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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Hello! I'm Alien Rope Burn, and my first post for SA was a FATAL & Friends writeup, and I've been hosed ever since. Inspired loosely by Darren MacLennan and Jason Sartin's rpg.net reviews of Synnibarr and FATAL, this thread is mostly about doing long-form reviews of fun games, offensive games, and everything inbetween. And it turns that nerds liked and like talking about their RPGs a lot. The first three threads in this SA franchise were started by END ME SCOOB, who eventually had the sense to escape from maintaining this madness, so I'm taking up refreshing the thread with some real talk.

Every so often the question comes up: "Should I write up-" and the answer is always yes.

Previous threads (may require archives upgrade) were:
  1. FATAL and Friends: Obscure and/or mockable RPG books
  2. FATAL & Friends 2: Let's Keep Talking About Notably Awful/Awesome TG Stuff
  3. FATAL & Friends 2014-15: The Neverending Storygame
Reviews can be found archived on inklesspen's Official FATAL & Friends Site™. If you have any questions about what's been covered, go check there first. About the only thing that shouldn't be there are some fanskin reviews for Apocalypse World and Monsterhearts that are more difficult to categorize. Posts used to be archived at the Trad Games Wiki, but that has since largely fallen into disuse. Finally, the former frontpage review series WTF, D&D!? also makes for complimentary reading, though it doesn't have any direct connection to this thread.

inklesspen posted:

My archive is now (to the best of my knowledge) completely caught up with all three threads, with two exceptions: at some point Evil Mastermind rebooted the TORG review and I skipped the reboot because I would like EM to tell me what to do about that (merge it with the previous one, delete the previous one, etc), and also I skipped the fanskin writeups for Monsterhearts and Apocalypse World because they seemed to require a lot of back-and-forth conversation posts to make sense.

I have a few requests going forward:
  1. If you make a post that ought to go in a writeup, please do not quote or reply to posts that have nothing to do with your writeup; I have to edit these out or else your writeup looks cluttered in the archive
  2. For the love of $DEITY, please put a subtitle in your post saying what it's about; if I can't easily spot one, I'll just label it "post 1", "post 2", etc.

I will generally aim for the archive to be no more than a week behind the thread; my software downloads new posts every hour, but I probably won't add posts into the writeups more than every other day. (I also intend to change "ongoing" writeup status to "abandoned" if they go two months without a post. Probably nobody will care, but I figured I'd mention it.)

So can I write up-

Yes.

Would anybody have any interest in a writeup of-

Yes.

There was already a writeup but I want to write-

Yes.

I know it's not a bad game but I'd like to write-

Yes.

This is just a fan work and not a published book can I-

Yes.

Can I talk?

Go ahead, imaginary tree demon.


Synnibarr's elusive tree demon, finally revealed.

How long do reviews have to be?

As long as you feel it needs to be. The preferred length is "one you feel comfortable with and can finish". It could be one post, it could be dozens. All I'd really suggest is to keep your individual post length to a manageable read.

How should I format things?

As mentioned above, make sure any replies or quotes in your writeup are directly connected with the writeup. Make sure you put a header or subtitle to your post (part 1, chapter 2, episode IV, whatever). These things make it easier for inklesspen to archive them. inklesspen is doing a big favor to the thread by arranging this and I would presume anything they ask is worth doing, unless it involves jumping off a cliff. But I'd still double-check with them about the cliff thing. It could be relevant.

How do I make sure I don't abandon my review?

I can't speak as to how others manage (I think Mors Rattus just writes and posts constantly until it's done, only stopping for intake or outake), but I can talk about my secret methods. It's not complicated - I just write up the review up to about 75%-100% completion before it hits the thread, which means all I usually have to do is insert pictures, write chapter headings, and do one last pass before I post. At that point, I've gone too far not to post. I still gently caress poo poo up, and you probably will too, it's cool. I have a few "abandoned" reviews, but nobody even knows to be disappointed because they never hit the thread.

