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Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Lightning Lord posted:

It seems like Beast is an attempt to do a WoDized John Gardner's Grendel with modern social commentary, gone very wrong.

The first one that popped to mind for me was True Blood. It seems like a semi-common pitfall when a work tries to combine a "misunderstood outsiders" narrative and an empowerment narrative. If you're not careful the latter can seem to justify the ostracism of the former.

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Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Kurieg posted:

Oh what's that, your iron is too low quality to hold a proper edge?
Okay
Make a loving club out of it

I've always found it kind of funny how a lot of dnd weapons lists (and some other fantasy games in a similar vein) seem to treat things like maces and warhammers as less damaging than swords, in a setting where getting very good armor seems to be relatively commonplace. If anything, it would seem like those types of bludgeoning weapons should be a lot more useful than swords in a place where shlub adventurer mercenaries are regularly facing badguys in plate.

Of course, you get the flipside, where some settings seem to treat warhammers as melee howitzers, with heads the size of a human torso. Which also seems to be drastically less useful in most situations than what actual warhammers were like.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
Oh gently caress, Eternal Hearts. I had successfully repressed that piece of poo poo for at least a decade before now.

Though if its any consolation, I remember when this came out, and even among WW fans, it was viewed as laughably bad. Really, almost all their attempts at sex scenes in prose were. I was in the LARP scene at white wolf's peak, with people who were uber-goth, and even there "werewolf hosed on a picnic table" or "leopardprint toreador with a machinegun" were regular sources of mockery when discussing the world.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
Was Eternal Hearts supposed to be canon originally? My vague recollection was that it was supposed to be an "elseworlds" type of deal. However, I can't remember if that was the case from the beginning, or if WW just started claiming that after they realized that it was inducing far more laughter than arousal.

What was really entertaining to me about Eternal Hearts was that it dropped right at the height of the trend at the wolf of derisive lecturing about how everyone was playing their games wrong (including, apparently, the previous edition developers). Apparently headless corpse loving is way more "srs darknyss" than all those previous versions of the game.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
So is OP still plowing ahead with Beast, wanting to make supplements or whatever? Or have they quietly shoved it in the same landfill with old WW's unbought copies of WoD: gypsies?

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
The youtube videos of both the keynote and Q&A where poo poo went down have been posted. I put up links in the WoD thread so people can judge for themselves; haven't had time to watch them in full yet myself.

Bieeardo posted:

At the same time, having been involved with large-scale LARP in North America and recalling that shite when the Camarilla got too big for its britches, I can't really blame them for insulting it as an institution either.

I don't know whether this particular shitstorm is a case of this, but I am starting to wonder how much inevitable internet rage over the next few years is going to boil down to butthurt over the shifting center of gravity for the WoD from the US to Europe, and particularly the Scandanavian LARP scene. Like, Swedish Dracula sounds like a loon whose ideas have ranged from goofy and impractical to just dumb, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of hate come down anyway from some of the big american LARP organizations. The oWoD both in core setting and culture seemed to assume the US as a default, and insomuch as LARPs were influential on the wolf, it was the American LARP scene that had whatever passed for an inside track. Now those same LARPs are being told that there's going to be a lot more focus on the setting as based on Europe, and oh by the way the new owners are going to be taking their cues from the Euro LARP scene cuz they think the American LARP style is kind of lame. That's gotta sting.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
Back when True Blood was on the air, I remember you'd get a subset of people making the exact same argument. That because the show said that vampires were a metaphor for gay civil rights, then anyone who thought the metaphor was bad was homophobic and/or pro-gaybashing.

For those who haven't seen it, nearly every vampire who was pro-"mainstreaming" (i.e. equal rights) was shown to only pay lip service to it in public, was totally willing to murder people and drink real blood, and many of them were just using it as a smokescreen to try to take over human society. As a metaphor, it was pretty much the wet dream of the people who use the phrase "the gay agenda" non-ironically. Shallow reading knows no bounds, it seems.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Neopie posted:

As a US citizen I've literally never heard of this thing

I heard the term as a kid in passing, but didn't learn until I was an adult that there were negative stereotypes attached. I think its very much a regional thing.

