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Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

Kellsterik posted:

It's (possibly not very good) German for "consumes blood".
It doesn't actually mean anything, because German grammar doesn't work like that, but the closest thing would be "tastes blood." By way of funny coincidence, it's a pun on "tastes good" in exactly the same way as it would be in English. :v:

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dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord



Ehdrigohr Part 1: Obligatory Intro Stuff

Around the same time Evil Hat was conquering the indie RPG world with their Fate Core kickstarter, a guy named Allen Turner - a fixture in the Chicago gaming scene, a game design professor at DePaul, and a storyteller - was kickstarting Ehdrigohr. Ehdrigohr is a decidedly different take on fantasy RPGs; it's intentionally non-European, based instead on tribal myths and culture from around the world, especially (near as I can tell) Native American and African.

It's got a good origin story, too. Allen does a lot of community outreach to youth, and he likes to use board games and RPGs as part of his service. The young adults he worked with at the American Indian Center in Chicago liked superhero and horror games well enough, but didn't connect much with the standard European fantasy stuff like D&D. So, some of the concepts behind Ehdrigohr started to gel together from there - a fantasy world that they could connect with and see themselves in.

But what's it about? It's "tribal people meets Princess Mononoke meets I Am Legend and The Black Company." It's post-apocalyptic tribal survival horror fantasy.



quote:

Ehdrigohr is a tabletop role-playing game where you get to play a character struggling to survive in this recovering world. It is a fantasy game of high heroics, myth and culture, powerful magic, and survival horror. The tides of darkness are overwhelming but this is not meant to be a game of nihilism. It is about hope. Your characters are the mythic heroes who do impossible things that push back the tide.
...
Though it is a human-centric world, each of the cultures of Ehdrigohr promises to have its own flavor steeped in magic. These are not “primitive” cultures but nations that have chosen their own interesting paths and traditions in their effort to survive the ravenous hordes that come in the night. Though it presents a different flavor of fantasy, there is a point of entry for many styles of play. There is high adventure, political intrigue, delving, social plays, secret societies, monster bashing, monster fleeing, and so on.

So, in other words, you'll still get a chance to slay monsters and be heroes, but there's a lot more purpose to it. Culture, community, and society are a lot more important than in your traditional D&D-style dungeon-crawlers.

Oh, and the art? Is amazing. Mr. Turner has connections with some local Chicago artists, and went all-out, near as I can tell. (Sadly, though, the printed book doesn't do the artwork justice; the pages are matte and there's a rather overpowering background which gets printed under it.)


Yes, I posted this upthread. Every post can be improved by a giant turtle with a city on its back.

From what I've read so far, this is a real labor of love. But I'm not convinced about its implementation of the mechanics; perhaps you goons will have more input on that. There's parts that are crunchier than I would expect - but that's kind of been a theme with most of the Fate Core stuff I've seen, for whatever reason, including the core book itself.

For the sake of this review, I'm going to assume everyone has at least a passing familiarity with Fate's rules. A lot of them are reprinted from the Fate Core SRD, and it will let me focus on the fun, new stuff instead of the stuff you already know. Fate Core isn't nearly as franca a lingua as D&D or d20, but it's probably close these days.

Anyway, I hope I can do this justice. It's a heck of a tale to tell.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Is there a culture that grows technology? I know it's way to early in the review to ask that, but the concept of a society that lives in the remains of the past and uses technology, but doesn't make it just kind of hit. Need an alarm clock? Coax an already existing one to reproduce. Want a oven with a stop top? Try to breed your currently existing ovens into it.

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

Tasoth posted:

Is there a culture that grows technology? I know it's way to early in the review to ask that, but the concept of a society that lives in the remains of the past and uses technology, but doesn't make it just kind of hit. Need an alarm clock? Coax an already existing one to reproduce. Want a oven with a stop top? Try to breed your currently existing ovens into it.
No idea yet! I am reading as I am going. I think it's pretty low tech though, as was the pre-apocalyptic world.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

Tasoth posted:

Need an alarm clock? Coax an already existing one to reproduce. Want a oven with a stop top? Try to breed your currently existing ovens into it.
That would be a pretty hilarious idea for a setting all by itself.

Nihilarian
Oct 2, 2013




Tasoth posted:

Is there a culture that grows technology? I know it's way to early in the review to ask that, but the concept of a society that lives in the remains of the past and uses technology, but doesn't make it just kind of hit. Need an alarm clock? Coax an already existing one to reproduce. Want a oven with a stop top? Try to breed your currently existing ovens into it.
Try to put on mood music for your toasters to get freaky, but the radio is going through a phase and won't turn off the punk rock.

I'd play it.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I'm a lovely person who deserves to be happy!


Sorry, quick question on the "snake-fall" book, but why in the holy piss aren't the Nordic countries currently laughing and rebuilding Uppsala? Seriously, I know Thor is pretty much one of the more important Gods to humanity, but where in the hell are Baldar, Foresti or Frey? They were also known as being friends/acceptable to humans so why are they not currently holed up in Sweden preparing to join up with the various Finish and Estonian gods and annihilate Russia.

Still, this may well be beyond the scope of the book.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Josef bugman posted:

Sorry, quick question on the "snake-fall" book, but why in the holy piss aren't the Nordic countries currently laughing and rebuilding Uppsala? Seriously, I know Thor is pretty much one of the more important Gods to humanity, but where in the hell are Baldar, Foresti or Frey? They were also known as being friends/acceptable to humans so why are they not currently holed up in Sweden preparing to join up with the various Finish and Estonian gods and annihilate Russia.

Simple, no one outside of Europe gives a drat about Scandinavia aside from occasionally being a place where it's really cold and people talk with funny accents and that aren't Italy/France/Germany/Russia. :v:
Same goes with the gods, no one cares about the rest of the asatru gods except Odin and Thor.
(:sweden:)

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

Cooked Auto posted:

Simple, no one outside of Europe gives a drat about Scandinavia aside from occasionally being a place where it's really cold and people talk with funny accents and that aren't Italy/France/Germany/Russia. :v:
Same goes with the gods, no one cares about the rest of the asatru gods except Odin and Thor.
(:sweden:)

:sweden::respek::sweden:

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Pththya-lyi posted:

Miracles
Requirements: Novice, Knowledge (Religion) d6+, Special
In a world where the Norse religion has been definitively backed up by a giant fuckoff snake, you’d expect the other faiths to be on the wane, but nope! People of all religions are harnessing divine powers. Hite suggests that the GM restrict the Miracles background to NPCs by putting practical limits on miraculous abilities – the need to take hallucinogens, rituals that go on for days, purity requirements, etc – that make it hard to be a good miracle worker and an adventurer. Different religions require different Hindrances: Mormons, Christians, Jews and Muslims have to take Holy Roller; Buddhists and Hindus have to take either Poverty or Minor Pacifism; everyone else takes Outsider. (Forcing people to take Holy Roller in order to work miracles in their faith traditions kind of annoys me; I disagree with the notion that being devout means being obnoxious. But I’m not the game designer here, and it’s not like a GM can’t house-rule a different required Hindrance.)

I may be misremembering but I seem to remember being an evangelical was frowned upon in most of the Jewish faiths. Seems kind of odd that they'd get lumped in with the other Abrahamic religions in that regard. If anything I think dropping a snake on the planet would push them in the opposite direction.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I'm a lovely person who deserves to be happy!


Cooked Auto posted:

Simple, no one outside of Europe gives a drat about Scandinavia aside from occasionally being a place where it's really cold and people talk with funny accents and that aren't Italy/France/Germany/Russia. :v:
Same goes with the gods, no one cares about the rest of the asatru gods except Odin and Thor.
(:sweden:)

... I swear to God, we really need to get the Glorantha guys in here to do a full myth write-up of all of the cool poo poo you could be getting up to with the Latvian and Finnish pantheons.

I mean the whole idea of two sets of gods (one representing water and farming and the other the sky and raiding) is just so cool and nobody does anything with it.

Josef bugman fucked around with this message at 23:24 on Jan 19, 2014

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Day After Ragnarok sounds less cooler the more I'm hearing about it.

Seriously, why are the British king shits when 10% of the population of the British Empire that controlled the other 90% was under the Snake when it impact the ground? Also, you'd think the Welsh would be screaming "oddi ar ein tir" at English refugees and putting up signs in Welsh.

Edit: I know I keep harping on this, but London was literally the center of the financial universe for them. With the destruction of the Bank of England and the American dollar in freefall from the devastation of the East Coast, the British pound is worthless. That means the colonial militias aren't going to get paid defending white foreigners, or the colonies revert to local currency that the British elite in the country don't have.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 23:55 on Jan 19, 2014

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Kurieg posted:

I may be misremembering but I seem to remember being an evangelical was frowned upon in most of the Jewish faiths. Seems kind of odd that they'd get lumped in with the other Abrahamic religions in that regard. If anything I think dropping a snake on the planet would push them in the opposite direction.

Judaism doesn't evangelize, no. (Generally speaking; there may be a denomination that does, but I never heard of any growing up.) In fact, my rabbi when I was a kid explained the conversion process and any prospective convert will be turned away three times, to ensure they're really serious about it.

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.


Empire Of Satanis: There is of course more, but I will spare you.



Fiend Race Mega-Update


Did you know there are gods other than Satanis? It's true! Leedra-rive, Odhra-guoa, Drekth-crom and Toola-vra all have a stake in K'Thana, and have their own Fiends to enact their will. Leedra-rive is 'a struggling, elder, insectoid God bathed in leprous and discordant amber hued liquid fire.' Drekth-crom is 'the God of all thing that lurk in the gloom of hideous twilight.' Toola-vra is 'the God of Nonsense and Childish Amusement'. Does any of this matter? Nope.

None of these gods get their own write-ups. All of the descriptions I'm quoting come from the race descriptions. Speaking of which, let's have more of those!

Leedra-rive has two races:

The Kanaima: This poo poo is bananas. I'm just going to quote the whole thing.

:wtc: posted:

In the untamed jungle outside K’thana, beyond the rainbowed barriers between the planes, beyond the unlit and unexplored reaches… lives a race. A race like us and unlike us. I hazard to even speak of them. Only to warn do I reveal what lives outside our civilized infernal dominion. This race is the Kanaima, a scattered tribe of devil insect witchdoctors who live in remote caves of Thigh-ah. The Kanaima appeal to a terrible God that is nourished solely on pain and torment, a level of suffering is carried out in this God’s name that sickens me to even contemplate it.

