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Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I'm pretty sure a number of White Wolf writers got death threats over it too.

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Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Spoilers Below posted:

Well, does seem like a pretty direct shot across the bow when the old line that was about how great playing make believe is, and how the realm of dreams is this bright and wonderful place that is slowly and inevitably crushed to death under the horrors of growing up and the "real" world and its banal explanations for everything, this old game is replaced with a new one about how all that childish wonder and merriment is a cheap disguise for horrible abuse and psychological damage and a crippling inability to fit into the real world, leaving its victims forever caught between the make believe world they now see for the damaged horror that it is, and the old lives they can never fit back into.

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

Of course the result, as he noted, was that when you get a bunch of 20-somethings awkwardly milling around with GI Joes you don't get that spontaneous "hey, let's play!" instinct that a lot of young children have where they can dig into a toychest and start having action figure battles or swooshing around spaceships like it's the most natural thing in the world. Where did that wonderful, freewheeling sense of imagination go? This, he concluded, was a perfect analogy for the encroachment of capital-B Banality upon a Changeling's existence.

And I cannot remember for the life of me, though I suspect I already know the answer, whether it ever occurred to this guy that he and his coworkers spent an abundant amount of their free time sitting around a table playing make-believe with one-another, pretending to be vampires and werewolves and wizards. Of all the White Wolf games new or old, oChangeling has always struck me as just about the least self-aware of the bunch, and that's counting Aberrant with its "this game about superpowered beings in funny outfits having fistfights totally isn't a superhero game" essay.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Changeling: the Dreaming - otherkin before otherkin.

Seriously though, I'm kind of surprised that you don't see more about C:tD in regards to things like otherkin/headmate/tulpa "subculture" and all its attendant craziness since everything out of Autumn People reads like it came off someone's Tumblr (the magical world of imagination, jocks and prom queens are agents of banality and conformity, kill your television EXCEPT FOR DOCTOR WHO AND MY LITTLE PONY, working for a living sucks, etc). If White Wolf weren't a shell of its former self these days they'd have a fertile new audience to court.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Mr. Maltose posted:

White Wolf has moved on to the more fertile fields of not making poo poo games.

Don't sell them short, there's still plenty of time for Exalted 3E to make up for that.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Still though, it's pretty telling that the almost-immediate reaction to nMage's "Atlantean" backstory even from the writers' side of things was a unified backing away from that concept throughout the supplementary material and plenty of wordcount devoted to downplaying, reworking, or flat-out ignoring it. I think it's pretty fair to say that Atlantis was something of a flop.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Not to dogpile but I'm not sure how anyone could realistically have thought that a hojillion-page dungeon crawl using EVERY MONSTER EVER could actually wind up being anything more than an unfocused mess, d20 system or no.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Flip a coin between TechNoir and Hollowpoint, I'd be interested in hearing about either of them (or both).

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Deadlands (the Weird West one that is) also had the benefit of being an actual historical setting with crazy anachro-tech instead of "it's actually 21xx but everything is exactly like Victorian England because of reasons."

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Is it wrong of me that I don't actually want The Everlasting to end? :allears:

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

On the other hand, if they possessed any self-awareness they probably wouldn't have made the game in the first place, which means we wouldn't be here now getting to marvel over this incredible journey of personal mythweaving and candle-lighting.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Alien Rope Burn posted:

There is that little OSR subset that really, really likes to fixate on body horror and parasitism (I'm reminded of Yellowdingo's blog back when it was up, which had basically 101 versions of Ophiocordyceps). A creature that fires parasitic eyes into you would be an interesting idea for one strange encounter amongst a variety, but Raggi just likes going back to the well of being infested again and again.

I blame ear-seekers, personally.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I think I have that same skull-spider in an old high school notebook somewhere around here.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I'm glad I could have a part in getting Ettin back on the Cthulhutech wagon.

Anyway, I vote for Ancient Enemies too because it sounds like a good idea (tagers) executed in a goofy and dumb and maybe terrible fashion, which is like cthulhutech.txt so go with that.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Once you start asking why something's the way it is in a Rifts book, that's a rabbit hole with no end in sight.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

It's funny because I'm sure someone somewhere has made the same argument about The Everlasting: Book of the Unliving before. "No man, you just have to think in terms of narrative and symbols. And candles, lots of loving candles. No, more than that, more candles. Yeah, there you go. Now we're ready for some Legendmaking."

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

The thing about Rifts is even the setting isn't really that good. Like, it's not just the rules that are frequently stupid, the setting details and NPCs and factions as presented in the books are also pretty dumb (especially later on in the line when Sembieda starts masturbating to the Coalition). If you want "crazy post-apocalypse mashup time" there are plenty of other games out there that cover that...you've got the most recent Gamma World, Day After Ragnarok, octaNe, Apocalypse World isn't quite as gonzo but you've got playbooks for dolphins in hardsuits and cryonically preserved soldiers from the world before so gently caress it, etc. And that's not counting things like "throw a dozen ideas into a blender, run in FATE."

