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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Halloween Jack posted:

That's a shame. I get that the Amber diehards love the bidding character creation, and have spent so much time figuring out ways around the balance issues that they're find with it, but presumably those same people have access to the original game.

Is it true that Fate started as somebody's FUDGE variant for playing Amber? That just seems like a much less fussy platform for defining stuff like "Only one of you can be the strongest, most magickest, and so on."

Yeah, Fate came from Amber, though it bears essentially no resemblance systemically.

A lot of LoGoS's balance issues can be fixed by a good GM (since it's a game of absolute GM authority) but the fact is you go through LoGoS and all the powers - and I mean all of them - key off of Psyche as their primary attribute (often with Endurance as secondary), with none mentioning Strength. Not only is brawn just less flexible than brains, it doesn't even have any options in terms of impacting the world beyond your fists. They at least make it the basic barehanded combat attribute, so it's a slight improvement over Amber, but it's like saying "In this version of 3.5, fighters get 4 + Int skills per level!" It's a improvement but not a fix.

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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Nessus posted:

Are you telling me that in Feng Shui, the most important skill is to know how to cap the drat point?

No, it's Chinese gardening and architecture.

Owning places with good Feng Shui tilts fate in your favor -- the more Chi you have on your side, the more readily and easily the world lines up to give you exactly what you want. Fame, fortune, your heart's desire, and awesome martial and magical power come ridiculously easily to those who control the world's Chi, and the ones who have it tend to use it to grind everybody else into the dirt. In the modern Juncture (a time period you can travel to, there's 4, and time moves forward at the same rate in all of them) that's the Ascended, a secret society of animals who gained human form and stole the world's magic so it could never be used against them.

Of course, you can always travel through the Netherworld, the place which is outside of space and time, and arrive a thousand years in the past to steal the Feng Shui sites out from under your hated rivals before they're even born. That's how the Ascended took over in the first place. Watch out for the evil eunuch sorcerers who run ancient China though, magic is a lot easier in the past.

The old introductory adventure for Feng Shui involved Our Heroes protecting the Best drat Noodle Shop in Hong Kong (and the owner's smoking hot daughter) from a Villainous Street Gang who were actually working for an Evil Sorcerer from the Past.

wiegieman fucked around with this message at 01:24 on Oct 19, 2016

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Well, Jumpers is a Sliders RPG, and there's The Whispering Vault and TftC but that's probably not what you're looking for. You would probably need something like Jumpers' explanation for why a group of reality-hoppers stay bound to each other.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED




Introduction and Chapter One Part One: Rise From Your Grave

quote:

Memory is the basis of every journey.
— Stephen King, Dreamcatcher

As you might expect from a book that opens quoting Stephen King's classic tale of shitweasels and the magical powers Downs Syndrome gives you, Mummy: The Curse is difficult to explain. So difficult to explain, in fact, the very first words in it are dedicated to defending its own existence.

quote:

In this day and age, the first instinct of a certain type of player might be to question the viability of a roleplaying game about mummies. Say the word “mummy” to this sort of player and watch his face contort as he struggles to accept even the possibility of the premise, let alone the premise itself. (We can all see him picturing Brendan Fraser swinging awkwardly away at the CGI.) To be perfectly clear and frank, we understand this instinct, to a point.

But that point, then, represents part of why we went and made such a game, anyway. If that sort of player thinks it’s a monumental challenge to create a rich and exciting roleplaying experience centered around mummies, then it’s a challenge we not only accept in good faith, but one we actively relish. One of the things almost all game designers (and writers in general) tend to appreciate is a true and fair opportunity to effect nothing less than the utter transmogrification of disbelief into delight. For some of us, that’s essentially what gets us up in the morning.

What you’re reading now represents the culmination of a lot of genuine effort and creativity, on the part of an equally genuine team of writers and artists, to provide just such a transformative moment. We’ve done our best to take every apprehension-inducing image, every shambling stereotype, and turn them on their heads for your enjoyment and, with any luck, your betterment. All we can assure you is that this game is a product of sincere vision, direction, and hard work. But don’t take our word for it. Give the game just as
sincere a chance, and decide for yourself.

Welcome to Mummy: The Curse.

