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ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Spoilers Below posted:

:catholic: Unseen! Unseen!

Or is it a reseen now?

NERD!

I don't know which of the Unseen they're allowed to use again. Apparently Catalyst got the rights and released them, but some of the rights they weren't allowed to be given, so they had to pull some of them? :shrug:

Edit: The picture in question is a Macross Destroid Tomahawk, which BattleTech appropriated as the Warhammer.

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 21:21 on Jun 12, 2013

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goatface
Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.




Grimey Drawer

They were still arguing about it last year to see what could and couldn't be used in MechWarrior Online.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Africa: Part Eleven: "There is no greater insult than to call a medicine man or priest a 'witch doctor' or to accuse a person of being a witch."

The Mystic World of Africa

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Note: The following section about the beliefs, magic, and mystic leaders, such as the medicine men and rain maker, are very loosely based on the myths and beliefs of the African people. Ideas and elements have been liberally taken from the 3000 plus tribes/nations of Africa and mixed together to create a few specific character classes and concepts for the world of Rifts. Much of the material is a blend of lore from several cultures combined with fictional extrapolations by the author.

Wow. That's surprisingly honest and frank for Rifts®. He's obviously trying to show at least some cultural sensitivity, but...

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

The people of Africa have always seen the world in a very different way than western cultures.

Uh-oh.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Possibly more than any people on Earth, magic and the supernatural has been a part of their everyday lives. Just as the sun rises and the rain falls, there is magic and the supernatural.

Uh-oh.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

The African people have always known that magic, spirits and the supernatural are real and they accepted it as the harmony of nature. Even into the 21st Century, many Africans held to their beliefs of magic and supernatural forces.

gently caress. The reality? Occultism often isn't quite so enlightened. But here in Rifts®, it's just a sign of being more enlightened and advanced and in tune with the real world.

:sigh: I need a moment.

Okay. So they don't see magic as good or bad, just there, and it's only evil spirits and "bad medicine" (the quote marks are Kevin's) that's evil. It points out that animals are not treated as special - they're not animists - but that some tribes have sacred animals they only use for ritual sacrifice. Many tribes venerate "The Great Spider - the Wise One", but some death weavers (see the Rifts® World Book One: Vampire Kingdoms review) use this tradition to manipulate people towards evil, and there are death cults and stuff that worship them.


The first picture we have of the locals.

The Millennium Trees are the only plants that are seen to have a soul in Africa (apparently some beliefs are somehow homogenized), and they collect "good medicine" from it (the quote marks are Kevin's). There's five known Millennium Trees in Africa - one in Libya, one in Algeria, one in Kenya, and one in the Congo. It's rumored that there's another tree in the Congo and another in Madagascar. There are "Medicine Men of the Mystic Tree" that venerate the trees, but they just use the Millennium Druid class, as well the Herbalist class. All of the Millennium Tree jazz and classes refer to another book, naturally - Rifts® World Book Three: England.

African Magic
Occupational Character Classes


First, for whatever reason, Siembieda starts out by discussing certain roles within tribes. Not all of these get O.C.C.s, so it's a little beside the point after that misleading header.
  • A King or Queen leads in battle, set up treaties, masters ceremonies, etc. "Truly great kings may be guided by good spirits of past kings", even though there's no real means for that in Rifts®' metaphysics.
  • The Medicine Man, who is the doctor, prognosticator, and protector.
  • The Priest basically is the tribe answer guy, who knows all the knowing there is to be known.
  • Rain Makers often travel from tribe to tribe. It doesn't really say what they can do, but presumably they make it rain.
And aside from that, we have-
  • The Witch, who is basically big evil magic person.
Speaking of witch, we have our first actual class.

African Witch
Non-Player Character Villain



Wait, is this a male or female witch?

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Note: This character is ideal as a NPC villain, but is not recommended as a player character!

I have to wonder, sometimes. One, this this a game whose first classes in the main book are the Coalition - basically Nazis with bonus skulls - but if it's magic evil, that's a no-no? Two, if it's not intended as a PC, why write the whole thing up as a PC class? Are GMs expected to follow all the rules of PC character generation when following NPC design? Because the NPCs in the books frequently don't follow the rules... ultimately, presuming any level of forethought along those lines is probably too much.

So, the African witch serves evil and creates "bad medicine", pals around with evil spirits (i.e. evil supernatural creatures), and everybody in Africa hates these folks, except other folks who are evil. No relation to the Witch class from the Rifts® Conversion Book, mind.

It also notes that necromancers, blood druids, shifters, stone masters, mind melters, mind bleeders, etc., are considered to be evil witches and are banished are slain. Wait, stone masters aren't evil at all! drat you for knowing how to levitate rocks, I guess! (Mind Melters aren't really evil, either.) Witches often take over tribes and enslave them, because even their piddly magical abilities can still explode heads.

Also, 75% of witches are female. Why? Doesn't say. Women, huh? And then we get the powers of the African Witch.
  • Creatures of the night. Witches hate daylight. No reason in particular, and not that they're penalized by it, they just do. They get nightvision and can see invisible stuff.
  • Lycanthropy. This is the power to turn into a M.D.C. snake, dog, panther, ram, or goat at night. Doesn't sound like any lycanthropy I've heard of, but let's roll with it.
  • Create magic snakes. The witch can create magic snakes, but has to expend S.D.C. / HP to do so. The snakes will die from any hit, but have a bite that "leaves NO marks" and inflicts a poison that does 6d6 damage to either S.D.C. or M.D.C. Only medicine men can see the snakebite, which seems to be more of an advantage for the medicine man than the witch. "Oh, yes, you have an invisible snakebite, it will be only 20 cowrie to cure you..."
  • Spit on snakes and cause them to split open and die. Uh, what the poo poo? What it says on the tin. They're also immune to snake venom.
  • Eat away at or drain the life of their enemies. By sneaking up to a sleeping person, they can do 4d6 (non-mega) damage, and give then penalties, and once they're near-death, the witch can automatically mind-control them. However, the problem is that S.D.C. heals fast enough that they can never actually drain somebody to that point before they heal naturally, but who needs to pay attention to rules when writing them?
Some other observations...
  • Witches get pretty pitiful P.P.E., and so have to rely on blood sacrifice and times and places of power to get anything done, really.. They get some mild physical bonuses, but hardly anything that matters.
  • Also you have to have I.Q. of 10, M.E. of 10, and P.E. of 12 or better, which means randomly rolled characters only have a 15% chance to qualify for generic evil.
  • Their equipment doesn't include mega-damage armor, so they have to rely on magic to not get shot once and deaded. It seems the best witch hunter would just be a sniper with a M.D.C. rifle...
  • And even though they're a bit poo poo as a class, they get penalized with insanity as time goes on.
And they get their own spell list, which includes things like:
  • Charge Object with Evil: Make cursed items that make their recipients blind, unlucky, sick, etc. One of the hitches is that the witch can't ever actually deny that it's cursed, so they have to talk around the fact if questioned while gift-giving.
  • Delirium: Makes people go crazy in combat or stressful situations... and it lasts for days on a failed save. Yeesh. However, it's a random table and the witch can't control the effect.
  • Evil Eye: Inflicts minor curses, like a headache that lasts for minutes, sneezing, or hives. Uh, not impressing me with the evil, Dr. Witch.
  • Magic Drums: Can create a magic sound of spooky drums. A failed save means you're penalized and jumpy.
  • Money Doubling: Lets the witch "double" money by making rocks or leaves magically look like money for several hours, but only if there's an equal amount of real money.
  • Pestilence Touch: Lets you infest food with grubs. Kinda thinking it might be easier to just dump a bowl of grubs and save the magic, but whatever.
  • Poison Touch: Can poison food with a touch. Not really dangerous to most PCs, doesn't do that much damage.
  • Summon & Control Biting Insect Swarm: Does major S.D.C. damage and inflicts minor penalties.
  • Summon & Control Locust Swarm: Mainly used to hold crops hostage, of course. No actual detailed rules for the swarm.
  • Summon & Control Drought: Well, mostly just summon, anyway. A witch will have to do a looot of sacrifice for this one, it's way beyon their normal P.P.E. levels, easily three times that of an experienced witch. Also, the drought gives a 40% chance of brush fires a day... :raise:
  • Summon & Control Heat Wave: Like Drought, but... it costs more. Yep.
  • Taboo: This allows the witch to make something taboo, basically putting a curse on those who violate a stricture about an item (looking at it, touching it, entering it, etc., witch's choice). There's a random table for effects!... or the which can just choose. Like the drought, costs way more P.P.E. than witches have.
Witches also get a select choice of spells off the main spell list, mainly for status effects, illusions, and summoning spells... but they have to pay twice as much P.P.E. to cast them, in addition to having lovely P.P.E. in the first place.

Basically, witches get some interesting curses, but as far as being a spellcaster, this sort of evil just doesn't pay. Be an actual witch from the Rifts® Conversion Book, instead - at least they get a free bonus nipple and the ability to punch heads off. Also, medicine men can counter pretty much every one of the witch's powers, where the witch gets no such advantage over medicine men. Africa witches are a loving joke.

Medicine Man O.C.C.


Spookier than the witch for some reason. Maybe they traded art?

It starts out pointing any skiled healer or wizard may be called a medicine man, but they're not real medicine men. :smug:

So, people love medicine men a lot, almost as much as kings, because they make "good medicine" and... uh... charge fair rates for it.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

True medicine men are usually natives indigenous to the African continent. Strickly speaking, a medicine man doesn't have to be male or black, but 80% are both.

Yep. If you're an evil witch, chances are high you're a woman. If you're a medicine man, chances are high you're a man. :biotruths:

So, medicine men are either descendants of other medicine men (and taught by parents), or taken in as assistants. Small villages only have one, but large tribes may have as many as a dozen. When there's a group of medicine men, they are subservient to the eldest amongst them, and there's no rivalry because they're such great guys. They act as advisors, doctors, counselors, storytellers, etc. Their main goals are to help others and to fite evil, mainly evil that happens to be witches and monsters.

Unlike the witch, they're full-on spellcasters with decent P.P.E., get some tiny bonuses against magic and on attributes, and a big bonus against Horror Factor. They can learn spell magic, and start a few basic spells plus the "taboo" spell from earlier and "remove taboo", even though there is no "remove taboo" spell. Whups. There's a "chant to remove taboo" later on, but that entry says only rain makers can get it. Confused? Me too.

