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RPG Forum Contest 30 Reviews

RPG Contest RPGC30

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#41 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Jan 15 2014 - 10:07 AM

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


Uh... right back at 'cha. What is a 'Grue'? Did I overlook a typo or something? :confused:


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#42 Online The Lorax

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Posted Jan 15 2014 - 01:47 PM

No, there's no typo. Thankfully, google can provide the answer.

 

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  • Grue
    Monster
  • A grue is a predator that dwells in the dark. The word was first used in modern times as a fictional predator in Jack Vance's Dying Earth universe.
> what is a grue? The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.

 

 

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#43 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Jan 15 2014 - 05:46 PM

Oh... Well, then. Cool. The grue(s) of Condemned are very much secret; even a tongue-in-cheek comment isn't going to net you any juicy details. Quite a few of them have already been selected and assigned to certain territories within the Maw; others will be no doubt be added as inspiration strikes me, or as circumstances warrant.
 
Assuming, of course, that my entry makes it in the polls. :P


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#44 Offline Canis Lycaon

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Posted Jan 16 2014 - 02:25 PM

Responses in light blue.

 

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.

 

Well, really, it was a zombie RPG, and was changed extensively.

 

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.

 

I'll change the wording of that so he's not saying something Kopaka knows.

 

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.

 

I guess I could elaborate a bit more on the paragraphs, although I'm not sure how.

 

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.

 

The level system didn't exist in canon? Huh. I'll keep the mention of levels in the mutant factions section and the Leader's profile, but remove it here.

 

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.

 

A few unlucky soldiers were infected and turned.

 

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.

 

The only unneeded event is the fortress - the Red Star sets up Kopaka so he can be the General, the first thing about Orde and company sets up for the Vorox wars, and the Skakdi events create a new nation for Skakdi.

 

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.

 

The three elements remaining are Magnetism, Sonics and Plasma. Magnetism and Gravity are very similar, so having both would be redundant. Sonics wouldn't transfer well into the game, because right not, no music is being made. It would be a generic Metru, not an elementally themed one. As for Plasma, that would most likely be smelting or something - very similar to Ta-Metru, and I am trying to distance Metru Nuva and Metru Nui.

 

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.

 

Well, that really depends on how you interpret 'official army', as that is the only thing that implies it to be the entire army. It is a battalion from the official army.

 

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)

 

I'm limiting them to a single power level not for balance or anything, but for story. It wouldn't make much sense for people to become more or less powerful off the same exact thing, would it? Also, having a set Kraata power level makes the Leader more mysterious - how is he stronger?

 

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.

 

It used to be a zombie RPG, but isn't anymore.

 

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

 

I think you meant to say scarce. I'll make a note about the soldiers not having many resources pooled in Bo-Metru.

 

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.

 

The main reason is because how many soldiers are there - less than five hundred. Now that I think about it, I'll say something about a low number of NPCs, as it is small enough you will run into the same people alot.

 

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.

 

I'll think about adding something like that for the players to go to.

 

Good luck in the contest.


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#45 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 16 2014 - 08:28 PM

The level system didn't exist in canon? Huh. I'll keep the mention of levels in the mutant factions section and the Leader's profile, but remove it here.

 

It exists in canon, but not in lore. Kraata grow more powerful, but I think they're more differentiated by their appearance and coloration. I'm sure that the Order of Mata-Nui or the like might have a classification form, but at this point... well, in a world where virtually the entire population of Rahkshi/Kraata was wiped out by the Golden Armor, and the Makuta are no longer a threat, I can't see the common soldier going to Kraata 101. In fact, that gives me an idea...

 

The only unneeded event is the fortress - the Red Star sets up Kopaka so he can be the General, the first thing about Orde and company sets up for the Vorox wars, and the Skakdi events create a new nation for Skakdi.

 

My commentary -

-[0 AMN] Pohatu and Kopaka were taken off the Red Star by a reincarnated Botar, along with a few other dead members of the Order of Mata Nui, who wanted to make sure that their organization was fine, and wanted to support it. Hydraxon is best friends with himself. You could make mention that they brought back people from the Red Star, but the phrasing makes it seem as though only Order members came down - which is to say, not many of the players. They Hydraxon part is unnecessary

-[0 AMN] Velika blew up the fortress. Everyone inside died. How would the characters know about this?

