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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Cythereal posted:

There's a reason my Rogue Trader campaign opened with the actual Rogue Trader getting executed by Space Marines and the PCs being his senior officers who know they're next on the chopping block.
I like the PBP that starts with the Rogue Trader getting his brain fried so the PCs are operating under cover of a Weekend at Bernie's masquerade.

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

TheGreatEvilKing posted:

If they announced 6e tomorrow and decided that they were going to fix the fighter problem by removing the class and including spellswords instead, I guarantee this board would be pissed.
Not really, no.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

It would be such an uncharacteristic admission that I think it would be greeted warmly.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Ultiville posted:

I wouldnít be pissed, but Iíd be disappointed. If youíre trying to do kitchen sink fantasy, you need to be able to have Gimli, Beowulf, or Hercules hanging with your nerd crew.
Eliminating fighters in favour of spellsword would be a big step towards D&D giving up on pretending to be kitchen sink fantasy, which it has never ever been. It's a weird little subsubgenre cobbled together from a pretty broad set of influences across fantasy fiction and the assumptions of a peculiar skirmish wargame.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

I'd just as soon dump every class that isn't some weird peculiar concept, starting with the Fighter ("fights") and Wizard ("does all the magic except healing and some buffs"). The cleric, paladin, ranger, druid, etc. are weird enough to stay.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Serf posted:

replace all classes with the factotum, which you then build how you want with talent options
No, I still need to put weird dumb restrictions on people or it isn't D&D.

Druids can't use druid magic unless they wear their funny animal hat.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Impermanent posted:

Synthesis:
You have 4 base classes suffixes like Sword, Sneak, Sorcery and Saint. Each one has 4 different prefix options like Nature, Martial, Psi, Holy, etc, but each prefix wildly alters the classes. Martial fighter is defined by knowing all of the weapons and having the ability to use any of them, maybe 5 at the same time, and at default is the guy who fights with three swords in that pirate anime.
If you want to go that route, I recommend Shadow of the Demon Lord.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

The funniest grogs are the ones who really want to be playing BRP (for rules) or Harn (for setting) but insist on D&D for some drat reason.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

PurpleXVI posted:

The reason I tend to end up with D&D is that it feels like most other fantasy games are a reaction to D&D in some sense. Either going "gently caress YOU DAD" and trying to be as different as possible whether it means making something good or bad, or going "this is what D&D was really about" and getting tunnel vision obsessiveness with one interpretation of D&D(like that it's supposed to be a hardcore mudfarmer murder simulator where you're not allowed to have fun and if you don't like that then you're playing games wrong). So as broken as D&D is in any edition, at least with my favoured edition I usually have more fun than these.
Even the games that are very much not-D&D in terms of system have telltale signs of being reactions to D&D; Rolemaster and Runequest/CoC feel very much this way to me.

Then there are games which are very different from D&D in terms of setting, but have sops to D&Disms that look weird in the abstract. Tekumel has dungeons, Harn has an Abhoth-like deity that pukes up monsters, and both seem to have the sort of ecumenical paganism that's more in keeping with D&D campaign settings than with their own cultural influences.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

I've been reading Ron Edwards' Circle of Hands, which is such a response to D&D that it reprints his Fantasy Heartbreaker essays along with many additional personal notes about how this began as his never-published fantasy heartbreaker.

It rules. It's pretty much completely unlike any version of D&D in both rules and setting, with the glaring exception that the premise is a war between old-school D&D Law and Chaos, with the PCs as members of a militantly Neutral faction.

