SLA Industries 2nd Edition

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Brock Savage

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The pdf was released today. I am reading it while working, so far I'm on page 17 and wading through the background. Unsurprisingly, the exposition was a lot more interesting when it was mysterious and ambiguous. Anyone else get this and, if so, what do you think so far?
 

Bourbonjack

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If they are slicking to the backstory behind the original SLA, then I don’t really think the game would be that interesting once the curtain was pulled back.
 

Brock Savage

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If they are slicking to the backstory behind the original SLA, then I don’t really think the game would be that interesting once the curtain was pulled back.
So far there's little mention of the deep dive TRUTH lunacy (Dr Crantham, Reathonal, and all that) thank goodness but so far it's a slog to get through reading SLA's long string of incompetent, needlessly cruel decisions. It feels like the author's over-the-top critique of capitalism disguised as fiction LOL we get it already.

Edit: I'm not a hater, this was my favorite RPG in the 90's!
 

TJS

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I'm pretty sure the original Truth is now gone.
 

Bourbonjack

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Same rule system? I remember the original system being clunky.
 

Brock Savage

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Maybe I am just in a bad mood from all the stuff going on today or maybe I am being a 1st edition grognard but I was underwhelmed.

  • Art and fiction is poor compared to 1st edition.
  • SLA Industries is depicted as impossibly stupid and cruel, we're talking 40K Imperium levels, but the setting is presented with dead seriousness.
  • Writing is meh. Explains too much, not evocative. Lots and lots of exposition that fills in gaps for long time fans but would be of little interest to newcomers
  • Surprising amount of space is wasted explaining things to people who have never played or run an RPG before
  • New race is a disappointing bird man race.
  • Shaktars retconned to no longer look like cool Predator dudes.
  • New stuff like the Moral Right is stupid and silly. I feel like these guys were running out of dystopian ideas and it shows.
  • 30 years of advances in gaming ignored. Clunky rules presented in traditional clunky RPG format sandwiched between fluff.
  • At one point I distinctly remember the creators saying they were going to toss out the old Truth "The entire World of Progress is a madman's dream" but after reading cover to cover that is clearly not the case.

Same rule system? I remember the original system being clunky.
Different rules, more clunky and fiddly. Original rules at their core were simple, roll 2d10 + skill to beat 11. Stuff like armor damage, a million skills and the weird initiative system made it clunkier.
 

AsenRG

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OK, what is the moral right in this specific RPG?
 

Brock Savage

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OK, what is the moral right in this specific RPG?
A new department of SLA with ridiculous levels of jurisdiction trying to beat Victorian morality into the population. "Virtue Squads" beat the shit out of unemployed civilians while dumping the criminal and homeless into workhouses. They preach morals and dignity but are actually a bunch of sadistic bullies connected to SLA's old money families *gasp!* Maybe if I was from the UK it would be cool but to this American it is incredibly lame.
 

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OK, what is the moral right in this specific RPG?
They're a group of supposed moral guardians, who are actually just upper-class twats going to Downtown to beat up poor people.

  • At one point I distinctly remember the creators saying they were going to toss out the old Truth "The entire World of Progress is a madman's dream" but after reading cover to cover that is clearly not the case.
I actually like The Truth, but jesus fuck, the corebook is not the time to be coy. If you're a long-time fan, that excerpt from Iteration 20 is cool, but if not... it's meaningless. Fucking explain what's going on, cater to newbies, cater to GM's. Don't dribble things out, don't tease GM's.

The big fluff section is cool, but it both makes too much and too little sense at the same time; if they're still going with the same sort of overall "war between Brent and Mr Slayer" concept, okay, cool, but I'd much rather see the meta-layer of that; the imagination game that they were both playing, and the moves they made to put the WoP into the state it is today. Also... there's no mention of Senti, which upsets me as a fan of stormers, beyond a casual mention of DeathWake. And example of what each type of BPN might actually look like would be nice, too.

