I founded the Indie Game Reading Club in 2010. I've written and developed RPGs since the mid-90s, now I mostly talk about playing them.
View all posts by Paul Beakley
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0 thoughts on “Holy shit holy shit holy shit.”
OH FUCK, IT STARTED!!!
Wow, this looks neat! I am down for an enlightened edition. Thanks for the share.
“Okay. Let’s do this.”
Is dragged backwards into an impossibly dark shadow by hooked chains.
Where is all of my money? Why does Kickstarter have it?
Kickstarter February has already stripped me of my extra spending cash. Burning Wheel, Apocalypse World, World Wide Wrestling. And now Kult? I gotta draw the line somewhere…
…well, there are 35 days to comb together some extra scratch.
I’ll be selling shit to pay for mine.
In a perfect world I’d be selling blood or other bodily fluids for Kult, I suppose.
Paul Beakley I have a fat stack of Rogue Trader books that need a new home…
Paul Beakley time to hit the donnor bank?
So I toyed with the idea of buying the previous edition (for a few hundred bucks) but couldn’t quite justify that for a game I know very little about. Could you give me a quick idea of what it is? How it plays?
I’m curious, too.
The die mechanic looks a lot like PbtA, but there’s mention of “immersion” and “rules fade into the background” which are usually red flags for me.
I have never played this game before, but am thinking of supporting it. What’s the difference between the adjusted covers and the uncensored covers? Can anyone tell me? I’m assuming the woman’s less clothed.
Okay. Hm. System wise I can’t talk much to it, since the last time I looked it was a straight PbtA hack. I think it’s still strongly influenced that way. I also think it’s misguided copywriting rooted in the assumption that nobody actually likes game systems. I saw the “fades into the background” stuff as well and didn’t pay much attention.
Setting wise, I can only speak to the earlier editions (I was involved with 2e and freelanced for Target AB). The short version is that Kult is about achieving enlightenment despite reality’s best efforts to keep you jailed by your perceptions. Some folks are victimized by this (think traditional horror) while others seek it out (think Clive Barker). There are times when you see reality as it really is, which is this infinite fallen haunted city, or Gaia, or the Inferno. Layers of perception, and the Really Awful Shit pays you no mind if you pay it no mind. But once you can see through, game on.
It’s Gnostic and Kaballah and a mishmash of western occult traditions. It is also aggressively not Lovecraftian. Although Cthulhu fans are singularly talented at bending fucking everything into Cthulhu, so whatever.
Play wise, in the original game, stuff you did “during adventures” would push your perception between two poles: full-dark and full-light. Yes, this is a sanity mechanic with all its problematic mental health issues. But you can also get way way saner, pushing past 0 into the other end of the spectrum, and that also will unlock your inner divinity (see Gnosticism above). That is so core to Kult that I can’t imagine them leaving it behind in this edition. But I don’t know for sure!
The vibe was much more Barker/Kafka body horror + paranoia than any other horror game of its time. Chandler’s Dread is in this zip code too. There is a cosmic horror element to it but it’s inverted Lovecraft: rather than the universe being vast and uncaring, it’s vast and cares entirely too much.
Mikael Andersson mentioned to me that Kult triggered the satanic rpg scare in Scandinavia, and that the subject matter and art direction made a pretty compelling case!
I think the image is the same, its just without trade dress…so no title or graphics hiding the art.
That’s what it looked like anyway.
I was all excited for the new edition but $30 us for a PDF puts it out of my impulse buy range and the loose bit of info they threw in there sounds like it’s kind of like AW which probably works ok for this kind of game but doesn’t fill my interest meter.
Still it’s funded no problem so I look forward to hearing about it after the fact. I love Kult and yet there’s something about this Kickstarter that’s just got all sorts of warning flags going off for me.
Chris Groff I confess, me too. Different flags than yours!
I think I’m kind of feeling stung by Modiphius right now, and that’s bleeding out into my general feelings about glossy Euro RPG publishers.
From what I know of Swedish culture of play, they love systems that “get out of the way” and let you “immerse” (compare freeform/Jeepform/Nordic larp). In this case I think it’s a sales pitch more than a reality – the system does originate from PbtA, and what I’ve seen to date have been playbooks, moves, principles, etc. And just like many PbtA games, the system does get out of the way, in the sense that you don’t roll for things that aren’t important, and when you consult it it’s during inflection points where it often drastically and surprisingly tilts the narrative. I think don’t read into it too much, Mark Delsing.
Mikael Andersson I’m looking forward to your adventure for it! In my head I’ve already run my Mikael simulator and come up with:
Fifth-wave feminists talk themselves into realizing they’ve been living in Hell all along.
stop doing all the writing for me Paul Beakley 😛
Any game that can trigger satanic panic in Sweden, land of thunder-gods and death metal, gets my vote.
Ralph Mazza oh, looks like your right. I didn’t even notice when comparing pictures. I saw the word “uncensored” and assumed a bit more lol.
