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oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


AmiYumi posted:

I legitimately don't understand why Plutomancers are supposed to be weird or "out-there" enough to get magic power. I don't get a "crazy outsider" or even a "scary manipulator" vibe off of them, I get a "this is what wide swathes of the US actually believe" vibe. That merits magickal powerz, for some reason?

The distinction is a bit fine...

The greedy, the work-obsessed, the scheming, imbezzling, etc...they're obsessed with wealth

Plutomancers are obsessed with money

Your ordinary money-chaser tries to get rich for the lifestyle, the cars, the big houses, etc. If they make it big then their money starts to make money and they start to get competitive with other rich people, striving to have the best lifestyle, the most extravagant whatever, etc etc. They become obsessed with making money mostly first as a "gateway" into the higher class lifestyle and then as a way of keeping score against others in that lifestyle.

Plutomancers don't want to keep score, they don't want to have a high-class lifestyle. They want money. Pure and simple. The iconic image of plutomancer insanity is a homeless guy who wallpapers his cardboard box with thousand dollar bills because if he stays in an apartment he'd have to give up his money. Most plutomancers aren't that bad but you'll often see them doing things like living in rat-hole apartments and buying a new 500$ junk-heap car every month when the old one breaks down because giving out too much money forces them to break taboo.


Admittedly one area where unknown armies is flawed is in their presentation of Adept taboos, which can be inconsistent. Sometimes it's presented as just an annoying thing adepts have to deal with to keep their magic, other times its the "mechanical" side of their obsessive focus. For instance, bibliomancers can't damage or destroy books, both because doing so drains their power but also because doing so goes against everything they believe in. Epideromancers cut themselves because it represents mastery of their own body and their taboo is physical alteration by anyone else (since that shows the other person is "mastering" the epideromancer's body)...but there's a mention in the taboo of epideromancers scheduling beauty salon appointments when they plan to be "empty", kind of going against that theme.

Essentially, most of the best adept obsessions can be represented when they go far, far out of control (although not all, or even most, adepts get that bad):

A bibliomancer collecting more books than they could ever read...including books they can't read because it's the books alone that matter.
An epideromancer bleeding himself to death to show that they're in control.
A plutomancer so obsessed with money that they can't bear to part with any...not even what they need for day to day basics.

Again, only the most hardcore and insane adepts get that bad...but the core of that obsession shows in all of them.

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

oriongates posted:

Your ordinary money-chaser tries to get rich for the lifestyle, the cars, the big houses, etc. If they make it big then their money starts to make money and they start to get competitive with other rich people, striving to have the best lifestyle, the most extravagant whatever, etc etc. They become obsessed with making money mostly first as a "gateway" into the higher class lifestyle and then as a way of keeping score against others in that lifestyle.

Plutomancers don't want to keep score, they don't want to have a high-class lifestyle. They want money. Pure and simple. The iconic image of plutomancer insanity is a homeless guy who wallpapers his cardboard box with thousand dollar bills because if he stays in an apartment he'd have to give up his money. Most plutomancers aren't that bad but you'll often see them doing things like living in rat-hole apartments and buying a new 500$ junk-heap car every month when the old one breaks down because giving out too much money forces them to break taboo.
The first thing it made me think of is that there are a lot of places where Plutomancers struggle to live even a modest lifestyle, if they lose all their charges when they spend over $1,000 on rent.

"GM, before I create a character, this campaign isn't set in New York, is it?"

Robotic Folksinger
Jun 27, 2008

I guess a robot would have to be crazy to wanna be a folksinger

AmiYumi posted:

I legitimately don't understand why Plutomancers are supposed to be weird or "out-there" enough to get magic power. I don't get a "crazy outsider" or even a "scary manipulator" vibe off of them, I get a "this is what wide swathes of the US actually believe" vibe. That merits magickal powerz, for some reason?

Doesn't Post-Modern Magicks point out that Plutomancers might seem the most normal out of all the adepts, but that just because society itself is sorta obsessed with money?

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
I really don't want to derail the thread, but the 'white woman passes as black enough to become NAACP' official' story is all over my Facebook feed, and that's gotta be at least a Significant Personomancer charge?

Also, somebody please review the Varg Vikernes RPG. We make fun of John Wick for being an rear end in a top hat GM, but he never burned down churches or killed anyone.

The Bibliomancer stuff all seems really normal to me, but it doesn't impact my life. I do feel an actual taboo against destroying books - I can overcome it, but the idea inspires visceral revulsion in me. And I've got a bunch of books I'll never read, but doesn't everyone? And it doesn't impact my life, except when I need to move or something.

quote:

The Beauty Jar (5 dots) contains the severed head of buxom 50s starlet Jayne Mansfield. She died in a car crash, age 34, when a truck swerved to avoid another truck. Her decapitation is said to be a myth, but that is itself a myth to cover up that her head was stolen by a mad doctor hoping to reanimate an undead bride. The Aegis stepped in and took it back. The head itself is well-preserved in a brine-filled jar, but the hair is rotten and resembles seaweed. To use it takes a lot of willpower, plus it curses your driving skills. What you do is drink from the brine, which will mystically reproduce itself over a few days. This grants Fame 3, Striking Looks 4 and the ability to use any social skill as if you were trained at it. Your body becomes intensely attractive, lasting until you kiss someone. That's the only way to end the power. The kiss is profoundly foul, tasting of bug repellent, rot and brine. You're going to destroy your relationship with whoever you kiss, too, giving a mutual social penalty to each other for a month.