Then we get into their other class powers!
  • Sees bad medicine. The medicine man can see objects charged with evil, magic snake bites, witch mind control, and possession / mind control in general. They're direct counters to the witch.
  • Recognizes the footprints of werebeasts. Well, this is a misnomer, they can recognize the footprints of supernatural monsters in general, but they're kind of lousy at it, only halving a 30% + 5% per level chance.
  • Recognize mind control. This is just to identify what sort of mind control, they automatically notice its presence, but is rather dicey like their footprint IDs.
  • Recognize bio-wizardry, real rune weapons, and techno-wizard devices. They suck even worse at this, but they can try.
  • Impervious to the magic snakes of witches. God, it must suck to be a witch.
  • Impervious to possession. And they get a small bonus against mind control.
  • Make medicine stick. This is a ordinary stick that does double damage against witches, and mega-damage against mega-damage creatures. It can also remove evil charges from objects by smashing them. It also makes them immune to all of the witch's magic. If they give it to another character, it gives a bunch of save bonuses as well. These cost 800 P.P.E. to make, so you have to find a way to get a bunch of surplus P.P.E. to make one.
  • Make medicine horn. This is a focus a medicine man can use to store extra P.P.E.
  • Psychic crap. All medicine men get basic sensitive psychic powers, but not much I.S.P. to work with.
  • Meditation. This lets the medicine man recharge P.P.E. faster.
  • The Emandwa or baalubaale, spirit guardian. This is where the medicine man believes they contact their ancestors to talk to them, but actually they're self-hypnotizing themselves to contact their subconscious mind and psionic powers! Kind of a weird moment to get all realistic, given everything else is overtly supernatural. The medicine man usually has to meditate for this, but sometimes in crises the ancestor will just butt on in. The ancestor will deliver warnings, solve mysteries, locates resources, give pep talks that give bonuses, untie ropes and undo locks, or save the medicine man from drowning.
  • Medicine Man Charms & Amulets. Most of these are various protective amulets and wards, but there's also a charm that can give you bug wings to fly with, and there's a witch lure which summons the servants of witches automatically so they can be killed (wow, it sucks being a witch).

"Hm, I need another African pic... I'll take this old supervillain and paste him in as a shaman, nobody will notice!"

Whew! That's a crazy detailed class. Balance-wise, they're really just comparable to the other spellcasting classes in the core book, though the amount of specialty powers they have to just counter one class is kinda blah, but they make up for it with a lot of very useful basic abilities. Unfortunately, with a minimum M.E., M.A. and I.Q. of 12 as requirements, you only have a 5% chance of rolling one, because Kevin Siembieda doesn't understand how a 3d6 dice curve works.

It also bears noting that they don't get any healing powers, ironically. They have to rely in the psychic diagnosis power and the Holistic Medicine skill. They're much better as anti-supernatural detectives than anything else. If you want to make an actual healer, you'd be better off as a Mystic, Mind Melter, Herbalist, or any number of other classes.

They get a decent spread of survivalist, language, and lore skills. It'd be useful enough in a party and is a full-fledged magic man, though you're saddled with a bunch of folklore-simulating abilities you're not likely to use very often.

Next: The African Priest and the Rain Maker - good for communities, bad for adventuring!

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 21:38 on Jun 12, 2013

BattleMaster
Aug 14, 2000


Avast!

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

NERD!

I don't know which of the Unseen they're allowed to use again. Apparently Catalyst got the rights and released them, but some of the rights they weren't allowed to be given, so they had to pull some of them? :shrug:

Edit: The picture in question is a Macross Destroid Tomahawk, which BattleTech appropriated as the Warhammer.

They have rights for everything except for most of the stuff from Macross. Which is fine because I think the Dougram designs are a lot better.

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Alien Rope Burn posted:

gently caress. The reality? Occultism often isn't quite so enlightened. But here in Rifts®, it's just a sign of being more enlightened and advanced and in tune with the real world.

This is one of the dumbest parts of Shadowrun IMO. The stupid "Technology bad! Magic good!" subtext, though there's also the "Magic tainted by technology bad!" text. :v:

Winter Stormer
Oct 17, 2012


ThisIsNoZaku posted:

These aren't your candy-rear end, delicate, graceful mecha out of your Japanese animes* :japan:

*Let's see who spots the in-joke among these pictures
Don't be ridiculous, you guys, it's totally different, count the guns.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


I figured the joke was that there are BattleMechs explicitly named Lancelot, Tomahawk, and Pink Gundam. That last one seemed hinky, but hey, naming stuff is hard.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:


Medicine Man O.C.C.




Aside from being extremely good at screwing over witches, they'd also be good at spotting those nefarious Alien Intelligences like Zazshan and Vampire whatevers, though with such a low percentile skill it means a village with a 1st level "Medicine Man" is going to be playing a hell of a lot of Werewolf with Real Consequences. They also seem to be able to specifically recognize a lot of specifically Atlantean poo poo that didn't exist on Earth until like, last week compared with how "ancient" this tradition is supposed to be.

Also the "it's really self-hypnotism" ancestor thing is weird but honestly Rifts seems to avoid discussing too much about any kind of actual afterlife outside of the enormous number of things that can eat your soul. They do this despite having like five different kinds of ghosts with surely more to come.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: 2ND EDITION - The Complete Psionics Handbook
Chapter 5 - PSYCHOMETABOLIC DEVOTIONS OR CAN YOU BELIEVE THEY FOUND 13 WAYS TO TELL YOU NOT TO PLAY A PSIONICIST?

It's been a bit since I had the time to delve into more of these wacky powers. I want to finish this in a more timely manner but a significant number of schools have Devotions with like 40 different ways of smelling color or turning invisible but only if you roll under a 4 on a d20 while your target is already asleep and it's a prime numbered day of the month. Following the chapter on Psychometabolism, I'm going to try and burn through the rest of the chapters while only mentioning a Science or Devotion if it's especially useful (not likely) or cringe-worthy (more likely). I'm bothering to explain all this because I realized there's another AD&D book I'd really like to sink my teeth into, but I feel like I should loving finish what I start first.

lol DeadLands

Double Pain - You force the target to take double damage from all sources for one round but actually only half of the damage is real damage and the rest is imaginary and if the target doesn't take enough damage during this one round to lose all of his or her hit points (including real damage and fake damage) then all of the fake damage goes away and you wasted your time. If somehow the target does take enough damage to deplete all of his or her hit points then they pass out for d10 rounds because they're not really dead, it's just their imagination.
POWER SCORE / 20: The victim has to make a system shock roll each time they are successfully attacked this round or pass out from the pain / BACKFIRE you get effected by this power for one whole hour rather than one round.

Ectoplasmic Form - You become the psionic version of ethereal; this is no different from being ethereal in any meaningful way.
POWER SCORE / 20: The maintenance cost of this power is lower / Everything you are carrying but you becomes ectoplasmic and you have to successfully manifest this power again to get your poo poo back.

Enhanced Strength - Exactly what it says on the tin. You pay PSPs to boost your strength. You're limited to a maximum score of 18 and you can't qualify for exceptional strength and it costs more to use this power the lower your starting strength is, which basically makes it useless for its intended purpose.
POWER SCORE / 20: You can boost yourself to exceptional (remember, percentile based on AD&D rules) strength / BACKFIRE you lose d6 strength until you successfully manifest this power again.

Expansion - Make your dick up to four times bigger. If there's any other intended use for this power, I can't think of one.
POWER SCORE / 20: You can make your dick up to ten times bigger / Shy turtle situation occurs, shrinking your dick by 50% until you successfully manifest this power again.

Flesh Armor - Mage armor for Psionicists but you have to pay PSPs both to manifest it and to maintain it and the value of the armor is also randomly determined each manifestation so pretty much the shittiest version of mage armor.
POWER SCORE / 20: Whatever AC bonus you roll, you add 1 to that result / Your body grows ugly hair all over which reduces your Charisma by 2 until you take the time to shave everything.

Graft Weapon - You can manifest this power to get a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with a weapon with which you are proficient for as long as you maintain the power. Not the worst power in this section but thoroughly underwhelming.
POWER SCORE / 20: The damage and to-hit bonus increases to +4 / Attack rolls that generate a natural 1 break the weapon and whatever limb you had it grafted to.

Heightened Senses - Hear, see, touch, smell, and taste better. This gives you a minor bonus to activities that might engage one of those senses.
POWER SCORE / 20: One of the heightened senses lasts for a whole day without having to pay PSP maintenance costs / You lose one of the five senses at random for d12 hours.

Immovability - You make yourself immovable by attaching yourself to the very fabric of the universe for a given locality. Considering that the universe is constantly in motion, I'm not sure how this wouldn't end up flinging you off into space, but hey who gives a gently caress. Interestingly, the power states that you only need a horizontal surface upon which to initiate this power, but it makes no rules for whether or not this surface has to be able to initially support your weight/physical proportions; the power is also personal range and doesn't mention that you need to be able to touch or see the "horizontal surface" so I'm guessing you could have your partners hold a sheet of paper up into the air and you would magically become immobile at that specific space/time location. gently caress I'm putting way too much thought into this throw-away power.
POWER SCORE / 20 / 1: Moving the psionicist is impossible (instead of merely difficult with an opposed strength check) / You can't willingly end the power until you run out of PSPs with which to maintain it / You can only end the power by making another successful manifestation attempt.

Lend Health - You can heal someone by giving them hit points on a 1 for 1 basis. You can't do this if you have five or fewer hit points remaining.
POWER SCORE / 20: You give your target hit points on a 1 for 2 basis / You instantly acquire any wounds or illness or diseases that the target has and no healing happens.

Mind Over Body - For every hour that you meditate, you can go one whole day without food/water/sleep. You can do this for up to five days, after which you need 24 hours of complete rest before attempting again. You can also use this power on your adventuring partners as well for a higher PSP cost.
POWER SCORE / 20: You don't need to rest after using this power / The power fails and you immediately need 24 hours of complete rest before you can do anything else.

Reduction - The opposite of expansion. Become really small and hide in the ladies locker room and look at their hooters while they change or whatever.
POWER SCORE / 20: It costs fewer PSPs to use this power / BACKFIRE you become twice as large until you successfully manifest this power again.

Share Strength - A terrible mix of enhanced strength and lend health where you deal yourself temporary strength damage to make an ally stronger. Unless they die before the duration is over, in which case you permanently lose however many points of strength you gave to them.
POWER SCORE / 20 / 1: You trade strength more efficiently / You lose one point of strength for a day and must make a save vs paralyzation or else the lost point is permanent / It costs more points to trade strength.

Suspend Animation - You can try to take a really long nap. There's no mechanical benefit to this (you don't age slower or require less food or water) and you might not actually fall asleep for as long as you wanted depending on your Power Score roll. Figures that psionicists would need a power just to fall asleep, and that power would still randomly suck donkey balls.
POWER SCORE / 20: You're completely aware of your surroundings while you sleep (this seems counterproductive) / Once asleep, only violent force can awaken you. It ends there, so I imagine you will starve/thirst to death if you botch the power score roll and there's not anyone around to stab you in the dick or something.

IN CONCLUSION: The entire Psychometabolic school is just thoroughly underwhelming. While the powers might be situationally more useful than the poo poo in Clairsentience, basically none of this poo poo is really worth even dipping your toes into the pool for. Compared to the Psychokinetic or Psychoportation schools, Psychometablic powers are really just a waste of PSPs. I guess next to none of them have any pre-requisites so if you're really in a pinch to pick a new power at a given level you could just write each of these powers on a list and blindly throw a dart at said list.

NEXT TIME: CHAPTER 6 - PSYCHOPORTATION SCIENCES AND DEVOTIONS OR MERCIFULLY THE SHORTEST CHAPTER IN THIS TERRIBLE BOOK

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


I once flipped through an old copy of Complete Psionics Handbook at a used bookstore I like and thought it looked pretty interesting :unsmith:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Africa: Part Twelve: "The dance is exclusive to the rain maker O.C.C. although others may participate in the ritual and provide additional P.P.E."

African Rain Maker O.C.C.



One of those "invaluable to a community, not so useful to a party" sorts of classes. They're much like medicine men, but can be more mercenary since they're in such demand. Some are nice and benevolent, and others are extortionists. Most are male again (70%), and the trade is mostly passed from father to son.

