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Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Libertad! posted:

Habbakuk is the Neutral Good god of animals, water, passion, and rebirth. He is commonly known as the Fisher King, and looks over all of nature as his charges. Phoenixes are associated with him, and he's heavily associated with the sea and popular among coastal and fishing communities. His priesthood is evenly split between clerics and druids, and neither have a formalized hierarchy. Once during their lifetime, clerics must wander the land with nothing but a walking stick and the clothes on their back to better understand the ways of nature. The god's favored weapon is the scimitar, and his domains are Animal, Good, and Water.
I like how the other gods have appropriately popular fantasy-style names like Lunitari and Solinari, then out of the blue there's a prophet from the Bible.




Part 2: Fangs, Freemasons, Fairies, and Fightin'

Natural Hazards
Continuing through chapter 2, we have our first bit of purely game rules-oriented material with the diseases and poisons/venoms of Northern Crown. Want some more real world diseases to inflict on your player? You get your pick of ague (malaria), flux (dysentery), influenza, and the Bubonic plague: you know, the really fun diseases. Not quite sure why smallpox isn't present, though. As for poisons and venoms (which are technically the same thing in d20, but still), there's a lot of plant life ready to cause you suffering. Crazyweeds, deathcap mushrooms, pleurisy roots, poison ivy resin, poison pie, rattlebox seedpods, staggerbush nectar, and white snakeroot are all there for your phytological poisoner. There are also poison entries for the venom of the copperhead, cottonmouth, coral snake, and rattlesnake for those ophidiophiles out there.




War
I know, a section on warfare in a D&D game, shocking and unexpected! Though to be serious, this section does have some worthwhile discussion on just what the people of the Northern Crown setting fight for. Frontier wars to take territory in the name of queen/king and country is the most common on the continent of Northern Crown, with wars between armies of different royals being a distant second. The least common are interdenominational wars: while still common in Uropa itself, to the point that Germania has been taken back and forth by the Catholics and the Dissenters so many times it's crazy, Northern Crown is far enough from most of the religious leaders that things are on a level of contempt rather than open warfare. We also get names of knightly orders in Northern Crown - the Order of the Stag and the ORder of the Queen's Own Amazons for Albion, the Order of the Bath and Order of the Garter for Carolingia, the Governor's Commended for the Holy Commonwealth, the Order of the Swedish Crown for New Sweden, the Order of St. Michel for Nouvelle France, the Order of Santiago and Order of the Golden Fleece for Nueva Espania, and the Heroes of the Republic for Sophia. We don't get any information beyond the names, sadly, which means I'll never truly know if the Order of the Queen's Own Amazons is as as it sounds.




The Supernatural
Most things are visible to the naked eye: people, animals, and most monsters. There is another realm that touches up against the worldly realm in Northern Crown, however, known as the spectral world. This is the land of the ghosts and fairies, where things like giant castles in the sky and spinning wheels that turn straw into gold are everyday "meh, it happens" life. Pretty much every fairy tale from Beauty and the Beast to Hansel and Gretel are said to have their basis on Uropans who encountered the spectral world firsthand, while the spectral world itself touches back with ghostly hauntings and all the various weird and sometimes cruel poo poo fairies do. There are also at least two other realms out there, one being the Abyss where fallen angels (devils) and beings of primordial evil (demons) dwell and the other being the Celestial Realm where the ranks of the angels hold court. The former are colossal dicks who love to convert humans to evil, while the latter don't really appear much as they have a God-given vow to not directly interfere in human matters and thus either help from the sidelines or are off punching demons and devils in the face.



Societies, Orders, and Cults
Last, but not least, in chapter 2 are the secret and sometimes not-so-secret societies of Northern Crown. I'll spare any sort of overarching statement about them and just get into the specifics.


The Hellfire Club: Like the real world Hellfire Club, these guys are a bunch of bored men who want to have an excuse for orgies and revelry. Unlike the real Hellfire Club, there's an alignment prerequisite for joining (Chaotic Neutral and Chaotic Evil Only) and they have recently started being infiltrated by sorcerers who want to turn them to actual evil practices.


Le Dragon Rouge: Speaking of sorcerers, here's a whole secret society of them. Le Dragon Rouge are a collective of evil only (80% Lawful Evil, 10% Chaotic Evil, and 10 % Neutral Evil membership) Francais sorcerers who have made a pact with Satan himself to infiltrate Good societies and corrupt them.


Los Illustrados: The Illuminati are invading American Northern Crown governments!

...And they're not really bad. In fact, there's an alignment prerequisite of Neutral Good or Chaotic Good for membership. The entire purpose of Los Illustrados is to bring about enlightened, secular governments, which they try by having cells placed in groups of power to influence them.


L'Ordre du Sang: A society of rich and powerful vampires, which must be Chaotic Evil for some reason even though they are made up of old Uropan nobility and have the goal of creating a society where vampires rule and are the norm, which all sounds more Lawful than Chaotic to me. Since they are vampires and have the explicit goal of spreading their vampirism to others, the Catholic Church has been fighting to eradicate them for hundreds of years.


The Order of the Temple of Solomon: Freemasons. Nothing else, just straight up Freemasons.


The Sons of Cincinnatus: A secret cabal of high-ranking Sophian military whose entire goal is to stage a coup against Jeferson should the public become sick and tired of this whole "democracy" gig and want to go back to a monarchy. They aren't evil, though (or at least 70% of them aren't according to the alignment chart), just a bit too into the old guard.


The Spirit Mask Society: First Ones Ghostbusters. In addition to being awesome in principle, the Spirit Mask Society all wear masks that are imbued with the ability to turn undead, allowing them to go around from town to town getting rid of evil ghosts. They also have the knowledge of warding rituals to help protect those settlements for longer periods of time after they leave.


The Tree of Liberty: Another group of Sophian elites, amusingly directly at odds with the goals of their fellow officers that happen to be in the Sons of Cincinnatus. Members of the Tree of Liberty, known as "scions", act as spies that infiltrate other Northern Crown nations and incite the will to overthrow their monarchies and replace them with democratic republics.


The Unseen Hand: While they have a rather sinister name, the goal of the Unseen Hand is to recruit those who are particularly devout in their fight against evil and continue their legacy of being a secret society specifically created to fight evil secret societies such as Le Dragon Rouge and L'Ordre du Sang.


The Weeping Eye Cult: The Weeping Eye cult worships the Weeping Eye (shocking), an evil deity whose symbol is an eye that streams tears of blood and is associated with despair and eclipses. Members of the cult engage in mass human sacrifice somewhere in the swamps of southeastern Northern Crown, hoping to appease the Weeping Eye with the sacrifices' souls so that it both grants them power and doesn't consume their own souls instead.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next time: Habitats, nations, and lands.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 19:15 on Dec 6, 2013

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NihilVerumNisiMors
Aug 16, 2012


Fossilized Rappy posted:

Le Dragon Rouge: Speaking of sorcerers, here's a whole secret society of them. Le Dragon Rouge are a collective of evil only (80% Lawful Evil, 10% Chaotic Evil, and 10 % Neutral Evil membership) Francais sorcerers who have made a pact with Satan himself to infiltrate Good societies and corrupt them.

Dragon Rouge you say? Now that that is interesting.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Fossilized Rappy posted:

Los Illustrados: The Illuminati are invading American Northern Crown governments!

...And they're not really bad. In fact, there's an alignment prerequisite of Neutral Good or Chaotic Good for membership. The entire purpose of Los Illustrados is to bring about enlightened, secular governments, which they try by having cells placed in groups of power to influence them.

