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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Superiors 1: Making Judgment



Dominic is, as we recall, the head of the Divine Inquisition, and while defaulting to male, appears about as frequently as Dominique, a female identity. He hunts out heresy in the Host and deals with the Discordant, dissonant and Outcast.

Bright Lilim of Judgment are exceptionally rare - Dominic doesn't recruit them actively, and few volunteer to serve him. However, if they exist, they can tell if a Need their resonance detects was strong enough to lead to crimes, dissonance or worse.
Divine Mediation is a Servitor attunement that allows you to end an argument by asking the Symphony to bind your decision. You must roll Will minus the total Ethereal Forces of all disputants that do not cooperate with you. TN 0 or less means you fail automatically, but you can spend Essence to improve it as normal. If the roll succeeds, a Geas is assigned to all disputants to abide by your decision, with level no greater than the CD.
Advocate is a Servitor attunement that, for 1 Essence, lets you attune yourself to someone by touching them and making a Perception roll. While attuned, you may tell if any statement made about the subject is true via a Perception roll, and the subject need not be present. You can be attuned to up to (Ethereal Forces) people at once, and de-attuning requires only brief concentration.
Dominic also has two special, mutually exclusive Distinctions. Each is considered to grant rank above normal servitors but below Vassals. Theoretically, they are equal, but most Inquisitors are Seraphim and most Warders are not, so in practice Inquisitors outrank Warders.
Inquisitors have sweeping power to seek heretical angels. They may probe the memories of anyone they touch for 1 Essence and a Perception roll. On a success, the number of scenes revealed and the clarity are determined by the CD, though they never sense the subject's actual thoughts. The subject can resist with a Will roll, and if the Inquisitor fails or is resisted, they can't try again for (CD) hours. Seraph, Elohite, Malakite and Mercuarian Inquisitors may use their resonance on subjects within the memory, but at -1 CD, as they are resonating a recording, essentially. REvealed memories of interactions with Superiors will always be fuzzy if the Superior is shielding.
Warders are charged to hold prisoners of all kinds. They may use their Will to compel anyone they can see or hear within (Forces) feet to remain in place, and may combine Wills with other Warders. Add them all up and subtract the target's Will; the GM rolls against this. If the subject's Will is greater, the Warders fail. (Essence can be spent to raise chances as normal.) If the roll succeeds, the subject cannot move from the spot by any means, nor use Songs or Essence unless they are attacked. The effect lasts as long as the Warder is in range, but the Warder is free to act normally after the initial round of concentration.
Dominic is also capable of teaching the secret Songs of Binding and Retribution, from the Liber Canticorum.

Common Malakite of Judgment Oaths:
1. Break no just law knowingly.
2. Fight evil with laws whenever possible, not vigilantism.
3. Give a demon a chance to seek Redemption before slaying it.
4. Investigate for, and purge, the Game's influence from any mortal lawyer or judge I meet.
5. Let no angel sin in my presence.
6. Let no criminal escape me without equal punishment for his crimes.
7. Never question my Archangel.
8. Seek out criminals and turn them over to the appropriate authorities. (Usually, this has a time period attached - every day, week or month.)
9. Seek out and defend the falsely accused. (Same.)

Expanded Rites:
1. Resolve a dispute fairly and impartially.
2. Serve as a referee at a sporting event.
3. Spend 4 hours on patrol with police.
4. Serve 4 hours on a jury.
5. Assist for 4 hours in drafting a fair and just new law.
6. Prevent someone from committing a crime.
7. For 3 Essence, convince a wrongdoer to voluntarily confess and accept punishment.
8. For 4 Essence, discover an injustice being done and correct it.



Dominic is disliked and feared by many, and is tireless in his work to weed out corruption and sin among angels. While he is among the greatest of Seraphim, he cloaks himself in dark robes that make him seem sinister. He gaiend his Word long before the Fall, but he was not an Archangel. He was the mere Angel of Judgment, in charge of helping his fellows know right from wrong. It was easy, and if any angel judged wrongly, all Dominic had to do was point it out, for no member of the Host would ever wish to do anything but right. And then...well, Dominic's world was destroyed. He noticed that Archangel Lucifer appeared on several instances to have knowingly chosen to do wrong. It took him time to question an Archangel's judgment, but at last he sent his most trusted servitor, the Cherub Asmodeus, to observe the Lightbringer and inform him of his behavior. Asmodeus reported that Lucifer was aware already and that the reason would soon be revealed.

Days later, the rebellion began. A full third of the Host joined Lucifer, including several of Dominic's oldest and closest friends - including Asmodeus himself, seduced by the Lightbringer's promises. Dominic was approached by Lucifer in the early days, tempting him with the promise of the rank of Prince of Judgment, assigned punishments to the deserving and disobedient. For a moment, Dominic wavered, but then his Word flared up within him and he refused Lucifer, despite being a mere angel. He became an Archangel shortly after the Fall and, ever since, he has worked hard to keep Heaven free of corruption and to foil Lucifer's plans. He organized his servants into an Inquisition to root out those angels that might succumb to temptation.

Dominic himself was tempted by Lucifer, and so he knows that if even he, the holder of the Word of Judgment, could waver, then no one can be perfectly loyal. All of his relations with others are colored by this lack of faith in people. Because emotional ties are potentially a vulnerability, Dominic is distant. He allows himself neither friends nor lovers, for that might impair his judgment. A loved one might betray him, so he does not love in that sense. He loves generally - his servitors, all angels, God and the Symphony - but refuses to invest that much emotion in any one being. He hates gray areas and subjectivity, for it is his nature to categorize things neatly as right or wrong. There is no middle ground, no shades of gray. As the world is simple and clear-cut to him, it is upsetting that others disagree. Dominic does not have it in his nature to agree to disagree, nor to accept multiple viewpoints. There are only two sides: the right side and the wrong side. Even other Seraphim can seem hopelessly muddled to him.



Paradoxically, Dominic's distrust makes it easier to deal with outright enemies than with allies. Allies might be or become traitors, but an enemy, an obvious one, you know where you stand. Thus, Dominic keeps a very tenuous line of communication open with Hell. He hates to have any servitors free of supervision, so he has built a complex hierarchy full of checks and balances, that treason cannot be concealed within. Angels or humans operating alone are vulnerable, so Dominic prefers they work in teams of three. Often, these triads are chosen at random to ensure they aren't biased towards each other, and Dominic also checks up on them unannounced about once a week.

To Dominic, God is his check and balance. It's been demonstrated before, at Michael's trial. Sure, it hurt for a bit, but these things happen, and Dominic's reversed his own angels' decisions before, too. Obedience to God is so ingrained in him that he can hardly verbalize it any more. God's absence from the lower Heavens also serves as Dominic's model for his own distant love and authority. Dominic's primary priority in the War is defense, in the form of internal security and counterintelligence. Other Archangels take to the fight to the foe - the Inquisition hunts out subversion and infiltration. Dominic is concerned with making sure angels are obedient and free of corruption. Secondarily, he seeks to detect and foil demonic plots on Earth. Promoting the Word of Judgment is a third priority, after the first two.

Judgment is the capability to choose between good and evil. With the coming of the War, Dominic has had to expand its scope, not just to judging good and evil but hunting the wicked and punishing them. Still, the basic nature of judgment is dear to Dominic, and when not tracking the Fallen, he and his angels work to help humans develop and refine their sense of right and wrong. In this way, he is patron to judges, police and all who work towards justice. As a result, he is massively overworked. Dominic's Word also covers resolution of disputes, and this was his original job - teaching others to resolve differences peacefully. A few of Dominic's older angels have Words of their own based on this, and still do their best with teaching humans how to tell which side of an argument is right.

Dominic cares far, far more about justice than law. He and his angels care about human laws only insofar as they promote true justice. Rules which are just and fair should be obeyed, while unjust laws must be ignored. In the same way, Domionic hates those who take refuge in legalism and technicality - that is the tactics of the Game, and that is why Dominic's Tethers are in courtrooms, not law firms or legislatures. Few outside Judgment remember it, but Dominic's Word also involves protection of the innocent at least as much as punishing the guilty. A wrongful conviction is just as bad as letting the guilty go free - worse, in fact, as the guilty can be punished later but you cannot unpunish the innocent. Dominic expects his angels to get it right hte first time.



