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Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


MonsieurChoc posted:

There was no 4E update of the setting, thought there was a boardgame using modified 4E rules (Expedition to Castle Ravenloft). The Shadowfell was also heavily inspired by Ravenloft. I think this was a missed opportunity, seeing how good 4E Dark Sun was: it's decision to keep most of the setting stuff to cosmetic rule changes instead of huge changes to the rules that randomly screws over players would have fit with a more Castlevania approach to Ravenloft. Anyway. Now, a new Ravenloft adventure has been announced for 5E, heralding the return in print of the setting after a 10-year absence. I'm going to cover the 3E/White Wolf era of the setting, cause it'S the one I have, but there's a ton of 2E material someone else could go over too.

if I remember the 4e rumor mills right, Ravenloft was slated to be a full 4e setting released some time in late 2011 but then 5e was announced in January 2012 so there went that :v:


Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


The book says

Kurieg posted:

“The gently caress are you looking at, dipshit?” Kyle snarled, standing up and walking up with his hands out in a macho pose he’d probably seen in a dozen tough-guy movies.
but all I see is


I think it also says a lot about how Beasts "fit" into the nWoD/CoD line when all of the reactions from other splats are somewhere between "WTF" and "I guess it's okay in this weird edge case with lots of caveats"

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 20:46 on May 22, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Doresh posted:

Could you imagine a show about Beasts?

it'd be Law and Order: Special Victims Unit except you're strapped to your chair and electrified if you aren't rooting for the rapist of the week

also no Munch

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 23:45 on May 22, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Kai Tave posted:

Something about the great all-powerful evil force being named Echidna brings to mind Sonic the Hedgehog fandom every time I see it.

it's because A. knuckles is an echidna and B. the sonic fandom is as full of hosed up fetish-mongers as WGA

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Kai Tave posted:

(yes that was the joke)

Did you know that witch girl adventures is also bad, like sonic the hedgehog?

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Kai Tave posted:

Also like Sonic the Hedgehog, terrible WGA fanart abounds.

This brings up a good point, there has to be at least three or four fanmade Sonic RPGs floating around out there, someone with less regard for their own free time should totally review those.

last night I realized there must be Homestuck fan rpgs somewhere and I started wondering how tremendous of a mess that would be

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


MollyMetroid posted:

Nobody commented on my review like, next to at all.

I read your review and I have to respect Pathfinder for taking multiple approaches to accessing the game rules. You cal really imagine how so much of D&D's market has been eaten up by Pathfinder when they have good products like that for beginners. The problem is I tend to fall several pages behind in the thread (like right now :v:). I haven't been able to read through a complete writeup of Mors's posts since 7th Sea because of how dense they are and how far behind reading them takes me. I can't revisit the 7th Sea archives now, either, without re-reading the whole thing because each entry's title is a quote that doesn't specify what book or what section of a book is covered in it.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Not exactly. "Metahuman" was a term invented by Keith Giffen for DC as part of the "metagene" concept; the idea that certain people have the ability to develop powers under physical and emotional stress. The difference from, say, mutants, was that the metagene was a shared origin meant to explain how chemicals or radiation or other Silver Age origins actually worked, because it's the eighties and genetics is the new Mystery Science.

But it was never adopted as the official explanation by editorial, only by individual writers. As a result, I don't think it was ever copyrighted like "superhero" is.

Marvel and DC will both use the term, acrually. Marvel usually conflates it with mutants and dc will use it on general superhumans. Originally the term was conceptualized by GRRM's wildcard books and earlier superhero rpg.


E2:also don't accidentally delete your whole post when ur phone posting :v:

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 19:47 on Jun 22, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Doresh posted:

Aren't metahumans the superpowered freaks that are not persecuted by the general population every other weeks? Like Spider-Man?

Like Gazetteer said, a lot of it depends on the writer. Marvel is a lot more loosey goosey with what is and isn't a metahuman and will sometimes use it to cover both mutants and mutates and sometimes not. DC have made more of an effort to define it, but they've also redefined it a bunch too, just like hypertime as a concept

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


I know that ultimately the Channel M stuff only exists so that the writers have flimsy rules to play with in their creepy fetish online rp sessions, but drat the :effort:-ness of the editing, world-building, and art are amazing. Like, why bother packaging this up and selling it if you can't even read through a draft for obvious typos? Is "using lovely rules for a baby world with less nuance than a Captain Planet episode" some very specific kink they desperately need to get off?

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 15:20 on Jun 25, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Doresh posted:

Isn't superhero comics with the "added drama and realism of our own evening news" something most (if not all) superhero comic publishers have done since at least the 90s? Heck, almost every hero who started out in the Golden Age has punched some Nazis at one point or another, so evening news have been there since the beginning.

(With a possible exception being the Comics Code days, but even then you probably had your fair share of evil commie villains.)

EDIT: And wouldn't "superpunk" essentially involve playing as a Lex-Luthor-type of character? Rebelling against those pesky supers?

Technically modern realism and injection of real-world issues started coming in heavily all the way back in the 1970s in what's labeled now as the Bronze Age of comics. The big surge in comics covering serious topics peaked with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns (and on the indie side with Maus), which are also seen as the starting point of the modern comic age due to how drastically they reshaped the direction of superhero comics.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Did anyone point out that under Dennis O'Day they call T.E. Lawrence "T.H. Lawrence"?

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Fossilized Rappy posted:

Part eagle, part lion, and all attitude, grypohons are found in the forests and mountains of the Fence of God, Great Forest, and Emperor's Forest. Gryphons can be tamed, but it's a dangerous task given that they will quickly turn their strong beak and wicked claws on anyone who doesn't show enough discipline.

Isn't that picture a hippogriff?

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


taichara posted:

Some weird melding of hippogriff and gryphon, really, what with lion's forepaws instead of eagle claws ... needed to get lion bits in there somewhere, I guess?

drat hippogriffgryphs need to pick a side already :mad:

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Midjack posted:

The UK is similar enough to the US that you don't have to explain everything, but different enough to be a little exotic. Plus like someone mentioned, they got banged up by Germany in a way the US never will.

The company that made Cold City and Hot War is British, so not very exotic for them.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Hostile V posted:

It honestly fits for me. The BERB is established as loving with Twisted Technology in Cold City and they come back again in Hot War. Plus enough of the populace would remember the Blitz and living and surviving during it (of course, this isn't the Blitz, it's nothing they've ever seen).

Speaking of the games you were waaaay nicer to aspects of Cold City than I would've been. I mean, I love the way the game incentivizes building dice pools by playing to your hidden agendas and how trust can be super useful in a roll but even more useful if you betray it. It all feeds into a really nice cycle of escalating and conflicting interests that reinforces the whole Cold War espionage angle very well. But the writing in the book does it no favors.

The book is riddled with typos (yes I have version 1.1, there's a bunch that they still didn't catch.) They're never as bad as, say, AMP: Year One or anything by the WGA people, but it's stuff like failing to capitalize a word, missing a letter, etc. all over the book. Basically, the book needed one more pass under a fresh editor (or one pass at all). The editor could've cleaned up some spots where the important rules info is vaguely-worded or just awkwardly-written enough to make comprehension hard, too. This is probably a pet peeve, but I also didn't like how often the writers use "obviously". Like, if it was so obvious, why did you feel the need to say "obviously"? There's a few real-world references I could've done without in the game, too, mostly involving which alphabet soup agency is torturing what people at that very moment, plus the completely unnecessary mention of Unit 731.

Something about how they address contentious issues bothers me too. I mean, I do appreciate that they bothered to cover how to deal with Nazism and Stalinism in the game. And it's nice that they emphasize that if anyone is uncomfortable with those subjects on any level, those feelings should be respected and the topics should be not brought up in the game. At the same time though, it felt like the writers were giving too much ground to the ~story potential~ of playing a guard of a concentration camp. Meaning giving them any ground.

The section on that being here:

Traditional Games: I would discourage players from creating character histories that include war crimes, atrocities, genocide, and other crimes against humanity

It's still a good game that I enjoy a lot and would run/play in, but it needs one good, final cleanup to be excellent.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Hostile V posted:

Yeah probably my biggest problem with Cold City is the typeface and the need for one last go-through of editing and revising the sentences and words. The big issue with the typeface is that it inadvertently creates weird fragments because commas are indistinguishable from periods (abundantly clear if you look at the snippets above).

You do make some fair points though; they do kind of cloak the "hey don't play Nazis" as "personally the creator of the game, you shouldn't play Nazis, but you bought this game and I can't tell you what to do, hopefully you're mature enough". Personally I just...gloss over stuff like that unless I feel it's egregious or just plain awful if I'm enjoying what I'm reading enough. I like to confer the spirit and fun stuff of a game that's won me over more than the faults because sometimes it's kinda hard to review a fun/good/notable game! But yeah. It could use one last pass and a little altering to really shine.

Yeah, I can get why you wouldn't want to get hung up on it. Speaking of, are you going to do coverage for A|State after Hot War? It was published before the other two books but a lot of people speculate that it might be a sister game/what-if of Hot War.

Nessus posted:

I think this was unusually prolix, but given the time and specific locale of the setting they would have to address it somehow, and it is not as if "was involved in/a witness of atrocities during the war" is a rare trope in characters in similar settings. If anything it seems to be taking pains to also discourage Russian characters, which is understandable if also kind of dismissive.

