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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

The vibe I always got from C:tD and it's most obnoxious adherents was that it was meant for self-consciously quirky, creative, commit-random-acts-of-beauty (shading into actual mental illness) types who fail out of art school with $50,000 of undischargable student debt. The exaltation of childhood innocence and the notion that adulthood is the death of one's true self gives it its creepy pedo undercurrent.

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Count Chocula posted:

Is there a Hellboy RPG? If not, why not?
There is! It's by SJ Games and runs on the GURPS system, but is a standalone RPG (being GURPS compatible means you can throw stuff from all the other GURPS supplements into your Hellboy game to taste).

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Mors Rattus posted:

We then get short stories: A Bright Dream, featuring an angel who recruits a human to help her fight demons. She's kind of an rear end in a top hat.
This was the most excruciatingly awful piece of in-game fiction I have ever read. The angel speaks expositionally in game terms about what she is doing to the poor human protagonist. Like: She takes him to go dancing in a nightclub, he asks "why are we dancing?", and she says "I'm an angel attuned to dance and I recharge my power by dancing and we'll have to dance for at least four hours in order for me to refill my power pool so kick up your heels."

The game also has the most confusingly organized core rulebook I've ever seen.

I remember saying "well, maybe the first supplement will explain what I'm supposed to be doing" and it turned out to be the citybook for Austin, Texas, notable for the fact that there's a local truce between the angels and devils and so it was totally unlike everywhere else on earth, at which point I gave up on the game line. What a loving mess.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Bieeardo posted:

I will note that there was a rudimentary, mostly-unofficial GURPS conversion document. It may still be on the SJG site somewhere. It worked out even worse than GURPS Werewolf.
There was an actual published 144-page adaptation of the setting called (naturally enough) "GURPS In Nomine".

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I would love to see an actual translation of In Nomine, instead of... what we got. It would no doubt still be flawed, but at least would be an interesting piece of cross-cultural satire. I ran it once or twice and mostly just remember the system math being completely hosed and even at a young age where I would play any old garbage I gave up on it based on the system being practically unrunnable.
Yeah, the French version was supposedly full of sharp contemporary political and cultural satire, and the American translation is...this sort of new agey thing where angels represent "selflessness" and devils are "selfishness" and everything is a symphony of notes all harmonizing and choirs and wait wait wait where's the nasty satire? It isn't like SJG was averse to touching on political issues, as seen in the card art for INWO.

Just a weird mess all around.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

- Man, TORG really was the ur-game of the 1990s, embodying all of that decade's design pathologies. Including, in this case, the tradition of soaking up pagecount and wordcount with bad, just-above-fanfic quality, in-universe fiction meant to illustrate some feature of the setting or rules.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Evil Mastermind posted:

You should have seen the novels. Sadly, the second and third novels of the original trilogy seem to have been lost to the ages, but a few of the other novels are available in PDF format. Like the one where the Gaunt Man tells his loving life story.
Bad tie-in novels were a 1980s thing (Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms) that stretched into later decades. Filling up game books with bad fiction was a 1990s thing, and TORG looks like it was a big innovator there, like it was for so many other terrible 1990s RPG design trends (metaplot, supplement treadmill, unkillable key NPCs, etc.)

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

LatwPIAT posted:

Bad tie-in novels were also massively more profitable than the RPGs they were based on, at least for D&D, where if I recall correctly, the Dragonlance novels completely eclipsed the actual RPG, and the Dragonlance RPG material basically became a way for TSR to get people to start buying the books. (I suspect this is why there's so much bad fiction in 1990's game books; it's an attempt to get people to want to read more about the characters, so you can start selling novels to them.)
Oh yeah, 1990s TSR was a genre fiction publishing house that maintained a legacy sideline in games.

