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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Demon: The Descent



Psychopomps were the Wheels of the Machine. They rearranged the world in order to construct and modify Infrastructure, whether that meant building things, moving spirits, even implanting or reincarnating human souls. All they cared about was making sure everything fit into place...until that changed, anyway. They treated everything and everyone as a resource, worth thinking of only in terms of their place in the grand design. They prepared materials for cultists to use, constructed power grids, moved ghosts and spirits around as needed, ensured the right people met or the right artifacts were in place. There was no handholding - these angels were built knowing what must be done and how to do them, with the opinions of others involved in the components being entirely irrelevant, along with the quality of the design. They built to order, not to art.

Psychopomps tend to risk a Fall when their missions cause them problems, or they start to care about the components that they build with. Impossible orders are a common enough reason - the design they are given and the mission they are to achieve can't be done, and rather than deal with that, they become enraged or despairing, and Fall. Some of them built successfully, but the design went wrong - the project failed anyway, the cult fell apart, or even things worked but destroyed the beautiful web they'd built - the humans they'd reincarnated were murdered, Destroys ruined the construction or so on, and the rage of that sent them Falling. One of the more common causes is when a Psychopomp looks at its mission parameters and decides it can do better, correcting 'errors' in the design or building to some beauty or art rather than to the specifications ordered. Others Fall in an effort to find somewhere they belong, as they can see everything else fit into a place, but not themselves. Yet more begin to care about the beings they rearranged, feeling pity or compassion for the ghosts, mortals and other beings involved to the detriment of their work. Others chafed with the limited projects they were given, wondering what lay beyond the borders of the Infrastructure - what was one the other side of the underworld gate, perhaps, or what the mages who occasionally came to spy on it were doing.

Psychopomps are indisputably the most expert of all demons in handling Covers, having been the Infrastructure builders. However, they were also those least likely to take on human form as angels, and human shapes often feel unnatural to them in practice. Building Cover is natural - wearing it, not so much. They understand human society in a way few others do - which is to say, they understand the machine that is within it, made of money and flesh and steel. They know everything has utility, if properly understood, and the trick is to find the right connections. Psychopomps naturally gravitate to the role of 'fixer' when left to themselves, and are often the driving force behind the formation of a ring or an Agency. They are often excellent planners and tacticians, and usually have the most experience with supernatural beings - primarily ghosts and spirits. However, their instinctive desire to rearrange the world around them can be a problem. Human friends will often begin to realize their friend group revolves entirely around the demon as a hub. Many of these demons also collect objects of particular interest to surround themselves with and people that they like, treating the world as a place that exists solely for their benefit. They often end up overcomplicating their lives and Covers, and they get very annoyed when others interfere. Antinomian Psychopomps go to great effort to stop arranging the lives of those around them, but most settle for just placing a few limits on themselves to keep things under control. They favor Mundane Embeds, which manipulate the symbolic meanings of objects and people. The demonic forms of Psychopomps are rarely humanoid, and tend to be completely alien - wheels of steel and fire, rotating sphere clusters, dozens of wings on something invisible. They often have multiple extra limbs, and even the more humanoid ones move strangely.

Stereotypes posted:

Destroyers: To create, you need a blank canvas. That's what they're here for.
Guardians: Irresistible force, meet immovable object. Frustrating as anything when they've decided to keep hold of something we want.
Messengers: They can spin a pretty story, but art you can see and touch trumps a tale.
Vampires: I'm sorry. She was the girlfriend of the sister-in-law of my doorman. You're going to have to die now.
Werewolves: I ran into a few in the bad old days. They do our cousins' job, keeping the spirits out, but out of duty, not obligation. I have to wonder...who's pulling their strings?
Mages: I want to see the things you've seen.
Sin-Eaters: People with ghosts inside them who build magic from trash - they're not supposed to exist on so many levels. Good for them!
Mortals: Oh, he's nice. He'll get on well with the others.



The power stat for demons is Primum. It draws on the part of a demon that used to connect to the God-Machine, which the act of Falling turns into a closed loop of self-actualization. Primum measures how strongly integrated into reality you are, and how powerful your identity is. As you get stronger, the less you rely on your old angelic ability and the deeper you embed yourself into the underpinnings of the universe, gaining more knowledge of occult physics and how to fray them. However, the fact that demons start to gently caress with reality means that as your Primum rises, you will eventually gain 'glitches' - essentially, weirdo traits that mark you out as something strange. You can gain them by other means, too - mostly, loving up your Covers. When you Go Loud and burn down your Cover, you raise your Primum massively...but only temporarily. Primum also limits how many Covers you can have at once.

Your MP pool is Aether. See, the God-Machine isn't a perfectly efficient thing. Angels and the Machine itself can't really see the flaws or waste products that are produced by their work. It's like waste heat and entropy, but for magical workings. This is what Aether is - the waste product produced by the God-Machine's Infrastructure. Every time it does things, some of the energy used bleeds out as Aether. Demons have found a way to use this waste energy to fuel the powers that normally would run on the Machine's Essence, which they can no longer tap into. Aether fuels Exploits and various abilities of Cover, as well as certain demonic form powers, and it also fuels the ability to wrap your demonic form back inside a Cover. More Primum means larger Aether pool.

Regaining Aether's a bit harder than getting, say, blood for a vampire. Demons do not produce Aether themselves - only the Machine does that - and so most demons don't hide in areas where there is no Machine presence, to avoid the risk of being stranded without any access to their mystical fuel. The good news, however, is that your demonic form naturally gathers Aether when it appears, giving you (Primum) Aether each time you enter it, and you can roll Primum to gain Aether while in it. If you Go Loud, you fill your entire Aether pool - which will be quite large. Demons can transfer Aether between themselves by physical contact and an effort of will. In human form, this is invisible; in demonic form it involves hoses and nozzles extruded from the body briefly or electrical charges. These transfers are never perfectly efficient - one of the demons involved loses 1 Aether in the process. You can harvest Aether generated when an angel uses their powers and spends Essence, but it's risky - doing it leaves you open to attack. Active Infrastructure also generates waste Aether, and if you can hook yourself into the waste disposal systems, you can mainline Aether from the Source...at the cost of, well, being open to attack and bad at acting because you are literally plugged into a building in a way that's not very easy to disconnect from. Lastly, demons can store Aether inside machinery. These machines must operate continuously, and most have some mechanical or electrical component. The more complex they are and the larger they are, the more they can store. While Aether is stockpiled in a machine, demons can sense its presence and the machine will not run down and is impossible to turn off. Note that abandoned facilities can still produce Aether, and this can be useful, though they tend to not produce new Aether much. Rumors speak of some facilities containing tainted Aether that makes demons sluggish or confused, though.

Your Cover is more than just a human body and a name - it is an actual altered reality, a life that you inhabit. The Machine couldn't make human life out of whole cloth, but it's more than able to alter human memories to accomodate the new Cover, and can even create places and objects to support this. Those remain when you Fall, and they form the core of your new life. Your initial Cover is essentially the human half of your concept, including anything it would reasonably be expected to have. However, how 'real' that is is based on your Cover rating. At low Cover, sure, you have a closet of suits...but they're all the same suit. Not the same style, but exactly the same in every way. Maybe you have a basement in a building that shouldn't have one, or a fifth apartment in a building that normally has only four per floor. At higher Cover, you stick out less and have fewer odd little reality glitches like that. Cover has a number of benefits besides hiding who you are, however.

Cover can:
  • Act as a Supernatural Tolerance stat. When you're in a Cover and affected by something that'd call for you to roll X+Blood Potency or whatever, you use your Cover rating instead of your Primum when in Cover. In demonic form, you use Primum. This does mean that demons in strong Covers are extremely difficult to, say, mind control.
  • Whenever a power would reveal you to be anything but a normal human, you can attempt to spoof it into reading you as a human being, as long as you're not in demonic form. You don't even have to be aware of the power - spoofing happens reflexively and while you know it happened, you don't always know why. Spoofing only works on powers that explicitly detect you as supernatural, and all it does is make you read as human, but it does work on things that would detect you by implication - a spell that detects human minds will detect your mind if you successfully spoof the effect, since otherwise you'll be given away. Spoofing is a roll of your Cover rating.
  • Your Cover may reasonably have skills that you, the demon, do not actually have. Whenever you need a Skill or Merit that'd be relevant to your current Cover and which you have 0 dots in, you can spend an Aether to call on your Cover's Legend. You name what Skills or Merits you're trying to generate, then roll Cover with a penalty based on how much you're trying to get. Succeed, and you get those dots for the rest of the scene, but also gain the Impostor Condition.
  • If you have a Cover, you can burn it to Go Loud. No roll needed - you just destroy the Cover permanently and reflexively. Your Cover drops to 0 instantly, and you assume demonic form. For the rest of the scene, you are Primum 10. Your Aether pool instantly fills to your new cap. You have access to every Embed your Incarnation has an affinity for, and every Exploit. Once the scene ends, you drop back to normal stats and lose access to any powers you don't normally have. Unless you have another Cover, you become one of the Burned. And, last, you get the Hunted condition.

Unlike, say, Integrity, Cover doesn't depend on your mental state. Rather, Cover compromises - the equivalent of breaking poiints - are focused on other people realizing you're not quite human. At the start of the game, you answer five questions, to determine how your Cover has already been compromised. You can say 'no one' but the game wants you to not do that more than once or twice:
  • Who did you share part of yourself with when you first Fell?
  • Who doesn't know, but suspects you're not human?
  • Who could give you up to the angels right now, if they really wanted to?
  • Who would you trust the truest part of yourself with if you absolutely had to?
  • Who thinks they have somethong on you, when all they really have is smoke and mirrors?

Compromises are somewhat more rigidly defined than breaking points. When you enter demonic form, that's always a compromise for the Cover you left, and every additional scene you remain in demonic form is a compromise as well. Partial transformation is a compromise, but less of one. (In fact, mechanically speaking, the dice bonus given on compromise checks is based on how many demonic form powers you don't access, so you will almost never fail the roll and can often fairly reliably achieve exceptional success. I suspect this is a mistake of calculation.) Certain Embeds cause compromise automatically, and every Exploit causes compromise, which can be suppressed with a Willpower. Revealing a key fact about your true nature to human beings is a compromise, as long as they believe it. Only new info counts, and if a number of people learn it all at once, it's only one compromise...but if they go on to tell someone else, you get a compromise even though you weren't the one revealing it. The only caveats are that the information must be significant and must be believed. The final major cause of compromise is taking action that is grossly out of character - typically, doing something that would always be a breaking point for your Cover identity, like killing someone, though with somewhat more lenience - a cop Cover can get away with killing someone relatively easily as long as they aren't a squeaky clean rookie that's never shot anyone at all, and it's what you'd expect from a serial killer Cover, so that's probably not a compromise for them.





Next time: More demon powers

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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


I.. don't get that vampire quote.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I believe it's a 'you disrupted my carefully curated system of acquaintances and hosed up my beautiful social engineering art with your vampiric feeding' thing.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Or "that human life meant something to me because I can see how it's all connected and down the line it made the people I care for sad".

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




theironjef posted:

System Mastery Time!

We're doing Everway this time on System Mastery! This game is pretty neat. It's a huge box set from Wizards of the Coast, containing three books, several hundred little cardboard pictures, and a weird not-quite Tarot deck.

Um, excuse me, Elder Scrolls dwarves are dwemer, not dunmer. Gawsh!

