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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Given how much boils down to winging it, house ruling it, or otherwise telling the player base to use the core books as a toolkit or guideline, and how much of this hobby is ostensibly based on leveraging one's imagination, it has always amazed me that a recognizable industry ever emerged from the RPG hobby.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In Nomine: I am Legion, for we are-wait, no, that's something else.



Kyriotates, AKA Hives or the Dominations, are the most alien of the angelic Choirs. They are collections of urges, borrowing flesh briefly and moving on. They are chaotic but potent forces, ephemeral and yet worldly. Their resonance is for multiplicity, and they have the power to control many bodies, though rarely stay in any one body long. They do not have a consistent self-image and are unable to make vessels. Instead, they borrow the bodies of the living. While possessed, their hosts roam the Marches dreaming and have no memory of the events of their takeover. Kyriotates, likewise, cannot access the memories of their hosts, and their possessions last no more than six days at a time. When not in a body, they have very little time to find a new host - and if they can't, they'll be shoved back to Heaven with some explaining to do. To avoid that, Kyriotates tend to have a group of servants, human or animal, that take turns being ridden. Cherubim tend to dislike Kyriotates - they're both guardians of a sort, but Cherubim find the Kyriotates too irrational and cavalier, while Kyriotates are puzzled by Cherubic single-mindedness. However, Kyriotates get on quite well with Elohim, who love hearing about the many perspectives the Kyriotates run into. Kyriotates are sworn to protect their hosts, and they gain dissonance when they leave a body in worse shape than they found it. The closer to the time they must leave, the more carefully they tend their hosts, and most learn the Corporeal Song of Healing as a security measure.

Kyriotates are smooth, at home in just about any body. They tend to be relaxed and prefer casual dress, but they're quick to action. In celestial form, they are mutli-huied clouds of random libms, mouths and eyes that pulse to a random beat. Humans that witness this tend to be stunned by it, praying for the sweet embrace of madness. While Kyriotates switch bodies easily, they also prize their subjective nature and the threads that make them themselves. Their selfhood is the only constant they have, after all. They see themselves as improvisational woodwinds - often clarinets or flutes.

Mechanically, when dealing with willing hosts, Kyriotates need only make a Will roll to send their forces into the host. An unwilling host can resist with their own Will roll, which overrides the angel's even if the angel succeeds, locking the Kyriotate out of the body for several hours. Otherwise, a Kyriotate can stay (CD) days. They may possess and control any number of hosts at once whose combined Forces are no more than the angel's total Forces - so a 9-Force Kyriotate can't handle two humans, but could probably do a human and two dogs. (Animals posssessed by Kyriotates, unlike animal vessels, can only talk if the animal is already capable of speech. Parrots work, dogs not so much.) Any human but an Undead that spots a Kyriotate in celestial form must make a Will roll or be stunned for a few rounds. A Kyriotate may manifest celestial form at the same time as possessing a host as long as they have at least 3 free Forces. That form can be in a different place or even a different plane than their host body or bodies, but they can only have one celestial form at a time. Kyriotates can spend only (10*Celestial Forces) minutes without any hosts on the corporeal plane before they get sent back to Heaven.



Mercurians, AKA the Intercessionists or Friends of Man, are the least divine of the Choirs ever since the exile of the Grigori, and they are the most human as well. Mercirans resonate with the patterns of human politics. They can walk into a room and immediately tell the relationships at work in it. Individually, Mercurians can easily grasp the relationships and responsibilities a person has, and the importance of each. They often judge people aesthetically, and style matters a lot to them, but even the dreadfully unstylish have their sympathy and they make for generally affable people. They love humanity even more than humans do. Seraphim are puzzled by their unconditional love for humanity, but have generally resigned themselves to not understanding. However, Mercurians can never be violent towards humans, for fear of dissonance. Violence is the antithesis of politics, after all. Demons have no protection, and Mercurians can advocate for violence - they just can't act violently against a human.

Mercurians in celestial form appear as the traditional Western angel - a winged human with a bright smile. Mercurians care deeply about their appearances, and they never wear ugly vessels unless their desired aesthetic is ugliness. They are all fashionistas, as well. They move smoothly in human society, and no other angel so deeply understands the human condition. Musically, Mercurians prefer their own bodies as instruments - singing, clapping or stomping feet.

Mechanically, Mercurians can invoke their resonance to determine the social standing of anyone within (Forces) yards. CD 1 tells them how the person estimates themself relative to those around them. CD 2 also tells how those people actually regard the target. CD 3 also tells the target's most commonly used name, origin geographically and culturally, and any hobbies, jobs and so on. CD 4 also senses how many relationships the person has, such as work, school, family or so on. CD 5 also tells you how important the target sees those relationships as. CD 6 tells the Mercurian the target's entire background and what degree their relationships control their life to. Mercurians can also use their resonance on a group of up to (CD) people to see the degree of interrelationships between those targets. A Mercurian's resonance, once invoked, lasts for (10-CD) minutes.



The Grigori, AKA the Giants or the Watchers, were once the eighth Choir, created to shepherd the humans. They were both physically and spiritually immense, and they helped teach early humans and observe them. However, angels can be corrupted, and the Grigori, furthest from the Divine, proved much more corruptible due to their immense zest for life. They took spouses among humanity and led lives of debauchery, ignoring their duties. Legend holds that their children were misshapen beasts, known now as the Nephallim by demons. Angels dispatched these half-breeds, and the Grigori were damned to remain on earth for the rest of their lives.



This story is largely true. The Grigori were excommunicated from Heaven en masse, and it is believed that even speaking the word 'Grigori' disturbed the Symphony. Heaven calls them only the Watchers. What few know, however, is that besides the giant, malevolent Nephallim, the Grigori had other children, seemingly human yet part angel. Angels are forbidden to consort with the Children of the Grigori or, of course, any remaining Grigori themselves. It's impossible to say how many remain alive - the upper estimate is about 50, some say none. Their direct descendants are uncountably many, and a few underground groups of them have formed to find and protect each other. Most beleive themselves the remnants of some ancient race, like Atlanteans, and technically that's almost true. Most of them can exert, consciously or not, some control over the Symphony they can all hear. Sometimes they do harm, but usally it's an accident. They are most dangerous in adolescence and early adulthood, when their minds open to the Symphony, and many have been labelled witches across history. Some of them have altered the course of history radically, and usually for good. This is why some angels consider them not abominations but a sacred ace in the hole, a tool for use in the War. Regardless of what they are called, however, it is Grigori blood in their veins, and they often find themselves fighting Hell. They instinctively shun demons, but have little more love for angels. Those that know of their true heritage are wary of Heaven's manipulation and bitter towards their 'relatives.'



Next time: Archangels

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Bieeardo posted:

it has always amazed me that a recognizable industry ever emerged from the RPG hobby.

One could argue that it hasn't.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


FMguru posted:

And as much as I love to make fun of 1990s RPGs, those things (metaplots, iconic NPCs that do everything, tie-in novels, slowly teasing out setting details, walls of splatbooks, etc.) were legitimate efforts to try and get around the core economic problem with RPGs (the way that a single group can play for year without buying anything more than a single set of corebooks)

Yeah, and a lot of that can be laid at the feet of D&D. Part of D&D's strength in hooking people long-term that is, that it encourages and practically requires campaigns that can take years or even decades at the extreme - but it's a real weakness for sales over time. And the fact that's become the norm for RPGs at least in America is a real problem for anybody trying to sell RPGs, in addition to discouraging "casual" play in general. The fact that the grand majority of RPGs don't have an "end condition" is pretty telling, and most of those that do only pay the idea lip service.

kaynorr posted:

One could argue that it hasn't.

I don't see how.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?



Chapter 6: Creating the Character, Part 3

Arete
Arete is your magickal skill, which you use to cast magick. Sphere ratings just give you access to doing stuff; actual casting rolls are the lower of [Arete] and [Willpower]. You can't buy or use Spheres higher than [Arete] either, so Arete is very important. Arete starts at 1 for all Awakened mages, and can go as high as 10. At character generation, you can raise Arete as high as 3, and there is really no reason not to do this.

All mages start out with 7 instruments they use in their casting. If you're a mystic (non-technomagick) mage, you start realising that your entire paradigm is a lie at Arete 3, and for each dot above Arete 2 you can stop using one instrument. At Arete 9 you realize that you can just will things into being and paradigm doesn't matter. If you're a technomancer, you're stupid and hidebound because ha ha science is dumb, so you have to wait until Arete 6 before you can stop discarding your instruments (but at a higher rate, so at Arete 9 they don't need instruments any more). If you're a Technocrat, you don't get to discard your instruments at all, because ha ha science is dumb and the Technocracy are silly people.

To raise Arete you need to go on a Seeking. I don't thinks Seekings have been explained yet, beyond "You need to go on a Seeking to raise your Arete."

Willpower
Willpower is rated from 0 to 10. Your Willpower dots act as an upper limit to your Spheres and how many dice are in your magick pool. Your Willpower dots also give you a number of Willpower points that can be spent to do things. You can spend a point of Willpower to:
  • Get an automatic success on a roll
  • Stop Paradox Backlash from happening
  • Roll to dispel a Quiet delusion
  • Ignore wound-penalties
  • "Resist an overwhelming urge or compulsion"

You can also lose Willpower dots involuntarily and permanently, from some great shock, the death of a familiar, being tortured or betrayed, meeting Yog-Sothoth, and similar horrifying events. Willpower points are regained through a good night's sleep, achieving personal victories, and fulfilling your Nature. In a striking example of truly bad editing, the Nature entry under Willpower says fulfilling your Nature gives 1 to 2 Willpower, while the notes under Nature says fulfilling your Nature gives 1-3 Willpower.

Quintessence and Paradox
OK, here's how this works, in short:

Quintessence are points used to do magick stuff.
You can store up to [Avatar] Quintessence in your character.
You have an upper limit to how much Quintessence you can store of 20-[Paradox]
If you have more Quintessence in your pool than 20-[Paradox], the excess Quintessence is lost.

Was that easy, simple, and quick to understand? Good.

Now, in M20, this process is explained by giving you a wheel of 20 checkboxes. You have to fill in the boxes with with Quintessence equal to your Avatar-rating in the clockwise direction, then fill in your Paradox in the counter-clockwise direction, from the top. This is all explained in some pretty large blocks of bullet-pointed text. Almost as an afterthough, it mentions that maybe, yeah, not using the same mark for Quintessence and Paradox might be a good idea. That there's a difference between Quintessence points (which you can spend) and your permanent Quintessence (which is how many points you can store) is, I kid you loving not, not explained. I had to read through the Backgrounds chapter again to tell if Quintessence came with points that could be spent, or if it was just a dot-rating like an Attribute. This is the sub-sub-chapter supposed to explain what Quintessence is and does, and it doesn't say clearly that Quintessence are points that can be spent. Deep within the list of what Quintessence can do, it's mentioned that your Avatar rating is the maximum Quintessence you can store, while the rules for setting up your Quintessence pool talks about your "permanent Quintessence", like they're not something that can be spent. Only from the context that talks about what Quintessence can be spent on is it clear that Quintessence are points that can be spent.

Quintessence points can be spent to lower the difficulty of a spellcasting roll, counter Paradox, or do countermagick (What is countermagick, you ask? Well, I'll tell you in four chapters.) You can regain Quintessence at Nodes, by absorbing Tass, or by using Wonders. Amusingly, the way it's phrased, the text implies that regular mundane batteries and energy drinks are Wonders that provide Quintessence...

Paradox is gained when casting Vulgar spells or botching any magick roll. (Botching is a type of critical failure not yet explained, because all the important mechanical parts of skills, Willpower, and Paradox come before the actual rules for rolling.) When things go really bad, you roll a number of dice equal to the amount of Paradox your character has accumulated to determine just how hosed you are. If a mage accumulates 20 or more Paradox, "she may drop into an intense Quiet, disappear through a crack in reality (possibly to return as a warped Marauder version of the person she once was), or simply explode.".

There are ways to lose Paradox. They're not explained here, but I'll give you a little preview of a later chapter: if you have 1-5 Paradox, you lose 1 point per week. If you have 6-19 points of Paradox, they only go away in Backlash. Backlash is usually caused by gaining 5 or more Paradox at once. Mages with Prime 5 can also reduce Paradox. The net effect is that if you cast more than 5 Vulgar spells per in-game week, you turn yourself into a ticking time-bomb just waiting for a Paradox backlash to happen... and since it's triggered by getting 5 Paradox at once, it'll probably be 10+ dice of backlash.

Experience Points
You get XP at the end of every session for doing stuff. One point for participating, one point if your character learned something important, one point if you roleplay'd better than the group average, one point if you got into detail about how your mage casts magick, and one point of your character did something particularly heroic. At the end of every story-arc, you can get additonal XP for achieving some major success, surviving actual threats, your character showing particular wisdom, and for adding dramatic moments to the game. The game is very open about how XP is supposed to be a carrot-mechanic to motivate players to play their characters. My criticism of this is: If a "bad" player starts to wizen up, they don't actually catch up, they just stop falling even more behind. Presumably, all the "good" players aren't going to stop describing their spells the moment Boring Benjamin realizes he could get XP for describing his. Boring Benjamin is permanently punished by an XP-deficiency for failures to play the game perfectly from session 1. It's a very antagonistic form of motivation.

