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Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Count Chocula posted:

and whoever Changeling was for
Pedophiles.

Okay, that's unnecessarily harsh and caustic. But I've done chat RP online on and off since the 90s, and the explicit option to chargen childling satyr (and pooka, and just childlings in general...) was a magnet for a certain sort of horrible, horrible people. :shepicide:

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Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




It was also the oWoD game hat benefited the least from actually being in the World of Darkness and its related themes, too.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Honestly, no matter how hard the writers tried push the traditions in oMage it's really really hard to cheer for the regressive luddite protagonist faction when you're literally only alive due to the continued intervention of modern medical science. :v: To the point where that anti-science stance in both oMage and oWerewolf almost feels hateful, if in an unintentional way. I have no idea how much similar experiences colored the Mage fandom, but I imagine at least some small but significant fraction felt similarly.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Thesaurasaurus posted:

I think the idea was that the Technocracy is why you need medicine to recover from illness or injury, instead of moxibustion or leeching or just plain prayer, but if that's the case then wow, did they ever do a bad job of communicating it. Unless the writers actually thought this was plainly and self-evidently true and bought into the 90s alt-medicine craze themselves, which, Brucato, so v:v:v
Yeah, I mean I know it isn't a totally rational response from my end. But when there's constant goings on about the HORRORS OF GENETIC ALTERATION and CRUELTY OF ANIMAL TESTING and whatever, and there's very little thought put into how the Traditions would replicate or remove those things, and it's just really hard not to sympathize more with the antagonist faction who like has no problem with insulin existing. :v: It's a long running pet peeve with that sort of New Age thing, and it really screams of only looking at society from the perspective of a healthy person. I admit I missed a fair portion of the line so there's probably some bits somewhere about how you could use magic crystals or purely natural herbs or whatever the gently caress to do the same thing in the assorted tradition paradigms, but that's really the sort of thing you'd want to make clear from the outset.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




There was exactly one side in WW2 who discovered a terrifying weapon which changed the world forever, and it sure as hell wasn't the nazis. :ssh:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Night10194 posted:

I don't know if you've noticed, but Torg has a real issue with PCs doing stuff like 'being important' or 'accomplishing things'.

I honestly think Torg is more 90s than oWoD and I hate it.
Yeah the whole disconnect thing is like those rules in old D&D where various spells would just stop working on various planes, except applied to everyone in the party and somehow even more obnoxious in scope. It's really peak 90's game design, in that there's a whole lot of "here's a bunch of complicated rules that 'make sense' in the setting" and very, very little of "here's rules that are actually fun to play".

I mean it's pretty telling that RIFTS of all things is probably more fun to play and less annoying to run than TORG. The whole thing about the PCs being worthless compared to the feature characters was just something WEG did in general in all their loving games too, even Star Wars and such. The company was horrible at game design and I am glad it's dead. :geno:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Why would you revive Secondary Abilities, even in a oWoD revival? And even if you thought it was a good idea, why would you put in the core, a book that obviously has more important things to cover?
Verisimilitude :shepface:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




TORG would be a great game if it were a completely different game.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




The In Nomine writeup reminds me that while I never minded Dan Smith's B&W art in like the thousand different GURPS books he did, his color art was really bad. Or at least whoever colored over his silhouette work did a lovely job of it. :geno:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




I still say Mike Pondsmith was one of the best and most unsung writers in the hobby.

... The DBZ RPG is very much not the example I would choose to show this.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Alien Rope Burn posted:

I think Pondsmith has excellent design ideas but often fell down at figuring numbers, which is why games like Castle Falkenstein or Teenagers From Outer Space hold up much better these days as math-lite games.
Yeah, that's definitely fair. It doesn't help that the late-era RTG stuff was generally pretty bad due to the horrible Fuzion system, which is rather annoying since Interlock (the Cyberpunk ruleset) wasn't bad and HERO wasn't bad (... mostly) but the two together was... well it's a good example of 90's-era generic system design failures. It had the worst elements of both.

TFOS is still great too, since it looks and plays like most modern rules-lite stuff with most of the rules focused around keeping to genre... except it came out thirty years ago.

OvermanXAN posted:

One thing I've gotten from reading these threads is that a lot of RPGs seem to have this problem. I mean, on the one hand with Rifts, White Wolf, or [Insert Heartbreaker Here] you can credit it to lack of (good) editing, amateurishness, or what have you, but it seems to just be common in general that people don't consider probabilities, how numbers are going to scale, or how things are going to balance in general. It seems like a systemic thing in the industry.
Definitely. There's a lot of reasons for it, but a few big ones are things like the idea that if something's broken then the players at home can houserule it (and thus why bother making the rules tight and transparent), and a long held idea that focusing on rule mechanics means you're a bad roleplayer and you just shouldn't care about balance man have fun!! (as seen in 90's white wolf).

