Invisible Sun



  • Are there any Invisible Sun players out there?

    I'm in a group for Invisible Sun, and I'll freely admit that I'm both enjoying it and not at the same time. I'd like to get other people's viewpoints on the game if they're players and how to approach it.

    My main issue is that I'm typically the gamer that only games at the table, but this game has a TON of side-roleplay suggestions, like sending downtimes to the GM, and it's turned into a few people in the group showing up each session having earned and spent a bunch of acumen(xp for skills, spells) and crux (xp for powers/order) from stuff they did all offline. They seem to have a TON more free time to play around with this than I do, and it's getting overwhelming.

    For those of you not aware, Invisible Sun is a Monte Cook game that is both ingenious and nefarious in terms of release. The base game is expensive as hell and support for content, character sheets, etc is written up in this purchasing scheme that has done a pretty decent job of keeping the game from being pirated. It assumes the whole group pays around 200-300 dollars for the core set, then each player buys a "vislae kit" (vislae are the PCs) that includes a book, character sheets, etc for (i think 30-40 dollars). Things are weirdly compartmentalized. Example. The PCs get to choose spells. The books have listings of spells, but not what they do. WHAT THEY DO is only printed on actual cards in the 200-300 core set, or on the PDFs they're selling for around $100 per PDF purchase.

    The game's fascinating, but it's just...a mess in my opinion.


  • Pitcrew

    So the solution to pirating was...to make it more expensive? That sounds horrible.



  • @RDC Yeah it's clever but a bit nefarious.

    Core box contains a LOT of physical materials. Cards, a game board, books, etc. These usually contain the descriptions of what things do.

    The BOOKS are 10x10, so they're square and not easy to photocopy for character sheets. If you try, the sheets are either weirdly distorted or when printed on standard paper have a lot of space at the top or bottom (I got around this by purchasing a journal and turning it into an art project, like a zine for my character).

    There are some 3-4 books in the core set that compartmentalize information between the books. There's the "Key", which focuses on character generation and how to spend xp, with references to things like spells, secrets etc that aren't in the KEY book, they're in a book in the core set. In the core set book with spells? There are the names of the spells, but not the descriptions. The descriptions are on the cards in the core set.

    The "vislae kit" comes with a copy of the Key and 10x10 character sheets, one for each kind of vislae, and those aren't easily reproduced because few people print on SQUARE paper.


    So one of my big issues is this. I don't have any books and I'll be damned if I'm spending $100 on PDFs for a game that I'm not entirely sure that I like. I joined this gaming group after they'd already purchased and received the kickstarter, which included a campaign remotely assisted by Monte Cook himself. This is cool, but was also expensive.

    It's hard understanding the game with the hand-out PDF of the key, since the setting, spells, etc aren't in that book. I can't look at the OTHER books because a lot of that stuff contains proprietary information that the GM uses, so my GM has requested we not peek through those books. So a lot of my setting/understanding of the game knowledge kinda gets trickle fed to me by the GM...

    ...who is also having apparently tons of side-rp and scenes with 2 of the other players.

    So I may game with them, and let's say we're all the equivalent of some level "2" type character. I'll come back 2 weeks later and these guys will be all: "Oh! I did downtime stuff and got these spells and this xp and ranked up in my order and investigated a murder", so now I'm the equivalent of a 2.5 level character and they're level 4.

    It's a neat game where you can create a lot of custom content and the game is really limited by your imagination, which is COOL, but it's also a MASSIVE risk for people just going all kinds of crazy and spending hours per week obsessing over it while I'm doing stuff like...working, sleeping, hanging out with friends, drinking coffee, getting laid, playing video games.

    Anyway, my issues with the group aren't the point. I like to joke about this game as being the white privilege of RPGs, since they've definitely countered any risk of piracy with making it mostly accessible to people with the ability to throw away some 300 per group and an additional 30-50 per player.



  • Oh I know this thread is way dead but I just found IS now and it looks really good I was wondering what your thoughts on it are after almost a year? Is it worth the $100 investment?



  • @nyctophiliac said in Invisible Sun:

    Oh I know this thread is way dead but I just found IS now and it looks really good I was wondering what your thoughts on it are after almost a year? Is it worth the $100 investment?

    I think it is ONLY worth it if you have a dedicated group of players you can guarantee will invest and stick with it.

    At some 250 for the base cube, 100 for the pdfs, 60 or so for the vislae kitsch, it's probably the most monetarily demanding RPG type hobby I've seen since Warhammer 40k.

    I wouldn't buy it in the hope of finding players to play it with you. I would wait until you have a group of players who also want to invest and then pull the trigger.

