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oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


Unknown Armies: Postmodern Magick Adept Rundown, part 3



Next up on the docket we have Cryptomancy...hoo boy, Cryptomancy. Get ready for an infodump.

Cryptomancy: Truth, Lies and Hot Guys

So, Cryptomancy has an unprecedented amount of backstory compared to other schools. In defiance of the "postmodern" style of most magickal schools Cryptomancy has its roots in the ancient Greek equivalent of Grindr. It all began with the Mystery Cults of ancient Greece which, according to UA, were a way to initiate those interested in the path of the Avatar (as seen through the lens of Greek religion and society) and to meet hot young guys.

Once the Romans came along who forced the mystery cults even further underground, but they continued to attract new followers and patrons. Partially this was because they still offered a good method to become an Avatar and attain supernatural power but also largely because it was an opportunity have sex with other guys secretly. This kept the cults going strong throughout the Roman era but things got shakier with the rise of Christianity, a religion with a reputation for frowning on both worshipping pagan gods, magickal powers and guy-on-guy action. The Inquisition was the final nail in the coffin for most of the mystery cults.

In the end, only two cults remained: one in Germany and one in England. Both had spent centuries evolving from religious changes and new blood. They continued to emphasize homosexual relationships among their members but the focus on the Archetypes (as seen through the "masks" of the Greek Gods) became fuzzier and they began to focus on the concept of secrecy itself as a form of magick. Despite the separation this was true of both Eastern and Western branches, but their approaches differed:

The Eastern (German) branch of what would become Cryptomancy felt that the Truth (capital T intended) was sacred and should only "belong" to the elite and enlightened. The "masses" could not be trusted with the beauty and power of Truth and thus it must be hidden behind lies. Within the cult they dedicated themselves to speaking only the truth to fellow members but to outsiders they hid themselves behind lie after lie.

The Western (English) branch believed that lies themselves were special, and focused on the power of a lie and thus the importance of a lie. While an Eastern Cryptomancer might lie almost compulsively to anyone not initiated the Western Cryptomancer treats lies as an almost sacred act, a ritualistic and religious tradition of falsehood sprang up in their group. They strictly kept to the truth in all non-ritual contexts, giving their lies (when they used them) greater power.

At this point (when this happened is vague, but sometime post inquisition) the "core" membership of the cults were no longer Avatars but a new breed of Adept: the Cryptomancers. Despite their similar theme, they are still (for practical purposes) two separate Magickal schools with a shared name. However, beyond the "true" members who embraced the cults philosophy strongly enough to gain adepthood most of the members were simply looking for a cool club where they could get busy with each other. Both sects remained in contact with one another but their differences in philosophy were driving them farther and farther apart.

In particular, the Western branch shriveled (having to maintain constant truthfulness being more difficult than lying all the time) up in until WW2. The rise of the Nazis was obviously not good news for a secret magickal society composed primarily of homosexuals. The Adepts themselves had the magick to hide from persecution but the bulk of the non-magickal members were targeted. Those who escaped fled to Africa, France or England. This led to closer contact with the Eastern Cryptomancers and eventual betrayal. It's not clear who attacked who first. The two sects fought it out in England and both inflicted terrible damage to their already shaky membership but the remains of the Eastern Cryptos fled.

Now both branches are limited to a single larger Cabal of Western Cryptomancers in England and a few tiny scattered groups of Eastern Cryptos in France, North Africa and the US. The increase in acceptance of homosexuality has actually hurt them badly as there's less need for gay men to join hokey secret clubs in order to find partners and their practices seem hopelessly out of date to "modern" magickal societies. Even worse, the spread of knowledge in the Information age is blurring the line between truth and falsehood (and making things like the Eastern Cryptos compulsive lying harder to pull off). The mere concept of postmodernism is also loving with their chi as the ideas of how and why we communicate (and how it relates to truth and falsehood and intention) is being called into question.

So, what we've got left is (effectively) two different Adept schools which may or may not be around for much longer.



Charging Rituals
Both schools charge up in different ways.

To get a Minor charge an Eastern Cryptomancer must tell a pointless, but elaborate, lie. You can't simply tell someone something that's not true like giving a stranger a false name or telling someone your favorite color is green when you really like blue more. It has to have an emotional or storytelling element...for instance walking up to a stranger in the park and telling him your name is John nets you nothing, but walking up to a stranger in the park and telling him that you're here to remember your dead wife and the time you walked together in the park would get you a minor charge. Lies do not have to be told directly to count, for example if you hire an escort, take her out to dinner with you and work to give everyone the impression that she is your wife, daughter, sister, etc then that would be worth a charge as well. Eastern Cryptos often work together to create these scenes, developing soap-opera style situations that they play out for witnesses around them. You get charges per lie, not per "victim"

Western cryptomancers get charges for seeing through lies, that is by learning secrets and hidden truths. A minor charge is gained when you get a secret that isn't particularly well hidden or unimportant. Noticing someone's PIN code, sneaking a look at their phone's message log or contact list while they're in the bathroom or checking their browser history would all get you a minor charge. You need to find out the secret under false pretenses (for instance, getting a person to share their medical history by pretending to be a doctor) or by overcoming attempts to stop you (such as getting access to the victim's computer or phone). Having someone freely tell you a secret or share a document or message is worthless...the entire point is that you must get information that they wouldn't normally share with you.

In order for an Eastern Crypto to get a Significant charge they've got to craft a longer, and more elaborate lie. This has to fool several people (at least a dozen) and hold up for at least a week. It also has to produce an emotional response or prevent one. One example is related to the schools ties to homosexuality: a homosexual cryptomancer "in the closet" could earn a significant charge every week for playing straight...but only if the people they're convincing would actually care if they learned the crypto was gay. Some other examples: pretending to be a family member or convincing someone that someone is (or isn't) dead. Posing as an important community member such as a priest might also have this effect.

Western Cryptos get a significant charge for learning dangerous secrets, the sort of stuff that breaks up marriages, puts people behind bars or get you fired. You don't have to do anything with the secret but you can "double up" and get a second significant charge by revealing the secret in an important way (telling a hobo that the mayor likes it rough while wearing a dog collar isn't worth anything but telling a tabloid journalist or their family would).

Eastern Cryptomancy gets a Major charge for committing vaguely defined "massive fraud". It's not really clear what would qualify, but probably something like a very successful pyramid scheme, developing some kind of hot-selling homeopathic snake oil or lying your way our of a criminal conviction would probably qualify.

