View Profile: BoxCrayonTales - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 02:10 PM
    The Net Wizard's Handbook classifies magic along two axes: control and frequency. I've attached it for reference since it is a world building aid. Anyway, a lot of the arguments here seem to be focusing on control and frequency. I prefer to focus on the aesthetic of the magic. The arguments offered by the "breaking out..." article may apply to several points on the control and frequency axes, so...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:20 PM
    So I was discussing the article "breaking out of scientific magic systems" in another thread. The title of the article is misleading, as it isn't about the scientific method or the philosophy of science as it would apply to fictional magic systems. The article describes the contrasts between modern tabletop game magic systems versus magic as described in mythology/folklore/religion and provides...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:22 PM
    The Net Wizard's Handbook mentions something like this when it categorizes the design of magic systems along axes. The model you're discussing is called "magic is an art," which is distinct from "magic is chaos" and "magic is a science." I've attached it here since there doesn't seem to be an easily available copy online.
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:16 PM
    To try another explanation... compare East Asian fantasy. Fighters can channel their own life force to accomplish impossible feats through sheer training. Animals and household objects turn into yokai when they live long enough. That’s examples of breaking out.
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 10:52 PM
    Here’s another way I can think to put it: if you were holistically building a universe from first principles, how would you allow things that would be considered “magic” and “supernatural” in the real world? That is, a magic system that is not crudely tacked on.
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:06 PM
    By “pre-modern” magic, I’m referring to the ideal proposed by the “Breaking out of scientific magic systems” article. I guess another way to put it is “holistic” magic, or “rational” magic, or magic based on pre-D&D sources and sources not influenced by D&D. (Like, I don’t know, every instance in which a character can just talk to animals. Jasmine in Deltora Quest, Eliza in The Wild Thornberries,...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 04:05 PM
    How many examples do we have of pre-modern magic systems, much less ones that fail and show us how not to do it? Fantasy gaming almost never tries to defy the modern mechanistic model, so I don't have much context for your complaints beyond those that apply outside of magic like the abstraction over realism. We can't say pre-modern magic is inferior when there's such a paucity of examples to...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:42 PM
    I feel like you may be trying too hard. The article even points out that it is easy to go overboard. Why does the system need to be that complicated? Is there a simpler way to handle those sorts of things? The point is to have fun by giving a sense of mystery to investigate, not simulate a living world. You could decide hidden variables by writing a short list of the descriptors for a location...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 05:51 PM
    Sadly this sort of thinking is almost entirely absent from fantasy fiction. Except Tolkien, ironically enough. IMO, the really weird thing is that this sort of magic is basically scifi technology in a universe which operates according to fantasy physics.
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 05:48 PM
    Not necessarily. Adding hidden variables to magic like environmental modifiers and character traits doesn't work in D&D because you don't roll to cast spells like you do skills and attacks. If you had to roll to cast spells, then you would be able to assign modifiers based on such hidden variables. Treating magic as part of nature is more difficult, since audiences have been trained by...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:57 PM
    If we're discussing fantasy science anyway, then something I'd like to note is level progression. It is commonly treated as an abstraction, but what if it wasn't a simple abstraction? What if, for example, monsters evolved into higher HD/CR monsters to mirror the way that PCs advanced in level? This concept appears in some GameLit like Overlord and Tensei Slime: skeleton mages progress into elder...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 05:35 PM
    I'm developing a taxonomy based on Indo-European mythologies, as that is the primary inspiration for D&D rules. It's more difficult than it should be since D&D has more categories than needed, but I manage. In contrast to the rules as written, I allow monsters to have multiple types as needed for their concept.
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:38 PM
    It depends on what you mean by science. There's an article pointing out how magic in D&D worlds operates according to weird pseudo-scientific rules that aren't consistent with how pre-modern societies imagined magic. If magic exists, then your setting should be build holistically according to magical physics. Rather than being some unnatural cheat code tacked on to real physics, magic would...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 06:30 PM
    Yes. The Otherworld, Underworld, Overworld, etc is not the same as the "spirit world" as depicted in, say, Avatar: The Last Airbender. They have their own gods distinct from those of the Middleworld. Yes. Greek mythology is a great bridge to these sorts of concepts. If you want to go all obsolete occult science, then you could invoke concepts like "morphic fields" to substitute for platonic...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019, 08:09 PM
    ​To continue where I left off discussing werewolves... Werewolf mythology The reason why werewolves are the most popular shapeshifters, within Western (i.e. European descended) popular culture, is simple. Wolves, along with bears, are among the few predatory European megafauna that weren’t wiped out by humans ten thousand years ago. Wolves were the most likely to encounter humans, typically...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019, 04:44 PM
    I wanted to discuss werewolves again. Coolidge’s 2006 essay on archetypes of lycanthropy lists medieval, monstrous (cursed), monstrous (diabolic), heroic and sympathetic as those relevant to contemporary fantasy fiction (fantasy lycanthropes are a miscellaneous addition). Although new fiction has come out in the intervening years, these archetypes seem to remain just as relevant and largely...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 07:33 PM
    In the strictest sense, qualifiers like witch, werewolf, vampire, etc were not species in pre-modern folklore. They were descriptions of capabilities, capabilities that varied wildly. A witch, at least in the negative connotation, was someone who used magic to harm the community. They could do so in a variety of ways. If they stole the life force of their victims, then they were also vampires....
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 06:39 PM
    While out of the box D&D over covers a specific set of archetypes, there's a bazillion 3pp that hacks the system to make new classes. Although it's currently only compatible with Pathfinder 1e, Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might goes to show how far you can go using the D&D class formula. Although World of Darkness never opened itself up with the OGL (not counting the forgotten Opening the...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 08:49 PM
    Sorry. I'm still prone to apoplexy whenever I see someone claiming World of Darkness is superior to Chronicles of Darkness. I have my work cut out for me. I'll try to post some world building later when I get more time.
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 01:56 PM
    Can we please not get into those stupid vitriolic edition wars for the umpteenth time? For Pete's sake, you are still operating on the fallacy of never reading past the 15 years old first edition rulebooks, if even that far. Mage The Awakening included DIY magical traditions, mad science and star gates in supplements published a decade ago. I think Mage The Ascension and Mage The Awakening are...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 05:32 PM
    Yes. Not only that, I'm interested in analyses and discussion of world building and themes. There is huge potential yet to be tapped here. I'm interested in challenging our conceptions of how monsters are supposed to work. Fiction like American Vampire and Dresden Files posit settings where multiple different types of, say, vampires and werewolves co-exist. Fiction like Lost Girl treats all...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 01:14 PM
    Yes, but my overall argument was aimed at every iteration of World of Darkness. Mage: The Awakening has an entirely different set of baggage. I believe the Mage Chroniclers' Guide attempted to provide alternative options, but providing options isn't really the intent of the games as a whole. They're married to very specific settings with specific themes and don't invest much in alternative...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 11:34 AM
    Saturn bases aren’t bad. Where I get confused is why there’s a need to go so far beyond urban fantasy. Scifi and cyberpunk are present from the start.
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Thursday, 27th June, 2019


Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 09:15 AM - Aldarc mentioned BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    ...putting players in a significantly more passive position than in a game like Blades in the Dark). This is precisely why I brought up Blades in the Dark. I think the answer is MORE niche Urban Fantasy TTRPGing systems with encoded theme/premise and a holisitic approach to system (all mechanics, reward cycles, ethos, participant authority) that relentlessly focuses on producing an emergent fiction and participant experience around those things.Here is where I would advocate the use of Urban Shadows. Urban Shadows (and its use of the PbtA system) leans heavily into exploring through play the implications, complications, and satisfactions of "being" the supernatural (or the aware mundane). The playbook is meant to embrace the archetypes and such. From what I recall, there is a Sorcerer-esque aspect to this where you are deciding between power and your "humanity." If you go to far down the track, then I believe you retire your character and become the monster people think you are. If BoxCrayonTales wants to explore different types of werewolves and such, then it would not be too difficult to create custom playbooks. I also recommend Dresden Files Accelerated. I'm not a fan of Dresden Files as a franchise, but I have found its system good for creating a fairly generic urban fantasy setting. Similar to PbtA playbooks, you select Mantles for your character. These mantles are at different power levels and it does not pretend that these are balanced. But (1) it's Fate which tends to have less focus on balance, and (2) a mundane person will probably not naturally be on the same level as a fae, vampire, or wizard anyway. I had planned on using Dresden Files Accelerated for running an urban fantasy campaign set in 1847 Vienna - an imperial city amidst revolutionary unrest that will erupt across Europe within a year - but centered around an amateur paranormal investigation society. The major benefit of setting it in Vienna was that my players - as inhabitants of 2019 Vienna - had ...

