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Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Josef bugman posted:

It was actually made by the same bloke who did Apoc world, and he is apparently no fan of the Mormons. I believe it may actually be a commentary on playing misguided people trying to do their best and not being especially good about it.

Also, why are succubi so disliked in that review? Seduction seems like a fairly bog standard thing for demons to do and sex is kind of standard?

Their implementation doesn't do much to make the game feel like it's targeted at all humans rather than lonely nerdy straight dudes. They're walking sex stereotypes in lots of ways, including being physically inept for their theoretical level but capable of destroying you with their feminine wiles. As OP noted, it helps that Incubi are noted to exist and implied to be identical, but the game basically treats that as a realism note and clearly doesn't expect you to play with them. (Which to be fair might be good, I'm not sure we want the Alu-Fiend/Cambion sexual dimorphism repeated.)

Mechanically they're no fun either. Pretty much everything they do that's remotely threatening removes character agency. No one's going to enjoy fighting one, even if they don't get the 40% Balor chance and cause a TPK.

Finally, using sex demons in a game that's not explicitly (hurr) about sex demons rarely ends well. How does this thing actually function in play? The stand up fight sucks, as noted, and the fluff doesn't encourage that anyway. So what happens? The best case next scenario is they teach your players to avoid all romance because the lady you're into might just want your delicious character levels. Worst case you have impromptu erotic role-play going on in your dungeon crawler. None of that's good. Their use in published adventures IIRC pretty much matches this pattern.

I also felt like the OP overstated how bad they were compared to lots of nerd stuff, they probably are pretty standard, but they're still problematic.

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Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Halloween Jack posted:

I'm not convinced that "Dumb babby class for Timmy!" is anything any sentient being in the history of the universe has ever actually wanted or needed.

Not in so many words, but it's a primarily social hobby for some and I have met players who genuinely like being able to focus on story and socializing over mechanics. "I hit him" is not my speed but it is the speed of some players.

The question is how to make that interesting, or if your game just isn't for those players.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



theironjef posted:

There's no excuse to try to channel those people into the same class every game. Games can be designed with variable complexity for every class or option. Even that weird guy that's there to just socialize (seriously, I've never met this guy, where the hell is he) is going to eventually get bored of playing fighter every game.

I've met players like that, but I'm a professional event organizer for a big store and still met relatively few, which is why it's possible it's not actually worth a lot of design work.

That said, I think one of the reasons I like things like FATE or *World so much is related, which is to say that the crunchier RPG systems are creating a lot of problems by effectively mixing genres. A lot of players are primarily interested in RPGs specifically for the story and social aspects. Being gamers, most of us are also glad to engage with rules systems, so the extreme "always plays the simple class" case is pretty rare. But that doesn't mean the general issue isn't a real one. As soon as you start rewarding player skill in a collaborative game, you start running into problems. 3.x had it in mid- to high-level play where good characters and bad characters couldn't productively interact with the same monsters, but 4E, much though I love it, had a problem where if you weren't good at the tactical game you were better off just letting someone else tell you what to do there, which is not all that much fun. And it was a complicated enough tactical game that there was a lot of room for that kind of skill variance.

You sort of poke the bear of the problem when you intentionally design easier/harder builds, because once you open the skill-based box, it's virtually impossible to make everyone happy with how it turns out. If it's much easier to play a simple build optimally, people who enjoy the skill-based part of the game get upset if you balance the simple builds and the complex ones to be as effective with optimal play. But if you don't do that, then you end up with all the simple builds being learner-only, with the expectation that everyone who really likes the game eventually graduates to a more complex one. Which leaves people feeling frustratingly ineffective in a mixed-skill group, or just frustrated if they like the flavor of the simple build more. (You can solve the second issue with varying build complexity by flavor, but you can't solve the issue of frustration for people who just aren't as skilled or invested as their friends.)

It's an interesting conundrum, and I feel like most of my favorite RPGs have avoided the issue (perhaps rightly!) by being about story rather than play skill, rather than solving it.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



chaos rhames posted:

Wizards aren't hard anyway. You pick a thing from a list and do what it says. There's just some simple book-keeping.

They're not hard for people who are going to read a thread like this. But they heavily reward investment. If you aren't the kind of person who likes reading RPG books for fun, thinking about weird uses of spells, or at least researching them on the Internet, you lose a ton of the power of the class. People who just show up to play every day and don't think about the game much between sessions are going to take a long time to get the most out of a class like that.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Comrade Gorbash posted:

Part of the reason for this, and all the lost ancient empires, is that the Medieval European experience fits the profile itself, after the Western Roman Empire fell apart. The Victorian idea of a unchanging barbarous dark age was wrong, but the pendulum has swung so far the other way there's a tendency to forget that Western Europe really was a shadow of what had existed before for a very long time.

