Free League, Fria Ligan, Mutant Year Zero, Coriolis, Tales from the Loop, & the Forbidden Lands

Charlie D

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I’ve made a few posts about Free League RPGs here and there seems to be some confusion about who they are and about the RPG system they offer. So here’s a quick run down because this company really puts out great games and the rule system is one of my favorites.

Fria Ligan is a Swedish RPG company which has been producing RPGs for years. They go by Free League in English speaking countries and produced their first English RPG in 2014, Mutant Year Zero, with Modiphius distributing.

Fast forward to 2018 and several kickstarters later. Fria Ligan has updated their website and offers one version in Swedish and the other in English. They sell their English language RPGs directly from their website while Modiphius continues to also distribute the English version RPGs.

http://frialigan.se/en/startpage/

Their game system is called Year Zero and due to the success of their last kickstarter will soon be OGL. You don't need propriertary dice.

Regular six-sided dice (also called D6) are required to, preferably 10-15 in three different colors. In the RPG Forbidden Lands you will also need at least one four–sided (D4) die, one eight-sided (D8) die, one ten-sided (D10) die, and one twelve-sided (D12) die.

When you perform an action, you first describe what your player character does or says. Then you grab a number of six-sided dice equal to your skill level plus your current score in the attribute that is connected to that skill. If you have some sort of gear that may be helpful, you will get extra dice from that as well. Then you roll all the dice at once.

SIXES MEAN SUCCESS
To succeed with your action, you must roll at least one six. A six is called a success. If you roll more than one 6 you can perform stunts.

If you are desperate to succeed with a dice roll, you can choose to push it. This means that you grab all the dice that did not come up as a six or a one and roll them again. You get a new chance to roll a six.

Ones can be bad for you – they can mean that you suffer damage, exhaustion, or fear, or that your weapon has been damaged. Ones have no effect on your first roll, only if you choose to push your roll (see below). A one is called a bane.

Coriolis and Tales from the Loop have slightly different ways of pushing rolls, but the base system remains the same.
 

Charlie D

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Their game systems in English all use some version of the Year Zero system.

Mutant: Year Zero
Role-playing after the Apocalypse. In this game, you play as one of The People – heavily mutated humans living in The Ark, a small and isolated settlement in a sea of chaos. The outside world, the Zone, is unknown to you, and so is your origin. You will venture into the Zone in search of food, artifacts, other mutants, and knowledge – not least about The People’s own origin.

The Ark is a nest of intrigue and Lord of the Flies-style power struggles, it’s far from a safe haven. But it’s the only home you know, and just maybe the cradle of a new civilization. The game rules let you improve and develop the Ark in the areas of Warfare, Food Supply, Technology, and Culture. It is up to you, the players, to decide which projects to embark on.

The game includes two maps of example Zones; London and New York and a plethora of tables and other tools to let the GM populate its sectors with mutants, deadly monsters and bizarre phenomena. There are tools to also create a Zone of your own home town or any other.

Expansions
Mutant: Genlab Alpha
expands the rules to cover mutated animals. Genlab Alpha is a complete stand-alone game, you only need the book to play but can also be combined with Mutant: Year Zero. The next major expansion covering robots and machine beings is Mutant: Mechatron, complete with a full length campaign.

Coriolis – The Third Horizon
Coriolis – The Third Horizon
is a science fiction role playing game set in a remote cluster of star systems called The Third Horizon. It is a place ravaged by conflicts and war, but also home to proud civilisations, both new and old. Here, the so called First Come colonists of old worship the Icons, while the newly arrived Zenithians pursue an aggressive imperialistic agenda through trade and military power.

In this game, you will crew a space ship and travel the Horizon. You will explore the ancient ruins of the Portal Builders, undertake missions for the powerful factions and partake in the game of political intrigue on Coriolis station – the centre of power in the Third Horizon. You might even encounter strange beings from the Dark Between the Stars.

Tales from the Loop
Roleplaying in the '80s That Never Was

In 1954, the Swedish government ordered the construction of the world’s largest particle accelerator. The facility was complete in 1969, located deep below the pastoral countryside of Mälaröarna. The local population called this marvel of technology The Loop.

In this game, you play teenagers in the late Eighties, solving Mysteries connected to the Loop. Choose between character Types such as the Bookworm, the Troublemaker, the Popular Kid and the Weirdo. Everyday Life is full of nagging parents, never-ending homework and classmates bullying and being bullied.