Friday, 7th March, 2014

  • 08:40 PM - Mordikenn mentioned BoxCrayonTales in post [GM Tool] Monster Generator - Free Program to Create New Monsters
    Hello everyone~ Just wanted to let a new crowd of people see the program. It's still a great free way to save time making enemies! I clicked random a few times and then fiddled with what it gave me to make the monster below. @Raneth: I have no plans to overhaul this program to perform CR calculations backwards. Unfortunately I've moved on to other projects with the majority of time, including making a few games. However, you can add racial bonuses to skills to monsters under the 'special qualities' menu already ( just click on the bonus to skills options, any of those display as a racial bonus). The majority of those monster rules are already in the program under the powers menu, and you can specify your own custom powers to add to the program. There are details regarding how to do that in the readme, you just go and add things to 'custom_powers.txt' in the data files. If you were thinking about learning to program in order to make that program yourself, be my guest... Just bear in mind that...

Wednesday, 5th March, 2014

  • 01:39 AM - Tovec mentioned BoxCrayonTales in post What qualifies a creature as an extraplanar outsider, an extraplanar animal/humanoid/etc or an extraplanar native outsider?
    Raneth I think you have some misconceptions. I'll clear up what I can. But over all Keldin is right. Especially in that you would have to ask the original authors why an outsider is an outsider as opposed to a magical beast. In the case of the tenebrous worm, according to this: http://paizo.com/PRD/additionalMonsters/tenebrousWorm.html It is typed: N Medium outsider (extraplanar) It is therefore NOT a native outsider. So let me start with terms. Specifically the three you brought up. A. extraplanar outsiders, B. extraplanar creatures of any other type, C. native outsiders that are native to an outer plane or similar. I'm starting with C. (Native Outsiders). By this I assume you mean creatures with the type of Outsider (native), as it is the only time I can remember 'native' being tied in relation to the creature type. You'll note that regardless of its origin, outsiders do not universally gain the "native" subtype just for being on a different plane. Native outsiders, as defined by that same wi...

Thursday, 20th February, 2014

  • 02:57 AM - Quickleaf mentioned BoxCrayonTales in post Skill Groups and Level-Based Skills
    Raneth What you propose looks a lot like 4e's skill system. Which is little surprise since Mike Mearls was the mind behind Iron Heroes and 4e. For example, Pathfinder's physical skills Climb, Jump, Swim, and Ride can be readily grouped as Athletics. And that's precisely what 4e does (well, forgetting the Ride skill). I think you'd need to spend some time determining what constitutes a trained skill use, since all characters can make all skill checks now. For example, when my fighter gets a lucky roll on Knowledge: engineering check, are there limits on what he can do/knows compared to a character trained in Knowledge: engineering? Do you plan to adjudicate that ad hoc, or prepare in advance?