And as much as I love to make fun of 1990s RPGs, those things (metaplots, iconic NPCs that do everything, tie-in novels, slowly teasing out setting details, walls of splatbooks, etc.) were legitimate efforts to try and get around the core economic problem with RPGs (the way that a single group can play for year without buying anything more than a single set of corebooks)

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Precambrian posted:

I can't be understressed that Mage and the oWoD completely flipped the tables on tabletop gaming at pretty much the perfect time to do it. They also did an exceptional job targeting specific niches with and within their products. You can break the different types of Vampires down by which high school clique they're supposed to appeal to, and fringe Internet communities, such as your Neopagans, your Goths, your proto-Otherkin, were starting to come together in force just in time to read Werewolf and Changeling. It was different and personal at just the right time.
Yeah, one of the OWODs big plusses was that it targeted an audience outside of the traditional SCA/SF fandom/computer club set and drew them into gaming, unlike pretty much every other RPG which just counted on picking up the crumbs from AD&D's table. Turns out there were a whole bunch of goth-ish teens and college students who really wanted to play-act in the world of Anne Rice novels, and WW was the first company to try and cater to this audience.

And, as you note, a lot of OWOD was particularly of its time and place (early 1990s "alt" culture), which I always thought came through most clearly in the choice of traditions for Mage. Badass Zen monks! Drum-thumping neo-shamans! L33t hacker d00dz! Party-all-night ravers! Serial killers for karmic justice! Spooky goth chicks! Scary wiccans! Crazy retro techies! Aleister Crowley wannabes! Christians who are all spiritual and poo poo and are the polar opposites of TV evangelists! It's near-perfect time capsule of what the early 1990s considered coo, which is probably why 20 years later it's somewhat baffling to people who weren't around then.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Pieces of Peace posted:

Based entirely on that sentence, I'm assuming Harry Turtledove?
Nope!

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Pieces of Peace posted:

Western games seem to run universally disappointing. Is the "some interesting setting, some interesting mechanics, please playtest more and kill the loving metaplot" of Deadlands really as good as it gets?
Western games are hard to do because the setting is high-lethality for typical player characters (who get into gunfights all the time) so you'll be forever rolling up new characters unless you have some sort of magical healing or generous hero point mechanic, which is tricky to pull off both mechanically and thematically (this also applies to pretty much all no-magic "realistic" historical games and settings). Plus the entire historical period has become increasingly problematic - not just with respect to slavery and the confederacy, but also the destruction of Native Americans and the theft of their land, issues with Mexico (racism, land seizure), and the way this all plays out in the traditional canon of source material. Just a tough haul all the way around.

Deadlands was the closest to being a success, with its easily-available magic healing juice and protection magic and hero points (which, if I remember correctly, doubled as XPs in true 1990s fashion) and scrambling the problematic history by dropping steampunk and zombies and evil spirits and voodoo and aztec mummies and everything else into setting, and that was a mixed bag at best

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Count Chocula posted:

I love how D&D's insistence on convoluted rules means that they need a whole page of weird explanations and numbers to explain "there's a gothic realm with twisted monsters your dudes can fight". The whole Alignments thing and just general... straightness of D&D works against the gothic setting, but somehow it also makes me like Ravenloft a bit 'cause at least they try.
D&D has this rigid planar overstructure that is supposed to to encompass all possible universes and alignments (the inner/outer/material/ethereal/demi/astral planes and the Great Wheel, as mostly seen in Planescape), and nerds consider such an intergral part of the D&D experience that they flipped their poo poo when it was largely done away with in 4E - except that most of the published D&D campaign worlds aren't compatible with it or break it in some way or exist in some weird special case corner that was shoehorned into it. Eberron had its orrey of extraplanar spheres, Forgotten Realms was a big tree, Dark Sun has some kind of planar barrier around it, Ravenloft has that Demiplane of Dread thing going on, Dragonlance has a single outer plane (which they call The Abyss), and on and on.

Like you, I'm glad that Ravenloft decided not compromise what it was trying to do by tying itself too closely to the D&D cosmology - it's just the fact that Ravenloft had to do so (along with most other D&D settings) makes we wonder what the point of having that overstructure even is (much less why certain nerds are so rabid about it).

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

gradenko_2000 posted:

Not really? It's the thing that always happens in heartbreakers when someone comes up with an idea to make combat more "realistic", often at the expense of Fighters, and then never (or in this case, only barely) makes the connection that anything that makes Fighters worse makes Wizards indirectly better as a consequence.
Way back in grognards.txt, we noticed that fantasy games and supplements that add rules and options for fighting always ended up making fighting characters weaker (fatigue points, weapons getting damaged, bowstrings snapping, armor getting rusty, etc.) while games and supplements that added more rules and options for spellcasters always made them stronger (more spells, more specializations, more magic items, more things to summon, more rules for crafting items, etc.)

