Reviews and Ramblings
MIDDENARDE - PART 7 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 6 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 5 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
MIDDENARDE - PART 4 by PurpleXVI - 12/12/16
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GM Startup Guide by PurpleXVI - 06/10/09
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DORF FORT ELLPEE by CAPSLOCKGUY - 10/19/08
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Hc Svnt DraconesThe home stretch [#]
FATAL & Friends Repost: Hc Svnt Dracones: Part 10
11:36am EDT - 8/04/2015
So what's left? About 50 or so pages of Adventuring, Character Sheets, Advancement, Adversaries and ships, and I'm pretty sure there's going to be more retarded to find in there, or at least more shitty art. So let's chew through the rest of this pile of trash... and of course they fuck up right from the get go, with something as simple as suggested quest rewards.
> 300-500 for jobs with substantial personal risk.
Basically, a couple of sessions that we drag out with extended shopping trips or some sort of intercharacter drama can, unless we have rock bottom Ledger stats, basically land us as much money as a highly dangerous adventure
. In fact, unless a given adventure only lasts one or two sessions, we're in fact almost guaranteed to earn more during
it than we will at the end
of it. Did anyone playtest ANY of this? Mind, they're allowed to "negotiate" for better payment, but it's not something they can mechanically roll, the book informs us, they have to have a legitimate argument for it. How about the argument that "hey, chief, I can earn more than this sitting at home and scratching my nads for a week, get fucked."?
Vectors donít need to worry about muscular atrophy due to low or no gravity; they were specifically designed to adapt to such conditions.
And of course the everlasting parade of SPECIAL FURRY ABILITIES because ~superior genetics~ just fucking keeps on going, and going, and fucking going.
Fall damage is standardized across the game system regardless of what planet youíre on. It also applies in zero gravity situations where your character collides with objects.
Fall damage begins at 10 feet (6 feet for micro characters). Calculate how many feet you fell beyond 10, and multiply that number by 2. That is the accumulated damage on impact. So a character falling 30 feet with nothing to stop their descent hits the ground for 40 damage (20x2).
So, apparently velocity doesn't matter for this mechanic, which means that if you gently drift a hundred feet in zero-G at a snail's pace and then "collide" with an object, you'll gorily explode, going by the rules as written.
Remember how Eclipse Phase had transmitting a copy of your brain to another location, as a way of travelling, but with the cost of needing to use a local body and perhaps the complications that entailed? HSD just has magical technology that builds you a perfect body-copy on-site in a span of hours. Despite the fact that a "round trip" costs 1000 credits, which then includes the cost of manufacturing first one new body, and then a second, the game suggests that PC's can sell their organs to cover some of the costs. But why? Growing an entire new body
is apparently fucking effortless, the work of hours
, growing a box of new livers should take five minutes. Also, wait, why does a "Body Replacement" surgery, which just involves one
new body, which doesn't need to be a carbon-copy replica of the original, cost 2500 credits, when this costs 1000? Can't a PC just ask for a new
body to be transmitted to on arrival, rather than a copy of their old one?
There's a section on loans, which caps you at loaning 500 credits(your max is equal to your Econ:Strength*100, so in practice the cap is more like 300, but let's be generous), which we've already established you can just earn in a couple of game sessions with plain ledger rolls as long as you don't put them all at 1 dot or something.
A note to Guides: You do not always need to make loans available to players. Using just the rules mechanics it is possible for a team of players to borrow a substantial amount of money right off the bat. This is intentional, as it gives them a means to purchase things like ships without having to play a long campaign first. However, it can also be used to outfit them with high-tier weaponry much sooner than makes narrative sense. Players should keep in mind the sort of character theyíre playing. It isnít always particularly believable for the first action of say, a scientist or sports star, to take out two loans, go to the nearest store, and buy a high powered rifle and fully enclosed suit of active armor just on a whim.
I don't know, if I was a fucking PC in a sci-fi game sorta-styled as "horror," with monstrous space-creatures and fucking Libertarians all over the place, I know I'd invest in a sniper rifle and decking myself out like a Space Marine as fast as possible. So this seems like an entirely reasonable route of action, especially after the first encounter with something scary.
Why the fuck does the evil red bloodbad space creature of starterror have tits
. Fucking Christ, HSD.
