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scissorman
Feb 7, 2011

How absolutely ridiculous

Ramrod XTreme

Count Chocula posted:

I just think 'every artifact carries power but also a terrible curse' is a perfect fit for a certain kind of story, and its one HOTB is trying to tell. You don't fill a setting with bloody operas, doomed romance and revenge if you want people wielding +3 Swords with no consequence. Epics work partly because of the doomed ending.

While I agree with that, combined with the rest of the rules it seems more like just another way to screw over the player.
Maybe if doom could also hit NPCs wielding blood swords (which are said to be common) then it might be better, but that and the fact that you can simply buy these at character creation just strikes me as a bad decision.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Count Chocula posted:

I just think 'every artifact carries power but also a terrible curse' is a perfect fit for a certain kind of story, and its one HOTB is trying to tell. You don't fill a setting with bloody operas, doomed romance and revenge if you want people wielding +3 Swords with no consequence. Epics work partly because of the doomed ending.

As mentioned by others, the problem is that blood swords are, well, uncommon if not common. It's the kind of thing that should have more of a profound effect on the society than it does, akin to the Yogo Curse from Legend of the Five Rings. In theory, somebody walking around with a blood sword should be under a stigma, because, well, they've got doom on their hip. Of course, when he first gave us bloodswords in Legend of the Five Rings, there were only four, so they made some sense... not that he didn't like to throw in others, like Togashi Nyoko's Five Swords of Legend, which have some pretty severe drawbacks despite being crafted by one of the best smiths in history.

Of course, reading about those ruins makes me just want to do a reactionary fantasy setting where this is the first civilization ever, the sorcerer-kings are around now, and there are no ruins anywhere.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


When you realize that House Of The Blooded is just Wick recreating Polaris, things make more sense.

Kaja Rainbow
Oct 17, 2012

~Adorable horror~

Heh! I was pretty much thinking myself that if I was to run a game about elves doomed by their own flaws, Polaris'd be a better choice.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


If you want to run a game of doomed anything, run it in Polaris or the even better Moorish Spain version whose name escapes me.

Kaja Rainbow
Oct 17, 2012

~Adorable horror~

Mr. Maltose posted:

If you want to run a game of doomed anything, run it in Polaris or the even better Moorish Spain version whose name escapes me.
Heh, indeed! Oh, Moorish Spain version? Now I'm intrigued. Ah-ha! Just looked it up and found this. That's what you were referring to, right?

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Yes! Lehman even said that Thou Art But A Warrior did everything he was trying to do in Polaris more effectively than Polaris.

EDIT: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=23815.0 Here's Ben's play report of it.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



scissorman posted:

Expect in those stories cursed artefacts are rare; here it sounds like DOOM is an everyday event.
Does the book even tell you that you're doomed when allowing you to buy artefacts during character creation?

Admittedly, the Phase limitation is pretty big, since if you survive a Doom's triggering you're scotfree for years of game time (unless Wick actually meant Seasons instead of age Phases, which with the book's wonky editing might very well be a possibility). But the Doom not only steals privilege from you, it also ruins whatever wagers you could've made, which feels especially lovely when players are supposed to get a say in world building through the rolls they make. Wick's intention is pretty drat clear: the GM must build a situation in that everything hinges on one roll for an Artifact user - whether they're bearing the Skull of Ven-cna or the setting equivalent of a +1 sword in terms of availability -, then screw the roll. That shouldn't get a pass.

The book does tell you Blood Swords are DOOMED - in a small sidebar you could easily miss, since the swords don't really have that many rules. To make things worse, there's another sidebar hidden in the Seasons chapter that mentions how regular swordmakers can make quality regular swords that also grant bonus dice. Which actually seems like a trap option, on second consideration: a blood sword can easily cut through a regular iron sword.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

As mentioned by others, the problem is that blood swords are, well, uncommon if not common. It's the kind of thing that should have more of a profound effect on the society than it does, akin to the Yogo Curse from Legend of the Five Rings. In theory, somebody walking around with a blood sword should be under a stigma, because, well, they've got doom on their hip. Of course, when he first gave us bloodswords in Legend of the Five Rings, there were only four, so they made some sense... not that he didn't like to throw in others, like Togashi Nyoko's Five Swords of Legend, which have some pretty severe drawbacks despite being crafted by one of the best smiths in history.

Of course, reading about those ruins makes me just want to do a reactionary fantasy setting where this is the first civilization ever, the sorcerer-kings are around now, and there are no ruins anywhere.

Yeah, that's the thing. Blood swords here are not unique foozles, they're a constant reminder to ven society that sorcery powered by their own blood is a thing and they better not bring it up if they don't want to get skewered.

(My own reactionary fantasy setting idea is wuxia heroes kicking the poo poo out of the ven. Swords, meh, I've got FISTS )

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.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Of course, reading about those ruins makes me just want to do a reactionary fantasy setting where this is the first civilization ever, the sorcerer-kings are around now, and there are no ruins anywhere.

This was kind of the idea, as I understand it, behind the Dawnforge d20 stuff- it was one of the setting search entries that eventually just got published on its own. "This is the first age, we are a mighty empire and everything is MORE MAGICAL AND MORE POWERFUL"

Being d20 I imagine instead of dungeons you wind up with "Oh no, the lord high zookeeper's game preserve has exploded, releasing his newest creation on the city, a horrible hybrid of OWL AND BEAR"

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Count Chocula posted:

I just think 'every artifact carries power but also a terrible curse' is a perfect fit for a certain kind of story, and its one HOTB is trying to tell. You don't fill a setting with bloody operas, doomed romance and revenge if you want people wielding +3 Swords with no consequence. Epics work partly because of the doomed ending.

They also work because all of the curses have a sense of both weight and logic to them and never simply go "haha gently caress you". The DOOMED mechanic is utterly retarded for so many reasons. It encourages the GM to be a prick in an already adversarial game, the "curse" element is impossible to integrate interestingly into the narrative, and it completely ignores the fact that there are already tools of tragic downfall (namely Aspect Tags and Compels) built into the system that it could just use instead. Top it all of with the fact that Blood Swords (something you're all but required to have) give you doom and will be used infrequently means that they are pretty much never anything but a hindrance.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Traveller posted:

The book does tell you Blood Swords are DOOMED - in a small sidebar you could easily miss, since the swords don't really have that many rules. To make things worse, there's another sidebar hidden in the Seasons chapter that mentions how regular swordmakers can make quality regular swords that also grant bonus dice. Which actually seems like a trap option, on second consideration: a blood sword can easily cut through a regular iron sword.
Clearly the answer here is to figure out how to make swords out of materials that aren't iron or woodSTONE so they aren't on the list of Things Blood Swords Can Cut Through.

Zereth fucked around with this message at 18:25 on Oct 31, 2013

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012


Dammit Wick!

Still, you can fix the DOOM easily; let players invoke not only the DOOM of their opponents, but their own DOOM as well.

To prevent "oh no i fail at going to the toilet oh woe is me", set a minimum for how intense the stakes can be before you can invoke DOOM.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Amechra posted:

Dammit Wick!

Still, you can fix the DOOM easily; let players invoke not only the DOOM of their opponents, but their own DOOM as well.

To prevent "oh no i fail at going to the toilet oh woe is me", set a minimum for how intense the stakes can be before you can invoke DOOM.

Or just make it a purely negative Aspect with unique brands of doomedness just like the curses. But that would be coherent and we can't have that in a Wick game.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

AccidentalHipster posted:

Or just make it a purely negative Aspect with unique brands of doomedness just like the curses. But that would be coherent and possibly fun for the players and we can't have that in a Wick game.

Missed a few words.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Houses of the Blooded

Special Spooky Saint Soliloquy

So, Suaven! As we know, when ven start going into Solace they emanate a white substance called altrua. Eventually, the ven is entirely wrapped up in altrua, sleeping and dreaming. These ven are known as Suaven. The ven revere their Suaven as saints and ancestor spirits. They pray to them at shrines, collect artifacts (but not Artifacts ) from their lives, and maintain their bodies. The altrua shroud protects the Suaven, but they're not invulnerable. In fact, they're highly susceptible to fire, and many Suaven have been lost like this. Not all Suaven are held to the same regard: some are only cared for by their immediate family, while others have temples in every city and are revered by everyone. It's not rare for ven to find a special relationship with a Suaven not of their own House. Many ven join mystery cults devoted to the Suaven, with priests, temples, ceremonies and rituals revealed only to the most faithful. Then there's the fashuva, the fell Suaven, the ones so terrible Wick can't bear to talk of them anymore!

Ven pray, but they do it...

quote:

With Style.
On bended knee. Tears streaming down their cheeks. Or a haughty pride flashing in their eyes. A wicked grin. A knife. Pain. A scream. Blood, Blood, Blood.
Nobody does humility like the ven.

That's... uh, I don't think that's humility, Mr. Wick. Anyway, rules-wise every character has a Devotion rating for the Suaven they worship. Each Suaven has Blessings to give to the faithful, but the ven must prove themselves by joining the mystery cults and not just being conveniently faithful when the need comes. A character can only start with a Devotion of 3 for any particular Suaven, the maximum Devotion for a single Suaven is 5, and no character can have more than five ranks of Devotion total between the Suaven they worship. Wick says the Suaven should be the only element of Shanri out of the player's hands, and as such Suaven cannot be defined or modified by risk wagers or Style points.

