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The Sprawl

 
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Guts
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:19 pm    Post subject: The Sprawl Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Anyone here played this? From reading it, it looks a pretty neat take on Shadowrun. Though it seems to suffer from the same problem of a convoluted matrix sub -system.
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Aryxbez
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

These kind of threads tend to not get much replies if any, part of it may stem that some people don't play much RPG's, or the ones they do aren't really going to be other games than the major ones talked about. Course by all means correct where I'm wrong, this is all niche obviously.

Additionally, I don't think you're getting much responses as it's based as any cursory would tell me, on the Bear-World System. I really like the character sheets to these kind of games, but hate the "Bear" aspect of having to make up shizen constantly, as the game should be giving me outputs and rules I can run off of, else I don't need to buy a game that wants me to MTP it. So how hard does it fall into Bear-World territory, what does it do to alleviate those pure DM Fiat elements and give us more consistent results?

Also, what elements make it "neat take on Shadowrun?", What is it doing differently in terms of rules, and setting? Also, tell me about the Matrix sub-system, what makes it convoluted? (Though I can barely understand Matrix in SR, so it may go over my head).
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Guts
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Bear World? Is this Apocalypse World? LOL

Aryxbez wrote:
I really like the character sheets to these kind of games, but hate the "Bear" aspect of having to make up shizen constantly, as the game should be giving me outputs and rules I can run off of, else I don't need to buy a game that wants me to MTP it.

Oh I got it. Yeah, it's really taxing having to improvise constantly in the game. The Sprawl apparently has more "meat" to it, with more pre-made outputs in it's moves, which should alleviate this issue.

Quote:
Also, what elements make it "neat take on Shadowrun?", What is it doing differently in terms of rules, and setting?

It mechanizes the activity of shadowrunning (or missions/heists as seen on stories like Ronin, Neuromancer, etc) instead of physics simulation, if that makes sense. It does that by creating "countdown clocks" for the Corporations and other threats, for tracking the heat these are getting on the players. Each clock is a countdown to "midnight", and each segment that is filled triggers some effect in the game. Character moves are linked to these clocks, so bad rolls may fill clock segments directly. Overall, the impression I get is the game pushes for a constant feeling of oppression from the corporations, pressuring players to minimize error and exposition or feel the heat (gunfire also seems more lethal here than in shadowrun).

During missions, it also creates a "Legwork" and an "Action" clock. The Legwork Clock tracks how much noise the players do while probing/gathering intel on the target. While the Action clock tracks how alert the target site is. So if you mess it up during Legwork, chances are the target location will be on alert, lockdown and with reinforcements in place. And if the Action clock fills up, the mission fails/is over.

There's more to it, but I think those are the essentials. But that's just by reading. I never played it, so take it with a grain of salt.


Last edited by Guts on Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:13 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Longes
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It's not a take on Shadowrun, it's just a cyberpunk game. It's closer to Cyberpunk 2020.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm genuinely not interested in actually playing any Bear World games, whether they are nominally referencing genres I enjoy or not. It's entirely possible for there to be good ideas in these games - heartbreakers almost always have various orphaned good ideas. But the core mechanics of Bear World are so awful that it's a genuine question as to whether these fucking things should be considered games at all. And I am firmly on the side that holds that they should not.

Longes wrote:
It's not a take on Shadowrun, it's just a cyberpunk game. It's closer to Cyberpunk 2020.


Oh, it's definitely a take on Shadowrun. The first stretch goal is to add a "Missions Pack," and the second stretch goal (at fifteen thousand New Zealand Dollars, which I believe to be $8.43 American) is to finish writing the Magic chapter.

And honestly, getting Shadowrun into a less second by second accounting of the physics engine and more into abstract action resolution is a great idea. That is the direction that Shadowrun should move into. That it should have moved into twenty actual fucking years ago. It's just that as previously mentioned, Bear World is not a viable platform to realize that vision.

-Frank
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Guts
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yep, the game is definitely a Shadowrun clone on a lighter chassis. It's purely focused on missions, for eg, something Cyberpunk 2020 wasnt' if I remember correctly. There is even a supplement for magic and metahumans on the way.

And the german kickstarter is up: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/58354395/der-sprawl-ein-missionsbasiertes-cyberpunk-rollens

Edit: loved the art, a pity I can't speak german.


Last edited by Guts on Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:16 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You are not missing much there . .
It is basicall shadowrun using the apoclypse world system.
And with 25 days left to go, they have 5.9k of the needed 5k
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Guts
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

For some folks, that's exactly what's been missing from shadowrun. Wink
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Voss
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Bears? I'm pretty sure there was a para-bear in some supplement or other.
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Guts
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

"Para-bear" is the perfect name for the Sprawl. (if I got the joke right, that is Big Grin)
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Where Man meets Magic Bear and Machine Bear.