Right onward to powers!
  • All rain making rituals. They know all of 'em.
  • Sense elements and changes in weather. Just magical weather prediction up to 100 miles, and is automatic. You can estimate wind MPH and temperature, you know, in the scientific way magic does.
  • Sense the purity of water. At 40% accuracy + 5% per level. Taste may be a more accurate measure. :(
  • Divine water. Use divining rods to sense water within 5 miles.
  • Control mega-damage lightning. In rain, you can control lightning bolts. Does level x 20 damage, which means high-level rain makers can actually do crazy amounts of damage.
They get a decent amount of P.P.E., can case normal spell magic, and get some small mental bonuses. They get survivalist, science, and boating skills, and a decent spread of skills. They're kind of weak as far as spellcasters go, though their lightning can make them into one of the best artillery pieces in the game at higher levels, even better than a Glitter Boy pilot. Not bad, but very focused.

Their rain rituals are detailed and include the following dances - yeah, they just gotta dance. Most of them require crazy amount of P.P.E., which limits them to very limited ritual circumstances, and often require whole groups of spellcasters.
  • Rain Dance: Makes it rain, once.
  • Dance of Bad Medicine: Makes it rain gross stuff like snails or fish. Makes a bad stink, drives animals away, and creates bad luck.
  • Dance to Calm Storms: Lets them direct and calm storms.
  • Dance to Part Waters: Like Moses done.
  • Dance to Ride the Lightning: Lets the rain maker teleport himself and a small group scores of miles.
  • Dance of Stones: Does S.D.C. damage and makes it easy for people to slip on the pebbles left over.
  • Dance of Weather Control: Pretty much that.
Also, every dance comes with a reminder than only rain makers can use them, because Siembieda... loves to waste space in his books, I suppose. I mean, there are six different forms of class-specific magic in this book, I think we get it.

Oh, and here's the shittiest secret of the rain maker: there's a spell called "Summon Rain" in the corebook that costs 200 P.P.E. The rain maker's dance takes 300-950 P.P.E. Yes, any old wizard is better at making rain than the Rain Maker O.C.C., because apparently double-checking existing rules is, you know. Hard work. :mad:

African Priest O.C.C.

There are a lot of :words: that boil down to "like the medicine man, only with more music". Basically, they do music-based rituals (that are not rain dances) and are the wise folk who know all the stuff. Maleness quotient is down to 60% here, since some societies apparently allow women priests. It points out they're often like wandering adventurers, going after witches or seeing to a circuit of villages or the like.

And they have some powers.
  • The secrets of the drums. Use drums to send messages. Mind, there's no skill for this, so presumably only other priests understand you. :(
  • Make alcohol. Not a power, you just know how to make wine and beer. Sounds more like a skill, but at least it's automatic, I guess?
  • Commune with spirits/entities: You can talk to "ghostlike entities", which if you've read the entity section in Rifts® Conversion Book, you know all the haunting entities are basically monsters and don't really have a lot to chat about, and I don't know what else the book might be referring to.
The priest gets some mental bonuses and crappy P.P.E., even crappier than the witch. Also, they can't cast normal spells, only ritual magic, meaning this is turning out to be a pretty crummy class. And their base attributes of I.Q. 10 and M.E. 14 means you only have a 5% chance of rolling one up! Ugh. Their skills revolve around medicine, music, lore, and... um... palming. They don't get many skills, to boot. They get magic music! What's that like?

Well, as previously mentioned, they don't get much P.P.E., so they need people to join in on their music to get their effects. That would be kind of neat if they had practical skills to go along with that, but they don't. The idea of them as witch hunters seems really dodgy, given that medicine men get all sorts of anti-supernatural powers and the priest will be lucky to have a tough stick.

I'm also going to give a list of how many ordinary, average people a starting priest will need for the following effects to give an idea of how niche and crummy they can be.
  • Chant of Blessing (6 people): Gives six people a tiny bonus against witchcraft, poisons, and initiative. Takes about 4-8 people plus the priest.
  • Chant/Ritual of Divining (14 people): Lets you ask three questions, and there's a long list of information that might be provided.
  • Chant of Exorcism (14 people): This can be done by a medicine man, because they're just plain better than priests (and also, immune to possession). It exorcises, and protects everybody but the priest from being repossessed (the priest gets a bonus).
  • Chant of Warning (20 people): Creates a minor Horror Factor of 11. The fact that it covers a mile is the only thing that saves it from being total garbage.
  • Chant of Water Doubling (6 people): Doubles water in a container. The rain maker can do this ritual cheaper all by himself, though. Did I mention priests are a crummy class?
  • Drums of Protection (24 people): Yeah, let's have 24 people busy themselves beating drums so the tribe gets +1 to saving throws. And they have to keep on beating them to provide the bonus. And I bet you thought 3e's Bardic Music was crummy!
  • Dance of Blessing Weapons (174 people): Makes a bunch of weapons permanently magical and do actually decent damage against mega-damage creatures (though they're useless against robots). One of the most useful so far, but you better have a whole big tribe to do it with. The weapons also only work for the weapon's original owner during the ritual, so you can't even stockpile weapons this way.
  • Dance to Chase Away Spirits & Witches (141 people): This drives away witches (no, they don't get a save) from a community for weeks. If they don't run, they're paralyzed. People who are possessed will fall to the ground and flail, though an exorcism will still need to be performed.
  • Dance of Flames (136 people): Makes people immune to fire, poisons, and gives a big bonus against magic. One of the more useful dances, but as with all of the useful dances, needs a whole community to perform it.
  • Dance of Good Medicine (91 people): Gives a variety of good luck effects for the GM to choose from.
  • Dance of Life (106 people): Gives bonuses against disease, poison, a tiny bit of healing, and then a quickened healing rate. The effect can be amplified if you just focus on a few folks.
  • Dance of Protection from Bad Medicine (106 people): Blocks witches and their minions from entering a town for days.
  • Dance of War (44 people): Gives some minor combat bonuses and an extra attack to allies, and minor penalties to enemies. However, you gotta keep those drums beating to keep it going.
  • Dance to Close a Dimensional Rift (104 people): This can be done by rain makers and medicine men too, does what it says. It also provides bonuses against fear and possession.
As you can see, the priest is very, very limited in what they can do magically compared to regular spellcasters, and what's worse, they need entire communities backing them to do it. Oh, sure, they can do a lot more of a medicine man or rain maker is assisting them, but... gently caress, yes, that makes them dependent on those superior classes.

If that wasn't bad enough, a good number of their rituals can be done by medicine men or rain makers - already better classes in their own right. Oh, and the dungcherry on top is that there are even some chants they can't do, like the "Chant to Control Ley Line Storms, which rain makers and medicine men perform, and "Chant/Ritual to Remove Taboo (Curse)", which only a rain maker can do.

A lot of :words: to give us a really niche and underwhelming PC class.

Next: Remember how necromancers and mind bleeders are banished or slain by all of the local folk? Now you can play them! :v:

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 13:10 on Jun 13, 2013

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Kellsterik posted:

I once flipped through an old copy of Complete Psionics Handbook at a used bookstore I like and thought it looked pretty interesting :unsmith:

Trust me, I felt the same way. On the surface, it does seem like having a casting class that doesn't operate off the Vancian system would be a refreshing change of pace for the game. Unfortunately, the way the powers are implemented makes them completely underwhelming with the exception of a few specific cases. Many of the powers aren't well defined mechanically, and as has been mentioned before that's more than likely a product of the era in which the supplement was designed - DM's were expected to creatively adjudicate how powers actually worked based on the specific wording that a player used when describing their action. This is a terrible idea for several reasons, but it wasn't that out of the ordinary at the time.

To be clear, a Psionicist is still going to outperform a non-casting class, it just doesn't hold parity at all with the OG casting classes of Mage and Cleric. I suppose it's unfair to complain that the Psionicist class isn't as OP as the two most OP classes in the game, but my personal perspective is that the Psionicist's main gimmicks are so poorly implemented that I would rather not even have them as some kind of half-assed option.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Africa: Part Thirteen: "The Necromancer as a Player Character is not for everybody"

Mind Bleeder R.C.C.


"... what?"

See, they "bleed" thoughts and psychic energy from folks, and that causes their forehead veins to bulge. and their powers cause blood hemorraging in the brains of their victims! Their name fits them thrice, in a spastic fit of overwrought writing.

Unlike the references to them way back in Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis Crocodillians, it turns out they're not just another type of psychic, they're a human-like D-Bee and a species unto themselves. Which means races like True Atlanteans or Crocodillians can't be mind bleeders (as listed in Atlantis and once again contradicting earlier material in this very book) , and it's not really clear why Kevin went a different direction with them.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Most are Caucasian or light tan in color with sharp features, square chin, brown hair and brown, green, or grey eyes.

Yep. Here in Africa, mind bleeders are evil whiteys. They came through Mediterranean rifts and are now around Europe and Africa.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Once the Splugorth discover them, they will be become a welcomed addition to the Splugorth market.

Unless you've read Rifts® World Book Two, Atlantis, which already places them there. :rolleyes: Siembieda wrote and laid out all these books himself, you'd think he'd be able to recall...

It turns out dog boys and psi-stalkers are natural foes of mind bleeders, because- Then the book diverges into the fact that the New German Republic (not detailed in this book, or any book as of yet) is registering and tagging psychics like the Coalition does, and they're doing that with the mind bleeders. Even though the New German Republic is worried about the mind bleeders, they have started recruiting them and using them as spies. Guess they're not that worried.

Though the NGR treats them badly, it turns out their concerns are basically 100% justified, because the mind bleeders are basically amoral asshats that regularly use their powers to gently caress with people. Racism: justified! Woooo!

Anyway, they can automatically sense other psionics, have a great save against psionics, get special mind bleeder powers, and a standard array of psionic powers (though they get very few "super" psionic powers).

Their signature power is the "mind bleed", which is used to drain I.S.P. from other psychics, though they can only store it for brief periods. Also, if they repeatedly mind bleed somebody during a "stressful situation" they can cause memory loss or insanity. The target can make saves, but mind bleeding doesn't cost any I.S.P., so you can gently caress all the brains if you have the time and inclination.

They don't start with much I.S.P. compared to others like the mind melter, though, which forces them to drain others. Of course, because this eats their actions up doing it, it honestly sucks in a combat situation, though at higher levels they can at least steal enough I.S.P. to really start draining standard psionic foes.

