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Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Bieeardo posted:

That really was something. Embracing Louis gave Lestat nice digs out of town, but then they fed like the world's worst-conceived Ventrue. Small wonder everyone hated Lestat in the later books, he was a singing and dancing violation of the not-Masquerade.

Isn't that a big part of Lestat, though? I mean, the guy intentionally made himself into a Rock God with the plan of outing all the vampires because he was tired of hiding.

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Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Halloween Jack posted:

(It's amazing how, in the absence of GM advice that directly and consistently addresses the reader concerning playstyle, what is implied to the reader can be incredibly divisive. The rift between Shadowrun's writing and it's art made for a schizophrenic online fanbase. I got so tired of stuffy idiots whining that a Gibsonian dungeoncrawl game shouldn't have combat in it, ever, or you and your players are dumb babies.)

Thing is, both extremes work just fine in Shadowrun depending on what part of that very, very fractured society you run in. It can be Minority Report and Johnny Mneumonic and the Matrix, all without having to be untrue to the setting.

Now if you want to talk divisive, SR's issue is that the later editions went from focusing on gritty cyberpunk to an iFuture with hints of transhumanism and thus created a rift in the fanbase.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Night10194 posted:

Honestly they'd have been kinda cool in a 'We need to put down these stupid bastards before they draw the hawthorn and silver down on us.' kind of way if they'd stayed there.

And if humans had had any teeth to make vampires want to stay hidden.

Yeah, that's always been my problem with WoD. The supernaturals don't really have much reason to stay hidden. I mean, you could openly market ghouling people as a wonder drug that cures all sorts of illnesses by glossing over the drawbacks.

Literally the only thing keeping 2e mages in check was that reality itself hated them.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Young Freud posted:

Except you're forgetting that Max had the Hi-Octane Crazy Blood. They even tattooed it on his back. Nux even mentions he feels different from the normal top-ups with Max as his blood bag.

Max is a universal donor, not starving to death and dehydrated, and doesn't have blood cancer (or -everything- cancer, like the Warboys). That's all that means.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






“The good are innocent and create justice. The bad are guilty, which is why they invent mercy.”

Granny Weatherwax would make a great Hunter.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






MJ12 posted:

The trick to understanding oWoD is that the three gamelines are not really set in the same universe. They are basically set in three similar universes with different metaphysical assumptions, which share a handful of defining metaplot events. Think of the difference between Vampire and Mage or Werewolf like... the difference between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the normal comic books. There's a lot of shared names and events and congruence, but once you look past the surface level you can see a lot of differences.

And yes, in nWoD mages are still God Tier with an immense abyss between their power levels and everyone else.

Yeah, the End of oWoD books made that very explict. Each of the game lines had their own apocalypses, which were all mutually impossible with all the other lines'.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






JcDent posted:

I want to be the anti-fa super soldier or vampire marxist, yes!

Roll up an anarch campaign then. They're a blast. Full on 90's punk.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






JcDent posted:

Stop stealing words from Buddhism/whatever sounds exotic, Gundam.

As for Death of the Author 40K, I have basically have to compartmentalize liking Imperium away from my leftist views and milhistish hate for inefficiency. If IoM was perfect, it would be Star Trek Federation and nobody would care. I only watched TOS, but even the show doesn't care about post scarcity/post conflict society, focusing instead on people who get out there to gently caress green skinned alien space babes and shoot quantum mortars.

I play 40k, and I have no idea how anyone could find the Imperium likable. Interesting from a gameplay standpoint, sure, but they are objectively bad. They waste countless billions of lives for no reason at all other than keeping the Lords of Terra insulated from a universe that is omnicidal.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






The Orks are the real protagonists.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Freaking Crumbum posted:

personally I'd just rule that as long as the population figures for Barovia are within the realm of possibility, then none of the other realms matter because if you're in Ravenloft and you're not actively adventuring in Strahd's realm, why the gently caress are you even using that setting.

Because Sithicus is interesting too? That's about it.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Terrible Opinions posted:

I imagine D&D courtship consists of tests to find out what sort of shapeshifting monster your potential partner might be. Changelings, Shifters, Tieflings etc presumably come from people going "eh close enough" and shacking up with a doppelganger or whatever.

Oglaf has a strip for this. Lonely wives waiting for their husbands to come home from whatever war their lord conscripted them to fight don't always make the best choices. :)

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






wiegieman posted:

So does it seem kinda skeezy to anyone else that VTM has specific jargon for this?