It's... it's such a weird book. There's both too much and too little information; too much big picture, too little on how to use it. It tells you that everything is shit but doesn't have an actual take on it, just... yep, that's how it is. It's the wrong book written by the wrong people for the wrong audience; SLA Industries is an angry punk game, that should be written by and for today's angry punks, not us old-school SLA fans.

At least my official Head Office-approved SLA dice set is very nice, and entirely compatible with 1st edition.
 

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I don't find the system that fiddly, personally. Not something I'd run; I got it because of nostalgia and wanting to adapt it like I adapted the original SLA to other work. I haven't had a chance to read it yet- CS1 was pretty good, so I didn't think that this was going to be worse than that. Maybe I was wrong... I'll have to see.
 

AsenRG

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I don't get it why some people believe Victorian morals are somehow a good fit for a Cyberpunk setting:shade:.
 

Brock Savage

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I don't get it why some people believe Victorian morals are somehow a good fit for a Cyberpunk setting:shade:.
It worked in Neal Stephenson's excellent post cyberpunk novel The Diamond Age but yes I agree with you. It's five minutes 'till midnight in the World of Progress, I can't imagine Mr Slayer signing off on precious resources for a silly new Department whose sole purpose is to make things worse. To my American eyes it feels like the author is giving the middle finger to an imagined out of touch, ultraconservative UK upper class.
 

chuckdee

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It worked in Neal Stephenson's excellent post cyberpunk novel The Diamond Age but yes I agree with you. It's five minutes 'till midnight in the World of Progress, I can't imagine Mr Slayer signing off on precious resources for a silly new Department whose sole purpose is to make things worse. To my American eyes it feels like the author is giving the middle finger to an imagined out of touch, ultraconservative UK upper class.
SLA Industries has always seemed sort of a commentary, so I wouldn't doubt it.
 

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It worked in Neal Stephenson's excellent post cyberpunk novel The Diamond Age but yes I agree with you. It's five minutes 'till midnight in the World of Progress, I can't imagine Mr Slayer signing off on precious resources for a silly new Department whose sole purpose is to make things worse. To my American eyes it feels like the author is giving the middle finger to an imagined out of touch, ultraconservative UK upper class.
Looking at it with british eyes, I don't think it's even a very good parody. Personally I'd have played up allegories to foxhunting and links to the skin trade, with hunters on motorbikes in blood red armour chasing their victim through a sector, for example. If I wanted to touch on censorship and the glorification of violence, a soft corp trying to create a pacifist rebellion (Which SLA can later gun down, unwittingly completing a massive blood ritual) by hacking the SLA airwaves fit in, and helps make the ultraviolence more shocking by stopping it just being... the normal thing everyone likes.

SLA Industries has always seemed sort of a commentary, so I wouldn't doubt it.
1e is totally a commentary on growing up in a particular area at a particular time.
 

Brock Savage

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Looking at it with british eyes, I don't think it's even a very good parody. Personally I'd have played up allegories to foxhunting and links to the skin trade, with hunters on motorbikes in blood red armour chasing their victim through a sector, for example.
Fuck yeah, I like your ideas. I think class conflict is great for dystopian games but it just has to fit the setting, you know? I can easily imagine some of Mort's jaded top-out-of-sight billionaire class stealthily hunting the disenfranchised of Lower Downtown for sport ala "The Most Dangerous Game" in the best gear money can buy. In our long running campaign, the most important customers for the Skin Trade were the old money billionaire class who essentially guaranteed the continued existence of the 'Trade,
 

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I’m personally wondering why this new version was released. Were people really clamoring for an update SLA Industries?
 
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Trippy

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I always thought of SLA as more splatterpunk than cyberpunk
Yep. It is definitely ‘punk’ but the violence is accentuated to the max in SLA Industries, and it was also clearly influenced by the World of Darkness’ Gothic Punk games too....or 'World of Progress’ as they ironically dubbed it in this game.

For me, it had a lot of attitude and art that I liked, but I found the original system a little convoluted and there was a fair amount of 'wall of text’ to read through to get a handle on the background. Beyond that, it was one of those games that I just felt I would never really get round to playing, even back in the 1990s.

