Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer

I just remembered an exchange with a friend back in... when oWoD was immediately relevant, blue-skying our own heartbreakers and poo poo. We were talking about tactical maps. D&D used squares, GURPS and Battletech used hexes, and while both were functional, I preferred a granularity of movement that probably would have boiled down to tape measures.

"What about octagons?" he suggested, completely seriously. Because hexes had more faces than squares, and they were a bit more elegant in our eyes, and octagons had even more faces...

I had to explain to him that they wouldn't work, because they wouldn't tile smoothly.

Nineties resolution mechanics often strike me as being similarly ill-considered.


Feb 13, 2012

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

See, this is why I like Percentile systems. Their application is often off (like designers deciding the base success rate should be 30 and then penalizing PCs from there) but I'm not a statistician and with them, I can at least see the exact odds of an action when I'm trying to design my adventures or modify the system.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

In Nomine: Hellish science

The world is an experiment gone awry - it stinks, and when it breaks, there'll be bodies everywhere. I love it.

Vapula, Prince of Technology, is a Habbalite who usually appears as a bright-eyed, elderly man with messy hair and clothes, usually in a labcoat. He is generally quiet, until he bursts out with a torrent of ideas. Even when angry, he's quiet and friendly...even as he invites you to donate your body to experimentation and straps you to the rack. Vapula lacks the access to the Symphony that Jean has, and so he is reduced to experimentation to learn what Jean was simply given. He's gotten quite good at it, and he loves gadgets, though he doesn't care about any side effects they might have. Vapula was never an angel, and Hell is much better for him than Heaven would be - he's free to do whatever he likes, and he finds relics especially fascinating. Lucifer and theo ther Princes want machines humans will use destructively and selfishly - weapons, cars, fast food, whatever. Humans invented all those things themselves, but Vapula takes credit for helping them along. His Hellish forges produce most infernal artifacts, though he allows few of his craftsmen to go to Earth. Most recently, Vapula and Nybbas have teamed up to try to make a combination computer and TV that will drain Essence from those nearby or accept Essence 'broadcast' from elsewhere. Tentatively named the NC, or Nybbas Computer, they believe they could completely control humanity with such a device. Most demons of Vapula have a demonic artifact or two, and it is dissonant for them to allow these things to fall into human or angelic hands, though recovering the object removes the dissonance.

Balseraphs of Technology can look at any manmade device and instantly comprehend all possible apllications. They can also do the same from a spec sheet, identifying the machine's actual performance. Further, they add (Celestial Forces) to any attempt to convince someone a mundane item has fantastic properties.
Djinn of Technology receive extremely light palmtop computers, which they may attune to up to (Celestial Forces) objects. The palmtop has a thing, six foot cable that must touch such an object to attune and track it. The tracking functions of the computer function identically to the Djinn resonance.
Calabim of Technology do not exist. Vapula does not like Calabim.
Habbalah of Technology receive a mood ring that changes color to reflect the emotional state of the nearest person. They may also use their resonance on those experiencing strong feelings to produce a feedback loop, stunning the victim for (CD) rounds. There is no backlash on this for failure.
Lilim of Technology add (Celestial Forces to any Computer Operation roll or any use of their resonance on a scientific or technical person.
Shedim of Technology receive a laptop computer that requires no power and has a high-speed cellular internet connection. They may use this computer as a vessel freely when no host is available. Further, they add (Celestial Forces) to any attempt to possess someone using the computer while they're inside it. Others can als possess the computer and if they do, they can use this bonus if they have an appropriate Song or resonance to possess someone with.
Impudites of Technology can store twice as much Essence as their Forces should allow. Further, they receive a pair of glasses that can measure the Essence inside anyone within (Celestial Forces) feet.
Invention is a Servitor attunement that temporarily creates a relic with one or two abilities. These abilities are fueled by your Essence, andi f you don't have enough, the relic will instead deal 5 soul damage on its user per point of Essence needed. It cannot remove a Force, but if it would have to, it doesn't function. The object must exist already, and this attunement allows a Precision roll to add one or two Songs or Essence-requiring attunements you already know, which last for (CD) hours in the relic. Powers embedded in the object, however, must reflect its mundane uses in some way.
Knights of Combustion can immediately tell the best way to use any device, getitng +2 to whatever skill is required to use it.
Inspectors can detect any fault in any technological device.
Barons of Gremlins can create a tiny defect in any device they touch. It will fail disastrously after (10-Celestial Forces) usage, with only the most thorough examination having any chance of spotting it before then.

Vapula has no allies, but is associated with Baal, Nybbas and Kronos. He is hostile to Saminga. Basic Rites:
1. Work for 3 hours or spend 6 hours asleep in a lab or factory.
2. Convince someone to try a new creation that will increase their reliance on technology.

Vapula has a base Invocation TN of 3, +1 if you have a used battery, +2 for a cheap imported toy, +3 for a stick of dynamite, +4 for a machine responsible for maiming a factory worker on an assembly line, +5 for a well-used crematorium furnace and +6 for a nuke.

So, Hell. Hell is a place of darkness, an abscess in the celestial realm aslo known as the Pit, the Inferno and the Vacuum. It is where demons live, divided into Principalities connected by various tunnels, walkways and teleporters. Each Principality has several Tethers based on its master's Word. Each is ruled by a Prince, see, who rules over not only the demons there but the damned souls that make up much of Hell's population. They are the property of their Prince, who is usually the one who they, knowingly or not, supported most during their lives. Travel between Principalties is difficult and monitored, even for demons. Essence is Hell's currency, and each demon or damned soul generates 1 Essence every 24 hours. (Angels in Hell, incidentally, do not regenerate Essence.) Humans might use their Essence to buy anything from a brief break from torture to freedom, but then, in some Principalities, humans are used as guinea pigs, consumers or literal fuel.

The bottle says 'son screen', which is actually kind of clever.

Abaddon is the Principality of Saminga, a gray wasteland of souls who served deat. Saminga cares little for them, allowing them to move freely within Abaddon until he needs them. At the center is his bone citadel, where human souls are dragged to harvest them for Essence and Forces. Other Princes see this strip-mining of souls as wasteful, but hey, they're his. He never destroys a soul all at once - rather, they get captured, stripped of one Force and then set off to wander again. Each time a soul loses a Force, it's pushed back a step on the evolutionary ladder in some way. Abaddon is thus the only source of animals in Hell, former human souls. The dirt grubs that infest the wastes are the remnants of Souls stripped down to a single Force, desperately trying to avoid the final harvest. These harvested Forces are used to create undead on Earth.

Kronos rules over the Archives, where the details of the Symphony and the histories of the War and humanity are kept. They track the dispersal of souls to Principalities, record which demons have been publically sent to Earth and which Words Lucifer has given. Kronos and possibly Lucifer are the only ones who can reliably find anything in the Archives, but if a demon can get his attention, Kronos will answer any question...for a price. The Archive can be reached from every other Principality - one of the only places in Hell that can be. Gehenna, meanwhile, is Ball's domain, a shifting battlefield where those will not fight are slaughtered. It is the proving ground for demons of the War, ceasing its battles only when Baal returns to select new Earth forces from the best of the lot. Hades is the first domain any damned soul sees, and any creature entering Hell save for demons returning to their Hearts. It is ruled over by Asmodeus, and the gates into Hell are guarded by two large angels of Dominic. They can spot any soul that does not truly belong in Hell, pulling them out of damnation, but they very, very rarely spot any such person. Asmodeus handles the assignment of human souls to other Principalities, following an unfair method worked out by Lucifer. Everyone felt equally shafted by the method when it was made, though, so they've all assumed it must be fair.

Perdition was once the realm of Sloth, before Haagenti devoured his old Prince. Lately, it's been the realm of Nybbas and his demons, who keep the humans there in a state of tranquil dormancy. Perdition's humans quite like it, fixating on a single kind of sensory input to obsess on to the exclusion of all else. The demons merely need to threaten to remove that input to get them to fork over the Essence. Demons in Perdtion mostly work in the skyscrapers there, making up new content for Nybbas. Pedition borders Tartarus, the realm of Vapula, but Vapula and Nybbas get along. Shal-Mari, meanwhile, is the glitzy Principality shared by Andrealphus, Kobal and Haagenti. It is a consumer society, full of casinos, bordellos, restaurants and theaters. Andre runs the brotherls, charming Essence out of the damned, while Haagenti does the same in the restaurants and bars, and Kobal with the theaters. The casinos are split between all of them. Humans in Shal-Mari can do anything...if they can pay for it. Other souls sometimes use hoarded Essence to buy brief 'vacations' to Shal-Mari, but they're rarely allowed to stay.

Sidebar: the original Fallen had to figure out a new way to use the old angelic language, as the inability to lie was unacceptable. Over time, the demons have bent and broken the language into something most angels can barely recognize. Demonic can be spoken in any form, corporeal or celestial, and while demons understand angelic, angels can't make anything out of demonic save that it is, in fact, the tongue of demons.