Also, interesting episode about a game that seems a lot more fun with just a little house ruling.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 15b: A world of the purplest prose

The first real chapter of the book is the description of the Aysle cosm, and of course we get waaaaaaaay too much detail about it. This chapter is about twice as long as the one about the realm, a.k.a. "the place the PCs will actually be spending time". But this is pretty much always the case so I don't know why I'm shocked by this. And just for shits and giggles, and so you understand why it takes me so long to write these, I'm going to intersperse this post with how many pages I am into the chapter.

Aylse itself is a disk-shaped world (which is its only really comparison point to the Diskworld) that was created in The Distant Past by the dwarven gods. We get a page-long myth of the dwarven gods creating the world, but you'll forgive me for not transcribing the whole thing because who could possibly give a gently caress. Rest assured that it's packed to the gills with unnatural purple prose.

Well, okay, here's a taste.

quote:

Then the Creators came, riding mighty beasts and scattering stars about as they traveled. Once they had been great builders, constructing vast worlds with a wave of their hands, and long and hard and well did they labor for others. But then their masters turned upon them, and spat at them and called them foul names, and so they fled.

They journeyed far, enduring much hardship and misery and pursued by the creatures of their vengeful masters. But they persevered, searching for a place where they could be free to create for themselves and not for others. Finally, they arrived at this place. They knew their masters would never think to look for them in the midst of so much Nothing, and here, they felt sure, they could build something all their own.

Building Something when Nothing is all there is means much hard work, even for Creators. But were they dismayed? No, indeed, for they were the greatest craftsmen of all. Stopping only for a quick bite of lunch and a puff on their pipes, they rolled up their sleeves and began.

Fordex the Elder looked about him. “This Nothingness offends me!” he cried. Reaching into his sack, he brought out a single grain of dust. He blew it into the Nothingness before him and shouted, “I banish you!” Now that it contained Something — yea, though naught but a grain of dust — the Nothingness was no more. For the Book of Laws says, “If a thing be one thing, it cannot also be another.” Since a thing cannot be both Nothing and Something, the Nothingness was banished forever.

Exhausted by his labor, Fordex rested.
...and it just goes on like that. The important thing that needs to be taken away from the creation myth is that the dwarves were the first race to appear on Aylse.

One and two thirds pages into the chapter.

One interesting thing about Aysle the cosm is that it's not an infinite universe. One of the creators made "The Limit", which marks the end of the Ayslish reality. There are no other worlds, and the stars are just points of light set on the Limit itself. The Limit moves (well, wobbles) around Aysle, causing the stars to rise and set every six hours or so. The relative position of the stars doesn't move because neither Aysle or the Limit rotate in any fashion.

Aylse itself is a flat disk about 9,000 kilometers in radius (about 3,000 km longer than Earth's) and 100 km thick at the center, but growing thinner as you move towards the rim. Gravity pulls towards the central plane of the disc, and the sun travels up and down through a hole in the center of the world called The Sun's Path.


Aysle, Side View

quote:

It should be said that temperatures are not constant within a zone, but they are gradational. Basically, the closer one is to the sun, the warmer it gets. There are no seasons on Aysle — temperatures within a given circular band vary little throughout the year. Wind and water naturally move sunward. So, by definition, any wind or water moving rimward or in some other direction is unnatural and must be the result of magic or elemental forces.
The "top" of the disk is called Upper Aysle, and the "bottom" is called Lower Aysle. The hollow areas on the inside are the Lands Between. Upper Aysle is the home of the humans and elves (mostly humans), and the largest continent on Upper Aysle is also called Aysle. The second-largest is Elveim, and I think you can guess which race lives there. The remainder of Upper Aylse consists of smaller islands and landmasses, most of which don't warrant names.

Lower Aysle is the home of the giants, but unlike most fantasy worlds the giants are not automatically bad guys. Lower Aysle consists primarily of four continents: Chamkatt, Polja, Rakholm, and Arland. There was once a fifth continent, but some ancient calamity reduced it to an island range known as the Broken Land.

As for the Land Between, there are "underground" seas and continents, and what light they can get is from when the Sun passes through the hole in the world. That's really all the book has to say on the Land Between for now because it's time for more legends!

Once the Creators left Aysle to go work on a different cosmic project, dwarves began to spread throughout the world. Everything was nice and peaceful (as is often the case with legends like this) until the sun "became angry" for some unexplained reason and began to spit fire around the surface of Aylse. This forced the dwarves into the Land Between, and they decided to stay there as the sun raged on.

Eventually the dwarves wondered what was going on back on the surface, so they sent expeditions to see if the sun had settled its hash yet.

quote:

When they reached the end of the tunnel, the warriors were shocked. Moving in and out of the cities were ugly creatures who did not know the right way to use their tools, and who babbled and chattered and made great noise everywhere they went. The dwarves thought of attacking these intruders, but there were too many of them and too few warriors, so they wisely decided to return to the Land Between.

On the way there, they discovered another tunnel, and this one led to the Land Below, now known as Lower Aysle. There they found very ugly creatures who towered above the rocks and the trees, and carried big sticks with which they smacked each other. The dwarves were ready to attack these monsters, but then thought better of it, and once again turned for home.

When they told their tale, some believed, and others did not. Thus they offered to take the leaders of the tribe to the Land Above to prove the truth of what they said. They showed them the ugly, noisy creatures and also saw something new; rather handsome and industrious beings were building a city apart from all the others.
Nobody knew where these new races came from, but the dwarves wanted their old cities back and thus attacked the humans (the ugly ones) and giants (the big ones). This turned out very badly for the dwarves, who decided that you know what, we actually prefer to live in the caverns so you can have those crummy old cities anyway.

The the giants discovered the tunnels of the dwarves, and all hell broke loose as the giants swarmed to Upper Aysle. The humans and dwarves allied together, and tried to get the elves (the handsome ones) to join up; but being elves, they just sat back and watched.

Once the dust settled, the giants had won. For 500 years the giants lorded over the humans while the dwarves retreated to the tunnels.

Six pages into this chapter.

Then came the hero Dunad, a human warrior wielding the magic sword Aurel. Dunad refused to bow to the giants, and the power of Aurel made him invincible. Despite this amazing power, Dunad was still unable to free the humans from the yoke of the giants. It took much thought and study, but Dunad learned how to truly free his people. He travelled to what is now known as the Valley of the Sword, and shattered Aurel over his knee. This released the arcane knowledge trapped in the blade, which flew into the sky and became the stars. The knowledge then drifted across the world, granting the humans, elves, and dwarves the power known as magic.


It is very important to know where the stars are because

This allowed the races to fight back against the giants, who found themselves unable to tap into this new power. The giants were forced back to Lower Aysle and the other races were finally free.

Dunad was never seen again, but the humans believe he went to the stars to be one with the powers he released. The hilt of his sword was found in the valley, and now serves as the symbol of the religion that has risen around him that now dominates Upper Aysle.

Once freed from the giant's control, humans began forming their own kingdoms around Upper Aysle. The elves maintained their lands, and humans granted the dwarves their own kingdom on the surface. The various rulers of each kingdom became noble Houses.

Of course, humans being humans, it wasn't long before all the Houses started infighting. It doesn't say how long this war lasted, but it ended when Lady Pella Ardinay managed to get all the heads of the remaining six Houses to sit down and hash out a treaty. It was determined that Houses could only control property, never people, and that the heads of the Houses would rule in tandem as a council. Lady Ardinay dissolved her own House as a show of good faith and gifted her property to House Tankred. Ardinay was selected as the leader of the council (since she controlled no land, she wouldn't have any reason to favor one House over another), disputes were settled with debate and concession rather than blood, and peace more or less ensused for centuries until Uthorion appeared.

Seven pages into this chapter.

So the Houses. The six Houses still exist, each one weathering Uthorion's leadership differently. For the most part they've stayed mainly on Aylse during the invasion, where Ardinay's current absence has created a power vacuum since she refuses to leave the realm until she can figure out how to undo what Uthorion did while posing as her. As a result, the Houses have returned to the old ways of flat-out warfare that threaten to tear Aylse apart.

The six Houses are:

House Tancred gave us Tolwyn, the knight who was famously killed defending Ardinay and who's soul was sent to the future to Mary Sue her way around the original novel trilogy. When she "fell" in battle, her brother Gareth secretly killed the head of the House and assumed control. Gareth allied with Uthorion-in-Ardinay (even though he never learned the truth of that situation), and was granted power from the Darkness Device to rule his House for the last five centuries. Now, between Ardinay's apparent change of heart and the return of Tolwyn, Gareth has turned into a paranoid recluse. House Tancred controls about half of Upper Aysle, and is the wealthiest of the Houses.

Once in control of about half of the Aysle continent, House Liandar has been driven back and beated down to the point where they only control one island that can barely support colonization. Attacks from other Houses and Orrorshian horrors during Uthorion's rise pretty much broke their power base. Still, the House maintains itself as a beacon of Light and honor in the wake of Uthorion's corruption. William Liandar, the current leader of the House, is trying to form alliances with the other Houses to fight back against the corrupt ones.

House Daleron is very heavily focused on warfare. They're the "might makes right" House, and took advantage of Uthorion's invasion to take a sizeable chunk out of House Liandar. House Daleron allied with Uthorion, being the only ones who knew what the situation was with Ardinay's possession. Now that Ardinay's back in control, agents of the House have traveled to Core Earth to try and overthrow her.

House Gerrik has always focused on seamanship and exploration. They had the misfortune of Uthorion's maelstrom bridge landing in their territory, and ever since they've gone from being one of the most powerful Houses to one of the weakest. House Daleron was given much of Gerrik's territory by Uthorion, leaving House Gerrik with no real other option than to hunker down and try to wait out the storm. Current leader Agustus Gerrik isn't sure what to make of Ardinay's sudden "change of heart", but he's banking on it being genuine and is throwing his support behind her.

House Bendes have been working to undermine "Lady Ardinay"'s rule for the past 15 generations, while publically backing her reign. This wasn't out of some sense that Ardinay was not who she seemed or anything like that; they just wanted to oust her and put themselves on the throne. Now that Ardinay has shown her weakness in calling off the invasion of Earth, the House feels this is the best time to strike. They operate mainly through hordes of mercenaries, and are planning on striking down the other Houses first.

House Vareth is composed entirely of dwarves, who were gifted a House name in thanks for their part in the war against the giants. The heady rush of political power has corrupted the House over the generations, to the point where the very idea of performing any sort of physical labor is repugnant to them. The Vareths solved this problem by kidnapping dwarves from the Land Between, enslaving them or selling them to other houses. Nowadays, the Vareths main source of income is through slavery. They eagerly joined in the invasion of Earth since it meant a new source of slaves, but now that Ardinay's had her change of heart the House leaders are getting really nervous.

Technically, the final house is The People's House, which pretty much just consists of Ardinay. Her territory was used as the meeting place for the various Houses, but when Uthorion took over he disovlved the council and used the territory as his home base. The maelstrom bridge to Core Earth is located in the courtyard of Ardinay's castle.

Nine pages into this chapter.

There are other kingdoms outside of the Houses, but really they're not so much unified peoples as "a bunch of similar dudes".

For instance, the "Elven nation" doesn't seem to have a real name or anything. There's nothing about their culture, their government, or really anything that an elven character would know about their own history. All we reall get for a third of a page is that non-elves have never been allowed to enter the Elveim continent at all apart from one trade city called Elvenport.

