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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FATAL & Friends Repost: Kromore, Part 2
12:10am EDT - 8/16/2015
So in Kromore's defense, at least the character sheet doesn't look Eoris-levels of bad, but much in keeping with the rest of the writing so far, the author just cheerfully launches into everything with what I can best describe as bad pacing. The very first page of chargen is just a huge smear of mechanics and how to calculate derived attributes. Also apparently how much you can carry, drag and push is derived only
from your character weight, not your Muscle stat, just the first of what I'm going to assume will be many
puzzling design decisions. Chargen starts off with a "lifepath" sort of thing, where we follow a flowchart through four decisions that give us some starting bonuses, as well as helping determine our starting money.
Most of it seems relatively setting-agnostic, meaning that Kromore might at least slightly deliver on being able to function through any of its five supposed settings, though quite a few lifepath options get "piloting" and "tech," which I'm not sure how relevant would be in the "fantasy" or "medieval" settings. Also, while we've had the basic stats explained, and know what they would benefit us for, we've had no skills explained so far, so, for instance, "Operate"? What does that
help us do? And of course, almost all
of the lifepath bonuses are skill bonuses. Also some puzzling choices, most of the bonuses to skills are static +X bonuses, and we've been told that skill ranks are static +X's to things we do, while stats define how many D4 we roll.
But there's a "+1d4" to skills in places, does that mean that I get a RANDOM bonus for choosing this lifepath option? Or that I get another 1d4 to roll whenever I use that specific skill? This isn't explained anywhere. In general, though, the lifepath doesn't seem too
badly constructed, and is followed up by assigning points to our basic stats. It's a pointbuy system and, as a first for any pointbuy system I've seen, actually lines up some suggested stat arrays for new players, as well as doing some of the basic math for the player(how many free points a given array leaves them with for the next stage of chargen. Though the terrible organization of the writing and the occasionally "I ran this through Google Translate"-tier phrasing made me confused on the actual calculations and made me think the book got some of them wrong at first.). As clumsy a first impression as Kromore gives, this is actually a nice touch, as pointbuy is something that can occasionally trip up new players.
Players should remember they will automatically receive an equal number of free abilities to their attribute score totals.
A number of free abilities EQUAL TO their attribute score totals, as it turns out. But anyway, small slip-ups aside it's time for the EXCITING RACES OF KROMORE and oh my God what's wrong with your FACE
Hahahah, what the fuck? Is she a smurf or something? Uh, I guess we've got four colours of human, the weird fucking things from Avatar with huge noses instead of huge eyes, and dwarves.
If players decide to choose a Human race they must select which nation the Human is from. Each Human race holds grudges politically and socially against one another.
I look forward to a list of all the human nations that have existed throughout KROMORE's 10,000-year DETAILED HISTORY, cross-referenced by which ones existed simultaneously, and with each one having a detailed rundown of who they hate and who they get along with. I'm pretty sure, though, that we're just going to get, like, five nations, and two of them will have a sidenote of "Only exists during STEAMPUNK ERA" or "Blown up during SCI-FI ERA, replaced with LASER COUNTRY." And, of course, only humans avoid being a monoculture.
All races start with the bonus language of Trade. Trade is a language comprised of 100 different words, phrases, and sign language symbols used for basic means of communication.
Wait, so, there's 100 words, 100 phrases and 100 sign language symbols? Or there's 100 if you tally up all the words, phrases and sign language symbols? Because the latter's not going to let you do much communicating beyond asking where the fucking toilet is or ordering a beer.
Natural Defense applies to a characters dodge and is always constant even when the character is caught prone or disabled.
Which makes me imagine a team of commandos trying to assault a sleeping Metal Man and falling all over each other because even though he's asleep, his Natural Defense is somehow still applying to his Dodge. I don't know if +2 is a lot, but I hope so, because that would be fucking ridiculous and a little bit hilarious. Like, I could see if it was applied to armor
of some sort, but dodge? Why dodge
Natural defense for some races is higher due to the races small stature or the races thicker than normal skin.
Oh, I guess because the designer is a lazy sack of shit and went with D&D-style "armor"/defense as being a rolled-together lump of all your defensive attributes, both dodging and armor.
Due to social relations, size, and origin several races have negatives applied to them. These are not bad qualities of the race, but represent their social and physical standings in the ever changing political world of Kromore.
I like how it represents their standing in an EVER-CHANGING WORLD, but apparently over 10,000 years, the world doesn't change enough for these things to be different during different periods. Jesus fucking Christ. This is even more offensive when the game, a paragraph later, acknowledges some degree of change in that some races only exist during some periods... and of course those are all shunted off to the appendices, but include, we're told, H.I.V.E. Vampires and "realm races."
“Bendai khu beiz’nehet y’ Razz-I”
-Death without battle honor is Razz-I
Why fucking bother to translate it if you leave out translating a word that's core to the fucking meaning of the statement
So the Ferrians were transported to Kromore in "the 70th century BSC" by the "Tesck" that have so far gone completely unmentioned anywhere. They live on a continent referred to as "the jungle paradise of war"(???), and they used to live on another continent, but something fucked it up so that it's now "vastly uninhabitable for sustained life." As opposed to very temporary life, I guess? Fucking hell.
The Great Metal War during the era of Steam and Steel left it destroyed after the humanoid Innate wielder inhabitants formed an alliance with the allied nations against the Kalin Parliamentary Order. Metal Men arrived and destroyed the small island continent, a destruction the land never recovered from.
Hmmm, yes, these sure are a lot of terms. Not that I give a shit what they mean. But the whole thing is basically meaningless without knowing who the fuck these people or things are, what "humanoid Innate wielders" are.
