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JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


wiegieman posted:

Ah, the Magic market panic, or, when people in charge of companies decide that it's collectible-ness the kids want, and not the game mechanics that have made Magic one of the most enduring physical products in the world.

CAPITALISM!

Also, how long are the 40K RPG books? Because badly formatted as they are, they seem to be self contained.

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Cassa
Jan 29, 2009


My first edition Dark Heresy core book is 396 pages.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Cassa posted:

My first edition Dark Heresy core book is 396 pages.
My copy of the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion in 732 pages, in a handsome hardcover.

Ptolus was 672 pages, plus a bunch of bind-in stuff.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Red Metal posted:

only one of those worlds has oreos, so it should be obvious

Earth is the dark world with light in the middle.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




gradenko_2000 posted:

Okay someone come up with a fix for "spending stats which are also your HP" and we can hack Numenera into a playable game
My fix is just giving people a separate HP pool.

You know, like the videogame did.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

JcDent posted:

I kinda don't get the appeal of that. I mean, singularity is called that because its effects are unimaginable... so wouldn't your campaign still end up kinda mundane, like how Numenera is D&D For /r/atheism IFLS Fanclub?
Theoretically, yes, but "post-singularity" has become associated with a particular sort of Silicon Valley, "limousine liberal" optimism, in which "smart" technology and "smart" thinking in general will allow everyone to live like a rich hippie, forever.

Much the same way "posthuman" has gotten pretty far away from French philosophers and has come to mean a particular subgenre of science fiction.

Echo Cian posted:

*KidWorld wants to convince me that society as a whole will take less than four years to degenerate almost entirely into a man-eat-kid-eyes world, where the concept of mutually beneficial cooperation barely exists and both kids and adults collectively leap to slavery as a solution, and I'm not buying it.
As an added bonus, you've summed up why I cannot stand The Walking Dead anymore.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Kavak posted:

Agreed, this was my first thought too.


This is how I think it should be run too, and Chaosium doesn't disagree. Quiver and wail as the cult and its monstrous allies chase you through the abandoned whatever, then come back one week later on ritual night with milsurp MGs and a bunch of stolen dynamite and settle the score. Less "Oh the incomprehensible and blasphemous non-whiteness" and more Old Man Hendersons, basically.

Also, while I agree they're artifacts of 1980's RPG conventions, I'll speak up in defense of giving cosmic horrors statblocks. I like the idea of being able to kill a Great Old One, even if it takes an armored division's worth of firepower. I was never a fan of the fatalistic tone Call of Cthulhu leans into by default- yeah, Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep are gods and you might as well try to turn back the tide with a machine gun, but Cthulhu got hosed up enough by a little ship propeller he had to retreat.

This is exactly how CoC was designed to be run...originally. Masks of Nyarlathotep is a huge pulpier than hell campaign where you expected the players to take on more and more ridiculous threats. Then people decided it was all about oppressive tone and psychological horror and refs got the impression that was how the stories were because many of them never got around to reading the source material.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Anything that wants to get in the market with the big boys will need to compete with FATAL 1e's 901 pages. Every one of them packed with giant white blocks that say "ART GOES HERE" and carefully formatted identical Excel tables that make it easy to count how many entries are on some lists by just counting pages.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Barudak posted:


Very smart poster Evil Mastermind would never layout a page this badly. The plot series other than Star Wars it mentions? James Bond
The thing I find fascinating about this was that Shadowrun also did the "in-setting people commenting on the fluff" thing ages earlier, but still managed to figure out that you put the comments between paragraphs, not in the middle of a loving sentence.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

unseenlibrarian posted:

At least for combat, a big thing is that skills over 100 percent increase your crit and special success rate. So if, say, you've got a 1000 percent skill, (which, yes, is ridiculous, but) you get a critical on 50 or less on a d100 (And basically if you hit at all it's a special success, which can have varying effects.)

In Runequest having a combat skill above 100 percent also let you split it and take multiple attacks or parries, as long as the end result for the multiple actions were 50 percent or more. So if you had 120 percent attack you could trade one 120 percent attack for 2 60 percent, or whatever.
I get how this can be useful to the player, mechanically, but there's a problem of what it means to the player for a character to have a certain skill. Like, they should be able to assume that 100% is really good, right? This speaks to a broader problem with how games organize their skill systems: Even in games like the old WoD ones, where they tell you that 3 points means you're a professional, there's a question of how that's relative from one skill to another. Like, policemen are professionally trained with firearms, but most (?) will never be in a gunfight. Whereas a professional mechanic fixes machines every day.