    More: Theres very little RPG-wise you can't do cheaper with a cheaper, hacked system, your own system, or finding a similar game. InvSun's biggest con point (as in pros vs cons) is that they placed a money gate on content that can be done cheaper in other systems.

    Look at it this way. The "true" game is best with the game board (that per-scene changes the path of the suns and will alter +/- in play), the cool 6-fingered hand that holds the sun card for the whole session, and the hundreds of proprietary spell, equipment, etc cards.

    The $100 pdfs contain all of the cards and can be printed, but are you willing to print them out? Make a board? Use some kind of card stand? How much extra will that cost to print those cards out?

    IS worked hard to compartmentalize everything. The books have the names of spells, but the spell CARDS have the descriptions of what they do. To put both together you need the CARD and the BOOK. The $60 player kits have the book, but no cards. The $250 cube and $100 pdfs have the cards, but to randomly reward a player with a random spell you'd have to hand them a randomly shuffled card, which means needing some kind of printed card.

    Very clever work was put into making sure pirating and sharing would lose them money, but the end result is that the game is very gatey and unwieldy if you havent shelled out the money they wanted you to.



  • Have you seen Kingdom of Death? That looks like a $400 initial investment and then you gotta buy minis on top of that. UGH.

    These people are nuts.

    THAT BEING SAID I wouldn't mind a MU with the Invisible Sun setting/theme/flavor. A girl can dream.



  • @nyctophiliac said in Invisible Sun:

    Have you seen Kingdom of Death? That looks like a $400 initial investment and then you gotta buy minis on top of that. UGH.

    These people are nuts.

    THAT BEING SAID I wouldn't mind a MU with the Invisible Sun setting/theme/flavor. A girl can dream.

    An IS MU would be neat. It's a VERY creative setting. I love that you are bound by the limits of your own weird imagination. Living in a Castlevania-type castle that crawls around the city on the back of a giant crab's back that belches steam out of its eyes is considered normal.

    However, given how Monte Cook and Co set up so many gates to control how the inward flow of cash, I imagine an IS MU could be cease and desist fodder. It sounds reasonable to me that they'd be on the lookout for ANY shared book material online or an ability to play the game without $$$ buy-in.

    I mean, FFS they made the books/sheets on 10x10 paper to make scanning a pain in the ass.



  • @Ghost said in Invisible Sun:

    I think it is ONLY worth it if you have a dedicated group of players you can guarantee will invest and stick with it.

    That also describes Risk Legacy, which is like $40.

    As for Kingdom of Death, Gloomhaven is a quarter the cost for twice the longevity. If you're just after minis go with KoD, but for a price-to-value proposition you absolutely can't beat Gloomhaven.


  • Pitcrew

    @nyctophiliac said in Invisible Sun:

    Have you seen Kingdom of Death? That looks like a $400 initial investment and then you gotta buy minis on top of that. UGH.

    These people are nuts.

    THAT BEING SAID I wouldn't mind a MU with the Invisible Sun setting/theme/flavor. A girl can dream.

    As an avid Kingdom Death player that's not quite true. That initial investment is enough to play the game. Any minis you buy on top of that are for expansion purposes. The base game actually comes with a lot of minis. 3 huntable monsters, 4 boss monsters, and then all the survivor miniatures with all the equipment they can have on top of that. If there's a bit of gear you can put on your character in the game, there's a piece of plastic you can put on your mini to represent it.

    It is expensive, no doubt about it. But there's a lot of stuff in that box.


  • Pitcrew

    @TheOnceler said in Invisible Sun:

    @Ghost said in Invisible Sun:

    I think it is ONLY worth it if you have a dedicated group of players you can guarantee will invest and stick with it.

    That also describes Risk Legacy, which is like $40.

    As for Kingdom of Death, Gloomhaven is a quarter the cost for twice the longevity. If you're just after minis go with KoD, but for a price-to-value proposition you absolutely can't beat Gloomhaven.

    Personally I think KD is a way better game than Gloomhaven.



  • That's fair. I supes disagree, tho.

    But KoD is definitely your top source for minis that look like someone was jerking off while making them.


  • Pitcrew

    @Ghost said in Invisible Sun:

    However, given how Monte Cook and Co set up so many gates to control how the inward flow of cash, I imagine an IS MU could be cease and desist fodder.

    Take one part Mage: the Awakening, and add one part Mystic Empyrean and one part Planescape. Shake vigorously and pour into an overpriced glorified tabletop RPG box set. Add dashes of Kill Six Billion Demons to taste.

    While very surreal and imaginative, you could convert it to numerous systems to avoid the C&D.


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