Dorkgasm - RPG Review Games we play, no basement required en D&D through 4E AD&D | RPG Review <p><center><b>A History<br /> By<br /> J. Blaze Ward<br /> <a href="">Temple of Conflict</a></b></center><br></p> <p>My Gods&#8230; what have I done. This review is going to be insane.</p> <p>DnD was what I cut my teeth on. It&#8217;s how I discovered roleplaying. I went over to a friend&#8217;s house one night in the wild outback of Washington State, and I woke up chewing on his book. I was about 8 years old.</p> <p>I don&#8217;t know if you&#8217;ve ever watched a group of four 7 to 9 year olds play Dungeons and Dragons, or any tabletop game, but they don&#8217;t precisely follow rules. We would roll up characters, and then roll a die randomly to determine what level we were, and then just pick a bunch of spells that were cool out of the book and hurl ourselves relentlessly at random stuff included in the books.</p> <p>For those of you that don&#8217;t know what DnD one looked like, here&#8217;s an archeological reference:</p> <p><br><center><img src="" border="0" height="600" width="400"><br><i><font size="1">We didn't read this</font></i></center><br></p> <p>See how it says &#8220;Read this book first&#8221; up at the top? With a fucking exclamation point? Yeah, obviously that didn&#8217;t apply to us. We picked through, tossed out all the bullshit rules (anything our 7 year old brains couldn&#8217;t comprehend) and started playing.</p> <p><!--break--></p> <p>I remember half way through our first combat round we suddenly realized that we didn&#8217;t have hit points on our sheet. The monsters all had hit points.</p> <p>Instead of looking at the rules, we deduced, by simple logic, that this meant that we couldn&#8217;t be damaged, and we pushed forward.</p> <p>After about six months of regular playing, we shackled down my mother one night. She decided to make a witch&#8230; which broke our poor young brains. Well, she couldn&#8217;t be a witch. She had to be a wizard. There weren&#8217;t any witches, so she couldn&#8217;t be one.</p> <p>Then she said that she&#8217;d play a wizard, but she wanted to be an elf. She couldn&#8217;t do that&#8230; elves were another entire class. You could either be a wizard, or an elf. Not both. That would break the world. She had, in under a half hour, completely screwed our collective pooch with her pursuit of "Things Which Could Not Be". This was my first lesson on how evil women are.</p> <p>This broke down into about four hours of her actually reading the rules, and telling us how horribly wrong we&#8217;d been playing the game so far.</p> <p>This has come to be known as My Fall from Grace. My PC had hit points, and therefore could now die&#8230; which I did. Over, and over. And over. And over and over and over and over. I&#8217;m pretty sure, somewhere, there was an entire nation of undead beings created from the bodies of my fallen characters.</p> <p>Basic DnD is just that. It&#8217;s very basic. It&#8217;s a very swift system, with very little in the way of situational modifiers to confuse beginning players. Unfortunately, it also has a staggering amount of loopholes and situations that are not covered by modifiers which will confuse the crap out of beginning players. Basic DnD is the Catch 22 of the gaming world. It&#8217;s a great place to start, but only if you have someone who knows what they&#8217;re doing to show you how to start. The very nice thing about the system is that if you do have a DM who is experienced at just running games in general (not even DnD) that they can usually cover most of the situations with some off-the-cuff modifier or role-making decision. This makes a terrific game for a casual weekend with friends.</p> <p>Basic DnD gets 6 crits out of 10.</p> <p>And then the damn system evolved (or a new one was created, depending on your particular religious idiom) which just went further with the pooch screwing.</p> <p>I hauled my bitter, broken, angry ten year old butt down to WarGames West one mid-summer afternoon, and ran face to face into this book right here:</p> <p><br><center><img src=""><br><i><font size="1">Ogres + Halberds... not a fun combination</font></i></center><br></p> <p>I was stunned. ADVANCED Dungeons and Dragons? What the FUCK!? Were they trying to say I was some sort of feeble newbie? Were they trying to suggest that I, in all my 10 year old glory, didn&#8217;t have a flying clue what I was doing? I immediately ran shrieking to my father (who was bored, as he hated gaming stores) and informed him that he had to buy this book for me because the fate of nations depended upon it. Realizing the truth in the statement, he did just that.</p> <p>I spent the rest of the vacation pouring over the various monster descriptions and thinking of how totally awesome they were, even going so far as to chatter my dad&#8217;s ear off about stuff he could never conceivably care about&#8230; like otyughs. He did his best feigning interest until I got tired of talking and went back to reading.