Nah, vampires are all about having minions, so of course they have language around that, and around poaching each other's minions.

Part of the thing with oWoD is that the Kindred have this whole complicated society built to let them pretend they aren't monsters. It's all about distraction and euphamism, because they don't want to admit what they are. The few clans who do admit to and embrace being monsters become the Sabbat, who are the scariest sort of zealots. Most of them are off the Path of Humanity entirely, having developed completely inhuman philosophies or embraced power for power's sake.

Liquid Communism fucked around with this message at 22:09 on Dec 9, 2017

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Just load your gloves with iron shot and go punch 'em in the nose.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Libertad! posted:

Is the bolded part your words or inside the book? It sounds like "inherited the trappings" implies that it's just window dressing, but the whole concentration camps and continual hatred of (((degenerates subversives))) is the core of fascism as well as the trappings.

From my initial impressions the Regime are fascists of the overt Hitlerian kind. In the sample pages on Drive-Thru RPG one of them portrays a middle-class family giving the Nazi salute to a television screen:



From the last post SIGMATA reads more like US Red Scare fears cranked up to 11, but no Man in the High Castle style Nazi Parties getting in power or how The Jewish Question came back in vogue; it sounds like SIGMATA's America still has a two-party system, albeit with the Democrats weak and ineffectual. The modern era and our President calling Charlottesville protestors "very fine people" is more a very recent culmination of white nationalism that's been bubbling under the surface since the Southern Strategy, but the whole McCarthy-Nazi pipeline feels a bit far-fetched without more explanation.

The art for Sigmata has nothing to do with the game Walker wrote. I actually refunded my kickstarter pledge for this one based on the stuff he showed off about the setting, because it is very, very unrealistic about how fascism works and is fought against.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Nessus posted:

Sigmata would be way cooler if it was like Spirit of '77, just set in '86 and with pirate radio giving you sick Terminator power to beat the poo poo out of Ronny Rayguns.

I imagine the purpose of "the Regime has no ideological underpinnings" is to simultaneously avoid writing something that might offend or cause lots of complaining by the plausible audience (which is lame) but also to remove even the hypothetical prospect of a "True Believer" who genuinely and profoundly believes in the ideals of AmeriKKKa, and that latter part I think has some value to it.

The purpose is that the four factions you have to appease as The Resistance are groups that are all natural allies of fascism, so a regime with any ideological underpinnings would be 'one or more of the protagonists are really the Enemy'.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Nessus posted:

Now I'm just a humble country puppeteer and I may not be fully up to date on who is to blame for all the troubles, but wasn't one of those groups explicitly "left-leaning progressives a la :bernpop: "

Some days it feels like literally everyone is the natural ally of fascism, which makes me wonder if the term has perhaps been construed too broadly.

Nah, it's right wing militamen (the 1980's Compound In The Woods kind mixed with weird post 9/11 abandoned vets despite it being way early for that), Evangelical Christianity, Randian Libertarians upset that the fascism is getting in the way of profits, and tankies.

Liquid Communism fucked around with this message at 11:30 on Jul 31, 2018

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Zereth posted:

I guess they're going extremely literal with the "This machine kills fascists" subtitle?

Unless the game is really convincing I think I'm going to find "the first three of these you listed are not firmly in bed with the government" more unrealistic than "there's a radio signal that turns people into sweet-rear end cyborgs, somehow".

That was pretty much my peeling off point for deciding I'd never get people to sit down and play the game. The factions are deep enough into the mechanics that I don't think you could drag them out without rewriting enough that it's easier to play shadowrun instead.

Liquid Communism fucked around with this message at 15:38 on Jul 31, 2018

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






JcDent posted:

How do you bake tankies into the mechanics?

Do they have cyborg gulag powers or what?

You make them a group that your PCs have to have backing from and keep happy or you lose.


potatocubed posted:

The overwhelming impression I have of Sigmata is that the author just doesn't know enough about politics or history to write the game he wanted to write. Like, sure, base your factions off the Arab Spring, whatever -- but you can't just translate those into 1980s America and have things still make sense. That's not how politics works.

You can look out of your window right now and see how three of his four 'resistance' groups are enthusiastically lining up to support the fascists, internment camps and all, and the fact that he apparently didn't bother to do even that frustrates me immensely.

Of course, the other impression I get of Sigmata is that the dude was trying to write a real-life resistance handbook disguised as a game. And... I don't know what I think of that?