The ranks of Devotion are:
  • Faithful (1): passing interest in the Suaven.
  • Devotee (2): devoted follower, the ven gets respect from fellow acolytes and assists in ceremonies.
  • Acolyte (3): the ven is initiated into the secret circles and rites of the faith. The cult expects a certain degree of exclusivity at this point.
  • Anointed (4): the ven is intuitively attuned to the Suaven. They get waking visions and teach younger initiates. If they care for another Suaven, they better keep it a secret.
  • Priest (5): the ven no longer gives a poo poo about any other Suaven. The deepest mysteries are understood, but ven at this level seem distanced from others, speak in riddles and often enter Solace earlier than normal.

Gaining Devotion for a Suaven requires a Season Action. Going from zero Devotion to Devotion 1 is, uh... it doesn't say! From Devotion 1 to 2, it requires sacrificing one resource. Roll a die: odds you get nothing, evens the Suaven finds the sacrifice pleasing and your Devotion rises. Additional sacrifices give you extra dice for this rolls, and if even one rolls evens the Suaven is pleased. Luxuries provide two dice. Devotion 2 to 3 works the same, but you must sacrifice at least two Resources. Devotion 3 to 4 requires sacrificing at least three Resources, as well as going into an adventure given by the Suaven's devoted, like building a Shrine for the Suaven, writing an Opera about it, or some other act of faith. Gettting to Devotion 5 is essentially GM fiat, but at the very least it requires an adventure. But don't you just get one Devotion point for every Temple you build? Hmm.

The Greater Suaven are those available at chargen. One for every House.

Ashalim Avendi, Blooded of the Falcon. Master of the Road, Falcon's Friend, the Beggar Brigand. Avendi appears most often as a blind beggar that teaches miserly ven not to mock the unfortunate. In life, he was one of the first roadmen, and once he was made Baron he married a Blooded of the Serpent lady. The marriage was arranged for by her father - a Duke of ill, sorcerous repute - to clear his name using the young hero's reputation. Eventually, Avendi put an arrow through the sorcerer Duke's heart, and declared himself Grand Duke of the Falcon with his lands. As the Suaven of the Road, he now rests in the Western Reaches, his Shrine guarded by roadmen along with his bow. It's said that no ven can string it. Avendi blesses only those who realize fortunes are easily lost and assist those who have lost their luck. Holy poo poo, he's a non-dick ven! His devotees literally help old ladies cross the street! And he made it to saint!

Falvren Dyr, Blooded of the Wolf. Swordsman, Old One-Eye, The Crimson Cloak. Dyr is the Suaven of , appearing as a large man with flowing red hair, with armor, blade and shield, and a body seemingly made of scars. Dyr despises those who petition him with prayer, and his followers embrace a life of self-reliance. He never assists those who ask for it, only protecting those who show courage and prowess in battle. A Suaven that doesn't like being relied on, worshiped by those who don't like relying on others. "Prayers" to Dyr sound more like curses or boasts than anything.

Manna Renay, Blooded of the Bear. Holy Mother, Protector, the Green Lady. She personifies Hospitality, and as such there are temples dedicated to her in every city. The Bears recognize her as their first great matriarch, and the House's entire structure is based on her own family. Her famous book, House and Home, sets proper methods for cooking, cleaning, and the rules of hospitality. Her blessings are for those who respect the concepts of manners and hospitality. Architects and stoneworkers also call upon her wisdom. Children are most often witnesses to her interventions as she looks out for them, especially orphans.

Talten Steele, Blooded of the Elk. The Iron Heart, Winter's Promise, The Ruthless. He was the first ven to fly the banner of the Elk in the Senate. He was imposing physically and mentally, a Duke at the age of nineteen and Archduke by the age of twenty five. But then he lost his heart to a woman, who slowly destroyed everything he had built until she had her Revenge, with Steele falling to his knees and begging her not to leave. He recovered, mind you, and then executed the mother of all Revenges. His blessings are based around his life, bending the wills of others to accomplish his goals. A ven's ven. Maybe we should've made Dio worship this guy.

Talia Yvarai, Blooded of the Fox. The Celestial Muse, Sacred Harlot, Keeper of Roses. She has exotic temples and her cult only admits priestesses, skilled in all the arts, love included. All artists revere Talia as the muse of muses. In return for their Devotion, followers of Talia learn secret arts no other school or academy knows, including ~*magic kisses*~. Seriously.

Tyane Bran, Blooded of the Serpent. Keeper of Secrets, The Blind One, Whisperer. Also called The Patient One, or The Indefatigable. In his tales, even the smallest of actions have monumental significance. He only acts when it's most appropriate and most effective. His devotees follow his example, acting only when necessary, and despising the "corrupt world of temptation." True devotees become ascetics, casting away everything that distracts from pure thought, reason and truth. His blessings come as bursts of enlightenment or insight.

Blessings! There are nine Blessings per House. Each of the Greater Suaven grants five of them, the others are so that the GM and players can make up Suaven of their own. Characters pick up to their Devotion rank in Blessings from the Suaven to use, but as an optional rule it's the Suaven who decides which Blessing they will provide when the ven calls upon them. All Blessings require at least one Style to use, and they may only be used once per Story. Blessings with lasting durations last until dawn of the next day by default.

Bear
  • Alone, We Stand Together: Blooded of the Bear only. All Blooded of the Bear involved spend a Style point, and when making a contested Strength roll the losers don't lose their wagers. A maximum of (Devotion) Blooded may participate of this Blessing.
  • Bear's Hospitality: the devotee marks a door with their Blood, then gets bonus dice equal to half their Devotion rounded up for any risks, as long as they stay on their home. Lasts until next dawn.
  • Bear Crushes Serpent: spend five Style after rolling a contested Wisdom risk. Opponent loses all their wagers. Success/failure is unaffected.
  • Circle of Protection: draw a circle on solid ground with your Blood. You must also know all three names of the person or persons inside. Once it is drawn, absolutely nothing may enter the circle. Nothing may damage the circle except the ones inside and the ven who drew it. Lasts until next dawn.
  • Hearthward: write secret words with your Blood over a door, and no ven may secretly enter. If anyone tries to enter the house without the owner's permision, the ven who used this Blessing knows it happened and the intruder's full name. Ward must be reapplied once it's broken.
  • I Brought The Bear: spend a Style, use two wagers in a row in a contested Strength risk.
  • Mother's Children: spend a Style, boil a pot of soup with a personal item hanging on top. A single spoonful of the soup reveals the general distance and direction of a missing family member. The target must be a Bear and cannot be a friend. Must be performed at sunrise.
  • No Fool: spend a Style, cancel all effects of surprise. But only for you, you can't warn other ven.
  • Only My Fear Can Defeat Me: cannot be used if Courage is your weakness. Spend a Style before rolling a Strength risk, and no ven may tag your Aspects or Injuries for it.

Elk
  • The Coldest Heart: when another ven gets dice from Romance or Art in a contested risk with you, spend a Style to cancel them.
  • Elk Outwits The Wolf: spend five Style after rolling a contested Prowess risk. Opponent loses all their wagers. Success/failure is unaffected.
  • Even The Moon Has A Dark Side: spend a Style, target a ven, and name one of their Aspects (you must know the Aspect's name). They cannot use its invoke until next dawn, but the tag and compel are still live.
  • Shadow Blood: spend a Style, make any other ven a Contact. The Blessing lasts until sunrise if it's used in an adventure, or until the end of the Season if used during Season actions.
  • Never Again: cannot be used if Strength is your weakness. If you lose a contested Risk and the other guy got dice from an Aspect, spend a Style to know either its tag or its compel.
  • No Secret Is Safe From Me: spend a Style and you can look at your opponent's wagers before you make your own. Your opponent cannot change their wagers once they're set. You don't have to show yours, but you can't reveal your opponent's wagers to other characters either.
  • The Vow: Blooded of the Elk only. Spend a Style and make a promise with another ven. If either one of you breaks the promise, they lose all Style points.
  • I Have Never Been Defeated: spend a Style, use two wagers in a row in a contested Cunning risk.
  • Moving The Pawn: spend a Style to give another ven a free Aspect. It must be a clear-cut goal, like, say "Murder Dio Brando." The Aspect's invoke is worth 1 + half your Cunning rounded up, its tag gives two bonus dice to the opposition when the target is doing anything not related to the goal, and the compel is getting the target back to work on the goal. It lasts a number of seasons equal to your Devotion. No ven may have this Blessing used on them twice.

