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  #151  
Old 10-19-2017, 06:25 PM
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I kind of read through Starship Troopers? Usually the rules are my favorite parts of these things, but this was the D20-est thing to come out of D&D 3's open gaming license. What I did find interesting was the game's efforts to combine the lore (such as it is) of both the book and the movies. An admirable idea, and practically necessary for a project like this.

And it largely succeeds, actually! Well, kind of. It does a decent job of explaining why the Mobile Infantry has both dudes in huge power armor and lightly-armored guys who die in droves, but it gets wishy-washy on which is the main force of the MI. It has the whole thing that comes up once or twice in the books about soldier and worker arachnids looking exactly the same, but goes with the movie's tyranid/zerg specialized monsters instead of the book's gun-wielding bugs. We know the Arachnids are on Pluto, but we just found out about them, but we know about the brain bugs, but we haven't tried diplomatic contact with them yet, but we've been at war with them for years, but Rio hasn't been destroyed yet, but we know they have the technology to move asteroids, but we're surprised at the idea they came from outside our solar system....

Weirdly, I'm pretty sure this book also has way more info on the Skinnies than either of its source materials. Did the CG cartoon have Skinnies? Did it make them out to be weird space-bronze age pacifist raiders who like kidnapping people? With their bone guns? I really don't remember that from either Heinlein or Verhoeven.

The book itself is a little disappointing. They didn't include any art, which kind of makes everything more boring than I expected. I know they didn't make that decision in order to save pages though, because it duplicates pages like mad.

All in all, it's exactly what I wanted out of an insane $3 impulse buy. Now to put it away before I have any more vivid Starship Troopers-themed nightmares like last night's shootout with Arachnids in King Tut's tomb.
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  #152  
Old 10-21-2017, 09:59 AM
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My copy of Ryuutama finally arrived, and it is a very handsome book. Nice compact hardback with a lovely matte finish. And I'm increasingly convinced that single-column is the superior page layout for RPG books. Feels more welcoming.

I also like the doodles and marginalia. The manga style probably helps pull that off, but honestly, wouldn't the Player's Handbook be so much better if it had little Sergio Aragones guys running around the pages?
Recently heard of this one myself, how's it handle?
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  #153  
Old 10-23-2017, 05:57 PM
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I haven't had a chance to get a game off the ground, on account of life, though I've found I've been tilting towards it recently. I'll definitely report on it if/when it happens.

There's no red flags in the book, though. It's a good, breezy, but not overly abstract system that spends its wordcount in specific and effective ways. The only thing I can't grasp from just a reading is the combat, since even though it's modest system and emphatically not the focus of the game, the rules interactions are still complex enough that I can't be sure there aren't any gremlins lurking in the math. From the play-reports I've read, I haven't seen any real issues, but I also haven't read anything about high-level play, or stress-testing the system.

The only thing I'd add to the game before running it is rationalizing a proper Skill Challenge system. The game already essentially has a very robust one baked-in, in the form of the its systemic prime-mover: travelling. But I'm thinking of things like extreme weather and terrain events, like tornadoes and landslides, or the complex but non-belligerent interactions that the game seems to push Travellers towards, like, say, raising a barn, or negotiating a peace between two feuding farmsteads. It'd be nice to get a solid framework of difficulty levels and XP rewards in place, instead of winging them as they come up.
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  #154  
Old 10-23-2017, 10:50 PM
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From the latest KS update there's a chance we might actually get an English supplement next year too which is exciting!
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  #155  
Old 01-21-2018, 04:31 PM
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Move over, T5, there's a new threat to my bookshelf's integrity in town...


D&D5 PHB for scale.

That is the Stars Without Number Omnibus, just over a thousand pages of space-exploring OSR goodness. It literally would not fit on my bookshelf if I hadn't cleared up space on the biggest shelf by giving away all of BattleCon. I really enjoyed the game and the one or two supplements I have for it, so I figure I'm... going to just stare at this one, too intimidated to pick it up for fear of straining something.

I need to remember to order up a copy of SWN Revised Edition too.

Speaking of Kevin Crawford....

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I was kind of worried what I'd do when I finished reading Ninja Crusade 2E (which'll probably be tonight or tomorrow), since I didn't really have anything else lined up to read after.