Night10194 posted:

What's always most interesting is how D&D accidentally created its own genre of fantasy and almost never seems to have noticed.
The hobby would be so much better off if TSR had devoted its not-inconsiderable resources to really exploring the design/genre space it created and experimented with its inspiration. Planescape and Dark Sun are boss, sure, but that degree of wildness should have been the standard. Elric and Shadowjack hunting Cugel across Hyperborea, so that they can steal back the Carnelian Cube and return it to Nyarlathotep to save the realm of Faerie from the Demon Princes.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 19:19 on Apr 17, 2018

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Mors Rattus posted:

Y'know what showed a lack of thinking? Tekumel and Glorantha.
Tekumel is a great example of not thinking on the business side, that's for sure.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, it was just on the brain after recently reading a pirate RPG (Fragged Seas) that assumes everybody is a competent sailor, so there's no skill for basic ropework or swimming. That's just something you can do. So in a pulp fantasy game, just assume everybody fights. Of course, that kind of thing is easy to work into D&D-alikes as well, just assume everybody fights to an extent as a fighter of their level (at least, in versions with simple fighter classes).

TheGreatEvilKing posted:

The dumb killbot D&Dism is just a D&Dism that's not faithful to the source material.
Not only that, it's pretty reasonable in a quasi-medieval setting to assume that many people know a little bit about a lot of things, particularly violence.

gradenko_2000 posted:

I mean the only reason why the issue of "everyone is magical" keeps coming up is because the game is otherwise set up in such a way that non-magical characters are so much more limited in their capabilities than magical characters. You wouldn't need to "drop the Fighter and replace them with a spellsword" if the Fighter could do poo poo without narratively needing to write "magic" on their sheet.
Moreover, half the rules are spells or spell-like abilities that work on the basis "when this is triggered, X happens." Spellcasters are using a different set of base mechanics that other classes don't get to touch, and most of the interesting stuff happens there.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Cythereal posted:

The two-weapon fighting thing didn't come until fairly late in D&D and was mainly inspired by Drizzt.

Kaza42 posted:

The original ranger sub-class didn't have an animal companion or two-weapon fighting, and weren't particularly good at archery (normal fighting man level, no special bonuses).

I went reading into this a long while back, and here is how I remember it: Two-weapon fighting was introduced in 1e, and rangers were one of the classes that could do it, by virtue of being a fighter subclass. This only became a signature Ranger Thing after Drizzt.

Rangers are good at archery because of their high chance to ambush opponents and avoid being ambushed. If you're actually using the rules for combat segments, rangers are ace at softening up the opposition before they can get a shot off.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Thuryl posted:

I checked what my 2e PHB has to say. All warrior and rogue classes (so the fighter, paladin, ranger, thief, and bard) can dual-wield to gain a single bonus attack per round with their off-hand weapon, but at a penalty to all attack rolls: -2 for the main hand, -4 for the off-hand, modified by Dexterity. Rangers ignore this penalty as long as they're wearing studded leather armour or lighter. So by the time 2e came out, dual-wielding was something particularly associated with rangers, with mechanics to back it up. As far as I can see, they don't have any particular expertise at archery compared to the other warrior classes, but they did get the ability to hide in shadows and move silently (again, only in studded leather or lighter, and with a penalty when trying to do so in non-natural environments), and eventually access to low-level priest spells (starting at level 8, up to spell level 3 by level 12). Also, 2e rangers can fall just like paladins do and turn into fighters if they intentionally do evil, because 2e was the weirdest edition about alignment (although the rules for atonement are less strict than for paladins).
That's another thing, rangers didn't have their special abilities tied to lighter armor until 2e. The class became more distant from "basically Aragorn" in stages in 2e and finally in 3e.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

The Rifts setting sounds really fun to play in with a sane system, but I expect it would be easier to something like Rifts in another system than to actually fix Rifts.

As opposed to, say, Nightbane, where CJ Carella's good work just needs to be extracted from the claws of the Palladium system with minimal tearing.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I was looking over articles from a certain magazine to see if it was something I wanted to fit into reviews, and flipping through some of the bonus Morpheus tables (very much not by Carella, for the record), I was torn because "Okay, that's really surreal and weird." and "Okay, I see your fetish." It was at the point where I got to the crossdressing morpheus that gets a bonus to Horror Factor if the morpheus is more gender bender than gender disguise... that I decided I have enough trash to root through.
Man, when I think of the added Morpheus tables, the only thing I think of is how many of them are animal-based. I think this is purely because Palladium is lazy and variants based on animals and elements is a very easy and lazy way to pad out a supplement.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.



