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Jan 7, 2015

Atomic Robo is the prettiest of all pretty boys.


Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!

I was thinking how an interesting strategy game might be made out of playing as one of the AIs, but realized someone was already making that, albeit as a space 4X.

Apr 8, 2009

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

I was thinking how an interesting strategy game might be made out of playing as one of the AIs, but realized someone was already making that, albeit as a space 4X.

Which game is this? This sounds like something I'd be interested in.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Doresh posted:

Atomic Robo is the prettiest of all pretty boys.
"As a killer robot in the employ of Zaire, my job takes me to all sorts of exotic places. And when you're spending day after day shooting humans and blowing up houses, you don't really have time to shop for yourself to look as good as you can. That's why I pick my wardrobe from Lord and Taylor: stylish clothes for practical uses. I like my clothes to speak for me, and this black men's tee says plenty."

Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!

MJ12 posted:

Which game is this? This sounds like something I'd be interested in.

I have The Viceroy, their previous game, which is interesting but they talk a real big game in that description blurb which makes me kind of leery.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 1: War Never Changes

Michael knows that God exists, created him and made the universe. God is right, Lucifer is wrong, and that's all there is to it. If Michael doesn't understand God's plans...well, he doesn't have to. He just needs faith. Michael resents being forced into politics, but will take any strategic action required to support his Word and keep Heaven on a professional footing rather than wasting time debating matters like Peace or Heresy. Fortunately, he can usually count on the warlike Archangels without need for long discussion, as he's rather impatient.

Superior Opinions posted:

Blandine: So many humans dream about a warrior or champion to protect them. This is Michael's role, and I must admit he serves it well, though he often acts in a more brutal manner than I find appropriate.
Is it really a good idea to quell the fears of mankind in a world of false imagery? How does that prepare them? I often wonder if Nightmares aren't better for our case; I'd like to see Blandine take the initiative to control the entire realm of Dream. Contentment isn't an attribute of a good soldier.
David: One of my oldest comrades-in-arms. He believes that he can fight alone, perhaps even defeat the whole of Hell alone, but this doesn't alter his capabilities. Still, he knows what he's doing in battle, and he understands that this is a War we have to win by any means necessary. My Servitors aid his.
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.
Dominic: The fact that he dislikes me is irrelevant. His trial is past and done, by God's command: he has his part to play and his Word to support, as do I. I find no particular fault with his Servitors, and shall save my time for clearer dangers. If his personal passions cloud his judgment, that is his error and not mine.
Dominic is 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.
Eli: Well, hey, you have to admire his enthusiasm, you know? Thing is, he doesn't stop to think about what happens after the fight's over. Everyone else has to pick up the pieces. He's got style, though. An individualist. Gotta love that.
Maybe Eli is doing what he needs to be doing - and I won't help Dominic persecute him - but the middle of the War is no drat time to go AWOL! His Servitors are good fighters. I have nothing to say against them. I just want a little talk with him.
Gabriel: He is one of the few who knows the battle which we fight in. His passion is a fire which will hold him steady through his battles. His Servitors can be cruel, and feel my wrath for it, yet they have an ardor that few can match. Courage is their flame, a constant one.
I am concered by her unpredictability, but I would not take action against her. She carries the original spark of the Divine. If the situation deteriorates, I would not hesitate to do what must be done...though it would be a tragic day for us all.
Janus: He appreciates that we need to be moving on all fronts. He's more effective than Laurence, and we need speed and range in our fight. We should have him out there and on the front lines. He understands that we need action!
I have never doubted Janus' dedication or strength. If only he could learn when to husband his strength, or when to sustain an effort. And I don't need changing.
Jean: I'd appreciate his work more if he didn't keep trying to interfere in mine. My Word is little concerned with his, but he seems to consider my Servitors as automatic auxiliaries. We have more important things to be doing than attempting to dismember every adversary in sight bare-handed. Laurence at least lets me work in peace.
He's a tinkering, slow-moving, over-analyzing craftsman. He does good work, but he needs to remember his ancient principle of Lightning more often, rather than getting lost inside his gadgets. And he doesn't trust humans enough.
Jordi: We have had our differences; his armies have laid waste the land and left no place for my animals behind. Purposeful war is a folly of humans and ants: most of my animals are wiser. Still, he works for the greater victories, and as long as he does not engage in petty politics, I will not oppose him.
One of my oldest brothers, but we work in totally different areas. I protect his animals where I can, but if the War threatens them, then it threatens them. It's not as if the humans are any safer.
Laurence: I am humbled by his skill and strength. It sometimes worries me that I and not he hold the title of Commander of the Armies of God, until I see the damage that can be done by the lack of overall coordination, and realize again that we need a commander and not simply a champion. He views me as a youth still, and I always welcome his advice. Perhaps some day I will earn his full confidence.
He is brave and noble. His talents seem wasted in the Eternal City, though. He should be down there carving up the vessels of Lucifer's servants, not moving our warriors around like chessmen. He's a terror, or can be...but he expects mechanical perfection from the angels, and as much honor from Hell as he has himself. His sight is keen, but his vision blurs when he looks at the War from a distance. We elders try to counsel him, and we try also to remember that he must have been given his post for a reason.
Marc: He's not the sort of person I'd care to have as a negotiator. He's too fond of the idea of Armageddon, and not open enough to the idea of compromise. Our team needs to be pulling together, and we can't function when half of it is engaging in dominance struggles or at each other's throats. The thing is, he's a peacemaker too, and a good one. I just wish he didn't think war always has to come first.
Marc and I often work together, but he surrenders too much of himself to win his battles. I appreciate the lengths he's willing to go to, however - he understands that this is a War which we must win, by any means necessary.
Novalis: Sometimes I think the parts of him that could actually relax, or imagine a world at peace...well, they're all burned out. He's been fighting too long, been War so much that he's lost the chance to be anything else. I feel sorry for him. He's wonderful at what he does, but when you look in his eyes you can see that he's gone past expressing himself in anything but force, however much he cares. He needs to let go, and I'm not sure that he can any more.
If she'd had her way during the Fall, we'd all be hanging from Lucifer's walls, trying to explain love to Balseraphs. Thank God she wasn't distracting me back then. Plants can be very effective - she doesn't use her full potential. At least she does understand the concept of protection.
Yves: War is a harsh Word to bear. He has gathered the years of his Word around him as a shield to protect himself from all other things. Time can refine the vision, or distort it: it will become clear, regardless.
I stood by his side to defend Gabriel. I don't think we've really talked since without fighting. He's wrong about so much.
Andrealphus: My Servitors and I know all about struggles and battles, even if we don't use quite the same methods as he does. At least he doesn't preach against sex - he's far too violent, but not really moral opposition in the way that some of the others are.
Andrealphus refuses to see what he has lost. Once his Love ennobled the brotherhood of warriors - now his Lust degrades them. It would be a mercy killing.
Asmodeus: He is undisciplined, arrogant, and proud. It is unreasonable and unjust that God should have pardoned him for his sins. I await Baal's inevitable victory - and am glad to share news of Renegades from War's ranks with Dominic.
There is something worse than Dominic, and it's Asmodeus. Give me just one more piece of reliable information of their collaboration, and I look forward to sharing it with the Seraphim Council.
Baal: At Armageddon I will test my strength against Michael, and I will conquer and prove myself the stronger. In the meantime, there is no one else of sufficient mettle to measure myself against - and two old acquaintances can talk. But if my Servitors should be defeated by his, there'll be Hell to pay.
Baal...he's wrong. But he fought for what he believed in, and he's my brother still. We can talk while we're waiting for Armageddon.
Beleth: I want his fear, and I can't have it. There has to be something which Michael fears, some ultimate damnation or loss or degradation - and when I know what it is, he'll pay for all the times he dared to laugh in my face.
I have to admire her skill as a commander. It's a pity that it's wasted in the service of Hell. The fear of God is a part of Heaven; if I knew a way to get her back, I'd use it.
Belial: He's a bully with an overblown reputation. I'd try to deal with him myself if it wasn't for Baal's attitude that only he gets to kill Michael. One of the few strong Archangels, and a dangerous lunatic.
A brute and a lunatic, but strong through destruction. I'd like him disposed of - both because it'd weaken Hell, and because it'd strengthen Gabriel. Unfortunately, he has enough sense to avoid me.
Haagenti: Too big a mouthful at the moment. Give me time. Only hunger lasts forever.
The mindless gluttony that drives good soldiers to sack and loot. A Prince who fought his way up from the bottom deserves wariness - but let him get in my way, and I'll show him what age and experience count for.
Kobal: Poor Michael. Poor, poor Michael. In his stubbornness and blind integrity, he goes on struggling and perpetuating this inane War, mirroring Baal till the two are a matched joke. He achieves nothing, and he only continues to cause humanity pain by making them live in the middle of his War. I could laugh. But after millennia it grows stale.
Kobal is a corruption of the human spirit, and he steals their hopes of victory, of success, of anything - he destroys a warrior's spirit with despair and mockery. He's more of a threat than he seems.
Kronos: Michael's Fate? Yes, heh as one, just as the whole of Creation does. For the moment, he is already rejecting Destiny. His blind struggles will lead him where they must.
I don't pretend to understand him any more than I do Yves. He's as incomprehensible and as mystical. But I do know that he is evil. My fight is to bring the universe to what God wants, not to let it fall to some Fate.
Lilith: He understands about mercenaries and free agents, and I know where I stand when I'm dealing with him. I'm not stupid enough to try to face him in battle or meet him down dark alleys.
Sometimes she has information. And she knows better than to lie about its value. But she should never be trusted. Not even by the Princes. She'd rather be on her own side.
Malphas: Sowing discord between Michael and the that's hardly a challenge, given his sense of pride and thin skin. Always useful, though. He's blind war - you just need to point him in the right direction.
Malphas flatters himself if he thinks he can divide my Servitors. I'm quite happy to have him splitting Hell into Factions, however; he's dangerous and perverse, but at least he's doing one useful thing in his life there.
Nybbas: He's prime footage, baby, I'll give him that, but it's so passe after a while, know what I mean? All war, war, war, not a hint of Archangel Sex Scandal Rocks Seraphim Council, Prosecution Expected, Tune In Tomorrow! And his guys are just such a skew on the population curve when he has his people meet my people. You'd think they didn't even watch television.
Of all the frauds and fakeries in Hell, he's done the most to damage the traditional values of heroism with his propaganda and feel-good nonsense. A man does not have to be a tortured antihero to stand up for what he believes in. He's polluting the classic stories which have inspired generations, and I want it stopped.
Saminga: Everything dies. Including Archangels. But he kills a lot of people. That's good too.
A pile of slime which Baal knows how to point in the right direction. An effective weapon for Hell, but about as intelligent as one of his own zombies.
Valefor: You mean I'm supposed to get worried about a fossilized old relic who's as rusty as his axe? I can outrun him any day you care to name, and any of my Servitors stupid enough to stand and fight deserves what they get. (Oh, and if any of them do get hold of that axe of his...let me know.)
He's not a serious danger on the battlefield, but he can cause a great deal of pain to humans by stealing the trophies which they treasure. After all, it's only natural for a man to care about what he's won through his blood, sweat and tears...
Vapula: One must have a suitable opposition for beta-testing in the field, and for the worthy to prove themselves against. Deluded and wrong as Michael is about God's purposes, I have to respect his raw strength. Fortunately there isn't a brain associated with it.
Insane and dangerously intelligent. A formidable strength to their side. It's a pity he's a Punisher - with him and Jean cooperating, the situation would be very different.
Humanity: They are part of the universe, and god has set us to protect them from the snares and corruptions of Lucifer. It is as simple as that. Every soul who goes down into Hell is one lost to God, and every soul who struggles to become greater is one who will know the presence of God in a way that the angels may never know. I won't patronize them by assuming they can't be strong - part of my task is to inspire them to reach for the heights. And defend them when they try.
Soldiers: They've got the guts to stand up and fight in the face of Hell - I approve. They're not cannon-fodder, and any of my Servitors whom I catch with that point of view are due some humility.
Sorcerers: Apart from the facts that they're usually selling their souls for what they're doing, and that they have the life expectancy of hamsters on highways, they can be intelligent. A few of them try to work independently of Hell - those can be useful allies, as long as the Hyena doesn't catch on.
Ethereals: Uriel made a mistake in turning them into enemies. Some of them knew the meaning of honor, and hated Hell nearly as much as we do. I still know where to find those particular ones, too.

A darker Michael will do literally anything to win. He'll sacrifice soldiers to win battles, sacrifice battles to win wars, all in the name of the greater good. He believes that humans must struggle to fight their way to Heaven, and any casualties are acceptable to win. He might force or blackmail other Archangels to support him and use their angels as cannon fodder. The War at any price. In a comedic campaign, he's lighter, the Macho Man with bare chest and blazing guns, with explosions behind him. In quieter times, he's in the corner with beer and pipe and combat boots on the table. At meetings, he's always fretting about how everyone should be out storming Hell. With his angels, he's one of the boys, out to crack heads and kick asses. Ther are rumors of duels and competitions with beings of all stripes.

Michael's more than a little hypocritical about Dominic.

It is said that when Lucifer called the angels to him during the Fall, Michael came to speak against him. None of the newly Fallen dared to strike the Firstborn, and he went to Lucifer alone. Lucifer asked him how he could be content to submit to God instead of testing himself and conquering in freedom. He offered Michael leadership. Michael said simply that he served the Truth of God, and that Lucifer had made himself the Lie and was Light no more. Then there was war in Heaven, and Michael cast Lucifer down.

The Fallen of War have their own stories. They say that when Michael duelled Laurence, he demanded a price for letting Laurence live. The cost was this: that Laurence would never interfere with Michael's actions or command him. He could make suggestions for Michael to take or leave, but he would not accept orders. They say Laurence agreed and was spared. They quote this story to support their own actions in Falling, saying it proves that the strong can do as they will. Angels of War and the Sword deny it entirely.

None will claim the tale, but there is one about Michael and Yves, at the birth of Islam. They say that Michael went to the Library, for the first ime in decades, to speak to Yves. They walked together, and three times Michael asked him why he acted as he did. Three times, Yves told him he'd been acting as he thought best. At last, Michael said that if Yves would not trust him, he would not trust Yves, and left the Library. He has never returned to it.

Michael rules over the Groves as his Cathedral. The high treetops belong to Janus and the underground to David, but ground level is Michael's. His angels work there with the souls of the Saints to train and perform war games. They are not forbidden to go to other parts of Heaven, but they like being on their own turf, and most Warriors can be found in the fields, clearings or tents of the Groves. It can be unnerving to visitors, especially as some of them enjoy challenging strangers to spar. Those who decline will not be molested, but will not be accepted in the way those who are prepared to fight will be. The endpoints of Tethers are scattered about the groves in rough stone arches, convenient for moving supplies ot troops. They often serve as nexuses for casual gatherings, chats and games. The tents are a reasonable distance fro mthe practice grounds, to avoid collisions. There are a number of low and unmarked buildings about the camp, where relics, weapons and records are stored, which can extend down several levels, though never into the Catacombs. They are guarded by angels of War who check the identity of anyone claiming to have been assigned weapons, as sometimes a Warrior will try to get something big and dangerous without going through authority.

