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I'd rather see a lot more variety than that.

It's not like the only options are "PTA games" and "Retroclones".
Well, yeah, I've been saying that for awhile. There aren't enough supers, modern, or even western games.
 

EmperorNorton

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I mean, I think there is room for an insane amount of variety, and I tend to like a hell of a lot of the weird outliers (I even like Chuubo's quite a lot, and I really can't think of a game that gets more esoteric than that). I love the experimentation and attempts at trying something new or different.

That is also why I'm very adverse to these strict ideas of putting things into the box of "this is an rpg, and don't you dare go outside this."
 

silva

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I'm still looking for a PbtA pirate game that isn't a supplement to Dungeon World. It looks like one was kickstartered a while back, but the creator took the money and ran.
Poisn'd ?

:hehe::hehe::hehe:
 

Caesar Slaad

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Nah, Apocalypse World communicates it's attitude and style amazingly well through the text/descriptors/playbooks/etc (even the simplistic pictures adds to it in their own way). So I don't agree with the criticism in this case.

But I agree other PbtA games needed better art. Blades in particular would really benefit from a Vampire-like visual treatment. The "bearded friends in photoshop" is spot on and some pieces are really embarrassing.

Btw, I see City of Mist has some very good art pieces. Don't know how consistent it is in the book though. Anyone here have it?

I have it and did a review not too long ago.

The interior art uses many comic-book like panels instead of more typical RPG-like illos.
 

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Got this just there because it looked interesting. Note it's a late beta, not the final game, when I bought it I thought Ashcan edition was just a "cool" title!
 
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Necrozius

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After playing several games using this system, I found them surprisingly challenging to run. Some playbooks are enormously powerful compared with PCs in other systems. You’ve really got to be Hard with Hard moves or else it becomes a magical tea party.

On the other hand, I’ve had a GM running a game at a con and she was fucking brutal with hard moves right at the start of the session. I missed an attack roll against our first enemy encounter and nearly got killed in retaliation while also earning the ridicule and scorn of the other PCs. Ouch!

Also, some moves require far more improvisation on the part of the GM, especially moves that require declarations about the world. Some evenings, I really resorted to random tables.

I think that I now much prefer games like Blades in the dark and the Nightmares Beneath. Games with a narrower focus and certain constraints.
 

Picaroon Jack

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Also, some moves require far more improvisation on the part of the GM, especially moves that require declarations about the world. Some evenings, I really resorted to random tables.
Holy smokes, this was VERY true in Worlds in Peril a supers PbtA. You have to think quick for any critical failure as well as "damage" or complications to someone who is invulnerable.
 

silva

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After playing several games using this system, I found them surprisingly challenging to run. Some playbooks are enormously powerful compared with PCs in other systems. You’ve really got to be Hard with Hard moves or else it becomes a magical tea party.
This is a big one, yes. The GM must hurt them hard when given the opportunity, otherwise players will wipe the floor with any opposition. Specially true depending on the playbooks picked (like in AW a party with a Gunlugger AND a Battlebabe).

But then I think the best PbtAs are those where players don't really join up together as "adventuring parties", and thus are their own biggest threats. Like Undying and Monsterhearts, for eg.
 
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Caesar Slaad

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I just finished the 12th session of my Masks game. It super keeps me on my toes, but it’s super satisfying. I’d totally put up my bullet-point AP if that’s a thing that happens at the Pub, but I don’t see an AP forum.

My daughter has been playing in it, and loves it so much she was inspired to run an online Masks campaign for her friends.
 

Iceman

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I want to love PbtA so much, I want it to be my 'go to' system. But the lack of long term campaign play basically kills it for me.

What is it, 10 sessions and the campaign is over? To me that's too short.
 

Picaroon Jack

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Specially true depending on the playbooks picked (like in AW a party with a Gunlugger AND a Battlebabe).
Our Gunlugger kept trying to "pull punches" to capture running enemies to pump them for information. Even when trying to do less damage, it typically went something like, "I'm just going to wing him." BOOM (the runner explodes).
 