That's the case for the Romani in the US as well. There are a few places where there are communities, but even there they may not be particularly visible even to locals. That's true for a lot of smaller ethnic minorities in the U.S. I've seen people who have lived in my city longer than I have be surprised to learn that we have a decent sized Hmong community, for example. Go the next city over, and you'd probably have to search to find someone who even knew who the Hmong are.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
So, okay, Beast setting is suck and muddled to all hell. Are the rules useful for anything? Like, if you wanted to do that game where you were dragons in a past life, only with better mechanics, would Beast have any use? Or are the powers and stuff useless outside of being misunderstood pedophiles?

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Bedlamdan posted:

Ao being a petty jerk because of the setting he oversees really helps to make it clear why the Ur-God in Dragonlance is an actively malevolent psychopath like Chaos (before the retcons)


The problem is that the writing continually builds them up as these positive figures even when their actions are incredibly hypocritical. At least in other settings, if the gods are assholes, the writing clearly calls them out as such.

Its funny, when I first heard about the wall in Mask of the Betrayer, I thought it was kinda neat. I never really knew much about the setting or cosmology of FR, and just sort of assumed it was generic fantasy land. So the idea that it had this super hosed up wall of souls for the faithless made me think that maybe there was something more interesting and bizarre to the setting than I'd assumed.

Man was I disappointed when I went through some of the FR stuff on the wiki...

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
With WoD: Gypsy, the notion was to play off the "mysterious other, who knows thing" trope that you saw in various forms in some victorian horror, but also in things like Lovecraft (where its often immigrant Catholic groups). So in that vein, it makes sense that the splat is the crossover one; they're the people that know what the danger is and try to (usually futilely) warn the protagonist.

Of course what doesn't make sense is using a real world persecuted minority and giving them special blood powers. Even TSR was smart enough to make their gypsies not-Romani and try to keep them more as an archetype from classic literature than directly a real world people.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
I dunno, I think for every nerd you have who points out plot holes based on realism in a movie not trying for that, you have another nerd who insists that a weak plot doesn't matter if a movie is "fun and cool", and a third who's smugly insisting that everyone just didn't get the totally deep metaphor that was going on.

Meanwhile, I'm usually in the corner, futilely mumbling about how media isn't a zero sum game, and that you can have a tight plot, interesting ideas, and cool stuff all happen in the same film.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

SunAndSpring posted:

I just don't understand the reboot. Like, what're the loving stakes now in AoS? I really don't give a gently caress if the Sigmarines get killed in droves because they can come back or some poo poo. Used to be nothing but a dozen normal humans jamming their halberds into some filthy Chaos beast in a desperate attempt to save their homeland, families, payrolls, etc. without getting killed or mutated in the process, and now it's a bunch of golden tincans hitting them with hammers who can't be corrupted and will just come back if the Daemon rips them in two. So dull.

It's a lesser version of why I hate Space Marines too; if all a character does is fight in wars I really don't give a drat if they die, they might as well be robots. It's why I like Sisters of Battle and the Imperial Guard better; they've got poo poo other than murdering xenos/Chaos/rebellious humans to do.

Here's what amazes me about AoS.

You have a setting in which a bunch of wacky fantasy-ish races live on floating island kingdoms in the aether that embody conceptual aspects of reality, and are constantly jockeying for position with one another. You've got elf-lords running lightning raids imprison the demonic god of desire after he's distracted by eating a world, dwarf ancestor gods fighting the primal mother of salamanders, and reincarnated valhallan warriors literally riding lightning down for surprise attacks on people wearing nothing but skulls. It should, by all conceptual metrics, be a glorious setting of insane over the top wackiness.

And yet its mostly just dull and nowhere as interesting as the premise.

That to me is the the truly baffling part of the reboot. Not that they trashed a long running and rich setting, not that the rules are utter shite. Its that at the end of the day they took what should have been a gonzo setting hash that practically writes itself in awesomeness, and somehow managed to make it uninteresting. How do you even manage that?

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Night10194 posted:

and while GW wrote Archaon as surviving the battle but badly wounded, well...I don't think you get to be a recurring villain if you cock up the apocalypse that hard.