Sheol is the realm of Belial, built around Hell's only volcano, which fuels the Lakes of Fire. Demons within Sheol that serve Belial are immune to heat and flame while there. They trap human souls in the flames, torturing them into giving up their Essence - and only then allowing them out. Stygia is a maze of catacombs, shared by Malphas and Valefor. There, all of the damned try to steal Essence from each other in hopes of buying freedom. It never really works. Tartarus, meanwhile, iks ruled by Vapula, who experiments on his damned souls to test his inventions. It's a mess of kudzu-esque rebar, full of toxic spills and half-built projects. Vapula likes the chaos, finding it inspirational. There is a wide and largely unpatrollable passage to Perdition, but Vapula likes to let his infernal machines police the area, doing terrible things to escapees.

Now we move to the next chapter, where we get a discussion of common beings other than angels and demons. Soldiers, for example. Soldiers were once ordinary humans, but now they have been forced into the War. They knowingly serve a celestial, have 6 Forces and can control Essence. They can learn Corporeal Songs, and make good servants or weak PCs. Despite the name, most are not fighters - they are aides, spies and support...usually. Some of them, though, fight directly. Soldiers of God are sworn to fight Hell anywhere, regardless of consequence. Some, like the Vatican's Purifiers, have organizations, but others operate alone under a single angel. Soldiers of Hell, meanwhile, tend to have literally solid their souls for reward - sometimes earthly, sometimes a false hope to become demons in death. They tend to work in small gangs, but are often loners. There's also a handful of surprisingly large infernal organizations. Soldiers of Hell are often given vast support, resource-wise, but not so much in terms of magic. Demons don't want them to get too powerful. Any Soldier of Hell that learns any non-Corporeal Song by any means or who gains an 8th Force is likely to become a target. Either way, Soldiers on either side cause no Disturbance except when they spend Essence.

Ethereal spirits live in the Marches, and most rarely leave their dream-strongholds. The lesser spirits serve the greater, and while some of the greater pay lip service to Beleth, few would fight for her. Only rarely does a spirit serve an angel or demon, though less formal alliances are possible.

Celestial spirits are proto-angels and proto-demons. Most have no corporeal vessels, though they can appear on Earth in celestial form. The exception is a Familiar, which can do the same but typically wears an animal vessel. Celestial spirits are only sent to Earth for a specific purpose - to help an angel or demon, or to help or hinder one specific person, object or place. They need to be doing their duty to remain on Earth - if they're prevented from doing so, they are pulled back to the celestial realm. They can't go back on their own by any other means. Spirits have 3 to 8 Forces and may learn any Songs their Superior approves. They can buy attunements, but may never earn distinctions. Spirits that persevere can become full angels or demons. A demon requires 7 Forces, while an angel needs 9. Their Choir or Band reflects either whatever attunements they bought or the manner in which they best did their duties.

A familiar is aspirit in a corporeal vessel, usually a small animal. They are always someone's Servant, and it is dissonant for them to disobey their master. If they die, they enter Limbo in Trauma, though their master can send them Essence to help them get out. A familiar can be used as a living Essence reservoir, and a demon can force their Discord onto a familiar briefly, once per day for one type of Discord only, for (Will-Discord level) hours. Demonic familiars tend to be spiteful as a result.

Gremlins are proto-demons sent to Earth to destroy the works of men. They love breaking or disfiguring things, and in celestial form, they appear as small, misshapen winged demons. They can learn the Songs of Entropy, Motion, Thunder or Numinous Corpus, and are capable of becoming Balseraphs, Calabim or Habbalah. Imps, meanwhile, make humans' lives miserable in petty ways - draining batteries, stealing car keys, knocking over glasses, poking holes in condoms. They appear as miniature humans with vestigial horns and tails, and they can leanr the Songs of Dreams, Form, Light, Motion or Possession. They can become Djinn, Shedim or Impudites.

Relievers, finally, are minor angelic spirits, who help humans in small ways. They leave food for the poor, find car keys and so on. They appear as tiny, hand-sized fairies, larger the more Forces they have. They may learn the Songs of Dreams, Harmony, Healing, Light or Motion. They can become any kind of angel.

Next time: Undead and sample NPCs

Jul 19, 2012

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

Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

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

There's a reason why Revised got rid of the reduced difficulty merits. Reducing the TN by 2 increased your chance of success by more than adding two dice.

ignoring 1s, since they muck up the math more than is strictly necessary(and, again, heavily favor decreasing TNs vs adding more dice, since more dice means more ones).

4 dice difficulty 8 has a 60% chance of success.
6 dice difficulty 8 has a 73% chance of success.
4 dice difficulty 6 has a 87% chance of success.
6 dice difficulty 6 has a 95% chance of success.

6 dice is about the bare minimum level of competency of "A thing I want my character to do often" so taking one of those merits would reduce your chance of failure to 1/20.

Jan 7, 2015

Night10194 posted:

See, this is why I like Percentile systems. Their application is often off (like designers deciding the base success rate should be 30 and then penalizing PCs from there) but I'm not a statistician and with them, I can at least see the exact odds of an action when I'm trying to design my adventures or modify the system.

True. Percentiles are neat in that regard, as are d20-based systems that are just percentile systems where everything has been divided by 5. I'd say that's even better since the math is easier and you just need one die. Though most d20 games heavily borrow from D&D, except for maybe Talislanta, which even includes varying degrees of success.

That being said, I've grown to like d6-based stuff.

On a WoD eelated note: Is it "safe" to pick up V20 as a total newb, or will I just be tempted to claw out my eyes, like every time I read Brucato meandering about chaos magick and his confusing understanding of trans people?

Doresh fucked around with this message at 18:19 on Jan 18, 2016

Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy

Doresh posted:

True. Percentiles are neat in that regard, as are d20-based systems that are just percentile systems where everything has been divided by 5. I'd say that's even better since the math is easier and you just need one die. Though most d20 games heavily borrow from D&D, except for maybe Talislanta, which even includes varying degrees of success.

One of the dice systems I thought was pretty neat was the one used in Twilight 2000, where it's d20-roll-under for skills with a 3d6 range, and then difficulties are "roll under half your skill", "roll under your skill" and "roll under twice your skill".

In contrast, while 3.5e uses d20 in the sense that +1 means a +5% chance of success, it's not really "100 / 5" in the sense that the DC could be just about anything.

For all the parallels people drew to RoleMaster, RM still in some respects has a better difficulty scaling system because it actually respects the 1 to 100 scale.

Nov 8, 2009

PantsOptional posted:

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

Isn't Kobal just the Joker?

Jan 10, 2013

The time for
has come!

Reading all this talk about dice probabilities made me think about all the different resolution systems floating around out there. Did anyone ever try an compile list of general dice resolution system?

Would be interesting to see, if one system prevails despite decades of baggage *cough DND cough*.

Jul 19, 2012

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

Mr.Misfit posted:

Reading all this talk about dice probabilities made me think about all the different resolution systems floating around out there. Did anyone ever try an compile list of general dice resolution system?

Would be interesting to see, if one system prevails despite decades of baggage *cough DND cough*.

I don't have a list of all of them, but I do have all the various formats that Orokos supports on their help page.


Dice Roller

XdY to roll X dice of Y sides. Prefix N# to roll the dice N separate times. Special dice for Fudge (Y is F) and Cthulhutech (Y is C).

Operators allowed are +, -, *, and / which follow order of operations. Division rounds down. Use parentheses if needed. Full format is any number of terms combined with the operators, where term is a literal number or a roll. N can be a term itself.

Combinatorics are possible as well. N-choose-K results can be of the form NcK, the value will be the number of combinations to choose K items from a set of N items, and return a random one of these sets in the details. (i.e. 4c2 might result in 6 [4c2=1,3]) Permutations are possible in the form NpK. These terms are useful for generating sequences.

Append the following modifiers as desired, if using multiple then they must be added in the order below. Some combinations may be invalid.

rZ - reroll die if result is Z or lower (Brutal property in D&D, etc.)
roZ - reroll die only once if result is Z or lower
mZ - count result as Z if roll is lower than Z
eZ or oZ - extra / open roll when the die is Z or higher, extra grants one bonus roll only
kZ or lZ - keep the highest / lowest Z rolls, drop others
tZ - target number Z, count rolls that meet or exceed Z as successes (if Z > Y, implicit oY)
hZ - hits Z, count rolls that meet or exceed Z as successes, max roll grants bonus roll (implicit oY) (WoD)
xZ - hits Z, count rolls that meet or exceed Z as successes, max roll grants bonus success (Exalted)
uZ - under Z, count rolls that are equal to or under Z as successes
! - when at the end of any roll, turns on verbose mode (shows all dice rerolled and modified)
Other Dice

Edge of the Empire dice are available as XeY, where Y is the first letter of the die type: Ability, Boost, Challenge, Difficulty, Force, Proficiency, or Setback.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3e are available as XwY, where Y is the color of the die: Characteristic (Blue), Expertise (Yellow), Challenge (Purple), Reckless (Red), Conservative (Green), Fortune (White), or Misfortune (blacK).

