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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Alien Rope Burn posted:

The more I go back and read old World of Darkness the more I think of Everlasting.

It's like all the 90s supernatural games start to congeal into one indistinguishable, loathsome mass.
Everlasting just takes everything about oWoD and pushes it to 11.

One thing I've noticed in the writeups is that a lot of the stuff that was implied in oWoD (like "science bad!") is flat-out stated in Everlasting. It's kind of amazing; I guess the designer thought that the real problem with the WoD games was that they were a little too subtle about the point they were making.

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Rockopolis posted:

The pair of quotes requested before
Twilight:2000 is the only RPG I ever encountered where the in-character fiction was good and added to the product. It was short - usually a paragraph or two - and made its point (usually sharp and funny and laconic and ironic and blackly humorous) and got out. They perfectly set the mood of the game and didn't come across like the combination homework/chore and bad fanfiction that most RPG rulebook fiction does. I wish RPGs had followed T2Ks model and not, say, White Wolf's.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

GimpInBlack posted:

Too busy playing the same basic concept but better in Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.


Ugh, this. I pretty much rage quit when the description of Athena started with the phrase "honey-haired and voluptuous."


"Shockingly insulting" covers a lot of Scion's execution, honestly. Some great basic concepts, but drat some of the choices they made.
It was really surprising that the company that made Pimp: The Backhanding would stoop to just offensive juvenalia in their products.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Evil Mastermind posted:

I think it's more of a mis-remembering of what old gaming was actually like. People get so focused on things like the S-series they start to think that was the default play-style.
A lot of early adventures were meatgrinders because they were originally tournament adventures, which are meant to stump and whittle and break down adventuring parties in a short period of time, so that if table 1 got to room 22 with five of six players alive while table 2 got to room 19 but only had two pcs left standing and table 3 got tpk'd in room 9 by that save-or-die when the five-hour block of time expired, then table 1 would get the trophy. Disposable characters for an afternoon of fun at HoosierCon 1981, nothing more. Which was appropriate for a convention one-shot with pre-gen characters but the exact opposite of you should run an ongoing campaign (and very different from the way that Gygax ran things at his own table).

Then these ended up getting published as official adventures and many players understood as the way things were supposed to be, and so you had this whole cult of dungeons as arbitrarily cruel places with sadistic GMs looking to catch you up and TPK you and Fantasy loving Vietnam and welp here we are.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Evil Mastermind posted:

The worst merits/flaws in pretty much any game are the pure-roleplay ones, because they pretty much boil down to "free points". Take "shy" or "cowardly" or whatever, get some extra skill points, and then everyone forgets you have it and you play your character however you want.
No, the worst are the ones that make the plot all about you and also give you points (hunted, enemy, intermittently possessed, etc.). Or maybe the ones that give you points but make you a burden to the party (I played a campaign with someone who was afraid of the dark and fainted at the sight of blood. A dungeon exploring & fighting campaign. That was some fun). Or the ones that give you points for stuff you were gonna be anyway (bloodthirsty, overconfident, etc.).

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Six Guns and Sorcery goes over North America extremely thoroughly for Castle Falkenstein. There are some wonderful bits including who Norton's right hand man is.
It's pretty much the weird wild west magical steampunk setting that Deadlands tried (and tried, and tried, and tried) and failed to be. One of my favorite supplements for any game. So much legendary Americana, crammed into a single book.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

theironjef posted:

Has anyone ever seen the D20 Prime Directive? Or the GURPS one? My partner hated that game like ... nothing I've seen before, and I really want to know if the other variants are as bad.
The original PD used its own system, and it is pretty much the sort of train wreck you'd expect from a system designed by a company that publishes an infinitely detailed star trek wargame with 4000 pages of rules. Didn't someone do it for a previous iteration of the F&F thread?

(checks wiki)

Huh, guess not.

