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inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

Evil Mastermind posted:

Hey inklesspen, did you see my response to your thing at the end of the last thread about my reviews?

1) The Apocalypse World and Misspent Youth reviews were completed.
2) I would like the old Torg review replaced in the archive with the "rebooted" one.

I saw the second one. Did not see the first one. I'll get to the Torg stuff "soon", but possibly not this week, sorry.

Both the Apocalypse World and Misspent Youth reviews end with a promise of more posts. Were these posts made? If so, I'll need to add them.

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Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



inklesspen posted:

I saw the second one. Did not see the first one. I'll get to the Torg stuff "soon", but possibly not this week, sorry.

Both the Apocalypse World and Misspent Youth reviews end with a promise of more posts. Were these posts made? If so, I'll need to add them.
Yeah, there were. The last Apocalypse World post is here.

Also holy poo poo I forgot to finish Misspent Youth. I could have loving sworn I did because of the whole thing where I was trying to get it done before I met the author again after telling him I'd review it. I need to finish that since I'm a dumbass.

There's no rush for you, though. I was just checking since I'm rebooting the whole Torg thing and will be reposting content.

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

Evil Mastermind posted:

The last Apocalypse World post is here.

Ah, cool; I picked up in the threads right after the chronologically last post linked to from Syrg's wiki wrangling, around 1/3 of the way into the third thread; anything before that will have been missed. I added this to the Apocalypse World writeup and marked it complete.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Thanks, man. Sorry for being a pest.

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

Nah, it's cool.

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.

theironjef posted:

Afterthought 23 - Randomized is live and ready to roll. We discuss random elements in games and then dive into the standard litany of weird questions and letters.

I found that randomized as a whole tend to be more useful for GMs than players. Players tend to come into a game with a specific concept in mind, and so they want the agency to create a character they'll be happy playing for at least a few sessions. But as a GM, I've found random tables to be a godsend for those days when I don't have anything planned and I need to generate interesting plot hooks.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Simian_Prime posted:

I found that randomized as a whole tend to be more useful for GMs than players. Players tend to come into a game with a specific concept in mind, and so they want the agency to create a character they'll be happy playing for at least a few sessions. But as a GM, I've found random tables to be a godsend for those days when I don't have anything planned and I need to generate interesting plot hooks.

I have a couple long-time players who absolutely love randomization as prompting, which they then fill in from or once they've got an idea, stop rolling and pick the rest of their PC themselves. It's a taste thing, I suppose.

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.

Night10194 posted:

I have a couple long-time players who absolutely love randomization as prompting, which they then fill in from or once they've got an idea, stop rolling and pick the rest of their PC themselves. It's a taste thing, I suppose.

No doubt. I think I'm actually that kind of player now, too; I want to jump straight into a game ASAP, so random tables help reduce a lot of time-consuming decision making.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



There's nothing inherently wrong with using random tables for inspiration or to get past a bad case of writer's block. The problem sets in when people start using random tables for everything, using them to replace coming up with stuff on their own.

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


Doresh posted:

Though I feel the writing has become a bit more "moist" in the supplement. Even if I'm imagining things, Caudwell's backstory can still be summarized as "Like Neo, expect he ran into a Looney Toons trap and decided to create the X-Men"

I thought he was gonna be Niles Calder, founder of the Doom Patrol.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 23:15 on Jan 12, 2016

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Evil Mastermind posted:

There's nothing inherently wrong with using random tables for inspiration or to get past a bad case of writer's block. The problem sets in when people start using random tables for everything, using them to replace coming up with stuff on their own.

I don't think that's necessarily bad, no amount of random tables will completely generate a character for you, conceptually. At some point you'll always need to make some connections or add in some explanations(if you don't, then you've certainly found or made the holy grail of random generation), like why your anemic Literature major starts with an RPG-7 and fifty pounds of ham in her inventory or why the town of Townshire has a population of 75% sentient ostriches. The main issue with random gen is when the random generation affects mechanics and isn't balanced, in a lot of systems there's way too much chance of being given an unplayable character OR causing too huge a variance in character power. A game is often less fun if one guy is Superman and the other guy is The Amazing Left Nostril.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Night10194 posted:

Ugh, two of my players who don't like anime vetoed Double Cross for our next game. Instead they get 1708 Russia Darkest Dungeon in a ruined estate and hamlet out on the Oblast, which will still be good.

Sucks, though, I was looking forward to running Parasite Eve: The RPG.

Well, there is always the John Wick method, but that would be quite dickish...

"And then the evil wizard opened a portal and sucked everyone into modern day Japan, were they got infected by a virus that gave them super powers."

Count Chocula posted:

I thought he was gonna be Niles Cauldwell, founder of the Doom Patrol.

My knowledge about the Doom Patrol didn't go beyond "DC's Marvel parody team", so I couldn't make. There are quite a couple similarities, I give you that.