In geedubs land, of course you do! See: Abaddon, now on his umpteen millionth crusade which for really reals this time is gonna doom the imperium. And not just, like, take maybe half of Cadia and then get swept under the rug.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
Yeah, IIRC the kindred of the east were originally supposed to have a connection to the terrestrial exalted, a corrupted form of them. Abyssals tied to vampires, lunars to wolves, sidereal to mages. IIRC too, the original exalted concept was meant to be less over the top wuxia and more grim and emphasizing the "fallen world" element rather than the whole "go take it back".

And yeah, the hunter artwork was absurdly misleading. Pretty much all the art was like some sort of Romero take on Buffy the vampire slayer, when the actual setting was a lot closer to things like the show Millennium, with people following arcane clues to see through the mundane and find the horror behind it. I actually liked the concept as written, but the mechanics and trying to "balance" it relative to all the other (far more popular) game lines really hosed it up.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Kurieg posted:

My favorite werewolf memory is my character hacking a computer so hard he lowered the local gauntlet, after which fact we stumbled upon an absolutely ludicrous amount of Plastique (ST said 1000 rather than 100 and no takesies backsies) which we used to kill a Ghouled Mokolé and smash a Pentex office down on top of him.

My least favorite Werewolf memory is the chronicle immediately after that one where my ST decided that we were going to literal actual Frank Miller's sin city where the masquerade/veil was really more of a suggestion than anything else and every single main character from the graphic novels was a vampire/werewolf/wereshark/weredragon/werewhatever. Cue Plot of "That Yellow bastard" with the perfect metis in place of the little girl.


That's also the game where the ST killed my character because he tried to force my character to "Get over" his fear of breaching the veil.. by having Patagia black spirals attack him in broad daylight.

My personal favorite was someone in a one shot I was playing in who did the absurd "get ahroun with the short fuse flaw, 10 rage, and starting willpower" who botched charging in on a fomori (back in the terrible 1s subtract days), dropped his klaive, botched his frenzy resistance check again due to 1s, then proceeded to fail or botch all but one attack roll against whoever was nearest throughout the combat. That one successful hit? no damage on the damage roll.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
While I wouldn't dispute things like the True Black Hand were high water marks for goofy blade/underworld-esque stuff over nightly angst, I think its important to remember that the latter was a part of vampire almost from the start. While you did have a focus on humanity and a local nightlife of places like Gary and Chicago with their collection of lost souls, you also had by '92 an adventure that was a globe trotting "dungeon run" to diablarize an evil elder to power up your characters. '92 was also when you got the first player's guide to the sabbat, which was in essence an alternate setting that pretty much tossed all the issues of humanity and the masquerade in the garbage and was focused on being a vampire army for Caine. And of course once the Sabbat antics were spelled out, then everyone else had to have their own badasses and special fighty stuff, because otherwise it was hard to see how the Sabbat hadn't wiped out everyone; influence with the police only gets you so far when the sabbat is apparently perfectly capable and willing to have shootouts with SWAT teams and then mass embrace them into ravening hordes. The whole personal horror element was still around, but I think it showed right from the get-go that there was no real inherent consensus on what a game about vampires MUST be about.

That's part of what made the revised era so weird to me. I liked some of the changes and attempts to rein in a bit of the crazy, but a lot of it (particularly in vampire) seemed obsessed with the notion that once upon a time VtM was only focused on personal horror and existential angst and that somehow the game about playing made up living dead creatures *had* to be about that to be "realistic". Then of course on top of that, you *still* had elder lesbian ninja vampires having street battles in magical darkness because, just like in the beginning, none of the writing staff seemed to really have a consensus of what the point of the game was. All of that, I felt, was part of what made the first few nWoD offerings so bland and muddled. They weren't bad, but they seemed so intent on winning the debate about what VtM should NOT be that they didn't really try to consider what VtR was supposed to be on its own. Luckily later authors in 1st, and definitely by 2nd, seemed to put a lot more thought into giving the lines their own voice.

Desiden fucked around with this message at 15:28 on Jan 6, 2017

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Nessus posted:

I figured in oWoD part of the idea was that the "thirty thousand people every year who just, like, vanish, man" were being eaten by vampires and so on.