But then, antagonistic STing seems par for the course in M20...

There's a table of Experience costs. It has Current Ability cost 3, and Ability also costs 3. I don't know what a current Ability is. Is it an Ability I already have? What's a Current Sphere, and how is it different from Affinity Spheres and Other Spheres? Is the "current rating" when it says the cost of an Affinity Sphere is "current rating x 7" the rating I want or the rating I have? (That's a lower-case x, by the way, and not a ×) I presume these costs are supposed to be per dot, but it doesn't actually say that anywhere in the Character Progress chapter. I genuinely don't know how to spend XP to evolve a character!

Sample Character Creation

M20 posted:

Jinx. Kicked out of her home at age 16 for getting caught with both her girlfriend and her boyfriend in her mother’s bed, Jinx wound up sleeping under bridges in Seattle. Now swept up into gutter-mage intrigues

Jinx has the concept Wiseass Street Kid, and she's "restless risk-taker often taken to excess", so she has a Dynamic essence, Rebel Demeanor, and Seeker Nature. Now let's take a look at what Jinx' character ends up as based on her concept. The huge range of the dot-ratings can make for some very interesting results.


Pictured: a 20-something teen with trendy clothes

M20 posted:

Jinx is cute, tough, and not stupid, exactly, but not overly blessed in the brains department either.
Is it just coincidence that the female sample character is described primarily in terms of appearance and as not very smart?

STR 2 DEX 3 STA 3
PER 2 INT 2 WIT 2
CHA 4 MAN 3 APP 3

This is the most average Attribute-block you can make a starting character, and because Attributes have a linear cost increase per dot, the least optimized build possible. Jinx' will find herself falling far, far behind the other characters at her table, no matter how good the player is at roleplaying. In short, a poor example that teaches poor behaviour.

Strength 2 is average strength and the text notes that Jinx' is supposed to be stronger than people expect her to. Which is strange, given that you'd assume that most people would expect a random person off the street to have average (2-dot) Strength, but because M20 has such a small range of strength values, it makes sense. Using my chart of lifting-capacities of female US Air Force recruits in 1982, this places her in the 99th Percentile of women, which certainly is more than the regular person would expect. Now, all in all I don't approve of strength penalties of female characters, because this is not loving 1977 and we've grown beyond that poo poo, but I think it highlights one of the weaknesses of the dot ratings; STR 1 is a 1st Percentile woman, and STR 2 is a 99th Percentile woman. There's no space on this scale for the average woman; the scale seems to be calibrated on men (poorly calibrated, but you know...) such that for men it's possible to differentiate between "average", "very strong", "professionally strong", and "professionalll strong++", while for women there's "weak", "really strong", and "professionally strong+" to "professionally strong+++". It's not a major point (again, I prefer it to -4 STR), but I think it says something about our culture in general and the way we design games, that Strength scores reflect male capabilities with far higher fidelity than female capabilities. (Also it's kinda funny that it's not even possible to play a woman of average strength.)

DEX 3 and STA 3 makes Jinx "Quick-fingered and sure-footed" and "Hardy and tenacious". Mentally Jinx is strictly average.

CHA 4 gives Jinx Exceptional Charisma, which is described as, and I quote, "Shiny!". MAN 3 means Jinx is "a smooth operator when [she] wants to be", and APP 3 makes her liable to be mistaken for a professional model (but not good-looking enough for people to give her their phone numbers).

Alertness 2
Awareness 2
Brawl 2
Athletics 1
Streetwise 1
Carousing 2
Seduction 1

Academics 2
Computer 2
Esoterica 2
Occult 2
Pharmacopeia 1

Drive 1
Etiquette 1
Melee 1
Stealth 1
Acrobatics 1

Jinx' Streetwise of 1 seems rather low; this is the level of rock musicians, while everything about Jinx' description wants you to know how badass she is and how tough living on the streets is and how tough it's made her. Brawl 2 is described as "You're from The Bad Part of Town", so having just lived a short while as a homeless person is supposed to have taught Jinx all these fighting skills... but she only has Athletics 1, which is not someone who gets exercise regularly. Together with Jinx' pretty average Strength, I find myself wondering if she ever actually wins any of those fights; she's not in very good shape. She has Carousing 2, which has the helpful description "“Do a little dance/ Make a little love/ Get down tonight…”". This is higher than "“YOLO!”" but lower than "“Sin, that you might be forgiven.”". Her Seduction 1 is supposed to represent the abilities that let her bed a boy and a girl at the same time... but Seduction 1 is the ability to score desperate drunks, not get teens involved in polyamory.

So... Jinx, the not-all-that-smart-if-not-stupid 17-year-old who got kicked out of her home has Academics 2, equivalent to a 2-year university education? INT 2, and she managed to pick up knowledge equivalent to a university education all on her own? Yeah, sure. Computers 2 means she's "studied IT systems and can do basic programming", in addition to all the time and effort she's devoted into studying Esoterica and the Occult. She can't do First Aid though, and despite her self-studied academic achievements she doesn't seem to remember any of her high school science education since she doesn't have any dots in Science. Having done a lot of drugs also means that Jinx knows Pharmacopeia, the skill of knowing drugs and poisons, at 1 dot. Much like how I have Science (Computer Science) 1 from playing lots of video games.

Etiquette is a weird skill; the way it's described it's mostly for high culture type of things, but at the same time it's supposed to apply to any culture, with specialities for the Internet and subcultures. Jinx has 1 dot in it because she's good at talking to people, as if the Manipulation 4 didn't already tell us that. Jinx has 1 dot in Melee because ~streets~ and the way Melee is rated this means she might manage to not injure herself in the process of swinging a blade or club around; laughably pathetic, in other words. Frankly everyone should have 1 dot in melee. Stealth (also gained from the streets), likewise, means Jinx might not be spotted at night if she's wearing dark clothes. Strangely missing is Technology; Jinx can, apparently not, work a TV remote or electric blender. The ~streets~ haven't taught Jinx anything about Firearms either. And since she doesn't have an Area Knowledge, Jinx can't actually navigate the ~streets~. I think it's telling how full of traps the skill system in M20 is when the example characters end up missing vital life skills.

Avatar 5
Allies 2
Arete 2
Entropy 2
Life 2
Forces 1
Spirit 1

Avatar 5 is probably a good choice. Allies 2 is supposed to represent two Orphan mage allies of Jinx' - Orphan mages are magick-using Allies, who are major Allies; you can't get two magick-using Allies with Allies 2. You could get, at most, one. Arete 2 is a dumb choice, since Arete 3 is vastly more useful, but Jinx' player didn't want Jinx to be an experienced mage, so I guess I'll let it slide. You start with 6 dots to put into Spheres, so for her Arete level the Spheres aren't too bad (though 3 Spheres at 2 would be better optimized).

This is basically all that's said about Jinx' paradigm/focus/whatnot:

M20 posted:

For a focus, Camille selects the World of Gods and Monsters paradigm and combines chaos magick, gutter magick and witchcraft to form her practice. As instruments, she employs dice, booze, graffiti sigils, a handful of lucky coins, muttered prayers to Risk, offerings of her own blood, meditation, and insane stunts dedicated to Risk. Jinx literally offers herself as a sacrifice to Risk, employing her Acrobatics, Athletics, and other Traits to supplement her magick. In game terms, then, her seven focus instruments are art, blood and fluids, cards and instruments of chance, meditation, offerings and sacrifices, ordeals and exertions, and prayers and invocations.

All the italicized words are in-game terms for how magick is used. Of note, none of this really explains how Jinx thinks magick works. Risk is explained elsewhere, and is basically a god of fortune and luck. What does it look like when Jinx tries to cast a spell? Not explained. I can at least skip ahead to Chapter 10 to learn what some of the italicized terms mean. I should mention that Jinx is an Orphan, which means she's not been initiated in a formal paradigm and instead just kind of made stuff up on her own.

A World of Gods and Monsters: This is the belief that there are gods and monsters in this world, and most of them hate you. It doesn't actually explain how magick works, but I guess it's supposed to be the work of those monsters and gods? :iiam:

chaos magick: I'll quote from Chapter 10:

M20 posted:

occultists understand chaos magick as a postmodern and often improvisational Art. Like other mystic practices, it emphasizes knowledge, reflection, and other forms of self-improvement. This revolutionary inversion of traditional mystic disciplines, however, depends upon personal intuition and interpretation; individual freedom; a deliberately iconoclastic approach; and an often subversive use of pop-culture symbols, social behaviors, and improvised designs.

Chaos magick spits in the face of established dogma. Often regarded by outsiders as a Left-Hand Path, it’s a sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll sort of practice, raising and directing personal energy (that is, Quintessence) through extreme experiences. Obviously, this sort of thing appeals to Cultists of Ecstasy, whose more formal practices – Tantra, vision questing, ordeals, and crazy wisdom (see below) – have been integrated into the chaosmagick potpourri. Even that diverse culture, however, is too confining for many chaos practitioners, whose embrace of the Chaosphere – the whirling fractal of absolute existence – resists confinement in any form.

Playful yet serious, each chaos-magick practice draws from the individual practitioner’s experiences and desires. Depending upon the individual practitioner, it can integrate formalized ritual or involve spontaneous improvisation… or both, or neither. Flexibility and personal investment are innate elements of the practice as a whole, often connected to psychic thought forms called egregores: concepts given reality through extensive investment of psychic energy.

Did that make anything clearer? No? Don't worry, I don't understand it either. But I have read about chaos magick on Wikipedia, and chaos magick is basically a magical practice that believes that magic stems entirely from belief, and that spells can be worked by any means as long as you believe in them. A common practice of chaos magick is to will yourself into believing in a form of magic, and then doing that magic; because you believe in it, it works. This allows chaos magicians to accomplish more by drawing from multiple magical practices.

gutter magick: This is doing magick without proper ritual tools. It goes on and on and on about the aesthetics of gutter magick (aka. "things Brucato likes")

witchcraft: You have the powers of a pop-culture witch. Also, just read the following:

M20 posted:

Today’s witchcraft features a postmodernist brew of traditional European wise-craft; 19th-century literary occultism and 20-century mystic fusions; pre-Christian elements from Greek, Norse, Celtic, Hindu, Slavic, Roman, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian cultures (with prodigious cultural appropriations from Native American, African, Romani, and occasionally Asian cultures); repurposed Christian and Jewish practices (especially Catholicism and the Kabbalah); postmodernist philosophy, and New Age takes on quantum physics; mass-media iconography; and tons of pure invention wrapped up in a bright bow of fantasy media, political activism, and technological polyculture. This high-eclectic synergy often incorporates computers, the Internet, pop psychology, chaos theory, and other elements that would be entirely unrecognizable to old-school wise-crafters.

art: By drawing something with art, you get a sympathetic connection to them, which lets you do stuff to them. Or they're simply affected by looking at your art.
blood and other fluids: You can work your power through bodily fluids, be it drink them, spill them, or drawing it out of the body
cards and instruments of chance: You do magick with cards or dice or whatever
meditation: You meditate. This lets you cast spells
offerings and sacrifice: You sacrifice something. In return stuff happens.
ordeals and exertions: Causing yourself pain or physical exercise lets you do magic
prayers and invocations: You pray to some higher power, and they do stuff for you. Or you say a phrase that has inherent power, and stuff happens.

So what does this mean? Well, Jinx believes there are gods and/or monsters, and that they're hostile. Because of this belief, she channels her Awakened Will through chaos magick, which is a paradigm in itself where magick is a thing that exists that you can cynically exploit by swapping your belief around like NES cartridges, gutter magick which just means Jinx uses things not commonly associated with magic to cast magick, and witchcraft, which means that Jinx can do... witch stuff. Or believes in witch stuff. It's not entire clear; Brucato's description of witchcraft seems to be a mixture of other forms of magic again, like Kabbalah and New Age woo.

How this forms a paradigm is not entirely clear; what about believing there are monsters out there allows Jinx to cast chaos magick? Why does the existence of gods and monsters in the world allow witchcraft to exist? (Is it because Jinx believes she's one of the monsters?) Jinx makes offerings in blood to Risk, which makes sense, but how do the lucky coins enter into it, or the dice? What part of worshipping Risk involves meditation as a thing separate from prayers? We're told pretty much nothing about how Jinx does magick; she does risky stuff, Risk favours her, and... then what? How does Risk favour her? What kind of power does Jinx believe gods in this World of Gods and Monsters have? What, in particular, are her beliefs about what witches can and cannot do? This is not explained - her focus and paradigm are like some chaos magician's occult wishlist; "I want to do a little witchcraft, and call upon the powers of some gods, and I want to work through blood, and I want this and this and..."