It does not give a good impression of your product when the first three paragraphs aren't the pitch, it's saying "No, we got this, trust me, just listen." This, however, was probably the safe bet, as the original World of Darkness's Mummy: the Resurrection is a line that many players either never heard of, or forgot nearly instantly. I've not played it myself - indeed, I suspect anyone who says they have is up to something - but it was was a weird, weird game, that actually started as a supplement for V:tM 1e, got Revised, then completely overhauled as Resurrection before support basically got dropped like a hot potato until a few footnotes in the books about the end of the world. It didn't really fit the rest of the World of Darkness, which had a high tolerance for some goofy bullshit but drew the line at regularly bringing up the undying demigods fighting the forces of evil Egyptian demons.

So, when White Wolf effectively transformed into Onyx Path, and began making noise to the effect of updating old lines, most people's thoughts went straight past Mummy to wondering how they'd handle Demon's very Judeo-Christian angles in nWoD's decidedly agnostic setting. Most fans were utterly baffled upon Mummy: the Curse's announcement, and nobody was quite sure what to expect. That, combined with the hard sell of pitching Boris Karloff in some bandages to the closest thing to a general public roleplaying games have, honestly all but necessitated something like this intro.

To those of you who looked at it and narrowed your eyes as memories of the authorial tone of oWoD rose to the surface, though, yeah, you're not wrong. Mummy: the Curse was developed by C.A. Suleiman, whose bibliography was mostly books from the original World of Darkness run and a few Requiem books. Mummy is a game that very much feels caught between the old and new World of Darkness, which is actually fairly appropriate for the themes of the line itself, but doesn't do good things for its accessibility. The initial release of Mummy was met with a decidedly tepid reaction, with some people enjoying what it was going for, and a lot of other people sent screaming in the direction by seeing old mechanical or narrative bogeymen lurking within.

I actually was one of the latter group until much later in the line's life, after a few supplements came out and the direction of the line became clearer to me. The core suffers from being a poorly laid out, shabbily proofread, generally meandering mess, and later books tighten things up and add some more immediately compelling hooks to the game. That's why I'm writing this review - I won't make the argument that Mummy: the Curse is a particularly good game, but it is a very interesting one to me, one with a lot of potential to tap into. If edition updates are still going on in five or ten years, a fresh update to Mummy could make it into a pretty amazing game as well as a unique one.

Enough about that though, let's talk about more than just the first three paragraphs.

THE QUICK PITCH

Mummies are immortal, once-human relics of an empire that rose and fell about the time when mammoths were still in the "doing okay, all things considered" phase of extinction, and they've been spending a long, long time trying to maintain their grip on a world that has long since moved on without them. They are patient, they are ancient and terrible, they are relentless, and they're finally starting to crack under the pressure of eternity.

THEME

Mummy's core theme and narrative is ultimately about memory. Memory is all that stops the Arisen from being pure automatons, slaves to their eternal purpose. It's what makes their sense of self, what defines them as persons, what makes the world more than an endless passage of time and duty. Every scrap of memory from the ever-widening abyss of time mummies exist in helps piece together a map of their own existence, leading to self-discovery, self-definition, and how people change and are shaped by their world being a hugely important part of a mummy's narrative arc. If you've ever played Planescape: Torment, you've already got the idea.

MOOD

The default mood as presented is the sense of ancient dread and occult horror, and later books (and later parts of the core) make it clear that introspective horror from reflecting on your own existence is fairly high on the list as well. However, there is quite a hefty dose of pulp horror-adventure, or just pulp adventure, in Mummy. It doesn't take a lot to reorient the themes - while both a standard sort of game and a pulp game mightinvolve a lot of old rivals and ancient evil, the pulp game is going to look less like your average game of Vampire: the Masquerade and more like a two-fisted tale full of Nazis to beat senseless.

Speaking of Nazis, Mummy's fairly unique in the sense that the nature of spotty memory, narrative license, and eternal life giving you a lot of opportunity to set a game in a whole poo poo-ton of times and places, or even weave flashbacks (or flash-forwards) to events hundreds or thousands of years disconnected from the game's present, giving the game a very dynamic approach to a story of the endless cycles of eternal life.