Freaking Crumbum posted:

The reason that the Dark*Matter campaign is named Dark*Matter is because in the game universe, dark matter particles are real, quantifiable things that exist, and the total amount of them that exist throughout the universe oscillates between periods of high and low tides. No, there's no explanation given for why the amount of dark matter in the universe fluctuates, nor what law of physics governs this process; it just happens the way it happens, so loving deal. When the universal dark matter tide is low, physics behaves like we would normally observe, obeying Newtonian principles or the principles of relativity according to your frame of reference, and all other worlds, dimensions, and timelines are separated and segmented away from each other. Supernatural things can still occur, but it's extremely unlikely, and even correctly following some occult ritual that's proven to create a supernatural effect requires a significantly greater expenditure of resources. When the dark matter tide is high, all of the separate dimensions start to collapse into a single "prime" universe and all kinds of supernatural wackiness slips through the cracks between realities and aliens can visit the Earth and the Lost City of Atlantis can be accessed via warp gates and every other kind of schlocky, Sci-Fi channel-esque science fiction can occur.
This is really fascinating, because in most games of this type, an increase in supernatural phenomena would be attributed to a fundamentally orderly universe collapsing into disorder, not the other way around. Dark*Matter says that our normal, mundane universe is actually an extremely baroque and parochial little corner of existence.

JcDent posted:

Ya, I hate how some games posit that anything that ever happened in history is a result of supernatural stuff. Like, can't you just have vampires or whatever be a little more aware that something is going down on the cusp of WWI and get more nervous about protecting themselves?
Ironically, it's a WoD trope that while monsters have played a role in human history, even shaping it in ancient times, none of them were responsible for the Third Reich. Because that would be going too far.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

potatocubed posted:

The nigh-unprintable behemoth Chuubo's Marvellous Wish-Granting Engine clocks in at 576 pages, so it's actually bigger than Starfinger. Also a vastly superior piece of design.

In fairness, it would be a lot smaller if I or anybody else had realized at the time that making issue cards square when they come in fives was a terrible, terrible decision.

Dallbun
Apr 21, 2010


In the afternoon of the second day of your journey, you encounter



The Deck of Encounters Set One Part 2: The Deck of Orcs

Cards in this product are sometimes (but not always) numerically grouped by theme or featured creature. That doesn’t particularly matter when you’re drawing from the deck and using the product as intended, but it means that we’re going to read a whole bunch of orc encounters at once, then a run of goblins, and so on.


13. The Ice-Bound Orcs

Our first real card! This one time, let’s see what they look like in full, front and back:



I have some questions about the content. How do you live in a “snow mound”? Are "Ice-Bound Orcs" a tribe, or some kind of sub-race? Either way, why are they apparently so bad at living in this climate that they're named after? It says they moved here in part to "avoid other Orcs" - why are they so determined to do that, even to the point of starvation?

However, as written, none of this matters, because the orcs attack the party as soon as they walk into ambush range. The PCs will kill the orcs in short order, take their loot, and wonder why they don't see any more signs of orcs for the rest of their trip. (Because they just committed genocide.) I’m passing on this, because in actual play it doesn’t seem like it would be noticeably more interesting than if I’d rolled “6 orcs” on a random encounter table. Raise the bar slightly higher, Deck of Encounters.


14. Pilgrims, Part 1 of 2

The PCs come around a bend in the hills and see four orcs in grey robes by a looted wagon with dead horses. They're pacifists (to the point of just "watching sadly" if you cut down their companions! I don't think that's how pacifism works, buddy!), and they're looking for the Temple of Bribancus. (Who?)

I understand that the encounter is playing against stereotypes, but dang, these are some absurdly passive NPCs. Make them deliver streams of withering, profanity-ridden insults to attackers and bad Samitarians, and this encounter description just got noticeably better.

I'll keep it, because now I want to run these foul-mouthed pacifist orcs. I also like that it could lead into a little side-quest, though I’d appreciate one more sentence about what would make the temple an interesting adventure location.


15. Pilgrims, Part 2 of 2

Six orcs by another looted wagon, questioning an old man. They're looking for the pilgrims from the previous encounter, who are heretics who defiled a shrine of Gruumsh. They have no treasure, and they definitely don't have any compelling reason for the PCs to cooperate with them. The encounter will end in combat. All six orcs will die, and so will the 1st-level mage with two hit points if they made the mistake of memorizing Magic Missile instead of Sleep. Not terribly interesting, but I do appreciate the follow-up from the previous encounter. Keep.


16. The Hostile Forest

The PCs are in a forest, and feel watched. Because they are being watched, by a dozen Jerk ElvesWood Elves. They don't want the PCs to continue on their current course, so they fire a warning volley of arrows, emerge from the trees, and demand the PCs turn around. "They will not listen to negotiations and will fight if the PCs do not leave post-haste." So, you know, there are absolutely no opportunities for meaningful interaction.

This card uses far, far too many words to describe a bog-standard Wood Elf encounter, while completely failing to say anything about what the elves are guarding, which is obviously the interesting part. And I, the GM who is drawing random encounters to spice up my game, don't feel like coming up with anything cool. :effort: Pass.

P.S. Why is this sitting in the middle of the orc encounters? Are these wood elves secretly orcs? Because that would be much more interesting.


17. Orcs on the Rise, Part 1 of 2

The PCs are passing through a ravine by DM fiat, and are ambushed by seven orcs with bows, who threaten them from a bluff overhead. The leader will ask the PCs to surrender their weapons and valuables in exchange for their lives. The orcs will keep their word, but who cares? There is ZERO chance the PCs are actually going to surrender. Not even outnumbered 1st-level PCs who might actually be in danger. It's a handful of orcs! It's the principle of the thing!