When the quickstart and promotion of the new edition came through, I gave it a glance and then just felt the same way about the new edition too. Best wishes for its success though.
 

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Well, no offense, but I'd back a kickstarter for a 2nd edition of Human Occupied Landfill in a heartbeat, but that isn't because anyone, including myself, were clamouring for an update. A handful of d10s, grunge music, gaming nostalgia, a Jedi needs not these things...
 

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Looking at it with british eyes, I don't think it's even a very good parody. Personally I'd have played up allegories to foxhunting and links to the skin trade, with hunters on motorbikes in blood red armour chasing their victim through a sector, for example. If I wanted to touch on censorship and the glorification of violence, a soft corp trying to create a pacifist rebellion (Which SLA can later gun down, unwittingly completing a massive blood ritual) by hacking the SLA airwaves fit in, and helps make the ultraviolence more shocking by stopping it just being... the normal thing everyone likes.


1e is totally a commentary on growing up in a particular area at a particular time.
It seems (completely nonirinically) that the game would have been orders of magnitude better if they had you consulting on the setting:thumbsup:.
 

Bourbonjack

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Maybe not you, but quite a few (myself included).

View attachment 25482

That number says that there's definitely an audience. It just doesn't necessarily include everyone.
That's a surprising number of backers and cash, but I'm happy you had a chance for an update. Hopefully the finished project meets your exepectations.
 
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Bourbonjack

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Maybe I am just in a bad mood from all the stuff going on today or maybe I am being a 1st edition grognard but I was underwhelmed.

  • Art and fiction is poor compared to 1st edition.
  • SLA Industries is depicted as impossibly stupid and cruel, we're talking 40K Imperium levels, but the setting is presented with dead seriousness.
  • Writing is meh. Explains too much, not evocative. Lots and lots of exposition that fills in gaps for long time fans but would be of little interest to newcomers
  • Surprising amount of space is wasted explaining things to people who have never played or run an RPG before
  • New race is a disappointing bird man race.
  • Shaktars retconned to no longer look like cool Predator dudes.
  • New stuff like the Moral Right is stupid and silly. I feel like these guys were running out of dystopian ideas and it shows.
  • 30 years of advances in gaming ignored. Clunky rules presented in traditional clunky RPG format sandwiched between fluff.
  • At one point I distinctly remember the creators saying they were going to toss out the old Truth "The entire World of Progress is a madman's dream" but after reading cover to cover that is clearly not the case.

Different rules, more clunky and fiddly. Original rules at their core were simple, roll 2d10 + skill to beat 11. Stuff like armor damage, a million skills and the weird initiative system made it clunkier.
Art and fiction were highlights of 1st ed, so a step down is unfortunate. Actually, the art, visual imagery and fiction behind SLA Industries first edition is clearly why I remember it. My group tried a couple of times to get a campaign going, but it really was a game that, to me a the time, sounded awesome to run but proved to be much harder to run.

Retconning Shaktars? What are they like now?

Ultimately, sounds like someone leveraging nostalgia for a money grab.
 

Brock Savage

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Art and fiction were highlights of 1st ed, so a step down is unfortunate. Actually, the art, visual imagery and fiction behind SLA Industries first edition is clearly why I remember it. My group tried a couple of times to get a campaign going, but it really was a game that, to me a the time, sounded awesome to run but proved to be much harder to run.

Retconning Shaktars? What are they like now?

Ultimately, sounds like someone leveraging nostalgia for a money grab.
Game isn't hard to run. Campaigns tend to lean one of two ways depending on how players want to embrace the fiction. Investigation and undercover work or joining the Circuit.

Take a look at the Shaktars. They look totally different. Also note huge difference in art quality

1st edition
Shaktar.png

2nd edition
shaktar.png


I don't think it was a money hungry money grab, I legit think they did their best. Remember this was written based on their game sessions 30 years ago when they were around 21 years old or so. think they lost whatever was inside themselves that captured lightning bottle and produced SLA Industries. Kind of like how Gibson says he can't go back to the place he was in when he wrote the Sprawl series. Or how musicians lose that edge after 25+ years and the magic is gone and they get all preachy like parents.
 

chuckdee

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That's a surprising number of backers and cash, but I'm happy you had a chance for an update. Hopefully the finished project meets your exepectations.
It has. I just received the hard copy today, and am satisfied with the end product.
 

