Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Monsterhearts 2: The Chosen and The Serpentine

We finished up the Core Skins last time on Monsterhearts, and itís time to move on to the Bonus Skins. These were free downloads that were not part of the Core package, because both kind of change the game in ways that makes the character with the Skin more important than everyone else. Weíll see how as we go.

The Chosen:

quote:

The world needs you. It needs someone brave enough to walk blindly into the darkness, and to shine a light for all the lost souls out there. They need a champion. They canít do it alone.
Thereís just that one nagging worry, the one that rears its head at the worst possible moments: what if youíre not good enough?

Youíre Buffy. And because youíre Buffy, this has been downgraded from a Core Skin to an optional one. Because when youíre Buffy, that means youíre on a show that has your goddamn name in the title. Not every group is going to be fine with that. Your stat options are Cold 2/Volatile 1 (brooding leader) and Volatile 2/Hot 1 (impassioned warrior). The original Chosen was Hot/Volatile.

You get two Moves to start with.

Growing Pains: When you fail to protect your friends, mark experience. This is unchanged, but potentially is actually a bit more powerful than it used to be since you now get experience for failing rolls as well.

Mercy: When you decide to spare someone you have reason to kill, take a String on them. Flavorful, and interesting in combination with one of the other Moves. This is unchanged.

Final Showdown: Spend four Strings on someone. They are finally and irrevocably dead. Do not pass go. Do not spend Strings to inflict Harm back, because that is no longer part of this Move. Itís way, way more powerful than the original, because itís no longer super likely to kill you.

To the Books: You and the Scooby Gang hit the library. This counts as Gazing Into the Abyss, and you add one to the roll for each friend helping (valuable since Dark is a bad stat). A 10+ on the roll will, in addition to the other results, show you your enemyís secret weakness and give you a String on them. This used to be a bit different, with its own mechanics instead of being a special case of Gaze. But Gazing probably covers Buffy-style research pretty well, honestly.

Take the Blow: When you leap into the way of some Harm someone is going to take, roll Volatile. On a 10+, you take the Harm instead but reduced by one. On a 7-9, you just take the Harm. Incredibly powerful when dealing with normal fighting, since a 10+ will just negate the Harm outright. This is unchanged.

Light the Way: Whenever your friends are following your lead, they add one to their rolls. Iíll probably have a post on Move synergies, but you could easily become a terribly effective if very dysfunctional team if everyone took Under Pressure and the Chosen had enough Strings on them all to trigger it. Again, kind of like some Buffy seasons!

The Chosen also used to have a move called Come Prepared that meant you just sort of had all the monster slaying tools you might need. This didnít need to be a move, you just have that poo poo. Werewolves donít need a move to turn into a goddamn wolf.

Your Backstory gives you a String on each of two friends who help you with your activities. But thereís someone who knows who and what you are and wants you dead. You describe them, then the MC will name them and give them two Strings on you. This is the way it worked in the original. The Advances are normal, with your Gang being Unholy Allies. Because again this is Buffy.

Your Sex Move is the same as it was before, when you have sex with someone you remove all your Harm and cure all your Conditions. If they disgust you, give them a String, if you disgust yourself, also give them a String. As for the Darkest Self:

quote:

None of your friends can help. Theyíre not strong like you
are. You need to chase down the biggest threat imaginable, immediately and alone. Any challenges or dangers that you encounter must be faced head on, even if they might kill you. You escape your Darkest Self when someone comes to your rescue or you wake up in the hospital, whichever comes first.

Thatís also the same as the original. The Chosenís flavor was fine the first time, they were just not really suited to be a Core Skin.

The Serpentine:

quote:

In ancient days, your family held dominion over this world. They were powerful, deadly, and wise. At least, thatís what they tell you. But all youíve ever seen is empty faith and crumbling dreams. You just want to live your life like any other kid, but they have bigger plans for you.
They say that there will come a day when the serpent rules once more. That once again they will swap secrets with powerful allies and venom with pow- erful enemies. But they need your help first. After all, what else is family for?

You are the Reptiloid conspiracy. Youíre some kind of reptile person, but thatís not really what the Serpentine is Ďaboutí. What itís about is faded glory and what people are willing to do to regain it. This isnít suited to be a Core Skin because you come with a whole cast of side characters, your family. Theyíre going to play a huge role in any game with a Serpentine, so everyone should be comfortable with that. Your stat choices are Hot 2/Cold 1 (seductive and aloof) and Cold 2/Volatile 1 (fierce and dangerous). The original was Hot/Cold, the new stat spread is clearly there to model some of what was changed in the Moves if you want. Because there are definitely some changes in the Moves.

You get Failing Dynasty, and one more.

Failing Dynasty: Back before these lovely mammals ruined everything, your family was hot poo poo. You choose what theyíre trying to get back: their political clout, their old wealth, their failing beauty, their secret allies. When a family member convinces you to do their bidding, you take one Forward to doing it but they gain a String on you. When you help your family regain some of its glory, mark experience. This remains the core mechanic of the Serpentine, and is unchanged.

Mesmerizing: Youíre Kaa the snake. Roll Hot. On a 10+, the target freezes up until you blink or someone touches them, after which they donít really remember anything unusual. On a 7-9, it still works but youíre hissing the whole time and theyíre pretty sure something weird happened. This is a little different, it used to give out a Condition, Dazed, and the bonus for 10+ was the effect you always get now. You also didnít have things get obvious on a 7-9.

The Big Reveal: When you reveal your true form to someone, they gain a String on you. If they accept you, they mark experience. If they donít, you take one Forward against them. Itís up to you what all your terrifying true form really is. This is unchanged.

The New Order: When you learn to meet a need in human society rather than by relying on your family, mark experience. When someone else helps you fit in, they mark experience. This is a fun and friendly Move for once and I like it. Itís unchanged.

Patience is a Virtue: When you bite your tongue and donít respond to an antagonist, roll Cold. On 10+, gain a String on them. On a 7-9, take one Forward to striking the next time you see them. This used to give out a Condition instead, called Snake Food. There were other moves that interacted with that Condition, but those are no longer with us. Which leads us to the discussion of removed Moves.

The Serpentine lost a few Moves. Temptation used to let someone take one Forward on doing a thing you convince them to do, and if they succeed you could either mark experience or take a String on them. There was a move that gave people in your lair Snake Food, and another that let you use Cold instead of Volatile to Lash Out at people with Snake Food. But now you just have the option of being Volatile, and the complication of Snake Food is gone. Temptation was kind of cool but Iím not sure it fit with the way the Skin really works. There were also way too many synergies for how many Moves you actually got.

Your Backstory is that youíve been watching someone to learn what it means to be human. You gain two Strings on them. But your family seeks to control you, and the head of it gains two Strings on you. This is unchanged. Your Advancements are normal, and your Gang is Nest of Humans.