I think this was another area where the writers never fully agreed on: what "a gothic-punk World of Darkness" actually meant. In some books, it was at most stylistic: it rained more, there was more statuary and decrepit buildings, but even if behind the scenes there was supernatural control, police were about as effective as they area in the real world, government about as functional, and "off screen" most of the world lived about the same as they do here and now. In other books, things deviated a lot more, supernatural badness and beyond the pale atrocity was lurking everywhere, and the "real world" was just a thin veneer that people regularly fell out of without a trace. The former tended to stress the need to really consider how you lived your life, as even minor feeding could lead to major complications. The latter tended to assume that a low level of supernatural activity was just background noise, and that you only had to watch out for really blatant actions in the public view.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Count Chocula posted:

Which is ironic, since The Damned, one of the first British punk bands, could easily be called 'gothic punk'. Or The Birthday Party, who were Australian but got big in the UK. oWoD kinda struck me as more Industrial than punk.

I think it was too. The time and place for the oWoD to get started, circa 91-92, is a sorta interesting place for relating to punk. The "classic" punk scene was already past its peak by then and was morphing into a variety of other niches. The oWoD relationship to it always felt to me like later fans recollecting an imagined past of what "authentic punk" was, with all the attendant rose tinted glasses. It wasn't homeless gutterpunks crashing in abandoned vans around LA, it was the idealized notion of what that life was "about".

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Kurieg posted:

Right but with Vampire the "Anarchs" and the Sabbat were more or less the villain factions until the later books came out. Except for the Brujah who were basically every single british punk rock stereotype distilled into a single spiked leather jacket wrapped around a spanish word against it's will.

I dunno if I'd call the Anarchs the villains really. Its been a while since I read them, but my general feeling of them early on was they were supposed to be the righteous power "fight against the tyranny of the night" stuff. Of course, then the sabbat stole their schtick and did it more hardcore, and then revised really pushed the whole "all the sects are ideological hypocrites full of lovely self serving people", so they were lovely then along with everyone else.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

unseenlibrarian posted:

There seemed to be a general vibe in 1E that PCs would eventually wise up and join the anarchs, from what I remember, yeah. It's just that playing Camarilla politics made for better LARPing.

Halloween Jack posted:

Thing is, whether LARP or tabletop, the Camarilla actually gives you a structure of NPCs to give you adventures (and compel you to actually go do it), and a system of ranks to work your way up, etc. The Anarchs by comparison are a disintegrated mass that aren't really fleshed out in the corebook. If your group doesn't immediately get the vibe of Vampire, you can have the Prince order them to go do missions like like in D&D or many other games.

Both true things, I think. I always felt like the anarchs got the short end throughout VtM's lifespan. They had no real definition in the beginning, but at least for a very short time before the sabbat PG, they were a distinct voice from the death cult boogeymen. Then the PG happened and the sabbat suddenly had "freedom" as their core tenet, plus they had been like the first anarchs before it was cool and had developed special-do-not-copy Sabbat only powers and rites. So the anarchs started looking essentially like posers who weren't willing to full on rebel.

Of course, then the writers more or less just went along with treating them as an afterthought, which cemented it. They didn't get their own player's guide until what, revised era? And even then (as well as before), they never really got a distinct schtick the way the Cam and Sabbat did. I think the anarch PG finally gave them a few unique powers, but for most of the line it was just "make a cam vampire and give him a leather jacket". The Anarch Free State, which could have been a chance to try to get some sort of distinct theme going for them, basically just used watered down cam equivalents like "barons" as essentially princes over typically smaller areas of turf. Plus then most of the activity in the area was the anarchs getting their asses kicked by Kuei-Jin and other factions.

If I were going to redo the core setting of VtM...well, I'd do a lot of things that would most likely make it not look like VtM much at all. But for recognizeable things, I'd definitely push to have the anarchs be a distinct sect with their own territory, and make the sabbat distinctly more alien and less all preaching vampire freedom. I think the game would have benefitted a lot from 3 active sects.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Night10194 posted:

Wait, the Sabbat weren't part of Masquerade from the very beginning?

They were, but their earliest depictions were a little different from what we got. I forget if we had any depiction of the Lasombra or Tzimisce prior to the Sabbat PG, but overall the Sabbat were very much mysterious boogeymen, a lot more in line with something like the Baali or maybe VII for Requiem. Not necessarily in theme as being demon worshippers or whatever, but very much weird guys with alien powers who seem to be able to break rules like the blood bond which are supposed to be impossible (and will show you how, if you want to make a deal with the devil). Their whole schtick of being freedom warriors for Caine against the antedeluvians emerged early on, but not quite at the start.