The Relic Bunker is a low bunker believed to house most of the relics handed out to angels of War. Despite numerous attempts by the Wind, it has never actually been breached, even with explosives. The only entrance is guarded by several Cherubim, Seraphim and Elohim, who reqire authorizaiton to let anyone have anything. They don't allow visitors in for any reason, instead bring out assigned items. Often, orders will include return of the relic, and the Cherubim get quite annoyed at damaged relics - even to the point of challenging to duels, as failing to keep weapons in good condition is unsuitable for Michael's angels.

Next time: More of Heaven

Apr 22, 2014


gradenko_2000 posted:

Spheres of Power

By request, our next Sphere is:


Storm lord is a hell of a talent, and I can't see any weather-caster not beelining for that, even if they have to deal with the rounds of set-up before they can start making GBS threads lightning bolts all over the enemy.

Walking around with a bubble of Extreme Cold and passing out parkas to your teammates is interesting, since they only have to deal with the fort saves (and if you're a winter ranger type person, you can make Survival rolls to help them auto-pass the save DC). Unfortunately it doesn't work very well since enemies only have to make their first save vs. Fatigue after ten minutes in your storm and take their first freezing damage after one minute, when battles don't last that long. If it was possible to front-load those saves it would be more worth-while, but I don't see being a frost mage being very viable in this sphere.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 1: War In Heaven

The Military Records bunker exists because while Michael hates Dominic, he firmly believes in military intelligence. It holds all records, Distinctions and so on, but on the lower level it also contains data gathered by his agents. Most Warriors and several other angels suspect but can't prove there are secret records down there. At the bottom is a lock only Michael can open, holding his personal records of all useful mercenaries, allies and non-hostiles he can count on, which includes ethereals, sorcerers and even some demons. Judgment would not be happy to learn this. Entry to the upper bunker, to check on records, takes permission from the Cherubim on duty. The lower levels with the confidential information needs permission from a superior officer and clearance to get past the Malakim and Seraphim on guard. No one but Michael gets into that locked area at the bottom. The secret records are also encoded, just in case an angel accidentally finds a way in from Yves' Library.

Michael's Feasting Tables are overseen by Doxas, Angel of Glory, who leads the rest of the Warriors in feasting and song, telling of great exploits. While anyone is theoretically welcome, obvious outsiders are going to get asked to tell a story of their own deeds. Cowering or being unable to will result in being ejected or isolated. Creationers show up often to hear the stories, as do the souls of children, however much the angels try to stop them.

The Dueling Grounds lie at the center of the Groves. They are used by warrior angels to settle matters of honor. While more peaceful angels dislike it, Michael, Janus and David all ecnourage their angels to settle things there. Musashi and Cyrano de Bergerac will serve as seconds for those that require them and any senior angel of War can be a judge. The duel is always stipulated first - first blood, first serious wound or yield. Weapons of all kinds are available, and bare-handed fighting is also allowed. Duels to the death are forbidden. Anyone that cheats are atttacks after a yield will be suppressed by the Warriors present to watch, and there's always some. The excuse of getting carried away by enthusiasm is not approved of but is long as any Seraphim present say it's true. Malicious cheating will result in being ejected from the Groves and reported to your boss. If the cheat is an angel of War, theat reputation will spread, and they don't like cheaters.

Warriors stick together almost as much as David's angels do. They are often seen as prickly, oversensitive and too proud for their own good, as well as prone to starting fights. However, they do share a brotherhood of warriors, no matter where the battle takes place. They enjoy humans that imitate their courage, stubbornness and self-sacrifice. Many of them can see more similarities in those humans than in some angels, and it can lead to a camaraderie that amazes angels that are used to the idea of angels of War being proud and arrogant.

Less thoughtful Warriors tend to divide others into a split of combatants and civilians. Combatants are expected to hold their own in a fight, stand up for themselves and handle reasonable injury. Civilians are unfit to fight and must be protected to the death. This applies to both angels and humans, and a civilian may be treated with more respect than a half-hearted combatant that fails to do their best. A Mercurian of Flowers who won't fight may be wrong, but they're be treated better than a Malakite of Lightning that tries to avoid combat. Warriors like those who stand by their beliefs, even if those beliefs are incorrect. More perceptive Warriors believe that anyone can struggle for their beliefs, just in their own ways. They avoid the civilian/combatant dichotomy, judging others by situation and merit. They also only give assistance when they feel actually needed, ignoring those situations where someone should be able to do it themselves.

Michael runs a military organization, but a rather personal one. Junior angels obey their seniors, but there's rarely a direct chain of command. Angels take orders from Michael, obey any seniors present and get the job done. Any angel of War that ignores information or help from another, even a junior, and screwed up as a result will get a reprimand, as would any Warrior that followed chain of command into error. Winning is what matters. Of course, those angels that make a name for themselves and collect Distinctions or trophies are better supported, as they've proven superior and worthy of respect.

The most common organizational structure for angels of War resembles Celtic warbands, with a group of similarly ranked fighters under one chapion. However, they also tend to have a number of skilled specialists. They may even include humans or, more rarely, ethereals, Lilim, Outcasts or Renegades. This needs clearance from Michael at the earliest opportunity and should not be waved in front of Judgment or those that might take offense. Michael himself sometimes assigns non-angels to a group, too. Stories of each others' deeds are traded between angels, and it's said that Doxas, the Angel of Glory, can recall the deeds of any Warrior and often does. While a holder of a higher Distinction would not expect other Archangels' servants to know it, they would expect any angel of War to recognize their name and eed without reminders.

As one rises in power, Michael expects you to give time to training others, even as he does. Junior angels are usually assigned to learn from seniors, if not serve them, and older PCs are expected to keep an eye on younger angels of War around them and keep them from too much trouble. If several angels of Michael are in an area, they usually understand who's in charge, deciding it via spars, cooperation or just comparing stories. That angel will be in charge of coordination, passing on orders and taking care of everyone else. If there's a Tether nearby, it'll be the acting base and the Seneschal will be the de facto information relay, if not always the one in charge. Squabbles about who's best are unusual, especially when they might endanger an operation, and will earn rebukes from Michael.

Michael tends not to sponsor structured organizations on Earth, leaving that to Laurence and Dominic. He instead works with separate human agents, each with their own cell, that can team up as needed. Often it'll be one Soldier, angel or Saint that gathers a team of various skills around themselves, who may or may not be either Soldiers or aware of the War at all. The head can then contact other heads or the local War Tether as circumstances dictate. This means that if one cell is found, it won't compromise other groups necessarily. However, it also means a cell can be lost or corrupted without anyone knowing about it. To prevent that, Tethers of War usually ask for regular check-ins from the cell head.

Humans serving Michael have unusual freedom, for Soldiers. Angels of War tend to look at them more as younger siblings than as mere humans, considering them bound in the brotherhood of warriors, regardless of gender. Some of these humans may be rather unenthused about humbly obeying non-War angels, having grown used to more equal relationships. It's unlikely to lead to outright disobedience, but could lead to questioning reasons for orders or offering their own suggestions. Michael believes that if angels are, in fact, superior, they should be able to handle this and besides, humans are supposed to think for themselves anyway. Soldiers of War aren't always martial or military. Some work with the police, hospitals, schools or - well, anywhere that the spirit of War can prosper. They're people that stand up for their rights and the rights of others, who will risk defeat for the sake of victory and who believe deeply in their causes. A local Tether or ranking angel will have the names of all Soldiers and aware humans nearby, and may activate them as needed.

Michael is known to his angels as tough but fair. He expects a lot from them, and doesn't bother with performance reviews or codes of honor - he just wants them fight Hell wherever and whenever they find it. This means both freedom and responsibility. Angels of War can pick their methods and targets, but they have to answer to Michael and their own conscience. Michael's usually understanding if you had good intentions, but he expects you know you hosed up and to take your punishment 'like a man.' Michael is kind of aggressively masculine. Further, you have no one else to blame - any fuckup is your fuckup, and the guy you have to report it to is Michael himself. In return, he will protect you. He'll yell at you if you do wrong, but he won't let anyone else do it. Ambition is generally out of a real desire to excel and help people, not just a hunger for power, which Michael discourages when he finds it. He prefers camraderie and angels that help each other and tell each other stories. Some things, however, are beyond both Michael and his angels. They don't understand cowardice, indecision, inaction or giving up. Anyone who does any of those things is going to have a lot of explaining to do, and would probably be best off asking to serve another Archangel. Michael will usually allow this, preferring to lose one of his children then make a non-warrior try to serve him with unacceptable faults.

Next time: Codes and trophies

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011


Is part of the joke that Heaven has like 3 separate War/battle Angels?

Nov 9, 2011

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


Often an off-screen power, but the party might witness it once or twice. Supernatural/damned vampires may be able to speak with the dead or raise them as corpse servitors. Mutant or alien vampires may be able to gather information via psychometry, or eat the brain of the dead to obtain the secrets locked inside.

Maybe vampires can possess anyone if they make eye contact, or if they've fed from the person in the past. A possession attempt is a mental attack, and triggeres a 7-point Stability test - if you fail, the vampire can control your body and see through your eyes. The victim may gain all of the vampire's weaknesses, and in a Stakes game, you may be able to invoke your Drive for refresh during the contest. The book notes that some players hate losing control of their character, even temporarily, so be careful with this one.

Body Jumping
A spirit vampire may jump between bodies, gaining more power (and more weaknesses) the longer it stays in one body. Either it leaves empty corpses behind, or it keeps swapping bodies with its next victim.

Hive Mind
Possessed bodies get added to a greater mass consciousness. All bodies in the vampire's collective share knowledge and memory, and can coordinate perfectly. For each extra hive mind body in a combat, lower one enemy's Hit Threshold by one.

Vampires can have a wide variety of levels of health regeneration that make them even more of a pain in the rear end to kill:
  • Spend Aberrance 1-for-1 to restore Health
  • All damage regenerates at sunset, or after a few minutes
  • A fixed amount of health regenerates each round
  • Half of all damage taken regenerates immediately or at the beginning of the next round
  • All damage from physical weapons regenerates immediately or at the beginning of the next round
  • All damage regenerates immediately or at the beginning of the next round
If all damage regenerates immediately, it will be VERY hard to stop a vampire without using their explicit weaknesses.

Resurrection Only
The vampire doesn't regenerate, but after being killed, if it wasn't killed in the right way, it can rise again later at full health.

General simple things like retracting claws or fangs is free. Unlike werewolves, narrative convention is for vampires to retain their clothing when they change their shape and then reform.

Blurry, hard-to-pinpoint vampires, either due to being part ghost, part shadow, or quantum unstable. While distorted, Hit Threshold is 1-2 points higher, but sunlight or UV light may cancel it.

Mimic Form
After feeding from someone, the vampire can steal their form, indistinguishable from the original save perhaps for some vampire tells, such as not casting a shadow. Even more powerful vampires may be able to mimic the skills of their target - spend 2 Aberrance to shift, then spend more later to modify any roll at a general ability that the human was good at.

Turn into Creature
Become a bat, wolf, swarm of rats, or some other animal form. May heal all damage sustained before transforming. Witnessing the transformation is a 4-point Stability test.

Turn into Mist
May also be a swarm of flies or something. Become intangible, immune to all physical damage, and gain the ability to flow through tiny spaces. Aberrance test to move against the wind, +2 Stealth modifier, fire still does 1 damage.

Turn to Monstrous Form
The Castlevania Endboss Gambit. Pick a monster from this book or from Trail of Cthulhu for the monster form stats.

Overlaps with invisibility. Sneaky vampires get up to +3 to Stealth Modifier for free. For further specific stealthy feats, spend Aberrance to raise difficulty on a Sense Trouble or Surveillance roll.

Vampires are physical powerhouses, much stronger than humans. When making a Hand-to-Hand attack, spend Aberrance 2-for-1 to increase inflicted damage. Beyond that, there's a whole table of Feats of Strength - each has a different Athletics difficulty for humans and strong vampires, and each costs 2 Aberrance to use. Throwing a person 3 meters is difficulty 4 for a vampire, but difficulty 12 for a human. Stopping an oncoming train is difficulty 20 for a vampire, but impossible for a human.

In combat, Throwing something freakishly heavy does a die of damage, plus half the difficulty of the roll to throw it.

Vampires can summon things like swarms of rats or ghouls requires just a few seconds, summoning something more powerful - a demon lord, the mothership - requires several minutes and a complex ritual. Spending more Aberrance reduces the time needed. Vampires may be able to summon the dead as servitors, wild beasts, or anyone who shares their blood. Anything other than demons summoned by vampires must obey any commands it gives.

Big for mutant vampires - in addition to drinking blood, the bite injects poison. This could use either the toxin rules, or the mental attack rules, depending on the nature of the poison.

Instead of killing the victim or driving them insane, the bite injects a powerful anaesthetic. Possible effects:
  • No pain from the bite
  • No memory of the attack
  • Equivalent to Kolokol-1
  • Equivalent to truth serum

Spit venom
Like a snake. Range is Close, can obscure cameras or blind foes until treated with Medic.

Vocal attempts at manipulation can be modeled as mental attacks. For some more complex options:

A vampire howl that has the force tos mash windows or physically batter the listener. Treat as Telekinesis.

Secret communication that humans can't hear - or, it can be used to send messages that people can't consciously percieve as a mental attack. Infrasound in a room will put humans uncomfortably on edge.

Near-perfect imitation of any human voice - free or 2 points per scene. Listeners who have reason to suspect it might be a vampire can make a Stability test (Difficulty 4) to hear through the trick.

High-pitched noises that can communicate without humans hearing them, agitate dogs, or break glass.

Vampiric Weaknesses

Vampires have an absurd number of unfair powers, but they make up for it with a vast array of possible weaknesses. Most of this is classified in NBA as Banes - special substances or techniques that can harm or destroy vampires. A list of possible Banes:
  • Beheading
  • Holy symbols - burns on contact for 1d6-1 damage, or 1d6 if applied to the face
  • The blood of a deadman, ingested (supernatural)
  • Death of the vampire's creator (supernatural, damned)
  • Drowning
  • Enchanted weapons (damned)
  • Exorcism (damned)
  • Fire
  • Wolves (supernatural)
  • Garlic
  • Holy water (damned)
  • Iron (meteoric iron, cold iron)
  • A specific bloodline of Belmonts vampire slayers (supernatural)
  • Lightning
  • Spikes or impaling weapons
  • Sacred bullet, fired into the coffin (supernatural)
  • Severed spinal cord
  • Silver
  • Stake to the heart
  • Sunlight (damned, alien, mutant)
  • UV light (alien, mutant)
  • Blood thinner (mutant)
  • Wood (what kind?)
As for what the bane might do:
  • Does minimal damage, where other attacks do no damage
  • As per Hurt
  • Does normal damage
  • Does +1 or more extra damage
  • Ignores vampiric armor
  • Does double damage
  • Does damage, and turns the vampire to dust if it reduces them to -1/-12 Health
  • Damage done can't be regenerated (immediately, that scene, ever)
  • Instant destruction
So, there are options.