This is pretty much true of the Bavarian Illuminati that they're based on. The Illuminati were free-thinking republicans in an age where the Roman Catholic Church still held a lot of sway among the monarchies of Europe. The whole "scheming to conquer the world" stuff comes from a book on written by a Papal cleric, who obviously wanted to paint them in an unfavorable light.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!



Dragonlance Key of Destiny Adventure Path: Book Two, Spectre of Sorrows; Chapter One: Clash of Fire and Darkness

See that wicked-looking bald elf on the cover? That's Lothian with Kayleigh. I did not mention it before, but Book One made absolutely no mention of their backstory until the Introduction of this book, along with the Dragon's Graveyard and Shroud of Soul's calling. The majority of the introduction of Book Two is dedicated to this task. Yes, this means the original Key of Destiny book was absurdly vague.

Last time we left our heroes, they freed a bunch of kender from the Peak of Malystryx and discovered the legendary Dragonlance of Huma. With the help of the Phalanx Ants they safely ventured back to the ruins of Kendermore, where Elijayess waits for them to escort the kender back to Port Balifor.

At least, that's the plan. When the PCs return Kerra Whistlewalk happily reunites with her brother, and Deuce Spadestomper is tending to the wounds of the kender left behind with Elijayess. The party's arrival will be met with questions by the kender, and many more if the Dragonlance is visibly carried. After 8 hours of rest (unless the PCs choose to set out earlier), Elijayess recommends that they all head out before the ogres and dragonspawn find them to take revenge for their fallen leaders.

quote:

There is a sudden deep rumbling sound from the volcano, a reverberation that causes the ground beneath your feet to tremble. A flaming spume explodes violently from the mouth of the peak and a noxious black cloud billows upwards, blanketing the sky in cinder and ash. Trails of molten light streak through the clouds, fragments of rock hurtle through the sky and strike the ground with concussive force. Unfortunately, the strength of the explosion is strong enough that some of those fragments are heading directly towards you.

The Peak erupts, sending an ash cloud 50 miles around the mountain and blotting out the sun for nearly a week. Immediate dangers include falling rocks along with toxic fumes 10 miles from the Peak's epicenter, with chocking soot and ash 20-40 miles away. The toxic gas is slow-acting, doing small amounts of nonlethal damage over a course of several hours to those who fail a Fortitude save, but should not be lethal for the PCs.

The kender are also a handful. 17 of them are afflicted kender, 1st level commoners with little in the way of talents who scatter to safety during combat. The other four kender, not including Parrick Whistlewalk and Deuce Spadestomper, are true kender and have some levels in PC classes, ranging from 2-4th level. They can provide indirect support, such as Survival checks and cloths to help guard against the Desolation's weather, and can useminor healing magic, ranged attacks, and taunts in combat. The book points out that none of the kender should be played for comic relief: the afflicted kender have been severely traumatized, and the desperation of the surrounding environs is inappropriate for the mood. Very good advice.

And if the PCs escort the kender to safety, they get a "story award" (role-playing experience) of an encounter level equal to their average party level + 1.



The PCs are supposed to head back to Balifor, but sudden changes will force them to go northward instead, to the Dark Knight fortress of Darkhaven, and then to Flotsam. We'll get to that later. First, random encounters!

6 out of the 9 encounters are straight monster fights (giants, sand wretches, and the like), but 3 of them are unique encounters. A kender vampire will strike at night, targeting one of the refugee kender. He can be tracked back to his lair, which contains treasure!

A second encounter involves a group of 8 miserable-looking goblins chased by a behir (huge multi-armed lizard who breathes lightning). If the PCs help them out, the grateful goblins will lead them to an underground network of tunnels for shelter. They span for miles all over the Desolation, and can provide a secret way to Darkhaven.

The final one's titled Lamia Seductress, of said monster in disguise as a distressed damsel. She managed to overcome a dark knight patrol and took one of the survivors back to her lair to feast. She tells the party that her brother is injured in a cave (in reality her lair), begging for assistance. Once there she'll try to convince one of the male party members to stay with here "while the rest look for help." Her magical disguise will fall if touched, and for that end she'll avoid spellcasting PCs (she fears they'll see through easily). The unconscious "brother" is Brandel Bloodstone, who will be indebted to the characters for saving him from the lamia. He'll give them a letter of writ to show to any Dark Knight patrols, detailing his location. In return he wants the PCs to swear an oath to tell any encountered patrols his location so that he can be retrieved.

And now we're on to required story encounters. One of them is a Dark Knight Patrol, as an advance unit for a larger force. Turns out the Knights somehow got wind of the Dragonlance's location (probably through their magical seers), and are heading to the Peak in a mission to secure it. They also heard that one of the two Tears of Mishakal are in the Desolation as well, and already secured one of them in their fortress.

The encounter can end in bloodshed, or bypassed entirely. The squires will break off to report back if combat occurs, and the battle will attract the attention of flying dragonspawn patrols, who will report back to the Peak as well. Either way, the party will soon be hunted by one or both factions.

The encounter itself is trivial, consisting of a 6th level Lily Knight leader and 4 2nd-level soldiers.

Twenty-four hours after the Patrol, or 3 days after the volcano explodes (whichever comes first). Bloodmane, the boyfriend of Sindra, is leading a war party of 8 dragonspawn to kill the PCs! Bloodmane is driven by a thirst for vengeance, and the others are disorganized and focus on one opponent, unconcerned about the welfare of their teammates. Still, they have breath weapons and an aerial advantage, making melee hit-and-runs before flying out of reach.



If the PCs are overwhelmed or the fight's going too easily, a second group of 15 soldiers arrives, the Dark Knights, led by a stern Captain Velaria Grimstone (what's up with these Dark Knight surnames?).



Once again the PCs can avoid this encounter if they don't display the Dragonlance and successfully bluff her or show her the writ. She'll tell them that the safest route now out of the Desolation is northwest, through Darkhaven.

The encounter can play out many different ways, as you can see. They can be escorted safely by the Dark Knights (which won't be safe for long, as Darkhaven's leaders will be interested in the PCs reasons for being in the Desolation), fought as a normal encounter, captured by the Knights and taken to Darkhaven's cells, or bypassed entirely with some clever social skills.


Remember how I mentioned the winged elves, the Phaethons, back in Book One of Key of Destiny? And how Anasana in the Shattered Temple told the PCs that only the Tears of Mishakal can cleanse the unholy taint from the ruins? Well, these two things are tied up nicely in the next encounter, Wings of Flame! More than the others, it is necessary to move the story forward and meant to be used by the DM for this time. Two phaethon brothers, appearing as normal (if stocky) elves, emerge from the shadows and tell the PCs to come with them. They mention that forces are arraying against them, and that they can help the PCs get out of the Desolation alive. They are sincere in their desires to help, and if any kender were at all separated, they will mention that they retrieved them.

If the PCs follow them, they'll be led to their village in the mountains. Elf PCs and others might recognize their markings as that of the Phaethons with a Knowledge (History) check, elves of legend said to be blessed by Habbakuk.

The village is located in an enclosed encampment with stone ramparts. The phaethons live in stone buildings surrounding a central open square with goat pens and gardens. After the PCs are gifted with clean water from the spring and goat meat and cheeses, the 3 village elders will come out to meet with them.

quote:

Three phaethons, two men and one woman, approach from one of the buildings. All three resemble bronze statues, noble and exquisite, their features serenely beautiful.

