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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NOTE: A couple of these posts will be pre-faced with quotes from the original Something Awful thread, when someone posted something that I thought was too funny not to include in the review itself. So you're going to have to deal with my shitty sense of humour. Nerds.
So what I'm hearing is that Middenarde is terrible at being the shitfarmer game it pretends it is but it is actually quite serviceable for playing Exalted.
EDIT: "Okay so the plan is for Jim to hide the river, forcing the invading army to a standstill. While they're stopped Joe and Sam will let themselves get captured so they can brought in front of the enemy general. Joe will then flip it around so they are all in jail instead of him and Sam will take advantage of their surprise to instakill all of them perfectly. They will then make their escape over the hidden river using the motorboat I just built."
EDIT2: "Also you have to tell me whether this plan is a good idea or not."
I'm quoting this for the express purpose of getting it into the F&F archive, because it made me cackle like a madman when I read it.
4 - KNACKS
We're still on Knacks, about halfway through, let's see if there's anything else interesting in there.
Miraculous Savior posted:
Requirements: Heal VI
Some say Jesus Christ healed the lame, but you can keep them from becoming lame in the first place. Up to an hour after a body part is severed, you can reattach it with a successful Heal check (DC 18) and apply a poultice of herbs. Note that it will be nonfunctional for a month, and you must perform an additional check with a DC of 12 for them to ever regain full feeling in the limb. The target must be alive for this to work. No doctor capable of this feat can explain it.
Confounding the Grim Reaper posted:
Requirements: Heal VI, Miraculous Savior
You have exceeded the expectations of your profession to accomplish the one thing thought entirely impossible: cheating death. With a set of Crafting Tools designed for this one purpose only, you can bring back to life anyone dead for less than a day, or a week if their body is kept cool. The process takes two hours, and only succeeds on a successful Heal check of DC 20. You must also have a power source (of at least 20 Watts, or 125 thousand potato batteries) to restart the brain. The recently revived are restored to 1 VP and remember nothing from the moment of their death to their resurrection, as though no time had passed. You cannot revive anyone who was beheaded, bisected, or died of natural causes or disease.
Low. Fantasy. Adventures. With. High. Mortality.
You know, unless Doctor fucking Frankenstein is in your goddamn party! Good thing you don't have to wait for a thunderstorm, either, because the guy with Anachronism can build a simple battery and the wizard can cast Lightning Bolt on the machinery. Meanwhile, over on the Influence side of the Knacks, we're continuing with the "why do I need a fucking feat for this shit?"-trend from the combat knacks, as you need special knacks to piss people off, intimidate them or distract them. How would you ever do any of this without special training. Also, seeming harmless so you'll be ignored in combat requires healing skill as a prerequisite, rather than any sort of acting talent.
Requirements: Influence VI, Skilled Manipulator
You’re so charismatic, people tend to do what you ask without thinking twice. With this knack, you automatically succeed on Influence checks against people who are capable of understanding you and of friendly disposition towards you. A friendly disposition is at the GM’s discretion and may constitute being in a good mood, feelings of respect or admiration, a previous acquaintanceship, etc. The knack Skilled Manipulator may be useful.
Also hey there, mind control
! Obviously still limited by the limits on the Influence skill I noted in, I think, the very first post, that is that it really can't twist people's intentions THAT far, but anyone who doesn't hate you will magically do anything that they could be technically bribed into doing, now, for free. Skilled Manipulator, the prereq that it states may be useful, has the effect of people not knowing that you just manipulated them. Now, I have to point out, that most people, if they know you're fucking with them to get them riled up, or angry, or sad, or to make them ignore you or go along with what you're saying, won't do it. Much of that shit only works because
people are unaware of the manipulation. So what happens without Skilled Manipulator for all those other skills? Do people go along with it for a minute, realize you were a fuckface, then keep all the gold you bribed them with and not do what you said after all?