Then Godbound, The One Ring, and Dust Adventures came in the mail today. Crisis averted!
A year and a half later, I finally got around to reading Godbound. I really enjoyed it! Unlike some other RPGs where the PCs are supposedly gods, Godbound actually tries to make your character feel godlike. A lot of the book is devoted to detailing how the PCs are just plain on another scale than 99.99% of the rest of the world's population, and another significant chunk of it is spent on sitting the GM down to say "Look, the PCs are gods. Don't bother trying to give them quests via a hooded stranger in a pub; just let them do their thing."

Godlike things:

-Instead of classes, the PCs choose Words representing their divine control over various aspects of creation. If I have the Fire Word, no one (save another divinity with the same Word) will ever out-Fire me

-The PCs get a fray die* like Scarlet Heroes to let them tear through enemies like a knife through hot butter

-Don't think the standard D&D spread of ability scores doesn't make you feel godlike? Don't worry, dump your important stats to pump the others because your words will let you set some scores to 13 or 16 anyway

-You're a god, right? Have a cult that'll do what you say and power you up and let you do god things

-"God things"? Oh yeah. You can build massively powerful artifacts, mess with politics on a continental scale, and build your own Paradise to house and protect the souls of your faithful when they die, for just a small handful of examples

There are a few small details I'm not entirely enthused about this game. The worst is probably the fact that to determine your damage, you have to roll it and then compare that result to a table to see how much damage you do, which is kind of a complicated kludge that slows down the play a bit. It's also very much a sandbox game, which most of the people I play with don't do well. The print version at least comes with a slight variant style of game that would be better for a directed story, though.

Overall, I would love to play this with the right group.

*Fray dice are a mechanic originally (as far as I know) from Crawford's Scarlet Heroes game. It's basically damage you deal to mooks on your turn in combat regardless of whatever else you do or don't do in your turn. You've seen the thing in movies where the hero is chasing down the villain while negligently taking down his minions? That's what the fray die does. In Scarlet Heroes it balances things for one or two PCs going through old-school combats built for large groups; here it's purely to make you more powerful compared to everything else.

And now to get started on Pigsmoke. I've read just a bit already and I'm already digging the humor; we'll see if there's much more to it than that.
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  #156  
Old 01-21-2018, 05:32 PM
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Stars Without Number seems pretty cool. One of the few OSR games I'm interested in - the sector generation stuff is especially neat. And the fact that Kevin Crawford releases his stuff for free is especially cool.
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  #157  
Old 01-21-2018, 05:43 PM
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Stars Without Number 2e has the bizarre problem that it is simultaneously attempting to convince you it’s an orthodox OSR game while at the same time making a game that’s actually playable and capable of genre emulation. I ran into a number of such rules while reading it, but the most notable is the lengths the game goes to to try and convince you the PCs have no special protections or plot armor... Before informing the GM they should basically never use the ambush rules against the PCs if they don’t want a TPK.
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  #158  
Old 01-29-2018, 06:27 PM
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And now to get started on Pigsmoke. I've read just a bit already and I'm already digging the humor; we'll see if there's much more to it than that.
And, no, it didn't really feel like there was more to Pigsmoke than that? Nothing wrong with it, just a short, light read of what feels like a short, light game.

I did recently figure out I can add quickstart documents to my dropbox to read them on my phone - a nice bite-sized bit of RPGs on breaks at work, it's awesome. In honor of the launch of the Infinity RPG next month I'm starting off with Modiphius' work. It's actually sold me on some of their work I wasn't sure about, and warned me off some other stuff I probably would have otherwise tried to get.

I thought I would like the Elite: Dangerous RPG but I found the mechanics bland and forgettable except for the fact I remember them being kind of complicated? Otherwise I literally can't even remember for sure what the primary die type was, and I just read the quickstart last week. The included adventure made the players into a bunch of Space Dirty Harries going up against drug runners heavily engineered to be acceptable targets.

In stark contrast was Star Trek Adventures, another riff on Modiphius' 2D20 game system and the only game I've seen that actually mechanically incentivizes using nonlethal force. I'm not a Trek fan but I actually really liked it despite finding some of the possible skill choices kind of weird, and it had an adventure I would actually consider running for a bunch of strangers.

Also 2D20 is John Carter. It feels like the simplest distillation of the ruleset (when I have more time I might write something about 2D20 in general and the differences between each game in the system) and I went straight to the Kickstarter... only to remember Modiphius is a British company and the shipping, etc. would be prohibitively expensive. I didn't read much of the adventure because I was turned off by the fact the pregens are actually John Carter and his buddies - that just feels gauche to me.
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  #159  
Old 05-02-2018, 09:52 AM
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So I'm reading through some PDFs I picked up from the Fading Suns Bundle of Holding a while back, and I crack open Star Crusade.