Personally, as much as I enjoyed the hell out of playing a sabbat in a LARP and running a sabbat game once, I think making them PCs, especially that early on, was a mistake. It basically bypassed a lot of the core themes of the game and that first depiction of them portrayed them as far more competent, savvy, and focused on the objective than the cam, which was typically dysfunctional, myopic, and lying or deluded about the antedeluvians.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

LatwPIAT posted:

All the rules have swollen. The personal-attack rule was amended some time ago to include non-member game designers to make the place more welcoming to industry professionals, but lately that has turned and twisted into a rule-amendment that means actual, legitimate criticism can't be levelled against game designers. The most pertinent example that comes to mind is John Wick. Just look at the reaction someone got for saying that John Wick's GM advice, as a rule, sucks. Really, what isn't a Rule 2 violation on RPG.net? Like, you can't say that someone are yammering a word salad in a discussion. I've also seen warnings and admonishments handed out for raising points in a discussion that people might not want to discuss, for telling people not to put words in your mouth, for having opinions different from the norm, and obvious jokes are treated like serious attempts to encourage illegal action.

RPG.net moderation is also painfully opaque; much of how the rules are enforced is based on an established practice that is not written down anywhere, and the only way to complain about moderation is to email an administrator. Disagreeing with or even asking questions about the way the rules are enforced on the forums is something that is not tolerated, with threads - confused and hostile alike - closed and the confused/angry poster sometimes given an additional infraction just for asking questions. Which makes this part of the official rules and guidelines bitterly hillarious:


This is not something that's allowed!

In my experience, this seems to happen a lot to forums that try to codify behavior too much. It usually seems to start off reasonably, for example "don't call minorities subhumans", but then people start pointing out other behaviors that are lovely and wondering why they don't get mod action. That seems fair, so the rules expand to cover other shitposting, only then you end up with non-mods trying to police behavior so you rule that only mods should be judging posts. That's when you're hosed, because a) now instead of the forum users taking some of the pressure off the mods by policing things themselves, you're expected to rule on everything, and b) every ruling that isn't 100% a clear violation of an existing rule gets questioned, so you amass all these edge case rulings, that then get brought up with the next ruling. You'll probably also start expanding the mod base just to deal with all the work that's been created, so now you have even more people making rulings and so that gets more convoluted too. Fast forward a few years, and its a byzantine mess of case law and unstated assumptions like you describe.

Like, I don't think RPG.net is particularly terrible in this regard, or in general. I pretty much stayed out of any political threads, mainly because I don't really care what nerds as a group think about political topics; I don't think I ever got so much as a warning largely as a result. At the same time, all the rules ever seemed to do was provide a lot of convoluted wordcount for little benefit. It bans racism and stuff, but pretty much any moderated forum can do that if they want to, complicated rules or not. People still throw nerd tantrums over each other's behavior, they just avoid certain phrasings.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

LatwPIAT posted:

Uran has improved immensely since the early 00's and looking at her recent work it's genuinely skilled craftmanship. But her work from the KotE period shows that she had serious issues with proportion, anatomy, and faces. Some of it, like the Flame Phoenix signature character, doesn't even look too bad and I kind of like it, despite having Uran's sameface-issue. But then there's stuff like this:



I am the anime girl's armored gorilla arm.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

ZeroCount posted:

Telling Hunter players that they shouldn't team up with Heroes because they're too extreme in their methods when 'monster-hunter that is too extreme in their methods' describes a lot of playable Hunter splats seems...misguided.

Also Beasts are so loving special and good that they are the only splat that gets a Hunter book where they're not supposed to get hunted. It's like some dumbass developer somewhere remembered too late that Hunters are supposed to be the enemy of the other gamelines by default and had a loving panic attack over the idea of people killing his special snowflakes in their game.
For some reason that's what gets me here. Not any of the other lovely stuff about Beast, it's the gall to have a crossover book about Hunters that denies the Hunt.