There's no One True Way, though, and if anybody has any tips, feel free to talk about them and I'll add them here.

Can I pick up where an abandoned review left off?

You probably want to check with the original reviewer for politeness' sake. Bluntly speaking, however, I'd rather see a review finished than not. But...

I can't finish my review!

That's cool. Let us know if you can't if at all possible. No excuse is necessary and no shame is assigned.

This RPG writer really sucks!

They just might, but they're still human beings. Let's try and keep it from getting too personal, save where it reflects on their work and the RPG biz. Bear in mind inklesspen's site means nonmembers can now read reviews pretty freely and the paywall won't hide poo poo from them whether or not it's up. That being said, a number of RPG folks invest themselves in their writing and so sometimes it's unavoidable. Just try to make sure it's relevant.

Also some creators are really great, too! Strange but true! You can bring that up too, if you're still capable of feeling positive emotions after reading some of the rougher reviews.

What's System Mastery?

You should know, you put the URL in the question!... it's a podcast run by theironjef and Grnegsnspm, also known as Jeff and John. To protect their identities, I will not say which is which. They review bad RPGs and post up new episodes in the thread. It's a good audio alternative and if you like FATAL & Friends, you'll like their podcast. Probably. In all likelihood. Look, we haven't done any polls or tests, but nobody's thrown them out yet.

I'm just a sockpuppet, so I'm very interested in anything else there is to mention!

Write. Comment. Enjoy. Check out the Official FATAL & Friends Site™.

And above all:

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ADBOT LOVES YOU

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


This post is reserved for review testimonials, maybe a contest, F&F Superstars™, whatever we decide upon.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I was amazed there wasn't a complete Rifts review and set out to fix that.

After thirteen Rifts reviews, I might be the one who needs fixing.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Thesaurasaurus posted:

Seven years of lurking?

Nah, a friend bought me a membership, and I didn't pay too much attention to the forums themselves until other friends pointed me at Ettin's Cthulhutech reviews.

inklesspen posted:

I can get you the first two (pretty sure they're both Mors Rattus), but the third one would probably have to be outsourced to some grad students to assign responses to the reviews and classify sentiment. (Also, I bet the "winner" would be PurpleXVI's Chris Fields reviews).

I thought about doing it for the main post, but the main issue is that figuring out out how many books certain reviews, like the 7th Sea review, "count" as. I guess you could just do post count, tho.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


LatwPIAT posted:

"thinking gamer's game" is a phrase that appears in two contexts: people talking about video games, and people mocking that line from M20.

It also occurs in a phrase in another game I've reviewed.

Rifts.

It's condescending bullshit, because it implies that something like D&D somehow doesn't involve thought.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bieeardo posted:

I'm still disappointed that the GURPS World of Darkness books got axed midway through the project. The mechanical adaptations were hosed six ways from Sunday, but they were still vastly more cogent reads than the original material.

Yeah, the GURPS Vampire discipline rules in particular are completely hosed by either Storyteller or GURPS standards.

But I'm reminded of why I actually liked Rokugan and Swashbuckling Adventures - not for their rules, but because they meant AEG had to sit down and present their entire settings complete with goofy secret metaplot nonsense between two covers in plain English, something they hadn't really managed up until that point.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gradenko_2000 posted:

Classifying your game as "the thinking man's game" is pretentious no doubt, but I largely agree that D&D is wholly unrealistic. It's a game. It's very boardgamey, and the imagination part is just so that you can sketch out a map with pencils instead of going full-out Descent and so you can sort of skirt the edges of the rules if you placed a barrel in a room and someone wants to use it.

Oh yeah, it's unrealistic, but "unrealistic" and "requires thought" are too different axes entirely. I've seen some awfully dopey mage players.

Asimo posted:

Pedophiles.

Okay, that's unnecessarily harsh and caustic.