Almost all vampires rule the night. For some, it's because that is when their powers are at their peak; for others, it's because the light of the sun will harm or destroy them. Sunlight acts as a special Bane that could do various things:
  • Disable all vampire powers
  • Prevent vampiric regeneration
  • Make it possible to kill the vampire
  • Hurt by exposure
  • Vampire becomes a corpse until removed from light
  • Damage as per fire while exposed
  • Damage dealt can't ever be regenerated
  • Vampire explodes
These might be immediate, might allow a Difficulty 6 Aberrance test to resist, or might be preventable with heavy clothing and shade.

Holy Water
Vampire hunters are seldom seen carrying super soakers full of holy water, because that would be lame. To prevent this kind of cheesing: Holy water does damage on first contact, but then does none for the rest of the scene. The damage is caused by the holiness, and a larger volume doesn't make it any more holy.

Stakes and Beheading
A stake or beheading attack is a Called Shot to the heart or throat respectively, and requires an appropriate weapon. Such a called shot might be instantly fatal, or it might kill the vampire at -1 or -12 Health.

Staking or beheading an unconscious target is different - without your adrenaline doing the thinking for you, such a brutal execution may require a Stability test, especially if the vampire looks like someone you care about.

Rather than causing damage, some soft Banes instead prevent the vampire from advancing. If it's not an absolute bar, it might instead be Aberrance difficulty 8 to cross. Even if they do cross, maybe it does damage.

Folklore and fiction give us lots of different vampire blocks:
  • Aloe vero
  • Blood of a black dog
  • Broom across or behind the door
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Holy symbols
  • Garlic, basil, hawthorn, holly, juniper
  • Incense
  • Neem-tree leaves
  • 90-degree angles (???)
  • Entering a room without being invited
  • Peach-wood, rowan
  • Prayers written across the doorframe
  • Running water
  • Salt
  • Shoes turned backwards
  • Sticky rice
  • Wild rose
  • Wolfsbane

Mainly a thing for supernatural vampires, certain behaviors that vampires are required or compelled to always follow. Resisting a compulsion is a Difficulty 6 Health test.
  • Count spilled seeds
  • Drink blood if seen or smelled
  • Kill children
  • Sleep at sunrise
  • Solve riddles or puzzles
  • Untie knots

Similar to blocks, there are Dreads - things vampires instinctively hate and fear. Advancing on or confronting one is Difficulty 6 Aberrance, taking any action other than trying to destroy it after confronting it is Difficulty 6 Health. Health lost this way cannot be regenerated until the next night.
  • Bright light
  • Cats, dogs
  • Consecrated ground
  • Holy symbols
  • Hemlock
  • Mirrors
  • The sound of bells
  • Wormwood
  • Pure white animals

Vampires all have things they need to do to survive - most traditionally, drinking blood. Each day the vampire goes without its requirement, it loses 1 point of Health or Aberrance. When Aberrance reaches 0, the vampire is Hurt.

Requirements may be nightly, weekly, or monthly. Health or Aberrance lost this way cannot be regenerated until the requirement is fulfilled.
  • Cocktail of vampire drugs
  • Drinking blood
  • Exposure to moonlight
  • Possession of a certain artifact
  • Magic ritual
  • Return to place of origin
  • Sex
  • Sleeping in grave earth
  • Sleeping in native soil

Death and Resurrection
What happens when a vampire dies? Maybe it becomes a corpse, maybe it ages to the age its corpse would be if it had been dead all along, maybe it disintegrates into ash. This may happen at Health -1, the failure of a Consciousness roll, or at Health -12.

However, vampires can come back. In order to prevent a vampire's return, various precautions may be needed:
  • Soak the body in vinegar
  • Burn body to ashes and scatter them in running water
  • Bury body at a crossroads
  • Cut off head, fill mouth with garlic
  • Fire a sacred bullet into the coffin
  • Put brick on chest
  • Put sickle or nails in the coffin
  • Remove and burn the heart
  • Sprinkle poppy seeds over grave
  • Stake body into coffin and leave the stake in
  • Tie the coffen shut with knotted cords
  • Lay wild rose branches across the grave

Reversing some precautions may cause the vampire to come back the next night.

NEXT: Sample monsters.

Jan 6, 2012


shades of eternity posted:


a buddy of mine wrote a side project in inomine where he made dawrin, dawkins, hitchens, etc the equivelent of athiest saints whom empowered people to kick both heaven and hell out of normal people's lives.

that game was a blast. :D

I would unironically play a game where angels and demons team up to beat the poo poo out of euphoric assholes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 1: There Is Only War

Angels of War have devleoped a complex code of signs made from things like rocks or broken twigs to warn each other. It's very basic, with messages like 'Demons of the War near here' or 'this place is watched', and enough angels have Fallen that the code isnt' totally secret, but few demons or other angels would think to look for it as a matter of course, or know its full range of meanings or how to make them. Older angels of War also remember the days when each knight had their own colors, device or shield. It's rare these days, but some of them develop their own personal sigil, signature fighting style or calling card on their kills. It's more common among the older angels who lived among medieval humanity, but it's an occasional fad among young ones. These tokens can also be used to quietly signal other angels of War about your presence without alerting the ignorant. The use of symbols may be temporary or permanent among groups of Warriors, and on Earth it can result with clashes with Stone-founded gangs. However, even if they aren't as regimented as Laurentines, Warriors always know which flag is theirs to rally to are deeply protective of their standards. Beyond that, well, others call it vanity or gross, but Warriors like to take trophies. After all, they won, so they deserve it. It can range from taking weapons to body parts, and it occasionally you meet an angel of Michael with a necklace of dried demon ears, but the most beloved trophies are the standards of demonic armies or the insignias of potent demons. The top would be a Prince's personal sigil, but that happens rarely at best.

Michael's reward and punishments come at the ends of missions - he doesn't keep general watch over his angels. Indeed, that might not even come from Michael directly, but from whoever's in charge of an area. If an angel of War notices a sin or problem, they're just as likely to demand an explanation on the spot as to report them to the boss. Either way, a senior angel will tend to haul the sinner in for one-on-one chat, assign a punishment themself for a minor offense or report it to Michael. Rewards and punishments not directly from Michael tend to be minor - a relic, a Rite from a Wordbound. Punishment will usually be a loss of a relic or tool or just getting beaten up or forced through grueling training. The worst they can do, though, is spread the story of your failure, as that ensures it'll never get forgotten.

Michael himself handles the more serious rewards and punishments, generally focused towards what you did to earn them. An angel that liks Songs but runs low on Essence might get a Rite, while one that prefers sneaking missions will get powers related to stealth. Michael prides himself on known his angels enough to give them what they really want, after all. He always rewards recruitment and gathering useful intelligence, as well. Punishments for failure depend on the consequences and whether it was clearly your fault. If it wasn't, you might not even get punished. Michael knows you can't always win and will just expect you to feel bad about it. If it was your fault, though, Michael will take your poo poo away for your error, and will expect you to accept it. Resenting your punishment or complaining means you haven't learned and won't be given much until you do. Michael does Cast Out angels, but only if he thinks it'll help them understand their problems. Usually, these are angels wo are too eager to fight and feel too bound by Heaven's discipline. He hopes they change their mind after firsthand experience. He tries to track his Outcasts, so he can destroy them if they fail to learn. If he believes an angel is corrupt and will Fall, and that this can't be avoided, he'll kill that angel in battle.

Warriors believe in reducing the enemy ranks, and evn if they like to fight, most of them will admit that Redemption removes a demon from Hell and gains strategic information, so it's win-win. However, most of them aren't very good at talking to demons about the philosophy of Redemption and service to Heaven. Their Redemptions tend to be carefully orchestrated campaigns of gaslighting and forcing events to make a demon see the light, or the kind of heart-to-heart, man-to-man chats that can end in violence if they don't work. Michael himself, if asked to Redeem a demon, will do his best to ensure they survive - but it's going to hurt. If they do survive, they'll be debriefed by Elohim, Seraphim and Mercurians before any thought is given to where they should go next. Those that serve Michael are not given solo missions for years, as much for their own safety as anything else, but are often given jobs where knowing Hell's methods is useful.

When a Warrior Falls, the angels of War remember them as a brother or sister, and will gladly try to get them to Redeem if it seems possible. This can involve forcing them to face old friends, showing them the distasteful side of other demons and generally trying to get them to leave Hell behind. If it fails, they will kill the Fallen as quickly as they can, with more dedication than some Judgment angels.

Newly made angels are trainees, and about half of them are relievers while the other half are full angels. They are taught to fight, first by the blessed souls and then by other angels. They meet with angels of Stone, Wind and the Sword, but are never sent outside the Groves unless they want to go. Young angels of War tend to be insular, prejudiced and overenthusiastic about storming Hell. Michael tries to send them to Earth as soon as they have the skills, to get experience in areas without too much risk. Unfortunately, their attitude hasn't really helped his angels' image as rude, aggressive and dangerous to be aorund.

Seraphim of War take Michael as their role model as well as their champion, strengthening themselves to face evil in any form. While not all of them are axe-wielding furies, many are. Most of them have a two-step view of dealing with Evil. Step one: identify it despite its lies. Step two: kill it. The only healing from Evil comes via truth - the truth that it's been destroyed and that every living being has the strength to choose to fight it. This tends to make them blunt and harsh, but also menas that they will whatever they can to fix a problem and won't leave it alone, however painful it may be for everyone involved. Truth is truth - it's not kind or gentle.

Cherubim of War are even more paranoid than most about supernatural threats, given their ability to detect natural ones in advance. Their reaction to learning about demons threatening their attuned tends to be 'kill them before it becomes a problem.' They're twitchy and often torn between staying to protect their attuned or going out and preemptively murdering nearby demons. Under more normal circumstances, they can be calm and placid, as they can sense danger early on. They're normally unfallapble, even in the midst of chaos, as long as the supernatural dangers aren't showing up.

Ofanim of War feel the need to move constantly, taking rest as a defeat, a choice not to be currently working. Even when they should be relaxing, they fiddle with plans, maps and messagers. It's frustarting even for other Warriors. They can be excellent strategists, though, ando nce committed to a plan, they can be almost as calm as Elohim, finding the right moment to go into action. They are also more resigned than most to retreat, even eating dissonance if they think it's necessary. They understand that sometimes you need to live to fight another day, and they sympathize with that urge. They aren't cowards, though - just pragmatists that like to pick their ground and will take dissonance over a bad stand. Better still, though, is to plan a campaign of hit-and-run attacks.

Elohim of War can tell when people are ready to fight and die, and they tend to use this as their standard to judge others by. They are thus immensely good at psychological warfare. Any enemy that won't be willing to die can be scared out of fighting, and that's one less enemy to worry about. This leads to a bit of a behavioral dichotomy. Most of the time, they're quiet, unobtrusive undercover agents trying to avoid notice. But when they want to break someone's courage, they will fight flamboyantly, threatening maiming and torture, even carrying it out if they must. To them, all situations must be judged by the circumstances. There are no hard and fast rules. Other angels can find these sudden shifts in behavior troubling, though.

Malakim of War can sense danger, and they're always listening for it. They tend to be entirely relaxed when they can't feel it coming, and tense when they can, though they're not stupid enough to relax in situations that need caution. Their laid-back attitude can bother other Malakim, who tend to feel that evil can strike at any time. They're also fond of telling stories about their exploits, comparing trophies and so on, which annoys some angels. However, even the most ascetic angel must admit that they fight evil thoroughly, efficiently and as muchas they can - they just like to do it with style.

Kyriotates of War use vessels, and that means that once they get any host into an area, they can call a vessel out of nowhere. It's very annoying for demons that think they have the Kyriotate cornered in a small body, especially if the vessel is armed. They don't tend to gather a circle of hosts as other Kyriotates do, as they usually have their vessel to live in. However, they will possess humans when they must and they think strategically. Typically, they specialize in using small, convenient hosts like rats or sparrows to get into places, then call out the heavyweight vessel.

Mercuarians of War need to genuinely like helping people, because all the other angels of War expect them to smooth over any arguments they cause. As it is, while they don't hate doing it, they tend to prefer avoiding unnecessary fights. If assigned to an area or group, they study the local customs to avoid causing offense by accident. However, there is a certain status to being Michael's only diplomats. They might grumble, but they wouldn't want to lose the job. When needed, they will take their place, confident and stylish. They are also the best of their Choir at knowing when to abandon diplomacy and call in the killers.

In Heaven, angels of War do four things: they serve as guards, train others, train themselves and help the blessed souls that come to the Groves. They guard Heaven's walls alongside the angels of other Words, and tend to feel that they are the most vital to the job, as it was Michael who threw Lucifer from Heaven. It's usually Malakim and Seraphim that do the guarding outside the Groves. Inside, it's Cherubim with help from Elohim and Seraphim. They also watch Tether endpoints, less to guard them and more to be ready to help as needed, and there is no Choir preference for that. Training, of course, is for everyone, of any Choir or age. However, when a student becomes advanced, they tend to learn from their own Choir, as angels don't move in the same way across Choirs. The blessed souls that come to the Groves tend to enjoy sparring or telling their stories, which makes them easy to deal with. Those in grief or pain or who have come to the Groves to understand and rid themselves of cravings for violence are mostly cared for by the Mercurians and Elohim.

Next time: The end is coming

Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy

Crasical posted:

Storm lord is a hell of a talent, and I can't see any weather-caster not beelining for that, even if they have to deal with the rounds of set-up before they can start making GBS threads lightning bolts all over the enemy.

Walking around with a bubble of Extreme Cold and passing out parkas to your teammates is interesting, since they only have to deal with the fort saves (and if you're a winter ranger type person, you can make Survival rolls to help them auto-pass the save DC). Unfortunately it doesn't work very well since enemies only have to make their first save vs. Fatigue after ten minutes in your storm and take their first freezing damage after one minute, when battles don't last that long. If it was possible to front-load those saves it would be more worth-while, but I don't see being a frost mage being very viable in this sphere.

I was thinking you could combine the Alteration Sphere to turn into a big gently caress-off bear, learn Boiling Lord, Cold Lord and Wind Lord, and just duplicate this guy.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Vampires being weak to 90 degree angles sounds like an explicit reference to a book called Blindsight by Peter Watts. In the back story of the book, vampires used to exist as an apex predator that preyed on mankind during the prehistoric eras. As apex predators, they were smarter, faster and stronger than your normal human in a fair fight. However, the way their brains were wired to give them an edge in intelligence had a downside, essentially making them cold and logical and dangerously intelligent but putting them on the autism spectrum with a giant aversion to 90 degree angles. Whenever they would see 90 degree angles, it would just overwhelm their brains and cause them to have epileptic seizures because the pattern recognition parts of their brains would just misfire and lock up. Mankind never fought back against vampires. We just invented architecture and unintentionally killed them all with it. The stories about vampires would later be passed down, misremembered and bastardized into various bits of folklore including an aversion to holy symbols. In reality, the Christian cross is just an excellent way to kill vampires because of how many right angles it has in one visible place.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 1: And End to War

Angels of Michael are in the Marches for two reasons only. First, they have a mission that brings them there. Second, and much more rarely, they're backing angels of Dreams. If they're on a mission, which might involve dealing with ethereals, fighting dmeons or just inspiring a human, then it could be any Choir, though Michael prefers to assign Elohim to evaluate, Cherubim to protect and Mercurians to negotiate with ethereals. If they're assigned to help Blandine, though, they're usually muscle, and thus Malakim or Seraphim, who may or may not be informed that they're under orders of the local ranking angel of Dreams, to permit retreats. If they aren't, Michael will give them personal instructions about how far they are to go and when they might want to retreat, if ever.