</p> <p>It wasn&#8217;t until I was back in Washington State that I realized I actually needed the rule books too. Yep, somehow, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons was more Advanced than normal Dungeons and Dragons, and you couldn&#8217;t play ADnD with the old rules. I think it was two or three months before I actually got the rules.</p> <p>I was blown away. Was this the same game? It had HARD COVERS! On all the books!? No longer could we fold the cover back and show how right we were to Player X or DM Y with vicious stabbing motions of our pre-pubescent fingers. Now our game was Official. Now we treated the books like tomes of ancient lore, handling them with the utmost of care, and being careful to never put a single mark in them. Yeah. Right. Within a month, all the books looked like they&#8217;d been covered in meat and thrown into a pool of water filled with sharks that had pens and pencils for teeth. Rough doesn&#8217;t begin to cover it.</p> <p>Everything fucking made sense. Races were races. You could be an elf AND a wizard! Classes were classes, and you could even, if you really kicked ass, be more than one! Monsters were even more super-deadly, the pictures were more super-awesome, and the modifiers were more If you were carrying 90 lbs worth of gear on your back and you had to jump over a 15 foot chasm which was covered in oil on the other side&#8230; you could figure out exactly what you needed to roll in order to die horribly.</p> <p>This, obviously, was the game for me. This was the ultimate in the gaming experience. I could never find anything better than this, and I played it faithfully for a long while... until this came out:</p> <p><br><center><img src=""><br><i><font size="1">This taught me the meaning of "Losing My Shit"</font></i></center><br></p> <p>I completely lost my shit.</p> <p>Up until current day, with all the editions, and rule changes, and errata, and random bizarre weapons out of Dragon Magazine, NOTHING has topped the Dark Sun setting in DnD. Nothing. Ever. Anywhere.</p> <p>When it came out, I picked up a set. Many of my gaming group thought it was &#8216;too hard&#8217; because of such rule tomfoolery as &#8220;You have to carry enough water to not die.&#8221; I could go on for hours about Dark Sun, but I won&#8217;t. Because I&#8217;m focused on (A)DnD right now. And also because the asshats at TSR came out with this:</p> <p><br><center><img src=""><br><i><font size="1">Surely this would be the last book I ever had to buy...</font></i></center><br><br /> <br><br><br /> <p align="left">1 | <a href="">2</a> | <a href="">3</a> | <a href="">4</a></p> <p align="right"> <a href="">Next</a></p> RPG Review Sat, 15 May 2010 22:08:06 +0000 ManyFacesSejah 1186 at D&D through 4E AD&D | RPG Review 2 <p>The 2nd Ed. Player's Handbook pretty much eclipsed Dark Sun for my friends because, all of a sudden, they didn&#8217;t have to worry about dying in a desert from dehydration, or from Jamey psionically controlling them to jump into a large pool of silt that they thought was water. Jamey, by the way, was playing a world-class jerk. His alignment was Lawful Asshole.</p> <p>All of a sudden, ADnD was more complex. They hadn&#8217;t just updated a few things, they had REWRITTEN THE ENTIRE DAMN SYSTEM. For one thing, instead of everything being measured in inches, because all DnD and ADnD 1st Ed. people were only as tall as the figures that represented them, all of a sudden shit was measured in feet. Spells were rewritten, level requirements for those spells were changed, and some spells were entirely deleted from the system. They made so many changes that even their own comic book series made fun of the changes.</p> <p><br><center><img src="" border="0" height="800" width="600"></a><br><i><font size="1">I bled adamantium to find this image</font></i></center><br></p> <p>They basically took all of our collective pooches, and screwed them all at once in some massive bestiality-gangbang at TSR headquarters. Were we pissed? Nooooo&#8230; of course not, we lapped it up. We bought those books hand over fist&#8230; and then we went back and tried to change the rules for every single damn expansion we had bought to work with ADnD2. Unearthed Arcana? We did it. Oriental Adventures? Yep, that one too. Ravenloft? Got that one&#8230; NOT THAT WE EVER PLAYED IT EVEN ONCE. Dark Sun&#8230;. no, of course not. Too tough. Sigh.</p> <p>In addition to changing the very structure of damn near everything, ADnD2 added something that would someday become the Greatest Goblin To Ever Live. They introduced the concept of ThAC0.</p> <p><br><center><a href=""><img src="" border="0"></a><br><i><font size="1">A Goblin Monk. Yep.</font></i></center><br></p> <p>What is ThAC0, you may ask? ThACo is not only a goblin monk (click the image to go to the best webcomic out there), but a mind-bogglingly complex mathematical construct designed to completely fuck several pooches on many different levels by making nerds do math when all they want to do is fucking kill orcs. And by mind bogglingly complex, I mean you take your &#8220;To hit&#8221; score and subtract your opponent&#8217;s AC (armor class, for you heathens that don&#8217;t play ADnD) from it in order to get what you have to roll to hit them. How did this fuck shit up?