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
The Cyclops Wizard strikes you dead with a thought
The Void and the Citadel
FATAL & Friends Repost: In Dark Alleys, Part 18
11:58am EST - 1/01/2016
So around the DESERTED CITY, which is surrounded by a TALL WALL is THE VOID, which is pure black(hello Dark City nice to see you here in Ripoffsville). It's a windless, room-temperature void that nonetheless has a pitch black, featureless floor. Nothing here except for an occasional escaped creature from the Deserted City and stuff dropped by people who went to the city and then vaulted over the walls.
Oh and then there's the Citadel.
Basically it's a huge, rambling, weirdly-designed place of concrete, stone and barbed wire. Everything inside is huge enough for a giant to walk around in, but 99.9999% of the residents are just 7-foot, floating, naked, androgynous humans that if they see real humans will scream until a bunch more come around and then they'll kill the humans by tearing them apart. There are no stats for them, so I assume it's a "you die if the GM wants you to"-thing.
Speaking of which, the 0.0001% of the population that AREN'T floating naked people is a giant robed cyclops who sits on a throne, wears a porcelain mask and has a claw for one of his hands. He listens to weird reports from the not-really-human people and if he ever notices a human in his Citadel he'll-
If the figure notices the human explorers it can kill them instantly with a thought and paralyze their souls with pain until a servant can drag the souls off to the land of the dead.
-do that. There are no descriptions of what this figure does, why it exists, how it thinks or any suggestions for what it could possibly do in a game.
Under the Citadel is The Machinery.
The Machinery posted:
There are several pits in the floor around the citadel that lead to a massive underground space. The space is sweltering, filled with steam and smoke, and there is an omnipresent roar of machinery. As far as the eye can see in every direction (including down) there is a lattice-work of machinery that combines every type of tech known to the human visitors: steam pipes, gears and chains, old vacuum tubes, computer circuits. Ladders and walkways crisscross the space, giving access to all the machinery. Yellow light bulbs give a diffuse light to the space. At intervals are binocular shaped viewers attached to a circuit boards. Looking through one a person will see pixilated, amberand- black, bird’s-eye views of our world.
Dozens of stories down is a blood-soaked concrete floor covered with rows of huge bodies. They’re about 20 ft. tall, naked and have human anatomy. The rows of bodies merge into the vanishing point in every direction. Each body has hundreds of wires, pipes and gear shafts impaling them through blood encrusted holes. The bodies appear asleep and are breathing slowly. They look like a random selection of every age, ethnic group and physical condition. Every once in a while a body will shudder, sometimes make a groan, and the movement will cause machinery around and above it to break, bringing a horde of engineers.
If visitors are lucky, they may see the body of someone they know or they may see giant versions of their own bodies. Bodies of the Touched seem slightly more restless than most of the others (as do the bodies of babies and children). The bodies cannot be awakened or killed. Injuries heal almost instantly.
The place is also full of giant steampunk spiders which, while they have superhuman stats, at least lack any instakill attacks! Hooray! Something the PC's can actually interact with, though so far we have no reason why they would ever want to!
The Land of the Dead
Basically the Land of the Dead is a long, boring canyon where you walk down until you forget everything. If you stop walking or make a fuss then monsters torture you until you get walking again. EXCITEMENT. There is literally nothing to do here, the monsters aren't statted, there are no locations beyond THE CANYON OF WALKING and there are no people beyond THE DEAD and THE MONSTERS.
Surprise! Everyone has a pocket dimension in their subconscious, or multiple, rather, one for each psychodynamic. The Ego appears to be the police of the subconscious, as it prevents anyone from breaking into the Halls of Memory(a big trapped, locked and barred library of everything you've ever experienced, it's possible to steal or destroy memories), the Doors of Perception(a steampunk factory processing sensory information, fucking with these can give a person hallucinations). Aside from them there's The Reptile's Realm(basically just a big wilderness, neither particularly harsh or nice, it's possible to survive there), the Id's Realm(a delightful place full of every awesome sensation you've ever wanted to experience, all the good food, all the best sex, all the craziest things to see. If you poke a hole in the bottom, though, and walk out through that, you emerge from an orifice in one of the bodies described under The Machinery). Troubles are basically all of a person's insecurities and phobias, and they haunt the subconscious as aggressive little critters. Small ones are mooks to stomp, big ones are major villains. Considering that you can erase memories by fucking around here, I have to wonder if killing all the baddies in someone's brain would make them less worried about life...
