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Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
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It's interesting to see a Mage the Ascension review and a Night's Black Agent review going side by side. I wonder how NBA does on the "trivializing real world horror by tying it to supernatural horror" axis once we start getting into setting details--I don't think the writers ever go straight up "vampires caused the Yugoslav Wars", but it can be a bit awkward to read sometimes.

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Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
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ProfessorProf, do you know why the sample adventure is titled "(S)ENTRIES"? The best I can figure is that BGen. Lennart and his laptop, Dedopovic, and to a lesser extent Rudek, are acting as "sentries" for the player agents' "entries" into the world of vampires, but that might be a stretch.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
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Simian_Prime posted:

Telluric vampires sound cool.

I was think of using a similar explanation for the powers of Twilight vampires, since they're basically made of a sparkly, granite shell around a chewy crystal center.

So the best way to handle them is with mining charges? :psyboom:-style?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Nessus posted:

Yeah it's basically because the genre is built around the visuals of films and those films were shot in the desert. Mad Max: Fury Road actually had to move shooting locations because there was a sudden rainstorm and the entire loving area filled with gorgeous wildflowers.

That sounds like absolutely gorgeous post-apocalypse imagery, to be honest.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
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The Lord of Hats posted:

Golden Sky Stories looks like so much fun. I want to play a fox and lord my vast wealth of 435 yen in small change from my shrine over all of the other PCs :3:.

How many of those coins are actually leaves and nuts?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
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Halloween Jack posted:

Like I said before, Beasts are like a DIE CIS SCUM parody of what Gamergaters think the robocops are really like, but played totally straight.

What the heck is a robocop?

Davin Valkri fucked around with this message at 17:12 on Jun 7, 2016

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
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Alien Rope Burn posted:

To be fair, milwank RPGs have largely been on the outs for the past two decades or so? I mean, the last one I can think of is Spycraft 2.0, and even that's a bit of a stretch.

I'm guessing that's because military themed video games have been on the ups for the past two decades. Or maybe "military" themed, depending on how charitable you feel.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Kai Tave posted:

Even then, video games haven't really flirted with serious crunchy strategic/tactical milsim stuff for a good long while, most of the military-themed games you get these days are bombastic first-person shooters about Tier Beyond One Operators operating operations on terrorists and/or Russian ultranationalists (or in one case the People's Republic of North Korea).

That's what I meant by "military" themed.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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unzealous posted:

Alright, I felt like I was missing something for the longest time because I kept expecting an update to feature "Okay, at this point you can take this ability that lets you breathe fire because you're a dragon or you turn into a giant tentacle spider or what have you." So much of what the horror is seems disconnected from the player. I mean to what I said before it's like a game where you're just a normal person responsible for an rear end in a top hat cat with superpowers and if you don't feed it blood and suffering it runs outside and tortures people.

That sounds more like Pokemon: The Training, to be honest.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Halloween Jack posted:

Is it really intolerable for any game to deal with the ugliness of things like slavery and caste systems?

It's not intolerable, but there's an implicit understanding that the game creator should do their proper research and diligence and represent the topic tastefully and appropriately. Given the issues others have already brought up with the rest of John Wick's Legend of the Five Rings, it doesn't seem like that's what's happening here.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Covok posted:

Taking a guess, they probably use onmyodo, but through a filter.

Basically, you bind the spirits of nature, which exist in everything because animism, to do your bidding. You do this through elaborate ritual and knowledge of arcane arts.

So, wizards.

That sounds more like Pokemon trainers than D&D wizards.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Kurieg posted:

No each one has to be a bespoke costume and it also can't be a mimikyu

What's wrong with Mimikyu?! You got a problem?! :mad:

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Comrade Gorbash posted:

The cleric's use of blunt weapons comes from the idea that Medieval clergy who served as knights preferred them, supposedly to avoid shedding blood. Odo of Bayeaux was particularly noted for this. The evidence for this is pretty shaky, but it's a popular notion in historical fiction and literature. Plus back when clerics first showed up in D&D, a lot of classicists would have just taught it as fact.

Where did that idea come from, then? Anybody who has squished a tomato or (more grisly) seen the aftermath of a bad car accident knows that blunt impact sheds blood just fine.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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The Lone Badger posted:

Acing can create some weird probability curves. Likes if you want to perform a 'difficult' task (requires you to roll a 6) you're better off with a D4 than a D6.