-[0 AMN] However, the Great Being instantly came back to life, as his power gave him unintended immortality, due to the fact he was always in contact with himself. By touching the others in the fortress, he revived them as well. How would the characters know about this?

-[0 AMN] After freeing the Great Being from his curse, the inhabitants of the fortress decided to hunt down their killer. After finding Velika and interrogating him, Miserix killed the Great Being in disguise. How would the characters know about this?

-[0 AMN] Orde, Zaria, Gelu and Chiara allowed themselves to be captured, and then broke free. They found the machine inhibiting their powers, and destroyed it. They then fled from Bota Magna, heading to where they had received their mission. You're focusing too much on the NPCs. Just say "A scouting party composed of Orde, Zaria, Gelu, and Chiara encountered a group of intelligent Vorox on Bota-Magna, barely escaping with their lives."

-[1 AMN] Marendar successfully killed three Toa. A group of Skakdi, however, saw the killings, and decided to take revenge on the murderer. Marendar was only programmed to defeat Toa, and as such did not register the Skakdi as threats. This helped to change the public view of Skakdi, from murderers to somewhat respectable beings.  The problem here is phrasing, as though Marendar should be known. Are we, as the players, familiar with it? Yes. But this is meant to be a timeline, and yet seems more like a "tie up the loose ends" deal. 

-[2 AMN] In a further attempt to help their public view, the Skakdi allowed for the five Toa Mahri to be freed. However, the Mahri saw how the Skakdi people were not evil, and opted to stay with them, and help form the nation of Zakaz Nuva.  Okay, here, my question is why the Toa Mahri would just opt to abandon their friends (and possibly loved ones; I certainly ship Hewkii/Macku). 

-[4 AMN] The Toa Nuva formed a new nation, which they called The Atero Nuian Republic. It is the most powerful nation on Spherus Magna, and has the capital of Atero Nui, a new city built meant to honor the past of both the Glatorians and the MU inhabitants.  Goo d. 

-[5 AMN] The team that fought the Bota Magna Vorox levied support against the intelligent Vorox in The Atero Nuian Republic. War was waged against them, from which the Republic emerged victorious. The war ended in 8 AMN. Good.

 

I'm limiting them to a single power level not for balance or anything, but for story. It wouldn't make much sense for people to become more or less powerful off the same exact thing, would it? Also, having a set Kraata power level makes the Leader more mysterious - how is he stronger?

 

Genetic variation, Canis. Genetic variation. It makes a lot of sense.

 

And to compare it to real world diseases, just compare it to natural resistances and the like. Maybe Matoran A was infected and gained Power Scream 5 instead of Power Scream 4 because he was a De-Matoran? Or Matoran B gained Fire Resistance 6 instead of Fire Resistance 4 because he's a Ta-Matoran? Or, heck, as a Ta-Matoran, Matoran B gained Power Scream 4 and Fire Resistance 3 because he's naturally inclined to.

 

Bla bla bla science bla.

 

So what if the Leader is stronger? The Leader doesn't need to be stronger. The Leader could just be smarter, faster... maybe just stronger in the physical sense instead of powers, even. Intelligence is the big one here - an intelligent monster is infinitely more dangerous than a mindless one. And if you do feel the need to give him more powers, you could always just add on Limited Invulnerability 5 and give players something to think about.

 

The main reason is because how many soldiers are there - less than five hundred. Now that I think about it, I'll say something about a low number of NPCs, as it is small enough you will run into the same people alot.

 

Exactly my point here - with so few people, you're not going to run into a different soldier every time, are you? :P

 

Uh... right back at 'cha. What is a 'Grue'? Did I overlook a typo or something? :confused:

 

As Lorax said. But more importantly, it's a monster from Zork, which is an old text-based game from the time before time. So yeah.

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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#46 Offline Canis Lycaon

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 12:02 PM

 

The level system didn't exist in canon? Huh. I'll keep the mention of levels in the mutant factions section and the Leader's profile, but remove it here.

