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Nea
Feb 28, 2014

Something something cinnamon bun

Mors Rattus posted:

They also did Masks, too, which is tonally more on-point...but yeah, Urban Shadows is not so great. It's probably better than this, but not by much.

What're the issues with Urban Shadows? Like reading Epyllon it's IMMEDIATELY obvious what the problems are, but I've skimmed Urban Shadows a few times and I didn't see anything too bad with it? Certainly looked better than like, a Dungeon World or monster of the week.

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Nancy_Noxious
Apr 10, 2013

by Smythe


The problem with Urban Shadows is that one of the authors wrote a blog post that people here found unforgivable. (Hint, its about Zak, which is guaranteed to send this forum on a spiral or mindless rage and pure envy.)

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Ah shoot guys I'm hulkin' out! Everyone get clear, you wouldn't like me when I'm envious!

Nancy_Noxious
Apr 10, 2013

by Smythe


Oh, burn! You're so clever. Doesn't make what I wrote any less true. Zak is much more talented and successful than any of the fat losers here.

Serf
May 5, 2011




imagine stanning this hard for hard for Zak S lol

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


Nancy_Noxious posted:

Oh, burn! You're so clever. Doesn't make what I wrote any less true. Zak is much more talented and successful than any of the fat losers here.

Zak sockpuppet?

Neopie posted:

What're the issues with Urban Shadows? Like reading Epyllon it's IMMEDIATELY obvious what the problems are, but I've skimmed Urban Shadows a few times and I didn't see anything too bad with it? Certainly looked better than like, a Dungeon World or monster of the week.


I ran it for about 7 months. I would say it ran okay. Some people don't like it because it uses so much of the different Splats of world of Darkness at once. However it works when you recognize that it's going for a congested Metropolis with people from many different backgrounds. It's not trying to be a game where everyone is a vampire but a game where multiple different ethnic groups have to intermingle and tensions arise.

That said I do remember some issues arising with the actual mechanics. Like you have to remember debts because they're like strings in MonsterHearts. I also remember some weirdness with some Play Books.

Honestly though the campaign went fine enough. Though I know one of my players could probably explain all the issues because I remember him not liking some things. If he's reading this and wishes to explain that would be nice but obviously no obligation.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


Covok posted:

Zak sockpuppet?

Nah, they're just a troll, check their post history in this thread.

Nancy_Noxious
Apr 10, 2013

by Smythe


Troll or not, its still true: everytime you see someone in this forum bitch about a game that bears Mark Diaz Truman's name, its not about the game itself, its because this forum once had a meltdown over a blog post by Mark. Once he wrote that blog post, his games became "bad games" around here. People is this forum are petty lile this.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Delurking to say, I never heard about this Mark guy but the dragon game is a mess on every level, just from what we see here, so I don't think it's anything beyond that.
Also, Zak is such scum that an OP freelancer fled the company rather than be anywhere near that harassing, vicious inanity. So, anyone who thinks it's a question of 'envy' ... Well I'm just glad they're probably just Zak's sad self.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



I apologize for feeding earlier, my good thread, but this thread has been so great without any Zak or Beast talk, can we just wait for Ettin to swing through?

By the way, we've got episode 99 figured out for the show, gonna be a real good one. We'll have James from One Shot on for the whole thing.

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.

Oven Wrangler

theironjef posted:

I apologize for feeding earlier, my good thread, but this thread has been so great without any Zak or Beast talk, can we just wait for Ettin to swing through?

By the way, we've got episode 99 figured out for the show, gonna be a real good one. We'll have James from One Shot on for the whole thing.

Good to see you finally reaping the fruits of selling out to Big Podcast.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Hah yeah. We're still working out the exact details of how it's going to help us. We're not connected to their Patreon in any way. Mostly we just get a few extra links and mentions. Eventually the goal is that we take advantage of James' industry contacts to publish one of our games. This upcoming episode is a favor for him since he's launching something soon and needs to be on shows, but we worked out a good way to bring him in.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





theironjef posted:

Hah yeah. We're still working out the exact details of how it's going to help us. We're not connected to their Patreon in any way. Mostly we just get a few extra links and mentions. Eventually the goal is that we take advantage of James' industry contacts to publish one of our games. This upcoming episode is a favor for him since he's launching something soon and needs to be on shows, but we worked out a good way to bring him in.

