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Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED

Robindaybird posted:

Utopia Now got all the stink of Libertarian Wonks and their 'filthy leeches go away' sand castle island dreams.

e: and I wish they would stop writing about Ashwood Abbey, it just gets worse and worse

Utopia Now was very much written to be that way, and yeah, they really don't know quite what to do with the Abbey.

Neopie posted:

Okay. Can someone clarify for me what an Institutional Demon is, exactly? Is it just nDemon demons?

So, Mors covered the short version, so here's the long version.

It's (almost always) Infrastructure. The God-Machine can't directly just point a finger and make something happen. It has people (and angels) for that. In order to create a desired result ("occult matrix"), it has to set up a chain of events and requirements that will make the weird occult physics it's got a mastery over do the needful. For instance, if it wants to summon a very particular sort of angel, maybe it has to set up five clock towers in a pentagon across a metro area that are all just barely off sync, so when they all strike 4 PM on October 27th, 2017, the angel will appear in the correctly prepared warehouse floor covered with coyote entrails. Or, it wants to have a system that allows it and its agents to automatically sort out communication or packages through the mail system that directly threaten other plans. These sets of locations, actions, requirements, and so on are Infrastructure. Infrastructure comes in several different classifications, but in general, it's the means with which the God-Machine enacts its inscrutable plans.

This means that despite the God-Machine being as close to, well, a god, that the World of Darkness has (barring several other heavyweight contenders like spirit-gods, True Fae in Arcadia, etc), it can be thwarted. Identify the weak link in its logistical train, and smash it with a hammer. One delicate bit of fine china placed just so might be the only thing preventing decades of schemes from completely imploding in a spectacular fashion, like a house of cards. However, the God-Machine probably knows this, so anyone who even looks at that set of china funny for more than half a second will be instantly under surveillance, with a clown car of murderbots ready to be dropped on them. The big prizes have the biggest security. It also means that if you have a basic understanding of Infrastructure and make a few educated guesses, you might be able to sneakily subvert Infrastructure to bend its purpose against its plans. The fax machine that sends a hitman angel after anyone whose personal information it scans might send a guardian angel instead, or that letter-sorting Infrastructure instead sorts communications that threaten you and your Ring.

Oh, and note - in theory, since all the God-Machine does is manipulate extremely esoteric laws of reality, it is entirely possible for the effects of Infrastructure to just sorta happen in absurdly rare cases - or, far more tantalizingly, if they're set up by somebody else. Say, demons. Nobody's ever managed to do it and prove it, because Infrastructure generally hinges on incomprehensibly complex principles and subatomic levels of accuracy, but it may be possible to reverse-engineer Infrastructure and use it to create a custom set of Infrastructure that could destroy the God-Machine entirely. In theory.

Anyone who tries to tell you they've got a plan for that figured out is lying, insane, or trying to lure you back into the gears, of course.

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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

quote:

King of the Road links you to your vehicle. The tattoo is always in the shape of the vehicle you're linked to, so you want something cool. You also have to pain the vehicle specially, but you can cover that with another paint job after. Once you have it set up? You will never lose that car. Doesn't matter what you do to it. Drive it into a lake? That's fine. Get it blown the gently caress up? Sure. Lose it somewhere? That's okay. No matter what, within 24 hours it will show up utterly unharmed in a parking area you visit. Always the exact same car - not a type of car, that one car, the one you linked yourself to. (Or truck, or bike. Whatever.)

The Lord Provides means you don't have to keep track of your bullets. You tattoo a specific model of gun on your body. When using any gun of that model, you have infinite ammunition. It's mundane ammo, you still have to reload, but you always have ammo.

I know who my TFV game is running into next week. Among other things, a lady with tattoos of an attack helicopter and a rocket launcher.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

Mors Rattus posted:

I picked up a pair of interesting games at Origins. Are folks more interested in learning about Through the Breach, the Malifaux RPG of steampunk card games, or Hellas, a game that seems to use a Talislanta-based system to do ancient Greek myth in space.

I'm already familiar with Hellas but only know Malifaux from incidental wargame chat, so I vote Malifaux.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Don't forget that the God Machine is generally a dick and has figured how to change things through retrocausality. The normal gnostic Demiurge is generally a tantruming selfish jerk of a God. Unfortunately for the nWoD, they got a robot built to tantrum and be a jerk. Also I love how Ink is just plain cheat codes for real life given to you by an angelic agent and despite being Fast and Furious Bounty Hunters, the Knights are a huge threat to demons because they have the human ability to be creative about their God Machine-given powers.

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

Halloween Jack posted:

I'm pretty nonplussed on the Masterless Man. His powers are just combat-based, and there's a lot more to Shane, Caine, and [eleventy Clint Eastwood characters] than that.

I dunno, it passes the Fury Road test - everything in the Archtype happens in Fury Road. I gotta reiterate though: if you want a good Merchant, watch Misfits.

Please tell me that tattoo magic chapter was written by Greg Stolze. Because that reads like an Adept school, perfectly. Except that sample character is almost Furiosa. I expected her to trade her memories to a Mechanomancer for a new arm.

If you want to see cool tattoo magic, watch Misfits!

Institutional Demons have got to be the coolest thing in the nWoD by far. Those libertarian guys are pretty funny though - SA wrote a whole bunch of fiction a while back about exactly what would go wrong with a floating society. Are there They Live sunglasses that identify Demons?

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 01:57 on Jun 20, 2015

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

The Land Titans: Thunder Walks on Royal Feet

quote:

It seemed impossible. How could such a body support such a head? In dim light the man turned, his tusks glowing like things afire. Bright robes shimmered as his bulk moved with silent grace. All thoughts of laughter fled Sir William's mind. It was clear that the rumors had not lied. He raised his Martini-Henry, but before Sir William could sight down the barrel, the god-man huffed. The torches guttered and the very air swirled. "Think not," a thick voice rumbled in thick Punjabi-accented English, just before the beast's trunk flashed across the space between them and snatched the Englishman's gun away....

So, we've cranked the racism all the way up to 11 from the start. A British hunter with a period weapon hunting an Indian elephant-man. Fantastic.

In ancient times the Land Titans were seen as gods. Kings amongst men. "Even now they bear a quiet grace". Because 10 ton animals with inch thick skin are possessed of such grace.

Not remotely what I meant.

Traditionally these animals were associated with wealth, health, luck, and power. Elephants decorate the Banners of Thailand, India, and Burma. Of course they're also hunted for their tusks and horns for increasingly spurious reasons. Which drive the Land Titans to take revenge. In war beast form the Land Titans look profoundly strange, as you would imagine giant elephant men with elephant heads.

Stop that.

Breed Traits: Even in their human forms, Land Titans are huge, over 6 feet tall(who isn't) and 300 pounds. The Jhaa are shorter and lighter but still powerfully built. "Land titans always seem to feel hot, and favor fans or air-conditioning when in their human forms, water and mud otherwise." ....what?

quote:

Land Titans speak in deep, fluid voices, and the elephant-folk tend to talk a lot. Surprisingly they're light on their feet, and can be almost silent when they walk. When angry or aroused, a Titan rumbles in an almost subsonic voice; when happy, he purrs.
:wtc:

Habitats: Native to Africa, India, and South Asia. Though sometimes they wind up in a menagerie, zoo, or work camp. Though they escape easily considering the massive size and strength difference between their human and animal forms.

Predators and Prey: Land Titans don't eat meat in any form. At all. Even if they use their mouths in battle they spit out the meat afterwards. Some people even claim that their flesh kills land titans if it hits their stomachs.

Spirit-Ties: They deal with ghosts, rarely spirits.

Kin: Land Titans inspire great loyalty from both their human and animal kin. Though beast slavers use their kin as bargaining chips from time to time. All Land-Titan kin are endangered.

Society: Land Titans are always matriarchal, and only the females will gather for any appreciable length of time.



Azubuike: The Burnt Horn People
The rhinos are the rarest of the Land Titans, and the text tells us that they're the "Strongest beast folk on land", but they're not stronger than high powered rifles, even worse when they have silver bullets. They're often accompanied by bird-folk, or true pilot birds.