Other symbol dice are available as XxY, where Y is one of:

K - King of Tokyo die (d6: 1, 2, 3, Heart, Energy, Attack)
M - Mage Knight mana die (d6: Black, White, Red, Green, Blue, Gold)
R - Fate of the Norns runes (draw from 24 runes)

Double Cross dice are available as XxxY to roll X dice (d10s) with a crit threshold of Y. Takes the highest single result, unless one or more dice are Y or higher. The result is increased by 10 and the dice Y or higher are rerolled and the process repeated.

Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Cythereal posted:

Isn't Kobal just the Joker?

Kind of. I'd say he's basically what happens when you combine the Joker and Loki in a blender and stamp on "OC DO NOT STEAL." They tried to build him up more in later supplements as being more than just that, but given how much focus he'd already received from the campaign it felt like overload.

Jan 7, 2015

Kurieg posted:

I don't have a list of all of them, but I do have all the various formats that Orokos supports on their help page.

Neato. I'm inclined to make a d6-version of the DX dice mechanic, with a +5 per dice explosion so you could actually end up with a score that's a multiple of 6. Then again that reminds me a bit of the Prime Directive mechanic of "exploding dice are worth their value -1"...

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Cythereal posted:

Isn't Kobal just the Joker?

From it all, looks like he falls into the same trap many writers do when depicting Joker, depicting him as a monstrous badass mastermind who just happen to like jokes, instead of a Comedian/Pranksters who just happens to be completely deadly to everyone around them.

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?

Doresh posted:

On a WoD eelated note: Is it "safe" to pick up V20 as a total newb, or will I just be tempted to claw out my eyes, like every time I read Brucato meandering about chaos magick and his confusing understanding of trans people?

If you want a good game to play, I'd probably go for the second edition of Vampire: The Requiem over V20. It just has too much weird oWoD mechanics to recommend to anyone who doesn't know those mechanics already. But if you want to read a distillation of what people liked about Masquerade, go for it. Werewolf and Mage only got anniversary editions because of how good V20 ended up being.

Apr 22, 2014


gradenko_2000 posted:

Spheres of Power

Glad to see you've picked this back up!

Fate is a bit odd, and I agree that it reads more as a 'Generic-Cleric Power' sphere (With Open/Close tacked onto it for some reason?) rather than affecting probability/fate. "Tug Fate' is the only effect that seems in that theme, and it's bad, so.

The Consecration effects are the most interesting, to my mind, one, because it lets you be a Magebard that provides an aura of buffs, and two, because Judgement is hilarious.
It basically encourages you to capriciously enforce unfair rulings that benefit your party on the battlefield. You'd be a Judge from Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced.

"No attacking with natural weapons." "Only Spells are allowed this battle." "All attacks must be done with Clubs." "Everyone must only attack targets larger than them."

Oct 10, 2005


LatwPIAT posted:

Degrees of Success
  • 1 Marginal (finding a useful TV Tropes entry)
  • 2 Moderate (getting someone's cell-phone number)
  • 3 Complete (delighting your new playmate with a fresh-cooked breakfast)
  • 4 Exceptional (selling five books to someone who'd come looking for one)
  • 5 Phenomenal (writing the 500,000-word anniversary edition of a series you helped create 20 years ago) :jerkbag:
I can't get over how terrible this list is. :psyduck: "Finding a useful :tvtropes: entry" even being on there is as shameful as the "Writing a revolutionary new RPG :smuggo:" entries in games that came out thirty years ago and were groan-worthy then, and it's not even a good example because it should either be "don't bother rolling, you're just using Google for gently caress's sake" or require more than one success because of their cutesy names for everything that require you to speak some dumbass :tvtropes: cant.

Then #2 and #3 together just comes across as Brucato trying for a creepy as hell humble-brag. "Finding a new winsome lass to share my bed? Why, that's easier than making scrambled eggs (which you'll note I already said was Difficulty 4*)."

And the examples for #5...uggghhhh. gently caress you, Brucato, that poo poo was tired in the 80s. You didn't even do it right, that's supposed to be the example for "Nearly Impossible" and it'd go under "Difficulty 10", or require 10 successes or something. You didn't even add in a note about the quality of your writing in between sessions of jerking yourself off, so I can't make a joke about how you clearly didn't get enough successes to do a good job. :argh:

*Way to double-up on examples and still manage to gently caress up the rules, jackass. Is making breakfast "Easy" (Diff 4, one success) or "Complete" (diff ??, 3 successes)?

Cthulhu Dreams posted:

Why do people have these pointlessly complex dice pool mechanics when most people (including myself) cannot accurately tell you how much harder it is to get two successes with 7 dice against TN 6 vs TN 7. If the GM can't work that out then he doesn't know what he is doing when he sets the difficulty.
It's worth pointing out that some of the staff at WW had realized it was smarter to just standardize the TNs and make "number of successes" the important bit all the way back in 1997, with Ĉon/Trinity. Naturally, it didn't really catch on with the rest of the staff until the early 2000s.

Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"

AmiYumi posted:

*Way to double-up on examples and still manage to gently caress up the rules, jackass. Is making breakfast "Easy" (Diff 4, one success) or "Complete" (diff ??, 3 successes)?

No no, making breakfast is a roll where each die showing 4+ counts as a success, and you need at least three successes to impress your anonymous fling, where one success would constitute successfully reheating soup and waffles and two would mean not burning the toast and eggs, presumably. It's not wrong, but it's still terrible because fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuck four-variable dice rolls.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

In Nomine: Don't worry, ma'am, I'm FROM THE INTERNET

Undead are typically former Soldiers of Hell, seeking immortality. They are quite potent, gaining the power to learn and use Celestial Songs, and demons are all too happy to do it for them. There's a catch, you see. The methods remain crude, even after thousands of years. The souls of the undead are held together only by their flesh. Undead do not need to eat, drink or sleep, though they can. They do not age. But if their body is destroyed, their soul is gone. They must be warned of this, but they seldom listen or care. Angels despise the undead, as they do not cause Disturbance.

The most successful rituals produce mummies. They gain a Force drawn from the realm of Saminga, which can be of any type. They also get 10 CP worth of any abilities available to demons of Saminga and/or the Prince they serve. Typically, they'll get a Numinous Corpus at level 3-4 and a few other Songs, but they can get attunements, too, and can take Discord to get more points. Mummies regenerate 1 Essence at sundown, and some of them have even developed Rites. With GM permission, a mummy can take one Rite, which will give them 1 Essence, for 3 CP.

Around 50% of the time, however, something goes wrong and the demonic Force will not attach properly. That's a problem, since more energy is needed to keep the Forces of the new undead from utterly unraveling. This is managed by using Discord on the soul, creating a vampire. Vampires are identical to mummies, save that they have only 5 Forces, not 6. They get the 10 CP of demonic powers, but also get a level 3 Vulnerability Discord to Sunlight and at least 3 levels of Need, usually for blood. If a vampire can meet their Need each day before sunset, they regenerate 1 Essence at sunset.

Sometimes, things go incredibly wrong, stripping the undead soul down to 4 or even 3 Forces. These are zombis. Zombis have no Celestial Forces and rarely have many Ethereal Forces. They do retain all Corporeal Forces, however. Zombis also cannot harm their master or the allies of their master. Lacking Will, they obey orders unquestioningly, so they never need to be more than a level 1 Servant. Zombis begin play with 3 levels of a Need, often blood or brains, and 1 Numinous Corpus song equal to their Corporeal Forces in level. They can use any skill they had in life and can even use Corporeal Songs. Some zombis are not failed mummies, but creations from corpses by the demons of Saminga. Corpse-made zombis have no soul, but do retain their memories from life. Zombis rarely last long. Every dawn, if they have not satisfied their Need, they take 1 damage. Zombis do not heal naturally, either, and demons rarely feel the need waste Essence on the Song of Healing for them.

Now, some sample NPCs! All the characters from the opening fiction are here, but they suck and are boring. Ishmael, Elohite of Dreams, is slightly more interesting. He's a newly favored angel of Blandine with a human and a canine vessel, though he prefers the human one - a tall, serious man in rumpled clothes from the 1920s. He usually seems sleepy but with a twinkle in his eyes. His job is guarding the dreams of children, and he's been doing fairly well for the year he's been at it - he's never met a full demon. Spirits, sure, but not demons. He's been tracking one for a while, though, and he's closing in. Still, the closer he gets, the more he thinks he's in over his head. He's about equivalent to a starting PC.

