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Baulderstone last won the day on February 4 2016

Baulderstone had the most liked content!


  • RPG Biography
    I've been gaming since 1983 in over 50 systems. The BRP games I have the most experience with are Runequest, Stormbringer and Call of Cthulhu
  • Current games
    Delta Green beta, Runequest 6, Hillfolk, Shadows of Esteren, Savage Worlds
  • Location
    Waretown, NJ
  • Blurb
    Primarily a GM, I a game mostly online these days via Google Hangout.

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  1. I remember that GURPS Cyberpunk emphasized the value of "social engineering" and dumpster diving in hacking. It is a good way to add variety to what could otherwise just be a series of dice rolls while using a computer.
  2. We are talking about a genre where people plug skills into the their brains like software. I think it is reasonable for cyberpunk characters to an "unrealistic" base of skills to draw upon.
  3. I've come to the conclusion that hacking rules need to be simple and abstracted. Having a hacker play a whole long scene in cyberspace while they sit and watch is never fun. You can always try to cut back forth between the hacker and the party, but that is iffy. If the pacing works perfectly, it's great, but you can't guarantee it will line up well without railroading. This issue of hackers sucking outside of cyberspace doesn't need to be an issue in BRP. You aren't playing a class, so you can easily be good at shooting people as well. Without classes, there isn't any reason you couldn't have everyone be of some degree of use in cyberspace as well. If it is important to have full, detailed scenes in cyberspace, have a variety of niches players can fill, just like in physical combat. Someone is good at infiltrating networks. Another guy is good at shutting down security bots and/or rival users that are opposing them. Someone else is good at whipping up scripts to make infiltrated systems do what they want. Then you have someone on defense, blocking counter attacks aimed at the PCs system. There is no real reason why everyone can't have something to do in both the real world and cyberspace.
  4. Interestingly, when William Gibson and Ridley Scott met, they talked about how they were both largely drawing visual inspiration from Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal) Magazine, particularly Moebius' work. It should be mentioned that the short stories "Johnny Mnemonic" and "Burning Chrome" by GIbson were written before him seeing Blade Runner. "Johnny Mnemonic" came out a year earlier, and "Burning Chrome" was published earlier in the month that "Blade Runner" was released. Both stories are set in the same world as Neuromancer and even feature some of the same characters. They are truly cyberpunk. Cyber-enhanced assassins, cyberspace runs, its all there. I had the good fortune to get some time talking to Gibson and Sterling when they were on a signing tour for The Difference Engine. There was a huge snowstorm, and I was one of the only people that showed up at the bookstore for a signing. Gibson was very forthcoming about his influences. One big influence I haven't seen mentioned here is Alfred Bester. Bester's novels aren't cyberpunk, but you can easily see how GIbson was influenced by them. The one that he really emphasized was Thomas Pynchon. At eighteen, I hadn't even heard of him at the time. Fortunately, we were talking in a bookstore, so I was able grab a copies of <i>Gravity's Rainbow</i> and <i>The Crying of Lot 49</i>. I struggled with them at first, but once I got into them, they both became favorites of mine. Interestingly, Gibson was completely uninterested in Philip K. Dick. I can believe it. Though they touch on similar themes at times, they are very different writers. As for Blade Runner, aside from its look, I don't really consider it to be cyberpunk. The book was closer to being cyberpunk, yet it wasn't either. While Blade Runner is a great movie, once you get past the look of it, it's a very traditional science-fiction story. There isn't much to the story that wasn't already addressed in the the 1920 play RUR, which gave us the term "robot". The book is a lot more complex. Well, there is is that whole part in Neuronmancer where Case is trapped in a false virtual world by an AI. One thing that makes cyberpunk hard to define is the line some fans have put up between cyberpunk and transhumanist science fiction, which is a division that the original cyberpunk authors seem to have ignored. Sterling's early cyberpunk work included the Shaper/Mechanist stories, where mankind has split between factions evolving themselves by either cybernetic or genetic engineering. On the whole, the authors that were labeled as cyberpunk early on had a less limited view of what cyberpunk was than gamers did later on. Most gamers I have met have never really read much in the way of stories by Gibson, Sterling or John Shirley. They are working purely from RPGs that came later. Of course, an RPG needs to more specific to model a particular setting rather than a whole literary movement. But, none of this is really helpful to rsanford, so let me get back to the point. Think CP2020 is probably a good choice. I owned the original edition just called Cyberpunk, which was set in 2013. It's on the over-the-top end of the cyberpunk genre, but that isn't a bad thing at all for an RPG. I also like the various GURPS Cyberpunk books as well. They had a very good grasp of the genre. They also have the notoriety of causing the Secret Service to raid Steve Jackson Games. I never really cared for Shadowrun. I only bought books for it during first edition, then gave up on it. It's built tightly around the concept of freelance teams doing dirty work for corporations. At the end of each job, their corporate patron screws them over. The book actually said to always do this, and every adventure I bought for it adhered to this model. A larger problem I had with it was that mixing magic and cyberpunk seemed like a colossal case of not getting it. Magic in Shadowrun involves the Astral Plane, and is kind of a parallel the Matrix, Shadowrun's version of cyberspace. My issue here is that, going back to Gibson, he was clearly already playing with magical symbolism. He called his first novel Neuromancer. The rogue AI's in the sprawl series act like voodoo loa at times. There is a feeling of spiritual yearning attached to characters interaction with technology. Rather than explore the technology as magic vibe, they throw them both in the same setting, completely undermining the almost mystical feel of technology in cyberpunk. In cyberpunk, cyberware and cyberspace are a way the people in a dingy world try and aspire to existing on a higher place. It's like a kind of magic. In Shadowrun, cyberware inhibits your ability to use magic.