The core problem with Apocalypse World is that there are less moves than in most board games; and the results of those moves are determined not by the prior game state, your choices, or even the accompanying die roll. You declare a move, you roll the dice, and then the MC makes something up. There's no relation between the declared move or the results of the die roll, the MC just pulls something out of their ass regardless. Any inputs from the player or the RNG are just "prior events" that are as likely to influence the MC's next declaration as the ham sandwich they ate for lunch.

And this isn't just nitpicking on my part. The examples from the Apocalypse World book are absolutely like that. Not once, but over and over again. Success on a combat roll results in the players making a valiant fighting retreat and still losing ground and taking casualties. Success on a perception roll results in the players having to abandon the mission. And so on. The "success at a cost" examples are even worse, where over and over again the "cost" is simply "you don't succeed."

Whatever you choose, whatever you roll, the MC attacks you with Bears. And reskinning that fail train as Magic Bears plus Cyborg Bears does not make it more pallateable.

-Frank
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Guts
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

We had a mini-campaign of Bear World and it was fine. The thing you must keep in mind is that the MC Agenda and Principles must be followed, otherwise what you described may happen.

What bothered us a bit was the prevalence of the Act Under Fire move, which taxes the MC for improvising complications all the time, like Aryxbez pointed.


Last edited by Guts on Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:38 pm; edited 5 times in total
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Guts wrote:
We had a mini-campaign of Bear World and it was fine. The thing you must keep in mind is that the MC Agenda and Principles must be followed, otherwise what you described may happen.

The only thing that bothered us a bit was the prevalence of the Act Under Fire move, which taxes the MC for improvising complications all the time, like Aryxbez pointed above. Other PbtA games address this though, by making moves more "solid" with actual outcomes explicit/listed as options. The Sprawl is an example.


The thing is that what I describe isn't something that I'm making up based on not following the MC principles, those are literally the actual examples of play from the book. You make an attempt to sneak in without being spotted, you roll the dice and get "Success at a cost" and the cost is... "You get spotted." Which of course is literally failing the action. You make a perception test, you roll the dice and get "success" and the result is that the MC makes up something for you to see, and it's an arbitrarily large group of new enemies that make you automatically fail the mission and have to run for your lives.

Those would be things that a hater might construct as a disingenuous argument against abstract roleplaying in general. But in the case of Apocalypse World, those are the examples the game makes for itself. I literally can't make up worse examples of "suddenly bears" than the real ones from the real book.

We could certainly talk about potential problems that abstract games might have. Like, being abstract, it might be that your actions don't feel sufficiently different one from another. Or it might be that there's so much MTP in between dicerolls that the "game" portion doesn't seem to matter. And certainly it's possible for those to be problems in individual gaming sessions to fall into those particular traps. But in Apocalypse World it is fucking hard coded. There aren't a lot of rules, but what rules there are absolutely tell you that those exact problems are absolutely mandatory and if you don't run into them every session you are playing the game wrong. That sounds like an exaggeration, but the book literally and specifically says and means exactly that. Repeatedly.

And that's not even getting into the little issue where actual Apocalypse World wants the MC to be sexually aggressive to the players, and that's super creepy and extremely gross.




So basically I don't honestly give a shit what modifications these New Zealanders have made to the Apocalypse World system. Apocalypse World is not a foundation made of sand, it's a foundation made of whipped fucking cream.

That being said, counting individual bullets as SR does is a waste of time and produces that are both less dramatic and less realistic than if you did things more abstractly. SR guns shoot extremely slowly when you hold the trigger down, and yet firefights manage to be over way too quickly to have meaningful events happen alongside them.

Going to a more abstract resolution system would let you intersperse hacker actions and street samurai actions in the way everyone always wanted.

-Frank
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Guts
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, I agree the examples in the book are bad. And the author writing seem to push for an edgy style that ends up making it didactically poor. I only got it after reading other hacks, and then coming back to Apocalypse World and reading it again. I recommend taking a look at Dungeon World. I don't like it's implementation of the engine but it explains the system really well. Also, read/watch/listen to actual plays from Adam Koebel. The guy is very good at explaining the rules while playing.

Or maybe the game is not to your liking. In that case simply drop and don't sweat it. Wink

About Shadowrun proper, I also agree it should have shifted to a lighter more genre-simulating ruleset ages ago. I suspect we may see this move in the next editions. That would be the only thing to make me play an official SR ruleset again.


Last edited by Guts on Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:29 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Aryxbez
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Guts wrote:
Or maybe the game is not to your liking. In that case simply drop and don't sweat it.

This is also likely where you got less responses initially, as coming off as someone simply desiring to advertise for Bear-World games. More to the flawed nature of this game than just preference, as you even admitted yourself with constantly making up stuff (which can cause your "success at cost" to not actually be a success).

I'm pretty sure he has read Dungeon World, and it's actually considered the worst even among its own fans, so how it explains things may be just as broken. I also doubt he or anyone is gonna listen to this dude, who while did criticize SR-lite game playtest, seems to be also an ardent fan of 5e, which doesn't bold well for giving an impression of being critical about what they like. Plus "actual plays" may not be entirely conclusive of the games flaws, as one can hide them with DM Fiat, editing, and Building a Script beforehand to make everything sound nice and good for entertainment purposes, plus it's several videos of an hour each (example of inconclusive: Belly of the Beast RPG, a video play of that was ran like it was D&D, despite it's not quite how the game plays, and didn't serve to show how it's different from other RPG's at that point).