Here's an interview he did where he explains his choices. It comes off as deeply naive to both history and politics to me.

quote:

Chad Walker: As a classic insufferable liberal, I feel really gross about the public discourse becoming so vile and grotesque—and inhumane—when it comes to people’s struggles. Whether it’s immigrants, or people of color getting killed by police all the time, or transgender people being denied their very existence, the rhetoric from their opposition is so vile—and it’s no longer on the fringes. The vileness is front page.

That really concerns me. But it’s more than all that awfulness. I also think about liberalism’s failure to solve or counter it. Think back to the 2016 election. I forget which of the debates it was, but in one, Hillary Clinton showed up wearing all white, like Gandalf the White. She had come as this avatar, this holy angel of liberalism: super articulate, super smart, super polite, and in a lot of ways, humanitarian, concerned about people, nuanced—she had all these things. On the other side, of course, was the grotesque. The wall of traditional liberalism, with all its nice manners, its Victorian haughtiness, its pearl-clutching—all it does is amplify the grotesque. Suddenly all we can see is the grotesque; suddenly all we’re talking about is the grotesque.

You can’t counter the grotesque with good manners. That’s when I started thinking about the radical. Can the radical be a counter to the grotesque that traditional liberalism cannot? Again, I identify as the type of liberal who most people hate—but I acknowledge that liberalism is an incomplete counter to what we’re dealing with today. So I wanted to explore the radical as an answer.

To do that, I started with what I know—as a technologist, but also as a foreign policy thinker by virtue of my security career and academic discipline. What are some useful frameworks to think about what’s happening in America and abroad? And can any of those frameworks, even though they might have been used for imperialist enterprises throughout history, be subverted in any way to teach us how we can put humans first in some of these struggles?

It's some PoliSci101 level poo poo.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






PurpleXVI posted:

In my mind, at least until 4E, the best class balance of any D&D game, and better than 5E, too. Everyone(possibly bards excepted, but gently caress bards) could be useful and interesting. Also some of the best supplements and settings available. And, I will insist to my deathbed, the best DMG ever written, in terms of actually addressing "how to GM well" with some relatively universal lessons and examples.

It also did a vastly better job than later editions of making magic items magical. The entire back half of the DMG is magic items with occasional backstories and a vast array of weird effects and conditions that makes them way more interesting than a Thing of Thingness +1.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






PurpleXVI posted:

Thing is, in 2E, even a Thing of +1 At Stuff was more magical than in 3E, for two reasons. Firstly, magical items were vastly more rare, you couldn't just slap them together on a bench with a bunch of gold and XP, instead creating a magical item was a vaguely defined adventure in itself. And 5% of the time that drains a permanent point of Constitution from the caster to lock the enchantment in. So assuming most mages are weedy 9 Con nerds or so, that puts a pretty strict limit on how many Permanencied magical items they can create in their life time or simply without being a fragile, wheezing stick of a person.

The second thing is that while in 3.x a +1 is forgettable because you rapidly end up with double digit +'s to everything from your base advantages, and AC and the like rapidly shoot up into the double digits as well, 2E has a much more bounded scale. Few things have an AC better than 0, for instance, so a +1 weapon is always going to be a pretty meaningful upgrade in actually landing hits, and likewise armor in terms of dodging them. Stats are also usually more static, so they're likely to provide less new bonuses during gameplay, etc.

It's generally a game with more of an intentional dearth of exceptional resources.

I think the only thing I'd say 2E really lacks is that Player's Option should be integrated more into the base game(or at least most of it, gently caress the combat supplement, I do like a lot of the changes Spells & Powers, or was that Skill's & Powers, made to the chargen thing, making the classes more variable and interesting) and that it could have used a more robust skill system, because the NWP system was pretty barebones, honestly.

We always incorporated the weapon mastery stuff out of the Rules Compendium for playing 2e, and it worked pretty well.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






I really, really wish 7S 2E's combat system wasn't a pile of broken trash. The description of the dueling styles is fun, and it has potential, but the basic mechanical errors made in design render it drat near unusable in play.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Mors Rattus posted:

Rap battles actually are a huge part of the Crescent Empire and get an entire subchapter to themselves that is bigger than the actual dueling subchapter.

I will never stop saying this, but this is because for a game about swashbuckling, 7th Sea 2e failed entirely at rules design around combat.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






LeSquide posted:

Because of the school duelist being better than everyone else thing, or the pistol thing, or the basic die mechanics?