Oh and this section also claims that "the severely autistic do not have a conscious self." Feel free to poke at that. And the rest of the PD realms are not described yet, if ever.
Because we weren't ripping off Kult enough yet. There's even a fucking Dreaming skill. All the stuff in the subconscious apparently leaks into dreams, but the Ego disguises them with symbolic imagery to prevent you becoming aware that your brain is full of squatters. This is stupid.
Because I'm getting tired of copy-pasting this stuff and fixing the formating
Having the PD's as conscious, somewhat-independent entities is actually interesting, and you could genuinely do some fun or funny stuff with it. Imagine if instead of having separate PC's, all the PC's are just on-the-run PD's from one guy? Maybe they're out to save their "owner," or they've fled because they got tired of his head, or maybe they're just taking a road trip to get a break from chilling out in his brain.
You can literally break into someone's brain and kill off their PD's to eliminate certain urges entirely, though. For instance, break into someone's head, murder their Thanatos and then destroy the Realm of the Thanatos and you end up with someone who has no desire for death whatsoever, in fact probably someone who doesn't think about it at all. Someone without a Shadow would probably be a model citizen.
Further confusing things, psychologically, you can apparently take all these subconscious chunks of your brain and make them part of your conscious, via MAGIC or EXTREME PSYCHOLOGY, basically taking responsibility for them, which... doesn't really describe what it does to your head, except presumably now the GM can no longer compel you to become suicidal or a rapist at will. But it does give you +5 Willpower(HELLO AWESOME MAGICAL ABILITIES) or if you already have 20+ Will, it also gives you +5 points to spend on other things.
Being a complete sociopath apparently integrates your Super Ego and Shadow right off the bat, so I guess that going shopping for that enriched uranium gets even easier if you're just doing it for laughs.
Oh and then there's some art of an Id, just in case you wanted to fight one. I no longer want to fight one. Predictably the Id is just a big selfish jackass who does whatever it wants and doesn't care about anything else.
The descriptions of the various PDs' behavior just makes me further want to run the Psychodynamic Road Trip Game.
Super Ego posted:
Behavior- It travels around peering over people’s shoulders, rifling through their belongings, glowering at them and demanding to know what they have been doing and are planning on doing.
The Super Ego finds every psychodynamic except the Ego to be suspect and thinks of them as enemies. It hates the Shadow worst of all. The Super Ego has a stormy relationship with the Ego: sometimes friendly with it and sometimes hating it.
Typical Attack- A Grab: Pain...
I like to imagine that the Super Ego grabs other PD's by the ear and hauls them around until they say uncle and do as they're told. It also looks like whichever parent you had that was strictest.
The Reptile is a lazy lizardman who just chills in the sun and snacks on stuff. It doesn't really care to talk to anyone or do much beyond just chilling out. The Ego is, as mentioned earlier, THE BRAIN POLICE, it keeps the other PD's from taking over the wheel and also covers things up because it doesn't want to upset anyone.
Most Common Appearance- A woman in a thin white dress. Her appearance is constantly shifting depending on her mood. At times she is young, beautiful and voluptuous, her lips so full that they part involuntarily. At other times she looks plump and kindly. At other times grey streaks appear in her hair, her lips scowl and her eyes have a cruel glare.
Psychology- This is the repository for suppressed ‘feminine’ thoughts and behaviors, yet because Western cultures subdivide feminine into several disparate roles, the Anima has a split personality with a seductive side, a mothering side and a cruel side all trying to make themselves heard.
OH YEAH ONLY THE WEST HAS ODD THOUGHTS ABOUT WOMEN AT ALL. RIGHT RIGHT. LET'S GO LISTEN TO THE NOBLE SAVAGES SOME MORE.
The Stranger is a big cat, as in a big housecat. The other PD's don't really mind it but it only bothers them when it "wants to help them with something." Considering that it has no opposable thumbs and can't speak, I really, genuinely wonder how the fuck it can help anyone with anything.