Western Cryptomancy gets a Major for discovering and widely publicizing a secret that multiple people would kill to protect. This requires uncovering conspiracies, taking down criminal organizations or major political scandals. Not only that, but you've got to do so in a way that's widely believed and accepted: printing that the president has people killed and their tongues ground up to make a potion for the State of the Union address is not going to get you a charge if you plaster it all over tabloid or a Geocities website. Getting a story in the New Yorker or otherwise turning it into "actual" news would be worth it though (even if you aren't strictly able to prove it). Think Edward Snowden kind of stuff.

Taboo

For Eastern Cryptomancy the taboo is revealing truths. They can make true statements to people who know the truth already, so if someone sees you panting and sweating in a tanktop and sweats you can tell them (truthfully) that you've just had a hard workout. Likewise if a police officer shows you DNA evidence that they found at a crime scene then you can admit you were there without busting taboo (ironically, if you weren't there then you can't truthfully tell them that the evidence was planted by someone else). The one exception is revealing truths to other cryptomancers.

For western cryptomancers the taboo is knowingly telling a direct lie. Half-truths and weaseling are totally fine, there's nothing wrong with deceit itself...you just have to trick people while sticking firmly to factual or suitably subjective statements. This only applies to spoken communication...you can print any lies you want and send all the scam emails you please.

And while its not strictly related to taboo, both schools have to deal with an extra problem: their paradigm is falling apart, leading to a -10% reduction in their effective skill when it comes to actually casting their spells.

Cryptomancy Spells
The Eastern school focuses on revealing and/or concealing truth and lies, as well as making lies into truth (at least for the liar).

Western Cryptomancy focuses mainly on obfuscation and concealment, defending ideas, people and even places from discovery.

Hand of the Gods (minor)
This is a spell that both schools share in common due to their shared history in the greek mystery cults, it allows you to attune yourself to a particular Archetype, letting you make us of the corresponding Avatar's lowest (1-50) channel. This is automatically a success (assuming you cast the spell successfully) but only works once per casting. You can only channel Archetypes you know about and (to a degree) understand, it's not enough to merely guess at something that sounds right. A brief list of "known" archetypes is provided for each of the two sects...oddly neither includes the really "obvious" Archetypes like the Mother or the Warrior.

Gods Forgotten (minor)
Another "common" spell for both sects. This spell temporarily erases someone from reality. While that person is gone no one remembers them except for the Cryptomancer himself. The vanishing is really short (2 rounds, plus one round per additional minor charge). the victim doesn't notice the missing time, just seeing everything "jump" around them.

Hermes Tongue (minor)
The third shared spell is an excellent lying tool, giving you perfect memory of all lies you've told before, preventing any contradictions and logic errors (at least unintentional ones). Casting this spell also allows a Western Cryptomancer to lie without breaking taboo.

Truth's Hammer (minor)
The final shared minor spell. If you cast this spell while making a true statement all listeners know it to be true (presumably this refers merely to objectively true statements). Attempts to deny the truth require a Self check (level depending on the power of the statement to the listener). This also allows Eastern cryptos to speak the truth without breaking taboo.

Foolish Eyes (Minor, Eastern)
Make one inanimate object look like another of roughly the same size. You can make a banana look like a gun or a clipboard look like an ipad. This only lasts as long as you are holding or touching the object. For another minor charge the duration will extend 3 minutes after you stop touching the object or lose consciousness. The illusion is purely visual.

Sacred Voice (Minor, Eastern)
So long as you maintain eye contact with the target they cannot tell an intentional lie, although they can refuse to speak.

Eye of Hecate (minor, Western)
You gain the equivalent of the Aura Sight skill.

Bond of Secrets (Significant)
This is another shared spell. This one lets you form a "brotherhood" by sharing some kind of secret (which can be as minor as a secret handshake). All participants must be willing and the spell only lasts as long as the secret is kept. Intentionally giving up the secret by a member requires a Self check and if the bond is broken everyone involved must make an Isolation check. The benefit is pretty significant: when making a Stress check you can act as though you have a "virtual" hardened notch so long as there's a member of the brotherhood that has a higher Hardened rating than you in the meter.

Heart of the Gods (significant)
Another shared spell, this lets you use either of the first two Avatar channels (1-50 and 51-75). That makes it one of the most powerful Cryptomancy spells (if not one of the most powerful adept spells in general). One drawback is that it draws the Archetypes attention, causing trouble if you live your life in a way that subverts or opposes the Archetype.

Sacred Invitation (significant)
Another shared one. This one lets you actually become an Avatar for 24 hours, replacing your Cryptomancy skill with the appropriate Avatar skill. You can't use Cryptomancy while this is going on but you're also exempt from the Crypto taboo...but the Avatar taboo applies and skill loss is permanently applied to your Cryptomancy skill if you use it while in the Avatar state. You can do this while already being an Avatar, but it involves a Self check.

Liars Seed (significant, Eastern)
This allows lying without speaking. You have to look at or touch the target and you can place a false idea in their head. There's minimal guidelines beyond that, other than that a target is likely to dismiss illogical or unpleasant lies.

Transformation (significant, Eastern)
An improved version of Foolish Eye and has all the same limitations, except that the change is actual rather than illusionary. Turn a plank of wood into an ipad and you can connect to the internet or turn a toothbrush into a razor to give yourself a shave. Keep in mind you can make guns but unless you spend the extra charge to make the effect lasting then the bullets transform upon leaving the gun anyway (which may or may not matter depending on the original substance).

Hermes Blessing (significant, Western)
You can understand any spoken or written language, but it doesn't grant the ability to speak it. This lasts 24 hours + one day per additional significant charge.

Taste The Darkness (significant, Western)
This gives an indistinct impression of the target's most important secret. It doesn't actually tell you the secret, just giving associations and emotions linked to the secret. You have a rough idea of the "type" of secret (a secret about sex feels different than one about addiction for instance) and the general motivation behind why it is kept secret.



Iconomancy: The Avatars of Avatars

Iconomancy is kind of a low-rent, Adept version of being an Avatar. Rather than walking the path of an Archetype and gaining power from the Statosphere, Iconomancers emulate famous people (called Icons). Iconomancers supposedly sprang from cults of ancestor worship (or not so cultish in cultures where such post-death deification was standard practice such as Ancient Rome or China.) or the veneration of Saints. Modern iconomancers focus on celebrities and working to mimic them and obsessing over the details of their lives. The Icon in question does not have to be a member of the Invisible Clergy (odds are good they're probably an Avatar though, but that's also not required). It's heavily implied, but not outright stated, that an Icon must be dead.

