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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.
People on forums making up Avatars is undeniably the worst thing about UA.

Maybe UA should be buried in a vault and outlawed and never spoken of again. I don't trust the post-TVTropes generation not to misuse it.

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Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare
Archetypes seem especially fertile ground for a lot of silliness and weird poo poo.

My new character is PowPowndCake, an Avatar of the Annoying Youtuber. His first level Channel makes everyone flock to him no matter how repetitive his jokes are or how inappropriate his remarks about things are!

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


Halloween Jack posted:

People on forums making up Avatars is undeniably the worst thing about UA.

Maybe UA should be buried in a vault and outlawed and never spoken of again. I don't trust the post-TVTropes generation not to misuse it.

Its hard to argue with this stance.

One of UA's biggest issues is that it can seem to have very jarring tone shifts, which can invite misinterpretation. It's very easy for someone to look at an Entropomancer or Fool avatar and see a great excuse for Fishmalk behavior, or look at the pornomancer or videomancer and see "goofy joke wizards". And so you get "funny" adepts and avatars popping up all over UA fan sites that really don't belong in the setting.

Of course the reality is that the tone is usually quite consistent and most of the seemingly humorous material is actually intended deadly seriously. The Pornomancer isn't intended as simply a chance to indulge in leering sex-fantasies, it's meant to be (in its own way) just as disturbing and messed up as the behavior of the Epideromancer or the Dipsomancer. The Entropomancer isn't meant to be someone who indulges in nothing but "wacky" hijinks, they're adrenaline junkies who are often willing to kill their own friends and family just for a rush because they can't find meaning in normal life.

This isn't helped by some stuff that really doesn't fit in with the standard tone of the setting, fortunately most of which was excised when it came time to make the 2nd edition., and the general difficult of "what do I do with this?" which can often turn games into "the adept did WHAT to get a significant charge?! Oh noooooo!"

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely
Grimey Drawer

Young Freud posted:

The thing that gets me about this is that it's never stated how big those magazines are. If the gun's bore is two inches wide, then wouldn't an individual plasma cartridge also be about 2 inches in diameter? If these things are magazine-fed, then Shoulder Cannon's and Assault Rifle's magazines would at least be over a yard-long single-stacked and 2 feet double-stacked. And you're looking at a footlong magazine if those cartridges are double-stacked in the pistol form.

That would be hilarious honestly and is therefore canon forever.


Young Freud posted:

No word on if using a las(er)gun on it causes a randomized atomic disturbance at any point and at any energy level?

None, forcefields are actually intended to stop energy weapons to some degree in-setting, they just can't handle turtle power.

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare
The pornomancer in particular strikes me as hideously depressing if you think about it for more than a few seconds. They're basically taking an act that's usually intimate and loving or at least fun, and turning into a rote mockery of itself stripped of any intimacy or enjoyment. They basically become unable to enjoy sexual activity at all, don't they? It just becomes a sweaty, exhausting exercise in imitating something you can't actually have anymore.

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide

oriongates posted:

Its hard to argue with this stance.

One of UA's biggest issues is that it can seem to have very jarring tone shifts, which can invite misinterpretation. It's very easy for someone to look at an Entropomancer or Fool avatar and see a great excuse for Fishmalk behavior, or look at the pornomancer or videomancer and see "goofy joke wizards". And so you get "funny" adepts and avatars popping up all over UA fan sites that really don't belong in the setting.
The irony being that a lot of that type are on John Tyne's website itself. Abandon all hope, ye who enter. I wanted to upload the Motor-Shaman to that site but I didn't really want to have it posted along side snail and meme adepts.

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce
I played an Avatar of the Fool in the first UA game I was in, and while you might think it's a comedy option, it's actually pretty horrifying. Because of your taboo you're constantly leaving yourself wide open to manipulation and betrayal, and when the inevitable consequences come you're never the one who ends up paying your share of them. Early on someone took a fairly close-range shot at me that by all means should have hit me, and instead it misfired and killed someone else who really didn't deserve it at all.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


Strange Matter posted:

The irony being that a lot of that type are on John Tyne's website itself. Abandon all hope, ye who enter. I wanted to upload the Motor-Shaman to that site but I didn't really want to have it posted along side snail and meme adepts.

Yeah, I think there's clearly not a lot of quality control going on there considering there's a "Serial Rapist" Avatar. I'll give the benefit of the doubt and assume most anything gets blindly approved rather than assuming that something like that actually got any kind of thumbs up.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
The existence of these lovely Archetypes is proof of the First Man's suspicion that this iteration of reality is loving broken.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

Pope Guilty posted:

Sin-Eaters also don't have a big antagonist- ghosts don't make a very credible threat because just about any Sin-Eater can gently caress up ghosts pretty easily. There's some big bad things down in the Autocthonous Depths, but you mostly won't encounter them unless you go down there (which is a sin against your Morality equivalent) and only piss them off if you break the wrong laws in the wrong cavern. The corebook suggests that some Sin-Eaters go to war with each other, but not really why.

The only Geist campaign idea I have is basically Persona.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
Geist seems like a rather narrow, idiosyncratic concept in the first place.

Why are they considered overpowered, by the way?

Actually, while we're on the subject? What makes mages so overpowered? I only played a mage in a couple of sessions in a disastrous mixed game, so nobody was tapping into the real ultimate power. The impression I get is that nWoD mages were intended to be like, say, John Constantine or The Invisibles, able to do great things with ritual and preparation but not so much casting Fireball at people, but in practice that worked out to being able to do anything with ritual magic and also walking around with buff spells cast on themselves and killer spells in their pocket as long as they prepared them ahead of time. Maybe that impression is totally wrong.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD
I've been told straight-up that Geist is a terrible line and I'm terrible for liking it.
They might even be right, I'm not very good at nWoD.

I don't get why people point to the lack of a clear present antagonist for Sin Eaters, though. The fact that you have permanent deathsight and that ghosts know intuitively that you can see and hear them always seemed to imply that you're going to be being hassled by unquiet dead for a myriad array of requests while walking down the street or driving or trying to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

Yeah, you can enslave, banish, or kill and eat the ghosts, but that's Not Helping and just filling up the Underworld instead of helping them pass on. And for all the ghosts you can put to rest with a postcard containing their final message to their family, you get ones that got poisoned by a nutritional supplement and need Ghost Leverage to shut down the corrupt executive marketing the pills, or got eaten by a werewolf and want revenge, or any number of requests that are gonna be a bitch and a half to complete.

EDIT:

Halloween Jack posted:

Why are they considered overpowered, by the way?

The defensive type of Spooky Powers, Shroud Manifestations, are quite good at giving a big chunk of armor. Tack that onto the fact that Fog Men can spend a point of plasm to turn a point of damage into 'bashing, which I'll take later' means they have a double-sized health bar. They can get quite tough.

Also the Boneyard, which is your personal Spookyzone where you hold sway, is really huge and can cover a small city at higher levels, apparently?

As far as I know aside from that it's a few it's a few specific effects (Phantasmal Marionette lets you create an ectoplasmic body based on your geist, which is a copy of your character plus some stat boosts and you're only out a bit of hauntjelly if it gets splattered instead of having died.)

Crasical fucked around with this message at 14:56 on Jun 17, 2015

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?