The most notable thing here is the long description of the scenery that leads into the ambush. The main purpose is to justify how the PCs wandered into a ravine: “The trail winds between two bluffs, rising so gradually from the rest of the forest that the PCs will barely notice that they are in a defile 100 feet deep until it is too late.” Thank you, impartial and non-adversarial DM.

But at the same time, the description notes that “there is a faint aura of menace emanating from the thick undergrowth.” If you mention anything of the sort to the PCs, I would expect weapons would be drawn, buffs would be cast, and some sort of scout would be sent out before you could say "immersive description."

I suppose this would work OK if you give the PCs checks to notice that they’re starting to enter a ravine and respond appropriately? But it seems a little awkward. I’m going to pass.


18. Orcs on the Rise, Part 2 of 2

This card takes place in a similar place to the first. There are two orcs who are trying to shake down travelers, explicitly copying the methods of the orcs from the previous encounter, a "more established group." The exploits of those seven orcs with bows are famed throughout the land, it seems. These two try to make it seem like they're more numerous than they are, of course.

The PCs, who absolutely did not surrender the first time around, are once again going to attack the orcs and crush them. Since these two particular orcs are "not seriously malicious, and will grovel and whine for their lives if they must," everyone will then be forced to have an uncomfortable exchange about whether it's OK to murder helpless captive orcs or not. Pass.

Dallbun fucked around with this message at 15:33 on Oct 19, 2017

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 get the feeling that getting any sort of interesting encounter out of most of these cards would require writing up more content than is originally on the card itself...

megane
Jun 20, 2008





You should keep a running total of how many cards are just "you encounter [NUMBER] hostile [MONSTER]s in a [TERRAIN TYPE]." That batch was, what, like 5/6?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Kavak posted:

Also, while I agree they're artifacts of 1980's RPG conventions, I'll speak up in defense of giving cosmic horrors statblocks. I like the idea of being able to kill a Great Old One, even if it takes an armored division's worth of firepower.
I think the issue here is that if something can only be killed with a pile of dynamite or hitting it with a ship, it doesn't really need stats beyond "It eats 1d6 PCs per round until you kill it or run away."

The detail of the monster statblocks in CoC seems to be designed to beat the players over the head with the idea that you can't win this game by shooting everything. I don't think that's been necessary or useful for a long time now.

Nessus posted:

I think the mind-blasting tomes poo poo is also dumb and derivative. Most of those things are just old dusty books. If you read the original Necronomicon, you wouldn't be able to get poo poo out of it because it's in classical Arabic. (Though you might see an illustration. That might be rough.) The SAN loss applies if you study it and try to comprehend it.
The problem with mind-blasting tomes is when there's not even a hint of what actually makes them mind-blasting.

In the best-developed "legend cycles" of Mythos authors, the horror comes when you realize that various far-flung cultures, that didn't have contact with one another, all have specific myths described in almost identical detail with almost identical terms. The inescapable conclusion being that these things were real, and they had direct contact with aliens. The Necronomicon or the Book of Eibon should appear to the average person to be a compendium of Blavatskian nonsense...unless you are, say, an expert in Oceanic archaeology.

This is a particular problem for The King in Yellow. It's a play! That drives you mad! Okay, but why? Chambers' original book implies that it is what we might now call a "memetic virus." But here I'm going to pick on Insylum again: the premise of the game is that you all saw the play, and it drove you mad, and you have amnesia now. If there's some connection to the content of themes of the play, it's up to the GM to invent.

It could easily be a sequel to MST3K: You all watched a play movie, and it drove you mad! Now the Facilitator Dr. Forester is trying to figure out what movie it was!

Dallbun
Apr 21, 2010


PurpleXVI posted:

I get the feeling that getting any sort of interesting encounter out of most of these cards would require writing up more content than is originally on the card itself...

Yes. I'm certainly being generous with my "keep"s - if what's on the card is enough to inspire me to run something halfway decent, even if I have to do most of the heavy lifting myself, I'm calling it a win. Look, I paid retail for this product in '95 - I want to get some use out of it!

Megane posted:

You should keep a running total of how many cards are just "you encounter [NUMBER] hostile [MONSTER]s in a [TERRAIN TYPE]." That batch was, what, like 5/6?
That won't always be the case, but the next 80 cards are basically orcs, goblins, kobolds, and then working through the MM in alphabetical order. Settle in.

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.

Halloween Jack posted:

I get how this can be useful to the player, mechanically, but there's a problem of what it means to the player for a character to have a certain skill. Like, they should be able to assume that 100% is really good, right? This speaks to a broader problem with how games organize their skill systems: Even in games like the old WoD ones, where they tell you that 3 points means you're a professional, there's a question of how that's relative from one skill to another. Like, policemen are professionally trained with firearms, but most (?) will never be in a gunfight. Whereas a professional mechanic fixes machines every day.


There were very vague guidelines for that, at least in Runequest classic. If you have a skill, any skill, at 90 percent, you were a 'master' of that skill, and good enough to teach it to others. You had to be at least a master of the four-five skills taught by your cult to be a rune lord in it, and only rune level characters could advance past 100 percent.