And one of the first things it covers is that the not-Islamic raider-state's culture and religion were engineered by a Second Republic magnate, who indoctrinated his employees into a made-up culture and religion because he wanted to turn his planets into a private playground for himself and his friends.

As opposed to the not-Christian culture and religion of the Known Worlds, which of course evolved organically from both historical pressure and mystical revelation.

Wow.

Just...

Wow.
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  #160  
Old 05-02-2018, 10:03 AM
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And one of the first things it covers is that the not-Islamic raider-state's culture and religion were engineered by a Second Republic magnate, who indoctrinated his employees into a made-up culture and religion because he wanted to turn his planets into a private playground for himself and his friends.
what this actually sounds a lot like is Mormonism. Or Scientology.
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  #161  
Old 05-02-2018, 10:37 AM
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what this actually sounds a lot like is Mormonism. Or Scientology.
Totally. But it's very unambiguously presented as the crypto-Moorish nation outside of the Known Worlds' crypto-Dark Ages Europe.

It is, shall we say, a little bit racist.

It's even more egregious as I just finished the 7th Sea 2e Crescent Empire book, which seemingly did a much better job of presenting fantasy not-Christian analogs in a respectful manner.

(Also, someone seems to have inserted an iron wall between John Wick himself and the text of this book, as the sections on religion are blessedly free from his usual "religion is a SHAM and no-one actually BELIEVES it anyway" takes)
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  #162  
Old 05-02-2018, 05:15 PM
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RPG John Wick's forum avatar used to be a caricature of himself as Shakespeare and from what I have seen his creaky, annoying posting voice is 1:1 his creaky, annoying speaking voice. I would lay money he has a Fetlife dating profile that contains the phrase "willing slave-girl." His chance of an ouchi-gari trip into kesa gatame is 0.00%.

Final rating: DUD
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  #163  
Old 06-03-2018, 03:33 PM
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I've been spending a lot more of my free time on writing and fiction reading, but I've gotten a bit in.

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Stars Without Number 2e has the bizarre problem that it is simultaneously attempting to convince you it’s an orthodox OSR game while at the same time making a game that’s actually playable and capable of genre emulation. I ran into a number of such rules while reading it, but the most notable is the lengths the game goes to to try and convince you the PCs have no special protections or plot armor... Before informing the GM they should basically never use the ambush rules against the PCs if they don’t want a TPK.
This one wasn't grabbing me too much, but I did like to see that Crawford replaced the old standard MP system for psionics with the Effort system from Godbound. It helps the psionics system to really feel as versatile as I think it should.

I also got in a couple of 2D20 books, specifically Star Trek Adventures and Infinity. STA was interesting as much for the look into Star Trek lore as for the game itself (there's a quick play summary of the rules out there that tells you as much as you need for mechanics). I have never been all that interested in Trek and I'd always had the impression it tried to be more scientifically rigorous than, say, Star Wars, even if it failed hilariously. I never realized how much straight up magic there is in the setting - telepaths, gods from other dimensions, sentient ships, entire government divisions set up for dealing with time travel and evil twins from alternate dimensions (whose primary advice for both is "don't fuck with it if you can avoid it")... fascinating. Also really weird: apparently I actually like Trek ship designs? It's pretty much only the Enterprise itself I think looks terrible. This book may have changed my life!

Oh, and mechanically disincentivizing solving everything via lethal violence is still pretty neat.

I'm still reading Infinity, and it too is more or less just another 2D20 system game mechanically so far. On the other hand, it's a very well put together book so far, with copious margin notes on glossary terms, rules cross references, little bits of advice, and so on. The setting also is pretty well tuned for the pleasure centers of my brain, being almost but not quite post-scarcity and totally transhumanist (one example scene is a fundraiser to buy artificial bodies to house the egos of veterans killed in combat!), but also putting just as much emphasis on the importance and tactics of hacking and psychological warfare as physical combat. Almost makes me wish I played the minis game, even if I know it doesn't actually deal with a lot of what I'm liking about the setting and system.

I've also just received this week a lot of Numenera/Cypher System books (like, two or three kickstarters' worth that I was holding off on redeeming) and a copy of Genesys, FFG's generic version of the ruleset for their recent Star Wars RPGs, so it's not like I'm in danger of my backlog shrinking or anything.
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  #164  
Old 06-05-2018, 09:24 AM
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(Stars Without Number 2e) wasn't grabbing me too much, but I did like to see that Crawford replaced the old standard MP system for psionics with the Effort system from Godbound. It helps the psionics system to really feel as versatile as I think it should.
Yeah, I picked it up mainly as a thing to mine for concepts for other games. The system generation tables are pretty fun, for example.