BlimpleggersBlimpleggersBlimpleggersBlimpleggers

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


Neopie posted:

What're the issues with Urban Shadows? Like reading Epyllon it's IMMEDIATELY obvious what the problems are, but I've skimmed Urban Shadows a few times and I didn't see anything too bad with it? Certainly looked better than like, a Dungeon World or monster of the week.

I ran a pretty good Urban Shadows campaign in pbp on this forum, I think the game can work but it’s in the same vein as Dungeon World. It’s trying a little too hard to emulate another game (in this case WoD instead of D&D) but at the same time drops some of the stuff that makes that game fun and unique in favor of questioningly implemented generic Apocalypse Engine system ideas. It’s also a little overcomplicated with fiddly rules, which is not what you want from an Apocalypse Engine game but it’s what you almost always get with emulation hacks.

In particular, the debt system is a little bloated and mechanically dense and it’s probably the biggest addition to the whole thing. The worst playbooks are the ones that manipulate debts (vampire and fae) because they often dictate other character’s behavior in annoying ways.

The game is functional and can be fun, but I’d actually rather play a good WoD (or rather Chronicles) game or a good Apocalypse World game than a good Urban Shadows game. Although even AW has some really lovely move/playbook content (Arresting Skinner got printed twice!) and I will never defend any of the WoD design decisions.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


theironjef posted:

I apologize for feeding earlier, my good thread, but this thread has been so great without any Zak or Beast talk, can we just wait for Ettin to swing through?

By the way, we've got episode 99 figured out for the show, gonna be a real good one. We'll have James from One Shot on for the whole thing.

When you do episode 100 (D&D 3E), you should use this for your intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xA5I3vEIQ8E

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



SirPhoebos posted:

When you do episode 100 (D&D 3E), you should use this for your intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xA5I3vEIQ8E

You have no idea how close I came to using Fett's Vette for the intro for the Expounded Universe stuff despite the fact that would mean we'd never be able to like Patreon it or anything.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


SirPhoebos posted:

And the whole thing is a distraction from what Rifts aims to be. Unless the game is based on currency exchange, a unit of money should be the same regardless of where you are.

EDIT: Is there going to be a Currency Trader OCC, ARB?

First there would have to be a Trader O.C.C. to begin with. The notion is given in some NPC statblocks in the way that they sometimes write NPC classes as appro of nothing gibberish, but there hasn't been any trade-based classes I can think of.

Covok posted:

Zak sockpuppet?

Let's not give Nancy that level of credit. Ignore, please.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Being honest, I don't think RIFTS understands that human interaction exists outside of exposition and violence.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yes. The explanation actively makes things far more bewildering given that everybody uses the credit, from the Phoenix Empire to New Babylon to Tritonia. But apparently not Tombstone. (Japan's money is different, tho.)

I'm reminded of bizarre conceits like Eoris Essence that ends up going so far as to create an astral dimension from which money can be stored and transferred, with special coins minted that can be transferred in or out of that dimension. Why does such a thing exist?



You know what would be cool if you were doing a more coherently planned out RIFTS with similar concepts (Mega-Damage et al)? Make 'money' come in the form of food, water, power, and ammo. Especially Mega-Damage ammo. Kinda like Metro 2033. So a gun might be worth like, 20 E-Clips or whatever and places with water purifiers and powerplants can literally print money, which is why the Coalition is so powerful relatively speaking-it has a lot of infrastructure and thus can literally print the poo poo that most places consider valuable trade goods.

It also makes looting more entertaining, which in a game about fightin' things and looting, is not bad.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





I have no idea who the person who wrote it is supposed to be, but Epyllion is pretty weak design-wise. It manages to miss basically all the good things about PbtA, replacing them with several gallons of weapons-grade fanfiction. One of the reasons why AW and MH are so great is that everything in them, including in particular the list of MC moves and agendas, is tuned towards producing a particular theme. AW's themes are 1) the ubiquity and inevitability of violence and 2) what we're willing to do to survive in times of scarcity. So every single solitary thing in AW is about violence or scarcity or both.*

Epyllion's playbooks and moves, however, are all super-generic. The themes are supposed to be... conflict between the old and the young, and mumble mumble corruption darkness I guess? The Power of Friendship? How are those served by the Crafter, or by any of its moves? It has a move about repairing broken machinery. Why?

