Does anyone actually _own_ a copy of these things?
fbu...@cc.swarthmore.edu Dream. Imagine. Wonder.
> Does anyone actually _own_ a copy of these things?
A friend of mine has a copy he got for free of "World Action and
Adventure" (the author is a first cousin of his). It has a forgettable
bit of doggerel decorating it--in heroic couplets, no less.
i've got the Actor's Book of Characters supplement for that, and i can't
believe he got English credits for it, considering the writing. the prose
is forgettable, and teh poetry awful. *i've* written better stuff (and
that says something). here're the verses that appear on the back cover, an
"Excerpt from the poem, "World Action and Adventure," written to inspire
adventurous thoughts for possible game episodes."
Around the track the cars zoom by
each driver has a chance to die
for many wrecks here have occurred
exploding crashes always heard.
Escaping through the small trap door
a thief is crawling on the floor
police are searching every place
to find the one who stole the vase
Pyramids are being build
the pharoah has a suppressed tuild
so many slaves do thirst and die
to build these things that touch the sky.
An opera singer sings so fine
that the audience is out of line
they throw their hats and everything
just to hear the lady sing.
Coming home from war at last
a soldier leaves a weary past
his family screams with excitement
a smile shows his delightment.
The princess slaps the baron's face
and he blushes in disgrace
he double-crossed her with his heart
no lover was he from the start.
i jsut have one question: "delightment"?
when it's not so late, i should quote some of the occupation descriptions
from the book, or perhaps a couple of tables. it really *is* an exercise
in how not to write a game, IMHO. it's a noble effort, but effort does not
as for owning others: i'll do it if it's free, or very nearly so. almost
any game is worth the shelfspace, if only for laughs and as a
Figures. All my life I've fought against Imperialism. Suddenly, I *am*
the expanding Russian frontier. --Ivanova
But with very nice borders. --Franklin
I picked up this game at a con a few years ago. I actually have all 3
hard back books and the GM suplement pack. As you can guess <g> I
collect 'ODD' games.
Mitch A. Williams
While the game doesn't have a character generation system -- at least not
one I could find -- it does contain the following sentence, transcribed
"In some cases a player may wish to have his character attempt something
not covered by a specific skill. The MP must either create a skill, have
the player "save" vs. one of his his character's attributes or make up a
"... make up a game mechanic." And here I thought that's what I'd just
paid them $20 to do *for* me!
Now, despite its flaws, (no character generation system, no explanation of
what the numbers by the stats for the character races and the pre-gen NPCs
and monsters mean [unless the assumption is that attribute tests are
rolled on a d20 like the skills, which isn't very likely since the Antari
race has max stats of 50, an initiative system that doesn't work above a
DEX of 24.... Perhaps there's a rule about action modifiers that's
missing.] Oh, and the armor rating does from A-N, while everything else in
the game operates on numbers. How much damage does armor with a rating of
N absorb? Who knows? It's one of those cases where one must "make up a
game mechanic," I guess) "Pirates of Dark Water" is cool. Any game where
the GM gets to be the "Master Pirate" can't be anything but! :)
The game's one saving grace is that the "World of Mer" is a pretty
interesting place. Now, all one needs is a set of rules with which to play
>Okay. As a proud owner of a Powers & Perils Game, I'm willing to dig it
>up, find some loathesome passgaes, and write a review, with lengthy
>quoting, showing just how bad it is. Unfortunately, I don't own a copy of
>other giants of turkeyness such as Ironhedge Manifesto, World Action and
>Adventure, Synnibarr, or , of course, SenZar. What I would like to see are
>some lengthy, funny explanations of why these games are so awful,
>accompanied by some good, "for-purposes-of-review" quotations. If other
>people are game, I'll see what I can do on my part.
While P&P is fairly badly written and organized, the system isn't too
bad, if you don't mind doing some book-keeping.
Of the others you mention, I only have Synnibarr, which I agree is
bad. While not direct quotes from the book, a few examples of
1) Different areas of the planet have 'radiations' that cause magic
and or technology (of any kind, apparently) to not work.
Nevertheless, cyborgs who are mostly mechanical can still work in
no-tech areas, as long as they don't use any of their 'special
2) The map of the world shows a collection of continents, including
two polar continents. The polar continents are shown in full, with
water shown north/south of these and the actual poles being in the
interior of them. No indication of latitudes/longitudes is shown.
3) The map shown for the interior of the planet wraps around both
north/south and east/west, yielding a torus-equivalent shape, even
though the text clearly says that it is the inside of a spherical
4) There are a lot of 'instant death' spells, which are complemented
by virtually unlimited resurrection.
Torben Mogensen (tor...@diku.dk)
Ghostbusters the RPG - humorous, especially the NPCs in the
Judge Dredd the RPG - what was I thinking? Lots of nifty stuff,
especially if you haven't read the comics (as I hadn't). Why was
the mid '80s the licensing period from hell for roleplaying games?