The War is an insult, both to God and t Dominic. And while Dominic speaks of a final trial for the demons after they lose, it's more habit than faith. Partly, that's because Dominic focuses on the present, not fantasies of the future. And partly, it's because he's lost track of what his real job is. Without the job of internal security and fighting temptation, he's not entirely sure what he would need to do. Dominic's chief goal is to prevent any angel from Falling again - even if he has to kill them first. Not far behind, he wants to remove demonic influence from society, as it is by definition unjust, by strengthening morals and ethics. He's not really fond of separation of church and state, as it implies that religion and justice are separate, but he also doesn't try too hard to change that sort of separation when it happens naturally. He'd rather humans followed the Church, even with its flaws, then strike out on their own and become tempting targets for demons, however. This does mean he disapproves of divorce, adultery, any murder of non-Hellsworn and just about anything else of that nature.


The symbol of Dominic.

Next time: Politics

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gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Crasical posted:

This could be very interesting as the basis for an 'ultimate blacksmith' type character. Aside from the obvious 'Blacksmith pounds his hammer, your weapons are now all enchanted, fiery, and Keen for as long as he maintains his spell', you can also have utility in that you can produce on-demand Adamantine weapons for smashing down walls, and Animate Objects has a lot of potential, from having an animate suit of armor that acts as your personal manservant, to just Animating a door and commanding it to unlock itself.


Conceptually, I like it. It's got enough good gimmicks that I'd base a character around the sphere, while still being more limited than a generic 'Do Anything' wizard. To some degree, being limited is a feature, not a bug.

Do you think we can look at the Weather sphere next, Gradenko?

I realized that I completely omitted a section on the animated objects being Eidolon-esque constructions, which would seem to give Enhancement its non-martial punch, but yes, sure, I can do Weather next.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Count Chocula posted:

It did remind me of Clive Barker's Imajica. Phallic imagery is everywhere in geek culture, at least Fields is honest about it.

I think he quotes from it in the section where the Universal Dong is described. Of course, being Fields, it's an implication about raping goddesses.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I'm a little surprised Dominic is a Seraphim - this writeup is making him sound like the Elohim are described. It's also making him more sympathetic than I would have expected the chief inquisitor of Heaven to be, and that question of what the Archangel of Judgment and his followers would be without the War to fight leaps out at me as a question I'd love to try building a campaign around.

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


gradenko_2000 posted:

This is good advice for running games in general, to the extent that it's in keeping with the game's tone. Nobody has stealth, everybody has explosives? Blow it up. And the GM? Let the players blow it up.

I kinda want to strip all the explosives and vampires out of NBA and use the rules to run/play a John Le Carre game. Depending on the GM it could either be incredibly exciting or incredibly boring. Has anyone done that? There's so many great spy RPGs suggested by just the equipment and skill lists.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


Count Chocula posted:

I kinda want to strip all the explosives and vampires out of NBA and use the rules to run/play a John Le Carre game. Depending on the GM it could either be incredibly exciting or incredibly boring. Has anyone done that? There's so many great spy RPGs suggested by just the equipment and skill lists.

One of the things later on in the book is an alternate play style called "Martini, Straight Up", which removes all the supernatural elements to turn it into a pure spy thriller.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Count Chocula posted:

I kinda want to strip all the explosives and vampires out of NBA and use the rules to run/play a John Le Carre game. Depending on the GM it could either be incredibly exciting or incredibly boring. Has anyone done that? There's so many great spy RPGs suggested by just the equipment and skill lists.

This is absolutely a thing you can do, and the book even describes it as an alternate game mode. Just use terrestrial NPC enemies. My own dream is an Alpha Protocol type game, though I fear I may not be able to do Obsidian's writing justice.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I would really like to see a robust presentation of GUMSHOE without a defined setting, someday.

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


unseenlibrarian posted:

Yeah, and if that's not enough, we could point you at his other game/sourcebook Power Chords but it's currently the only RPG kickstarter that's even more delayed than Far West.

I've been waiting for that thing for 10 years. I might just back it, since Brucato's terrible writing aside I pretty much live for 'music is magic' settings, and even if what I read about it seems pretty ham-handed I remember it having a whole bunch of music/magic war stuff that's already in my head/mental map of the world.

This thread has made me realize I have terrible, terrible taste. But unlike Fields, Brucato's terrible taste is shared by other people. I can't imagine anyone wanting to play in any Fields game, beyond taking one or two lines and turning them into Unknown Armies character ideas.

I would play an Alpha Protocol game in a heartbeat.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Doresh posted:

30 Minutes or Less sounds amazing. I hope you make it an OGL supplement. Pizza Time Lord needs to be a prestige class.

That's a great idea. Along with like pizza delivery magic cars that change into era-appropriate vehicles when they shift through time.

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


Embedding images is annoying on my phone, but so I can't paste a poster for The Angel of Stone's favorite Ozplotation biker movie: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_(1974_film)

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I looked up this Tournament of Rapists, and became even more disgusted by Fields after seeing him trying to defend this piece of bile, and genuinely makes me think he's a deeply disturbed man, not just someone who's just in it to shock people.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Superiors 1: Archie and Judgehead

Dominic can't avoid politics, though he'd like to. His work is at the center of some of Heaven's most bitter disputes. Everyone knows Michael has a grudge. Michael's ethic of individual glory reminded Dominic ominously of Lucifer's words before the Fall, and Dominic feared that weaker beings would be vulnerable if they followed Michael's example. Naturally, Michael was offended to be accused, then enraged when Dominic convened a formal trial and found him guilty of Pride. Dominic's ruling was overturned by God, and Michael retained his position. Domnic accepted the verdict and has no animosity towards Michael or the angels of War, despite their grudge. Eli is more straightforward: by abandoning his duties as an Archangel, he is a rebel even if he hasn't Fallen. Dominic wants to bring him to trial and settle it, once and for all. The fact that other Archangels, even Yves, are protecting Eli makes Dominic uneasy, as he cannot see how Eli's innocence might be proven. He doesn't want to make another judgment that God overrules, but he can't ignore Eli's acts of irresponsibility.

He has mixed feelings over Gabriel, as well, which bothers him. They were once closely associated, as Gabriel's punishing of the cruel worked well with Dominic's role as judge. Her ideas of justice gradually diverged, however - she protested the harsher acts committed in the name of law, and he disliked her haphazard punishment focused on only one aspect of wrongdoing. Islam was the final straw. Dominic and several others on the Seraphim Council opposed the creation of new religions. During the debates, Gabriel lost patience and dictated the Qu'ran to Muhammed before a decision was reached. On comparison to Yves' copy, it was found that there were discrepancies. It was unclear if Gabriel did this deliberately, did it unconsciously as part of her (well, his at the time) prophetic nature, or if Muhammed had inserted them himself. It was enough, however, for Dominic to accuse Gabriel of heresy and begin the trial. Gabriel refused to be judged and stormed out of Heaven. Yves convinced Dominic to revoke the charges, but Gabriel refused to return and became increasingly unstable. Dominic now believes her madness makes her too dangerous to be loose, and he wants her confined for her own safety, if not the safety of her angels or Earth itself. He makes no effort to bring her into custdoy, however. He can wait. Some day, she will cause a major disaster, and then everyone will understand the Truth.

Janus and Dominic also don't get along. Janus' rebellious nature seems to embody all that Dominic fights against, and more of Janus' angels have been hauled in to be judged than any other Archangel, including Eli. Many have been convicted, as well, though rarely sentenced to destruction. More often they are confined to Heaven. Dominic's been gathering evidence on Janus for centuries, but hasn't found anything yet to justify a trial. He's also often frustrated by his inability to put agents among the angels of the Wind. Dominic is not hostile to all the Archangels, of course. Yves is the closest thing he has to a friend, and one of the few who can persuade Dominic to change his mind. Dominic and Laurence work closely together and get along well, and Dominic also works well with David, whose loyalty is soothing. He is cordial if distant towards Jean, and the two even share service from the Elohite Angel of Logic, but some of Jean's innovations have been quite annoying to Dominic, as they change societal rules and make it possible for humans to invent new ways to do evil. Similarly, Dominic and Marc agree on fairness and rules, but Dominic finds Marc's love of complete economic freedom dangerously anarchic. Novalis, Jordi and Blandine are all beyond the scope of Dominic's Word and he has little to do with them. They are outside the realm of law and justice, and of the three, only Novalis is frequently seen. Dominic and Novalis clash often, as she enjoys teasing the serious Seraph, and he finds her childish.

