RIFTs is both Awesome & Shit – Does it Have to be? (RIFTsPost

1365356878250RIFTs frustrates the living hell out of me as a gamer. We struggled with the Palladium system even when we were tweens and teens with whole days to spend gaming. It makes little to no sense, Megadamage is an irritating bodge and the whole thing hangs together purely on goodwill and tenacity. I’d go so far as to say Palladium games are some of the only ones that would have actually benefited from conversion to d20 and its odd that it wasn’t. That so many people hobble on with a crippled game system is one of the great mysteries of roleplaying.

Still, the hodgepodge kitchen-sink background is cool, very cool, and it has a great look, feel and post-apocalyptic chic. So what the hell else would work?

A while back I wrote a FATE setting book for Pacific Rim, which apart from playtesting I’d never actually played. This last IndieCon I actually got to play it with a group and it worked very well indeed. Players of different power levels were not left out as they could create tags, observe and otherwise contribute and size differences weren’t too much of an issue either. FATE scales pretty well.

There’s various necessaries you need to consider in doing a conversion though.

Scale

The scale rules introduced in the FATE system toolkit are gratifyingly similar to the ones I came up with for Pacific Rim, but a little different. I prefer mine, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I would suggest:

Scale     Description
-4           Mouse
-3           Rat
-2           Badger
-1           Little Person
0            Human/Motorbike
1            Car
2            HGV/Tank
3            Transport Aircraft
4            Airliner
5            Aircraft Carrier
6            Supercarrier

The scale of a thing adds to – or takes away – from its Physical Stress (down to a minimum of 1 and thereafter reduces the effectiveness of consequences by -1 each, starting with Severe and working down).

Scale difference provides armour, if its positive.

Weapons and armour should scale from 1-5 (given superweapons) rather than the usual 1-3.

Examples:
A pixie is scale -3. Physical Stress starts at 2, but is reduced by 1 to 1, the remaining -2 are taken off Severe and then Moderate, reducing their effectiveness to 5 and 3.

A person is firing an assault rifle against a car. A car is scale 1 and so gets 1 extra armour and starts with 3 stress, on top of any other bonuses it has.

Mega-Damage
Mega-damage is a huge pain in the arse, but scale provides a means to make it more sane. Against human scale targets and soft targets mega-damage weapons overpenetrate and are less effective. Megadamage weapons at larger scale already have the scaling bonuses and so don’t need to be worried about. Where megadamage can be worked in would be to have weapons that ignore the armour of larger scale, so that a laser pistol – for example – can be effective against a giant robot without blasting away whole villages when you miss in personal combat.

Powers
The various special abilities of the classes can be replaced by Stunts, free Aspects and in various other ways, taking away from the refresh pool of FATE points as needed.

Skills
Given RIFTs concentration on combat, breaking down Shoot into Pistol/Rifle/Heavy and Fight into Melee/Hand to Hand makes good sense.

Stunts
The standard 3-5 stunts and 3/2/1 refresh works, in RIFTs more may be needed, allowing 6 stunts for zero Refresh.

Chainsaw_Samurai_by_dirtbombExample
A Combat Cyborg character is a pretty damn monstrous combat character.

Stunt: Full Cybernetic Conversion
MI-B2 Armour Shell: +4 Armour – Negative aspect ‘Clanking’. (This is a bolt-on shell, naked cyborgs have +1 Armour and lose the ‘clanking’).

Stunt: Man-Machine
+2 Physical Stress.

Stunt: Bionic Features I
Pick an extra two Aspects related to your cybernetic implants.

Stunt: Bionic Features II
Pick another extra two Aspects related to your cybernetic implants.

Stunt: Augmented Strength
You get a free +2 bonus to any rolls involving raw, physical strength.

Refresh: 1

Cyborgs start with three weapons, each with four clips, as well as the basic starting gear from the main rulebook.

Notes:
LE-B1 Light Espionage Armour: +2 Armour, Stealthy.
LI-B1 Light Infantry Armour: +3 Armour.
MI-B2 Medium Infantry Armour: +4 Armour, Clanking.
HI-B3 Heavy Infantry Armour: +5 Armour, Clanking, Heavy.