Outside of that, good PbtA systems have built-in tension within the group. AW playbooks all need something, and their needs clash. The Hardholder wants peace and protection for her hold, but the Gunlugger wants battles and chaos so he can do his thing and get paid -- remember that the Hardholder's lifestyle is paid for as long as her hold is safe, but the Gunlugger has to shell out cash every session to eat. An AW group can go an entire session without the MC having to introduce outside conflict of any kind, because the mechanics themselves push players to make poo poo happen on their own. Where is that in Epyllion? Every example they give involves some older dragon giving the group a job, or something bad/weird happening and the group acting to stop/understand it. If you, the MC, aren't throwing fights at him, why should your slightly checked-out buddy playing the Warrior do anything but wait?

* A couple of the extended playbooks for 1E stray out of these themes, and those are easily the weakest among them in my estimation.

megane fucked around with this message at 20:18 on Jun 26, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MJ12 posted:

You know what would be cool if you were doing a more coherently planned out RIFTS with similar concepts (Mega-Damage et al)? Make 'money' come in the form of food, water, power, and ammo. Especially Mega-Damage ammo. Kinda like Metro 2033. So a gun might be worth like, 20 E-Clips or whatever and places with water purifiers and powerplants can literally print money, which is why the Coalition is so powerful relatively speaking-it has a lot of infrastructure and thus can literally print the poo poo that most places consider valuable trade goods.

It also makes looting more entertaining, which in a game about fightin' things and looting, is not bad.

The Savage Worlds version adds some slight scrounging mechanics, at least. It's not terribly robust. It's a little strange I haven't seen any random rolls for pre-rifts junk or the like in 26 books, it'd at least make for a fun chunk of %s to engage with, particularly in places like the American Southeast or West that might not be tapped out of treasures.

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!


theironjef posted:

Hah yeah. We're still working out the exact details of how it's going to help us. We're not connected to their Patreon in any way. Mostly we just get a few extra links and mentions. Eventually the goal is that we take advantage of James' industry contacts to publish one of our games. This upcoming episode is a favor for him since he's launching something soon and needs to be on shows, but we worked out a good way to bring him in.

Yessss....Duckman needs to become reality! Weird...crazy....maddening reality.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

MJ12 posted:

You know what would be cool if you were doing a more coherently planned out RIFTS with similar concepts (Mega-Damage et al)? Make 'money' come in the form of food, water, power, and ammo. Especially Mega-Damage ammo. Kinda like Metro 2033. So a gun might be worth like, 20 E-Clips or whatever and places with water purifiers and powerplants can literally print money, which is why the Coalition is so powerful relatively speaking-it has a lot of infrastructure and thus can literally print the poo poo that most places consider valuable trade goods.

It also makes looting more entertaining, which in a game about fightin' things and looting, is not bad.

I would play this Fallout mod so hard

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

occamsnailfile posted:

Related to thread: Really Siembieda? Now is when you want to talk about credits being insane? I always just pretended they were some pre-Rifts banking system carried forward that people were still sort of willing to trust because worrying about currency conversion was well beyond uninteresting and not what the game was about. I mean it did get steadily more and more ridiculous, especially when products like Phase World finally acknowledged the problem, but among the many inconsistencies of the setting, that's the one he chooses to address?

RIFTS is born of 80's game design and sensibilities. Nothing is real unless it has numbers or justification behind it. Things need to be explained, even if the players will never touch the explanation, even if everything is designed so that they can't. Not that Siembieda is willing to put in the research and work to understand how those numbers or explanations should actually look. He'll come up with something on the spur of the moment, and then assume that he's smart enough that whatever came off the top of his head must be good, or at least close enough. That's how you get super firearms that fire significantly slower than modern firearms and monetary systems that break down the second you squint at them. The idea that you could abstract these things, represent them with fuzzier mechanics, is foreign to that kind of designer. The fact that they abstract other things doesn't really occur to them, and if it did, they'd start trying to argue that either real life really did work that way, or else try to de-abstract it and make it work as "realistically" as possible.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Mors Rattus posted:

Being honest, I don't think RIFTS understands that human interaction exists outside of exposition and violence.