Halloween Jack posted:

Geist seems like a rather narrow, idiosyncratic concept in the first place.

Why are they considered overpowered, by the way?

They're practically unkillable by default, they are no mechanical downsides to having an unknowably ancient ghost riding on your back, and most of their special powers are mostly ways to make them better at fighting people. Also, remember how Mors said they want artifacts associated with death? That's a thing in the rules, and it lets you get more dice on rolls tied to that artifact than you'll ever need.

quote:

Actually, while we're on the subject? What makes mages so overpowered? I only played a mage in a couple of sessions in a disastrous mixed game, so nobody was tapping into the real ultimate power. The impression I get is that nWoD mages were intended to be like, say, John Constantine or The Invisibles, able to do great things with ritual and preparation but not so much casting Fireball at people, but in practice that worked out to being able to do anything with ritual magic and also walking around with buff spells cast on themselves and killer spells in their pocket as long as they prepared them ahead of time. Maybe that impression is totally wrong.

It's the old Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard problem, really. A vampire gets a third dot of Celerity, they're just faster than they were before. A mage gets a third dot of Space and you're going to see some poo poo you've never dreamt of before. And that disparity's only going to get bigger as they get more XP and the vampire progresses relatively linearly and the mage gets more and more stuff that mixes with the stuff they already had in new and interesting ways.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."
I find Sin-Eaters* easiest to explain if you describe them as being walking hauntings. They're basically every power ever attributed to angry ghosts and can pull The Haunting of Hill House out of their pocket at a moment's notice.

They are very good at:

1) not dying;
2) making other people's life miserable;
3) ghost stuff.

They are not good at all at things other than that but if you have to fight one you probably won't notice their lack of general productivity.

* I like Geist but I think the actual worst thing about it is that neither of the words in the title are useful to describe the protagonists.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten

Lurks With Wolves posted:

It's the old Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard problem, really. A vampire gets a third dot of Celerity, they're just faster than they were before. A mage gets a third dot of Space and you're going to see some poo poo you've never dreamt of before. And that disparity's only going to get bigger as they get more XP and the vampire progresses relatively linearly and the mage gets more and more stuff that mixes with the stuff they already had in new and interesting ways.

From what I understood the problem wasn't so much that they were great in straight up fights, but that they could teleport a ton of burning magnesium into your coffin/bedroom/etc from across the planet.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy
Wizards Presents: Races and Classes

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Classes Overview - Richard Baker

quote:

Character classes are the heart of the D&D game. Fighters wear armor and mix it up with monsters in melee. Wizards are fragile but use potent spells to swing entire encounters. Clerics heal and rogues sneak. All those things have been true for 30 years, and they’re going to remain true in 4th Edition

I thought the description of Wizards was particularly revealing. It sort of implies that spells should be as potent as Sleep, or that Fireball shouldn't just deal enough damage to hurt a group of monsters, but to guarantee right then and there that you're going to win this particular fight.

Identifying Class Roles - Richard Baker

quote:

One of the first things we decided to tackle in redesigning D&D’s character classes was identifying appropriate class roles. In other words, every class should have all the tools it needs to fill a specific job in the adventuring party. Clerics must heal, fighters must lock up monsters in melee to protect weaker characters, and wizards must deal damage to multiple enemies at range. If you want to exchange characters in the party—for example, replacing a cleric with a druid, or a fighter with a paladin—you should still maintain a mix of high-defense characters, healers, and damage dealers. If you drop in a character who can’t fill the role of the class he’s replacing, you’re weakening the adventuring party and damaging the table’s fun.

We debated long and hard about which roles actually existed, and which classes corresponded to them. Ultimately, we came up with four important roles:

Defender: A character with high defenses and high hit points. This is the character you want getting in front of the monsters and absorbing their attacks. Fighters have been doing this job in D&D for 30 years. Ideally, a defender ought to have some abilities that make him “sticky”—in other words, a defender should be difficult to move past or ignore so that he can do his job.

The defender description I like because it shows that the team understood that "being a tank" was not just about having a bunch of HP and a lot of armor - if the monsters don't want to attack you and they can do that, it doesn't matter.

quote:

Striker: A character who deals very high damage to one target at a time, either in melee or at range. This is the job we want to move the rogue toward—when she positions herself for a sneak attack and uses her best attack powers, she deals some of the highest damage in the game. Strikers need mobility to execute their lethal attacks and get away from enemies trying to lock them down.

Notice that at no point do they mention the Rogue as a "skill-monkey" or as a trap-detector-and-remover, and that they don't call her a Thief anymore

quote:

Controller: A character who specializes in locking down multiple foes at once, usually at range. This involves inflicting damage or hindering conditions on multiple targets. The wizard is a shining example of this role, of course. Controllers sacrifice defense for offense; they want to concentrate on taking down the enemy as quickly as possible while staying at a safe distance from them.

quote:

Leader: A character who heals, aids, or “buffs” other characters. Obviously we thought about just calling this role “healer,” but we want leaders to do more than simply spend their actions healing other characters. The leader is sturdier than the controller, but doesn’t have anywhere near as much offense. The cleric is the classic example. All leaders must have significant healing abilities to live up to their role, as well as other things they can do in a battle.

This paragraph hits on 2 key points that we'd eventually see as part of the 4E design:

1. A Leader's ability to heal was in placed in the action economy so that they could do it while simultaneously smashing faces in, rather than as a mutually exclusive choice

2. The Warlord wasn't just known for being able to heal characters (by shouting), they were known for granting additional attacks for the rest of the party, ditto the Bard for granting additional mobility, and so on.

One Progression Instead of Four - Richard Baker

quote:

In 3rd Edition D&D, each character class began with a skeleton consisting of four distinct progressions: Attack Bonus, Fortitude Save, Reflex Save, and Will Save. In 4th Edition, these have been combined into a single level-based check modifier that applies to all of your character’s attacks, defenses, and skill checks. All 10th-level characters have a +5 bonus to AC, all three defenses, attacks, and so on. Naturally, your ability scores, class abilities, and feat selection impact this single progression, so you can expect that a paladin’s Fortitude defense will be significantly better than his Reflex defense, and likewise better than the rogue’s Fortitude defense. In fact, every class features important attack or defense boosts at 1st level that distinguish their best traits from their ordinary ones.

We think this significantly simplifies character creation and advancement and improves the interaction of characters and monsters. In earlier editions, it was far too easy to accidentally create a monster who could hit the party’s fighter at a reasonable success rate but then would never miss the party’s wizard—or one who hit the wizard at a reasonable rate, but then could never actually land a hit on the fighter. Characters still have significant and important variations in their attacks and defenses, but it’s driven from one simple progression now instead of four.

And here we see the genesis of the Half-Level Modifier. They recognized the problem with good vs poor progression tracks causing problems when comparing one class to the other.

As a related sidebar, there's a section in the 3rd Edition Unearthed Arcana called Maximum Ranks, Limited Choices as an alternative way to track skills. Instead of receiving skill points every level and allocating them across your skills, you simply picked a number of skills you would "specialize" in, and then you would just assume that you always had the maximum possible ranks in that skill.

A Fighter could specialize in [2 + INT modifier] skills.

If they were specialized in Climb, they'd roll [d20 + characterLevel+3 + STR modifier], where characterLevel+3 represents putting all possible skill ranks toward that skill. For any skill they weren't specialized in, they'd roll [d20 + stat modifier].