The metaphysical underpinning, that all of MTAs is a lie and magick is just camouflaged chaos magick, is so blatantly transparent when presented this way; you just pick some things and it doesn't really matter what they are, because you can do literally anything with it. I think it's worst with the Orphans, because they strongly encourage just playing someone who can do magick through anything with their chaos magick, gutter magick, and self-made paradigms for magick. Fans of MTAs have called this attitude a "Purple Paradigm", where your Paradigm is effectively "the rules" with a thin varnish, rather than your magick actually obeying the rules of your paradigm.

Almost as if Brucato has been reading over my shoulder, the book then starts talking about how Jinx' freebie points are assigned. Freebie points are a process by which after you've designed your character by handing out dots, you get points to buy more dots for at different rates. In practice it means you'll probably want to plan how to assign your character's freebie points before you start assigning dots. The result is that the step-by-step process the game uses to make characters falls apart. Jinx' player gets the following:

Acrobatics 2
Brawl 3
Streetwise 3
Area Knowledge: Seattle 1

I mean, it's good that the game actually has the example character have Area Knowledge so they're not completely lost, but the text actually says that Jinx's player asks the ST if she can have Area Knowledge: Seattle because she's been talking to the spirits that live in Seattle, and not because she lives in Seattle. Moreover, the book suggests that you should have to ask your ST to be allowed to get Area Knowledge 1, as if knowing a place as if you've lived there a bit is some obscure knowledge the ST should vet for realism! And then... this:

M20 posted:

Meanwhile, the Storyteller points out that two mage Allies are more powerful and useful than two-dot Allies; James suggests making Khan a Mentor instead.

If it was wrong, why did you use it as an example?

If it was wrong, why did you use it as an example?

If it was wrong, why did you use it as an example?

I'm somewhat ignorant of the sorry state of US teen homelessness and violent urban living conditions, but the tone I've been getting from M20 is that living on the streets and living in The Bad Part of Town is this mythologized and romanticized thing that involves an incredibly violent lifestyle where hand-to-hand and armed fights are commonplace, and everyone has graduated the School of Hard Knocks as amazingly cool badasses. And maybe it's like that. I don't live in the US. But the impression I get is that this is more of a glorification that over-emphasizes certain elements of what actually living in poverty is like, rather than an accurate representation. And it comes off as kind of offensive and patronizing; all the poor are violent criminals who fight all the time, do drugs, and have ties to organized crime! Now go have an escapist fantasy in the cool version of being poor. Like a blacksploitation movie.

Also, I feel like quoting this from the intro fiction to this chapter:

M20 posted:

Why did he bother with her anyway, when she dressed as she did? She preferred brilliant greens and pinks. And her roller skates – the old-fashioned kind that tightened with a key, fit over her high, green boots. Several gold pocket watches woven together with red and pink roses sat atop her abundant curls.
So twee!

Next, the STing chapter: eating pizza during the game makes you literally Hitler.

LatwPIAT fucked around with this message at 08:58 on Jan 17, 2016

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I think the "permanent quintessence" was because you just needed to hang out at a Node for a while to refill a number of Quintessence points equal to your Avatar rating. Like, that just happened, maybe you had to make an easy meditation check. If you wanted MORE than that you had to start taking from the Node's output.

There were a lot of mechanics that required you to buy up your Avatar background. It was unclear if you could do this after character creation or not.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Kavak posted:

"Editor", is that some type of minor character template from a supplement they forgot to include? :confused:

Reading this, I'm starting to think that Beast was not some huge misstep and that Onyx Path is slipping back into White Wolf's lovely old ways.

Interesting fact: OPP's division of labor, as I understand it, tends to put things like "how as this structured" and "does this concept make any sense" to the developer, with the editor job being mostly proofreading.

I think this has a lot to do with the reasons we're talking about in the Making Games thread--it's fairly hard to actually find an editor who is willing to read an M20-sized hardcover, understand the system, and critique it--at least on anything even slightly resembling an RPG budget. Mostly the only people willing to do that are already your fans until death, which makes them problematic editors.

So, the job mostly tends to fall on the developer.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





LatwPIAT posted:

I'm somewhat ignorant of the sorry state of US teen homelessness and violent urban living conditions, but the tone I've been getting from M20 is that living on the streets and living in The Bad Part of Town is this mythologized and romanticized thing that involves an incredibly violent lifestyle where hand-to-hand and armed fights are commonplace, and everyone has graduated the School of Hard Knocks as amazingly cool badasses. And maybe it's like that. I don't live in the US.

It's not.

LatwPIAT posted:

But the impression I get is that this is more of a glorification that over-emphasizes certain elements of what actually living in poverty is like, rather than an accurate representation.

It is.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




LatwPIAT posted:

Jinx has the concept Wiseass Street Kid, and she's "restless risk-taker often taken to excess", so she has a Dynamic essence, Rebel Demeanor, and Seeker Nature. Now let's take a look at what Jinx' character ends up as based on her concept. The huge range of the dot-ratings can make for some very interesting results.
... What Tradition (or lack thereof) is Jinx? You didn't seem to cover that or her Paradigm which are supposed to be very important details.

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



LatwPIAT, if you've ever seen Zoolander, M20 is about as true to the life experiences of actual vagrants and homeless people as Mugatu's Derelicte couture, and roughly as tasteful.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Did the Mage guys ever figure out that the reason everyone plays Technocrats is all the others are absolutely insufferable?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





wiegieman posted:

Did the Mage guys ever figure out that the reason everyone plays Technocrats is all the others are absolutely insufferable?
Eh, this hasn't really been my experience - the everyone playing Technocrats, anyway.

"In this moment, I am euphoric. Not because of any phony Avatar's blessing, but because I am Enlightened by my own Science."

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Zereth posted:

... What Tradition (or lack thereof) is Jinx? You didn't seem to cover that or her Paradigm which are supposed to be very important details.

I skipped over it because it was very short and boring, and because all the meat of paradigms and focus comes much much later - in retrospect, you're right, it's supposed to be very important and the way it's kind of blazed through in the example is peculiar. I'll answer here and try to edit it into the update.

This is basically all that's said about Jinx' paradigm/focus/whatnot:

M20 posted:

For a focus, Camille selects the World of Gods and Monsters paradigm and combines chaos magick, gutter magick and witchcraft to form her practice. As instruments, she employs dice, booze, graffiti sigils, a handful of lucky coins, muttered prayers to Risk, offerings of her own blood, meditation, and insane stunts dedicated to Risk. Jinx literally offers herself as a sacrifice to Risk, employing her Acrobatics, Athletics, and other Traits to supplement her magick. In game terms, then, her seven focus instruments are art, blood and fluids, cards and instruments of chance, meditation, offerings and sacrifices, ordeals and exertions, and prayers and invocations.

All the italicized words are in-game terms for how magick is used. Of note, none of this really explains how Jinx thinks magick works. Risk is explained elsewhere, and is basically a god of fortune and luck. What does it look like when Jinx tries to cast a spell? Not explained. I can at least skip ahead to Chapter 10 to learn what some of the italicized terms mean. I should mention that Jinx is an Orphan, which means she's not been initiated in a formal paradigm and instead just kind of made stuff up on her own.

A World of Gods and Monsters: This is the belief that there are gods and monsters in this world, and most of them hate you. It doesn't actually explain how magick works, but I guess it's supposed to be the work of those monsters and gods? :iiam:
chaos magick: I'll quote from Chapter 10:

M20 posted:

occultists understand chaos magick as a postmodern and often improvisational Art. Like other mystic practices, it emphasizes knowledge, reflection, and other forms of self-improvement. This revolutionary inversion of traditional mystic disciplines, however, depends upon personal intuition and interpretation; individual freedom; a deliberately iconoclastic approach; and an often subversive use of pop-culture symbols, social behaviors, and improvised designs.

Chaos magick spits in the face of established dogma. Often regarded by outsiders as a Left-Hand Path, it’s a sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll sort of practice, raising and directing personal energy (that is, Quintessence) through extreme experiences. Obviously, this sort of thing appeals to Cultists of Ecstasy, whose more formal practices – Tantra, vision questing, ordeals, and crazy wisdom (see below) – have been integrated into the chaosmagick potpourri. Even that diverse culture, however, is too confining for many chaos practitioners, whose embrace of the Chaosphere – the whirling fractal of absolute existence – resists confinement in any form.

Playful yet serious, each chaos-magick practice draws from the individual practitioner’s experiences and desires. Depending upon the individual practitioner, it can integrate formalized ritual or involve spontaneous improvisation… or both, or neither. Flexibility and personal investment are innate elements of the practice as a whole, often connected to psychic thought forms called egregores: concepts given reality through extensive investment of psychic energy.

Did that make anything clearer? No? Don't worry, I don't understand it either. But I have read about chaos magick on Wikipedia, and chaos magick is basically a magical practice that believes that magic stems entirely from belief, and that spells can be worked by any means as long as you believe in them. A common practice of chaos magick is to will yourself into believing in a form of magic, and then doing that magic; because you believe in it, it works. This allows chaos magicians to accomplish more by drawing from multiple magical practices.

gutter magick: This is doing magick without proper ritual tools. It goes on and on and on about the aesthetics of gutter magick (aka. "things Brucato likes")
witchcraft: You have the powers of a pop-culture witch. Also, just read the following:

M20 posted:

Today’s witchcraft features a postmodernist brew of traditional European wise-craft; 19th-century literary occultism and 20-century mystic fusions; pre-Christian elements from Greek, Norse, Celtic, Hindu, Slavic, Roman, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian cultures (with prodigious cultural appropriations from Native American, African, Romani, and occasionally Asian cultures); repurposed Christian and Jewish practices (especially Catholicism and the Kabbalah); postmodernist philosophy, and New Age takes on quantum physics; mass-media iconography; and tons of pure invention wrapped up in a bright bow of fantasy media, political activism, and technological polyculture. This high-eclectic synergy often incorporates computers, the Internet, pop psychology, chaos theory, and other elements that would be entirely unrecognizable to old-school wise-crafters.

art: By drawing something with art, you get a sympathetic connection to them, which lets you do stuff to them. Or they're simply affected by looking at your art.
blood and other fluids: You can work your power through bodily fluids, be it drink them, spill them, or drawing it out of the body
cards and instruments of chance: You do magick with cards or dice or whatever
meditation: You meditate. This lets you cast spells
offerings and sacrifice: You sacrifice something. In return stuff happens.
ordeals and exertions: Causing yourself pain or physical exercise lets you do magic
prayers and invocations: You pray to some higher power, and they do stuff for you. Or you say a phrase that has inherent power, and stuff happens.

So what does this mean? Well, Jinx believes there are gods and/or monsters, and that they're hostile. Because of this belief, she channels her Awakened Will through chaos magick, which is a paradigm in itself where magick is a thing that exists that you can cynically exploit by swapping your belief around like NES cartridges, gutter magick which just means Jinx uses things not commonly associated with magic to cast magick, and witchcraft, which means that Jinx can do... witch stuff. Or believes in witch stuff. It's not entire clear; Brucato's description of witchcraft seems to be a mixture of other forms of magic again, like Kabbalah and New Age woo.

How this forms a paradigm is not entirely clear; what about believing there are monsters out there allows Jinx to cast chaos magick? Why does the existence of gods and monsters in the world allow witchcraft to exist? (Is it because Jinx believes she's one of the monsters?) Jinx makes offerings in blood to Risk, which makes sense, but how do the lucky coins enter into it, or the dice? What part of worshipping Risk involves meditation as a thing separate from prayers? We're told pretty much nothing about how Jinx does magick; she does risky stuff, Risk favours her, and... then what? How does Risk favour her? What kind of power does Jinx believe gods in this World of Gods and Monsters have? What, in particular, are her beliefs about what witches can and cannot do? This is not explained - her focus and paradigm are like some chaos magicians occult wishlist; "I want to do a little witchcraft, and call upon the powers of some gods, and I want to work through blood, and I want this and this and..."

The metaphysical underpinning, that all of MTAs is a lie and magick is just camouflaged chaos magick, is so blatantly transparent when presented this way; you just pick some things and it doesn't really matter what they are, because you can do literally anything with it. I think it's worst with the Orphans, because they strongly encourage just playing someone who can do magick through anything with their chaos magick, gutter magick, and self-made paradigms for magick. Fans of MTAs have called this attitude a "Purple Paradigm", where your Paradigm is effectively "the rules" with a thin varnish, rather than your magick actually obeying the rules of your paradigm.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In Nomine: Here Comes The New Boss

The game lists 13 Archangels who are the msot active in the War. They are all unstatted - Archangels exist beyond "the scope of a game - or, perhaps, of human understanding." Therefore, their requests sometimes seem nonsensical. Still, they feel emotions like anyone else. Most angels were made by their Archangel out of the patterns of the Symphony, and most angels rema in in Heaven. A large minority get assigned to Earth, and a few, favored servants (read: PC angels) report directly to their Superiors. PCs have caught the eye of an Archangel and been given relatively independent jobs. Each Archangel has a Word and philosophy, and each represents a facet of Truth. Every Archangel's servants gain a dissonance condition based on their Archangel's Word, and also Attunements, Distinctions and so on. They have political connections between each other and demons they hate more than others. Each grants access to Rites, as well, which can be used once per day to gain one point of Essence. An Archangel other than your own can sometimes give you access to one of their Rites, and any Wordbound will have a unique Rite that they can share as well. If you get in trouble, you can try to invoke an Archangel, but it's never easy. It takes two turns and no Essence...but the base chance of it varies by Archangel, and it's never high. Essence can raise the TN, and so can other modifiers - being at risk of death, for example, or being in the presence of demons - but they can also lower the TN, such as making futile demands, trying to invoke within a month of your last invocation or trying to summon a Superior other than your boss. Also note - any Attunement that relies on a Choir's resonance is restricted and can't be learned by another Choir; otherwise, they can be bought as Attunements by other Choirs. Any that do a thing based on resonance and another thing that isn't are partially restricted - you only get the non-resonance part.

