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Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012

Part 6: I Donít Know What Moods and Themes Are. Also, the Underworld.

Wicked Ways posted:

Game building for wicked Star-characters isn't something that should be considered lightly.

Like a normal fame a Director should consider their options when it comes to moods and themes And how said moods and themes are different from a wicked point of view.

The chapter starts with a list of possible moods. All of which are actually genres. It stresses that having a consistent mood is important because otherwise, the game will either devolve into slapstick silliness or get so dark that it becomes unplayable.

Adventure: The easiest one to run. More exciting than one with a cast of characters that arenít assholes. How? Use your imagination.

Comedy: Take a lot of effort. Best used as satire.

Drama: Lets you focus on the repercussions and consequences of when a character ďbreaks badĒ.

Horror: Seems easy until you realize that the logistics of the main characters being the hellspawn causing the horror can be tricky to figure out. Instead, it might be better if the game was about them dealing with the hellspawn they unleashed. Thatís their words, not mine.

Mystery: Characters with questionable moral codes are great for mystery stories. You could also put a twist on it and have them trying to frame someone else.

Romance: Bad girls need love too. Totally done all the time in trashy paperback novels and soaps. Considering the characters in this book do not like being told ďnoĒ; kidnap, torture, and kill people on the regular; and are stupid kids either on the cusp of or going through puberty, I can only imagine what would happen to the people who catch these assholesí eyes and donít just conveniently happen to have a transformation fetish.

For potential themes, we have

Anti-Hero: Beat up Highbinders and hunters while being just as much of a dick as they are. Good for people who want to be good and bad.

Caper: The characters break into places and steal poo poo. Takes players and a DM that are willing to do a lot of roleplay, but can lead into more capers if you want to make a long-term game.

On the Run: Play a game where the characters are accused of and possibly did commit a crime. Good for globe-trotting games that keep things exciting by putting them in different locales.

Raising Echidna: Echidna is totally still a thing thatís relevant, you guys. Why not run a game where the characters actually awaken her? The conflict is they have to do it in a way that wonít make her just murder them when she wakes up.

Super villain: Superheroes! Fight the WWC and hunters in silly costumes with grandiose plans! Doesnít make mention of the next supplement and the game itís tied to, oddly enough.

The Game: Game of Thrones with witch and otherkin families. It even mentions weddings going wrong.

Wicked Ways posted:

One aspect of " the Game" should be building emotional attachment and not being afraid to do away with characters.

Emotional attachment to a character is usually what keeps people from being willing to kill them off. I bet that if you put Lucinda or any of the other obvious creator darlings in this type of game, Harris would probably throw a fit and make up some bullshit excuse as to why they donít die.

World Domination: Can be worked into other themes. Players fight against the DM to take over the world. Can be fun for everyone. Harris was out of ideas at this point.

The last part of this chapter is a very barebones write up of a pocket realm simply called ďThe UnderworldĒ. It sits between the Witch Girls World and another realm called The Shadow. It was founded in 10,081 BC and is ruled by an individual named Lord Hades P. Anubis, who is assisted by an ďundercouncilĒ of criminal guild leaders. The next chapter has character sheets and bios for NPCs. He and the other NPCs in this section donít get one. Itís very obvious that this was just shoehorned into this chapter at the last second forÖ some reason.

Anyway, Anubis is actually a fusion of three different people. The first is a man named Hades who came into the then empty Underworld when his ďdimensional barge fuelĒ ran out and the ship destroyed by ďoutridersĒ when he was in the Shadow. He eventually came across two alternate dimensional versions of himself, Pluto and Anubis. The two of them, both lacking the power to escape the Underworld on their own, worked on a ritual to combine their powers. Somehow, Hades knew that the ritual would combine the three of them together and leave him as the dominant personality. So he tricked them into doing it. When they merged, he realized that he could just stay and turn the realm into his own personal kingdom/criminal refuge. So he did just that. Now itís a thriving place full of zombie farms, night metal mines, and where anyone can find anything for a price.

If any of that doesnít make sense, donít worry. That write up is just as half-assed as it is in the book.

While in the Underworld, characters only regain their zap at a rate of D4 points a day instead of whatever their Magic die is, and Necromancy and Shadow spell rolls and MTR get a +1.

Getting into the realm without a Toll Portal requires Time and Space 4 and a -4 penalty to the Casting roll. If you fail you get teleported to The Labyrinth. As the rule implies, access to the realm is regulated by Toll Portals, which require going through immigration bullshit and giving the guards either 5 zap or an item of value. Portal agents can find people who need their services and arrange passage into the realm. The portals always dump travelers into the station in New Hades, the largest town in the realm, where all the immigration and travel regulation nonsense takes place.

Surrounding New Hades and something called ďthe night landĒ is The Labyrinth, a maze of caverns and cliffs separating the town from the rest of the Underworld. As mentioned, people unsuccessfully trying to get in without a toll portal get dumped here. Though it can be entered normally from entrances around the Underworld. Flying and teleporting out are impossible due to ďalterations in realityĒ. To get out, a character either needs to hire a guide (who may or may not actually guide you) or get successes on 24 Impossible Mind or Games rolls. (Remember: An Impossible roll requires at least an 18 to succeed.) Getting out of the Labyrinth takes, on average, a month, an dumps you out into someplace called ďthe river bad landsĒ.

The landscape of the Underworld is nothing but black stone and infertile dirt broken up by hills, valleys, and the river Styx. The sky is a red haze during the day. Nothing grows naturally in the Underworld, so the main economy outside of criminal enterprises is zombie farms and night metal mining. In the middle of the Underworld is Hades City, which may or may not be New Hades. Despite being run by conmen and bribes are required for any sort of peacekeeping, itís a very orderly city. Thereís socio-economic issues among the populus, but this entire realm is full of criminals so who gives a poo poo.

Anubisís palace sits in the center of the city. He never leaves its throne room.

Wicked Ways posted:

Hades himself hardly every leaves the council, most thinks its because he has all he needs there, but the truth is his Throne is literally the center of the Underworld and its from there he can shape poo poo and view it with impunity.

Uh oh, looks like little Makaylah and Addysyn just got exposed to a swear word in this childrenís game for children. (To be fair though, tweens probably hear worse in school all the time.)

Turns out the source of Hadesís power is his throne. If anyone sat in it, they could take control. Where did it come from when he found out he could just stay and make the realm? Who knows.

Other places of note include:

The river Styx: Tastes like rotten flesh so everyone has to purify it with magic or import bottled water. Despite this, most of the townships are right by it. Also itís poisonous so you couldnít even drink it if you got past the taste. Despite this, itís a tourist attraction.

Wicked Ways posted:

While poisonous the Styx is still beloved by tourist and those in the city. Taking tours across it or dipping children in it in hopes of making them invincible (that's just a myth of a myth and doesn't work and children usually just throw up and cry after being dunked) are near pastimes in parts of the city.

Repeatedly making your children violently ill: a national pastime.

The Necroworks: The largest employer in the Underworld. Augments zombies. Run by a witch named Lilia Adams that is plotting to overthrow Hades and take over the underworld and her family. Is the second largest polluter in the realm next toÖ

The Nightmetal Refinery: Owned by Hades. Does exactly what you think it does.

Under Market: A market run by the ďunder guildĒ that deals in forbidden magical goods. Trades in either other goods or Joss, crystals of pure magical energy.

After this is a very short rundown of notable NPCs. They only get a paragraph each. The ones for Hades and Lilia tell you everything Iíve already said other than that Hades still has multiple personalities due to the other two dudes in him despite the fact that it said Hades is the one controlling them. The other two are

Anna Ranne: The high priestess of the Temple of Echidna thatís in the underworld. Has written books on how great Echidna is and attracts tons of pilgrims. Also wants to overthrow Hades.

Boss Rogon: The current leader of the Under-guild and former resident of some place called Farsia. Doesnít want to overthrow Hades because he realizes that making himself the center of attention is bad for his business.

Thatís it. Are you wondering why Hades is immortal despite the fact that it never says what he is exactly? Wondering where the whole throne thing came from? Wondering why the gently caress anyone who isnít a criminal that would shiv the first person who tries to make them a slave would live there? gently caress you. The book doesnít say.

Up next: NPC character bios, some of them repeats with Soto art. One of them would probably piss Tumblr off.

Adnachiel fucked around with this message at 05:00 on May 23, 2016

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Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib
Something about the great all-powerful evil force being named Echidna brings to mind Sonic the Hedgehog fandom every time I see 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

Young Freud posted:

The only way Beast will seem to be redeemable is if you can play Beasts that feed on other Beasts.

Also, why is there on The View From Without: Hunter? Hunters are more of a line than Geist or Mummies.

I've been playing so much Bloodborne that I was about to say 'don't Hunters also have a shared Dream, just like Beast?' but I remembered that's a different thing.
Unless Beast grabbed the shared dream headquarters/lair idea (which I love) from that game.
I mean if you want a game that lets you capital-H Hunt things called capital-B Beasts in gruesome ways, it's the best you'll get.

SirPhoebos posted:

Attorney: The Subpoena

There's a Supernatural Law comic that's been running forever.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 01:23 on May 23, 2016

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?

Kai Tave posted:

Something about the great all-powerful evil force being named Echidna brings to mind Sonic the Hedgehog fandom every time I see it.

it's because A. knuckles is an echidna and B. the sonic fandom is as full of hosed up fetish-mongers as WGA

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

SirPhoebos posted:

What did you do on Planewalker?