UH OH HERE COMES THE METAPLOT

And already we come to one of the biggest things that made people reflexively pull faces at Mummy: the Curse: the return of an oWoD style secret history and metaplot. At this point I doubt I need to go into much detail about oWoD's love of metaplot and exhaustively detailed alternate supernatural history, because if you're reading this thread you probably know the drill. Mummy makes a return to form by splitting the core book into a Player's Handbook and a Storyteller's Handbook. The justification is that Mummy is a game about discovery and the forgotten past, so the secrets of the game are out of the way of the rules so Storytellers can dole out things to actually discover to both character and player...

except that poo poo didn't work in the 90s either. Players will read the section that tells them to gently caress off elsewhere. Not only that, the rules sections are full of references to things only described and given rules in the Storyteller section, which more comes across as a constant elbowing in the ribs than a tantalizing mystery. Later books more or less abandon the pretense entirely, or are entirely about things that would have been hidden behind the Great Wall of Metaplot. The bigger issue with those later books is that they implicitly rely on you giving a poo poo about Mummy's secret history. In nearly every other line, the mysteries of Irem would be left to the Storyteller to make up, and indeed so little about them were given in the core that people running Mummy when it came out would have had to do just that.

Of course, that creates the situation where, say, some long-running game gives an explanation for the oft-referenced Lost Guild, then the book for the Lost Guild comes out and whoops now you've either got to retcon everything or the book's useless - which was, again, one of those things everybody else learned from after it happened repeatedly in the original World of Darkness books. Even if that's not a problem for you, it also relies on the incredibly well-worn oWoD narrative conceit of the mysterious wise NPC that figured everything out before you and -

I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we move on, one cute note:





Whoops. Yeah, that never became a thing. There’s something really appropriate about this game line trying to utilize modern technology to make something eternally relevant and long-lasting, and completely faceplanting.

Anyway, the introduction ends with the lexicon, which I will put at the bottom of this post for readability’s sake, then moves on to the Player’s Guide.



quote:

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Aadesh Nidal, owner of Nidal Construction, tensed as he lifted his head from the table.

Around him, the rest of his team kept their eyes on the blueprints, afraid or otherwise unwilling to look up.

“Mr. Saunders, if you’ll permit me to—”

Saunders had no intention of permitting anything. “I’ll have your licenses revoked,” he interrupted. “All of you. Hell, I may have you up on charges! We’d agreed—”

“Do not blame Mr. Nidal, please.” It emerged from the shadowed corner at the back of the room, that voice; soft, tinged with an accent Saunders couldn’t quite place. “It was I who made the changes to the plans on which you’d settled. If you’ve any objections, take them up with me.”

“And who,” Saunders asked, trying to peer through the gloom, “is this supposed to be?”

“Mr. Ouonsou,” Nidal answered with uncharacteristic hesitation. “He’s a… special consultant my family brings in for certain important jobs.”

“And what gives Mr. Ouonsou the right to just waltz in here and gently caress up plans that we signed off on months ago?”

An off-white grin split the shadows, providing only the faintest suggestion of dark-skinned features surrounding it. “I merely adjusted for a more favorable grace of fortune, Mr. Saunders. Your angles were obstructing the flow of Sekhem. I’ve corrected for it.”

“The flow of…?”

“Really, you ought to be thanking me. The Nidal family will be acquiring one of your new offices for its own, and I did this for their benefit. That your remaining tenants will also benefit is only to your advantage.”

“You’re insane. You are all—”

“And I’ve a gift for you, as well. In tribute. For the lobby, perhaps.”

The figure shifted within the darkness, pushing forth a metal cart. Atop it sat a small clay bust of Saunders, himself.

The landlord scowled. “And is that somehow supposed to influence my decision, Mr. Ouonsou?”

“Oh, Mr. Saunders.” Without any apparent change in the lighting, that gleaming grin somehow grew brighter still. “You have absolutely no idea…”




quote:

They ruled under the sign of the scorpion, emblazoned on the pillars you built.


Your hands sowed the secret seeds of Western civilization. Later Egyptian dynasties, and the Greeks and Romans who learned their ways, arose from stones you laid so precisely a razor could not pass between them, and idols sculpted with such life and art they seemed to move in firelight. You toiled in a lost age where crafts and sorcery melded into a single operation. You invented alchemy. You gave the gods shapes of looming basalt, granite, and alabaster. Across millennia, religion, art, architecture, and more all echo your primal labors.