This reads like an Unknown Armies artifact. I think it's the use of a semi-obscure celebrity.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 18:09 on Jun 12, 2015

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
I would gladly review MYFAROG, but $45 plus international shipping is too much to pay to a neo-Nazi for the privilege of trashing what I suspect is a fairly bland fantasy game. From what I can tell, his racism is at least veiled to the point that it's not more shocking than a lot of Conan stories, so the get-a-load-of-this factor is not what you're probably hoping.

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Mors Rattus posted:

The Beauty Jar (5 dots) contains the severed head of buxom 50s starlet Jayne Mansfield. She died in a car crash, age 34, when a truck swerved to avoid another truck. Her decapitation is said to be a myth, but that is itself a myth to cover up that her head was stolen by a mad doctor hoping to reanimate an undead bride. The Aegis stepped in and took it back. The head itself is well-preserved in a brine-filled jar, but the hair is rotten and resembles seaweed. To use it takes a lot of willpower, plus it curses your driving skills. What you do is drink from the brine, which will mystically reproduce itself over a few days. This grants Fame 3, Striking Looks 4 and the ability to use any social skill as if you were trained at it. Your body becomes intensely attractive, lasting until you kiss someone. That's the only way to end the power. The kiss is profoundly foul, tasting of bug repellent, rot and brine. You're going to destroy your relationship with whoever you kiss, too, giving a mutual social penalty to each other for a month.

This is literally all I could think of: the severed head of Keith Moon.

Foglet
Jun 17, 2014

Reality is an illusion.
The universe is a hologram.
Buy gold.

Count Chocula posted:

Also, somebody please review the Varg Vikernes RPG.
As far as I know, Myfarog is only available in dead tree form which complicates things somewhat.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
From what I can gather MYFAROG seems to be a d6 based high fantasy RPG with a lot of fiddly rules. But I'll say this: what with the whole 15-year prison sentence, Varg has a better excuse for being poo poo at game design than some of the most prolific people in the hobby.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG
I get it slightly better now, it's just that the first image I had was that scene in Boiler Room where they go over to the raking-in-the-cash stockbroker's apartment, and it's empty other than like one couch and a bunch of crates. "I'm still moving in." I've known that guy; I think any of us with enough friends have known that guy. That's why it doesn't seem weird enough to me.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Compacts and Conspiracies

The Ascending Ones are three things at once. You've got your occult mystics, your militant religious folks and your drug dealers. Now, that can be run two ways. Either they come together...or they don't. If you assume they manage to make it work, the key is Hermes Tresmegistos. Hard to say who he really was - writings from the early days of the common era are attributed to him, and he was believed to be a prophet combining the wisdom of the gods Thoth and Hermes. Those texts were equal parts alchemy and philosophy. It's hard to say how he was Thrice-Great, too - some say it was his unity of alchemy, magic and astrology. Others say he was philosopher, priest and king. And others say it's from the earliest threefold epithet of Thoth - that is, Thoth the Great, Thoth the Great and Thoth the Great. The occult and pagan traditions honor him for his mystic wisdom, while the Gnostics say he was a wise pagan and early prophet, and Islamic tradition names him Idris, naming him a hero, mathematician and alchemist. All of this comes together in the Priscia Theologica, the idea of a single theology with many faces.

In the same way, the Ascending Ones come together in accepting that their many views are bound in the figure of Hermes Tresmegistus. The occult faction accepts him as a teacher of their magical tradition. The monotheists name him as a prophet who foresaw their religions. The dealers recognize his contribution to alchemy and, therefore, narcotics, as well as believing that Hermes Tresmegistus and his symbology makes from some fuckin' awesome tats. So, why be hunters, then? Simple: Thoth and Hermes were not just gods of wisdom, but psychopomps, guides to the afterlife. Thus, it is the duty of the Ascending Ones to move humanity towards a sacred state...or, failing that, to guide monsters to the afterlife.

Or maybe they don't work together so well. Maybe the three factions just don't talk to each other or like each other. Maybe only their shared alchemical power is keeping them from being plunged into violent civil war - but not enough to keep them from working at odds with each other. In all likelihood, though, the truth is somewhere between both extremes. The conspiracy is bound together by strong threads, but they're not all playing the same game. They get along, a bit grudgingly, and understand their jobs, but they don't have to like it.

