Afar: Mad World - Dark Fantasy (WIP) (HALLOWEEN UPDATE! 31 - October - 2019)

Michael dont forget the option to be evil in your game or to become in your violent world a Monster :japanese_ogre::japanese_ogre::smiling_imp:

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We need all the evilness like slaughtering entire villages evil (just a joke I don’t actually condone this just so you know everyone)

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I have a few rules when it comes to writing. And though I had a bit of a restrictive rule when it comes to writing Breach, in Afar: Mad World, I have less rules when it comes to what the MC can do.

Trebantaboo is a world filled with evil and violent people who do evil and violent things. Whatever the MC does, there’s most likely someone who did it much worse.

(Though keep in mind, I still have to stay within boundaries and not make the game too grossly offensive)

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Well, since we already covered one side of it, I’m curious how good we’ll have the option to be. We got to try to rescue people from a sea battle but that ends up not going so well since the woman you help tries to pull you overboard, and it actually turns out better for you both if you fail the check because you don’t end up in an exploding boat and she doesn’t end up shot in the head. :thinking:

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You may want to put that into a spoiler tag :sweat_smile: You may use this syntax [spoiler]This text will be blurred[/spoiler]

And yes, the first few parts of arriving in Trebantaboo is intentionally harsh and tough. It’s there to make sure you know full well what to expect.

But further into the story, you will see more and more chances for you as a character to do good, but also to let others do good. Even in the darkest and roughest of places, there’s still a chance for kind hearted.

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Cool, I’m kind of a big softy and always hope for options to avoid killing people even if they aren’t so considerate themselves. I actually tried rerolling the strength check for that boarding scene to see if a critical success trying to pull the boarder aboard would just lead to you successfully overpowering her or something.

After all, a large part of what often makes villains villainous I a disregard for the lives of others.

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Don’t worry, you’ll be able to be a force of good in a world torn asunder and tossed upside down by chaos and evil. It’ll just be a bit hard to do…

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Well, being a good guy in a bad world just makes you feel all the better for doing it. True compassion can go a lot further with those who don’t expect it… I mean, assuming you can actually get them to take you seriously.

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Its probably a bad idea but could you found a city of not horrible people

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It’ll be a bit hard to find good people, but it’s possible

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I will admit the premise did leave with questions over whether I’d want try it or not. It’s peculiar, to put it lightly. But since I liked Breach so much, I decided to give it a go, cranked up the power metal and dove in.

Comments as I run through

This’ll be a running commentary I’m noting down in Word as I play, so it’ll be rambly as hell.

Firstly, I completely forgot that you could change background options in settings, so good on you for that comment.

Interesting hook at the start of chapter 1, though all of the stuff might be alienating to others.

It’s an interesting idea having the classes all exist. Them all having roles on the ship did cause my head to tilt at that, though as the chapter continued this began to be justified, so it was less of an issue. I like the specialisations though, gives plenty of room for role-playing and it’s a nice way to do skills in character creation.

The transitions between past profession and your origin was a bit awkward, I felt. I feel like there wasn’t enough to make a choice on origin location – everything’s a bit vague – and I only chose what sounded most appropriate (mercenary squire from south Verdania). I don’t suppose you’ve considered having culture-specific names or something like that? Have the lore bleed in more to the choices. Right now the names are a bit of a hodge-podge. For instance, if one origin had stereotypical fantasy names, another had French-influenced ones, another had some kind of patronymic etc readers would be able to glean more about their origin’s culture. It probably isn’t that important to the overall story (which focuses on Trebantaboo), but I prefer not having my character as a full blank slate before the game begins.

As character creation finished, the build up of information about the world and the player’s destination was better, though it was until the meeting with the captain that I got fully into it. The imagery was also very good with the ensuing storm, and I liked all the nods to naval terminology and the crew actually tries to act like one.

Didn’t get the impression that the game was slightly gunpowder/renaissance fantasy from the description, but I don’t mind it being there.

Minor nitpicks, but I would have expected all of the gunpowder kept secure to be in the magazine and not taken out until they clear for action? There is a lot of gunpowder in the storage hold, but some apparently got thrown everywhere abovedeck. Also, wouldn’t the crew “living quarters” strictly be everywhere below the deck except for the hold, the galley and the officers’ quarters?