Falcon
  • Beast's Tongue: drop some Blood on an animal's tongue. For the rest of the day, you may communicate with the animal. Cannot be used on creatures without tongues.
  • The Cloak Deceiveous: requires a cloak. You may disguise yourself in a general way, like a guard or servant. The Blessing makes it look as if you were a natural part of the scene: other guards look at you as if you were supposed to be there, that sort of thing. The Blessing is gone if you take off the cloak or say a lie.
  • The Falcon Knows No Fear: spend five Style, replace Courage for any other Virtue for the next risk. You cannot replace your weakness.
  • I Am The Road: during Season actions, spend a Style to quell Trouble in a number of regions up to your Courage. Only works in your own lands.
  • The Ironwood Bow: requires a limb that has not touched the ground from a tree struck by lightning. The wood mixed with your Blood produces a bow that sings in your ears. The bow may harm Spectres and you can use Maneuvers with it.
  • The Name Of The Storm: Blooded of the Falcon only. Spend a style and whisper the name of the Storm. You and a number of ven equal to your Courage are immune to the elements for one night. Even if Blooded from other houses hear the true name of the Storm, they can't use it.
  • My Courage Is Enough: spend three Style when another ven is using a Blessing to cancel your wagers. You may keep your wagers.
  • Pain Is Today, Honor Is Forever: spend a Style, and you may cancel a tag against one of your Injuries as long as its rank is less than your Courage.
  • The Sacred Tool: cannot be used if Prowess is your weakness. You may add Courage and Prowess in a risk when using a bow.

Fox
  • The Befuddling Kiss: target ven is Befuddled, an Aspect with a tag that gives their opponents dice in any risk that requires concentration and a compel that makes them stammer incoherently, distracted by something so beautiful~ Lasts until sunrise.
  • The Black Kiss: not that, geez! Blooded of the Fox only. Target a ven in sight, whisper their full name, then blow them a kiss. Roll Beauty + Devotion + Aspects: they take a Rank 1 Injury, plus wagers. If you actually kiss the ven physically, add your Beauty to the Injury rank.
  • The Enchanting Kiss: target ven feels the pangs of any emotion you deem fit, except love. Can't fake real love. This creates an appropriate Aspect, like Jealousy or Envy, that can be tagged and compelled as usual.
  • Fox Tricks The Elk: spend five Style after rolling a contested Cunning risk. Opponent loses all their wagers. Success/failure is unaffected.
  • A Fox's Eyes: spend a Style when inspired by Art; you know one of the artist's tags or compels.
  • The Goodnight Kiss: target ven sleeps soundly until the next dawn, unable to wake up except by a touch of the ven that kissed them.
  • The Invisible Tongue: spend a Style, and you may communicate silently with others using subtle movements and accents. The person that you're communicating with does not need to know The Invisible Tongue to understand you.
  • The Most Subtle Weapon: Cannot be used if Wisdom is your weakness. "It has something to do with sex." Spend a Style during the, ugh, "trembling moment", and your partner can no longer use Style unless you allow them to. In return, they can now spend Style to add dice to any roll, up to your Beauty. Blessing lasts for a season.
  • Passion Is Tamed With A Kiss: requires giving the target a real kiss. Target ven can deny a number of tags/compels equal to your Beauty. Lasts until next sunrise.

Serpent
  • The Heart's Riddle Revealed: ponder on one ven you know. You know their exact motives and their next immediate action.
  • I Bear Wisdom's Price: you may spend one Style instead of a Season Action to learn a Sorcery Ritual. Once per Season.
  • A Moment Of Insight: spend a Style, you may use two wagers in a row in a Wisdom risk.
  • I've Forgotten More Than You'll Ever Know: spend a Style when you lose a Wisdom risk. You get to call who uses their first wager.
  • Serpent's Kiss: Blooded of the Serpent only. If you find out you've been poisoned, spend a Style to negate it. Only once per Season.
  • Serpent Knows The Fox: spend five Style after rolling a contested Beauty risk. Opponent loses all their wagers. Success/failure is unaffected.
  • The Serpent's Glare: spend a Style when making an intimidation-based Beauty risk. You may substitute Beauty for Wisdom.
  • The Softest Spot: spend a Style and observe a target. In the next risk you make against them, you know their weakness (in their fighting style, their argument, etc.) and you get your Wisdom in free wagers against them. You can reveal the weakness to another ven, but they only get half the free wagers this way.
  • Wisdom's Clarity: cannot be used if Cunning is your weakness. Spend a style and you know when someone is trying to lie to you. No roll involved.

Wolf
  • The Beauty Of Violence: cannot be used if Beauty is your weakness. You may convert wagers from a Prowess risk to Style at a 1:1 ratio (normally it's 2:1)
  • I Am The Weapon: Blooded of the Wolf only. You may use any defensive Maneuver you know even while unarmed.
  • The Invisible Cannot Be Touched: while wielding a Sword, spend one Style and cancel three ranks from any Injury inflicted against you.
  • The Sacrifice Strike: spend a Style and pick an opponent during the Strike Bid. You may deduct dice from your own pool in order to force them to lose dice from their pool, one for one.
  • The Subtle Hand: you may use one weapon in each hand! Spend a Style, gain two free wagers for any Prowess risk.
  • Teeth and Claws: spend a Style, you may use two wagers in a row in a Wisdom risk or two Maneuvers in a row.
  • Tool Or Weapon: when giving Aspects to a scene using Style, you may also choose which ven can use the Aspect, up to your Prowess.
  • Your Fear Is My Ally: spend a Style to look at one opponent's Strike Bid before committing your own dice.
  • Wolf Downs The Elk: spend five Style after rolling a contested Cunning risk. Opponent loses all their wagers. Success/failure is unaffected.

You can also become a Suaven! If you actually manage to survive all the way to Solace, you become a Suaven. You must choose your portfolio, then you start as a Rank 1 Suaven, and get to pick one Blessing from your House to deliver unto your faithful. You get more Blessings as you grow in rank. The Suaven are ranked as:

  • Family (1): revered only by a family group, usually not known outside of those that knew them in life.
  • Lesser (2): the Suaven has some Shrines and even those who never knew them in life have a passing knowledge of them.
  • Minor (3): the Suaven is recognized in a geographical region, even by non-devotees.
  • Greater (4): almost omnipresent in Shanri, all ven grow up knowing their names and holy days. Note that the canon Greater Suaven get 5 Blessings to play with because of Reasons.
  • Grand (5): all ven fear to ignore these Suaven.

And then there's the forbidden fell ones we will certainly never talk about, no sir.

PC Suaven start at Rank 1, Family. To become a Lesser Suaven, they must have Shrines built to their memory by five different nobles in five different Domains. When five Shrines to your memory have been built in ten different Domains, you become a Minor Suaven. You become a Greater Suaven once you have one Temple to your memory built in ten different Domains. Temples require ten Shrines in a Domain to be built (aha! But this wasn't on the Seasons chapter. ) Finally, to become a Grand Suaven you require... one Temple to your memory built in ten different Domains. Editing!

You get Suaven Points to execute your Blessings. Shrines give you one Suaven Point per season, Temples give you five. Each Blessing you bestow on your faithful costs you one Suaven Point. Finally, you may turn your Wrath on those who offend you for three Suaven Points. The unworthy get an Aspect relevant to your portfolio (like, if you're the Suaven of boogie, they get an Aspect that makes them suck at boogie) with a tag that grants bonus dice equal to half your Suaven rank rounded up, and an appropriate compel. Your Wrath lasts one season or until you feel the ven has made amends.

I don't know what to make of these rules, really. They certainly bring the PC's power level up (and some Blessings are almost game-breaking, I'd say - The Heart's Riddle Revealed, holy poo poo) and it's nice to see that not all ven are doomed highborn manchildren, but still they feel kind of... off? Like some Blessings are almost straight up Sorcery. And seriously, how the gently caress does dual wielding require literal divine favor? And I'm really not sure where you would get to use the PCs as Suaven rules, though an interesting campaign would be the PCs trying to get their family Suaven to rise on the pantheon by hook or by crook.


An extra fortified dose of to make up for this post.

Next: This chapter is for you, the player.

Traveller fucked around with this message at 05:45 on Nov 1, 2013

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Traveller posted:

That's... uh, I don't think that's humility, Mr. Wick.

It's the closest that John Wick the Ven will ever get to humility seeing as they're a bunch of unlikable manchildren who refuse to admit to weaknesses or mistakes. I however, fully admit that I completely forgot about Perform Checks and Skill Threshold in my Naruto d20 write-up! For those who don't want to go back to Part 1, Perform Checks are the skill check you make to do a jutsu you know and Skill Thresholds is the point for every jutsu where your bonus is considered so high that you no longer need a Perform Check. Yes, that is defined in Chapter 1 despite it not being very relevant until Chapter 10, but it'll help you understand the Talents in Chapter 3.

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 05:04 on Nov 2, 2013

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Well, nobody has offered any rookie nin for me to make, so I'll just move right along with



PART 2: ZIPPING THROUGH CHAPTERS AT NINJA SPEED

Today I will covering 3 chapters in a single post. And it'll still probably be shorter than the previous one.

New Races

Chapter 2 covers new races and it explains that since Naruto is a world pretty much exclusively populated by humans, these races should be considered the results of body altering upbringings/heritages like coming from a long line of genius ninja or being a test tube baby. Everyone gets Simple Weapons Proficiency as a Racial Feat (but so does every Base Class so ), but only 100% bog standard humans get the benefits of increased skill ranks and a 2nd feat at 1st level.

