Getting into Character

Howdy all, another week, another blog post 🙂

So I have run around talking about world building, games, reviewed a few things and ranted about others. Ya gotta ask from time to time what the hell is he going to talk about this time.

Well what I really want to talk about is finding and getting into your character.

Why do I want to talk about this? Well, from my perspective there are hundreds of table top RPGs out there. And about two years ago I wrote a very short article about choosing a game to play. But I looked over my posts and while I have mentioned using music and settings and a ton of little things that you can do to get into a game, or character I realized that I have never talked about actually choosing a character to play.

Now then regular players of any single game will usually end up having a favorite that they always play, a favorite that they never get to play because the people they play with dont allow that rules supplement to be used, or they have a non-favorite that they frequently play because they are really good at it, or they have a character they are stuck with because the party needed one. For new players they will either be dropped into the middle of selection and just given free reign, or they will have friends and mentors who guide them to a type of character that is easy to learn the rules with. And then with time and practice they get to see what they might like, and develop favorites.

Some people never do develop a favorite. They enjoy exploring concepts and ideas and the latest thing they have seen on tv/cable/video games/movies/convention/that hot chicks tattoo, or wherever. And personally I think that concept players actually are playing their favorite. It may seem like a flavor of the moment to others, but in that moment, they are playing the coolest thing they know. So it kind of balances.

Now then for the folks that are not concept players… really… how do you pick your favorite. Let me blow your mind for a minute here. At its peak, when you include third party publications Wizards of the Coasts D&D 3rd Edition, had at rough estimates, over 1000 character classes that could be played. You have over one thousand options just to start playing a character. And then if you have a path for the character to grow in mind you have the ability to multi class. Meaning you can add more than one class together at a time to make something more unique. And if you wanted to absolutely useless you could make every one of your twenty base levels a different class, meaning by the time… yeah… ok you see it there, that damned big number. Ok so Minds blown a little right? Now imagine you are playing a point based game engine like GURPS by Steve Jackson Games or Champions by Hero Games. No classes. No restrictions. Build as you see fit in the points allotted. Totally free form.

So again, really, how do you pick your favorite?

Well, really, regardless of the genre you just need to answer a few questions and you can get right to it. I know that everyone is going to have their own way to do things in the end but here is a method that I have used in the past and I know it can be helpful.

Questions –

  1. Do you have a character from a movie or book or comic that just fits and you love and want desperately to play something just like them? If yes then make that character. Please do try to give them an original back story of some kind because we all know the story of Conan the Barbarian by now. But other wise, if you want Conan make freaking Conan. If you do not have a preexisting character you want to bring into your game, then go to the next question.
  2. What do you find the most fun to play in a game? This can usually be broken down into a few really big ideas. Physical Power. Skills. Esoteric Powers (this can be magic, psi powers, holy powers, super powers and any number of others). Toys and Gear. Speed. Combat Skills. Charisma. A combination of the above. I usually find that if I rate these seven items on a scale I can get an idea of just about any character type.
  3. What sort of backstory do you like? Money (lots of or lack of its still money). Mystery. Race. Gender. Weird. Basic every day until the adventure starts. Again if you set these up in order of importance you can really get a quick outline of a background.
  4. What is it that you want to drive the character forward? The Past. Money. Adventure. Justice. Balance. Quest. Gods this place is boring. Shank a Bitch. That last one used to be called something else. Thanks to the ladies in my life though it got changed.

So did you notice how nothing in those questions talked about a genre? Thats because if you like a character concept  you should be able to move it from genre to genre. It does not have to be the same character, but it can be a theme in what you play.

If I build with these ideas you will see the following happen.

  1. Skills, Toys, Combat skills, Speed, Esoteric Power,  Physical Power, and Charisma floats it either bottoms out or hits the top.
  2. Mystery, Race, Money, Weird, Gender. Basic everyday life does not usually show up at all in my idea of fun.
  3. The Past, Gods this place is boring, and Shank a Bitch. These are the drives I have the most fun with usually.

Now then if I was going to look at that list, and I was playing a D&D game, I would be looking for a Rouge, maybe a Bard or Monk. Who came into their skills and training from an unknown location and likely an uncommon race for the area the game starts in. They are either running from something, or out to kick some ass, or maybe both.

When I use that list playing Shaowrun I usually end up creating some sort of Rigger with a few extra items you wont find on a regular character template.

If I go into Champions I have some unusual mutant martial artist that may have a bit of a Batman complex mixed with a Punisher attitude. But they wont talk about why.

The fastest way to do something like this is to only pick one or two items from each question and make a really focused character. Then add things as you grow them. If you are used to building this way then you can do like I did and mix and match you your hearts content.

I will freely admit that this is a process that is not for everyone. Some folks may like using something like the Life Flow chart in Cyberpunk by R Talsorian, or the background generator in Palladium Games books (even though it wont help you really pick a character it will give you a background for one). Or if you want to go to real extremes using tables to create backgrounds I would suggest looking into Buttery Wholesomeness, a supplement for White Wolfs HOL game, or if you are ready to search for them, Task Force Games put out three books in the late 80’s under their Central Casting blazon – Heroes for Tomorrow, Heroes NOW, and Heroes of Legend (supposedly system neutral but if you are using their stat bonus’ for characters you create you have best be using a percentile system).

So did this blog post really lead anywhere. In a zen kinda way, yes. By now you should know that there are a ton of different ways to come up with a character. Using whatever system you prefer, whatever method strikes your fancy. The only thing I would suggest is that you make a character you like, to play in a game you like, that represents a genre you like, with people you enjoy spending time with.

Be what you want to be, dream or nightmare. Here, all things are possible. Just remember that as in any other world, your choices will have consequences.

What does that mean? Well I have a feeling I will go into it in a later post about playing villains in a hero setting or something like that.

For now, gimme the dice, I got to see what happens when I roll up a half dwarf half giant using the 3.5 D&D rules… because I can.

Peace out, game on, and have fun while playing nice people 🙂

 

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Review #12 Street Samurai Catalog (RS) +

Greetings readers

You will all notice the little plus sign out there on the title of this one, well that is because I am doing a little pitching for another blog here. My wife has started up a DIY blog for creating Steampunk items for home decorating. GO HERE. I think its only fair to try and steer people her way since she has asked me to do a game review on her blog. It is not my usual RPG game fare though, it is a table top game called Crimson Skies. Some may remember the Xbox game with the same title, or have read some of the game novels, but the table top game was done on a license from Microsoft by WizKidz. I know that table top games are usually the venue of my friend Dan the RPG man over at Dan on Games, but I just had to go ahead with it.

Now with that bit of shameless promotion out of the way, lets get to the reason you are really here, and that is my latest review.