Your Sex Move makes someone a part of your Failing Dynasty, which is what it always did, but the new wording makes something clear that I think was always intended: they literally gain the Move Failing Dynasty. So itís not just that you get bonuses for doing their bidding but they get tons of Strings on you. The same applies if they do what you want, and your family can also gently caress with them. This is your Darkest Self:

quote:

The human and serpent worlds are too different, and youíll never be able to reconcile their demands. The only way out is to choose a side, as decisively and irrevocably as possible. Watch carefully and quietly for an opportunity, and then strike, regardless of who needs to be hobbled or devoured in the process. Itís the only way to make the world simple again, and find your place at last. You escape your Darkest Self when you accept your complicated place in the world, or when you moult.

So this has changed a bit actually. Itís still about the same thing, deciding you need to pick one side or the other of your life, but the exit condition is completely different. You used to have to pick a side to escape, but now you actually have to accept that picking a side isnít an option at all. That, or you moult, meaning at some level your Darkest Self might just be a literal growing pain. I super like that.

There used to be another Skin that was part of the bonuses, The Angel. It was weird and complicated, and probably one of the most annoying mechanically to deal with. And now itís gone, there is no more Angel. What there is, though, is an expansion with some extra Skins called Second Skins. Next time weíll talk about two of those: The Sasquatch and The Wyrm.

Feinne fucked around with this message at 17:24 on Oct 31, 2019

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

Feinne posted:

What there is, though, is an expansion with some extra Skins called Second Skins. Next time weíll talk about two of those: The Sasquatch and The Wyrm.

I should point out that the Second Skins are not official Monsterhearts product. However, there is a third official optional skin:

BuriedWithoutCeremony dot com posted:

The Cerberus is weird and conceptual, created for a fan. What if you were a three-headed dog, covered in writhing snakes, tasked with guarding the gates to the afterlife? And what if this was all an elaborate metaphor for playing Jughead from CWís Riverdale?

And there's also the Small Towns.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




It's my turn to be a judgmental dick: When a playbook is based on "this one specific guy from this one specific thing" it is almost never good. If Cerberus' concept is "kid from the wrong side of the tracks" I can see it working.

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

It absolutely seems to be based on Jughead's arc, and normally that would doom it, but since Avery made it it might not suck?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The Serpentine reminds me of that wretchedly overcomplicated not-Beast fangame, Leviathan. I'm sure it plays vastly better.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





inklesspen posted:

It absolutely seems to be based on Jughead's arc, and normally that would doom it, but since Avery made it it might not suck?

From looking at it (and not having watched the show) it seems like it hits an okay niche: you're a gatekeeper in the social sense, painting everyone, including yourself, with broad labels and slamming them when they try to cross class (or gender, or clique, or whatever) lines. You're the rear end in a top hat who tells women that only guys play D&D. I mean, the Sex Move is literally telling them you don't belong in their world.

How that would play out, and whether it's worth having a skin about, isn't entirely clear.

e: also, well, there's potential for it to spiral into No See My Character Is A Horrible Douche. Definitely think carefully before using.

megane fucked around with this message at 18:10 on Oct 31, 2019

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

megane posted:

you're a gatekeeper in the social sense, painting everyone, including yourself, with broad labels and slamming them when they try to cross class (or gender, or clique, or whatever) lines. You're the rear end in a top hat who tells women that only guys play D&D.

:wtc:
Why the gently caress did riverdale give this to Jughead, of all people?

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I'm not sure that's entirely correct? The playbook seems to be about someone who passes between two social spheres and who's invested in the distinction between them. The Cerberus is someone who thinks they don't belong on the Good side of the divide, but can protect it from the Bad side; they're very concerned with people 'escaped from hell' who might ruin the good side. This might make for someone being a general social gatekeeper in pursuit of broad labels, but they could also be a gang member who tries to keep gang activity out of the 'normal' high school life they are alienated from?

But I haven't seen Riverdale.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


inklesspen posted:

I should point out that the Second Skins are not official Monsterhearts product. However, there is a third official optional skin:


And there's also the Small Towns.

Yeah they're by someone else not part of the core book (though they are linked in there), but I bought them so you all get to benefit!

I did not know about The Cerberus, grabbing it now. And I am also planning on covering the Small Towns after everything, I really like them.

EDIT: Cerberus is super cool mechanically, nicely fits the other side of The Hollow's niche where it benefits from giving Conditions instead of having them.

Feinne fucked around with this message at 18:19 on Oct 31, 2019

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



It feels like they're going for more troubled bad boy (or girl) who's in too deep but wants to save other people from the Bullshit they're wrapped up in than 'girls can't play dnd'.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





I mean, obviously it's just my snap interpretation, and I certainly don't claim it's the only valid one. But this is their core move:

quote:

You exist in the liminal space between two communities: one is resplendent with light, the other is damned to the shadows. It is your duty to guard the boundary.

Mark experience whenever you weed out someone on the wrong side of the divide and put them in their place.
They didn't write "mark experience when you protect someone innocent from the dangers of the damned" or something. Nor did they say "you're part of a group damned to darkness, who pose a threat to outsiders." They wrote the above, which explicitly places you in the middle, preventing people from crossing over (in either direction) and shoving them back where they "belong" if they try.

You can definitely play this as a repentant gang member, as Joe Slowboat mentioned, and that may well be the best take, honestly. But it's not the primary theme I'm seeing.

e: to be clear, even playing my interpretation to the hilt, you don't have to be a sexist CHUD or whatever; society is packed to the loving gills with gates and those who keep them, and sometimes those gates might be there for a good reason, as in the repentant gang member's case. If I wanted to play a Cerberus it wouldn't take me long to come up with one I wouldn't consider despicable. But if you ask me to name an example of people dividing society into two communities, labelling one "light" and the other "dark," and then "putting people in their place"... the first few I name aren't going to be nice dudes.

megane fucked around with this message at 23:21 on Oct 31, 2019

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





My point was mostly that there need to be two distinct communities that everyone your age can be divided into - which doesnít quite work for Ďgirlsí and Ďnerds.í There are plenty of awful divisions that could be, I donít mean to defend it on that line, I just think that the Ďdamnedí and Ďblessedí model is important. They think one group is Good and one group is Bad, and that could be Ďprotecting the high school from gangsí which is apparently CW Jughead according to Alder, or it could be Ďprotecting the popular people from the hoi polloií or something much crueler and more toxic.

E: like you canít really be generally defensive of all labels, you choose one gate to keep, and it needs to be one that divides everything justly or unjustly. I donít mean to say it canít be immensely lovely just that itís not enforcing all social roles, itís enforcing a specific sense of self-hatred that Cerberus has in this context involving a binary worldview.

Joe Slowboat fucked around with this message at 00:15 on Nov 1, 2019

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


I mean. Nerds do think Gamers are Good and Girls are Bad.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





EthanSteele posted:

I mean. Nerds do think Gamers are Good and Girls are Bad.

But can you discretely divide the entirety of high school social life into Girls and Gamers and donít answer that because Iím pretty sure some nerds would with like an argument about jocks not counting idk

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Joe Slowboat posted:

But can you discretely divide the entirety of high school social life into Girls and Gamers and donít answer that because Iím pretty sure some nerds would with like an argument about jocks not counting idk
I feel like in a world where Kenny Omega came to the ring in an Undertale costume, the nerd/jock dichotomy is dead

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Nessus posted:

I feel like in a world where Kenny Omega came to the ring in an Undertale costume, the nerd/jock dichotomy is dead

Did he wear a costume at some point? I thought it was just his ring entrance music and Jumbotron video.