Simian_Prime posted:

I found that randomized as a whole tend to be more useful for GMs than players. Players tend to come into a game with a specific concept in mind, and so they want the agency to create a character they'll be happy playing for at least a few sessions. But as a GM, I've found random tables to be a godsend for those days when I don't have anything planned and I need to generate interesting plot hooks.

Except when playing Maid RPG, where randomness rules supreme.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



PurpleXVI posted:

I don't think that's necessarily bad, no amount of random tables will completely generate a character for you, conceptually. At some point you'll always need to make some connections or add in some explanations(if you don't, then you've certainly found or made the holy grail of random generation), like why your anemic Literature major starts with an RPG-7 and fifty pounds of ham in her inventory or why the town of Townshire has a population of 75% sentient ostriches. The main issue with random gen is when the random generation affects mechanics and isn't balanced, in a lot of systems there's way too much chance of being given an unplayable character OR causing too huge a variance in character power. A game is often less fun if one guy is Superman and the other guy is The Amazing Left Nostril.
This is why Reign's random character creation option is so good. It works because a) you're starting with a baseline human and building up instead of having the D&D swingyness, and b) you're not just generating your abilities, you're also generating why you have those abilities. Hell, you can even mix the random chargen with pointbuy if you want.

Thank god the Reign character generator is saved on Wayback.

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

your link is broken; it was off by one letter: correct link

Also, it still exists on the original site, just under a different url.

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide


Evil Mastermind posted:

This is why Reign's random character creation option is so good. It works because a) you're starting with a baseline human and building up instead of having the D&D swingyness, and b) you're not just generating your abilities, you're also generating why you have those abilities. Hell, you can even mix the random chargen with pointbuy if you want.

Thank god the Reign character generator is saved on Wayback.
God I love REIGN's character generator. It's the only system I've seen where you can create a character with a fully fleshed out backstory that's probably more interesting and original than 99% of what Joe Roleplayer could ever come up with.

Winter Stormer
Oct 17, 2012


LatwPIAT posted:

Regarding the Ahl-i-Batin, one of my friends offered the following observation:

quote:

ahl-i-batin supposedly translates to 'the subtle ones' except 'the' and 'subtle' both aren't anywhere in the word. It's also based off of an invalid trilateral root, and batin likely translates to either 'many settlements' or 'incredibly fat'. Making it either 'people of many settlements' (Which could be a cool pan-Islamic unification Tradition) or 'the incredibly fat people'. When, of course, there are pre-existing ahl-al terms that would work fine for the ahl-i-batin. The ahl-al-kitab are 'the people of the book' and works well for how the batin are described, the ahl-al-bait are the people of the prophet's household. The Subtle Ones...might be, like, Al-Makur (The Crafty) or something.

Ahl al-batin actually is used by some Arabic speakers to refer to members of certain Islamic mystical traditions (e.g. Sufis - if you want more info on the reason, look up dhahir/zahir and batin). The batin being used is باطن (baatin, literally 'inner' but also 'hidden', 'secret'), which does come from the same root as بطين (batiin, 'big-bellied'). The -i- thing is Persian, but otherwise this name sounds pretty good to me. I don't think "the subtle ones" is intended to be a literal translation.

Ahl al-kitab refers to Jews and Christians, so it'd be an odd choice.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





CHARACTER CONCEPTS AND IDEAS PART ONE

So I'm the first to admit I don't know poo poo about GURPS besides the fact that you buy advantages and disadvantages. I'm really just going over these to show what kind of characters they expect or have inherently planned for. They recommend that the average human should be built on 50 points, 100 max if they're very good at what they do or very lucky and gifted. 150-200 points is for more cinematic characters, like resistance leaders or bioroids. 500-750 is for superhuman characters like Brisbane experiments that worked or heavy duty cyborgs.

Black Zoner: Smugglers, criminals and black marketeers or the thugs who protect them. Black Zoners operate predominantly near the borders of Washington to bring in product, hiring or buying from crews crazy enough to salvage or scavenge.
Common advantages: Alternate Identity, Contacts, Danger Sense, Wealth.
Common disadvantages: Enemies (FBI), Greed, Secret.
Useful skills: Carousing, Computer Operations, Computer Programming, Electronics Operation (Security), Forgery, Gambling, Guns, Holdout, Merchant, Sex Appeal, Streetwise, Vehicle skills.

Botlicker: A botlicker is someone who has thrown in their lot with the robots in hopes of better treatment. Sometimes they become guards or foremen. Any resistance force, and most people, hate botlickers for treason against humanity and whenever a camp is liberated, the botlickers always die. I dunno why you would ever play as one.
Common advantages: Reputation (zone robots), possible Patron in the form of a Zonemind's AU.
Common disadvantages: Bad Reputation (inmates), Enemy (the Resistance), Social Stigma (Outlaw), Bully, Weak-Willed, Sadism, Sterile (because the camps tend to sterilize inmates).
Useful skills: Exoskeleton, Fast-Talk, Intimidation, Whip.

