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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 56 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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 91 
 on: May 25, 2010, 08:17:09 AM 
Started by Heikki Hallamaa - Last post by Eero Tuovinen
Trasformation: Transmutation
The character can make a barrelful of inanimate matter more or less pliable for 1 Instinct per degree of pliability.
  • solid - stone, glass, metal.
  • supple - animals, wick, clay
  • soft - fruit, fabric, wax
  • viscous - tar, syrup, treacle
  • liquid - water, beer.
Affecting a twice as massive target costs 1 extra Instinct and affecting a living thing 2 more.
Cost: 1+ Instinct

Excellent, that goes well with the basic utility of Transformation (the shaping of supple matter) and has many interesting uses. Gets the pseudoscientific style of Three-Corner just right - like, you get to figure out what a "solid human" is like in this twisted science of corners, and then you realize that from the Threecornerist viewpoint the thing called "human" might not necessarily have any internal structure that would be meaningful for the magical sight, so you can indeed manipulate the "hardness" of the body as a whole without caring for the actual physiology. It also makes sense that suppleness is a material attribute directly manipulated by Transformation.

I'm debating whether there would be room for a "fragile" state of some sort at the top of the scale. Like, when you harden a thing you first get a stone-like hardness, but go far enough and you get glass and diamond - known for its hardness, sure, but also not very tough, and prone to breakage from sudden impact due to naturally occurring shear planes and such. Similarly there could be a gaseous state at the other end. Then again, I like the fact that Three-Corner might not link gases to other phases of material at all. Besides, making things insubstantial sounds like a separate Secret of Transformation.

 92 
 on: May 25, 2010, 07:44:51 AM 
Started by Heikki Hallamaa - Last post by Heikki Hallamaa
Quote from: Eero Tuovinen
I'm torn about Transmutation because on the one hand it's perfectly balanced mechanically, but on the other hand it all but replaces the Creation focus. I remember Clinton saying at some point that the Transformation focus is inherently a chaotic, degenerative process that transforms things by remixing what is already there. I like this idea, and thus would be hesitant to allow Transformation to supercede pure Creation. I could see creating a Transmutation Secret that'd turn things to shit, though, on the premise that Transformation without Creation is a degenerative process Wink

Good point! how about this?

Trasformation: Transmutation
The character can make a barrelful of inanimate matter more or less pliable for 1 Instinct per degree of pliability.
  • solid - stone, glass, metal.
  • supple - animals, wick, clay
  • soft - fruit, fabric, wax
  • viscous - tar, syrup, treacle
  • liquid - water, beer.
Affecting a twice as massive target costs 1 extra Instinct and affecting a living thing 2 more.
Cost: 1+ Instinct

 93 
 on: May 25, 2010, 07:32:41 AM 
Started by Andre Canivet - Last post by Ron Edwards
Hi Andre,

I'll open by saying that your actual-play account is an excellent read, giving me a fair portrait of both yourself and play, as well as being simply fun.

Your final point in the first post, and then your second post, call for some theoretical detail from me. I'm seeing a deep mis-reading of the point that "system does matter," to the extent that I am going to criticize your conclusions. I'm offering what follows in the hope that you don't mind me taking a strong position about the ideas that I authored 11 years ago. I also hope that what I say is useful and interesting.

Many people apparently read the phrase "system does matter" as license to declare that a given game is bad and sucks, and to decry any play of that game as un-fun play. This reading has nothing to do with anything I've written. You've already identified the key error that this reading makes - to confuse system with textual rules. System is what we do at the table, which most of the time is strongly informed by textual rules which sit at or near the table too, but also most of the time, includes much more than is written there, and contradicts those written rules to some degree.

My essay System Does Matter identifies this difference and calls for writing textual rules which actually help the group carry out a system (for play), rather than impede it. I wrote the essay in defiance of an extremely well-entrenched claim to the contrary, that system does not matter, which as I saw it, endorsed poor rules-design and overlooked the fact that a group which "ignores the rules" is effectively creating its own system and cares deeply about that system's qualities. To summarize, I suggest that well-written rules make a functional system more possible, or at the very least, less aggravating to implement. I also suggest that well-written rules can expand people's notions of functional systems rather than continually entrench them into comfort zones, which is definitely what badly-written and constantly-derivative rules texts do.