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Halloween Jack posted:

Sometimes I think that it would be cool to run the RIFTS setting in a narrative game, but...no. I don't really want to run the RIFTS setting. More like, imagine that a RIFTS book actually had an index. Take all the cool-sounding words like Psi-Stalker and Cyber-Knight and run a gonzo mashup based on that.

You could probably do a pretty sweet two-page seed game ala Ghost/Echo that way.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Halloween Jack posted:

Ooh, man, I dunno about that. It sounds like solving 80s design with 90s design.

For Rifts that would still be an improvement though.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Say what you will about Gygax but at least the very first iteration of D&D was laser-focused, knew what it wanted to be, and got the equivalent in stress testing that maybe no RPG since has ever had. Later Gygax would go on to do stuff like AD&D2E and Lejendary Journeys or whatever it was, but at least Gygax can lay claim a game that wasn't just a huge kludgey mess. Even if you pare Rifts down to nothing but the core rulebook it's still kind of crap.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

FMguru posted:

Actually, there were three companies: I forgot that guy who bought out their IP in the 2000s and tried to relaunch it, only to become the dictionary definition of a nerd with a dream and a line of credit but less than zero business sense. What a trainwreck that was.

That would be Eric Gibson, who had a dream of revitalizing the d6 system as a hot new OGL property with a line of GURPS-esque multi-purpose supplements, but the big draw at the time was that Bill Coffin (the same guy who once ripped Kevin Sembieda a new one on RPGnet after years of frustratedly working for Palladium, among other things) was penning a brand new epic sci-fi game called Septimus about refugees from a collapsing interstellar empire seeking refuge in a mysterious Dyson Sphere only to find out that there's an RPG setting going on inside.

Septimus got people pretty hype (myself included), which got people hype for The New WEG by association. Then, like you say, it turned into a complete trainwreck. Septimus the game was pretty much done and ready to be printed but delays kept cropping up, necessitating that the print date keep getting pushed back...and pushed back...and pushed back...and eventually it all just sort of fell apart. Did I mention that a bunch of people pre-ordered Septimus (myself included)?

I did actually get my pre-order money refunded after a while, though I have no idea how many other people did, and Eric Gibson had the typical RPGnet angry game designer flounce when people wouldn't stop being mean to him over his complete and utter clusterfuck. Bill Coffin did actually wind up releasing Septimus in digital format for free if you want to check it out. The punchline is that it's mostly kind of forgettable.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Man, that brings me back. Christ what an rear end in a top hat.

And yeah, the greatest missed opportunity of the Septimus debacle is that Kickstarter wasn't around then to make it into an even bigger trainwreck.

edit; oh poo poo, I totally missed this one the first time around.

Eric Gibson posted:

Which is why I do not now, nor can I ever foresee me soliciting handouts or charity. It is against my principals as an Objectivist. What I have asked of people is -- patience, which that alone is a difficult thing for me to ask for.

Kai Tave fucked around with this message at 17:32 on Jul 25, 2014

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Ratpick posted:

Hungry Ghost basically turns you into everyone's best friends, but also lets you get off on their sadness. When the Ghost lets someone dump their problems on them, the Ghost rolls with Dark. On a 10+ the dumper loses all their conditions, but the Ghost either marks experience, gets to carry one forward, or gains a String on them. On a 7-9 the person dumping their problems chooses to either lose all their conditions or to gain a String on the Ghost. I don't quite get the theme behind this move, but apparently it turns you into a ghostly shrink?

It turns you into a sin-eater.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Iron Maiden APC-10


Hope you're on nice, flat terrain for those side-mounted missiles.

You know what a great idea is when you're designing an armored vehicle? Strapping a bunch of exposed, lightly armored explosives to the side.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Rifts always seemed pretty schizophrenic about the whole "post apocalypse" thing because on the one hand you have things that point to the post-rifts world being some hardscrabble existence cobbled together from the shattered remnants of the old world shot through with a bunch of weirdness from other dimensions and then on the other hand you have long masturbatory sections detailing various nations' military infrastructure and there are a bazillion corporations and factories just churning out tons of advanced technology and magitechnology and alien technology and all that poo poo, which implies that the apocalypse was really more of an inconvenience than anything.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

It also serves to highlight just how much of the threat the Coalition poses is down to Sembieda going "because I said so!" because in a setting chockablock full of power armor and killer robots and MDC mega-weaponry in the hands of random mercenary companies let alone the apparently numerous corporate enclaves littering the post-apocalyptic landscape, a bunch of illiterate Nazi chucklefucks with a hardon for skulls squatting in Chicago who don't even have the sense to use magic should be, at best, a localized threat but instead they're the big bad boogeyman (though they're secretly noble and really just misunderstood you guys) that everyone's too powerless to do anything about.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I assume they all have special magic fusion reactors that can also function as water desalinators like that one movie with Keanu Reeves.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

