The Gaming Den Forum Index The Gaming Den
Welcome to the Gaming Den.
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Google
 Search WWW   Search tgdmb.com 
[OSSR]World of Darkness: Mummies
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Gaming Den Forum Index -> In My Humble Opinion...
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 10972

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:47 pm    Post subject: [OSSR]World of Darkness: Mummies Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OSSR: A World of Darkness: Mummy
A Halloween Spooktacular


Yes.


Also yes.


That too.


No. That's not even a White Wolf product.


That would be better, but now you're just fucking with me.

Musical accompaniment: Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian

AncientH:

Dracula is the most successful of the Universal monsters. The Wolf Man is second, because werewolf movies got a real shot in the arm in the 80s with the improved special effects available. A surprising third, however, isn't Frankenstein's monster...it's the Mummy. Yes, yet another form of the undead, which hearkens back to the Egyptology craze of the 1920s, the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb, ancient curses, the rise of Hermetic magic (which is based on a mix of Egyptian, Greek, and Jewish magical practices), and after many decades, Anne Rice's novel Ramses the Damned.


(A lot of early VtM art focused on quasi-Egyptian symbols, particularly the Ankh, which only tended to confuse matters more...but they were in good company for that.)

So it should come as no surprise that by the time that Vampire was a genuine hit, they tossed around for another concept - and settled, after a bit, on Mummy. No, the surprise is that they kept at it, revisiting the concept again and again, often without markable improvement but with substantial increases in page count. So, this being Hallowe'en month, we're going to look at three of the World of Darkness Mummy books.

FrankT:

White Wolf's three Mummy versions were moving towards a singularity in page count if nothing else. The original World of Darkness: Mummy (or perhaps “A World of Darkness: Mummy” or just “Mummy,” depending on whether you go by the interior text, the title page, or the cover respectively) came out in 1992 at 82 pages. The “second edition” of “Mummy” (where “Mummy” is the title rather than subtitle even on the cover page) came out in 1997 at 141 pages. And “Mummy: the Resurrection” came out in 2001 at a hefty 227 pages. That's about 12 pages of bloat per year for the first five, and about 21 pages of bloat per year for the next four. If White Wolf had bothered to make a Mummy book for New World of Darkness, it would have been one of those 300+ page monstrosities like Geist. So just as well that never happened.

AncientH:

They did actually touch on mummies in that ridiculous Immortals shovelware book, but the less said about that the better.

The thing about Mummy is that except for the last one, none of them were really intended to be standalone in any shape or fashion - they were clearly supplements designed to tack on to your Vampire chronicle (and later, to tack on to any WoD game). Part of the reason for this is a lack of general concept - if you look at most of the fiction involving mummies, they're not sexy walking corpses, they're hideous walking corpses that often come back in their decayed bodies for revenge, or to retrieve a reincarnated lost love, or recover some treasure from their tomb or something before returning to their sleep of centuries. They don't often shuffle about in groups, or do much else - they probably have the least interaction with even the other Universal monsters. Hell, when Marvel tried to use the concept in the 70s, they had to come up with an origin story involving alchemy, racism, and a fucking meteorite.


Seriously, it was almost Blackula.

And remember, White Wolf hasn't quite perfected its formula yet, so the idea of competing lineages and political shenanigans and whatnot hasn't gelled yet either. So in figuring out how to work Mummies into a Vampire/WoD concept, they're starting off from a very unfamiliar and unstable foundation - basically, a vague ancient Egyptian background and the need to be mummified and come back in some format that can interact with the mortal world.

FrankT:

All of the Mummy books feel really incomplete. Some of this is just that they were demonstrably made by the B or even C team (the title page of the first Mummy even mentions that the main team is off working on the upcoming Werewolf: the Apocalypse while this book is being produced), but a lot of this has to do with Jet Li.


Don't worry, Emperor Chin is just as confused by that point as you.

It has always been the official stance of White Wolf that there in fact are Asian Mummies, and Aztec Mummies, and Bog Mummies, and whatever else you got. But in none of these books do they especially get the kind of focus they deserve. You'd think that in adding 145 pages from the first edition to the third (and using a smaller font!) that they could get in a bit about Viking Bog Mummies and Incan Cave Mummies and shit, and maybe even some good old fashioned pre-historical Glacier Mummies to be Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. And you'd be wrong. Even by 3rd edition, Incan Mummies and Taoist Mummies just show up with a little blurb about how inscrutable they are and a short list of alternate spells in the “Other Immortals” appendix. I have to give Mummy: the Resurrected some props for a decently researched and respectful paragraph about the languages of the Incan Empire and the Aymarra Kingdoms, but they frit all that goodwill away by having basically no meat at all.




In addition to no Aztec Mummies, these books also don't cover Robots. One wonders what these 450 combined pages actually do cover.

So basically with the book almost tripling in size from the first edition to the third, we still don't really get much past “also there are non-Egyptian mummies, and you might want to work something out your own damn self for that.”

AncientH:

So, Mummy First Edition was White Wolf not knowing what it was doing. That's fine, actually. Even traditional. Lots of games, when they're first finding their feet, will put out some really strange and different supplements until they hit on a working formula. This awkward adolescence phase of game development can last a really long time - like the entire length of AD&D - and some games just never grow out of it, like Rifts.

But at some point somebody tends to notice what sticks when thrown at the wall, and this fossilized poo then enters the consolidation stage. So where Mummy 1.0 was a weird beta thrust on an unsuspecting world and probably piked up by completionists and fans that didn't know better, Mummy 2nd Edition was a revisit to the concept but bringing with it a more complete idea of what the World of Darkness was and what the mummies place should be within it - which was nuts, because of course none of the WoD games were actually designed from scratch to interact, and had very different development teams and goals and didn't play nice with each other, so the result looks like the mad scribblings of a psychotic but is actually the careful effort of sane people following insane directions.

The third go at Mummy was a reboot. It was, in ways, a necessary reboot; after the last Mummy book, which had tied it in to the Wraith cosmology, Wraith got axed and the Sixth Great Maelstrom ripped through the Underworld; what's more, they were revising Vampire for the third edition and cutting a lot of the chaff, which included the no-longer-thematically-appropriate Children of Osiris. The result was a thematic and metaphysical and mechanical reboot which...uh...pissed off all the old fans, because their characters basically died, and went into weird Demon: the Fallen territory with the metaphysics, and the mechanics have never really had a chance to improve between editions, as instead of updates they just scrub them out and start over again.

FrankT:

From a staffing standpoint, the first Mummy has a single writer (Stephan Wieck) and a single editor (Robert Hatch). There are also thirteen people listed with special thanks, but they are all thanked for “in jokes” rather than real things so there's no way to tell what if anything they did to help out the project. Except the editor, who of course was one of the designers of Werewolf: the Apocalypse and is thanked for taking time off from that project to polish this turd edit the book. Mummy: 2nd Edition has two writers, a developer and an editor – so the primary staff is basically doubled. It also has only ten people to deliver incomprehensible joking special thanks to (but which still includes Robert Hatch, now acting as the developer and apparently “not killer” of one of the authors).

Mummy: the Resurrected isn't so much a book as a continuation of an institution. It credits fourteen people with “initial concept and design” (including the authors of the first two Mummy versions, one of whom is miscredited as Stewart Wieck – who I believe to be Stephan Wieck's brother), and seven “authors,” plus two more people on “additional writing.” Four of the authors and additional writers are also credited with initial concept and design, and the three authors of previous books are apparently just in there because they copy pastaed some shit from the old books, but that's still sixteen fucking people working on this project.

What's surprising is that even though the original Mummy was basically an auteur's work, the third version was a clusterfuck of people talking and writing past one another, and the 2nd edition was just a small work team, that the works aren't that different. Yes, as more cooks got involved the word count increased tremendously (almost proportionately), but they remained incoherent in pretty much the same ways. You might think that the thing produced by just two people working in concert might stay truer to “the vision” of the work while the thing produced by a committee that needs four fucking cars to carpool might stay truer to “the design specs” or something. But I'm pretty sure you'd be wrong. I certainly can't detect any such tendencies in any of the three works. They all kind of read like a word salad of untested and unsourced game mechanics and world elements.

AncientH:

Which is basically what they are. Because let's be honest, even in the third edition it's not particularly clear that the Mummy concept has a lot of legs to it - which is part of the reason mummy RPGs are so sparse on the group in general, while you can play a vampire in just about any game that allows magic and a few that do not. The Mummy games in the WoD stable also received relatively little support outside their books - First edition nominally had the greatest impact, because they actually included mummies in Vampire products and bane mummies as villains in Werewolf products here and there; both games had Egyptian-flavored elements (Setites, Silent Striders), so there was a kind of localized hekapunk thing you could go for there, silly as it looks twenty years later. Later games which emphasize the Modern Nights...not so much; the mummies are just one more kind of supernatural, like the Risen, which kind of get lost in the shuffle.



Introductions


I wish. Really. I totally wish we were just doing Boris Karloff mummy material.

AncientH:

The covers of the mummy books are, let us be generous, not great. You're not going to be drawn in by sloppy Egyptian symbolism and piss-poor renderings of mummies; the 3D render sand on the Resurrection just sort of emphasizes the lack-of-give-a-damn that went into the first impact of these books. So it sort of becomes really necessary for the introductions to sell us on the contents if we were on the fence about buying it.