They all have terrible eyesight and, unlike other land titans, are solitary, and not matriarchal. Because why the gently caress do we make generalizations anyway? They also have terrible eyesight and are terse and angry. They also hate fire. No reason given.

quote:

It's been said that an Azubuike (a colloquial though not technically correct name meaning "Your past is your strength") snaps at the present because he still smells embers of the past. Despite their sorrows, these Titans are a proud breed. Even with their decimated numbers, they retain a formidable presence to those who truly know them.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, I'm going to quote myself from earlier in the thread.

Kurieg posted:

I'm actually gonna have to mea culpa this, apparently the size increases is supposed to only apply to the animal forms, not the human forms. The reason I got confused is that he's not consistent in any way with how animal forms work. Some have +2 or +3 size (meaning 7 or 8) others say you just are size X. It also doesn't mesh with his hit point calculation as people get more or less HP from their size/stamina increases than they should. And the size is sometimes given as an aspect instead of a racial trait.

So, basically, I was wrong, but gently caress Brucato for making it so easy to be wrong in the first place.

Appearance:Bulky and slow, they have large noses that turn into their horns when they change... that is not how horns work. They're also nearsighted or blind. Their primal form is a huge rhinoceros that can dent asphalt and run at 35 mph. Their war beast form is 10 feet in height, covered in body armor..... and then his skin turns into embers and bursts into flames.
"A furious Azubuike burns with the fire of his ancestors, and anyone who touches it bare-skinned will feel their pain as well."
Background:All Azubuike have been born to African or South Asian families. No white Azubuike have ever been born. They specialize in physical vocations and medicine. Their horn isn't a cure-all but they do appear to make good healers, some how. Azubuike never initiate their own, they change on their own in a traumatic event involving fire. Their elders are either kind healers who comfort and guide the newcomer. Or brutal dictators who beat them into child soldiers and war slaves. There is apparently no in between.
Breed Favors: Fang and Claw(Horn)3(L), Natural Armor 3/2, Size 12.
Breed Bonus: Huge Size, horn and strength
Common Aspects: Earthbond, Mercy's Touch, Razor Skin (embers), Stampede Rush, Tiger Heart, Unspeakable, War Heart, Warrior's Restoration.
Form Adjustments: War-Beast: Str+5, Sta+5, Man-4, Size 10, Health+15, Speed+7 Primal Beast: Str+6, Sta+5, Man-5, Size 12, Health+17, Speed+8

I love the fact that they burst into flames but don't actually get to damage people with those flames unless they spend experience points on it. They're huge, but they're not as strong or dextrous as tigers, and that's mostly what matters. Though they are durable as hell.

Jhaa: The Swift and Brave
Jhaa are the Indian Elephants...well.. one of the Indian elephants(Yes, there are two. You run into these problems when you divide up your groups like this, Brucato). They're apparently the most numerous of the Land Titan breeds, they trace their lineage to "The god kings of old south Asian empires", but now they favor the best and brightest cities in Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. They supposedly fought during the wars in asia over the last century, usually on whichever side was killing US Troops. (Yes, it says that).

They are fond of good living and live close to their human and animal kin. They're also exclusively south asian, never any other race. Each one is a thoroughbred born under an auspicious sign. To non-asians they're always haughty and unnervingly direct, because they're dealing with lesser beings. But every silver lining needs its cloud, and the Asian governments are notoriously corrupt, and their kin have died out in recent years.

Appearance: Both men and women are lithe and ruggedly beautiful. They wear their hair long and are shockingly immodest unless formality requires different clothing. In elephant form they're small asian elephants, with males having smaller tusks and female tusks usually being absent entirely. Their war form glows with silver white light and their skin sparkles like diamonds

It's like the book mocks itself

Background: If a child looks like he'll be undergoing the first change, they're sent to live with a mentor of the same sex. After the change they will remain that Elephant's alpha. If they don't have an alpha pre-change they won't accept one because they're stubborn as hell. Anyone who even seems like he possesses the gift is sent to live with rural elders so they can be raised with "Good rural values and a sense of spiritual reverence for their animal kin."

Breed Favors: Extra Limb(Trunk), Fang and Claw (Tusks) 2(L), Size 13
Breed Bonus: You're a loving elephant. You don't get one.
Common Aspects: Birth Blessing, Durga's Blesing, Earthbond, Magnificence, Mother's Fury, Natural Armor, Pack Bond, Stampede Rush, War Heart, Warrior's Restoration
Form Adjustments: War-Beast Str+4, Dex+1, Sta+3, Man-3, Size 8, Health+11, Speed+7 Primal Beast: Str+4, Sta+4, Manipulation -1, Size 13, Health+17, Speed +5, +1 to Perception Rolls

They're not anything exceptional, unless you compare them to anything not in this book. Especially compared to the next two guys.

Mholé-Rho: Mountains that Walk

The African Elephant shifters, the Mholé-Rho, are massive. Massive in size, massive in personality, massive in appetites, they always dominate the space that they're in. They avoid civilization normally, but those that choose to play the game excel at business and politics. Empathy is their strong suit and they historically bring prosperity in their wake. However, because tragedy, they now bring war, famine, and disease to Africa.

Appearance: "Huge in all aspects" if you know what I mean.
And almost all of them are black.
I think he's implying they have massive penises.
They're all taller than 6 feet, some topping out at 7, and all will weigh at least 300 lbs. Most will dress in the loose and bright colors "Of their people", others will wear European business suits. Their primal shape is between 10 and 14 feet tall, 20 to 30 feet long, and two or three tons. The War form is massive, 15 feet tall, over a ton, with a massive elephant head on their shoulders. And they're ghost white.
Breed Favors: Extra Limb(Trunk), Fang and Claw (tusks) 3(L), Size 15
Breed Bonus: You're yet another giant elephant man.
Common Aspects: Birth Blessing, Earthbond, Fortune's Favor, Magnificence, Mercy's Touch, Natural Armor, Pack Bond, Spirit Gift, Spirit SIght, Stampede Rush, Unnerving Cry, War Heart
Form Adjustments: War-Beast: Strength+4, Stamina+4, Manipulation -3, Size 8, Health+13, Speed+5 (species factor 6) Primal Beast: Strength+5, Stamina+5, Manipulation-1, Size 15, Health+20, Speed+6, +1 to Perception Rolls

They're Not stronger than the previous guys, but they do deal more damage with their tusks.

Other Species


Iravati: The Holy Thunders
The other Indian elephant guys. They're reserved and not very social. They're all uncannily vital and have shimmering golden brown eyes. They're sober and hard working, and will work any task to their death if they agree to do it. Some Irvati hire themselves out as mercenaries to the highest bidder for radial political factions or magic wielding masters. They're implacable foes and will chase enemies to the other side of the world if necessary. Their primal form is second only to the Mholé-Rho. Their War beast form looks like Ghanesh in a bad mood, bone white hide, burning white tusks. Slow yet powerful.
Breed Favors: Extra Limb (trunk), Fang and Claw (tusks) 2(L), Size 14
Breed Bonus: LOOK AT THAT GUY
Common Aspects: Durga's Blessing, Earthbond, Magnificence, Natural Armor, Pack Bond, Spirit Secrets, Spirit Sight, Stampede Rush, Tiger Heart, War Heart
Form Adjustments: War-Beast: Strength+4, Sta+4, Dex+1, Man-4, Size 8, Health+12, Speed+5 Primal Beast: Str+5, Sta+5, Man-4, Size 14, Health+19, Speed+6, +1 to Perception Rolls

Not much difference to the other guys, honestly. They do get an extra point of Dexterity. But they all pale in comparison to the Tigers in their war forms. But they're better than the tigers in their beast forms. And they didn't need 3 different nearly identical elephant men. They really didn't.

Next Up: "Tricksters"

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.

Count Chocula posted:

Are there They Live sunglasses that identify Demons?