The Street Samurai Catalog is a supplement for the first edition of the Shadowrun game published back in 1989. Shadowrun is a rather unique game due to the fact that it very successfully mixes Urban Fantasy and Cyberpunk into a very dark and fascinating world. It is also unique because even though it has been owned by several hands, since its inception in 1989 (see the link to wiki for a fair description of how it has changed hands) the game has run a series of ongoing story lines in meta plots that have progressed the world from 2050 to 2079. The rules system is a little complex when it comes to combat, and driving but overall it has been a lot of fun to stick with.

Ok so given that the game has been around for over twenty five years, why am I doing a review about a game supplement that came out in the first year of its production of the first edition? Well that is because this was the very first add on that I picked up for Shadowrun. The Grimoire was the second. It took me a while to really find the role I liked to play in this game setting but that is something that can be covered in another review or rant.

Considering that I had started playing RPG’s in the 70’s I had really gotten used to the idea that a supplement book would be just a stack of information about new gear. Maybe a few new rules and if I was lucky maybe an adventure in the back. On flipping through the book the very first time though I was caught off guard. There was not a lot of new stuff in the book. I mean for a 116 page book that I was going to drop twelve bucks on, I was really thinking that there should be more than one new item per page. Now then I will say this was back in the days when I was fairly new to FASA games publications. Only having played Battletech for a few years and mostly in a home brew kinda way, their tendency to add story and color elements to just about everything they do was something I had not completely caught on to yet. So I took a closer look at what they had offered. Yeah there is some cool gear here, and some new rules that made the items in the book a serious threat, or a serious joke.

What really caught me though was the color commentary by characters who were supposedly reading this book as an article posted online. It reminded me of some of the BBS sites that I had been introduced to. If you really think about it 1989, we were still a few years off from seeing the AOL revolution and the internet becoming a big thing. Thank you internet. And yet here was this book giving me the idea that there would be forums online where you could not only connect but to comment on things you were seeing. And even if people did not agree with you, you still had basic credibility because you were smart enough and skilled enough to get to this place online and talk about whatever you were looking into. But the banter that developed between characters, and the way they would evolve over the years became damned impressive. However that was to come, right at the moment I decided that yeah, this was worth my twelve bucks, this was how the future was going to look. And it looked like fun.

The book itself has entries on about ninety weapons, armor, vehicle and cyber options. Commentary on about half of them. Several pages of extra rules, Street Samurai character templates, reference sheets and character sheets.

Now then what is really funny about this, is that at the time this game came out, I was not convinced that I would play it. I was so hooked on supers (still am really) and fantasy settings that I just could not get into Shadowrun that much. I thought it was a cool idea sure. But I talked down about it almost as much as I talked up about it. When this book came out though, I decided that the Shadowrun world was mine, and I did not want to share it. So I sort of purposefully spiked the Shadowrun game I was in at the time by mocking the GM relentlessly (not that he didn’t need mocking) and trying to start up a game of my own (failed ohhh so badly). But again thats another story.

So how does this game stack up when I give it the numbers?

Fluff – 5/5 – This is going to be another moment when folks say… ‘Wait another supplement with a 5/5 in fluff, what the hell?’ And before I tell you to go piss in someone else’s corn flakes, let me tell you this. EVERY SINGLE ITEM that they are adding in this supplement, weapons, armor, cyber and toys gets its own art. Each one gets its own little bit of advertising like you would see in a catalog and over half of them have additional color commentary. Trust me the fluff is strong with this one.

Crunch – 2/5 – So you have to take this score in context a bit. This is a supplement made using the very first edition rules for a new game. In years to come it got easier and some of the rules got less unwieldy. But because of the changes in the rules structure it is a challenge to even import these items into the current edition of the game.

Mod – 1/5 – This is really an issue for Shadowrun over all up until the fourth edition. Due to rules complexity it is really easy to over power something by making very small seeming adjustments. And just as easy to make something completely useless. Actually there are a couple items in the book that really are useless. They sort of did that as a joke on themselves and even added color commentary that says “Wonderful. Now I can flatten light ammo against body armor faster than ever before.”

Fun – 4/5 – Ok so the rules hurt, and the chance to make things work or alter them is slim. But it is still a lot of fun. And it got more so as time went on and you could see the commentators appear in more and more supplements and see how they grew. The toys were fun to play with and it made a real impact on how I looked at games and what they could be. So yeah while I rate the fun high I am not going to max it out.

Overall – 12/20 – Ok so this is one of my lower overall scores. I figure I will have even worse in the future. With a score like this, is it worth looking into? I would say so if you like classic Shadowrun, have an obsessive need to go all pokemon on your RPG books and have to collect them all, or think that the art and comments might give you ideas. This is not going to be a book for everyone. Not even everyone who is a Shadowrun fan. But it is special to me and so I still say take a look and decide for yourself.

Well thats it for this time on my own blog. Not sure when my write up for Crimson Skies will appear on my wifes blog but it is something you can look forward to.

Now gimme the dice, got to see what the odds are that I will appear in other blogs and how much light ammo it will take to get back out of them.

Play safe and have fun folks.

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World Building 109 – Game on!

Ok so I warned you all that this might be longer than usual. I also apologize for being an additional week late. But I wanted to get this one filled in a way to really draw folks in.

So where does this one start. Up until now I have given the readers clues, hints and pieces about what would be playable, how the world is formed, who the bad guys are and how the religion operates. This entry is not about the ifs ands or butts, this is about what you need to start the game. So that will mean rules mods for Pathfinder races, and classes. Details on a couple of starting points, and a glossing over of a few basic stories to start games with.

Ready… ’cause we aint stoppin till its done 🙂

Races – My version of all the races uses the rules presented in the Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide. I wanted to get everyone on a balanced field based on their own rules. Every race is built on ten points. This means some races have a little more juju than you see in the core book, and some have less.

Dwarves – Humanoid; Size M; Speed – Normal (30′); Stats (+2 Con, +2Wis, -2Cha);  Standard Languages; Hardy – +2 vs Poison, Spells and Spell Like abilities; Sturdy – +4 CMD vs trip and bull rush maneuvers;  Craftsman +2 on all Craft or Profession skills to make things of metal or stone; Skill bonus – Depending on caste -(L) +1 on Survival (Underground) and +1 Profession Mining /(M) +1 on Profession Smith and +1 Tactics /(H) +1 on Alchemy and +1 Knowledge metal; Weapon familiarity also depends on caste – (L)Shovel and Pick / (M)Hammer and Axe / (H)Pole axe and Spear; Dark vision 60′

So my dwarves are a little faster, a little more flex at the start based on your caste and no racial rage, while still being tough.

