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Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Yeah, at least for me, "all mages are doing the exact same thing; they're just too foolish to admit it" is a deal-breaker. It makes all the cultural differences and the ups and downs of various ways of thinking into nothing but set-dressing for the real paradigm, which is so simple it almost doesn't exist.

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Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Most of the stuff about how the Traditions long to abolish toilets and replace medicine with homeopathy is fanon, anyway... or it was until this book. Now I guess it's canon.

This is the worst part about M20 to me, because there was already a large part of the fandom that had turned against the game's premise and were happy to read against the text to make their interpretation the right one. I thought this was a problem for the 20th Anniversary edition to solve, but apparently M20 thought it was something to be encouraged and to go even farther with.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

The Traditions aren't a Luddite faction, though, or they weren't until now.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Cythereal posted:

And yet, isn't the point of the Traditions that if they won, you'd need leeching or prayer in some specific way or the like to recover from illness or injury? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

No, no it isn't. Note that the Traditions have Hermetics, Choristers, and Etherites all in the same group.

The Traditions endgame is "everyone can use whatever paradigm they want," not "leeches are mandatory."

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I would also like to point out that the Sons of Ether are totally proper scientists and they do do peer review and repeatability. (Sons of Ether Revised is a really good book and an example of why leaving out paradigm and philosophy or boiling them down to sound bites like "everything is data" turns intellectually respectable philosophies into cardboard cutouts.)

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Covok posted:

I think an important thing to remember is that oWoD is down with all the New-Age-Hippie-Mumbo-Jumbo so we're going to dislike a lot of it since we're not down with all that New-Age-Hippie-Mumbo-Jumbo. Not saying it's right, but it is kind of something to consider.

The thing is, there was a lot of Mage that had more thought put into it than just mumbo-jumbo navel-gazing, and I'm sad to see that it didn't make it into M20.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Describing the Euthanatos as "the bad guy Tradition" or just as "death mages" does them a serious disservice, yes.

I mean, they are awful people, but it's for much more complicated reasons than that!

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Doresh posted:

It's amazing how Campbell can give a pretty a complete and to the point look of the Technocracy, while Brucato meanders all over the place and yet can't bring himself to give the guys players are actually supposed to play as more detail than "They're goths. Also something something art is magick."

The thing is that Brucato doesn't actually think any of those details matter, I find. All paradigms are the same; both sides are equally culpable even if one has vast power and the other is fighting to survive; the only thing that matters is seeking enlightenment somewhere in your own navel. Actually looking into the merits or hard details of any particular group is anathema to his approach.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Also the Taftani are cool because their basic ethos is "magic comes from the expression of Truth and it's our job to tell the Truth to the world so gently caress Paradox I'm summoning a genie in the middle of New York."

They're problematic, though, because, uh, they got explicitly written up as being behind the Taliban, with the implication that this was a good thing (because they fought the incursions of the Technocracy), back before that became a Thing.

That said "vulgar as hell, and prepared to eat the consequences" is an awesomely short-lived niche.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Evil Mastermind posted:

Because supplement treadmill, that's why.

Most of the supplements were good, though.

Well, okay, at least some of them were.

Revised books for Euthanatos, Akashic Brotherhood, Sons of Ether, Dreamspeakers, New World Order, Progenitors, Syndicate, and Void Engineers were good, anyway.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Nephandi always struck me as way overplayed compared to Marauders, who strike me as being a much more plausible extension of the Awakened condition.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Marauders work perfectly as mages who have completely given up on trying to get along as a person in the world and have just stopped recognizing outside input, resulting in a personal reality bubble where things work according to their crazy rules and other people don't get to have a say. That makes them the deep end of "mages reject your reality and substitute their own," and you'd get your mint-julep Southern Heritage marauders, your Galtian marauders, or whatever.

They'd be the danger threshold that mages are always worried about stepping over when they get fed up with Paradox.

In practice they've always been fishmalks.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

On another note, people said some things earlier about editing and how RPGs tend to not get it. I'm wondering what the right thread would be for a discussion on editing in RPGs and how to do it right and why most games don't.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Thesaurasaurus posted:

Hey, you're the one with firsthand experience, why not make your own? Blackjack and hookers optional, but always appreciated.

I suppose I might as well!

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Kavak posted:

"Editor", is that some type of minor character template from a supplement they forgot to include? :confused:

Reading this, I'm starting to think that Beast was not some huge misstep and that Onyx Path is slipping back into White Wolf's lovely old ways.

