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Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
CofD character: a New Age-y cab driver who specializes in the airport route, treating each ride as a mystical experience of communion and confession in which small talk about the fare's last trip leads to profound re-evaluation of the mundane life they're returning to.

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Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

NutritiousSnack posted:

The most heroic depiction of the KKK since Birth of a Nation

Heroic with a capital H, imo. It seems pretty obvious that the hook they're hanging this on is the Klan as lionized folk Heroes who are actually evil.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Valatar posted:

Is there any kind of summary for the changes between first and second edition nMage? I'm enjoying the writeup, but so far it's mostly covering familiar ground and I'm hugely curious about whether any mechanical changes occurred aside from the whole CoD changeover.

I'm not sure whether there's a big chart somewhere yet, but there are definitely mechanical changes, some of them significant and others more subtle. The biggest change is to spellcasting itself. In broad strokes, they cut down on the number of individual prewritten spells and shifted the focus to big high-concept spells like "damage someone with Forces" or "transform an inanimate object into something else" that you can then actively customize and augment based on your Arcana dots and how much Paradox you want to risk. It's generally more streamlined and coherent and feels like it actually follows the internal logic of the Practices rather than being a big grab bag of random descriptive effects- I feel like the better parts of the Ars Magica DNA are showing up in this edition.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
I really want to play Danites in the Vineyard but my friends are a bit more squeamish about religious dystopias than I am. I didn't get a lot of enthusiasm for Montsegur 1244 either.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
Howl from Beyond is the Spirit spell that stuck out to me as the coolest. I love magic-punching someone so hard that you knock their soul loose and they're easier to possess.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
The Dog, Black Leaf, kissed another boy and I declare him possessed by a literal demon, from hell.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

SirPhoebos posted:

That was my reaction as well "I'd play this game if I had the option to go all Black Crusade on these not-Mormons".

Years ago in a long-forgotten thread I saw a panel from a furry 40k webcomic where the author's badass self-insert inquisitor OC is about to burn some Mormon missionaries for heresy, and I deeply regret not saving it.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Mors Rattus posted:

Gonna be honest, 'I fantasize instead about the mass slaughter of the Mormon people' is more offputting than Dogs in the Vineyard.

E: Like, incredibly more.

I know, right?

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
The Duel Arcane rules kinda elude me. What's that bit about Reach and accounting for spell factors? Is the attack/defense roll meant to be a purely narrative description thing, or are you actually casting a spell according to the standard rules? Are the imagined spells meant to have any mechanical effect beyond the binary "did or did not open a Door"?

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Count Chocula posted:

Does nMage not have Boston and New England as a sample place to set a Chronicle anymore? I loved that since I grew up in Lovecraft Country.

There's nothing about them in 2nd edition, but to be fair they did get a whole supplement for 1st edition and an appendix in the core book.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
I love everything about the Ghost Wolves. The art, the stereotypes, the whole idea of being an outsider to this elaborate mythic culture and purpose. I'm really pleased that there's an in-character voice saying of the Tribes "you are out of your loving minds," that quote was my exact reaction to the Storm Lords.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
The day-to-day Werewolf duties as described are sounding pretty...reactive? It's usually ultimately about "fixing" a place and returning it to the correct normal condition. I keep seeing this stock example of "physically and spiritually cleaning up the slums of drugs and violence and corruption" when I hear Werewolf being described.

It's reminding me by contrast of the emphasis in the new edition of Unknown Armies that the PCs are actively trying to change the world, somehow. They don't like the way things are, they have a better idea (in their skewed but strong perceptions at least), and they're going to break poo poo and afflict the comfortable to make it happen. The status quo is the enemy, if there is one at all.

I think this comes back to the basically conservative style of most WoD games because of the assumption of the Masquerade and not wanting to expose yourself too much because it would move the setting away from "just like our own world, but with something more in the shadows." It just seems especially standout as you're reading through Werewolf. Like with the Eaters of the Dead, that actually sounds like an exciting chronicle hook as a change of pace, because questing and seeking to create a new Tribe could majorly shake up the setting.

The Pure have this going on as far as I can tell- like most antagonists in this genre, they actually want the world to change in a way the Forsaken kinda don't.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
That section on the Shadow is fantastic, I'm glad the Werewolf book goes into such depth about painting a picture of what the place looks and feels like. It reminds me of the Mysterious World chapter in Mage 2E. The 6 Urban/Rural Spirits sidebars are really helpful for any game. I feel like that's the in-depth explanation of the Shadow that's been missing from other games I've played that have to cut it to a page or two of general description for space.

e: I'm guessing there's not much overlap between the Uratha who would call someone an Urghir and those who'd say Uzahah. This is fun!

