Catstacker

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  1. (It has no True Death) Since Wraith's Open d6 Resurrection truly revived interest in making Open d6 a reality, I'm calling all the Torg devotees out of lurker mode to do the same for Torg 2. Both of you! If we want Torg to live, we'll have to reassemble the parts of the old corpse and hit it with lightning. On this thread, let's discuss changes to the Torg/MB system with an aim of taking the rough edges off your house rules and making them fun and easy for everyone. We won't discuss the background/meta/cosms for Torg, since these are subject to personal tastes and pop up in new threads periodically anyway. I'll post some topics headings here in this starter, and I'll edit it to update the forerunning issues as (if) the discussion progresses. So that my opinion doesn't carry a greater weight than anyone else's, I'm giving all tie-breaking votes and the voice of reason to the guru, Kansas Jim. Try to break up your posts into topics so that the discussion can wander and yet stay coherent all in one thread. Attributes and Skills Character Creation Axioms Magic/Miracles/Powers/Psionics/Martial Arts Reality d20 vs d6 Damage The Drama Deck Rules/Information that was missing in the R&E (anything else) And since the most fruitful Torg 2 discussion happened way back in the day, when men were men and their blood ran hot, I think that this discussion should be willing to be impolite if necessary. I'm saying we should indulge in personal attacks or break the rules of conduct, but I think that the best creation comes from passion, and the best system can survive all criticism.
  2. The difference I see between Spirit and Reality is a passive vs. active split how the other attributes are often arranged. Spirit is an innate quality, best exemplified by the faithful believers who say "I don't know why it is, but I believe in it." Even animals can have Spirit, and it's associated skills like Intimidation. Reality is the reflective mind trying to measure that belief, and finding reassurance when previously observed axioms of the world hold true. Not everyone pauses to consider why the world is the way that it is, but it helps when mundane reality takes a left turn into calamity, like when another reality invades. Here's a way of showing the adjusted attributes arranged into passive and active columns. (Passive - Active - Axiom) Agility - Dexterity - Tech Physique - Charisma - Social Perception - Mind - Magic Spirit - Reality - Spirit Though sometimes I wish that the Spirit attribute had a different name, to help distinguish it from the axiom.
  3. I also like the idea of splitting the DEX skills between Dexterity and Agility, and also Hellsreach's idea of lumping STR and TOU into a single attribute called Physique. It spreads the skills around, and encourages players to make buff melee characters when the game favours building up your fire combat skill instead. And I think that Reality should become an attribute instead of a skill, and then various reality abilities and group powers could be developed as skills under that attribute. New stormers would have to learn how to make storms, reconnect, tap eShards, make talismans, find stelae, etc, and that enhances roleplaying the unique world of Torg. Also it would make the players who want to develop their reality powers more balanced against the players who would rather develop their characters along other lines, or even characters that are Ords.
  4. The Land Below's Law of Wonders allows buildings that exceed the Tech axiom. The sourcebook says that it's because of the Nile's engineering skill, which isn't tied to a World Law, but then neither is the Weird Science skill which allows up to Tech 33 devices in the Nile Empire. Orrorsh's occult can operate at a higher Magic axiom, and its sourcebook mentions as an aside that this has something to do with the Power of Corruption. And like Skel said, Tharkold's Law of Ferocity limited non-violent social interaction to Social axiom 12. The World Laws weren't written with a lot of consistency or balance in mind. They seem to be just jury-rigged rules to describe the feel of the cosms, and so if you should feel free to write whatever World Laws you like if they can acheive that. Having the Magic axiom go up at night sounds interesting: it reminds me of the rules in Aysle where different kinds of spells get bonuses depending on what constellations are ascendent. How about if the Spirit axiom also goes up and down with the phases of the moon?