On Earth, Michaelites work either in offense or defense - and the best defense is a good offense. They hold their ground, sure, but also guard, spy, recruit, fight and help allies. Seneschals guard their Tethers to the death, and angels assigned to help them or guard other objects tend to be Cherubim, perhaps alongside some other Choir to get information on any attackers. Spies are usually those who can lie well - Elohim, Mercurians, Cherubim and Saints. Seraphim, Malakim and Ofanim are too easily identified, and will only be used for unique missions. Kyriotates make excellent spies, though, Michael regularly uses them to infiltrate spying operations by others, and rumor has it, even other angels' efforts, to copy their information. Recruitment is mostly the job of Malakim, Mercurians and Elohim, who can judge the qualities of the humans they deal with, and these recruitments usually happen incidentally rather than by assignment. Some angels of War are assigned just to wander Earth in search of trouble, solo or as a team. Others are traveling strike teams, heading wherever Michael needs warriors, though often with at least one Mercurian to serve as their diplomat. Lastly, angels of War are sent to help other angels. Whoever asked for the help will tend to want to get them full details on the job, so that they get a group that can handle it, but often angels of other Words don't have the training to accurately estimate a situation and ask for the wrong people. In those cases, the Warriors like to take over the mision entirely, rather than leaving it in the hands of someone they think is an idiot. They aren't dumb, though, and will listen if it's urgent or if Michael specifically tells them to.

Sometimes, angels of War are given weirder jobs - working their way into the media to collect and preserve the experiences of human fighters, protecting neutral areas or even sheltering ethereals or 'good' sorcerers. The first set of jobs are simple - Michael wants to protect his Word from Nybbas and the tendency to make wars into simple sound bites. If that means communication channels are a new battlefield, so be it, the truth of War must be preserved and spread. Protecting neutral ground and people, though, that's part of Michael's belief that anyone that isn't against him can be made an ally. Ethereals are useful, neutral ground must be kept free as a place where they can meet angels or be safe from Hell. Of course, other Archangels might not agree, so only trusted angels of War get these jobs.

While they might not admit it, Warriors do suffer self-doubt and regret. They try not to show it, of course. They support each other in these times, reminding each other of their purpose iwth stories of past glory or just being there for a brother or sister. They often react to stress with self-indulgence in alcohol, sex, food, gambling or other methods. Other Warriors understand and accept it as long as it doesn't affect their skills or responsibilities. There's nothing wrong with relaxation, after all, especially if it helps you do your job. But if your indulgence makes you fail, well, first they'll tell you to stop, and then may force you to go cold turkey, since responsibility is the price of freedom. While proud, though, Warriors aren't stoic. They weep for dead comrades and the Fallen, and grief is respected by angels of War.

Befriending other angels depends on their Word. Angels of War are rarely comfortable around Judgment or Destiny, and tolerate Flowers only as support staff, aggressively 'protecting' them from getting near battle. Stone, Fire, Wind and the Sword are valuable allies, and Animals, Dreams, Trade and Lighting are useful in their area, though unreliable outside it. Angels of Creation are too variable to predict, but are dedicated. After first prejudice, of course, an angel of War can get to know people, and even Judgment or Destiny can earn respect by hard work and determination. Few Warriors admit to prejudice, instead claiming to 'strong feelings on the subject.' Any Warrior that regularly hangs out with a Judge will have to explain themself often, though, an the Judge will need to suffer hazing, but the excuse of 'well, he's a good fighter' is commonly understood. Some of them ore perceptive Warriors can even grasp views that don't center on struggle and battle and appreciate them. This lets them be more polite to other angels, and Michael tends to use them as inter-Word liaisons or for mixed forces. They are no less fervent about War, of course.

Every Warrior knows it's dissonant to flee unless ordered to do it. Not only that, it's shameful and acknowledges defeat. Retreat isn't just inconvenient - it goes against the nature of War. But sometimes, it has to be done. Sometimes, it's obvious that a battle is lost and that staying will just mean more casualties and no gain. Sometimes, you're needed elsewhere, or you're luring demons into a trap, though that only tends to happen on large scale and with retreat given by order. It is the duty of every angel of War to balance their pride and integrity against the reality of a battle. If fighting means they'll die for no useful purpose, better to take the dissonance. Michael wil ldeal with this case by case and may remove the dissonance if he believes it was taken in a good action, like protecting fleeing civilians. Motives matter, and it's rare for any angel of War to have never taken dissonance for fleeing. Senior angels have the authority to command younger angels to retreat, saving face and dissonance, but they'll be taking the dissonance themselves for it. Michael will understand if circumstances warranted it, but there's always a sense of guilt, probably not helped by the fact that most of the younger angels will have opinions on what was done wrong. (Angels of War always have these opinions.) An angel that orders a retreat will only do it after much consideration and a belief that it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, they will fight to the death. If an angel from another Word has authority, they can order a retreat, and tend to agonzie less, but for angels of War to avoid dissonance, they must fully accept that the order-giver is in command, and they tend to dislike that. Just pretending they're in charge won't work, nor will it prevent dissonance - that's just trying to game the rules, and no right-thinking angel would do it. Older angels of War rarely manage to make the younger ones appreciate orders to retreat, but when a younger angel has just gotteen their first dissonance for fleeing, they're ready to listen to the tale and share their own. Angels of War do have standing orders to retreat from any Demon Prince unless they think their death will accomplish something...which, sadly, they often think they can.

When dealing with Judgment, angels of Michael tend to start things off on the wrong foot, despising and provoking them, which definitely doesn't help. Judgment tries to be noble and unbiased, but the angels of War don't make it easy. Michael will support them and protect them and he expects them to show confidence, but he doesn't appreciate being pulled into needless fights. If an incident could be avoided, if the Judgment angels are actually right and especially if it risks one of Michael's secret operations, it's best not to get too aggressive. After a few encounters, most angels of War figure out how far they can go. Very young angels sometimes challenge members of a triad to duels, but older angels tend to force them to stop and apologize. War prefers to take care of its own problems, but the older ones know when and how much to cooperate. While they'll clear it with Michael first, they're prepared to work with Judgment, usually when cross-Word corruptin is involved. This lets them control how much Dominic gets access to, after all.

The game then moves into adventure seeds, Most of them aren't especially interesting, though one of them involves Stone trying to take over a Game prison camp and turn it into a redemption factory if possible by literally disguising themselves as demons of Kobal, and another about Michael trying to send in a team to extract a (paid, non-Soldier) rear end in a top hat human contractor in the War.

The End

So, what next? We can look at the GM's Guide, the Player's Guide series, the Revelations series, the Liber series or the next in the Superiors series.

Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

If memory serves, the next Superiors book is all about the Shal-Mari Princes, which should be good thread fodder.

Nov 8, 2009

I'd like to continue the Superiors series if you don't mind. This is interesting stuff, and you do great writeups.

May 5, 2011

Hostile V posted:

Vampires being weak to 90 degree angles sounds like an explicit reference to a book called Blindsight by Peter Watts. In the back story of the book, vampires used to exist as an apex predator that preyed on mankind during the prehistoric eras. As apex predators, they were smarter, faster and stronger than your normal human in a fair fight. However, the way their brains were wired to give them an edge in intelligence had a downside, essentially making them cold and logical and dangerously intelligent but putting them on the autism spectrum with a giant aversion to 90 degree angles. Whenever they would see 90 degree angles, it would just overwhelm their brains and cause them to have epileptic seizures because the pattern recognition parts of their brains would just misfire and lock up. Mankind never fought back against vampires. We just invented architecture and unintentionally killed them all with it. The stories about vampires would later be passed down, misremembered and bastardized into various bits of folklore including an aversion to holy symbols. In reality, the Christian cross is just an excellent way to kill vampires because of how many right angles it has in one visible place.

That was an awesome book and by far my favorite version of vampires in anything.

Jul 24, 2013

Grimey Drawer

I would also like a continuation of the Superior series. It is proving to be quite interesting seeing the nuances of the major players of the setting.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Sounds like Superiors is a hit! IMO the Princes don't get quite as good or nuanced a showing as the Archangels, but it's been a while since I read this stuff closely.

(Also, Michael is one of my least favorite Archangels, because he's just such a huge hypocritical rear end in a top hat, though in his defense he's also incorruptible in the service of Heaven.)

Nov 8, 2009

Eh, Heaven needs its assholes. I think if I run a game of In Nomine I'd play Michael as basically an angelic Viking, Thor with a battleaxe rather than a hammer.

The comment about the Feasting Halls made me giggle. Gives me a mind of Heaven's own little slice of Valhalla, a hall where the plates never empty and the kegs never run dry, and rowdy (and drunk) angels and heroes tell bawdy, violent, and manly stories around a roaring fireplace. And despite Michael's best efforts it's one of the most popular hangouts for the souls of children in Heaven.

Jul 24, 2013

Grimey Drawer

Mors Rattus posted:

Sounds like Superiors is a hit! IMO the Princes don't get quite as good or nuanced a showing as the Archangels, but it's been a while since I read this stuff closely.

(Also, Michael is one of my least favorite Archangels, because he's just such a huge hypocritical rear end in a top hat, though in his defense he's also incorruptible in the service of Heaven.)

In a weird way I actually kind of like that about him and in fact all of the Archangles covered so far. For all the pretenses they are as deeply flawed as the humans they are supposed to protect.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Archangels get way better coverage than Demon Princes, yeah. The problem is that half the Princes are jokes and the other half tend to be significantly overhyped.

Jan 7, 2015

Count Chocula posted:

Is part of the joke that Heaven has like 3 separate War/battle Angels?

I guess God created new ones during his move from Old Testament God to New Testament God.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 2: Pleasures of the Flesh

:nws: I'm going to warn you ahead of time: this is not going to be safe for work. This book covers Andrealphus, Haagenti, Kobal and Nybbas. Of those, Andrealphus is first and easily the most disgusting and gross. This is not going to be pretty and it's definitely not going to be clean. The art is full of tits and bondage gimps, as well. And, uh, if you have issues with date rape, coercive sex, rape in general, uh, Andrealphus is going to be problematic. This is also not going to show the most, uh, nuanced take on things like bondage, alternative lifestyles and so on. I want to make that clear here and now. This is not going to be a pleasant ride. So strap in and...well, here we go.

Andrealphus is the Demon Prince of Lust, cold-hearted and cruel. He is an Impudite who seems personable enough, but he's not and should not ever be taken to be kind.

First Lust is a Servitor attunement that, for 2 Essence, makes your victim feel whatever they felt toward their first crush, except towards you. It's gradual, taking an hour to build up. The victim can choose to resist without a roll, as with any crush, but if carefully used, they may not realize there's anything to resist at all.
Sensitivity is a Servitor attument that enhances any physical sensation. It costs 1 Essence per ten minutes and takes physical contact. It can magnify anything - pain, heat, cold, pleasure, the pressure of touch. The target resists with Will, and if they fail, they take (C)D as a penalty to all die rolls due to enhanced sensation. If the target chooses not to resist, it's automatically CD 6. Besides the penalty, there will be other effects based on what they are sensitive to now.
Sensory Deprivation is a Servitor attunement that removes one sense from the target per Essence spent, requiring a Will roll and physical contact. This cannot remove resonances, however. You choose what senses to cut off when activating it, and it lasts (10*CD) minutes. The victim may resist with Will, and you may remove the curse at will during the period, though you have to use this again to reapply it.
Andrealphus knows and can teach the Songs of Sensation, Ecstasy, Enslavement, Correspondence, Fruition and Pestilence, though he rarely teaches Fruition, preferring to use it on the behalf of demons that need it.
Andrealphus' higher ranks, the Marquises, Counts and Dukes, are all Wordbound. He doesn't give them extra powers, just rank and an expectation that they're going to keep going out there and working hard.

Expanded Rites:
1. Take someone's virginity.
2. Cause a human to introduce another human to a new form of sexual activity.
3. Publically preach the virtues of lust or sex to a group of at least 100 humans.
4. Cause someone to forswear their values out of desire for you.

Andrealpus is one of the eldest Impudites, dedicated to creating nothing and making humans forget themselves in the flesh. Before the Fall, he was the Archangel of Love, raised to that status after Blandine and Beleth declared their love for each other. He encourage love among angels and humans alike, and he covered all aspects of love - romance, brotherly affection, friendship and compassion. Love seemed a Word that could never be broken, and it was unthinkable for the angelic Andrealphus to cause another pain. When Lucifer came to him, he spoke of the pain Love could cause, of the loss of loved ones, of how Love was fragile and easily broken, that giving your heart to another would only harm you. Then he stood back and let Andrealphus atch as Heaven tore itself apart in the Fall. Andre saw as Beleth's love for Blandine twisted to hate, saw the pain Blandine felt, as love hurt her worse than any hatred could. He saw the birth of the Malakim in wrath, and he realized that angel could fight angel.

Andrealphus realized that Lucifer had been right, all along. Only personal pleasure was real happiness, for to care about others was pain and loss. Rejecting empathy, he lost Love and Fell, becoming the demon of Lust. He descended into Hell, joining with Kobal to create Shal-Mari. Kobal's motivations were suspect, to be sure, but both Impudites so more to gain from 'farming' human souls than just torturing them. The demons of Lust were in demand to provide pleasure for others, and Lust was commonly seen on Earth. While the Prince of Lust might not have the power of the War or the Game, he was comfortable.

Andre worked to expand on Earth, empowering his Word and increasing the flow of souls into Shal-Mari. He took great pleasure in upsetting Uriel, Archangel of Purity, a notorious foe of Lust. One of his many boasted triumphs, though shared with other Princes, was the Roman Empire's lapse into decay and corruption, for that was Uriel's favorite nation. Unfortunately, the decadence ended with the barbarian Goths and Vandals sacking the empire. While it encouraged pillage and rape, that was short-term gain and long-term loss. Andre did his best in the remnants, encouraging the rise of towns and cities to further spread the sex trade. Europe wasn't his only focus, though - he'd go anywhere. The harem tradition, born of the Assyrians, the concubines of China, the Bablyonian temple prostitutes, though they might serve ethereals - Andre approved of all these things and was supported by them. He was quite happy to make deals with any pagan gods of erotic love and physical lust, to weaken their ties to emotional affection. Souls were more important than Essence, after all.