Fortunately, in the first edition the art improves quickly. This was back when WW had people like Janet Aulisio and Josh Timbrook in their stable and they could churn out some really nice and thematically appropriate black-and-white art, like the naked woman in bandages with a necklace of scarabs on page three. Early WW design principles are also clearly on display here, because there's a lot of solid black pages. Second Edition is probably cleaner from a page layout standpoint, but the line-art is almost...too clean, the early photoshop stuff looks like ass, especially in black-and-white. Resurrection just looks like it was assembled in Adobe and the art is that bizarre Vampire: Third Edition pseudo-blurry-photo style that looks like the art director was jacking overexposing Ben Templesmith drawings and then printing them out grayscale. Ugh.


Today you could just fill up a book like this with high-quality photos of actual corpses.

FrankT:

Page numbering at the beginning of White Wolf Books is always sketchy, and these books are no exception. If anything, it was worse in the old days. The first page of real text in Mummy: The Resurrection is labeled “Page 4,” and same with Mummy: 2nd Edition. But the first page of text in the original Mummy (or perhaps “A World of Darkness: Mummy”) was labeled “Page 7.” This is sort of maybe because there are some extra black pages at the beginning of the original Mummy (like with Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand that came out two years later, this was probably intended to screw with copyright infringers by making their printers use up a lot of ink). But mostly I believe that it is because back in 1992, typesetting and paste-up weren't things White Wolf was super great at doing, and they probably had some extra pre-introductory text that was either cut or never completed.

In any case, once we get passed these page numbering shenanigans for the introduction, we're going to mostly be on a 1 page for 1 page basis. The introduction stories run half a page in the first book, 10 in the second, and 14 in the third. And when all that's done, we'll be a total of 38 pages through these 450 pages of books because White Wolf math.

AncientH:

Mummy first edition was done back in the simpler days, when not every book had an introduction. Seriously, you just bought a book for Vampire with the title Mummy. What the fuck do you think it's going to be about? What more needs to be said? Anything between the cover and the actual contents is just filler.

FrankT:

The introduction of the original Mummy is almost entirely just a full page picture of a Mummy looking all badass. That's honestly all you need as far as an introduction to a Mummy game, honestly. They show a Mummy, the end. There's a half page of text about how Mummies are really old and this book isn't an actual game so much as a supplement to be played with either Vampire: the Masquerade or Werewolf: the Apocalypse (and the fact that those games didn't use exactly the same system probably wasn't known at that time to the author, because Werewolf the Apocalypse wasn't out yet); but fundamentally all you really need or get is just a badass drawing of a Mummy.

We get the big hulking Mummy, which is defensible but wouldn't have been my first choice. It's like the Abbot and Costello meet the Mummy mummy rather than the Boris Karloff mummy. Also a good mummy, but not my first choice.

AncientH:

It's a Janet Auslio mummy, so I'll forgive it. I love her artwork.

A little more background rumination for a moment: in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, the progenitor of all vampires is the Queen of the Damned, an ancient Egyptian medium who became a vampire after she was raped by the Pharaoh and a spirit came along to drink her blood...look, it's not a great story.



But the problem is, White Wolf is and always has been run by pandering Christians that made Caine, son of Adam, the first vampire, and pretty much all of White Wolf's mythology is based around the Bible being fairly accurate on lots of shit. This has always represented a bit of a quandary when it comes to appropriating other religions...well, not it hasn't, it's just that White Wolf has typically been pretty offensive about how they go about doing that, and these three books are no exception! So while they really like the Egyptian iconography that they appropriate for Vampire and whatnot, the core VtM/W:tA/etc. mythos isn't really about Egypt in any kind of sense - they connect to it when and if they feel like it, often in a blazingly silly way.

In first edition Mummy, this isn't really notable because they were pretty focused on the whole "Mummies are resurrected ancient Egyptians that were mummied angle, because magic." Mummy 2.0 had to deal with more of the Expanded Universe, which is why it seems much more schizophrenic. Resurrected...we'll get to that, but put it this way: Frank might need several large drinks when we get to talking about Christians, Muslims, and the Web of Faith.


In WoD, this actually happened.

FrankT:

The second edition's introduction actually starts with a three page in-character rant that is entirely in italics. Long blocs of italicized text are unreadable and I am not going to read this one. I got far enough to realize that it was talking about Ankh-es-en-Amun. That's a slightly creative spelling of the main love interest character in both the Karloff and Fraser Mummy movies, so that's legit. Kind of blatant for a movie rip, but I'll allow it.

What follows the in-character rant is a proper introduction where it claims that this book has happened because the World of Darkness has had its underworld and souls and shit hammered down since the first edition happened (what with Wraith and shit happening) and they wanted to make a new edition to make it all play nicely together. That's... I don't know man. The idea that any edition of World of Darkness has ever had a system of magic and the underworld that could even generously be described as “developed” and “codified” is so out to lunch that I can't really engage with it.

This introduction doesn't really call it out per se, but this is still not a complete game. You're supposed to run it with the entire rest of the World of Darkness. Which since we're talking about a series of games that didn't even have the same mechanics for kicking a dude, let alone have vaguely compatible metaphysics, was a lot of hubris. Evidently the authors of Mummy: 2nd Edition just sort of didn't notice that the mechanics in Vamprie and Mage and Wraith weren't the same, and so blithely telling people that the book was to be used with “all of them” really meant that the book wasn't compatible with any of them. The entirety of Mummy: 2nd Edition is written according to what a couple of bros on the C-team thought the consensus house rules of different table top World of Darkness games were in 1997. And they don't tell you what they thought those were, so much of this book is incomprehensible – and it wasn't any better at the time.

Basically, Mummy 2nd Edition is like a New World of Darkness book, except that every time it cites the World of Darkness Core Book, that is a book that doesn't fucking exist except in the minds of the authors.

The intro ends with a bibliography in which they rant about how Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy is the worst Mummy film. It's not. It's actually like the 2nd best Mummy film (although if you accept the Brendan Fraser films as part of the series, it might be the 3rd best). While nowhere near the brilliance of Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, it's nonetheless a movie you should watch. The Mummy's Curse is not.

AncientH:

Mummy 1st Edition has some intro fiction too, but it's pretty much ripped straight from Anne Rice - with the bombshell drop that there are only 43 mummies in the world. That's right, you could theoretically have more mummies at a LARP than actually were supposed to exist during 1st edition. Gotta love White Wolf.

Re: the Underworld thing - I think that somewhere between first and second edition somebody did mean to sit down and write a setting bible for how the Underworld worked in WoD games; the only reason I know that didn't happen is because it hasn't been leaked yet. But the broad outlines were laid down fairly early - the afterlife is another dimension, starting off with a coadjacent sort of astral plane and then moving on into increasingly bizarre afterlives; Hell is an endless lightless abyss at the center of it all, and if there is a heaven, you can't fucking get to it. Souls == wraiths for basically every purpose worth discussing, vampires are technically walking corpses but it got complicated, critters like fairies and the Changing Breeds which reincarnate largely give the Underworld a pass. The mechanics of Necromancy have gone back and forth a bit, but tended to get refined every generation...

...which brings us to Egyptian magic and mythology again. I'll go into this more later, but the folks at White Wolf have an allergy to admitting any sort of actual "god" except the Tetragrammaton actually exists; most "gods" tend to be jumped-up vampires or lying spirits or something. Egyptian deities are...more or less the same thing, but slightly more ambiguous (except in the case of Set, who is, as mentioned a 3rd generation vampire). So individuals like Thoth and Anubis exist and are supposed to have connections to this-or-that group in different game lines, but they aren't mentioned much, aren't given any stats, and references to them tend to be contradictory.

FrankT:

Mummy: the Resurrection looks like a late period World of Darkness book. Right down to having a page of completely illegible text at the start of each chapter. It's not all in Da Vinci Forward Regular, some of it is supposed to look like Romanesque stone carving or something. Anyway, fuck it. We won't spend too much time harping on these pages of illegibility, save to remind people that this abysmal practice was entrenched in this fucking company way back in 2001.

The Mummy: the Resurrection introduction has a lot more stuff in it than the others do. It's more pages and presented in a denser font. They use up some of that extra space with overly florid ninggobble (“For millennia, the Nile Valley has cast its irresistible spell over the youngest of the world's children” it totally actually says that), but most of it is just covering a lot more ground. We get a piece where it tries to define way too many fucking special terms, a place where it defines its own bit of multi-planar cosmology (of unclear compatibility with other World of Darkness cosmologies), a bit where it rants about why you should care about Egypt and Jesus (yes, really), and of course a piece where it rants at you about movies you should watch and how to get information from Egypt's tourism board.

The bibliography is literally copy-pasta from Mummy: 2nd Edition, lambasting the pretty decent Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy with literally exactly the same sentence. Except that they change the listed year of release from 1955 (which the older book lists correctly) to 1945. So they changed the wrong review in the only way it would be possible to make it more wrong. Also they suggest learning about Egyptian themes by watching the Heston version of The Ten Commandments, which is advice so insane that maybe I should just leave it as-is. If you do that, you deserve what you get. They also admit that Ramses the Damned is a porn fantasy about Cleopatra, but they tell you to read it anyway because it has a “World of Darkness feel.” I just... I don't even know.