Although it states that supposedly the practice is much more common in Asia, only two Asian icons are provided: Ghandi and Moa Se Tung

Charging Ritual

To get a minor charge, the Iconomancer needs to perform a two-hour ritual worshipping the Icon in front of an image or representation of the Icon. If used as part of a powerful rite of passage (marriage, birth, baptism, funeral) the process is only 15 minutes...although it seems like the time savings doesn't mean much when you consider how much effort is involved in setting up those sorts of situations.

Significant charges are gained by learning some important, new fact that contradicts common knowledge of the Icon or serves as a reminder of their flaws or humanity (acquiring an object that symbolizes this works as well). For instance, getting a dress from maralyn monroe with armpit stains or tape of JFK completely flubbing an important speech. Alternatively you can modify your body to "match" your Icon in some way, this requires significant plastic surgery or similar body mods.

The only requirement for a Major charge is to bee present at the death of someone famous enough to become an Icon.

An Iconomancer can gain charges from multiple Icons without difficulty, but all charges can only be spent on spells specific to the Icon that provided the charge.

Taboo
Iconomancers can never be famous themselves, having their image spread through any national medium (or the internet) voids their charges. Even worse, you can't get any new charges until the picture is somehow expunged from the public domain. In the modern world, this means that getting your taboo broken is basically a death sentence.

Iconomancer Spells
Iconomancers have no "full" spell list, instead they have spells associated with different Icons which represent the Icon's popular traits magnified to supernatural levels. Often Icons have "negative" and "positive" sides. Some invocations are limited to certain types of Adepts, for instance Marilyn Monroe can only be invoked positively by a woman or a male transvestite but can be invoked negatively by anyone. Some examples:

Marilyn Monroe: These effects are noted as often resembling pornomancer spells, dealing with attraction and sex appeal. The "Short Skirt" spell drives a man wild with desire unless they make a Self check. She can be invoked negatively with the spell "Her Way of Saying Thank You" for 2 Significant charges to incite in a woman the desire for attention.

JFK: JFK can be invoked for skills of inspiration, courage and liberal values. You can draw women into seductive conversation, appear to be a member of the Kennedy family or inflict political scandal on a victim.

Elvis: Mainly focusing on music and performance. You can make yourself sexually irresistible (yes a lot of these Icons do allow you to get into someone's pants magickally) to one target for a few minor charges or, for a significant charge, you can do the same but affect all targets of a chosen gender. Elvis also has the spell with the best name ever: Dionysian Pelvic Frenzy which sends any crowd you're performing for into a frenzy of drinking, sex and violence.

John Wayne: Positively, Wayne resembles (for obvious reasons) the Masterless Man. You can use him to add to your Wound Points temporarily or inflict fear in others. Negatively it can invoke his irradiation during the Conqueror film, causing the target to be be betrayed by whatever organization they most love or value (yes, Iconomancy effects can get very specific).

Nixon: Nixon can be used for diplomacy, acting and (of course) lying. He is mostly invoked negatively. One positive use is to understand a foreign culture (called Breaking Down the Great Wall). He can also be invoked to "blank" up to 18 minutes worth of video or audio recording of yourself. Most iconomancers should probably court Nixon just for that, it's invaluable as a tool for insuring your face doesn't get out in the world.


That's all for Iconomancy and Cryptomancy, next is Infomancy (nerds) and Irascimancy (assholes).

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

oriongates posted:

printing that the president has people killed and their tongues ground up to make a potion for the State of the Union address is not going to get you a charge if you plaster it all over tabloid or a Geocities website
Well played.

mmj
Dec 22, 2006

I've always been a bit confrontational

oriongates posted:

Nixon: Nixon can be used for diplomacy, acting and (of course) lying. He is mostly invoked negatively. One positive use is to understand a foreign culture (called Breaking Down the Great Wall). He can also be invoked to "blank" up to 18 minutes worth of video or audio recording of yourself. Most iconomancers should probably court Nixon just for that, it's invaluable as a tool for insuring your face doesn't get out in the world.


That's all for Iconomancy and Cryptomancy, next is Infomancy (nerds) and Irascimancy (assholes).
Wouldn't the fact that the audio/video exists break taboo and prevent the iconomancer from being able to actually use the blanking spell or would the caster just have to blank it in the time between when it was made and when it went public?

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
I seem to remember Iconomancy being a bigger part of UA than it is, since it's such a cool, obvious idea that walks the line between kitschy and cool. It also seems easy to make up Iconomancer icons but I can imagine players being really annoying while imitating their pet celebrity.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

So...an Adept really could wake up and open-palm slam a Chronicles of Riddick VHS into a player, do the moves alongside Vin Diesel and then be Vin Diesel for the rest of the day?

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide

Count Chocula posted:

I seem to remember Iconomancy being a bigger part of UA than it is, since it's such a cool, obvious idea that walks the line between kitschy and cool. It also seems easy to make up Iconomancer icons but I can imagine players being really annoying while imitating their pet celebrity.
The user submitted content from Tynes' website is like 95% Iconomancer Icons.

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006

pkfan2004 posted:

So...an Adept really could wake up and open-palm slam a Chronicles of Riddick VHS into a player, do the moves alongside Vin Diesel and then be Vin Diesel for the rest of the day?

As long as he takes the tape out of the VHS and wraps it around his arm when he's done.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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


Soooooo sorry about the delay. I've been super-busy lately.

Our next major College at IOU is the College of Obscure and Unhealthy Professions, or COUP. COUP is where you go to learn skills that that can be used to gently caress a person up in entirely legal (if incredibly underhanded) ways. Karl Rove probably guest lectures sometimes. The Dean of COUP is also known as "The Unseen Dean", since they're a shadowy figure second only to the Arch-Dean in terms of political power, and is somebody you really, really don't want to piss off. Promotion to the spot usually occurs when the previous Unseen Dean disappears, often under Circumstances.

Attending COUP classes is all about skulking in shadows, working in dark rooms (and darkrooms), and running either for office or cover, all while sitting with their backs to very sturdy walls. Said classes tend to take place in buildings that look like gothic cathedrals, mad scientist labs, or WUSE-style prefabs.

COUP Schools and Departments

IOU's School of Medicine falls under COUP's umbrella ever since somebody worked out that having Medicine and Law in the same department was potentially majorly profitable. This is medicine at its worst- it's all about finding the most profitable course of action. Faculty are generally Wealthy at least (being practicing doctors and COUP professors), and having a Code of Honor (Hippocratic Oath) is strictly optional. Students should be smart, hardworking, and preferably possessed of supernatural healing abilities of some manner. Typical Courses: Med567 - Uses of Scientific Notation in Hospital Bills, Med755 - Explaining Diseases to Patients Without Telling Them Anything, and Med756 - Selling Unnecessary Surgery.

