Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The two types of monster manual you meet in heaven

Like everyone else in the LOTFP G+ community I picked up +Patrick Stuart and +Scrap Princess's Fire on the Velvet Horizon and +Rafael Chandler and +Gennifer Bone's Lusus Naturae, which are excellent windows onto all four creator's brilliant work.

In a game of Shag, Marry, Avoid, played with monster manuals, I would marry FotVH and shag Lusus Naturae. (What would I avoid? I'm a monster manual whore. I eye up the rubbish third party 3e monster manuals at my FLGS, and those are some well-thumbed volumes that weren't exactly lookers to start with. I guess I mean that I would shag Lusus first.)

Lusus is immediately compatible with you. It's easy going, it has loads to offer, and it's really obvious that it's ready to play. You know as soon as you set eyes on it you're going to find something fun to do with it. Maybe you'll return a few times, try out a few things you've never experimented with before. Maybe you'll hit it off and find yourself being drawn closer and closer after each session, slowly building something more meaningful than just that rush of adrenaline, a connection with the implied plot that gradually infiltrates your campaign. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just going to be a one time-thing - one monster that you can drop into your next session, a few recurring baddies, some nice flavour for your setting. This is one to try out and see what you and it can get up to together, because whatever happens satisfaction is guaranteed.

FotVH is not a one-time thing. Opening FotVH you know that it is going to change you. You might break off a long-running game just to make time for it, just to make sense of a single one of its ideas and find out what it means to play in the way this book implies you need to play. You'll find yourself making compromises  you never thought you would make, adapting your campaign in order to better respond  to it, accommodate its idiosyncrasies and needs. Ultimately it will make you want to be a better person, to be good enough to receive the gift of its strangeness and light.

There are two kinds of RPG content I want. One is the shaggable stuff - the stuff that is immediately, obviously fun and ready to play. Lots of +James Raggi's stuff is like this, most of +Zak Smith's stuff too, all of +Rafael Chandler's (Pandemonio is the most fuckable RPG I've ever read), Metzger's Metamorphica, anything that Ken Hite and Robin Laws talk about... anything that is ready to rock, doesn't want you to change, doesn't put up any barriers between you and having fun. The marriagable RPGs are rarer - Patrick Stuart produces nothing but*, lots of Zak S's stuff is as well, +Greg Stolze's Unknown Armies - the kind of RPG that cracks your skull open and sticks its hands into your brain and rearranges the pieces so that suddenly you realise you have always been wrong, that sort of thing doesn't come along often. Probably just as well. One heart-breaking romance at a time is just about all I can keep up with.

*Pat how much money / shells of extinct sea creatures / crystalised eyes of arctic amphibians will it take for you to write Exosuits of the Hot Chicks into a starcrawl RPG with some kind of armour-sculpture-beauty-power stat system and get Zak S to illustrate? Because that not existing is one reason causing the heat death of the universe.

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