  5. This is a contradiction: as soon as you add super-powers to our world, it would be changed immediately. It wouldn't be "normal" anymore. Even if the super-powers came to light only yesterday, by today the economy would be in turmoil and antagonistic nations would be mobilizing preemptively. The only way to resolve a mundane cosm that also has super-powers is to make them necessarily secret and rare. If we can go the alternate history route, here's an idea: Take the Weird War concept, that super-powers were developed during WW2, and then suppose the only way the war would ever end (and not use the nuclear option) was to ban development of super-powers. Of course, governments would secretly work on them anyway like they do with biological weapons, but to the public the war is over and life goes back to normal. Super-powers are illegal and feared by the general populace because they could upset the balance of the world and topple it into an apocalyptic WW3. The game balance for super-powered characters is that their powers always have obvious side-effects; there's no way for them to use them discreetly. Add modern forensics and a specially-equipped government agency that hunts down extranormals, and the player characters would have very good reasons to seek solutions without using their powers, and to go the costumed hero trope that is popular in the comics. I prefer a simplistic method to add superheroes to Torg; don't define the super-powered cosm at all, and have the super-characters be sent to help Core Earth in a similar way that Dr. Hachi Mara-Two was sent (one-way.) Those characters would be powered through a World Law, so the only way they can use their powers is by spending a possibility on a realilty bubble. They'd never be in their own cosms, so wouldn't ever have home-reality advantage, would always be at risk of disconnection, and would burn their possibilities faster than characters chosen from more mundane realities. Torg was meant to be balanced that way, and it needs a sensitive GM to make it work.
  6. That effect already applies. On page 118 of Torg R&E, under Approved Actions: "An attack is considered successful if it hits, even if it does not cause any damage." And 0 result points also cause 1 point of shock damage on the Combat Results Table. I think that's about as much as a glancing blow deserves, since Torg is a cinematic game, and usually in movies characters shrug off glancing blows (sometimes dozens of them in h2h combat) without any later consequences.
  7. Thanks for telling us, Eric. I know that it must be a hard decision for you to let Torg go after all the plans you had for it. If it makes the separation any easier, maybe you can develop material for the new owners when you've got the time. I liked most of the ideas that you had for Torg 2, and I'm anxious wondering what the new publishers will do with it. I hope they pay you big bucks for the property.
  8. P-rated characters should be superhuman compared to Ords, but I think that the different columns on the Combat Results Table makes Ords too easy to kill. Grunts were supposed to be eliminated by the handful, but there are some dramatic-scene monsters that turn out to be too soft because of one fanastic set of rolls, and no possibilities to save them. I disagree that buying off damage makes PCs too tough, because P-rated villains can do it too. You can also have them counter the players' wound-reducing possibilities with their own, though I find that this makes the players hate you. Or you can send them against an Orrorshan horror, who can mark them for death. The players have nothing to fear but the Power of Fear itself. Another way to keep the players from buying off all their damage is to hit them with a lot of low-damage results. They don't usually want to waste a possibilitiy to eliminate only a K2 result, and so they just take the damage, and eventually that shock damage adds up to a comfortable unconsciousness. A lot of GMs don't like the K/O damage tracking, because it adds another thing to keep track of, but it does make avoiding a knockout harder. I'd like to see a Combat Results chart that includes even more effects that just stun and wounds. I've never found knockdowns to be a big deal, and some weapons wouldn't produce a knockdown result realisticly, like a flamethrower. But that flamethrower would realistically set the person hit on fire, and I don't know if Torg includes a mechanism for critical effects like this.
  9. Kansas Jim brings up a good question, to which I don't have a good answer. The intent of this thread is to explore and debate any ideas to improve the Torg system with the aim of making it fresh and better. I assume that anyone that thinks that Torg is already perfect is playing the game instead of looking for alternatives here, but if they want to participate by arguing against any changes suggested, they're welcome. I don't think that Torg is perfect, which is why I started this thread. Personally, I prefer the Torg system over d6, because it's faster to roll one die instead of a handful of dice and then counting. The bonus chart is pretty easy to know once you get used to it, and pretty easy to estimate if you aren't. Also, it offers a scale of possible outcomes regardless of the base power level which offers a more heroic feel, while with d6 rolls become more likely as your power level increases, which is more realistic. But I remember running Star Wars where a gun bunny could eliminate a squad of Stormtroopers in one round before the other players could do anything, and that's not fun.