It still feels mealy-mouthed to waffle like that to me. Especially since one of the covert agencies players can be part of in Cold City is explicitly stated to be composed largely of ex-SS and Gestapo members.

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 15:00 on Aug 7, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


so who's gonna call dibs on this:


Announcing the Invisible Sun RPG

Posted on August 6, 2016 by Sean Reynolds

Do you dream of escape, but don’t know from what, or to where? Looking for a chance to escape the insanity of the world, and immerse yourself into something rich, deep, and fantastical? Something that challenges the limits of your creativity as well as your intellect?

If so, then join us. Escape the Shadow of the real world and find the Invisible Sun. Enter a new Actuality of surreal fantasy where mystical characters wield fabulous powers and struggle to discover the secrets of true existence

Invisible Sun is the new roleplaying game by Monte Cook. Its focus is in deep immersion storytelling. Its mechanics and gameplay are tailored around overcoming the barriers to that immersion. Magic is not mechanical, but truly magical. Character creation and development is based around story arcs. And we’ve gone further than that. Because we know the challenges gamers face in the modern world, with conflicting schedules and sometimes distant players, Invisible Sun does something different. It embraces traditional tabletop play, but enhances it with away-from-the-table activities, rules to deal with absent players, solo play, online play, and more. All the barriers are down. All doors are open.

Invisible Sun is adult. It’s imaginative. It’s intricate. It’s a challenging game, not because it’s difficult to play (it isn’t) but because it’s deep. It’s not for everyone, but for those of you who want something deep, lush, and intelligent, it’s what you’ve always been waiting for.

It’s a sophisticated approach to roleplaying for people with busy lives but who still thrill at the idea of really immersing themselves into another world whenever they get a free moment. It’s not for everyone, but for those of you who do want something deep, lush, and intelligent, it’s what you’ve always been waiting for. The Kickstarter, which launches August 15th, even offers a backer level with something called the Directed Campaign, where Monte himself feeds you ideas, handouts, art, maps, and direction on a monthly basis once your campaign starts.

Invisible Sun is a roleplaying game that extends play beyond the table to accommodate the busy schedule of your life. Play at home with your friends, play online, play one-on-one with the GM at the coffee shop. Become engrossed in compelling stories, with characters as complex and interesting as any in fiction.


Invisible Sun is deep. It’s smart. Just like you.

Invisible Sun will change the way you play roleplaying games.

Kickstarter August 15th will update each day between now and August 15 with in-character audio quotes

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Invisible Sun is deep. It's smart. It satisfies women every time. Just like you.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Kai Tave posted:

It's by Sean K Reynolds, so no bet.

It's by Monte Cook, I think. Looks like the name has been updated on the announcement post to show it's by him, too. Or I assume so, since all I did was copy/paste all the text from the post earlier today

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Traveller, thanks for going through all the effort to post Legend of the Five rings stuff. It's a game I've always seen talked about but the massive metaplot looked like too much of a clusterfuck to bother with on my end

Are you going to review all the major metaplot books up through whatever the current status quo is?

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Robindaybird posted:

Reason #1 why I fell out of the Steampunk scene - I'll predict we'll see a fuckton of Imperialism wanking without a critical examination of the attitudes of the era.

Cubicle 7 made The One Ring rpg (a fantastic game) and Rocket Age, which is a lot like this and generally handled imperialism and historic racism with tact, so I'd be surprised if that was an issue here. then again steampunk seems to bring out the worst in people.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


PurpleXVI posted:

Are we talking about some other "G-word" or did "gypsy" somehow become offensive rather than just a bit archaic in use? :v:

it's both archaic and offensive, the same way "negro" and "oriental" are

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Traveller posted:

That would be a daunting prospect, since I'd have to go through all four editions of the game. Plus, the current status quo (at least up to the FFG buyout) goes beyond the scope of 4E, from what I understand.

cutting it off at the end of the 1e metaplot then? I'm sure it'll be a wild ride anyway

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Doresh posted:

My long-term memory somehow turned that particular Gouf into some custom Zaku with an electro-whip. Weird.

This feels like a relevant time to link this as well

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


I also have another thing to share with you all!

With the Invisible Sun RPG Kickstarter having ended exactly a month ago, why don’t we look back at another Monte Cook Games success story?

Part 1: Introduction and An Outline of the Cypher System

The Strange is a reality-hopping adventure RPG gifted to us by Monte Cook Games, and written by Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell. Everyone knows who Monte Cook is, of course, he of D&D, Rolemaster and now his own company, which I am told is called Monte Cook Games:

The Monte Cook Games website posted:

Having worked as a professional writer for almost 30 years, Monte Cook can honestly say that he’s never had a real job. As a game designer, he’s worked on hundreds of products, including as a codesigner of D&D 3rd Edition, and designer of Heroclix, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Ptolus, Arcana Evolved, Numenera, and so much more, including a number of Planescape products, Call of Cthulhu d20, Monte Cook’s World of Darkness, a whole bunch of d20 stuff, and—going way back—products for Rolemaster and Champions. As a fiction writer, he has published numerous short stories and two novels, The Glass Prison, a heroic fantasy set in the Forgotten Realms, and Of Aged Angels, a modern day conspiracy and paranormal tale. He attended both the prestigious Clarion West SF&F writer’s workshop and the NASA-funded Launchpad workshop. As a comic book writer, he has written a limited series for Marvel Comics called Ptolus: Monte Cook’s City by the Spire, as well as some shorter work. As a nonfiction writer, he has published the wry but informative Skeptic’s Guide to Conspiracies.

Bruce Cordell is the cool dude who brought us Return to the Tomb of Horrors. He has also been involved in a number of other D&D-related activities, such as co-designing Dungeons and Dragons: the fourth one:

The Monte Cook Games website posted:

An award-winning game designer, Bruce designed The Strange, Ninth World Bestiary, and Gods of the Fall, among many other titles here at MCG. He’s also worked on Dungeons & Dragons over the course of 4 editions as a writer and developer (including D&D Next), having written over 100 D&D products including Gates of Firestorm Peak, Return to the Tomb of Horrors, Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, Gamma World, and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide.

He’s also a novel author. His credits include nine novels, mostly set in the popular Forgotten Realms world including the Abolethic trilogy (2008-2010), Sword of the Gods, its sequel Spinner of Lies, and soon to be published Myth of the Maker.

There are numerous other names credited in the front of The Strange, too!

the book posted:

Writers/Designers Bruce R. Cordell and Monte Cook

Rules Developer Monte Cook

Creative Director and Lead Editor Shanna Germain

Proofreader Ray Vallese

Editorial Assistance Miranda Horner

Cover Designer and Lead Artist Matt Stawicki

Graphic Designer Sarah Robinson

Brenoch Adams, Reece Ambrose, Nicholas Cloister, Dreamstime, Brandon Leach, Grzegorz Pedrycz, Mike Perry, Q-Workshop,
Joe Slucher, Lee Smith, Matt Stawicki, Cyril Terpent, Tiffany Turrill, Chris Waller, Cathy Wilkins

Cartographer Hugo Solis

Monte Cook Games Editorial Team
Scott C. Bourgeois, David Wilson Brown, Eric Coates, Ryan Klemm, Jeremy Land, Laura Wilkinson, George Ziets

A few of the names jump out at me here: Shanna Germain is the co-owner of Monte Cook Games and heavily involved in all of their projects. She’s important enough to have a bio right in-between Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell on the MCG website:

The Monte Cook Games website posted:

Shanna has worked as a writer and editor for nearly 20 years, and has six books, hundreds of short stories, and myriad other works to her name. Over the years, she’s won numerous awards for her work, including a Pushcart nomination, the C. Hamilton Bailey Poetry Fellowship, and the Utne Reader award for Best New Publication.

Currently the lead editor of Numenera and its follow-up products, Shanna’s other recent works include Bound by Lust (Harper Collins), Geek Love (Stone Box Press), and The Lure of Dangerous Women (Wayzgoose Press).

Ray Vallese has written and edited a large number of manuscripts over 20 years, including many Pathfinder, D&D, and Star Wars D20/Saga Edition books. Miranda Horner has written and edited for D&D since the TSR days as well as Star Wars D20/Saga Edition. Matt Stawicki is a professional scifi/fantasy artist with a bio on his own website which begins in an…. interesting way:

his website posted:

From superhero comics to Star Wars to the paintings of Frank Frazetta, Matt has always had an interest in fantasy.

His art overall is very cool though!

Now, The Strange is the second major RPG product put out by Monte Cook Games, the first being Numenera. Both games are built on the Cypher System and press releases for The Strange reiterate that it’s almost completely compatible with Numenara, allowing you to lift bits and pieces from one game to use in another. The Cypher System is a peculiar beast, and it seems pertinent to lay out the baseline rules for it before jumping into the meat of The Strange. In a way, the game reads to me like someone, or multiple someones, were aware of and maybe even read the rules for Fate/Fate Accelerated but thought it was missing something…. the d20! It’s a fairly light system that tries to use abstractions when it can, usually. And as the start of the “How to Play” chapter helpfully copy/pastes from Numenera:

No, really, that fist sentence is verbatim from a similar text box in Numenera:

Well if it ain’t broke I guess... :shrug:

So, the Cypher System uses a single d20 for everything. Except when you sometimes need a d6 and the two d10s to use as d100 percentile dice. When a roll of any kind is called, it’s up to the GM to rate the Difficulty Class Task Difficulty from 0 to 9 based slightly arbitrary metrics. This Task Difficulty sets the Target Number between 0 and 27 (so that’s 3x the Task Difficulty number). A character needs to meet or beat the TN to succeed at a task. There’s also a table to help you figure the TN out!

