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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 81 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The Legion Of SuperScience: Setting Challenge Review  (Read 1751 times)
Graham W
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« on: January 06, 2007, 07:45:19 PM »

I'm realising that there are two broad categories of entry in this competition: those which shoehorn a game into a completely different setting (Umlaut, Western Journeyers) and those which use a similar, but significantly different, setting to the original (Darker, SuperScience).

Legion of SuperScience is firmly in the second category. It's Inspectres transplanted to a cod-science setting, with the characters as mad scientific superheroes. Because it's a similar setting to the original - cartoony, geeky, technological - it works very well. In fact, it looks as though it would work straight out of the box.

This makes it very hard to review, because it's just so obvious it'll work. Also, it means that most of the points below are negative because, basically, I really like it and think it'll work well, and there's only so many times I can say that.

The background text about the setting is great, setting up the comedy tone nicely. Details like the Costumed Crime Cartel's rules on costume trademarks are good. I'd like more description of the environments that the game is played in: I'm imagining underground bunkers, with miles of steel corridors and sliding doors, and huge encampments in the Arizona desert hidden by cloaking technology.

Similarly, since the setting is some kind of alternative Earth, I'd like more details of that: the text on "shininess and chrome" is nice, but is this a happy utopian setting or a cynical Futurama-esque setting? Does this alternative Earth bear uncanny resemblances to ours (jetpacks malfunction when the warranty expires) or is it obviously improved on ours (jetpacks work flawlessly)? And I've got loads of stupid questions like: what do people do all day? Has work been abolished? Are there robots? All this is partly answered, but I'd like more details: from the text, I don't really feel I know this world.

The system works well and I love cutaways. I'd like some more explanation of the Technological Level: can you set this, as you would in InSpectres, or is it fixed?

Presentations and demonstrations are golden. I'm not sure about multiple orgs: I think there's other solutions to some player wanting to play villains (perhaps their character has been forced to work for the Good Side; perhaps they're undercover).

The benefit/setback table doesn't quite work for me. It would be nice to have some results which weren't creatures: say, "hole in time" or "self-destruct operated". Also, some of the creatures would seem strangely inappropriate for certain sorts of stories: you can imagine being in a space station, rolling on the table, and a demon turning up. It's possible, of course, but it doesn't quite ring true.

And License to Kill is James Bond, damn it, not any of those other imitators.

It's a great setting. I think it'll play really well.

Graham
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talysman
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Posts: 675


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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2007, 02:14:23 PM »

Thanks for the review, Graham!

I'm restricting my replies in this thread for now. I don't want to influence judging. I outlined setting elements to include in the rules, but didn't develop them before the deadline, so I removed them to a "superscience2" document to be released later, after the challenge is over. There's a definite skimpiness in what I've presented so far.

I also realize now that a pastiche on "The Venture Bros." might not have been a good idea in a challenge where less than a third of the competitors are from the U.S., especially when "The Venture Bros." isn't even that well known in the U.S. Without that cultural touchstone, LoSS needs a whole lot more details before it becomes clear.

I'll issue errata and explain some rules next month.
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Sam!
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2007, 07:13:13 AM »

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Sami Koponen
talysman
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2007, 12:29:00 PM »

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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
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