Living Steel - good effort but...basically seemed like the Morrow
Project in a SF setting, with one-liners in the margins.
Midnight at the Well of Souls, the RPG - I thinkthis is the most
obscure game I have (I used to think it was Aftermath! but judging
from the traffic here about it I guess not! Someone borrowed my
copy though, dammit.)
FTL 2448 - let me first say that I do not think this was/is not a
BAD game per se..but looking back at it now there are some things in
the rules that seem..excessive? Not the way Powers & Perils was
(basically requiring a programmable calculator to create a character!)
but with *extremely* detailed treatments of some things. Some things
that struck me as funny (though not in 1985 when I got it I'm sure):
skill descriptions, for every imaginable skill and some not worth
imagining. Examples -
Food Processing: The mass processing of food substances for
consumption by large numbers.
Mortuary Science: The science of preservation of the dead.
Pickpocketing : Quiet and fast removal of objects from a victim
without his or here knowledge.
Tax Evasion: Failure to pay taxes to local government. (would you
really need a skill roll to _fail_ to pay taxes??)
Petty Theft: Simple theft of small objects. (as distinct from..)
Grand Theft: Theft of valuables over 500d's. (!)
(If the skill descriptions above aren't funny, well ok. Maybe it
was the fact that the only other SF rpg we had played before was
Anyhow, FTL 2448 also falls prey to the "too many tables" syndrome in
my opinion..giving rise to some (in my view) funny things, like the
Wound Infection table (yuk), the Allergies table (neat illo of a poor
sap sneezing inside a vacc suit - what the hell is he allergic to?)
and don't forget those Hit Location tables which take up a full 8 pages.
(yes Rolemaster has more, but this is in a ~150 page book.) In its
defense though - the alien races (about 30) are fairly well characterized
for a half a page each..and the sample quotes for each race are
hilarious. Each race has a "Personality & Views" section which
summarizes the racial views on the interstellar gov't, military, family,
work, justice, politics, red tape, etc. The section on the rules
with the alien races in it is the most entertaining reading in the
whole book. "More Zumwol die in airlock accidents every year than any
of the known races."
Well this has turned out longer than planned...quotes from Synibarr anyone?
(I'd quote HoL but at least that was intentional.)
* Chris Ingram "There is no evil in the atom - *
* Graduate Student only in men's souls." *
* UVA Physics Department -Adlai Stevenson *
* cw...@virginia.edu *
>Living Steel - good effort but...basically seemed like the Morrow
>Project in a SF setting, with one-liners in the margins.
You blasphemous heretic! How dare you slander Living Steel in your worst list!
(Although I agree, it seemed to be a sci-fi Morrow Project. But both are
excellent games, I have multiple copies of each.)
Admittedly, at the moment I am more into Feng Shui.
You'll burn, non-believer, burn!
|| FTL 2448 - let me first say that I do not think this was/is not a
|| BAD game per se..but looking back at it now there are some things in
|| the rules that seem..excessive? Not the way Powers & Perils was
|| (basically requiring a programmable calculator to create a character!)
Hey, Powers & Perils wasn't all that bad. True, there are a few things
that need to be tweak in the system to prevent overwelming characters,
but the play of the game is not bad (starting up a new game, by the way!).
Yes, creations was very involved, but no more so than Champions. And
the world (Perilous Lands) is one of the best to work with.
>Midnight at the Well of Souls, the RPG - I thinkthis is the most
>obscure game I have (I used to think it was Aftermath! but judging
>from the traffic here about it I guess not! Someone borrowed my
>copy though, dammit.)
Obscure nothing... Those were some of the finest sci-fi novels I ever read. I saw the
game for sale at a Con a few years ago and almost dropped everything I was
carrying from the shock of seeing it. Wish I had seen it earlier in the day when I
still had the money to buy it. That game is the only Well World book (boxed set
actually) that I don't own.
Err... Then again, maybe it is one of the most obscure games in existence. I know
plenty of people who have read at least one of the eight novels, but you're the
first person I've come across who has heard of the game as well.
Help the fight against the Woodside Literary Agency:
Support the Jayne Hitchcock HELP Fund:
>Admittedly, at the moment I am more into Feng Shui.
What? Flung Suedes? Why does everyone keep throwing their shoes around?
-- how can you resist picking on an RPG named after an interior decorating style?
as for the rest, you *obviously* haven't seen Synibarr or World Action and
Adventure, or any of the really bad RPGs, or you'd realize how good all of
those are. Ghostbusters is actually a very good game, and Judge Dredd and
Living Steel merely mediocre (IMHO).
Green must fight Purple. Purple must fight Green. Is only way.
Just my luck, I get stuck with a race that only speaks in macros.
