Thursday, February 16, 2017

Generations: 1938 First Foes and Future History

The creation of an open supers universe has hit a few snags. Nothing I can't get past, but they do need some consideration. Lets discuss.

The process for creating villains and the adventures that follow is quite a trick. I could use the Mythic GM Emulator, however I do not own that and I currently have no money for which to buy it. I may get it in the future, but for now I kind of have to wing it and come up with a situation generation device. Some of the villains and plots will pretty straightforward. If you come up with a Jewish folk hero right before World War II, for instance, it is not that much of a leap to get said hero fighting Nazis and Nazi Sympathizers. Some of the history stuff will be dependent on other heroes and villains that already exist(as I go forward), and some of it will be because it makes sense in the timeline as I am constructing it in my head.

I sort of have a rough outline of the century as it mostly will progress, based on the actual history of the big comic book universes and some ideas I have had floating around for a while now. It will start as normal with the twentieth century as we understand it. Then in the late thirties the secret world will become reveled through the lens of super human heroes and villains. The War will unite them and many great adventures will be had fighting Nazis and such. After the war, much celebrating and a return to form. In the fifties their will be Civil Strife and many heroes will go into the shadows again due to the HUAC stuff and all that. Also in the fifties will be prime time for awesome super spy organizations like UNCLE, CONTROL, SHIELD, and others. The Sixties will be a big time of Exploration of space as well as the civil rights movement. The Seventies will be prime supers time. A whole new generation of heroes has been raised up on the stories of the previous generation's heroes and will begin to don the capes once more. The eighties will bring a massive tech revolution that began in the seventies, only it will be much faster and more dramatic because of super science and the like. The nineties will be almost cyberpunk due to these advances, leading into the 2000s which will be the worlds first steps into a wider universe with the colonization of the Moon, Mars, and Venus. I have yet to decide if the solar system is inhabited by aliens yet, I could see it being interesting either way. I am open to suggestions.

So that out of the way lets dig a bit into The Golem's adventures. First I know somethings already. The Golem is immortal, which means he could be his own legacy and also he can serve as that central moral Icon for the century, much as another semi immortal alien super hero did for another universe. Golem may get taken out, but he will always return. I also know that he will have a daughter(Thanks to +Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi for that, really changed how I saw the character and opened up a lot of interesting avenues) who shows up in the seventies do to some strange circumstance with a sorceress named Drusilla, who no one on earth has ever met. Dusty, the daughter shows up as a teenager in the seventies, so that means that sometime in the fifties Golem travels to another dimension, meets Drusilla and they somehow form a union that results in a daughter created through magic. Because of this we know that other dimensions exist, perhaps an infinite Landscape of dimensions, or perhaps a finite one. So that is all in the future. In 1938 he encounters to villains of any real note. Mostly he fights corrupt councilmen, aldermen, and slumlords who are hurting the Jewish community in New York. I like to think he has a bit of a sense of humor about, giving out poetic punishments that are meant to teach people the error of their ways as much as punish them.

The Ghost(Later known as the Flying Dutchman) and the Crime College first came into being in the late twenties. The Ghost is sort of a talent scout for criminals. He is a master of many skills, His family is of the dutch royal line exiled due to circumstances none wish to speak of, he was raised to be a master of all skills and disciplines. He used those skills to become a master thief and by the mid twenties had accumulated over ten million dollars in ill gotten gains. He then set about investing that money in the inner city, gathering talented people to him to build an empire of crime and advance the science of crime. He employs scientists to develop technologies to enhance criminals, and he trains street toughs in a martial art of his own devising. He does not run organized crime, but he sells services and technology to Organized crime.  The Ghost encounters The Golem when some of his operations were disrupted by The Golem. He came out of retirement and fought the Golem to a standstill his technology just barely a match for the Golem's inhuman might. He was eventually defeated and handed over to the authorities, but promptly escaped and is on the lamb. He still nurses a grudge and swore that one day he would bring the Golem low.