They get some minor attribute bonuses, but like most psychics, have crappy skills. Their big deal is their special mind bleeder powers, which they get to start with a few of:
  • Bleed Aura: This lets them literally steal another creature's psychic aura and mimic it, though the victim ends up with a murky and screwed-up aura.
  • Bleed P.E. Energy: As in "Physical Endurance". This fatigues somebody mildly and rejuvenates the mind bleeder.
  • Bleed Memory: This lets the bleeder read a very specific memory or surface thought.
  • Bleed Skills: Lets a mind bleeder temporarily steal a skil from somebody, who then suffers big penalities on the skill.
  • Bleed Truth: This lets the mind bleeder detect lies by detecting what other words or thoughts are associated with what they're speaking. It's honestly kind of a neat take, and lets them judge exactly what the lie implies to an extent.
  • Brain Bleed: This makes people feel like their head gonna explode, and actually gives pretty horrendous penalties to skills and combat.
  • Brain Scan: The bleeder can basically detect any problems with somebody's brain or if they're being mind controlled.
  • Day Dream: Dazes a target by focusing them on a random, pleasant memory, though once alarmed they're snap out of it.
  • Healing Leech: Drains a target's health to restore the mind bleeder's, though it's all just S.D.C. and hit points, so it's of questionable utility.
  • Impervious to Bio-Manipulation: This may seem niche - it provides immunity to the Bio-Manipulation power. However, that's one of the worst psychic powers to get hit with in the system, so there's at least some validity, and can cancel out existing Bio-Manipulation effects.
  • Mental Block: Not to be confused with Mind Block. The bleeder can block people from remembering specific things with this, and it's permanent unless they or a psychic with Mind Bond undoes it.
  • Mental Block Removal: Lets the mind bleeder remove blocks, of course, but also insanities and traumas. One of the few reliable ways of doing so in the game, though it notes they can't help Crazies (remember those dorks?).
  • Mind Trip: This is a minor mental stun than can muck with skill rolls or briefly reduce somebody's combat bonuses.
  • Neural Touch: Causes a variety of Bio-Manipulationish stun effects of varying costs.
  • Neural Strike: A psychic attack that does damage directly to hit points - pretty murderous against people in armor, though no real big deal against mega-damage creatures. It can also paralyze/slow people as an alternate effect.
Honestly, mind bleeders actually seem like they'd be pretty fun to play! The fact that they're D-Bees is pointless, since it's not like the have any culture, origin, or homeworld that we're aware of, so there's no context for it. They're evil aliens who look almost just like humans, so what's the point? There aren't too many psychic classes at this point in the game line, however, and they fill an unfilled niche as dedicated mentalists. Surprisingly, most of their powers are actually interesting and well thought-out. There's not really much point to putting them in Africa - they don't really fill any role in this book - but mechanics-wise they're pretty alright, and it's the rare Rifts® class I get to say that about.

The Necromancer
(Optional O.C.C.)



Skull Count +3. Skull Total: 78

This is a spellcaster that works with dead things and monster stuff. It points out this is more common in Africa and southern Europe thanks to Rama-Set (that guy again?) and the Gods of Darkness, as well as some handwaviness towards "death cults". :black101:

It points out most necromancers are eeevil, and that none are good, because its powers are eeevil. Now, honestly, reading through the powers, mostly it involves just violating corpses, which my my moral barometer is often more just gross than evil. It also involves summoning evil stuff, which is more dodgy, but at the same time, it just doesn't as clear-cut as the writeup would have us believe. You don't have to focus on summoning evil stuff, after all!

Often they carry around dead parts of creatures to use as tools, and often use skeletons and zombies around. Apparently this is a common sight in the Phoenix Empire, wherever that is! Rama-Set and the Phoenix Empire should have been at the front of the book, with all of the repeated references to him. As it is, it's just confusing.

At this point, I'll point out we're 100 pages into the book now without any locale details on Africa as of yet.

We get sex and racial divisions among Necromancers, for no particular reason!
  • 24% Humans (65% males)
  • 20% D-Bees (55% males)
  • 3% Elves (50% male)
  • 12% Ogres (70% females)
  • 41% Other Monster Races (60% male)
It gives us a big list of those "Other Monster Races" and refers us, once again, to the Rifts® Conversion Book.

Before we get to NUMBERS, there's a big warning that not all groups will consider the necromancer appropriate for play and to respect your gamemaster's decision, and gives some basic suggestions on how to play one as a selfish character (since playing a good one is forbidden, once again).


Um, they can't actually hurt a glitter boy, rules-wise...

So! Powers!
  • Union with the Dead. Through a brief ritual, the necromancer can change their limb into an animal limb by tying that animal's limb to their body. The animal limb sizes appropriately; i.e. a chicken claw is doing to be a human-sized claw, rather than being stuck with a tiny, hilarious chicken foot out of your shoulder. At later levels the ritual can be done for others. Mostly this just gives natural weapons, most of which are pretty useless since they're just S.D.C. attacks, and there's a huge and pointless list of them. However, M.D.C. critters can give M.D.C. attacks... of course, there are going to be issues with lugging around a dead adult dragon's leg, then tying that half-ton piece of meat to your own limb, but PCs can find a way around, I'm sure. :shobon:

"Lion's paw, chicken's foot... wait, how do I open doors like this?"
  • Augmentation and additional appendages. This is like the above, but lets you add additional limbs, horns, tails, wings, etc. It also lets you use monster skulls to gain some additional powers by putting them on your head.
  • Animate and Control the Dead. Really just like the spell from the corebook, only you can animate and control way more bodies for cheaper. They're just S.D.C. mooks, but you can arm them with M.D.C. arms and armor to make them actually effective.
  • Impervious to Vampires. Ha ha, no, vampires can still kill you. Misnomer, there. They just can't control necromancers with their bite or make them into vampires. Also, necromancers know all about vampire weaknesses for whatever reason, even though there don't seem to be any vampires in Africa.
  • The necromancer is frightening and has a horror factor! ... of 6. Almost nothing with a Horror Factor has it that low. I think that's the Horror Factor of a ugly baby or a fridge full of mold.


Skull Count +5. Skull Total: 83

The necromancer gets a big bonus against fear and some inconsequential attribute bonuses. They get a decent P.P.E. score, but can only cast "Necro-Magic", and an average spread of skills. They also automatically go crazy as they level up. No reason is given.

Now let's look at Necro-Magic! (Which a better name than necromancy, I suppose.)
  • Command Ghouls: This lets you control grave ghouls and dybbuk, but has no effective on dimensional ghouls or "ghoulish demon lords", even though there's no such thing in the game so far. Doesn't summon them, so you need to find yourself some ghouls first.
  • Consume Power and Knowledge: You can gain various powers from the organs of dead sentients, from the lame (liver keeps you from getting drunk) to the useful (chowing down on a brain provides their skills).
  • Death Mask: Makes you scary, blocks poisons, disease, and curses, and helps you sneak better. Sure, okay.
  • Death Strike: This lets you do double damage, and do mega damage against monsters with weapons or kung fu.
  • Divining: Tombs & Graves: This lets use a wishbone from a bird to find graves or tombs ripe for the plucking.
  • Kill Plants: Destroy plans with arcane might! Or just, I dunno. Get an axe.
  • Maggots (insects): Another power that infests food with grody stuff. Personally, I skip the magic and just pee in people's Cheerios.
  • Object Read the Dead: Like Object Read, only for... Dead. Gives clues as to their death.
  • Recognize the Undead: What it says. Works to recognize vampires and vampire intelligences, the latter in case you're confused as to what kind of horrible fanged giant blob you have before you.
  • Shadows of Death: Lets you do spooky shadow stuff to freak people out.
  • Shadow of Doom (curse): I like when when Siembieda adds a clarification to a title in parentheses, apparently genuinely concerned that people won't read the text and need a heads-up. Oh, the spell? It's just a minor curse with minor penalities. Not very doomy.
  • Stench of the Dead: Creates a stank so bad it makes you "retch twice per melee". Cripples people pretty bad in a fight, given they don't use the air filter or gas mask every equipment package in the game seems to contain.
  • Strength of the Dead:Gives extra S.D.C. or M.D.C. based on the amount the dead thing you're touchin' had. That's what's implied, at least - it isn't real clear.
  • Summon Insect Swarm: This summons 1000 flying insects per level that cover a 100' radius per level. That means we have a "swarm" with 1 insect per 2000 cubic feet (and even lower density at higher levels), because Rifts® is bad at math.
  • Summon Magot (monster): Summons a giant three-legged three-eyed demon with thousands of M.D.C., but takes hundreds of P.P.E. to cast, and I'm sure some other acronym is involved.
  • Summon Vampires: Summons (young) vampires if they're in the area. Most work with necromancers willingly because they're in the same evil undead worker's union, I guess.
  • Summon Worms of Taut: This lets you summon nippers, fire worms, and tomb worms... but they don't go away when the duration runs out. They just stay and just start eating on whatever. Like you.
  • [b]Transfer Life Force: You can possess and puppeteer a skeleton or zombie, but can't access your magic while in a gross corpse.

Skull Count +1. Skull Total: 84

Necromancers also get a limited set from the normal spell list, with a lot of curse, corpse animation, and summoning spells. There's also a list of costs for various humanoid and monster body parts; apparently there is a booming business in pixie tongues and scientist brains.

Next: Africa! No poo poo!

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: 2ND EDITION - The Complete Psionics Handbook
Chapter 6 - PSYCHOPORTATION SCIENCES AND DEVOTIONS OR BAMF! MOTHER FUCKER


Click here for the full 635x878 image
The best part about this picture is that based on how the Dimensional Door power works, that troll is going to follow him right through his little worm hole.

This chapter is mercifully short, which is great because the next one is the longest in the book. It deals with all of the myriad ways that a Psionicist can teleport (or BAMF! to borrow from the X-Men once more) themselves and others. To be honest, they probably could have just rolled most of these features into teleport and been done with it, but no one ever accused Steve Winter of being a competent game designer.


SCIENCES:

Banishment - Pay PSPs every round to forcibly teleport something else into a pocket dimension. The target stays in this pocket dimension for as long as you pay PSPs to maintain the power, and when you run dry it pops right back to where it was. If the target itself can travel astrally or plane shift or teleport it can just leave the pocket dimension whenever. Strictly worse than a Cleric's ability to permanently banish outsiders of a given variety because this power is way less permanent, despite the fact that you can target pretty much anything.
POWER SCORE / 20: The target can't return until the psionicist wills it, even if they can teleport or otherwise leave / You get stuck in the pocket plane with the target but you can't leave willingly without manifesting another psychoportation power to escape.

Probability Travel - You pay PSPs to physically travel across the Astral Plane in order to find a gateway to another area that you want to visit. The book says this version of Astral travel beats the Wizard version because you are actually manifesting on the Astral Plane and you don't have a silver cord to sever, but you can still die because of something that you encounter, or because if you are manifesting this power and you run out of PSPs before you find the gate you're searching for, you're stranded on the Astral Plane until you die of thirst or something eats you. Also even if you find the gate you're looking for, it might deposit you slightly off target; slightly in this case can be up to 10 miles away from where you wanted to land.
POWER SCORE / 20: The gateway takes you exactly where you wanted to go / You immediately have to roll for a random encounter on the Astral Plane, although the DM is offered that the encounter doesn't have to be hostile.

Summon Planar Creature - You randomly summon a creature from a different plane to your plane. Unlike magical summoning, this power grants the psionicist no control over the creature and offers no measure of protection against a creature that might be angry about being spontaneously ripped from its home plane. You also don't get to pick something to specifically summon, you have to roll randomly based on the random encounter table for whatever given plane you're trying to contact. Strictly worse than any other kind of summoning; I seriously have no idea why you would bother with this poo poo power.
POWER SCORE / 20: The creature you summon is predisposed to be at least neutral towards you / You attract the attention of a very powerful astral creature but don't summon it. There's no mechanical implementation beyond that first sentence, so I guess Steve was at least being generous enough to cut anyone dumb enough to manifest this lovely power a slight break.