Pretty much, you have all this high-tech stuff with no apparent infrastructure, societies with no nuance or internal conflict, a litany of seemingly sentient creatures that are born to do evil - it's usually written at a level you'd expect for a toy line, Eighties anime, or Bronze-Age comic book, and it kind of falls apart once you start asking any hard world-building questions. And that would be okay if it deliberately flags that it's Just A Show, but Rifts is written with about 90% dead seriousness and a lack of genre awareness regarding the very genres that inspires it. Similarities to Star Wars are not coincidental, right down to the evil empire that may be a bunch of murderous fascists, but would make for a pretty cool bunch of toys.

So when it tries to break things down and detail what's going on, frequently the explanation is actively worse than the lack of one.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Alien Rope Burn posted:

The Savage Worlds version adds some slight scrounging mechanics, at least. It's not terribly robust. It's a little strange I haven't seen any random rolls for pre-rifts junk or the like in 26 books, it'd at least make for a fun chunk of %s to engage with, particularly in places like the American Southeast or West that might not be tapped out of treasures.

Oh yeah, and if you make 'ammo' a valuable trade good suddenly micromissiles don't seem as ridiculously OP, because you're literally burning cash when you fire them off in large volleys. I think like in the Metro games, the fact that military-grade bullets were also money made a lot of people wary of spending them as ammo, even though they were actually fairly plentiful. The moment you tell the players 'this is actually money' instead of that one-step-removed 'this is ammo you can sell for money' they seem to behave very differently on how willing they are to spend it.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

It would also feel so much more like the post-apocalypse.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Deadlands: Hell on Earth kinda-sorta used the bullets-as-currency thing, but also priced everything in dollars anyway. It's just that one standard caliber pistol bullet was one buck, IIRC.

But Deadlands also had the apocalypse having happened in living memory, which is slightly different than the Rifts situation, really.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Midjack posted:

BlimpleggersBlimpleggersBlimpleggersBlimpleggers

I really want to revisit that but I don't think FATE was going to be the right toolkit for us. Now I'm not sure what to do with it, I love the world for it so much.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

theironjef posted:

I really want to revisit that but I don't think FATE was going to be the right toolkit for us. Now I'm not sure what to do with it, I love the world for it so much.

You guys seem to be keen on systems with abstract, but still tactical, combat. Maybe Strike!, or Savage Worlds?

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide


theironjef posted:

I really want to revisit that but I don't think FATE was going to be the right toolkit for us. Now I'm not sure what to do with it, I love the world for it so much.
Fung Shui?

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007





theironjef posted:

I really want to revisit that but I don't think FATE was going to be the right toolkit for us.

It needs to be a LARP engine, using a crossover between Cyberworld and Cthulhu Live. Come on guys, you know you want to.

(Also, it needs a special video episode featuring you and Jon fully dressed up as Chester Balloonman and The Fuzz)

Comrade Koba fucked around with this message at 15:54 on Jun 27, 2017

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.




I found least with 2, it's too swingy for a sustained campaign,

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Simian_Prime posted:

You guys seem to be keen on systems with abstract, but still tactical, combat. Maybe Strike!, or Savage Worlds?

I mean in terms of running it as a setting, I have all the setting and species notes, people could run it in any system they want today. In terms of publishing it someday, I think Savage Worlds already had a blimp supplement. What we need is some designer with an established ruleset that is actively looking for cool settings to wander into this thread.

Comrade Koba posted:

It needs to be a LARP engine, using a crossover between Cyberworld and Cthulhu Live. Come on guys, you know you want to.

(Also, it needs a special video episode featuring you and Jon fully dressed up as Chester Balloonman and The Fuzz)

I actually also have a full story about Chester and his crew smuggling hooch in his custom blimp, the Arbor Devil.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 20:48 on Jun 27, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Robindaybird posted:

I found least with 2, it's too swingy for a sustained campaign,

In fairness to FS2, this was intentional in its design and it's meant for one-shots/short linked scenarios for the most part.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



theironjef posted:

I mean in terms of running it as a setting, I have all the setting and species notes, people could run it in any system they want today. In terms of publishing it someday, I think Savage Worlds already had a blimp supplement. What we need is some designer with an established ruleset that is actively looking for cool settings to wander into this thread.