</p> <p>Because some of the damn AC scores were negative. Which ones were negative? The REALLY good ones. So if you were in combat with a great fucking phantasmal doom wyrm, you then had to deal with not only getting scalding acid-flame spewed out over your well armored (or scantily clad, if female) body, but you had to deal with fucking double negative pseudo math. All while trying to figure out who didn&#8217;t bring enough damn Doritos and Mountain Dew.</p> <p>Overall, after all the bitching and moaning, 2nd edition was wildly popular because of how much more simple the system was&#8230; as long as you didn&#8217;t try to hit anything with your sword. The company quickly started updating some of the older products that my friends and I had put so much effort into reconfiguring ourselves, and then started kicking out some nice tools called &#8220;Class Handbooks.&#8221; These handbooks gave every single damn class eight more choices on what they could be, twenty more ways to do it, and a ton of background material, class-specific gear, and nifty tricks and traps you could use to completely skullfuck your GM in to submission.</p> <p>Somehow our GM, Al, managed to keep up-to-date on every damn thing every single fucking character class could do. Mind like an adamantium trap, this guy. Wouldn&#8217;t let a damn thing get past him&#8230; except for his brother and another player named Terry, who had ninja-monk-psycho-Cuisinart classes that could somehow manage about 7 attacks in a round, many of which counted as backstabs. How borked were they?</p> <p>They one-rounded a Terrasque. A fucking Terrasque.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <br><center><img src="" border="0" height="800" width="600"><br><i><font size="1">A Fucking Terrasque. The above caption is completely correct.</font></i></center><br></p> <p>But I&#8217;m not bitter. It was a great game. We played it for years.</p> <p>ADnD 2nd Edition gets 9 crits out of 10 in my book.</p> <p>And it was truly a glorious game&#8230; until TSR fucking sold out to a bunch of asshat lawyers due to some bullshit marital scandal which left a wife who had no concept of how fucking valuable the damn game was with complete and total control of the damn franchise. Where once TSR had been owned by gamers, it was now owned by lawyers.</p> <p>Fucking lawyers. The only thing in the system you couldn&#8217;t kill enough of.</p> <p>They took our beloved game, rewrote the rules, printed them in urine on pages made of pressed feces, and then sold it to us. How did it look? A little something like this:</p> <p><br><center><img src=""><br><i><font size="1">Pictured: A steaming pile of feces and urine</font></i></center><br></p> <p>HINT: DO NOT LOOK INSIDE!! See that big lock on the front? It&#8217;s a clue.</p> <p>It&#8217;s lawyer speak for &#8220;We&#8217;re fucking you, and laughing about it while doing coke off of your wife&#8217;s tits, whom we rented with the money you paid us.&#8221;</p> <p><br><br><br /> <p align="left"><a href="">1</a> | 2 | <a href="">3</a> | <a href="">4</a></p> <p align="right"><a href="">Prev</a> | <a href="">Next</a></p> RPG Review Sat, 15 May 2010 22:05:47 +0000 ManyFacesSejah 1185 at D&D through 4E AD&D | RPG Review 3 <p>3.0 was so entirely, horribly broken that I can&#8217;t even believe, for a single minute, that they even bothered to playtest the dice they advised using in this lump of horsecrap. A archaeologist friend of mine got bored one night and created a half-orc paladin who could dual-wield halberds. At first level. Know what a halberd is? It&#8217;s an eight foot shaft tipped with a foot-long blade that is used for defending against charging fucking horses and crap. He had one in each hand. Without any negative effects.</p> <p>You can&#8217;t get a negative crit. So I am not giving a crit level to this system. It&#8217;s heinously borked, and we&#8217;ll leave it at that.</p> <p>3.5 came out shortly after when they realized how fucked the system was. Did 3.5 unfuck the system? No, not really, but it did make it more palatable to people who liked to focus on roleplay instead of playing a Cuisinart half-demon half-drow half-giant sorceress/fighter/bard/lawyer who specialized in being a laser-gun sniper dude.</p> <p>The precise problem with both 3.0 and 3.5 was that they took out all the stops. Roleplaying games are all about building your character into something awesome when they start out as something that can get pwn&#8217;d by a damn housecat. You think I&#8217;m kidding? Take a human mage from 2nd edition. Give them a dagger. Put them in a 10 by 10 room with a housecat that is aggressive towards said mage. See what happens.</p> <p><br><center><img src=""><br><i><font size="1">I ated his brainz sos I can do magicks. Fucking lolcats.</font></i></center><br></p> <p>While 3.0 and 3.5 did make being a human amazingly more survivable at lower levels, it also had some serious problems. Like some skills that hinged directly off of stats&#8230; and those stats being entirely too high for the creature that owns it.