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RPG Forum Contest 30 Reviews

RPG Contest RPGC30

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#1 Offline Black Six

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Posted Dec 31 2013 - 07:32 PM

RPG Forum Text-Based RPG Contest 30 Reviews
You know the drill. Read the rules here. Submit entries here. Review entries and discuss reviews here.

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#2 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 02 2014 - 11:04 PM

Review of Frozen Spirits of the Ice

 

It appears to be that time of year again where I get to do one or two reviews before getting lazy and promising to/failing to do the rest of them despite my assurances otherwise.

 

Without further ado, lets analyze the RPG that Bill O'Reilly is claiming disproves global warming.

 

Introduction/Hook

The opening is well written, I'll give it that. The use of an actual journal entry to provide "dialogue" helps to give an actual character connection of some kind. I'm glad to see that the cliched "found footage"-esque opening is avoided here, since I've seen it so often. Furthermore, it deals with the exposition dump in a rather quick manner. As a side note, though - is there a clear time period where this is meant to be taking place in?

 

Story & Setting

To discuss the story a little bit - I am slightly confused on the matter by which the Ko-Matoran could get so much power. Since Onu-Matoran are notorious for their tunnels and digging, I find it hard to believe they don't have some sort of sheltered underground bunker that they're using to take power. Though, admittedly, I think that premise belongs in a different contest... but I digress. And Ta-Matoran? They were the original runners of furnaces, so the fact that they're implied by the lower caste now is rather... surprising.

 

Overall, though, I do like the premise. More so, the setting. We don't really have enough ice, to put it frankly. I blame Bionicle on this one - our settings of choice are generally a city, geologically diverse, or a desert. More so - it's one of the big facets. There's no difference between a city, no matter where it is, a lot of the time. Often with a dystopian atmopshere, too, which does get old.

 

In this case, though, we've actually replaced "I am the PC that gangster is beating up that old Turaga, I beat him up (good)/beat him up (neutral)/beat him up(evil)" with something new. I've never read players describing, "I am the PC and I see a gangster and and old Turaga both huddling by a heat vent because it's too freaking cold to be wasting energy like that."

 

Admittedly, the "I beat him up" thing will probably still happen. But that's just players. :P Anyways, kudos on these parts, they look good.

 

Factions & Conflict

I have a concern here - the lack of initial conflict. The way things are here at the initial set up, it's basically just a "go about your daily lives" thing. I'm sure that the plot is going to come rolling along soon enough, but look at (recent) past RPGs. It starts with quite a bit of interaction, and a lot of dialogue. Then, characters group up. But then people start to go missing, or forget things. Things slow down. I've noticed that, frequently, there end up being two or three people who are remain active, but they're not really advancing the plot because it's just their one or two character.

 

Now, on this note, I'd suggest two things for avoidance. Initially, as sort of the "before the storm" thing that happens before the plot gets into gear, there should at least be some type of NPC menace about. Not even something you need to control; just something that players can wail on from the get-go. Better to beat up a Hipaki than a poor Ta-Matoran beggar or whatever (PC= Psychotic Character). But that's all I have to say on the initial conflict.

 

The second isn't really anything that can be done to this write-up, just a word for once the RPG begins - keep the main plot going. There's a difference between railroading and giving direction, and an even bigger one between "the players have no say-so" and "things just happen." I doubt you need any advice, but maybe we'll get lucky and someone else will read this and think, "Hmm..."

 

Final note - while factions could be added, to agree with your choice on this one. Having the players fighting over stupid stuff like faction rivalry would just make things... well it wouldn't make sense, you know? :P That is, of course, until whatever tensions people have start building. Or the main plot kicks in.

 

Allowable Species

No reason to repeat what I've already said to you here, but I do have another thing - spindly seems a bit odd as a descriptor for spindly, doesn't it? They may not be that broad, but I never got that kind of vibe.

 

Final Notes

“he’ll die if he falls from too far of a height.”

 

Is this valid if - the character exists in a state of reversed gravity which, if released, would cause them to catapult up to the ceiling and die, and they're only able to survive because of a chain tying them to the ground which, if cut, would release them? I do need to know these things, you know. :P

 

I kid, of course. You don't need to answer that.

 

It's a good RPG, looking at it overall. It's got a good concept as well. Looking over it again, I guess my last thoughts on improvement would be some other way to give additional detail to the island in the form of lost landmarks. While I do like the shortness, I feel there could be a little more focus added by writing up an NPC or two and, more so, to the island itself, to give more of a connection to it. As far as giving the people some additional character, the portrayal here is almost entirely from the perspective of non-Ko-Matoran characters, which gives the write-up a very biased slant and the Ko-Matoran a very villainous vibe.

Which is probably accurate. Tahu was right in not trusting Kopaka...

 

On the opposite end, my final praise would be that the cultural differences being based on inherent elemental traits instead of culture or what not, it actually does feel like something that could take place in a Bionicle setting. Maybe a few less Toa, but if this is before the Brotherhood started killing them off than even that might be accurate. Heck, things like this would probably be what started killing them off.

 

Anyways, a good RPG. Good luck in the Contest, kay? :D

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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#3 Offline The Otter

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Posted Jan 02 2014 - 11:25 PM

Thanks, Lev. <3

 

Anyways, counter-review:

 

Time period is set in the same year as the year mentioned in the sign-out of the journal entry. 523 years after the big freeze.

 

Now; the point about the Onu-Matoran: This is true, however, what the Onu-Matoran did was mostly either working to help build farm equipment and farm, or hollow out Ko-Metru. This was one big farm island, basically, made to help supply food to other islands; they didn't have time to go dig around underground much. Nor did they particularly want to, because they didn't want to risk opening up spaces for archives moles.

 

As for the Ta-Matoran - they're still the ones running the furnaces. And that's why they're the lowest class - essentially, nobody sees particularly much use for them and their Toa and Turaga counterparts aside from that. Basically, they are treated - by those in charge, at least - as nothing more than walking, sapient heaters, because that's all they really do. Running the furnaces for the forges is really all they did before.

 

As for the Ko-Matoran being in charge - well, they are naturally predisposed towards colder climates, and as such, would have better ability and knowledge for surviving in conditions such as those the island is currently in. It makes sense that the others would band behind them, and it would give them all the foothold they really needed to take over so completely. Besides that, nobody really knows what made the island go into its ice age...

 

Onward to your thing about the factions and conflict, well, there really aren't any well-formed factions. They're really all one big group trying to survive; while there are those who aren't content with the status quo, and those who want to preserve it, and any number of other facets, everybody's got their own opinions on how things should be. I intend for the crystallization of any factions to happen organically through interaction, though if that doesn't happen like I hope, I certainly have ways of kick-starting things.

 

Conflict, meanwhile, there'll be plenty of. People fighting over heat and food, engineers yelling at each other over how to repair some of the damages happening in the buildings, and such as that; and despite the frozen state of the island, as all those who go out and hunt on it have learned, Rahi are still present. And not all of them are the kind that you can hunt, but rather the kind that'll help to hunt you.

 

That, and besides; there's something a bit more sinister that could possibly prop up. Large groups of poorer people living close together and interacting daily, with only a minimum of protection from the elements? What do you think might happen if somebody came down with a virulent disease, hmm? >=D

 

And don't worry. The plot's important on this one, and I'm not going to just give up on things like I did with Hunted.

 

Onward to the descriptor for Vortixx; eh, differing opinion, though I suppose I could probably take that out. Doesn't matter much to me.

 

And you can only have that reversed-gravity character if you can provide a very, very good explanation of why he is like he is.


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#4 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 12:00 AM

Time period is set in the same year as the year mentioned in the sign-out of the journal entry. 523 years after the big freeze.

 

I saw that; I meant as in relative to the rest of the world. Or is the "big freeze" synonymous with the Great Cataclysm?

 

As for the Ta-Matoran - they're still the ones running the furnaces. And that's why they're the lowest class - essentially, nobody sees particularly much use for them and their Toa and Turaga counterparts aside from that. Basically, they are treated - by those in charge, at least - as nothing more than walking, sapient heaters, because that's all they really do. Running the furnaces for the forges is really all they did before.

 

As for the Ko-Matoran being in charge - well, they are naturally predisposed towards colder climates, and as such, would have better ability and knowledge for surviving in conditions such as those the island is currently in. It makes sense that the others would band behind them, and it would give them all the foothold they really needed to take over so completely. Besides that, nobody really knows what made the island go into its ice age...

 

I was about to ask something. Then I answered myself with a snarky political comment I shan't post here.

 

All makes sense. Still seems like a few people might not welcome their new robot Ko-Matoran they're the same thing Ko-Matoran overlords, but I suppose desperation makes people desperate.

 

Onward to your thing about the factions and conflict, well, there really aren't any well-formed factions. They're really all one big group trying to survive; while there are those who aren't content with the status quo, and those who want to preserve it, and any number of other facets, everybody's got their own opinions on how things should be. I intend for the crystallization of any factions to happen organically through interaction, though if that doesn't happen like I hope, I certainly have ways of kick-starting things.

 

Conflict, meanwhile, there'll be plenty of. People fighting over heat and food, engineers yelling at each other over how to repair some of the damages happening in the buildings, and such as that; and despite the frozen state of the island, as all those who go out and hunt on it have learned, Rahi are still present. And not all of them are the kind that you can hunt, but rather the kind that'll help to hunt you.

 

That, and besides; there's something a bit more sinister that could possibly prop up. Large groups of poorer people living close together and interacting daily, with only a minimum of protection from the elements? What do you think might happen if somebody came down with a virulent disease, hmm? >=D

 

Eh, diseases are pretty common place. I've seen a lot of RPGs with sick people; RPGs with people freezing to death are much rarer.

 

My thing with the conflict is more on what is there, less on what will be in the RPG itself. There could just be a little more hinting at how dangerous it is, I think.

 

And don't worry. The plot's important on this one, and I'm not going to just give up on things like I did with Hunted.