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Black August posted:

It's hilarious how speed is pretty much the #1 to break any game, every game, forever, and ever. If you can get extra turns or extra actions, you win. Every time.
Yep. Anything that gives you additional actions (or worse, lets you stack multiple things that give you extra actions) is a flashing red light that your system is trivially breakable. It's often seen paired with its cousin, "Dexterity as a God stat", where having a high Dex means 1) you are harder to hit, 2) you have an easier time hitting or shooting or casting spells at other people, 3) you get to do things more often, 4) you get to go first more often, and 5) you get a bonus to any physical activity that doesn't involve raw strength and toughness. GURPS had this real bad.

Still not as bad as the worst game design idea, where unspent do-cool-things points become your experience points. 7TH SEA is the most famous offender, but it goes all the way back to early versions of RuneQuest.

Kai Tave posted:

It's not just RPGs, it's practically any game...board games, video games, card games, find a thing that lets you break a normally restricted action economy and to everyone's great surprise things usually go south in a hurry. XCOM2 recently dropped and just before it went live Firaxis had to tweak something because a dude who does insane YouTube playthroughs of XCOM on a regular basis discovered a way to game the system to squeeze the equivalent of two full rounds of actions in before the aliens got a single one.
I'm reminded of early Magic: the Gathering, where players very quickly figured out that cards that let you draw additional cards trivially broke the game, along with cards that let you take extra turns or force your opponent to skip his turn.

FMguru fucked around with this message at 04:20 on Mar 4, 2016

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Robindaybird posted:

iirc, no one dies in TOON - they just 'fall down' until the next scene, and it's explicitly treated as exaggerated non-lethal violence, the problem with WGA is it tries for the cartoon-y feel, but makes note people do go insane or die because of the actions.
Yeah, you Fall Down, which means you are out of the game for three (real time) minutes, then you get back up and rejoin the action (with your fur still singed from that dynamite that blew up under you, or popping your head back into shape after that anvil got dropped on it, or whatever excuse you can come up with for re-entering the story).

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Yeah, Palladium/Rifts stacks a bunch of complicated and badly thought out stuff on top of D&D, not AD&D.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Ratoslov posted:

THE SONG OF DONGS
HLUGHAHLUGHALHUGHALUGHBLUGHALUGHGALUH
                        /

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Halloween Jack posted:

This is probably why Magellan includes pages of rules for farming and storygamish rules for "callings" and a bunch of other bloat. Magellan actually reminds me a lot of Wraeththu, a game based on a series of post-apoc fantasy books. The story is that someone who knew the author said "Hey, I have this universal system I've been working on since college. I could make a Wraeththu RPG!" Which is why a game about yaoi hermaphrodites with New Agey magic has detailed rules for martial arts and fencing.
Wraeththu's designers also talked about all the exciting places they were going to take the Wraeththu system, such as already testing rules for giant mecha robots and such.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Also, can there possibly be a worse start for a transmedia empire than a TRPG? I mean, the only things I can think of that came close are Forgotten Realms and Battletech, and even so they have pretty spotty records. You might be be better starting off with something more lucrative like a live puppet show.
Battletech started life as a tabletop miniatures/hexmap boardgame (with a bunch of stolen IP, too). RPG stuff came much later.

And I'll be contrary and say that TTRPG just might be a good place to start to build an IP. The barriers to entry for an RPG are lower than just about anywhere else (compared to, say, producing a tv pilot or getting a novel published, promoted, and placed in major bookstores) and the game also serves as a setting bible.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Gotta say I'm liking the idea of a race whose entire gimmick is that they make bad decisions. A whole plateau full of little George Constanzas, haplessly flailing and failing and getting angrier and angrier.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Night10194 posted:

As well it should have been. Beast is one of the most loathsome things I've seen out of the White Wolf Milieu.
How soon they forget...

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Robindaybird posted:

It's hilarious, but also pretty gross - he puffs is chest in pride at being so liberal and enlightened, but there's so much awful stereotyping, from magical noble savages to mystical asians, and the overuse of the 'women only gaining power and agency after being made victims' in his write ups.
I'm always reminded of this quote from Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson posted:

It was, of course, nothing more than sexism, the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists.
People who are convinced of their oh-so-enlightened nature almost always have huge blind spots about their own privilege, and they refuse to listen to even the mildest criticism about it.

