Friday, October 16, 2015

Surrounded By White Whales and a Brief But Scarring Encounter

First off, the Brief But Scarring Encounter

After a heads-up from Tenkar, I took advantage of Rafael Chandler's Halloween Sale. (Most of his PDFs are PWYW) I decided to finally grab the oft-lauded Terratic Tome.

...I think, after perusing the artwork in it, that I may no longer be attracted to the female form...

It's been two months since I looked at Lusus Naturae, but I'd swear at least a third of the monsters are in both books. My one main issue with LN was that the monsters started to get same-y after awhile, and I feel that criticism extends to the TT. (Although TT was published first I think, so maybe reverse that statement)

There's still some cool stuff in it, but it might not be your flavor, and as I said, eventually you're like "Okay, I get it. Boobs attached to a quivering mass of monster viscera and maybe some spiky bits.) I do dig the imitation of the old AD&D 1st ed books in terms of layout and text, though.

Don't mistake this for me saying that I dislike Chandler's work; I love Pandemonio and I dig both Starship from Hell and Roll XX and it's sequel.

Edit/Addendum: I have a theory that Mr. Chandler experienced some kind of traumatic gaming event involving halflings during his formative years. If you've read much of his OSR type work, you probably know why I hold this theory.

My final takeaway: schapism. I now know that it is a thing. You cannot unsee what you have seen.

Now, on to my White Whales...

I spent a long time struggling with Fate Core. It seems like I know how the system works, but in play it feels like I'm just making shit up, and not in the good way... more like pulling it out of my ass. In my dimension-hopping-occult-cops game, I felt like my implementations of the psychic powers and the vampire abilities were clumsy and poorly executed, but I couldn't tell you just felt off to me, and I'm not familiar enough with the system to get into the guts of it.

I'm also reading through the Cypher System, which mechanically I find interesting, but in terms of character concepts, I find it oddly limiting despite all the options. The Adept powers, for instance, seem... bleh. The Fantasy Genre chapter recommends just the Adept to emulate a wizard character, but that wizard has only a handful of spells they can choose from at each tier, and they seem limited. I also wanted to do a vampires/werewolves game, but I have no idea how I'd handle the vampires. (There is actually an option, Howls at the Moon, for werewolves.)

And finally, my holy grail: an urban fantasy game to replace White Wolf. For nearly two years, I've been searching for something to give me that modern-game-with-monster-PCs experience, but I can't seem to find something that feels right. I tried to make one with Fudge, I tried to make one with B/X, I considered mashing together Cryptworld, Majus, and Creature Feature, I got my hands on some old Nightlife books, and I've considered Fate and Cypher (but see above) For a bit, I even through about keeping the White Wolf system but doing 1d10+Attribute+Skill, target number 9, a bit like Eden's Unisystem. For some reason, a satisfactory solution seems to elude me.

(And no, I don't really want to play the original system as-written. My days of rolling fistfuls of dice 4+ times to resolve a single attack exchange are over. In fact, my day of rolling a billion dice for anything at all are over.) Perhaps it's partially an issue of flavor as well...I like my modern-with-monsters games to be more like Night Watch or Dresden than Interview With the Vampire.

Maybe I'll just say "hell with it" and do OneDice, since it seems to be the thing that's inspiring me most when it comes to this genre. The system can sometimes feel a little too simple, but at some point I just have to be Ahab.

...wait, that didn't turn out very well.



  1. I think OneDice would be a fun easy to run choice. Cryptworld is pretty old school but I think once you get going with it, would be easy, breezy. I also this GURPS with all the switches turned off so to speak is a loose easy game. I know it can be intimidating. But really the basics of it are easy peasy. Take GURPS lite, throw a couple options from here and there. Bam. Done.

    1. Sadly, I hate GURPS as I hate hell and all Montagues.

      I think I might just go with OD. If I don't like how it runs, at least I can say I tried instead of just theorizing at myself forever.

    2. Plus, I seem to have no end of ideas for OD stuff, as I have been posting recently.

  2. What about considering Microlite WoD? The microlite approach seems what you are looking for in urban fantasy.

  3. As in using Microlite 20, WoD style. Or "Microliting" WoD? Interesting thought either way.

  4. There's a Microlite Storytelling in Microlite20 RPG Collection 2012 --
    (download links on the right sidebar)
    I think you'll like it.

  5. I already have that pdf. After rereading it I realize why I don't remember it. It seems kinda meh. Which I hate saying as I do dig M20.

    1. I had that impression after reading, but on the game table the system worked very well. It could be me our my gaming group, true, but I'd say give it a try before moving on.

    2. I didn't even know that was a thing! (Microlite Storyteller) I'm pretty sure I have that PDF on some computer somewhere, but I'll download it to my laptop and give it a look-see.

      Failing that, I'm just going to go with OneDice Urban Fantasy I think. I'm tired of hemming and hawing over Fate, and I see other uses for Cypher that will be much easier to implement.

      Thanks, Marcelo!

  6. Maybe I could build something "urban fantasy" onto the chassis of the "early modern fantasy" game I'm working on at the moment.


    Also, *poke*, come play D&D at Dragon's Lair tomorrow. >:-]