There are 5 different "elemental" humans that represent someone who is exceptionally tied to their homeland's element. They each receive +2 to one attribute, +1 to saves against their element, a +2 skill bonus, and a racial power that can be used once per day, plus an additional time per 10 levels they posses. In exchange, they get a -2 to another attribute and must have their starting element match their country's.

The first are Earth humans who get a +2 Con, -2 Wis, +2 to Climb and have the Racial power of gaining 30 ft Tremorsense out to 30 ft for 1 minute as a Swift action. In the series, Earth ninjas are pretty much the "rear end in a top hat" nation and hold a grudge against the Fire ninjas for whupping them in the last big world war.

Next are Fire humans who get a +2 Cha, -2 Str, and have the Racial power of granting all allies within 30 ft a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls, saves and skill checks, and a +4 morale bonus to saves against fear effects for 1 minute as a Swift action. They're an odd duck skill-wise because they get a +1 to Diplomacy and Gather Information instead of a +2 to one skill. In the series, Fire ninjas are the "hero" nation who believe in the Power of Friendship Will of Fire.

After that are the Lightning humans who get a +2 Dex, -2 Wis, +2 to Tumble and have the Racial power of making a single electric attack deal half damage to them before Resistance. In the series, Lightning ninjas are gangsta rap badasses who love pro-wrestling. It is the most stupid/awesome outside interpretation of American black culture ever.

Anyway, next are the Water humans who get a +2 Str, -2 Cha, and +2 to Swim. Instead of a daily Racial power, they get a 20 ft Swim Speed and can hold their breaths twice as long. In the series, Water ninjas are shark toothed psychos who go through revolutions like popcorn.

Finally, there are the Wind humans who get a +2 Dex, -2 Wis, and have the Racial power of effectively having Evasion against a single wind attack against them. Like the Fire humas, their skill bonus is split (+1 to Balance and Tumble) instead of a single +2. In the series, Wind ninjas are desert dwelling bros of the Fire ninja and are way too caucasian to be living in the desert.

There are 4 other races that aren't tied to any nation or element in particular. The Gigantics (big people), the Monstrous (freaky people), the Smallfolk (midgets), and the Trueblooded (ninja uebermensch). Gigantics are pretty swole, getting a+8 to Str and a +4 to Con for only -2 Dex, as well as +2 Natural Armor and are Large sized, but they get +2 LA for all of their toys. Monstrous are similarly beefy at +4 to Str and +2 Con for -2 to Dex and Cha as well as counting as Monstrous Humanoids instead of Humanoids, picking 2 special passive abilities from a "deformities" list (like a Natural Weapon or Darkvision), and they can trade their Simple Weapons Proficiency for Archaic Weapons Proficiency. This all comes at the same LA as the Gigantics of course. Smallfolk are straightforward getting +2 Dex and Small size for no LA. Lastly are the Trueblooded who get a nice +2 to Str, Con, and Cha, Low-Light Vision, Darkvision, and can trade Simple WP for Archaic just like the Monstrous. This all docks them a +1 LA.

Base Classes

Chapter 3 is about classes and is largely a reprint of the d20 Modern material. Not much new has been added to the base classes except for some new skills and a new ninja-y Talent tree for each that let's you pick up Sense Chakra and Suppress Chakra as Talents once you pick up the first Talent from the tree.

Strong Heroes are martial artists and swordsmen who excel at melee combat. Their new skills are Genjutsu and Taijutsu, and their new Talent Tree is (confusingly named) Taijutsu which gives a +1 to Unarmed Attack Rolls and Taijutsu skill checks per level in it and a +2 to Learn checks to learn Taijutsu at the final level. Nothing groundbreaking, but fitting with the short range focus.

Fast Heroes are acrobats and burglars who mix it up with both long and short range combat. Their new skills are Genjutsu and Taijutsu, and their new Talent Tree is Deflection which gives a +1 Deflection bonus to Defense against ranged attacks per level in it. As always, Fast heroes are the hardest to kill through sheer avoidance.

Tough Heroes are brawlers and guardians who draw on their huge Chakra Pools to win the day. Their new skills are Ninjutsu and Taijutsu, and their new Talent Tree is Stamina which gives a +5 to your Chakra Pool per level in it and a +2 to saving throws against chakra exhaustion and chakra drain at the final level. They also add the new Elements (except Holy) to their list of Resistances they can gain through the Energy Resistance tree. Tough Heroes really get a good boost thanks to the lack of guns and the Chakra system making their specialty (victory through endurance) a real possibility, but that might not be a good thing if you don't like drawn out combat.

Smart Heroes are tacticians and jutsu specialist who fight smarter instead of harder. Their new skills are Chakra Control and Ninjutsu, and their new Talent Tree is (again, confusingly named) Ninjutsu which gives a +1 to perform Ninjutsu, +2 to identify jutsu, and +2 to Reserve Chakra per level in it and a +2 to Learn checks to learn Ninjutsu and +1 to Skill Threshold with Ninjutsu at the final level. Smart Heroes are one of the most buffed classes thanks to the new jutsu system letting them easily work around their pathetic combat stats and you'll see why when we get to Chapter 10.

Dedicated Heroes are medics and scouts who make the most of their intuition. Their new skills are Chakra Control and Ninjutsu, and their new Talent Tree is (still confusingly named) Chakra Control which gives a +2 to perform Chakra Control and +2 to Reserve Chakra per level in it (although it start at +1 making it +1/+3/+5 instead of +2/+4/+6) and a +2 to Learn checks to learn Chakra Control and +1 to Skill Threshold with Chakra Control at the final level. Dedicated Heroes are similarly buffed by Jutsu but they specialize in a much less combat oriented skill and don't have awful combat stats.

Charismatic Heroes are spies and dashing rogues who rely on wit and style to pull through. Their new skills are Chakra Control and Genjutsu, and their new Talent Tree is (confusingly- you get the idea) Genjutsu which is just the Ninjutsu tree but for Genjutsu. Charismatic Heroes are reliant on Jutsu just like Smart Heroes, but they are much more Save-or-Lose about it.

Starting Occupations

Chapter 4 covers the new ninja Occupations which smart players will be taking in favor of the Modern Occupations because they hand out Chakra Skills and jutsu related Feats very liberally. There are 6 regular ninja occupations but Academy Student (you're a vanilla rookie nin) and Mentored (you got special treatment) are the best because they provide 3 Skills, a Feat, and a huge list to choose from for both. Mentored gets a slightly smaller Skill list, but a bigger Feat list and a Reputation bonus. Ninja Law Enforcement (you were raised for black ops) is similar but grants only 2 Skills in exchange for a +2 Wealth instead of a +1, Wandering Ninja (you're an Old West style drifter) does the same but gets a +2 to Rep instead of a Wealth boost, Seal Expert (Fuinjutsu expert) is extremely limited, and Ninja Technician (forgotten jutsu expert) has Skill and Feat prereqs and gives you nothing but a bonus to learning Lost jutsu.

The Clans are where things get interesting because they are Occupations that mark you as a member of a prestigious clan with Bloodline powers. I'll talk more about Bloodlines in Chapter 11, but suffice to say, they are power suites that are exclusive to certain lineages and are bought with your 1st level feat. Clan Occupations grant you bonuses to learning Clan Jutsu and let you pick up the Clan's Bloodline instead of an Occupation feat which leaves your 1st level choices wide open. The listed clans are the Fire country's Aburame (bug loving weirdos), Hyuuga (arrogant chakra damage experts) and Uchiha (copy-cat ninjas), the Earth country's Ishimaru (brutal brawlers) and Yachoumaru (defensive Earth Jutsu experts), the Lightning country's Dattoumaru (zippy taijutsu experts), the Water Country's Kaguya (berserker psychos), and the unaffiliated Fujiwara (jutsu reverse engineering experts), Kagetsuki (medical drug experts with frequent chakra disorders), and Mibu (the bad guys from Samurai Deeper Kyo). Note that the Mibu are listed as optional and that canonically the Kaguya are dead and the Uchiha are down to 2 members (both of which are named villains) but the only time canon really matters in a pre-built setting is when the GM needs to slap down munchkins.

So that was Chapters 2, 3, and 4 and by now you should see why I'm doing this on Majuju's heels. The when the next part happens will be dependent on him, and I'm sorry if I'm putting you on the spot there pal. I'm still willing to write up characters if anyone in the thread wants me to, but only if people are insistent (or bribe me). But until next time, just remember that Killa Bee is the funkiest ninja ever.

Next time: Why I don't allow d20 Flaws

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 05:04 on Nov 2, 2013

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


AccidentalHipster posted:

It's the closest that John Wick the Ven will ever get to humility seeing as they're a bunch of unlikable manchildren who refuse to admit to weaknesses or mistakes.

Can we please, this one last time I will ask, stop calling John Wick a bad person because he is a bad game designer. I get it. He makes bad unfun games and likes poison and is therefore scum. You can stop constantly stating that he's a huge manchild and if he was dying in the desert it'd be a favor to let him dry out.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Honestly have to agree, save the vile for the absolute worst of the worst, like the creators of WGA, FATAL, and whoever wrote the Exalted Infernals book

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Alright, I get it. It was an off-hand joke anyway. Can we please focus on the write-ups?