 

I have my faith. Otherwise I wouldn't say you've got the #1 RPG in the contest so far.

 

Onward to the descriptor for Vortixx; eh, differing opinion, though I suppose I could probably take that out. Doesn't matter much to me.

 

IDK either, it just seemed different. I imagine that there would have to be at least some different sub-species of Vortixx just like anyone else, though. Would be at least a little ironic; the slimmest Vortixx wind up living on the coldest place in the Matoran Universe.

 

And you can only have that reversed-gravity character if you can provide a very, very good explanation of why he is like he is.

 

Obviously, because somebody used M-AGIC! :P

 

(The first three letters came quickly. The other two took a while to flow.)

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


Edited by Toa Levacius Zehvor, Jan 03 2014 - 12:00 AM.

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#5 Offline The Otter

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 12:07 AM

I've got the only RPG in the contest so far.

 

Anyways, shouldn't it be MA-GIC?

 

As for the relative time to everywhere else, I was thinking something a good bit earlier. More like around the time the Brotherhood of Makuta first started going bad.

 

And yeah, obviously there would've been some who didn't agree with the Ko-Matoran taking over; they either got forced into going with the larger group, or they got sent out into the wilds. The pack wins out here.

 

Now - I might add a little something to describe the extra dangers. Seems like it wouldn't be a bad idea, so why not.


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#6 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 12:24 AM

I've got the only RPG in the contest so far.

 

(That's supposed to be a secret.)

 

Anyways, shouldn't it be MA-GIC?

 

You have a point. But, if anything, it would be M-A-GIC. The "Malfunctioning" part is separate. Who designs a device that's broken from the start, anyways?

 

As for the relative time to everywhere else, I was thinking something a good bit earlier. More like around the time the Brotherhood of Makuta first started going bad.

 

Can't think of any more questions, then. It may be a good thing to add that on if you could find the proper place, but I don't know where the best place to put that info, if any, would be.

 

Cave Johnson, we're done here.

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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#7 Offline Canis Lycaon

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 11:22 AM

Ah, the RPG contest. A regular tradition of ripping RPGs apart. I will be using 
 
Spirits of the Ice
You know, I always wanted to play Frozen.
 
Plot:

On the island that is now called Ko-Nui, about 500 years in the past a catastrophe occurred: the island was plunged into a mini ice age, with temperatures falling far below freezing on average.


And is there any reason as to why the island is in a mini ice age? What is occurring outside of the island?  Can't a Toa with a Kadin be able to leave? And how stable is the ice?

 

snow as far as the eye can see...
 
How far is that?
 
About ten feet.

Is this supposed to imply that visibility is so bad that one can only see for ten feet, because a visibility problem is never brought up again.
 

In others, packs of Kavinika or groups of Frostelus are coming together, and sometimes they're giving the hunters some trouble - and the hunters say that they're coming closer to Ta-Karda.

Is there any places where it is both warming up and the Frostelus are coming together?
 
Locations:

Situated in between three mountains,

Okay, what exactly does that mean? The RPG is pretty vague as to how the city is situated. The best I can tell is that the mountains form a triangle, and the city is in the middle of that triangle.

Factions:

Personally, I like how all the factions are really just opinions on how to handle the crisis.

 

Profiles:

120 words (total of Personality, Skills, Appearance, and Biography)

This does seem a bit too much, but really, the only qualm I have is with personality. People rarely write long personality sections, as they want room for their character to develop. The one RPG I can remember that put word counts on Personality was Voyage of the Requiem IV, and that was because everyone had amnesia, and the personality section had to cover for a lot more. 

 

As for species, I really don't have any problems.

 

Important NPCS:

Should Maira get a profile? I mean, she is the opening narrator, but she is largely just ignored after that.

 

Rules:

I don't see any problems with the Rules.

 

Summary:

All and all, this is a very well done RPG. My biggest worry is the 30 word limit.

 

 

 

Sanctuary:

 

Plot:

Never did he realize that one world in particular was up to him, however, and possessed growing interest and scientific development…

It was up to him to do what? Manage? And if so, why weren't the Great Beings like 'Yo, Mata Nui, you have to manage this one world over here.'

 

As the lasers hit, they disintegrated all organic material in the target, turning them to ash and leaving nothing but the inorganic armor behind.

For anything from the MU, that would mean 'HALP! I've been crippled badly.', not death.

 

Locations:

Inside the robot you can only find darkness and whatever has been able to survive it

So, nothing? The MU has been flipped upside down. Any cultures are living on what was once the sky. And if I'm not mistaken, there is radiation everywhere.

 

The big desert of Spherus Magna has changed a lot. A yellow-colored, bush-like plant has spread rapidly, even on the barren ground. There is very little desert left, most of Bara Magna is covered by the yellow growth.

Except it already did. No one remembers this, but after defeating Makuta, Mata Nui restored all of Spherus Magna to a lush, tropical state. That is what drained the Ignika of it's power.

 

Moto Hub 2: A place where items are constructed.

Why is it called Moto Hub 2? What happened to Moto Hub 1?

 

Despite all that has happened, Atero still exists as a city – however, it is completely deserted. The Temple of Mata Nui, which contains the Mask of Life and the spirit of Mata Nui, is still there as well, though well-camouflaged by debris in case the Toruc grow interested in the region.

Do you not remember how the Skrall sacked Atero? That was a major event in the Bara Magna story! Atero has been destroyed!

 

 

Factions:

The aliens have been dubbed “the Toruc”, which is an ancient Agori word meaning “visitors from afar”.

So what you're saying is that the aliens are being called the Agori word for ... alien? Real original for them.

 

Vortixx are the primary manufacturers while Skakdi are mostly nomads and mercenaries, despised by most law-abiding people.

You know, this is what I hate about post-reformation RPGs. Without fail, the always make the Skakdi unconditionally evil, and the Toa and Glatorian unconditionally good. There are evil Glatorian, and good Skakdi!

 

Profiles:

Your character can be aligned with the Freedom Camp, fighting for the fate of the planet, or with the Toruc. 

Can we actually be Toruc?

 

Skrall (one special skill or move)

Vortixx (one Rhotuka spinner power and special power)

Steltians - Sidorak’s species (one Rhotuka spinner power and weapon attribute)

Okay, it is these three races that bother me. Skrall are really just Glatorian. Can't they have elements? As for Vortixx and Steltians, Rhotuka spinners are just technology. Why do Vortixx have special powers, and what are they? And as for the Steltian weapon attributes - couldn't a normal race have a weapon with an attribute too?

 

Allowed Kanohi and notes

I get that you put a note for every Mask, but it would be a lot simpler for everyone to just list banned masks. Players wouldn't have to look through such a long list, and you wouldn't have to check whenever a player uses a mask that you are not sure of legality for.

 

Allowed elements

Earth and Stone do not have notes. You forgot plantlife. And as for Iron - that's not really how the power works. Iron controls metal, and metal is metal. The Torus coul

 

Allowed Rhotuka powers

This is the worst list of all. Rhotuka Powers vary between the user, except in the case of non-sapient species, in which case each member of the species has the same power. Rhotuka Powers are based on personality.

 

For example, Sidorak was a ruler. What was his Rhotuka? Obedience.

 

Important NPCS:

Rhetuk needs a profile.

 

Rules:

Well, these are short. That's all I have to say about them. There isn't much to them, so I can't say much about them.

 

Summary:

It seems you are taking too much inspiration from the BZPRPG, and having many lists. This is why the BZPRPG has so many lists: They can't approve every profile, so they give rigid guidelines. In contest RPGs, you can approve every profile.


Edited by Canis Lycaon, Jan 03 2014 - 11:24 AM.

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I used to have a banner here.

 

But that RPG is dead.

 

What now?


#8 Offline The Otter

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 12:41 PM

Boom, time for my response:

 

Yes, there is a reason as to why the island is in its little ice age, but in the interest of not giving everybody spoilers as to the plot, I'm not making it known yet. As for whether or not a Toa with a Kadin could leave - its possible, but with the turbulent winds that are almost always there, you might just end up slammed back into the ground or into a hill. And the ice sheet surrounding the island is relatively stable, until you start getting to the outer edges of it.

 

As for the visibility joke, that was more a joke of Maira's, rather than any truth as to general conditions. Still, on bad days it can be like that.

 

Onward to whether or not there are places that are warming up with Frostelus and such coming over there - I mean, it's possible, but I don't see any real point to that question, considering how the "extremely slowly" part about the warming up would mean that any change in temperature would be relatively minute and would have no effect on whether or not the area was particularly livable.

 

And if something is situated in between three mountains in such a way that the shells of the mountain are an actual part of the city, that would pretty simply imply that those mountains are in a close set triangle, don't you think?

 

For the profiles - to me, barely describing a personality because you "want to have them develop" is just an excuse to not give a good description. Everybody has a complex personality, and you can rather well describe someone's personality and still have them develop. Just because something is written out doesn't mean its set in stone and can never change.

 

And it's really not that much. After all, that paragraph where I was explaining why a good personality description isn't a bad thing is well more than thirty words. Try fifty or one hundred. =P

 

As for Maira getting a profile - oh, he* might get one at some point, probably before the voting comes about. Probably a few other important folks will as well. As it stands, though, I thought it more important to focus on the setting and the story than a few of the important characters for the rough draft up there.

 

Anyways, thanks for saying you like the RPG. ^.^ But yeah, the limit of words isn't a particularly big one. Thirty words is a rather short paragraph, really. Unless you use a bunch of big words to stretch out the length, in which case it can look big, but, y'know.

 

 

* Not to seem mean, as I know I never clarified Maira's gender, but I figured I'd just do so now. =D

 

EDIT: Oh yeah, the stuff occuring outside the island. Like I think I told Lev over PM (might've said it in here, I don't remember), this is right about the time the BoM started going bad. However, as it has almost no impact on the island (and therefore the RPG) itself, I didn't think it important to include.