The Shadow is a blowhard, an inversion of the appearance that the conscious self has(or how they perceive themselves), but even though he looks like an asshole and will be an utter cunt to anyone he meets, he doesn't actually attack people without good reason.
The Shadow posted:
Psychology- The Shadow is a compilation of all the suppressed traits that would have made the conscious self feel like a ‘bad person.’ Cruelty is most common among these traits. Also common are arrogance, sexual ‘perversion,’ prejudice, atheism, jealousy, dishonesty and self-hatred. The Shadow will never attempt to hide any of these traits from anyone, it is intensely proud of them.
So The Shadow is also That Guy who'll loudly and at length tell you about his porn and all the other shit about him that you really do not want to know and don't give a fuck about either.
The Thanatos is a gothy fucker who sits around in places full of DEATH and talks about how beautiful and awesome they are, then gets depressive when talking about life. To further complete the "goth" analogy it feels like an outcast that none of the others like, because, don't you know it, none of the other PD's want to die.
The Animus posted:
The Animus is a caricature of what the conscious self’s culture considers masculine. He is stubborn, bullying, impatient, arrogant, quick to anger, crude, brave and has a huge sexual appetite.
Pocket dimensions that try to force people to take part in pre-scripted events and then kill them off. Essentially all these things are anything you imagine, so if you fantasize about killing everyone at work, out there, somewhere, there's a Going Postal Bubble where anyone who pokes their head in either gets handed a gun or gets shot.
They look for people who imagine things similar to them, then they invade their minds and suck them in. Once you're in, you can break free by doing something completely opposed to the "script," but this requires a difficulty 30 Willpower roll, meaning that Joe Average needs a natural 20 to succeed. Welcome to being railroaded, CHOO CHOO.
THE CREATION MYTH
Step 1: Grandpa makes a bunch of people.
Step 2: Unbirths them all but one.
Step 3: This person cuts themselves to make a horrible mutant person out of.
Step 4: Then rape occurs between these two, which makes all the humans.
Step 5: The world is created as it is because the rape victim wants revenge.
Oh and if you paid attention, The Deserted City is apparently Sophie. Thorn/Spear obvious connection.
Advice on Running A Game
First a big box of Horror Stuff To Rip Off. Named titles: Alien, The Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist, The Grudge, Hellraiser(CLIVE BARKER ALERT), Night of the Living Dead, The Ring, The Shining, Silence of the Lambs and The Sixth Sense. Things to rip off from these: "Sabotage everything the players try to do" and "throw in a creepy kid."
Then a sidebar on Railroading. I'm going to throw it in here in its entirety because of a specific paragraph.
Since In Dark Alleys is a horror game, it is important to put PCs into dangerous situations. Yet many players will feel either that it is their duty as players to fight the GM’s attempt to put characters in danger or that it is ‘good roleplaying’ to have the characters avoid dangerous situations.
Thus, unless the GM and players want to have the adventure end at “So you avoid going in the creepy house and you live happily ever after,” it may be necessary to take away some of the players’ free will and force characters along a certain path. There are two ways of doing this: covertly and explicitly.
Covertly railroading characters means making it appear that the players have choices for their characters, but making it so that every choice the characters make ends in the same outcome. This method is liable to piss-off players when they realize what’s going on. If nothing else, players who discover they are being covertly railroaded will fight back harder than ever against the path the GM has set out for them.
Explicitly railroading involves telling players how their free will has been shortcut. The easiest way to do this is to simply start the adventure in the dangerous situation and then fill in the back story. E.g. “You’re in a creepy house, and this is how you got here…” GMs may even enlist the help of players to come up with a creative solution for why their characters ended up in this dangerous situation, thus giving the players a sense that they do have input and that they have not violated their characters’ concepts. Explicit railroading is less likely to cause player anger than covert railroading.
There are also two example adventures that I will not go into in detail, in the first a guy's soul has gotten lost, go recover it. In the second they find a CURSED DVD(TOTALLY NOT THE RING GUYS HONEST) and shit goes down.
And you know what, fuck it. On that rape-tastic, railroading-endorsing end, fuck In Dark Alleys.