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MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


FMguru posted:

We talk a lot about nineties RPG design and its pathologies in this thread, and I thought I'd sit down and try to enumerate all the traits that make an RPG a specifically nineties RPG. Here's what I came up with:

- Dice mechanic that tries to be unusual and clever and mostly ends up not working and is hilariously broken
- Badly implemented ads/disads system
- Balance is a joke
- Rules are often very vague or confusing and donít work and this is excused away (rule zero! make your own decisions! if youíre getting bogged down in the rules youíre missing the point! excuse me itís ROLE playing not ROLE playing, etc.)
- Lots of talk about narrativism with no mechanical support, or counter-mechanical support (i.e. hyper-detailed combat rules)
- Complicated world setting with tons of factions and subgroups
- Factions relate to each other as bitchy high-school cliques
- Often too many redundant factions
- Little in-setting explanation for cross-faction group cooperation
- Often, little explanation of what your characters are supposed to DO
- Game and setting have dozens of proper noun Words used to describe things, with their definitions hidden away and always much later in the book than the Word was first used. Words are often pretentious and portentous and derived from latin or something fancy like that.
- Books full of padding, both content (in-character narration, unreliable narration, fiction, potted history, documents and journals) and layout (space-eating page borders, big margins, large fonts
- Actively unreadable layouts (busy, grey screens, handwriting fonts)
- Often terrible organization (bad tables of contents, useless or missing indices, etc.)
- Supplement treadmill
- Iconic characters (unkillable, do everything, donít follow the actual rules, story is about them not the PCs)
- Metaplot threaded through the supplements. Switcheroos, revelations, what is really going on, changes to the settings, secrets that were kept from the GM
- Scenario support is often very lacking (because of the metaplot)
- Obvious fishing for media tie-ins (novels, video games, comics, TV series, whatever)

Have I missed any?

It feels like you've just listed every feature of Rifts. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if Rifts was scientifically determined to be the most nineties RPG possible.

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MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Halloween Jack posted:

their best-regarded writers like Carella

Strangely, reading through a couple a Palladium and Rifts forums gave me the impression that most people hated C. J. Carella for creating overpowered classes and weapons with obscene damage potential (at least according to them).

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


gradenko_2000 posted:

Being free to have both the special abilities of any class AND any race would mean that Humans would never be picked.

That would explain why Humans get a free feat in 3.X. I guess they just really wanted to be sure that players would pick Humans, so they gave Humans the best racial feature by far. Assuming that the imbalance was intentional, anyway. It's just a really weak justification for the tremendous downside of having level caps less than half that of Humans.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Robindaybird posted:

who the gently caress told them Longswords where that heavy? They're sharp, edged weapons not loving clubs.

Hey, people have told me it's completely unrealistic for fantasy series to portray women capable of handling swords, so they must be really heavy!

Joking aside, I have no idea why so many people overestimate how much swords weigh. I get that most people (including me) have never even held one, but still. It's the same thing with armor: some people actually think that knights in plate armor needed pulleys to get on horses.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Tulul posted:

Crusader Rabbit: A male Hero who exclusively hunts Beasts targeting women.
David: A Hero who specializes in killing Anakim. Originates from the story of David and Goliath.

It's a bit strange that they feel the need to explain a reference to one of the most famous stories from the Bible, but not explain a reference to a sixty-year-old cartoon.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Kurieg posted:

Also worth noting that Beasts "Feed" at the moment of catharsis when someone gives up and acknowledges that the Beast is right about them and has the right to dictate the terms of their life.

Why are Heroes the stand in for internet trolls again?

Personally, that first sentence I quoted sounds like a pretty good description for how a lot of SJWs on Tumblr act and what they desire.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

An post-Zombie Apocalypse O.C.C.

This happens a couple times. I don't know if it's Palladium's fault, or yours.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Since I've never played this game (or any White Wolf game), I wonder if it would be imbalanced for vampires to use what I call the Dracula approach: "okay, you can go out in sunlight without getting hurt, but you lose basically all your superhuman abilities while doing so".

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Evil Mastermind posted:

I live in Rhode Island. I love seeing writers trying to do a state-by-state "here's what's going on" and then having zero ideas when they get to us.

Basically the only thing I know about Rhode Island is that Hasbro is there. I mean, there must be something in that state more worthy of being mentioned.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


This whole discussion on the capitals of Canada's provinces reminds me of how relatively few people live in Washington D.C. And how even American media will show it as having skyscrapers, when the tallest building there is a church (one of the world's largest churches, but still).

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's not, but it's coming up fairly soon.

I'm hesitant to mention what the next one is because it's so amazingly underwhelming. I had to change my whole review method just to interest myself enough to cover it, which is why it's taking longer than it usually would.