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I also got in a couple of 2D20 books, specifically Star Trek Adventures and Infinity. STA was interesting as much for the look into Star Trek lore as for the game itself (there's a quick play summary of the rules out there that tells you as much as you need for mechanics). I have never been all that interested in Trek and I'd always had the impression it tried to be more scientifically rigorous than, say, Star Wars, even if it failed hilariously. I never realized how much straight up magic there is in the setting - telepaths, gods from other dimensions, sentient ships, entire government divisions set up for dealing with time travel and evil twins from alternate dimensions (whose primary advice for both is "don't fuck with it if you can avoid it")... fascinating. Also really weird: apparently I actually like Trek ship designs? It's pretty much only the Enterprise itself I think looks terrible. This book may have changed my life!

Oh, and mechanically disincentivizing solving everything via lethal violence is still pretty neat.
I agree with all of this. Though I had two really big problems with the book:

1) The "science it up" rules are obviously cut and pasted from the Action Science rules from Atomic Robo, which would be fine if the author hadn't missed the entire point of the Action Science rules - that the GM doesn't need to make up the solution and can work with the players to devise one. By making it so the GM has to pick a right answer first and the players have to Mother May I their way into it, you're really just wasting time.

2) The combat rules really, really rely on specific actions. Characters are pretty resilient, but players need to know how to avoid instantly dying. It's not complicated and it's in line with how Star Trek fights go - the Recover and Guard tasks - but IME it's the kind of thing that people who aren't really in to reading rules miss or forget.
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  #165  
Old 06-05-2018, 09:41 AM
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The setting also is pretty well tuned for the pleasure centers of my brain, being almost but not quite post-scarcity and totally transhumanist (one example scene is a fundraiser to buy artificial bodies to house the egos of veterans killed in combat!), but also putting just as much emphasis on the importance and tactics of hacking and psychological warfare as physical combat.
I'm a big fan of a lot of the Infinity fluff. My favorite bit is how the half of Earth that didn't participate in the failed colony ship project was able to essentially LBO the half that did, so now South America is a hyperpower.
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  #166  
Old 06-29-2018, 10:30 PM
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I love the background of the Evolved Intelligence. "Obviously other species have transcended the material plane so we should be able to do it too! Let's build us an AI to help us transcend." *AI transcends without them* "....Ok, let's try that again, but first program it to love us and not leave us behind." *thousands of years of failing to transcend ensue*

I also have thoughts about the shasvastii versus WH40K's orks, but that's not a meaningful comparison. But speaking of WH40K, I love that this has a version of Black Crusade's possibly contradictory personal side missions. That's a good way to bake in some intra-party competition and drama to the system without it having to be DRAMA!!!1! (necessarily).

Speaking of games I like, I cracked open 13th Age a few days ago. I was only looking for some advice on creating your Icons to build a setting around but I was so invested in going back and looking at everything else that rocks about that system that I kind of forgot to ever look at the Icons themselves.
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  #167  
Old 08-04-2018, 10:48 PM
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Well I had ordered Vampire 5th edition, but once I got my hands on it and flipped through it at Gen-con I cancelled my pre-order on the spot. I had heard some rumors it was bad, but stayed out of it, but seeing it in person. Yeah this is garbage. Spoiler tag for obvious reasons. NSFW vampire 5e rules explicitly state that you need humanity 8 to have an orgasm. It also includes mechanics for tricking people into thinking you’re wearing a condom when you’re actually not, but it can't be arsed to include rules for dementation, vicissitude, or obtenabration.
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  #168  
Old 08-05-2018, 09:44 AM
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I mean that’s hardly shocking. New White Wolf has no actual expertise at publishing, so even apart from the freelancers they’ve hired for writing & development, they’ve got nothing on editorial, design, line management, production, or distribution. And they came out of the gate declaring that their first product was going to challenge D&D 5e. The whole thing was a recipe for disaster.
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  #169  
Old 08-05-2018, 09:57 AM
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lololol man that is on some FATAL type shit
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  #170  
Old 08-05-2018, 11:13 AM
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like what is the mindset that looks out at the landscape in the year 2018 and declares, "yes, I will be the one to prove that dice-and-chart-based mechanics for determining the outcome of fucking is really a good idea"
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  #171  
Old 08-05-2018, 11:54 AM
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like what is the mindset that looks out at the landscape in the year 2018 and declares, "yes, I will be the one to prove that dice-and-chart-based mechanics for determining the outcome of fucking is really a good idea"
The same mindset that thinks that thinks “edgy and daring” encompasses:

- calling the Brujah weakness “triggered” and including a cuckolding joke
- explicitly listing “alt-right” as a Brujah stereotype and pedophile as a Toreador one
- includes art of the planes hitting the Twin Towers

Plus more that I’m forgetting.
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  #172  
Old 08-05-2018, 12:11 PM
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The question that arises in my mind: how old are the people making this? Because this sounds like the work of dudes in their 20s. But it stands to reason that you have to be pushing 40 or 50 to still care about World of Darkness shit in 2018. I'm in my late 30s and I was still a few years too young for the original Vampire craze.
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  #173  
Old 08-05-2018, 12:49 PM
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Ahahahaha, christ. That is some high school freshman-level "dark and edgy." I don't want to meet the dude who thinks there needs to be mechanical rules for when you can orgasm.
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  #174  
Old 08-05-2018, 04:14 PM
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The question that arises in my mind: how old are the people making this? Because this sounds like the work of dudes in their 20s. But it stands to reason that you have to be pushing 40 or 50 to still care about World of Darkness shit in 2018. I'm in my late 30s and I was still a few years too young for the original Vampire craze.
There’s a decent population of thirtysomething WoD fans who got brought in by the revised editions and games run by the original fans, and another decent population of twenty somethings who got brought in by the thirty somethings and the 20th anniversary editions.

That’s not who’s writing this book however.
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Old 08-05-2018, 06:01 PM
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The question that arises in my mind: how old are the people making this? Because this sounds like the work of dudes in their 20s. But it stands to reason that you have to be pushing 40 or 50 to still care about World of Darkness shit in 2018. I'm in my late 30s and I was still a few years too young for the original Vampire craze.
You're only young once, but you can be immature forever.
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  #176  
Old 08-05-2018, 06:37 PM
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I don't know but they got taken over by some company in sweden or maybe that's where it's always been? I have no clue anymore. I'm still in this due to the One World By Night larp organization, which runs off revised and the old larp books. There's still a surprisingly large amount of games for the larp systems.
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Old 08-05-2018, 07:12 PM
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I don't know but they got taken over by some company in sweden or maybe that's where it's always been? I have no clue anymore. I'm still in this due to the One World By Night larp organization, which runs off revised and the old larp books. There's still a surprisingly large amount of games for the larp systems.
White Wolf got bought by Eve publisher CCP back in the 00s. CCP published the tail end of the nWoD line and then shut down their book publishing. Onyx Path and, later, By Night Studios picked up the lines for, respectively, tabletop and LARP play, sub-licensing from CCP. A couple years back CCP was looking to recoup what they could, and sold the White Wolf properties to Paradox Entertainment. Paradox declared they were cancelling some of their sub-licensing and resuming direct publishing, using their own staff rather than the talent from Onyx Path and By Night Studios.

So far they've fallen into every single pitfall along the path, despite having them repeatedly pointed out to them.
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  #178  
Old 08-05-2018, 08:49 PM
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Another reason why "game design" and "career" are words that shouldn't exist on the same fuckin continent.
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  #179  
Old 08-05-2018, 09:01 PM
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Egarwaen Egarwaen is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sebastopol, CA
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Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
Another reason why "game design" and "career" are words that shouldn't exist on the same fuckin continent.
I... don’t follow? I mean having someone who’d made a career of this would probably have helped them avoid tripping over their own feet every five seconds.
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  #180  
Old 08-06-2018, 02:44 AM
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Ventrue Ventrue is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Illinois
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Originally Posted by Egarwaen View Post
White Wolf got bought by Eve publisher CCP back in the 00s. CCP published the tail end of the nWoD line and then shut down their book publishing. Onyx Path and, later, By Night Studios picked up the lines for, respectively, tabletop and LARP play, sub-licensing from CCP. A couple years back CCP was looking to recoup what they could, and sold the White Wolf properties to Paradox Entertainment. Paradox declared they were cancelling some of their sub-licensing and resuming direct publishing, using their own staff rather than the talent from Onyx Path and By Night Studios.

So far they've fallen into every single pitfall along the path, despite having them repeatedly pointed out to them.
I can't wait to see how much of a train wreck the tons of new video games they promised at gen con are gonna be! No wonder I never kept up with who's actually running it anymore. It's changed hands so frequently.
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