Prime Evil

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Prime Evil last won the day on August 5 2016

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About Prime Evil

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  • Current games
    Mongoose RQ II, BNRP, CoC
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    Sydney, Australia
  1. Thanks! I was just playing around, but I'm sure that I could convert the entire OQ SRD to this format with a bit of work. I'll probably wait until Newt releases the revised version though. I might be tempted to do a custom version with a few of my house rules...
  2. How about something like the attached sample? I've just mocked up a sample page from the OQ2 SRD for fun The embedded font is EB Garamond (which is available under an open license thanks to the Google Fonts project). Sample Page.pdf
  3. But what about those of us who already own everything? Can you give us something new to buy?
  4. This looks interesting. I really like the attitude towards the Gods. It reminds me of the attitude in Kij Johnson's recent Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe (which takes place in Lovecraft's Dreamlands). Here is how she describes the Gods of the Dreamlands: "The gods of the dream-realms were vicious, angry, and small. History was filled with tales of their irrational rages and disproportionate vengeances, of cities buried in poisonous ash, of garden-lands laid waste. Annihilation. In her far-travelling days, she had walked in god-blasted wastelands. There were so many of them: a transparent plain that was a city buried in glass, the buildings intact and perfectly visible beneath her feet, but the bodies gone except for stained hollows in their shapes. An obsidian cliff a mile high where there had been farmland and fishing villages a scarce year before. Gardens turned to ash and poison, islands sunk. Once, she had found a child’s gold anklet, half-melted and still encircling a small, charred bone. There had been a charm hanging from the ring: Let no thing harm me. Everywhere, signs of the gods and their intemperate, petty angers." Vellitt Boe is worried that an angry god might blast Ulthar and discusses her fears with the Preist Nahst: Ulthar’s narrow streets and pretty squares, its houses and halls and temples: all blasted by god-fire and melted to slag, to glass; and its people—the students and wool merchants, the grocers and stable masters and dressmakers and every one of them—all food for carrion beasts and ghouls....because it is what gods did: destroy things and people. Nasht had been silent, watching her expressions; now he spoke. “Ulthar and more. Nir and Hatheg, and all the plains of the River Skai, even....perhaps Ulthar and the rest are just ants under the feet of fighting drunkards. Or perhaps a hate-filled god revels in destruction and pain, and causes it however he may. Veline, I’ve served them for twenty years, and I know little more than you.” She said with a tight laugh, “I was taught to worship them, but how can I? How can any reasonable person? Mathematics does no harm, at least.” “Worship? Is that what we do?” Nasht tipped his glass, watching the lamplight spangle through the wine. “We placate them, that’s all.” In this work - one of the better examples of recent Lovecraftian fiction - even seemingly peaceful areas show signs of divine wrath: Summer was ending, and the first gingkos flared brilliant yellow against the green of those garden lands. This was gentle country, comparatively free of great beasts, so the farms and orchards were large. The air that blew across the deck was rich with the smells of ripening fruit and grain. She had not come this way in years, but the landmarks came back to her: now a red-tiled riverside inn, now the acres of reedy backwater called Bakken, now the hillside orchards, a boatyard, a silver-walled temple, a misshapen oak tree isolated in a ploughed field and bound tightly in chains. But there were also differences: a swath of fields had been burnt to the ground and the soil scarred the dark blue that indicated divine fire; and the water downstream was for many miles stained black as tea. I haven't seen anyone do this approach in a mainstream fantasy RPG. In most cases, the relationship between deities and their worshippers is depicted as transactional in nature - it certainly isn't based upon the need to placate powers indifferent to human suffering.
  5. I'm really happy to see an aggressive release schedule for OpenQuest. It sounds like the game has a future! Are you thinking about crowdfunding a hardcover version or will you just be doing PoD? Could you give us an idea about what the changes you are making to the Combat chapter are? And how are you thinking about streamlining Spirit Magic? Have you considered doing an OpenQuest Bestiary at some point? And when you publish the Submission Guidelines, will you be looking for additional scenarios in the Empire of Gatan setting?
  6. Although some folk magic is indeed magic for the common folk - the kind of spells cast by hedge wizards and village wise women - it also includes spells taught by specific professions. Most artisan guilds will teach certain spells to members as they move up through the ranks. Some spells are closely guarded trade secrets only taught to insiders within a faction. Access to these secrets can an important benefit of membership in the faction. For example, I often restrict access to combat oriented spells such as bladesharp to members of specific mercenary companies or militaristic cults. I even refer to these spells as "battle magic" on occasion 😀 As an aside, I also treat Folk Magic as the distant ancestor of Sorcery and Theism. In this approach, it dates back to a time before the higher forms of magic developed. In particular, it pre-dates the clear distinction between religion and "magic" in the instrumental sense. Under this scheme, folk magic is a remnant of an earlier stage of development when the categories weren't so clear-cut.
  7. One of the best things that Mythras did to improve on Common Magic in MRQII / Legend was to eliminate the various spells that gave a flat bonus to skills. I understand the original intention of these spells, but in practice they resulted in a situation where adventurers wouldn't make any significant skill roll without buffing themselves first. The idea of using folk magic to improve the outcome of mundane skills is not a bad one, but the implementation was poor. I've fooled around with various ways of "fixing" this type of spell, but none of the solutions I've come up with have been entirely satisfactory. (One approach I considered was allowing spellcasters to add the critical range for their Common Magic skill to the critical range of the target skill. Under this approach, Common Magic / Folk Magic doesn't improve your chances of success, but does boost your chances of an exceptional result if you DO succeed...)
  8. I don't know that many people refer to Metal Mickey as "fondly remembered". How about a setting based on Press Gang - it was written by Steven Moffat before he worked his way up to Sherlock and Doctor Who, so there's some instant street cred there.... But personally I'd love to see a Max Headroom sourcebook with Edison Carter and Theora Jones.
  9. Please...tell us more. How far away is this?
  10. Yes...that' the one. My apologies - I should have been more specific.
  11. There's also Alphetar's Revolution system which has some interesting innovations. And for something really strange, try the Sabre RPG from Dragonsbane entertainment - an unusual mash up of d100 and d20 systems...
  12. discussion