In addition, the core rulebook includes an alternative campaign setting in a US location, based on Boulder City, Nevada. The US setting text is written by the award-winning game writer and author Matt Forbeck.

Forbidden Lands
In Forbidden Lands, the player characters are not heroes sent on missions dictated by others - instead, they are raiders and rogues bent on making their own mark on a cursed world. They will discover lost tombs, fight terrible monsters, wander the wild lands and, if they live long enough, build their own stronghold to defend.

Comes in a boxed set with two books and a large full-color map so the players can hexcrawl in the world the way they want while still taking part in an epic campaign that will, in the end, let them decide the fate of the Forbidden Lands. Also, the unique rules for exploration, survival, basebuilding and campaign play can easily be ported to your own favorite game world.
 

Charlie D

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One final note. Free League adds all kinds of extras to their games if you want them. These extras like custom dice and cards and maps are all practical tools to make running the game easier. They aren't required (well some version of a map would be but you could make that yourself) but they are helpful. And everything is well made, full illustrated, functional, and well translated. I think the prices are really fair as well.

I have GMed Mutant Year Zero (a whole campaign), Coriolis (two two-shots), and Tales from the Loop (a one-shot). Each game has many tables and details to make GMing easier, whether you want to do something quickly or on the fly or take your time. I enjoyed running all of them. My players enjoy both the system and the settings.

I like the simple but tactical rules. I like the hexcrawling and stronghold building. I like the monsters and the foes the PCs have to face. I like the mysteries and secrets the PCs need to uncover. I like the dangerous settings and the freedom the PCs have to go their own way.

The players liked the talents they can pick to customize their characters. They liked the desperate battles, the building of their Ark (stronghold/ship), and the exploration. They liked unraveling secrets and shaping the world.
 

K_Peterson

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A couple of questions for you:
  • How large of dice pools do you typically see in most Year Zero task resolution rolls? 2-3 rolled with most unskilled checks, and in excess of 10 with skilled/advantaged rolls?
  • Does Mutant Year Zero go the Gamma World direction and include mutant plants? I'm assuming not as PCs, but perhaps antagonists?
  • For that matter, are most antagonists in the MYZ core other mutated humans, or is there a decent selection of monsters to choose from?
 

CRKrueger

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  • Do extra 6's cancel 1's if you don't need the extra 6's when you push?
  • Been a while since I've looked at M:YZ does the system have any Narrativium (ie. metacurrency). I know with Coriolis when you Push you give the GM a Dark Point representing calling on Dark Gods which will come back to bite you, but what about the other games?
  • How does the game handle Advantages/Disadvantages/Bonuses/Penalties to action? IIRC removing dice?
 

Charlie D

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A couple of questions for you:
  • How large of dice pools do you typically see in most Year Zero task resolution rolls? 2-3 rolled with most unskilled checks, and in excess of 10 with skilled/advantaged rolls?
  • Does Mutant Year Zero go the Gamma World direction and include mutant plants? I'm assuming not as PCs, but perhaps antagonists?
  • For that matter, are most antagonists in the MYZ core other mutated humans, or is there a decent selection of monsters to choose from?
10 to 15 dice in three colors. Up to 5 for attribute, up to 5 for skill, and usually up to 3 for gear. Over 10 would be way on the high end for PCs.

Mutants in Mutant Year Zero are humans with mutations (other books introduce anthromorphic animals, robots and cyber humans). One mutation is Human Plant which give photosynthesis, thorns, and bark.

Beasts exist and include the killer tree and nightmare flowers. And beast mutants.
upload_2018-2-7_20-43-3.png
 

Charlie D

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  • Do extra 6's cancel 1's if you don't need the extra 6's when you push?
Been a while since I've looked at M:YZ does the system have any Narrativium (ie. metacurrency). I know with Coriolis when you Push you give the GM a Dark Point representing calling on Dark Gods which will come back to bite you, but what about the other games?
  • How does the game handle Advantages/Disadvantages/Bonuses/Penalties to action? IIRC removing dice?
  • No. Everything rots and falls apart so 1s hurt you or your gear (but 1s on skills do not hurt). But you get mutation points for those 1s and extra 6s create stunts.
  • Mutation points are not metacurrency but they power mutations. You get them when you push and hurt yourself in addition to replenishing with rest. The GM just screws with you regardless.
In Coriolis it doesn't make sense to have you rot and fall apart. But making the Dark between the Stars grow in power as the PCs call on Fate makes more sense.