Our modern world of masters and servants is an echo, as well—the ancients were not much different. You were a worker, not a king, and that’s why your labor remains undone. Your masters gifted you with death, but refused you its peace. Their dread and powerful magic forced you to serve long after your nation crumbled to dust and heretical history. Your corpse rises. Made ruthless by time and ritual, your soul pushes it to obey ancient commands. Now Arisen, will you toil as your instincts demand, or will you embark on a greater work to reclaim your memory, your past, and perhaps even yourself?

We get a brief introduction to the concepts of Mummy before we do a deep dive into the backstory, so savor it while you can. If you ever get really confused during the lorechat, just refer to the next few paragraphs a few times.

The Arisen lived about six thousand years ago in pre-dynastic Egypt, in a vast empire under the rule of sorcerer-priests called the Shan’iatu. In return for their loyal service in life, they were subjected to the Rite of Return, a mighty spell that unfortunately required them to die and be mummified. Their soul ventured to Duat, the Egyptian underworld, and underwent trials administered by its divine Judges. These trials forced them to define their spiritual nature forever afterward, and granted them eternal life…of a sort.

Using the occult energy of Sekhem, best described quickly as elemental life force and the power of eternal cycles, the Arisen’s body and soul reunited, with Sekhem maintaining the body’s form and providing channels of mystic energy mummies can enact their magical will through. Sekhem zaps mummies into states of temporary animation, during which they enact the will of the Judges by recovering vessels – objects full of Sekhem. The Judges demand this tribute from the Arisen as their most sacred duty, and it is the reason for their eternal service. Over time, the power that animates them wears down until they return to their death-like state until awakened once more. The Arisen experience and remember nothing during this period, and are almost always confused and disoriented upon awakening, their memory of prior active periods growing more and more faint as time marches on.

The power that can revive the dead fills the Arisen, and give them inhuman strength, endurance, and even sorcerous rites and commands descended from their former masters’ art. Driven by commands written into the Rite that animates them, the Arisen must make the choice between eternal life in servitude, or exploring their own nature, past, and the secrets Duat keeps hidden from them. A brave few even dream of defying their gods, risking their unimaginable wrath in hopes of finding a way to escape the Rite’s chains forever.

MYTHS, POP CULTURE, AND FACT

This is the true/false thing every WoD line does about its subject matter, so I’ll just copy and paste it to save time.

quote:

History, cinema, fiction, and games all have stories to tell about mummies, but the Arisen represent a particular vision. To set Mummy: The Curse’s protagonists apart from other interpretations, let’s see where ideas you may already have about mummies apply to the Arisen.

Mummies hail from ancient Egypt. True, but the Arisen were not made during recorded Egyptian history. Before the known pharaohs, sorcerer-priests ruled under the sign of the scorpion, building an empire from their capital Irem, said to originate in the Nile Valley. Their dominion stretched from Ethiopia to the edge of Mesopotamia. Physically, the vast majority of Arisen resemble the peoples of North Africa, Central Africa, and the Middle East.

Mummies are kings, nobles, and priests. False, for the Arisen. Elite members of the later dynasties did preserve their bodies with ancient science and religious rites, but these were distorted shadows of the true, occult Rite of Return. The sorcerers of Irem performed it upon their retainers to prepare them for service across many lives. The Priests of Duat never became mummies themselves, but left the living world to attend their patron god in the afterlife.

Mummies rise from the dead under the influence of an ancient curse. True. Sort of. The Rite of Return was never intended to give its recipients a second chance to redeem themselves or to right wrongs per se. It fixes their minds upon vessels to return to Duat and upon other holy duties— each Judge may be pleased by certain actions, and obedience staves off the decline of Sekhem. In those respects, it is a curse, though mummies may struggle to escape its bonds.

Mummies exist in many cultures, each with a distinctive form of magic that brings it to life. False, as far as the Arisen know. Only the sorcerer-priests of Irem knew the Rite of Return, and only they cast it upon their subjects. Even if other cultures could somehow use effective sorcery to raise their blessed dead, such magics are pale reflections of the eldritch Rite of Return.

