Games with "terrible" follow-up editions

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
[out-of-left-field-tangent]But if Saul Zaentz owned the Ars Magica IP, a lawsuit would surely have followed... see his lawsuit against John Fogerty for infringing on the sound and song styles of Creedence Clearwater Revival.[/tangent]
I had never heard of this lawsuit before! Good grief, that's an abuse of our legal system if I ever heard one (no pun intended).
 

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eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
Oh and another game: World of Darkness D20. HILARIOUS adaption.
Good one!

This one I don't think was as "controversial" since it didn't replace anything it was just kinda a one and done book.

But I love the idea that Monte Cook went "hold my beer" and showed us the world of darkness we really wanted.

A supernatural post-apocalypse Minneapolis.
 

DarkCrisis

Legend
Good one!

This one I don't think was as "controversial" since it didn't replace anything it was just kinda a one and done book.

But I love the idea that Monte Cook went "hold my beer" and showed us the world of darkness we really wanted.

A supernatural post-apocalypse Minneapolis.
Where the player monsters all got along. Want a group of A werewolf, vampire, and a mage? Done.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
Where the player monsters all got along. Want a group of A werewolf, vampire, and a mage? Done.
And you guys all went down to one of the 10,000 lakes, ate some salt cod and Minnesota hot dish and you were best friends forever.

PS. And then, you guys all went down to see the Vikings be the best football team to ever football. SKOL!

It really is just glorious.

It's kind of like if White Wolf made Milwaukee By Night their default setting or something. The jokes just write themselves.

Note: You cannot convince me that hot dish isn't just a casserole with tater tots in it. Many Minnesotan friends have tried.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
And you guys all went down to one of the 10,000 lakes, ate some salt cod and Minnesota hot dish and you were best friends forever.

PS. And then, you guys all went down to see the Vikings be the best football team to ever football. SKOL!

It really is just glorious.

It's kind of like if White Wolf made Milwaukee By Night their default setting or something. The jokes just write themselves.

Note: You cannot convince me that hot dish isn't just a casserole with tater tots in it. Many Minnesotan friends have tried.
Oh yah, and then you can go over to the Lutheran's for the lukefish bake if you have a strong enough stomach.
 

I was just looking into, and discussing in a different thread, about the latest edition of Shadowrun and how it seems to have not been well received by alot of people who played the previous edition. Which got me thinking (a rare occurrence, natch). What other games* have had editions that a not insignificant amount of the existing player-base at the time vocally rejected?

*I'm not gonna say don't talk about D&D editions in this thread, but I don't really wanna get bogged down in debating minutiae of how one edition handled cart laden encumbrance etc, or general edition warring.

View attachment 156700
Yeah from the thread title I was like "Well Shadowrun..."

And specifically I'd say every Shadowrun edition after 3rd has provoked a lot of "this sucks..." with some good reason. I definitely regret being talked into running 5E a few years ago.

Other notables from my experience:

1) The "Revised" editions of the World of Darkness the very late '90s.

Pretty much every "Revised" WoD setting was "the downer version", of what was already a fairly depressing group of settings, and the rules of certainly Mage and Vampire (I don't know about Werewolf) were revised to match - everyone was less capable with their supernatural powers, everything was harder to do and less cool. There was this memorable post which I attributed to Justin Achilli for years but I'm no longer sure that's true, on the then-White Wolf site, which basically amounted to "You guys were having badwrongfun, so we changed the lore and rules so you can't have badwrongfun anymore! Welcome to Revised!".

Which was very actually kind of hilariously in-tune with a lot of the unfortunate zeitgeist in RPGs in general back then - the attempt to force people into playing games certain ways to avoid "badwrongfun" and the demented idea that this was legitimate. I think it's notable that the term emerged shortly thereafter, sometime seemingly after about 2000 but before 2004.

This would be like D&D's designers deciding anyone who played anything but Good-aligned groups who crawled dungeons was "doing it wrong", and actively changes both the settings and rules to try and convince everyone that D&D is solely about Good-aligned groups killing orcs in 10' wide corridors, and nothing else. Roleplaying? Sandbox? Scenarios? Non-Good PCs? Down with all of that! Oh and simultaneously making every class worse at everything at the same time to boot!

2) Cybergeneration and Cyberpunk V3.

I'm sure someone has mentioned these masterpieces of accidental (?) trolling (haven't read back through the thread yet).

Cyberpunk 2020 was one of the most beloved RPGs of the 1990s, to the point where CDPR spend $120m and nearly five years making a videogame inspired by it (albeit that kind of ended in tears). But it seems like Mike and the crew just got bored as hell with 2020 by the middle of the 1990s, and whilst no-one could accuse them of "phoning it in" with the last two adventures for 2020, and it went out with a (very literal) bang, they clearly wanted to be done. The amount of teeth-grinding you can hear behind Mike putting one (1) new gun in the gun book is hilarious, and even as far back as Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads it was clear Mike was not super-happy with the sheer amount of badwrongfun people were having (Mike got there earlier than others). Why have you taken Mike's RPG about trying to live some kind of life in the dark future, struggling to survive, make art, make a statement, and turned it into "CYBERSLAUGHTER '93", people, why?