I think this distinction alters your conclusions to an extent. None of your conclusions contradict anything that I wrote in my essay or have discussed since. First, one can play Rifts and many other role-playing games, and although various textual rules may not stand up well for what you want, you can "kick the tires" as a group and end up with a functional system at your table. In fact, I suggest that this is absolutely necessary for many published games. I've written about it extensively regarding Champions, for instance.

Second, to my knowledge, no one here at the Forge has ever been permitted to get away with the fallacious claim that a given set of textual rules is immune to such tire-kicking, such that the game is utterly devoid of playability, i.e., irretrievably sucks. That would again be committing the same text/system error, in the bizarre belief that somehow the book exerts such pull and power that the group haplessly must apply textual rules that they do not like or want. In some groups, people use such logic in order to wield social and creative power over others (the negative form of "rules lawyer"), but in most, the group simply changes the way they play, often without realizing it.

I think this point also alters your conclusions, or re-colors them. When you say, "So, Rifts isn't a terrible game," you're not refuting any standing point from our discussions here. No one said "Rifts is a bad game" in any sort of definitive or argumentatively-solid way. Furthermore, the very fact that that you identified the specific group-based qualifications that were necessary to make the Rifts rules usable by your group, you're validating the concept that system does matter. I also want to stress that when you say "properly apply the rules," that is a very group-specific, very personal claim to the word "properly." Another group may find maximum fun in competing regarding who can generate the most power-effective character, and call that "properly," and regard your specifications with horror and disdain.

Let me know if anything I'm writing here makes sense - or even more importantly, whether this is where you want to go in this thread. I do not want to impose my response in such a way that it defines the discussion, and if you prefer, I will consider this post to be "logging my point" and sufficient in that.

Best, Ron

 94 
 on: May 25, 2010, 06:26:41 AM 
Started by Ron Edwards - Last post by Ron Edwards
Hi Michael,

As with Shawn's post, your particular strength list is simply exciting to read as such and instantly highlights themes and all manner of stuff about the setting. As a minor addition, since I live in the Chicago area, it's especially fun to imagine what's going on in your group's story.

Anyway, starting with the last point first, about Unique, you ask "what's the story behind it," and there isn't any story, merely the way we utilized the rule and find satisfying. We didn't think of Unique or any other option for particular strengths as being necessarily tied to specific kinds of game content. I mean, upon making a given particular strength, then yes, then obviously the options chosen become integrated with the fictional nature of that particular strength, but we didn't see it as going the other way 'round. When Julie defined Animating the Inanimate as Unique to her character Jila, then that particular strength became simply Unique, no matter what else it is. Jila is now defined as a kind of Daedalus character, and that's that. As you can see from the above posts, we even read the rule as being pretty strict, for Jila always and forever, although above, Vincent clarified certain rules applications that provide some wiggle room.

I'm not arguing for or against either what we did or how you describe it. I'm merely talking about what we did, with zero interest in debating the rules. Just in case.

I've also been very generous to NPCs regarding Broad, naming two of their forms as you can see from my lists above. So in our game, when an NPC has a Broad particular strength, they do indeed get the extra die a lot. I had the impression that NPCs are a tad under-powered after play gets going for a while, although that was probably influenced by my error in not giving new NPC particular strengths Significance 2 (as we just saw in your thread [IaWA] NPCs After Chapter 2). Sadly, I even forgot to apply the real rule in our latest session when I should have known better.

Best, Ron

 95 
 on: May 25, 2010, 05:42:19 AM 
Started by PeterAdkison - Last post by lumpley
My personal rule is to keep creating the town until it gives me a stomach ache -- until it gives me that oog feeling where I know it's too late for someone who deserved better, and I know that nobody here can make things right. I don't worry about in-family vs out-of-family or other points of assigned responsibility, I just keep going until I know that whoever was responsible, now it's a big mess, over that person's head, and there's no fixing it.