The population was significantly lower in most places for a very long time - in the early Medieval period, the population dropped by 30% or more. By the time of Charlemagne, the population was less than half what it had been. Productivity dropped through the floor, local warlords took over amidst low-scale conflict, and The nations that followed lacked the technical ability or organization to replace Roman roads or bridges or aquaducts - the best they could manage were patch jobs. If one failed, a whole community could go under.

So as much of a cliche as the idea of the fallen empire is, it's worth remembering that our own world is probably fairly accurately described as post-post-apocalyptic.

So is the New World, at least most of it. Mesoamerica is less clear, but in the South and North European settlers basically took over in the aftermath of the apocalypse caused by their own arrival and the disease and other upheaval it brought.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Kavak posted:

That's like...taking two steps forward, then running back the way you came screaming.

I mean, we are talking about Pathfinder.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



MightyMatilda posted:

Basically the only thing I know about Rhode Island is that Hasbro is there. I mean, there must be something in that state more worthy of being mentioned.

"Woonsocket" is a pretty good town name. And Providence probably contains things other than a game store located on the set of Fallout: Rhode Island.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Kavak posted:

On the flipside, there was the time Asheron's Call players decided to defend a big macguffin boss and beat the admins when they tried to kill them http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-7-most-elaborate-dick-moves-in-online-gaming-history_p5/

It continues to make me sad that the Everquest lineage was the one that survived, rather than the Asheron's Call one. I suppose AC's spiritual successors are single-player games, which is maybe for the best. But just roaming around that giant world finding weird lore and stuff was great.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Count Chocula posted:

There's an amazing Discworld book, Going Postal, that somehow does cyberpunk with semaphore towers.

It turns out most humans are not as good at things as Pratchett was.

That said, you could probably do something pretty cyberpunk in Eberron if you wanted.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Hostile V posted:

[*]The Endless Hunt: Ever since a Bather skinned a Werewolf with a silver knife and used their blood for a Ritual, they've been hunted by their pack. Unfortunately using Werewolf blood lead to the Bather's Ritual changing to accommodate the blood. Normally this would mean that the Bather can only use Werewolf blood, but the bond of the Pack altered it further. Now the Werewolves are just as immortal as the Bather, and if the Bather dies they die. This relationship has become a game of chases with the Werewolves trying to stop the Bather from hurting more people without killing them, but what's the end goal? It doesn't help that the Werewolves know the truth but don't want to face it.

When did this book come out? Because, uh, that's pretty much straight up Demona and Macbeth from Gargoyles.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Green Intern posted:

I don't really know what I could post about the Tharkoldu creation myth except "it is terrible" and move on.

This. You basically covered it in the review. I hope no one is going to defend it, and that's kind of what it would take to get people to talk about it much I think.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



hyphz posted:

Fairy dress up!

I liked this review and would probably like the game. Thanks for writing it up!

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Turns out being a tournament organizer and running a store can lead your life to some strange places. For example, due to a chance prerelease-running opportunity a few years ago, I ended up pretty deeply involved with the My Little Pony CCG; I was Head Judge at the North American Continental Championship last year, and have been a competitive player and playtester. Since then I've opened my own store, and I've been getting requests for RPGs suitable for kids. I wasn't impressed with No Thank You, Evil!, so when I was visiting my old place and went by the store I used to work at and saw Tails of Equestria, the new MLP licensed RPG, I figured I had to pick it up. Doubly so when I saw top design billing went to notable Games Workshop alum Alessio Cavatore. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found, so I figured I'd do a quick one-post review!

Production, Overview, etc

Tails comes in a single full-color letter-size hardcover at a $34.99 MSRP, 152 pages. It's a reasonably nice looking book, though the art is all from the show or in similar style, so good or bad depending on your feelings about that. But it's mostly well deployed; my only substantive complaint is that some of the two-page chapter opener spreads are pretty clearly blown up. The overall layout is straightforward one-column and easy to read. It's many years since I was a beginning reader but the language is notably simpler than usual for RPGs. They immediately get points with me for not ignoring the show's younger fans in favor of grown-up nerds. (This is a major complaint I have about the CCG, which is more complicated than Magic, let alone Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokemon.)

The layout is pretty standard character generation followed by mechanics, but it works better here than it does in many games because character generation is transparent, and they explain the basic ramifications of all the choices when they come up. I found the order in the book to be pretty logical, especially for a new or younger player. It'd be both reasonable and possible to stop right after the character generation chapter if you aren't running things, except for equipment, which they honestly probably should have just not bothered with (as with many games).