  5. It was always 'The Chaosium System' to my group back in the '80s, perhaps because the other company house system we knew was 'The Palladium System'. My first three RPGs were all TSR: D&D, Gamma World, and Star Frontiers. All three had a unique system, so the concept of a house system wasn't something I automatically expected. It was boxed set era too, so you couldn't just browse through the book and notice it. The fact that Stormbringer, Runequest, Call of Cthulhu and Ringworld were all "the same game" was a slow reveal to us. Palladium never did boxed sets, so it was immediately clear they were all the same system, if no other reason that all portions literally copied and pasted from one another. I honestly can't recall ever seeing the BRP name. Maybe I came across it, but it was just too generic to register as an actual brand. "What are you playing?" "Basic Roleplaying." "Yes, I can see you are roleplaying, but what game?" Basic Roleplaying is a flat, unexciting name, but it isn't actively bad. I think trying to rebrand would do more harm than good at this point. Ultimately, it's continued success is going to depend on the game released using the system. Focusing on the system as a brand too much might have held BRP back, as it might have encourage more out-of-the box compatibility instead of bending the system to each game. I think D20 is simply the result of corporate committee thinking. They made a big list of things that people wanted in D&D, and they shoved them all well, whether they fit well with the other things on the list or not. People liked skill systems, but the class/level system was still a sacred cow to many. You got a skill system where your skill were linked to your class and could only rise so high based on your level. That added a lot of complexity to character generation for very little freedom. People wanted more customization. People felt characters leveled too slowly. They decided to fix both these things. They added Feats, and Class Abilities and Skills, and they made space between level gain much shorter. The result was overkill for casual players with characters being saddled with too many new abilities too quickly. Another disconnect was Prestige Classes. Adding cool specialized classes that you could move into later was a cool idea. However, it clashed with the fact that the whole system had otherwise designed to open up player choices. Prestige Classes had strict requirements for entry. You needed to pick out the Prestige Class you wanted at character generation, then every character progression choice you made was dictated by getting to that Prestige Class. The whole character generation and progression process was made a lot more complicated to give you choices, then Prestige Classes were thrown in there to trap players into strict path. Organic character growth based on events of the campaign was discouraged. Then there were monsters and NPCs. Someone had the idea early on to make monsters work just like PCs. Great idea! Except that idea clashed with the fact they had just made PCs incredibly more detailed and complicated. Just statting up a room full of orcs became a chore. Moving onto Pathfinder, obviously part of Paizo's success was based on rejection of 4E. I also think a big part of it was that they had a better understanding of how to help GMs. WotC didn't give a damn about GMs during the 3E era. They had crunched the numbers and realized that there were more players than GMs, so why bother making things for GMs? Just keep cranking out books loaded with Prestige Classes and Feats every month, not really thinking through the fact that players really only can use so many build options over the course a of a campaign. WotC made a half-assed effort at making a few modules early on, but otherwise didn't show a lot of interest in giving GMs things to run. This was a real issue as the 3E, as it made being a GM much harder, as NPCs were so much more complicated to build and run. Paizo, with it's license for Dungeon, was knocking it our of the park with its adventure paths. While WotC was making books that were jumble of new mechanics for an already complicated game, like Sandstorm, Paizo was making things that a GM could just read and use at the table with relative ease. I think that earned them a lot of goodwill with GMs that came in handy when they released Pathfinder.