Monday, 26th August, 2013

  • 10:57 AM - Tovec mentioned BoxCrayonTales in post Consolidating monster types further
    In the system I've been working (for the past year and a half or so) has very similar consolidations. Part of the issue I'm still grappling with is the names of certain types (like your "aberrants") but I'll gladly share my thoughts on this subject. This kind of came and went a little while ago, discussing 5e's types/subtypes, with (I think it was) KM making very similar suggestions - though a more consolidated list. Anyway. Oozes not being a type. I completely agree here. But I think you are doing a disservice putting them in the Aberration category. Why isn't ooze simply a subtype that is applied to creatures without discernible anatomies. Water elementals are basically oozes. Air and fire elementals, debatable so. Earth probably not (I make them out to be either outsiders or constructs, depending on source). Undead, also agreed, not a type; but a subtype fits them well. Again, as a subtype there is no reason to simply lump them in with "animated" but I do agree in principle. I wou...

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Monday, 22nd July, 2019

  • 11:50 PM - Tony Vargas quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Designing holistic versus gamist magic systems?
    Anyway, a lot of the arguments here seem to be focusing on control and frequency. ... Placing limitations on magic is useful to keep players from spamming it all the time or otherwise breaking the game, so I can excuse that. Magic coming with a price, like everything else in life, is a really useful and thematic storytelling tool. Where this becomes a problem is, as the article attests, when it's used as a crutch to address the martial/caster disparity. ... Likewise, D&D magic typically is viewed through either a gamist paradigm (it works this way for game balance) or else sometimes a narrativist paradigm (in setting magic may work by a completely different paradigm but regardless the mechanics replicates the rhythms of magic in fantasy narratives)...But you can go a long way toward making D&D magic feel magical just by explaining it in such a way that mentally you aren't assuming that it works like magic in 'Order of the Stick' by Rich Burlew It seems like we sometimes grapple with a concern that ...

Thursday, 18th July, 2019

  • 08:21 PM - Jer quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Designing holistic versus gamist magic systems?
    Is the article's premise a sensible one? How would you go about implementing the magic system it describes? Are there detailed examples published anywhere? Okay, right from the start I see some problems with the article (beyond the ones that Celebrim gets into), so maybe some clarification would help me. The author says this: While scientific magic systems have their place, I think there should be more games with non-scientific magic systems... magic evocative of myth and folklore, as well as fantasy fiction which draws on myth and folklore, like J.R.R. Tolkien or Charles De Lint. Various RPG systems try different mechanics in an effort to make their magic feel more "magical". However, I feel that most of these simply alter the mechanics almost at random. The problem is in how magic is conceived of in the first place, not in the stats and die rolls used to implement it. So here's the problem - in myth and folklore and Tolkien and everywhere else that has magic like this, there is n...

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 10:11 PM - Celebrim quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Science in D&D
    By “pre-modern” magic, I’m referring to the ideal proposed by the “Breaking out of scientific magic systems” article. Well, at the risk of offending the original author, what I'm suggesting is that the article neither proposes a useful idea nor is actually coherent. Or to put it another way, I do understand exactly what the author is going for, but he doesn't do a great job of explaining or exploring the problem. Consider if we start systematically replacing the word "magic" in the article with "science". If these two things are really radically different concepts as he suggests, and if his description of magic is coherent then the mangled article where we replace a concept with a supposedly incompatible concept should be nonsense. Section #1: "Science is a known system and thus non-mysterious" In the first section the author tries to explain that magic shouldn't be a known system and thus non-mysterious, because this makes it too scientific. But the problem is that the assertion that sc...
  • 04:54 PM - Celebrim quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Science in D&D
    How many examples do we have of pre-modern magic systems, much less ones that fail and show us how not to do it? Fantasy gaming almost never tries to defy the modern mechanistic model, so I don't have much context for your complaints beyond those that apply outside of magic like the abstraction over realism. We can't say pre-modern magic is inferior when there's such a paucity of examples to compare. I'm not sure I understand the terms you've defined here. What do you mean by "pre-modern magic systems"? I prefer pre-modern magic because it simply feels more interesting, logical, rational, and ironically more scientific compared to D&D magic. D&D magic feels fake and tacked-on, not holistic or believable at all. D&D magic doesn't feel like part of a living world, it feels obviously like a gaming convention. Simulating a genuinely living world would logically involve pre-modern magic, not D&D magic. I feel like that involves a lot of feelings and that feelings are highly subjective things. ...

