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Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


Halloween Jack posted:

(assuming the PCs are actually stupid enough to fight Caine, Father of Vampires)

I thought the official stat block for him read, in full, "Caine: You lose."?

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Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Snorb posted:

I thought the official stat block for him read, in full, "Caine: You lose."?

Yep it did.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


I prefer that to, say, statting up the God-Emperor of Mankind.

Which will happen in Horus Heresy/Age of Darkness in a few years.

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!


So, Eclipse Phase 2e just dropped for backers.

Unless someone else wants to call dibs, I figure I'll start on giving it a first-impressions review when I get home from work.

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


Halloween Jack posted:

Acting: You roleplayed well.

Roleplaying: You roleplayed your Nature and Demeanor really well. I do not know why they’re hung up on this. I suppose they’re really into the idea of the Hero’s Journey, to the point that exemplifying archetypes is seen as something important in its own right.

I like that these are separate categories - so you should still get some xp for excellent acting, even if you're acting completely contrary to who your PC is supposed to be.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?






THE NINTH WORLD BESTIARY!

So I like reading books of monsters and have done since I was a kid, and recently I've been reading the Numenera bestiaries. Tulul has already done a F&F of the core rulebook which you can read here, but long story short the game is set literally a billion years in the future, countless civilisations have risen and fallen, the world is all full of hosed up technology and magic and magic technology.

So naturally the monsters are pretty wacky. It's Monte Cook's brainfruit, so ideas alternate between really cool and really dumb.

In addition to the monsters' stats and moves, the book tells you what their motivation is, how a GM might use the monster in a game, and what sort of peaceful interaction the players can expect from them. I like this a lot, and I like that a majority of the monsters in this book can potentially be interacted with peacefully if you do it on their terms, regardless of how scary the monster might look.

Now this game uses the Cypher system, which I have never actually played a game of, so I'm gonna be pretty lite on the tactical information. Fortunately it isn't very complex, so I can comment on their moves and such. But this is primarily going to be my judgement of the monsters and how cool they are or not.

Part 1: A-C aka Apes to Crabs (there are no apes or crabs)

The Accelerator


Our first boy of the book! These are 15 foot (because they still use the imperial system in the future :usa:) tall robots, housing advanced AIs, who have become very fearful of death over the years. Their primary motivation in this world is to protect themselves and prolong their lives of uuuh prolonging their lives. They're not overtly villainous, just very paranoid, but that can drive them to act like dicks. The description mentions that their paranoia paradoxically drives them to do dangerous poo poo, like try and break into ancient heavily guarded vaults, just so they can live there. They do not seem very clever imo.

Their powers are hitting people and running away, and it is Level 9 difficulty to befriend them!

The Astraphin Monolith


This thingy is a human-sized stone pillar with a laser beam eye. It also has the most confusing backstory of maybe anything in this book.

Because it's a billion years in the future, someone had to change the sun so it wouldn't kill everyone by turning into a red giant. Changing the sun 'introduced an unknown energy' that mutated the plants who fed on the sun's light. Some of the plants became intelligent, and one of the intelligent plants was the Astraphin. Somehow as well as becoming intelligent they got the power to 'bond with stone' and 'make subtle changes to its molecular structure'. Over an extremely long amount of time (they do not say how long) they can make one of these monoliths, which they can pop up out of the ground like a crazy gun turret.

They do not explain how the ability to reshape stone lets them make the laser eye part, but whatever. This big rock is a dickhead and you can't talk to it, it just wants to laser people. It has a force beam, a psychic beam, a paralysing beam, and a big heat AoE attack. If you kill it, you can steal its laser eye which is very valuable and can be used as a power source or weapon. If you use it as a weapon you only get to use the force beam, for Reasons.

Avatrol


rear end in a top hat carnivorous camel from the future! Its skin reflects laser beams and it's ornery as hell and wants to eat people. It's only as intelligent as a camel, and its a difficulty level 6 task to get it to obey any orders. You can't ride on its back because of its fin thing, but you can make the leather of two of them that reflects beams, but only half the time.

The hole in its head whistles in a spooky way as it charges, which is the origin of the totally natural phrase 'Louder than a charging Avatrol'.

Balikna



You might think from this nice picture and the name that this is the future basilisk, but it is not. This is a crocodile-sized chameleon (i guess that's why he gets the nature scene pic) lizard who hits you with its big tail as a sneak attack that KOs you.

The most notable thing about this is that the Use advice is that the party needs to protect children from being attacked by it, and the Interaction advice is that players can 'use a small child as bait' to lure it into a trap. None of the other text mentions this guy wanting to eat children in particular, so idk what is going on there.

Bellowheart

big boy big boy

This is my favourite of this first bunch, a big rowdy boy who is twice as tall as a human, basically the front half of a very large elephant but with tentacles and no eyes. It runs around yelling and smashing poo poo all day, and it seems to be the Beholder equivalent of Numenera, because it has like 6 different poisons it can switch on the fly into its tentacle stingers. Also like the beholder, this guy isn't just an animal, it knows a whole bunch of languages and can talk! I'll let Monty himself tell you why:

quote:

Still, there are deep mysteries regarding this creature. Some people speculate that it is the advanced, adult form of a very different creature—perhaps one that can pass for a human or humanoid so it can interact with and learn from them. Or perhaps the bellowheart is a secondary life stage of a visitant race that dwells amid humans in remote areas, either secretly or overtly. The bellowheart can see in total darkness as if it were day. No one knows how

oh ok.

You can bribe them with food or interesting things to be your friend, but you have to act like they're the boss or they'll stomp on you and yell.

The Blitzer


Blitzers are some kind of cyborg who are basically a combo of The Hulk and Bane. You piss them off and they begin to grow to GIANT SIZE and rampage around the place. They get stronger and stronger each round, but they can only rampage for 4 rounds, because on the 5th their body overheats and they die. They only stop rampaging if everyone around them is dead, at which point they shrink back down to normal size and go and try and find a lake or swimming pool to cool off in.

Apparently some of them look like normal people, and don't even know that they're blitzers, but some UNKNOWN ENTITY is abducting people and making them into blitzers for SOME REASON.

Assuming they aren't currently rampaging, you can talk to them. If you catch them pre-rampage they're pissy and easily offended, if you catch them after they're sleepy and confused. which makes it sound like rampaging is their version of jacking off after a hard day.

Bloodfeast Tick

this guy really TICKS me off

These ticks come in two sizes: the normal tick size, and the BIG BOY TICK SCION. The normal little tick bites you, which you don't notice because of its numbing saliva, and if you go to sleep with it on you it injects you with poison that puts you in a coma. If it drinks blood from you for 10 hours after that it grows into a giant size xenomorph thing who runs around killing cattle and spreading little baby ticks all over. Also you die from it drinking all your blood.

The Uses section is very helpful, it says basically the party goes adventuring in a forest that has a lot of ticks in. Nice.

Calyptor


Its a triceratops who lives in herds and plays music using its magical horns and throat sacs. Also has 'biomechanical eyes'. The suggested use for them is that the players are camping outside and a herd of Calyptors comes over and plays music for them. I think they're a nice idea for a friendly, but strange, animal to give the world an unusual feel. There's just not a lot to say about them, they have normal animal level intelligence.

