Wednesday, January 25, 2006

All that Glitters

My friend, James, mailed me his copy of Defiants, the Defiance sourcebook for Brave New World last week.

It arrived today. In perfect condition. The man knows how to care for his books.

Aside from the Guide's Screen, with its 60 page adventure, I now have the entire game. I have no wish to get the Guide's Screen.

Collection complete.

Its really great to have all the books together. At some point I'll sit down and read them all, all the way through. At the moment, though, even just flipping through them the overall setting story makes a LOT more sense.

One of the big problems with BNW was that the metaplot progressed as the books progressed, but the books were ALSO sourcebooks for organizations and places. So if you didn't want the Covenant in your game, and didn't buy the Covenant sourcebook, then you missed out on the metaplot that was in there. If you weren't running a game in Crescent City, and thus didn't buy the Crescent City book, you missed out on the metaplot there.

Now, Forbeck was decent about this. While he only released a little metaplot, and a little actual plot, at a time, he DID make each book, by and large, useful to players. Every book (except Bargainers and Covenant) had 5 (or in the case of the corebook, Ravaged Planet, and Glory Days, 10) power packages, and a good amount of detail on the organization, area, or setting.

Even so, though, mining for the actual plot of the game was infuriating. There were all these conspiracies running behind the scenes, up to and including the quesiton of "where the hell do Deltas come from" (since it was always suggested there WAS something important there), and they were never fully answered. If anything, Covenant and Bargainers just raised MORE questions since you then had to ask where the angels and demons fit into all this.

Still, it was a decent game. Some of the power packages weren't great, but in the end most of the setting came together pretty well.

Ok, except there was one big question that I have:

Why the hell is everyone and their grandmother a Charmer?

A Charmer is a power package that gives you +10 to all perusuasion: charm checks. That amounts, normally, to at least two successes...if you build your starting PC right you're normally walking out of most perusasion rolls with 2-4 successes, on average. This is fine, except...

...half the NPCs are Charmers. And they got their powers in circumstances that don't make any sense. Ronald Reagan was thrown off his horse. Instead of becoming a Tough (and not getting hurt), a Teleporter (and vanishing before he hit the ground), a Goliath (see Tough), a Phaser (and going through the ground), or a Jungler (the horse stops trying to throw him)...he became a Charmer! The same thing with Martin Luthor King Jr. (took an assasin's bullet, came out with the ability to talk people into anything he wanted). And "The Yellow Journalist", a Defiance NPC (got hit by a car, came out being able to talk people into doing whatever he wanted). Forbeck had some really lousy origin stories for people. Not lousy because the situations suck, but lousy becuase the powers they got made ABSOLUTLY no sense. You don't get thrown off a horse and become fucking David Harstein (The Envoy from George RR Martin's Wild Cards novels).

That's my rant. Oh, and funny story: Matt Forbeck says he never read the Wild Cards novels. Who knew. His setting's awful close.

Now...I just need to get a group of players together...


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