Bourbonjack

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Game isn't hard to run. Campaigns tend to lean one of two ways depending on how players want to embrace the fiction. Investigation and undercover work or joining the Circuit.

Take a look at the Shaktars. They look totally different. Also note huge difference in art quality

1st edition
View attachment 25493

2nd edition
View attachment 25492


I don't think it was a money hungry money grab, I legit think they did their best. Remember this was written based on their game sessions 30 years ago when they were around 21 years old or so. think they lost whatever was inside themselves that captured lightning bottle and produced SLA Industries. Kind of like how Gibson says he can't go back to the place he was in when he wrote the Sprawl series. Or how musicians lose that edge after 25+ years and the magic is gone and they get all preachy like parents.
I tried SLA shortly after it showed up in my LGS, and challenges with running a game back then with almost certainly mostly me (and yo an extent, my my group).

We were still very much in a D&D gaming mode, so the nature switching from dungeon crawls to more free form, future/modern setting didn’t go smoothly.

I could probably do a better job now with a few more decades under my belt. :grin:
 

Malleustein

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The big Cannibal Sector 1 supplement/skirmish game gives more useful world detail for Mort that is useful for referees and players. It's a hefty book though, and not the cheapest.

I have a lot of nostalgic attachment to 1st Edition. I have every book for it, and every edition of the core rules. It has that raw, angry, punk energy that comes from that time. I love the look and feel of it.

SLA Industries 2nd Edition is an odd beast. It should have happened a long time ago. But the setting lay dormant for years, slowly emerging with .pdf supplements, then the CS-1 skirmish game. Many of the new elements like Moral Right Division and The Dream first appeared in these sources.

I was part of the playtest team for 2nd Edition. I'm not the biggest fan of the new rules, but I tend towards more traditional mechanics. That said, the new rules work, even if they are more involved than the original. I still argue the initiative-declaration-action mechanic is as much a waste of time here as in any other game it has appeared in.

There are things I prefer from 1st Edition. Mostly HEAP... I lament my missing HEAP ammunition. And jolt gloves/hotline ammunition... Because fighting fair is for suckers. But there's lots to like in 2nd Edition too.

The Shaktar lore hasn't changed much. But the appearance has been radically altered so they aren't such obvious Predator imitators. The Kickstarter for the miniature game had an exclusive Pred-looking Shaktar. They also removed the Predator 2 throwing disc weapon from this edition, just to be sure.
 

Warthur

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To reiterate what others have said: Nightfall Games, during the Kickstarter, very much presented an attitude of "Heh, forget about The Truth gang, that was just an old version of the writer's Bible which we've long since moved past, we're looking at a different take on the setting for 2nd Edition".

The very first text you get in the book - right on the inside front cover! - is a bit of fiction set not in the World of Progress, but in Scotland, 1988, and it involves a bunch of names and concepts which would be absolute and total non sequiturs if The Truth were not still in effect to some extent or another.

Sure, some things have changed. Senti isn't mentioned. "Tide" is now spelled "Tyde". The origin of the Carrien seems to be different now.

But the core secret of the backstory? Well, there's direct references to Brent Walker in the timeline in addition to that fiction I mentioned, and Iteration 20, the news story from The Truth that gives way the whole game, is printed on the inside back cover of the book as the last bit of in-setting fiction.

The Truth is no longer true in precise specifics, but in terms of the broad-brushstrokes outline? It's clearly still true, or if it isn't then Nightfall are a) doing a godawful job of counteracting that impression and b) still being absurdly coy about it.

Just level with the referees, peeps. You know your game's publishing history; you know you can never be entirely sure whether you'll even be able to get out the next product. If you have a story you want to tell us with this, tell the damn story already. Don't tease us with a metaplot unfolding over new supplements and editions of the game. Metaplots are a luxury for publishers who can be 100% sure they will be still around and putting out products for years to come.