Either way, the Ascending Ones are the loosest conspiracy. They have no real hierarchy, with each cell establishing leadership differently. The Southern Temple may have ranks, but they have no meaning to the other factions. They operate, instead, via what they name the Ringed Chain. Each cell knows two other cells and shares information with them. That information propagates up and down the line, sure, but any given cell has a very limited world. No one commands them or tells them what to do - they just talk to each other. Generally, cells that know each other are close geographically, but that isn't universal. They also don't frown on mixed cells, knowing that any who are not initiated will simply be unable to use their Elixirs at all. Their secrets aren't really that secret - they don't have to be. They guard themselves.

Generally speaking, the Ascending Ones accept that Hermes Tresmegistus was a prophet in the tradition of Ezekiel, Mani, Moses, Christ and Muhammed. It didn't end with him, and prophets must always be born, to be the mouth of sacred truths. The Ascending Ones, being rather self-centred, believe that most new prophets come from their ranks. They are born, not made, but are rarely recognized early on. And so, labeling a prophet always comes with arguments, even violence. Anyone the Ascending Ones label a prophet gain great status, but that's not the same as an easy life at all. They get followers, yes, but many foes, too, who doubt their words. Everything they say and do is interpreted for hidden truths or misconstrued utterly. These prophets are known as the Ascended Ones, and there's a good number of 'em at any time, generally expected to work together and communicate as a sort of inner ring guiding the Ascending Ones like shepherds. They are the ones who set the agenda and tone of the conspiracy, insofar as that is possible.

The Order of the Southern Temple get Occult (Alchemy). They are mystics, academics and occultists, such that they often ignore all other studies to practice more mystical traditions. This group is home to the most 'uncommitted' Ascending Ones - that is, those who do not use Elixirs at all. They serve in a supplemental role and never really learn most of the group's secrets. The Southern Temple is thought to refer to a number of hidden underground temples kept by the conspiracy, repositories of ancient wisdom. The walls themselves are carved with truths. So, the secret? Well, you know, the Reanimated, whom some call Promethean, are animated by the power of ancient alchemy, and the Order of the Southern Temple has texts that explain how to do it. They've only found the texts recently, and they're toying with the idea of creating Reanimated as hunters to assist them in their duties, believing that these alchemical golems will obey their will. Can't possibly be a bad idea.

The Knife of Paradise get Academics (Religion). The occultists of the Southern Temple do the alchemy, the Jagged Crescent test it...but the Knife of Paradise are the hunters. The real hunters. The ones that kill for God. But that's only on the surface. They're also the merciful ones, the ones who first try Sulha, the diplomacy of the Ascending Ones between monsters. They are the ones that seek to bring monsters to God, though admittedly often before killing them. For all their conservative natures and martial posturing, they are often quite flexible, intelligent and socially adept. Now, secretly, the rumors are true. They do have reformed terrorists in their ranks. Not just Islamic jihadists - radical Christian fundamentalists and Israeli hardliners, too. Many have CIA training. However, they aren't terrorists or fundamentalists any more - not quite. They keep a low profile, because even among the Knife of Paradise, their zeal can get them ostracized, or draw attention from other groups.

The Jagged Crescent get Streetwise (Territory). They have two faces. One group focus on the hunt, talking up all the mysticism because it is badass, in a way. It's tough to lay poo poo to talk up before you put down a monster or a gang thug competitor. The minority, however, recognize that they are a tool, harvesting money and recruits for the mission. It doesn't matter if the rest of the Jagged Crescent doesn't understand it - the scythe need not understand its purpose in harvesting corn, and the foot soldiers don't need to see the big picture. As long as they are led well, all is well. Secretly, though? poo poo, they have a ton of dark secrets. They work with Afghani opium dealers, Myanmar meth guys. But the really hosed up poo poo? There's a new street drug out there - and it comes from the Underworld. The real one. Some of the Jagged Crescent got there by use of Elixirs to harvest strange materials that grow there. They distill the stuff down to powerful, addictive drugs - even a dusting of it on a joint or a line of coke can cause an addiction. And there's, uh, nasty side effects.

But you're here for the Elixirs! They call it Red Resin (one dot). Most monsters hide behind human skin, but by harvesting a thick, toxic sap of the dracaena tree or rattan palm, mixing it with the mercurial cinnabar ore to create a thick resin, the Ascending Ones can spot them. It's a greasy clump of reddish powder, usually put between gum and lip or smoked in a pipe or cigarette. The smoke is slightly toxic to anyone nearby, causing watery eyes and mild dizziness. In addition, it allows the user to identify monsters on sight, seeing them outlined in a red light that only they can see. Even things hidden in Twilight are exposed this way, but you usually don't know what kind of monster you're looking at. Also, when Morality existed, it couldn't spot any monster of Morality 9 or higher.

Agora Salve (2 dots) is useful for those who would be monster diplomats. You mix dried vampire's blood with gold flakes and your own blood to make an unguent that coats the tongue. When you speak, your words become slow, calming. You get a bonus to all social rolls and no one can attack you unless you attack them first. This only lasts a few minutes, though.

