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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Tasoth posted:

I'm am saddened that the author went with hyenas being scavenging sadists. Hyenas pretty much kill everything they eat with very little scavenging. Lions, on the other hand, tend to just chase off hyenas and scavenge more.

Not to mention that the male lions are a bit on the "lazy despot" side.

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oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Well, at least they don't dwell on the potential :gonk: that is hyena genitalia. You'd think that would go without saying, but it is a Changing Breeds book...

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


oriongates posted:

Well, at least they don't dwell on the potential :gonk: that is hyena genitalia. You'd think that would go without saying, but it is a Changing Breeds book...

Imagine a hypothetical Brucato draft of this chapter...

Other Dust


The Bonelands


You know, there's quite a lot of green compared to your typical post-apocalyptic wasteland

The Bonelands are one of many possible versions of the American northeast, offering an example sandbox setting to use as inspiration or as is. The map is available as a full-color version with all enclaves and dungeons present, and a printer-friendly black-and-white version without those details for the players.

The northeast of the future offers such lovely locations as the heavily-radiated Altoona Deathlands (which also contaminated just about everything east from it, including the ruins of Old York), the ancient metropolis of "Deesee" inside a dense jungle that is the result of climate change, and the entire coast region having been turned into a mutant-infested swampland called the "Big Sink". Also present are a couple craters from orbital strikes.
If you think the forests in the north have it any better, the various mutants and predators will tell you otherwise.
On the positive side, the Crazed and their cults are only a minor issue in this region.

Enclaves presented here are limited to Polities (aka your standard town/village whatever), with no enclave being at tier 3 and therefore strong enough to be a major player in the entire region. Let's see how much variation you can have with a single type.

Ascension (Tier 2, TL1)

A former resort in the north taken over by a lesser Crazed. Still sane enough to train psychics, but with some weird delusions of godhood, he established a psychic eugenics program were the impure are used as slaves.
This lesser Crazed however didn't quite have the longevity as the setting's major Crazed and died about a 100 years ago. The general consensus of the ruling caste is that he was a bit of a nutjob, but they continue his eugenics program anyways to increase the chances of newborn with the psychic potential. This allowed Ascension to have one of the highest concentration of psychics (with around 60 among the 14,000 people living there), but all the inbreeding has resulted in just about all of these psychics to be crippled in some way, with several infants so misshapen the're used as pig fodder. To get some fresh psychic blood and DNA, the rulers are planning to just kidnap any outside psychic they can get their hands on.

(With the inbreeding going on, this could also work as a Family, but those don't have a huge slave population)

Statwise, Ascension is right in the middle of tier 2, with plenty Food and Influence, but little Moral and Tech. The enclave also has some hefty problems with raiders, slave unrest and fanatic nutjobs.

From a sandbox perspective, if the heroes don't wreck this place, it will probably fall apart on its own. Unless the psychics find a way to replace their useless bodies with robots.

Big Grange (Tier 1, TL0)

A former factory farm populated by refugees from Old York. They found some keycodes that allowed them to use the farm without alerting the security bot. They are in dire need of a scrapsmith or general tech guy, and the mutant raids from the nearby swamps lef them with a hatred for mutants, going so far as to exile their own people if they show signs of mutation.
Overall, it's dumb luck these guys are still around. There's a certain "Help us, player characters!" atmosphere going on.

Iron Town (Tier 1, TL2)

Originally an economically-questionable, non-automated "traditional" factory whose workers simply took over the place after the Scream, ruled by the family of the Foreman.
Thanks to the factory and their know-how, the people of Iron Town are the most advanced in the whole region, enjoying hot water and electricity. They could easily rank up to 2nd tier if they could find more food.
They also face raider-related problems, and there's always a lack of materials and other problems with the factory.

The Monastery of St. Li (Tier 1, TL1)

Descending from refugees who survived in a monastery, this little theocracy found out that its nanite-infested spring had healing properties. This unfortunately led to the nearby enclave of Renaissance effectively taking over the place, milking the monastery while keeping the population in check. There's also some infighting between the different clans of this place.

This enclave is easily the weakest around. Its almost at the lowest Tier 1 can get, and their Ruin is relatively high. Renaissance could easily crush the place completely if they wanted to.

Renaissance (Tier 2, TL1)

Speaking of Renaissance, the place is a former rebel base, whose population is now seeking to restore the golden age before the Mandate became a bit nuts. They ironically employ Mandate tactics, forcing themselves on other enclaves and disposing of anyone who doesn't want to bow down to their commander. More harmless people that don't quite get their ideological message are made into slaves.

Renaissance is easily the most powerful enclave around, with a huge army and just a bit of technology away from becoming a Tier 3 powerhouse. Their biggest problems are internally, namely slave unrest and communist-style purges.

Saltbay (Tier 2, TL0)

And old port town now under mutant rule, the population's ancestors survived the Scream thanks to lots of rations and an underground tunnel system. A nearby nuke however attracted a big Higshine swarm and mutated just about everyone.
The place is no a major trading point in the region, though the mutants running the place can't quite decide on whether or not they should indulge in some conquering.

The enclave is in the middle of Tier 2, with problems mostly centering around human raiders and the occasionaly sea monster.

Sanctuary (Tier 1, TL1)

An abandoned resort village made into an enclave by former slaves who fled from Ascension 100 years ago (using the chaos created by their ruler's death). They organize raids against their former masters and try to flee other slaves, but their lack of food means they won't actually help a freed slave who can't contribute to their society.

Aside form the lack of food, they're in quite a good positon for a Tier 1 enclave, with barely any major problems.

Notable Ruines

A couple potentional dungeon locations, including a cave full of degenerated mutants, a power plant populated by man/plant-hybrids, and a former educational center whose power core will probably have a meltdown in the near future.

The chapter then ends with a bunch of random encounter tables for the various sub-regions and places.

Next Time: I'll probably tackle SIlent Legions (aka "OSR Call of Cthulhu that replaces the Cthulhu mythos with a randomly-created one") in the foreseeable future, but first I gotta do some Dark Eye.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 18:31 on Aug 30, 2015

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



PSIONICS: THE NEXT STAGE OF HUMAN EVOLUTION
Incident Report: Combat Rules


Ugh. Rules. Lame, am I right? What say we turn our baseball caps backwards and do this the fun way?


More seriously this is a pretty standard d6 system and a lot of rules were established earlier with the different checks, so. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this.
  • Combat is divided into rounds that last 10 seconds each round. 6 rounds is a minute.
  • Initiative is 2d6+Speed. Ties mean that the people who tied do their stuff simultaneously; even if one dies from the other's mind powers, the dead character's gun will still go off. You can only change your initiative by using and having the Reposition Technique, which lets you alter your initiative per round if you want.
  • If you have the element of surprise, or get jumped, whoever has the element of surprise gets a free turn without enemy intervention.
  • By default, characters who want to act must take a move action and an attack in that order or give up one of them. This is why the Blitzkrieg Technique is kinda drat important: with it you can attack THEN move or double-move. You get free actions within reason.
  • Movement: You can move up to your speed in yards. Characters with blitz can move double that but not attack. Tracking movement really isn't important to the authors and recommend using movement for narrative flavor; position is more important to them. If you want to use a hex mat, go ahead, but they're not demanding you do that. I did that for a while when I played Pathfinder Society. It was annoying.
  • Attack: Attack. The Frenzy technique can used to be a double-attack at a -2 penalty for each one.

Some other things that cost a movement action and or an attack action:

And finally, reactions are different. They happen outside of turn progression and if you have the technique that lets you bust out a reaction, you can choose to.

Dodge is very, very handy.

Now, outside of these basic combat rules, things get much more complicated. Are the rules optional? Kinda, yes. There's rules for doing less damage when you're outnumbered and where grenades are scattered but I'll be honest: the game kinda encourages you to play fast and loose with what feels right. If you want to go for a cinematic style, then just do what feels right and let some of these rules fall by the wayside. I will not be listing stuff like weather effects or the other more in-depth rules, but! Here is the list of melting points and object health to get an idea of what I'm talking about.


Let's talk about one big problem I have with this game: healf.

When a character is at or less than half health, they take -2 to Strength and Speed until they recover. Dying characters are at 0 health, lose 1 health per round until they die or are stabilized, can only attack or move per turn and can still act as long as they're not Unconscious. You can't enter a dying state from nonlethal damage, it just reduces you to 1. Unconscious characters fell below their Knockout Threshold and take a nap for 10-Strength hours (min 1) and wake up with +1d6 health regained. The GM should play fast and loose for waking up from naps because there's a good chance that the enemy of Espers will be fighting to knock them out or sedate them. Dead is dead. Taking more than Strength x 4 damage in one blow causes the recipient to miss their next turn.
To heal, rest for 8 hours without doing anything to regain 2d6 health. Taking an entire day off and relaxing will net you 6d6 health for the day. Biofeedback is clearly a faster way to get healthy.

So here is my problem with the health system: nonlethal damage is pretty much the same as regular damage except you pass out from nosebleeds and headaches until you pick yourself back up. Now, look, I'm used to nWoD's bashing/lethal damage system and I played Pathfinder for a few months and that had different tracks for nonlethal damage and lethal. But these seem to pretty much be the same, and they regain at the same rate. What this means is that whenever you use your powers in combat, you're casting from hitpoints and they're a pretty big commodity. And on top of that, there is functionally no difference between Drain and Strain. If I was to run this, I'd definitely track them separately and let them recoup from nonlethal faster but not...super fast. Maybe 3d6 for every 8 hours of chilling, or maybe I'd just make it so over the counter drugs can undo or suppress nonlethal damage or smoking a blunt or popping pain pills can help you feel better. I mean, if using drugs is such an important part of the themes of this game, then I kinda really need a reason for my Esper to do more drugs!

Anyway. Advanced Psionics Rules:



Telekinetics can catch thrown objects by paying the normal cost to pick up the item and then beat a Hard Speed TK Test. If they succeed, they grab the item and become the new holder. Fail and cost is spent and the item hits you, but subtract your TK level from the damage because you slowed it down a little.