Other games using BRP, not so much.

Precambrian
Apr 30, 2008



Fossilized Rappy posted:

This sounds like it's trying to go for a Gnosticism-style dichotomy of the Demiurge/Yaldabaoth/YHVH/etc. and the material world as a stopping block you need to bypass to attain gnosis with the Monad and the spiritual world, but failing utterly at doing it well.

I kind of like the idea of a Gnostic-style setting that implies that the supernal is not inherently better for its purity, and champions the Demiurge and the messiness of the physical world, but I am fairly certain this is very much not that game.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Halloween Jack posted:

I think the issue here is that if something can only be killed with a pile of dynamite or hitting it with a ship, it doesn't really need stats beyond "It eats 1d6 PCs per round until you kill it or run away."

The detail of the monster statblocks in CoC seems to be designed to beat the players over the head with the idea that you can't win this game by shooting everything. I don't think that's been necessary or useful for a long time now.

you should check out the stat blocks the gods / great old ones in the d20 CoC conversion for D&D 3.0 because you'd hate it. azathoth has absurd powers that would never ever be relevant to a CoC adventure, like it can blast anyone within 100 miles with a laser that does 1000 damage with no save. why even bother to type all that out? well, because it was the d20 conversion, the idea was that an epic level D&D party might want to try taking Azathoth down, so you'd need to know what kind of attacks it had :downs:

Halloween Jack posted:

The problem with mind-blasting tomes is when there's not even a hint of what actually makes them mind-blasting.

This is a particular problem for The King in Yellow. It's a play! That drives you mad! Okay, but why?

I always got, from the stories and adventures I had read, that TKIY drives you crazy because it allows you to spontaneously wander into Carcosa and losing your ability to predict even basic causal relationships ends up breaking your brain (ex: the door between my bedroom and my bathroom is a predictable object that only creates an opening between those two discrete spatial points). if, every time I opened the door between my bedroom and my bathroom, there was a increasingly non-zero chance that the door was going to dump me into the middle of nightmare hell town and possibly not allow me back to Earth, I'd probably lose my mind in short order too.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Halloween Jack posted:

The problem with mind-blasting tomes is when there's not even a hint of what actually makes them mind-blasting.

In the best-developed "legend cycles" of Mythos authors, the horror comes when you realize that various far-flung cultures, that didn't have contact with one another, all have specific myths described in almost identical detail with almost identical terms. The inescapable conclusion being that these things were real, and they had direct contact with aliens. The Necronomicon or the Book of Eibon should appear to the average person to be a compendium of Blavatskian nonsense...unless you are, say, an expert in Oceanic archaeology.

This is a particular problem for The King in Yellow. It's a play! That drives you mad! Okay, but why? Chambers' original book implies that it is what we might now call a "memetic virus." But here I'm going to pick on Insylum again: the premise of the game is that you all saw the play, and it drove you mad, and you have amnesia now. If there's some connection to the content of themes of the play, it's up to the GM to invent.

It could easily be a sequel to MST3K: You all watched a play movie, and it drove you mad! Now the Facilitator Dr. Forester is trying to figure out what movie it was!
The Passion of Dr. Forrester is a module I would play in. All the Mads must get together and figure out what the gently caress happened.

Leaving aside setting trivia I would say that you actually hit a nail on a head here, that a lot of the particularly Lovecraft style tone of horror is "realizing that what you knew just ain't so."

Precambrian posted:

I kind of like the idea of a Gnostic-style setting that implies that the supernal is not inherently better for its purity, and champions the Demiurge and the messiness of the physical world, but I am fairly certain this is very much not that game.
The Technocratic Union thanks you for your support, posts 2003

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




it'd probably be helpful if CoC gave specific examples of what kind of insanity each mythos tome is supposed to create.

like TKIY removes your brain's ability to perceive basic spatial distances and you develop extreme terror any time you have to open or close a door because you genuinely don't know if the door will lead to nightmare hell town or back to the room you just left.

the Necronomicon could play on the aforementioned idea that all of these different historical cultures all have nearly identical stories about horrific encounters with alien visitors and the insanity is having to accept that there really are alien monsters that exist and are magnitudes of order more powerful than human beings and it's basically dumb luck that none of them have decided to enslave us all or wipe us out or whatever. you either develop extreme disassociation where you refuse to believe that your life has any value or purpose and you stop bathing / eating / etc. OR you develop some kind of suicidal hedonist mania because you realize nothing you can do could ever stop these otherworldly monsters so you might as well do all of the cocaine or whatever.

Freaking Crumbum fucked around with this message at 19:36 on Oct 18, 2017

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I don't see how the Necronomicon revealing the existence of big ol' monsters can drive you crazy. It's also dumb luck that a mega solar flare hasn't knocked out all our electronics, or a series of global crop blights hasn't flattened our food supply, or any number of other things. Humans are great at ignoring big problems that aren't an immediate problem, just look at all environmental damage ever.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


But you usually encounter tomes because you're already investigating something weird, and then you start getting implications of the thing that you're investigating.