This tribe of devil insect withdoctors scans and sifts the planes for a suitable victim, someone strong as well as someone nearby, an outsider. For months, they stalk their victim, leaving little signs that a Kanaima is watching. When the victim is alone, the fiend takes them and brings them to his cave, bound in chains. The torture begins with the shredding of the victim’s anal lining. Barbed reads (sic) are used for aggravating the anal wounds. There is of course more, but I will spare you. The God of the tribe grants the
witchdoctor power based on the suffering he inflicts on his victim.

After the victim has died, the corpse is buried in a shallow grave near the cave. A period of three weeks or so go by, then a hollow bamboo shoot is stabbed through the dirt and into the body. The Kanaima proceeds to suck out the “death juices” through the hollow bamboo shoot. This also gives power to the witchdoctor. Finally, the corpse is left to decompose. The bones are dug up and used in a ritual to find the next victim. And the process repeats.

+1 Blood Magic, +1 Torture.

Rive-zella:

quote:

Preying mantis demons with alien beacons shedding an emerald illumination. They have spent many decades in a prison dimension, Nahl, paying for their sins against Leedra-rive.

The book says they have a 'foul, untrustworthy nature', but compared to the Kanaima they seem pretty sweet. They can fly through hyperspace, which has made them natural travellers and explorers much like the Dourge. +1 Hyperspace Sorcery, +1 Dimension Magic.

Ohdra-guoa has three races:

Guoa-asht:


quote:

[The Guoa-asht] pride themselves on being the least human looking with their three small heads (each one about half the size of a regular head), and ectoplasmic purple-red flesh.

Like vampires, except they drink souls instead of blood. They were created by Satanis but reborn through Ohdra-guoa, and this Double Divinity Combo Breaker has turned them into arrogant dickholes. It says that they don't care about spirituality and just become degenerate hedonists, because you really loving needed another decadent hedonist race.

Their racial bonus is annoying. They get three skill levels in three non-magical 'personal speciality' skills that make sense for their character's background, but I'm not sure if this means you can just pick from any skills or if you're expected to make up your own – a tricky thing considering the game already has like a bazillion different skills already. They also get 500 zirkas (the game's currency) in starting equipment, and start in the second of the two estates in K'thana society.

The Guoa-asht write-up is the only time the estates are ever mentioned. :argh:

Lurigeatro:


quote:

Physically they have very small ears or no ears at all, an elongated tongue, multiple amber hued cat eyes randomly placed on their head, and a mass of wriggling green worms emerging from their spine. These fiends were spawned by the god Odhra-guoa; and naturally feel at ease with the Guoa-asht.

Juggalos. They're the carnies and circus-freaks of K'Thana, and take credit for establishing both the Carnival of the Sleeper and the Decadent Masquerades. You'd expect them to be whimsical Kender or Malkavian types, but they're actually business-oriented mathematicians. +1 Mask Magic, +1 Candy Land Magic.

Tshahg:

:yohoho: posted:

Ooze covered skeltetons with dreadful glowing eyes. Their rotting flesh and fungi occasionally sprout from their exposed bones.

Devout holy warriors who have returned to K'Thana after a century-long crusade through the other planes. This is a big deal, and a lot of Fiends aren't comfortable with the addition of yet another psychotic warrior cult to the general population – but come on, this is a setting with the Kanaima. At least the skellies aren't going to rape you to death with anal reads. They make a scary screaming noise represented by a +1 Umentionable (sic) Shriek, and +1 to either a combat skill or Fungus Magic.

Drekth-crom has three races:

Malakho:

quote:

Their skin is a charcoal grey, sometimes with streaks of white or one of the many wonderful shades of green. They also have six fingers on each hand.

Yet another loving race of tribal barbarians. They live in the shadow jungles of Tharr like the Kurur-esh, but they've also discovered a portal that has let them colonise the death world of Toe-Viah. Most of them worship the Chaotic Evil Drekth-crom over the Lawful Evil Satanis. +1 Hideous Twilight Magic, +1 to a higher cost combat skill.

Sairmenow:

quote:

Draconic, troglyditic, swamp zombies. One of the things I can tell you about them is you can see the fear in their eyes…yours. Physically, they are naturally hairless with elongated fingers, and stand seven feet tall, almost a foot taller than most fiends.

Violent mercenaries from the Corpselight Swamp. They can vomit up their souls and send them out to explore. They get heavily into voodoo and sometimes become powerful shamans. +1 Puppet Magic, +1 Hideous Twilight Magic.

Zibza:

quote:

A gnarled, scaly black tree with irregular, eldritch, and dripping limbs. A dozen small toad heads suddenly erupt from its porous ebony skin when amused, startled, or angry. These dozen or so small toad heads whisper of the gloom, shadows, and the nightmare of existence.

One of the first and oldest Fiend races. They're heavily into demonic racial purity, and think K'Thana's having a sort of demonic Time of Thin Blood. They don't worship the Gods, instead seeing them as equals and rivals. I think it's pretty funny that the Guoa-asht think they're the least human-looking Fiends when these guys exist. +1 Plant Magic, +1 Nightmare Technology.

Toola-vra
has three races:

Lashera:

quote:

The Lashera have two hairy ape like heads, their bodies are covered with crimson and violet scales, each arm ends in a forest green suckered tentacle, an extended pineal gland grows out of their forehead like a little worm, and a mouth grows out of their abdomen, its lips hungrily smacking, teeth grinding, and it’s giant tongue reaching out.

They're your typical Kender/Malkavians, a bunch of crazy jerks who were supposedly born from a bad dream. +1 Candy Land Magic, +1 Dream Magic.

Vahs-vra:

quote:

Vahs-vra resemble dead babies with clown makeup and grotesque bulging eyes. Some are so well fashioned that they don’t look like
dummies, or dolls, at all but real babies. A few are made very crudely and look more like badly carved blocks of painted wood than young children. Their lower half reminds one of a snake as they slither towards whatever mischievous sickness entertains them at the
moment.

Living ventriloquist dummies with a poisonous bite. If it seems like the Toola-vra races get shorter write-ups, it's just because there's nothing said about their place in Fiend society, just endless bullshit about how they look. They get +1 Paralysing Bite, which is a reskin of the Quivering Palm skill, and +1 Candy Land Magic.

“The Smile”:


quote:

“The Smile” are mostly a just a mouth, brightly colored lips with eye stalks growing from the top and sides. Below, a twisted crimson torso writhes below the gigantic grinning mouth.

Turned into big stupid smiley faces because they criticised God. They constantly rant and mutter. The Zibza position on theology doesn't seem so smart now. +1 Word Magic, +1 Flesh Magic.

Finally, you can play a Human/Fiend Hybrid. For some loving reason, there's a lot of humans who've settled in K'Thana, even though the Fiends just constantly murder/rape/enslave them. This has resulted in an influx of Hybrids, and life pretty much sucks for them. They still get +1 to any type of magic.

There's a thing on race relations which is stupid and useless. The Guoa-asht, Lurigeatro and Tshahg run the joint with their stranglehold on the political and entertainment sectors. The Malahka, Zibza and Sairmenow live on the outskirts of society. The Zirakeans are loners who everyone looks down on because of their violent tendencies. The Zeph n' Glarl, Vihm, Blazht and Dourge are 'the backbone of Fiend society' because they're all civilised or some poo poo.

All of these races suck. The names all run together; even after reading the write-ups several times, I'd still be hosed trying to name and describe each race off the top of my head. Most of them are one-note reiterations of the same psychotic warrior/tribal barbarian/hedonist noble archetypes. So many of them are described as antisocial jerks that it's not clear how they're meant to work together as a party. There's a lot of conflicting information – how are Vihm so socialised if they're mute loners?

Worst of all, it's boring. All of the Fiends read like monsters a little kid would make up. There's nothing that would make me want to play any of them. The descriptions of your splats should make me want to get right in and start making characters – if they don't, you done hosed up.

Next: I finally start talking about the system.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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



Chapter 7: City by the Spire

This chapter is a general layout of the city, covering information and topics not confined to any one district. Chapters 7 through 18 cover the city proper, not including the dungeon environments below (those are chapters 19 through 23) or the Spire itself (chapters 24 and 25).

Cook starts off by describing the city’s mood. Well, it is first and foremost a concentration of all the interesting stuff in the world. Nowhere else will you find a fortress of angels and aasimar, nor an expansive underground dungeon complex and adventurers seeking its wealth and glory. Despite having a reputation as an Imperial backwater, the Commissar and the Empire at large tolerates this arrangements. Adventurers in general are known for their mighty magic, violent lifestyle, disregard for the law, and containing various unsavory sorts such as tomb-robbing rogues, mercenaries, and arcanists. By coming to Ptolus, other nations don’t have to put up with them, plus their skills are useful in bringing wealth to the city and handling the threats underground.

Ptolus is also one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Whereas most nations are overwhelmingly human (90%+), Ptolus’ population is only 70% human with a smattering of other races. It has served as a haven for worshipers of non-Lothian religions and arcane spellcasters. Due to the Brotherhood of Redemption’s efforts, more than a few monsters are official city residents (and thus citizens of the Empire).

Ptolus’ population is around 75,000 people, counting only official residents (no ratmen, skulks, or dungeon-dwelling entities). Were one to count the underground communities, it would add about another 5,000 (not counting the dark elf cities), and another 1,000 if one were to count the undead and fiends in the Necropolis. The most racially diverse district is Midtown, with elf, centaur, litorian, and halfling neighborhoods. Orcs and lizardfolk don’t receive warm welcomes and tend to live in the Warrens (alongside other undersirables). Dwarves tend to congregate in the Guildsman district, while houses of worship of deities popular to various races have at least some representation in the Temple District.



In regards to character classes, the vast majority of the city has levels in Commoner, with Expert and Warrior being the next 2 common ones, and more than its fair share of Aristocrats. In regards to PC classes, there’s 5 times as many of them than normal, because so many people with these classes come to Ptolus which is a more welcoming environment. Barbarians, Druids, and Rangers are still quite rare.