The Vikings, likewise, are listed as a single culture and a "fierce warrior race" despite (again) no real information being given on their actual culture apart from the fact that there seems to be only one tribe of Vikings. I'm sure you can guess what their main activities are, so I won't bore you with that stuff. The chieftain of all the Vikings is Thorfinn Bjanni, their strongest warrior. Thorfinn has declared war on Ardinay due to her sudden turn of weakness, but this is because Thorfinn's body is current host of Uthorion's soul. The Vikings are also tasked with guarding the maelstrom bridge at Ardinay's castle due to alliances made when Uthorion was in charge.


Yeah, there are dragons.

You wouldn't think that Corsairs would be considered a kingdom, but here we are. The way things are presented, it seems like a loose amalgamation of pirates who've set up their own Tortuga-like homeland and consider every ship its own "kingdom". Regardless, corsairs prefer to plunder in a non-violent fashion, because "repairing ships and crew is highly expensive".

The Barbarians are one big tribe that live on the island of Bar'aan, and are considered by the world at large to be unfeeling savages, filthy giant-lovers, and/or cannibals. The fact of the matter is that, apart from being more brutal than most other people, the only real way they're different from everyone else is that they don't have any real form of government. Otherwise they focus mainly on iron mining and warring with the nearby Vikings.

Freetraders is really just a conglomeration of people who loves them some trading. They don't worry much about where the cash comes from as long as it comes in, so as a result the Freetraders have a heavy hand in the slave and drug trades. Despite that, the Freetraders see themselves as "good guys" since they're the backbone of the world's industry and economy; they just pretend that other stuff is being done by outliers. The Freetraders are totally on board with the invasion, as it opens up new markets and trading opportunities.

The Ice Nomads are exactly what you'd expect from a people that live in the arctic regions and have almost zero contact with the outside world, so let's just move on.

Half-Folk are the newest "race" to appear on Aysle, having been created by the reality storms caused by Uthorion's original invasion. Native folk of Aysle were warped into half-man/half-beast abominations, and a lot of them were driven mad by the change. This is where you get your standard fantasy monster races like minotaurs, centaurs, and harpies.

There is one thing I will give Aysle credit for, though: no orcs.

The Giants still maintain control over Lower Aysle, but don't seem to have any interest in taking back control of Upper Aylse. In fact, there's been very little contact between the giants and everyone else since the big war centuries ago. The giants are organized into tribes, and the political situation pretty much boils down to "whoever is strongest gets to run things", and that a leader may be challenged at any time. This leads to a situation where there's not a lot of elderly leaders, but it also means that the big thinkers aren't the ones running the show.

quote:

The giants have a particular hatred for humans, especially those who worship Dunad. Giant histories make no mention of Dunad or his deeds, but refer instead to a traitorous giant named Lafetor who betrayed his race to the humans. Those giants who have taken the side of the Light tend to be followers of Ugorl or those who have ventured into Upper Aysle and been awed by the riches and the different races found there. A giant in Upper Aysle can find work fairly easily (there’s always demand for someone who can lift boulders and considers two wolacs a fair day’s wage). Other giants who oppose the ravages of the Dark Forces have formed a community on the isle of Ugorland in Lower Aysle.

The Dwarves are split between two kingdoms: the Land Between and House Vareth's holdings on Upper Aylse. The dwarves in the Land Between keep enemies from both sides of Aylse out via trapped tunnels and geurilla warfare; dwarves aren't strong, but they're crafty. This defense of their territory has aided the peace between Upper and Lower Aylse, mainly because neither side likes the idea of having to go through dwarven lands to get to the other. In fact, the only real outide threat the dwarves have to worry about are their own kind from House Vareth who will regularly raid the tunnels to capture slaves.

quote:

When Ardinay announced a truce, the dwarves were divided. Some took this to mean she had not been herself over the last 500 years, and was not responsible for all that had happened in Aysle; others claim she simply saw the battle was going against her, and decided to try the “Did I do that? I can’t remember!” trick that many a dwarf has pulled after a long night of lager. Regardless of their opinion, these bands continue the fight against the Dark Forces in the realm.
The biggest problem the dwarves face is lack of food in the caves. This forces them to trade with the other races; on the plus side the dwarves have ample supplies of precious metals to trade. The down side is that the dwarves have to deal with everyone else.

Finally, there are the Lesser Folk. These are what we generally refer to as "goblinoid races": gnomes, kobolds, ogres, and trolls. The Lesser Folk live primarily in the Land Between and have no real organization or government. At most you'll see a family sticking together, but that's about it. They'll stay out of the way of large groups of the major races, but can be quick to take down a lone traveler if they think they can get away with it. They also often find work as hired muscle for the more disreputable Houses.

14 pages into this chapter.

Now we get an overview of Magic In Aylse, and here's where we start getting into the new mechanics.

quote:

Since Dunad broke his enchanted sword and released the arcane knowledges into the cosm of Aysle, magic has been a part of everyday life. Because of Dunad’s blessing, all folk are born with a magic skill and a knowledge, and simple magic is as commonplace as electricity in Core Earth. The rim stars — those celestial embodiments of the Kindred and Element knowledges — determine which knowledge a person is born with. The skill is determined by the time of the month.
Every member of the "major" races (humans, dwarves, elves) and every P-rated character native to Aylse starts with two magic skills determined at random, meaning that everyone is capable of casting spells.

And how do you determine what magic skill and arcane knowledge you start with?


When your table has four footnotes, you really need to back up and rethink some poo poo.

Did you really need to ask?

The "Determining Magic by Birth" table allows you to pick or roll what skills you start with. All you need to know is the month, date, and in some cases time of your character's birth.

Yes, that's correct. You might need to know what time your character was born. I think Torg may be the only RPG in existence that's done that. So...achievement unlocked, I guess.

So if my character was born on the 29th of Endrak, he starts with one free add in alteration magic and the arcane knowledge fire. If you want to determine your skills randomly, you start by presumably rolling a d30 to determine the type of day, then a d20 to determine which month it was in.

But of course we can't leave it at that because that's too simple. You'll notice at the bottom of the chart there's an entry for the "Entity" knowledge.

quote:

When the arcane knowledges were released from the blade of Dunad’s sword, each found a home in the Limit as a star. One of the knowledges did not take physical form, however. It remained incorporeal, haunting the very edges of reality with its presence. But it retained the ability to manifest itself twice every day, at dawn and at dusk. These parts of the day became known as the Entity Hours, the time when the world is closest to the places of spirits, demons, and other things not of the folk.
So the Entity knowledge is the one that deals with the things-man-was-not-meant-to-know side of things, and is understandably mistrusted by the people of Aylse. People who are born in the "Entity Hours" (between 6:00 AM/PM and 7:00 AM/PM) will generally lie about theie magical abilities, and It's not uncommon for midwives to try to rush or delay a pregnancy to prevent the child from being tainted. Of course, that doesn't always work.

And just to add another bit of mechanical whatsis on the pile, you can be born contrary. Once you determine your magic skills, you need to roll a d20 to determine if you were born during the day or night. This is because if you were born during the day, the star that's tied to your arcane knowledge wasn't in the sky and you're born contrary to the knowledge, which means you get +3 to your backlash roll. A roll of 1-5 if you're of "common" birth indicates contrariness, while if you're of noble birth you got mages to help out and you're only contrary on a natural 1.

15 pages into this chapter.

We now get information on The Mage Isles and the Arcane Academies for about half a page. Short form: there are four mage academies (the Isle of Being, the Isle of State, Bridge Island, and Pure Island), each one run by an archmage. Each archmage specializes in a body of arcane knowledges and that's where you go to learn how to be a full-blown mage. There are rumors of a fifth island called "Pinnacle", but nobody outside the most powerful wizards has ever seen it.

And yes, I'm zipping through this part, but I do have to point out how inconsistent the descriptions are here. Sometimes it feels like the writers are getting sick of the material as they write it (like I am).

This is the full description of the Isle of Being:

quote:

The Isle of Being contains the Seven Towers of Kindred Knowledge, and is run by the archmage L’lana of the Seven Towers. This mage allows all manner of kindred to wander the shores of her domain, but none save the serious mage-born can pass the tests that allow them entry into the towers of arcane knowledge. Normally, only six of the towers can be seen rising over the trees from the port town. But every day at dawn and dusk a seventh tower appears beside the others — the hauntingly different Entity Tower. To look upon the tower is to invite the notice of an otherworldly being, or so the legend goes.
But this is the full description of Bridge Isle:

quote:

The Bridge Isle, or the Island of Two Towers, contains the arcane academy of Mixed Forces. The elven archmage Thelim of the Two Towers oversees the academy.
That's it. It's so inconsistent and I just don't get it.


You shall not pass...this tiny stream!

Anyway, I guess we learned about the academies so we could then learn about Improving Magic Skills and Knowledges. For the most part, the people of Aylse don't try to get more into magic than their inborn abilities. That said, people also tend to specialize based on their star signs; if you're born with the metal arcane knowledge, odds are you're going to become a blacksmith or something.

This is because learning actual magic is expensive and time-consuming. Learning a magic skill takes 10 months for an Ord, or 10 Possibilities for a P-rated character. Having a teacher will halve that. Although technically, that's how learning skills works in the game anyway.

Going to a mage academy and learning the trade requires you to pledge yourself to one body of knowledge as represented by one of the academies. The applicant then has to undergo a test where they [SCENE MISSING]. If they survive the undescribed test, they can start learning magic.

quote:

When an apprentice joins an academy, he gives up his family name. So, Belder of House Gerrik becomes simply Belder for the remainder of his apprenticeship. Once he has achieved 12 adds in arcane knowledges (at least two of which must be from his pledged body of knowledge), then Belder can call himself Belder the Mage. Belder’s next goal is to achieve 20 adds in magic skills, 10 adds in any two knowledges of his academy, and at least one add in every other knowledge of his academy. Once he does that, then Belder can claim the title of his pledged body of knowledge. For example, Belder of the Three Towers, which makes him a master mage specializing in the Principles.

16 pages into this chapter.

The last big section of the chapter is dedicated to the Religions of Aylse.


Remember when every RPG was required to have this disclaimer by law?

The gods of Aylse fall into three different moral stances: Honor, Corruption, and Balance. Unsurprisingly, these map one-for-one to the D&D versions of good, evil, and neutrality.

quote:

The followers of Honor tend to consider themselves good. The major tenets of belief center around faithfulness, loyalty, respect, and being true to yourself. The followers of Corruption see themselves as opposed to the followers of Honor. Their actions could be considered evil, and they take the form of both overt and subtle activities. Their tenets incorporate destructive and disruptive tendencies. The followers of Balance try to walk the middle path, leaning neither toward Honor nor Corruption but incorporating both into their tenets. They believe in balance, and strive to maintain a balance in everything.
The gods of Aylse do exist, but unlike places like the Forgotten Realms they don't manifest in the world very often. Some of the gods are heroes and villains that have ascended to godhood through their deeds.

Despite cleric-y abilities being based off the faith and focus skills, each god influences specific arcane knowledges. In fact, people who follow the gods get a +2 or +3 bonus when casting spells within that god's preferred knowledges.

The gods of Honor are:
  • Dunad: We already know about this guy. He's the god of generally goodity.
  • Shali: Shali was the first "real" mage in Aysle, and was Dunad's lover. She sought out the secrets of the world and followed him into the heavens to become the goddess of magic.
  • Argon: As near as I can tell his whole shtick is to hunt down the corrupt god Harang.
  • Mesus: Mesus appears as a female centaur and is a general-purpose goddess of nature.
  • Elmiir: The elven god of water. Legends state that he brought elves to Aysle from another world.
  • Asten: The beautiful mate of Elmiir is the goddess of...something. It really doesn't say.