    Thanks! As an aside, I'd point out that if you really want to play with adult themes religion is another hot button topic. For my own personal taste, one thing that Runequest has consistently done right in most of it's incarnations is to treat shamanism and religion seriously. Most RPGs shy away from realistic depictions of animistic or polytheistic worldviews, perhaps as a direct consequence of the "satanic panic" of the early 1980s. By contrast, Runequest has always depicted these worldviews with a sense of respect alien to most RPGs. Most old-school RPGs reduce the miracles associated with the divine to a source of cheap buffs and heals (to use MMORPG slang). Runequest has allowed players to experience to atmosphere of an animistic or polytheistic worldview without necessarily committing to them in real life. In particular, most RPG avoid the notion that the sacred may be immanent in the mundane world or that spiritual experiences may be accessible to ordinary people. The cultic structures of Glorantha owe something to the mystery religions of the ancient world, which is another huge plus. I ascribe a lot of this to the influence of Greg Stafford, whose personal involvement in alternative religious circles is well-known (e.g. he was a Director of Shaman's Drum magazine).
  13. This is awesome. Cults of Terror was the very first sourcebook that I bought for RQII back in the day. I've still got that copy sitting in the bookshelf next to my desk. As a kickstarter backer, I'm delighted to see each of these books resurrected in this format and hope that we'll see more of the Chaosium back catalogue in this form once all of the work associated with the current kickstarter is done.
  14. discussion