Monday, 15th July, 2019

  • 02:22 PM - Celebrim quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Science in D&D
    Is there a simpler way to handle those sorts of things? No. The problem with an idea that isn't an implementation is that it can hide its complexity behind vagueness. It can make reasonable sounding suggestions which, when you unpack them, have a ton of complexity. "Speak With Animals" is a lesser version of the Tongues spells that just let's you speak in the languages of animals, and you could learn animal languages in a non-magical manner (as say Tarzan does) or as a result of magical gifts (as in the fairy tale "The White Snake). Fine, I'm way ahead of that. But I'm also way ahead of that on realistic languages as well and one thing I've discovered is that realistic language is bad for gaming, because realistic languages create communication barriers that limit RP - and ultimately RP is good for an RPG. In the real world you have thousands of languages occurring in a pathwork quilt. In a fantasy world you tend to have a few dozen languages and most people (and most beings) spea...

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019

  • 06:29 PM - Celebrim quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Science in D&D
    Not necessarily. Adding hidden variables to magic like environmental modifiers and character traits doesn't work in D&D because you don't roll to cast spells like you do skills and attacks. If you had to roll to cast spells, then you would be able to assign modifiers based on such hidden variables. I do it occasionally already, and had a concept in place for a very robust system well before this article was written. Were it not for the whole thing about gamabiilty I mentioned which is based on experience, I'd do it far more than I do. The way the system works is that spells have keyed descriptors like 'Fire' or 'Good' or whatever, and locations have descriptors as well that effect the caster level of the spell. So for example, an underwater cave might have Fire -3 and Water +3. A water spell cast in that environment would have +3 caster level, while a fire spell would have -3 caster level. If the caster level of the spell goes below the caster level required to cast the spell, you have ...

Tuesday, 9th July, 2019

  • 07:53 PM - 77IM quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Science in D&D
    There's an article pointing out how magic in D&D worlds operates according to weird pseudo-scientific rules that aren't consistent with how pre-modern societies imagined magic. This article is amazing and everyone should go read it right now.

Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019

  • 11:34 PM - Umbran quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    ​ The foundation of animism is “magical thinking,” or the belief that your thoughts can alter reality. Animism is the idea that material phenomena have agency. Your thoughts don't directly alter reality when reality has a mind of its own. Animism is more typified by... being able to convince the spirits to act upon your behalf or to leave you alone. It less about exerting your will upon the world, or that certain actions or thoughts have results with no clear mode of action - it is more about coming to an agreement (via negotiation, flattery, or intimidation) with particular parts of the world. Not that animism is just one thing, mind you. But if we have to make generalizations.

Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019

  • 10:39 PM - Tony Vargas quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Animism Animism is a simple concept: everything has a soul. It is believed to be the first religion and provides the underpinnings of all subsequent religion.Interestingly, it's also a stage in childhood development, or at least according to some theory that was explained to me many years ago... kids go through a phase where they experience empathy for inanimate objects, things like that. Maybe we're wired, as social creatures, to interact with eachother, and that wiring can color how we view the rest of the world? Modern paganism is another example of animism. As is the psychological tendency for humans to anthropomorphize inanimate objects and natural phenomena, which probably led to animistic religions in the first place. When you are talking to your car and gendering it, that is animism. When you believe that inanimate objects have power over reality, like lucky charms, that is animism.OK, yeah, you've heard that too. ;) It is extremely opaque to people who grew up under the Chri...