And therein lies the problem: it was simple to track, yes, but after a few levels you wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of hitting the DCs for anything you weren't specialized in, so there'd have to be something added to the non-specialized formula to give you a chance at doing the easy stuff, and maybe even the moderately difficult stuff if you were lucky.

So, let's take this Maximum Ranks, Limited Choices skill system, and make a few changes:

1. Add half your character level to all checks, whether specialized in them or not
2. Consolidate the number of skill categories to about half

Now doesn't that start looking more like the 4th Edition skill system?

Every Class Gets Powers - Richard Baker

quote:

Perhaps the single biggest change in 4th Edition D&D is this: Every character class has “spells.” In other words, every class has a broad array of maneuvers, stunts, commands, strikes, heroic exploits, or what-have-you to choose from, just like clerics and wizards in previous editions had a wide assortment of spells. Ultimately, a spell, curse, weapon trick, or command is at heart a “power”—a special ability that a character can trigger in a fight.

There are a couple of reasons we decided to do this.

First, all previous editions of the game simply placed far too much of the adventuring party’s total power in the spell selections of the cleric and the wizard. These classes were simply better than other classes by any objective standard. Characters such as fighters and rogues accompanied the adventuring party to protect the spellcasters while the spellcasters defeated the encounters. We decided to shift to a model in which all characters were equally vital to the party’s success. That required offering powers for the fighter and rogue to choose from, just like the cleric and wizard.

Second, choosing and using powers is fun. Fighters in 3rd Edition D&D had many more options than fighters in previous editions thanks to feats such as Power Attack, Spring Attack, and Combat Expertise, but for the most part, fighters still spent 90% of their rounds doing the exact same thing time after time— taking a basic melee attack. A selection of powers to choose from means that fighters now have real choices available to them in combat. From round to round, they decide whether to employ one of their once per encounter abilities, expend a precious once-per-day power, or conserve resources and execute one of the simple at-will attacks they know. Every round is different for the fighter in 4th Edition D&D, and that’s lots more fun.

We’ve also given characters something to add to their power mix at every level, so that a character always gets meaningfully better every time he or she advances a level. There’s always a choice, and always something cool to look forward to every time you level up your character—and that just adds to the fun of the D&D game.

I'm just going to let that stand on its own with emphasis because by God if that doesn't sum up the core of 4th Edition for me. You just wanna frame it.

Next up: The Cleric

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

wdarkk posted:

From what I understood the problem wasn't so much that they were great in straight up fights, but that they could teleport a ton of burning magnesium into your coffin/bedroom/etc from across the planet.
The two examples I always remember people using were how a low-level mage could do things like "turn an elder vampire's blood into sunshine" and "turn an elder vampire into a lawnchair" using rules-as-written.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Mortal Remains

The Aegis Kai Doru know that while any single ghostwalker can be a huge pain to fight, as a group are they are essentially insignificant as a threat. They mess with the dead and fight among themselves. Your time, the Aegis believes, is much better spent getting rleics than dealing with them. Of course, sometimes a ghostwalker causes problems you can't ignore - say, when they seek vengeance for the dead and start being really, really indiscriminate about it. But the Aegis do understand gridges. They also know that the Fog Men have some interesting relics, but most of those are useless to normal people. Still, some, like stolen masks of the Underworld, can be quite handy, so they watch out for those. Occasionally, the Aegis will make alliance with ghostwalkers. They think that ghostwalkers tend to be myopic and obsessive, but their goals don't usually conflict. On the other hand, some Aegis folks find them really creepy or want to steal their poo poo. In general, however, the Aegis mostly just ignores Fog Men or tries to ally with them.

The Ascending Ones believe that the ghostwalkers can be tied to ancient Egypt, where there were men who were said to dominate society by walking alongside gods. As a result, the Ascending Ones believe the ghostwalkers may be a major threat to the world, as bad as their old foes, the newly returned mummies. In fact, they sometimes confuse the two for each other. Their information is woefully incomplete, which isn't helping. They are fixated on finding out how to affect any supernatural that can cross from dead lands to living with ease. Their resilience to drugs is legendary, and the Jagged Crescent has been testing a new drug, Death Cloud, made from the mushrooms of the Underworld. It's incredibly addictive and potentially lethal. It's also not ready for distribution - testing has shown it to have some very bad side effects, and that could definitely piss off some ghostwalkers...or other hunters. The Ascending Ones also occasionally head into the lands of the dead to get reagents for their elixirs, and sometimes ghostwalkers object to that sort of thing. Apparently they think removing just about anything from the Underworld is a bad idea.

For the most part, the Ascending Ones aren't sure how to handle ghostwalkers. They're a threat, according to the higher ups, but there's so many things out there that are much more obviously dangerous. The Jagged Crescent also like them as test subjects for Death Cloud strains. The Ascending Ones, as a result, have no real idea how to handle ghostwalkers or even how to face them, as a group. It's down to each cell to react individually. What really unites them is the need to go to the Underworld for ingredients every so often, and that means pissing off a ghostwalker or something stranger sometimes.

Cheiron finds ghostwalkers interesting - they're full of ectoplasm, can rise from the dead, see ghosts and can even detect if people have cancer. They've been trying to capture them for years, and have managed it a few times, usually with a lot of casualties. The Cheiron Group has experimented on them extensively when they have the chance, and have learned that they're practically impossible to take down without killing them, but that killing them won't permanently harm them. This has often led to disaster during harvesting. They do know that ghostwalkers don't always return in one piece, so you can't just keep harvesting the same organs. They also strongly suspect ghostwalkers can't revive themselves an unlimited number of times, though the fact that someone nearby always dies when they do makes it hard to figure out how many lives they have. Their biggest setback has been in harvesting ectoplasm. Ghostwalkers channel, contain and use it, but they've learned that the ghostwalkers do not produce ectoplasm. They're conduits. They know they can collect ectoplasm, possibly from spirits, but have confirmed that it's just impossible for them manufacture it. In fact, their autopsies, when they can do them, have shown that there are no obvious places in the body to store ectoplasm, either. Dissection won't yield anything. This is frustrating, and has forced them to shift priorities to capturing and identifying ghosts using sonar-based technologies. That might get them some ectoplasm, but they're worried about what ghostwalkers will do when they find out what's going on.

Both ghosts and ghostwalkers are high priority, and since the 70s, Cheiron has realized that ghosts often lure in ghostwalkers. If they could find or manufacture hauntings, ghostwalkers should eventually show up. Of course, their ability to talk to the dead sometimes thwarts Cheiron's efforts, but overall, they think it should work. They lack any real understanding of how the human soul works, and that is working against them. Some within Cheiron also believe that ghostwalkers should be indoctrinated and hired freelance - they're better at ghosts than hunters are, and that's useful. They could be ideal agents, but their idioscyncracy makes it a difficult thing to do, and they often lack any interest in sustained cooperation. In general, Cheiron will make offers and negotiate, but they'rem ore than willing to take down and capture.