The School of Law fits right in, training ambulance chasers, budding politicians, and all manner of bill-padders. Professors are generally practicing lawyers balancing teaching classes with the opportunities afforded by proximity to the School of Medicine's hospital- both for ambulances to chase and malpractice suits to file. Students need strong IQ stats along with Law and Research skills, and they'll also learn Diplomacy, Empathy, Intimidation, Acting, and many other useful skills. Typical Courses: Law504 - Basic Ambulance Chasing, Law599 - Police Procedures and How to Avoid Them, Law614 - Padding Bills, and Law754 - Politics: Writing New Laws for Fun and Profit.



Perhaps the most COUP of COUP schools is the Department of Dirty Tricks, where students learn the fine arts of bribery, blackmail, and character assassination. (The latter occasionally creating tension over unfair competition with the School of Journalism in the College of Communications.) As long as you don't have the Honesty or Truthfulness Disadvantages, you'll do fine, as graduates tend to go on to work in business, government, or as political operatives. Not the IRS, though- DoDT grads who try to go to work for them tend to disappear... Typical Courses: DDT187 - Congressional Bribe Estimation, DDT290 - Tabloid Photography Techniques, DDT291 - Bedroom Surveillance for Fun and Profit.

Next time: the College of Temporal Happenstance, Ultimate Lies, and Historical Undertakings.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

DNA Cowboys posted:

Dreamhounds of Paris: Embrace the Cosmic Hubris

I'm not sure whether I hate this for its pretentious tone and bizarre approach to history or love it for its creativity and bizarre approach to history. I think I'm going to end up in love, though.

Does Dreamhounds have solid character creation? I'd love to play a Jarry that somehow survived decades of drug abuse to stumble head-first into Surrealism.

pkfan2004 posted:

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


Not a big fan of this section. The Institute, Abraxis, and Zodiac are good and make sense, but the rest? What function does Aleph serve in a campaign besides being a nebulous corporate rival for Abraxis or the other way around (Also, why is an East Asian conglomerate named after a Hebrew letter?)? The two conglomerates are too similar - yeah, they have different structures and goals, but that's unlikely to matter for PCs. Red Orchestra's better - Soviet revanchists using psionics to rebuild their fallen empire is a cool idea - but the concept feels a little hokey to me (communists have INFILTRATED THIS COUNTRY and they're LISTENING TO OUR THOUGHTS) and, once again, they're redundant, this time when compared to the Institute. I understand that these organizations are supposed to be rivals, but... it just doesn't work for me. I guess I'd rather have a few well-defined conspiracies that interact in asymmetric ways than several similar entities butting heads. I may be misremembering what I read and the conspiracies are more different than I recall; it's been at least two weeks since I last cracked open that part of the PDF.

And that leaves aside the geographic thing. Why are the conspiracies confined to geographic areas? For instance, why don't any of Aleph's or Abraxis's subsidiaries have outposts in other parts of the world? Does Eschaton have influence in fundamentalist communities in Africa and Latin America? And on that note, what's happening in the rest of the world? I don't know, and I'd like at least a hint.

And then there's Eschaton. It's the weakest conspiracy in the book not just because it's lame and powerless but because it could have been so much more. The book presents them as desperate, scattered holy warriors that don't really have a chance of defeating espers. They might be a lot more intimidating if presented as a loose alliance of religious extremists hunting espers by siccing large numbers of locals on them. It's one thing to fight a few people who fire shotguns and pray at you. It's entirely another to be ambushed by dozens of militia with AR-15s and technicals. And then you can cast them as scared people who are trying to protect their families from an uncertain future! Bam! They're sympathetic.

I'm trying not to rag on the conspiracies too much here, which I obviously failed at because see above, but at the very least every conspiracy is workable right out of the box. Even Eschaton has story hooks built into its structure related to the nature of faith, desperation, and defending the innocent. I just think, you know, they could have been better, which of course is a thought worth its weight in gold.

There are a couple of real issues I have with this book, though. The description of the "Gangsta Thug" is, uh...

PSIONICS: THE NEXT STAGE IN HUMAN EVOLUTION posted:

This person is a violent idiot; a common, garden variety street criminal trapped in a cycle of urban poverty and desperation. This shithead is good for little except for petty crime, macho posturing, and firing a perfectly good gun sideways – sideways! (emphasis mine.) A muscleheaded moron that’s more, not less, dangerous for his lack of intellect. His character isn’t all bad; he’s much braver than he probably should be. And there is a certain romantic attraction to just plain loving poo poo up. Typically, this kind of thug comes in packs.

It's a stereotype of poor urban black people is what I'm saying. I actually cringed when I read it. And the second is by far the worst...

PSIONICS: THE NEXT STAGE IN HUMAN EVOLUTION posted:

the name "Tomorrow's Starlight"

:barf:

oriongates posted:

Unknown Armies: Postmodern Magick Adept Rundown, part 3

Would... would internet celebrities count as Icons? That's a terrifying thought :ohdear:.


My favorite thing about IOU is reading the course names and making my own. Med253: Drug Company Payoffs and How to Secure Them! Hist616: Becoming a Trickster Figure! Bio124: Feed Me, Seymour; Introductory Carnivorous Plant Creation! It's like naming your Paranoia character 33-41-22-HIKE.

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce
Icons explicitly have to be both famous and dead, so no Vin Diesel and no Pewdiepie. The guidelines are laid out pretty bare: in order to become an Icon, the subject has to be instantly recognizable to over a hundred million people, held in high esteem by the majority of those who know them (so, as the book states, no Hitler), and they must have died after World War Two (preferably in a tragic fashion). There is one person who meets these criteria yet cannot be channeled: Jim Morrison.

PantsOptional fucked around with this message at 19:51 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.

PantsOptional posted:

Icons explicitly have to be both famous and dead, so no Vin Diesel and no Pewdiepie. The guidelines are laid out pretty bare: in order to become an Icon, the subject has to be instantly recognizable to over a hundred million people, held in high esteem by the majority of those who know them (so, as the book states, no Hitler), and they must have died after World War Two (preferably in a tragic fashion). There is one person who meets these criteria yet cannot be channeled: Jim Morrison.
Gotcha. So Vin Diesel no, Paul Walker yes.

Also I like Aleph because they're subtle up to a point and they're the least known and the most anonymous of the big boy conspiracies. You crack open a Red Orchestra Receiver's pad and you're gonna find guns and charts and an encrypted radio that connects to somewhere in Moscow. Aleph Sleepers travel light and stay forgettable and it's the absence of information that keeps them safe. They may have fake IDs but they don't have or leave behind anything that can tie them to anyone, leaving it up to the air to most people just who they work for if they do work for anyone.