I was part of the writing team that wrote the "official" Planescape Campaign Setting for 3.0 / 3.5. I worked largely on the Faction material and some mechanical material (feats, prestige classes, and the faction bloodlines system). What I did and didn't work on is a little hard to suss out of my memory, but I know I did significant work on the Doomguard, Fraternity of Order, Sons of Mercy, Transcendent Order, Xaositects, and the Sects (which is a pretty deep delve into Planescape minutae - seriously, who would ever remember the Hunters of the Vile or the Tacharim otherwise?), as well as minor other work on another faction or two when other folks had unfinished rough drafts that had fallen behind. Pretty sure I picked up finishing the Harmonium from somebody else, but I'm not positive. I also wrote up a lot of the factional history; I got to be saddled with the unfortunate task of having to sum up Faction War, IIRC.

I'm pretty happy with the setting stuff I wrote, even if some of it I'd definitely do differently now. The mechanical material is... a product of its time, and was edited without my input. I like a lot of the mechanical ideas I had back then, but the actual implementation is a mess. I know somewhere there was a larger prestige class file with dozens of classes I'd done that was hosted on the site, but it doesn't seem to have survived the site crash. Hopefully I should have a backup of it somewhere.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

Nuns with Guns posted:

it's because A. knuckles is an echidna and B. the sonic fandom is as full of hosed up fetish-mongers as WGA

(yes that was the joke)

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
Any Centimanus that meets a Beast would wonder how it could be better than them considering they only have two arms.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



BRAVE NEW WORLD: RAVAGED PLANET

Hi there and welcome to Brave New World: Ravaged Planet. This is a book all over the place thatís unevenly divided into six parts: Patriotís Journal, Crescent City, Living in America, A World of Hurt, new powers and then the GM/secrets section. This is the book thatís supposed to be about the world at large and it doesnít exactly do that. The life and execution of Patriot takes up the first 49 pages, Crescent City is 17, the USA is 19 pages, the world is 16 pages, 35 pages of powers and premade characters and the rest is all GM info and afterword. The book is 160 pages total and it feels longer than that despite narrow dual columns. This book also has a lore boner the size of a bus because everything before the powers section is written from the perspective of Patriot or The Truth.

The Truth is more explained in the core book (sheís a journalist who can sense when people are lying and runs the Delta Times online newspaper/Defiance BBS) but who the heck is Patriot? You donít see much of him outside of the introductory comic from the core book where (and Iím repeating myself) heís captured by Delta Prime while saving a college girl from them. But heís Plot Important, donít you know, and letís all find out why!


He types like a tech-illiterate dad would.

A note from me: I used to play City of Heroes. I used to role-play on the Virtue server. What youíre about to read is all written by Patriot in a journal before his execution as heís being held in New Alcatraz. This whole part reminds me of when I would write a summary of my charactersí histories on, like, a web page that I would put a link to on my in-game bio and yeah this is basically an OCís autobiography that runs for 49 pages formatted for this book.

PATRIOTíS JOURNAL

This starts with The Truth prefacing the journal and talking about how she said a silent prayer for him after his death. Iím going to include the end of this preface completely uncut because it feels like it belongs in a chain e-mail.


stdh.txt

Patriot was born John Cruise in the 1940s. Daddy was killed in Normandy, mom died shortly after childbirth so Johnny was raised in a Catholic orphanage in Chicago. He loved civics classes and memorized many historical documents and his favorite Delta was The Yankee. Minor note: it turns out The Yankee didnít die in that concentration camp in Germany, Superior became an Alpha before Yankee was thrown into the fires. His childhood and young adulthood was mostly just loving America and being a good kid when the nuns werenít scolding him.

This changed when he ended up derailing what should have been Jack Billington the Vís Batman origin story.


"Origin senses...tingling!"

The Billingtons, a rich family who were at the theater to watch Camelot and couldnít find their way back to the car, were being accosted by an alcoholic homeless Delta by the name of Wilbur Jeffries trying to get booze money/stuff to pawn for booze. Jeffries had one power, and it was an effective power: he could explode. Side note: I like how Patriot throws crazy amounts of shade at Jeffries for using his power to mug people instead of robbing a bank or pharmacy and is like ďyeah he couldnít control his powers but pffft shouldíve thought his crimes through betterĒ. So anyway, Jeffries was threatening Jack IV who was trying to talk him down, and when the elder Jack didnít fork over his wallet Jeffries exploded one of his hands to blow up Jack IV. To his credit, John tackles Jeffries from behind, puts him in a headlock, starts beating on the guyís face and tells John V and Cynthia Billington to run like hell. Luckily for them both, they do.

And Jeffries explodes his entire body while John is punching him in the head.


I'M SO HAPPY I'M EXPLODING

John survives the blast and awakens as a Delta without realizing it, kind of marking the first instance of Patriot missing clear signs something is up. So he goes back to the orphanage, gets chewed out by the nuns for being out late and later that year he was drafted. The doctors canít draw a blood sample from him because the needle keeps breaking and Delta Squadron comes knocking to say ďhey guess what, youíre going to Delta Academy to learn your powers!Ē He gets run through the wringer, finds out that heís a Blaster, meets Delaney Cadre (a Bargainer who he will later marry) and ends up in Delta Squadron, the military superhero group.


"He's doing well but he needs a catchphrase. Something he can shout."

Patriot ends up doing a lot of lovely Cold War things in service of the USA under the leadership of Superior and The Yankee. He does things like helping dictators that hate communists and runs around the world helping America make a lot of decisions that will come back to bite us in the end. Then, while heís in Cuba helping Zaldivar keep power (after having put Fidel Castro and his rebels behind bars years before), The Destroyer tries to kill JFK and everything goes to hell. And not too long after, Superior shows up in Cuba and says to Patriot ďhey sign the DRAĒ. Considering everything the government knows about him, itís a formality but itís still signing away his rights and betraying what he believes in. And he signs it.


"Sign it." "Superior I can't loving read it in this light."

So now Delta Squadron makes Delta Prime, which is under control by the Department of Justice and Bobby Kennedy. Side note: this makes Herbert Hoover angry, and itís believed by some that he was responsible for the Dallas attack. Bobby Kennedy ends up assassinated by a Delta hitman before Patriot can join Delta Prime. This story is so disjointed thanks to Patriot namedropping events that happened to be going on around the story heís trying to tell. Patriot starts bringing in unregistered Deltas while telling himself that he can change stuff from within while he was arresting the parents of Deltas for harboring fugitives and sending the kids to the Academy. He ends up meeting Delaney again in Delta Prime and they get married and become partners together, bringing in actual criminal/terrorists Deltas and getting them imprisoned.


"Eat energy fist, hippie!"

And then, while laid up in Arizona recovering from a concussion sustained while on a case in the desert, the Bicentennial Battle happens and he loses his wife who responded to the fight and went as backup. So now his ďwifeĒ is dead, his boss Superior is ďdeadĒ and his country has lost a city and its backbone of power in the world. What does he do? He throws himself into his work except now Kennedy is making Delta Prime do jobs for the CIA. Patriot spends the next ten years as a secret agent all across the world and the USSR fighting Communism at the command of JFK.

And then the USSR doesnít collapse because a Delta by the name of General Mikhail ďMight MishaĒ Tretyak throws a military coup against Gorbachev with the help of the Crimson Pride (the Soviet equivalent of Delta Prime). The CIA decides to have their Deltas assassinate Tretyak and put the blame on China to make the countries fight. The assassination attempt, mixed with a bunch of Primers being at ground zero of the Chernobyl meltdown, results in the Great Mistake (the limited nuclear exchanges between the US/USSR).


Mighty Misha, alive and well and stirring up poo poo.

So now Patriot goes rogue because this is no longer the country he swore to protect and uphold etc. At this point, both Delta Prime and Defiance donít trust him and he has to lay low for a while. Thatís when Patriot ends up working for the Italian mafia in Crescent City (when, letís be honest, he could have skipped out of the country and found somewhere else to hang his hat until the heat died down). The Don, Paolo Gabriel, has him whack people and break legs. Then the Don asks him to recruit a Delta from a friendly family to be their pet Delta and it turns out the Delta is six years old.


Dramatic re-enactment.

So he says ďnah gently caress thatĒ and the Don sends wiseguys to whack him. Patriot kills them, nonlethally storms the Donís fortress and the Don monologues for a while as his nephew Vito Gabriel makes an appearance. Vito is also a Blaster and thereís a lot of monologing and making offers up until Vito shoots his uncle with an energy blast and says ďyeah okay consider us square for giving me this opportunity to do him in. If you leave now, Iíll call off any hits on you, you can just walk away cleanĒ.


"Is this going to be a twenty minute unskippable cutscene?" "Yes."

So Patriot punches Vito out a window and leaves.


"Eat window, hippie!"

The fact that nobody knew Vito was a Delta made the public think Patriot killed Don Paolo. And this makes Defiance think he killed the Don. So Defiance says ďalright, he left Delta Prime and he killed one of the worst mob bosses in America. The guy canít be all badĒ and Truth recruits him and gets the six year old boy a home. He ends up taking a liking to Truth and he focuses on staying loyal to himself in Defiance and makes his primary mission helping young Deltas avoid the Primers for the next ten years.


"Eat energy fist, government dogs!"

