Blue Planet V2(Player's Guide and Moderator's Guide)
Author: Jeffrey Barber, Greg Benage, Brian Breedlove, Sam Johnson, Jason Werner
Company/Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games/Biohazard Games
Line: Blue Planet
Page count: 256 ea
Capsule Review by Steve Darlington on 11/18/00.
Genre tags: Science fiction Post-apocalypse
How does it happen, Joe? How does a guy like me, a guy who hates any game with a detailed, lengthy setting, a guy who knows absolutely zero about such settings, a guy who also knows zilch about science fiction - how does a guy like me end up reviewing a game like Blue Planet?
Answer: because God wills it!
Actually, because Mike Zebrowski wills it, but close enough. The big Z Man (as he is affectionately known to absolutely nobody) wrote a review of the game a few months back, soon after the second edition appeared at GenCon. Responding to said review, I was found whinging about Blue Planet's seeming blind following of modern design trends leading to them removing some of the good features of the game. In particular, I did NOT like the idea of a Player and GM book split, after being badly burnt on this issue by another game.
Mike claimed that the split was such that it was no different to a core game/expansion set split, which I prefer. I said I needed more information before I believed that. And so Mike was kind enough to respond by sending me a copy of the game to put through the ultimate Steve litmus test, to find out once and for all whether the Players Guide a stand-alone game Oh, and to review the game at the same time.
Alas, I find myself hysterically underqualified to do either of these tasks. Because this is not an RPG I can really see myself ever really being able to use, let alone being keen on doing so. And even if I could, it would be the first RPG of its kind I'd ever run, so it's not like I'd be able to compare it with anything or critique its place among its particular field. Hell, I can't even compare this game to other hard SF games, or even SF literature - because again, I've never run any of the first or read any of the latter.
Check that. I've run some Paranoia, and I watch a lot of Star Trek (and Star Wars, but I don't think Star Wars counts as Science Fiction myself. I'm sure you can all debate this in the forums.) But I wouldn't know who Isaac Asimov was if Robin Williams turned one of his classic stories into a farcical two hours of facial mugging and pathetic sight gags.
The point is, I can't give you any answers when it comes to evaluating the science fiction. And I am ridiculously biased when it comes to detailed settings like the one in Blue Planet, ie I hate them and have no clue how to use them, so I also can't really determine how good this information is either. It's just another "detailed setting" to me - I can't give you any more than that. I might say the same about Tribe 8, or Vampire or most modern games. As an outsider to the concept, I can't really tell the difference between them yet.
That aside, in the fine tradition of determination that RPGNet was built on, I will soldier on and try my best to tell you what I think. But it is absolutely VITAL that you make sure to take these two incredibly massive grains of salt into everything I say below: I know nothing about SF, and I know nothing about this type of RPG setting. Oh, and for most of what follows, I also am focussing only on the Player's Guide. I'll look at the Moderator's Guide at the end. And remember, this is another CAPSULE review.
The first thing you notice about Blue Planet is that it is ugly. I've seen the cover of the 1st edition and this one pales in comparison like an anaemic vampire. It shows an almost cartoonish seascape featuring a guy with binoculars and a jumping orca armed for bear. Well, OK, any cover featuring heavily armed sea creatures gets points from me, so it's not all bad.
The interior is also fairly ugly. Everything is in shades of grey, which just gets depressing after a while. The interior art is often shabby and never particularly interesting. Much of it should have been cut - better no art than bad art, I always say. Especially in a game like this that is going out of its way to appear utilitarian, reinforced by the no-nonsense fonts, simple layout, and the matter-of-fact, technical language and schematic diagrams.
Speaking of technical language, Blue Planet gets applause from me for being a highly intelligent game. Nice to see the Brave New World's of the world being balanced by a game which not only expects, but demands, a high IQ of its reader. I just wish it didn't also require a degree in engineering to understand all the explanations. The equipment chapter was the particular problem here: it almost felt like reading a text-book - not because it was dull (although the book in general is quite dry throughout), but because I didn't understand a lot of it. Even once I got past the gaps in my vocabulary, I still often had no idea what they were talking about.
This is a good point at which to remind you that STEVE IS WAY OUT OF HIS DEPTH HERE. For all I know, words like HUD (heads-up display, right?) and things like hydrogen strippers are common parlance to the average SF fan. So have another mouthful of salt and read that paragraph again.