Evil Mastermind posted:

I think it's a case of the author knowing how they want the system to work, but not being able to put that into a book other people can use to learn it on their own because a) the original author isn't good at writing, and b) they've internalized so much of the system they probably don't think about it anymore, or will auto-house-rule anything that doesn't work.

A lot of it is also probably a lack of blindtesting.
This too. Technical writing is surprisingly hard, and RPG rulebooks require technical writing and good editing and the hobby just isn't really big enough for most of the smaller companies to pay for that when a clunky set of "good enough" rules sells the same amount.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




It's probably partly how horrible and blatant the fetishes are, the complete inability to any sort of thematic or moral consistency, and the utter inability for the authors to realize either of these problems. It's the sort of insanity combo you usually only find on creepy deviantart galleries or the like.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, I remember a certain webcomic from the old bad webcomic thread that was rather singularly focused on witches and transformation. And in their FAQ there was a outright question of whether or not it was a sex thing, and they're like "Nope! We just think it's fun."

And then it had a story where a wizard goes around turning people into his sex harem, and you realize how rare self-awareness can be.
In fairness, it can be hard to tell between no self-awareness and desperate plausible deniability.

And it's actually a depressingly common thing with a lot of the more niche fetishes it seems like, since a lot of people seem wired to think that if you don't have nudity or PIV intercourse then obviously it isn't sexual right? It really is just "Deviantart: the Witchening."

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Covok posted:

This just perplexes me. Like, why would you expend effort doing that?
Because obviously their perfect character is way better than all those *snort* mainstream ones!

The complete lack of self-awareness remains a running theme there, yes.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




I don't see a problem. It just goes from 19 to 20, perfectly logical! :downs:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




oriongates posted:

Like any sane person I love the Dark Sun setting, it's awesome, creative and weird. Past Fatal and Friends have largely covered the really cool parts of the setting, so I figured I'd shoulder the burden of point out some of the wackier and weirder bits of the setting. Starting with...



Dark Sun: Wind Riders of the Jagged Cliffs
Part 1: Ancient Hobbit Overlords
Oh lord.

Pretty much all the "revised dark sun" supplements were horrible. I'm not sure if it was due to editorial direction, change in writing staff, or both, but it was probably the most visible sign of late-era TSR's decline. I mean it was obvious from just looking at the books themselves! Most people call out the horrible art instead of the original Dark Sun's Brom and Baxa stuff, but the bigger thing was the enormous goddamn margins in the books, at least like an inch and a half of empty space, clearly put there to make them look bigger than they were. You literally got like two thirds the text of an equivalent early Dark Sun book in the same page count.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




gradenko_2000 posted:

Papyrus, on the cover, as the title is a huge red flag.
Seriously, it's hard to understate how shittily the revised dark sun books were done unless you see them in person. Even a PDF doesn't get across how I'm pretty sure that even the paper was cheaper. It was enough that even my dumb teenage self could recognize I was getting ripped off, and I had horrible goddamn tastes then. :psyduck:

Someone take a screenshot from a PDF to show off the horrible margins and typesetting though, I don't have any myself.

quote:

And as a follow-up, did 3rd Edition ever have a "low-magic" setting?
Considering 3e was "Caster Supremacy: the RPG" I have a suspicion that nobody at WoTC even considered it as an option. There were a few d20 third party stuff that tried it though, but I think most were mediocre at best.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Nah, the transparency's off, there's supposed to be that border-like design all down the left side.

They're still atrociously laid out though, and no there isn't any art in the top right corner. :psyduck:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




I dug the core revised box set out of the box I shoved it in to forget about it and took a lovely phone photo of a random page. Quality isn't intended to be good, but it'll give you the idea of the layout...



You should be able to instantly notice two things. The first, two inch margins with nothing in them. The second, the paper quality's so bad that you can see the other page through it. It's barely a step above newsprint. And yes, more papyrus. :psyduck:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Sorry for harping on it but it was really bad, and held up even worse compared to the original Dark Sun stuff. I'm still pissed about being ripped off by TSR despite it being over twenty years ago. :colbert:

I recall a lot of the revised supplements missing the core themes by a mile and being badly written in general, but it's been so long that I can't give good examples.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Kai Tave posted:

I'm pretty sure it was the same reason high school student essays have as much white space as they can get away with.
Pretty much, it's to pad the books out so they have a larger page count with less actual text. It's a pretty blatant and transparent sort of padding trick, which is why all those high school english classes yell at you for doing it. :v:

Mind you, margins in general are sometimes useful. It helps with the layout, gives you some space so text isn't too close to the binding, and stuff like that, and decent RPGs and textbooks use them for sidebars and annotations and such. That... isn't really the case with revised dark sun here.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Rolemaster then? :v:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Brom only did the old Dark Sun covers! ... Which are still infinitely superior to the revised ones, so the point still stands.