At any rate, the Adversaries chapter is mostly dull statblocks for a bunch of generic furry enemies, the only ones that get anything resembling fluff are Vitae Demons, Pale Men and Whispers. The red-titted wonder up there is a Whisper, while the Edgy Fursona above is a "Vitae Demon." Apparently if you can't feel pain, for instance if you're using Vitae, which also removes all need for nutrition or other things that generally keep a body and mind alive, it makes you go insane. Like, the whole description reeks of them having invented Vitae as a WONDER DRUG but then needing a reason why everyone wasn't just juicing up on it while letting the farms go fallow instead of having to eat, why they didn't just replace oxygen storage aboard spaceships and in spacesuits with it, etc., and they arbitrarily decided that while it keeps your brain alive without oxygen, and thinking without oxygen, and capable of controlling your body without oxygen, it just so also happens to make you go insane if your brain lacks oxygen.
For some vaguely defined reason.
So Vitae Demons are the completely crazy Vitae junkies that despite each vitae hit lasting only an hour, and despite their clearly not being able to function without it, somehow still exist. How are they paying for it? Is someone still hiring them when they're described as amoral sadists who know only violence? Do their Ledgers just keep piling on money for them anyway and corporate vending machines keep pouring out Vitae to sustain them? A Vitae Charge costs 150 credits, the book lists a Vitae Charge being consumed as lasting for "one hour" or "until the end of battle," whichever comes first. So a Vitae Demon, to survive, must apparently need... 3600 credits per day
. This is enough to buy multiple Instant Death Cannons and suits of powered armor. So long story short, someone did not think about how the rules and fluff lined up, here.
Transcendent Manifestations are space ghosts. That's basically it, they're space monsterghosts that show up, do things because the plot requires them to and then... disappear? The game doesn't even really have any rules for why they show up, what they do when they do, or what makes them leave again. They don't even get any stats of their own, they just use some of the REAL TOUGH GENERIC GUY templates with some random superpowers slapped on. Also despite being Transcendent
Manifestations, they don't actually get any of the space wizardry from Transcendent
implants, despite the two being linked by fluff in very vague ways.
We don't learn anything about Whispers that we don't already know, they're bad and spooky and they kill dudes, and when they kill dudes, sometimes those dudes explode into more Whispers. They're also literally
made from blood, when they die, they turn from "crystalline blood" back into plain normal blood. Also if you just hide for ten minutes, they'll turn themselves into crystal art installations. Seriously. If they can't find anyone to kill for ten minutes, they just shrug, merge with the nearest Whispers into a big crystal. If you attack the crystal, they all come back out again, but according to the fluff, blowing the whole thing up in one go will negate that. So just call in the Scrooge McDuck Battallion to nuke the fucking thing with their death rays.
Also if they try to infect someone who's got a Transcendent Implant, there's a 12.5% chance that the Whisper trying it, and all Whispers in the area, spontaneously explode. However, if the person with the implant ever tries to use their implant again, they
explode, into more Whispers, without a save or any response possible, and if they don't have the requisite combination of stats and/or corporate allegiance to have information about this, the PC will just unknowingly be able to suicide at any moment by deciding to use their superpowers. Fun gameplay!
We also finally get art of the Pale Men... and they look a lot less Slendermanny than I had expected. Despite being TERRIBLE THINGS THAT CAN MURDER EVERYONE, they basically just have high stats and use guns, there's nothing really that unusual about them. The fluff doesn't particularly give them any motives or establish any behavior for them, and since they're all on Earth, which is a shithole no one wants to deal with... I can't really see why they would ever really feature into the game at all
There's a section on ships which is largely space gun wankery, but does contain a section that's kind of weird. In normal combat, high-charisma characters can issue "commands," that basically buff comrades or allow them to switch places in the turn order, handy things like that, one of the few things I liked about the combat system, but it wasn't unique enough to merit my pointing out. In space combat, stuff like telling the ship to run quiet or telling people to "launch drones," is the counterpart, requires a specific level of charisma and command skill. Even if the "commander" is the one doing the thing themselves, instead of using a Mind stat and some sort of technical skill to know what to do, they still use Body:Presence(physical beauty) and the Command skill. The most complicated SPACE COMMAND is apparently ramming enemy ships, because "ALL POWER TO ENGINES" is clearly a complicated concept that only the most brilliant strategist can understand.
Other things that require a command check: Hitting the brakes and scanning an area.