Cave Qui


The Cave Qui are intelligent bat-like creatures, about 1/4 of the size of a human. They're pacifists and socialists, they don't fight each other and they always put the colony first. They also enforce peace on the region where they live, so they are valued by other races as a reliable third party to negotiate peace agreements in conflicts. They dye their fur in fun colours, and although their language is hypersonic and can't be heard by most people, they have invented special instruments that let them speak in normal frequencies.

The sad part is they suffer from a 'curse' which is basically rabies. It makes afflicted individuals become violent, sick, and insane. Any Qui who survives an attack by a cursed Qui will fall under the curse too. The Qui empower certain Qui as 'Wing Judges', who are basically Judge Dredd for Qui suspected of being cursed. Wing Judges dye their fur blood red or black instead of the fun colours that other Qui like.

They don't have too many powers, they basically just attack like real bats, but I think they're a cool little race and very cute.

Chance Moth


Chance Moths, unlike real moths, are hive insects. They feed on Numenera radiation (numenera being like relics of lost technology) and inherit some of the effects of the technology they're eating. In gameplay terms this translates to anyone getting stung by them having to roll on a giant d100 effects table.

Some of the effects are nice, you learn skills temporarily or regenerate hitpoints. Others are nasty. Like the moth burrowing into your brain and exploding after a minute kind of nasty, or summoning a mech version of an elder dragon kind of nasty.

Chronal Feeder


It's a 6 foot long bug who eats people who make time anomalies.

quote:

They appear in places where time moves more slowly or more quickly than normal, where balls and liquids flow upslope, or where a time traveler has visited.

Johnny Five-Aces better be careful! They can teleport between the normal dimension and their home dimension, and they home in on time anomalies as apparently the only thing they can eat is time travellers. Which doesn't seem like a diet that can sustain a species of giant bugs. Their other ability is uuuh just biting people.

You can make their 'skin' (i dont know if giant bugs have skin so much as a carapace) into a silver cloak that reflects your surroundings, but one hour into the past OOOoooOOooooOOOOooo. I don't know how that's useful, or how a purple bugs exoskeleton turns into a silver skin cloak, probably time magic.

Coccitan

I didn't gently caress up the cropping or make it too small thats how it looks in the book

These are cockroach people. You know, because cockroaches survive the apocalypse? They live in caves and farm regular cockroaches, you know, like how humans farm really tiny monkeys? It's kind of weird that regular roaches are around ONE BILLION YEARS in the future. The Coccitan aren't as smart as humans, but they can make stone tools. They have their own language based around pheremones and 'waving their arms around'. Uuuh yeah.

NEXT TIME, ON THE NINE WORLDS BESTIARY: VARIOUS ORGANS IN JARS, MIMICS, THE BULLSQUID FROM HALF-LIFE AFTER TOO MUCH COFFEE, AND SOME BEES!

I did the first 3 letters of the book because there weren't that many of them, and they're mostly pretty boring. D&E have a lot more monsters in them, and it finally gets to some cooler ideas. They're not all giant bugs like this bunch. Some of them are giant bugs, though.

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 look forward to SOME BEES.

At least some of the art is pretty decent. Generally the more it looks like a fantastic animal, like the Balikna, with some colours, and the less technological it is, the better a job the artist seemed to do.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?




PurpleXVI posted:

I look forward to SOME BEES.

At least some of the art is pretty decent. Generally the more it looks like a fantastic animal, like the Balikna, with some colours, and the less technological it is, the better a job the artist seemed to do.

because i'm a nerd who looks at a lot of fantasy monster art On Line i know that a few of the monsters in this book, and a lot of them in the core rulebook, are existing art that they've (hopefully) bought and put in the book. There's a bunch of it that's from Keith Thompson, who has a cool website with original monsters and robots he's created. It's kind of jarring when they pop up.

check out his gallery and have a look, then see if you can spot any of his creatures in the next post I do https://www.keiththompsonart.com/gallery.html

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I frigging love Keith Thompson's stuff.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?




Bieeanshee posted:

I frigging love Keith Thompson's stuff.

he's so loving good, and his ideas for creatures and characters are so cool. which is why it felt really weird and kind of wrong to see the Necromancer with the Iron Womb as just generic character art in the Numenera core book. A TON of the core book monsters have keith thompson art too.

I figure maybe they didn't have a ton of money to invest into a project they didn't know would succeed or not, so they bought the rights to use some existing high quality art instead of commissioning new stuff, but Thompson's style is so distinctive. Seeing it in Numenera is like when you look at fan-created content for RPGs and they use like the art from a famous magic card or whatever.

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

By popular demand posted:

(Unlike those boring Israeli modules)

Actually, for what it's worth (which admittedly probably isn't much), your partial reviews of "those boring Israeli modules" are literally how I found this forum in the first place. For, uh, reasons, I'd been searching for years for more information on those modules (or, better yet, a way to get my hands on a copy of the modules, but that's probably a pipe dream), and so that's how I ran across your reviews here, which, incomplete as they are, include the most in-depth information I've been able to find about those modules so far. (Well, about the first module, anyway.)

Not that I'm trying to guilt-trip you into finishing those reviews; if you're so bored by the modules that you don't feel up to posting further about them, that's completely understandable. Just wanted to let you know your effort with them wasn't wasted, and at least one person did appreciate what you posted about them.

(Also, this is the point where I again apologize for my having been away so long since my last post on the Deities & Demigods review, and promise that the next one's coming soon. Seriously, sorry; when I started that review I really thought I was going to be able to post a lot more often than I have been; I've just had a lot going on lately.)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Snorb posted:

I thought the official stat block for him read, in full, "Caine: You lose."?
I'm 95% sure that was a fan joke.

There were bits in Gehenna and other sourcebooks to that effect, though.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




I'll be happy to gift you the modules Jerik, Provided you can review them.
If you can't than I'll really have to finish my review but you can still have them, I've no nostalgia for those days.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Jerik posted:

(Also, this is the point where I again apologize for my having been away so long since my last post on the Deities & Demigods review, and promise that the next one's coming soon. Seriously, sorry; when I started that review I really thought I was going to be able to post a lot more often than I have been; I've just had a lot going on lately.)
There is never, ever any need to apologize for not providing free content in the funnylaffs old RPGs thread.

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!


Eclipse Phase: Second Edition



Intro

So, Eclipse Phase 1.0. I think anyone who's ever heard me pitch in about this game knows I have a lot of critique about it, both writing-wise and system-wise, but ultimately the reason I'm so loud in complaining about it is because it's so close to being good. If it was just a pile of poo poo through and through, I'd point, laugh and move on, but the game had a lot of great art, inspired writing and creative ideas, so it was frustrating to see the bad parts of it drag it down.

This is the 2.0 version, or the second edition, whichever you prefer. Personally I've been trying to keep my info intake on it low, because I wanted to go into it with as few preconceived notions as possible. So, let's open up the first page and-



-and if anyone reads my reviews, they'll also know that one thing I tend to harp on is piling numbers and values on the player before they actually have a chance in hell of understanding what those numbers and values mean. So my first thought here, and this is literally even before the index, is two-fold. Firstly, as a first-time, I can't make any use of this loving sheet yet. Secondly, if I'm not a first-time reader and actively looking for this sheet... this is not a place I'd expect it to be. Especially since there is, according to the index, a "Sample Characters" section about 82 pages in.

Anyway, then there's the index, predictably, and the intro fiction. It spans a single character's narrative from just prior to the Fall, to several years after, including their adjustment to the new way the world works after, having a synthmorph body, etc. and while I'm not a huge fan of every line of writing in it, I see what they were going for, and I like that. To ease the reader from something relatively familiar, into something unfamiliar, by using a character going through the same adjustment to ask the questions they have as well.