City Map, with icons representing districts. Western districts are Noble’s Quarter, Oldtown, Rivergate, and South Market. Midtown, Temple District, and North Market are in the relative center. The Necropolis, Warrens, and Docks are in the northeast, while the Guildsman District dominates the southeast:



Government

Ptolus is part of the Empire, and thus ruled by a Commissar, or regional governor who administrates a city or region in the Empire’s stead. The current Commissar is Igor Urnst, and elderly general and war veteran who’s held his position for 18 years. He’s quite popular around the city, in part due to his military victories in the Gnoll War, and is willing to accommodate the needs and desires of Ptolus by delegating more power to the City Council (which is comprised of nobles, guildmasters, and other influential individuals). He also has a group of advisors, the Twelve Commanders, to coordinate efforts in times of crisis. This gives the impression of a man willing to listen to alternative views and experience in matters outside his expertise, as opposing to a supreme ruler making all of the decisions. In reality, Urnst has trouble admitting to mistakes and this has caused him to butt heads with the Holy Emperor more than a few times, especially in matters regarding religious liberty for minority faiths. This most recent move has made Urnst all the more popular among Ptolusites, so there’s a political aspect to it, too.

Commissar Urnst:



The current Council has 25 members, along with a representative from each noble house. Cynical residents refer to it as the Council of Coin for focusing mostly on economic issues and being comprised of the upper class, although the Council prides itself of not being governed by the rabble.

As for the Church of Lothian, priests are technically members of the Imperial government. The Church has a strong presence in Ptolus ever since Holy Emperor Cheroboth Ylestios built the Holy Palace in the Noble’s Quarter in 657 IA, where the Prince would live until he ascended to the title of Holy Emperor himself. This was done to quell the religious upheaval in Ptolus due to the influx of minor faiths, and it has been quite successful. Now it is also home to both the Prince, Kirian Ylestios, and the current Holy Emperor, Rehoboth Ylestios. Church officials can command the City Watch to a limited extent, and have special privileges under the law, affording them a great deal of influence.

As for law enforcement, the City Watch are the primary peacekeepers of Ptolus. They are less akin to a modern-day police force and have more in common with the soldiers maintaining order in an occupied city. Their primary goal is to “keep the peace,” and as such have the power to arrest anyone for any reason (although they take care not to arrest the “wrong sorts of people”). They are authorized to use deadly force if need be, although they spend more time deterring crimes as a preventative force and breaking up fights than actually investigating wrongdoings in-depth (that’s the jurisdiction of the courts and various intelligence agencies), with the exception of criminals with a history of repeat behavior. They are very competent at their jobs, knowing the ins and outs of organized crime groups, and regularly scout areas where trouble can brew (such as abandoned warehouses and alleyways). They are typically equipped with chainmail armor (with trademark blue tunics), along with masterwork weapon and some normal ones (typically battleaxes and spears and light crossbows). A few guards per watch house are trained in the use of firearms and have dragon pistols instead of crossbows. A captain of the guard wears full plate armor with a special insignia and yellow sash.

Watch houses are divided into precincts based upon city district, with the exception of the Warrens and Necropolis. They serve as central headquarters, barracks, and jailhouses. Various bells on posts are placed throughout the city to be rung, which indicates trouble and summons watchmen within hearing distance. Care has been taken to reasonably distribute them.

Typical guards are 2nd level warriors, while constables are 5th level fighters. The average captain’s a 10th level fighter. There are some special guards with spellcaster levels here and there as well for handling certain types of crimes.

Soldiers around the fortress of Dalenguard are a specialized fighting force known as the Commissar’s Men, and thus the typical member has 3 levels in Fighter.

A spellcasting branch of the Watch is known as the Goldshield, arcane spellcasters who patrol high-traffic areas such as the North and South Markets. They use divination spells to catch spellcasting and invisible thieves and criminals, and their headquarters is based in Oldtown.

The Imperial Eyes are an organization of spies weeding out threats to the government. In Ptolus they serve under the Commissar, and managed to infiltrate numerous organizations, notably the Balacazars, the Church of Lothian, and various noble houses.

The Economy

Traditionally Ptolus was a coastal trade city with some mineral desposits in the mines, but over the last seven years it has experienced a boomtown effect of adventurers uncovering great riches in the Dungeons beneath town. It’s assumed that any item priced 100,000 gold pieces or less is available (if not sold openly). Magic items, however, are highly restricted and go through the Dreaming Apothecary or Myareth’s Oddities in the case of permanent ones beyond the wand/potion/scroll combo. PCs can easily sell up to 150,000 gold pieces worth of goods at any one time, and an equivalent amount of a certain item is up for sale at any one time as well. Certain goods are illegal (such as some drugs) or heavily restricted (a license to buy firearms or cast certain spells within city limits).

The city still uses the copper/silver/gold/platinum standard. Silver’s used the most and is the standard rate of exchange, gold is used among the more affluent, while platinum coins are rare and some common shops refuse to accept them. The Empire has been developing letters of credit, basically paper money worth a certain amount. It is mostly used among merchant companies and has yet to catch on with most people, but the city’s wealthy use them because it’s inconvenient and dangerous to carry around thousands of gold pieces at a time. The Inverted Pyramid, in defiance of Imperial law, is also minting its own triangular “mage coins” which can be teleported into the hands of the last person who touched them (making them perfect for storing in secure vaults).

City Layout

Even without its most recognizable feature, the City by the Spire is a very vertical place. The westernmost section of Ptolus is also its highest, the Noble’s Quarter, from which one can look out to the rest of the city. As one heads east the elevation decreases, right up to the docks right by the edge of the Whitewind Sea in a grand waterfall. The King’s River flows through the center of town before emptying out into the bay. Ptolus stretches about two miles east to west, and one can easily tell the time by the position of the Spire’s shadow cast over the city.

The wall surrounding Ptolus was originally built in 587-590 IA. It restricts access from the north and south, and since the city has never been attacked many residents do not take it seriously. Guards patrol the walls along with towers, but they use the positions to look into the city and not outward.

Five gates provide access into Ptolus, three on the south wall and two on the north wall. The gates leading into the north and south markets are the major thoroughfares, with the other ones on the south newer additions for the sake of convenience. The minor gate in the north wall is the Old City Gate. Guards stop people at each gate, and people can only enter the city by displaying Imperial Identification Papers and a 2 copper piece toll per person (more for livestock and cartloads of trade goods). It’s a daily toll paid only once, although people don’t need to pay a toll to leave the city. Merchants must pay a 5% levy of the worth of their goods when transporting goods. Trying to get around this can result in fine and seizure of goods (they’re treated as smuggled items and contraband).

We also get a list of some major thoroughfares Ptolusites use to get around town, with the Emperor’s Road being the one which connects Ptolus with Tarsis and winds through Oldtown all the way to the South Market.

As for the Spire itself, well most Ptolusites don’t know much about it, and everyone realizes that it’s too impossibly tall to be an act of nature. It reaches 3,000 feet into the air and is composed mostly of dark grey rock, which grows blacker the farther one ascends. It has a sinister reputation among residents, who attribute all sorts of nefarious origins (demonic sculptors, the corpse of a mad god, etc), along with equally tall tales about the fortress at its top (which most people can’t see and some even doubt there’s one at the top). People do know about Goth Gulgamel, but only that it was Ghul’s fortress, and even then most only know him as an evil conqueror and nothing more. Additionally, no explorers or mages who ventured up the Spire past a certain point have ever returned or been seen again. It’s common knowledge in Ptolus that bad stuff happens up the Spire, and most capable of flight give the Spire a wide berth.



Here’s a section of the chapter I like, as it gives a feel of an average morning day in Ptolus better expressed through a quote:

quote:

It’s the smell of the city that gets to you first. No matter where you stand, you probably smell the rain, because it likely either just finished raining, is just about to rain, or is raining now. The odors of damp clothes and people, moldy wood, wet straw, rain-slicked stone, and burning wood and coal mix together to create a unique aroma. But if it’s not raining, this smell mingles with the odors of cooking food, domestic animals, garbage, and sewage. The latter two aren’t as bad as they could be; the sewers in Ptolus, as in most large Imperial cities, are quite efficient, and the constant rain keeps their contents moving. After the smell, it’s the noise you notice. People aren’t shy about shouting to their neighbors out their windows, or calling down the street from their doors. Tolling bells and sounding horns signal various religious rituals from the Temple District, and entertainers sing, play instruments, and tell jokes in the street. Street orators attempt to inform and persuade those who will stop to listen, while bellringers shout out the news of the day for those too busy or too ignorant to read one of the many local broadsheets. Behind all those sounds, in many areas of town you can hear the rushing waters of the King’s River through the ravine that cleaves the city in two, or the crashing of waves on the Cliffs of Lost Wishes at the city’s edge. No matter where you are in the city, you can look up and see the Spire, unless it’s raining so hard that the sky is just a swath of grey. As you look west, the city rises. To the east, it falls until it reaches the cliffs.

The skies of Ptolus are unlike anywhere else in the Empire. In addition to the Spire, one could see hot air balloons owned by noble families, mages under the effect of flying spells, adventurers and druids riding upon winged beasts, and dragons and demons might be spotted across the horizon on some errand. For normal transportation most people walk, but there are carriages for hire easily reachable by the average citizen, and the wealthy own their own private carriages. As for communication, couriers are very common, along with Shadow Sendings (magical missives which take the forms of black birds which carry a pre-recorded visual and/or verbal message to a specific indivudal). Town criers are part of the Bellringer’s Guild and paid to inform people of news, usually vital bits of information by the Commissar.

On the more magical front, Shadow Sendings are managed by House Sadar, and despite its sinister connotation it’s merely an efficient and popular use of sending messages to people not at a fixed location. The Inverted Pyramid also uses thoughtstones, which are kind of like mobile phones in that they allow people to chat with one another over a central network. They are not for sale, given only to Inverted Pyramid members and influential people in the city.

Ptolus is also home to several printing presses, and the second most common way to spread information is via newspapers (more commonly known as broadsheets). Ptolus has dozens of publications, and there is no code of journalistic ethics to verify the truth. On the other hand, there is no freedom of the press, either, and the Commissar has (and will) shut down papers deemed a threat to public safety.

The Courier is the most prominent newspaper and focuses on important events around the Empire. It has a pro-Empire bias it tries to hide under a “fair and balanced” front.

The Guilder focuses on news and gossip pertaining to the city’s guilds. Ownership changes frequently whenever a new guild takes it over, so biases can change suddenly.

The Market Voice is largely print advertising for various businesses in the North and South Markets, and focuses on economic news and information.

The Midtown Partisan is a trashy gossip rag which focuses on scandalous dealings of the nobility, and is not shy of making things up to increase sales. It’s secretly funded by House Rau to make the other houses look bad, and their staff and location are secre. They’re the National Inquirer, basically.

The Noble Record is more high-brow, in that it reports on entertainment-related news and its fictional retellings of people are more ‘fanciful’ than slanderous.