Orc, Angel of Networks and Kyriotate Master of the Machine under Jean, is not. Orc is of moderate but growing power, thanks to his help developing computer networking among humans. He's been given a Word for his work. He works out of Finland, at the cutting edge of web development, but can appear almost anywhere that's networked. He has found a small group of students who don't mind being possessed for days, and with 16 Forces, he can handle three at once to multitask. When he has time, he does homework for them. All they remember is sitting down at the computer and waking up days later with their work done, which they blame on too much coffee. Like any Kyriotate of Lightning, he can possess computers, and his Word grants him two other powers. He can teleport instantly from that computer to any computer it can connect with, anywhere in the world, for 3 Essence. While in a computer, he can also access any data it has, bypassing passwords, though he needs a Computer Operation check to read it if it's encrypted. Orc is friendly, if poorly socialized, but can be reached by email easily. He also has a pair of personal Rites: sleep in a well-connected computer room or connect a web site to the Internet.

Lynoure, Djinn Baroness of Nightmares and Demon of Shadow Shapes under Beleth, is the demon that Ishmael has been tracking. She appears as a beautiful redhead, and her Wordl ets her enthrall those to whom she is attuned via a Will roll. This freezes them in place from up to 3 blocks away, resisted by Will. Once they are pinned, Lynouire can manifest in the room as shadows cast by an outside window or open closet door. She can't manifest in any room with opaque windows and closed closet doors. If undisturbed for a full hour, Lynoure robs her victims of any Essence they have, leaving them awake all night in fair and dealing 2 soul damage. If they had no Essence, she gets 1 anyway, as this is also her Rite. Lynoure loves to menace kids, and that's how she got Ishmael's attention. She's been leading him closer and closer, leaving messages with each child for him to find. If he confronts her alone, she will almost certainly kill him...if she doesn't become fascinated, obsessed or in love with him, first, as the book implies she might. She's quite potent, by the way.

Moving on, we get discussion of campaign types. The game suggests that there are four basic types of play for In Nomine: Realistic, Dark, Humorous and Mythic. Most games mix elements of several styles, balancing the four. Realistic campaigns focus on day-to-day interactions among humans and small victories and defeats. It's often more roleplaying than dice-rolling, and tends to be smaller in scale most of the time. Dark campaigns play up the horror of the setting - human complicity in Lucifer's plans, for example. Angels have a tougher time and demons have it easier. Angels focus on questioning their nature and the helplessness of the Host to save the world. Demons, on the other hand, might focus more on Pyrrhic victories, winning the War at the cst of damnation even for them. Humorous campaigns are more social satire, focusing on the irony of current events through the lens of celestial eyes. Mythic games are about the grand play of an ancient story, focusing on wide conflicts between Heaven and Hell, with philosophically oriented adventures as often as real, blood-and-sweat ones.

For advancement, the game suggests 1-2 CP per session if the mission went well, plus 1-2 for good roleplaying. Superiors will give rewards or punishments at the end of an adventure depending on how the job was done, generally a few extra CP if things wen twell, or perhaps a Rite, Song or removal of dissonance or Discord. Doing really well might get a free attunement, Force or distinction. - or even a Word, if you do really, really, really well. Failure, however, will get no CP unless you were supposed to fail or failed in a way that helps the greater good. Instead, you might get saddled with Discord, stripped of a distinction or artifact, or even made to fight to prove your worthiness. Stats, by the way, can be improved with CP: 3 CP per level, and if you add 4 levels to a realm, you automatically gain the appropriate Force. You can also buy Forces directly for 10 CP per level - 2 points cheaper, and you get those 4 stat levels free.

We now get a list of sources that might privde inspiration. Each has an explanation for why, too. Books: Angels and Visitations by Neil Gaiman, Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins, The Boomer Bible by R. F. Laird, A Dictionary of Angels by Gustav Davidson, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Letters From The Earth by Mark Twain, Paradise Lost by John Milton, The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, Season of the Mists by Neil Gaiman, This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, and A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle. Big on Gaiman, thse guys. Movies and TV: Angel Heart, The City of Lost Children, Desperado, Hellraiser, The Prophecy, Twin Peaks and Wings of Desire. Music: Black Flag, Henry Rollins, David Bowie, The Breeders, Counting Crows, Danzig, Dukes of the Stratosphere, Lords of Acid, Liz Phair, Stan Rideway, Smashing Pumpkins, T Rex, Tom Waits, Ween and Soul Coughing.

I think this might be the only probably-meant-to-be-black guy in the book.

The End!

So, looking at possible avenues next...we've got the GM's Guide, the player's guide series, the Libri (expansions on stuff like Songs, Tethers, etc.), the Superiors series (which covers the Superiors in more depth), the Revelations Cycle (a five-adventure metaplot campaign) and a handful of standalone adventures. I'll save those for later, so...what do you want to see next: GM'S guide, Player's Guides, Libri, Superios or Revelations?

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Superiors is probably the place to start.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

As an interesting side note, Steve Jackson Games used to ban adaptations of its games - GURPS being the main topic of note - from being run on online RP chat codebases like MUSHes or MUCKs. They claimed that doing so was making a "video game" based on their works and was thusly a violation of copyright. In Nomine is the sole exception, no doubt trying to follow in the success White Wolf games had online on those venues, and Steve Jackson Games thusly created a license that some people could sign up to apply for permission to make such games. It's still on their site if anybody would ever want to apply these days. It had a few takers, but all those games died out (which, not be be unfair, is a typical fate of such games after several months or years in general).

And no, they still don't want you making a MUX based based off of GURPS, and still make the same claim. :rolleyes:

Nov 8, 2009

Superiors sounds good to me.

I like the idea of In Nomine, and am filing it away as an idea to give a shot in the future if I can get a hold of the book(s). Updating the setting a little might be a good start: I love the idea of the angel of the Network, and in 2016 he'd likely be an Archangel or close to it while Nybbas' power might be starting to wane.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Keep in mind, Nybbas is The Media. All of it. Nybbas groks internet.

Nov 8, 2009

Mors Rattus posted:

Keep in mind, Nybbas is The Media. All of it. Nybbas groks internet.

The impression I got is that he's non-internet media. I think that's how I'd play him, at any rate: he's newspaper and television and radio, but he's been slow to catch up with the times and Orc has taken the internet.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

They talk about how Nybbas gives out Essence for making web pages, but this was all written in the 90s when the Internet was not big at all. Nybbas' big deal is that he's very, very fast to adapt to changes, as the youngest and most modern major Prince.

Nov 8, 2009

Mors Rattus posted:

They talk about how Nybbas gives out Essence for making web pages, but this was all written in the 90s when the Internet was not big at all. Nybbas' big deal is that he's very, very fast to adapt to changes, as the youngest and most modern major Prince.

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about when I said I think I'd update the setting a bit by making Orc the newest Superior on the scene as the embodiment of the Network, and making Nybbas a bit older - he was hot poo poo in the 90s, and still very powerful and flexible compared to most of Hell, but the sudden explosion of the internet tripped him up and he's frantically trying to stay relevant just like television et al are versus the internet today.

Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Nybbas' struggle with the rise of the Internet actually becomes a plot point touched on in two later supplements. The long and short of it is that he's having a hard time adapting the up-and-coming Internet into a weapon to be used in the War. He can push out subliminal messages (and Songs) and control the narrative in traditional corporate media, but he's stymied by user-generated content since there are fewer ways to effectively seed his agents.

At a guess, I'd say he's still absurdly relevant and fairly powerful but he's probably scrambling to get as much corporate control of the Internet as possible.

Dec 24, 2007

Cythereal posted:

I like the idea of In Nomine, and am filing it away as an idea to give a shot in the future if I can get a hold of the book(s).

They're all available digitally if it works for you:✓&keywords=In+Nomine+&x=0&y=0

Aug 17, 2011

It was a couple of pages ago, but re:mage faction worldview, who has it right, etc., I've always had a soft spot for nMage's Silver Ladder:


Feb 13, 2012

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


It was a couple of pages ago, but re:mage faction worldview, who has it right, etc., I've always had a soft spot for nMage's Silver Ladder:

Well, that's a sentiment that never ended in misery and/or fire before, no sir.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 1: War and Honor

Superiors is a series for looking closer at various Archangels and Demon Princes, giving them more options and a closer examination of philosophy. The first book only has Archangels in it - David, Dominic, Laurence and Michael. They are the Archangels most active in fighting the War directly, forming the front lines and primary militant faction in Heaven.

David helped build the world, before he was a Malakite. He and his angels made the first shelters, taught the arts of potter and metalworking. After the Fall, however, David became a Malakite and focused on helping people find new and better ways to commit violence. David feels responsible for humanity, strengthening them by terrible labor. His angels encourage humans to band together for strength and protection, even to the point of gangs and militias, often groups that involve the angels directly in their network of loyalties. Some angels see the angels of Stone as brutal and cruel, but they worry about being brutal enough - they might allow weakness to endure, after all. Stone angels never question David and are legendary in their loyalty. In a human vessel, David is always commanding and has gray eyes. His appearance never really changes, though minor details like race or size can vary. He's usually naked. He also sometimes manifests as rock. His angels try to embody strength, courage, loyalty and patience. They specialize in reactive strength, allowing enemies to take the offensive before crushing them utterly. They are forceful and vicious, but also honorable and faithful.