The art is generally pretty good, too.

What Is Eclipse Phase?

It seems like they are, sadly, running with the same expectation from EP 1.0, which is that you're going to play Firewall agents, at least from this presentation. No support for playing non-metaplot criminals or revolutionaries, Oversight agents, even Project Ozma scumbags, etc. which is a bit of a shame, since I always found the "playing as Firewall"-aspect to be the weakest part of EP 1.0.

The general overview of the setting seems to be much the same. Hypercapitalists vs Hypercommunists and Hyperanarchists.

EP 2.0 posted:

The outer system is the stronghold of the Autonomist Alliance, a mutual-aid network of anarchists and techno-socialists. In these communalist territories, currency is obsolete and unrestricted nanofabrication means that everyone has the necessities and tools they need. People create rather than consume. Reputation, not wealth, mediates the exchange of information and services. Many habitats operate without government, laws, or police, relying instead on voluntary and cooperative structures, real-time online referendums, and collective militias. The outer system is a patchwork of political, economic, and social experimentation.

And maybe it gets more nuanced later, but it sure as hell sounds like the book is going to be full of knob-slobbing the anarchists still.

A Note On Politics posted:

Eclipse Phase delves into numerous political themes; in fact, we start with the premise that everything is political. Like all authors, we write from the perspective of our personal biases. Our specific lens is radical, liberatory, inclusive, and antifascist. If you support bigotry or authoritarianism in any form, Eclipse Phase is not the game for you.

I feel like this note probably made some people pop a vein, though it does remind me of a supposed rumour that they specifically excluded the Ultimates from being playable because "only fascists would play them" or a similar idea. It may even have been in this very thread that I read that. But that's a whole loving kettle of worms I'll poke at once I reach the Ultimates, because unless they specifically rewrote them for EP2 to be All Fascist, All The Time, they were definitely a lot more nuanced than that in EP1.


Every single man is wearing armor, the only character that's identifiably female wears something skin-tight(or is sleeved in something that allows her to be unarmoured entirely). I guess whoever did the art for Glory is still on board. Looking forward to characters wearing battle-bikinis while dealing with biohazardous infectious environments.

There are several pages of Core Concepts and Themes which are just them dropping in some keywords like GATECRASHING or TITANS or RESLEEVING and then explaining what they are. Personally, I felt like the longer, more setting-lore-laden intro of the original did more to draw me into the game. The more clinical presentation here, personally, hampers my immersion.

Next up they present their three CORE CAMPAIGNS, which are: Be Firewall, go jump through Pandora Gates for fun or Be A Crime Man. So okay, I have to retract what I said earlier, they did in fact make space for being a criminal, conceptually. They also at least acknowledge that someone might want to play something else, other than these three, but, eh, I think of the three, Crime Man Campaign is the only one I'd be particularly tempted to run.

The early Setting Overview is two pages and then straight into mechanics by page 30.

Comparatively, in EP1, we had about 110 pages of fiction, lore, fluff and general scene-setting before our first encounter with mechanics or even any conversations about how to play the game, or how the developers intended for the game to be played. Again, personally, I liked getting dragged into the setting and envisioning what I wanted to do, so that by the time I hit the mechanics I'd be able to... have a frame of reference for them, I suppose? I'd know that "oh, hey, this skill lets me do this cool thing I wanted to do in-setting" or "oh, neat, this thing from the intro fiction is what this thingbobber in the gear section does..." etc. etc.

But at least they're putting mechanics before chargen... and then resuming the fiction... and then resuming the rules again. Because sure, why would I want all of my chargen, rules and equipment in one neat block when I wanted to reference it. No, no, go ahead mister editor man, don't make my experience easy.

Next time: Mechanics. Did they unfuck them?

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



I'm looking forward to the rest of your review of EP2.0. It's one of my favorite settings I've never had a chance to play in.

EP 2.0 posted posted:

A Note On Politics posted:
Eclipse Phase delves into numerous political themes; in fact, we start with the premise that everything is political. Like all authors, we write from the perspective of our personal biases. Our specific lens is radical, liberatory, inclusive, and antifascist. If you support bigotry or authoritarianism in any form, Eclipse Phase is not the game for you.

Do you hear that, in the distance? The sweet sound of a CHUD going apoplectic and then exploding.

EP 2.0 posted posted:

...Reputation, not wealth, mediates the exchange of information and services...
This, IMO, was a lot cooler idea back before, you know [gestures at the current hellscape of social media in 2019].

Skellybones
May 31, 2011






Fun Shoe


:eng101: This artwork was loosely based on a campaign I was in. Among other things, we had a cargo truck with a light anti-tank gun in the back operated by a tiny robot with a single grabby claw, and one encounter involved summoning hundreds of drones to disrupt sensors. I'm the person on the roof of the truck with the backpack (it contains a nuclear bomb).

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





8one6 posted:

This, IMO, was a lot cooler idea back before, you know [gestures at the current hellscape of social media in 2019].
This always mystified me because the idea seemed to be that you still had to somehow earn your daily nanobread by being popular or some poo poo. Or if not, it was pretty much "you're guaranteed all that you need, access to bespoke goods and un-reproducible things will be determined by status in social cliques." At which point the improvement comes from the first part, not the second; for the second, you might well say, why not just have a bureaucracy?

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Uh who allowed the Residents to practice medicine???

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!


Nessus posted:

This always mystified me because the idea seemed to be that you still had to somehow earn your daily nanobread by being popular or some poo poo. Or if not, it was pretty much "you're guaranteed all that you need, access to bespoke goods and un-reproducible things will be determined by status in social cliques." At which point the improvement comes from the first part, not the second; for the second, you might well say, why not just have a bureaucracy?

"Clearly there's no way this anarchy based on popularity will ever devolve into competing cults of personality eventually resulting in one ruling autocracy or multiple autocracies warring against each other on the hab until it breaks."

Maybe the lore writing will be a bit less myopic this time around. Time well tell!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Cool, judging from that sheet it's still terminally overcomplex. Saves me time.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?






NINTH WORLD BESTIARY PART 2 - D&E Dorks to Eggs

So one thing I notice this is that only some monsters in this have size comparison charts, like this:


Dabirri

the red ones are the monsters in the entry AND NO THE IMAGE ISNT CRUDELY PHOTOSHOPPED TOGETHER FROM LIKE 5 SOURCE IMAGES WITH A BLUE FILTER OVER IT STOP ASKING

these are uh, artificial jellyfish made by putting a human-sized heart in an artificial jellyfish body. Why? Who does this? Nobody knows. It's not any of the monsters in the picture, they aren't mentioned. They touch people with their tentacles and it 'poisons' them 'via energy pulse'. How this is different to regular poisoning, I don't know. How this monster is different to a regular jellyfish I also don't know. They don't talk or anything, they just sting people.

But it's WEEEEIIIIIRD!

The Decanted

endstage brain freeze

These guys are frozen human heads in creepy robot bodies. They go around kidnapping sexy people and taking them back to their city, which is called Glass, where all the inhabitants are frozen heads, either in big tubes or robot bodies. Their kidnap victims get taken to something called the 'Optero Suite' where they get their head chopped off and replaced by the head of 'Decanted nobility'. I assume the chopped off heads get frozen and made into new Decanted, but it doesn't say. It also doesn't say what the Optero Suite is.