  6. You just mentioned them both in the same sentence! You've doomed us all!
  7. Sure, but people casually looking are usually looking for the latest, current edition, not looking for the last edition they have heard of minus one. That's a fairly contrived issue. This is the best stated form of the issue so far. We live in an age where games live and die based on Internet fan support. Looking up that support on the Internet requires clear tagging and clear search terms. Currently, we have a situation where the book itself will simply say "Runequest", which will be the obvious term you use to search for resources. On the other hand, we already have a character sheet in the resource section here for "RQ4". What newcomer is going to connect that character sheet to the book they just bought?
  8. I'm not going to bet against MD. I want this project to succeed. Rick Meints seems pretty capable, even if I think the naming thing is kind of ridiculous. Mainly, I am not a fan of the idea that only people that have designed a role-playing game are qualified to have an opinion on them. I sold RPGs at the retail level for six years, so I feel fairly knowledgeable about the kind of things customers can get hung up on.
  9. Then again, Chaosium and Runequest aren't brands with the most spotless business history. Just sayin'.
  10. If you have to understand the history of a product line to understand why a name isn't confusing, then it's too confusing.
  11. I think that Fate Points (in the Fate System sense of the term) are intertwined with a Virtue/Flaw system. You need traits that are both positive and negative, which skills aren't particularly useful for. If you want to understand the term "narrativism", you need to understand its context by also understanding what the terms "gamist" and "simiulationist" mean in the GNS model. Once you see how stupid the GNS model is, you will never want to use the term narrativist again. For a game to be gamist, there needs to be set win conditions, and there need to balance between all PCs and their opponents. Almost no RPGs fit this category. A narrativist game is one is which the PC have defined motives, and it is the GMs job to put those motives in conflict. If a PC is a samarai dedicated to his lord and his family, it is the GMs job to create a situation where his lord orders him to kill his son. Ron Edwards declares the purpose of this is to create situations where there can be no set narrative, as they revolve around unpredicatable choices by players. Yes. Narrativism means a game with no clear narrative. Simulationism is any game that emulates a genre or source. It's so enormously broad a category as to be useless. Toon and Runequest sit side-by-side in this category. In fact, almost every RPG ever made fits in this one category. It's because the only purpose of this model is to show that narrativism is the only real form of role-playing, so it dumps all other games in one meaningless category. As a rule, taking about story in games or narrative in games can be useful, buy once add that -ism on there, you are getting into some flawed terminology.
  12. I wouldn't consider any of those things to be narrative elements. A characters mental state is an actual thing within the game. Corruption is an actual thing. Combat maneuvers are actions the PC carries out. Narrative elements occur on a meta level. An example is Preparedness skill in GUMSHOE, where you can use it to pull something out of your backpack that you hadn't previously decided you had. It's a kind of tinkering on the authorial level to change the story. Hero Points could be seen as narrative too, granting plot immunity to the PCs for being the main characters. You can define Hero Points in a non-narrative way though. If you declare them to the favor of the gods, for example, they now represent a force acting within the game world.
  13. I don't think a generic modern book is needed at all. I agree it would date quickly. In any case, it's not like CoC is that detailed a system. The 1920s are still within the modern era with guns, cars and telecommunications. You can use the same basic shooting and driving rules without issue, and communications, whether by telegram or Twitter, don't really require a great deal of mechanical support. Call of Cthulhu is also more of an implied setting than a specific setting. While Delta Green has specific NPCs and organizations carrying out specific plans that the PCs can be involved in. Call of Cthulhu has always been much looser. It gives you rules for Lovecraftian monsters and magic, then lets you decide how to use them in the era you are playing in. If Chaosium wanted to do a modern setting book, it would need to be something along the line of Delta Green where it presented a specific campaign model. I'm not saying such a thing is absolutely needed though. It's just the only kind of modern setting book that seems interesting to me. As for future supplements, I'd like to see something new. I haven't gotten around to picking up 7E. It's not any form of protest. I just haven't felt motivated to at this point. Updated versions of adventures that I already have aren't going to motivate me. Something new that gets everyone excited might get me interested.
  14. That's fair enough. I mostly play by Google Hangout these days.
  15. Same here. I used to lament most of my favorite games languishing in the shadow of D&D, but now, I simply don't care. As long my games survive, I am fine with them remaining a niche. I'm not concerned about the matter. Nothing about the current design team makes me think that they looking to sacrifice flavor for maximum appeal.
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