Edited by The Otter, Jan 03 2014 - 01:57 PM.

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#9 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 03:52 PM

This does seem a bit too much, but really, the only qualm I have is with personality. People rarely write long personality sections, as they want room for their character to develop. The one RPG I can remember that put word counts on Personality was Voyage of the Requiem IV, and that was because everyone had amnesia, and the personality section had to cover for a lot more. 
For the profiles - to me, barely describing a personality because you "want to have them develop" is just an excuse to not give a good description. Everybody has a complex personality, and you can rather well describe someone's personality and still have them develop. Just because something is written out doesn't mean its set in stone and can never change.

 

Furthermore, they never actually change the personality form after they've written it. Most people treat the RPGs like a plug and play. I remember Island of Pain being an interesting one because you were frequently updating your equipment log as you found caches, killed other players and took their stuff, etc.

 

Review of Sanctuary

 

Isn't that the one show with the girl from SG-1 where Tesla is a vampire? I think I stopped watching after Season 1, but I don't remember why.

 

Introduction/Hook

The opening is alright. "After the legend was reborn" is a bit cheesy, and really, the whole thing does seem to be a little trite. Still, if going with this, I have two suggestions I'd make.

 

- The first paragraph would look better if it had less information. Replace "encountered" with "observed" and you could have, for example, "Never did he realize that he, too, was being observed."

- The third paragraph, on the other hand, doesn't really tell enough. It's also a tad unrealistic. Something like, "Following Mata-Nui's words to become one people, relations remained tense between the Agori and Matoran species. Yet the few bonds they formed in those times would soon prove the only thread to hang onto in the days to come." Peace is never easy, after all.

 

Story & Setting

This is where the RPG's weaknesses begin to show. The initial part about the pods seems to drag on quite a while, and even seems a bit repetitive at some times. Some things could most certainly be cut here.

 

You tell us way too much about the aliens. The sentence where you postulate the cities mimic the aliens home environment is very silly, for one, and the way it's written makes it seem obvious that it's that way. If we want to makes guesses, that's up for us to do as players, and perhaps act upon. Here it's explicitly stated.

 

The Freedom Camp sounds a bit silly, but I'll leave it to others to think of something better than that. As far as the other locations go, you really shouldn't be telling much of anything regarding anything more than the Toruc cities, and yet it still leaks in.

 

My final concern here - why is that one Agori, Rhetuk, in charge? Old and wise =/= good wartime leader, and they're doing a military operation write now. From canon, characters better suited to this that aren't involved in the Great Being story arc (if that's even here) -

- pretty much everyone on the Order of Mata-Nui

- quite a few Dark Hunters

- a number of the Toa (Tahu, for one)

- Turaga Dume

- Ackar, Kiina, Tarix

- Raanu

 

Did the aliens pick up a box of Bionicle books at Barnes & Nobles and just cull anyone from canon or something? Why is this person who we've never heard of before suddenly in charge?

 

Aliens

This is the number two largest problem with the RPG right here - the aliens. Well, not the aliens themselves mind you, but the execution. You tell us way to freaking much about them. If you were to cut out everything except for the fact they live in pods, seem to collect organic matter, and have lasers, that would be fine. Heck, depending on if anyone's actually killed one yet, you might not even mention that it's known if or if not they even have any kind of organic thing living in them.

 

Leave these things a mystery. An enigma. Don't tell us how they work. They're the enemy.

 

Character Creation

The number one biggest problem - the character creation. You don't need to explain the functions of every mask available, or go into full detail of all of the numerous races we're already very familiar with, or detail the use of elemental powers, or list of Rhotuak spinners. Do not make a list and have players plug-and-play to create their character.

 

BZPRPG can get away with it because they have like 20,000 characters and there's no need to give the staff an aneurysm, but this is a contest RPG. You, and any staff you have, should be going through an inspecting the character profiles and then deeming them as a whole, not based off of a list of approved abilities, as whether or not you'll accept them.

 

Not to mention that the lists drag on way too long. Way too long.

 

Final Commentary & Notes

 

I'll leave off of on a few positive notes. The RPG definitely needs to be cleaned up, maybe with some cleaner format to compact it in to complement the cutting of padding, but it's not a bad premise. I think what we need to focus on here, in order to make things a bit clearer, is the genre -

 

You say you want to make an alien invasion feeling Sci-Fi, right? Well, we'll go back a number of years to War of the Worlds. When Orson Welles first made the radio broadcast for the story, it freaked people out for lots of reasons - the number one reason, outside of its realistic portrayal, being the sense of the unknown. In modern day society, we're used to that kind of stuff happening. It doesn't freak people out. What freaks people out is things we don't understand.

 

Here, the aliens are understood. Their motivations are unclear, but we have a lot of information being thrown at us regardless. To switch to a D&D analogy here - a custom monster is the most dangerous because the players haven't read its Monster Manual entry. Here, we basically have that entry describing what the aliens can do. This makes them much less threatening.

 

With that said, the RPG could definitely be made into something good. While in some places I might ask for more detail, this RPG is the exact opposite - it needs less detailing. Do that, and you'll have a much better RPG.

 

A final positive before I go - while I do catch a few typos or grammar errors as I read, your writing has improved a lot over the last few contests where you've submitted. Adding on, the premise of the RPGs are also becoming more and more interesting. I have to congratulate you on both accounts.

 

Best of luck in the contest.

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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#10 Offline The Otter

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 07:15 PM

You know, as regards Canis's review of Sanctuary up there - if all the organic material in a creature from the Matoran Universe was destroyed, it would die. The inorganic body might just fall completely apart, like a skeleton without any ligaments to hold it together, but at the same time, a lot of the important organs for MU beings (like, say, lungs) are organic.

 

As well, I don't remember anything about any radiation being in the MU robot. And it was the prototype robot that got drained of power, not the Ignika - though I'm betting that part was just a typo.


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#11 Offline Canis Lycaon

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 07:37 PM

As well, I don't remember anything about any radiation being in the MU robot. And it was the prototype robot that got drained of power, not the Ignika - though I'm betting that part was just a typo.

I'm not entirely sure about that, but I do remember there being something as to the MU being rendered uninhabitable. And as to the Ignika vs. prototype robot thing, that was actually a case of a poor memory, but the idea still works. The point was that Spherus is lush and covered in plantlife.


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I used to have a banner here.

 

But that RPG is dead.

 

What now?


#12 Offline The Otter

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 07:40 PM

Yeah, the point still got across fine. And I can imagine the MU would've been rendered uninhabitable not because of radiation, but because there'd be nothing to recycle the air and water around, to keep up heating and such going, stuff like that.


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#13 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 08:29 PM

Yeah, the point still got across fine. And I can imagine the MU would've been rendered uninhabitable not because of radiation, but because there'd be nothing to recycle the air and water around, to keep up heating and such going, stuff like that.

 

Dark Destiny, p.116-117 - What would happen if the Universe was destroyed. Artistic license may have been taken, but Karzahni doesn't seem to have that much control over what exactly his mask shows, so it's probably accurate.

 

Other review(s) forthcoming.

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


Edited by Toa Levacius Zehvor, Jan 03 2014 - 08:29 PM.

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#14 Offline The Otter

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 08:31 PM

You'll have to write it out, Lev m'boy, I don't remember it nor have a copy of the book handy.


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#15 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 08:47 PM

I'm just thankful how easy it is to thumb through a Bionicle book to find a scene. The font size is like 20 or something. :P

 

To sum it up, pretty much all light and heat dies, and then the water rising and shifting drowns most people. Some survive, but not long. Takanuva gets to record the last Chronicle before inevitably dying like everyone else.

 

(BTW, in case anyone thinks I'm insane or something for knowing that, I have a few of those pages marked down as RPG notes for when I need to consult something.)

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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#16 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Jan 04 2014 - 03:30 PM

Thank you for your great reviews! :) Here are some of my thoughts on them.

 

 

It was up to him to do what? Manage? And if so, why weren't the Great Beings like 'Yo, Mata Nui, you have to manage this one world over here.'

 

I'm afraid you misunderstood this one. It meant that the aliens managed to observe Mata Nui.

 

 For anything from the MU, that would mean 'HALP! I've been crippled badly.', not death.

 

 

Incorrect: MU inhabitants have organic organs, including brains, without which they cannot live.

 

 

So, nothing? The MU has been flipped upside down. Any cultures are living on what was once the sky. And if I'm not mistaken, there is radiation everywhere.

 

Some creatures of darkness might be able to live there. Where would radiation come from?

 

 

Except it already did. No one remembers this, but after defeating Makuta, Mata Nui restored all of Spherus Magna to a lush, tropical state. That is what drained the Ignika of it's power.

 

Yes, but as far as I understand there is still a desert of some sort on the planet which is known as Bara Magna. Spherus Magna has all kinds of climates.

 

 

Do you not remember how the Skrall sacked Atero? That was a major event in the Bara Magna story! Atero has been destroyed!

 

It was rebuilt in between.

 

 

This is the worst list of all. Rhotuka Powers vary between the user, except in the case of non-sapient species, in which case each member of the species has the same power. Rhotuka Powers are based on personality.

 

Good point there.

 

You tell us way too much about the aliens. The sentence where you postulate the cities mimic the aliens home environment is very silly, for one, and the way it's written makes it seem obvious that it's that way. If we want to makes guesses, that's up for us to do as players, and perhaps act upon. Here it's explicitly stated.

 

I have to agree with this: in fact, it was the first approach I took, keeping the aliens as mysterious as possible. But due to feedback I got earlier, I decided to elaborate more. It seems I should've done less of that. I'll definitely change that for the entry.