So, the advancement section! Interestingly enough, the game doesn't run on XP or anything similar, but instead simply suggests giving a certain number of stat-ups/skill-ups/focus options per time played(either in number of hours or number of sessions), of course while this is somewhat novel, there's also no such thing as diminishing returns(more XP needed to be paid for the same amount of boost, for instance) or other things to limit hyper-specialization. It's also worth noting that you can't use these stat-ups to boost Economy and Community stats, and Mind and Body stats can only be raised to 3 this way. How do you get Mind and Body Stats up to 4 and 5? Why that's simple. Surgery! Surgery that you pay for... with ledger stats! It's at least somewhat expensive, being 1500 for a stat-up, either from 3 to 4, or 4 to 5, but it's not that bad if you really focused on your ledger stats. Also for some reason you can boost Body:Acuity by +1 just for 200 credits with an "Augmentation" operation that jams more eyes into your head.
I also somehow missed this, but for just 500 credits, you can get a Celerity implant that "levels up" one of your dice groups(d8's become d10, d10's become d12, etc.). Now, it can only be taken twice, and it has another 600-credit thing as a prereq, but one of our groups is already "maxed" out with d12's, so we only have three that need boosting, and that means we can just stat-dump something like Community and run around with three d12 groups instead pretty fast.
There does in fact not seem
to be any surgery for improving your mind, now that I look around for it. There's Muscular Enhancement, and the Advancement section references a "Mind Enhancement" surgery, but it's not in the book as far as I can tell. Not sure if its an editing error or if mental stats really are capped at 3 for PC's.
You also can't increase Community stats at level-up time, only the GM can say when the party as a whole deserves to have them levelled up. But what about Ledger stats? Well. That's kind of funny.
Economy Traits grow as the player achieves certain conditions. Since your Economy Stat represents your footprint in the cash flow of the universe, it increases on its own as you achieve certain landmarks of wealth and importance.
Consult the following questions, and consider each one to be a separate condition.
Has the player completed three contracts successfully?
Has the player reached allegiance level 4 with a Corp? Temporary allegiance from abilities will not count.
Has the player team purchased a 1000 credit or higher item?
If any one of these conditions is true, you may add 1 to any Economy Trait. Once a condition has been met, it must be met again to count again. If youíve reached allegiance level 4 in a corp or your team has purchased a 1000 credit item, you must reach it with a different corp or purchase a new one to receive the bonus again.
So, let me get this straight. If I start out by buffing my Ledger stats sky high, quickly earn 1000 credits, buy a death ray, then I get a boost to my Ledger stats, which will allow me to buy more
death rays, or other stupidly expensive items(I guess it could be taken as meaning a different item each time, but I only need one Annihilate-status weapon, anyway). So it's like some sort of self-sustaining reaction where the richer I am, the faster I'll get richer. Then I'll use my normal level-ups to bump my body stats to 3 as fast as possible, so I can pay money to boost them even quicker... actually, surgery counts as an item, right? So hey, I'll get a ledger bonus for increasing my body stats under the scalpel, too!
This system is fucking stupid
Also if you want the body/mind stat boosts you have to make a case to your GM that your character did something that made you deserve said stat boost. Hope your GM isn't a cockhead.
But what about proficiencies? Simple, you buy a trivial item that teaches you while you sleep. Seriously. As long as you get enough sleep for 14 days while wearing your stupid sleep-learning eye implant, you gain a proficiency point with no costs, penalties or checks, though it caps any given skill at 3(or 2, if you already have too many skills at 3). Considering that the item is of trivial cost, I'm kind of wondering why not everyone in the fucking universe has a baseline of 2 in every skill.
There are 30 skills, you can get up to at least 2 in all of them, 16 days per skill point(14 days of learning plus a two-day downtime period afterwards), meaning it'd take... 960 weeks, or 18 years, for it. So by the time everyone is out of their teenage years, they'll pretty much know everything, or early 20's if they don't make "Neuroplex" implants for toddlers.
Going above rank 3 requires "a special quest themed around the skill." I look forward to my exciting and inspiring Finance-themed quest my amazing quest themed around the "Swim" skill. Advancing above rank 3 also frees up another skill to rise to rank 3... players have the same max on rank 4 skills as on rank 3 skills. Rather than, perhaps, some sort of shared
cap for "advanced" skills(anything beyond tier 2), indicating the difficulty of mastering everything. It's. Augh. It hurts my brain and it's fucking retarded.
And then the book just... ends. No metaplot suggestions, no premade adventures, nothing. Except for the list of fuckwits who supported the thing, accompanied by two last pieces of art crammed in alongside all the names.