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What a difference time and experience makes… looking again at Tribe 8

Wurzel

Action biologist!
Validated User
My group is just taking a break after spending like 2 years on Children of Lilith, which was hella awesome. You can do it much quicker than that, but we never felt the need to rush. The world is absolutely brilliant, like nothing else I've ever played in, and the system wasn't too bad.

One major house rule we made: we switched combat dice from d6 to d12. Same number of dice rolled, same bonuses from attributes, 11s and 12s combine same as 6s do in the base system. Also, we halved the MoS resulting from this. This made combat a lot less random, had less instadeath, and helped make everyone contribute to the fights. I'd heavily recommend people try it.
 

John Marron

Exoticising the other
Validated User
There must be something in the air right now, I just dug out my T8 books and started re-reading them this week as well. Unlike the OP, I have run two T8 campaigns before (both used systems other than Silhouette), and they were some of my favorite games.

I'd like to run a T8 game again, but this time I'd use Heroquest (I prefer 1E) as the system.

Wonderful setting, one of my all time favorites.

John
 

Blame the Raven

Innocent Demon Bird
Validated User
I love(d) T8. The setting just clicked for me. To date, my T8 campaign was the longest campaign I have run. It was also basically the golden age of gaming for me - we played 2-3 times a month, and though it was a small group, people were consistent. It was just a blast.

Now, it's even more amplified in my mind since it's a miracle if I game once a month. Ah well. Yay for memories. :)
 

Shadowjack

Cartoon Poet
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I'm glad there are people who've run good long ones with it! For a while there, it seemed the only people I'd talk to about it were in the same, "Oh, I wish I could, but…" camp. :D


Though it occurs to me that I've always been into evocative settings. My first big campaign was Earthdawn, so, yeah.
 

.jayderyu

Retired User
I'm glad there are people who've run good long ones with it! For a while there, it seemed the only people I'd talk to about it were in the same, "Oh, I wish I could, but…" camp. :D


Though it occurs to me that I've always been into evocative settings. My first big campaign was Earthdawn, so, yeah.
Me and my group are up to 10 years. We are seriously taking our time. Though I'm glad to hear that some one took 2 years with Children of Lilith. I think we spent a little over a year on it. In all honesty I think I loved the reign of Lilith the most and Trial by Fire a close second. They provided incredible backdrops and great emotional and political situations to play with.
 

Pariahic

The God Damned Batclown
Validated User
I *adored* Tribe 8, but I only got one chance to run it for my group and it didn't last very long. I think a big part of the problem was a difference in the kind of game I wanted to run and the game most of the players wanted to play. I wanted to explore the themes and play out the metaplot and they seemed to want a fantasy post apocalyptic survival sim. I'd like to give it a shot again some day with a different group.
 

Asen_G

#3 Anti-Illusionism Squad
Validated User
Suddenly, I feel confident enough to run this. Whoa.

I'd had this magic post-apocalypse idea kicking around, I'd reorganized my bookshelf, and then, boom, I remembered that I had the mostly-complete Tribe 8 set that DP9 had been selling off a few years back. Now Tribe 8, I know, has been on many people's lists of "awesome game that I doubt I will ever be able to run"—as it's been on mine. It's kind of a strange, high-buy-in setting, with its own visual look; it explicitly emphasizes the social/political as much as the kill things/take stuff; it's got this huge meta-plot with a bunch of important NPCs; and it strongly encourages you to do artistic thematics in your games, which to a newer GM is like a new musician being hit upside the head with a bunch of critical theory when all you wanted to do was learn a few chords. So, daunting, not only for the bar to climb, but also because to really do it it justice you'd need to do a long campaign, so you need a bunch of people to climb over the bar with you.

So that's how I remembered the game when I picked up the books again.

Maybe it's partly because just before I'd been reading the new Burning Wheel Adventure Burner before, but it's mainly that my GMing skills have grown since I last read the materials, because where I saw obstacles before I suddenly see all sorts of nifty hooks.

Before, the mass of setting material seemed just daunting. But I've been practicing slipping setting and character detail into my descriptions for years now, starting with the big simple stuff (It's magical post-apocalypse and you're all tribal dudes who got kicked out and now live in this shanty-town. The Tribes = assholes! Fatimas = angels made of junk! Z'bri = demons! Okay, character creation, go!) and working in the fine stuff with skill rolls and so on. And there's plenty of room for improv, anyway, since more than half of what's in the books is characters' claims and not necessarily objective truth.