Also, someone is actively trying to bring soul-searing apocalypse and it will be instantanious and executed by intelligent actors.

Well, except for Azatoth, because he's just an godblob. I like how Eldritch Horror board game just has the game end if he's summoned.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



All this talk about The King In Yellow makes me think the Navison Record and the Entertainment should be added to the Mythos, since TKIY wasn't originally a Lovecraft invention.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Barudak posted:

The Last Exodus is 196 pages and doesnt include what the goal of the game is, its spell list is “examples”, includes a total of about 20 items and 8 monsters, and forgot to include the part of its conflict resolution system that makes it work so frankly Starfinger is looking good.
This reminds me of nothing so much as the failed relaunch of Immortal, where the corebook was a bare-bones paperback, but it "came with" two or three free supplements online.

...and unlike some more prominent companies, they're all still available! In fact, the whole game line is free now.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Starfinger Core Rules Part #20: "Musically, [Starfinger] is basically a Coheed & Cambria album."
(James Sutter, Starfinger Creative Director, Tribality interview.)



So, most D&D-alikes only have a implied setting - maybe some gods are named, we know dwarves and dragons exist, some guy named Higbee had a spell named after him, whatever. But they don't often dictate a full setting. Starfinger breaks from that and has a defined setting: the "Pact Worlds". I had to wonder why it does this, of course, and the easiest reason is marketing. After all, if they wanted this to be true...

Starfinger Roleplaying Game posted:

This book contains all the information you need to play Starfinger, whether you're a player or a Game Master.

... they could have turned over the next 75 pages to antagonist statblocks. But they didn't. They also skipped the "how to create a world!" section you see a lot in D&D-style games. Because they're not interested in that, apparently. What they are interested in, however, is selling you on introducing the Pact Worlds setting.

I can only surmise the reason is marketing. It's easy to sell d20 players a big book o' crunch, but likely harder to sell their Golarion material. However, by getting players and GMs to invest in the Pact Worlds setting at ground zero, it makes them much more likely to buy setting books and adventures set there. And so Starfinger isn't just a game, but a setting. Now, plenty of games do this already as the default - Vampire: the Masquerade was anything but a game of generic vampire politics - but it's a shift for Paizo that's worth noting, and one presaged by Pathfinder products having become more and more tied to their setting of Golarion in recent years.



History

Hoo boy. history is a rough place to start. To editorialize: sell people on what makes your setting special and interesting, and then they'll be interested in the history and lore on their own. However, we go from here to a timeline in the span of three pages.Timelines are exciting, right? :ohdear: Super-exciting! They, uh, have numbers! And events! And a general lack of context! Everything you've wanted!

So, the big event that opens Starfinger's history is "The Gap" (not the store). Essentially, about three centuries ago everybody got hit with selective amnesia regarding an indeterminate space of time - you know, the movie sort where you forget your name or your history but can still remember how to hold a fork and all the appropriate curse words to use.It even seems to have affected extraplanar beings, so if you're like "Okay, I'll use Contact Other Plane and ask a space angel", that's no good either. The space angels don't know poo poo. And for the records, the gods were either affected as well or aren't chatty about it. It's intended as the big mystery, so you can go around being space archaelogists looking for answers as part of the Starfinger Society. For whatever reason, it isn't fully consistent - some places might have some details or records that were somehow preserved - but otherwise computers and records were wiped. Conveniently, people have rediscovered the name of the original planet that humans and all your Pathfinder races came from - Golarion - but it seems to have gone missing. After all, records from before "The Gap" (again, not the store) still exist. (Golarion is the published setting for Pathfinder.) The gods, when questioned, mention that Golarion still exists, but in some secluded space "unreachable by magic or science". So, you may as well forget about it, because that literally covers all means through which you would reach it, doesn't it?

In any case, the Gap (as a reminder, not the store) is an old conceit, going back likely to Rebirth: When Everyone Forgot!, a 1944 novel where a scientist inflicts an amnesia ray on the world, to anime like A Wind Called Amnesia. Starfinger takes place roughly three centuries after this event, so the holocaust of collapsing societies and reborn civilizations has already largely occurred and things can get back to relatively regular space business again. (Thankfully, any of the five or six conquering space forces all avoided the Pact Worlds during that period, or so it seems.) As many recovered, they discovered they already had interplanetary travel invented, but then the god Triune would come along and fart ou Drift technology for interstellar travel. This was already as discussed in the spaceship chapter, though this section doesn't beat around the bush and says outright that Triune is responsible for Drift technology. As such, you've had a rush by various civilizations to seek new worlds, but also the emergence of new threats from faraway places.