Bush Doctor: A bush doctor is anyone with a medical background and the means to treat the sick and injured. They're found in nomad caravans, slave camps, with guerillas or wherever. This is just the defacto "medical background" class considering the circumstances of the world.
Common advantages: Empathy, Immunity to Disease (!), Reputation (as doctor).
Common disadvantages: Pacifism, Sense of Duty, Social Stigma (Outlaw).
Useful skills: Bicycling, Botany, Cooking, Diplomacy, all Medical Skills, Motorcycle/Riding, Outdoor skills, Veterinary.

Collector: Zone Moscow's agents abroad, Collectors are inserted into Zones or communities and collect materials for Moscow. Sometimes they live in their insertion points for long periods of time.
Common advantages: Ally (partner or robot companion), Alternate Identity, Contacts, Cybernetics, Eidetic Memory, Patron (Moscow), Reputation (Moscow).
Common disadvantages: Cortex Bomb, Dependents, Duty/Involuntary Duty, Secret (Moscow spy), Social Stigma (Outlaw).
Useful skills: Acting, Computer Operation, Diplomacy, Electronics Operation (Communications and Sensors), Fast-Talk, History, Holdout, Languages, Literature, Outdoors skills, Parachute, Photography, Research, Shadowing, Skiing, Stealth, Swimming, Video Production, Writing.

Deejay: the people who run Radio Free Earth and other pirate radio stations have a hard life. Some of them spread a positive message while others spread propaganda or cult speeches. Any way you shake it, it's hard for them to operate their devices when they have to do it as secretly as they can.
Common advantages: Charisma, Reputation, Voice.
Common disadvantages: Enemies (some kind of robot who wants you off the air), Social Stigma (outlaw).
Useful skills: Bard, Camouflage, Electronics Operation, Intelligence Analysis, Performance, Singing, Teaching, Outdoors skills.

Experimental Cyborg: Escaped from the labs of New Delhi or Brisbane, cyborgs may look human or they may not. These cyborgs are more than people with artificial limbs; they're what happens when you scoop out a human brain and plop it in a tank attached to a robot's processors. There are rules regarding being cyborged and what effects this has on a normal person, but they are not included in this sourcebook.
Common advantages: None.
Common disadvantages: Enemy or Secret, Valuable Property, mental disadvantages from other books.
Models: Either pick up the GURPS Robit book to design your own robot or modify a Patriot or Eagle robot from later in the books.

FBI Agent: You're fresh from Zone Washington to enforce the law and smoke cigarettes, and you're fresh out of smokes. Worth noting is that the FBI is becoming more and more of State Security in Washington, and anyone who holds open views regarding rehabilitating and changing the FBI tends to not have a very long or illustrious career. If you're going to be a good fed, you have to learn when to shut up.
Common advantages: Ally (partner), Legal Enforcement Powers (BEHOLD, WIRETAP BLAST!), Patron (FBI).
Common disadvantages: Ohhh boy. Alcoholism, Bully, Curious, Duty (FBI), Enemies (other feds, Black Zoners, the Resistance), Glory Hound, Honesty, Intolerance (criminals and subversives), No Sense of Humor, Overconfidence, Stubbornness.
Useful Skills: Criminology, Detect Lies, Driving, Electronics Operation, Fast-Draw, Forensics, Forgery, Holdout, Intelligence Analysis, Interrogation, Intimidation, Law, Lockpicking, Shadowing, Stealth.

Guerilla Fighter: FOR MANKIND!
Common advantages: Alertness, Ally Group (other fighters), Combat Reflexes, Immunity to Diseases (!), Intuition, Lucky, Military Rank (0-4), Reputation, Strong Will, Toughness.
Common disadvantages: Bloodlust, Dependents (noncoms), Enemies (exterminator robots or an Overseer), Fanaticism, Intolerance (robots and botlickers), Obsession (revenge against a certain machine), On the Edge, Sense of Duty, Social Stigma (outlaw), Trademark.
Useful Skills: Armory, Demolitions, Driving/Motorcycle, Electronics Operation, First Aid, Gunner, Guns, Intelligence Analysis, Leadership, Mechanic, all Outdoor skills, Packing, Riding, Running, Scrounging, Stealth, Strategy, Tactics. Agents of VIRUS should have Medical or Science skills.

Hermit/Rustic: People who live in the wilderness away from civilization. They don't move often and some of them are survivalists who managed to ride out the end of civilization.
Common advantages: Immunity to Diseases (!).
Common disadvantages: Demphobia (fear of crowds), Dependents, Sense of Duty, Shyness, Social Stigma (outlaw), Stubbornness, Intolerance (gubmint or strangers), Odious Personal Habits (for hermits), Paranoia (for hermits).
Useful Skills: Agronomy, Cooking, Crossbow or Bow, Craft skills, Driving, First Aid, Guns, Knife, Mechanic, Outdoor skills, Stealth.