I actually also have a full story about Chester and his crew smuggling hooch in his custom blimp, the Arbor Devil.

Strike! might actually be it, then, though usually we just have to talk about it to get Jimbozig to show up.

Plutonis
Mar 25, 2011


Nancy_Noxious posted:

Oh, burn! You're so clever. Doesn't make what I wrote any less true. Zak is much more talented and successful than any of the fat losers here.

I'd say I could be more successful if I tried hard enough to be honest.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





Oubliette: A dungeon only accessible by a trapdoor at the top. Derived from Middle French from oublier, “to forget”.

Oubliette is a newly released RPG by Joseph Lee Bush via Voidspiral Entertainment, using Evil Hat Publishing’s Fate Core system. It’s also my perfect RPG, hitting 99.9% of mY aEsThEtIc like nothing else I’ve ever seen.

First off: It uses a very minorly modified Fate Core as the engine, which is generally held to be a drat good game system, and its flexibility works wonders for this game, which is essentially an overflowing scrapyard of concepts. The system has minor tweaks, an expanded ladder and a mess of new skills, a new type of stress track, a rough “Level” system, etc. but is 90% Fate Core.

As such, most of the book is setting, gobs and gobs of shockingly good setting. The best way I could describe it is if you blended Planescape, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and Kill 6 Billion Demons, and Metroid together, then hit it with a thermonuclear war to get the kinks out. But, the best way to sell it is to show it. In the first post I’m just going to transpose the first page or so of text, with some of my own commentary in between. This is a pseudo in-universe fiction, and serves pretty well to wet the appetite and serves as an excellent start to the book.

§1 Awakening


Body of Light,
spirit of the Forgotten,
come to me.
Being of Matter,
be no more,
and rest here in forever.


(This book is full of quotes, so instead of using quote boxes for every one, italics will be used instead)

§1.1 Where am I? posted:

It’s an alley. Stone. Slick with muck up to the hip, and you’re laying in it, slipping and falling as you try and fail to stumble upright. Irrational—or perhaps delayed—terror courses momentarily through your veins, causing you to cower into the shadow of a mound of decaying garbage and rot, from which you recoil moments later. Every new sight is a surprise, a shock.
As you try to calm yourself, a woman appears in the rain, at the end of the alley. She is wiry, dark of eye and hair, and wears a motley of rags that are soaked through to her bones. She raises her hands, as though in surrender, or in an effort to show that she’s unarmed. You mumble at her, but the words come out wrong; parts are still missing.
“Raste tranquilli, amui,” she says, carefully entering the alley. She seems to be leaving it open so you can pass.
“What…”
“Ah, I see. Be calm, friend. You are in no danger.”
“What… what happened?”
“You died, I’m afraid. My condolences.”
“…Is this Hell?”
“Only if you make it so. Relax, I am a friend.”
“Where is this? What’s going on?” you ask, your mind whirling and your heart in your throat. It should already be too late to panic, but your brain is unconvinced by this reasoning.
“You’ve died. You’re dead. Gone from the World of Life. This is someplace else. This is Oubliette.”
“Oubliette?” you echo, trying to latch onto the
conversation to calm your unsteady nerves. She doesn’t seem so bad.
“Yes, Oubliette. Do you know what an oubliette is?” she asks, stepping into the alley further and out of the pounding rain of the street beyond. You try to ignore the hideous things stalking past in the rain.
“N-no… wait, it’s a dungeon, isn’t it?”
“Very good. Yes, this is Castle Oubliette, the dungeon at the end of the world. Welcome.”
The “you” here is no particular NPC, but the player instead. The section headings are questions the body answers. She can peg our observer as a newcomer by the language, as Oubliette has it’s own, which I’ll cover later. I will say, I much prefer this style of narrative text compared to most other games. *COUGH* WHITEWOLF *COUGH*.

Now to dig into this a bit: We know that Castle Oubliette is dirty and filthy, and somehow inherently terrifying and strange, but hey it has rain so that’s good. Presumably this world has at least semi-normal weather.

