Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Alpha Omega Stub

Things have been in-flux in my world. My latest cushy work assignment has made it all but impossible to Role-Play Online for the past year, which is frustrating because I spent the last 4 years cultivating the contacts to do online play because I was unable to game at home. Now I've got the ability to play at home but it took me a while to understand this and develop a player base that was interested. It looks like I have that now so I'm going to attempt a real-world game very soon.

And it's going to be a new one. Alpha Omega.

Alpha Omega excites me. That's the highest praise I can probably give any RPG. Every time I look through the books I get ideas, and I want to unleash them. Not game them out - but blast them forth like gushing pornstar.

Yes. Dwell on that mental image for a second. My gift to you. You're welcome.

Early on I was quite critical of Alpha Omega's dice mechanic (to put it mildly), and I've yet to test it in play but my opinion has lightened somewhat. It's got good probability curves, a nice even scale of capability and the only point it really slows things down is in Character Creation where you're having to reference the dice to the trait rating and write it on the character sheet.

That's just the start of what I like. It's also got a lot of little rules that I wrote myself for Hardkore (rolling multiple skills stands out) that I considered rather innovative when I did them. The fact that they're doing the same things means were on the same page in a lot of ways. I've made several characters as well and I'm really pleased with how each of the different species has a distinct feel but also a lot of diverse options and isn't shoehorned into any single approach. Not even Exalted has this degree of diversity available. For all of Exalted's infinite options most of the classes or castes or aspects have only one or 2 viable builds.

The difference between Exalted and Alpha Omega's diversity comes from it's power and capability structure. Exalted has effectively 4 traits that offer variance to the character. Attributes, Abilities, Backgrounds and Charms. In most cases Abilities (or Attributes) derive charms, and pretty much everyone gets those 4 things in roughly similar amounts across the board.

Alpha Omega on the other hand has Core Qualities, Abilities, Genetic Deviations (2 kinds), Skills, State Shifting, Weilding (3 kinds), and Augmentations (3 kinds). Not every species is able to take all the different options. In fact no species is able to take all of everything. It's these availabilities and inavailabilities that give each species class a unique feel while allowing tons and tons of customization. This allows me and my players to really go nuts on building a concept that we want to make with a lot of leeway to do so, but still enough guidelines that we're not feeling overwhelmed. Character Creation is still pretty daunting at first, and one issue I have is that there isn't much in the way of guidelines regarding what an amateur, professional and master would have for a rating in a given skill. However after playing under a few GM's who forced me to justify every faucet of my character's education regarding his knowledge base to my intense frustration; I think I'm just gonna go with this and simply not care. It's a game after-all.

As for the 2nd book, The Encountered, I find I'm having to stifle tittering like a schoolgirl every time I open it up. The Encountered does a fantastic job of taking existing Tropes from other sources, (Zombies that Shamble, Mutagenic Diseased folks from I AM LEGEND, Imps...) that immediately resonate but have a unique twist. Then there are the truly unique creatures that make me wonder if I can get some of the shit the developers were smoking at the time. They're often bizarre but not implausible and that's the holy grail of game monsters to me.

Anyhow, I'm still ongoing and haven't played anything yet. I'm sure there will be issues I'll have, but so far the impressions are quite positive.

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