Die Maske is a member of the Nazi SS who specializes in disguise. None but Himmler know his real name(or even if he is a man or a woman). Die Maske uses specialized chemicals to make her skin more pliable and shapeable, as well as to change her voice. He uses this to study and copy people and to gather secret information. He first encountered the Golem when trying to sabotage the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and frame the French Government. The Goem put a stop to the plans, but could not capture Die Maske as she placed innocent people in danger. The Golem had to choose between catching Him and saving innocents. I see Die Maske a s a solid recurring villain in any story involving the War.

Now that I have the two big adventures of 1938 somewhat plotted out I got to thinking. What are some of the knock on effects of the Appearance of the Golem? For one I think that interest in the Jewish faith will be on the rise. I have a feeling Orthodox Jewish belief will have a larger impact on the history of North America than it did in our own century. It also raises the question on the nature of Deity in the universe. I am a christian, so I do tend to have a bias toward a specific monotheistic worldview. However I really do like having the various pantheons and such as well, I love all of Jack Kirby's stuff(the Fourth World, Asgard) as well as being quite fond of the Greek and Roman Pantheons. I would also like to do something fun with the Hindu pantheon...maybe. I am thinking of doing a solution like they did in the DC universe, where there is an Uncaused First Cause(the Source) and the gods are just super powerful entities that are often worshiped throughout the cosmos. I could even call the central godhead, The Cause or something of the like. Let e know what you think. Maybe you have a better idea for how the gods would work in this universe.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Generations: 1938 The Rise of the Golem


In a comment on my last post it was brought up that Microscope would work far better for this project than what I am currently doing. This is a true statement. Microscope is a fantastic tool for rapidly building a whole timeline with lots of interesting ideas in it. However It does lack a couple of things that I need. First, it is best played with a group, and I wanted to make sure that I could continue this project even if no one else is interested in it. Secondly it is not random. If I am to do this project myself I need a bunch of random generators in order to make that work. For this project I needed something with random character generation and so I chose FASERIP, I could have also picked Icons or Mutants & Masterminds as both would fit really well in the kind of world I am building. Heck if anyone wants to make there own heroes for this setting you could use those systems to equal effect. All I really need is the basics of what the hero can do and how that would effect the timeline. System is pretty unimportant.

Today we delve into Generations with the first public superhero. I will walk through the character creation step by step so that you can see how it is all done. When I have the character done I will then do an abbreviated version of his first three adventures.

So to start we need to work out the basic power level of the setting. I am going with World Class as my starting point, which is where the game recommends we start. Then I must roll to see how much higher or lower the various Abilities will be. For my pluses I roll 68, 1, and 47. Meaning my character's Reason, Fighting, and Endurance each go up one rank. I then must roll my negatives. For which I get 74, 69, and 79, meaning my character's reason is decreased by one rank(cancelling out the bonus I just gained) and my intuition decreases by two ranks. This leaves me with the following Ability ratings:
Fighting Fa[40]
Agility Wc[30]
Strength Wc[30]
Endurance Fa[40]
Reason Wc[30]
Intuition Dc[10]
Psyche Wc[30]
These can be increased Later, but this is my starting point. Now We roll for powers: Now comes the fun stuff. For my first power pick I rolled 93 on the power acquisition table giving me a transformation power. Rolling a 12 on the transformation powers table give me Alter Ego as my first power. My next roll is 17 giving me an Attack power and the roll on the attack table is 24 giving me Blast as my second power. For my third power point I will roll again and get 85 a sense power. rolling on the sense table gives me 88, Super senses(which I must pick a specific one, I am going with Circular Vision). Now I will roll again, 75, which grants me a Physical enhancement power. Rolling 37 give me the power of Immortality. Now I have spent 4 of my eight power points and have a fairly eclectic group of powers. I think I will spend some of my points non  randomly in order to increase some of my existing scores. I will increase my strength, fighting, and endurance each by one which costs one point each. This leaves my with one point left. I think I will make one last random power roll. A 20 gives me an attack power or a boost to an existing attack power. I think I will increase Blast With that. Now My Character looks like this: 
Fighting As[50]
Agility Wc[30]
Strength Fa[40]
Endurance As[50]
Reason Wc[30]
Intuition Dc[10]
Psyche Wc[30]
Alter Ego Gt[20]
Blast Wc[30]
Super Senses(Circular Vision) Gt[20]
Immortality Gt[20]
So he is really tough, good at fighting will live for a very long time and can shoot lasers from his fingers(or something). Good Good. I really don't care for Alter Ego so I think I am going to drop that Power and use that to gain two benefits. The Benefits I am looking at are A specialty in the Blast Power, and a Specialty in Investigation(my intuition sucks and a hero has to be able to ind some clues. The final step is to come up with a random origin and a random source for those powers. I rolled a 2 on the origin table that I made(though I crewed that up and need to fix it) and so this character is Artificial in some way. I think he is some sort of robot or something. As this is the thirties I have to decide if mad science has advanced to the point of intelligent robots or if maybe I should go with a golem. I like that, a heroic golem. Though that does raise the question, is he an American or is he the hero of the Jewish ghettos in Germany. Maybe he is American, he was created in response to the antisemitism that spread throughout the world. I could see him doing stuff like Joe Greenstein(who is awesome and you should read up on him, he once beat up thirty members of the American Nazi party on his own). Also this would make this character a bit of a warped mirror of superman, in a way. I like it. Now for the source of his power, I rolled a 5 giving me a power source of Innate. That makes sense as a mystic construct of the collective will of the Jewish immigrants in New York I see the golem being naturally strong and tough and immortal. Also he can shoot fire because why not. SO now I give you the First Public Superhero:
Kind of how I see the Golem looking