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce
Maybe? Would 100 million people instantly recognize Paul Walker? I honestly don't know as I haven't seen any of his movies.

Who might be some other Icons that might work? Their listed ones are Marilyn, JFK, Nixon, Gandhi, Elvis, Mao Tse Tung, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, and Lady Di. Maybe Robin Williams? John Lennon (evoking that weird summoning from the beginning of The Invisibles)? MLK? Maybe Che Guevara?

PantsOptional fucked around with this message at 20:15 on Sep 2, 2015

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide
I feel like the answer to this question is obvious, but would it work for an Iconomancer to go around murdering famous people to build an arsenal of Major Charges, provided that he was never caught?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Wait, why doesn't Mao fail the Hitler test?

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce
I was wondering the same thing. It says that they have to be "held in high esteem by a reasonable percentage of those who know of them," which I'm guessing maybe indicates that state propaganda has done a good enough job by magickal standards.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013



Same reason Nixon doesn't. He's held in high esteem by a large enough group of people in his own country.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Combining White Nationalists with Indians, I think Hitler passes that test as well, as well as Stalin for different reasons. It's a pity it has to be post-WWII, because I'd like to see what they do with Lenin.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

PantsOptional posted:

Maybe? Would 100 million people instantly recognize Paul Walker? I honestly don't know as I haven't seen any of his movies.

Who might be some other Icons that might work? Their listed ones are Marilyn, JFK, Nixon, Gandhi, Elvis, Mao Tse Tung, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, and Lady Di. Maybe Robin Williams? John Lennon (evoking that weird summoning from the beginning of The Invisibles)? MLK? Maybe Che Guevara?

Jim Henson. Though I wouldn't want to, it'd just make me sad again.

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

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

Falconier111 posted:

I'm not sure whether I hate this for its pretentious tone and bizarre approach to history or love it for its creativity and bizarre approach to history. I think I'm going to end up in love, though.

Does Dreamhounds have solid character creation? I'd love to play a Jarry that somehow survived decades of drug abuse to stumble head-first into Surrealism.

Dreamhounds of Paris does have rules on how to change Trail of Cthulu's character creation to work with it's unique mechanics, but the premades all have slightly better stats than created characters because RPG nerds have a huge aversion to playing premade characters in non-con games even when the premades are all really interesting people with a wealth of information on them.

EDIT: Okay, when I say "rules on how to change character creation" I mean more "make someone whose occupation is Artist or Author and take some of the unique abilities they add in this book". You don't really need to change a lot to make it work.

Lurks With Wolves fucked around with this message at 20:59 on Sep 2, 2015

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Kavak posted:

Combining White Nationalists with Indians

Are Indians (Hindi or Native American) big fans of Hitler?

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

theironjef posted:

Jim Henson. Though I wouldn't want to, it'd just make me sad again.

Echoing the sentiment: Mister Rogers.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely
Grimey Drawer

Simian_Prime posted:

Are Indians (Hindi or Native American) big fans of Hitler?

Hindi--weirdly--yes.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

PantsOptional posted:

Echoing the sentiment: Mister Rogers.

I like that too. Generally I feel like a lot of the super freedom to be creative in UA could just as well be synonymous with "shoehorn in Hitler to be edgy."

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Pictured: Poster prepares to celebrate Holy Communion (probablY)

This avatar made possible by a gift from the Religionthread Posters Relief Fund
Mr Rogers can only be invoked positively.

RandallODim
Dec 30, 2010

Another 1? Aww man...
Someone write me up Iconomancer spells for Biggie and/or Tupac.

darthbob88
Oct 13, 2011

YOSPOS

Josef bugman posted:

Mr Rogers can only be invoked positively.

You're Not The Person Mr Rogers Knew You Could Be: Target collapses in shame/remorse/contrition, possibly bawling their eyes out, because, well, it's true. Not sure how you'd handle it mechanically, but there needs to be some benefit if the caster helps the target atone and turn their life around.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006

occamsnailfile posted:

Hindi--weirdly--yes.

Don't forget there was a regiment of Hindu volunteers that fought for the Germans during the fall of Berlin. India during WW2 was very much conflicted nation, torn between serving British overlords or seeking freedom with the Axis powers.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

occamsnailfile posted:

Hindi--weirdly--yes.

Huh. You learn something new every day!

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW

Lurks With Wolves posted:

EDIT: Okay, when I say "rules on how to change character creation" I mean more "make someone whose occupation is Artist or Author and take some of the unique abilities they add in this book". You don't really need to change a lot to make it work.

Correct! I don't see Trail of Cthulhu or GUMSHOE in the archive, but they seem pretty rules-light.

Dreamhounds of Paris: NPCs and Rules

A few secondary characters receive 1-2 paragraphs of description, with no mention of Mythos hooks or stats: Benjamin Peret, Rene Char, Rene Crevel, Leonor Fini, Theodore Fraenkel, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro, Meret Oppenheim, Philippe Soupault, Yves Tanguy, and Raymond Queneau. They’re intended to use as NPCs, but a player who wants a character with less historical burden could use one of them as a framework. (Side note: How come the pre-generated characters aren’t called readymades?)

Breton and Aragon

Next, we get some background on Andre Breton and Louis Aragon, two surrealists reserved for GM use. Breton is their leader. chief manifesto-writer, and a martinet. He’s full of contradictions: “This rigid promoter of freedom and prudish celebrant of sexual excess decides what surrealism is, at any given moment. To be considered a formal member of the movement, one must earn and retain his blessing.” He arranges riots and protests against those who deserve it--or anyone who tries to sully surrealism with commercial interest. As surrealism picks up steam, he works to align it with communism.

Breton’s Mythos hook is his dead friend, Jacques Vache. Breton knows about the Dreamlands and that he’d be able to use it to speak to his mentor’s dream-ghost, but he’s too much of a square to make the leap. It’s probably pretty easy for Breton to fall into the camp counselor role: an antagonist the PCs need to appease while sneaking behind his back to do all the fun stuff. Here's a picture of famed ghoul and alchemist, Nicholas Flamel, refusing to let Breton through his portal to the Dreamlands.



Breton’s most stalwart supporter is Louis Aragon. He’s Breton’s eyes and ears in the Dreamlands, which he reaches through flaneur-style trances: “randomly walking Parisian streets in search of mystical coincidences.” Eventually, he emerges from the streets of Paris to the streets of Hlanith. He “leads what we would call a couch-surfing existence until his 1926 relationship with steamship heiress and exhibitionist drunk Nancy Cunard.”