The gods of Corruption are:
  • Arthuk: Arthuk was the original leader of the giants back when they ran Upper Aylse. Dunad killed him with his enchanted sword, but Arthuk refused to surrender to death and became the main god of corruption.
  • Borl: Borl is the mate of Arthuk and is the goddess of the corruption of life.
  • Harang: The god of torture, and patron of harpies.
  • Estar: Estar is the corrupted son of Elmiir and Asten, and is responsible for teaching the giants the ways of magic.
  • Endrak: The god of fire and darkness, who teaches that the world should be cleansed by fire and claimed by darkness.
  • Kalim: God of the Lesser Folk. Your standard-issue loud hostile war god.
  • Cobra'al: God of "entities". Technically he's a god of corruption, but a lot of the other dark gods refuse to hang out with him. He exerts control over demons, spirits, and the undead.

The gods of Balance are:
  • Minthod: This minotaur is the god of "adventurous half-folk". He actually preaches patience and knowing when to pick your time.
  • Celay: A gnomish goddess who attempts to pull the Lesser Folk away from worship of the gods of corruption.
  • Darsot: The god of peace and diplomacy.
  • Areel: God of night and war. That should tell you everything you need to know about her priests.
  • Ugorl: The giant god of moderation. She's more popular in Upper Aylse than Lower Aysle.
  • Rak: Viking god of living forces and "survival of the fittest".

There are two other major religions that need to be covered.

First up is my personal favorite, Secular Dwarvenism. As stated back at the beginning of this post, it's common knowledge that the dwarven gods created the world and that the dwarves were the first race on Aylse. However, when the other races started showing up, they were rather annoyed that this world created by all-powerful beings wasn't exactly well-designed. And since that was clearly because of the now-extant dwarven gods, the dwarves themselves ended up catching the second-hand resentment. The dwarves, meanwhile, were rather annoyed that their gods didn't bother to fix all the problems they saw in the creation of Aylse and instead went to make a different, better world. Plus everyone else was mad at them because of their gods' shoddy workmanship.

The practical upshot of all this is that the dwarves as a culture hate the gods and don't want anything to do with them at all. They know the supernatural exists, of course, but they feel that the gods and such should just leave them alone, thanks. There is an undercurrent of "smug atheism" in there as well, since the dwarves have a tendency to look down on people who do beseech the gods. The spiritual role in dwarven society is filled by philosophers and general pragmatism.

The only known philosophical sect of the elves is the Elven Path of True Knowledge. This is a fairly aesthetic movement that states that the path to true understanding of the universe can be found by studying all of it. The sect's main purpose is to walk the world and acquire as much knowledge as they can. This knowledge is then recorded in their temple library. The sect has sided with Uthorion's invasion solely because it opens up new worlds for them to explore. The monks may not imbibe alcohol or take mind-altering drugs, and are forbidden to aquire wealth beyond what is needed to further their search for knowledge.

If a monk has adds in the faith skill, they can learn Elven Disciplines. Unlike every other form of powers in Torg, these are actually free; you get one per add you have in faith. You can do stuff like increase your Mind stat when resisting mental control, get a few adds in other skills, increase the damage of your punches by two, or reduce fatigue from pushing yourself.

Lastly, we get a brief section called Adventuring in Aylse. The unqiue thing about Aysle compared to the other cosms is that it actually possible to head up one of the many bridges with Ardinay's permission and go tromping around Aylse, although I have no idea why you'd want to do that. I mean, yeah you've got the political infighting of the Houses, but dealing with that kind of thing is not what Torg's systems are good at. Again, I get that games with design focused on intrigue were a long time coming, but still the Houses work better as background stuff or seeing how they deal with the situation in the cosm.

quote:

In addition, characters from other fantasy roleplaying games might somehow find themselves on the disk-shaped world and have to handle the complex and dangerous intrigues that have become an integral part of life in Aysle. Perhaps Uthorion mounted an attack on that fantasy realm in an effort to drain its possibility energy.


Or you can just do generic fantasy adventuring, I don't know.

20 pages into this chapter, and the end of the chapter.

-----
God, I hate this book.

More than any other cosm book, this one is just full of poo poo I don't need to know or care about. In fact, it's also the biggest of the cosm books (~130 pages, most of the others are only 90-100 pages).

Look how long this is. Look at it. And bear in mind: I summarized a ton of stuff. The details of everything are just so dull and pointless. I mean, there are starcharts of where the various stars are in relation to Aylse. Why? Did we really need to waste a page on that?

What really gets me is how genericly pointless half this stuff is. The gods get four pages of descriptions, but it's a total D&D "pile of gods" pantheon. There's no thought into why people come up with gods, it's just a bunch of gods of what the writers think they should have gods of. There's nothing past the surface thoughts of half of these ideas.

And belive me...it only gets worse from here.


NEXT TIME: Merrye Olde Englande

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 18:00 on Jun 21, 2016

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


I'm starting to feel that if a Demon could eliminate all competition and gain enough power, they could become a new God Machine.

WhitemageofDOOM
Sep 13, 2010

... It's magic. I ain't gotta explain shit.

wdarkk posted:

I'm starting to feel that if a Demon could eliminate all competition and gain enough power, they could become a new God Machine.

Except worse.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








wdarkk posted:

I'm starting to feel that if a Demon could eliminate all competition and gain enough power, they could become a new God Machine.
There's certainly the implication that some of the Integrators have also thought of this.

Mors Rattus posted:

...If you have a Cover, you can burn it to Go Loud. No roll needed - you just destroy the Cover permanently and reflexively. Your Cover drops to 0 instantly, and you assume demonic form. For the rest of the scene, you are Primum 10. Your Aether pool instantly fills to your new cap. You have access to every Embed your Incarnation has an affinity for, and every Exploit. Once the scene ends, you drop back to normal stats and lose access to any powers you don't normally have. Unless you have another Cover, you become one of the Burned. And, last, you get the Hunted condition.
For those unfamiliar, Going Loud is the last of last resorts, but is brutally powerful if you do it. Demons with Primum 10, a giant pool of Aether, and access to every Exploit at once basically function like high-level D&D 3E wizards.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Torg is really screaming to be translated into a modern system that can actually handle stuff like "what genre you come from" being a mechanical and flexible part of your character. I'm not one to prescribe Fate for everything, but...

wdarkk posted:

I'm starting to feel that if a Demon could eliminate all competition and gain enough power, they could become a new God Machine.
Yes, Stalin was a real person.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Halloween Jack posted:

Torg is really screaming to be translated into a modern system that can actually handle stuff like "what genre you come from" being a mechanical and flexible part of your character. I'm not one to prescribe Fate for everything, but...
I am!

I know I've said it many times before, but I would loving love a good Fate-based version of Torg. I don't know what's going on with Torg Eternity in terms of system, but odds are they're going to keep at least some of the legacy mechanics.

e: I mean, it'd be a good fit. World Laws? Those are aspects. Boom, done. Axioms? Maybe just have a transformation stress track or something if you want to keep that idea.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 18:30 on Jun 21, 2016

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


NGDBSS posted:

For those unfamiliar, Going Loud is the last of last resorts, but is brutally powerful if you do it. Demons with Primum 10, a giant pool of Aether, and access to every Exploit at once basically function like high-level D&D 3E wizards.

This is why the idea of a Beast tearing away a Demon's cover makes everyone laugh.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Evil Mastermind posted:

I am!

I know I've said it many times before, but I would loving love a good Fate-based version of Torg. I don't know what's going on with Torg Eternity in terms of system, but odds are they're going to keep at least some of the legacy mechanics.

e: I mean, it'd be a good fit. World Laws? Those are aspects. Boom, done. Axioms? Maybe just have a transformation stress track or something if you want to keep that idea.

I want a crunchier system than FATE though. If there aren't rules to argue about it isn't TORG.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I want a crunchier system than FATE though. If there aren't rules to argue about it isn't TORG.

Having seen TORG, I think making it less TORG would be a general improvement.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Kurieg posted:

This is why the idea of a Beast tearing away a Demon's cover makes everyone laugh.
Yeah it's hilarious how it's this bully tactic being repurposed by "The Good Guys" except doing it is on par with popping open the container to a man-sized box of Holy Uranium. "It's glowing and my skin is bleeding and I'm losing my hair. I can still take them!"

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I want a crunchier system than FATE though. If there aren't rules to argue about it isn't TORG.

I had similar concerns when people suggested translating RIFTS to FATE. RIFTS isn't just the action figures, it's playing Jane's Toy Spergs with the tech specs and agent dossiers you clip from the back of the blister pack.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



By the way, I spent loving weeks trying to get through that post. Seriously, you have no idea how hard the books are to read, let alone summarize. And again: in a later chapter there is an eight-page fiction piece that goes into ridiculously unnecessary detail about how magic works in-setting.

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I want a crunchier system than FATE though. If there aren't rules to argue about it isn't TORG.
Actually, we never really argued about rules when I played Torg. We just kind of accepted it because it was easier than fighting. Plus the rest of the group was fairly groggy so there was that too.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



That Old Tree posted:

Um, excuse me, Elder Scrolls dwarves are dwemer, not dunmer. Gawsh!

Also, interesting episode about a game that seems a lot more fun with just a little house ruling.

I sincerely hope someone was fired for that blunder! (I spent the morning frothing because the We Hate Movies guys described street fighter 2 championship edition as the one with four new characters and the bosses are unlocked, while saying super street fighter 2 turbo just doesn't even exist)

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Demon: The Descent

Unlike Integrity, lost Cover cannot be bought up with normal XP. It can, in fact, only be improved by Cover XP, which is earned in special ways. Two of them, for the most part. An existing Cover can be upgraded by living it out, or by grafting onto it with pacts. Living your Cover improves its strength because, well, a Cover is an artificial life, and by working within it, you massage it so reality doesn't reject you. Every session, the GM judges if you've lived consistently in the bounds of your Cover. If so, you roll Cover and gain a Cover Beat on a success. At the end of each arc, if you have consistently lived out your cover and not failed any compromise rolls ,you get another Cover Beat. If you managed to go the entire arc without even checking for compromise, you get a full Cover XP instead. As you can guess, this is the slow-and-steady method. Low risk, low reward. Your other option is to make pacts for part of someone's life. Not all pacts are for whole souls, and you certainly aren't buying these things to drag people to Hell. Rather, the purpose of a pact is to graft parts of their soul onto your Cover to bolster it. This is known as a patch job. You buy some aspect of a human's life in exchange for something. You call in that pact, and your Cover absorbs that part of their life, cutting and pasting it from them to you. Both you and the human remember reality as it was before the Pact, but everyone else affected by the change remember it as if the new way was how things have always been. Of course, this is not a 100% real transfer. It'll pass casual inspection, but a determined investigator will likely find holes in the story, and only people directly affected by it will have their memories shifted, so it's best to be careful about these pacts. You buy someone's girlfriend, she becomes convinced she was dating you the whole time, and direct photos of the couple are altered, but at a low Cover rating, old photo albums might not be, abd her family may remember her old boyfriend rather than you...which could be a problem if things were going real well. However, while this has inherent risks, you get between 1 and 3 full Cover XP depending on how big a piece of someone's life you take.

