I quickly realized that the rules update wasn't the whole thing. I don't know why I didn't realize that sooner, but I really hadn't looked at it so when I sat down to go through it, the go-through was a lot quicker than I initially anticipated. I finished this morning, but honestly I have to admit that I committed the grave sin of generally skimming through. Yeah, I read it, but it wasn't the deep read of a philosophy text where you actually hit each word. I did that with the core book, probably didn't need to, and it took just this side of forever to complete. There's no need. I'll bold the topics I wanna hit; we're doing this whole thing right now.

Last time, guys and gals. )
So, I'd looked into the G-M Chronicle and so far I've liked what I've seen, but it's probably going to call for fairly in-depth commentary. Not only does the PC I'm making today get the rules update treatment (to see what it's like to convert from the old system to the new, if one chooses to do that), but I'll probably want to comment a little on almost all the changes. This might be a good time to de-friend me for a little while if you haven't been okay with this.

Read more... )
I've really picked up my pace here, because I'm tired of my WoD Core book floating around my living room at all hours of the day even after I've read it. I still have to get through God-Machine Chronicle and post it here before I can check the WIR off the to-do list because I'm a masochist, I guess, or maybe because I'm a stickler for my own incredibly arbitrary rules. The upside is that it's a rules update and it's only about a hundred pages so, since I'm going to try to hit the high notes on this one, hopefully I won't drag it on forever. I'll start in on that at roughly the time I make my character and hit any notes I missed that I meant to talk about on my first go round. For everyone who's not reading this, though, I'm sorry for spamming your wall; I mean well. At least every thing else today goes... under the cut.

This is the end, my friend. Of this book, anyhow. )
Remember, kids. It's boring-ass rules and not boring ass-rules. That's a totally different game. For those that don't know me really well, now is pretty much where I usually start regretting that I started this. We're past my scant commentary on gaming fiction and atmosphere and into the mechanics, the exceptions to normal rules, weapons charts, grappling rules, and all the rest. I'm gonna keep chugging through this, though, because there's some interesting stuff here; put on some tea and read under the cut.

Read more... )
I don't think this'll be as long as some of the previous Chapters, since a lot of what we talk about when we talk about Attributes relates to Skills.

Under the cut.  )

Okay, I've spent enough time here. I've got work later and I have stuff I want to accomplish before I have to go in. I'll probably do this and God-Machine and probably call it quits on WIRs, though. I don't think this is helping any of you in particular and I'm not really big on the format, but I've been trying to finish stuff I start out to do so I'll at least wrap this up properly.

I got to see Pacific Rim last night. It was pretty good!
So, I managed to get through Chapters 2 and 3 and finally found time to write on them. These are basically obligatory chapters describing, in detail, what's going on with the character sheet. Because it's a dice pool system, you actually need to explain how you combine one with the other, in two separate chapters, and have it make sense rather than having an extremely dry but even-more-straightforward list of where character stats create derived values ala Dungeons & Dragons. (This latter bit being confusing in a different way to deeply grok, but easier to use in the event that you just have all the derived values written down before you start.)

Chapter 2 : Just check out those... Attributes!

I liked the art on the chapter intro and I liked the story. It set a tone pretty well but, once again, it has absolutely nothing to do with the chapter so, in the greater scheme of things, I felt it was somewhat wasted space. Could'a left it blank. OR, actually, just take all the pages you used and take the best of those beginning of chapter prompts, and write one last end-of-book longer fiction piece. Oh well.

Both chapters have a pretty similar format, in that they explain what attributes and skills are, how they're used in a dice pool system, and go through each one individually. I'm not going to do that, I'm just going to hit a brief overview of my system thoughts and point out anything that specifically comes to mind as noteable.

One of the things that I like had major ramifications for the gameline, which is the 3x3 chart of Mental, Physical, Social and Power, Finesse, Resistance. There are things that don't have certain traits, like ghosts and spirits, which just end up using Power, Finesse, Resistance though I don't think I've ever seen anything just use a Mental, Social, Physical. The 3x3 gives you a good shorthand for what you need to be rolling in abstract dice-pool situations. The writer also explains the 1-5 dot scale pretty well.

2's average and 1's below average while 3, 4, and 5 are above average to astounding. Attributes can go well above 5 if needed, but the lowest they can get is 0 in really unusual situations and generally inept behavior or capacities are typical modeled through Flaws or non-standard Merits. The unspoken implication for this is just that it's not really useful or interesting to get really detailed at how abysmal someone is at something. Attributes from 1 to 2 do just fine in modelling that spectrum.

Each Attribute (and Skills are demonstrated the same way) are modelled identically. There's the Attribute or Skills name and a really short fictional blurb involving the characters of either Martin, Becky, or Josh demonstrating the Attribute in action by example. You get a short explanation of what it is and how, if needed, it's different from other Attributes. Each one is given an explanation of a botch rolled on a chance die, a normal failure, a standard success, and exception successes, then each one is given an example of how equipment can be used to make a roll more likely to succeed and situations where rolling is more difficult (represented by bonus dice and dice subtracted from the dice pools).

