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Loonies of Metru Nui: An Account of a Real Life Bionicle RPG

Asherano Nuva

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I'm writing up this story, both here and on TTV partly as an amusing anecdote, and partly as...erm...a cry for help? I suppose I could stick this in General Discussion instead, seeing as it's less a typical BZPower comedy, and more like one of those RPG stories you might occasionally dig up from 4chan. But at its core, it is indeed a fan fiction of Bionicle. It just has writers contributing aside from myself, that's all.

Okay, so here's how it is: Every week, me and a bunch of old friends from uni meet up over Discord and have ourselves a Dungeons and Dragons session. Eventually, the head GM feels it's time to give himself a rest, maybe let someone else run a session while he turns off his brain, and yours truly decides to step up to the plate. I decided that I'd have a go at running a game in the world of my childhood obsession, and not only that, but I'd use the canon storyline, from the prequels onwards, as the campaign itself! I'm a fan of comics like Darths and Droids and stories of real life RPGs going off the rails, so I my intention was to take a bunch of unruly DnD players- with varying knowledge of Bionicle itself -drop them off at the start of the canon story and see what direction they would take it in.
With that in mind, I set out to choose a system. In the end, I went with the Doronai Nui ruleset by Red Star Gaming, as it was the most complete and thought-through system I could find. Works well enough, given its DnD base, though I have to say there were some points I struggled with the clearly beta-version rules and some fight mechanics that seem to have been changed for the sake of change. But I'm not here to give a review of an RPG system, I'm here to talk about the story I laid out, and the three numpties who became its central cast.
I thought I was prepared.
I was sorely mistaken.
Session One: So Far, So Good
My story opened much like the actual Legends of Metru Nui, with Toa Lhikan visiting the chosen matoran one by one and gifting them their Toa Stones. Except in this new reality, we got a very different crop of matoran. First off, there was Makihu, an Akaku-wearing Le-Matoran. Makihu's player was the last to arrive and sign up, and of all the players, he knew next to nothing about Bionicle going in. Still, with the setting explained, he signed up as a spy-class matoran currently wandering around, looking for work. Suddenly, Lhikan appears to offer him a job, probably the most important job of his life, then jets off on his hoverboard as quick as he appeared. Makihu watches him go, and mutters to himself "I will never be as cool as him."
Next, we cut over to Daxiehl, a Miru-wearing Po-Matoran and techno-tourist. His player was the usual GM, and he'd been a fan of Bionicle in the past, though he dropped out around 2004, so no worries about spoilers for him. He also decided to give his character the most hilariously awful Brooklyn/Boston accent that Makihu's player would swear sounded a lot like Bob Fossil off the Mighty Boosh. Anyways, we find him at a Ta-Metru shop, purchasing a suspiciously cheap Mask Maker Drone. As he exits, Lhikan approaches him and offers something of decidedly greater value. Once more, Lhikan gives him a stone, hops onto his board and flies away. Daxiehl watches him go and remarks "What an eccentric performance."
Finally, we have Tarahna, a Hau-wearing Ta-Matoran blacksmith, currently hard at work in his forge. His player is much more familiar with Bionicle than the rest. Maybe not as deep in the fandom as a hyper-fan like me, but he'd certainly seen all the movies, and a lot of his dialogue mimicked phrases from the Bionicle 2, albeit not half as wimpy and angsty as Vakama was. Anyways, Lhikan drops by with the Toa Stone, then of course the Dark Hunters catch up with him, and we actually get to see Tarahna realise that Nidhiki was once on Lhikan's team. When the fight starts happening, Tarahna objects to the intrusion on his forge and chucks a couple hammers at Nidhiki (again, not half so wimpy as the official Ta-Matoran) but apart from that, the scene ends up playing out pretty much exactly as it did in the film, right down to Tarahna getting struck by a vision. (I figured with how much his player knew about the storyline, I could excuse any accidental future references as remnants of future visions.)