Character Creation

The sheet's nice and simple. Your stats are all expressed solely in die size (d4, d6, d8, etc), the larger the better. Everyone starts out on the tiny side even relative to being tiny horses - "level 1" means you just discovered your special talent and are now considered an adult in the eyes of horse law, since spontaneous magical tattoos are a great way of determining legal majority.

The first thing you do is pick what kind of pony you'd like to be - earth pony (strong horse), unicorn (wizard horse), or pegasus (flying horse).

You have three core stats: Body, Mind, and Charm. All ponies are cute, so everyone gets a d6 in Charm. You then choose which of the other two gets a d4, and which gets a d6. If you're an earth pony, you upgrade your Body die to the next highest one. Your Stamina (HP equivalent) is 10, or 12 if you're an Earth Pony. This last stat is an example of the rulebook doing something I quite like - in the character creation chapter, it just tells you what your Stamina is, even though it's technically derived. Later on, it tells you it's the sum of the "die numbers" for your Mind and Body - that is to say, the number following the "d". This is a neat way of getting fixed numbers from growing dice that I've never seen before despite being simple, so kudos on that one, and again, I like that they aren't afraid to tell you to fill in a number here and then explain it fully later, when it won't be confusing.

Next you have Talents, which are a combination of skills and spells. There's a list of options in the back, but it explicitly tells you that you can pick others if everyone agrees. This is easy to do, since with a few exceptions they don't have much mechanical baggage and serve as things to add to checks when they make sense. Everyone gets one at d6 level based on their pony type. Earth ponies get Stout Heart, unicorns get Telekinesis, and pegasi get Fly. This is obviously a bit biased in favor of the unicorns and pegasi, but getting a free Body upgrade is pretty sweet so it's probably mostly fine. (For my money, Fly seems like the best of them, since d6 Telekinesis is functionally just "you have hands despite being a horse".) You also get to pick your special talent, revealed in a likely musical epiphany just before the game started. You also get that at d6 level, or you can choose your racial one and upgrade it to d8 level if you like.

The last major mechanical thing is that you pick a quirk, which is basically a disadvantage, like a negative aspect in FATE. Like in FATE, there are little tokens you get when your quirk disrupts your life, called Tokens of Friendship, and everyone starts with some. Like the Talents, there's a list of example Quirks, mostly inspired by the show, but it encourages you to make up your own.

You also pick an Element of Harmony, but it has little mechanical weight and is mostly a roleplaying guide like alignment. Options are the ones from the show: Kindness, Laughter, Loyalty, Generosity, Honesty, and Magic (ie Nerd). There's probably no avoiding picking that list if you're going to do that since it is a My Little Pony game, after all, but it'd be easily omitted if you had experienced players or were porting the game over to another setting. That said, it's a good way to indicate "I want my horse to be like Rarity" or whatever, which would help newer or younger players get a feel for playing characters instead of just themselves.

There's also a big portrait box you can draw your pony in, and a smaller one you can draw their cutie mark (magical tattoo) in, both of which are nice touches, plus some advice on naming your horse.

Finally, you get a starting budget and an equipment list to sort through, sigh. Unfortunately the game does fall down here, in my opinion. It's got the usual big long list of things you can buy, some of which have mechanical effects and some of which don't, and my eyes glazed over looking at it. I can't imagine a first-time player who just wants to be a colorful pony doing any better. Those with mechanical effects feel like they should be Talents or Talent effects, and the rest are just silly, including the 10' pole, which makes very little sense in a world where everyone who can hold it is telekinetic and basically seems like a gamer in-joke. I feel like this could have been easily left out, especially since there's like one adventurer pony in canon and you're far more likely to start with civilians having friendship adventures than the kind of battle-eager nomadic murderers and thieves that need an extensive equipment list. Why it is that so many otherwise forward-thinking games cling to this nonsense I'll never know, but I blame consumer capitalism's pernicious grip on our minds.

Checks and Scuffles

Checks are the basic resolution mechanic and are usually made by rolling the die for one of your core stats, aiming to beat a number set by the GM. If you roll max on the die, you get to roll the next biggest die up, and this can chain all the way to d20's, but you don't add them together, you take the best single roll. So if I roll a 4 on my d4, I get to roll a d6. If I roll a 6 on that, I get to add a d8. If I roll a 5 on that, I get a 6 on the check, since that's the single highest roll, off the d6. There aren't any of the plethora of +1 or -1 bonuses you can get in d20 and so forth on the player side, the GM is just expected to set DCs with the overall circumstances in mind.