 

My final concern here - why is that one Agori, Rhetuk, in charge? Old and wise =/= good wartime leader, and they're doing a military operation write now. From canon, characters better suited to this that aren't involved in the Great Being story arc (if that's even here) -

- pretty much everyone on the Order of Mata-Nui

- quite a few Dark Hunters

- a number of the Toa (Tahu, for one)

- Turaga Dume

- Ackar, Kiina, Tarix

- Raanu

 

 

I wanted to avoid using canon characters in important positions, but I realize it doesn't make sense. I will look into it.

 

The number one biggest problem - the character creation. You don't need to explain the functions of every mask available, or go into full detail of all of the numerous races we're already very familiar with, or detail the use of elemental powers, or list of Rhotuak spinners. Do not make a list and have players plug-and-play to create their character.

 

BZPRPG can get away with it because they have like 20,000 characters and there's no need to give the staff an aneurysm, but this is a contest RPG. You, and any staff you have, should be going through an inspecting the character profiles and then deeming them as a whole, not based off of a list of approved abilities, as whether or not you'll accept them.

 

 

 

I'll work on this.

 

You say you want to make an alien invasion feeling Sci-Fi, right? Well, we'll go back a number of years to War of the Worlds. When Orson Welles first made the radio broadcast for the story, it freaked people out for lots of reasons - the number one reason, outside of its realistic portrayal, being the sense of the unknown. In modern day society, we're used to that kind of stuff happening. It doesn't freak people out. What freaks people out is things we don't understand.

 

I will definitely work on a more enigmatic feel for the RPG. War of the Worlds is already one of the stories I draw inspiration from (aliens spreading vegetation from their own home world), I'll just need to tap more into the feel.

 

A final positive before I go - while I do catch a few typos or grammar errors as I read, your writing has improved a lot over the last few contests where you've submitted. Adding on, the premise of the RPGs are also becoming more and more interesting. I have to congratulate you on both accounts.

 

Thank you. :)

 

I really appreciate the great feedback and will modify my entry based on it.


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#17 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 12:09 AM

Spirits of the Ice

 

Well, on my first read-through, I completely missed the point of this RPG. I thought that we would be trying to discover the past of the island that is now called Ko-Nui, and what it was called before. I was almost convinced that, underneath all that ice, was a place we would all be very familiar with. Once we knew that, it would inform us of what had caused the endless winter and we could put a stop to it. Now only in the reviews do I learn that this is not any canon place, just a small agricultural place in the MU, and well before most of the BIONICLE storyline. That pretty much squashed all my theories.

 

That isn't really such a bad thing - the game is fine without that extra layer of mystery. I just mention this because I got such a strong impression that turned out to be wrong. If the past is not such an important thing in this game, maybe you could try shifting a bit more focus onto how things are now and what is happening in the present, rather than describing how they came to be that way.

 

I'll also echo what Lev said about the lack of initial impetus for the main plot being a potential problem, because I think he has a good point. I do like a good sandbox, living in a world type game, but given the current state of contest RPGs, any game that even slows down a little bit is in danger of stopping completely. Things need to be kept lively at all costs, pretty much (or at least, that's the assumption I'm working off). While I'm sure you have things lined up and ready to kick off once the game starts, I think it would be a good idea to throw a few of them into the entry. Describe some catalyst for change that will draw characters into whatever you have planned and get things moving. Unless they're awful spoilers, it can't hurt to show off more game-creation cleverness, and it may even win you some more votes.

 

Beside those things, I think you have a good entry. Everything gels together well, and the tone is lovely. You get bonus points for referencing Tuck's guide too.

 

 

Gangs of Metru Nui

 

So, the legend is reborn. I wasn't around for the original, but I think every contest RPGer on the forum must have heard at least something about it, with all of it being positive. I think this game could win based on reputation alone and so doesn't need much fixing, but still I'll offer up my two cents.

 

Now, with this situation, we didn’t exactly have much an issue, to be honest with you. Of course, the death of the Toa Nuva was a tragedy, and that Helryx woman seemed to be pretty ticked when the Order of Mata Nui finally took its armies in a storm on Destral, the fortress-island of the Makuta, but to the average Matoran… so what if this Great Spirit fellow would not wake up? As long as he wasn’t dying, and the Makuta were losing and eventually lost the war, everything was fine. We won the war, exterminated or imprisoned all Makuta, and peace settled down over the land. Everything was going smoothly.

 

 

How is Mata Nui not dead, exactly? I don't know about giant robots, but most beings don't do too well with having their hearts blown up. here's BS01 on the topic:

Karda Nui, also known as the Universe Core or the "World that Feeds the World", is the ultimate power source for the Matoran Universe, providing all light and energy used by Lightstones. The energy produced is sent to Metru Nui where it is redistributed to other areas of the universe, and even to Mata Nui himself. This energy is vital to the universe; if the flow stops, then health of the Great Spirit Robot begins to deteriorate. If all the light in Karda Nui is drained, the universe will be plunged into eternal darkness.

 

 

My other cent is that while GoMN was certainly a great game in the past, times have changed a little since contest 20, I think it might have been? 19? 18? A long time back, anyway. The playerbase has shrunk a bit, so I wonder if there will be enough active characters to sustain 4 different gangs, plus the inevitable neutrals. While I admire the diversity of each gang and the appeal of each one, having so many factions might spread the activity a bit thin. Its unfortunate that we might lose the ability to write large-scale, multi-factioned games like this, but I think that is the way things are headed. It would be a loss to the depth of the story, but would you consider taking out one of the gangs?


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#18 Offline hashtagfortyfive

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 06:15 AM

Karda Nui wasn't -destroyed- per se, or else, yes, as you noted, Mata Nui would have been killed. It appears that most damage that was caused was cosmetic, purely preventing access in and out of the dome and, apparently, either killing the Toa Nuva or keeping them out of the Codrex, thereby preventing them from awakening Mata Nui. Either way, the Matoran, and especially the Matoran of Metru Nui, have largely no idea what exactly happened in there.

 

Nah, I think taking out factions isn't really necessary: the playerbase might be smaller, but granted that they can have up to six characters and with proper action going on in each faction (no rhyme intended), I think they'll be interested enough to keep this machine going.

 

Anyway, thanks for the review.

-Dovydas


Edited by .saorsa, Jan 05 2014 - 06:15 AM.

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critical acclaim:

"All I know is I'll be playing it because it's awesome. And that's about all that really matters." - Toa Levacius Zehvor

"Without a doubt, worth every post.

So like three if you're me." - The Doc

"Despite nobody mentioning me specifically at all in their speechy thingy even though I'm a good friend of all three staff members (or so I thought </3), GoMN is still an objectively good game and should be voted for. Alongside Spirits of the Ice, because, well, y'know. #shamless plug" -Kal Grochi

 


#19 Offline The Otter

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 11:22 AM

Lorax, unless you just skimmed the RPG, I'm not sure how you could think that it was a bunch of people trying to learn the past of the island, because it ends up pretty clearly implying, at the least, that they were all there when what happened happened, and such. The point of describing what happened in the past on the island was to let it be known why what's happening now is happening - if you read the player info section, specifically the last few sentences, you'll see that. Now, nobody knows why things are stuck in winter, which is part of what needs to be figured out in the RPG...but they were all there, know what the island was and is now, and were present when everything fell apart.

 

Anyways, I included definite mentions of two different conflicts/sources of conflict: an oncoming food shortage (obviously going to cause fighting), and rahi coming closer to and starting to attack Ta-Karda, and perhaps Ko-Metru as well. That, and upper-class Steltians who want to get rid of the Ko-Matoran and take over themselves.

 

So we can have a war over food, a war with Rahi and Frostelus, and a war over who's going to be in charge - possibly all at the same time (but hopefully not)! How's that for opening conflict? =P

 

(Also, Lev, get off my back. I included two different Steltian species to make you happy. xP)


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#20 Offline Ninth Krayzikk

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 11:53 AM

Karda Nui wasn't -destroyed- per se, or else, yes, as you noted, Mata Nui would have been killed. It appears that most damage that was caused was cosmetic, purely preventing access in and out of the dome and, apparently, either killing the Toa Nuva or keeping them out of the Codrex, thereby preventing them from awakening Mata Nui. Either way, the Matoran, and especially the Matoran of Metru Nui, have largely no idea what exactly happened in there.
 
Nah, I think taking out factions isn't really necessary: the playerbase might be smaller, but granted that they can have up to six characters and with proper action going on in each faction (no rhyme intended), I think they'll be interested enough to keep this machine going.
 
Anyway, thanks for the review.
-Dovydas


Building on this a little;

Taking out a faction ultimately is more work than it's worth. The Northwind and the Circle are really indispensable, because if we take the Northwinds out, the Circle has to be the "good guys", and that really doesn't fit with the theme of the game. And we can't take the Circle out, because, well, then there's no government. Which leaves the Fury and the Blades. Taking out the Fury removes one of the more iconic characters from the original game, as well as indicates a complete lack of remorse or empathy from the Blades, thus sentencing them entirely to villain status.

The Blades can't go, because, well, they're integral to the backstory.

Ultimately, I think the number can work, provided there is a reasonably sized player base. And I mean "reasonable" in context of the modern contest scene, rather than the golden days. If it was a reasonable size in the golden days, we'd be completely fine.

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Posted Image




Red Skies, an FTL Prequel (Updated 7/13)


#21 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 01:44 PM

Alright, I'll buy that. Thanks for the responses and good luck in the rest of the contest.

 

Karda Nui wasn't -destroyed- per se, or else, yes, as you noted, Mata Nui would have been killed.

 

 

You might want to change this, then. Collapsed entirely doesn't sound like cosmetic damage.

The deepest dome of the universe collapsed entirely, its roof caving in, never to let any Matoran, Toa, or Makuta in again.

 


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#22 Offline hashtagfortyfive

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 01:51 PM

I don't think it needs changing all that much purely because this is Vengeance who likes to exaggerate things when he tells a story.

 

(Not that you could've known that, him never having appeared in any RPG before, haha.)

-Dovydas


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critical acclaim:

"All I know is I'll be playing it because it's awesome. And that's about all that really matters." - Toa Levacius Zehvor

"Without a doubt, worth every post.

