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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.

I'm guessing what happened there is that he wanted to give it a big gun, but the art asset doesn't depict a separate, bigger gun. You may point out that there's no reason to say it's "disguised" and you are right.

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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.

Because Molly Millions, I guess.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

The latest System Mastery has Shadowrun's number: it's the best game I know of to spend 8 hours creating characters and maybe 2 hours playing them.

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 only played editions 2, 3, and 4, but I don't see why it would be any less so in 5. Shadowrun Anarchy I don't know about.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

2 and 3 had priority systems; the biggest drag is spending your money on gear and customizing gear. Are there still a dozen or more options for stuff you can put in your cybereyes?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Shadowrun also catfishes you on building any front-line combatant that isn't a street samurai with money as Priority A. 2nd and 3rd are the editions I remember best, and they present you with various combat archetypes that you just shouldn't bother with.

I mean, unless your GM is being hardcore, you can certainly make a playable samurai archetype with Resources B. But any front-line combatant that's like "you rely on skills over cyberware," nah bro, it ain't happening. You are going to have metal in your body, and it's your choice whether that's Wired Reflexes or a hail of bullets.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Zereth posted:

I believe you can make a cyberarm-focused character work, but you have to do some really weird counterintuitive poo poo to make it work and it's mostly about cranking your Shoot Guns attribute on it real high and shooting guns with it while tanking your meat attributes.

I think in most editions you can also make an Adept, but then you're basically just trading the chrome for magic to do the same thing the chrome would. Or sometimes you can use genetically engineered meat implants instead of chrome or magic.
That's true. With Adepts, you're trading less power and versatility now (because you can cram way more cyberware with way more options into yourself at character creation than what you get from Adept powers) for potentially more power later, since there isn't that hard Essence cap. Depending on what type of Adept you build, they can be the frontline combatant, though not the best.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Young Freud posted:

Isn't there also a spell that "enhanced reflexes" spell that you can put into a spell or weapon foci and have it run 24/7?
In 3e, a weapon focus adds its rating to your weapon skill, and it's astrally active. (it goes with you when you astral-project and can hurt spirits and such.) Anyone can use them but Adepts prize them. I don't think Adepts can make foci, though.

Other foci are brokenly good if you've got the cash. There are foci that boost your ability to resist drain from a category of spells, or all spells, and in 4e they introduced sustaining foci (that do what you said) and foci that effectively increase your Magic rating.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

The coolest thing about the post-apocalyptic world is that all guns must weigh at least 20 pounds and your clothes at least twice that.

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:

I believe there's a Heinlein line about how if you give a guy too many gears and equipments and crap to tote around, eventually some naked guy with a rock will sneak up behind him and bash his brains out while he's trying to read a vernier.
A rock is too much work. I'll wait for him to die of heat exhaustion in his pleather bodysuit and armor made of car parts.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Kavak posted:

So what's the RPG equivalent of the film selected to replace it on Best of the Worst after the group starts to die of boredom?
There are a number of systems out there that, like RIFTS, purport to do any and every type of game with one universal system and have rules for everything from mecha to magic. None of them are as bad as RIFTS, but all of them are probably almost as big a nightmare to actually play. Apologies to the Blacksburg Tactical Research Center.

I imagine that if the RIFTS movie were actually going to get made, Kevin would be impossible to deal with because he'd want way, way, way too much stuff from the setting to be crammed into the movie. And he'd do what he's always done with his own stuff: push for it to cater to hardcore RIFTS fans to the exclusion of everyone else.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Oh hey, I finally got a working wifi adapter, so I can actually work on my reviews at home how.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Well...

I'm reading HOSTILE, which advertises itself as "a gritty sci-fi RPG" on the cover. Its list of inspirations is basically every horror-in-space movie since Alien, and it clearly articulates its themes. But when you get to the actual rules...it's just OSR Traveller. The horror is supposed to be intrinsic to the setting because space is dangerous and society is unequal, but that's just an iteration of Traveller. Granted, Traveller is not a bad base on which to build a horror campaign, but if you're doing that, do you really care about star system maps and terrain types? I tapped out after skimming the stuff about different types of planets and then seeing "warfighter" in descriptions of different body armor types.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Dawgstar posted:

That's another of Kevin's weird attempts at realism. 'The giant metal machines must have hundreds of my special hit points!' Because he never heard of a mook rule (which weren't common when he wrote his stuff, to be fair).