Aragon drifts apart from Breton following the former’s interest in Stalinism and novel-writing. Eventually, he’s picked up by Russian agents who “see the existence of the Dreamlands as an affront to materialism” and want to seal the Dreamlands off from the real world. He’s a man of action, so he’ll probably clash with the PCs at some point. In 1970, he comes out and becomes an icon of the gay liberation movement.

Dreamscaping
Dreamscaping is the primary weird power that surrealists can use. They decide something happens in the Dreamlands and it happens. There’s never a flashy transition. Instead, the shaping follows the dream-trope of something looking one way, and then it suddenly looks like something else (which it always has been.) Instability (your power stat) is behind it all. More on that soon. Since Instability isn't the most... stable source of power, any change you makes has the chance of having broad consequences, rippling across the Dreamlands.



The book waffles back and forth on whether the Dreamlands create humanity’s dreams or are shaped by them. It’s best to think of the pair as interrelated. Changes made in one place will impact the other place. However, in practice, the text doesn’t provide much guidance for how changing the Dreamlands impacts the waking world. The only concrete examples I can find are in the sample adventure, when killing a spirit in the Dreamlands kills a man in reality, and where broad GM impulse rules:

Dreamhounds of Paris posted:

Salt waking sequences with vignettes, inspired by historical events in the character bios or extrapolated from them, reinforicing the theme of psychic revolution. These remind the players that their PCs really do want to alter mankind's psychology, away from obedience and authority and toward freedom and justice, through their art.

That's pretty neat, but what does that look like? Much more time is spent explaining how the Dreamlands change when surrealists run amok. When the surrealist era begins, the Dreamlands look like they do in the works of Lovecraft and Dunsany. Later entries will explain the default way they change over the campaign.

Instability
Instability is disciplined madness. It allows its bearers to explode hegemonic assumptions about art, partake in meaningful automatic writing, and shape the dreams. If you ever run out of Instability, you can no longer artistically innovate. You can mechanically repeat your old work (and even make good money doing so) buthe the artistic execution will always be mediocre, at best.

Instability can be used to boost skill tests or to directly change something. However, these changes must be related to your motifs. If they aren’t listed on your character sheet, producing an actual work of art from your artist will also do the trick. There’s no mention of how this relates to player-made PCS.

If you go against the tenets of surrealism, you risk losing Instability. The key to surrealists’ power is they’re an ordered chaos. If they break Breton’s rules, then they’re just chaos. Each of the readymade PCs is able to ignore a few of these rules based on their temperaments and alliances.



Making Art
Players automatically create works of art that they historically created. History has already judged these dice rolls: “Treat images so famous you can buy them on coffee mugs at a museum gift shop, or which are directly referenced in your character description, as masterpieces.”

All art you create gets a numerical ranking and a descriptive tag (e.g. 0: medicore, 1-3, solid.) Other artists and art historians are able to uncover this quality, but personal reasons may lead them to disagree with this numerical assessment. The general public is more wishy-washy and doesn’t get rules. In general, even the greatest masterpieces won’t receive too much attention right away. It takes time for the art world to find a consensus.

Whenever you create a surrealist masterpiece (ranking 7), the Dreamlands reacts to the demands of your art. Cities crumble, new life emerges, and old forms are cast down. The player describes what happens in a short vignette, but the work ripples out from there: “After creating a masterpiece, you may find reflections of it… whether you wanted them or not. You might paint a raven with human hands, only to be beset by them during your next visit there.”

Critical reaction to your work (visual art, theatre, or poetry--NOT novels, dance, or general music) doesn’t matter. In other words, “the dreams of the global public take power and shape from your masterpieces.” Take a look back at some of the motifs employed by the surrealists. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea… Keep on hiding in there, Tzara.



Dreamlands Physics

Distances, appearances, and the like are fluid in the Dreamlands. Spending Instability and Dreamscaping allow you to get around a lot of waking-world assumptions. Cities are located in different places every time you visit.

The Dreamlands can be visited physically (through portals like the one guarded by the ghoul Nicholas Flamel) or by tranced-up dreams.

If dreamers are hurt in the Dreamlands, they lose Instability instead of Health. Physical entrants take Health damage. If a dreamer’s physical body dies while dreaming, the dream-form may unhinge from the body and live in the Dreamlands. The dream-form’s attitudes and personality are frozen at the time of death. They can haunt dreams, go on wacky dream adventures, etc.

As characters lose Instability in the Dreamlands, their dream-forms start to break apart. Enough Instability loss and they wake up (and have to make a Stability/Sanity test) or suffer oneiric death. That’s how you get hollowed out shells, unable to innovate, create, or dream. Lousy Sex Hitler.

Resting in the Dreamlands restores Instability. Alternately, you can experience psychically destabilizing situations in the waking world. After encountering something that shatters your perceptions of an ordered reality, by flirting with the howling fringe of true cosmic understanding, you get good stuff that can go back into your art. This is a good idea.

Finally, portals between the Dreamlands and the waking world can be used to pull off correspondence shenanigans. If a dreamer in Japan (or anywhere else) enters the Dreamlands and has his dream-form walk to the oeneric side of Nicholas Flamel’s portal, his dream-form can physically enter the world of Paris. This is how worldwide PCs can jump into waking-world scenes.

Next time: Paris

DNA Cowboys fucked around with this message at 01:49 on Sep 3, 2015

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012
I'm thinking of maybe simultaneously running that GURPS Technomancer review someone wanted if I don't end up clogging up the thread in the process. For now, though, we're back with...



Fair warning, this is going to be a short one: we're in the sagging mid-section between the first and fifth chapters.



Chapter 2: Skills
Or, more accurately, "three skill uses". Yes, just three. You can now use Computer Use to reprogram computers or robots, Craft to fabricate raw materials for further Craft skills, and Handle Animal to train an animal to salvage garbage for you. And this was its own chapter in the Southwest Wasteland Guide rather than something in the player's manual why, exactly?



Chapter 3: Feats
Nineteen feats, which is certainly more than the new skill uses but probably well within the range of "probably should have been in the player's manual". They're also mostly in the category of things that might potentially be useful but aren't interesting to talk about. Gaze in wonder at feats such as:
  • Fast Shot, which lets you get one extra attack when using guns during a full attack action.
  • Literary, which makes all Knowledge skills class skills.
  • Tag!, which lets you have four Tag skills instead of three.
Truly exciting, are they not?




Chapter 4: Equipment
Welcome to probably the most interesting part of chapters 2 through 4. That's not any manner of sarcasm, either, this is unironically the most interesting thing in between chapter 1 and chapter 5.