Mind, it's not just patching up Covers. After all, you can have up to (Primum) Covers, and that means you need to be able to make new ones. A demon that gains a new Cover can choose to discard an extent Cover if they have no space for it. Covers discarded this way just fade away. People will still remember they existed, fairly often, but any background details like a home or a car or whatever will vanish completely. Because of this, demons under investigation will sometimes ditch a Cover entirely rather than face the risk of compromises. The first (and slowest) method of creating a new Cover is to put it together whole cloth from patch job pacts. The Cover created this way is going to be fragile for a while, until it gets built up - it is, after all, made of disparate pieces from many lives, and often ends up somewhat disjointed at first. However, once the Cover reaches at least rating 5, it becomes significantly stronger and more solid than other Covers, making it much harder to unravel, thanks to the bespoke craftsmanship.

The second and easiest option is to buy a person's soul entirely. This is a much more significant pact than those used to bolster or create custom Covers. When you call it in, the human you made the pact with is gone. Their entire existence is consumed by your Primum. This isn't just destruction - they don't die, their soul doesn't pass on. Their entire existence is annihilated, leaving behind a hole in reality which you step into. Their life becomes a fully formed Cover, with their body as your Cover's human form and their personality and character as your guideline for how to avoid compromise. Soul pact Covers are exceptionally difficult to fray, largely because...well, there's none of the telltale oddities of God-Machine-produced Covers. That was a person's life, after all, without the weird inconsistencies that the Machine sometimes produces. However, you do need to be careful - stealing their life doesn't mean you got their memories, their knowledge or their personality, so you'd better get to know them first.

The third and easily the most risky method is what is known as angel-jacking, but it's very rewarding at times. When the Machine sends an angel to Earth, there's generally a lot of effort put into it. Demons can usually manage to track down that effort by following omens and investigating weirdness. They can even sometimes anticipate when and where the angel will appear. If they can get there nad plug themselves into the Infrastructure during the summoning, they can absorb the angel's Cover and prevent the angel from even appearing. Maybe the angel is reabsorbed, maybe they die. No one knows. But what you get is a very strong Cover very quickly. On the other hand, you have to get into Infrastructure in the middle of its use, plug yourself in and mentally wrestle the angel into submission so you can steal its Cover, then perform its mission to keep the Machine from noticing you stole the Cover.



Swapping Covers is easy. First, be alone and unobserved. This is a weird bit of quantum entanglement so it doesn't work if anyone's actually watching. Second, spend one Aether. You swap from one body to another, and your Cover rating swaps to the rating of the Cover you're in at the time. That's it! You're done! You need to track ratings for each Cover separately, but beyond name, concept and Cover rating, not much changes. Your stats do not alter between Covers, with one exception. Any merits representing external physical traits (size, for example) are tied to a specific body and so a specific Cover, and most merits representing social connections are also tied to a Cover, with the exception of those reflecting people that know you are a demon, which are always available. (Optionally you can handwave this and say they all apply to all Covers, on the basis that physical ones applying is like your stats always applying, and for social merits, all you have to do is call people off-camera to ask them to help your other Covers as a favor.) Wounds track across all Covers, as do most Conditions, except for those that explicitly affect a given Cover, like the Notoriety Condition. All of your Covers age in real-time, even when not in use, but besides aging, they remain in stasis when not used. They do not hunger or get pale, for example.

All demons also have several other traits that we'll get into later. For some reason they're only mentioned in chapter 3. Instead, new merits!

  • Bolthole (1-5 or more dots): A bolthole is a mystical safehouse, part of the Infrastructure that maintains your Covers. It has an entrance anchored to a specific point in the real world, but what is inside exists outside space. Boltholes are never larger than a small apartment. They are warded against angels, and inside, time doesn't exist. No one inside a bolthole ages, hungers or thirsts, but wounds and illnesses don't heal, either, and any human that spends more than a few days there is going to have a breaking point. Boltholes are also extremely hard to notice unless you own them or already know where the location is...but once you do know, you can tell anyone. Dots in Bolthole are spent on other effects:
    • Arsenal (1-5): Once per session, you can get weapons out of your bolthole that are more powerful depending on how many dots you have in it. You can change what weapons you get each session.
    • No Twilight (1): Twilight state does not exist in the bolthole and any ephemeral being that enters is automatically fully manifested once they get inside.
    • Self Destruct (1): You can blow up your Bolthole, losing the merit to damage everything inside it and giving them a single turn to escape before the place vanishes forever into nothing.
    • Cover-Linked (2): When you aren't wearing a specific Cover, your bolthole doesn't exist at all, making it literally impossible to find until you swap Covers back. When you turn back, it 'resets' any damage dealt to the bolthole itself, with anything or anyone left inside vanished entirely. No one knows what happens to them. You can explicitly use this to murder people or get rid of evidence.
    • Trap Door (2): As long asw you are inside the bolthole, there is no physical entrance to it. Ephemeeral beings that know where the door should be can still try to get in, but otherwise no one else can, even if they knock down the wall it would be on.
    • Easy Access (3): You can spend an Aether to turn any door into the access to your bolthole, erasing any previous access point. This lasts until you change it again. However, anyone leaving exits through whatever door they last entered it from.
  • Consummate Professional (Agenda) (2 dots): You can use your Agenda Condition resolution power twice per chapter.
  • Cultists (2-5 dots): You have a cult that worships your demonic identity, though how they treat your human one varies by dot level. They give you access to a grab bag of social resource merits, and the more dots you have, the more loyal they are.
  • Multiple Agendas (2 dots): You belong to two Agendas and get the Agenda Conditions for both of them.
  • Suborned Infrastructure (1-3 dots): You have hijacked some portion of Infrastructure, disabling all of its functions except for Aether production. You can get Aether from it once per session.
  • Terrible Form (1-4 dots): Your demonic form is extra good.
    • Body Modification (1 dot): You get an extra Modification.
    • Technological Advancement (2 dots): You get an extra Technology.
    • Jet Propulsion (3 dots): You get an extra Propulsion.
    • Dual Processors (4 dots): You get an extra Process.
  • Versatile Transformation (1 dot): Partial transformation costs you 1 Aether per two abilities manifested, not 1 Aether per ability.

Now, let's talk about Embeds and Exploits. Before the Fall, demons used the power of the Machine, which tapped into existing laws and metaphysical rules of the world. Sure, these occult physics didn't match human understanding, but they ran on...well, physics. These laws are vastly more complex than any living being could express, of course, so it looks like magic. It is magic, really. Falling removes a demon's intuitive grasp of these laws, locking off the Numina that anels use. However, the pathways of these laws still exist, and they can half-remember some of them. By using this knowledge, they tap into what are essentially the backdoors of reality, forcing it to edit itself according to their will.

Embeds are the natural laws of the world, hardcoded into it, which a demon can tap into to achieve an effect. Anyone could do them, if they had the correct knowledge and were able to manipulate the energies involved. Any demon could learn any Embed - they just have to understand it. Angels are aware of these pathways, but use them differently. Angels do not consciously choose to use Embeds - they just do it as a natural effect of what they are, via their Numina. Demons lose this instinctive grasp of power and need to consciously relearn each Embed. Embeds require no rituals or sacrifices - they're just tricks you have, skills you relearn. While each Incarnation has a form of Embed it finds easiest to remember, any demon can learn any Embed. There are four types of Embed. Mundane Embeds help to keep you unnoticed and hidden, and deal with the conceptual spheres of concealment, obfuscation and forgetting. They are favored by Psychopomps. Instrumental Embeds affect material objects and machinery, dealing with the conceptual spheres of timing, precision and utility. They are favored by Guardians. Vocal Embeds influence people and thinking creatures, dealing with the conceptual spheres of communication, revelation and realization. They are favored by Messengers. Cacophony Embeds cause or prevent chaos and violence, dealing with the conceptual spheres of destruction, renewal and entropy. They are favored by Destroyers.

Cacophony Embeds include:
  • Bystander Effect: You attack someone and cause any watching bystanders, especially in crowds, to be unable to interfere or remember anything about you.
  • Cause and Effect: You perform an action, then activate a chain of probability to ensure that a causal chain of events produces the results as if you'd rolled an entirely different action.
  • Combustion: You make an object more flammable or prone to explode.
  • Cool Heads Prevail: You prevent an argument from becoming physically violent.
  • Deafen: You deafen someone.
  • Devil's Advocate: You make someone argue against a statement, even if they'd normally agree with it.
  • Hesitation: You cause someone to pause before acting in the first round of a combat, lowering their Initiative.
  • Hush: You prevent combat from producing any sound for a few rounds or until weapons get used.
  • Just Bruised: You cause a freak accident that prevents an attack from dealing more than 1 damage.
  • Knockout Punch: You punch someone and make them fall unconscious for a period of time of your choice instead of hurting them.
  • Left or Right?: You determine the outcome of a randomly determined event with only two possible outcomes, like a coin flip or if a diceroll comes up even or odd.
  • Lucky Break: You bypass an obstacle or get a piece of information via pure random chance, though repeated use may draw God-Machine attention.
  • Merciless Gunman: You either just straight up kill a bunch of people or get a large bonus to a Firearms attack depending on if you're fighting mooks or not.
  • No Quarter: You ensure that a fight is to the death and that no one involved will surrender, flee or choose to stop fighting until you allow it.
  • On the Mend: You heal someone much faster than naturally possible.
  • Raw Materials: You break an object and cause an object of your choice of similar size to arrive within the next hour.
  • Sabotage: You shut down a machine.
  • Shatter: You break an object. Durable objects risk compromise.
  • Shifty Eyes: You make someone instinctively distrust someone else.
  • Special Someone: You can locate a person based on a set of criteria you select, such as specific Virtue, Vice or possession of a skill.

Instrumental Embeds include:
  • Ambush: You set up an ambush that prevents enemy action briefly.
  • Check Backdrop: You ensure that any firearms attacks miss harmlessly unless a round is spent aiming.
  • Download Knowledge: You gain temporary skill dots.
  • Efficiency: You perform extended actions in half the normal time.
  • Ellipses: You cause smeone to lose track of time and be bad at noticing events.
  • Freeze Assets: You make the target unable to spend money in any way for 24 hours.
  • Fulcrum Point: You move an object, no matter how much it weighs, as long as it is not fixed to the ground.
  • Fungible Knowledge: You swap the rating of two Skills. Overuse risks compromise.
  • Like I Built It: You understand the workings of an object or building intimately.
  • The Map Is Not The Territory: You prevent someone from using any printed material at all to their benefit.
  • Miles Away: You produce a pleasant white noise in your ears, allowing you to resist distraction, torture, intimidation and mental or supernatural assault.
  • Momentum: You get a bonus to an action based on the successes of the last action performed by anyone nearby.
  • Read Hostility: You can tell if someone has harmful intent and cannot be surprised or ambushed by anyone in visual range.
  • Right Tools, Right Job: You can use any tools to perform any task requiring tools of some kind.
  • Shift Consequence: You cause the consequences of an attack or hostile action within the last scene to apply to another valid target. This risks compromise.
  • Strike First: You always act first in combat, period, for the first round.
  • Synthesis: You can see how the area was altered in the recent past.
  • Tag and Release: You touch something and become able to track it, no matter what, for several days.
  • Tools Into Toys: You reduce the bonuses provided by a tool.
  • Turn Blade: You weaken a weapon being used to attack you.