So. Blue Planet is dull, dry and ugly (which is ironic, really, because the eponymous planet of the games' setting is fundamentally the opposite - pretty, interesting and wet). Still, I respect the game for the first two. Like I said, applause for a game that isn't a lot of slick gloss that gets the adrenaline pumping without engaging the brain first. Blue Planet is a rare breed in roleplaying, a game designed purely for the brain, and it deserves accolades for that. We need to see more of it out there.
The only problem of course is that by concentrating so hard on the brain, the adrenal glands seem to get only a cursory treatment. This is not a game for those looking for instant, visceral thrills, or indeed, any thrills of the kind we're used to in RPGs.
This is a game about a highly detailed, realistic world, in which realistic people face realistic problems with realistic consequences, backed up by a highly realistic system. Now, I know that for the longest time I've been ranting on the forums that this is exactly what I want to see in an RPG. So let me explain. I like games where the characters are realistic in their power level and concerns and backgrounds - people who run from danger on occasion because they either can't fight it, or have a wife and kids to look after. I still like the stories they tell to be adventurous and spirited, and these stories and their personalities to be nicely literary so as to allow for easy storytelling. That sort of reality: a game where, for once, the heroes aren't superheroes.
Blue Planet, on the other hand, casts the players as exceptional people, most of the time - high level cops, bounty hunters, mobsters, politicians, scientists, explorers, pilots and soldiers. But these positions are realistic ones. Being a soldier in BP means you live and act like a real soldier. You don't go off on adventures. You don't have a wide range of adventuring skills. You kill people for a living. And if you screw up, they kill you first.
Likewise, characters in BP come in full 3d, warts and all - they're flawed, conflicted, and above all, unable to be partitioned into good and evil. Naturally, the same thing is true for the stories you're telling. This is the real world, people, and it's all in shades of grey You can no more barrack for the good guy in a BP adventure than you can in an American election. Or indeed, in any story you might pick off the news tonight.
(As a result, there's not an iota of environmental bias in this game. Or at least none I could find. As a card-carrying full-bore environmentalist, this game forced me to ask myself some questions about some of my cherished green principles. Like I said - there is absolutely no room for ANY black and whites in this game, and that includes your own beliefs.)
I really, really respect this move. I think there should be more games like it, because it opens our games up to a much wider scope of storytelling. I applaud it wholeheartedly. The only problem is this: writing adventures and characters with no clear moral compass - that are also entertaining - is a difficult task indeed. The mainstays of good and evil, of protagonist and antagonist, make storytelling so much easier, particularly the kind of "adventure narratives" most RPGs aim for. Without any general "good" idea to aim for, and without any natural "verbs" built into the setting (like find out the truth, or have political in-fighting all the time), things rapidly get a lot more nebulous for both the players and the GM. It's also an uphill battle to find an easy, dramatic hook for character or stories. Real life doesn't provide them in the format we're used to. As a result of this, there's precious few adrenaline kicks in this game, the kind of things that make you want to instantly run out and play it, unless you find political debate a turn-on. If you're going to get this game to fire, you're going to have to work hard and be patient. It's like reading a Hardy novel, rather than watching a Star Wars film.
In short, Blue Planet raises the bar, and if you're not up to it, or not prepared to do the work to stay up there, you'll be out of your depth from word go. Or at least, I was. Salt salt salt.
The same could be said of the setting. It's not just incredibly detailed. It's not just massively all-encompassing. It's not just incredibly well-thought out and lacking any flaws or holes (assuming I can actually judge that, but anyway). It's actually real. So real, it's amazingly familiar.
For those who don't know, BP is set on the planet of Poseidon. In 2065, a wormhole is discovered beyond Pluto which allows us access to a distant galaxy containing a planet much like Earth: Poseidon, the Blue Planet in the title (named for the fact that 97% of the surface is water). The planet is settled by a small group of colonists a few years later, but soon after, the Earth plunges into an environmental apocalypse. One hundred years later, Earth pulls itself back together thanks to its new world government, the Global Ecology Organisation, and begins resettling their property. This however, brings them into conflict with the natives, the descendants of the original settlers who have adapted to a more primitive life on a planet they now call home. Not to mention the strange and deadly ecosystem and the alien creatures that inhabit it, both sentient and non-sentient.
