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That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Rand Brittain posted:

Honestly, I don't think the books ever really talk about what the Traditions want other than "freedom from being cyborg murdered" because that's such a far-off, nebulous future that there's no point. People just read intentions onto them to match their bias. (And okay, there's probably at least one book that states that the Tradtions are totally planning to turn the entire world into Generic Fantasy Europe, because of course there is.)

Really, this is the one thing that Ascension always completely failed at in every iteration--these arguments are never fun. If you're playing Nobilis, navel-gazing and arguing about what is or isn't Treachery is all part of the fun; doing the same thing with your paradigm in Ascension is a gateway to endless misery.

I think it's because there are a lot more solid and detailed "truths" to Mage, and all the base philosophies start out wildly wrong about them.

Selachian posted:

This, by the way, is where the whole "roleplaying vs. rollplaying" :smug: thing got started. It was originally meant to draw a distinction between the White Wolf games, which were all about character and personality and humanity and Deep Cosmic Questions maaaaan, and D&D and its relatives, where you just rolled dice to kill monsters and take their stuff.

It amuses me that the use of the phrase has mutated so much that now the old-school D&Ders place themselves on the "roleplaying" side.

I mean, it got super charged by the WoD counterculture, but "role vs roll" goes back to pretty much the beginning. As soon as they allowed fan letters into the ubiquitous magazines of the time, we were doomed to suffer this argument forever. (Also I seem to recall Gygax himself indulging in it from time to time in his own columns.)

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In Nomine: Burn in Hell


The world is burning - like the ovens at Belsen, like the eyes of a madman, like the heart of the Prince of Fire.

Belial, Prince of Fire, would let the whole world burn before admitting he lost or was wrong about anything. He's a Calabite, a fighter who rarely shows up unless force or threats are needed. Lucifer likes him fine, but limits his power for fear of treachery. Belial takes himself exceptionally seriously, refusing to show weakness in any of his vessels. They are all strong and muscular, with an affectation of sophistication, and they are never without a weapon. Belial is the guy who shows up in a three piece suit toting a flamethrower. His demons come in all kinds, but all of them smoke, if only so they have a reason to carry lighters. Belial was once an angel serving Gabriel, but Lucifer promised him the Word of Fire iif he helped overthrow God. Lucifer's kept his promise as best he can. Belial only represents literal, physical fire and its destruction, rather than the conceptual power that Gabriel often embodies. Their rivalry is legendary, and their angels and demons hate each other deeply. It is dissonant for Belial's demons to be burned by a fire they made - literally or metaphorically. A demon of Fire gains dissonance whenever they are hurt, physically or otherwise, by their own schemes.

Balseraphs of Fire can instantly heat any metal object within (Corporeal Forces) yards that weighs no more than (Forces*10) pounds. It won't melt or start fires, but becomes too hot to hold.
Djinn of Fire can brand victims with a symbol representing their name. They are permanently attuned to anyone they brand, and it doesn't count against their maximum attunements. The only way to remove the attunement is to flay away the branded flesh, one inch on either side and half an inch deep. Anyone that does that is permanently immune to all of the Djinn's powers and may gain unpredictable abilities. Further, anyone in the presence of the brand, no matter where it is - on the victim or flayed off - can use the Celestial Song of Attraction to track the Djinn. Other Djinn or Cherubim don't even need the song - they can use their natural resonance.
Calabim of Fire double their Corporeal Forces when adding them to the CD of a successful resonance. Further, their resonance cannot cause Disturbance.
Habbalah of Fire can use their resonance to make someone they touch believe they are on fire for (Corporeal Forces) rounds.
Lilim of Fire add (Ethereal Forces) to any attempt to use their resonance to Geas someone into an act of mayhem or destruction.
Shedim of Fire may possess fire - (Forces) square yards of it at once. They control its shape and can move it to consume in one direction or another, or to not burn something within the flame.
Impudites of Fire add (Corporeal Forces) when using their resonance for any purpose while within (Forces) feet of a fire.
Incendiary is a Servitor attunement that lets you ignite anything or everything flammable within (6+Corporeal Forces) feet, for 2 Essence. It deals no damage the first round, and 1d6 damage to all objects set on fire every round after that.
Firewalker is a Servitor attunement that prevents all damage from fire and allows you, once per day, to heal up to (Corporeal Forces) corporeal HP by touching flame. It does not provide any immunity to heat or heated objects - just flames.
Knights of the Infernal Furnaces know to the nearest degree the ambient temperature and the temperature of anything in eyesight. They may use this to 'see' thermally in the dark.
Captains of the Eternal Fire may snap their fingers to ignite a fingertip, equivalent to a cigarette lighter. Their vision cannot be blocked by flames, either.
Barons of the Demonic Brazier are immune to heat of all kinds and may pass this immunity on to those they touch for (Celestial Forces) minutes.

Belial has no allies, but is associated with Baal and Vapula. While he is hostile towards Andrealpjus, Haagenti, Kobal and Valefor, he considers no one his outright enemy. Basic Rites:
1. Immolate six humans, consecutively or concurrently.
2. Spend an hour resting in 120 degrees Fahrenheit heat.
3. Spend half an hour in 250 degrees Fahrenheit heat if you are immune to fire.

Belial has a base Invocation TN of 1, +1 if you have a match, +2 for a charcoal birquette, +3 for 15 gallons of gasoline, +4 for a can of napalm, +5 for a forest fire, +6 for a burning skyscraper.


The world is starving - it must be fed.

Haagenti, Prince of Gluttony will eat just about anything nearby. He is a Calabite, usually appearing as a hairy, screaming demon about three feet tall with a huge maw of razor teeth. He moves about by hopping and skipping, eating anything he can grab. He hates most of the other Princes, having spent 600 years in service to them. He started as a gremlin under the Prince of Sloth, pushing himself up with hugnry ambition, promising himself he'd one day devour his foes. Over time, he became a Calabite in service to Belial, where he caught the eye of Kobal. Kobal bought him from Belial, sponsored him for the Word of Gluttony, and finally adopted him as a 'brother.' Protected and encouraged, Haagenti grew ever more potent. He eventually attacked and consumed Meserach, the Prince of Sloth, and Lucifer made him a Prince in his own right. He is energetic, informal and greedy as a ruler. He demands obedience and food, and he retains the sense of humor that first drew Kobal's attention. He's not subtle - he likes torture and sight gags. His demons encourage consumption of all kinds, but particularly of food, and also help demons of Kobal out. It is dissonant for demons of Gluttony to go more than (Corporeal Forces) days without using the Consume attunement to force a human to consume. So yeah, they all need the Consume attunement. Game design!

Balseraphs of Gluttony may impose the Celestial Discord of Glurttony on their victims at (Corporeal Forces) level for (CD) days with a resonance roll. Humans do not gain an actual Discord, but act as if they had it.
Djinn of Gluttony always know the direction to the nearest glutton, and if they are attuned to someone with the Discord Gluttony or equivalent disadvantage, they automatically succeed on resonance rolls against that person with an automatic CD 6. Non-Djinn only get the glutton direction sense.
Calabim of Gluttony regain 1 Essence if they can provoke or participate in an orgy of consumption by destruction, such as a demolition derby or exceptionally rowdy party.
Habbalah of Gluttony may add their Corporeal Forces to resonance rolls when inflicting hunger, which only they can do. With a CD of 6, their victim will gorge themselves to bursting but remain hungry.
Lilim of Gluttony may prepare amazing meals by spending (4-Corporeal Forces) hours at work, minimum 1. Whoever they offer the food to must make a Will roll to resist eating it on sight, penalized by (Celestial Forces). If the meal is not poisoned, the diner owes the Lilim a level 2 Geas. Only one such meal can be made at a time, but the target does not need to be selected when it's made. Non-Lilim do not get the Geas out of the deal.
Shedim of Gluttony reduce the Will roll of their hosts by (Corporeal Forces) if the host is a glutton.
Impudites of Gluttony do not need to charm victims to steal Essence, just touch them. However, this produces Disturbance equal to (Essence stolen+Corporeal Forces) and leaves the victim ravenously hungry.
Consume is a Servitor attunement that must be purchased. It allows a demon to amplify a victim's inner hungers massively, forcing a Will roll penalzied by their Corporeal Forces to resist wastefully consuming the object of their desire - eat the food, buy the poo poo, whatever.
Devour is a Servitor attunement that allows you to consume (10*Corporeal Forces) pounds of matter in any minute with a Strength roll. You need the Numinous Corpus Song of Fangs to eat anything harder than normal food, though. For 1 Essence, you can use this as a Power +5 attack. If you use this more than once an hour and fail at one of the second or later rolls, you vomit up everything you ate, suffering damage equal to the number of times you successfully used the power that hour...but also dealing that much damage to anyone directly in front of you.
Knights of Banquets can detect any form of nourishment edible by a normal human within 40 feet, which explicitly includes living or recently dead humans.
Captains of Cannibals may flavor anything they touch however they like for 1d6 minutes.
Barons of Satanic Dishes can make anything they touch look and feel like an equal mass of food for 1d6 minutes, an illusion that is not apparent until the effects end.