And here's a little something called a TK Showdown or Mental Combat. This takes place between two Psychokinetics of any level, or two Telekinetics within 2 levels of each other trying to grab each other. Whoever initiates starts the clash and the recipient can choose to accept it and confirm the clash. This doesn't apply to Pyrokinetics because they're all immune to temperature control to a certain extent.
  • Each participant writes down their Breaking Point, which is a number between Will and Will x 10. If you win the competition, you take damage equal to half this number if you win, bidding the minimum damage you'll receive.
  • The initiator Builds Up by rolling dice equal to their PK/TK level. This costs PP and Overflow equal to the amount of dice rolled. If they're out of PP, there's no backing out. They either have to pay 1 health per missing point of PP or take 1 Overflow, their choice. The initiator then shows the receiver how much Build Up they've generated.
  • The receiver Builds Up and responds.
  • Whoever has their Breaking Point exceeded first takes damage equal to the total amount of accumulated Build Up their enemy generated. The winner takes half their Breaking Point damage.
This conflict may be protected from enemy intervention by an energy field manifested by the Espers involved in the showdown or it might just be unceremoniously ended by a bullet to the back of someone's head because Espers can't defend themselves in a showdown. The sanctity of a duel should be decided by the GM from the get-go.

[R]Evolution: Character Advancement

There are two ways to enhance an Esper's ability: CAPs and Experience Points. EXP is that stuff a GM flings at you when you kill a man, do a thing, win a fight, eat a computer, drive a carton of milk, etc. Do I really need to explain this? No I do not. Here are some charts.



The following Techniques can only be bought once the game is in motion. You can also use Technique Picks to get beginner Techniques. Which you should. Go get Dodge.



CAPs are only available naturally (outside of drugs) through two ways. The GM should pick which one applies at the beginning of the game, or both:
1: Every time the Esper uses any power, they get a CAP of the appropriate color.
2: Every time the Esper uses any power in a MEANINGFUL WAY, they get a CAP of the appropriate color. A meaningful use is to take a risk, further a goal, do something they wouldn't normally or to advance the story.
Using a Telekinesis power nets you a Blue CAP, a Pyrokinesis power gets you a Red CAP and Psychokinesis gets you a Green CAP. Whenever you reach a threshold amount of CAPs determined by your highest level Psionic Talent in that field, you can immediately increase any Talent a level up to its max level or learn a new Secondary Talent as long as the Primary is Level 3. Then you erase the CAP total and start collecting again.

This is why using a bunch of PPECs to enhance your CAP totals or experiencing heightened emotions that cause turmoil can be incredibly helpful but incredibly dangerous. The same way to increase your power is to exercise and get better over time, but there's always crossfit and steroids to get that kick you REALLY need.
There's also an alternate advancement system for CAPs that I like quite a bit because it's a touch more predictable and your Red Bull-fueled nightmare breakdown may not have given you enough CAPs to enhance everything, but hey, you can use that to learn the first level of Somakinesis.

And a friendly reminder: you can never naturally learn or unlock anything related to a Primary Talent you don't have naturally. That requires a PPEC to jump-start it.

NEXT TIME: Enemies! Enemies everywhere! Trust nobody! Nothing is true, everything is permitted!

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


oriongates posted:

Well, at least they don't dwell on the potential :gonk: that is hyena genitalia. You'd think that would go without saying, but it is a Changing Breeds book...

No, he saves the manditory hermaphroditism for his self insert characters. Also the Hyena character artwork is decidedly endowed, who knows, it might be a woman :iiam:

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


Dreamhounds of Paris: Embrace the Cosmic Hubris



Welcome to Dreamhounds of Paris by Robin D. Laws with Kenneth Hite & Steve Dempsey. It's available through Pelgrane Press and the forbidden tome section of your local library.

This is a setting/campaign book for Trail of Cthulhu. I haven't played the game and don't own the core book, so this examination won't include much (if any) information about the mechanics. The setting info is full of enough great stuff, I hope you'll forgive the focus.

Dreamhounds of Paris posted:

Dreamhounds of Paris tells the never-before-revealed story of the Surrealist movement, and its involvement in a series of occult events bringing them into contact with a realm beyond our own. When they first discover it, they find it a realm of slightly precious wonder. As they explore it, and find themselves able to bend it to their unconvention wills and convention-shattering aesthetic, it becomes sinitser, modern, and contradictory--like the Surrealists themselves.

Although there are plenty of sidebars and asides to suggest alternate means of play, the default assumption is the PCs will be a historical gang of Surrealists selected from a list of pre-generated characters. The major events in these characters' waking lives are scripted to cleave as closely to history as players are willing to research: affairs, alliances, artistic coups, politics. However, once the PCs dream, they're thrust into a wild, ever-shifting world. Although it's left unclear whether the Dreamlands shape human dreams or are shaped by them--albeit slowly--the Surrealists are real powerhouses in the supernal realm. They draw upon their artistic instability to warp the Dreamlands. Each effect, no matter how minor, ripples outward until the realm is a particularly modern (cf. modernism) flavor of alienating and disorienting. The prescribed campaign arc goes something like this: PCs have amazing adventures in the Dreamlands, PCs mess up the Dreamlands, PCs try desperately to undo the harm they've created, PCs learn troubling truths about the human condition and the inevitable march toward fascism, war, and artistic prostitution.

What is Surrealism



In Dreamhounds, Andre Breton is the undisputed king of Surrealism. He wrote the manifesto, he chairs all the meetings, and disagreeing with him (even on little matters) makes you lose Instability. Without Instability, you can't create art or influence the Dreamlands. Breton wields this power like a petty dictator, since he's unable to enter the Dreamlands himself. His attempts to codify and regulate surrealism have made him too clenched up to leave the physical plane. No matter how hard he tries, and what arcane rituals he dabbles in, he's unable to unmoor his spirit from his body. He's depicted as a tragic figure, but also a jerk and occasional antagonist.

Breton created Surrealism by piggybacking off of Dada. He combines multiple strains of modernist thought to create an artistic movement dedicated to shocking the bourgeois out of their comfortable assumptions. He seeks to overthrow the social order in favor of one that favors thinkers, unregulated artists, and other leftist Utopian ideals. There's also a fair degree of looking at pre-existing work and saying, "This is surrealism. So is this."

It's easy to read a lot of the Surrealist tactics as "freaking the mundanes" or what we see these days as the worst excesses of art school "big ideas". There's some neat stuff in there too though, which I'm going to leave as an exercise for the reader. Dreamhounds takes the stance that most of the Surrealists were earnest in their desire to shock people through art and cause worldwide aesthetic and intellectual revolution, while still being starving French artists.

Timeline

Dada and Post-Dada: 1920-1922. Breton sets up a new movement, deposes Tristan Tzara.
Trance and Automatism: 1922-1925. Breton solidifies his movement while Surrealists experiment with automatic writing--a way to write while in trance. This is supposed to disconnect your mind from tradition, rational thought, and . Along the way, plenty of Surrealists find themselves able to access the Dreamlands.
The Radicalization: 1925-1928. Breton tries to connect the movement to Communism.
The Spanish Invasion: 1928-1936. Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel hit the scene. Dali schemes to seize control from Breton.
Disintegration: 1937-1940. Pretty much everyone hates Breton by this point. War's coming, people are having rocky personal lives, and it's a bad time to be an artist, and let's all go insane.

Next Time: Dramatis Personae

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Did you think you were safe? Too bad! It's time for more

NIGHTBANE

I believe last time we'd been on alignment and the systems for drug abuse, psychological trauma, and the sad effects of the demon rum. If I didn't and people want to hear more, let me know.

Now then, we have the skill list.


And get your degree in Weapon Systems, Read Sensory Equipment, Hover Craft (Ground), or Lore - Nightbane.

This skill list reminds me of GURPS, and not in a positive way. Unlike GURPS these are resolved with percentile dice and I don't believe your personal aptitudes have much of a factor, you're either trained or untrained (though sometimes you can double-train and get benefits). These largely do what you'd expect, but there is the twist that the physical skills will build your stats up cumulatively. You can't stack skills, though. There's a list here but it's basically that if you train hard your stats will go up.

Here's an example!


Let's take ZZ here (who is clearly a 'gator Nightbane and may reappear later.) Let's say further that under the direction of the Preserver Party's chosen agent, HHH, ZZ trains in Acrobatics, Athletics (general), Body Building+Weightlifting, Gymnastics, Running, and (of course) Wrestling. Assuming he had none of these skills, ZZ would gain (in total):

+10 Physical Strength, +5 Physical Endurance, +2 Physical Prowess, +7d6+1d8+10 SDC, +1d6+4d4 Speed, several "automatic kick attacks," the ability to pin/incapacitate on a 18-20, ability to body-tackle for 1d4+they lose one melee attack, +5 to roll with punch or fall, and probably some other stuff I'm losing track of. The +10 physical strength would apply even if ZZ had the highest starting possible strength of 24, I believe. As would all those SDC. I guess that's from learning how to take a bump.

Anyway after this we have some discussion of guns'brasting which I found uninteresting and is the same as all Palladium stuff. Of some note are ISPs, which are basically mana points but for psionic abilities. If you spend your ISPs you can regain them at 2 per hour by sleeping or being totally relaxed, or at 4/hour by meditating.

New rule! Perception. Roll a d20 and add your IQ bonus along with any crap from your OCC or RCC. Also, +1 at levels 3, 9 and 15. There's a useful table. This is basically the Spot check, but is clearly labelled as a "new rule."

Also, the horror factor: When something is 2 Spoopy, you roll against its Horror Factor. EXAMPLE: The Undertaker, with a horror factor of 10, emerges from a crypt. Everyone has to roll a D20. Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar roll high and are fine. Paul Heyman rolls a 2, and is stunned, which means he loses init and can't defend himself against the creature's first attack. However, this is only an initial factor.

Psi powers!



Everyone has ISPs as we mentioned. A psionic gets SIX ISP per hour of meditation, and it also counts as two hours of rest for his tender fleshy body. If you're near a leyline you get juiced up.

Dogs, cats and horses are psychics. YUP! "Each animal has the following abilities: See the invisible, sense evil, sense magic, sixth sense and empathy (receives only) Each ability is an automatic instinct that helps the animal AVOID the supernatural. Range: 600 foot area."

Living animals have potential psychic energy points, or PPE. Get used to that word. You can sacrifice an animal to Satan (at death, their PPE doubles) and use that power. There is a list of the PPE and hit points of various common animals. Your most cost effective sacrifice to Satan is a mouse, who has 1D4 PPE and 1 hit point. Even Paul Heyman could manage that! A rat is also a decent compromise, at 2d4 PPE versus 1d4 HP. Your worst choice is a bear, which has 2D6 PPE, as well as 3D4x10 hit points, and presumably all of the innate abilities with regards to mauling etc. as a bear. Perhaps Satan is fond of the bear.