Thoth's Whisper (5 dotS) allows you to help move ghosts, inhaling them so that their power can be borrowed. The mixture involved is made of homemade gunpowder, crystallized snake venom and potassium chloride salts, which you ignite and inhale, generally while hearing a babbling whisper from beyond the veil of life. This primes you to inhale a ghost, drawing them into your body. It lives in your lungs for 24 hours, during which time you can use its spiritual powers, know everything there is to know about it (as far as the ghost remembers, anyway), you can enter the Underworld freely at any Avernian Gate, and you may exert willpower to use the skills the ghost had in life. After 24 hours, the ghost is freed and can never be trapped by you again. You can force it to stay longer but only at the cost of terrible damage to your body.

Bonus material: djinn. No one knows who they really are, or what. Even they don't seem to know. They are largely invisible, in Twilight and might be any kind of spiritual being. The Ascending Ones don't usually hunt them, but instead seek them for deals. They know many secrets, but it's never free. All djinn can manifest as animals for a time, gaining mortality and all of the traits of that animal. They can also make bodies out of ambient objects. Such bodies can only be harmed by fire. Every century, a djinn buds off a child, which is exactly the same as its parent in all ways, but will eventually develop its own unique personality. Djinn travel and work alone, and in fact avoid each other and seem to dislike other djinn, save for their own children. Demons seem to hate them. They can be found anywhere, and each of them is governed entirely by a single Virtue and a single Vice, to the exclusion of all others. They often want strange and apparently purposeless things - the death of a cab driver, the theft of a specific gold scarab, whatever. Each event they ask for seems to be the first in a chain of dominos, but it's hard to tell, and the results can be and have been both good and evil, often both at once. The other way to get them to give up their secrets is to nearly kill them and then spare their lives.

Next time: Welcome to the company.

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare
I don't know if it's just me, but the restrictions on Plutomancers seem... really easy to uphold even as a normal, functioning Joe, if you don't mind only getting a few charges a week. Even a minimum wage job should get you steady minor charges, or a monthly significant charge plus a little extra. Set up some kind of escrow scheme where you get regular payouts of $100 instead of weekly or monthly paychecks, even. Get a friend to help you out and funnel your money to you slowly. Keeping to taboo seems really simple; how often do you spend more than $1000 at once, anyhow? Not even rent is that high so long as you don't live in a major urban metropolis.

Hyper Crab Tank fucked around with this message at 19:02 on Jun 12, 2015

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

When I had my own apartment? About once a month.

E: I also vaguely recall Plutomancers just straight up not being able to use credit cards or non-cash of any kind? Or was that just the All Mighty Dolla of oWerewolf

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 19:03 on Jun 12, 2015

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
I don't think I've ever spent $1000 at once, but that's because I don't have it.

AmiYumi posted:

I get it slightly better now, it's just that the first image I had was that scene in Boiler Room where they go over to the raking-in-the-cash stockbroker's apartment, and it's empty other than like one couch and a bunch of crates. "I'm still moving in." I've known that guy; I think any of us with enough friends have known that guy. That's why it doesn't seem weird enough to me.

Half the Adepts are 'normal', though. There's a shitload of alcoholics and self-harmers and book nerds and drug dealers in the world. Part of what makes it so potent is the idea that maybe that weird guy everyone knows might be on to something (which also makes it disturbing and hosed up).

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 19:03 on Jun 12, 2015

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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

Count Chocula posted:

I really don't want to derail the thread, but the 'white woman passes as black enough to become NAACP' official' story is all over my Facebook feed, and that's gotta be at least a Significant Personomancer charge?

At least.

Once the review covers Avatars in more depth, remind me to tell you about the Personamancer/Avatar of the Rebel that I'll never actually use as the antagonist in a UA game.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013
Sounds like the Laughing Man.

AmiYumi posted:

I get it slightly better now, it's just that the first image I had was that scene in Boiler Room where they go over to the raking-in-the-cash stockbroker's apartment, and it's empty other than like one couch and a bunch of crates. "I'm still moving in." I've known that guy; I think any of us with enough friends have known that guy. That's why it doesn't seem weird enough to me.

Actions that can give you magick power in Unknown Armies: Getting blackout drunk. Watching Friends every night of the week. Cutting. Passing as straight. Telling your wife that you've been having an affair. Snorting coke. Going Wikipedia diving. Riding the subway.

Mundane poo poo exaggerated into mysticism is sort of the point of magic in UA.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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

Tulul posted:

Mundane poo poo exaggerated into mysticism is sort of the point of magic in UA.