There's this giant tirade about the “Web of Faith” which is a thing that the “three great monotheistic religions” created that connects holy sites throughout the Middle East. This is a personal bugbear of mine, but Judaism is not one of the three great anythings. The third “greatest” monotheistic religion in the world is Sikhism. Then there's Juche, and Judaism comes in fifth unless you count some of the weirder offshoots of Christianity or Hinduism as separate or monotheistic respectively, in which case it gets pushed farther down the list. There are marginally more Mormons or Spiritists than Jews, for example. But what really blows my fucking mind is how tone deaf this entire section is. If I sit down to play a game where we play ancient Egyptian priests of Horus, I am virtually positive that about the last thing on my list of things to do that day is to sit around having interfaith discussions about the deeper truths that connect Christianity and Islam. Because seriously, what the fuck is this shit?! This is the same “Jesus told me that Pagans are wrong” bullshit that Justin Achilli went on to shit all over nWoD, so I assume it's him pissing all over the product with his god bothering bullshit here as well (he is listed as one of the contributors). But it's historical fact that all this Web of Faith nonsense went over with the WoD fans about as well as aresolized herpes. Why didn't anyone stop him from patterning nWoD on this book?

That's the bottom line strangest thing to me about Mummy: the Resurrection. It looks exactly like a late period nWoD book. It was not a great selling book. The Mummy line was a commercial failure all three times, and yet when it came time to revamp the entire line they decided to pattern it off of... this? Why did they decide to make all their books just like this book that didn't sell that well? Seriously... why?

AncientH:

The pre-opening indecipherable fiction to Mummy: the Resurrection is basically the connecting bit between Mummy 2nd edition and M:tR. In between those books, the Wraith gameline had ended, and the Sixth Great Maelstrom - think of it as a planet-wide spiritual hurricane - had kicked off. One of the Dark Kingdoms was the city of Amenti, corresponding (sort of) with the ancient Egyptian afterlife, and was ruled over by Osiris. When the Maelstrom hit, Osiris got off his ass to shield the city...and immediately started losing.

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


So, Osiris decided to liquidate his holdings - more or less - and invest the spirits of his followers into mortal bodies. So Mummies and the Children of Osiris underwent ritual suicide, and floated about in the aether a bit, and bonded with mortal souls - just like, say, Demon the Fallen, or Hunter the Vigil, or what-have-you.

The Web of Faith...ugh...is a latter-day creation of White Wolf, intended primarily to assert the superiority of the Judeo-Christian-Islam axis of related faiths in the region; part of it goes into some weird Mage territory, so I don't know if this was the first official mention or not. It's one of those weird things where related religious traditions don't mind sharing bits of mythology with each other, even as they're certain that the others are wrong, but maybe less wrong than those pagan faiths.

Now, you could argue maybe White Wolf was going to do something clever with this - after all, the connections between Judaism, Christianity, the monotheistic sun-worship of Akhenaten, Egyptian ceremonial magic, etc. have fueled a lot of heresies and conspiracy theories - but in the end it looks like a more convenient "oh, it's the Middle East, it's all the same thing" approach. So when Osiris decided to re-embody his Mummy servants in living bodies, bonded to new souls, he did so through the Web of Faith. Even though that makes no sense. Even in the context of the Web of Faith itself making no sense. They didn't even do anything interesting with it.


Sadly, not Nyarlathotep.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lago PARANOIA
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 10113

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So. What is the central metaphor of mummies supposed to be?

I mean, the other classic monsters are pretty easy. Frankenstein: horrors of thoughtlessly creating life. Werewolves: detachment from society, insanity, and homosexuality. Ghosts: unnatural attachments to what was left behind. Vampires: aristocrats that we both loathe and fap to. Mutants: metaphor for environmental damage and/or racism. Etc. etc.

The closest recurring metaphor I've seen for Mummies is about some ancient ubermensch who adapts quickly to modern society with their magic and superior breeding... which as you might have noticed, was already captured by vampires. So what the hey? Curses and/or punishing curiosity are also a mummy 'thing', but a lot of monsters do that anyway.
_________________
Josh Kablack wrote:
Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.


Last edited by Lago PARANOIA on Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:51 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 10972

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Vampires are about rape and syphilis. Werewolves are about masturbation, homosexuality, and foreign STDs. Frankentstein was a metaphor for masturbation, with the extra frisson of reproducing without women.

Mummies...are about stalking.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Longes
Duke


Joined: 04 Nov 2013
Posts: 2436

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Fun fact: Osiris is also a vampire, a 4th generation one. He went on and achieved his own Golconda, with blackjack and underworld Pyramid casino. He also made a Bardo discipline, which has a ridiculously good counterspelling power.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 26844

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You could really go places with Mummies and ex-girlfriends/unrequited love. As a Mummy, you have great attachment to people who don't know you and would think you are a creep if they did.

There's plenty of angst to be had there. You're powerful and possibly rich, you could force yourself into the lives of the people you pine for. But they wouldn't be happy about it. They aren't even the same as the people you remember because they have modern experiences and ideas.

But to really do the Mummy story, you have to go all out with the idea that people really are reincarnating and thus Christianity and the like are at least not fully "true." As we'll get to in the later bits, none of these Mummy books had the balls to go there. And thus, the question of "Why should we care?" never really got answered.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Red_Rob
Prince


Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Posts: 2551

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I remember getting the first edition of this as a teenager. Wasn't the main schtick of Mummies in this that they could never, ever, ever, ever die for realzies? Other than that they were just basically people with some magic.

Frank Trollman wrote:
It has always been the official stance of White Wolf that there in fact are Asian Mummies, and Aztec Mummies, and Bog Mummies, and whatever else you got. But in none of these books do they especially get the kind of focus they deserve.

The first edition at least was very heavy on the Egyptian theme, with the whole mummy resurrection thing being keyed specifically to Egyptian ideas of the afterlife. I can see why they wouldn't focus at all on other cultures mummies because it would become obvious after about 2 seconds that none of the mechanics make any sense in relation to any other cultures ideas about mummification.
_________________
Simplified Tome Armor. Tome item system and expanded Wish Economy rules.

"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 10972

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, it gets weird when they try to half-ass Asian mummies to try and fit in with Kindred of the East.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Prak
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 16024

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ancient History wrote:
hekapunk

Huh?
_________________
Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Night Goat
Journeyman


Joined: 13 May 2014
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

What do werewolves have to do with homosexuality and masturbation?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Prak
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 16024

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hairy palms?
_________________
Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Koumei
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 12707
Location: South Ausfailia

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:42 am    Post subject: Re: [OSSR]World of Darkness: Mummies Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ancient History wrote:
They also admit that Ramses the Damned is a porn fantasy about Cleopatra, but they tell you to read it anyway because it has a “World of Darkness feel.” I just... I don't even know.


I can answer that one:

>porn fantasy
>World of Darkness


There you go. You're welcome.
_________________
Count Arioch the 28th wrote:
There is NOTHING better than lesbians. Lesbians make everything better.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Red_Rob
Prince


Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Posts: 2551

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, given that the primary function of the World of Darkness as far as I can see is to help nerds get laid with goth chicks I thought the association was pretty clear.
_________________
Simplified Tome Armor. Tome item system and expanded Wish Economy rules.

"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Prak
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 16024

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Punk, goth, nerd, whatever.
_________________
Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 10972

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Prak_Anima wrote:
Ancient History wrote:
hekapunk

Huh?


Heka is the ancient Egyptian word for magic.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 26844

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Night Goat wrote:
What do werewolves have to do with homosexuality and masturbation?


Werewolves as a metaphor for male homosexuality is a thing that happened in parts of Europe in parts of the middle ages. Small groups of men would go off into the woods to "become wolves" at prearranged times for a few days so they could hump each other for a bit and then go back to their wives. In addition, various queer historians try to claim that all Lycanthropy, including the wolf-skins of the Norse and King Lycaon of Arcadia were about male homosexuality even though that obviously isn't true.

The Greeks really didn't need an elaborate supernatural explanation for why married men would slink off to have sex with each other, because this was a period where soldiers sucked each others' cocks to build unit cohesion. When Spartan families sent their children off to live as a werewolf for a year, they weren't initiating them into gay sex, joining the army was initiating them into gay sex. They sent them to live as werewolves for a year to make them the best Pokemon trainers accomplished at stealth and violence.

Úlfhéðnar didn't leave the village because they had an overwhelming urge to suck dick, they left the village to go raiding because they had an overwhelming urge to get drunk and start fights. Attempts to paint them as homosexual downlow societies are almost as silly as the Greek ones. Basically its mythical universalism run amok.

But that goes back to the masturbation thing. People "become werewolves" because they have to leave the village to go do things that are socially unacceptable to do in the village, but would still like to be allowed to come back at some point. This might mean "becoming a viking" because running around stabbing people is frowned upon in your home town but rather admired if you do it far away. This might mean "fucking people who you aren't married to" in societies that get really upset about that sort of thing. In extremely sexually repressed times and places it might even mean jacking off.