And then he gets caught and brought to trial (on July 4th, 1999 because of course). Now, itís not common for a Delta to get a trial, especially if theyíre ex-Prime, but heís notorious enough that they canít just make him disappear. Despite having a giant rap sheet, especially for what he did in service of the CIA, the actual charge he gets is a lot more mundane: the murder of Don Paolo Gabriel. The witness: Vito Gabriel who survived getting defenestrated. Yes, his lawyer Connor Darrow (grandson of apparently real lawyer Clarence Darrow) does the best job he can with character witnesses and even putting Patriot on the stand and letting him monologue for roughly a page. But Patriot knows that the game is rigged; Vito was getting immunity to testify, Delta Prime likely behind it, and the evidence of a crime a decade old crime is rigged against him.



Patriot is executed by firing squad on August 5th and because heís a Blaster and has armor, they have to shoot him a lot until he stops getting up. He dies with his mask on. There are riots and people keep sneaking into the cemetery to visit his grave and it gets turned into a shrine. There are also Patriotís final pre-execution speech which I will include so you can get a taste of the bookís writing and Patriotís voice.


Patriot also has an earlier part where he mentions that he fully believes in the ring of the catchphrase "America, right or wrong" (but not the message) and how he should regret some of the things he did but ultimately doesn't because they gave him the chance to atone for them. tl;dr we have to have courage to put America back on the right track. Personally I think his autobio would have been a lot better with him actually saying "eat energy fist, hippie!" at one point.

Thoughts about Patriotís Journal: Uh. Well. This really didnít add anything new except for the whole thing being Patriotís side of the story. It is full-bore tract in the voice of a plot-relevant character that, quite frankly, is not particularly interesting. It meanders and it travels all over the place and itís just there. Like I said, it feels like someoneís just unloading a character dump in my face at the beginning of this book and itís so out of place! Iím really sorry Iím just regurgitating plot info and history but thatís what the book does and what other books will keep doing.



Hey how about Crescent City! Letís take a look at that!

CRESCENT CITY

Crescent City is built on the rim of the flooded crater, running from what was North Chicago to Gary Indiana. It is very, very hard to imagine just how the gently caress this city is laid out because the book never gives you a loving map or a clear layout, just descriptions. It sounds like the city is built over the bay. In actuality, imagine the crater is the focal point and the actual city ripples out onto land from the crater like o))). The city was rapidly built by Triumph, Inc., a business mentioned in the core book as the biggest employer of Deltas. It was an opportunity for good business and Triumph, Inc. turned the ruined land into a skyscraper-clad city in roughly two years. The city, as a whole, is constantly under construction in a way due to Delta activity or creative urges by architects and people with money.


He looks so high right now.

Crescent City is controlled by the mayor who has 50 councilors (one for each district) underneath him. The mayor, Alan Jefferson, was appointed by JFK so heís just plain corrupt. Jefferson is also in cahoots with Don Vito and if poo poo ever goes wrong, he can just call Delta Prime to get a problem fixed. The two counselors who get names are Big Bill Macy (a fat guy who might be trying to be mayor next) and Marita Suarez (took over the position from her dead husband, honest and just so sheís frequently a target of assassination attempts). The police are run by Stuart Fleming who is just plain crooked and will take bribes. The city is diverse and there are ethnic/rich/poor neighborhoods because this is a city and people live there. There are also trains and subways. I only want to go into so many details because this will all be reiterated in later books.

Locations

New Alcatraz: New Alcatraz is an island prison in the Chicago bay and itís full of power dampeners to hold their Alpha and Delta prisoners. Sometimes prisoners get paroled (why, why the gently caress would they if this has people who didnít register, the law doesnít matter anymore) or they escape. And if they escape, they generally go right for Crescent City to kick up a ruckus and buildings get destroyed if thereís Alphas involved.


Scenic, kind of lumpy New Alcatraz.

City Hall: Itís a big glass cube with art deco trim and lights which makes me feel like this got dredged out of the ruins of Rapture.

Crescent Amphitheater: The amphitheater is an open-air concert venue in Superior Park with a roof over the stage and front seats. JFK made a speech about opening Crescent City in the 1980s and they never took down the big panes of bulletproof glass on the stage. As a result, itís a popular tour venue thatís easy to secure with a bunch of guards with clubs and shields for concerts. Side note: someone tried to shoot Madonna in Miami, an event mentioned here in context of bulletproof glass.

Delta Academy: The Academy is a 120 story diamond that goes from a sunken bit in the ground to widest at 50 (at the size of a block!) then tapers off at 120. Allegedly thereís 20 more stories underground into the bedrock and while the Academy has its own subway stop, thereís no proof and there might actually be more underground sections. God, what a loving eyesore.

Memorial Field: Replacing Soldier Field, the entire field is a memorial to the people lost in the Bicentennial Battle along with a statue of Superior leading other Deltas and Alphas into battle.

Police Department: This is where the cops live. It, uh, look at the picture below. You know what a police department is.


"Alright who designed part of the police department to look like a cross-section of a sex toy for men?"

Delta Prime Headquarters: The most happening Primer facility this side of Virginia, itís run by Charlene Parker who used to be the Delta WWII fighter Canary. She ended up unable to progress past a certain level due to being just a Delta but when all the Alphas left she clawed her way to the top of the facility. This too is a 100 foot pyramid that looks like ďa glittering bladeĒ.

Superior Park: This is actually just a park with a replica of the Buckingham Fountain in it.

Superior Square: Superior Square is explicitly compared to Times Square with 100 foot billboards/TVs and a theater district. There is also a statue of Superior that a daring Delta (likely named Bart Simpson) stole the head of once despite it being constantly surrounded by guards.


What a weird choice of statue, barely-clothed and pissed-off looking.

Triumph Tower: The Tower is 150 stories tall and the main office for Triumph, Inc. It's a big old art deco tower and Ben Archer can be found on the 150th floor running things on a daily basis. It lights up with different colors depending on the time of day/holiday and its size/splendor acts as a reminder of how much Delta labor went into building Crescent City.



Thoughts on Crescent City: mehhhhhhhhhh? Meh. It's not doing much for it. It's just, like, super-Chicago and it's a young, young city being thrust to the forefront of the world. It is also wickedly out of place having this much prominence in this book. You will quickly find out that there are much more interesting cities with things going on than just Crescent City. It's also kind of just bogged down with minutiae that just doesn't catch my interest and feel worth mentioning.

I'm not going to lie. Shotgunning book after book back to back in Brave New World is shaping up to be a very bad idea. Yes, I can seriously clear this book out in two or three more posts but oh my god there's a lot of repetition. Both this book and the core book both contain the line "they treated us like mushrooms: they kept us in the dark and fed us poo poo". Specific ideas and history also get repeated but with slightly new details added the next time and it's annoying and it's also really just bad writing and plotting. This is really just encapsulating the worst I've seen so far of 90s game book lines with an overarching metaplot and there's much more to come.

NEXT TIME: A look at the current state of 'Merica and the rest of the world.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?

Kai Tave posted:

(yes that was the joke)

Did you know that witch girl adventures is also bad, like sonic the hedgehog?

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

Nuns with Guns posted:

Did you know that witch girl adventures is also bad, like sonic the hedgehog?

Also like Sonic the Hedgehog, terrible WGA fanart abounds.

This brings up a good point, there has to be at least three or four fanmade Sonic RPGs floating around out there, someone with less regard for their own free time should totally review those.

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
BNW reminds me of why I stopped reading comics in the 90s. It's every comic that missed the point of Watchmen, and Patriot looks like Grifter (?) from that 90s comic book cartoon. Still, there's a glimmer of something decent there if you just turn it into Astro City.
It would be a perfect WTF, D&D? subject.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.
I wonder if later books will deal with the intercity rivalry created by giving "The city we built on the ruins of Chicago" one of the main nicknames of New Orleans.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?

Kai Tave posted:

Also like Sonic the Hedgehog, terrible WGA fanart abounds.

This brings up a good point, there has to be at least three or four fanmade Sonic RPGs floating around out there, someone with less regard for their own free time should totally review those.

last night I realized there must be Homestuck fan rpgs somewhere and I started wondering how tremendous of a mess that would be

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*

Nuns with Guns posted:

last night I realized there must be Homestuck fan rpgs somewhere and I started wondering how tremendous of a mess that would be

I know multiple people have tried doing it in Chuubo's, so maybe not as bad a mess as all that?

U.T. Raptor
May 11, 2010

Are you a pack of imbeciles!?

SirPhoebos posted:

So...any artgoons want to sketch up our monster?
I'm a lovely artist, but I do know how to use the Spore creature creator:

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

U.T. Raptor posted:

I'm a lovely artist, but I do know how to use the Spore creature creator:


Awesome. Added this to the Hordling post.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Nuns with Guns posted:

it'd be Law and Order: Special Victims Unit except you're strapped to your chair and electrified if you aren't rooting for the rapist of the week

She was probably asking for it, what with her being oblivious of primordial lessons nobody needs anymore.

Kai Tave posted:

This brings up a good point, there has to be at least three or four fanmade Sonic RPGs floating around out there, someone with less regard for their own free time should totally review those.

There has to be at least a Sonic d20 somewhere, and maybe even a Sonic: The Hedgehogging.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Count Chocula posted:

I've been playing so much Bloodborne that I was about to say 'don't Hunters also have a shared Dream, just like Beast?' but I remembered that's a different thing.
Unless Beast grabbed the shared dream headquarters/lair idea (which I love) from that game.
I mean if you want a game that lets you capital-H Hunt things called capital-B Beasts in gruesome ways, it's the best you'll get.

