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Interesting Links for 06-06-2014
Illuminati
andrewducker

Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.

The Indy has pulled the story after discovering it was a hoax.

Gotcha!

Well, the article it sent me too instead was fascinating!

Well, I have to thank you! It's your link that brought me to it!

The story of WoD's fall sounds eerily similar to LJ's demise, actually. Every step there is what happened HERE. Wow.

I was so sad to see WoD plummet. That's the RPG I cut my gaming teeth on. To this day, if I'm having a hard time grasping a game's mechanics, I'll have them explain it to me in WoD terms, and BOOM, it suddenly clicks.

And yeah - splatter books. Even back in the late 90's, a lot of us saw that as a baaad move. Oi.

Management. When my friends were working on a major UK game developers attempt at an MMORPG, they had a team of about 50 developers, being run by around 40 management staff.

And with that many managers, making progress on anything became impossible. In the end the project was cancelled after about 5 years work and millions of pounds worth of investment, and it turned out the lead management team had been just telling a pack of lies to the senior management about how progress was going.

Senior management thought they had a game that was maybe 6-10 months from launch, when in reality they had... virtually nothing. But the managers on the project just kept blowing hot air further up the chain of command to cover their own incompetence.

But needless to say it was the people in the trenches who got it in the neck, so to speak.

Oh dear god, that's just vile. Stringing along people like that? A project like that isn't just work, it's a DREAM for people. It's a calling. That's so cruel.

And so common. God, why do people do that to each other? I mean, it's always the little guy who gets screwed. Here we had Enron and the housing crisis and - well, pretty much the entirety of American corporatism. Profits over morals. It's disgusting and in the case of your friend - criminal. I mean, morally criminal, what they did to your friend.

I've become increasingly convinced, having now read several books about psychopaths, that psychopathy is a lot more common in society than any of us care to recognise.

And psychopaths tend to naturally gravitate towards management roles, because it gives them power and influence over other people.

So I think what has happened is that at almost every level of all of our systems, they've been infiltrated and taken over by psychopaths, who are, by definition, completely incapable of thinking about anything other than their own personal needs and wants.

I can agree. I don't know what it is about modern society that's churning out all of these narcissists and psychopaths, but I agree that their numbers have risen exponentially. I read an article that tried to explain why, but in the end it went "Fuck if we know why."

It's a hell of a question and if we could find the answer, life would be so much better for EVERYONE.

The books didn't seem to know where they come from either. Just that their brains work in fundementally very different ways to other peoples. And yeah, they concluded that the numbers are rising exponentially too. And psychopaths give birth to more psychopaths.

One book actually called it an area that the author thought was absolutely critical to pour more funding into, because he feared for a future where psychopaths outnumbered everybody else.

What I wonder is, I know how much people can compartmentalise. Doctors can easily become numb to people's emotional and physical pain because they can't empathise all day every day and still function. But that doesn't necessarily mean they have less empathy in their personal relationships. I don't know if these people are full time psychopaths, or are just trained that if you're a psychopath at work you get more money and more respect. Or even if there's a difference between those things.

I love the WOD games too... at least that article explains what happened to White Wolf! Wow, I had no idea... bought up by a computer game company, gutted for people and parts, and then finally all laid off. That is tragic.

I kinda hope the former WW guys reform and get back into roleplaying games, collectively - there were some amazing things about the WOD system, that I loved, and that haven't been equalled since in the biz (although I like the sound of the current Star Wars system, the dice rolling mechanics sound really fun).

You and Sel played WOD didn't you? I... can vaguely remember her telling me about her vampire character, but I can't recall details.

Yes, and I recommend it as a system. But it has to be 2nd Edition - they kinda fucked it up with 3rd edition.

Great storytelling system, if you have a good DM/Storyteller. Very good for roleplaying with an emphasis on story and character and dialogue... which is the way we played it, huge chunks of improv acting and dialogue, and dice rolls only for specific actions.