The Golem
Real Name: Has None
Secret Identity: Has none
Fighting As[50]
Agility Wc[30]
Strength Fa[40]
Endurance As[50]
Reason Wc[30]
Intuition Dc[10]
Psyche Wc[30]

Blast Wc[30]
Super Senses(Circular Vision) Gt[20]
Immortality Gt[20]

Specialties: Blast, Investigation

As the Nazis gained power in Germany the Jews began to flee the country. Many came to America as they saw it as a land of freedom and peace. When they arrived, though they saw that the Nazi movement was making inroads here too. These people came to their Rabbis with concerns the people prayed. For nearly a year now, the Jewish areas of New York have been patrolled by a shadowy savior. He speaks mostly in Hebrew and helps those in need. Eventually the Mob started muscling in and the savior had to step into the light to do battle with these criminals. Standing seven foot tall and made of living mud and brick The Golem drove the hoodlums out of the neighbor hood. Immensely strong and durable, and able shoot fire, this strange being has become something of a sensation in the papers. He is just now beginning to see what a force for good he could be, not just in stopping crime but in helping America realize the Danger of the Nazis and those like them.

There is the first public Superhero in this setting. Going to be honest, did not see it going this way. I am not sure I am in love with the wording of the description, but It will o for now. I think for future heroes I may want to do origin and source first, rather than last, I think that will help me sort out powers as I go. Next time I will come up with the first super villain to threaten this setting. Should be exciting. Let me know what you think of this first hero, and maybe help make him more interesting and such. I also need to work out how magic and such works now, as now that is a major part of the setting.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

FASERIP: Generations

The idea: I want to make a living supers universe. something that would be super fun to play in and have grand adventures in. I would love to run this game as a GM, however I do not do very well in long term games. It is just not how my brain operates. So instead what I would like to do is create a bunch of superheroes and villains and slot them into the timeline as I go. I will be trying to organically create a supers universe where people age as they go and the status quo is less important than following through on the ramifications of a world with supers in it. If major technologies have little impact that will be due to explainable reasons, even if those explanations are the actions of other powerful beings. I will be stealing heavily from existing universes for the timeline, so the initial supers will be few, but powerful. As time goes on there will be an increase in the number of supers and villains.

The year is 1938 and and I will start with the first batch of superheroes. There may have been mystery men and adventurers in the past, but these are the first public supers of the modern age. I get one big team up adventure per year. Between adventures I will write up a number of solo adventures(between one and three), only one of which is allowed to have a recurring villain. The years go forward as normal. After each major adventure you can continue the character or come up with a new one to have in the new adventure. After about ten to fifteen years worth of adventuring the hero will retire(unless they are immortal or something). Being a superhero is a lot like being a professional athlete, it is hard on the body.  So you can have legacies build out like that. Then I carry it forward from then until now and we build the world as it goes.