The nDemon game has a little sub-template for people who have been changed by their exposure to demonic activity, just enough that they can pierce the "concealment" that institutional demons use to make most people fail to notice the things that are inevitably off about them. Not just the fiendish flaw. For instance, if you have an institutional demon that manifests as a gas station off a long stretch of highway, the way in which the demon holds itself together and exerts its power requires it to align complicated arcane correspondences in ways that show. The gasoline works but it smells like perfume and rotting meat. The magazines on the rack have images and visual style like a normal American culture mag but they're all in Urdu. The impulse buy racks are selling tins of mints with no brand name visible, just a logo of a man falling off a mountain. The way this stuff aligns makes people notice only the most innocuous changes. PCs are the kind of people who realize something is very wrong with this gas station.

You could easily come up with Endowments that duplicate that effect in some way. But nDemon has a strong theme of being a spy game of false lives, with the gnostic fallen angels hiding from the all-seeing eye, so there's very little that can just look at a demon and say "yes, that is a greater demon;" they're good at blocking that. (Even the demons can't easily pick out who is or isn't a demon. They keep each other guessing.) The sunglasses probably just give you a sense when demonic magic is in effect, when the greater demons are using their uncanny luck. Maybe you see everybody as faceless blue skull aliens when that happens, just for a moment. That'd fit with the paranoid tone.

Also, you have to have a fifteen minute long fistfight with a friend before you put the sunglasses on.

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 04:01 on Jun 20, 2015

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature, capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty.
There's not really an easy way to just look at a dude and know if he's a Demon or not because the whole point of Demon: the Descent is paranoia. Even demons can't tell each other from regular human beings without intense, scrutiny-inviting observation, and you have no idea, without espionage tradecraft like call and response passwords, if the guy you're talking to is the same Demon as the woman you talked to yesterday.

Demon is the best.

e: Also, Fist of Revelation is actually a really, really bad idea to use unless you've planned meticulously for it since it turns a Demon who has to hide behind their human cover into something with a maxed-out power stat, maxed-out fuel for its abilities, a whole bunch of abilities it would normally have to buy with XP, and a very, very good reason to kill the poo poo out of you. The only time it'd be a good idea would be as a last resort while losing a fight, but only if you were very, very sure that the demon's first response would be to run and hide rather than kill you first, because the hunter-killer angels who will be dispatched the instant you knock the demon's Cover off won't be much happier about you than the demon was.

Pope Guilty fucked around with this message at 04:50 on Jun 20, 2015

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

It doesn't burn their cover, just locks them out of it for a scene. So, you know, not quite as bad as that.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature, capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty.

Mors Rattus posted:

It doesn't burn their cover, just locks them out of it for a scene. So, you know, not quite as bad as that.

Ah, so they don't get the benefits of Going Loud, they just are locked out of their Covers? That's just evil. But still likely to attract angels, IIRC.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

gradenko_2000 posted:

Wizards Presents: Races and Classes

Man, I wish I could get a copy of that. Where did you find it? It would be super useful to try and convince my hardcore 3/5/PF friends that 4E is not the satan they believe it to be.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

MonsieurChoc posted:

Man, I wish I could get a copy of that. Where did you find it? It would be super useful to try and convince my hardcore 3/5/PF friends that 4E is not the satan they believe it to be.

They were released in advance of 4th edition to certain bookstores. They stopped after 4e came out.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature, capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty.
You can get used copies on Amazon. I don't think there's a legit PDF release.

CommissarMega
Nov 18, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Mors Rattus posted:

I picked up a pair of interesting games at Origins. Are folks more interested in learning about Through the Breach, the Malifaux RPG of steampunk card games, or Hellas, a game that seems to use a Talislanta-based system to do ancient Greek myth in space.

I've got a weakness for steampunk, so I'll vote for that.

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 Am Just a Box posted:

The nDemon game has a little sub-template for people who have been changed by their exposure to demonic activity, just enough that they can pierce the "concealment" that institutional demons use to make most people fail to notice the things that are inevitably off about them. Not just the fiendish flaw. For instance, if you have an institutional demon that manifests as a gas station off a long stretch of highway, the way in which the demon holds itself together and exerts its power requires it to align complicated arcane correspondences in ways that show. The gasoline works but it smells like perfume and rotting meat. The magazines on the rack have images and visual style like a normal American culture mag but they're all in Urdu. The impulse buy racks are selling tins of mints with no brand name visible, just a logo of a man falling off a mountain. The way this stuff aligns makes people notice only the most innocuous changes. PCs are the kind of people who realize something is very wrong with this gas station.


Can you be Danny the Street?

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011

Mors Rattus posted:

I picked up a pair of interesting games at Origins. Are folks more interested in learning about Through the Breach, the Malifaux RPG of steampunk card games, or Hellas, a game that seems to use a Talislanta-based system to do ancient Greek myth in space.

I actually own a copy of Hellas and it's pretty decent. The author boned up on classic Greek culture and custom, I think and it shows.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Tasoth posted:

I actually own a copy of Hellas and it's pretty decent. The author boned up on classic Greek culture and custom, I think and it shows.
I kind of liked the ballsness of it. The star map just happens to look like the Aegean sea, the starships just happen to look like triremes, and so on.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Through the Breach: The Fated Almanac



Through the Breach is really traditional in one sense: it needs two books to play. The Fated Almanac is a player's handbook, while the Fatemaster's Almanac is a sort of DM's guide. Beyond that, though, it really doesn't use a lot of traditional RPG stuff. No dice, for one. It likes cards instead. Still uses skill and stat numbers, though. The first part of the book is written in character by a guy called Lucius Crow, a prisoner of some kind. The city of Malifaux scares him, even in a condemned cell, but he loves it all the same. He used to live in Salem, but his family was slain in something called the Salem Vortex, which destroyed all his family ever owned, so he ended up becoming a criminal. By the time he was 20 he was a killer, a thief and a gambler. By 25, he was a known and reliable name in the underworld. He soon began to rub shoulders with the powerful, and that's what led him to Malifaux - he ended up reminding someone of their crimes and needed to be gotten rid of. His boss, Xavier Benjamin, wanted to go legit and that meant getting rid of inconvenient contractors. The only real place to hide was through the Breach, in Malifaux. That turned out poorly for him.

From there, we cut to the main text, which is written as an in-character history by Dr. Emmanuel Harris. He, too, is a condemned prisoner, imprisoned, he claims, for the pursuit of knowledge. He leaves his life's work, this history, as his testament. Long ago, the city of Malifaux and its environs were not ruled by men, who had not yet come to this world. Rather, they were ruled by two races - the greater and the lesser gods. They lived in peace for a time, but the greater gods eventually become tyrants, and the lesser gods warred on their decadent masters. Some say it lasted only a fortnight. Others claim it lasted centuries. Some say even that it was a civil war between greater gods, that the lesser gods were slain only as an afterthought. Whatever the case, it was an unimaginable conflict, an apocalypse of ice and fire and plague. The world itself was torn asunder, and only the city Malifaux remained, an empty and silent monument that would remain untouched for untold centuried.

Man's first interaction with the world of Malifaux came in Earth year 1787. The flow of magic had been dwindling for centuries. The supernatural had become a thing of pure legend, and even the simplest cantrip was far beyond the ability of any but the greatest will-workers. Many scholars doubted magic had ever existed, believing the old tales were nothing but stories. The truth, however, is that magic was very real, but in the modern era it had lost its power. The last mages across the world met together in secret, and with their combined wisdom, they came up with an audacious plan. A great call was sent out across the planet to any and all who had even a shred of magical power. From all corners they came, the Siberian shamans and African witch-women and Parisian dabblers and Asian mystics. They all converged for one final ritual, a desperate gamble to ensure magic was not lost from the world. They say that this ceremony, which opened the Breach, was the greatest working ever done. For a day and a night, the last magic on Earth was poured out into the skies. Some died of the strain, others gave up their lives for just a bit more power. And, at last, they tore open a hole. It would have been small, at first, a mere rip that hung in the air for a few seconds. But it was a success - a short-lived triumph.