I don’t really have an issue with this baseline system. The math doesn’t seem too absurd at least? But I’m a bit baffled at the description of a TN 30 task. Why is the thing that’s labeled as “Impossible” somehow still required to follow the laws of physics? What even are the laws of physics in a fantasy/scifi adventure game? Isn’t something that’s impossible, by definition, often going to break physical laws? Since no TN is offered for something that violates physics does this mean that there’s a second level of TRUE IMPOSSIBLE that cannot be reached? That would almost be deep if it wasn’t so goddamn stupid afgwafa :unsmigghh:

Where was I? Oh right, so how do you do the nearly Impossible? The primary way is moving through moving up or down a few steps on the Task Difficulty list. There are three possible ways make a roll achievable: through applying Skills, Assets, and Effort.

Skills are those things on a list that you pick from. You can be Trained in a skill and then upgrade that to being Specialized. Being Trained lets you bump the Task Difficulty down a step. If you’re Specialized you can bump it down another step. In practice this means that if you’re trained in the “Cooking” skill then you can drop your Task Difficulty when making a most excellent omelet from a 6 to a 5, or from a 6 to a 4 if you’re a master omelet chef. You can’t reduce a Task Difficulty by more than two steps with skills, don’t even think about trying for more! Also there’s no set skill list in the Cypher System. The GM should make up a list that best fits whatever kind of campaign he or she is going to run. There’s a sample list for reference:

It’s a little bit different from the Numenera sample skill list because you might come from modern day Earth, woo! :woop:

Assets are a catch-all for anything else that can be used to influence an outcome. This can range from a friend helping you out, a special piece of equipment you’re using in the task, or maybe some environmental condition is working things in your favor. Like Skills, Assets can never reduce a Task Difficulty by more than two steps.

Effort is the final way you can decrease the Task Difficulty. Applying Effort is more complex than the other two options. I’m going to circle back into exactly what Effort is later on. For now, just know there's a pool of points you can expend to add Effort to a roll.

If a Task Difficulty is reduced to 0, it becomes an auto-success and no roll is needed. However, you may still opt to roll. The plus side to rolling is that you have a chance of hitting a Special Roll. A Special Roll is a natural 19 or natural 20. If you roll a natural 19, you can introduce a Minor Effect. With a Minor Effect, you succeed with flourish. If you get a 19 on an attack roll in combat, you can choose to add 3 extra points of damage or do some minor special result like shoving your enemy back, distracting it, etc. Outside of combat… uh I guess you can look smarter or more stylish. No mechanical benefits are specified for this. Just let the GM decide how it helps it or whatever.

With a natural 20 you get a Major Effect. The major effect allows you to inflict 4 extra damage or introduce a major dramatic event like knocking your enemy over, stunning it, or taking an extra action. Outside of combat I guess you can do something super well, like climb a wall twice as fast or maybe make twice as many omelets for the Sunday brunch? If you get a Major Effect, you can also opt to take the Minor Effect instead.

Also, natural 17s give you an extra 1 damage when you’re in combat, and natural 18s get you an extra 2 damage. No other bonuses.

“Say, didn’t you mention that parts of the Cypher System remind you of Fate? When’s that going to happen?” Oh, right, how silly of me! I forgot to mention the other thing that can happen on a d20 roll in the Cypher System: natural 1s. Natural 1s are always bad. When you roll a natural 1, the GM can introduce a GM Intrusion.

You might be familiar with Fate’s Aspect system. Everything within Fate is composed of Aspects: the player characters, the environment, the vehicles and gear, even the setting itself. Player characters will have multiple personal Aspects that flesh out their personality, background, important equipment or titles they have, etc. Players in Fate can Invoke Aspects for benefits in-game: usually a bonus to the die roll or a reroll, depending on the type of Aspect Invoked. Meanwhile, GMs in Fate can Compel Aspects. If a player’s personal Aspect is compelled, they must act on it. The character might be a "Hot-Blooded Cop". You can see how having an Aspect like that might lead to benefits and complications. This is seen as a good thing because a player accepting a Compel will receive a Fate Point for their trouble, and Fate Points allow them to Invoke Aspects in return. Players can also resist a Compel in Fate by expending a Fate Point of their own. GMs can try upping the ante by offering more Fate Points, which the player can also counter by paying a higher amount (up to 3 Fate Points). Most players will accept the Fate Points because it’s only ever beneficial to have them, and complications are the spice of life. In addition, putting down a personal Aspect is sort of a contractual and consensual agreement between the player and GM of what hot buttons the player wants pressed on their character vs encouraging lolrandom fuckery.

In the Cypher System, the GM Intrusion is an unexpected complication for the character. It’s suggested that GMs can introduce GM Intrusions whenever a character manages to reduce a skill roll to 0 in order to force a skill roll anyway at the starting Task Difficulty. They can also be introduced whenever the GM feels like it. The examples given in these instances are forcing a character who is trying to climb a wall to roll because who doesn’t love failing climb checks, and forcing a character to drop their weapon in the middle of combat because why not? When a GM intrudes in these instances, they give 2 XP to the player. The player can also spend 1 XP to resist the Intrusion. If the player accepts the Intrusion, he or she gets to keep 1 XP and give 1 XP to a different player of his or her choice. The player has to explain why they gave the XP to that person. That’s an interesting touch at least. But yeah, this Intrusion economy is based on XP, your experience points. If a player doesn’t have any XP they can’t refuse the Intrusion. GMs are advised to Intrude like this at least once per session, but no more than once or twice each session per character. Oh, and on a natural 1? The GM Intrudes without giving any XP. Yaaay!


Why don’t we quickly clean up the rest of the stuff in the first chapter?

Combat! When you make an attack you roll a d20 against a Task Difficulty set by the GM of 1 to 10. The Task Difficulty is the creature’s level. This tells you what Target Number you need to meet to hit it. Players make all the rolls in the Cypher System. If a monster is attacking a character, the character rolls a defensive move using the same guidelines indicated above. Damage is dealt as a flat number dictated by the category of the weapon.

Speaking of, Weapons! Light Weapons deal 2 damage, Medium Weapons deal 4 damage, Heavy Weapons deal 6 damage. There’s a tiny list of weapons by category in the Equipment section, but I have no idea how they determined what should go where. Examples given of Light Weapons are your feet/fists, clubs, knives, rapiers, handguns, etc. Medium Weapons are things like longswords, maces, small-caliber firearms, bows/crossbows, etc. Heavy Weapons are your big anime swords, hugeass guns, “slaughter accelerators”, etc. Anything that needs to be held in two hands is probably a heavy weapon. The Equipment also lists katanas as heavy weapons. I’ll leave it up to sword nerds to decide if that’s insulting or accurate.

Armor can be granted by actual armor you wear or from special abilities. Armor has a score, and that number is deducted from damage you take with each attack against you.

Bonuses can rarely be granted by equipment. These bonuses are added to the die roll and are cumulative, so a +1 from two different sources means you get +2 total. If you end up getting +3 or more as a bonus, though, the bonus turns into an Asset and reduces the Task Difficulty by one step instead.

Range and Speed are abstracted except not really! With distance there are three categories: Immediate Distance (everything in a small room/everything within 10 feet), Short Distance (anything between Immediate Distance and ~50 feet), Long Distance (anything greater than Short Distance but less than 100 feet). If anything is more than 100 feet from you, the range is always specified. Characters can move an Immediate Distance as part of another action, or they can move a Short Distance as a full action. The character can try moving Long Distance as a full action, but has to roll to see if he or she falls flat on his or her rear end like a putz.

Cyphers are manifestations of The Strange. They’re magical/technological/magitech tools. They work just like they do in Numenera. Cyphers are dangerous to carry in close proximity, meaning you can only have a few on your person at a time before they start canceling each other out somehow. There are two types of Cyphers: Anoetic and Occultic. Anoetic Cyphers are simple to use things like healing pills or grenades. Occultic Cyphers are complicated and dangerous, but often produce better effects. Occultic Cyphers take up two Cypher slots for the purposes of determining how many you can carry.

Experience Points we already covered how GMs can troll players for some XP. XP is also handed out for discovering things within the game. Discovery can occur in a few different ways: characters might stumble into an area of a recursion they’ve never seen before and get handed XP the same way some MMOs give it out when you walk into a zone first time. They might also find a new procedure or device (not a random gadget, some big epic artifact-type deal that they couldn’t pick up and run away with). Maybe they uncover some previously unknown or forgotten information. The GM can also decide if uncovering secrets, ethical ideas, an adage or even a truth are worth handing out XP for.

What this means is that in game terms: when a group finds an artifact, the GM should hand out XP equal to the artifact’s level and divide it among the PCs (everyone has to get at least one XP though, the game says to round down, if necessary). Everything else falls into “Miscellaneous Discoveries” and finding them grants 1 XP to each character involved. The combination of Intrusions and finding random information/collectables are stated to be the most common way to gain XP. The side-column notes, which I haven’t mentioned yet, specify that PCs should earn about half of their total XP from making discoveries.

