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Messages - Vega Baby

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First off, it's canonical that Pokemon, or at least some Pokemon, are aliens from space.  Some are genetic/computer experiments, and there are definitely some early transhumanist themes in some of the games, but I don't think there's compelling evidence that anything is particularly post-apocalyptic

Second, there are farms, and food and drink are sold in restaurants.  They aren't post-scarcity, but it is certainly true that we never see anyone really going hungry or wanting.

This is because the civilization in the Pokemon setting is a meritocracy where the primary governments are city-states ruled by the strongest Trainers, because, without Trainers, society would die.

Most, though admittedly not all, cities in Pokemon have a gym, which is where the strongest trainers live.  They are the most important people in their towns at most times, and if a government official would be involved in solving a problem that occurs in the town, it is typically the Gym Leader who handles this.  This is because the Gyms aren't just there to train new trainers; they're also there to serve as the town's governmental body and their first defense.

There are some well-maintained roads in the Pokemon universe, but you're right in that they're rare.  This isn't because of an apocalypse.  Rather, it's fundamentally impossible to maintain a road unless you can keep it protected from the regularly rampaging giant monsters in the area either through heavy application of Repels or constant defense.  As such, travel between towns is rare for anyone other than Trainers, because they're the only ones who can actually survive the trip in most places.

This is also why 10 year olds go off on these journeys.  People becoming Trainers is vital to the functioning of society.  Without them, any town would be overrun or crushed the first time an Onix gets mad and rampages through.  Trade between towns can't happen without someone to defend the transports from, say, a giant dragon attacking because you happened to go near it.  Outside of that, Pokemon are regularly used in public works; they build and repair buildings, provide power, and even provide entertainment.  Being a Trainer is insanely valuable, and in such a society, you're either valuable, or you're likely left for dead. It makes sense that families, especially those living in small villages, like the starting areas in the games usually are, would send off their children to become Trainers early.  The child needs to prove their worth, and becoming a Trainer would mean a huge change in social position for everyone in the family.  Most families probably consider it worth the risk.

General Chaos / Re: Streaming Video Games
« on: September 16, 2015, 10:21:45 PM »
Not sure if anyone here watched the last stream, but I'll post about my new plans anyway.  Tomorrow I'll be attempting to stream some Dark Souls around 5PM Central again.  It's not going to be a challenge run or anything, but I'm going to at least try and talk about the game in an interesting way.

Saturday, I'll be streaming an SNES blind bag set up by a friend who's an expert on both good and bad obscure retro games, also at 5PM Central.  I have literally no idea what's in this one, so we'll see what happens.  It should be fun.

Do you have any kind of regular schedule for streaming, Kamen?  I'd definitely like to check your stuff out, but I have no idea when you'll be on.

General Chaos / Re: Streaming Video Games
« on: September 10, 2015, 01:16:25 AM »
I recently started streaming myself.  I'm not really able to get the newest games with any kind of reliabilty, so I've mostly been focusing on showing off older or smaller games that I find interesting.  Tomorrow at 5 PM Central time I'm planning on streaming a randomized grab bag of games from this SEGA collection:

I'll be skipping all of the full RPGs in the list just because they wouldn't be that interesting to watch, but everything else I plan to spend a minimum of 5 minutes on.

I stream over at

I don't have a regular schedule yet, but if I get any kind of regular viewership, I'll probably be a bit more formal about how I handle things.

RPGs / Re: FATE: Let's like talk about it.
« on: June 14, 2014, 08:43:18 PM »
I have a question for everyone:  do you allow players to make skill rolls when they do not have the skill? For example, if they do not have "Alertness," do you let them roll at +0?

I have always let players do this, but I was told that I should not be and that they should only roll for the skills they have.  This seems odd to me, but it does make sense to some extent (in Fate your characters are equally defined by what skills they DO NOT have).  Still, the math is designed for a +1 roll on 4 Fudge dice alone to be difficult, so I always assumed a +0 roll to be a "base" roll that they won't succeed at.  But hey, if I'm wrong I'm wrong.

I'll just stick to FAE and use Approaches instead.   8)

You can definitely use skills at +0.  FATE characters are supposed to be pretty competent, and it'd be weird if a character untrained in it couldn't even attempt Stealth, for an example.  The only exception might be if you're using a skill as an Extra, and buying into the skill is one of the Permissions to get it.  Otherwise, you're meant to always be at least able to attempt something, and, if you're willing to sink enough Fate Points into the action, succeed.

RPGs / Re: Dnd 3.5 penalty for dying
« on: October 22, 2013, 10:50:15 PM »
Honestly, I thing the answer to this question depends more on if your group places more weight on the 'roleplaying' or on the 'game' side of RPGs.

If you're getting together to tell a story, or just have some fun being goofy elves and dwarves, I see no reason to 'punish' someone for dying.  If you're telling a story and invested in your character, losing that character will be punishment enough.  And if you're just out to have fun, no one should be really punished for anything, as long as they aren't being actively disruptive to the fun.

