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Tabletop Game / World of Synnibarr

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No, really.
World of Synnibarr is a tabletop role-playing game, the brainchild of one Raven c. s. McCracken. For most of the 90's, the game was considered by many gamers to be the worst role-playing game ever, but nowadays it has ceded that title to F.A.T.A.L., which is awful for altogether worse reasons (Synnibarr, for all its absurdity, at least doesn't pander to unrepentant misogynists).

The setting is an intense fever dream of science fiction, dark fantasy, comic book superheroism, and other over-the-top elements, with wars lasting for tens of thousands of years and a huge assortment of acid trip monsters (only one example of which are 72-headed hydras), all of whom are living inside a hollowed-out planet Mars that has been converted into a colossal Worldship.

Online reviews of it can be found here, here and here.


This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 600.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: The section detailing the Aquarian race notes that there's a Blind Owl tavern in the city of Terra. In the example adventure, while the PCs are staying in the city of Terra, they decide to go there.
  • A God Is You: At level 50, player characters become immortal, and from there can achieve ascending levels of godhood.
  • Alien Invasion: Over Synnibarr's history, six attempts to conquer the Worldship have been made by malevolent forces. Two of them were alien races.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Six-ton sea otters are one of the listed monsters players can face.
  • Attack Reflector: Weremen can absorb a number of different attacks, choosing from physical, magic, psi, earthpower, mutations, alchemy, energy and chi. At higher levels of power they can reflect absorbed attacks back at the source.
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  • Awesome Mc Coolname: One piece of gear is called a Midnight Sunstone Bazooka.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Some spells can be enhanced by spending points of Constitution while casting them, thus increasing the effect of the spell (such as damage done).
  • Character Alignment: In-Universe. Has its own take on the system, called "auras". Stray more than one or two marks from the median, though, and characters rapidly turn into Knight Templars who are mandated to kill anyone of the wrong alignment on sight.
  • Designer Babies: Amazons psionically teach and shape their children in the womb.
  • Deus ex Machina: An actual game mechanic. If you're facing certain doom and are completely out of other options, you get a dice roll to determine if your chosen deity will intervene to save you.
  • Door Stopper: 473 page rulebook; later editions go "well over 500".
  • Elemental Crafting: A prominent feature of the game, and for the intrepid player, yet another source of what would be game-breaking power in an ordinary RPG.
  • Energy Absorption: This is the main class feature for Weremen.
  • Forest Ranger: The Archer class borrows a bit from this trope's playbook.
  • Game-Breaker: This is presumably the entire point of the game.
    • Pelleum, a metal 11.5 times as dense as steel, costs $1000 an ounce. A 2.7 lb, 1" ball of pelleum for use in a sling? $1.
    • Cybernetics add their hit point total to your character's hit point total. In other words, you can drop $5,000 dollars for 50,000 life points at level 1, hitting the mortal cap.
    • Ain't No Rule saying that you have to pay the extra cost for a Pelleum arm blade when you spend skill points.
  • I Know Your True Name: The Amazon special ability Call Spirits requires the user to know the name of a dead person in order to summon their spirit and speak to them.
  • Language of Magic: Venderant Nalaberong is a language that was used by the Elder Gods to create the Centiverse. Anyone who knows how to speak it can perform ultra powerful magical spells that are the strongest force in the Centiverse and can't be stopped by any other power.
  • Massive Race Selection: Playable races include Humans, Gnomes, Giants, Winged Warriors, Aquarians, Cyborgs, Psielves, Dwarves, Chameleon Drakes, Mutants... and 30 of the monstrous races from the Monsters chapter.
  • The Multiverse: Or the Centiverse, as it is known on Synnibarr.
  • Munchkin: This game is made for this kind of player. It's the only tabletop RPG where it is codified in the rules that players may override the GM and be rewarded for doing so. Only a masochist or complete fool would agree to run a game with strangers.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Zig-zagged. Player Characters can be Bio Syntha Cyborgs (B.S.C.'s), with one of four specializations. But players are forbidden to be Omni B.S.C.'s (with all four specializations), because Omnis are insanely evil. Then again, other PC classes (like Scarlet Tigers) can only be evil.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The setting uses "were-" as a prefix in numerous places (Weremen, Werestorm, etc). Contrary to what you might expect, it never refers to anything relating to lycanthropy.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Cattars have the lower body of a tiger and a humanoid upper body.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Another of the many playable classes/races, and (predictably) among the physically strongest.
  • Police Are Useless: Notably averted, at least in the Terra Isles (where most adventurers hail from). Notably because the law enforcement in Terra have the gear to detain even god-level PCs.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: A Dwarf Hammer will return to the dwarf who threw it from up to 1,000 feet away. This ability only works once per Character Level of the dwarf per day, and takes a while to do so.
  • Random Number God: Die Rolls determine everything, including your Character Class/Race.
  • Railroading: Enforced; see below.
  • Rules Lawyer
    • Rule Zero of every role-playing game is supposed to be either "The GM is always right" or "The rules shouldn't get in the way of the story", right? Not so in the World of Synnibarr! The GM is required to write his adventure notes down before the game begins, and then show them to the players after the adventure is over — and if the GM deviated from his written notes, the GM is required to award them bonus experience points. Worse still, the rulebook states that the GM "may not, however, deviate from the rules as they are written, for if he or she does and the players find out, then the adventure can be declared null, and the characters must be restored to their original condition, as they were before the game began." As such, rules-lawyering is openly encouraged in this game.
    • Any GM can tell you that avoiding either of the above is flat-out impossible, unless you put the whole thing on rails.
  • Science Fantasy: Magic, gods, cyborgs, and starships, all cranked Up to Eleven.
  • Telepathy: The Aquarian race has telepathy that works on sea creatures. It allows communication as well as hypnotic control.
  • World of Badass: As one reviewer noted, this is the only game where a PC can jump straight from 1st to 20th level after one adventure, earn and spend $500 million on gear, and still legitimately be considered a wuss.