There’s two other, less common, ways to gain XP: Sometimes a group might complete an adventure that isn’t focused on discovery. Maybe they had to run errands for an NPC or do some classic murderhoboing to clear out a bandit nest bothering a nearby town (you can also talk it out with the bandits if you’re one of those bleeding hearts, I guess). The game says it’s “a good idea” to hand out XP for accomplishing other tasks like this. Completing a goal or mission like this can be worth 1 to 4 XP, at the GM’s discretion. When setting a reward like this, the GM is advised to consider the capabilities of the characters and what they’ve accomplished. Also, don’t short them on XP just because they were particularly clever or lucky and managed to run circles around whatever obstacles you threw in their way because of that. Players can also creature their own missions and seat goals for their characters to accomplish. Successfully completing a mission like this will award XP the same way completing a mission given by an NPC would.

XP is mostly used for leveling up, but if you really want to you can also spend 1 XP to reroll any die roll and take the better of the two rolls.

Well that’s all the basics, guess we’ll have to plunge right into character generation next time!

Next time: All the Bits and Bobs that Make a Person Tick!

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 04:59 on Nov 15, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Hostile V posted:

[*]Barrow Boy/Girl** (lower)
[*]Mudlark (lower)
[*]Pick Pocket** (lower)
[*]Urchin** (lower)

so wait what exactly is the difference between these? those all sound the same to me

also why is is it believable for a woman to be a cutpurse but not a river pirate???

also: did that legend of the five rings book seriously just smarm about how you can't do romeo and juliet in rokugan right as it was spinning a tragic tale of star-crossed lovers with hoturi and kachiko????

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 11:50 on Oct 17, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Hostile V posted:

Barrow kids sell stuff like flowers or matches, mudlarks go hunting for treasure in the mud along rivers, pick pockets pick pockets, urchin means you had a general dodgy crime existence on the streets.

Okay so only 3 out of 4 are various careers for indigent street children. Still feels like an excessive amount of categorization outside of a game specifically built for playing dickensian street gangs...

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Evil Mastermind posted:

I've said it before, but The Strange broke my heart. I was hoping for "Torg, but with a better system and the dumb bits removed", but instead we got...well, Torg, but with a system that's bad in a different way and with different dumb bits.

I've only played a Cypher system game once, and the GM was making us roll to climb the side of a building with a rope even though we weren't in any hurry and there was no immediate threat. I thought it was because she was a bad GM (she actually was a terrible GM), but I never knew it was because it's something the book encourages.

Every time I think "maybe I should give the Cypher system another chance", I remember GM intrusions and that kinda kills that.

GM intrusions are definitely one of the dumbest design choices in cypher but even if you cut those out you'd have the dullest and most aggressively Monte Cook games possible. Im hoping to get the second part up tonight or tomorrow and I should have enough word space to at least get started on the classes.

Guess what the three class archetypes are in The Strange!!

Serf posted:

GM Intrusions feel like Cook went "how can I take Compels from Fate but make them lovely?"

A few bits of the cypher system really do come off like at least someone on the dev team read Fate and thought they could do it better. What makes it great is that every pseudo-Fate thing is consistently worse

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Evil Mastermind posted:

Oh, right, I forgot that you're paying with XP, not a separate pool. Fate and PbtA games don't tie their compel/failure mechanics to the advancement system.

How in the poo poo are we still doing "pay XP to do non-advancement things" in this day and age?

Another, (slightly) smaller problem with forcing players to buy off Intrusions with XP is that they'll feel obligated to hoard at least a few points for a rainy day rather than, say, doing cool poo poo with them

LongDarkNight posted:

I got to play a short session of Numenera this weekend and it was meh. Way too many fiddly bits for what's supposed to be a narrative game.

oh god there are so many little fiddly bits. If I mysteriously stop posting one day, assume I fell into a coma reading through all the dull actions thrown in a pile in the full game rules chapter

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


I decided to keep this bit short because I'll probably end up giving all three character types their own posts.

Part 2: An Explanation of the Stats and Other Important Character Information

So before we dive in, I want to pause to give a quick mention of the formatting of this book. Like Numenera before it, The Strange has wide side-margins that it uses for quick asides and tips as well as notes on what pages to reference for certain rules. So pages are laid out like such:

It can be handy sometimes, but other times pages will only have one or even no notes in that column. I have to wonder if there isn’t a better way to deliver that information that doesn’t consume so much page space for so little information.

Good doggie!

Anyway, let’s move on to character stats. There are three stats in the Cypher System: Might, Speed, and Intellect.

Might is what you get when you combine strength with constitution, to put it in D&D terms. It’s how strong you are and also how much you’re able to endure punishment.

Speed is how fast, agile, and coordinated you are. It covers everything a dexterity-based character in D&D would do, from sneaking to archery.

Intellect is a mix of intelligence, wisdom, and charisma, as found in noted tabletop RPG: Dungeons and Dragons. It does everything you would imagine those stats to do.

Stats are made up of two vital components: Pool and Edge.

A Pool is the basic measurement of a stat, aka the stat’s score. If you have a Might pool of 16 then you’re stronger than someone with a Might pool of 12. The average range for a Pool is 9 to 12. The Pool you focus on will obviously have more.

And what, pray tell, do we use the Pool for? Well two things, first Pools are another aspect (heh) of The Cypher System that feels reminiscent of Fate. Fate has separate damage tracks for physical, social, and mental damage. Your Might, Speed, and Intellect Pools are your reserves of hitpoints, too. You lose points from your Pool when you’re injured, sickened, or attacked. The type of attack dictates what Pool is damaged. So, if someone hits you with a sword, you deduct from your Might Pool. If someone hit you with a tranquilizer dart, that could make you woozy and damage your Speed Pool. If you’re having a mental battle with a psychic, that damage would be dealt to your Intellect Pool.

Well that doesn’t seem so ba—oh! Oh did I forget to mention that your Pools are also what you expend to apply Effort to your rolls? For a beginning character, applying Effort to a roll costs 3 points from a Pool that is relevant to the roll. This will bump the Task Difficulty down by one step. You can apply more levels of Effort by spending 2 more points from the Pool for each step you want to bump down after the first. So if you want to apply two levels of Effort, you declare it ahead of time and spend a total of 5 points from the Pool. Every character has an Effort score, which indicates the max amount of Effort levels that can be applied to a single roll. Yes, you’re expected to pull out of your hitpoints to make task rolls easier. I hope you don’t get damaged a lot or else you’ll be up the creek without a paddle! Numenera had a problem where the vast, vast majority of attacks listed in the game damaged Might over any other Pool.

The Strange keeps up this proud tradition:

the book posted:

An attack against a PC subtracts points from one of the character’s stat Pools—usually the Might Pool. Whenever an attack simply says it deals “damage” without specifying the type, it means Might damage, which is by far the most common type. Intellect damage, which is usually the result of a mental attack, is always labeled as Intellect damage. Speed damage is often a physical attack, but attacks that deal Speed damage are fairly rare.
Now you might be thinking, “Gee, doesn’t that mean that characters that rely on the Might pool have the unfair burden of choosing between staying alive and being effective more often?” Yes, yes they do. I’ll have to keep a tally of how many things deal damage to each stat when I cover the player character attacks and monster stats. On the upside, the basic dodge roll characters make is usually a Speed roll. But if both your Might and Speed Pools are depleted after a combat because you’re the frontline fighty type then I guess it’ll suck either way.

Effort can also be applied to increase the amount of damage an attack deals. For each level of Effort you apply, you can inflict 3 additional points of damage. Area of Effect attacks with this Effort applied to damage only deal 2 additional points of damage, but it hits everyone affected. Even if a target resists the attack, 1 damage is always dealt. Effort spent this way on melee attacks can come from either the Might or Speed Pool. Ranged attacks can only use the Speed Pool.

Let’s return to the other key part of your character stats: Edge. When something requires you to spend points from a stat Pool, your Edge for that stat reduces the cost. It won’t subtract from damage though! The example given is when you have a mental blast ability that costs 1 point from your Intellect Pool to activate. You subtract your Intellect Edge from the activation cost, and the result is how many points you must spend to use the mental blast. If the Edge reduces to cost to 0, well congrats, that ability is free to use! Edge also impacts the cost of applying Effort to a roll. If you have a Speed Edge of 2, you can apply the first level of Effort for 1 point from the Speed Pool instead of 3. What if you want to apply two levels of Effort to a roll? Normally that would be a total of 5 points from your Speed Pool, but with a Speed Edge of 2, that’s only 3! When a stat’s Edge reaches 3, you can apply one level of Effort for free.

Another thing to note: if you apply an Effort of 2 or higher, you can apply that Effort to multiple aspects of a single action. In combat, this means you could apply Effort to lower the attack roll Task Difficulty by a step, and apply Effort to increase damage. Also, you can use Edge for a particular stat only once per action. This means if you decide to apply an Effort of 2 to an attack and then to damage, the Edge can only reduce the cost of one of those. Same with activating powers: if you apply your Edge to activate a mind blast for free, you can’t also use it to reduce the cost of Effort applied to the mind blast.

Can you figure out what is going on here? Because I sure can't!!