> > Well I'm not sure if they qualify as among the worst (having never
> > seen Ironhedge or Synibarr..luckily I guess) but I have some fairly
> > obscure rpgs on the shelf at home. Among them -
> > Ghostbusters the RPG - humorous, especially the NPCs in the
> > Judge Dredd the RPG - what was I thinking? Lots of nifty stuff,
> > Living Steel - good effort but...basically seemed like the Morrow
> > Midnight at the Well of Souls, the RPG - I thinkthis is the most
> well, i haven't heard of this one, so it must be *fairly* obscure.
> as for the rest, you *obviously* haven't seen Synibarr or World Action and
> Adventure, or any of the really bad RPGs, or you'd realize how good all of
> those are. Ghostbusters is actually a very good game, and Judge Dredd and
> Living Steel merely mediocre (IMHO).
Hostage: Pawn of Terrorism
Has anyone seen these? They're aren't many worse.
I write both as an individual and as a company representative
Quest for the Grail Website: http://www.ccsi.com/~graball/quest
Scriptorium Website: http://www.ccsi.com/~graball/scriptorium
Oooh, gosh I had nerely forgotten Hostage! I always loved the six
fingered terrorist on the cover. Yes, this was a truely bad game. What
about Enforcers though. I think this was from the same company.
chuk, aka "Judge Medd"
> Has anyone seen these? They're aren't many worse.
seen both of those, but Hahlmabrea (sp?) was always shrinkwrapped. and
Justifiers looked like an ok premise, but i never really looked at the
Rules of combat older than contact with other races. Did not mention
aliens. Rules change caught up in committee. --ex-Green Drazi Leader
: > Hahlmabrea
: > Justifiers
: > Has anyone seen these? They're aren't many worse.
: seen both of those, but Hahlmabrea (sp?) was always shrinkwrapped. and
: Justifiers looked like an ok premise, but i never really looked at the
Justifiers was a super-hero game, wasn't it? Was that the one that
had a formula for an attribute that included a square root? I stopped
reading at that point - the flashbacks to the Great Dragon Falling Damage
Jihad got to be too much. Feh.
Following-up from <URL:news://rec.games.frp.misc>
> Okay. As a proud owner of a Powers & Perils Game, I'm willing to dig it
> up, find some loathesome passgaes, and write a review, with lengthy
> quoting, showing just how bad it is. Unfortunately, I don't own a copy of
> other giants of turkeyness such as Ironhedge Manifesto, World Action and
> Adventure, Synnibarr, or , of course, SenZar. What I would like to see are
> some lengthy, funny explanations of why these games are so awful,
> accompanied by some good, "for-purposes-of-review" quotations. If other
> people are game, I'll see what I can do on my part.
Oh, I'll take you up on that one. I've got a book right here that's
so bad, I'll without hesitation describe it as the Worst RPG Book I've
Ever Seen, and I used to manage the library for a gaming club. It's
called "Exotic Characters and Worlds for Role Playing Games". It's
not a game *per se*, but a generic supplement-type thingy published by
"Gamemaster Guides" (written by "Teddy C. Ryan III") in 1983. This book
is too bad to throw away.
Just imagine if you will, somebody writing in the Gary Gygax school of
gaming literature (complete with Arbitrary and Capricious Capitalization),
only not as good at it. Really. The very first paragraph of the book,
# This Supplement is Offered as a Multiversal System for Role Playing
# Games using Polyhedral Dice and Miniature Figurines. Provided herein
# is Complete Information and Data; Essential for the Game Master wanting
# to bring the Ultimate Realism into their Campaign.
EC&W is a pastiche of early 1980s AD&D, Gamma World, and Traveller (We're
talking Epic Copyright Violation, if you ask me), with a horrific
tendency towards overkill. Some highlights:
The character generation section requires rolling d8s to randomly
determine useful character traits like "Cleanliness" (ranging from
Filthy to Immaculate) and "Energy" (Sluggish to Hyperactive). My
favorite from these tables is "Intellect", which is *not* the
Intelligence score (but does modify it), so it's possible to have
a Magic-User PC who's officially "Retarded".
The traditional 6 AD&D Abiltity scores (here, "Character Attributes")
are determined by 4d4 plus racial modifiers, but the attribute tables
extend to 100. In case you were wondering, a 100 Strength gives a +82
Interesting character classes include "Head Hunter", "Serpent Sailor",
and "Time Traveller". Time Travellers of Level 16 or higher are
members of the Counsil (sic) of Elders. Who are the Counsil (sic)
of Elders? Here:
# The ELDER COUNSIL OF TIME LORDS exists on a World of its own. Time
# passes here at a Standard Rate regardless of where or what time Any
# particular Creature is existing. Time on this World is Recorded in
# Terms, one Term being 100 years. Present Time here is at the 170th
# Term Approximately the 21st Day of that Term (99 Days to a Term). The
# Past And/Or Future of this World cannot be Travelled.
(Me, I'd like to go back in time and stop myself from buying this book.)