Funny story for the Burning Wheel heads interested in this:
At the last BurningCon, I had a chance to play a session of Under a Serpent Sun. It is fatally flawed but very interesting. I’d had an interest in running it at home, just for a tiny bit, because after I read it I realized holy moly this is Burning Wheel Kult! Layered perceptions, a setup where the very reasonable things you might do — say, defending yourself against a twisted hell-beast and stealing something valuable off it — looks an awful lot to the un-enlightened world like you just butchered a pregnant woman and extracted the fetus. I mean, okay, content warnings I guess but if you’re thinking about Kult at all, this is well inside the tropes of the genre.
Anyway, my BurningCon story! So I say to Luke, “Hey, wow, UASS looks a lot like Kult! Really similar assumptions and setup.” And immediately he says “naw man, it’s nothing like that. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
And then, yesss, after a session of actual play it is an awful lot like Kult.
I’ve run into that a few times now with the BWHQ folks. Very early on in Torchbearer playtesting, I said it’d be great to have a game where you needed to treat a dungeon like a very technical spelunking/caving expedition and they were all “naw man, it’s nothing like that, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
I still can’t tell if they’re trolling me or not.
Given Thor has specifically called TB a spelunking game, I thin they’re pulling’ yer leg, mate.
THAT OR STEALING ALL YOUR DIEAS!
Under a Serpent Sun is soooo fucking Kult are you fucking kidding me right now. Your reality is nothing but a theatrical backdrop where you play out your meaningless, repetitive existence until you have no purpose and want to commit suicide, but then you don’t and you start glimpsing the horrific reality of being enslaved by alien space monsters, I mean come onnnnn
Also a game based on pretending At The Gates collection is a single concept album (named after a song off Slaughter of the Soul, a timeless classic release I keep returning to), so it has that lovely Swedish metal horror shit going down, too.
Tagging in Matthew Aaron for educational purposes.
KULT is a super big influence on me. It’s an influence in Pillar of Fire, for example. It’s why Pillar of Fire’s Houses into which all of humanity is divided in the far-future are the Sephirot.
KULT and Unknown Armies were like crack for me back in the day.
Now they’re both doing Kickstarters in the same year.
This is fucking… just… like….
I SEE REALITY
So, I’m assuming that M. P. O’Sullivan is tagging me in for some crazy dice math stuff.
As this iteration of Kult is mechanically similar to an AW descendent but with the change to 2d10 rather than 2d6, there are some weird effects on rolls that may or may not be intended. Three things occur: the percentage of each result changes, there is greater variability in each result leading to higher chance of streaky results, and static modifiers have dissimilar impact.
Firstly, the result space is substantially different. On 2d6, there is a 42% chance of 6-, 42% for 7-9, and a 17% of 10% on any given roll. On 2d10, there is a 36% chance of 9-, 43% for 10-14, and 21% of 15+. Using their spreads it is more or less exactly the same percentage that you’ll get a partial success, but a much higher chance of getting a full success. This leads to fewer hard moves by the GM and fewer complications.
Secondly, the total possible results of 2d6 is 36 whereas 2d10 give you 100 combinations. With a substantially larger selection space, it will take longer (in terms of number of rolls) for the results to normalize to the expectation values above. It will take much longer (on average) for the dice to behave as we would expect them to. Your run of bad luck will last longer, but due to the curve differences you won’t see it because you aren’t failing as much.
Thirdly, the static bonuses do weird things. 2d6+1 and 2d10+1 have exactly the same curve for the three result categories (6-: 28%, 7-9: 44%, 10+ 28%). A +2 and +3 have much less impact on 2d10 then they do on 2d6 however. With a +3, you are twice as likely to still roll a fail result on 2d10 as you are on 2d6. This has to do with a +1 on 2d6 being roughly equivalent to +3/5 on 2d10.
So, mechanically what does this mean thematically. What this analysis tells me is that the character’s actions are generally more successful than they are in AW, but their success has more to do with chance than with who they are. The characters are chosen by fate to do cool stuff, but what they personally bring to the table is less of a factor than the simple fact that they are chosen. If that fits the setting then rock on!
Interesting! I was definitely wondering about the math side of the design. Been gnawing on variations that mess with die sides for my own purposes but my mathlete skills are not up to par. Thanks Matthew Aaron!
I’d have to see how the rest of the system interacts with the basic die mechanic to determine if the change is thematically sound or not. I do like the increased unpredictability.
So much to say… didn’t want to steal this comment thread: https://plus.google.com/+UlfBengtsson/posts/Fb9xW3ty5xf
Ulf Bengtsson Getting a 404 there. Is it a private thread, maybe?
M. P. O’Sullivan. I’ll see if I can fix it.
You can’t un-private that post. You’ll have to add people to your circles.
Dang… Ok M. P. O’Sullivan you’re in! Please tty again.
I’d love a look at the post…
Ulf Bengtsson this is what you get for posting cool stuff private!
You can also link to your blog. They just won’t see the thread itself.
Also. Sorry Paul Beakley. My attempt to NOT hijack the comments here failed, miserably. My bad.
I will tear your soul apart