So how about those Character Tiers and Benefits? Maybe you've manage to, against the best efforts of your GM, accumulate enough XP to advance your character in some way. How’s that work? Well there’s six levels Character Tiers in this game. You start at the first Tier and work your way up. On the plus side, the book emphasizes that you’re not some random buttfarmer even at the first Tier and it’s assumed that player characters will already be fairly skilled individuals to have made it to where they are. Tier advancement, then, is a matter of refining and growing your already significant talents. Each Tier offers four benefits, each of which can be purchased once per Tier in whatever order the player wants. Each benefit costs 4 XP. Once you’ve purchased each benefit in your Tier, you advance to the next Tier. The four benefits are the same in each Tier: +4 points to allocate among your stat Pools as you wish, +1 to one stat Edge (your choice), +1 to your Effort score, and you can choose to Train a skill or Specialize in an already-Trained skill. If having mad skills disgusts you on some primitive level, you can forego that benefit for one of the following: reduce the cost for wearing armor by 1 and lower your Speed reduction in armor by 1, add 2 to your recovery rolls, or add a new move to your list of known moves from your character Class Type list of your Tier or lower.

Wait, the cost of wearing armor? Oh yesss….

The fighty character Class Type, thankfully, has a starting ability that allows them to reduce the Might cost and Speed Pool reduction by 2, which increases every few Tiers. All you other pasty nerds can eat dirt though! Haha!

But before all of that happens, you have to figure out exactly what you want to be in this expansive magitech world! How do you narrow it down? By figuring out your Character Descriptor, Type, and Focus. The Cypher System’s big pitch is that when you’re all done, you’ve built a character who can be described with a simple statement: “I am an adjective noun who verbs.” The adjective is your Descriptor, the noun is your character Type, and the verb is your Focus.

In a lot of ways, the creation of this descriptive statement reminds me of another feature in many Fate games: the High Concept. Like the statement you make by building a character in the Cypher System, a High Concept acts as a succinct and flavorful descriptor of a player’s character. Of course, the High Concept in Fate is usually the first Aspect a player creates and it acts as a foundation stone that everything else spins out of. The phrase created in the Cypher System works backwards, by comparison. You won’t know what the key words in the phrase are until you’re done making your character. I won’t try to claim that the High Concept was ripped off here; lord knows forming a tagline for your character isn’t unique to Fate. I just thought it was an interesting case of reaching the same endpoint from completely different directions.

Now, despite being listed second, the character’s Type is really the most important part of the character. As you might have figured out, this is character class in this game. There are three Types: Paradox, Spinner, and Vector. Once you’ve selected your Type, you pick your Descriptor. The Descriptor defines your character and often offers the first adventure hook. The Focus is what your character does best within a recursion. This is the first time I’ve mentioned recursions isn’t it? They’re the different parallel realities within The Strange. Your Focus can vary in each one, but usually not drastically. Nothing (mechanically) is stopping you from being focused on guns in one recursion and fireballs in another, though. But think carefully! Because once your Focus is set in that recursion, it can’t be changed again.

Your Type and Focus both grant Special Abilities. Special Abilities got an overview already in the section on Edge. As mentioned above, you spend points out of a stat Pool to activate them, and the cost to activate them might be reduced by your Edge. Some abilities might have a + sign next to their cost. That means you can spend more points from your stat Pool or apply Effort to increase the effect of the ability. Some Special Abilities are actions unto themselves and are labeled with “Action” so you can keep track. Other Special Abilities let you perform a familiar action in a different way, like wearing heavier armor or adding 2 points of fire damage to your weapon. These abilities aren’t considered an action. Instead, they’re either a constant effect or happen as part of another action. They’re labeled with “Enabler”.

Let’s take a break for a quick vocabulary lesson: a recursor is anyone who leaves Earth to poke and prod around the many recursions and The Strange. The spark is self-awareness. Earth is what’s called a “prime world” and every intelligent being is self-aware on Earth. On recursions outside of Earth, a lot of the population are like ambulatory robots from Disneyland rides or those historical reenactors that will never break character no matter what asinine questions you ask them. And sometimes one of the little singing children from It’s A Small World might become aware of her place in the world and exert free will. Creatures who experience that have “gained the spark”. The majority of the populations on the two major recursions (Ardeyn and Ruk) have the spark. The lesser recursions are more around 10%. All player characters have the spark. The final thing brought up are Quickened characters. Quickened characters have the spark and also a unique connection to The Strange that lets them translate (shift between recursions) without the help of a gate or portal or whatever. It’s a special power that might only exist on Earth, Ardeyn, and Ruk. It’s a rare and precious thing, so naturally all player characters are quickened. I do approve of finding ways to emphasize why player characters are important in the game.

The tail end of this section is some suggested background options with linked advice on how a character could advance. There’s nothing really remarkable here and no mechanical weight to any of it. It’s all just advice on the starting mindset of your character and how they approach The Strange. I’ll trust that most people who are reading this review are already experienced enough in making tabletop RPG characters that I don’t need to reiterate it.

"I knew I should have stayed home today..."

Next: how many ways can a man hit another man with a stick in this roleplaying game of exploration and discovery and no XP for hitting men with sticks?

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 04:38 on Oct 18, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Barudak posted:

So does the damage work the same way it does in Numenara where it goes to might first, and if you have no more might it starts targeting speed, then intellect or is it just whichever drops to 0 first knocks you out of the fight or something else?

I almost can't believe they kept this system and didn't think to just introduce a separate unified track for HP.

They kept that system, yeah. First priority is Might, then Speed, then Intellect. There's also a whole other fiddly companion system of status conditions that are applied to you as you get more damaged that I'll have to go into when I get the chance

BinaryDoubts posted:

Wait, people you encounter outside of Earth have a significant chance to be non-sentient beings, like the robots in Westworld?

Why? I find this to be an extremely baffling concept. (Also, spending points to reduce roll difficulties that are also your health points seems awfully fiddly.)

as others have indicated, the justification seems to be that these are disposable NPCs. In-universe they're not fully-functioning beings in their own right, more like distorted shadows or echoes that reverberate out from Earth. I think the spark is meant to be more of a flag of who really matters in a given recursion, but it is also kinda callous

That Old Tree posted:

Like Occam's said, the conscious thought process probably was along the lines of a sort of morally abusable NPC underclass. It also probably unintentionally stems from good old unexamined exoticism, which is how we got the Elemental Plane of Non-person Native American Stereotypes, and that other place with people literally called "wetbacks."

if you're talking about the "beaners" in that last bit, those are in Numenera, fyi

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


to expand on the concept, Monte Cook's introduction also notes that Bruce originally pitched The Strange to him as just being about Earth and the fantasy recursion, Ardeyn, with the complex Strange network linking the two. Then they started talking about adding in even more recursions and the second major one, Ruk, was formulated by Monte. Everything else really was secondary from there.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Evil Mastermind posted:

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not defending that in the slightest. I'm just giving what (I'm pretty sure is) the in-game explanation is for why most of the people in recursions aren't technically people.

You're right btw, the in-setting explanation is that recursions aren't fully-realized realities so the people in them aren't fully-realized either. This is incredibly dumb and leads to things like the Plane of Crows having more beings with free will than the Plane of Amrican Indian Appropriation. I'm gonna hold off really tearing into it until we get more into the recursions and sparks tho

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


I'm going to enter the second stage of Beast chat and speculate now if the game would be any better if the other WoD splats were firmly established as hating beasts instead of beasts being everyone's abusive bffs. Like the bit in that last post the kickstarter material talks about how even after a hero kills a beast they're still consumed by the hunt. They could've kept heroes as former victims of beasts but surviving a beast attack granted a hero special attunement to the supernatural and an understandable hatred that pushes them to hunt down any splat they encounter. I guess it would have turned the whole game into a reenactment of a particular beauty and the beast song but at least that could make heroes into slightly interesting cross-splat antagonists. They'd basically be super-hunters but whatever. Hunter is the best CoD line anyway, so add more stuff to it.

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 21:54 on Oct 21, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Strap on your cuirass and keep your technoaxe at the ready! We’re about to plunge back into…

Part 3: Character Types- the Vector Joins the Fray!

The first of the three character types covered in the book is the vector. Vectors are a catch-all category for anybody focused on action and physical acts. They’re fast and strong and can go the distance without wearing out. At first, it might seem like their talents come from their naturally toned physiques and intense training, but over time they’ll come to learn that “in some small way” their abilities also come from The Strange.

the book posted:

Vectors are respected and sometimes even idolized for their abilities and prowess. They are often natural leaders, because vectors are not simple brutes but driven, motivated individuals who figure out what they want and go out and get it.
A shame that Intellect is their dump stat and none of their abilities reinforce the whole “leadership” thing :v:

There’s a lot of emphasis in this introduction that martial characters are totally important and totally matter because they're so courageous and also protect friends and take challenges head-on etc. In addition, they might not know or care about The Strange, and only focus on getting super swole.

Cyphers vectors like: anything that lets them hit harder, stay standing longer, and pump iron better.

The Might and Speed stat pools start at 10 for vectors, the Intellect pool starts at 8. They can also spread 6 more points around as they see fit. They come with a number of abilities/moves, which I think are interchangeable terms? The book always refers to the freebie powers give at each tier as "abilities" but sometimes the individual ability entries also call themselves "moves". There's also this sidebar:

Refluffing flavor text? What is this, a stupid WoW game for babies?