The Lucifuge know that ghostwalkers often claim to have made deals with potent mythological figures, and that raises red flags. They're rare, but the Lucifuge have run into enough to have an opinion: ghostwalkers are loving delusional. Their claims about getting angelic or demonic patrons are full of poo poo. They may think they have contracts with the divine, but they don't, and there's a lot the haunted do not know. The Lucifuge herself has met at least seven different ghostwalkers, all claiming to have bonded their souls to the archangel Michael, and not a single one of which know a goddamn thing about angels or demons. They discovered that the entities involved came from some nether world that the Lucifuge had never heard of. They're insignificant in the grand scheme of things, despite trying hard to seem otherwise, but the Underworld is an interesting place and may hold discoveries for the conspiracy. They've yet to figure out how to get there, and some wnder if it may actually be Hell - or if it isn't, if the city Pandemonium might be fictional. The ghostwalkers don't seem to know, and the Lucifuge don't actually expect them to. The Lady of Milan is doing her own investigations and may be making overtures to the haunted to get guides to the Underworld.

Lucifuge response to ghostwalkers varies, but most don't really think they're a problem unless they cause trouble. They're just weird poo poo that is out there, and not that important. Still, if ghostwalkers are stirring up trouble, most Lucifuge will not hesitate to intervene. They've figured out that the ghostwalkes are often directly linked to ghost activity, and if the dead are restless, often a ghostwalker is involved. Some believe that ghostwalkers could be useful in tracking Satan's unrepentant children - after all, they do tend to leave ghosts in their wake, ghosts that need to be quelled. Still, alliance with ghostwalkers if often shaky - they may be afraid of infernal power or disapprove of it. Some believe that ghostwalker claims should be taken more seriously - sure, they're not really talking to Beelzebub, but they leave themselves open to demonic manipulation, and that's dangerous. Maybe better to just take them out before that can happen. A small number have even aligned with the Malleus, believing that the difference between ghostwalkers and witches is largely academic - ghostwalkers are just a specialized type of witch and must be dealt with the same way. The Lady of Milan holds that ghostwalkers are not a major concern - they're a distraction, really, easily mistaken for actual problem monsters. If they hurt people, deal with them, of course, but they're not important.

The Malleus, as noted, are most concerned with the bargains that the ghostwalkers claim to strike. They believe this represents a deal with a demon - rather like a witch, in fact. Some of them note that the haunted sem to carry a second presence around with them, and for them, that's a clear sign of witchcraft rather than undead nature. These people are victims of a demon's control or influence. Thus, you shouldn't be fooled by their actions or appearance - what they do is because of demonic power, and they are agents of evil, no matter how benign they seem. Unfortunately, the conspiracy hasn't really determined how to exorcise that entity, and they can't figure out how to communicate with it, either. Even techniques used to banish major demons have failed. Some believe that certain ghostwalkers are not really poossessed, but can communicate with the necromantic demon they serve, and in general, all of the Malleus accepts that they are secret witches.

As with witches, ghostwalkers are a bit of a lesser focus, but still definitely a target. No special treatment, not that different than any other force of evil. They want the ghostwalkers to confess, renounce Satan and then die and stay loving dead. They are not above torture to discover the secrets of the ghostwalkers. The problem is when a ghostwalker actually does confess - killing them as an act of mercy fails most of the time because they come back, and some of the Malleus understand that the haunted might be justified in what they are doing. That's a bit of a dilemma. When a ghostwalker identifies a slasher, what do you do? What about if they find a vampire for you? Can you use them, even temporarily? Of course, this problem is rare - they rarely run into ghostwalkers - and there is no official policy yet. Some of the Order of Saint Ambrose are convinced there must be a way to seperate the demon fro mteh host, and that ghostwalkers are victims, not witches in control of their actions. They believe their past failures are tests of faith, not mistakes. AFter all, most haunted will insist they're tied to some other entity, and may even beg for help escaping it. They keep trying, but so far lack the evidence to build a truly convincing argument. Still, most of the Malleus doesn't want to condemn potential innocents without hard proof, not while vampires are their top priority.

Task Force: VALKYRIE first ran into the Fog Men in World War 2, fighting Nazis and Soviets alike, but even then they were pretty rare. They were a threat, but never on top of the target list, and were deemed a phenomenon unique to the battlefield until the 1980s, when they ran into Fog Men on American soil. Project FORT began to encounter them more often, and trying to eliminate or contain ghosts seemed to piss them off. VALKYRIE has few ideas about the true nature of the Fog Men, and in fact the top brass aren't releasing what they do know. The dominant theory on the ground is that the Fog Men are possessed and appear only after violent deaths. Etheric Rounds seem to hurt them as if they were fully ghosts, though, so that's nice. However, the brass have advised not to use them, and apparently, some people at the highest levels think Fog Men should be left alone.

In general, the VALKYRIE response to ghostwalkers is to kill them before they can kill anyone else, and with extreme prejudice. They are always assured to consider them serious threats, but ones to handle carefully or ignore if required. They're hard to kill, you see. Despite their expertise, the brass are hesitant to order FORT to handle them - see, the brass think Fog Men can be used. They have the power to enter the Underworld, and Task Force VALKYRIE needs to test our their new Gatekeeper Devices there. Most hunters want to use those to get an edge on hunts, and the brass believes they'll let TFV target monsters at their origin point. The project has been top secret, but some ghostwalkers have begun to suspect something's up, believing the government may be trying to recreate them, but not why or how. FORT is not eager to engage the Fog Men, so they haven't noticed that some ghostwalkers are trying to infiltrate, and some have wondered if perhaps ghostwalkers are part of the natural order somehow. If they contain ghosts, why interfere? However, they mostly keep such opinions to themselves, in order to keep their funding.

We then get one example ghostwalker - Naomi Red Bird, an Oglala Sioux from South Dakota whose family died around her - her mother of cancer, her father of alcoholism, her brother of...well, just wandering off and disappearing. She herself died in a party gone wrong, burned to death. Then she came back with the Smoking Woman at her side. She still wonders why, who set the building on fire, and more. Now, she wanders the world looking for answers and occasionally helps ghosts, largely by setting fires.

Next time: MUMMIES ALIVE

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

wdarkk posted:

From what I understood the problem wasn't so much that they were great in straight up fights, but that they could teleport a ton of burning magnesium into your coffin/bedroom/etc from across the planet.

FMguru posted:

The two examples I always remember people using were how a low-level mage could do things like "turn an elder vampire's blood into sunshine" and "turn an elder vampire into a lawnchair" using rules-as-written.
There really shouldn't be any vampires left in the WoD, given how weak they are and how they're apparently every other group's favourite punching bag.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Eh, vampires are really, really good at mind control.

Like, really good. Pound for pound, better than most mages but less flexible.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Mors Rattus posted:

Eh, vampires are really, really good at mind control.

Like, really good. Pound for pound, better than most mages but less flexible.
Also, the ones that survive are really, really good at keeping a low profile and doing things through multiple layers of cutouts so that they don't come to the attention of people like Mages.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Also, frankly, most mages have much better things to do than gently caress with vampires. Vampires aren't a problem for your average mage, in the sense that they don't do things that keep the mage from maging.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man


The magic system of mage is meant to define all of reality into 10 little silos in 5 (or 6, considering Archmastery) levels of scale. You can't really put that on the same level as a Vampire without making each level of power prohibitive in an XP sense.

This is why I like Changeling's Contracts as magic, which is coincidentally my next entry in F&F!

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Also, rules as written means that even with your chemistry degree you're inflicting a capped amount of damage based on your roll. Apparently a lot of people talking about Mage on the internet overlook that.