§1.2 How Did I Get Here? posted:

Approaching cautiously, she leads you further into the alley. She stops under an overhang of rotting wood, fabric, and leather from which dozens of glass jars hang, catching the rain. Faces peer over the edge and down at you from above, but they are shaped and colored wrong so you look away.
The woman wrings out her hood, sucking the rain from it and sighing, quenched. She waves to the green and brown creatures above, smiling at them. At your prompting, her attention returns to you.
“I suppose I should try to explain a little more, eh? Have a seat, you might faint,” she says, patting the muck next to her as she slides to the stones.
“This is Oubliette, where all things go when they are forgotten. Yes, even you. Now, brace yourself. A lot of this isn’t easy to hear.”
She adjusts herself, leaning toward you, to put her hand on your knee, as though to comfort you.
“You’re dead. Best to accept it now. This is the afterlife. And yes, it’s eternal. You’re stuck here. You’re just as eternal as everyone—and everything—else around here. You’re not going to Heaven or Hell, you’re probably not even going to leave this part of the Castle for quite a while. It usually takes some time to get used to the place. If you’re from Earth, you’re likely to see a lot of things here that you’ve never heard of or never believed could be real. And for good reason, all the different creatures and magics—well, nevermind all that. You’ll get the idea.”
The woman’s eyes flash and her hand lashes out like a lightning strike, then returns with an arthropod the size of both fsts put together. Her eyes are alight with glee.
“Ooh, aren’t you a big one. Oh, apologies. You’ll get hungry soon, and finding food will probably be the first thing you need to do. This is an edipede. Good steamed or stewed, but you can eat them raw if you need. Want to try it?”
She smiles. “I thought not. But you will soon enough. Anyway, you’re what we call a ‘newcomer,’ which means you’ve only just arrived. And you’ll be here quite a while. You’re immortal, now, after all. I know, I know. Hard to believe. But you’ll believe just fine after you wake up from your first death.”

So, from what we can read between the lines here, water and food are both rare and precious. You don’t put out random jars to catch rainwater if you live somewhere with indoor plumbing and bottled water. And well, since eating random giant bugs you grab in an ally is seemingly a normal thing to do there probably isn’t a Whole Foods down the block.

§1.3 Aren’t I Immortal? posted:

“My apologies, that was cruel of me. Few people believe when they first arrive. But it’s important for you to understand that, deep in your heart, because if you don’t you might end up Broken.”
She points down the alley, where a pile of bodies lies in the rain. You stifle a flinch when you realize they’re not dead, just unable to move. “They're Broken. Their minds are gone, shattered, and they’re likely to sit there for eons before that changes. So keep your wits about you, you’ll need them. Just because you come back from dying doesn’t make it pleasant. Those poor souls probably suffered one too many deaths, and now their minds are wrecked. Don’t let yourself become like them. Folk like you and me, still up walking around with our minds intact, we’re called Unbroken. Best to stay this way, if you ask me.”
She cracks open the stubby edipede and scoops out the
colorful insides, shoveling them into her mouth. Up close, you notice that she has an assortment of charms and wands hanging from her belt, none of which are familiar. They look very old.
“Oubliette isn’t a kind place. Unless you’re quite strong, you may want to lay low for a while, so you can get the lay of the land. A strange place it is, and you’re going to see a lot of things you never thought possible. And, well, chances are, you’re here because you’ve got a little spark of the unusual in you too. If you nurture that, you may just make it here.”
The woman finishes her edipede and looks out at the dwindling rain. After a moment she carefully unwraps the age-spotted bundle she’d been carrying on her back to reveal a large tome.
“Here. Take this. It’s… a guide of sorts. Someday, when you’ve no need for it any longer, you’ll meet a newcomer in an alley, they’ll be lost and terrified, but hopefully the book will help.”
She stands and flaps her uselessly sodden clothes, stepping lightly back out into to the rain as you open the strange book. It’s filled with cramped text, illustrations, pressed leaves, specimens, and charts. There are even, on the first few pages, these very words.
Your eyes widen as the book tells you what the woman is going to say next.
“My name is Lucette de Ardes. I’ll be seeing you around, newcomer.”

Hm, if you’ve played Eclipse Phase this might feel familiar to you. If we’re functionally immortal, it makes sense that the biggest threat is to our precious sanity. Unbroken is also the general name for PCs in this game, for future reference. Also, hints at how the skill system is… unique in this game. Namely: Everyone is a wizard. Everyone. Oh, and we’ll be learning more about Lucette later, when we get to learning about the denizens of Oubliette.