Superior Views posted:

Again, italics are Dominic's thoughts.

Blandine: Dominic amuses me. He's spun his political webs for so long that he has become like a fat little spider waiting for flies, instead of a shining angel of Heaven.
Innocence and guilt bubble up in the surface of the dreamscapes; I make regular visits to the Marches. Blandine serves her station with skill and dedicated concern. Her judgment is sharp, and her methods effective.
David: Dominic gets his job done. We've 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.
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.
Eli: So many eyes, how can he be so blind? Such shining wings, why doesn't he fly? Such a beautiful voice, why doesn't he sing? Poor Dominic.
He walked away from Heaven, drowned himself in humanity even as the Watchers did. There will be a judging. If I am wrong, the Lord will correct me and pardon Eli.
Gabriel: He calls me mad. He would bind all with chains of law until Heaven is frozen crystal. If any fire burns within him, it is an icy flame which gives no light. Better to be mad than cold and sane, a blind worm crawling in the dark.
Apostate, whispering secrets and heresy, utterly insane. Her spark spirals into the cold of Hell - and when it does, Judgment shall renew the Holy Flame of wrath and punishment.
Janus: He's too rigid, too static - thinks justice is another wrod for punishment. You can't compel anyone to be good; they have to choose it.
He has always been one to bend and break the rules, good along with bad. Perhaps Wind cannot be caged, but some funneling...
Jean: Any system needs a feedback mechanism to prevent it from going out of control. Dominic is our regulator.
Jean is logical and diligent. It is refreshing to hear his unbiased assessments in Council.
Jordi: Everyone takes Dominic so seriously. All the little paper laws, all the solemn words - they're just a game for humans. The true law is written in the genes, and all living things are under sentence of death from the moment they're born.
Our paths rarely cross. Nature's raw justice is his, not mine.
Laurence: Dominic has a thankless task and performs it well. None of us likes to think we're less than perfect or that someone we trust might become a traitor. Dominic knows the enemy can come with an army - or as a whisper in the night. It's his job to hear the whispers.
The Malakite of the Sword is valuable, well-suited. Incorruptible as only his kind can be, he moves with purpose to bring order and purity to the humans, with his favored church. His sword is still touched by the designs of Uriel, and I approve.
Marc: He's struict but fair, and never contradicts himself. You always know exactly where you stand with Dominic. I like that. He gets a little paranoid, but with his job, who wouldn't? We don't always see eye to eye, but I'm glad to know Dominic's on the job.
I am often concerned for Trade's Servitors, as they immerse themselves in the corporeal world - but it is the nature of the Word to do so. More troubling are the rumors of his association with Lilith. I think Marc does not know how closely I watch.
Michael: Dominic's no warrior. Some of us battle in iron and blood against Lucifer and his brood, but Dominic just skulks around the Council Spires, whispering soft accusations. Anything that doesn't fit his rules is automatically a sign of Hell's influence. He should look under his own robes once in a while and see the corruption hidden there.
That he dislikes me is irrelevant. His trial is past and done, by God's command; he has his part to play and Word to support, as do I. I find no particulra fault with his Servitors, and save my time for clearer dangers. If his personal passions cloud his judgment, that is his error, not mine.
Novalis: He's become obsessed with listening for tiny notes of discord in the Symphony and no longer appreciates the music itself. He needs to take a break, get a better perspective on things, maybe unwind a little. He's been looking at evil so long he's forgotten what good looks like.
I wish she took something, anything, seriously. If she had her way, all work would be done by whim, in the middle of a party - and evil would run wild.
Yves: Dominic is a paradox. His nature is to trust, but he must be suspicious. He is an idealist who must be cynical. He seeks perfection by finding corruption. The conflicts take a higher toll on him than he knows. In him are the makings of tragedy.
His kindness is often remarked upon. His unfailing sense of order and justice is less often spoken of. He is my most vlaued ally, and perhaps the first and last hope for everything.
Andrealphus: It's all sublimation. He wears that cloak and hunts all that "treason" to hide his own burning and shame. I've enjoyed it in his Servitors, and I'm sure he's the same.
Love...Fell. Fell, into a parody of what he was. Now he spreads the lie that there is nothing beyond one's own flesh.
Asmodeus: Once my mentor, now my opposite number. I can use him, and have. He tries to use me, and thinks he has. It is a most...satisfying...play.
Once, he was my confidant, always at my side. Now he is everything I hate, arbitrary and corrupt. The only remnants left of the Cherub are his dedication to rules. It...can be sufficient.
Baal: Skulking, spying annoyance. He'll join us one day, if he can't admit we're better than Heaven.
Though I and my Servitors must be primarily concerned with angels, I will not deny my satisfaction that one incautious word to a Seraph of Judgment may lay bare a plan of the War.
Beleth: He's full of fear, you know. I can tell, I can smell it. Foolish creature, fearing so for the minds and souls of others.
The brightest pair in Heaven, sundered. If even Cherubim may be divided, how can any believe that angelic caring should be personal, not abstract?
Belial: Bah, cold bastard, all rules, no fire, but that cloak of his'd make good kindling. And his servitors light up nicely enough when you catch them!
The Prince of Fire must be brought to trial, for his part in the Fall. For his part in Gabriel's madness.
Haagenti: Mmmm, Archangel. With napkin.
Brutish pawn of Dark Humor, Hellborn mockery of a Prince. His trial will be short - but he will have it.
Kobal: You know, it's funny. Who's up there with secrets and plots and suspicions? A Seraph. What happens to Seraphim who keep secrets and start fibbing about their plots?
He was trusted by God, trusted with a task no Archangel was given. And now, it is lost. And he is lost.
Kronos: He fights against his fate. He should have gone with Lucifer in the beginning. It would have been easier for him.
Deluded Liar, attempting to pervert Destiny's brightnes. I do not know how his creatures touch the Symphony and are not consumed, but those questions will wait until the final inquiry.
Lilith: Rules, rules, rules - bah. I know he's got a special place in his dungeons for me. He can't accept that I was never within his jurisdiction to begin with.
She is evil and must be destroyed! Her seductions and geases have lured angels to Trip and Fall. She is dangerous.
Malphas: Something under pressure - cracks, fractures, splits. He's under pressure, and he puts Heaven under pressure to conform. In containing the angels, he forces them in every other direction.
He stands alone, horribly alone, and his Word grows with every misguided disagreement. I am not sure the other Archangels realize how they feed his Word.
Nybbas: Oh, baby, talk about lousy ratings! At least the Game televises its executions, but Judgment? Man, nobody wants to watch a bunch of cloaked Seraphim play talking heads.
He is more insidious in his contamination of humanity than many others - and he is all the more dangerous.
Saminga: Judgment can have the humans while they live. Once they're dead, they belong to me.
I anticipate a very short trial; he is more mad than Gabriel, and - even more than most demons - it would be a kindness to disperse his Forces.
Valefor: Cops and robbers, cops and robbers. What's Robin Hood without the Sheriff? And they've got so much dignity to steal, too!
The similarities between his Servitors and those of the Wind are vastly disturbing. The implications are troubling.
Vapula: What does Judgment have to do with progress? He's just as insane as the rest of those who deny me my rightful recognition.
Vapula has no judgment to speak of. His intelligence is unquestionable, but without the ability to judge what is worthwhile and what is not... At least his whims keep him fro being more of a threat than he already is.
Ethereals: He was one of Uriel's backers - was our persecution and murder just? Even now, he associates with Uriel's heir.
They are the spawn of human dreams and nightmares, but they would become leeches on the vitality of their creators. The injustice is allowing them to grow fat off of human energies.
Humanity: Humans have great potential. This is True. They have ideals of justice. Still, if they stray, there is no dissonance or Discord - a criminal human gives little warning.
Soldiers: While Soldiers of God are often young and less experienced than a well-trained angel, they are not to be put aside. Their judgment can be acute.
Sorcerers: Dupes who must be judged according to their deeds.