Currently working on a review of the game, will post a link here when it's done. (The new die-rolling mechanic bugs the hell out of me too, in particular the near-useless way they describe some of it).
 

AsenRG

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Wait, so they kept the whole BS part that disappointed many of their fans? I mean, I wasn't really one of those, I'd even forgotten what the Truth was, but I did remember how many people on other forums had expressed massive disappointment:shade:!
Not an award-winning move, I'd say.
 

Warthur

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Wait, so they kept the whole BS part that disappointed many of their fans? I mean, I wasn't really one of those, I'd even forgotten what the Truth was, but I did remember how many people on other forums had expressed massive disappointment:shade:!
Not an award-winning move, I'd say.
Pretty much. Or at the very least, I cannot find a way in which the relevant bits of fiction and setting detail can make sense unless it is either that exact BS part, or that exact BS part plus some extra steps.
 

Franko77

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The very first text you get in the book - right on the inside front cover! - is a bit of fiction set not in the World of Progress, but in Scotland, 1988, and it involves a bunch of names and concepts which would be absolute and total non sequiturs if The Truth were not still in effect to some extent or another.

Sure, some things have changed. Senti isn't mentioned. "Tide" is now spelled "Tyde". The origin of the Carrien seems to be different now.

But the core secret of the backstory? Well, there's direct references to Brent Walker in the timeline in addition to that fiction I mentioned, and Iteration 20, the news story from The Truth that gives way the whole game, is printed on the inside back cover of the book as the last bit of in-setting fiction.

The Truth is no longer true in precise specifics, but in terms of the broad-brushstrokes outline? It's clearly still true, or if it isn't then Nightfall are a) doing a godawful job of counteracting that impression and b) still being absurdly coy about it.
Wait, what? That sounds like some confused decision-making on Nightfall's part there. Either the old Truth is there, or it's not. If they were so determined to excise it, then that's what they should have done (and the World of Progress is a cool setting without the rather banal backstory).
 

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Out of interest, is it worth buying the 2nd ed for the setting changes/art, as it's likely I'd run/play it with another system?
 

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But the core secret of the backstory? Well, there's direct references to Brent Walker in the timeline in addition to that fiction I mentioned, and Iteration 20, the news story from The Truth that gives way the whole game, is printed on the inside back cover of the book as the last bit of in-setting fiction.
I think The Truth is a fine basic concept. Regardless of the origin of the SLA universe, it's still real to everyone inside it, and having to deal with existential threats from up- and down-reality lets you come up with new answers to the brit dystopia Big Question; what would it take to justify this sort of authoritarianism? It doesn't justify anyone's actions, but it contextualises them. But I completely agree; tell us what's going on at the next level, tell us the truth, so that we can make the choice to use it (Or not) depending on how we want games to go.

And what's Whispering Bridge protocol? The intro makes it sounds really important, but I don't think it's mentioned anywhere else in the book.

Take a look at the Shaktars. They look totally different. Also note huge difference in art quality

1st edition
View attachment 25493

2nd edition
View attachment 25492
I like both aesthetically, but for me, SLA is a black-and-white setting; any use of colour should be sparing, to highlight the gruesomeness and unreality of it to our eyes. An Op shouldn't be able to base a threat assessment on "does it look horrific or not?", because not only does it, you probably do too. But the old one is weird and alien, and the new one... is almost cute. In fairness, she is an outlier and most of the others in the book look more serious, but they've still just not got the same edge to them. It doesn't have the "I'm young and pissed off so here's a monster" energy.
 

Warthur

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Out of interest, is it worth buying the 2nd ed for the setting changes/art, as it's likely I'd run/play it with another system?
If you have a broad collection of first edition stuff already, I wouldn't say so. The setting changes are either going to be totally irrelevant to your game (Tide is now Tyde, woo) or otherwise restate stuff that's come out in recent releases, the art feels less atmospheric, I'm not sold on it.