 
It exists in canon, but not in lore. Kraata grow more powerful, but I think they're more differentiated by their appearance and coloration. I'm sure that the Order of Mata-Nui or the like might have a classification form, but at this point... well, in a world where virtually the entire population of Rahkshi/Kraata was wiped out by the Golden Armor, and the Makuta are no longer a threat, I can't see the common soldier going to Kraata 101. In fact, that gives me an idea...

 

Except Malik isn't an ordinary soldier - he's a high-ranking military official, and well over 60,000 years old. He's fought plenty of Rahkshi in his day. Malik can identify these things if anyone can.
 

 

As for the timeline - yes, parts of it are meant as a wrap-up loose ends deal, but others do have importance. That suggestion you gave about Orde, Zaria, Chiara and Gelu doesn't work because the detail given helps wrap things up for the players. Marendar should be known. He killed three Toa - not an easy feat, and Toa are very rare. That is something characters would know, even if it occurred nine years ago,.
 
Everything about the fortress is wrapup.
 
And the Hydraxon bit is a joke.

 

 

 

I'm limiting them to a single power level not for balance or anything, but for story. It wouldn't make much sense for people to become more or less powerful off the same exact thing, would it? Also, having a set Kraata power level makes the Leader more mysterious - how is he stronger?

 
Genetic variation, Canis. Genetic variation. It makes a lot of sense.
 
And to compare it to real world diseases, just compare it to natural resistances and the like. Maybe Matoran A was infected and gained Power Scream 5 instead of Power Scream 4 because he was a De-Matoran? Or Matoran B gained Fire Resistance 6 instead of Fire Resistance 4 because he's a Ta-Matoran? Or, heck, as a Ta-Matoran, Matoran B gained Power Scream 4 and Fire Resistance 3 because he's naturally inclined to.
 
Bla bla bla science bla.
 
So what if the Leader is stronger? The Leader doesn't need to be stronger. The Leader could just be smarter, faster... maybe just stronger in the physical sense instead of powers, even. Intelligence is the big one here - an intelligent monster is infinitely more dangerous than a mindless one. And if you do feel the need to give him more powers, you could always just add on Limited Invulnerability 5 and give players something to think about.

 

Considering what the virus actually is, that doesn't work. I have a very clear definition of what it is in my mind, and genetic variation does not fit into that.


Edited by Canis Lycaon, Jan 21 2014 - 12:02 PM.

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#47 Online The Lorax

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 01:35 PM

As for the timeline - yes, parts of it are meant as a wrap-up loose ends deal, but others do have importance. 

 

 

And being wrap-ups means they aren't important? They're there to establish the world in which the game takes place, and I, for one, quite like them. Even if they won't affect IC play very much, they're still good exposition. If removing them won't add anything to the game, then go ahead and keep them.


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#48 Offline Toa Levacius Zehvor

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 07:28 PM

And being wrap-ups means they aren't important? They're there to establish the world in which the game takes place, and I, for one, quite like them. Even if they won't affect IC play very much, they're still good exposition. If removing them won't add anything to the game, then go ahead and keep them.

 

There's no reason to put information that the characters wouldn't have any way of knowing.

 

My point with the timeline is that the stuff here is all about the characters from canon and wrapping up what they did. There's very little, outside of a side reference to the Vorox, that the players could have been part of. Perhaps a Skrall civil war between different named elites that's kept them from gaining power back? Or a bit of information about the culture of the world.

 

To put it simply - any character I create will never have met Lewa, or Helryx, or any of them. They were nowhere near the fortress of the Great Being when the explosion went off. In fact, the whole part about the fortress is ill-placed because I can't imagine Dume or Raanu or any other leader figures wanting the presence of a rogue Great Being to be known.

 

In short, them being there adds nothing which is of interest when designing a character. The backstory is there to create openings for the player, not to handle the situation of other characters.

 

Except Malik isn't an ordinary soldier - he's a high-ranking military official, and well over 60,000 years old. He's fought plenty of Rahkshi in his day. Malik can identify these things if anyone can.