Weapons: Since all the reprints of d20 Modern Core Rulebook weapons were taken care of in the player's handbook for Exodus, we're down to the good poo poo: militarization of recreational tools! A lacrosse stick acts as a 1d6 damage archaic weapon that can be used as either a club or to catch a small enough projectile, while a hockey stick is a 1d8 damage slammer that doubles as a quick bonus to trip attempts.

Oh, and there's smoke bombs, flashbang grenades, and tear gas, too, I guess. Eh.


Armor: Continuing the theme of “weird things post-apocalyptic people do with recreational materials”, all of the new pieces of armor presented in the Southwest Wasteland Guide are repurposed sports gear. Athletic sports pads (hockey or football) provide 1 PDR and a +2 to Defense, while the rest are all helmets that provide PDR (3 for a bicycle helmet, 5 for a motorcycle helmet or hockey mask) solely against targeted attacks to the head or eyes.


Field Gear: For your communication and power needs, stats are provided for fusion batteries, fusion generators, ham radios, and portable radios. The only thing really interesting to note here is that fusion generators have a failsafe if their mini-reactor is breached or damaged. While certainly reasonable from a logical standpoint, it's a shame that you can't take pot shots at one and bathe your enemies in nuclear fire, a la the cars in Fallout 3.


Clothes: Want to wear a sports uniform, professional motorcyclist's jumpsuit, or janitor outfit? Well, here they are. They don't really provide any mechanical effects and are pretty much entirely for show.


Chemicals:While the player's handbook covered drugs such as not-RadX and not-Slasher, it's all real world stimulants and addictive substances here in the Southwest Wasteland Guide. It's also got a lot more smartass comments. The following vices are provided an outlet.
  • Cocaine: For an hour, you get a +4 to Constitution and the benefits of both the Remain Conscious talent and the Alertness feat. The after-effects are a -2 to Constitution and the Exhausted status condition.
  • Humpback Cigarettes: Cigarettes have no benefit from their use, and their drawback is that you have to read the players the following Surgeon General's Warning provided by the book: "The Surgeon General warns that smoking Humpack Cigarettes may be hazardous to your health and may cause black lung, cancers, delay pregnancy, respiratory disease, and a strong attraction to the same sex." Emphasis mine. :wtc:
  • Liquid Energy: Or, in more typical terms, an energy drink. You lose the Fatigued and Exhausted status conditions for an hour, after which they return on top of a -2 Dexterity penalty.
  • Marijuana: While the benefits are clearly listed as a +2 bonus to Wisdom and saves against fear, the drawbacks are a bit more confusing. The text itself states that after the drug wears off you suffer the Fatigued status condition, while the quick-look table of information says that you suffer from...“the munchies”. Of course.
  • Meth Cubes:+2 to Wisdom, +5 to bonus speed, and +2 to Reflex saves for two hours. Of course, once it wears off, you have two hours of hallucinations. +2 to Wisdom, +5 to bonus speed, and +2 to Reflex saves for two hours. Of course, once it wears off, you have two hours of the Hallucinations status effect.
  • Morphine: Morphine is unique in that its benefits and drawbacks happen at the same time, rather than only being produced as an effect of the drug wearing off. Your Massive Damage Threshold is doubled and any doctor performing surgery on you gets a +4 circumstance bonus to their Treat Injury check, but you have a -2 to Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom. If you are familiar with d20 Modern, you'll know that unlike some systems such as Cortex or GURPS, there is no system for pain endurance in d20 Modern. Or any other d20 derivative that I know of, for that matter, but that's not the point here. The point is that what they've done is try to attach pain threshold to Massive Damage Threshold, which isn't about pain: it's about avoid being knocked out by massive damage, hence the name. So, for instance, Grognard the Barbarian with his 18 Constitution plus High Damage Threshold feat for a further +3 makes his MDT soar to 42 by stabbing himself with a morphine syringe. This means that as long as he has enough HP to endure it, he can take maximum damage from a Vulcan minigun without even flinching.


Manuals of the Wastelands: There are two new wasteland manuals to provide skill check bonuses for your enterprising survivor, and as with the player's handbook, the ones here are pop culture references. Emerald's Book of Survival Recipes (presumably a reference to Emeril Lagasse) gives a +4 bonus to Survival checks to find food and water and to Profession (Cook) checks, while Lesman Stroud's Guide to Dumpster Diving grants a +4 to Search checks made to scavenge materials. Points for the blatancy level of that second one.



Vehicles: Last, but not least, is a collection of further vehicles for those who like their Fallout to have a dash of Mad Max. There are fourteen in total, some more interesting than others, but we'll go over all of them at least briefly.
  • Army Transport: If you've seen a World War II documentary or episode of M.A.S.H., you've probably seen one of these canvas-backed cargo vehicles. Wastelanders use them to move people or goods, same as they've always been used.
  • Bicycle: Bicycling was considered the thing of children, until one man named Lance Armstrom (:rolleyes:) managed to almost single-handedly make the sport respectable. Of course, this respectability factor doesn't really matter after the apocalypse has happened, but it's noted as part of the lore nonetheless.
  • Dirt Bike and Ninja Catapult: Two types of motorcycle. While the dirt bike is somewhat weaker, half as fast (220 feet per round to 400 FPR) and generally not as good as the other motorcycle present, it does have two things going for it. One, it is 17,500 caps coins compared to 90,000. Two, the second motorcycle's full name is "the Yamahonda Ninja Catapult", which is the dumbest name I can think of for a stylish racing motorcycle.
  • Haul Cart and Hauler: Another pair that might as well be noted together due to their similarities. Both are animal-driven carts, just with different designs and thus different loads. The haul cart is a classic wood rickshaw, while the hauler is literally the bed and back wheels of a truck with the cab and front wheels sawed off and replaced with reins for two large beasts of burden such as cattle.
  • Jet Ski: Another creation of Yamahonda, jet skis are one man watercraft known for their high speed.
  • Jeep: I'm actually kind of surprised that this one is here and not in the player's manual. I mean, really, a Jeep is like the quintessential off-road vehicle for most people.
  • Powerboat: See the above image. Yeah, the information sections on these vehicles aren't very long.
  • Rowboat: This would be a rather uneventful entry if it weren't for yet another ridiculous company name, this time being the Catch and Release Redneck Company.
  • Semi Truck: The front of an 18 wheeler, with the back stated to be almost impossible to find thanks to how enticing a target they are for scavengers. The larger manufacturer of semi trucks before the apocalypse was the Big Friggin' Rig Company, who would win dumbest corporate name if it wasn't for the blatant real world company mashup of Yamahonda.
  • Wasteland Wagon: Literally a Wild West-style covered wagon.
  • Sailing Yacht and Power Yacht: Fancy pants water transport, both in motored and sailboat form.