For that matter, Influence is affected by bribing people, and it's still an influence check when you are, for instance, trying to incite them to violence and get them angry. Is that fluffed as throwing your wallet at their face over and over? Flicking gold coins at their nose until they get really pissed? It's the same for intimidate. The Investigation skills, again, start in on the whole "why do I need a feat for this?"-thing.
You can tell what left that mark. By succeeding on an Investigation check at the GM’s discretion, you can determine through the properties of a mark or blemish, exactly what caused it. The scuff of a boot versus a shoe, what type of knife blade nicked it, and what profession would have wielded such a blade, how heavy or strong the person or thing marking it may have been, et cetera.
Then again, other times you get to literally REWIND TIME.
Seeing into the past can sometimes be more useful than the future. With this knack, you can systematically rewind a room by rearranging it, so that you can get a clear image of how it looked at some point in the past. The DC is how many hours in the past you wish to reconstruct it, minus how many hours it has been since it was last disturbed (or days, if the room is rarely touched). This can give you an idea of who did what in it, even re-staging events.
There's a knack that's required to hear stuff that you haven't specifically declared that you're trying to listen in on, a set of knacks that build up to literal echolocation. Seven skillpoints into lockpicking, you finally get to even attempt
to disarm traps. Actually knowing what stuff is worth is also a knack roughly that distance up the Mercantilism tree. And the apex-level Mercantilism ability is literal mind control, if they fail the initial roll and you sell them something "for a favor," they have to complete that favor. They can be annoyed at you and unwilling to go along with future bargains, but as per how its written, they're "bound" to complete the task for you. Psychology lets you just steal your opponent's combat abilities, even if you've never seen them displayed, just BAM, now you know them as well as he does and can use them against him... or anyone, in fact, it doesn't actually list an expiry point for these "mimicked" knacks. The only requirement is that they're learned from your "opponent."
So I guess the "optimal" strategy is to have one combat monster character, and everyone else just focuses on psychology so they can copy whatever he learns by sparring with him, because someone you're sparring with is technically an opponent. Then afterwards you call his mom a whore and he keels over for 12 hours, crying to himself while you walk away.
Crippling Word posted:
Requirements: Psychology VI, Disrupt Concentration, Mimic
Nothing is more devastating than effective emotional manipulation. With a DC of 20 + their ranks in Willpower, you may make a Psychology check (with a +3 bonus from a successful Sense Weakness) to deliver such a vehement and toxic insult that whomever receives it is turned into a sobbing wreck. They are unable to do anything on their own but defend themselves from attack for 2d6 hours.
Also since all they can do is "defend themselves from attack," that would imply that they can't, for instance, swim. So if you use this on someone trying to swim a river, they'll sink weeping to the bottom and drown.
Just A Rat posted:
Requirements: Stealth IV, Shadow-Walker
It’s a natural assumption that if you can’t find someone, they’ve probably buggered off somewhere else. And you have to let your guard down some time. With this knack, anyone who spotted you has forgotten about you within an hour. If you leave the area and return, they will not be looking for you.
It's a shame so many of these knacks are attached to a bad system that loudly declares it wants to do the opposite of delivering this kind of absurd fun. Because some of these aren't actually BAD. Mimic could, with some limits, be interesting. This seems like an amazing stealth apex power. Crippling Word is a great way to give a social character, a somewhat overpowered, way to join in combat. In any case, the remaining knacks are just boring +x bonuses, so I'm gonna skip those.
5 - EQUIPMENT
This isn't gonna be a very interesting chapter, though I want to note that there are eight
kinds of polearms, but only one type of bow(no difference between longbows and shortbows). Also everything you're wielding will inevitably fall apart, armor and weapons both, just from natural use. Because truly, the most compelling part of any game is to track your fucking equipment's HP with every swing you make. This chapter also encourages the GM to track how much PC's are eating and drinking, and whether or not they should suffer penalties from dehydration or malnutrition. At least the different kinds of food and drink don't have different hydration values and nutrition values.