You know, I'm starting to think you can't actually build a coherent system, that encompasses everything from foot soldiers to mecha to wizards to dragons, out of a ripoff of AD&D.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Just as the von Bildhofens were the dynasty of the big landed property and the Unfähiger the dynasty of money, so the Holswig-Schliesteins are the dynasty of the peasants, that is, the Imperial masses. The chosen of the peasantry is not the Karl Franz who submitted to the Elector Counts but the Karl Franz who dismissed the Elector Counts. For three years the principalities had succeeded in falsifying the meaning of the 2502 election and in cheating the peasants out of the restoration of the Empire. The election of 2429 has been consummated only by the coup d’état of 2502.

Historical tradition gave rise to the Imperial peasants’ belief in the miracle that a man named Holswig-Schliestein would bring all glory back to them. And there turned up an individual who claims to be that man because he bears the name Karl Franz, in consequence of the Lore of Sigmar, which decrees: “Inquiry into paternity is forbidden.” After a twenty-year Waaagh! and a series of grotesque adventures the legend is consummated, and the man becomes the Emperor of Man. The fixed idea of the grandson was realized because it coincided with the fixed idea of the most numerous class of the Imperial people.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 17:58 on Sep 10, 2018

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:

A angry walking tree can probably deal with axemen easier than with riflemen.
On the one hand, I wouldn't want to be within reach of an angry Ent. On the other hand, what do you think shooting a tree with an arquebus is going to do?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Who's going to take you seriously as a charlatan if you can't even be bothered to carry around a few vials of sugar water?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I like that as you become a celebrated physician, you become an alcoholic and then a politician.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Dooming is stupid because you can't copyright that. It should be the doomsaying, or the gloomrite, or the necrocast.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Sovereign citizens can only successfully cast one magic spell, which is to make police abolitionists approve of police brutality

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

You'd necessarily have to be able to drive around town, go shopping, etc. What you couldn't do is acknowledge the social infrastructure (laws, etc.) that makes it possible. So you can't get a driver's license (or any other kind of license), and no paying fines or fees to the government or any other big distant entity.

Conspiracy theories are how uneducated people analyze power and economy. Sovereign Citizen schemes are literally magick for people who are so confused by, and suspicious of, the legal system that it may as well be magick.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Young Freud posted:

I'd say you'd lose charges if you go on welfare, pay for public transit, or call the cops.
Not the one in the middle, because "Put the money in the slot and I'll take you where you want to go" doesn't involve any abstraction. Tolls, same thing. Paying taxes for maintenance of public roads, on the other hand...

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Well, this is a long time coming. Sorry, everybody!



Vampire: The Masquerade (2nd Edition)

Preface
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Setting
Interlude: A History of Face Grabbing

quote:

To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.

--Christian Death, Beyond Good and Evil

Chapter Three: Storytelling

Vampire does something I don’t think I’ve seen in any other game: it has two chapters on the art of gamemastering. The first, “Storytelling,” gives advice on GMing in the moment, while a later chapter advises you on assembling a campaign.

If you follow this thread, you’re likely aware that Vampire came to be associated with a particular style of GMing. You could call it auteur theory for roleplaying; the gist is that the GM is the author of the Story. The players’ job is to figure out where they’re supposed to go and what they’re supposed to do to allow the story to progress. A rough synopsis for the campaign has already been written. Critics of Vampire and the games it inspired say that they confine the players to being passive participants in storytelling, perhaps wallowing in melodrama for lack of any real agency.

I have experience with several games from the 90s-00s that were designed from this point of view. They tend to portray the GM’s job as an enormous design project, and the players as dirty, sticky-fingered children prone to wrecking everything they touch. The worst product of these games are “narrative mechanics” that really serve as a cudgel to keep the PCs in line. (If you’re curious, read my review of Everlasting: a Vampire Heartbreaker full of “legendmaking” mechanics that mainly serve to punish players whose style doesn’t meet your standards.)

Why were there so many of these games? My analysis is that it was simply the state of the art. The hobby was still breaking away from from the adversarial, punitive style of GMing that enshrined itself in the 80s. The focus of discipline just shifted away from rules mastery and tactical decisionmaking, and onto roleplaying “the right way.”

But back to Vampire itself. Is it fair to lump it in with the games it inspired? That’s one of the questions that led me to revisit it. Whatever the case may be in later White Wolf publications, the advice given in this chapter is solid. It advocates a healthy balance between preparation and improvisation, uses specific examples to discuss common problems, and puts priority on keeping yourself and the players entertained.