  • MODIFICATION
Sometimes external factors help you to succeed. This gives you extra Skill Dice to roll. On other occasions, something hampers your action. In those cases, you roll fewer Skill Dice than normal. Either way, such adjustments are called modifications.
 

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You broke me down, I've ordered Forbidden Lands and will pick up Mutant Year Zero sometime soon!
 
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CRKrueger

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The idea of players having a ship they have to upgrade and keep running and have it be almost like a character with traits/abilities, etc was something I really liked from the original Cortex Firefly game (not the Cortex+).

I got the Coriolis Quickstart.
 

Charlie D

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I like the Ship's Problem in Coriolis. Here are my favorite two:

Curse: The Icons have turned their gaze away from the ship, making portal jumps and longer space travel dangerous.
When the problem is activated, you get a -1 when rolling for a portal jump, and space travel counts as one danger
level higher (page 140).

Eccentric ship intelligence: Requires the feature Ship Intelligence. When the problem is activated, the intelligence will
refuse to perform a specific task and instead begin to protest loudly over the ship’s intercom. The effect lasts during a combat
encounter, or a few hours.
 

K_Peterson

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I broke down and ordered a copy of Mutant Year Zero. I'm not that interested in the other game lines, but I have a weakness for post-apoc Rpgs.
 

CRKrueger

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I like the Ship's Problem in Coriolis. Here are my favorite two:

Curse: The Icons have turned their gaze away from the ship, making portal jumps and longer space travel dangerous.
When the problem is activated, you get a -1 when rolling for a portal jump, and space travel counts as one danger
level higher (page 140).

Eccentric ship intelligence: Requires the feature Ship Intelligence. When the problem is activated, the intelligence will
refuse to perform a specific task and instead begin to protest loudly over the ship’s intercom. The effect lasts during a combat
encounter, or a few hours.
“When the problem is activated”?
Who activates the problem?
Is this a “roll 1 when you push kinda thing”?
 

Charlie D

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“When the problem is activated”?
Who activates the problem?
Is this a “roll 1 when you push kinda thing”?
In Coriolis whenever the PCs call on the Icons to improve their lot the GM gets a Darkness Points. Problems like the ship acting up are activated with Darkness Points.
 
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Charlie D

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◆◆ REROLL – Just like when a PC prays and rerolls, the GM can reroll a skill roll for an NPC. Costs 1 DP.
◆◆ TAKE THE INITIATIVE – An NPC breaks the turn order and reacts before her slot in the turn. The GM chooses when. Costs 1 DP.
◆◆ EMPTY CLIP – A PC who is shooting runs out of ammo. The attack is not affected, but the weapon must be reloaded after it. Costs 1 DP.
◆◆ MISFIRE – A PC’s firearm jams. The attack is lost, and a roll for Technology (a Slow action) is required to fix the weapon. Costs 3 DP.
◆◆ REACTIVE ACTION – Normally, NPCs cannot perform reactive actions in combat (page 84). To do so, the GM must spend 1 DP.
◆◆ LOST POSSESSION – A PC has dropped an important possession. The GM decides which. Costs 3 DP.
◆◆ REINFORCEMENTS – The enemy receives unexpected backup. The GM decides the details. Costs 1-3 DP, depending on the reinforcements.
◆◆ INNOCENT IN DANGER – An innocent bystander is suddenly caught in the line of fire and needs help. Will the PCs intervene? Costs 2 DP.
◆◆ PERSONAL PROBLEM – A PC’s personal problem (page 26) affects her in a manner the GM chooses. Costs 1 DP.
◆◆ NATURE’S WRATH – Something dangerous in the environment around the PCs suddenly affects them. It could be collapsing beams or a landslide. Costs 1-3 DP, depending on the level of danger.
◆◆ A DARK MIND – A PC is suddenly stricken with a temporary dark madness. More details in Chapter 14. Costs 1-3 DP.
◆◆ THE POWER OF DARKNESS – Certain talents or abilities can be activated by NPCs or creatures using DP. More details in Chapter 15. The DP cost varies.
 