It escalated very quickly to the kraken fight, and everything after that was a bit of a rush, but that was good. Definitely set the scene for how dangerous the place is, more so than the earlier part of the chapter.

Is there an in-universe justification for archery being common enough in a world where gunpowder weapons are common enough and decently reliable? Rate of fire? Are the enchanted arrows Ranch uses common? I personally don’t mind archery’s inclusion, always nice to have a choice, but I’m curious about that.

Though I had gotten annoyed at my PC repeatedly being knocked unconscious, the depiction of basically being a slave and treated like dirt made up for it (something that’s rarely seen in COG/HG), even if “Gimp” and the BDSM undertones may have distracted from the seriousness of it all. In another setting I’d have nitpicked that leather armour as in fantasy isn’t really a thing, but given the BDSM undertones I’ll keep my mouth shut. Appreciate the comment that no matter how good the armour is, that there are weak spots. The Captain’s madness was done very well, particularly unnerving. The Blissful Week was an apt way to show that.

I’m conflicted on whether it’s a good way to segue into moving the PC to another location, though. The constant torrent of danger doesn’t really offer that much time for the emotional impact to get through – it just seems like peril stacking on top of peril. It’s also going by very, very fast after the PC wakes up in chains, which also lessens the emotional impact. I get that’s somewhat intentional, due to how perilous the continent has constantly been described at, but too much coming so quickly can get a bit exhausting.

General Comments

The tone’s generally a lot more even than in Breach. Characters with absurd names are played completely straight, and I like that. I wasn’t fond of the premise of such an alien world, but as I kept reading it, I became more interested in it. That said, how it plays out is completely different from the premise, which I interpreted as being an explorer rather than spending the first chapter as a slave. Not that I mind that, but it wasn’t what I expected.

This is similar to my comments about Breach, but there are occasional snide comments from the narrator about things, usually names. Like how “Trebantaboo” is a silly name, or how “Tiago ’Cannonbeard’ Almeida“ is clichéd. It doesn’t work for me. There’s no pay-off for it, and it just seems like fourth wall breaking for the sake of it, and it’s clunkily done. I don’t mind fourth wall breaking: indeed, if people in Rhapsody do genuinely believe that “Trebantaboo” is a silly name that would be somewhat relevant (as is implied later in the chapter where it is presented as the PC’s thoughts), but as it is it can also disrupt the flow of reading.

As it is, from what I’ve read so far, I’ve no real interest in trying to adapt to Trebantaboo short of what my PC is forced to do to survive. I don’t know whether you intend to show some positive parts later on, but so far my goal for my character is to do the job they were supposed to, get out there whole, and if the place is even more of a fiery mess afterwards, all the better.

That’s not to say that I don’t like the darkness, verging on grimdark. But it’s a balance, right? Too dark and the audience becomes apathetic. Even in Warhammer there are glimpses of humanity, bravery even in the most impossible of situations. Ranch, so far, is the only one who’s somewhat sympathetic, and that’s elevated by the situation the PC is in.

It’s a COG, so the player expects more agency than a straight story, but less than a TTRPG where the GM reacts on the fly. The darkness is an integral part of the Afar, I feel, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming, and the players should know what they’re getting in to before they start the game. I feel like the blurb could do with a rework as a result. My impressions were that the alien nature of the continent played second fiddle to the darkness when it came to theme, not the other way around.

Curious to see how combat will turn out. Personally, I like running characters with a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other, with a slung musket or rifle. Looking at it, having one-handed offhands (shield, pistol) seems a bit awkward since IRL you’d be able to carry a third weapon in such situations too, but I understand it as a consequence of the engine initially used for Breach.

Looking forward to see how this goes, got me rather interested so far.

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Will there be cheat codes for this?

@MichaelMaxwell
Some cheat code ideas
moveslikepavo: +10 when seducing
vengefulfish: +4 with improvised weapons
hardasascholar: +2 con
Naveehgetcaught: +2 dex

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Captain Kapaten is a dead man walking. Another great story loved your first story (breach) and now this one you have knack for these sorts of things.

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Since this game almost use the same system as Breach, i’d say most of the cheat codes could be the same? Otherwise instead of eatyervegetables, here it’s drinkyerpoison.

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