  10. Here I go... In another thread recently, Skeloric summed up a lot of the old ideas for Torg 2, in which he was wrong that there had been a consensus that having a Psychic axiom was a good idea. I've never seen the need or usefulness of having a fifth axiom, because I've always found keeping track of four axioms among all the characters and across mixed realities to take all my attention already. Most of the published cosms don't have any expression of Psychic powers, so they would just be wasting space and ink by adding another axiom to their descriptions. It'd be like how half the cosms have effectively the same Social axiom, and so it's effectively ignored. I'm halfway to recommending the axe for the Social axiom, but I think that's necessary for making players really RP the cosm they're in, and it's unique to Torg. The Social axiom needs more definition. I can't say the same for Psionics, which are really just magic without the spell components, chanting, or finger-wiggling (which few players bother with anyway.) And backlash does mental damage; it's all there. If you want to have a psychic character, specialize in a few skills and AKs and make up some "psionic" spells. The only need for having separate Psionics rules, other than for more rules to fill out the Space Gods Sourcebook, is to give superpowers to Core Earthers. That's a weakness of Core Earth, not a justification for multiplying the axiom set by 25%.
  11. Rabbitball has rebuilt all the spells published for Torg in an attempt to fix some of the mistakes in Pixaud's. I think he's been holding onto the results in hopes of official recognition, but if you PM him he might be willing to share his work with you.
  12. Skel, there's been a lot of discussioin going on, it's just been about d6 instead of Torg. And that could be a good thing, because Open d6 might be the vehicle for an updated and balanced set of rules to present Torg 2 with. I'm not a big fan of the d6 system myself and so I haven't been a part of that discussion, but at least its moving forward and is available online. So I'm confident that there will be a Torg d6 section in Open d6 that will offer rules for crossing realities and disconnecting, etc. You should contribute to that if you want something to hold your interest for a while. As for hoping for a shiny printed Torg, with balanced rules and updated cosms and set in the 21st century, I think that hope was lost on a boat from China. Hellsreach is already swamped with other commitments, and now that Open d6 has grown too big for him to sit on, he's going to guard Torg all the more. If I remember correctly, the whole reason he bought WEG was so that he could publish his own version of Torg 2. He might finish it for his grandchildren to play. In the meanwhile, there are Torg GMs out there who have all made their own houserules and alternate realities, so there's already Torg 2s out there. We're babysitting it, and if we're quiet, it's because the baby is sleeping.
  13. It's interesting so far. The law of the survival of the fittest makes ords harder to kill, which is an advantage to unliving constructs which can't be p-rated. I'm not sure of whether the law of man's fate will work, but it does balance the advantage of the first law. The law of the hunter and the hunted is interesting, but it's missing a definition of who those are. How about: "Once per adventure, each character may designate one target as their hunted. For the rest of the game, the hunter gains +3 to Test and Intimidation attempts against the hunted, while the hunted gains +3 to Stealth and Taunt attempts." I changed the Perception check to Taunt, because a PER boost made it better to be the hunted than the hunter. Or is that what you want?
  14. There have been other polls asking folks what their favourite cosm is, but I want to know which cosm people think is the most boring. Vote for the reality that most needs an extreme makeover, or at least a new sourcebook. I didn't include Terra/ The Nile Empire in the list because it routinely wins as the most favourite cosm, and I didn't include the cosms that weren't given sourcebooks, and so might have been interesting if they had a chance.