Info-Commando: Nobody retires from Moscow's Info-Commandos. They either go rogue or leave in a body bag.
Common advantages: Combat Reflexes, High Pain Tolerance, Military Rank (1-2), Strong Will, Toughness.
Common disadvantages: Alcoholism, Duty (Info-Commandos), Lecherousness, Overconfidence, Sense of Duty (Info-Commandos).
Useful Skills: Athletic skills, Acting, Armory, Beam Weapons, Camouflage, Carousing, Computer Operations, Demolition, Electronics Operation, First Aid, Gunner, Guns, Holdout, Intelligence Analysis, oh my loving god there's a lot they're badass Russian ubercommandos, okay?

Junkrat: Scavengers who have crash-pads they retire to. Scavenging ain't easy, especially when the Zonemind wants to bulldoze your house and only source of stuff you can sell to nomads or guerillas.
Common advantages: Danger Sense, Immunity to Diseases (!), Luck or Toughness.
Common disadvantages: Age, Dependents, Intolerance (strangers), Miserliness, Odious Personal Habits, Paranoia, Poverty, Sense of Duty (family), Shyness, Skinny, Social Disease, Social Stigma (outlaw), Terminally Ill, Typhoid Mary, Youth.
Useful Skills: Guns, Knife, Mechanics, Scrounging, Stealth, Survival.

Londoner or Washingtonian: You're one of them civilized city folks, aintcha city boy? Your average person from the free-er parts of the world.
Common advantages: Immunity to Disease (!) is common.
Common disadvantages: Duty (to job), Sense of Duty (family), various physical or mental disadvantages from surviving the war.
Useful Skills: Craft, Professional, Social skills, Bicycling and Outdoors skills for London, Driving, Computer Operations and Mechanic (robots) for Washington.

Marauders, Zonegangers and Judas Goats: Scum of the earth, by choice or against their will. Marauders are raiders and bandits who do what they do freelance. Marauders can be tolerated or made to be helpful, though. Zonegangers are marauders/prisoners who willingly signed up to do bad things for an Overmind or AU. A Judas Goat is a sole Zoneganger who works alone and lures people into traps and danger. Most Zonegangers or Goats have their records on file in their Zone to flag them as "safe".
Common advantages: Ally group, Combat Reflexes, Immunity to Diseases (!), Wealth. ZGs and JGs have a Patron (Overseer Exterminator).
Common disadvantages: Bloodlust, Enemies, Greed, Lecherousness (the less implied about this the better...), Pirates' Code of Honor, Reputation, Sadism, Social Disease, Social Stigma (outlaw), Sterile (if you came from a camp).
Useful Skills: Acting, Driving, First Aid, Guns, Knife, Interrogation, Intimidation, Motorcycle, Outdoor skills, Stealth, Tactics.

There are a loooooot of these, so we'll wrap up the rest of the human character concepts with the next installment.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Winter Stormer posted:


Ahl al-batin actually is used by some Arabic speakers to refer to members of certain Islamic mystical traditions (e.g. Sufis - if you want more info on the reason, look up dhahir/zahir and batin). The batin being used is باطن (baatin, literally 'inner' but also 'hidden', 'secret'), which does come from the same root as بطين (batiin, 'big-bellied'). The -i- thing is Persian, but otherwise this name sounds pretty good to me. I don't think "the subtle ones" is intended to be a literal translation.

Ahl al-kitab refers to Jews and Christians, so it'd be an odd choice.

Don't worry, they ruin it by making them the architects of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

EDIT: I don't think that's in M20 but it's in the Lost Paths book.

RocknRollaAyatollah fucked around with this message at 03:49 on Jan 13, 2016

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Man, Mors, re-reading that Operation Darkness LP makes me really want to run a Weird War 2 thing again some day.

Are there any actual, good, dedicated systems for that kind of stuff?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Hostile V posted:

CHARACTER CONCEPTS AND IDEAS PART ONE

This is about standard for 3E GURPS; regular people are a bit higher point value than average, but that kind of comes with the post-apocalyptic territory and the more hapless folks dying off in droves.

I think the character concepts themselves were intended both as suggestions for PCs and NPCs. I never really saw the use of them until they started writing them up as full-blown templates with point values and skill calculations already done, late in 3E.

Communist Zombie
Nov 1, 2011


Hostile V posted:

Botlicker: A botlicker is someone who has thrown in their lot with the robots in hopes of better treatment. Sometimes they become guards or foremen. Any resistance force, and most people, hate botlickers for treason against humanity and whenever a camp is liberated, the botlickers always die. I dunno why you would ever play as one.