Interesting fact: OPP's division of labor, as I understand it, tends to put things like "how as this structured" and "does this concept make any sense" to the developer, with the editor job being mostly proofreading.

I think this has a lot to do with the reasons we're talking about in the Making Games thread--it's fairly hard to actually find an editor who is willing to read an M20-sized hardcover, understand the system, and critique it--at least on anything even slightly resembling an RPG budget. Mostly the only people willing to do that are already your fans until death, which makes them problematic editors.

So, the job mostly tends to fall on the developer.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Count Chocula posted:

Have you seen Wings of Desire? Peter Falk is an archangel.

I'll stop mounting pedantic defenses of Mage, but I do think that in a medium that panders to people's fantasies there's nothing wrong with a game that panders to my type of stoner philosophy, and it might introduce some people to new ideas.

It's okay to pander to stoner philosophy; the problem is that some iterations of Mage were also able to talk about actual philosophy, and that's an aspect that M20 just isn't interested in.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Bieeardo posted:

I'm beginning to think that Brucato's problem is less that he has goofy ideas, but that he presents them as incontrovertible fact with nothing to show how he gets from point A to ~, even while he's busily bloviating elsewhere. I know people who identify as gender-fluid or non-binary, outside of Tumblr even, but I don't know anyone who uses spivaks or any of the rest of the menagerie of nth gender pronouns, outside of fictional contexts like MUCKs and old Star Trek novels. A statement like 'gender is dynamic' is the beginning of a contentious argument or essay, not a misplaced mic drop, and it's an essay that's far too big for an isolated sidebar.

There's definitely a case of "I don't seem to be aware that 99% of my audience is going to think my positions are deeply eccentric at best."

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Ascension had loads of good stuff in it; it just mostly got left out here.

Maybe try doing a review of Euthanatos or Akashic Brotherhood revised?

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

It's also worth checking out the four revised Technocracy books that came out in the past few years (so, any of them except Iteration X), which are a pretty good look at a Technocracy that's both deeply idealistic and deeply evil.

(Specifically, it's a Technocracy where all the Old Masters who knew that enlightened science is magic and suppressed that information are dead via metaplot, so all the people left in the organization are the ones who legitimately believe in Technocratic ideology. So the Progenitors really want to hunt down Traditions healers because they're peddling junk science that only works because of "deviant psionic powers" and that offends them as men of medicine, and the Syndicate... okay, the Syndicate is just full of evil fucks.)

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Count Chocula posted:

I also never heard the 'the Technocracy are the good guys' until I joined SA, though the Guide to the Technocracy does make a case for them.

The thing is, the Guide to the Technocracy also mentions how the Technocracy employs mandatory obedience brainwashing because without it people keep defecting.

The GttT is pro-Technocracy but it's also barely-veiled satire, which people on the internet have been intentionally ignoring them for ten million arguments.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

"Our operatives aren't brainwashed that much" is not a compelling argument against GttT being satire.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

That Old Tree posted:

You barely scratch the surface, and a lot of what the Traditions say is "we want back the days of wizard kings ruling unwashed peasants…but we swear we won't be so callous this time."

They don't actually say that, though? That's something people often attribute to them but it's not really part of the game's description of them.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Covok posted:

I might have said this before, but the 90s were anti-technology and pro-spiritualism and we're kind of the opposite. To the people this was written to appeal to, destroying modern tech and returning to the natural order would be a good thing.

We like to make fun of power-nerd fantasy, this is a power-hippie fantasy. Doesn't mean we're wrong, but it does mean we can't apperciate in the way people of the past did due to cultural bias and that should be considered.

I'm only referring to the Technocrancy here.

Yeah, a lot of this derives from the fact that Mage is based on the premise "what if faith healers, homeopaths, New Agers, and people who dress like Neo from The Matrix were right, and the good guys" and in the twenty years since then our cultural tolerance for faith healers and homeopaths has dropped below basement level.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

That Old Tree posted:

I don't have the books to cite, anymore, but I'm sure at least a few factions explicitly do, but primarily that this is a (probably unintentional) implicit theme throughout the game line. I love the game and what it can be used for, but when it comes to unexamined assumptions and accidental themes it's still just another White Wolf game from the 90's.

Honestly, I don't think the books ever really talk about what the Traditions want other than "freedom from being cyborg murdered" because that's such a far-off, nebulous future that there's no point. People just read intentions onto them to match their bias. (And okay, there's probably at least one book that states that the Tradtions are totally planning to turn the entire world into Generic Fantasy Europe, because of course there is.)