Bright Lilim of Stone, if they exist and David cares enough to give them their own attunement, always know the best way to shape stone and minerals, particularly gems, to a given purpose. They also penalize their victims' Will rolls by (Corporeal Forces) when geasing someone to an act of loyalty.
Armor is a new Servitor attunement allowing to spend Essence to create a layer of mineral armor. Each point of Essence gives +1 Protection, to a max of +6. ! Essence is clay, 2 is copper, 3 is crystal, 4 is granite, 5 is iron and 6 is gemstone. The armor forms over your clothes and carried possessions, and while wearing it, you can move and fight but not speak. It lasts (Corporeal Forces) minutes. Kyriotates can use it while in stone vessels, and the higher levels actually transform the vessel as well. Protection from different sources, as a note, is cumulative.
Brotherhood is a new Servitor attunement allowing angels with it to pool their HP. All damage done on servitors using this power count against the total HP of the group, and as long as any of them have HP left, they all stay conscious. All participants must have the attunement and must touch each other while invoking it, spending 1 Essence each. This lasts (total combined Corporeal Forces) minutes, and none of the angels using it can die unless all of them are killed. Otherwise, when it wears off, damage is divided as evenly as possible between them, leaving each at least 1 HP.
Geomancy is a new Servitor attunement giving the power to perceive enerfy patterns, or ley lines, generated by rock formations. With a Perception roll made within an hour of dawn, you can tell the best place to stand at dawn, regenerating 2 Essence instead of 1. If the Perception roll is CD 6 unmodified, you get 3 Essence. You need to make a new roll each time you invoke this, due to solar flares and shifts in the planet's magnetic field.
Inevitability is a new Servitor attunement that you can invoke for 5 Essence when pursuing a foe. Until you stop chasing, deliberately slow to a brisk walk or catch your foe, the foe can move only at half speed, in or out of a vehicle, and halves the CD of any Running, Driving, Swimming or similar roll. Cars fail to perform, they trip, whatever.
Rock Hard is a new Servitor Attunement allowing you to spend 2 or more Essence to harden a limb, multiplying the CD of any unarmed attack with that limb by the Essence spent. Multiple expenditures can harden multiple limbs, and it lasts for (Corporeal Forces) rounds.
Master of X is a new Distinction. David offers a variety of Master distinctions, each giving a variant of one of David's attunements. A Master of Earthly Armor, for example, can invoke Armor at will for no Essence as if they'd spent (Corporeal Forces) Essence. Masters of Geomacny who use Geomancy get (Corporeal Forces) Essence back that morning. An angel can have many Master distinctions, and the rarest are David's internal police, the Masters of Celestial Integrity, who can make a Perception roll to detect dissonance in Malakim. All of these Masters are Malakim, and David has never given out the Attunement version of the title since before the Grigori were Outcast.
Silent Angel is a distinction given to those who take an oath of silence after discovering one of Heaven's ancient secrets. They add (Celestial Forces) to all rolls to resist powers that would reveal the secret, and other rolls to protect the oath at the GM's whim. This can even black celestial resonance, though it tells the person resonating that David shielded the information personally. It is used not tactically but to guard the mysteries of Stone, and confers no special rank, just respect.
David can also teach the secret Songs of Battle, Stone and Numinous Corpus: Rock, all in the Liber Canticorum.

David offers the following Rites to servitors that he wants to encourage towards certain behaviors:
1. Bring more than 20 humans together for the first time in a good cause.
2. Inspire an enemy's self-destruction of redemption.
3. Restore a traumatized child's self-respect and inner strength.
4. Break a demon's hold on a community.
5. For 3 Essence, kill a demon of Malphas in vessel or soul.
6. For 4 Essence, substantially improve local construction practices.
7. Inspire the construction of a large stone or brick monument to those who died struggling for a worthy cause. You get 1 Essence for each day the construction goes on and you actively help, too.
8. For 4 Essence, build, by hand, a one-room stone house large enough to fit two people comfortably. 6 Essence if you consecrate it as a place of worship.
9. For 6 Essence, encourage a human to endure terrible labor and see them succeed without celestial interference. It must be a labor the human didn't believe themselves capable of, and must be in the goal of broadening their horizons and boosting their self-esteem.

Common Oaths for Malakim of Stone include:
1. Encourage the oppressed to resist oppression.
2. Scourge the weaknnes from my soul by punishing my lapses from virtue.
3. Permit no slight upon the name of David or the Word of Stone.
4. Build a community from the angels I work with and limit the acrimony within it.
5. Struggle weekly, and daily if possible, to make whole communities which might otherwise die.
6. Hunt the demons of Malphas and roust them from their lairs.
7. Guard my comrades' lives and souls before my own.
8. Teach humans to loathe those who reject God.
9. Bear material loss without flinching and never become attached to possessions or status.
10. Use no weapons.

David has many names that he uses on Earth, generally ones that relate to his celestial name or his Word, but not all. In the West, he goes by Carrick, Daniel, David, Mason and Peter. In India, he is Akshay and Bhudev. In the past of America, he was Lonato. In Africa, his names include Foluke, Manu, Yorkoo and Zuberi. In Japan, he is Ishi. As far as anyone knows, he only has one human shape that he uses in vessels. It is said that Eli made a vessel for him near the beginning of time, and David loved it so that he swore to use it until it failed him. It never has. This implies that even his 'human' vessel is actually made of stone, just so perfectly shaped as to appear human in all ways. He adapts his appearance to location if he bothers to look human, though. If he doesn't adapt, his features are African in appearance and coloration. He speaks with a low, rumbling voice, and not very fast. He also moves slowly, with a hint of suppressed violence. He is patient with his angels, but once he makes a decision, he tolerates no debate. His Word is nearly omnipresent on Earth, and his power can reach almost anywher.e When he visits a place or person, he tends to just...arrive, approaching from nowhere in particular.

David governs the mineral substance of Earth - ore, gems, simple alloys, dirt, sand, clay and stone. He controls the Earth's crust and mantle, as well, and is responsible for the uses humans and angels find for the hidden treasures of the planet. Angels of Stone hunt the demons and monsters that lair in caves or fissures, they fight Vapula's work on earthquake machines or to tap into the energy of continental drift, and they help Heaven find mineral wealth as needed. Stone also metaphorically represents strength and fortitude, usually a passive and reactive strength, but also the destructive power of avalanches, earthquakes and volcanoes. In the beginning of time, God tasked David to cool the Earth and test its strength, shaping the molten product of his comrades' labor into a world. Later, he taught humans to build, and he still considers himself the Archangel overseeing construction. Craftsmen and architects glory his name, and he practices the art of mountain design, improving the aesthetics of Earth's peaks. He claims the concept of community, as well, the social equivalent of buildings. Their structure gives them strength that the components do not have. David watches over cultures, subcultures, governments, secret societies, criminal enterprises, religious herarchies, clubs, gangs and treaties. He shares authority with specific types of organization with other Archangels, of course. David tests, shapes and creates all kinds of communities. He once shared many of these areas with the Grigori, but now there are no Grigori in Heaven to contest his claim.

In the beginning, the basic substance of Earth was made by Lucifer, Michael, Baal, Uriel and Gabriel. David, then a Cherub, finished the job, shaping Earth's crust and mantle. (David considers Eli's work on life and surface topography an entirely new project.) DAvid's angels remain very proud of this. At first, David built alone. Once he made the basic structure, however, he created angels to assit him. When the world was ready, he withdrew for a very, very long time to meditate and watch geology. After humans arrived, God set David to teach them to use stone. David helped them make tools, cave shelters and buildings. He taught them to make weapons and to use sin'an, the first martial art. With the help of Novalis, David taught them agriculture, as his strict mission overrode the general prohibition on interfering with humanity.

The Fall was a shock for David. It roused him to anger for the very first time, and the fire of war changed him, alloying him from iron into a steel-hard Malakite. DAvid's enemies in the Host say that, in his anger, he slew even those angels that stood on the sidelines, doing nothing. After the battle, David cast six of his angels from Heaven forever for failing to fight against the enemies of God. Then, fearing his own anger, David swore he would never strike the first blow - that only those actively fighting God or His agents would die by his hand. After the Fall, David became sterner with mankind, realizing that if he had to hurt humans to teach them strength, he would. He did not abandon compassion, but started challenging humanity with ordeals, as well. If a weak human failed and died, the whole grew stronger. If they succeed, they grew stronger.