Honestly, the closest that modern North Atlantic society has to a werewolf experience is University. People go away, do things they wouldn't be allowed to do at home, and then come back. That's the werewolf metaphor in a nutshell. This makes Teen Wolf Too the quintessential werewolf movie of the modern era.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 10972

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

From a literary standpoint, of course, the Masquerade and its various analogues in the WoD serve as a metaphor for being "in the closet," hated and reviled by the muggles for what you are (which is never your choice - either you were made that way, or born that way and realized it at your first change around puberty, etc.), where you're initiated into a society of people like you that exists unseen where you can be yourself...it's not a perfect metaphor for every game, but if you want to look at it that way, it's been argued as such.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 10972

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mummy Cosmologies
Chapter 1 in Some Localities


This isn't actually related, but the point is it took me quite a while to figure out that this was a false google hit and not a genuine attempt to make a schematic of the cosmology as explained in Mummy.

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


"Music": Mummification Rap

FrankT:

While the original Mummy book jumps straight into a rambling first chapter that mixes in- and out-of-character text freely into a proper word salad with some limited chargen rules and... stuff... the later installments instead decide to spend a first chapter talking about Metaphysics. So we're going to go with majority rules here and talk about the cosmology of Mummy in the various editions. That chapter is called “Sebayet” in Mummy: 2nd Edition despite the fact that that word means approximately nothing to anyone who hasn't already read the chapter. It's called “Judgment in Heaven” in Mummy: the Resurrection, despite the fact that we're supposed to be talking about immortal Egyptians and not Christians or Muslims who believe in a “Heaven” for there to be judgment in. In “A World of Darkness: Mummy,” this discussion is most analogous to Chapter 3, which is called “The Cycle.” The first version is 10 pages, 2nd edition had a chapter that was 18 pages, and The Resurrection had a chapter that was 14 pages. You'll note a little bit of trend bucking by the third book actually having a shorter cosmology chapter, but they also used a smaller font and shunted some of this material back to the introduction, so it's probably still a bit more raw text. Just not as much more as the rest of the book.

I note for the record that all of these chapter titles would make better track names on a black metal album than they do chapters in a role playing game about immortal Egyptian pagans.

AncientH:

The traditional purpose of mummification was to prepare the body and spirit of the deceased to live on into perpetuity - it wasn't reserved exclusively for royalty, and it persisted for thousands of years; to the point that later centuries used the dried bodies for medicine, paint, maybe even paper (although probably not). Cats, crocodiles, and other animals were mummified. Hell, there's been a trade in fake mummies for centuries. Royal mummies, because of their status, were interred with all of the stuff they would need to maintain their lifestyle - representations of slaves, servants, weapons, chariots, clothing, ships, animals, etc.

Which is why those tombs were broken into, and the rich stuff stolen, and the royal mummies often even torn apart by eager thieves looking to get at the gold and gem-laden amulets in the wrappings. (Ironically foreshadowing Krugman's idea about burying cash in mines to be dug up later.) This is, in fact, why the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb was such a big fucking deal: an actual royal tomb, intact, with all that treasure, was without precedent. And of course this was during the Victorian Age, so it spurred a spate of stories about curses and the undead - even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got in on the act.

The Victorian fiction didn't stick closely to the actual Egyptian practices, mainly because Egyptology was still pretty young (and, y'know, called Egyptology instead of just being a straight-up branch of archaeology) and full of bad guesses and bullshit. The mummy films, based on this, weren't much better - but you had the general agreement that the mummification process and Egyptian magic sometimes worked, at least in so far as the mummified individual would have some form of bodily survival. It might not have been accurate to ancient Egyptian beliefs, but it was consistent with a desire to have supernatural fiction with ancient Egyptian imagery and Victorian themes - so you have lovers reincarnated eternally down the centuries, and mummies fulfilling vengeful curses, yadda yadda.

The first two Mummy series basically took that (bare) concept and ran with it; the Resurrection tossed the idea of actual mummification because...uh...reasons. But that's the starting point for the cosmology. Some Egyptian magic worked, some mummies continued to survive in this world, not some Egyptian afterlife. Closer to the alchemical immortality of Ramses the Damned than anything in actual Egyptian mythology.

FrankT:


Or whatever cycle you got.

The original Mummy's chapter entitled “The Cycle” is mostly a rumination about life and death in World of Darkness. Since this was being written by a dude best known for having written the Queen Euphoria adventure for Shadowrun with minimal communication from the Werewolf team, it should come as no surprise that basically none of this went on to become canon in any of the lines. This chapter spends four and a half pages – almost half its entire length – with a tiresome piece of fanfic about characters talking to each other about how Egyptian necromancy is supposed to work. It's actually quite complicated with Ka and Ba and reincarnation and multiple spirit worlds and shit, and the conversation device is not a good method of teaching it to the new player. Or to the experienced player. It's not as bad as the Scion thing where they drove up wordcount by having characters have conversations about how they hadn't given the important exposition yet, but it's frankly pretty close.

So when they get down to brass tacks and try to explain what they actually mean, it gets pretty incoherent. Well, stays pretty incoherent. Basically they are too fucking chickenshit to use their outside voice to say that in a game where people play magical creatures with powers derived from Egyptian religion that Egyptian religion is right and that by implication Christianity isn't the one true path. Fucking spineless axle munchers. So Mummies don't really die, because if that happened they'd get judged by Saint Peter or something. So when they physically die and then reincarnate, they are only mostly dead.


This applies to Vampires as well, who are apparently also only mostly dead during the whole embrace thing.

We then get a minimalist discussion of the 9 (yes, seriously nine) parts of the body and soul as understood by Egyptians. And then the game asserts that it is doing us a great mercy by only discussing only five of them. That's actually enough to still be totally unmanageable and insane, but not enough to actually be authentic, so I don't know how they decided to go with that number. Anyway, when you die, you split into a couple of different spirit forms and then have some surreal spirit quests with each of them and then try to pop back into your body or failing that to have even more surreal adventures to get more Ba points into your Ba (the points and the spirit form have the same name because go fuck yourself) to form a new one.

If this all sounds cumbersome, confusing, largely incompatible with cooperative storytelling, subtly racist, and kind of stupid to you – you're not wrong.


Needs more Ba!

AncientH:

Mummy 1e is at heart a Vampire supplement, and the core conceit is that it's about a vampire meeting another, different kind of immortal in the form of a mummy, and talking shit out - it's basically based on a really forgettable snippet from The Vampire Lestat, but nobody actually cares about that. This was actually 2 years before Wraith: the Oblivion was published, so the afterlife was still really fuzzy in the White Wolf concept - there was general agreement that there was and underworld, and ghosts, and necromancy, but after that things get incredibly vague.

So conceptually, there was a lot of wiggle room for this stuff. Hell, even well into the Wraith era, you had stuff like the Bush of Ghosts where the wraiths of Africans were supposed to have additional attributes or soul aspects or whatnot.

How this interacted with ancient Egyptian mythology? Not well. I mean, we could probably trace the exact book that Eric was using based on how he fucked up the names.

FrankT:

The Sebayet chapter of Mummy 2nd Edition also starts with an in-character bit that has some out-of-character box text right in the middle. Much of the chapter is actually a retelling of the vampire struggles between Osiris and Set. Various other Egyptian gods are cast as various supernaturals. It's like someone was really impressed by Creatures of Light and Darkness and decided to do the same thing but in World of Darkness. This ancient Egyptian battle narrative drags on for like 7 pages. Fuck this book.


You should read this instead of Mummy 2nd Edition.

So then there's a thousand year time skip and it tries to weave a common narrative out of the various crap from Werewolf and Vampire and Mage and Wraith. And you know what? Fuck this. This narrative makes no sense and even the original fiction pieces it's trying to rectify weren't that good in their original contexts. There is seriously a full page dedicated to a super duper condensed version of actual Egyptian history. Basically, all this narrative juxtaposition makes about as much sense as the grand unified conspiracy theory presented in Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand. Which is to say: basically none. Horus dies and gets reformed several times in this narrative, I assume to bring various disparate pieces of lore into accordance.

There's a big deal made about Maat, which is like the Chinese concept of the mandate of heaven. Or maybe not, I can't even tell. Things go well when you do things in accordance with Maat and when you're a bad guy you defy Maat and then bad things happen. Or something. And you know what? This chapter really wasn't much about the multiverse like I thought it was, this is all terrestrial cosmology and metaphysics tying various incompatible games together. Essentially, it is some fanboy's rant about how all the history of the real world, Mage, Werewolf, and Vampire could be made to fit together with sufficiently implausible readings of Setite origin stories.


This chapter is basically this.

AncientH:

The long story short on all the Mummy editions is that Set became a vampire, went to war against Osiris, Horus, and Isis, and killed Osiris and Horus. Isis was a bad-ass sorceress, and got a spell from Anubis - here maybe a Silent Strider, maybe the first Egyptian wraith - and used this ritual to bring Horus back to life as the first mummy to keep fighting against Set. The story continues in that vein for a bit, and in some editions spills over to the Followers of Set clanbooks; it's not really accurate to Egyptian mythology and you can see how it deliberately de-mythologizes the idea of these characters as Egyptian gods - you should see what they did with Sobek.

Mummy 1e has a weird prequel to Wraith in that your character is broken up into several distinct playable spirits - a Ba and a Ka; you mostly don't give a fuck about the Ka, but it's sort of like playing your own familiar.