There is a Psychic "PCC". Psychics have psychic powers (I am sure you are shocked) and generally club up with the underground to fight the Monster-Occupied Government (or MOG (my acronym).) Most of the psychic powers are the usual Scanner bullshit you might expect, including various sensory powers, etc. Some highlights:

Death Trance: You can feign death real good. This keeps you from dying from poison, blue meth, etc. but you are also really pretendig to be dead! It is only useful for yourself, and you are completely helpless until the trance is broken. (This would actually be really useful if you could cast it on OTHER people...)

Divination: This lets you read the cards, and find stuff out. Ask some questions, throw some dice. There's a lot of different methods you can use. You gotta pick a couple, at most.

Total Recall: You can spend ISP to remember things perfectly. Even if you're out of ISP you can still try.

Bio-Manipulation (the evil eye): Hex somebody but good.

Summon Inner Strength:

but less racist

You can give yourself a little more SDC and some saving bonuses, as well as ignoring fatigue, for a while.

Speed Reading: You can read 30 pages per minute and retain normally. "Highly technical" texts you have to maybe read at half speed, or twice.

Next up, we finally get to the loving Nightbane!

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Sadly I have fewer wrasslin' examples but it's still moar Palladium!

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 7: More organizations!



This is a listing of companies and organizations that exist in the Three Galaxies. They are using some of the stat systems presented in Rifts: Mercenaries. They are a 552 point org, which is obscene as I recall. The first of these is Tri-Galactic Military Services (TMS) which is the largest single merc outfit in the area. They have 500,000 soldiers, vehicles, fighters, and space ships. It’s funded by the planet Glory which makes up a lot of its economy with various war services. They buy the best gear they can get from all over, and hire the best soldiers, likewise.

The origin of the company lies in the last conventional war between the CCW and the Empire: About twenty years ago, a four year conflict ended, with the CCW having a huge military it no longer needed or wanted to actively maintain (okayyy) and all the returning soldiers were nothing but problems, competing for scarce jobs or coming back to ravaged homeworlds. They might turn savage! Some members of congress wanted to herd them all into camps!

One general managed to create an alternate solution by using up a bunch of prize money plus some loans and help from contacts. He founded a mercenary company on the planey of Norriego-5 which is distinctly not called Glory. Editing! :argh: A bunch of vets went there, got employed, and now TMS is a massive merc service. The TMS is strictly professional, engages in all types of missions that do not violate their codes of war, and rebuffs attempts at stockholding--they will buy Naruni equipment but will not permit NE to hold an interest in their company.

The mercs themselves train and compete constantly when not on an active mission. The three major cities on Norriego-5 are virtually identical military base cities, filled with entertainments for off-duty soldiers. The MPs patrol the cities to keep things somewhat in-line. When not on leave, discipline is strict and abusing locals while on mission is not tolerated. They’re paid 1200 credits a week for enlisteds, which is considerably more than other pay listings we’ve seen, all the way up to 12,000 a week for higher officers. They also receive room and board plus bonuses. The company even offers a space-401K.


modern pecnology

They go into specific troop numbers but these aren’t very interesting. Well-known units include the 3rd Light Infantry Division which is also known as the supernatural division. Spooooky. It’s made up of a bunch of beings with magical abilities obviously. Magicians and dragons and mind melters, oh my. They’re classified ‘light infantry’ because I guess their admins are dumb, but also because they aren’t issued a lot of equipment, though some other soldiers like full-conversion borgs get super-heavy cannons or whatever. They’re perceived as arrogant and people brawl with them, which seems like a mistake when most of them are naturally MDC.

The 5th Armored Division is ‘The Golden Horde’ which is made up of...Glitter Boys. Yes, somehow a division of Glitter Boys made it into space. There are more Glitter Boys in this unit than anywhere else in the Three Galaxies or on Earth itself. Where they come from is unknown. :iiam: People think they are 3G-made replicas but still, seriously? Anyway they exist.

The next ‘organization’ is The Intruders, a mysterious new alien menace that started out by disappearing colonies and ships and avoided detection for a while simply by leaving no witnesses. When they were found, they were super-duper weird apparently, with ships that flashed bright colors and spun around like little fascinators. When destroyed, the ships would dissolve entirely, leaving only the bodies of the pilots behind. They weren’t talkative.

So far they’ve stuck to small scale raids and the wider public in the CCW doesn’t think much of them compared to the Empire or the Star Hives. The governments of the CCW and the Empire are more concerned, however. They think the invaders are from another galaxy outside the 3G, which means they managed to cross the 300,000+ light years in a relatively rapid span. Or, you know, were just willing to make the equivalent of a transatlantic voyage. Assuming 12.5 light years per hour (an average intergalactic ship speed) they could have made the crossing in 1000 days which is a breezy little jaunt in sci-fi terms. The fact that they can make that jaunt and then do the cosmic equivalent of panty raids suggests some more rapid means, however, along with the other weaponry and capabilities they’ve shown.

Their technology is described as “solid energy” which is basically using forcefield technology to skip the step of building a ship and just making the whole thing out of forcefield. Brilliant! This “solid energy” does not block phase beams, however, nor do the intruders understand magic--though they’re very resistant to magic and psionics.

Intruders destroy every sign of sentient life in locations they hit, buildings and all. The CCW desperately wants to try and talk to them to get them to stop, to see if there’s some reason to this madness. The Empire just wants to kill them and take their stuff. There are unconfirmed reports that the Free World Council has been spotted fighting alongside the Intruders. The actual Council hasn’t had any direct contact with the Intruders but they’re willing to let the rumors continue. The UWW has been left alone, probably because they’re freaky magic hippies. The Splugorth are pretty alarmed since this is something entirely new to them as well, and that doesn’t happen often. Phase World has had an uptick in sales of phase tech systems since they work on the aliens. Cosmo-Knights report that they are not immune to the Intruders’ energy weapons--the damage is only divided by ten, rather than a hundred. Not cool, mysterious aliens. Naruni Enterprises has magical superspy webs that have gotten them every scrap of info that everyone else has, which isn’t much, and the Naruni are jealous of people with better stuff than they have.


envision this section with the cut-rate version of Morgan Freeman voiceover I guess

There is no one single answer to the Intruders given in this section. Several possible theories are presented.

  • They’re minions of an alien intelligence we haven’t met yet. Who would’ve thought there was another world-destroying menace lurking beyond our stars?
  • They’re just plain genocidal narcissists in their own right.
  • Same as previous scenario but there’s actually two groups, the jerks and the less jerks and we’ve only met the one.
  • The Empire is to blame, having sent an expeditionary fleet that attacked the Intruder homeworld in their own galaxy and this is revenge. They may not realize the 3G are not all the Empire.
  • Extradimensional
  • Like the first one about the alien intelligence only somehow this is an entity ‘worse than the Splugorth’ that wants the Cosmic Forge. Honestly, if they want to compete for ‘worse than the Splugorth’ title they are going to have to get in line.


Now we shall have some stats and pictures of various Intruder types. The first is The Beast which are big, furry, with three eyes running up the middle of their face like a Sowki. Xenobiologists who have examined them think their species wouldn’t have reached intelligence by natural means and so were probably engineered.


furry sowki, seriously. anyone made this connection yet? no?

They have pretty good stats, small MDC (PE+1d6x10), can do minor damage with claws, +4 vs magic and psionics so have fun with that. They have a full block including skills but no language skill, since presumably they speak a currently untranslated gobbledygook I guess. Oh, and they get a suit of War Beast power armor with 400 MDC and built in weapons, that’s thrown in at the end.

Type two is the Mind Creature which is sort of like the war beast, but much, much sillier looking. Behold:


every time i look at this picture i just start giggling. look at his big ole head!

40% of their body weight is in their ginormous heads. No mind creature has ever been captured alive (and nothing about what happens if/when the beasts are) though at least one was killed by the beast subordinates when capture threatened, so it’s really unclear if they’re synapse creatures or what. They get smrt attributes, +4 vs magic/psi again, all sensitive and several defensive psi powers including a super-telepathy that lets them speak to the beasts at up to one light year per level of distance. 4d6x10 ISP. They get 150 MDC armor that can fire 1d4x10 blasts.

And that’s it! The War Beast power armor is not explained in this section; it’s off in the power armor section which would make sense if any other beings could ever use it. I suppose every sci-fi setting needs its ineffable invaders but we don’t have much to go on here and the GM just supposed to make stuff up. On the other hand, statwise, these guys are not super-threatening as written. Like, they’d be reasonable opposition in small numbers, depending.

Back in Phase World main they occasionally referenced Aliens Unlimited as something you should totally buy, for real, buy it and make alienz. Here we get a section specifically for converting or importing elements of the galactic setting described in AI to Phase World. You can also just make them another dimension linked to Phase World because why not, shrug.


brodkil? in space?

These are mentioned in all caps as OPTIONAL guidelines and suggestions and that GMs get to choose what makes the cut.

From Aliens Unlimited first we get the Atorian Empire, ruthless and expansionist. This text assumes you have Aliens Unlimited, which I don’t, and suggests that the Atorians could be a rising power getting ready to compete with the existing powers in 3G. This is listed as Option #1. The Federation of Alien Races is suggested as a small indie cluster trying to fend off hungry powers in the form of the Atorians and the Transgalactic Empire. The Niamese Coalition is sort of the Atorian Empire’s version of the Free World Council and the two feel friendly as a result. The Tagoniglomerate is a megacorporate competitor to the Naruni. The Thissera-Micean Cooperative (what a name) is a law-enforcement organization that presides over another smallish space nation. Cosmo-knights would like ‘em so I’m going to envision a Bravestarr kinda scenario.


have a robit

Option #2 is to have the Atorians as Kreeghor vassals. They would have been conquered slightly before the Wolfen Empire was destroyed. Of course, the Atorians are not ones to lie down and accept feudal domination, and they nurture betrayal in their hearts for their Kreeghor masters. The FAR could just be part of the Consortium in this case (why?) and the Niamese Coalition would just be part of the FCW. I sort of like this option better since an empire like the TE should be kind of fractious, even if I don’t have the book with the Atorians in it.