If you don't have such a complete collection of 1st edition stuff, then maybe if you don't mind paying the cost of the whole core book just for some very mild setting adjustments.

I think The Truth is a fine basic concept. Regardless of the origin of the SLA universe, it's still real to everyone inside it, and having to deal with existential threats from up- and down-reality lets you come up with new answers to the brit dystopia Big Question; what would it take to justify this sort of authoritarianism? It doesn't justify anyone's actions, but it contextualises them. But I completely agree; tell us what's going on at the next level, tell us the truth, so that we can make the choice to use it (Or not) depending on how we want games to go.
To use a Brit reference, I think The Truth is going to be a very Marmite-y concept - some people will find it pretty exciting, some people will hate it, many will outright ignore it. I'm not sure it adds a whole lot of value to the setting.

But I will agree that this constant flirting with the Truth without properly presenting it to GMs in a way that they can meaningfully use in play is orders of magnitude more annoying than the Truth itself ever could be.

And what's Whispering Bridge protocol? The intro makes it sounds really important, but I don't think it's mentioned anywhere else in the book.
Yeah, that's another case in point. Constantly hinting at metaplot mysteries might have pulled muster in the 1990s but it's over a quarter of a century later now and we've all long since stopped being impressed by metaplot.
 

Warthur

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Oh, and a gripe about the system: there are four different flavours of critical success, each better than the last.

The category names, in no particular order, are "Incredible", "Excellent", "Unbelievable", and "Exceptional".

Can you intuit from the above which order they go in?

Do you think if you did know the order they went in, you'd be able to keep it straight?
 

Malleustein

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To reiterate what others have said: Nightfall Games, during the Kickstarter, very much presented an attitude of "Heh, forget about The Truth gang, that was just an old version of the writer's Bible which we've long since moved past, we're looking at a different take on the setting for 2nd Edition".

The very first text you get in the book - right on the inside front cover! - is a bit of fiction set not in the World of Progress, but in Scotland, 1988, and it involves a bunch of names and concepts which would be absolute and total non sequiturs if The Truth were not still in effect to some extent or another.

Sure, some things have changed. Senti isn't mentioned. "Tide" is now spelled "Tyde". The origin of the Carrien seems to be different now.

But the core secret of the backstory? Well, there's direct references to Brent Walker in the timeline in addition to that fiction I mentioned, and Iteration 20, the news story from The Truth that gives way the whole game, is printed on the inside back cover of the book as the last bit of in-setting fiction.

The Truth is no longer true in precise specifics, but in terms of the broad-brushstrokes outline? It's clearly still true, or if it isn't then Nightfall are a) doing a godawful job of counteracting that impression and b) still being absurdly coy about it.

Just level with the referees, peeps. You know your game's publishing history; you know you can never be entirely sure whether you'll even be able to get out the next product. If you have a story you want to tell us with this, tell the damn story already. Don't tease us with a metaplot unfolding over new supplements and editions of the game. Metaplots are a luxury for publishers who can be 100% sure they will be still around and putting out products for years to come.

Currently working on a review of the game, will post a link here when it's done. (The new die-rolling mechanic bugs the hell out of me too, in particular the near-useless way they describe some of it).
The Carrien didn't really have an origin until recently. The long-standing fan theory of "failed Stormers" persisted from the Dept. of Misinformation days.

As you say, The Truth is still true, but the details have definitely changed. The .pdf Threat Analysis releases detailed many of those changes over the last decade.

Senti does seem to have vanished, I didn't think to ask. The Deathwake still gets a little mention, but perhaps has changed in nature too.


Out of interest, is it worth buying the 2nd ed for the setting changes/art, as it's likely I'd run/play it with another system?
I don't see why not. the Cannibal Sector 1 has more fluff and art than the roleplaying game though.

Oh, and a gripe about the system: there are four different flavours of critical success, each better than the last.

The category names, in no particular order, are "Incredible", "Excellent", "Unbelievable", and "Exceptional".

Can you intuit from the above which order they go in?

Do you think if you did know the order they went in, you'd be able to keep it straight?
Yep, I pointed this out in playtesting too.
 
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