This is also a point I try to impress on players when they're picking Obsessions during character creation. They're not just "something you're really into," they're "something you will chase down weird rumors and underground black markets for." Somebody whose Obsession is "fitness" isn't just someone who spends three hours a day at the gym, they're the kind of person who will hunt down some shady back-alley gym in Little Uzbekistan where they sell homeopathic steroids made of, like, bear uteruses smoked over a fire of old copies of Muscle Magazine from the 1970s.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
So, TCC goons.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
You hardly have to go that far; read some of the megathreads on poo poo like jeans and sneakers.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
I think Obsessions need to define your life. I know a guy who wears $500 Internet jeans and it barely impacts his life.
Pen goons need one of those mini-schools on the website.
Paradox: You spend $1000 on pens, but you never write anything.

Blast: The pen is mightier.

A spell where you can make somebody unable to type. No phones, no computers - you need to use a pen on paper.

And then some Death Note poo poo I guess.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 20:16 on Jun 12, 2015

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Realtalk: have the bears ever been pregnant before their uterus's were harvested? This is important.

I could see a Personamancer getting some good power by just cosplaying poo poo they don't know about online and racking up all those free online thumbs ups. You'd just have to adjust the goalposts.

"So your headless Mami cosplay got you ten thousand likes so that's...one minor charge."

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

I haven't read UA so this is just from the thread, but what's been driving me nuts is that there seem to be a lot of different levels of crazy and mundane and real-world analogous. Like the reckless wizards, that makes sense. Self-harm for the sake of the rush is a real thing that people do. The history wizards though just seem less like basically crazy people and more like history trivia nerds.

The worst to me though is the Dipsomancer, because while I get the whole alcoholism into magic thing, it seems like they lost their way in trying to find heavier power levels than just being drunk. Seriously what drunk gives a poo poo if he's drinking out of Churchill's old cup? Shouldn't that have been rare alcohols and not rare vessels? Or did I miss something and it's both? Do Dipsomancers get a charge out of drinking Chateau D'Yquem 1787?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Compacts and Conspiracies

Cheiron's Field Projects Division has hunters - but it also has headhunters, the guys whose job it is to look for recruits among other hunters. Every company has headhunters, but Cheiron's tend to have thaumatech implants and know about monsters. They look for two types of employee. Around 20% of these new hires are what they call the talent, people who are really gifted at the Vigil. People who are amazingly good at killing monsters and not getting killed. Leaders. Thinkers. Killers. Headhunters are encouraged to approach them and do whatever it takes to get them signed on. That starts with an attractive offer - nice car, big salary, benefits, vacation. If they refuse, the offers get bigger. If they still refuse...that's when Cheiron gets mean. They start to drop passive and later active threats against family and friends. They work to undo whatever the hunter tries. They'll even kidnap you and operate on you to implant stuff without your consent. The talent, once it does sign the contract, almost always gets high quality and expensive thaumatech.

The other 80% are what they call the troops. See, being FPD is messy. It's easy to die. And so, the company needs a lot of cannon fodder, and they hire a huge number of expendable agents. They aren't exactly as choosy about the troops as the talent. If they can hold a gun and a needle, they can do the job. If they get any Thaumatech at all, it's going to be cheap and simple. Cheiron doesn't care a bit about the troops and will work them hard, trying to own them as much as possible. Practicaly indentured servitude, really. That's not to say you can't get promotd out of the troops. You can. If you prove yourself to be more than they thought, they will throw money at you.

According to Cheiron manuals, a hunter cell is organized like the cell of a human body. The leader is the nucleus, the brain, the nerve center. The handler is the membrane, holding everything together. Everyone else is an organelle of some kind. The golgi apparatus for harvesting and packaging, the mitochondria for generating energy - morale, guns, whatever. The endoplasmic reticulation is the translator, liaising with others. In reality? Leader and handler will be talent, and everyone else is the troops. They just do their jobs. Most Cheiron cells are five-man teams, and if they need more they stack on more cells. The handler, by the way, has an important job. See, most of Cheiron's hunters recognize that they're working for the lesser evil here. The handler is the link between cell and boss, the guy who talks to corporate. They're meant to favor Cheiron, but a good one knows they have to throw the team a bone every so often. Their job is to babysit the juiced-up, unnaturally 'roided hunters in their cell. Most are hands-on about it, working in the field and developing a rapport. Some prefer to stay at a distance, though, and may never even meet their cells. Hell, not every cell has a handler. Those proven in skill and loyal enough will often meet their handler less and less, until they're essentially autonomous - but the really savvy ones know that, and might slip the leash after that. And, of course, Cheiron does hire freelancers. They get paid by the job, or by the harvest. No benefits, no salaries. No Thaumatech. It's a way to get in, technically, and it's often how a cell might end up working for Cheiron. They might not even know who's buying the stuff they find.


Holla holla get dolla.

Cheiron's roots go back millenia. They've done their best to hide or destroy their history when possible, not only to stifle conspiracy theories but to keep their staff ignorant, too. They own two dozen companies on the books. If they knew the truth, they might jump ship. What is the truth? First - the logo has power. That's why they've never changed it, despite all the conspiracy theories. Cheiron isn't entirely sure what the power is, but they know that discussions began regarding a new logo, fifteen years ago. Stocks plummeted. The Board was not happy. Those who spearheaded the new design had a series of unfortunate accidents and mysterious illnesses. It is possible that the logo's power is somehow tied into the Board of Directors directly.