Teleport - Does what it sounds like. You pay PSPs to travel instantly to any other location you've ever visited before. You can't leave the plane that you're currently on, but you can travel interplanetary distances if you have enough PSPs and you roll well enough on your power check. Unlike the Clairsentient Sciences, they gate off teleporting to other planets 5% of the time from first level characters by attaching an increasing PSP cost for traveling greater distances. You can also take other people with you if you pay more PSPs. Although a first level psionicist can take this power, you're likely to be limited to 100 yard distances or less for a few levels based on the sheer PSP cost of traveling more than a football field's distance from your current location.
POWER SCORE / 20: The PSP cost is reduced by 20% / The power has no effect.

Teleport Other - The previous power already listed the criteria for teleporting other people, and this power literally just says that it follows the same rules as using teleport to send other people somewhere. Why the poo poo was ink even wasted on this power's description?
POWER SCORE / 20: The PSP cost is reduced by 20% / The power has no effect.


DEVOTIONS:

Astral Projection - So remember how probability travel was better than astrally traveling like a Wizard because it was somehow safer? This power functions exactly like the Wizard version of astral travel! That's it, they literally came up with two powers that accomplish the same thing, listing the second after explicitly stating how much shittier it is than the first power.
POWER SCORE / 20: The gateway takes you exactly where you wanted to go / You immediately have to roll for a random encounter on the Astral Plane, although the DM is offered that the encounter doesn't have to be hostile.

Dimensional Door - Works just like the Wizard spell dimension door only you have a penalty to your power check the greater distance you want to travel, and using the door at all also disorients you and prevents you from acting at all for one round after using the door. This power costs way less than teleport but also maxes out at a distance of 200 yards, so it's of dubious utility.
POWER SCORE / 20: You aren't disoriented during the round immediately following transit / You're disoriented just as if you had gone through the door for one round after manifesting the door.

Dimension Walk - Just like the above power but you can only take yourself on the trip and you also have to make a Wisdom check for every round that you spend traveling through the alternate dimension and if you fail any of these Wisdom checks you wind up at a destination miles from where you wanted to end up. Also if you have any bags of holding or other items that use extra-dimensional pockets for storage, those items completely lose all of their contents as soon as you use this power. gently caress you for being a psionicist, that's why.
POWER SCORE / 20: You receive a +2 bonus to your Wisdom checks to navigate while dimension walking / You have to barf really bad for three rounds. I did not make that entry up.

Dream Travel - You travel somewhere in your dreams and then when you wake up you are actually in that place that you dreamed about visiting. I guess this means you could theoretically visit locations that you've never been to or that don't exist because most dreams make gently caress-all sense. This power probably works better as an adventure hook or world building seed, and the book says as much. The power costs one PSP per every 25 miles you want to travel, but there's no real rate of failure and you can take other people with you by spending more PSPs, so strictly speaking in a mechanical sense this is actually the most useful and reliable form of teleportation over vast distances that a psionicist can use. Granted, it doesn't do you any good in the heat of combat, but neither do most of the other powers listed.
POWER SCORE / 20: Nothing / The dream is a nightmare and AHHHH IT'S SO SCARY YOU DIE OF FRIGHT UNTIL SOMEONE VIOLENTLY ATTACKS YOU IN THE REAL WORLD! But then, was it only a dream, or is this some new dream you inhabit because you died in the real world?


Click here for the full 611x871 image
Believe it or don't, this is the most reliable way for a Psionicist and his companions to travel.

Teleport Trigger - Kind of like the Wizard spell contingency only the conditions that you specify all end with you being teleported to some predetermined location. Worse than contingency for many reasons, but specifically because even if this shitbird power fires off, you still have to then spend PSPs and make a power roll to safely manifest teleport and escape danger. Not enough PSPs left when the poo poo hits the fan? gently caress you buddy!
POWER SCORE / 20: You can ignore the distance penalties for trying to teleport all the way home / Nothing.

Time Shift - Jump up to three rounds into the future to escape combat more easily or to better position yourself for a deadly blow to an opponent which confers a +4 bonus to your next attack roll. For however many rounds you skip forward you cease existing, so you're immune to damage or whatever else happens until you skip back into reality.
POWER SCORE / 20: Nothing / You are disoriented and suffer a -2 penalty to all rolls for the next three rounds.

Time Anchor - Pretty simple buff that prevents others from teleporting you against your will. That's it and that's all.
POWER SCORE / 20: You receive a +2 bonus to resist attempts to forcibly teleport you / You take a 5 point penalty to AC for d6 rounds.


IN CONCLUSION: Psychoportation isn't as aggressively bad as Clairsentience or Psychometabolism but most of the powers are way too limited in scope to see use in anything more than a corner case situation. The fact that many of these effects are directly mirrored by Wizard spells is pretty insulting, and the worst part is that Wizard spells don't have a chance of random failure. It sure would be awesome to have this special ability to avoid danger only to have said ability fail when it's really loving important that it doesn't fail!

NEXT TIME: CHAPTER 7 - TELEPATHY SCIENCES OR THE LONGEST AND MOST BORING CHAPTER IN A BOOK THAT REDEFINES TEDIUM

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

homeless poster posted:

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: 2ND EDITION - The Complete Psionics Handbook
Chapter 6 - PSYCHOPORTATION SCIENCES AND DEVOTIONS OR BAMF! MOTHER FUCKER


Dimensional Door - Works just like the Wizard spell dimension door only you have a penalty to your power check the greater distance you want to travel, and using the door at all also disorients you and prevents you from acting at all for one round after using the door. This power costs way less than teleport but also maxes out at a distance of 200 yards, so it's of dubious utility.
POWER SCORE / 20: You aren't disoriented during the round immediately following transit / You're disoriented just as if you had gone through the door for one round after manifesting the door.

The psionicist in our group discovered a few 'fun'* ways to do terrible things with this power. Namely: Since you control the orientation and location of both entrance and exit there was a -lot- of making impromptu pit traps with his brain. Or orienting the 'entrance' side of the portal so ranged attacks would fly into it and come out behind the shooters and etc.

*(For values of fun that mean "complete bullshit but the guy talked a good line")

Probad
Feb 24, 2013

I want to believe!


Now you're thinking with portals!

Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

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




If I remember correctly a lot of the good psionics are came in the 2nd edition Dark Sun psionics book. It had the power that just let you straight up absorb up to an infinite amount of kinetic energy, with the one caveat that you had to release it in an attack next round or pay around 5 PSP's per round to hold onto it.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



Do you think it would be okay to start a Basic Fatal & Friends thread just focusing on character creation? For people who'd like to take part in F&F but don't have the time or energy to do a full write up?

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


Angrymog posted:

Do you think it would be okay to start a Basic Fatal & Friends thread just focusing on character creation? For people who'd like to take part in F&F but don't have the time or energy to do a full write up?

Do it in here, or if the character creation is :psyduck: rather than awesome there's always the Murphy's Rules thread.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

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

Angrymog posted:

Do you think it would be okay to start a Basic Fatal & Friends thread just focusing on character creation? For people who'd like to take part in F&F but don't have the time or energy to do a full write up?

Go for it in here, just try and make it clear to me you're "finished" with the writeup so I can mark things done instead of waiting two months to apply "abandoned" and then have someone else go "I will talk about this game!"

Plutonis
Mar 25, 2011




3D&T Alpha Part 3: Advantages and Disadvantages (1 of 5)


Typical Con experience in Brazil.

This chapter deals with the advantages one can buy for their character. They are special traits that are bought in CC that give your character special attacks or traits to use during play. They can also be recieved in-game by getting special equipment and such. Some stuff like that is outlined on the Magical Items chapter that we will see later. For now, the Advantage list!

Acceleration (1 Point)

You run hella fast. You can add 1 to Ability on doing checks related to running away, pursue or dodge, and also can do two movement actions per turn, meaning you can run to someone, hit them then run away like an annoying bastard.

Ally (1 Point)

You have a NPC follower one rank under yours (As in the Character creation one, the Normal Person -> Novice -> Fighter -> whatever). Allies can't get experience points and won't obey suicidal orders and won't do stuff that goes against their natures.

(Fullmetal) Alchemist (1 Point)

You can do magic diagram doodles that make your magic and abilities less costly. By spending a turn to write them (You can still get attacked and lose concentration), you can write a magic circle that lets you use a spell/ability for half the MP Price.

Unthreatening Appearance (1 Point)

You are so cute you can take enemies by surprise and get an extra turn as combat starts.

Arcane (4 Points)

You can use White, Black and Elemental magic.

Reality Marble Battle Area (2 Points)

People are brought to another dimension where you can kick their asses. It costs 2 MP to use and has to be sustained for a number of turns equal to your ability, but inside the Battle Area your stats are augmented, can use special attacks without MP cost or you can cast spells by half the MP price.

Arena (1 Point)

You get +2 Ability points when fighting on a certain terrain.

Extra Armor (Special)

Your armor stat is doubled against certain kinds of damage. This advantage can't actually be bought, but it comes as a freebie on Unique Advantage packs or on items the GM might give you.

Special Attack (1+ Point)

You can spend 1 MP to get +2 in either Power or Firepower in an attack! You can also spend more points to add tags to the special attack you use, like making it homing, gain an area of effect or refund some of them by making it being only able to be used when you are Close to Death. An optional rule can also make your MP usage and power stronger as you level, so you can unleash a Spirit Bomb on motherfuckers :ssj:

Multiattack (1 Point)

You spend 1+MP to do extra attacks using Power this turn. The number of attacks you make is equal to your ability stat.

Good Fame (1 Point)

Fluff advantage, you are basically known for being a good dude.

Cleric (1 Point)

You start with three extra magic spells, and can use magic with the Cleric tag.

Deflection (1 Point)

By spending 2 MP, you can double your Ability stat against one attack when calculating your Defense Power.

Elementalist (1 Point)

Magics of one element cost only half the MP to cast. Only one of the Elemental Magic elements can be chosen for that.

Extra Energy (1-2 Points)

By spending 2 MP you can FULLY HEAL yourself. The 1 point version can only be used when you are Close to Death, however.

Vital Energy (2 points)

You can use Hit Points to fuel magics and abilities instead of Magic Points. As two HP are the equivalent to 1 MP, that might not be the best of ideas...

Familiar (1 Point)

A little creature bonds to you. Familiars can give you advantages like the Partner advantage, but they are a bit limited and only Magic Users can get those.

Alternative Form (2 Points)

You can turn into another form with different powers! The alternate form have the same total points as the original one, but Skills, Disadvantages and Magic Spells are the same. You can buy more of this advantage to get more Alternative forms as well.

Genius (1 Point)

You smart. You add +2 to Ability when doing Skill checks, be that you were trained or not in those. At GM fiat you can also build stuff more advanced than the campaign's normal tech level!

Immortal (1-2 Points)

You can't die. The 1 Point version lets you come back from death after a long time (normally an entire adventure), while the 2 Point version lets you resurrect as soon as the dangerous situation that killed you ends.

Enemy (1 Point)

You get +2 Ability on all checks you do against a certain species.

Invisibility (2 Points)

You can spend 1 MP each turn to become completely invisible.

Up next: More Advantages!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Part Fourteen: "Most Africans will view the Apocalypse demons as an abomination, the ultimate harbingers of 'bad medicine' and try to stop them."