Haagenti gets along well with the other Princes of Shal-Mari, particularly Kobal, his borther and ally. He acts as a sort of random factor in the plans of others, due to his aggressive nature, though. He is associated with Nybbas and Saminga, and the now minor Prince of Greed, Mammon, tries to stay on his good side, but Haagenti is neutral at best towards him. Haagenti is hostile to Belial, Malphas and Valefor, and considers Asmodeus his enemy. Basic Rites:
1. Cause someone to eat 15 pounds of food in a single sitting. (That's about a dozen large meals.)
2. Use Devour to consume 200 pounds of matter.

Haagenti has a base Invocation TN of 3, +1 if you have a bag of candy, +2 for a Big Mac, +3 for a normal meal, +4 for a luxurious meal, +5 for 50 pounds of fast food, +6 for 10 thousand whole fried chickens.


The world is a joke, and humanity is the punchline.

Kobal, Prince of Dark Humor, is Hell's jester and beloved by Lucifer, who allows him to say anything, even if he'd punish anyone else. Kobal perverts humor into mockery, hatred and despair, turning thought into laughter and concern into callousness. He appears dfifferently whenever he manifests, but his demons can always recognize him. Sometimes he is cheerful, but mostly he is depressed and caustic. He prefers intelligent humor and word games to simple gags. He is an Impudite and used to spend a lot of time on Earth, but does so less and less this century. He's heard all the jokes now, he's jaded and getting bored and angry. He only comes out when called or to enjoy some especially brutal practical joke. He is planning to perform the ultimate joke, though he's not necessarily consciously aware of it. When he does it asnd on whom may make the difference in the War. It is dissonant for any demon of Kobal to go a single day iwthout worsening someone's luck by laughing at them or making others laugh at them.

Demons of Dark Humor are given unique Rites by Band, usable once per day to regain 1 Essence...or 2, if they can laugh in victim's face after.
Balseraphs of Dark Humor must lie to someone and make others think they're stupid and gullible.
Djinn of Dark Humor must embarrass the person they're attuned to by making a scene or implying some dark secret on the victim's part.
Calabim of Dark Humor must destory something important and have their victim discover it a particularly ironic moment.
Habbalah of Dark Humor must make humans embarrass themselves with inappopriate emotional outbursts, like laughter at a funeral.
Lilim of Dark Humor must successfully dare or Geas a human into doing something clearly foolish and dangerous.
Shedim of Dark Humor add (Ethereal Forces) to make their hosts do anything darkly silly or degrading, and also get their Essence from doing so.
Impudites of Dark Humor must play practical jokes that make people's lives miserable. Also, they do not gain dissonance if one of their jokes kills a human.
Prank is a Servitor attunement allowing you to spend 2 Essence and make a Will roll to create an illusion of convincing but cartoony madness - giant chicken comes out of a car, dead bodies appear on a table, whatever. The illusion must be humorous or ironic. Victims get a Perception roll minus (Celestial Forces) to resist. Otherwise, they genuinely believe the illusion for (Demon's CD+their CD) seconds.
Knights of Derision can make anyone see the humor in a cruel situation, requiring a Will roll to avoid demeaning both themselves and whoever they are laughing at.
Captains of Repartee can make any human that can hear them shrug off the importance of any event they've just witnessed or news they just received by making a pithy joke about it. This can be resisted with Will.
Barons of Hysteria know at a glance what kind of humor someone finds funniest, and may also make a joke to distract someone for 1 round, during which their rolls are reduced by (Celestial Forces) unless they make a Will roll to resist.

Kobal is allied with Haagenti and associated with Malphas and Saminga. He is hostile to Baal, Kronos and Valefor, and considers Asmodeus his enemy. Basic Rites:
1. Make someone laugh just before they die.
2. Make a psychotic joke at the expense of any other celestial and make the GM laugh at it.
3. Disrupt a serious occasion involving at least 30 people with inappropriate laughter.

Kobal has a base Invocation TN of 3, +1 if you have an original and cruel joke, +2 for a 5 minute comedy sketch making the audience enjoy something evil, +3 for a busy stretch of road made slick, +4 for a malicious hour-long stand-up routine, +5 for something that the GM thinks would make Kobal smirk and +6 for something the GM thinks would make Kobal laugh. Yeah, Kobal kinda sucks as written. My favorite campaign idea, though, is 'Kobal performs the Ultimate Joke: he Redeems and drags Haagenti with him, leaving Hell in utter chaos.'


The world is sliding toward the Pit - but not quickly enough.

Kronos, Prince of Fate is the most potent of the Princes. He doesn't care about most people - just those who are called to a bright destiny, who must be crushed with a dark fate. He and his demons are the only ones with a true connection to the greater Symphony, the better to pervert it. They are the greatest foes of the angels of Destiny, finding patterns to push the Symphony down weaker paths. Without them, the angels might have already won. Kronos is a Balseraph that presents himself as a small, older man who rarely speaks but has an aura of authority. Other Princes may be jealous of him, but all respect his knowledge. It is dissonant for any demon of Kronos to knowingly help a human achieve their destiny or knowingly prevent a human from achieving their fate. They must know the human's destiny or fate, whether via the Fated Future attunement or by Kronos telling them. Accidents aren't dissonant, they just make Kronos very angry.

Balseraphs of Fate choose the resonance of any single Choir of angel. They get that resonance, but also that angel's dissonance conditions.
Djinn of Fate know when an object of their attunement is slated to be destroyed within the next 24 hours, barring celestial intervention. Also, anything they are attuned to cannot be attuned to by a Cherub, and any Cherubic attunements are negated.
Calabim of Fate do not begin the game with a Discord. Further, when they use their resonance, they can choose to make it appear as if the target was damaged by the passage of time.
Habbalah of Fate who use the Fated Future attunement automatically know what emotion they could inflict on their target to best serve the cause of evil.
Lilim of Fate can see Discord by looking into the eyes of someone else. Also, they may add their Celestial Forces to any attempt to inflict a Geas.
Shedim of Fate may, once a day, alter their hosts perception of time and mortality. The host believes there is enough time for everything and so can give in to temptation, or that there is no time to do what's right instead of what's fast. Either way, their Will is reduced by (Celestial Forces) to resist the Shedite.
Impudites of Fate can touch a person and, with a Perception roll, know their life story from their perspective.
Fated Future is a Servitor attunement that lets you spend 1 Essence to know a human's fate or destiny. For 2 Essence, you get both.
Temporal Projection is a Servitor attunement allowing you to launch anyone within 2 yards through time or space, as long as they are corporeal. They may resist with Will. Otherwise, they vanish from the world for (Celestial Forces*Essence Spent) hours, reappearing a random distance away. Roll 1d6. On a 1, they appear (1d6*Essence Spent) feet away from their last location. On a 2, yards. On a 3, tens of yards. On a 4, hundreds of yards. On a 5, miles. On a 6, tens of miles. They will not reappear inside matter, in midair or anywhere immediately destructive...but could appear in water.
Knights of the Winged Chariot always know the time, down to the second, and the age of anything they touch. With 1 Essence and a Perception roll, they can find the darkest deed in any object's past.
Captains of the Infernal Hourglass can spend 1 Essence to perform an hour's worth of non-combat, non-movement, non-travel tasks in half the normal time. They can spend 2 Essence to let anyone else do this.
Barons of the Book of Days know the equivalent of anything that would be reported in newspaper headlines, had newspapers existed, for any one century in the past 2000 years, chosen when they get the distinction. To simulate this, the player may refer to an applicable history book, the GM can feed them information as needed or they can just assume any relevant Knowledge rolls are passed at CD 6. This can be granted multiple times to the same demon, covering different periods each time.

Kronos has no allies, but is associated with Asmodeus, Baal, Beleth and Nybbas. He is hostile to Andrealphus and Haagenti, and he considers Kobal and Valefor his enemies. Basic Rites:
1. Spend six hours observing the passage of time, such as by listening to a clock tick.
2. Prevent someone from achieving their destiny.
3. Help someone meet their fate.