The PERSONAL WEAPONRY TABLES include "Thrown Objects, Blunt", "Sling Shot",
"Disentegrator, Hand", and "Disentegrator, Weapon". I'm a little vague
on the difference between Disentegrators, because the book doesn't say
anything useful about it.
The Attack Matrix include Armor Classes down to -100. In case you were
wondering, a 0-level fighter needs to roll a 110 (on a d20) to hit that
AC -100 bad guy.
A 00 on the Critical Hit Table (a d100 roll) is "HEAD/splattered over wide
area (irrevocable death)" *plus* 20-50 hit points of extra damage!
The "Spells" section includes a 20th-level spell named "Blue Lightning":
# Upon Casting this Spell, the Caster causes a Blue Colored Bolt of
# Lightning to spring forth from their hand and strike Any Target within
# Range. Any Creature struck byu a Blue Bolt will be killed Irrevocably
# with No Saving Throw.
Fortunately, none of the character advancement tables actually show
when PCs earn 20th level spells, so the world is safe for a little while
A section entitled "The Multiverse" includes a diagram of the Planes
as well as maps of:
The Known Universe (showing the distances between major galaxies),
The Milky Way (showing which spiral arm the Earth is in),
The Sol Kiloparsec (about a 1500 light-year radius around Sol),
The Sol Sector (about a 150 light-year radius),
The Sol Subsector (about a 15 light-year radius), and finally
The Earth (with additional Ocean Topography Map).
Choice quote from between the Planes and the Known Universe sections:
# The Universe we know and live in is a vast Area within One of the
# Prime Material Planes located at the Core of the Area known as the Inner
# Planes. Our Universe contains many Galaxies, each of which containing
# Millions of Stellar Masses (Stars). Listed below is a Small Area of Our
# Universe showing Our Own Galaxy (The Milky Way) at the center, with a few
# other Galaxies within a 1000 Kiloparsec Radius.
A one page Chronology of The Earth starts at "the First Week of the
Beginning of the First Age", ranges through "the Birth of a Messiah",
a "Global Thermo-Nuclear War" in AD 2000, a "Solar Federation" uniting
earth, war with aliens in the 28th century, the reclassification of
Earth as a Red Zone (a giant killer robot named B.I.R.T. keeps the
quarantine). Game Present is AD 7000, complete with a prophesied
armageddon around AD 10,000.
After that, the "Random Galaxies" tables, just in case you need a
galaxy in a hurry. I think Teddy C. Ryan must have taken way too many
astronomy classes in college.
For some reason, there are 40 pages of blank "Stellar Profile" sheets,
a few planet descriptions, and then a few pages of blank "Word Data"
The "Alien Races" are actually kinda tame, and somewhat uninspired.
I'll skip them entirely.
The equipment tables. In case you were wondering, a "Warhead, Anti-
Matter" costs only 20,000,000 to 50,000,000 silver pieces.
(Fortunately, EC&W includes "Titanium Pieces", worth 1,000 silver,
making it much easier to carry all that money to the weapons shop.)
The final straw, literally, is the inside back cover, which states
THIS PRODUCT PROVEN AND TESTED BY RPGAL TO ASSURE YOUR SATISFACTION.
(RPGAL is the Role Playing Gamers Association of Lynchburg) followed
by the sigantures of 5 guys who must be the EC&W play-testers. Trust
me, THE JUDGEMENT OF THESE MEN CANNOT BE TRUSTED. (Uh Oh, Now I'm
Arbitrarily Capitalizing Things, Too.)
And finally, they thank the player characters by name.
Oh, and by the way, my copy is a numbered Limited Edition, initialed
by the author. I've got copy number 305, which presumbably means there
are at least 304 other people who suffered through this book. I'm
thinking of forming a therapy group for them.
*Why* do I own this book? Because it was sold at an auction (at a
convention in Toledo, Ohio) where I didn't bother to preview the
merchandise. The auctioneer said that it mentioned Gamma World on the
cover. I had been looking for GW products, but some guy had outbid
me on everything else offered that day (not so much that he bid things
too high for me to afford, but he bid them up well over the going rate),
and by God, I wasn't going to let him beat me on something that I didn't
know the market rate for. (Absolutely brilliant logic, if I do say so
myself.) So I ended up with "Exotic Characters and Worlds", plus its
Monster Manual-type supplement. Maybe I'll insult that book in a later post.
In case that guy I was bidding against is reading this, I just want to
say -- You came out *way* ahead of me on this one, pal.
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Michael Bauser <isla...@netbox.com>, 42° 07' 30" N by 83° 08' 30" W
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