you need to make sure armor isn't so big that it makes half the party's attacks plink off while also keeping it high enough that the other half of the party can't just one-shot the big bad. Here, everyone can contribute to knocking chunks off of armor, and armor that doesn't give 100% coverage can still let "status effects" seep through.



Feeling relatively positive about these mechanics I then try to read the combat chapter and start feeling dizzy and nauseous due to the lovely organization of it. I'm still not entirely sure I understand how combat works, but... first, we look at our Readiness, one Body die + Readiness is our initiative score, highest always goes first, every round. 6+Readiness is how many things we can do in one round, some things eat up more than one point from this "Battle Pool"(and the number of times we can do a given action in a round is also limited by stats, stupid people, for instance, can only make one attack action per round, even though they can jog all over the battlefield) There's also a "Nerve Pool," a morale rating for each side, and if it drops too low for NPC's, they run, but... actually it's entirely meaningless to calculate or keep track of for players, it turns out, because the rules specifically say that the PC's can just elect that they're fighting on despite their Nerve Pool hitting zero. Why even HAVE this mechanic except for the hardcore grogs who MUST HAVE RULES for everything? There's even a paragraph later on pointing out that you can just go ahead and scrap the Nerve Pool entirely, but...

quote:

This system was designed to grant players a unique RPG combat experience in which caution and discretion is rewarded, rather than encouraging players and enemies to just rush into oncoming bullets with insane courage and kill whatever it is that’s bothering them at the time.

You're clearly murderhobo-loving swine if you want to play without the Nerve Pool.

There are also some surprises, for instance, ranged combat always uses Mind:Acuity as its stat, it doesn't matter how good your eyesight is, or how dexterous you are, or anything of the sort. All it takes is a stat previously described as...

quote:

Mind:Acuity represents your ability to perceive patterns. In everything. Hidden messages in code, connections between events, whether or not someone is related to someone else by virtue of their physical appearance. It also allows you to notice things others may miss. Often used in examining speech or text, this is typically combined with Booksmarts, Investigation or Spot to notice specific things about what you’re looking at. It is not used to physically locate something in a room.

Pattern-recognition. Pattern-recognition is the most important skill for firing a gun and hitting a target.

But, you know, who gives a drat about that. We've got a MELEE COMBATANT, here. After parsing the poorly written rules, I see that because we're stupid, we can only attack once per round, though we can sprint pretty well across the battlefield to bop the poo poo out of someone, also due to our huge Body:Dexterity, we roll 1d12+3 four times, and each result of 8 or greater is a hit. There's no dodging, or dodge skill, for melee. Or for ranged combat, for that matter, it appears that using cover is the only defensive action applicable to anything. I also think whoever designed the mechanic has played too many videogames, because you use cover by expending "defensive actions" to give enemies a penalty to hit you(assuming their shots would have to travel past the cover you're behind), but you get a penalty to your own attacks as well if you expend defensive actions before you make attacks, but since no one can attack you on your turn(barring you provoking attacks of opportunity by rushing past them), why not just assume that characters only actually take cover at the very end of their turn? Rather than adding a stupid GOTCHA rule if some STUPID NEWBIE does his actions in the wrong order?

In general a lot of the rules have weird things going on, two-weapon fighting, for instance, lets you reroll any of your main-hand weapon's attack dice, rather than giving you a boost to damage or letting you roll even more attacks, but warns that you "have to abide by the second roll." Which is weird, because you don't have to reroll the whole pool, by the wording, and there's no separation between a good success and a middling success, it's just a success, so just reroll the failures and leave the rest unrerolled. Also it doesn't care at all what your off-hand weapon is, as long as you have the Body:Dexterity and CQC needed to wield it, so you could pick up a stick and wave it around in your off-hand and still get the bonus.