Elves – Humanoid; Size M; Speed – Normal (30′); Stats (+2Dex, +2 Con, -2 Int);  Standard Languages; Standard Elven immunities – immune to sleep and +2 vs Charm and Enchantment spells; Skill Bonus +2 Perception; Climb +8 racial bonus to climb skill; Swim +8 racial bonus to Swim skill and base speed 30′ in water; Hold breath – Hold breath up to 4x Con rounds; Low Light vision also functions underwater.

So these elves are not as magical and have no racial weapons. The hit to their Int is not to say they are unintelligent. Quite the opposite. However they do normally lack formal education.

Goblin – Humanoid; Size S; Speed – Fast (40′); Stats (-2 Str, +4 Dex, -2Cha);  Standard Languages; Urbanite – +2 Diplomacy and Sense Motive to gather information and understand social situations; Pyromaniac treat as +1 level with any spell/magic using fire includes alchemy;  Bite 1d2 + Str bonus; Low light vision

So as their race came to be they started out as prey and got fast. They got magic and got to blowing things up, and while they understand people, they are usually so blunt and direct it is not like they can do much with it.

Halflings – Humanoid; Size S; Speed – Slow (20′); Stats (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2Cha);  Standard Languages; Fearless +2 vs Fear effects; Lucky – Lesser – +1 to all saves; Skill Bonus’ – +2 Perception and +2 Profession of choice or Survival; Silver Tounge – +2 on Diplomacy and Bluff and they can shift reaction results three spaces instead of two.

Again a race without racial weapons. Smooth talking and charming wanderers. I know I have not done an article about them but I think by the stats alone you can see where its going.

Human – Humanoid; Size M; Speed – Normal (30′); Stats (+2 on stat of choice);  Standard Languages; Bonus Feat; Bonus Skills; Skill Training – +1 Survival (Wilderness) and +1 Animal Handling  and +1 Perception with finally +1 Healing

Humans live in a wild and unforgiving part of the world. No particular weapon skills here either, but in adapting so fast they learn to help the family and themselves rather quickly.

Classes

I previously covered the classes that were available in World Building 108. What I did not cover is the fact that in this world preferred classes are a personal choice. Not a racial distinction. The culture itself seems to make things more common for some classes, but the CHOICE of a preferred class is all in the hands of the character. Initial training in some classes makes it a little more challenging to prefer them though. To be a Monk you have to go to the human lands. They have the only monasteries that offer training at this time. To advance as a Wizard or Alchemist you need to go to one of the Goblin Colleges of magic.

Clerics are an interesting item in this world. Clerics do not worship one of the gods. They call on the whole pantheon. You will note that I have not named or detailed the gods. That is because I want to leave that open at this time for anyone to build the gods they want. Mine are mine. Clerics do not have a mandatory deity signature weapon. Their domain ability is based on their Patron. Each cleric has one god that favors them for some reason, and has allowed them to partake of the Gods powers. But that Patron does not demand service or sole worship. Remember the gods in this world are currently working together against a common enemy. They dont have the time or the resources to screw with each other. And truth be told they dont really want to mess with each other. The more clerics that work with them, the more people behold their glory and the more their power jumps. So they want every cleric to succeed.

Gear –

So my personal recommend is to go ahead and max out the money for starting characters. Dont roll the dice just take the cash and kit up. I also suggest that each character have at least one item that has personal or family history. It gives the players something to get creative with and it gives the game masters something to target to try and spur a story along or to delve deep into a character.

Also when it comes to fashion and the look of your character that this world is not really the usual type of fantasy setting. In some ways it is coming into the early stages of Steam-punk, and in some ways it is high fantasy like Tolkien. I would offer up that some of my own character concepts have things like a studded leather long coat that counts as leather armor. I own one of those things and I can attest to the damage they can suck up and not look scuffed. With the primitive human culture, the island elves, the urbanite goblins, almost Japanese dwarves and the migratory and almost gypsy halflings styles get mixed and mussed. The look and style of your characters should be something that you enjoy. Dont think you have to make it look like platemail from the game books if you want to have your character wear a mix of blended parts that makes you look more like a short metal golem.

Starting points –

So I had three in mind for the meta plot.

1 – Human village to the north and east in the world. Heavily wooded and mostly wild. South of the village is one of the larger logging camps that goblins and humans run together to get wood to the goblin cities for all sorts of things. Over the past several months there have been disappearances of some of the hunters. Not completely fearsome but it is a little worrying as there have been more going missing than in a usual year and no bodies have been found. To the north of the village is one of the three monasteries that the Monks run. To the east is one of the largest lakes in these hills, and the fishing has degraded in the same time period.

Now then there are a lot of things going on in this area. And a lot of places to dive into things. It would be up to players and game masters to work together to create exactly what they want to do. The lake could be some rouge elves. Missing hunters could be same problem. It may be servitors of the Titans in the area looking to disrupt the status quo. I recommend keeping Titan involvement to a minimum, but unleashing a few dire animals could be good. I would also recommend using level 2 characters with a bit more background for characters starting here.

2 – Debriden – The second largest goblin city and one of the acknowledged trade capitals of this world. The city has so many high ranked goblins in it that there is intrigue after intrigue being run. There is even a low level governors servant that has orders to work on from five separate factions. Normally he just sends reports on what he is doing to all sides and calls it good. Jobs can be found around just about every corner here. People are buying, selling, learning, stealing, backstabbing and blowing up so many things it is kind of hard to keep up.

Ok so there is even more going on here. This is the kind of setting you see in many RPG’s where you have a major city and you can actually get a random group of people involved in something because they just happened to meet in a bar and be the last ones standing at the end of a bar fight started by the small man in a cloak that wants to hire new faces so they cant be traced to him… oh wait…

I recommend starting with level 1 characters here. You can delve into just about any kind of story you want here and eventually someone from the human lands will get into town and start rambling about dire animals or rouge elves and giant shadows under the moon.

3 – Iron Wood – The last village before the great desert in the south. This is the path that people who want to get some of the toughest animal companions and familiars take. The village is small but everyone here is a veteran of something. Either a tough life, or the gladiator pit on the edge of the village. Everyone in the village will tell you that it is about two weeks to the far side of the desert and no one will make it alone. The animals on the other side of the desert have a tendency to destroy any being not strong enough to get their attention. So team up, gear up and head out.

This is the one I planned on using for my own game start. A desert adventure to get the team into a well oiled machine and then unleash them on a forest and swamp ridden jungle full of dinosaurs and mastodons and even some smilodons. Characters will need to be at least level three so they can have the improved familiar or companion feats. And remember not to make it easy on anyone. Because you will have to catch a young or pygmy  version and then bring it back across two weeks of desert to get back to the main cities and action. Or they will have to be a band of survivalists that want to set up camp in the south. Others have had that idea already… but that is for your wandering monster charts…

Meta Plot Elements

These are all things that can be added to any story series. In the build I am doing they are all in there.