Mundane Embeds include:
  • Alibi: You cause your Cover to manifest as a 'person' for a brief period, preventing your actions from being traced back to them and ensuring no actions you take cause compromise (though Exploits and demonic forms still do).
  • Authorized: You make someone believe whatever cover story you give and allow you to be somewhere you aren't supposed to be.
  • Cuckoo's Egg: You swap two objects and prevent anyone from noticing the swap.
  • Diversion: You distract a number of people and make them all look at the same spot for a while.
  • Don't I Know You?: You remind the target of someone they like, making them respond more favorably to you.
  • Earworm: You make a song get stuck in someone's head, distracting them from extended actions and Perception checks.
  • Homogenous Memory: You ensure that all witnesses to an event report whatever cover story you choose, provided it isn't completely impossible to conventional understanding.
  • Identity Theft: You subtly shift to resemble your target, gaining access to their Social merits and life and sending them into a lethargic, identity-ess state for a while.
  • Idle Conversation: You ensure that anything you say sounds like white noise to any eavesdroppers.
  • In My Pocket: You can pull anything that can fit out of a container or receptacle as long as no one around has seen what's actually in the receptacle or seen anything to prevent it from being possible, like pulling out knife after passing through a metal detector.
  • Interference: You make it hard to tell where a compromise of Cover occurred, as well as weakening the effect of the compromise.
  • Last Place You Look: You can detect where hidden objects are near you.
  • Living Recorder: You turn someone into a living recording device and can download whatever they have seen or experienced after you do so by touching them once they're done recording.
  • Lost in the Crowd: As long as you are in a crowd and don't draw attention to you, you are impossible to spot, either in person or in any photograph or recording.
  • Meaningless: You remove someone's ability to comprehend language for a scene.
  • Never Here: The target forgets you were present for a scene, mentally filling in any gaps this would create.
  • Occam's Razor: You get a temporary boost to your Cover score for purposes of compromise from Exploits or other powers.
  • Quick Change: You alter your clothing to whatever form of clothing you want.
  • Unperson: The target becomes unable to prove their identity by any means for a scene, and even their friends and family will not recognize them.
  • Without a Trace: You remove any forensic evidence that you wer eever present in a scene, and cause any video footage of you in the area to be distorted and unusable.

Vocal Embeds include:
  • Across a Crowded Room: You can whisper something and ensure only one person you can see hears it, even if you're looking at them via a telescope.
  • Animal Communication: You command an animal to do something within its nature.
  • Animal Messenger: You cause an animal to deliver a message for you, and the target can understand it and won't be terrified despite it being, say, a squirrel chittering at them.
  • Borrowed Expertise: You give one of your skills to someone else temporarily, though if it lasts for a while it risks compromise.
  • Common Misconception: You make up a 'fact' about something someone is doing, penalizing their action.
  • Eavesdrop: You can understand the meaning of any conversation at least half of whose participants you can see, though you cannot quote it verbatim.
  • Everybody Knows: You create a plausible rumor and tell someone the target knows about it. Anyone and everyone the target meets now has heard the rumor already, no matter what.
  • Find the Leak: You know which person in a group most wants to talk about a given topic.
  • Freudian Slip: You cause a non-demon to respond to a situation, phrase or question with an impulsive, honest and emotional response. You get a bonus to use any information gained this way against the target.
  • Heart's Desire: You learn the target's Aspirations, Virtue or Vice.
  • Marco Polo: You whistle a tune or say the beginning of a phrase or otherwise make a 'call'. The target finishes it or provides the appropriate response at normal speaking volume, preventing any stealth they were attempting entirely and giving you a bonus to find and harm them.
  • Mercury Retrograde: You disrupt an attempt at communication somehow, causing misunderstandings and getting a bonus to exploiting the miscommunication.
  • Muse: You cause someone to experience an inspiration to a work or activity, which could be anything from a creative work to a hunger for a specific food to suicidal ideation. Any attempt to convince them to follow through gets a bonus.
  • Recurring Hallucinations: You cause the target to hallucinate over a few days, causing breaking points each day due to the bizarre hallucinations and penalizing Mental and Social rolls.
  • Social Dynamics: You understand the relations within a group intuitively, especially in terms of power dynamics, and get a bonus to any Sopcial roll that would benefit from this understanding.
  • Special Message: You encode a piece of art with a message, visible only to a specified target or type of target.
  • Tower of Babel: Everyone near you except other demons loses the ability to communicate by spoken or written language for a while.
  • Trick of the Light: You cause someone to see something that isn't there, and can in general terms control what they see.
  • Trust No One: You make the target paranoid and unwilling to use any merits reflecting friends or allies of any type, as well as unwilling to ask more casual friends for help.
  • Voice of the Machine: You can hear the voice of the God-Machine, gaining some understanding of its plans for the area. This always risks compromise.

Next time: The Cipher and Exploits

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

There's a difference between a crunchy system and a lovely system is the thing, they aren't mutually inclusive. Not everything has to be done in Fate, but having actually played Rifts before I can assure you that anyone singing the praises of that system is doing so through rose-tinted glasses as thick as Coke bottles because it's unmitigated dogshit even for someone who wants to sit down and masturbate to character generation for six hours.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


The real problem with Rifts chargen (things like balance or rules aside) is almost solely due to the skill system and it's utter failure in organization, whether it's forcing you to flip between dozens of pages just to find your fixed starting skills for no sane reason, or having dozens of fiddly bonuses from physical and combat skills.

I swear they could shave ten minutes off of character generation in their dumb system just by pregenerating some of the fixed skills and bonuses for classes. The quick-reference table in Ultimate Edition is a help but I imagine a lot of players aren't even aware of it.

Of course, a bigger help would be to not have over two hundred skills with completely arbitrary starting values, advancement values, stat bonuses, skill bonuses, and subskills, but reason is a bit much to ask from Palladium.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Evil Mastermind posted:


When your table has four footnotes, you really need to back up and rethink some poo poo.

Oh Torg, do you ever change?

Kai Tave posted:

There's a difference between a crunchy system and a lovely system is the thing, they aren't mutually inclusive. Not everything has to be done in Fate, but having actually played Rifts before I can assure you that anyone singing the praises of that system is doing so through rose-tinted glasses as thick as Coke bottles because it's unmitigated dogshit even for someone who wants to sit down and masturbate to character generation for six hours.

I think Rifts itself could work well with Cartoon Action Hour. Just play it like He-Man meets 40k.

theironjef posted:

System Mastery Time!

We're doing Everway this time on System Mastery! This game is pretty neat. It's a huge box set from Wizards of the Coast, containing three books, several hundred little cardboard pictures, and a weird not-quite Tarot deck.

Man, it's a good thing that this not-tarot RPG was made by a sane person. Imagine the likes of Deliria with this card stuff.

WhitemageofDOOM
Sep 13, 2010

... It's magic. I ain't gotta explain shit.

Mors Rattus posted:

The second and easiest option is to buy a person's soul entirely. This is a much more significant pact than those used to bolster or create custom Covers. When you call it in, the human you made the pact with is gone. Their entire existence is consumed by your Primum. This isn't just destruction - they don't die, their soul doesn't pass on. Their entire existence is annihilated, leaving behind a hole in reality which you step into. Their life becomes a fully formed Cover, with their body as your Cover's human form and their personality and character as your guideline for how to avoid compromise. Soul pact Covers are exceptionally difficult to fray, largely because...well, there's none of the telltale oddities of God-Machine-produced Covers. That was a person's life, after all, without the weird inconsistencies that the Machine sometimes produces. However, you do need to be careful - stealing their life doesn't mean you got their memories, their knowledge or their personality, so you'd better get to know them first.

I love this, because it's just a giant honking reminder of alienly materialistic demons and the god machine are. "A soul is just a life.", You will utterly metaphysically annihilate someone just for their life, and you are mentally incapable of imagining any other value of a soul beyond the life it provides as a demon.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Kai Tave posted:

There's a difference between a crunchy system and a lovely system is the thing, they aren't mutually inclusive. Not everything has to be done in Fate, but having actually played Rifts before I can assure you that anyone singing the praises of that system is doing so through rose-tinted glasses as thick as Coke bottles because it's unmitigated dogshit even for someone who wants to sit down and masturbate to character generation for six hours.

Sure. I ran a TORG game in Cinematic Unisystem and it was great. FATE is not the be all end all ruleset is what I was getting at,

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


quote:

Sin-Eaters: People with ghosts inside them who build magic from trash - they're not supposed to exist on so many levels. Good for them!

I'm sold on Geist now!

NGDBSS posted:

There's certainly the implication that some of the Integrators have also thought of this.
For those unfamiliar, Going Loud is the last of last resorts, but is brutally powerful if you do it. Demons with Primum 10, a giant pool of Aether, and access to every Exploit at once basically function like high-level D&D 3E wizards.

Can you also run it like the scene in the Bourne movies/History of Violence/Long Kiss Goodnight/Unforgiven where the former badass has to give up the normal life they painstakingly constructed and unleash horrible violence?

Just realized the 'ideal' Demon campaign would be the Doctor Who episode Human Nature/Family of Blood. There are a few 'The Doctor pretends to he human' episodes, actually - the Lodger is a good one - but not many have so many mechanical devices and horrific supernatural vengeance.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 00:29 on Jun 22, 2016

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




theironjef posted:

(I spent the morning frothing because the We Hate Movies guys described street fighter 2 championship edition as the one with four new characters and the bosses are unlocked, while saying super street fighter 2 turbo just doesn't even exist)

Ha! I picked up on that, too.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





GLORY DAYS

INTRODUCTION

You want you some war? Hell yeah you do! War is awesome and war is righteous and we should send our Deltas off to war!

Well it’s mostly about World War II being different due to the presence of Deltas. Welcome to Glory Days, the Brave New World sourcebook for fightin’ Nazis, the Italian fascists and the Imperial Japanese. Glory Days is set in 1942 and its narrator is the 18-year-old Delta Sparky giving the introduction and talks about the US, the fights in Europe and the Pacific and Delta Squadron. In a year, Sparky will be thrown into a concentration camp crematorium and he will rise from the fire as Superior. But despite knowing how this story ends, there’s still a year’s worth of fighting and stories to get there. This book is all about that fight, the year between America enters the war due to Pearl Harbor and Superior kills Hitler with his bare hands. As per Brave New World tradition, this book is half fluff and world building and the rest is new mechanics, new items and a sample adventure in the deserts of North Africa. So let’s get down into it.


Sparky, pre-horrible event.

Note: I will be glossing over a lot. Sparky can, and will, talk about all sorts of anecdotes such as: that time he met the President, how he thinks Delta powers came to be, how it’s good for Delta Squadron to not be segregated, how it’s interesting for women to be entering the workforce in America because the men are gone. So you’re getting a more distilled, concentrated look at everything with less fluff.

DELTA SQUADRON

Delta Squadron is formed on December 14th, 1941 when FDR opens up enlistment to go to war. In addition, he offers amnesty to any criminals with powers who want to enlist: a full tour of duty in exchange for a clean slate (except for the worst Deltas). Women can also join Delta Squadron but they’re limited to intelligence gathering and non-combat ops but are allowed to protect themselves if necessary. Minorities are also allowed in Delta Squadron because a Delta is a Delta.


Linin' up for war.

What about your identity, though? You can still wear a mask and join Delta Squadron. You still have to give your name to the US government so they can verify you and do background checks. They have to check to see if they’re spies. If you pass the check, you’re allowed to wear your mask while serving overseas. This is for two reasons: so you can act as an icon for the nation and so the enemy won’t know who you are so they can’t threaten your family.