That’s it for ‘other organizations’. The Gun Show is next: Technology and Weapons. Time for all the toys to come out of the box!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Noriega Five. Really.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



PSIONICS: THE NEXT STAGE IN HUMAN EVOLUTION
The Eternal Storm: Setting and Conspiracies


Okay. So. I think this section really should have come before the example enemy/statted NPC section because it has information on the conspiracies and the setting. This is all GM-only hush hush stuff, but it's relevant stuff.

There are six conspiracies main conspiracies, from most to least powerful.
  • The Institute: an American-run conspiracy of scientists and federal agents who operate America's secret pro-Esper shadow government.
  • Abraxis Biotech: an amoral international investment group producing drugs for Espers and attempting to control the global market on psionic drugs and transhuman enhancements.
  • Zodiac Order: a free-wheeling Esper-supremacy group made up of independent cells working together to take down the people who want to oppress and exploit Espers.
  • Red Orchesta: an ultranationalist underground Russian organization formed after the Cold War dedicated to dominating the West and making Russia great again.
  • Aleph: an Asian business conglomeration trying to steal the secrets of psionic drugs from other parties.
  • Eschaton: a loose bunch of extremists and zealots tied together by various Abrahamic religious organizations who are attempting to kill all Espers.
THE INSTITUTE, aka The Shop

The Russians developed the first effective serums for bestowing psychic powers back in the 1930s. America discovered this in the 1940s immediately after World War II and put together a think-tank of German scientists, American scientists, federal employees and propagandists to beat the Russians at their own game. By the 1970s, America's scientists had succeeded in two things: creating power-enabling drugs through MKULTRA and Project Stargate, and making both projects look absolutely incompetent and abusive to throw the public and the rest of the government off of their trail. Soon the Soviet Union fell and America had the upper hand in the Esper business.

And then the campaigns of misinformation backfired when a decision by the federal government shut down Stargate and got rid of the funding after MKULTRA's files were disseminated to the public. It would have ended there but the leaders of what would become the Institute weren't too happy about that.

The heads of the Institute, at the time, were used to Cold War politics and were firm believers that controlling psychic technology would allow America to have an unparalleled edge on the global stage. So they went rogue and went underground, like Majestic 12 would in comparison to Delta Green. The Institute operates out of CIA-C, ConTech, DARPA, DIA and the NSA (with their headquarters "centered" in Fairfax county, VA) and they claim to be the puppeteers with the real power behind the White House and US government. They have access to the depths of the military industrial complex and intelligence community, operating out of connected cells. The Institute nudges foreign policy to their advantage, marks rogue Espers as threats for the FBI to capture and tap phones and medical records. They're incredibly powerful.

In America.

In America, they use police, FBI and private security contractors as their dupes when they can't use a cybernetically-enhanced super agent. In America, their best operatives can flash a DEA, DHS or ATF badge to go anywhere. In America, they have secret testing compounds in Wyoming or occupy temporary residence in land seized by eminent domain. But the rest of the world has its own secrets and plans, and they desperately want the Institute's drugs, especially after the Institute started reverse-engineering Abraxis' drugs and made them better. An American Esper should either try to leave, or get ready to fight to for their freedom.

ABRAXIS BIOTECH, aka The Company

Alex Devareux is a clinically diagnosed narcissistic, sadistic sociopath. He discarded the test results with a sardonic laugh and had the doctors who ran the test killed, had their families killed and had the results buried. He is also the man behind many powerful decision makers who work for most pharmaceutical companies, MI6 and Germany's BND. He helped put them in power with his business savvy, familial connections and money and his vision for a future. Alex wants to see a megacorporation rise to power where it can sell a transhuman revolution to anyone who can afford it, to make a company that can make people sick and dependent and sell them the cure.

If the man doesn't already have an island mansion he owns, and the island on it, I'd be very surprised. It's stated his dream is to have immortality and an army of loyal clones.

So when he discovered the drugs that the Institute had created and some leftover notes from Russia, he started the Yggdrasil Program. The Yggdrasil Program's intent is to explore the limits of biotechnology and psionic capability with the help of human test subjects, willing and unwilling. The ultimate goal of the project is for the science to be 100% safe for Alex to try himself. And it would work too; he has psi-potential.

Abraxis' role in the world is to be the pushers and multinational alternative to the Institute. The Institute is discrete, professional. While Abraxis doesn't really exist as a corporation (it's more of a group or conglomerate), they have advertising and marketing departments to make themselves look good. Sleek angles, black SUVs, shiny body armor and clean white labs are all part of the Abraxis brand. The company uses private military grunts for defense and their Yggdrasil graduates for top operations and protection. The company's money is more than good enough to keep anyone from considering going anywhere else, from a pudgy rent-a-cop in a security booth to a newborn Esper being approached by an Abraxis representative.

On top of all that, Abraxis successfully reverse-engineered the Institute's Lot-19 to make RED, BLUE, GREEN, PPECs, PPIDs and other fun drugs. However, Lot-19 just gives any levels in any power (translation: 1d6+1 points to put in anything). Abraxis' equivalent...doesn't do that well. It gives +1 rank in Telekinesis and Psychokinesis (and the bases are later covered with RED, BLUE and GREEN shots). However, anyone who injects Melatropine (code-named PURPLE) to check for psi-potential must make a Strength test. Succeed and the Esper suffers from permanent transitive delusions and hallucinations that come and go from neurological damage inflicted by PURPLE's neurotoxic components. Fail and, uh, heart attack is the least dangerous side effect. PCs created by PURPLE are assumed to have succeeded and have mild pseudo-schizophrenia.

ZODIAC ORDER, aka The Cult

The Zodiac Order is an American organization that hates anyone who would abuse or exploit Espers. Their complaints are legitimate, they have a pretty good cause, but the fact of the matter is that they don't have nearly the same manpower or resources of their enemies. So the Zodiac Order uses guerilla warfare, drug sales and the media to gain supporters and use raids to get resources and Espers to help them. The Zodiac Order are sexy punks, hipsters and rebels who have a good reason to fight. And they have their dark side.

Jeremy Bright, their leader, is an enormously powerful Esper and force of charisma. The Institute has a bunch of project leaders and politicians, Abraxis has the dreams and business savvy of Alex Devareux. They don't really compare to Bright. Bright created the Zodiac Order as a force of Esper supremacy, fully believing that Espers are meant to inherit the Earth on the backs of dead humans and collapsed society. He's turned his personality, his experience and his apocalyptic visions into a resistance group The front of the Order (besides the band Tomorrow's Starlight) is the Ayn Sof religion, a youth-oriented neo-Kabbalistic religion mixed with the business strategy of Scientology. It's a hipster targeted towards disaffected white kids and rebels with the purpose of bringing them in and testing them for psi-potential. Anyone who can become an Esper is inducted into the Order proper and is given training in guerilla combat and their growing powers from whatever teachers they have at their beck and call. Anyone who can't is kept in Ayn Sof as a useful idiot or fodder and they keep regurgitating the lies of the religion to them, promising power and enlightenment and fully planning to use them as dupes.

The Zodiac Order operates by keeping Espers together in cells in America. Cells organize Ayn Sof events, concerts, get-togethers as distractions and uses them as smokescreens for their real goals. On top of that, they have underground chemists enhancing certain street drugs to bankroll their goals, in addition to reverse-engineering Institute and Abraxis drugs from the small amounts they have stolen. Independent Espers are most likely to be approached by the Zodiac Order casually or in a liberation raid. They'd love for Espers to join them, but know it's not guaranteed and just don't want them to work for the other groups.

Abraxis, the Institute and the Zodiac are the three main players. The book recommends not playing them as out-right evil, which is kinda hard! I mean, I know I sure didn't do a good job making them sound even remotely good, but GMs are encouraged to try to make them some shade of dark grey.

The Institute has resources, reach and vision but it needs more people with stronger moral convictions in charge and to stop treating its test subjects the way they do. It needs to be more lawful than evil.
Abraxis plays things generally pragmatically and wouldn't hoard their biotech, but they're not going to give it out for free and while they're innovative their alternative drugs have side effects and the safe stuff is for Devareux.
The Zodiac Order is presented as pretty good in the fluff stories and I like the fact that they're the Brotherhood of Mutants with a net presence and the Cult of Magneto and drug-dealers to make them less unambiguously good.

The other three groups are either much more decentralized than the top conspiracies, or incredibly focused on one area or field. They shouldn't be underestimated, though. Except Eschaton. I would completely underestimate them by way of replacing them with a better conspiracy, they're the absolute worst and weakest and a pretty big misstep in this game.

THE RED ORCHESTRA, aka Matryoshka

Russia did its big works in the field of psionic technology and medicine back in the 1930s up until Stalin slashed funding and made research in parapsychology forbidden. The ban was lifted in the 1960s, but American spies and the passage of time put the Red Orchestra behind its western counterpart. The Nomenklatura were desperate to catch up and after the fall of the Soviet Union the Red Orchestra went underground. If you think the Institute is ham-handed in wanting to protect American freedom through Esper dominance, well they don't have anything on a spiteful Russian organization. Their goal is to rebuild the Soviet Union on the back of an Esper army, reclaim the lost land and get revenge on the west for winning the Cold War and stealing their research.

Red Orchestra acts as an international spy ring with headquarters centered in Moscow. The officials, top agents and moles in the FSB, GRU, Acron Group and Eurochem operate in Russia and Eastern Europe. The rest of their main agents are called Receivers scattered in countries all over the world. Receivers are sleeper agents who operate in single member cells to monitor and track Esper activity. Receivers are conditioned to be paranoid and watchful and to act on coded messages sent from Moscow. Many of them have been in cover so long they don't know that Red Orchestra is a rogue organization. Beyond that, Red Orchestra will gladly hire mercenaries, use GRU agents or funnel guns to the Russian mafia and tell them to do them a favor.

Red Orchestra has become justifiably secretive of their chemicals, but they're all on par with the Institute in addition to mind control chemicals and drugs that inhibit the subject's ability to think for themselves.

ALEPH, aka The Megacorp

Aleph is a secretive group that operates out of Qingdao Pharma Group, China's Ministry of State Security and Japan's National Diet. They operate on the same level as Abraxis and compete directly against them in the Asian market, making them bitter enemies to a group that doesn't really know much or care about them. Aleph has very good control in Asia and the Pacific, but the other continents have minimal Aleph penetration thanks to the paranoia of Red Orchestra, Abraxis and the Institute.

Aleph values infiltration, social manipulation and anonymity in their operations. The group is run by 12 anonymous directors on a board who use modulators and silhouettes on video screens to communicate. One director doesn't know the identity of any of the others. Their employees are either hired muscle from Triad or Yakuza who have been recruited and reconditioned, or quiet, polite people with backgrounds in espionage and medicine who get hired into groups to work from within.