Exploration – There is a lot of the main continent that is not ‘civilized’. There are lots of places that are still unknown to humanoids on just this continent. And there are at least two others out there… continents that is. What secrets do they hold? How rich can you get? What dangers can you face?

Piety – Ok so everyone remembers there was once one more god. But that god is gone now and no one knows why. The gods wont answer prayers about it, and even the spirits of the ancestors refuse to answer those questions. However there are old temples, old books, old magic items, and all sorts of other little things that come from the time when the pantheon was full. Can you figure out who the god was? Would you like to take their place? What would you do with the information about the missing god if you found out who it was and what sort of portfolio they held?

Dragons – Guardians or enemies – The Dragons know what is going on in the world. Big picture. But they are under orders from the gods and titans to say nothing. The ones that have gone over to the titans are allowed to bring in potential allies, but that’s about it. Do the players dare risk going to talk to a dragon if they figure out something is up? How will the dragons show what side they are on? How will they enter the big conflict? Or will they fight amongst themselves and not be a factor?

Mutation – With the advent of the titans entering this world the raw creation energies they control will start to reshape things. Dire animals becoming more common will come first. What comes after is up to the game masters who use the world. I recommend that it hits a peak with the addition of psionics to the game world.

The big bad – Ok so its the titans. Giant races man their front gates and the smaller you get the less the threat and the more likely they are just scouts. Ogre to Giant to Titan, with their megafauna pets, kaiju war machines, and the tarasque at the beck and call of their leader. No thats not a joke, they are just that bad ass. Can they be stopped? Can peace be made? Will the players play a part on that stage, or be somewhere else in the world?

Conclusion – So this is a big world, with tons of room to add whatever you want. It has big bad guys and a fight on such an epic level brewing that you will need to put everything you have into your characters and build them up if you want to play at that game. But it also has depth and a thousand places to go that have nothing to do with the meta plot. you dont have to go there at all to enjoy this world.

Ok so thats a ton of stuff, and I am tired 🙂

I hope everyone enjoys the conclusion of the world building threads. Next time I do something like this I will likely be building a different genre of world.. if there is a next time.

Ok so gimme the dice, I have to see if I can recognize sleep… Keep gaming and play safe.

 

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Delayed post

Yeah… binge watching Iron Fist slowed me down… maybe later this week, maybe next sunday.

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Game Settings

Ok so yeah I am teasing everyone by not just jumping in to World Building 109 and closing out the series. That is going to be a slightly longer than usual post and I am trying to build things up so I can cover everything I want with less than my usual grammar errors and not be quite as stream of thought as I usually am.

Now then the title of this article may be a little misleading to some. I am not talking about worlds here, but the settings we set up for individual game sessions. The tavern, the house on the hill, the local graveyard and so on are the topic of the day.

Depending on the person running the game your settings can be as simple as – You step out of the hallway and into a really big room with all sorts of wall hangings and a throne – all the way up to – As you are coming toward what looks like the end of the hall way you note the flickering of lights that you have come to associate with multiple torches. There is a scent of some kind of incense in the air that just barely covers the smell of worn and ill treated cloth. As you cautiously enter the room ahead of you, you can see the tapestries that cover the wall, once well made but now filled with mildew and rot surround a dais and throne. The flickering light you noted in the hall is coming from braziers on either side of the throne that give off an oddly colored smoke. Which may be the source of that incense you smell.

Now personally I enjoy adding as much description to things as possible, but I really dont see anything wrong with either of those descriptions. The first one is something I would use with a group that just wants to get in and hack and slash their way through the game. The second I would use for a group that wants to roleplay more and also for a group that wants to investigate everything.

I was going to put a link in for a manga-ish graphic novel series called King of RPGs but the Wiki sort of sucks and I cannot find one by the author himself that is not really a sales page. KOR is the only place I have seen setting up the setting go, in my opinion, too far. I mean when you need to set up a tent so you can add a dry ice smoke machine and have coolers set up with different sealed items to bring the correct scents to the game space and you brought your friends constrictor snake to put onto the game table with the minis so that you can have an accurate representation of the big bad monster snake… yeah… a bit far.

Also I have talked about music in games before, and I really feel like having a bit of well selected music can really enhance the game session. Adding music though you really have to consider the setting and the music you want to use. Its hard to mix things together unless you really know your group. Cranking up I am Iron Man with a fantasy setting may not be the best, unless you know the group loves rock, loves the song, or you just need something a little more intense for that Iron Golom that just crested over the trees. I can say that with all the streaming music apps though that you really want to have a plan going where you do not have commercial breaks as they can completely kill a mood.

Now then normally in an article like this I sit back and stress that every game, and every gamer is different. And that everyone needs to do what they enjoy or are comfortable with or whatever. Never feel pressured into doing something you dont want to do in a game. I would in this instance though like to suggest, that instead of thinking about yourself. You think about the group you are gaming with. Establishing a setting, be it the way a game master does it for the players, or the way the players establish their own presence in a setting, can have a serious impact on everyone who is playing. I know that many game tables have a mix of players at them, some wanting to roleplay until the world ends and some wanting just to get to the next combat. And that can be a hard mix to balance if you are trying to establish a setting. So make sure you have out of game conversations to really see what everyone wants. It may actually be possible to add a lot of detail in things like online blogs or classic blue booking to give the more detail oriented players what they need, and keep the time at the table fast and furious for the combat junkies. Then again other things may be needed.

What I am trying to get to here, really, is that the single most important setting in any game, ANY game, is the communication setting between whomever is running the game and the players. If that setting is get in, game get out, that is fine, just make sure that everyone has agreed to that setting. If the setting is tell a rich in depth story with every detail milked for the most dramatic and emotional response… again make sure everyone has agreed.

I am not going to drop a link in here but almost two years ago I did an article about sound tracks and theme music if you want to know my thoughts on that topic in more detail.

For the moment though I think I have the point across. Communicate. Build settings that you as a GROUP can get the most out of. And have fun damnit.

Ok now gimme the dice I need to see if I can pickpocket myself without me noticing…

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World Building 108

So by now everyone who has been reading these articles should have a fair idea of the world. I have only this article and one other planned for the series, because if I put it all together for you it would be a 200 plus page world book. 🙂 Not that the idea is a bad one, but I really don’t have the time to put it together get it edited and sell it to  a publisher right now. So then what does that make this article in world building about… POWER.

Yes thats right, power, well that and the classes that use them. You see in every fantasy game there are things that set characters apart from the every day Joe Blowstone and while high skills and hit points are great, the POWER that comes with those things is even better.

So lets talk about them in the game setting BASE classes shall we?