As Turaga Dume broadcasts the sad news of Lhikan's disappearance across the city, Tarahna retrieves his Toa Stone from his wrecked forge, currently being searched by Vahki. He and the other two head over to the Temple, where we meet our main three NPCs. They got rolled up almost at random from the different character roles and remaining Mata masks, but since a couple of the results lined up with the appearances of canon characters, I decided to give them their names and dub them reimaginings. First off is Kai, Kakama-wearing Ga-Matoran, who in this new AU is an art teacher with a sensitive spiritual nature. Then there's Midak, Pakari-wearing Onu-Matoran, an archivist with dreams of leaving the dark of the archives and becoming...an investment banker. Finally, there's Bogaku, the sole original character, a Kaukau-wearing Ko-Matoran and former career criminal who just got released on parole.
As they first meet, their stones light up, as do the lights on the suva. After some dawdling and a bit of prompting required, they all insert their stones and get zapped into Toa. They're still assessing the situation when right on cue, Tarahna gets his vision to find the Great Disks (I make up a few ways the Toa are connected with the Metru-Matoran. Kai basically takes Nokama's place in this story). Bogaku acts skeptical, until Daxiehl points out that someone having a prophetic vision is the least weird thing to happen to them today. So they all decide to follow Tarahna's lead, read up on the mural giving clues to the disk's locations, and then gather up their weapons and equipment to set off. Daxiehl's equipment includes a Firework Revolver and a grappling hook. This will be important later.
Together, the team heads over to Vhisola's house, have a brief chat with the neighbour, then bust in to search for clues. All present are suitably creeped out by Yandere Vhisola's shrine inside, and offer their condolences to Kai. They're met with the puzzle inside taken directly from the Toa Nokama CD-Rom. It takes some prompting for Makihu to figure out the obvious solution, at which point he almost doesn't want to do it just to be awkward. (I've promised them puzzles that respect their intelligence a little more later down the line.) The party has just discovered the safe full of clues when they overhear the neighbour alerting the Vahki outside. One "Oh crud, it's the fuzz!" later, and the party needs to take action.
It's at this point that someone or other has the idea of prying the safe right out of the wall and taking it with them while the entire party makes a dash for it. Yakety Sax is put on for the background music as the entire party blunders its way through the squadron of Vahki outside. In amidst the confusion, Midak gets brainwashed by the Vahki and restrains Bogaku, while Daxiehl tries and fails to use the Firework Revolver to launch the grappling hook up a building. Nevertheless, by the time we wrap up the session, four out of the six characters have made their escape, with Kai and Tarahna separately diving into the canal, and Makihu and Daxeihl rushing off carrying a safe between the two of them.
I'll end the post here for now, with the team getting slightly but not irreparably off the rails, to see what anyone else thinks of this story. If there's an interest, I'll drop by again to tell you about the second session we had together, and also give that cry for help I mentioned at the start of this post. Because let me tell you...the real chaos is yet to come.
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Long time lurker, and occasional member, of BZPower. Lost the keys to my old account, so here I am today.