As the Catholic church expanded, Andrealphus got interested in infiltrating it to weaken its message. While the more secret agents, like the corrupt priests and nunnery-brothels, worked quite well, his great pride was in the Borgias, who flaunted their sin while holding great Church power. Even if they didn't need his help to reach power or be corrupted, his demons loved to indulge them. Laurence got quite upset and was a major problem, spoiling Andre's fun with reforms. Andre has been known to complain about angels ranting about free will when they're so quick to deny it to others. Of course, Uriel had sponsored the Church originally, but Andre's been corrupting it since. Laurence trying to take it back was a clear annoyance.

The tide of Lust has ebbed a flowed. Even in times of Puritanism, where his demons were persecuted, Adnre was content that the secret vice trade was flourishing, even patronized by his public detractors. He found that they were even more ardent than the openly Lustful, in fact, so his Word was empowered. As the Victorian era passed, a new spirit changed ideas of propriety. Andre loved the emancipation of women, nourishing the ideas of sexual freedom as much as he could, with Lilith's help. In the 60s, Eli and Novalis nurtured the counterculture and free love generation, but Andrealphus was there behind them, turning it towards lust. He and Eli fought via servants at every meeting, calling each other fools. Feminism freed women in many ways, but it also made them vulnerable in others - social protections cast off alongside restrictions. 'Liberated women' were not 'responsible women' and many saw them as not worthy of ethical treatment. Andrealphus supported sexual freedom as the liberty to enjoy lust and nothing more. Responsibility didn't matter. Now, as the 20th century ends, he is working with Nybbas to preach a religion of the physical, reducing spirituality to catchphrase and cliche, urging free will and self-indulgence as a synonym for joy. He will use any tool, from secret vice to open calls for relaxing prejudice and freedom to choose partners. He wants to make humanity lose itself in the flesh, that he might lose himself with them.

Andrealphus is a true Impudite, and he loves humans more than even humans the same way that humans love steak. He finds their inventions and perversions fascinating, and frequently needs to be invoked just to get him to attend to actual business. If anyone dared to question him about his lack of attention to duty, he'd say he's just advancing his Word. He feels no Love, so he uses Lust as a solace, seeking to forget about souls as much as any human consumed by Lust does. To him, each conquest is proof that he was right, that Lust is true. He does not and will not permit himself to feel for any other creature. They are pets, mirrors, objects, enemies, but they aren't real. They aren't on his level. He expects others to make the same efforts for him that he does for them - he goes to the trouble of being beautiful, desirable, friendly. He has no time for those that cannot bother to at least try to catch his interest, not with so many beautiful things to pay attention to instead.

Next time: It keeps going.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Mors Rattus posted:

Superiors 2: Pleasures of the Flesh

This looks like storyboard art from Oingo Boingo's Forbidden Zone.

Aug 23, 2009

Hostile V posted:

This looks like storyboard art from Oingo Boingo's Forbidden Zone.

Forbidden Zone made more sense. I understand the writing is problematic, but the art is hilarious.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Kavak posted:

Forbidden Zone made more sense. I understand the writing is problematic, but the art is hilarious.

Nov 8, 2009

Well, this is the Prince of Lust. I wouldn't expect a detailed writeup that takes him seriously to be an easy or fun read. Reminds me of that tabletop RPG reviewed a thread or two ago about children facing monsters in the closets, and the monster leaders each represented one of the seven sins, with Lust being particularly horrifying.

Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case

Demons should be disturbing to read about. As they are perversions of God's divine plan and His infinite love and compassion for Mankind, they should always have the most cynical, negative outlook on their spheres of influence. I'd expect writeups about them to portray even relatively innocent things in the most negative possible light.

Jul 8, 2013

Oh dear oh gosh oh darn

Soiled Meat

Cythereal posted:

Well, this is the Prince of Lust. I wouldn't expect a detailed writeup that takes him seriously to be an easy or fun read. Reminds me of that tabletop RPG reviewed a thread or two ago about children facing monsters in the closets, and the monster leaders each represented one of the seven sins, with Lust being particularly horrifying.

Thats the main setting for Little Fears, I think.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Superiors 2: Lust For Power

Lust is both desire and tool for the demons of Andrealphus. In theory, while it primarily covers flesh and caranlity, it could include lust for power, possessions or safety, and would greatly increase Andrealphus' power if it did, but those concepts are now largely claimed by Mammon and Haagenti. As matters stand, Lust is still a Deadly Sin, though, the passion that forces people to betray all they hold dear out of desire, to hurt others to satisfy their own whims. Lust teaches that only the wishes of the initator matter, and that any act on any other person is acceptable. Lust is Andrealphus' safe haven from memories of Love as well as his path to strength and power. By Lust, he controls, and by control, he can't be hurt. Lust is a tool to bind others or expose their faults, remaking them to his whim. It is a hunger that can never be satisfied. It blurs fantasy and reality, and Andre encourages others to act out their desires in ways that do not care about the safety or sanity of others, just your own pleasure. No one else matters.

It is said that when Andrealphus was Archangel of Love, he was present when Blandine and Beleth swore their love for each other. They say he created a diamond the size of a woman's fist as proof of their devotion. When Beleth turned against Blandine, the diamond broke in two. It is said by angels of Dreams and demons of Nightmares that Andrealphus still keeps both halves of the diamond, though know know where or why.

It is said that Andrealphus took great interest in Adam and Eve. After the Fall, some say he even took a more personal interest, siring a daughte upon Eve. (This obviously never got into the Bible.) The woman grew to be a seductress, incredibly beautiful and talented, and was among the first humans to become a Hellsworn or a sorceress. The rumor has it that she was involved in the downfall of the Grigori, and that she even survives to this day as a favored agent of her father.

It is said that during the Purity Crusades, the angels of Purity attacked a Domain that was home to one of Andrealphus' ethereal lovers. The ethereal begged Andre for help, so he enveloped the entire Domain in a miasma of darkness and desire that none could penetrate. No one has ever seen the Domain again, nor those that once lived there, nor the Malakim who were there when Andrealphus arrived. However, wanderers of the Far Marches have claimed to have seen a city where dark-winged angels in chains served an impossibly handsome lord. But there are, after all, so many rumors about the Far Marches.

Marou, it is known, was a potent Impudite of Lust, a Countess who wore the identities of Delilah and Salome. At the peak of her career, she was visited by Lucifer himself. She hosed him, and when the time was right, she asked him for the Word of Seduction. Lucifer decided, however, that she was presumptuous, and said so to Andrealphus, who promptly stripped Marou of her titles, Distinctions and most of her Forces, reducing her to working in the gutters of Shal-Mari. She has managed, over the last thousand years, to work her way back up some, but the stigma will always be on her. She has only now regained the confidence to ask for a Word again, but this time, she will not rely on sex. She plans to capture one of the few remaining angels of Love, break him, and then give him to Andre. Marou believes that if Andrealphus asks Lucifer, she will not suffer again as she once did. She has a lead on the location of such an angel, but she doesn't want to face such an ancient being alone. She's recruiting tough and foolish demons to help her with promises of lavish rewards.

Andrealphus, in his own mind, was betrayed by God. He was given a self-defeating, flawed Word and allowed to continue in delusion until it was all destroyed. Surely it is appropirate, he says, that many religions say God is Love, for nothing else could cause as much agony in its name. Lucifer might be a Balseraph, but Andrealphus is determined to believe he was honest with him. The only truth is the self, and humans exist to be exploited. God is the lie. As for Lucifer, well, someone has to be dominant in any relationship. Andre still owes him for the 'truth' that frreed him from Heaven, and he still desires Lucifer, most beautiful of the Balseraphs. He is also far too practical and realistic to consider a rebellion. Andre also attempts to make himseful useful. While he'll generally side with the Shal-Mari bloc on corrupting humans rather than destroying them, he's quick to help the war faction as well, to gain influence over them. He'll never be trusted, sure, but being useful is...useful.

Superior Opinions posted:

Asmodeus: He wastes his time in his own physical pleasure rather than usefully furthering the cause of Hell; he may serve his own Word, but that is of small concern to me. A distressing number of Renegades come from his ranks, and he takes little interest in pursuing them. I would be interested in evidence of personal recusancy on his part.
He acts the cold fish, with his only pleasure being paper-pushing. It's as if he thinks that the rest of us don't understand the desire he has for control. But I understand that perfectly. Oh yes.
Baal: He wastes his capabilities. Sex is an extremely efficient motivation for violence, or for anything else, and he dribbles away his Word in self-indulgence. Useful in diversionary or distracting tactics, and certainly corrupting to humans, but of small offensive value in the actual War unless he learns to take orders.
Rape, pillage, and slaughter. What's the fun in that? Well, rape... But humans at war don't have much time to think about pleasure, and Baal is definitely a party pooper.
Beleth: Such petty fears; minor worries, little anxieties, nothing significant. The real terror that a rapist or sadist inspires is too infrequent for my liking. My work is more important than his, though I concede that he does a tolerable - and enthusiastic - job. Would you be interested in knowing what he fears?
She's a cold shower with a knife in it. Not the right kind of thrill for most, but there's a delicious few who really get into terror. For their sake, I find her work indispensable. I just don't use it much personally.
Belial: His words are unimpoirtant - they're all soft and fleshy, as weak as he is. Everyone must burn or be burned, and his lust is second-rate compared to the glory of fire. Let him keep his place, and not interfere with his betters.
Just because I understand the idea of an all-consumign need doesn't mean I agree with Belial and his ways. And while I often burn with lust, too often his fires burn what would otherwise be lovely flesh.
Haagenti: Lust, hunger, wanting: he's part of me, however pretty he makes it. That endless famine. Can't help feeling friendly to a Prince who falls under my Word, even if I'm not pretty enough for him. Some day we're going to renegotiate that relationship, though - with me on top.
A rabid newcomer, with a surprising amount of raw, unrefined force. I appreciate Kobal's use of him as "muscle," but if he attempts to expand any further at the expense of my Word, he will have cause to regret it.
Kobal: It's amusing that someone so obsessed with one sort of contact should be so averse to any other sort of contact: contradictions are part of the best jokes. He produces such delightful comedies of manners and heartbreak, all with the human body as a stage and motivation.
Human lust certainly can be amusing at times, I'll grant you that, but Kobal tends to use it as a one-trick pony. There's a great deal more to the sins of the flesh than slamming doors and hiding in coat-closets, after all.
Kronos: Preoccupied by the secrets of the flesh, and uninterested in the secrets of the soul. He may lead mortals toward their fates unwittingly, yet he acts without deeper knowledge. Dependable in a small way, but ultimately a foolish, sensualist pawn. He has already achieved his own fate.
A brilliant one, in his way, but sad and wretched just the same. He thinks we win by plotting out the future. I say we win by sliding softly around them - binding them, gasping, to the sensations of the moment.
Lilith: Think of him as a perfect example of freedom - do what thou wilt. He refuses to acknowledge any bindings other than the ones forced on him by position or power - or Geases, of course. It's hardly surprising that we get on so well.
Charming, stylish, heartbreakingly beautiful, and wonderful in bed. No morality, no affection, simply the trading of body for Need. I have many of her Daughters in my service. A reliable ally, and so stylish.
Malphas: Who would have thought that so simple a thing as lust could produce so many ways for people to hate each other? He promotes distrust, personal gain, and the admriable principle of putting one's self first in every way. I appreciate him. And look at his attitudes about empathy and love - he understands.
We lust fiercely for those who are on our side, and even more fiercely for those who are our untouchable enemies. Oh yes, he does good work.
Nybbas: All right! Me and Andre have a definite arrangement. He provides the faces, I make them famous. Now this is a guy with a real head for business, a real understanding of what the man in the street wants. It's all in the selling, and boy, can his people sell it. We're going to drag Hell into a whole new era, kicking and screaming if we have to.
Nybbas is a delightfully useful ally, and an example of what an Impudite Prince should be - exploitative, progressive, and hungry for more. Together, we will lead humanity into pleasure - and into our waiting arms.
Saminga: This pitiful wastrel spends himself among the living, ignoring the truth which is Death - and I am Death. He tries to keep the humans from me, squirming in his games. Some day I shall reduce him to a rotting mass of meat and worms, and chain him in that carcass to scream at his own body for the rest of eternity.
What an ugly, idiotic simpl. He has no concept of what any of it is about. His efforts are ruinous and he himself is both repulsive and ridiculous. It would benefit us all if he would finally taste of his own demise, instead of sitting in his citadel cackling like a parody o the rest of us. Inelegance gilded with displeasure and mounted on stupidity.
Valefor: We need the living to corrupt them, and they need the freedom to act - and to steal. Andrealphus is absolutely on the right track. Bring down the barriers, let's get that throbbing mass of humanity on the road to Hell! He can have their bodies if I can have their goods.
Dear Valefor - always in such excellent style. His mercenary, self-centered attitude is perfectly sensible. I adore working with him, and would be even happier if he didn't steal the occasional lovers before I was quite finished with them.
Vapula: A shallow-minded, feckless libertine - but he has mapped out the human soul. He knows exactly where the weak points are.
Mmm, all that energy, and such enthusiastic application, as if the universe were a lover underneath his probing hands...I'm quite capable of ignoring his delusions, if I must, in order to use his technology.
Blandine: Because he failed Love doesn't meant htat the rest of us need to. His dreams can be disturbing to mortals, either because they're nightmares, or because they cause them to grow obsessive for more and more sensation.
Blandine, the first proof of the folly and pain of love. I like to think that I do my little bit to make her life easier, and make some people's dreams sweeter. There are no dreams like the dreams of desire.
David: Lust's Servitors fold like paper dolls in a fight, and strong humans can ignore all of Andre's temptations. However, Lust can inflict enormous damage if it gets to a weak human before we do.
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.
Dominic: Love...Fell. Fell, into a parody of what he was. Now he spreads the lie that htere is nothing beyond one's own flesh.
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.
Eli: Andre? He doesn't understand. He just does not understand. I and my angels have to fight him where we could have worked together to make things better. He twists what I share, and then he claims it's the truth. Man, some days I just pit him...and some days I want to kill him, too.
He's undisciplined and self-indulgent - and those are his good points. But he wants to drag my Servitors and all of us into feeling. That I can't allow. Fortunately, his angels require very little training to make them see the light. As for Eli himself...I have all the time in the world.
Gabriel: He burns for all the wrong reasons - the passions of the flesh, the obsessions of the body, never the true inspiration or the desire for righteousness. He willfully blinds himself to the pure passion within him, that which he once was - for is not divine Love one of the greatest flames of all?
Por lost Gabriel, torn between her prophecies and the rest of the unvierse. She and her Servitors are so deliciously passionate - dangerous, perhaps, but who could resist such burning eyes and bodies?
Janus: Lust only hurts people who get trapped by it, tied up in a relationship, addicted and kept still - nothing my people have to worry about! I say, clear them away from humans when you run into them, but don't take them too seriously - they're too slow-moving to seduce anybody who can race the Wind.
So frustrating - where's the time to build up the heat of desire with someone who can't keep his attention on you for two seconds together? However, by the same understanding, he's often prone to take surface values for the truth. I like that...
Jean: I recollect that Love was an efficient and vital force for the greater good. Lust, on the other hand, corrupts any beings in whom it takes root, reducing their clarity of vision and their ability to function. Andrealphus is a force for entropy, and should be cut out wherever his traces are found.
I'd like to peel back his skin and see how similar to Vapule he is underneath. The electricity would burn, but the creature of naked passion underneath would be worth the finding. I don't think that he'll stay the perfect Power forever - and in the meantime, his angels show a charming thirst for knowledge when my own Servitors meet them.
Jordi: Should I be concerned with what he does to humans? Animals know better. However, if he tries to use any of those belonging to my Word in his perverted games, then he'll pay.
Really only useful to the devoted experimenter - naturally I'll do my best to assist in those areas, but most of the time we have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Much simpler that way.
Laurence: He has taken one of God's greatest gifts and perverted it into something filthy and degrading. Do not underestimate Lust, for it has caused more humans - and angels - to go astray than perhaps any other sin.
I could make all the jokes about swords - but really, he and his angels are so foolishly ethical, always interfering in other people's pleasure. They should learn that the ultimate part of one's desire is proving your control by knowing that you're doing what the other person doesn't want...
Marc: I have to admit he knows how to run a business, and that he can turn a profit. However, what he sells is ultimately as bad for the humans as any other drug - so I often need to close down his outposts. Of course, there are times when a limited accommodation is necessary. There are worse Princes out there.
I can deal with Marc. It's a pity about all these ethical concepts he has, but really, he and his people are wonderfully businesslike. One of the more sensible Archangels. And if I need to throw the odd demon to his people every now and again - well, it's not as if I'd give attractive ones.
Michael: Andrealphus refuses to see what he has lost. Once his Love ennobled the brotherhood of warriors - now his Lust degrades them. It would be a mercy killing.
My Servitors and I know all about struggles and battles, even if we don't use quite the same methods as he does. At least he doesn't preach against sex - he's far too violent, but not really moral opposition in the way that some of the others are.
Novalis: If he could be convinced that he was wrong, that Love is greater than Lust, then he'd be such a force for good. Of course what he's doing now is bad, and of course I'm working to stop it - but conversion is much, much better than destruction. I will not accept that he is unredeemable.
She and I both agree on the absolute necessity of preserving the human race. And if she's far too ethical, too naive, and too innocent - well, nobody's perfect. A relationship that deserves further pursuit.
Yves: Some say that the road to Hell is smooth and pleasant. Andrealphus embodies this. But even if he chose his path at the Fall, he cannot prevent the possibility of his redemption from existing. I think that frightens him more than anything else.
Yves may be an insufferably ineffable being, but a single soul reaching his fate in Hell proves him wrong, and proves that the entire universe is flawed. The only happy endings are the ones that we take for ourselves. He embodies a lie.
Humanity: They can invent perversions that even the most skilled of my Servitors would never imagine. They can overthrow kingdoms for lust, cause wars over each others' flesh, and commit the vilest of crimes to satisfy their desires. Each one of them is a potential flame of hunger. There is no innocence - there is only ignorance. They burn with life, with imagination, with my Word. They are my nourishment and my power, my purpose and my own lust. They are beautiful, and I want them.
Soldiers of God: Look on them as a challenge. Anybody who declares allegiance to Heaven that blatantly demands to be taught better - and can be used against the angels, once trained properly.
Hellsworn: I do appreciate a properly trained human. Really enthusiastic ones make ideal minions and pets - of course, I prefer quality to quantity.
Sorcerers: The way that they keep trying to summon up succubi and incubi shows an admriable sense of priorities. My Servitors have orders to indulge them until they are under control - and then to use them.
Ethereals: [i]Really, the angels were most helpful by driving them into our arms. Lust doesn't care what religion it flourishes under, and the spirits who tried to exercise dominance in my area learned better - fast. Useful pawns.