Clerics / Druids – Channels of the HOLY POWERs. Thats right these folks talk to the GODS, and get power accordingly. Notice this will not include Paladins as I think they are insanely hard to play and kill game balance. Now then in most game settings a holy power user is dedicated to one god or force of nature and that fuels what they do. In this world I plan on taking a different approach. Each one of the gods has its own portfolio of powers and so a holy power user has to know which god to invoke, and must stay on fairly good terms with all of them in order to cast all the spells available. While every cleric type will have their favorite (and that is how they get domain powers and such) they need to worship the whole pantheon. What this also means is that with undead being non-existent at the start of the meta story the Turn Rebuke power is something that no one would have.

Magic Users (Wizards / Sorcerer / Bard) – Yes there are sorcerers and they have bloodline powers, but many of the ones listed in the original rules do not exist as this world does not have fae, demons, angels and so on. Wizards and others who rely on spell books prove that you dont need a blood line and that just about anyone with a little practice can learn magic. Unfortunately learning magic requires just as much grunt work and also writing and reading and understanding weird as hell combinations of words and gestures that most who try it rarely make it to level one, let alone further. This is why you end up with odd smatterings of low effect magic items in places like farms and inns.

Chi / Rage and style powers (Monk / Barbarian / Ranger / Rouge / Bard) – Most of these are from focus and effort. Again there are a lot of folks that dont have the patience or the talent to really pursue them. This also means that there are more than a few folks out there in very basic roles that may have scampered off with books of martial art styles, know a move or two that takes focus and maybe could rage for a few seconds and so on.

Just plain Skill (Fighter / Rouge / Bard) – Raw skill is never a problem. Although a high level rouge can do just about anything they set their mind to. Just once though I would love to see a high level character who has been keeping a skill up in Shepard or Farming for the day they retire. Oh and word of advice, never trust a rouge that keeps up a skill in carpentry or ditch digging… seriously…

Non Base class powers and combinations

Technology vs Alchemy (Alchemist / Gunslinger / Swashbuckler) – So technology in this world is rather low. So there are no guns and even siege weapons are rare. Running water comes from many people using buckets to pour water over something. So this means that there are no ‘Gunslingers’ or Swashbucklers as written. However if someone wants to use those classes but with hand crossbows, that could work. Alchemy is sort of pervasive though. Or at least it looks that way to non-practitioners. Say it with me now, snake oil salesmen. Yup. Alchemy is known as being a great way to fix tons of things. Can you think of a better ongoing con? For every actually skilled Alchemist in this world there are likely ten to fifteen snake oil salesmen.

Psionics – I really debated adding this power set into the game setting or not. For games that start in the begining of the meta storyline, no psi. About a third of the way through the meta plot I have in mind Psi can be added.

Cultural (Samurai / Ninja / Swashbuckler) So while they have a mix of powers and skills, These three are kinda right out.

Others that really dont fit the world – PALADIN (sorry but I have to say it many times, just like that thing with gno… ) Cavalier, Oracle, Summoner, Witch, Kineticist, Medium, Mesmerist, Occultist, Psychic, Spiritualist, Bloodrager, Slayer, Samurai, Ninja, Swashbuckler, and War Priest.

Others that do fit – Arcanist, Brawler, Hunter, Investigator, Magus, Shaman, and Skald

Why do they or dont they fit… well…

Cultural (Samurai / Ninja / Swashbuckler) So while they have a mix of powers and skills, the cultures in this world really do not support the character arch-types completely. These three are mostly out. Cases can be made that with the stereotypes in the dwarven community that both Samurai and Ninja could abound. However the culture of the dwarves would more likely mean that someone studies to be a fighter and something else… two… classes… 🙂

Mixed power sets and classes that really don’t fit the setting…

So with base classes like the Ranger, you get a combination of fighting and spell casting dedicated to nature. And this works. Bards mix a ton of things together and they work. Some of the more unique power sets from advanced classes though, like the Summoner, don’t really work in this world. Mostly because there is very little out there to summon, and that would raise the question about why don’t the Titans just follow that hole and then… yeah… it gets ugly. And why do things like Oracles and Witches not work, but as written the Shaman (which mixes both classes) does work. That stems from the focus of the abilities. Shamans deal with spirits. Oracles work with Gods and monsters. Which is why this article is from the perspective of players… they should also know that Witches will be present, as mortals who serve the Titans. That’s right the Gods get Clerics the Titans get Witches.

With the elements that are not present, you can take a look culturally and see things like the Ninja just not really being there. Since the main seafaring culture is the elves and greatships and piracy are not their thing then swashbucklers are kind of out. No guns so no gunslingers. Oracles and Paladins in essence turn themselves over to A god. And at this time there is no one in the world that has faith of that magnitude in any SINGLE god to make that happen.

With the ones that do work, you can see a lot about the game setting.

Dwarves take their religion as a whole rather seriously. And so they have Inquisitor / Investigator pairs that search for heresy and lack of faith. Clerics that teach. And then Rouges that master oh so many skills, and Bards that teach them how to party when all is good. Humans with their connection to nature and deep reliance on themselves have Barbarians, Monks, Brawlers and Rangers in equal parts. Sorcerers, Wizards, Arcanists, Magus and Alchemists run a lot of the show in Goblin communities. Halflings with their love of life and travel see Bards, Skalds, Hunters, Rouges and Rangers fill many of their jobs. And with the Elves love of nature and life they have many Bards, Druids, Rangers, Hunters and Rouges. Now then you notice I did not mention Fighters in there. Thats because every culture has fighters. Well actually every culture has all of the classes, but look at the highlights and see where the POWER lies.

Thats right I came back to the POWER there at the end. Because POWER is not just the magic or the chi. Its not just the skills and the stats. POWER is having a great character that you have fun playing… HAH!!!

Ok so as random as that all seemed. I am out…

Gimme the dice I need to roll a crit hit on fun with the wife… my wife.. the best wife ever… (she thought I would not leave that in when she typed it while I was AFK)

Peace and fun to all y’all.

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World Building 107

Yeah we had another gap week. Life… you know how it goes.

I know there are two more races to talk about in more detail and there are a ton of other little details that could be gone over. But at this moment what I want to do most is start bringing things together so that the game world at the start of a game series can be seen. There will be bits and pieces that come up in this one that will require readers to roll with it because they don’t know those other details. I hope that everyone can just roll with it.