Anyway it's always been an open secret that wrestling fans are giant nerds.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Nessus posted:

I feel like in a world where Kenny Omega came to the ring in an Undertale costume, the nerd/jock dichotomy is dead

There was the guy who tried to make his heel thing 'D&D is for nerds.'

Doctor Zaius
Jul 30, 2010

I say.


Is anybody interested in doing a review of/know where I might find a copy of Palladium's Macross II game? I came across it wikipedia diving, and he concept of a mid 90s Macross game made by Palladium sounds absolutely wild.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Doctor Zaius posted:

Is anybody interested in doing a review of/know where I might find a copy of Palladium's Macross II game? I came across it wikipedia diving, and he concept of a mid 90s Macross game made by Palladium sounds absolutely wild.
I don't know about Macross II but I have a copy of their Robotech core book I got at Half Price Books back in the day.

HerraS
Apr 15, 2012

Looking professional when committing genocide is essential. This is mostly achieved by using a beret.

Olive drab colour ensures the genocider will remain hidden from his prey until it's too late for them to do anything.





You can find the Macross II corebook on Amazon for ten bucks but dont go in expecting anything near Rifts -level gonzo weirdness

Carados
Jan 27, 2009

We're a couple, when our bodies double.


Speaking of Riverdale, I've been kind of interested in running a Monsterhearts campaign with that tone. The characters aren't monsters, more metaphorical monsters. The reality it takes place is super grounded, and any supernatural elements required can be explained with either narrative convience or some technology.

Not that itd ever happen, just a weird idea that I keep having.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Carados posted:

Speaking of Riverdale, I've been kind of interested in running a Monsterhearts campaign with that tone. The characters aren't monsters, more metaphorical monsters. The reality it takes place is super grounded, and any supernatural elements required can be explained with either narrative convience or some technology.

Not that itd ever happen, just a weird idea that I keep having.
Thatís just normal high school.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



But the Ghost can still just fly.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Dawgstar posted:

There was the guy who tried to make his heel thing 'D&D is for nerds.'

and succeeded, based on how much heat he got out of it, that was a genius dumb thing

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Joe Slowboat posted:

But can you discretely divide the entirety of high school social life into Girls and Gamers and donít answer that because Iím pretty sure some nerds would with like an argument about jocks not counting idk

I don't think it says anywhere that the groups have to be huge or widely applicable, but you can boil it down to "Us and Them" very easily. It could be you gatekeep one particular school club and your darkest self is definitely you going "no I'm a jock I can't be in the chess club I'm awful don't talk to me". Based on the origins options being "wrong side of the tracks" stuff I think the intention is to be bigger than Nerd Gatekeeper like you say, but I think its a valid read of the thing.

Speaking of darkest self, I like that the darkest self is you feeling you don't belong in the Good Group rather than having to compulsively gatekeep every gate you see which is the direction of some darkest selves. That type makes it difficult sometimes to tell when a particular character is even in that mode, Adam Koebel's group raised it every time it happened with the witch in their game, she was always maximum vengeance shithead hex mode so it was tough to see what changed.


Carados posted:

Speaking of Riverdale, I've been kind of interested in running a Monsterhearts campaign with that tone. The characters aren't monsters, more metaphorical monsters. The reality it takes place is super grounded, and any supernatural elements required can be explained with either narrative convience or some technology.

Not that itd ever happen, just a weird idea that I keep having.

That's one of the first things you have to talk about when setting up a game, how real are the monsters? Does everybody know they're real? Are the various monsters aware of each other, eg: Do Werewolves know Vampires are exist? Or is it a case where the vampire stuff is just symbolism that makes twitter mad?

The games I've been in have done it as the Monsters are treated as Definitely Real, except for when that would destroy the game, or at least move it in a direction no one is interested in playing out. Werewolf flips their poo poo in the corridors between class so the entire school sees and the game would become about hunting down a literal werewolf now? Nope, just a kid lashing out at someone in a way that's going to get parents involved. That the parents are proud of their child for showing Alpha traits (its lovely teen drama tv, the wolves are definitely big on Alphas etc) because they're For Real Werewolves too causes concerns, but no one's melting down the silverware. You can definitely do a game where that would be the case, but everyone has to be on board, if you signed up for High School Drama with a Dracula you might not be into it turning into a game about being helping a literal murderer on the run from law or whatever instead.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Werewolf packs having alphas just means the werewolf pack leaders don't know poo poo about wolf family dynamics.

Which, like, why would they, they're werewolves, not wolves. If they want to organize their pack structure based on a society developed by, essentially, a wolf prison gang, that's their business.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Dark Heresy Second Edition Unpublished Beta

Post 3: Evil Apes Dukin' It Out On A Big Ball

So, I know I promised Talents, but there honestly isn't enough in them to make an update without going into their exact effects more than I'd like to; suffice to say they are as they always have been, but they're much more severely gated behind stat advances in this document. An important thing, though: That's the only way Talents are sectioned off. Any PC, of any type, can learn any Talent. Just the high stat requirements for some will make them painful for you if your class isn't good at that stat. For the most part, the actual changes to Talents are interesting; there are no more multiattack talents, for reasons you'll see shortly, but there are plenty that will limit you to a single blow or slow down your attacks in order to make them more powerful. There are also Talents to let you actually say 'I use Fellowship for Stealth' without having to play GM may I on the affair, which is interesting. Many of the social and investigation talents relate to our Half Baked FFG Subsystem of the game, Subtlety, which we'll get to later. Suffice to say it's underdeveloped; it's tradition to have at least one central but confusing or poorly developed subsystem idea in every WH40KRP game.

Combat received a tremendous number of changes. The first one you'll notice is that instead of the old Half Action-Full Action thing, they went with Action Points. There were ways to get more Action Points solely for Reactions or whatever, but for the most part everyone got 4. So effectively they made everything a quarter action. Instead of having Half Move Full Move Charge and Run, you just spend 1 AP to move Agi Bonus in meters. You can spend as many on that as you want. Instead of having Full Auto and Swift Attack and stuff, you just pick your weapon, spend AP to attack, and multiply the weapon's Rate of Fire by the AP spent to find out how many shots/swings you take in that burst, before resolving it like a Full Auto attack. Everything is now Full Auto, basically. Some really big or slow guns and melee weapons cost multiple AP to make even a single swing with, and you no longer get any way to ignore the 'unbraced heavy weapon' penalty; Bulging Biceps just reduces it and makes Bracing cost 1 AP instead of 2. They really wanted to cut down on 'everyone and their dog uses a giant machine gun/autocannon', but I think they ended up going too far in most cases when you see how all of this interacts with the revamped damage system. Melee weapons that multiattack all base their rate of attack on your Agi Bonus, which sort of overvalues Agi.

Similarly, if you have a bad Agi, and you try using, say, a Sword with an RoA of AB-3 with your 22 Agi? Your sword now takes 2 AP to attack with even once. Like a heavy weapon.