The base Invocation TN for Kronos is 1, +1 if you have a quartz watch, +2 for a wind-up clock, +3 for a hand-written autobiography, +4 for a working 100-year-old grandfather clock, +5 for an incredibly large clock, like Big Ben, +6 for an atomic clock of unprecedented accuracy.

Next time: Factions, the Media, Death and Theft.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Also, Ars Magica owns and is my favorite game.

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


Rand Brittain posted:

Honestly, I don't think the books ever really talk about what the Traditions want other than "freedom from being cyborg murdered" because that's such a far-off, nebulous future that there's no point. People just read intentions onto them to match their bias. (And okay, there's probably at least one book that states that the Tradtions are totally planning to turn the entire world into Generic Fantasy Europe, because of course there is.)

Really, this is the one thing that Ascension always completely failed at in every iteration--these arguments are never fun. If you're playing Nobilis, navel-gazing and arguing about what is or isn't Treachery is all part of the fun; doing the same thing with your paradigm in Ascension is a gateway to endless misery.

The Traditions want a world where we can all follow our own Paradigm. Currently, I need to believe in modern medicine and science because they objectively work. Scientists and doctors are right, my hippie friends are wrong. Which is great if you're good at math and science and medicine! But Mage lets you imagine a world where I really can heal injuries by listening to my favorite song and enter other realms by doing the right drugs! Where all the fun, interesting stuff that I KNOW is bullshit IRL gets to actually be true, at least for the length of a game session.

Does it have problems? Yeah, I wouldn't want to live in a world where fundamentalist religious types could enforce their wills on reality. But for me, personally, the world of Mage sounds more fun than Ars Magica's academic politics (though I love reading Ars Magica) or indeed most other settings.

But its cool - it's a personal thing. It's just that almost every bug somebody points out is a feature to somebody else. In fact, I know a bunch of hippie gamers who might run Mage well.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Rand Brittain posted:

They don't actually say that, though? That's something people often attribute to them but it's not really part of the game's description of them.
I forget if it's in 1E or 2E but I distinctly recall reading about mages railing against Copernicus for ruining the great thing they had going before all this Reason poo poo got started. I believe it was specifically for heliocentrism, not for some hypothetical wizzard crime he did outside of the view of mundane history.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Rand Brittain posted:

They don't actually say that, though? That's something people often attribute to them but it's not really part of the game's description of them.

It doesn't explicitly say that, but they're still based on appeals to Romanticism, and just like real life Romanticism leaves many implicit problems floating around unaddressed. Either the Traditions have a solution to the god-king problem that they aren't telling the class or they don't think the wizard god-king s a problem.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Terrible Opinions posted:

It doesn't explicitly say that, but they're still based on appeals to Romanticism, and just like real life Romanticism leaves many implicit problems floating around unaddressed. Either the Traditions have a solution to the god-king problem that they aren't telling the class or they don't think the wizard god-king s a problem.
It seems entirely reasonable to me, and it's not like I feel the various fictional teams of wizards and vampires need to have a rationally considered plan and proposal for the reordering of society for the greater benefit of Joe NPC in order to have a positive or heroic role.

HOWEVER, by making it such an explicit part of the Technocracy's pitch, I think you'd have to have a nod at it, even if that nod is "Yeah, you're full of poo poo, and also running water was invented four thousand years ago. Rather unreasonable of you to act like you've got the patent, don't you think?"

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



Terrible Opinions posted:

It doesn't explicitly say that, but they're still based on appeals to Romanticism, and just like real life Romanticism leaves many implicit problems floating around unaddressed. Either the Traditions have a solution to the god-king problem that they aren't telling the class or they don't think the wizard god-king s a problem.

Nessus posted:

It seems entirely reasonable to me, and it's not like I feel the various fictional teams of wizards and vampires need to have a rationally considered plan and proposal for the reordering of society for the greater benefit of Joe NPC in order to have a positive or heroic role.

HOWEVER, by making it such an explicit part of the Technocracy's pitch, I think you'd have to have a nod at it, even if that nod is "Yeah, you're full of poo poo, and also running water was invented four thousand years ago. Rather unreasonable of you to act like you've got the patent, don't you think?"

All of this is exactly why I love Exalted, because it comes right out and says "God-Kings are absolutely a problem, but they're not going away any time soon, and they're the best hope the world has for climbing out of the shitter. Also the last attempt at genociding them just installed a rival faction of God-Kings who brought their own wave of problems, so maybe that's not such a helpful idea."

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


Terrible Opinions posted:

It doesn't explicitly say that, but they're still based on appeals to Romanticism, and just like real life Romanticism leaves many implicit problems floating around unaddressed. Either the Traditions have a solution to the god-king problem that they aren't telling the class or they don't think the wizard god-king s a problem.

As I guy who got way into Byron's Manfred in college, 'you can play a Romantic wizard-king' is not a knock against Mage. And presumably after Ascension, you get running water based on whatever paradigm holds sway in your personal reality bubble. I see it a bit like Instrumtality in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Maybe you ask the water spirits for help, while I quote Joyce's riverrun and turn the words into a bubbling torrent. It's fantasy, just like pretending that being good at math means you can throw a fireball and beat up dragons. The whole Romantic vs Modernist thing just gives it a nice engine of tension/paradox and ensures that these debates will never end. They also tie into things that are a big part of people's personal identifies. If you see Modernity as something you grudgingly buy into because it works (but you wish it didn't) you'll have a different view of the Technocracy than somebody who gets math and logic.

I guess I blame Facebook. Mage is less appealing when people are posting mystical David Avocado Wolfe quotes.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 04:20 on Jan 18, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Also bear in mind Mage-under-Brucato, at least, has a lot of attacks on modernism as an engine that grinds souls under its boot and reduces you to "Liquid In, Liquid Out". It's not hard to take that as the party line for the Traditions, because if not them, who else? But Mage: the Ascension as a line is fantastically inconsistent and you can read it to support whatever preconceived notions you have, of course.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Also bear in mind Mage-under-Brucato, at least, has a lot of attacks on modernism as an engine that grinds souls under its boot and reduces you to "Liquid In, Liquid Out". It's not hard to take that as the party line for the Traditions, because if not them, who else? But Mage: the Ascension as a line is fantastically inconsistent and you can read it to support whatever preconceived notions you have, of course.
Perhaps the same could be said of all religions.

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Also bear in mind Mage-under-Brucato, at least, has a lot of attacks on modernism as an engine that grinds souls under its boot and reduces you to "Liquid In, Liquid Out". It's not hard to take that as the party line for the Traditions, because if not them, who else? But Mage: the Ascension as a line is fantastically inconsistent and you can read it to support whatever preconceived notions you have, of course.

That's also what 75% of the Internet I read says (replace 'modernity' with 'late period capitalism', I guess), so it makes sense. Can you play a Situationist Mage, detourning the Society of the Spectacle? Or a Technocracy idealogue who jacks off to The Futurist Manifesto? I guess the fact that you can play Mage as 'LF: The Game' is why so many people love and hate it.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Thesaurasaurus posted:

All of this is exactly why I love Exalted, because it comes right out and says "God-Kings are absolutely a problem, but they're not going away any time soon, and they're the best hope the world has for climbing out of the shitter. Also the last attempt at genociding them just installed a rival faction of God-Kings who brought their own wave of problems, so maybe that's not such a helpful idea."

Exalted does pretty well when it comes to having opinions about the likely results of player characters barging around the setting wielding godlike power, but not actually coming right out and saying them out loud.

That is to say, it's pretty sure that it's all going to end in tears, but it doesn't mind you barging around all Super Saiyan and having fun anyway.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Exalted is a game about people going 'This time, it will be DIFFERENT!' and then it not being different at all, while many PCs never notice.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Night10194 posted:

Exalted is a game about people going 'This time, it will be DIFFERENT!' and then it not being different at all, while many PCs never notice.

Well, it's got that in common with life, so it works.

Technically, the oWoD method of explaining at length why you're doing it all wrong is also true to life but never mind.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I mean, I despise Exalted for a lot of reasons (its system, some of the grosser aspects of the setting, and seriously the system is awful) but the core concept of 'You are a godlike being of ultimate divine destiny. You are also a major reason everything is so hosed up. Go!' is a solid core idea.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Count Chocula posted:

That's also what 75% of the Internet I read says (replace 'modernity' with 'late period capitalism', I guess), so it makes sense. Can you play a Situationist Mage, detourning the Society of the Spectacle? Or a Technocracy idealogue who jacks off to The Futurist Manifesto? I guess the fact that you can play Mage as 'LF: The Game' is why so many people love and hate it.