Anyway, we've got four rolls that each have roughly a 75% chance to succeed, which means that we can easily succeed on 3 of them most of the time, at which point they do 7 to 14 points of damage each, for an average attack of 21 to 42 points of damage, with a further +3 to each attack that hits because we're a Lateral, which gives us a bonus bite as part of every succesful attack, jumping our damage from 30 to 51. This doesn't tell us a lot, but even the game's toughest armor for PC's only has 160 HP, and the average is closer to 40 or 50, meaning that EL GECKO can sprint up to enemies and shatter their expensive powered armor with a swing or two from his folding chair without much effort(or, actually, I remember, just plain IGNORE their armor if it's under 50, due to the Vibrox modification for his weapon, which most armor in the game is, or will be after the first hit or two). If we have an old branch in our off-hand, or a lead pipe or a small flag, anything that counts as a weapon to cheese the two-weapon rules, we can pretty much guarantee four hits per round, increasing us to 40 to 65 damage.

Taking a glance ahead to the "Adversaries" chapter, it's entirely possible for El Gecko to two-shot one of the supposedly near-undefeatable enemies of the setting, the "Whispers," or one-shot the "Palemen" that supposedly killed everyone who tried to investigate what was happening on Earth. The Whispers can do a pretty dangerous level of offense, but the weapons they're wielding are classed as "Medium" and hence can't parry El Gecko's "Hard Edge Folding Chair" which is classed as "Large." So it's pretty much down to whoever win's initiative whether he just wades into combat and smacks them around casually. In a shocking twist of the game devs actually remembering Laterals are around, they note that Laterals can't carry shields and weapons at the same time... unless they buy the aforementioned "magnet helmet" and attach the shield to it, suddenly making El Gecko with a large shield the equivalent to a mobile bunker(between the shield and his cover bonus for being a Lateral, enemies suddenly need a 12, not an 8, to hit him, meaning that a large number of enemies simply won't be ABLE to hit him at all. They'd need at the very least to be rolling D10's, and even then they'd need +2 or +3 on their Ranged Combat to land a hit, in melee the shield just works as an extra pool of HP), dual-wielding a stick in his teeth and a folding chair implausibly held in both front paws.

Also, in case you're about to call this post "ridiculous" for letting a gecko wield weapons... I'd like to point out that the "Lateral" morphism does not deny them the option to wield weapons and even, specifically, mentions them using weapons.

This is also what he can do prior to me taking a look at armor, cybernetics, reclaiming surgeries and magic, which would probably make him completely ridiculous even with the minimal money his Ledger stats would let him earn in a dozen or so sessions before the GM would start throwing the setting's "big bads" at the party.

It also turns out that Laterals, arbitrarily, can't grapple at all, except against other laterals, which seems bizarre to me, because some of the most dangerous animal attacks I've heard about, involve animals(like, say, alligators or crocodiles) latching on a human with their teeth and dragging them around, perhaps underwater, or just trapping them in a murderous, crushing bite.

And yes, in case you're wondering they put the huge rules/combat chapters in between the chargen/equipment chapters and the chapters with more chargen stuff like Reclaiming Surgery, cybernetics and becoming a Furry Space Wizard. Yes, this game has space magic, of course it does, we'll get to it.

I think this makes a pretty good initial case for them not having playtested their system worth poo poo, though. Next time, we'll see if Scrooge McDuck can somehow get the weapon with the "Annihilate" attribute(does 1000 damage worth to any target hit, or anything in between the weapon and the target. The strongest enemy and the strongest armor combined result in 260HP) from chargen or within a few sessions of it.

Edited to a URL instead of an in-post image because I realized it contained some furry rear end that someone's boss might not appreciate seeing if he happened to glance over their shoulder. Not spectacularly NSFW, but still, just in case.
http://i.imgur.com/sjSeUMs.jpg

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 16:21 on Jan 24, 2015

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Doresh posted:

So in the capitalistic furry future, you become a better marksman by being a paranoid conspiracy theory nutjob?