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Session Two: The Farce Awakens


A few weeks pass, and then the Bionicle RP resumes Makihu and Daxiehl are resting up in some distant alleyway, contemplating where to go next. Incidentally, by this point, Makihu's player has decided to one-up Daxiehl's player in the outrageous accent department, and from this point on voices Makihu as if he were a gangster straight out of Compton. Make what you will of that. Anyway, Tarahna and Kai soon emerge from the canal and meet up with the other two, and from there must decide where they're going to go next. There's still a chance of finding Vhisola at the school but the team is two down and the Vahki are still on the lookout for them. This is when Tarahna, of all people, reaches a decision that changes the course of the RP forever. He reasons that they're never going to get any work done with the vahki hunting them, so to get them off their back, they need to have a chat with Turaga Dume himself. I bite down on the welling fear inside me as the team angles in a direction I had absolutely no plan for.


Tarahna's player: "Oh, sorry. We can just forget about that decision if it's easier."


Makihu's player: "No no no no! He needs to learn."


Indeed I do. So, while Makihu and Daxiehl head off to continue looking for Vhisola, turning down the offer of a guide from the frigging resident of the Metru, Tarahna and Kai head off to introduce themselves to the Turaga. Thanks to a low roll or two, they take an uneventful journey and chute ride over to the centre of town. The vahki at the door are resistant at first, but a quick order comes down the wireless, and the two Toa are welcomed through the reception area and up the elevator right to Dume's office. Dume welcomes them in cordially, and pretends to listen to what they have to say. By and by, he reveals he knows about this new Toa team showing up right after Lhikan disappeared- with Tarahna openly claiming to be the last person to see him -and their first public feat of breaking into a matoran's house, stealing their safe and scuffling with the Vahki. You know what's coming next: he accuses his two guests of being traitors responsible for Toa Lhikan's demise. The elevator door pops open and the two Toa are set upon by Nuurakh. One pitifully short scuffle later, and both Toa are hit with the Staff of Command. Through his bewitched haze, Tarahna hears Dume muttering, "Pity, I expected better... Follow the Vahki to your new cell."


Meantime, the terrible twosome of Makihu and Daxiehl amble their way through the schoolhouse corridors, doing their best not to attract too much attention. Reaching Kai's classroom, they decide it's the safest place to deposit their newly-acquired safe. Just by chance, they find Vhisola's desk, and inside find a mysterious encrypted note. They decide to flag down a passing teacher who, after a bit of time, manages to decipher it: "Beware. Kai and the rest of the newly-made Toa serve the Morbuzakh. They must not find the Great Disks. Meet me at the protodermis falls with your disk and I will keep it safe." As you can imagine, reading this message aloud made the teacher significantly more nervous in front of these Toa she just met. Daxiehl tries to assure her that they just got dropped into this Toa role and have no idea who they're supposed to be serving. The teacher is not quite reassured, and leaves rather hurriedly. After this, you might think the terrible two decided to look for Vhisola elsewhere, maybe at the labs like originally planned. Nope. Daxiehl decides to cut that Gordian knot right off, and has the idea to pry the safe open with a crowbar. Inside, the only somewhat damaged contents reveal the Great Temple to be near the first Great Disk.


Leaving the schoolhouse, the two encounter Midak, wracked with guilt over getting brain-boggled into helping the Vahki capture Bogaku. The trio catch up and discuss what they know, which isn't much, then it's off to the Great Temple. Before they can get there, however, a Ga-Matoran runs up to them calling for help, as Vhisola was chased by a one-eyed brute up to the top of a building, and now is holding on the edge for dear life! The trio reach the scene of the emergency and assess the situation. Quite by chance (literally, considering the dice) Daxiehl knows that the nearby canal feeds into a fountain that could spit him right onto the building top. Off he dives into the canal, swimming for the right water intake point, and missing by a mile. He tries to his old Firework Revolver and grappling hook combo again- mind you, underwater! I gave him a VERY charitable roll limit for that, and he of course fails.


While he's doing that, Makihu decides to take the stairs, and both he and Midak hike their way up.


Back with Daxiehl, he finally manages to get through the water intake point, gets funnelled into the branching pipes, and winds up flowing down the wrong way.


By the time Makihu and Midak reach the top, Vhisola is pretty much about to fall to her death. Midak dives after her, and ends up teetering as well. Then Makihu tries to help as well, also gets pulled over, and now you've got three hapless numbskulls plummeting to a solid demise. Thankfully, some well executing elemental shielding is executed, breaking their fall, but not without a few bruises. Slowly, the onlooking matoran start to clap at this (ahem) daring rescue, and Makihu basks in the undeserved glory.


Meanwhile, Daxiehl finally goes up the spout of the fountain, sticks the landing, and finds absolutely no one else there. Still, while he's up there, he decides to have a look around, see if maybe he can spot the Dark Hunter who caused this particular mess. Over in the distance, there's a flash of white. Daxhiehl pursues the flicker, leaping from rooftop to rooftop.


On the ground floor, Vhisola is a tad ungrateful for being rescued. She was expecting Kai to be the one rescuing her, you see. Not that she WANTED Kai to save her, baka! But anyway, Makihu and Midak manage to get her to spill the beans on getting a message from someone called Tehutti that lead her into a trap. Before she can say anything about the Great Disk's location, however, the big screens across the city display an announcement from Turaga Dume. He tells the city about the rogue Toa imposters on the loose, breaking into people's homes and stealing their equipment (I mean to say 'stealing their safe' but apparently I just said equipment). Two of the imposters, he said, are now in custody, but as for the rest, their days are numbered.