Have you ever heard of Ron Edwards? Heís kind of a big deal. Author of the games Sorcerer and Trollbabe, among others, and co-founder of The Forge, where he published the infamous essays System Does Matter, Fantasy Heartbreakers, and More Fantasy Heartbreakers. Among others. If youíre not familiar with the concept of a Fantasy Heartbreaker, well, this is the F&F thread. Wait another page or two and itíll come up.

It turns out that the whole time Edwards was discussing fantasy heartbreakers, he had a long-forgotten D&D homebrew, called Gray Magick, just sitting there in a manila folder. So he started a little project called the Heartbreaker Redemption Project on the Adept Press website, where he encouraged people to dust off their own heartbreakers and develop them. In 2014, Gray Magick was Kickstarted into Circle of Hands.

Edwards lists a lot of inspirations throughout the acknowledgements and first chapter, far too many to repeat here. Suffice to say that his influences within the hobby run from old school (The Fantasy Trip) to groundbreaking (Prince Valiant) to indie narrative (The Shadow of Yesterday) and even OSR (Lamentations of the Flame Princess). Literary influences include Moorcock, Poul Anderson, Sienkiewicz, and Karl Edward Wagner. He also recommends some philosophy, namely Wittgenstein and Nietzsche, and notes his inspirations from 70s prog rock (the title is a Uriah Heep song). Thatís not really my scene, but I promise Iíll write as much of this as I can while stoned to the gills and listening to Sleep.

Okay Just Tell Me What Itís About You Pedantic rear end in a top hat

Right.

Circle of Hands is set in a fantasy realm called the Crescent Land, an isolated region which forms the coast of a large bay to the east. Its people call themselves the Iron Folk. Their society is pre-medieval: primitive, poor, and violent. Culture is brutal and stagnant, not least because of the eternal war between black magic and white magic.

Black magic, called Rbaja (ur-bah-juh), is the force of chaos and pestilence. It maims and kills, inflames human passions to run out of control, raises vile undead, and summons insane demons. Left unchecked, Rbaja creates blasted wastelands full of rot and disease.

White magic, called Amboriyon, is the force of sterile purity. It heals and protects, quenches passion, summoning ruthless avatars and transcendent eidolons. Left unchecked, it creates idyllic cloud-citadels that call the people and lands below into a blinding light from which they will never return.

Most people are inclined to favour white magic over black magic, for obvious pragmatic reasons. But both are abstract cosmic forces that are ultimately incompatible with human life. Look at it this way: If wizards of Rbaja are Charles Manson, wizards of Amboriyon are Jim Jones.

Where You Come In

In the craggy coastal region of Rolke, something new is happening. A young king has seized power in the wake of decades of terrible magical wars, advised by an aged wizard who has somehow been practicing both kinds of magic without serving either side. The king has purged the land of wizards and declared a new strategy: use both kinds of magic, tactically, to oppose both Amboriyon and Rbaja.

A group of exceptional individuals has gathered around the king in Rolke. They are some of the best fighters in the Crescent Land, and they all know a mix of white and black magic. They are the Circle. Your PCs are knights of the Circle.



Sessions of Circle of Hands take the form of Ventures carried out by knights of the Circle. That means that a few Circle knights, that is you, heard about some problem or opportunity and rode off together to deal with it. Ventures are successful by default, usually; the game is about the impact it has on your characters and how they develop. The game is not about the political situation in Rolke. The king and his court are never depicted, and there are no rules concerning factions or domains.