So on this world, adventure starts out on one continent. Five races make up the main population. The gods had left for a time without explanation, but came back about fifty years ago. Minus one of their number, that for some reason, none of the mortals could remember the name of. The dragons who at one time guarded the mortal races have become divided over whether they should protect them any more. And some of them have actively defected to the enemies of the gods. The mortals, blissfully unaware of enemies of the gods go about their lives trying to pursue whatever goals and dreams they enjoy. Some of the mortals, especially the wandering Halflings, and the more primitive humans who live in the wilds have seen things that make them wonder if there is not a bigger change, or problem coming. About seventy five years ago the first stories of strangeness started coming back to the rest of the races from the humans. But until twenty years ago, when a bear hide that was over five feet high at the shoulder and had many other unnatural features made its way to one of the goblin cities, no one took them seriously. Now only a small portion of the various peoples of the world think that something is going on, but more evidence is finding its way to cities and courts all the time. Even among the humans in the North East of the continent, where these things are most common, not all believe.

In the central part of the continent where the Goblin cites stand tallest innovations continue. Alchemy and magic are mixed in odd ways. Ideas with little or no practical purpose are chased, and business is good. In one of the smaller goblin cities, the governor Gillim Flamecaster is working on two things. He is trying to get a group of governors together to make a decision that will affect all of their cities, and he is also trying to act as his own commissioner, in disguise of course, to get a group or even several groups, together to investigate the strange things that are rumored to be going on in human territories.

Under the mountain ranges in the south west of the continent the current lord of the forge, Lady Deliandriaiin Mournhammer is for the first time in a hundred years looking at the possibility of taking a mate. Her rule over the dwarves has been one of the most stable they have seen. She codified the export of raw metals and alloys and dwarven goods to the outside world. She was the first lord of the forge to open direct relations with the elves. And in the last few years of her reign her people have been worried. No mater the clan, no mater the holding, the people think she has been ‘one’ too long. Now that she is actively looking at developing a relationship and moving forward, which should be a positive to her people, she has been spending a lot of time with a halfling woman. Her people do not care that she is with another woman, but the fact it is a halfling. This has clans in an uproar.

On the islands to the west of the continent the elves, well for the most part they are elves. But they have all started talking about the bodies of whales that have been turning up on their island homes. Some have had huge bites taken from them, others have had full trees punched through their bodies like spears. While many of the families are talking about what to do, representatives from a couple of islands have headed to the continent to see if there are any strange things going on there as well.

The humans with their connection to the wild places have been noticing a change for years. Like a pervasive shift in the way things happen. Bird migrations shifting, plants not growing in the same volume as they have in the past. The strange dire creatures that were once very rare becoming all the more common. They have sent word to the other races through the halflings before, but it seems no one else really cares. At least to them. They know the change is underway. Not coming, not soon, but it is ongoing. But they have no idea if it is a natural change or if it is being pushed by someone or something. This worries them.

The halflings continue to be everywhere. Trading information, music and goods all over the continent and occasionally to the elven islands as well. Many of the caravan matrons see something coming, but like the humans they don’t know if it is natural or pushed. However they suspect. They suspect it is not natural. And so now more than ever before the caravans are trading information on the secret locations they have set up. Where they have been hiding some of the best goods and more useful items they have stumbled across in their travels. Since all of the caravans are trading more and more information about their caches, it is getting harder and harder to know if there is someone out there looting them, or if there has been a need when they find one or more that have been emptied.

The dragons no longer debate. For over a hundred years they argued and discussed and even fought over whether it was right to still serve the mortal races. To guard them from the coming titans and their creations. Or to let them fall. Of the one thousand dragons created, lines have been drawn. Three hundred and eight side with the mortals. Four hundred and seventy three side with the titans. And the remaining two hundred and nineteen have decided to go it alone.

The titans have their foot hold in the world. In the extreme northeast of the continent, in the frozen wastes near the top of the world the first hole was opened and they work to keep it that way. Lesser titans and giants are already at watch in the physical world. Speaking with the dragons and looking to the local life forms to see what they can do to add to the number of troops they have on hand. They know the gods had plans for the mortals, and that involved growing into something more than they were, stretching their reach and being challenged on the other two continents on this world. So many of their minions are heading to those other places to see if they can find what the gods left there.

The gods are worried. The mortals were never meant to know about the titans. About the giants, or the powers they wield. The dragons were to be a last line of defense, not a first. The missing god worries them the most though. They found no trace after the conflict, and they do not know if the god has been reconstituted elsewhere, or has truly been destroyed forever.

And somewhere, out there in the dark beyond this world. In between the spheres that the gods have made containing their little worlds and realms. Something as old if not older than the gods has taken notice. And they stir.

This is the very big overview of the world that an adventure would be starting in.

Now gimme the dice… I gotta see if I can roll up a bachelor party.

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Electronic Assistance

So while I was sitting here this morning working on updating my mobile device I took a look at the applications that I use and then realized that there was a topic I had not brought up here yet. Applications that can help, or hinder your game.

I have talked before about getting PDF versions of games that you can carry around a lot easier than a stack of books, but books are not the only thing going when it comes to applications. There are die rollers, map makers, hosting services, character generators, campaign tools and toys, and even just game community blog and calendar sites.

Now then I have not used a lot of them but I have used a few…

From Ufisk there is the PFSRD app. I really enjoy having the SRD (System Reference Document – It is all the rules and mechanics of a game but none of the fiction, art, examples or in depth explanations of the game) on hand like this, even if I am paying 99 cents per added book from the core rules. It is inexpensive and makes it even easier to game with because of all of the book marking features.

I have a couple of die rollers but I dont want to be linking into iTunes or another service so please dont mind the lack of a link.

Obsidian Portal is one of the blog, plus calendar, plus player finder sites that are out there that anyone can take advantage of. I know there are more out there but this is the one I have used the most.

There are some rather good character generators out there. My favorite so far is from Lone Wolf Development. Now then one of the things that I really like about the guys and gals at Lone Wolf is that they offer up a look at their software to anyone who wants to buy in and develop more material. Next on the list is that they are not a subscription service. You buy it and you got it. That goes for their game maps and other tools as well.

Something several of my friends have gone gaga over has been Fantasy Grounds. And while I have to admit that the tool is cool and can be used for a lot of gaming needs, I hate the fact that it is a subscription service. That sort of thing bugs the crap out of me. Let me buy the sodding thing once and get on with my life… but it is pretty… So is d20 Pro but it has the same problem for me.

And these are only some of the items that are out there. Let me make sure that you get what I am saying here… that is a TINY… TINY TINY ITSY BITSY FRACTION of the digital things that are out there to help gamers run things.

I hardly know any of them at all and would really appreciate it if readers would consider giving me a few more to look at in the comments. I dont want to be the online resource of where to go to get things, but hearing about your favorites and hates would be really cool so I could have more material to work with in the future.

So tis a short post this week, I hope that everyone is having fun out there in the real world, and feeling creative as all hell in the game spaces.