Mummy 2e came out after Wraith had largely stabilized, and it shows. In typical White Wolf fashion, the names change but the concepts are broadly similar across game lines - Vampires have beasts, Wraiths have shadows, Mummies have khaibit - and the "soul" is treated as an extra-solid wraith for all practical purposes of necromancy. Even with these basic metaphysics down, shit gets complicated - Osiris is chilling in Amenti, the Dark Kingdom of Sand, but the actual original Egyptian afterlife in Wraith is Neter-Khertet (which somehow got overrun with foreign ghosts?)

A word on format: Mummy 2e came out during the Revised splatbook era, so while Mummy 1e looks like a typical paste-up job, 2e definitely involved word processors and digital layout software, with false-document sidebars in different fonts intruding on and alongside the main text; this was the codification era where after 4-5 years of more or less random content generation, a new group of writers came along to try and tie it all together - and by "all" I mean Mummy 1e, the Followers of Set and Children of Osiris in Vampire, the Silent Striders and Bastet and Mokole and Bane Mummies in Werewolf, the Cult of Isis in Sorcerer and Mage, etc. - fuck, they even worked some of the Changelings into it - with the idea that the "good guys" teamed up into the Osirean League to kick the Setites the fuck out of Egypt and were mostly successful. Horus even managed to cut Set's dick off, which isn't mythologically accurate, and there's a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy dirt farmer that's kept the undead thing as a souvenir. Seriously, that's in the first edition.


In ancient Egyptian myth, it was Osiris whose penis they couldn't find, because it was eaten by a fish. So this is all fucked up. There is totally a Necromancy rite that lets a woman impregnate herself from a male corpse, though.

FrankT:

Mummy: the Resurrection has their own cosmology that is based on fused souls and redemption and lots of weird ass terminology like hamartia. This is basically exactly the same spiel as Geist. It doesn't make less sense, it doesn't make more sense, it's just Geist. With all the gibberish shovelware that implies.

But just to make me personally froth with rage, when they are done talking about Tem-akh and Shroud (which is very much like the Gauntlet, but named something else), they start talking about the Hajj. Yes, really. Your spiritual pilgrimage is called a Hajj, because all Middle Easterners are the same. Even, and perhaps especially, those that factually lived several thousand years apart and were part of completely different cultural traditions.

Of course, the thing that really pissed off any fanbase this book could have had was the section entitled “What About My Mummy?” which calmly informs you that if you already had a Mummy character that they were torn to pieces by the ghost storm and you can tear that character sheet up. You now make a new character who may or may not have a piece of the soul of your own character, but if you have the temerity to do that you get to take shitty flaws for free if you were insufficiently loyal to an unstatted NPC last seen hiding in Switzerland. For reals. Oh, also all the Children of Osiris were either incinerated with hellfire or turned back into humans. And if you had any characters or chronicles that cared about the Children of Osiris, that's tough shit.


Justin Achilli's personal message to all fans.

The really weird thing is that this was pretty much exactly a dry run for Time of Judgment and New World of Darkness, right? It's 2001, the rest of the World of Darkness is being unceremoniously blown up and replaced two years later. But the Mummyverse is having that happen right now in 2001. You'd think that possibly this might have been used as a test balloon to see if fans would like it. Now, as we know very well, fans did not like it. But back in 2001, White Wolf's actual message boards were weird echo chambers where everything White Wolf did no matter how shitty could not be criticized. So it's possible that White Wolf was so trapped in their own bubble that they were unable to figure out that this grossly unpopular move was actually almost universally reviled. Which would explain why they did it to all their main lines simultaneously two years later and drove their company into bankruptcy. Because if they'd been even a little bit responsive to actual player opinions, they would have pulled back and done a much less catastrophic reboot of the world. And I mean that in every sense of the term.

AncientH:

Right. So, I've mentioned before that the idea of a wraith possessing a corpse is not new in the World of Darkness. That's implicitly what's going on with vampires, it's explicitly what's going on with the Risen (and later, the Kuei-Jin), and pretty much what was going on with the mummies in 1e and 2e. Again, White Wolf had an apparent fucking allergy to trying to connect the gamelines in any meaningful way, or use any shared terminology, or even just be explicit about how shit worked - but the underlying concepts behind a lot of the game mechanics were really fucking apparent and easy to work out, they just refused to say shit like "Okay, yeah, you got us, wraiths are human souls and if you rip the soul out of a normal person regular necromancy works fine on them." or "Yeah, the mummy's Ba is basically a wraith, all your normal necromancy shit works on those too." Don't get me wrong, they have some funky shit about how mummies in 2e can learn wraith arcanoi during their long astral journeys to recharge and shit during their death cycle, but it's really crammed into the corners - even for a product that was explicitly set up to step on the toes of all the game lines, nobody wanted to fucking to commit to anything.

Of course, whenever they were explicit about how shit worked, they tended to pull a SLA Industries and make it worse.

So, when Wraith officially ended, that had a huge but undetermined impact on a lot of gamelines. Because every single White Wolf game line in some way touched on Wraith. Maybe not a lot, but everybody from the Sluagh in Changeling to the Silent Striders in Werewolf to the Giovanni and Cappodacians in Vampire to the Euthanatos in Mage had mediums and necromancy and shit. I think - and I could be wrong about this - that while the end of the game was made for business decisions, somebody like Justin Achilli pitched it as a way to move the setting as a whole forward, and to start pumping out a bunch of short-term games like Orpheus, because core books sell better and they could have it as lead in to the end of the World of Darkness. I'm not sure about that, because at the time they'd have to have been in the middle of the third revision of Vampire: the Masquerade and second revision of Dark Ages, which was some of their best work from a technical standpoint, but maybe.

Part of the reason I suspect that, though, is because you have shit like Hunter: the Reckoning coming out in 1999, Mummy: the Resurrection in 2001, and Demon: the Fallen in 2002. And the thing is, those are all basically the exact same fucking game. You've got a group of more-or-less regular humans that get their souls bound to some ancient supernatural whatsit like fucking Sailor Senshi or Power Rangers, and now they're a new, shitty breed of supernatural that oddly follows White Wolf's (they really should patent it) five-color clan/caste alignment chart.


There is a disturbing amount of vampire sailor senshi fanart.

And the justification for all three games is explicitly the same: the Sixth Great Maelstrom ripped the afterlife/hell/etc. a new asshole, now these ancient spirits are "coming to ground" in mortal bodies and bonding with souls. It's like a shitty Blue Beetle or Color Lantern Corps storyline. And anything that didn't fit neatly into the box they were building, like the Children of Osiris? Gone. Go fuck yourself.

FrankT:

White Wolf games always had a lot of weird terminology. The terms being pretentious and incomprehensible has always been kind of the point. But Mummy, in all three of its incarnations, really goes above and beyond. A big part of it is that it tries to use adaptations of Egyptian and Greek transliterations of Egyptian as its base forms. You don't fucking know Egyptian. When someone talks about “Shuankhsen” or “Apepnu,” this doesn't mean anything to you.



This is rather a failure to understand the White Wolf formula. When the True Brujah got their discipline “Temporis” that's two made-up words. But they are both based on words that, while foreign, are used in English enough that you can extract meaning from them without knowing anything about the system. You pretty much know that “Brujah” is a noun, and that it probably describes a person even if you know nothing about White Wolf (because “Brujah” means “Witch” in Spanish, which is a language that English speakers are passively familiar with). And while you probably couldn't guess exactly what “Temporis” is from the name you can pretty much guess that it's a noun, and a thing, and that it probably has to do with time or physical authority. That's just how it's constructed. It's constructed from parts that are used in English words, and you can figure out that much before reading the description.

So when they use weird-ass Egyptian (or Greekified Egyptian) words and then fuck with them, but don't anglicize them, they don't mean anything to anyone. “Sekhem” is... what? Just by looking at the word, you can't even identify what part of speech it is, let alone actually associate it with anything. Even if you had a degree in Egyptology, you still wouldn't know what it was in a White Wolf context, because White Wolf, but absent that kind of background these words don't have any connotations at all.

Basically we're looking at too many new words and too little anglicization of the words they have. We make fun of White Wolf for having disciplines named shit like Obtenebration and Derpitude, but it's fucking important for people to at least be able to recognize that the name of a Discipline is the name of a Discipline and the name of a Clan is the name of a Clan. This Mummy material fails to live up to that. This lexicon is too fucking long for everything to look like randomly assembled fantasy gibberish.

AncientH:

The hard part of referencing actual historical shit and not doing the research is that anyone can and will call you on it; this is even more common in the days of wikipedia than it was previously. More to the point though, White Wolf has a tendency to do terrible things to the English language by itself, so trusting them with any sort of a foreign language is not something you actually want to do.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal. Whenever you tap into a historical subject, or just one with a lot of its own specific technical jargon, it makes you feel really cool and in the mood to whip out these strange words which might not mean what you think they mean. Hell, Shadowrun did in with Sperethiel, with lots of people still not getting the joke that it's two parts Irish gaelic and one part Tolkienish-words-people-made-up-on-the-fly. But it's bad practice, and White Wolf has a tendency to abuse language a great deal.

Which is kind of funny, because their tendency to capitalize words you normally would not - basically making them proper nouns - was actually seen as a kind of advancement, in that you had the whole insert slot A into slot B mentality. There were people that would seriously argument the merits of writing Blood Point instead of blood point. It's kind of funny, in hindsight. The kind of funny where your forced laughter chokes off to a muffled sob as you realize what's become of your life, but there you go.