The demons came, and God made the Grigori. David loved the Grigori, and he was stricken when they went astray. Because of his love and sorrow, he took the responsiubility of hunting them and their children down. Afterward, his angels took over much of the work the Grigori had done. Time passed, and Uriel began his crusade against the creatures of legend. This gave David a problem - he wanted humans to take responsibility for their own dreams, but he agreed that ethereals did not belong on Earth, and Uriel was his blood brother. Eventually, David grudgingly supported the Archangel of Purity. When God called Uriel in to the Higher Heavens to end the Crusade, it surprised David. Uriel was one of his earliest comrades and had been the first of the Malakim. He was a key part of David's world, and David grrew even more troubled when God named Laurence commander of the armies of Heaven. From David's view, Laurence was barely finished, much less experienced, and surely David, the eldest remaining Malakite, should have command. Still, David did not question God. Presumably God had good reason, and he resolved to simply weather the naivete of the new commander.

As Lucifer's minions became better at corrupting human rulers, David turned his attention to the common people. He directed his angels to encourage humans to band together to fight for their rights and a better world. David has had a hard time adapting to the rapid transformations of human society these past few centuries. He longs for the days of hard muscle and stone walls being what measured strength, rather than industrial output and currency reserves. Rich nations have become soft and decadent, and while their works grow greater, part of David looks forward to the coming of chaos to hammer it into shape.

David's angels tell many strange stories of their Archangel. Some they consider holy, and others just mythical. In most cases, while David could verify or deny the stories, he does not. His angels do not want that, as shared secrets and legends help solidarity. It is said that David, the fourth name given to an angel by Yves, was also the thirty-eighth name ever. Only 37 concepts, they say, predate David. Thus, the number 38 is a sacred and powerful symbol for them. Some believe they need only sing the celestial name of a stone 38 times to bind it into service...though that requires becoming a Vassal of War, to be able to to speak angelic in the human world, which isn't exactly easy for them.

Some apocryphal tales of David: It is said that when DAvid found the first Stone angel to experience Discord, he disapproved greatly and took two knives, one of flint and one of coral. He used them to painfully strip away the madness and deformity of his angel, and the shreds fell to earth, where wild dogs devoured them. It is thus wise to sew flint and coral into a dog's collar, to protect it from inherited madness or disease.

It is said that during the hunt for the Grigori and the Nephallim, David found a group of Nephallim revelers. At the center of their festivities was a cannibal feast of roasted children. David turned the Nephallim into stone as they danced, forming one of the world's many stone circles.

Some true stories of David: David shaped the tectonic plates using his hammer, Antaeos. He set it down in the Jabal Akhdar mountains of Libya when he was done, and in the millenia since, it became a mountain itself. Angels of Stone sometimes make pilgrimages to Antaeos, and several Cherubim keep watch on it to prevent any Prince from trying to steal the hammer that shaped the world.

In the early days of hte universe, before humans were made, some of David's angels joined him in meditation. Most, however, lacked his infinite patience, asking for new duties within a century. A few of those who managed the first million years forgot how to think and act, becoming celestial statues. David did not wake them, for they had chosen their lot and he had no need for them. Hundreds of these statues lie now in the Catacombs.

During David's war against the Grigori, several ancient cultures assumed that he must be a Nephallim himself, for he was so potent. They named him Gog, the giant with power over stone. David kept tis name for some time, as homage to the Outcast Grigori. One of his Kyriotates, impressed by the story, took the name Magog. Magog was soon his most potent servant, earning the Word of Fortitude. As time went on. David delegated much of the job of testing and strengthening humanity to Magog. Magog served zealously, and for a long time he felt deep compassion for humans. After that, he felt a distant love. Then, he felt mere dedication to duty. At last, Magog felt only contempt and joy in his work. Instead of helping humans defend themselves, he pushed them to strike fist, to crush potential foes. David allowed this for a time in the hope that Magog would come to his senses. But in the ninth century BC, Magog incited the Assyrian king Ashur-Nars-Pal II into great acts of cruelty - mass executions, deportations, scourging and more. So terrible and so unprecedented were these acts at the time that Shur's name became a word of Hell's language and the Assyrian gods turned away from their people. At last, David confronted Magog, but the Angel of Fortitude did not repent, instead ranting a long prophecy or perhaps mere mad boast that David would join him in darkness at the end of days, once more wearing the name Gog, and they would scourge God's followers from the Earth. Immediately after this, Magog Fell. Lucifer named him Prince of Cruelty, but David made his reign short. With the aid of Khalid, Angel of Faith, and a band of Stone's greatest warriors, David tracked Magog to his fortress under the Sahara, fighting him there and sealing him and all of his demons in a tomb of impenetrable stone, covered by the sands. Magog was lost to all, and Lucifer, unable or unwilling to find the prison, left Magog to languish.

David took many steps to be sure that even after the Purity Crusade, humans would have reason to become strong and independent in the Marches. He disassembled several great terrors that walked the world, recording their structure in written form an trapping their essence in the ley lines. This would allow him to, one day, remake them. Few of David's angels know this story, and all that do are Silent Angels about it, reflecting on it only in each others' company.

Next time: Innagada Davida

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Oh hello there, bastard child of Bruce Li and Bruce Campbell, Bruce Bruce Li-Campbell.

Sep 12, 2007

He push a man


It was a couple of pages ago, but re:mage faction worldview, who has it right, etc., I've always had a soft spot for nMage's Silver Ladder:


This sentiment, slightly translated, is what I tell players whenever their oh-so 'clever' use of magic applies only according to the mechanical rules of the game rather than as a handwave solution to any problem.

Aug 21, 2007

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

LatwPIAT posted:

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

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

You're probably right. I can sort it out enough to tell ones will be a large factor, I just can't eyeball how big. Probabilities with two options (success failure) are pretty easy, but adding a third (ones) exponentially increases the number of combinations to consider.

Also I made a small miscalculation, if ones didn't remove successes TN7 would be 84%, not 88.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011


If Hunter reads like a Supernatural RPG for the first few seasons, In Nomine is what you use to run the Castiel/Crowley seasons (though they're just Azriphlie and Crowley from Good Omens).

Review whichever supplement has the most Bowie inspiration - I'm guessing they just ripped off Neil Gaiman and based Lucifer on him.

Dec 22, 2003

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

I don't think 1s take away successes in the 20th edition rolling system. I do forget if it's "more 1s than successes" or "no successes, and any 1s" - not sure how those would break down mathwise.

Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

System Mastery 61 - Ralph Bakshi's Wizards RPG

At least we don't have to cover any more Ralph Bakshi games. We may be threatened with his other garbage films in the future, but I don't think there's a Coonskin or Cool World RPG.

Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.


It was a couple of pages ago, but re:mage faction worldview, who has it right, etc., I've always had a soft spot for nMage's Silver Ladder:


This is how I feel the Traditions in M:tAs would have phrased their worldview if written properly. The Technocracy's point was "we took the credit for invented indoor plumbing and vaccines, what have YOU done for humanity?", the Traditions' response should have been "we're trying to bring back the world where no one gets sick* ever again."

*or poops

Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Nessus posted:

I don't think 1s take away successes in the 20th edition rolling system. I do forget if it's "more 1s than successes" or "no successes, and any 1s" - not sure how those would break down mathwise.

Oh, 1's subtract successes in M20. And it's no successes and any 1's that causes Botches, which can be result in some pretty weird Botch distributions at high difficulties.

Dec 22, 2003

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

Simian_Prime posted:

This is how I feel the Traditions in M:tAs would have phrased their worldview if written properly. The Technocracy's point was "we took the credit for invented indoor plumbing and vaccines, what have YOU done for humanity?", the Traditions' response should have been "we're trying to bring back the world where no one gets sick* ever again."

*or poops
A key tract in the war for the consensus:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 1: Stoned as Hell

David's symbol.

David is one of the original Malakim, and he has no patience for exceptions or violations of honor. To him, integrity is vital to the Symphony, and the demands of his code are as the voice of God. He never breaks the spirit of his given word or goes back on a bargain, and he retains the dogged persistance of the Cherubim and the patience of stone. He kept much of a Cherub's protectiveness, but he gives his loyalty now to things larger than individuals. He guards humanity, Earth's purity, Heaven's sanctity and the very concepts of family and society. If a few humans have to die to keep all that safe, so be it. If a legion of angels must die to keep that safe, so be it. He refuses to hide this from others, as well, and expects the rest of Heaven to be as calm and cooperative. David's confidence and convictions are more than absolute - no human could ever possess his unconditional, unwavering loyalty to his beliefs. Aware of God's ineffability and the limits on even Archangelic knowledge, David does realize that on any given issue, he could be wrong, but when he makes a final decision, every angel in Heaven could not change his mind. It wouldn't matter if his oldest friends told him he'd gone wrong - he'd defy them to serve God as he saw fit. Only his faith and his honor limit the cold rage that burns in him, and only his loyalty to God exceeds his devotion to his friends.