Charlie D

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One of the things I like about Darkness Points is they are usually things I wouldn't do in other games. I wouldn't normally reroll a skill check for an NPC for example or force a PC to drop a weapon or have an NPC act out of turn. So DPs add options to the game that I normally wouldn't otherwise use rather than making the game run when it would otherwise run fine without them.
 

Charlie D

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One of the things I really like about Tales from the Loop is there isn't combat and dying per se. Kids use skills to try to overcome Trouble and if they fail they may take a Condition.

TYPICAL TROUBLE
■■ Someone is standing outside the entrance and will see you if you try to enter.
■■ One of the bullies throws a bottle at you.
■■ The old man’s dog is chained to a tree in the garden; it seems to be sick and is frothing at the mouth.
■■ Mom refuses to let you go out tonight.
■■ Your parents start to argue again.
■■ The car drops you off at the southern part of the island; it’s a long way to walk home in the middle of the night.
■■ Your classmates don’t believe you.
■■ He looks at you as if he sees you for the first time. Now you have the chance to tell him how you really feel about him.
■■ The robot attacks you with its claw.
■■ The portal opens with a deafening roar, and everything in the room is sucked towards it, including you.

The Kids cannot die, but they can suffer from Conditions. When you try to overcome Trouble but fail, or if you push a dice roll (Chapter 5), you may be forced to take a Condition. There are five Conditions, and the first four are mild: Upset, Scared, Exhausted and Injured. The exact interpretation of a Condition can vary, and may need to be adapted to
the situation at hand.

You decide what Condition to take in a given situation, and you get a -1 on all dice rolls until it is healed. Additional Conditions are cumulative; two Conditions give -2 on all dice rolls. If all four mild Conditions are marked and you take another Condition, you are Broken.

If you get Broken, something really bad has happened. You are mentally or physically hurt, and you will automatically fail all dice rolls until healed. The Conditions are also an indicator for how to play the Kid. You decide how much you want to play out your Conditions in the scenes. The Gamemaster can help you by asking questions.
 

CRKrueger

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"NPCs can't perform reactive actions" unless the GM spends a Dark Point. Bleah.
It defeats the whole purpose of tying the Dark Points supposedly to something in-setting, because they are so mechanically necessary if the GM isn't going to be hamstrung.

It's still an adversarial narrative system any way you look at it. Which doesn't mean it's not fun, it's just too much OOC to stand in as a game I play when I want to roleplay.
 

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One of the things I really like about Tales from the Loop is there isn't combat and dying per se. Kids use skills to try to overcome Trouble and if they fail they may take a Condition.
The Kids cannot die, but they can suffer from Conditions.
What an odd thing for a game that cites Stranger Things as an influence. You can get scared, and there's some risk of injury but one of the teens can't die? Sounds like it hews much closer to E.T. than ST in theme. Or that it's trying to maintain protagonist-immunity in a narrative sense.

Are the parents anything but NPC obstacles in TftL? Is there an age-range of teens and preteens you can play in this game, and if so how does age impact their capabilities? Are there psychic abilities in the game?
 

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In Coriolis whenever the PCs call on the Icons to improve their lot the GM gets a Darkness Points. Problems like the ship acting up are activated with Darkness Points.
How often have you seen calling on Icons occur in a single Coriolis game session? Does it happen often? Is it practically necessary for characters to achieve exceptional task results? How much of a stockpile of Darkness Points are you sitting on, as a GM, during your average session?

When Darkness Points are acquired, are there any guidelines on how they are spent during a session? If characters call on the Icons to boost their ship's speed or maneuverability, to escape some threat, is it generally assumed that a GM will spend the DP to adversely affect the ship later? Or is it not out of the question to spend them later on something totally unrelated, like a misfiring handgun or an NPC acting out of order?

Is it possible to starve the GM of Darkness Points, hamstringing them by refusing to call on the Icons, and just accepting the result of a failed action? Do you ever, as a GM, feel like your NPC's actions are limited because you could use more DP to make them more effective as adversaries?

I'm asking these questions to see how closely Coriolis behaves in gameplay, compared with Modiphius' 2D20. I didn't enjoy 2D20's approach to adversarial-GM-mechanics in play, and it would dissuade me from buying an Rpg that used a similar model.
 
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Charlie D

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"NPCs can't perform reactive actions" unless the GM spends a Dark Point. Bleah.
It defeats the whole purpose of tying the Dark Points supposedly to something in-setting, because they are so mechanically necessary if the GM isn't going to be hamstrung.