Short-lived, that is, because there was a sudden crack and a terrible boom as the sky ripped open in its full and terrible glory. The energies unleashed by this catastrophe were unimaginable. The city surrounding the ritual site on Earthside, whose name is now forbidden, was utterly and instantly destroyed. The shockwave of the Breach's opening wiped out the larger buildings, tumbling them and tearing the smaller ones out by their foundations, flinging them about like toys. But this was not enough. The aetheric surge of the Breach tore through the people of the city, ripping their life force away in a single instant. In a single moment, the entire city was reduced to madness, ruin and corpses. It was the greatest loss there has ever been in so short a time. And yet it was not silent, for the area about the Breach was full of terrible screams of pain and mourning. Some survived, their eardrums ruptured, their eyes bleeding, their limbs ruined, their minds shredded. Those lucky few who survived with mind and body intact, however, found themselves commanding magical power and skill exponentially increased from where they had been moments before. Feats that would have taken an ancient archmagus were at their fingertips. They had become the most powerful magi and shamans the world ever seen, though the price was steep indeed.

The new great powers of the age did not know or trust each other - most of their allies lay dead, and they were not well acquainted. The ritual had not gone according to plan. Magic had not flooded through the Earth - rather, they had torn open a gate to another plane. They had not saved mankind, but helped to slaughter many. They were quick to blame each other, but if anyone had planned this, they did not come forward. It was possible that whoever twisted the rite lay among the dead. Even probable. History does not record the name of the first explorer who tested the Breach, but what they found beyond was a city - a city of silent ruins, stinking of death and magic. Chaos soon followed.

Once the Breach was proven safe to enter, the survivors were quick to do so. Curosity has always been the arcanist's friend. It began innocently, exploring the remains and discovering ancient tomes and artifacts wherever they turned. Who began to fight is no longer recorded, nor why the fighting began, but it was not even a full day before war raged on the streets of Malifaux. The magicians warred with each other, hurling great power against one another in their desperation. Many of those that survived died in the battles that lasted a full fortnight. The willworkers that lived began to band together into opposing cabals, though a handful, some say, fled back to Earth or into the wilderness Breachside, enver to be seen again. When the clash finally ended, one faction ruled, killing or subjugating their foes with ancient oaths. A coundil was formed, treaties signed, and the old city had her new master.

In all that feuding, not a single sign of life was found in the city, save for that which came with them. The Council soon chartered an army of mercenaries to defend the barrier against outsiders, and a small group of explorers was tasked to investigate the city and its surroundings, while scholars by the dozens were found to try and uncover its riddles and secrets. Unsurprisingly, they favored great secrecy in their actions, given their nature. Some say they spread stories of plague and quarantine around the Earthside Breach. Others say they performed a great ritual to cloud men's minds so they might not find the area. Reliable information on the abilities of these wizards is hard to come by. The first great greakthrough was the discovery of a great repository of ancient books, named Duer's Library for its discoverer. Scholars spent months poring over them to try to learn more. At the same time, the Council began to catalogue the city and its surroundings. They could sense great aetheric power, but not how to tap it, and the initial reserves of magic were now beginning to dwindle. They set themselves to solidifying the Breach, which was beginning to quiver erratically after each use, and some believe it was dangerously unstable - too much passage too quickly might seal it or rupture it further.

In the sky, the explorers found twin moons and strange stars. In the city, they found a strange hodgepodge of architecture, as if every civilization on Earth had come together to build a patchwork city. Gothic arches, great minarets and spires, rough brick chimneys and marble pillars, styles from all across the world. Beneath the city they found a network of sewers, caverns and catacombs, ancient crypts full of unimaginable treasure and labyrinths so twisty that all who went in were forever lost. And beyond the walls, the strange wilderness. To the north and south, miles of lighting-blasted wasteland, endless red dirt soon named the Badlands. To the east and west, swamps full of all manner of beast, soon called the Bayou. And in the farthest reaches, immense, snow-capped mountains.

After months, ot was Dr. Arthur Duer himself, with the aid of the Voynich Institute's Professor Mandragone, that cracked the code of the ancient language. The lesser volumes, anyway - it would be years before the higher forms of the native tongue were translated. But with this research, they found the ancient name of the city: Malifaux, she was called. Many of the buildings were labeled by signs, like an Earth hamlet. Fishmongers, blacksmithes, tailors and so on - but stranger things, too. Mechanical Magics, the signs advertised, Aether Vaults, Death Surgeons and Memory Weavers, right alongside the bakeries and butchers.

In the meantime, the Council believed it had found the solution to the Breach. Months of physical nad magical toil were put into the construction of a great stone plinth and arch, carved with mystic runes, surrounding the rift. The portal, at last, was stabilized, and named the Breach of the Great Boundary. The explorers began to filter back into the city, some bringing great riches, others tales of terror, and some never returning at all. But the greatest discovery was a deserted town in the Badlands, a set of crumbling shanties around an old hole. The hole was a mine, full of precious stones. Not just diamonds or opals - something far more precious, far more terrible than anyone could have imagined. Their first proof of this came when they loaded up on stones and one, looking for more, died in a cave-in. The stones the others held began to glow and sparkle, then fall dormant again. As the jewels were studied, it was found that the power they held was finite - their aetheric energy, once used, would leave, and the gems would grow dark. But if someone near the stone were to die, the stone would brighten again, its energy refilled. So the stones were named: Soulstone.

It touched off a great argument. The stones were the power source the Council had wanted, and ancient references to them were found in the texts, warning of danger and power. But none listened to the warnings. Plans were drawn up for fullscale excavation of the gems, that magic could be shared with the world...under Council control, of course. It was six months after the Breach opened that the Council decided to share their plans with the rest of Earth. A grand pronouncement was made, declaring that a new source of near-limitless energy was found to propel humanity into a golden age, built on magic. A call went out for men and women to travel through the Breach, to secure soulstone for the good of all. And so Malifaux was revealed to all of Earth.

From 1788 to 1795, the world reeled with shock. Debates and arguments flared in newspapers and pamphlets, praising or decrying the new events. Diplomats and envoys gathered at the Breach to investigate, to see the wonders of Malifaux, and one clear petition was given to them: send us your citizens and we will share with you the secret of Soulstone. Malifaux became a thriving metropolis, as people came in the thousands. The Badlands settlements became proper boomtowns. Soulstone mining was backbreaking, and not all stones were created equal. The smaller ones were useless in magic, and were ground up to fuel machines or alchemy or medicine. Larger stones were rare, but they could perform miracles in the right hands. Scholars of all kinds poured in, discovering a new science built around aetheric energy and soulstones. They delved into the great secrets of soulstone usage, translating more of the ancient texts. It didn't ake long for distinct schools and models to be formed.

One of the greatest discoveries was the activation of the first Construct. There had been many debris that resembled inert machines. When fitted with a soulstone and tinkered with, it was found that they were, in fact, mechanical devices. Many of these machina were simple, tiny servitors or mechanical replicas of animals. A few, though, were clockwork titans of immense destructive power. Construct creation and maintenance was at best an inexact science, and many accidents caused by haywire weaponry were recorded. The Council, for their part, began inviting artists and politicians, planning to turn Malifaux into the finest city in the world. Agents were sent to discover more secrets of soulstone, and to secure control over the city against rivals. Malifaux became a city of politics, patronage and lies.

Next time: The rise of monsters and the fall of Malifaux.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

Kurieg posted:

They were released in advance of 4th edition to certain bookstores. They stopped after 4e came out.

drat. :smith:

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006


Agreed. I don't think AED was adequately explained well enough in the book.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003



Institutional "Demons" aren't Demons. They're God-machine tools. That are probably tended by Angels (which can turn into Demons, ad thus PCs) but they're not Angels, any more than a mundane factory is a factory worker.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature, capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty.
Aren't there demons from Inferno (the original NWOD demons, from back when the Virtues and Vices system was dumber) that can possess a place and influence it and feed off their key Vice being done there?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Pope Guilty posted:

Aren't there demons from Inferno (the original NWOD demons, from back when the Virtues and Vices system was dumber) that can possess a place and influence it and feed off their key Vice being done there?
Here's what the Demon: The Descent book has to say on the matter.


tl;dr, yes, the core rulebook has the rules for demons which act like that. But they're not necessarily the same as the demons the Knights of St. Adrian fight. Heck, those Vice-eating demons really behave more like the kind of spirits Werewolves hunt.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Through the Breach: The Fated Almanac

People continued to spread across the land around Malifaux proper, and as they did, they began to report strange creatures and monsters. At first, these reports were laughed off as tall tales, the corpses of the dead that were found out there attributed to normal fauna. The people of Malifaux referred to these strange creatures of the tales as Neverborn and laughed at those who thought they'd seen them. All that changed in one night. A caravan heading out to an outlying town, a hundred people who thought they had all they needed, were set upon by flying, horned creatures. They kidnapped or killed anyone they caught. It was the largest attack to that point, and there were too many survivors to ignore. And if that was not enough, a new threat emerged from beneath the city. There had always been a necropolis below, home to many, many graves, and rumors began to circulate of forbidden knowledge hidden among the dead. A few went looking for it.