Africa
Highlights


Finally. we're over two-thirds of the way through the book and we're finally getting regional information on Africa. Well, first it's got to recap how the apocalypse blew it all up. Then, apparently, the "tribal nations" - since apparently all of the actual countries of Africa instantly reverted to tribalism - were whittled down by monsters and whatnot, but the tribes that remain are lean, mean monster-fighting machines. The monsters of Northern Africa (they have their own country there) have gotten tired of most of Africa's poo poo and have gone north to gently caress with Europe.

This is where I start the thrumming, ominous chord, because poo poo is about roll right on downhill.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

To the outside world, these communities may appear to be simple and primitive, especially to arrogant city rats and technocrats. However, everything is relative. Most African people have strong families, tight social bonds, and a sense of history and community. They work together and have high morals. Murder, rape, and sadism are not sicknesses the African tribespeople suffer from. Their laws, philosophies, ceremonies and magic are built on common sense and a unique view of the world. A view that showed them the secrets of magic long before any other humans recognized the existence of the supernatural, ley lines and magic energy. Theirs is a culture steeped in traditions of spiritualism, nature, magic and magic using as sophisticated, intelligent, practical and powerful as anything in the Americas or Europe - perhaps more so. They are a people who feel linked to nature and all the forces around them. Ultimately, their wise and practical view of the mystic world has helped them to survive when other cultures have crumbled.

I don't need to elaborate on the idealization of primitivism too much in this; it's farcical in how far it waxes on about its dream culture of African people; a cornucopia of utopias. The fact that every native O.C.C. in this book is a magical wise man is no accident, as it turns out. As far as the Rifts® goes, and this is a real low point, right in line with Rifts® Sourcebook's bold defense of genocidal fascism. It says something about how long ago this book came out - and how far we've come - that its romanticization comes off so, so very badly.



North Africa

Mostly desert and savanna.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Size Comparisons: Libya is slightly larger than Alaska! Egypt is roughly the size of New Mexico and Texas combined or slightly less than twice the size of the United Kingdom. Tiny little Morocco is roughly the size of California!

Oh shut up I get the point-

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

The African continent is huge! You could fit the entire United States and Canada into it and still have room for half of Europe. Lake Tanganyika is slightly large than the country of Belgium!!

Anyway, it's mostly monsters and the Phoenix Empire here. What's the Phoenix Empire? Pfft, like we have to explain that yet. So, some of the inland cities survived, but then monsters, Atlantean slavers, and the Phoenix Empire wore them down in just years. There are also some radioactive areas where nuclear stockpiles and power plants were destroyed.

Then there's the Sahara! Characters have -50% to land navigation here, even though you still have the stars and compasses and things like that. So even if you have your land navigation at max (98%), you have 48% chance of finding your way. I wonder how... you know... the Arabic people ever managed. Apparently they were just lost over half the time. Also, now the Worms of Taut have infested the desert, but sometimes bigger monsters come here to hunt for them.

Algeria
Northern Africa


What, didn't we just cover - okay, sure. Anyway, this is mostly desert and rocky hills, with a bit of savanna. Mostly it's just haunted by ghosts that roam the desert. The northern area is now submerged underwater. Most of the ghosts come from the Tassili n' Ajjer plateau, which is a ley line nexus and lets in all sorts of entities and jinn. It gives us some specific examples:
  • Hounds of Tassili n' Ajjer: Eight ghost dogs that attack people.
  • N'beh: An evil witch seeking her murderers.
  • Apadda: A mad warrior who challenges other warriors to combat.
  • Wailing Night Woman: She is sad and maybe looking for a child, and is really annoying with all her wailing.
No stats for any of those. Moving along!

Lower Africa

Or "everything below the Sudan, Chad, and Niger". This tends towards savanna, jungle, and woodland, to horribly generalize along with the book. There's a lot of percentage numbers thrown at us, that boil down to "mostly Swahili-speaking humans". However "75% speak American from the pre-rifts days of English colonialism and American tourism." Sure, what the gently caress ever, I'm sure they hung onto that centuries after the apocalypse. (Oh, and in case you've forgotten, American is riftsese for English.)



The Ivory Coast

The Splugorth have the city of Gorth here (that sounds like a baddie name, dunnit) where they trade with other slavers like the Phoenix Empire. It's mostly Kittani here, the ape-people from Atlantis, though there are a lot of kydians and gargoyles. They have a pyramid these use to transport stuff back to Atlantis.

Hytril have escaped to form communities nearby (it refers us to Rifts® Conversion Book) as well as yll-tree climbers (it refers us to Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis.

Nigeria

Mostly just savanna, hills, and forest where there a good number of small tribes live, though they constantly have trouble with Splugorth raids.

Note: The classes of the Congo: Cavemen and Pygmies! :eng99:

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Okay, after a ridiculous delay, it's time for more...




So I know, waaaay back in my last post, I promised Chargen. I am...not going to keep that promise. Instead we are going to go into the next section instead, as it explains some things you might need to know before we do Chargen. Namely:

Esoteric Disciplines

The idea behind these is essentially, special techniques for non-combat skills. They are, by their nature, unusual and, well, esoteric. Anyone can give a speech, but someone trained at a fancy elocution school can make that speech really well, with fancy breathing tricks and speaking from the diaphragm and so on. It mentions that while these are all specific to Heluso and Milonda, they're pretty easily reskinned. They're purchased in order, in ranks from 1-5, with one or two exceptions.

So let's go down the list, shall we?

Pure Breath Techniques are used with your vigor skill; it improves your ability to heal shock damage with vigor, and ignore penalties, lets you use Vigor instead of Endurance to perform effortful tasks, and add your vigor to an athletics roll for a non-combat burst of strength.

The Divine Regimen started out as special training techniques for a not-Olympics event to honor the gods- it gave the side who developed it a great advantage until everyone else stole it. Oops. This is all about Athletics. Better lifting, jumping, resisting knockback, improving the results of athletics sets. At the top level, you ignore Fatigue or injury penalties for any body skill.

Svrana Run Special running techniques used by couriers. This is notably not a parkour thing- it's all about running faster and for longer distances without penalty.

[B}Proper Climbing [/B] The first and last ability in this both have to do with taking less damage when you fall, with the pinnacle technique basically not having a height limit at all. In between lets you climb anything with no equipment, climb incredibly fast, and instantly stand up if you're knocked down.

Truil Bodywork Weirdly, some of the best non-magical healers in the game are cannibal mammoth riding werewolf barbarians. (Okay, not all of them are werewolves- only those who practice their special werewolf magic, but you know, that's what most people think. It's very much a 'hurt them to heal' set up, letting you do shock damage to allow recovery from poison or disease, add your body score to knowledge+medicine rolls (MUSCLE MAGIC? Try MUSCLE MEDICINE), convert killing damage to shock even if the character has had no time to rest, and treat each hit location as its own thing when healing shock damage.

The School of Professional Readiness is the imperial tactical handbook, and is mostly centered around making unworthy opponent followers better; giving them clever instructions so they can keep larger sets, giving them the threat bonus for being armed even if they're naked, and treating one of their dice as a master die if you trained them.

The Tyrant's CommandAnother 'make followers better' school, but it uses Command+Intimidate instead of Knowledge+Tactics. It improves morale attacks you make on other people's followers, scare your followers into performing at higher threat, free your followers from the effects of someone else's morale attacks, or at the top end, make them completely immune to them as long as they can see you, because you're worse than anything on the other side.

The General's Visage. The first path we get that interacts with the yet-to-be-seen Company rules. It at least points you at them at the start of the writeup. It's all about inspiring your troops for high level actions instead of just at the squad level, like the last two.

Troubadour's Fortune This is all about playing to the crowd. Use your perform skill instead of graces to be suave, reduce penalties for romantic interactions, subtly warping the mood of a crowd, failing with style so people think you meant to do that all along, and escape consequences of your breaches of trust. This is basically the school for complete jerk musicians.

Relentless Pursuit All about being crazy-good at tracking, to the point where you can see through tricks to throw you off and track from even the tiniest signs.

Inner Senses All about being better at detecting magic, this was developed by the Maemeck Matriarchy, and is about sensing magic so you can counter it later- it's the first one to break the pattern and has only 3 techniques, all about giving you more info from your Eerie skill.

Political Whispers Another company-based technique: This one is all about whispering campaigns and detecting and affecting their Influence score. Find out how strong it is relative to yours, find out what they're doing with it, adding your jest to your fascinate score to affect their influence, or even lowering it for a month- which they get a roll to detect, but no roll to resist.

Respectful Clarity of Speech Diplomacy! This is less about sabotaging other companies and instead is about bolstering your own's territory, including a top end technique to permanently increase it by one.

The Jester's course The art of being funny- another 3 technique system, It lets you fail a graces (Diplomacy) check and pass it off as a joke, act like a twit in front of unworthy opponents so they underestimate you and have their threat lowered, and tell anyone a joke so funny that it can mess up their next roll, or even, if you succeed on this multiple times, literally paralyzing him with laughter so he can't do anything. (And he may start laughing again just by seeing your face.)

Path of the Moistened eye Mastery of Begging: Whining so exquisitly that if you succeed you get a marginally better result, retry a failed roll immediately, beg from people poorer than you without penalty, beg on behalf of your country, and giving a company's treasure roll a master die by bullshitting people who you owe money to to invest again. In a non-fantasy world, this would the chief skill of televangelists. [/B]

Strategic education Strategy, instead of tactics- another company scale discipline. if you lose a fight you and the other PCs can throw your army at people as a distraction so you can escape safely, go double or nothing on the losses in a fight by escalating the conflict, send waves of troops in at the killbots until they reach their preset kill limit, increase your company's might by one as long as you're personally in the fray, and offset permanent might losses by sacrificing another permanent company stat.

Financial Sophistication The last one in the section is all about using your Company's treasure rating wisely; not reducing it for actions taken during the month, using it to gather info and reward followers.

It actually segues nicely into the last part of this chapter, which is all about wealth and more in-depth discussion of how the abstract money system works. Combining it, spending it, gifting it.

Next time: The first in-depth look at a Country in Heluso and Milonda: Uldholm, bastion of democracy! Sort of.

unseenlibrarian fucked around with this message at 17:44 on Jun 14, 2013

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Here's the ORE character generator.

http://rpgs.mapache.org/reign/ore-character-generator

Go ahead and roll a few characters, some amazing backgrounds emerge from the system.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


God, RIFTs Africa is pretty much a distallation of everything that's wrong with RIFTs, isn't it? I mean, I hated Rifts before, and thought England was stupid as hell, but everything we've seen has just been massive piles of MDC and superattacks and one-note characters combined with uncomfortable racism and othering of cultures because it's written by a dude who doesn't bother to do more research than scribbling something metal-looking down and heading to press.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


mllaneza posted:

Here's the ORE character generator.

http://rpgs.mapache.org/reign/ore-character-generator

Go ahead and roll a few characters, some amazing backgrounds emerge from the system.

The Reign character generator is literally so good that you can use it to make a character for any fantasy setting, pretty much. It doesn't just generate stats, it actually generates a character background as part of it.

It's loving great.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

mllaneza posted:

Here's the ORE character generator.

http://rpgs.mapache.org/reign/ore-character-generator

Go ahead and roll a few characters, some amazing backgrounds emerge from the system.