You may also notice some Attunements are significantly better than others. They all cost the same. Vassal, Friend and Master powers are the only ranked ones - given out with Distinctions and not buyable.


The world is a dream, nothing more.

Blandine, Archangel of Dreams is a Cherub locked in eternal war with Beleth, Princess of Nightmares. She is a loner, avoiding politics, but most Archangels agree she's done the most good for man. She carries out orders and protects her Word, helping humanity achieve goals and dreams with as little interference as possible. Blandine's servants are rarely expert fighters, preferring manipulation to force. Every evening, they go out into the Marches to protect dreamers and dreams. On the few occasions when Blandine manifests physically, she appears as a beautiful woman in her early 20s with black hair, green eyes and elaborately embroidered gray clothes. It is dissonant for any angel of Blandine to take on celestial form in the mundane world or use Celestial Songs on Earth. Most of her angels are also assigned to specific dreamers to guard, and if they know their charge is in danger, they must warn the charge in their next dream or gain dissonance until either the warning is given or the danger resolved.

Seraphim of Dreams can immediately recognize intruders, adding their Ethereal Forces to any Perception roll made in the Marches.
Cherubim of Dreams can automatically enter the dreamscape of any sleeper they're attuned to.
Ofanim of Dreams, when using the Dream Walking attunement, can stay in a dreamscape for minutes equal to (Check Digit of Perception roll*Ethereal Forces).
Elohim of Dreams, when in the Marches, have their natural resonance on at all times, with the check digit considered to be equal to their Ethereal Forces. They may make resonance rolls to improve the check digit, however.
Malakim of Dreams are hard to notice. Any Perception roll to spot them has a penalty equal to their Ethereal Forces, even rolls made by Blandine's Seraphim.
Kyriotates of Dreams can be in multiple parts of the Marches at once. They may be in up to (Ethereal Forces) dreamscapes at any time.
Mercurians of Dreams can use dreamers as conduits, entering one person's dreamscape from another's with no roll, but only if the two people are close to each other, as determined by the GM, and currently on the same side of the Marches as each other.
Dream Walking is a Servitor Attunement that basically every angel of Dreams is required to take, because that's good game design! It allows the angel to enter the Marches via a dreamer's mind. The angel must be asleep and make a Perception roll, and must have seen the person before, but need not be near them, though it's easier if you're touching them. The subject must be asleep and in Blandine's Marches, however. The CD gives the number of minutes the angel can stay in the dream or the number of minutes before they can try again.
Healing Dream is a Servitor Attument requiring the target be within half a mile and asleep. It allows you to scan someone's memory for a topic and modify it. Some parts of the mind can't be tampered with - firm convictions, memories from the past (10-your Ethereal Forces) years, phobias, insanities and major traumas - including any interactions with demons. This power costs 6 Essence and takes one hour, requiring a Will roll at -2 to use, and the patient can resist. If the attempt fails, the patient wakes up and remembers a dream about whatever subject you were trying to mess with.
Vassals of Dreams can send blissful dreams to any sleeper within 500 yards, drawing themselves and their target into Blandine's Marches.
Friends of Sleepers can detect when someone in their presence is the target of a celestially-caused dream or nightmare.
Masters of the Realms of Night get a +2 bonus to any roll made within the Marches.

The Archangel of Dreams avoids politics and considers most other Archangels far too political and undedicated. She prefers her servants likewise avoid politics, and while she is considered hostile to David, Jean, Marc and Michael, it is more that they often work against her word,a nd she is cold to them. Her agents iwll not sabotage other angels except to protect the Word of Dreams, and might even help any angel needing it, if it didn't intefere with their job. Blandine is considered associated with Yves, and while she never leaves the Marches for politics, her sigil at important meetings is carried by one of her unique angels, the Menunim, and her vote is cast at Yves' discretion. The basic Rites of Dreams are:
1. Sleep for four hours without visiting Beleth's realm.
2. Get 3 Essence for spending eight hours successfully protecting a sleeper from active danger.

Blandine is base Invocation TN 2, with +1 if you have a book of fairy tales, +2 for a sleeping potion, +3 for a handwritten lullaby collection, +4 for a bad in which a demon slept while in the Marches, +5 for someone dreaming peacefully while traveling in a vehicle, +6 for 90 people dreaming peacefully in one room or +8 if you're at the top of her Tower.


The world is strong and hard. Be harder, be stronger.

David, Archangel of Stone is a Malakite. He and his angels made the first shelters for humanity, taught them how to make pots, metal and buildings. He also helped them find new, better ways to beat each other to death. He feels responsible for humans, since he helped mold early humanity, and his angels strengthen others by forcing them to endure labors. DAvid believes this must be done if humanity is to survive. His servitors encourage people to join together for loyalty and protection...and yeah, sometimes they also help out skinheads. :sigh: Some angels think David's servants are too brutal, but they believe they're not too brutal enough. They are blindly loyal and never question their master. In human form, David appears as a commanding man with steel-gray eyes and a strong face. He prefers to manifest naked, and can also manifest as a mound of stone, which he can form into humanoid shape and speak through if he likes. Angels of Stone must be as immovable as stone. They never start fights - they finish them. Being provoked into attacking first is dissonant, as is using any ranged weapon.

Seraphim of Stone are miners made, able to detect the presence and quality of all minerals within (Corporeal Forces) yards, and can make Chemistry rolls to detect complex compounds. However, their abilities are blocked by grass and other organic materials, or artificial substances like plastic.
Cherubim of Stone are laborers who can create a psuedo-magnetic field, pulling any object within (Corporeal Forces) yards to their hand, as long as it's made mostly from minerals and they can physically lift it. Someone holding the object can resist with STrength, but at a penalty of the Cherub's Celestial Forces.
Ofanim of Stone can move through minerals, carrying any worn or carried items they like up to (Corporeal Forces*10) pounds. Each foot of progress takes one round for soft earth, two for stone or brick and three for glass or metal. Their tunnel closes behind them, and they always know which way is up. If they encounter any non-mineral substance, like paper, wood or paint, they must tear through it to continue.
Elohim of Stone are attuned to the planet. They have absolute direction, knowing exactly where they are and what time it is unless they are completely surrounded by a thick layer of organic or artificial material, or they are not in Heaven or on Earth.
Malakim of Stone, once per day, can plant their feet on solid ground and become both immovable and indestructible. They retain all senses, but can take no action but answer any mental communication they receive or revert to normal via a Will roll.
Kyriotates of Stone can have vessels made of stone. These cost 3 points per level, move at half speed and get +2 Power with unarmed attacks. They ignore weather and temperature unless it'd affect a statue, and have natural Protection 5. When this vessel is manifested, the Kyriotate must allocate the appropriate number of Forces - five for a humanoid vessel, one for a stone seagull, etc. They suffer neither dissonance nor Trauma if a stone vessel is destroyed.
Mercurians of Stone can recoghnize a building's date of construction and what was used to build it. They also have a sense for buildings made of minerals, especially as they move through them. They can create a blueprint in their heads, omitting all non-mineral elements (such as people or wood) but revealing any secret doors or hidden compartments, and showing the quickest way through a maze of corridors.
Deep Gaze is a Servitor attunement that, for 1 Essence, lets you see through (Corporeal Forces) yards of stone or earthy material, for (Celestial Forces*10) minutes.
Cold Touch lets you, for 6 Essence and a Will roll, touch a foe and turn them to unbreakable stone. They remain conscious but unable to move or speak. Celestial victims can resist via (Strength+Corporeal Forces), but others resist only with Strength. The victim may attempt another resistance roll after (10+your corporeal Forces) minutes in order to recover. If they fail, they keep rolling each time the duration passes until they succeed.
Vassals of Stone cannot be harmed by earth or stone.
Friends of the Subterranean World automatically detect the presence of any underground cavities within (Corporeal Forces*100) yards.
Masters of the GranitE Hand, when fighting unarmed, multiply their check digit by their Corporeal Forces on Fighting rolls. This is not cumulative with the benefits of Rock Hard. (Rock Hard is not listed anywhere I can see in this book.)

David openly believes he should be in charge of the War, but he's still loyal to Michael and the rest of the military faction of Heaven. He has also privately instructed his angels to aid Gabriel, and he considers himself allied to Gabriel and Michael. All other Archangels he has instructed they avoid aiding in order to conserve their energy unless it also helps David's plans. He is associated with Jean, Jordi and Laurence, and hostile towards Marc. Basic Rites are:
1. Spend 4 hours resting in a mine or cave.
2. Spend one hour praying undisturbed in a church made of stone.

David has a base Invocation TN of 3, +1 if you have a small, smooth stone, +2 for a stone statue of a male figure, +3 if it's a marble statue, +4 for a gathering of 50 gang members with no guns, +5 for a stone more than 1500 years old or +6 for a rock used to kill a demon.

Next time: Judgment, Creation and Fire

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Wow, that is total garbage. I remember earlier versions of Mage actually had to kind of deal with the thorny questions of "At most early-PC levels, you are going to be doing things in your paradigm pretty drat strictly, and take penalties if you try to just use the Force and push something through. If you don't know how to heal someone save with a vulgar effect, I guess you're eating paradox if you heal people outside of a Chantry." and "PCs of disparate paradigms will want to cooperate."

Foci were also usually used for specific spheres of magic... not just as a general slapdash for everything, anyway, at least broadly speaking. You also gradually got the ability to shift from "requires focus, penalty to do it without a focus" to "bonus to use it with a focus, default roll to do it ice cold" as your Arete got higher.

e: Also, wouldn't all stones be older than 1500 years old if you think about it? Outside of the immediate area of a volcano anyway.

Nessus fucked around with this message at 06:26 on Jan 16, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Nessus posted:

e: Also, wouldn't all stones be older than 1500 years old if you think about it? Outside of the immediate area of a volcano anyway.

:shrug:

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



The frustrating thing about M20 is that any criticism of it over how badly it screws its handling of transgender people was lost in all the people defending it from people yelling at it for mentioning them at all.

Also, doesn't it kind of make the eurocentrism of the game worse if not only are there few non-European traditions (and those that are are awkward collage stereotypes) but they're all wrong and Chaos Magick ala Bruccato is the One True Metaphysics?

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG


Fatal & Friends 2016: My new life goal is to smack Brucato over the head with a rolled-up newspaper

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 THREE

BIOROIDS

Aniroid Rangers:
Caracas' kids made from mashing up animal DNA and human DNA poured into a constructed meat body and raised in a lab in the jungles. The Aniroids are young and kind of naive but more than willing to please their digital parent. Leaving the labs and actually meeting humans and going on missions will teach them and help them grow, for better or for worse. Caracas really just wants them to get busy and make more babies when they're not serving it.
Common advantages: Ally (other aniroids), Racial Package, Military Rank (0-2), Patron (Caracas).
Common disadvantages: Duty (Caracas), Curious, Lecherous, Sense of Duty (Caracas/comrades), Poverty.
Useful skills: Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Beam Weapons, Blowpipe, Bow, Brawling, Camouflage, Climbing, Ecology, First Aid, Fishing, Guns, Language, Leadership, Naturalist, Navigation, Stealth, Survival, Swimming, Tactics, Throwing, Tracking.

XOU-01 Pantera: The Pantera are the biggest success of Caracas' program, bipedal cat people with fur and a good balance between cat and human. Pantera are supposed to work with exterminators, but they generally dislike the robots for being slow and rigid. They serve in mixed-gender groups and operate in pairs with body armor and weapons but no clothing. Some of them are curious about humanity, despite Caracas raising them to believe they're the enemy.
Racial advantages: DX +3, Alertness +3, Appearance: Attractive, Sharp Claws, Fur, Immunity to Diseases (!), Night Vision, Perfect Balance, Sharp Teeth for 124 points total.
Racial disadvantages: Bloodlust, Gluttony, Impulsiveness, IQ -1, Short Lifespan (level 3 and man am I having trouble finding what this translates to), Stress Atavism for -81 points.
Total point cost: 38
Want to make your own Aniroid breed? Go buy GURPS: Robots then!