Still, the basic idea of 'remove the old firing rate rules entirely' is a promising start, because they never worked great. Another promising bit: Damage variance has been toned down significantly, as has Armor Penetration. Even the best weapons are only Pen 2 or 3, to ensure that armor stays relevant. A Power Sword, for instance, is now 'only' d10+2+SB, Pen 2. That's what a 'high power' light melee weapon looks like now. That's a huge step in the right direction. One of 40kRP's big problems was how out of control numbers got, to the point that you'd have a pile of damage modifiers in Black Crusade so high that they started to feel meaningless. Similarly, making everything work like Full Auto is basically just an acknowledgement that that's the best option in the system and so might as well be your default. AP as a concept is honestly useful and interesting, because it permits them to build in things like 'spend 1 AP before making your attack to add a rider where you force the enemy to move or expose them to ally's fire' and stuff like that. It gives more space to add in moves other than 'kill man'. It would have needed a lot more balancing and examination and playtesting, but this is a public playtesting draft as it is; 'It needed some refining but seemed to be on a good track' is about where you want most mechanics in such a book.

One thing I do NOT like about AP is that you have to reserve AP to be able to actively dodge or parry. Also, full disclosure, I missed that they just changed the name of the Dodge skill to Evade to account for it accounting for Dodges, Parries, and using your sheer Willpower to avoid wizard poo poo. Which is a good change in itself; bringing those skills together under one roof rather than having a separate Parry skill like Only War is a better idea and I appreciate the general commitment to cutting down on the skill list. I don't like the idea of having to reserve action points to do things like active Dodge because that kind of thing can lead to situations where the character who loses initiative gets pasted because guess what, you get your AP at the start of your turn, and if you have none because you haven't moved yet, you can't dodge. Biasing things more towards high agi shoot-first high init isn't a good look because it's already where 40kRP was, and it's not a great place. Still, you no longer have a limited number of dodges; you can evade as many times as you have AP. And gaining extra AP to use solely on Reactions is one of the main ways you can gain extra AP. So with some balancing it might have worked out.

But all this pales in comparison to the new damage rules. Oh man, the new damage rules. If you asked me how someone could design a damage system that would piss off existing fans (by undervaluing alpha strikes with high damage weapons/going for one-shots) and annoy people like me who felt the system had PCs who were much too fragile for how long-term you seemed to be expected to play them, I would ask you why the hell you wanted that. And then I'd turn in this damage system. It's real bad, not going to lie. Back in the day, this was the single most complained about part of this document during playtesting, outside of meta-concerns like a lack of backwards compatibility with previous material. And with good reason. So, they responded to the way Wounds weren't very useful in 40kRP by cutting them out entirely. You no longer have a buffer of HP under the new damage system. Every hit goes onto a Wound Chart, assuming it does any damage past your DR. For every time a hit has gone onto the Wound Chart, you take 1 Wound. If an enemy was an Elite or better and got a 10 on damage, you get Furied and take a Critical Wound instead, though this has no direct effect on looking at the Wound Chart.

The Wound Chart consists of looking at the damage type that hit you (Rending, Explosive, Energy, or Impact), then how much damage you took, and matching it to the numbered entry. You also add +5 to the result for every Wound you've taken, and +10 for every Critical. You start taking permanent character damage at 26+, and die at 30+. You also start suffering stuns, debuffs, getting set on fire, etc well before that. Only the 8 or less results are 'you just take a harmless flesh wound'. So getting hosed up is going to ramp up really fast. The Wound system also means that you're better off using a high rate of fire weapon with acceptable damage; you're just not going to one-shot people from full health anymore, which is good and definitely intentional, though a high alpha damage weapon is probably still going to gently caress someone up. But you're still weirdly fragile and there's still no acknowledgement that, say, getting Stunned generally means you're going to die next turn (especially as it keeps you from regenerating AP, so you can't try to Dodge or Parry while stunned). It still ends up being a very lethal system where you want to win init and alpha strike your enemy, you just alter what makes the most efficient way of doing that. In essence, it doesn't really solve the problems of 40kRP combat, it just makes more of the crit table results actually show up before someone explodes like a watermelon on the 3rd shot of the burst. It's also complex and requires a lot of chart flipping. It is a worst of both worlds change.

But I do appreciate that they actually did experiment with an alternate wounds system, because the old WH40KRP one did not work. Yes, I would have liked to have seen this damage system get thrown out and a new one tried in its place; it's terrible. But that it exists is a good sign. FFG was willing to throw out entire foundational systems of the original system to try new things in this first playtest, and that's the level of experimental design they needed to be on. This idea didn't work, at all; it made pretty much everyone unhappy. But in an ideal world, that would lead to it getting tossed and some new ideas being tried. Oh, another thing: They threw out Unnatural Stats entirely, and good loving riddance, that was a terrible idea at every point in 40kRP's design.

Then they kind of screwed it by giving some enemies 100+ stats. But you know, at least Unnaturals were gone.

Also, a really hilarious rules interaction I found: Because of the way rates of fire work, and because there is no longer an unarmed penalty, and because 'light' melee weapons like knives don't naturally add Strength Bonus but fists do? It's actually very possible to build an extremely formidable character who 'dual wields' their fists and feet. Get Crushing Blow (Add +SB to your melee again at the cost of -1 to RoA), Crippling Strike (All enemies suffer +5 to Wound Effect), and Furious Assault (If two attacks hit the same area, you can combine their damage vs. DR and for Wound Effect). Add Blade Dancer for dual-wielding to be without penalty. Dual-Wielding lets you make a second Attack action during a turn, you see; normally you can only make one. A character with those things has at least 5 SB, and so is punching people for d5+10, or if they double-up attacks on a body part, 2d5+20. And is attacking at Agi Bonus-1 per single AP spent. You can, with a little effort, build a melee character who is running around machine-gun punching demons like Ip Man and to be honest: This is good. That should be an option. It does have the unintentional hilarity whereby fists are effectively always better than a knife (knife is d10-2, fists are d5+SB, and even an 'average' character with d5+3 is better off than d10-2) but I am a-okay with martial arts being totally viable.

So, the damage system was a huge pile, but the AP system and the general trend of trying to make heavy weapons less dominant and trying to add more options in combat indicated steps in the right direction. This is one of those places where 'it's an initial playtest document' is doing a lot of work, but almost everything wrong here was fixable. Damage would have needed a full revamp, and they would have needed to really sit down and have a hard look at what they wanted damage to be like, I think. One of 40k's issues has always been the hyperlethality. It got built into the game's reputation, but in my experience, what players tended to enjoy was managing to survive despite it. But that meant the game had to give a ton of tools for evading damage, because PCs' ability to take it was ludicrously small compared to how much of it there was. It has always been at odds with the expectation that you will play a PC long term that's inherent in the EXP and advancement rules (and the existence of Fate Points), and with the fact that making PCs (especially for the later, higher power games) takes a lot of time. In short, lots of the system isn't really set up for highly disposable PCs, but the damage system of 40k and its reputation for hyperlethality are. That FFG was willing to re-examine the entire damage system is still a positive step, even if the solution they had wasn't a good one. I'm confident a better one could have been arrived at in time, given the willingness to experiment and the genuine improvements found in other areas of this document.