  15. I've always thought of this premise as one of Torg's great virtues: For new players I don't have to explain the expansive metastory behind Torg, I just ask them what they kind of character they want to play, and then I work from there. Just about any character idea can work in one of Torg's realities, so every player gets to have their uber-character and play it too. It isn't necessary to have balance between the characters unless they're fighting one another, and that isn't what Torg is about. Torg is cinematic, and so there will always be one character that takes the spotlight while the other characters are out of focus. The challenge for GMs is to give opportunities for each player to have their moments to shine, while keeping the story interesting for everyone. If one player thinks that he can dominate the game by having the biggest gun, then it's time to have a mystery to solve, a chase to run, or actual roleplaying:eek:. An argument about whether a ninja or a technodemon was the more powerful character would be moot if both were trapped in an ancient temple's pit trap, that neither of them could escape because they had spent all their adds on combat skills. Let them be resuced by a girl who can decipher the clues because she has the Scholar(archaeology) skill.
  16. Congratulations, Whill! I'm glad your boy is big and healthy.
  17. The game begins with all of the players choosing where on Earth they will send their first maelstrom bridge, bidding higher than their competitors if there is a conflict over where they'd like to begin. Since possibility energy is drained from the human population of Earth, High Lords should choose somewhere near major Earth cities. However, they should be cautious about picking the places with the highest population density, since these are the most likely to be able to reject the invading reality, create Hardpoints and Stormers, and have the armed forces of the Earth fight to reclaim them. Starting the invasion near populated areas and sending invaders to soften up the cities before enfolding them inside the Stelae boundaries might be a more prudent strategy.
  18. Considering how potent stormers were in this game, leaving them alone was a good strategy if you didn't want to send your lieutenant and all your available armies to capture them. On the other hand, they were so potent that they were more useful than half a dozen armies. I've never liked the statement about Transcendence on page 101 of the original rulebook: Firstly, as if the invaded cosms weren't screwed enough (this one fell in 8 weeks,) the Everlaws of reality have been somehow manipulated so that emerging Storm Knights are outnumbered 9 to 1 by quislings. I'd love to ask Greg Gordon what he intended when he wrote that paragraph, because it reads to me like an idea that seemed important at the time, but then was never developed. The only reason I can think of why a designer would want there to be more villains, would be so that the heroes would have an endless supply of evildoers to slay and thus feel important. But who needs a rule to have that in their game? Secondly, this is the only place that I can find in the rulebook where the stormers are supposed to declare for good or evil. Sure that's a requirement in the Nile Empire, but that's a World Law, and so that statement above presumes that there is another unspoken World Law for all other invading realities that also divides the populace (at least the p-rated ones,) into good or evil. The rulebook neglects to describe just what Good and Evil are supposed to be like, though the Social axiom section might have been a good place to discuss it. I like my character's motivations to include shades of grey, and the descriptions on the character templates also include various reasons for defying the High Lords. I can imagine lots of reasons why a person would want to resist an alien invader, and why that same person would be afraid to risk what he's got left after he's already lost so much. A totally selfish person (my definition of evil) would still want to defy the invaders, because having just transcended to a new level of power and awareness of his reality, he wouldn't want that reality to be consumed by aliens. Would Nietzsche say that the transcendent were "beyond good and evil"? Regardless, this game could be considered to follow the 90% rule, because all the Storm Knights in the game started as such, they didn't emerge in the wake of the storms, and so they didn't transcend "according to patterns determined by the High Lords." Two Storm Knights went over to the High Lords' side, and seven stormers from the invading realities crossed over to Earth to help them fight in week 4. So no transcendence took place. I can imagine a way to determine emerging stormers and eternity shards for the next game, and a way for the High Lords to search for them in a way that the time and manpower invested in the search would igradually ncrease the chances of them finding one in general, rather than having to find the ones the GM has placed specifically. But I'd think that only 10% of the newly transcendent would be Good or Evil, while the rest of them would be typically self-interested like the rest of us.