Because the basic mechanics break down. Half the swordsman school maneuvers are worthless because of how broken the action economy is for duelists. There is no point to running a non-duelist character in combat if you have a duelist in your party, because anything that can threaten them will eat the entire rest of the party alive unless they just bring two brace of pistols a piece and execute any villain Boondock Saints style, yeah.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






The Lone Badger posted:

Is there a fighting Style for this?

There was in 1E, the Rasmussen Pistol school, which is all about quickdrawing pistols from a bandoleer and rolling thunder of the guns. It's never been translated to 2e because it would be effectively unstoppable. Same with the Rois et Reines musket and bayonet fighting shcool.

Which sucks, because I really wanted to play a Rois et Reines musketeer at some point, but guns are Too Good.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Ghost Leviathan posted:

That sounds more like a bad anime.

Yeah, that's pretty much Rifts for you.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Maxwell Lord posted:

7th Sea in general feels a lot like "We started writing a setting and never ever stopped"

Well, they had to do something with their time, because it obviously wasn't mechanics.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Freaking Crumbum posted:

my gut says that there's likely to be an overrepresentation of alt-right fascist poo poo heads in on-line TTRPG circles and the attempt at a neutral tone is an effort to avoid alienating a significant portion of the potential customer base. i mean, the game doesn't even convincingly explain why most of the various resistance forces aren't gleefully working hand-in-hand with the government (as our current reality clearly indicates)

According to Word of Author, that alt-right group was one of his intended targets for the game.

Chad Walker posted:

THREAD: I wrote a "political" RPG.

I have some fun/interesting/scary insights from that.

But first, let's get some basics out of the way...

First, *all* games are political and operate on culture in intended and uninteded ways. If you think the games from the 80s/90s weren't political, that's because you internalized their value statements and arrangements of power so deeply that you didn't even realize it.

Second, games will never, ever stop being political. Asking for that is asinine. You can't put that genie back in the bottle. Just like you can't stop women from making/playing games, or expect queers to stay closeted, or expect marginalized communities to stop rising up.

Third, even political agitators like myself absolutely like to kick back with (and often write) totally mindless genre stuff once in a while. We don't spend every waking moment breaking glass ceilings or taking a flamethrower to sacred cows. We like escapism, too.

Alright, that's out of the way, so let's talk about what I learned or witnessed writing and releasing an *explicitly* political game... this one happened to be about waging an ethical insurgency against an American fascist regime in the alt-1980s. #SIGMATA

The first insight, observed during the Kickstarter, was assumptions about the game's political agenda, which both worked for the project and worked against it in unanticipated ways, and elicited interesting responses from various political sects.

The initial reaction from many fans is that this work must be about a socialist revolution composed exclusively of 2018's marginalized groups and resistance/revolutionary communities (e.g. BLM, LGBT+, NoDAPL, DSA, etc.). Which yielded to predictable outcomes...

In short, Leftists cheered, right-wingers jeered. But then slowly, as people read the marketing text more thoroughly, an interesting shift began to happen. "Wait a second... the Resistance is working with militias, fundamentalists, and entrepreneurs?" All hell broke loose...

A game about the seductive potential and extraordinary danger of making "allies of convenience" in the face of extreme emergency was called "centrist," said with a venom of a racial slur. Some Leftists worked overtime in forums to convince backers to drop their pledges. 16 did.

While alt-right trolls over in 4chan were lamenting "SJW power fantasy," the most *active* resistance against a game about fighting fascism and the messy, challenging, dangerous politics of insurgency came from Leftists.

Who were these folks? With a single exception, they were just like me. CisHet White Dudes. This leads to an important point, *especially* if you are a CisHet White Dude.

The people supporting this project who are actually from marginalized communities did not even loving *blink* at the thought of working with some gross allies, fence-sitters, "useful idiots," or capitalist vampires, temporarily, to see their struggle succeed.

Because they are actually involved, by choice or circumstance, in real life struggles, and know how dirty this business is. Indigenous protesters ally with the ancestors of settlers who murdered their people and stole their land. BLM allies with whites who benefited from slavery.

My CisHet White Dude... while you were busy enforcing the party purity and alienating the gently caress out of potential allies, you forgot that someone at some point made a strategic compromise to invite YOUR rear end to the struggle.

That's right, someone practiced the "centrism" you bemoan and welcomed you to the fold, even though all you have to offer is your stupid pasty skin, the fact that you took a political science course once, and your Twitter account.