FrankT:

A big problem with the Mummy metaplot is that I don't give a shit. I played a Follower of Set for years, and I never really gave a shit about the Mummy metaplot. The fact is that being opposed to Set really isn't enough to justify us caring. Lots of people are opposed to Set. He's kind of a douche, and he's one of the 13 head vampires most easily identifiable as a moustache twirling villain. Taking a bold stance against Set isn't a bold stance. Like, literally every clan of vampires but one is at least nominally anti-Set. And the same for Werewolf tribes. The fact that Mummies don't like Set totally fails to distinguish them from the Lasombra or the Silent Striders. There really needed to be some other shoe to drop about Ancient Egypt. Because if the only goal is “fight Setites” we could do that as any group of any flavor of supernatural.

What's odd about this is that the Mummy movie franchises actually did provide something to sink your teeth into. There's the whole thing of longing for past relationships and kingdoms from your past lives despite the fact that the people and lands of today have modern histories and don't remember or care about your ancient loves and glories. That's interesting. You could really go places with the fact that the people of modern era in Egypt are mostly Islamic and would not be impressed that you have the blessings of Isis to rule the Nile.

But instead we just get a call to arms to fight B-list villains from Vampire and C-list villains from Werewolf. No one gives a shit.

AncientH:

I think the nail in the coffin for Mummies (and by extension, the Children of Osiris) is the whole Redemption angle. While achieving Golconda and being redeemed was one of the major themes in Vampire 1e, and even 2e, the idea of redemption in Vampire (and by extension, Wraith and Mummy) were seriously downplayed, with lots of goalpost moving on Golconda, particularly in Vampire 3rd edition where it might as well fucking not exist. This is probably most blatant in the character of Saulot - and wow, what a weird douchebag they made of that character - who even during Gehenna was supposed to be "Nope, nobody gets to go home." It's a really weird 180 from 1e, where Golconda and being human again and maybe going to heaven could have been the whole purpose of the game...

...but then, as Frank said in Prometheus, the point of the game becomes getting to the point where you can stop playing the game. Bit of a logical quandary there.

And somebody didn't get the fucking memo, because just as Vampire was playing down the redemption angle, Mage: the Awakening, Kindred of the East, Mummy: the Resurrected, and Demon: the Fallen were playing it up, albeit with the added drama that you would never ever actually achieve your 10th point of whatever.

I think...and I might be wrong here, but I'll throw it out...I think this is really about the transition in the type of game that White Wolf was going for. The early games were nominally storytelling games of personal horror, emphasizing roleplaying over roll-playing, lots more Mind's Eye Theater than powermunchkin. The idea of characters pursuing a redemption arc in that kind of environment makes sense, even if from a gameplay perspective playing-not-to-play and me-me-me is pretty terrible. But by the tail end of 2e, with all the munchkin bullshit that White Wolf had printed out...I think somebody got a bug up their ass that the World of Darkness wasn't being played the right way. That people were having the wrong kind of fun, or being more interested in whether the system worked and if the setting made sense than applying the right amount of eyeliner and feeling the dark dismalness of the universe or some shit. I could be wrong. But it would explain shit like Gehenna.

Next up, Chargen.


What did this 6-year-old do in 2,000 B.C. to be condemned to walk the earth for over four thousand years?
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 10972

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Character Generation
Chapters 1, 3, and 3


I don't know either.

Music: Michael Jackson - Remember the Time
Look, you'll know I've given up on this shit when I have the Bangles' 12-minute remix of "Walk Like An Egyptian" on here.

AncientH:

Okay, basic drill applies here. Character creation in White Wolf games follows most of the same steps but not always in the same order, and is usually longer than it rightly should be and involves a bunch of unique attributes that don't act like you think they do, and involving a bunch of new merits and flaws. The various editions of Mummy are no different, if slightly complicated by the fact that they had a lot of different attributes, and they changed every single fucking iteration.

FrankT:

In the original Mummy, character generation was in the first chapter and it was a 14 page chapter called “The Mummy.” In 2nd Edition, character generation was in the 3rd chapter and it was a 32 page chapter called “Characters.” In The Resurrection, character generation is again in the 3rd chapter, but it's a 24 page chapter called “The Modeller.” The table of contents of Mummy: the Resurrection is basically useless, as the previous chapter is called “The Resurrected,” the chapter after chargen is called “Words of Power,” and the chapter after that is called “Scales That Weigh.” These heavily embellished chapter names and similarly ornate heading entries makes navigating the book nearly impossible. Nothing is named anything that makes any amount of sense to anyone who hasn't already read it, and most of the titles don't make a whole lot of sense even to people who have. If you switched the titles of the chapters called “Judgment in Heaven” and “Scales That Weigh,” no one would notice. It's titular over embellishment run amok.

It would be nice if we could say this was the nadir of White Wolf's descent into decadence, but of course it's factually true that they just stayed that decadent until they went bankrupt and got bailed out by Icelanders. And they just carried on being exactly as decadent until the Icelanders lost patience and pulled the plug. Mummy: The Resurrection was basically everything about why White Wolf was ultimately doomed.

AncientH:

Mummy 1e was funky even by the rather generous standards of 1st and 2nd edition Vampire products, when writers just made up new powers willy-nilly with no regard to statting them out fully or game balance, where you could embrace serpents and it was Humanity or the highway.

Like Shadowrun, it had sort of a tier system going - you determine which set of attributes (Physical, Mental, Social) you thought were most important, and you got traits (7, 5, and 3 in this case) to divvy up among those attributes; same-same with Talents, Skills, and Knowledge. It would have been easier to just give out a big pile of points (like SR4 and Eclipse Phase and GURPS) and say "have at it," but the guidelines are supposed to make this stuff at least nominally balanced for play.

Then...it gets weird. Mummies are all on the same side (except Bane Mummies, which are all NPCs), but they don't have separate clans or lineages; instead they're based on the occupations they had back in ancient Egypt when they had to wipe the sand out of their crack every morning. These range from okay stuff like "Doctor" and "Architect" and "Magician" to WTF crazy extremes like "Beggar" and "Pharoah." Each has an associated cost in freebie points, but c'mon. WHO THE FUCK is going to be a Beggar or Sailor/Fisherman?

Occupation determines what Magic skills you can pick, and because this is post-Sabbat Handbook, you get a bevvy of virtues to choose from. Also, because this is a White Wolf book, you get new talents and skills that should have been in the main book, but for some reason are here, and not at all relevant. The highlights here are "Animal Empathy," "Scribing," "Thanatology" and "Writing," the latter is especially fun because they managed to confuse the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize. Some of these skills would appear again...more than once. I don't know why. I mean yes, I know why the Giovanni Clanbook would have the Thanatology skill, but I would still wonder why that shit wasn't in the main rulebook.

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Then...it gets really weird. Your Ba score is equal to a die roll; your base Sekhem rating requires multiplication and can go up to 99, which is insane in Vampire 1e or 2e, and then you spend 30 freebie points and pick your base spells. Keep in mind, your normal vampire starts with 7 freebie points, so...mummies were pretty powerful in 1e.


I had some spare points.

Magic skills are what they say on the tin: these are your discipline stand-ins, and there are six of them. Amazingly, while those get shuffled around a bit in later editions, they don't expand much. Honestly, I think they're mostly there for other games to steal from, but that comes a bit later.

Virtues...okay, so in Vampire 1e and 2e, you had your Humanity score, and virtues like Conscience and Courage and Self-Control. Mummies, because they don't have a Beast (I guess), don't have a Humanity score...but they do have six virtues: Conscience, Self-Control, Courage, Honor, Love, and Truth.

...that's insane, and I don't know how it works. At all.

FrankT:

One question that is perhaps central to character generation in any system is “what the fuck do these numbers mean?” And going through any of the Mummy games, no particular answer is forthcoming. Part of this comes from the fact that in no case is it clear which game these guys are supposed to be interacting with, and as we've harped on a few times those games were subtly different in how they handled basic action resolution. But they also were variously different in how they wrote up basic NPCs. There were no guidelines anywhere. You couldn't even infer what a standard human might look like from the character generation rules because people got different stat points to throw around not only between lines, but in different books in the same line. So within Vampire, if you were making a character for a Ghouls chronicle you got less stat points than a normal starting Vampire, while if you were making a Dark Ages character you got more. So on a most basic level, when Mummy presents you with some number of dots in skills and attributes, you don't know what that means. There is no reference frame. It's beyond even the fuckery that was taking a character from one AD&D game to another that used different stat rolling methods. It's not just that you have no idea what your stats mean relative to other potential protagonists – it's that you have no idea what your stats mean in reference to anything. I simply can't say this enough: all three versions of Mummy were intended to be expansions to the core book, but in none of those editions did Storyteller games have a core book for them to expand upon.


One of these would have been good to have.