The Pact Worlds

The worlds of Golarion's system - the core of our setting here - were already settled after the Gap (not the store). In their exploration, they encountered the Veskarium, empire of the vesk, aka the lizardy not-Klingons from the character creation section. For mysterious reasons, the vesk had not gotten Drift technology, but were savvy enough to greet Golarion system explorers long enough to steal Drift technology themselves. Then the vesk, having the seeming depth of any generic warrior race, immediately put themselves to work building interstellar spaceships and then attacked the planets of the core setting. This forced the inhabitants of the Golarion system to form an alliance they would call the -

- Pact Worlds. Whew. I can now stop referring to the "blahdeblah of the Golarion system" which is awkward to say because Golarion already vanished into a plot hole. Anyway, the Pact Worlds and Veskarium would go to a low-intensity war, with neither able to obtain a decisive advantage. But then they were interrupted by the "a vast, world-devouring entity called the Swarm", so they put aside their conflicts and formed an alliance to fight off a big assault by alien bugs. While the alliance was tense afterwards, it has remained ever since. Other PC races like the shirrens or kasathas would show up, clock in, and then march onto the character selection screen obligingly. Why show up at the Pact Worlds, though?

Well, this isn't clearly explained here, but there's a space station orbiting the orbit formerly occupted by Golarion - Absolom Station. Apparently, it contains something called the Starstone which in prehistory supposedly allowed people to become gods. Right now it's not so much about the begodding, instead acting as a powerful Drift beacon. This makes travel to Absolom trivial as detailed in the starship section. As such, the Pact Worlds have become one big cantina scene writ large, with Absolom Station at the center of it all. However, it seems like it would also be really easy for the Pact Worlds' enemies to warp to Absolom trivially, avoiding all defenses, but this isn't addressed.

Government

However, the Pact Worlds remain more of an alliance of different worlds than a one-system government. Though the Pact does allow things like interplanetary law enforcement, it's more of a European Union than a Galactic Empire. It ensures things like trade, some basic universal rights, and mutual defense. There's a Pact Council located on Abalsom Station, with delegates provided from each world in proportion to their population, and a Directorate of five representatives (one from each world). The Council decides issues by vote, while the Directorate handles deadlocks and particularly pressing or important crises. There's also a Director-General of the Stewards, who advises the Directorate and carries out their directives- he's elected by the Stewards. Who the gently caress are the Stewards? Well, a Ctrl-F lets me know they're the Pact's Spectres interplanetary law-enforcement officers. Okay. Not all worlds get full representation - some are treated as protectorates. Moons are generally overseen by their respective worlds save for those who have achieved their own independence. And, lastly, some independent groups like the "Diaspora" or the "Idari" have their own Pact World status.

Magic and Technology

So, magic still exists, but as seen as requiring too much effort compared to technology. Still, it's sometimes incorporated into technology, though such small effects are apparently not included in dispel magic castings because that tech has work-arounds and reasons and blah blah metagame concerns. In any case, whereas there used to be a lot of magic traditions, now it's seen as one sprawling field instead. It turns out when we discover more about something, people specialize less. Sure, makes sense.

The whole melding of magic in technology is discussed a lot, but starships and rayguns still work like they would in any old science fiction setting outside of weapon fusions, so I'm not sure I see the point. Magic is everywhere, it just... doesn't affect technology or the world much, seemingly.

Communications

People communicate through... communicators. How do communicators work? By communicating. Are they radios? I mean, it says they're wireless. It mentions "cellular communication", so do they use cell towers? I don't think so. They can be jammed "electromagnetically" or blocked by materials "determined by the GM".

I'm starting to think they're not putting this under proper sci-finific rigor.

Well, however they do it, they communicate - and it mentions some powerful folks use space angels and space devils as messengers instead - but communication beyond a single planet requires fixed devices attacked to a Drift beacon, so shady sorts that need to use that kind of communications use other means or only turn on their communicators for short bursts.

Also various planets have "infospheres" (i.e. internet) and they have a not-wikipedia, but there's no internet connection between worlds, despite there being no actual technological limitation on that notion. Interplanetary communications exist, so there's not much reason why not other than cost and effort.

Time

60 minutes, 24 hours, 12 months, since there are two different worlds and a space station that "through astronomical anomalies" have that day cycle.

Astronomers, your heads may now: :psyboom:

Years are marked as "AG" for After Gap, and PG for "Pre-Gap" but the latter tends to be inaccurate. So some use an older dating method called "AR" for "Absolom Reckoning". Days are literally "firstday, secondday" where firstday = monday, and months are named after various Golarion gods.



Daily Life and Culture

Despite the game being about about "... bold explorers, daring corporate agents, militant law keepers..." most non-player people are apparently wage slaves for the most part and capitalism is the norm. (Yes, space and aliens and all that, but we've got an equipment treadmill to run!) Prejudice is dampened due to the more cosmopolitan nature of civilization, but not always. In general, ethnicity and sexuality hangups have gone away, but there are still issues between races rarely. "Prejudice tends to be reserved for the most familiar and the most foreign..." Religion apparently unifies rather than divides, since most of the gods of the Pact Worlds are aligned. Well, except for the religiously-motivated antagonists that're coming up, but they don't count, do they?

