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Tabletop Game / World of Synnibarr

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A typical day on the Worldship.
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, with immortality starting at level 50.
  • 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.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: Every player character is charged with exploring a world covered with the remnants of ancient and long-destroyed civilizations, evil monsters are all over the place, and the shops of Terra never seem to have any trouble buying whatever mountains of loot the players bring back.
  • After the End: Before Numenera, this game held the record for "greatest number of long-forgotten cataclysms in one place ever". Synnibarr even began with a cataclysm, as it is actually the planet Mars that was transformed into a Worldship to move humanity away from a doomed Earth. Then, over the next 50,000 years, Synnibarr's own civilization collapsed multiple times because of internal conflicts, alien invasions, and plagues. Today, few adventurers know much about Synnibarr's whole history... but there are all kinds of ruins for adventurers to explore (and loot).
  • 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 who were ultimately driven away.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Or Always Scarlet Aura, as this game would put it (and which some of its races very definitely are).
  • And Man Grew Proud: How data about "Old Earth" (or even Synnibarr's own past) is typically presented.
  • Artificial Limbs: One category of cybernetic upgrades.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • City of Adventure: Terra, the starting city for typical campaigns.
  • Damage Reduction: How armor works, with every "10th" of armor protection dividing incoming damage by a factor 10. Given how high damage levels can reach in Synnibarr, characters need as many 10ths as they can get!
  • 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.
  • Dodge the Bullet: The principle behind a character's "beam attack dodge" score. Characters in this game can dodge bullets and similarly fast attacks, but typically not as easily as they can evade melee attacks.
  • Door Stopper: 473 page rulebook; later editions go "well over 500".
  • Earth All Along: Well, Mars All Along...
  • 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.
  • Energy Beings: Alentiens, along with any character who has an energy form power.
  • Energy Weapons: Present and accounted for in the weapons section.
  • Evil Counterpart: What Scarlet Tigers are to Golden Tigers.
  • Fantastic Drug: Several varieties.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Characters with the Blue aura.
  • Forest Ranger: The Archer class borrows a bit from this trope's playbook.
  • Game-Breaker: This is presumably the entire point of the game. A typical Synnibarr campaign will feature any number of moves that would be gamebreakers in an average RPG, but since this game's power level is so high, here such power-gamer antics are just part of the fun.
    • 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.
  • Genre-Busting: It would be easier to list the genres that this game doesn't touch on at some point.
  • 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.
  • Ki Manipulation: The explanation for the powers of Amazons, Ninjas, and Golden/Scarlet Tigers.
  • 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.
  • Laser Blade: Synnibarr has these, too.
  • Loads and Loads of Rules: Among tabletop games, Synnbarr is among the most well-known examples of this trope.
  • Lost Technology: Looting ancient (and obscenely powerful) technology is a common pasttime among Synnibarr's adventurers.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Not only do magic spells function the same way every time they're cast, many other forms of power (psionics, shaman songs, earthpower) follow very similar rules to magic, as well.
  • Magitek: Literally in the case of Bio Syntha Cyborgs, technological beings who can have mutations and powers of their own.
  • Massive Race Selection: Playable races include Humans, Gnomes, Giants, Winged Warriors, Aquarians, Cyborgs, Psielves, Dwarves, Chameleon Drakes, Mutants... and no fewer than 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.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: The rivalry between the Ninja and Tiger classes - "It is sometimes said that one Golden or Scarlet Tiger can defeat five Ninjas of the same level. (Of course, Tigers are the ones who say this.)"
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Or, given that this is Synnibarr, Ninja Superhero Pirate Zombie Mutant Robot God.
  • 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 Elves Are Different: Psielves, who are psionic operatives with pointy ears.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Another of the many playable classes/races, and (predictably) among the physically strongest.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: One of the calling cards of this game. Where most fantasy RPGs are content with throwing bears (or, at worst, dire bears) at a party, Synnibarr will give you flying bears with laser eye-beams!
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires in Synnibarr are Mutant Vampires.
  • The Paragon: Beings with a Gold aura are expected to behave like this.
  • People Puppets: The main tactic of the alien Bendra'Katar, who use a virus to dominate victims.
  • The Plague: An intelligence-destroying plague was the last thing to bring ruin to Synnibarr. At the time when the PCs appear, civilization has only begun to recover from the plague and reassert itself.
  • Point Build System: An option for players who want to play a "non-classed" adventurer. However, your point total is determined by your stats (which all players have to roll), so you're still at the mercy of the Random Number God!
  • 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!
  • Powered Armor: Present, and generally the highest source of protective 10ths from armor.
  • 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.
  • Psychic Powers: Many classes have access to psionic spells, and they're the main feature of the Shadow Master class.
  • Random Number God: Die rolls determine everything, including your Character Class/Race.
  • Railroading: Enforced; see below.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Post-mortal characters get higher up in the divine hierarchy as their levels climb.
  • 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.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Neria Bendix, one of the most technologically advanced - and hostile - species in the Centiverse.
  • Scavenger World: While the Worldship has many technological ruins from past ages, much of its (current) population still lives in medieval conditions.
  • Schizo Tech: Technology in Synnibarr varies from medieval to modern day (at the time the game was published) to science-fiction realms - often even within the same adventuring party!
  • Science Fantasy: Magic, gods, cyborgs, and starships, all cranked up to eleven.
  • Serial Escalation: As it's perfectly possible - and legal - for player levels to jump double-digit amounts after a single adventure, Synnibarr lends itself to this trope nicely.
  • Stripperific: The illustration of the Amazon class.
  • Super-Breath: The purpose behind the famous equation which determines how hard your character can breathe.
  • Superpower Lottery: Many classes have randomly-rolled powers of one sort or another. For the Mutant class, this is their main feature!
  • Super-Reflexes: A perk of Ninjas, Tigers, and characters in energy form, who may dodge beam attacks with their normal dodge score.
  • Super Serum: Psisheen Adreemus, the substance used to create the Shadow Master class.
  • Swiss-Army Appendage: Easily achievable with a cybernetic limb.
  • Taking the Bullet: An option for players who make a successful "heroic attempt" roll on another player's behalf, although the attack itself doesn't necessarily have to be a bullet.
  • Telepathy: The Aquarian race has telepathy that works on sea creatures. It allows communication as well as hypnotic control.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Characters without armor can get splattered very easily in this game, given that mortal-level beings are limited to 50,000 life points and the worst attacks can do hundreds of thousands or even millions of damage.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Giants and strong monster races can fall under this, being able to dish out high amounts of melee damage even at low levels.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Gold aura characters, who will kill even friends and allies who show the slightest inclination towards evil.
  • 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.
  • World of Weirdness: Synnibarr campaigns end up in this territory almost by default.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: This is an official part of the game, as a prominent bartender in Terra literally has the ability to "find and see adventures".