So people in 1st edition Mummy are made like Vampire characters for the most part, but they have extra skills they can choose from. They can also choose to have different virtues than regular Vampire characters and no one knows what that means. In Mummy 2nd edition, you are required by law to have bullshit madeup Virtues and again, no one knows what that means. In The Resurrection, Mummies don't get virtues at all, and no one knows what that means either. There's a rant in pretty much all three games about how Mummies get more points to spend than you do because they are more powerful because they are old, but this is generally speaking not true. In Mummy 3rd edition, this is horribly obfuscated by the fact that in order to make character generation feel like being baptized and born again, they make you go through several stages where you add points to the same piles in order to represent multiple deaths and births or something. This is exactly as fiddly and bullshit as it sounds, but the bottom line is that at the end of the day you still get 15 freebie points just like you would if you were a Mage or a Werewolf. Differences in power come almost exclusively from the wildly disparate power levels of the supernatural paths – and we'll get to those in the next piece.

AncientH:

Mummy 2e is largely the same as 1e in outline, but a bit more refined. You still pick your occupation, divvy up your points, pick your magic skills and calculate your many attributes - but it's a bit more standardized and, possibly, balanced.

To start off with, you don't pay points for your occupation, and while "Beggar" is still an option - albeit the shittiest option, even "Servant/Slave" is better - you have more occupations to chose from, including completely improbable ones like "Assassin" and "Tomb Robber." Yeah, Horus is really going to bless those assholes with immortality.

Magic skills have been renamed Hekau Paths, to better correspond with the Sorcerer splatbook - we'll talk about that more in the Magic chapter - and there are some new, bizarre Backgrounds to choose from, including "Journal" and "Tomb" (five dots and you get an intact pyramid!). Virtues are simplified: Mummies have a Humanity score, and the controlling virtues are Memory, Joy, and Integrity. I...guess that's a step in the right direction?

Ba is still rolled randomly, because nobody fucking cares. Seriously, if your character decides to take a nap during the middle of a campaign and goes into hibernation for a couple decades, that is not acceptable. Even in Vampire everyone agrees torpor is bullshit.

The big change is Sekhem. In Mummy 1e, a mummy was guaranteed to be throwing around at least 10 points of Sekhem, max pool was 99. In 2e? 10 points, max. Now, part of that is because the magic system for mummies was nerfed so you no longer had to spend so many damn points per spell, but it still means that your top-of-the-line mummy might have less mojo to throw around than a starting Vampire. Which is just sad.

This chapter is longer than in 1e, mainly because they shoehorn in: more useless skills and talents (yes, Animal Empathy and Thanatology are back, and have brought their friend Mythology and whatnot with them); actual merits and flaws; a shitload of material on derangements and Mummy virtues; some notes on dying; a handy chart for converting your Mummy 1e character, and finally some notes on non-Egyptian mummies and mummifying other supernaturals.

Mostly this is a long and complicated aside to explain "that won't work." So for example, no Mummy can become a vampire (or ghouled), and no vampire can become a mummy. Werewolves and shit can be mummified, but for inexplicable reasons they get locked into being spirits after they die the second time. Abominations are "Don't even think about it." (actual quote). Wraiths (even the Risen) apparently can't be mummified, although all mummies are temporarily Wraiths when they're dead, they just can't use arcanoi when they go back to being embodied. Changelings, just can't be modified.

Mages can be mummified, but lose access to True Magick; mummies cannot Awaken - this is a bit disingenuous, because later on in one of the obscure Mage books they give a formula for Lichdom which is for all intents and purposes identical to becoming a mummy.

This actually leaves out a lot of stupid shit, like sorcerers, mediums, psychics, kinain, kinfolk, and <shudder> gypsies. Presumably they can all be mummified. NO idea how their "I'm so special!" magics interact with that stuff though.


Four dots in Tomb; but the Storyteller let me get it on layaway. A couple more sessions and I'll have it paid off.

FrankT:

One thing that every version of Mummy tries to make hay with is the idea of trying to make you care about your occupation in your first life. Yes, that includes The Resurrection, where the first life isn't really by “you” but by the first holder of some piece of your soul fragments or something. Whatever. It's complicated and kind of dumb.


You can tell it's legit because they have “science” in the name.

Functionally, in 1st edition first life occupations are package deals that you buy with freebie points that give you piles of magic powers and non-binding instructions on how to build your character. In 2nd edition, they appear to just be non-binding instructions on how to build your character and reading those pages is time you can never get back. In The Resurrection, you have an “Inheritance” from your first life, but you start the character generation process at your second life, and while you are instructed to take time to think about what your character did in Ancient Egypt it doesn't actually seem to matter. There's a “Memory” background in The Resurrection that um... is actually fairly useless and doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference what your character was actually up to in their past life.

AncientH:

The Resurrection abandoned the relatively condensed style of the other two by having..."Tem-Akh." I'm not sure if that's singular or plural, but it basically equates to Clan/Bloodline/Tribe - your grouping in the scheme of mummy things. Determines your primary Hekau/magic skill (side note: "Heka" is the Egyptian word for magic, "Hekau" is not; I don't know why they decided to go with it in 2e, but I think they kept with it in Resurrection because they're lazy fucks. Notably, the guys that wrote the Setite Sorcery stuff say Heka. Go figure.)

I'm not going to say you don't care what your Tem-Akh is, but I'm having trouble caring - it's grade-school bullshit writ large. Kher-Minu ("Tomb Watchers") are the hall monitors, Khri-Habi ("Scroll-bearers") are nerds, etc. No-one cares, except it determines your main magic path and some associated benefit/liability in traditional White Wolf format.

Character creation is technically longer than in 1e and 2e, but they break it up into two stages so it confuses how long it actually is. There are more new skills, but Animal Empathy and Thanatology finally went away. Ba and Ka went from being attributes to being backgrounds. Somebody really liked "Tomb," so your pyramid is still safe, if that's your thing. The major difference is that Humanity and Virtues were replaced by one score called Balance. Sekhem is still maxed at 10, but is now tied to Balance, so your current store of Sekhem can never be higher than Balance without extra shenanigans - yes, this does mean that mummies have gotten progressively suckier with each and every iteration.

There's a bunch of merits and flaws, but most of them are recycled and none of them are terribly interesting, but the really shitty one is "Lifeblood" (5 point flaw) - it's basically another version of the "cast from hit points health levels" flaw they gimped sorcerers with; you have no sekhem and instead expend health levels when casting spells. Which wouldn't be terrible if this were a low-power game and you were a private detective using mummy magic, but in this context seems ridiculous unless you just said "fuck it" to magic all the way and decided to kill things with guns and swords. Which is, of course, always an option.



FrankT:

I said earlier that I really couldn't say enough about how the various editions of Mummy didn't play nicely with any of the other systems, and I really can't. But I think I have the perfect example. See, back in 1st edition Vampire: the Masquerade, there was a concept called “Difficulty,” which determined your target number to get a success on each d10 you rolled in your dicepool. Also, you got negative successes for rolling 1s, which meant that things got extremely stupid if Difficulties got high. Vampire: the Masquerade: Revised Edition put a stop to all that bullshit by fixing the target number at 6 on all dice (subject to some stupid abilities that shat all over that, because White Wolf). That happened in 1998. Now Mummy: The Resurrection came out in 2001, which is three fucking years after the production of the Revised Edition of Vampire. But in the description of new and modified skills, it talks about making tests at a “difficulty 9” and then counting successes. Which is basically gibberish if you were playing the version of the game that had then been current for three fucking years.

See, when it comes to the rules parts of these games, it's not that I don't know what the hell they are talking about. It's that I know that they don't know what the hell they are talking about.

AncientH:

Cut and paste, zero oversight.

In a lot of ways, the Resurrection is a step down from 2e. You're in a young, mortal body sure - but you're explicitly one of the Horus Mob, you're supposed to stick near the Web of Faith to keep powered up, and you're weak as fuck compared to earlier editions. In 2e, there were actual...I won't say rules, but guidelines for playing a non-Egyptian mummy, where you just happened to be an immortal magician with some similar powers and abilities.

One of the major departures from other books in the WW line is the relatively few number of powers - just six Hekau paths and a bunch of spells, some copypasta'd from earlier editions. There should probably be a way for mummies to learn versions of Setite Sorcery spells and rituals, but I can't recall if they actually included that as an option anywhere - I know that vampires can technically learn Hekau paths, but it's a bit complicated. More below the fold for those terribly interested.

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


FrankT:

Every version of White Wolf games have these things called “Backgrounds,” which are basically abilities or resources that don't fit into other categories. Some of them fiddle with basic assumptions of the game like how fast you refresh power or whatever, and others of them give you piles of money or friends or something. Backgrounds have a tendency to be incredibly ungamebalanced. Just for for starters, you buy them linearly (and they are cheap as fuck), and the actual advantages they offer are often exponential. Going up one dot might take you from having $1000 to having $10,000, for example. This means that in general it was pretty much a sucker's game to do anything other than min/max your Backgrounds. Why have some money and some influence when by just cranking all the points into one or the other you could be Scrooge McDuck or have the President on speed dial? The resources themselves were also massively disparate in power and utility. Vampires could spend points on having a place to live, but if they just got financial resources instead they could buy a place to live and have money left over.