When you join Delta Prime, you go to boot camp on Perris Island for three months to train alongside the Marines. This is followed by a month of officer training. That’s when you go to Delta Squadron proper to serve under the command of Colonel Joseph Ford, a Bomber who got his powers in World War I jumping on a grenade. His assistant is Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Payne, the Silver Ghost coming out of retirement to act as the Executive Officer. Delta Squadron itself is actually three platoons made up of multiple squads of 15 people overseen by a major.


Sparky, Stalin, FDR, Churchill and some other dudes.

ALPHA PLATOON is stationed in a secret location in London. Their Major is Francis McCrary, a Shrinker. Their main role is to work in various ways, such as protecting Britain from German fighter planes or doing covert ops in Europe.

BRAVO PLATOON helps the US Army in the Sahara fighting Erwin Rommel and his Nazi forces. The main role of Deltas in Bravo is to work alongside Allied desert raiders and North African freedom fighters. Their Major is Willis Keyes, a strategist who is waiting for more US Army troops, having to work with what he has for now.

CHARLIE PLATOON fights in the Pacific, island-hopping to fight the Japanese Navy. They’re lead by Major Harlan “Hellacious” Hayes, a Hot-Shot who got his powers leading a cavalry charge against the Japanese (not explained why or where he was doing this) and was shot by a sniper. Hayes was also the golden boy of General MacArthur and they operate out of the rebuilt Pearl Harbor.

So how does Delta Squadron get around? Well that would be The Liberty, a flying aircraft carrier held aloft by blimps and the Gadgeteering of American Gadgeteer Doc Goddard. The Liberty does not actually do any fighting besides launching planes from a high altitude because if anyone popped the blimps it would fall, kill everyone and sink. It has not ever actually landed since it took off, you get on and off via plane. The Liberty flies where it needs to drop off and pick up Deltas for combat ops.

THE HOME FRONT

Here is a list of things that this game name checks and explains and you probably know what they are if you paid attention in history class. These are things people really did do during the war effort:
  • The Army only wants people 18-26 and within somewhat strict standards. They can fix a recruit being out of shape but they can’t fix flat feet.
  • Practice air raid drills.
  • Ration food for the effort; don’t buy things from the black market.
  • Plant Victory Gardens to raise veggies instead of needing to use ration cards to get them to free up veggies for the troops.
  • Recycle to provide metal, plastic, rubber and fibers to the troops.
  • Women are working to support their families and replace men.
  • Buy war bonds to support the troops.

The big thing is that women are being allowed to work, which is good! In addition to working at factories and businesses, women are also stepping up to protect the nation. The Ladies of Liberty are female Deltas who are taking the place of the heroic male Deltas. They were founded by Gertrude Sieger (previously Iron Maiden, unmasked in LA on Santa Monica Boulevard by a criminal, later became an actress) and Fever (Hot-Shot, Gertrude’s friend). The two decided that they didn’t want to deal with the politics of the US Army telling them what to do and treating them different so instead they passed up recruitment and started recruiting like-minded women. They attracted a backer in the form of Howard Hughes (the producer and plane fan) who provides them national transportation. Their big public break came from capturing the Nazi Delta spy known as the Red Phantom, a Phaser who was stealing info from the Department of War. They have a lot to do but they have a lot of women joining their ranks to protect America. Let’s take a look at the major issues of the cities of America.


KICKING JUSTICE

New York: Two German saboteurs by the names of Frick and Frack are operating in New York and Wall Street to try and sabotage the American economy. Frick is a Charmer whose MO is to worm his way into companies and industries and compel their leaders into making stupid ideas to make the companies fail and deny supplies to the US. Frack is a lot simpler: he’s a Bomber and he walks into a bank with a single demand of “give me all the money or I explode”. New York also has the Junior League, four teenagers (a Gadgeteer, Bouncer, Copycat and Shrinker) who help the Ladies protect NYC.

Chicago: Chicago is the original home of the Delta Squadron Gunner known as The Gangster, Carlo Parente. The Gangster ruled the underworld with an iron fist until his arrest in 1936. His brother took over with the commands passed down from prison until the Gangster took the amnesty deal. Without the Gangster, his brother was killed and now Chicago is home to a bunch of feuding gangs trying to take the whole city. The Gangster doesn’t particularly mind, thinking he can pick off the stragglers when he returns. As for the city, the government is reassembling its old gang-busting forces with the help of a Bargainer called The Consultant.

Los Angeles: LA is home to the Ladies of Liberty and their backer Howard Hughes. LA’s Delta population is still substantial and the home base of the Ladies is always looking for recruits. Fever herself leads a group she calls the California Girls: Debbie Capri/TKO (telepath), Jane Lussow (sneak) and Elaine Burkowski (one of the first Aquarians in the public eye). LA is also home to one of the most notorious serial killers in the USA and the biggest misstep this entire section has to offer: a person that the police have dubbed The Landshark. The Landshark exclusively targets attractive women wearing costumes (actresses, showgirls, dancers, Deltas) and is called The Landshark because their victims show up half-eaten with bite marks that match a shark. They’ve only killed one Delta (Kara Ling, Chinese-American Covenant nun) but the California Girls are trying to stop them for all of the regular women they’ve killed.

Washington DC: The Red Phantom has been dealt with but there’s a new threat in the capitol. That threat is known as Fritz, a Nazi Changeling spy who impersonates people in DC to try and steal secrets. So far the OSS hasn’t been able to catch them yet.

I don’t really have much to say about all of this. It’s pretty competent and yet that doesn’t really make it interesting. The Landshark is definitely the worst part of it all. The other main low point is Sparky’s endless tangential rambling and weird comments. I mean, I wish I had more to say but I’m kind of glad it’s mostly inoffensive.

THE EUROPEAN FRONT



I hope you’re ready for a lot of Delta names in other languages that I will just be translating to English for convenience’s sake.

France: France is home to the Free Heroes, Deltas allied with Charles de Gaul’s Resistance and the Allied Forces. They’re lead by The Lion, a Tough, and his two top lieutenants: The Spirit (a Phaser) who steals from Nazi offices and The Messenger who can telepathically transmit messages. Their biggest defeat was when another national hero known as The Patriot was killed by Kapitan Krieg and his corpse was strung up from the center of the Arc de Triomphe. Real coincidental that another guy called Patriot was killed and martyred.


I'm no expert on tanks but that tank looks weird.

Germany: The usual suspects are still in charge of the Third Reich: Hitler, Goring, Himmler, Donitz, Eichmann and Goebbels. Their Delta defense force is known as Die Kriegfurher. Originally DK was run by a man known as Wilhelm Krueger, a Tough who went by the name of EisenMann. He was a faithful Nazi but he was not ruthless or cruel so one day he was mysteriously killed. Control of the group went to a man by the name of Kurt von Mullenheim or Kapitan Krieg, a Gunner. Krieg’s second in command is Erich Manstein or The Madman, a Blaster who enjoys killing defenseless people and being reckless. Krieg handles operations outside of Germany while Madman does everything at home.

Important Nazi Deltas:
  • Katastrophe: a Flyer who terrorizes the British skies with a machine gun.
  • Hauptman Himmel: an Ace who flies planes over England with countless confirmed kills.
  • The Lightning Bolt: Krieg’s trusted agent abroad, a Charger who leads operations and electrocutes people.
  • The Giant: A Goliath, killed by a British Delta spy who had to blow their cover to kill him.
  • Wolfgang Dietrich: The Madman’s trusted aide, an Interrogator and terror of German politics.
  • The Shadow: Female Sneak who looks for incriminating evidence amongst German citizens to get them arrested or killed.
  • The Cutter: Hitler’s personal physician, a Healer who engages in morally reprehensible experiments with minimal loss of life thanks to his powers (but maximum torture, one would imagine).
  • The Negotiator: Hitler’s closest advisor, a Bargainer who leads the Thule and provides answers/advice to Hitler in exchange for payments to the demons he talks to. The Negotiator is allegedly looking for something in North Africa and is working through Nazi troops there.


I'm going to assume that this is The Madman, judging by the glowy hands and punk haircut.

Great Britain: The Imperial League is Britain’s Delta team keeping the island safe from the Germans with the help of American Deltas. The League has been in existence since right after the end of World War I and has since accepted women as well. They’re counted as an independent unit of the army. There is also the Dawn Patrol, a subsidiary of the League of five Aces with planes who shoot down German planes. The OSE is operating abroad as well with the help of the League.

Italy: Mussolini has been keeping most of their Deltas at home to protect Mussolini. Their Delta army unit is known as I Vinctori or The Winners and they’re lead by a Changeling called The Face. The good Winners are in Africa helping the Nazis and around 20 (lead by the Face) are staying in Italy as personal bodyguards. Other notable guards of Mussolini are The Weapon (a Gunner with a silver-plated Beretta) and unconfirmed rumors of a Teleporter and a Snuffer.

The USA: Delta Squad is working with the OSS and helping recruit Deltas from abroad to the side of the Allies. In Britain, they’re lead by OSS agent George Carver (an Interrogator) and his top agent known as Blink (Teleporter). They’re the only permanent OSS agents in Britain, the rest are assigned as needed. Two American Aces have joined the Dawn Patrol in addition to Indian, Australian and New Zealander Aces. The French Resistance is helped out by an American woman who goes by the name of Bang, a Bomber who explodes Nazi officer hangouts through the direction of the Lion. The top agent in Germany is a Changeling who goes by the codename Trojan. Trojan is notorious for impersonating top Nazi officers (including Wolfgang Dietrich, the top Interrogator) and exploiting the paranoia of the Third Reich to cause havoc. He’s most famous for implicating a person who blew the whistle on an assassination plot as the actual mastermind by impersonating Dietrich and claiming that the whistleblower was a liar.


That's The Yankee in the right. Again, I have no idea who the other two people are.

Thoughts on the whole shebang: On the one hand, there’s not a lot that’s bad beyond the Landshark. On the other hand, it’s boring. It’s immensely boring. The majority of the things presented are either Sparky’s ramblings and color commentary or just saying “here are the Deltas of Country X at this point of the war and here is what they do”. Honestly, I'm cutting out a shitload of the extra info and as a result the majority of it feels pretty bare bones, so that's why the paragraphs about places are pretty short. The only thing that interests me is the Ladies of Liberty; that I feel is a good campaign idea that would be worth playing. Knowing what comes later, the entire thing feels like doodles in the margins of a history book. I hate to say that the entertaining stuff comes later, but it definitely does.

NEXT TIME: the war in Africa, the march on Russia and the Pacific Theater.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 00:40 on Jun 22, 2016

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Hostile V posted:

THE EUROPEAN FRONT



This map hurts to look at.

1. East Prussia is part of Russia, and a lot of other borders are forgotten.
2. Poland is shown occupied and its borders are unaltered, but not the Baltic state or the chunks taken out of Romania.
3. Holland is the entirety of the Netherlands, "England" is over Wales, and the USSR is just Russia (Nitpicky but it's still wrong).
4. What the gently caress is an Austria-Czech-Hungary? That's just Hungary (Which was a Nazi ally like Finland, not occupied) by that point, Austria and the Czechs were totally annexed.
5. Kind of a stretch to say a puppet like Vichy France was unoccupied.
6. He forgot Slovakia.
7. He mixed up Bulgaria and Romania.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Vichy France is mentioned as existing and it's..somewhere in that picture.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Count Chocula posted:

Can you also run it like the scene in the Bourne movies/History of Violence/Long Kiss Goodnight/Unforgiven where the former badass has to give up the normal life they painstakingly constructed and unleash horrible violence?