Skywalker

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I want to love PbtA so much, I want it to be my 'go to' system. But the lack of long term campaign play basically kills it for me.

What is it, 10 sessions and the campaign is over? To me that's too short.
PbtA tend to shine between 10-20 sessions IME. But many can much longer.

There are lots of variables in the length for PbtA games. It depends on the game and how you run it as few have “per session” XP. For example, I ran 14 sessions for Masks and the campaign could easily have gone for 4-5 times longer than that mechanically.

Also many PbtA RPGs also include legacy mechanics, to allow you to play multiple PCs over time. Some even build that into campaign arc structures that can last many sessions like Legacy: Life Among the Ruins.
 

Iceman

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There are lots of variables in the length for PbtA games. It depends on the game and how you run it as few have “per session” XP. For example, I ran 14 sessions for Masks and the campaign could easily have gone for 4-5 times longer than that mechanically.
If your PbtA could feasibly have run for roughly 56 sessions, then I am extremely interested in PbtA. I'm not trying to be facetious, I'm being serious. It's just that I've heard they tend to top out at around a dozen sessions because you have no room left in which to improve your character. Granted you do not have to measure longevity just by the sheer number of "modifiers" you can tack onto a character sheet but for me that is about 98% of the enjoyment. It's one thing to keep adding contacts and resources but if my character can't ever get better at (for example) sneaking or climbing or anything, then it feels stagnant.

Also many PbtA RPGs also include legacy mechanics, to allow you to play multiple PCs over time. Some even build that into campaign arc structures that can last many sessions like Legacy: Life Among the Ruins.
An interesting concept but one that doesn't really appeal to me. I like to stick with one character and all that entails.

Don't get me wrong, I have tremulus, Monster of the Week, and Dungeon World, but I don't GM them because of the above.
 

Skywalker

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As none of those RPGs have “per session” XP awards, it’s hard to judge what exactly their mechanical improvement longevity is. DW may seem easiest with its 10 levels but as the XP per level grows over time, 1 level per session for all 10 levels doesn’t match my experience. IME many other PbtA RPGs are less defined than this and could easily go longer.

Of course talking about PbtA RPGs as a single system is also problematic as they are more an approach to RPGing than a single ruleset.
 

Picaroon Jack

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Both my Apocalypse World and Worlds in Perils games had longevity. In both cases the players really got into their characters' development, probably more than the exploration of the campaign worlds. Both games ended when players graduated/moved, the existing players want to go back to both. We've talked about starting Apocalypse World back as a legacy game playing the kids of the main characters.
 

Iceman

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I think I may have to dig out my PbtA games again
 

silva

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I think @Iceman point about longevity has some truth to it. But I can't comment now. On a hurry.
 

Caesar Slaad

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I think that you can't really say too much about the longevity of PbtA games as a whole, at least regarding advancement. One thing that tends to vary widely in PbtA is the experience system. The Sprawl advancement is much slower than in Dungeon World or Masks. Personally, I feel the Sprawl is too slow.

I'm 12 sessions into my Masks game right now, and that's probably half the life of the game. We play monthly, so it might be shorter by some folks' measure, but I don't think I would have as much story invested in each session than if I was running weekly.

Progress does seem to vary between players and playbooks and retiring PCs is a totally legitimate move if you feel like your advancement is becoming saturated.

But saturating the characters' advancement is definitely a worry in PbtA games, something I never needed to worry about in (say) D&D or Pathfinder.
 

silva

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I think the issue is not even experience systems but how a lot of the most popular hacks are designed around exploring a (very) specific theme with a more or less expected flow of "setup > buildup > climax > fallout".

Take Apocalypse World for eg. If you follow the advice by the letter you start with a disfunctional group of PCs scraping by to survive through scarcity, external threats and each other needs/ambitions. Then they get more powerful, join up, wipe out the external threats and make their community prosper. At this point the initial premise starts to crumble and with it the whole mechanical apparatus designed to promote it. You can continue from there but you'll have to make some conscious effort for it to continue making sense. Monsterhearts is like that, as is Night Witches, Undying, Sagas of the Icelanders, etc. We played around 10 or 12 sessions of those and the stories reached a natural point of closure for us. Could we keep playing? Totally. Did we feel the need? Not much.