First-Tier Vectors
Vectors at this tier have an Effort of 1. They also have a Might Edge of 1, a Speed Edge of 1, and an Intellect Edge of 0. They can have two ciphers at a time. Starting vectors gain all of the following abilities:

Defensive: You’re trained in Speed defense actions when not wearing armor. (Enabler)

Practiced with All Weapons: You can use any weapon. (Enabler)

Physical Skills: You can get training in two of these skills: balancing, climbing, jumping, running, or swimming. (Enabler)

Translation: You can participate in the process of traveling to another recursion. Shifting to a new reality is a group effort and each of the character types specializes in a certain aspect of it. When a translation is begun, each character can choose to initiate, hasten, or ease a translation. At least one person has to pick initiate. Vectors are most effective at easing a translation. Translation rules haven’t been covered yet, but for now just know that easing a translation makes it easier for everyone to acclimate to the new world.

Vectors also have a number of special moves. They can pick two from this list at chargen:

Bash (1 Might): Your attack does -1 damage but you get to daze the target for a round. Tasks the target performs increase or decrease by 1 step, whichever way is to the target’s disadvantage. (Action)

Endurance: Any duration dealing with physical actions is either doubled or halved, whichever benefits you. This means you can punch a boulder into lava twice as fast or pry open a door in half the time. (Enabler)

Fleet of Foot: If you succeed at a difficulty 2 Speed roll to run, you can move a Short distance and take an action in the same round. (Enabler)

No Need for Weapons: You know kung-fu. You can punch or kick and treat your limbs as medium or light weapons. (Enabler)

Pierce (1 Speed): Make an additional attack and inflict +1 damage. (Action)

Practiced in Armor: You can wear any kind of armor. Reduce the Might cost per hour and the Speed Pool reduction by 2 points. (Enabler)

Second-Tier Vectors
Vectors at this tier get the following abilities:

Physical Skill: You’re trained in another skill. Pick from the same list used above: balancing, climbing, jumping, running, or swimming. (Enabler)

Skill with Defense: You choose one type of defense task which you’re not already trained in: Might, Speed, or Intellect. You’re trained in defense tasks of that type. This move can be taken up to three times and apply to a different defense each time. (Enabler)

Reach Beyond (3 Intellect): Activate this move to gain Training in a skill provided by a focus you have in another recursion. You must have used the skill once in its proper recursion. You can use the skill once. Any successive uses will require you to activate this move again. (Enabler)

Vectors may also choose one of the following moves, or take a move from a lower tier instead. In addition, the vector can replace one of the first-tier moves with a different first-tier move.

Enable Others: You can use the helping cooperative action to provide a benefit to another character attempting a physical task. This requires no action on your part. The helping action lets someone being helped be treated as Trained in a skill, or Specialized if he or she is already Trained. If that person is already Specialized, they get a +1 to the roll. (Enabler)

Quick Recovery: Your second recovery roll is only a single action, just like the first recovery roll. The second recovery roll usually takes 10 minutes. (Enabler)

Range Increase: Ranges for you increase by one step. So, treat Immediate range as Short, Short as Long, and Long as 200ft. (Enabler)

Skill with Attacks: You can become trained in one type of attack from this list that you’re not already trained in: light bashing, light bladed, light ranged, medium bashing, medium bladed, medium ranged, heavy bashing, heavy bladed, or heavy ranged. (Enabler)

Spray (2 Speed): Use rapid-fire weapons to decrease the difficulty of an attack roll by one step, uses 1d6+1 rounds of ammo, and deals -1 damage on a successful hit. (Action)

Wreck: Do a two-handed overhead swing with your weapon. -1 to the Attack roll, +3 damage. If you’re trying to damage an object or barrier, you’re treated as Trained in the task. (Action)

"Mine!" "Mine?"

Third-Tier Vectors
Vectors at this tier get the following abilities:

Expert Cypher Use: You can carry three cyphers now.

Skill with Attacks: pick another type of attack you’re not Trained in off that list above. (Enabler)

Vectors may also choose one of the following moves, or take a move from a lower tier instead. In addition, the vector can replace one of the lower-tier moves with a different move from a tier lower than third.

Experienced with Armor: Upgrades the Practiced in Armor benefits from 2 to 3. (Enabler)

Ignore the Pain: You don’t feel the detrimental effects of being impaired. When you’re debilitated, you experience the effects of being impaired instead. (Enabler)

the book posted:

(Dead is still dead.)
Sorry, Princess Bride fans, no love for you here.

Lunge (2 Might): Raise the difficulty of the attack roll by one step, deal +4 damage. (Action)

Resilience: You have 1 point of Armor against any kind of physical damage, even damage that normally ignores armor. You’re just that hard. (Enabler)

Slice (2 Speed): Decrease the difficulty of the attack roll on a bladed or pointed weapon by one step. -1 damage. (Action)

Successive Attack: It’s cleave. The description says it can be used on a new foe within your reach, but later it also says you can use it with both melee and ranged attacks. :shrug: The second attack is part of the same action as the first. (Enabler)

Fourth-Tier Vector
Vectors of this tier get the following ability:

Physical Skill: same as the last time. (Enabler)

Vectors may also choose one of the following moves, or take a move from a lower tier instead. In addition, the vector can replace one of the lower-tier moves with a different move from a tier lower than fourth.

Arc Spray (3 Speed): Use a rapid-fire weapon to fire on up to three targets (standing next to each other) as a single action. Each attack is a separate roll, increase the difficulty of each roll by one step. (Action)

Capable Warrior: All of your attacks deal +1 damage. (Enabler)

Feint (2 Speed): Spend an action being distracting, next round make a melee attack roll against the target with a difficulty decreased by one step. A successful attack deals +4 damage. (Action)

Increased Effects: You treat rolls of natural 19 as rolls of natural 20 for Might or Speed actions (choose one). (Enabler)

Runner: Your standard move distance is now Long. (Enabler)

Skill with Attacks: same as the last time. (Enabler)

Fifth-Tier Vector
Vectors of this tier get the following abilities:

Adept Cypher Use: You can have 4 cyphers now.

Physical Skill: same as last time. (Enabler)

Vectors may also choose one of the following moves, or take a move from a lower tier instead. In addition, the vector can replace one of the lower-tier moves with a different move from a tier lower than fifth.

Jump Attack (5 Might): Attempt a difficulty 4 Might action to goomba stomp a fucker and cut him with your sword or whatever. A successful attack deals +3 damage and knocks the target down. If the Might roll fails you still make your normal melee attack, but no extra damage or knockdown. (Action)

Mastery with Defense: Choose one type of defense task you’re Trained in (Might, Speed, or Intellect). You’re Specialized in defense tasks of that type. This move can be taken up to three times, with a different defense task each time. (Enabler)

Parry (5 Speed): Activate this move to reduce the difficulty of all Speed defense rolls by one step for 10 rounds. (Enabler)

Physical Adept: Any time you spend points from your Might or Speed on an action for any reason, if you roll a natural 1, you can reroll the die. You must take the second result. (Enabler)

Skill with Attacks: same as last time. (Enabler)

Sixth-Tier Vector
Vectors of this tier get the following ability:

Physical Skill: same as last time. (Enabler)

Vectors may also choose one of the following moves, or take a move from a lower tier instead. In addition, the vector can replace one of the lower-tier moves with a different move from a tier lower than sixth.

Again and Again (8 Speed): Take another action in a round after you’ve already acted. (Enabler)

Mastery with Armor: Reduce the Might cost and Speed reduction to 0. Since this move makes Experienced with Armor redundant, replace that move with a different third-tier move if you have it. (Enabler)

Spin Attack (5 Speed): Another D&D feat. Attack up to five targets within reach as part of the same action in one round. Make separate attacks against each target. You remain limited by the amount of Effort you can apply to one action. Anything that modifies your attack or damage applies to all of these attacks. (Action)

Shooting Gallery (5 Speed): Spin Attack, but for ranged weapons. (Action)

Skill with Attacks: same as last time. (Enabler)

If you need some help fleshing out your vector's background, you could even roll a d20 on this table for some ideas:

Thoughts on the Vector: It’s dull. It’s the Dr. Mario to Numenera’s Mario (the glaive); they moved a few things around, switched out a few of the powers for ones more thematic to The Strange and called it a day. One big difference is the glaive gets the armor penalty- reducing abilities for free but had to pay for the unarmored Speed defense ability, and that seems like a serious downgrade. The vector still has the same horrifying deficiencies as the glaive, too. Outside of the Physical Skill ability and Translation (the ability every character type has) there are maybe three moves that have any kind of out-of-combat utility.

But hey! This is a step up from the glaive...... which had zero. :smith:

I glossed over this before, but in the introduction to the vector it specifically notes that this class type is meant to cover not just soldiers and warriors but also athletes, hunters, explorers, and firefighters. I really don’t see how it encompasses any of those archetypes beyond a passing “Oh they can run a bit faster maybe, or endure a bit more.” And again, remember that this is a game that de-emphasizes combat to the point where you’re awarded no XP for it. It’s a game that says it wants you to pry open the deepest secrets of the universe, uncover strange new technology, and solve ancient mysteries. None of the vector’s unique abilities do anything to directly achieve those goals. The vector is the thing you throw at a monster to keep it busy while the brainy characters do the real work. The Strange would have been a great opportunity to toss out the entire fighter/mage/rogue paradigm for classes that directly reward the premise of the game. And this is what we got instead.

God, this game… :psyduck:


Next: a well-balanced and unique spellcasting class the wizard

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 19:22 on Oct 22, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Glazius posted:

I don't know if they've said it yet, but here's an important thing to keep in mind - you can spend 1 level of effort to do 3 extra damage on a single target attack.