I just keep getting an image of That Guy lurking around the game store every time I hear more of the "you must be friends with Beasts" bullshit. Just some toxic rear end in a top hat who relies on the geek social fallacies to keep from being kicked out of the group, and who babbles incessantly about "nerd solidarity" or whatever to try to reinforce it.

Who apparently, according to Beast, is a guy we all need to put up with or its truly us who reek of cat piss and failure.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
Is there, like, active infighting at OPP over Beast? The difference between the sections that are "beasts are totally everyone's friends and heroes are the real enemies" and "beasts are full of poo poo, here's why" are pretty striking. I wonder how much of that is leading to tension among the writing teams, versus just differing in universe perceptions that everyone's cool with.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Kurieg posted:

Again, this was the huge and major problem with the original kickstarter copy. Beasts were abused and picked on for being "Different" when they were younger, but then they came into their powers and became the abusers. This was considered right and just, revenge for their childhood wrongs. Heroes meanwhile were abused by Beasts and rather than becoming abusers themselves, devoted themselves to stopping the abuse. This makes them worse than thirteen giga-Hitlers. It's such an insane interpretation of the abuse narrative that it sickens me that Matt wasn't able to see it. And it's even worse that there are some marginalized people out there who have internalized the narrative so hard that they buy into Beast's shtick whole hog.

While Beast is pretty uniquely terrible, superficial readings of empowerment narratives are sadly common. I forget if it was here or somewhere else on the intarwebs I mentioned it, but True Blood had a significant chunk of the fanbase who insisted the whole thing was a LGBT metaphor, because the writer said it was. Nevermind that if taken as a metaphor, then the message was essentially the wet dream of the religious right. Gay people in this coda are only using the agenda of equal rights to get close enough to gay-rape you, and are secretly run by a religious version of NAMBLA. But no, the writers said it was an empowerment story for gay people, so it is!

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
Given how everything else about why Beasts aren't unequivocally the bad guys for everything boils down to "writer fiat", I suppose "make hunters soul search in a way they don't with more ambiguous monsters" is fully within the setting dictated parameters of Beast.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
I think the other part is that when Japan started competing seriously in the market, there was a targeted effort by certain industries (namely, automotive) to really paint them as a threat. US auto was losing share and had egg on its face after claiming for years it was impossible to produce a cheaper more fuel efficient car than what they were churning out, and the WW2 generation was right at or near to their peak in importance to politics and business. So you had a fairly deliberate campaign that tried to get both a general blue collar panic and war veteran antipathy together to claim that the Japanese were going to steal all our good jobs.

China, by contrast, is a lot more amorphous, doesn't have a generation that specifically viewed them as an enemy, and are already pretty well integrated into the world market in a specific way. The conservatives have been trying to turn the Chinese into our new Cold War-esque enemy since about 5 minutes after the USSR collapsed, but its never stuck as well.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Simian_Prime posted:

I love that episode ("Conspiracy") so much just because they got away with a shocking amount of gore for a TV show at the time, all heads exploding and chest-bursting slugs. It was like David Croenenberg directed a ST episode.

If I remember correctly, that was the one and only TNG (and maybe any trek?) episode to have a viewer warning on it.

The idea that they were the original conception for what became the borg always made me wonder what could have been with that. Like, I assume it'd be 99% conspiracy type stuff with parasites, but the idea of some sort of crazy techno-organic "implants" would have been wacky cool. Probably would have fit the Star Trek aesthetic about as well as the Yuzhong Vong did for Star Wars, though.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
In Shadowrun's case, its more omnicide I think. I remember ahead of a game I ran some really crude population growth numbers based on what the books had said the death rate was for the various plagues. IIRC, even assuming a repopulation boom that made the post WW2 birth rate look tiny, the world was still only creeping back to its pre-plague numbers by 2050.