I agree some hacks break that mold, though. The Sprawl is a good example, as is Dungeon World, Spirit of '77 and Legacy. I don't know Masks, Monsters of the Week and City of Mist so I can't say.

I think your traditional setting-exploration RPG ends up being potentially more longeve because a setting naturally offers more avenues for exploration: in Shadowrun you can start as a local gang fighting for turf, then turn into a crew doing heists for Johnsons, then join up some megacorp providing security detail, etc. In D&D idem. etc.

Don't know if I made much sense. Still in a hurry here. hehe
 

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I have ran a number of Dungeon World campaigns. Fun, light, it's a casual way to roleplay and game if you're short on time. Not without issues or shortcomings, but it's a good game to play on breaks from heavier RPGs.

I have ran one Sprawl campaign and I really enjoyed it. I wasn't able to finish it but the clocks system ramping up pressure was very fun to play with as a GM. My players got very into the world. Again, some holes I had to quite seriously patch up - there is a massive fault in this game's pseudo 'economy' in which the Players sometimes spent more 'money' doing the missions than they did from completion. I had to tweak this in some ways to help out, and threw a lot of side gigs to help compliment the crew's 'pockets'. Still, fun game! I like Shadowrun but I much prefer meat n matrix cyberpunk. Pixie fairy dust magic shite is not my cuppa tea when dealing with The Man.
 

AsenRG

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I think the issue is not even experience systems but how a lot of the most popular hacks are designed around exploring a (very) specific theme with a more or less expected flow of "setup > buildup > climax > fallout".

Take Apocalypse World for eg. If you follow the advice by the letter you start with a disfunctional group of PCs scraping by to survive through scarcity, external threats and each other needs/ambitions. Then they get more powerful, join up, wipe out the external threats and make their community prosper. At this point the initial premise starts to crumble and with it the whole mechanical apparatus designed to promote it. You can continue from there but you'll have to make some conscious effort for it to continue making sense. Monsterhearts is like that, as is Night Witches, Undying, Sagas of the Icelanders, etc. We played around 10 or 12 sessions of those and the stories reached a natural point of closure for us. Could we keep playing? Totally. Did we feel the need? Not much.

I agree some hacks break that mold, though. The Sprawl is a good example, as is Dungeon World, Spirit of '77 and Legacy. I don't know Masks, Monsters of the Week and City of Mist so I can't say.

I think your traditional setting-exploration RPG ends up being potentially more longeve because a setting naturally offers more avenues for exploration: in Shadowrun you can start as a local gang fighting for turf, then turn into a crew doing heists for Johnsons, then join up some megacorp providing security detail, etc. In D&D idem. etc.

Don't know if I made much sense. Still in a hurry here. hehe
Makes total sense to me, and I agree:smile:.
 

silva

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I have ran one Sprawl campaign and I really enjoyed it. I wasn't able to finish it but the clocks system ramping up pressure was very fun to play with as a GM. My players got very into the world.
You know what I love in the Sprawl? How it makes Intel and Gear into a currency, and makes it this tangible, important thing instead of just some loose info of dubious utility. Some playbooks even capitalize on that, like the Hacker which is an intel MACHINE if used right.

It's use of countdown clocks is also very good.
 

Smith

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You know what I love in the Sprawl? How it makes Intel and Gear into a currency, and makes it this tangible, important thing instead of just some loose info of dubious utility. Some playbooks even capitalize on that, like the Hacker which is an intel MACHINE if used right.
Agreed - it took that notion of 'adventuring gear' a la Dungeon World and really let the Players run wild with it. I have some great moments where I would present a challenge, and thanks to their excessive, paranoid stakeouts they had intel and gear to spend - leading to cool explanations of 'well the Intel I found was that this guard's wife is having an affair with his buddy' so the Face just casually drops some hint about it. Very rewarding for the players, allows them to have neat little touches to add to the story, and make for some unpredictable moments as the GM.
 

silva

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Yeah, but dont forget they risk raising the clock in the legwork phase if they get too ambitious. This limits them hoarding Intel and Gear, right?
 

