Reviews and Ramblings
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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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FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 7
09:42pm EDT - 8/16/2015
So I get back to Kromore for the final stretch, the fluff chapters, after two weeks of being too sick to write worth a damn, and I immediately wish I was sick for a third week: The fluff chapters are fucking awful. And not just the entertaining, Fieldsy kind of awful where every second page is about cocks, but also the sort of terrible editing that makes me wonder if Gene Ray wrote this. Sections will jump from a paragraph about alien invasions to paragraphs about how much of a random planet's surface is covered from water with no warning. Let me quote an example section, just so you can tell I'm not joking:
Fear of attacking unknown aliens from the worm hole located in the Alpha-1 nebula are often discussed as priority scenarios amongst high ranking galactic commanders in later era time lines.
Riddled with ancient islands and history, the planet Kromore has seen its share of alien visitors for close to ten thousand years. Most of the planets land mass has been either destroyed by nature, war, rebuilt by new nations, or formed into stable living environments.
The planet of Kromore is made up of nearly 40% water.
Much like the rest of the book, terms are thrown about haphazardly and only explained twenty pages down the road, if at all, and often the description completely fails to answer most of the questions you have. I'll try to put some sort of sense to the book's ramblings but it's not easy, so this will probably get a bit incoherent, too.
How the fuck you pronounce "Жo-Rin."
So anyway, the core of the setting is that the "Жo-Rin" are moustache-twirling evil aliens from an evil galaxy with an evil lich king, and the Tesck(the entirety of their description is "blind and matriarchal," they're blind because they're from a part of space without any light. Really.) are decently-nice Ancient Aliens who, in the face of the Жo-Rin conquering everything they see, evacuate species from their homeworlds and transplant them to others so they can survive. Unfortunately, despite having the capacity for inter-galactic travel(Earth is in this setting and is in a separate galaxy from the planet of Kromore, the Жo-Rin eventually conquer Earth and strip-mine it), they seemingly dump just about every species they rescue on Kromore, which is, in galactic terms, right on the Жo-Rin's doorstep.
It is believed the Tesck have gathered most of the life forms from the surrounding galaxies to the refugee planet Kromore in hopes of protecting them against the Жo-Rin and their vastly growing control on galactic space.
(The Tescians also apparently suck balls
at this "rescuing species"-gig since Kromore has about a half dozen intelligent species, yet there's supposedly a couple hundred other sentient species that the Tescians never bothered to rescue or otherwise work with.)
The Tesck generally fuck around being useless albeit well-intentioned, then there's the Alliance(largely Kromore) who fuck around being "good guys" and mostly spend their time getting their ass kicked, the Prime(Earthling refugees with some other refugee species, none of which we're ever actually told a fucking thing about despite their supposedly being huge parts of one of the major factions in the setting) who can actually belt the Жo-Rin but then turn out to be dictatorially-minded and the Жo-Rin themselves who do evil things entirely because they're evil. Once you've read this, you largely understand the "metaplot" of the setting. It's in the specifics that things get really
stupid, for instance, the Жo-Rin are a species of galactic conquerors... but a group of Kromorians in the fucking middle ages
manage to defeat a Жo-Rin settlement attempt and drive them off.
This, coincidentally, also creates vampires when some idiots decide to eat Жo-Rin corpses, these vampires are just generally vampiric(about as generic as imaginable) and get recruited by the Prime as their secret police/special forces when they briefly occupy Kromore. This is a nice arrangement that lasts until the Vampires discover that the Primes, not being total fucking idiots, had made special vampire-killing gear in case their cannibalistic allies ever completely lost their shit and had to be put down.
The council discovers the Prime has hidden information about new weaponry equipment specifically designed to kill Vampires. The clash between Vampire and Prime is violent and leads to the fall out between Vampire and Prime overnight. A civil war within Kromore between Vampire and Prime leaves nearly all Vampire extinct in the year 4300 ASC. The small war opens the door for further corruption scandals to unfold within the Prime governments on Kromore.