Style and Content

Edwardsí voice and style in this book is unique, and I like it a great deal. Heís conversational, and sometimes he just drops references to help you visualize the world--ďI was thinking of Seven Samurai when I wrote this,Ē etc. The layout is sometimes a bit rambling, because he likes to include things like sidebars with a playtesterís take on his ideas, or give a broad overview before getting into details. Case in point, the first chapter starts with an Rundown (PDF) that lays out the game, its setting, and its rules in a couple pages.

Letís get this out of the way before we go any further: This game is set in a brutal pre-medieval society, and the background material frankly discusses injustices such as cold-blooded murder, rape, and torture.

Edwards insists that ďCircle of Hands is about survivorship, not victimhood.Ē He states that heís disgusted by the way that mass media harvests stories of trauma and commodifies them, and wants this game to be about confronting trauma, rather than exploiting it, via stories about hard people making hard choices. Later in the book are detailed procedures for setting boundaries and developing a consensus at the table on how to deal with these issues, if at all.


Chapter 1: Original Metal

This is Dark Age fantasy. Historians donít use that term anymore, but it applies. The landscape is beautiful but sparse, and action concerns monsters, magic, and combat.

Fantasy of this sort is often called Viking Age or Anglo-Saxon, but this isnít ancient Scandinavia or Britain with the serial numbers filed off. (Edwards says at itís closer to the 10th century Baltic, of which I know nothing.) Thereís no equivalent to the Roman Empire, as a touchstone for past glories, and no guarantee that this is all leading to chivalry or the Renaissance. If you want progress, you can start by killing that wizard over there.

I think the biggest buy-in for players of this game is that the institutions of the high medieval era, and whic you expect of a typical D&D campaign setting, simply havenít developed at all. Thereís no feudalism--no lord, no serfs, no manor. Thereís no monolithic religion--neither a Catholic Church nor the quasi-Roman ecumenical paganism of many fantasy campaign settings. The cutting edge of military technology, no pun intended, is mail hauberks and steel swords. Thereís no settlement big enough to be called a city. There isnít even any money!

So what do you have instead? Government is entirely local. Economy and society are managed by norms and customs, with hierarchies forming based on personal histories and relationships. Does this system, if it can even be called that, leave a lot of room for disagreement, jealousy, resentment, bullying, and simple misunderstanding? Isnít it under constant threat of breaking down into violence and terror? You bet. When the game isnít about bloody struggle, itís about the Circle knights dealing with a lot of scared and vulnerable people, most of them just trying to get by and get along.

GMing this Beast

It wouldnít be a Ron Edwards joint if there werenít prescribed methods for how to structure play, with diagrams.


GOTO sword

This is how Circle of Hands establishes setting. The backdrop is what the book gives you in the way of what a typical RPG calls its setting chapter, plus whatever details you fill in. The situation is what the group has prepared for play: the details of the latest Venture that the GM has prepared for this session, and the PCs that the players have created, with their history from previous sessions. The scene is where play actually happens.

Edwards makes these distinctions not only for the sake of organization, but to help establish the social contract at the table. Ron is responsible for the gameís backdrop. Everyone (but especially the GM) is responsible for the situation. Everyone is definitely responsible for how they play out scenes. He distinguishes two styles of dealing with controversial content, called No One Gets Hurt and I Will Not Abandon You. In the former, limits are made explicit from the beginning, and avoided in setting up situations and in play. In the latter, the players make each other aware of their feelings and are expected to respect one another, but not to outright avoid difficult issues. Circle of Hands is built around the latter.

Two specific techniques for handling content are Lines and Veils. Simply put: a Line means that you donít want something in the fiction, at all. A Veil means that you donít want it depicted directly. That is, it can be part of the backdrop or the situation, but not depicted in scenes of actual play.

(At this point I just want to say that I feel like Iím overselling the Mature Content a little. You can easily play this game without anybody getting raped or crucified. There are no rape monsters or whatever in this game, just frank reminders that oppression in the Middle Ages could be horrifying.)