So anyway Mike came back at us with Cybergeneration. A bizarrely 1970s-vibing RPG, despite very modern art, where hordes of latchkey kids (mostly aged 14-18, but I think you could play younger) all broke up into these bizarrely sharp-edged tribes (which, frankly, were utterly alien to any experience of childhood I've ever come across - in reality kids are always a complex venn diagram of such groups), and got nanite-based superpowers. Surely us numbskulls couldn't turn this into Cyberslaughter '94, right? I mean, the efforts were strong. It was very hard to get weapons, the game was really designed to be about sabotage and evasion, not killing (the "blaster"-type superpowers were basically tasers, for example), and yeah, perhaps Cyberslaughter '94 was avoided. But at what cost, Mike, at what cost? The cost being a game that was, well, pretty implausible and boring, especially to what might be presumed to be the target audience. I was 15 when it came out, the same age as the characters, and whilst we gave it a good go, and I really liked the visual style, it didn't work for us, and doesn't seem to have been at all popular generally.

V3 was the real kicker though.

From the mid-90s to 2005 seemed to be an eternity (oh to be young!), and people had been scared that there might never be a new/updated Cyberpunk. V3 was some perfect "and the monkey's paw curled" for all of us wanting that update. A bizarre mess from top to bottom, with terrible art (B&W photos of action figures...), a setting which was deep post-cyberpunk weirdness/boringness, and basically just pressed "delete" on both 2020 and Cybergeneration, and terrible vague rules to boot, when cyberpunk-genre games thrive on precision. Not so much controversial as roundly hated. I'd say it was the Alien3 of Cyberpunk, but it was even less liked than that.

Thankfully Cyberpunk Red basically says "Oooops, forget that!" and basically does "Cyberpunk 2020 II: This time we made the guns vague so you can't be obsessed with them", and is basically a solid game.

3) Traveller: The New Era

Whilst Umbran talked about 4E and edition wars earlier, 4E just was like the WW1 of edition wars, but games had had edition wars before, just never on that industrialized scale. As soon as I started playing RPGs, aged 10/11, I started getting edition-war talk. With 2E AD&D I was told I'd "bought the wrong edition" by a 1E player, for example, and he proceeded to tell me how awful it was - sadly I forget the details but I remember checking them and finding them to be untrue.

Traveller: The New Era was the second real edition-war I was on "the wrong side of". We'd heard about Traveller, and here was this new, cool, colourful, accessible-looking version of Traveller for us to buy! Great! Right?

Wrong! Well apparently. As soon as the internet arrived it was apparent that TNE was a "crime against Traveller" than no-one could possibly love. At least according to a lot of fans. Ooof. By then we had quite a lot of stuff for it too. Eventually I decided I didn't like it either - primarily because it utterly idolizes and lionizes space-imperialists (the Space Vikings), who, as I got older, I realized were likely not actually good people, no matter how many times the game insisted they were, given what they were doing.

4) SAGA - Both the Marvel Superheroes Adventure Game and Dragonlance.

Switching a setting literally based on D&D (Dragonlance) to a non-D&D rules-set was probably not the greatest move in history. I sympathize because Hickman/Weis had already totally ruined the setting, including doing weird stuff to magic, so doing a game for it was always going to be an uphill struggle, but really, it wasn't a good plan.

MSHAG on the other hand was a pretty great idea given FASERIP had lain forgotten for a long time at that point. It was modern, punchy, playable, and felt like a comic-book game, unlike 90% of superhero RPGs of the era (special shout-out to Champions and GURPS Supers for providing superhero games with actual negative superhero flavour, that literally felt like the opposite of a superhero game). But FASERIP was a really solid system, and this wasn't clearly better, and card-based resolution just doesn't please a lot of people, so no-one loved it.

SAGA was thus not popular.

I feel like I'm missing something pretty big here, but those are the ones I remember right now. Also can't remember whether it was 2E or 3E of Exalted that was a total car-crash, but it was one of them.
 
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eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
A bizarre mess from top to bottom, with terrible art (B&W photos of action figures...)
Whatever do you mean?

cyberpunkv3.png
 


eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
God it's somehow worse than I remembered.
The best part about this is that apparently this cost Mike Pondsmith a bunch of money, like alot alot.

I remember, god, this would have been like 15 years ago or something. A bunch of people were making fun of it online somewhere saying how cheap it looked and Mike showed up and told them that all that cost him like 15K or whatever to do.

Which, in addition to being even more hilarious, absolutely blew my mind.
 