If one of your Talents is relevant to a check, you roll that die too. (In a few cases you'll do a check against just a talent, like pegasi flying about.) As with the exploding dice, if you get multiple dice here, you take the best number rather than totaling things up. Teamwork lets everyone roll and use the best of all the options, and might reduce the difficulty of the check too, if it's something where you can all contribute at once rather than taking turns. The guideline for this is -1 per helper.

I like the check system overall. I like that it's very easy to resolve, since no one has to crunch numbers or anything, just pick the highest one on some number of dice. I do wish it weren't binary success or failure, though. They've got some good storytelling influences elsewhere, and if I were running this, I'd absolutely go to "plot twist" over "you can't" for basically any failed roll, or just lift the GM moves from PBTA. Both are easy to do, of course, but I wish they suggested them.

Scuffles are the game's combat system. It's also quick and simple, which is nice. Everyone picks an opponent to pick on, and you all roll your Body plus relevant Talent(s). The combatant with the highest number gets to deal out damage to the other side equal to that number, distributed as they choose. Ties damage everyone. Starting characters have 10-12 Stamina, and tend to be in the d4/d6 range, so you can take a couple of solid hits, but combat won't ever drag on, since whiff rounds aren't possible. Not surprisingly, ponies don't die from running out of Stamina, and character death simply isn't a possibility in the rules. If you run out of Stamina you need to have a lie-down, and might get captured or face other unpleasant plot twists if your friends go down too. While this is clearly a genre concession to being a kids show, I am increasingly not happy with mechanical character deaths anyway, so I'm down.

I really like this combat system for the genre. It's great that every round progresses you towards resolving the fight, and it's obviously very far on the story game side, so I'm glad they didn't try to put tons of tactical stuff in. (I loved 4E D&D, but I'm also a firm believer in genre/mechanics agreement.) They also added a nice little note that if everyone's still up after a round, that's a good time to think about talking things out, another nice nod to the genre, where you'll end up making up halfway through a fair number of fights.

Friendship Tokens

These are the game's equivalent of Fate Points, and I like the way they treat them. You can burn them to reroll dice (1 token), reroll but on a d20 (2 tokens), or auto-pass (3+ tokens, depending). You can also use them for narrative interjections in the "luck" or "rewards of being a good friend" type domain, with more tokens generating a more powerful effect. For example, you could use them to decide retroactively that you brought some useful item with you, that a friendly NPC happens to be in the area, that you have a friendly connection to a neutral NPC, or the like. So they're pretty broadly powerful, and explicitly allow player control over the narrative. They do require GM approval, but given the tendency of kids to overreach with narrative stuff, that's probably a better plan than writing really formal mechanical scopes for them.

There are a couple of nice touches in the details, but my favorite reflects their flavor as being explicitly tied to friendship: you can spend them on behalf of your friends, and tokens spent for a friend are explicitly more powerful than those spent for yourself. There's no strict mechanical rule for this since many of their uses are just "I want to do this, how many do we think it should cost", but it's still a nice nod to the game's themes.

In terms of gaining them, you get some at chargen and level-up. You also get them when you are a good friend, or when your quirk works against you.

Leveling Up

When you level up, you increase Body, Mind, or Charm by one die size. If you pick Body or Mind, your Stamina goes up so that it stays the sum of the die numbers. You also get more Tokens of Friendship (one per player total including the GM), and you upgrade all the talents you used, plus you can upgrade one unused one or add a new one.

I like that leveling up is simple, but I do have two concerns here. First, it sucks that Charm is a worse choice to level up than either of the other two, since it doesn't boost your Stamina. It'd mess with the math to make it the sum of all three, and it'd be more complicated to do lowest + highest, but I think I'd do the latter if I were playing with experienced or grown-up people, since it feels like an annoying oversight to have the game with a heavy focus on being friends disadvantage the social stat. Second, I'm leery of the "auto-level the Talents you used" thing, since it's just going to make the poor person who decided to be a hairdresser or whatever feel doubly discouraged if it doesn't happen to come up, vs one that they're just always going to use, like Fly or Telekinesis, both of which are daily activities for the appropriate pony types. Still, pretty good overall, and again, nice and simple.