 

Well over 60,000 years old. Of which only 1,000 of those years were spent with Rahkshi as a major adversary, as the BoM were considered to be the good guys. And only during the very end of that 1,000 year span were the Makuta concerned with much of anything other than the Dark Hunters, who were their main enemy.

 

And even if he's fought a lot of Rahkshi, if you're in the middle of a battle, you're not going to analyze the base functions of a Rahkshi. Then, you have the fact some 42 variations are present. When you then consider that Rahkshi aren't easy to make, and thus fairly rare as far as Brotherhood troops go... not very likely.

 

In any case, saying "Type 4" in the middle of a sentence just looks silly. If you're going to place a fanon phrase into the lore of a story, make it look good - "Phase IV" or the like.

 

My points on the timeline are above, though I'll add -

 

- The detail does not wrap up things for the players. It wraps up the things for those particular characters and their situation, which has nothing to do with the players or their characters. It's not necessary.

 

- How did anyone know a secret Great Being made device which randomly appeared was called Marendar, then? If you phrased it as "a strange mechanical creature" or something like that, we (as the players) would know what it was, and it doesn't look out of place.

 

Considering what the virus actually is, that doesn't work. I have a very clear definition of what it is in my mind, and genetic variation does not fit into that.

 

That really, really doesn't work.

 

-Toa Levacius Zehvor :flagusa:


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#49 Offline Canis Lycaon

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 08:44 AM

We have differences about timelines. I think it is a good idea to wrap up some loose ends, and provide closure to the players. You think that only necessary events should be included. I'm not going to change my timeline because I think having one, even if only to wrap up events, helps provide depth and background to the world.

 

As for the Orde team, if I kept it vague, I would be asked, 'What exactly happened?' The reason I included this timeline is because the last time I made an RPG post-mending, I was asked how stuff happened.

 

As for Malik's thousand years: Here is something we tend to forget thanks to the absurdly long lifespans of Bionicle characters - a thousand years is still a really long amount of time. It's more than plenty of time to figure out that Kraata go in steps.

 

Also, the only mentions to Level are now in the Mutants Faction section and the Leader's profile, both of which are written in an OOC tense.

 

As for the virus and mutations, there is an explanation as to why it doesn't work. However, that reason is closely linked to what the virus is, so I can't reveal in a topic. I have sent you a PM detailing what the virus is. 


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#50 Online The Lorax

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 06:37 PM

City of the Lost

 

I'm confused - is this city Mahri Nui or isn't it?


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#51 Offline Mr. House

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Posted Jan 25 2014 - 01:46 PM

Review time, in order.

 

Spirits of The Ice

By The Otter

 

All in all, this is a good RPG. Games set in Frozen lands aren't exactly new, but you've placed your own spin on it. Giving players the reign to do as they wish in a frozen sandbox. You've fleshed out the world enough, given a plausible island caught in a little ice age. The things this RPG needs, to better improve it, are details on the background. What is the island's history? Where is it in the world? Has it been conquered in the past, or eyed by any powers? Though it needs some minor improvements, this is a good and well rounded RPG.

 

Sanctuary

By Toatapio Nuva

 

An alien invasion RPG, something I haven't seen quite this way. Aliens coming to Spherus Magna through Mata Nui's own faults, especially interesting. But I personally think that making the aliens NPCs is a bad idea. Flesh out the aliens, make them playable. Let the players add their own twists and stories to the antagonistic side of the game. Aside from that, I don't have any major issues. Needs improvements, but it can work.

 

The Bubble

By Ehks

 

This is certainly a good concept, pulled off rather well. An isolated little island, sealed off in a bubble and hurled through time in space. Excellent. However, some tensions between the Aku-Nuiians and the foreigners, a kind of cold war over supplies, would do good for the game. Another major settlement or two, perhaps by select species or persons from a single dimenson, would help. Overall, it is one of the more unique games around, and certainly a breath of fresh air.

 

More reviews coming up.


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#52 Online The Otter

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Posted Jan 25 2014 - 02:37 PM

The island's history?

 

Uh, it's farmland. The end.

 

No, seriously. Maybe if it hadn't been turned into an ice cube people would be more interested in trying to take over it than they are. But as things stand, well...

 

It's an ice cube.


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