Starfinger Core Rulebook posted:

At the moment, gritty Akitonian shumka beats and Absalom eyebite rock are becoming popular in many rougher venues. while upscale nightclubs play delicate Vercite ether-ballads or Aballonian-produced euphonies - music designed by advanced computing to directly stimulate aural pleasure centers, creating a perfect listening experience. High fashion remains dominated by the sleek styles coming out of Kalo-Mahoi , the eternal punk look of Absalom Station's trash-glamorous Spike, and the gothic severity of Apostae. Sports like brutaris, starlance, and ship racing persist in popularity, though most people find their thrills with VR parlor games or holo and stillframe shows.The most popular of these latter are inevitably Eox's blood-soaked reality broadcasts, constantly decried by censors but never actually crossing the line into illegality. Of late, ordinary books have even seen a surge in popularity, perhaps in part due to legendary lashunta holo star Cashisa Nox declaring a preference for well-read consorts.

I see, I see. Wait, what did any of that mean? :raise:

Next: Oh, the places you'll go (in 1d6 days/Drive Rating).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


"Magic is everywhere, it just... doesn't affect technology or the world much, seemingly."

Well there's D&D.txt.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


wiegieman posted:

I don't see how the Necronomicon revealing the existence of big ol' monsters can drive you crazy. It's also dumb luck that a mega solar flare hasn't knocked out all our electronics, or a series of global crop blights hasn't flattened our food supply, or any number of other things. Humans are great at ignoring big problems that aren't an immediate problem, just look at all environmental damage ever.

A group of rural inhabitants find the Necronomicon, become illuminated to the horrors that live beside us and plan a whole lotta hunting trips.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Night10194 posted:

"Magic is everywhere, it just... doesn't affect technology or the world much, seemingly."

Well there's D&D.txt.

Y'know funnily enough I've been reading a bunch of OGL campaign/worldbuilding guides out of morbid curiosity and vague interest in mining out any useful information, and even the most staunch grogtexts I've read ask you to consider how the introduction of 3.x's paradigm of magic would mess with societal structures, and give at least some serious thought to the practical impact of, say, most hamlets having someone with Cure Light Wounds in shouting distance, thus preventing a gigantic number of deaths by infection.

So what I'm saying is that a bunch of OSR/OGL grogs put more thought into their heartbreakers than Paizo did to its Next Big Thing :v:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


WHFRP2e's Realms of Magic are explicit that the introduction of formalized study of Magic in the Empire 200 years ago with the colleges is already altering the social, scholastic, political, religious, and technological fabric of both the Empire and neighboring countries, and that given time is likely to be seen as one of the big new eras in human history.

The wizards are also totally aware of this and eagerly advocating for and lobbying for the acceptance of their art while trying to figure out how the universe works and exactly what they can do with what they have, safely.

I'm really looking forward to Realms because the Colleges actually totally rule.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Tasoth posted:

A group of rural inhabitants find the Necronomicon, become illuminated to the horrors that live beside us and plan a whole lotta hunting trips.

Look at this sum'bitch Jeremiah, wouldn't that look a treat over the fire place?

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


"The Gap" sounds to me less like a plot hook to a mysterious history and invitation to self reflection on where you came from as a people and society and more like Paizo not wanting to bother to explain how their stagnant and forgettable fantasy setting managed to launch their collective rear ends into space or what became of the planet itself. Yay for laziness and worldbuilding!

The rest of the writing after that seems to double down on the laziness. From the standard time and calender, to the standard history of new aliens shuffling in and banding together against the new new aliens, to the utter lack of any large or interesting shakeups in melding magic and technology, and ending with a description of culture that seems to have been a contest between writers on who can make up the most proper nouns and stick them together into a grammatically correct paragraph.

Also, the reference to 'eyebiting' makes me think of Kidworld, so -15 points for that, Paizo.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




kommy5 posted:

Also, the reference to 'eyebiting' makes me think of Kidworld, so -15 points for that, Paizo.

I mean eyebiting has been in D&D for a really loving longtime now. It's just usually a cursed item thing. Confused it with something else. What it actually has been was typically a form of the "evil eye".

senrath fucked around with this message at 01:03 on Oct 19, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Let's take the Syndics leaving vs. The Gap. In Myriad Song, FTL was given to people by galaxy-spanning overlords who quickly conquered every known race because they could teleport half of your planet into the sun if they wanted. They ruled for ages, lifted up collaborators and pets, taught them musical space-time magic, and oppressed the hell out of everyone. Then they left. No-one knows why, where they went, and more importantly, if the crazy alien Gods are coming *back*. They've been gone just long enough for the galactic political order to (partly) collapse as their jack-booted collaborators try to hold it together and people explore all the technology, knowledge, and ideas their masters had forbidden.

Bam, setting-establishing mystery you can ignore if you want (since you might be more interested in the Space Opera collisions of the new great powers and competing ideas and fighting The Man with music and dashing heroics) but that leaves all kinds of possible answers open. Answers the people in-setting care about! You have crazy former rebels who are fanatically trying to engineer a society brutal enough to survive a conflict with God when he gets back and tries to re-oppress people. You have optimistic scientists who believe the universe is open to them now. You have cool biotech people who try to preserve the old garden worlds the Syndics protected as radical space environmentalists. You have Spider Kwazch Hadarach trying to *become* a Syndic because she figures if she does she can rule the whole galaxy herself as Overspider. Everyone has crazy and fun ideas that they can try out now, because God's gone and he might not be coming back.