Gonna jump this sweet baby over a pope

The Role of the Storyteller

It does, unfortunately, kick off by emphasizing the godlike power and responsibility of being the Storyteller. The Storyteller’s role is likened to that of a director, stage manager, and other behind-the-scenes roles in a stage production combined, and a poet, inventor, even a god. After all, it’s your job to create a detailed world out of thin air, be the final authority on the rules, play all the NPCs convincingly, and most importantly, improvise responses to the PCs, who have complete freedom of action.

With that out of the way, the first specific advice it gives is that you should “never simply tell a story” and force the game down a predetermined path. Prepare, but don’t over-prepare: anticipate the likely paths the PCs may take, but have a few contingency plans. Prepare story hooks, not a detailed plot.

The advice on rules is mostly about when to set them aside. On the spectrum from “rules lawyer” to “freeform,” Vampire leans toward the latter. But whether you use every optional rule in every subsystem, or only make simple rolls on occasion, the PCs’ should always feel like their decisions matter. It raises an example: Let’s say the PCs have spent weeks tracking down a centuries-old tome with vital information about the Sabbat. A botched roll results in the PC holding the book falling into a huge fire. How to handle it?

One way is simple to negate the roll. That works, but may teach the players both that the plot is set in stone and that they can never really fail. A better way is to amend the story--the book and the PC are toast, but another way forward soon presents itself. Yet another way is to allow the player a last-ditch effort to throw the book to safety. The best way to handle it is a matter of opinion, but ideally you want to run a game where failure is real, but the campaign isn’t going to end abruptly because of a few rolls of the dice.

The next section is about managing the players and the advice here is...mature and reasonable. (Today, that’s a low bar to clear, but in 1992 it was still common for games to encourage Machiavellianism, vindictiveness, and outright cruelty on the part of the GM.) If a player becomes too domineering, talk to them privately and point out the problem. If other players aren’t speaking up, solicit their input. And if a problematic player refuses to change, don’t invite them back.

This section also says that the GM is first and foremost an entertainer, encourages you to cater to the players’ tastes, and lists off some reasons that people enjoy roleplaying games: storytelling, problem solving, accomplishment, emotional catharsis, power fantasy, the chance to be someone different, and just hanging out with friends.

Storytelling

The next section goes into detail about effective storytelling in horror, and how that applies to roleplaying games, dealing with several interrelated concepts one by one. I’ll discuss them in terms of how they relate to one another, not the order in which they’re presented.

The first and foremost is suspense. Anticipation and mounting dread are more important than shock or gore to the kind of horror Vampire wants to create, which is “suspense in the Hitchcock tradition,” not “splatterpunk or slasher horror.” Simply adjusting to their new existence as a vampire is a source of fear and mystery. You want the players to feel anxiety, and vampiric existence is constant anxiety because there are so many dangers and risks beyond the limits of what you can perceive, much less predict or control.

Another vital element is timing, which is “so personal and subtle that it is impossible to teach.” That’s just wrong, but anyway, timing has two functions. First, you want to begin with mystery and anticipation before spiraling into horror and chaos. Second, you need to control the pacing of scenes so that fast-paced events, like combat, actually feel frenetic and desperate.

Two more closely related concepts are change of pace and the deadline. The first is simple--like most horror films, you can’t just build tension to a fever pitch and then keep it there for the rest of the story, so build in calmer scenes that ultimately serve as “the eye of the hurricane.” At the same time, horror stories are often built around some looming threat that will reach critical mass if the protagonist doesn’t actively fight it. If the players get so comfortable that they think the plot is something just sitting there while they decide how to approach it, ambush them. You don’t have to force them down a railroad, but you do have to deny them the luxury of planning out their every move.

Two elements that stand in contrast are description and what Vampire labels imagination--by which it means “don’t tell them what to imagine.” Setting the scene in lavish detail, right down to the odor of blood, establishes a Gothic horror atmosphere. However, any horror fan will tell you that a great deal of it is about what isn’t there. Give them clues that point them in a certain direction, but leave out the details and let them drive themselves crazy.

An element that stands alone is “delayed success.” Vampire has extended roll mechanics, and encourages you to use these for set-pieces where the PCs are in a race against time.