...You're not reviewing an index book, are you? Because that sounds rather pointless.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


And here I thought that "-4 STR" was just an urban legend.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


gradenko_2000 posted:


From Dragon Magazine #3, October 1976



(that's one 8-sided die + one 6-sided die)





Yeah, I should have made myself clear. I knew that some old RPGs limit females' Strength compared to males', but I didn't know there was an actual RPG where females' STR cap was specifically 4 points lower.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Kurieg posted:

I'm reasonably certain that's a Gundam. The head looks very Gundam, and the swords can even stand in for fin funnels.

The head makes me think of Getter-1, though that's more of a giant axe-using robot.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

The main question would be "can they use their automatic dodge?" There's no rule specifically against it, but there's a corner case in Juicer Uprising that implies they can't outside of certain vehicles... but it's really not clear. But there's nothing really stopping them that I'm aware of, they have access to all combat pilot skills and a high Physical Prowess which is the most essential attribute for mech piloting. The only thing really stopping them is that they couldn't start with one.

Man, a lot of Palladium material seems to be written under the philosophy of, "Meh, we'll just let the GM sort that out".

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yes, this is a Rifts book without Juicers, so get ready for some new Juicer types.

I assume there's a typo somewhere.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

The likely origins of the Derro are highly problematic in their own way.

I honestly don't see what the problem is. Do you mean how they're based off of something a schizophrenic guy made?

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


ARB latest RIFTS review is as good as ever, but still a bit disappointing. He promised it would be the most 90s book RIFTS has, yet we're ten parts in and I haven't seen a single backwards baseball cap!

Joking aside, it's odd how 90s RIFTS is, considering how it started in 1990 and the nineties didn't start until 1993, or maybe the release of Sonic the Hedgehog at the very earliest.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


I remember seeing that picture of the boy and the big guy with a balloon from Rifts Ultimate Edition. It was in the section where they rant about discuss how random character creation is such a great concept that they won't even bother letting the player use a non-random method. I'm not really sure what that specific artwork was doing there. Though it did talk about how one player rolled a guy with low IQ and played him as mentally retarded. It was a weird section, is what I'm saying.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


I like to think the Coalition lets single survivors go under the logic of, "What's the point of committing massacres if no one knows you did it?"

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


It's a shame that Rifts is written by Siembieda. I could see a competent writer using the Coalition to examine whether a certain amount of totalitarianism is justified if it keeps humanity safe from monsters, aliens, and trans-dimensional demigods. Unfortunately, this is a setting where the Coalition kinda sucks at keeping people safe, is worse off than other less-fascist nations, and only controls a small portion of the planet anyway, and yet the story is still written as if the Coalition were even vaguely sympathetic, so it doesn't work at all. It's the biggest missed opportunity in Rifts's writing, out of so many examples.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


It's kinda weird how Siembieda destroyed the Naruni's weapons for being OP, and then made so many other weapons 50% stronger. Maybe he just hated Carella for personal reasons, or something.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


OvermanXAN posted:

Oh boy, is that a real quote? That's going to be a thing. Can anyone name an RPG that has Native Americans, has magic, and DOESN'T pull this sort of thing? I mean after Rifts Africa it's absolutely expected from Palladium at this point, but :wtc:, not only Magical Native Americans but doubling down with Gypsies? gently caress off, Kevin.

Is Magical Native Americans really a legitimate complaint when they're used in a setting where basically everybody has access to magic?

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Kurieg posted:

Yes. Because it's "This splat are better at Y Magic because of their backwards enlightened native ways." It's the same reason the Uktenna and Bunyip were racist as gently caress.

Ah, now it makes sense.

Incidentally, that made me think of a hypothetical situation. What if there was, say, an RPG made in China that states that English people are automatically better at wizardry because they used to believe that diseases were caused by bad smells? I don't know, I just found the concept mildly amusing.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Though not named in this book, this species will get a name later on: "Fingertooth Carpetbagger".

Imagine my surprise when I Googled this and found that you weren't joking.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:


Nope, can't play one, because evil.


Okay, so it's perfectly fine for people to play as Coalition officers, but playing as a race that was nearly wiped out is over the line.

Huh.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


This Starfin(d/g)er thing is even more confusing than when ARB insisted that Mutants in Orbit was called Rifts Space.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Mors Rattus posted:

My old Ars Magica reviews got discussion at the Atlas forums, with at least one writer thinking I had committed copyright violation and another being like 'what, no, this is excellent'.

Then again, Fair Use laws can get very confusing if you're not a lawyer. As in, how much of the original material can you use before it becomes "too much"?

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

It is, but it was nearly a decade ago and I thought it was bullshit back then.

All it is, is the player has a "standard" means of determining attributes, and two other means for quick games. I don't see how offering players choice is a bad thing.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Night10194 posted:

People have been asking this question since 3e came out.

It's never been answered.

That reminds me, does True20 still have games made for it?