Friday, 28th June, 2019

  • 10:43 PM - aramis erak quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Saturn bases aren’t bad. Where I get confused is why there’s a need to go so far beyond urban fantasy. Scifi and cyberpunk are present from the start. WoD had an Cyberpunk element from Werewolf on... The Black Spiral Dancers represent embracing the new corporate paradigm. It was covert in Vampire... the extra few years and the rise of portable computing made Mage's Technocracy seem like the perfect reason for Mages to be hunted by Vampires, Werewolves (saving the BSD), and Fae. WoD sets up each of the supernatural types to be opposed to each of the other groups, and to factions within themselves. Combined campaigns can find a common enemy, while mono-type campaigns can find a common enemy within type... As a game artifice, it's brilliant. The game mechanics are decent, but simple. The archetypes are also plenty variable, providing for more playability. In short, it did like D&D: simple to play, plenty of support and plenty of conflict, in a kitchen sink crapsack world. It's fun t...
  • 07:42 PM - Tony Vargas quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    This is tangential, but I wanted to bring back that sort of atmosphere to the fantasy genre. Rather than treating magic like some weird super power apart from nature, I always thought it would make for a great setting to treat magic as the fantasy equivalent of science and technology. ... Although the use of the term "science" might give the wrong impression..."Knowledge," "Wisdom" or "Natural Philosophy" or, well, 'magic,' might be reasonable alternatives to 'science' in that context, to get away from the modern association with the scientific method and with technology.

Thursday, 27th June, 2019

  • 08:17 PM - Tony Vargas quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    OK, that's getting pretty constructive. While out of the box D&D over covers a specific set of archetypes, there's a bazillion 3pp that hacks the system to make new classes. Sure. It's the oldest RPG, and people have been trying to force it to do more since the very beginning - Murlynd, was an old-west wizard, Metamorphosis Alpha was written with D&D-ish rules. d20 was gasoline on that fire. But that's like, 45 years of chaos. The game, itself, if you go pick up 5e off the shelf, really hasn't changed or expanded all that much (to be fair, 5e is a bit of a re-boot). I skipping tons, I'll just pipe up when I think of something constructive to contribute. Ghosts' incongruous invisibility For whatever reason, ghosts seem to be less popular as PCs compared to vampires and such despite ghost stories making up a much larger volume of history and popular culture. Possibly it's because ghosts are, well, dead, not un-dead in a physically active way like Vampires, but dead, sometimes they're dep...

Tuesday, 25th June, 2019

  • 10:18 PM - Tony Vargas quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Sorry. I'm still prone to apoplexy whenever I see someone claiming World of Darkness is superior to Chronicles of Darkness. I guess I did say "better," but it was in the interest of humor and sarcasm. I /did/ like the crazy way the M:tA Paradigm rubric let you mash genres (to say the least), and didn't find it in the little I saw of M:tA*** - but I'd really already lost interest in Storyteller by the time the nWoD came out, so everything that followed - including all your obvious trauma** - wasn't on my radar. I also liked the idea, that the oWoD never really went for, of the non-supernatural world /seeming/ just like our own, that only once you get Embraced or Awakened or whatever, do you get to see behind the curtain. WWGS never quite went there, the oWoD was always "the Goth-Punk World," a darker reality with fictional evil corporations and whatnot that were just not-up-for-debate evil. And, y'know, flying buttresses on the local McDonalds.* I have my work cut out for me. I'll try to p...
  • 08:03 PM - Tony Vargas quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Can we please not get into those stupid vitriolic edition wars for the umpteenth time? Vitriolic? You clearly didn't read the post I wrote. ;P ...now, /sarcastic/ I'll cop to. are clearly metaphors for political fringes, fighting to take over the world and oppress everyone else. While not a bad idea in isolation, the toxic community thinks these jerks are supposed to be the heroes.Storyteller & the oWoD were very much a product of the 90s, which, ironically, in spite of being a rather pleasant period economically & by a number of other measures, sported pop culture rife with conspiracy theory. The idea of Vampires pulling the strings in every major city, Garou fighting a secret war with lovecraftian wyrm-monsters behind The Veil, and science/technology, themselves, being just one flavor of magic favored by the illuminati-style faction of wizards currently with the upper hand in a conspiracy-war as old as time, were all quite compatible with that end-of-history zeitgeist. Then history con...
  • 06:13 PM - TwoSix quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    But I digress. The point of this thread is to be constructive and creative, not to criticize everything I dislike about World of Darkness. Which is a lot. That said, I do give Mage in either iteration props for using a syntactic magic system (copied and modified from Ars Magica) and including "magical traditions" mechanics for players to personalize how their character performs magic. IMO it is vastly overshadowed by Spheres of Power, though. 3.X using the Spheres of Power classes wouldn't be a bad start for an urban fantasy game. You'd have to expand non-magical options and update equipment lists, but I think that would be possible by using a modified Spheres of Might system. (It's probably way too much work, but I'd love to see the SoP system adapted to the 5e chassis.)
  • 02:37 PM - Umbran quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Can we please not get into those stupid vitriolic edition wars for the umpteenth time? You would replace stupid vitriolic edition wars with a similar screed against the entire line as a whole? That is not an improvement. We get it. You don't like WoD. That's been made abundantly clear. Now what? Having gotten that across... what's the goal? What do you want to get out of this thread?