Isn't that why you always set TNs as odd numbers in such systems?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
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Night10194 posted:

I mean the best Urban Fantasy game I ever played in I was a Child Services worker who got caught up in some fairy Changeling bullshit and ended up tricking Titania by accident and saving Baltimore while solving occult mysteries by finding the relatively human motives underlying the crimes.

God, that campaign was fun. Being a bureaucrat or civil servant caught up in horror is Good Times.

Things like this are why I loved Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. Its entire overarching theme was that, for all the supernatural power and age of those who play the game of vampires, at the end of the night they are all pretty much as stupid, petty, divided and delusional as the humans they claim superiority over. The sarcophagus isn't the herald to some big tide of bloodshed, it's an explosive macguffin that only has value because stupidly old people thought it was powerful and couldn't imagine that they were wrong. The supposed big daddy of vampire civilization works as a cabbie. Vampire and vampire-hunter alike are both vulnerable to getting shot. And the game ends with the supposedly secret vampire society blowing the lid off its own hidden coffin because a Napoleonic-era noble two centuries out of time got scared of an upstart threat to his power and sicced his bodyguard on you under the spotlights. Compared to the rest of the WoD of that era, which loved to talk up the greatness of vampires and werewolves and so on, it was a real breath of fresh air.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Cythereal posted:

Valkyrie operative: "More to the point, you were not born in the United States and I don't see any immigration paperwork. Sorry, but we're going to have to deport you."

I'm guessing that would be a problem if the mummy's place of birth no longer exists on a map.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Mors Rattus posted:

I also like the flat delivery of the line 'I'm a cat.' I actually think the Changing Breeds as a concept have a place in the game. This place would involve throwing out literally their entire book. What I would go with is, essentially: you don't just have an animal soul, you were an animal. Human is not your natural form. You are a shapeshifter because sometimes, animals become people. Why? :shrug: We can figure that out later.

Wait, isn't that the concept behind Golden Sky Stories?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Mors Rattus posted:

The werewolf one had the secret conspiracy of werewolves running the entertainment industry, and also had werewolves performing rakugo in their Gauru forms.

Werewolves doing rakugo? Fur real? That's the loopiest thing I've ever heard! I bet they really pack 'em in there, huh?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Honestly, up until the bit where it said "the Headmasters eat the Residents", I thought the intended vibe was The Prisoner, but I admit I'm really dense when it comes to metaphors.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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theironjef posted:

Ah yes, famous for their ability to barely turn at all, their capacity to carry 3 missiles to fool congress into thinking they're fighter planes, and their incredible function of leaking all their fuel all over the place when they're on the ground. Truly the fighter plane of the ages.

To be fair, there was a proposed interceptor variant of the SR-71's predecessor, the A-12, IDed as the YF-12. And their form factors are similar.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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LatwPIAT posted:

As a tech-heavy genre where STEM-stuff makes you cooler, that embellishes the rich and white, and draws on the individualist, Objectivist, dog-eat-dog attitudes of American punk, it's not really that surprising that cyberpunk has a lot of fans who are your stereotypical bigoted STEMlord.

And then there's Nicknumbers, but that's a story for grognards.txt.

Coming at it from the other direction, there's also the fact that the stereotypical villains in cyberpunk-land are shadowy transnational companies probably owned by Asian people, and the protagonist punks may or may not have been pushed out of their jobs by cheap automation from the aforementioned Asian people.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Crasical posted:

This, however, is :krad:

It looks like a Gurren Lagann ripoff, though?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Halloween Jack posted:

So it turns out that Warren Ellis is writing a comic series, The Injection, about how a think tank basically invented the God Machine.

Would it be similar to Issac Asimov's story about how a computer asked the question "how do we reverse entropy" responds with "let there be light"?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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LatwPIAT posted:

Those were designed at around the same time and never built, in part because they were a terrible idea. They were also the idea of Edward Grotte, a man who'd previously tried to sell the same idea to the Soviet Union:



That one looks silly, but this one actually saw combat.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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wiegieman posted:

This is what really won the war. I talked about the Soviets using DFM, but they had nothing on the US.

Eh...I'd put it more like "the war was won with Soviet rifles and tanks, brought to the front on US trucks and rolling stock." Remember that the supermajority of all military casualties occurred on the Russian front.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Ain't that always the case :smithfrog:
Are there any RPGs that don't accidentally dehumanise the Roma?