When the nobility get their heads implanted on a human body, they lose all their robot abilities, such as spraying cold air on people once per hour, having very cold hands, and a cloaking field. Nobility just have the stats of a level 1 human, and are an ugly as poo poo frozen head on a human body.

The Decanted will talk to the PCs, spending extra attention and politeness on the sexier PCs, while disrespecting the ugly or mutant PCs. This is a trick to try and seduce hot people back to the Optero Suite. If they get too hurt they will run away, as they are cowardly immortals.

For all I'm being glib about them I do think these guys are cool, they're like a creepier version of the borg, and I wish there was a pic of one of the fugly heads on a sexy body because it would be funny. Like an unconvincing photoshop come to life.


Dedimaskis


This is a big robot pinecone that controls a swarm of tiny robot bee things, and it's sole purpose in life is to destroy extremely specific things, not talk to anyone, and be mysterious. It goes around the place terrorising villages, but then turn out to only want to smash all the chimneys in town, kill everyone with green eyes, or just one specific house. It's Twisted as Hell.

That's all there is about it. You can't talk to it, and the Use section just says 'this is a really hard monster for players to fight'. It has lasers and the little bees can attack or repair it or adapt it to damage types.

Dimensional Husk

when doing the time IS doing the crime

It's basically a ghost of someone who got in a dimensional/time travel accident. They teleport around, act crazy, and are hard to hit. They babble on and on in a bunch of different voices at the same time but might say something useful sometimes. To represent how hard it is to hit you have to re-roll any even attack roll you make, and keep the second result. Fun!

Dream Sallow


This intelligent tree releases spores around it that make anyone affected by them (read: fails their save) decide to take a nap under the tree. When they do so, a root extends from the ground and connects to their brain, which sucks their consciousness into a 'shared dream city of wonder' where everyone else who has ever fallen victim to the tree lives. After about a week their real body dies and rots to feed the tree, but they live on forever inside the tree's dream.

If you disconnect a living body from the tree without asking the tree's permission they die of brain hemorrhaging if they don't make a Might save. To get let free without risk you have to convince the tree's dream avatar, which appears as basically an Ent lady, to let you leave. The problem is most people don't realise they're in a dream, so don't think to ask. Usually someone from outside has to intentonally connect themself to the tree, and come in and tell the person they're dreaming and ask the tree to let them both leave.

The tree doesn't want to do this, it views itself as saving people's lives, because their real bodies will die some day and their minds will be lost. In the dream they're safe and happy, forever. Nothing says they're like tricked into being happy or secretly being abused, it's just a nice place to live.

I like this one a lot, because it's not so much a monster as a well-intentioned piece of ancient bio-tech. It's trying to do a good thing. Apparently the trees originally had the ability to grow new bodies for their inhabitants so they could come and go as they pleased, but exposure to the sun's new hosed up energies mutated that ability out of them.

It's more of a story-enabler than a monster you fight, which is what Numenera claims to be all about, even though 50% of the monsters so far have been various giant bugs you can't talk to or reason with.

Drebil


It's a bat rat who is also a mimic. Their motivation is 'hunger for humanoid blood and organs'. In my experience blood is a liquid, not humanoid, but the future might be wacky. Just my little joke. They're about dog sized, have skin that can assume different textures and colours, so they look like something someone would want, then SURPRISE ATTACK! They are as intelligent as a six year old, and can speak in jumbled up sentences. Because they're ambush predators, they can tell you about the area they've been watching for a long rear end time.

They don't have any special attacks beyond like, biting people, and they fly home if they're injured.

Earthshaker


It's a 50 foot tall rhino. That's all it is. The description doesn't even say it's face is entirely made of horns, the artist made that up to make this animal less boring. Everything else just says 'it's a rhino'.

Edacious Destroyer


It's a big bug who hunts by smell. It's blind and deaf, but it has retractable tubes in its head that act as little noses, and when it smells something these tubes stretch out of its head and suck people up like Cell from Dragonball Z's tail. Literally, they open up like crazy funnels and crush people. It's also 50 feet tall, because that's the best monster height I guess. It's not smart, it's just a bug you fight.

Ellnoica


This guy might look like a cracked-out Bullsquid, but it's actually part of a race of intelligent predators who are lost from their original home, like Buck Rodgers or that other lost guy. They can go invisible, like 50% of the monsters in this book, and can use their tails to burrow through stone backwards using acid. Ok. They can 'phase lock' themselves to go into stasis for up to a million years, so some of them remember previous eras and might have some juicy gossip.

They're voracious monsters, but if you offer to help one locate it's lost home it might be willing to stop its murderous rampapge and talk. Poor guys.

Ember Scions


Lava guys who live in lava. They have the intelligence of a child, and when a volcano erupts they come out to torment the countryside, because they're also huge dickheads for no reason other than they think it's fun. They have mysterious origins, and their powers are that they burn you. It does not say what size or shape these guys are, so they could be humanoid demons, they could be a cerberus, I don't know. It would be helpful information to have.

This is why other books have a text description of the monster as well as a picture, and a size stat.

Encephalon

this picture is really great, i love it

This monster is twice the size of a man (this one has a size comparison charge pic) and disguises itself as a tree. It has telepathic powers, and can pinpoint the exact location of anyone it can communicate with, so when they get close it opens up its wings/arms and shoots a whooole fuckload of flying slugs out of its mouth to attack them. The slugs try and land on your head and punch their little proboscis through your skull or ear and steal 3 damage points worth of brain matter.

Once the swarm of slugs has collected 30 points of intellect damage (it doesn't specify a damage type for the 3 damage the slugs deal, weirdly) they all fly back into the Encephalon's mouth and it eats all the brain juice I guess. It can only spit out one swarm per hour, so I guess after the first swarm eats enough brains the monster just fucks off? The book says that if it feels threatened it burrows back into the Earth using its tentacle feet, and I guess i would feel pretty threatened if I had used my only attack I had for an hour.

It doesn't say if the monster is smart or not, just that it can communicate telepathically. There's some flavour text that implies they might be advanced scouts for some kind of posthuman underground society (who devised the weirdest loving way of eating ever), but it's one of those OOOOooOOOooOO MAYBE THIS IS TRUE mystery bullshit things.

I like the originality and weirdness of this one at least, it's not just replicating the role of something totally normal in a slightly weird way like some of these things are. And the art is great.

Engineered Viral Hosts



top to bottom: tactile host, ocular host, and warrior host

So there's a sentient virus called the Insidious Choir, but it got sick of infecting other species to be its hosts, so it made its own bodies to live in. They're still very infectious, but their goal isn't to infect the world or anything, they just want to explore and make their own society. Their motivation is curiosity (well, apart from the warrior one, whose motivation is defending the others), and if you telepathically talk to them you hear a million billion voices asking 'who is this?' 'what is that?' 'what is this for?'. The tactile hosts are active explorers, the ocular ones just watch things, and the big beetles defend the Insidious Choir's territory and hosts.

If you get infected with the virus you start to transmit all your thoughts and sensory input to the Insidious Choir, and after 7 days it can start to try and control your actions. The book doesn't give the guy any motivation beyond curiosity, so I assume it will just make you read future wikipedia or whatever.

I like these guys, despite the name the Insidious Choir isn't really evil, and its original to see a virus that has decided 'gently caress it, I'm done with this infection poo poo as a lifestyle'.