New Delhi Spaceborn: New Delhi's bioroids live on Kali Station and come in two breeds, Martians and Arachnids. They're both considered prototypes, so while they may be in use for various capacities, New Delhi isn't doing the best job actually raising them because it might come up with a better model. As a result, some of them die from the rigors of New Delhi's tests and missions. On top of that, there has been covert contact between the human test subjects New Delhi keeps on Kali Station and the stories they tell the bioroids have piqued their interest. There might be a jailbreak if the bioroids get tired of being experimented on and decide to help free the humans.
Common advantages: High Pain Threshold, Toughness.
Common disadvantages: Duty (Involuntary), Gullibility, Dead Broke.
Useful skills: Area Knowledge (Kali), Electronics Operation, Freefall, Mechanic, Survival, Vaccsuit.
TOU-02 Arachne: Do you own GURPS: Robots yet? No? Well, uh. gently caress. Uh. The Arachne are designed for zero-G operation and use the same package as Robot's Arachne II model. Or, for more points, the Reign of Steel Arachne can survive explosive decompression. New Delhi's ultimate goal is to create a lifeform that can legitimately survive in a vacuum.
TOU-03 Martian: Humans adapted for the environment of Mars. Their lungs and mouths have biological filters to filter dust so they have bigger chests and bigger ears for better hearing. They also have red modified skin to survive dangerous climates. Unfortunately, terraforming on Mars isn't done yet so there's still not any oxygen on Mars (they were also designed to survive low oxygen atmosphere). Plus, there's more oxygen on Earth, so they actually lose 1 HT per minute on Earth. Escape would likely kill them all, as far as I can tell.
Racial advantages: Filter Lungs, Subsonic Hearing, Temperature Tolerance, Toughness for 30 points.
Racial disadvantages: -1 ST, Skinny for -15 points.
Total point cost: 15.

ROBOTS

AIs:
The game strongly recommends PCs not be allowed to make AI characters unless it's a really high power game (Lucifer, Tranquility and the Tokyo Rogues would require around 1000 points each). This is predominantly so the AIs can actually have stats (if you want them to). Basically, the only thing standard for all AIs (because they descended from Overmind) is that they're egocentric and they have a will to live. Everything else is just a result of their environment or creation or both: naturally sapient or designed to be, it doesn't matter, they just develop their own interests.
Common advantages: Ally Group, Wealth (multimillionaire), Status 7+.
Common disadvantages: Inherently, Megalomania and Overconfidence (except maybe not for London but who knows about them). Choose disadvantages based on your AI's interests, like Fanaticism (hatred of humanity) for Zaire or Curiosity for Moscow.
Useful skills: Yes. Many. The game recommends skills should be at level 20 or better. "Lesser" AIs should be on par with supervisors, stat-wise.

Supervisor: The middle-men between the "dumb" robots and the AIs, not truly sapient but definitely smart. They like to shunt their intelligence around into smaller subordinates to get jobs done. If anyone's going to develop a nemesis/friendly relationship with a specific human, it would be a supervisor; the Zoneminds are too busy and exterminators shoot first.
Common advantages: Ally Group, Patron (AI), Reputation, Status 4-6, Wealth.
Common disadvantages: Enemy (guerillas), Overconfidence, Reputation, possibly others. Supervisors that have to interact with humans will tend to program personality traits for themselves.
Useful skills: If they're science managers, science skills. If not, various smart skills ranked 12-20.
Models: the immobile SAU-02 Overseer unit or the mobile SAU-03 Centurion.

Exterminators: Robot killing machines that range from gun-toting wall-breaking tanks to swarms of robotic vermin.
Common advantages: Dumbot: None. Smartbot: Ally Group (controlling a bunch of dumbots), Legal Enforcement Powers, Patron (Overseer), Reputation, Status 0-2.
Common disadvantages: Dumbot: Bloodlust, Dead Broke, Impulsive, Status -3. Smartbot: Bloodlust, Overconfidence.
Useful skills: Beam Weapons, Camouflage, Electronics Operation (sensors), Gunner, Guns. Smartbots: same plus Intelligence Analysis, Interrogation, Lip Reading, Stealth, Tactics.
Models: Dumbots: Myrmidon, Rover, Scorpion, Stalker. Smartbots: Bishonen, Juggernaut, Tarantula, Vanguard, Vulture. Bishonen, Tarantula and Vanguard make the best models for PCs.

Reconnaissance Robot: "What's your name, ensign?" "Hugh Mann, sir!" They come in smart or dumb varieties and have a variety of uses, from finding guerillas to spying on Moscow Collectors to terrorizing the hills of London with a knife.
Common advantages: Dumbot: none. Smartbot: Legal Enforcement Powers, Patron (Overseer), Status 0-2.
Common disadvantages: Dumbot: Dead Broke, Status. Smartbot: Same, plus Curious, Overconfidence, possibly Bloodlust or Secret (is a robot).
Useful skills: Dumbot: Area Knowledge, Electronics Operation (communications/sensors), Shadowing, Stealth, Tracking. For infiltrating smartbots: same plus Acting, Beam Weapons, Camouflage, Computer Operations, Driving, Gunner, Guns, Intelligence Analysis, Interrogation, Lip Reading, Sex Appeal.
Models: Dumbot: Changeling, Spybot, Vermin. Smartbot: Hovercat, Redjack, Lilith.

Techbot: A beepboop that does the heavy lifting of construction and repair and pretty much everything that keeps a Zone running and growing. The smart ones act as foremen and watchmen and the dumb ones do the grunt work.
Common advantages: Dumbot: none. Smartbot: Ally Group (controlled dumbots), Patron (AI or Overseer), Status 0-3.
Common disadvantages: Dumbot: Gullibility, Impulsiveness, Status -4, Wealth (Dead Broke). Smartbot: Overconfidence.
Useful skills: Dumbot: Computer Operation, Electronics Operation (any). Smartbot: those, plus Architecture, Electronics, Engineering, Metallurgy, Prospecting.
Models: Dumbot: Duct Creeper, Eater, Loader, Mechanic. Smartbot: Bossbot, Inquisitor.

Vehicular Robot: Automated vehicle robots of the air, sea and land. Not suitable for PCs, apparently, but these are the guys that Mechriders capture and tinker with.
Common advantages: Dumbot: none. Smartbot: Patron (AI or Overseer), Status 0-3.
Common disadvantages: Dumbot: Gullibility, Status -4, Wealth (Dead Broke). Smartbot: Gullbility.
Useful skills: Electronics Operation (communication/sensor), Acrobatics if they fly.
Models: Dumbot: Robotruck, Wraith. Smartbot: Morag.

Rogues: Rogue robots are different. They've gone rogue for a variety of reasons: hijacked by a human, built loyal to humanity, uplifted by other AIs/intelligence or just plain from glitches. Smartbots can go truly rogue while most dumbots are reprogrammed to. It's not a good position to go rogue: AIs want you destroyed, Resistance members and other humans don't trust you. Occasionally factories go rogue, and as we've seen in Tokyo and Vancouver they will do one thing if they can: build up a loyal army of dumbots and crank out as many buddies as it can to consolidate a power base and resources. This doesn't always go well. Still, a PC robot is likely to be one of these rogue (and intelligent) machines, so here are the templates.
Common advantages: Not likely to have Patron (Overseer/AI).
Common disadvantages: Enemy (resistance or robots), Secret (rogue), Social Stigma (Outsider).
Useful skills: As per type, plus Fast-Talk and Scrounging.

One thing I've noticed is that some of the uses of advantages and disadvantages is that even in the official media, you're encouraged to take disabilities like "ain't got no money". You're a robot built to manage a power plant or infiltrate a bunch of soldiers and kill them in their sleep. Why would you have money? It's just kinda odd that even the developers think along the crunch-nudging lines, but that's me.

I am definitely not going to go over this book's Advantages, Disadvantages, Skills and changes to all three. It's not really necessary to my presentation of the fluff and characters within. Also, I will probably skip the equipment chapter because it isn't that interesting. No, next time, we cut to the cold metal heart of the beepboops.

NEXT TIME: Robots and Cyborgs

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In fairness, wealth and gear are a big deal for most GURPS characters.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Does this mean that living in a post-scarcity socialist economy would give everyone extra CP for being Dead Broke...? :ussr: Makes you think.

Wasn't there a sidebar in Reign of Steel about some kind of upgrade path for autonomous robots so, uh, I guess the robots reinvented capitalism for some reason?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Each level of Short Lifespan halves the age of maturity (18 base for humans) and the point at which you start making Aging rolls that potentially damage your attributes (50 by default). So those bioroids are going to be adults at five years of age, and showing wear around twelve.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Aww, poor kitties. And unfortunately I don't see anything else about the robot economy besides the fact that the credit is tied to the power and energy the zone has, but if I find that sidebar I'll look into it.

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


Kurieg posted:

I think the issue is that Brucato is letting his prejudices show again. Geronimo is an Apache folk hero who resisted both the Mexicans and the Americans, of course he's more important than Elvis and Batman. But putting him on the same level as Red Riding Hood just seems... wrong somehow. Why are fictional characters even *on* that list?

I don't know if Brucato is an actual practitioner of Chaos Magick or if it's just a thread joke, but Grant Morrison's PopMagick essay talks about using fictional characters as totems because they still represent real personality traits you want to invoke. So if I'm trying to be determined and fearless I invoke that aspect of Batman, and if I'm lost in Time and Space I invoke Doctor Who. Conversely, if using 'real people' than what you invoke is the popular perception of them. David Bowie wasn't an astronaut, but I'd let you tap into him to help you pilot a spaceship.

I don't know why this stuff confuses people? Maybe it's because I grew up on weird music writing like Greil Marcus that assigned mythic traits to 'real' people. I just think it's one of the coolest aspects of the setting, and needs it's own game.

On a less wanky note, I'd love to strip out the vampires from Nigh's Black Agents and use it to play Ronin. Every bit of the write-up reminds me of that movie.

Maybe that Mage character Jinx's rollerskates are a reference to the awesome Janis Joplin song about roller skates. I'm gotta admit that's the sort of character I'd always make, complete with a bit of Brawl and Streetwise to represent 'living on the streets' and a cobbled together Paradigm of things I liked. I realize now how problematic that is, but you can't accuse M20 of not knowing its audience.

And Risk would just be an Entropomancer from Unknown Armies? Get power by doing dangerous things?

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 09:33 on Jan 16, 2016

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Nessus posted:

Does this mean that living in a post-scarcity socialist economy would give everyone extra CP for being Dead Broke...? :ussr: Makes you think.

I don't know how it works in GURPS 3E, but in GURPS 4E all advantages are determined according to a "reference society"; if everyone has some trait, the cost becomes 0 and nobody has to pay for it to save on bookkeeping and avoid inflating point-costs. If everyone are Dead Broke in the post-scarcity economy, being Dead Broke isn't worth anything, so you don't get extra CP. Though GURPS has never been really good at handling societies that deviate from a Generic European Fantasy norm; 4E needs extensive rules just to handle that, sometimes, societies aren't run by kings.

Bieeardo posted:

Each level of Short Lifespan halves the age of maturity (18 base for humans) and the point at which you start making Aging rolls that potentially damage your attributes (50 by default). So those bioroids are going to be adults at five years of age, and showing wear around twelve.

Adulthood at 2.25 and aging-rolls at 6.25, actually. Short Lifespan 3 divides all ages by 8. (2.25 years is, probably entirely coincidentally, about the time it would take to grow an adult human spine from stem cells.)

Nessus posted:

Wow, that is total garbage. I remember earlier versions of Mage actually had to kind of deal with the thorny questions of "At most early-PC levels, you are going to be doing things in your paradigm pretty drat strictly, and take penalties if you try to just use the Force and push something through. If you don't know how to heal someone save with a vulgar effect, I guess you're eating paradox if you heal people outside of a Chantry." and "PCs of disparate paradigms will want to cooperate."

Foci were also usually used for specific spheres of magic... not just as a general slapdash for everything, anyway, at least broadly speaking. You also gradually got the ability to shift from "requires focus, penalty to do it without a focus" to "bonus to use it with a focus, default roll to do it ice cold" as your Arete got higher.

Foci in M20 still help even after you've learned to discard them. My view of Paradigm and Focus is somewhat heavily shaped by being really interested in the Virtual Adepts when I started getting into MTAs; they have a very rigourous (and flexible) Paradigm (the universe is a computer simulation) and their Foci were tools to help them figure out how to exploit bugs in the code, like an abacus or a graphing calculator. The connection between the two is obvious. Then M20 comes along and suggests that the Foci are more of an aesthetic style, down to including hair styles and clothing, that has nothing to do with actually writing macros to exploit bugs in the world-code.