So it really doesn't seem weird or surprising that Mummies in all three editions have their own crazy Backgrounds and that these Backgrounds are almost uniformly terrible. Most of these are terrible in the sense of “why would you ever take this?” but a few of them are terrible for the game in other ways. In Mummy 2nd Edition you can spend Background points on having kept a journal in your past lives that the storyteller can use to generate plot hooks if they somehow can't think of any other way to move the plot along. Or you can have a magical artifact, which at five dots is: “A unique, possibly legendary artifact of incredible power.” In first edition Mummy, I genuinely have no idea what any of them do because the section is unfinished and doesn't have a dot by dot breakdown on what the different backgrounds do. There's a “Supernatural” background that lets you have contacts who are Fairies or Demons even though the rules for those creatures wouldn't be written for years, but I'm damned if I know what you actually get for investing any number of points into it. In Mummy: The Resurrection, you have the option of buying several different Backgrounds that let you invoke checks to get minor bonuses from a past life once per session. All of these are much weaker than having money or allies. I'm pretty sure you can still take the Backgrounds that let you have money or allies from some other book. Although of course, I have no idea which other book you're supposed to go dumpster diving in. Again and still: these books really lean hard on the “core book” despite the fact that Storyteller did not have one of those.

AncientH:

I've not got much to add at this point...wait, yes I do, the mechanic that dare not speak it's name: pooling backgrounds! Yes, in WoD games there were rules set aside in various obscure supplements that let player characters pool their background points together. So collectively, as a group, you could be millionaires and own your own pyramid and have the head of the Setite antitribu on speed-dial. I can't think that it was actually used much, but it was a fun and exciting way to exploit an already broken mechanic.


Mummy bling.

Part of the problem with Backgrounds, like skills, is that the values were almost entirely subjective - but unlike skills, which you actually rolled and could prove the lie, backgrounds promised actual things like houses and servants and stat bonuses.

FrankT:

After Vampire had been out for a while, they introduced the idea of Merits and Flaws in order to improve powergaming allow more diverse characters. This happened pretty early in the cycle, but not early enough for 1st edition Mummy, which predates Vampire's Player's Guide. But Mummy 2nd Edition and Mummy: The Resurrection both have lists of merits and flaws. Mummy 2nd Edition tells you to look for the main rules for them in “the Players Guide for each of the Storyteller game systems.” Yeah that's right, they not only give a citation without a a page number, they give a citation without a book title. Because go fuck yourself.


Proper management of merits and flaws can make you very powerful.

AncientH:

Nominally, you were limited to 7 points in Merits and a like number in Flaws. The idea being that if you took 7 points in Flaws, you had that many more Freebie points to spend to get that next level in Necromancy or whatever. In practice, if you hunted for it you could find plenty of "flaws" that were fairly inconsequential - I pointed out Lifeblood above, but there were plenty of flaws for, say, seeing ghosts - and there were merits for seeing ghosts too! - and the flaws were generally better value for their money than the merits. If you crossed gamelines, shit got nuts with merits and flaws - but such was often the way with White Wolf games back in the day. The system was screwy enough that finding weird combinations of broken shit was practically a minigame you could play out while the other players were reciting their backstory.

I think the next chapter is Magic. Hang on to your panties and manties.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Blicero
Knight-Baron


Joined: 07 May 2009
Posts: 994

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

AH wrote:

Like Shadowrun, it had sort of a tier system going - you determine which set of attributes (Physical, Mental, Social) you thought were most important, and you got traits (7, 5, and 3 in this case) to divvy up among those attributes; same-same with Talents, Skills, and Knowledge. It would have been easier to just give out a big pile of points (like SR4 and Eclipse Phase and GURPS) and say "have at it," but the guidelines are supposed to make this stuff at least nominally balanced for play.


Is SR4's way really better? I've never played a WoD game, but it sounds like Frank used basically the same system for After Sundown. And it takes me a lot less time to make an After Sundown character than it takes me to make an SR4 character. And the choices I make along the way (about prioritizing Physical, Social, or Technical skills and such) definitely help me figure out how the character works.

The "big pile of points" certainly helps you customize, but it's a nontrivial option paralysis-inducer in even experienced players, I have found.
_________________
Out beyond the hull, mucoid strings of non-baryonic matter streamed past like Christ's blood in the firmament.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Koumei
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 12707
Location: South Ausfailia

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

And I wouldn't exactly use Eclipse Phase's character generation as a shining example of the right way to do things.
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)

Why yes I would LOVE to spend one thousand points individually!
_________________
Count Arioch the 28th wrote:
There is NOTHING better than lesbians. Lesbians make everything better.


Last edited by fbmf on Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Longes
Duke


Joined: 04 Nov 2013
Posts: 2436

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Man, I wish someone would make Creatures of Light and Darkness RPG! Spacefaring timetravelling kung-fu gods fighting YHVH? YES, PLEASE!

In case someone still has doubts about reading it, here's a teaser. The book starts with two kung-fu masters destroying the world by having a kung-fu fight on it.

Quote:
Skills/talents/etc. in WoD are terrible, not just because they're five-point scale monstrosities which are valueless for telling you what the fucking skill can actually do, but because they're hideously bloated as well - each fucking skill/talent/etc. is at least a full three-sentence paragraph, often with a quote on top, and then you get a five-sentence list after it. You can seriously cover no more than about ten skills a fucking page. That's INSANE, because they have over a hundred of the fucking things, they're scattered across dozens of different books, there's a lot of overlap and not all the write-ups for the same skill with the same name agree - not if they're in different games, not if they're in the same game. Animal Empathy is a skill in Mummy, but so is Animal Kinship. Fucking fuck. Okay, end rant.

It's even worse in the nWoD corebook, where a single page houses 1.5 skills. No, really.

Quote:
In Mummy 2nd Edition you can spend Background points on having kept a journal in your past lives that the storyteller can use to generate plot hooks if they somehow can't think of any other way to move the plot along.

UDPATED MY JOURNAL


Last edited by Longes on Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:06 am; edited 3 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 26844

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Blicero wrote:

Is SR4's way really better? I've never played a WoD game, but it sounds like Frank used basically the same system for After Sundown. And it takes me a lot less time to make an After Sundown character than it takes me to make an SR4 character. And the choices I make along the way (about prioritizing Physical, Social, or Technical skills and such) definitely help me figure out how the character works.

The "big pile of points" certainly helps you customize, but it's a nontrivial option paralysis-inducer in even experienced players, I have found.


I do indeed use something more similar to the White Wolf system in After Sundown, precisely because it speeds up chargen. I won't say it makes more balanced characters, but it does make it harder to screw up chargen and forget a major character component.

The problems with the way actual White Wolf games handle these things are numerous. First of all, you spend points fifteen times when making a Mummy: The Resurrection character (not including the stuff where you select your Amenti from a list or whatever the fuck). And you could seriously be buying dots in the same attribute in for of those fifteen steps. That's insane. The second major problem is that in several of those steps you are playing with "Freebie Points" which are fungible to any of your 11 piles of things that have dots after them (16 if you count the different magic paths you may or may not have) plus merits and flaws. And if you dumpster dive enough, there are ways to liquidate things in your various piles back into Freebie Points.

Now, leaving aside the fact that Freebie Points do not buy things at proportional rates to what XP buys things at, you are basically just buying things with a big pile of points but having this horrendously obfuscated for you by having it direct you to put little piles of points into different piles over and over again and then letting you sell them back at certain rates into more fungible piles that can then buy things at certain rates that might not be the same... ugh.

But in general, I do believe that having people get a pile of attributes and then a pile of skill points is fundamentally better than having people buy their skill points and attribute points from a three digit or larger pile. People kind of want to have characters with slightly more total attributes or slightly more total skills or whatever the fuck, and that's where we get giant piles of universal points and priority systems and shit - but I don't think I've ever seen a game where it was worth the hassle. Except maybe Champions.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dean
Duke


Joined: 12 May 2008
Posts: 1698

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
Man, I wish someone would make Creatures of Light and Darkness RPG

The problem with that would be: What would I do with the erection I would then have forever
_________________
DSMatticus wrote:
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you. I am filled with an unfathomable hatred.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nath
Journeyman


Joined: 28 Oct 2012
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
But in general, I do believe that having people get a pile of attributes and then a pile of skill points is fundamentally better than having people buy their skill points and attribute points from a three digit or larger pile. People kind of want to have characters with slightly more total attributes or slightly more total skills or whatever the fuck, and that's where we get giant piles of universal points and priority systems and shit - but I don't think I've ever seen a game where it was worth the hassle. Except maybe Champions.
From my understanding, this is mostly justified by players who wants to specialize, as glass cannon or stone wall, far beyond what the game aimed for, and games where the different "character concepts" have a different need for attributes, skills or whatever. The latter is usually a good indication that the divide between each attributes, skills, or whatever, is fucked up, having dumpstats and kingstats, linear cost for exponential benefits and the likes. So separate pools at chargen kinda comes up as the "best solution" once you already botched core rules.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 10972

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Big-pile-of-points has the benefits of granularity and customization; it has the downside that people hyperspecialize, neglect really basic shit, and you can fall into the equipment trap of Shadowrun or Eclipse Phase. Which if you like that sort of thing is great, but if you're just starting out is bad - which is why I did PACKS (and why CGL then did their own, shittier version of PACKS). Ironically, MMORPGs tend to get character creation much easier simply because they narrow down the crunchy options and open up the aesthetic ones - people spend more time picking out hair color and slutty armor than they do deciding how to divvy up their attributes.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Gaming Den Forum Index -> In My Humble Opinion... All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 1 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum




Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group