Just consult your numerology charts to figure out where the zionist reptoid government hollow mars conspiracy is going to position your enemy before he knows it.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


You know, I always felt like prestige classes were one of the worst features of every D20 thing, because they suffer from a few fundamental issues that make them loving terrible to design right. Firstly, they need requirements to get into that are reachable for a player without resorting to lovely, gimped-to-gently caress class/skill/feat combinations while in his original class, this isn't really one of the worst things, but I guess it must be harder to figure out than I thought, because they so often get it wrong. Secondly, they need to provide something useful... that runs in the same vein as their original class, to avoid all of their levels so far being basically wasted and them effectively starting over at 1st level(see, mage prestige classes that don't get more spells, fighter prestige classes that don't keep running with better fighting, etc.), but without overpowering their current schtick so it makes the rest of the party irrelevant and while still being so different that it's actually, well, different from just continuing in the same vein and they mustn't be too much more powerful, because continuing without a prestige class still needs to be viable.

It always seemed to me like it would've made more sense to just make all of these abilities that the base classes could eventually have gotten, and then let people design their own classes in the later game. Instead of a DEMON HUNTprestige class, let a Fighter pick a Favoured Enemy: Outsiders and some holy-related feats(or unholy, if you want to do some edgy, anti-hero FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE thing), don't make him take a prestige class for it.

The whole "prestige class" thing could have worked well, but it's full of so many incredibly dangerous pitfalls that can make a prestige class useless, unfun or overpowered that it just does not ever, to me, seem worth the trouble of doing it instead of just, say, designing a relatively robust system of feats and options for higher levels of the base classes. That would also have resolved the atrocious loving splat bloat of supplements introducing a new base class for every loving thing.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Feats were a fine idea, as a concept it meant that you'd have a base class, say, Fighter or Cleric, and then you'd customize and specialize by adding feats to, say, have access to skills you normally would not, special maneuvers, to focus on certain spell schools/spheres, to grab a bunch of abilities normally reserved for another class(to make a stealthy fighter, or a wizard who could wear platemail or whatever). In practice it just turned out to be a bunch of meaningless +1's and +2's that never scaled with level/stats and were largely meaningless except for one or two utterly broken ones and the ones that gave you access to broken prestige classes.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Waffleman_ posted:

Probably still better than Slayers d20.

I actually player Slayers D20 once. I remember my main experience being that everything suddenly seemed needlessly complicated, at least compared to 3rd ed D&D, and that making a character that could actually do something seemed like a challenge. Mind, that's some years ago now, not sure what I'd think about it these days.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


I'm noting that all the animals in Ironclaw seem to be birds and mammals. What about aquatic animals, insects, reptiles, etc.? Are those added in another supplement, reserved for villains, etc.? Or are they just not in the game as anything except normal animals?

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

:language:

Ironclaw is really bizzare. Those pictures have furry characters in them, but they don't make me want to roll my eyes, or feel uncomfortable at all.

I think it's just that it's obvious that whoever was drawing this wasn't jerking off to it, they just thought that a badass rhino warrior would be a cool thing. The setting also doesn't look to take itself too seriously so far, like, serious things happen, but there's still room for humor and the fact that we've gotten to character creation without any ranty screeds from the creators about the superiority of furries or libertarianism means that, gasp, maybe someone just made a fun game to do fun things in.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


CommissarMega posted:

One of the neat things about Ironclaw is that with a few exceptions, reptiles and insects take the place of 'regular' animals, so Avoirdupois knights ride on bipedal lizards, pseudo-dinosaurs are yoked to till the soil etc.

As cool as that is, it's also kind of a shame, because lizardpeople and bugpeople are rad as gently caress.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones

Scrooge McDuck: Capitalist Space Marine



So last time we discovered that simply pouring all your skill points into physical stats let you effectively murder anything you could get close to, up to and including the setting's supposed horrifying big bads that killed everyone on Luna. And you could do this as a gecko. But what if you didn't ignore all your ledger stats? What could you do then? Could you, perhaps, get a "V-801 Mag-Lance," a weapon with the attribute "Annihilate," which means the weapon does a staggering total of 1000 damage. In a line, counting off damage for every object(like cover) or enemy in that line, until all 1000 points are spent or all objects and characters along the line's passage which are hit, are eradicated?