Yeah, I was skipping doing chargen right away, largely because there's a lot of stuff in later sections you'd need to know to make a character- like the esoteric disciplines, martial paths, and the sorcery schools. But that generator is the best.

darthbob88
Oct 13, 2011

YOSPOS


quote:

The Jester's course The art of being funny
I thought that this discipline had a rule where you, the player, had to tell a joke, but apparently that's an optional rule attached to the Jest skill.

quote:

Optional Rule: Jest and Straight Lines
If you like movies and books where the hero always has a snappy comeback, you can use the Jest Skill to set this up. Here’s how.
Before every game session, each player can present the GM with a number of written out “straight lines” equal to his Jest score. The GM should make a good-faith effort to provide these, and the player (presumably) has some clever rejoinder prepared. Example: Joey’s character Bo has Jest 1. Before the session starts, he hands his GM a slip of paper that says ‘Indignant woman says “Well! I never!”’ During the course of the game, the GM arranges the requested line from the right type of character, so that Joey can come back with “And with that unfriendly attitude, you never will.” Enjoying this so much, Joey raises Bo’s Jest to 2. Next session he hands the GM two straight lines, anticipating a confrontation with a hated enemy. “You! But… you’re supposed to be dead!” and the other is “When you’re in my power, your suffering will be legendary!” When these come up, he responds with “Yeah, well, I’m supposed to brush my teeth every night too” and “Legendary suffering? And here I expected a nice foot rub.” It’s too bad if the GM can’t find a way to insert the line, but she shouldn't feel like she’s supposed to contort the plot to work in bon mot opportunities.
Reign: Best RPG, or bestest?

Benagain
Oct 10, 2007

I WILL DERAIL ANY THREAD TO DEFEND PEOPLE WHO CHEAT ON THEIR SPOUSES BECAUSE I THINK THEY CAN DO NO WRONG. DO NOT LISTEN TO ME. I AM FUCKING STUPID.


Fun Shoe

Here is the result of me literally going to the ORE generator and punching it once. I cropped stats because I wanted to show off the background thing.

quote:

2x1 Lowly Beggar

1x2 Escaped Death Sentence: Maybe you fought free against incredible odds. Maybe you snuck out through a lucky break. Or maybe the rope just broke at the right time.

2x5 Able Seaman

2x6 Foot Soldier

1x7 Unlikely Education: At some point, you've gained a great deal of knowledge about some subject that's completely unrelated to your professions and other experiences. Maybe you were apprenticed to someone. Maybe you have an abiding interest. Maybe you were imprisoned in a specialized library for an extended period

1x8 Stolen Birthright: You were destined for better than this. Maybe you're supposed to command a merchant fleet, or rule a barony, or own Apple Blossom Ranch. But you've been tricked or conned or forced out of what's yours by right. Now, you're going to take it back.

2x10 Noble By-Blow

Taking it from the book is actually slightly better because this isn't an official generator and so leaves out some of the descriptions from the main thing but still! Look at this! The game goes out of its way to encourage you to put these in whatever order you want! I'm playing this person my next game!

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


quote:

a slip of paper that says ‘Indignant woman says “Well! I never!”’

The way this is written makes me think of the actual character writing stage directions and offering them to a god of drama and theater at the start of the day, praying for the perfect setup for a putdown.

General Ironicus
Aug 21, 2008

Something about this feels kinda hinky


My next character is named Bo Jest, no matter the game.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


So the height of the Jester skill is a Monty Python skit. And I am completely alright with this.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Unveiled Threats: The Chrysalis Corporation Is Dumb As A Sack Of poo poo

Alright, so basically what happened was I posted the Nazi rape machine and then life got in the way. Now I need a break, though, so I'm writing this!

So, Chapter Six: Ashcroft's Legacy. It is the arcanotech chapter! Skipping the opening fluff (for now, anyway) and the usual fluff about arcanotechnology we already know, let's see what items we've got! Each of these is like a page and a half, by the way.

Integrated Side-Effect Enhancer: an experimental implant like the Engel/Nephilim Interfaces, created by a Dr Ngarivhume (you can tell he's a bad scientist because he is not Dr Miyakame, The Best Scientist). It tries to take advantage of the side-effect mentioned in the core book, where pilots of D-Engine vehicles feel "attuned" to their vehicles, by creating something that lets them learn to pilot anything up to mecha and advanced fighter craft in a matter of hours. Also this is great:

Unveiled Threats posted:

the Ngarivhume Lab published their seminal paper “Effects of Enhanced Operator Extension Side-Effect in Rodents” in May of 2085. Footage of ISEE-equipped rats navigating a maze in shoe-box-sized cars were such a cultural sensation that a children’s movie called “Rat Race,” featuring a team of rodent race car drivers, came out that winter. Cars, boats, even toy-sized mecha, the rodents could learn to pilot just about anything.

Also the rats turned into antisocial jerks who didn't want to bang any more, but Dr Ngarivhume thought that might make the ISEE look bad, so he declined to investigate and fast-tracked human trials. Subjects learned how to use their vehicles and spontaneously knew how to maintain them, but in a shocking upset they also started losing things like "empathy" and "emotion". Ashcroft people thought they might be identifying with the machines and recommended regular breaks, but then one of the test subjects tried to hack off his son's leg with a pocket knife because it was broken. The project was put on hold and Dr Ngarivhume kicked off it, but the NEG military might be pushing to keep going anyway.

You can get the ISEE as a Drawback, provided you're not an Engel pilot, Nephilim handler, para-psychic, sorcerer or Tager. You have a Student level of expertise in piloting any vehicle you spend time in, but start with an Insanity Point and have to test against more once per month like Tagers. They also have to make increasingly hard Insanity Tests for every hour they pilot it until they spend a day away from them.


Dimensional Vibration Communications Portal (Vibe): a solution to the Migou shooting down communications satellites, discovered when one Lt. Kelany got too close to D-Engines with faulty shielding and went mad. Because of Vibrations and Dimensions and Technobabble, Vibes enable text-based communications from thousands of miles away with no signal loss.

Downsides! Ashcroft was worried (since it was literally based on introducing flaws in D-Engine shielding) and a recovered Lt. (now Colonel) Kelany thought making devices based on that one time she went crazy was a bad idea and stalled it, then this happened:

Unveiled Threats posted:

Barely a week after Col. Kelany’s order to stop Vibe deployment, the impossible happened. Nothing materialized physically through the Vibe portal, but the twisted, malign thoughts of some unknown malevolent extra-dimensional beings seeped their way into the transmissions carried on the Ashcroft Foundation’s harmonization frequency. Seventeen staff members were found dead at four separate research facilities in apparent murder-suicides, committed by the Vibe operators. Before taking their own lives, the operators had set their Vibe sets to broadcast the same message in Morse code, continuously repeating: “TEKELI-LI”.

And so humanity was warned: "STOP STEALING SHOGGOTH CABLE".

The Vibe is super important, though, so they are working on improving it. Some people still use them, just heavily warded.


Remote Control Implant: Migou tech! They had the tech to fight humans, but they weren't expecting the Rapine Storm to sic terrifying monsters on them. Their solution is an implant that can be punched into a captive creature by a mecha, which lets them hijack their nervous system and control them like a puppet. One of these turned up inside a Gug in Damnation View when the PCs interrupted a training exercise, as can be seen here:

Unveiled Threats posted:

However, a mishap during a training exercise forced a change in their timetable. While laying waste to a village during a training exercise,

Then some of them started breaking free and going apeshit bananas all over Migou bases. It turns out they get to save against long-term control; the Migou also think Disciples of the Unnamable sorcerers are finding ways to break their control, and are working on fixing it.


Cloning Pods: Apparently there's a faction of Migou who worship Gurathnaka and don't like the restrictions Migou society places on contacting "the dark powers of the universe". They got a vision that two of their failed, underfunded projects - one to find a way to recycle organic matter and one to make Blanks that wouldn't turn up on brain scans - could be combined to something amazing, and they managed to set up a secret base in Norilsk, Russia and give it a try!

The first team had devised "large, fungal organic digesters" which could turn organic matter into a sludge that wasn't refined enough for their nanofactories, but grew and operated without any energy requirements. The second team had concluded that the only way to do the brain thing would be to disintegrate it and then reconstitute it in a way the Migou desired, but they couldn't figure out how to do that. But combined:

Unveiled Threats posted:

Ironically enough, the majority of the knowledge Gurathnaka imparted to his faithful to solve this problem had been known to the Humans for centuries. The key lay in distilling an entity into its essential materials (in practice, a few ounces of fine powder and a few more of liquid), then recombining them while casting a ritual that would mold the brain during its regeneration.

The redesigned digester breaks down an unconscious person placed in it, the Migou do a ritual, and the digester puts them back together again, but loyal to the Migou in a way brain scans can't pick up. So far the Migou have cloned Blanks, unaltered Humans and a few Ghasts for shits and giggles, and the process seems to work on anything. The drawback is that Gurathnaka imparts "a fraction of his nightmarish harted" into the clones, turning them into aggressive assholes the Migou can barely control. The heretical cultists who set this whole thing up haven't done much with it yet, because Gurathnaka hasn't told them to.

Unveiled Threats posted:

Human society is largely unaware of the cloning pods, though a New Earth Government patrol discovered an abandoned pod field in Mongolia. Taking a sample back to the base, the arcanotechnicians there managed to get the odd fungus to grow on some agar growth medium and used it to clone an apple. One of them, a para-psychic, nearly went mad after sensing emotions emanating from the cloned apple – and that it... hated her.

It looked like an apple, but in her heart she knew it wasn't. In that instant, she completely understood the concept of an apple that was not an apple.


QBattery: Oh boy, here we go.

This is a Chrysalis Corporation invention, originally designed to help perform rituals requiring blood sacrifices without attracting attention. The early "murder cube" version was just a soundproof box with a stray animal inside that got murdered and drained of blood when you pushed a button, but murder cubes large enough to hold people weren't exactly the level of secrecy they were looking for. The solution was simple: Smaller humans!



The QBattery has a baby inside.

(That is not the dumb bit.)

They were originally created with newborns in 2069. In 2081, the FSB arrested some corporate sorcerers who happened to own a dead baby cube. They couldn't confiscate it thanks to "strong intellectual property laws", even though the cube was trailing loving blood, and Chrysalis busted out a coverup story about a prototype energy source worth billions that was totally bankrolled by some politicians ready to swear they had checked it out and nothing about it was weird. Originally they were just going to wait a while and pretend the project failed, but a Ciraqen had a great idea, and a few years later they were ready to release!

The QBattery contains a fetal child, hooked up to some devices to keep it alive and a mask stuck to its face to protect it and monitor its vitals. The battery slowly drains its life force, providing 60 points of Ruach at 3 per hour until it shrivels into a husk. When it came out Chrysalis-controlled media hailed it as the best thing since sliced D-Engines; everyone else thought they were full of poo poo, but its heavy shielding "prevented all but the most cursory inspection of the device’s inner workings".

So what's the drawback? Well:

Unveiled Threats posted:

The product, while moderately successful, hasn’t made as big a splash as some expected. Most business analysts agree this is due in large part to the unprecedented level of control the Corporation imposes on obtaining one. Any individual wishing to secure the device must first apply to Chrysalis for a QBattery Operator’s License, a process which involves a written exam and full background check. Hidden in the fine print of the application are provisions essentially stripping the applicant of their privacy and allowing the Chrysalis Corporation to access all facets of the applicant’s life, regardless of whether or not the license is granted.