#Gamergate – Jack Thompson Disowns his Descendants

Jack_Thompson_by_martyisnothereIn a bizarre twist to the whole #Gamergate affair, Jack Thompson appeared on a preview of The Sarkeesian Effect in an excerpt from an interview and condemned Anita Sarkeesian as a censor. Needless to say, this is a shocking turn of events.

Thompson seems to have mellowed with his disbarring and with age, presenting a somewhat more reasonable view that adult content shouldn’t be accessible to kids. This is, of course, impossible – especially in the age of the internet – but it’s a far cry from the days of ‘ban everything’.

Thompson didn’t endorse Gamergate but he did condemn the new coterie of pseudo-critics. Thompson’s attempts to control and ban video games were pursued in the courts in a formal, legalistic manner while Sarkeesian et al have pursued their ends via mob tactics, harassment and abuse. Where the crossover lies is that both generations of moral panic have used bad pseudoscience to try and push their agenda, whether it be the unproven assertion that videogames cause violence or the unproven assertion that videogames cause misogyny.

Thompson is in no way being endorsed or forgiven by #Gamergate, though you wouldn’t know it to read to the AGGro feeds. He has hardly been welcomed into anyone’s bosom. It’s just shocking that gaming’s ‘great Satan’ now appears to be reasonable and sane compared to the current crop of critics, the McIntoshes, the Fishes, the Kucheras of this world. That’s worth noting and a valid comparison to make.

Censorship endorsing shitbag condemns worse censorship endorsing shitbag as ‘too extreme’, there’s your take-home from this.

Things are certainly very strange.

#Gamergate Fiasco

B2RgoYJIAAEGTWsMaking this work will take a little more creativity and bending of ideas and relationships than usual, so is recommended for more experienced Fiasco players.

The Tilt Table pretty much works as written, as this is a satirical, overblown, satire of events intended to be played as a farce. All you really need is a bunch of people caught up in the whole affair on different sides.

Relationships
1. Adversarial
1. Veterans of many mutual flamewars.
2. Moderator/Banned.
3. Battling Blogs.
4. Troll/Trollee.
5. Stalker/Stalked.
6. Brand New Hatred.

2. Professional
1. Blogger/Editor.
2. Journalist/PR Rep.
3. Website Owner/Studio.
4. Manager/Developer.
5. Former site Contributors.
6. Current site Contributors

3. Romantic
1. Sext Each Other Regularly.
2. Have Cybersex Under Assumed Identities.
3. Have jerked off to their N00dz.
4. Love/Hate Relationship.
5. Unreciprocated Attraction.
6. Snapchat.

4. Social Media
1. Twitter Followers.
2. Facebook Followers.
3. Google Plus Followers.
4. Youtube Followers.
5. Pinterest Followers.
6. Youtube Followers.

5. Hated By
1. LGBT People.
2. Guilt-Ridden White People.
3. The Whole Internet.
4. A Racial Minority.
5. Creative People.
6. Wingnuts.

6. Loved By
1. Downtrodden Men.
2. Creatives – albeit quietly.
3. Gamers.
4. Journalists.
5. Gender Studies Graduates.
6. Strong Women.

Needs
1. To Be Creative
1. To Make Games.
2. To Review Games.
3. To Play Games Your Way, that You Like.
4. To Make Non-Problematic Games.
5. To Stifle the Creativity of Others.
6. To Make a Naughty Game.

2. To Get JUSTICE
1. For Gamers!
2. For Developers!
3. For Me!
4. For Teh Gayzorz!
5. For Racial Minoities!
6. For Women!

3. To Soothe Your Crushing Guilt
1. About Being White.
2. About Being Male.
3. About Being Cisgendered.
4. About Being Heterosexual.
5. About Being Rich.
6. About Wasting Daddy’s Money on a Bullshit Degree.

4. To Play Games
1. RPGs.
2. First Person Shooters.
3. Third Person Action/Adventure Games.
4. Weird Indie Games Nobody Actually Likes, Even You.
5. To Win.
6. So You Can Bitch About Them.

5. To Get Money
1. By Selling Games.
2. By Selling Radical Feminism.
3. Through Dubious Crowdfunding.
4. Via Patreon.
5. Through Sympathy.
6. By Threats.