No one knows what, exactly, happened in those ancient tombs. Some say that corpse-guardians rose and slew all but one of the explorers. Horribly scarred both in mind and body, he escaped back to the undercity with a single book which held a secret to a sort of life after death. This man, the first Resurrectionist, raised himself an army of the dead. They attacked the Council fortifications en masse, trying to tear the city apart, and it almost seemed they'd succeed. The entire city came together in the defense. The Council used ancient magic, the mercenaries manned the walls, but what truly turned the tide were the unexpected heroes of the city. The miners and musketmen who fought side by side with wizards and automata. When things like their worst, a hero would always emerge to help fend off the unliving creatures. Some even say that the natives of Malifaux took part in the war, of a dark lady scything through corpse-soldiers with glee. It was a hard-fought battle, but when the dust settled, the nameless necromancer lay dead. A pity that his secrets didn't die with him.

From then on, Malifaux went through an age of danger and adventure. Tales are still dold of the dark mistress Astarte, of the Quebecois madman Jean-Philip Archambault and his Legion de Mortes Vivantes. All sorts of evil came forth to threaten the city. Yet others were larger than life but to no known purpose - Kenshiro the Weeping Blade, the Clockwork Queen, the Masked Rider. And there were heroes, too, who saved people. Jack o' the Axe, Lady Zorra, the Devilish McGuinne. They fought for justice, for glory and to help others. It seemed like an age that could last forever. However, in the winter of 1797, ten years after the Breach, there was a blizzard like none had ever been before. At its height, it was so terrible that the Breach itself began to tremble. The stone arch keeping it secure started to quake, and witnesses Earthside that day claim to have heard the sounds of battle, at first indistinct, from the other side of the rift. The Breach began to shrink on itself, and the path to Malifaux was totally cut off. No one could pass through the Breach at all, by any means. The wizards on Earth tried to stabilize it, but it couldn't be odne.

As the rift weakened, the masonry collapsed in on itself, and the sound of explosions and shouting could be heard from the inaccessible other side. Just before dawn, they fell utterly silent, and the fissure was barely big enough to fit a man, had any been able to pass through it. Dozens of soulstones were wasted trying to keep the rift open, but at last, just before the end, a single body was hurled through the rift. On its torso was carved a single word: "Ours." The Breach lay still, and then closed entirely. Malifaux was gone.

The fall of the Great Boundary shocked the world. One moment, Malifaux was a miracle of magic and power. The next, it was gone as if it had never been. Many had settled Malifaux in that decade, and no part of Earth had not lost a son or daughter. Memorials sprouted overnight. The papers were garish and sensational, and rumors of conspiracy were everywhere. Many refused to believe the Breach had truly closed, that it was all a ruse to drive up soulstone prices. Others feared the closers of the Breach would come for Earth next, and apocalyptic fervor gripped many religions. The source of soulstone had vanished, and it had driven ever advance of the last decade. People began to horde their supplies, trying to figure out how to deal with this calamity. Others, though, saw it as an opportunity.

Soulstone stockpiles began immediately, and all non-essential uses were cut off, including many public works and medicinal uses. After that, lines had been drawn that few anted to cross. A war for soulstone would engulf the world. It appeared like treaties and diplomacy might win out, but as time passed, the talks began to stall. Troops began to mass. In a few weeks, the Black Powder Wars began, engulfing Europa and, shortly after, the world. Unlike any other war in memory, this one used magic. Sorcerers fought arcane duels on the battlefield, and a few Constructs were used by those that had them, few as they were. And some others, censured after the war, employed necromantic soldiers. The largest battlegrounds were Europa and North America, but smaller conflicts raged in Afrique, other parts of America and Oceania as well. The Gallic Legions faced the King's Empire, the Muscovites fought the Prussians, and in the end, even the Three Kingdoms broke its truces and went to wear in Eastern Europa and Western North America. The Ottoman Sultans, the Amerindians and the Hessians all fought as mercenaries in the war, and soulstone was the spoils - freshly powered by the constant death of the wars. When the dust settled, many national boundaries altered slightly, but there was only one clear victor.

Today, they are known only as the Guild. They'd prefer their history be forgotten. There's evidence that the Powder Wars were not truly about national sovereignty or security - that there was a secret war going on at the same time. A handful of magical societies had not participated in the opening of the Breach, and others were rendered too weak to join in the taking of Malifaux. After the Breach fell and the other mages had been decimated, these syndicates went back to gathering power with a will unlike any other. The most important generals and politicians of the Black Powder Wars owed true allegiance to these secret societies, who were trying to control magic and soulstone for their own purposes. It was not one conspiracy, but many, and their members could be found on all continents, in all societies. It is unclear which one of them grew to become the Guild, but at the end of the war, it was these mages, merchants, politicians and generals that had de factor control over all remaining soulstone.

The wars ended by 1815, and the Guild became ubiquitous over the next eighty years. Their rise was unprecedents, like nothing before it, due to their monopoly on soulstone. They formed their headquarters at the former site of the Breach and from it manipulated the world. Laws were passed forbidding use of any soulstone not authorized by the Guild. Any violators were put to death, often to become soulstone themselves. Many countries adopted official Guild liaisons, and entire cadres to police soulstone usage. The head of a Guild operation in a nation often receives a legitimate title now, lording themselves over all. And a darker function of the Guild? Keeping the soulstone powered, secretly funding prisons, hospitals, asylums, orphanages and old folks' homes to profit from the deaths that occur there. However, there is one thing the Guild could never do, no matter how much power they exhausted trying: they could not open the Breach.

in 1897, one century to the day after the Breach closed - some say to the minute - it suddenly and inexplicably reopened. The Guild quickly took advantage, having planned what it would do if it ever happened. Armed forces across the world were recalled to guard the Breach. And through it all, the Guild panicked quietly, preparing for an invasion to pass through the Breach to Earth. They were certain that the calamity of a century before was to be replayed but with Earthside victims. When a full month passed without incident, a heavily armed expeditionary force was allowed through the rift. The city beyond was found empty, as dead as it was when the first people set foot there a hundred and ten years before, save for recent signs of battle. Some of those signs were fresh, as though the century-old war had just ended. However, there were no corpses. Not even one.

The Guild moved quickly to secure Malifaux, and the announcement of its rediscovery was met with joy and fear. It was, again, a place of opportunity and terrible danger. The Guild was eager to get its first new source of soulstone in a century, of course. A bargain was struck with the great powers. The Guild filled itself with criminals and outcasts, now that Malifaux was no longer a threat on everyone's minds. And new life came to the city. The Guild cordoned off much of the place, dividing into zones of varying protection. The Guild Enclave, now known as Downtown, was the most fortified, wealthiest and safest. After that, the first Slums sprang up, full of worker tenements and homes for servantry, as well as the poor souls headed to work the mines. Things in those early days were bad for the early miners, with dangers of the work claiming up to a full third of all of them. Any area not part of these designated zones was forbidden by guild decree. There was the threat of native predation, and the Guild swore anyone who went in or out without authorization would be shot on sight - a standing order to this day. Still, some wishing to work in secret, without Guild scrutiny, set up their labs and enclaves in these Quarantine Zones.