</p> <p>Example: Wolverines are completely fucking badass. I&#8217;m not talking adamantium claws snikt/snikt/snakt wolverines, but the furry not-fucking-cuddly kind that hangs out in forests deep and dreary. You know, the bastards that aren&#8217;t even two feet tall when on all fours? Those ones. Wolverines in 3.0 have a charisma of 21 (on a human norm scale of 1-18.) Charsima is the &#8216;OMG I wanna fuck you&#8217; stat. It&#8217;s for social interaction. Since wolverines are intimidating little motherfuckers (I&#8217;d sure as hell run if I saw one in the wild), they had to have a high charisma so they could be intimidating. Some genius at WoTC (Wizards of the Coast, who now owns DnD and all things therein) didn&#8217;t think &#8220;Hey, lets give the critter like a +10 to the skill roll.&#8221; No, they just gave the damn wolverine 21 charisma! So now, after it makes your 8th level fighter crap his chain mail pants and run in fear, it will turn to your fighter&#8217;s sorceress wife, walk off with her back to the burrow, and raise some half-wolverine half-drow-elf sorceress/fighter/assassin/rangers who it will train to come kill your ass for crapping all over its lawn.</p> <p>Realizing how completely fucked 3.X was, WoTC left it for dead and plowed forward into the catastrophe that is 4th Edition.</p> <p><br><center><img src=""><br><i><font size="1">Holy fuck, I look gooooooood... See how sleek I am? I must rule!</font></i></center><br></p> <p>I realize I may have just lost some of you. Let me explain my opinion on 4th Ed.</p> <p>It&#8217;s a great game for systemic massacres. Every class has &#8216;powers&#8217; which are called feats and talents. Each one of these feats or talents has a preset amount of time it can be used per-game or per-day. They are easily hand-printed or even machine printed off the intarnetz for use during your game on note cards. Each one has a recharge time, a damage code, perhaps a special effect like damage over time, negative modifiers to your opponent, or beneficial modifiers to your team mates.</p> <p>You can even, if you wish, arrange them at the bottom of your character sheet in a row so they&#8217;re more easily manageable. Like so:</p> <p><br><center><img src="" height="600" width="750"></center><br></p> <p>4th Edition is the latest in the continued dumbing-down of the playerbase. Back in the day, you had to have some real brain power to play DnD, not to mention Rolemaster or Traveller systems, which I&#8217;ll do a review on later. These badboy games made nerds into supernerds. You could cross-correlate tables without looking at them, all while doing doublenegative superfractional quantum fucking math and stuffing your face with more Doritos.</p> <p>In short, DnD made you fucking smarter.</p> <p>Now? Not so much. Now all the tactics are carefully parcelled out. Every power/feat/talent/moneyshot has a designated ability and can&#8217;t be modified because to do so would zomfg break the damn game. Roleplaying is about stepping outside of the rules, about doing things you can&#8217;t normally do, about looking at situations you could never be in and figuring out how to conquer them or save the whole fucking world.</p> <p>That being said, the system, as I mentioned before, is masterfully designed. It works like fucking clockwork, because it has so little wiggle room. It is a machine of dice-rolling and results. There&#8217;s no soul, because it is so mechanically perfect.</p> <p>Due to these factors, I give Fourth Edition a lackadaisical 4 crits out of 10. That&#8217;s right, it scores LOWER than the original DnD which was written on napkins and old, mildew scented notebooks in Gary Gygax&#8217;s (may he rest in the upper planes forever) fucking basement.</p> <p>However, if you&#8217;re a WoW player, it&#8217;ll easily score a 9.5 out of 10 for you. I don&#8217;t decry your enjoyment, by all means, go buy yourself a copy, rip it open, and lap it up. The more money you throw at WotC, the more likely roleplaying will continue in the future as an excellent source of inspiration for socially-awkward people who will grow up to write books, tv shows, movies, and whatever else we come out with to waste our time with. The more money you throw at gaming, the more gamers will grow up, and the more we&#8217;ll own the fucking world.</p> <p><br><center><img src=""><br><i><font size="1">Respect the Original Gamester. Rest in peace, Gary.</font></i></center><br></p> <p>Thanks for everything you gave us, Gary. You looked at all of the socially-awkward smart people in the world who didn&#8217;t have a place to go, and you created a place that didn&#8217;t exist where they could be whatever they wanted to be. Through this, you helped them learn how to interact, how to solve problems, and how to become more than they ever dreamed of being.</p> <p>I can&#8217;t thank you enough, sir, for the change you have brought to my world.