  19. Strangely, it worked out pretty well because none of the High Lords were usually unsuccessful. Most objectives were acheived, and when they weren't, they just had to try again next week. It was very interesting how 9 out of 10 orders would work perfectly, and then that tenth order being set back would cause concern in response. It's probably the best success of this playtest to realize how important the feedback system is in this game. The invasions were shaped in response to the challenges that they met, and since those were mostly random, the challenges were pretty fairly distributed among the players. The special ops units weren't useless, they just weren't as immediately successful as the armies. When the special ops were sent to convert the population, it took 2-4 weeks to create a Mixed zone, so it would have been more economic to send an army instead. However, the slowly converted zones didn't encounter nearly as much resistance as the forcefully taken ones, so it could have worked out differently. Sending the special ops to weaken armies did work, but they had to be sent beforehand, and again it was probably more cost effective to just send extra armies. In the next version of this game, the armies will cost more and so the special ops will seem like a better deal. Sending the special ops to look for stormers and eternity shards didn't work out very well because those ops guys aren't P-rated, and so don't do very well outside their reality. Only one High Lord found an eternity shard, and that was when he had a Core Earth stormer looking for it for him. Otherwise the special ops were outclassed by their competition. When Stormchild sent a special ops unit, Tristan, to find the stormer that he had soulstained, it worked very well at first. Tristan befriended Soren Reingolt and helped him get out of Berlin, and Reingolt led Tristan to the eternity shard in Rome in turn. Unfortunately, there were four other Storm Knights in Rome when they got there, one of whom was an Ayslish enchantress with enough skill to see what Tristan was up to, and she laid a charm on him. Then The Plague sent his backup special ops, that had been trailing Tristan, to kill the enchantress and she ended up killing Tristan who was defending her instead. It took me twenty flips of cards that week to figure out what order everything was happening in, with the arrival of Ravagons and the invasion of Rome, but it all worked pretty well overall. Which is to say that it was interesting but it didn't have any greater effect on the game. The soulstains didn't work out very often because there weren't very many Storm Knights out there, and since the game didn't progress very far they were usually in Core Earth. I made the stormers and eternity shards rare like lieutenants because I didn't want to keep track of hundreds of them, and I wanted them to be effective when they were there. Their rarity made them almost invisible, and the High Lords were too busy with their invasion plans to notice them, which is how it should be. The High Lords should underestimate the abilities of the Storm Knights, because that's just about all that Earth has going for it. There was one point where the Gaunt Man heard about a stormer called Archie Makepeace playing music to inspire the people in Jamaica, and he sent two special ops units to capture him. Another Storm Knight arrived in time to rescue Archie, and they killed one of the special ops units. They escaped in a sailboat, but the Gaunt Man kept his agents watching them while they were in his realm. They were allowed to escape as long as they didn't cause trouble in Orrorsh, and so were able to leave with another stormer from Haiti, and an eternity shard. They landed in Florida in week 8, and would have been interfering with the Gaunt Man's invasion plans there. That's how it goes. Or, early in the game Mobius was able to read my clues about the painting that Joshua Keith was looking at, and insightfully deduced that I was referring to a Van Gogh. But he thoght it was a self-portrait by Van Gogh, and so sent his lieutenant to Chicago to look for it. Keith did go to Chicago, but after a week Mobius got impatient and recalled his lieutenant and substituted a special ops unit to search for the eternity shard. So Keith went on to New York, and then Rome, and then La Rochelle where he uprooted a Living Land stelae. Up until now Dyschunky has probably thought that he was on the wrong track by having that unit in Chicago (they were arrested in week 7 for grand theft,) but the truth is more frustrating in a way. He was so close, but then, he won regardless.