An entire book devoted to the subject seems a bit excessive though. Like Mors said, it's a shockingly respectful and well-written book that nobody is ever going to use (I'm sure someone somewhere did try to use it and I'm sure it was a trainwreck). That said, Charnel Houses is the exception that proves the rule of most attempts at writing "mature subject matter" for RPGs being thoroughly awful.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Let's be fair here, there are plenty of other non-Black Dog WW books that were also pretty dire too.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

LornMarkus posted:

That last bit is where you're losing people, I'm pretty sure. Mostly people play their characters straight and even many actor-types will still only allow their characters to dive into inevitable badness based on clearly defined and obvious potential rewards from a character perspective. The thief runs off to rob a crime boss even though the player and everybody else knows it's a bad idea because that loving score! The problem they're having here is that they're systematically encouraged to do those things but often those incentives don't translate in character: the Fae does those things and causes drama because that's just what they do and not for any particular goal, as it's been described up to this point.

Monsterhearts, by default, is a game about high school students. I'd say if people can't figure out "what's my motivation?" as a supernaturally empowered high school student that they aren't trying hard enough. What do high school students usually want? To be popular, to be accepted, to be respected, to be taken seriously, to get revenge, to impress someone, to score, etc.

I don't think Monsterhearts has to be for everyone any more than any other game does, it's perfectly fair to say "eh, not my bag," but I think it's kind of silly to say that characters in Monsterhearts have no incentives to kick up a whirlwind of drama just because it's not a game where you steal and kill and wreak general havoc like most RPGs.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

PresidentBeard posted:

I think one of the biggest disconnects is that Monsterhearts demands that you be invested in your character from the get go for it to really function, as plots are primarily player driven and seem to be helped by spur of the moment emotional decisions. This is unfortunately at odds with how a lot of people play RPGs, only gradually becoming invested in the story and characters through the experience of several sessions. For instance you might not care if Bork the Barbarian dies in the first session of D&D because you haven't really done much with him, but would care if he died after a three month campaign. Monsterhearts is asking you to care right away and that takes a different frame of mind or less you end up with no motivation.

I don't really think this is the case though, at least not to the degree you're describing it. Bork the Barbarian doesn't need to be a rich deep character for the player to say "Bork wants to slay powerful monsters and get rich, bam, motivation." Likewise you don't need extensive buy-in with a Monsterhearts character. "Molly wants to be the most popular person in school no matter who she has to step on to do it." That's all you really need to get the ball rolling.

What Monsterhearts requires is players recontextualize the sorts of goals and motivations they're used to. In most RPGs that's stuff like killing the bad guys, getting rich, saving the world, or some combination thereof. Monsterhearts is mainly a game of high schoolers who have high school motivations, they just also happen to be supernatural creatures.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I think highlighting sex in particular is a better thematic choice for Monsterhearts though given the source material it's cribbing from. In the case of Apocalypse World I agree that it seems a bit like "and by the way, here are the aftereffects when your character has sex with someone, fyi."

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

And that's totally fine. My point hasn't been "you have to like Monsterhearts or else," just that Monsterhearts isn't a game where motivation is nebulous and/or nonexistent.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Greg Stolze's Out of the Violent Planet sort of does that in the sense that there are various alien races out there and every single one of them has psychic powers, all of them, which means that all forms of conflict are basically decided by psychic strength. One side psionically dominates the other, they win. Or you can telepathically puppet other races to be your slave-soldiers.

So everything revolves around psychic powers except some aliens land on Earth one day and learn the hard way that humans have no psychic affinity but this also means that humans aren't very susceptible to psychic powers and that we've invented these crazy things called "guns" that nobody else has ever needed before because hey, psychic powers. Suddenly humans are thrust into the intergalactic scene as a combination of highly sought-after mercenary force and dangerous wildlife.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

It helps that Spycraft doesn't really have a "wizard" class that gets 100 different ways to invalidate the rules that they can shuffle around after a nap.