Talents

Since this is a shorter review, I'm not going to go over the suggested Talents and Quirks. They're basically all inspired by stuff from the show, and seem broadly fine. The Talents do vary a fair bit in scope. Many of them are effectively Skills or Backgrounds, just serving to add dice to appropriate checks, while some, mostly the unicorn spells, are more mechanically complicated, often offering a once-per-session or die-number-times-per-session special effect. It doesn't look like a major balance issue to me as, in a pleasant reverse of the 3.5 D&D problem, the spells are all explicitly quite narrow, while you'll be able to justify your skill die pretty broadly for most of the skill-like ones. Telekinesis is the exception, but it's pretty directly inspired by the show and at the d4/d6 level is effectively hands and a flashlight. Since there's a (quite reasonable) sidebar elsewhere saying not to worry too much about the "no digits" issue, unicorns might be the least powerful of the pony types. Obviously this changes if you're playing with the kind of group that's interested in making the ponies more alien and so makes the hooves less versatile than cartoon logic does.

The Rest

The book is rounded out with GM advice, a sample adventure and some NPC reference stats.

The GM advice is brief, but it's good, including stuff about the primacy of fun, being a fan of the players and celebrating their successes, and how to deal with mistakes (including the solid advice of handing out a Token of Friendship if you made a mistake that hindered a player). I would say that it's short on advice for making your own stories, though, and basically assumes you'll be running a pre-written adventure. A few paragraphs about structuring stories like episodes of the show, or the like, wouldn't be amiss.

The sample adventure is about pet-sitting for the show's main characters while they go off on an adventure. It does have the problems that entails in terms of doing a favor for more powerful NPCs, so it's probably better for kids who will appreciate the cameos from their favorite characters, but I have trouble viewing this as a complaint since one of the things I like about the game is that it is actually aimed at kids. Also, grown-ups playing My Little Pony games really should know what they're getting in to in terms of scope, so this one feels fundamentally different to me than say Faerun's NPC infestation. It'd be problematic if you're doing a variant where the players take the Big drat Heroes role, but if you're doing that, presumably a book adventure about pet-sitting is not a good starting point no matter whose pets they are.

Anyway, the plot is basically that the pets get out of control and escape into the Everfree Forest, one of the show's go-to adventuring zones. There's a separate challenge to find each pet, and it feels like it could be a filler episode for the show, for better or worse. There's some good advice sprinkled in, and each pet you rescue is helpful or disruptive to your future efforts, so listening to their owners about which are friendly or difficult makes life easier. In keeping with the theme, combat is not the focus of the adventure, or even necessary. (In fact several of the NPCs that get in the way are combat monsters and will shred PCs that attack them, for better or worse.) I give the adventure a B; it looks like a fine intro, but doesn't seem inspired or anything.

The reference stats, sadly, are minimally useful. Other than a generic earth pony, pegasus, and unicorn, they're just the stats for all the NPCs involved in the sample adventure, many of which aren't adversaries or are super strong in one area (usually Body) but very weak in another, so more like puzzles than flexible rivals. They also have no levels or challenge ratings or the like, so if you were to use them for your own adventures, there's no guidance for how to do so. With such simple characters, of course, it's pretty easy to make your own, but for all the book is excellent at being newbie friendly on the player side, it feels like a new GM would have an awful lot of trouble finding her feet with just this book, especially when it came time to go off-script.

Overall, I give Tails of Equestria a B+. It's certainly the best all-ages RPG I've seen. While the system doesn't feel revolutionary in any particular aspect, it feels satisfyingly straightforward, and captures the feel of the show well. I especially like the way it pushes helping each other out mechanically as well as just flavorfully. There's enough of the shared narrative and write-your-own stuff to support creativity, and I like that resolving a thing is nice and quick. It's a game I'd gladly run or play, especially with younger or less experienced players, and I'm looking forward to stocking it. I hope the review was enjoyable and/or helpful.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



SirPhoebos posted:

I liked this review a lot.

Thanks, glad to hear it!

Maxwell Lord posted:

I'm not sure what the characters in a My Little Pony game would do in an average session- "adventuring" isn't really a thing. (Equipment lists also seem like an odd thing. How do they carry all this?)

If you've got a plot, you've got an RPG plot, and things like the episodes of the show do have a problem and a resolution. There's definitely some adventuring in the canon as well, and Equestria is a dangerous place. If you wanted to do a big-fantasy-heroes-who-are-also-small-horses thing you could certainly justify it, though I'm not sure you'd be happiest using this system for it if you want to focus on dungeon crawls and things.

Maybe it wasn't clear from the review since I sort of glossed over the talents, but combat focus is really minimal. Scuffles get two pages total of text at most (there's some art involved) and even then you could do a "Mind scuffle" or "Charm scuffle" to do a prolonged argument or dance-off or something. Most of the talents also don't require scuffles to be going on to be useful. You'd definitely want to do stories that focus as much on interpersonal and environmental challenges as combat ones for most games, I'd think.