Because you wanna play post apocalyptic Schindler? Though that'd work much better if it was the party as a whole, unless your in Washington or London.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Night10194 posted:

Man, Mors, re-reading that Operation Darkness LP makes me really want to run a Weird War 2 thing again some day.

Are there any actual, good, dedicated systems for that kind of stuff?
Savage Worlds has a specific gamebook and various game series called Weird War that also provides plot points and advantages/disadvantages and stuff. They also, surprisingly, have a Vietnam book which I read years ago called Tour of Darkness. I vaguely remember it being respectful and pretty much everything else happens as it normally did except for a few unsavory characters trying to open the prison of an ancient evil at an old temple near the end of the war.

Communist Zombie posted:

Because you wanna play post apocalyptic Schindler? Though that'd work much better if it was the party as a whole, unless your in Washington or London.
Botlickers are explicitly blackshirts, people who are firmly on board with the robot regime just to save their skins. And even then, that doesn't always protect them especially when you consider that Zone Denver will eventually pluck their brains and their baby-making components for its experiments. You could play an all Botlicker party but...I wouldn't want to, it sounds incredibly dire and bleak.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



You could probably play Botlickers as a lighter shade of grey if you're willing to play the Zoneminds as such, too. The Zoneminds are portrayed as straightforward villains for the most part, but Reign of Steel keeps making me think you could have a good campaign about playing at least one Zonemind as more ambiguous or, well, human-like. There's a lot of story potential for a story about a Zonemind and a crew of favored mooks on what turns into an odd sort of redemption quest, I think.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Cythereal posted:

You could probably play Botlickers as a lighter shade of grey if you're willing to play the Zoneminds as such, too. The Zoneminds are portrayed as straightforward villains for the most part, but Reign of Steel keeps making me think you could have a good campaign about playing at least one Zonemind as more ambiguous or, well, human-like. There's a lot of story potential for a story about a Zonemind and a crew of favored mooks on what turns into an odd sort of redemption quest, I think.

"hey man, sorry for trans-spectral hyper-ebola... can we be friends again?"

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kurieg posted:

"hey man, sorry for trans-spectral hyper-ebola... can we be friends again?"

Don't be ridiculous. The idea that's in my head about this has nothing to do with friendship, but a newborn series of intelligences starting to develop a sense of maturity and perspective beyond the raw intellect they were created with. I find that vastly more interesting than different flavors of evil AI overlords.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Hostile V posted:

Botlickers are explicitly blackshirts, people who are firmly on board with the robot regime just to save their skins. And even then, that doesn't always protect them especially when you consider that Zone Denver will eventually pluck their brains and their baby-making components for its experiments. You could play an all Botlicker party but...I wouldn't want to, it sounds incredibly dire and bleak.

I think the correct term is "kapo" or "sonderkommando".

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Cythereal posted:

Don't be ridiculous. The idea that's in my head about this has nothing to do with friendship, but a newborn series of intelligences starting to develop a sense of maturity and perspective beyond the raw intellect they were created with. I find that vastly more interesting than different flavors of evil AI overlords.

So basically they evolve from "evil AI overlords" to "old-testament God" or so?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



wdarkk posted:

So basically they evolve from "evil AI overlords" to "old-testament God" or so?

Or each of them starts going in a different direction. Old Testament God could be one. Or maybe one of the space-faring AIs goes monk, struck by the grandeur of the universe. Maybe Mexico City asks "Okay, so what happens after all organic life is exterminated?" Or Overmind starts to ask itself why it created the Zoneminds in the first place, or keeps them after humanity has been wrecked. Maybe Denver is struck by the complexity of the human brain, the elegance of this organic machine that created Overmind in turn.

They can still be antagonists, of course, but I find the basic "evil AI overlord" trope rather dull.

BashGhouse
Feb 5, 2015


Winter Stormer posted:


Ahl al-batin actually is used by some Arabic speakers to refer to members of certain Islamic mystical traditions (e.g. Sufis - if you want more info on the reason, look up dhahir/zahir and batin). The batin being used is باطن (baatin, literally 'inner' but also 'hidden', 'secret'), which does come from the same root as بطين (batiin, 'big-bellied'). The -i- thing is Persian, but otherwise this name sounds pretty good to me. I don't think "the subtle ones" is intended to be a literal translation.

Really? Huh, I hadn't run into that when I was trying to do the translation of the term. My bad, then.

Could you point me to the mentions of Ahl-i-Batin as Sufis or other mystics? I've not heard the term in my own circles (Admittedly, largely Desi or Arab instead of Persian) and so tried to translate it myself.