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
Fun fact: the much better superhero setting Progenitor also has a teleporting serial killer supervillain called El Cucuy, which I assume is drawing on the same mythology source.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
I love Better Angels so much, I was anticipating it for years. Glad you included the sidebar on Evil vs. Eeeeevil!, that's a theme that kinda runs throughout Stolze's writing. Not to spoil anything, but later in the book is an antagonist section featuring some examples of what happens when a mundanely Evil person gets access to a demon, and it's...pretty unsettling.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Count Chocula posted:

This sounds like a horrific fate.

This isn't quite the tone the line usually takes, but I really like the lens that Demons are 'corrupted data', deformed, glitched, an affront to the order represented by the God-Machine, and they accept or deny that to varying degrees. I always thought that being violently disconnected from the mass knowledge and gnosis of the GM would radically change how a demon interprets the world, including the possibility that there was some greater context or justification that they can no longer understand, evoking that fable (the Snow Queen I think?) where a monster gets a shard of heavenly glass in its eye that prevents it from seeing anything but the cruel and wicked and ugly things in the world.

There's a moment in the core book opening fiction that stuck with me, where as I remember a newly Fallen demon asks if they're broken and a more experienced demon abruptly gets really pissed, slams his fist for emphasis and goes "No! Not broken- different! Evolving! Better!" In a way that comes off as super defensive.

The part of the game that most fits with that interpretation is how raising Primum and changing your demonic form is about breaking out of the vestigial logic of your role as an angel and becoming something new and terrible of your own design, in the same way that Exploits are about roughly repurposing the principles of Embeds. If demons are glitches, broken tools, stubborn rogue programs that don't respond to Alt+F4, then following the Cipher and raising Primum is about embracing and turning that label on its head and growing into a cosmic threat and abomination that should never have existed and corrupts the GM's save file just by being contemplated.

What I'm saying is, there should be more nDemon characters who are twisted and empowered by their own corruption and want to destroy creation out of spite for God. Buy the Demon Translation Guide, it's good.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

quote:

Honestly this dude is a weird tonal shift from the rest of the entire book. He sticks out like a sore thumb, and I understand wanting to point out that a demon inhabiting an evil person results in a walking disaster but this seems a bit much.

I agree with this, but I like the art they used. It's a really good illustration of the contrast between costumed over-the-top supervillainy that's done just to placate the demon, and a more understated and subdued "this person is a truly and actually evil motherfucker who needs the PCs to make him not alive anymore." Like, being afraid of vampires versus being afraid of not being able to pay your medical bills. In theory I appreciate that dramatic and uncomfortable tonal shift, but in practice I can't see myself using that character in a game.

I don't know if you're going to cover the whole section, but I had a similar reaction to another example of a demon inhabiting an evil person, the cult leader who destroys her followers' lives. She's written as a very mundane lowercase-e evil that just kind of unsettled me.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
Dune is an incredibly bleak setting to me. The idea that it's thousands of years in the future and so closely resembles feudal societies from a certain point in history is bumming me out. Like I was reading the description of the Bene Gesserit, and thinking how depressing it is that this organization of deceitful spermjacking ice queens exists in the setting in the first place, and that it would be necessary for the Great Houses to "send their girls somewhere" to be educated.

I don't know what exactly was on Herbert and Stackpole's minds, but the idea of this society somehow being static for thousands of years combined with the stock scifi ideas like eugenics and "unifying the ethical principles of all religions", to me it has this just-so quality of "well of course things would turn out this way in the future" that makes me look askance at it. I would feel differently if there was some outside voice or sense of absurdity that human civilization happened to develop along this specific path. I'm not well versed in Dune but I gather the Fremen and Arrakis had that quality originally by being total outsiders to the Imperial system, but they were made more central in future books to tie things back to the more popular source.

Like from earlier in this thread, I really appreciated that Werewolf the Forsaken 2E has the Ghost Wolves as an in-character voice saying "hold on, do you guys seriously believe all this Father Wolf poo poo the Tribes are feeding you?" Big sweeping cosmic principles and settings go down a lot easier for me when they're historicized and depicted as specific and peculiar rather than universal.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
I'm still not totally sure I understand why the Covvies are even part of the Brave New World setting. I know Protestant American culture in general is fascinated by the mystical air of Catholicism but like, what exactly does this have to do with Defiance and WW2 and JFK and all that? Bargainers already feel tacked onto the core setting, and this is a whole new chunk of the game that's building specifically off that awkward angle.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
Godlike PC: A dissident Japanese member of Oomoto-kyo who can turn herself into an embodiment of L.L. Zamenhof with Hypercommand and universal languages, working to end the war one soldier at a time.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
If the author is apparently following along: Cryptomancer is absolutely fascinating and I'll definitely be buying a copy because of this review. I would have never, ever thought to combine fantasy and cryptography, but everything seems to hold together so well. It's like the premise of Shadowrun approached from the opposite direction.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Halloween Jack posted:



Godlike, Chapter V, Part I: A Godlike History of WWII

I know this game is heavily focused on the experience of being a Talent soldier within a formal chain of command, but it would be really interesting to play a story in this setting that was sort of orthogonal to the best known battles of the war itself. Like organizing a resistance movement in Japanese occupied territory, or guarding some domestic site from Talent saboteurs, or conscientious objectors raising hell on the home front.

I would also definitely play a Godlike campaign in the Kaiserreich alt-history WW2 setting.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
The Wild Talents canon timeline is really not very well written, IMO. I was considering doing a writeup of it in this thread a few years ago. I found it to be much less creative and interesting than Godlike, maybe because the focus isn't as tight. Shortly after WW2, superpowers all over the world mysteriously broaden from the unique restrictions that Godlike had and become more generalized, which takes away a lot of flavor. From what I remember offhand, the highlights include an anti-government Talent counterculture emerging in the 60s, a sort of above-the-law semi-secret international rescue and humanitarian organization for Talents with a "benevolent conspiracy" feel to it, several wars with alien species on the other side of a wormhole opened with supertech, and Talent terrorism featuring al-Qaeda and friends. Don't go in expecting a lot of detail about how Talents integrate into postwar Soviet society.

One thing I found really interesting about the Wild Talents setting is how strongly it's of its time. It was very obviously written by an American author during the middle of the Bush years. There's a heavy focus on Middle Eastern terrorism, an idea of international intervention for the better and the value of a "world police" force of Talents, kind of a Clancy techno-thriller feel.

Progenitor is another setting by Greg Stolze that's unrelated to Godlike, but does a fantastic job of extrapolating out the huge social and political changes that superpowers have on the world over about 30 years. The jumping off point could be described as "what if supers emerged during Vietnam instead of WW2, and also were contagious," and it spirals out from there.

Kellsterik fucked around with this message at 07:33 on Sep 16, 2016

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Nessus posted:

I'm reminded of the Onion article about our new North Vietnamese overlords.

How right you are! One of the two most powerful Hyperbrains on Earth is Nguyet Cam, who's basically Victor von Doom. During the Vietnam years she leads a Fantastic Four-esque crew of plucky Vietnamese freedom fighters on the ground, and (if the PCs don't interfere, which they're strongly encouraged to do) by 2000 she's in charge of about 50% of the human race.

Kellsterik fucked around with this message at 07:43 on Sep 16, 2016

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

There actually is a superhero comic derived from that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth%3A_Red%2C_White_%26_Black

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Kavak posted:

I feel like Return would work better as a D&D video game module then a tabletop one- that way the sheer amount of "gently caress you, you're dead" could be circumvented by save games, because there's no way even an epic level party would get past some of these challenges without foreknowledge.

I'd love to see a module like this that takes notes from Undertale, expecting you to savescum and reset to try new routes and then responding to that without simply punishing you for it.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
I have a special place in my heart for Mummy, the writing is fantastic especially in the supplements, I've even run it a few times, but it is not a well-designed game. The Lifeweb is a great example. I remember reading that PDF front to back trying to figure out what this system actually did. Does this interact with the dice or character traits at any point? No? Okay.

It's also a little prickly because it was one of the very last releases before they started transitioning to the ruleset that became 2nd Edition, and it happens to lean really hard into some systems that are unique to 1st Edition, like Derangements and the predefined list of Virtues/Vices.

e: it also has one of my favorite underwhelming uses of a supernatural setting. There's a pre-written adventure in one of the supplements that involves a literal Mummy Convention at a conference hotel in DC, complete with check-in and baggage handling.

Kellsterik fucked around with this message at 17:45 on Oct 13, 2016

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
One of my "favorite" things about Mummy is that they opted for a very traditional World of Darkness political setup where there are large, organized political factions that everyone is a member of, and each city has a Nomarch (read: Prince) in charge of everything. Despite the fact that mummies are asleep for decades at a time, and also were all created at the same time and are theoretically of equal power, and also every individual mummy commands a secretive and shadowy cult. It's a little busy.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
Is it me or do Vestiges literally not do anything? They get this elaborate writeup that keys into virtue/vice and several meticulous examples written up, but none of it goes anywhere.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Evil Mastermind posted:

So did I miss it, or does Mummy have the "so what exactly are the PCs supposed to do in this game" problem?

