💀 Necro Anyone Still Playing Silhouette?

Doctor Guilty

Action Cartographer!
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#11
Did they ever actually finish the entire Heavy Gear timeline? I mean, even with Blitz? Do we know who is actually speaking on the front of the Storyline books?
Not that I’ve ever seen, no. To my knowledge, the Blitz setting got thrown into a state of long-term warfare and left it at that.
 

Gentleman Highwayman

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#12
I might be an outlier, but I always loved Silhouette as present in the war-game system. It was everything I wanted from a mechanic game--fast, furious, Gears blowing up on the first hit and some limping to the end of the game... Then I tried to run the RPG, and boy was the game deadly. All the things I loved in the war-game were not so great in the RPG. There wasn't a meta-currency to insulate characters from random death. The last time I "used" Silhouette was to make a stripped down trip-fold version of Heavy Gear.

Doctor Guilty, have you thought of trying to get an actual license for HGd6? I think it might be Kickstartable for PDFs and PoD and the d6 system is more accessible--and less deadly.
 

Cloud Divider

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#14
Silhouette's and I have a ...complicated relationship these days. It's the first system I really fell in love with. The not-so-subtle difference between stats that improve your maximum effect and skills that give you reliability of effect. The speed and relative quickness of combat, on foot or in giant war machines. I really liked that a well placed shot from an appropriate weapon stood a very real chance of disabling or destroying the target in a single shot, rather than a slow erosion of HP or "Armor/Structure Points". That really sweet vehicle construction system that was appropriately fiddly and yet not quite ponderous like the other mecha games of the era. And the settings on top of it. That was really good stuff.

But the reality, for me, seems to be that Silhouette's like that old flame from high school or college that ultimately didn't work out for whatever reason. It was a really good relationship at the time. I mean, wow. Great times. We had some really awesome times back in the day.

But the GM I am now, just isn't quite as interested in those mechanics anymore. It's not so much that other mechanics are "better," it's just the things that Silhouette was really good at aren't the things I'm looking for anymore, or are things I'm willing to compromise on to have other elements work better.

The combat lethality's a good example of "good before, less good now." Yeah, it was great when the PC's Walk Fire across some enemy goons and take them out in a single roll (fast combat! Awesome! Autofire rules that actually give you interesting options while still being abstracted). Trying to run a Gear-based campaign was fun, until the first combat where one of the PC's gets Overkilled. Or fumbles a Dodge roll. Or when one of the players wants to play the stereotypical Lunk-style (Big Dumb Heart-o-Gold with the +2 BLD and +2 FIT) hero, and ends up way worse off in combat than the Combat Ballerina with the +3 Agility, -1 BLD. Or if we were trying to do a game with anyone different than humans, whether it's elves or space aliens, things got messy.

The settings, though, I've lost count with how many times I've adapted the setting material to something else. Sometimes it's more literal than others - I think Peace River has shown up in at least two different campaigns, and the Eastern Sun Emirates and the Emirati Civil War was lifted almost whole cloth for a 6-month arc of my sci-fi game.

Good times, though. Every so often I wonder about going back for nostalgia purposes. But I think that feeling comes from the same place that sources the impulse to go look up whats-her-name from high school on Facebook. But that was over 20 years ago... (I had that realization about a week ago when someone was asking for a copy of my old Silhouette Vehicle Construction spreadsheet on a thread here)
 

Heavy Josh

Car drives me!
Validated User
#15
Silhouette's and I have a ...complicated relationship these days. It's the first system I really fell in love with. The not-so-subtle difference between stats that improve your maximum effect and skills that give you reliability of effect. The speed and relative quickness of combat, on foot or in giant war machines. I really liked that a well placed shot from an appropriate weapon stood a very real chance of disabling or destroying the target in a single shot, rather than a slow erosion of HP or "Armor/Structure Points". That really sweet vehicle construction system that was appropriately fiddly and yet not quite ponderous like the other mecha games of the era. And the settings on top of it. That was really good stuff.

But the reality, for me, seems to be that Silhouette's like that old flame from high school or college that ultimately didn't work out for whatever reason. It was a really good relationship at the time. I mean, wow. Great times. We had some really awesome times back in the day.

