mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Boom goes the dynamite! (42)

Armory Reloaded by White Wolf.

Haunted Winchesters,
& the Spear of Destiny--
I prefer Kung Fu.

I am what you call a "tool box" buyer. Since I run my own setting, my own stories, all that, I don't have need of a lot of what some gamers call "fluff"-- compare it to the term for rules, "crunch." I'm not a big fan of the terminology; I don't want to downplay the atmosphere, ideas, or hooks present in "fluff," & I like reading it-- books that are all "crunch" are unreadable, & things like Shadowrun really suffer without their trademark worldbuilding intruding in (the demise of the "comments" in Shadowrun books contributed mightily to my abandonment of the game).

I would have liked more crunch in here. I like the book, really. Quite a bit; it is ironic, that despite me being a very "rules light" Narrator, I mostly purchase books with lots of rules in them. The stand-out section of Armory Reloaded is the martial arts styles; the way the World of Darkness adjudicates fancy combat maneuvers is to make it incumbent on players who want to use them to buy them. Snippets of rules that a player who is interested in flipping guys, shooting swords of of people's hands, doing the samurai draw-strike! sort of thing can pick up, but that avoid Dungeons & Dragons inevitable crawl whenever someone decides to grapple someone else.

The next most useful section to me is the section on optional rules. You know, maybe you want guns to be more or less lethal, or you want martial arts to be more or less Bruce Lee, or...well, there are a lot of optional rules, is what there are. In fact, the sidebars are really great too-- one giving the wise advice that you don't need to follow the rules to stupid conclusions; a gang of toddlers isn't that threatening & you don't need to follow the combat system if kindergartners wrestle with an adult (it also points out that if you really really cared about that, you should check out Innocents.) Then again, what if those kids are Children in the Corn coming at you with scythes? Also there is a little blurb about unevenly applying the combat rules-- "this time, we're playing strictly lethal! Fatalities ON!" "Okay, lets just have a hilarious drunken brawl, everyone will feel hung-over tomorrow but that is the worst we'll use-- we're nerfing lethal damage for this fight."

The two other sections are less useful for precisely one reason: no discussion of balance that I can find? Maybe I'll look again & it will jump out at me, but I want to know-- how many dots of "Magic Sword" is the Spear of Destiny? Like, say I wanted to play a human guy with the Sword of Dracula in a Vampire campaign? How balanced would he be? Same with the state of the art weapons-- how much is an increased damage rating worth? I think balance is important; I know that there are arguments that say "Excalibur should be the focus of the campaign!" but then what, one character is suddenly more powerful than the others because he has it? I like dots. Not to be straight jacketed by balance, but to give me guidelines. I'm the Narrator, I have enough stuff on my plate without trying to figure out how unbalancing a piece of treasure is. That's right, I called it treasure!

(My players last night-- ready for these weapon rules to be used on them)
Tags: books, haiku, wod

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