That's a good question. The Mag Lance costs 1000 credits. It also has a size of "LAN" or "Lift-Assistance Needed," which means we can't move-and-shoot with it in the same turn without a Body:Strength of five, only achievable with a suit of powered armor(at least at chargen). It doesn't matter much since the Mag Lance specifically requires you to stand still to fire it anyway, but since the best suit of powered armor in the game, enough to let us actually survive a round of beatings from El Gecko(but not two rounds of it), only costs 500, we may as well see if we can get that, too. So our goal is to see how fast it's possible to milk 1500 credits out of the game's lovely Ledger mechanics.

So anyway, let's get started. Obviously we're going to be Family: Avialae, which gives us a +1 to Body: Acuity and lets us fly. Sadly, the closest we'll get in Species is simply Bird, so we're a Bird Bird who happens to look duck-like. Our "Morphism" will simply be the plantigrade/digitigrade one that means we look perfectly normal and don't freak anyone out.

pre:
                 Body(D8)/Mind(D10)/Community(D10)/Ledger(D12)

Dexterity       *  /***/*  /*  
Acuity          ** /***/*  /***
Resilience      *  /*  /*  /***
Strength        ***/*  /*  /***
Presence        *  /*  /*  /***
On the left side of our stat spread, we pick up some Strength so we can carry our huge gun, we then grab some Mind:Dexterity and Mind:Acuity, the former lets us make more attacks in a round(assuming we have enough points in our Battle Pool) and also improves our initiative, while the latter lets us actually have a chance of hitting stuff, and also increases the range we can hit at. On the right side, obviously, we attempt to crank our moneymaking to maximum. We ignore Economy:Dexterity since all we can use it for is rerolls, while the others let us maximize our rolls.

So how much does this min/maxing actually get us to start with?

Our Ledger Score is Econ:Presence + Econ:Strength, so 6. Our starting cash is three rolls of (1d8*Ledger Score)+30, so minimally 114, maximally 234. Not quite enough to start out with a Mag Lance, admittedly. How many sessions would it take us to actually afford our instakill weapon, though?

quote:

Ledger Balance: Roll an Economy die and add your Ledger Score to the result; every dot you have in Economy is worth that many credits today.Add them all up and add the result to your Credit total.

So we get between 91 and 234 credits at the end of every session, simply as a default. On top of that, we can gamble with our profits by rolling Econ:Resilience and/or Econ:Acuity + Finance, with the former multiplying our Ledger Score by number of successes(every roll over 8), and the latter doing the same, but for our final profit result. We're obviously going to max out our Finance, so all our rolls are 1d12+3, meaning that it's basically impossible for us to get 0 successes on either roll and no multipliers whatsoever, and relatively likely that we'll get a multiplier of 2.

Assuming we just get average luck on our very first roll and get two multipliers of 2? 338 to 624 credits at the end of a session. Meaning that even if we completely flub most of the rolls involved, within three or four sessions(or less, if we get lucky, and it wouldn't even require getting that lucky) we could be hauling around an instakill weapon that can take down every pre-generated enemy in the setting and pretty much anything else the GM can generate. Give us a couple more sessions and we can be firing our weapon from a suit of powered armor that's basically like having our very own mech. Firing the weapon requires not having made any "move actions" the turn you're firing, or the turn prior, meaning that, going by the rules as written, you can just start firing on the first round of combat. The description makes it sound as though you need to spend an action setting up the weapon, but the rules for it don't actually require that, simply that you're not moving. So even in the middle of a fight, you can spend two turns firing off some other weapon, without moving, and then fire the Mag Lance, or you can simply fire the Mag Lance on the first round of combat since, with it being the first round, you haven't actually made any actions in the rounds before. And once we fire the weapon, it's basically all over for anyone we're firing it at, since even under the worst of possible circumstances(highest cover bonus), we've got about an 80% chance of hitting someone, and enough damage points to destroy an armored bunker and whoever's inside.

There's also some extremely poorly worded rules about our attacks being disrupted if we get hit in the round before we act(but since we don't declare our actions until our turn, we can just do something else if we get hit), but the way it's phrased "if you take hit point damage," suggests that as long as its our armor getting knocked around, and not us, we're still in the clear. And having our mecha power armor destroyed in one round would require a GM so out to get us that any fuckery we do within the realm of the rules would be meaningless anyway.