Mummies draw power from the gods of ancient Egypt. Unknown. The masters of Irem made the Arisen using methods beyond their servants’ comprehension. Mummies remember gods similar to those of ancient Egypt, with Azar (closest analog is Osiris) being the divine patron of the Nameless Empire, but they occupy a secondary position in the Arisen mind compared to the Judges.

Mummies master ancient sorcery. True, but it is not exactly “mastery.” An Arisen’s greatest magical asset is the magic that animates her. She may augment her abilities with the Pillars of her spiritual being. In addition, the Rite of Return infuses the Arisen’s soul with the Sekhem and the instincts to work a few simple effects by rote. Mummies may expand their rote knowledge, but few become truly creative occultists. Magical skill is a pattern programmed into the Sekhem, not the mix of will, enlightenment, and study that legendary magicians are said to cultivate.

A QUICK SIDE NOTE:



quote:

I cannot even begin to express my displeasure at the state of my cult upon my arising. In the mere century I had been in repose, the nature of both its members and the world in which they serve has become unimaginably hard and sickeningly soft at the same time. These people are urgent in their needs and lackadaisical in their urgency, now responding with casual grunts and inconclusive nods when I address them. A world of terrifying speed is the one to which I have awakened, yet we Arisen are steady and powerful in our purpose. The flimsy things of this rushed and mindless place can pose no true threat to my goals during this time.

All the more, then, is the reason I need my functionaries to fall in line. Every age has its obstacles, and all obstacles have a solution. I will establish orders within my temple, and each will serve me as an organ to reconcile this new world with the one I know. I am told that computers are a powerful information and analysis tool that have replaced humans as servants among the mightiest kingdoms of this new world. I have learned there are those among my flock who are masters of these lifeless new servants. My thanks will be to initiate them to new levels of responsibility. For those not possessed of such skills and who lack the capacity to develop them, I should have need, as well, for what we seek is no easy prize.

Despite the frenzied pace of this new day, I am certain my descent shall be as it has always been—for no hand can stay long when set against Fate itself—and that those who seek to defy both Fate and Judge can only die screaming my name.
— from the letters of Ankh-Nephris, Hand of Wisdom

This book’s a few years old now but I still want to have some sort of ghostly force that automatically slaps people who think illegible font is excusable if it’s for in-character documents. Mercifully, the core only has a couple of these.

THE GAME IN BRIEF
The next section briefly goes over many of the mechanical differences and oddities Mummy has in comparison to other World of Darkness games, as well as the details of what it does the same.

Probably the biggest difference is in how their power stat, Sekhem, works. Other games have their line’s power trait – Blood Potency, Primal Urge, Gnosis, etc. – start at 1, and go up by spending a large amount of experience. This trait is usually used in supernatural power rolls, defense against supernatural powers, determines how much fuel you have for your powers, and determines if your attributes can go over 5. Mummies have a dynamic Sekhem rating, which starts at 10 when they awaken from slumber and decreases automatically over time. This, in combination with how their powers work and how strong their innate advantages are, mean that mummies start games with the sort of power other games end with, and makes the narrative arc less focused on consolidating power and more about actually pursuing your goals and fulfilling expectations. However, over time, mummies get weaker and weaker, and juggling priorities gets harder and more urgent – especially because acting out of line with the cosmic fun polices’ dictates means you get weaker faster, and they don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart.

Before that is Memory, the Mummy version of Morality because this was before CofD threw that poo poo out the window for Integrity. It’s not exactly a moral code, though, and is more a measure of how well you remember your endless existence. Instead of starting with a rating of 7, you start with a rating of 3, because your long-term memories are vague, fleeting, dreamlike, and often contradictory. The higher your Memory, the more you rediscover your true personality and sense of self. Whispers “by a lone, wandering heretic” say that Memory is the key to a state called Apotheosis, beyond duty and the ravages of time. But it might be a lie. (It isn’t. The Heretic is a terrible oWoD throwback element. I hope you liked Golconda!)

Due to the nature of Memory, characters are expected to have little to no backstory at the start of the game beyond a few broad-brush strokes, because the character doesn’t actually remember a drat thing about themselves. The Storyteller (or player) reveals elements of their past as Memory increases.