Dominic's Cathedral, the Celestial Tribunal, is attached to the Council Spires. It is a maze of offices and chambers of marble, full of busy angels. Its basement is the Chancery, full of records of judicial proceedings and decisions both on Earth and in Heaven. The Tribunal is where trials and hearings are held for angels, to ensure proper conduct. Also in the basement are the Inquiry Rooms, where Warders and Inquisitors search the souls of the accused for Truth and where the guilty are punished. At the center of it all is Dominic's personal courtroom, where he is chief judge. There are thousands of subordinate judges with authority over specific kinds of case, and Dominic hears only the most important ones personally, those that involve Archangels, or which are politically sensitive. Only God can overrule Dominic, and He has not done so in centuries.



Among Judgement, there are rumors and stories told. In angelic, they cannot be spoken as Truth, but instead as 'this may be so.' Dominic refuses to comment on any story, whether it's good or bad. It is said that when Michael was summoned for trial, Dominic went to him with his concerns first, as Asmodeus had once gone to Lucifer. Dominic was young and had looked on Michael as a role model. He pointed out that Michael's angels take trophies, lead by personal prestige and the most admired are those that fight alone, but that it was True that to be truly alone was to be cut off from the Symphony, and that trophy-taking elevated the act of battle over defense of God. He wondered it this might not encourage humans to worship their own skills above God. Some say that Michael laughed in his face, while others say he flew into a rage. But all agree, his next words were: You do not understand War. I was there at the beginning, and we spoke with God in ways you cannot understand. Don't question me, for I know that my way is right. Dominic felt the truth of it, but not the Truth, for his words were clouded by ineffability. Dominic quietly told Michael that it was nearly exactly what Lucifer said to Asmodeus and to him, and so he went to announce the trial. Naturally, angels of War tell their own stories.

It is also said that once, two Cherubim of Judgment loved each other as deeply as had Blandine and Beleth before the Fall. They did barely more than touch each other briefly in passing in the halls, but they seemed inseparable. They discussed law and trials together, or when they had their rare free time, the beauty of the Tribunal. Their Hearts shone together, and they were teasted that one day, their Hearts would flow together as one. As both were Cherubim and loved each other deeply, they were never part of the same triad, but they accepted this, and even would have been uneasy, were they set together, as they knew their bias. One day, howeverr, when one was on Earth and the other in Heaven, the one in Heaven howled and left for Earth ithout permission. When others went to see why, they saw that his companions Heart had shattered. What happened is unimportant - one of the pair had Fallen, and it nearly drove the other mad. When the capture triad found him, he went meekly, weeping and repeating that his lover could not have left him. There was, of course, a trial. Transcripts exist. The charges were desertion, willful blindness to the truth and bias, with attunement as a mitigating circumstance. It was serious, but could have been argued as an isolated instance. Yet the Cherub refused to cooperate, demanding to speak to Dominic. Within a week, Dominic came and gave sentence. The Cherub's heart was left whole, but he was exiled to Earth, forbidden to return until he made penance. Over a year later, his Heart shattered. A week after that, a Djinn of Fate came to a Judgment Tether. She told the triad that she was the Fallen Cherub, and that when her lover had found her, he had been unable to carry out the sentence. So she had killed him and now returned, asking to enter Heaven once more. Dominic took her into Heaven, wrapped in his cloak. She never came otu again, for the Light of Heaven had burned her away for her sins. All that Dominic ever said about was: 'She knew.' It is said that the shards of their Hearts are kept in a box in General Records.



It's pretty simple to play Dominic as a big dumb cartoon cop or as a dark torturer more concerned with rules than justice. Another variation is how right he is - a Dominic who must sometimes guess is very different than one who has been given all of the laws of God and executes them like a force of nature. (The default is he isn't always right.) Making Dominic's default gender and persona Dominique may also make a difference - she may come off as more merciful, and also people may wonder if she's sleeping with Asmodeus, because ugh. The most striking change short of making him a closet Balseraph is in how Dominic took the Fall. If he made his peace with himself and the fact that he did his best, he might be able to trust again. A Dominic that did not hide his doubts, grief and pain but did his job anyway might get more support - or he might be right, that it would weaken faith in him.

Dominican angels are part of the most bureaucratic organization in Heaven, with clear rules and procedures. They report to superiors in a clear chain of command and have no need to invoke Dominic most of the time - they just send reports up the chain or wait for him to show up in person. Each Choir has a use. Seraphim are investigators, and nearly all Inquisitors are Seraphim. Cherubim are often Warders, and many Elohim serve as judges. Dominic always has a staff of Elohim advisors nearby. Ofanim are impatient, but do serve as good warriors, scouts or spies. Malakim are Dominic's incorruptible executioners. Kyriotates make excellent undercover agents, though Dominic must monitor them closely due to their easily changeable natures. Mercurians often serve as advocates or mediators, protecting the innocent and resolving disputes. Starting PCs typically will get orders from an immediate superior, and field angels often report to supervisory Vassals. Some of them have geographic territory covering around a million humans, while others, often Wordbound, supevise minions associated with their particular field. Dominic checks on each angel weekly, to check their loyalty. He doesn't approve of complaint or insubordination unless there's proof of wrongdoing or some solid evidence to back up suspicions.



Next time: Choirs

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





theironjef posted:



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.

Excellent, and I was glad to hear that there were a couple of mechanical jewels bobbing in the slime of the game. Have to imagine that art is pretty heinous, though!

mcclay
Jul 8, 2013

Oh dear oh gosh oh darn


Soiled Meat

Robindaybird posted:

I looked up this Tournament of Rapists, and became even more disgusted by Fields after seeing him trying to defend this piece of bile, and genuinely makes me think he's a deeply disturbed man, not just someone who's just in it to shock people.

The first hit on Google search is Britbert yelling about "SJWs" attacking Table Top Gaming, so Field's isn't alone.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



mcclay posted:

The first hit on Google search is Britbert yelling about "SJWs" attacking Table Top Gaming, so Field's isn't alone.

that I noticed, was surprised they didn't decry all of tabletop gaming as satanism, and then trying to find a less insane source to get information on.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



mcclay posted:

The first hit on Google search is Britbert yelling about "SJWs" attacking Table Top Gaming, so Field's isn't alone.

Which is hilarious because Field is like a militant pagan. Otherverse is like some weird wish-fulfillment for him.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I'm taking notes on all of this, Mors, thanks. :) The premise of In Nomine interests me a lot.

I think the way I'd play Dominic, though, is that he's so isolated, so distrusted and even feared in Heaven because angels - especially Archangels - do not like to think about what Dominic's existence and role implies. Hell is often a distant foe, easily otherized. Dominic is an eternal reminder that even the greatest archangel is not perfect, and Heaven is not free from sin. Dominic's very presence is a constant reminder of the Fall - not even so much the War as the Fall that precipitated it. Dominic is a sign that nothing will ever be the same.

I think, though, that I'd play him as incorruptible for the very reason he's so isolated: he's well aware of his own weaknesses and shortcomings, more than any other Superior on either side. He knows full well he could Fall, and what it would take for that to happen. That's a level of introspection and self-awareness I would think is almost unique among Superiors.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Young Freud posted:

Which is hilarious because Field is like a militant pagan. Otherverse is like some weird wish-fulfillment for him.

no, the idea was "SJWs are trying to take down Fields free speech"

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:

He has mixed feelings over Gabriel, as well, which bothers him. They were once closely associated, as Gabriel's punishing of the cruel worked well with Dominic's role as judge. Her ideas of justice gradually diverged, however - she protested the harsher acts committed in the name of law, and he disliked her haphazard punishment focused on only one aspect of wrongdoing. Islam was the final straw. Dominic and several others on the Seraphim Council opposed the creation of new religions. During the debates, Gabriel lost patience and dictated the Qu'ran to Muhammed before a decision was reached. On comparison to Yves' copy, it was found that there were discrepancies. It was unclear if Gabriel did this deliberately, did it unconsciously as part of her (well, his at the time) prophetic nature, or if Muhammed had inserted them himself. It was enough, however, for Dominic to accuse Gabriel of heresy and begin the trial. Gabriel refused to be judged and stormed out of Heaven. Yves convinced Dominic to revoke the charges, but Gabriel refused to return and became increasingly unstable. Dominic now believes her madness makes her too dangerous to be loose, and he wants her confined for her own safety, if not the safety of her angels or Earth itself. He makes no effort to bring her into custdoy, however. He can wait. Some day, she will cause a major disaster, and then everyone will understand the Truth.