It's still an adversarial narrative system any way you look at it. Which doesn't mean it's not fun, it's just too much OOC to stand in as a game I play when I want to roleplay.
Reactions take place on the player's turn which is why it requires a DP. Seems straight forward to me. Otherwise the NPCs can do any action they want on their turn.

I'm not sure I entirely understand what an adversarial narrative system is, but if you mean that if the PCs want their rolls to improve it means they get bad luck elsewhere, then yes it is. The Dark between the Stars is an integal part of the setting and not just tacked on. If you don't like the give and take of Fate then I agree this particular version of Year Zero rules is not for you.

However I don't think it is narrative in that the PCs don't have to fish for rerolls at all if they don't want to. The system doesn't push timid players into pushing their luck. They can just make straight rolls and not push. Failure can just be failure. The GM gets a few DP to start anyway and can just use those. And you can have the fun times of some players liking to push their luck and others not and watching the DP rise despite their best efforts.

However, the game is enhanced if the players are willing to pray to the Icons even though they know they are powering up the Darkness. They want to succeed but they know that changing fate has a cost.

In D&D this would be an all out attack. You give up some AC to hit better or harder. And the GM decides if he wants to hit back with a bonus based on the PC leaving himself open. The player decides and doesn't have to do it all if they don't want. But it might make the game more exciting and be in character more in they do.
 

Charlie D

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A couple of questions for you:
  • How large of dice pools do you typically see in most Year Zero task resolution rolls? 2-3 rolled with most unskilled checks, and in excess of 10 with skilled/advantaged rolls?
  • Does Mutant Year Zero go the Gamma World direction and include mutant plants? I'm assuming not as PCs, but perhaps antagonists?
  • For that matter, are most antagonists in the MYZ core other mutated humans, or is there a decent selection of monsters to choose from?
Several times. Yes. No (you can work together, improve conditions, and get gear also). A decent amount.

Yes. No. GM decides.

No. No.

Lots of questions there. Let me try to sum it up.

In Mutant Year Zero, if a PC pushes a roll he may damage his own character and get a Mutation Point. He gets the reroll but doesn't get to reroll 1s which damage him or his gear (plus any 1s he rolls on the reroll also hurt).

In Tales from the Loop, pushing automatically gives a Condition. But unlike MY0 you get to reroll 1s.

In Coriolis, if a PC prays to the Icons the GM gets a Darkness Point. The PC gets the reroll including 1s.

So in MY0 the negative effect is right now. And it is offset by powering up mutations (which is the incentive beyond just the reroll because the cost of taking damage is high).

In TftL the effect is immediate. But a Condition is less damaging than in MY0.

In Coriolis, the PC gets the reroll and watches the DP pile rise. He feels the Darkness between the Stars growing stronger. And I don’t mean in some abstract sense. The tension at the table goes up, which is a good thing. The Darkness is real in the game and DP are critical for showing its effects. The cost is not as high as in MY0 (no damage) because there are no benefits to the PC beyond the reroll.

In play, this means the PCs are constantly thinking in character if they should call out to the Icons for aid. A soldier wanting to make a shot is more likely to pray. An engineer wanting to fix the engines is more likely to beseech the Icons. And rolls that matter are more likely to be pushed.

However, the PCs don’t have to pray. Failure is fine too. But most people in Coriolis have a strong connection to the Icons and praying to them comes naturally (and this is reflected in game play).

And if they push, the GM doesn’t strike back at them (the personal PC). Later, the Darkness strikes at the group. It is not GM versus player but the Darkness itself that strikes at the character group.

And it is thrilling. Every reroll adding a DP adds to the stakes. When the Darkness strikes all the players are on the edge of their seats. DP gives the GM options I would not normally take in other games (rerolling failed skills, breaking initiative order for an NPC to go now, having the ship refuse to follow orders, or breaking a PC’s weapon). They don’t stop me from GMing, they just give me some extra powers that would seem like me being a dick if they weren’t powered by Darkness Points.

In D&D for example, I could not imagine jumping in front of a PC during initiative just because I choose to. Or breaking their sword without a roll or check. Or rerolling when an NPC fails a roll. A few special cases might see me doing this things, but it is so rare that I can’t think of any.