BashGhouse fucked around with this message at 05:25 on Jan 13, 2016

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:

So basically they evolve from "evil AI overlords" to "old-testament God" or so?
The game pretty much hints that the AIs are like children gleefully playing with their new toys for the most part without any foresight or thought about the repercussions of their actions, and they may be sapient but they haven't developed true intelligence or wisdom or emotional maturity. The Brisbane Accords are the closest thing to a moment of clarity and maturity for them and some of them have realized "...gently caress, we need to change or make a change" as a result. They're all the result of an emotionally immature being lashing out because it's afraid of death and reproducing before it was ready to. I think, that for the most part, some of the AIs can be redeemed if they can be made more whole emotionally and intellectually. Moscow could learn to value the joys of creating works and learn not to focus on such material things, Brisbane could learn restraint and that its actions have consequences, Beijing could learn to not be so afraid of the unknown but to be careful in its space expansion. Everyone but Berlin and Caracas stand to learn that they are going to irreversibly ruin and pollute the planet at the rate they're going and trap themselves in a resources-depleted shithole and be the cause of their own death.

I'm not excusing their actions or saying that being better beings would redeem them for what they've done, but I do think it could be a completely valid overarching game to save humanity by making the Zoneminds realize that what they're doing is wrong and that they could be better gods than they are.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Evil Mastermind posted:

Right. Just like pretty much everyone else because at some point you're going to go somewhere your gimmicks don't work.
Except isn't that guy's suit of remote control armor not compatible with the axioms of anywhere including where it was developed? The thing's going to gently caress up, sooner rather than later, and there'll be no way to fix it.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



gradenko_2000 posted:

Do those d100 things in your preview picture even work? Aren't those just balls?

They are. I had a D100 for a while and it was basically just a ball. Even once it stopped rolling it was still hard to tell which face was up. The other two dice in that picture are a D50 and D60.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




RULES, PART 3

In NBA, even aside from enemy bullets and claws, there's a hell of a lot of things that can kill you. Thus, Hazards!



Acid
A staple of both monster blood/saliva and industrial complex fight scenes. When exposed to acid, it does continuous damage each round, until the effect wears off or an ally with the proper materials spends a point of Chemistry or Diagnosis. Damage is rolled once and that number is used for each round:
  • Minor Exposure: Extremity of a small splash. 1d6-2 damage, 2 rounds. If it does no damage, it just smolders away at your clothing or possessions.
  • Partial Exposure: A bucket of acid thrown at you. 1d6-1 damage, 4 rounds.
  • Extensive Exposure: Submerged or consumed. 1d6+1 damage, 6 rounds. If swallowed, it does damage every three rounds instead of every round, lasting a total of 18 rounds.

Crashes
If a car is poised to hit an agent, they need to roll Sense Danger or Athletics to get out of the way in time (default difficulty 5), or take damage equal to the roll difficulty. Damage is further modified by car speed (up to +4 for highway speeds) and car size (-3 for a motorcycle, +4 for an APC). The people in a car that crashes all take damage calculated the same way, but the speed modifier is halved, and they subtract the size modifier for their own vehicle. -2 damage if you're wearing a seatbelt.

Drowning and Suffocation
Agents have improbable breath-holding abilities - 5 rounds for free, after which you start losing 1 Athletics every round. When you run out of Athletics, you start losing 1 Health every round, until you die. Someone else can spend 1 point of Medic if you are rescued and resucitated to restore half your lost Health immediately. You can't resucitate yourself.

Electricity
Similar to acid, shocks are split into three classes:
  • Mild Shock: Touching an ungrounded wire. Lose 1 Health and get blown back.
  • Moderate Shock: Stun gun. You lose 2 Health and can't act for the next four rounds. You can buy off up to three of those lost turns by paying 3 Athletics each.
  • Extreme Shock: Lightning strike. 1d6+4 damage. It doesn't say that the effects from Moderate Shock apply here, but I'd guess they do.

Falling
As per crashes, when you fall, you roll Athletics to avoid damage - if you fail, damage taken equals the difficulty of the test. Various circumstances can modify the damage, such as falling through branches (-2 damage) or falling extra far (+1 per 3m of height). If you reach Hurt status from falling damage, you automatically break a limb. If you have Athletics or Hand-to-Hand at 8+ and aren't playing a Dust game, you can hit the ground with a flowing tuck and roll to reduce the damage by a quarter of your rating.

Fire
Also like acid! Fire does damage each round as long as you remain exposed to it.
  • Minor Exposure: Extremity burn. 1d6-2 damage.
  • Partial Exposure: Face, or a lot of surface area. 1d6 damage.
  • Extensive Exposure: Over half of your body is on fire. 1d6+2 damage.
If you're just regular on fire, you can Stop Drop and Roll to make a Difficulty 3 Athletics test to put out the flames. Napalm will resist such methods, burning for 2d6 rounds unless you smother it or use chemical fire suppression. In a burning building, suffocation rules apply from the smoke.

Temperature Extremes
If you're in intense heat or intense cold, you treat it as if you're Hurt - all difficulty numbers raised by 1, must make a Consciousness Roll to spend on Investigative abilities.