It's very telling that even noted Devil's Advocate Count Chocula won't defend Beast.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Doresh posted:

She was probably asking for it, what with her being oblivious of primordial lessons nobody needs anymore.

Just reading this sentence made my eye start twitching uncontrollably.

SirPhoebos posted:

It's very telling that even noted Devil's Advocate Count Chocula won't defend Beast.

He tried, just not as vehemently as with my other reviews.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Kurieg posted:

Just reading this sentence made my eye start twitching uncontrollably.

Beast made me do it.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!
GIS is becoming less and less helpful for gathering the artwork for my posts. What tools do the rest of you use for getting pictures off of pdfs?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Most PDF readers will have a snapshot tool; you can then paste the snapshot into MS Paint.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Before I got Gyazo, I would screenshot then crop the picture in paint and upload it to Imgur.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

SirPhoebos posted:

GIS is becoming less and less helpful for gathering the artwork for my posts. What tools do the rest of you use for getting pictures off of pdfs?

Print screen and Photoshop cs6

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

SirPhoebos posted:

GIS is becoming less and less helpful for gathering the artwork for my posts. What tools do the rest of you use for getting pictures off of pdfs?
I just screenshot the page into MSPaint and C&P part of it into imgur. Admittedly, I'm not really doing full page illustrations.

Monathin
Sep 1, 2011

???????
?

SirPhoebos posted:

GIS is becoming less and less helpful for gathering the artwork for my posts. What tools do the rest of you use for getting pictures off of pdfs?

I've been using Puush for literally forever and it's how I get all the caps off the Exalted book. It has a built in shortcut for cropping just what you need off a page and auto-uploads it to an album, but it also has a 'capture whole activee window' shortcut that I've used more than a few times.

I'd heartily recommend it to anyone here who's going the old Print Screen -> Photoshop/MSPaint route, because it saves you like two steps and it's amazing how much that helps.

Monathin fucked around with this message at 19:53 on May 23, 2016

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 14h: Tools of the trades, and the tradesmen who use them

Time for the home stretch! We've come to the Equipment chapter, and as such I'm not going to spend too much time on it because there's really nothing interesting here and it's only three pages long anyway.

First off, we get conversion rates: the base of the Victorian economy is the sterling, which is about $5 US. Sterlings are silver coins embossed with the image of the original Queen Victoria. A medway is 1/20th of a sterling, and the smallest denomination is the tradescoin, which is about ten cents American.

As is often the case with games of this era, "equipment" means "guns". There's only nine new weapons listed, and they don't even get specific descriptions. The main limiting factor of Victorian weaponry is that they're technologically stagnated (due to both the Darkness Device and the Victorian's endemic dismissal of anything they didn't come up with themselves), so Victorian weapons are just normal guns, but they do a little less damage.


"Yes, it's more effective, but it's so...crass.

There's a bunch of "Traveling Gear" listed, which is stuff like cots, lanterns, tarps, and rope (100'). Apparently camping is a big thing in Victorian-run Indonesia. I suppose it's because a lot of Indonesia is a jungle? I guess? I'd imagine that there's more to camping out in the jungle than just buying some tents.

The most (read: only) interesting things you can buy are occult gear. You can buy an occult kit (400 sterling), which is your standard-issue black leather bag of weird ritual stuff (such as "an organ or two taken from a dead animal"), and is required for any ritual of difficulty 20 or less. For rituals higher than that, you need an occult lab (1000 sterling). You can also get an occult library for 2000 sterling; you can use an occult library as part of the research skill, or to get bonuses on a ritual you're going to perform later.

There's also a few specific occult tomes listed, each of which grants bonuses when performing certain ritual types. Obviously, Victorian culture comes down hard on people who own these books (or have occult labs or libraries, for that matter), so buying this stuff in the first place is probably an adventure in itself.

quote:

The Noctuma: Covered in a smooth, blood-red, unknown material, this volume is thousands of years old. It contains spells, curses, and arcane knowledge from a sorcerer whose name was blasted from the text by a later occult event. The book grants a bonus for any event producing madness (+3) or death (+2); any event concerning demons(+2); any event using brass or silver (+2). It has a bonus unique to this volume: any occult ritual dealing with the High Lord of Orrorsh, or his Darkness Device receive a +3 bonus.

The Kellatastin: Bound in silver covers the Kellatastin contains 80 pages dealing with rituals involving blood (+3 bonus on blood rituals).

And that's all for equipment! Like I said: three pages.

The next chapter is sort-of for the GM, and it's about Adventuring in Orrorsh. Again, we're getting into "how do I tone?" territory here, and is about how to present adventures and such so that you really get that horrific, fighting-a-losing-battle feel.

quote:

Orrorsh is the reality of horror. It is very different from the other realities that have invaded Earth. In every other of the invading realities there isa place for heroes and astounding triumphs. Sometimes, like in the Nile, these triumphs are really astounding. In other places, like the Cyberpapacy, the triumphs come with serious lumps...but the Storm Knights are still pretty certain that they'll win in the end. But Orrorsh is a reality of horror. What should that be like?
Hey, did you guys know that Orrorsh is the reality of horror? I'm glad they said it twice here in the last chapter because I hadn't picked up on that yet.

So now we're going to get advice on how to deal with how to run a horror game...except that they don't really explain how to do that.

See, Orrorsh isn't about the type of horror that involves an escalation of tension or a slowly building threat. I mean, it thinks it is, but it's not. This horror is about the idea that your character can get killed at any time because that's what horror is, right? Just a constant threat hanging over your head?

quote:

Roleplaying in Orrorsh is a different than playing in other Torg environments. When you read a horror story you know that bad things are going to happen You know it will scare you. You know that characters you like are going to die. Why do we read them if we're setting ourselves for such disappointments?

We don't know. We just know that people do.

The trick then, is to bring that same sense of loving fear into roleplaying games. Most roleplaying games, especially Torg, are not geared toward adventures where characters die regularly. But that's exactly what Orrorsh is all about. If the vampyre doesn't take out some of the heroes then he's a vampyre out of a sword and sorcery heroic fantasy-and that's another reality.
That's not Victorian-era horror, it's slasher movie horror.

I mean, yeah, I get the idea that if there's no serious threat to the PCs, then there's no real sense of horror. And yes, horror is a really, really tricky genre to do as a tabletop RPG.

But as we've learned in the years since Torg, you can't go into a game with an adversarial GM-versus-players mindset, because the GM is capable of stacking the deck ridiculously in his favor. There's more to good horror than just "oh man anyone can die at any moment!", there's atmosphere, there's tension, there's...well, a lot of stuff.

But when your immediate next subheading after that text I quoted above is:



...then I think you may not really "get" the kind of horror you're doing.

This is a bullet list of stupidity, but I'm just going to summarize each item.
  • "Avoid bringing your favorite Storm Knight to Orrorsh." Yup, if you don't want your character to die, just bring a new one! Campaign continuity? What's that?
  • Related, the GM should have "back-up Storm Knights" so when characters die they can just grab a new sheet and get worked into the adventure somehow.
Pausing the list for a second to ask: if the whole point of Orrorshian horror is to be a threat to the player's characters, who they've been invested in for the long haul, wouldn't giving them disposable characters, oh, I don't know...undercut that whole idea? Why should I care if a character I know up front is a disposable, replacable character dies? That's literally what he was made for! It's like in Star Trek when they introduce a new named crew member in the pre-credits sequence just so they can kill him off later for cheap pathos, and we're supposed to go "oh no, that character we never heard of before 20 minutes ago that everyone apparently knew is dead! How tragic!"

Anyway. Back to the list.
  • Adjust your idea of winning from "everyone lives" to "the main bad guy monster is killed". Why those two ideas have to be mutually exclusive is beyond me.
  • "If you bring characters from outside Orrorsh don't stick around too long." So once the nessecary adventure stuff is done, bug out I guess. Because (and again, I quote) "too much horror loses its edge."
  • "The gamemaster should not go out of his way to kill the Storm Knights. Horror is not a slaughter-fest." This is supposed to be about balancing an scenario's threat, because if the players can't make progress because they keep tripping over the dead bodies of their previous characters they'll get justifiably frustrated. But given the other advice, this doesn't line up.
  • "Finally, play for story, not for personal survival."
That last point brings us to the next section, unsurprisingly called Playing for Story. Which, let's be honest, was still a new concept back in the early 90's. But since Torg doesn't even get what it's trying to do, what "playing for story" means is "what matters is that the monster is slain." In other words, what matters is victory, not the cost.

This leads us to what may be the worst bit of RPG player advice I've ever read.

quote:

This requires a certain amount of player detachment. Instead of focusing all of your energy on keeping your characters alive, as if you are your character, you should be like actors in a horror movie. Because the actors read the script, they know ahead of time that their characters are going to die. But the fun is still in playing the part and getting to the death. It's the same with Orrorsh. The story is creepy and death-fraught, but getting to its end is enjoyable because it is an enjoyable story.
That's not...you don't...

Okay. Look.

I know that around here we like to make fun of "verisimilitude" and "MY IMMERSION" and stuff like that. And yeah, like anything when people get too focused on these ideas it'll turn out bad. That pretty much applies to any concept you care to name.