Mummy is actually very good at giving you stuff to do in a session: find magic items that rightfully belong to you and yours and were stolen, fight the bad guys with your cult by your side and get the relic back, return them to your tomb. The rest of the game is variations and expansions on that premise.

In my experience, the core gameplay of turning hapless mortals into pillars of salt while balefully saying RETUURRN THE SLAAABB, OR SUFFER MYYY CUUURRSSEE is deeply satisfying. But yes, working with multiple Arisen PCs always feels like overkill. My players had a lot of trouble figuring out who their PC was and what motivated them, because the core idea is so alien and specific.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Night10194 posted:

Conveniently, this suddenly becomes something that works as a group game.

There aren't enough games about being the Minions or Cultists or Mooks.

Mummy does have a page or two about running a game in this format, but the actual advice is pretty broad and general, unfortunately. It's nothing as robust as Ars Magica.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Kurieg posted:

Also on the Darker Days thread on the OPP forums we had a "Self Professed MRA" come out of the woodwork who says that the book is hilarious and he'd love to play "the bad guys" and put down all those terrible beasts.

So, you know.

Good Job Matt.

I saw that too! It's vindicating that someone else was weirded out by that.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
Yeah, exactly. It's often easier to draw PCs into doing dangerous/harmful stuff if you don't flag it as "THIS IS EVIL." Or if they feel like they're the ones in control, rather than being tricked or deceived.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Simian_Prime posted:

The best thing Beast ever did was deliver an idea for a completely unsympathetic villain to throw at my players in the next occult horror game I run.

So how would a Beast translate into the Unknown Armies setting?

Use the Avatar of the Dark Stalker with no modifications. Ruthless movie-monster-esque murderers who believe there is a certain nobility to their calling. The existing idea that Avatars of the Masterless Man and the Dark Stalker are mysteriously drawn to recognize and oppose each other would translate nicely to Beasts and Heroes.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
I think in 2004 the idea for the covenants was that Invictus/Carthians are establishment versus rebels, Lancea/Crone are Christianity versus pagans (not an insignificant number of Vampire players), and Ordo are neutral.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Daeren posted:

I suddenly recall you taking the side of the God-Machine when talking about Demon. Can't imagine why that came to my mind just now.

Same!

I heavily use Hunter stuff as antagonists in my Mage game, and I like having a mix of "good" and "bad" conspiracies/compacts, or looking at how and why the "good" ones are in opposition to people like the PCs. David Hill, the Changeling developer and Mors' perennial bugbear, posted two compacts for Beast that show the divide pretty well. One of them is a support group for Beast survivors that plays on the "what happens after you terrorize people to teach them a lesson" part, while the other is a survivalist/fundamentalist compound wackos who hunt Heroes for getting in the way of God's plan. There's a pretty clear sense of one of them being sympathetic and the other not so much.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Count Chocula posted:

With Internet banking and other services, I don't see the daylight thing as a huge problem, assuming you live in a city with a good nightlife and no stupid 1:30am lockout laws (which I suspect were put in place to deter vampires, even though they could just feed on the walking corpses in the pokie rooms). There's tons of hospitality and other late night jobs, too. That was always part of the attraction of vampires- they got to live the 20something party life for ETERNITY!

The thing is there's a difference between "you don't need to be awake during the day for many things" and "you can never do things during the day." It's like when the Supersize Me guy tried to live on minimum wage for a month and then quit a few days early when his family got sick and he wouldn't be able to get quality care on the insurance he could afford. Vampires can't do that. I'm guessing a lot of vamps have a really good time for a few months before they start realizing the depth of their predicament.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
I really like that the Lancea just found Theban Sorcery and make a lot of unsourced claims about how it comes from the Christian God. This obscure Roman covenant of weird self-flagellating religious vampires has, by complete chance, achieved immense power and influence over the ages thanks to this magical secret they stumbled upon.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

The Sin of Onan posted:

Do it the other way round. Make a Legacy of Liches who get their immortality by hunting down shadow-birds, trapping them with light or fire, and then huffing them like petrol fumes. There's a hosed-up antagonist for your cabal.

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Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Thesaurasaurus posted:

The Metronome of Port Talbot sounds hella God-Machine, especially with the steelworks that could easily hide a Facility in the gaps between Euclidean spaces.

I like the idea that it's something God-Machiney seen from the outside by vampires who don't know anything about that whole mess. A visiting Holy Engineer (or Demon, or Mage) might have an idea of what's going on, but for the locals it's just inexplicable Roadside Picnic weirdness.

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