I mentioned that in the last post. If you spend effort on area of effect powers (mostly available to the caster class) you can deal 2 extra damage on a successful hit, too. For melee attacks, this effort has to be spent either out of the Might pool, which the vector will probably saving for when they're hit, or the Speed pool, which is used to dodge attacks. Ranged attacks use only the Speed pool. It seems like an awkward system to juggle, all things considered.

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 19:52 on Oct 22, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Night10194 posted:

Of course, if the Beasts were still horrible monsters that feed on peoples' misery this would still fall apart.

That's the core of the problem. Having the heroes act more like Gaston would be a great way of fixing them and further the metaphor of privilege, but you'd have to completely revise beasts to have them function similarly. The whole feeding mechanic would have to be tossed to start with. Then do something about how the narrative reality by default disadvantages beasts. Which, like Kurieg said, will step all over promethian's toes. The entire lgbtq metaphor will still probably come off tasteless though. Maybe going a Better Angels route would be better? People voluntarily take beasts on to prevent awful people from being possessed and slowly/suddenly transformed into dangerous abominations? They work to find ways to help or minimize the damage caused by the beast possessing them and sometimes have to step in when someone gives up and lets the monster out?

Basically, take everything beast did and do the opposite.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


Put on your robe and magic hat because we are about to gently caress with reality in…

Part 4: Character Types- the Paradox Gates In!

the book posted:

Paradoxes are the mad scientists, the sorcerers, and the breakers of the rules of reality. They are not bound by what others believe to be true.

All paradox abilities come from The Strange, even if a character thinks it doesn’t. The Strange permeates the cosmos, and quickened are attuned to this force and can use it to transgress reality. Since apparently someone on the Monte Cook Games writing staff fell into a worm hole in 1990 and was spat out in 2011, we don’t call paradox powers “spells”. Giving everything new nouns is the hottest poo poo! Paradox abilities are called “revisions”.

Except the book says you can totally call them knacks, prayers, spells, or psychic gifts you want to.

Such a good doggie!

Paradoxes are the giant nerds of the game and are usually the ones who can gush about science, medicine and the nature of The Strange. The feats that they’re capable of aren’t actually miracles, though to the casual viewer they look that way. They like studying new cyphers, recursions, and Strangers.

Cyphers paradoxes like: anything! They’re all so neat! But if they have to be choosy, than they’ll go for things that protect their frail geek frame, let them keep at a distance in a fight while still being effective, and things that make traveling to, and surviving in, recursions easier.

The Might and Speed stat pool start at 8 for a paradox. The Intellect stat pool starts at 12. Paradoxes get 6 more points to distribute between the three.

Let’s take a look at their abilities!

First-Tier Paradox
Paradoxes at this tier have an Effort of 1, an Intellect Edge of 1, a Might Edge of 0, and a Speed Edge of 0. They can carry three cyphers at a time. Paradoxes also get all of the following abilities:

Knowledgeable: You’re trained in an area of knowledge or technical expertise of your choice.

Strange Training: You have general training related to The Strange. You can identify and understand Strange-related phenomena like the effects of cyphers or lore.

Practiced with Light Weapons: You can only use light weapons without a penalty. If you try smacking someone with a medium, the difficulty goes up by one step. If you try hitting someone with a heavy weapon, the difficulty goes up by two steps.

Translation: You can participate in the process of traveling to another recursion. Paradoxes are most effective at initiating a translation.

First-Tier paradoxes also get to choose two of the following revisions at chargen:

Closed Mind: You’re trained in Intellect defense tasks and get +2 to Armor against damage that targets your Intellect Pool (that normally ignores Armor). (Enabler)

Exception (1 Intellect): I’m going to quote the whole description for this revision:


You pick one creature within long range. The target is jolted by a confluence of fundamental forces for 4 points of damage.

If the target you select is not native to the recursion where you attack it, its senses are overwhelmed. On a successful attack, in addition to taking 4 points of damage, it cannot act on its next turn. Once exposed to this revision, a non-native creature normally can’t be affected by the sense-overwhelming portion of this attack again for several hours. Action.
This is whole book uses natural language to describe things and this is a good example of a time where that really gets in the way of important rules. First off, does this power auto-hit, or do you have to roll to attack? It'd be a pretty sick auto-hit because with an Intellect Edge of 1, a paradox can toss this around all day right from the start, be far away while doing it, and deal as much damage as person wielding a medium-sized weapon. There’s even that nice bonus of sometimes completely stunning enemies. But come on, “several hours”? Give a hard number, for Pete’s sake.

Levitate Creature (2+ Intellect): Attack roll vs. a target, within long range, who is no more than 2 levels above your tier. If the attack is successful, the target levitates an immediate distance off the ground. They can still take actions but they can’t “gain purchase through physical contact”. Which I guess means they just float there. The effect lasts for one round, but you can spend an additional 1 Intellect to attempt a difficulty 2 Intellect task to keep them afloat. You can’t move the target, but a powerful force like a strong wind or a push can scoot him or her along. (Action to initiate)

Premonition (2 Intellect): Learn a random fact from a location or person that is pertinent to a topic you designate. Because “reality is quantum and noncausal, which means a careful observer can discover information leaks.” You can opt to learn a creature’s level instead of a random fact, but if you do this then you cannot learn anything else about the creature ever. (Action)

Shatter (2 Intellect): You can make a random mundane object (a rock, coffee mug, the cuckoo clock on the wall) within a long range explode. Anyone in an immediate radius hit by this attack is dealt 1 point of damage. (Action)

Second-Tier Paradoxes
Paradoxes at this level automatically get the following ability:

Reach Beyond (3 Intellect): Same as the Reach Beyond ability vectors can get. (Enabler)

Paradoxes can also choose one of the following revisions. In addition, they can replace one of the first-tier revisions with a different first-tier revision.

Force Shield (2+ Intellect): You could say that this revision gives your Mage Armor! Hohoho! +1 Armor for 10 minutes. Each Effort applied to this power increased the armor bonus by 1. (Action)

Gate Key (4 Intellect): Lock or unlock a door or some other object that can be closed/opened, even if it normally can’t be locked. This includes a drawer, laptop, satchel, book, window, etc. You can also lock/open a permanent or semi permanent recursion gate, including translation gates and inapposite gates. You have to be in physical contact to lock/unlock something. You also need to succeed at an Intellect task (GM sets difficulty) to open something this way that’s locked. Locking an object automatically succeeds and becomes locked at a difficulty level of 4+your tier. (Action)

Mind Reading (4 Intellect): You can read the surface thoughts of a creature you can see within short distance for up to one minute as long as it stays in your range. (Action)

Plasma Arc (2 Intellect): You make an arc of plasma jump between two targets you can see that are within short rage of each other. Your range on this spell is long. You roll attacks on each target separately. Each target hit takes 4 damage. (Action)

Revise Flesh (3 Intellect): You can use this power to move a character up the damage track from debilitated to impaired or impaired to hale. Alternatively, you can grant a character +2 on a recovery roll if you use this ability on a character during a rest. (Action)

Totally not a wizard

Third-Tier Paradoxes
Paradoxes of this tier automatically get the following ability:

Adept Cypher Use: You can carry four cyphers now. Congrats.

Paradoxes may also choose one of the following revisions, or take a revision from a lower tier instead. In addition, the paradox can replace one of the lower-tier moves with a different move from a tier lower than third.

Energy Protection (3+ Intellect): You choose a discrete type of energy and gain +10 to Armor against that energy for ten minutes, or gain +1 Armor against that energy for one day. This has to be an energy you’re familiar with. The examples given are heat, sonic, and electricity. The book doesn’t say what exactly being familiar means or how one gains the level of familiarity required for this revision. Do you have to get hit by one of those sonic cannons to learn how to resist sound? Anyway, instead of applying Effort to decrease the difficulty of this revision, you can apply effort to protect more targets. Each level of effort will affect up to two extra targets. You have to be able to touch them to grant the protection. (Action to initiate)

Eye for the Strange: You get the ability to see a strange aura around creatures and objects that aren’t native to the current recursion and the ability to detect the spark in native creatures. You can also spend an action concentrating on a nonnative creature to see its original form from its native recursion. (Enabler, Action to inspect a creature)

Force at a Distance (4+ Intellect): On a successful attack roll you can catch a creature or object within short range that is up to twice your mass in a telekinetic grip. The target’s level can’t be more than 2 above you. You can move the grabbed creature around up to a short distance in any direction each round. The creature can take actions but not move of its own volition. Each round after the initial attack you can attempt to keep your grip on the target by spending 2 additional Intellect points and succeeding at a difficulty 2 Intellect task. If your concentration lapses, the target drops to the ground. You can also opt to apply effort to increase the amount of mass you can lift with your braaaain. Each level of Effort allows you pick up a target twice as massive as before. (Action to initiate)

Psychic Precision: You’re trained in any mental revision or mental ability that comes from a cipher, an artifact, or your focus.

Recursion Viewing (5 Intellect Points):

the book posted:

An observer with the ability to revise reality knows that space and distance is an illusion.
:smugwizard: :smugwizard: :smugwizard:

It’s the Scry spell, basically. You can concentrate to create an invisible, immobile sensor that lets you see, hear, and smell in an area like you were right there while being somewhere else in the recursion or on a connected prime world. You have to have visited this recursion before, and the GM may call for an Intellect task roll if the location is protected against astral snooping in some way. The sensor lasts for “about an hour”. Creating a sensor like this on a prime world requires you to spend a level of Effort. (Action to create, Action to check)

Forth-Tier Paradox
The only thing paradoxes get at this tier get are more revisions, but hoo-boy this is where we start getting quadratic, ladies and gents. As always, they pick one from the following list, or a revision from a lower tier. They can also replace one of the lower-tier revisions with a different one from a tier lower than fourth.