Smith

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Yeah, but dont forget they risk raising the clock in the legwork phase if they get too ambitious. This limits them hoarding Intel and Gear, right?
Of course! Those exact time where they went overboard on prepping? The clock got waaaay too close to midnight during the actual heist and they typically had to fight their way out through a myriad of gunfire and close-calls.

From a GM standpoint, it was devilishly fun creating the challenges. You setup the locked doors, the passcodes, the hacking etc etc. You also create the back up, the response from police/harder corp sec, and what might happen if the secret research lab needs to purge. If the players lean too hard in Prep (grabbing INTEL & GEAR) then that likely means they will end up getting their clocks too high before the mission even begins. Don't prep enough? Welp, gonna have to get creative to get onto the floor we need to be on cos we didn't have any ID cards, and nor did we anticipate there being custodial staff working tonight (etc). Either way, the game balances challenge based on the Players' actions, guaranteeing a fun mission.
 

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Anyone picked up the new Monster of the Week book? I was wondering if it was worth grabbing.
 

Voros

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Didn’t know there was one! What are the details?
 

Skywalker

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From its blurb:

In the Monster of the Week roleplaying game, hunters must solve all manner of mysteries before they can save the day. The Tome of Mysteries expands their options—and magnifies their peril-—with a wide variety of GMing advice, essays, rules, and mysteries from the Monster of the Week “Roadhouse Regulars” online community.

Tome of Mysteries requires Monster of the Week to play. In this supplement, you’ll find:
  • Eight new alternative Weird Moves that go beyond Use Magic.
  • Four new Hunter playbooks: The Gumshoe, the Hex, the Searcher, and the Pararomantic.
  • Support for weird phenomena type Mysteries like those found in Fringe or The X-Files.
  • Tips and techniques used by experienced Keepers.
  • 29 fully detailed mysteries ready to drop into your game.
 

Mankcam

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So far, as a GM, I haven't seen anything that would make me run a PbtA game over the systems I currently have.

However I am impressed by the growing range of PbtA games out there, its almost like the Savage Worlds explosion a few years ago.

I would love to be a player in any of these games - Dungeon World, Blades In The Dark, City of Mist, Monster of the Week etc

I might also check out Monster of the Week to see if there is anything I can mine for my own games.

It's interesting to watch PbtA emerge, its definately one to keep an eye on.
 

CRKrueger

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I think the issue is not even experience systems but how a lot of the most popular hacks are designed around exploring a (very) specific theme with a more or less expected flow of "setup > buildup > climax > fallout".

Take Apocalypse World for eg. If you follow the advice by the letter you start with a disfunctional group of PCs scraping by to survive through scarcity, external threats and each other needs/ambitions. Then they get more powerful, join up, wipe out the external threats and make their community prosper. At this point the initial premise starts to crumble and with it the whole mechanical apparatus designed to promote it. You can continue from there but you'll have to make some conscious effort for it to continue making sense. Monsterhearts is like that, as is Night Witches, Undying, Sagas of the Icelanders, etc. We played around 10 or 12 sessions of those and the stories reached a natural point of closure for us. Could we keep playing? Totally. Did we feel the need? Not much.

I agree some hacks break that mold, though. The Sprawl is a good example, as is Dungeon World, Spirit of '77 and Legacy. I don't know Masks, Monsters of the Week and City of Mist so I can't say.

I think your traditional setting-exploration RPG ends up being potentially more longeve because a setting naturally offers more avenues for exploration: in Shadowrun you can start as a local gang fighting for turf, then turn into a crew doing heists for Johnsons, then join up some megacorp providing security detail, etc. In D&D idem. etc.

Don't know if I made much sense. Still in a hurry here. hehe
Well, when you're not playing to live/experience/emulate a pretend life, but to tell a story, then of course, the story ends, right? All highly narrative games have limited campaigns, that's kind of baked into the premise.
 
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