I will be using a number of system in order to replicate what I need for the setting. I will be making characters using FASERIP(its free so check it out, I like it you might too). I enjoy the game and it has a very decent random character generator, so that will be handy. I will use the world alteration rules from Progenitor(not free, but worth every penny) in order to judge the changes to the timeline as I go, so anti grav and super pills will have a real world impact. I also will be stealing as much of the bizarre stuff from comics as I can. No Origin or Source of Powers is off the table, though I will have to come up wit ha random table for those so that I have less control and thus must exhibit more creativity(I hope).


The world will probably have a more optimistic bent to it as making it super grim/dark has no real appeal to me. Though I do think that there would be some major issues that would crop up so we will see how that works as we go forward. It will probably be a bit America focused as I am American and understand that paradigm a little better than other countries. That said I will definitely try to include more heroes from around the world. I will start with America though as flamboyant heroes in bright costumes fighting for truth and justice sort of fits in America very well. I really do want to do a big honking Brazilian team though, not sure where they will fit in but I think it would be cool. Anyway, I will also need a way to randomly come up with superhero world changing events and a way to make sure they stay spaced out so that its not happening all the time. Stuff like the White Event, Blackest Night, The Comet, and similar stuff that changes the dynamic of the setting will be needed, but I can't have them happening all the time.

New random Chartse

Origins
1 - Artificial
2 - Birthright
3 - Gimmick
4 - Transformed
5 - Visitor
6 - Trained(this does not allow for powers or superhuman abilities)

Sources
1 - Cosmic
2 - Divine
3 - Genetic Mutation
4 - Infernal
5 - Innate
6 - Magic
7 - Psychic
8 - Science!


Yearly Adventure Generator
Big changing events, you get one per ten year period(1939-1949, etc) each year I roll a ten sided die and on a ten that is the year of that decade's events.

When designing a character you must answer these questions(though not all at the same time)
Do they get married?
Do they have children?
Are their powers/training/gadgets inherited?
Do their children go on to be superheroes?
Is anyone else inspired by the hero to become a hero(do not need to have the same powers)?

And the best part? You can play along as well. Seriously It would be cool. If you have a blog and want to play along there you certainly can make sure to leave me a link in the comments so I can add it to the setting, otherwise do a write up of your Hero/adventure/what have you and then send me a note in the comments and I will post it in my next post in this series. I think that would be pretty cool. It could start some really spiffy ideas and spin the world off into even more cool ideas. It will start to feel a little more like an actual comic book universe as we will get some messiness and complexity that a single writer cannot get. This may mean that we need to have a couple of parallel universes or something, but that is cool and totally usable in this setting. Like I said, nothing is off the table at this point.

So what do you think? Is there anything I need to add? Anything where I am going to far, digging too deep?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Evolution of the Map of Jadepunk

Earlier I ran into an online conversation about the map of Jadepunk. Namely, did we have one? Technically we do not have a map. However I do have a rough map that I worked up over time while I was writing stuff.  Now the map I use is not the final map. It is not cannon, nor is it finished. Things can and will change as we move forward with the project. I just thought it would be neat to show you what my Jadepunk looks like. Your Jadepunk may vary.

It came about because during the creation of Jadepunk the landscape changed quite a lot. When I first teamed up with Ryan to make the game we even went back and forth for a little while on whether we should just make it our world and do an alternate history. We quickly decided against that for a number of reasons, the main one being that we wanted to do something new and interesting(here's hoping we succeeded, yeah?).

I based a lot of the surrounding terrain and climate on Hong Kong and Shanghai, though I did have some constraints on it. It could not be in an easily accessible piece of land. Otherwise some one would have discovered black jade much earlier. Also it needed a large mountain range near it as that was where most o the mines were. Also it needed a large bay, because it needed to be able to ship out the jade mined there. At one point Ryan and I thought about having something like the silk road, but with jade instead, working its way through all of the lands terminating at Kausao City. But again, the need for it to be cut off and isolated nixed that plan. Though I did add a little something like that into the Red Jadetech book.