6. To Get Lulz
1. By Trolling.
2. By Doxxing.
3. By Harassment.
4. By Impersonation.
5. By Not Taking it Seriously.
6. By DDOS Attacks.

Locations (Sacrifice any Second Dice When You Choose)
1 – Forums – The topic might be banned, but you haven’t been – yet.
2 – Reddit – If there’s subreddits, are there domreddits?
3 – Youtube – The bottom half of the internet is terrible.
4 – Mainstream Media – Clueless nubs with an audience of millions.
5 – The Chans – The lawless frontier of the internet. Except for 4chan, who are now ‘fags’.
6 – Meatspace – Roll again.
1-2 – A Convention – We’re all friends here. Please don’t Nerf me in the balls.
3-4 – A News Studio – Five minutes to talk culture war to a partisan idiot.
4-5 – Someone’s Home – Put all that doxxing to use.

Features (Replace Objects)

1. Information
1. N00dz – She was on Suicide Girls. Him? Nobody Cares.
2. Dox – You know where they live.
3. Actual, hard facts.
4. Fake facts from bad surveys.
5. Social Media Analysis.
6. Compromising Information.

2. A Personal Object
1. Gaudy Hoop Earrings.
2. Rainbow Hair.
3. Gluten-Free, Hypoallergic, Ginger-Persons of indeterminate gender.
4. A Hard Drive Full of Porn.
5. A Neckbeard.
6. A Fedora.

3. The Internet Never Forgot…
1. That You Used to be a Nazi.
2. That You Were (or are) A Porn Star.
3. That One Time You Said Something Racist.
4. That One Time You Said Something Sexist.
5. Your Fashion Horrors of the Past.
6. An Embarassing Secret.

4. Secret Corruption
1. Bribes from Developers.
2. Threats from Developers.
3. Membership of a Secret Group/List.
4. Sex for Favours.
5. Political Corruption.
6. Cabal of Mutually Supporting Arseholes.

5. Extreme Views
1. Actual Nazi.
2. Anarcho-Capitalist Libertarian.
3. CENSOR ALL THE THINGS!
4. Your Actual Marxist.
5. Radical Feminist
6. #KillAllMen

6. Potentially Embarassing Non-Traditional Sexy Funtimes
1. Likes to Be Pegged.
2. Extreme Furry.
3. Hardcore BDSM.
4. Indescribably Weird Fetish.
5. Non-Practicing Love of Something Beyond the Pale.
6. Waifu.

#Gamergate – End Game & Olive Branch

olive-branch-wallpaperIt’s time to bring this home, but neither side is talking to the other and that’s a problem.

Whether you think people are faking or not, there have been suicidal thoughts and feelings of being threatened over this conflict because it is so inexorably linked to people’s identities. I have been loath to use my own self-destructive episode to aid Gamergate but I have also seen that the other side has dominated and diverted the conversation with a narrative of abuse that, contrary to the media image, is not one sided.

We have to get some sort of resolution before someone is driven over the edge.

I’m writing this before I leave for the USA on a break and I’m scheduling it to drop on Saturday.

What I would like is for some of the more reasonable people on both sides to get in touch and begin to try to find acceptable, reasonable solutions to Gamergate issues and the broader issues for which Gamergate has been a proxy war.

I’ve had a shock, I think others have too and I think shared pain is an opportunity to at least open a useful conversation.

My email is grim@postmort.demon.co.uk

Please reshare this, pass it on to people from the opposition who seem reasonable and to people on the Gamergate side who seem reasonable. Ask them to pass it on to others and let’s try to find people from both sides that can create a blueprint for the future.

I don’t know whether this will work or not, but it seems to be worth at least trying.

Stripped of the context and battle-lines I think there are less differences than people think and I don’t think anyone, really, can credibly say they’re against ethical journalism.

There’s a chance for conversation.

Let’s give it a try.

Gor – A Quick Sneak Peak

I am off and away for a week and a bit, so while I’m off taking a much needed break, here’s a sneak peak at some idea sketches for the second cover.

gor-cvr02_sketch01_150

#RPG – Soooooon…

While I rest amd recover, let’s show off some cool things.