The main answer would be "otherkin". It was an enabler for pedo creeps, but honestly they didn't need the excuse- see also kiddie vamps for games that weren't wise enough to restrict that sort of thing. Or, as the wikipedia article on otherkin says:

Wikipedia posted:

Rich Dansky (who worked on the development of Changeling: The Dreaming) said that after the game's release the darkfae-l listserv had "a rampaging debate... over how the folks at White Wolf had gotten so much of their existence right", adding, "Finally, one of the list members came to the obvious conclusion that we'd gotten it right because we ourselves were in fact changelings." Dansky denied being non-human.

Oh, Dansky.

Bieeardo posted:

So you could buy up mental Disciplines at an ungodly rate, but you'd also have to buy up the skills to use them properly. Physical disciplines, on the other hand, ramped up in cost very quickly.

Yeah, but Celerity remained as broken as ever, could definitely be slotted in by a min-maxer, and combined with a high (and cheap) Gun skill and an automatic weapon (and GURPS' more realistic firearms rules), there wasn't much you couldn't murder. I mean, it was more expensive than Storyteller, but high-level Celerity lasted for hours (I think as many as eight), giving you plenty of time to crunch and munch and refill your blood pool with hyper-speed suck.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I've been saying for awhile Mage's problem is that it doesn't know what kind of game it's trying to be, and though that's mainly true because the old supplements interpreted the game in wildly different directions, having it seem to be the case within the core book is a big issue.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Robindaybird posted:

Sorry if I seem incoherent, but I'm pretty mad about this and I have a hard time expressing words to describe why.

What it comes down to is that trying to relate an imaginary evil it as the cause of a real evil is a cheap way to try and give it weight. That's not to say you can't ever relate an imaginary evil to a real evil, but it really helps if it isn't the cause, and it also helps for it to be necessary to the setting or story you're telling.

Now to be fair, from my reading of the quote, it's vague whether or not they're the cause or a side effect of those evil actions, which is slightly better, but bringing up Auschwitz is as cheap as it gets. It also runs into the general issue is that when you start getting into the deep time of human history, nearly everywhere has housed a tragedy. Within an hour of where I live there have been at least two serial murderers (both of which top the Mansons' count each), fires and explosions that killed dozens, unbelievable police brutality, and the death of American civilians at the hands of the military. Unless there's some cleanup or healing process, manmade or otherwise, blood-borne nodes should dot any landscape that's seen any level of population concentration.

What bugs me just as much is just the outright rejection of modernism and the sense that technology or urban life or that darn bittiby-bop music has somehow poisoned our minds or souls, that there's no magic in them, metaphorical or otherwise. That a movie or a video game is somehow not art, that enjoying a quiet day indoors is sick, and that a faraway friend is somehow a false relationship. Because I'm sure the authors of Mage don't live in a loving cottage writing on a Smith-Corona before going out and living off the land with bow, arrow, pot, and fire. When people write that they seemingly don't realize "oh, this is exactly how I live my own life", but are perfectly content to dismiss everybody else as vidiots or dittoheads or whatever. It's tiresome and insulting and they should know better.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Asimo posted:

Yeah, I mean I know it isn't a totally rational response from my end. But when there's constant goings on about the HORRORS OF GENETIC ALTERATION and CRUELTY OF ANIMAL TESTING and whatever, and there's very little thought put into how the Traditions would replicate or remove those things, and it's just really hard not to sympathize more with the antagonist faction who like has no problem with insulin existing.

If it wasn't for modern medicine I would be suffering a really awful fate, yeah. It isn't that Mage: the Ascension demonizes technology, it both demonizes and celebrates technology it because it rarely has any idea what it is or where it's going. Its essential themes and cosmology are essentially written awfully and inconsistently, leading to endless conversations about paradigms and morality because M:tA itself constantly wants to be like "maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle!" which means you can interpret it however you like and not be wrong because it's not a game that ever wants to sit down and actually decide what it's about.