Is this still in print and easily available? It seems like it could be a bit problematic.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I quite like Dominic, though I wish they'd play up the flexible gender identity more - so few angels have it when they're all essentially sexless, and Dominic/Dominique doing it to the hilt would be neat. I like a sympathetic Dominic, if not one Heaven likes much, because it's just too easy to go 'oh, actually the brooding, gloomy cop angel is the bad angel,' it's such an obvious idea that it's boring.

E: In Nomine is not actively published but the PDFs are still sold. And trust me, we're far from done with 'kind of problematic about Islam' in this game line. Hi, Khalid!

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Kurieg posted:

no, the idea was "SJWs are trying to take down Fields free speech"

No, I get that, it's just that they would be letting Fields' hang if they knew who he actually was.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

I quite like Dominic, though I wish they'd play up the flexible gender identity more - so few angels have it when they're all essentially sexless, and Dominic/Dominique doing it to the hilt would be neat. I like a sympathetic Dominic, if not one Heaven likes much, because it's just too easy to go 'oh, actually the brooding, gloomy cop angel is the bad angel,' it's such an obvious idea that it's boring.

E: In Nomine is not actively published but the PDFs are still sold.

He/she is also literally the holy Inquisition. Knowing nerds these days, I think a lot of people would skip straight to the 40k references. I like a sympathetic Dominic, one given an unpleasant job by God that everyone wishes wasn't necessary, but I think I'd also play Dominic as being less punishment-oriented, more constructive. His job isn't to find and mete out punishment, it's to reform wayward angels.

I think to that end I'd play Dominic as having cold but polite relations with the other Archangels and let them have some input when judging and sentencing angels belonging to said other Archangel. The idea is to straighten out and reform troublemakers, not create grudges or lasting bad feelings. Although Janus might be problematic in that regard.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Young Freud posted:

No, I get that, it's just that they would be letting Fields' hang if they knew who he actually was.

Last I checked they don't care, all the care about is whether or not there's a narrative of oppression and censorship by the evil SJWs they can spin to rile up all the angry white kids they're hoping to turn into republicans in the future.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The one grudge you probably can't take away is Michael's. Michael holds grudges. It's what he does. And Dominic was correct in prosecuting him - God's pardon is explicitly 'yeah, he's guilty, but he needs to be this way.'

(Gabriel is much easier, by contrast. Gabriel is largely unstable as a result of the existence of Belial. Sharing Words with a demon does bad poo poo, as we'll learn when the GM's Guide happens.)

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Huh, I figured Gabriel being unstable was just Fire being Fire.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?



Chapter 9: Dramatic Systems
INTERMISSION

Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 are separated by a full-page art piece. It's a pretty piece, but it doesn't really show anything MTAs-related, unless you count floating naked women MTAs-related. It might capture some kind of MTAs-related gonzo anti-normal style, but it itself has basically nothing to do with the game. In any case, since the sheer amount of pages spent just on art annoyed me, I decided to go through the book and look for pages with nothing but art and count them.

Page 1: Internal cover
Page 34: Internal cover
Page 35: Art
Page 36: Art
Page 54: Art
Page 72: Art
Page 84: Art
Page 116: Internal cover
Page 117: Art
Page 118: Art
Page 244: Art
Page 340: Art
Page 380: Internal cover
Page 381: Art
Page 382: Art
Page 306: Art
Page 406: Art

That's 17 pages out of a 687 pages long book! Even granting them the internal covers (which should be full-part pieces, rather than the cover repeated with a new title) that's still 13 pages just of art that has little to no purpose. This is also not counting all the half-pages of art, many of which have just as little relevance. A painting of a baby resting against its mother next to the Politics Ability. Someone sneaking up to a house on a hill while Brucato talks about how the ST should arrange a location and food for the game. Someone blowing ice next to text not describing ice being blown at all. Each chapter has a tarot card next to it that takes up space. Every sub-chapter has a face-shot starting it off. A tiny little thing that maybe takes up an extra line or two at most, but it happens often and it's all over the place - and they're not even original; they're just chopped out from other art-pieces in the book. Like, mistake me not, most of the art in this book is gorgeous, and it's a gorgeous book overall, but it all becomes so very hard to ignore just how much space is spent on art when the book is almost 700 pages long. This is longer than GURPS by fourteen pages! There's also 17 pages just listing the people who backed the Kickstarter - understandable, but at some point you just have to say 'no' to doing that, you know?

INTERMISSION

After being told, again, that the rules should be dropped to serve the needs of ~drama~ and a summary of the various dramatic systems to come, there's also a sidebar for converting between US Customary and metric units "Because Mage is international – and Mage fans are even more so!" (but apparently not international enough to use the standard of 95% of the world as a base - just say you're using US Customary because this is an American game for a primarily intended audience of US-Americans). 1 ton is converted to .9 megagrams.

M20 posted:

When action erupts, each activity becomes a distinct and concentrated moment, and its importance becomes obvious only after the action ends. In The Matrix, that sense of bullet time captures the strange sense of calm-amidst-chaos… a sense mages understand all too well, especially those familiar with the Sphere of Time.
Why yes the mechanical abstraction Actions Turns do need six lines of barely relevant text! :allears:

M20 uses a three-part system of turns where everyone first determines initiative, then everyone declares what they do and then roll for it, and when everyone's finished doing that, all the effects of what they did is determined. This does actually create a sense of simultaneous actions, because it's ordered declarations followed by simultaneous resolution... but I can't help but think that it makes for pretty slow resolution. As is usual, Initiative is DEX+WIT+1d10, with DEX+WIT as a tiebreaker, which has WIT as a tiebreaker, which has DEX as a tiebreaker. What happens when DEX and WIT is tied is not explained.

M20's basic system of doing stuff on an action-by-action basis is a pretty regular one, so I won't explain it in much detail. There's a list of automatic actions that take a turn (which also lists exceptions to the general rule, which is nice) like getting to your feet, walking, talking, picking up stuff, and starting a car. I'll quote the part about starting vehicles:

M20 posted:

Starting a Vehicle: It doesn’t take a roll, or much time, to start up the average car. Starting a tank or airplane, of course, is another matter – it might take several minutes to get all the essential systems online.
Most tanks run on diesel engines and take as long to start as regular cars. Even the M1 Abrams, which has a turbine engine that needs to get up to speed, takes just 30 seconds from pushing the start button before you can roll it out. But no, do tell me Brucato how it takes several minutes to start a tank...

According to the rules, if you move at half or less your running speed, you can still act without penalty. If you do move more than half your running speed in a turn, you take a dice pool penalty equal to the number of yards moved. Not yards moved in excess. Yards moved. Running speeds start at 23 yards/turn and increase with Dexterity, so if you move more than half your running speed, you'll get a -10 or more penalty to all your actions. Characters can move at full speed for a minute or two minutes per dot in Stamina they have - but what happens after that is not explained.

There's a list of different things one can do in the game, and it's refreshingly long - often games that have examples for how to do things leave out many things a player might regularly want to do. Not M20. In fact, M20 might at times go too far... Computer, Hacking, Programming, and Surfing are distinct dramatic feats. There's Design for research and brainstorming, and also Research. There's Jury-Rigging for fixing things, and also Repair. Deception is telling a lie, Fake-Out is misdirection, and Seduction is emotional manipulation including non-sexual means. Some are simply badly named; Demolition, the feat of destroying something with your hands, for example, given how often the term "demolition" is used for destroying things with explosives.

The idea seems to be that similar feats are differentiated by how they're used; Hacking, unlike Computers and Programming, is a Resisted dice roll... fair enough, but Computers is a "Standard or Extended" INT+Computer roll and Programming is an "Extended" INT+Computer roll; why not just fold them together? Cryptography, the feat of making or breaking codes, is INT+Knowledge, where "Knowledge" refers to some Ability needed to decode the information, like Estoterica, Linguistics, or Science with appropriate specialities mandate. Cryptography is an Ability. The skill of breaking codes. Why is it not mentioned here? Why is there a feat that shares a name with an Ability? Fake-Outs are [Any Social]+Streetwise, because obvious Streetwise is what you use to misdirect people, and not Subterfuge. Interrogation is [Any Social]+Intimidation, because apparently all forms of interrogation involve scaring people now? I'm particularly wondering how Appearance+Intimidation is supposed to work; it's supposed to represent "using beauty to your advantage", but I'm trying to scare someone. The same applies to Torture; Appearance+Torture is a valid way to torture someone!