Despite its dangers, however, the new planet is a treasure trove of new resources, particularly the new wonder ore "Long John" which makes possible absolutely any sort of genetic manipulation, up to and including virtual immortality. This naturally leads to huge corporate interests, along with the hordes of individual prospectors. Thus we have a world where small and large industries and miners constantly vie against native title rights and environmental campaigners, with the government in the middle trying to keep the peace and usually only making things worse. And the prize being fought over is the last great unspoilt wilderness, a land of rare, deadly and extremely unique beauty.
In other words, exceedingly similar to what is happening in Australia right now, every day. And similarly in many places elsewhere around the world This is isn't fiction, people, this is real world, current day politics wearing a different coloured shirt. Most RPGs are based on emulating literature, or cinema. Blue Planet is designed to emulate politics, straight from the six o'clock news. Your characters' stories will not be written in novels or sung in songs, they'll be printed on the front page of the New York Times.
Again, this is quite unique in the world of RPGs. It represents a massive raising of the bar. And again, a lot of people are going to be left behind as it goes up. I don't know about you but I don't read the newspaper and think "gee, I wish I could be one of those people". Not that you have to be a political mover and shaker, but on Poseidon, you can't avoid politics any more - you're surrounded by it and defined by it and political issues impact directly on you, so you have to make the hard choices. Powerful stuff for gaming. Something that will really make you think. But not something most people would want to do to relax, perhaps.
The system continues this pattern - highly realistic, to the point of having few, if any, dramatic elements left in it. Characters are defined by eight simple, logical, sensible attributes, and then by a whole host of skills which try to encompass everything possible a person on Poseidon would know. This includes the highly non-dramatic skills like Management and Bureaucracy, Sculpture and Dance, and Farming and Animal Husbandry. Oh, and if you can find the lines between Bureaucracy, Management, Leadership, Logistics, Tactics and Strategy, you're a better man than I, gungadin. The skill list is thus not just realistically detailed, it's so detailed it's quite blurry and not altogether well-tuned to gaming. Still, it's no great flaw, and no hassle to fix by collapsing a few down and spending those skill points elsewhere.
Skills are represented as a number from one to ten - add it to a relevant attribute and try and roll equal or under on a d10. If you multiplied the skills by ten, it would be much like BRP - except for one little twist.
One of the complaints often made about the BRP system, especially as implemented in Call of Cthulhu, is that professionals are often not sufficiently good at the skills their job would require. A doctor with the quite high skill of 80% is still cutting off the wrong leg 1 time out of 5. And the average academic may have only 25% of finding the book he's looking for in a library. BP fixes these problem with the idea of aptitudes. Depending on power level (the game offers three distinct levels, which are different enough to be important but not so much that each jump reinvents the game) characters have a number of superior and strong aptitudes, which cover a range of related skills. Those with a strong aptitude in technical skills, say, roll two d10s and take the lower when making a test on all technical skills. Superior aptitudes earn three dice in the chosen field.
This allows the system to model the difference between the highly trained and the person who does it every day for their career, or are naturally capable at such tasks or faster to understand such concepts, and it achieves this extra layer of detail with a minimum of complexity. This is what people mean when they talk about "elegant" mechanics.
Combat expands on this system, adding in an initiative roll which may also provide more actions. Attacks are skill rolls, with damaged determined by subtracting armour level of a weapon's damage level and then rolling dice based on that number (much like Paranoia). For example, a pistol of damage 7 shoots someone wearing armour of level 3 gives a damage number of 4. Roll three dice and count how many dice roll equal or under three, and take that many wound levels.
However, characters only have three wound levels - light, serious and critical, with critical leading to death if an Endurance roll is failed badly. This means that if it can penetrate your armour, any weapon can kill you. A nice system that allows for variable damage rates between weapons (which we all agree are logical) but without all those annoying and illogical situations where you have to carve someone up for hours to kill them with a dagger. And again, with a nice, simple mechanic.
(Actually, though, it's a Fitness roll, not an Endurance roll. But there is a calculated stat based on the average of Will and Fitness called Endurance which is used for absolutely nothing in the game that I can find. Meanwhile, wound rolls are made on Fitness or Will depending on circumstance. I have no idea why they aren't all based on Endurance. This is what people mean when they talk about "crappy" mechanics.)