The fact that there's been at least one significant writer on Mage who doesn't actually play much in the way of RPGs really says a lot. It's a game that wants to present a world and a cosmology but is really cagey about presenting a game.

unseenlibrarian posted:

Just to go back a page though to the last DX post, I still want a FH Mercs/Guild game that's basically "Black Lagoon with superpowers." (I just want to play in it, not run it, which is always a problem.)

There was a PbP Nyarlotech game that was essentially that, but it unfortunately went the way of all PbPs.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, that's the thing. I don't particularly like Werewolf: the Apocalypse's cosmology and its implications, but the setting is (relatively) consistent and the focus of the game - stopping the Wyrm - is pretty clear. You can do other things like umbral quests or fight the Weaver, but Apocalypse is right there in the name. It has its focus, which is about fighting smog rape monsters.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Night10194 posted:

The necessity and a clear-eyed theme is really important to pulling this off, as is making sure you don't deny the agency of the people involved in the event. I've often found if a game claims supernatural poo poo was behind everything ever but oh man Hitler is super special and the one actual human doing actual human things it's equally disgusting from another standpoint, because the only place the author is allowing agency is in tragedy and evil.

In general I think I've gotten to the point where Nazis are so overexposed in genre fiction I barely want to see them at all. I'm pretty exhausted on the idea of Nazi exceptionalism - that is, that Nazi Germany was so advanced that they were on the verge of discovering X and it's great that ordinary folks defeated Hitler before they invented time travel or the atomic bomb or clone cyborg Thor or whatever. I'm just tired of them being mythologized and given a lot more credit than they actually deserve.

Ratpick posted:

I've never played or read any version of Mage. Is it bad that my main take-away from that latest post was "Man, it would be so cool to play a Void Engineer"?

Nope. Void Engineers are one of the most exciting Traditions or Conventions. My last Mage character was a VA that had defected to Ether under "I think Ether is pure nonsense, but I'll take it over being a party to occult fascism".

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Asimo posted:

There was exactly one side in WW2 who discovered a terrifying weapon which changed the world forever, and it sure as hell wasn't the nazis.

Yeah, I read a book on whether or not Nazi Germany could have discovered the bomb first, and the answer is "well, maybe if they hadn't had a habit of alienating scientists of a certain faith for a decade and the Nazi leadership wasn't impatient and short-sighted". German science was remarkable in spite of the Nazis, not because of them. Even the ties between occultism and the Nazi party are a lot more tenuous than most people realize.

That's not to say you can never play around with Nazism, it's a convenient shorthand for "unambiguous evil", but it's too often used lazily, relying on modern mythology more than anything else.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Crasical posted:

Grey Fox is a MtA character?

I think it's supposed to mean Five Razor... Toad?

That can't be right.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


unseenlibrarian posted:

Well, Toads and ninjas have a long association I guess. Though you'd expect a Jiraiya reference if that's what they were going for.

Yeah, I recalled that, but it's not what you'd expect from cyber-ninja with five razors.

Zereth posted:

I recall that in 1e Hollow Ones and Orphans were different terms for the same thing. So the Hollow Ones presented in this book not really having a focus or anything makes sense, sort of.

Well, they were an organized group of Orphans centered around goth ritual.

...

Did I mention Mage often doesn't make a whole lot of sense?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I don't get how that in the wahd of 2015 you still have "this is too evil to play" with moralizing that's only a short walk away from the anti-D&D hysteria. Nevermind how summoning and dealing with demons is a classical (if questionable) element of hermeticism, later games in the line had a far more interesting takes on the subject. Despite its other failures, dealing with demons in Kindred of the East was pretty cool in comparison. There were risks, of course, but it didn't instantly remove your character from playability. Then you have things like Demon...

It's sad that the 20th anniversary line didn't take what would have been a real opportunity to have games borrow innovations or world elements from one another. It's seems an obvious thing to do in retrospect, but genuinely improving anything ultimately isn't the mission statement of rehashes like this.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Count Chocula posted:

That can't be right. Mage is Stoner Philosophy: The Game.