Entrope


This is a squid monster who can freeze solid for centuries at a time (I feel like we've heard that one before, maybe 3 or 4 entries up?). When it senses body heat it wakes up and sucks the heat out of your body so you die. If it sucks up enough heat it can make a baby. Unlike the other, more interesting squid monster, this guy is only as intelligent as an regular animal.

Ergovore Hound


It's a big hosed up dog the size of a horse who eats energy fields as well as regular food. It has 'the general intelligence and outlook of Beasts', which I hope means animals and not Beasts from Beast: The Primordial. It doesn't say anything about the dog abusing anyone for fun, so I'm guessing they just decided to switch up how they say 'animal intelligence' for no reason.

Its power is it eats the energy out of your cyphers (spell scrolls) and artifacts (magic wands/staves). It's a rust monster or disenchanter, basically just here to gently caress over players by ruining their items. Cool.

Erulian

got brain?

drat its a freakin brain who floats around, drat. They can turn into energy form or physical form. Sometimes six of them combine together into a big monster called an Erulian Master with six eyes and six spines. Their motivation is 'inexplicable' and the normal ones spend their time meditating. They're chill unless you disturb them and wreck up their house, at which point they attack. The Masters are greedy bitches who are literally only interested in talking to you if you have magic items they want. Pricks.

They don't say what their origin story is or where they're from, just 'beyond earth'.

Etterick

this is the 'some bees' I promised

The best monster of this batch, this guy is a big glass golem who is hollow and full of a swarm of insects. This is a direct quote:

quote:

They control the machine through means that look much like scuttling around and doing
typical insect activities.
Their motives are inexplicable, again. They go around the place being rowdy and wrecking up the joint. You can talk to them via telepathy, and they are straightforward to negotiate with, but will become violent if you try to make small talk or ask about their origins. Because Monty Cook didn't want to think of one for them.

NEXT TIME ON NINTH WORLD BESTIARY: FIVE MORE loving GENERIC ANIMALS WHO ACT LIKE ANIMALS, DISNEYS LILO AND STITCH, AND THE DREADED BRAINCHIPPER!

One really funny thing I noticed is that some monsters get a size comparison chart, like this:

But others don't, and I was trying to figure out the link between the ones who didn't. And I did:

The only guys who get size comparison charts are the ones whose art shows their full body, cut out from the background. They make the size comparison chart from the art, and if the art doesn't show the whole body they don't bother. Which would be fine, if they told you how fuckin big the monster is supposed to be on every entry, but they don't.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Halloween Jack posted:

I'm 95% sure that was a fan joke.

It was real, but wasn't a stat block per se. It was a callout in the middle of a sidebar for a scene where Caine wanders through a story arc, saying "What happens if the players try to fight Caine? They Lose."

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


juggalo baby coffin posted:

The Decanted
The Decanted will talk to the PCs, spending extra attention and politeness on the sexier PCs, while disrespecting the ugly or mutant PCs. This is a trick to try and seduce hot people back to the Optero Suite. If they get too hurt they will run away, as they are cowardly immortals.

At the start of this sentence, I thought maybe this was some sort of commentary on the sorts of people who are into cryogenic brain freezing IRL (i.e. weirdo 'm'lady' types).

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003






So, as I said previously, I'm not going to review the player advice section of the book, because it's still been out for less than a week at this point. There is, however, an entire section on GMing, and a seperate one on Getting the most out of RPGs.

Game Master Basics is our first chapter. After the common advice to start by being a player if possible, it gives a summary of what the GM does:

quote:

1. You tell the players what their characters see and hear.
2. One at a time, the players tell you what they want to do in response to what you told them.
3. You determine their chance of success or failure, one at a time, usually expressed as a dice roll.
4. The players roll dice and together you determine what happens as a result.
5. Based on what just happened, you tell the players what their characters see and hear (including, perhaps, what actions the NPCs take, which might involve you rolling dice yourself)
6. The players tell you what they want to do, and so on.

This is the kind of thing that rings alarm bells when I put on my "teaching beginners" hat. It's a very common trap to fall into: not writing text for beginners, but writing text that seems to be for beginners when read by an experienced reader. Taking off your experience hat and reading as an actual beginner can be very difficult, and it then requires a really tricky balancing act of writing text that's actually useful for beginners while not making it too complex by writing without the assumptions an experienced reader would make. Let's see a few here:

  • "You tell the players what their characters see and hear." A recent forbidden discussion may have raised that, but I'll just mention the first game I ever ran (Over The Edge if anyone cares) where the PCs visited a friend in hospital, and I went into a panic trying to describe every corridor in the hospital, every side conversation, and every other patient in the ward. Because after all, the PCs would be able to see and hear them, right? What's worse is that this also entrenches D&D assumptions, because dungeon crawling games are very commonly set in simple or restricted environments where this isn't an issue.

  • The implication of 2 that the players must all act in response to every prompt, when this often isn't the case or even appropriate.

  • The implication of 3 that every action has a chance of failure. Yes, I know you can argue that "it just says the GM determines their chance of success or failure, it doesn't say the chance of success can't be 100%" but that's loopholing the wording to fit in something you know as an experienced person. A beginner doesn't do that if not told.

Next up is a section on What to do first. Except, again in a horribly common error, it's not what to do, it's what to achieve. Have an idea for how things start; have some basic ideas what the PCs might do; have some basic ideas for the NPCs/monsters they're going to meet; and decide what the PCs are going to discover because apparently "in every adventure or session the PCs should discover something". Ugh, Numenera peeking its head through there. But there's nothing about what to do to work these out, just a statement that they should exist.

And How to start a session is just kind of disasterous. It basically says "set an initial scene", but in three paragraphs. Oh, hey, you could also play some music, or show some art, or show a scene from a TV show which certainly won't derail anything. And then,

quote:

Once the players start taking actions in the setting you've provided, you're off.

.. and draw the rest of the loving owl.

Your Relationship With The Players is another lengthy section explaining that the GM isn't the "god of the game", and it should be seen as a group activity. While PC actions should have consequences, you shouldn't actively punish characters for actions you don't like (again note: that's one hell of a distinction for a beginner). Also, the GM's fun matters too, which is cool. Try to be impartial between players. There's a section on not being adversarial that repeats the old saw that "being adversarial doesn't make sense because you can just have a meteor hit the planet any time" (I thought we weren't the god of the game?), but it then says that you can introduce challenge and that the attitude in doing so should be playful, a word I don't think I've ever heard in that context before, which could be appropriate or possibly somewhat disturbing. There's a final, valid note, that the GM isn't the group counselor and doesn't have to resolve issues with players.

The next section of the chapter is really just an overview of the coming chapters, so I won't go through that, but it does include this cartoon which I kind of relate to:



Although bonus points for not removing the "Congrats on your kickstarter" message from the artist in the bottom right corner, even in the published version. *sigh*

Chapter 9. Bulding a World. As I mentioned when I did the 5e book, I'm not going to look at world building advice here because it's a whole separate topic and is shared with writing fiction.

Chapter 10 is more our style, though. Creating Adventures. It starts with a few relatively useful notes: that the term adventure is used instead of story because saying story would imply a pre-prepared plot which isn't a good idea, and that an adventure shouldn't be seen as a "chapter" in the campaign because adventures are far more likely to overlap with each other and run in parallel or at different speeds and so on.