  20. Now that the game is over, I can reveal the things that I kept secret during play. Because this was the first time that I've tried this game, the numbers weren't playtested and weren't balanced. Now we know that the unit prices were definitely undervalued. I wanted the High Lords to play their realities instead the numbers. Over the years I've been roleplaying, I get less interested in the numbers because they interfere with the freedom of imagination. The mechanics are needed to provide a framework and to keep things fair, but if they're given too much weight they take emphasis away from the story and can discourage new players. If I had revealed the mechanics at the beginning, the High Lords' strategies would have been different, and probably more similar, which is the last thing I wanted from this game. I want this game to be able to demonstrate the different ways that a reality can be invaded, a twisting path with uncertain gains and a dubious reward. Sounds like fun, eh? I tried to use as much of the original Torg rules and background as I could, so to resolve actions I used the Dramatic Skill Resolution line on the Drama Deck. Each week got seven card flips, meaning that it took an average of two weeks to complete a given action. Having more than one unit attempt the action helped the success, especially when there was someone trying to prevent that action, but it didn't really matter if the cards weren't coming up favourably. There were times that it seemed like Setback and Complication turned up four times in a row, and then there was no way to get all the way to D in a week. If there are High Lords who feel cheated because they would have planned differently if they'd known this, I want to assure them that it worked out even worse for the forces of Core Earth, even though I knew how the mechanics worked! Here's an example of a battle, which was the most common action taken by all but one of the High Lords. A High Lord orders one army over the storm front to flip a zone, and there's a nervous Core Earth army on the other side waiting for them. For the High Lord, an A will get them over the border, a B will activate the stelae and flip the zone to Mixed reality (making their difficulty numbers lower,) a C will have them deal some pain to their opposition, and a D will flip the zone to Dominant. For the Core Earth forces, an A let them see where the invaders were coming across the border, a B let them establish their defenses (making their difficulty numbers lower,) a C had them dealing pain to the invaders, and a D meant that they had destroyed them. It might seem artificial, but at least it's balanced and it worked pretty well, shown by the number of stelae zones that were established in 8 weeks. Other actions, such as searching for something, ran similarly, though step B wasn't making the difficulty numbers easier, and the special ops weren't particularly skilled at anything. Step A would send them in the right direction, B would give them a clue, C would identify what they were looking for, and D would let them get it. Their opposition, if any, would know that somethings amiss on an A, would gain clues on a B, would know who it is on a C, and would apprehend them on a D. Most special ops orders didn't work out, sometimes when they were sent after something that wasn't there, and often when they weren't given enough time to complete their objectives. For example, sending a special ops unit to weaken the Core Earth forces in the same week that the invaders were sent over the border usually didn't have an effect, but when the Living Land had an ongoing campaign to weaken the French army, it effectively kept them from capitalizing on the Storm Knights' removing a key stelae. It also helped that they had a lieutenant working with them, while the other High Lords usually had their lieutenants enhancing their armies. At first I'd wanted to make the difficulty numbers for units operating outside their reality equal to the reconnection number on that table in the Torg rulebook, but those were too hard for Living Land and too easy for Nile Empire, so instead I went for straight difficulty numbers that I didn't have to reference: step A (8) step B (9) step C (10) step D (11). Everyone's skills were an 8, so I really just had to track bonus numbers. It was pretty easy, and adding a lieutenant was almost a guarantee of their success. But there was still those capricious cards, which I likened to the flux of reality overhead. And I rarely had to think of what a Setback or Complication meant, since losing one chance out of seven to complete the objective was a setback enough. But that's what made things go so badly for the Earthlings. A High Lord only really had to achieve step B to make the zone Mixed and even the odds, while the Core Earth forces had to get to step D to eliminate them. And when the High Lords started to send more than one army into a zone, the Earthers couldn't eliminate them all in a week (except in Rome, where there were 3 Storm Knights with 2 Eternity Shards.) Eventually the invaders would get to step D, it never took longer than 4 weeks, and Core Earth was doomed to lose a war of attrition.
