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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In Dark Alleys
Part 1: Twilit Corners
FATAL & Friends Repost: In Dark Alleys, Part 1
05:19pm EST - 1/01/2016
Aside from an earlier skim for some bad art for people to giggle at, and people telling me that oh boy oh boy is IDA bad, I've had no prior experience with this RPG. This is pretty much a blind read, so if anyone who knows the RPG better has anything to add on specific points(relevant info about the author, stuff I've missed or overlooked, or things that only really become apparent after a good bit of play) feel free to comment.
As per usual, these games have a foreword...
IDA is apparently a horror game(shocker!) but there are no common tropes or pre-known monsters for us to cling to!
This is a horror game, yet players are not given the comfort of a monster they know from legends: there are no ghosts or vampires or devils. Instead, the ‘monsters’ are the people, places and things that we depend on and believe in and that suddenly turn malevolent when their true nature is perceived.
And then right afterwards he ruins this acceptable concept by elaborating on it.
In Dark Alleys draws style from three main sources:
-Movies from the Japanese “horror revolution” (and their American remakes).
-A number of American Indie comics whose creators found innovative ways of bringing readers into the damaged psyches of the protagonists.
-A certain sci-fi trilogy that uses questions about the nature of reality to form the basis for furious action.
Man, what is there even to say about this? Except that I have no idea what "certain sci-fi trilogy" he refers t- oh wait a fucking moment. Is he talking about The Matrix? I mean, I guess you could SAY The Matrix was related to horror, but only in the poor execution of the sequels. My mind is already spinning at this idiocy of Fieldsian proportions.
The setting for this horror is basically the generic Modern Occult "just like the real world 'cept there are totally monsters in the basement," and apparently the particular part of the world that will be elaborated on for IDA is Los Angeles. Characters are just "those dudes who know weird shit is going down."
Game Mechanics- All mechanics are based on a simple system: The sum of attribute + skill + modifier(s) + 1d20 must be equal to or higher than the difficulty of the proposed action.
And I guess the system is basically D20. Alright. Kind of a shaky start, but this could either shape up to be something worthwhile or something incredibly, hilariously, agonizingly bad. Knowing my luck I think I know which we're in for.
This is a long, meandering sidebar/intro about why it's In Dark Alleys
. About how modern society values BEAUTY MORE THAN TRUTH and how THE ALLEYS BEHIND THE FACADES SHOWS THE REAL WORLD.
"This game is about those who are tired of the shallow pleasantness of façades, tired of being told comforting lies, tired of a standard of mass-manufactured prettiness that strives to be as inoffensive as possible."
And really it makes me suspect that the author was probably bullied a lot in high school. Hell, he probably still gets wedgies to this day.
Chargen is nine steps and is largely recognizable from other games. Pick a concept, design a personality(which we've got 80 points to do, this step is labelled "Psychodynamics"), attributes(another 80 points), Secret Life(what we know about THE ALLEYS), Day Job(OUR FACADE), Skills, Equipment and the usual Advantages/Disadvantages shenanigans.
Sadly, unlike Kult, I doubt we can make the Fist of the North Star here, so let's wait and see what the book lets us make.
Step One: Character Concept!
Let's see, recommended points to fill out... Family, Gender/Sex...
What is the PC’s gender and sexual preference? Is the PC looking for any kind of long-term relationship, and if so then what kind? What does the PC find attractive in a man/woman? Does the PC have any kinks? Does the PC ever wish to have children?
So, we are exactly... five pages in. Counting the front page. This is literally the first page of chargen, the first page past the index. And we're being asked to consider if our PC has any sexual fetishes. Maybe it's just a little bump in the road. I'm going to pretend it is. It'll be gravy and sunshine from here on!
...Ethnicity, personal history, appearance, all standard...
Ah! Something interesting! Drive! What our character's motivating passion is. There are a few example motivations and they can all be summed up as either: YOU WISH TO KNOW THE TRUTH or YOU GET A KICK OUT OF THIS or YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE.
There's also a sidebar summing up the ten or so Secret Lives we can choose from, but I'm going to ignore that by now and wait until we get the actual write-ups on them so we can go into them in-depth.