When I finish WHFRP and WH40KRP's first book (I don't intend to do the whole line as I don't feel it's needed) I'm going back to Myriad Song.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

quote:

the Necronomicon could play on the aforementioned idea that all of these different historical cultures all have nearly identical stories about horrific encounters with alien visitors and the insanity is having to accept that there really are alien monsters that exist and are magnitudes of order more powerful than human beings and it's basically dumb luck that none of them have decided to enslave us all or wipe us out or whatever.
I think your interpretation is totally accurate to how the book is portrayed in Lovecraft's material.

Nessus posted:

The Passion of Dr. Forrester is a module I would play in. All the Mads must get together and figure out what the gently caress happened.
The problem is that there is a discrete answer. It's The Starfighters. That is the most maddeningly boring MST3K movie.

quote:

Leaving aside setting trivia I would say that you actually hit a nail on a head here, that a lot of the particularly Lovecraft style tone of horror is "realizing that what you knew just ain't so."
Well, we're making light of it ITT, but in fact, it would probably drive you mad if you read a book that made an undeniable case that not only does God not exist, the closest thing to "God" are manifestations of physics that malevolent to human existence any way you slice it.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

WHFRP2e's Realms of Magic are explicit that the introduction of formalized study of Magic in the Empire 200 years ago with the colleges is already altering the social, scholastic, political, religious, and technological fabric of both the Empire and neighboring countries, and that given time is likely to be seen as one of the big new eras in human history.

The wizards are also totally aware of this and eagerly advocating for and lobbying for the acceptance of their art while trying to figure out how the universe works and exactly what they can do with what they have, safely.

I'm really looking forward to Realms because the Colleges actually totally rule.

Eberron also handles it pretty well. The world of Eberron is analogous to early to mid 20th century Europe in many ways, particularly 1920s in the immediate aftermath of WW1, yet it's significantly less advanced in others, all thanks to the prevalence of magic. None of the major nations of Eberron would fit easily into a traditional fantasy setting.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:



Starfinger Core Rules Part #20: "Musically, [Starfinger] is basically a Coheed & Cambria album."
(James Sutter, Starfinger Creative Director, Tribality interview.)



So, most D&D-alikes only have a implied setting - maybe some gods are named, we know dwarves and dragons exist, some guy named Higbee had a spell named after him, whatever. But they don't often dictate a full setting. Starfinger breaks from that and has a defined setting: the "Pact Worlds". I had to wonder why it does this, of course, and the easiest reason is marketing.

If it's anything anyone learned after OGL license and why it happened, it's because you can't copyright a game system, but you can copyright and merchandise a game's setting, characters, etc.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Freaking Crumbum posted:

it'd probably be helpful if CoC gave specific examples of what kind of insanity each mythos tome is supposed to create.

Going the other way on this, I'm rather okay with the recent trend of "insanities" focusing more on the bodily cost of suffering them (addiction, disengagement, etc.) instead of describing what those actually are, because it allows you to elide dealing with depictions of mental health that can be difficult to pull off tastefully (i.e. older versions of Call of Cthulhu saying homosexuality was an insanity)

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Starfinger Core Rules Part #20: "Musically, [Starfinger] is basically a Coheed & Cambria album."

Overly long, meandering, and doesn't know how to end itself :v:

Servetus
Apr 1, 2010


Halloween Jack posted:


Well, we're making light of it ITT, but in fact, it would probably drive you mad if you read a book that made an undeniable case that not only does God not exist, the closest thing to "God" are manifestations of physics that malevolent to human existence any way you slice it.

Not really; that's pretty much every day with a y in it in the 21st century. We live on a fragile orb that is the only known place we can subsist, in a vast radiation ravaged void with a few balls or rock and gas and dust in our immediate vicinity. We are bound by the speed of light, we can see glimpses of other worlds that perhaps might hold life, but will likely never reach. Our one sanctuary is being destroyed by our overlords, who care nothing for human life, in their drive to slake their desires. But I don't spontaneously develop schizophrenia from realising that.

What about Nyarlothep is supposed to be particularly scary?

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Halloween Jack posted:

Well, we're making light of it ITT, but in fact, it would probably drive you mad if you read a book that made an undeniable case that not only does God not exist, the closest thing to "God" are manifestations of physics that malevolent to human existence any way you slice it.
Unless you're a Buddhist or something.

This is actually one thing I think CoC gets wrong, because people who read things like the Necronomicon for abstract academic reasons don't seem to suffer mental strain at the time, it only comes up when they find out stuff that validates all that medieval metaphysics. But like the professor in The Dunwich Horror was up on Abd al-Hazred's Greatest Hits. He wasn't ready for the nuthatch.


gradenko_2000 posted:

Going the other way on this, I'm rather okay with the recent trend of "insanities" focusing more on the bodily cost of suffering them (addiction, disengagement, etc.) instead of describing what those actually are, because it allows you to elide dealing with depictions of mental health that can be difficult to pull off tastefully (i.e. older versions of Call of Cthulhu saying homosexuality was an insanity)
Yeah, I think it's an all around better way to do it.

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