But the GM I am now, just isn't quite as interested in those mechanics anymore. It's not so much that other mechanics are "better," it's just the things that Silhouette was really good at aren't the things I'm looking for anymore, or are things I'm willing to compromise on to have other elements work better.

The combat lethality's a good example of "good before, less good now." Yeah, it was great when the PC's Walk Fire across some enemy goons and take them out in a single roll (fast combat! Awesome! Autofire rules that actually give you interesting options while still being abstracted). Trying to run a Gear-based campaign was fun, until the first combat where one of the PC's gets Overkilled. Or fumbles a Dodge roll. Or when one of the players wants to play the stereotypical Lunk-style (Big Dumb Heart-o-Gold with the +2 BLD and +2 FIT) hero, and ends up way worse off in combat than the Combat Ballerina with the +3 Agility, -1 BLD. Or if we were trying to do a game with anyone different than humans, whether it's elves or space aliens, things got messy.

The settings, though, I've lost count with how many times I've adapted the setting material to something else. Sometimes it's more literal than others - I think Peace River has shown up in at least two different campaigns, and the Eastern Sun Emirates and the Emirati Civil War was lifted almost whole cloth for a 6-month arc of my sci-fi game.

Good times, though. Every so often I wonder about going back for nostalgia purposes. But I think that feeling comes from the same place that sources the impulse to go look up whats-her-name from high school on Facebook. But that was over 20 years ago... (I had that realization about a week ago when someone was asking for a copy of my old Silhouette Vehicle Construction spreadsheet on a thread here)
Yeah, I suppose it has been 20 years since I started running HG too... You've definitely encapsulated my feelings towards the Silhouette system. It does many things really well--I didn't even mind the lethality, since there were some pretty solid house rules involving XP/Emergency Dice that could be put into play to soften that aspect of the game. Grenades were a tad wonky, shotguns never worked right, and non-lethal combat required a huge amount of work.

But attributes were just better than skills in Silhouette. Full stop. And now I would rather a system that just lumps skill and attributes together as just "competence". It lets the player develop a character on Story and Effects only. Remember how that was a huge feature of the VCS? Characters, on the other hand, were not so Effect-based, at all.

I've repeatedly stolen bits of the setting too. It's great. And maybe I will return to Terranova one day...
 
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Doctor Guilty

Action Cartographer!
Validated User
#16
I agree with Josh and Cloud (hi, Pierre!). I still like to crunch things through the VCS (so I’ll add things like the T-14 and T-15 Armata to the Motor Pool pages), but othwise Silhouette just doesn’t “do it for me” anymore.
It’s likely I’ll make a Jovian Chronicles D6 conversion at some point, and though I don’t really understand the Fate rules they seem a great match for Tribe 8. I think I’ll just stick with what I’m doing.
 

DarkMoc

Registered User
Validated User
#17
I found that Silhouette is great for human-centric modern/scifi settings, but when they released the Core Book I was hoping for a truly generic system and didn't get that - there's no magic rules to speak of, and no rules for designing or handling monsters or non-humans/aliens. It's frustrating because what's there is a really good system, but it just didn't go far enough.
I vaguely remembered asking about magic a while back on the DP9 boards, and apparently it was fourteen years ago(!).
 

Cloud Divider

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Validated User
#19
I vaguely remembered asking about magic a while back on the DP9 boards, and apparently it was fourteen years ago(!).
Yeah, so like, a lifetime ago, I was working with a team of guys trying to build a more fantasy-themed version of Silhouette, back in roughly 97-98, which was right around the time Tribe 8 launched. Roughly in parallel with that was an attempt to integrate some psionics rules that mesh better with Jovian Chronicles Mecha themes. One of the guys shipped me his archives of it a few years ago when he discovered it when he was cleaning out his closets.

It turns out to have been a harder but to crack. On the one hand, we tried adapting the VCS to build spells, but it was a lot of complexity for not much payoff. Unless you were one of those crazy people who really enjoyed HERO and building a character like a vehicle. (more power to you if you were, but it worked against what I was looking for).

Balancing some of that was also a bit tricky.

I did end up running a few sessions of a Silhouette Fantasy campaign in the D&D vein. It was fun, but some of the foibles of Silhouette broke things (high Agi elves vs huge Ogres tended to resolve in favor of higher Again).

It's one of those areas I unfortunately have to chalk up to Things Silhouette Doesn't Do Well.
 
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