Next time: Welcome to Hell

Jan 7, 2015

Double Cross - Infinity Code


It's DX Time again, with the - as of now - last translated supplement.

Infinity Code has quite an impact on both the game itself and the metaplot. It presents the result of Professor Caudwell's shenanigans in Japan: The return of Ouroboros, a Syndrome that has gone extinct since ancient times. The Planner and Xenos are not very amused about this at all, for Ouroboros didn't go extinct by accident...

As a result of Ouroboros' return - or just a general evolution of the Renegade - all the old Syndromes have gained new Powers. This is not the first time a supplement did this, but these are the first new Powers not gated behind a T-Lois. There are even Common Simple Powers buyable by anyone, which I'm really looking forward to because Simple Powers are pretty flavorful.

Aside from typical additions like new T-Loises and Items (now with tonfas!), the book also presents a new game mechanic: The Progressive Check System, which are Skill Challenges with a slightl Eurogame touch, providing changing conditions and random events you can build a good chunk of a Scenario around.

Infinity Code of course comes with example Scenarios and a few Scenario Starters revolving around the new Progressive Check System. The latter are especially interesting as one involves a fight against Gjaumzilla.

Like previous DX books, Infinity Code also has a short introduction comic. This one's a bit on the confusing side, but the gist of it is that one of the new pregens goes around killing False Hearts guys until one of the new FH NPCs shows up, which prompts the pregen to remind her that only a select few metaplot NPCs in DX are actually hilariously overpowered, and that she is not one of them.

Unlimited Power!

Next Time: Ouroboros - All your powers are belong to me.

Apr 1, 2010

I like that they've given just about every angel a secret demonic contact in their counterpart. It makes it much easier to do mixed angel/demon games and also gives you a lot more political intrigue in a game that could otherwise be very black and white.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

Chapter 5: Characters and Campaigns

GURPS Technomancer posted:

“Cactus farm? Yeah, I guess they are pretty when they bloom, and . . . oh, I see. I didn’t know the pollen . . . Cross-hybrid managenic experiment, huh? Yeah, I understand you don’t want the authorities involved . . . no problem.” Daphne put the phone down. “Eric, you ever dealt with a mutant toxic zombie walking cactus with strange powers over killer bee swarms?”

“Nope,” Eric said. He strode over to the weapon rack, hefted the flamethrower. “Always a first time.”
This has absolutely nothing to do with anything actually in the chapter, but I am disappointed that this is just a one-off joke rather than a monster that was in the bestiary. Zombee cactus would be rad. :allears:

Character Templates
Assuming you aren't familiar with GURPS, character templates are effectively the closest thing the system has to character classes. It narrows down point buy from "you have almost free reign, save for what the setting and Game Master disallow" to having a specific set of options based on a unified character concept, allowing you to spend less overall time creating a character if you are really unsure of what you want to do. GURPS Technomancer also manages to be one of the few cases where there's actually a reason I shouldn't skip over discussing character templates that are related to real world occupations. Specifically, it's because Technomancer is kind enough to actually give you a list of spells that mana-capable members of otherwise mundane occupations are likely to have. I won't try to go over all the advantages and disadvantages you can potentially take and instead give a general gist, as well as a look at some of the spells you expect to see. If there are two point costs listed, this is because the lower of the two is for not having magic and the latter is for having it.

Alchemist (80 Point Template): The people who produce potions and other elixirs. Most alchemists work for big pharmaceutical companies or local community drug stores, but there is also the scourge of black market alchemists that the Drug and Alchemy Enforcement Agency work hard to try to keep tabs on. Unsurprisingly, the template focuses mainly on various alchemical and pharmaceutical bits and bobs, a high IQ attribute, and being able to safely handle hazardous materials...or at the very least avoid hurting as much if you do screw up, given that Magic Resistance and Poison Resistance are two advantages you can take as some of your options.

Artist (75/85 Point Template): This character template has a lot of varied options, as it's meant to encompass anything from painters to sculptors to dancers. It also happens to encompass entirely new subcultures of art that arose from the magical revolution, which we're obviously going to discuss.
  • Phantasists use spells such as Perfect Illusion, Control Illusion, and Sound to create extreme special effects. While some of them are performance artists, the big bucks come in working for the movies.
  • Body styling began as a counterculture movement, but eventually entered the mainstream like so many other forms of underground art. It revolves around using the Alter Body and Alter Visage spells to customize the human form. You could think of it as an easier to perform but even more extreme version of the body mod crowd, really.
  • Shapedancing is a special form of choreographed artistry where the dancer changes into various animal forms as they move, playing with just how strange you can get the steps to be when your entire way of moving can randomly alter.
  • On top of traditional sculptors being able to work even more efficiently with spells that allow you to mold metal and stone as easy as clay, a special form known as weather sculpting has arisen entirely out of the use of magic. A weather sculptor utilizes spells that manipulate weather and light to create wondrous displays.
  • Finally, deep in the underground you have the necrogoth movement. Necrogoths animate zombies or summon demons to pose for photographs and paintings, model fashion, and even "act" in satirical plays known as thanatic theater, in spite of how very illegal their art is. At least one unknown necrogoth tooks things even further and created "Gigeresque" animate sculptures by attaching various scrap metal to skeletal undead animals.

Astronaut/Astromancer (120/200 Point Template): Space wizards! Astromancers are NASA's best of the best, the people who have the magical wherewithal to go to space and survive. Powerful Teleport and Teleport Other spells allow for transit to and from either space stations or moon bases, Create Air and Purify Air keep space suit oxygen supplies at their best, and Force Dome protects from debris, to name but a few of the variety of spells astromancers are capable of mastering. Oh, and there are also traditional astronauts, but they are ultimately the less valued crew members since they can't just magic up air whenever someone needs it or zoom people into space in a split second.

Criminal (80/90 Point Template): This template is meant to reflect a variety of criminals, so it's hard to really describe it. Instead, we'll just note that there are several spell packages for specific types of criminals. Burglars get Aura, Detect Magic, See Secrets, Seeker, Locksmith, Seek Machine, Seek Power, and either Levitation or Wallwalker, fences and drug dealers get Borrow Number, Hide Thoughts, Seek Number, Sense Emotion, Truthsayer, Scryguard, Scrywall, and either Magelock or Sense Danger, prostitutes and con artists get Itch, Pain, Spasm, Persuasion, Sense Emotion, Truthsayer, Simple Illusion, and either Illusion Disguise or Illusion Shell, pimps and kidnappers get Sense Emotion, Bravery, Daze, Fear, Foolishness, Forgetfulness, Loyalty, and Panic, and enforcers get Immediate Action, Hail of Lead, Haste, Poltergeist, Steady Hand, Missile Shield, and two of Haste, Magic Bullet, Wallwaker, or Winged Knife.

Emergency/Rescue Team Member (65/110 Point Template): Firefighters, rescue workers of other sorts, hazardous material disposal teams, paramedics, and demon/spirit containment specialists. Unsurprisingly, emergency services members that have magical talents dabble in a wide variety of spells, including Create Air, Earth to Air, Extinguish Fire, Lend Health, Levitation, and Breathe Water.

Entertainer (80/95 Point Template): While this template is mechanically designed to cover live performers from talk show hosts and news anchors to singers and actors, most of the discussion of its fluff surrounds musicians. In the world of GURPS Technomancer, it was magic-using bands that received the brunt of the Satanic Panic rather than rock and roll specifically. Of course, it also was more justified, given that some bands actually were cavorting with demons and using mind control magic. And then there's this:

Entertainer Description posted:

Today, the mainstream is tamer: mystic sound-and-light shows are commonplace in pop, folk and rap, but staged mind control and ceremonial rituals require PRA permits, some off-duty SWAT cops to baby-sit and waiver forms on the tickets. Still, there are underground clubs where no one gives a drat if the audience gets mind-raped, and where the act may include zombies, vampires or demons.
And this:

Entertainer Description posted:

Since the 1960s, many of the most hyped (if not the most enduring) rock stars and stage actors have been wizards. In Japan, a teenager with a cute voice and magical powers can have a meteoric career as the latest “magical idol.”
Mind-rape and anime magical girls? Truly a deplorable state to be in, this music industry.

Some of the spells marked for entertainer consumption include Ignite Fire, Simple Illusion, Voices, Volume Control, and Levitation.

Hacker/Cyberwiz (70/122 Point Template): In case you forgot this was the 90s, here's the prerequisite hackery. On top of mundane hacking methods, you also have the cyberwiz breaking into your security. Cyberwizzes are mages that use their talents to become specialized hackers. Would it surprise you to know that Bad Sight, Delusion ("The net is real life"), Overweight, and Unattractive are some of the disadvantages that a hacker or cyberwiz character can take? No, it didn't surprise me either. Perhaps more surprising is that the joke somehow goes even further, in that some of the spells that a cyberwiz is likely to learn include No Smell, Purify Air, and Seek Food. There are also some spells actually useful to hacking, of course, such as Speed Data, Machine Possession, Seek Machine, and Static Charge.

Hellhound (95/125 Point Template): In spite of the name, this isn't a template for being a magical fire dog. Hellhound is the nickname for monster hunters who are part of the Cerberus unit of GHOST, an organization we'll learn more about when we get to the organization chapter in the next post. The name has since extended to almost any monster hunter regardless of who they work for, if they even work for anyone at all. Hellhounds are stated to often supplement their business of busting ghosts and nailing down demons with more mundane work as bounty hunters or repo officers. Both magical and non-magical hellhounds are swift, smart, and not too shabby on their knowledge of melee and ranged weapons alike, but they also tend to suffer from disadvantages such as Bully, No Sense of Humor, and Stubbornness. Hellhound mages tend to aid themselves and their allies with spells such as Lend Strength, Haste, Hide Thoughts, Sense Foes, and Locksmith.

Industrial Enchanter (145 Point Template): Congratulations, you're one of the people who make magic items. On top of being smart and nerdy, the industrial enchanter gets a load of spells to use. On top of all having thirty-nine spells of a variety of sorts that include Enchant (obviously), Counterspell, Locksmith, Electric Power, Conduct Power, and Create Fire, there are sixteen more spells that are selected depending on whether the industrial enchanter works in manufacturing things for the aerospace, armament, cybernetics, necrotechnology, or personal security industry.

Investigator (50/85 Point Template): A snoopy individual, be it a private investigator, journalist, government investigator, or even a tabloid paparazzo or Seelieologist. Investigators are typically clever and resourceful but also pushy and arrogant. A mage investigator's repertoire of spells can include Hide Thoughts, Sense Emotion, Truthsayer, Far-Hearing, and Mind-Reading, though gaining information through that last one is considered unethical at best and an illegal invasion of privacy at worst.

Law Enforcer (75/100 Point Template): Cops and cop-likes, be they small time sheriffs and beat cops or federal agents. Like investigators, they are swift and clever. Unlike investigators, they have skills for making people either quite hurt or quite dead. Law enforcement mages, including those of police office's SWAT (Specialized Weapons and Thaumaturgy :haw: ) teams, are well-versed in a variety of protective and detective spells such as Sense Emotion, Detect Magic, Dispel Magic, Missile Shield, and Seek Machine. Similarly, like criminals and industrial enchanters, they gain an extra ten spells based on their specialization. Animal control officers get spells related to controlling animals such as Beast Possession and Bird/Reptile/Mammal Control, law enforcement detective gain even more sensory spells like Truthsayer, Trace, and Infravision, hostage assault members get confusion and combat spells including Blur, Flash, and Hail of Lead, hostage negotiators get empathic spells such as Control Person and Mind Reading, snipers have vision and shooting spells including Hawk Vision and Magic Bullet, internal affairs or secret police get sensory deprivation and empathic spells including Mind Reading, Fear, and Forgetfulness, patrol officers get a collection of hindering spells such as Rooted Feet, Daze, and Foolishness, surveillance team members get spells like Mind Reading, Far Hearing, and Stealth, and undercover operatives have spells including Hide Thoughts, Mind Reading, and Illusion Disguise.