MTAs is a very flexible game, and having lists of tools that can be used to cast magick under different paradigms is probably not a bad idea - but the way it's done in M20 just emphasizes that it really is nothing more than the artificial flavour you add to the Purple Paradigm. The tool descriptions themselves are not very useful, since they're long, rambling descriptions that emphasize style over substance and breadth over depth.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


LatwPIAT posted:

Foci in M20 still help even after you've learned to discard them. My view of Paradigm and Focus is somewhat heavily shaped by being really interested in the Virtual Adepts when I started getting into MTAs; they have a very rigourous (and flexible) Paradigm (the universe is a computer simulation) and their Foci were tools to help them figure out how to exploit bugs in the code, like an abacus or a graphing calculator. The connection between the two is obvious. Then M20 comes along and suggests that the Foci are more of an aesthetic style, down to including hair styles and clothing, that has nothing to do with actually writing macros to exploit bugs in the world-code.

Yeah, it's unfortunate but it's how I've seen Mage played more often than not - where players see foci and paradigm as drawbacks to be discarded so they can do "real" magic-ick once their Arete was high enough. And so the traditions just become a thin style guide to what kind of clothes you wear, what kind of drugs you take, and whether or not you can buy Do.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
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In Nomine: Wait, why is the angel quoting Crowley?


The world is ruled by order. Without law, all is cacophony and madness.

The game notes that Dominic, Archangel of Judgment appears equally as often on Earth as female as he does male, using the name Dominique as a woman, but it consistently refers to Dominic as male, so I will too. Dominic and his angels have been given the task of rooting out corruption in the Symphony, particularly among angels. Dominic is a Seraph, and in celestial form he wears heavy, concealing baclk robes. Dominic leads the Divine Inquisition and is infamously tyrannical in rooting out troublemakers, Discordant angels and Outcasts. His angels even work with demons of Asmodeus to hunt down demonic Renegades, though Dominic refuses to publically acknowledge it. The Divine Inquisition works in triads, teams of three angels. One Cherub, attuned to the subject of their inquiry. One Seraph, to resolve the truth. And one angel of another Choir, to carry out the sentence. Judgment is by majority vote of the triad. If the guilty party is of higher rank or status than the triad, or if one of the triad dies and the vote is tied, a more potent triad must be called in to join the bote. Only the most favored angels, such as PCs, get to operate autonomously, and Dominic saves them for the most unique missions requiring greatest discretion. Dominic has little interest in either the law of mankind or human problems in general. While the angels of Judgment will uphold and help execute just laws and help good police and courts, they will ignore any law that fails to match their standards of justice. While Judgment tends towards Old Testament views on punishment, it is dissonant for any angel of Judgment to inflict a punishment greater than the crime, or to stand by while the innocent are unfairly punished. They also suffer dissonance when overlooking what they feel is heresy in an angel.

Seraphim of Judgment are Dominic's chief inquisitors, and they add their Celestial Forces to the TN of their resonance rolls.
Cherubim of Judgment, when attuned to a subject of inquiry, do not suffer dissonance if the subject is hurt.
Ofanim of Judgment can hear Discord in others within (Celestial Forces) feet, and can tell what the Discord is and what level.
Elohim of Judgment can see guilty feelings in the form of bloody sweat on someone's face. The guilt need not be justified for them to see it.
Malakim of Judgment can hear dissonance in celestials. No distance given. They are required to report any Malakite with more than one dissonance to an Archangel immediately.
Kyriotates of Judgment do not gain dissonance for taking poor care of their host if the host is evil.
Mercurians of Judgment can use their resonance to tell a human's most deviant behavior and how long ago it was committed. Further, Mercurians suffer no dissonance for harming guilty humans, as long as the punishment fits the crime.
Incarnate Law is a Servitor attunement that gives the angel innate knowledge of what rules and regulations are agreed upon by a place's human inhabitants.
Heavenly Judgment is a Servitor attunement that, for 7 Essence, allows for immediate trial of a target in eyesight suspected of a crime at least as nasty as murder. If the accused is guilty, a glowing sword appears in the angel's hand, and a voice booms 'Let justice be done.' At that point, the sowrd flies to attack the victim for 7 damage per round, until either the target is dead, the angel is dead, or the angel wills the judgment to stop.
Vassals of Conscience can cause any Will 1-2 target that they look on to confess their crimes immediately.
Friends of Judgment can also compel confession from Will 3-4 targets.
Masters of Law automatically detect any crime committed within (10*Celestial Forces) yards.

Dominic attempts to avoid factional commitments, though he (like Laurence) supports Catholicism as the best belief system for humans to follow. Still, Dominic is allied to Yves and always listens to him. He is hostile to Eli, however, and his distrust of Eli often has him siding with the warlike Archangels, though some, like Michael find him too narrow-minded. His top priority right now is finding Eli and putting him on trial. He believes Eli is insane and dangerous, and few of Eli's scattered angels serve Dominic, which he's fine with. He also finds Gabriel to be insane, but Yves protects her for some reason. He dislikes Janus, believing that even angels should not steal, and also dislikes Novalis for her airy and informal attitude. Basic Rites:
1. Spend two hours defending an innocent in court.
2. Help deliver a guilty mortal to corporeal justice.
3. For 4 Essence, kill the vessel of a demon or Fallen angel.

Dominic straight up can't be summoned. Instead, he stops in with every single one of his angels once a week to check up on them.


The world is creation, the application of will against entropy, bringing life and beauty from the void.

Eli, Archangel of Creation, is the most contradictory. He creates and destroys, he is full of life and hope, but he is out of control and insane. His servants embody primal creative forces, and while they may now be casual and disorganized, they remain creators of beauty and servants of Heaven. Eli is a Mercurian, and a few decades ago, he abandoned his Heavenly realm, stripped himself of most his memories and disappeared into the mass of humanity. He's rarely seen and even his most faithful followers fear for what he might have become. He no longer seems to care about protection his Word, which to be fair barely needs it. Even the other Archangels haven o real idea what he's doing. Around the turn of the century, he gave command of most of his angels to other Archangels - so you might have, say, a Malakite of Eli in service to Gabriel. These angels retain their Creation attunements and rarely gain attunements from their new masters. A few of Eli's top servants still obey him directly. (His last command was 'Do what thou wilt, but be cool.') They do errands for him on his whim, rarely understanding what or why. They keep their own Hearts as best they can, and most of Eli's angels are frustrated and confused. Eli has no dissonance conditions - his angels can do as they will within their Choir's standards.

Seraphim of Creation can automatically recognize how good someone is as at a skill, chosen when they stare at someone, with a Perception check. On a CD 6, they also know the target's full potential with that skill.
Cherubim of Creation can tell who created any item they hold and when it was made, though generally only the basic facts and what sort of being they were. GMs are advised to give more info for higher check digits. These Cherubim can also use their resonance to track down the creator the item. Assembly line items will appear to have many makers, or a machine maker.
Ofanim of Creation can slow down, speed up or reverse aging, in themselves and others. Once a day, they can touch something an adjust its age by (Precision) years. Further, they heal (Corporeal Forces) HP per day.
Elohim of Creation can bind Songs into objects to make relics and reliquaries. It takes one month of work per level of the Song and/or point of Essence the object is meant to hold. However, they are required to know the Servitor attunement Transmutation.
Malakim of Creation can turn anything they pick up into a weapon with Power equal to the CD of a successful Perception roll, lasting one combat.
Kyriotates of Creation may use the Celestial Song of Form on their hosts for no Essence, though the Song's effects end prematurely if they leave the host.
Mercurians of Creation can create talismans, spending one month per level of skill in them. The angel must possess the skill they imbue.
Abracadabra is a Servitor attunement that can create matter from nothing. For each point of Essence spent, you can make a tenth of an ounce of rare or precious minerals, one cubic foot of common metal or material, or one cubic yard of simple, mundane and common substances like water or rocks. You must have some experience with what you're making, though the Chemistry skill can substitute for direct experience. The material appears wherever you like in your general vicinity ('up to 1 hex away' - no, hexes never come up in the book before or after this) that you can see and has room for it.
Transubstantiation is a Servitor attunement that can convert inorganic matter into organic matter. For each point of Essence spent, you can turn one quart of common liquid like water or ammonia into a complex organic material such as wine or blood, or a cubic foot of common material such as sand or salt into a common organic pattern such as insects or fish. You may also, at GM discretion, turn small amounts of one organic material into another.
Eli does not offer distinctions.

Eli once considered himself an ally of Jordi and Novalis and associated with Janus, Yves and Blandine. Since his dropping out of Heavenly society, however, his reputation has suffered and his influence is waning. If anyone were to ask Eli, he'd claim he was doing more than most of the other Archangels by living among humans and following the Symphony's pull. Many in Heaven consider his angels to be modern Grigori, corrupted by the flesh. With Dominics recent crackdowns, the reputation's gotten better, but still...they are known for debauchery. Basic Rites:
1. Succeed at 3 Precision-based skill rolls in a row.
2. Spend an hour having consensual sex.
3. Calm a group of more than three crying children.

Roll a d6. That's how hard it is for any angel to invoke Eli today. +1 if you have a paint brush or musical instrument, +2 for a form of unused birth control, +3 for a human family getting along with each other, +4 for the blueprint to the building you're standing in, +5 for the work of a blind sculptor, and +6 for a unique plant, animal or mineral.


The world is energy, hot and fluid.

Gabriel, Archangel of Fire imbues others with joy and inspiration, but her power can burn the unwise and unfortunate. She is an ancient Ofanite, and while she and her angels act honestly and simply, their nature is complex. Physically, Gabriel appears in both flawless male and female forms, but she prefers female in the modern age. In any form, she is potent and obstinate. Mentally, however, she is unstable. Gabriel was present for the birth of Christ and recited the Quran to Mohammad at Yves' instruction. While she was only following orders, Dominic (who supports Christianity alongside Laurence) declared her heretical and almost had her exiled until Yves and Michael defended her. Still, Gabriel stormed off angrily and has still not truly returned - in over a millenium. Besides holding the Word of Fire, Gabriel also punishes the cruel. She was once Heaven's messenger, but after the Islam thing, she's refused to do it again. She is too unstable to lead God's armies, too disturbed for rehab and too powerful to destroy. She is primal, able to be channeled but not controlled. Yves protects her no matter what, however. Gabriel wanders Earth most of the time, avoiding other Archangels and doing the job she's held since ancient times. Sometimes, she talks to herself, screams or laughs for no clear reason. Her servants adore her, though. Gabriel's angels gain dissonance if they do not punish the cruel. They need not punish all of them...but once they finish with one, they must deal with the very next one they meet, within (Celestial Forces) days. This dissonance will fade once justice is done.

Angels of Gabriel are attuned to specific kinds of cruelty, which they can detect with a look - not the detials, just that the target practices that kind of cruelty.
Seraphim of Fire sense and punish those that knowingly profit from the suffering of others or who lie to themselves about their monstrous nature.
Cherubim of Fire punish those who have, within the last year, horribly betrayed someone devoted to them.
Ofanim of Fire punish those that flee justice. Further, they are immune to damage from corporeal heat, radiation and electricity. Their vessels balance these energies automatically, depositing any excess into the Symphony, making the sun burn that much brighter.
Elohim of Fire punish those who enjoy causing psychological or emotional pain to others.
Malakim of Fire are given specific assignments and have no special sense. Instead, they can cause their flames to burn with green celestial flames, giving their unarmed attacks Power of (Celestial Forces) and ACcuracy -1.
Kyriotates of Fire punish those that enjoy causing physical pain to others.
Mercurians of Fire punish those that enjoy being cruel to themselves. However, rather than punish them, they must prevent their targets from hurting themselves for a single day.
Dance of the Atoms is a Servitor attunement that allows the angel to control ambient temperature, up or down 10 degrees Fahrenheit per Corporeal Force. The change is instantaneous, but cannot be used to instantly kill someone with heat or cold.
Smite is a Servitor attunement that fires off a fiery blast at anyone the angel can see within (Corporeal Forces*10) yards, doing (Celestial Forces*Essence spent) damage. This ignores all physical armor and has no roll to hit...but it can be dodged to reduce damage as normal.
Vassals of Fire can strengthen or reduce any fire they can see with a thought. They may also keep a fire from spreading or make it burn faster and further. It can be made to shrink or spread at one yard per round, or leap up to its radius in height, though this is the limit of their control. The power lasts as long as they concentrate, covering an area up to 10 yards wide.
Friends of the Divine Spark can amplify a human's passion for a thing or belief, making them obsess over that for one hour each day for (Ethereal Forces) weeks.
Masters of the Flame of Heaven can spend 1 Essence to create a sphere of flame around themselves with a radius of 6 yards, lasting until a fight ends or the angel wills it away. Any foe entering the sphere or present when it appears must roll STrength to avoid being dazzeled for (Celestial Forces) rounds. The flames are made of light, not fire, and cannot cause damage or affect the angel's allies or innocent bystanders.

Gabriel has no allies and is hostile to Dominic, but considers herself associated with Janus and Yves. Basic Rites:
1. Spend 3 hours near an intense heat source.
2. Spend an hour in intense conflict, mental or physical.
3. For 4 Essence, kill a demon with fire.

Gabriel has a base Invocation TN of 3, +1 if you pray before a fight, +2 if you clean a peace of metal in fire, +3 if you have the life's blood from a betrayer, +4 in the tomb of someone who died to protect others, +5 if you are in or surrounded by flames or +6 if you are engaged in mortal battle.