Finally, there is the Core Problem as mentioned by Frank, you have little agency in what you do and happens.
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What I find wrong w/ 4th edition: "I want to stab dragons the size of a small keep with skin like supple adamantine and command over time and space to death with my longsword in head to head combat, but I want to be totally within realistic capabilities of a real human being!" --Caedrus mocking 4rries

"the thing about being Mister Cavern [DM], you don't blame players for how they play. That's like blaming the weather. Weather just is. You adapt to it. -Ancient History
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Guts
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Someone at another forum shared this Shadowrun fanmade hack. Looks well made.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByF9qkt14FlUeHBRTTFCZGxZTVE/view

Aryxbez, sorry I'm not sure I got your point. I see FrankTrollman found problems in Bear World, some of which I agree with (the vagueness and potential GM taxing of "act under fire"), others I don't as they didn't show up in my actual plays of it. And that's fine. Apples and oranges and all that.


Last edited by Guts on Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:21 am; edited 14 times in total
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Wiseman
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

For a Shadowrun hack, hell, I was considering just running a 3.tome + some other house rules and then just mindcaulking the bits that don't add up.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dungeonworld is an atrocity. The thing where one of your declarations while carousing has to be that you don't get enslaved is just so fucked up that there's honestly no point in reading farther than that.

-Frank
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Guts
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lol yeah, it seems PbtA games are not for you then as that kind of conditional is present in all them.

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Omegonthesane
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Guts wrote:
Lol yeah, it seems PbtA games are not for you then as that kind of conditional is present in all them.

It's the degree and obviousness of bad stuff that makes that particular example bad.

I had one mini-campaign and one one-shot in two different PbtA systems, and in neither one did the GM follow Vince Baker's advice to the degree that the original Bear World and, apparently, the rules of Dungeon World suggest.
Wait make that one mini campaign, one one-shot, and one PbP game on this here very forum, forgot about the Dungeon World "game" that Foxwarrior tried to run.

And back when Bear World was a novelty here I kept coming out of the woodwork to nitpick the example Frank's alluding to of "sneak at a cost" actually being "don't sneak" since interpreting it that way required you to actually think about the situation presented. So, the lesson there is that not even I'm willing to defend Carousing in Dungeon World.
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As far as death and human misery goes, Tobacco is basically World War II grinding on forever with no real sign of stopping in our life times. Death camps and nuclear bombs and stuff are certainly dramatic, but public health crises are always and forever bigger than wars on the global scale.

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Guts
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Looking again at this Carouse, yeah, it looks a poor move. The suggested miss outcome (6-) feels too similar to the weak hit (7-9), meaning except if you get a 10+ you will get screwed. Its pretty peripheral though, so its easy to ignore.

Omegonthesane, what do you think of the Sprawl? Have you read or played it?


Last edited by Guts on Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Guts
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The Technomancer:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1EotBzWwqusg3dNIt-cj8AUX_dzm6uGUG

Looks neat, though I don't know the archetype well enough to judge.


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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wiseman wrote:
For a Shadowrun hack, hell, I was considering just running a 3.tome + some other house rules and then just mindcaulking the bits that don't add up.


Frank's Warp Cult might be a better fit for this tham hacked-Tome, as it's designed for supernatural and technological themes in a dystopian setting.
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unnamednpc
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Okay, throw me into the wolf-pit and set more on fire for this if you must.
Preface: Everything I've seen of the original Bearpocalypse World book is an ugly, nauseating, agency-robbing exercise in violating the basic social contract at the gaming table. It's objectively nasty. I stopped reading Dungeonbear World because every single word it contains nullifies and insults everything it claims to do, and everything you might want to actually use it for.

That said, I am currently reading The Sprawl, and I am excited at the prospect of giving it a spin, because within the first 30 or so pages it already solves, or at least proposes solutions to, every problem I ever had with running a Cyberpunk/Sci Fi/Modern style heist-mission game. It audio helps that it heavily emphasizes the cooperative aspect between MC and players.
I mean, yes, of course this is going to be more of a wishy washy storytime session peppered with input prompts and totally subjectively selected narrative curveballs than a real GAME, but those can be fin, you know, and this at least gives the impression of trying to facilitate that for everyone at the table, instead of giving one guy an excuse to harass his friends.
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Guts
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Played it this weekend. Had a blast. Don't want ever go back to Shadowrun rules again.

Only point of contention was Intel. Half the group thinks it should be used as wildly as the player wish, while other half think it should be more ground (eg: If you got it from a street kid, you can't use it for defining there is this ventilation system to bypass a guard patrol on 47th floor of Aztechnology pyramid). I'm with the later, myself. I think a quick conversation before next session will solve it.


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