Vhisola stares at the two incredulously, and a sheepish explanation is mumbled about breaking into her house to look for her. "You stole my safe?!" she cries.


"No one said nothin' about stealing a safe," counters Makihu.


"Turaga Dume said it, on the screen just now!"


"Nooo, he never said anything about a safe."

"What? I thought-"


"He just said equipment was stolen, nothing 'bout no safe."


"...Oh...I guess I misheard- wait a minute, you stole my equipment?!"


"...Uhhhh..." Makihu makes a break for it.


"You're all freaks!" cries Vhisola before rushing off, with Midak plaintively pursuing her.


Meanwhile, Daxiehl reaches the spot where he saw the strange sight. He sees nothing there for a moment, but just before he gets grabbed from behind, he senses his assailant, flips them over and pins them to the ground. Turns out, it's only Bogaku, having given his Vahki captors the slip. The two teammates catch up, and discuss the sticky situation that Dume's announcement lands them in. Daxiehl feels the team has only two options: try and search the city for where Tarahna and Kai are now imprisoned, or go up to Dume with their hands up, hoping they'll get imprisoned in the same place. "No dice," says Bogaku. "I've in prison before. I just got out of prison when I got roped into all this. I'm not going back again." It's a real dilemma, but Daxiehl feels their best bet is to find their captured comrades, Great Disks or no Great Disks.


Will our heroes succeed? Will evil prevail? Will I get the plot back into some semblance of cohesion?


...Well, I was kind of hoping to get some help with that. Any ideas? Any suggestions for how to unjumble things and get some resolution that DOESN'T involve the city getting crushed by Morbuzakh? My next session should be tomorrow, so I'll let you know how I get on then. In the meantime, if anyone has any thoughts, feel free to drop them by in the thread.

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Long time lurker, and occasional member, of BZPower. Lost the keys to my old account, so here I am today.

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Dax-EE-ell, I think. And yes, that is pretty ironic. I suppose I could've let one of them remain captured so it would be an even split, but I had a fixed plan in my head and- ah well, maybe next time.


Anyways, my particular session's been pushed to next week, so we shall wait until then to see what nonsense might yet be brewed.

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Long time lurker, and occasional member, of BZPower. Lost the keys to my old account, so here I am today.

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  • 4 weeks later...

...Well, I was kind of hoping to get some help with that. Any ideas? Any suggestions for how to unjumble things and get some resolution that DOESN'T involve the city getting crushed by Morbuzakh? My next session should be tomorrow, so I'll let you know how I get on then. In the meantime, if anyone has any thoughts, feel free to drop them by in the thread.


Quite the conundrum. Let's see...


Seems to me that if you want to get the situation back on track, you need either to free the two imprisoned Toa or to give the remaining four a reason to stop searching for their teammates and get back to searching for Matoran and Great Disks.

In the first scenario, the obvious question is: will Tarahna and Kai end up in the same cell as Lhikan or not? Better not, probably, so as not to complicate things (and why would Makuta risk putting them in the same cell as him, anyway?); in any case, the two Toa, unlike Onewa, Whenua and Nuju in LoMN, can use elemental powers (though they're not very experienced with them), so it shouldn't be too hard for them to escape. Once they've escaped, of course, things will evolve a bit differently than in LoMN. Knowing about Dume's treachery beforehand, the Toa might debate whether to keep fighting the Morbuzakh or to challenge Dume immediately (you need to be prepared for that...). And they (hopefully) won't get themselves captured so easily a second time, meaning that they might not meet and free Lhikan at all.

If, instead, you prefer to let them remain captive, then you might engineer a Morbuzakh attack or something like that to remind Daxiehl and Makihu of their priorities.

A third scenario, where the four Toa break the other two out of jail, seems virtually impossible: in LoMN, Vakama, Matau and Nokama find the other three only because Vakama has a vision... and Tarahna, Vakama's equivalent, is in jail now.


I also have another question: to you intend to stick to canon all the way through? Because in that case, we need to start considering what will happen if your alternate Toa Metru do fail (at least partially).