Edwards even says ďIím butting into your game and establishing some Lines of my own, because I canít imagine running Circle of Hands without them.Ē He simply calls them Plot Armor. These are:

1. Circle knights donít die of infection. They theoretically could in this setting, but gently caress that.
2. Sex doesnít happen without the player initiating it.
3. Circle knights donít get pregnant unless itís the playerís idea.
4. Circle knights donít get raped. They theoretically could in this setting, but gently caress that a million times.

So why even propose dealing with this content in play at all? Edwardsí justification is that he wants to tell fantasy stories that are about the messiness and complexity of people and their lives, instead of one where going on an ďadventure,Ē slaying monsters, and getting treasures is just a procedural. Amboriyon and Rbaja both claim that theyíre good and evil, respectively, but both are abstract cosmic forces that are literally incompatible with the reality that humans live in. The Circle dealing with these forces while opposing them is basically symbolic of the need to create ethics and do some good in the world, against ideologies that are just imposed by force.

Why This Game?

Edwards wrote the game for the same reason anybody writes yet another fantasy game: You look at everything you can find, but feel thereís something you want thatís still missing. All of that got crammed into Circle of Hands, including some big ideals and a lot of little things. He wanted a game where combat felt desperate, damage feels like it hurts, and the value of a knife vs. a battleaxe was relevant to the situation. He wanted wizards to be crazy and weird and for magic to be alien and terrifying. He wanted to care about the characters, and for them to have real reasons for struggling and fighting. He wanted cosmic forces opposing each other without the PCs feeling like pawns.

Okay, enough pontificating. Next time Iíll talk about mountains and horses and axes and stuff. Iíll be trading off updates with Vampire, which will be getting back on track soon.


Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 14:02 on Apr 27, 2018

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Finally reading The Book of the New Sun series and it is truly amazing Dying Earth fantasy. I didn't expect it to be this good.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

I find myself at a loss to say much about Degenesis except that it's loving weird, but I'm glad they made it and I'm glad you're reviewing it.

Joe Slowboat posted:

Honestly it's probably the best science fantasy, possibly the best science fiction of any kind, novel of the 20th century in my opinion - and it's up against some drat strong competition!
I'm starting to read what people have to say about it and I'm getting the impression that a lot of people just don't get this kind of fantasy anymore. I quickly found a review praising the book that lamented how difficult it is to understand all the made-up words. You...don't have to keep track of them, there's no point.

After Tolkien's smashing success, people figured out that if you could get people invested in your worldbuilding, you had a gravy train. Enormous amounts of energy are spent in fandom just memorizing all the details of fictional universes. Dying Earth fantasy typically confounds this attempt at immersion via rote memorization, which is part of the charm.

I think a big part of why Vance resonates with me is that I discovered him during a time when it seemed fantasy had become synonymous with either licensed franchises or huge sprawling epics like WoT and ASoIaF. (I believe Martin has said that he greatly admires Vance and read a lot of him growing up, but that he's nothing like him as a stylist.)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Joe Slowboat posted:

...to bring this back to RPGs, Degenesis seems to use some of that language alienation, referencing things we don't yet know about often and vaguely. Does that work in an RPG? Can one have a setting book with implications rather than direct statements about immediate physical reality?
I think that characterizing your setting in such a way is a skill to teach to GMs, rather than something you can do directly in a book.

Apocalypse World does this: it's concerned with teaching you how to GM a post-apocalyptic world that is desperate, violent, wracked with scarcity and disease. It's not concerned with exactly what kind of post-apocalypse it is, which is up to you to invent. But it gives you some material conceits to go on: the rules make it clear that permanent settlements, guns, cars, and psychic powers are assumed to exist.