First, a mock up of a possible/likely configuration of the first Gor cover, with completed art.

GorCoverMockUp

Second, a glorious cover for an OSR project, thanks to the efforts of the man, the artist, the legend, that is Gary Chalk.

Covermock

#Gamergate – Gettin’ Ettin’

horseshitSA Goon, troll, harasser and RPGnet moderator (yeah, I know) Ettin, just published a hit-piece about me on Tumblr (yeah, Tumblr, I know).

All of his accusations and nonsense have been answered before and ‘SA Goon’ should have told you all you need to know. He’s a person who has built up a reputation along with other trolls who have been made RPGnet moderators for hurling abuse at other tabletop gamers and hiding behind the shield of ‘social justice’ – but you know that story.

Here’s the link.

Now, given that I’ve been dealing with this same bullshit for years now, I’d rather not do it again. The refutations remain the same, yet the arguments don’t change, so all I can do is repeat myself ad infinitum. Still, since there are large numbers of new people being introduced to me through this frankly libelous slant I guess I’d better.

As you probably already know, Desborough is an indie tabletop RPG designer who gave an interview about Gamergate to the Escapist recently. They removed it after receiving evidence that he’d harassed people. That should tell you what you need to know, but let’s keep going.

I have not – to my knowledge – harassed anyone but it’s a little hard to tell given that SJWs (yes, I know it’s not a perfect term but it’s what we have to work with) set the bar for harassment so low. Maybe I replied to someone on Twitter, mentioned a troll by name or stare-raped someone by looking at their Imgur, I have no idea. Nor have I been informed why the interview was removed, nor was I warned or consulted or asked to give my side. So basically, I have no idea what’s going on but this would be one of the problems with SJWs. They think accusation is enough.

Nymphology, a joke Dungeons & Dragons supplement about sex magic that uses sexual violence as a punchline.

Where?

I’ve talked about this before but the frustation was that I really wanted to come at this book with a more serious examination, but the publisher wanted comedy. I ended up with something that still had undertones of the thought ‘what would the world of sex really be like if magic was real’ along with knob jokes. I do know that some people saw the more serious side and applied it in online roleplay, many of them women.

The Slayer’s Guide To Female Gamers, another joke book about women gamers which mostly repeats the same “females are mysterious and manipulate men with their insidious boobie powers” joke endlessly. (Here’s a sample.)

What people don’t seem to get here is that ‘The Slayer’s Guide to Female Gamers’ wasn’t about women gamers at all, but about the very tired jokes and ‘women as other’ nonsense that has long been (erroneously) passed around geek culture. Women were big buyers of this and the copies I signed were mostly for women. If Suey Park is any measure, these people are tone-deaf to satire.

Hentacle, a card game about tentacle rape

I have no real idea what the objection is here. Tentacle Rape as a genre is ridiculous, I made a ridiculous game about it. Kink shaming? Cultural imperialism against Japan? I don’t really know what his point is here but I’m not going to apologise for people’s kinks or pornography given that – as we’ve established – I’m a free expression advocate.

Privilege Check, another card game about mocking social justice activists and minorities, including body-positive folk and people of color.

Not quite (see satire comment above). Mocking social justice warriors, yes, mocking minorities, no. Again, much like with the other things, I’ve had decent praise from people IN minorities for the game. Mixed race people or people of less obvious ethnic background especially loved the much presented ‘brown person’ card.

Recently, Desborough ran an Indiegogo for Chronicles of Gor, an RPG based on a universe where women are willing sex slaves.

Yes I did.

Gor is hugely popular with a great number of people, many of them women (seriously, check out some of the amazing stuff Second Life people – primarily women – are doing with Gor). It would be a huge disservice to those fans to ‘clean Gor up’ for anyone’s sensibilities, let alone those of the SJW ilk.

Ettin also makes my point for me. It’s fantasy. Not reality. Some people seem to have an issue telling the difference.

As to The Escapist and Macris helping fund me, you can find all the info on that and why it’s not an instance of corruption like the instances gamergate is against HERE.