The Ptolus Herald is secretly funded by the Republican Movement, which is shamelessly anti-Empire and known for its scathing editorials against the city government. They City Watch has raided it numerous times, but it always starts up again.

The Undergrounder is a broadsheet which focuses on dealings in the criminal underworld, and as such is not widely spread. It recently begun reporting news related to the delver community and the Dungeon.

Our last section is a legend for the future chapters on how to read the entries, explaining what certain symbols mean, what type of information is found in this entry, and so on. It’s quite a useful guide. You have entries for things like district rumors, the average citizens you might see on the street, as well as a map legend for locale types. Establishments also have a 1 to 4 rating for stars (quality) and coins (the most expensive amount of goods they have on sale).



On a miscellaneous note, we have a description of the Republican Movement in a sidebar. It came earlier in the chapter, but I couldn’t find an appropriate place to put it. Basically they are a subversive political groups which wants to see Ptolus become independent of the Empire and establish a governing council of elected officials by a majority of the city’s public. It does not have much support yet, in part because it’s still very secret. The Commissar and the Empire declared the very movement treasonous, and oppose it on ideological grounds for they believe that “rule by the rabble” is insane. The Republicans, on the other hand, call it Government by the People. Their leader is Helmut Itlestin, a high priest of the Watcher of the Skies (look upon the heavens for inspiration) in the Temple District.

And we get a final illustration of a group of adventurers battling a fire giant in Ptolus’ streets. Based off of an incident years ago when the giant made its way out of the Dungeon, through the Undercity, and into Ptolus proper.




Thoughts so far: This is a very informative and useful chapter which helps set the mood for Ptolus. It is quite wordy in places, detailing things down to common street names and the typical materials of common buildings (which I skipped), but overall I liked it. My favorite parts were its means of information access, combining typical old-world style stuff (broadsheet newspapers, couriers) with more fantastical aspects (magical birds and thoughtstones).

Next time, Chapter 8: the Docks!

Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

drat, I should have recognized that problem with Holy Roller! You all are absolutely right that Judaism is not an evangelical religion. There IS a movement in Judaism known as Noahidism which tries to get non-Jews to follow the Seven Laws of Noah, but the book doesn’t specify that. (The Chabad-Lubavitch branch of Orthodox Judaism also has many mitzvah campaigns, which are efforts to get non-Orthodox Jews to adopt Orthodox practices). It is an easy fix, though: either specify that your Jewish Holy Roller focuses on getting Gentiles to follow the Noahide laws or make Jewish miracle-workers take a different Hindrance. It would be better if you didn’t have to house-rule in the first place, but eh.

A more serious problem is with the British supremacy written into the setting. Yes, the British Empire has recovered very well and – with the exception of part of India, which is an independent state – is holding on to its remaining land without any objections by the indigenous people. (There are a lot of anti-imperialist movements in DAR, but the book implies that they're all either anti-Russian or anti-Japanese.) The problem, I think, is that Hite is hewing too closely to his source material – specifically, adventure fiction that shows Britain as the center of the universe. This is a problem with a lot of retro-futuristic fiction, especially steampunk, and I don’t have any easy answers for that criticism.

I DO have an answer for the other criticism you’ve raised, which is that the setting doesn’t hew closely enough to the “canon” of Norse mythology, picking and choosing cool elements while ignoring the rest. This is only really a problem if you’re seeking a game that’s all about Norse religion and culture, but DAR isn’t actually about that and doesn’t try that hard to be about that. It takes a bunch of cool ingredients from a bunch of different sources – including Norse mythology – and throws them together in a stew, and I think it’s a pretty tasty stew. It sounds like a lot of you were expecting a different kind of dish, and I’m sorry that you didn’t get what you wanted. Blame the restaurant for writing a misleading description on the menu, not the stew.

I’m going to start working on the Gear write-up soon. I guess you’re not interested in making characters or campaign concepts, but that’s okay, I don’t need them. :emo:

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


I wonder what a campaign to try to penetrate the World Serpent into Eastern Europe would look like? Maybe a valkyrie/weapons scientist chara takes an interest in what they're doing way over there?

(You want ideas, there's an idea, right?)

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Escaped Russian psychic gunslinger ambling about the Mojave Desert, trying to outrun Nazis who want him for his SPECIAL BRAIN.

Also someone said London three times so you know what that means. LIVE FROM AUSTRALIA, IT'S...



CHAPTER TWO: PART TWO (or ASSHOLES, ASSHOLES, ASSHOLES AND THE DOOMED)

Okay, so Callings. Let's start with callings. Callings are classes, every calling gets some little aspects (called Features) that let them customize what it is they do appropriate to what the characters want. The Callings are Aristocrat, Criminal, Deathwatch Soldier, Detective, Dhampir Vampire Hunter, Doctor, Mourner, Undertaker.



ARISTOCRATS: Aristrocrats are rich! Aristocrats tend to get better learning or eclectic learning from multiple tutors and they get class bonuses from the Etiquette skill. Their Features are Blue Blood which means you can call on familiar or friendly relationships to get doors open for them (just don't be a dick about it) and Deference which means if you do some bad poo poo in front of people like the cops, so long as you are nice to the cops about it and display that you're an Aristocrat you can get away with certain things.

The other Feature they get is Intrigant. It has different stat bonuses and for every level in Etiquette they get another one they can select.
  • Allegiance: People in your service love you and don't want to disappoint you so they'll do poo poo for you to the best of their abilities.
  • Big Game Hunter: You go on Safari in the Wastelands because you're crazy as hell and your trophies tend to terrify people who aren't nuts like you. You get one free reroll on any Survival skill related to the Wastelands and you also get a free elephant gun or heavy revolver and gun brace.
  • Casanova: You can reroll a failed Seduction roll once. You also get +1 to dealing with any character you previously seduced.
  • Duellist (sic): +1 to intimidate anyone who knows the fact that you will gladly kill people who try to gently caress with you. You also get +1 to seduction as honorably killing people gets prospective dates wet. You can kill anyone in a duel and get away with it if you do it in a honorable and fair duel but if you cheat your rear end is grass.
  • Gossip: You can add Etiquette to Intellect rolls for info on current events because you're a gossip.
  • Innuendo: You can encode things in doublespeak to say things aloud that the average unwashed idiot can't understand. He does not realize that the gun represents your penis. Listeners can make a Charm roll to understand what a thirteen year old boy understands the moment he watches stuff on TV.
  • Military Family: You're a fortunate son. +1 Charm rolls to military stuff and you can get the benefit of joining a branch of service for any job you want. Your parents might disown you if you join Deathwatch though. You also might be able to ask for some favors to get soldiers to help you out but don't abuse it.
  • Personage of Distinction: You're so goddamn Aristocratic that lower class and middle class wanting to hurt you have to pass a Will roll equal to your Etiquette+11 and if they don't succeed they kinda just slink away.
  • Social Predator: You can get one free reroll Interrogation and Intimidation rolls because you're a sharp-toothed beast who ruins poo poo with your poison tongue.
  • Stirring Speech: You know how to talk loudly and emotionally. If you have to represent yourself, you can reroll a failed Credibility roll.
  • Untouchable: You can get away with a lot. You can only get caught if you're actually holding the flamethrower you used to burn down the orphanage and even then you only get in trouble if it gets in the papers.
  • Vogue: You're stylish. One free Charm reroll when you're talking to Young Sexy Rich People.
  • Viper: You're really good at lying. One free reroll to a failed Guile roll.
Aristocrats start with the Credentials Quality, Etiquette 2, History 2, Language 2 (any two) and get to pick five of the following at 2: Arts, Gambling, Language, Law, Melee Weapon, Performance, Pistol, Ride, Rifle, Seduction. You also get a fully stocked West End house to live in with servants and stuff and Wealth 7. You also get 40 quid that you can spend on equipment and can only keep 10 of it after character creation.



CRIMINALS: You live by being, uh, a criminal. You get the Feature Flash Thief which means that you get to pick an amount of bonus stats based on your Streetwise level.
  • Adventuress: You're an upper middle class folk down on your luck doing their damnedest to be be an aristocratic consort and you gotta act like it. You can get some bonuses from your aristocrat friends but don't be a dick about it.
  • Alibi: You can always have someone vouch for you who follows what you told them. They can be reputable or crazed homeless but there's no shortage of them.
  • Broadsman: You're a card sharp and you get one free Gambling reroll when cheating at cards. Don't get caught.
  • Cant: You get Rank 5 Thieves Cant and Rhyming Slang, that weird thief language where everything rhymes and is sorta like saying the actual word, like how Solomon Grundy stands for Soiled Undies. If you can actually RP this, you're a crazier man than I am.
  • Casanova: Same as if you're an aristocrat.
  • Cat Burglar: A free reroll on Climbing or Coordination because you know how to break into people's houses.
  • Confidence Man: Ey bruv. Got a real good deal for you. One free reroll for Guile rolls, yeah? Fell off the back of a Prussian zepp, swear on me mum.
  • Cracksman: One free reroll on Safecracking rolls because you're drat fine at it.
  • Escapist: One free reroll on Escapology rolls because, once again, you're good at it.
  • Fagin: You got a whole mess of moppets and urchins who serve you along with a den to keep them and their stolen gear in.
  • Ghost: When you get on the streets, everyone goes mum on who you are or where you are. You also get a free safe house.
  • Gut Feeling: If you get Surprise Attacked, it misses. You have a canny danger sense.
  • Man of a Thousand Faces: Reroll failed disguise rolls and you have a bunch of different personas to adopt.
  • Mobsman: You're a thug! You work for a boss in a gang and do jobs for him in and off-screen in the game.
  • Negotiator: You know how to, uh, negotiate. Free reroll for Credibility, good at it, etc.
  • Nobbler: +3 to Intimidate anyone you've physically hurt because you're good at inflicting specific, intense pain with minimal effort. Should you torture someone, you can do drat near any damage to them without trying.
  • Phantom: Free Shadow reroll, good at it, etc.
  • Procurer: Know a guy, good at it, reroll Streetwise to find what you need.
  • Rothschild: You're good at pretending to be rich and well-off. Use Streetwise instead of Etiquette when making a roll to lie to the rich and you get a free pair of Rich Clothes with which to wear while lying.
  • Screwsman: Lockpicking, free reroll, etc.
  • Tooler: Pickpocket, rerolling, etc.
Criminals get Criminal Associations and Reputation, 2 in Streetwise and can pick three at 2 of: Acting, Appraise, Gambling, Language (Thieves' Cant or Rhyming Slang), Melee Weapon, Pistol, Seduction, Trade, Unarmed Combat. They also get small slum houses to use as hideouts, Wealth 2, 6 quid to spend and 2 to keep out of it.