Also you can't change a vampire into a lawnchair except in the very first edition of original Mage without having so many points you should be doing something else.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP
Vampires are also astoundingly myopic and don't actually do much in the grand scheme of things. Most groups are at least as good as they are at soft power, and they're just not a big concern for anyone they're not directly preying on usually.

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Mr. Maltose posted:

Also, rules as written means that even with your chemistry degree you're inflicting a capped amount of damage based on your roll. Apparently a lot of people talking about Mage on the internet overlook that.

Also you can't change a vampire into a lawnchair except in the very first edition of original Mage without having so many points you should be doing something else.

Absolutely. I feel like 90% of "Mage is OP" wankery originates with people who maybe read old Mage once or twice back in the day and feel confident that nothing has changed in the past 20 years.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Cythereal posted:

Vampires are also astoundingly myopic and don't actually do much in the grand scheme of things. Most groups are at least as good as they are at soft power, and they're just not a big concern for anyone they're not directly preying on usually.
Vampires are myopic because so much of their time and effort is spent just securing their food supply. One of the best things, maybe the best thing about Requiem is that it puts the whole blood-drinking thing front and center. Every conspiracy and conflict in Vampire starts with vampires who have to figure out how to get their regular supply of human blood before they can accomplish gently caress all else.

FMguru posted:

Also, the ones that survive are really, really good at keeping a low profile and doing things through multiple layers of cutouts so that they don't come to the attention of people like Mages.
That's that "soft power" Cythereal is talking about. Vampires are supposed to be master manipulators but in practice (i.e. mechanical support) I don't think they have a big advantage in setting up those layers of obfuscation and ranks of cannon fodder. Especially because of the whole sunlight thing. In practice, having a well-defended haven is really hard.

Ferrinus
Jun 19, 2003

i'm finding this quite easy, i guess in part because i'm a fast type but also because i have a coherent mental model of the world
The problem with mages wasn't their flexibility, it was the fact that the ability to turn any spell into an extended "spend hours chanting in your basement" ritual meant that most of the putative limits on magic, particularly those that pertained to spells which enhanced your own character, didn't exist.

There's nothing special about the ability to send people mail bombs. There is something special about the ability to walk around with an effective 10 points of armor, 6-10 dots in every attribute and 5 dots in every skill, rote action on every important roll you make, small armies of minions who roll a minimum of fifteen dice to take any action in the game, etc.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Cythereal posted:

Vampires are also astoundingly myopic and don't actually do much in the grand scheme of things. Most groups are at least as good as they are at soft power, and they're just not a big concern for anyone they're not directly preying on usually.
Yeah, 95% of their energy is spend on securing their haven and their blood supply and keeping a low profile and politicking against their enemies (and sometimes being drafted into performing some Masquerade enforcement). They don't make much of a ripple in the running of the real world - to the extent that they Secretly Run Things, it's so they can secure themselves and screw with rival vampires. You don't mind-control Senators or Jeff Bezos or whoever - you infiltrate and mind control your city's Department of Planning so none of your enemies can rezone and redevelop the abandoned building that your haven is underneath. Sometimes newly-embraced vampires try to use their superpowers to make a bid for secular power, by becoming the undead mob kingpin of the west coast or something. It never works because while you're spending your time loving around in the mortal world, you're not spending time maintaining and shoring up your standing in the vampiric world, time your enemies are spending working against you. There's a reason new vampires are essentially slave-bonded to their masters for the first decade (or decades) of their unlife - it's to beat such mortal concerns out of them and get them to understand just how to live a properly low-profile vampire life.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely
Grimey Drawer
Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 16: :siren: Phase Technology :siren: and friends



Today we shall deal with phase technology, which is the special art understood only by the prometheans. It sends targets “out of phase” with the three-dimensional world. Nobody else has figured out how these doohickeys work, or mastered the physics behind their operation. Nobody. This isn’t one of those ‘well but Chiang-Ku dragons do actually still exist and know tattoo magic’ situations, no, this is a true total secret. It is believed that the prometheans’ natural phase field is what lets them work with these technologies since nobody else can, and folks more or less have to take their word for it. This means you have to take your gun back to the dealer for service, none of this third party stuff. As a result, despite being billed as the coolest, phase technology is relatively uncommon.


i suppose this is sufficiently gun-like to be recognizeable

The first and most obvious and probably only really important application of phase technology is ‘phase beamers’, the guns of course. It projects a phase field onto a target which disrupts vital functions. Since they’re noclip guns they ignore armor, and inflict the same damage on MDC and SDC targets. Damage from phase beamers is regenerated more slowly than normal--normal healing done in rounds instead takes hours. Magic et alles healing still works normally.

Unfortunately, this ability to scramble your organs does not work on robots or vehicles. It can disrupt the internal structure of beings with organs stronger than steel (MDC vs. SDC) but ‘can’t disrupt metals’. Of course, living creatures made of metal are still affected. :wtc:

They’re also stopped by force fields which only the Naruni seem to sell. The beam damages the field but doesn’t penetrate. They are further also stopped by ‘phase fields’ which I suppose makes sense. Lastly, they are stopped by magical barriers as if they were armor. The magic/forcefield thing I can dig, it changes up the usual ‘pile on as much plating as possible’ method being most efficient, but leaves a lot of characters pretty defenseless--and personal forcefields seem to be monopolized by one faction.

Damage-wise, after all that lead-up, the pistol does...3d6 SDC. or 4d6 MDC. 10 shot payload, presumably uses whatever e-clips actually are at this point. Not bad for a pistol. The heavy phase beamer does 4d6 to a 10-ft square, or 6d6 to a creature filling more than 10-ft of space. Not real impressive flat damage, bypassing armor is nice but so many creatures have natural MDC, and a lot of it, that going for the high raw is usually a superior choice. Basically, bring these to fight the Coalition--everything inside the skulls is so squishy.


at what point do mounts stop being ‘tripods’?

Then we have phase swords. 4d6 plus PS bonus which can be substantial--normally MDC weapons don’t use PS adds except for some of the weirder magical ones, so this is actually reasonably powerful in the right hands.


the hilt appears to be slightly out of phase with the handle though

Phase fields come in two types. The P-Field is similar to a forcefield, which reduces the energy of incoming attacks. There is also the OP-Field (heh heh) which just Kitty Prydes the wearer right on out of phase with everything. Magic and Psionics go straight through both of these.

P-fields are worn with a harness with front and back projectors. Each projector has ten MDC. The harness can be worn over light body armor (MDC up to 50 and 50 only! More than that and you hulk out of the field I guess) or can be built into a suit of armor for double cost. What these fields then do is disperse ALL ‘energy attack’ damage--all those lasers, plasma projectiles, whatever, completely. Conventional arms, railguns or whatever, divide by 10. I imagine hitting the phase projectors requires a called shot but good grief. They require special batteries that cost 1,000 credits each but having a few of those seems totally worth it.

The OP-field removes one from the field of battle entirely. The user can pass harmlessly through walls, though not forcefields or magical wards, nor are they protected from magical or psionic attacks. Phase beamers also affect them. These can even be turned on as a normal “dodge” action, but at +1. The batteries for these last 1 hour or through 20 ‘phase dodges’. Batteries for these cost 5,000 credits and it is very explicit that no other kind of battery can work. Building one of these into power armor is very very expensive (600K credits) and doesn’t allow unlimited function--it’ll overload after 24 hours/40 switches and have to cool off. Honestly, this reads a lot like Siembieda was just really terrified of people being able to walk through walls.