We played it a few times, but it never quite took off. I think because none of the adventures were every really great. In fact, I don't think they released many adventures for it, just sourcebook after sourcebook.

(Few of my old gaming group had the time to write our own adventures.)

We made our own adventures. Or, our storyteller, Rob aka spintrian, did. And much as I despise him nowadays, he did spin really great stories. (and referring to another of your comments, yeah, Rob is definitely a psychopath!)

Yeah, from what Sel told me, *snip*

Edited at 2014-06-06 10:02 pm (UTC)

I'm assuming he's long since disappeared from LJ and I don't have to edit my comment?

OH yes. He's long gone.

Although (and I know you'll relate to this at the moment) I do still feel a tiny bit of trepidation whenever I mention him, or when I post something that I wonder if he might read...

For a while there, I was friendslocking everything personal, for that exact reason.


I'm glad for you. I was in no fit state at the funeral to get a good read on people. But I really did think he was a slippery snake.

But then, my opinion was coloured by, y'know, Sel's request.

I'll delete my comments above for your peace of mind. Because yeah, I get how that goes.

Combat was never good in any edition of WoD.

But the pen-and-paper World of Darkness games are still kicking around and being supported! I'm not a huge fan myself, but Onyx Path Publishing is still pumping out WoD books. Once in a while they have a Kickstarter to get a deluxe edition out, which typically meets its funding goals within 24 hours. This one is the current one.

How bizarre. I wonder what the system is like?

Apparently:

"Onyx Path Publishing is a company founded in January 2012 by White Wolf Creative Director Rich Thomas. Following October 2011′s layoffs at CCP, CCP/White Wolf was no longer in a good position to do publishing in addition to the main business of making computer games. As a result, Rich founded Onyx Path Publishing to handle this business."

Aye, Onyx Path is Rich Thomas at the top, with just about everyone else as freelancers, both the writers and the developers. (Though I remember reading something recently saying they now had three staff, rather than just one.

In terms of rules system/the state of the firm, as I've been playing various of their games throughout, I can give a rough timeline. Apologies if you're already aware of half of it, but it's easier to cover the whole thing.

— A while after the Revised edition of the original WoD books, they had a run of 'end of the world' books, with various different options for running Genhenna/the Apocalypse, etc.

— They then released an entirely new version of the World of Darkness, this time with a (smallish) core book covering the common rules of everything, and character generation for mortals, you then added the supernatural types on as templates afterwards.

Main rules changes were an unchanging target number (8, IIRC), with equipment/conditions/whatever giving dice pool bonuses and penalties, specialities giving extra dice, changing the attributes so that physical, social and mental all had a stat relating to force, to precision, and to resistance.

Thematically, they wanted more horror, less vampire superheros. Rules-wise, there's more cross-compatibility for having different types in the same game, and working out what a Mage's power does to a Vampire, how it resists, etc.

— Over a while they released new versions of Vampire, Werewolf, Mage and eventually Changeling. Some of them closer to their old versions, some further away.

— They've also released a bunch of new ones, some that were a bunch of things all in one book (e.g. the 'shapeshifters that aren't werewolves' is one book for all of 'em, and they're noticably less powerful and common)

— Then when 20 years since Vampire rolled around, they released a '20th Anniversary edition', which is basically the oWoD Vampire rules with some fixes (Celerity less powerful, and actual dice pool splitting is back), and with pretty much every clan and bloodline mentioned, along with all the disciplines, and a lot of other stuff, all in one relatively huge book.

— They discovered Kickstarter, doing the Werewolf and Mage 20th versions through that, as well as various other books.

— They're now looking to support both the old and the new, releasing books for both.

— They've released essentially a 'second edition' for the nWoD core, adding in a weird mechanical-god being that likes the WoD in its weird and secretive state, but also changing mechanics around, making the core mechanics simpler, and having most other stuff covered by 'conditions' - rather than specific rules for blinded/frightened/hallucinating, each thing has a specific condition that covers it, plus various other changes drawing ideas from the more indie/story games that are around now.