David does not make snap judgments, and can spend days or even weeks making up his mind, which can be a problem in a crisis. Especially when dealing with Technology's demons, which often pose philosophical as well as military problems, Stone can go into holding patterns for days. DAvid considers himself partly responsible for the rise of Nybbas, having hesitated to stop the existence of TV, and by the time he arranged for community pressure against it, it was far too late. He keeps trying, though. David is the the representative of the slowest elemental force, and nothing will change David from the ways he's had for millions of years. He is not passionate, and he shows emotion only rarely. It is hard to impress him, positively or negatively, because he's seen it all. David is calm, and his calm can make him seem cruel. When his angels blunder, he might withhold aid, to let them succeed or fail on their own. If they die...well, he'll avoid making an angel like that again. If they survive, they grow stronger. David loves his angels, and to him, that's why he has to be this way.

David's angels must be largely self-directed. They often go to great and terrible extremes to win his respect. He accepts that the world works in a sort of two-steps-forward, one-step-back way, and he's seen his greatest works crumble to dust. As long as something can be salvaged, it's still worthwhile. Empires rise and fall, but each learns a little from the one before. DAvid doesn't claim history or historians as his purview, but he does offer them patronage. Even compared to other Archangels, he is unnaturally patient. He moves without hurry, nearly invisibly, but with a deep inevitability. If Janus desired to cleanse Baltimore of demons, he'd strike with terror and speed. Stone would not - they have killed only a few more demons in Baltimore than Hell can afford to replace, and they've done so every few decades for the past 150 years. David's power and knowledge are both limited, so he sometimes fails, but he never gives up. It may take millions of years, but he will bring Gabriel and Eli back into Heaven, he will revenge himself upon Lucifer, he will cut Marc down to size and he will destroy Malphas. Compared to Michael, David is inert, reactive. Compred to Jean, he is slow. But this is not lost potential. David is calm and deliberative by choice. He defends one of the oldest Words against attacks across the entire world. He dedicates great time and effort to killing demons. He's accomplished a very great deal. H is endless, continuous service escapes notice only because it is slow and steady.

David has sworn five Malakite Oaths. His honor governs his entire existence, and he has chosen to ignore the personal cost of what he does, to never take the easy road. He abides by his word as easily as humans breathe, and his integrity is stronger than his life. His first Oath is this: Never abandon faith, even in the lowest of the Fallen, until I have no choice. DAvid studied those he killed after the Fall, and realized it would be all too easy to despair in his fellow angels, to distrust all of them. He realized that true faith in God's plan meant ot weighing the odds of betrayal or measuring the chance of redemption. It meant believing in even the most despicable demon unti lthe point beyond hope, and then a little more. David, even then old and experienced, phrased his oath practically, not mentioning hope, but the spirit remains with him. His second Oath: Strike only to defend my charges or to respond to an opponent's violence. David knows that sometimes, he's wrong. He has one of the best senses for evil in the world, but it's fallible, and that's not good enough. Civilian casualties are acceptable, but accidentally targeting an innocent, that's not. That would push him into being a monster. David acts only against his enemies when he has a more specific reason than hatred, and it is from this that his dissonance condition stems. His third Oath: Never suffer an evil to live when it is my choice. David genuinely believes his passive, slow approach is the best way. He believes Hell must destroy itself on the stones of Heaven, which must act as the agent through which they destroy themselves, not a crusade of aggression. David doesn't need to be offensive. Random murder of demons is not helpful. Rather, David acts when a demon crosses the line and initiates use of force. And then, even if it were his former servitor, David must destroy it without regret. His fourth Oath: Never surrender or allow myself to be captured by the armies of Lucifer. David swore that on the battlefield of the first war. It has never crossed his mind since - he's never had a reason to surrender or been threatened by capture. His final Oath: Permit yourself no cowardice. Use no coward's weapons. David means cowardice in decision-making - the concept of cowardice in battle is alien to him. But this means that he must take action, regardless of the cost in lives. He would do this anyway, but the oath eliminates temptation. Coward's weapons, to David, include all ranged weapons, including thrown ones, but not Songs. He believes it morally cowardly, as they separate the wielder from the visceral consequences of their action.

David's top priority is service to his Word. He supports communities, protects what is underground, teaches craft and construction and strives to toughen humanity. He fights hard in the War, sure, but not on the offensive. Some question his supprot of dubious and violent subcultures. David has no doubt. He believes that any human with faith in their fellows will display ethics and honor, if not morality. He supports criminals because while their code may not be nice, it exists. They have some intefrity. That's important. As long as the group can be tolerated at all, humans are better off with it than alone. David's activities in the mineral world are on a geological time scale - he has several projects begone in the Proterozoic Era that are only new reaching completion, and a recent exciting inspiration regarding crystals will likely require at least 220 million years for him to test.

David reasons that by opposing God, demons have embarked on an exceptionally self-destructive course, and eventually, each must commit themselves to its inevitable end or change their mind and Redeem. As soon as they commit themselves entirely, they doom themselves to destruction. It might take a few billion years to make up their minds, though, and it might take as many for some to die, but in time, all must either Redeem or die. David's goal is to speed up the process. Any demon destroyed by STone, given David's beliefs, has almost certainly made their choice. He suspects that no Prince, including Lucifer, will ever turn their back on Hell, but because he cannot know this definitively, he never preemptively attacks them.

David cherishes both his friends and his enemies. Gabriel is his oldest friend, and he supports her when he can, though the reverse is not always true, as his compassion often resembles cruelty. His ties to Michael are more one-sided - David goes further in friendship than the more independent Michael. Laurence and Janus actively court David's support, and these five angels generally vote together. Jean and Jordi are but occasional allies. David approves of them personally, but their Words have caused conflict with him before. Blandine opposes him, as one of the war party, but she isn't acively hostile. Novalis hates David as much as she can hate anyone. She saw his transformation into a Malakite as a betrayal of his principles, and she despies his attitude toward humans. David remembers her as an old friend, but now considers her priorities irrelevant and kind of insane. David actively dislikes Marc, who embodies much of what he wants to remove from humanity. The fact that their factions oppose each other doesn't help, either.

Superior Opinions posted:

Normal text is that Superior's thoughts on David, italics are David's thoughts on them.