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 17:32 on Nov 2, 2013

Parkreiner
Oct 29, 2011


John Wick has never kicked a puppy that I am aware of, but it's pretty hard to criticize his terrible games without also indicting his terrible public persona because he goes to such lengths to identify one with the other. HotB is entirely written from the conceit that John Wick hisownself is sharing his findings about the ven-- how are we supposed to criticize the shortcomings of "John Wick" without it reflecting on John Wick? If he were capable of writing in any kind of authorial voice other than King Smuggo things might be different.

Parkreiner fucked around with this message at 18:38 on Nov 2, 2013

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


AccidentalHipster’s review of Naruto d20 reminds me that there was also a d20 Modern Pokemon fan-sourcebook of all things. I've never been able to actually find it again, and the XP laptop that I had originally read the PDF on literally went up in flames ages ago.



Modern Magic Volume Two has a bit of a different focus than Volume One. While the first volume of the pair focused heavily on traditional urban fantasy genre conventions, Modern Magic Volume Two has a larger focus on translating real world religious beliefs and superstitions into something with real power. Of course, we're still going to start out with spells that can be quite varied in their use, so let's not be too hasty on that matter.




Arcane Arts
The spells presented in chapter 1 of Modern Magic Volume Two are just as mage-focused as the first volume, with eighteen arcane spells opposed to seven divine spells and seven spells useable by both types of spellcaster. For spell school coverage, we're still pretty strong on the same themes as well: nine Enchantment spells, eight Transmutation spells, five in Illusion, three in Conjuration, three in Divination, two in Evocation, one in Necromancy, and then one spell that counts as both Abjuration and Conjuration.


The spell levels are probably where Modern Magic Volume Two's new spells differ the most, being less front-loaded and more mid-loaded with three 0-Level spells, eight 1st Level spells, ten 2nd Level spells, seven 3rd Level spells, and four 4th Level spells. No 5th Level spells this time, sorry to you power players out there. As with last review, let's look over some of the more notable/interesting ones.
  • Carillon (4th Level divine Enchantment): One of the more unusual spells I've seen, casting carillon causes a joyous chime chorus that makes your allies get a morale bonus to attack rolls and saving throws against fear and your enemies suffer a morale penalty to the same things.
  • Divine Copilot (3rd Level divine Conjuration): Never has "Jesus take the wheel" been quite so literal. This spell lets you summon an invisible presence that intervenes in a failed Drive or Pilot check to help you.
  • Object to Ink (3rd Level arcane Transmutation): You can transform an object equal to or smaller than yourself into a tattoo on your body. While the obvious applications include things like sneaking weapons past someone, safeguarding an item, or carrying things that would normally over-encumber you at the time, the fact that the book explicitly states "because items affected by object to ink are held in stasis, even a ticking time bomb can be turned into a tattoo using this spell" makes my mind immediately turn to more devious uses.
  • Rebroadcast (3rd Level arcane Illusion): This spell allows you to make a CCTV camera loop on itself for a while, covering your tracks while you do whatever you plan on doing in that camera's view during that time. The fact that the spell burglar's buddy from Urban Arcana explicitly targets all electronic surveillance except video makes me think that these two spells used in tandem would be a pretty drat good coverup.
  • Yardbird (2nd Level divine or 3rd Level arcane Enchantment): You compel someone to loiter somewhere. While it could have practical uses like making a guard feel like he needs to go stretch his legs and bum around the parking lot or something, I'll admit that this spell is noteworthy mostly because it amuses me to imagine an angry mage initially inventing this spell. "No loitering?! Well, I'll show them!"




Urban Vooodoo
Voudon (the spelling used by the writers here), also known as vodou, vodun, or voodoo, is a mingling of western African religion with Caribbean traditions and - in the case of Louisiana voodoo, at least - Catholicism. It also just so happens to be the focus of the second chapter of Modern Magic Volume Two, presenting voudon as an alternative magic system. It can be used as the only magic system in a campaign, one of several ritualistic magic systems, or even just one form of ritual magic that exists alongside more "game-y" magic. To truly understand how voudon works in d20 Modern, though, we need to dive into the two advanced classes that use it in two very different ways.


The first voudon advanced class is the Houngan, a divine spellcaster who has a heavy burden to bear...if spirits are heavy, that is. They get their power from the Loa, powerful spirits that may or may not cross into deity territory depending on whose religious practices you ask. In addition to having to perform a ceremony known as the Great Caille every week in order to keep their divine spellcasting juiced, the Houngan advanced class has the ability to call upon the Loa to "ride" (possess) them. While possessing the Houngan, a Loa imparts specific bonuses and penalties to ability scores and/or free ranks in a certain skill that increase in number as the Houngan gains levels in that advanced class, but in return the Houngan character must roleplay certain personality traits. Offending a Loa means the Houngan gets placed under a "burden". That burden has roleplaying restrictions and removes the ability to cast certain spells that are associated with that Loa until a specific ritual to atone is made. The specific Loa given in the title are as follows.
  • Agwe: The ruler of the waves and the things that swim within it or sail upon it, Agwe is a handsome mixed race captain who is brave, courteous, and quite the lady's man given that he has the marriage hand of both the Loa of love Erzulie Dantor and the Loa of the rivers Mami Wata. A ride from Agwe imparts a bonus to Wisdom and free ranks in Swim and Navigation at the cost of a penalty to Dexterity. He's probably one of the Loa you least want to piss off, as his burden keeps you from crossing or entering any body of water, even something as simple as a puddle or a bath.
  • Ashadeh Boco: A fiery spirit, Ashadeh Boco is associated with freedom and creativity. Her rides grant q bonus to Intelligence and Charisma but a penalty to Dexterity and Constitution, and her burden is for the transgressor to speak only in rhyme and be unable to use fire for any purpose.
  • Baron Samedi: The loa everybody knows. He of the fancy suit, lewd attitude, and portfolio associated with death. Sadly, while most of the Loa in Modern Magic Volume Two are pretty accurate to actual voudon beliefs, Samedi gets a complete makeover into a generic sinister villain complete with Snidely Whiplash brand twirly mustache, as he so often unfairly does. His ride provides a bonus to Strength and Charisma but a penalty to Intelligence and Constitution, while his burden is for the transgressor to lug around a very heavy object and not help anyone for any reason.
  • Carrefour: While kind of creepy, Carrefour at least stays true to lore and doesn't get beaten with the evil stick here. He's the loa of the Crossroads and all the freaky poo poo that goes down at them, and he can provide a bonus to Wisdom and free ranks in Sense Motive at the cost of a penalty to Dexterity and Charisma if he rides you. Carrefour's burden is constant fatigue due to poor sleep.
  • Damballah and Ayida Wedo Damballah Wedo the creator serpent and his wife Ayida Wedo the rainbow serpent are pretty drat important in voudon, so much so that in Louisiana voodoo they are directly associated with Jesus and Mary. The two ride together, which means two potential hosts need to be in the same place - both receive the benefits of a bonus to Dexterty and Intelligence as well as free ranks in Knowledge (Theology and Philosophy), but at the cost of a penalty to Wisdom. Damballah is too busy being a creator figure to care about burdens, but Ayida will punish transgressors with the burden of either constant public nudity or having to constantly carry around and protect a chicken or some other egg-laying animal.
  • Dan Petro: While traditionally the patron Loa of farmers, Dan Petro is presented here as a freedom fighter. His ride grants a bonus to Dexterity and Charisma as well as free ranks in Escape Artist, with penalties going to Strength and Wisdom. His burden is for the transgressor to free any enslaved or oppressed person they meet at any cost.
  • Erzulie: The Erzulie here is a representation of Erzulie Freda rather than the more awesome and Erzulie Dantor, being a Loa of beauty, love, vanity, and jealousy. She grants a bonus to Charisma and free ranks in Diplomacy at the cost of a Strength penalty, and her burden is to make the transgressor crossdress and act like a stereotypical member of the opposite gender.
  • Ghede: While presumably meant to be Papa Ghede, the first man to die and head of the Ghede family of Loa, the Ghede presented in Modern Magic Volume II just so happens to have the traits typically associated with Baron Samedi transferred onto him as a "good" alternative. The ride of Ghede...kind of sucks, honestly, as it only has a bonus to Constitution but has a penalty to Wisdom and Intelligence. His burden is to do unspecified humiliating acts in public.
  • Legba Papa Legba is the Loa who acts as the intermediary between the human and Loa worlds. Legba's ride grants a bonus to Wisdom and Strength combined with ranks in Knowledge (Arcane Lore) and Knowledge (Theology and Philosophy), but has a penalty to Constitution and Strength. His burden is eithre to move at half speed and suffer a -4 penalty to Initiative or to never go outside when it is daylight.
  • Loco and Ayizan: The first priest and first priestess respectively, Loco and Ayizan do tag team possessions like Damballah and Ayida Wedo. Their rides provide a bonus to Wisdom and either ranks in Treat Injury for Loco or ranks in Diplomacy for Ayizan, with the ability score penalties being to Strength and Dexterity. Loco's burden is to make the transgressor that LARP guy who loudly yells out their spells before casting them, while Ayizan prevents any harmful actions from being taken.
  • Ogun: Ogun is the Loa of metalworking and war, as well as an instigator of armed revolution, and is fond of tobacco and rum. His ride grants bonuses to Strength and Constitution as well as ranks in Knowledge (Tactics), with the penalties going to Intelligence and Wisdom. He can give one of two burdens that are pretty much the opposite of each other: either be unable to hold any metal objects or constantly carry the largest sword the transgressor can contain.
  • Simbi: Simbi is both a water loa and the Hermes-like divine messenger of Legba. With his ride, you get a bonus to Wisdom and Intelligence combined with ranks in Sene Motive and Diplomacy, at the cost of penalties to Strength and Dexterity. His burden is to constantly speak in a whisper.