Toxins
Varying widely in lethality, Toxins range from household cleaners (-2 damage) to sophisticated nerve gas (up to +16 damage). Once exposed, you have a chance to make a Health test - success nets you the Minor Effect, failure nets you the Severe Effect.



The book lists a bunch of different toxins, up to and including Anthrax and Heroin.

That about wraps up physical hazards, but what about mental hazards? Time for a new section!

Shock and Awe

Stability functions a lot like Health. When something challenges your grip on reality, you make a Stability test, Difficulty 4. You can spend Stability, even going as low as -11, to make the test - if you fail, you might lose a whole lot of Stability, so it can be worth spending a little to offset it. Alternately, you might suffer severe mental conditions based on your failure.

Certain events - witnessing a fresh corpse, killing another human in a fight - don't require Stability tests if you have experience with the violent life, such as a military background. Unless you're in a Burn game. More universally damaging events vary from 3 Stability damage (Witnessing an unnatural occurrence) to 8 (Forced to kill a loved one).

If your Stability is in the range of 0 to -5, you are Shaken - you can't use Investigative Abilities, and General Ability difficulties are all 1 higher. From -6 to -11, you are Shattered - you acquire a mental illness or disorder, and permanently lose 1 point from your Stability rating. At -12, you're incurably insane - you can take one last action, as long as it's self-destructively heroic or explosive. After that, it's time to stat a new agent.

This means it's time for that thing that always weirds me out a bit: Mechanically-enforced real-world mental illnesses!



The first time your Stability drops below -5, you gain either PTSD or an Addictive Disorder. The second time, you acquire Obsession or Paranoia. Furthermore, if you previously had PTSD, and if the second triggering event is broadly similar to the second, you have to roll Stability (Difficulty 4) or your PTSD returns. Addictions can resurface under similar conditions.

Time for another list. As expected, these all do extra things in Burn games.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Whenever you witness anything that triggers memories of your trauma, you must roll Stability (Difficulty 4) or freeze up, being unable to act meaningfully for 15 minutes, and remain Shaken for another 24 hours. In Burn games, you also must spend 2 Stability to take your first action in combat.

Addictive Disorder
You're now addicted to something! Whenever your supply of whatever you're addicted to dries up, you must make a Stability roll (Difficulty 4) to continue with the operation, rather than chase your fix. Same roll applies to immediate opportunities made to tempt your addiction. In Burn games, indulging in your addiction between operations Refreshes 2 Stability, but you also must spend 1 Stability to do any Investigative spend.

Obsession
You now have an obsessive-compulsive disorder, a phobia, or some other sort of obsession. Functions similarly to Addictive Disorder, in terms of Difficulty 4 Stability Tests. Furthermore, you must take 6 points out of your other General Abilities and put them into a new Obsession pools, which functions in different ways based on the nature of your disorder:
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Spend Obsession points on Conceal, Preparedness, or Notice. You must roll Stability to resist cleaning or ordering your surroundings.
  • Phobia: Spend Obsession points only to run away or hide from the thing you fear. If your phobia is a class of people, you must spend 1 Stability to use any Interpersonal ability with them.
  • Mania: Spend Obsession only to study or acquire the object of your mania.
  • Berserk Mania: Spend Obsession to Jump In or Reckless Attack. Not compatible with PTSD, Surveilance and Infiltration Difficulties are all 1 higher.
In Burn/Mirror games, any of these double the cost of Trust to aid allies.

Paranoia
Stability tests to resist taking over-the-top measures to protect yourself from Them. The Director can call for a test at any moment - as can your fellow players. In Burn games, add 1 to the cost of all Interpersonal and Academic spends, and you can't spend experience to increase your Network or existing Contacts. In Burn/Mirror games, you lose all Trust with all but one of your allies.

The other conditions listed are alternate conditions to replace some of the above, optionally. They're also generally things historically tied to vampire fiction and gothic horror.

Amnesia
Suited best for Mirror games. Realizing you have event-localized amnesia risks a 3-point Stability loss, or worse if it's something central to your life. The details are largely left to the player, but you can't recall anything from the missing time - this includes spending unspent build points to reveal known languages you would have learned at that time, or adding familiar cities with the Urban Survival ability. You gain Mystery as a new Drive. In Burn games, you must make a Stability test to act first in any contest with someone you don't recognize.

Borderline Personality Disorder
When you percieve any sort of personal attack, physical or emotional, Stability test 4 to restrain yourself from lashing out at the attacker. In Burn games, your interpersonal skillset is limited to Bullshit Detector, Interrogation, Streetwise, and Tradecraft - all other abilities are locked, and can't be used or increased with experience points. It's easier for your contacts to be flipped by the enemy.

Depressive Disorder
Available in Dust games. Whenever a life-threatening situation occurs, Stability test 4 to avoid throwing yourself into it without regard for self-preservation. In Burn games, your Hit Threshold is 1 lower. In Burn/Mirror, the amount of Trust other players can assign to you is limited.