Gate Exit (9 Intellect): You create one side of a translation gate. It won’t do anything until you open another side in a different recursion. When you do that, the exits connect and create a complete translation gate. Unconnected gates last “about a month” or until they’re destroyed. After two gates link up, they last “about a year” or until they’re destroyed. You destroy a gate the same way you destroy any object, by rolling against its level. This gate has a level of 5. You can make a translation gate permanent by using this revision every day for seven days on either end of the gate. (One hour to initiate)

Invisibility (4 Intellect): You bend light around you to become invisible for ten minutes. While you’re invisible you’re treated as trained in stealth and Speed defense tasks. Your invisibility drops when you do something that gives away your presence or position: attacking, performing a revision, using an ability, moving a large object, etc. You can go invisible again with another action. (Action to initiate or reinitiate)

Mind Control (6+ Intellect): Touch a creature and control its actions for ten minutes. The target must be level 2 or lower. After you’ve seized direct control, you maintain mental contact with the target and have access to its senses. You can grant it free will or take over as you please. Instead of applying Effort to decrease the difficulty, you can apply Effort to increase the maximum level of the target at a rate of one Effort for one extra level. When the Mind Control revision ends, the creature doesn’t remember being controlled or anything it did while under your command. (Action to initiate)

Rapid Processing (6 Intellect): You or a target “experiences a higher level of mental and physical reaction time for about a minute,” aka it’s Haste. The beneficiary of this revision gets to modify all Speed tasks by one step to its advantage, including Speed defense rolls. The target can also take an extra action at any time before the revision’s duration expires (at whatever vague point it ends). (Action)

Warp World (5 Intellect): Create a zone of distraction around a creature you can see within long range for one minute. All attacks against the target are modified one step to the attacker’s advantage. All attacks made by the target are modified by one step to its disadvantage. If the target attempts an attack and fails, it auto-hits one of the target’s allies, if an ally is in range. This doesn’t have either an action or an enabler tag on it. I guess by RAW this a nasty auto-hit debuff.

Who's a god boy???

Fifth-Tier Paradox
Paradoxes of this tier get the following ability automatically:

Master Cypher Use: You can carry five cyphers at a time.

Paradoxes may also choose one of the following revisions, or take a revision from a lower tier instead. In addition, the paradox can replace one of the lower-tier moves with a different move from a tier lower than fifth.

Draw from Fiction (7 Intellect): Summon a level 5 creature of a kind you’ve previously encountered in a recursion you’ve visited. The creature remains summoned for one minute before being drawn back to its home. It acts on your command. The GM can decide to gently caress with it and give it penalties on some or all tasks for being disoriented. (Yaaay.) Since it’s level 5, it has a TN of 15, 15 health, and inflicts 5 damage. (Action)

Exhile (7 Intellect): Banish another creature within long range to its home recursion. If the creature is not native to a recursion, send it to one you’ve previously visited. The target must be level 5 or below, and you must succeed on an attack. If the creature resists, all its actions are modified by two steps to its detriment for one minute. Exiled creatures can’t return to the recursion you exiled them from under their own power for seven days. (Action)

Force Focus (6 Intellect and 2 Might): You can exchange your current focus for a focus you possessed in an alternate recursion or connected prime world. This is apparently a horrible drain on both your mind and body. Buuut the upside is it lasts an hour! Also while you retain the forced focus you look like a hybrid of your current appearance and whatever you look like in the other recursion. You can still use your current focus when the forced focus is active, too. (Action to initiate)

Knowing the Unknown (6 Intellect): Play a guessing game with your GM! Tap into the power of The Strange to ask one question and get a “general answer.” The GM gets to assign a task difficulty to the question. There’s a general guide for this general answer:

the book posted:

Generally, knowledge that you could find by looking somewhere other than your current location is level 1, and obscure knowledge of the past is level 7. Gaining knowledge of the future is impossible. Action.

True Senses: You can see in the pitch black up to 50 ft. as if it were dim light. You can easily identify holograms, disguises, optical illusions, sound mimicry, and other things that try to trick any and all of your senses. (Enabler)

Sixth-Tier Paradox
Just revisions again this tier. It’s the same song and dance; pick one new revision or pick off the old lists. You can also replace an old revision with an new one from a tier lower than sixth.

Drag Through Hell (9 Intellect): This revision name is more literal than you’d really expect. :devil:

the book posted:

You send a creature within immediate range that you can see into one of a number of recursions filled with brimstone, hellfire, and demons. On a successful attack on a target of up to level 7, the target is pulled through a transitory inapposite gate and takes 6 points of damage as it is dragged through the hellish recursion behind some unspeakable monstrosity.
Okay, yeah, I have to respect a spell that lets you tie a baddie to a demon the way a kid ties tin cans to a cat. That’s hilarious. You can also concentrate to keep the target translocated with a new action and new attack roll each round. And each round the target remains stuck on Mr. Beelzebub’s Wild Ride, it takes 6 points of damage. If the target returns before it dies, or if the first attack roll failed, all tasks on the target’s next turn are modified by two steps to its disadvantage. (Action)

Force Unification (13 Intellect): Rewrite local reality. You can temporarily change one of the rules of the recursion where you’re currently located. It can be a dramatic effect, but the effects only last for a round to a minute. Examples given: “changing the color of the sky, causing an eclipse, halving (or doubling) gravity, changing the speed of light, and similar effects.” Also the GM gets to decide if your brief fundamental breach of the natural laws is “reasonable” as well as dictate how long it will last and what level of task difficulty is needed to achieve it. No guideline of any kind is given for this. (Action)

Index Recursion (7 Intellect): You can mentally sense the direction of the nearest recursion gate that you aren’t already aware of. You get to know the location and distance to the gate, and you get to know general information about what kind of recursion it connects to. (Action)

Master Translation (5+ Intellect): Do you ever feel like your teammates are too chumpy to help you translate to a new realty? Well then this is the revision for you! When you initiate a translation, you can also choose to hasten or ease it. To trigger this, spend the Intellect cost listed above as you being the translation trance. Now you can apply one level of Effort to ease or hasten the translation instead of decreasing the difficulty of the task. Or you can spend two levels of Effort to both ease and hasten the translation. You have to know the recursion exists, and the GM gets to decide if you have enough information to make the jump. (Action to initiate)

Usurp Cypher: Pick one of your current cyphers with an effect that’s not instantaneous. You destroy the cipher and gain its power, which functions for you continuously. (I imagine a paradox taking a big old bite of a cypher.) After you eat that cypher you can’t chow down on another, this ability only works once. (Action to intiate)

Aaaand that’s it for the paradox. Here, have another list of random paradox backgrounds for your troubles:

Thoughts on the Paradox: I firmly believe that Monte Cook’s entire house is decorated in wizards: wizard paintings, wizard statuettes, novelty wizard hand soap dispensers, the works. I’d even lay good money down that Monte Cook has an oil painting of Gandalf framed above his bed, which he lays in front of every night, crisscrossing his legs in the air like a teenage girl.

Pictured: Monte Cook in his natural environment

Anyone familiar with D&D 3e will know that wizards started out better than fighters, which rapidly escalated to a ludicrous gap in power and abilities. If you thought that the devs heard or cared about any of the identical complaints about the power gap between the glaive and nano in Numenera, then you’ll be severely disappointed. If anything, the difference in the upper-tier powers is even more pronounced! That Road Trip to Hell spell is new, and so is the one that lets you temporarily turn a recursion’s moon into a set of shapely rear end cheeks. Remember at sixth-tier, vectors get such mind-blowing powers as “take another action in a round after you acted” and “do a Tasmanian Devil impression and maybe hit up to five monsters surrounding you (roll for each attack).” The paradox does have a high number of combat powers in this came of wonder and discovery. But they also have a ton of spells with amazing out-of-combat utility that directly facilitate the stated goals of the game: exploration, discovery, and mystery-solving. God, a clever player could find so many ways to exploit being able to secretly ride along in a target’s brain for 10 minutes, seizing control at any time without the target remembering a thing. I can’t think of a situation where someone could possibly look at the vector and paradox and go “Yes, this is a fair and good distribution of power, utility, and evocative abilities!” It's beyond absurd.

As a side note: the constant leaning into GM fiat to resolve everything is also getting exhausting after all of these not-spells. It’s like someone understands a feature of rules-light, narrative-focused games is how you can fill in the gaps with stuff that works and you like. The problem is, those gaps should be filled in by the GM and players collaborating on an answer so that impacts the players while also remaining interesting. A lot of rules-light games also have set numbers and specifically-outlined outcomes for each roll, like in Apocalypse World. This entire system relies on a GM consenting to the whole endeavor to begin with and then eyeballing the difficulty fairly, which is sure to lead to problems with inexperienced GMs or ones feeling particularly difficult that day.

Next: A new spin on the rogue!

Nuns with Guns fucked around with this message at 14:53 on Nov 3, 2016


Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010


wait... beasts don't age? and can get away with attending the same university for decades without anyone noticing?

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