</p> <p><br><br><br /> <p align="left"><a href="">1</a> | <a href="">2</a> | 3 | <a href="">4</a></p> <p align="right"> <a href="">Prev</a> | <a href="">Next</a></p> RPG Review Sat, 15 May 2010 22:04:47 +0000 ManyFacesSejah 1184 at D&D through 4E AD&D | RPG Review 4 <p>The following is an addendum to the preceding article, which originally appeared on <a href=""></a>: </p> <p>My thoughts raised some hackles. Some people didn’t agree with my viewpoints, but that’s okay… because that’s just what they are. They’re my viewpoints. Some people took personal umbrage to my viewpoints, like I woke them up with a bucket of moosedroppings to the face before personally pissing in their favorite bowl of cheerios. These people made me laugh a bit, but still, I was thankful to hear the opinions they had.</p> <p>Then, out of the fucking west, like The Amazing Rando, comes a white knight. A guy so ballsy and so In-the-Know that you don’t even fucking understand. He read my review, liked it, and got back to me with this response.</p> <p>This response is so epically full of knowledge-win that I have decided (with his approval) to post it here.</p> <p>Who is this knight in fucking shining armor? He’s my high school DM who never gave up his dream to be part of the gaming industry. He and his merry band of companions have written up a system and have moved it to publication. I’ll be blasting a review of it up as soon as I get my grubby little hands on it.</p> <p>I present to you, unfiltered, unedited, (but with a few comments from the editorial peanut gallery) the REASONS behind some of the fucked-uppedness of TSR/WotC.</p> <p>Get your popcorn.</p> <p>—————————————————————————————————————–</p> <p>Interesting read. Some of your facts are a little off though.</p> <p>For example, the whole “lawyers taking over and ruining the game” was well before 3rd Ed. Gary Gygax personally borrowed some money from the widow you mentioned–ironically in order to purchase cocaine which he enjoyed snorting off of hookers’ asses. [You go, Gary! -Editor] Anyway, she had required him to use his personal shares of TSR as collatoral for the loan and, after she screwed him through a loophole, that’s how she gained control of the company. That was in the early 90’s while TSR was enjoying the euphoria of a successful 2nd Ed release.</p> <p>It was the widow (and her lawyers) who decided that the most profitable way to ride the high was to start pumping out lots and lots of products–that were of suspect quality. That’s why they released all those class and race handbooks, Birthright, Red Steel, and a crap ton of other stuff. Eventually they flooded the market to point where even crazy addicts (including myself) simply realized that the products were crap and not worth buying. Sales dropped crazily, product started sitting on shelves which forced stores to demand distributors take it back which forced the distributors to demand that TSR take it back which meant that TSR was stuck with warehouses full of crap products and no money to pay the printers, authors, and artists. And just like that, TSR was staring into the horrible face of possible bankruptcy.</p> <p>It was time for a hero–and fortunately there was one. Peter Adkinson played D&amp;D as a kid and continued playing into adulthood. He made some good money as a system analyst for Boeing–a job which also allowed him to meet a few other passionate gamers. These geeks started a company called Wizards of the Coast and developed the surprise hit Magic: The Gathering. Magic did so well that Adkinson was able to leave Boeing and provided WotC with the means necessary to buy TSR and save D&amp;D. I don’t think that there can really be any doubt that D&amp;D would not exist now if TSR had actually had to file bankruptcy. Adkinson realized that 2nd Ed was totally fubared by all of the crap that TSR had pumped out in their last year or two. So, he decided that he needed to make a clean break and start almost entirely from scratch. The end result was 3rd Ed.</p> <p>3rd Ed, the d20 system, and the Open Game Liscense completely revolutionized the gaming industry–for better or worse depending upon your opinion. Personally, I thought that 3rd Ed was amazing. Did it have problems? Sure, but every game does. Did WotC make some mistakes while riding that euphoria of such a popular new product? Sure. They even made some of the same mistakes that TSR did with 2nd Ed. The problem with 3rd Ed was that they started pumping out tons and tons of source books that quickly got out of control. Before long, they realized that they needed an update to rein things in. That was 3.5. Unfortunately, they still didn’t learn from their mistakes and they rereleased all those source books again. SIGH…</p> <p>Anyway, around that time, another major event happened. As luck would have it, WotC owned the rights to another entertainment icon that mysteriously went ballistic–Pokemon. Pokemon became so popular that the corporate giant Hasbro decided that they HAD to have it–and oh hey, look at that, WotC also owned the rights to the second most popular card game ever made (Magic was and still is #2 to Pokemon) and the most popular role-playing game (D&amp;D). Hasbro made Adkinson and his partners an offer that they simply couldn’t refuse. [I need to research this... it sounds like there's some fuckery in this 'deal' they