The important thing that Mage has taught me is that gently caress beliefs, gently caress paradigms, what mages are really fighting over is which clothes will be fashionable in Nirvana when the non-denominational rapture happens.

Will it be henna tattoos or laser goggles? It's time to make a stand!

Night10194 posted:

Exalted is a game about people going 'This time, it will be DIFFERENT!' and then it not being different at all, while many PCs never notice.

Well, a lot of early Exalted was pretty much supposed to be a trage- wait, no, I'm not going to discuss Exalted. It's a trap.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Yeah, let's stick to good-natured arguments.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Speaking of good-natured things, I kind of abandoned my Chuubo F&F because nobody seemed to be reading it. I wonder if anybody has any advice on what I could do to make a review more punchy?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Rand Brittain posted:

Speaking of good-natured things, I kind of abandoned my Chuubo F&F because nobody seemed to be reading it. I wonder if anybody has any advice on what I could do to make a review more punchy?
Post more, to be frank. (I also hosed out on the two I was trying to do, RIP me). I don't remember seeing it, though an abortive pbp Chuubo got me to actually dig through it and it's pretty cool!

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

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

Buglord

People don't always respond to every review, sadly.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





It also helps if the work is bad, offensive or strange because otherwise it's just a walkthrough of a good system. It seems like the main issue you could take with Chuubo is the prolix writing style, but that's half the charm, it seems.

Punting
Sep 9, 2007
I am very witty: nit-witty, dim-witty, and half-witty.



Rand Brittain posted:

Speaking of good-natured things, I kind of abandoned my Chuubo F&F because nobody seemed to be reading it. I wonder if anybody has any advice on what I could do to make a review more punchy?

Well you can always do what I did and write about something Goons hate. Typing words about Pony RPGs seemed to get some dander up.

Speaking of which, that was 2 whole threads ago, I should contribute more content. :getin:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I'm going to get back to my Warhams review, I swear. I have so many books on it to cover, just got knocked out of my momentum by some stuff I had to deal with with the GRE tossing my test scores and torpedoing my PhD applications for this year. :smith:

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

The important thing that Mage has taught me is that gently caress beliefs, gently caress paradigms, what mages are really fighting over is which clothes will be fashionable in Nirvana when the non-denominational rapture happens.

Will it be henna tattoos or laser goggles? It's time to make a stand!


Well, a lot of early Exalted was pretty much supposed to be a trage- wait, no, I'm not going to discuss Exalted. It's a trap.

He mentioned Witch House, so if M20 came out now I bet it'd be Vaporwave and A E S T H E T I C S. What styles people will wear in the posthuman future is a totally valid thing to fight over - see Moorcock's Dancer's At The End of Time series.

Chuubo sounded great. I love R. Borgstrom's writing style.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Sadly as a complete square that loves the ideas of playing cackling mad scientist with big see-through jars of embryonic monsters and clones, I am down as hell with the Technocracy and reforming it from within for the good of mankind, especially because it's not ~real~ science, and just being a polite creature creator.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007



Mors Rattus posted:


The world is a joke, and humanity is the punchline.

Kobal, Prince of Dark Humor, is Hell's jester and beloved by Lucifer, who allows him to say anything, even if he'd punish anyone else. Kobal perverts humor into mockery, hatred and despair, turning thought into laughter and concern into callousness. He appears dfifferently whenever he manifests, but his demons can always recognize him. Sometimes he is cheerful, but mostly he is depressed and caustic. He prefers intelligent humor and word games to simple gags. He is an Impudite and used to spend a lot of time on Earth, but does so less and less this century. He's heard all the jokes now, he's jaded and getting bored and angry. He only comes out when called or to enjoy some especially brutal practical joke. He is planning to perform the ultimate joke, though he's not necessarily consciously aware of it. When he does it asnd on whom may make the difference in the War. It is dissonant for any demon of Kobal to go a single day iwthout worsening someone's luck by laughing at them or making others laugh at them.

The Demon Lord of Totally Edgy Jokes.

Just when I didn't think this could get more 90's. :golfclap:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In Nomine: The Bad Decisions Team


The world is a chaotic pattern of factions within factions - but in the end, we have no allies at all. Each of us is a faction of one.

Malphas, Prince of Factions, is a Shedite who likes to appear as an older, nasty-looking man, easily mistaken for a war criminal or tyrant. Lucifer uses Malphas and his demons as diplomats. Lucifer likes him, as do most Princes. Malphas does not return their affection, and he enjoys factionalizing his fellow demons as much as humans. Lucifer approves, and it's why he likes Malphas, in fact. As long as Malphas is at work, the Princes can never unite against Lucifer. Malphas is always friendly to his servants and willing to listen - not out of kindness, but to factionalize them. Each demon believes Malphas is tough but fair, and each believes they have a special relationship with their boss. His organization is very inefficient, as none of his demons trust each other enough to work well together, but it is exceptionally reliable. After all, they're all ready for a chance to denounce each other. Malphas is never violent, save in self-defense, and he insists that his minions be likewise. Causing violence is fine - but using it means you're a failure. Malphas also believes most of his fellow Princes are idiots. It is dissonant for demons of Malphas to go more than a day without creating division between two people. A missed day can be made up for by starting two fights the next day, but after the next day, the dissonance can no longer be removed this way.

Balseraphs of Factions can make one person at a time take the demon's opinions as their own for (Ethereal Forces) hours.
Djinn of Factions can make anyone they're attuned to hate any person or object the Djinn points out for (Ethereal Forces) hours.
Calabim of Faction can destroy relationships with their resonance. The victim will not care about a relationship of the Calabite's choice for (Ethereal Forces+CD) hours when resonated, resisted by (Will-Celestial Forces).
Habbalah of Factions can make someone take an unwavering stand on any of their opinions for (Ethereal Forces) minutes. Anyone that disagrees during that period will suffer a violent response - a physically violent one, in fact, if the victim doesn't make a Will roll.
Lilim of Factions can use their resonance to force someone to focus only on the Lilim for (Ethereal Forces) minutes, ignoring everyone else.
Shedim of Factions do not need to make Will rolls to control their hosts - they do it automatically. They must still perform evil acts, they just don't need to struggle for control.
Impudites of Factions can make a Perception roll to tell how to destroy someone's trust in anyone or anything, with the CD reflecting the importance of the trust and how much work it'll take to break. If the demon manages it, they can steal (CD) Essence from the victim.
Imbroglio is a Servitor attunement that causes everyone within (Ethereal Forces) yards to take everything said to them in the worst possible way unless they make a Perception roll to avoid miscommunication. This lasts for (Essence spent) minutes.
Polarize is a Servitor attunement that causes conflict between any two people, making them find or imagine something to fight over. The demon only needs to be able to see one of the victims. This requires a Will roll, but any Essence spent on the roll also adds to the CD, with the CD determining how serious the argument is and how long it lasts. The demon can, however, elect to choose the effect of a lower CD. CD 1-2 causes cold separation for a day. 3-4 is an argument for 3 hours. 5-6 is a screaming argument for 1 hour. 7-8 causes unarmed violence for 6 minutes. CD 9 is 6 seconds of fighting with any weapon handy.
Knights of Deception can tell how much any two people they can see hate each other and why.
Captains of the Broken Promise can touch someone and know who they have most recently betrayed and how.
Barons of Inner Torment can touch someone and know any painful secrets they keep, such as a son hiding homosexuality from their family, and also detect any Ethereal Discord.

Malphas is allied to Beleth and Nybbas and associated with Andrealphus and Kobal. He is hostile to Baal and Haagenti, and considers Saminga his enemy. Basic Rites:
1. Initiate conflict between two people. This can be done twice a day.

Malphas has a bas Invocation TN of 2, +1 if you give bad directions to a stranger on the street, +2 if you lead a blind man astray, +3 if you convince someone to betray their spouse, +4 around an employee cheating their boss for over 20 thousand dollars, +5 if you sell illegal arms worth at least 2 million dollars, +6 if you involve at least 100,000 people in a conflict.


The world is what you think I say it is, half off this one-time sale. Call today!