Oh yeah, also any location containing a QBattery is considered Chryalis property as far as entry, search and seizure by Chrysalis forces is concerned. Also, Chrysalis approves each individual sale and tightly controls who gets them, mostly only selling them to other corporations as part of larger deals. Also, the fluff text at the start of this chapter? It's about Ashcroft Foundation scientists who have a QBattery anonymously delivered to them and, suspicious of the control Chrystalis exerts over them, disable its defenses, get inside and discover its dark secrets. It ends with them wondering who they'll tell, because Chrysalis is huge and can cover up all kinds of --

Wait, aren't you guys the biggest corporation in the world, with influence at every level of government? Even if you can't crack this case wide open with your billions of dollars, you don't have to tell anyone! Ashcroft can just dedicate resources to loving Chrysalis over, and now they have an excuse. Oh, and one of the scientists states "we're within a year of having a competing model that will make the QBattery obsolete".

So, to recap: The QBattery is a dead baby-powered magic battery the Chrysalis Corporation made public to turn a profit, only nobody wants to buy them because it's a huge hassle and Chrysalis usually won't let them anyway. Making it public also made the Ashcroft Foundation, their biggest (and bigger!) competitor, grow suspicious and get their hands on one, and now their cover has been blown in front of their potentially biggest enemy, who are going to make a non-dead-baby version that'll blow theirs out of the water anyway.

Why would Chrysalis think any of this was a good idea?


This isn't the end of the chapter but it sure is the zenith. Next time: More stuff I guess.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


:psyduck:
An automated baby sacrifice engine.

That's less horrible than I thought it could be but that's still kind of impressive in it's own bizarre way.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Impressive, like the ultra-nerdy stab at invasive EULAs they decided to pad it with. I wonder what prompted that part.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




How are the CTech guys still in business? Who in their right mind eagerly awaits the release of these products?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Part Fifteen: "Agogwe are small, hair covered humanoids who are surprisingly quick and agile, nothing like the hunched, slow moving australophithecine plainsmen imagined by pre-Rifts scientists."

The Congo

By which they mean "the Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, The Central African Republic, and the northern half of Zaire". Anyway, it's reverted to wild jungle and wilderness! Pretty much of Africa has, anyway. However, there are also death weaver spiders, werepanthers, and werewolves which are a constant threat with other monsters. Most people stay away from it because it's so monster-rich, but there's some communities - the pygmies, tree people, and agogwe. We'll get those in a moment, but first, a Millennium Tree!

The Ancient Father
- Millennium Tree


Yes, the congo has a Millennium Tree, which the locals believe is the first tree ever. Pygmies have their own Millennium Druids which keep the tree secret and stuff. We're referred to Rifts® World Book Four: England, once again, for all that hippy magic tree crap.

The Jungle People R.C.C.
Pygmy - Optional Player Character



Siembieda gets the blame for most of the art here, too...

Yep. An R.C.C., see, because they're ethnic - oh, Palladium Books® - for the Pygmy people of the Congo. Granted, this is a oversimplification, as "Pygmy" actually covers a number of different groups, and might be considered pejorative by some... anyway, they're formed into tribes "from 3d4 x 10 to 2d6 x 100". Why bother having random rolls if you have to choose one? Oh well.

Anyway, they have kings, queens, councils of elders, and shamans instead of medicine men. They're a bit xenophobic and fear supernatural creatures in general, except for the tree people, who they're close allies with. They see the agogwe as sacred jungle spirits to protect, and the agogwe occasionally help them out in return. Mind, we've gone quickly from "acceptable simplification" to "gross oversimplification", as these people apparently revert right back to enlightened primitivism after the Riftivization of their world.

So how are they as a class? Well, they get bonus P.P.E. because they're so natural, but only a spellcaster can actually make use of it. They get some lame save bonuses. Their attributes are "Same as any human; all 3d6 (with possible bonus dice rolls)." These bonus dice rolls are never detailed. Oh, and they all need to have a I.Q. and P.E. of 10, so you only have a 40% chance of rolling one. No idea what happens to the poor pygmies that don't make the cut.

They get very lovely skills (they're decent survivalists and good at nothing else), no special powers, and their equipment is terrible. They only have a 20% chance of starting with a basic equipment package, 20% chance of getting an M.D.C energy weapon, and no M.D.C. armor. :ohdear:

Congratulations, Jungle People R.C.C. You win the dubious title of "worst class in the game", beating out even the Vagabond O.C.C. from the core book for sheer shittiness. Even their weapons only do 1d4 or 2d4 S.D.C. damage. Given the S.D.C. values of most animals, it's a these guys - supposedly some of the best hunters on the continent - will be lucky to bring down a fierce monkey.

Pygmy Shaman R.C.C.

They're like the medicine man or druid, but total garbage. Let's see, they get... low P.P.E., some minor bonuses, a lot of basic skills but not much skill choice, and... the ability to make charms and talismans. Talismans duplicate magic spells, and cost a big amount of P.P.E. to make, and lets you cast a spell twice a day. The list of spells is short and utilitarian, but there's practically nothing for combat. Then there's Charms, which give an ongoing spell effect, but are easier to make, providing a bunch of protective spells, but nothing that'll protect you from an M.D.C. bite or claw.

So yes, pygmies have to be the "mysterious people of the jungle", because they can't survive any conflict with the supernatural or technology. If they have a medicine man or priest, they could at least fight the supernatural, but they're just helpless compared to just about any other faction in the game so far. The fact that PCs are "offered" these "classes" is the worst part; somebody who chooses to be one of the "Jungle People" will struggle to be relevant even compared to the basic Wilderness Scout O.C.C. from the corebook.

Bad. :mad:

Agogwe R.C.C.


Put your favorite joke about boners here.

Yes, these are supposed to be "australophithecine type humanoids" - ancestors to humanity - who somehow survived millions of years, survived secretly during human civilization, and are flourishing again thanks to no pollution. :whoptc:

They're a small, hairy people, and have tribes much akin to the other folk of Africa, though they don't get rain makers. They are peaceful, kind, timid, secretive people who are in perfect harmony and zzzzz-

- eh, wha? Oh, my, I think this book is literally trying to bore me to death. As a class... well, you roll for psionic powers. 60% chance of dinky psionic powers, 37% of an average spread of basic psionics, and 3% chance of being a massive psionic powerhouse. Better hope you roll well! They're a bit dim and ugly compared to humans, but they're stronger-willed, faster, and more energetic. They get bonuses initiative and against poisons and nightvision, and are solid survivalists but bad at anything else. You only get a 10% chance of an energy weapon or a basic spread of equipment, though. If you roll very, very lucky this could be a useful class, but for the most part they're only marginally better than the Jungle People. And-

[quote="Rifts® World Book Four: Africa"]Note:Agogwe fear magic and the supernatural. They can be easily bullied by practitioners of magic and supernatural beings and may worship them. They never use magic items.[/i]

- okay, no, gently caress lucky rolls, these hominids are just plain poo poo. Also they all speak Gobblely for some loving reason, even though there are no goblins or orcs around that get a mention, I have no idea. :iiam:

Tree People R.C.C.


Confuse several species of lemur, instant R.C.C.!

All of a sudden this book jumps to eight-point font. In the first printings of this book, Kev forgot the Tree People, so they're literally jammed into later printings.


Like this.

They're basically D-Bees who are 3' lemur people who live in trees, and can glide from tree to tree. They often have medicine men and herbalists, but no priests or rain makers. Mostly they're happy hippie tree people but will loving murder the poo poo out of you if you kill one of them, and go after slavers with a teeny fury. Though they have violent crime, they're peaceful and never war against each other and there's a lot of detail on how they deal with criminals for some reason, I guess so you can play COPS: Tree People of the Congo.

They're more curious than other Congo folk, and they're curious and sometimes steal things out of curiosity, and yeah, they're basically your halfling / kender sorts because they're childlike and innocent and zzz... NO I WILL NOT LET THIS BOOK KILL ME WITH ITS DULLNESS. :argh: They're sometimes helpful and are tolerant and we get like a whole page of this let's move on to the numbers.

10% get healing psionics, though it doesn't say which powers, they can sense supernatural evil, see in the dark, glide, and have prehensible feet... hold up. Prehensible feet? You mean they can swing a hammer from every limb? Is this game even concerned about balance, what with four-hammer-wielding lemur people?

They get bonus charisma and speed, but have a slightly reduced strength, get a bonus attack per melee, speak a bunch of languages (including Gobblely and Euro, bizarrely), and are gymnastic little survivalist fuckers, but have sucky skills. They only get a 10% chance of having a mega-damage weapon, and are just kind of lousy as well. I have no idea how they chase the Splugorth slavers at all like they're supposed to. (Mega-damage armor and scales means Ewok tactics are more humorous than heroic.)

The last of the lovely Congo-based classes is over and we can get back to actually discussing Africa.

Next: The rest of Africa! Plus: what makes Africans happy!

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 23:14 on Jun 15, 2013

Erebro
Apr 28, 2013


Okay boys and girls!

It's time for Erebro's Fun Ideas To Make CTech Suck Less!

Most of this stuff is okay, actually, but a few need fine-tuning.

ISSE: While I dislike cybernetics eating souls, the ability to pilot anything you darn well please needs a pretty hefty downside. I say the thing doesn't work unless you already thought like a machine, which means clamping down on your emotions during implantation. Needless to say, this makes you creepy as all hell, so wave goodbye to your social life.

Vibe: No real problems with the device itself. If you're going to bounce your logistic operations through Shoggoth TV for security, it is by definition a high-risk high-reward endeavor.

RCI: Just one addition: The NGE has reverse-engineered them. There's your Pokemon right there.

Cloning Pods OF ENDLESS HATRED!: While the potential for an Attack of the Killer Clone Tomatoes is a point in its favor, I would make it so that the technology itself ain't out to get you. Rather, it's because the Renegade Migou don't actually have a clue what they're doing with it, and thus the clones are invariably mutants of some kind. Thus, why they haven't put it into production yet-they're still looking for a way to predict and/or control what the genetic crapshoot will be next.

QBattery: This isn't most of this stuff. Besides the sheer force of sniggering that will result from showing off one of these things, it's just rather dumb to sell this thing, since the inevitable scandal could only be stopped through writer fiat (which makes it rather likely, given the syphilis-eaten brains of CTech's developers, but still).

The "murder cube" idea is a pretty drat chilling thing though, since using them shows just how much an entrenched cult disregards human lives. Industrialized evil, yo.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


You know, I didn't understand how the Chryalis Corporation avoided exposure back in the corebook, much less the supplements. I mean, when you have mecha factories devoted to building evil mecha, you'd think that poo poo would literally be too big to hide in anything approximating modern culture.

I mean, contractual obligations have never kept people from cracking a device wide open...

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ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!



Literally before reading anything but this logo, I thought, "Oh God, no."

quote:

"strong intellectual property laws"
Do they not know what intellectual property means? And yet they put those "gently caress you for downloading this book" sections in the front of their stuff.

Unless the cops were disallowed from stealing the idea of it out of his mind, which is actually a cool idea, so there's none of that here.

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