    I'd take a close look at the Icelandic family sagas for an example of how to run an "adult" adventure along these lines involving the consequences of weak law enforcement. The family sagas are unlike anything else in medieval literature, being closer to a modern novels than medieval literary forms. They usually revolve around bitter feuds in a fledgling nation that had a complex legal system but no central government and minimal law enforcement. There is a good reason why Njáls saga was listed in the recommended reading list for RQII (along with Snorri Sturluson's King Harald's Saga). The blood feud in Njáls saga spans generations and shows how obligation leads good people to commit terrible crimes in the name of family honour. There's a story here with adult themes rarely depicted in RPGs. Personally, I'd also recommend the Laxdæla saga for the doomed love triangle between Kjartan Ólafsson, Bolli Þorleiksson, and Guðrún Ósvífrsdóttir in the Breiðafjörður region. This work involves a romantic rivalry leading into a spiral of vengeance that ultimately destroys both of the suitors and leads Guðrún into a life of seclusion.Once again, the bones of this story can be reworked to create a tragic adventure built around adult themes. Treat these as bleak and gritty Scandinavian crime stories - a genre which is alive and kicking right now - and you've got a story that can go to some very dark places indeed. Interestingly, the closest thing I've seen recently in mainstream media that captures the same atmosphere is the recent Captain America: Civil War movie with the intense personal conflict between Captain America and Iron Man. We know that both of them are worthy men with a strong sense of principle, but they end up in a tragic conflict with one another that threatens to tear the superhero community apart. Ultimately Marvel Studios pull back from the full implications of the conflict, but nonetheless it is remarkably strong content for a superhero movie and comes close to capturing the tone of the Icelandic sagas. Notice the way that both parties in the feud are depicted as honourable - neither has a big sign around their neck indicating that they should be regarded as the bad guy. Both have human failings and ethical blind spots as well as admirable qualities. This approach is almost a prerequisite for building an adventure around "adult" themes. In fact, read as much ancient and medieval literature as you can to get a feel for great authors handle adult themes. Read the outstanding translations of the Iliad and Odyssey by Robert Fagles. Read the translation of Beowulf by Seamus Heaney (or better still, get the audiobook where he reads his superb translation aloud). Get a good translation of the Völsung saga, such as that of Jesse L. Byock or wait for the forthcoming one by Jackson Crawford. Read the final third of Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur and pay attention to the collapse of King Arthur's Court and the Fellowship of the Round Table due to human vices. The authors of these works lived closer to "adult" themes in real life than most modern people and handle the gritty realities of their own time with sensitivity and skill. Adult stories do not necessarily involve gratuitous gore and sexuality, but do not shrink away from depicting these things where they are appropriate for the themes at hand. Consider the way that Beowulf carefully balances the story of Beowulf's first victory against the story of his final defeat. Look at the way that subtle structural oppositions between youth and age, peace and warfare, loyalty and betrayal, are woven through the story. For example, a mention of the Finnesburg incident is worked into the narrative to prefigure the ultimate fate of the mead hall at Heorot and to remind the audience that the victory won by Beowulf is ultimately hollow. One thing that all of these classic works share is a tragic sense of the transience of life, a theme that also emerges in the greatest works of modern fantasy - whether it be in the grim moodiness of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, the pervasive sense of doom and decline in Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique or Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories, the slow defeat of Tolkien's Middle Earth as the wonders of the First Age fall into shadow, the growing sense of mortality in Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea novels, and many more. In fact, I would argue that this is the defining theme that runs through modern fantasy literature. Great fantasy typically contains a pervasive sense of loss or an acute awareness of life's brevity - or both at the same time. And yet RPGs rarely grapple with truly adult themes of mortality, grief, and loss in any meaningful way - perhaps because the experience systems in many early RPGs lend themselves so well to adolescent power fantasies or perhaps because fantasy games shied away from themes that might be considered "religious" for so long due to the influence of the Satanic panic during the 1980s. Even today, most gamers don't think or death and mortality and grief as "adult" themes in the same way that they think of sex and violence.
  15. Cool. It would be sensible to wait a few weeks until the situation becomes clearer, but I always want new books as soon as I see them