When they speak, their voices are melodious. “Welcome, fated ones, to our camp,” says the woman, who wears the medallion of Habbakuk around her neck. “Please, partake of our hospitality and rest, for your destiny weighs heavy upon you and the road ahead is long. There is much that you must know.”

They'll be more than happy to converse with the characters, telling them to ask what they wish and they'll answer as best they can. Their god Habbukuk has blessed them with answers to the PCs' dilemma in the form of visions. Unlike the previous prophets, ghosts, and seers of this adventure path, the elders are far more informative: they tell them that the Key of Quinari's magic is not in the music box, but the melody contained therein, which can open a portal to the ancient burial grounds of the dragons of Light, located somewhere in Nordmaar, a nation to the north. To aid them in their quest, they will give the PCs a precious relic, one of the Tears of Mishakal...

Priceless Artifact Count: 5

...which will be needed once they pass through the portal to the Dragon's Graveyard and in future endeavors. The other Tear has been corrupted by Chemosh millennia ago, and is now being held in the dungeons of Darkhaven. Once they have both, the knowledge required to purify the Tear can be found in the town of Flotsam to the north of Darkhaven, "your next stop on the journey to
Nordmaar and the Dragons’ Graveyard."

They are still vague on who is manipulating them:

quote:

"Several forces are moving against you and each other. One is but a pawn who shall find the strength to break free. One marked forever by betrayal shall be both a great enemy and a great ally. One cares not what you do, but shall use you if need be as a tool of vengeance. One shall have that which is not his own torn from him. And one seeks protection and is willing to destroy the world in order to do so. [Referring to Kayleigh, the
Betrayer, Chemosh, Lothian, and Gellidus, respectively.]

Know this, the ones who seek to control your destinies are not allies and, in working against one another, may in fact aid you in fulfilling your true destiny—if you have the courage to face it and accept whatever cost you must pay to fulfill it."

Vague Prophecy Count: 12, but is nicely balanced by some pertinent information. At least they finally know about the Dragon's Graveyard and the Key's real purpose!

The Tear of Mishakal is a Major Artifact glowing with a blue radiance, acting much like a charged item. It has 20 charges which can be used by a non-evil wielder to cast spells of restorative nature (the more powerful the spell, the more charges it consumes). Its most powerful spells (heal, raise dead, heroes' feast) can only be used in conjunction with the other Tear, which must be uncorrupted. The Tear regains 1 charge per day at daybreak. Additionally, the Tear can convert a gallon of normal water to holy water after 24 hours, and bestows a continual Shield of Faith (armor class bonus) and Dimensional Anchor spell, the latter of which prevents the use of teleportation magic and dimensional travel as long as the wielder carries it (and even if overcome the Tear is left behind and dropped). The only exception is the Dragon's Graveyard, to which it is attuned. The corrupted Tear is similar, except that it casts death and evil magic, glows with a sickly green light, regains charges at night, and can only be used by non-good characters.

The teleport-negation is an important feature for the adventure. By 9th level, primary spellcasters can cast teleport and plane shift. As the adventure path is heavily travel-based where the PCs get embroiled with encounters along the way and visit neat locations on their quest, bypassing all that would be a major impediment to the adventure. And even if they scout out ahead and keep the Tears in a safe place, they have to carry them all the way anyway.


The PCs now have a new mission: infiltrate Darkhaven. Before that is some good news: the Phaethon can safely escort all the Kender to Port Balifor, accompanied by Elijayess (whose path is different from the PCs now), and Parrick Whistlewalk tells the PCs that they can make use of the underground goblin tunnels if they want to get into the fortress without being spotted.

Back during the days of the Empire of Istar, human mercenaries hunted and killed goblins for money. For safety the goblins dug a series of tunnels beneath Istar, assisted in part by Kender (who themselves were persecuted and hunted by the Empire). Even after the Cataclysm the network remained intact, and its rediscovery by the Kender was used in Kendermore's evacuation when Malystryx razed the city. Now populated by the dragons' experiments and foul spawn of Chaos, it is just as dangerous as the Desolation above. Its nearest entryway for the PCs is a deep fissure plunging into darkness. Potential encounters include wights, chaos beasts, and fiendish goblins (warped by Malystryx).



Key of Destiny Custom Soundtrack: Infiltrating Darkhaven

Darkhaven used to be the major center of operations for the Knights of Neraka in southeastern Ansalon. It's composed of a main keep and a number of smaller buildings, surrounded by a high wall. Beyond the keep proper is a double wall with towers stretching across the valley. This prevents easy travel to and from the region.

These Knights are different than the main order: they worked for Malystryx. Basically, during the time when Takhisis stole the world of Krynn away and the gods disappeared once again, some within the knighthood sought out a new patron for protection. Deserting the main organization, the knights of Darkhaven sought an alliance with Malystryx, who at first violently retaliated with her minions and only accepted after their Lieutenant managed to evade their pursuit through weeks on the run. After her minions captured him, she made him pledge an oath of loyalty to her as commander of the new legion. Most of the knights fled Darkhaven after Malystryx's death, only a few left behind with decreased morale. Their mystics chanced upon a corrupted Tear of Mishakal in the region, guided by visions from Chemosh (who is working to turn them to his service).

For the purposes of this adventure only the lower levels are detailed, as an above-ground assault is fortified with legions of troops (including arcane and divine spellcasters). And then the PCs have to deal with getting past the wall. Sneaking in via the Goblin Tunnels can allow the party to get in via a passage hidden by barrels, strike quickly, get the other Tear, and escape with the main keep none the wiser. They could end up in Darkhaven, too, if they were captured by a dark knight patrol (in that case one of the Phaethon scouts will be imprisoned in the cells).

The lower levels are home to 15 Knights: 4 normal soldiers, 4 Knight of the Skull acolytes (mystics), 4 Knight of the Thorn acolytes (fighter/wizards), and 3 officers of each order of Knighthood (6th-8th level). In addition to that are trained beasts in the kennels (22 and 23 on the map), warped through experimentation by the corrupt Tear: they include 4 Dread Cats (undead leopards with unholy resilience) and 4 Dread Spiders (undead giant spiders with unholy resilence). In the event of an alarm being raised, the Knights will take out the dreadcats with an officer in tow, with a regiment guarding the upper level (basement level). The remaining beasts will be unleashed into the dungeon level to kill anyone who isn't wearing a dark knight uniform.

Combat-wise the knights, even the officers, are easy for a group of 7th level PCs to fight if caught unawares. However, combat in the complex in "alert mode" can be tough: the Dread creatures are well-suited to melee (the cats have improved grab and pounce, the spiders poison) and give off a rotting stench which can sicken enemies. They also have a telepathic link with their creators, the spellcasting knights. As for the knights, the Thorns can cast magic missile, while acolytes of both orders have an assortment of necromantic spells to unleash upon the PCs.

The dungeon level contains the typical stuff (prison cells, torture chambers, guard quarters), but areas 9 and 10 are a research library and necromantic laboratories, containing sufficient spell components and a few magic scrolls with spells! Room 15 has a permanent Wall of Ice to act as cold storage for perishable food (like in the Shattered Temple I enjoy the idea of a magical refrigerator). If the PCs were captured by the Dark Knights, they'll encounter one of the phaethon scouts in the cells (area 4), who will aid them in breaking out of Darkhaven and insist that they accompany him to his village (he knows the directions of the tunnels).