§1.4 What’s It About?

This next section is actually something I wish more games had: A list of themes that the game is based upon so you know what the designer was wanting to invoke and what sort of games you can run in it. These are split into three categories: Core Themes, Meta Themes, and Direction Themes.

Core themes are the bedrock of the game, and are present throughout the book and should form the basis of any campaign. They are:
  • The Effects of Eternity
  • The Determination of the Unbroken
  • Staggering Immensity of Scale
  • Effective Immortality

Meta themes are the basis of Oubliette as a game, and act as more design goals and GM guidelines than setting elements.
  • All Myths Are True
  • Drama and action are better than literalism and accuracy
  • Life is Hard, but not depressing
  • Death isn’t the same
  • Players have goals
  • It isn’t about whether you live or die, but how you do so
  • Collaboration over competition

Finally Direction themes, which aren’t universal. Some games focus on all of them, or pick a few, or even one, but they run throughout the book and act as a good conceptual level for campaigns.
  • Cosmic Fantasy
  • Exploration of Strange Places
  • General Weirdness
  • The Fantasy Blues
  • The Struggle For Survival
  • The Vertigo of Immortality
  • The Horror of Certainty
  • Physical Transformation
  • Nonhuman Characters
  • Empathic Horror
  • The Religions of New and Old Gods
  • City of Spies
  • Black Humor

§§1.5-1.8

This bit’s the general introduction sections. What materials you need, lets you know how the book is set up but with a hyperlink/page reference if you want to skip to Character Creation, the quick overview of Fate Core to give you some idea of what some key terminology means up front, and hilariously enough §1.8.1 is “A Note for D&D Players” explicitly going over the differences between Oubliette/Fate Core and your typical dungeon crawling D&D game. It’s totally devoid of badwrongfun, and is mostly about explaining how different cognitive modes are needed to play this than D&D. It’s nice to see though.

That wraps §1 up, next time we get into §2 and jump face first into a bottomless chasm of really well written setting lore.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Wapole Languray posted:

As such, most of the book is setting, gobs and gobs of shockingly good setting. The best way I could describe it is if you blended Planescape, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and Kill 6 Billion Demons, and Metroid together, then hit it with a thermonuclear war to get the kinks out.

You're missing the central ingredient, I think - Dark Souls.
The themes, the core conceit of 'you don't die permanently, but you might lose yourself,' the castle - this all screams Souls game. You even have an impressive Capitalized Noun for PCs which denotes what makes them immortal, like Chosen Undead or Unkindled. Unbroken is a clear hat-tip to that. Which isn't a huge surprise; Soulsborne RPGs are pretty clearly on the horizon the way souls-likes are becoming huge in video games. I hope it does it well!

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 4: "It contains the Mount Rushmore monument and the neighboring Indian monument, all believed to be slumbering mountain gods by a few bands of primitive D-Bees."

New West Overview of Territories

We start with about a half-page of handwringing about what the New West comprises, and the answer is generally "United States only", Canada and Mexico go in other books. There's some handwringing from Siembieda about how he really wanted to include the whole west including Canada, but he didn't have the space. I dunno, maybe he'd have more space in his book if he wasn't giving us a definition of "cowpoke" or with explanations like these...

... like the discussion of what a gorge or mesa that follows that apology.


This is all the art this time. Git!