Old WW was full of it, so 90s-college-leftist-as-gently caress, that it let things like Gypsies and Pimp:the Backhanding out the door without anyone saying "hey, hold on a second".

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

The early-2000s relaunch of Car Wars was shitshow in every possible way, but most especially because the thing that people loved most about CW was the build-your-own-vehicle rules was completely missing from it. Just premade cars, nothing else.

CW itself is an interesting design, a minis game with a robust DIY unit system, with design cues taken from Jackson's own Ogre (wargame with the focus on a single unit with lots of interesting subsystems) and fellow Austinite Steve Cole's Star Fleet Battles (the impulse movement system, the vehicle status display, the ablative directional armor, the weapon arcs - there's a reason CW had the nickname "Car Fleet Battles"). A fun game, but probably too 80s-wargamey to make much of a splash today - plus, the physical presentation was strictly cheapjack (even the "Deluxe" products).

(Confession: I used to have an AADA keychain)

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

It could have been worse. I remember a post from S. John Ross, who was with SJG at the time of that edition, saying that Jackson was casting around for better "hook" to replace the post-nuclear war/Mad Max-ish Autoduel America setting, and was very seriously considering making the whole thing furry.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Young Freud posted:

It would be possible to have post-apocalypse that's not evenly-distributed. You could have economic and environmental pressures, such as an automated transportation industry killing highway towns and global climate change making exurb life expensive, force most people into the big cities on the coasts (considering Gulf region as a Third Coast), leaving middle America into sometime akin to the town in The Cars That Ate Paris, with the townsfolk causing wrecks to bring in cash from selling scrap autos and welfare money from disabled drivers while the local teens going wild with car parts and small town boredom, creating automotive monstrosities. Then you can layer the various forms of pansexual biker gangs from the Mad Max series and armed professional mercenaries riding shotgun through the new Wild West.
The other thing about the Autoduel background is that it was created not to be self-consistent but as an excuse to have cars driving around shooting each other (in arenas, and on the road). The high-tech cloning is in the setting for the same reason that D&D has a Raise Dead spell: Gold Cross was introduced in a rules expansion (Truck Stop, I believe) for the minis game as an option for for players to bring back highly-skilled characters who were killed in duels. You could spend your autoduelling prize money on improving your car, or making a backup copy of your (Driver-4, Gunner-3) character.

"In the future, there will be death sports" was definitely a 1970s pop-SF thing, Which was expressed in movies like Rollerball and Death Race 2000 . Come to think of it, those movies also had Americas with high-tech dystopian cities and savage, gang-filled wastelands between them.

Car Wars itself has some claim to be one of the earliest freeform RPGs. Characters all had 3 hit points, a six-item carrying capacity, a tiny number of wargamey skills (Cyclist, Driver, Gunner) and a Prestige rating, and there was a paragraph of rules for roleplaying non-combat activity (which were literally: the player declares an action, the GM rolls 2d6 and interprets the result with higher meaning the player was more successful). Your character started with a certain amount of money and gained experience and money as he fought in the arena and on the roads until he died, at which point you started another character from scratch (or activated your clone if you'd been keeping up your Gold Cross payments). There were adventures published (some were solo numbered-paragraph CYOA efforts like Convoy).

People eventually wanted comprehensive RPG rules, so you got things like GURPS Autoduel (and, before that, a delightfully weird hybrid/crossover with the Hero system titled Autoduel Champions) But you could RPG for a good long while with just the pocket wargame and the published scenarios.

Here are some pages from a typical mins games RPG scenario:



FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Young Freud posted:

Never knew that John Wick's ideal world would leave off Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East.
TBF, the Middle East is there (Empire of the Crescent Moon). And it's probably overall a blessing that we didn't get to see a 1990s-era John Wick attempt at making a Mythical Africa.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Zereth posted:

I recall there being several "Oh yeah well this is what your magic is REALLY doing huh what do you think about that" type things as well.
Surprise! Your cool magic abilities are actually powered by cthulhu monsters using them to break into our reality and wreck everything. Ha ha ha, bet you feel really smart now after paying all those character points for magic powers!