I assume the D20 variant is hilariously broken (as D20-derived systems usually are) and that the GURPS version is passable (simply by the fact that GURPS is designed to have a sturdy core that supports an enormous range of world-genre books on top of it) if you want to play in the Tom-Clancy-Does-Old-Star-Trek setting of Star Fleet Battles.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Central Casting's author, on the other hand, came out as a transsexual, and presumably her thoughts on the matter have changed.
Weirdly, and depressingly, her thoughts haven't changed.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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Alien Rope Burn posted:

That subtitle seems suspiciously superfluous. "Just in case you missed the title, this is what the game is about."
It's approaching "The Japanese Ghost Story game about Japanese ghost stories" levels of redundancy and repetitiveness and redundancy.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

I got the sense that they wanted to make a pirate game, saw how straight-historical RPGs traditionally did in the marketplace, cast around for a gamer-friendly "hook", and settled on applying a thin patina of furry to their game.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Halloween Jack posted:

Yeah, if anything, I'd assume the opposite--they liked furries, no one had done a furry pirates game yet, engage!
It just seems that if they were really into furries, they would have included some mechanical or fluff support for furries, because otherwise what's the point?

ARB mentioned D&D as not hewing particularly close to its source genre, but it did at least have, y'know, rules for wizards and dragons and magic swords and elves and poo poo.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Kurieg posted:

It wasn't a 3rd party book.

Behold the Onager, the anthropomorphic donkey that no one wanted.


It also had rules for loving bizarre stuff like having a centipede grafted to your head and being half gelatinous cube.
We had to wait until 4E to get the proper rules for playing a half-mimic, though.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

hectorgrey posted:

To be fair, that's probably the fault of the setting - Star Wars has a very black and white morality (particularly as regards the force).

Edit: To be fair, the Return of the Jedi stats for Luke Skywalker actually gives him a dark side point - for the use of a dark side power, if memory serves.
Yeah, one of the subtler bits in ROTJ is how close Luke is dancing to the edge of the dark side (well, subtle for Lucas at any rate - look at the color of his outfit for most of the movie).

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Bieeardo posted:

Personally, I think it's bullshit. As much as I'm not a fan of Campbell, Luke and the others follow a clear Hero's Journey arc, and for my money the focus is on the fantasy heroics. Sure, Mos Eisley is a shithole, but then you've got places like Cloud City... which, okay, wasn't a whole lot nicer when you got past the shiny surface. The focus was still on adventure, and sticking a thumb in the eye of evil, not praying that you don't flub your docking roll, and getting hassled by Hutt legbreakers while your hold's being loaded with tibanna. Not that there isn't room for that style of play, but it's pretty weird when the rules as written seem to sidestep the tone of the source material.
The Star Wars RPG is about playing Traveler in the Star Wars universe, rather than trying to emulate the plot and adventures of the movies. It's Traveler but with Wookies and lightsabers and TIE Fighters instead of Vargr and FGMP-15s and Type S Scout ships. You see the same thing with the old Middle Earth Role Playing game from ICE, which was very clearly about playing standard D&D adventures (dungeon/wilderness/town) in Middle Earth, and not about the sweep and scope and high stakes of the novels. That's a legitimate way to produce an RPG, but it really does create some mismatched assumptions if it's not communicated clearly by the game itself.

The Star Wars game would have been better if it allowed you to start at higher power levels (you could play dirt farmers, or you could play veteran rebel agents, or you could play the Jedi Council) but I guess the D&D-derived zero-to-hero earn-your-fun grind thing was just too entrenched in the hobby at the time. Not entirely - my favorite 80s game (JAMES BOND 007) let you play "00" class agents right out of the box.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Maxwell Lord posted:

Most of the modules for Star Wars were built around Rebel missions rather than playing Traveller in the SW universe, though- you were by default heroes fighting the Empire. The simplicity of the core mechanics relative to most of what was out at the time, plus the 1e GM advice, marked it as fairly cinematic.