But.

For a horror game to work, the players need to be invested in what's going on; their characters, the NPCs, the relationships, fighting an ongoing threat. You don't do that by constantly telling people to do things that make them more detached from the story. Playing disposable characters, with other disposable characters as back-ups? Don't play your character as if they were an actual person, just as a horror movie deadmeat? What the hell kind of advice is that to players? You don't enforce tone in a game by putting more layers between the players and the game. Especially with the Perseverance mechanic, which boils everything down to "you can't win the adventure until you get this number high enough."

Christ.

Anyway. The rest of the chapter is about setting up Orrorshian adventures. Or adventure singular, I guess, since the only type of adventure they talk about is a monster hunt. The idea is that when choosing a monster to be the focal point of an adventure, you need to look at things like its Fear Rating and how much Perseverance the PCs need to get to overcome the Power of Fear. The GM also needs to set up the clues and research bits so that the characters can generate the needed Perseverance.

The book likens this whole process to a game of cat-and-mouse; the PCs are looking for the clues needed to figure out what's going on, what they're hunting, stuff like that, while the monster is engaging in hit-and-run attacks on the group or their allies, or sending out mook monsters to do the same. Except...

quote:

The Storm Knights have to constantly balance the need to kill the monster as is quickly as is possible against the need for more information and more Perseverance points.
It's just...you're forcing the players to do metagame thinking in order to "win" the adventure! Again, the game isn't focusing on what the characters do, it's focused on this arbitrary value that the players have to raise to a specific point in order to stand a chance against the boss.

I mean, I get why the whole Perseverance thing is there. It's to create a situation where the PCs have to work their way up to defeating a monster instead of just loading up with guns and raiding its lair. That's fine. But by mechanizing things to this degree, you completely obliterate any sense of real horror you might have created. Yes, you need to have a significant threat and an uphill battle against the forces of darkness to have a good horror story. But you also need some character attachment in there too.


Right there with you, buddy

The book tries to redeem itself by talking about using Creepiness to enforce the feel of the realm; instead of the buckets-of-blood style of set dressing, use small moments of "wrongness" to get people off-balance and remind them that stuff in Orrorsh isn't right. The example they give is actually an early scene of The Exorcist.

quote:

In the beginning of the movie The Exorcist two men are having a meeting in an office. There is a grandfather clock in the room, and the sound of the clock's pendulum ticking back and forth becomes part of the background noise of the conversation. Suddenly the pendulum comes to a complete stop. The noise stops and the two men fall silent and look at the clock. One of the men, a priest, is acutely aware that something is wrong. And so is the audience. The two men continue talking, for there is nothing to be said - a clock just stopped, that's all - but in that simple moment we all wondered what the portent of the clock stopping was. We in the audience all caught our breaths.
Unfortunately, the examples they give for in-game creepy events are missing what makes the above example work: context. A weird event needs to have something to do with the overall story, otherwise it's not creepy, it's just weird and easy to dismiss as "okay, that was weird."

quote:

The characters are at the theater one night in New London. The gamemaster describes the event - well-lit, everyone in tuxedoes and beautiful evening gowns. The seats are made of fine oak and crushed velvet. It is a fine evening and everything is in place. Then one of the Storm Knights notices that a woman sitting in the row in front of them is bleeding. Just a single drop of blood, over and over again from just behind the left ear. If the character points this out to the woman she turns - nothing strange about her - smiles, and says it must be a cut that re-opened. She excuses herself and heads to the bathroom.

Is she the strange creature they are seeking? It seems strange to think so in such a normal environment - and yet...
Without context, that weird moment is meaningless. Were the PCs hunting something that cut off ears? What does that have to do with anything? In the Exorcist scene, the reason it comes off as unsettling is because it's composed of things that are tied to the overall movie. In the Torg scene, it's just a Weird Thing That Happens.

Moving on, the next section is about Using the jungle, and since it's short I'll just quote it fully.

quote:

One of the stranger elements of Orrorsh for many people is that it's in Southeast Asia. What has horror got to do with vampyres and werewolves?

Well, think of it this way. A jungle is a place filled with trees and plants and animals. There are so many leaves and trunks that there are plenty of places for creatures to hide. Or places where Storm Knights think creatures are hiding. It's like a big haunted house right outdoors in the bright sunlight of day.

Also, when Storm Knights are in the jungle it means that they are cut off from civilization and help. They are on their own. The gamemaster should use that to his advantage. Isolate them and make them know that things could get much worse very fast.
That's it. That's all there is about using the jungle. Although while I'm pretty sure "What has horror got to do with vampyres and werewolves?" was a mistyped sentence that got past the editor, I love it for so many reasons.

The last thing in the book (apart from the character templates) is some time spent on the idea that The Monsters are the Adventure. The main gist of this section is that the GM can't treat monsters in Orrorsh like in other RPGs; they're not supposed to be speedbumps or disposable fodder like in D&D. Horrors are rare, and killing one is a not-insignificant blow to the Gaunt Man's forces. Monsters don't just happen, they're fueled by lost souls, and every monster knows that defeat means going to the back of the line to wait for a new body...and that the more they go back to that line, the easier it'll be for other lost souls to cut in front of them, eventually leaving them mindless whispers in the wind. On top of that, the Gaunt Man created his monsters to sow fear; if a horror can't do that without calling hunters down on his head every five minutes, then the Gaunt Man has no need to keep said monster around.

And since they know all that, monsters shouldn't just wait in their lairs for the PCs to show up for the final boss fight. They should have goals they're pursuing, obstacles to throw at the PCs, allies to call upon. The monster should be hunting the PCs just as much as the PCs are hunting it, because it knows what the real price of its defeat will be. Winning means more power, maybe a seat on the Nightmare Court. Losing means...well...let's just say that the horrors are really motivated to win.

It's amazing that there's no real interesting GM advice in this book until the very end.

Finally, we come to the character templates.

The core set had three templates available for players, all of whom were Orrorsh natives:


The Gypsy Soothsayer is an Orroshian native is a "showman, con artist [and] magician" who came over with the Victorians because he was being paid to help out. Victorians may not like him, and he may not like them, but that's not going to stop him from taking their money as payment for his fortune telling. His starting equipment includes a forgery of the "Grolisch Tome of Ancient Lore", and his tag skill is divination magic.

The Vampyre Hunter lost a sibling when she was young, and that event shaped the rest of her life. An obsession with understanding the supernatural led to an academic career at Holgromb's College at Oxford, but since Victoriana didn't encourage majoring in Monsterology she studied science in hopes of using the knowledge in monster hunts. Her tag skill is evidence analysis.

The Werewolf used to be just another Victorian soldier defending the colonies from monsters. But when his unit was ambushed one night, the rest of his unit was wiped out to a man. The company chaplain said that he alone avoided the "fate of the beast", and thus was allowed to live. Unfortunately, the chaplain was wrong. After changing for the first time, the former soldier has come to Majestic, where he hopes for a fresh start. His tag skill is shape shift, which worked a little differently in the core set.

The Orrorsh book adds another ten templates from both Orrorsh and Core Earth.


The Gaean Gypsy grew up in a tribe that spent most of its time avoiding the beasts of Orrosh and the Victorian armed forces. The Victorians would sometimes begrudgingly ask the tribe for information, and sometimes the tribe didn't lie to them. Just before the invasion, her tribe was wiped out by zombies. She managed to escape down the bridge, and now helps people fight the Gaunt Man's forces...for a price. Her starting equipment does not include an undershirt or bra, and her tag skill is spirit medium.

The Gaean Swami spent most of his life surviving in the jungles of Orrorsh solely on his spiritual strength. He sees more than most that the world of Gaea is ready to collapse in on itself, its death throes only held at bay by the power of Darkness. Learning of the new world discovered by the Victorians, he chose to abandon the dead world in the hopes of aiding the living one. His tag skill is swami.


The Indonesian Dock Worker never asked for much out of life. She grew up in a blue-collar suburban area, got married, had kids, and had a stable job working on the docks. Then the invasion happened. Then the vampyre stalked her neighborhood. Then her husband and children were killed. Then her son came back for her, he just wanted some blood and they could be together again... Then she ran. Fear and shame became anger, and she started hiring herself out as a "native guide" to the Victorians in order to learn more about killing monsters. Now, she hunts down horrors because that's all she has left. Her starting gear includes a shotgun and a sledgehammer, and her tag skill is true sight.

The Indonesian Professor grew up during Indonesia's fight for independence in the 60's. He lost many friends in the protests and riots, but the end result was worth it: freedom and democracy for his country. Once life settled down, he went to school to study (and later, teach) anthropology. After all, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But now, history has repeated in the worst way possible. Victorian forces have invaded the country "for its own good", and seem to have brought nightmares with them. Hopefully, if the monsters can be defeated, then the Victorians will leave for good. On the plus side, a lifetime studying myths and legends of the region has a much more practical application nowadays. His tag skill is scholar.

The Indonesian Reporter is in a bit of a bind. He's smack-dab in the middle of the story of the century...and the TV and newspapers have stopped. It's also hard to be an objective reporter when your friends have been killed by monsters and you're treated as a backwards savage by white invaders who haven't even figured out the internal combustion engine yet. Still, you have contacts all over the country from your reporting days, and people who are good at investigation are in high demand. His tag skill is research, but because that's an Orrorshian skill and he's a Core Earther, using it is always at least a one-case contradiction.