On several pages, there's art that I consider to be stylish and evocative of the mood as presented in the chapter fiction, and all of the art pertains directly to the text in the book which is something I really appreciate since it gives an overall sense of mood; it helps present a unified experience that I rarely get from a gaming book.

One of the things that I noticed is that things that tend to go wrong in a dramatic failure aren't what I would call 'tame', but normal examples of failure in high-stakes environments. However, a dramatic failure only occurs when you're rolling a chance die (reduced to 0 dice on a dice pool roll), and then only if you roll a 1 on that die. You're really only going to be rolling a chance die when the situation is so abysmal that your negative modifiers from your situation are higher than your whole dice pool, which is attribute + skill + equipment - situational modifiers. And then, it's only one in ten times you'll botch the situation. The dramatic failures range from inconvenient to almost catastrophically bad, but there's a surprising amount of word count directed at an event that's generally going to be so unlikely as to basically never occur.

The only time I can really see this happening is in a generally low-point game where the ST really doubles down on making characters roll for a majority of situations and the character is placed in a situation that they have few, if any skill points in or it's a life or death situation and the character can't simply opt out. I think that I may have had someone roll a chance dice exactly once, and literally nothing came of it. (A 2-9 standard failure result.) That tends to imply that, even at fairly low experience levels, you're usually better off shooting for the brass ring than not shooting at all, ie, the game rewards playing it rather than trying to sit things out, if you're looking at the RAW.

I could talk about equipment modifiers, but that's better left for our next section to put it in the proper context.

I'm not going to talk about WoD Classic much, here, but both noticing things and rolling initiative used to be actual skills you'd have to specially designate to put points in, but abilities like Defense ratings (actively derived and listed on the character sheet), Health, resisting mental effects, reaction to surprise, and the above are functionally derived wholly from your Attributes. It used to be that a new player could try to build someone competent in combat and totally not realize that Awareness was critical for your basic initiative for combat, and that you could absolutely build a character who could fail to notice a barn in an empty field if you didn't take dump points in the right skill. In WoD, these are no longer skills you can totally avoid by accident (and which eat up precious scant skill points), but something you'll tend to have between 2 (minimum, if you're really unhappy) and 10 points in. (Though I imagine that between the small-medium-large attribute spread you have to take, you're more likely to roll between 4-5 dice.) I find this to be very satisfactory now that I think about it, though it used to bother me because I was always asking people to make Wits+Awareness rolls or whatever to react to combat or to notice shit.

Okay, I'm going to do Chapter 3 later and tag this in a bit. It's taking me longer than I expected. 
It's a really beautiful day out, today. Sadly, Katie's out doing cool fun stuff (yay!) and I gotta go to work from 3-9 (eh), so we're not gonna see each other until after I get off work tomorrow. I'm hoping that I can get enough housework done to surprise 'em on Sunday, but it'll probably depend on how tired I end up being.

I should, depending on how busy it gets, be finishing pick training today. That means I get to be bossed around on a pick as I (too slowly) grab orders for increasingly impatient customers who want their bedroom sets for a .25 an hour raise. The actual best case scenario is me getting trained up on weekdays to familiarize myself with where products go in the warehouse racks so I'll actually probably be busy during the weekdays. That'll put my wage up to a hefty 9.75 per hour. Sometimes I get frustrated, because I used to bring home about 500 bucks a week, which would pay for our lifestyle really easily, but I try not to get bitter.

Katie's getting paid weekly and the influx of cash is a legit godsend. Stand Alone Media is actually picking up business, but one of the people we've been working with has been killing us with how poorly he manages his time and directs his effort. He's resigned from everything from video editing and business partnership to pressing the button and waiting for videos to convert from VHS to a DVD-friendly format. I could go on and on, suffice to say we didn't even need to fire him since he's quit because pressing the button is too strenuous for him.

He's got the video conversion rig, though, so until we get our own (and it's not that pricey to make it work on our machines), we'll be borrowing his equipment. The video conversion and upscaling is just too lucrative for the investment to pass up, and we have clients backed up waiting for us to get started for them. It's not, by itself, enough to justify a full time gig but it's several extra hundred dollars per month and that's basically huge for us.

So, I hope to get Chapters 2 and 3 done today on the WIR (if you're interested in that, make a little noise on the posts to make me feel loved). My Hunter: the Reckoning book is shipping, so there's a chance it'll make it here today (but probably not before I head out for work - boo). I really love POD, guys, and I'm going to DriveThruRPG to buy these books instead of Amazon, because re-printing formerly out of print books is something I want to support financially. I'm at the last dungeon in Persona 1, and when I finish it, you'll probably get my final thoughts on the matter for a gameline I've loved for over a decade. 
I did the reading yesterday, and I'm the kind of guy who refers to notes rather than jots the notes down on the computer as I'm reading. This is largely because it's really difficult to read a game book and type at the same time. My desk doesn't currently allow it. So, it's WIR once-removed. Let me talk about the book and format for a moment. I'll put it under the cut, because it's gonna be large.

WIR Chapter One )
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