DP changes that without it being the GM “getting” the player. DPs really make the Darkness between the Stars a super villain (kind of like in D&D 5E when some monsters get legendary or lair actions that do break the normal rules and turn order).
 

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In Coriolis, if a PC prays to the Icons the GM gets a Darkness Point. The PC gets the reroll including 1s.
...
In Coriolis, the PC gets the reroll and watches the DP pile rise. He feels the Darkness between the Stars growing stronger. And I don’t mean in some abstract sense. The tension at the table goes up, which is a good thing. The Darkness is real in the game and DP are critical for showing its effects. The cost is not as high as in MY0 (no damage) because there are no benefits to the PC beyond the reroll.
...
In play, this means the PCs are constantly thinking in character if they should call out to the Icons for aid. A soldier wanting to make a shot is more likely to pray. An engineer wanting to fix the engines is more likely to beseech the Icons. And rolls that matter are more likely to be pushed.

However, the PCs don’t have to pray. Failure is fine too. But most people in Coriolis have a strong connection to the Icons and praying to them comes naturally (and this is reflected in game play).

And if they push, the GM doesn’t strike back at them (the personal PC). Later, the Darkness strikes at the group. It is not GM versus player but the Darkness itself that strikes at the character group.

And it is thrilling. Every reroll adding a DP adds to the stakes. When the Darkness strikes all the players are on the edge of their seats. DP gives the GM options I would not normally take in other games (rerolling failed skills, breaking initiative order for an NPC to go now, having the ship refuse to follow orders, or breaking a PC’s weapon). They don’t stop me from GMing, they just give me some extra powers that would seem like me being a dick if they weren’t powered by Darkness Points..
I think you've completely sold me off Coriolis, based on your summation. :smile:

The DP mechanic works well at your table. Cool.
The mechanic (which I consider to be an adversarial-GM-mechanic) evokes the opposite reaction with me, and matches up with my experience of playing Mutant Chronicles 3e. It would break me out-of-character because rather than feeling immersed, tense, and thrilled, I'd feel the weight of the accumulation of DP and that would make me want to take the opposite action. I'd feel compelled to play-it-safe and conservatively, to starve the GM of his resources like a metagame and that would fracture my immersion. My natural reaction to thematic GM-screw-me-points has been to deprive them of it. :smile: And that clearly would run counter to the setting assumptions of a Coriolis character.

Another reaction I get to this phenomenon is to get a little pissed at other players that routinely push fate for results. Especially in cases where their bold action impacts everyone else at the table. I don't have a problem with the side effects to their actions affecting themselves directly. But when their behavior imperils everyone else around them, because they want results (in this case, under the guise of being pious to the Icons), it bothers me. It impacts teamwork and cooperation, IMO.

Does Forbidden Lands use something like Darkness Points?
 
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Charlie D

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Does Forbidden Lands use something like Darkness Points?
No, Coriolis is unique in using Darkness Points for GMs. The other systems don't power the GM by pushing rolls.

Forbidden Lands has Willpower which fuels your kin and profession talents. When you push a die roll and get 1s you also get Willpower points. Works like Mutation Points in MY0 but for your Talents.

Forbidden Lands is unique in using dice bigger than d6 and having three levels in Talents. Better gear gives bigger dice and a better chance to succeed. Which works really well for magic artifacts. And more levels means you can continue to improve characters in a system without mutations or animal powers.

And here is how magic works from the game designers themselves:
  • Magic users (sorcerers and druids) can be almost as good as the other professions at non-magical skills, such as swordplay. We want fights to be like in the LotR, where Gandalf swings his sword with skill and saves his magic for when it's really needed.
  • Even starting magic users can cast powerful spells.
  • In order to use magic, you must first use other skills, to build up your Willpower Points. This comes naturally during the flow of the game, as magic users can be quite skilled at other activities too. You will never need to "force" your players to make skill rolls to collect WP, it's a dynamic and natural flow in the game.
 
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I've played Tales from the Loop once. We had fun, but in retrospect, at least the way this GM ran it, the advanced tech feels tagged-on because it only remains limited to a handful of inventions and doesn't appear to have influenced the 1980s technology commonly in use much. It almost feels like they glued together two separate settings, one about secret futuristic tech and another about troubled, adventurous kids in the 1980s, but didn't actually mix these two components properly. Of course YMMV and such.