Next are secrecy and intrigue. Horror roleplaying isn’t just about constantly menacing the players, it’s also about creating a setting full of mysteries that demand to be investigated. This is easy in Vampire because Kindred live on intrigue as much as blood. They’re selfish, never totally honest about their agenda, and (knowingly or not) always doing the bidding of a Kindred higher up the pyramid--all the way up to the Antediluvians themselves. With that in mind, a related element is scope--start small and build to an epic conflict, or start big and slowly focus more and more on character drama. (I understand what they’re trying to see, but this comes across as vague and strange. It even uses the Death Star as an example of a threat that at first seems overwhelming, which is a downright bizarre choice of example. I can think of better examples from contemporary films that would be more relevant to a game about vampires.)

The last, and most dubious concepts I’ll discuss are the safe haven and dependents. Don’t let the players have a “home base” where they can always assume they’re safe. Better yet, do, and build their trust in it over time so that you can pull the rug out from under them. By the same token, encourage the PCs to build relationships with mortals...then kill them off, or turn them into villains. Though the book does caution you to be careful with turning allies into villains, any experienced GM can tell you that menacing the PCs’ homes and loved ones has to be done gracefully if you don’t want the players to think that you’re punishing them for investing themselves in the story.

A small but intriguing idea I’d like to point out is the idea of storytelling as a cure for the alienation of modern society. In the list of reasons people roleplay, Vampire says that people enjoy power fantasy because “many people feel powerless in today’s impersonal, hypertechnological society.” On the same page, it says that the unique appeal of roleplaying as a medium is in the free will it affords, “unlike the real world where it is all too easy to feel like a very small cog in a very large machine.” This sentiment doesn’t recur often enough for me to think that a lengthy critique would be fruitful, but I think it’s interesting in light of the fact that the World of Darkness was often accused of being anti-technology and anti-modern.

Advanced Storytelling

What the book calls “advanced storytelling” techniques are more like a series of specific gimmicks. The first is flashbacks, in case you’re really jazzed about Highlander. But seriously, they encourage you to use flashbacks to explore some event in a PC’s past, with other players taking the roles of people close to them. It suggests using flashbacks to show that a PC’s sire was observing them for some time before their Embrace, perhaps since they were born. That’s creepy as poo poo, and I have to admit it has storytelling potential, but I don’t think I’ve ever known a Vampire group that tried it.

A similar idea is the parallel story, where the group takes on new roles as other characters involved in the events of the campaign. One idea I like is playing out a slasher-movie premise wherein the PCs are vacationers who run into, say, a pack of Sabbat vampires. I doubt any of my players would go for it, but I do like the idea of taking a break to play some poor dumb bastards who suddenly realize they’re living in a bleak horror setting.

Some ideas that don’t impress me at all are foreshadowing, dream sequences, and symbolism. Vampire suggests you play out scenes where some characters are receiving premonitions of some future threat, or exploring a character’s psyche, perhaps with Auspex (a Kindred power of psychic awareness) as a rationalization. They even suggest having players search for a nonexistent “Talisman” that encourages them to think about their characters’ real goals. In my experience, professional RPG writers are inconsistent when it comes to writing scenes involving dream-logic and symbols without being clumsy and obvious, and your average GM is much worse.

Last, and most importantly, a couple of pages are devoted to Live Action Role Playing. I don’t know if any game before Vampire included advice for LARPing in its corebook. As far as rules are concerned, LARPing requires the GM to make snap judgments about whether attempts should succeed or fail based on the PCs’ Traits--the famous rock-scissors-paper rules from Laws of the Night haven’t been developed yet.

The other rules are the common-sense ones that everybody knows and everybody breaks. No real weapons or realistic replicas should be used. Never play in a place where the other people present don’t know what’s going on.* Always respect the Storyteller’s authority to call a time-out. It also has plenty of suggestions for appropriately atmospheric decorations. Candles, Black fabric hangings, “creepy” music, more loving candles, top hats, capes, and canes. Try to find a cane and a top hat with candles on top. Preferably black.

*I once threatened to kill someone, loudly, in a hotel room. gently caress you, I roll Brujah.

Do’s and Don’ts

The chapter ends with a straightforward set of bullet points for the aspiring Vampire Storyteller. Most of this has been woven into what we’ve already discussed.

Do keep all the players involved. Always give everyone something to do. Even if you pay more attention to the more active players, don’t ignore anybody.

Do go beyond the rules. “The rules are for keeping the players in line.” Hm. Anyway, you don’t have to carefully roll dice for everything NPCs are doing--especially if you’re dealing with elder vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, and other things we haven’t written sourcebooks for yet.

Do let the PCs interact with each other. If they only roleplay in interaction with NPCs and not each other, something’s wrong.