Given it has the Cultists of Esctasy, it would seem to be the stoneriest.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Count Chocula posted:

Is there a Hellboy RPG? If not, why not?

Yes!



But...



... yeah.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


unseenlibrarian posted:

I think his 'multiple loser' reputation comes from being the first False Hearts NPC most characters fight if you run the corebook scenario. On the other hand, this makes him like the 'signature' FH guy, and he keeps avoiding being told "You have failed me for the last time" somehow.

He's also the guy that picks a fight with the "god" t-lois in the Advanced Rulebook, presumably to his detriment.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gradenko_2000 posted:

Do those d100 things in your preview picture even work? Aren't those just balls?

They do work, but yes, they're kind of like golf balls and do have a tendency to roll. They're named Zocchihedrons after Lou Zocchi, their inventor and founder of Gamescience.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Doresh posted:

And the one who gets pwned in the introduction prose of the "Irregular Strain" T-Lois.

Classic Diablos move.

He's also one of those Tri-Breeds who used to be a Crossbreed, giving him new delusions of grandeur, along the lines of "With these new powers, I will finally get my revenge on those meddling kids!"

It's not really an Agent I take very seriously, but he probably works great in campaigns that aren't particularly serious themselves.

It's hard to tell sometimes because the translation is dry and the world is a bit dire, but DX is full of in-jokes and self-awareness.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Really, I think the only tenable solution to the Marauder / madness dilemma is to say that Quiet is a magically altered state of mind that doesn't relate to mundane mental illness. The notion that being mentally ill translates into being an antagonist is just a little problematic.

Just a little.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I would love to see an actual translation of In Nomine, instead of... what we got. It would no doubt still be flawed, but at least would be an interesting piece of cross-cultural satire. I ran it once or twice and mostly just remember the system math being completely hosed and even at a young age where I would play any old garbage I gave up on it based on the system being practically unrunnable.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


PurpleXVI posted:

On the other hand, just making it a Magical Badguy Disease kind of ruins it. I mean, having it be mental illness combined with being Awakened isn't actually a bad idea, if handled by anyone who's less of a retard than Brucato.

Honestly I'm not sure it adds much to a game to worry about being accurate to mental illness unless it's a focus. People who know enough and want to play with a mental illness can, but unless you're aiming to make it a central point of the game, that A) you're not likely to do it justice, and B) getting into the nitty gritty of it probably isn't any more productive than, say, tracking individual bone fractures. That's not to excuse insensitivity or sloppy mechanics, both of which exist in spades, but I don't think it's a subject worth focusing on unless you know you can do it right and it really matters to your game, and that's a slender intersection of game design.

Of course, AFAIK Awakened just dodges this whole question for the most part by excising the Marauders entirely, which is probably the most elegant solution.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Why would you revive Secondary Abilities, even in a oWoD revival? And even if you thought it was a good idea, why would you put in the core, a book that obviously has more important things to cover?

Worse than expected.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Asimo posted:

Verisimilitude

I see V20 doesn't have them in core, but I can't speak for W20. So it's even inconsistent even between games, which I guess makes it a true oh-wahd revival.

Though now I want to make Enigmas the foremost skill in a game because even though it's a core skill, it's still so loving stupid. Archmage Layton.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Nessus posted:

I think it wasn't really planned as a "line" at all, and has only become one because there was somewhat more demand than expected.

All the same, by the time they got to Mage there's zero excuse not to have some sort of coherent style guide for the line, or at very least for an editor to lean over and manage compatibility.

Asimo posted:

The In Nomine writeup reminds me that while I never minded Dan Smith's B&W art in like the thousand different GURPS books he did, his color art was really bad. Or at least whoever colored over his silhouette work did a lovely job of it.

Yeah, it's really, really awful. (Why would one color his really terrible signature pink so the eye goes right to it?)