The Board of Directors are human, impermanent. New ones come, old ones go. What's the problem? Why are they so secretive? There's a few truths that have been uncovered. The Board members each have collections of strange and inhuman artifacts. Brass statues of spider-creatures, sculptures made of impossible materials, like spidersilk or unmelting ice, paintings of immense torment. Some hunters and some monsters have had dreams of a Board made of ten truly alien monsters - pillars with eyes, immense gray giants hidden by dark clouds. Evidence has leaked of something called the Primary Development Plan - when translated out of corporate lingo, it's some kind of colonization project.

Retrieval has Medicine (Amputation). Most troops and other scrub-type hunters end up here. They get a brief amount of paramedic training and learn to cut off monster bits. They have a high turnover rate, since they die so often. Of course, they also have the biggest, most potent and most blatantly obvious thaumatech - they're field-testing it, see. It should be noted that when they can't get a particular organ easily, they often have instructions to bring in an entire corpse, and many default to that, accepting that it's easier to just let the doctors do the chopping. Though that does often mean no bonus for retrieval. Sometimes, Retrieval takes down a big, big prize. No one really knows about it, but they brought in an ancient vampire, Zagreus. He came willingly, and Cheiron hasn't yet asked why. He is, after all, an ancient liar with near-limitless power. So why did he come in with a novice team and volunteer to be experimented on?


Yeeeeep.

Recruitment get Subterfuge (Corporate Doublespeak). That's where you'll find most headhunters and handlers. Cheiron thinks they're quite valuable and give them a huge budget. They're often quite well-off as a result. Now, can you guess what secret FPD's working on for them? That's right - emotion-controlling thaumatech. You get a prize hunter hooked, but he won't commit? Make him feel good. Happy. Have him associate positive feelings with Cheiron, and bam! Another employee, loyal and ready.

Field Research get Science (Experimentation). They're Cheiron's spies, joining other hunter cells or even organizations. Sometimes, they'll even join up with monsters, as thralls or brood mares or witch's assistants. They go into deep cover, stealing information and technology. They steal blood from their vampiric masters, books from the Loyalists of Thule, DNA from the possessed. Secretly? Field Research hires monsters. Frequently vampires, sometimes witches, occasionally others. They go into real deep cover. On the books, these 'agents' get no thaumatech. Off the books? :iiam:

They call it the Optic Thorn (2 dots), but it's no thorn. It pierces the optic nerve of the left eye - only ever the left eye - and it's a tiny bone spur sculpted to look like a thorn. It's best not to ask where it comes from. If you were to ask or check under an MRI or X-Ray, it'd be shown to be from the photosynthetic flesh of a floral or fungal creature, some kind of fae. This is false. Truth is, Optic Spurs come from hunters. Lucifuge, specifically. Cheiron's leadership does not differentiate them from other demons, you see. They're supernatural, and it's biological, so they're monsters to harvest. It's a chip from the eye socket. What it reveals? Supernaturally augmented hunters. It's always on, and never fails. You can spot the Lucifuge, the Malleus, anyone using an active Relic, anyone currently under the effects of an Elixir. It won't tell you what kind of hunter they are, though, and is no good for IDing VALKYRIE agents, or any Aegis or Ascending One not currently using their magic tools.

You get Plasmic Cauls (4 dots) from certain ghosts. Cheiron isn't sure why, but some ghosts are different. They're more powerful, lack human identity - whatever they have is more archetypal than anything, and they can bond with humans somehow. Cheiron knows that when these things are 'killed,' they often leave behind some artifact - an object manifestation of their ectoplasmic nature, maybe. A sliver of wood, an ivory horn, a bezoar. Many of these objects have faces, or parts of them, imprinted on them. Cheiron has figured out how to take these things apart and implant a 'seed' of the object into the thalamus of a hunter. In theory, this should be beneficial. The problem is, uh, the end result is unpredictable. Two things are certain. First, you get to see ghosts. Second, you get a bonus to dealing with them. Beyond that, you get a secondary power you can activate, which takes willpower and spreads an ectoplasmic caul over your face. Some of them cause anyone in ten feet to bleed stigmata, painfully or drainingly. Some leak with runny mud that smells of the grave, covering their bodies with earthy armor. Some project your emotions on anyone within 50 feet, providing a bonus to Empathy for everyone involved towards each other. Some grant you immunity from fire. Some let you emit a terrible howl that hurts and deafens people. Some let you project a zone of silence around yourself, improving stealth in the area. Some greatly improve visual perception. Some cause a static discharge, disabling all nearby electronics for 24 hours. Some let you breathe underwater. And some provide you with a protective wind shield that knocks away attacks.

Last, we get the Executive profession, and rules for dealing with bureaucratic red tape to see how well you can hide your actions from corporate bosses.