Blandine: He is brave and strong, but there is so much more to life than strength and bravery. His dreams are as dull and barren as any stone.
I fear that the pain of Beleth's loss sometimes clouds her perceptions. Her hostility toward me has not yet exhausted my patience. After all, some trials take years to work through, and some take eons.
Dominic: David is loyal. Very loyal. My task would be simple if all the Host were like him. Still, he should take care that others do not misuse his loyalty and betray his trust.
Dominic gets his job done. We've got to be strong and pure if we're going to win this fight, and he weeds out the weak and treacherous. I've heard some of the others griping about the way his servants are always snooping around. Tough. Better Dominic's agents than Lucifer's.
Eli: He's as much a builder as a fighter. People forget that - he forgets that himself, sometimes.
One by one, my old companions go away. On the surface, Eli's abandonment of Heaven demonstrates every quality I condemn. Unlike Dominic, however, I trust that there is more to the story.
Gabriel: Some things are eternal, and David is one of them. I envy him his devotion to duty and am grateful for his friendship, but at times he is too hard and cold. Stone is very strong, but ultimately it must be broken down and put through the fire to be of any use.
She is what we will all someday become. Pure, primal, unfettered, just as fire should be. She is the unstoppable force to my immovable object, yet we are more alike than different. I hear her roar echoing deep in the earth; how long can her rage be denied?
Janus: We're not exactly best friends, but David is reliable. I want him on my side.
Working with him can be difficult, yes. Communicating with him can be difficult at itmes, especially when he treats a second like a millenium. But my feelings do not matter. We need him. He directs Heaven's efforts in directions I would not think to.
Jean: He is a valuable colleague and a valiant warrior. My only complaint is that he lives too much in the past. David still thinks in terms of eons, but the battles we fight today are waged in nanoseconds.
Modern technology hurts humanity more than it helps. I accept that someone must watch over its development, however, and Jean is the best angel for the job.
Jordi: David has seen and understands. The weak die, the fit survive, and nothing lasts. Why get upset over the latest crisis the humans have managed to inflict on themselves? The planet will not mourn their passing long.
I understand Jordi's stance on the humans more than most. Jordi's insects practiced building, craftsmanship and community long before I taught humanity these things. I value the human spirit, but our work could go on without them.
Laurence: David's courage and steadfastness are unequaled, and he is an asset to our cause. Of course, there is more to waging war than brute strength.
Steadfast. Determined. Focused. It's fair to say that I approve of the youth, and we've worked well together. Laurence has an edge on his soul that puts his sword to shame. - Of course, there is more to waging war than dreaming up flashy stratagems. I could do better as commander of Heaven's hosts, and he knows it.
Marc: His views are outmoded and simplistic. I can't understand him, and I'm afraid he can't understand me either.
Marc believes I don't understand his work. He's wrong. It's a series of compromises and fictions. Speculation. Money without backing. Lies. Greed. It's playing into Lucifer's hands.
Michael: Among the few I consider worthy of the title of Archangel, David stands unique. He and his angels are brave and strong, and never pick a fight themselves. I can't think of anyone I'd rather have at my side in a fight than David.
My oldest comrade-in-arms. He believes that he can fight alone, perhaps even defeat the whole of Hell alone, but this does not alter his capabilities. He knows what he's doing in abttle, and he understands that this is a War we have to win by any means necessary. My Servitors aid his.
Novalis: David has lost so much, and the tragedy is that he thinks he is better for it.
Once upon a time, her ideals made sense. Some time in the distant future, they may well make sense again. In the mean time, I advise my Servitors to ignore her angels' twittering.
Yves: The noble agents of Stone serve God's plan - and they will continue to do so as long as they stay true to themselves. But a stone can sometimes be shattered by a single blow.
We don't work the same way, but I trust him as I trust myself. I respect him. How can you do anything but respect him? Only Michael seems bitter towards Yves. Michael's reasons do not convince me.
Andrealphus: Sadism, masochism, leather culture, big burly vessels - I have the greatest respect for Stone and its ideals. I also appreciate the confidence David and his Servitors have in the ultimate rightness of the world and their actions; it makes manipulating them child's play.
Lust's Servitors fold like paper dolls in a fight, and strong humans can ignore all Andrealphus' temptations. However, Lust can inflict enormous damage if it gets to a weak human before we do.
Asmodeus: David does not play games. This makes him, ultimately, a pawn. Heaven's hierarchy manipulates him, uses him like a slave - a strong back and a strong arm to support even their most ill-advised military schemes. He does not acknowledge htis; they do not acknowledge this; but the pattern is clear.
Asmodeus spins Gordian knots of intrigue, well beyond my ability to unravel. I do not bother unraveling them. My hands can tear the strongest knot.
Baal: A worthy opponent, although not really flexible enough to compare to Michael or myself.
I have some respect for Baal. He has chosen to redefine his concept of God until it no longer resembles reality. This is a terrible crime, but less terrible than his peers' rejection of God.
Beleth: One day, his absolute convictions will destroy him. When he accepts the truth of his personal nightmare - that the world has no clear moral compass, that God is not purely good, and that his own harsh actions are therefore gray - it will toreture him every moment thereafter for the rest of his existence.
I consider her pathetic. Her gaudy displays of malice impress no one. Her Word gives her absolute power over something unimportant. Demon Princes who fixate on ghosts and shadows aren't worth my time.
Belial: Stone doesn't burn, but it blows up real well.
All the fire in the world won't destroy the things I care about : stone and the human soul. Belial thinks physical destruction matters in the War. That makes him an insignificant buffoon.
Haagenti: Nothing like a terrible ordeal to get your appetite going.
A corrupting, weakening influence on humanity. I hope to have the opportunity to kill him myself.
Kobal: "We've secretly replaced David with a Habbalite painted black. Let's see if anyone notices." My Servitors like to help his Servitors overestimate a human's endurance. A Stony gets this priceless expression on his face when he realizes he's pushed a human over the edge into ruin or damnation.
A prancing jackanape. He claims a sophisticated sense of humor, but the truth is that he laughs like a hyena. It's a meaningless, animal, predatory noise. All it means is that he's hungry for more suffering.
Kronos: David does not have the moral strength to intervene forcefully when he must. He opposes my work ineffectively at best.
Kronos gloats over luring humans to their fates. It reminds me of a human boasting about his last one-night stand. It's spiritually meaningless and sordid. In the end, the will of God will prevail, and the concept of fate will become as obsolete as the Word.
Lilith: Old as stone, slow as stone, thick as stone. He refuses to believe that I have any honor whatsoever. So I never, ever try to start a fight with him.
Lilith offers "the easy way out." Unfortunately, there's no such thing. That means she couldn't give you a good deal if she wanted to. She always cheats you. It's what she does. It's what her Word means. She's a demon and must be destroyed.
Malphas: Ultimately, his existence is unacceptable. His Word makes him and his angels dangerously unable to comprehend the truth of how the world functions.
I own a sword, in part, because killing Malphas bare-handed would be nauseating. His work directly opposes my own. Destroying him is my first priority in the War.
Nybbas: Makeup! Get some pants on this angel! No, seriously, if Malakim started Falling, I'd make this guy an offer he couldn't refuse; can you imagine the ratings he'd get as an anchorman? Solid, respectable, worldly, deep voice, broad shoulders...I have it on high authority he looks smashing in a suit.
The Word of the Media incorporates older infernal ideas like slander, libel and hate speech. This gives it power. I sometimes doubt, however, that he still controls the Earthly media. It seems to be growing out of control, lashing out at infernal and divine causes both.
Saminga: Stones do not interest me. Unless you throw them at people. I like that.
Much as he disgusts me, I devote little effort to thwarting him. If he lost power, Lucifer would replace him with a more intelligent Prince. The pool of less intelligent demons being so small.
Valefor: David can be distressingly unmaterialistic for the guy who shaped most of the material. Doesn't he get it? The side with the most stuff wins.
Valefor is shallow but smart enough to be dangerous. He can't handle it when someone refuses to be impressed by him, though. Heaven can use that against him.
Vapula: A petty, self-absorbed fool with rocks between his ears.
Take everything I dislike in Jean, multiply it by a thousand, and give it an ugly makeover. You get Vapula. He isn't even a credible opponent - more like a natural force gone out of control.
Ethereals: Never negotiate with an angel of Stone. Either he hates you as an abomination against his God or he doesn't. You're not going to change his mind. As for David himself, shun him. Fear him. The blood of some of the best of us is on his hands.
They invade the humans' Earth. They seek to violate the natural order of things. I show them the error of their ways when an opportunity appears.
Humanity: I love them. I do not compromise with them. I do not give them "leeway" and "room to grow." I teach them the strength they need to reach Heaven, and I do not accept failure.
Soldiers of God: These humans, with limited minds, limited bodies and limited perception of God's will, nevertheless discover faith and self-sacrifice as real as ours. They are one of the wonders of the world.
Soldiers of Hell: Some we can salvage. Some have chosen their Fate. I do not choose to weep for them.

The game offers two alternate takes on David. David the Patron focuses more on the Community aspect ofh is Word, sponsoring only organizations with the highest moral fiber but throwing the full power of Stone behind them. His angels work at every level, political, corporate and religious, to align world communities with the divine plan. Many humans associated with the right causes know vaguely how to get in touch with David in his identity as 'The Calculus,' a mysterious figure that smooths over problems for those who have given to the community. In person, David is nice and friendly, still very Cherubic, with a cheerful calm and a certainty that the War will end well as long as Heaven protects its interests. David the Buffoon, meanwhile, is a moron. He thinks slowly and poorly. He misses obvious details, and his orders reflect the mindset of a child, but no one dares point it out, as he gets irritated when reminded of his limits.

David's Word is strongly reflected in his Cathedral, the Catacombs. It is a wrren of tunnels and caves that hold many secrets, and only David knows them all. It resembles a sprawling underground palace that fades into unshaped caves as you head up or down. Beyond them is only the bedrock of Heaven and the occasional elemental Tether, reaching deep into the reaches of Earth. heaven's light is dim in the Catacombs, and only awareness exists, not sight. They lack visual beauty unless you bring a light, but remain Heavenly, and the radiance of your soul allows for awareness. In the furthest reaches, 'flight' is impossible, and caving equipment is needed.

Some angels, called Catacomb-dwellers, spend their entire lives underground. If David knows that an angel will join their ranks when he makes them, he will adapt them to the environment - softer colors, larger arms, longer limbs, more flexibility. It's all within the basic Choir parameters, so it's only obvious when a lot of them gather at once. Other creatures adapted to the underground live in the Catacombs - strange insects, blind fish, impossible grotesqueries. Some of these are the souls of cave-dwelling creatures. Some tunnels, normally off limit to angels but not to animals, connect the caves of the Savannah to the Catacombs. A few are leftover prototypes from when David and Eli designed subterranean life. Others are oddly-shaped relievers doing maintenance. Sometimes, David punishes an angel with a strange and alien shape as well. For the duration of their sentence, these angels look at the far edges of the Catacombs in pain, discomfort and shame. It's never pleasant, and ends only when you prove your endurance. Some of the strangest creatures are transformed angels, while the rest are things David made for some specific purpose.

Next time: Trying to make Heaven sound like an interesting place to RP in.


Nov 8, 2009

I like David. :) Equally easy to see him as friend or foe, regardless of whether you're playing angels or demons or humans.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5