The only one I can think of off the top of my head is The Dracula Dossier, which takes some pains to say that, while there is one Roma clan working for Dracula, it's one clan among a great many, and asking any random Roma on, say, the streets of Bucharest about them will get you angry looks in response. Also while they do have magic powers, it's because they work for Dracula--other groups on the table playing to his tune can access similar powers.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Kurieg posted:

Turns out bringing actual concious living beings to hell as opposed to souls is a bad prospect on the demon's part. Those that are innocent, or at least purgatory worthy, have about as much spiritual sustinence as celery water. And those who actually would belong in hell resonate enough with it's intrinsic nature to be as powerful, or more powerful, than the demons.

End result, you have the demons allying with the 'good and sane' prisoners to punish the evil ones and also get that ship the gently caress out of hellspace as soon as possible so that the demons can get back to their good honest work and stop worrying about the terrifying monster that wants to castrate them with their own claws.

This sounds like "Better Angels IN HELL!" and I'm not sure if that was intentional.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Would WH40k's damage and health system make more sense if they were renamed, I dunno, "Shock" and "Morale/Combat Effectiveness"? That is, an overpowered 2d10+lots sword doesn't so much cleave an enemy and all his friends with ridiculous ease, but instead (treating the enemy and all his friends as a single unit) so devastates one man in the unit that the rest of it drops their weapons and routs/surrenders? It would make sense with the more outlandish/absurd weapons causing "instagib" levels of damage.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Mors Rattus posted:

No, because morale is a specific thing in 40K and a lot of enemies at Space Marine level are essentially Morale: Yes, do not care about fear or shock, and so on.

Night10194 posted:

40k's constant parade of Implacable Horde Of Uncaring Foe and Hyper Elite Fearless Superman really sucks.

Dammit. I've been playing too much Ultimate General: Civil War.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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I thought "Lich" in this context was pronounced closer to "lick"? :confused:

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Night10194 posted:

The way you wind up with this stuff is by having grimdark settings where absolutely everyone is a crazy rear end in a top hat and constant violence and horror is the norm.

E: At that point some readers will go 'which of these assholes is at least more recognizable?' And that's how you end up with The Imperium Is Good, etc.

All Sides Are Corrupt And Awful tends to be a plot conceit that ends up making really awful poo poo come off 'well'.

This seems like the path to a very boring setting, to be honest. If everybody's an rear end in a top hat, why should I care who wins the setting's conflict?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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GimpInBlack posted:

Next Time: Fortunate Sons - Character creation demo! Give me a few grunt concepts and I'll make a few characters to illustrate the system. Be sure to include MOS and whether they were drafted or not, and from what state, and bonus points if you throw in a period-appropriate photo reference.

You mentioned that the chargen has a few changes to make if the PC isn't a US Army regular? Can we see that? How about someone who's an ARVN liaison attached to the squad as an intel guy?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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GimpInBlack posted:

I was gonna use Frank to show that off, since canonically he's a USMC sniper (according to Wikipedia), but we can do an ARVN intel officer too.

EDIT: One of the rules regarding interactions in this game is the enforcement of a hard language barrier--no character can be fluent in both English (or other FWF languages) and Vietnamese (or indigenous languages). So our ARVN Intel officer will be able to talk to the locals, but will have to get by with an English phrasebook and a smattering of common words to talk to the rest of the squad. We'll talk more about why that is later in the write-up, but it's more than just enforcing a sense of isolation and frustration.

Oh, that sounds like an interesting rule. And now I'm suddenly imagining Mr. ARVN trying to talk to the rest of the squad in Vietnamese, then Vietnamese French, before tooth-grindingly reducing himself to swear words, waving his phrasebook around, and repeating the stupid GI pidgin Vietnamese back at them. If the mechanics are good I might have to pick this up...

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Comrade Gorbash posted:

Wish I'd been reading GimpInBlack's PATROL review from the start, I'm really digging it and hope someone runs it at some point.

Also, I recognize each of the characters in the squad except Ratcatcher. I can't place the reference at all, what's the inspiration there?

Since his last name is "Sigmar", I'm guessing he's supposed to be a Warhammer reference.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Did the army chiefs actually publish the doctrine? I'd think that a lot of people would cry bullshit when they heard about it.

