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Messages - Fenris777

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Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: September 18, 2017, 10:23:10 am »
I enjoyed Stover's whole series immensely. Very much worth reading. It gets better and better. It's also pretty goddamn grim, if not grimdark (and I share the disability of not really knowing what that's supposed to mean past the broad strokes).

I finished the second novel in Anthony's Ryan's Blood Song series. Excellent, better than the first. I need to lay my hands on the sequal. Without book three I decided to move along to Morgan's Takehashi Kovacs novels. Altered Carbon was as good as I remembered it and I'm just about finished Broken Angels, which is also great. I'm struggling to recall why I didn't read the whole seried the first time I read Altered Carbon. Probably because the library didn't have them. :)

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: September 01, 2017, 08:36:08 pm »
Finished the Cold Commands. The series remains awesome. Now I just have to acquire the third volume... I really liked the inclusion of LGBTQ main characters, they were well written and not included just as a plot device. Almost a novelty in mainstream fantasy fiction (sadly).

In the meantime I started Anthony Ryan's Blood Song (Raven's Shadow #1). I'm about 20 pages in and starting to think that I've read it before. I'll finish it either way of course.

RPG Discussion / Re: Earwan roleplaying
« on: August 27, 2017, 11:00:38 pm »
Or make it an NPC. Lots of parties have that "nice guy, very quiet" healer type that no one really wants to play anyway. Not as cool as having it be a player though, which will be awesome if you can manage it.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: August 27, 2017, 10:54:09 pm »
Just finished The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan (author of the excellent Takehashi Kovacs novels). Solid grimdark, and not overwrought trying to become so (some GD makes me think of 14 year old Goth kids in that regard). More David Gemmel than Steven Erikson on the world-building front, but that's not a criticism. Started on the sequel, The Cold Commands, which also seems good so far.

I second Ars Magica. Although I haven't played it personally, I've heard enough from friends to know that it seems like it would not necessarily be unsuitable for such things.

It would be workable.  The magic system would have to be hacked, but that's fairly easy to do.  The downtime system might need to be reworked (or it might not), depending on the kind of campaign you're running.
Yeah, hacks would be necessary, but I like the die pool approach from a narrative perspective. Players need to describe what they want to achieve in terms of the elements required. It force starts some decent story telling anyway, at least form any even half committed player. As a GM, I also tend to be up front in telling players that, generally speaking, the better they describe and story tell their actions (magic in this case), the easier I'll make those actions. RPGs are (mostly) about heroes, and I want my players trying heroic stuff, not crunching percent chances of success on their calculator watches.

The downtime system in AM is a little forced in spots, but it's an easy change. Really, we could just as easily be talking about the magic system from Mage too, since they're pretty similar in mechanics, if not description.

Literature / Re: Yearly Targets (2017) - Totals and Specifics
« on: August 20, 2017, 02:25:31 pm »
Huh. I never set year goals for my reading, but I like the idea, even more so the tracking part - I have a habit of forgetting I've already read things. Let me just see if I can back track on my Kobo and get a list going.

Currently Reading: Hyperobjects - Timothy Morton
Next Up: Kill Society - Richard Kadrey

The Rise and Fall of Dodo: A Novel - Neal Stephenson
Merchant Princes Saga 1-5 inclusive - Charles Stross
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch
Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch
Whispers under Ground - Ben Aaronovitch
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
Warhammer 40K - Horus Heresy Novels 1-10 (pure nostalgia, I'm a 40K geek from way back)
Meditations - Marcus Aurelius
Old Man's War 1-6 - John Scalzi
Sandman Slim 1-6, 8 - Richard Kadrey (re-reads, prep for number 9 above)
The Bonehunters - Steven Erickson
House of Chains - Steven Erickson
Midnight Tides - Stephen Erickson (all three are re-reads)

*edit* Also re-read Bakker's first five books then forgot to read the one I did that to prep for. ;D

That gets me back to sometime in Jan-Feb when I had to replace my Kobo. Stross was a new author to me, and I enjoyed him a lot. Fluffy reads, but good. The new Stephenson (DODO) is awesome. The Rivers of London series is cracking good urban fantasy.

I get a lot of reading done in the summer months, as you can see. :)

I was going through a box the other day and found STP's Purple. No case, no context, just the CD, which has to be more than 20 years old at this point. I've been listening to it in the car the last couple of days and basking in the nostalgia. Great album. Also, to zig rather than zag, I've been listening to a ton of Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding lately, good times.

I'll admit, it was a big stick. :D Also, 7th Sea might have been bigger in your area than mine, either way I liked it a lot. I wouldn't use the whole rule set either though. The part I liked, and which I've used in modified forms elsewhere, is the henchman/boss approach to the bad guys. It's very cinematic and I find it does a great job keeping the action rolling along. In general, an approach like that could help keep the crusty grimdark life-or-death stuff for the right narrative spots. I'm not very familiar with the L5R RPG either, I should check that out.

The thing that struck me about Ars Magica in relation to Earwa was more the bare bones of the idea. They have very powerful mage characters, and non-mages are essentially henchmen. You can play a mix of both, but the game is upfront about the power difference. Call it Gandalf and the dwarves I guess. :) They present an interesting option where players have a mage and a non-mage character, and sometimes play entirely non-mage sequences and adventures, sometimes mixed, and sometimes entirely mages with the other characters as NPCs. It's neat idea.

I completely agree about player stupidity. There's a point where the GM needs to let them reap the rewards of their behavior. Chances are that kind of stupid was hurting the game anyway. If the players are all fully engaged in the story though, and playing their characters to the hilt, I'll go out of my way to avoid actually killing any of them in a pointless way. As much as possible without straying into egregious deus ex machina territory anyway. Of course you and I both know there's potentially a lot of very painful stops for a character that stop short of actual death. Muhuhahaha!!! *cough* sorry, my villainous laugh is a little rusty.

The game I was trying to remember the name of might be RoleMaster.

7th Sea didn't splash like, say, Vampire did when it come out. Splashy enough to get people outside of the RPG community playing. 7th Sea was a great game, but I don't think it made a lot of waves, inside or outside the hobby. Anyway...

Ars Magica is a flawed game in many ways, and it's not one I actually played a lot. However, it has two things going for it relative to this discussion. One, it's a game designed specifically to have magic users at the top of the pile, power and influence wise. Second, an interesting and nuanced magic system based on die pools.

I think there's two options to represent a brutal setting like RSB's. You can go with more detailed and mechanical set of rules that replicate the power differential and cheapness of life, or you go with a rules that are more narrative focused and let some of that power differential play out through the story rather than through mechanics.

Personally, I'm against RPG systems that regularly leave the fate of player characters in hands of a simple die roll too often.

You critically failed your shaving skill roll, you cut your own throat and die... You laugh, but this happened in a session I played in. I wish I could remember the system, it was a fantasy system based on % rolling. Huh. It'll come to me.

That's not to say that players shouldn't be able to die via game mechanics, of course they should - without risk there is no suspense or tension, but rather that up to a certain point, the narrative of character death should be something the player participates in. There are few thing less satisfactory in a RPG sessions that having characters die in unimportant encounters because of crap rolling. I'm not suggesting anything about the Runequest 6 either, I'm not really familiar with it, just talking shop in general.

Yup, really good show that doesn't get enough love. I just finished season three. Marvelous.

Musically related, I went to karaoke for the first time in ages last night. Good times. I sang Black and Lose Yourself and managed to not embarrass myself, so there's that.

Currently listening to BB Guns and Dirtbikes - The White Buffalo

I'm currently enjoying a trip backwards though the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds discography. Skeleton Tree really is a great album.  Tip of the cap to the show Peaky Blinders for getting me started with their wonderful and anachronistic soundtrack.

Introduce Yourself / Re: Hey there
« on: May 05, 2017, 09:17:11 pm »
I live in Iqaluit, which has a population of 8500, so it's not terrible. A lot of the communities up here are tiny though. Nunavut is 800,000 square miles and has a total population of about 36,000. It's a little different than living down south to say the least (and when I say south I mean anything south of Baffin Island :) ).

Introduce Yourself / Re: Hey there
« on: May 05, 2017, 02:14:01 pm »
I'm very much a meet for beers kind of guy. Sadly, I live on Baffin Island, so unless you're up my way we may have to settle for electronic get-togethers.

I think the world needs a good RPG for Bakker's stuff too. I love to know where this project is at currently.

Literature / Re: YOU MUST TELL ME ... What else are you reading?
« on: May 03, 2017, 12:41:05 am »
I'm currently re-reading the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey. They're marvelous.

Hmm, haven't heard from Kellais for a long time. Maybe he's got this post followed and you'll summon him ;) .

I've not played many tabletop RPGs so I'm just not a good judge. I think I've heard of Seven Seas but I don't think I've played it.
Don't feel bad about that, hardly anyone has played it. It was a short fad.  There's a second edition coming via kickstarter apparently. Ars Magica is a little easier to find.

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