Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Vivid for Vivid Imaginings

WARNING: This isn't a game review. I don't know how to do that. I'm too lazy to do that. This is what I like about... VIVID! Yay!

I first got access to Vivid through the free Gods of Gondwane pdf; I never gave it much thought then. It seemed like one of those systems that 'narrative & plot driven' players use, and I being new to RPGs, was perfectly content with the rules-lite Warrior, Roge, & Mage.

As Vivid got lost in my collection of free RPGs I never play, my taste in systems evolved. With my discalculia muddling up additions and rolls, and because a crunchy & stat-heavy system hindered my girlfriend and me (the only player I get to play regularly due to lack of players. Sadness) from doing the fun stuff (like turning into sand and becoming a giant hand flipping off Khellendros, running up the backs of Tyrannosaurs, or seducing/ intimidating/ coercing/ begging villagers into fixing her karakoa ), I undertook a journey most TRPG'ers go through: looking for a system that fits me well.

I shied away from charts and charts of numbers and complicated bestiary, at this point I've met people interested in TRPGs and they're all very eager to play. No time to link them a PDF for them to read- no, they want something fast and easy but doesn't eat up the fun. I began appreciating the 'narrative & plot driven' system that I avoided when I was new: I didn't get traits and aspects then. But realizing the possibility it gives was liberating (personal choice; I still enjoy a game with good rules and ruling, like WR&M, Dungeonslayers, etc. It's just that we tend to say; I SUMMON A GIANT PENIS AND FRYING PAN and other immature stuff).

Thankfully, after responding to Dariel's call for playtesters, I received the latest (I think) version of Vivid, contained in the ultra-awesome, mega-badass, headhunter-level cool game Hari Ragat. I'm not hyping Hari Ragat. If you've ever been into pre-Hispanic Filipino stuff as I am, you'll understand. But back to Vivid; after reading and understanding it fully, I realized: here is a system where I can change the genere-specific words for something else that fits my taste and still be able to play it 2 minutes after without all that conversion. I don't need to worry about stats (Because GMCs are the best, I mean look at this random monster; ┼ávankmajer's Head 3/4. Two numbers. Three if the monster has friends, but still. LESS NUMBERS). Also, I can teach it to absolute beginners who've no idea what TRPGs are. I daresay, if FAE is touch-and-go, Vivid is look-and-go.

Vivid is as simple as asking; "What do you do, what are you good at, and what are the chismis-worthy stuff about you?" (Class, traits, hooks) Though simple, it is in no way stupefying or ineffective. It simply makes the task of determining what your character can do a bit easier, removing numbers associated to non-adjectives (I'm sorry, personal taste really. I mean, this is my blog anyway- HAHA!). This is very useful for those like me- I'm so terrible with numbers, I've locked out multiple ATM cards. You don't need to fiddle through your character sheet looking for something that can help you, if put down what you had in mind for your character, you'd know on the fly if he/she has advantages doing whatever that is. As for hooks and in-game ties, this adds drama to your character. Instead of a mushroom popping from nowhere, you have to create in-game connections, producing benefits and consequences when you make decisions.

The way Bala or Guts is designed is also very convenient, as HP (if you so bluntly put it) and as spendable detail-altering points. And since in Vivid, all weapons are deadly (aren't they all anyway? I mean, that's why they're weapons- they're deadly!), getting hit by one is tantamount to death- in which you have to pay Bala or Guts so you can narrate how you evaded it (PLEASE OH PLEASE don't use 'I matrix'ed and evaded the arrows!' or even 'My abs are so hard, it didn't do anything!'). This discourages blatant aggression (unless the character IS aggressive) and makes the players settle into their roles more versus seeing their characters as fighting cocks to be optimally outfitted for grand battle (My parents' friend gave us a chicken, now I'm thinking to outfit him with a Tari +5! Joke, sorry. Please don't sue me PETA)

There's more (actually few) to Vivid: detailing them all here would probably break confidentiality stuff between me and Dariel, so let's treat this is as NOT a review, okay? This isn't a review anyway. Fanboying more likely.

Lastly, I mentioned a while ago that Vivid is generic. Switch Bala for another word like Chi (if you're in a Wuxia game) and put traits and classes found in your genre- tada! Insta-genre change. Note that though it isn't what Dariel intended for Gondwane (Probably. It was supposed to be a Swords & Sorcery + Aliens game), it's what I did. A mash pot of everything- my Gondwane game has a Jejemon (had. He was eaten by the Xavathorians. Never did like my character, pH0GiiiE vH0XYsZ v3nT3_(iNc0 with classes like Jejemon 3 and Tambay 2), Mina the Mandaragat, Banna the Headhunter, US Marines, NPA Kapampangans, the Jetsons, and Fantastic Planet aliens. Its minimal rules makes homebrewing waaay easier, as a matter of fact: I use a homebrew Vivid! Just kidding. I feel ashamed. No, I didn't really homebrew Vivid, I just modified the Knacks system and switched the Dice Pool into Modifiers (because I can add small numbers and I'm proud of it) because rolling 15d6 is hard, especially when you like running through a Thunderfoot herd. I am telling you, you will have fun with Vivid. Try it as soon as it comes out, or try the older one in Gondwane.

Also: If Dariel gives me a 'go', I'll upload all the Gondwane stuff I did and the homebrew Vivid I did. YAY! Say it with me: YAAAY!