Though the Ferrian have cat like appearances in the eyes and face, they are far more human than cat despite their tails and ears which are both docked at birth.
Nothing about them is fucking catlike, at all. Has this person ever seen a cat?
Exiled Ferrian in their native tongue are called “Razz-I.”
So "death without battle honor is exiled Ferrian"? Aaaaaargh.
Whatever, these guys are basically Cat Orcs/Klingons. BATTLE HONOR, tattoos, live in noble savagery, can wear their SUPER HAIR as armor, don't do much with technology unless it's for war, and when they're in other cultures they're mostly mercenaries or criminal muscle.
Many Ferrian do not seek honor battling amongst the stars unless something proposes a threat to their home.
The author of this is supposedly from New York, born and raised. You wouldn't have fucking guessed it from this writing, would you? I would've guessed, like, Poland, myself. Maybe Dutch. If I quoted every single fucking awkward or downright WRONG term or phrasing, I'd be quoting the entire fucking book so far. Did you know it's possible to "miss-use" magic? I just learned that, from this book.
Their existence was declared a mistake after many rebelled slavery in the Order’s military. Thousands of Metal Men were dishonorably discharged into space before their existence was revealed, but thousands more managed to escape.
Hard to tell if he's making a joke or actually thinks that a "dishonorable discharge" involves throwing someone away into the ocean or space or something. But anyway, they were a magical experiment into making SUPER SOLDIERS that accidentally developed free will, like basically every super soldier project in any piece of fiction, ever. At this point it would be a surprise to have an android that actually stayed true to the spirit of its programming or an artificially created species/creature that didn't eventually eat its creator.
In addition to their immortality the Metal Men all begin life at the age of twenty seven and never age beyond it. Their previous human memories are gone,
Except I guess they used to be humans, yet no matter what, they're always 27 years of age? What if you turn a child into a metal man? Does he become huge and buff? Do old people turned into metal men become young and strong? Can you even do that? Can they reproduce in any sort of way, resulting in a horrific sudden aging of metal man babies? Apparently they're engineered not to procreate, but some "metal women" mutate to "reveal" offspring(what? WORDS MEAN THINGS). So I if all metal men are instantly 27 years of age, that's gotta result in some weird stuff when giving birth, or possibly an Alien-like explosion during procreation. Gross.
But aside from that, if new-born metal men are a rarity, and they're all functionally immortal, does that mean that the player is most likely centuries, if not millennia old, and hyper-experienced compared to every other member of the party? I guess this is just completely ignored. And mind you, if metal men don't care about aging, what about other biological necessities? Do they need food and water? Do they breathe? Maybe this would be relevant to address, considering that their description makes them sound like fucking robots
(metal skin, no aging, no natural procreation, outside of mutants, have trouble with "complex emotions.")
I'd also like to point out that while the Ferrians got an entire page to themselves, all the other species basically get a single half-page column. Also for some reason only half the races(Ferrian, Metal Man, Laerish) get a quote, while the other three(Gyx, Human, Zatilok) go without.
The Gyx get literally no biological or sociological details shared about them. Nothing. They're just some red dudes that the "Tesck" dropped off on Kromore a couple of times over the eras and who were generally enslaved or murdered by roaming packs of xenophobes, but now they're free.
The Gyx are known deadly with a small blade due to thousands of years in servitude.
Apparently a history of being enslaved means everyone assumes you know your way around a shiv. Or that you DO know your way around a shiv. I can't tell.
GAH, it doesn't get any less horrifying the second time
So, the Zatilok are apparently the only true natives of KROMORE, a bunch of NOBLE SAVAGES, not to be confused with the NOBLE SAVAGERY of the Ferrians.
Though they are the oldest, the Zatilok are the least technologically advanced of all Kromorian races. They are referred to as space monkeys by Kromorians, because they are no more apt at flying than a monkey is in space. A term used negatively against Zatilok.
This also makes no sense to me. Firstly, they're pretty clearly feline-inspired. Secondly, why would monkeys have trouble in space? I mean, if anything, a semi-prehensile tail, and feet that can be used for grabbing and clinging far better than human feet might actually be an advantage in a zero-G habitat. Hell, I'm pretty sure a lot of apes and monkeys would transition to zero-G/micro-G pretty fast, faster than some humans, in fact, once they got the hang of it. But anyway, yeah, they're cats, JUST LIKE THE FERRIANS, GUYS, NOTICE HOW CATLIKE THE FERRIANS ARE, but more catlike than the Ferrians because of their "furry complexions."
“There was a wee man named Harboro Sam, He took up some drinkin’ with main sail in hand,With nothing but hot air to sail him to land, He shored up to sailors, befriending with man,He threw down his skivvies and threw up his hands SHOVE OFF UNLESS YE DRINKIN!”
–Laerish drinking tune, unknown composer, unknown meaning.
Everything in this book has an "unknown meaning."
During the time prior to the Three Kingdoms and over the era of Three Kingdoms, Laerish lived in barbaric clan houses and sailed long ships. The Laerish of this time focused on pillage and wealth along with technological advancement.
Their inventions eventually allowed them the ability to control technological trade and after several thousand years removed their instinct and aggressive anger from their social personalities.
So the Laerish are basically honourable Irish(or Scottish? Can't tell) drunk techno-vikings. Or something. Also they've got almost no women(for some reason?). Also everyone likes the Laerish despite the fact that the Laerish used to raid everyone and now, apparently, maintain a stranglehold on high-tech trade because they're just so good at it.
Wow, Christ, this is off to a great start. I'm going to handle the humans in a separate post, because it turns out there's actually a few pages' worth of nations/human variants. Not that I expect them to be particularly inspiring, but dealing with this writing is a bit of a challenge.