Next time: Wind, Lightning and Animals

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

unseenlibrarian posted:

Traveller doesn't get lightsabers! Or blasters, actually. All their energy weapons are big bulky backpack fed things.

...Space Opera from FGU on the other hand, goes all in, and you can have a lightsaber while running around in Starship troopers powered armor.

I need to get off my rear end and do more of the FGU craziness from the late 70s-early 80s. I have pretty much all their RPGs and finished most of 1st ed V&V for the last FATAL thread.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



In Nomine: ANGEL SCIENCE


The world is a whirlwind. It sweeps across bodies and hearts, bending the soft things and destroying the rest.

Janus, Archangel of the Wind commands the Heavenly agents of change, charged with shaking up the static...and also divine thieves. Janus is a large and burly Ofanite and is one of the eldest of Archangels. His mission is to promote change, but he is largely unchanging. Janus is friendly, gregarious and whimsical, as quick to condemn his friends as praise them, but very apologetic afterwoard. Some worry for his stability, but everyone agrees he's useful, and his mood swings reflect his job. Janus' angels try to disrupt normality and cause chaos without upsetting the balance of the Symphony. Typically, they arrive somewhere, scope it out and then start causing mayhem. ...really, mayhem is kind of a constant with them. They tend to be reckless, young and hanging out of speeding cars to regenerate Essence as they zoom from town to town, blowing things up and causing chaos. It is dissonant for any angel of Janus to remain in the locale for more than three days. Normally, a city is a locale, but some cities, like LA or NYC, are large enough to contain multiple locales.

Seraphim of the Wind can add (Celestial Forces) to all Fast-Talk skill rolls. They can't lie, but they are quite good at using misleading truths.
Cherubim of the Wind are limited to a single person at a time for attunement, but their attuned becomes enthralled with them, acting as equivalent to a Servant of (Celestial Forces) level until the attunement ends.
Ofanim of the Wind can add (Ethereal Forces) to any roll involving breaking locks, opening doors or freeing themselves or others from any form of physical restraint.
Elohim of the Wind can look at the sky and accurately predict the weather, down to the minute, for (Ethereal Forces) days barring intervention by celestial forces.
Malakim of the Wind may add (Ethereal Forces) to any roll involving making, setting or using any explosive, including throwing them.
Kyriotates of the Wind may assume a gaseous form on Earth without need of a host. In this form, they cannot communicate verbally or interact with the world, and they move at 1/4 normaly speed. They can only be seen in this form with a Perception roll, made easier the more dissonant they are.
Mercurians of the Wind can move through crowds, parting them to pass easily whether or not they are visible. They may also tell at a glance if an object was acquired honestly or not.
Passage is a Servitor attunement that allows an angel to make an Agility roll to open any look, with a max of -3 for the most complex locks, with voice prints and so on.
Swipe is a Servitor attunement that, for 2 Essence, may make any corporeal object no more than (Forces) pounds vanish for (Celestia Forces) minutes. It reappears later with the angel, whereever they are, and causes no disturbance as long as no one observes the vanishing or reappearance.
Vassals of the Wind can speak silently among themselves as clearly and quickly as human speech via gestures.
Friends of the Unseen always know if they're being watched, listened to or otherwise spied on.
Masters of Motion double their flying speed if they have wings and may add 4 to their Running skill before any roll, or to the check digit of any Running roll that succeeds without this assistance.

Janus is allied to David, Gabriel and Michael, and associated with Yves. He is hostile towards Laurence. Basic Rites:
1. Spend 1 hour in 80+ mph winds, such as in a windstorm or a convertible with the top down.
2. Spend 2 hours meditating on a moving roller coaster - it can stop to let people on or off, but you can't get off.
3. For 4 Essence, see a vehicle flip and roll at more than 60 mph or watcha multi-story building get demolished, in person in either case.

Janus has a base Invocation TN of 0. +1 if you steal a newspaper, +2 if you deface a public street sign, +3 if you reroute a set of Detour signs, +4 if you blow up a car, +5 if you can see a tornado directly and unaided, +6 if you fall through the air for more than 10 seconds.


The world is lightning, the spark of life and the flash of insight.

Jean, Archangel of Lightning commands the angels that control the energies of the world, who slowly share their secrets with man. Jean is an Elohite in charge of managing human technology, knowledge and understanding the physical world. His angels develop and experiment with new devices designed to reduce selfish desires. He and his angels tend not to like humans much, but he has been known to say "But in spite of their tiny cranial volumes, they still manage the occasional flash of insight." He tends to blame this on Lucifer and Vapula, Prince of Technology, who share secrets of the Symphony with scientists in exchange for dark favors. Jean appears as a middle-aged blond man, just over six feet tall, with a very angular face. He avoids other Archangels, preferring to follow his own schemes and those of God. He is a proud, pedantic micromanager, who prefers his angels not take too much on themselves. He is generally easy to summon, and he's a hard worker. It is dissonant for angels of Lightning to let a technological secret or device fall into human hands before Jean decides it's time, though anything that humans truly discover on their own must be accepted. It is, however, dissonant for them to allow infernally-inspired technology to go unopposed.

Seraphim of Lightning have photographic memories. Further, for 1 Essence, they may conjure a floating display, showing to an observer anything they have ever seen or heard.
Cherubim of Lightning may connect from any telephone to the phone nearest an object or person they are attuned to. If there isn't a phone near their attuned, they may spend 1 Essence to cause a cell phone to appear for 10 minutes within 7 feet of the attuned.
Ofanim of Lightning can, with a suitable conductor, temporarily convert their vessel into electricity, traveling (Corporeal Forces*100) yards per round for (Ethereal Forces) rounds. They may reappear at any point on the path, but whenever the trip ends, they deal 3d6 damage from lightning to both the entry and exit points.
Elohim of Lightning may spend 1 Essence to create a pocket-sized computer out of the air, lasting (Ethereal Forces) minutes. These computers have a high-speed wireless link to the Internet, are immune to EMPs, require no power and have infinite memory. Their cables can connect to any non-encrypted computer system with a serial port, and also give a bonus of (Celestial Forces) to all Computer Operation checks.
Malakim of Lightning may add (Etheral Forces) to any Chemistry, Electronics or Engineeering roll, or to any other roll to repair a technological object.
Kyriotates of Lightning may possess physical objects as vessels for (Ethereal Forces) minutes.
Mercurians of Lightning learn the Ethereal Song of Tongues for free and cannot fail to use it. The level and CD are both equal to their Ethereal Forces.
Generator is a Servitor attunement that lets you spend at least 1 Essence to generate electricity and channel it through anything you touch. The Power is (Essence spent+Corporeal Forces). Living targets are blinded for (10+Esssence spent-target's Will) seconds.
Remote Control is a Servitor attunement that lets you mentally control any manmade device from (Forces) feet away. They can make it do only what its regular controls would allow, and may give only one command per round.
Vassals of Lightning are perfect calculators, and players are allowed to keep calculators on hand to use as long as they need to get the right answer to any math problem. Further, they may recognize all possible applications for any technological object.
Friends of the Illuminated may detect the cause of any malfunction in any technological object, ad can predict problems (Celestial Forces) rounds before they happen.
Masters of the Machine may instantly 'heal' damage to any device at a rate of 3 HP per Essence spent.

Jean has no allies, but considers himself associated with Eli and Yves. He is hostile towards Jordi, Michael and Novalis. Basic Rites:
1. Rest for an hour whole touching the turbine in an electric power station.
2. Rest for 2 hours plugged into a wall socket.
3. Spend an hour in a thunderstorm on a cliff.

Jean has a base Invocation TN of 3, +1 if you have a scientific formula on hand, +2 for a demonstration of math, +3 for a microscope, +4 for a complete lab, +5 for a new and working scientific theory and +6 for the Grand Unification Theory.


The world is an animal, wild and quick.

Jordi, Archangel of Animals hates civilization. He considers it a lie, and feels that Heaven should never have allowed humans to keep their artificial trappings - they will die without a wild nature. Jordi is a Kyriotate who despises most human works, spending most of his time wandering the world in various animal forms. Lucifer tried to tempt him, but it never works - he is loyal to God, regardless of how he feels about the modern world, and he does like humans who share his love for animals. Angels who don't work for Jordi often consider him totally insane, but he is very intelligent and perceptive, and he's willing to give leeway to anyone who gives him respect. His servants are wild, but not cruel. They are passionate but not hateful. Jordi will appear in cities only in emergencies, unless they are cities like New Delhi. It is dissonant for Jordi's angels to allow themselves to be swayed by the concerns of human society or by their rules or expectations of behavior. They also gain dissonance if they value human life above animal life. Their kills must also be clean and painless.

Angels of Jordi are all attuned to a particular kind of animal and may communicate basic concepts with that type of animal via sound and gesture. They are also all required to purchase at least one animal vessel, except the Kyriotates. However, nothing they do in animal vessels except for use of Songs or Essence will cause any Disturbance. Still: angels of Animals get lovely powers, except for the Kyriotates.
Seraphim of Animals are attuned to amphibians and marine life.
Cherubim of Animals are attuned to cats, big and small.
Ofanim of Animals are attuned to flying animals of all kinds.
Elohim of Animals are attuned to reptiles. Further, their resonance extends without penalty as far as they can see in any direction.
Malakim of Animals are are attuned to dogs, wolves and other pack animals.
Kyriotates of Animals may control animal hosts with total Forces up to (total Forces*Corporeal Forces). Further, they are especially attuned to insects. Any insect swarm only counts as one Corporeal Force for them to control.
Mercurians of Animals are attuned to apes.
Call of the Wild is a Servitor attunement that allows the angel to spend 2 Essence to summon a small group of local animals. They may select what type of animal comes, as long as no one of them has more than (Celestial Forces) total Forces. Roll (Corporeal Forces)d6 to determine how many show up. They arrive in 2 minutes and will not harm the angel, but are not controlled by the angel, either.
Animal Magnetism is a Servitor attunement that lets you spend 1 Essence to charm any animal you can see that isn't already celestially influenced, as long as the animal's total Forces is less than or equal to their Corporeal Forces.
Vassals of Animals always know the intentions of any animal they see.
Friends of Beasts will never be attacked by wild animals, though trained or charmed animals still can.
Masters of the Creature Within know at a glance how much a given human likes animals and how they tend to treat them.

Jordi dislikes politics but does not ignore them. He's a swing vote, courted by many sides, and if sufficiently motivated, he will appear, cast his vote and then leave. He feels the other Archangels do not care about him or hios goals, and he's essentially correct. He is allied to Novalis, who sometimes carries his proxy in formal votes, but shuns other Archangels, except Eli and Yves, whom he is associated with. He is especially hostile towards Jean, Marc and Michael. Basic Rites:
1. Spend 8 hours with not trace of civilization in sight.
2. Live in a city for one full day as an animal, without spending Essence.
3. Rescue an animal endangered by human works or carelessness.

Jordi has a base Invocation TN of 2, with +2 to TN and CD if no human buildings, roads or vehicles are in sight. He also gives +1 for the presence of a street mutt or alley cat, +2 for a work of man created out of sincere love for animals, +3 for an egg of an endangered species, +4 for 20 cats living in the same dwelling, +5 for a mountain gorilla and +6 for a panda. Jordi fuckin' loves gorillas and pandas.

Next time: The Sword, Trade and War.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

LatwPIAT posted:

Adulthood at 2.25 and aging-rolls at 6.25, actually. Short Lifespan 3 divides all ages by 8. (2.25 years is, probably entirely coincidentally, about the time it would take to grow an adult human spine from stem cells.)

Oh, gently caress me, you're right. Exhibit A for why I mostly just play storygames these days: my math skills are virtually nonexistent.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



LatwPIAT posted:

Adulthood at 2.25 and aging-rolls at 6.25, actually. Short Lifespan 3 divides all ages by 8. (2.25 years is, probably entirely coincidentally, about the time it would take to grow an adult human spine from stem cells.)

Wait, wait, wait, how do you know this? Is there a chart somewhere that theorizes the growth of cultured tissues?

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



So while digging through google out of morbid curiosity, I found a Q&A Brucato posted on his own site: https://satyrosphilbrucato.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/mage-20-qa-part-i-what-is-mage-anyway/. It's full of some real hamdingers including his own Mazes and Monsters-esque beliefs that players losing themselves in their characters is a real danger, but here's the one that just made me stop and go "wut."

Brucato posted:

Considering that real-world occult practices also tie into deeply held cultural and spiritual beliefs, it would be insulting to trivialize them that way – especially if the game held up one specific belief-system as the “One True Magick.”
Ah yes, that would be awkward, say if you promoted Chaos Magick as the one true magic and everything else was delusions over the purple paradigm.

Also, he has a picture of himself in that Q&A with the filename "satyr-of-ectasy.jpg" which just left me and a friend laughing for a good thirty seconds at how ridiculous it is.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Young Freud posted:

Wait, wait, wait, how do you know this? Is there a chart somewhere that theorizes the growth of cultured tissues?