The Muslim Warrior is...well, a rather reactionary soldier. She was raised in the traditions of the Muslim faith, and joined the army to serve her country and give herself to Allah. But there's no way she could have predicted the current situation: demons walk the streets, the Victorians forcing everyone to worship in the Sacellum, and the common people of Indonesia caught in the middle. In her mind, there's two sides: the Indonesians, and Everyone Else. She's willing to work with non-Muslims if she has to, but she knows that when she dies, her struggles against the forces of darkness will assure her of a place in heaven. Her tag skill is faith (Islam).


The Regimental Soldier was a loyal member of Her Majesty's army, fighting for Queen and Country. One night, his lieutenant was attacked in his tent by a demon, and it took the combined forces of the infantry's blessed weapons to put it down. The official report claimed that the lieutenant was killed on duty, but the soldier knew the truth: he was next to the lieutenant's tent just before the attack, and overheard the lieutenant summoning the demon. Unable to trust the chain of command anymore, he deserted. After all, how can you fight evil when the higher-ups are on the side of darkness? His tag skill is fire combat.

The Sacellum Priest has always had doubts. He thought that by rooting out corruption in the church, he was serving God's will. But obstacle after obstacle appeared in his path, preventing him from finding the proof he needed. When the maelstrom bridge was built, he chose to go with the military in order to investigate the church from the "outside". Now, he knows that while the faith is pure, the church has rotted from the inside out. Now, the church wants him dead. His tag skill is focus.


The Victorian Lunatic is...well...look, it's not her fault, okay? It's not her fault monsters exist. It's not her fault the state religion is a corrupt force used to bludgeon people into obedience. It's not her fault her world is a dying ember of hope. It's not her fault she looked into the abyss. It's not her fault she can't keep a "stiff upper lip" like everyone else. At least she can keep things together for a while. Long enough to help. Long enough to fight. Long enough to let the cracks show. Her tag skill is occult.

The Victorian Occultist is good at fitting in. She knows the rules of Victorian society, what a lady is and isn't allowed to do. For example, a lady isn't supposed to talk back when the other members of society say that the evil is only in monsters, not in the Victorians themselves. A lady also isn't supposed to join a secret society dedicated to learning more about the truth of the world. A lady is not supposed to learn the power of the occult. And lady must never, ever take it upon herself to fight the darkness that nobody else will face. Good thing she doesn't do any of that. After all, she's a proper lady. Her tag skill is occult.

And with that...we're done. Ah, but I hear you ask: what does the future hold for the Realm of Horror?

Orrorsh doesn't expand very much at first, mainly because the Gaunt Man isn't around to drive people. Thratchen can't get Heketon to empower stelae (since it's bonded to the Gaunt Man), so things continue more or less as described for about a year.

Then, unsurprisingly, the Gaunt Man finally manages to escape and return to Orrorsh.

The Gaunt Man's return is "chronicled" in the appropriately-titled adventure The Gaunt Man Returns. In keeping with the standard Torgian inability to know what the interesting parts of its setting are, the return itself is done entirely in the four-page opening fiction of the adventure, which only the GM would ever read. So really, the adventure isn't about the Gaunt Man's return. It's actually about the Gaunt Man summoning the PCs to Illmound Keep about halfway through the adventure (page 47 of 98) so they can kill Lord Avery Wellington for him, because he wants to "test the Storm Knights" and Wellington is trying to usurp the Gaunt Man via an occult ritual that would kill everyone in a major city. Refusing to help the most evil man in the world gets you 13 corruption points because not helping save a city is a Wicked act. Agreeing to help the most evil man in the world gets you 8 corruption points. It's all as dumb as it sounds.

While all that's going on, Thratchen remains focused on getting revenge on 3327 for loving up Tharkhold's maelstrom bridge. He sets a few members of the Hellion Court loose in LA to destabalize the Kanawa Corporation's holdings.

Once the Gaunt Man gets caught up on current events (and gets the other High Lords to get more or less in line), he begins expanding his territory. He pushes eastward into New Guinea, and in four months since his return begins working south from there into Australia. He also reorganizes (read: purges) the Hellion Court, removing Thratchen's ringers and bringing in a few new Nightmares.

The Gaunt Man also manages to destroy two of his own bridges trying to kill some Storm Knights, so good job there. He does manage to drop a bridge into New Orleans at one point, because every reality but one eventually lands on the United States.

But the Gaunt Man's main act upon his return is to start kidnapping women around the world who have the gift of prophesy. This won't come into play until late-game metaplot happens, so I'm afraid you'll all have to wait and see how deep that rabbit hole goes.

---
Man, that was rougher than I expected.

Orrorsh is probably the worst realm when it comes to the writers not getting how tone works. They wanted the realm to be dark, broody horror, but then they can't stop the jokes from leaking in, and then you wind up with stuff that's splatterpunk or gross-out or B-movies. And while it's possible to use mechanics to reinforce tone, you can't use mechanics as tone. I hit most of the points about halfway up this post, but really they're trying so hard to make the mechanics enforce the feel of the realm they forgot to just include the feel through the fiction.

Like I said, I get what they were going for. But it's clear the writers had no idea how to enforce a tone of slow-burn horror in any way beyond mechanical subsystems. I get that here in 2016 we can roll our eyes at these old ideas and point to things like Apocalypse World's countdown clocks, or the Fate Fractal method of stating up threats. But even in 1991, I can't imagine these rules were effective because all they do is make you work to get a number to a certain point, and the players won't even know what point they're aiming for since the target number is only known by the GM.

It's not frightening at all. It's not even spooky. It's not even spoopy. It's just dull.

I admit that I'm not a horror fan by any stretch of the imagination. But even so, I'm pretty sure this is not the way to do horror of any stripe.

But now, it's time to turn on the lights, realize that there's no monsters under the bed, and leave the bleak racist shitshow that is Orrorsh behind us. But worry not, for on the horizon lies our next realm, which we will dive into...

NEXT TIME: A new realm! Swords and/or sorcery! Latin! Secular Dwarfism! And the most insane flowchart you've ever seen in your life!

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 22:04 on May 23, 2016

TheAwfulWaffle
Jun 30, 2013

SirPhoebos posted:

GIS is becoming less and less helpful for gathering the artwork for my posts. What tools do the rest of you use for getting pictures off of pdfs?

The Windows Snipping Tool + MS Paint.

Some PDF's will let you right click and save/download an image, but that's a pretty hit or miss proposition.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003



Evil Mastermind posted:

But when your immediate next subheading after that text I quoted above is:


...then I think you may not really "get" the kind of horror you're doing.
huh?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
That advice about 'Hey man don't try too hard to stay alive' is hilariously bad.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008


Oops, I was going to put in a screenshot of the header of the section there because it was so dumb. I'll go back and edit this in:



That's not the mindset you want people going into for a horror game. Or at least, one that's part of an ongoing campaign. Like, if you're playing Final Girl or Dread or something, that's fine. That's the idea. But when you're in the middle of a months-long campaign you get a little more attached to your characters.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!


SirPhoebos posted:

GIS is becoming less and less helpful for gathering the artwork for my posts. What tools do the rest of you use for getting pictures off of pdfs?

I personally use pdfimages (specifically the windows version from these guys).

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!
Thanks for all the replies.

Planescape Campaign Expansion: The Planes of Chaos.

Intro and Travelogue

Ahhh, box sets. There was a time when TSR not only made boxes for the campaign setting, but for multiple supplements for the setting. Was it inefficient? Incredibly. But there was a certain je ne sais quoi to lifting up a box cover and finding an assortment of booklets, maps and other tools for you and your friends to play with. In Planescapeís case, the setting received five boxes in addition to the initial campaign setting. The first one was Planes of Chaos. As the name suggests, this box set provided further details for adventures on the Outer Planes associated with the right-side of the alignment grid: The Abyss, Arborea, Limbo, Pandemonium and Ysgard. The book includes new player options, detailed setting descriptions and rules with fold-out maps, adventure hooks and outlines, and new monsters.


A Xaositec named Sival...for today posted:

And enjoy my stay, to traveller! Welcome to

The first booklet in the box is the Travelogue. This book is meant for the Players to read. The first chapter goes over some of the difficulties in traveling the Outer Planes. While itís possible to find a portal in Sigil thatíll take you right to where you need to go, things wonít always be that convenient. Instead, travel across the Outer Planes usually involves a series of short jaunts towards the intended destination. The book gives the example of travelling to Windglum, a town located on the third layer of Pandemonium. Instead of taking a portal directly there, a traveller from Sigil has to take a portal to the Outlands, then find a conduit to reach the Gate Town of Bedlam, go through the portal into Pandemonium, travel through the first layer to find a portal to reach the third layer, and then from there travel to Windglum. And while thereís probably a portal straight to your destination in Sigil, ďgiven the politics of Sigil [finding it] might have taken even longer.Ē

I feel like whoever wrote this section missed the memo on the point of the Planescape Setting-that travel across the Multiverse is anything but inconvenient. Sure, there are some adventures where instant transportation is a detriment, like if the PCs were plotting to Oceanís Eleven an Abyssal Lord or track down a Power thatís gone missing. But making numerous Random Encounter checks and seeing if the Outer Planes wreck your character is the reason Sigil is designed the way it is, so low-level characters donít have to deal with what would be insurmountable obstacles to using this campaign setting.