We then get onto types of adventures. These are Location-Based, Event-Bas.. hang on a second. That seems a bit familiar.

Yes, it's the same categorization as in the D&D 5e Dungeon Master's Guide. Understandable, since that probably evolved from the Third Edition one which Monte Cook was involved in writing. Here's the thing, though: they don't actually match.

Location-Based is more or less the same - the idea of adventure based on exploring or otherwise interacting with a place. Unfortunately, again, YBGE more or less just defines this instead of giving a set of steps for creating one like the 5e DMG did. Doubly unfortunately, YBGE states that the choices a player makes in a location-based adventure are "usually directional; do we take the left turn in the corridor or do we open the door here?" Which is bloody disasterous. It works in a dungeon, but not in a city (or my aformentioned hospital) and beyond a few sessions it quickly becomes boring if there's no background information involved (if we have no idea what's round the corner and/or behind the door, might as well just roll for it, right?)

Event-Based is really mixed up, though. The 5e DMG defined these as a particular event occurring (an invasion, "the stars are right", etc) and the response of the PCs and the world to it. YBGE, however, defines it as the structure of having events in the adventure which occur in response to the PCs actions - basically what Robin Laws called the Branching structure, you know, the one that he said not to use. So this is a really confusing distinction, and what makes it worse is that the 5e DMG one is a lot more inspiring.

Time-Based is.. ugh. It's basically the idea of having a timeline of events that happen in the background, which again Laws said not to do because it will inevitably be disrupted, and even Cook admits that if you take it as a literal timeline then probably the PCs will miss most of the events that don't involve them, because heaven forbid we try to explain narrative timing. Oh, we also add that all these three categories of adventure can overlap, so presumably you have to prep all of them. Thanks a bunch.

(There's also an odd side essay here called Nobody Wants to Die in a Tunnel which encourages players to define a small hobby-based goal for their characters, such as a rogue who wants to be the lead in a community dance recital. That seems to be.. an unusual tone shift to me, but I guess it could work, maybe?)

A better categorization comes up next, though: defining adventure goals. The suggested goals are
  • Exploration - find out what's in an unknown place, Hi again Numenera;
  • Find the MacGuffin - find out where something is, rather than just gaining information as in Exploration. There's a sidebar (on the next page for some reason) called The Moving MacGuffin which suggests not putting the MacGuffin in a particular place, to avoid the game getting stuck if the PCs don't look there. That's fair enough, but it doesn't at all address the actual difficulty with that, which is avoiding contradicting any previous information you gave out about the location.
  • Infiltrate - get into a known place that's difficult to get into, and making the extremely good point that the PCs need some advance information or it's just a broken Exploration adventure)
  • Rescue - a combination of Infiltrate and Find the MacGuffin, since you usually know where the victim is, they're just difficult to get, except that the section on infiltration already covered infiltration in order to retrieve something. The only suggestion here is that it might involve getting the victim out safely, except that hits another category later;
  • Defeat a Foe - which doesn't seem like an adventure so much as part of an adventure;
  • Diplomacy - ugh. "Talk to someone". It mentions that the danger of this is that probably only one PC can talk at a time. It doesn't mention that diplomacy isn't just talking to one person, and that it can involve gathering information, finding circumstances, engaging with multiple people, etc; instead it jumps both feet first into the "if you say the right things the King will marry the princess to the town drunk" fallacy. Is this a Geek Social Fallacy somewhere?
  • Survival/Escape - get out of an area. Fair enough, except a) it emphasizes resource management, which most game systems can't handle that well; and b) the vast majority of the section isn't about writing a survival/escape adventure but about a warning that players hate PCs getting captured or running away and may well have them fight to the death to avoid either. Both are good points, but pretty much irrelevant.
  • Protect - protect stuff. It's mentioned this is a good way to have a small-scale sandbox if the thing being protected is in a single place and the PCs have time to prepare. Or the PCs might not know what's happening in which case.. um, apparently the adventure is "filled with tension"? Rather than, you know, just boring because the players have so little way of judging what they do?

Next step: the Hook. Ok, you know what a hook is. There's some examples of how to create one. It's pretty good. Moving on.

The acts is a note on the three acts of a story: the problem is introduced, the problem gets worse, and the problem is resolved. It makes the wise point that you need to be careful with the second act, because it usually counts on the PCs either failing or discovering something problematic, and if the PCs have no choice but to do that then the players will get frustrated. Unfortunately, the advice given is just "sometimes don't do that". There's also a note that you could use other structures if you want. So, not quite drawing the owl, but very noncommittal.

Plots and Side Plots and Weaving Adventures both have similar themes: side plots is on introducing small plots, especially involving single PCs, and introducing multiple plots based on the objectives above nested inside each other. Again, not really a bad idea, but it makes the classic creative-tutorial mistake of mistaking a list of already created examples - without any real discussion of their merits or origins - for instructions on how to create your own. Which makes me sad. (Unless the topic is programming, in which case it makes me want to bludgeon the tutorial author)

And our next step is Adventure Pitfalls, which is another list:

  • Railroading which is defined here as either the GM telling the players what the PCs do, or the PCs having only one choice that's viable. Unfortunately the example it chooses is of PCs exploring the woods, where the PCs say they go north, the GM says there's mountains; the PCs say they go west, the GM says the woods are too thick; and so on until they guess the right direction. I dislike this as an example of railroading because it implies that the GM just can't make a world in which there's a wood that actually has those properties, and the book doesn't go into more intelligent ways of dealing with this (for example, not making that a choice point at all and just saying the PCs travel through the woods). It also doesn't mention my old saw of romeroading, where the PCs can go east or west but end up in the same place no matter what.

  • Bottlenecks is a restatement of the Moving McGuffin issue, where the adventure stalls because it depends on something that the PCs either didn't notice or somehow failed to do. Again, the advice given is not to plan too much, which would be OK if the book had really given much in terms of what to plan, which it hasn't.

  • Repetition is, well, repeating the same things over and over. The same monsters or missions or even the same events, like the PCs being betrayed by someone they rescued. If that happens too often, the players will start to metagame by expecting it to happen. Fair enough. The only problem is that the given advice is to use a published adventure at least once or twice in a campaign. Which could help, but my experience is that published adventures - when run in sequence - tend to trigger exactly this problem because the authors weren't aware of each other and always think their twist is unique. Still.

  • The Wrong Stakes means that the PCs either don't get involved because the stakes are too low, or that you lose the ability to increase narrative tension because they're too high (and can't get any higher). What do we do about this? Um, vary the stakes. Example example. Groan.

What follows is a list of "Sample RPG plots" which are incredibly generically defined (example: "crime is on the increase in a community, and the PCs must help the victims and perhaps discover the reason"). Honestly, they're not really too bad, and a beginner could do well by picking from these. The only problem is that, as Monte actually himself said in the previous chapter, they're hooks or scenarios, not plots. They could definitely have benefitted from some extra guidelines on how they're actually run. For example, one is: "Two rivals compete to reach the same goal, and the PCs can attempt to help one or the other, but will they choose the right one?" Well, how does that work with the Moving MacGuffin? No word.

Next time, we'll move on to the later GMing chapters.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



PurpleXVI posted:

"Clearly there's no way this anarchy based on popularity will ever devolve into competing cults of personality eventually resulting in one ruling autocracy or multiple autocracies warring against each other on the hab until it breaks."