Now gimme the dice I need to see how badly I can burn breakfast for me and wife 🙂

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World Building 106b

Hello again and welcome to the next part of the world building series. Today I am going to add another racial description. This is one that I have thought about for quite some time. There will be cultural references made just like in the entry about dwarves, and others to come. Please note that these references are not intended to insult, belittle or in any way screw with an existing culture on earth. These cultural references are in here because I find them to be very cool, and I would love to have more people look into them. Even if it is just the stereotypes that us ignorant fools have come up with.

Ok so who are we looking at today… now that I have you all prepped and ready for conflict and indignation… Elves. That’s right… elves. In our modern earth the idea of elves has been around for a long time. Historically, fictionally, and even holidasically (no that’s not a word… yet). In gaming terms the elves are usually either something like the historical northern European elves or like those in the works of Tolkien. But about twenty years ago a game came out from White Wolf called Changeling the Dreaming, that expanded my point of view on what an elf could be. So for those of you who know the native mythic structures of the first nations in America, the peoples of the Hawaiian islands and some of the Taoist faiths you may recognize names like Nunnehi, Menehune, or Xian Jing. None of these have complete influence on how the elves in this world were created. However from the number of comments I received in private messages about the stereotypes that I used involving dwarves, I thought I would put a lot of the inspiration up front this time.

And now the details about elves in this world…

Shortly after the gods had removed their contract labor of the Titans, the gods started to wander this world they had, had created. And they liked it. One of the best features they felt was the number of rivers and streams that lead to larger and larger bodies of water, until eventually they poured into the oceans on the surface or in the underworld. This rolling flow inspired several of the gods to work together to create the first of the mortal races. The Elves.

The very first elves looked at the world around them, felt the connection to the nearby streams, and left the point of their creation. Much to the dismay of the gods. The gods had intended to create guardians for the waters. Poets and dreamers that would sing their praises. And here their creations just packed it in and left. The gods confronted the elves about their actions, and the elves responded that the world there was beautiful, and the only ones that could change that would be the elves themselves. So instead of being the only danger there was to that beauty. They were going to go some place else. Stunned by the simple truth of the elves statement the gods retreated to watch.

It took some time but that first group of elves followed the waters. Staying in one place no more than a year and then moving on. And in just over five years, they found their way to the ocean. When they reached the ocean they, as a whole race, stopped. The ocean surface was constantly changing. It never stopped moving. The elves explored the shore and found so many kinds of life that they knew they had found something very special. They could see things in the distance, across the surface of the water and as one, they knew what they had to do.

The elves called out to the gods, said farewell to the mainland, created the very first boats, and headed to the islands they could see in the distance. In the islands they found small places. Potentially fragile places that could see the end of very unique forms of life in a storm. They found an ebb and flow to life that felt natural to them. They tied themselves more and more in to the nature around them. And by and large they decided not to care about the gods, the mainland, or anything other than things that would threaten life as it was known.

All in all the elves are a very physically impressive people. Thin and lithe. Their bodies mark them as natural swimmers and runners. Taller than most humans with bodies that hold a deep reddish tan to the skin. Their hair and eyes are usually black. Other colors are taken as a sign that the individual is destined for something interesting.

The elves live in a council style of community. Men and women are treated equally, unless the woman is pregnant. In that case she is given a role of authority. Basically all of her wishes and votes count double. The elves are truly community based. They have no need for a big government. If someone in a village has a problem, they help each other. If a village has a problem, then other villages on the island help. If there is a problem on a whole island then many villages on other islands help. They do not do it because a god tells them to, or a government tells them to, they do it because it is the right thing to do. Yes there are those who dissent from that opinion. Who feel there should be something in it for them for helping. And most of the time the dissenters come around after being helped many times even though they are not asked to help. Those who do not usually take one of the village boats and head for another place.

This dynamic is why other races in this world feel there are two tribes of elves. There are the islanders that they are told about who trade freely and only for what they need. Who wander nearly naked save for the tattoos they bare. And the elves who wander the main land looking for more. They may be physically the same. But in philosophy the mainland and island elves are very different.

As mentioned tattooing is a very important part of the elvish culture. As they never bothered to develop their own written language, they did come up with a way to record their personal history. Tattoos. Each element tattooed on a elf is part of the story of their lives. The placement and the image all mean a lot. And given that island elves only wear as much clothing as the weather requires, it is actually very easy to understand the accomplishments of one another just by paying attention. This openness is hard for any other race to really understand. The halflings appreciate it and a few of their wandering tribes have been accepted by the elves. A group of goblin pirates tried to invade an island once, only to be met with total indifference for almost a month before they left. The elves thought it was the best joke ever played. Because in truth there were seven other villages ready to make war on the goblins. But since no one was harmed, they just let it go.

The deep thinkers among the elves, usually the deep sea fishermen and divers, often wonder if bringing mortal races into such a beautiful world was a good idea. They are usually met with a splashed drink and a more immediate question, like, did you catch any fish?

And while tradesmen may see a primitive people, or simpletons, when they look at the elves. In fact the opposite is true. They have a tendency to grow their boats so they do not have to harm a tree. They use natural caves and trees in combination to make homes and public halls. They know how many kinds of life are on and around their islands and what it takes to live in balance with them. Their medicinal knowledge is vast, and they have composed songs that it takes a whole village to sing. The elves are a wondrously complex and beautiful people. That most others refuse to understand because they are so different.

The single largest issue that the elves get into regularly, is balance. Does the world balance, do the scales balance. Is our relationship in balance. When things are out of balance, the elves act. And sometimes in big ways. If things are in balance then the elves are the most relaxed peoples you may ever meet.

The most common reason for an island elf to be on the main land is because something is out of balance. Which because of cultural differences can be hard to explain. When they can elves visiting the mainland try to stay away from mainland elves and will do their best to stay with halfling caravans. Their wandering nature reminds them of the ocean.

I think that gives a fair introduction to the elvish culture, and some of the things that inspired it.

Now gimme the dice… I gotta make a save vs cold roll…

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Review #11 Street Fighter The Storytelling Game (G)

Ok so first let me say that I know it has been over eight months since my last review. Welp, that just the way a blog goes. Kinda lost track of the whole review thing for a while, and kept going… oh yeah now that this is in the collection I need to do one on that one… and then world building… yeahhhh.

And now that a review is back you may be going… what… nonono Street Fighter is a fighting game, a really bad movie, a cartoon, or an anime (or two), and Storyteller is White Wolf’s RPG system… what the heck! Well Street Fighter is all those things and more. However here we are going to focus on the RPG that was published in 1994 by White Wolf games using their Story Teller system.