Thank you for that, that's really helpful and I didn't know any of it!

So which system do you like - the new core WOD, or the revised old stuff?

Personally I'm generally fonder of the old stuff, partly because I'm just more used to it, but also because some of the decisions they made with the new stuff I dislike. The new 20th Anniversary books get you a lot of awesome content, and clever and updated ideas, and do solve some of the biggest problems of the old stuff.

I have hopes for the effectively second edition nWoD stuff, that it might be more to my tastes, but also because the increase in story-style rules makes it more different, thus increasing the reasons to play it - the two nWoD games I liked least were Vampire and Mage, the reason being that (to me) it felt like they'd taken the old game, ripped out a lot of the stuff I enjoyed/found interesting, and then slotted in some stuff that was both less content, but also less interesting, in its place. As such, it doesn't feel like there's much in the way of games I could play in the nWoD version that I couldn't play in the oWoD, whereas there are lots I can do in those oWoD games that I can't in the nWoD.

Comparatively, the new Werewolf, Changeling, and now just recently Demon are much more different to their oWoD versions, thus the sorts of games you can run with them are more distinct, and so I'm more drawn to giving them a look.

I've been feeling sorry for Edinburghers, sadly deprived of a major project running over budget and over time to moan about. Genius move to replace the dragging-on Tram Project with a dragging-on Tram Inquiry.

(For clarity: I think an inquiry is probably justified, but am not confident it will be concluded in a timely manner, and don't for one moment believe that any lessons will actually be learned by anyone in a position for it to matter.)

Edited at 2014-06-06 11:25 am (UTC)

Inquiries are much less interesting...

(Cambs is still fighting over the busway; GOD AM I BORED OF THE BUSWAY FIGHT. At least now we have busses)

Give it a while, we'll have the new Forth Bridge to complain about soon!

First link is dead - I tried searching for the story, but The Independant's search function is pants.

Neither side have an excuse for abuse or death threats, and Roseanna Cunningham was in the wrong with her tweet (I think it was actually a retweet, if I recall correctly from March, but that doesn't alter her responsibility). Interesting to see, though, that even in that article which suggests the Yes side are more than twice as likely to be on the receiving end, all the victims interviewed are No supporters and it's "The Nationalists are not taking this seriously enough" from Better Together.

It is a recipe for potential disaster further down the line too.

Nationalism is always divisive to a society I think.

All politics are divisive. I'm prepared to believe that nationalism could be more divisive because some people associate it at a deep level with their identity, but there are two forms of Nationalism in play here - Scottish and British - and not all the bad behaviour is on one side. According to the poll/article, the majority isn't even on the side that the media would have you think it is.

I'm inclined to think that independence will be better than the status quo because things are more likely to settle down afterwards - as Alistair Darling has said, there'll be no going back. If it doesn't happen, the arguments will go on for years more. (There are other reasons I favour change too, but that's the one relevant to this topic.)

Is it just me, or is the only thing denoting 'female' in most of those Lego minifigs a different hair piece? Some of them seem to have feminine faces, but not all of them do. So Lego could very cheaply and easily make it possible to produce male or female scientists / falconers / zookeepers / accountants / marketing consultants / mastic asphalt spreaders / whatever by putting two different hairstyles for each figure.

Yup. I can attest that sticking a 'female' hairstyle on to pretty much any minifig head makes it read as female, and similarly sticking a 'female' head (with e.g. lipstick or extra eyelashes) under most hairstyles also reads as female. They're not doing things the way they are because it's impossible - or even particularly difficult - to do otherwise.

The barmaids in the medieval village are buxom. Hang on...

I give you actual painted on Lego cleavage...:

http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/godfrey/10193/pict0081.jpg

Dude, that's totally NSFW! I mean one of them even has an apron with "XXX" on it!

Most (all?) modern female Lego figures have breasts painted onto their torso, though not normally cleavage. However, a "girl" haircut or face on a male torso still does the trick.

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