Really, this is the one thing that Ascension always completely failed at in every iteration--these arguments are never fun. If you're playing Nobilis, navel-gazing and arguing about what is or isn't Treachery is all part of the fun; doing the same thing with your paradigm in Ascension is a gateway to endless misery.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Night10194 posted:

Ars Magica, though? That sounds like my jam. A grumpy wizard academic and their buddies/employees having to navigate their place within and without a wider culture and world is way more fun.

Ars Magica is pretty rad. My favorite part is how instead of being smug vampires, House Tremere are instead awesome dudes out to conquer the world because everybody else is even less qualified to rule the world than they are.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Thesaurasaurus posted:

All of this is exactly why I love Exalted, because it comes right out and says "God-Kings are absolutely a problem, but they're not going away any time soon, and they're the best hope the world has for climbing out of the shitter. Also the last attempt at genociding them just installed a rival faction of God-Kings who brought their own wave of problems, so maybe that's not such a helpful idea."

Exalted does pretty well when it comes to having opinions about the likely results of player characters barging around the setting wielding godlike power, but not actually coming right out and saying them out loud.

That is to say, it's pretty sure that it's all going to end in tears, but it doesn't mind you barging around all Super Saiyan and having fun anyway.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Night10194 posted:

Exalted is a game about people going 'This time, it will be DIFFERENT!' and then it not being different at all, while many PCs never notice.

Well, it's got that in common with life, so it works.

Technically, the oWoD method of explaining at length why you're doing it all wrong is also true to life but never mind.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Yeah, let's stick to good-natured arguments.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Speaking of good-natured things, I kind of abandoned my Chuubo F&F because nobody seemed to be reading it. I wonder if anybody has any advice on what I could do to make a review more punchy?

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Superiors is probably the place to start.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Mors Rattus posted:

Rules to make your own Ethereal - gods just tend to be more powerful. Well...not always, these days, Pikachu can probably beat up Zeus pretty handily, since Ethereals take power from dreams and belief.

The thing is, if Zeus is still around (if I recall correctly Uriel got him), there's only one Zeus (because he killed all the others), but there's going to be a lot of Pikachu all sharing the power of the Pikachu-dreams. In order to ascend to godhood a given Pikachu ethereal would have to dispose of all his rivals before evolving into God-Raichu.

Jenna did the Ethereal Player's Guide and it's kind of like Nobilis before there was Nobilis. A very hungry Nobilis.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Archangels get way better coverage than Demon Princes, yeah. The problem is that half the Princes are jokes and the other half tend to be significantly overhyped.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I think Lilith might be the only Prince who isn't one-note, and she's a bit more of a special snowflake than some people might care for.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Dark Humor is such a terrible name for a Word. Why not "Black Humor" or "Schadenfreude" or even just stick with "Laughter."?

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Stereotypes sections like this are a great way to make characters/splats look like petty jerks that nobody is going to want to associate with, because they seem to invariably bog down in your snap judgments about random people/groups.

Really, the only good ones are the ones that have the sense to only include the relationships that they actually have something intriguing to say something about.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Cythereal posted:

True, but I was just using that as an example of how I think I'd interpret and portray Khalid: the Archangel of Faith, a being with infinite goodwill towards others and a resolute belief that there is a spark of genuine goodness in everyone. His wrath might be terrible when someone betrays the faith he has freely given them, but even then he doesn't lose hope in the other.

Being a grumpy, judgmental person who is liked by almost no one but who is nevertheless a devout and whole-hearted servant of God and good when the chips are down is territory already pretty well covered by the likes of Dominic, Michael, and from the sounds of him, Jean.

Yeah, it would also probably help if they didn't use the worst possible definition of "faith."

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

May as well go through all the Superiors first, including the ones that were individually published as ebooks (Asmodeus, Eli, Lilith, Litheroy, and Zadkiel). Those are all pretty good, I'd say.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I'm not sure if cultivating human appetites is that great in and of itself. Nothing about Nybbas indicates that he wants to foster good television.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Jordi is the equivalent of the lead character's wife in <Generic Bad Situation Comedy> in that his role is basically to be the character who's sternly disapproving of everything the show is actually about.

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Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I regret that there's no writeup for Marc, who's both very modern and very sophisticated and definitely one of the cooler Archangels.

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