Next time: HAIL SATAN

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Pictured: Poster prepares to celebrate Holy Communion (probablY)

This avatar made possible by a gift from the Religionthread Posters Relief Fund

oriongates posted:

(so unfortunately you probably can't turn Donald Trump into a hobo with it) .

Actually considering how little trump actually has (he's been bankrupt so many times its hilarious) you probably could.

Josef bugman fucked around with this message at 22:17 on Jun 12, 2015

darthbob88
Oct 13, 2011

YOSPOS

theironjef posted:

The worst to me though is the Dipsomancer, because while I get the whole alcoholism into magic thing, it seems like they lost their way in trying to find heavier power levels than just being drunk. Seriously what drunk gives a poo poo if he's drinking out of Churchill's old cup? Shouldn't that have been rare alcohols and not rare vessels? Or did I miss something and it's both? Do Dipsomancers get a charge out of drinking Chateau D'Yquem 1787?
Pretty sure you did miss something, because Dipsos do get charges from both, with rare booze being more powerful than rare cups. Personally, I justify that kind of thing on game mechanics, because it provides an intermediate between a minor charge for a Bud light and a large charge for Pope Pius II's sacramental wine, and because it means significant charges are a renewable resource, same as for most adepts. Alternatively I suppose they could have done like Bibliophiles and made a significant charge dependent on getting a moderately-rare limited edition booze, like small-run whiskey or vintage wine.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib
One way to look at it is a reflection of the Dipsomancer school's overall short-term thinking approach to power as well as their paradoxical nature of self-destruction and general schlubiness to have some historically significant drinking vessel that you're just using to chug Mad Dog 20/20 out of.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN

darthbob88 posted:

Pretty sure you did miss something, because Dipsos do get charges from both, with rare booze being more powerful than rare cups. Personally, I justify that kind of thing on game mechanics, because it provides an intermediate between a minor charge for a Bud light and a large charge for Pope Pius II's sacramental wine, and because it means significant charges are a renewable resource, same as for most adepts. Alternatively I suppose they could have done like Bibliophiles and made a significant charge dependent on getting a moderately-rare limited edition booze, like small-run whiskey or vintage wine.

But I thought Sig charges needed to be hard to get. "I need to go on eBay" or "the party is forced to use a fancy whisky bar as its base of operations" don't strike me as very arduous.
And there's no way a Bud Light is even a minor charge, since the rules say it has to actually be booze.

Could you do a Dipso variant for coffee snobs?

I'm not thrilled by Cherion Group's big secret. I think "shady biotech company harvests monsters" is good enough, especially if they're actually in it for the good of the world (and profit), despite what most people think.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 01:57 on Jun 13, 2015

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."
Well, you pretty much have to carry the significant vessel to wherever you want to use the charges, since you can't carry them around once you sober up, and people are strongly motivated to steal it from you, so while you definitely have easier access to significant magick it isn't without drawbacks.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Count Chocula posted:

I'm not thrilled by Cherion Group's big secret. I think "shady biotech company harvests monsters" is good enough, especially if they're actually in it for the good of the world (and profit), despite what most people think.

To paraphrase myself in the WoD thread. Compacts and Conspiracies was written by people playing favorites. AKD gets the full spread of possible answers most WoD mysteries get, while TFV and Cheiron get the shaft. I'm not even sure why Cheiron is the way it is- telling their average hunter that their bosses are monsters is likely to be answered with "Do I still get paid?"

The Vosgian Beast
Aug 13, 2011

Business is slow
A little late, but I'm kind of disappointed in the Cosmo Knights, after the internet built them up as being insanely broken and overpowered.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN

Josef bugman posted:

Actually considering how little trump actually has (he's been bankrupt so many times its hilarious) you probably could.

So everyone thinks of him as the embodiment of wealth, even if he isn't? And he constantly pulls stunts to reenforce that? Sounds like a high-powered Avatar, one threatened by the Internet Millionares.

And I like to think most Hunters have a real mad-on for hunting monsters, so they'd turn on Cheirion. Who are half of Wolfram and Hart from Angel.

Rand Brittain posted:

Well, you pretty much have to carry the significant vessel to wherever you want to use the charges, since you can't carry them around once you sober up, and people are strongly motivated to steal it from you, so while you definitely have easier access to significant magick it isn't without drawbacks.

Yeah I meant the alternate Sig charges that the poster suggested, where you just need some semi-rare booze. If you can't find that easily I feel sorry for you.
My commute home used to pass 'Bar 333'. I never went in.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 02:25 on Jun 13, 2015

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013

Count Chocula posted:

But I thought Sig charges needed to be hard to get. "I need to go on eBay" or "the party is forced to use a fancy whisky bar as its base of operations" don't strike me as very arduous.
And there's no way a Bud Light is even a minor charge, since the rules say it has to actually be booze.

Could you do a Dipso variant for coffee snobs?