After the complexities of the Houngan, it's probably for the best that the arcane spellcasting voudonist is a lot simpler. The Bokor advanced class is capable of creating magical charms, summoning djab (any creature with the Outsider creature type), and eventually being able to perform a ritual to transform someone into a sombi as the capstone ability of the class. I'll go over the zombi in a minute, but first I'd like to note the fact that the Bokor's arcane spellcasting works a little bit differently than the standard Mage's. The Bokor's magic has the "Bokor's price", which causes them to take 1d4 + the spell's level worth of damage any time they cast a spell. No pain, no gain, I guess.


Last but not least for chapter 2 is the whole deal about those zombi. Rather than being undead like zombis, the zombi template is applied to a Humanoid and they stay Humanoid in type. It is mindlessly subservient to the bokor that created it, however, and has the ability to be turned as if it were an undead creature with +4 turn resistance. Zombi are also capable of fighting even when they are dying, have higher Strength than their normal form, and can punch things harder than your average Joe. The zombi template is removed and the character goes back to normal when either the vessel that holds their soul is broken or the Bokor releases them of their own free will.




When Worlds Collide
The third chapter of Modern Magic Volume Two is entitled "Mundane Magic". If the title confuses you, it can be summed up as "weird poo poo that people who can't cast spells or incantations can still do". These are little rituals or charms that help non-magical players deal with magical foes. Or so the idea is, at least, as the granted boons for most of these can be best described as quite minor. As with spells and magic items, I'll be listing some noteworthy ones to avoid to much clogging.
  • Prayer: Yes, it turns out that spiritual warfare does indeed work. Sacrificing an attack action to pray at a foe allows you to add your ranks in Concentration to Will saves made against either divine spells or the powers of creatures with the Outsider type.
  • Ghost Money: A talisman from Chinese folk tradition, ghost money is yellowed paper or a special coin that provides a +1 bonus to saves against mind-affecting Enchantments or the powers of undead creatures.
  • Rabbit's Food: A lucky rabbit's foot is surprisingly specific in what it defends against, as it only provides a +1 bonus to Reflex saves against Conjuration spells. How many Conjuration spells even force a Reflex save, anyway?
  • Thousand-Stitch Headband: A Japanese embroidery that provides a +1 bonus to saves against Divination.
  • Wolfsbane: In addition to being poisonous, hanging wolfsbane as a talisman gets you a +1 bonus to saves against Transmutation.


More useful than any of these trinkets are the feats that come after them. Magical Ground is a feat that grants spell resistance equal to 5 + half your total character level. This would be good enough on its own, but it also lets you take Magical Sink, a feat that makes you into a walking anti-magic field that forces anyone in the area to succeed on a level check with a DC of 5 + your total character level if they want to cast any spell or use a spell-like ability near you. While you can't get any spellcasting class levels, cast incantations, or even use magical items (including potions), the sheer defensive capabilities these feats give you against the supernatural is pretty drat desirable. They are also just sort of stated as something you can do rather than implementing the Anti-Magic Atheist cliche I have seen in way too many d20 Modern titles.


Finally, the chapter ends off with a really interesting discussion of how magic affects crime and punishment. Not only does it show how spells can be used for crimes, such as casting mage hand to do a minor deed with major consequences such as remotely flicking the trigger of a sitting gun to make a murder look like a suicide, it also discusses how mundane but knowledgeable people can figure out the hallmarks of a supernatural crime even though they can't pop out detect magical aura whenever they want to, spells that aid in investigation if you are a Harry Dresden type, and even workarounds for the pressing question of how to prosecute a supernatural criminal even if you are in a world where magic isn't commonly believed in. There is also a handy new advanced class, the Arcane Investigator, which allows for a character to sniff out the supernatural even though they themselves are not necessarily spellcasters.




The Item Shop
Magic items: you want 'em, we've got 'em. 29 of them, in fact. Let's cut to the chase and hit the highlight reel.
  • Covert Ops Cockroach: A construct made to look like a dead cockroach, this kind of gross but nonetheless useful device puts out about 10 minutes worth of radio recording before it shuts down. Super fun at spy parties, order yours today.
  • Enchanted Charm Bracelet: Each of the little trinkets on this charm bracelet hold one use of a spell or supernatural power. While reloadable with more charms, the bracelet immediately loses any magic potential if you let it fully run out of charms on it. Some of the charms include an ankh that casts cure serious wounds, a moon that casts darkvision, a skull that casts animate dead, and a Hermes shoe that doubles your base speed for 10 rounds.
  • Parachute Pants: This magical item has the combined function of being able to cast feather fall once per day and allowing you to be the brunt of MC Hammer jokes.
  • Potion Bottle Opener: A bottle opener that can be used once per day to turn the contents of the bottle it opens into a potion, allowing you to have a quick and refreshing magical aid.
  • Sturgis Bandanna: A colorful bandanna that grants a +10 bonus to Ride checks made on a motorcycle. I can only presume this is a typo, as motorcycles use the Drive skill, but maybe it's just meant to be used with some really weird legged wizard-cycles or something.


We are also provided with four new magic weapon qualities, two of which only apply to firearms. Chameleon is a weapon ability that lets you take an attack action to turn your weapon into a similarly-sized mundane item or back again, Hollywood is a firearms-only magic weapon quality that lets you keep firing in combat even when you are out of ammunition but requires you to feed the leftover amount you "owe" back into the weapon once combat is over, versatile grants your magical gun an extradimensional second ammo clip with a different type of ammunition from your actual clip so that you can freely switch between two ammo types without reloading the main clip, and whispering lets you make the ranged weapon it is applied to fire completely silently twice per day.


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


Next time: We will not be looking at another TGM product or even another d20 Modern title, as I'll be taking a break from those.

Why?

Well, it's the month of Thanksgiving here in the U.S. of A., and that means only one thing: alternate history Colonial America with technomage Benjamin Franklin!

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Parkreiner posted:

John Wick has never kicked a puppy that I am aware of, but it's pretty hard to criticize his terrible games without also indicting his terrible public persona because he goes to such lengths to identify one with the other. HotB is entirely written from the conceit that John Wick hisownself is sharing his findings about the ven-- how are we supposed to criticize the shortcomings of "John Wick" without it reflecting on John Wick? If he were capable of writing in any kind of authorial voice other than King Smuggo things might be different.

It's actually really easy but we'd have to put away the John Wick emote and I know that would just be devastating.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Robindaybird posted:

Honestly have to agree, save the vile for the absolute worst of the worst, like the creators of WGA, FATAL, and whoever wrote the Exalted Infernals book
You haven't read much of Wick's writing if you don't realize he actually is fundamentally the worst of the worst and a lot of the nonsensical stuff like cheating in this game makes sense when you actually did deep into how he runs his games which actually says you should cheat. Though I want to say that someone said that he mellowed out drastically the last time this conversation came up.

MadScientistWorking fucked around with this message at 22:34 on Nov 2, 2013

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I Forgot To Hail King Torg


AccidentalHipster, how impossible/boned would an attempt to create an actual/historical ninja be in Naruto d20? You know, relies on stealth and poison and distraction, and any "mystical juju" is just sleight-of-hand.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


AmiYumi posted:

AccidentalHipster, how impossible/boned would an attempt to create an actual/historical ninja be in Naruto d20? You know, relies on stealth and poison and distraction, and any "mystical juju" is just sleight-of-hand.

Actually, not that hard. Since this is a supplement, you could just limit the "mystical" material used to to make the character. It would be time inefficient to use mundane solutions instead of jutsu, but it would let you dodge a lot of jutsu detection moves. You can accomplish a lot with good subterfuge. This all assumes that he only handles traditionally ninja duties because he would be dead, dead, dead in a straight up fight. This a setting where the Badass Normal who uses Taijutsu exclusively can break the speed of sound.

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 23:49 on Nov 2, 2013

scissorman
Feb 7, 2011

How absolutely ridiculous

Ramrod XTreme

AccidentalHipster posted:

Actually, not that hard. Since this is a supplement, you could just limit the "mystical" material used to to make the character. It would be time inefficient to use mundane solutions instead of jutsu, but it would let you dodge a lot of jutsu detection moves. You can accomplish a lot with good subterfuge. This all assumes that he only handles traditionally ninja duties because he would be dead, dead, dead in a straight up fight. This a setting where the Badass Normal who uses Taijutsu exclusively can break the speed of sound.