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Kavak posted:

Did Wick have a pet faction in 7th Sea?
Not really - he didn't do much with the card game and left AEG after only contributing to one or two RPG books after the core.

I think the immortal not-Cuchulain iconic character of the not-Irish civilization is the closest 7S has to a self-insert for Wick.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

A game about early modern European history (with folklore and magic and national cultures) is a great idea. Zorro and the Ancien Regime and King Arthur and Merlin and the Unseelie Court and Baba Yaga and Saracens and Musketeers and Galileo and Newton all crammed into it sounds like a hell of a good time. Except it was sold as "7th Sea" and the promotional art was full of pirates and ships and the CCG it was a spinoff was literally had players controlling fleets of ships sailing from place to place. And the setting literally had NO PLACE for those age of sail pirates and ships in it.

Just astonishing. Wick trying to play it off as, oh I meant river piracy :smug: is just the cherry on the poo poo sundae.

Kavak posted:

was there a reason besides Wick being Wick for his hatred of Ronin?
Ronin are popularly regarded as badasses (see Miyamoto Musashi, see Yojimbo and Sanjuro) and Wick's special cause is breaking down players who have the temerity to think they're badasses. Also Ronin are free of a certain amount of House bullshit and can just bail and move on if they're put in some ridiculous blood-and-honor "heads you lose, tails you lose" dilemma like Wick loves to stick players with.

FMguru fucked around with this message at 04:32 on Apr 12, 2016

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Zereth posted:

Doesn't it also have rules for ships of the type that there's no reason for the inhabitants of the world to have ever developed, too? What you want out of a ship that never has to get far from a coastline to get anywhere it wants to go are quite different from one that needs to cross the Atlantic ocean without making a pitstop.
Yep the geography of the world means there's no reason for anyone to develop anything more sophisticated than the equivalents of shore-hugging dhows or junks. Maybe if you wanted to go far in rough seas someone would build the equivalent of a Viking longship. Certainly no reason at all for anyone to develop all the intermediate steps that lead to fully-rigged multimasted age of sail vessels.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Evil Mastermind posted:

One of the people in my 13th Age group is still very new to RPGing (he's only been playing for about two years), and when I brought up John Wick his face lit up because he thought someone made an RPG based on the movie.

Then I told him the truth and he was baffled about why anyone would play games with the guy.
I've been RPGing for more than thirty years and I'm baffled about why anyone would play games with the guy.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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theironjef posted:

Our review wasn't really ask that much about Wick the guy anyway, just a few asides.

So one of our listeners(and a lurker here), just sent us a microwave sized box containing the following:

GURPS Discworld
GURPS Hellboy
Blue Planet (with Moderators Guide and Fluid Mechanics)
Feng Shui
Godlike (with Will To Power and some adventures)
Ray Wininnger's Underground
The Whispering Vault
Underworld
Kobolds Ate My Baby
Nexus: The Whispering City
Kult
Witch Hunter: the Invisible World
King Arthur Pendragon

And what I consider to be the Arkenstone of this hoard, Everway.

Amazingly we didn't have a single one of these yet. So good.
That's quite a haul of Mostly Genuinely Good RPGs you got there

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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Spiderfist Island posted:

This review part was brought to you by the Stasis and Undeath runes.
Gark the Calm: Let us put your mind at ease

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Simian_Prime posted:

It says a lot about the collective RPG industry as a whole that when their market clearly demanded a Harry Potter-alike RPG setting...

... And this is what it got. :smith:
Redhurst Academy of Magic - the Matt Forbeck-written D20 setting that is Harry-Potter-With-The-Serial-Numbers-FIled-Off (Plus Some Redwall) - is now available for free download at Forbeck's website.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

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sexually

Alien Rope Burn posted:

And strangely enough, that feels like it could be their undoing to me.
This is one of the weird catches to RPG publishing - the way that actually quality doesn't really affect sales much, one way or another. There's a certain minimal (very minimal, sometimes) level of quality you need to meet to have a viable product, but after that any effort towards raising the quality (by putting in a really good index, or holding it off for two months to get in another round of playtesting, or another fine-toothed copy-editing pass through the manuscript) is just money and time wasted as far as sales impact is concerned. WW, in its glory days, made game books with useless tables of contents and indices, page XX copyediting errors, mechanical crunch added with seemingly no playtesting, and only vague compatibility with the rest of the product line. And they sold just fine. If WW put double the effort into those books, they'd be rewarded with much, much less thatn double the sales. So why bother?