  • They might lose Vhisola... but that doesn't matter very much, since they've already learned that the Ga-Metru disk is at the Great Temple and the clue (Go beyond the depths of any Toa before...) is pretty easy to decipher (though of course, if Kai doesn't free herself it will be far harder for them to swim down).
  • They might not get to the other five Matoran in time. In that case, following the canon storyline, Ehrye will die in the collapse of a Knowledge Tower, Tehutti will be killed by a Rahkshi and Orkahm and Nuhrii will be carried off or killed by the Morbuzakh... while Ahkmou remains free to scheme and plot. Now, if we look at the clues for the Great Disks, we see that, without the Matoran, the Toa Metru might solve the Po-Metru clue (shouldn't be too hard to find 'a mountain in balance') and possibly the Ta-Metru clue (if Tarahna joins them he should guess immediately that the 'root of fire' is a fire pit... wouldn't know which one, but he might get lucky...). The other 3 clues are indecipherable, I'd say: in Onu-Metru and Ko-Metru, it was only thanks to Tehutti and Ehrye that they learned which part of the Metru to search, and in Le-Metru Orkahm was needed to explain that the Disk was in a force sphere. Of course, the 6 Matoran must have got the information from somewhere, but I don't think the Toa Metru can afford to search for the original source.
  • They might not find the Great Disks. In that case, either they find another way to beat the Morbuzakh or they don't. That's where it gets interesting. Makuta created the Morbuzakh only to herd the Matoran of Metru Nui away from the outskirts and towards the city centre, where, presumably, they would have been easier to control and trap. But the Morbuzakh had other ideas and decided to claim Metru Nui for its own. In the canon storyline, the Toa Metru defeated it before it could do so, but if they failed... would the Morbuzakh carry out its plan? And how would Makuta react at that point? Many new, unexplored scenarios would then open up.

However, two events would occur regardless (probably...):

  • The Archives would flood, since the opening of the leaks in the maintenance tunnels is probably unrelated to every other event.
  • The Great Cataclysm would still occur. Let us not forget that Teridax's attack on Mata Nui has already occurred, meaning that the Great Spirit robot is now irreparably damaged and heading towards a shutdown and a crash on Aqua Magna. This means that, if Teridax's plans are delayed or halted, either by the Morbuzakh or by the Toa, then the Matoran might still be out in the city when the earthquake strikes. Doesn't bode well for them in that case...

I'll stop here. I'd say that you have two alternatives: you can either try to get the storyline back onto its original tracks, or you can let one of the scenarios I've illustrated here (or another scenario that I haven't thought of) play out and see what happens then. In any case the outcome will be interesting to watch. 


EDIT: I just noticed that the last post you wrote was on October 27. It's been almost a month now. Is this game still ongoing? Is this advice still useful to you?

Edited by Toa of Italy
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This is shaping up to be very entertaining so far; I like it, and I'm interested to see where it will go if you continue ^^ RPG shenanigans are always fun to read, and I enjoy your writing style here too.


I feel like the only possible outcome is for this to be very off the rails compared to canon... but that's also what makes it so amusing xD


"New legends awake, but old lessons must be remembered.
For that is the way
of the BIONICLE."

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[Logs onto Bzpower]


[sees topmost entry]


[Does imaginary spit-take]


Well, holy moses! Did not expect to see such a flood of attention all at once. Now, to answer a couple questions,




I just noticed that the last post you wrote was on October 27. It's been almost a month now. Is this game still ongoing? Is this advice still useful to you?


Haven't actually done a third session as yet. The regular GM and Makihu's player have been doing their own games in the intervening weeks. As such, yes, this advice is still useful to me, and with all these new readers I may well HAVE to rope the others back into playing!




Hi! I'm Petrus, one of the main developers on the tabletop system you're using. I just found out that you were hosting a game, and I'm glad to hear that everyone's having fun! Now, I do know that the purpose of this wasn't to review the system, but I'm keen to hear about your thoughts. 