Other than that the opening of the Travelogue has some general advice on how to survive on the Outer Planes. The short of it is to know the hazards of the Plane, know what the inhabitants are like, and donít get into fights that arenít necessary. That last bit is a common theme in Planescape, trying to discourage loot-and-smash gameplay. I suppose thatís a result of cross-pollination from White Wolf, but unfortunately the rules of D&D donít support that style of gameplay very well.

The intro chapter introduces a new player option called sects. These are groups similar to factions, but they have no interests in Sigil. Instead, they tend to be more concerned with the Outer Plane they reside on. The Travelogue introduces 4 sects, including rules for PCs to join them or start as one. One or two sects are very pretty specific to their Plane, while others can be used in throughout the setting.

Each of the five chapters have a few things in common. They describe the environment and the general hazards that PCs can expect to deal with. They describe who inhabits the Plane, and what the best approach may be to deal with them. Each chapter has a general description of how magic is altered on the plane, and what Spell Keys are like (no specifics though-thatís DM only! :smugwizard: ). A couple of locales that would serve as suitable starting-off point for adventures are are described. Finally, if the Plane has any sects, they are also described.


Tanaríri photo-bomb!

The Abyss chapter introduces Rule-of-Three, a Tanaríri who lives in Sigil. ďFor a Fiend, heís almost a decent sort.Ē According to Rule-of-Three, a berk visiting The Abyss has three priorities: Surviving, finding a portal out, and leaving. Of all the Outer Planes, The Abyss is probably the toughest to survive on even for high-level PCs. The infinite (or near-infinite) layers are unique in their environmental hazards, all of them insanely fatal. And then you have the Tanaríri and other native denizens. The trick to dealing with Tanaríri, particularly when you canít out-muscle them, is to play one Tanaríri against the other. Using spells on the Abyss is especially hazardous. For one, the Abyss will twist the spell, making the end result somehow more evil. Second, use of magic draws the attention of the Abyssal Lord of a layer, and Tanaríri especially hate spell-casters. Of course, if a layer has no Lord, itís at least one less thing for spell-users to worry about. There are no factions or sects based in The Abyss-no Abyssal Lord would tolerate them.


Rule-of-Three posted:

In The Abyss, kindness is unnatural, mercy impossible, and power all that matters

The Plain of Infinite Portals is one such open layer. Itís the topmost Layer of The Abyss. The layer is riddled with innumerous craters. Each crater leads to a different layer of The Abyss. Between these layers are iron fortresses, each controlled by a Tanaríri princeling trying to amass enough power to get their own layer. The best way to survive on this layer is to make oneself useful to these would-be Lords. The best place to stay is the fortress Broken Reach, which was built on top of the portal to Plague-Mort in the Outlands. It is ruled by a Succubus named Red Shroud. Her consort is a brain-damaged Nalfeshnee named Ygrax the Skullbiter. Itís not an easy place to stay by most measures, but it beats the other options on the layer. In what becomes a recurring pattern in Planescape, especially those in the Lower Planes, PCs can purchase weapons and other goods here but the prices are greatly inflated. The local cuisine is described, with items like fried lemure or grilled abyssal bat. The page for the Plain of Infinite Portals ends with a plothook-a Bleaker Dwarf has been seen meeting with Red Shroud for many hours, and rumors are abuzz that sheís about to make a big move.



The second locale described is Zrintor, the Viper Forests. This forest is found in Azzagrat, a set of three layers ruled over by the Abyssal Lord Grazízt. The forest is located on Azzagratís first layer (the 45th overall in The Abyss). The dangers of Azzagrat are more hidden than in the rest of The Abyss, and the forest is no exception. At least thatís what the book says. Personally, if I came upon a forest made of trees that had snakes instead of branches, Iíd at least keep my guard up. Zrintor will let some berks pass through freely, but bite the poo poo out of others. The trick, according to the Travelogue, is to go through the forest by night, because the serpent trees fear fire. Why you canít just carry torches during the day isnít brought up. Setting the trees on fire, however, is a bad idea, because the trees are very flammable and only the will of Grazízt can extinguish raging forest fires. According to Rule-of-Three, there are three ways to get out of the forest (noticing a pattern with this guy?). One is to float down the River of Salt (literally just salt crystals) on a magic boat, which takes you to a different layer in the realm. Just donít fall in, as the crystals will grind you into a red paste. The second method is to find the gates between the layers. These take the form of open furnaces, and passing through them do fire damage to the unprotected. Of course Tanaríri will set up non-portal ovens because they are nothing if not dicks. The final way out is to travel to the realmsí capital city, Zelatar, which connects to the other layers of the realm and has a conduit to other layers and Lower Planes. Unfortunately, most of those conduits are anchored inside Grazíztís palace, and before even reaching the city, adventurers have to avoid hunting parties led by Grazízt and his partners.



The final layer described is the 113th, Thanatos. The aptly named layer is dominated by the undead and ruled over by Kiaransalee, the Drow goddess of vengeance and the undead. Most locales here donít even have air, but there are a couple of places where a living berk can stay relatively safely. Both are in the city Naratyr. The lower reaches are especially safe by Abyss standards-not even an Abyssal Lord will chase you there because theyíre afraid of Kiaransalee. In truth, the goddess ignores this section of her realm. The only danger here are weak mindless undead, although there are a lot of them. Thereís even a tavern here, presumably run by Dustmen. The upper reaches are more dangerous due to thinner-to-no air and patrols of vampires, banshees and ghasts, but with the right party itís possible to do business here. The vampires and other intelligent undead are organized into warring bands. The cityís day-to-day ruler is Rauva Cormrael, a powerful priestess from the Prime. Her rival is Rotting Jack, but no more info is provided on him. Dustman are pretty common in the upper reaches, and can serve as guides. Above the city is Kiaransaleeís Winter Palace, who issues decrees ďfrom her nightmare throne of zombies and skeletonsĒ.


Hissboda of Naratyr posted:

The dead are more reliable than the living.

Next time: The Travelogue continued

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 01:45 on May 24, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Ah, right, the Xaositects.

I'd forgotten how stupidly annoying they were in their interpretation of chaos.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Mors Rattus posted:

Ah, right, the Xaositects.

I'd forgotten how stupidly annoying they were in their interpretation of chaos.

They're a great representation of why Chaotic Neutral PCs should be outlawed.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Evil Mastermind posted:

It's actually about the Gaunt Man summoning the PCs to Illmound Keep about halfway through the adventure (page 47 of 98) so they can kill Lord Avery Wellington for him, because he wants to "test the Storm Knights" and Wellington is trying to usurp the Gaunt Man via an occult ritual that would kill everyone in a major city. Refusing to help the most evil man in the world gets you 13 corruption points because not helping save a city is a Wicked act. Agreeing to help the most evil man in the world gets you 8 corruption points. It's all as dumb as it sounds.

How many points do you get for parodying the whole thing by pretending to cheat by reading from Castle Ravenloft?

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013



SirPhoebos posted:

GIS is becoming less and less helpful for gathering the artwork for my posts. What tools do the rest of you use for getting pictures off of pdfs?

Sorry if it's a bit late but nitro pdf has an extract all images tool which takes all images from a pdf and puts them into a zip for you.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



EQUIPMENT

There is quite a lot to the equipment of Rocket Age, so Iíll mainly go over the things not native to Earth. Letís begin!

Melee Weapons



Europan Pain Baton: When Europans have to engage in hand-to-hand, the pain baton is what they go to. Itís a collapsible baton that goes from pocket-sized to a meter and a half long with a flick. In addition to the physical pain from a strike, the baton stimulates the pain neurons from the point of impact to encompass the whole body.

HíIlthansat: This unpronounceable weapon is a dagger carved from a horn or fang or tusk from a Venusian beast and given to a Venusian on their wandering. Itís a symbolic weapon in addition to being functional; non-Venusians should not have one without a good reason, a Venusian carrying one is granted hospitality by rival tribes and they can ask their hosts for help. At the end of their wandering, the dagger is destroyed in a fire. Itís dishonorable to return home without it.

Hamaxe: The Hamaxe is a combination hammer and axe held in high regard by Martian Priests and Warriors that focus on ceremony and tradition. Itís a wooden staff with a heavy metal head that looks somewhat like Red Faction Guerilla sledgehammer, a true weapon for Martians/space assholes.

Silthanka: The Silthanka is a traditional Martian Priest weapon. Itís a precious-metal inlaid sword like a cavalry saber that is passed down from Priest to Priest.



Speakerís Staff: The staff is a carved Venusian branch that has a blue-green Venusian crystal tipping the branch. The crystal is capable of storing and releasing energy generated by swinging the staff or absorbing sunlight. The energy is released by striking the crystal in a series of tones, the release depending on the cut of the crystal or its composition. Exploring the tones of your crystal is vital for the growth of a Venusian Priest.

Spear Fork: The Spear Fork (not to be confused with the Spork) is a Martian Warrior cavalry weapon or a traditional female Warrior defense weapon. The two tine spears flanking the main spear can be customized depending on need. Female Warriors act like squads of pikemen with the spear fork while cavalry ride bahmoots and use the spear for charges and guerilla strikes.

Sun Axe: A Martian Warrior weapon, a gigantic dual-headed axe used by Warriors who will go on to be palace guards or traditionally holy warriors.