As time passed, the Guild expanded the habitable part of the city. Smaller corporations and concerns came to make a name for themselves, building homes and offices in parts of the city, often using poor quality knotwood from the native trees to build homes and businesses that, to this day, resemble a frontier town more than a city. This part of the city became the New Construction Zone. The Guild, for its part, divided off an area for manufacturing, factories and partners like the Geissel Metalworks. This became the Industrial Zone. The city grew and prospered, but not entirely safely. The Neverborn lurked in the night, as did the necromantic Resurrectionists, and the rogue mages known today as Arcanists. The Guild marshalled its resources, setting up three special divisions - the Witch Hunters, who killed any magiuc user without Guild sanction, the Death Marshals, who put to rest the unliving and their Resurrectionist masters, and the Neverborn Hunters, who slew the monsters native to Malifaux.

Of course, there were other troubles. The miners lived in deplorable conditions, dying by the score, and the Governor General sat idly by. The Guild didn't care. Eventually, it proved too much. AFter weeks of rioting and ivolence, the Miners and Steamfitters Union was granted official legitimacy. The toil is still dangerous and difficult, but if the Guild pushes its workers too far now, there will be an organized and bloody uprising of miners and common workers. The city continues to be recolonized and tamed, and today, a full quarter of Malifaux is nominally under Guild control.

The author passed through the breach in summer, a linguist and scholar. He thought nothing of the danger, seeking to be part of the great discovery. The Hollow Marsh Gala was held to celebrate a new pumping station under the direction of wealthy industrialist and President of the Miners and Steamfitters Union, Viktor Ramos. This was supposed to end the flooding issues in the lowland mines. However, an Arcanist saboteur launched rockets at the gala, and only by chance did some guests, including the Governor General and President Ramos, survive. Further, the city was under siege by the mad REsurrectionist bandit called Semaus, who had stolen a massive soulstone from the Malifaux Archives - the gem known as the Gorgon's Tear. He murdered a reporter, then raised her corpse at her funeral. The author, meanwhile, is headed to meet with Professor Heilin, a master archaeologist and historian.

Except Heiling was dead, and the author was taken in by the authorities as part of the investigation for a few days. He was soon let free, to meet with the only survivor of the Professor's last expedition - Philip Tombers, lately of the Malifaux Sanitarium. He was a gibbering mess, saying only one word: Kythera. By the enxt day, Tombers was dead at the hands of an Arcanist assassin. The author decided he wanted no part of all this, but was forced into adventure hwich he cannot speak of. The Governor General's son was murdered by the Guild's Captain of the Guard. Seamus broke into the Guild Morgue and stole his undead bride, the reporter he'd killed before. And, of course, the Guild Aircar system had a three-car collision of zeppelins, destroying the lines for months. Officially, mechanical failure, but rumors of Arcanist sabotage were rampant.

'The city has been suffering since the Event, also called the Fall of the Red Star, when a star formerly believed permanent shrieked across the sky, and the city was engulfed by a wave of purple energy that caused pain, fear and panic, particularly to those with magical skills. A few were driven catatonic or insane by the minute-long Event, the first three great tragedies. Plague swept the city soon after, and great cartfulls of the dead were dumped into a hole in the Quarantine Zone now known as the Plague Pit. Rumors of a flutist leading an army of rats, insects and vagrants became commonplace, and many referred to this as the Piper's Plague. The early winter brought the Great Quake, which tore through the city and left sporadic lava spouts behind, befouling the city's water table and requiring water to now be imported. The Governor General declared Martial Law and forbade travel in or out. This has been in place for a full month so far, and the only shipments allowed are those the Guild deems critical. Rumor has it that the Black Market is making vast sums off this, and both the Union and the people are very upset. This is the state of Malifaux on the eve of the author's execution.

Next time: A tour of Malifaux

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

pkfan2004 posted:

Here's what the Demon: The Descent book has to say on the matter.


tl;dr, yes, the core rulebook has the rules for demons which act like that. But they're not necessarily the same as the demons the Knights of St. Adrian fight. Heck, those Vice-eating demons really behave more like the kind of spirits Werewolves hunt.

I will never understand why they overuse "demon" so much. They have like at least [insert number of WoD lines] different terms for everything else.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

Doresh posted:

I will never understand why they overuse "demon" so much. They have like at least [insert number of WoD lines] different terms for everything else.

Turns out there's a lot of folkloric creatures called Demons.

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

MonsieurChoc posted:

Turns out there's a lot of folkloric creatures called Demons.

And then Demon: The Descent came along, which didn't want to tie angels or demons to any real-world folklore. And also the qashmallim of Promethean, which could plausibly be called angels or demons, even by people who know what a qashmal is.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

On the other hand the Demon House exploit can let you possess a building indefinitely, so some version of that (plus other abilities to move from location to location) could get you something Danny-ish.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013



Kurieg posted:

Jhaa are the Indian Elephants...well.. one of the Indian elephants(Yes, there are two. You run into these problems when you divide up your groups like this, Brucato).
I'm kinda being that guy with this but there is only one kinda of Indian Elephant. There are three kinds of Asian Elephant. Indian is a subspecies of the latter.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Through the Breach: The Fated Almanac

The book now continues its in-character narration for a tour of the city of Malifaux, starting with the Breach. The Breach appears to most people as a field of silver-blue light, but not everyone. Some people see it as purple, green or orange. An early scholar says it is "a great baleful red rent, with shimmering tendrils of anergy radiating out of it that seemed to grasp and retreat as if alive," while another said it "appeared to me as a perfect blue circle, shining in its center with a pure white light. If I stared into it for long enough my mind would almost grasp a pattern, an infinitely complex mandala, that I could so very nearly comprehend but that my eyes would reject, they simply refused to see it."

Passing through the Breach, for most people, is just a brief flash, a slight tingle or no sensation at all, but some report visual or auditory hallucination, or a sense that for an instant they are the only one in the train car (because it's a train journey), or stranger things. Rumor has it that sometimes, lightning arcs off people, or they have epileptic fights or spontaneously combust, and once, an entire train of passengers just vanished, leaving the train empty at the station when it arrived. Crossing the boundary between worlds is weird sometimes. Sometimes you can get introuble with the Witch Hunters just for accidentally awakening to magic.

From there, you head through Downtown, the safest and most pleasant part of Malifaux. It has things like the Hanging Tree, a great wrought iron 'tree' where corpses are hung and covered in lye, alongside the body of Jack Daw. Across from it is the Governor General's Mansion. Nearby is the Guild Enclave, housing guild offices and a lot of important civil functions, including the Gaol, Morgue and Duer's Library. You can go visit museums and libraries, fine restaurants and boxing parlors. Downtown has but a single Union Hall for the Miners and Steamfitters Union, and also the Star Theater, an immensely popular and well-decorated opera house and theatre.

It's easy to reac the Slums from there, home to the common people. They are a buffer from Downtown and most of the dangerous of Malifaux - Neverborn and Resurrectionist attacks, mainly. There are Union Halls all over the Slums. The further a part of the Slums is from Guild authority, the fewer services and defenses they have, and sometimes a Slum will be controlled entirely by a gang or despot, which can last for quite a while if the right bribes are paid. How nice and kind or vicious and cruel they are strongly determines the quality of life in those areas. The Neverborn and Resurrectionists attack relatively frequently, especially by night. Sites of interest include the Villa Mondragone, once home to the finest scholars of the first ten years of Malifaux, and home to an alien, strange clocktower that rings without schedule or pattern. The Slums are also home to the Malifaux Sanitarium, a public asylum seperate from the cushier Guild-run one in Downtown. It is a terrifying place of constant noise and chaos, home to many who suffer from Badlands Fever - a disease of the mind that seems at first to cause people to head out to the Badlands and, if they are prevented from doing so, makes them go into a mad rage and fugue, typically shouting about how the desert must be fed. The Slums are also home to the Little Kingdom, a gathering place for Asian immigrants in Malifaux and doing surprisingly well due to the fascination of the upper classes with Eastern healers and art recently.


Life is pretty fuckin' lovely for the poor in Malifaux.