How effective are poison and traps in Naruto D20?
In the manga at least e.g. the suna puppeteers can be quite deadly; combine that with tactics like Shikamaru and you should be able to take down most opponents.
Of course the S rank ninja serving as major antagonists are an exception to this, but in my opinion those break the rules anyway; to defeat them you either need to target their gimmick's weakness or come up with a more ridiculous superpower.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


scissorman posted:

How effective are poison and traps in Naruto D20?
In the manga at least e.g. the suna puppeteers can be quite deadly; combine that with tactics like Shikamaru and you should be able to take down most opponents.
Of course the S rank ninja serving as major antagonists are an exception to this, but in my opinion those break the rules anyway; to defeat them you either need to target their gimmick's weakness or come up with a more ridiculous superpower.

They're deadly as hell just like in the manga, but expensive. You need to be about level 5 and decently specialized to be able to start semi-reliably making the really good poisons, but there are ones that deal d4's of Con damage and are inhaled. Explosives (the most common trap) are much harder to make but can deal fat fistfuls of d6's with just one bomb tag and they can be stack into bundles.

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 00:26 on Nov 3, 2013

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



AccidentalHipster posted:

They're deadly as hell just like in the manga, but expensive. You need to be about level 5 and decently specialized to be able to start semi-reliably making the really good poisons, but there are ones that deal d4's of Con damage and are inhaled. Explosives (the most common trap) are much harder to make but can deal fat fistfuls of d6's with just one bomb tag and they can be stack into bundles.

Since you're in a giving mood, I'll drop my own question: do they still have that original Bloodline trait, Red Eye and True Red Eye I think they were? That was my favorite non-canon thing they had back when I read a release of the system a few years ago just because it was equal parts really nifty and insane.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


LornMarkus posted:

Since you're in a giving mood, I'll drop my own question: do they still have that original Bloodline trait, Red Eye and True Red Eye I think they were? That was my favorite non-canon thing they had back when I read a release of the system a few years ago just because it was equal parts really nifty and insane.

Yup. The Mibu Occupation even lets you pick up either the Red Eyes or the Satori.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



AccidentalHipster posted:

Yup. The Mibu Occupation even lets you pick up either the Red Eyes or the Satori.

Excellent, I'll eagerly await that portion then. Keep up the good work and thanks for answering.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013


This is neither here nor there, but a couple of the people I know who know John Wick tend to talk of him as two different people. There's John, who is their friend and a game designer, and The Wick, the biggest cheating bastard they've ever had the misfortune of running into. And when he runs games, he'll spend months as John, being perfectly normal, and then some nights he's just holding himself different and they know tonight is going to be hell because it's not John running. It's The Wick. Some of them refuse to play when he's The Wick, but The Wick doesn't seem to care, even if he calls the next day to apologize.



Traveller posted:

I want you to make Space Mary Poppins, which is most certainly an appropriate concept for this game I know nothing about.
See, this was always my experience with this sort of game anyone. No one wanted to use the pregens and always wanted to do something totally weird. I'm no exception. In Shadowrun, I didn't just want to be the Face, I wanted to be the Ultimate poser who looked like he couldn't get anything right. I actually got the GM to let me take both Orc Poser and Elf Poser. Which forever made his head hurt.

Without Further Ado, I give you the concept you requested... The Nanny.
The Nanny exists outside the system, working to preserve order by any means necessary. Not Social Order, as others may do, but house hold harmony. If you can find her, if you can afford her, she can turn the worst problem child into an angel(rarely literally, but it's been known to happen). One part event planner, one part psychologist, one part spy; The Nanny is a miracle worker par excellence. No one knows more about children, or what secrets they hold.
Of course, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. Rumors have it that her charges become agents in their own right, shaping those around them to fit Her will. Beware. Beware the Nanny, for she knows more about you than you ever will.

AccidentalHipster posted:

Don't sweat it man, I'm used to being a total hipster. As for character, I vote for Joseph Joestar, kung fu monster hunter and lighthearted trickster with the psychic ability to predict his opponent's one-liners because I wanna know how psychic powers work and we need something to balance out Dio and the other Jojos that fought him aren't as funny.

The next thing you're going to say is, "You really like Jojo, don't you?"
Always good to find another devote of the immortal vampire who ages backwards. Joseph's also the Joestar with the most screen time. His own series, a primary role in Jotaro's, and he gets several chapters of appearances(felt like half the arc, to me) of Josuke's. Actually, unless you count his influence during the Stone Ocean arc, Joseph appeared more than Dio did. Obviously, not counting New!Dio of Steel Ball Run as Dio.

Anyway, Young Joseph is... The Psi-Rat
Growing up without parents is never easy, but it's worse still when you're a second generation Psionic. If they know, no one trusts you; if they don't you have to be careful not to let the cat out of the bag. You grew up hard, on the streets and in labs. Your rich "uncle" was little more than a researcher trying to find out more about you, to use you as a weapon. Your 'kindly teacher' is prepping you to use as a war machine against Xenos unseen by the rest of the galaxy. The only person you can depend on is yourself. The only weapons you need are your fists and your mind.
And the occasional bottle of Neo Coke Classic.

Now that the concepts are out of the way, it's time to start working on step three, Attributes and Skill points. This isn't, as you might expect, allocating the skill points, that's step four. No, this is determining how many you get. There are two ways of doing this, and I've got two characters. The first is to just take the 65 Attribute Points and Twenty Skill points that all the Pregens are based on. Sounds good for The Nanny. The other is... Random roll! Looks like I'm not the only liar here. Remember?



This looks like both assigning numbers without why or how, and rolling up a character. But hey. Let's go to the chart.



Roll 2d10, sum the result, and check the chart. A one and a three gets me 62 attribute points and twenty six skill points for the Psi-Rat. Which is nice, because he'll need them.

The eight attributes in Shatter zone are Agility, Dexterity, Endurance, Strength, Intellect, Mind, Confidence, and Charisma. Agility is your gross motor control, while dexterity is your fine. Endurance is how well you can take hardship, and strength is a measure of how physically powerful you are. Intelect is how inventive and flexible your mind is, while Mind is how much you've learned. Confidence is how self-assured you are and how well you can project that, while Charisma is how charming and Witty you are, with maybe a little bit of beauty thrown in.

Attributes can't be below five or above thirteen at character creation, at least, not this stage. Background generation can change that somewhat.

Now that we know how many points we have and what they do, it's time to move on to actually assigning Abbility points in step three. They'd like to remind you, once again, that it'd be so much easier if you just used the pre-generated characters. Let's start with the Nanny.

The Nanny is more of the party face, and certainly not a front line fighter. She's got 65 points to spend. Now, you have to understand that the player hand book says nothing about what is an average difficulty or anything like that, so if you couldn't pry the GM's Guide Rule Book from the GM's hands like our fictional group, you have no idea if having eight in everything is even enough to be "average". Checking the reference sheet, though, the Average Difficulty number is 9. So if it's something you're skilled at, eight's enough...

Futzing around, and jumping ahead to see what each attribute actually covers, and each skill does, I decided on this spread for The Nanny.
Agility 8
Dexterity 6
Endurance 7
Strength 6
Intellect 12
Mind 12
Confidence 8
Charisma 8
Everything will be explained when I get to skills.

For The Psi Rat, his 62 attribute points are split up as so:
Agility 9
Dexterity 5
Endurance 6
Strength 8
Intellect 11
Mind 10
Confidence 6
Charisma 6

If they seem a bit low, that's okay, he's a Young Prodigy. And by that I mean I'll be abusing the specialization and skill rules.

And remember "You will want to assign your attribute points so that they will affect your Skill Values in a positive way (unless you are creating a really interesting character)." It tells you to go check the Master Skill List on page 14. So... Here you go.



Step Five, Buying Skill Adds.
Long story short, there are General Skills and Specializations. When rolling for a relevant skill, you add your Skill to your Stat, and then you add the Bonus to that total to get your roll. Not that this is ever explained in the Player's Guide.
At character creation, buying Adds is a linear thing. One skill point gets you one Skill add. In play, it... varies. And I'll get to that next time I post. What you need to know now is that the Bold Skills require training, and are thus more expensive, and the normal ones don't require normal training and are thus cheaper. But at character creation everything costs the same.

So, here are the skills I chose for the above. I'll give consolidated sheets when I get through everything.

The Nanny
Agility:
Stealth 2
Dexterity
Endurance:
Resist Pain 2
Strength:
Lifting 2
Intellect:
Perception 2
Scholar: Teacher 4
Mind:
Artist: Song and Dance 2
Hypnosis 3
Psychology 3

The Psi-Rat

Agility:
Dodge 2
Martial Arts: Tai Chi 4(Chosen because I can BS most GMs into letting me get a +2 on psionic attack rolls)
Endurance:
Resist Shock 4
Intellect:
Psionic Manipulation 3(Psi-Strike 4, Influence 2)
Trick 4
Mind
Psionic Resistance 6

Next time, we cover what these skills actually do and background stuff. Psionics will have to wait.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Just in case some of you didn't see the thread show up, gamegoons aldantefax, Uber Jew and Lynx Winters have announced their own Meikyuu Kingdom localization project, but unlike any others you may have heard about, this one's already got the official stamp of approval from the game makers. Mind, they're still a long ways off from printing, but it's deffo happening for realsies this time, kids.