The best part about this is that apparently this cost Mike Pondsmith a bunch of money, like alot alot.

I remember, god, this would have been like 15 years ago or something. A bunch of people were making fun of it online somewhere saying how cheap it looked and Mike showed up and told them that all that cost him like 15K or whatever to do.

Which, in addition to being even more hilarious, absolutely blew my mind.
My mind is also blown by this. Back in 2005, the amount of highly professional art you could get for $15000 was, uh, very significant. That was like enough to basically hire an artist full time for multiple months. I suspect now, thanks to videogames and films snapping up so many of the artists who would previously have worked on this sort of thing it might not get you so far, but still jeez.

So we have an intentional decision to blow like, what, probably double the art budget of main 2020 book or more, on photos of dolls. Was this Pondsmith's idea or did someone convince him, "Monorail"-style?
 

Scottius

Explorer
From what I recall Shadowrun 20th immediately and totally replaced the previous version of 4e for everyone I knew. Didn't they also re-organize the whole thing too, in addition to incorporating errata and just being a much more handsome book?
The 20th Anniversary Edition was definitely a major upgrade compared to the original 4th edition printing. It's been a while since I reread the monochrome version but from what I recall the rules were largely consistent but the errata was included as well as more content, better examples and clarity.
Book organization is an issue - I get along better with the DC Adventures book as a quicker reference on MnM 3 than the main line rulebook. I also like the breakout of two of the uber stats into sub-stats.

That said, the big change in MnM editions, I thought, was 1e to 2e. In 1e, I'd have pegged MnM as being at a midpoint between superhero games like Champions (power component point buy) and Villains and Vigilantes (pre-defined powers). The powers were bought with points but incorporated broader power definitions and effects bought with the same power. It's one of the aspects of MnM that really sold me on the game. 2e pushed it more into the Champions direction.
1st Edition M&M was a fun system, the comparison to V&V is an apt one I feel. At the time I was skeptical about a d20 based super hero system being any good but it was 2e that blew me away by giving me everything I wanted out of Champions character creation wise while having a system that I found and much easier and more fun to run at the table.
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
Good one!

This one I don't think was as "controversial" since it didn't replace anything it was just kinda a one and done book.

But I love the idea that Monte Cook went "hold my beer" and showed us the world of darkness we really wanted.

A supernatural post-apocalypse Minneapolis.
Apart from Star Wars, which as a licenced game probably didn't need the hassle of two companies publishing competing versions, did any of the D20 versions of IP replace an established game entirely? I know D20 Traveller overlapped with both GURPS and Hero Traveller (whether people consider those "real" Traveller or not), and most of the others I know of still kept the original versions around. Even 7th Sea, although new material for that appeared in their D20 Swashbuckling Adventures line.

And having actually thought about T20, I think I'd argue that the 2320 rules that took the 2300AD timeline forward and converted the system to D20 might be one of the oddest "new editions" of all;
 



Devoid of other context, the idea of playing young teens in a Lord of the Flies-style cyberpunk setting with minimal access to weaponry sounds kinda cool. Is it Cyberpunk 2020? Probably not. But the idea of a cyberpunk version of Kids on Bikes, that I could dig.

So anyway Mike came back at us with Cybergeneration. A bizarrely 1970s-vibing RPG, despite very modern art, where hordes of latchkey kids (mostly aged 14-18, but I think you could play younger) all broke up into these bizarrely sharp-edged tribes (which, frankly, were utterly alien to any experience of childhood I've ever come across - in reality kids are always a complex venn diagram of such groups), and got nanite-based superpowers. Surely us numbskulls couldn't turn this into Cyberslaughter '94, right? I mean, the efforts were strong. It was very hard to get weapons, the game was really designed to be about sabotage and evasion, not killing (the "blaster"-type superpowers were basically tasers, for example), and yeah, perhaps Cyberslaughter '94 was avoided. But at what cost, Mike, at what cost? The cost being a game that was, well, pretty implausible and boring, especially to what might be presumed to be the target audience. I was 15 when it came out, the same age as the characters, and whilst we gave it a good go, and I really liked the visual style, it didn't work for us, and doesn't seem to have been at all popular generally.
 

Devoid of other context, the idea of playing young teens in a Lord of the Flies-style cyberpunk setting with minimal access to weaponry sounds kinda cool. Is it Cyberpunk 2020? Probably not. But the idea of a cyberpunk version of Kids on Bikes, that I could dig.
Yeah, I mean we bought it for a reason. It sounded totally rad to us, all being 14-16 at the time!

It wasn't really Lord of the Flies, though, because it was post-Cyberpunk, but a very much superficially cleaner/safer setting than 2020, and all the edgerunners were dead, retired or settled down. The corporations run the government and take "unproductive" people to camps and so on and it was more a combination of the worst government elements of Singapore and China, but in California, and less anarchist hell-hole.

