Improvised Radio Theatre - With Dice

Improvised Radio Theatre - With Dice! is a podcast by Roger Bell_West and Michael Cule, in which we pontificate on role-playing games.

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A Strong Antinomian Tendency 01 May 2023


This month, Mike and Roger do an end-of-the-season review of one of Roger’s masterpieces and let their inner Grumpy Old Men out to have a rant or two.

We mentioned:

the Occult Secret Service, Liminal, Graydon Saunders' The March North and sequels, The Cthulhu Hack, The Dee Sanction, Ursula Vernon (Nine Goblins), Pathfinder, Thieves' World, GURPS Magic for 4e, Cyberpunk v3, DC Heroes RPG, and BTRC.

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  1. Posted by Phil Masters at 11:05am on 04 May 2023
    1. The wish for a detailed map and trade index thing can sometimes be an argument for using a licensed setting, if other spinoff products happen to be excessively detailed. The latest versions of the Discworld Atlas and the Mappe of Ankh-Morpork are ridiculously beautiful and over-detailed products, and the latter comes with a faked-up Victorian-style trade index that has almost no entertainment value once you get past the brief awe at someone having created the damn thing — but faced with gamers who want to know where to find what in the city, you can hand them the damn thing. Or hit them with it.

      There’s even a guide to the Discworld railway network, godelpus. I should be more sarcastic about it, except that I’ve had at least two convention demo scenarios inspired by it. I’d guess that Middle Earth games enjoy similar benefits.

    2. The idea of log scale stats predates the DC Heroes game by some years, having originated (I think) with STRength in Champions and hence in the derived Hero System. Hero’s resolution mechanics are much less unified than DCH’s, but when I saw the DCH system, I assumed that was the inspiration. Itks something of a necessity in superhero settings, where characters tend to have insane levels of lifting ability and suchlike. A similar approach crops up with the culture-hero-level characters of Everway.
  2. Posted by RogerBW at 12:27pm on 04 May 2023

    Knowing what every shop in town is does make it harder to drop in a new one for plot purposes (at best it's "a new shop" not "the one that's been there for ages that you never noticed before").

    Of course sometimes one gets players who've internalised the published background better than one has oneself. My solution to this is "get those players working on my side".

    The earliest explicitly log scale game system I've found is Jeff Dee's Villains and Vigilantes from 1982 - I think Champions just used it for Strength rather than for everything, though I didn't really come in till late 2nd / early 3rd edition. I dug out some other examples a couple of years ago.

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