There’s also a phase-tech med kit that does surgery by turning part of the patient’s body insubstantial so that foreign objects just fall through, etc. This doesn’t separate people from their cybernetics because “those are attached to the target’s nervous system.” okay. Mostly I guess they shouldn’t try to explain things. I’m really just glad it occurred to anyone that a technology could be used for something besides guns. Oh yeah, in game terms, a full kit gives a Recovery Ratio (see Rifts main) of 80% even in the field. I don’t remember what that means but it sounds promising if not miraculous.

Gravitonic Technology

We’ve done Phase, now let’s do another nonsense ‘energy’, this time ‘the energies of gravity’ which has allowed science to ‘defeat the light barrier’ among many other achievements. Artificial gravity comes from this buzzword of course, but they can also make guns with it!


somewhere, a space nazi officer is looking for their sidearm

Gravity rail guns are similar to normal rail guns but they use ‘gravitonic energy’. In game terms this means they do more damage and are smaller, but have a shorter range in environments with gravity. In zero-gravity situations they never lose their velocity, and this is presented as a quality that differs from the behavior of a normal object given propulsion in a vacuum. Really though, what these guns are for, is for bad guys to shoot Cosmo-Knights who are immune to all their fussy lasers. Independent armies also use them. The rifle in the picture above is actually unstatted. The pistol does 2d4. The heavy pistol does 2d6 or a 5d6 burst. The assault rifle looks like an M-16 made from weaponized tetris pieces and does 3d4 single-shot or 1d4x10 bursts. A full magazine for the rifle costs 2,000 credits, making it much more expensive to fire than a Naruni rifle, to roughly equal effect. Mostly it’s just weird they start listing ammo costs now.


i am the man who arranges...the blocks

Then we get grav packs. They nullify gravity so a single user can fly, at up to 200mph, or “Mach One” in space. I suppose this is where I should comment that Mach numbers don’t really exist in a vacuum and objects in space don’t have a top speed besides “light speed.” Anyway, they work for 12 hours before needing a replacement battery or jury-rigged e-clip. For this amazing ability to fly you can be prepared to spend 150K credits. Or 550k for one of them fancy nukular kinds. Why this costs so much compared to say, a suit of power armor that can fly much faster, I do not know. Man was not meant to fly unless he is a mech pilot OCC I guess?

That’s it for Gravitonics. Next we get Psionic Crystal Technology.

The Noro (from back...earlier...the peaceful spiky-head guys) have a special crystal called Psylite with which they make guns. They use special psychic crystal power packs for ammo. The packs cost 4,000 credits and 8 ISP per charge to recharge. If one is tracking ammo costs now that’s kind of a bargain since ISP is a renewable resource, though it can take quite some time for a ‘normal’ psychic to be able to recharge them fully.



These weapons are called crystal weapons because they use crystal for their ammo thingies, not because they are cool rock candy guns. :sigh:


instead they’re just dorky as hell

The pistol and rifle do pretty standard damage (2d6/4d6). The pistol can be fired directly for 5 ISP per shot which is superior to the charging cost, but obviously uses one’s immediate reserves. The little snub-gun above is a Crystal Paralyzer which forces a save vs. psionics or collapse for 1d4 melees. If the save is 5 or less their heart stops and they have to save vs. coma/death. Bet you’ll enjoy looking up THAT bit of attribute table. The Phase Medkit mentioned previously probably helps with bad rolls here. This gun is awesome and you should equip any psychic you know with one. It doesn’t mention armor so presumably it just goes through it! :v:

Oh, here’s an accessory to help with the crystal guns! An Augmenting Helmet.


downside: must wear this in public

Each ISP spent counts double which is frickin’ awesome. 50K credits, it costs as much as a suit of armor but is totally worth it. Has 30 MDC of its own, which is respectable for just a helmet. The only problem is that I have no idea how taking the helmet off most regular suits of armor would affect their general MDC. I think we have a breakdown for Dead Boy armor somewhere, Sourcebook one?

There’s also a telepathic communicator which allows telepathy to work up to 10 whole miles away. It costs more than the helmet. Psionic Crystal Armor has 35 MDC with a 70 MDC forcefield. It activates 4 times a day (so, if we’re using healing surge math, 280 MDC) without charge and then costs 20 ISP to activate after that. It seems to recharge its ‘uses’ on its own. 100K credits, again pretty cool. Also adds +2 to psi-saves when the field is up.


this is how i envision it shut up

The noro are a generally peaceful race who weren’t super-keen on developing weapons but they live in the real three galaxies and so built some power armor for defense. These suits are mega-damage of course, but since they’re psychic they’re extra graceful and lightweight, easy to wear and difficult to fit with mechanical upgrades because they are so artfully designed. The original “V” model didn’t work in space, and this was a problem, so they made an “X” model that does. Supposedly the X model has been phased out of active CCW service as being inferior to other battlesuits. That’s disappointing. They have big blocky shoulder-thingies that have some missile launchers in them. If the head is destroyed, the armor will be rendered useless. It should be mentioned that these suits are 9 feet tall I guess. The head has 100 MDC, the body 210, and the psionic force field has 200. That’s...respectable. The suit costs 1 ISP per hour to operate which is astonishing both in efficiency and in having a piece of psychically powered equipment that doesn’t suck. The suit has a 2,000 ISP crystal reserve, and the operator can power it directly.

Weapons-wise it can fire mind bolts at 2 ISP which do 4d6, fire up to 16 missiles that do missile damage, and comes with a gravitonic rifle that has a 2,000 round drum (!). It can also shoot a “Fear Beam” forces a save vs psionics or be -3 to strike, parry and dodge and a 50% chance of them simply turning and running for 1d4 minutes. That’s not a bad debuff. The suits also have the standard sensors of most power armor as well as See Invisible and Telepathic Communication built in.

Whatever the CCW has will have to work hard to make these suits “inferior.” They cost a shitload of money (4 million for nonflying, 8mil for flying. Really, 4 million for a 550,000 credit grav harness? You guys are getting ripped off) but the fear beam and general capacity make this a pretty good unit. There is no OCC that specifically gets this as a pilot suit, so you’d have to do some wrangling with a GM to have one, but it’s not that different from having a SAMAS in the party. It has a much lower damage output (having no massive rail gun) but it has a lot of other advantages.

I like the crystal stuff even with its uninspiring illustrations. Mostly because it’s different, it’s psychic or techno-wizard weaponry that doesn’t suck, and doesn’t somehow destroy the wielder. Carella’s fingerprints are all over it, KS probably just wasn’t interested in it at all to have let this get through.