Baxa's interior art was still way better too though.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Spiderfist Island posted:

The fact that life-shaped creatures in the 3.5 book aren't technically, you know, alive but instead are golems with a subtype similar to the Living Construct tag kind of further negates the initial premise of the whole magic art. As someone who got interested in Dark Sun during the 3.X era, I'm ultimately really glad that they reset the entire setting to just after Kalak's death in the 4th Edition books.
As someone who played it back in the 2e days, I'm glad about this too. Most of the metaplot dumbness was exclusive to the novel lines and dumped all at once in the revised core, just in case you forgot where TSR was actually making its money. Hope you weren't planning to use certain prominent antagonists! Or even try to keep to the brutal post-apocalypse fantasy theme. :v:

It's kind of a shame too. The Revised edition Dark Sun map had a lot of cool-sounding locations and interesting ideas, but it withered on the vine before ever really exploring much of it. Then again, considering the rest of the revised supplements that might be for the best...

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Whatever the presentation of the Technocracy, a lot of the fandom hatred of the traditions comes down to the massive and blatantly unsubtle detest of both modern society and modern technology. I admit I have a particularly person bias here due to the experience of literally only living due to modern medical technology, hearing that all this stuff is evil and horrible and I should go back to herbs and crystals or whatever is absolutely laughable. There were some vague attempts to imply that a Tradition-focused consensus would be better, but it never really says how and the in-setting examples of both history and the modern day shows that this is never even really given much in the way of thought by the authors. It was ableist as gently caress to assume that players could set concerns like that aside, and that's not really a term I use often.

Also it's fun to shoot vampires with laser guns, even if you're playing the nominal bad guys. :effort:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




I'm idly reminded that a part of the problem was that at least some of the old White Wolf staff just not getting what science is, specifically that it's a methodology separate from technology. I remember getting into a nerd battle with... I forget who, but one of the writers for oMage on RPGnet like thirteen years ago when I was still dumb enough to do that sort of stuff. I forget the exact context for the thread, but someone made the point that the most "scientific" tradition was probably the Order of Hermes due to their heavy documentation, experimentation, and all that sort of stuff. The writer was dubious about this so I brought up a theoretical silly example of a Hermetic perfecting the ritual of binding fire elementals to toasters to toast bread, finding all the scenarios and conditions where it would and wouldn't work, and using that to refine the ritual so anyone could make their own elemental toast if they followed the directions. Surely that's pretty scientific despite all the ritual trappings, right?

Only to get back, paraphrasing, "Of course not. Magic can't be science!" :downs:

There's a lot of good themes and ideas in the oWoD - there's a reason the line was so popular - but wow the biases and culture of the time are impossible to ignore now.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Sometime, somewhere, I will play this alien in a game.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Doresh posted:

Now I'm imagining an Eldritch abomination sucking feeble mortals into its belly.

Kurieg posted:

You've just described at least 3 WoW Boss fights.
Also every Kirby game! :downs:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Doresh posted:

And how is "You're a monster that is somehow good despite only really causing suffering, but nobody can see your monster self because reasons and you have to watch out for these Heroes who aren't actually heroes but rather evil bullies and...[more nonsense]" an easier introduction for a new player than "You're a vampire"?
This is a big thing. I admit I haven't followed WoD stuff for ages but I still don't "get" what the hell Beast is supposed to be. What do you do in it besides be a colossal abusive rear end in a top hat? There's no mythic or cinematic archetype you can point to as a quick mental example, and frankly it just isn't adding anything to the setting. All its problems seem to revolve around desperately trying to justify its existence, and that never makes a good product.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




The depressing thing is, yeah, like mentioned there's totally a lot of ways to spin old monster myths. The blatant example is looking over the assorted female monsters in Greek myths and how it's trivially easy to give them feminist readings because they were often transformed and murdered for such horrible reasons like "dared to speak back to a man god" or "had the temerity to get raped in a temple". And it's hardly unique to Greek myth too, almost every mythology has some monster or antagonist who were hated for something that is totally sympathetic to modern perspectives. And of course classical heroes were often complete assholes and murderers on their own, that doesn't even take much reinterpretation.