So like three if you're me." - The Doc

"Despite nobody mentioning me specifically at all in their speechy thingy even though I'm a good friend of all three staff members (or so I thought </3), GoMN is still an objectively good game and should be voted for. Alongside Spirits of the Ice, because, well, y'know. #shamless plug" -Kal Grochi

 


#23 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 02:54 PM

I think there should be some sort of attempt done to skim through the RPGs, find out an average characters/person, posts/character, etc. and make some sort of projected activity chart.

 

But I'm too freaking lazy to do that so I'll just throw out random numbers that I have no citation for.

 

Behold, as I address the GoMN issue from a mathematical standpoint.

 

TL;DR for the below (I was really bored when I wrote this) - There's enough players.

 

If I remember the original Gangs of Metru-Nui correctly, the breakdown ended up having the majority of people fall into either the Blades or Fury, while there were comparatively fewer Circle members and Northwinds members. I want to even say the Northwinds was the smallest. There were also a handful of token Neutrals, who generally seemed to interact the most with Circle members.

 

How many players can we expect here? Well, on average, these RPGs seem to get around 20 players, with roughly 3/4 of players being active save for in short bursts, which declines as the RPG persists. I'm going to be optimistic here - by reputation, Dovydas/Tyler/Krayzikk should net at least a 20% player increase (based on recent RPGs they have been staff in)

 

Most players will not have six characters, and there will be some who only have one. On average, I'd say ~2.5 characters/player, with ~25 players of which some 18.75 (three quarters of a player?) are active, so we end up with an average of 2.5x18.75= 46.875 active characters, rounded down to 46 because you can't have .875% of a character. So 46 active characters, to be divided up among factions at roughly a 25/25/20/15/15 ratio if I were to estimate correctly.

 

After some rounding, and some adjustments, we come up with -

 

~ 11 Blades

~ 11 Fury

~ 9 Circle

~ 8 Northwinds

~ 7 Unaffiliated

 

Add on any NPCs that are ran by the staff. Now, as characters who are running with the same gang will generally be interacting the most with each other, while unaffiliated characters will be allowed some freedom to spread out as they see fit.

 

Furthermore, the multiple faction issue gives there the opportunity for certain missions or operations to be instigated which require the attention of more than one faction, which leads to inter-faction conflict. During this, players mysteriously become more active, most likely because of a subconscious urge to be in conflict with other players instead of NPCs.

 

In Summary - the RPG can work. However, with this many players, it'll need quite a bit of staff intervention, which shouldn't be a problem given there are three.

 

All I know is I'll be playing it because it's awesome. And that's about all that really matters.

 

(Also, Lev, get off my back. I included two different Steltian species to make you happy. xP)

 

Oh, cool. :P

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:

 

EDIT: I need a hotkey for my signature emoticon, you know that?


Edited by Toa Levacius Zehvor, Jan 05 2014 - 03:14 PM.

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#24 Offline hashtagfortyfive

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 03:13 PM

All I know is I'll be playing it because it's awesome. And that's about all that really matters.

Can I sig this?

-Dovydas


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critical acclaim:

"All I know is I'll be playing it because it's awesome. And that's about all that really matters." - Toa Levacius Zehvor

"Without a doubt, worth every post.

So like three if you're me." - The Doc

"Despite nobody mentioning me specifically at all in their speechy thingy even though I'm a good friend of all three staff members (or so I thought </3), GoMN is still an objectively good game and should be voted for. Alongside Spirits of the Ice, because, well, y'know. #shamless plug" -Kal Grochi

 


#25 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 03:23 PM

 

All I know is I'll be playing it because it's awesome. And that's about all that really matters.

Can I sig this?

-Dovydas

 

Why of course. Get the word out. :P

 

Oh, and since I'm here, on this topic, there is one GoMN question that comes to mind. The lack of a "Personality" section for the profile is intentional, correct?

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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#26 Offline hashtagfortyfive

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 03:26 PM

 

 

All I know is I'll be playing it because it's awesome. And that's about all that really matters.

Can I sig this?

-Dovydas

 

Why of course. Get the word out. :P

 

Oh, and since I'm here, on this topic, there is one GoMN question that comes to mind. The lack of a "Personality" section for the profile is intentional, correct?

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:

 

Aye. We reasoned that if people want to put something related to their characters' personality, they can put it with Biography.

-Dovydas


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91h1.png

critical acclaim:

"All I know is I'll be playing it because it's awesome. And that's about all that really matters." - Toa Levacius Zehvor

"Without a doubt, worth every post.

So like three if you're me." - The Doc

"Despite nobody mentioning me specifically at all in their speechy thingy even though I'm a good friend of all three staff members (or so I thought </3), GoMN is still an objectively good game and should be voted for. Alongside Spirits of the Ice, because, well, y'know. #shamless plug" -Kal Grochi

 


#27 Offline The Otter

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 04:18 PM

For those interested, I have put up two character profiles for Spirits of the Ice - still working on that of Ta-Karda's governor, though.


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#28 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 04:35 PM

I think there should be some sort of attempt done to skim through the RPGs, find out an average characters/person, posts/character, etc. and make some sort of projected activity chart.

 

I was just thinking of this a couple of days ago, but I figured I wasn't bored enough at the time.

 

It shall happen!


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#29 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 10:04 PM

For someone who didn't catch it before, I just want to say that (especially with the handful off additions/revisions) that Spirits of the Ice is also cool. 10/10, truly a masterpiece. It's a feel good romantic-comedy that's like Skyrim with guns.

 

*pulls money out that was slipped under table*

 

Alright, so, with that little bit of funding, I'm moving to the next RPG on this list. Which I sort of skipped before but whatever. Gentlemen -

 

Review for The Bubble

Hmm... this might just be enough to pay for two reviews. Or a review and a Snickers bar. You're not you when you're hungry, they say.

 

Intro/Hook

A little thing that caught my eye here - we have the narrator telling us what a mystery Aku-Nui is to the outside world, before saying he's a resident. Who has, based on his relating history in the first person, always been a native to it. How, then, do they no so much about what "they" outside the bubble say? Sorry to nitpick on this one, but it was a bit inconsistent.

 

Other than that, the problems with the intro come down more to presentation. I would suggest using a different formatting - the enter key is your savior here in creating a few spaces. Asides from my little nitpick, I'm alright with the opening part of the intro. The "mega-paragraph" in the center is a bit too long, however, and becomes very blocky to look at. As an addendum to this, I would suggest cutting out the little portion of "some are good, some are evil" as that is virtually implied with any diverse enough group of beings.

 

Last sentence makes a good jump off point for explaining the RPG.

 

After the intro, you give a short little descriptor, acting in the "TL;DR" function. It's a little useless here, because it just copies what's stated above. You should probably add a little short summary of what's below - what the players main goal(s) are meant to be, etc. That way, it acts as a proper transition from the intro to the main RPG, instead of cutting off. [Suggestion - You could move the information that is currently in "Current Events" to help in rounding this part off; there isn't exactly a discussion topic yet, and its current placement is awkward.]

 

Setting & Story

Some of the descriptions have a few bits of repetition in the way they're written, but they don't make the RPG any harder to understand. If you'd like a few tips, you can send me a PM; otherwise, you can probably just go through a quick revision yourself. In any case, it's not necessary - it just might make it look cleaner.

 

I have a suggestion for Aku-Metru. You mention that the power station was deactivated, which can sort of be handwaved. However, recall that in canon, Metru-Nui was supposedly a power plant for much of the universe underneath the Coliseum; perhaps the creation of the Bubble could have severed that connection?

 

As far as the mountains go, I have to ask - how, exactly, does their height block passage to the Dark Place? The mountain should still slope up, which means there will be areas of lower elevation in between them.

 

Now, stepping away from the technical aspects - the setting is an interesting one, but one which I think is not exploited properly. The existence of portals to draw in beings of so many varied backgrounds combined with a lack of resources doubles on that fact. I'll harken back to an old review I did (I think?) regarding this - this is the perfect setting for making raiding parties, scavengers, etc. a big deal. Multiple small, player controlled groups of NPCs just ranging about the countryside. I'll continue on this track with this below.

 

Factions & Conflict

As I was saying - this is the part where the RPG could truly shine. The fact that we have the "non-native" group and a "native" group, sure. The problem - there's no form of conflict between them, outside of something petty like racism or nativism or whatever the heck they can come up with. Which casts the natives as unlikable bigots, and thus undesirable, which causes a faction imbalance.

 

My proposal - do away with the Alliance entirely, and make the Counsel much less pronounced. If for whatever reason you find the Alliance necessary (to run Na-Aku or whatever) then by all means keep them, but try to make a point of disorganization. For the rest, introduce some sort of system for players to have access to a few NPC cohorts or whatever and run little raiding parties. Add in one, maybe two groups of the bandits for players to be part of, while leaving the faction creation option as a way for small groups of players to branch off on their own or form their own factions.

 

Of course, adding some sort of major resource (don't say food - players characters only eat when it's convenient :P) which can be collected. Like rumors of a few dead Toa, which of course means Kanohi masks. Or stories of a ship off the coast. Better yet, let the players get their own little tales approved.

 

Really, these are just a few possible ideas; the thing is, something to take advantage of the unique elements in the system should be put into place.

 

Gameplay, Rules, & Character Creation

You could cut out the combat section entirely, really. Unless something is going to operate differently here than other RPGs, you really don't need to cover it (ex. to cover space travel, dealing with special powers unique to the setting, etc.)

 

To repeat what I said reviewing The Sanctuary - get rid of the list of approved abilities and such for the elemental powers, and just state that it's banned. And when you're making a banned list, as you did with the mask, don't make it into a vertical list; write it horizontal. If you'd like to, you could even include it in your profile template.

 

A minor thing - are all Skakdi psychopaths necessarily? Strong word.