  21. I thought that the most boring cosm would be the one that most needs an extreme makeover, leading to a new sourcebook. But if you have different answers for those three distinctions, do tell us what they are! If I were to split up the three, I'd vote: Most Boring: I voted for the Star Sphere, because it isn't even described in its own sourcebook, only a half-dozen aliens are shown out of the thousands that are supposed to exist there, and they're ruled by psychic bureaucrats. They have the power to do anything they want, so the metagame featured them doing nothing. I was writing better sci-fi when I was seven. Needs An Extreme Makeover: Star Sphere, but I'd also vote for the Cyberpapacy, which I don't find boring at all, but I don't think that I run it properly since I'm not Catholic and so have trouble faking the ritualism. An updated Cyberpapacy is needed to reconcile how we now use networks, as opposed to how they thought they'd work twenty years ago. And their tech should be so much more sophisticated, like how they could use it to keep the peasants in their place, and how the disenfranchised could use it to secretly operate under the noses of the church authorities. I also think an improved Cyberpapacy would be better at conquering the hearts and minds of the populace than they were credited for, which would make their invasion style different. Needs A New Sourcebook: I think that they all need new sourcebooks after all this time. But if I had to vote for one, apart from the two cosms above, I'd vote for Living Land based on the art alone. Hire a professional, and include pictures to go with all the creatures described, which there should be more of. Many more miracles too, please, and a way to reconcile the high Spiritual axiom with different people's experiences and feelings about Lanala, and how her influence would be felt in realms with lower Spirit. People would like the Living Land better if only it was presented better.
  22. @Slayer Dragonwing: I liked what you wrote about the Faceless Empire! Your style was very Space Opera, and you did a good job of portraying an omnipotent emperor of the galaxy. The reality allowed you space to improvise all kinds of strange biotech, and I think you should expand on that with some pseudo-scientific explanations. I also would have liked to read more about what the invaders look like; they were shapeshifters and that's cool, but that needs some juxtaposition, where the reader is given glimpses of what this evil species is really like, something ichorous and inhuman that would drive you insane thinking that anyone around you might be one of Them. If you've seen the 80s miniseries V, imagine what they could have done with CGI, and you'll know what I mean. I still remember how I felt when she ate that guinea pig.
  23. I think that there's weaker cosms than Aysle, and so I started a poll to see which cosm people think is the most boring. Maybe that'll pick which cosm is the next target for the High Lords. Regarding Aysle, I think that it just suffers from being too much like D&D, just as sword&sorcery fantasy suffers too much from being like Middle Earth. Anything that makes Aysle unique makes it more interesting to me. Don't get me wrong: I love Tolkien and I used to have a lot of fun playing D&D. I think that they're so popular because they offer a lot of opportunities to let one's imagination wander, and so I'm disappointed when someone copies them (again) and doesn't wander very far from the cliches.
  24. I'd want the stelae to create Mixed zones so that the invaders tools would work for them without any extra cost in P-energy. Mixing realities is what Torg is all about. There should also be hardpoints where the invaders can assert Dominant reality, so that players have to conform to alien rules sometimes. I also think that under this system, the invaders would be increasingly interested in gaining Eternity Shards, because they could just take them and go before they're discovered. The games would be more of a treasure hunt, which is a good thing to structure the games around anyway. Players like treasure. The gate system also negates the realistic problem of how the Storm Knights get around from realm to realm with all their stuff, untroubled by righteously paranoid border guards. The gate just gets them there; cut to next scene. Oh, and I'd stop calling it stargate, because that's a trademark, and the gates don't have anything to do with stars. How about gateways, places where the cosms are close to one another?