Next Time: Subtly? In 40k?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Oh, one other important note: If a PC Furies an enemy (gets any 10s on their damage dice), they instantly kill any non-boss opponent as long as they did at least 1 damage past DR. Only the highest tier enemies actually take Critical Wounds like a PC. So spamming light attacks and hoping for instant kills would also be very viable.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Monsterhearts 2: The Sasquatch and The Wyrm

Alright now weíve got some all-new content for Monsterhearts, weíre starting on the Second Skins.

The Sasquatch:

quote:

Everyone around you seems to have it figured out. They flirt and joke and walk around holding hands. You donít have it figured out. When people look at you, you want to disappear.

Iím going to talk a bit more about the Second Skins, because unlike the originals there isnít a whole review I have to try not to plagiarize in doing so. The Sasquatch is that super awkward person who never really says anything but is always in the background. They note that itís really easy for you to end up fading into the background, so everyone should make sure to keep you engaged in the story. You also canít ever truly disappear, because as weíll see you smell weird. You are pretty much inherently bullied, it should be noted. Itís going to come up in your Backstory. Your stat options are Volatile 2/Dark 1 (wild and weird) and Dark 2/Cold 1 (someone aware of deeper mysteries who keeps others away). Volatile/Dark was their original stat spread.

You get the Move Musk, and one more. The original version gave you two more.

Musk: You have a distinct smell. Itís not necessarily bad, but itís powerful. When you break a sweat near others, the MC will tell you which of them is aroused. You gain a String on them, and they choose a reaction: I give you a compliment, I give myself to you, My eyes water and I gag, Iím also repulsed so I ridicule you about your body and give you a Condition. This is pretty cool and builds on the whole idea that youíre terribly awkward and often have reasons to avoid the spotlight. The original version was a Volatile roll, and if you rolled 10+ they had to choose from a list of positive reactions while on 7-9 they HAD to give you a Condition. This version is a lot better, since it keeps your agency over your reactions intact.

Icebreaker: Youíre so painfully awkward that it affects those around you as well. When you ask someone one from the following list of questions, they will blurt out a truthful answer: Who do you want to make out with? What donít you want me to find out? What do you intend to do? What do you wish Iíd do? What are you scared of? What are you ashamed of? Do you like me? If you want to ask another question that scene, you have to answer the same question yourself. Super like this. This used to have a system, youíd roll Dark at the start of a conversation and on a 10+ theyíd blurt out two of these, on a 7-9 theyíd do one. I like the current one better, again, in part because it rewards thinking out your own answers to these questions. Also it doesnít have unnecessary dice rolling.

The Long Fuse: When someone wrapped in your arms would take Harm, negate it. If you do, name something that you hold dear. You must destroy that thing later, or suffer the Harm yourself. This is incredibly cool, and positions you as someone whoís willing to give everything for those they care about. This is unchanged from the original.

Understanding: When you hold someone close, gain a String on them. A corollary to The Long Fuse. While your awkwardness isolates you, what you really want is to be close to people. And doing so gives you deep understanding of them. Keep in mind you smell funny. This is also unchanged from the original.

Unnoticeable: You can fade from view and become invisible. If you want to hide your scent as well, roll to Keep Your Cool. On a 7+, your scent is hidden for a while in addition to the other results. Bigfoot vanishes into the woods out of nowhere, and so do you. While there were similar Moves in the original, this is new. Iíll just talk about the deprecated moves after weíre done the current ones.

Hidden in the Scenery: When no one knows where you are, you can roll Dark to become hidden in the scene and start listening. On a 10+, nobody knows. On a 7-9, someone notices. If they donít reveal you, they gain a String on you at the end of the scene. This is also really cool, and is an unchanged Move from the original. Itíd also be a neat Move to take as a Skin like the Ghost.

The Sasquatch used to have two Moves that are now gone. Negatives let you roll Dark to erase evidence of yourself, with it vanishing completely on a 10+ and leaving holes and mystery that still remains on a 7-9. Disappear was sort of like Unnoticeable, but was a special Run Away action. On a 10+ you could disappear and slip away, on a 7-9 youíd still turn invisible but the person there who cares most about you would gain a String on you. The old Sasquatch had way too much dice rolling, frankly, and has become a lot more streamlined. The Moves that were lost were cool, but probably didnít need to exist as they did.

Your Background has someone finally notice you and gain a String on you. Someone makes fun of you. They give you a Condition, you gain two Strings on them. This Condition is explicitly normal and can be resolved as normal. This is how it worked in the first edition. Your Advancements are normal, and your Gang is a Secret Club. Since Iíve got a 1e Skin right here, though, let me mention something really important about how Advancements have changed. See, you can only take one of any given Advancement per Season, which means that with only the one +1 Stat advancement in Monsterhearts 2 youíre limited to one stat rise per Season. The original had separate Advancements for each stat, letting you potentially raise all four every Season (up to the limit of 3). This was kind of busted if you were playing an extended game with the same characters and changing it was definitely for the better.

Your Sex Move is as follows:

quote:

Whoever has sex with you smells like you afterwards. If they face their peers before scrubbing it off, they mark experience.

Thatís pretty cool, mark experience for doing something that makes it incredibly clear youíre Ďwithí the awkward kid people barely know exists. This used to come with a Condition, Scented, but no longer does. Conditions are a bit more serious now since they can be much stickier, so probably a good change. As for the Darkest Self:

quote:

Now, right now, itís time to rain stones down upon the bullies and the excluders. Itís time to wreck their precious stuff, to shove them back so hard that theyíll never even dream of messing with you or anyone ever, ever again. You escape your Darkest Self when you hurt one of those people more than theyíve ever hurt anyone else... and more than you meant to.

To finish off the idea that youíre the quiet kind of loner kid whoís always in the background, youíre also the kid who suddenly snaps and unleashes a brutal suplex on a bully out of nowhere. Thatís pretty much a perfect cap to this. And just as that suggests, youíve lost all sense of proportion and are probably going to do something really regrettable in the end because you havenít been dealing with your anger in a healthy fashion. We also sort of see that in The Long Fuse, of course.

The Wyrm:

quote:

You see what most miss, passing glances that tell tales of control. Youíve been transformed by your aching desire for power over people. Theyíre hard to acquire all at once, but you can win them bit by bit, piece by piece, string by string.
What youíve changed into - youíre the kind of thing that runs the world. You donít have to be liked to be obeyed, or understood to be feared. Thereís nothing so excellent as the delicate flavor of power over others.

Letís just be straight up, youíre a loving dragon. This version is less blatant about it (first edition was to the point of making this Skin kind of absurdly powerful) but that is what you are. You want things, and when you want them you have to make them yours. Sometimes, those things are people, but you really donít care. Theyíre going to be yours anyway, and youíre going to have them. Not anyone else. Youíre also the goddamn master of Strings and loving with people, this Skin owns. Your stat options are Cold 2/Dark 1 (manipulative and otherworldly) or Dark 2/Volatile 1 (mystical and reactionary). The previous version was Cold/Dark. But, well, Volatile didnít need to be a high stat, as weíll see.

The current version chooses two Moves from the list below.