Next: Robots and Powered Armor! We’re done with personal weaponry!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
It's also true that a mob boss whose weakness is 'Sleeps during the day and if someone opens the curtains he dies horribly' is actually pretty hilariously vulnerable and the way vampire superpowers would aid in taking power would make a ton of enemies, very quickly.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Halloween Jack posted:

Vampires are myopic because so much of their time and effort is spent just securing their food supply. One of the best things, maybe the best thing about Requiem is that it puts the whole blood-drinking thing front and center. Every conspiracy and conflict in Vampire starts with vampires who have to figure out how to get their regular supply of human blood before they can accomplish gently caress all else.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to begin to take over the world."
"*applause, cheers*"
"Step one: what are we going to eat while doing it."
"*yelling, arguing, chaos*"

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Mortal Remains

Imagine you walk by a spider's web, covered in dew, flies trapped in it. But there's no spider to be found. Where did it go? Is it hiding? Dead? If it were not for the web itself, you would never know there was a spider at all. Mummies, then, are ancient creatures - and without them, you'd never know any ancient civilization had been there. They are old beyond measure, mortals from a place millenia old, an ancient, forgotten age of Egypt. They made oaths. They made oaths and passed ancient trials to gain a power beyond death. But there was a price: the mummies must serve their ancient masters, rising from the grave to serve time and again. Time hollows them out, destroying their sense of self, their independence and even their memories. They are eternally trapped in a cycle of death and rebirth they no longer understand, if they ever really did. They cannot even recall their origins. Most, in fact, are so far gone they don't even recall that they've lost anything. Despite their age, they are creatures of the now. They plan for the future, for the inevitable passage of time, but their goals are immediate. They are incredibly focused, obsessed with whatever reason has brought them back. The more they follow that goal, the more lucid they remain. When they deviate from the plan or are derailed somehow, they become deadlier, more animalistic. They tolerate no interference or obstacles with their plans - any such obstacle must be destroyed, one way or another. Mummies are not like other monsters, hiding behind labyrinthine plots. They are spectacularly potent supernatural beings who take what they want and then return to death until the time comes to rise again.

Mummies are easily the hardest monster to identify and deal with. They're exceptionally rare, and little is known even by the most ancient conspiracies. Those who face them rarely understand their nature, and often do not live long enough to correct any mistakes. It's possible to face them, even stop them, without ever knowing what you've been up against. There are, after all, so many types of undead. It's easy to misidentify a mummy as something else. They're just too rare. But the thing about mummies is that they come back. They don't take new bodies - they just get up in the old one, good as new. They are nearly impossible to kill for good. They can be defeated, frustrated, stopped. They just can't really be destroyed. Whatever is left will regenerate eventually. They will rise from their tomb once more to serve those ancient agendas of those long-dead masters. There are hints of patterns in old records that the careful and lucky can find. They hint at something else - something old, powerful, born long ago. If you really look, you can find tales of mummies.

In the last few years, mummies have had a massive surge in activity. They operate in centuries-long cycles, and now is the peak of one of those cycles. Mummies are often absolutely terrible at dealing with modern change and technology, leaving such things to their mortal servants. Those with access to advanced technology will baffle them and be able to track them much more easily. The game suggests using mummies as a sort of end boss - they're stupidly potent, after all, and tend to have cults surrounding them that you'll have to fight long before you confront the undead monster behind it all. You might never even meet the mummy, which remains in its tomb. Mummies can take direct action, but often don't. They have agents serve their will - entirely normal people. They are deeply embedded within society on a scale of centuries, a cancer that cannot be cut out without harming the people that have risen up around their personal conspiracies. These cults act even while the mummy itself is dormant.

Cultists come in several types. Most are just dupes, never aware of what they serve. They're political activists, church members or employees who work for the company that hides the cult. They're committed, and they don't question the strange teachings of the cult - they just shrug and accept it. They are, ironically, often the most potent cultists in the mundane world - after all, you may not want the police chief in your inner circle of mummy service in case he reacts poorly, but he's in charge of the police. Those who prove loyal, committed and useful may be drawn deeper, becoming initiates who know they serve an ancient and terrible power. They enjoy the rewards they are offered for service, and they rarely advance past this. Only the deepest, closest ranks around the mummy truly know what they're doing. They may not understand the complete nature of what they serve, but they know it is an ageless force that has existed since before the dawn of history. They may be hereditary or may be extremely loyal servants, but they rarely have any of the moral qualms lower ranks might have. At best, they are amoral slaves. They have the power to raise the mummy to life, though it costs them their sanity, and they know the most intimate secret of the mummy: its tomb's location.

Mummies don't really leave their tombs very often. They like having a place to be, a focal point and an anchor in reality that remains constant across time. That is also why they build their cults. They need a place to rest and a group to guard their remains. They rely heavily on the objects they own to hold their memories and experiences, to create a narrative for themselves to replace their failing memories. The tomb is their identity as much as anything else. Sometimes they move their tombs every few generations, for safety. A tomb doesn't have to mean something buried deep underground, after all. In most cases, the tomb is a deathtrap for intruders, built to kill any before they reach the inner sanctum. And if you manage to survive that...well, a mummy is strongest in their own home, it's a nexus for their power. Mummies are more potent than practically any other monster around to begin with, too. It can decades to cover up their actions if they really cut loose, and fighting one should usually be a last resort. They aren't undead in quite the way vampires or zombies are, but are closer to dead than alive. They can command ghosts, and may well have their cultists sacrifice their own lives to raise them up as ghosts to use. They can wither, age and destroy people, land and objects. The more damage they suffer, the more inhuman they seem. They can undo that damage with time and concentration, but in combat, that's not really available. They almost always fight to the death. However, mummies lack in free will and will generally behave in predetermined ways when confronted. They aren't elaborate schemers - they have one goal, and they're gonna stick to it most of the time. It takes too much effort to turn against that. Hell, if they try, they almost always end up going back to the grave early. They avoid violence when possible, focusing more on evasion to continue their work than fighting. Fights are a distraction. But when they're forced to it...well.



It is possible to interrupt a mummy's living cycle by preventing their mission. If they deviate from their plan, their strength quickly ebbs and they weaken rapidly. Their commitment to the job is what keeps them alive, quitel iterally. Sufficient damage or frustration can also return them to the grave. They tend to believe that how they return to the grave affects their next rising - one that returns in a terrible state will rise again as a mad, animal creature. One that accomplishes its goal will rise unharmed, likely calm and with more memories. That's one of the reasons they often avoid conflict when possible. There are three ways for a mummy to return to life. At some points in history, for unknown reasons, they just wake up with some mission, without any interference or assistance. They don't always consciously understand their agendas, but their actions are defined by them, and they can sense when they're not serving their goal. Their cultists can also perform a ritual to reawaken them for a single specific purpose, which they will do their best to fulfill before returning to their sleep. And, last, mummies' tombs are full of artifacts and potent items that, when stolen, trigger the mummy's curse. Specifically, it awakens the mummy in a violent rage, and, if that doesn't keep the thief's actions from working, will have the mummy go out to seek its items.

Mummy agendas can be grouped into a few categories. They ruthlessly seek out certain objects of power. They mold the arrangment of cities into shapes and setups significant somehow to their ancient masters. They work to shape cultures into certain fashions - usually related to conflict, sacrifice and death. They devote a lot of time to supporting their own survival and that of their cults. And they fight each other in grudge matches whose causes are entirely forgotten. Ultimately, finding out what they're seeking is often futile - they don't even understand their motives well themselves, so what good does it do to you?

Next time: Compact Mummy - store in your pocket!