Charging structures are pretty deliberately varied, because charging's all about sacrifice and what every school sacrifices is different. An Epideromancer can snag a major charge in one round mid-combat if they have a knife handy, but that involves jamming it into your eye. It'll probably take decades of work for a Plutomancer to accomplish the same thing, but he doesn't have to put a knife through his eye. Sacrificing your body or your child is really easy, but takes a hell of a lot out of you. Something that doesn't inherently involve sacrifice, like getting a 100 million dollars or drinking the only batch of moonshine Billy Graham ever made, usually requires a shitload of work, but doesn't necessarily require you to do something horrible to yourself.

And yeah you could totally do a coffeemancer. The splatbooks go into how there are a bunch of other schools, including some really weird, obscure, and downright embarrassing ones that only a few people follow, like the eight different dudes who independently invented UFOmancy but are too socially awkward to hook up with each other. Anything you can get obsessed about and wrangle a paradox out of can be an adept school. Some people do it without even realizing it.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

The Vosgian Beast posted:

A little late, but I'm kind of disappointed in the Cosmo Knights, after the internet built them up as being insanely broken and overpowered.

Their big things are just being able to fly anywhere crazy fast and being nigh-invulnerable to energy attacks, but yeah, they're overblown. Out of the books we've reviewed, I'd say the most broken classes we've seen are - all R.C.C.s, mind- norse giants, dysasha, demigods, the hundred-handed, and the phoenixi.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
http://ua.johntynes.com/content.php?id=C0_1_3 - The site won't let you click on links at the moment, but there's everything from snails to vomit to waking people up Adepts.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man


Count Chocula posted:

http://ua.johntynes.com/content.php?id=C0_1_3 - The site won't let you click on links at the moment, but there's everything from snails to vomit to waking people up Adepts.

Master of Chains sounds like it could have a grand paradox and already has its sad down-and-outers. The paradox is that despite being in a physically different place and being served by different people unique food, you get the exact same thing no matter where you go. The down-and-outer would be the people with the top-rated Starbucks points, the McRib chaser, the 400lb daily eater. Minor charge is going to a single establishment enough times to "fill up the punch card" or a week. Easy enough, and requires no travel. A significant charge would be going to the same chain, but never the same one twice, for a month. A major charge involves visiting EVERY version of that chain that has ever existed in the world. The taboo is purchasing something at an establishment different than what you have a charge from that provides a similar product to your "chosen" chain. McDonalds precludes most burger joints, Walmart most other stores, etc.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
So Max Attax have developed their own Adept school? If you want to play a fast-food themed UA character, just wait for the best occult cabal ever.
Or is this Supersize Me: the PC?
Extreme couponing could be a good school.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Not gonna lie. I like the idea of ghetto-rigging Sin Eaters out of taking a hard bit of Geist and carefully shoving it into a Field Retrieval guy's skull. Imagine that compared to actually talking and meeting with a Sin Eater.

"See, I died and I bonded with a Geist."
"Hrm. Check with accounting, see how feasible it would be to mass-produce Sin Eaters."
"No can do sir, we're already going ahead with the vampire blood farms, we can't have another big project like that on the table."
"Good point. Ken, how much do you think it would take to hire some of them as freelancers."
"Ehhh, on par with giving them the salary of a normal field agent, but there's no way we can keep company and brand loyalty with them."
"This is why I keep you around, Ken, you know what's up. Mr. Schwarz, was it? What's the successful ratio, death to spirit bonding?"
"I...I have no idea, but that's monstrous."
"Sir, we've got some reports from an old KGB super-soldier program. 2% success rate, tested it on hundreds of thousands of Russian prisoners."
"Hah! KGB. Classic KGB. Mr. Weiss, let's go ahead with your Plasmic Caul idea, seems faster and more reliable."
"Yes sir."
"Security will lead you out, Mr. Schwarz."
"But you can't jus-"
"We'll mail you your check for your consultation and shoot you an e-mail if we need you again, thanks. Onto the next topic of discussion: radioactive undead supermen. Can we use anything from them?"

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib
I really want to play in a Cheiron Group game some day. I'm honestly even okay with the whole "senior partner/alien investors" angle since while the secretly evil angle is cliche to the point of derision, I genuinely like the idea that they may be unfathomable alien entities from beyond who also want to hunt some loving monsters (and make fat stacks in the process because hey, you're already there, why not).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Kai Tave posted:

I really want to play in a Cheiron Group game some day. I'm honestly even okay with the whole "senior partner/alien investors" angle since while the secretly evil angle is cliche to the point of derision, I genuinely like the idea that they may be unfathomable alien entities from beyond who also want to hunt some loving monsters (and make fat stacks in the process because hey, you're already there, why not).

My regular RPG group contains a biomedical engineer, a biomedical researcher, and a somewhat violence obsessed nurse. All three of them absolutely love the idea of hacking apart and organ-jacking werewolves for fun and profit and after our Spycraft vs. Cthulhu game concludes I will probably be running a Cheiron game.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
"...you're an alien!"
"I'm sorry, but I have an american citizenship, same as you! How rude."

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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
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