The Bait: You have a beautiful collection of some kind, you decide what. Whenever you show it off to someone, they find something in it they want. They mark experience when that thing becomes theirs. This is, as its name suggests, the bait on the end of your Strings. Itís how you incentivize people to want to make deals with you. The Wyrm likes deals. This move used to be free and mandatory, and used to have some extra effect after they got the item. It does not need either to be way strong, because the whole point is to lure you into interacting with a character you really loving shouldnít if you were smart.

Bargaining Ceremony: With eye contact and smoke you enter a strange trance with someone else. While there you can trade Strings and objects and make promises. This includes both Strings on others as well as new Strings on yourselves. So yes, you can dime out a friend by giving the Wyrm some of your Strings on them in exchange for that sweet issue of Batman you were missing. Thereís obvious synergies here with some Fae Moves, watch the gently caress out for Wyrms that are smart enough to take those with Advances. This was also a mandatory Move in the original version, which then gave you one more Move. Itís otherwise unchanged.

Opportunist: When you gain a String on someone with two or more Conditions, gain one more. Short and two the point, and incredibly powerful. And needless to say it incentivizes you to gently caress with people behind their backs to get them into a situation of needing your help, then getting massive leverage on them. When they figure this out theyíll probably be pissed, but will they even be able to do anything about it anymore? This used to be called Broker, and instead required the character to have a Condition named on one of the other Skins to work. This version is better, since you can just trigger it by texting enough people that Cindyís a bitchy slut.

Wingman: This is the most amazing move. You wax poetic about another main characterís beauty, at which point THEY roll to Turn the person On with a +1. Theyíre the one that has to deal with the messy outcomes while you were just trying to help. Itís also a great way of generating Strings on characters you might want them on without risking anything yourself, letting you then trade that your rare Garfield mug for them. The old version didnít have the bonus. It was better at making GBS threads on the character you were targeting, but you kind of want them to succeed because again the point is the String economy is your bitch.

Covetous: When someone you treasure shows affection to someone else, take one Forward against that person. Simple and to the point, youíre a possessive rear end in a top hat. This replaces a Move called Jealous Coils, which involved a Dark roll. Youíd gain a String on the character you covet, and on a 10+ theyíd lose one. On a 7-9 theyíd give you a Condition or youíd say something youíd regret. A lot of these Second Skins were way too roll and mechanics heavy and this change is part of mitigating that.

Where I Want You: Plot to catch someone alone and spend four Strings on them. You frame the next scene either of you appear in. Describe the place but leave it unsaid how either of you got there. Until you make a Move, nobody else can show up and they canít leave. The ultimate incarnation of covetousness, you straight steal them from the story to get to say or do whatever it was you think you deserve to get to because they belong to you. This is unchanged from the original.

There was one more Move, Scales, that went the way of a lot of Moves that were really combat-focused in this edition. It was also a Stat Swap, making it double-plus ungood here. You could give yourself the Condition Secretly Vulnerable and straight turn into a no holds barred draconic nightmare thing. It let you Lash Out Physically with Dark and inflict arbitrary levels of Harm when you hit. That was, needless to say, busted. That you can have high Volatile now is a nod to the idea that the Wyrm might well in fact be literally some kind of dragon without making you Death Incarnate.

Your Backstory has you dividing people into Treasure and Currency. You describe the moment each Treasure caught your eye and give each a String. Everyone else makes up something mean you said to them, and you gain a String on them. God the Wyrm is such an rear end in a top hat, I love it. This is how it used to work, though it was previously something Ďoff-puttingí rather than Ďmeaní. Your Advances are normal, and your Gang are Collectors.

Your Sex Move is suitably also really strong:

quote:

After sex with someone, ask them what theyíd like and promise youíll get it for them. Gain 2 Strings on them.

Which in turn is a really fun thing if that person happens to be the Fae! This has been substantially changed, the previous was very complicated. Theyíd choose one to four of the following: Giving you a String for something from your collection, giving you a String for a String, giving you a String for the current effect, or giving you a String to give you a Condition. This kind of had to change, because The Bait is no longer mandatory so you donít inherently have a collection with something they want. I like the new simpler one better. As for the Darkest Self:

quote:

Youíve become too heady, too lax, too vague. You need to dominate one of the people-things that
you treasure, let it know that itís yours, that it doesnít get to choose who owns it Ė you do.
You escape your Darkest Self when your treasured thing proves that you donít own it entirely, or when you see the difference between objects and people.

This is unchanged from the original and I really like it because the escapes are all an rear end in a top hat having to deal with the fact that they canít always get their way one way or the other. Once youíve got some Moves youíre the Real Final Boss of Monsterheartsí social game, who cares whether you can turn people on yourself when you describe the sexy werewolf to the mortal then convince them to give you a chunk of that relationship for part of your rare collection of exotic beef jerkies.

Next time, two more Second Skins: The Cuckoo and The Unicorn.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



The one thing that's always confused me about the Sasquatch is like...is smelling that big a part of Sasquatch lore? Is that a thing? I thought that was just the skunk ape.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



The Sasquatch definitely hews a little closer to the not great experiences I had with the game than I'd like (written around a fetish, 'yes your character is turned on by this fetish', etc).

The Wyrm is super cool.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Mors Rattus posted:

The one thing that's always confused me about the Sasquatch is like...is smelling that big a part of Sasquatch lore? Is that a thing? I thought that was just the skunk ape.
It's skunk ape and all of the southern US sasquatch esque monsters. As far as I am aware it rarely shows up outside of that region.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Leraika posted:

The Sasquatch definitely hews a little closer to the not great experiences I had with the game than I'd like (written around a fetish, 'yes your character is turned on by this fetish', etc).

The Wyrm is super cool.

The nice thing with the second edition rules is that if someone starts getting Welcome to my Magical World-y about something like that the rules support you saying 'no seriously but I'm not into that'.

The Wyrm is one of the better realized of these Second Skins and is pretty much the specific thing that solidified for me 'you should have a post talking about Skin Move synergies'. Though nothing I can come up with will match the true new Ultimate Busted Combo of The Cerberus with Unresolved Trauma, Projected Blame, and Bark, Then Bite where you give yourself Traumatized, give everyone else Blamed For Your Trauma, then have +2 to your rolls against them because gently caress you.

Feinne fucked around with this message at 17:51 on Nov 1, 2019

megane
Jun 20, 2008





The Wyrm is the best skin and the Sasquatch is a solid contender for the worst. My character gets +1 to turn people on when she's not wearing shoes. Why? Uh, no reason.

Might be beaten to the title by an upcoming one, though.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Mors Rattus posted:

Werewolf packs having alphas just means the werewolf pack leaders don't know poo poo about wolf family dynamics.

Which, like, why would they, they're werewolves, not wolves. If they want to organize their pack structure based on a society developed by, essentially, a wolf prison gang, that's their business.

Exactly! Just awful.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Mors Rattus posted:

The one thing that's always confused me about the Sasquatch is like...is smelling that big a part of Sasquatch lore? Is that a thing? I thought that was just the skunk ape.
Based on my experience in Bigfoot romance adjacent spaces, the stink is not a major part of the dynamic. However, I may be wrong.