Inexplicably, killing vampires somehow leaves the Primes open to more corruption than having a secret bunch of bloodsuckers with mind control powers
as part of their oganization.
And since we're talking about vampires, let's also talk about the H.I.V.E.. Because they're the second
secret underground species haunting everyone, basically they're little bugs that mind control people by crawling inside their spine and pretending to be the host for the two to four years until the host curls up and dies, leaving the larvae looking for another host. A brief side trip into H.I.V.E. fluff is one of the first side trips the setting of Kromore does, in the middle of explaining the galaxy's geography, revealing to us that the H.I.V.E. larvae both die rapidly without a host and
are capable of just chilling out on an asteroid for years while waiting to crash on a planet where they can infect someone.
The planet spawns H.I.V.E. regularly, but without host bodies nearly all of the young hive lings die shortly after birth.
The home world of the H.I.V.E. is known to harbor massive amounts of young larva H.I.V.E. waiting for passing rocks and ships to latch onto.
(We're also told we can play a H.I.V.E. infectee, which comes with no downsides besides requiring "intense roleplay," and just gives us a grab-bag of expensive abilities for free. We only need to switch bodies every few years.)
Also keep in mind that for every paragraph I'm writing here, the fluff section of Kromore has ten paragraphs about, say, Kromore's moons(one is blue and icy, the other is red and volcano-y), after which we get told that wormholes are dangerous and full of bad aliens, and that Kromore is 40% water and that now the book is going to tell us why the Steampunk shit is totally justified and really works!
Steam transfer technology developed out of the end of the Age of Nations movement when fossil fuels and combustion engines were placed on the side line for a cleaner steam transfer technology.
The process involves tubing shaped in a 2-part cylinder consisting of a primary (tube side) and a secondary loop (shell side) made from special super alloy metal compounds. An exhaust valve is located often on the secondary loop allowing for pressure to release in the event of pressure build up.
Except no, we're not told anything. It winds up for explaining all the steampunk shit but then instead just tells us that steampunk stuff requires a cylinder made from special super alloy metal compounds, and that it has a safety valve. Also on Kromore, batteries that are literally just containers full of highly pressurized steam which are, in this setting, more efficient than actual batteries holding an electrical charge. Then, in the usual whiplash fashion, it's a leap into a paragraph about living conditions in modern Kromore, about how they were super cramped, and also about Kromorian identification papers when Kromore was occupied by the Prime. Apparently the Primes, if I'm reading this shit right, and I'm not sure anyone can
read this right, would blow up Kromorian villages if the "galactic allies"(by which I assume off-world aliens?) of Kromore did not apply for Kromorian citizenship.
...and then we reach the actual Timeline
for everything, way after all these fucking incidental facts.
The timeline is just so dull
, it's literally an incredibly dispassionate recital of everyone who was ever at war with anyone, and when they were at war with them, and the occasional anomalous event thrown in. Like, a giant comet hits Kromore's moon and plunges the world into a hundred years of darkness, but that just sort of passes and the only real upset is that people get very angry at wizards afterwards for no real fucking reason, when they never had any problems with wizards before and wizards were completely unconnected to causing this. After the darkness passes, the Kromorians spend 450 years murdering the Жo-Rin who'd tried to settle their planet. This apparently happens well before the invention of the printing press, so I can only assume that these DANGEROUS GALACTIC CONQUERORS were literally defeated by swords, bows and maybe some primitive gunpowder weapons, especially since magic is still basically banned and no one's using it.
Like, this is roughly some 6000 years of history and the only noteworthy thing is the comet, the Tesck dropping off more loser species on Kromore and a bunch of savages with sticks beating up an alien species with plasma guns. Everything else is really just some permutation on "and then these guys invaded those guys and some other dudes were angry." It doesn't help that half this shit is never explained, like the STEAM METAL MEN destroy a nation by using nerve gas and the S-BOMB. What's the fucking S-Bomb? It's never been mentioned before, it's not in the armory section, it's nowhere else in the fucking document. Is it the STEAM BOMB? Did they parboil an entire fucking nation? What? Explain yourself to me, Kromore, you piece of shit.