What are their goals? It's hard to say, but it really seems to just be "make money". They're making good progress and are roughly on par with Abraxis when it comes to chemicals and compounds, but there's no overarching goal for Aleph besides dominance in the international market. But then again, every director likely has their own goal or interest they're working for, and one director doesn't speak for all of Aleph.

ESCHATON, aka The Inquisition

All of the other groups either want to free or control Espers. Eschaton wants to kill them. Their big goal is to avert the apocalypse the Zodiac Order (or, well, Jeremy Bright) is working towards, protecting mankind from extinction. Unless an Esper is willing to commit 100% to that mission and join them, they'll kill them. Eschaton works out of the Catholic Church with help from the Jesuits, religious Zionists and Mossad.

Eschaton is different inasmuch as they don't really have much in the way of resources. Occasionally they can nudge a group of religious extremists or fundamentalist zealots one way or another. All Eschaton can really do is pick someone, train them and let them loose. And because Eschaton was not founded by the church, just a few people inside the Catholic church work with it, if one of their hunters get pinched they're often written up as someone with delusions of religious conspiracies and left to rot.

That's, uh. That's really it for Eschaton. No major power or resources to speak of, just some people they gave guns to and told to watch the news for signs of the Devil's work.

NEXT TIME: actual enemies and more powerful enemies that work for the various conspiracies.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


If they wanted to have shades of gray, they shouldn't have made the Abraxis guy such a sociopath. That's like Saddam territory. Why not just make him Steve Jobs like everyone else does.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



wdarkk posted:

If they wanted to have shades of gray, they shouldn't have made the Abraxis guy such a sociopath. That's like Saddam territory. Why not just make him Steve Jobs like everyone else does.
Yeah honestly that's why I love Cheiron in nWoD. They're a bunch of amoral profit-makers with alien goals, they're not just some Bond villain with a god complex. I would personally adapt Abraxis Biotech to be a bunch of profit-driven guys who are completely and totally in love with the idea of a transhuman revolution and all that entails, they just wanna have an army of loyal soldiers for when everyone else has superpowers. If Abraxis ruled the world, everyone would be enhanced and augmented and mankind would jump forward into the future with them as the glorious leader.

For better or for worse, with all that entails. Not everyone survives the shots...

PSIONICS: THE NEXT STAGE IN HUMAN EVOLUTION
The Eternal Storm: Setting and Conspiracies


The roster of enemy NPCs is pretty short and sweet, giving a handful of law enforcement types, regular folks and a few sample conspiracy enemies. I won't be listing many of the stats for these guys, so I'll just give you impressions.

POLICE
Police Cop: General 4-5 in attributes, good at clubbing, pistols and punching. Cops come with Blitzkrieg, Point Blank and Dodge. They come with a Glock, a night stick and a cruiser with a shotgun and maybe body armor. The Police Cop NPC nets 20 XP and represent troopers, deputies and your average rank and file lawman. They're not fancy but they come in numbers.

Veteran Cop: Way more likely to use unnecessary force than a regular cop, the Vet has a 4-5 stat spread (6 in Wits) and comes with specialties in intimidation, rifles and pistols, even packing a 1911 with hollowpoint ammo, shotgun and body armor. They come with Boom! Headshot, Kneecapper and Point Blank, built to be more offensive than a normal cop. The Veteran Cop is either a hot-shot detective or an experienced cop who is ready to be a hero, the lieutenant mooks that net 30 XP each.

SWAT Officer: Packing 5-6 in stats, heavy hardware and body armor, Apprentice in all weapons and plenty of flashbangs, teargas, beanbag rounds and other big guns, the SWAT Officer is ready for battle. SWAT Officers come in squads and each officer has a different weapon, but packs the skills to pick up a fallen weapon and use it. Boom! Headshot, Dodge and Blitzkrieg round them out for techniques. They're very dangerous for an Esper simply because they still have some human limitations and SWAT Officers know how to take people down hard and fast. Espers do have an edge in their powers, though; at the end of the day, they have no defenses against their more dangerous powers and net 50 XP.

Elite Police Sniper: Snipers are very, very dangerous and are built around the one shot one kill idea. They're Masters with rifles, have Boom! Headshot, Longshot and Sniper. They may operate alone, but getting to them is a problem. Even if you can, their 7s in Will means that it's gonna take some real work to get them to turn their lethal abilities against other officers; you're better off just taking them down however you can. Police snipers are big threats because ingame they're designed to be dangerous and should be used lightly against players. On the other hand, that 75 XP bonus is mighty tempting...

Federal Agents: Not as combat-oriented as the rest of the police, they're built to investigate. They have a lot of tools to get through locked doors, track and follow Espers and keep on the heels of the PCs. When all else fails, they're good with their pistols, bringing Dodge and Point Blank to the party. They carry a 40 XP bounty and the knowledge that you just killed a government employee and all that entails.


PEOPLE YOU'RE LIKELY TO MEET IN AN INSTITUTE LAB
Emergency Services: Well, okay, they're not working directly for them. But ES technicians are someone you're going to run across and them taking you to a hospital for treatment is just one step closer to captivity in a cell. They can also be reskinned to be firemen. They don't come with much combat ability besides Clubs, Brawling, Blitzkrieg, Dodge and Batter Up. Fighting or killing them might be a necessary evil, or it might just be a cruel thing you have to do. They only carry 20 XP.

Orderly: Orderlies know how to wrestle and grapple, which is a problem in addition to their 6 Strength. Aside from that, they carry sleepy night-night drugs and know how to throw a punch well but only know Counterattack. They can be bullies or they can just be following orders, but an Esper is definitely going to end up fighting an orderly at one point or another. Orderlies are worth 20 XP.

Doctor/Scientist: Probably the people you're going to want to fight. Smart types have 8 Wits and 5 Speed and everything else is ehhhh. They have Blitzkrieg and Dodge but they don't have many fighting options besides grappling and using sedatives. But these jerks are going to be experimenting on you a lot, and they're worth 30 XP each.

Security Guard: The rent-a-cop type with okay attributes, Critical Attack, Point Blank and no lethal weapons most of the time and a baton. They carry a 20 XP price and they're really just there to patrol, tazer people or guard a door.

ASSORTED CRIMINALS AND OTHER PEOPLE
Gangsta Thug: Some punk in some gang packing a Saturday Night Special, a knife, a good right hook and maybe an uzi. Strong and quick but not smart, 20 XP and kind of a pushover compared to your average Esper but never alone. What makes them dangerous is that they come with Blitzkrieg and Frenzy, attacking often (albeit with reduced accuracy).

B&E Specialist: a hacker/cracker criminal type who used to boost stolen appliances but has since gotten a better education under a corporation or group. They're good at getting in and out, cleaning up loose ends and taking what they shouldn't, bringing Blitzkrieg, Dodge, a good skill and stat spread and lots of toys to the party for 25 XP a pop.

Highschool/College Students: They come in four delicious flavors and net 20 XP each: Frat/Jock, Studious/Academic, Stoner/Slacker, Juvie Offender/Punk. There's not much to them.

CONSPIRACY AGENTS
Institute Agent: a slick government agent with a black suit, type 4 body armor, tranq gun, silenced pistol and suppressed H&K UMP, inhibiting and healing drugs and plenty of toys to tie someone up and transport them. They come with 8 Wits and good stats in everything else, Blitzkrieg, Boom! Headshot, Point Blank, Kneecapper and Dodge. The Institute sends these agents (coming from any division of the government) to collect Espers and bring them in peacefully or by force. Some of them even have cybernetic implants to help them. They would prefer to use the tranquilizers, but if they sign the right papers the gloves can come off and they can shoot to kill. Institute Agents generally operate alone but alone doesn't mean reinforcements aren't far off. They net 130 XP.


Abraxis Mercenary Squad: A lot of Abraxis footsoldiers are ex-PMC who got a way better offer from Abraxis. The money keeps flowing if they do what they're told. They come in squads in three flavors, each with a good spread of training: pointman, rifleman and sniper. They're as well equipped as a SWAT team, they come with good stats and skills, Blitzkrieg, Critical Attack, Dodge and Point Blank. Everyone packs a taser, but only the sniper has a tranq weapon. Everyone else is loaded for bear and not afraid to kill cops if a job goes south. Everyone in a mercenary squad comes with a 80 XP bounty and operate in squads of 4-12 with the possibility of one of them having extra training to be a commander.

Zodiac Order Disciple: Coming hot off the CIA spooks and megacorp boots for asses is...a normal person who has been lied to. Disciples have no psi-potential and are given a gun and a knife and told what to do. The promise of getting a PPEC shot is a hell of a drug in itself and they come with average stats, Blitzkrieg and Frenzy. Really they're just an upgrade to the Gangsta Thug in equipment but that's it, they only get you 20 XP.

Red Orchestra "Receiver": Receivers are bad news and good at hiding and hunting. They've undergone conditioning by a handler and receive updates from encrypted messages and telepathic messages, reporting what they know and waiting for the order to act. When the time is right, the Receiver plans out an attack and executes it with pragmatic efficiency. They come armed to the teeth and trained in a lot of skills, Ambidexterity, Boom! Headshot, Counter Attack and packing paralytic drugs and the means to get around with a subdued Esper. They only operate alone and carry a XP bounty of 125.


Aleph "Sleeper": A Sleeper is a corporate chameleon. They're invariably demure, polite, quiet men or women from China who keep their head down and help diligently. Sleepers are sponges who absorb everything around them and bring the information back to Aleph and meticulously observe and filch what they can. They're not the best at fighting (Blitzkrieg, Dodge, silenced M9, good pistol skills) and would rather lie or act their way out of a dangerous situation so they can call in an Aleph mercenary team in to tie up loose ends. Aleph mercenaries are the same as Abraxis mercenaries, stat-wise. You want to nip a Sleeper in the bud fast and net that 55 XP bounty. They act alone, maybe with another Sleeper seeded in another department they can fall back on.

Eschaton Witchfinder: ugggggggggggh. 90 XP bounty, armed with a sword, shotgun and molotov cocktails along with Blitzkrieg, Dodge, Boom! Headshot and Frenzy. Nasty pieces of work who monitor for Esper activity. Then wind them up and watch them go after Espers in a berserk frenzy.