Though how that would shift around global warming may not be one to one. The whole VITAS and pals thing is one of those setting elements that always felt like it should have a lot more knock on effects to how the world works in Shadowrun. I get that population demographics aren't as interesting of a "what if" as magic and cyberware, but they'd have a pretty profound effect on a lot of society in a pretty heavy way.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
Was there a F&F on Princess the hopeful? Years ago I remember there being vague drama about some dude threatening suicide because he was cut off from posting wherever they were working on princess at the time. Sounded like one hell of a trainwreck, but I never had the energy to wade in and see what level of dumpster fire fascinating might be lying within.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS
Someday, I am going to write my post-apocalyptic future game, which will be shockingly innovative. In the not-white countries charismatic leaders will rise, preaching a return to the "old ways", and attempt to restore the ancient incan/mayan/persian/imperial japanese/whatever empires. They will come forth to the land, and the people will say...."no, that's dumb. why would we do that?". And the preachers will say "oh yeah, I guess you're right. I know, how about we work on building up a sustainable regional economy and food supply, since the global system is collapsing." And the people will say "yes, that seems much more sensible than putting on grass skirts and dancing around like the platonic ideal of white people ideas of 'savages'".

And then they will do that, and things will go okay.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

theironjef posted:

Honestly a dude standing around handing out MMO quests in a regular RPG session would be awesome. Party finds some guy on a little mound just outside of town, he addresses the first one that comes up all "Welcome champion! To establish a foothold on the West Coalstone Ridges, we need to first dispense with the infestation of hill goblins thereabouts! Please go forth and slay them. Bring me 20 asses of hill goblins as proof. Naturally, only the finest asses will do, so do not be surprised if they don't all have one I'll accept! Your reward shall be your choice of a staff or a cloak, along with 13 gold and 91 silver pieces!" Then he just immediately turns to the next guy "Welcome champion!..."

And he's just the only guy in the world like that. But he's outside every town.

I ran a mini-campaign once doing something like that, though with a bit more of a slow build. I was pretty proud that it didn't fully dawn on the group what was going on until right as they stumbled on a max level character decked out in legendary gear, who was randomly rocketing around slaughtering everything for inscrutable reasons (not them though, they weren't flagged for pvp).

Their other nemesis was someone they asked for help in the articulate fashion of ye olde lande, and who afterwords just followed them around jumping and screaming "LOL RP FAJETS LOLOLOLOL".

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Rand Brittain posted:

"Inconnu" is basically a catch-all term for various powerful elder vampires who aren't involved in any of the ordinary political games that ancient bloodsuckers play, either because they have their own weird political games that nobody's caught on to, or because they're genuinely trying to stay out of weird vampire politics.

They are probably not an actual single group, except sometimes when they are, but nobody really knows enough about them to say.

I vaguely recall that at least some of the writers of the line preferred to keep the Inconnu as the one faction that was deliberately undefined, so it could be filled in by whatever a particular ST wanted to do. I'm not sure if that was an overarching policy at some point at WW, or just various writers takes, though.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Alien Rope Burn posted:

:stonklol:

Dark Reflections: Spectres was a Black Dog release that gave rules for playing spectres. (It's hard to find a good shot of the cover, particularly because IIRC it had embossed black details on a flat black cover that simply does not scan.) As might be expected, I'm not sure anybody ever played them, given they were pure nihilists that embodied the negative side of humanity. And, of course, you could play children who died too soon to understand death and morality and went insta-evil as a result. Whee. At the very least, like Fomori before it, playing a long-term game was nearly out of the question, given your power stat would eventually destroy you, IIRC.

I think Changeling: the Dreaming had the main unplayable antagonists in the form of the Autumn People, though I suppose it wouldn't be hard to reverse-engineer them into something playable if there was anyone in the world that wanted to. I don't think Marauders ever got made playable, for obvious reasons... Nephandi I can't recall. I think they got player-facing material that only GMs were supposed to use, or something? I'm sure Mors knows.

There was a book on autumn people, though I forget if it actually had PC rules or was just like the nephandi with "rules, but supposedly not for players". I know the shadow court and their attendant fae types had PC rules, and over time they got to be more and more central to the metaplot over the dauntain.

Spectres as I recall could actually get redeemed back to wraiths; their "shadowguide" was their better self. Obviously probably not for the weirdo types like dead babies, but for more "regular" spectres there was at least more potential hope than in, say, a fomori game.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

The Ptolemaics actually, who were ethnically Macedonian. They were very incstuous but it was most likely due to Ptolemy I being the descendant of Macedonian nobility and not wanting an Egyptian family taking the throne. Most "native" dynasties usually didn't have the preoccupation with incest.