Nybbas, Prince of the Media, is the newest and youngest Prince. In 1884, he was a low-ranking servitor of Vapula, and he worked with several humans to invent the television. Lucifer immediately made him a Prince, granting him his Word. It caused a lot of controversy on both sides of the War, but television has forever changed human thought and dreams. Nybbas' plan is working amazingly. He is an Impudite who has shaped the views of Hollywood - beautiful people are the stars, and most humans are just extras or consumers to exploit. Reality's a script, to be rewritten if it's boring. Nybbas appears and acts like the most horrifying of game show hosts. He could look good if he wanted to, but he doesn't bother. He's the studio head - other people look good for him. Nybbas disdains anyone he can manipulate and thinks anyone who helps him is just his puppet. He works closely with Andrealphus and Vapula, but everyone can tell that he only tolerates them, and they fear that he's gearing up for revenge on anyone that slighted him when he was weaker, like Haagenti once did. Nybbas doesn't seem to notice this uneasiness, or perhaps just doesn't care. It is dissonant for demons of the Media to fail to spend at least one hour each day contributing to the growth of the world's media - anything from writing a news article to making a new web page. Once they catch up to their backlog, any dissonance gained this way vanishes.

All demons of the Media are given a human Servant worth (Celestial Forces*2) CP, plus any additional CP the demon chooses to spend.
Balseraphs of the Media can use their resonance on someone to cause any medium - usually TV or a magazine, but any media works - to read however they desire while the victim is reaidng or watching. Their Servant is generally an entertainment lawyer, scriptwriter, producer or other highly paid liar.
Djinn of the Media typically have a violent Servant. They are always attuned to their Servants, and those Servants don't count against their total attunements.
Calabim of the Media tend to have sports heroes as Servants.
Habbalah of the Media usualy have phony psychics or New Agers as Servants. They cause no Disturbance if their actions appear to be performed by their Servant.
Lilim of the Media get a free Role as a celebrity with level and Status both equal to (Corporeal Forces). Their Servants are fans.
Shedim of the Media may inhabit their Servants indefinitely without a roll. They must still corrupt their hosts, and typically purchase multiple Servants for this reason, but when their Servant becomes to corrupt ot use, Nybbas will replace them.
Impudites of the Media have entertainers as Servants.
Soundtrack is a Servitor attunement that I fuckin' love. For 1 Essence, the user hears a soundtrack in their head for (10*Celestial Forces) minutes, which reflects the mood of the moment. If the demon is walking into an ambush, it's foreboding, if they're safe, it's triumphant, and so on. If their luck changes, the music warns them a round in advance.
Subliminal is a Servitor attunement allowing you to bind a Song or attunement into a recorded medium. This costs twice as much as usual, or 1 Essence for free powers. The embedded power affects the first person to succeed on a Perception roll while watching the recording. Any variable effects must be defined when the power is embedded. You may use this power multiple times on a single recording to have it affect another person each time you pay for it.
Knights of Influence get an hour of radio or TV airtime per week to use as they like. Each time they put on their show successfully, they gain 3 Essence.
Captains of Swank get +3 to all reaction rolls with peiple who follow any form of media.
Barons of the Fourth Estate can use the Subliminal attunement to hit 10 people for the same cost as one.

Nybbas causes strong feelings in others, both good and bad. He's been Prince for barely a century, and his relationships aren't stable yet. He is drawn to young or modern-styled Princes, and for this reason considers Andrealphus his ally and is associated with Kobal and Vapula. He likes Haagenti but isn't close to him. He's also associated with Kronos, as their goals are often parallel. Nybbas is only peripherally interested in Malhas, but Malphas wants to work closely with him. Nybbas is hostile towards Baal and Saminga, and finds the more militant Princes tedious. He has no enemies, however. Nybbas never Fell, and he has no real grudge against Heaven directly. Basic Rites:
1. Spend 3 hours watching television.
2. Spend 6 hours listening to the radio.

Nybbas has a base Invocation TN of 4, +1 if you have a color TV on hand, +2 for a department store display window, +3 at the editor's desk of a major newspaper, +4 on the set of a live TV broadcast, +5 at the physical location of a website with the top 0.5% of hits this month, +6 at the st of a live TV broadcast being viewed by more than 10 million people.


The world is dead; it just doesn't know it yet.

Saminga, Prince of Death is a Shedite that only ever wears rotting corpses on Earth. In Hell, he appears as a mass of decaying bodies. Three thousand years ago, Saminga was an ordinary demon, but after learning the secret of mummification from the ancient Egyptians, he used it to make an army of undead sorcerers, soon exceeding several Princes in power. Lucifer considered destroying him, but decided against it when he realized that Saminga doesn't want to rule Hell. All he wants is what he has already. He finds most work boring and lets other Princes do it. Saminga believes that death is the ultimate evil, and as holder of the Word of Death, he is therefore the ultimate evil. Lucifer is fine with this - it makes Saminga pathetically easy to manipulate. Destruction of property or mere animals is boring for Saminga - he only enkoys the deaths of intelligent beings, particularly deaths in fear and agony. He prefers dead puppets to mortal servants, and he isn't very clever. He is, however, paranoid and savage, particularly when he thinks people are being insolent. It is dissonant for demons of Death to encourage life in any way - including giving mortals wholesome food or drink.

Balseraphs of Death may kill humans with their bare hands without causing Disturbance.
Djinn of Death do not gain dissonance for killing their attuned. Further, they can detect the presence of undead within (Corporeal Forces*10) yards.
Calabim of Death know exactly how much HP anyone they see has.
Habbalah of Death can make a Will roll to remote control a corpse within 50 yards. This turns it into a temporary zombi as long as they concentrate, but if they do anything else while controlling the corpse, all of the corpse's actions are at -4.
Lilim of Death get a free undead servant or group of servants worth (3*Celestial Forces) CP, total. There aren't many Lilim of Death, as a note - they tend to find Saminga unfun.
Shedim of Death may possess corpses for (Corporeal Forces) days. No corpse can be possessed by the same Shedite twice, and the corpse must have flesh on it still. While in a corpse, they get the Corporeal Discord Pallid, with level based on how long the body has been dead, decided by the GM.
Impudites of Death may pull Essence from the corpses of those dead for no more than (Corporeal Forces). Further, they get no dissonance for killing humans.
Zombi is a Servitor attunement allowing you to make a Will roll, adding your Celestial Forces but subtracing the total Forces the corpse you are trying to raise had in life. If you succeed, you spend Essence equal to the corpse's Forces in life. In (6-CD) hours, the corpse rises as a Zombi, with the same Forcesi t had in life, but all of its Celestial Forces replaced by Corporeal Forces. It also has a level 3 Need and any single Numinous Corpus Song at a level equal to its new Corporeal Forces. It has all the memory and instincts it had in life, at least until it starts to rot, but it has no soul.
Vampiric Kiss is a Servitor attunement requiring physical contact and a Will roll to drain life out of a willing or charmed victim. It can't be used on an unwilling victim. You cause (CD) corporeal damage to the victim, and gain that much Essence, or however much the victim has, whichever is less. You must spend all Essence gained this way before using this attunement again.
Knights of the Dead know the cause of death for any corpse they touch and may see the last thing the corpse saw before death.
Captains of the Infernal Legion can appear dead in every way at will.
Barons of the Undead Kingdom know at all times the exact position and location of all corpses within (Celestial Forces) yards, and also always know the location of any undead that serve them.

Saminga is allied to Baal and Kobal and associated with Belial and Haagenti. He is hostile to everyone else except Andrealphus, whom he considers an outright enemy. Basic Rites:
1. Kill 10 humans, consecutively or concurrently.
2. Kill the vessel of a being with more than 5 Forces.
3. Sleep in a cemetary for 6 hours.

Saminga has a base Invocation TN of 2, +1 if you have a human bone, +2 if it's a skull, +3 if you have a human cadaver, +4 for ten cadavers, +5 for a hundred cadavers and +6 for five hundred cadavers.


The world is there for the taking, so take whatever you can.

Valefor, Prince of Theft, is a thin and unusually suave Calabite. He appeared out of nowhere a few centuries back, having stolen the true prophecies of Nostradamus from Yves' library. He rapidly became infamous for stealing everything from the sealant from the Spanish Aramda's gunpowder barrels to Nikola Tesla's electrotherapeutic cancer cure. More importantly, his demons constantly strain mortal society. A little theft is often a gateway to greater sin, after all, especially after Nybbas started helping by promoting thieves as cool media heroes. Lucifer made Valefor a Prince for his daring, but Asmodeus, Baal and Kronos think he's dangerous, that the rivalry between his demons and the angels of Janus is too pat. Surely there must be a reason the two Superiors resemble each other conceptually so much. Lucifer, however, finds Valefor a useful tool, and when anyone in Hell needs something stolen, Valefor's the demon to see. It is dissonant for demons of Theft to remain in the same locale for more than three days, exactly like it is for angels of the Wind. It is also dissonant for demons of Theft to recognize societal rules of ownership and personal space.