As for the pack dynamics thing, it made some sense for Garou in Apocalypse since Garou couldn't really do the "a pack is basically an extended genetic family" thing, due to the low odds on any individual Kinfolk having the first change. However, most of the growling sex werewolf literature seems to make being a werewolf a straight up family condition. The conception of an "alpha" in the space of romance/erotic literature is even more detached from the old wolf studies!

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


megane posted:

The Wyrm is the best skin and the Sasquatch is a solid contender for the worst. My character gets +1 to turn people on when she's not wearing shoes. Why? Uh, no reason.

Might be beaten to the title by an upcoming one, though.

Yeah the Second Skins are kind of hit or miss, the good ones are really good and the eh ones are really eh. I will say most of them do a great job of hitting the feel they're going for, though.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Monsterhearts 2: The Cuckoo and The Unicorn

More Monsterhearts Skins, this time the Cuckoo and Unicorn.

The Cuckoo:

quote:

Othersí lives are just so fascinating. Thatís why you want to walk a mile in their shoes... and pants... and shirt. Thatís why you want to look out through their eyes, make a few promises with their voice, and maybe kiss someone with those sweet lips.
Look at that smile. You could be anyone.

So, the Cuckoo is a magical shapeshifter who turns into people by wearing their clothes. The Skin is of course named after the bird, who lays its eggs in the nests of other birds so as to have them take care of its children. So letís get to something pretty important for a game with sex in it: You do in fact physically turn into someone youíre passing as. This includes having their various bits, and it lasts as long as you are still wearing some of their clothes. If you completely undress, though, you go back to being you. Your stat options are Volatile 2/Hot 1 (spontaneous and charming) or Hot 2/Cold 1 (gorgeous and snobby). The originalís was Hot/Cold.

You always have the Moves Feathers and Feathers Made of Knives, and get to choose one more.

Feathers: You can magically pass for someone else by wearing their clothes. When youíre seen in their clothes but arenít currently passing, roll Hot. On a 7 or higher, youíre passing as them from now until youíre not. A 7-9 adds a flaw to your current effort to pass: the magic will dissipate if you kiss or get kissed, or the magic will dissipate if you Lash Out at anyone. While youíre passing as someone, if youíd get a Condition they get it instead (though youíd in principle share it while youíre them). As an important note, if you take this Move as another Skin you automatically get Feathers Made of Knives as well. This is identical to the original version and is pretty cool.

Feathers Made of Knives: Your shape-changing magic protects you and when someone suspects youíre not really who you seem to be, they have to choose one: they can grab your clothes, which tear and reveal your identity but take one Harm when they do so, or they can ignore their suspicion. This helps stop other players from just trivially making GBS threads all over your gimmick. This used to be called Shredding the Looking Glass, but had the same mechanics.

Close to the Sun: When someone else is suspicious of your identity while youíre passing, mark experience. So, youíre encouraged to not really be doing a great job of acting like the person, because part of the whole Cuckoo is actually thinking you know better how that person should live their life than they do. This is identical in the first edition.

That Good: When youíre passing, if someone would gain a String on you they instead gain it on the person youíre passing as. This is some sneaky poo poo and is kind of amazing. Get into a bunch of poo poo and then whoops someone else has to clean it up. This was also unchanged between versions.

A Natural: When youíre passing as someone, you can spend a String on them to ask their player or the MC one of the following questions: What would you say in this situation? What would you do in this situation? How do you feel about the person in front of me? While some of these moves sort of encourage you to skirt the edge of acting like the person, this one supports you doing otherwise. This is a new Move, it wasnít in the first edition.

Jumping Out of Clocks: When you disrobe for someone, take one Forward to rolling with Volatile and they choose one: Offer you an experience point to do what they want or trigger your Darkest Self. This is Certainly Something. Iím earnestly not sure what it looks like in practice.

The Cuckoo lost two moves in the edition shift. The first was Brood Parasite, which let you gain a String on someone if you could tell they wanted to be you. The second was A Little Bird Told Me, which let you roll Cold to poo poo on someone behind their back and give them a Condition. If you rolled a 7-9, itíd also give you the Liar Condition. This doesnít really need to exist in a world where Shutting Someone Down gives Conditions and doesnít really need to be in the presence of the person if thatís your goal. Both Moves were kind of boring and unnecessary, really.

Your Background is that youíve stolen an outfit from someone, and gain a String on them. Youíve also been given an outfit by someone so that you can impersonate them. You each gain a String on each other. This was also the Background of the original. Youíve got normal Advances, and your Gang is a Flock of Wannabees.

Your Sex Move lets you add one to your rolls to pass as them in the future, which makes a lot of sense. Itís the same it was in the first edition. As for your Darkest Self:

quote:

Somebody is a hack at playing themselves in their own life. It grates on you. Itís time for you, the understudy, to take their place on the stage. After all, youíre so much better at being them than they are. So replace them, using whatever means necessary. You escape your Darkest Self when something they do surprises you, or someone else shows a genuine care for them, or you succeed.

So yeah, your Darkest Self makes you try and straight replace someone because you think you could do it better. Itís pretty great, as is the fact that the exits are really varied. I donít otherwise have strong feelings about the Cuckoo other than to note that the specific phrasing they use, Ďpassingí, is a choice. Iím not saying itís a good or bad choice, just itís a choice.

The Unicorn:

quote:

You try so hard to help, and to be good. To set a strong example. But you feel like a foal out on the ice and the lake is ringed by wolves and your inner warmth makes the ice beneath you weaken.
One of the best things in this world and not long for it.

The Unicorn is all about taking a stand for what you think is right and trying to help people. Itís also kind of about being a bit judgmental and stuck up about those things. Your stat choices are Cold 2/Hot 1 (righteous and compelling) or Hot 2/Volatile 1 beautiful and a little skittish). The original Unicorn was Hot/Volatile. You also have an extra stat of sorts, called Integrity. Weíll learn about that when we get to Moves, but itís something that varies between 0 and 3. Thereís also probably something youíre already wondering about, and weíll get there! But I will say, the original Unicorn was VERY much about virginity whereas this one is much less about it.

You start with the Move People Should Never and two more.

People Should Never: You hold yourself to a high moral standard, giving you the stat Integrity. This will always range from 0 to 3, and starts at 0. Gain Integrity when you follow through on something important or take the moral high ground on an issue that matters. You also get a list of things people should never do, and need to circle all that your character thinks apply as well as make up any others you want: eat meat, lie, support sweatshops, hurt the environment, break laws, drive cars, disobey elders, dance, gossip, swear, dress provocatively, do drugs, be selfish. The original version of this was called With Integrity and didnít have the step where you define what you actually believe in. It otherwise worked the same. I like this, and I think itís good to define exactly how youíre a stick in the loving mud.

Lesser Beasts: While youíre near them, animals can converse in human speech. Theyíre still animals, and this will potentially lead to things being confusing and disturbing because they donít see things the way we do. This is still amazing and hilarious. This one is unchanged from the prior edition.

Just What You Do: When you help someone you dislike, gain a String on them. The Unicorn is exactly the kind of pushy person who helps even when itís unwelcome. This is new, and I like it.