With all the resistance rolls required, however, and the complex initiative system and the host of modifiers and other considerations the game lists, combat is markedly more complex than you would suspect of such an "academic" game. This complexity certainly does result in the emphasis on combat stats like so many RPGs and is somewhat incongruous. However, the detail is very important given the severity of the combat - who shoots first is vital when one shot can kill - and both of these things bring home the reality of the situation as one of high stakes that demands constant thought. And though this is an academic game for the players, it is definitely not always one for the characters - when you're on the razor's edge of politics in a semi-lawless frontier land, fighting for what you believe in is not a figurative statement.
Character creation shares the same design philosophy of combat (and the whole game - neat, that, really) - complex in order to build in detail, and thus reality, and reality almost to the point of mundaneness. However, by use of modular templates, things are made less painful, at least in terms of the complexity.
Firstly, players choose their species: human, uplifted dolphin or killer whale or one of five modified human types - aquaforms (marine-based humans like Costner in Waterworld), spacers (designed for low gravity manipulation), cat and monkey hybrids (think TMNT) and the genetically perfect transhumans (think Phoebe Cates). These determine your character's starting abilities. They can be shifted slightly, using a points based or random system. In the most part, however, they reflect your species, with an increase indicating natural ability the equivalent of genetic modification - ie even one step up is a significant factor. Thus it makes sense for once for them to be counted into skill use as they are. As said above, there are eight fairly standard abilities: Build, Fitness, Agility, Dexterity, Awareness, Intellect, Presence and Will. In a twist, you get to break your Awareness down into the five senses, and there are also four derived stats which are used for combat. All standard stuff.
Players then choose their aptitudes, and determine their skills through a series of life-path templates, similar to those used in LUGTrek: one for their origin, two for their background and then (depending on power level) three or five professional packages. Each system provides a host of skill levels the character acquires, building upon each other with each step. Like all such systems, this helps the player focus on his character's background, as well as providing him with a final skill set which is realistic in both depth and breadth, covering all the tiny skills a real person picks up through a career. And like all such systems, it is slow, ponderous and often frustrating when you don't quite end up with the skills you wanted at the end of it (although extra points are provided to cover such things). There's also a limited amount of choice in some of the stages, particularly in the backgrounds, of which there are only nine, and you have to pick two.
(This problem can however be alleviated by the simple act of mailing the marvellous Mr Jeb Boyt and asking very nicely for the list of backgrounds he has mapped over from the first edition. Hurrah!)
The other good thing about the template system is that you don't have to try and figure out what skills you should take for your given profession, which really helps given the long and, as mentioned, somewhat eccentric skill list, and the alien nature of the setting. However, if picking the right professional packages is too hard for you, the game takes it one step further. The third chapter (basic character generation is chapter 2) lists thirty five different "roles" a character could take on. As well as indicating what packages such roles might require, this also details the kind of biomodifications such characters would find useful, and then provides a description of what they would do, what their lifestyle, resources and standard of living would be like. In other words, they provide a full description of how your chosen role fits into the world of Blue Planet and how you should go about making stats to match.
Very nice. Not quite full character templates, just a template of which skill templates to buy. But the cure points to the disease - if a game has to go this far to ease you into character creation, it sends out a bad sign. You have to be nursemaided through the creation processes to this extent because the character roles in the game are so alien and so detailed, they don't and can't leap out and create themselves in your head. This is not the kind of game where you can flip through a few pages and say "I want make a guy like
As mentioned, the roles also list typical biomods that character would have, and by their standard of living, you can get an idea on what sort of equipment they might own (but there is no fixed amount to spend on either of these). Chapters 6 and 5 respectively cover these choices in great detail. I'll come back to these later.
Chapter three also includes a vague "alignment" system much like White Wolf's, where you can specify your character's Goal, Motivation and Attitude from a list. Useful for NPCs at a glance, but I don't see most players using it. Plus they encourage you to fill out all sorts of details about your character's looks - height, weight, eye and hair colour. Again, nice theory, but it doesn't really encourage roleplaying. It also wastes a lot of space on the character sheet, stuff which could be used for writing more important things like species abilities or biomod bonuses (after all, being a dolphin is a lot more important to playing your character than having red hair. Do dolphins even have red hair?). The character sheet is an absolute joke all round, actually, sinking well below even the poor standards we're used to, with no spaces to record vital game stats and far too much wasted space.