Yes, and a pretty big portion of the blame falls on this guy. His replacement (the guy the Abrams tank is named after), to his credit, realized it was stupid and tried to look for different COIN doctrines, but by then of course it was the 1970s.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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open_sketchbook posted:

This is always something I kinda struggle with when I'm poking at cyberpunk stuff. I'm a sucker for my cyberpunk being retro-y, so Japanese corporations have to rule the world, but it's often difficult to justify in a way that makes sense, seeing as... that didn't actually, like, happen.

I guess the thing is that cyberpunk isn't really about the future. Cyberpunk was about creating an exaggeration of the time it was written. The cyberpunk world is the telecommunication technology, worldview, attitude, of the (American punk intellectual Left) 1980s writ nightmarishly large, where the money is bigger, the technology is shinier, and the struggle is more real than ever, where the boogymen of the sterile perfection of the Japanese lean production lines and the oppressive atmosphere of their offices had melded with the corporate cronyism plaguing the United States to create a society whose vast unfeeling hunger for wealth and prestige creates an underclass whose lives are defined by the perverse mix of high technology and savage scarcity. The Japanese imagery is less about the idea of Japanese dominance so much as a fear of the (American impression of) the mindset which created the Japanese economic boom of the 80s dominating all of culture; the glaring wall of vertical neon signs and the cheap noodles and the packed metropolises and the slick hierarchy of the Yakuza act as shorthand for a more fundamental fear that Western liberty and independence would be subsumed into this imagined culture of efficiency and those who were not useful to that system would be ground underfoot. It's the idea that the future will be foreign, using Japanese culture as a recognizable stand-in for a more general idea of a future where all your cultural works and values have been eroded by a corporate mass media you cannot relate to.

To me, cyberpunk is the generally atmosphere of the movie Black Rain mixed with computer jargon. I'm okay with being really implausible to make that happen and recapture that feeling.

Certainly it should be possible to make a "cyberpunk" styled world without the weird "Oh, Japanese/Chinese (delete as appropriate) people and culture are so WEIRD and INSCRUTABLE, and they're going to TAKE OVER AMERICA with BRIEFCASES and COMPUTERS and KANJI THAT I CAN'T READ", though? Maybe it's just because I'm asian, but that style of cyberpunk seems more or less obsolete.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Barudak posted:

Why not go for broke and make the world under the employ of The Congo and have all the foreign elements be like stuff from the Mwindo stories and such? Itd convey the foreigness without yellow peril and expose people to cultural ideas and stories they arent familiar with.

Plus I just like saying the name Mwindo.

Given the history of that region in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Congo is probably the last place I would look for cyberpunk styled villains or antagonists.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Do you think that other game lines do this "more gracefully", as it were? The only one that comes to mind is Ashen Stars and its Bogey Conundrum--how does that compare to Starfinder's Gap?

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Inescapable Duck posted:

And there's always the same problem that while war is horrible, it makes for really good TV. See the entertaining confusion of Metal Gear on the topic.

I think the reason why war seems to make for really good TV is that producers and writers like to pick situations that MAKE for good TV--close range aerial dogfights, hand to hand melee combat, gun battles with well-delineated sides. That's understandable, since you can't exactly market a film or show based on how boring it is unless you're doing a documentary or docu-drama. I still think you could make a good movie or TV show that doubles down on the horrifying aspect if you kept it modern, industrialized, and slightly impersonal--I'm having a really hard time imagining a war movie about artillery shells, cruise missile exchanges or the launch-no-launch decisions of an ICBM base or SSBN being called "cool" or "exciting". But that's much closer to Harpoon than Dungeons and Dragons, tabletop game wise.

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Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

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Young Freud posted:

Isn't this "Generation Kill"?


Isn't this Eye In The Sky is?

Regarding Generation Kill, given that it's a dramatization of an embedded reporter and his embed company's experiences in Iraq, I would say that it's "an exception that proves the rule", as it sold itself on being a docu-drama, with all the realism so implied.

Eye in the Sky is a good example of what could be done, yes. I was thinking that that was a bit overdramatized at first, but then I realized I had it confused with Good Kill.

Come to think of it, Fail Safe and/or Dr. Strangelove (the parts with Slim Pickens in particular) also scratch that sort of feeling.

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