It has the start at Level 1 problem, and a lot of unnecessary cruft, but I see it as the precursor to more properly cinematic games that came later.
Star Wars D6 first edition really was good for this sort of light-n-breezy movie style adventure fun. It was the second edition and later the second edition revised that had a whole bunch of extraneous cruft bolted onto it (for the usual "realism" and "verisimilitude" reasons) that made the game the sprawling, joyless slog that the podcast describes.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

theironjef posted:

Having also reviewed Ghostbusters for the podcast, I totally believe this, because it was completely stripped down and a reasonably good attempt to produce something fun and cinematic. Very impressive for 1986. Somewhere between '88 and '96 every RPG designer became obsessed with ultra-grit realism and big charts that randomized every little thing.
The end state of this particular road would be Shatterzone, the grim cyberpunk with aliens and spaceships sf game that WEG released to fill the hole in their lineup when the Star Wars license went away.

e: And then they used the system almost verbatim for their Metabarons license (like, the text of the Metabarons RPG mentions "snubfighters" multiple times) - which was hilarious because the MB universe was about these nearly godlike space-warriors and their generation-spanning battles that tended to result in planet-scale genocide, which was entirely unsuited to a system where you start out as a turd farmer who has a 30% chance of hitting the broad side of a barn at twenty feet with a laser pistol.

FMguru fucked around with this message at 21:06 on Jul 17, 2014

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

One of the finest RPGs for genre emulation was my beloved James Bond 007, published in 1985. Way, way, way ahead of its time.

There's also Paranoia and Toon (both 1984).

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

unseenlibrarian posted:

I can forgive the Ghostbusters RPG for a multitude of sins for basically being the game that invented Plot/Brownie/Drama/Hero etc etc points as a -thing-.
James Bond 007 had them in 1985 (the year before Ghostbusters). Marvel Super Hero Role Playing Game had Karma points that worked similarly, and it was 1984. Top Secret had them as an optional rule back in 1980.

[Ask] Me about early-1980s RPGs.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Evil Mastermind posted:

I think I talked about this a thread or two ago when we were discussing Paranoia 5th Edition, but when it got right down to it WEG's writers didn't see the difference between dark comedy, intelligent comedy, or slapstick. Everything got dumped into that category eventually.
WEG underwent a major turnover in staff in the early 1990s, and the quality of thinking and designing and writing dropped off a cliff afterwards. Paranoia 1E/2E modules from the 1980s are some of the most brilliant comedy RPG writing this hobby has ever seen.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

WEG also had one of the best modern conflict board wargames in AirCav and a bunch of good historical board wargames. I wasn't really a fan of the D6 system, but I did like TORG.
Yeah, WEG was really two companies: the 1980s WEG which made excellent boardgames (Tank Leader! RAF! Web and Starship! Junta! Tales of the Arabian Nights!), Paranoia, Torg, and Star Wars 1E, and 1990s WEG which spiraled down until it was shipping junk like the $30 hardback RPG supplement for Star Wars "The Truce At Bakura", Paranoia 5E, and RPGs based on the Species and Tank Girl properties. Oh, and one of the strangest, least-loved RPGs ever - Shatterzone.

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.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Kai Tave posted:

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.
That flounce was a thing of beauty, I quoted it extensively in a previous grognards.txt thread. You know you've hosed up when Dana Jorgensen manages to claim the moral upper hand over you. The thread is here, and this is the key post

Eric Gibson posted:

I'm done trying to explain myself to people who don't want an explaination but just wish to turn words around and read into what I write.

If there is anyone here that still has a valid interest in WEG, or their refunds or exchanges, I'm happy to answer any question you have. Other than that, I'm gone.

Dana, you are an enormous loving rear end in a top hat.

Moderators, please feel free to make my suspension permanent. I've absolutely no desire to frequent or associate with a forum that suffers the posting of total cock-suckers like him.

Jgants, even though you are on Dana's "side" in this matter, please do not assume that I share the same feelings about you. The reason is, my history with Dana goes FAR back and this was just too much.

My business is my business Dana. You don't know it and I'm don't trying to explain how things now work, or have worked in the past because all you want to do is be a total prick.