Monday, 24th June, 2019

  • 09:10 PM - Manbearcat quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Yes. Not only that, I'm interested in analyses and discussion of world building and themes. There is huge potential yet to be tapped here. I'm interested in challenging our conceptions of how monsters are supposed to work. Fiction like American Vampire and Dresden Files posit settings where multiple different types of, say, vampires and werewolves co-exist. Fiction like Lost Girl treats all monsters as essentially vampiric in nature, even if they feed on abstract concepts like dreams and anger. I'm interesting in analyzing what makes these monsters tick in our minds. What makes the different varieties of vampires identifiable as vampires? What makes the different werewolves identifiable? For example, both Vampire: The Masquerade and Feed use the internal struggle between humanity and vampirism as a thematic conflict. Werewolves are liminal beings, existing between human and animal yet gaining supernatural insight and knowledge from this. I'm interested in exploring less popular and more esoteric ...
  • 07:52 PM - Tony Vargas quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Saturn bases aren’t bad. Where I get confused is why there’s a need to go so far beyond urban fantasy. Scifi and cyberpunk are present from the start.Sci-fi for two of the 9 Traditions and 2-3 of the 5 Conventions (depending on how far the Progenitors are taking it in the story, and the Syndicate & NWO don't need to go there, at all) - cyberpunk for only one of each. In no one plays a Virtual Adept or tangles with It-X, no cyberpunk. No SoE or Void Engineers, no space opera. You might get some Tom Clancy level sci-fi from the Progenitors or James Bond gadgets from the NWO, but on the PC side, you have 7 traditions & the Hollow Ones using non-technological magick. If you /just/ want magic along the lines of Harry Potter to Harry Dresden, you're down to the Order of Hermes (and maybe the Verbena), but you /coould/ restrict your story like that, if you wanted. In Mage: The Ascension they are, but not in Mage: The Awakening. One of many things that was better about the oWoD. ;P No pr...
  • 07:14 PM - dbm quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    I'm interested in exploring less popular and more esoteric ideas. That definitely says to me that you want a toolkit or generic system that will let you game a lot of different scenarios. Finding an existing game for an esoteric niche is likely to be as easy as finding a winning lottery ticket.
  • 03:23 PM - Aldarc quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Ah ok. (I’m asking this out of a position of ignorance) So when someone refers to “Urban Fantasy” in TTRPGing, are they referring to “a malleable game/system without a tight play premise baked in so it can be drifted to (say) the modern focus of ‘paranormal romance’ or something similar?”In the context of the OP? I would say, yes, that appears to be the case: Of the urban fantasy games that have come out in the last three decades or so, the one that seems to dominate the market is World of Darkness. Well, that and Shadowrun. I could be wrong, that's the impression I get. What sets World of Darkness apart from something like Dungeons & Dragons, All Flesh Must be Eaten, Urban Shadows, Monsterhearts, or Feed is that it isn't a "generic" game which supports a variety of settings. It has a three decade old convoluted comic-book style continuity baked in. The less said about the mechanics the better. Especially the superpowers. It you want my opinion at its most succinct, then I believe a mechani...


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