DEATHWATCH SOLDIER: Join Deathwatch! See people! Shoot people! Shoot lots of people! Burn their houses to the ground! Go back to base, exercise until you can't feel anymore and cry yourself to sleep in your bunk! There's an available Quality and Impediment related to being in Deathwatch. The Quality is being in the Deathwatch Rifle Brigade, a prestigious team of marksman soldiers who excel at sniping. The Impediment is being in the Penal Corps, which means you're an expendable crook not given the full benefit of their training and loyalty programs. You get three Features. Familiarity: Animate means you never have to make a fear test face to face with Animates, Plague Resistance gives you +2 to fight off and avoid The Plague and you also get Military Training which gives you bonuses based on Survival.
  • Broad Shoulders: Your armor doesn't reduce your Coordination stat.
  • Bullet to the Brain: No attack roll modifier for called headshots.
  • Field Medic: No penalties for bad operating conditions because you're so used to digging around in someone's body in the middle of a pile of rubble and not giving them a lethal staph infection.
  • Hold Off: You can parry while grappling due to training with bear-hugging Animates.
  • Keen Eyed: Reroll Perception rolls to notice things.
  • Peak of Vitality: You're healthy and BUFF AS HELL. Free Strong Man Quality and you can reroll some physical rolls.
  • Supply Chain: You know how to requisition some extra gear from a friend in the supply depot. Break, lose or pawn anything and you are hosed next time you need a gun.
  • War Hero: You've seen things, man. And Britain smiles upon your service. Free Credibility rerolls.
  • Wastelander: Reroll failed Survival rolls that do with the Wastelands due to actually being there and seeing some poo poo.
  • Wrench Free: You can escape the grips of the undead and get a +3 to breaking grapples.
Deathwatch Soldiers, in good standing and on duty, start the game with a rifle, pistol, bayonet, two explosive grenades, four clips of pistol ammo and a box of rifle slugs on top of their Deathwatch armor. They live in tents and barracks and have everything they need there and get paid small wages so they start with Wealth 4 and 2 quid to use for personal supplies.


DETECTIVE: Law is the necessary fist that squeezes crime out of the city. Something something metaphor. You can be associated with the cops or not. Either way you're a private dick with a gun, a mask, a duster and penchant for asking questions to crooks. Your Feature is Investigator, which gives you bonuses based on Forensic Science.
  • By the Book: You can use Forensic Science instead of Wit when it comes to interacting with crime scenes. If your Wit is higher, you get +1 to your Wit.
  • Cleaner: Using a Forensic Science roll you can tamper with crime scenes to make things seem different then they really are.
  • Cryptanalyst: Reroll Cryptography, good at it, etc.
  • Dark Lantern: You can operate where the law doesn't want you to. You can reroll Guile rolls.
  • Encyclopaedic Knowledge: Reroll General Knowledge if you need to.
  • Gut Feeling
  • Inside Knowledge: You have a buddy on the force who tips you off to things if you need a clue.
  • Insight: You can make a Wit roll to see if people are lying to you.
  • Investigative Journalist: You write about your cases. Add Forensic Science to Writing to write better for some extra cash. You can also reroll Writing if need be. Can't take this if you're a Police Detective or Illiterate.
  • Keen Eyed
  • Manhunter: You're good at tracking. You can reroll Tracking if you're following a person.
  • Man of a Thousand Faces
  • Master Detective: Reroll Forensic Science to see if you missed anything. You're good at it, you see.
  • Phantom
  • Police Detective: You're on the force and you have some leeway and assets as a copper that can be taken away if you abuse them or act outside of allowable limits.
  • Renowned: Reroll Credibility because you're kind of a big deal.
  • Screwsman
  • Stone Faced: Reroll Interrogation/Intimidation because you're a cold motherfucker.
  • Tooler
Detectives can also get (choose two): Business 3, Criminal Associations, Linguist, Murder of Crows, Nondescript, Photographic Memory, Reputation-Street, Resolve, Safe House, Savant. Detectives get 2s in Forensic Science, Interrogation and Shadow and can choose six out of: Acting, Concentration, Cryptography, Disguise, Escapology, Etiquette, Forgery, Language, Law, Lock Picking, Medicine, Parapsychology, Photography, Pickpocket, Pistol, Psychology, Safecracking, Streetwise, Tracking, Unarmed Combat. Detectives get rubber coats, masks and notebooks and a little place to call home full of case files. You get Wealth 4 and have 15 quid but you can charge people for services or ask for reimbursements from the cops.


DHAMPIR VAMPIRE HUNTER: Goddamn you better ready to be a pretty, nimble, fey motherfucker. I mean that, the book calls you tragic, romantic anti-heroes. Basically you managed to catch Vampirism somehow but you overcame it. Good news is you're not a vampire and people think that's awesome and you're interesting so come to this high-society party and do cocaine off tits with me. Bad news is you're a Dhampir. Dhampirs are half-lifers like ghouls, love the taste of blood and get some trippy vampire powers powered by blood even though it's YOUR CURSE and you really shouldn't drink the stuff. When we get to Vampires, I'll explain what some of these bonuses mean. Dhampirs get Alien Grace, Blood Drinker, Half Lifer, Hatred of Vampires, Heightened Vision, Immune to Vampiric Mind Control, Sense Undead, Unnatural Passions, Vampiric Transformation. Your big Feature is Blood Legacy, meaning leveling the Concentration skill lets you use other vampire powers at a lower level to help you out.
  • Casanova: Of course the first thing you can get lets you get laid faster.
  • Dustman: You're drat good at staking vampires. No penalties for making a called melee heart shot.
  • Immortality: Never age. Ever.
  • Lingering Vitality: Drinking fresh blood from a living donor gives you longer bonuses.
  • Noctuary Agent: You hang out with other professional vampire killers in their clubhouse. You get +1 to charming the other agents and can use the organization to your advantage.
  • Paragon of Inhumanity: You reside in the Uncanny Valley. You were hot, now you're hot in a predatory, creepy killer way and people can't help but notice. You get the Quiet and Haunting Beauty Quality.
  • Secrets of Blood: Drink blood, learn about the source. Drink a vampire's blood, learn EVERYTHING about them and their sires.
  • Social Predator
  • Sol Invictus: You focused really, really hard and now sunlight doesn't damage you ever again.
  • Tempered Passions: You can reroll failed Hatred Against Vampire rolls.
  • Transfixing Gaze: You can Transfix. LOOK INTO MY EYES.
  • Vigil of the Damned: You don't need to sleep anymore. Fun fact: this can drive you cuckoo bananas. Roll to fall asleep and give your sanity a rest.
You get the Resolve Quality, Melee Weapons 2, Unarmed Weapons 2 and any five other skills in the game. You also have a steady source of income from killing vampires and start with 30 quid to spend and Wealth 4. You can also take blood-fueled combat stunts instead of regular combat stunts.


DOCTOR: Be a goddamn doctor in anything you want. Nothing is off limits and it's actually expected that you learn multiple fields of science and medicine. Because let's face it: a lot of people are dying and the more that die means the less people can specialize in poo poo. Be a chemist, be a reanimator, be a philosopher, be all three. Your main Feature is Black Bag, based on your Medicine skill.
  • Alchemical Reanimist: Get a free reroll when it comes to bringing the dead back to life with alchemy using Alchemical Reanimation. It's a hell of a dangerous field though, and failures can be as bad as a success.
  • Chemist: Reroll when it comes to Alchemical rolls for chemistry.
  • Credentials: Your name has weight in the field. Keep up a good rep and you can have good amounts of patients and other scientists to call on. You can also add Medicine to Charm rolls for dealing with other doctors.
  • Euthanasia: You can roll to kill people and patients surreptitiously and make it look like they succumbed to their wounds.
  • Field Medic
  • Forensic Pathology: Use Medicine to autopsy and study the dead to find out who killed them, why and how.
  • Healer: Anyone you tend to recovers in half the time they would normally take.
  • Heal Thyself: Stave off immediate death by doing what you can, taking no penalties to operate on yourself at death's door.
  • Legally Sanctioned: You can perform illegal experiments because the government lets you and keeps up to date on your work. Just keep it under wraps.
  • Life Bringer: You can reroll failed Manufactured Life rolls whenever attempting to make Homunculi or make Anathemas.
  • Peerless Surgeon: Reroll a failed Medicine roll when you're knife-deep in someone's chest.
  • Plague Doctor: You can help someone infected with the Plague or Vampirism escape their effects by repeatedly tending to them. Being treated by a Plague Doctor can let you reroll an attempt to stave off or fight off infection.
  • Promethean Surgeon: Good at creating Galvanic Life, you can reroll failed Medicine or Galvanics rolls related to making and giving them life.
  • Street Doc: Free Murder of Crows plus a bunch of grateful working class patients who can aid you.
You start with the Resolve Quality and skills at 2: Alchemy, Etiquette, Language (Latin), Medicine, Parapsychology. You can get any three other Academic skills too. Doctors start with a valise, wardrobe, brass respirator and a small residence with servants. On top of that you get Wealth 7 and 40 quid.


MOURNER: You're trained to kill with knives and you're very good at it. Mourners are also bodyguards of the rich and famous and a Mourner tends to become a family attachment, keeping watch over the family members living or dead. You're basically an exemplar of purity, loyalty and duty and you must keep quiet with a stiff upper lip at all times. It's a hard, lonely life as a Mourner. Her main features are Exculpus Mastery (their trademark weapons), Familiarity: Animate and Guild Training which depends on her Concentration.
  • Body Mastery: +1 to Initiative and dodge due to years of training.
  • Death Councilor: Mourners are surprisingly good grief councilors, giving them Credibility bonuses to comfort any upset or grieving characters.
  • Decapitator: Any called attacks to the head that deal an incapacitating wound or greater instantly lop off the head of the victim.
  • Disciplined Mind: She can no longer fail any Fear rolls and gets a free reroll when dealing with psychic attacks, possession or the mesmerizing gaze of a vampire.
  • Disconcerting: You're more than a wee bit creepy, lass. +1 to Intimidating.
  • Focused Healing: You recover from wounds and heal in half the time through force of will.
  • Force of Will: Use Will instead of Vitality for Vitality rolls. If Vitality is greater, +1 to Vitality for the roll.
  • Head Taker: No penalties to using an Exculpus for called head shots.
  • Latent Medium: Constant exposure to the dead and dying has given you Second Sight. You can't take any further psychic abilities.
  • Noctuary Agent
  • Permanent Situation: You're the house Mourner of a family who has hired you on for good. You're the bodyguard and have Wealth 6 to start with along with a room of ones own. But you have to behave and not tarnish their name.
  • Twin Blade Fighting: Use two Exculpi at the same time with no hindrances.
Mourners have the Quiet Quality and all have the same skills at 2: Concentration, Etiquette, Melee Weapon, Shadow, Thanatology, Theology. Mourners start with an Exculpus, combat corset and a wardrobe, respirator and veil. They tend to live in flats that do not allow men in, ever, but they're nice flats. She starts with 8 quid and Wealth 4.