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


FMguru posted:



Another early game with a working chase system that I just remembered - TSR's terrible Indiana Jones RPG. Man, if your system sucks worse than one in the infamous IJRPG, you really should consider whether game design is the job for you.

I've heard of that game. I know that it didn't let you create characters for some inexplicable reason, but did it have any glaring faults beside that?

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


There are many optical illusion - such as a two-pronged item that also has three prongs - that I absolutely hate looking at. I know they're simply pieces of art, but since they are not things that can exist in real space, looking at them fills me with utter revulsion.

Anyway, when I read cosmic horror, I just think that looking at R'iyeh or Y'golonac or whatever is like looking at an optical illusion that actually exists, and that does the trick.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Mors Rattus posted:

My only objection to this is that we've already devoted so much ink to understanding the fears of white men who hate others becoming as powerful as they are, and understanding those fears has not gotten us any closer to finding a way to make the white men stop being petulant children.

I think a big mistake would be to assume that those fears are particular to white men, and not universal for all people in power.

Anyway, when talking about Lovecraft's racism, people often focus on the Deep Ones, which are an obvious metaphor for miscegenation IF you're already aware of Lovecraft's racist beliefs. Reading his stories makes his hatred of non-English folk obvious, but most people get into the Cthulhu Mythos through adaptations and professional fanfics, where even the African and Mediterranean cultists are no longer specific to any ethnicity. Or like how Abdul Alhazred is still an important part of the Mythos, but many modern stories call him "The Mad Scholar", since people will accept an insane man who was an Arab, but not an insane Arab, if that makes any sense.

I'm rambling here, and I completely forget how this discussion started.

MightyMatilda fucked around with this message at 15:53 on Oct 19, 2017

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Mors Rattus posted:

It doesn't even fit. This is a world where there are demonstrably deities of equal or greater potency but distinct benevolence, and more active deities of equal or greater malevolence if you feel like being a nihilistic dickhead.

Why bother being a Cthulhu cultist?

Some people ask themselves, "Do I want to worship a god, or do I want to worship a god who's an octopus man with bat wings and lives in a super-Atlantis". Sometimes, the answer to that question is obvious.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Valatar posted:

2. The godlike thing is directly malevolent. Humans do have an immortal soul, but it's dragged to some hosed-up Hellraiser place for an eternity of misery. People watch Aunt Edna's departing spirit being torn apart and eaten by 'angels' from the hospital bed. Every last human who is alive is completely, utterly hosed the moment they die, and nobody escapes.

My response is more along the lines of, "Ehh, that's pretty horrifying, but at least the soul still exists, rather than being obliterated as soon as a person dies". Because that is the most existentially horrifying thing I can imagine.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


kommy5 posted:

Those Starfinger character illustrations... Did the Paizo artists just file off the skulls and copyright infringements from their GW fanart? Just, wow is that pretty blatant. I actually feel a little sorry for GW for once.

Speaking of fanart, GW, and homebrews, I think the closest I've made to a homebrew was advancing the Warhammer fantasy timeline a few hundred years to run games in the Bretonnian Revolution, where peasants and would be tyrants take up arms against their knightly oppressors and their sinister wood elven allies, with fights between dashing musketeers and magical Arthurian knights in a brightly colorful take on Napoleonic war.

I did think, "That Knight of Golarion design looks really good, I wonder where they plagiarized it from".

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


E: Double post, somehow.

MightyMatilda fucked around with this message at 13:28 on Oct 21, 2017

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Hostile V posted:

Yeah Moulder's got a bit more than planned obsolescence in mind. For one thing, all of their big mutant beasties are trained to be 100% subservient and loyal...to Clan Moulder. They sell their monsters to other clans and then wait to see if A: the Skaven they sold the monster to is now dead by the hands of the monster and they can recollect the monster or B: the monster was destroyed somehow and if they can just sell them a new one. There's always a demand for new beasts, but sometimes you can scoop up a slightly used Rat Ogre that ended up biting its old owner in half and then resell that Rat Ogre to get double the profit on a single beast.

And people don't notice the pattern and get incredibly suspicious?

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Night10194 posted:

Goddamn do I hate D&D Gods.

If they're going to be that incredibly dull, just make them a genuine blank slate of 'insert whatevs'.

Also do they still do the thing where despite living in a polytheistic society where all the Gods are pretty obviously real and grant powers for sacrifice and worship people all pick one God and then are super devoted to that one God as if all the other Gods were their enemies, exactly the way polytheism never, ever worked?

On the other hand, the major sects of Hinduism are based on which god worshipers should focus most of their devotion to. Granted, Hindus believe that all gods are simply manifestations of the one Godhead, something which does not seem to be the case in Dungeons and Dragons, sooo...

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MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Oh, you just wait until we get to the Inspirational Media list, so we can read exactly what they liked.

You just wait.

Ever since you described the Gap, it's reminded me of The Big O.

Nevermind, I don't want any spoilers.

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