 

Final Notes

The RPG is alright, and has pretty good setting. The problems come from the fact that it feels like it's not really having that much of an effect on the game itself; this RPG wouldn't be much different if it was set outside of the Bubble, or if food could be grown. This could mostly be alleviated by stressing the hostile effects that the environment has.

 

Another solution on that note - ban off plant life powers and the like. Say the last Toa of Plant Life died or whatever, and there are only a few Turaga and such left to provide food. For whatever reason, it's been weeks now, and everything's teetering on the brink of anarchy because people are flipping hungry. That was why that initial group went south to the mountains - to look for food and such beyond the mountains. The presence of other beings there now all but confirms that resources are present, and now players have a reason to gear up.

 

A little this, a little that. Whatever it takes to liven things up. It's decent as is, but with some touch ups and adjustments I think you'll do just fine.

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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#30 Offline Monado Boy

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Posted Jan 06 2014 - 07:13 PM

Responses in bold italics.

For someone who didn't catch it before, I just want to say that (especially with the handful off additions/revisions) that Spirits of the Ice is also cool. 10/10, truly a masterpiece. It's a feel good romantic-comedy that's like Skyrim with guns.

 

*pulls money out that was slipped under table*

 

Alright, so, with that little bit of funding, I'm moving to the next RPG on this list. Which I sort of skipped before but whatever. Gentlemen -

 

Review for The Bubble

Hmm... this might just be enough to pay for two reviews. Or a review and a Snickers bar. You're not you when you're hungry, they say.

 

Intro/Hook

A little thing that caught my eye here - we have the narrator telling us what a mystery Aku-Nui is to the outside world, before saying he's a resident. Who has, based on his relating history in the first person, always been a native to it. How, then, do they no so much about what "they" outside the bubble say? Sorry to nitpick on this one, but it was a bit inconsistent.

The information is only known because some who have come through are from the same universe as Aku-Nui, and have brought stories of it.

 

Other than that, the problems with the intro come down more to presentation. I would suggest using a different formatting - the enter key is your savior here in creating a few spaces. Asides from my little nitpick, I'm alright with the opening part of the intro. The "mega-paragraph" in the center is a bit too long, however, and becomes very blocky to look at. As an addendum to this, I would suggest cutting out the little portion of "some are good, some are evil" as that is virtually implied with any diverse enough group of beings.

Noted, formatting issues are among my top priorities to fix.

 

Last sentence makes a good jump off point for explaining the RPG.

 

After the intro, you give a short little descriptor, acting in the "TL;DR" function. It's a little useless here, because it just copies what's stated above. You should probably add a little short summary of what's below - what the players main goal(s) are meant to be, etc. That way, it acts as a proper transition from the intro to the main RPG, instead of cutting off. [Suggestion - You could move the information that is currently in "Current Events" to help in rounding this part off; there isn't exactly a discussion topic yet, and its current placement is awkward.]

I will consider this.

 

Setting & Story

Some of the descriptions have a few bits of repetition in the way they're written, but they don't make the RPG any harder to understand. If you'd like a few tips, you can send me a PM; otherwise, you can probably just go through a quick revision yourself. In any case, it's not necessary - it just might make it look cleaner.

 

I have a suggestion for Aku-Metru. You mention that the power station was deactivated, which can sort of be handwaved. However, recall that in canon, Metru-Nui was supposedly a power plant for much of the universe underneath the Coliseum; perhaps the creation of the Bubble could have severed that connection?

That could also work, yes. In addition to the plant shutting down, there is no way of starting it back up because of this.

 

As far as the mountains go, I have to ask - how, exactly, does their height block passage to the Dark Place? The mountain should still slope up, which means there will be areas of lower elevation in between them.

The mountains are extremely steep, and extremely tall. The mountains are also very dangerous to travel on, as there are wild Rahi here, thus making exploration difficult. I'll add that in though.

 

Now, stepping away from the technical aspects - the setting is an interesting one, but one which I think is not exploited properly. The existence of portals to draw in beings of so many varied backgrounds combined with a lack of resources doubles on that fact. I'll harken back to an old review I did (I think?) regarding this - this is the perfect setting for making raiding parties, scavengers, etc. a big deal. Multiple small, player controlled groups of NPCs just ranging about the countryside. I'll continue on this track with this below.

That was the original idea, actually. But I may incorporate this more.

 

Factions & Conflict

As I was saying - this is the part where the RPG could truly shine. The fact that we have the "non-native" group and a "native" group, sure. The problem - there's no form of conflict between them, outside of something petty like racism or nativism or whatever the heck they can come up with. Which casts the natives as unlikable bigots, and thus undesirable, which causes a faction imbalance.

The idea of having three representatives was actually to show the varying opinions. For both the Natives and non-natives, there would be one that hated the others, one that wanted to remain as neutral as possible, and one that wanted to work together with the other party as much as possible.

 

My proposal - do away with the Alliance entirely, and make the Counsel much less pronounced. If for whatever reason you find the Alliance necessary (to run Na-Aku or whatever) then by all means keep them, but try to make a point of disorganization. For the rest, introduce some sort of system for players to have access to a few NPC cohorts or whatever and run little raiding parties. Add in one, maybe two groups of the bandits for players to be part of, while leaving the faction creation option as a way for small groups of players to branch off on their own or form their own factions.

In the very first form of the RPG, the Alliance was a completely disorganized group, only together to bring some justice to Na-Aku.

Of course, adding some sort of major resource (don't say food - players characters only eat when it's convenient :P) which can be collected. Like rumors of a few dead Toa, which of course means Kanohi masks. Or stories of a ship off the coast. Better yet, let the players get their own little tales approved.

I can do this, and I do have a few ideas for possible resources.

 

Really, these are just a few possible ideas; the thing is, something to take advantage of the unique elements in the system should be put into place.

 

Gameplay, Rules, & Character Creation

You could cut out the combat section entirely, really. Unless something is going to operate differently here than other RPGs, you really don't need to cover it (ex. to cover space travel, dealing with special powers unique to the setting, etc.)

Understandable, I can do this.

To repeat what I said reviewing The Sanctuary - get rid of the list of approved abilities and such for the elemental powers, and just state that it's banned. And when you're making a banned list, as you did with the mask, don't make it into a vertical list; write it horizontal. If you'd like to, you could even include it in your profile template.

Alright, I'll make a banned power list instead.

A minor thing - are all Skakdi psychopaths necessarily? Strong word.

Not all, but that was a remnant from the first draft.

Final Notes

The RPG is alright, and has pretty good setting. The problems come from the fact that it feels like it's not really having that much of an effect on the game itself; this RPG wouldn't be much different if it was set outside of the Bubble, or if food could be grown. This could mostly be alleviated by stressing the hostile effects that the environment has.

 

Another solution on that note - ban off plant life powers and the like. Say the last Toa of Plant Life died or whatever, and there are only a few Turaga and such left to provide food. For whatever reason, it's been weeks now, and everything's teetering on the brink of anarchy because people are flipping hungry. That was why that initial group went south to the mountains - to look for food and such beyond the mountains. The presence of other beings there now all but confirms that resources are present, and now players have a reason to gear up.

Hm, this could work. A small scouting party goes out from Na-Aku to find food/water/some sort of MacGuffin, and finds another hostile group. Que the beginning.

A little this, a little that. Whatever it takes to liven things up. It's decent as is, but with some touch ups and adjustments I think you'll do just fine.

Thank you very much, I'll work on this as soon as possible.

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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#31 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Jan 07 2014 - 02:07 PM

Outbreak

 

Well, what have we here? A mysterious city populated by dangerous mutants, and a group trying to reclaim the city, or at least stay alive. I might have heard that before somewhere, but in this case it is done well, and I like it.

 

The intro is nice (Kopaka does seem the type to become a general), giving out the information without revealing too much, and then past events... This. Is. Brilliant. In fact. large chunks have just become my headcanon for what happens after the end of BIONICLE. You have me hooked.

 

The locations are nice too, especially with the focus on the less common elements and the throwbacks to the Metru Nui we know and love. You win more points here, and it's not even that much to read.

 

Really, my only question comes from the factions section. Is there any super-important plot reason why the mutants can't be playable? Because otherwise, the only conflict in the game will be against hordes of NPCs (and one staff character). Having PCs on both sides makes for a more interesting story, I think, with groups forming on both sides, racing to discover the next plot point and/or trying to block each others' progress.

 

Making the mutants playable (and intelligent enough to be played) would mean a few other things changing as well, but it wouldn't kill the mystery, I think. You could say that on initially contracting the virus, the victim is knocked out for a day or so, and one side effect of this is amnesia of the time immediately preceding the bite (just how long can be tailored to fit what the plot needs). This would allow for mutant PCs who didn't already know everything about how the virus started and how the city fell. The resulting PCs would be a bit like the Rusted from Evex's game in contest 23 (another excellent game about rahkshi/kraata mutants in Metru Nui). They are still recognisable as their former selves in many ways, but now twisted, warped and totally dedicated to eradicating everything that is not them. They might even keep a few of their old traits and abilities (though some would have to be lost to the virus to keep things balanced for the more powerful species).

 

My only other question is minor, about this bit:

Each wears a suit of armor consisting of metal plating held together at the joints by a fabric mesh. The metal plating offers protection against the mutants, but they are able to pierce the mesh and bite at the skin underneath that.

 

As biomechanical beings, wouldn't they already be covered in metal armour? Adding extra layers seems a bit odd.

 

In spite of you have a good game here. I hope it wins.


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#32 Offline Canis Lycaon

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Posted Jan 07 2014 - 10:05 PM

I am on mobile, so pleae excuse my inability to quote or any spelling errors you might see.

To put it simply, the mutants can't be playable.

They are what you get when you decide the zombies need superpowers to balance themselves out against the good guys.

In addition, the zombies already have advantages. They are a city - several thousands. The army is under five hundred.