Ah. Well, I might have to get back to you on that, once we've had another session and the pros and cons of the system are clearer in my mind. The main thing I remember is that while the system is straightforward for the most part, the combat system is a little murky and features some changes that maybe weren't needed. Like I say, I'll make a proper criticism in greater depth once we've had another play through. Thank you all the same for creating the bedrock for this series!




Is the ultimate goal to cover 05 material? If you made it that far, I can't imagine the hilarity that'd ensue by making them Turaga and putting them in charge of a village.


Oh, lord knows. Still, I'll be interested to see where in the world this all goes from here. Could well end up with Metru Nui and everyone in it just going boom, and there goes the rest of any story.


Anyways! Thank you all for your time, your kind words and suggestions. I'll be sure to badger the Daxiehl's player into giving me a new game slot very very soon!

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Long time lurker, and occasional member, of BZPower. Lost the keys to my old account, so here I am today.

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This is why you never use rpgs as remake machines. Presumably the rest of the team is locked in the Canyon of Unending Whispers, which means that they just need to follow Lhikan's Spirit Star, right? That means they would meet Lhikan early, which means they can get to the real goal of rescuing the Matoran.

"You humans are absurd, Rook. Furious when you're not in control, terrified when you are. Pull it together."

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Ah. Well, I might have to get back to you on that, once we've had another session and the pros and cons of the system are clearer in my mind. The main thing I remember is that while the system is straightforward for the most part, the combat system is a little murky and features some changes that maybe weren't needed. Like I say, I'll make a proper criticism in greater depth once we've had another play through. Thank you all the same for creating the bedrock for this series!


You're most certainly welcome! Any critique you have would be greatly appreciated, as we're wrapping up the revision process for the next big update.

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  • 3 weeks later...

All right, gentlemen. Haven't been able to put on another session of the game, I'm afraid, and the way the current schedule of RPs is set up, I probably won't have the chance for another fortnight or so in the least. But the least I could do is check back in to keep you guys in the know, and to Bionicleboy32 at long last.


I've looked over the game books to try and jog my memory on what I personally liked and disliked about the system. My biggest concern, I feel, is definitely the combat system, or at least the way that it's described in the manual. You guys go into depth about the new action points system, but you skim over the part about figuring out degrees of success. It took me a good long while to find the little paragraph about Nat 20s, and I have not been able to find any prior mention of rolling a d20 for success in the first place! While playing the game, I had to fall back on previous experience of playing DnD based games. It's possible that you guys were operating under the assumption that GMs and Players had played DnD games before, or that you got so excited about the new additions you forgot to cover the old framework. Whatever the case, a little more clarity there would be greatly appreciated.


Aside from that, only a couple of minor points. Firstly, I notice you put in an XP reward for the King Root, but given that players will probably be fighting vines or seed pods all over the city, some XP layouts for those encounters wouldn't go amiss. Secondly, you guys were probably planning this already, but could you implement a wider range of PC races as soon as you can? It could really help out my campaign to give players the option of picking Matoran. Thirdly, I don't suppose you could include at least a mention or guideline about non-combat experience points? I'm used to playing in games where the GM awards points for Roleplaying, and I've had a heck of a time trying to figure out suitable boundaries for such a thing.


Finally- and this is the most optional point of all -the made up words. You guys probably have your own system for assigning new words in the matoran language, but for your consideration... There's a Tumblr blog run by a user called Outofgloom, and he's created a fully functional conlang derived from the words used in canon. It's pretty flipping amazing, I've been implementing a few of his words in my own campaign, and I fully recommend anyone interested to check him out.

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Long time lurker, and occasional member, of BZPower. Lost the keys to my old account, so here I am today.

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Thank you for the critique! I've brought it to our team so we can make sure these issues are dealt with before our full game release. I figured this might help, though:


Our first draft did rely on GM's with more prior knowledge about similar tabletops, yes. We'll be patching that up in the first full version, so that anyone can hop in. 

Secondly, we can take a look at the King Root and other similar creatures. Additionally, we are planning a ton of playable races for the full release and future expansions, not limited to all Matoran/Turaga/Toa elements, Skakdi, Vortixx, etc.


Finally, it's funny you mention OutofGloom, because that's actually our major reference for our naming conventions! ^^

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