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
Still nowhere near done
FATAL & Friends Repost: In Dark Alleys, Part 8
04:50pm EST - 1/01/2016
The equipment list is RETARDEDLY comprehensive, starting out with guard dogs, capuchin monkeys and police horses. This is the sort of thing I'd expect to see in a D&D manual, not in a goddamn "urban horror game." It also seems to be one of those games you do not
want to play with an obsessive-compulsive GM as it's got lists for all sorts of nitty gritty survival things like bottled water and dust masks.
Imagine the excitement when you finally manage to Get Lost your way into Area 51 and the GM tells you all that everyone who didn't bring bottled water is now suffering from dehydration and has perception penalties because they didn't think to buy a dust mask! Of course there's also a listing for trench coats.
Condoms, giant rack-mounted servers, armors that appear to have listed their issues with the wearer suffering from heat exhaustion, birth control pills(apparently it's a misdemeanor to own these without a prescription? What? Is he trying to illustrate the gruesomeness of the Old White Men in charge or is US law really that crazy?), rules for overdosing on caffeine and roofies. There's so much stupid shit here that no one would ever need to specifically note on their damn character sheets, if need at all.
Someone who's got more experience with drug use than me could probably go through the drug list and nitpick the various effects/side-effects/withdrawal effects of these drugs. For one thing, I've never heard of anyone smoking marijuana who complained of suffering from sudden amnesia after a couple of joints...
As a side-note, remember how the Ultimate Genitals could do "3 ragged damage"? We had no comparison for that before. Now we do. A pickaxe does "3 bladed damage," that's right, that ability turns your dong into a goddamn pickaxe for murdering people with. How the fuck does this still allow anyone to have intercourse without killing their partner?
Tear gas grenades are listed under "self-defense" and along with flashbangs, apparently it's totally cool for random civilians to own and use these without registering or having permits.
But the huge shitloads of LIST PAGES aren't done here.
Suffice to say, if it's some sort of modifier to your character's physical, social or mental condition, it's in here. For a bit of racism, just to kick it off, "being raised in the ghetto" automatically gets you levels of Criminal and Combat skills. Shitloads of them, in fact(onsidering that your starting pool of skill points gives you probably around ten skill levels in total, the three skill levels in Crime from being RAISED IN THE GHETTO is pretty considerable.), it's an advantage. I mean, hell, not like growing up in something definable as a ghetto might leave you socially disadvantaged or anything! Naw, it's just the SCHOOL OF THE STREETZ. Or something. I find it kind of offensive, anyway.
Outside of the fact that being raised in a ghetto and
having prison experience lets you start off with a cool +6 skill ranks in crime and +3 in combat(which is hilariously awesome for anyone keeping note, compare with our predicted plausible amount of starting skills without any boosts), the advantages aren't that bad. But the disadvantages kind of edge into some creepy business when the very first one is having an "Abusive Partner" who basically tries to ruin everything in your life and is a match for you "in a fair fight."
On the other hand, considering that you and your party probably have a combined total of Fuckloads of supernatural abilities... I don't really see why this state of affairs would last for long. I mean, it would be an unsettling state of affairs for normal
people, yes, but when your Animist friend can just give him a heart attack or your Lost friend can dump him in Shanghai... and considering the skill difficulties of Psychotherapy it shouldn't take more than a day to deprogram your psychological dependency on him. It kind of defuses the drama a little.
Disadvantage: Alzheimer's! How the fuck is this even playable unless your campaign is silly enough that it turns him into a goofy Mister Magoo character? If played in a silly fashion, though, it could kind of be an amusing concept for a Lost. He doesn't wander into other worlds because he's stoned out of his gourd, he does it because he just sort of mentally fizzled out on where the world is. But, y'know, considering that spousal abuse and AIDS are the diadvantages right before this one, I don't think that was Brian Vajra's thoughts.
Having a kid is also a disadvantage if you need to take care of them... 'cept it gives you ten Bonus Points, enough to harvest Prison Experience and Raised in a Ghetto, and the kid itself is not just some fragile beanbag you have to protect. No, the kid has goddamn 100 skill points, as much as you! It costs 40 points for a level of an "adult" skill, admittedly, but this kind of elevates them to the level of "potentially handy sidekick" rather than "useless fleshbag." Shit, with the Masks ability they could verge on being invaluable aides for distraction and flim flam purposes. The kid also levels up rapidly, getting another 50 skill points and 4 attribute points every year... so let's see, they start out at 3 to 5 years old, this progression stops at 10... 40 for a level of an adult skill... By age 6 or 7 they could be a goddamn police sharpshooter if their parent has any sort of Combat ability.