Soldiers have fallen since the arrived to Metru Nuva, decreasing their numbers and strengthing the horde.

To make the mutants intelligent would mean that they are are powerful, can formulate plans, and have the upperhand in numbers.

I ubderstand that having both sides playable would create PC vs. PC conflict, but it would tip the balance, and ruin the feel of the game: a zombie RPG.


As foe the armor, that is useless for MU inhabitants, but not as much for thr Slherus Magnans. I'll fix that.

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What now?


#33 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Jan 07 2014 - 11:28 PM

Yeah alright, I can buy that. If that's the sort of game you want it to be, then I suppose you would know more about how to do your game than me.

 

Good luck for the rest of the contest.


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#34 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 02:38 AM

Condemned

 

Well, horror/survival/combat-type RPGs are nothing new on this forum, but this one, I think, does it better than most. So credit where it is due, congratulations and all that.

 

The IC into manages to set the tone exactly and tell us everything about this new world without telling us anything at all, really. I'm still not quite sure how that happened, but good job nonetheless. That the MU species have all died out could probably do with a mention in this section, since it comes as a bit of a surprise later an, with vital information in the profile template of all places. Maybe that all of Mata Nui's people perished as surely as their protector or something, however the Gatekeeper would put it. His voice is excellent, by the way.

 

The locations also, are done beautifully. The dangers, the creepy bits, the idea that there might just be enough to live off... nah, but it's close. I think you've hit the right mix of hope and hopelessness to keep this game interesting (for me at least. That threshold is probably different for most people).

 

The profile template is a little different from most other games, but not in a bad way. It is itself, and itself isn't bad, so I can't complain.

 

you'll need em, if the mortality rate is going to be as bad as I'm expecting.

 

Okay, question time: how serious are you about this? PC life is held sacred by many, so prospective GMs do like to threaten it from time to time. Even when this sort of thing is said, however, it doesn't actually happen all that often, so I've learned to take this type of statement with a grain of salt. If/when you start offing characters, will it be completely random, or will there be some rhyme and reason to it? In either case, be careful. With the current state of the forum and ever-decreasing activity in the games, I'd want to keep as many characters alive and active as possible. Get too trigger-happy, and the game might die as well.

 

That said, I applaud the system you've devised to keep characters active. It won't work for everyone, but it might slow down the attrition a little, and give you all those PC deaths you talked about.

 

The gift-giving each week is another nice touch to keep things moving and provide some impetus for the plot. Something tells me they might not be as random as they sound, but that's not a problem at all. Anything to keep the games running.

 

I'll leave it there. Good luck in the polls. :)


Edited by The Lorax, Jan 14 2014 - 02:39 AM.

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#35 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 11:39 AM

Thanks for the review, Lorax. :)

Quote clipped to save space; answers are in parentheses, because I'm too lazy to break up the quote properly.
 

The IC into manages to set the tone exactly and tell us everything about this new world without telling us anything at all, really. I'm still not quite sure how that happened, but good job nonetheless. That the MU species have all died out could probably do with a mention in this section, since it comes as a bit of a surprise later an, with vital information in the profile template of all places. Maybe that all of Mata Nui's people perished as surely as their protector or something, however the Gatekeeper would put it. His voice is excellent, by the way.
 
(Well, you're not thinking that was an accident, are you? :sly: )
 
(And yes, surprisingly, I did notice that 'MU species extinction' thing back when I was writing it... but the fact that you noticed means I might have to address it. I'll give it some thought, see if I can find a way to stick in an explanatory note without disrupting the intro's pace and flow.)
 
 

you'll need em, if the mortality rate is going to be as bad as I'm expecting.

Okay, question time: how serious are you about this? PC life is held sacred by many, so prospective GMs do like to threaten it from time to time. Even when this sort of thing is said, however, it doesn't actually happen all that often, so I've learned to take this type of statement with a grain of salt. If/when you start offing characters, will it be completely random, or will there be some rhyme and reason to it? In either case, be careful. With the current state of the forum and ever-decreasing activity in the games, I'd want to keep as many characters alive and active as possible. Get too trigger-happy, and the game might die as well.
 
That said, I applaud the system you've devised to keep characters active. It won't work for everyone, but it might slow down the attrition a little, and give you all those PC deaths you talked about.

(I'm dead serious, no pun intended. There will definitely be rhyme and reason to the offing of characters; when you're down and bleeding and haven't eaten for three weeks and the Things are closing in, I think it's safe to admit you're a goner, and write your last few posts with that in mind. Plot trumps all, in this case. I'd much rather have a good tragic depressing story that ends before the time limit expires due to all the PCs dying off, rather than sacrifice the 'epic' factor just to keep it semi-alive the full four months. That said, I'm going to use in-game realism as my absolute balance, and so smart roleplaying will take you far. This is a survival game in which it is (barely) possible to win, I assure you, not some bloodbath put on to give me a chance to grossly misuse my GM kill-powers.)
 
The gift-giving each week is another nice touch to keep things moving and provide some impetus for the plot. Something tells me they might not be as random as they sound, but that's not a problem at all. Anything to keep the games running.

(Actually, they are entirely random, although some items have a higher probability of being selected than do others. I have the charts all written out and everything. :) )

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#36 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 02:00 PM

(I'm dead serious, no pun intended. There will definitely be rhyme and reason to the offing of characters; when you're down and bleeding and haven't eaten for three weeks and the Things are closing in, I think it's safe to admit you're a goner, and write your last few posts with that in mind. Plot trumps all, in this case. I'd much rather have a good tragic depressing story that ends before the time limit expires due to all the PCs dying off, rather than sacrifice the 'epic' factor just to keep it semi-alive the full four months. That said, I'm going to use in-game realism as my absolute balance, and so smart roleplaying will take you far. This is a survival game in which it is (barely) possible to win, I assure you, not some bloodbath put on to give me a chance to grossly misuse my GM kill-powers.)

 

Alright. That works for me.

 
The gift-giving each week is another nice touch to keep things moving and provide some impetus for the plot. Something tells me they might not be as random as they sound, but that's not a problem at all. Anything to keep the games running.

(Actually, they are entirely random, although some items have a higher probability of being selected than do others. I have the charts all written out and everything. :) )

 

Well, aren't you good and organised well ahead of time. I'd thought plot might trump randomness in some situations, if there was a particularly good opportunity to spice things up with a gift than was either appropriate or awful, for a person whose possessing it might set off or resolve some kind of conflict. Randomness is fairer though, so I'm not bothered by this.


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#37 Offline Canis Lycaon

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 04:25 PM

Condemned

Okay, I'm got a little tired of reviewing, but after seeing your RPG, I realized there were somethings that I had to address. Two big problems, and one slightly minor that I included because I was already posting. I really think that two of the problems need to be addressed.

 

The first problem is the minor one. Your locations, while complex and intricate, are just that - complex. It is hard to tell how they relate to each other, and I recommend getting a map. It is not necessary, but I would strongly advise that you do so, to make it clearer.

 

Next, about your 'inactivity kill-em-off' rule - this only needs one extra word. This should only be for unannounced or warned absences, so people aren't killed for going on two week vacations without internet access. If someone says they will be inactive, they shouldn't be killed.

 

Finally, I think that the time period does not make sense - MU inhabitants can build new versions of themselves, and live for well over 100,000,000 years. It doesn't make sense to have this game take place in the future, as it would be millions of years from the Bionicle we know and love.

 

I recommend either before the Shattering (And before technological innovation), or immediately after (When the world could be in a apocalyptic stage and not use technology much.) In both, any random pieces of technology could be handwaved as Great Being wackiness, like the portal.


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#38 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 04:40 PM


 

The first problem is the minor one. Your locations, while complex and intricate, are just that - complex. It is hard to tell how they relate to each other, and I recommend getting a map. It is not necessary, but I would strongly advise that you do so, to make it clearer.

 

 

 

Seconded. Everything's better with a map.

 

 

Next, about your 'inactivity kill-em-off' rule - this only needs one extra word. This should only be for unannounced or warned absences, so people aren't killed for going on two week vacations without internet access. If someone says they will be inactive, they shouldn't be killed.

 

 

 

This exception is already in place. here's the quote.

 

 If any individual character has not taken an IC action within the period of one (1) week, and if that character's player has not given full and adequate prior notice of inactivity, that character's player will be notified via PM.

 


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#39 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 06:17 PM

Thanks also, Canis. Feedback is always appreciated; always has been, always will be. ;)
 
Answers again in parenthesis.
 

The first problem is the minor one. Your locations, while complex and intricate, are just that - complex. It is hard to tell how they relate to each other, and I recommend getting a map. It is not necessary, but I would strongly advise that you do so, to make it clearer.
 
(Point taken. I've thought about a map, but I'm not really sure how to portray the 3-D layout of the Maw effectively using MS Paint. I guess at the moment I'm hoping to use the confusing complexity of the area as a plot feature; all the major locations are connected and surrounding by winding, featureless stone tunnels, so getting from one to another is kind of a 'make it up on the spot' kind of thing.)
 

Next, about your 'inactivity kill-em-off' rule - this only needs one extra word. This should only be for unannounced or warned absences, so people aren't killed for going on two week vacations without internet access. If someone says they will be inactive, they shouldn't be killed.
 
(Answered by Lorax.)
 
Finally, I think that the time period does not make sense - MU inhabitants can build new versions of themselves, and live for well over 100,000,000 years. It doesn't make sense to have this game take place in the future, as it would be millions of years from the Bionicle we know and love.
 
I recommend either before the Shattering (And before technological innovation), or immediately after (When the world could be in a apocalyptic stage and not use technology much.) In both, any random pieces of technology could be handwaved as Great Being wackiness, like the portal.

(Again, point taken. One thing you have to remember, though, is that this is very much an alternate dimension of BIONICLE reality. You ain't in Kansas anymore, to use the popular cliche. Yes, some things don't add up. Yes, there's a reason why; and a lot of the answers may or may not be revealed as a side-plot of sorts during the RPG itself; most likely through the thoughts and meditations of the Gatekeeper.