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012
Hopefully Habibti Ma are coming up next. I like them for the same reasons I like the Talbot Group- it's a compact that focuses on the damage to regular peoples' lives that's glossed over when you're playing as a monster but is inherent to what you're doing. I don't remember whether it's called out in Mortal Remains or not but they would be good going up against Vampire ghouls too, or any of your generic cults to an otherworldly monster.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

MonsieurChoc posted:

The only Geist campaign idea I have is basically Persona.

I hope you mean Persona 3, where summoning involves pretend-headshotting yourself.

FMguru posted:

The two examples I always remember people using were how a low-level mage could do things like "turn an elder vampire's blood into sunshine" and "turn an elder vampire into a lawnchair" using rules-as-written.

Those are like Junji-Ito levels of body horror. Impressive.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Pictured: Poster prepares to celebrate Holy Communion (probablY)

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What the hell is up with Mummys in this game line? They are ancient Nigh unkillable god puppets from before the dawn of History? The creatures they serve may be dead and they have a full gamut of almost apocalyptic level skills?

Because I kind of want to know more about Mummies now.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




This agreement to powers to alter reality imparts no liability if said reality-altering ruins your life.1

I'm going to start with just going over pg 124 for the Contracts section. For such a short entry, it helps define what Wyrd magic is, and what it isn't. The long and short of it is that magic is not an answer, but it is a way to ensure that what you were meant to do is done.2.

It is emphasized in the text that the magic of the Fae are enigmatic and curious. There is no border or cause for fae magic, no why. Like the nature of old, it just IS. This is why they are called Contracts, as they are agreements and bargains struck between the Fae and a feature of the natural world.3.

Each contract is its own country, not to be combined or blended with another contract... except for certain contracts in this book that demand you name a type when you sign on- like a Kith for a Seeming. So having a Contract of X doesn't make it cheaper nor does it combine in any way into a Contract of Y, except for when having a Contract of Helvetica X makes it cheaper to buy Contract of Times New Roman X. And then you have to remember that even though every changeling is enslaved to the Wyrd, you still have to note how close your affinity is with the concept- be it via seeming or court. Descriptively, this involves acting in creative ways to become closer with your connection to the concept. Mechanically, it means you might have to spend more XP than others. Except when buying a different type of contract that does the same thing- you get a single XP per clause-to-gain reduction!

Yes, the last paragraph is inherently silly :pcgaming:

Yet because you are making a contact with some universal concept, this also means that Contracts are not unique: a single changeling (or small group of changelings) having the sole ownership of a contract just doesn't work. All Contracts are with the Fae nation by being struck with the Wyrd, and so any party- True Fae or Changeling- is able to "me too" onto it if they really, really want to4.

Like vampiric disciplines, they are divided into a five-step ladder where each rung is called a Clause. Clauses are written in naturalistic language where the entirety of their rules are self-contained. This, of course, leads to arguments about scope and purpose of Wyrd Contracts, and so you should refer back to pg 124 as your guideline, and decide ahead of time whether anything gives you "true invisibility" short of the power that actually gives you invisibility, or what the meaning of "weaponized form of an element" is. In that case, it should be noted that a Contract is not making you fireproof; you are being protected from harm from Fire itself. This anthropomorphizing is a fine distinction, but it is important to understand the meaning behind the magic. You never get powers yourself, you're always getting in on loan to something bigger and better than you. 5

What makes this antriphomorphization work is the Wyrd, and on a mechanical level, this is represented by the effects of clauses being capped by a changeling's Wyrd score (or the Wyrd's cousin, your Mantle rating :pcgaming:) rather than the number of your successes... except this isn't consistent across the gameline, AND you're almost always adding Wyrd/Mantle to your success roll anyway.6

And the interest you pay on this loan is Glamour, and sometimes also willpower points. The cost depends on the Clause, but typically the costs rise as you increase your connection to the Contract. Some major contracts cost a butt-ton of Glamour, which entails delaying their use if you don't have the Wyrd score to spend in one turn.

OR you can use the Catch, a form of loop-hole that allows you to avoid paying the...

Okay, turn back our books to page 8 and check the last line of the chapter. This tiny little legal documentation will tell you if you hold a first or second printing of the book in your hand. The differences between the first and second printing is largely just a case of basic errata, mispelled words and missing minor details for certain contracts. HOWEVER, the difference between the first printing and the second printing in this case will change the basic understanding of Catches.

In the first printing, the meeting the requirements of the Catch made the contract free for all costs. In the second edition, having the Catch only reduced the cost of Glamour for the contract to zero.

I'm of the opinion that the "all costs" method is generally more valuable and has a nice side-effect of making Healing (via Eternal Spring 3) a degree cheaper than it would normally be. However, I'm kinda okay with players not dying often if they are in a group with a Spring changeling "that has honestly professed their love (either Familial or Romantic) to them." And of course, as this is a White Wolf game, there are also contracts with no (effective) Glamour cost but do have a Willpower cost. :sigh: Taking the second printing as your gospel is, however, a very fair choice.

Next time: A smattering of the everyday magic.

1 The use of formal legalism to describe and understand magic is what makes C:tL better than Dreaming's dislike of the "banal". Read Charles Dickens's Bleak House, and not just because it is one of the best 100 books in the english language, because it establishes that the concept of law is one of the greatest and more terrible works of art humanity has ever created.
2 - My subtextual reading is that making extant plots easier to solve is the reward of spending XP on Contracts, in contrast to other systems where magical powers are plot-defining elements themselves. Magic is a crutch, not a requirement.
3 - And the reason there are no Contracts of the Internet are explained-ish later in Equinox Road
4 - So its like V:tR's bloodline disciplines, except the exact opposite!
5 - This distinction is sometimes lost by the writers, but ultimately chemistry majors need not apply their wankery to the Wyrd.
6 - Either way, C:tL ensures that gaining some umpteenmillion success on an extended action roll either doesn't matter or is impossible. 'sup Mage?

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Doresh posted:

I hope you mean Persona 3, where summoning involves pretend-headshotting yourself.

It's one of the listed inspirations for Geist.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.



Geist sounds like The Frighteners meets Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, which makes me think it would be really awesome to play.

Also, NIGHTBANE will resume soon... did people want commentary on the Simbieda alignment boilerplate or not? It's the same poo poo as every RIFTS book I've ever seen but I think it would be an interesting topic for at least brief discussion.

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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.
Definitely. It's important to point out each and every way that CJ Carella's writing is foiled by the fact that he's working on a Palladium product.

Night10194 posted:

It's also true that a mob boss whose weakness is 'Sleeps during the day and if someone opens the curtains he dies horribly' is actually pretty hilariously vulnerable and the way vampire superpowers would aid in taking power would make a ton of enemies, very quickly.
Not to mention that every single thing about his legal identity is fake.

Yeah, I think we're on the same page on this. I don't mean to be That Guy who complains about vulnerability in a game with wizards and zombies and stuff, but the World of Darkness is a very street level game, where the nitty-gritty details of getting away with criminal poo poo are important. Unknown Armies is the same way. It's what grounds the settings and forestalls them becoming the "90s Image comic with fangs" that the original WoD became late in its lifespan, despite some attempts to take it in a different direction.

I'd like to cover one or two books that were exemplary in that regard, like Clanbook: Brujah. I'm afraid it wouldn't make much sense without the context of me covering the entire Vampire line, though. And that would be loving crazy. Too crazy even for me, when I have 3 books I'm still trying to finish covering.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 22:30 on Jun 17, 2015

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