It's also rather noticeable that every social feat suggests any social Attribute can be used; it suggests that which one you pick for your character doesn't really matter, since it applies anyway. On the converse side, Wits and Stamina are basically used for nothing, which would seem to make Intelligence+Perception and Strength+Dexterity the obvious choice when making a character. This also applies to some Abilities; did you sink points into Seduction to be very good at seducing people? Well, it turns out that Subterfuge can also be used for seducing people, so you're no better at seducing people than someone who's good at lying.

Climbing, Demolition, Flow-Arts, Foraging, Hunting, Jumping, Swimming, Craftwork, and Cryptography note specific effects of successes or difficulties; each roll of Foraging is 2-5 hours (helpful :rolleyes: ) and each success on a climbing roll climbs 5 feet (but if I move up to the movement sidebar in the previous chapter, it's 10 feet per success, and 5 feet under poor conditions). Other skills do not; Hacking is an Extended roll, but how long of a time does each roll represent? Programming? Research? Repair? Surfing the 'net? :iiam:

Detailed information for chases is provided though, with the entirety of the game's chase-rules provided as a note on a list of generic feats one might want to do. If something has dedicated and detailed rules like the combat system, would you look for it in a summarizing table?

The Difficulties of these feats are noted, but about a third of them just say "(varies)" with no further explanation. A particular favourite of mine is Torture and Resistance. Torture is a Resisted [Any Social]+Torture roll with Difficulty 6 against the target's Willpower or STA, with Difficulty "+3 (varies)". That doesn't even make any sense!

Health and Damage
M20 uses a variation of the Revised WoD system, where damage comes in three forms; Bashing, Lethal, and Aggravated. Bashing is marked along the Health track with slashes. Lethal is marked along the Health track when X's. Aggravated is marked along the Health track with asterisks. If your Health track is full of slashes from bashing damage, you mark new bashing damage on top with backwards slashes, turning the slashes into X's. The rules are rather opaque in explaining that this is not just more Bashing damage. I have to skip to the intro to this subchapter to find the statement "Xs designate lethal damage" - otherwise, Bashing-X's aren't really explained to be the same as Lethal-X's, which is important since they have different healing times. Mechanically, Aggravated damage is supposed to be Lethal that you can't heal with First Aid... but it never actually explains this. It's damage caused by special sources, like Lethal it can't be soaked by Stamina, and it can only be healed with Life 3 and time. What would be useful to know is if Aggravated damage means you bleed to death, like Lethal does; once you take 3 or more points of Lethal damage, you automatically take 1 point of Lethal every day until stabilized. Does Aggravated also cause this? :iiam:

Combat

M20 posted:

As Macklemore says, we live on the cusp of death, thinking it won’t be us. That’s especially true for the Awakened, whose intense insights and godlike powers bring them closer than most of us to the mysteries of their mortality. Whether or not he ever faces down a cyborg in a dark alley – or is that cyborg in the alley, facing something worse – a mage has a keen sense of life and death. When violence erupts, as it all too often does, its effects can’t be ignored.
Your book is 687 pages long! You don't need 11 lines of fluff for the combat mechanics chapter!

M20 posted:

To keep the action moving and the drama high, emphasize descriptions over mechanics. Play up the sweat in a hero’s eyes, the whine of ricochets, and the flying chips of plaster thrown around the room by a hail of bullets. The many options detailed below give you something more to do than make yet another attack roll and hear either “You hit” or “You miss.”
Long, flowery descriptions tend to draw out combat though...

I think I'll get into the nitty and gritty of the combat here, because it has a lot of weird cases and strange things the ST has to paper over in the name of realism.

After Initiative has been determined, the player that goes first chooses their attack, followed by the second player, etc. DEX+Firearms or DEX+Energy Weapons for shooty things, DEX+Athletics for throwing things, DEX+Melee for stabby weapons, DEX+Brawl for punchy attacks, and Arete for magickal attacks. There's also DEX+Athletics for special melee attacks, DEX+Martial Arts for fancy punches, and DEX+Do for magickal punches. You may remember there's an Archery skill, but it's not mentioned here. Then, once everyone have chosen their attacksand targets, everyone gets to choose whether to defend. However, defending yourself is an action, so if you've already declared an action this combat round, you need to succeed on a Difficulty 6 Willpower roll to change your mind, or spend 1 Willpower point if the ST will let you, because combat really needs that level of ST arbitration. Then once everyone have chosen their defensive actions, if any, all those things are resolved.

Initiative sucks. The more you have of it, the earlier you go. When you go early, everyone else gets to respond to your declaration that you're attacking; instead of having to roll Willpower to defend, they can just chose to defend if they need to. And if someone attacked you, but were themselves attacked and decided to forgo their attack to defend, you want to go last, so you can say "well then I don't try to defend at all and get my attack!". Yet DEX and WIT add to Initiative, making you go first. I think a completely different part of the rules notes that you can delay your place in the Initiative queue to make take an action that most opportune moment to you, which introduces further headaches as one suddenly has to resolve cascades of people waiting so they can go last...

There's four kinds of defences; three of them are different ways to divide dice between attacks and defence: Dodging subtracts successes on the dodge roll (DEX+Athletics/Acrobatics) from an attack. Blocking subtracts DEX+Brawl defences from a hand to hand attack, or DEX+Martial Arts from thrown attacks and arrows, because karate and judo let you do that. If you block someone who attacked with a melee weapon, they get to roll their attack pool a second time as extra successes (this is poorly explained - exactly how it interacts with negative amounts of successes and the successes rolled on the defense pool is unclear). Parrying is like Block, but for melee weapons with a DEX+Melee pool (there's nothing saying you can't parry with a gun...) - and if someone attacks with their bare arms, you get to an attack of the extra successes from the Parry + your attack pool against them (again what happens with negative successes on such a roll is unclear)

The last kind of defence is a Dodge, except you chose not to do anything else, even previously declared attacks, during your turn, and in return you get to Dodge all attacks against you, but the 2nd roll gets -1 dice, the 3rd roll gets -2 dice, the 4th gets -3 dice, etc.

Then you roll for damage; [Damage]+[successes-1] damage. What does negative damage, which is a possibility, do? :iiam:

M20 posted:

According to the rules presented in other World of Darkness books, those marks are cumulative; if you add that X or asterisk to the top of your Health chart, then you’d add another / to the empty square underneath the marked ones. Unlike vampires and werewolves, however, mages don’t usually regenerate their injuries, and so two or three blows can take a mage out of action unless he’s incredibly fortunate. Therefore, consider it a Storyteller’s judgment call. Your troupe may elect to simply keep the marks as they are – turning slashes into Xs or asterisks if need be but not also adding new slashes to the empty boxes on the track.
Why isn't this under 'Health and Damage'? Why isn't this under 'Health and Damage'?!? Do your bloody job, Lindsay Woodstock.

Then you roll [Stamina] dice to Soak Bashing damage.

So... what does combat involve?

Well, first everyone chooses an attack, then everyone rolls to see if they get to defend, then everyone rolls attacks and defences, including damage from blocking swords with their arms, then everyone rolls damage, then everyone rolls soak. That's 4-6 (blocking swords with bare arms and Soak are less commonplace) dice-rolls per turn per character! And let's forgot that resolution happens after everything has been declared, so everyone have to remember what their character is doing, including the ST who has to remember what all the NPCs are doing! This is a nightmare to keep track of, and an arduous process of rolling all those dice. GURPS combat is simpler than this. Phoenix Command combat is simpler than this. This game! This game. :smithicide:

But we're mages! We can cast magick in combat. And countermagick! :smithicide:

There's four ways to cast magick in combat. We can cast magick using an attack as a focus, we can attack to enhance magick, we can cast magick to enhance an attack, or we can cast magick as an attack or for some effect. When casting with Attack as a Focus, we roll Arete and our attack; if the Arete roll succeeds, the spell goes off. If we also hit our target, the spell actually hits. If we miss the target, the spell misses. If the Arete roll failed, there's no magick. The rules say "there’s no magickal Effect; a punch might land, but a gun will not fire", although why is never explained - can't regularly fired bullets be a focus? I think the way this is supposed to work is that the damage of the spell replaces the damage of the attack, but the rules say that the damage from the spell reflects the damage of the weapon, which would make it sound like the damage from the spell is the damage of the weapon - which would make this entire thing moot. If you replace your weapon-damage with your spell damage though, why would you ever? Magick deals about 2*[Successes] damage on the Arete roll. A katana does [successes on to-hit roll]+[Strength]+3 dice of damage. Even an average person would do more than 5 dice of damage with the katana itself, while they would do about 6 dice of damage with the starting Arete pool. With a firearm, it's [successes]+ 4-6 dice of damage with pistols and [successes] + 7-8 dice of damage with long arms.