On top of all of that, the fact that we can also fly and buy powered armor to basically make us invisible is kind of chump change.

As mentioned, they also tucked away all of the cybernetics and surgery after the rules/combat chapter, for some reason, which I can kind of understand, because it's hugely underwhelming, even compared to the rest of the book. There are barely modifications, and about a third of them are basically cosmetic, while the remainder come with huge drawbacks or offer you stuff that you can get much cheaper just by buying it(like having built-in armor. Have fun paying twice as much as you would for powered armor that's three times as effective and boosts your stats, too!). Then there are the Reclaiming Surgeries, which vary between the neat and the retarded, but are mostly only things that Laterals would bother with(because they get them for free). Now, keep in mind, as I mentioned earlier, the fluff for all of the "Reclaiming Surgeries" is that they're about re-activating genes that your particular brand of animal had back when it was still an animal, and not an anthro thing, so...

Since when have dogs had genetically superior work ethic and healing saliva? Because those are some of the things they can recover with Reclaiming Surgeries. Also note that while dogs get these chump change boosts, reptiles get to be poisonous, scale sheer walls and regenerate lost limbs. So much for game balance.







Of course, I also promised you that there'd be space wizards in these chapters beyond the rules chapters, and drat straight, there are space wizards or, as the game calls it, "Transcendent Implants." Unfortunately, you can't even build your concept about being a space wizard or starting as one, the highest possible starting allegiance for a corporation is 2, and they require 4 before you can buy any, meaning that it's basically entirely down to GM benevolence whether you ever will have access to them, especially since only one corporation sells them. After getting one, it's also entirely possible that it'll be randomly locked at a power level where using it is literally suicidal.

Implants function at "Cuil"-levels, the higher the level, the stronger the effect(and the stronger the side effects), at level 5, using it means you die or stop being a PC in some fashion, usually in a very dramatic way. Your implant's Cuil level, at implantation, is decided by rolling 1d10-(Mind:Presence+Body:Presence), with a maximum result of five. Keep in mind that while Mind:Presence sort of makes sense for this, as it's effectively your "spiritual wholeness"-stat, Body:Presence does not make even a whit of sense for this, as it's your "physical beauty"-stat. But hey, sure, I guess being really loving pretty makes you good at harnessing the POWER OF THE STAR GODS or whatever the poo poo this stuff is.

You also have a 1 in 4 chance of the implant you getting spontaneously turning into another implant after installation. Just because gently caress you, dear player, for wanting to have fun with space magic.

Did I mention that some environmental effects, critical failures and Transcendent Implant usages can also escalate Cuil levels? Because self-destructing meaninglessly is what translates to "fun!"

quote:

If you took a Transcendent Implant and did not have enough Trait points to prevent the chance of a Cuil 5 implant, you leaped into this a little earlier than you should have. None the less, it is the character’s choice if they want to use their implant or not, and it could lead to a rather spectacular end depending on the situation. You can still use the small, utilitarian functions of your implant even if it’s Cuil 5, but if something should occur to force its activation, the You that was will be no more.

quote:

if something should occur to force its activation, the You that was will be no more

Man, who doesn't just love even more chances of random death?

But just to make things better, you don't always have to be at Cuil 5 to have your implant be useless and/or fatal to use! Let's take the Translocation implant, for instance. At Cuil 1 it lets you teleport(note, though, that as far as I can tell, the combat chapter doesn't seem to explicitly note what kind of action using these implants is. Is it movement? Offense? Standard? Support?) a given number of hexes in a fight. At Cuil 2, the same, but with a chance of being a bit off on your location. At Cuil 3, it drags along everything around you and the minimum warp distance is 10 miles... on a roll of 1 on the scatter die, you arrive a mile under your target location, if you arrive inside something solid, you die. Better hope you're teleporting to somewhere with a lot of caves. At Cuil 4...

quote:

4 Cuils: You and everything around you in a 100 foot radius translocate to an extreme location.
Roll a d10.
1-2: Earth
3-4: Mars
5-6:Venus
7-8: Random inhabited Jovian moon
9-10: Space
Once you arrive at your target world, refine your position using the rules in the previous Cuil. If you roll 9 or 10, roll the dice again to determine which planet’s orbit you arrive in. If you roll a 9 or 10 twice, you don’t arrive in an orbit at all. Your character arrives in the black with no point of reference, perhaps not even in the same solar system, and is effectively lost forever.

