#RPG Cyber-Knights (RiftsPost)

pacyberknightCyber-Knights are chivalrous, wandering warriors, writing wrongs in the post-RIFTs wasteland.

Stunt: Inner Strength
Cyber-Knights can spend FATE to summon a Psi-Sword (+2, Mega-Damage) and/or a Psi-Shield (+2 Armour) out of pure psionic energy.

Inner Strength can be augmented with more stunts later on, which can be used to do the following:

  • Free summon: Swords and shields no longer cost FATE to be summoned.
  • Increased Damage: Increase sword damage by +1, up to a maximum of +5.
  • Increased Protection: Increase shield protection by +1, up to a maximum of +5.
  • Twin Weapons: Two Psi-Swords can be summoned and used together, this costs two FATE points.

Stunt: Inner Spirit
Cyber-Knights start with three basic psionic powers from the following list: Alter Aura, Empathy, Mind Block, Object Read, Resist Fatigue, See the Invisible, Sense Evil, Sense Magic, Sixth Sense, Speed Reading, Summon Inner Strength, Total Recall. Additional Psi-Powers are each considered a stunt.

Stunt: Cyber-Armour
Cyber-Armour is bonded plating and is innate to the Cyber-Knight. It grants them +1 Armour and an extra point of Physical Stress. Buying a second stunt in this upgrades the Cyber-Armour to Living Armour, upgrading it to +2 and another point of Physical Stress.

Refresh: 3

#RPG Platonic Atlantis

arena1973Atlantis (The Isle of Atlas), the lost island or continent, is a pretty damn tired old trope at this point, but it’s also one that many of us have consistently gotten wrong. The Atlantis we think of, the lost scientifically advanced state of philosopher kings and magic, is the complete opposite of what Plato was positing when he was talking about Atlantis.

Atlantis is written as an allegorical naval power, a rival to Ancient Athens – which was Plato’s stand-in for his idea of the perfected Republic – and is also intended as an example of the very opposite of all the qualities he intended to be desirable.

To construct a truly mythologically fitting Atlantis, then, we need to example Plato’s Republic and then to invert it.

The Republic posits a perfect state as being analogous to a perfected individual with their psyche in good order. Plato arranged his ‘state’ psyche along these same lines. The state would be ruled by its intellect – the class of philosopher kings, defended by its spirited and passionate heart – the soldiers and military – and supplied by its appetite – the merchant class.

The societal intellect would be a ruling class of ‘philosopher guardians’, raised in state-run boarding schools with their upbringings controlled to produce perfect, intellectual, selfless rulers dedicated to knowledge and embodying that Plato considered ‘good’ in a dictatorship where everyone has their role.

Atlantis, then, must be a disordered society and one where nobody knows their place, however, to be a true rival to Ancient Athens it must also be powerful. One can see Atlantis, then, as being some sort of ‘socially Darwinian’ free-for all with each and every person contributing via their own particular strengths, in a ‘might makes right’ society.

There would be no strict classes there, only roles that people took on. Success would be the only metric and obedience forced, coerced or extracted voluntarily. It would be a treacherous place with institutional slavery and no guiding moral principles other than ‘succeed’. If it were technologically advanced it would only be because its own philosophers – unfettered by morality or any other forms of reticence – could advance by similarly ruinous and inhuman methods as the Nazis used.

What we end up with, then, is a constant state of flux where the strongest vie to be in charge. This could create a powerfully militaristic society – when they could agree – and one of surpassing cruelty and lack of empathy. A perfect villain, despite the fact that Plato’s Republic – being an absolute dictatorship – looks pretty evil too to modern eyes.

What could their offence against the gods have been to earn them disfavour and to see them sunk? Perhaps a second Prometheus, seeking to steal the knowledge of the gods, or perhaps their worship of the Titans instead of the gods (it is the Isle of Atlas after all) was finally too much of an insult to bear.

In a gaming context this Atlantis would be a cruel, piratical, conquering nation with the cruel attributes and power of the Titans. A warlike people given to constant warfare upon one another and therefore tough, hardened and always prepared for battle. Their accomplishments would be made on the backs of the slaves that their culture owns and their willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

In many ways, a much more thrilling opponent than the wise philosopher kings of current interpretations of Atlantis.

#Gamergate – #Weheart Games too – that’s the point

A response to weheart.github.io – We feel it is the actions of ‘Social Justice Warriors’ who with shaming, mob tactics, blacklisting, mass blocking, insults, harassment, threats and attempts to control games media, production and content who have damaged the gaming community and we’re making a stand against it. Both sides are predominantly left/liberal. We’re just anti-authoritarian and want things to progress naturally.

RIFTS – Crazies (RIFTSpost)

20100501 crazyCrazies

I’m not including any details as those can be found in the RIFTS book and I don’t want to tread on anyone’s rights or anything here, or to remove the need for the actual books.

Crazies in a FATE version of RIFTS would have the following traits:

Stunt: Superhuman Physique
Crazies have enhanced bodies, giving them superhuman Strength and Endurance. In any test involving strength or endurance they get a +1 bonus.

Stunt: Superhuman Speed
Crazies have augmented reflexes and agility. In any test involving speed or agility they get a +1 bonus.

Stunt: Enhanced Senses
Crazies have enhanced, twitchy, senses and gain a +2 bonus when rolling on those senses.

Stunt: Regeneration
Crazies remove their least bad consequence each scene, along with their physical stress.

Stunt: Psionics
Crazies can choose three minor psionic powers from Sensitive or physical lists (excluding Astral Projection, Ectoplasm, Object Read and Telekinesis). Technically each spell operates as a Stunt, but this is considered a single Stunt. Additional powers later on are considered individual stunts when purchased.

Refresh: 1

Crazies start with a negative aspect relating to an insanity and whenever they buy a new Stunt or increase their Refresh they must take another (maximum 8 insanities from this cause).

#RPG – Forever Summer – Choclaterreur!

Here’s the session of Forever Summer I just ran online for the Gamergate Toys for Tots stream.

Please to be donating mucho dinero in a good cause.




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.


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.

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 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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.