The Tear itself is in Room 25, accessible via a hall of black marble veined with red and Dark Knight symbols in room 24. The whole area is affected by an unhallow spell, which bolsters undead creatures along with necromantic and evil magic. Knights and Dread beasts who hold their ground here have an advantage in this regard. The spellcasting officers and their acolytes will be here in case of an alarm.

The corrupted Tear of Mishakal rests on a wrought iron stand in room 25, a chamber which smells of death and is dimly lit with four coal-burning braziers. A Greater Shadow guards the Tear and hides in the shadowy illumination, taking 10 on its Hide check for a DC 28 Spot check to be noticed. It will attack the PCs, and retreats back within the Tear when defeated. It can be summoned to follow the PCs bidding by expending 10 charges, remaining until dismissed or destroyed.

Priceless Artifact Count: 6.

This can be a very powerful option for the PCs; despite its low Intelligence, its strength-draining touch attack can bring down most opponents, as it does not allow a save. Its Hide bonus and fly speed make it a passable, if unintelligent, scout. It cannot abide the touch of light, so it can't be used in broad daylight, but otherwise is a good minion.

The best way to escape Darkhaven, once they get the Tear, is to go out via the Goblin Tunnels through a northern path. It leads out into the ground to the north of the Desolation and south of Flotsam, a very convenient location. The adventure doesn't give any information on how the PCs will known this, unfortunately. I'd recommend having the goblins or phaethon tell the PCs of this possible escape route if you run the adventure.



Thoughts so far: The second books leads off with a solid start. A sidequest for protecting the kender, some combat encounters, the first real information on the Key and the PCs' main quest, and a fortress infiltration mission of varying difficulty have little in the way of flaws.

Next time, Chapter 2, Flotsam & Jetsam!

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

I'll have you know, foxes have the finest call in nature





DOUBLE CROSS

Chapter the Ninth - On the Nature of the Player


This is a short one. I've been slacking, but from now on updates should come out faster because I want to finish the book before traveling away and leaving my book.

The Player's Guide! This is a short chapter in the book dedicated to practical advice for players. I know I said in the last update that there would be some genuinely interesting tidbits in here. Turns out, I misremembered. This is one unremarkable player's guide. To be completely fair, however, if you're the kind of gamer whose idea of RPG consists of "Dungeons and Dragons" and whose idea of revolutionary player advice is "maybe it's not such a good idea to play an evil character in this party of noble warriors and clerics", then this chapter will have a lot of breakthrough information for you. I think this kind of player is not one to buy a Japanese superhero drama RPG, though.

We start with the idea that the GM shouldn't be expected to entertain everyone at the table like a dancing monkey. Players are... well, players of the game, and they should aspire to entertain each other. DX then throws the towel and admits it doesn't have much in the way of advice on how to be entertaining, neither expects a bunch of basement-dwelling gamers to be able to even apply it, so the book will focus on how not be an rear end in a top hat to your fellow player.

Actually, that's a good idea, and more games should do it.

DX comes forward with the revolutionary idea of taking action! What if you could do more than react to what the GM tells you? What if you could... do things? DX encourages players to have ideas and act on them. Of course, "act on them" really means asking the GM permission to act on them.

There's an entire section dedicated to coping with the horrendous feeling of when your suggestions get put down by the rest of the group. This section poses the following three pieces of advice:
"Have you considered that your suggestion really sucked?"
"Your suggestions are more likely to be denied if you make them while being an rear end in a top hat!"
"When your suggestions are denied, don't keep pushing them!"

The next section is called "Gaming Manners". It boils down to:
1. don't get too passionate over elfgames, it's creepy
2. express yourself clearly
3. don't be an rear end in a top hat to anyone else
4. try and have fun

I'm torn between being completely in awe at what kind of players DX expects people to be, and being actually kind of glad that a game has an explicit chapter just for telling players to respect each other and act like normal human beings. Then again, I haven't read grogs.txt in a while and my faith in gamers has been going strong.

The second half of the Player's Guide is designed to aid in character creation.

There's way too many options offered by DX. You look at the Works, the Powers, the Syndromes, you get flooded. It's hard to pin down a coherent concept and make a character out of it. DX's suggestion for how to deal with choice paralysis is interesting. First, you grab the one aspect of the character that's clearest in your mind. Then, you build the character outwards from that.

If you have an idea for a character based on their role in society, start creation by picking Work and Cover. If you want a specific Syndrome or Power, start from those; DX also suggests picking a fighting style. Deciding if you want to be an attacker who focuses on melee, firearms, or Renegade Control, or a support/healer type, facilitates power choice very much. If you want a certain kind of background, there's nothing wrong with starting with Personal Data.

There's also more groudbreaking advice: "get help and ideas from other players" and "get help and ideas from the internet".

The last bit of the Player's Guide, fondly named "Words of Caution", is about bad characters. Yes, DX tells us, there is such a thing as bad characters. These fall in two categories: the characters made to harass other players, and character completely inappropriate for the Scenario being played. The assumption is that the GM will give Scenario Handouts and present a Scenario Trailer before the players make their characters, so they come in with an idea of what's appropriate and what's not.

Don't make bad characters, kids. The GM may veto them, and then you'll be sad.

And that's it for the Player's Guide. Again, it's not very... constructive, if you play with nice human beings. But then again, there are many stories out there about gaming groups who are anything but nice (and some are still debatable about the "human being" part). Judge for yourself whether you think this chapter is a good addition to the book, I guess.

Next time: the GM chapter! It's more interesting, I swear!

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013


Anyone here know about "The One Ring"? Thinking of writing a bit about it.

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid



Oh DX, you never cease to make me smile

I personally think that's a pretty good players guide, since it focuses less on how to use the rules and more how to be when you're playing the game. I think I myself could probably have done with some of that advice on occasion, as could most people from time to time I'm sure.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Egregious Offences posted:

Anyone here know about "The One Ring"? Thinking of writing a bit about it.
Capfalcon started a review of it some time back, but there's been nothing since July.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

In 1978 two teenagers had a great idea. This new D&D thing had appeared and was taking nerd-dom by storm, but what if you didn't want to play a fantasy game? What if instead, you wanted to be a superhero?




Villains and Vigilantes was the game of my youth, even more than the the three white book OD&D. I honestly probably played in more V&V games than D&D by the time I had graduated high-school back in 1981. I'm going to be covering the first edition of this game, the very first useable superhero RPG (Sorry, 2044 is not in any way, shape, or form playable as an RPG) and maybe I'll compare the revised edition and Living Legends as an afterword.

Jeff Dee and Jack Herman were in High School in Austin Texas in the late-70s. They had been playing D&D and Traveller and that was cool and all but they really wanted to be superheroes. They started cobbling up their own set of rules and wham there was V&V. They played it, their friends played, they thought maybe other people would want to play it. They got in touch with a company called FGU (Fantasy Games Unlimited) which was acting as a publisher for various writers. FGU had already published a number of miniature rule sets, wargames, and boardgames,], but Bunnies and Burrows was really their only RPG to this point.

Enter Dee and Herman. Two kids from Austin persuaded the owner of FGU, Scott Bizar, to give their game a shot. He did and it became wildly successful, or at least as wildly successful as a TTRPG can get in 1979...

The cover art is by Dee, who became quite a well-known illustrator after this period. He was responsible for the Egyptian Pantheon in the AD&D Deities and Demi-Gods among other things. It's crude as hell, but hey! Full Color cover! It's a small game actually. Only 38 pages and basically un-illustrated (only two small comic strips) with a tip in sheet that will make some people's heads explode.

Let's get started!

The intro page has some good stuff starting from the very first section...

V&V posted:

VILLAINS & VIGILANTES is a role playing game simulating the lives and adventures of a group of comic book style super-heroes. It requires one or more players (anywhere up to a maximum of about ten) and a referee, hereafter called the Gamemaster.
It is the Gamemaster's job to control all non-player characters, to set up encounters for the players, to determine the results of any actions undertaken by the players, and to generally keep the players entertained and the game running smoothly.
At the start of the game the Gamemaster must determine the basic characteristics of each player's character (strength, intelligence, constitution, dexterity and charisma) on a scale of 3 to 18 where an average score is ten or eleven. The method used in doing this differs from most role playing games in that no dice are rolled. The Gamemaster judges each player's actual score from real life and then applies these scores to the player's character. This is because the character in VILLAINS & VIGILANTES is an exact duplicate of the player with the addition of super powers. A short discussion with each player will aid the Gamemaster in evaluating each characteristic, but care must be taken to insure that no character receives anything he does not deserve. Players who feel that they have been 'short changed' may console themselves with the knowledge that these characteristics can be raised through training during the actual game.

Oh yeah that's the stuff...

So you have nerds rating nerds on Strength, Con and the usual other stats. Fortunately the group I gamed with mostly was Graduate students so the stupidity and whining weren't as common.

Next up came the bit about the world background...

V&V posted:

In the dimension where VILLAINS & VIGILANTES is real the planet Earth has undergone a radical shift in reality which allows super powered characters to exist. Previous to the late 1970s that Earth was identical to the one on which you and I now live.
First to appear were the Mutants. Theoretically these characters have always had latent super-powers but required the reality shift before they could discover and use these powers. They soon split into two factions: The Villains who strive for world domination and often do so against one another, and the Vigilantes who use their powers for the betterment of humanity and thus to the detriment of the Villains.
Members of both factions then began to join or form organizations intent on discovering the secret that made super-powers possible. They were only slightly successful in this, for as they devised many mechanisms to reproduce these powers they made few discoveries as to how the human body was able to generate these same powers. Thus, these organizations brought about the 'designed' and 'sponsored' superbeing types. Individuals attempting to copy their experiments to enter the growing class of super-powered humanity became 'homemade' character types.
The individual and organized attempts at super power synthesis would have died out quickly had not evidence existed that non-Mutants were able to gain personal super-powers. That evidence was furnished by the Accidental Scientific origins of the fifth super-being type to appear on Earth. This evidence demonstrated that in rare instances, freak accidents such as electrocution or radiation overexposure could give a normal human being whatever it took to become super-powered.
Additional evidence was discovered in the fact that the acceptance of the reality of the occult and other paranormal phenomena among the general public took a tremendous leap over the same period during which the reality shift had occurred. Investigation brought forth rumors that powerful sorcerers had suddenly appeared throughout the world, some joining the faction of their choice and others retreating into seclusion. A popular theory is that super and psychic powers are closely related, if not the same, though this is still a matter of speculation and under debate by the world's leading scientists.
Somewhere along the line the popularity of the Vigilantes among the general public brought forth the first Charismatically Involved character, and that example has been often. repeated. Meanwhile, government agents, private investigators, and other Non-Powered Adventurer types were drawn into situations with super-powered characters.
Obviously, all this activity on Earth was bound to attract somebody's attention, and it did. Extraterrestrials from the far corners of the galaxy came 'flying' to take a closer look, though some stayed longer than they had originally intended.

That's it, the entire backstory, metaplot, arc, what-have you.

We used maps of our local town (Madison Wisconsin has a ludicrously high percentage of paranormals...Who knew?) and went to heroing.

The next section is Character Generation.

Strength, Intelligence, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma. The stats were rated from 3-18 though superpowers could crack those limits in a heartbeat. V&V did make some interesting choices however. It was a level based system and PCs started with a d6 hit points. The thing is your stats could modify those and not just your Constitution. The only stat that didn't modify hit points was Charisma. All the other four affected them. Strength also affected Direct Damage (Hand to Hand basically) and Intelligence and Dexterity affected All Damage.

The other figured statistic was Power Potential or PP. This was how much juice you had to fire blasts or fly or whatever. It was derived by adding all four of the non-suck stats (i.e. everything but Charisma).

After you had figured your stats you rolled a d10 and saw what kind of a hero you were...or at least your origin type.

V&V posted:

MUTANTS
These characters spontaneously developed their super-powers with no apparent outside stimuli. Because they are not always accepted in human society, a roll of 30 or less on percentile dice indicates that they immediately lose one charisma point.

DESIGNED
This character was given his powers by a government or scientific organization and was then let loose upon the world. He still main­tains contact with his benefactors and is expected to come to their aid in crisis situations. However, he is generally allowed to handle his own affairs without supervision by his 'creators.'

SPONSORED
This character is similar to the Designed character except that he is permanently employed by his creators and they maintain a large degree of control over how he uses his powers. There is a 30% chance per month that he will be sent on a mission. If he refuses to go, the refereee must determine the consequences. He is paid $100 per week per experience level he has attained and he may not accept rewards, though he gains no charisma or experience for refusing such rewards for his actions (see 4.3.)

HOMEMADE
This character trained himself secretly and created any devices he has completely on his own. While one of the least powerful char­acters, Homemade characters command great respect if they reach the higher experience levels.

ACCIDENTAL SCIENTIFIC
Accidental Scientific characters have fewer powers than Mutants, but without the possible charisma loss faced by the mutated characters. The types of powers such characters can gain are determined by the type of accident responsible for them.

SUPERNATURAL
These characters studied magical books and forbidden lore in order to master the arts of sorcery. True supernaturals add +2 to their charisma scores due to the aura of fear which surrounds them and the dedication they have demonstrated for their art.


ACCIDENTAL SUPERNATURAL
Such characters have become involved in sorcery through no plan of their own. They have either discovered a magical item of power or have become enchanted by an unknown benefactor, etc. Accidental Supernaturals gain only a +1 charisma bonus, but are not as fanatically dedicated to 'Law' or 'Chaos' as true supernaturals.
Note that the 'chaotic' possibility exists only for non-player characters as all player-characters must abide by the 'comics code.'

CHARISMATIC INVOLVEMENT
These characters contain some sort of (as yet) unidentified characteristic which gives them an automatic and permanent charisma of 17. Their charisma factor cannot change under normal circumstances. The main bonus these characters have is the ability to attach themselves to a vigilante or group of vigilantes and they then act as a form of companion and/or mascot for the vigilantes. High level charismatically involved characters are the kind of people who are hired as secret agents or leaders of secret organizations. They may switch from group to group or from vigilante to vigilante whenever it seems useful. These characters can also train themselves while adventuring, but only up to a maximum factor of 16 in each category of basic characteristics. Like other characters, they must take time off from adventuring to raise their characteristics above sixteen.
Should a charismatically involved character ever find himself in trouble, super-powered individuals of his faction who are in the area must come to his aid. Super-powered groups with such a charismatic character will sustain a one point charisma loss should the char­ismatic character ever be killed or be permanently taken out of action.
Charismatically involved characters have a 5% chance of having one super power.

NONPOWERED ADVENTURER
Such characters do not really have super-powers, but because of the variety of heightened characteristics and skills they can obtain they are often more than a match for many super-powered beings. A player's first character (that character that is the player's self) cannot have this origin type so that players rolling an origin of this type should reroll for origin type on an eight sided die.
Should a player's original character die, he must roll for a new character and this character can be of this origin type. See section 4.7 for a fuller explanation of rolling up new characters.
Nonpowered adventurers have a 3% chance of having come from another time, dimension, or whatever at the Gamemaster's whim. If this is the case, the Gamemaster determines what, if any characteristics the player will have based on being from wherever or whenever he originated.
If the Nonpowered Adventurer is not from somewhere else, there is a 20% chance that he is already employed by the government.
This can be handled in the same fashion as is the case for Sponsored super-being characters.

EXTRATERRESTRIAL
This character came from another planet and any powers he has are natural to his race. As with Nonpowered Adventurers, a player's first character cannot be of extraterrestrial origin. If such an origin is rolled, players are to reroll with eight sided dice.
Naturally, a character can be rolled with this origin type if the original character of a player has been killed.
The Gamemaster must determine whether or not the Extraterrestrial character maintains any contact with his planet or his race of origin.


The number of powers each character has are determined by their origin types, as are the types of powers characters will obtain.
pre:
Origin Type			Number of Powers Obtained	Roll on List
Mutant					1-6 				F
Designed				1-4				A
Sponsored				1-4				A
Homemade				1-4				B
Accidental Scientific			1-3				C		
Supernatural				1-6				D
Accidental Supernatural			1-4				E
Charismatic Involvement		5% Chance of 1				F
Nonpowered Adventurer			2-5				G
Extraterrestrial			1-6				F
Roll a die to find the number of powers. Then roll for each power on the appropriate list on the following pages. 
Should the same power be rolled more than once, roll again to find the correct number of different powers.
This whole game is random...

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.


Congrats: you have contributed the first V review to this thread, meaning only two letters remain.

Q and Z.

PleasingFungus
Oct 10, 2012

in my pope game,


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Nonpowered adventurers have a 3% chance of having come from another time, dimension, or whatever at the Gamemaster's whim. If this is the case, the Gamemaster determines what, if any characteristics the player will have based on being from wherever or whenever he originated.



(Also, I love that you are not allowed to be Batman until you've died at least once.)

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Syrg Sapphire posted:

Congrats: you have contributed the first V review to this thread, meaning only two letters remain.

Q and Z.

I'm kinda tempted to start my Tenra Bansho Zero review and call it "Zero, Tenra Bansho", but even if the would fly, I'm not dumb enough to try to keep 3 write-ups going at once.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats




There#s QAGS - Quick rear end Game System, but it's pretty boring; just a generic system with occiasionally funny cartoons for art. I think it was involved in some debate a few years ago for basically having 'Magical Negro' as a character type in a supplement.

It's main innovation is the Cathedralpult in a sample weapons section. It's a catapult that fires a cathedral. It's got reasonable range, does a ton of damage and takes 20-60 years to reload.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Welp, guess I'll do Zorceror of Zo when the Risus review is done.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Syrg Sapphire posted:

Congrats: you have contributed the first V review to this thread, meaning only two letters remain.

Q and Z.

This looks promising.

Piell
Sep 3, 2006

Grey Worm's Ken doll-like groin throbbed with the anticipatory pleasure that only a slightly warm and moist piece of lemoncake could offer



Young Orc

And then someone (not me) just need to do Zorcerer of Zo!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




I'm actually intrigued at the possibility of doing ZERO (a game about, basically, Borg escaping from their hivemind in a post-apocalyptic landscape).

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry


And it's a really good game too.

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

I'll have you know, foxes have the finest call in nature


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

And it's a really good game too.

That's good to know. I bought it ages ago but haven't gotten around to properly reading it yet. At first glance, it seemed to me like one of those crunchy "unending lists of skills and abilities" games, which threw me off a little bit.

Though realizing the stats map perfectly to AW (cool = water, hard = metal, hot = fire, sharp = air, weird = earth) got my head spinning for a hack of that game... Without even having read Qin itself. Which just goes to show how much powered by the apocalypse has taken over the gaming side of the brain...

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Cyphoderus posted:

That's good to know. I bought it ages ago but haven't gotten around to properly reading it yet. At first glance, it seemed to me like one of those crunchy "unending lists of skills and abilities" games, which threw me off a little bit.

Though realizing the stats map perfectly to AW (cool = water, hard = metal, hot = fire, sharp = air, weird = earth) got my head spinning for a hack of that game... Without even having read Qin itself. Which just goes to show how much powered by the apocalypse has taken over the gaming side of the brain...

I'm sure a Kung Fu/Wushu hack of AW could be made with stats like those. Probably crib a little from LotW, but it'd probably turn out pretty good.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Or maybe you could actually try the RAW without *World-ing it up from the start? It really isn't unending lists and it's organized quite well. I may have to F&F it next.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Nonsense! Everything has to be converted into a *World game! Give me that copy of Battletech! Playbook: Jenner! Playbook: Hatchetman! Playbook: Urbanmech!

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Nonsense! Everything has to be converted into a *World game! Give me that copy of Battletech! Playbook: Jenner! Playbook: Hatchetman! Playbook: Urbanmech!

Please make this.

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

I'll have you know, foxes have the finest call in nature


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Or maybe you could actually try the RAW without *World-ing it up from the start? It really isn't unending lists and it's organized quite well. I may have to F&F it next.

Yeah, that's the complaint – my brain has a tendency to think of other games in *World terms because it's so convenient, and from reading these forums, I'm apparently not the only one. It's the dark side of Apocalypse World; the game is very good (actually my personal favourite system), so you want to apply it to everything. Which is not cool and anathema to good design, really.

I'd really love a F&F writeup of Qin.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry



Time for Powers!
There are 7 Tables labled A-G.

Table A is Gadgets and Devices, B is Enhanced Training/Stat Boosts, some smaller gadgets, and sidekicks/pets, C is Innate Physical or Mental powers, D and E are Fringe powers like Astral Projection, Death Touch and the like. F is a grabbag with something from all the others, and G is like B only with no gadgets or pets.

This comes out to 1 1/2 pages of random tables which I could show you, but would be kind of dumb and a waste of space.

After you roll for the powers you get, the amount received depending on your origin type, the Gamemaster goes through and removes one of them. If you only roll two powers or less, you get to decide. So basically the whole character gen is building your concept around a character rather than the other way around. It sounds awful, but it actually works surprisingly well and you do get some weird-rear end heroes on occasion.

The powers run the typical comics gamut: Adaption to Hostile Environments, Heightened Stas (add 2D10 to the indicated stat. If you roll this more than once it can stack), Flight, Energy Blasts, Armor, Super-senses...

The reason I'm not covering them heavily is that they are all, as really should be done in a superhero game, really bare-bones described as to game effects. The player gets to decide what the special effects are.

After the powers list, which is only taking up seven pages including descriptions, we come to training up stats as long as a power hasn't kicked it up over a score of '20'. Then comes a paragraph on costumes and the first piece of art in the book after the cover...



Exciting huh? Well this was the dawn of the RPG after all.

The next section is on secret and public identities and patrolling, then a short blurb on inventions and then the experience chart.

Going up levels increased your hit points, gave an Offense and Defense Bonus which will be touched on in the actual rules section and nothing else really.

Next section we look at the glory of COMBAT!

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Oh Lord. V&V combat is dire.

Though you forgot to mention the best part of hit points calculation - the weight adjustment! Fatties are tougher because reasons.

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid


PantsOptional posted:

Oh Lord. V&V combat is dire.

Though you forgot to mention the best part of hit points calculation - the weight adjustment! Fatties are tougher because reasons.

If the x-men animated cartoon from my childhood has taught me anything, it's that nothing can stop the Blob

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Do people make fun of BRP for having a SIZ characteristic? Because I understand why it's a part of Call of Cthulhu, but it's clunky as hell.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


The Blob isn't fat, he's got glands as a result of the mutant power that makes him super tough.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

PantsOptional posted:

Oh Lord. V&V combat is dire.

Though you forgot to mention the best part of hit points calculation - the weight adjustment! Fatties are tougher because reasons.

This is 1st edition, not Revised!

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

gently caress me, good call. Completely forgot. I stand by my statement regarding combat however.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Halloween Jack posted:

Do people make fun of BRP for having a SIZ characteristic? Because I understand why it's a part of Call of Cthulhu, but it's clunky as hell.

I do, I don't know about other people.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

PantsOptional posted:

gently caress me, good call. Completely forgot. I stand by my statement regarding combat however.

Oh I agree totally, Lardball the Everliving may have cheeto based HP in Revised, but the combat chart in first edition is special...

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

I'll have you know, foxes have the finest call in nature


This one was written sort of hurriedly because I think my power is about to go down, sorry.



DOUBLE CROSS

Syndrome Dossier, Part F


Neumann

Named after the mathematician Von Neumann, this is the genius Syndrome. These Overeds' brains work at maximum capacity all the time, and then some, for they have special extra neural circuitry when compared to non-Neumanns. It's hard to compete with Overeds that have literally more brains than you!

All the intelligence gives the Neumann a penchant for tactical thinking. This Syndrome is the warlord's choice: you understand the battlefield better than anyone, and get a number of support powers to direct your allies tactically.

But there's more. Neumann really shines when they're being aggressive themselves. Being smart means you think about combat more than anyone else, and thus this Syndrome is filled to the brim with combat powers. To put it simply, if you can think of something fancy to do in battle, there's a high chance it's a Neumann power. Fighting with two weapons, targeting enemy weak points, feinting and attacking, predicting incoming attacks to dodge better... just because it's the "smart" Syndrome doesn't mean the Neumann isn't a fearsome fighter.

Some remarkable powers include: Variable Weapons, which lets you attack with more than two weapons (imagine Dante from DMC cycling through all his guns in one attack and you get the picture); Inspiration, which is the most efficient information-gathering power in the whole game: you get a flash of genius and get to ask the GM directly about one mystery of the setting; and Intercepting Bullet, which is, well... you block an incoming attack with a bullet Yep, you could block a bullet with a bullet

High Encroachment Rate tricks include getting one last action off before falling unconscious, countering incoming attacks, and being so goddamn good at tactics you give an ally one entire extra turn All of DX's action-economy-breaking powers like this one, by the way, are limited to be used once per Scenario/session. Pure-Breed powers are: being a really good commander (and giving one hell of a damage buff to an ally) and a vaguely worded power that implies using your allies to distract enemies, giving them an accuracy debuff.

Transient People posted:

A minor, but extremely important note that Cyphoderus missed: The power that allows you to hand out a hell of a damage boost by being an awesome commander that Cyphoderus mentioned doesn't target an ally, it targets allies, plural. It only lasts for one turn, but Undefeated Genius (such is the power's name) is the single biggest damage buff in Double Cross by an absolute ton if you have more than one friend with you, eclipsing even 'ultimates' like the 120% powers, because it adds a maximum of 28 damage per attack (in game terms, this means that having a true blue Neumann leading a team is worth as much as sticking TWO CHAINGUNS on each ally that listens to him! ). For comparison's sake, the best Morpheus power for adding damage, Crystal Sword, works for the entire scenario but only adds 10 damage per item when used by a maxed out Purebreed, cannot be stacked with itself (so you have to spread it out or buff a Neumann who can dual or triple or gently caress it, even penta-wield poo poo), can only be applied to three weapons (so it barely beats a one-ally use of Undefeated Genius at best) and costs just as much ER as each Undefeated Genius use. When he said Neumann was the 'Warlord' syndrome, he wasn't kidding - the difference between having a Purebreed Neumann leading the troops and anything else is so colossal that they can easily turn any fight the entire party joins into a cruel joke at the GM's expense. This is a reasonable repayment for the fact that they're one of like two syndromes that has to pay a Feat- err I mean Power Tax to be able to do jack poo poo by their lonesome, but it's appropriate: It means that if you see Amadeus Cho leading a team of superheroes, you better get the hell out of the way before superior tactics roll you over. The mind is Double Cross' strongest weapon!

Common Powers time. You can decipher any code or language known to man, and you can perfectly copy the personality and idiosyncrasies of someone. You can hold something in your hands and know very well how it was made and what it's used for. There's the old GURPS staple of picture-perfect memory, and the more unusual power to become master of your hypothalamus and control your own metabolism, controlling your sleep, digestion, immune system and even emotions. There's a power for being so good at languages you can speak with animals (it's called Doctor Dolittle). At last, there's the Sherlock Holmes power: look over a person and use the tiniest of details to form a very accurate picture in your head of that person's personality, lifestyle, and whereabouts.

Orcus

One of the more interesting Syndromes. The Orcus gains control over their surroundings, which becomes their "Domain": the Overed becomes lord over their Domain and can manipulate it in various ways. The Syndrome is named after the Roman god Orcus, ruler of the underworld, his Domain.

Orcus' offensive capabilities are all indirect. You can make the earth itself rise and chuck it as a spear, you can trap opponents in sharp thorns and intercept their attacks with flying objects, you can make rain water so sharp it does tangible damage. In short, Orcus is the Syndrome you pick to play Poltergheist or Beetlejuice.

Lots of Orcus powers are nature-themed: you can take control of animals in your Domain, which is one of the coolest things: it's a generic combo power that gives bonus dice to checks, so you can insert animals into the description of any other Orcus power. You can create whips out of plants (another indication that DX takes serious, direct inspiration from Yu Yu Hakusho). You can even send an animal into a scene as your substitute, i.e. your character doesn't have to be physically present at the scene but they're participating through a proxy hiacynth or something.

Orcus also has many powers that are more abstract: "manipulate your Domain to do this thing", their description says. You can interpret those however you like, and it really depends on what Domain you're working with. "Utilise all objects in one's Domain to cage in a target", for instance, is going to look very different when it's used in a computer store than when it's used in Machu Picchu.

Other cool powers include manipulating vehicles from far away using your Domain (if the Black Dog version of this makes your car a transformer, the Orcus version makes it Herbie) and making armour out of random objects in the Domain.

High Encroachment Rate powers include magically Renegadelly linking your wounds to someone else, so when you get hurt, they do too; and dominating a target's mind and forcing them to perform a certain action. Pure-Breed powers are a damage debuff and a general dice debuff against enemies, and both are worded vaguely; feel free to go wild with your description of how "taking control of everything in the Domain and inhibiting the enemy's actions" actually goes down.

For Simple Powers, you've got the obvious Telekinesis, to remotely make things move, but there's also the much more interesting Machine's Voice, which gives a simple order to an object that it follows mechanically. Basically, Sword in the Stone's Merlin's cottage. There's the green thumb power that makes plants grow better in the Domain, and the power that lets you create replicas of other stuff using soil and leaves from your Domain, very useful for faking important items. You've got Sharp Ears, which is the obligatory "sense everything that happens inside your Domain" power, and Cat's Path, the power to make impossible shortcuts to improbable places within your Domain – open a door here, step through over there.

Finally, there's Invisible Domain. What it does is create your own pocket dimension. No, really. Basically, you hide an area within your Domain and no one can see it or get to it, even when it's right in front of them. The range is huge, too: 1000 square goddamn meters per level in the power. For reference, a football soccer field has around 4000 square meters. Yeah, Overeds get chancels just like Nobilis' Powers, you only have to have an Orcus in the party.

Next time: Salamandra and Solaris! Fire, ice, and... organic compounds?

Cyphoderus fucked around with this message at 01:40 on Dec 9, 2013

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid


Cyphoderus posted:

This one was written sort of hurriedly because I think my power is about to go down, sorry.



DOUBLE CROSS

Syndrome Dossier, Part E


Neumann

Orcus

The Orcus was everything I ever dreamed of and more. I so far haven't seen a syndrome that I dislike or couldn't think of a few cool things to do with. I cannot wait for Christmas to come so I can get my hands on this and start running it till my friends are sick to death of me

Out of interest, what's your preferred syndrome Cyphoderus?

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013


Alright, let's get this show on the road.


Introduction
The One Ring is, as you can see, a LOTR RPG. You are adventurers doing your adventuring thing in the Wildlands five years after Smaug was slain and the Battle of Five Armies was fought (this is actually very important, but later on).
So, as one would expect, adventuring isn't exactly something the average joe really strives to do. As the book says, "They are dangerous and rarely end well". But that doesn't discourage you, the Player Heroes, from donning the mantle of "adventurers" and delving into the treacherous wilderness to the east of the Misty Mountains, where there is plenty of danger and glory to go around.

How does it work?
TOR uses a roll-over system where, whenever a check needs to be made, the character/Lore Master (GM) rolls a 12-sided die (referred to as the "Feat Die") and as many 6 sided dice (referred to as "Success dice") as they have dots in that skill to try to meet a certain number, often 14. The feat die has two special symbols where the 11 and 12 would be, with the Eye of Sauron replacing the 11 and the Gandalf "G" rune replacing 12. These are important, because rolling a G means an immediate success, while rolling the Eye is a result of 0, and bad things tend to happen when you fail a roll because of the Eye. Also, the Success dice have these symbols underneath the 6 (the Tengwar number 1, if you want to look for it) which means, if the test succeeds, a success becomes a great success, or an excellent success, or even a superior success, depending on how many 6s were rolled.

The intro chapter also goes into detail about the two "phases" the game has: Adventuring and Fellowship. Adventuring is exactly what it sounds like; traveling, fighting orcs, exploring barrows, etc. The Fellowship phase, though, is where the heroes rest and recuperate in towns, use their hard-earned treasure, improve their skills and experience, and the other RP related things. There's also a paragraph about the concept of narrative time, where large chunks of time are abstracted (useful for long journeys, which take weeks of in-game time), versus episodes, where the players are in greater control over what happens and when it does (useful in the Fellowship phase, where the players will want to specify what they're doing with their down-time).

Before we move into Character Generation, I'm going to crib from the other TOR writeup and have you guys tell me what sort of characters, let's go with two of them, you want me to create. First things first, choose two cultures from the list.

Bardings: Men of Dale and followers of Bard the Archer, slayer of Smaug and newly crowned king. Bardings are a prosperous people, due to trade and their proximity to the Dwarves, who are their staunch allies. They are quite brave, and with stout hearts.
Beornings: The rag-tag groups of warriors, hunters and other folks wandering the wilderness without cause or allegiance that united under Beorn, the Skin-changer of Carrock (he can turn into a huge bear). His people are tough, strong and renown for their battle-fury.
Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain: Since the victory over Smaug and the passing of the Battle of Five Armies, the dwarves have toiled ceaselessly to rebuild their fallen fortress home. However, some dwarves wish to see the Kingdom under the Mountain enter a new period of renown and splendor, and bring glory to their people and their home with tales of new heroes. Dwarves are skilled craftsmen, and can carry loads that would break the will and endurance of Men.
Elves of Mirkwood: The wood-elves of Mirkwood were once known for their laughter that would ring throughout the wood, but now the forest is silent, a testament to the changes the Mirkwood has gone through since the Shadow has fallen over it. Now, the elves are constantly vigilant of the threat that the Enemy poises to the people of the Wilderlands and the Mirkwood. Their eternal watchfulness is aided by their affinity for the shadows of trees or night, where their senses and abilities are improved.
Hobbits of the Shire: After Bilbo returned to the Shire with wild tales of adventure and peril beyond the safety and comfort of the Shire, many respectable hobbits simply denounced his stories as fiction, and that he never left his hobbit-hole at all. Nevertheless, some hobbits are inspired by these tales to leave the predictable security of the Shire and seek fortune and fame in the Wilderlands, where their natural charm and sense of practicality makes them valuable members of the party.
Woodmen of Wilderland: Frontiersman of the north of Mirkwood, the Woodmen have lived in the Wood and fought the Shadow as long as they know. Aiding them is the wizard Radagast, residing in their land in his home Rhosgobel. He is a master of beasts, and his knowledge has been a great boon to the Woodmen, who are themselves skilled hunters, animal tamers and foresters.

Dedman Walkin
Dec 20, 2006





Let's look at Hobbits and Woodmen.

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

A minor, but extremely important note that Cyphoderus missed: The power that allows you to hand out a hell of a damage boost by being an awesome commander that Cyphoderus mentioned doesn't target an ally, it targets allies, plural. It only lasts for one turn, but Undefeated Genius (such is the power's name) is the single biggest damage buff in Double Cross by an absolute ton if you have more than one friend with you, eclipsing even 'ultimates' like the 120% powers, because it adds a maximum of 28 damage per attack (in game terms, this means that having a true blue Neumann leading a team is worth as much as sticking TWO CHAINGUNS on each ally that listens to him! ). For comparison's sake, the best Morpheus power for adding damage, Crystal Sword, works for the entire scenario but only adds 10 damage per item when used by a maxed out Purebreed, cannot be stacked with itself (so you have to spread it out or buff a Neumann who can dual or triple or gently caress it, even penta-wield poo poo), can only be applied to three weapons (so it barely beats a one-ally use of Undefeated Genius at best) and costs just as much ER as each Undefeated Genius use. When he said Neumann was the 'Warlord' syndrome, he wasn't kidding - the difference between having a Purebreed Neumann leading the troops and anything else is so colossal that they can easily turn any fight the entire party joins into a cruel joke at the GM's expense. This is a reasonable repayment for the fact that they're one of like two syndromes that has to pay a Feat- err I mean Power Tax to be able to do jack poo poo by their lonesome, but it's appropriate: It means that if you see Amadeus Cho leading a team of superheroes, you better get the hell out of the way before superior tactics roll you over. The mind is Double Cross' strongest weapon!

Transient People fucked around with this message at 04:19 on Dec 6, 2013

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013


Dedman Walkin posted:

Let's look at Hobbits and Woodmen.

I'll wait a few days and tally up the votes.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


JohnOfOrdo3 posted:

The Orcus was everything I ever dreamed of and more. I so far haven't seen a syndrome that I dislike or couldn't think of a few cool things to do with. I cannot wait for Christmas to come so I can get my hands on this and start running it till my friends are sick to death of me

Out of interest, what's your preferred syndrome Cyphoderus?

This is pretty much the truth. A buddy of mine picked this up for the holidays from my description of it from the thread, and when I was making my PC it took me awhile to pick just because not only do they all sound fun, but the combos of them sound fun. I ended up Morpheus/Salamandra and I can't wait to play with my summoned fire guns.

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