The most dangerous parts of the city are the Sewers and Quarantine Zone, but they are also safest from Guild scrutiny. Monsters and criminals prowl these areas, alongside anyone else that would prefer to avoid being seen. Rumor has it the Quarantine Zone is full of Arcaist safehouses and Resurrectionist labs. If you know where to look, you can also find the Arcanist Black Market, which eals in anything the Guild has declare illegal, plus certain artifacts and antiquities available nowhere else. The trouble is getting to it through the Quarantine Zone and then knowing the passwords that'll get you in. You also want to be careful of sewer rats - the rats of Malifaux are the size of small dogs, can clamber across walls or ceilings with relative ease and have no particular fear of man. They're ruthlessly exterminated above ground, when found, but below the streets they are allowed to breeds as they will. The Necropolis remains somewhere below Malifaux still, the wicked place wher ethe first Resurrectionist made his wicked discoveries, and, some say, the home of the largest and most potent soulstone in Malifaux.

Outside the city, there are vast stretches of empty wilderness, dotted by the Contract Towns where soulstone is mined. At least, the most prosperous ones have mines. The rest are out there for travelers and usually have desperate opes for railways to be built nearby, bringing in vast sums and protection from the Guild. If the soulstone ever runs dry, the towns risk becoming ghost towns, as everyone vacates for better places. A rare few homesteaders make their lives out in the Badlands, trying to raise a living on cattle - something that may, in a generation or two, lead to money, but right now is a meager existence. Rumor has it that of late the cattle or blighted and will go violently berserk without warning. The most famous settlement is Latigo, the ranch-fortress of a family of Neverborn Hunters, the Ortegas, which is under near-constant siege by the Neverborn. The seem to be okay with that.

The mines and the Hollow Marsh Station are the most important sites to the guild. Hollow Marsh Pumping Station was set up to drain forty square kilometers of previously unmineable land and eliminate flood hazards in six other mining sites. It's an immense set of steam engines that pump water out of distant mines into a vast lagoon. The Station is also the headquarters of the Miners and Steamfitters Union, and is slowly growing into a whole town in its own right. Past the lands it's reclaimed is the Deep Bayou, silent but for insects and trees. Through its center runs the River, three feet of crystal clear water surrounded by an inky blackness. Near the city, the River is used to ferry people back and forth from Bayou settlements nad mines, as well as for fishing and trading runs with the Gremlin villages downriver. The further down you go, the closer you come to Gremlin lands - foul, squat creatures of green skin that live in holves along the river. The closest ones ape human behavior, but further afield they are often vicious cannibals. The nearer ones like to play banjo, and drums are a constant in Gremlin territory. And, last, deep in the Bayou, is the Hag's Hut. The Hag has lived there as long as anyone knows, perhaps even predating the breach. It's said that if you find her and beat her in a game of chance, she'll give you anything - but if you lose, she'll eat your soul. None have seen or heard from her in months, and no one knows why.

Far out in the desert, in the Far Badlands, lightning will strike without warning and dust storms rise in minutes. The danger is not obvious here - it's a desert, unpredictable, and most who enter it die. Everything there looks alike, with no landmarks or routes. You could try to navigate by the sun or moon, but it's said they do not follow the same unerring paths as they would Earthside. The only landmark is the Bedlam Quarry, an immense rock bowl with two huge, rusted obelisks in the center. No one knows what it was foor. To the north are the Foothills, much easier to navigate and full of soulstone, but dangerously close to the Northern Peaks There, the snow never stops, and the howling ice will kill most visitors. Somewhere in there is the lair of the Winter Witch, the Cannibal-Queen of the Wendigo, who can call down blizzards and is a vicious murderer of travelers.

Throughout the wilderness are half-buried ruins of the original peoples of Malifaux, and greatest among them is the Temple of Kythera. They say you can reach it by traveling east on the River for a month and a day, until the sky turns green and the sun black, and the moons wink out. If you steer towards the invisible moons, and pass the riddle of the Guardian-Serpent that rises from the secret lake, you will be shown the gate to Kythera, the temple and holy darkness, the doorway to death. It is unclear what exists at Kythera or its potential sister sit, Nythera, but the author knows that's where Heilin lost his life and Tombers lost his mind.

From there, we get a discussion of the people of Malifaux. Some are wealthy men or the children of wealthy families, come to make or grow a fortune. These are the free men and women, who have no Guild contract and need none. Others have signed contracts to serve the Guild, often with lucrative rewards - many of the Guild Guard, some doctors, lawyers or scholars. They're treated well, but are bound by contract for two to four years. The Sepecialist Contract can do much of what they like, so long as they obey their Guild duties. Those who come in poverty and want to claw their way are the indentured servants, signging the Indenture Contract. Most of the miners and rail workers are on that, hoping to buy their freedom but taking years to pay off their Guild debts. The worst are the Convict Contracts - those who are sentenced to labor in the mines of Malifaux to avoid prison or the noose. It means Earth doesn't have to pay to feed them, and the Guild rewards them handsomely for the slave labor. Such contracts can last years, or even a whole lifetime. These are little more than slaves. What contract you have determines your social standing, from the moment you board the train to Malifaux. The Blue Cars of the wealthy, with no contract needed, are very nice. The Regular Passenger cars carry most of Guild Contract or Indenture Contract, and in the back, the Chain Cars bring the criminals, shckaled and bound.

The Guild and it's Ram's Head sigil are all over Malifaux. They issue the Guild scrip that is the currency of the city, and they want you believe they are everywhere and inescapable. They are not, however, omniscient or omnipotent. They are monolithic, yes, but they are still an organization of men and women. They employ an army of bureaucrats to track contracts, deeds and claims. Learning to navigate the bureaucracy is a valuable skill in the city, as Guild paperwork can bring Guild power. Within the adminstrators is the secretive Elite Division, led by the Governor's Secretary, Lucius Matheson. They are in charge of law, the judges and lawyers of the Guild. Some say they truly control the city via the Governor General, and by tradition they wear ornate masks at all times. The Guild Guard are who you most often see - the police and law enforcers, who guard the checkpoints, do the patrols, investigate petty crime and so on. They are well-paid soldiers with a lot of leeway when off-duty...though if you prove incompetent or piss someone off, you get sent on Sewer Patrol or Qurantine Dockmast duty - dangerous work at best.The top rank of the Guard get badges and are armed with Guild Peacebringers - pistols mounted with razor-sharp blades, needing extreme training to use effectively but very dangerous. Anyone without authorization who uses one is shot on sight.

There are three Special Divisions as well. First is the Witch Hunter Task Force, charged with hunting down rogue Arcanists. They were once led by the famous Sonnia Criid, but she has disappeared, leaving them led now by Samael Hopkins. Their great weapons are the Witchling Stalkers, hunched, burnt creatures wielding broken swords which, it is said, can sense and neutralize magic use. Some say they are what remains of those Arcanists the Guild arrests. The Witch Hunters are the least popular Special Division, and they do a lot of damage to the Guild's public image - after all, it's a widely held belief in the Guild that anyone could be an Arcanist, so all are under suspicion.

Second are the Death Marshals, led by blind Lady Justice and her companion, the Judge. They wield enchanted coffins, light as air in their hands but as heavy as the iron and oak boxes they're made from to everyone else. They often use these to smash through doors or walls, and once shut, no power on Earth of Malifaux can open them save for the Death Marshal's own will, letting them be used to trap even the mightiest unliving.

Last are the NEverborn Hunters, who have no strict hierarchy. The Guild is so desperate that just about anyone can sign up to be one, and will be paid a hefty bounty if they succeed, but few survive the job long. The most famous exception is the infamous Ortega family of Latigo, who have taken the fight to the Neverborn. Their most famous member is the legendary gunwoman Perdita rtega, the best Neverborn Hunter of the age. There are said to be other Special Division charters, like the Flesh-Construct Frafting Illegality Task Force, led by the Construct-master Hoffman. That crime doesn't come up often at all.

Next time: People that aren't the Guild

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Terrible Opinions posted:

I'm kinda being that guy with this but there is only one kinda of Indian Elephant. There are three kinds of Asian Elephant. Indian is a subspecies of the latter.