CONSPIRACY ESPERS
Institute Psi-Operative: Take a well-trained operative and give them good training in all fields along with good stats and Dodge, Kneecapper and John Wu Special. Then give them Pyrokinesis 2 and Telekinesis 4 (or lose Pyrokinesis and give them Psychokinesis). The Institute Psi-Operative excels with using multiple guns at once and being drat good at being a force of destruction for their controllers. Most Psi-Operatives are used for top-secret, deniable jobs, espionage and assassination. If they're called in to go after a rogue Esper then they're not loving around. Taking down a Psi-Operative gives 140 XP.

Yggdrasil Program Prodigy: The YPP took to the high-flying mercenary life like a fish to water after they were offered a very generous deal by Abraxis. The drugs gave them TK 3, Biofeedback 1, Soma 1, Psycho 3 and Osmosis 1. Their training (and Somakinesis) gives them very nice stats, very good training in throwing weapons, automatic weapons and blade fighting along with Blitzkrieg, Bulls Eye and In The Face. YPPs don't go to America just in case the Institute pinches their wunderkind, so mostly what they do is bomb around Europe and the rest of the world being troubleshooters who make mad bank. YPPs dish out 190 XP.

Zodiac Order Acolyte: These are the guys with the psychic powers and they're not subtle. Acolytes are packing good stats, Batter Up, Blitzkrieg baseball bats, Remington 1100s and Uzis along with Pyro 4 and Psycho 2. Acolytes are nomads and outlaws who trawl parties and concerts for people with psi-potential and give them hits to see how they react. If they survive and manifest power, cool, new friend. Alternately, they're who the Order calls in when they can confirm that a conspiracy is trying to extract or take an Esper into custody. Acolytes come in small numbers and are generally lead by a more experienced lieutenant, their cells working alone and worth 120 XP per Acolyte.

Red Orchestra Mindbender: A Mindbender is very bad news, packing 9 Wits and Will. They're incredibly dangerous; TK 2, Psychokinesis 5, Scrying 3. Mindbenders recruit and train Espers in Moscow and rarely leave Moscow. They're utterly loyal to the Red Orchestra and their entire job is to systematically break down and rebuild recruits with Psychokinesis. Besides that, they've very good with guns and drugs and torture and worth 200 XP.

Aleph Reality Hacker: Reality Hackers are very smart and possess a talent most Espers don't. They come with Psychokinesis 3 and Technokinesis 4. A Reality Hacker is a nightmare to their enemies, a skilled mind-hacker and tech-hacker that lays low to do their business and supports mercenaries. They hit hard and ride off into the sunset with all the secrets they can carry. In a fight, they kinda suck with just Blitzkrieg, Dodge, MP7 and Speed 5 for running away. They carry 120 XP to payout to whoever takes them down.

NEXT TIME: the inhuman enemies resulting from experiments. And soon, the end of the book! It's almost over, but it's been fun.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 02:02 on Sep 1, 2015

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.





We needed a break. 50 times in a row intentionally reading bad RPGs was pretty rough. So here's a nice palate cleanser. Five micro RPGs. Little one page games suitable for one-shots, parties, and conventions. Especially suitable for booze. Games include All Outta Bubblegum, Everyone is John, Lasers & Feelings, Doctor Magnethands, and Gangland. This was so much fun to make. It's gonna hurt so much in two weeks to do the next one.

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


Dreamhounds of Paris: Dramatis Personae 1

Dreamhounds comes with nineteen pre-generated characters. They created using a few more points than standard Trail of Cthulhu characters to bribe players into selecting historical figures.

Each character is 1-2 pages of three-column text describing his or her Dreamhounds life from birth to death, including affairs and relationships with other prominent PCs. Each character also has game stats, a list of common artistic motifs, a drive, what they want from the Dreamlands, and a list of which of Breton’s rules they can break without risking Instability loss. Depending on the tone of the campaign, which is discussed by everyone at the start, these events can be background, guidelines, or iron fact. My guess is most groups will keep the character history up until the campaign’s starting date, at which point anything goes. The unchosen Surrealists, who become NPCs, will follow their lives as presented on their sheets, unless the GM has a more campaign-appropriate idea.

Anonin Artaud, The Revealed One: French poet, actor, and theatre director. Slowly goes insane from his excursions into the Dreamlands, where he seeks to protect humanity from unearthly forces by transforming them.

Georges Bataille, The Enemy Within: French nihilist artist. Brokers a deal with Nicolas Flamel, king of the Parisian ghouls, to prevent Andre Breton from physically traveling to the Dreamlands using a doorway in the catacombs. Travels the Dreamlands to prove his materialistic pessimism is correct.

Luis Bunuel, Two-Fisted Filmmaker: Spanish filmmaker. Macho filmmaker dedicated to attacking the outdated ideologies of the Church and the bourgeois. He uses the portal to the Dreamlands in the Parisian catacombs to film special effects that would be untenable in the waking world. His section includes a sidebar about the homophobic attitude of many of the Surrealists, along with an advisory that individual groups can treat this dynamic however they’d like.

Claude Cahun, Woman in the Mirror: French writer, artist. She travels the Dreamlands for images and objects to use in her work. Although lesbian, she isn’t shunned like the gay male Surrealists (“greeted more with incomprehension than contempt.”)

Lenora Carrington, Gothic Heroine: English painter. A collage by Max Ernst unlocks her forgotten dreams. Later, “his touch awakens your buried memories of adventures in a nighttime world of bizarre animals and Gothic hallways.” Later still, “Ernst leaves his wife for good--though she still sometimes ambushes the pair of you in cafes to pelt you with cups and saucers.” Her motifs include “weird animals, Gothic manors, green lakes, lunar surfaces, sexually fraught horses.”

Jean Cocteau, Resplendent Anathema: French artist, writer, theatre designer. Has an entire sidebar explaining “Why the Surrealists Hate Cocteau” (He’s gay, from a wealthy family, claims to have invented Surrealism, and jumps from cause to cause.) Encounters a manifestation of Cthulhu in the Dreamlands, which he writes into a children’s book (Le Potomak) to banish its fearsome power. Experiences unrequited longing for Pablo Picasso and Randolph Carter (met during WWI.) Explores the Dreamlands to stay off opium, find sexual adventure. Teams up with Giorgi de Chirico to expunge the Surrealist influence from the Dreamlands.

Salvador Dali, Cunning Visionary: Spanish artist. Early in life, he’s a dandy: “Together, you, Lorca and Bunel listen to jazz, drink rum, and call the squares putrefactos. The athletic Bunuel dishes out fistic retribution to anyone who makes fun of your outlandish attire and demeanor.” Later in life, he’s a wealthy dandy with a turbulent inner life marked with jealousy, family issues, and obsession. Overall, he’s arrogant, controlling, and unbalanced. Unlike many of the Surrealists, he has a modicum of business sense.

He clashes with Breton and tries to seize control of Surrealism--he’s the wild-eyed iconoclast and Breton is the rule-bound thug. Eventually, his popularity pushes him to turn his back on Surrealism: “Did you finally lose your Instability once and for all, or did you see something in the Dreamlands so horrible that you chose to throw it all away?”

Giorgio de Chirico, Remorseful Pioneer: Italian painter. The first to notice the changes he makes in the Dreamlands are warping it. He tries to combat it by returning to more traditional painting styles, but the new wave of Surrealists are already latching onto his transformative work and calling him an inspirational figure. He looks for redemption while the hardcore Surrealists turn on him for embracing the musty tradition of the past.

Robert Desnos, Dream Medium: French writer, painter, radioman. He’s a real dab hand at trance writing. Sometimes this gets him possessed by dream beings. Falls for Yvonne George, who doesn’t love him, but uses him for money and drugs. Falls for an unearthly starfish who takes the form of Yvonne George in the Dreamlands, who pretends to love him while eating away at his spirit. Behind a Fantomas revival in Paris, has eyes “the color of spoiled oysters.”

Marcel Duchamp, The Chess Player: French artist. Appears in the Dreamlands as himself and as his drag alter-ego Rrose Selavy--who eventually gains independent agency. Sees the Dreamlands as an intellectual puzzle and source of unexpected chess partners.

Paul Eluard, Lyric Revolutionary: French poet. He’s fans of collaboration, friendship, and Stalinism. He’s a fan of the “cause revolutions in the Dreamlands to encourage revolution on Earth” plan. Occasionally possessed.

Max Ernst, King of Birds: French artist, sculptor, etc. Explores the Dreamlands as LopLop, the King of Birds. Eventually discovers LopLop is an independent entity, who nevertheless approves of Ernst taking his form. Travels to Easter Island to prevent Paul Eluard from doing something terrible while possessed, destroyed eldritch artifacts. Appreciates “birds and bird-people, [...], elephantine robots, exposed internal organs, deconstructed beasts, [...], distorted nudes, fixtures from risen R’lyeh."

Next time: More characters!

DNA Cowboys fucked around with this message at 05:55 on Sep 1, 2015

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Finally, we get to the payoff. Folks, welcome back, because it is now time for

NIGHTBANE
CREATING THE NIGHTBANE


His face is always like that; she's the one who's really hype for this part

Before we get into the real party time, we review the Morphus/Facade dichotomy, include some suggestions for how to define the character (who was probably a teenager or young adult before they Became). We then hit up some core rules ofr natural powers of the Nightbane, which are universal after the Nightbane changes for the first time:

1. THE BECOMING. You can change into your Morphus. It takes about a melee (which is approximately 15 seconds - seems to be a round equivalent) to do this. You can roll mental endurance with an accumulating bonus to do it faster. :toot:
2. Supernatural senses. All nightbane have night vision (better in their Morphus). They can also spot out other people as Nightbane - if they're within sight you just automatically use your Nightbaedar and ping them. If they're in the area, you can make a perception roll (this requires deliberate effort).
3. Supernatural attributes. Also, they regenerate 10 SDC OR Hit points at the end of each round. Massive damage - perhaps even... mega? damage - can overwhelm this. Nightbane have no inherent weapon immunities.
4. Mirror Walk: Enter the Umbra Mirrorlands. You have to go through a mirror with a counterpart in the Mirrorlands. Most house or building mirrors will do it; vehicles don't because the Mirrorlands has no cars. There's some more details. It costs PPE.
5. Immunities! You're immune to mind control (even VAMPIRE control).
6. Morphus powers, see below.
7. "Talents," which are basically bonus psi powers. You get one free. You can get more by PERMANENTLY spending PPE, or by getting good and levelling - you get more at levels 4, 7, 10 and 12.
8. Immune to any form of involuntary shape control. Basically, you can't be polymorphed or anything like a polymorph. Even super high level mega magic can't do it. This is its own bullet point because seven is an unlucky number I guess.