Balseraphs of Theft add (Celestial Forces) to their resonance roll TNs.
Djinn of Theft can only attune themselves to one person at a time, but their attuned becomes enthralled by them, acting as a Servant at level of (Celestial Forces) until the attunement ends. Djinn of Theft can attune to other celestials, but they cannot enthrall them this way.
Calabim of Theft add (Etheral Forces) to any roll involving breaking locks, opening doors or otherwise freeing themselves or others from corporeal restraints.
Habbalah of Theft can look at the sky and accurately predict the weather up to (Ethereal Forces) days into the future, down to the minute, barring celestial intervention.
Lilim of Theft add (Ethereal Forces) to the penalty to resist their Geases when trying to Geas someone into any form of theft.
Shedim of Theft may assume gaseous form without need for a host. They can't communicate verbally or interact significantly with the world in this form, and they move at a quarter normal speed. They can be spotted by a Perception roll, made easier by dissonance.
Impudites of Theft can move through crowds easily, parting them whether or not they are visible. Further, they can tell at a glance if an object was acquired honestly or not.
Passage is a Servitor attunement that lets you make an Agility roll to open any lock, exactly as per the equivalent Wind attunement.
Swipe is a Servitor attunement that is also identical to the equivalent Wind attunement.
Knights of Kleptos can communicate amongst themselves with gesture, as quickly and clearly as human speech.
Captains of Corsairs always know if they're being watched, listened to or otherwise spied on.
Barons of Buccaneers fly at double speed and can either add 4 to their Running skill before rolling or add 4 to the CD of any Running roll that succeeds without that assistance.

Valefor is allied to Andrealphus and associated with Kobal, Malphas, Nybbas and Vapula. He is hostile to Baal and Haagenti and considers Asmodeus and Kronos his enemies. Basic Rites:
1. Spend an hour in 80+ mph winds.
2. Steal more than 200 dollars worth of material goods.

The base Invocation TN for Valefor is 3, +1 if you steal a newspaper, +2 if you have a fanned out hand of ten 20 dollar bills, +3 for a vauable painting, +4 for a Ming vase, +5 for an ancient relic, +6 for...

quote:

My God! The lost Monet!

Next time: Technology and Hell.kde

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?



Chapter 8: The Book of Rules
Chapter 8 is the first chapter in Book 3. Book 3 has its own internal cover. This is followed by a full-page art piece. This is followed by another piece of full-page art. No wonder the book is long.

The rules first tell us that we shouldn't really bother with the rules and that the ST should fudge the rules as necessary, and that in the end, you'll probably want the entire group to switch over to letting ~drama~ determine what happens. The text then talks about M20's system for handling time. There are Turns, which is the time it takes to perform a simple action (which can be seconds in combat and minutes in other situations). Scenes are self-contained sequences of events. A Chapter is the span of a single gaming session and should probably have a beginning, middle, and end (this is really poor writing advice, by the way - it doesn't tell you what is supposed to go in each part, and most analysis of fiction tends to break it down into five or six parts anyway). Stories may string together multiple Chapters, and have multiple rises and falls along its beginning, middle, and end. Story Arcs string together multiple Stories and let me just stop you right there. Story arcs are generally feature of episodic media, and refer to single stories that are stretched over multiple episodes. If you string stories together, they may form a greater story, but using "story arc" to refer to multiple stories is dumb; roleplaying games are already delivered in an episodic format - the Chapter/sessions - and a story-arc is necessarily a story stretching multiple sessions. Story Arcs are then combined into a Chronicle, which is mostly defined by featuring the same characters over again. The text also tries to explain Downtime, but does a rather bad job at it. It kind of fails to communicate that you probably shouldn't play the downtime.

The World of Darkness Dice Mechanics!
:smithicide:

Most role-playing games use single-variable dice mechanics. That is to say that ultimately the dice roll can be described by a single variable that summarises the other variables, usually as a linear combination. D&D is an example of this; difficulties have a DC-rating, and you compare [Stat]+[modifiers]+[roll] with this to determine success or failure. In effect, the entire system can be described wholly in terms of DC-[Stat]-[Modifiers] as a single numerical value, compared to a dice roll. Call of Cthulhu is the same; everything can be described in terms of a %-chance to succeed that is usually a base percentage multiplied by half or double.

Some systems use two-variable dice mechanics; here a dice roll has to be described by two variables. White Wolf's Exalted 1e is one such system. In Exalted, dice-rolls are determined by two values; the number of dice rolled, and the number of dice you need to roll 7 or more on to succeed. Due to boring math, this can't be simplified into a one-variable system. Two-variable systems are in general harder to predict, because the ST or player must keep in mind how probabilities can change as either or both of the two variables change. Some people don't care about this, while other find it frustrating that it's hard-to-impossible to know what their characters can be expected to accomplish.

M20 is a threefour-variable system. Usually things are accomplished by rolling [Attribute]+[Ability] 1d10s against a Difficulty. For each dice that comes up greater-than-or-equal-to the Difficulty, the player gains a "success" on their roll. The number of successes, or "degree of success", then determines what happens; M20 sometimes requires more than one success to accomplish something, which is especially true for magick. To make things extra difficult, each dice that comes up 1 is worth -1 successes. And if the character has an applicable Speciality for the roll, all dice that come up 10 are worth 2 successes. There's a table explaining what each [Attribute]+[Ability]-rating is supposed to represent in terms of probability. I wrote a little program to experimentally determine the dice probabilities of getting at least one success at each level, for a roll with the "regular" Difficulty of 6:
  • 1 Poor / Miniscule Chance: 50%
  • 2 Average / Middling Chance: 65%
  • 3 Good / Decent Chance: 74%
  • 4 Exceptional / Good Chance: 80%
  • 5 Superb / Rather Good Chance: 84%
  • 6 Legendary / Really Good Chance: 88%

Notice that a regular roll with just 1 dice is claimed to have a "minuscule chance" of success, yet 1+ successes occurs 50% of the time. The dice-probabilities are difficult to calculate, and the guide provided in the book is misleading.

External conditions usually affect the Difficulty of the roll, while internal conditions like a headache can give a penalty to [Attribute]+[Ability]. There's an optional rule for allowing penalties to apply to the number of successes necessary, called a Threshold (What is the difference between Threshold and Degrees of Success? :iiam:) - adding further complication, especially since things that penalize Difficulty can flow over into becoming a Threshold.

It's also unclear what should be handled as a Difficulty and what should be a minimum degree-of-success; here are the examples given:

Difficulty
  • 3 Trivial (hopping a creek)
  • 4 Easy (cooking a meal)
  • 5 Straightforward (changing the oil in your car)
  • 6 Standard (punching someone in the face)
  • 7 Challenging (comprehending a book by Crowley)
  • 8 Difficult (playing all of "2112" on your guitar)
  • 9 Extreme (sealing a multimillion-dollar business deal with reluctant partners)

Degrees of Success
  • 1 Marginal (finding a useful TV Tropes entry)
  • 2 Moderate (getting someone's cell-phone number)
  • 3 Complete (delighting your new playmate with a fresh-cooked breakfast)
  • 4 Exceptional (selling five books to someone who'd come looking for one)
  • 5 Phenomenal (writing the 500,000-word anniversary edition of a series you helped create 20 years ago) :jerkbag:

The idea seems to be that Difficulty relates to how challenging something is, while Degrees of Success relates to how much better than the bare minimum it was accomplished, but that's wholly a matter of perspective or phrasing. For example, if your character walks up to a random person in a goth club and you say to the ST "I flirt", then it might make sense that 2 successes on your Manipulation+Seduction roll would give you a phone number. Running the same scene again, though, you could have said to the ST "My character flirts and tries to get their phone number". Do you still need 2 successes to get the phone number, even though you set out to get it in the first place, and so 1 success should be enough? (if you "marginally" get someone's phone number, you still have it!) Is the difficulty of the Manipulation+Seduction roll adjusted to compensate? Should I consult a probability-chart to see whether it benefits me the most to use Generic Flirt with a low Difficulty and high Degree of Success, or Specific Flirt with a high Difficulty and a low Degree of Success?

And some are just baffling; if Brucato hadn't rolled 5 successes on his Wits+Art to write M20 (:jerkbag:), what would that mean? It would seem to imply that he'd have failed to do so because it was difficult... but that's already what Difficulty does; for all intents and purposes "seal a multimillion-dollar deal with reluctant partners" and "write a World of Darkness 20th Anniversary Edition" are both equivalent in that they're "difficult tasks".