offered. Might put up an article on it if I can find enough dirt. -Editor]</p> <p>As a side note, I read somewhere that Pokemon made more money in its first year than any other GAME in history has made over its entire lifetime–period. Think about that. Monopoly has been around for how long? How much money has it generated? I don’t know exactly, but I’m sure that it has done pretty well. Still, it can’t hold a candle to Pokemon. Even Magic is a red-headed stepchild (sorry :-) ) [You bastard! ;) -Editor] compared to Pokemon. I don’t know about you, but that is more than a little disturbing to me…</p> <p>Anyway, once Hasbro’s corporate lawyers got involved, they could NOT believe how much WotC was “giving away” via the OGL. How could WotC even think of allowing their competitors to use their intellectual property without paying WotC?!?!?!? THAT HAD TO STOP, but how? Oh yeah. Release a new edition. That’ll do it. Oh wait. Adkinson and his fellows put that pesky phrase “in perpetuity(?sp)” in that damn OGL. Nobody could ever close that loophole–but Hasbro has some damn smart lawyers. They figured out that although they couldn’t stop people from using the d20 rules because of the OGL, they COULD put conditions on using 4th Ed.</p> <p>They knew that people would lose interest in a game that wasn’t being supported any more. Gamers want–no NEED new books to page through and “Ooooh” and “Ahhhh” over. So, WotC would no longer put out any products for 3rd Ed. They would focus on 4th Ed only and people would be forced to switch in order to get their fix. And then Hasbro put a restriction on the 4th Ed version of the OGL. If a company wanted to release 4th Ed products, then they could no longer release anything for 3rd Ed. If they did, then no more 4th Ed for them.</p> <p>Bam. Just like that, Hasbro’s lawyers KILLED 3rd Ed and fixed the problem–except they didn’t expect that anyone would be brave enough to say “Screw 4th Ed, we’re just going to fix 3.5 and keep putting out stuff for that.” Enter Paizo. Paizo gambled and won. They figured that there would still be an audience for 3rd Ed and they were right. If you really hated 3rd Ed [Had a lot of fun with 3.5 to be honest, it was broken, but it was enjoyable. I should have mentioned that while I was shit slinging in my review. -Editor] as much as your review seems to indicate, then I doubt you’ll care for Pathfinder. At its core, Pathfinder is still 3rd Ed D&amp;D.</p> <p>Anyway, it was fun to read your review. Thanks for sharing it with me! It brought back a lot of fun memories.</p> <p><br><br><br /> <p align="left"><a href="">1</a> | <a href="">2</a> | <a href="">3</a> | 4</p> <p align="right"><a href="">Prev</a> </p> RPG Review Sat, 15 May 2010 22:03:55 +0000 ManyFacesSejah 1183 at Changeling:The Lost <p><center><b>Changeling: A Redemption<br /> Written By<br /> Aaron K. Bolyard</b></center></p> <p> No doubt, most of you avid role-players out there are familiar with White Wolf's <i>Changeling: the Dreaming</i>. Unfortunately for us, <i>Changeling: the Dreaming</i> had no real place in the World of Darkness. <i>Changeling</i>, as written, was much too happy-go-lucky, reminiscent of childhood imaginings rather than adult horror fiction. If <i>Changeling</i> had been released as a separate entity from the World of Darkness, I think it probably would've done better. As it was, the game line did not do so well and was discontinued. White Wolf has chosen to give <i>Changeling</i> a second chance and has just recently released the subject of my piece today, <i>Changeling: the Lost</i>.</p> <p> If you're interest in reading or playing <i>Changeling: the Lost</i> stems from some trendy obsession with Tinkerbell-esque creatures sprinkling their pixie dust, then I suggest you leave now and go suck on Amy Brown's clit. You don't belong here. Here there be monsters. Gone from <i>Changeling</i> are the childhood dreams that populated its predecessor. <i>Changeling: the Lost</i> is a land of nightmares.</p> <p> Imagine this; if you indulge me for a moment, you're an average teenager, out for a night on the town. You can bring up your own memories if you like, I'm sure you've had similar ones. I wouldn't get too comfortable in them, but I digress. Imagine your friends decide what would be fun is to go into that house that everyone has always said is haunted. You agree under a bit of duress to go in, and because you showed hesitance your "friends" force you to be the first to go in. You do go in; you know you do. Wouldn't want to disappoint your friends would you? Some part of you knows deep inside that you've made a mistake, but you continue. Now, maybe it was Fate, maybe it was coincidence, or maybe you broke pacts and promises made in times passed. It doesn't matter. What matters is that when you walked into that one foreboding room, something was waiting for you. Perhaps a hideous hag cackled as she drags you off. Maybe a pale creature that more resembles a slug than anything humanoid extends its pseudo pods and pulls you with it through the closet door.