The Targaryens draw influences from them because they're both foreign conquerors and have an obsession with the purity of their bloodline. The Targaryens are probably more obsessed with it because of the flame resistant trait Dany has and less worrying about local usurpers.

The Targaryen incest also I think serves a narrative goal in the series. We're supposed to find it disgusting, and it helps the reader quickly buy into the early picture we have of the Targaryens as batshit inbred tyrants, which is also the narrative most of our viewpoint characters hold to. Then we get to know Dany and she's different, and gradually more and more comes out that undermines the straightforward narrative we start with. Its a decent progression throughout the series, and while yeah there are hints that the story we hear at the start is one-sided, having things like "the Targaryens practiced incest" tends to make us dismiss them more than we might otherwise.

Now, all the REST of the incest, rape, and other edgy stuff, that's not so narratively useful.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Thesaurasaurus posted:

I dunno, I think the lore chapters in Dark Heresy etc did a good job with it. Like they kept the population numbers, but used them well, to create a sense of overwhelming, impossible enormity to the Imperium. Yeah, the upper spire for a primary hive can hold a billion people, but that spire is unbelievably huge, to the point that its top is usually above a planet's atmosphere. The hive itself can span an entire continent because the forerunners of the Imperium had the tech to hollow out tectonic plates without collapsing them. The amount of infrastructure required to sustain these populations boggles the mind, to the point that one such city has another city beneath it that exists entirely as a kludge for a biomass depletion problem where the terraforming engineers couldn't figure out a more elegant solution. A billion guardsmen dying is 5-10% of the population of a typical hive world, and while the Imperium definitely has a labor surplus, a single planet will certainly feel that kind of loss...but the Imperium has a lot of planets, too.

None of which is to apologize for the 40K writers doing the Star Wars EU thing, but that kind of astronomic scale can work if you're doing bleak, existential horror, and I think FFG were wise to recognize that when they wrote the RPGs.

Part of what the RPGs recognize is what was sorta true back in the Rogue Trader days: that all that ginormous macro level trillions upon trillions was meant to be backdrop so that you *could* tell stories where there big things and people won or lost, but it wouldn't by default muck up the whole setting. You could have a whole sector or whatever get embroiled in an epic struggle for the fate of everything and even if chaos or the orks won it didn't mean the Imperium had to fall. Hell, Terra might not even learn that it had lost that sector for another thousand years. The Imperium could be eternally doomed on the macro level because its eventually collapse would be played out over hundreds of generations, during which you could tell all sorts of campaigns using the base setting and have them all be "canon", just spread out over vast distances.

The problem is that the writing kept focusing more and more on the macro-level stuff, with these key players who ruled whole factions and could be meaningfully represented personally on a territory map of the galaxy. The thousand man space marine chapters make....okay, they still don't make sense, even with a single world. But they make *some* more sense when they're meant to be a big player in one tiny fraction of the setting, rather than being a big portion of the galactic political sphere.

To be fair, this isn't a new problem. They started introducing those personalities pretty early on. But early on too many of those characters were still oriented towards a slightly smaller scale. The chaos primarchs were doing poo poo, but it was oriented on things like conquering a single world or sector; the setting made a point that the old legions had fractured into warbands and the old big leaders didn't normally command forces of a scale necessary for galactic level war. Over time though, the lines started to focus more and more on those supposedly rare events that did have a galactic impact, which is how we get into the mess of an eternally static setting now.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

Comrade Gorbash posted:

It's not a binary state. The Mi-Go care, they just don't care that much. They're at least sending weapons and not just their thoughts & prayers.

Alien mushroom crustaceans that put human brains in jars for annoying them are more helpful to humanity against spree killers than our elected officials.

Yep, it sure is 2018.

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Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

megane posted:

Whoa, yeah, man, what the world really needed was a book written by an aging white guy about how women minorities young people uncool losers have taken over this thing, and we need to go back to how it was in the Eighties, when white guys like him awesome badasses were in charge. What a fresh and vital perspective.

Obviously the role of women, minorities, and marginalized groups is to sit on a pedestal to be fawned over as "real" and "magical" by middle aged white guys who haven't moved out of the 90s. But not to make music on their own. Where's the authenticity in that?

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