Mageworker (85 Point Template): A mageworker is any blue collar worker who happens to use their mana instead of their muscles. This happens to be reflected by the fact that they have a boost to IQ rather than Strength, though they still have all of the skills to do things the old fashioned way if they had to. Mageworkers can pick from a variety of spells to fit the variety of jobs the template might be representing, ranging from agricultural aids such as Beast Soother, Heal Plant, and Plant Growth to construction aids including Measurement, Repair, and Reveal Function.

Medical Professional (60/115 Point Template): A mundane doctor is hard to find. It's harder to justify traditional medical school when you have people who can cast Resist Pain, Sterilize, Neutralize Poison, Cure Disease, or Major Healing to deal with problems both small and large. As a result, non-mage medics in America have been pushed back to being only used for specialty cases where the patient has either a case that is extremely specialized rather than suited for generalists, a religious objection to magic, an MRD (more on those later) or an assload of Magic Resistance. They are still common in regions where the mage birth rate is far lower, of course, and even some American medical thaumaturgical schools teach practical surgery and medical diagnosis as an elective class.

Religious Leader (75/135 Point Template): Great power comes to those who believe. All religious leaders have True Faith, meaning that they can rebuke malicious supernatural forces with their symbols of faith, and the ones who are mages get even more toys to use. They get thirty-five spells selected from a ridiculously varied list of potential spells, which makes sense given that religions are ridiculously varied. Some of the common spels include Persuasion, Sense Emotion, Enchant, Length Health, Detect Magic, Bless, Curse, and Bravery.

Seer (85 Points): Seers are professional diviners who utilize their talents for groups such as Wall Street investors or the NSA. A seer is typically clever and blessed with either wealth, luck, allies, or a mixture of the three. Seers get spells based on what form of divination they specialize in, not all of which are necessarily benevolent. Astrologers gain spells such as Air Jet, Lightning, Predict Weather, and Astrology, crystal gazers attain spells including Crystal Gazing, Earth to Stone, and Shape Earth, dream interpreters have spells including Oneiromancy, Purify Air, and Purify Water, mediums get spells such as Summon Spirit and Death Vision, numerologists only get the Arithmancy and Measurement spells but also get the advantage Mathematical Ability, palm readers get spells including Chiromancy, Shape Air, Shape Earth, and Shape Fire, and tarot readers have spells such as Cartomancy, Ignite Fire, and Death Vision.

Soldier (85/100 Point Template): Fighters and mercenaries of various sorts, from cavalry and infantry to combat engineers and supply line operators. A soldier template mage only gets the spells Sense Emotion, Sense Foes, Lend Health, Lend Strength, Illusion Shell, Know Illusion, Simple Illusion, Scryguard, Bravery, and Fear. If this sounds like not much for a fighting mage, it's because there is actually a specific template coming up that is meant to be used for a true magic warrior – a soldier mage is just considered a grunt with a few fancy toys to help out everyday duties.

Special Forces (125/175 Point Template): Seals, Spetznaz, and other groups of that sort. Swift, strong, smart, and generally talented, even a non-magical special forces agent is more than capable of doing their job. Of course, there are also magic special ops groups, one of the most infamous being hte Black Berets of the USA. The Black Berets were around since the advent of magical warfare back in 'nam, but became most famous for single-handedly fending off waves of enemy soldiers to rescue Americans during the Iran hostage crisis, crushing Noriega's spirit in the invasion of Panama, and engaging in magical psychological warfare during Desert Storm. Special forces get just as big a laundry list of spells to choose from as religious leaders, with certain staples such as Hide Thoughts, Continual Light, Counterspell, and Missile Shield being augmented by various widely disparate optional choices such as Magic Bullet, Invisibility, Mass Daze, Destroy Water, Create Fire, and Perfect Illusion.

Spook (80/140 Point Template): Spies are dangerous, especially when they potentially have magical aptitude. Non-magical spies have to deal with magical interference, but strangely enough they don't actually get Magic Resistance as an option. Spies who are mages get a terrifying arsenal of spell options to choose from, including Paralyze Limb, Wither Limb, Skull Spirit, Soul Jar, False Memory, Permanent Forgetfulness, and Flight.

Technomancer (160 Point Template): And we have a title drop. Technomancers – a term used for anyone who does R&D concerning the fusion of magic and technology – are not merely nerds, but uber-nerds, having a -1 penalty to Strength on top of their +4 to IQ even though other non-physical character templates don't suffer the same fate. They also get about the same list of benefits and disadvantages that were present in the hacker and industrial enchanter. Their list of potential spells are filled with technological ins and outs such as Electric Power, Enchant, Conduct Power, Draw Power, Ether Static, Machine Speech, Awaken Computer, Resist Radiation, and Upgrade Computer.

Warlock (170 Point Template): A skilled wizard soldier is referred to as a warlock, because wordplay and all. Warlocks are common in all of the US armed forces, while more mage-poor countries have to either make do with only one or two per battalion at best or hire warlock mercenaries. On top of plenty of military knowledge and combat skills, warlocks get a collection of spells based on their specialization. Mechanized infantry and Air Force warlocks gain spells such as Lightning, Curse Missile, Homing Missile, and Reverse Missiles, cavalry attain spells including Beast Soother, Animal Control, Complex Illusion, and Persuasion, combat engineers have spells including Earth to Air, Create Earth Elemental, Earthquake, Mass Detonate, and Irradiate, PsyOps are capable of casting spells like Possession, Enslave, False Memory, Permanent Forgetfulness, and Terror, combat medics have spells such as Sense Life, Neutralize Poison, Major Healing, and Sterilize, meteorological warfare specialists ("weather warriors") and Navy warlocks have spells including Clouds, Rain, Hail, and Shape Water, SpecOps warlocks can choose to learn any of the spells from the first six categories as well as some choices of their own such as Control Zombie, Skull Spirits, Summon Demon, and Soul Jar, and supply chain warlocks use spells including Measurement, Clean, Repair, Seek Fuel, and Shape Plastic.

Chapter 6: Magic and Society
Are you prepared for the pure, undiluted High Concept Discussion chapter? I know I definitely am after going through character stuff.

The Younger Population
On top of magical healthcare increasing the average life expectancy, the discovery of the formula for youth potions by Chinese alchemists in 1972 suddenly revolutionized the lives of those willing to pay money to be forever young. The entire issue has already created controversy. Debates have raged over whether or not retirement should be based on actual age of physiological age and the question of whether or not medicare and social security should cover elixirs of youth, various groups have protested the concept of religious leaders and monarchical leaders becoming effectively immortal figureheads, and the CIA is having apoplectic fits over the fact that communist leaders such as Fidel Castro and Deng Xiaoping can't simply be assured to die of natural causes. And, of course, there's the creepiest question:

GURPS Technomancer posted:

Another question troubling society is whether the age of majority and age of consent should be based on chronological or physiological age. Wealthy people may make themselves 16 again, but can they still vote, drink, drive or have consensual sex if their physical age drops below the limit? Can porn stars or strippers who “youthen” to 13 still do adult shows? Police and legislators struggle to keep up with widely varying community standards and test cases in the higher courts.

Agriculture and Fisheries
With spells like Heal Plants, Bless Plants, Plant Growth, and Rain, the farming business is booming with the mage-heavy populations of North and South America. Spells like Beast Summoning and Fish Control have made it easier to get the fish to come to the fisheries, as well, but this has create the unintentional side effect of making overfishing even worse than it already was.

Magery has actually turned back the clock on architecture in some ways. Gone are the highrises of metal and glass, skyscrapers instead being made out of hard rock with Create Stone and Shape Stone in what has been dubbed the neo-Gothic revival style. Statuary is also extremely popular thanks to the same spells. Meanwhile, Earth to Air has allowed for far greater capacity for tunneling, allowing for cheap underground structure creation. Some locations, such as Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, even have entire second cities beneath the one that is seen from ground level.

There are three types of magical business that are common in the world of Technomancer. On the small end are Johnny One-Spell shops, named after a popular cartoon character who presumably only knew one spell and may possibly be the brother of Johnny Five-Aces. A Johnny One-Spell shop is a walk-in store staffed by either part-time mages in high school or college, or non-mages who utilize magic items to do the work. While a lot of these quick and cheap service shops are local, some are popular enough to have become franchises. Some examples of Johnny One-Spell chains and the spells they focus in include Body Boutique (Alter Body), Brownie Dry Cleaners (Clean), Doc Hermes (Minor Healing), and Petfinders (Beast Seeker).

Retail magic item shops sell magic items. Obvious, but true. Magic items can vary wildly in price, from $50 for a Berkely Grimoire on CD (a CD containing all spells from GURPS Basic Set) and $150 for the Working Handbook of Applied Thaumatology on CD (all known spells on CD) to anywhere between $144,000 to $700,000 for a flying carpet. There's still enough of a market on even the expensive items that there are various chains that sell magic items, nine of which are given a brief note. Abracadabra Books sells grimoires and occult literature, Cyberscrolls does the same for magic on CD and magic-enhanced computer parts, DuPont Dealerships sells flying carpets, Emperor's New Clothes rents costumes that cast illusion spells, J.W. Wells is an all-purpose magic item department store for magic items $3,000 or less, Kabbala Robotics sells golems and animated objects, Rent-a-Rug rents flying carpets, Spell Shack sells various wizard tools such as powerstones and scrolls, and Wizard's Tower is the fancy-schmancy version of J.W. Wells that sells magic items up to $10,000 in price.

Finally, you've got magical contractors. Such mages for hire are paid either by how much energy their spell costs if it's a one-spell job, or by day if that's more relevant. The wage for a Magery 3 contractor is a not too shabby $750 a day, and even a Magery 1 contractor still gets an okay $250 a day. Need ice off your roads, some water on your crops, or a clear day for your football game? Call Cloudbusters America, they're weather control and weather protection experts! Want a really secure business? Hermetic Wards Incorporated will set you up with windows that have Protection, Warding, Drain Mana, Fireproof, Pentagram, Scryguard, Scrywall, and Spell Shield slapped on them. Humane pest control? There's even a contractor for you there, as Rico and Sons can just Vermin Control your problem pests away.

Fashion and Body
If you're rich enough, you can get all sorts of fancy clothes on the magical market. Things like shoes of Haste and permanently Clean suits are popular with the elite, as is the intentionally risque practice of casting Illusion Shell to make it look like you have clothing on when you are in fact buck naked. There's also the near complete replacement of traditional plastic surgery with Alter Body and Alter Visage. These spells have also created some controversy, however. There's a whole load of debate rolling around about the use of the spell to recreationally alter race and sex, as well as make chimera halflings look human or vice versa.

Law and Order
Speaking of debate, let's talk criminal justice. American courts have several rules concerning magic utilization in the courtroom. The first is that the Compel Truth is always cast for witness testimony. Not only is it always accurate if it isn't resisted, resisting the spell creates an obvious sensation of feedback to the mage, at which point the individual is held in contempt of court. Eyewitness testimony still isn't perfect even with this spell, however, given the existence of various forms of magic that fool the eyes and other senses, which means that forensic mages are just as important to the process of justice. Outside of court, Compel Truth and similar spells such as Mind Reading, Mind Search, and Soul Rider all require informed consent. Wizard Eye, Wizard Ear, Glass Wall, and other magical surveillance spells follow the same legality rules as wiretapping.

Where there's law, there's also lawlessness, and there's plenty of nefarious uses for magic. Criminals can use the Exchange Bodies spell to literally steal someone's life (though this is rarer than most forms of crime due to the simple fact that no one actively teaches the spell, making it difficult to cast), Copy spells to counterfeit, Ethereal Body and Teleport for breaking and entering, murder and then resurrect people (often illegal immigrants) as zombies for costless labor, and use mind control spells for all sorts of no-goodery. The last category is so prevalent, in fact, that nearly all psychologists and security officers are trained to cast Aura readings to check for supernatural coercion.

Lastly, one of the strangest ways that laws have been touched by magic is the subject of animal rights. Beast Speech and shapeshifting spells means that empathy for animals is stronger than ever, and movements to prevent inhumane cruelty have gained a lot of traction. Animal testing still exists, but makes heavy use of Beast Speech and Aura spells to check on the condition of the test subjects.

Manufacturing and Industry
While mageworkers and industrial enchanters were already discussed last chapter, there's even more to note about the subject of magic in the workplace. Grids enchanted with Purify Air are utilized to lower emissions both from manufacturing plants when placed over their stacks, tiny parts are a lot more accurate due to various vision enhancement spells and the Inscribe spell, Shape Metal makes even titanium a viable building tool, and Find Weakness at the end of the line ensures quality control. Oh, and speaking of metals, Breathe Water has allowed for underwater mining to be A Thing for Mexican and American companies.

Enchantments on actual mundane products tend to be limited to specific parts, rather than attempting to enchant the whole device at once and squander more personal energy and money than need be. An example given is the good old automobile: you enchant the exhaust with Purify Air, windows and seat upholstery with Clean, and voila. The bigger an item is, the more cost effective it is to enchant it piece by piece rather than as a whole, and by the time you get to something like a jumbo jet you can stuff a lot of small enchanted parts on it without inflating the price all that much.

As stated back in the medical professional entry of last chapter, medicine has benefited greatly from the presence of magic. Many traditional diseases have been pushed to the brink of extinction, and even afflictions that can't be cured by Curse Disease such as cancer and genetic ailments seem like they may have a cure with the further development of magical gene therapy. Of course, not everything is sunshine and roses. Just as antiobiotic resistance has evolved in real world bacteria, there is an uncommon but active threat from Mana-Resistant Diseases, or MRDs. An MRD is a normal bacteria or virus that has developed a level of the Magic Resistance advantage. One of the most deadly cazes was a strain of influenza with Magic Resistance 4 that cropped up in Guatemala in 1997, but MRDs can potentially have up to Magic Resistance 6.

Also present are new diseases that are entirely supernatural in origin. Vampiric leukemia has no cure, and even the alchemical elixir code-named Alucard that was created to combat the disease can only postpone its effects rather than stop it entirely. Ambulatory Necrotic Plague is immune to all forms of traditional medicine and Cure Disease, and can only be stopped if an Exorcism spell is cast in time to remove the undead bacteria and followed up with an Instant Regeneration spell to stop and reverse the tissue necrosis that occurs even without the zombie part of the disease. There is also Mana Resistance Deficiency Syndrome, a disease that isn't associated with a template from the bestiary chapter but is nonetheless just as insidious, and also totally isn't a play on AIDS at all, nope, not at all. You catch MRDS (not to be confused with MRDs) by getting mana from an already tainted person, at which point it begins to attack your supernatural immune system. A person who has caught MRDS has to make a Health roll every month or gain one level of the Magic Susceptibility disadvantage. This means that while the disease isn't immediately fatal, you slowly become less and less able to resist spells or magical diseases. The only known cure is to spend time in a mana-void region, eventually starving the disease of the supernatural sustenance it requires.