M20 lets anyone attempt to do multiple actions in a turn, and the way the system works and the examples give makes it seem punishing and brutal for a system all about telling a ~story~. When you want to do things at once, you determine the dice pools for each thing you want to do normally. Then you pick the smallest of those dice pools, and divide its dice between the actions you want to accomplish. The example given is someone trying to put on a performance while also observing several people at the edge of the performance (I think this means they're at the edge of where the audience stands/sits?); a performance artist with 7 dice in the performance and 5 dice in observing people then has to split 5 dice between the two actions. The first thing that comes to mind is that requiring rolls to keep an eye on someone while performing is exactly the kind of brutal gauntlet-of-terror-style STing the text railed against earlier; if you know what you're doing, it shouldn't be hard at all to watch someone while putting on a performance. Secondly, being a really good performer does not make it easier to do other things while performing. Since you're limited the smallest dice pool, being really crap at observing people mean you'll probably fail at the performance too, for some reason. It makes sense in some cases (where you're doing two things that require lots of concentration), but many things are automatic when you can do them well, freeing up the mind to do other things at the same time.

Also, Wits does not actually make you better at multitasking, unless your lowest dice pool is a Wits-pool. This despite Wits supposedly being the Attribute of skilled multitaskers.

Another example of a multiple action is "running to a door and yanking it shut". Really? Roll to close a door? That's on the Get Dressed and Walk Across Floor level of skill-nitpicking. It makes sense that running to a door and yanking it shut could require a dice roll, if it's a time-intensive task - but surely that's just Dexterity+Athletics to run fast enough? Is the door supposed to be so heavy it's a separate Strength+Athletics roll? Then why doesn't the text mention that it's a very, very heavy and hard-to-close door? It's a terrible example, and a bizarre system. It certainly explains why Brucato thinks you should not actually use the rules all that much, because he makes you roll to close doors. :gonk:

There are some perfectly OK rules here for teamwork and opposed rolling. I think the rules for "Extended Rolls" are poorly explained though. The way they're described, it's basically just a different way of rolling; you get to roll X times, and if you don't get at least Y successes total over those X rolls, you've failed. As such, probability-interactions aside, it's just a normal roll with more dice and more successes required; a regular roll would have sufficed. What's kind of hinted at, but not actually explained, is that Extended Rolls are great for determining how long something takes, especially if you don't limit X. Just tell someone it takes 1 hour every time they roll to repair their car, and they need 7 successes - now you have a simple system for determining how many hours it takes to fix a car, and each roll can add a little drama if fixing the car sooner rather than later is important (such as if you need to pull a truck out of mud before angry pursuers catch up to you). None of this is really explained though, so it ends up being a variation on a regular roll with an off-hand mention that each of those X rolls represents a period of time.


The sidebar "Trying Again" is in the wrong sub-chapter.

If you fail a roll in M20, you can either try some other approach, or try again at +1 cumulative Difficulty (the table above is almost entirely superfluous). As the table above implies, this is supposed to make actions basically impossible after a while. Though what actually happens is that since you can't get Difficulty higher than 10 you just plateau at Difficulty 10. Usually this is a bad thing, since the expected number of successes at Difficulty 10 is always 0; each 10 on the dice adds a success, and each 1 subtracts a success. You could always go for the Law of Truly Large Numbers and just keep rolling until you by chance get enough successes to succeed, but this runs a very high risk (~10% to ~27%) of causing a 'botch' (the WoD term for a critical failure). Botches are caused when you have at least one 1, and no successes, among the dice you rolled in a dice pool. Botches behave really oddly; for some Difficulties and [Attribute]+[Ability]-ratings, the chance of botching will actually increase if you increase the Ability or Attribute rating. Sometimes, as dice pools grow, the proportion of botches to regular failures will grow, meaning that you either succeed, or fail very badly. It's not explained how botching interacts with Threshold; do you check for botching before or after you subtract the Threshold dice? It's not actually explained!

Points of Willpower can be spent to give an automatic success on a dice roll, in addition to whatever it rolls. Since the dice can come up as 1 and give negative successes, this isn't always enough, but since the Willpower point grants 1 success, botching becomes impossible. It's also fairly likely to cause the roll to succeed anyway, since rolling many 1's isn't that likely - it would be a good way to almost guarantee success on important rolls, but the ST can easily be capricious here; Thresholds, Degrees of Success, and Extended Rolls are all mechanics that can be thrown at the player to basically invalidate their Willpower point's ability to make things succeed automatically.

At times it feels like this book was written by two different people who weren't communicating. Here's what Brucato says about botching and Thresholds:

M20 posted:

Because a high difficulty number makes it hard to score even a single success, the player and Storyteller can decide to handle the task with a threshold (see p.387) rather than with a single roll. In story terms, the character decides to take a longer, more careful approach; in game terms, the Storyteller lowers the difficulty in exchange for an extended roll. This way, the task takes longer but might have a lower chance of botching.

Brucato also wrote about Thresholds, and Brucato, despite what Brucato says, wrote them as being a different thing from Extended Rolls. Even the example for the above passage isn't actually a Threshold:

M20 posted:

Example: Malcolm works carefully this time. Rather than pressing the business deal, he takes the client out for drinks… then to a strip club… then for more drinks at another strip club. “I’ll work this guy all night,” says Steve. “No hurry here.” The Storyteller agrees to an extended action at a lower difficulty – three rolls, four successes, difficulty 6.

That's just an Extended Roll! Roll three times, try to accumulate four successes. A Threshold would be if the ST said "OK, I'll lower the difficulty to 6... and you have to get 4 successes on one roll." (Which is, somehow, distinct from just requiring a 4 Degree of Success.)

Lethe, this system sucks. The dice mechanics are opaque and complex, with lots of poorly explained levers the ST can pull to make things happen. They're unclear (this is the 20th Anniversary Edition supposed to clear things up, remember!), misleadingly explained, and at times self-contradictory. And it thinks you should roll to close doors. Rolling to close doors!

LatwPIAT fucked around with this message at 13:10 on Jan 18, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rand Brittain posted:

Speaking of good-natured things, I kind of abandoned my Chuubo F&F because nobody seemed to be reading it. I wonder if anybody has any advice on what I could do to make a review more punchy?

Well, what I would suggest is a harder push to "translate" Chuubo's or explain its concepts. You were doing a fairly straightforward summary, and that's fine, but a fairly straightforward summary probably isn't going to be the clearest where Moran is concerned, IMO. The problem is that slows down the pace of an already mammoth book.

If I were to do it I admit I'd be harsher, because I think Jenna is unnecessarily obtuse and often tries too hard to create new language for existing concepts, and I find it really frustrating. But I don't think that'd be your style.

Ultimately I'd say just that Chuubo's is definitely the deep end of writeups, and it's a very hard one to cover as it's both long and requires a lot of explaining. Of course, a lack of discussion doesn't mean people aren't reading your stuff, and unfortunately timing can play a big part. Your review came in the middle of a heavy discussion about Monsterhearts and gender, and so there was a lot of noise on the thread at the time. Though I haven't done it more than once or twice, occasionally I have delayed a review until another hot-button review passes.

Cthulhu Dreams
Dec 11, 2010

If I pretend to be Cthulhu no one will know I'm a baseball robot.


Why do people have these pointlessly complex dice pool mechanics when most people (including myself) cannot accurately tell you how much harder it is to get two successes with 7 dice against TN 6 vs TN 7. If the GM can't work that out then he doesn't know what he is doing when he sets the difficulty.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




The nWoD has a flat TN 8 for a goddamn reason. I feel like it should be bumped down to 7, but that's just me.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Cthulhu Dreams posted:

Why do people have these pointlessly complex dice pool mechanics when most people (including myself) cannot accurately tell you how much harder it is to get two successes with 7 dice against TN 6 vs TN 7. If the GM can't work that out then he doesn't know what he is doing when he sets the difficulty.
Pretty sure the people who created the mechanic didn't know how to figure out the percent success rate of that either.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

THEE Ukraine

Lipstick Apathy

Spheres of Power

I should get back to this! So far we had already covered:

Alteration
Creation
Conjuration
Dark
Death
Destruction
Divination
Enhancement
Fate
Illusion
Life
Light
Mind
Nature
Protection
Telekinesis
Time
War
Warp
Weather

And by completely random roll, our next Sphere is going to be:



Fate

The basic ability of this Sphere is the Word, which is a standard action to affect a single creature with an effect depending on which ... Word you use with it.

You start with the Hallow word, which costs 1 spell point to use and lasts for 1 minute per caster level. You pick an end of the alignment spectrum: Good/Evil or Lawful/Chaotic, that you belong to. The target creature gets a +1 bonus (of either Sacred or Profane type) to attack rolls, AC, and saving throws against an opponent of the opposite alignment. The target also gains immunity to any mind-affecting spell or sphere effect, if the effect was cast by an opponent of the opposite alignment. If it's already affected by such a thing, the Word-ed creature can make an immediate saving throw against it; on a success, the effect gets suppressed for the duration of the Word.