I Believe In You: When someone else rolls less than a ten, you can just sense it. You can whisper words of encouragement from afar. Roll with Integrity and then erase one (note that youíre allowed to roll with Integrity even if you donít have any, and you explicitly do not need any to use the powers that would cost you Integrity like this one. On a 10+, you get to change their result to 10 straight up. On a 7-9, their 7-9 is changed to a 10 and their failure is changed to a 7. This is super cool while also only being really powerful if used sparingly, because at zero Integrity itís a roll with no bonus to get it to go off. This is unchanged from the previous edition.

Prophecies: Predict the outcome of someone elseís action well before they do it then roll with Integrity. Erase one Integrity after. On a 10+ your prediction of success or failure comes true, though it might not be in the way you foresaw. On a 7-9 the prediction will come true if the action is gone through with, but an innocent will suffer a terrible cost. This just plain OWNs. On one hand, itís really powerful to be able to just say whether certain things that might be attempted will succeed or fail. On the other hand, if you got the 7-9 version some particularly manipulative characters may be able to take advantage of that to wheedle you into some course of action, lest they start a chain of events that will lead to an innocent suffering. Love it. The old version was different on a 7-9, it required you to actively assist the effort to ensure the success or failure. It also allowed the prophecies to be defied if someone was willing to break their own heart. That was also kind of cool, but I think this double-edged version is better.

Unicorn Hunters: Some side characters are actually there to hunt you. If someone is, or you just say they are, your friends mark experience for chasing them off. This is also great, because youíre in theory a super moral character and nobody expects you to just maybe be lying that some person you just object to is trying to kill you. This used to be a Move called Hunted, where you were definitely being hunted and whenever it came up you had three options. The first was to stand up to it and gain Integrity. The second was to call for help, where the friend who assisted you would mark experience (the only part that remains now). The third was to ask the MC a question about what is hunting you. I like the new one a bit more, with the idea that itís open-ended whether anyone is really hunting you while still leaving the idea that itís definitely true and disbelieving the Unicorn this time might just get them killed.

Horizons: When you have sex in a way you havenít before, mark experience and gain a String on your lover. This is explicitly NOT your Sex Move, by the way. In fact this has very interesting interactions with said Move, because itís counterproductive to it. This is new, and makes sense because the Unicorn is much, much less about virginity than it used to be.

There were several Moves in the original that didnít make it to this version. Speak From the Heart gave to +2 to Manipulating an NPC, which of course doesnít exist anymore so neither does this Move. A Good Person let you spend Integrity in place of a String when tempting someone to a course of action. If that action was an attempt to help a third party at no-oneís expense, mark experience. Blessings required you to pompously announce that you can bless worthy endeavors when you take it. If they then ask for your blessing for a course of action, you can either agree (at which point they take one Forward and erase a String on you if they have one) or refuse and give them a String. I think the Moves that were lost were probably a bit too much, and let the Unicorn avoid the String economy when being weak at it is sort of part of the point.

Your Backstory is that someone wants to take something from you. Ask them what and exchange Strings. Someone is also in love with you, and you gain two Strings on them. Maybe donít decide that first person is the Wyrm if you picked Prophecies, unless you like living dangerously. Normal Advances, and your Gang is a Circle of Friends.

Your Sex Move is pretty fun:

quote:

When you lay your head in someoneís lap, they take 1 Forward to protecting you.
When you have sex, erase all your Integrity.

So yeah, sex is kind of a problem for the Unicorn. It used to be worse, actually. The recipient of the head in the lap had to be a virgin, but then youíd also either let them take one Forward to protect you or roll to Turn Them On. If you kissed a non-virgin? Youíd suffer a Harm. The whole virginity aspect of things has been completely removed, and Iím happy about that. The Darkest Self is as follows:

quote:

This is it. Everything keeps falling apart, and you canít hold it together anymore. You arenít good enough. So beg their forgiveness, everyone youíve failed, and show them how sorry you are before the curtain falls. Donít seek their acceptance. You donít deserve it. You escape your Darkest Self when someone reflects to you a glimmer of your own self worth.

Iím absolutely unwilling to talk about something so crushing other than to say itís definitely a thing. I like the Unicorn but Iím still not sure itís quite all in one place, if that makes sense.

Okay, next time we have just one Skin, The Heir. Itís all on its own because itís VERY complicated.

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

You're fucking subhuman


Feinne posted:

Jumping Out of Clocks: When you disrobe for someone, take one Forward to rolling with Volatile and they choose one: Offer you an experience point to do what they want or trigger your Darkest Self. This is Certainly Something. Iím earnestly not sure what it looks like in practice.

I asked Jackson Tegu what that move was about and what it represented in the fiction a while ago and he replied with:

Jackson Tegu posted:

Great questions. Lemme unpack it.

Jumping Out Of Clocks addresses how scary it can be to get undressed in front of someone, especially for someone like the Cuckoo who constantly pretends they're others. Nudity is honest in a way that's really intimidating for the Cuckoo; that's why they get the 1 forward with volatile. It pushes them to a "fight or flight" response because they're so on edge. Remember, volatile's two basic moves are Lash Out Physically and Run Away.

The "they choose" section is about acceptance. The first option gives them a reward to hand to the Cuckoo, which can totally be used like "I accept you if...", but I've mostly seen it used as a way to transition into sexy times. The second option is very much a refusal- like, here they've got a cute Cuckoo right in front of them baring all, and they choose to make the Cuckoo freak out as their Darkest Self? That's definitely a refusal right there.


Feinne posted:

The Cuckoo lost two moves in the edition shift. The first was Brood Parasite, which let you gain a String on someone if you could tell they wanted to be you. The second was A Little Bird Told Me, which let you roll Cold to poo poo on someone behind their back and give them a Condition. If you rolled a 7-9, itíd also give you the Liar Condition. This doesnít really need to exist in a world where Shutting Someone Down gives Conditions and doesnít really need to be in the presence of the person if thatís your goal. Both Moves were kind of boring and unnecessary, really.

I have to disagree with A Little Bird Told Me being unnecessary. It's not needed in this edition because you can give Conditions to people without them being around if you use a String, this represents you poo poo-talking them to everyone else. But in 1e, you didn't have that option - you still had to do it to them in person. You could Shut Them Down, and Feathers would let you shift the consequences of a 7-9 onto the person...but do you really want to mock and insult someone like the Werewolf to their face? So this let you apply a Condition to someone without having to do it directly to them and its the person you're pretending to be deal who has to deal with the fallout.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Heliotrope posted:

I asked Jackson Tegu what that move was about and what it represented in the fiction a while ago and he replied with:



I have to disagree with A Little Bird Told Me being unnecessary. It's not needed in this edition because you can give Conditions to people without them being around if you use a String, this represents you poo poo-talking them to everyone else. But in 1e, you didn't have that option - you still had to do it to them in person. You could Shut Them Down, and Feathers would let you shift the consequences of a 7-9 onto the person...but do you really want to mock and insult someone like the Werewolf to their face? So this let you apply a Condition to someone without having to do it directly to them and its the person you're pretending to be deal who has to deal with the fallout.

Fair enough, I can see how it did matter in 1e.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply