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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Mr. Maltose posted:

An ungifted Grog who can only use her powers by brewing special potions, which she does when she's not busy brewing beer for the covenant.

Got a favorite for her magic? As a grog, she's only getting one.

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Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Part 1: In the dark past of 1944, there is only WAR
Chapter 1
The very first chapter of the core rulebook Weird War II: Blood on the Rhine isn't really weird, but it certainly is very war. Two World Wars, in fact, as it goes over the real world history of World War I, its effects on Germany, and World War II. Obviously you either know this from history class or could just Wikipedia it up, and there's only one "What If?" sidebar in this chapter discussing the possibility of an alternate universe where the Battle of Britain was lost and Germany managed to steamroll the seas during Operation Sea Lion, so we'll head to the next chapter.


Chapter 2
Chapter 2: Characters begins with a short overview of just who you are playing. Big surprise, you are playing humans in World War II.

World War II: Blood on the Rhine posted:

Let’s start with which side you’re on - the Allies. The Axis are the bad guys. The view of this game and its authors is that Hitler and the Nazis were evil. Individual soldiers (outside of the SS) and civilians are somewhat compelled to follow them. See the sidebar on page 45 for a longer discussion on this game’s take on Germans and Nazis.

The Allies are the heroes of this war. There are certainly examples of Allied war criminals and atrocities, and in the annals of the Weird Wars,there are certainly some American, English, Polish, and Russian villains to be encountered and defeated by stalwart heroes.

This doesn’t mean a War Master can’t run a German campaign. The classes included here work for any nationality. Just beware. Being the pawns of pure evil isn’t a lot of fun. We leave this part of the game to you and your game group’s collective conscience.

"We're not saying you can't run a Nazi campaign, man, just it's not blood on our hands."

So, since everybody's human, that pretty much leaves character class as the big defining difference between party members. There are a grand total of five base classes presented in the core rules for Weird War II, as follows:
  • Grunt: Congratulations, you're a Fighter with a gun. You get bonus feats, full Base Attack Bonus progression, and...that's pretty much it. Like I said, you are quite literally a Fighter with a gun.
  • Officer: Congratulations, you're a Fighter with a gun, slightly different bonus feats to choose, and a high Will save rather than high Fortitude save. So exciting. :v:
  • Medic: While you don't have a full Base Attack Bonus like the Grunt or Officer, you get high rate of progression for both your Fortitude and your Will saves, and you also get class features related to healing at every other level. You also happen to be immune to fear effects, which is certainly helpful in a game with lots of horror-themed monsters.
  • Resistance Fighter: The Resistance Fighter kind of sucks, to be blunt. High Reflex saves and +1d6 sneak attack damage every six levels, which means that by 20th level you will have a grand +4d6 compared to a 20th level Rogue's +10d6, and with none of the Rogue's trap sense of special abilities either. You also have uncanny dodge and some field contacts that allow you to get hold of a weapon, German uniform for spying, some backup from a local resistance cell, or the location of a safehouse, but you can only use a contact once a week while in your home country.
  • Scout: You want to play a Scout? Well then, congrats, you have picked the class slightly less useless than the Resistance Fighter! The Scout gets sneak attack too, but at a rate that ends with slightly more (+5d6), and also gets the uncanny dodge ability. On top of that, he also inherits some of the Ranger's nature-related class features.
There are also some characters that get access to the D&D classes Barbarian and Sorcerer. Don't expect to actually glean that from the section on classes, though, as I only figured that out through unrelated text.

After that, there's a section on ranks in the US, UK, and German militaries, some rules on just what POWs can and cannot do based on the rules set down at the Hague in 1907, and statements on how you are pretty much forced into a special division if you want to play a female, black, or Japanese-American character. Thankfully, there's a special organization called the Office for Supernatural Inquiry that is progressive and lets everyone in to fight and learn, which means that the segregated military isn't relevant unless your Game Master "War Master" wants to be either a stickler for history or a jackass.

The final part of chapter 2 deals with the command structure of the Allies and the Nazis, as well as the French Resistance. It is more historical information you probably know, but is also noteworthy for having an actual photo of desiccated corpses being dumped out of a death camp. I can't say I was expecting that in my D&D game about fighting Nazi zombies. :stonk:

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

Next time: skills, feats, and equipment.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 23:48 on May 17, 2013

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Mors Rattus posted:

Got a favorite for her magic? As a grog, she's only getting one.

Cursing would be the most witchy, I suppose. Can you combine Dowsing and Potions to create a find your keys cocktail?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Mr. Maltose posted:

Cursing would be the most witchy, I suppose. Can you combine Dowsing and Potions to create a find your keys cocktail?

Yes.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

HitTheTargets posted:

I agree. And plus, more fodder for your Miami campaign, Ettin. Stuff's gonna 'splode.

Hey, woah now, I don't go asking people to put more Cthulhutech in the games you're in, buddy.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


A Folk Witch and no one has thrown in the suggestion of her styling herself off of Baba Yaga? We need an old mother of the forest just so she can fly around in a giant mortar and pestle.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Well, Dowsing then. Nothing says handy grog like an item finder.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Father Wendigo posted:

"Well yeah, it is going to get kind of dull with nothing but wave after wave of goblins... so cheat! BLATANTLY! The party will be so pissed off at you, they won't even remember that they've been doing nothing but roll-to-hit goblins for the past six hours! Did we mention that you can give each goblin +2 to craft: sharpened stick for each fine AEG OGL supplement you own?"

It's like the distilled essence of the OGL, bargain priced at $99.99.

yeah, I love how they somehow think that a "properly run" fight should eat up basically an entire session and how their very first suggestion for "tactics" is to straight up fudge rolls. In fact, I don't believe a single one of the suggestions actually qualifies as tactics or strategy at all. it's all either add more monsters, cheat, or give the goblins permanent spells and special abilities for little or no reason.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Ars Magica 5th Edition: Hedge Magic, Revised Edition

Greta

Greta's a simple woman. She brews beer - and great beer, at that. However, she was trained by her mother in the old ways, too. She can brew potions. She has no real abilities beyond this, but she is amazing at potions. The only real kind she ever learned to make were the ones for finding things - gold, lost objects, vis, it's all very handy for the covenant she works for. That and the fact that, while drunk, she's something of a social butterfly makes her quite handy to have around, if nosy.

Yasha

Yasha, the Forest Witch, has had a harder life. She is an angry woman, and a vengeful one. The slightest insult can drive her mad with rage. She rewards those she thinks are good, at least, but the people are terrified of her anyway, for her Gift is blatant and terrible, and it is clear to any who see her that she is a terrifying witch. She was taught by a very skilled witch indeed, though when her Gift was opened, the ritual was flawed. Her potions last only a year and a day, so she prefers not to use them.

She demands tribute, instead, from the people around her forest. Her terrifying presence and immense magical skills, especially in the colder months, make people likely to agree. When they see her flying overhead with her mortar and pestle, they know not to stare. They plot against her, but fear being cursed even more - for her curses are terrible indeed. She is not an unkind despot, at least, and the few animals who can bear her presence, such as her trained bears, have been known to help the locals in times of crisis. It's said that she cares for her own. She has few social skills, however, thanks to her Blatant Gift making them rather pointless. Rather, she is a survivor, a tracker and, above all, a skilled folk witch.

Now, gruagachan. The gruagachan are a Pictish tradition, descending from the ancient priests of the god Gruagach. The Picti were native to what is now Scotland, but their people have been forgotten outside of the gruagachan. They are Gruagach's judges, granting blessings and curses, shapeshifters and illusionists of great skill. There is a heavy price, though - eventually, all gruagachan become trolls. The gruagachan are found in Scotland most of the time, and sometimes Britain, Wales or Ireland. They have a long history with the Order - they were bitter rivals of the druids who became House Diedne both before and after they joined the Order, and because of that hatred they joined with Damhan-Allaidh against the Order. After the Schism War and the destruction of Diedne, relations have warmed some, and some gruagachan have even joined the Order, though most have not.

There are both Gifted and unGifted gruagachan, though only the Gifted tend to be trained from childhood. The unGifted are chosen later, and usually are either blessed with Giant's Blood, great size or shapechanging powers. The Gruagachan are the only known speakers of the Pictish language left alive, and it is by their knowledge of the language that they do their magic. Some gruagachan are even able to externalize their souls, preventing their bodies from dying of wounds unless the soul is hurt - but if the soul is even scratched, they die. Gruagach are also aided by fetches, invisible and incorporeal magical beasts, who are especially skilled at watching over things, though they aren't very bright. They are also skilled in the art of creating magical tattoos, which grant powers to those who have them based on gruagach spells.

Like a Hermetic, a gruagach learns spells that mix a Technique and a Form. The techniques are Give, which protects against changes of the body and allows the gruagach to grant things, and Take, which protects against changes of the mind and allows the gruagach to remove things. What is more important are their Forms.

Blessings are always conditional - they last until the target does a specific action, which can be a sweeping prohibition, a general one or a specific one. A spell which takes a blessing may also serve as a geas, only taking affect if the target meets the specific condition. Geasa are always best when they are poetic justice - that makes the spell easier.
Give Blessing provides bonuses to skills or grants Virtues. You can never cast a Give Blessing spell on yourself. Sweeping prohibitions are easy to fulfill and limit the blessing to relatively few situations - for example, toughness that lasts only until you attack someone. General prohibitions are easy to fulfill, such as toughness until you take a medium wound. Specific prohibitions barely limit the blessing at all - toughness that lasts until harmed by fire, say. The more you bless and the harder the prohibition is to meet, the harder the spell is to cast.
Take Blessing nullifies abilities, Virtues and skills. Major virtues are hardest, followed by skills. Natural abilities and minor virtues are easiest. Sweeping prohibitions end the curse easily, such as a stealing of strength that ends when you do something that requires both strength and skill. General prohibitions are not terribly hard to fulfill, such as a stealing of strength that ends when you beat someone else in a contest of strength. Specific prohibitions are very hard to meet, such as a stealing of strength that lasts until you botch a strength roll. If the stolen blessing's terms are particularly poetic, they are harder to resist.

Curses, likewise, are always conditional.
Give Curse reduces abilities and skills, cripples people, disables senses, causes disease or grants Flaws. Sweeping prohibitions are easy to fulfill - muteness until someone says your name. General prohibitions are a bit harder - muteness until someone says the caster's name. Specific prohibitions are hardest - muteness until someone expresses extreme gratitude for your selfless action, say. Curses can be lead as geasa, only taking effect once a condition is met. Poetic justice, again, makes it easier.
Take Curse spells are very dangerous for a gruagach - if you mess up, you suffer the curse you were trying to remove. These spells can determine the nature of a curse and remove curses.

Shape spells alter physical shapes.
Give Shape can only work on the willing, ever, and the target gets a vague idea of what changes are being made. It can give animal abilities by changing your eyes, say, into a cat's, increase body size, turn people into animals, plants or inanimate objects, or even turn people insubstantial.
Take Shape can force victims into foreign shapes or allow the caster to take on the shapes of others. It can turn people into animals, plants, objects or even the insubstantial, cause them to return to their true form, and can allow the caster to take on the physical appearance of someone nearby. It can also turn one animal into another. It's harder to change someone into an unsuitable animal - a brave person is hard to turn into a rabbit, say.

Vision spells control perceptions, the fetch and illusions.
Give Vision can only affect sight and sound, creating illusions. The more complex, the harder it is. However, it can also grant visions of the future or even danger sense.
Take Vision can detect illusions, dispel illusions, detect vis, uses senses at a distance by sending the fetch out to investigate or turn something invisible or inaudible.

The Gruagachan maintain Pictish tradition despite the fact that they are the only Picti left, working as priests of Gruagach even now. They typically gather in small groups, and most are unGifted. Perhaps three Gifted gruagachan might exist in a single area, and the entire tradition is strictly geographically limited. There are, however, a few very similar traditions out there. The Norse have the Trollsynir, who have the same magic but do not use enchanted tattoos. The trollsynir are in fact the descendants of jotnar, who learn magic from their giant grandparents or parents. Many are Gifted, and those that are not are still able to practice some of their magic, which they call trollskap. Because they are strictly family-oriented, their Gift tends to cause less problems - their families have years to get used to it. Trollsynar use the Jotnar language rather than Pictish but otherwise use identical magic. They do not take formal apprentices - it's all family.

The Kolduni are Russian pagan wizards, who like the trollsynir do not use magical tattoos. They do, however, train in the arts of speaking to beasts and herbalism. The kolduni gain power from the worship of faerie gods, and all kolduni are Gifted. Unlike the gruagachan, who care about justice, kolduni are very mercenary, selling their magical powers for food or money. Locals tend to see them as little better than the fae they protect against. Koldun magic is called koldovali, and they use their own magical theories rather than the Pictish tongue. Kolduni do not use the word 'geas', but 'kara.' Many koldun spells require water, and they can learn to have external souls. (Koschey the Deathless is a koldun.) However, koldun external souls tend to be more durable - if destroyed, they do not kill the koldun but merely return the soul to the body. Kolduni do not turn into trolls or giants; rather, they become addicted to Faerie auras and eventually get kidnapped by faeries forever. Kolduni are not literate, by and large.

Hermetics may have reason to study the gruagachan. They might do so to learn the power of Cailleach Magic, which reproduces the same effect as Diedne Magic but, presumably, without the horrible stigmas of Diedne. The most lasting effect of this would probably be the mass recruitment of gruagachan. They may also be studied to learn more about their flexible formulaic magic, which allows the gruagachan to alter their formulaic spells as they cast them. This would change little except make flexible formulaic magic easier to learn and not require a Virtue. Another use would be improving the magical range 'Voice' - the gruagachan can use it without having to perceive a target, so long as the target can hear them. Any magus who managed this breakthrough, solving one of the limited applications of the Limit of Arcane Connections, would likely be hailed as the most famous and skilled theoretician alive.

Next time: Learned Magicians.

A gruagach can be a Mythic Companion, a Gifted Companion or an unGifted Companion. Tell me about ours. (They can be trollsynir or koldun if you want.)

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.



TABLES TABLES TABLES – Generating A Mutant
All right, we've got three rolled-up characters, but I figure we can't really fluff them out until we have a series of mutations and other things of that nature for 'em. I've opted to make an Unmutated Human, a Mental Mutant, and a Mutated Animal for our characters.

We're in Chapter 6: Mutations, which is probably one of the best chapters, because some of the possibilities are weird and awesome. Part of the reason this took so long is because I'm translating this as a resource for people – if you want to sit down and play Mutant, you'll have everything to do so, because this game has been out of print so long, I was actively laughed at when I first started looking for another copy. I had a friend who managed to pay for rent and food by selling his pristine copy to a collector. Plus, nobody wants to translate it, and even though I've presented five chapters of translated Mutant: UA to the original publishers, I have gotten no response as to whether or not they're willing to just release a drat English pdf. However, if anyone wants this removed because it goes into so much detail/is basically just a translation of the entire chapter, I will do so.

. . . but enough bitching about the translation market. Let's talk about Mutation!

If you're a Mutant, Mutated Animal, or Psy-Mutant, roll 1T4. This determines the number of mutations and defects you've got. Psy-Mutants get +2 to the roll (because they're special and poo poo). You also have a chance at defects – 1-2 gives no defects, 3 mutations give you a defect, and 4-6 gives you one guaranteed defect and a 50% chance at a second defect. So, it's a bit of a crapshoot, but some of these mutations are loving awesome, so it's worth it.

All of the descriptions, including Defects, follow the same format in this section, which I'm going to lay out here:
Damage: Knowing exactly what you're looking for, this tells you how much damage a direct-combat mutation does. If if doesn't do damage, then it won't have a value for this.
Range: How far away it works. Some mutations are “Personal”, in that they effect only you.
Uses/Day: How many times you can attempt to use this power a day. If it's something physical, then it always works.
Chance to Function: Tends to be either a percentage or an associated contest/attribute. This is what you roll to see if it works. If it says “100%”, then congrats – you've got a mutation that always works. Or you've got a real lovely defect. Who knows?

Pretty easy to read, no? Well, prepare for a poo poo-TON of things that can be done, along with the table you roll on. Bear in mind that you're also supposed to re-roll if you get the same mutation twice.

Physical Mutations

1-3: Change Form
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You've got the power to turn into an animal for an hour at a time. There's a few restrictions, though: mammals only, the SL gets to choose what animal form you get (although we tended to ignore this when playing), and you get one animal form. Mutated animals, on the other hand, find this power a lot more useful – you can turn into an (outwardly unmutated) human or an animal.

4-8: Double Brain
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You've got two brains! You can do (or think) two things at once with no penalty. The example given is holding two weapons at once and firing them at two different targets simultaneously.

9-13: Throw Fire
Damage: 3T6
Range:15m
Uses/Day:3
Chance to Function:40%
You shoot a beam of fire. This can be fluffed any way you'd like it, but it's still a beam of fire. You generally need to choose a target for this.

14-19: Energy Absorption
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 4
Chance to Function: 100%
Kind of an interesting one – in a sort of biofeedback way, you can concentrate on shielding yourself from harmful energy. While this power is active (as long as you concentrate), you take no damage from electricity, lasers, radiation, or heat.

20-25: Extra Limbs
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You have 1T4 extra limbs. You can decide whether they're hands, feet, or tentacles – no extra heads, for example. This is another example where you need to work with your SL – they'll figure out the exact in-game effects.

26-30: Photosynthesis
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You can convert solar energy to food. While you require the normal amount of water to survive, you don't ever need food. As a side effect, your skin turns green. Mutated animals with fur should apparently roll again if they get this mutation, although you're free to allow it in your games if the SL is cool with it.

31-35: Generate Magnetism
Damage:None
Range:10m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can pull metal objects to yourself with the help of magnets – it's a loving miracle. You're limited to 5kg of material, although you can use it to drag weapons and other objects out of a target's hand, in which case it's a contest of your MST versus their STY.

36-41: Gills and Webbing
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You've got gills and webbed hands/feet. You can survive underwater for unlimited periods of time. You also swim really good, thanks to the webbing.

42-45: Great Leaping
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
Your legs have additional joints and reinforcement that allow you to jump good. It's a bit uncontrolled, however – for each hop, roll 1T10 to see how far you can go. You can add or subtract up to 3 meters to that roll, though, so it's not totally random.

46-49: Fangs
Damage: 1T6
Range: Melee
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 30% Base Skill, but may be trained
You've got a set of kick-rear end fangs you can use to totally mess up a dude. Unfortunately, you need to be in pretty close, and you can't use any other sort of attack while biting someone.

50-53: Immunity
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
Roll 1T4: Your result indicates whether you're immune to -
1: Radiation
2: Poison
3: Disease
4: All of the above

54-56: Infrared Vision
Damage: None
Range: 25m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can see heat. This not only allows you to see in total darkness, but you can track people by their body heat left one things for a short period. It doesn't work near big fires, in really warm places, or on cold-blooded monsters.

57-58: Chameleon Skin
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can change the color of your skin to match the background and totally blend in. Unfortunately, you need to be completely naked for this to work. You also can't combine this ability with photosynthesis – roll again if you've already got it.

59-63: Claws
Damage: 1T4 per hand
Range: Melee
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 25% base skill, but may be trained
You have clawed hands. You can attack with both in the same round, if you so desire. You can't parry with them, however.

64-66: Light
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: Automatic
You're smaller (and faster) than you originally rolled – subtract 1T8 from STO (minimum 3) and add it to SMI. Don't forget to change your height and weight according to the new STO!

67-69: Heavy
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: Automatic
You're bigger than you initially rolled. Roll 3T6+6 – that's your new STO. You should also remember to change your height and weight. Amusingly enough, there's nothing in the rules against being both Light and Heavy, so it's entirely possible to have both qualities RAW.

70-71: Invisibility
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can turn invisible – none of that chameleon “hiding near stuff” crap. It lasts as long as you concentrate, but you can only talk and move while it's active, otherwise it wears off. Things which can see into the infrared or UV spectrum can still see you, however.

72-74: Armored Skin
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You've got 1T6 points of natural armor. Additional armor worn adds to this protection – you can get pretty hard to kill with this mutation.

75-78: Radar
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You can see via sound. You've got gigantic ears, as well as an organ which sends out periodic ultrasonic pulses. You can act in darkness with no penalty

79-83: Berserk
Damage: +2T6
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 1
Chance to Function: 75%
You work yourself into a berserk rage, giving +2T6 damage to melee attacks. Your opponents find it a lot easier to hit you, because you're not concentrating on defense – they get an effect +10% to their combat skills. There's a 50% chance that you'll fall asleep for 1T4 hours immediately after combat – either way, when combat ends, you calm down.

84-88: Regeneration
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can regenerate damage. You heal 1 Body Point every 5 rounds, until you're completely healed. This power only lasts an hour per use, however, so if you're not healed by the end, you don't magically fully-heal.

89-93: Directional Sense
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 95%
You have a 95% chance of knowing which direction North is. Whoop-de-loving-doo.

94-96: Mirror Skin
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
Your skin is metallic and mirror-bright. It reflects all light and laser-based weapons back at the person who fired them. In strong sunlight, you also have a 60% chance of blinding anyone closer than 30m, in which case they take -20% to all skills. To do that second thing, you need to be totally naked.

97-98: Speed
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You're fast. Really fast. You get a +10% to hit with non-ranged weapons, +10% parry chance, and enemies are at a -10% to hit you because of your speed.

99-100: Wings
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You have wings which let you fly up to 10m per round. You can't lift anything more than yourself (including possession) when you fly, and it's pretty leisurely and slow, but you can fly!

Physical Defects

1-9: Double Damage
Damage: See below
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You take double damage from weapons and the like. On the plus side, you still take normal damage from poison, radiation, and sickness.

10-14: Poor Manual Dexterity
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
Your hands don't work so well. Take -20% on all skills that rely on the use of your hands, including fighting.

15-22: Obese
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You're really, really heavy. You weigh 2T6 x 10% more than you originally rolled, and you always act last in combat rounds.

23-27: Seizures
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 25%
Whenever you lose at ¼ of your Body Points, there's a 25% chance that you pass out. You lose control of your muscles and are helpless for 1T100 minutes.

28-36: Fast Metabolism
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You require four times as much food and drink as a normal person per day. Additionally, after 15 rounds of combat, you need to eat a normal day's worth of meals to avoid passing out from hunger and exhaustion for 1T10 minutes.

37-44: Poor Vision
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You have poor vision. The SL can assign a -10% to -20% on certain actions, including combat, depending on the situation.

45-54: Lowered Statistics
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
Also known as “gently caress this gay earth: the disadvantage”, you subtract 3T4 from one of your statistics, determined by rolling 1T8:
1 STY
2 INT
3 STO
4 FYS
5 MST
6 SMI
7 PER
8 Roll Again

55-65: Low Resistance
Damage: See below
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
There's a 50% chance that this mutant will die in 1T4 rounds when exposed to poison or radiation – disregard all other tables. If help (such as anti-venom or anti-rad drugs) are given, treat it as normal.

66-76: Sensitive to Sunlight
Damage: See below
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You take 1T8 damage per hour you spend in direct sunlight. This can be reduced to 1T4 damage an hour if you wear heavy, concealing clothing. Additionally, if you have the Photosynthesis mutation, roll again, disregarding this defect.

77-88: Horrifying Appearance
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
This only applies if you're a Mutated Human – your appearance is so horrifying that you take a -2 penalty on the Reaction Table, unless it's a really special situation.

89-00: Oversensitive Nervous System
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: (Damage x 2)%
Your nervous system is over-active: any time you take damage, roll 1T100. If you roll equal to or under the Damage multiplied by 2, you spend 2T6 rounds on the ground screaming.

Whoo! Weren't those exciting? Well, that's not all – it's time for the mental poo poo! As I said before, the book is a bit inconsistent – here is where it says you can play as a mentally-mutated animal and roll on this chart, although you don't get the +2 that Psy-Mutants normally get.

Mental Mutations

1-4: Empathy
Damage: None
Range: 100m
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You can feel other people's emotions. The SL will tell you if they're positive or negative, and inform you of any bonuses this might give you.

5-10: Combustion
Damage: 4T6
Range: 10 m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: MST versus MST
By concentrating, you can make this catch on fire by using your mind. Choose a target and engage in a contest of MST versus MST – if your target fails, they catch on fire and take 4T6 damage, which armor does nothing to prevent.

11-14: Confuse
Damage: None
Range: 25m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 35%
If this power functions, 1T6 of your opponents become confused. All of their skills are halved. If there are more enemies total than you roll, then the ones with the lowest MST are affected first.

15-18: Death Snap
Damage: See below
Range: 30m
Uses/Day: 2
Chance to Function: MST vs. MST
Holy poo poo, this is one of the really serious “gently caress you” powers that Psy-Mutants can get. Choose a target, then engage in a contest of MST vs. MST. If the target loses, then they're immediately reduced to 1 BP. The Psy-Mutant then falls unconscious for 1T6 rounds.

19-22: Illusions
Damage: None
Range: 25m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: MST vs MST
You can create illusions to frighten and confuse your enemies. It looks and sounds like the real thing, but you can't damage it. If the power fails to activate, you stand there like a twit.

23-26: Intuition
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You instinctively know where to find something, as though you'd been there before. You can know where treasure or supplies are hidden, the directions to a certain room, or even an important passcode.

27-33: Concentration
Damage: (Double)
Range: Special
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can concentrate so hard that you double either your level in a skill for one action or the damage from a melee weapon.

34-37: Control Animals
Damage: None
Range: 25 m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: MST vs. MST
You can take mental control of a single animal for 1T4 hours. It listens to you, but may be hostile when the control wears off. This doesn't work on Mutated Animals or other Humans, mutant or otherwise.

38-42: Control Weather
Damage: None
Range: 1000m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 35%
You can change the weather one step – for example, you can make it rain if it is cloudy or decrease a storm to a gentle rain, but you can't make a blizzard on a clear day.

43-46: Control Plants
Damage: None
Range: 25m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40% or MST vs. MST
You can control plants, causing them to move, wrap around people's ankles, or part from you. You can attempt to control 1T4 plants with this mutation – if the plant is unintelligent, it has a 40% chance of working, but if it is intelligent, it is a contest of MST vs. MST. Control lasts for 4T10 minutes.

47-50: Forcefield
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can erect a personal forcefield that absorbs 10 points of damage per round. If it takes more than 10 points of damage in a single round, it burns out – otherwise, it lasts for 1T20 rounds.

51-53: Levitation
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can lift yourself up and fly for 1T4 minutes. You can't lift more than MST + 20kg with you, however.

54-57: Mental Shield
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 25%
You are totally shielded against any attack which requires you to perform a MST vs. MST duel for 1T20 minutes.

58-61: Mind Attack
Damage: 3T6
Range: 25m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: MST vs. MST
By shooting out powerful mental beams, you can directly attack the mind of your opponent. If successful, it does 3T6 points of damage to your opponent, in the form of burns on their head. Personally, I always fluffed that if they died because of it, it's like Scanners

[NSFW]http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3018/3050354749_8d2ce85f29_o.gif[NSFW]

62-63: Mental Reflection
Damage: Special
Range: 50m
Uses/Day: 2
Chance to Function: Activates 30% of the time after losing a MST vs. MST duel.
You automatically reflect the MST vs. MST attack that just hit you. This remains active for 1T4 minutes, and reflects any further attacks – it can get ridiculous.

64-65: Psychometry
Damage: None
Range: Touch
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can “see” the history of an area or object, allowing you to know its history, who has had contact with it, and so forth. The more intense the impression on the are, the further back you can see – particularly catastrophic events can leave impressions lasting for 250 years or more.

66-72: Regeneration
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
You can regenerate damage. You heal 1 Body Point every 5 rounds, until you're completely healed. This power only lasts an hour per use, however, so if you're not healed by the end, you don't magically fully-heal.

73-76: Create Fear
Damage: None
Range: 25m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: MST vs. MST
You can cause panic in 1T4 enemies for up to 2T6 rounds. Against a group of enemies, use the MST of the strongest opponent.

77-82: Divination
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: 40%
The mutant can determine what will happen to him in the next 1T6 minutes, based on environmental clues. The SL is encouraged to reveal what might happen in the future, especially important details.

83-87: Telepathy
Damage: None
Range: 200m
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 100%
You can read the minds of people and intelligent animals. You can also project your own thoughts to them in order to communicate, but you must concentrate to do so.

88-95: Teleportation
Damage: None
Range: Personal
Uses/Day: Permanent
Chance to Function: 40%
You can instantaneously transport yourself between two points, moving through any and all material. You can teleport a maximum of MST x 3 meters at a time.

96-100: Dominate Will
Damage: None
Range: 25m
Uses/Day: 3
Chance to Function: MST vs. MST
You can control the will of another intelligent being for 2T6 rounds. They will not follow orders which will obviously harm or kill them.

Mental Defects

[b]1-11: Conflicted Mind[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] None
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 35%
You have a split between your conscious and unconscious mind. Anytime you fail to activate a mutation, check to see if this defect activates – if it does, for the next 1T20 minutes, your unconscious mind takes over and works for self-preservation, fleeing from any source of harm and abandoning your current course of action.

[b]12-20: Mental Block[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] None
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 100%
Due to a mental defect, you find yourself unable to acknowledge something that is obviously true. For example, you might have a mental block about robots – you are incapable of seeing them, you cannot ever learn anything about them, and you ignore them even if they attack you – you repress the pain, but still take damage. The SL comes up with this and the player is required to role-play it throughout the game.

[b]21-32: Mental Breakdown[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] None
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 25%
Roll every time the mutant attempts to activate a mutation. If it happens, then all mental mutations fail to work for 1T4 hours – the duration of which is kept secret from the player.

[b]33-41: Temporary Stupidity[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] None
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 25%
Any time the mutant fails to activate a mutation, check to see if this defect activates. If it does, the Mutant's INT is reduced to 3 for 1T4 hours, during which time the player must roleplay an extreme idiot.

[b]42-53: Backlash[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] Special
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 25%
Any time the mutant fails to activate a mutation, roll for this defect. If it activates, then resolve the mutation as though the mutant were the target.

[b]54-63: Telepathic Overload[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] None
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 25%
Any time the mutant fails to activate a mutation, roll for this defect. If it activates, the mutant hears all thoughts in a radius of 10km – all they can do is lay on the ground, attempting to sort out this overload of information. This lasts for 1T4 hours.

[b]64-71: Temporary Memory Loss[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] None
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 25%
Check for this defect whenever this Mutant is damaged. If it activates, then the mutant loses all memories for 1T4 hours. He does not recognize his companions, and must test on the Reaction Table to see how he reacts to them.

[b]72-83: Madness[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] None
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 20%
Check for this defect any time the Mutant fails to activate a mutation. If it happens, then the Mutant is under the SL's control for 1T10 rounds.

[b]84-92: Low Pain Tolerance[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] Imaginary
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 100%
The Mutant takes an extra 1T6 damage whenever he is injured – track this damage separately. When the Mutant is apparently at 0 BP, then they pass out. They cannot die from imaginary damage.

[b]93-100: Allergic to Metal[/b]
[b]Damage:[/b] None
[b]Range:[/b] Personal
[b]Uses/Day:[/b] Permanent
[b]Chance to Function:[/b] 100%
So long as you're using, carrying, or in contact with anything metal, you take a penalty of -10% to all skills. Brutal!

That's our tables! So let's roll for our two mutated characters and see what happens!

[b]Character 1[/b] is going to be a basic, Unmutated Human. Boooooring. I'll let y'all name and describe Boring McPost-Apocalypse.

Character 2 is more interesting – they've got a decent MST, so we're gonna make 'em a Psy-Mutant. Let's start by determining their new STY and FYS. I rolled a 3 and a 6, so STY is done from 13, but (hilariously enough), FYS goes up from 9.
STY: 6
FYS: 12

Now, let's figure out mutations! I get 1T4+2, and rolled a 2, so we get 4 Mutations, and 1 guaranteed defect. I rolled an 89 on the second defect check, so we're good there. For mutations, I rolled 54, 100, 74 (three times in a row, amusingly enough), and 8, which means this particular Psy-Mutant has Mental Shield, Dominate Will, Create Fear, and Combustion – a pretty snazzy combination. As for defects, I rolled 74 (SERIOUSLY DICE?), which means our little Psy-Mutant has some form of Madness. Again, I'll leave the description up to y'all.

[b]Character 3[/b] is going to be our token Mutated Animal, because that's half the reason to play Mutant. He's got 3 mutations and 1 defect, so let's roll! 68, 100, and 76 gives us Heavy, Radar, and Wings, and as for defects, we've got 74 (WHAT THE GODDAMN HELL, DICE?), which means we're Sensitive to Light. I rolled a 20 on the 3T6+6, so our new STO is 20 – we've got a hefty son-of-a-bitch. I'm gonna say it's pretty clear that the Random Number Gods wanted us to have a post-apocalyptic bat, so why not tell us a little more about him?

So, tell me about these three post-apocalyptic warriors. What are they like?

[b]Coming up next: Past Careers, Skills, and More Mechanics![/b]

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.




Official Website
PDF on DriveThruRPG

Part 2: Euphemisms for Bad People
Now that we've got the basics of the game's premise and the overviews of the various Modes, it's time to dive headlong into Chapter 2: Characters. Rather helpfully, this chapter serves as both the character creation rules and the descriptions of all the various abilities and other fiddly bits that go on the character sheet. It minimizes the amount of flipping back and forth during character creation, which new players will surely appreciate.

For this write-up, we'll be ably assisted by the following characters who we'll be building out at the end of each section:


Thaddaios Kyriazis, a 60-year-old ex-KYP (Greek National Intelligence Service) officer haunted by his role in the Athens Polytechnic Uprising of 1973. Unlike most starting characters in Night's Black Agents, he's familiar with vampires, having discovered that the Regime of the Colonels that ruled Greece from 1967-1974 had vampiric backing.


Brendan Maddigan, a former member of the Continuity Irish Republican Army, expelled from the group in one of its many internal splits during the past decade. Maddigan knows his way around a bomb and a gun, but his particular talent lies more in acquiring them than using them.


Semeeah Amer, late of the Lebanese GDGS (General Directorate of General Security). Left the Directorate under unknown circumstances shortly after the 2005 assassination of Rafic Hariri. Infiltration and surveillance expert with a rather disturbing fondness for knives.


Corinne Walker, self-described "former NSA SIGINT ninja." In point of fact she's never worked for any intelligence or clandestine agency at all; she learned all her tradecraft from old James Bond movies and reruns of
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Favored tactics include hacking vampires' computer networks, filling them with kiddie porn, and calling the FBI. Then leaking their names and addresses to the Internet, "for the lulz."


Pamela Nile, the best CIA Agent that those honkies from the CIA ever had. Gave it all up to hunt blaculas that prey on orphans.


Votes for Modes were pretty sparse, so I'm going to go with the ones that show off the most optional rules in this chapter: Mirror, Burn, and Stakes.

Let's begin, shall we?

Chapter 2: Characters
Creating a character in Night's Black Agents is a four-step process:
  • Choose Backgrounds
  • Choose your Investigative abilities
  • Choose your General abilities
  • Build out your personality and dossier
Since we're all badass secret agents, we start play with a few points in some abilities for free. All agents get the following for free:
  • 1 rank of Streetwise (Investigative)
  • 1 rank of Tradecraft (Investigative)
  • 4 ranks of Health and Stability (both General)
  • 10 ranks of Cover (General)
  • 15 ranks of Network* (General)


* Burn mode games start you with fewer free Network points; we'll talk about that more in the General abilities section.

You get a variable number of Investigative abilities depending on the number of players in your group--the fewer players, he more points you get to spend. Players who can only show up occasionally get the same allotment of points as "regulars," but don't count toward the number of players. So, for example, if you have five players but two can only make it every now and then, everybody gets Investigative ability points as though you had a three-person group (24, if you were wondering).

General abilities are fixed: each player gets 70 points to spend on General abilities.


In Dust mode games, players only get 55 General ability points.

One final note, and one of the things I've always liked about GUMSHOE games. Any time you're told to choose something at character creation, you always have the option of leaving it blank for now and filling it in during play. This goes for ability point spends, specialties in certain abilities, Drives, sources of Stability (q.v.), etc. In keeping with the spy thriller genre, these fill-ins represent a skill or personality trait you've had all along, but chose not to reveal before now.

Backgrounds
Backgrounds are packages of 6 Investigative and 18 General skill ranks that represent what you did for your agency (or paramilitary group, or terrorist network, or what have you) before you became a vampire-hunting free agent. As the book goes out of its way to tell us several times, Backgrounds do not give you any kind of "package deal" discount or special abilities. They're literally just pre-configured selections of skills. You're free to ignore them entirely and pick your skills from scratch, or you can choose as many as you can afford.* You can even pick the same background multiple times.
In a nice character-building touch, each Background includes 5-6 suggestions for what Agency you might have worked for and in what capacity. They're by no means exhaustive, and the whole section is biased toward a half-dozen or so countries' intelligence services, but they're still good starting points if you don't have a fixed idea for your character just yet.


Seen here, an agent selecting the "Kristen Bell" Background.

The Backgrounds are:

Analyst: Your job was to sift through vast amounts of data to find the meaningful patterns.

Asset Handler: You ran a lot of HUMINT (Human Intelligence) sources--snitches, moles, and dupes who reported to you on the activities of various undesirables. Weirdly, this Background doesn't actually give you any additional points in Network, which is the ability that measures said HUMINT assets.

Bagman: You were James Bond's accountant. Just what every little kid dreamed of.

Bang-and-Burner: If it needed to be blowed up real good, you were the one they called. Sometimes they called you when something already done blowed up good and they needed you to figure out who done did it.

Black Bagger: You were a breaking-and-entering specialist. Since spy-time breaking and entering is usually done for the purpose of swiping important documents or planting bugs, this Background pairs well with Analyst or Wire Rat.

Cleaner: When other spies botched the job and left evidence behind, you were the one they called in to fix the mess. Sometimes that meant wiping down fingerprints or blanking surveillance tapes, other times it meant dumping some poor dead bastard in an acid bath.

Cobbler: You "made the shoes," which in spy lingo means falsified passports, visas, and other documentation.

Cuckoo: Master of social infiltration, your job was to get close to your target for the long con. Pairs well with Asset Handler.

Hacker: Exactly what it sounds like. Depending on whether you're the "stay back in the van" type or the "break in to access the network directly from the server room" type, you might pair this Background with Analyst, Black Bagger, or even Wire Rat.

Investigator: Basically all the protagonist types of other GUMSHOE games boiled down into one Background. These guys usually belonged to a division with "counter-" somewhere in the name--counter-terrorism, counter-espionage, etc.

Medic: More than just the trusty sawbones, your job involved analyzing and preparing for biowarfare attacks, chemical forensics, and the like. Oh, and sometimes you were the creepy guy in the lab coat that administered the truth serum.

Mule: Your job was getting things across borders that the owners of those borders would probably prefer didn't cross the border. Borders borders borders.

Sidebar Madness! posted:

Here we get a short sidebar reminding us that, since Backgrounds don't offer any discounts or special abilities, you can totally make up your own. Which really just amounts to "pick your skills freely," so... yeah, not sure we needed this sidebar since it's already been established that Backgrounds are optional. It then gives a couple of examples--see if you can spot the references!
  • Brainwashed Black Program Badass
  • Hot Vampire Slayer
  • MI6 Agent With License To Kill
  • Off-Duty Cop On the Coast

Muscle: You know the big scary guy who looms menacingly in the background? That was you.

Watcher: Your job was training the Slayer surveillance. Electronic, personal, whatever--if your agency needed to know where somebody was or what they were doing, you were the person they brought in.

Wet Worker: You were a professional murderer. Maybe you worked for one of those organizations that's allowed to execute people, or maybe you were a plausibly deniable cutout for one that isn't.


"Hello Agent 47. Your target today is a goddamn Dracula."

Wheel Artist: When an operation goes south, sometimes you need somebody to get you the hell out of Dodge in a big drat hurry. That was you. Scorpion jacket not included.

Wire Rat: Where the Hacker is all about software, the Wire Rat is about hardware. Whether it's HD cameras the size of a tie tack or a briefcase that shoots .223 rounds, the Wire Rat has you covered.

Sample Characters

After noting down their free starting abilities, our hypothetical players select their Backgrounds. In a five player game, each character gets 20 Investigative ability points--since every Background costs 6 Investigative ability points, that effectively means our characters can have a maximum of three Backgrounds.


Thaddaios was an informer during the Regime of the Colonels--He specialized in getting close to radical and anti-government groups, earning their trust, and rolling them up. More than that, he was remarkably good at finding the exact right leverage to convince naive, idealistic students to rat out their fellow subversives--basically he was the bad guy in a 1970s Athens game of Misspent Youth. He grabs Cuckoo and Asset Handler as Backgrounds, opting to leave a bunch of points open for later rather than take a third Background now. That gives him the following abilities so far:

Investigative
Bullshit Detector 2, Flattery 2, Human Terrain 2*, Intimidation 2, Negotiation 1, Reassurance 3, Streetwise 1, Tradecraft 1

General
Cover 16, Disguise 8, Filch 2, Gambling 3, Health 4, Network 4**, Sense Trouble 7, Shrink 4, Stability 4, Surveillance 6

* This is an example of something we didn't talk about before--each Background includes a couple of Alternates for its Investigative abilities to let you fine-tune your character. In this case, Cuckoo normally gives High Society 2, but since Thaddaios focused more on student groups and grassroots campaigns, he swaps it out for Human Terrain 2.
** Remember how I said you get fewer Network points in Burn mode? It's a
lot fewer.


As an ex-IRA thug, Brendan goes for three pretty straightforward backgrounds: Bang-and-Burner and Wet Worker cover the nastier side of his work, while Mule lets him get the guns and bombs wherever they need to go.

Investigative
Architecture 2, Bureaucracy 1, Chemistry 2, Criminology 1, Forgery 1, Intimidation 3, Negotiation 2, Streetwise 4, Tradecraft 1, Urban Survival 3

General
Conceal 12, Cover 10, Driving 4, Explosive Devices 8, Hand-to-Hand 4, Health 4, Infiltration 2, Mechanics 4, Network 4, Pilot 2, Shooting 10, Stability 4, Surveillance 8


Semeeah, being a terrifying poker-faced wraith with a big goddamn knife, decides to follow the book's advice and pair Black Bagger with Wire Rat.

Investigative
Chemistry 1, Data Recovery 3, Electronic Surveillance 4, Notice 1, Photography 2, Streetwise 2, Tradecraft 1

General
Conceal 5, Cover 10, Digital Intrusion 4, Filch 6, Health 4, Infiltration 10, Mechanics 6, Network 4, Preparedness 5, Stability 4


Corinne feels like keeping her options as open as possible. She takes Hacker and nothing else; she'll free-spend most of her points in the next two steps.

Investigative
Cryptography 1*, Data Recovery 2, Electronic Surveillance 2, Traffic Analysis 1, Urban Survival 1

General
Digital Intrusion 10, Disguise 2, Infiltration 2, Mechanics 4

* This rank is a free gift from Corinne's 10 points of Digital Intrusion. We'll talk more about these cherries two updates from now.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXH5rIUgURg&t=0m59s

Pamela chooses Muscle three times.

Investigative
Interrogation 3, Intimidation 3, Military Science 6, Streetwise 1, Tradecraft 1, Urban Survival 6

General
Athletics 18, Cover 10 Hand-to-Hand 24, Health 4, Network 4, Stability 4, Weapons 12


Next Time: Investigative Abilities or, the Pursuit and Study of the Common Blackula.

GimpInBlack fucked around with this message at 02:07 on May 10, 2013

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



I've decided to chill a bit on making characters - it's more fun to talk about character options anyway.

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Hedge Magic, Revised Edition

The Learned Magicians have their home in Bologna, one of the biggest cities in Europe. There is a university there, and among its faculty and students, a secret society has sprung up. This society creates magical charms and amulets, studying herbalism, astronomy and alchemy. These are the Mathematici of Bologna, literate and educated people (mostly men) who use their magic to earn money, reward servants and protect themselves. They may perform simple spoken charms, create healing potions or poisons...but their real power is the amulets and chartae, long-lasting protective items. They may strengthen their charms and amulets by calling on creatures from the realms of power, mitigating the dampening effects of the Dominion...at the cost of other problems. Most Learned Magicians do not possess the Gift, though some do. Most, however, simply cannot use most of the magic of their tradition. Learned Magicians do not practice formal apprenticeship; rather, they study under their masters as long as they desire, with no stigma for an adult to continue learning under a master.

Strictly speaking, the magic of the Learned Magicians is similar to that of Hermetics - a Form and a Technique combined. Their verbal charms are fast done and faster ended, the least potent of their abilities. Amulet magic is more potent, coming in two types: chartae and amulets. Chartae are simple - they're one-shot magical devices that can be made relatively quickly, approximately equal in power to a formulaic spell. Amulets are more potent, permanent devices which take more time to make and last for quite a while. Charm magic, incidentally, violates the Limit of Arcane Connection - many spells are able to influence the actions of others without any care for whether the Learned Magician even knows they exist.

The techniques are: Tueor, 'I Guard/Protect', the Art that defends or guards the target from harm. It protects from the Form it is associated with, or protects that form, in some cases. Each charm created guards against a different trouble, and the more general and common the trouble, the more difficult the charm. A charm to protect against weapons is very hard, but one that protects against an iron dagger wielded by a left-handed man is very easy indeed.

Succurro, 'I Aid', is the Art that enhanced pre-existing qualities. It cannot grant abilities that do not already exist - it just improves them. It cannot heal instantly, nor create from nothing, nor cause unnatural modifications. It can improve healing or sight, but not grant wings or see through walls - it just makes people and things better at what they already do. It removes imperfections.

Vulnero, 'I Harm', causes direct or indirect harm. It always harms the target, no matter what. However, it cannot completely remove qualities of a thing. The more completely a Vulnero charm destroys, the harder it is. It's easiest to weaken a quality that is already weak. Vulnero charms are often referred to as curses.

We'll get to the Forms in a bit. First, a note: a Learned Magician can cast spells he doesn't know, if he has them written down somewhere. These books of magic are known as formularies, and they tend to be very poorly organized. First, you need to find the charm you want, which usually takes around ten minutes. Then it takes two or more minutes to read the text and briefly memorize the words. Then you cast the charm. Rinse, repeat.

A Learned Magician may create chartae, simple magical effects tied to an item. Such items take around an hour to make, plus another hour if you leave the desired recipient blank - you have to chart their horoscope and add it into the charta before you can use it. Amulets, far more potent, are never designed with blank spaces - they are made for specific people from the beginning, usually the creator. The use of the horoscopes greatly strengthens these items, especially nativitiy horoscopes, allowing for more potent effects than normally possible with charms. Note that amulets and chartae are not activated at will - they go off when the intended bearer puts them on or affixes them to the proper location. An amulet then continues to go off until it runs out of charges, expending a charge whenever the effect would end. Now, Forms!

Fortunam, 'Luck', is the magic of luck, something Hermetic magic never touches. It reduces bad luck, increases good luck, or the reverse. It is cast on a single target, but incidentally affects everyone around them, as the magic manipulates circumstance. A Fortunam charm that grants luck in combat can distract foes, for example, even though the caster never even knew the foe wold be there.

Tueor Fortunam protects against bad luck...though if the bad luck involves someone with magic resistance, the spell must pierce it. It can reduce botches, allow rerolls of failures, prevent random mishaps or even prevent botches entirely.
Sucurro Fortunam grants good luck - though to apply that luck against someone with magic resistance, again, it must be pierced. It can grant bonuses to events involving luck, bonuses to specific abilities or skills or even give Virtues.
Vulnero Fortunam causes bad luck. It increases botches, penalizes skill or ability rolls, forces rerolls of succesful rolls or even makes normally unbotchable rolls have to check for botch.

Magicam, 'Magic', grants or improves magical abilities, or enhances amulets and charms...or protects against magic.

Tueor Magicam provides protection against hostile magic. It can resist forms of magical damage, dodge magical attacks or raise the difficulty of supernatural powers.
Sucurro Magicam improves supernatural powers or temporarily grants them. It cannot grant Faerie, Hermetic, Divine or Infernal powers, nor social statuses tied to magical abilities. Any magical effects of the granted abilities end when the ability does, though mundane effects do not. It can change the effects and nature of a previously cast charm, recharge an amulet created by the caster, detect vis, provide bonuses to supernatural powers or even grant supernatural Virtues.
Vulnero Magicam supresses or eliminates magic. It can reduce the duration of standing magic or ward against creatures of a supernatural realm.

Salutem, 'Health', is the magic of health and well-being. It involves disease, age and other health problems. It can affect people, animals, plants and even structures - but not abstract ideas.

Tueor Salutem can protect against damage, disease or poison, ward against animals or people and even completely immunize someone to limited forms of harm, though that is extremely difficult. (Mundane harm only - it can't immunize you to magical forms of harm, just mitigate it.)
Sucurro Salutem can make aging less painful, speed recovery from harm, ensure a plant grows well, resolve aging problems or heal the after-effects of poison or disease. It cannot instantly heal any damage, however.
Vulnero Salutem can cause damage or pain, weaken people, cause fatigue or disease, cripple the body or even destroy senses, though that is quite hard.

Learned Magicians may learn to Entreat the Powers, using his knowledge of a realm of power to call on that realm and use it to mitigate the effects of auras from that realm. They can call on multiple realms, but this risks angering the powers, and makes botches worse. They often practice Mythic Alchemy, allowing the creation of alchemical formulas that produce potent reagents which convert one material into another. Mythic Alchemy also allows the extraction of vis from an aura and the movement of vis. The more complex the alteration, the harder the reagent is to create and the more vis is required. They also often practice Mythic Herbalism, the use of magically-touched plants to produce terrible poisons, potions that speed healing and potions which grant various physical bonuses - resistance to damage, resistance to fatigue, ignoring pain, that sort of thing, or even increasing physical abilities.

The Mathematici are hardly the only Learned Magicians. Others exist. The Mythic Alchemists practice the same arts, though they cannot cast from written texts. They derive from ancient Egypt, where alchemy was practiced long before even the Greeks came up with it. Recently, translations of Arabic works on alchemy have become available, allowing Western scholars to rediscover the art. Mythic alchemists are not organized at all, and tend to be trained by isolated teachers. They write in code to ensure only the worthy learn their ways. They cannot cast charms; rather, they create powders (which follow chartae rules but without the astrology) and potions (which follow amulet rules but without the astrology and usable by anyone, but at greater vis cost). They also have slightly more limited magical effects. While Learned Magicians who becomed Warped are touched by the powers they entreat, alchemists instead go mad and paranoid. Most European alchemists are priests or monks, as are some learned magicians.

The Cunning-Folk are primarily herbalists and protectors against the fae, though they do have access to the arts of the learned magicians. They are peasant wizards, ignored by most, even other hedge wizards, and have very low social status. They have no true traditions - they're a mix of wise men and women among the hamlets of Europe, who develop close relationships with faeries. Most are unGifted and rural. They use their charms to help villagers with mundane problems, for the most part, and occasionally to protect against hostile supernatural forces. They use charms and magical devices as the Learned MAgicians do, but their work is not in Latin - it's usually the local language. Not all cunning-folk are literate, but those that are may cast charms from texts as the learned magicians do. Their chartae and amulets are actually bundles of herbs, carvings and other simple devices, utilizing crafting skill rather than knowledge. They need not cast horoscopes, but can. Cunning-folk also receive much poorer training.

What use have Hermetics for Learned Magic? Well, studying it could unlock the secret of quickly-made single-use magic items. This would greatly increase the number of items magi have, creating them even for grogs. It's unlikely that they'd want these for themselves - they can just cast the formulaic spells - but arming grogs with one-shot magic is very potent indeed.

Next time: Nightwalkers.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




unseenlibrarian posted:

Mostly what I remember from the discussion on the rape-furry stuff is people telling me apparently completely straight faced that it wouldn't work on NPCs or PCs because obviously they'd go after the rape furries while wearing full NBC suits, blinded, and deafened with white noise generators. How'd they'd be expected to talk to each other, not shoot each other or civilians instead of the monsters, or even interact with the adventure at all...

...Wait, maybe that was the plan.

I vote Unveiled Threats highlight reel and then Ancient Enemies, just for it being the other major book of "What no, you can't do that, only our NPCs can."
I'm not going back to check, but doesn't that require OOC foreknowledge since they're supposed to be a surprise to the PCs?

Tasoth posted:

So, is the CTech view on military organizations based on their reflexive 'HIGH SCHOOL WAS BAD' world view they have? Because I thought the big thing about being in the military was that it turns into a tight knit, second family for individuals and that is a both a huge boon and a source of some of the problems that happen inside it.
Yeah, going "they're letting you ask QUESTIONS about the special operation they're sending you on" seems less "look how great the migou are" and more "business as usual".

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Clans Part 2: Where I complain about some of the art.

Pack of the Black Moon
Other Names: Tsuki Clan, Hounds, Mutts
Stereotypes: Faithful, Animal-friendly, Uncivilized


The clan of ninja dog-havers. The clan got its start soon after the Izou empire was founded. They have always relied on their hearts and instincts rather than brains and discovered gifts of understanding animals, which they used to better their lives. Their non-ninja neighbors (alliteration not intended) were pretty jealous of them, culminating in attempts by local nobles to evict them from their land. When the Hounds refused to leave willingly, their villages were burned and Grasping Shadows ninja murdered indiscriminately.

In this time of trial the Hounds developed sympathetic bonds with their dog companions, which aided them in fighting off their attackers. With their new found abilities, the Pack of the Black Moon took proved valuable assets in the Ninja Wars.

Most members of the clan live as farmers and ranchers just south of the capitol. Loyalty is the clans watchword- to their families, to their friends and to their dogs. In their first training they take care of their masters animals, and when they become full members they are given a new born ninja dog to be theirs. Each class of ninja selects their animals from most to least promising students, establishing the hierarchy among them.

The clan is pretty isolationist and peaceful, just wanting to be left alone. A lot of clans, meanwhile, resent the Pack because their abilities take years of training to master; Hounds just get dogs. They also hold grudges against the clans that attacked against them in the past. To ease this bad blood the Wardens of Equilibrium suggested a marriage between two young members of the Pack of the Black Moon and the Recoiling Serpents. As we all know, this ended up a disaster and “one of the pack leaders near now near death.” They blame the Serpents. Also dislike the Shadows for all the murdering back when the clan was new.

Pack of the Black Moon gain a Beast Handling specialty and the Crocodile and Dragon styles. They use wushu of the Way of Twin Beasts (techniques for use with their dogs), Way of Beasts and Way of Earth.

Their Clan Gift is Entwined Souls- They get a dog. Any wushu the ninja uses on themselves can be extended to affect their pet too, and they count as one character in combat.

The dogs are of one of three breeds: Fang (Chow), which get an extra action in combat and bonuses to hit and Perception; Zhu (Shiba Inu), get extra health and bonuses to Intimidation and Athletics. Lie Quan (“Banjara,” whatever that is; the game calls it a hound) get an extra action, a bonus to initiative in combat and a bonus to Survival.

Their Clan Drawback is Bumpkins- They're a bunch of rural hicks, basically.

In the words of Tsuki Eiji posted:

Bamboo Herbalists: “Their ability to heal makes them invaluable, but they are a wild breed.”

Blazing Dancers: “Met one that played a wonderful song that made us dance. They're pleasant to have around and should help our warriors stay in good spirits.”

Grasping Shadows: “We have a saying. 'Never trust a Shadow.' Follow that rule and you'll never go wrong.”

Hidden Strands of Fate: “Disloyal. Might not sound strong enough a word for you, but that's as bad as it gets in my clan.”

Living Chronicle: “Good guys, educators and the sort. Haven't figured out where they fit in to this war.”

Recoiling Serpents: “Betrayers, the lot of them. They'll get their comeuppance for what they've done.”

Virtuous Body Gardeners: “They seem alright, but are more like little, scrappy dogs than ninja.”

Wardens of Equilibrium: “I guess balancing the entire world is a worthwhile cause. We prefer to seek peace.”

Will of Iron: “You have to 'teach' right from wrong, not kill wrong.”

Roning: “Offer a place to sleep and a bite to eat and then see them on their way.”

Lotus Coalition: “Glad to help the cause and even gladder that I'm not the one in charge.”

The Empire: “Never back a god into a corner. You WILL get bitten.”


Recoiling Serpents
The character art for this clan is pretty bad. This pregen available on the Third Eye Games website has the image.
Other Names: Hebi Clan, Serpents, Coils
Stereotypes: Sneaky, Resilient, Malicious


The Recoiling Serpents started in the dangerous jungles and swamps of the southeast. They used to worship snakes.

That also ruled over much of the territory that belongs to the Empire now, for many generations, until the war of Withered Fangs. Now they live and let live, although they feud with the Bamboo Herbalists, who like to wander onto their land.

They were blamed for the wedding massacre and fight a lot with the Pack of the Black Moon over it.

They are the largest clan and are spread over the most territory. Initiates are trained from the very beginning about poisons, both animal and plant. The new initiates, who can be as young as 6 years old, are thrown into pits filled with snakes. The snakes bite the poo poo out of them but before they die, they're taken out and a wushu performed on them mingles their blood and the poison to make them immune to it.

They don't care about saving the Pack groom from the wedding, up to and including refusing to help treat him or allow the Herbalists to collect materials from their land, but they do want to find out who really did it and pay them back.

Recoiling Serpents get a free specialty for Survival and their fighting styles are Snake (No! Really?) and Hawk.

Their Wushu are the Way of Great Serpents (Awesome snake powers) way of Survival and Way of Wood.

Their Clan Gift is Snake-Like Body- Revoiling Serpents are immune to poison, gain extra Health from being super tough and extremely flexible, gaining bonuses when relevant.

Their Clan Drawback is Vengeful- If you do anything to the Serpents that they don't like, they will hate you forever and ever and ever.

In the words of Hebi Ine posted:

Bamboo Herbalists: “Their skills contend with our own, but we are kings while they are mere servants. Find one on our land and slit their throat before they get a change to run like cowards.”

Blazing Dancers: “Spin for me. Spin one more time. That's so... special. Keep doing that over there while the real ninja deal with the war.”

Grasping Shadows: “The Emperor's spurned lap dogs need to be put down. That's the first over of business after this crusade is over.”

Hidden Strands of Fate: “Always something with these guys. Never trust a word they say and if they even look at you the wrong way, kill them.”

Living Chronicle: Every Historian I've met has been respectful. Which is to say... they looked at us with the fear we deserve. Too bad they are watchers, not warriors.”

Pack of the Black Moon: “They've always been a pain, but have now accused us of betrayal and attacked out land in the night. They've bitten off more than they can chew.”

Virtuous Body Gardeners: “Silly clowns with painted bodies. They pretend to be fearless and willing to die to show their strength. Let them die then... by my blade or the Emperor's.”

Wardens of Equilibrium: “They think they're in charge. They'll know soon enough who the true bosses are.

Will of Iron: “Their blades are sharper than their minds. They are of little consequence.”

Ronin: “Unique, but just as dead as the others.”

Lotus Coalition: “Give me another order... I dare you.”

The Empire: “They beat us once, but they'll need more than firearms this time.”

Virtuous Body Gardeners
More unfortunate female art.
Other Names: Sumi Clan, Gardeners, Inks
Stereotypes: Artistic, Innovators, Punks

The youngest of the 10 great clans, the Gardeners used to be a part of the Living Chronicle. They were the tattoo artists that would scribe onto the bodies of the Chronicles members but the younger ones were upset that they were treated as less valuable than the individuals being written on.

Their very creation made them enemies of the Will of Iron and Grasping Shadows for abandoning their clan. Unlike the Chronicle, whose tattoos take the form of neat written script, the Gardeners cover themselves with elaborate artistic designs which they incorporate into their wushu. They are respected for how innovative their techniques are, despite their flaunting of tradition.

The Lotus Coalition was reluctantly convinced to allow them to join, with the Blazing Dancers supporting them and the Living Chronicle protecting them, considering them their “wayward children.”

They see themselves as a force for change and evolution, with the struggle of the Ninja Crusade as a way to strengthen themselves and remake the world.

The clan holds a small portion of land wedged between the Pack of the Black Moon, Grasping Shadows, Recoiling Serpents and Wardens of Equilibrium. They like the friction and conflict, believing it helps empower them.

They are also basically gang taggers, placing symbols representing them around their territory and in the territory of others they want to claim.

Their initiation is an agonizing three-day ritual to prepare them for the clan wushu and some members learn to enjoy the pain and self-mortification is common.

The Gardeners ultimate goal is simple ambition: gain more members, claim more land, develop more powerful fighting and wushu techniques.

The Gardeners get their free specialty in Arts and use the Tiger and Crocodile fighting styles.

Their wushu are the Way of Inked Skin(tattoo related powers), Way of the Warrior and Way of Fire.

Their Clan Gift is Item Assimilation- This ability lets a Gardener hide small items on their body in the form of tattoos.

Their Clan Drawback is Scarred and Painted- Gardeners are covered in tattoos and scars, causing them to stand out. People might be turned off by this.

In the words of Sumi Rika
Bamboo Herbalists: “Doctors are always needed. They are truly artists with their potions.”

Blazing Dancers: “Expression is a gift our clans share. We'll need to take care of each other to make it out of this alive.”

Grasping Shadows: “So you thing you know what it is to be a “true” ninja? We'll find out one day on the battlefield.”

Hidden Strands of Fate: “Make a deal with these guys and you end up in their web.”

Living Chronicle: “Show our previous elders respect, but remember there was a reason for us to split form the Historians. We want to make history, not record it.”

Pack of the Black Moon: “Worthy combatants. I can't wait until we face them.”

Recoiling Serpents: “These guys scare me, but I'll never let them know that.”

Wardens of Equilibrium: “Balance is boring and so is greed. Change your shtick or get lost.”

Will of Iron: “The only clan with swordsmen as great as ours, but they tarnish it with proselytizing of “justice.” Don't piss them off though. We're not quite ready to take them on.”

Ronin: “That was us not too long ago. Treat them well, because we could easily end up there again.”

Lotus Coalition: “This is our shot at gaining more influence in the world to come.”

The Empire: “What a great opponent to cut your teeth on, eh?”

Wardens of Equilibrium
Other Names: Chuushin Clan, Scales, Chislers [sic] (cheats)
Stereotypes: Persuasive, Wealthy, Cheap


This clan was formed after the Serpents were beaten in the War of Withered Fangs by two men, Chuusin Nobu and Brother Yutaka, an abbot, as an organization to keep the peace in the post-war era. The two recruited young people from merchant and noble families and trained them in the methods of Brother Yutaka's monastery, which teaches a philosophy of balance in the world and within themselves. During the training, two trainees with clashing personalities are trained together.

After training, these men and women returned to lives as nobles and merchants to extend the influence of the clan.

The clan has a hand in nearly all the trade in the Empire, making them extremely rich. They try to maintain balance between all the other clans, to make sure none of them is able to become as dangerous as the Recoiling Serpents used to be. They are mad at the Empire for starting the Ninja Crusade and kicking over their whole carefully balanced house of cards.

The Wardens of Equilibrium are filthy rich, with the clan freely sharing money with its members in need. Members who train together often work together after becoming full members, often closer than family.

The Wardens dislike the Ninja Crusade, of course. However, it's not the violence they're against; they want to maintain healthy, balanced competition between the clans and the Empire running around killing everyone it can get its hands on and making the ninja ally with each other is ruining everything.

Their method of operation is to strengthen the weak and sabotage the powerful. They have suffered a severe blow to their credibility after the Wedding Fiasco (they helped organize it (the wedding, not the fiasco)) went down.

They get their free Specialization in Persuasion and fight using the Bear and Eagle Styles.

Their Wushu is Way of Balanced Scales (chi manipulation powers), Way of earth and Way of Survival.

Their Clan Gift is Balancing Act- A little mechanical background is necessary for this part: Chi in this game comes in Yin and Yang. Characters have an elemental aspect (Earth, Fire, Water, Metal and Word) that determines their starting Chi and thus gives them towards Yin, Yang or neither (balanced between the two).

Every Warden trains with someone whose chi affinity is the opposite of theirs; Fire and Wood are Yang, Water and Metal are Yin, and Earth chooses either to be. The character then gets bonuses based on their type.

Yang gain bonuses to hand-to-hand and thrown attacks against Yin targets, bonuses to resist Yin wushu and get no penalty for “Cooperative attacks” made with a comrade who is Yin.

Yin gin bonuses to black and dodge against Yang opponents, bonuses to resist Yang wushu and the same penalty elimination with Yang allies.

Also, every clan member gets 1 rank in the “Social Class” advantage free, which affects buying stuff.

Will of Iron
Other Names: Hagane Clan, Sheriffs, Smiths
Stereotypes: Honorable, Courageous, Arrogant


Here's another clan with a picture of a female character, but this one looks more like the Bamboo Herbalist and Living Chronicle rather than the Recoiling Serpents and Virtuous Body Gardeners, in that she doesn't look like a theme stripper.

This clans history can be traced back to a man named Hagane Yoshio, a famous smith. He went on a pilgrimage to pray for his brother, who was accused of the murder of a man the brother had been in a heated argument with. When he reached the temple, he found a block of steel with his family crest stamped into it as an offering.

Using the first metal wushu, he turned the metal into the best sword ever.

His brother was sentenced to death, and Yoshio asked to use his new sword to execute him so that the death would be painless. However, when struck the blade left him unharmed, and the magistrate pardoned him, since it was obvious that heaven wished him to live.

The clan comes originally from the Land of Five Blades and many of the most famous smiths and swordsmen are members of the Will of Iron.

Their settlements are found near places that iron is found and they attempt to restrict the flow of iron to the Empire.

Members come from any background, including the Untouchables and are rigorously prepared psychologically. The clan sees themselves as judges and arbiters of justice and ensure their members have the strength of will and conviction to perform that duty.

The Sheriffs are expected to deal firmly with criminals; some interpret this as summary execution, others attempt to rehabilitate the perpetrators.

Many Sheriffs are filled with anger at the injustices perpetrated by the Empire against their fellow ninjas and the clan supplies the other clans with lots of high-quality weapons. Other clan leaders are afraid to get too close with them, due to their judgmental nature and quick tempers.

The Will of Iron gain a free specialty in Crafts and use the Tiger and Wildcat fighting styles.

Their wushu are the Way of Heaven's Judgment (paladin powers: detecting lies, smiting bad guys), Way of Metal and Way of the Warrior.

Their Clan Gift is Metallic Empathy- Metal items the Sheriffs use just work better for them, giving them a +2 to any rolls they make using them (yes, this DOES include when weapons in combat). Plus they count as one Class higher for acquiring metal items.

Their Clan Drawback is Black and White- Moral Relativism is bullshit, and a Sheriff will kick your rear end if you suggest otherwise. A lot of people go out of their way to avoid the Will of Iron since they're so judgy, and its members have a duty to investigate any injustices they find and punish those who perpetrate them, regardless of who they are.

In the words of Chuushin Naomi posted:

Bamboo Herbalists: “As long as all you're doing is healing me, I'm fine with you still existing.”

Blazing Dancers: “Their practices are as questionable as their goals. The eye of justice is upon you all.”

Grasping Shadows: “Defenders of traditions long past, much like ourselves. They differ in tactics, but are commendable.”

Hidden Strands of Fate: “rear end corrupt as they come. One day, we will cut their strings.”

Living Chronicle: “Knowledge is only power when it has purpose. Stop standing on the sidelines and do something!”

Pack of the Black moon: “Insufferable mutts.”

Recoiling Serpents: “Rotten to the core... they need to be cleansed from this world and mine is just the blade for the job.”

Virtuous Body Gardeners: “Good swordsmen, bad aim, They may be redeemable I the end with some work.”

Wardens of Equilibrium: “Pick a side already! Staying in the middle only makes you an easy target.”

Ronin: “Don't trust a man without an allegiance. They believe in nothing.”

Lotus Coalition: Just point my blade... I'll do the rest.”

The Empire: “They fight like cowards with their guns. We will do them the pleasure of stabbing them to their face.”

So the single group spoken of completely positively here is the clan of bigoted, violently reactionary assassins who want to ultimately destroy all the other clans. :allears:.

Ronin
Other Names: Loners, Wanderes, Exiles
Stereotypes: Mysterious, Individualistic, Backstabbers

More art of a narrow waisted, giant boobed woman in a super revealing outfit, this time with the addition of a dumb looking sword. The fact that there are examples of not-ridiculous-cheesecake pictures by the same artist elsewhere makes these even worse.

Ronin are ninja who aren't members of a clan, either because they never were in one or got booted out for some reason.

All their description stuff is boring: they wander around, they self-teach themselves their wushu and combat skills, people sometimes don't trust them, whatever.

Ronin get no skill specialty and only one fighting style, but it can be any style they choose. Additionally, they have no favored wushu.

The Ronin Gift is Choice- This gives them their free fighting style and one free weapon. They start with only 4 levels of wushu instead of 5, but can choose any wushu, even clan-specific ones, as long as it is appropriate to their background; none of these count as "favored" wushu, however, so they cost more to improve later. They get extra stamina and points in the survival skill and extra "BP" to spend in character creation.

The Ronin Drawback is Unaligned- No one has their back.

The ronin get no what-they-think section.

And with that, chapter 2 is done.

Each of these clan writeups actually contains some fiction about the clan, but my eyes just slid over it as I read. My next post will be a chapter 2.5 cover it, then it will be Chapter Three, which covers character creation.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


quote:

Blankly, he drew his CS-44 Enforcer from its holster and put it under his chin. Vienna was still outside with the dry heaves. He tried to think of something to say, but nothing really mattered anymore. Without flinching, he pulled the trigger.

Nothing. He pulled it twice more. Nothing.

After wading through the mud and all the other crap they’d endured the last five days, his gun was finally so dirty it wouldn’t fire.

“Huh,” was all Roy could say. He looked at his HK-192, but decided that would just be ridiculous.



Unveiled Threats: Seventh Verse, Same As The First

quote:

This is Unveiled Threats, what might be termed the gear book for CthulhuTech. However, in these pages, you will find much more that simply what most people think of as gear. You’ll not only explore firearms and explosives, as well as hand things for your Characters to own, you’ll also discover new rituals designed for sorcerers to create more exciting and useful enchanted items. There are also artifacts, legendary items of powers capable of amazing things. Finally, you’ll take a look at the weapons and armor of the Migou and the esoteric order of Dagon.

Some of these weapons might be familiar. their statistics have been presented in other books. However, Unveiled Threats actually updates these weapons and gives you a sense of what they’re truly like – so that you can choose the weapons that best suit your characters.

Welcome to Unveiled Threats! carry a gun...

So I'm going to deviate from publication order a little here. Only a little - Ancient Enemies was published just two months before this one, making it the seventh book in the line. On the other hand, this book can be knocked out in a few posts - it's mostly lists of gear, very handy to have for a game but dull for a Let's Read. So we're doing this as a...

ZeeToo posted:

Unveiled Threats as a bit of a palate cleanser

No spoilers yet, but I just want everyone to keep in mind "a break" and "palate cleanser" were words you guys used to describe the contents of this book. :getin:

First though, boilerplate intro post! The first thing you get in this book is some more fiction about Sorena and Roy, two Eldritch Society NPCs from that rape furry adventure. Mostly Roy. He's an ex-NEG soldier who got a Section 8 after encountering the remains of a Rapine Storm village where people were roasted on spits and children were turned into crazy mutilated Rapine Storm cultists, and trying to shoot himself. Now he has like a million guns and cleans them all the time and can't get laid. It's a decent story that tells you something about the setting without getting mind-bogglingly awful. Don't worry though, we have the rest of the book for that!

Chapter One: Welcome has returned, like an old friend who conveniently forgot that they owe you money. It's even brought its buddies!

Unveiled Threats posted:

Chapter One: Welcome is what you are reading right now. It’s meant to help ease you into the vision for this rules expansion and give you a reference for what this book contains.

Chapter Two: Dealers of Death provides an in-depth look at the firearms, explosives, and armor of the New Earth Government. It also includes new optional firearms rules and new kinds of ammunition.

Chapter Three: Tools of the Trade provides a variety of new things for Characters to own and use, including peeks options, medical equipment, and vehicles. It also outlines new rules for drugs and a variety of pharmaceuticals.

Chapter Four: Objects de Magie details new rituals designed to give sorcerers access to more and more diversified enchanted objects, from silent communicators to the coveted invisibility cloak.

Chapter Five: Ancient Objects introduces several legendary magical creations, along with their histories. some may be things to quest for, while others may be things to avoid at all costs.

Chapter Six: Ashcroft’s Legacy details exciting, non-mecha arcanotechnology from the Ashcroft Foundation, the Chrysalis Corporation, the Migou, and the Disciples of Death’s Shadow.

Chapter Seven: Alien Hands provides an in-depth look at the firearms, explosives, and armor of the New Earth Government. It also includes new optional firearms rules and new kinds of ammunition.

Chapter Six: Appendices includes the index.

Chapter Seven is actually the Migou/EOD tech chapter. :ssh:

There's also a note that some of the weapons are "updated and balanced" from the Core Book and Unveiled Threats rules trump Core, a note about metaplot that lets you know this book refers to Damnation View and you don't need to do anything you don't want to...

And, of course, our other old friend.

Unveiled Threats posted:

If You Downloaded This Book

So if you’re one of the people who has downloaded this book illegally off the internet, let’s talk. We want to stay in business. We don’t get to stay in business if you don’t buy our products but you use them anyway. In more personal terms, if you like CthulhuTech, please go out and buy the books, because if you don’t we go out of business or we kill the line because sales suck and boom – no more CthulhuTech. You lose, we lose, everybody loses. Everybody loves something for nothing, but this sort of thing comes with a price whether it’s money or not.

Actually, please don't do either of those things. Don't buy Unveiled Threats, don't pirate it, don't look at the cover wistfully at the FLGS bargan bin while wishing that this line didn't huff incredible amounts of dick, don't have sex dreams about Tagers, don't even think about this book.

Don't do it man.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

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

Ettin posted:

Chapter Six: Ashcroft’s Legacy [...]
Chapter Seven: Alien Hands [...]
Chapter Six: Appendices

...so is that in the book, because if so, that's hilarious.

Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

He's an ancient, obscure god. You probably haven't heard of him.




Ugghhh that loving paragraph just gets me no matter how many times I read it.

Someone else can beat Chris Fields, I'll take Grau. No jury in the land will convict us.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


Syrg Sapphire posted:

...so is that in the book, because if so, that's hilarious.

Everything I quote is direct from the book, typos and all. (Also as usual Chapter Six: Appendices is just the index, but they didn't give it a chapter heading this time.)

Grau has writing and editing credits in every book but he never gets sole credit. Unveiled Threats has three editors and one of them is another writer.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Ars Magica 5th Edition: Hedge Magic, Revised Edition

The Nightwalkers are an unGifted tradition. Or, rather, their tradition has nothing to do with the Gift - it occurs sometimes in the Gifted, but they gain no special benefits. The Nightwalkers are those who have the ability to roam the world as spirits while their bodies sleep. Sometimes these spirits become material in animal form. The Nightwalkers form militias, using their powers to fight evil, guide the dead to rest and protect the fertility of the living. Sometimes, they are less scrupulous, using their powers to spy and blackmail or steal. There are many Nightwalker traditions in Europe, but they all share similar powers. Hermetics call their ability to travel in spirit form 'ekstasis', or straying. The spirit is called a 'phantasticum.' Of course, Nightwalkers are not all limited to traveling at night - but the name was given to the Benandanti, whom the Order met first, and it fits them well. So far, no Nightwalker group has had sufficient power to be invited into the Order.

Nightwalkers are almost entirely normal, unGifted companions. A very, very rare few might be more, and a very rare few are mere grogs. A true, full Nightwalker gains the power to take on spirit form while unconscious, and may lead others into spirit form. They know how to force themselves unconscious. They possess Second Sight while in spirit form, and while in spirit form bear the clothes and weapons suited to their Nightwalker tradition. They may force their spirit form tangible, and they may harm intangible spirits. If their tradition uses animal or elemental shapes for travel, procession or fertility battle, they may take on that shape and its abilities. They may speak to sleeping people in dreams, and may, with effort, speak to the waking. While a Nightwalker is in spirit form, their body appears dead and is vulnerable. They suffer the social effects of the Gift while in spirit form. They must take part in every battle or procession that their tradition demands, and will do so involuntarily. Any injuries taken in spirit form appear on the body when it wakes. Outsiders must never be told in detail about the battles and processions. While in spirit form, a Nightwalker can be targetted by any spell that targets ghosts or spirits, and may be seen by Second Sight. And they get no special invulnerabilities - anything that'd hurt them normally still does.

Some Nightwalker traditions use weaker, incomplete variants of this power, usable even by grogs. The Half Taltos, for example, are those taltos who failed to defeat their elders in initation battle. The half taltos may harm spirits with ritually prepared weapons, and may perform a brief ritual to gain Second Sight for a time. These are their only powers.

The hamr are Norse, those who possess the power to go into a trance and send forth a spirit form which is tangible and takes the shape of an animal. Their body is vulnerable in the trance state, and will not awaken until the hamr returns. If the body is killed, the hamr becomes a ghost in animal shape. It may then vanish, or it may remain until the battle ends and fight. Most hamr may not exist after the flesh rots from their bones, but some ghost hamr can last indefinitely until they gain vengeance. In any case, the animal form of the hamr possesses the skills and abilities of the animal, but the mind of the warrior. The hamr requires some tool to enter the trance state - alcohol, herbs, whatever. It's a very slow ritual, unlike that of more traditional skinchangers, but it does not require a ritual skin to do. Hamr are not exclusively for combat - they can be scouts, if they are bird hamr, for example.

Sleepwalkers are a variant of the hamr who, rather than send forth a spirit, sleepwalk in their trance state. They appear as a large hybrid of man and beast, made more durable and powerful by the cloak of spirit they wear. They are essentially a variant of the hamr that wears the hamr form like armor rather than leaving the body vulnerable. On the other hand, they are hurt more easily.

Ekstasis is done by most nightwalkers, but it varies in its abilities. Most nightwalkers sleep to enter ekstasis, but some use asceticism or self-mortification and fasting. Others use drugs. The body appears dead while the Nightwalker is in ekstasis, though in truth it does breathe and has a heartbeat. Both are just very, very slow, only noticeable by those with medical skill. The body does not starve or die of thirst, but if left asleep too long, the muscles will atrophy. If the body is disturbed, the spirit may die, though traditions vary in how much harm it causes. The Laplanders die if merely touched, while Benandanti only die if the body is rolled over. Still, the nightwalker never feels what happens to the body, and so is unaware if they are disturbed. Ekstasis is extremely tiring, and nightwalkers are lethargic for hours or days afterward.

The phantasticum may become corporeal or immaterial with focus, and may become invisible at will. Some phantastica are shaped like humans, others like animals. Many can shift between shapes. Again, they possess Second Sight, and their presence makes humans uneasy. Animals can sense them, and dislike them. Horses flee, dogs growl and snap and cats either avoid them or treat them as normal people. Phantastica may use spirit travel, moving almost as if teleporting via various methods - ghostly mounts, running, whatever. Failue to perform spirit travel correctly wakes the nightwalker and leaves them exhausted. You cannot fail certain forms of travel - in traditions where nightwalkers are born with a caul, you can always travel to your caul. In those where they are summoned or led to battle or procession, you can always travel to the location for the battle or procession. You may, if you have one, always go to your True Love or lead someone to their True Love. If you move at normal speed on a route you know, you cannot fail, either.

By great exertion, a phantasticum may communicate normally with people. It is much easier to give messages to the unconscious or sleeping, which are remembered as dreams, though not always very well. Nightwalkers may also call willing people out of their bodies, into spirit form. A corporeal phantasticum may fight material foes, and an incorporeal one can fight immaterial beings. The phantasticum heals as the body does, and the body suffers all wounds the spirit does. Those who lack magic resistance and fight a phantasticum suffer from drowsiness and may fall asleep where they stand. Those already sleeping near a phantasticum in battle will not awaken during the battle.

All nightwalkers take part in fertility battles, in which they face evil forces or rival nightwalkers. If they win, then the crops and hunting are good. Lose, and they are poor. This lasts until the next battle, in either case. Nightwalkers involuntarily answer the summons to battle. Deaths in night battles happen, but it varies between traditions. Benandanti rarely die, but the mazzeri to the south almost all die...though usually only when old and weak. Each tradition has lore explaining why they don't die as often. (Or why they do.) For example, the Hounds of God claim that their deaths make them martyrs, and evil doesn't want martyrs because they weaken it. The Benandanti say that when they die, they improve fertility, which their foes don't want. Most of their foes lack such protections and often die in the battles.

The enemies of Nightwalkers vary; some fight other Nightwalkers. Some fight ghosts. Some fight the Infernal. Ghosts tend to suffer from unquenchable thirst, while the servants of the Infernal tend to either be evil Nightwalkers, minor demons or more potent demonic captains. Occasionally, Nightwalkers do battle outside these fertility wars. They rarely meet while waking, and tend not to recognize each other due to the dreamlike nature of the battles. Nightwalkers return home in slow processions, allowing them to look for trouble in their communities, either fixing them then or when awake. They often take spiritual nourishment from wine, water or livestock, weakening or draining them as reward for their battles.

Nightwalkers also do other processions. Three types. First, processions of the dead, to guide the dead to rest and regulate the movement of ghosts or zombies. Nightwalkers can fight the undead well, and may also intimidate ghosts into fleeing or answering questions. Second, beating the boundaries. These are patrols of the community to look for evil and seek new Nightwalkers. Last, celebratory processions, great feasts and celebrations of victory to regenerate the spirit. Many Nightwalkers also battle evil while awake, perhaps by hunting the Infernal.

Traditions include the Benandanti, the Good Walkers, who are summoned to serve as teens. They battle during the Ember Days, Church feasts, and fight against Infernal witches at agreed-on battlefields. They can fly, and can take the shape of animals or ride animals or tools. In battle, they take human form and fight with bunches of fennel, while their foes use sorghum. The Benandanti are northern Italian.

The Hounds of God are secretive werewolf clans, guided by spirits that make them the virtue of wolves, not the sins of man. Some are born to be Hounds, with cauls or deformities that mark them, and they are approached by a spirit in puberty who will guide them to the battles. In other placess, people are tricked into becoming wolves. If someone toasts the health of a Hound, the werewolf may pass the power on to them by choosing neither to thank them nor share the toast but instead blowing three times on the mouth of the bottle and saying 'As was done to me, so be done unto you.' Usually this is done by elderly Hounds who wish to retire and pass the duty to a family member. Hounds fo battle three times a year - the eve of Saint Lucia, Midsummer's Night and the Pentecost. They raid Hell in the form of phantastic wolves, stealing back the seeds of Earth. (Perhaps they merely go to Infernal regiones, for each country's wolves go to a different Hell.) Hounds fight Infernal foes, who wield iron batons against the spirit-wolves, and sorcerers who wield broomsticks wrapped in horses' tails. Some Hounds possess the power to roam as phantastic wolves when not fighting Hell, as well. They are found primarily in Germanic areas or places with German minorities.

(Incidentally: These guys are based on a real, if 17th century rather than 13th, set of beliefs.)

The Kresniki and Kudlaki are Slavic nightwalkers. Every community has a Kresnik, a protector, and a Kudlak, a fertility thief. Kudlak is short for Vokudlak, which could mean sorcerer, werewolf or vampire. The living vokudlak is a sorcerer, able to curse people and steal fertility. They are Nightwalkers who take the form of black dogs, boars or oxen. They can fly in this form, and if they die, they become a vampire of sorts which continues its role. To prevent this, they must be staked with hawthorn or have their tendons cut behind the knee. Both kresniki and kudlaki are born with cauls; that of a kresnik is clear or white, and a kudlak's is red or black. They are usually trained in their roles by older members of each tradition, and most kresniki first go to battle at the age of seven, though some take as long as 18 or 28. They regularly fight each other. Kresniki take the same animal forms, but dappled in color, and both can take on the form outside the ritual battles. Kudlaks who defeat kresniks are wealthy until the next battle, and many turn to Infernal or Faerie powers. Kresniks can kill kudlaks, but most take precaution to prevent their rising as vampires. Besides, a new kudlak will show up in a year anyway. Kresniks also fight on Christmas and the Ember Days against hordes of vampires or sorcerers, or sometimes foreign nightwalkers. In those cases, the kudlak may show up to help the kresnik.

The Mazzeri of Corsica fight Infernal witches or other mazzeri. They wield asphodel stalks, and they have a second duty: to hunt through the night. Some take animal form, some don't. They must kill one or more animals, then examine them to see what local they correspond to. That local is very likely to die shortly after, between three days and a year. They cannot choose who to kill, or even whether to kill. It is involuntary.

The Taltos are Hungarian. The word actually refers to wandering magicians, but here it means the nightwalkers. Strictly, a taltos is a Magyar shaman with full shamanic powers. However, few such shamans exist now, between Christian conversion, Tremere recruitment and so on, and modern taltos have only the Nightwalker powers. They are marked in the womb by a caul, teeth or some deformity. They are notably hungrier than normal children, especially for milk and cheese, and at the age of seven, they enter a three-day coma, where they babble and suffer fever. In this time, they are visited by an elder taltos in cow or horse shape. The two fight. If the younger loses, they become a half-taltos. If they win, they face other trials. They go on painful vision quests of all sorts, and no record exists of what happens to those who fail. Taltos fight for their village's fertility, either three times a year or once every seven years. They take on the form of horses, bulls or fire, and they face Infernal foes and the dead as well as foreign nightwalkers. They consume enormous amounts of food while waking. Many taltos lose all powers at the age of 15, while some become half taltos, and others retain their powers their entire lives.

So, why would a Hermetic give a poo poo? Well, nightwalking has already been partially integrated into Hermetic theory. Most believe that the certamen ritual descends from the magic of the witches of Thessaly, but in truth it is based on nightwalker battles. It originates from Laplander shamans who duel in phantastic form, suffering fatigue rather than wounds. A Hermetic who researched the nightwalkers might be able to extend certamen to encompass the full capabilities of nightwalker phantastica. Such phantastica would be able to take any shape while incorporeal, but while corporeal would always appear in a shape reflective of the magus's best magic. Some Criamon who study the nightwalkers might develop a new mystery for their cult, gaining the power to take on the form of a phantasticum without the need for fertility battles. Either way, though, it's hardly a major ability, and most Hermetics don't give the slightest poo poo.

Next time: The Vitkir.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 18:46 on May 10, 2013

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Ettin posted:

Everything I quote is direct from the book, typos and all. (Also as usual Chapter Six: Appendices is just the index, but they didn't give it a chapter heading this time.)

My version of the PDF goes

quote:

096 Chapter six ................. Ashcroft’s Legacy
108 FictioN ................. Heritage
110 Chapter six ................. Alien Hands
125 Chapter seven .................Appendices

Does that mean they tried to fix it in subsequent postings and just screwed it up in a different way?

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


Kurieg posted:

My version of the PDF goes

I meant if you page ahead to the index it doesn't have a chapter heading. That Table of Contents is screwed up the same way in my book.


Three editors!

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




Ryuutama, Spring Part 2: Classes and Types

Classes in Ryuutama are generally an expression of what your job was before you hit the road. They're pretty bare-bones, mechanically - all they give you is a set of three special skills that you can use to make life easier or more interesting.

Minstrel



Wandering performers from a long tradition of a lifestyle not tied down to any one place, wandering the world and filling it with song, dance, and stories. Includes musicians, dancers, performers, artists, and storytellers.

Traveler's Experience: Minstrels are accustomed to wandering far across the world. They get a +1 bonus to all Travel, Navigation and Camp checks.
Traditional Knowledge: Minstrels have learned much about the world through old songs, rumors, and legends. You can try to get information about something based on what you've heard about it in the past by rolling WIS+WIS against a GM-set difficulty.
Music: Traditional bard power. During travel, you can roll AGI+SPR against a difficulty set by the terrain and weather to give all of your allies a +1 bonus to their next check. Doing so costs 1 HP, gives a +3 bonus on a critical, and may inflict the Delirious status on a fumble.

Merchant



Exactly what it says on the tin. Entrepreneurs who travel the world following the flow of money. They know their way around a bartering session, are good with pack animals, and are generally great communicators.

Persuade: Knowing how to pick your words carefully is key when you're chasing a profit. +1 to Negotiation checks.
Animal Handling: You're accustomed to working with multiple animals, all the better to carry your wares with you on the road. Most characters can only have one animal with them, but Merchants can have three.
Trade: You know the tricks to buy low and sell high, especially when handling bulk commodities. When you buy or sell a stack of 4 or more of an item, you can roll WIS+SPR to get a discount on the item or a bonus on the sale, ranging from 0 to 80% based on the result. Once you roll, though, you can't back out on the deal - you have to buy it if you can.

Hunter



Masters of the wild. Used to living off the land and tracking down elusive prey, a hunter can be an indispensable aid to a party that's running low on supplies. Includes big game hunters, fishermen, and monster hunters.

Animal Tracking: You know all the signs to look for when following a creature to its lair. One of the only combat-relevant skills, if you're looking for a monster in certain categories (animal, magical beast, magic stone, flora), then you can roll STR+WIS to try and track it to where it lives. If you find it and attack it, you get +1 to all damage rolls against it.
Ingredient Processing: You know how to use every part of your quarry. After defeating a monster, you can roll AGI+WIS to try and get some extra reward out of it, determined by the type of monster.
Hunting & Fishing: You can catch animals in the wild and bring them back for the party as food. At the end of a day of travel, you can roll AGI+WIS against a difficulty set by the terrain and weather to go hunting or fishing. For each point you succeed by, you get enough food to feed one person for one day. The food is extra delicious on a crit, and you can get Injured on a fumble.

Healer



The road is a dangerous place, and it doesn’t hurt to have someone with you who knows how to deal with the results of that danger. Includes doctors, physicians, chemists, and more spiritual healers.

Healing: Standard HP recovery. Using one portion of healing herbs and one day's supply of water, you can roll WIS+SPR and heal an ally for the resulting amount of HP. If you use it during a battle, you only roll WIS.
Emergency Treatment: If someone's seriously out of sorts, you can at least provide some temporary relief. If someone's suffering from a debilitating status, you can roll WIS+SPR to attempt to neutralize the effects of the condition for one hour.
Herbology: You can recognize plants in the wild that have healing properties. At the start of the day, you can roll STR+WIS against a difficulty set by the terrain and weather, and if you succeed, you'll collect a valuable Healing Herb based on the terrain type. You get three on a critical, and might get Poisoned on a fumble.

Farmer


Look at his haaaaaat

The world's most common profession. Simple, but hardy and skilled folk with indispensable skills.

Good Health: You live life at a strong, steady rhythm. +1 bonus to Condition Checks, +3 to Carrying Capacity. Both of these are better than they sound.
Animal Handling: Same as Merchant.
Side Job: You picked up some extra skills on the side during your home life. From the list of skills from other classes, you can pick one of Music, Trade, Hunting & Fishing, Animal Tracking, Ingredient Processing, Herbology, Healing, Emergency Treatment, Item Crafting, Repair or Etiquette.

Crafter



This covers a wide variety of professions. Chefs, blacksmiths, masons, carpenters... the unifying trait is that your talent is making things with your hands.

Ingredient Processing: Same as Hunter.
Item Crafting: Pick one category of items (Tools, weapons, etc) - this what you can make. Roll STR+AGI against a difficulty based on the price of the item, and pay half that price in materials. If you succeed, you create the item.
Repair: You can fix up items that got damaged through use on your journey. Pay 10% of the price of an item and roll STR+AGI as per crafting. If you succeed, the item is restored to full durability.

Noble



It's easy to underestimate the value of having a Noble in the party, but the aristocracy have their uses. In addition to a proper education and knowing their way around high society, they're the ones most likely to have proper military training.

Etiquette: You know how to behave in the presence of polite society. You can roll AGI+WIS to make a good impression on someone of high social standing.
Refined Education: You grew up with access to a wide pool of knowledge and resources. When trying to learn about something, you can roll WIS+WIS against a difficulty set by the GM to recall what you were taught about it during your education.
Art of War: Either as preparation for war or as a part of your refined upbringing, you received additional weapon training. Pick Sword, Spear, or Bow, and gain proficiency with this in addition to your standard weapon training. If you already were proficient with your choice, you get +1 to all attack rolls with that weapon type.


And that's it for classes! Next is Type. This is less of a character backstory tied decision, and more of a mechanical one. Each of the three Types gives you three bonuses.

Attack Type: You solve problems with the pointy end of your blade, specializing in fighting monsters and applying brute force.
Toughness: Maximum HP is increased by 4.
Power: +1 bonus to all damage rolls.
Focus: Gain proficiency in an additional weapon category.

Technique Type: Skilled and fast, you've always got another trick up your sleeve.
Accurate: When using Concentration (I'll get to that later), you get a +2 bonus instead of a +1 bonus.
Quick: +1 to Initiative Checks. This is better than it sounds.
Pocket: +3 Carrying Capacity.

Magic Type: You have access to strange powers beyond the ability of most humans.
Will: Maximum MP increased by 4.
Spellbook: Each level, you learn 2 spells from the Incantation Magic list.
Seasonal Sorcery: Pick one of the four seasons, and gain a set of special magic related to it.

Next: Party dynamics.

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Ettin posted:

First though, boilerplate intro post! The first thing you get in this book is some more fiction about Sorena and Roy, two Eldritch Society NPCs from that rape furry adventure. Mostly Roy. He's an ex-NEG soldier who got a Section 8 after encountering the remains of a Rapine Storm village where people were roasted on spits and children were turned into crazy mutilated Rapine Storm cultists, and trying to shoot himself. Now he has like a million guns and cleans them all the time and can't get laid. It's a decent story that tells you something about the setting without getting mind-bogglingly awful. Don't worry though, we have the rest of the book for that!

I'm so glad my game just has a few art pieces that are a little eye-roll inducing. :allears:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Ars Magica 5th Edition: Hedge Magic, Revised Edition

The Vitkir are wizards who draw on the power of runes and inscriptions. The word 'vitkir' is a Scandinavian word meaning, roughly, 'wizards'. The vitkir are commonly found in Scandinavia and the Norse lands of Ultima Thule. Many Hermetics refer to them as the Order of Odin, and the vitkir are not so widespread as they once were. They go where vikings go, though they don't always survive it. Vitkir are always equivalent to magi, though they don't follow the Mythic Companion rules. They are just that good on their own. Norse traditional stories always portray vitkir as male, but there is no reason why a woman couldn't become vitkir. (The stories present seithr as a magic done by women, but that magic is evil and corrupt - in games terms, probably an Infernal tradition. But hey, why not let women be vitkir?)


Yeah, the Order of Odin just isn't a thing.

Oh yeah, one other thing. The vitkir know of a ritual that can do something no Hermetic has ever done. That can do something no one else can do. They know a way to earn the Gift if you don't have it. The only other method I know of for doing this in the game involves the Garden of Eden.


Vitkir are badass.

A vitki's magic involves carving runes onto things in special rune script. The duration is until the runes wear off, which is about a day for those painted on skin or clothes, or years for those carved on wood or stone. It takes about two minutes to write a rune script with paint, or at least an hour to carve it into hard materials. Unlike Hermetic magic, vitkir magic causes true and natural change without need for a ritual. A healing rune closes wounds naturall, a harming one causes real and true injury. When the rune is destroyed, the effect ends and nature reasserts itself, but the effects of the spell are not undone. This means that runes that create a thing create a natural one, not a magic one. A sword given enchanted power cannot be resisted by magic resistance. It's just a sword. You can, however, resist a spell being cast on you still. Rune magic does warp its targets over time, however, and any rune-carved object is an Arcane Connection to the vitki who carved it. The runes, you see, are considered part of the vitki. Likewise, anything summoned by a vitki's spell is considered a permanent Arcane Connection to the vitki.

Vitkir rune scripts are their equivalent of formulaic spells. Vitkir tend to know many rune scripts, for they have no spontaneous magic at all. All rune scripts contain the vitki's name, as well as a description of an effect, a target, or both. There are three methods to write a rune script. Method I is used for spells which target the self, or which enchant the object on which they are drawn. This is "I, [NAME], [EFFECT]." Objects enchanted this way are enchanted only so long as they are in use - once you lose contact with the object, the spell ends. So a magic sword is magical only until you lose your hold of it, for example. The target is implied, so you don't need a rune specifying the target, and the description is first-person. For example: "I, Eirik, carve upon this staff the runes for my health."

Method II is used when you want to use your magic on someone other than you or the object the runes are inscribed on. It is "[NAME] [EFFECT], [TARGET]." You either need an Arcane Connection or to be in the presence of your target when you carve the runes. These formulas are written in third person, using a rune to describe the target and a rune to describe the effect. For example: "Eirik carves upon this stick the runes of health for his good wife."

Method III has no effects except to create an Arcane Connection to the target for later use, allowing runes to be inscribed from a distance. The form is "[NAME], [TARGET]." For example: "Eirik carves the runes upon this tree." That lets you then target the thing from a distance later.

Now, suppose you want to cast a rune spell without inscribing your name. That's harder. So is cutting out the full description and just leaving in single runes for target and effect. Why would you do that? Well, it's faster to cast. By taking a large penalty and doing that, you can cast a rune spell in a single combat round. Handy! Still, vitkir are at their best when they've had time to prepare and go into battle fully armed rather than casting any spells during a fight. Some vitki are also able to hide the nature of their spells, obscuring their names or the spell effect with poetic language and obscuring runes. This also makes spells harder, but keeps people from figuring out what they do.

Vitkir do not have Forms or Techniques - they just have the Runes. 24 of them, the Elder Futhark. Let's take a look at them! (They are presented in English alphabetical order for ease of reading by most players.)

A, Ansuz, "Mouth", has many actual meanings, including the mouth of the body and of a river. It started as 'god', and is associated with the Aesir, particularly Odin. When used as a targetting rune, Ansuz refers to images, especially sounds, people (when the spell has to do with speech) or, very rarely, the human mouth or an animal that is being granted speech. Ansuz used for effects may give bonuses to communication, detects auditory illusions, grants the power of speech, recognizes the nature of magical beings, grants telepathy or improves or curses communicative ability.

B, Berkanan, "Birch", is a tree of fertility. The rune is associated with healing and youth, and as a targetting rune, it can be used for plants, children or young animals. As an effect rune, it can bless or curse natural healing, bless or curse actions while wounded, prevent pregnancy, heal wounds or prevent natural healing wounds.

D, Dagaz, "Day", refers to the length of time it takes for the sun to reach the horizon. Thus, it is associated with time, the sun, light and life in winter, as well as growth. As a targetting spell, it targets light and moving images, but it is rarely used as a target. As an effect, it blesses or curses long-term activities or aging, it causes targets to grow or shrink with the passing of the sun, can bring a target to maturity in a mere day or even age a target beyond maturity.

E, Ehwaz, "Horse", refers to the horse and therefore stamina, speed and strength. It also represents mobility in combat and the relation between horse and rider. Used as a target, it largely targets animals, especially those used in battle. As an effect, Ehwaz blesses or curses combat skill, speed or trust and loyalty. It can also tame animals or summon a mount.

F, Fehu, "Wealth", refers to cattle, gold, and so on, but not tools, clothes or weapons. It also often represents strife between kin. Used as a target, it mostly targets domesticated animals or objects that could be seen as wealth. As an effect, it blesses or curses actions that have to do with wealth, such as gambling or treasure-hunting, it grants power to detect precious metals or domesticated animals, and it can summon wealth, usually in the form of domesticated animals or precious metal.

G, Gebo, "Gift", refers to the obligations of receiving gifts and giving them in return. It is both charity and promises. As a target, it targets any object given as a gift, or anyone in debt to you. As an effect, it blesses or curses attempts to influence others, creates feelings of deference and obedience, compels obedience to command or even dominates a target's mind.

H, Hagalaz, "Hail", refers to the cruelty of nature, from storms to illness. It is hail in weather and a hail of missiles. It causes destruction and harm, pain and suffering. It is powerful, but hard to control. As a target, it targets weather, cold or missile weapons. As an effect, it blesses or curses damage, causes bad weather to attack someone, summons severe weather, or makes weather more or less severe.

I, Isa, "Ice", symbolizes hidden danger, as well as coldness and cold emotions. As a target, it targets literal ice, cold or those with cold and implacable feelings. As an effect, it blesses or curses ability to travel in the cold and deal with winter weather, chills targets, freezes water, makes people apathetic and depressed, holds targets motionless or coats targets in ice.

J, Jera, "Year", signifies autumn and the bounty of nature, as well as hard work and prosperity. As a target, it targets crops, livestock and people's health and well-being. As an effect, it blesses or curses very long-term activities, grants immunity to disease, ensures good health or summons food and drink.

K, Kauno, "Pain", refers metaphorically to heat, fever, fire and burning pain. As a target, it targets fire, heat and effects which cause pain or disease. As an effect, it blesses or curses anything to do with disease, blesses or curses actions while sick, blesses or curses recovery from disease, ignites the flammable, warms things, causes pain, or causes disease.

L, Laguz, "Water", refers to water and the ocean as well as hidden dangers. As a target, it targets water or things found underwater. As an effect, it blesses or curses action while underwater, grants the power to see clearly in water, summons water, detects bodies of water, grants water-breathing, speeds sea journeys and causes waves to attack.

M, Mannaz, "Man", refers to mankind, unity and cooperation. Used as a target, it most often targets human beings, physically or mentally. As an effect, it blesses or curses manual dexterity or actions that involve cooperating with people, inspires feelings of unity or causes fighters to function as a trained group.

N, Nandiz, "Need", refers to hardship and trouble. As a target, it targets the desperate, dying or despairing. As an effect, it blesses or curses actions while in great need or desperation, as well as actions that have been tried and failed before, it delays magical effects, binds other rune spells to its own duration and causes despair.

Ng, Ingwaz, "Lord", refers to peace, family and a safe home. As a target, it targets buildings, dwellings and structures, those who live within a particular building or the caster's family and household. As an effect, it blesses or curses actions to do with family and household, senses where family members are and how they feel, ensures easy and healthy births and summons people.

O, Othila, "Inheritance", refers to property and specific material goods - those that are passed on between generations, such as land or personal possessions. It is used to target such things. As an effect, it blesses or curses actions using family heirlooms or property, makes objects better at what they were designed to do and summons inanimate objects.

P, Perth, "Cup", refers to...a lot of things, but mostly fate and chance, pleasure and relaxation or containers that hold secrets. As a target, it targets the supernatural realms, vis, spells or supernatural beings, but not supernatural beings or animals. As an effect, it blesses or curses actionsof pure chance, reduces botches, dispels magic, sense magic and faerie auras, senses vis and recognizes the casters of spells and the nature of spells.

Next time: More runes.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Ettin posted:

I meant if you page ahead to the index it doesn't have a chapter heading. That Table of Contents is screwed up the same way in my book.
Three "editors"!

Fixed that for you.

Every Rifts book I've had lists three editors as well. Note to Palladium and Wildfire: each of you can fire all three of your editors, I'll take the pay for two, you'll get better editing and save money even though I am not a professional.

And I'll only get better because I can be bothered to read a style guide. Get in touch! Really!

ProfessorProf posted:

Crafter



This covers a wide variety of professions. Chefs, blacksmiths, masons, carpenters... the unifying trait is that your talent is making things with your hands.

Wait is this a woman who looks like she's over 20 years old in an Anime-styled game? What... I... what...

Expectations wrecked. :psyduck:

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


It's like 7th Sea all over again. Although, drat! That's a lot of different magic systems for a supplemental book.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I'm always surprised when Cthulhutech talks about Cthulhutech going under like it was a bad thing. I mean, sure, probably from the perspective of the guys who make a living on this pile, but for the rest of us, that game line failing would be a victory.

These reviews saved me from buying that game, something I'd considered several times based on the concept, and for that, I am very grateful. Still, how can they gently caress up a gunwank book? How can that possibly get terrible? The worst you usually get in those is some author getting all excited about laser sights and matte black rifles.

GimmickMan
Dec 27, 2011



Knowing them, they might have included torture implements as weapons, with descriptions that leave nothing to the imagination.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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HitTheTargets posted:

It's like 7th Sea all over again. Although, drat! That's a lot of different magic systems for a supplemental book.

Let me put it this way: Ars Magica is not satisfied with a book unless it contains at least one detailed and usually well-thought-out subsystem that could probably be the core of a game on its own.

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Hedge Magic, Revised Edition

R, Raido, "Riding", refers not just to riding, but is related to the Old Norse reid, meaning thunder or chariot, so it also ties into Thor. It symbolizes a journey and all forms of travel, as well as preparation for war or bad weather, along with planning, strategy and thought. As a target, it targets carts, ships, wheels and the harnesses of carts and chariots. As an effect, it blesses or curses actions related to travel, speed and stamina, repairs wheels and harnesses, makes lame animals able to act at full ability, senses direction, speeds journeys and summons large objects.

S, Sowilo, "Sun", is associated with light and the sun and good defeating evil. As a target, it targets light, the Divine and Divine beings. As an effect, it blesses or curses perception. pierces visual illusions, enhances night vision, senses Divine and Infernal auras, extinguishes light, makes things invisible, grants resistance to cold or causes blindingly bright light.

T, Tiwaz, "Tyr", is the Norse god of truth and battle, loyal and self-sacrificing. It is associated with fighters for justice and truthseekers. As a target, it targets thoughts and motivations. As an effect, it blesses or curses actions related to bravery, loyalty or combat, boosts confidence, senses people, grants empathic understanding and detects lies. At higher levels, it can evenly accurately predict actions via complete empathy.

Th, Thurisaz, "Ogre", refers to giants or ogres, which like to harm women, or thorns, sharp and severe. It is related to demons and death, and it is usually seen as evil, though it also relates to shapeshifting. When used as a target, it targets supernatural beings, especially Infernal ones, and also thorns or brambles or anything wooden that pierces or cuts. As an effect, it blesses or curses actions related to negative passions, weakens supernatural beings, causes thorns or brambles to grow, destroys plants and transforms living creatures or objects into other things.

U, Uruz, "Auroch", refers to a large breed of cattle in Scandinavia, and it is a symbol of strength, stamina and manhood. It is related to achievement and defense of the home. Used as a target, it targets wild or magical beasts or weather. As an effect, it blesses or curses strength, makes loads lighter or heavier, grants immunity to effects of the mind, and summons wild beasts.

W, Wunjo, "Joy", refers to comfort and happiness. It can has connotations of glory and victory as well as those who work toward a common goal. As a target, it targets emotions. As an effect, it blesses or curses actions related to presence and social skill, reduces penalties from fatigue or wounds and causes emotion.

Y, Ihwaz, "Yew", refers to the wood used to make longbows, with overtones of death and witchcraft. Used as a target, it targets trees, bows, gravesites and spirits of the dead. As an effect, it curses or blesses intellect, senses supernatural beings, summons supernatural beings, senses the nature of plants, senses corpses, animates corpses, speaks to the dead, summons corpses or summons trees. Consecrated ground blocks most of the things related to corpses.

Z, Algiz, "Elk", refers to protection and elks. It is almost never used to target things, but when it is, it targets elks, hands or grass. As an effect, it blesses or curses ability to take damage, wards against supernatural beings and wards off things related to a secondary rune.

Some vitkir do not use the Elder Futhark, but instead the Younger Futhark, which omits the runes Gebo, Wunjo, Perth, Algiz, Ehwaz, Ingwaz, Dagaz and Othila. They tend to be more powerful with the runes they do know, since they have fewer to study, but they are far less flexible thanks to those runes they lack. In England, the vitkir used the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, which had more and weaker runes. However, the Order of Hermes exterminated the British vitkir, so there are no futhorc-users any more and those added runes have been lost. It seems, however, that they merely diluted the existing runes rather than adding new power.

Now, the Order of Hermes is traditionally considered at war with the vitkir since the 9th century, so it's difficult for them to study vitkir magic. However, doing so might have some useful effects - most notably, unlocking rune magic, allowing them to inscribe runes on targets to tie spells to as the vitkir do, bypassing the need to penetrate the resistance of that which they carve. The main problem, really, is that the vitkir are despised by some of the Order, and associating with them is thus dangerous.

The End!

What's our next? Choices are: the True Lineage Houses of Hermes and their secrets (Houses of Hermes: True Lineages), the power of God and its impact on you (Realms of Power: The Divine), Mystery Cults (The Mysteries, Revised Edition), the Mystery Cult Houses (Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults), more depth on Covenants (Covenants), mercantile life (City and Guild), the lost magic of the past (Ancient Magic), the Societates Houses (Houses of Hermes: Societates), France (Lion and Lily: The Normandy Tribunal), academic life (Art and Academe), the realms of magic and magical beings (Realms of Power: Magic), the Faeries (Realms of Power: Faerie), nobility (Lords of Men), other rival spellcasters of the world (Rival Magic), the Church (The Church) or the Middle East (Cradle and Crescent), Germany (Guardians of the Forests: The Rhine Tribunal), a book on various grand goals a magus might have (Hermetic Projects) or Greece (Sundered Eagle: The Theban Tribunal).

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Holy crap, Ars Magica makes it seem like the Magi are a lone island of safety in a Europe of supernatural mayhem. The entire Nightwalker section is kickass and the concept of phastasmal dogs possessing the soul of a dreamer raiding hell is amazing.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Tasoth posted:

Holy crap, Ars Magica makes it seem like the Magi are a lone island of safety in a Europe of supernatural mayhem. The entire Nightwalker section is kickass and the concept of phastasmal dogs possessing the soul of a dreamer raiding hell is amazing.

The wild places absolutely are massively dangerous. Fairies, demons and magical beasts roam the land. Towns and cities, however, tend to fairly safe, because the presence of that many believers in God produces a Dominion aura, which weakens the power of most supernatural beings.

On the other hand, it doesn't do poo poo about scheming nobles or corrupt priests.

Also, it should be understood that Ars Magica literally runs on a medieval worldview. Disease is literally caused by demons.

Father Wendigo
Sep 28, 2005
This is, sadly, more important to me than bettering myself.



oriongates posted:

yeah, I love how they somehow think that a "properly run" fight should eat up basically an entire session and how their very first suggestion for "tactics" is to straight up fudge rolls. In fact, I don't believe a single one of the suggestions actually qualifies as tactics or strategy at all. it's all either add more monsters, cheat, or give the goblins permanent spells and special abilities for little or no reason.

I want to thank you and PoptartsNinja for doing AEG's OGL productions. They're not aggressively offensive like CthulhuTech, but the terrible laziness evident throughout was what defined my formative years trying to get into this hobby. It's very cathartic to look back and see that it wasn't me that didn't get the game.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG


Man, I am loving the art in this. Adventurers who actually look like they're ready to travel, as opposed to dudes in tin cans and waifs in "gently caress-me" robes? Hell yes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I was bored so I randomly selected one of the old votes.

Ars Magica 5th Edition: City and Guild

It's important to remember that while the Order of Hermes sits apart, it is part of the world. Locals know about covenants, especially if they go to market. The Order is obscure, not secret. It's impractical to be completely isolated - especially when the larger covenants employ enough grogs to be villages in their own right. Fortunately, Tribunal rulings have made it possible to traffic with mundane people...though prosecution will come for flooding the market with magical goods or devastating towns. It's important, though, to keep in mind that urban areas are very different from rural ones. A town or city will have its own laws and charter, which will guide what rights people have and what can be traded. The greatest freedoms are in the cities in Germany, Italy and some parts of Flanders - indeed, Italian cities can be strong enough to rule over areas around them. In France and England, the monarchs have been embracing urban independence to counter the power of lords.

Class, guild and profession are what guide urban politics. Those who earn money by service, trade or manual labor or looked down on by administrators, clerks and warriors. The free artisans and merchants, however, are gaining increasing economic and political control. Change is coming. In the rural areas, you are born into a job and status and never leave it - that is not so in the towns and cities. Pride and competition with local towns are common, and fuel many public works.

Becoming a full citizen of a town under the town's charter - a townsman, as the term goes - requires at minimum a year and a day of residence. Some town charters have additional requirements, generally to ensure citizenship belongs to the wealthy. Land ownership, building a house, swearing an oath of defense, having a trade or belonging to a guild are all possible requirements. In Toledo and some other Spanish towns, a man's wife must live in the town permanently for him to be eligible, preventing traveling merchants from claiming citizenship in several towns. Priests and clerics cannot generally become townsmen, as they are subject to canon law, and many times they have fewer rights. Incidentally - being a townsman gives you a sympathetic connection to all other townsmen, making it easier to pierce their magic resistance, should they have any. However, this mystical connection can only exist within one town at a time - gain citizenship somewhere else and it lapses.

A town always has an authority, a lord. Usually it's a king, a lesser noble, a bisho por an abbot. The only real requirement is that they have claim to own the town's land, and sometimes such claims are disputed. To avoid war, a neutral party like the Church or a local feudal overlord will solve these problems - unless a town is very important, no one really wants war. Noble lords tend to want loyalty, funding and control. They give charters for control of trade, financial gain or other such reasons far more often than military strategy, save for kings, who tend to care about that sort of thing. Ecclesiastical lords usually grant charters in order to establish central collection points for the goods of a diocese, and these towns tend be small - though not always. These towns tend to have a stronger Divine aura than most.

Sometimes, a lord is supernatural - faerie lords can grant charters to both mundane and faerie towns. Sometimes such towns are entirely within a faerie regio, removed from the normal system of government, but sometimes a faerie lord will offer an isolated town a rival charter to its mundane lord's. Sometimes the faeries don't really understand what they're doing, while other times a faerie town becomes fully integrated into mundane society and the economy, with the local faeries trading to merchants and magi and generally acting like normal people. In such towns, worship of the Divine is discouraged, and towns with faerie charters tend to have very low Divine auras, perhaps swamped by greater Faerie auras. Occasionally, a demon will tempt a town into a demonic charter, though this only happens in small, isolated areas with weak Church presence. Such charters often grant the town supernatural benefits such as freedom from disease or economic blessings in exchange for, generally, some kind of sin. Very rarely, a land-owning covenant may grant a charter to a town on its land, but this is highly controversial and can be seen as a violation of the Code.

A town charter, in any case, will lay out the rights and duties of the townsmen. The town will owe a collective tax to their lord in most cases, though sometimes (for supernatural lords) the tax is not in money and goods, but in things like wives or festivals. A charter will also hold legal rights. A townsman may usually expect the right to only be tried by the town's court, having no obligation to attend external courts, even feudal ones. Charters often restrict or abolish trials by ordeal or combat and set limits on fines. This allows merchants a stable framework to do business on without fear of arbitrary punishments. Charters may also grant trade monopolies and toll exemptions to merchants, to encourage their settlement. A toll exemption will apply throughout a lord's entire territory. It may grant permission to hold a market or fair, usually with conditions or restrictions. Salvage rights from shipwrecks are a common thing for a charter to discuss - usually, the lord gets them, but some towns grant them to merchants. There will also be rules for appointing town officials and the buying and selling of land. Some charters outright ban that, though, and instead pay a rent called tenure to the lord. Since tenure is in cash rather than labor, that's a lot better than the serfdom of the rural peasantry.

Moving on past the nitty-gritty details of town topography and diet...let's talk about disease! Disease is caused by humoral imbalance, not viruses. This is vital to keep in mind!


Vital.

Leprosy is one of most feared diseases, for it is a divine mark of damnation. It manifests in the form of excess black bile, causing skin damage, clawing of the hands and feet, blindness, loss of sensation and paralysis, as well as occasional madness. Two to three million people in all of Europe are lepers. Poor moral standards, particularly in sexual practices, help cause leprosy, and menstruating women are particularly vulnerable. Due to the Divine origins of the disease, nothing but Divine intervention may cure leprosy, though Hermetic magic may alleviate or hide symptoms. Most communities obey the 1179 decree of Pope Alexander III and expel their lepers, often ritually burying their posessions, and treat them as dead. The Church maintains colonies, called leprosariums, for the convalescence of lepers. There are over 2000 leprosariums in France alone. In some places, like Scotland, leprosy is so feared that lepers are hanged or burned at the stake. A town charter frequently will have the town's rules for dealing with lepers, which may include special begging rights or restrictions. Incidentally, Hermetic mages cannot cause true leprosy - they can just make a disease that has similar effects. Being a leper sucks - you can't get a good reputation because you smell like rotting flesh, and you age extremely badly, dying far younger than most. That said, the game does have rules for playing a leper if you really want to.

The ague is caused by bad air, and ague outbreaks cluster around sources of bad air, like tanneries or sewage. The main symptoms are cycles of chills and fever. Continual fever indicates excess phlegm, quotidian fever occurs daily and indicates excess blood, a tertian fever is every three days and indicates black bile, while a quartan fever is every four days and indicates yellow bile. Ague is painful, especially continual fever, but not often fatal.

St. Anthony's fire is caused by an excess of blood produced by a minor demon in the intestines. Symptoms include a red rash, pain, visions, spasms, contortions and a burning sensation in the limbs. Eventually, the limbs begin to rot and you die within five seasons if the disease is not cured and the demon expelled. The demon is not very potent, and the ORder of Hospitalers of St. Anthony know a ritual to exorcise it. There are many chapter houses of the Order throughout Europe.

Tarantism is caused by excess yellow bile due to the bite of a faerie tarantula. The disease causes the uncontrollable urge to dance to the point of exhaustion, along with great thirst, unusual sexual urges and pain. It is worst in the summer, though the disease may take several years after the bite to manifest and predominantly afflicts young women. Tarantism, while exceptionally annoying, is not fatal, though the sufferer will require someone to feed them. The song known as the tarantella cures the disease, and an epidemic of tarantism will often be followed by the arrival of minstrels who will cure it for a price.

Childbed fever occurs due to the fact that giving birth can upset the humors, making the mother vulnerable to the demon of childbed fever. The demon attempts to enter the body as the baby leaves, where it will cause chills, fever, pain, nausea and, in terminal cases, a rotting of the reproductive organs that may spread to the rest of the body. The demon is most fatal in births that involve complications.



The bloody flux is caused by excess phlegm due to cold, wet living conditions. It's common in towns and campaigning armies, and it causes diarrhea, chills, cramps, runny nose and bloody stool. It is not fatal but can be extremely incapacitating.

Worms are an agglomeration caused by excess blood. In a healthy person, the worms quickly disperse, but they build up in the unhealthy and overwhelm the body. Children and infants are very susceptible to worms, as their humors are mixed with milk. Worms are rarely fatal, but in the long term can be very painful and incapacitating.

Abscesses are caused by an absence of humors and are common during famine. They cause wounds in the form of pustules. Black pustules indicate lack of yellow bile, and are the worst. Yellow pustules indicate lack of black bile. Grey pustules indicate lack of blood, and red pustules, the least terrible, indicate lack of phlegm.

Next time: Crime and punishment.

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid
:black101:



Every day you post more of this is a good day. :allears:

I'm loving the class system, simple yet each feels individual and with the ability to choose between combat, technique and magic you can get a fair amount of different characters going. I'm really hoping by the time you finish you'll have decoded enough for someone to attempt to run it.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


If someone wants to run it, I could try and brush up my more thorough translation doc and make it public.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


Night10194 posted:

I'm always surprised when Cthulhutech talks about Cthulhutech going under like it was a bad thing. I mean, sure, probably from the perspective of the guys who make a living on this pile, but for the rest of us, that game line failing would be a victory.

These reviews saved me from buying that game, something I'd considered several times based on the concept, and for that, I am very grateful. Still, how can they gently caress up a gunwank book? How can that possibly get terrible? The worst you usually get in those is some author getting all excited about laser sights and matte black rifles.

TK-31 posted:

Knowing them, they might have included torture implements as weapons, with descriptions that leave nothing to the imagination.

When I get to this part I'm just going to hit the button that lets me view all posts I made in this thread and copy these quotes for future reference. If you've read Unveiled Threats don't tell them. :allears:

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

While my temporary PC isn't good enough to LP on (boooo!)... I can still F&F with the best of them!

That's right, it's time to go back to...

Alternity: Skills, Perks, Flaws, and Guff (PHB Part 5, Chargen Part 2)




Dissecting the rules like we would greys, awww yeah!

Skills, as noted in previous updates, are pretty easy to understand. But there is one more thing to mention about them: Many skills have bonuses available to buy for getting them to certain ranks (usually in incremements of 3 or 4). For example, at rank 4 of a melee skill, the character gains a new maneuver, and again at ranks 6 and 9. Every 4 ranks, the resistance bonus for strength goes up by 1 when using that particular type of melee weapon. It must also be noted that the deck is heavily stacked toward Intelligence, as the vast majority of skills are either there or in Dexterity. Of course, this is because the Intelligence skills are nearly all very specialised, and only about a third of them have combat applications. So it all balances out.

Perks and Flaws are pretty much normal, and, if anything, are a little sparse for a generic system. They cost or give skill points, and you can take 3 of each. there are, however, a couple of notable ones. Alien Artifact, for example, can be taken as either a perk or a flaw. What this means is that, if it's a perk, it's mostly good with some bad things, and if it's a flaw, it's mostly bad with some good things. Considering some of the bad things that can be chosen or rolled from the GMG section on artifacts, you'd be a chump to take this as a flaw. Then there is Filthy Rich and Dirt Poor.

Tell me folks, how would you like some extra random in your starting funds? Both Filthy Rich and Dirt Poor provide this in spades, as they're a perk that's also a skill, and if you take them, you can either get 10 to 100 times more starting cash (Filthy Rich), or -25 to 90 percent of your funds for Dirt Poor! Wheee!

Actually, pretty much any perk marked as “Conscious” requires a sort of skill roll to use, while flaws are nearly always a step penalty to a skill, resistance modifier, or attribute. But, beyond that, there's really not a lot to say about flaws. So let's move on a chapter!

Chapter 6 (out of 15) is a collection of career templates. You spend a certain amount of skill points, get signature gear into the bargain, and it's generally a useful idea to at least start with one of these. Amusingly, this is also the chapter where the writers openly admit that the money system doesn't allow characters to get most of their starting gear. We'll go into this problem in more detail later, but suffice to say, it is a genuine flaw in this game, and allowing people to just take signature gear for the occupation closest to their concept is probably a very good idea. Especially since it gives some careers a ship and a waiting plot hook in the form of massive bank loans.



"Perks & Flaws needs something... I know, dude freaked about the bullet-hole in his hand! Perfect!"

Finally for this update, we have Chapter 7, which is rather confusingly called “Attributes”. Remember I mentioned Motivation, Morality, and Character Traits? This is where the PHB dumps them. I'm basically going to say that you're better off writing a proper background than relying on these, and then digress into something worth talking about : The artwork.

Alternity brought in some top guns for the artwork, and, while the colour scheme of their books isn't great, and the layout isn't always great either (it took me a while to realise that Intelligence skills were the top half of the second page, instead of noting Engineering as a Willpower based skill... no mattter how amusing and often-accurate that may be...) But one thing that definitely stands out is the artwork. Lemme mention a couple of names...

R K Post (nearly all the art we've seen so far).

Brom (we'll come to his art later).

And Todd Lockwood (The diplomats, among other pics). Of the three, I least prefer Lockwood's work, but as you can see, they contribute a unique style to the game, one which definitely gives it a good feel.

And, on that note, next time, we'll be looking at experience, goods, and why you can never get what you want!

JamieTheD fucked around with this message at 00:35 on May 11, 2013

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


ProfessorProf posted:

If someone wants to run it, I could try and brush up my more thorough translation doc and make it public.

Do it, especially if you can do so legally. I'd recommend contacting the creators to see if they're planning on releasing a translated version, but the responses are so drat spotty. I know that I've got enough of Mutant:UA translated to at least get the basic material (Edited rulebook, plus the four guides to the classes and some of the Göborg campaign book and Zoology of the Zones) out, but Paradox didn't want poo poo to do with it, and Järnringen Förlag AB doesn't have a legit license any more, based off of the e-mail I've exchanged, so sorting out translations is a gigantic legal gently caress-up. Which is why I'm sad that these translations can never really see the light of day outside of personal games, and part of why I have to summarize a lot more when it comes to dealing with Mutant:UA stuff - there's still an outside chance you can obtain books, as opposed to Classic Mutant.

Always, always, always jump on a chance to release a translated work. At worst, it's good practice that other people can critique. At best, it's a good career move and something that gets you more translation gigs.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Ars Magica 5th Edition: City and Guild

Towns suffer greater crime than rural areas - there's more anonymity, after all. You can get away with murder much more easily...though murder is not the worst crime you can commit. Theft is. See, murder's a crime of passion, and therefore the fault of drink, demons or momentary madness, while theft, burglary and robbery are only ever premeditated and therefore worse sins. Crimes are done by ordinary folks; there are no thieves' guilds or other such things, though there are highwayman gangs or other criminal groups that act together. There aren't any formal police, either, though large towns have a watch that patrols the city at night, usually to enforce curfew by escorting drunkards home. The watch also try to interrupt and apprehend criminals they see, but they don't really investigate anything or solve crimes after the fact unless they were done against the watch itself. They just interrupt crimes in progress.

Towns have the duty to handle court trials. Your average town has maybe a half dozen magistrates who also double as tax assessors or other clerical jobs. Your average trial starts with an accusation by the plaintiff against the defendant, who then either admits to or denies the crime. The plaintiff does not need to be the victim; in a murder case, it's usually a kinsman. If the defendant is not present, officials are sent to notify them and a date is set. A defendant who repeatedly fails to show will be tried in absentia. Incidentally, it's perfectly normal to accuse a non-human of a crime - a farmer may, for example, accuse his neighbor's sheep of grazing on his field, or a nymph might be accused of seducing travelers. The court then decides whether it has jurisdiction or not. A court has no jurisdiction over a man disciplining his family, nor over any Church official (who are tried under canon law). Commercial law and heresy are also tried by Church courts. A case can be thrown out for being frivolous, as well. Otherwise, the court claims jurisdiction over all residents of the town. If a case involves several townspeople from over a region, it is tried in the most important court in all the towns involved, though this applies only in relatively homogenous areas like England or France. In, say, northern Italy, a rival town may well harbor a criminal due to inter-town antagonism.

A court will then go to trial, in which arguments can be put forward based on precedent and the text of law, as well as logic in cases not rooted in canon law, which does not accept such arguments. (Sharia law is covered in another supplement.) Once the court decides there is a case, it tends to reach a decision very quickly based on witness statements, known as oaths, and the character of the witnesses. Evidence is also considered if it exists, but there are no formal procedures to gather evidence and many courts make money by selling confiscated stolen property. Forensic science does not exist and magically gathered evidence tends to be viewed with suspicion. Should a defendant found guilty truly insist on innocence, they may choose to undergo a trial by ordeal in some jurisdictions, though it is archaic and often limited or banned. The Church allows them, however, as a show of Divine intervention. An ordeal of combat has the defendant face the plaintiff, with the victor being judged the winner of the case. An ordeal of cold water has the defendant thrown in a river. If innocent, they sink. An ordeal of hot water has them pull a stone from a boiling kettle, and if innocent the wound will heal after three days. An ordeal of iron is similar, but instead of a boiling kettle you carry a red-hot iron rod nine feet.

In any case, if the defendant is found guilt, sentence is passed. Sometimes, it's dictated by the town charter, but usually a magistrate has discretion here, for mitigating circumstances such as alcohol or whether a death was premeditated or a crime of passion. Thievery, robbery, house-breaking, arson, premeditated murder and treason to town or lord are all usually punishable by death, generally by hanging but sometimes by beheading, drowning or burning at the stake. Executions are public, generally at the next market day. Murder, accidental death, rape, assault, petty theft and failure to obey charter obligations (tax evasion, say, or breaking curfew) are punished by fines, which can be quite high and take a lifetime to pay or low enough to be pocket change. A proportion of the fine is paid to the victim or their relatives, and the rest to the town or lord. If a fine is unpaid, the criminal is declared an outlaw, whom anyone can kill freely for a reward. Sometimes, branding or mutilation is done instead of or in addition to a fine, especially in violent offenses, where it often matches the crime. Some minor crimes, such as prostitution, begging and petty theft, are punished instead by public shaming and ridicule.

Prisons exist, but not for punishment. You're in kept prison only while awaiting trial or execution. Prisoners are fed, but may be required to pay for their meals. Visitors are not normally allowed aside from Church or court officials, though some jailers take bribes. Towns without prisons may keep prisoners in the stocks instead. Prisons also house political prisoners, such as wealthy prisoners awaiting ransom, but those are usually the prisoners of nobles and more likely to be kept in a castle or military camp.

Moving on through the list of famous towns, we learn about crafting. Your average craftsman earns around 10 pounds per year if they make inexpensive or standard goods, are guild journeymen or are basic manual laborers. A merchant or a craftsman making expensive items or owning a string of workshops will earn around 20 pounds per year, as well a Guild master. A well-off merchant or extremely skilled Guild master will earn perhaps 40 pounds per year, and a skilled merchant ship or small fleet will earn about 100 pounds per year. A minor merchant house (two cities or so) may earn up to 250 pounds per year, as might a mid-sized fleet with a great range. Only the greatest of fleets and the most powerful merchant companies make more.

The book then provides a brief look at the Labor rules, by which craftsmen can work to earn their money and improve their businesses. They'll receive more detail later, but suffice to say that it's a complex and interesting subsystem for people who don't mind fiddling around with the numbers. They allow a character to advance in wealth and social class. It should be noted: if you overwork yourself, you will get a bad reputation - it is considered morally wrong to work on Sundays and Saint's Days unless you literally cannot afford to do otherwise, even if you're working towards a laudable goal. Being miserly in order to save on expenses also earns a bad reputation.

Now, let's talk guilds. With the rise of cities, the guilds have formed - communities of workers engaging in the same trade. There are three types of guild: craft guilds, service guilds and merchant guilds. Craft guilds are craftsmen who produce finished goods. Service guilds are laborers who provide a service. Merchant guilds differ from the other two and are discussed later. Anyway, a guild exists to protect its members. A guild stipulates how manufacturing is done, regulates prices and ensures fair treatment. They are corporate organizations of every tradesman involved in the craft, but membership numbers are restricted to avoid competition, limiting the number of apprentices, journeymen and masters. Craft guilds include blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, clothiers, bakers, dyers and armorers among others, while service guilds include wood cutters, wine callers, servants, muleteers and traveling companions.

Most towns have at least one guild, overseeing the largest trade or merchant group in the area. Larger towns have several guilds. This has profited the guild members, but confused medieval society's traditional notions. After all, society traditionally has three groups: those who pray, the clerics, those who war, the nobles, and those who toil, everyone else. Some guildmasters, however, are wealthier than nobles giving them as much or more power than their lords. With the rise of heresies and the recent trend of mendicant preachers, the failure of the Fourth Crusade and the distasteful Albigensian Crusade, the guilds are stirring up an already turbulent society.

A guild is always a powerful financial and political player. They build grand guildhalls for their meetings and feasts, sparing no expense, for the decorations reflect the prestige of the guild. They will provide a limited income for destitute and disabled workers and their families, as well as funding for funerals of deceased members. They conduct religious ceremonies for their patron saint and some even run schools for the children of members. They tend to also fund public works for their towns, and some towns demand that guild members do other tasks as well, such as serving as wall watchmen. While all guilds are in principle the same, there is a hierarchy - those that make more expensive goods have more clout. The dean of the wool merchants' guild has more pull than the dean of the belt makers' guild, for example. Financial success is political status.

Guilds are not international. While the Blacksmith's Guild of Paris may resemble the Blacksmith's Guild of Venice, they have no connection in any official way, and a Parisian guild member is just as forbidden from working in Venice as any other non-member of the Venetian guild. Guilds are more than just a workers' organization, though. They're essentially an extended family - they work together, eat together, play together. They give identity.

Guilds are divided into ranks: Apprentice, journeyman, master, senior master and the dean, who runs the guild. Leaders are elected from within and may hold their own courts when only guild members and clients are involved. To ensure procedures are followed, a guild has a board of officials made from senior masters to police members. Commonly they are known as aldarmen or bailiffs, or perhaps just officers. Each member of the guild signs the guild roster, stating name and rank, and perhaps information on membership length or location of shop, number of apprentices and so on. If your name is stricken from the roster, you're out.

An apprentice is usually a young boy between 10 and 20, learning from an elder craftsman. Most are apprenticed to their fathers, and both guild and non-guild craftsmen use apprentices. Young laborers also perform a form of apprenticeship, working to learn the trade from a skilled mentor. Guild apprentices are much more strictly regulated than non-guild apprentices. Apprenticeship lasts for about seven years and is full of menial work while the apprentice lives with his master and serves him. Apprentices lack legal rights, and some live little better than slaves. However, guild apprentices not apprenticed to their parent must have a contract, which generally involves erasure of a parent's debt in exchange for the child, or payment of the master to train the child, in some cases. Apprentices may be dismissed and thrown out for any reason at all so long as it doesn't break the contract, and even then they can do it if they refund anything they were paid or claim the youth was too inept to train and forfeited the fee. An apprentice can be traded or sold to another master, too, and has no say in the matter. Apprenticeship ends after seven years, but some masters require a test creation, an apprentice piece. Such work is shoddy and never sold, but is usable, at least. Those few who fail must serve another season before trying again. An apprentice who cannot pass by the age of 20 is dismissed as incompetent and gets a bad reputation.

Journeymen are those who graduate, being legally empowered to practice their craft now. They own the tools they need and have legal right to make a living, as well as their own personal stamp to mark their goods. They may work for a master, with a contract giving them a set wage over a stipulated period. They might supervise apprentices of the master and sell crafts in the master's shop. They no longer live with their masters and are considered young adults, responsible for themselves. They typically seek a spouse and work hard to earn their wages. A craftsman's stamp on agood, incidentally, counts as an Arcane Connection to the craftsman, which most mundane craftsmen do not know. The connection wears off between a week to a few years later, of course. In any case, the guild strictly controls the number of journeymen that can be employed in an area as a whole, and so often a journeyman must travel to another town to seek employment where there is either a free space or no guild to regulate. It takes quite a lot of money to graduate to master status, as well as a vote of the senior masters. Journeymen must also pay dues to the local guild each year, and those who fail are expelled from the guild.

Guild Masters are always at least 25 years old or so, and have the right to own their own workshops, train apprentices and employ journeymen. Masters have a voice in guild affairs and are expected to use it. They have the right to attend guild meetings, and most do, since every decision will impact them. They need not travel, however, and a guild master who lives outside town will often skip meetings. Missing a meeting is not a problem. Masters must pay annual dues and will be expelled if they fail to do so.

Senior Masters have been at it for ten years or more as masters, and retain all the same rights. However, their opinions carry more weight in guild meetings. They are around 36 years old or more and have immense skill. They are allowed to own multiple workshops, and the second (or more) will be run by journeymen foremen or a master fallen on hard times. Senior masters serve as guild officials who make sure everyone else obeys the rules, approve of journeymen and masters and witness the signing of the guild roster. They collect dues, handle complaints and have the power to make contracts with other guilds, lords and other parties, perhaps to buy raw materials, or to hire mercenaries to guard the guild's investments. Guilds often hire mercenaries to guard their masters and workshops. Most guilds have only six officials, but more or less is not that rare. In some towns, the lord appoints guild officials, while in others they are elected, or elected but approved by the lord. An official retains office for six months, but are eligible to return to office immediately upon stepping down. Some guilds have term limits, but most don't. The fact that in theory every master will be an official at some point means that guild officials have incentive to deal fairly, for they will be judged by their fellows later. Memories last longer than terms. Guild officials also have the power to defrock and expel members, confiscating their tools and workshops. This is drastic and rarely exercised.

One or two guild officials will serve as inquisitors, whose duty is to make regular inspections of guild workshops and wares, to ensure quality and obedience to rules. They discuss any problems they find with the other officials, who vote on what to do. Decisions are by majority, with the guild dean breaking ties. Inquisitors inspections are always unscheduled, and substandard goods are confiscated on the spot, with a fine of their value imposed on the master who owns the workshop.

The Guild Dean is the head of the guild, also called by other titles, such as hansgraf or doyen, or the Count of the House. The dean is either selected by the local lord or elected, and removed the same way, generally by unanimous vote with elections. Most deans, though, keep their job for life, and the only real way to get rid of one is scandal or death. The dean receives a nice annual stipend and perhaps even some property. Guild deans are easy to mistake for minor nobles or wealthy priests. They spend their time in meetings, negotiating contracts and privileges for the guild and trying to increase guild revenues. They sign all contracts and guild documents and handle all interaction with outsiders, as well as organizing feasts and parades, and may well maintain contact with other guilds in the area to see how they do their work.

Can a woman join a guild? Strictly speaking, only the textile and brewing guilds accept women, and it is rare that a woman in such guilds becomes a master, and they are legally forbidden to be guild officials. Fewer still become senior masters, and it is rare indeed for a woman to become a guild dean. However, there is a way to bypass all that: nepotism. Every master has the ironclad right to train any children they have in their craft, regardless of sex. Legally, daughters are entered onto the guild roster under their father's name, placing the name on the roster twice. A daughter in a guild by this method has all the same rights and duties as any male member, so long as her father remains a member of the guild in good standing. This actually allows a woman to hold any position a man would be able to. You can do the same trick with marriage - marry a guild member and you can use your husband's name on the roster, too - a man's wife has as much right to train under him as his children do. Such a woman can stay on the roster even if her father or husband dies, using a brother or son or brother-in-law's name as needed. These women have just as much ability to advance as men do, for they are considered, legally, to be male for all that this matters to in guild affairs, and advancement is based on skill, quality and politics, none of which are gender-based.

Next time: More guilds and crafting.

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