We get synopses of the New West, which I'm going to bullet point because it's informative but painfully dull for the most part.
  • Arizona: Home to Navajo, Hopi, and Apache, as well as Simvan, Fennodi, and Cactus People. What are those? Wait until later? We're told that leatherwings and worm wraiths are a threat, but Sky-Knights, Reid's Rangers, and Cyber-Knights are "the only law". I guess the laws of indigenuous Americans and D-bees don't count. Also, didn't we just a glossary, and all a sudden we have all these unexplained terms. Oy. I guess explaining "snake-oil salesman" was more important than "sky-knight".
  • California: Reclaimed by wilderness but there are "pockets of civilization". That's all, left coasters!
  • Colorado: This is home to prairies and the "Colorado Baronies", and the Cyber-Knights wander around here in their generically aimless way. This is supposed to be the prototypical New West location, with boomtowns and bandits, and is "wild and woolly as they come". We get a list of canyons, including that Grand one. I know when I start an new campaign, I'm like "but what about the canyons?" and "Tell me about the canyons!" and "I gotta go deep!"
  • North Dakota: A "vast wilderness", so not much different than modern day. There are Sioux, Xiticix, and also Justice Rangers, whatever they are. Maybe they range justice?
  • South Dakota: Patrolled by Justice Rangers and Cyber-Knights, like cross-country batmen. Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse (implicated, not named) are worshipped by D-Bees as gods, like you do over random carved stone faces you can't identify.
  • Idaho: Filled with monsters and D-Bees thanks to the Calgary Rift... but the Nez Perce, Simvan, and psi-stalker tribes are reclaiming it. There are Justice Rangers and Cyber-Knights, again, just looking for trouble. It's said the Rocky Mountain is where dragons be.
  • Iowa: Though claimed by Chi-Town, this is really just mostly farm and wilderness and scant skull patrols.
  • Kansas: Mainly led by the "Comanche Preserve" which is building a peaceful, accepting community that is slated to get demolished by the Coalition in a few decades. Currently the the Coalition is just building up in military outposts in Missouri, though.
  • Nevada: Mostly the Mojave makes you wish for a nuclear wint- er, mostly it's just only seen by travellers passing through. Sometimes treasure hunters come to raid city ruins but most of it's been picked over already. Also there's Area 51, which has been rediscovered by the Black Market along with glitter boys and SAMAS prototypes. It is essentially the headquarters for the arms production of the Black Market, called "Bandito Arms". It notes the Coalition is trying to find out where this is located but even if they did it's hardened enough that Bandito Arms could hold out more or less indefinitely.
  • New Mexico: The south has serious vampire issues, and it's otherwise mainly inhabited by Simvan, Fennodi, and nonspecific Indigenous Americans. Reid's Rangers and Cyber-Knights also wander the earth here.
  • Oklahoma: Is a mostly unpopulated wilderness despite being part of Lone Star. No more Okies.
  • Oregon: Uninhabited, but we're referred to Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West for more. Is it uninhabited there, too? If so, what else is there to say? If not, aren't they just lying?
  • Texas / Lone Star: Go read my last review.
  • Utah: Often people go to hunt for artifacts in the ruins, but mostly it's just monsters which the Cyber-Knights try and cull. Monument Valley is supposedly haunted by demons. Agathla Peak was said to float in the air "according to legend" but isn't now so who cares? Despite it being "largely uninhabited" there are Navaho, Apache, and Ute; I guess they don't count. There are also believes that there might be hidden pre-rifts treasures like Montezuma's lost treasure (sent north to keep it away from Spaniards), Emperor Maximillian's riches (stolen by Confederates and hidden), Wells Fargo's gold shipment (stolen by outlaws and thrown into Mud Lake), and a Naruni cache (the Naruni were eaten by monsters). Wait, I though we were talking about pre-rifts treasures? Well, not anymore with that last one.
  • Washington: Home to the Makah and is "heavily populated", but it directs us to Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West for more.
  • Wyoming: Cheyenne, Sioux, Cyber-Knights, Justice Rangers, Medicine Wheel, Shoshone, ley lines, little people, I am done with this.
So, we're told Arizona, the Dakotas, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming are only sparsely populated (usually with communities being under 300 people). We get a notes on what indigenous peoples are found in each state, but without any notes, just names of tribes or peoples listed out. The book uses the term "Indian" continuously, so don't get the wrong idea, I just generally won't myself. We also get a listing of where strong ley lines are found. Lastly, we get a listing of various factions, such as the 1st Cavalry, Cyber-Knights, Justice Rangers, "Native American Indians", Pecos Bandits, Sky-Knights, and vampires, but most of those will be fully detailed later and we'll leave that to then. Lastly, the Coalition plans to expand into Minnesota, Iowa, "most of" Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, (southern) Texas, Arkansas, (southern) Michigan, Ontario, and Quebec. This is called their "20 Year Plan", but even the Coalition's military leadership privately considers that timetable hopelessly unrealistic given the challenges of defeating Tolkeen, Quebec, Xiticix, Pecos Empire, etc. It's apparently more likely to take 50 years of skull-faced massacres to get there.

Next: Free-Range Racists.

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