Circle of Hands is similar. I was going to put this in the opening chapter, but it got too wordy: in a typical fantasy setting book, the chapter on religion would immediately get into a list of gods, with notes on their depictions, symbols, spheres of influence, and their worshippers. It's up to you to see the forest for the trees and reckon that Eberron and the Forgotten Realms have a sort-of-Roman ecumenical paganism. CoH doesn't do this; it's much more concerned with explaining the general principles of the regional religion and its role in society. It's entirely up to you to decide that the people in this village worship some guy who died a century ago as a saint, and they honor him by burning something in an altar stone, which makes them prey for Amboriyon wizards who are big on rituals involving purification by fire...

Anyway. The only game I can think of that does almost or exactly what you're talking about is the Dying Earth Roleplaying Game itself, which is big on teaching players to just make up setting details while going about their picaresque misadventures. Because in accordance with what I was talking about, if two PCs have a rambling argument about what the Anti-Theocrats of the 3rd Aeon of the Lunar Era were doing, it has absolutely zero impact on things that are the GM's purview.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 16:03 on May 1, 2018

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

It's a great game. Make sure to get the Revivification Folio, which is basically the second edition. That and the Gaean Reach game both use the updated, streamlined version of the rules that were introduced in Skulduggery.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

PurpleXVI posted:

But in an RPG, you have to assume that the players and GM will want to make use of every part of the setting. So when their guide Jane Alienman goes: "Beware of the Bobs!" one of the players might want to peek over the ridge, so the GM is gonna need a description of what a Bob looks like. Or one of the players might flub their stealth roll, or just decide that they want to bring back a skinned Bob as a trophy, and then the GM is gonna need stats for them. Like, at most you can reference extremely setting-peripheral stuff, to give the GM some space to invent their own stuff. But if you reference something in an RPG, you should describe it and, ideally, stat it out, even if it's only in a supplement of some sort.
This is a point in favour of simple rules systems, whether they're indie narrative things or just old-school D&D: it's very easy to leave the details of the monster up to the GM when its stats are going to be simple and easy to deal with regardless.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Some Gumshoe games do this in various ways, particularly Night's Black Agents.

There are also plenty of narrative games where this sort of thing is just implicit in the way player abilities are used.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Kurieg posted:

Well, I mean, you can do that in Continuum, but you have to travel back into the past to create that coincidence otherwise you implode.
It's goddamn hilarious that someone finally made a RPG all about dealing seriously with time travel, and the method turns out to just be "keep a meticulous journal of everything your character does and get Punishment Points from the GM when you gently caress up."

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.



You must attack the word bastards who preach and teach evil godism and racism singularity lies, for any singularity brotherhood is mental slavery that desecrates family, village and tribal opposites. Americans are dumbass, educated stupid and evil singularity fools. I will wager $10,000.00 that within the Cubic embodiment of Nature, there are 4 simultaneous 24 hour days within a single rotationof Earth. Acknowledge the math below or go to hell.



4 Day Cube disproves 1 Day God.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

This might be cleared up if I go back and read more carefully, but I'm a little bewildered regarding who the PCs are supposed to be in Degenesis.

I like high weirdness in post-apoc RPGs, but yeah it is hard to get invested in the war between two factions of completely crazy people.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.



Vampire: The Masquerade (2nd Edition)

quote:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

--Thomas Stearns Eliot, ďBela Lugosiís DeadĒ

Interlude: A Dark History of Face Grabbing

I wanted to finish a Vampire update yesterday, but I was busy. I can only review Circle of Hands while smoking weed and listening to Sleep, and I can only review Vampire while drinking vermouth and listening to Clan of Xymox. I hope you understand. (Eventually, I'll review Vampire: Undeath. I guess I'll have to get into the Insane Clown Posse and get addicted to meth.)

In recompense I wanted to offer a brief interlude that touches on a crucial element of Vampire: the Masquerade that's been missing from my review thus far. It's very easy and very common to discuss every detail of a game while missing the forest for the trees. I'm talking about theme, of course. People have used vampire fiction to tell stories about addiction, exploitation, sexuality, alienation, and sin and redemption--often in combination. I'd even argue that most of the WoD edition wars over the years have boiled down to differences of opinion regarding theme.