  25. I haven't fully digested your rules suggestions yet. Here's a few unstructured reflections: I think that units could be separated into 7 or 8 different categories (or even more.) I'd split the land/sea/air classic division into surface land & subterranean, surface sea & submarine, air & orbital transportation. I'd also have a category for single-man operations, that would be able to blend in with common natives and use their transportation, like the stormers and lieutenants do. And it might also be appropriate for there to be a category for Astral travellers from high Magic or Spirit or Psionic realms that can avoid conventional travel and detection. If this game had gone on long enough, the Storm Knights would have learned in the Land Below how to travel through the Dreamtime to move quickly around Earth. But there's a larger story that I had regarding the relationship between Core Earth and the Dreamtime and the Land Below and pocket dimensions within it, that I had barely hinted at in the Core Earth thread. I used the Dreamtime and the casual psychic warnings from the Earth-spirit that appeared in the original novel trilogy, as my way of reconciling my GM omniscience with the actions of the Storm Knights. It led them towards Eternity Shards and I used the Herald power pretty loosely to bring many of them together for a meeting in Rome. However, I moved the SKs before doing any of the High Lords orders, so I could still be surprised, like by the invasion of Rome right as the meeting was getting underway, for example. The map needs to have population right on it, since the biggest use of my time (after waiting for Google Maps to process the placemarks and sorting those placemarks,) was doing online research to figure out what the population was in each zone. Preset stelae triangles would put all that work into the game's pre-production, but I still think that it would restrict an interesting part of the game, scouting and searching locations around the world. If there was a program that let you draw a triangle on the Earth and it would calculate the population within automatically, that would be great. Barring that, I think that the GM for the next game (I want to play next time, instead,) should begin by making a map of the cosm to be invaded, and cover it with dots of various colours to represent local population densities. These could be counted (the simplicity depending on the resolution of the dots,) to determine the population within any created zone. The population, and also it's relative density, could also determine other data randomly, such as the presence of stormers and eternity shards, military bases, hardpoints, and the willingness of the military powers to try to reclaim those zones after they've been invaded. Stormchild, if you want to try making the next version of this game with your own rules and map, feel free to take the ball and run with it. I think that it would benefit from much more preparation than I put into this game, particulary in the creation of a map that has its population built into it. I think that if the map existed as an image rather than as a program, then it could be transmitted to each High Lord, who could make the changes right on the jpg and send it back to the High Lord, who would then read all the movements simultaneously with layers. I don't think that would confound either computer or GM, providing the game includes a certain graphic simplicity. And if the next version must begin with the production of a new map, I recommend that it not be about the invasion of Core Earth but a different cosm completely. It would be easier to make a map of a ficticious world than the present polyglot world we're stuck on, and then the player responsible for that world would have more fun making it up from week to week. Terra is a likely target now that the Torg Mobius is off in the void communing with the Nameless One. It was never invaded, and since it's based on postwar Earth, research shouldn't be hard. There is a lower population, thus slower expansion; a lower Tech without the hazards of satellite surveillance, internet communication, and H-bombs; and the pulp reality would allow it's handler unrestricted creativity when designing defenders. Really any ambitious High Lord would love to get a piece of Terra, and the GM could even impose an undefined time limit to the game, when the Torg returns to claim his own. Alternatively, an invasion of Aysle would be interesting because the fantasy genre is codified yet free-form, so players understand what they're in for without the GM having to write everything down beforehand. Invading a magic reality would be just about the opposite of the Earth invasion, making a unique challenge for high-Tech realities. And since there are two sides to Aysle, the dualistic light vs dark character of that reality could be highlighted by giving it two defending High Lords. Drakacanus was found in another reality, and then the Gaunt Man helped Uthorion invade Aysle for his home reality. But there could be a native Darkness Device to Aysle, that could be discovered and used to try and kick Drakacanus out. Extending Stormchild's backstory, The Plague acquired Drakacanus and created impostors to lead the light and dark armies that were supposedly in conflict but advanced The Plague's goals. A second High Lord could be a supposedly evil creature (a giant perhaps,) that is brutal and uncouth, but advances a supposedly good goal, such as the elimination of the reality invaders/ aliens. The two would be invading each other while maintaining their own side of the planet, with a GM to referee between them. Then add invaders from other cosms.