We've confirmed that Earth would be suicide to arrive on(unless you're El Gecko or Scrooge McDuck five sessions into the game, anyway). Mars, Venus and an inhabited Jovian moon are alright, empty interplanetary space is basically the same as death, pretty much. Of course, you may also get 9-10 twice and get warped out of the game, or the Cuil 3 rules might dump you inside solid rock or something. loving, awesome, right?

Excitation, or Pyrokinesis, at Cuil 4, has a 25% chance of throwing your mind into the void after briefly turning you into a fire elemental. Excitation, or Telekinesis, has a 37.5% chance of instantly destroying your body if you touch anything after activating it at Cuil 4. And on, and on, and loving on. Most of the powers are handy at Cuil 1, useable with danger at Cuil 2, then at Cuil 3, some of them remain useful while others are basically game-ruining/character-ruining, and Cuil 4 are pretty much always fatal or have a really high chance of being fatal, just in a slightly less instantaneous way than Cuil 5.

And remember, just a single one of these poo poo-tastic implants costs 1500 Credits, as much as it would cost Scrooge McDuck to become a living tank with the Annihilate-effect weapon that, I'll just remind you, can't backfire and wipe him out of reality.

So, they managed to somehow make a version of the psionics from Eclipse Phase which are even more useless to the player, despite largely involving the cool, reality-breaking exsurgent poo poo that you wished your PC could get to play with. That's a loving accomplishment!





I feel like I've been reviewing this loving game forever. But thankfully we should be down to just one loving post after this, one last post of lovely art and shittier writing.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

Why are there space wizards, exactly? Just 'It's sci fi, we called it psionics, we don't gotta explain poo poo'? A function of how much better furries are than those stupid HYOOMANS?

There are space wizards because for very vaguely explained reasons, TTI figured out the stuff that made the evil space crystal monster guys function(the hideous red things from several posts back), and decided to plug part of that into people, a discovery that doesn't actually result in anything besides these hugely useless implants.

Like there aren't any cool reality-breaking weapons or armor or anything, even the living armors and the living spaceships are(if I'm parsing the terrible writing right) powered by Progenitus' Vitae stuff(the stuff that liberates you from all biological necessities and lets you ignore any degree of injury as long as you've got a steady supply of it, and which is for some reason regarded as unnatural and terrible), rather than TRANSCENDENT TECHNOLOGY.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Tasoth posted:

Oh hey, a metric system for monkey cheese. Sounds like a good idea to me.

quote:

Transcendent implants work off a concept of abstracted reality. When active, the implant transcends its dedicated task into a layer of existence that sits beyond it, abstracted by a certain amount from established reality. Perhaps, in the normal layer, a plant is green when you look at it. In the next layer, that plant may be a puppy instead. The severity of the abstraction is measurable using a system TTI unearthed from ancient Earth datastreams a Cuil, which begins at 0 for general reality and ascends at one digit per level from there.

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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Kurieg posted:

I love the fact that it's basically magic in any other sense in that you need to have a certain stat spread to be able to use it. But It allows you to use it anyway even if you don't, and if you roll really bad on the dice then your character ceases to be because the game must punish you for your hubris.

Yeah, note that even with maxed(at chargen, at least) Mindbeauty and Bodybeauty, when getting one of these implants, you still have a 1 in 10 chance of it having a minimum Cuil of 4 and hence being suicide to ever use, and even if you got one of the implants where the tier 4 isn't guaranteed or highly likely suicide(I think there's maybe one of those), then you have a 25% chance of getting one of the others instead, no matter what your stats are, just because gently caress you!

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