Toothed Saber: A Martian weapon carved from scrub brush wood turned into jagged wooden swords that break off splinters into their enemies and cause infection and aggravated wounds. Normally a Warrior weapon, itís been leaked to the rest of Mars and is now used by Chanari raiders or pirates.

Venusian Wood Axe: A Venusian axe made out of wood decorated with Venusian crystals that attract or deflect energy beams like a magnet.

Warriorís Claws: Stone Wolverine claws for the Venusians. Very hard to make.

RANGED WEAPONS



Arrow Caster: A ranged Warrior weapon made to replace bows due to the scarcity of wood. The Arrow Caster is a treated leather band that you step on and use your body as a frame for a bow and draw wooden arrows back with your free hand. Basically imagine making a C with your foot as the bottom and your off-hand as the top.

Europan Disintegrator: Lose a limb on a glancing shot or totally evaporate on a sure hit with a shot from a disintegrator beam. Pistols cause bits of flesh to disappear; a direct shot is survivable with medical attention. Rifles kill and take limbs. Cannons are ridiculously dangerous and easily destroy buildings and vehicles.



Ganymedian Heart Bow: A heart bow is created when a Ganymedian refuses the normal funeral process and is instead converted into a bit of solid wood. This bit of wood is then carved into a bow, an accurate and deadly weapon.

Martian Stun Ball: Imagine a jai alai scoop mounted on your arm, your arm inside of the scoop. Imagine whipping a grapefruit-sized ball at someone with your arm-scoop and both the ball and scoop track the target to make it home. Thatís the Martian Stun Ball. It also comes in a non-powered version with a wooden scoop and rubber balls.



Radium Rifle: The Radium Rifle is a semi-scavenged half-remembered conglomeration of Ancient Martian technology and Martian duct tape keeping it running. The radium rifle is an artillery weapon that needs two Warriors to operate and carry it or a bahmoot to pull it and a fast Warrior who can dismount and fire the gun. It fires an accelerated slug that lands with a hard thud. They also bleed heavy heat in between shots, making them more suited as defensive weapons that deal crazy splash damage.

RAY Guns: Teslaís RAY weapons are reverse-engineered from Ancient Martian technology into phasers, basically. They can stun or kill and the color of the beam indicates whatís being shot. They come in Pistol, SMG, Rifle or Cannon designs.



Stinger Weapons: Gas-propelled weapons designed for fighting in Jupiter. Stingers fire either short arrows or crossbow bolts.

BODY ARMOR



Maduri War Armor: War Armor is made out of plasteel, essentially. Itís weak to heat but strong to blunt, piercing or sharp attacks. War Armor is traditionally melted down and reworked and poured to make new armor for another Warrior. Itís also ended up in the hands of a lot of humans whoíve looted the dead or traded with Warriors for their armor. Generally they donít like to see humans wearing it.

This same material is also used to forge Maduri War Shields and Silthuri Dueling Vests (for non-lethal duels) or Silthuri War Armor.

Rocket Ranger Space Armor: Made of Martian War Armor material and aluminum, the RRSA is hard to puncture or damage and light enough to get out of in a jiffy (but still sort of clunky).



Venusian Battle Straps: Leather straps that go around their torso for protection and to harden their skin. They can come with shell/plate armor but thatís not really honorable.

Venusian Wood Shield: A small buckler with crystals studding the wood that acts like the axe does.

VEHICLES:




Rocket Car/Sled: The Rocket Car is a rich manís toy. It looks cool, it goes fast, itís completely impractical to actually use. Theyíre car-shaped rocket ships. The rocket sled, on the other hand, is a lot more useful especially on planets with low oil content. Itís a platform on a rocket with a cab, no atmospheric/flight capability but good for going from asteroids back to the ship or skimming the Ore Fields of Venus.




Rocket Pack: The Mark III is the gold standard for personal flight, developed in Los Alamos from Martian technology. The Mark I and Mark II were failures and their test pilots will be missed. You absolutely need a suit to protect you from flying because you absolutely can fly in space and to planets. Itís bulky, itís fragile, itís fast and it runs on a special radium fuel.



War Walker: The Deutsche Marskorps War Walkers come in four variations but they all need a pilot with neural implants to function. Without that integrated pilot, it can and will fall over if it takes more than a step. The first two are meant for PC use if they choose the War Walker occupation. The Panzerpahlaufer is the two-legged military humvee of the War Walkers. It seats the pilot, two crewman and a radio operator/gunner, armed with four machine guns and has a glaring weakness in a front glass canopy. Perfect for ferrying the other PCs around! The Laufpanzer is a one-man War Walker, a four-meter-tall humanoid walker with two arms that can be equipped with guns or other tools. The Panzerschreiter is four-legged and the workhorse tank of the Nazi forces, equipped with a RAY cannon, rocket pod and machine guns. It seats five: driver, commander and three gunners. The Sturmschreiter is a weapon to surpass Metal Gear, an eight-legged spider tank that requires a crew of ten soldiers: two drivers operating in sync, a commander and seven gunners. It has four 45mm cannons, two rocket pods and a buttload of mounted machine guns. Itís also slow and awkward and has two gigantic weaknesses: the legs are weak and can only be so armored and killing one pilot will either kill the other from psychic feedback or the strain of piloting an ungodly huge Nazi war machine alone.




ROCKET SHIPS



Iím going to be giving you a quick overview of the rocket ships because goodness gracious there are a lot created by country or planet. Iím sorry, I really do not want to just bog this down with all of the info about rockets. If theyíre not an Europan Flying Saucer, they run on a radium drive engine. The Europan Flying Saucer most likely runs on rainbows, haughtiness and bear farts. They need life support, a good hull, communications gear, landing gear and a place to sleep. Also weapons (mostly RAY cannons). Yeah. Uh. I canít go deeper into this; that would be madness. I will provide some details for some ships.




ANCIENT MARTIAN TECHNOLOGY



Ancient Radium Rifle: No horrible heat problems, no venting, oh no. The old radium rifle also came in the form of semi/fully automatic rifles, pistols and rapid-fire artillery weapons that used magnetic coils to shoot bullets. Quite a deadly beast.

Climate Control System: Most of them are offline that simply control the climate. They can make it rain or snow or storm by creating an area of effect. If enough of these systems were found and restored and used to create a network of effects, Mars could be saved and restored. It doesnít actually make plants grow, though. It only provides circumstances for them to grow, so start planting.

Electronic Text: A mixture between a LCD screen and a holoprojector used to store and display things.

Energy Converter: A gigantic, immovable creation used in certain labs that needed a crazy amount of energy. It turns matter into electricity by putting matter in a centrifuge and turning it into slurry and fed through a technobabble field that creates a lot of energy from some matter.

Freeze Ray: Drops the target to -40 celsius. Stupidly lethal, very hard to find but whoever finds it and reverse-engineers it will be rich.



Genetic Modification Machine: The GMM is a coffin bed that puts the person inside into a coma as nanomachines and retroviruses change the species or gender of the occupant. You can augment the person inside or even add traits. However, it has limits. First, no cloning. Second, it only works on humanoids and can only turn you into a humanoid. Third, it only works flawlessly on Martians, armed with knowledge of Martians or Erisians/Venusians. This device could be used to recreate the Ancient Martians or remove breeding restrictions. The side effects for other species can be bad, ranging from sterility to other bad traits.

Heat Ray: A classic Martian weapon that agitated sub-atomic particles. Normally you can just shoot people with it, but it was used as an anti-air weapon as well because prolonged exposure to the radioactive heat beam will cause targets to violently explode.



Mental Projection Device: The MPD is a throne attached to a fusion reactor and computer bank that gives the user psychic powers as long as theyíre relaxing in the throne. Big caveat? You need neural interface plugs in order to use it. Because of the chemicals used to maintain a trance and because it was made for Ancient Martian minds, users either get a skewed outlook or damage and a skewed outlook as long as theyíre in the machine and until the drugs wear off. The big exception is if a Venusian tries to use a MPD, which overclocks the reactor and sets it to a 15 minute self destruct.

Orbital Defense System: The ODS consists of a collection of spheres floating around Mars that can only be detected by the eye. If someone finds the control center on Mars, they can wake up the spheres which have reactors inside of them and the control center allows the operator to control them and fire RAY beams from the sky.

Planet Killer Rocket: The Ancients actually built two in case the first one failed or missed. Now, the first rocket managed to do the job and blew up Eris. Thereís still the second rocket and itís been missing for millennia somewhere beneath the sands of Mars and whoever finds it better be careful with it.



Remote Communicator: Iím not joking here when I say itís literally a cell phone/smart phone but the network is down. They need close communicators or line of sight to work with each other.

Solar Powered Devices: This is less a specific type of technology and more that sometimes things on Mars have solar cells. Theyíre either broken from wear, tear and weather or inactive due to loss of light.



Finally, there are equipment traits which are used to change how equipment and items operate. There are a lot of them and I donít find them as interesting as character traits but you can look at the example statblocks to get an idea what it is they influence. I feel a little bad that I didnít go nearly as in depth as I could have, but I had to do it to preserve my sanity.

NEXT TIME: How to actually play Rocket Age!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



It's my first ever roleplaying game on today's System Mastery! Jon's too actually, though it's hard to get excited about that.

It's Rifts: Part 1!

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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


The Planescape factions were inspired by the popularity of Vampire's clans, though they take much much more from Mage: the Ascension

Except for the Xaositects. They are Fishmalks and in a sane setting would be murdered right after the Kender were exterminated.

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