Fuck, you could teach them the goddamn Neck Snap ability if the parent is a hitman or something, recreate the movie Leon/The Professional but even more hilarious. And they're giving you points to do this
So by the D's we reach "Disfigured." It makes you hideously ugly, something that penalizes your Seduction rolls so far as to be impossible to pull off, and make you look memorable(just wear a fucking mask)... and it gives you six bonus points. For comparison's purpose, a thing that give you 1 bonus point: a criminal record that prevents you from ever legally owning a firearm. A potentially-fatal allergy or being hunted by a serial killer is 4 bonus points. Chronic pain, epilepsy, a crazy stalker or a dissociative disorder are two points each.
For more crazy points comparisons, having a sexual fetish or herpes are 2-point disadvantages as well. Yes, because I can see so many situations in which having sores on your dick or needing to wrap it in latex to get off are as crippling as a fucking epileptic seizure or some maniac sitting outside your window, writing things on it in his own feces
Lonely (Gives 2 BP)- The PC starts the game with no friends. The PC’s family provides little or no companionship. The PC is unhappy and would like to have someone he or she could talk to or hang out with.
So either this is the most incredibly depressing game ever or these two points turn out to be a super-cheap bonus when the PC meets the rest of the fucking party
Being hunted by the Mafia, a corporation or the fucking government... is less of a penalty than being an illegal immigrant.
Lingering Abuser (Gives 1 BP)- The PC lived for several years with someone who sexually, physically or emotionally abused the PC. Now that person is no longer able to hurt the PC (either dead, in prison for a long time, or too weak to hurt anyone), but the abuser’s personality left such a deep impression in the PC that the PC feels his or her constant presence. The PC dreams about the abuser, has momentary flashbacks of the abuser being around, and hears the abuser’s voice in his or her head. What’s worse, if the PC loses control the PC may find himself or herself acting exactly as the abuser would, even speaking with the same tone of voice.
Years of traumatizing, sexual/emotional abuse! One bonus point! I mean, it's not like you're too ugly to ever get laid or anything! Ha ha! You've just got crippling nightmares about him!
Morbidly obese: 1/3rd of the points of being too ugly to fuck! Being old gives us 15 Bonus Points for every decade after 50 years of age. The stat penalties THAT give us would cost EXACTLY 13 bonus points to buy back. Someone sure did the maths on this one! Fucking idiots. Not to mention that the penalties are negligible enough that if we just blow the points on skills and super-sweet advantages instead, we come out even more on top.
At this point there is really no point to not playing a 60-year-old, scarred badass with a child sidekick, who's spent years in jail and was raised in the ghetto. The actual downsides are negligible, because "prison experience" does not actually require us to take "criminal record," unless we're playing in someone's creepy erotic roleplaying campaign then "seduction" likely won't get much use(and if it did, then any Secret Life with Masks could pretty much just pretend they didn't have the disadvantage) and I've already illustrated how having a kid is actually an ADVANTAGE in this game.
Phobia is +3 Bonus Points and, well, as we saw a couple of posts back, anyone can fucking cure that. So just have another PC take Psychotherapy and rake in the sweet, sweet bonus points.
Shit, I could really go on and on about how many things are considered minor compared to not getting laid, so just pretend that if there's anything in this game universe less bad than having AIDS, Alzheimer's or being a heroin addict, it rewards less bonus points.
Terminal Illness: The most aggressive version drops several stats by 1/4 every week, presumably we die when it hits zero. Compare to Old Age which drops several stats by 1 or 2 every decade
, and Terminal Illness is only two points more. On the other hand, this one actually does make for a pretty interesting plot hook/character motivation, hunting for a supernatural cure for what ails them. Maybe it's a Scribbler or something who knows the supernatural exists and teams up with some Lost and Survivors to try and "petition" the Reapers for an extended time. The sort of crazy faustian bargains that could result from THAT could be the core of an even more extended campaign.
And of course it ends with the predictable, final disadvantage of "Virgin." One bonus point!
I'm really not sure if this chapter is just the product of REALLY bad maths, or the product of Vajra having no fucking clue what the actual impacts of most of these disadvantages are. For someone with a BA in psychology, he sure doesn't seem to know much about how horrendously damaging some things would be to the human brain.
Next time, Chapter two! Game mechanics!