Military Science
While magic on the battlefield is obviously useful, warfare has yet to meet a mage who can outsmart bullets. While individual mages can cast Missile Shield, it is extremely cost ineffective to get them enchanted onto enough items to aid entire armies, and even the best Missile Shield still won't protect you from a mortar shelling or airstrike. Where magic truly shines is in various support roles. A support mage can cast accuracy-boosting spells on their allies, golems allow for an overall reduction of humanoid boots on the ground, and while you may not be able to enchant every soldier's kit, you can certainly equip a tank with spells like Fortify and Missile Shield. The US military also has several orbital platforms that can strike with "kinetic kill devices", which are literally just onboard mages shooting boulders from space to create artificial meteor impacts.

Psychology and Psychiatry
As with physical medicine, the world of helping the ind has benefited greatly from magic. Aura and Sense Emotion spells can be freely used to quickly discover someone's general mental state, and the Mind Reading and Mind Search spells can be further utilized with consent to get an even greater psychological profile. Alter Body spells also allow for transgender men and women to receive far quicker and more efficient treatment than hormone therapy, as well as deal with other forms of dysphoria on a case by case basis. Of course, since people are people, there's also a controversial side to psychological magic. The utilization of "thaumaturgical behavior manipulation" (read: mind control and alteration spells) by psychiatrists is a massive minefield, even when it's done consensually. While the use of the Great Geas spell to remove addictions and self-destructive habits has gained some ground, there are far more disturbing implications when there are homophobic lobbies demanding that mind control spells be used for gay conversion therapy and studies that indicate attempts to cure PTSD with Permanent Forgetfulness or False Memory spells may backfire and cause even more psychological harm than good when inconsistencies in the subject's memory turn up.

Pure Science
A section about the 'hard' rather than 'soft' sciences, if you couldn't figure out what that title meant at all. Zoologists have benefited from the Rider Within spell to covertly watch animals from inside one of their own, geologists and palaeontologists can use Earth Vision and Walk Through Earth to observe their subjects without even digging them up, and laboratory work has benefited greatly from Cold, Heat, Measurement, Purify [Element], and Seek [Element] spells. Perhaps the greatest scientific field that has benefited from the magical revolution, however, is astronomy. Teleportation spells broke the barrier between Earth and the heavens wide open, with mages being able to just pop building materials and golem or suited workers into orbit and then to the moon. Various space stations and moon bases now exist, and most commercial satellites can be reached by teleported shuttles for prices similar to a first class airplane ticket. Greater distances are infeasible for teleportation, but are nonetheless possible with a combination of NEMA reactor-equipped spacecraft and mages casting Create Air, Purify Air, and various other utility spells. Plans for a twenty-one person shuttle trip to Mars to create a permanent base on it have neared completion.

The topic of magic splintered the Abrahamic faiths beyond their already divided denominations, with moderates that accept magic being flanked by orthodox and fundamentalist groups that see magic as a sin (though congregations sometimes unintentionally become a hub for ceremonial magic) and liberal reformists that feel magic should not only be embraced but also incorporated directly into religious practice. In all the theological confusion, other religions have swept in to pick up the doubtful individuals. New Agers, Wiccans, and neopagans have all seen a surge in membership, as have practitioners of more magic accepting religions such as Haitian voudon, Santeria, and Hinduism.

Traditional sports have remained mostly unchanged in their active practice, but not necessarily in their execution. Teams now hire referee mages to make sure that illegal spellcasting or alchemical elixir use isn't happening, various weather mages compete for big weather-warding gigs like the Superbowl or FIFA cup, and contact sports have become even more violent thanks to healing spells keeping most damage from being permanent. Sports also have segregated leagues specifically for chimeras and chimera halflings to avoid any unfairness towards human players from their opponents having boons like cat reflexes or a giant spider for an rear end. Chimeras have protested the fact that chimera leagues are often underfunded and intentionally played up as novelty acts in a way that some find uncomfortably close to old school freak shows.

Entirely new sports have also arisen in the post-Trinity world. On top of horses and cars, racing now adds flying carpets and dragons to its repertoire of variants. On the team sports side, there's a new form of basketball known as airball that relies on Levitation spells to reach a particularly high net. Creation safaris are a new form of hunting based around the Create Animal spell, effectively allowing you to kill whatever animal you want regardless of what its endangered species status may be, the only drawback being the whole caveat that you don't get a trophy since a slain Create Animal construct disappears entirely. Rarer are the controversial creation safaris that go after the most dangerous game, using Create Warrior to allow for legal human hunting in areas that actually allow the sport. Finally, there's spellboxing, which is just a fancy way for saying wizard duels.

With teleportation being largely tied up with the space industry and considered too precious and pricey to use for other causes, there is still a large need for good old vehicles. Most vehicles are now enhanced, of course, from ships powered by NEMA reactors to high end cars and motorcycles utilizing mana-fuel engines. There is also the whole matter of flying carpets. Flying carpets fall into a strange niche, slower and easier to use than a jet plane but pricier than an automobile. They mainly fill the roles that helicopters do in the real world, as well as being popular with wealthier individuals and utilized for city "air taxis" that have fare costing about twice as much as that of the ground variety.

Next time in GURPS Technomancer: We talk people and places as we cover organizations and a few key locations in the final two chapters of the book. Expect cops, criminals, and corporations. Also, this guy:

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 22:41 on Jan 22, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
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Superiors 2: Blinded By Lust

Andrealpjus played fo comedy is an obsessive, shallow romantic, directed by his latest passion. He can be talked into favors by anyone sexy and avoids fighting for fear of getting his hair messed up. He and his demons are preoccupied by fashion and beauty, and they're useless at anything but looking good or seduction. They mistake everything for a come-on and can easily be distracted by a chance to gently caress in a corner. A darker Andrealphus only takes pleasure from pain in others - physical or emotional, forcing them to betray what they care about or persuading them to do things they don't want. Lust only cares about forcing others to do things they don't want. This Andre doesn't care about simple sex, preferring BDSAM, pedophilia, snuff films and bestiality. (Hm, one of these things seems like it might not belong.) While he and his demons may appear empty-headed and vain, they are in truth brutal and calculating.

Andrea is a female variation on Andre, which some people find less threatening, which is a good reason to use it. Andrea will always be seductive and beautiful, but the details vary at her whim and to best manipulate those around her. She will be less aggressive than the masculine Andre, preferring to have others impress her, though she'll also flatter and encourage those she wants. In the case of those unaccustomed to women in authority, or who tend towards male-dominant relationships, she enjoys aggression and taking control. She expects to be actively flattered for her appearance, far more than in male form, and will be insulted if she isn't. Her attitude and appearance are meant to be a challenge to those around her, setting them to competing over her, and she likes to fake a hidden flaw or vulnerability.

Shal-Mari is a chaotic mix of styles and architecture from across history. Medieval alleys, skyscrapers, Roman baths, whatever. It is full of demons and the damned, trying to lure in others to trade Essence for pleasures of all kinds...or mugging them, either-or. The people come from across history as well, and while many keep up on trends, the older demons tend to prefer to dress in the fashion of the last time they were on Earth. The Damned rarely afford clothing at all, save perhaps the uniform or theme of wherever they work. Many low-ranking demons of Lust prostitute themselves in the streets, often for higher ranking pimps, either because they haven't found a place in a brothel or because they prefer freelancing.

The court of Andrealphus is held in a structure resembling a New Orleans hotel from the early 20th century, referred to as the Bordello. Its appearance changes over time - it's been a Moorish castle, a Roman villa and even an exact replica of Versailles. Its exterior changes at Andrealphus' whim, and while the main entrance is always in the same palce, back doors and windows vary day to day. The rooms within are mixture of old and new styles, and the decore is gaudy and tasteless in some parts and refined in others. The exterior is always understated but attractive. Some demons believe the entire Bordello is a manifestation of Andre's mind, and that new rooms manifest whenever he finds some new taste or fetish. No part of it is silent or empty unless that's part of the diversion it caters to. From the cells in the basement to the lecture halls to the rented rooms and film studios, there's always someone around, or at least some noise and scent of activity. The entire place pulses with sensuality, and the common areas are for parties or orgies are always in use.

Two ares are known in the Bordello to any demon of Lust: the throne room and the Heartrooms. The Heartrooms are guarded by Djinn to prevent non-Lust demons from entering, but are otherwise rather relaxed. They are carpeted and walled by black velvet, exuding luxury, and the Hearts rest on pedestals, to let their owners caress them. On the other side is the throne room, always magnificent but with the details shifting by Andre's mood. He holds audience there, administer public punishments and occasionally engages in Bordello-wide orgies.

Andre, like any Superior, keeps private records - favorite techniques, adventures, private conversations, his personal broodings. He prefers to keep these on the living forms of those demons or human souls that displease him or are unfortunate enough to strike him as having beautiful skin. These living notebooks have all of thesenses removed save touch by Andre himself, who then dictates his thoughts to his scribe, the blind Habbalite Nemo. He once attempted to Redeem to Creation and has been imprisoned in the Bordello ever since. He uses sacrification, tattooing and wire sitching to record Andre's thoughts on the skins of the 'books.' They wander through a padded, carpeted area in the cellars, guarded by a select group of Djinn. Senir demons can sometimes get in to consult a particular 'document' but only with Andre's specific permission. It's believed that this area adjoins to Kronos' Archive and that sometimes documents go missing and must be replaced, though few fully believe all the rumors they've heard about this area.

Stereotypically, demons of Lust are seen as degenerate, obsessed narcissists under a weak Prince. And, in truth, they do tend to be obsessed with the flesh. However, their dissonance condition makes clear how amoral they must be to rise. Other demons can care about humans, even like them and show it, rare as it is. Andrealphans cannot. Ever. The most thaey can do is critically appreciate a well-groomed specimen or enjoy their skills. They can pretend to emotion to manipulate others, but true feeling risks dissonance. Even to feel emotion to other demons is a risk, as it leads you down the path of caring. Far, far too dangerous to risk that. Thus, demons of Lust tend to be profoundly shallow, emotionally, though they can fake it well. Even their philosophical fits of angst tend to just be mere indulgence, a way to display themselves, with no genuine feeling. A few of them possess something akin to pride in the care of their livestock, if not actual affection. They understand human needs, physical and spiritual, and they limit themselves. They aren't really selfless, but can be kind, if disinterested, to their pets, refraining from much random cruelty. The carrot, they find, works better than the stick. They don't usually have the drive to rise high, but can be quite effective in long-term positions on Earth, as they are hard to detect.

Demons of lust often fall into layered hierarches of command, and in theory, the junior demons obey their masters without question and have total authority over any inferiors. However, their constantly shifting sexual partners can alter these without warning - a lowly Impudite that manages to catch the eye of a Wordbound may suddenly have a lot of influence...until the Wordbound gets bored, anyway. In these hierarches, everyone has a chain of command they're part of, understanding their relations within it, but when two different groups of Andrealphans interact, they have to figure out a pecking order, typically by some combination of signs of Princely favor, demonstrations of power or resources, combat and orgies. Often it comes down to contests of sexiness - the first demon to show desire is the inferior, unless they're powerful enough to forcefully rape the other demon.

While the chain of command is oftne clear, it is not just or merciful. An inferior that fails to do all in their power for a superior might be punished for it...but those that do can be punished for acting outside orders. It just depends on how the dominant demon feels about you and how important you are to their plans. Lower-ranking demons know this and accept it as natural. Healthy self-interest and a desire for favor from superiors produces a well-trained demon of Lust. They are typically polite to those above them, dreaming of the day they can be dominant and rule thier minions as cruelly as they are now ruled.

Humans are vitally important to Lust. Every demon knows it. They may not like humans, they don't care about them, but they need them. Humans must be made to desire each other, and even more than that, to desire the demons of Lust. Thus, going to Earth has the perk of interacting with them. Most Lust demons interpret this to mean 'gathering mortal servants to obey my whims.' Naturally, the humans don't like it put that way, and demons need to express it in terms of services, bargains, pleasures and so on. While they may treat humans politely at first, though, no demon of Lust ever sees them as equals. At best, they might be favored pets or useful servants. They are always in relationships where it's clear who's the dominant one, where the demon is the drug controlling the humans. Mortals unware of the War may or may not get 'taught their place,' depending on their positions and attitudes, and what they demon's role is. If a ranking human is being manipulated and is unaware of the War, a demon might allow them to believe themselves the dominant partner. Sometimes it's easier to train a human into abusive habits by acting as a victim first rather than being the abuser. Other times, it's more effective to have a mortal just act on their own.

Humans awere of the War, however, must know their place. Whether a mere human or a Soldier, they know the demons of Lust are masters, not equals or servants. They may behave freely in public, but in private they must be humble minions. By the time a human is made aware, they usually already have gotten involved with the demons and need what they offer. Breaking free is possible, but it's as hard as any addiction. Skilled humans are abused slightly less, or at least in ways that won't stop them using their skills. The common view that all human minions of Lust are either whores are guards is not accurate, though. Many are, of course, but Andre needs other things, too - scientists, couriers, politicians, teachers and more - anyone that can be used to defend Lust's interests or spread it. They are invariably controlled by sex, though, even if they start out wanting money, power or out of fear of a demon. Sex just...happens. Most demons of Lust treat these human servants as a necessary evil, but will not have sex for pleasure with them unless they're attractive.

Andrealphus refuses to make undead, given his hostility for Saminga. Humans that want to live longer can be healed using the Songs of Form and Healing, keeping them dependent. Very rarely, a presentable mummy or vampire on the run from a former Superior - particularly those fleeing Saminga - may be adopted, but they rarely last long. Even if a Prince wasn't gunning for them, they don't fit and they rapidly slip down the dominance ladder and become expendable. The worst of it all, though, to many angels at least, is that the humans often enjoy their degradation. Demons of Lust are very good at sex, after all, and their minions tend to adore them and obey them automatically. However, they also tend to, on some level, hate and loathe their masters and what they've become. It doesn't bother the demons unless it messes with the human's ability to obey, though. It's not as if they care, after all.

Next time: Rewards and punishments.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007

In Nomine, Superior Opinions posted:

(snarky bullshit)


Wow, the System Mastery guys were loving spot on when they called out all dumb 90's games for having the same passive-aggressive "what does faction X think of faction Y" kind of poo poo.

Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!

Andreaphalus is hilariously one-note, even for a In Nomine superior.

Nov 8, 2009

Ratoslov posted:

Andreaphalus is hilariously one-note, even for a In Nomine superior.

Eh... it's a drat strong note for a demon prince, and can probably be expanded on to intrude on Greed or Gluttony's territory.

That being said, I'd imagine he's probably best treated as a joke or ignored altogether for most games. His attunements tend towards the horrifying poo poo like "Make the victim enjoy being raped" and "Rewire their brain so they enjoy [insert degrading sex thing here]." It's one of those subjects that's very difficult to deal with well, even for a group mature enough to handle it.


Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

It's funny, I thought I remembered Nuclear Liches being playable, if extremely high-point.

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