Nightbane are an RCC and have skill packages. Blah blah who cares, we're here for the real fun poo poo. The tables.

One of the unusual aspects of the Nightbane is that they are not really organized in clans or anything. You might expect something like that - some kind of division among the wolf people vs. the vampire people or some similar nonsense derived from your weak, mortal understandings of the ancient dark legends of the kine. Well, this is Palladium MEGA-GAMING. None of that.

A Nightbane's "Morphus," which you will recall is the name for when they turn into a thing and start rocking faces as a super-cool monster of the night, reflects some part of the character's personality... mostly. For example, a character who was fascinated with snakes, or phobic of them, might turn into a weresnake. Or they might get scaly skin and a serpent's tongue. (Hey, maybe that woman in that picture IS the Facade of that big muscle dude's Morphus!)

There are a lot of random tables. The book gives some advice - ranging from "Roll completely randomly, use that as a horoscope like look on why your character is the way she is" to "pick it all out" to "pick some out, but roll some randomly for funsies." There is open discussion of game balance - and different tones! How forward-looking. Plus, you can make up your OWN tables. Nightbane is you're game... what will you play? Graduate You're Game, Noob.

Anyway, there's some heavy poo poo here. I will quote the first two tables in their entirety.

quote:

Appearance Table
Roll or select one.

01-20% — Almost human: The Nightbane's Morphus is almost totally human, except for one inhuman trait that might be disguised or concealed — although sometimes the one trait is inhuman enough to give away the character's true supernatural nature. Roll once on the Nightbane Characteristics Table to determine unusual characteristics. If the result asks for more than one characteristic, ignore it and reroll.

21-30% — Inhuman but beautiful: The Nightbane combined a beautiful appearance with rolls on the Unearthly Beauty Table and the Nightbane Characteristics Tables.

31-45% Marred Beauty: The character has a beautiful True Shape, but it is marred by a gruesome stigmata. Make rolls on the Unearthly Beauty Table, the Stigmata Table, and the Nightbane Characteristics Table.

46-60% Lycanthrope: The Nightbane's Morphus is a mixture of animal and humanoid traits. Roll once on the Animal Form Table.

61-75% Monstrous Lycanthrope: Not only is the Morphus form animal-like, it has hideous deformities that give it a terrifying appearance. Roll on the Animal Form, Stigmata and Nightbane Characteristics Tables.

76-90% Inhuman Shape: The Nightbane's True Shape is a gruesome mockery of humanity. Roll on the Stigmata and Nightbane Characteristics Table.

91-00% Bizarre: Roll on the Unearthly Beauty, Nightbane Characteristics, Animal Form, and Stigmata tables. Then exercise your imagination to combine the alien result.

Nightbane Characteristics Table

01-20% Unusual Facial Features: Roll on the Unusual Facial Features Table.

21-40% Biomechanical: Roll on the Biomechanical Table.

41-60% Alien Creature: Roll on the Alien Shape Table.

61-80% Unnatural Limbs: Roll on the Unnatural Limbs Table.

81-90% Two characteristics: Roll or select two categories. Ignore any result of 61% or higher (alternatively, roll 1d6x10% to get a result between 10-60%). If you get the same characteristic twice, roll twice on the appropriate table.

91-95% Three characteristics: Roll or select three categories. Ignore any result of 61% or higher (alternatively, roll 1D6x10% to get a result between 10-60%). If you get the same characteristic twice, roll twice on the appropriate table.

96-00% Four Characteristics! As above, but roll four times.

Why am I listing this...? Because I'm going to show this gigantic list of bullshit by assembling concepts together that match what YOU, THE VIEWER AT HOME would like to see.

I'll take a few interesting ones - if you feel up to it, throw some bones and tell me what you got for them. I'll work from there. ZZ will make a reappearance as an additional contestant here on Nightbane, too.

For clarity, you can give me whatever level of detail you want. Humanoid gummy bear? Randomly rolling someone out with full Bizarre? Reproducing your favorite Touhou? Go hog wild!

Nessus fucked around with this message at 06:20 on Sep 1, 2015

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Clive Barker's Harley Davidson commercial: a motorcycle centaur made of exposed viscera.

Does your copy of the book make references to nonexistent tables? Mine has 'bears' and maybe one or two others that never made it into the first printing, and I'm not sure they ended up in the splats or not.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Bieeardo posted:

Clive Barker's Harley Davidson commercial: a motorcycle centaur made of exposed viscera.

Does your copy of the book make references to nonexistent tables? Mine has 'bears' and maybe one or two others that never made it into the first printing, and I'm not sure they ended up in the splats or not.

Mine lacks bears. Also it's called Nightspawn. I wish I could say it was a collector's item, but it's like every other old Palladium book, peeling like it got a sunburn.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Bieeardo posted:

Clive Barker's Harley Davidson commercial: a motorcycle centaur made of exposed viscera.

Does your copy of the book make references to nonexistent tables? Mine has 'bears' and maybe one or two others that never made it into the first printing, and I'm not sure they ended up in the splats or not.
Yeah, I have Bear and Amphibian listed here but no details. Thanks, Obama! I will probably improvise with results from "Bovine/Equine" and "Reptile" as relevant.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I remember hearing about them having to change the title, and thinking it was absurd. In retrospect, even without the kind of legal firepower Todd McFarlane could bring to bear, there were some uncomfortably close similarities between Nightspawn and regular old Spawn, and I doubt Palladium would have come out on top.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Nessus posted:

Yeah, I have Bear and Amphibian listed here but no details. Thanks, Obama! I will probably improvise with results from "Bovine/Equine" and "Reptile" as relevant.

I think the missing tables are online somewhere. If nothing else it's definitely in the Between The Shadows sourcebook.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Bieeardo posted:

I remember hearing about them having to change the title, and thinking it was absurd. In retrospect, even without the kind of legal firepower Todd McFarlane could bring to bear, there were some uncomfortably close similarities between Nightspawn and regular old Spawn, and I doubt Palladium would have come out on top.
I thought the issue was the Clive Barker film "Nightbreed," but I imagine it was both these things, really.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Mcfarlane was the only one to threaten to sue, though.

Nea
Feb 28, 2014

Funny Little Guy Aficionado.

DNA Cowboys posted:

Dreamhounds of Paris: Dramatis Personae 1

Luis Bunuel, Two-Fisted Filmmaker: Spanish filmmaker. Macho filmmaker dedicated to attacking the outdated ideologies of the Church and the bourgeois. He uses the portal to the Dreamlands in the Parisian catacombs to film special effects that would be untenable in the waking world. His section includes a sidebar about the homophobic attitude of many of the Surrealists, along with an advisory that individual groups can treat this dynamic however they’d like.

Claude Cahun, Woman in the Mirror: French writer, artist. She travels the Dreamlands for images and objects to use in her work. Although lesbian, she isn’t shunned like the gay male Surrealists (“greeted more with incomprehension than contempt.”)

Lenora Carrington, Gothic Heroine: English painter. A collage by Max Ernst unlocks her forgotten dreams. Later, “his touch awakens your buried memories of adventures in a nighttime world of bizarre animals and Gothic hallways.” Later still, “Ernst leaves his wife for good--though she still sometimes ambushes the pair of you in cafes to pelt you with cups and saucers.” Her motifs include “weird animals, Gothic manors, green lakes, lunar surfaces, sexually fraught horses.”

Salvador Dali, Cunning Visionary: Spanish artist. Early in life, he’s a dandy: “Together, you, Lorca and Bunel listen to jazz, drink rum, and call the squares putrefactos. The athletic Bunuel dishes out fistic retribution to anyone who makes fun of your outlandish attire and demeanor.” Later in life, he’s a wealthy dandy with a turbulent inner life marked with jealousy, family issues, and obsession. Overall, he’s arrogant, controlling, and unbalanced. Unlike many of the Surrealists, he has a modicum of business sense.

He clashes with Breton and tries to seize control of Surrealism--he’s the wild-eyed iconoclast and Breton is the rule-bound thug. Eventually, his popularity pushes him to turn his back on Surrealism: “Did you finally lose your Instability once and for all, or did you see something in the Dreamlands so horrible that you chose to throw it all away?”

Giorgio de Chirico, Remorseful Pioneer: Italian painter. The first to notice the changes he makes in the Dreamlands are warping it. He tries to combat it by returning to more traditional painting styles, but the new wave of Surrealists are already latching onto his transformative work and calling him an inspirational figure. He looks for redemption while the hardcore Surrealists turn on him for embracing the musty tradition of the past.


Max Ernst, King of Birds: French artist, sculptor, etc. Explores the Dreamlands as LopLop, the King of Birds. Eventually discovers LopLop is an independent entity, who nevertheless approves of Ernst taking his form. Travels to Easter Island to prevent Paul Eluard from doing something terrible while possessed, destroyed eldritch artifacts. Appreciates “birds and bird-people, [...], elephantine robots, exposed internal organs, deconstructed beasts, [...], distorted nudes, fixtures from risen R’lyeh."

Next time: More characters!

I have never had an interest in Surrealism and modern art movements.

Now I do.

Damnit.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Yo, let's do a Tetsuo Nightbreedspawnbane. Inhuman or Monstrous Lycanthrope. Looking for Petsuo the bullet hound.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Nightbane sort of rules.

Nessus posted:


Why am I listing this...? Because I'm going to show this gigantic list of bullshit by assembling concepts together that match what YOU, THE VIEWER AT HOME would like to see.

I'll take a few interesting ones - if you feel up to it, throw some bones and tell me what you got for them. I'll work from there. ZZ will make a reappearance as an additional contestant here on Nightbane, too.

For clarity, you can give me whatever level of detail you want. Humanoid gummy bear? Randomly rolling someone out with full Bizarre? Reproducing your favorite Touhou? Go hog wild!
I think you should randomly roll several characters and post the most interesting/illustrative ones.

Something I've noticed from seeing Morphus tables online is that there's a poo poo-ton of animal related ones. I don't think this is because Kevin wanted to capitalize on TMNT or because CJ Carella really liked were-whales...animal hybrid stuff is just a really easy, low-effort concept to add to fantasy games as a race or whatever, and Palladium loves stuffing books with a ton of low-effort content.