Undertaker: You decided to kill for a living for your own reasons. Money, to help the weak, money, kicked out of Deathwatch, because you were broke, money money money. Undertakers are freelance monster killers and shitkickers who almost always start work as boisterous, eager young folks bragging about their conquests who quickly become quiet, callous and efficient. London is miserable and steeped in death like a tea bag in a cup, and the people who know that as much as Criminals are Undertakers. Undertakers have Familiarity-Animates, Plague Resistance, Tough (which doesn't inflict any hindrances for being Seriously Wounded and can remain awake when Incapacitated) and Monster Hunter which depends on Survival.
  • Broad Shoulders
  • Bullet to the Brain
  • Deadeye: You can spot the dead on sight regardless of distance or conditions. Translation: reroll Perception if you need to.
  • Dustman
  • Eviscerator: You can destroy an Animate's whole ability to move with a Fatal hit to the torso. It can still bite, though. Be careful.
  • Huntsman: Reroll Tracking when it comes to following the undead and Thropes.
  • Lore Master: Free reroll for Parapsychology.
  • Mortifier: You can impersonate an Animate for a brief bit through a Survival roll. Just be careful other people with guns don't fall victim to your illusion.
  • Noctuary Agent:
  • Thought Mask: Reroll Will to resist Mental attacks.
  • Wastelander
  • Weapons Expert: You can use any weapon at skill level 2, regardless of training.
Undertakers get the Resolve Quality and skills at 2: Parapsychology, Survival, Tracking, any 3 Combat Skills and any 2 Criminal Skills. Undertakers also have small flats they can use as a base, Wealth 3 that can be supplemented with bounties and 50 quid to use on equipment for their hunt.

There are also rules for Custom Characters. In a nutshell: limited skills, limited features, limited qualities, point-buy. Translation: custom characters tend to suck hard.

So those are the different callings. In any other game, or under less bleak circumstances, I might be so inclined to think that some of these guys are awesome or fun to play. And I'll be honest: don't ask me if they're balanced or not because I really don't know. But we're getting close to the end of character creation, so next time I'll talk about skills and attributes and things that help or hinder you.
NEXT TIME: FINISHING CHARACTER CREATION

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 09:52 on Jan 20, 2014

citybeatnik
Mar 1, 2013

You Are All
WEIRDOS





pkfan2004 posted:


MOURNER: You're trained to kill with knives and you're very good at it. Mourners are also bodyguards of the rich and famous and a Mourner tends to become a family attachment, keeping watch over the family members living or dead. You're basically an exemplar of purity, loyalty and duty and you must keep quiet with a stiff upper lip at all times. It's a hard, lonely life as a Mourner. Her main features are Exculpus Mastery (their trademark weapons), Familiarity: Animate and Guild Training which depends on her Concentration.
If I recall correctly, you're able to play a male Mourner but the option to do so is even more of a special snowflake than the Dhampir Vampire Hunter is.

I the -idea- of the various classes/callings, but I'd be damned if I can figure out how on earth to make an actual party work on an adventure. Unless it's something like a big-game hunter Aristocrat, his much put-upon Mourner bodyguard, and an Undertaker going off on wacky adventures in the Wastelands.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Everything about Unhallowed sounds like it would be more fun if you were actually playing when dark and terrible things first rose and you had a shot at putting them back into the ground with your Lee Enfield, instead of all this 'hopeless and nihilistic because we said so without any cultural or technological progress for 200 years' stuff.

You'd think there'd be a place for a WWI era zombie apocalypse story. You'd have powerful enough technology to have a decent shot, and the imagery of a ton of battered, hosed up corpses in gas-masks rising from a trench to charge the machine gun nests and rifles of the living seems like it'd be suitable.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:



Sheeet, I had no idea that this game was designed by a fellow Chicagoan. I might need to get in touch with this guy.

(also, I'd pay real money for a Chicago flag smilie)

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


Night10194 posted:

Everything about Unhallowed sounds like it would be more fun if you were actually playing when dark and terrible things first rose and you had a shot at putting them back into the ground with your Lee Enfield, instead of all this 'hopeless and nihilistic because we said so without any cultural or technological progress for 200 years' stuff.

You'd think there'd be a place for a WWI era zombie apocalypse story. You'd have powerful enough technology to have a decent shot, and the imagery of a ton of battered, hosed up corpses in gas-masks rising from a trench to charge the machine gun nests and rifles of the living seems like it'd be suitable.

Kinda sounds like Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie if the main villain were more into voodoo and occultism instead of "galvanic" computing. It'd be a zombie game I'd actually want to play.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Night10194 posted:

You'd think there'd be a place for a WWI era zombie apocalypse story. You'd have powerful enough technology to have a decent shot, and the imagery of a ton of battered, hosed up corpses in gas-masks rising from a trench to charge the machine gun nests and rifles of the living seems like it'd be suitable.

Red Wasp Design kind of agreed with you.

This setting is just not set up for a TTRPG at all, like citybeatnik said. It might work for some less interactive form of media, but when there's so little room to alter anything about the setting, what's the point of holding a campaign in it, especially when all the interesting stuff outside London is completely unsupported by the rules?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Davin Valkri posted:

Kinda sounds like Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie if the main villain were more into voodoo and occultism instead of "galvanic" computing. It'd be a zombie game I'd actually want to play.

It's frustrating to me because I ran a game like this in All Flesh Must Be Eaten, and it was one of the best games I've run. The guy I ran it for played as a Victorian governess trying to defend 'her' children as the family came to terms with the zombie apocalypse and tried to get to safety, and it was a ton of fun.

Basically, what I'm trying to get at is that it's really frustrating to see something I know worked and I had a ton of fun with get lost in yet another 'look how mature and grimdark are setting is, you can't actually accomplish anything' jackoff fest. They have an aesthetic I've run before and I know can really, really work in play, then they cock it up. I wish game writers would start to realize that writing the world as unstoppably hosed and everyone as depressed and psychopathic just makes it one dimensional and boring as hell.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 16:32 on Jan 20, 2014

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

SirPhoebos posted:

Sheeet, I had no idea that this game was designed by a fellow Chicagoan. I might need to get in touch with this guy.
Yeah, I am no longer very local (being 2 hours south) but I think he had some meet ups and hits local conventions a lot. :)

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



AFMBE is in fact a much, much better thing to run this kind of campaign in. Matter of fact, one of my favorite campaign settings they officially released is "Frankenstein: 1935". Dr. Frankenstein is recruited to the colleges of London instead of dying on a ship trapped in the ice, he refines his serum to bring back the dead, the Victorian Age continues into 1935 using patchwork zombie labor that require blood to keep going. The serum brings people back from the dead perfectly if administered like five minutes after death or destroys their reasoning and personality the longer they wait, so they use it on eight-hour-old corpses to make sure they're dumb enough to follow commands. The British Empire gives citizens who donate blood to feed the zombies money in return. London has become too reliant on using the undead for industry and policing China, India and other countries they have control over, so the Empire is starting to come apart at the seams due to being too unwieldy and unsustainable because the dead slaves outnumber the living. On top of that, other countries want to steal the reanimation serum for themselves or bring down the British Empire because they see them as an easy topple like the Roman Empire in the 6th century or they're scared of them. Plot hooks involve playing undead who came back to life with their memories scrambled or missing but you're smarter than the rest, being foreign agents trying to extract a (self-loathing) Dr. Frankenstein from England or just steal the secrets, or any other idea you want.

That whole campaign setting? Four pages, includes stats for the zombies, includes plot hooks and minor tidbits of other ideas for you to run a campaign in it. And I think it's cool as hell because it tells me how the world is and lets me tweak things appropriately and make my own game on top of the existing material. That, honestly, is doing it right.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Unhallowed Metropolis kinda reminds me of the world of Dishonored in terms of overall feel, except that UM is starting to look a little over-designed.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

UM feels less like a game and more like a story bible to me, from what we've seen so far.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I'd be interested to hear some of the people reading Unhallowed Metropolis comment on Jenna's Projects: A Manual of Ambition, which was a long-term projects system she wrote for UM that was ultimately left unpublished and released for free.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/knkqqpc1egq6a7k/Projects%20%28A%20Manual%20of%20Ambition%29.pdf

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Bieeardo posted:

UM feels less like a game and more like a story bible to me, from what we've seen so far.

That tends to be the case with a lot of RPGs, I feel, especially the larger settings. TORG has that same kind of air about it where it feels like the designers wanted to be writers rather than game designers, and it really comes through in the presentation. It probably comes from the earlier days of gaming where it was felt that the more detail the better when it came to settings, coupled with the "metaplot is king" factor from the early 90's.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



A Manual of Ambition was an...interesting read, to say the least. A game where you have a project to do and can keep getting more and more corrupt in body, mind and soul by deviating from the more noble goals of the project would be interesting, especially in UM. I didn't wholly understand the rules for it, though, and if you were to put those rules into UM I'm pretty sure you'd just bore your players to death. Interesting but needs heavy polish and also should probably be run separate.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





pkfan2004 posted:

A Manual of Ambition was an...interesting read, to say the least. A game where you have a project to do and can keep getting more and more corrupt in body, mind and soul by deviating from the more noble goals of the project would be interesting, especially in UM. I didn't wholly understand the rules for it, though, and if you were to put those rules into UM I'm pretty sure you'd just bore your players to death. Interesting but needs heavy polish and also should probably be run separate.

That idea could work in a better world's version of CthulhuTech too.

citybeatnik
Mar 1, 2013

You Are All
WEIRDOS





You know, it's dawned on me that the Corruption aspect of UM is basically the worst part of the degeneration rules in the WoD.

Bieeardo posted:

UM feels less like a game and more like a story bible to me, from what we've seen so far.