Overall, the largest problem with these entries are that they are almost all two or three sentences long, and all but the semi truck only discuss the pre-apocalyptic applications of the vehicles in question. What does a raider do with a jet ski? Do traders use army transports, or are they forced to cobble together covered wagons? Who pedal bikes in the wasteland? I don't know, and apparently neither did the writers.



Next Time
We're finally there, the factions section. Prepare to behold the wondrous Mongochipanese culture of the Chi dynasty, the savage ethnically homogenous raider armies of The New Era of Mexican Order, and the Original Character Do Not Steals of the Steel Disciples.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 02:03 on Sep 3, 2015

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


I always pictured the NCR's cities being heavy on bicycles. There's one functioning car left in the west, railroads are just coming back online, Brahmin are everywhere- they might able to build tramcars, but bikes would be a good choice in a safer environment like that.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Kavak posted:

I always pictured the NCR's cities being heavy on bicycles. There's one functioning car left in the west, railroads are just coming back online, Brahmin are everywhere- they might able to build tramcars, but bikes would be a good choice in a safer environment like that.

Not to mention when they first became really popular bikes were actually a big deal and a major thing in transit. Nothing wrong with a fast, relatively efficient way to move compared to walking.

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

PantsOptional posted:

Icons explicitly have to be both famous and dead, so no Vin Diesel and no Pewdiepie. The guidelines are laid out pretty bare: in order to become an Icon, the subject has to be instantly recognizable to over a hundred million people, held in high esteem by the majority of those who know them (so, as the book states, no Hitler), and they must have died after World War Two (preferably in a tragic fashion). There is one person who meets these criteria yet cannot be channeled: Jim Morrison.

Can you kill somebody to create an icon? That would explain [YOUR FAVORITE STAR'S DEATH]. I've heard some bizarre conspiracies, like Bob Marley getting cancer from a needle in a boot the CIA gave him.

quote:

The book waffles back and forth on whether the Dreamlands create humanity’s dreams or are shaped by them.

You're assuming a distinction between 'dreams' and 'reality' that I'm not sure is appropriate to a game about Surrealists.
Can you be a Situationist and make 'reality' more strange and fluid, or did they come later? Again, linear time doesn't seem very important.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 03:58 on Sep 3, 2015

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


mmj posted:

Wouldn't the fact that the audio/video exists break taboo and prevent the iconomancer from being able to actually use the blanking spell or would the caster just have to blank it in the time between when it was made and when it went public?

It's wide publication that's voids it. Getting caught on a security camera (even if the tape is reviewed later or turned in as evidence to the police) won't bust your taboo, but having that footage posted to youtube or played in a news story will. So long as you can nip this in the bud you're safe. Given just how severe the consequences are and how difficult it would be to wipe things from the internet's memory, your average Iconomancer has to be really paranoid about their privacy...even appearing in the background of a news story could bust you.


quote:

So...an Adept really could wake up and open-palm slam a Chronicles of Riddick VHS into a player, do the moves alongside Vin Diesel and then be Vin Diesel for the rest of the day?

Sadly, the Diesel would be disqualified by still being alive. Some might also argue that he lacks the enduring fame necessary to qualify as an Icon, but I would never dream of saying that.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


PantsOptional posted:

Icons explicitly have to be both famous and dead, so no Vin Diesel and no Pewdiepie. The guidelines are laid out pretty bare: in order to become an Icon, the subject has to be instantly recognizable to over a hundred million people, held in high esteem by the majority of those who know them (so, as the book states, no Hitler), and they must have died after World War Two (preferably in a tragic fashion). There is one person who meets these criteria yet cannot be channeled: Jim Morrison.

This is actually one important distinction. You don't need a majority, just a significant number of admirers. Nixon and Mao Se Tung have people who think they did good work, or did good work despite their shortcomings. They don't represent a majority opinion but you could certainly find someone who says they're "not that bad". Hitler, Stalin and James Earl Ray may have admirers, but well over 99% of the people who know them, know them as monsters.

Also, you can very definitely kill people to produce Icons. It's mentioned that many assassinations may well have been attempts to gain Major charges. Especially if they were by apparent fans, Mark David Chapman and John Lennons is probably the iconic (pardon the pun) example of an Iconomancer snagging a major charge.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten

oriongates posted:

Also, you can very definitely kill people to produce Icons. It's mentioned that many assassinations may well have been attempts to gain Major charges. Especially if they were by apparent fans, Mark David Chapman and John Lennons is probably the iconic (pardon the pun) example of an Iconomancer snagging a major charge.

Dude either had to use it fast or not at all though.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!


wdarkk posted:

Dude either had to use it fast or not at all though.

No one said adepts were good planners

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

oriongates posted:

This is actually one important distinction. You don't need a majority, just a significant number of admirers. Nixon and Mao Se Tung have people who think they did good work, or did good work despite their shortcomings. They don't represent a majority opinion but you could certainly find someone who says they're "not that bad". Hitler, Stalin and James Earl Ray may have admirers, but well over 99% of the people who know them, know them as monsters.

Also, you can very definitely kill people to produce Icons. It's mentioned that many assassinations may well have been attempts to gain Major charges. Especially if they were by apparent fans, Mark David Chapman and John Lennons is probably the iconic (pardon the pun) example of an Iconomancer snagging a major charge.

But Chapman (side note: Yoko wanted people to not use his name, Voldemort style, so he wouldn't get publicity, which is pretty UA) was obsessed with being Holden Caulfield, not John Lennon.

Unless the crazy van guy in NYC is right and Stephen King killed John Lennon.

I feel like Elvis Iconomancers should be their own thing, since they have SO MUCH fiction and non-fiction written about them.

I can see a sad paradox with actors and musicians who want to be other people - I.e Dylan and Woody Guthrie - but blowing the charges when they get famous.

Could you do Lovecraft (force Isolation checks) or Ray Bradbury (pass one Supernatural Fear Check as you realize it's beautiful, not terrifying)?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Could you use a Major charge to launch a career as a novelist? Just saying...

What if you rehabilitated Hitler in the eyes of society? Could some dedicated Hitlermancer be behind all of these things to try and clean up the name of old Adolf Elizabeth?

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Selachian
Oct 9, 2012

Count Chocula posted:

Could you do Lovecraft (force Isolation checks) or Ray Bradbury (pass one Supernatural Fear Check as you realize it's beautiful, not terrifying)?

I suppose that goes to the question of whether the requirement of being "immediately recognizable" means appearance, or just name. Not many writers qualify for the former criterion. Hemingway, Capote, or Hunter S. Thompson, maybe?

  • Locked thread