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kavak posted:

Reading this, I'm starting to think that Beast was not some huge misstep and that Onyx Path is slipping back into White Wolf's lovely old ways.

It just feels like there's just no strong editorial direction. Even in a generally solid book like Werewolf: the Forsaken 2e I had to go back to the previous edition to try and figure out how / why a werewolf is a member of a tribe. It seems to be more on the quality of the writers involved to make sure things come together well.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


FMguru posted:

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

Yeah, and a lot of that can be laid at the feet of D&D. Part of D&D's strength in hooking people long-term that is, that it encourages and practically requires campaigns that can take years or even decades at the extreme - but it's a real weakness for sales over time. And the fact that's become the norm for RPGs at least in America is a real problem for anybody trying to sell RPGs, in addition to discouraging "casual" play in general. The fact that the grand majority of RPGs don't have an "end condition" is pretty telling, and most of those that do only pay the idea lip service.

kaynorr posted:

One could argue that it hasn't.

I don't see how.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


LatwPIAT posted:

Foci in M20 still help even after you've learned to discard them. My view of Paradigm and Focus is somewhat heavily shaped by being really interested in the Virtual Adepts when I started getting into MTAs; they have a very rigourous (and flexible) Paradigm (the universe is a computer simulation) and their Foci were tools to help them figure out how to exploit bugs in the code, like an abacus or a graphing calculator. The connection between the two is obvious. Then M20 comes along and suggests that the Foci are more of an aesthetic style, down to including hair styles and clothing, that has nothing to do with actually writing macros to exploit bugs in the world-code.

Yeah, it's unfortunate but it's how I've seen Mage played more often than not - where players see foci and paradigm as drawbacks to be discarded so they can do "real" magic-ick once their Arete was high enough. And so the traditions just become a thin style guide to what kind of clothes you wear, what kind of drugs you take, and whether or not you can buy Do.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gourdcaptain posted:

So while digging through google out of morbid curiosity, I found a Q&A Brucato posted on his own site: https://satyrosphilbrucato.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/mage-20-qa-part-i-what-is-mage-anyway/. It's full of some real hamdingers including his own Mazes and Monsters-esque beliefs that players losing themselves in their characters is a real danger, but here's the one that just made me stop and go "wut."

Hm. A link or two across the blog, and:

Phil "Satyrblade" Brucato posted:

Heading a line about magic in a “World of Darkness”, I felt wary about the doors I opened for my fans. After all, undead vampires and towering werewolves do not exist; magic does. And since I was inviting people to play with magic, I also wanted to be careful about what I invited them to do with it. Thus, no book under my tenure endorsed “black magic” from a player perspective, and there were moral and metaphysical consequences built into Mage’s systems and setting. In that world, as in ours, actions and intentions mattered.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Night10194 posted:

Brucato is exactly the kind of person who comes to mind whenever I read oWoD stuff. I think this is the meanest thing I could possibly say about him.

I knew a self-professed "psychic vampire" once that ran Masquerade LARPs in our area. She's also been on a few A&E and History channel programs, because self-publishing books about vampires makes you a "vampire expert", apparently. Well, that and claiming you're a vampire is gold as far as trash TV goes...

So yeah. There's a type. It's not the majority of WoD fans, but it attracts a certain subculture of folks.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Fossilized Rappy posted:

I usually like my angels in the terrifying fire snakes and eye-laden wheels flavors, but I do also like the idea of an archangel who manifests looking like someone's kindly grandpa.

I always just figured Yves was George Burns.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Mors Rattus posted:

But oh my god the mechanics are so bad.

You haven't covered the HP (or whatever they call it) mechanic, right? I remember that being singularly Not Thought Out, given it makes HP based off of multiplying some traits together.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Mors Rattus posted:

I think I covered that back when I talked about Vessels? This book is badly laid out and I'm covering poo poo as it comes up. Summary: three different forms of HP, each involving multiplying some number of traits together, and each of which acts differently when you run out.