We have 80 points to spread across 8 personality elements, with a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 20 in any given box. Having a high score in any given one apparently risks it "interfering with rational thought." We can elect to have these things "corrupted" with future disadvantages, too, and this chapter tells us what happens if one of these is such.
ANIM is the strength of our male/female side(masculinity or femininity, but the opposite of what our physical gender is), and apparently at 20 we're supergood at interacting with the other gender, while at 1 we're completely incapable of interacting with our opposites. If corrupted: "the opposite gender is frightening and reprehensible." Definitely a corrupted psychodynamic for most people on the internet, then.
EGO is basically self-control and self-understanding. At 20 we're fucking in charge of ourselves, at 1 we can't keep our own head on straight. It also incorporates some aspects of raw willpower as it generally lets us ignore discomforts and interruptions. If the EGO is corrupted, our brain keeps dredging up things and memories that we don't like.
ID is "the part of the PC that seeks pleasure and avoids discomfort," if it's a 20 we really hate things that suck and love nice things, at a 1 we're an ascetic monk that couldn't give less of a fuck. If this one is corrupted we love things that aren't pleasant, but then wouldn't they be giving us pleasure? Meaning that our scale is merely inverted compared to THE MUNDANES? Fucked if I know. I'm having trouble figuring out how this one matters at all.
REPT is, oh boy, "the PC’s most basic instincts, those we share in common with reptiles." If it's 20 we're really concerned with SURVIVAL(and boning) and will react very swiftly and decisively in matters involving these. Oh and we also won't really care about morals if they get in the way. So I guess it makes us a very pro-active rapist. If it's a 1, we rely on ideals and logic to resolve things rather than just reacting to what we want here and now, but we also have slow reactions in "life or death"-scenarios.
Corrupted Reptile posted:
If the REPT is corrupted, the PC’s instincts will tell the PC to do bizarre and unhealthy things: e.g. eat a newspaper, go to sleep on a cold sidewalk, have sex with a relative, attack a larger and meaner person, etc.
SEGO is our super-ego. It's the part of us that fears being punished for doing bad things. At 20 we like cops, don't break the law. At 1 we've got no conscience and don't give a fuck about breaking rules unless we have a good reason not to do so, so basically it makes us a raging asshole because it also means we ignore social norms. The corrupted version of SEGO is kind of hilarious, though, as it makes the character feel guilty about things that no one gives a fuck about, like brushing their teeth or whatever. TOOTH COPZ HERE TO BUST YO ASS FOR USING TOOTHPASTE.
SHAD is Shadow
, our dark side! The higher this one is, the bigger a jackass we are, and we need a high EGO and SEGO to keep it in check. If it's a 1, we're basically a nice guy who never thinks about kicking down the neighbour's door and stabbing him in the throat. Or maybe not. It can also mean we're a complete and utter sociopath and our destructive impulses are ones we AGREE with, rather than ones we avoid. Corrupted SHAD is actually kind of interesting, as it locks away part of the personality to be under the control of the Shadow, for instance an artist may only be able to draw while entertaining his darker impulses or such.
STRA is Stranger, or basically: "Are we afraid of different things?" At 20 we're a xenophile who loves new people and new cultures and take inspiration from their weird new things. At 1 we're a bigoted moron who makes fun of everything we don't already know what is. If it's corrupted it's... odd, in that we develop some sort of self-loathing where everything like us has bad attributes in our mind, and everything similar to others has good attributes.
THAN, Thanatos! At 20 we're a crazy death-cultist...
At 20 THAN, the PC has an obsession with and desire for death. The PC likes morbid humor, has little fear of death, and generally thinks death will be a good thing. Death will be like going to sleep after a hard day. Knowledge that death is inevitable helps the PC deal with the trials of life. The PC also likes the idea of an armageddon where the whole world is destroyed.
And at 1 we apparently have trouble dealing with hard times because death doesn't seem like a nice way out
. So let me just re-emphasize this. This is a stat that either makes us cheerful because we're obsessed with death, OR makes us miserable because we can't deal with the idea of killing ourselves. Does this seem fucked up to anyone else?
If this one is corrupted then we just think OTHER people need to die.
Ultimately it feels like most of this could have been boiled down to two, maybe three stats, since half of them in some way or another go: "Do you violate social norms or go along with them?"
Next time: Stats! Secret Lives! Day Jobs! And More!
I know I certainly can't wait!