From there, let's move on to the second (and final) big discussion. When it comes to #SIGMATA, who was the *intended audience* of this explicit work of political propaganda? I mean, the primary audience was just Leftists, right?

No. Because that would make me a *bad* propagandist.

Let me tell you about my intended audience(s)...

My audience was libertarians who, for all their anti-state rhetoric, frequently defacto side with the state because their own struggle ends at their property line. So I draw a direct line between state violence against "them" (Ruby Ridge, Waco) and state violence against (POC).

My audience was Christians consciously or unconsciously herded into nationalism, isolationism, and dehumanizing border politics. Which is why I praise and elevate those among them do the subversive of protecting immigrant families and turning churches into safe harbors.

And yes, my audience was Leftists, too... the very ones using "anti-imperialism" as an excuse to permit Assad's genocidal actions against the Syrian people, and repeat/retweet "RT," propaganda wing for Putin's textbook TEXTBOOK imperialist aggression.

Is this a fool's errand? Maybe. Probably not, though, based on many, many candid conversations with readers and players.

One of the most active and supportive groups playing this game identifies as conservative. Conservative. My response was "Uh... did we read the same book?" I couldn't help but ask "Why SIGMATA?" Their answer was, "We take any chance we can get to crush Nazis and nationalists."

A group of self-identifying conservatives found a game that invites THEM to kick Nazi rear end. The game has heavy anarcho-Leftist leanings, but by simply acknowledging that alliances are complex, uncomfortable, maybe even dangerous, yet *possible,* it serves as an olive branch.

The game didn't ask *them*, specifically, to apologize for the rise of fascism, or to "convert" to any specific political ideology. It just extended a hand and said "Let's kick some Nazi rear end together." And they took that hand. It was as simple as that.

I asked what kind of political conversations the sessions provoked, and heard one example. They discussed antifa and black bloc, and at least a couple of them conceded that maybe, MAYBE, there was a strategic need for this type of radical response to rising fascism.

So that's it. I'm spent. I'm tired of weak rear end Leftists/purists/zealots busting my balls. I'm going to end this thread with two pages from the book, to lay my own political agenda bare, in terms more ambiguous than many of you want to hear.

Appendix: This rant basically pulled a Mitt Romney "binder full of women" move, essentially using the sentiments of specific individuals from marginalized communities to be representative of broad consensus of those communities. It was a cheap rhetorical trap and I hosed up.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Night10194 posted:

So, Sigmata's author is an idiot.

I mean, that was pretty clear already from his writing, but it's nice of him to be so direct.

Eh, calling him an idiot isn't really useful. He's just come to some conclusions from a perspective that I don't really think the facts support, and has what appears to be a communication style based on intentional provocation of his allies and silencing critics. It's interesting to look at the F&F and Sigmata as a work from the perspective of his stated intent, though.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






The more I read of the mechanics, the more I think the Signal exists as an idea point to sell the setting, and as an oh-poo poo valve for when the murderous mechanics start a party wipe.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






mllaneza posted:

That's great news, but I'm not hearing it in a dedicated thread. Aftermarket support is good sign.

I picked up their Black Magic pdf, and hoo boy do I need to make an effort post about demonic magic and Fallout.


e. There's a supplement going to Kickstarter soon !

https://rowanrookanddecard.com/strata-authors-adventures-and-new-classes/

Hopefully with a tier that comes with Spire, as I think I need both.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Ghost Leviathan posted:

I still say Unknown Armies sounds like a more magical satire oriented version of The Venture Bros.

It has a very similar narrative on failure, yeah.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






LatwPIAT posted:

I have one small reservation, which is that having to choose when and to which degree to gently caress over the players is something I'm a bit apprehensive of. At least for something like Infinity (as opposed to, say, Call of Cthulhu) in tone.

(It's tempting to posit a houserule where certain events, like rolling 20s, invite rolling a Bad Points-sized d6 pool to determine how many Bad Points get used to do Bad Stuff to the players.)

You're missing the perspective.

It's not about 'loving over the players' it's about 'adding more of a challenge'. Generally, the PCs are going to be fine, the worst that escalation costs them is a bit more in the way of resources.

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Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






MonsterEnvy posted:

I say the only time you should legitimately try and TPK a party is during the finale of the Campaign. (But not in an unfair way.)

I've GM'd several TPKs in Shadowrun, but they were always situations where the PCs knew this was possibly a suicide mission going in and they decided to go with it anyway.

People are generally cool with it if it means 'okay, well, put together a new team with your standing karma totals and we'll start in a new city next session'.

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