The other ability of this Sphere is Consecration, which creates an effect in a 20-foot radius aura that moves with you.

You start with the Serendipity effect for your Consecration, which grants a +1 Luck bonus to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks and saving throws for as long as you concentrate, and then you can spend a spell point to make it last for 1 round per caster level without concentration.

Talents for this sphere can modify the Word and Consecration, or add different words for more effects:

Bless is a Word that lets you spend a spell point as an immediate action to let an ally roll twice and take the better result on an attack roll, skill check, ability check or saving throw.

Close is a Word that lets you magically close and/or lock doors, gates, chest, windows, or any other shuttering object. The DC to unlock and force open the portal is increased by 10. Interestingly, this doesn't cost any spell points to use, although at the same time the portal is still "normally" open-able, just at a higher DC.

Curse is the opposite of Bless: you spend a spell point to make an enemy roll twice and use the lower result

Divine Force is a Consecration that lets your aura inflict one of six random effects against creatures of an opposite alignment to one of yours:
Blind 1 round
Deaf 2d4 rounds
Staggered 1d4 rounds
Sickened 1d4 rounds
Dazed 1 round
Shaken 1d4 rounds
With a Fort save to negate. The game notes that this will still affect Undead, even if they're normally supposed to be immune. You can use this even if you're True Neutral, at which point it'll affect anyone that's at both of the alignment extremes, such as Lawful Good.

Echoing Word lets you spend an additional spell point so that your Word will affect an additional 1 creature per 2 caster levels.

Freedom is a Word to set a target creature free from physical bondage and lets them move and attack normally. You can also maintain this Word with concentration, which renders the creature immune to the effects of paralysis, slow, entanglement, etc. All combat maneuver checks to grapple the target automatically fail, and the creature automatically succeeds on any combat maneuver checks or Escape Artist checks to escape a pre-existing grapple or pin. An interesting physics interaction is that this will even allow a creature to move normally through water, although the game helpfully notes that waterbreathing is not included with the effect. Personally, this triggered fond memories of my Paladin's Blessing of Freedom allowing a Warrior to gently caress up lots of people in Battlegrounds.

Greater Consecration lets you spend a spell point when casting a Consecration to increase its radius to 40 feet.

Greater Serendipity also causes your Serendipity Consecration to grant a -1 Luck penalty to enemy rolls.

Harm is a Word that causes a target to suffer an additional half-your-level amount of damage (minimum 1) whenever they take damage.

Judgment is a Consecration with a specific enough effect that I'll just quote the book directly:

quote:

When you create this consecration, you must declare a course of action that is at most one sentence long and whether this action is to be avoided or emulated. Example judgments include “No one can attack”, “everyone must trade fairly”, etc. If your judgment would cause a creature to attack itself or perform another obviously suicidal action, they are immune to that judgment. For as long as you maintain this consecration, all creatures within this area must obey this judgement. Each individual creature is allowed a Will save to negate this requirement and allow itself to act normally. If a creature succeeds at their saving throw, they become immune to that judgment for the rest of its duration. You must always follow your own judgment.

Mercy is a Word that causes a target to make a Will save and on a failure cause non-lethal damage with all of its weapon attacks for 1 round per caster level.

Open is the opposite of Close, except instead of automatically opening a portal, you're still making a normal Disable Device or Strength check with a +10 bonus.

Pain is a Word that causes [1d4 + half-your-level] in non-lethal damage, no save. You can spend a spell point to cause the target to suffer this damage each round for a number of rounds equal to your caster level. Further, the target suffers a -4 penalty to all mental skill checks and must pass a magic skill check in order to use a sphere effect or spell.

Truth is a Word that prevents your target from speaking deliberate or intentional lies, with a Will save to negate. A target always knows if this Word is being cast on them and the caster always knows if the target made the saving throw. An affected target may still be evasive, refuse to answer or word their responses carefully. That last clause sticks out to me as a recipe for arguments over whether or not what the target was saying was just "wording their responses carefully".

Tug Fate is a Consecration that with a very specific effect: if any creature within the Consecration aura makes an attack roll, initiative roll, skill check, ability check or saving throw, and the roll is exactly 10 on a d20 (and Take 10 does not apply), then the creature will receive either a +4 bonus or a -4 penalty, caster's choice. The +4 modifier increases by 1 for every 2 caster levels.

This effect has a lot of flavor, but the math doesn't hold up: if you took a d20 and replaced the 10 with a 14, the average roll increases from 10.50 to 10.70. A level 20 caster is going to replace the 10 with a 24, and that increases the average roll from 10.50 to 11.20. Except a +1 bonus to a d20 increases the average roll to 11.50 anyway! And you already have a flat +1 bonus available from the basic Serendipity Consecration! (assuming you still have room to stack a Luck bonus) Unless I'm misreading the text, it seems like this effect wasn't well thought out.





Besides that Tug Fate and the Truth effects, this reads like a very versatile Sphere. The name Fate implies some sort of probability-bending or Oracle-esque kind of magic, but you just as easily refluff this into your bog-standard Divine Cleric power, or a chrono-manipulation, or any number of buffer/debuffer types.

Alteration
Creation
Conjuration
Dark
Death
Destruction
Divination
Enhancement
Fate
Illusion
Life
Light
Mind
Nature
Protection
Telekinesis
Time
War
Warp
Weather

Bruceski
Aug 21, 2007

The tools of a hero mean nothing without a solid core.



Cthulhu Dreams posted:

Why do people have these pointlessly complex dice pool mechanics when most people (including myself) cannot accurately tell you how much harder it is to get two successes with 7 dice against TN 6 vs TN 7. If the GM can't work that out then he doesn't know what he is doing when he sets the difficulty.

Lessee.. ignoring ones Difficulty 6 would be 15/16= 94%. Difficulty 7 would be 1-(8*0.6^7)=88%. Ones add a complication, unfortunately, and it's not one I can sort out quickly.

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Comrade Koba posted:

The Demon Lord of Totally Edgy Jokes.

Just when I didn't think this could get more 90's. :golfclap:

The other big problem with Kobal is that the writers really have a big dumb hard-on for him. The first round of supplements for the book includes what basically amounts to a (pretty bad and railroady) campaign series which all revolves around Kobal pulling off a series of incredibly convoluted bullshit for his own amusement. It's been a while since I read all six chapters of it but I remember thinking that there was a pretty big gap between "what the PCs can do" and "how to solve the problem and save the day."

Also, now that Valefor has been written up, it's worth noting that 90% of his entry is a copy and paste from Janus. I don't think that anything was ever done with that or the implications thereof.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


The idea that you would still use floating TNs and splitting dice pools... it's amazing to see folks who ignore 20+ years of refinement on a game system, but I guess that's not as important as feels.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Bruceski posted:

Lessee.. ignoring ones Difficulty 6 would be 15/16= 94%. Difficulty 7 would be 1-(8*0.6^7)=88%. Ones add a complication, unfortunately, and it's not one I can sort out quickly.

You're better at mental binomial calculations than I am, but the subtracting 1s really matter; 2 or more successes on 7 dice with Difficulty 6 has about a 78% chance of occurring. Increasing Difficulty to 7 reduces the success chance to 65%.

Or I've programmed my M20 dice roller wrong and you're pretty close. That could also have happened.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

The idea that you would still use floating TNs and splitting dice pools... it's amazing to see folks who ignore 20+ years of refinement on a game system, but I guess that's not as important as feels.

I'd forgive it in general terms because it's MTAs 20th Anniversary Edition and not MTAs 4e, but it's just a really clunky system and there's no reason it should be sacred when making up a new Traditions With Blackjack And Hookers is already on the table.

LatwPIAT fucked around with this message at 14:49 on Jan 18, 2016

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

The idea that you would still use floating TNs and splitting dice pools... it's amazing to see folks who ignore 20+ years of refinement on a game system, but I guess that's not as important as feels.

Splitting Dice Pools is needlessly complex and usually a trap options that results in you succeeding in neither thing you were trying.

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Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



The most important thing to ever remember about oWoD's dice pool mechanics (splitting, changing TN, changing # of dice) is Greg Stolze's anecdote about working on some mechanics for a book and asking the line developer "what's better, +X dice or -Y difficulty?" and being told basically "do whatever feels right, man." It's not even lunatics running the asylum, it's lunatics squatting in an open field and insisting that theirs is a fine institution that serves the needs of the population.

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