"SUBSCRIBE to PewDiePie and get upgraded protien rations! And a gun!"

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

By popular demand posted:

I'll be happy to gift you the modules Jerik, Provided you can review them.
If you can't than I'll really have to finish my review but you can still have them, I've no nostalgia for those days.

Wow... that's very generous of you. If you're serious about that, I'll be happy to pay the postage costs, of course.

As far as my reviewing the modules, though, while I'd be willing to try, I don't think I'm really the best person for the job, mostly because of the language issue. I know just enough Hebrew that I should be able to work out what the text says, given sufficient time and the aid of a dictionary, but I'm nowhere near fluent, and I'd be likely to miss some nuances or make some errors in translation that might affect the reviews. If you really don't want to review them, I'd be willing to give it a shot, but if you want the reviews done right you're probably better off finishing them yourself before parting with the modules.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Bieeanshee posted:

Cool, judging from that sheet it's still terminally overcomplex. Saves me time.
I want to like Eclipse Phase, but yeah.

It's like, what if Fragged Empire was an enormous pain in the rear end

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Awright then Jerrik, I'll complete my review before I send it your way.
Feel free to PM me your address, it seems like a lot of my family go all around the world constantly so we may be able to save on shipping and protect against the damage of airline shipping.

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.


Huh. There was a completely different monster called an entrope in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix III, which was also written by Monte Cook. I guess he really liked that name.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



juggalo baby coffin posted:


Engineered Viral Hosts



top to bottom: tactile host, ocular host, and warrior host

So there's a sentient virus called the Insidious Choir, but it got sick of infecting other species to be its hosts, so it made its own bodies to live in. They're still very infectious, but their goal isn't to infect the world or anything, they just want to explore and make their own society. Their motivation is curiosity (well, apart from the warrior one, whose motivation is defending the others), and if you telepathically talk to them you hear a million billion voices asking 'who is this?' 'what is that?' 'what is this for?'. The tactile hosts are active explorers, the ocular ones just watch things, and the big beetles defend the Insidious Choir's territory and hosts.

If you get infected with the virus you start to transmit all your thoughts and sensory input to the Insidious Choir, and after 7 days it can start to try and control your actions. The book doesn't give the guy any motivation beyond curiosity, so I assume it will just make you read future wikipedia or whatever.

I like these guys, despite the name the Insidious Choir isn't really evil, and its original to see a virus that has decided 'gently caress it, I'm done with this infection poo poo as a lifestyle'.


Alright I love these little buggers, just a bunch of little viruses wanting to learn poo poo is a cute idea even if they look like horrible monstrosities. :3:

ChaseSP fucked around with this message at 21:21 on Jul 28, 2019

Relevant Tangent
Nov 18, 2016

Tangentially Relevant



Ratoslov posted:

"SUBSCRIBE to PewDiePie and get upgraded protien rations! And a gun!"

Paranoia Ultimate Edition looking good.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




hyphz posted:


[*] Repetition is, well, repeating the same things over and over. The same monsters or missions or even the same events, like the PCs being betrayed by someone they rescued. If that happens too often, the players will start to metagame by expecting it to happen. Fair enough. The only problem is that the given advice is to use a published adventure at least once or twice in a campaign. Which could help, but my experience is that published adventures - when run in sequence - tend to trigger exactly this problem because the authors weren't aware of each other and always think their twist is unique. Still.

Well it helps that the person who wrote this book is in the business of selling published adventures.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


PurpleXVI posted:

Eclipse Phase: Second Edition



The real question remains: Is pig tits back? Does the HSD titty sphinx have competition?

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



That's two whole games I know of that have sentient viruses who just want to learn more about the world. :3:

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!


Eclipse Phase: Second Edition



Game Mechanics

So, basics. Exactly like EP1, EP2 rolls with percentile dice. This is inherently neither good or bad, though percentile dice, like all other single-dice mechanics have the advantage of being quick to do, easy to read, have easily-calculable probabilities and very rarely pull any weird-rear end dice tricks to complicate things. It's always a roll-under of the TN and the higher you roll without rolling over, the better. D6's and D10's occasionally get pulled out, but mostly for damage numbers.

As a new thing, though, 33's and 66's are now "critical" rolls, either failures or successes depending on whether they fail or succeed normally. I'm not really sure of EP needed this.

Superior Results posted:

For each superior result, choose one of the following. For two superior results, you may choose two of the following or one twice for double the effect:
• Quality: The work is more exact (success) or more sloppy (failure). This may affect subsequent tests by +/− 10.
• Quantity: The test consumes fewer (success) or more (failure) materials or produces fewer or more results.
• Detail: You acquire information that is much more in-depth or nuanced (success) or false (failure).
• Time (task actions only): The action takes a shorter (success) or longer (failure) amount of time, by +/− 25%.
• Covertness: The action is less (success) or more (failure) obvious or draws less or more attention (+/− 10 as appropriate).
• Damage: Successes inflict more (+1d6) damage (failures miss).

And this makes me wonder how much they learned, system-wise from the original EP. See, the thing about the original EP system was that it was kind of crunchy and gear-wanky, plus laden with save-or-dies(or save-or-become-NPC), but the writing implied a more narrative game with the high potential for death simply meaning that a heroic sacrifice was a viable strategy you just got to pull multiple stories in a row(just about every in-lore Firewall story had the crew reduced to one or two, or zero, agents, though generally they still pulled off their goals). It clashed, badly. And caring about the exact materials consumed or how many of [thing] I make feels like we're back to the original sauce of caring too much about minutiae. Maybe I'll turn out to be wrong.

...then in the very next paragraph, doubles are in general also criticals? Why do we need multiple ways to get critical successes/failures? Goddammit EP2, stop loving up a mechanic as simple as D100-roll-under.

Actions posted:

ACTION TURNS
An action turn represents roughly 3 seconds. During each action turn you may undertake one of the following:
• 1 complex action and 1 quick action
• 1 task action and 1 quick action
• 3 quick actions

[whispered]oh noooooooooooooo, they hosed it up.

This is the sort of poo poo I mean with fiddly minutiae. Like just loving give me ACTIONS, and X of them PER ROUND or per TURN or whatever. This is not contributing to my feelings of being in a stressful universe full of existential questions and existential dread, or even a fantastic universe full of alien discoveries, weirdnesses and horrors. This just makes me feel like I'm playing loving X-COM except I'm doing all the calculations by hand.

quote:

AUTOMATIC ACTIONS
Automatic actions are always “on,” reflexive, or otherwise require no effort to initiate. This includes base and full movement. Examples: Base move, basic perception, breathing, defending against an attack, dropping prone, dropping something, full move, resisting damage, speaking a simple sentence or two.

Seriously what dumb argument behind the scenes meant that they needed to point out that breathing isn't something players should need to specifically call out that they're doing?

Anyway, the base mechanics verdict: Somehow slightly worse than the original, at least as I remember them.


space juggalo drops his soda and robot man tries to save it

Pools

So, Pools are an entirely new thing. Is it a thing we like?

Why yes, conceptually, at least, I loving love them(mostly), because they represent consumable resources you can use to alter your odds, save yourself, etc. and not in a weedy-rear end way, but in a big way. Games generally need more of this poo poo.