I knew that Aerum and Naramel would be to the west of Kausao, we had that nailed down fairly early. I also Knew that Aerum would be an island. I always saw it as being as large as Australia, and the west coast of it being heavily inhabited as the mountains and hills along the sea were far safer that the inland deserts and volcanoes in the burned lands to the east. Though I think Ryan and I still disagree as to the location of the Burned Lands. He wants them in the west I want them to the east. I am sure that will get sorted out soon enough though. I saw Naramel as the massive nation that does not rules the whole of it's continent directly, but still exerts control through economics and small wars. They control the massive river valley through most of the desert regions, as well as the surrounding deserts.

Tuyang was always going to be north of Kausao. It has the most direct land route to the city which gives it an edge. Back when we first started the project Tuyang was going to be a conquered nation and Kausao was going to be its capital. We moved away from that as it was less interesting that the situation we now have set up in the city. On a side note, there is a contradiction in the books. In some parts we say that only Tuyang is on the same continent as Kausao, and then in others we say that Naramel is on the other side of the Xibu Bati Mountains. As I said, your Jadepunk may vary. I kind of work it like this, Tuyang has the only mountain pass that, while difficult and dangerous, is the only true land connection to Kusao while Naramel might have a land connection it cannot use that.  Kaiyumi was always to the east of the city, it was kind of a mix of the Philippines and Japan, so it was a huge nation of thousands of islands. beyond that was a couple of continents that had just recently been discovered(within the last hundred years or so). As you can see I had the rough directions of the major nations and what their land kind of looked like. Using those directions and my inadequate understanding of geology, meteorology, and science in general I set about to rough out a map. This was the first hand drawn map I used.

Admit it, you are jealous of my L33T drawring skills. :P
Starting with that I then roughed out something a bit closer to the map I had in my head using my very very limited understanding of photoshop. And thus we get the final rough draft of how I see the world of Jadepunk. Mind you it is not to scale. Those oceans should be a lot bigger and the contenents a little more spread apart. I did say this was a rough draft right?
Best map ever...provided you ignore how crappy it is. 


So there you go. You get to see a bit into how I think and how I design. I hope it was of use to you, or at least entertaining. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rethinking Stress and Consequences(sort of)


I have been mucking about with stress and consequences for a while now. I have played with the idea of not having stress, or only having stress when certain conditions are met, using alternate tracks and simplified tracks. I have never been all that excited about the two stress tracks listed in the main Fate Core book. It just always felt off to me. In analyzing my issue with the stress tracks I came up with a thought on a solution to my problem, or at least a solution to one corner of the nebulous issue I have yet to fully comprehend(on a side note, I hate it when I have a problem but I cannot properly define the problem).

OK so here is the thought:

Conflict and stress tracks work as normal..sort of. You can take multiple stress boxes to absorb stress. You cannot take consequences during the conflict. I would probably increase teh number of stress boxes by one or two, or perhaps grant more lower tier stress boxes in order to make the characters more durable.

At the end of conflict you only get your stress back if you take a consequence that is worth as much as the highest level of stress box you have marked.  So consequences allow for refresh of stress and provide lasting impact for stress in a new(ish) way.

This would require some rejiggering of the stress and consequence mechanics, but would be interesting. During a conflict you may not notice the damage you are taking(mentally or physically) but after wards when you have a chance to reflect and notice things you will find the damage. Or you could not do that and just repress, however that makes it easier to stress you out in the future. This would allow for some different trade offs and tactics in play, while giving stress tracks a little more focus in play. Heck you could then get a stunt that allows you to refresh stress during a conflict by taking a higher consequence.


That is that idea. Pretty simple, not all that novel, really. However I like the concept and would like to discuss it. What do you think? Would it work? What are some problems you see with it? What might it work best for?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Twelfth Game of Christmas

Previously on the 12 Games of Christmas: AlternityStar WarsMageTranshuman SpaceAdventure!Feng ShuiFate Core13th AgeBurning WheelGodbound, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness

And now the thrilling conclusion...

I love superheroes, and I love RPGs it stands to reason that I would like superhero RPGs. And I do. However many I played over the years they all seemed to be missing something. I could never quite define what I was looking for, yet I knew I had yet to see it. I finally found the game system that did what I wanted it to do, and I have been playing it ever since. So finally we reach the end of my Games of Christmas(for this year) with a game I love...

Wild Talents
I got into this game in a sort of round about method. I ran into a series of comic style stories in the back of a bunch of dragon magazines. These stories told the tale of super heroes set during World War II. They were there to hype Godlike, a game about super heroes in World War II. Needless to say I bought Godlike and I liked it a lot. However It was a hard sell for my group and so there it sat. Then they announced that they were making a limited production game using the same rules but moving the setting forward to the modern day. They called it Wild Talents. I was excited, but could not manage to get the limited run. Eventually they did a second edition of Wild Talents and I jumped at the chance. I have since purchased everything that has come out for the game system, and boy howdy I do not regret any of those purchases.

Peritextual Elements
There are two versions of the second edition of Wild Talents. They both came out at the same time so I will discuss the design of both. The Essential Edition is the version with just the rules and no setting or GM advice. It is soft cover and digest size. The internal design is standard weight paper and black and white computer render art. Some of the art is quite good and some is less good. None of it is bad. The layout is very well done and the index is solid. The Full Second edition is hard bound with heavy weight high gloss color pages. The art is the same from each edition. It is quite thick and so it weighs a bit, which can be an issue when reading it for fun.

Mechanics
The core mechanic is a dice pool of ten sided dice made up of Attributes and Skills added together. Human maximum is five in a skill or attribute, though as this is a super hero game so your skills and attributes can go higher. When rolling you add an attribute to a skill and roll that number of dice(though you cannot roll more than ten dice on any roll). In this you are looking for matches. The number showing on the matching dice is called the height and represents the power or quality of the roll, while the number of dice matching is called the width and represents speed of the action. This is a really spiffy system in that you can get the initiative, accuracy/artistry, and damage/outcome of a roll all in one roll.

Characters also have Willpower which allows them to manipulate rolls and can also be used somewhat like experience points. You gain them through passions and loyalties, however that is also how you lose them. when you defend your passions and loyalties you gain willpower and you lose it when you fail to defend them. If you are out of willpower your powers get significantly less powerful and less consistent. The rules for powers can get very complex and confusing on first read through, but once you get the hang of it the game really opens up. This is the first game I encountered that literally lets you build any power you can think of. And even though I have delved into others that do similar things, this one still stands as one of, of not the, best. You start out by deciding if you power is for attack, defense, or something else. Once you have decided on that you begin attacking flaws, perks, and qualities to the power. This leads to a very complex looking design process, but as I said, once you have done it a couple of time you get the hang of it. Also with all the various settings that have come out, there are loads of example characters with example powers done up in all sorts of ways.

Setting
The primary setting for Wild Talents is a continuation of the setting from Godlike. Super powers first appear among the Nazis in the thirties. Using these Ubermensch the Nazis begin to push through Europe. Eventually these "talents," as they are called, begin to show up in other countries and the war becomes a matter of talent on talent action. The allies win(yay) and the world moves on. After the war talents start becoming less limited and more powerful. These become known as "Wild Talents."  the setting goes through the timeline showing how talents change the world and eventually how earth moves into the surrounding galaxy and encountered alien threats. It also has sidebars throughout the timeline explaining how you can use various points in the history as campaign or adventure seeds. You can pay super spies in eastern Europe during the forties and fifties, or as something like the peace corps but with super powers. There are loads of these adventure seeds. I like this setting a lot. However it is not the only setting for the system. There are a number of them. My two favorites are The Kerebos Club and Progenitor. The Kerebos Club is set during the nineteenth century which starts somewhat normal and gets stranger and stranger as the century goes froward. Queen Vctoria becomes something like a god, the south makes deals with Cthulu to maintain power, and the British army uses werewolves in the Crimea. It is a very fun setting brimming from top to bottom with awesome. If you ever wanted to play the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, this setting is where its at. Progenitor posits a world where the first superhuman was a housewife on a farm in the Midwest in 1968. It also posits that when you use powers around others they can gain power. It is full of rules on how to change the world and what that would look like if the players do not get involved. It is a really well done setting, worth reading if only for the fun of it. There are other settings as well. eCollapse is a near future setting full of low powered beings who believe things so deeply they must bash each others brains in. Grim War is a game about conspiracies and super powers and magic spells. Blood of the Gods is set in ancient Greece and you play the children of the gods. Finally This Favored Land is focused around supers during the American Civil War.