It's still really weird how common it is to generate furries instead of something that actually would have shown up in Nightbreed.

By the by, I tried creating a Nightbane character for fun...and it's not fun. Oh, the Morphus tables are really fun to play around with. But the basic process of creating "a dude" in the Megaversal system is tortuous.

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

I once made Diablo using Nightbane, but I don't think the options necessary are in the basic book.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Nessus posted:

For clarity, you can give me whatever level of detail you want. Humanoid gummy bear? Randomly rolling someone out with full Bizarre? Reproducing your favorite Touhou? Go hog wild!

Try Tony Chopper, doctor and werereindeer (or reindeerwere, as he's a reindeer that turns into something more humanish) whose happy-go-lucky nature is just "perfect" for this kind of setting.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Make Kumamon. He is already a nightmare creature.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Green Intern posted:

Make Kumamon. He is already a nightmare creature.

Wrong terrifying nightmare mascot bear!

The correct option: MELONKUMA.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Mors Rattus posted:

Wrong terrifying nightmare mascot bear!

The correct option: MELONKUMA.



:vince:

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Halloween Jack posted:

It's still really weird how common it is to generate furries instead of something that actually would have shown up in Nightbreed.
Well I looked at the table and there's actually only a 30% chance to create what you could directly call a "furry" - a "lycanthrope" or "monstrous lycanthrope." 40% if you include the "Bizarre" who combine the full table run together, but in those contexts I imagine their furry bits would kind of blend into the screaming horror of their godless primary forms. While that's still pretty high, and there doesn't seem to be much reason for there being more "animal subtype detail" tables than "all the other ones," I also expect those tables are recycled from TMNT.

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


Dreamhounds of Paris: Dramatis Personae 2

Gala, Provocative Devourer: Russian-Jewish psychic paramour. “Though not an artist yourself, your liaisons and marriages with various members of the surrealist circle grant you access to the Dreamlands--which you use to protect them from their own childlike impracticality, and to assure yourself of the financial security you are terrified of losing.” Gala is a sickly woman from Circumstances, alternately beloved and despised by the Surrealists. Despised, for the most part. She’s unable to warp the Dreamlands like they do, but a fortune-teller from Ulthar teaches her how to read the future. This isn’t necessarily a blessing with WWII around the corner: “Even in the very most hopeful possible futures, millions of people are doomed to cruel and shocking deaths.”

She dies in the 1980s in a castle Dali bought for her.

Valentine Hugo, Little Swan: French illustrator, theatre designer. She speaks to dead spirits when she dreams, forming a close friendship with Paul Eluard. “You stand by when he disrupts the matinee debut of Cocteau’s plays with anti-homosexual heckling.” Her art isn’t especially well-received, and she’s really more interested in finding herself and making close friendships than revolutionizing the world.

Kiki de Montparnasse, Free-Living Muse: French model, muse, music hall performer. She’s a bon vivant and regular in the Montparnasse art scene with connections to artists outside the Surrealist sphere. You happened to be around when the Surrealists started playing their occult games, and now you’re along for the ride.

Kiki’s section includes a sidebar about “The Surrealists’ Woman Problem.” It’s similar in tone to Cocteau’s sidebar about homosexuality. It explains, “women were symbols of eroticism first and collaborators second,” before going on to say different groups can handle this differently. There’s a secret history in play, which could open new doorways.

Rene Magritte, Quite Anarchist: Belgian painter. He doesn’t want no trouble. Magritte tries to stay out of wild-eyed adventure, both earthly and occult. He lives quietly with his wife, shuns Breton for comments made against said wife, and tries to be the voice of reason. He dips his toes into the Dreamlands for inspiration and direction in understanding his mother’s suicide.

Andre Masson, Painter of Horror: French painter. World War I did a number on Andre, physically and mentally. Nietzche’s philosophies appeal to him, so he drifts from default Surrealist idealism toward the nihilism of Georges Bataille. His motifs include “nudes; pomegranates; cutaway bodies; toothy, disembodied jaw; insect people; bulls; creatures transforming into furniture.”

His meddling in the Dreamlands are responsible for the monster from this book that I’m least likely to ever include in any game ever. Any guesses what it could be?

Pablo Picasso, Wellspring of Inspiration: Spanish painter, sculptor, etc. Picasso has the highest Art-Making (Visual Art) skill of any of the historical artists. Moreover, if any Johnny-come-lately self-insert tries to one-up you, your skill is 12 or “any fictional PC’s Art-Making (Visual Art) rating +3, whichever is higher.” Picasso supremacy is the way to fame and happiness.

Breton is inspired by Picasso’s early work, and tries to woo him firmly into the Surrealist camp. Picasso enjoys exploring the Dreamlands and the company of individual Surrealists (especially the ladies), but he doesn’t need their philosophy or control. As his marriage falls apart, he seems to take solace in Surrealism. After the Spanish Civil War, his interests shift away from Surrealism but he still looks to the Dreamlands for a way to metaphysically destroy fascism.

Man Ray, American with a Camera: American with a camera. Despite his name, Ray is not a gun. While working as a cartographer for a textbook publisher, he meets the touring Marcel Duchamp and they become friends. He works on little projects until his marriage ends, at which point he moves to Paris to live as a bohemian filmmaker and photographer. As an outsider, you’re able to be friends with a variety of people without being drawn into their politics. Unlike most of the characters, you make decent money--as a fashion photographer.

Tristan Tzara, Impresario of the Incomprehensible: French/Romanian performance artist. Tzara is the big name in Dada. As his incomprehensible anti-art movement is starting to dissolve, Tzara’s apartment becomes the residence of a grim, unseen presence. Frightened, Tzara moves into his closet and lives there without the knowledge of the next tenant.

Eventually, Tzara makes it to Paris. Breton tries to subsume Tzara into Surrealism; Tzara is more interested in the Surrealists’ seances and dream experiments. Maybe he can figure out why he’s being haunted! As his Dream experiments continue, Breton turns the art world on him, showing up at his performances to beat him up and boo him. Personality-wise, “before either of them existed, you were half Groucho Marx, half Malcom McLaren.” His motifs include “thundering percussion, babbling, constricting cardboard-tube costumes.”

Next time: Side characters and rules

DNA Cowboys fucked around with this message at 06:15 on Sep 2, 2015

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



I'm going to assume he's responsible for Sex Hitler.

Nea
Feb 28, 2014

Funny Little Guy Aficionado.

Man. I actually want to learn about this real time period now. Maybe one day.

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


Neopie posted:

Man. I actually want to learn about this real time period now. Maybe one day.

No time like the present! I know Dali, of course, and I've seen Man Ray's photos and heard Tzara's DADA language poetry. The 'problem' is that all the real-life artists and their art are way more interesting without the overdone Lovecraft themes. Unless the book interprets Lovecraft himself through a Surrealist lens and claims that he's representing his unconscious desires? But again I'd rather read an essay than yoke him to these more influential and strange artists.

Anyway are their rules for big locations? I want to slice up eyeballs (oh oh oh oh).

mycot
Oct 23, 2014


Hell Gem

Given the history of this thread I'm just going to get the "a giant penis monster" possibility out of the way.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Something similar to Purple XVI's avatar.

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


Count Chocula posted:

No time like the present! I know Dali, of course, and I've seen Man Ray's photos and heard Tzara's DADA language poetry. The 'problem' is that all the real-life artists and their art are way more interesting without the overdone Lovecraft themes. Unless the book interprets Lovecraft himself through a Surrealist lens and claims that he's representing his unconscious desires? But again I'd rather read an essay than yoke him to these more influential and strange artists.

Anyway are their rules for big locations? I want to slice up eyeballs (oh oh oh oh).

Part of the focus on the Lovecraftian themes is the fault of my editorializing. I've been glossing over the mundane-yet-interesting parts of the character bios including the salacious (Man Ray: "For the American journalist William Seabrook, you take erotic photos of elaborately costumed women in bondage, sometimes with his wife Marjorie as the model. Though friendly with them, Lee [Miller] refuses invitations to participate.") and the thrust-and-parry of artistic freedom (Jean Cocteau: "Surrealist harassment escalates; Breton eggs on the radical poet Benjamin Peret as he prank-calls your mother to tell her you died in a car accident,"). You're right about individual philosophies getting the short shrift though--some of the artists have unconscious desires manifest as monsters or dream doppelgangers, but there's no overt commentary on Lovecraft himself.

The book supports the "focus on the weirdness" interpretation with the assumption there's outside research as well. There's a note at the start about the artwork: "The text of this book mentions many of the classic visual works of surrealist painters and sculptors, as well as references to the creators themselves. We do not reproduce the people or their works of art here, in order to make room for illustrations that show the collision of dream world and art history. In this age of ubiquitous Internet and mobile devices, you'll find the originals no more than a quick image search away." There's some pretty neat full-color art coming up. It's not all Sex Hitler--but there's more like that too.

Later on, in the section I'm getting to next, it explains, "Volumes have been written on the surrealist movement and its principal figures. Full-length biographies exist for most of the potential PCs presented in this chapter. Encourage players to dive into the research, with the bibliography in the appendices as a jumping-off point. As them to bring what they learn to the table in a collaborative way--as suggestions and details, and not as vehicles for trumping others with their superior knowledge." In other words, Laws is presenting the overtly weird stuff as the binding agent between historically interesting people and a solid high concept ("Idealistic, politically volatile artists loose in a realm of dreams.") Players and GMs can get the real history on their own, he's explaining how the Dreamlands twist the history. Alternately, more cynically, he could also be pulling the old "stick Cthulhu on it to draw nerds in to something I love" gag.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

pkfan2004 posted:

I'm going to assume he's responsible for Sex Hitler.

Pretty certain sex hitler was Dali's creation - one of his many efforts to shock the other surrealists though transgression. Like a lot of the weirder stuff in this book, it's a direct reference to an event that actually happened!

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RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Flavivirus posted:

Pretty certain sex hitler was Dali's creation - one of his many efforts to shock the other surrealists though transgression. Like a lot of the weirder stuff in this book, it's a direct reference to an event that actually happened!

It is. Dali was quite obsessed with Hitler, not in a believing in fascism sense but as a mass figure and fascination.

Dali wasn't a Stalinist or communist either like a good deal of the movement and Breton disliked him for that. Dali disliked both ideologies but didn't say bad things about fascism or Franco because he wanted to visit Spain again.

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