Oh right. Dolphins. I kind of skipped over that before, didn't I? Yes, you can play uplifted dolphins and killer whales. This is a) very cool, and b) very problematic, but the system does do some work to help you out - although not through metagame advice, just setting help. The cetaceans can't go on land, but are supplemented in this by remote robots which can fly off wherever they can't be. The owner can see and hear everything through the robot, and communicate back (and fire weapons) just as effectively. So they can still be in on the action, but I wonder whether it would really be enough for a player. For a player keen to get in the thick of things, I'd suspect there might have to be some Knightboat stuff going on ("There's always an inlet!").
By the way, other people can also have these robots, so players can always be "together". Which means that never ever again will a GM have to say "But you're not there! You can't hear this!". For that alone, Blue Planet deserves a nod.
The full details on these robots are provided in the equipment chapter, which as mentioned above, full of hard scientific data and description. The list is also impressively expansive, covering every technological tool from power sources, to construction material to vehicles to entertainment to medicine: every major area in which technology would have an impact is covered in some way. As a result, they can only list a few types of pistols and boats and so on - the kind of things players are going to look for variety in - but in this way, nothing is left out of the world. And there are still plenty of cool options for your boat.
And when it comes to personal tweaks, there's always biomods. Again, there's quite a lot of scope in this chapter, covering cybernetics, genetic modification and full genetic redesign methods, which can affect physiological, physical mental and even emotional aspects of the body. The scale ranges from the total body makeovers of the super-soldiers and the Long John-provided immortality, through the benefits of implanted computer databases and symbiotes that prevent any disease, right down to simply adding infra-red vision or better salt tolerance. Quite a full bag to choose from - so much so it is quite intimidating, even with the Roles info. And since there are no such guidelines for equipment in the Roles, that's even harder. Chargen is going to take you hours the first half dozen times, even after reading the whole book. This annoyed me no end, but is the price of such a setting.
Think all these vast improvements in technology will make even the average lifestyle quite different? Not sure how to think like a dolphin, or what it feels like in hypersleep? Then turn to the remaining chapters, which deal with life on the frontier.
The first chapter in the book provides a lengthy introduction to the tiny details of Poseidon culture. It's written like a travel video and so provides a good introduction to how you might travel to the frontier, where you'll live, what you'll eat, how much things cost, what the movie and sports scenes are like and so on. This gives a good feel for the tiny details, which far too many settings lack, and is a clever way to introduce the world in a natural way. But it goes into so much detail you couldn't hope for your players to really take it all in. It's also not very well written (especially because it's supposed to be a video) so it's not exactly a brilliant introduction to the game, or the book itself.
The more general aspects of the culture are looked at in the penultimate chapter. This examines daily life, typical tasks and routines, cultural aspects, events and behaviour, and overall viewpoints and philosophy for all the major groups on Poseidon - corporate, native, colonist and the GEO. In other words, it's yet ANOTHER template on who you are, just this time at yet an even more macro level. Frankly, by the time I got to the point, I was so bored with the endless and endless information on my character's life on Poseidon, I was seriously doubting if I actually wanted to make one. But again, remember the big disclaimers we talked about at the start. Salt, my friends. Lots and lots of salt
This chapter is important in at least one feature, however - the section devoted to dolphin and orca physiology, society and culture. It's not a lot of information, but it does go a long way to allowing you to realistically play a different species. Be a dolphin - they have sex, like, all the time, man!
As you can see, this book contains information on everything, allowing you to specify and understand everything you could ever possibly want to know about your character, from the tiniest little details like whether their hearing is better than their vision, up to the widest possible aspects like sweeping cultural outlooks. Everything they might own, everything they might do - it's all here. It's truly an amazing amount of information.
And there's one more level of modularity left - history. The last chapters we haven't mentioned go over in great detail the history of Earth and its colonies. First in general terms, paying specific attention to Poseidon, and then in a lengthy and detailed timeline. Again, I found both of them horribly dull. Again, you should salt that like a Minnesota driveway in January. Fans of that sort of stuff will probably eat it up. Er, the timeline, I mean. Not the salt. Don't eat salt.
So the characters know all about who they are, what they do, where they came from and what they believe in. The only thing they don't know is exactly where they are.