If we instead Attack to Enhance Magick, we attack normally, and then get -1 to the Arete-roll's difficulty for each success on the attack up to maximum of -3. Focus plays an important role her; if the attack is the focus is the spell (e.g. firing fancy nanomachine-bullets for a technomancer) this takes one turn - but if the attack is just a preparation for a spell (e.g. using the blood spilled to summon a demon) the spell happens on the next turn.

We can also use Magick to Attack Better; roll Arete, each success gives -1 to an attack roll, up to -3. This is a really powerful effect, since lowered Difficulty means more successes on average. It's also an effect that's really easy to make non-Vulgar. A particular favourite of mine is the NWO focus: "I have received really good training in shooting guns", and then you use this focus to lower the Difficulty of shooting a gun.

Cast a Fireball: Roll Arete and cast a spell. No attack required.

So in addition to the 4-6 rolls made in regular combat, mages will probably roll another time to cast spells enhancing their attacks, or to use the attack as a focus for a spell. This makes for 5-7 rolls per turn per character.

And you know what M20, the ~story~ game about philosophy and deep reflections on the nature of reality needs? Really detailed weapons and combat rules! Do you want full auto (hillariously powerful, at +10 dice, +2 Difficulty) attacks with you gun? Do you want to aim your gun for bonuses to hit? Do you want to use one of the four levels of cover the game provides (one of which is lying prone, which appears not to impair movement speed at all...) Do you want three-round bursts, in case automatic fire wasn't enough? Should the weapon stats tell you which guns you can fit an extra bullet in the chamber of, allowing you to fire 31 bullets out of a gun with a 30-round magazine? Should Kicks and Punches be two separate combat maneuvers with different Difficulties and damage ratings? Of course! Let's also throw in punches to the kidney with stun effects! The game has curbstomping written up as an actual move you can do on an unconscious opponent, because gratuitous violence against unconscious targets should obviously be modelled with the combat rules...

This is a game that doesn't really require you to use miniatures, and certainly doesn't have rules for where someone are facing, but it nonetheless has rules for flanking enemies in melee combat!

Some of the combat manoeuvres are also superfluous; why ever use a Kick (DEX+Brawl, Difficulty 7, STR+1 Bashing) when you can use a Haymaker (DEX+Bawl, Difficulty 7, STR+1 Bashing + knockdown)? But really, all the Brawl combat maneuvers are superfluous when you can use Martial Arts, which is simply better and costs the same during character generation. Why use a Kick when you can use an Elbow/Knee Strike? (DEX+Martial Arts, Difficulty 5, STR+1 Bashing) or the Snap Kick (DEX+Martial Arts, Difficulty 5, STR+1 Bashing) (yes, they are identical). You can pick 2 Martial Arts moves per dot in Martial Arts, out of a total of 16, so if you decide you're going to have any melee combat focus at all you can almost exhaust the list - and even at 1 dot, the Snap Kick is far better than the regular Kick.

Martial Arts also gates some things you probably should be allowed to do ever without formal Martial Arts training; you need to buy the ability to throw people from a grapple with your Martial Arts dots.

Do, the special Martial Art of the Akashics is even more powerful; for every dot in Do a character has, they get 2 MA techniques and 1 Do technique. Unless, of course, you read the description in the summary of Do, which says a devotee of Do may employ any Martial Arts technique as long as they have as many Do dots as the technique requires MA dots. The rules are really full of this kind of poor editing, where one passage will say one thing and another passage will say something else. Do gives a -1 Difficulty bonus to regular melee attacks (though it appears to not let you substitute dots in Do for dots in Brawl, so masters of Do are apparently not necessarily very good at regular punches - the same applies to Martial Arts-masters not being good at Brawl-attacks.) The only real drawbacks of Do is that it's hard to learn, you can only have 2 dots in it at the start of a game, and that it must be practiced for one hour every day - failure to do so will result in a drop of 1 dot/2 weeks until the training-regiment resumes. This is not exactly a huge drawback...

Do can also be used to add successes to any non-violent rolls at the cost of a point of Willpower, in case it wasn't already a ridiculously good investment...

I'm going to cut it short here because this chapter is long. In summary, it's a mess. A complete and utter mess. Where Brucato's lengthy writing and problems sticking to a topic were annoying before, they become genuine problems when he tries to explain rules. Things are poorly explained, rules are in places they shouldn't be, different parts of the book contradict each other, and much like the lengthy lists of Abilities and Backgrounds, the thing is an exercise in maximalism not really befitting of the rest of the game, or the ~story~ aspect Brucato encourages. Mechanics should encourage players to do things, and things that are important should have mechanics that support it. Why, then, are there few rules for supporting ~stories~, while the combat chapter adds complexity that makes GURPS and Phoenix bloody Command look simple in comparison?

:cry:

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Midjack posted:

Excellent, and I was glad to hear that there were a couple of mechanical jewels bobbing in the slime of the game. Have to imagine that art is pretty heinous, though!

I'll scan some of it when I next have an opportunity and put it up. It's basically like slightly worse versions of characters from the movies. I don't think there's a single picture in it that isn't a character from the films, which gets increasingly weird as they introduce stuff like dwarves and gnomes that weren't actually in the movie (I had thought that the two priests in the teapot church might be gnomes, but the book actually calls out the priest class as being mostly a fairy thing).

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Man, wait till you guys get to the Revelations supplements for In Nomine. If you think their treatment of Islam is potentially problematic now, wait till you get to the explicitly Muslim Archangel of Faith, who is about one bad day away from giving the thumbs up to suicide bombers.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



PantsOptional posted:

Man, wait till you guys get to the Revelations supplements for In Nomine. If you think their treatment of Islam is potentially problematic now, wait till you get to the explicitly Muslim Archangel of Faith, who is about one bad day away from giving the thumbs up to suicide bombers.

Honestly, we've already got one Archangel giving the thumbs-up to neo-nazis and the Bundy militia as written. I don't see this as a particularly big escalation from there.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Oh, Khalid.

:sigh:

Oh, writers.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

Oh, Khalid.

:sigh:

Oh, writers.

And of course the explicit lesbian Archangels ended in one turning evil and the other withdrawing completely from the world.

I like In Nomine so far, have been taking notes, and would like to try to run a game, but I think some setting tinkering will be in order first.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Setting tinkering and, I'd suggest, a better system. Fate, maybe.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Probably. I think I'd tone down David's brutality a little, seeing groups like skinheads and militias as fundamentally dividing the greater community rather than strengthening it, and I think I'd make Dominic more merciful and willing to work with others as I previously mentioned, probably giving him a more overt sense of empathy - he is Judgment, and that to me implies understanding why the accused did what they did even if he disagrees and must serve a higher purpose and law beyond any individual.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



LatwPIAT posted:




Some of the combat manoeuvres are also superfluous; why ever use a Kick (DEX+Brawl, Difficulty 7, STR+1 Bashing) when you can use a Haymaker (DEX+Bawl, Difficulty 7, STR+1 Bashing + knockdown)? But really, all the Brawl combat maneuvers are superfluous when you can use Martial Arts, which is simply better and costs the same during character generation. Why use a Kick when you can use an Elbow/Knee Strike? (DEX+Martial Arts, Difficulty 5, STR+1 Bashing) or the Snap Kick (DEX+Martial Arts, Difficulty 5, STR+1 Bashing) (yes, they are identical). You can pick 2 Martial Arts moves per dot in Martial Arts, out of a total of 16, so if you decide you're going to have any melee combat focus at all you can almost exhaust the list - and even at 1 dot, the Snap Kick is far better than the regular Kick.

Martial Arts also gates some things you probably should be allowed to do ever without formal Martial Arts training; you need to buy the ability to throw people from a grapple with your Martial Arts dots.

Except why would you take any other maneuver when one of the available ones is Death Strike, an attack at a Difficulty (target number) of 5 rather than the normal 6, which deals Strength + 2 Lethal damage-i.e. many of the people you fight will have their effective soak against it reduced by anywhere from 2 to 5 points. Note that having a sword lets you deal Str + 2 lethal damage, but a sword can be taken away from you while your Martial Arts cannot. Well, not easily.