Placing this story before the Shattering would disrupt the 'legend' feel, I believe, as would placing it immediately afterwords. Only I know exactly who and what the One and the Blackness truly are, and let me tell you, they are more than enough apocalypse to explain anything that might strike you as a bit.. different. Yes, MU universe residents would normally last for much longer than a mere thirty thousand years or so. And yes, there's maybe an unnatural reason why they didn't, shall we say.

Like I said, you ain't in Kansas anymore, buddy. :evilgrin: )


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#40 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 06:59 PM

Finally, I think that the time period does not make sense - MU inhabitants can build new versions of themselves, and live for well over 100,000,000 years. It doesn't make sense to have this game take place in the future, as it would be millions of years from the Bionicle we know and love.

 

On this subject -

 

There's no way an organic brain would last 100,000,000 years. Or even 1,000,000 years. Actually, I wouldn't ever expect anyone to live past 300,000 in Bionicle, save Makuta and the like. And even if the brain could last that long... think about the overload implied. Sure, your brain dumps memories, but as time passed... well, to put it this way, how much do you remember from when you were 4?

 

It's not elemental powers or the events of Journey's End that are unbelievable in Bionicle - it's that every character isn't totally insane. :|

 

And as the time period, that really isn't much of a problem either. No, see, the problem that a lot of RPGs - including Condemned, in this case - aren't really Bionicle RPGs. They're RPGs that have Bionicle characters in them. This becomes far worse in the RPGs where the GM hyper-humanizes them to the point of having your little Matoran children running around and all of that.

 

Not as bad as one RPG I saw in a contest where the characters were literally half Toa, half human, but... that's another story.

 

BTW, I have one other question regarding Condemned - "What is a Grue?"

 

Anyways, have some review. I doubt I'll have time to put any more up, but who knows.

 

Review of Outbreak

So this is the “zombie” RPG of the contest? Despite the advertising, I don't really think that's an accurate depiction of what this RPG is... but more on that later.

 

Intro/Hook

I'll be upfront in saying that I don't find this introduction to be very strong. It's written out not as a story or as a direct address to the player, but to a third individual. Which is where it begins to fall apart. For instance, the commander feels the need to remind Kopaka something he already knows – that he was sent to investigate Metru-Nuva.

 

From there, the report seems a bit too broken up. The paragraphs here would actually look better if there was something more there. For instance, the first and second paragraphs could be combined together, and the third paragraph could use a bit more detail to it.

 

Another gripe I have is actually a small detail. That “each of the mutants has access to one Kraata power, at level 4.” The issue here is that kraata powers are not called “level 4” and so forth in story – they're just kraata powers. When we use “level” and the like, it's for gameplay purposes alone based upon the chart.

 

I'd also ask how they know the creatures are mutants, or how they even know the mutants were people, now that I think about it.

 

Story & Setting

 

I understand that you want to make things clear, but your list of past events could certainly be cut out. The list, that is – some events could be left. But leaving a timeline just takes up space. I would also suggest cutting out all mentions to the events that happened in the serials, because none of them are large scale events that your average PC soldier would know about. Really, only the part about the Vorox is of any importance.

 

My reasoning here – a history for the world is to provide different locations where players could be fit into. A player could easily be a veteran from the war against the Vorox. But they couldn't be part of the group at the Great Beings Fortress because they weren't a part of the group. Focusing on worldwide events provides these opportunities.

 

In terms of the story itself, I find it a bit empty. We know almost nothing about this city. I'm not even sure where it is – I'm assuming somewhere in Aqua Magna because it's an island, but even then it's not clear. More confusing to me is how, after roughly a decade, they were able to create a city rivaling Metru-Nui – considering how long the Great Beings took, along with the effort, it seems like something that would be the product of a centuries toil at the minimum.

 

On the subject of the city itself, I do like it. I like the use of non-traditional elements, as it gives the city its own unique flavor. The only suggestions I would have is perhaps making Fe-Metru seem more like a place of Iron than just another Stone location (which would make sense, considering it's an artificial city, and would likely have more metal than stone), and on Ki-Metru. While the concept does seem cool, I really do think it seems to undermine the use of non-traditional elements when you use five of them, but with three remaining choose to put on a custom one. De-Metru, for one, sounds like an interesting place – one that could either play off the quiet nature of the De-Matoran, or be built upon beautiful sounds such as music. Either would work.

 

Mutants & Factions

 

First off, factions. When there is only one playable faction, you really don't need to detail them. Having two separate sections – one to detail the Atero-Nuian Army and their equipment/leaders/resources, and one ot detail the mutants – would work much better here. Truth be told, the Mutants don't belong as a “faction” anyways.

 

I don't really have much to say on the army, other than the fact that it is referred to as the entire army in the actual write-up, despite being described as a battalion elsewhere. That's just a nitpick though.

 

The mutants, on the other hand... for the write-up itself, I must again echo my distates at referring to the Rahkshi abilities the way they are listed. Just state that they have access to the wide range of Kraata abilities. Really, I don't even know the reason to limit them to a single power level – it's not like the powers are all evenly balanced anyways (Level 6 Fire Resistance is inferior to Level 2 Power Scream in roughly 98.999% of situations, after all)

 

Now, to touch upon the Mutants further, there is the issue I brought up at the very beginning – is this a zombie RPG? Not really. It does seem to be attempting the survival-horror genre, but what with the fact the players are a fully equipped battalion and not a group of helpless citizens, it does lose a bit of its intensity.

 

FYI – To clarify, survival-horror isn't really survival-horror unless resources are s

 

Final Notes

 

Another concern on the end – why can't we refer to the same NPC in the army multiple times? Having a rogues gallery of NPCs can be just as important for the player as the GM.

 

Other than that, my thoughts are that this RPG has a number of interesting ideas, but has a few flaws of execution that dot it. It most definitely could be improved in a few points by simply cutting out and editing things. A quick proofread for spelling and grammar might also be good for you.

 

The intro is, I think, the biggest problem. It works as an introduction, but as a hook could be stronger. That would certainly help drag in the readers attention. After that, work on making the backstory a bit more player-centric.

 

Another thing to add on would be more in the realm of possible things for players to do being presented. Perhaps there is a sealed up military outpost that might have survivors that needs to be reached? That sort of stuff helps give players motivation to start heading towards something, after all.

 

Good luck in the contest.

 

Review for Sky/Fall

 

Okay, so here this RPG is again. Here I am still.

 

Intro/Hook
The problem with the introduction to this RPG is that it doesn't actually function as a hook. It gives a brief summary of history. It doesn't really do anything to draw the reader into the RPG, which makes it a very weak

 

What this RPG really needs, then, is some sort of hook at its start. Some form of narration by a character living in the world itself, speaking from the present, is usually. Speak quickly about history when speaking of it, and make use of emotions – and remember, one person dying is a casualty, but a million becomes a statistic. Manipulate players by using canon characters as necessary.

 

Getting a strong hook really should be your first priority, before anything else I suggest below.

 

Storyline & Setting

 

Sure, we always want the underdogs to win, but I find it hard to believe that a galaxy spanning empire would be so handily defeated that the only remnants are trapped on the planet. Couldn't they have simply fled? Or, as is more likely, called up some help and won?

 

The artifact hunt could prove an interesting objective-based quest, but it does confuse me. How do these artifacts power SKY/FALL exactly? And if SKY/FALL is actually crashed on the planet, why did the Spherus Magnans never just think to destroy it?

 

The setting itself is underused. It's a post-apocalyptic landscape, yet said landscape is never mentioned outside of the opening, and no locations are stated. Having some form of locations is vital for the RPG; otherwise, players are just wandering about a blank white expanse of absolutely nothing.

 

Try to add some locations, and better describe the landscape and what has happened to it. Try to give the world some flavor, and the NPCs in certain parts of it will also pick up that flavor. The RPG will seem more alive.

 

Factions

 

The Dawn Guard and Midnight Collective... these are meant to be the main factions, it seems. Yet they both fail for a simple reason – they are based upon morality. The Dawn Guard are shoehorned in as “good guys” and the Midnight Collective is just simply evil. What's worse – these traits are then assigned to the species among them.

 

The Dawn Guard can be left much as they are, but try to lighten down on the “purity” and “selflessness” and all of that.

 

The Midnight Collective needs a big revamp. Even if the three leaders are “evil,” the faction itself should not be. Making it a faction built more around simply trying to take control may be better – one where Skrall and Skakdi may join out of a desire to claim some sort of power in a world where their kind are looked down poorly on by holier-than-thou Matoran and Agori.

 

The Old Order is alright as a faction, but seem a bit out of place since there is no other mention to the Spherus Magna government – we know nothing about them, after all. As a third faction, they seem very out of place in this RPG. To properly work, we need to know more about the Spherus Magna government. Toning down the blatant racism that seems to characterize its members in this depiction might also work out to make it more attractive for players to join.

 

Rules and NPCs

 

The majority of the text in this RPG is devoted to the rules for playing it, and to the NPCs. The rules certainly don't need to be so long – look at the other RPGs in this contest for a better idea of what to put up. Additionally, tone down the amount of information devoted to the NPCs and try to characterize the world itself more.

 

On the matter of the NPCs, though - Why not make more of the leaders of factions and the like be actual, proper characters from canon? Shouldn't the powerful, important leaders still be the powerful, important leaders?

 

Final Notes

 

This RPG needs work in two departments – storyline and the way morality is shown – for the same reason. To make the world feel more real. For an RPG that is meant to be a race for the fate of the world, the world itself has been neglected and placed in the background.

 

Despite my gripes, I don't think the RPG itself is an entirely bad one. With some work, it could become a proper military conflict based RPG with the inter-faction conflict or interaction being a guiding point. To get there, though, it's going to need some work.

 

So in any event, good luck with the contest and all that.

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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