I really like MYZ. Coriolis doesn't appeal to me, though I like the collective spaceship upgrading and maintenance. MYZ does something similar with the mutants' homebase The Ark.
 

CRKrueger

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Reactions take place on the player's turn which is why it requires a DP. Seems straight forward to me. Otherwise the NPCs can do any action they want on their turn.
Yeah, but is parrying or actively defending considered a "reaction"?

I'm not sure I entirely understand what an adversarial narrative system is, but if you mean that if the PCs want their rolls to improve it means they get bad luck elsewhere, then yes it is. The Dark between the Stars is an integal part of the setting and not just tacked on. If you don't like the give and take of Fate then I agree this particular version of Year Zero rules is not for you.
The give and take of Fate is fine, of course that's not what we're discussing exactly, is it?

However I don't think it is narrative in that the PCs don't have to fish for rerolls at all if they don't want to. The system doesn't push timid players into pushing their luck. They can just make straight rolls and not push. Failure can just be failure. The GM gets a few DP to start anyway and can just use those. And you can have the fun times of some players liking to push their luck and others not and watching the DP rise despite their best efforts.
Narrative does not mean "mandatory". Just because I can choose not to invoke a narrative control mechanism doesn't change what it is. and "timid"...

However, the game is enhanced if the players are willing to pray to the Icons even though they know they are powering up the Darkness. They want to succeed but they know that changing fate has a cost.
I'll admit, they managed to construct the setting specifically to try and make an OOC mechanic seem IC. What happens when the bad guys pray to the Icons? Does the Darkness come for them too?

In D&D this would be an all out attack. You give up some AC to hit better or harder. And the GM decides if he wants to hit back with a bonus based on the PC leaving himself open. The player decides and doesn't have to do it all if they don't want. But it might make the game more exciting and be in character more in they do.
False analogy. The PC's penalty, which the GM can choose to exploit, is directly associated with the all-out attack. The GM can't bank that penalty and use it to affect the PCs home life (their personal problem), or use the advantage of an all-out attack to have a janitor walk around the corner into the line of fire.

DP gives the GM options I would not normally take in other games (rerolling failed skills, breaking initiative order for an NPC to go now, having the ship refuse to follow orders, or breaking a PC’s weapon). They don’t stop me from GMing, they just give me some extra powers that would seem like me being a dick if they weren’t powered by Darkness Points.

In D&D for example, I could not imagine jumping in front of a PC during initiative just because I choose to. Or breaking their sword without a roll or check. Or rerolling when an NPC fails a roll. A few special cases might see me doing this things, but it is so rare that I can’t think of any.

DP changes that without it being the GM “getting” the player. DPs really make the Darkness between the Stars a super villain (kind of like in D&D 5E when some monsters get legendary or lair actions that do break the normal rules and turn order).
You know exactly what an adversarial narrative mechanic is, that's just not what you call it. It absolutely is the GM "getting" the player. The difference is, the players gave permission to be gotten by choosing to be awesome themselves. They Push and do great things, and in doing so, they free the GM to be, what in other games might be called an illusionist, railroading, dick. Because the currency the GM spends is limited, and mostly given directly by the players, it removes all onus of a Fiat power. Thus the GM has the power to influence things on the fly in order to make things more scary, dangerous, interesting, etc.

Oddly enough, I think the in-setting nature of the Darkness actually works against the mechanic.

In Conan 2d20, for example, there is no Sentient Doom waiting to give you your comeuppance. The mechanic is meant to directly simulate the tension and back and forth of a S&S story, with the players and GM essentially authoring a Howard story while they are roleplaying.

In a reality where everyone knew there was a malevolent force that would strike back at you and yours whenever you prayed, I expect there would be very little praying except in times of dire need, even if the prayers did help.
 
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Charlie D

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I would say the Darkness attacks whether you pray or not. In fact, the praying protects you from the Darkness. Because pushing does not immediately harm the PC no one in game assumes the Darkness is responding to the prayer. The Darkness is going to strike anyway in game. And in fact it does in adventures when the larger danger is driven by the Darkness.

And the idea that asking for divine aid invites attack by opposing forces is something that exists in the real world. People still pray if they think there is a risk. In fact, as I stated, they believe the prayer will protect them more than if they don't pray.

Some players don't like that type of mechanic and that is okay. I can understand how it could be perceived as GM vs. players But without a doubt it works in the setting.
 