The scenarios before had seemed like strait-jacket railroads with dominating NPCs—and yet too loosely described to be useful. Now I see that they knew you'd go off the rails anyway, so why discourage it by over-detailing the rails? Practically ever major plot beat that relies upon an NPC to occur is described in such a way that active PCs can easily do it first; I use that technique all the time now in play-by-post, having NPCs tag along with the group so that if the PCs miss something, the NPC can point it out, and if the PCs do get it, the NPC stays in the background. So those sparse outlines are really useful skeletons upon which to hang all the neat stuff your players are really interested in. Just one of those slim books contains material for at least a year's worth of once-a-week gaming, built around your PCs main interests.

Where before I'd seen all these themes that I feared would never be seen, now I see that things are written so that everything can be turned back towards the core ideas when you want it to be. I just read the Outlands book, and—man! You could do an entire campaign about boating down the river to gather food, and it would be a taut family drama with themes about discovery and loss and spirituality and questioning authority, and all with hundreds of lives at stake. Epic plant harvesting action!

In the Adventurer Burner, Luke Crane mentions running several tightly-focused campaigns within the same setting, sometimes the same characters, sometimes not—an idea which honestly had never occurred to me, but makes fears of never getting a chance to see the whole setting drift away. Want to look a bit of the big setting? Do a short campaign there. Want to look at your old heroes next? Switch characters and bring them back for another story.

I'm gonna run this some day, I swear. I'm gonna learn to use Burning Wheel with it, because it seems perfect. Beliefs, Instincts, Traits, Artha flowing. I'll need to work out Synthesis rules and comb the books for ideas for Lifepaths. Seven Tribes, plus "Bazaar" and "Fallen" to start with. Then Squats, Keepers. Serfs with really fucked up Traits. Keeper lifepaths should be mostly serious, but also include in-jokes like "Vault-Dweller" and "Overseer", "Road Warrior" and "Postman" LPs. Heck, just doing the Tribal lifepaths eliminates a bunch of the need for background exposition—you'd see what each Tribe is like just by looking over the list when you burn your character!

Take away some Resource points when you become Fallen to make you hungry and desperate. (Or, alternatively, encourage players to sink those points into magic and connections instead of personal kit; the 8th Tribe's supposed to be better at Synthesis, after all.) Winter's coming, bud, and you didn't take winter clothing or shoes with your starting buy. Better find or make some, and soon. Circles, Resources, Duel of Wits, Practice, Fight! "I killed the wolf with a metal spear it took me two weeks to make with my own bare hands, I had to do three dirty deals and learn metal-working by myself, the wolf almost took my arm off and I had to run away from Z'bri through the snow with the wolf slung over my back but I killed it myself and NOW I'M WEARING IT. Fuck the Fatimas! I killed a wolf!"

It'll be awesome.

Some day, I swear.
FWIW, you just raised my interest in this setting:).
 

Brand_Robins

Retired User
This thread makes me happy.

Besides Burning Wheel, games I've fucked about with for Tribe 8:

- Apocalypse World
- The Shadow of Yesterday
- Dirty World

For Burning Wheel and Tribe 8 Synthesis, I'd check out Practical Magic and Art Magic from the Magic Burner. A couple of emotional attributes in the Corruption (Z'bri induced) range would also be fitting.
 

Shadowjack

Cartoon Poet
RPGnet Member
Validated User
This thread makes me happy.

Besides Burning Wheel, games I've fucked about with for Tribe 8:

- Apocalypse World
- The Shadow of Yesterday
- Dirty World

For Burning Wheel and Tribe 8 Synthesis, I'd check out Practical Magic and Art Magic from the Magic Burner. A couple of emotional attributes in the Corruption (Z'bri induced) range would also be fitting.
'Xackly where I was looking to start, though right now I'm just immersing myself in the setting and campaign books—since I haven't actually read 'em all yet. :D

Spoiler: Show
OMG Hom is on fire and all the Agnites are creepy they're all gonna die no they're not.


Note to self: When running this, warn players up front that shit will happen.
 

joshroby

Totally Unreliable.
Yay, Tribe 8 love. :)

That was a great game, and I've always been grateful for the time I got to write on it. It did a lot of bold things — some of which worked — and doesn't get the props it should for breaking new ground.

I actually dunno if Smallville would do it right — you'd kick things off with Lilith and the game would go careening off the tracks lickety-split. Which is okay if you want to explore an alternate Tribe 8 plot arc (Deborah! Deborah!), but it's a different kind of animal. If you wanted to stick closer to how the metaplot was "supposed" to progress, you'd need something a little stronger on GM authority and tighter creative constraints on the PCs. Burning Wheel sounds about right; ORE could probably hack it as well.
 
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