-Vincent

 96 
 on: May 25, 2010, 05:33:49 AM 
Started by Heikki Hallamaa - Last post by Eero Tuovinen
Hah, this is great stuff! Most of these I could see using myself at a drop of the hat in TSoY; great job. Some notes:
  • I'm torn about Transmutation because on the one hand it's perfectly balanced mechanically, but on the other hand it all but replaces the Creation focus. I remember Clinton saying at some point that the Transformation focus is inherently a chaotic, degenerative process that transforms things by remixing what is already there. I like this idea, and thus would be hesitant to allow Transformation to supercede pure Creation. I could see creating a Transmutation Secret that'd turn things to shit, though, on the premise that Transformation without Creation is a degenerative process Wink
  • Animate Object is crazy fun. At first it seems too spiritual for Three-Corner (spirit possession and supernatural entities in general are an inherent weakness of the Three-Corner worldview in my interpretation), but that note about how the animated thing merely fulfills its Platonic ideal activity is perfect, especially as it gives an exciting new use for Enthrallment (R), too!
  • Ent-goblins, I love the execution. That's how I'd do them as well if I wanted them, and who wouldn't want them... I would consider adding a one die penalty on any hasty activities here just for the flavour.
  • Macrinus Severus is a great NPC, that's how I like them as well. Goblin Morph is a very sensible thing for Transformation to do - a good addition to the range of legal transformations. I could see Macrinus developing an alchemical form of the same effect at some point as well for potion mass-production; he is clearly one of those individuals who have the potential for cross-breeding the magics of Near to terrible effect.
All in all, good show. Makes my day, and Macrinus will get into my Ammeni rogue's gallery next time I play around there.

 97 
 on: May 25, 2010, 05:05:23 AM 
Started by Fatespinner - Last post by Fatespinner
Hi,

I like the game, but I never played it for one really simple reason. I don't like it to use that many different dice. Also the whole left hand and right hand issue bugs me a bit.

Does anybody here has an idea how to remove the different dice and just use d6 or some other resolution mechanism?

 98 
 on: May 25, 2010, 05:01:43 AM 
Started by Ben Miller - Last post by Eero Tuovinen
Do note that 6 or 7 players is a huge number for MLwM. Three or at most four is much more typical, and likely more appropriate.

As for Dracula, my standard premade player characters are thus:
  • An English realtor who's travelled to castle Dracula on business. He does not suspect the nature of the good Count, and is in fact unaware that Dracula has been warping his sense of time for months now as he prepares for his nefarious plans in England and plays with this delightfully civilized victim - every morning the poor Englishman wakes up vaguely convinced that he's spent at most a week at the castle, and tonight the good count will at last sign the final papers concerning his estate transactions in England, allowing the realtor to return home. His best relationship at the beginning is to his fiance in England, who he contacts by correspondence, not realizing how worried and even frantic her letters have started to sound.
  • A gypsy chief beholden to the Count for sanctuary and the safety of his daughter. The wheels of the gypsy wagons rot on the field near to the Castle, and the tribe is scared witless, but the chief doesn't dare to leave, for he's mortally afraid of the Count and glad to do his bidding to forestall the doom that he knows to be coming. His strongest relationship is to his daughter, naturally.
  • A fresh, young vampire bride of the Count. She's confused and her memory is foggy after the long months and years she's spent jailed in the castle dungeons with the rest of the Count's harem. Now that she's finally allowed out, she likely does not remember her previous life as a gypsy queen and the wife of the aforementioned chief. She would do anything to please the Count who gave her this new life. (I should note that I handle the vampiric condition in the gothic style in this scenario - as opposed to modern superhero vampires - so it's an open question whether the soul and person of the human being is still present here at all; it's up to the player to display such spirit if he would.)
I also have a couple of secondary characters, such as townsfolk the characters have relations with. Usually the most important of these is the beatiful gypsy princess daughter of the chief, above - she's Innocent, and it's usually easy to pull player strings by threatening various sorts of fates worse than death on her.