For people who with be angered my my reduced transparency and approachability, please thank Dana Jorgensen.

Dana, you don't know me in the least. Long ago your made the errant decision that I was cut from the same cloth as Ken Whitman and you are very wrong. Go ahead and think yourself noble as some sort of crusader. You are not. You and an angery, stupid man who makes prejudical conclusions about people and then obsessively follows everything they say looking for the slightest inconsistency (usually a result of simply talking about two different things) and reads that was dishonesty.

I'm not dishonest. I am many things. I'm often irresponsible. I certainly dream bigger than my means, and I'm quick to go public with things before I've done 100% of the homework. I'm a passionate lover of gaming -- or was at one time -- that leads be to make business decisions not fully motivated by profit. I'm emotional, and fallable. I am a human being.

I'm am not now nor will I ever be a scammer or a crook. I'm not anywhere close to Ken Whitman.

I am also -- out of here. I wash my hands of Dana Jorgensen. I was my wash hands of RPG.net and the hordes cat-piss men gamer masses that don't realize that most game publishers do what we do because the love (or loved) this community, but still you manage to treat us like crap.

I am going to refund or give exchanges to everyone as they desire and that may yet be that last thing I do in this industry.

Open D6? Maybe, maybe not. I must ask myself, why bother? Just to give people fuel for the sense on entitlement?

As this hobby industry shinks from it's great past, it is sad to see that, rather than doing what it takes to beathe life back into it, we snarl like ravenous beasts fighting for scraps. The hobby will die because it must die. I've is a social hobby designed for people with all the social grace of a reptile. A fat, disgusting reptile with just enough education so that put on an air for sophistication, but they really just justifies the world's labels of gamers as hopeless, vile dorks that need to be put down like lame dogs.

Give yourself a pat on the back, oh great crusader of the unwashed masses. You have defeated me. You've unjustly labeled me a criminal and attacked me for years, and I've not more heart to fight back. If we should square off again, it will certainly not be on the internet.
If he'd waited just five years, he could have had a Kickstarter debacle with ten times the money lost!

Note that the "sense of entitlement" he's railing against is "an expectation of something in return for the $50 I ponied up a year ago, even if it's only an honest explanation of why I haven't gotten anything yet."

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Ultimately, GURPS isn't really that universal, it basically works around most human-level genres, but once you get into the high-scale supernatural or superhuman realms - and don't even get me started on Vehicles - the math rapidly unravels. But if you want to run a low fantasy game, espionage, investigative, or anything else relatively "realistic", it functions rather well. But something like GURPS IOU nicely highlighted how not to use GURPS.
Goblins and Discworld and Black Ops are also settings that are ill-served by the GURPS ruleset.

Yeah, GURPS maps nicely in the space from gritty-"realism" to action movie "realism", and shines at things like modern horror, hard SF, conspiracy, and historical eras (or "historical era but with magic"), or mashed-up genres. But it really is on the GM to set up a campaign frame and choose a focus - just handing the 4E core (or 3E core + compendia) to someone and saying "create a character" and expecting them to pick through 200 pages of skills, ads, disads, quirks, powers, and modifiers is just too much to ask of someone who isn't already a full paid-up member of the Church Of GURPS. Same with GMs who look at all the optional rules and try to run a game with 95% of them on, which is where you get horror stories of 3 seconds worth of combat taking two hours of table time to adjudicate.

GURPS also has the problem that the most vocal and dedicated parts of its fanbase (and the ones who most reliably by the supplements) are the most detail/realism-obsessed part, always up for splitting hairs and demanding even more equations with more variables, which results in things like Vehicles and Tactical Shooting.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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Asimo posted:

Compare that to the classic example of 90's GURPS where they expected you to do gritty fantasy, modern horror, super heroes, and far-future sci-fi with characters that were theoretically point balanced between. It's not like there's been some hard transition point, but it's still a pretty clear long term trend.
I think that's more the fact that it's been done. There's already a full on soup-to-nuts all-genre "realistic" RPG system with a hundred sourcebooks in print (GURPS) and there's another one that's less realistic but more build-any-effect-imaginable (Hero/Champions) with almost as many genre books and they all have dedicated player bases and market penetration, so how would a third system try to break into that? Lord knows there were many that tried, including D6 and D20 and Tri-Stat, and they all faded. There are only so many players (a declining number, I suspect) who want a big, complete, does-everything system, and they're well-served by current options. That particular wheel has been invented.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

theironjef posted:

Also goddamn I would love to see an attempt to explain Immortal. It's unreadable, one of those games where the rules are battered in a thick coating of goofy names and metaphoric titles and then deep-fried in a vat of oily fluff text, such that you can never tell if you're reading a game rule or a poem at any given moment.
That's the one that's essentially Highlander done as a 1990s WoD game, right? Seems like a can't-miss proposition, but IIRC they screwed it up by thinking the only problem with White Wolf games is that they don't have enough made-up jargon and vocabulary, so every sentence has at least three Ominous Capitalized Proper Nouns that aren't explained until many, many pages later. Almost a perfect example of a 90s heartbreaker.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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Kavak posted:

I'm kind of surprised Palladium is still in business despite Siembieda's insanity eccentricity.
He knows his market and caters to it. More power to him. He can wallpaper his den with the bankruptcy filings of the people from other companies who have told how he's doing everything wrong for the last 25 years.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

theironjef posted:

California is a vast empty wasteland.
This is realistic, though.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Robindaybird posted:

honestly, California agriculture is hosed when the aquifer is drained dry.
ftfy

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Evil Mastermind posted:

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

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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theironjef posted:

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

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

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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Humbug Scoolbus posted:

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

Every single one of which had a different core system.

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

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

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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The 90s really were the Dice Pool Era. Every game used a dice pool mechanic (I blame Vampire/WoD) and then applied their own little quirk to it so it wouldn't be a verbatim copy of Vampire or Shadowrun.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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Bieeardo posted:

I'm not sure anyone really thought about the math, either. Variable dice pools versus variable target numbers made for some really swingy results, and that's before tossing in degrees of success and target numbers that require one or more dice to explode multiple times. FASA simplified things a little for combat in SR2, by standardizing on two successes to 'stage' damage results up or down a level, but it took White Wolf until the New World of Darkness to standardize on a fixed target number.
Oh yeah, the math was almost always hosed up. Shadowrun 1E made a 6 difficulty the exact same as a 7, Vampire/WoD 1E had a charming glitch where your chance of a critical failure went up as you got more skilled, and so on.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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Testament:D20 probably sold 5x-10x as many copies as Testament: The Standalone Biblical RPG would have, especially in the early 2000s.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Night10194 posted:

The funniest part is, because they have to keep them out of Well Known Major Historical Tragedies like WWII, they always come off as not actually controlling much of human affairs, really.
Late-era V:tM came to a pretty good explanation for all this - powerful vampires have a lot of control over human organizations, and use that control almost entirely to protect their own vampiric interests and ignore the world of man for the most part. The vampires who run a city only "run" it insofar as they use its power structure to protect their havens and provide them with hunting grounds and officially ignore the occasional homeless dude who gets fished out of the river with all his blood drained, and also to pursue conflicts against other vampiric factions (i.e. you get the city planning council to authorize the emergency daytime demolition of an abandoned tenement that just so happens to have three Sabbat sleeping in the basement). Playing power games with mortals just to play games is an amateur mistake, often made by newly-created vampires, that usually results in the player coming to a quick, unhappy end (because while they loving around in the mortal world becoming the vampire drug lord of all Miami or whatever, his enemies were working against him in vampiric circles, and guess what counts for more?). Smart vampires who manage to survive long enough to become elders keep their interactions with the mortal world low-key and defensive.