So back in the early 90’s White Wolf was hitting their stride with the Storyteller system and their World of Darkness setting. I have no idea what prompted them to do so, but they reached out to CAPCOM and got a license to make a roleplaying game for their Street Fighter setting. Now then I have talked about licensed games before (Tolkien v Tolkien) and you may know from books and movies already that a licensed product can really make a mess of the original. Now when you look at the original Storyteller format you may think that pain and suffering is all that this mix of fighting video games and table top rpgs is going to create. And to a certain degree you are right. But that pain and suffering is on the battle field not for the players.

White Wolf did something rather interesting with their own system when they made the Street Fighter game. They limited the skill selection and they significantly expanded combat while still keeping their game engine in tact. Unfortunately for many fans of the fighting video game style they did not add a huge number of martial arts in the original book, nor did they add weapons elements. They did give you rules though for expanding the combat system, and made it rather easy to combine elements from other White Wolf games into the setting without over-balancing things too much. And before you start screaming about power creep and all, I did run a World of Darkness LARP in 95-96ish where we actually let a couple of Street Fighter characters in. I have to say that even with special abilities an super moves a starting Street Fighter got his a$$ handed to him by a werewolf, a mage, and a Pooka fae in that order. And they were all starters too. However he did turn it in to a role playing effort and ended up after a while becoming the bridge between a group of garou and a house run by a member of the Akashic Brotherhood. For those who don’t know those terms don’t worry. They are in there to help White Wolf players see balance is possible. For those of you who don’t know White Wolf games just imagine a werewolf who can go toe to toe with a kung-fu wizard from the best Chinese wire fu movies. So if anything starting characters in Street Fighter are a little under powered compared to their bretherin. And if you compare them to later offerings in the Storyteller system, like the Aeon Trinity (sorry MTV but I support White Wolf on this one… stupid stickers and re-editing) they seem way under-powered.

What really got me hooked on the Street Fighter version of the Storyteller system was how they broke out the combat skills. Instead of having a general melee skill, or brawl skill, you have Punch, Kick, Block, Grab, Athletics and Focus. What this did was it allowed you to really define the fighting style of your character. Sure they had several styles in the system, however you could still give a boxer a strong dose of Kick just to add something unexpected. Now then some people may look at that and feel things have just become over complicated. Others may look at that and say, but what about weapons skills. And depending on how you use the system both are potentially valid. To look at weapons first, if you remember Street FIghter II, when it came out originally only one character had a weapon. Vega/Balrog (if that confuses you then refer to the links above and find out how the characters were renamed in the US to avoid an issue with Mike Tyson). The game was about empty hand and chi powers (yes the sonic boom and Blanka’s volts were chi powers). Not weapons. They did add rules for weapons in Contenders, and really fleshed it out more in the World of Darkness book Combat. But those are supplements. If you are willing to take the game as a representation of the original Street Fighter II, then there you go. The fact that you could then take special moves, basic moves, and build up combo moves (oh and if you want to create a corner beating move combo you can actually put together a trip kick combo that will allow you to drain almost everything from an opponent, you just have to make sure he cant make a move back… or you are toast).

Now then sadly, White Wolf did not really support Street Fighter as well as their other products after initial publication. Their Players Guide brought the power creep hard core, but skimped on the details like adding a merits and flaws system as they had added to every other Storyteller game in the players guides. The Shadowloo supplement brought more power creep than you can imagine by actually quantifying Vega/M. Bison ‘s martial art and making it accessible to players. However this game is still popular enough in the hands of fans that it shows up at conventions to be played and there are more than a few online groups that have added characters, styles and more to support players who want to get into things from Street Fighter Alpha, SF3, SF4, and even SF5. All in all the ongoing fan support makes things kinda cool.

All in all I have to say that even with the flaws added in the supplements and it seeming a little incomplete by not thinking about things like weapons right off the bat, I feel like this is one of the best martial arts engines to date for table top. And really who would not enjoy being able to take on Vega/M. Bison where your GM can be the cheese and not some smegging computer. 🙂

Ok so ratings… lets see if I remember how to do this too…

Fluff – 2/5 Of all the parts of this book that I enjoy I have to say the fluff is the weakest spot. There is very little art in the book that comes from CAPCOM studios. And even though many of the main characters are depicted when they describe individual martial arts there is next to nothing about the characters that those of us who play the video game would have loved to see. The fiction that they add in, usually a White Wolf strong point, seems weak because once again it does not involve any of the classic characters except as being a dropped name. Lastly the added art that is not from CAPCOM seems a little half assed. Really it is one of the weakest White Wolf products I have seen in the fluff category.

Crunch – 3/5 How then after I have raved about how much I like the combat system can I say that the crunch is weak. Well I said it was good and that it reflected what was in the original Street Fighter II. I did not say that I appreciated that myself. It is solid. It is easy to use. It also feels incomplete to me. It can be fixed, and added to. But the fact that you have to add things like weapons use and the number of initial martial arts is small just makes it a little weak overall.

Mod – 5/5 Ok so in this space, yeah. This thing is so easy to mod, just like most Storyteller products. Add things from other books and settings. Create new moves so you can punch ghosts. This is one of the strongest points in the Storyteller system overall. You can mod the hell out of it and really enjoy adding your own creations with only limited risk of massive power creep. And that limit is you reader… you are the biggest risk here for that. 🙂 heh

Fun – 4/5 Ok so why only a 4 of 5. That is because I had to add other books and work for it to add weapons in in a reasonable manner. Because I had to bar the use of one of the nastiest martial arts ever presented because it was a combination of power creep incarnate and corruption on a stick. Because there was very little effort on White Wolf’s part to help others see how you could incorporate Street Fighter into their other products and lastly because it takes a fair bit of play (going by the Storyteller experience rules and spending about 96 sessions) to actually get your brand new Street Fighter up to the point where you can take on the guys and galls from the video game on an even footing.

Total Score – 14/20 So how does this play out overall? I said a few seriously negative things in my scoring. Well as usual that is going to come down to the players and what they want to do. If you want a cool system for martial arts that you can use to simulate fighting games, wire fu, and kung fu comic books then this is the place for you. If you like the freedom to set up your own martial arts, and even modify existing ones to create wild and crazy new ancient schools of combat then this will work. If you want more description in a fight scene than “I swing at him.” then this engine encourages it. If you want to exactly replicate all your favorite Street Fighter series characters, then be ready to buy more than one book and likely spend some time online. Unless they are Ken and Ryu… bastards get the best of everything… they are the freakin Barbie’s of fighting games. In the end I can say I enjoy the game despite its flaws and weak points. I have successfully made versions of all of my favorite fighting game characters. Even those with weapons, in spite of this game calling itself Street Fighter. But as always you dear reader are going to have to make the choice if this game is for you. Not my call 🙂

All righty that is it for now. Hope you enjoyed. Soon more world building and more reviews.

So gimme the dice, I have to see if the game field is monster free or I need to get the hose out…

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