The evil that is human science can't see the truth of mother nature's creatures.

MonsieurChoc posted:

Turns out there's a lot of folkloric creatures called Demons.

And the only thing those folklores have in common is that they are evilish spirits or critters. And they all tend to have their own funky name, like shedu, jinn or asura.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 21:48 on Jun 20, 2015

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

Robindaybird posted:

Utopia Now got all the stink of Libertarian Wonks and their 'filthy leeches go away' sand castle island dreams.

e: and I wish they would stop writing about Ashwood Abbey, it just gets worse and worse

Actually, the floating autonomous island idea in Utopia Now's description was a real thing proposed by various Libertarians.

It's called the Floating City Project.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Terrible Opinions posted:

I'm kinda being that guy with this but there is only one kinda of Indian Elephant. There are three kinds of Asian Elephant. Indian is a subspecies of the latter.

My point was that there were two different kinds of Asiatic elephant shifters. And that they all have virtually identical stats. The subdivisions of differing kinds of shifters is ridiculously arbitrary. Like the Land Titans are rhinos and Elephants, and they had to stretch elephants out into 3 different subdivisions. But the Laughing Strangers are Rabbits, Coyotes, Foxes, Raccoons, and Opossums.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013



Why didn't they include hippos and tapirs? They're fit the theme a whole lot better than subdividing elephants. Unless they put those guys somewhere else. I'm guessing the answer is that the author is an idiot.

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."
The author has a name, thank you. :colbert:

His name is Satyros.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011

FMguru posted:

I kind of liked the ballsness of it. The star map just happens to look like the Aegean sea, the starships just happen to look like triremes, and so on.

Pretty sure the spaceships are triremes as interstellar travel happens in a storm tossed void the color of wine. Which you can survive in indefinitely if you fall overboard and land on an island in it. There's other neat things and characters are slated to die or disappear because heroes bring it on themselves by being heroic.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Through the Breach: The Fated Almanac

The Miners and Steamfitters Union was originally part of the Malifaux Railworkers Union, but grew to a larger concern in its own right. They are now the main advocate for worker's rights, and they're based mostly out of the Union Halls that are found throighout the Slum neighborhoods. These are meeting spaces, dance halls, family gathering places and more, and it is from these halls that the leadership of the Union is democratically elected. The current President is Doctor Viktor Ramos, inventor and industrialist, who lives atop the Hollow Marsh Pumping Station. He is reputedly harsh but fair and tirelessly champions the rights of the working class. The current Vice President, Duncan McSweeny, unfortunately died rather recently.

The final thing that the Miners and Steamfitters Union does is work protests. Most of their demonstrations and strikes are nonviolent, but many also erupt into violence after the Guild provokes or attacks them, or they are pushed to it by Guild plants or saboteurs within the Union itself. The miners are fearsome foes if provoked - not as well-trained or well-equipped as the Guild Guard, but there's a hell of a lot more miners.

The city is also full of mercenaries. Tradition holds that if you are traveling with a mercenary you don't polan to fight, you offer them the Clover's Pact: 'My purpose shall not injure your own.' Politically, it's getting pretty tought for mercenaries these days. After years of tolerance, the Guild is started to be bothered by so many armed people not under their control. Some say it's because the creatures they were hired to kill and the distracts they've been hired to clear are now firmly under Guild law. Others say it's that the mercenaries' true loyalty is wealth, and recently the Guild isn't always the top bid. Whatever the reason, the Guild is becoming hostile to mercenaries. The most contentious relationship is with Von Schill of the Freikorps.

Rumor has it that the Freikorps, the top mercenary band, have been rooting around the Quarantine Zone quite illegally, but the Guild would have a very hard time enforcing their will. The Freikorpsmenn are excessively well-trained and equipped, and they are each highly specialized fighters, to say nothing of Von Schill's legendary tactical skill. It's also said that the Freikorps are currently on a recruiting drive, but no one knows why.

The Arcanists are a foe of the Guild ever since the reopening the Breach, when the unauthorized use of magic was banned. For years, the Witch Hunter Task Force has been seeking out these magic users, so now only the sneakiest, cleverest and most ruthless survive. They have been driven together by desperation, forging a network of mutual protection and recruitment. This became the group known as the Arcanists, who now believe they can strike back at their persecutors. They formed a clandestine military organization devoted to bringing down the Guild no matter what the cost. However, they have not been and are not morally pure themselves - they are not above killing the innocent if it means harming the Guild in some way, and the Guild strikes back just as indiscriminately. Civilians get caught in the crossfire every time.

The Resurrectionists are the most terrifying human foe, though. They are necromancers, harnessing the power of death to raise armies of zombies. It's said that their art is taught to them by some dark patron, that there is a unified theory of undeath and that all currently practicing necromance are but imperfectly understanding it. The mechanics of raising a corpse are rather like alchemy - you find the corpse, you use a special necrotic ichor, it gets up. The formula varies from person to person. One Resurrectionist might have faster slaves, but another might have better motor control. Either way, the main problem is corpses. You need a lot of bodies to run Resurrectionist experiments towards the perfect necrotic serum.

The Neverborn, aslo known as the Manifestata, are the native creatures of Malifaux, though some say only sentient creatures can be called Neverborn. Most common are the horned, black-blooded Nephilim, whom many believe to be the direct descendants of the ancient people of Malifaux. It is believed that their violent, antisocial and tribal nature is a madness caused by racial memory of the apocalypse which wiped out their civilization. Another type of Neverborn, spoken of only in whisper, is the Doppelganger - a type of spy that can take on the shape of any man or woman, with a great talent for mimicry. They say that Doppelgangers have infiltrated even the upper echelons of the Guild. You never know who is truly a Doppelganger. There are also among their number many creatures born apparently of nightmare - tentacled monsters, creatures of writing flesh, living puppets or deadly toys. The author ends with a warning of mad dreams and fate, and one final piece of advice: never go to the Red Horseshoe Saloon, because they water down their drinks and have terrible food.

Now we hate mechanics. the book starts with character generation after an explanation of stats. You start with four Physical Aspects and four Mental Aspects, whose value can be between (usually) -6 and 6, with 0 being average for a human. -3 is the lowest possible starting score for a PC, and 3 is generally the highest point a starting PC can hit, but they can later improve from there. -3 is 'somewhat below average,' for the record - no PC is ever completely terrible at something, just bad.

The Physical Aspects are:
  • Might: Raw strength and physical prowess.
  • Grace: Accuracy and fluidity of motion.
  • Speed: Swiftness and, uh, speed.
  • Resilience: Resistance to damage and disease.

The Mental Aspects are:
  • Charm: Likability and apparent trustworthiness.
  • Cunning: Shrewdness and quick thinking.
  • Intellect: Logical thought and book learning.
  • Tenacity: Willpower and confidence.

There are also a number of skills, which range from 0 ('unskilled') to 5 ('master'), which you add to an Aspect when determining a total. Each Skill is tied to a specific Aspect. You also get Talents - unique abilities or modifiers. We'll look at Skills and Talents later, because I think the best way to present that is via character generation, which is random but in a way that's pretty balanced: you create a character with a Cross Roads Tarot spread. (Albeit one using the Malifaux suits - Rams for Hearts, Crows for Spades, Tomes for Clubs and Masks for Diamonds.

So, give me some characters to build here. You've read about the world - tell me what kind of things you want to see!

Next time: Characters.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

A big bluff union organiser, always on the forefront of the strikes. Secretly an Arcanist trying to weaken the Guild and worsen its relationship with the Union.

A ressurectionist trying to set up his own mine using reanimated corpses. He can use the profit to bring in more corpses - far more subtle than raising a conquering horde.

The Lone Badger fucked around with this message at 00:35 on Jun 21, 2015

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib
A take-no-poo poo Freikorps mercenary skilled with both firearm and blade, tough, rowdy, and suspiciously good at cards.

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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

A klutzy, rowdy drunk whose predilection for rot-gut has bolstered his mind and resistances. When he needs beer money, he helps repair mining machines.

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