Desborough explicitly doesn’t describe himself as a feminist because he’s a vocal men’s rights activist. Page through his blog (don’t actually do this) and you’ll find he claims that patriarchy and rape culture don’t exist, calls male feminists “quislings”, and quotes Christina Hoff Sommers. He appeared on al-Jazeera to discuss #NotAllMen and downplays connections between Elliot Rodger and MRAs. He once told someone “at least I haven’t cut my dick off as a sacrifice to Athena”. People accusing him of misogyny are just trolls and social justice warriors, though.

Not exactly. I’m an egalitarian who has been pushed towards the MHRA side of things by – amongst other things – the censorious and authoritarian nature of SJWs. Not to mention their tactic – as we see with Ettin’s post – of smearing people they don’t like. So attacks like this only reaffirm that I have been making the right life choices.

No I don’t believe in patriarchy and when people say it I hear ‘Invisible space lizards’. Patriarchy is a concept associated with radical feminism, and is pretty ‘out there’.

No, I don’t believe we live in a rape culture here in the west. I do, however, believe there are ‘rape subcultures’ (often surrounding sport in the US) and that genuine rape cultures exist in places like Saudi Arabia or Bangladesh. THIS is a rape culture. Our culture condemns rape, imprisons people for rape and even false or unproven accusations have huge social impact for the accused. To describe western nations as rape cultures is, then, laughable.

You may disagree with me on these, but smearing is not putting forth a rational argument or trying to change my mind.

‘Quisling’ is obvious hyperbole and that’s all the reply it deserves.

CH Sommers is ‘based’ and an egalitarian feminist. So why wouldn’t I quote her? She talks sense on some issues and less on others.

Yes, I appeared on Al Jazeera because I’d been active on the hashtag debunking the BS (repeated here) that Elliot Rodger was connected with MRAs or the PUA community. I have my issues with both communities, but I’m not going to stand idly by while they’re smeared with the actions of a murderer, any more than I’m going to stand by now while Gamers are smeared with the actions of sociopathic trolls.

Yes I said that in a fit of anger. Don’t tone police me. :P

Yes, people accusing me of misogyny are trolls and SJWs. Misogyny is the hatred of women. I do not hate women.

End of.

By “biological realist”, Desborough means “transphobe with a dictionary”. It means he believes trans people aren’t the gender they say they are. Don’t worry, though — while he used to refuse to “indulge” trans people by not misgendering them, these days he’ll magnanimously use proper pronouns while insisting that you’re wrong and “can’t change reality or what I know”.

Nope. I mean biological realist. Let me click my brain over and use SJW terminology for a moment, even though I disagree with it and prefer to use biological terminology.

What it means is that no matter how much I respect your choice and personal feelings to present and live as whatever gender you happen to believe yourself to be, you are not and you never will be the other sex. I feel bad for you, I feel sorry for you, but my empathy and understanding cannot override the facts of the matter.

Nobody is going to be able to persuade me otherwise, any more than they would be able to convince me that gravity is because of goblins.

Accepting you as you want to be, while understanding that the reality of the matter (biologically) is something different should be acceptable, surely?

Desborough really wants people to think he’s got the intellectual high ground. He presents himself as “rational” while comparing his critics to religious extremists, relating everything to his deep and incredibly boring struggle as an atheist. When he wants to defend his rapey RPGs he says “it’s not real”, like everybody didn’t already know that.

If everybody knows that, why do they keep complaining and acting as though it is real? Yes, I compare my critics to religious extremists because, well, see above about biology versus feels.

When he tells trans people that science is on his side, he compares them to creationists. When he describes Goobergate with an analogy, he places himself in a position of authority as a teacher and compares people attacking him to “Nation of Islam extremists”. Even when pretends to engage his critics with a reasonable discussion he can’t resist giving his detractors a silly nickname to imply that he’s the calm and rational one.

‘Goobergate’.

What Desborough doesn’t get is that good satire punches up, not down — and if Desborough actually thinks he’s punching up when he takes shots at women and “brown people”, as Jonathan Swift once said: lmao.

What these people don’t get, is satire. Again, reference Suey Park.