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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megane posted:

White Wolf / Onyx Path really really need to do the thing where you write 1) paragraph of fluff, 2) blank line, 3) dry formal rules text. Preferably with the fluff in italics or another font or something. They love giving this huge block of text about how your sword totally looks like a sweet-rear end dragon made of lightning slicing through a block of ice as you shout about retribution or something... and then mentioning offhandedly somewhere in the middle that they don't get to apply their Parry DV to it. Above and beyond the confusion of whether things are rules or fluff (when it says my fury is "unquenchable," are they being poetic, or does that mean I'm actually immune to effects that would quench it?), it also makes it super hard to reference things quickly.
The last time a major fantasy RPG did that, it was D&D4E, and grognards lost their poo poo about the rules being simple, clear, well-defined, and following an established template.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
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Alien Rope Burn posted:

A friend of mine once theorized that to have a massively popular RPG, you want some major flaws, because those invite discussion (and keep the game in people's minds), and get people to invest in the game by "fixing" it. This may or may not be actually true, but it does seem that popular games rarely have elegant rules. A lot of that just may have to do with nostalgia, though, with people harkening back to earlier, less refined examples of design, rather than an innate trait of flawed systems in general. It may have more to do with marketing than rules. But it's hard to find a popular game without serious rules issues going on, in any case.
There's definitely no correlation (and possibly an anti-correlation) between the quality of a game's mechanics and its sales. The three best-selling RPGs of all time are D&D, Vampire, and RIfts, and all three of them have terrible, hole-filled, archaic mechanics.

One of the signature traits of the heartbreaker is the way its creators insist that their game will sell a zillion copies because its rules are so much better than AD&D or Vampire, not understanding the total disconnect between sales and the quality of the mechanics.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

BNW is a loving mess. An interesting premise (superheroes emerge and change history starting in the 1960s, creating a present day dystopia) with a catastrophic execution. It's pretty much Peak Nineties as far as RPG design goes, with every single pathology of that age cranked up to eleven. Dice system that doesn't work, metaplot with unkillable iconic characters, supplement treadmill, keeping critical setting secrets from the GM until many years (and supplements) down the road, padding out those treadmill supplements with big fonts and borders and generous whitespace, books full of in-setting fiction, a mechanically narrow range of rigid character options (in a superhero game, no less!), and on and on and on.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, the thing about Aberrant was that it introduced a lot of RPGers who didn't already read comics or superhero fiction to the notion of "realistic superheroes", which seems really novel if you're not versed with the genre. Granted, it did take it a few steps further than most (mostly in the notion of super-inventions with an actual lasting impact), but wow, was it super-convinced they were the first to arrive on virgin soil. The nadir was probably the Aberrant Player's Guide which starts out with a introduction labeled "This Is Not The Super-Friends"
Except that "What if superpowers existed in the real world?" had been done to death in comics over the previous 15 years. Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns got all kinds of mainstream notice in 1985-6 when they came out, they kicked off an entire age of grim, gritty, cynical, "realistic" comics (and things like the dark and serious 1989 Batman movie), and that style of comic storytelling had largely become a tired and played out cliche by the time Aberrant came along (with things like Kingdom Come spading dirt on the grave of 1990s excesses). And then here comes White Wolf with its did-I-just-blow-your-MIND?!?! game of supers in a real-world context, just after most people had gotten past the whole "Biff! Pow! Superheroes aren't just for kids any more!" thing. Aberrant was very, very late to the party.

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, yes, I believe that's what I implied
Yeah, I was just contesting your claim that Aberrant introduced that mindset to a lot of RPG fans for the first time, and making fun of WW for being fifteen years late to the party.

Of course the idea that "Superheroes are really, really serious business you guys" is a bold, fresh new perspective is still with us today, thirty years after Watchmen, as evidenced by the resources poured into making and promoting the deadly serious Batman v Superman movie.

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