Vampires really have no control over the sort of Great Big Tides Of History that result in World War II or the French Revolution and the like; they get carried along with it like everybody else and have to scramble to stay afloat like everybody else.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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ZeeToo posted:

Another promising angle to take would be setting the Ark down and then arguing that a 4x3x3 box rounds up to basically being a 5x5x5 piece of cover, and that if an attack misses you by less than the bonus from cover (+4 AC), then it struck the cover. So you hunker down behind it, then wait for the other guy to hit it with a stray arrow and summon two angels that make solars look underpowered.
Tricking your enemies into messing with the Ark, and waiting for the Ark's self-defense system to wipe out those enemies while you hide, is a pretty canonical use for the thing.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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Kai Tave posted:

Also Reckoning had metaplot. If you want strings-free monster hunting then what you want is Hunter: the Vigil from the nWoD.

Reckoning also suffered from having a pretty serious mismatch between what the art promised and what the game was actually like. The art, especially the pieces they previewed running up to the game, was full of stuff like badass dudes casually slinging double barrel shotguns over their shoulder and Buffy-esque vampire slayers, but the actual game itself is about un-badass people being imbued with very minor supernatural gimmicks and then being thrust into a world they're completely ill-equipped to deal with and may not even be sure they aren't just having a schizophrenic breakdown when the literal voices in their heads start telling them to kill the guy next door.
HtR usually wins the discussion when it comes to the biggest divergence between "what a game promised" and "what it actually delivered"

Night10194 posted:

Also, if I remember, the crazy Messengers giving you the powers were loving Exalted.
Exalted 1E was explicitly designed to be the mythic pre-history of the WoD, and all of the Exalted splats nicely mapped to WoD supernaturals. Once the game took off and it was clear that it didn't need a link to the WoD, that stuff was largely cast off, but you can still see the traces, even today.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

I really like the nested no-win options that Wick's players are presented with. He wants to challenge you, to push you to edge of what you and your character can do - but if you respond to that challenge by trying to up your game and going back to the rulebooks and trying to get an advantage, well now you're a filthy "min-maxxer" and "rules lawyer" and rules lawyer and he has carte blanche to openly gently caress you over because, hey, munchkin. Or, as noted above, if you respond to Wick's taking every kind of character hook as a weapon to be used against you by creating a featureless mysterious loner character, well, he has ways of dealing with "roll-player not ROLE-player" types like you. And on and on. So the only way to succeed in his games is to take his crap and take it and take it and take it until he gets tired (or he senses a full table revolt is in the offing) and lets you win and hooray look at all the adversity you passed through, that's what makes a real hero who has EARNED it!

He reminds me of some of the people who produce or defend exploitation movies or comics or whatever, where the female character is luridly abused and kidnapped and raped and terrorized until the final few minutes where she turns the tables and exacts bloody vengeance on her tormentors, and then pointing to that last scene as proof that the movie was actually about the triumph of a Strong Female Character and is really a feminist piece of work.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Ratpick posted:

I love the fact that he first admonishes someone for writing a review of his RPG Orkworld without having even played it and then goes on a rant saying "Well D&D 3e is really bad and dumb, I couldn't even get around to playing it because just reading it made me mad."
Wick's 3E review is amazing, just amazing. Someone should repost it in the new Grognards.TXT thread for posterity's sake. It's hard to pick a favorite part, so I'll go with his extended rant about D&D character classes and how they limit your creativity. Pretty ordinary stale bullshit that's been showing up in the letters column of Dragon magazine since the early 1980s, but made extra special because Wick made his reputation as the designer of a game about fantasy Japan where you could only play a samurai (or a samurai wizard). Not a noble or a soldier or a merchant or a geisha or a kabuki performer or a gambler or a ninja or a farmer or a scholar or a thief or a mendicant monk - just a samurai. Later versions and expansion books added more options, but L5R 1E was all-samurai, all the time.

And in Wick's slight defense: the metaplot turn for 7TH SEA where the setting turns out to actually be about Men In Black fighting an invasion by Cthulhu was perpetrated long after he'd stopped working for the line.

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Bieeardo posted:

I remember thinking Orkworld was an interesting concept
Greg and Sandy did it better almost 20 years beforehand

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