On a semi-related note, everyone's favorite happy-go-exploring-to-make-dragon-food game Ryuutama just hit Kickstarter earlier tonight and is already funded. Magical laundry knights inbound.

As for me, I'm out of overtime and more-or-less caught up with the thread, so I dunno whether it's been made more or less relevant by that first paragraph, but either way I'll get the next part of the Meikyuu write-up written up and posted 'round about when I do.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



I dig you idea for The Nanny! Training minispies all over the cosmos. And your point about the two faces of John Wick is incredibly spot on, as I will comment on later. But first!

Houses Of The Blooded

I need to spend Style to do what?

The next chapter is for the Players. This contains Wick's advice on how to play HOTB and get the most out of the system. But it's also about troubleshooting and keeping the game together! In his experience, 90% of the problems players have are because the group is not communicating effectively. So far, so good.

Most RPGs, he says, are designed "with cheaters, wankers and munchkins in mind." But not HOTB! Wick trusts the players. In fact, he trusts them so much he's given them all sorts of storytelling power in the game. It's not just the GM's role to make sure everyone's having fun: it's everyone's role. But if you're going to ruin everyone else's fun, go find yourself another game. That's good! Then he goes into a tangent about Diplomacy, and how he loves Diplomacy, but that game is capital-C Cursed because you must do everything to win and as such he doesn't play it with friends. Games like Vampire, L5R and HOTB also have this Curse. So be warned! You may not be comfortable with that, or have the Courage to play!

Gamers are obsessed with details. But that's okay, wagers make the details! So Wick doesn't feel bad about leaving holes in ven Law to exploit because...

quote:

See, I don’t believe “good game design” is about fixing holes.


So if the Law is vague or ven economy just plain doesn't work, that's okay! It's not like our culture has clean cut answers. Also something something never watch Rome with historical reenactors. But yes, Wick has made stuff up about the ven, but you won't know the difference anyway unless you're a ven scholar. The point is, there is no ven canon, and as such you should feel perfectly comfortable with adding details to the setting. Is it a small yes/no thing? Spend a Style, decide. But don't make rolls for everything to bank wagers into Style, that's bad form. Also, you can Spend style to correct errors of yours that your ven character would never commit. "Of course I meant..." Also:

quote:

The ven are portrayed as brilliant, scheming masterminds. Of course, not all of us fit that bill.
(Not all of you.)

To simulate the games of 11-dimensional chess ven play, there is The Kibitzing Rule. When you're in a sticky situation, other players can give you suggestions about how to proceed. They just have to spend Style to do it. Also, you should be used to the idea that, since everyone has a measure of narrative control, then other people's ideas about your character can be equally as valid as yours. But it's a good idea to get together and talk with the group about how comfortable you feel about other people messing with your PC like that. Still, give it a shot!

Wick also struggled because it seems that in every game he runs he has a moment where some twist he makes makes everyone stand and clap and call to give him Void Points/Drama Dice/whatever. Only, well, those are pretty drat useless for a GM. So Wick had to come up with a mechanic that encouraged players to reward the GM. Wick does not want you to forget about his PCs. He wants you to hate some so bad you will do whatever it takes to kill them. Or protect them. He works hard to make his NPCs as real (or even more!) than the PCs. As such, NPCs can also receive Style points from the players, and they can use them the same way PCs do. The Narrator chapter has more rules on this but the point is, players can give Style if they like NPCs or feel the GM is doing a great job.

Then he talks about friendly and cutthroat games. I brought this up during the Blood and Honor already so, in short: Friendly games are those where everything is over board, no secret notes. Players set betrayals for each other and willingly walk into them because hey, we're all friends here and we like grand tragic drama. Cutthroat games, on the other hand, are, well, cutthroat. Everyone's out to win and to drive everyone else into the ground. But Wick actually doesn't like to play like that! He cares too much about his characters to do so. If you play Cutthroat, then you should have as much attachment to your character as your average roguelike guy. There's some "min-max" advice for Cutthroat games: get vassals, specialize, get married, build-expand-build-expand, and have an escape plan. This all comes from the famous ven book on politics, philosophy and strategy, LiesLessons. Surely you've read about it?

The following advice is for non-cutthroat games. Make sure your character's hooks are for everyone to see. Your rich internal narrative does nothing for the game if others can't interact with it. So write no more than one page of background, and leave yourself open to build your character through play. Don't play the game "safe", ven are ~*tragic*~ and have weaknesses and your character is not going to die well. Don't make Mary Sues! No one likes them! Ever! Insert Wick's Vietnam con flashbacks here. No secret notes and no secret meetings: everyone is a grown up here. Share your plots: you've got a hated uncle? I have a favorite uncle, maybe they're the same guy! Use wagers and style points to trigger other character's plots. Someone's interrogating a character's shy, easily frightened maid and used a Blessing or something to force them to tell the truth? Bam, spend Style and make the maid change demeanor and answer she's a House assassin spying on her lady. As long as your wagers are leaving openings for others to work with and moving the plot forward, you're Doin' Fine. Spend style for flashbacks or whatever else is cool, just have fun! And don't make John Wick look like a jerk. That's Bad Form.

There's some advice on playing the game troupe-style, like Ars Magica: everyone makes ven nobles, then everyone makes vassals for those nobles. Every season, they play one ven and their servants. There's some stuff on how some ven scholar defined ven literature as either dramatic, operatic or epic, but it's not too interesting. What is interesting is The Dragon: for ven, dragons are not firebreathing beasts, but those moments in time where everything seems to stop. When characters and players stand with jaw open. Pay a Style, declare you've "seen the dragon" and change an Aspect to reflect the moment. Moments are poo poo like seeing your best friend cut down by arrows, seeing your lover leave on the deck of the ship, that sort of thing.

To finish this chapter: John Wick trusts you. No, seriously, he does. Do you want to have a friendly game with him?

Next: Being John Wick.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


quote:

The ven are portrayed as brilliant, scheming masterminds. Of course, not all of us fit that bill.
(Not all of you.)

Oh John, you do go on.

BryanChavez
Sep 13, 2007

Custom: Heroic
Having A Life: Fair


I remember Wick waging a one-man war on rpg.net to prove that Diplomacy was the actual first RPG, because of how much he personally disliked Dungeons & Dragons. When I saw this section in Houses of the Blooded for the first time, I couldn't help but completely lose it.

Redeye Flight
Mar 26, 2010
I liked it--it was witty enough and a lot more impressive than I was expecting for a girl's toy cartoon. So I thought, "Hmm. I'm on Something Awful. I don't see a thread for this anywhere, but other people might like it--it's not like it would be the first cartoon for kids that SA's taken a shine to." So I made a real earnest thread and put it up in TV/IV. And I was both right and wrong, because the forum blew up and fell over, and the thread got raided to shit by FYAD, and in like I think two weeks the show was banned outright because people kept causing fucking drama.


Of loving COURSE he loves Diplomacy. The original killer of friendships and progenitor of backstabbing, agreement-breaking fuckery.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Do style points turn into XP at the end of a session like similar points do in other games?

Cause "Sure you can help out your friend, but it'll cost you Experience Points" seems like something Wick would encourage.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


FourmyleCircus posted:

Always good to find another devote of the immortal vampire who ages backwards. Joseph's also the Joestar with the most screen time. His own series, a primary role in Jotaro's, and he gets several chapters of appearances(felt like half the arc, to me) of Josuke's. Actually, unless you count his influence during the Stone Ocean arc, Joseph appeared more than Dio did. Obviously, not counting New!Dio of Steel Ball Run as Dio.

Anyway, Young Joseph is... The Psi-Rat
Growing up without parents is never easy, but it's worse still when you're a second generation Psionic. If they know, no one trusts you; if they don't you have to be careful not to let the cat out of the bag. You grew up hard, on the streets and in labs. Your rich "uncle" was little more than a researcher trying to find out more about you, to use you as a weapon. Your 'kindly teacher' is prepping you to use as a war machine against Xenos unseen by the rest of the galaxy. The only person you can depend on is yourself. The only weapons you need are your fists and your mind.
And the occasional bottle of Neo Coke Classic.

Joseph really is the best Jojo. And I'm surprised that this character concept worked out so well! If it's not too much of a spoiler, can The Psi-Rat actually do Joseph's "The next thing you're going to say is" trick and if so, how?

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Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Kurieg posted:

Do style points turn into XP at the end of a session like similar points do in other games?

Cause "Sure you can help out your friend, but it'll cost you Experience Points" seems like something Wick would encourage.

HOTB doesn't really use XP, characters advance through training during season actions and getting older. What mystifies me is that you have to use an in-game resource to suggest a course of action for someone else (who, incidentally, isn't compelled to listen to you or anything - if they don't do what you're suggesting, the Style is gone), to the point that there's a specific Aspect with a pretty big drawback that says "no, you don't need to spend Style to do this."

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