As for the equipment, you've got a few cases of well-equipped ponies in the canon I guess, but yeah, as I mentioned I wish they'd dropped the vestigial D&D-style equipment list and starting budget and just let your pony have an appropriate outfit with no special mechanical effects.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



SirPhoebos posted:

I got a question about Tails of Equestria: The "Laughter" Element of Harmony is supposed to map to Pinkie Pie, which sets off my fishmalk alarm. Obviously you can't just exclude that arch-type because she's a main character, but does the book at least have some advice on how to play that character without irritating everyone at the table?

Not really, that chapter is quite short. They do mention that not everyone who uses an element is going to behave the same way in the general section, and in each of the sections for the particular element they talk about what can potentially go wrong. In Laughter's they say that the issue can be making sure everyone is enjoying the jokes, which does give a clever GM an out to have a conversation about disrupting the table (or just insulting everyone in the name of Laughter or whatever). But it does play in to the bare-bones GM section, there's not a lot in there about settling party conflicts, which seems like another notable omission. I'm not sure if they're planning to do a separate GM book later or not.

That said, as another poster pointed out, if young kids are playing, everyone's going to be going off on tangents constantly, so Pinkie Pie behavior is not really problematic in the same way as it would be in a grown-up game. And if you're playing with grown-ups, presumably you can just...talk to your friends like adults. Laughter is nowhere near the top reason I'd never want to play an MLP RPG with a pick-up group of random adults I don't already know.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Mors Rattus posted:

Homebrew complete!

I like these a lot, but is the Gargoyle supposed to have "Immune to hunger, exhaustion, age?" It's below the morph rules but doesn't have a + first, and it's not supported by the show, doubly so for age.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Mors Rattus posted:

So a half-elf and a half-orc have a kid together and that kid marries a halfling.

What do you call the grandchild?

3 .5s.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Barudak posted:

I do not fundamentally understand the rules issues in TLE. Not only are there 5 people credited with writing this game, 4 people providing additional concepts, and 1 editor; there are 17 credited playtesters. How did they play anything???

I suspect the playtesters all played with the designers and didn't have to sort out the system from the rulebook. Even post-2010 or so I've encountered some gaming projects that don't make playtesters sort out stuff themselves from print-ready materials, small projects back in the early 2000's seem very unlikely to have done that. Presumably all those playtesters played with designers or people who'd learned from the designers, and they just didn't engage with the systems as written.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Cassa posted:

Works for me. Also the dragons/dragonkin look rad.


That just comes across as like a campaign starting critter. Space ship crashes into your home world, and then devils over run it, PC's escape and see the 90' source of it all and swear vengeance. I hope there's a good version.

Pretty sure that's the opening of Mass Effect, for the most part.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Kurieg posted:

FTFY

Mass Effect 1 is you stumbling across someone's insane plot to bring about the doom of the universe and just barely staying one step behind him the whole way there.

Mass Effect 2 is you foiling the doom of the universe's back-up plan.

Mass Effect 3 is the Doom of the Universe going "Nope, gently caress this poo poo, we're going to take over your home planet and put a stop to this bullshit right the gently caress now."

Sure, I guess I quipped too much and wasn't clear. And maybe it's just me. But when I saw that monster my first thought was "oh, so devil Reapers" and the proposed scenario reminded me of Eden Prime specifically, not the whole thing or anything.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Night10194 posted:

I mean, the other part of it is there's absolutely no reason or need for Skaven to be all male, anyway. I mean, hell, Chaos Warriors are explicitly male and female both, as are the Kurgan and Hung marauders and the Norse raiders. It's really only Skaven that ever do that whole thing and it's just kind of pointless.

It's possible it has roots in Skaven as a mockery of fascism, but given the fantasy genre is full of such nonsense played straight, it's not much of an excuse if so.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



senrath posted:

I know a common "solution" in 3.5 to a problem enemy was to do what you said, but then follow it up with a Purify Food and Drink spell, which would obliterate the dirt part of the mud leaving only water. I say "solution" because I don't know if anyone ever actually did this, or if it was just discussed as theoretical. I believe the general consensus was that nothing short of Wish or Miracle could bring the target back because they technically aren't dead, but the pieces needed to fit back together to Stone to Flesh don't exist anymore.

Which is really just a lovely encapsulation of what's so weird about how the D&D community has come to think about rules. "If we combine all these things then none of the written spells let the narrator bring back this enemy, except this one, and also the narrator is omnipotent. But still."