It was trying too hard to be both The X-Men (or at least The New Mutants) and to be a sort of Kids on Bikes thing, trying to sort of imply you were both underground/homeless and also not, and in fact latchkey kids - like a lot of what was going on just couldn't possibly make sense if you were a homeless kid - most of it even.

I think what really put us off was the YoGangs. There were a lot of them - way more than Cyberpunk classes - nearly 30 I think. And these were the subculture your character was from, and it was just completely not believable to us, as young people, that people would be in like these perfectly delineated little subcultures, totally cut off from the others, and the subcultures themselves didn't really make sense, because like, the game treated them as if they were 24-7 things, but that's just not how life works. It was more like an adult who watches too much kids TV thinks life works or something. Especially as they were treated as little societies. It just didn't fit with anything else about the setting either. If they'd framed it totally differently and made it more like "What's your kid's main interest/skillset", maybe, but literally frame it is as these little societies/cultures.

EDIT - Also the backstory of how you got your powers didn't really add up, because it seemed like it would be too location-specific/one-off (this also meant it could only be set in and around Night City).

And I think this was what kind of killed it - the setting a lot of individually good/cool ideas, but they put together in this way that just defied belief (again especially to us, kids of exactly the age it was about - like we couldn't see ourselves or even a version of ourselves in any of the subcultures - certainly not any single one).

It could have been saved with some reworking, but it just wasn't very well-conceived. Decent art at least, unlike some!
 


aramis erak

Legend
@aramis erak, Would you please tell me what is it you like about L5R 5E? Also, are there any bits you don't like?

Just to give you an idea of where I'm coming from:

I really like L5R 3E despite that it's almost unplayable. I mean, it is unplayable without some heavy house ruling. But I managed to play a few enjoyable mini campaigns of it. I guess I like the feel of it.
I'll address 3E first: my houserules for 3E are really short... one house minor added to the Crane Clan. Any others would be unintentional misinterpretations. I found it imminently playable as written... but also, I had players who actually wrote down their specials from high skills.

3E also had raises purely as a press your luck before the roll; I found that playable. Several of my players over the years disliked that, and I am not overly fond of it, but it kept the bushi in check....

So my likes of 5E probably won't match yours.

First, with 5E, I love the reduction to just the 5 rings. while it loses some granularity, it's easily enough handled to import older characters. And the scale is slightly different... but not enough to be a problem.

I also love the roll (Ring×■)+(Skill×⬠)keep(1 to ring), especially the stress system. Backlash is always a choice now; it is no longer merely bad luck. It's a "I need this spell now, and it's going to suck, but let's have it..." Failure can be chosen if the price in stress is too high...

I also love that raises/pushes have become after-the-roll; while 3E was quite playable, it discouraged risky and outlandishly swashbuckly type action. 5E encourages it, via the Opportunity spending mechanics.

A number of other elements
  • I prefer the much broader choice of abilities within schools. They no longer feel like classes, and do feel like schools - not every member has the same abilities.
  • I prefer the less limited magic.
  • I like that magic works like any other talent.
  • Combat can be even more brutal...
  • The dueling is simpler to run, and more tempting for others to interfere (at risk of honor and glory).
  • The art is better and more thematic, but only a bit.
  • I can run a 50-on-8 battle without feeling like I need to break out Clan War to prevent it from taking two sessions. (yes, that was minions... 10 squads of goblins vs 8 PCs. Took about 2 hours. did not go well for the goblins, and it was hard on a couple PCs)
  • I like the battle system, but it's a conceptually different approach from 3E's... 3E is about what happens to you as a warrior; 5e is you as a commander or non-squaddie hero. That is a HUGE change of perspective.
  • I like the various conflict types with proper systems to support them.
  • I like the reset of the setting to 1st ed's...
  • my players (many of whom are LGBTQA*) love that it's a setting that is (now) LGBTQA* friendly...
  • the game plays faster than Star Wars, especially since the dice to be rolled are entirely from the PC's sheet most of the time. (FFG SW uses difficullty as dice added to the pool, while L5R5E uses fixed difficulty in needed successes, and sometimes, needed opportunity, as a particular target might require spends to hit.)
My 3E stuff isn't for sale, but it's likely not going to see play again. If I had players ask for it, I might run it again... but, somehow, I doubt that's going to happen.
 

aramis erak

Legend
According to rpg.net it includes some Hero/Champions and Cyberpunk, and Victoriana 1e, Usagi Yojimbo 1e, Dragonball Z, Sengoku, Bubblegum Crisis, Teenagers From Outer Space, and a few others.
What RPG.net generally doesn't mention is that most of the games stick to one side or the other, few finding the middle ground. Sengoku is very much Hero-light. Friends tell me DBZ is very much on the Interlock side, tho' not really CP2020.
 

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