But regardless of whatever other themes may be present in a Vampire campaign--sorry, chronicle--they are all ultimately stories about someone grabbing someone by the face. Their own face, or the face of another. It may arrive in the context of a pulse-pounding scene of violence where the grabbing of a face is the dramatic climax, or a quiet and deliberate scene in which a PC thoughtfully grabs their own face. But this is a vision that was presented consistently from the very start. These images are all from the corebook:



I reserve the rights to Mr. Bandanagrabber, Baby Bandanagrabber, and any other Bandanagrabber family character that might emanate therefrom



As a vampire, wearing Elvira nails is hiding in plain sight.



New Wave Face Grab



they cant troll you if there dead



Oh, where do I begin?



I mean, why would a guy with a bandana wanna grab another bandana? These are the questions I donít want to answer.



Youíre late. We already grabbed our faces.



Just leaving this here



His Joy Division shirt is also a vampire



The Bishop!



Who can forget that scene in 9 Ĺ Weeks where they have rough sex behind some Florida glass?



Peekaboo



So I was out with this girl, right? And she wanted to, yíknow, grab my face...but she left her glove on. Weird.



You can fall, I will catch you Iíll grab your face

Time after time

Time after time

Time after time



Next time on Kindred the Embraced: The first of two GMing chapters!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Gun catalogues in RPG books were more meaningful when you couldn't just Wikipedia a thousand different guns.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Yeah, lots of gun catalogue sourcebooks got a lot of mileage out of weird prototypes like the Jackhammer, the OICW, the Gyrojets...either by just including rules for them, or having a genre-adapted ripoff.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

JcDent posted:

Do you really want to wiki for something that the product you paid real money for could do that instead?
Like literally billions of other humans, yes.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

The thing is, when you dream of Good Cthulhutech, you're dreaming of Good Rifts. Cthulhutech was basically an attempt to do Good Rifts by tying everything together with the hottest public domain property that everyone else is also using.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Nessus posted:

Strangely enough in light of recent times, he didn't seem to have much beef with Latin Americans.
Well he didn't much care for Spaniards...

Robindaybird posted:

There is one Lovecraft story with implied rape, but that one is an outlier and lesser known ("The Curse of Yig"), but it's kind of just not a thing with Lovecraft.
I doubt that Lavinia Whateley's consented to bear the spawn of Yog-Sothoth, but the telling is about as far from pornography as you can get.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

For a weird post-apoc setting with weird biotech and such, I think I prefer Fragged Kingdom. But I understand that will be too much in the Dying Earth D&D mold for many people.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Reminds me of Bloodshadows, which is kinda steampunk, kinda 1950s, but mostly 1920s. And it's only possible through magic, because there's no government beyond the city-state.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Hot take: I'm reading Vampire: The Requiem second edition. I'm also reading Vampire: Undeath. They are about equal in terms of self-conscious edgy tryhardness.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Shub-Niggurath, in particular, is an entity that was never really depicted in Lovecraft's own stories, only appearing as references to a dark Cybele sort of figure. There are many different ways to make pastiche of or pay homage to Lovecraft's writing that don't involve spinning Shub-Niggurath out into a sex monster, yet that inevitably happens.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Overlight. Eoris, Anima, and Immortal also have insane character sheets, just off the top of my head.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Freaking Crumbum posted:

ugghhh that prose is physically painful to read. i appreciate the concept of "epic level play without having to do 20 levels of dirt farmer" but if that's indicative of the style throughout the book, i'd give this a hard pass

Still better than Requiem 2e.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Mythender seems pretty :krad: to me. I'm going to kill all of the gods with the power of Dialectical Materialism.

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Nessus posted:

Which splat is the dedication to the historical science of Marxism-Leninism?

Brujah, I think.

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