I haven't given Beast a proper reading so I don't want to over criticize it, but the bits I have seen and reviews from people I trust definitely makes it sound like the author never even considered methods like this to make the protagonists even vaguely sympathetic, and that's a drat shame.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




I can understand the impulse at least, since there's usually some kernel of a good idea in a game that could be salvaged with better rules or writing. Thing is, I'm still not sure what Beast really adds to the WoD that the other lines don't already do, and better. Spending effort fixing it seems like it would be time better spent working on a Vampire or Changeling game or whatever. :shrug:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




oriongates posted:

But really all of this could have been solved by simply saying "Dark Sun doesn't take place in the larger Great Wheel cosmology" (much like Eberron in 3rd edition) and bam...everything's fine. But nope, they had to come up with some way to tie in with the rest and therefore come up with a ridiculously elaborate mini-cosmology where in Athas technically exists alongside all other settings but its hard to leave but there's also the Black (so shadow illusions work) and the Grey (so ethereal spells work and there's a place for dead spirits to be).

It was ridiculous.
This is pretty much a late-era TSR thing, I'm pretty sure. Company mandate was that all the settings had to be inconnectable somehow, because they weren't about to let Timmy not get his money's worth out of all those Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance books. Obviously this didn't remotely work in practice, but it makes a certain sort of sense in that context, especially when a bunch of their setting lines were failing badly.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




It's still such a hilarious gimmick, especially since it took surprisingly long for people to clue into it. :allears:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Bieeardo posted:

Huh, really? I'll admit, I like Stolze's stuff, but I didn't toss in for the kickstarter because Shadowguiding made me break out in hives.
Yeah, I admit it's a really interesting concept but it's something I'd never ever actually play myself. I also have to wonder how long you could keep the gimmick fresh in play too.

Also I've seen people describe it as a superhero game and while it has a lot of the superficial trappings it really isn't. It's deconstructionist enough and has different enough themes that it's pretty much a different genre.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




drrockso20 posted:

Man he sounds like a complete rear end in a top hat
Wick.txt

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Yay, more fetish comics with smoking school children. :geno:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




The Lone Badger posted:

Moran's charms are unusual in having no flavour/rules divide at all. At first it looks like it's all flavour text until you realise that the charm does exactly what it says it does.
People keep saying this, and it's certainly true, but it's still a bad thing for a rulebook. Especially one like Exalted that's attempting to have clear and technical mechanics. :ssh:

Spiderfist Island posted:

I think one of the issues with Exalted goes more deeply than just its game design and is because of the content structure of the line as a whole.
I'm slightly biased I guess, but really the issue with Exalted is that it's a horrible set of rules for what it's trying to accomplish thematically, written by people who are (in general) ill-suited for those types of rules. It's a fundamental failure of the game that no amount of houseruling and edition changes can really resolve. I mean charms alone are kind of a massive elephant in the room seeing how they have all the balance problems of D&D3 feats plus the obligatory writing challenge of D&D4 class powers simultaneously, and even if you assumed you had a literal genius developer working on it and refining it you'd still have a clunky mess that makes it hard to balance characters and quickly generate opponents and NPCs.

I tried to like it for years as both player and GM, I really did, but the issues with it are just way too deep and impossible to resolve. I hope Exalted 3 fixes some of it, but in the end I suspect it's just shuffling the deck chairs around on the titanic. :smith:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Aberrant's setting was deep into 90s supers deconstruction. The problem was it thought it was exciting and novel about this despite the same ideas being done in different ways for years beforehand in numerous different media. It was rife with obnoxious metaplot (both annoying contemporary stuff and the long term implications due to being a prequel to Trinity) and the rule balance was... well they tried I guess, but it's obvious Exalted took some lessons from the laughably skewed balance in the storyteller version. And the less said about the d20 edition, the better.

And this is from someone who kinda liked it when it was new. Adventure! on the other hand was actually, genuinely good aside from a few foibles, and Trinity- well, I admire the attempt but after watching the aborted development of Exile at the time it kind of felt like a far more conservative and disappointing cousin.

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Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Even ignoring the setting of Aberrant (and there's a lot of little hilarious issues there that haven't been brought up) the rules were just... rough. Trinity and Adventure! were pretty balanced there due to their lower power levels, but Aberrant tried to pretend that "guy who can throw lightning bolts that evaporate tanks" and "gal who is really good at mundane skills" were somehow equivalent, and hell, the latter usually cost way more points to accomplish. I mean I guess if you're going pure chat RP it's not a big deal, but the very second combat hits the former character is just going to obliterate the latter character in the first round and that's the end of that. It's a bit easier to run than Exalted since you don't need to remember a billion charms, but it lacks all cheap effective defense stuff that keeps social/skill characters from getting slaughtered. And that's not even counting the usual balance issues between powers and such, like one rank Claws power being objectively superior to the lethal damage Mega-Strength enhancement despite the latter costing more. And then there's the insufferable authorial tone, but that's more in the supplements...

Maybe I should grab it off the shelf and give it a proper review, if I can be assed to. :effort: I'm mostly just salty over it because I really liked Storyteller stuff around 2000ish when it was new and it overshadowed the far superior Adventure!.

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