Typical antics in my scenario include having the Count demand of the Englishman that he should break off his English betrothal in favour of staying in Rumania indefinitely among the beastly joys the Count can offer; asking any and all minions to bring the priest of the nearby town to join in midnight revels in the castle; requiring the gypsy chief to provide his daughter for the entertainment of the English guest. These are all rather to the point, mid-game developments, but that's because I usually play this scenario as a demo - it's essentially begun in medias res and finished in an hour or two if allowed to run its course. No reason not to start from the beginning, of course; I seem to remember that the first time MLwM was played from the Finnish text in 2004 was a Dracula scenario, too Cheesy

As for Van Helsing, nothing special to it - he can just appear in the village of Arefu one day, hanging around in the post office or tavern, gathering intelligence about the Count. Could be that the naive old fool gets killed in short order, but if I'm using him as an Outsider (or rather, representative of the western civilization in toto, which is what the Count is fascinated by and fearsome of), then it so happens that the Count does not want to confront this old enemy of his just yet due to the great influence Van Helsing wields in his mind.

Hmm... I probably have some old writeup of this scenario lying around somewhere in English - unless I misremember, I wrote the original for 2006 Essen Spiel. Perhaps I'll find it and post it somewhere.

 99 
 on: May 25, 2010, 01:23:43 AM 
Started by Andre Canivet - Last post by Andre Canivet
Hi Hans,

I suppose I'm mainly posting a response/update to the previous linked thread, but if I were asking for feedback, I suppose it would be about two questions:

1).  Can a good GM make "system" (at least, system in terms of the game text & explicit rules) less important?  A unifying idea here at the Forge is that system matters.  I know that's been hotly debated at times; with many gamers arguing that the specific rules of the game are largely irrelevant, and my last post asked whether it was system, or players which/who were responsible for generating an enjoyable experience.  I suppose I'm really just trying to wrap my head around the idea that the game and the text are two separate things.  In other words: What is the "game," really?  It's not the text, but it's also not totally independent of the text.

2).  Is the supposed generation gap I mentioned between the 1st generation of gamers (who started at the beginning with basic D&D, etc.), and gamers who started the hobby with later games...  is that anything other people have noticed?  What I mean is, the GM of this game really loves the Palladium rules.  He says they're really innovative and flexible.  Whereas, my own experience with the game is that the rules are rather bizarre and idiosyncratic, at least when compared to a lot of other games that came along even a couple of years later.  I'm just curious about any thoughts that more experienced gamers would have on the matter.

As for insight into Rifts and TMNT, I guess it really depends on what you're used to.  Palladium's writing has never been very good--so it's hard to always know what Kevin Siembieda really means.  This makes the rules a bit ambiguous at times.  I find that a lot of other games (like D6 Star Wars, 2nd ed., or Silhouette, or Cortex) are much more coherent in presentation, if not actual playing experience.

The basic Rifts rules are pretty much the same as TMNT, except that Rifts introduces something called "MDC" or Mega-damage capacity; which is a scale of damage above the SDC rules.  1 MDC point equals 100 SDC, which is supposed to reflect really high powered weapons and devices, such as high tech tanks & power armour, energy weapons, and so on.  But it introduces a lot of problems, too--like, an unarmoured human still only has 50-100 SDC + Hit points, so a single shot from a basic 1D6 MDC laser pistol can easily vapourize the character it took you 6 hours to build. 

The setting, of course, is also quite different to TMNT.  Rifts is an "anything goes" sort of game; so you can play an ordinary human (with extraordinary equipment, MDC armour & weapons, etc.), augmented humans (like cyborgs & drug-enhanced Juicers), high powered magic users, super-heroes, or any of literally dozens of human & non-human visitors from different dimensions.  The main setting / meta-plot involves a war between the semi-Fascist / human supremacist Coalition States, and the power-mad Federation of Magic.

The game has some serious balance issues.  As I found in my first experiences with the game, it's quite easy for the power level to get out of control, and for players to become easily a match for the various Gods and Supernatural intelligences in the setting.  Or, as I'm finding in this new game, a GM who knows the setting and doesn't mind a bit of extra work can tone it down and play a low-powered game

So, Rifts isn't necessarily a terrible game, it's just that it takes a fair bit of work and dedication to properly resolve the rules, and reign in the power level.

Cheers,

-A.

 100 
 on: May 25, 2010, 12:43:24 AM 
Started by Icel - Last post by Icel
Hello,
I recently published a simple role-playing battle system called LEGEND.
I'd appropriate any feedback.

download:
http://www.eliteroleplayer.com/downloads/game-worlds/legend-beta.pdf

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