</p> <p> Don't leave me yet readers, there's more. Whatever takes you drags you through that closet door, or maybe down the cellar. You don't emerge into a cellar or a closet though; your kidnapper drags you through a thick patch of thorns. I'm sure you've cut yourself on thorns before, but I doubt you've ever been dragged through them. Its not just physical pain the thorns inflict as they grab and tear at you though, these thorns tear away at your soul. Pieces of your soul are left behind as whatever monster has taken you drags your through this thorn-filled hell, till nothing is left. That's when you arrive at the gates of Arcadia, and your new life begins.</p> <p> New life is perhaps too upbeat of a statement. Your new hell begins now. You quickly discover that your kidnapper is not human, nor the monster you thought they were. A monster nonetheless though. Your new Keeper is one of the True Fae and they are not there to sprinkle pixie dust on you. Perhaps your Keeper enjoys forcing you to work as a blacksmith and beating you fiercely until he has stripped the flesh from your back. Perhaps your Keeper chose you for your beauty and amuses himself by raping you every evening or whoring you out to his other "pets". The True Fae can be all of these things. Whatever they think is amusing at the time, you are conscripted to play in their dark never-ending cinema. Until one day, you escape. </p> <p> Your Keeper in his arrogance forgot to lock your cage, or maybe he didn't? Maybe this is part of his game, to let you get a taste of freedom so he can beat the hope out of you later. Something tells you that now is your time to escape, a memory of dinner with your family calls out in your mind. The years or months of captivity have not taken everything from you it seems. So you escape, you run back through the thorns and feel their bite once more, clinging to that memory as you do. Finally, you break through the thorns and stumble out of the closet door. You run out of the house as fast as you can, tears streaming down your face as your memories slowly return to you. If this were <i>Braveheart</i>, it would be your cue to yell "freedom" at the top of your lungs.</p> <p> You have no idea how long you've been gone, but you know that you need to see your family and you head home. You fill the time of the journey with thoughts of how relieved they are going to be to see you, and wonder if they will believe your story. You walk up your driveway, and something catches your eye inside. You approach the window and look in on your home. Your family is sitting down to dinner, and there you are, eating and laughing with them. It isn't you though, you can see through the facade. It’s a farce, a fake, cleverly disguised by Fae magic to look and act as you do. You are about to charge in and call out the imposter until you realize how old this imposter looks. How long were you gone? How long has this imposter been here fooling your family? That's about when you take a good look at yourself. You've changed too. Your Keeper left his mark on you, and you've taken on some of his physical traits. </p> <p> You've been changed. You are no longer human, and yet you have not become the monster that kept you captive for so long. You have no home to return to, no family waiting for their little boy to return home. You are Lost, find yourself.</p> <p> Thank you for indulging me in my little tale for you. These are the stories that populate <i>Changeling: The Lost</i> though. Kidnapped, brutalized, and then escape, or perhaps release? <i>Changeling</i> has become a game of paradoxes, even by White Wolf’s own admission. They call it “a game of beautiful madness”. It can be so much more than that. A game of paranoia, a game of beauty, a game of nightmares; <i>Changeling</i> can be as mutable as the Fae that kidnap its namesake.</p> <p> Regardless of what you make it though, know that this is not something White Wolf shelled out to rake in the dollars, though no doubt it will. White Wolf has broken the mold in more than one way with this game; even the X/Y axis that is inherent in all of their games has been shattered. I won’t bore you with the technical aspects of this game. They don’t matter. If you purchase this game, do it because you want to see a great story told, not for wonky powers and pixie dust.</p> <p><center><!-- Begin Affiliate Code --><br /> <a href=";A=145&amp;Task=Click&amp;PL=2137421194"><img src="" alt="Changeling - The Lost" height="200" width="200" border="0"></a></center></p> RPG Review Tue, 28 Aug 2007 22:18:34 +0000 doubleatotheron 70 at Promethean: The Created <b><center>PtC By Aaron Bolyard</b></center> <p> No, not <i>Pirates of the Caribbean</i>. Banish all thoughts of Johnny Depp. Instead, embrace thoughts of Robert de Niro dressed as Dr. Frankenstein's bastard creation. On second thought, no, don't embrace that thought. Instead, embrace the character that he is meant to portray, a tortured monster hated by all who saw him, given life by one man's unholy obsession. This is the foundation of <i>Promethean: The Created</i>, the more recent of the New World of Darkness line of role-playing games from White Wolf. <p> When I first heard about <i>Promethean</i>, most of my time was spent wondering how it was going to be done. White Wolf had adopted the X/Y axis model for all of its games, which meant five "races" and five "classes", and I wasn't sure how a game about Frankenstein monsters was going to be split in this manner. Needless to say, I was surprised when I cracked open my copy of Promethean after buying it on the first day of GenCon, I actually skipped by all other booths to go straight to White Wolf's. Purchases in hand, I returned to my hotel room and immediately cracked open Promethean and started to read. Admittedly, I skipped a lot of the flavor text and went straight for the crunch, which I think is most people's first move when they pick up a new RPG. So imagine my surprise when some of the other "races" besides Frankenstein, were based on stories I was also familiar. "The Galateid", based on the Greek myth of Galatea. "The Osirians" based on Osiris of Egyptian mythology. "The Tammuz" based partly on the Jewish Golem and partly on Babylonian mythology. Then there's the story of "The Ulgan", based on Siberian mythology (I was unfortunately unfamiliar with this one), and of course there were "The Frankensteins", a myth I think everyone is familiar with in some form. <p> The "Y" axis for <i>Promethean</i> is where I think that White Wolf really broke the mold. Rather than having organizations like <i>Werewolf</i>, <i>Vampire</i>, and <i>Mage</i> had done,<i> Promethean's</i> "Y" axis was more about individual ideals, and there was no true Promethean organization. The "Y" axis is called Refinements and, on a cursory reading, it seemed that Refinements were the way that Prometheans went about becoming human. Also, a Promethean could change these Refinements any number of times on his journey, called the Pilgrimage. This was the part in my reading where I had to pause. Prometheans could become human? This really was a unique game if that was the case. <p> Rarely in White Wolf's games is any kind of redemption truly possible. The only true example I can think of is <i>Wraith: The Oblivion</i>, a personal favorite game of this writer. Unfortunately for White Wolf, <i>Wraith </i>was a pit they were tossing money down and the game line was ended long before the old World of Darkness. But Promethean seems to have risen from the ashes of Wraith, rekindling my hope that RPGs don't always need to be about fat stats and wonky powers. <p> When I finally finished <i>Promethean</i> cover to cover, I knew it was a game I wanted to run. It's a game where the characters were so otherworldly that they were even cut off from other Prometheans. Nature and humanity rejected them because they were an affront to both; to put it frankly, Prometheans are not supposed to exist. Yet, becoming part of Nature, part of humanity, is what almost all Prometheans crave. They crave acceptance and unfortunately, due to the drawbacks of being "created", this rarely ends well for any parties. Their mere presence instills fear and hatred in humanity, and their essence pollutes the land if they stay in one place too long. Even their own bodies' work against them, Prometheans can fly into a rage called Torment if certain factors arise (i.e. being rejected by humanity, being attacked, etc.). <p> When I first read their drawbacks, I thought "Wow, its sure shitty to be a Promethean". I thought more about that as I was getting ready to run my own chronicle of<i> Promethean</i>, and a question rose into my mind. What price would you pay to be human? Perhaps to put it into perspective, what price would you pay to live in America if you were stuck in some third world hellhole? The first question I think of is the one <i>Promethean</i> asks any who plays or runs it; when does the cost become too high to become mortal? <p> I think <i>Promethean </i>is the first White Wolf game since <i>Wraith</i> to be about more than wonky powers, irritating politics or "phat stats". It is about true character development on a scale I don't think most players consider when they sit down to chuck some dice. So do I think that <i>Promethean</i> is the best of the new World of Darkness games to be released so far? You bet your ass I do. White Wolf took a chance and made a game where it is, more often than not, shitty to be a supernatural creature, but at the same time so very satisfying. I don't know if White Wolf will continue on this trend of "It's not cool to not be human", but I certainly hope they do. <p> For now, this is one of the converted saying that gaming doesn't have to be about that new cool power you're going to get, or even the next +5 vorpal sword. Gaming should be an outlet for stories and ideas that will never make it onto paper, except on a character sheet. The story told won't be remembered for the 1,000 xp you've accumulated; it will be remembered for the Pilgrimage you've made and the humanity that was yours for the taking. Want to buy? Clicky the picky. <!-- Begin Affiliate Code --> <a href=""><img border="0" src="" width="150" height="152" alt="Promethean - The Created"></a> RPG Review Fri, 17 Aug 2007 04:54:42 +0000 doubleatotheron 25 at