Martial Arts literally obsoletes melee unless you're using the greataxe (Diff 7, Str + 6 Lethal damage). On a 10-dice pool, which is relatively easy to get yourself up to soon after chargen, Mr. Fists of Fury with Str 5 Martial Arts 5 will be averaging 5 successes on his rolls, for a total of Str + 6L damage, while Mr. Axe Murderer will be averaging 2 successes on his rolls for a total of Str + 8L damage... except the fists are more versatile, more easily kept on your person, and are much more likely to hit an evading combatant.

So really, at a high level of expertise, fists are generally better than a giant fuckoff axe as a weapon-they lose a small bit of damage potential but are far less likely to botch and far more likely to hit. At least this means that the true way to fight hand to hand isn't having a katana.

MJ12 fucked around with this message at 06:17 on Jan 20, 2016

Emy
Apr 21, 2009


MJ12 posted:

Except why would you take any other maneuver when one of the available ones is Death Strike, an attack at a Difficulty (target number) of 5 rather than the normal 6, which deals Strength + 2 Lethal damage-i.e. many of the people you fight will have their effective soak against it reduced by anywhere from 2 to 5 points. Note that having a sword lets you deal Str + 2 lethal damage, but a sword can be taken away from you while your Martial Arts cannot. Well, not easily.

Martial Arts literally obsoletes melee unless you're using the greataxe (Diff 7, Str + 6 Lethal damage). On a 10-dice pool, which is relatively easy to get yourself up to soon after chargen, Mr. Fists of Fury with Str 5 Martial Arts 5 will be averaging 5 successes on his rolls, for a total of Str + 6L damage, while Mr. Axe Murderer will be averaging 2 successes on his rolls for a total of Str + 7L damage... except the fists are more versatile, more easily kept on your person, and are much more likely to hit an evading combatant.

So really, at a high level of expertise, fists are better than a giant fuckoff axe as a weapon. At least this means that the true way to fight hand to hand isn't having a katana.

I think you mean Dex 5 Martial Arts 5, for Fury. Also, assuming equivalent skill, Murderer gets 3 successes average, not 2.

I mostly bring this up because

LatwPIAT posted:

After Initiative has been determined, the player that goes first chooses their attack, followed by the second player, etc. DEX+Firearms or DEX+Energy Weapons for shooty things, DEX+Athletics for throwing things, DEX+Melee for stabby weapons, DEX+Brawl for punchy attacks, and Arete for magickal attacks. There's also DEX+Athletics for special melee attacks, DEX+Martial Arts for fancy punches, and DEX+Do for magickal punches. You may remember there's an Archery skill, but it's not mentioned here. Then, once everyone have chosen their attacksand targets, everyone gets to choose whether to defend. However, defending yourself is an action, so if you've already declared an action this combat round, you need to succeed on a Difficulty 6 Willpower roll to change your mind, or spend 1 Willpower point if the ST will let you, because combat really needs that level of ST arbitration. Then once everyone have chosen their defensive actions, if any, all those things are resolved.

Dexterity is every splat's second power stat. This kind of thing happens in just about every World of Darkness (and now, Chronicles of Darkness) game line. Dex to hit things, Dex to not get hit, Dex indirectly to damage because extra attack successes roll over into affecting damage, etc.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Emy posted:

I think you mean Dex 5 Martial Arts 5, for Fury. Also, assuming equivalent skill, Murderer gets 3 successes average, not 2.

I mostly bring this up because

Dexterity is every splat's second power stat. This kind of thing happens in just about every World of Darkness (and now, Chronicles of Darkness) game line. Dex to hit things, Dex to not get hit, Dex indirectly to damage because extra attack successes roll over into affecting damage, etc.

I do mean Dex 5 Martial Arts 5. Nevertheless, the big fuckoff axe is literally a sidegrade to MAXIMUM FISTING. It actually gets even worse when dealing with mages, who can buff their physical stats (so that extra damage means less relatively speaking) and lower their attack difficulties.

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


Mors Rattus posted:

I quite like Dominic, though I wish they'd play up the flexible gender identity more - so few angels have it when they're all essentially sexless, and Dominic/Dominique doing it to the hilt would be neat. I like a sympathetic Dominic, if not one Heaven likes much, because it's just too easy to go 'oh, actually the brooding, gloomy cop angel is the bad angel,' it's such an obvious idea that it's boring.

E: In Nomine is not actively published but the PDFs are still sold. And trust me, we're far from done with 'kind of problematic about Islam' in this game line. Hi, Khalid!

I just assume all the angels are androgonysly bisexual, like in that Neil Gaiman comic about a murder mystery in Heaven that I forget the name of. Gabriel looks like Destiny of the Endless too.

quote:

As Macklemore says, we live on the cusp of death, thinking it won’t be us. That’s especially true for the Awakened, whose intense insights and godlike powers bring them closer than most of us to the mysteries of their mortality. Whether or not he ever faces down a cyborg in a dark alley – or is that cyborg in the alley, facing something worse – a mage has a keen sense of life and death. When violence erupts, as it all too often does, its effects can’t be ignored.

I take back every word I've typed defending this book. Why put the least cool rapper in your book about cool mages?

F.A.T.A.L & Friends 4: As Mackmore says....

Something something find this in a thrift shop (that would be a great find though).

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 06:36 on Jan 20, 2016

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Spheres of Power

Enhancement addendum - animated objects

I neglected to mention in my previous post that the Animate Object Enhancement actually grants stats to such objects.

At caster level 1, you can only animate Tiny-sized objects. They have 1d10 HP and can have a maximum of 1 Construction Point. The example of a Tiny object is a candelabra.

At caster level 5, you can animate Medium-sized objects. They have 3d10+20 HP and can have a maximum of 2 Construction Points. The example of a Medium object is a cage, bigger than a Small-sized chair, smaller than a Large-sized statue.

At caster level 20 you can animate Colossal-sized objects, such as ships, and they'll have 13d10+80 HP with 6 Construction Points.

For the purposes of this discussion, I'll lay out the statblock of an animated Medium-sized object:

pre:
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision;
Perception –5
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14 (+4 natural)
hp 36 (3d10+20)
Fort +1, Ref +1, Will -4
Defensive Abilities hardness 5; Immune construct
traits
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee slam +5 (1d6+3)
STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 10, Con —, Int —, Wis 1, Cha 1
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 15
Construction Points are then things that grant the animated object additional abilities. The game implies that the GM can decide to grant some of these abilities "for free" based on things like what the object is made from or what the object actually is, and then the caster can spend their allotted Construction Points to add even more features.

Going through the list, they're mostly very similar to the Alteration talents, which I'm told also closely resembles the Eidolon rules, so mostly imagine those:
Additional Attack
Additional Natural Attack
Additional Movement
Augmented Critical
Burn
Constrict
Faster
Grab
Metal
Piercing Attack
Pull
Ranged Attack
Resistance
Slashing Attack
Stone
Trample
Trip

Finally, there are Flaws:
Brittle means the object is vulnerable to cold.
Cloth means the object's hardness is 0.
Clunky means the object is always Staggered.
Flammable means the object is vulnerable to fire.
Slower means the object loses 10 feet off of one of its movement modes.

Again, the GM can say that an animated object has one of these Flaws as a function of the object itself, and in exchange the object gains an additional Construction Point.

The hit rates of these slam attacks against same-level, Warrior-type monsters will range between 30% to 45%, but I think it might be a problem that even if a Huge animated item is capable of hitting a CR 11 threat a little less than half the time, it might be challenging to come up with more and more objects and justifications for it fitting into your current surroundings regularly.

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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


Cythereal posted:

Probably. I think I'd tone down David's brutality a little, seeing groups like skinheads and militias as fundamentally dividing the greater community rather than strengthening it, and I think I'd make Dominic more merciful and willing to work with others as I previously mentioned, probably giving him a more overt sense of empathy - he is Judgment, and that to me implies understanding why the accused did what they did even if he disagrees and must serve a higher purpose and law beyond any individual.

I dunno, what little Oi! and street punk music I've heard has tons of songs about brotherhood and stuff, but why not have him ONLY support the SHARPS and anti-racist skins and Antifa? You can still play a badass skinhead, just an explicitly good one.

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