Do take breaks. Players get time to think when you’re dealing with other players, but you don’t, unless you decide to take one. (It even encourages you to pretend you’re consulting the book in order to get a break, which seems strange.)

Do let the players have input. If you don’t keep a PC’s goals in mind, the player can’t stay in character.

Don’t punish the players. While bad choices and bad rolls should have negative consequences, don’t punish players for coming up with ideas that aren’t exactly what you anticipated.

Don’t railroad. Vampire is a game of selfish bastards with desires and goals. Leading the group around by the nose through some plot you’ve already decided defeats the purpose.

Don’t let the dice decide everything. The primary driver of the plot should be the characters’ choices. The dice are there to add some unpredictably.

Don’t forget the characters’ Traits. Vampire characters have critical weaknesses and superhuman powers. For example, if your story rests on a single missing clue, a character with certain powers can instantly find it. You might also find yourself guilty of springing an ambush on the PCs that their powers or their allies should reasonably have warned them about.

Don’t rely on stereotypes. Stock characters are useful, but you should always challenge them and add nuance. A dangerous villain, for example, might be acting out of fear and desperation.


I came away from my reread of Vampire surprised at how much it emphasizes the freedom, creative input, and self-motivation of the players, as opposed to the “auteur director” reputation it attained, deservedly or not, later in the life of the product line.

This update of Vampire: the Masquerade was brought to you by absinthe. Absinthe! When the world is a gently caress but you're too refined to be a craggy Bukowski type...what was I saying?




Next time on Kindred the Embraced: The basic mechanics of this game. Hope you like Shadowrun!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations."

--Anne Rice, The Hellbound Heart

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

quote:

Example has more followers than reason.

--Victor Hugo, "Wait for the Blackout"
As far as I know, White Wolf invented it. Nightlife might have inspired them with its bits of (atrociously written) flavour text at the beginning of section headings, but I think Vampire was the first game to use quotes from a wide range of influences, including philosophy, poetry, novels, and music ranging from industrial to punk to gangsta rap.


Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 14:00 on Oct 5, 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 theoretically possible to balance multiple actions, but the same games that play with multiple action mechanics tend to make Dex the God-Stat and make offense much more powerful than defense. I'm looking at you, White Wolf.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Torg is another one of those settings that's very intriguing from the outset, but the moment you try to engage with the details and the mechanics, it's like the authors are screaming "gently caress off!" and slamming the door in your face.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Didn't somebody here say that the lesson of Final Fantasy combat is that only playing a party would be really interesting, as the individual characters don't have many meaningfully different options? It feels like that's still the case.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

grassy gnoll posted:

As of January, you could buy your own copy of the Modiphus-published licensed Infinity RPG.

The kickstarter for it launched September 16th of 2015, with a projected completion date of December of that year.

Modiphus has been able to churn out kickstarters before, because they've got a basic engine they slap stuff onto, they fill out some background and change some details, and bam, completed project. It actually works pretty well for Infinity, because their 2d20 system isn't that far off the normal Infinity rules.

Gutier "Interruptor" Rodriguez, CEO of Corvus Belli, is also the loremaster. If that sentence didn't fill you with dread, this will: Infinity is a published version of his campaign, and many named characters in the setting are NPCs or PCs from his tabletop campaign from back when.

Imagine your typical GM obsessed with worldbuilding. He's got binders full of crap you don't care about, and he'll sure as hell correct you if you misspeak at the table.

Now give him production control over a licensed product from his IP.

The Kickstarter still isn't finished.
I'm just not a minis gamer, but I've always found something charming about the Infinity setting and its design. I saw one of the rulebooks in a Half Price Books not long after it came out, and I couldn't make head or tail of it, but it looked cool. I opened the book at random to find it talking about an enlightened science-fictional Islamist society and that was cool.

When I heard there was going to be a RPG I was really interested, and then the news just sort of dropped off over time...

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Night10194 posted:

You kind of have to have an actual hook to get people to bother reading complicated backstory.

Like for all its problems, Vampire at least had a hook: "You're sexy vampires just like those sexy vampire novels that are popular! Come live in sexy dark vampire society and be different than D&D." is going to get someone's attention, especially at the time it came out. Here it's like pages and pages about its dozen silly apocalypses and who even cares, there's nothing about what you get to do in the game so your eyes just slide off the page.

JcDent posted:

I think their issue is that they're not starting on a personal level promise/hook (you're a vampire doing intrigue in gothic urban hellscape) and then moving into the weeds (antediluvians, space doesn't exist, but mages do, etc), while the heartbreakers go "here's our stupid cosmology, 65 million years of it, gently caress you."
Many games are guilty of putting a huge infodump chapter right near the beginning. Some have succeeded in spite of it--I mean, Fading Suns did pretty well for awhile, right? But it's still a drag.