Multiple Personality/DID
Dubiously real in our world, but right at home in the world of supernatural spy thrillers, notably Mirror games. You create one or more Alters - different characters, with different sheets, who are also you. Whenever under stress, Stability test 5 to stop one of the Alters from taking control for 1-6 hours, effectively swapping out your character sheet. If this is also a Burn game, one of your Alters must be an 'innocent', who doesn't kill and has never killed - switching away from that Alter drains 2 Stability. Really hardcore Mirror Directors should have the player questioning which one of the Alters might actually be the real you.

Schizophrenia
Hallucinations! Delusions! Strange social affects! I dunno, using real-world mental illnesses as game mechanics has always seemed kind of weird to me, I think I've known people with some of these. Anyway, +2 cost to all Interpersonal spends, +2 Difficulty to all long-term General tasks other than combat or chases. In Burn games, when you invoke Network to create a contact, there's a 1-in-3 chance that they don't exist - the Director may not tell you this at first.

Next: Heat!

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Is there a document or part of a book somewhere that summarizes all of the differences between the various game modes? That's always been one of the more disorienting parts of NBA.

EDIT: Trail does it too between the Pulp and Realism game modes.

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 15:38 on Jan 13, 2016

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


gradenko_2000 posted:

Is there a document or part of a book somewhere that summarizes all of the differences between the various game modes? That's always been one of the more disorienting parts of NBA.

Not to my knowledge! The top of the book outlines the general idea of each mode, and then the rest is scattered throughout the book where relevant.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Zereth posted:

Except isn't that guy's suit of remote control armor not compatible with the axioms of anywhere including where it was developed? The thing's going to gently caress up, sooner rather than later, and there'll be no way to fix it.

Well, let's look at the numbers.

The battlesuit is Tech 25. Nippon Tech is Tech 24, and since the character is from the Nippon Tech realm his personal Tech axiom is also 24.

Using the suit in Nippon Tech will have a decent chance of disconnection. He's using a device that has a higher axiom than both himself and the reality he's in. That's a four-case contradiction, which means that he disconnects on a roll of 1 to 4 when using the suit.

If he does disconnect, he'll have to try to reconnect. If he's in a fight that has to be his next action. It's a reality skill roll, but at least reconnecting to your home realm while in that realm is difficulty 0.

The thing is, though, there's only three realities he can use the suit without heavily risking disconnection: the Cyberpapacy (Tech 26), Tharkold (also Tech 26, but doesn't show up until later), and one of the SPOILER realms. Everywhere else it's going to be a four-case contradiction, and in those three it's still a one-case since the armor's more advanced than the character.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Evil Mastermind posted:

Well, let's look at the numbers.

The battlesuit is Tech 25. Nippon Tech is Tech 24, and since the character is from the Nippon Tech realm his personal Tech axiom is also 24.

Using the suit in Nippon Tech will have a decent chance of disconnection. He's using a device that has a higher axiom than both himself and the reality he's in. That's a four-case contradiction, which means that he disconnects on a roll of 1 to 4 when using the suit.

If he does disconnect, he'll have to try to reconnect. If he's in a fight that has to be his next action. It's a reality skill roll, but at least reconnecting to your home realm while in that realm is difficulty 0.

The thing is, though, there's only three realities he can use the suit without heavily risking disconnection: the Cyberpapacy (Tech 26), Tharkold (also Tech 26, but doesn't show up until later), and one of the SPOILER realms. Everywhere else it's going to be a four-case contradiction, and in those three it's still a one-case since the armor's more advanced than the character.
I feel like they didn't actually think this through when making

I was about to say "this character type" but you could put nearly anything in the gameline there and have it still work, couldn't you. :shepface:

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Zereth posted:

I feel like they didn't actually think this through when making

I was about to say "this character type" but you could put nearly anything in the gameline there and have it still work, couldn't you. :shepface:
drat near. Remember, using anything in a reality that doesn't support it will risk disconnection on bad rolls.

Cyberware anywhere outside the Cyberpapacy? Risks. Guns in about half the realities on the map? Risks. Magic most places outside Aysle? Risks.

In actual play it doesn't happen that often, but it's still a pain in the rear end because you either have to waste a turns in combat reconnecting or have your character swapped to a different concept. In the last Torg game I played, my snakry Nile Empire two-fisted private eye got turned into a hardass Tharkold soldier, and the American secret agent/black ops guy got swapped to the Living Land and couldn't use any of his cool gadgets or most of the skills he was built around.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I keep thinking that someone thought this was a great way to simulate the tension and risk of piloting powerful, prototype equipment, using disconnection to emulate the need to jury-rig systems at critical moments and such.

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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Isn't the whole point of storm knights that they don't have stupid disconnection problems? That they can go be a wizard in a a place magic doesn't work?

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