Also now the Tesck show up and just hand over technology to people, but apparently don't seem to give a shit about all the warring and killing, and they're kind of absentee-parents considering they weren't around to give a fucking hand with clearing out the Жo-Rin or helping anyone when the planet had a hundred years without light. Somehow, floating cities are constructed before
computers, not like you'd want anything to help you with all the calculations necessary to keep a fucking city afloat by whatever means you intend. Also for some reason the planet has an organized rebellion terrified of nuclear steam power(same as normal steam power, but now the STEAM BATTERIES are "charged" by nuclear reactors) and computers, also exploring space is now apparently commonplace without any mentions of space programs being initiated and the METAL MEN decide to all throw themselves into a black hole. A mysterious
It's almost a footnote that the Жo-Rin just wade in and conquer Kromore, the core location of the setting. It gets literally as much text as some minor trade treaty does earlier. Then in as much of a footnote, the Prime are introduced, showing up and saving Kromore from the Жo-Rin. They're described as "tyrannical," but this is rarely explained, except that they hate wizards and force everyone to carry an ID card. There are no great racial purges or abusive laws passed that the book ever tells us about, I guess we're just supposed to insert our own villainy for them. The metal men show up again, blow up the Tesck homeworld, turn out to have an evil virus corrupting their brains, fight everyone, get cured and then a paragraph later they jump into the black hole once more. 800 years pass without anything happening, one of the moons of Kromore turns into a pure dark void, swallowing anything that touches it, is designated a no-fly zone by the Prime, and then in the next paragraph we're told that mining on the moon(which was just a paragraph ago an all-destroying forbidden area) has unearthed a new horrific menace called the Leech.
Also the book keeps using "empirical" instead of "imperial" and it's annoying me way more than it should.
Two paragraphs ago, the Leech are described as "devouring" Жo-Rin ships alongside everyone else's, but now we're told that they're encountering the Жo-Rin for the first time and the two just casually form a symbiotic bond to become an entirely new species. The metal men return after 1600 years of being in a black hole and, despite being literally over a millennium and a half out of date, technologically, are totally helpful to the good guys by blowing up some Жo-Rin. At this point the fighting with the Жo-Rin is over 2500 years old and literally the only noteworthy thing they've done is to occupy Kromore for half a decade before the Prime booted them.
Congratulations, you're now caught up on all the notable points of Kromorian history. I.e. literally fucking nothing
except that magic is now banned and we have space travel, compared to the start of the setting.
What remains of the book is mostly trivia, first there are the stats for Жo-Rin, Ancients(which can apparently just casually eat suns
, why even stat something that powerful?), enemy Ferrians, enemy Gyx, enemy Zatilok(hidden deep inside a bunch of fluff rather than being with the other enemy stats), enemy vampires(the only enemies to get more than one type of stats, to account for different tiers of stats, apparently every enemy Ferrian is level 10) and enemy shadow demons(but no stats for Tesck, who only get a description, Metal Men, or so many other things we've been told exist). Next up, there's a bunch of forgettable data that largely amounts to telling us what sort of exports the various nations have during various time periods, practically nothing of any real consequence unless you really need to know that the Kingdom of Kelmoria was big on exporting hammers. There are the major religions, all of which have existed unchanged from the start point of the setting's history and then 10,000 years onwards... and that's the fucking book, really.
It doesn't make for an entertaining review despite being a frustrating read, because so many of the stupid, frustrating things are in the editing, and it's hard to really convey just how much it overreaches itself in trying to have TEN THOUSAND YEARS OF HISTORY and then devoting maybe five lines to fucking two thousand years
of said history. And a major event like an entire species, the Metal Men, having their brains corrupted, and whatever it takes to uncorrupt them, taking up a grand total of half a page. The quest to cure an entire fucking species of a corrupting infection takes up less space than what was spent at the start of the book to tell us how to effectively railroad our players.
Fuck this book. I'm done with it.