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Halloween Jack posted:

And, of course, Tony DiTerlizzi, who is too in-demand to touch tabletop for over a decade now, IIRC.

Though he’s not ashamed of it or anything, I just ran a Magic tournament at a museum he was signing at and he loved all the folks coming by to get cards signed. I’m pretty sure he was DMing their D&D events for the show himself.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



That said, the d20 mechanic with most cool effects being hit riders really was not a good fit for what 4e was trying to do. I liked it a lot and lament that they didn’t build on it rather than go in on grog appeasement for 5e, but notable successor Gloomhaven has only the damage portion of effects depend on the die roll, and it is a vast improvement.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Mors Rattus posted:

Wait, are you seriously complaining about an edition of D&D not giving 1st level characters enough to do and limited that to 4e?

Because ain't no edition where first level is any goddamn fun at all.

That’s certainly true but it doesn’t make it any less true of 4E. We almost always started at...3? 5? So that people had more to do. It was a revolutionary game and remains the best D&D, but I think it’s a reasonable critique.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Night10194 posted:

I wonder when, exactly, they decided a fighter should get -25% to hit for every attack they've had the temerity to make that round.

3E development, I guess. In 2E you went 1 -> 3/2 -> 2 attacks, all at full effect.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



My guess is the Chapel Wight name is a nod to Whitechapel and therefore Jack the Ripper, though that's also weird unless he had a shaving thing.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Or the skeleton gradually gets to like the party so the poorly-disguised quest givers go from “I hear there’s a treasure in this dungeon” to complicated “ancient” maps showing all the traps and encounters. In the last one you just let the players read the module.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Speleothing posted:

Arguably you get more from leaving him alive

If your GM doesn’t give XP for befriending monsters find another GM imo

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



TheGreatEvilKing posted:

Do you have any numbers to support this?

If I hadn’t left my old job to start my own store, I would for Greater Boston. 4e outsold both 3e and (more relevantly maybe) contemporaneous Pathfinder products at our store for almost the whole run, only falling off when WOTC stopped printing things for it late in the run. Ditto organized play. IIRC 4e “encounters” was bigger than PFS even once it stopped being supported, it absolutely was for the time they were doing active support.

The company clearly wasn’t happy with getting the base splintered and did a hard turn back on a lot of 4e’s changes, so it’s possible they concluded (possibly rightly) that it had good sales in spite of itself rather than because, but it did have good sales in my direct experience.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Halloween Jack posted:

Not really, no.

I wouldn’t be pissed, but I’d be disappointed. If you’re trying to do kitchen sink fantasy, you need to be able to have Gimli, Beowulf, or Hercules hanging with your nerd crew. Medieval Harry Potter, where everyone who isn’t some species of wizard is useless, just cuts out a lot of fun character concepts. IMO that’d be a big design mistake, catering to established players who really want to maintain the sanctity of a mechanical system, instead of making the world broader.

Which means there’s a good chance it’s on the docket for 6E, but eh.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Halloween Jack posted:

Eliminating fighters in favour of spellsword would be a big step towards D&D giving up on pretending to be kitchen sink fantasy, which it has never ever been. It's a weird little subsubgenre cobbled together from a pretty broad set of influences across fantasy fiction and the assumptions of a peculiar skirmish wargame.

Sure, I’d just rather it live up to it’s ambitions and the way people try to use it than redefine those things to try to fit it’s cobbled together system.

Funnily enough, though, “everyone uses magic some ways” would be a perfect fit for an MTG themed RPG, though I think D&D’s Vancian casting isn’t.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



gradenko_2000 posted:

I mean the only reason why the issue of "everyone is magical" keeps coming up is because the game is otherwise set up in such a way that non-magical characters are so much more limited in their capabilities than magical characters. You wouldn't need to "drop the Fighter and replace them with a spellsword" if the Fighter could do poo poo without narratively needing to write "magic" on their sheet.

Exactly. "Everyone uses magic" is a fine conceit for an RPG, but it's certainly not the only way to go. And 4E D&D's fighter was non-magical and one of the coolest classes in the game. One of the best things about Warlord was that you were just such an awesome leader, etc.

What's important is that everyone be working on similar enough mechanical ground that magic users aren't playing a different game, but the idea that you need a "magic system" is a relic of D&D as it has (4E exempted) existed. But part of what's cool about a high fantasy setting where you're Big drat Heroes is that you get to be cool and awesome and special in various ways, and the idea that one of those might be "I don't use magic but I still keep up" seems like good ground for imagination.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Cythereal posted:

That's more or less the bard in D&D, particularly the skald and blade archetypes. They're not terrible to downright good with a sword, they have some magic, they're the party face.