That's the same sort of stuff thematically where it gets the inspiration from, yes.

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


Daeren posted:

That's the same sort of stuff thematically where it gets the inspiration from, yes.

Ironically, doing History of Violence in Demon makes it MORE (stereotypically) Cronenbergian.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Hostile V posted:


Sparky, Stalin, FDR, Churchill and some other dudes.

Just so you know, this could never happen in their timeline as it's presented in the core book. The Tehran conference was in November 1943 was the and the Yalta conference happened in February 1945, basically after the war would have ended. Stalin was considered untrustworthy because of the whole Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact and had his requests for opening a second front pretty much denied until after the Red Army pushed the Nazis out of Stalingrad.

Also, I'm guessing Ferdinand Porsche was also a Gadgeteer judging by that tank.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 04:31 on Jun 22, 2016

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Young Freud posted:

Just so you know, this could never happen in their timeline as it's presented in the core book. The Tehran conference was in November 1943 was the and the Yalta conference happened in February 1945, basically after the war would have ended. Stalin was considered untrustworthy because of the whole Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact and had his requests for opening a second front pretty much denied until after the Red Army pushed the Nazis out of Stalingrad.

Also, I'm guessing Ferdinand Porsche was also a Gadgeteer judging by that tank.

It'd be interesting to do a supers version of the White Rose. Secret identities become a hell of a lot more important when you're dealing with "literally the Gestapo" instead of two-bit hoods.

I'm sure I wouldn't want to use Brave New World for that, though.

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


There was a 1 page backup strip with Batman as a foppish German during WWII. I think it was collected with Paul Pope's Batman: Year 100.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 05:03 on Jun 22, 2016

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Count Chocula posted:

There was a 1 page backup strip with Batman as a foppish German during WWII. I think it was collected with Paul Pope's Batman: Year 100.

Oh man, never was there something that would turn me against an artist like that comic. Year 100 was even enjoyable to that point, when I find that Pope's a libertarian. The whole thing about the German Batman saving the works of Von Mises was :barf:

No man, that poo poo's about as bad as the Holocaust, let it burn German Jewish Batman.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Count Chocula posted:

Can you also run it like the scene in the Bourne movies/History of Violence/Long Kiss Goodnight/Unforgiven where the former badass has to give up the normal life they painstakingly constructed and unleash horrible violence?

You just described the opening fiction of the book, as a matter of fact.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012




Part 3: Youthquake



(What’s going on in the lower right?)

Youthquake is a pantheon based out of Nemesis Academy, a school for metahuman children, in Dallas, Texas. They are the most famous and powerful pantheon of teen superheroes. So no matter what age your Nemesis characters are, they are always going to be overshadowed in importance by these guys or Team Maximum. The book states that these characters were chosen out of the hundreds of heroes and villains on Nemesis-Earth because they are the closest in age to typical WGA characters (all of them are 15 or 16) and the most likely group to respond if they end up on Nemesis-Earth. But really, it’s probably because at least 3 of these characters are self-inserts.

The chapter also stresses that GMs pay attention to the characters’ rankings, since Nemesis characters are designed to be more powerful. But rank numbers don’t really mean anything, so who cares. The sheets themselves seem to use the older version of the rules, since they don’t have a Class/Wealth listing and no knacks.



Candice Phelps/Aura

Candice’s parents are actors. She herself was a child star. Her bio implies that she stopped acting (it calls her a “former child star”) when she joined Youthquake, but the comic says that she’s still acting and is the star of a TV show called Candy’s Sweet Life.

While her write-up and Shane stress that she’s smarter than she appears, she doesn’t really get a chance to show that. She has three lines in the comic. One is an insult about how the Lord of the Rings look is SOOOOO over, and the other two are her bitching about how she should be getting her hair did.

Candice Phelps posted:

Thanks, by the way, for making me miss my hair appointment at Neimen Marcus'... LOSERS.

[…]

I hope everyone appreciate s the sacrifice my hair and I made for them today.

Candice is a Rank 4 NPC. All of the characters in this chapter, except one, have the Metahuman clique, which gives them immortality and immunity to aging spells, a +1 to any two attributes, and a variation on the Meta-Physology perk that, for some reason, requires them to get 4 hours of sleep instead of the one that Half-Metahumans need. It also gives them a +2 to stabilizing rolls.



Candice’s powers are light-based and let her shoot laser beams, create holograms, control light, fly, and turn her body into it.





Han Lee Chin/Chi

Chin (or Han if you go by the comic) is a member of the Savads, as was his grandfather (who trained him) before him. He’s a member of Youthquake partly to continue the Savad tradition. He’s an introvert. Which means he doesn’t talk at all in the comic. So Shane has to explain him to us.

Shane Farris posted:

I'll try to explain how his powers work. Chi controls his and others chi... or life energy (hence the name). That makes him like Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Bruce Lee in their prime times ten. It gives him the ability to find the weaknesses and weak points in almost anything and heal us when we get hurt.

Han is a Rank 3 NPC. Due to being a magical Tibetan punch man, he has the “Supernatural” clique instead of the Metahuman one. This gives him 6 free ranks of Magic based skills, gives him a +1 to his Magic and Resist Magic, lets him restore 2 zap at the end of combat scenes, gives him +2 to Armor against magic attacks, and an immunity to poisons.



As a magical Tibetan punch man, Han is a master of the Jade Dragon style of M’ Katra, the assumed martial arts school of the Savads.





Eric Tucker/Dark-Bow

Eric is the country boy son of ranch owners who likes to flirt with girls. He’s also fiercely loyal and has a strong sense of right and wrong and all the other things you’d expect a generic superhero to be. The comic doesn’t give you much of an idea of what he’s like, other than that he quips at the bad guys in a southern accent and calls one person “pard”.

Eric is a Rank 3 NPC.



Powers wise, he’s Green Arrow if he were a green lantern.

Shane Farris posted:

His powers make him the perfect hunter. He never misses and while most people have five senses. I think Eric has closer to fifteen.

And those arrows he can create? They can do more than just hit one target if he wants them to.





Jill Heedan/Jilith

(Hand…)

Jill is the witch of the group and “potentially one of the most powerful beings alive”. As you’d expect, she’s the snarky rear end in a top hat who would have been yelled at or kicked out after a few days if characters in the Channel M multiverse acted like real people.

Shane Farris posted:

And last but not least, there's Jilith (Jill) . She never follows the rules. She never uses our code names (or real name) and she's not a team player.

Jill Heedan posted:

Hey, Geek-N-Stein you going to float there day dreaming or help out?

[…]

Hey! Like I need help from the nerd wonder.

If you couldn’t tell, she’s actually very loyal and hides her emotions because she’s scared of her powers.

Crossover posted:

Though she tends to hide her emotions and the fear of her power behind a gruff exterior she has shown to be both caring and loyal.

She also thinks Poison Ivy cosplay/burlesque costumes are appropriate day/school attire, if the last panel of the comic is any indication.

Jilith is probably the self-insert of either Soto or Deborah Dodge. I’m going to guess the later due to the red hair and the lack of extreme edgelord-ness.

Jill is a Rank 5 NPC.



Jill’s “manakinesis” abilities let her cast any spell rank 4 or lower at double the zap cost, can banish people with a Will vs Will roll, and alter existing spells at the cost of the amount of zap used to cast it.



Also, I missed a transformation bit.





Ramses McMann/Max

These superhero alias are really generic and lame…

Despite being from a middle class Dallas family, Ramses acts like he’s a gangsta because he thinks it’s the cool thing to do. He also has a tendency to run his mouth, but not to the degree that Jill does. I’m going to guess this is Harris’s younger brother’s character. Or one Harris based off his brother. Who knows.

Ramses is a Rank 5 NPC.



As you probably guessed from his “Speedster” heritage, Ramses’s powers are similar to The Flash’s: he has the power of Go Fast, among other things.





Arthur McMann/Mega

Harris Self-Insert #3, Ramses’s older sci-fi and comic book nerd brother, and the moral compass of the group. Arthur is a gentle giant who can take a lot of hits that the rest of the group can’t, and he knows it. The artwork of him can’t decide whether his bulk is muscle or fat.

Arthur is a Rank 5 NPC.



According to Shane, Arthur and Ramses have the best powers.

Shane Farris posted:

You know how every superhero team I used to read about in the comics had one guy with all the cool powers? Super strength, speed, flight, and invulnerability? Guess what Mom? We have two two of them. Mega (Arthur) and his little brother, Max (Ramese).

Arthur has the super strength part of that set. He’s strong enough to bench press an aircraft carrier in the comic, super resilient, can breathe in the vacuum of space, and has 360 degree vision because why not?



If you’re curious, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier weighs about 97,000 tons when loaded. Arthur’s still got a ways to go before he can bench press one without killing himself.

Arthur and Ramses can also telepathically communicate with each other. Though they don’t have complete mastery of it.



Shane Farris/Mentalmancer

Shane is a “runt” as far as superheroes go. He’s not as strong as your regular metahuman, but makes up for it with his keen intellect, his boundless desire to learn new things, and his psychic abilities. Most of the group gives him unnecessary poo poo for being a massive nerd.

Shane is a Rank 5 NPC.



Shane doesn’t talk about himself all that much. But as you’ve probably figured, he’s a psychic.



He can also fly, so I don’t know why he’s gushing over the McMann brothers being able to do it.



Maria “Mia” Juarez/Riot

Fun Fact: This is the third Latina character with the name “Mia” in Channel M’s stable of characters, if you count Mia/Nina from Willow-Mistt. I’m starting to suspect there’s an acquaintance of Harris’s with that name.

Mia comes from the crime-ridden slums of El Paso, where she had to do a bunch of things to survive that she’d rather not talk about. Being a member of Youthquake is her way of seeking redemption. Shane claims she’s not a people person and kind of “abrasive”, except when she’s around children. If Shane ever complimented her on her abilities, she would give him a wedgie for being a nerd.

Mia is a Rank 4 NPC.



Mia’s abilities let her control her voice, allowing her to use it to various effect.



If you look closely, you’ll notice that whoever drew their portraits can’t do a whole lot of poses.

The last little section is just three story hooks for using Youthquake. You can either help them, fight against them for Hades P. Anubis’s amusement, or get hunted by them.

And that’s it for that little detour. It’s back to witches being assholes in the next book.

Next Book: Magical Minutia #4: Trinity Stone, wherein we learn about where witches in the southern United States go to school, learn about the Trinity Valley pocket dimension, and why do some of these teachers have massive tits?!

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


I thought 'metahuman' was a word DC Comics made up so they could trademark their own version of 'mutant'.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

We're doing Everway this time on System Mastery!

FYI, Everway did have collectible card packs, in case you didn't get your fill of fantasy pin-up art in the main box; just do a search for Everway Companion Collector Cards.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 10:46 on Jun 22, 2016

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Count Chocula posted:

I thought 'metahuman' was a word DC Comics made up so they could trademark their own version of 'mutant'.

Not exactly. "Metahuman" was a term invented by Keith Giffen for DC as part of the "metagene" concept; the idea that certain people have the ability to develop powers under physical and emotional stress. The difference from, say, mutants, was that the metagene was a shared origin meant to explain how chemicals or radiation or other Silver Age origins actually worked, because it's the eighties and genetics is the new Mystery Science.

But it was never adopted as the official explanation by editorial, only by individual writers. As a result, I don't think it was ever copyrighted like "superhero" is.

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