Now, if you're playing the game as a more competitive endeavor, either as a tactical strategy game, or as a series of dungeon-crawling murderhobo adventures where you want to encourage player skill and cleverness more than anything else, I can see why you might want to punish death.  Then it's just a part of the competition, and gets you to think more tactically in order to make up for your relative weakness.

That said, I'm generally against punishing players by taking levels or experience from them in any game.  Especially in a game with levels, where the power scale is a bit more rigid and your skills and abilities are affected across the board, being behind the other characters can affect your power compared to the other characters pretty significantly.

Not only that, but if a player dies through bad decisions, lowering their level or otherwise punishing them isn't really going to fix the problem.  Death is already a significant punishment itself, and lowering their next character's level on top of that is going to just rub salt in the wound AND make it more likely that they would die in the future.

And really, if someone is acting out or being disruptive enough in a game that you feel the need to punish them?  You need to talk to them about the problems they're causing and see if they even want to play, or just kick them out.  Don't passive-aggressively punish them with the game mechanics to try and get them to change.

Additionally, I think death is about the most boring consequence a bad decision or a lost roll can have, but that's a different essay for a different time.   

RPGs / Re: Moving from D20
« on: March 16, 2013, 12:47:50 PM »
FATE is just the name of a rules engine used in a variety of games.  There's an updated, setting generic ruleset called FATE Core that was kickstarted recently and will be released at a pay-what-you-want price some time in the next few months.  Systems out now that use it include Spirit of the Century(which is available for free online here), a 1920's era pulp adventure game, and the Dresden Files RPG, an urban fantasy game based off of the books of the same name.  The reason I mentioned it off-handedly at the end of my post was because it leans a bit toward narrativist mechanics.

Specifically, the narrativist mechanics come from the characters' Aspects.  Basically, every character has Aspects, which are short phrases that indicate something important to the character.  This could be a facet of his personality, a relationship he has with someone, or an object he holds dear.  Aspects can be invoked in order to give you a bonus to your roll at the cost of a Fate Point, as this important thing gives you strength.  They can also be compelled against you, causing you some kind of problem.  This earns you a Fate Point.  Essentially this means that FATE is a sort of 'narrative bartering' system, where you can agree to take narrative punishment early in the story in order to help ensure success later.

It's a very interesting system, but it may not suit your tastes or needs in this situation.  I do recommend checking it out at least.

RPGs / Re: Moving from D20
« on: March 16, 2013, 01:04:53 AM »
I'd suggest Reign if they do want to stick with the fantasy genre.  It runs on the One Roll Engine, so it isn't too hard to pick up, though the mechanics are significantly different from D20.  It has plenty of crunch, point-buy chargen rather than class-based, and plenty of mechanics that help encourage RP without really forcing them to.   It's also a system that assumes that the PCs are political leaders of some sort within the setting, which is a role that demands some level of thought beyond 'kick down the door, kill everything that moves, steal everything that isn't nailed down'. ...well, usually at least.

While doing a modern game probably wouldn't be a bad idea if you think part of the problem is coming up with concepts, depending on the group Call of Cthulu is not necessarily the best choice.  I'd say it would depend on if you know your players can realize when a fight isn't going in their favor and retreat.  Additionally, based on the min-maxers I play with, most dislike horror-based games simply because they like winning and being able to defeat things, which tends not to happen in horror.  I'm not saying that it wouldn't be worth a shot, but you'll definitely want to run the idea of running such a game past them, and make sure they know what to expect from it.

I will say that, in my experience, most of the min-maxers I've played with focus on optimization do so because they don't want to risk dragging the team down or allowing someone to die, rather than out of some desire to 'win the game'.  It's just a suggestion, but a game like Mutants & Masterminds or FATE, where death only happens when the players agree that it's dramatically appropriate, would make them feel freer to design characters that are interesting concepts rather than just mechanically sound.

General Chaos / Re: What Vidja games are you playing?
« on: March 08, 2012, 02:58:52 AM »
Currently playing the 3DS port of Tales of the Abyss.  All I can say right now is... Akzeriuth.  DAMN shit gets real in Akzeriuth.

RPGs / Re: Monsters and Other Childish Things Game
« on: November 28, 2011, 09:26:56 PM »
Spray can get kind of goofy if your players get lucky, or creative with their use of Awesome x2 and Gnarly and/or Burn.  This can be solved by having Spray only allowing the inclusion of one extra match in your attack per rank.  This is one of the Extra tweaks they included in Bigger Bads.

It can also be a bit ridiculous if you buy multiple ranks of something like Tough or Gnarly.  It's fairly easy to have a part on your Monster that has at least 5 dice in both of these and Awesome x2 and still have 3 dice in your pool.   That part will get wiped out easily if you ever manage to actually do damage to it, but it would have enough Tough to be effectively invincible, and enough Gnarly to wipe out something in a few hits.  I haven't seen any players of mine take advantage of this because it's honestly a bit of a boring option, and it can easily be countered by using a Useful power that can Paralyze or Stun, or even a simple Defends location. 

Other than that, it's largely up to what creative uses players can come up with for their Useful powers.   A clever use of one of these can get past a lot of roadblocks in unexpected ways, considering there's no given limits to their capabilities.