I've got to agree, that's a pretty good way of looking at it. If they could leverage it in to something like a board/card/video game then I could see some fun directions it could go, or even something approaching a series/novelization. Some of Callings/classes work well together but there's some (Aristocrats/Mourners/Dhampirs) that just don't make much sense to mix up with any of them.

Bringing up comparison between it and the WoD, UM's setting reminds me of the worst parts of the World of Darkness' metaplot, where everything is kind of figured out. The only real way I could see doing anything with it would involve taking a sledgehammer to most of the setting to open it up a bit, or place it in some other location than London. Whether that's going on zany zeppelin adventures with the Prussian Army or going full bore SCIENCE! in the Americas would depend on how you're feeling. Or, hell, a bunch of Londoners going "gently caress this poo poo, we out yo" where the campaign is built around getting a large enough nest egg to get OUT.

pkfan, I look forward to your explanation of how the actual rules end up working together because that was yet another hurdle that I couldn't wrap my head around.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


I'm just disappointed you can't play in the Prussian Sky Empire, fighting the evil french Sorcerer-King. That sounds like a great game right there.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

MonsieurChoc posted:

I'm just disappointed you can't play in the Prussian Sky Empire, fighting the evil french Sorcerer-King. That sounds like a great game right there.
Really. Why would you want to play in "boo hoo everything sucks" London when you could be a Prussian Sky Pirate instead?

Man, I am having Seventh Sea flashbacks all of a sudden.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




She just looks confused, like she's sure that the Vampire LARP was in another convention hall.

quote:

Anarchy and terrorism is a constant threat Deathwatch tries to keep an eye on, cells of bombers and attackers eschewing any affiliation or ideology, dedicated to bringing down the great city of London with their bare hands. It's completely, absolutely suicidal and it makes no sense, but they're irrational and no longer fear death, and for every one cell brought down two more spring up in its place. Again, another thing that might bring the death of London.
The writers of Victoriana also just put down the history books when they came upon the subject of anarchy, and decided that the "Nihilists" really were nihilists who wanted to blow everything up and loot and rape what was left. It's almost as if steampunk geeks are a lot of servile petty bourgeoisie.

pkfan2004 posted:

See, the neglect of Australia really sets me off. The game has a WHOLE mess of world-building for places we'll never go to, ever, because London Is The Most Important City In The World.

...

And they're never gonna make a spin-off France or Prussia splatbook because really the mechanics and the atmosphere cannot work anywhere but London but I don't want to be in London anymore. I want to know why the hell France is so weird or if Australia got mysteriously swallowed up by the great beast Leviathan and that's why we're short a major country who should be important. That's ultimately the biggest failing of Unhallowed Metropolis. It sets up this big, sprawling unappealing meal that is all about a doomed place, gives me a fork and knife to dig in and then it teases me with things I might actually enjoy more than being a Brit in a gas mask shooting vampires but I can't play it because that's not the game. It gives me massive creative blue balls and a headache and yet...I still think about this drat game at times and how it's taunting me with a whole bunch of dirty little secrets it will never reveal to me.
At first I got the impression that London was literally the last inhabitable place on earth and that it could go belly-up at any moment. This chapter seems to be saying that plenty of other countries are still around, and that they're doing a lot better than the UK. Not great, but honestly not any worse than a lot of fantasy adventure settings. But you can't set your campaign there!

Bieeardo posted:

UM feels less like a game and more like a story bible to me, from what we've seen so far.
I'm a picky bastard, and there are very few games I can read without wanting to "perfect" them and mash them up with another system or setting for actual play. But Unhallowed Metropolis, in particular, is a game that begs to be raided for ideas but run in another system with most of the setting made up as you go along. Specifically, I'd probably employ Savage Worlds with the Rippers and Solomon Kane books.

pkfan2004 posted:

AFMBE is in fact a much, much better thing to run this kind of campaign in. Matter of fact, one of my favorite campaign settings they officially released is "Frankenstein: 1935". Dr. Frankenstein is recruited to the colleges of London instead of dying on a ship trapped in the ice, he refines his serum to bring back the dead, the Victorian Age continues into 1935 using patchwork zombie labor that require blood to keep going. The serum brings people back from the dead perfectly if administered like five minutes after death or destroys their reasoning and personality the longer they wait, so they use it on eight-hour-old corpses to make sure they're dumb enough to follow commands. The British Empire gives citizens who donate blood to feed the zombies money in return. London has become too reliant on using the undead for industry and policing China, India and other countries they have control over, so the Empire is starting to come apart at the seams due to being too unwieldy and unsustainable because the dead slaves outnumber the living. On top of that, other countries want to steal the reanimation serum for themselves or bring down the British Empire because they see them as an easy topple like the Roman Empire in the 6th century or they're scared of them. Plot hooks involve playing undead who came back to life with their memories scrambled or missing but you're smarter than the rest, being foreign agents trying to extract a (self-loathing) Dr. Frankenstein from England or just steal the secrets, or any other idea you want.
This is the kind of setting conceit I like, as opposed to unexplainable, cataclysmic events that are out of human hands. Nightbane had Dark Day, Shadowrun and Deadlands both have a Great Ghost Dance, but this one starts with a conceit that some weird science was real, and everything that flows from that depends on people making decisions.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The thing that really gets me is that London feels like the kind of hell-pit fortress-city that you sometimes see in other post-apocalyptic stories and games-- the one that you avoid until Miss MacGuffin gets dragged inside and you have to spend a handful of harrowing sessions sneaking into it and getting her back out again.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Actual changes between editions: it turns out the original edition only had six Callings. The revised edition added Deathwatch Soldier and Detective to the list. Other changes of note: Dhampirs didn't have multiple features that depended on the level of a skill, they just had trippy vampire benefits. Guild Training for Mourners were set benefits and they also had Meditations which let the Mourner sit perfectly still and motionless for up to three days so you could actually roll to do a vigil over a corpse/win a staring contest. You could select some of the Exculpus bonuses under Exculpus Mastery. The others that do have selectable bonuses also had much less to offer. Undertakers didn't have a wealth level, lived in tiny rundown flats and they had landlords that were terrified of them. So once upon a time you could be The Soldier as portrayed in TF2's comics.

Halloween Jack posted:

The writers of Victoriana also just put down the history books when they came upon the subject of anarchy, and decided that the "Nihilists" really were nihilists who wanted to blow everything up and loot and rape what was left. It's almost as if steampunk geeks are a lot of servile petty bourgeoisie.
To their credit, they acknowledge that anarchic terrorism stemmed from socialists and labor movements and the like and really started in the middle 21st century when Parliament started undoing a lot of labor laws and removing social service laws. The terrorists of London today grew up with constant food riots, police crackdowns and Plague outbreaks where even the healthy are killed. As a result they're mostly people who have seen horror and think that life isn't worth living anymore or think that they're sane in the face of institutionalized madness so you should force change by killing Parliament. Either way it's devolved from being about issues and the rights of man to thinking terrorism is a hammer and everything is a nail.

I dunno about you, but I feel like an rear end in a top hat right about now.

CHAPTER TWO: PART THREE (SKILLS, QUALITIES, ETC.)

So your Attributes are Vitality, Coordination, Wit, Intellect, Will, Charm, Prowess. Or Strength/Constitution, Dexterity, Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma and Combat Modifiers. Some of your Attribute levels are hindered by your age.
  • Vitality: High means you're BUFF AND HEALTHY, low means you're weak and sickly. 0 Vitality means you dead, son. An important skill. Helps boost melee combat rolls and reduce damage/environmental effects rolls.
  • Coordination: Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge. Helps determine Prowess.
  • Wit: High means sharp senses and observation, low means you're kinda just dumb and ignorant. Helps determine Prowess.
  • Intellect: Knowledge and smarts, limits your Academic Skill levels.
  • Will: Strength of mind and focus, helps you resist psychological trauma and seeing dead scary people, scary dead people or some unholy hybrid of both.
  • Charm: Lying, intimidating, smooth-talking, picking' up ladies.
  • Prowess: Helps determine how often you act in Combat. Add Coordination and Will.

And then there are Skills. The game advises you be creative with their uses. Don't tell me what to do, game! Having a 5 in a Skill is generally the human threshold but you can have up to 6 if you beg your GM or have the Qualities that let you.
  • ACADEMIC SKILLS: Academic Skill limits are set by your Intellect. They are Alchemy (chemistry+pharmacology), Cryptography, Forensic Science, Galvanics (using Galvanic weapons and making/fixing them), History, Hypnosis (a complicated thing to try), Law, Medicine, Natural Science (biology, earth science, etc), Parapsychology (psychic knowledge, supernatural folklore skill), Psychology, Thanatology (studying the undead, the dying and death itself), Theology.
  • BASIC SKILLS: Skills anyone can learn. Acting, Arts, Concentration (helps Will rolls), Demolitions, Disguise, Drive Carriage, Etiquette, Gambling, Interrogation, Language (the level of each language handles how fluent you are in it), Performance, Performance, Photography, Ride, Seduction, Survival, Swim. Swimming has some more background information: water can become tainted, like the Thames, and sometimes it has to be purified. There also tend to be things worse than Animates, Thropes and Anathemas underwater, big squamous whatevers that like eating folks.
  • Combat Skills: Do fighting better. Every rank in a Combat Skill lets you pick a bonus to that kind of fighting like when you select bonuses from a Feature, like quick draw, resisting grapples and using gun butts to clock people in the face. Archery, Artillery, Pistol, Rifle, Thrown Weapon, Unarmed Combat.
  • Criminal Skills: Stuff bad people do that you can do. Escapology, Forgery, Lock Picking, Pickpocket, Safecracking, Shadowing, Streetwise.
Your age also matters. The game assumes you'll be playing between 18-55 but if your GM will let you be a six year old Mourner or a seventy five year old Deathwatch Soldier then you should A: smack your GM for letting you do that, B: let others smack you for being an idiot or C: consult the chart. A six year old Mourner? Seriously? Remember being six. How in the hell are you gonna sit there watching a corpse for three days and not whine about having to pee or being bored.