You see, there's only one map in the whole Player's Guide, and it's of the entire planet. There's no real indication of just what Haven, the capital, looks like. There's also nothing really about the weather, or the tides, the storms, or the passage of time (how long is a day on Poseidion?). And though you know who all the groups are on Poseidon, you don't know where they are, who's in charge or what each is actually doing. And finally, most grievously of all, although there's some mention of a few staples of diet beyond that which was imported, there is nothing, absolutely nothing on the creatures that share the planet with the new arrivals. All this information, is, of course, provided in the Moderator's Guide.
Some - most - of this is forgivable. But not all of it. Basic details about the planet's time and weather patterns, some idea of a place for characters to actually have an adventure, and something for them to encounter in said area, and ideally a pre-written adventure about that - these are all things I consider fairly mandatory in a COMPLETE rpg. Despite Mike's claims, this is not a full RPG/setting expansion split. This book simply does not give the GM any information on the other side of the fence, on the basic tools of the GM - monsters, maps and mysteries, the building blocks of story. Ipso facto, not a complete game. Bzzt. Thank you for playing. Have a complimentary home game and imitation diamond stickpin.
However. And I'm going to say that again for extra effect:
If there was ever a game that could be excused in this regard, it has to be Blue Planet. For two reasons:
First, because they have done the split exceedingly well, better than any game I've ever seen. The first book contains everything a player could ever need to know….except all the nasties and secrets and strange vistas that lay beyond their ken. The second book contains all of these things but no detail that a player should know about until they actually encounter the beast, enter the city or uncover the mystery. There's no contamination between the two.
Second, because the designers have gone absolutely bloody burko to stuff these books full. Except for the art, there is not an ounce of fat on these games; not a drop of wasted text or unnecessary information, not even a single waffling sentence. It's clear, it's concise, it's direct, and it's often telling you one thing in the margins and another in the text. And in this great volume, they have given you the whole box and dice. Or at least they've tried. There's probably going to be some people out there who would want a little more equipment, a little more biomods, who'll question why there are so damn many freaking maps in the Moderator's Guide and not some more tech or hardware. (The MG is basically an atlas of every single island and every single city on the planet PLUS gazillions of great adventure hooks PLUS a bestiary PLUS an NPC guide PLUS full info on the alien aborigines PLUS full info on Earth PLUS all the missing info on weather and water PLUS…well, basically, it contains more info on Poseidon than you probably know about Earth. I think it has waaay too many maps, to say the least.) But as you can see, such questions on the presence of this or that are a bit petty. This is not a game where things are left out by mistake or malice of forethought. This is a game where if something is missing, it's because it burst out of the seams as they stretched to breaking point and beyond.
If, as I averred a few weeks back, Brave New World is an Aero bar, than Blue Planet is a choc-neutronium delight. Like Cthulhu, it's an encyclopaedia, proclaiming loud and clear that YOU WILL NEVER EVER NEED A SUPPLEMENT. And given how damn rare it is to truly see that these days, to see a game not just complete, but tearing itself apart at the seams to give you information, well then I say buying two books is probably worth that.
Do I want all the setting info in the second book? No, but then I didn't want the setting info in the first one either. If you like the idea of the game, you must be OK with detailed, complex SF settings, so you won't mind at all about getting both books. If, however, you don't like detailed settings, you should probably think about giving both books a miss. You'll be impressed by the quality, but I doubt you'll ever play it.
As for me, will I play it? No, probably not. It's just too much work for lazy old me. Do I like it? Well, sort of. While some of the ideas are interesting in theory, I just don't have enough love for SF or these sorts of settings to really be inspired. But do I respect it? You bet your sweet ass I do. It has a few flaws and hiccups, and it lacks any real zing of eye-catching inspiration to draw you in, but it consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty, in system, setting and of course, in the information provided, and that effort alone is worth respect. On top of this, Blue Planet raises the bar on what a detailed SF setting can truly be, and perhaps even in what roleplaying games can ultimately achieve.
Wet, weighty and wonderful. Style 3, Substance 5.
PS Special thanks to Mike Zebrowski for the books, Greg Benage for being such a nice guy, Steve Dempsey for trashing Cthulhu's skill system, Jeb Boyt for the excellent backgrounds and to Dr Rotwang, for lending me Phoebe again.
PPS The North American Salt Authority (no, we can't use their initials) would like to point out that you can eat salt on a variety of tasty snack foods, but yes, you really shouldn't eat it on its own, or off Minnesota driveways, or indeed, any road surface.
Style: 3 (Average)