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Voros

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E8CA62A2-A137-4072-B742-19B3B77214C0.jpeg I found the Genlab Alpha hardcover on sale and ordered a copy. Looks fun and is self-contained not a supplement that requires the core rulebook.
 

Charlie D

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View attachment 597 I found the Genlab Alpha hardcover on sale and ordered a copy. Looks fun and is self-contained not a supplement that requires the core rulebook.
I like Instinct in Genlab. Raw animal power and silent communication and reduced by doubt. Recovered by an animal behavior based on the animal type.
 

silva

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Charlie, any news on the pure humans supplement for MY0 ?
 

Voros

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Free League are certainly playing their part in the current RPG golden age!
 

TJS

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If like me you were frequently confused about which games were published by Fria Logan and which were published by the other Swedish rpg company that publishes games in English translation, Järnringen, you don't need to be any more. According to Facebook they have just merged and will continue together under the name Fria Logan.
 

Trippy

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Mutant: Year Zero is the best post-apocalyptic game on the market, which is saying something because there are a lot of post-apocalyptic games out there currently. It has the best production values and support, however, and manages to keep it all 'straight' (even with anthropomorphic fluffy animals included). Gamma World did it first, but had more sillyness and fantasy elements added. Mutant: Year Zero also has design features that are similar to Apocolypse World, but the archetypes are better and the game, as a whole, more rounded.

Tales of the Loop had lots of positive reviews and interesting art, but I didn't feel like it could support longer term play as much.
 

silva

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Mutant: Year Zero is the best post-apocalyptic game on the market, which is saying something because there are a lot of post-apocalyptic games out there currently. It has the best production values and support, however, and manages to keep it all 'straight' (even with anthropomorphic fluffy animals included). Gamma World did it first, but had more sillyness and fantasy elements added. Mutant: Year Zero also has design features that are similar to Apocolypse World, but the archetypes are better and the game, as a whole, more rounded.
I think Mutant Year Zero and Apocalypse World are so different in their premises that's hard to compare. The former being a hex-crawl with base building, and the later more of a Walking Dead-like survival drama. Even the elements Mutant borrowed from Apoc World (ie: the starting bonds between characters) serve more to spice things up than to be a central element like in that game.

About the archetypes, I find the Boss and Slave seemed tacked on. See, Mutant premise is very exploration based, and all other archetypes reflect that. Having those two archetypes together brings to the table a load of issues lile slavery, hierarchy etc. besides a potential antagonism, that disrupts that pattern imo.
 
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Charlie D

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Charlie, any news on the pure humans supplement for MY0 ?
I have no official word. However, the last three kickstarters have been Forbidden Lands, Coriolis, and Things of the Flood. So MY0 would be next I'd think.
 

Charlie D

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Tales of the Loop had lots of positive reviews and interesting art, but I didn't feel like it could support longer term play as much.
If Things from the Flood really does let you grow your Kid into a Teen (especially one who can actually die) then there will be more long term play. Quite interesting long term play too, I'd think.
 

Charlie D

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About the archetypes, I find the Boss and Slave seemed tacked on. See, Mutant premise is very exploration based, and all other archetypes reflect that. Having those two archetypes together brings to the table a load of issues lile slavery, hierarchy etc. besides a potential antagonism, that disrupts that pattern imo.
Half the game takes place in the Zone but the other half takes place in the Ark. The slave and the boss bring a lot of richness to roleplaying and an increased chance of success in growing the Ark in the way the PCs want if played correctly. The slave especially brings up the question of whether the Ark will allow slavery or abolish it eventually and what does that mean if the slaves are freed?And if a boss relies on slavery, does the boss lose his job and/or life when slavery goes?
 

silva

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Half the game takes place in the Zone but the other half takes place in the Ark. The slave and the boss bring a lot of richness to roleplaying and an increased chance of success in growing the Ark in the way the PCs want if played correctly. The slave especially brings up the question of whether the Ark will allow slavery or abolish it eventually and what does that mean if the slaves are freed?And if a boss relies on slavery, does the boss lose his job and/or life when slavery goes?
Oh I agree, but only on the condition there's one or the other archetype in the game. Both? Get ready for a potentially team-disrupting trainwreck. Just my opinion but I think Mutant has a too strong party-based framework for such a blatant player-antagonism to work.
 
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