I think it's mostly down to different cultures having different ideas and traditions, though.

I dunno, Aragorn is pretty similar, given LOTR is very low on overt magic. I'd more blame that hybrid-y classes in D&D have nearly universally sucked.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



JcDent posted:

The Pontifs seem like they were writen while screaming "gently caress you, Catholic mom" and/or high on Wiccan "witch-hunts were about suppressing the mother goddess!"

Also, post pictures.

Given the general tone of the book I was more inclined towards “I want to punish people for playing characters I don’t like” for those. Kind of like how lots of people use the paladin code not to challenge the paladin player but to punish them.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Josef bugman posted:

What makes it fun/good? Other than the Nostalgia ofc!

It was simpler than D&D 3e/4e, though that's not saying a lot and if you measure at the end of its life with the Player's Option series etc, it was more...differently complicated. It ended up with a bunch of stuff grafted on to it that didn't really have initial rules support, so lots of things introduced new subsystems and so forth (psionics being egregious with defense modes and similar nonsense). 3e was made to be expanded more gracefully in terms of mechanics, but the combinatorics got absurd in ways they didn't in AD&D2, since it didn't allow you to mix and match everything together in the same ways.

The mechanics I think were probably better than 3rd, but worse expressed. As others have said, it didn't just have the "my attack roll goes up and your defense goes up about as much" grind, where numbers get bigger but things don't meaningfully change - very few things penalized saving throws, so a powerful high level character was very likely to just shrug off anything that allowed a save. Ditto stuff like rogue skills, where you sucked at them early on but eventually got to the point where you were great at them regardless of opposition level, which did something to address the problem where spellcasters just do the same thing but better. And it had some great settings.

That said, I can't imagine looking at all the games available in 2018 and deciding to play AD&D 2E again, even with THAC0 translated into roll-and-add. Everything good about the system would be very easy to port over to a more modern game, and it still has many of the D&D sacred cows - ability score problems, spellcasters interacting with the system on a fundamentally different level - with some special ones thrown in that basically everyone ignores, like arbitrary level limits on nonhumans that either do nothing or force a character to become unable to continue to play. Between everything you'd need to update and everything you'd need to ignore, just play the settings you like in a good modern system. The whole point of RPGs is that you can write your own stories and components, after all.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



gradenko_2000 posted:

Okay, I'll cop to that, but I still stand by my point that there were certain equipment benchmarks that people wanted (if not needed) to hit, and that it formed a base for how the loot rules were formed for 3e.

Sure, and my broad characterization of 3e was broad too, since in practice players got ahead of the treadmill, rather than just keeping up, because supplement creep quickly meant things like attack rolls and save DCs could grow far faster than monster defenses did. But neither of these things mean there wasn’t a clear design intent that’s importantly different. Wealth-by-level was a good guideline to have, but it came with a design philosophy that was much more “numbers all go up” than 2E’s was. In D&D3 your numbers go up a lot, but unless you’re a specllcaster, who gets increasingly absurd ways to rewrite the narrative, your life doesn’t change that much in terms of your tactical considerations. On-level monsters stay about as hard to hit, and assuming they get to full attack you, hit about as hard (difficulty of discovering what’s an appropriate monster in 3E aside).

Between saves and the more tightly bound armor classes, 2E isn’t like this. Your higher level character is going to hit more often and save more often than your lower level one, regardless of opponent. Items are related, but they’re not the major component of what’s going on, and it creates a very different feel. High level 3e characters feel more mechanically powerful almost exclusively through access to magic. It’d be just an interesting style variance if everyone got equal access to magic or if high level feats bridged the gap, but neither of these things is really true, so instead it’s a major contributor to caster supremacy.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Night10194 posted:

Alternately: You are the first lady rat born with white fur and horns, sparking a theological crisis. You and your littermates will, solely through trying to grab at personal power, accidentally change Skaven society and destroy the Under Empire as we know it.

Campaign hook!

A classic Pratchett “accidental revolution” plot!

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Libertad! posted:

I have to say, teaming up with Post-Apocalyptic Nazis to fight demons isn't as appealing as Kevin Sembieda thinks it is.

The only way I'd run that is if the obviously correct move is to team up with the demons to fight the Nazis.

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Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Robindaybird posted:

it's amazing how designers don't realize how loving lethal paralysis is for low level parties

Or how boring it is.

I get it's a genre staple but it really highlights how insufficient RPG playtesting usually is. Most folks eagerly wait for their turns, so "you don't get any of those for the rest of the combat" is just a terrible player experience.

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