Yeah, I just remember it being possible for one character to have a total of 30-50 or so while another has 200-300 because multipliers, but my memories of staring at character sheets are... dim.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Glad Brucato's here to tell us how magic actually works.

Mostly he's making me feel more and more justified that I've never actually bought any edition of Mage aside from Awakening.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Josef bugman posted:

See maybe I am the grognard, but through looking at a lot of this stuff, why on earth did people want/ fall so in love with OWoD? I mean I am only in my 20's so missed a lot of the 90's by being way too young, but when was this stuff good?

Honestly you have to remember the sort of game environment they were popular in. Most of the big games at the time were basically products of '60s or '70s nerd pop culture like D&D, Call of Cthulhu, and Traveller or toolbox games of the '80s like GURPS or Champions. There, frankly, had been very little attempt to capitalize on modern trends, and sexuality in RPGs was mostly really regressive stuff like women on altars or wearing chainmail bikinis. Though there were some RPGs based on then-current properties now and then, about the first RPG to try and capitalize on being stylish was Cyberpunk, which created a lot of imitators and kind of paved the way for the games White Wolf would make. Ultimately, Vampire and their ilk had a modern feel to them at the time when very few RPGs did at the time, and at the least paid lip service to things like sexuality and fashion. They also had a much more casual writing style and the "storytelling" system may not seem very narrative-based, talking about literary themes and moods wasn't something a lot of RPGs even bothered discussing.

At the time, they felt like of the few RPGs that hadn't been devised by your dad or grandpa.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Also bear in mind Mage-under-Brucato, at least, has a lot of attacks on modernism as an engine that grinds souls under its boot and reduces you to "Liquid In, Liquid Out". It's not hard to take that as the party line for the Traditions, because if not them, who else? But Mage: the Ascension as a line is fantastically inconsistent and you can read it to support whatever preconceived notions you have, of course.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Count Chocula posted:

That's also what 75% of the Internet I read says (replace 'modernity' with 'late period capitalism', I guess), so it makes sense. Can you play a Situationist Mage, detourning the Society of the Spectacle? Or a Technocracy idealogue who jacks off to The Futurist Manifesto? I guess the fact that you can play Mage as 'LF: The Game' is why so many people love and hate it.

The important thing that Mage has taught me is that gently caress beliefs, gently caress paradigms, what mages are really fighting over is which clothes will be fashionable in Nirvana when the non-denominational rapture happens.

Will it be henna tattoos or laser goggles? It's time to make a stand!

Night10194 posted:

Exalted is a game about people going 'This time, it will be DIFFERENT!' and then it not being different at all, while many PCs never notice.

Well, a lot of early Exalted was pretty much supposed to be a trage- wait, no, I'm not going to discuss Exalted. It's a trap.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rand Brittain posted:

Speaking of good-natured things, I kind of abandoned my Chuubo F&F because nobody seemed to be reading it. I wonder if anybody has any advice on what I could do to make a review more punchy?

Well, what I would suggest is a harder push to "translate" Chuubo's or explain its concepts. You were doing a fairly straightforward summary, and that's fine, but a fairly straightforward summary probably isn't going to be the clearest where Moran is concerned, IMO. The problem is that slows down the pace of an already mammoth book.

If I were to do it I admit I'd be harsher, because I think Jenna is unnecessarily obtuse and often tries too hard to create new language for existing concepts, and I find it really frustrating. But I don't think that'd be your style.

Ultimately I'd say just that Chuubo's is definitely the deep end of writeups, and it's a very hard one to cover as it's both long and requires a lot of explaining. Of course, a lack of discussion doesn't mean people aren't reading your stuff, and unfortunately timing can play a big part. Your review came in the middle of a heavy discussion about Monsterhearts and gender, and so there was a lot of noise on the thread at the time. Though I haven't done it more than once or twice, occasionally I have delayed a review until another hot-button review passes.

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