So we've got four: Insight, Vigor, Social and, ugh, Flex. Insight is for mental checks, Vigor for physical, Social for rep and face stuff. Each of them lets us add bonuses pre-roll, negate penalties pre-roll, flip rolls(eg. an 83 to a 38), upgrade normal successes to crits or downgrade critfails to normal fails. Oddly enough, in most games with pools like this, it feels like rerolls are an option, but there's none of that here. Each pool also has some specifics it can do, like Vigor and Insight can give extra actions, Moxie can "ignore social gaffes that the character would know not to make"(if IC the character would know better, why not just warn the PC about that OOC like a non-dickhead GM?) or "ignore trauma," i.e. let you not roleplay something the game wants you to roleplay. The sizes of the pools are determined during chargen(1 to 5 seems to be normal judging by examples), and rather than having a set refresh rate per [period], instead we have two refresh options per 24-hour period.

Either we can take a 10-minute breather to recover 1d6 points(allocated as we please) or an 8-hour snooze(less if our morph permits for it) to refill all our pools.

Considering how central these pools are to giving the player control over the odds(it's literally that or taking their time doing stuff for set bonuses), having the "short breather" recovery be randomized seems kind of... punitive? Just say half the max, or a fixed amount altered by certain mods or morphs or something. Don't have a chance that Jack Shootman, Space Super Shootman, only recovers 1 Shootpoint just before the climactic showdown on top of Shootcorp Monolith on Planet Shoot(it's an exoplanet behind a pandora gate, obviously).

So anyway, next point of order gently caress FLEX POINTS.

Flex Points posted:

•Introduce NPC: A new or existing NPCj oins the scene. Their presence must be plausible. You may define one aspect of this NPC: their morph, factional allegiance, a noteworthy skill, a specific trait, etc. The GM determines the other details.
• Introduce an Item: A previously unnoticed item is added to the scene. Its presence must be plausible. The item cannot be offensive (no weapons) and it must be of Minor (not Rare or Restricted) Complexity. It can be a useful tool, a necessary piece of gear, or even a clue. The GM determines its placement within the scene and the nature of any clues.
• Define the Environment: You may introduce an environmental factor to a scene. Its presence must be plausible. It should provide a new detail that does not drastically alter the scene. Examples include hiding spots, cover, distractions, shelter, or exploitable elements such as a ladder or window.
• Define a Relationship: You may introduce a new, plausible relationship between your character and an existing NPC. This should be a loose/minor connection rather than a close/serious tie. For example, you may have a common friend, shared history, or old but mild rivalry. You may define the rough basics, but the GM determines the finer points and the NPC’s attitude towards your character.

So firstly, I hate this poo poo. That's personal taste, I realize, but I loving hate this thing of just letting players hijack the NPC/scene-setting part of things. Like, to me, okay, sorry for this tangent, to me this indicates an adversarial relationship between players and GM, and a lack of trust. A sense that if you go: "Oh, hey, any hiding spot in this space corridor? Maybe I can hide behind a space photocopier?" the GM is just going to go: "NO, JANE SNEAKGOOD, YOU CANNOT SNEAK IN THIS FEATURELESS CUBIST CORRIDOR. YOU MUST SHOOT, SHOOT OR DIE." rather than going: "Oh, yeah, your thing is sneaking, sure, there's a space water cooler to hide behind and also a space potted plant. Roll them dice." That the player needs an explicit scepter of authority to wave at the GM to be allowed to do their thing.

And letting the player place a clue? What? "Okay guy you've created this enticing mystery, with every clue and hint strategically placed with utmost care to allow us to enjoy it as much as possible. Now put down one more, just right here, in loving front of me. On a platter."

Secondly, if you're gonna do it, you wrap the game around it. You make a collaborative storytelling game. You don't jam it sideways into Crunchy Gearwank Rollfest In Space w/ Spooky & Anarchists. Add it to a FATE game. Add it to your own homebrew, but loving know where it fits.


first I noticed the cyber-arms, then I noticed all the loving pouches.

Character Creation


slowly I start to realize that EP2's art is sincerely starting to give me Hunter: the Reckoning flashbacks. the lore text so far is all about how it's a spooky solar system full of horror and bad and ways to die and ghosts and aaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa space ghosts aaaaaaaaaaaaa oh wait just the TITANs oh god that's even worse. but the art is all about determined people with big guns shooting them or performing feats of strong, at least so far. oh yeah and another gratuitous loving boob window.

Ahem, anyway, character creation. So like in EP1, we have our Ego stats and our Morph stats, i.e. the stats our mind has, and the stat our current body has. These are:

Somatics(Strength/Constitution)
Reflexes(Dexterity)
Cognition(Intelligence)
Willpower(Wisdom)
Savvy(Charisma)
Intuition(Also Wisdom, I guess?)

The six of them map relatively well to D&D stats but for some reason need names that I always get tangled up in, especially since Intuition shortens to INT, which in every other loving game is intelligence. Show a bit of goddamn awareness, game devs, you're not making games in a loving vacuum.

In EP1 the Morph/Ego split was kind of a cause of some considerable bookkeeping since they also directly impacted many of your core stats, meaning that all your skill TN's and derived stats needed re-calculating every time you resleeved(hence another argument for dealing with the loving resleeving mechanics in EP1 as little as possible, loving goddamn).

There's less of that this time around, but... they kind of bungled it, still? Now, I confess, I jumped a bit ahead to the morphs to see about this. Now... the thing is that to go with the gear-wank, EP1 had like fifty or more morphs once all the books were out(and, again, like five that were worth using, ever. But I'm done harping on that. For now. Honest), but at least the mixture of stats and weird attributes and abilities and pre-included mods made them generally distinct. At my count, EP 2.0 stats with 42 of them.

When EP2 was in the works, some people I knew theorized that they'd strip down the morphs to a few general chassis like ANTHROMORPH, BIOLOGICAL and then you'd slap on modifiers and keywords to differentiate a FLAT, an OLYMPIAN, a NEOTENIC(ugh, yes, they're still in the game, but neo-pigs are not, Ronwayne), a NEO-GORILLA or a NEO-ORANGUTAN. In order to produce variety without producing bloat or bookkeeping. But they didn't do that, they kept all of them, but now there's even less of a point, because the only morph-inherent stats are starting mods, starting wounds, movement speed and bonuses to Vigor/Insight/Moxie/Flex pools. There are three different kinds of loving neo-Primates, Jesus Christ. Aside from the Neo-Orangutan having Limberness and different health pools, they are more or less indistinguishable. This is bloat. It's loving bloat.

I'm angry, angry about elf-morphs.

Next time: MORE CHARGEN, probably more me being angry about morphs

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

I like Flex Points and I'm not ashamed :colbert:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I dunno, I think the purpose of something like Flex and systemizing that kind of thing is to encourage it. Ironically, even though suggesting things is "free", putting a cost on it gives it value and encourages people to actually use it.

It may be ham-handed here, but I don't think it necessarily presumes a hostile GM.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

yea in a more efforty post than before I'd say while it CAN be used for adversarial poo poo I really don't think EP is designed with that kinda mindset in mind, and in fact very much discourages. It's a way to make setting a scene a collaboration by giving a more 'solid' resource to go 'oh I have a point, I'd like to spend it to say me and this syndicate guy actually go back, I've done some off the books deliveries for him and we have a mutual respect going on'. It CAN be used for 'actually Jerry the gangster fuckin loves me, he'd never shoot me in the face' stuff I guess but it's not really in the bones of the game. Plus the GM can just say 'nah you shot Jerry's dudes, he's mad now'.

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Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Weird Flex but ok.

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