WEALTH: Your Wealth stat is just a general reflection of your quality of living and if you ever need to scare up some extra cash then this is what you can expect to find.
  • 0: You have no money. Ever. If you ever manage to find anything, it goes towards tiny amounts of food and you're utterly reliant on other people's help. You're probably gonna starve to death and you lose all starting Assets.
  • 1: You're really really poor. You're hand to mouth but you can afford food at least at the cost of not owning any bed with a roof over it.
  • 2: You're lower working class and probably make money through illegal means. You've got the means to support a small family at the cost of stretching everything pretty thin and make about 12 shillings a week.
  • 3: You're poor but well employed, like a servant or lazy Undertaker. 25 shillings a week, most of it goes towards food and shelter.
  • 4: Lower class but successful. You're probably on the way to doing better for yourself. 40 shillings a week.
  • 5: Lower middle class. You can afford a warm home and good doors and window to keep the smog out. 60 shillings.
  • 6: Middle class with a good income and 80 shillings a week.
  • 7: You're pretty good in your field and make 6 quid a week on top of better living.
  • 8: Very successful and very well off. 10 quid a week.
  • 9: You don't have to work for a living anymore! 25 quid a week and servants. Also criminals probably want to burgle your house.
  • 10: Rich as hell and decadent to boot. 50 quid a week but a lot of it goes towards keeping up your lifestyle.
Worth noting: just because you make that amount per week doesn't mean that's the money you can draw on. The game assumes about 65-75% of your money on a weekly basis goes towards maintaining your lifestyle and unless you go out of your way to do some extra work pretty often, that's all you have to draw on. Also worth noting: the majority of the characters start at Wealth 4.


Ran out of drawn art for this chapter so I'm dipping into the live-action women with goggles and corsets vault.

QUALITIES AND IMPEDIMENTS: You can have 20 points of Impediments and Qualities have costs that you can spend Custom Points on. I'll list them down here by Qualities and Impediments.

QUALITIES
    Social: Animal Empathy, Believed Dead, Business (variable, many levels), Club Membership, Connections (variable), Credentials, Creditor (variable, you're owed a debt or two), Criminal Associations, Estate (aristocrat only), Expressive Eyes, Love (variable, talk to the GM, "talented boy prostitute" is listed as an example of, uh, true love. If you're into that.), Murder of Crows (network of friends, associates, etc. who watch out for you), NCO Rank (Deathwatch only, variable, lets you be a corporal or Sgt. Major, get relevant bonuses), Nondescript, Officer Rank (Deathwatch, variable, be a LT., Captain, Major), Patron (variable, don't be a dick and abuse your privileges to sleep in the crisper drawer :cheat:), Private Anatomy Theater (no, this is not porn), Private Laboratory, Private Library (variable), Reputation (Street or Underground), Rifle Brigade Marksman, Safehouse, Savings, Title (Aristocrat, variable), Trusted Servant, Upper Class, Veteran (can't be taken by current Deathwatch), Wealth.
  • Supermundane, aka Supernatural But Victorian: Bad Tasting, Dreamer (very very very minor and unreliable precognition through dreams), Incorruptible, Poison Blood, Quiet (sneaking so well that even vampires might not be able to find you).
  • Physical: Able Bodied (heal better), Ambidextrous, Gigantism, Haunting Beauty (so goddamn pretty you get +2 to non-intimidation Charm rolls versus sexually compatible characters), Light Sleeper, Long Lived, Strong Man.
  • Mental: Faith, Linguist, Photographic Memory, Resolve (failing a fear roll shakes you but doesn't need another fear roll), Savant, Time Sense (internal clock).

IMPEDIMENTS
  • Social: Criminal Record, Debt, Disowned (aristocrat only), Immigrant (yeah so I was wrong about there being no more racism. But c'mon, you kinda figured, right?), Nemesis (variable, higher levels ensure your doom), Nomad, Notoriety, Penal Corps Soldier, Poor, Secret, Thick Accent (I yam not a Communist, fellow citizen. You are to be thinkink incorrectly, da?), Unlicensed (Undertaker only meaning congrats you're an unofficial killer for hire who has to get another guy to turn in his proof of kill and the police can harass you over it), Wanted, Ward (aka Millstone NPC).
  • Supermundane: Daylight's Curse (Dhampir only. The sun burns but doesn't kill), Good Tasting, Infectious Bite (Dhampir only, be careful when feeding), Malignity (+1 corruption in any path. I...am not sure why you'd take this except for the "bonuses"), Plague Kissed (you will become an Animate after death), Sadist (Dhampir only), Weak Blood (Dhampir only. You can't heal from blood, you age normally, you don't get some Dhampir abilities others might).
  • Physical: Accelerated Decrepitude (you age 3-4 times faster than normal. This is apparently becoming a big problem for people being born. There's a lot of downsides to this, dying from this turns you into an Animate, and this is now Yet Another Thing that might bring London to its knees), Albinism, Allergy (variable from "achoo" to "ergh dead"), Amputee (variable depending on what's missing though prosthetic replacements do exist), Asthma (variable, a terrible idea considering the killer smog), Blind, Consumptive (you have tuberculosis and there are a lot of downsides to it), Deaf, Defects (very common, can only be taken once and then they're determined, perfect for playing an inbred aristocrat), Evil Eye, Fits (variable, causes seizures, why would you take this), Glass Jaw, Haemophilia (historically accurate but not a good thing to take), Lame (as in bad legs), Leper (why would you take this, make monthly rolls to see how you're doing), Lost Eye, Midget, Mute, Prosthetic Oraculum (a replacement eye), Rattler (a very creepy voicebox grafted to your throat) or Ticker (replacement heart), Syphilis (apparently not recommended for PCs because y'know you automatically lose skill strength and if you take it the GM is recommended to punish you for being an idiot. I guess they never figured out that penicillin cures it).
  • Mental: Amnesia (variable), Dim, Fastidious, Hypersensitive, Illiterate, Melancholy, Night Terrors, Sleepwalker, Superstition, Uncontrollable Temper, Weak Willed.
There are also MENTAL DISORDERS which are Impediments which require your character to see a doctor or make rolls should they flare up or get triggered because you're mentally ill. They can be Minor or Chronic (which determines how often they can crop up) and treatment depends on whether or not you go to a madhouse or a sanitarium for prolonged periods of time. If you quit treatment before it's finished, any missteps will eventually lead to all progress being undone, so in a nutshell if you're gonna take this then commit to making them better, then you should have a backup character made. The devs also want you to treat having a mentally ill/insane character seriously and figure out why they're the way they are and to what extent it affects them. Maybe you're traumatized, maybe you're inbred, it's up to you and the GM. Or you can just skip taking these.
  • Catatonia: You tend to be depressed and fall into a torpor if exposed to too much negative stimulus or triggered. If triggered, you have to roll to muster the willpower to get out of your slump.
  • Delirium: Delirium, uh, actually reposts all of the stuff regarding Catatonia. So I guess we'll never know what Delirium for a character is like. Or maybe it's intentionally doing it to confuse me.
  • Dementia: Sleep issues and tricks of the eyes trip you up, making you hallucinate and mistake things for something else.
  • Hysterical Blindness: Sometimes you just go blind, especially under stress. Roll to resist blindness and roll to resume control over your sight.
  • Narcolepsy: Roll and succeed to not suddenly pass out.
  • Necrophilia: Yes, this game can let you share a coffin for two. Apparently it's not uncommon among aristocrats and other people, which is why vampires prostitutes are still around and resurrection men can peddle non-Animate corpses to folks who love stiffs. Failing a roll means that you're immediately preoccupied with getting it on with someone dead or a person you've paid to soak in ice water but not to the extent that you will run the gently caress away to go do it. Succeeding means that you have a -1 to all rolls because it's still on your mind until you're satisfied. I...wouldn't recommend taking this.
  • OCD: Requires some roleplaying to handle. If your tic or routine is interrupted, you have -1 on all rolls for 1d10 until it can be completed.
  • Panic Attack: You're prone to panic attacks. Fail a roll to resist and you're incapacitated for a spell.
  • Paranoia: Requires roleplaying and control checks to not fly off on a delusion.
  • Phobic Disorders: You're scared of certain things and if you can't run from them you have to roll to resist a panic attack or overreacting and trying to destroy it or do something stupid to escape it.
  • Shell Shock: You have PTSD. It's a very, very common disorder in UM. It's always active; you roll to pull your mind in order for a spell and focus. If you get startled, you have to roll to resist retaliating with excessive force.
  • Zoophagus Mania: I immediately wondered where the hell you'd find animals to have sex with before I read it closer. This one is weird. Very weird. It's like OCD but you have an obsession with feeding animals to other animals then eating them. Like, say, feeding flies to spiders then eating the spiders. Or flies to spiders to birds to cats to...you. Or up to and involving cannibalism and forcing others to engage in it. If the ritual of the feeding cycle is interrupted, you get -1 to all rolls if you make a composure roll. If you fail, you single-mindedly obsess over completing the cycle. I don't know who the gently caress would take this or think it's a good psychological disorder to ever use ever.

So that's a hell of a thing to end on, huh? Eating animals that ate animals that ate animals that ate animals. So how do you improve characters? Well you get 1 point playing, extra points for doing well, 1-2 for participating in major events, 1 point for the conclusion of a scenario and extra points for doing a really good job. Pretty standard stuff. The prices are located in the box above and maybe you can get free levels in things during play if you need them the most or do a very good job. I'll admit, I'm not the best GM when it comes to handing out EXP, but this strikes me as pretty similar for stuff like nWoD.

So those are all the steps and aspects of character creation you need to make an actual character. I asked some of my friends for character ideas and I'm gonna do a mock-up of character creation to put it all together next time. Thanks for sticking around to see me draw it these chapters, and believe me when I say I'm condensing stuff. Right now I'm 155 pages in out of 338 and all that has been backstory, world building and character creation. I haven't even gotten to the rules of gameplay yet. Oh well. When I get there, I'll get there.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 02:46 on Jan 21, 2014

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


You know, if they included some physical trait that made you resistant/immune to smog and water pollution, that'd be a huuuuge plot hook. Especially if they tied it thematically to poor folk living at the edge of the river who seem to be doing much better than they should. But no. I also can't help but think of UM America as being min-Woo Hyung's Priest.

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Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


pkfan2004 posted:

•Zoophagus Mania: I immediately wondered where the hell you'd find animals to have sex with before I read it closer. This one is weird. Very weird. It's like OCD but you have an obsession with feeding animals to other animals then eating them. Like, say, feeding flies to spiders then eating the spiders. Or flies to spiders to birds to cats to...you. Or up to and involving cannibalism and forcing others to engage in it. If the ritual of the feeding cycle is interrupted, you get -1 to all rolls if you make a composure roll. If you fail, you single-mindedly obsess over completing the cycle. I don't know who the gently caress would take this or think it's a good psychological disorder to ever use ever.

Sounds like what Renfield had in Dracula. Something to do with supposedly "magnifying life essence" or silliness like that. That's probably why it's in there.

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