All herbs weigh ¼ unit and cost 8d, and take 2 MH to craft. They can be used to treat wounds by making a Heal check with a DC equal to the number of VP the patient has lost to determine which humours are imbalanced. The physician then applies a poultice of the correct herbs, made using a mortar and pestle (½ MH), and the patient gains 1 bonus VP while resting for each different herb applied. If no mortar and pestle is available, the herbs can be applied raw at one third effectiveness.
We also clearly needed stats for nine different breeds of dog and three different breeds of cat. As a happy note, cats can't kill you in a single attack, it'll take at least five, or three if they're hitting your head. It took me a while to figure this out, since your maximum and starting Vitality Points are listed nowhere in the .PDF
, instead being hidden away on the pre-made character sheet. If that character sheet ever gets taken down or removed, the players are shit outta luck. In the course of trying to find this out, I also noted that actually attacking
someone, is the 28th sub-heading in the Combat chapter, rather than, say, the first or second. Also, a bite from a dog will do more damage than getting stabbed with a shortsword or getting impaled by a javelin. In fact, dogs are fucking dangerous
in this game, you'd rather be beaten by a mace or eat an arrow from a bow than getting bitten by a dog.
This is also the chapter that has the spells, and they are literally D&D spells
. Fireball, Owl's Wisdom, Lightning Bolt, Flying, Invisibility, Hold Person, Haste, Blink... thoroughly unimaginative. When I pointed this out to the creator, he told me that this game was actually a hobby that he'd been working on for the last 7 years, and that none of the friends who'd played it had EVER complained about this, so clearly I was wrong.
6 - PLAYING THE GAME
This chapter starts off with some of the dullest details on carrying and lifting capacity I've ever read. Do some people actually enjoy
this sort of petty bookkeeping bullshit in their PnP RPG's? Oh and also there are luck points, which we get a finite amount of, one for each level-up, non-recoverable unless GM arbitration says we get some. They can be used for rerolls and for healing less HP than a day of rest, so they don't really do THAT much to tip the balance considering how sparse they are.
KNOWN AS LEVELING UP posted:
A character’s skill progression is modeled through the gaining of levels. A level is gained when a character receives enough XP to pass a threshold known as XPTNL, and they receive eight hours of sleep. The character’s XP is then reset to zero, and they receive a new XPTNL equal to 9 plus the square of the character’s level. This is explained in more detail in section 2.2.
When a character gains a new level, a process known as “leveling up,”
I've literally never read a more spergy description of gaining XP and leveling up. Jesus Christ.
You can’t survive off of hardtack or travel rations forever. Characters need to eat real food or they will suffer adverse effects from a limited diet. Every time a character eats a meal, they should make a 3d6 nutrition check with the DC listed for that food. If they succeed, they suffer no adverse effects. Otherwise, they must make a note of how many checks they have failed, in total, since the last time they had a filling meal, and suffer all of the appropriate penalties:
Oh and the malnutrition penalties are permanent. Generally this chapter is nothing but petty ways for a GM to hunt you for not being omniscient. "Ah, but you only bought NORMAL pants at chargen! Now there's a blizzard and you don't have fur pants! Roll to save vs hypothermia!" "Roll to save vs dysentery!" "Roll to save vs malnutrition!"
Dysentery can be contracted from tainted foods or water. At the GM’s discretion, he or she may secretly roll a 3d6 when a player consumes food or water and determine whether they suffer dysentery
Also on average, any food you don't cook yourself seems to have roughly a 50% chance of giving you dysentery, which has a very real chance of killing your character. The section on how the GM can kill you with dysentery, malaria, smallpox and syphilis is bookended by the rules for throwing objects at stationary targets(or willing catchers) at one end, and the rules for attacking a stationary target at the far end.
Combat rules coming up in the next post. Let's see how HIGH MORTALITY this game gets.