But many attempts to build new RPG franchises fall completely flat because the corebook elaborates a huge setting that still, somehow, lacks anything interesting for someone planning a campaign to grab onto. In the D20 era, there was a glut of games that were trying to simultaneously be similar to and distinct from an anodyne D&D campaign setting.

Alpha Omega is a post-apocalypse setting that's also a huge multi-genre kitchen sink. So, it's one of a few attempts I've seen to do Rifts but better. That's understandable, because Rifts is unplayably bad. (People who theoretically play Rifts eschew as much of the rules as they can.) But it seems like a bland hash, when all is said and done.

Infinity may gleefully and blatantly rip off a whole bunch of stuff, but the end result is not generic. Alpha Omega's art is fine in terms of quality, but it's like, here's a Cenobite and here's a generic cyberpunk mook and here's one of the guys from Age of Sigmar. Meh.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Night10194 posted:

"Special forces teams knife each other in the dark edges of a cyberpunk future." is a clear, gameable premise.
And I get to be Cyber Tito?! Take my loving money you assholes!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

That's neat, but it's Monte Cook writing and Monte Cook design. It's like unearthing and translating the Voynich Manuscript and finding out it's stereo instructions.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

We've come a long way from Ron Perlman's knife pistols in Blade 2.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

EclecticTastes posted:

-Someone is violating somebody else's patent, they need to be stopped (add complications to taste).
Yeah, this is where they lost me.

EclecticTastes posted:

SOCIALISM GONE MAD, and much, much more!
Don't mind me, I'll just be over here, sharpening these knives.

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:

I think the idea is that in the Post-Scarcity World of Immortal Space Wizards, the only property that can matter is intellectual property and therefore it has to be taken really seriously?
In the Post-Scarcity World of Immortal Space Wizards, why would you care? I'll hold off until we actually get to that part of the book, but goddamn.

IMO post-scarcity sci-fi games suffer from the problem of having competing factions that are just some cultural trend exaggerated to an extreme (which usually doesn't interest me). The problem is that the alternative is having a serious real-world political philosophy in a sci-fi context, which I assume most people don't want. Except me. I want to play a municipalist and protect my transhuman commune from the anarcho-libertarian mercenaries.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 14:20 on Oct 11, 2018

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Night10194 posted:

Inexplicable hooker assassins with wired reflexes, broken character generation that can produce terror-gods, millions of years of pointless backstory, a totally pointless METAPLOT APPROVED goal, and a secret cabal so secret they physically can't be seen or in any way interacted with by those filthy PCs.
You know somebody just had to pull a "Hold my beer and watch this" on SLA Industries.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

unseenlibrarian posted:

Honestly my favorite game in the vague Christapocapunk genre is Carella's Armageddon, which also feels like "Well I can't make Rifts anymore so I'm gonna make my own rifts with blackjack and talking cats that can turn into humans and have angels team up with devils and Thor to fight Cthulhu. In fact, forget the blackjack."
Unisystem is at least a better basic system than I've ever seen a Riftalike use. It was one of Eden's first releases, I think, but if its implementation is clunky you can always crib stuff from Buffy and AFMBE.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I wish Jef and Jon had gotten into the monsters in their review of Beyond the Supernatural (thanks ForkBanger) because it's easily the best part of it.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

If I remember right, the Cognitive Union is the only culture that's even based on a coherent real-world philosophy, and it's "Socialism is brainwashing." It's quite telling.

Most of the others are based on a subculture. Not just subcultures that have fully-realized communities--there are Nano Gypsies and Nano Amish--but some that explicitly evolved from fandom like the Tao of History. It's a real shame that even when people imagine a post-scarcity near-utopia, the dream is to just make your entire life a twee club scene.

It reminds me of nothing so much as when I was reviewing Tradition Book: Hollow Ones, and I realized that all "Awakening" meant to the characters is that they'd have the resources to make everything in their life exquisitely goth without running out of money or suffering negative social consequences. Like, yeah, I'd love to inherit a pile of money too.

Anyway, I presume the Eternal Masquerade is largely inspired by Jack Vance's "The Moon Moth."

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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.

I don't mean to pour cold water on what you're doing, by the way. Reviews of flawed games are illustrative, and I like reviewing ones that are downright terrible!

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