Posted by: markfender | May 28, 2014

The 90s are Back

Remember last week when I was complaining about Pinnacle’s new Kickstarter that I didn’t get? Here’s another one:

photo-mainA new Kickstarter has developed called Orbis Aerden: Reign of Accursed. It has nice art and some multimedia components. It has nice miniatures (although I don’t know why they’re producing miniatures for a RPG). I’d even say the writing seems fairly decent, from what I’ve seen. But, isn’t it just White Wolf?

Of course, there was already the whole Vampire: Undeath thing, but let’s ignore that because it’s plagarism. Instead, let’s look at this new game and a quote from the author:

“The World of Darkness has acted as one of our inspirations when we were writing Reign of the Accursed, as have many other RPG’s, literary works and games in general. As you can see from what has been described in this thread, and the information available on kickstarter, RotA’s system does not have much in common with WoD’s, other than the fact that they both use d10s. Of course there may be other similarities, but if there are we have yet to make the connections. As far as the settings are concerned, the World of Darkness and Orbis Aerden obviously share the concept of the underground society of monsters but we have given our setting a different twist by adding the Lovecraftian kind of philosophical horror and creatures, the political intricacies of Game of Thrones and finally our own new ideas and concepts. Further than that, Orbis Aerden is a fictional/alternate reality world whereas the World of Darkness takes place in the real world. So, in closing, we drew inspiration from these works but we have not copied them or even mishmash-ed them into a single game. Nobody would want that, not even us.”

So, the “twist” on Masquerade is that you added Lovecraft? First off, please for the love of all that’s holy, game designers: stop using Lovecraft. It’s a century old. To be fair to these guys, we’re talking about Lovecraftian, which hopefully means they’ve got some original elder god-type stuff. I’m far more willing to accept that. But, White Wolf already did that in the World of Darkness. Vicissitude as a disease; the Weaver/Wyrm/Wyld breakdown; the demon living beneath Tzimsce lands; or even the Antidilevuian menace as a whole are all Lovecraftian, without using Lovecraft’s names. So, not much of a twist.

And the other “twist” is making the whole thing political, like Game of Thrones? Wow. Because Vampire wasn’t ever political. I mean, the main book only spends most of the page count of world background on the political structure of Kindred society. I’m sure that never came up.

Thirdly, the “twist” is that the game takes place in a fantasy world instead of the real world. A world that suspiciously looks steampunk. I’d say Vampire also already did that when they did Victorian Vampire. But, yeah, if you file the serial numbers off that particular real world place and time and make up some weird unpronounceable fantasy words it sure does look original.

Okay, that was all pretty mean of me. When you’re making a vampire game, you have to address what has come before or you just look like an asshole (*cough* Vampire Undeath). So, the statement about the differences HAD to be made. But I really hope the differences are a little bit more pronounced than they’ve been stated. I think some of the vampire groups look somewhat interesting and original, so I hope that continues through the game. But it does seem like we’ve stumbled upon a sort of heartbreaker game design based around ’90s gaming instead of recreating D&D. So, that nostalgia train is now in the station. *sigh*



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