In general though, Monsters is very rock-paper-scissors.  There's no real way to create an unbeatable combo that can't somehow be countered, at least as far as I'm aware.

if you have not read every good book why would you dedicate time to reading bad books

"yeah i didn't improve my life but at least i got to laugh and compare myself favorably to a 14 year old"

Yes, because every moment of our waking lives should be spent improving ourselves constantly, and just doing something for fun means you are a terrible person.  :P

Also, why can't reading a bad book improve your life?  It at least improves your writing if you learn from the author's mistakes. Laughter is good for you anyway.

Just an idea, but maybe the dragons aren't natural creatures, and new generations are born from some kind of grand ancient magical device that is slowly losing power and deteriorating, and no one currently is alive who can repair/recharge it.  The MacGuffin is essentially either a mana battery or the original schematics for the machine, which can be either used to repair or permanently destroy the machine depending on what the PCs want to do.

Of course, if it's the case that someone wanted to make the dragons in the first place, you'd need to establish why someone would want extremely powerful magical beings running around.  Maybe they secretly, or unknowingly, keep some greater evil at bay just by existing, and the players have to decide between maintaining a corrupt Totalitarian Dragonocracy, or to risk unleashing a greater evil by ending the dragons' reign.

RPGs / Re: Your Character Type
« on: January 30, 2011, 03:58:19 PM »
My characters tend to be risk-takers with little to no sense of self-preservation.  They also tend to have a lot of movement-based abilities/skills, so they can throw themselves into danger that much easier.  I also like having 'utility' abilities, stuff that tends to be more useful out of combat than in.

RPGs / Re: What Are You Playing Now?
« on: November 02, 2010, 12:55:22 AM »
Running:  A 4E D&D game set in the 2E D&D setting of Al-Quadim.  The characters are: A Minotaur Runepriest who worships a warrior God, though his relationship with said God is a bit tense since the god killed him in a battle and then brought him back to life for no clear purpose;  A Goliath Barbarian who gained his powers not by choice, but by a curse laid upon him by a Primordial that fills him with constant anger;  A Eladrin Fighter/Ranger hybrid from Fae'run who was shipwrecked into Al-Quadim;  A Thri-Kreen Fighter who has recently gained a new sense of individuality never experienced by her race;  And a Shardmind Psion who was created by a mage and locked in a room for over a century for an unclear purpose. 

They've received a prophetic vision which revealed that the country would be thrown into a massive civil war, and in a mere year's time, the capital city will be razed and the ruler of the land, the Grand Caliph will be murdered.  The party has this year to do what they can to turn the tide of the war before it even starts.  This game's had a lot of speedbumps in it's development, largely because we lost and gained players at a rapid pace near the beginning, but it's mostly leveled out.  I have a LOT of fun running this one despite the trouble, though.

Playing: A Pathfinder game set in a homebrew setting.  I play a Tengu Rogue/Sorcerer who has a strong dislike of authority, and views thievery as an art form and as legitimate a career choice as any other.  The rest of the party is made up of a Kobold Monk who worships a God of pure law, and is honestly the sole sane man in the party, and a Half-Elf Wizard who tends to ramble a lot about inane stuff.  Also he's an idiot and wears a pilgrim's hat for some reason.  While it's mostly a sandbox-ish game where we're basically supposed find out where there's evil happening in the world and deal with it, we tend to just do stupid things to get ourselves in trouble, and then futilely try to fix what we messed up.

Playing:  A 4E game in yet another homebrew setting.  We're basically just mercenaries in this game, and it's much more hack'n'slash than the other games I play in.  It's fun, but there's not much to talk about.

RPGs / Re: D&D Essentials
« on: September 24, 2010, 02:26:43 PM »
I've only given the book a short lookover in a book store, I don't really have the cash for a new book right now, and honestly, I don't know how to feel about the new classes.  While the Mage and Warpriest seem fine, the new Martial builds just seem like they'd get boring after a while with no real Encounter or Daily powers.  Also, while the Martial classes essentially get free feats in place of Daily powers, I don't know if a bit more constant reliability replaces those big, game-changing hits properly. 

I agree with you on the feats though.  They're pretty great changes.  And it does look perfect for introducing new players too, which is always a good thing.

My roommate has finally chosen his character, and as I knew he would he, he is playing a character from a Manga. Psyren, I have never read it but I perused wikipedia and found out he has an ability is hard to use is Risus, so he just isn't going to be using that particular ability.

Ageha Yoshina
Psyren (4)
Problem Solver (3)
High Schooler (3)

I haven't read Psyren in a while, but it's certainly an interesting choice for a character to say the least considering they're only a fraction as powerful normally as they are in the post-apocalyptic future they tend to be warped to, which I'm guessing you're not planning to include in the game.

That said, he probably wouldn't even be able to USE his main power in the present, so you'd be completely justified in not allowing him to use it.  Even then though, his powers are still crazy flexible even without that, as they can let him enhance his speed, strength, reflexes, ect.  as well as some supernatural senses if I remember correctly.  You might want to make sure he has clear limits on what his powers will let him do.  And for all I know, his abilities may be even more flexible now, as it's the nature of Shonen manga like that to have the main character's power levels constantly increasing at an exponential rate.

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