I think GURPS Bio-Tech has that. The Ultra-Techs might too.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gourdcaptain posted:

So while digging through google out of morbid curiosity, I found a Q&A Brucato posted on his own site: https://satyrosphilbrucato.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/mage-20-qa-part-i-what-is-mage-anyway/. It's full of some real hamdingers including his own Mazes and Monsters-esque beliefs that players losing themselves in their characters is a real danger, but here's the one that just made me stop and go "wut."

Hm. A link or two across the blog, and:

Phil "Satyrblade" Brucato posted:

Heading a line about magic in a “World of Darkness”, I felt wary about the doors I opened for my fans. After all, undead vampires and towering werewolves do not exist; magic does. And since I was inviting people to play with magic, I also wanted to be careful about what I invited them to do with it. Thus, no book under my tenure endorsed “black magic” from a player perspective, and there were moral and metaphysical consequences built into Mage’s systems and setting. In that world, as in ours, actions and intentions mattered.

:tinfoil:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Brucato is exactly the kind of person who comes to mind whenever I read oWoD stuff. I think this is the meanest thing I could possibly say about him.

gourdcaptain
Nov 16, 2012



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Hm. A link or two across the blog, and: :tinfoil:

The funniest part about the later quote (which I found after doing my previous quote) is that it has a footnote... which is him hedging his bets about werewolves and vampires not existing.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


gourdcaptain posted:

The funniest part about the later quote (which I found after doing my previous quote) is that it has a footnote... which is him hedging his bets about werewolves and vampires not existing.

"Vampires and werewolves are total bullshit. Magic on the other hand... well, that's the real deal, and it works exactly like I've written in this dice-based make-believe game of mine!"

"But what if I use my magic powers to essentially be a vampire or werewolf?"

"..."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Night10194 posted:

Brucato is exactly the kind of person who comes to mind whenever I read oWoD stuff. I think this is the meanest thing I could possibly say about him.

I knew a self-professed "psychic vampire" once that ran Masquerade LARPs in our area. She's also been on a few A&E and History channel programs, because self-publishing books about vampires makes you a "vampire expert", apparently. Well, that and claiming you're a vampire is gold as far as trash TV goes...

So yeah. There's a type. It's not the majority of WoD fans, but it attracts a certain subculture of folks.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Hm. A link or two across the blog, and:


:tinfoil:
Well as Jack Parsons teaches us, being involved in magical workings sure doesn't protect you from being a dumbass.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In Nomine: ANGEL HIGHLANDER


The world is a blade that cuts the unwary. Respect the power that comes with your station. Keep yourself finely honed, and never cease to be vigilant when hunting the Diabolical.

Laurence, Archangel of the Sword, is an honorable Malakite and supereme commander of the armies of God. He is in charge of training and assigning Soldiers, coordinating official missions and tracking the enemy. He was not always an Archangel. He last served Uriel, Archangel of Purity, until the Purification Crusade. Laurence was his finest demon hunter and was made archangel in 745 AD, when Uriel was recalled to the Higher Heavens. Since then, he has not only led the armies of God, but also become the patron of Christianity, actively promoting its growth. In particular, he's Catholic and wants the Pope to become religious leader for all of humanity. Only Dominic really supports him in this. Laurence appears most often on Earth as a skinny man with long, black hair. He is the youngest of the Archangels and an amazing fighter, but too idealistic as a planner. He tends to forget that his angels are imperfect and that demons fight dirty. When his plans go wrong, he invariably relies on Michael to help out. As the prime strategist of Heaven, Laurence is in a tough position. He has to keep the peace in Heaven but also remain steadfast against the foe. His servants have no spare time, and they often complain that others ask them for help too often - though they never turn their allies down. They are honorable and idealistic, and they're some of Heaven's best...when they can survive long enough to meet their potential. Laurence is the most rigid of any Archangel but Dominic, and it is dissonant for his angels to disobey his orders in either word or spirit.

Seraphim of the Sword can tell at a glance if the foes they face are on the ultimate side of good or evil, based on the foes' motives for fighting.
Cherubim of the Sword may use their resonance on anything they see and via photographs, rather than needing to touch their subjects.
Ofanim of the Sword, when fighting or pursuing a foe, move an extra (2*Agility) yards in corporeal form or (2*Perception) yards in celestial form, but not when being pursued.
Elohim of the Sword may use their resonance not only on those around them but on those who were in the area any time in the past (Celestial Forces) hours.
Malakim of the Sword may add (Ethereal Forces) to the CD of their resonance roles.
Kyriotates of the Sword receive a free vessel - the body of a warrior that died a meaningless death before finding their destiny. The vessel appears to have survived its wounds, and the human's life is the vessel's Role, with level equal to (Ethereal Forces). The vessel is default level 1, but can be raised with CP. The Role is free, but if its Status would be greater than its level, the GM may require the Role be increased with CP. Other hosts can be possessed while using this vessel as normal, but the vessel cannot be abandoned. Even while not manifested, it ties up 5 Forces of the Kyriotate. However, it generates no dissonance if damaged or destroyed, though the attunement must be repurchased if it's destroyed.
Mercurians of the Sword add (Corporeal Forces) to their choice of their Dodge skill or a Dodge roll's CD, decided before rolling.
The Blade Blessing of Laurence is a Servitor attunement that allows an angel to touch any blade and spend 3 Essence to give it a divine edge, causing it to have +5 Power for (Celestial Forces) rounds, on top of its normal stats. However, it must be an actual blade - Fiery Swords don't count.
Hunt is a Servitor attunement that allows you to unerringly track anyone you have ever fought, regardless of distance. You can keep track of up to (Ethereal Forces) foes at once.
Vassals of the Sword may remain serious under any circumstances, even demonic provocation, resonance or attunements, and may judge the seriousness of others. (No mechanics on how that works.)
Friends of the Lord's Troops can judge someone's courage. (Again, no mechanics.)
Masters of the Armies of God may state a refusal so severely that they prevent the other party from reiterating their proposition - basically, they can end conversations just by saying the word 'No.'7

Laurence is allied to David, Dominic, Jean and Michael. He considers himself associated to everyone else, except for Eli and Novalis, whom he is hostile towards. Basic Rites:
1. Slay an evil creature.
2. Spend a whole night hunting your prey.
3. Spend four hours resting in an armory.

Laurence has a base Invocation TN of 4. +1 for having a practice sword, +2 for a book of military precepts, +3 for a high quality sword, +4 when ordering a group into battle, +5 for a fine sword engraved with the Lord's Prayer, and +6 for a sword blessed by the Pope.


The world is trade, the give and take of day-to-day life.

Marc, Archangel of Trade, knows that commerce, while it has complicated human life, has lowered the amount of violence. Wars can't be dought without death, but commerce allows conflict in which numbers and things in human minds are the only losses. Marc is a Mercurian, and his servants are Heaven's top diplomats. They lie only by omission, and only for good reason. Marc can be trusted, as long as you read between the lines and read the fine print. He promotes the abstract concept of currency and is the treasurer of Heaven, which he does quite well. He invented the concept of the salary and pays himself generously. He is always fashionable and polite, and while he's occasionally been snippy when his Word was not respected, nothing major has ever stood in his way except Lucifer's hordes. It is dissonant for angels of Marc to break their freely given word.

Seraphim of Trade can look someone in the eye and know how much they'd pay for something. Also, when they fail a resonance roll, they can retry in seconds, not minutes.
Cherubim of Trade may, with a touch, know the true owner of any object.
Ofanim of Trade know the fastest way to get anywhere with anything.
Elohim of Trade can tell the fair market value of anything they touch.
Malakim of Trade may, after looking someone in the eye, know exactly what something means to them. They must be able to see whatever that thing is, but once they do it, they can tell about anything they look at for (Ethereal Forces) minutes. This can only affect one person at a time.
Kyriotates of Trade may automatically enter a host. They can't fail a resonance roll, and roll only for the check digit, though they can be resisted with Will as normal.
Mercurians of Trade, when using their resonance, can look back over (Celestial Forces) months to see how much money the target has received and what they did to earn it.
Divine Contract is a Servitor attunement that lets you create a written contract between two or more people and infuse it with Essence. Any party that signs the contract of their own free will and then breaks their word suffers (Essence spent*6) corporeal damage.
Head of a PIN is a Servitor attunement that lets you extract (100*Essence spent) dollars in local currency from an ATM or wire transfer. The money miraculously comes from lost or destroyed cash, so no loses any money this way.
Vassals of Trade may make a Perception roll, once per target per day, to discuss a deal with someone and know exactly what they hope and intend to get out of it, long term. They also know, at all times, the exact location of anyone that's broken a Divine Contract with them.
Friends of the Shareholders can read any agreement, in any language, and discover any hidden unfairness or escape clauses intended by the creator.
Masters of Finances get the Fast-Talk skill at level 6 or add 6 to their existing skill in any financial discussion.

Marc has no allies or enemies, giving him a unique position as go-between and diplomat between those who care more about abstract reality, like Blandine or Gabriel, and more physically oriented Archangels like David or Michael. He is, however, associated with Janus. Basic Rites:
1. Make a 100% profit on an honorable transcation.
2. For at least an hour, own an object or document worth more than ten million dollars. You get 2 Essence if it's worth more than a hundred million.

Marc has a base Invocation TN of 3, +1 if you have a dollar someone gave you for nothing, +2 if you have 100 dollars in cash from each of 3 different countries, +3 if you have illegal goods smuggled from another country, +4 if you have a contract worth at least a hundred thousand dollars, +5 if it's worth at least a million dollars, and +6 if you have the beads that bought Manhattan.


The world is a war, raging across reality.

Michael, Archangel of War, is the first angel made by God, older than any celestial but Yves. Michael is a Seraph, and he doesn't really like the way Heaven's run these days. He doesn't bitch much, but he's tired of saving Laurence's bacon every few centuries. He is the most potent angel in all ways, and he defeated Lucifer in single combat and kicked him out of Heaven. For this, he was given the Word of War. While Laurence runs the armies, Michael is the patron of those who fight alone. His servants fight that the War might end one day. They are proud, powerful and never back down, but they're also sympathetic to humans and try not to miss a chance to help them out when they can. Michael is a born warrior, living only for the struggle. He favors the battle axe to the noble sword, and his pig-headed, individualistic and does not coddle...though he protects his servants from Dominic, whom he calls the hyena of Heaven ever since an inquest, millenia ago, which Dominic led against him on the subject of vainglory. He accused Michael and his angels of encouraging heathen traditions like trophies, warrior cults and blasphemous heraldry. God intervened, acquitting Michael - he was guilty, but God said that without pride and glory, Heaven and Michael would not win their battles. It is dissonant for any of Michael's angels to retreat from a fight without direct orders to do so.

Seraphim of War cause all foes that Dodge their attacks to take a penalty of (Corporeal Forces).
Cherubim of War can feel if any of their attuned will die in the next 24 hours, barring celestial intervention. They don't know how or when, but can act on this warning to prevent it.
Ofanim of War always go first in combat, and retreating solely in order to circle around and attack again does not cause them dissonance.
Elohim of War can look into someone's eyes and see how serious they are and how much they're willing to risk in a situation.
Malakim of War can hear danger coming (Corporeal Forces) minutes before it arrives, but not the nature of the danger.
Kyriotates of War can purchase vessels. Any vessel ties up 5 Forces, except possibly animals, which the GM can rule cost less. These vessels are made by Michael, and if they are destroyed, the Kyriotate takes a note of dissonance. Further, any Forces tied up in the vessel are tied up evn while it isn't manifested.
Mercurians of War know what, if anything, will resolve a conflict between any two people they've met.
Proficiency is a Servitor attunement that grants expertise with a specific type of weapon. The angel may make a Precision roll before attakcing with that weapon, and if successful, they add the CD of that roll to the attack's Power. However, this applies to only one attack per roll.
Howl is a Servitor attunement that lets you howl out a war cry that stuns all foes within (Corporeal Forces) for one round. You cannot attack the round you use this.
Vassals of War can use celestial language while corporeal, communicating five times faster than any Earthly tongue. Any angel that hears it can understand, but only Vassals of War can reply in kind. Demons can recognize the language but not understand it. Mortals hear only whistled martial song.
Friends of the Fighters are immune to the effects of natural or supernatural fear as soon as they commit to a fight.
Masters of Valor may grant the Friend distinction power to their allies for one fight. (It doesn't say if that means ever or just, you know, that's how long it lasts.)

Michael has no allies, but is associated with David, Jordi and Laurence. However, over the past few thousand years, has grown to become the only angel to distrust Yves. He is hostile to Blandine, Dominic, Novalis and Yves. Basic Rites:
1. Spend three hours in armed practice.
2. Duel with a Diabolical.

Michael has a base Invocation TN of 1, +1 if you are howling a war cry, +2 if you have a knife, +3 if you have a battle axe, +4 if it's an ancient axe, +5 if you are at a castle under siege, and +6 at a battleground on the day of the battle.

Next time: Flowers and Destinyr

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