That is it for this year's Games of Christmas. I hope you all enjoyed them and I hope you all have a great holiday season.



Merry Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2016

Eleventh Game of Christmas

Previously on the 12 Games of Christmas:  AlternityStar WarsMageTranshuman SpaceAdventure!Feng ShuiFate Core13th AgeBurning Wheel, Godbound

Alrighty my peeps, its time for a fun one. Another fun one. This is one of my favorite games of all time and it uses the system that I first encountered when discovering RPGs. I have been looking forward to this review for a while. If I had my druthers I would have saved this one for last, however my excitement can only be held in check for a so long. It goes this far. No further. Here we are, on the eleventh day of Christmas and we are looking at...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness
This was the second game I ever purchased. I got it within a week of getting Alternity. I have played this game a lot and I still read through it now and again just for fun. This is the game that introduced my to the TMNT comics by Eastman and Laird, and for that alone this game will have my love. But it was genuinely fun and so I keep coming back to it. 

Peritexual Elements
The book is soft cover and rather cheaply bound. I have had no real issues with its durability, though the plastic coating on the cover has begun to peel a bit, so watch out for that. The art is mostly by Eastman and Laird, which is pretty great. Having the original creators and artists working on the look of the art is a serious boon for the game. The thing itself is laid out in two columns and is not at all amazing. If you are getting into Palladium books for the layout you are in the wrong place. There is no index and there are no sidebars. The table of contents is OK, but without a good index many things are nearly impossible to find. This is not a good book for easy reference. That said, for the time it came out(mid eighties) it was pretty average layout, though it desperately needs an editor to organize the damn thing a bit better. 

Mechanics
The game uses the Palladium in house system that is loosely based off of AD&D 1st edition with all sorts of new systems and sub system glommed on. You have eight attributes, rated from 3 to 30, but mostly you won't have many above 16 and only attributes above 16 matter in any meaningful way. The game is based around combat, where you roll a d20 plus modifiers to attack, a d20 plus modifiers to defend(dodge or parry), and assorted dice types for damage. You also have two different hit point pools that do exactly the same thing and are mechanically as undifferentiated as can be(Hit Points and Structural Damage Capacity). Skill rolls are the other sort of dice roll and those are percentile rolls with the goal of rolling lower than your rating in a skill(don't worry the skill levels are really low and advance very slowly, so you will be failing rolls all the time). 

This game does have some interesting mechanics added to the core system though. It has an interesting teamwork mechanic, where if all the player characters have grown up together then you get bonuses to all the skills and such that you have in common. I like that as it is pretty spiffy. Also the game allows you to play all sorts of mutant animals and it does this through what amounts to animal archetypes and Bio-E points which you can spend to get size levels, animal abilities, human abilities(bipedal stance, opposable thumbs, speech, that sort of thing), and psychic powers. Another fun thing that is only in this game is that your speed stat(when higher than 16) grants a bonus to dodge, which it does not do in any other Palladium game. By and large, though, you will not be playing this game for the mechanics. I am not even sure the designers used the game as written. 

Setting
Um...yeah, its the TMNT setting. It is based around the idea that you will be street level heroes getting involved with spies, ninjas, aliens, time travelers and all sorts of other mischief. You ever wanted to punch the Shredder in his stupid smug face? Well you can totes do it in this game. You can do it and its official. Think about that. They do add a bunch of interesting features to the setting with the main book and a bunch of expansions. It has a bunch of adventure books about traveling across the country and getting involved in hi-jinks. There is also a book that goes into the aliens of the universe and how they all interact, so you can go fight the Triceriton Empire or the Human Republic. You can hang out with the spinies or tubers or even the utroms if you want. If that is not enough the game also has a book all about how to handle time travel and jumping from dimension to dimension. And to this day it is one of my go to references for how to handle those ideas as it is just really cool. Also it has rules for playing mutant dinosaurs!!! DINOSAURS!!! There is also a whole separate setting for the game system called After the Bomb, which posits a post apocalyptic wasteland ruled over by mutant animals and high tech humans. It is a really fun setting. 

That is it for today.
Tomorrow....

It comes to a thrilling conclusion. Be ready.