When he’s not doing that, Desborough rails against censorship. The most devious form of censorship at all, in fact: Criticism. He’ll tell anyone who will listen (you laugh, but the Escapist did) that he’s constantly being bullied simply for defending his right to free speech, rather than building a career out of demeaning women. Both the Escapist and Goobergate were buttered up with tales of abuse, censorship, and “moral panic” so bad that he struggles to find work; of course it’s all the fault of “the crazies”, and not because he’s the kind of person who wants to make a Gor RPG. To him, freedom of speech means freedom from consequences, and Goobergate is a struggle against moralising censors rather than a hate campaign so ridiculous even the Daily Mail sees it.

I begin to suspect that SJWs have a very different concept of the term ‘censorship’ to that of other people. I think they mean some sort of combination of ‘critical theory’ and ‘literary criticism’ rather than, you know actual, criticism. “The analysis and judgement of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work.” To me free expression means not being hounded, lambasted on the basis of nothing, silenced by false accusations of harassment and rape apologia… you know, the kind of stuff in Ettin’s post.

Despite railing against harassment when it’s convenient for him, Desborough is incredibly dismissive of threats against women. He posts comics about feminist robots who cry rape and responds to news of women receiving rape and death threats with “Yes, that’s terrible, but can we talk about Goobergate?”. Before Goobergate, when his fans sent a critic rape threats and announced that she didn’t “deserve consent”, his response was to shrug it off with “I’m sure she knows they’re not genuine threats”. (Hot tip: Harassment is awful no matter who is getting it, and Desborough has, but using that as a weapon to encourage women to be silent and demand to talk about what some dweebs think about game journalism instead isn’t the answer.)

I think there’s a big difference between some anonymous twonk on the internet saying something vile and someone who actually has a face, profile, media platform or whatever else and doesn’t feel the need to hide trying to destroy people’s careers and reputations. As someone who has been on the receiving end of threats myself I know that they’re bad, but I also know that they’re spurious. One side (net experienced and not seeking to get mileage out of threats) plays them down or ignores them, the other side plays them up.

Gamergate is not about threats, has received threats, has constantly policed and called out harassment, contacted authorities, helped trace the person making threats to Anita Sarkeesian… yet the false narrative continues to be spread. That’s why I say ‘Yes, threats are awful, but can we talk about Gamergate now?’ We’ve been talking about trolling and women in tech for some time already, Gamergate isn’t even remotely about that… heck, you know what, I’ll let the ladies talk FOR ME.

Before the Escapist removed his article, he went out of his way to list “SJW” designers in the community so goobers could go after them. He also has a list of people who disagree with him that he distributes to his Goobergate followers. This is what happens when you downplay harassment instead of trying to remove it. (If the Escapist removed the article over something else, I’m not aware of it.)

In answer to a question I listed some people and companies as examples that the issue was also deeply rooted in tabletop games. I fail to see what the problem is there, given I get mentioned a great deal, unfairly as a ‘problem person’. I do indeed have a list of people who are ‘crazy SJW idiots’ called ‘Room 101′. It’s people I block but can then use the list to keep an eye on to see what the ‘social justice panic of the day’ is about. I didn’t share it with anyone until nonsense about it being an ‘enemies list’ and me supposedly sharing it began to be put about. So I then shared it. After all, you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

Desborough once wrote an article titled “In Defence Of Rape”, defending the use of rape as a “fucking awesome” element in fiction. (My understanding is it was a “response” to a much better post by Chuck Wendig.) Rather than break it down, I’m just gonna link to Mightygodking’s response and point out that if you’re going to talk about rape as a plot device, opening with a self-admitted clickbait title and comments about “pompous outrage”, writing asides suggesting evidence of rape culture is “spurious” and comparing people who talk about it to Jack Chick, writing a follow-up post that falsely compares it to murder and tells people to “grow up”, and being James fuckin’ Desborough are all bad ideas.

You could have stopped at ‘defending the use of rape as an element in fiction’, because that’s what it’s about. If you disagree with free expression, you’re my enemy.

That should tell you everything you need to know right there, and oh my god I am so done.

Yes, it should.

As you can clearly see, Ettin’s post is yet another example of the cherry-picking, abuse, harassment and misrepresentation I’ve consistently gotten. You would think this material, much of it rather old, were the only things I’d ever written.

Far from it.

If you feel like being supportive, links to places you can buy my stuff should be in the side bar.