Spycraft is one of those games that I recognize as being a fairly well-designed game, especially for being a d20 derivative...one thing you can't accuse it of is being a quick-and-dirty cash grab like a lot of d20 shovelware...but these days it's just too much fiddly stuff for me. Like this right here:

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

Mechanics referenced but not encountered yet: interests, class skills, knowledge checks, combat tricks, contacts and connect grades, npc grades, focuses and fortes, wound points, weapon proficiencies, lots of different feats and skills, gear picks, request checks, some combat actions.

is one of the worst things about Spycraft. It heaps tons of stuff on you if you try to knuckle down and plow your way through this dense tome of interconnected rules that play off each other and you're basically forced to flip to and fro to piece it all together in your head because, like ThisIsNoZaku says, character creation opens up with a few familiar concepts (like D&D stat arrangement) and then promptly launches into a huge list of characteristics which themselves reference a dozen different things that won't be explained until later in various chapters.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Literally every game of SpyCraft I have played in, or seen other people playing in, has always always always involved the GM

A). using a variant gear system (generally one produced by Crafty Games themselves), and

B). handling all the gear poo poo themselves.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I'm not sure that SpyCraft being a game for the sort of person who looks at a 3.X-derived system and goes "okay, but how can we make it even more fiddly?" really counts as a big reveal at this point.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

The Tau supplement seemed a little slapdash in more than that respect. As I recall it doesn't give starting wounds for any of the careers, for example. That said I imagine if it was a full-fledged supplement rather than a little mini .pdf deal it might have had more stuff to it but as it is I don't think FFG was guessing wrong when they figured that most of the people buying it wanted guns and battlesuits.

To me the very best thing about Dark Heresy 1E will always be how completely and thoroughly hyped everybody was to finally, finally see an official, for-real 40K RPG, the initial 200 limited edition corebooks selling out in six minutes, the game gets its full-fledged release on January 25th at GenCon '08...and on January 28th Games Workshop shuts down their Black Library imprint "to allow them to focus on the commercial success of their novels and core business," killing Dark Heresy almost immediately after release.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

NGDBSS posted:

Don't forget the reference to Doomrider, a Chaos Space Marine biker of some (silly) repute.

Doomrider is an actual wargame unit though, preceding the meme he became on /tg/ by a while.

Halloween Jack posted:

The first problem I have with the 40k games in general is how much loving work it is to create a character. It's a bad idea for a game where "life is cheap and death is random" to a) have complicated chargen and b) have your chargen choices matter a lot. 40k PBPs are really popular on this forum, and get a lot of submissions, so my desire to put hours of work into creating a character is :geno:

The second problem is that the 40k RP system seems to me like one of those systems that is really crunch and detailed to little or no purpose. Chief example, there's a poo poo-ton of equipment and combat-related Talents, but does that result in a combat system with interesting tactical choices?

To your first point, something that bears mentioning is that almost all the 40K PbP games here give out a decent chunk of bonus XP to start which adds to the work that goes into making a character. Default starting level 40K RPG characters aren't really super complicated to make. A lot of the stuff that goes into a character comes pre-assigned, then you get a little dollop of extra XP on top of that. For example in Only War, a fresh-faced character gets 600xp to spend, 300xp if they're a support specialist like a Commissar or a Tech-Priest. That 600xp is enough to get, on average, buy about one to three advances of some sort depending on their cost (sometimes you can squeeze more out of it if you pick up stuff that's super cheap for your character).

As to the second point, kinda sorta maybe not really. Nothing you purchase, either gear-wise or talent-wise, is exactly going to radically shift your combat paradigm. Some stuff can change how you approach things...there's a talent that lets you fire heavy weapons without bracing them first which obviously improves your ability to remain mobile while using support weapons, the talent that lets you stand up for free seems kind of pedestrian but since being prone makes you harder to shoot it gives you the ability to play an actual Prone Shooter, etc., but in general it's not that much more tactical than any other RPG in that regard.

I will say that in terms of "a band of murdery misfits have adventures involving lots of small-unit shootouts" that I find it runs much more smoothly than something like, say, Shadowrun. Suppressing fire is actually a useful tactic as opposed to "an option that exists, but sucks," being a melee-oriented dude is definitely supported (and viable) alongside ranged characters, the actual fight moves quicker since each attack isn't a contested roll followed by a soak roll followed by maybe another roll for knockdown, and it eventually developed rules for mobs of mooks treated as a single coherent unit that help give you that "mowing down cultists with a heavy bolter" experience without literally requiring the GM run 30 individual NPCs in a fight.

The 40K games have a lot of ugly bumps and warts, they're definitely not cutting edge elfgame tech, but they work reasonably well for what they are.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Yeah I know. While I'm on the subject FFG's editing is at least no worse than Catalyst's :v:

But for serious, the 40K games are an example of "lots of fiddly modifiers and poo poo everywhere, but when bullets start flying it actually runs pretty quick." A good comparison in that regard might be Eclipse Phase except 40K for all its cruft has waaaaaaay simpler chargen than Eclipse Phase.

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Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Evil Mastermind posted:

The big problem with DH's math is that it's built with the assumption that you're going to be doing the minor actions that give you bonuses to hit, like aiming, taking cover, and so on.

Thankfully, they fixed that in RT, but it's still a pain in the rear end because if you're expected to always take time to aim, why not just increase the base weapon skill?

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.

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