Sekhem isn’t just restricted to animating mummies. It can also be found in certain objects called vessels, and the Judges of Duat want them. Badly. The Arisen’s primary goal is to get as many of them as possible by any means possible. Of course, this is rarely as easy as getting onto Antiques Roadshow and robbing Grandma blind, because vessels often have weird curses and rumors associated with them, as a side-effect of being full of mojo. Some are even leftovers of Iremite times, or made with Iremite secrets, and have magical powers of their own. These are called relics, and are similar to things like fetishes from Werewolf or artifacts from Mage. It’s these that have a bad habit of finding their way into the hands of collectors, occultists, and general weirdos who have no interest in giving them up without a fight. Mummies have an innate sense for the presence of relics and vessels, and are especially sensitive to ones that resonate with the craft their caste practiced in life.

These guilds are how mummies organize themselves societally, based on old crafts practiced and caste divisions. They pass down ancient secrets, rites, techniques, and the old ways of their society. Mummies all have instinctual knowledge of Iremite magic, but most must be taught, and the guilds keep the real-deal, heavy-duty magic as sacred secret arts.

In addition to this societal structure, the Arisen are defined by their decree, the statement of defiance and self-definition they made in the face of the torture they underwent in Duat. The nature of the decree determines which of the five Egyptian/Iremite elements of the soul they are most attuned to, and generally colors their personality even when Memory is high. These elements are ab (heart), ba (spirit), ka (essence), ren (name), and sheut (shadow). These are also the five types of not-mana the Arisen can use, collectively called Pillars. These can fuel supernatural powers, which vary from mummy to mummy.

There are two main types of power Mummies can learn aside from their innate advantages. The simpler of the two, and usually the subtler, are Affinities, which either enhance an existing power or advantage a mummy has, or provide a small set of stable benefits. Complex, overt power is the domain of Utterances, ancient spells descended from the art of the Shan’iatu that can bind ghosts, crack the earth open, wither flesh, and even perform feats as mighty as calling down the stars when used at the peak of Sekhem.

Lastly,

quote:

ANCIENT, PERSONAL SECRETS
The Arisen know the basics of their existence—their origins in predynastic Egypt, their positions as servants of the ruling elite of the Nameless Empire, and their instincts to rise, serve their cults, and reclaim items of power. But they don’t know the full story of their creation.

The Storyteller knows.

In some ways, this convention returns to the roots of roleplaying games, where critical knowledge stays behind the screen until players uncover it, but it also recalls contemporary games where part of the fun lies beyond the immediate challenges of a scenario, in uncovering the deep and variegated mythology that created it.

Mummy: The Curse separates information into the player and Storyteller “compartments,” defined by each book in the core game. If you plan to play one of the Arisen, you have two choices: You can choose not to read the Mummy Storyteller’s Handbook, or you can indulge in the spoilers, using the separation to guide your behavior and roleplaying.

ORIGINS
Brace yourselves, because we’re taking our first dive into Deepest Lore.



Six thousand years is a long, long time. When a span of time gets big enough, people lose sight of what it really entails. Six thousand years ago was as far from Hammurabi's first code of law as we are from the traditionally given year of Jesus Christ's birth. Cleopatra lived closer to the invention of the smartphone than the building of the first pyramid, and the first pyramid doesn't quite make it to five thousand years old. In the last years of the Neolithic Era, writing had yet to be invented, the plough was the cutting edge of technology, and the scorpions came to the land of Kemet on the Nile.

They came from the seemingly endless desert on the sleeves of strange men and women, sorcerers and ghost-tamers, who command fire and banish the hungry dead with a word. They bring the knowledge of crafts to the people of Kemet, but save the secrets of sorcery for only the sons and daughters they steal away when they see talent. The strangers call themselves the Shan’iatu, and Priests of Duat, the world of the dead. They make themselves lords of the living and build a nation, just as the 42 Judges of Duat are lords of the dead under their god Azar. These sacred necromancers appoint a divine Pharaoh as high priest of Azar, and become a senate of holy necromancers only nominally under him.

quote:

The Religion of the Pillars

The Arisen revered the Shan’iatu as something between teachers, lords, and demigods. The sorcerer-priests gave their ancestors civilization, and made their works the magical spearhead of an empire. In the City of Pillars, only the Shan’iatu could fully worship the gods, but they accepted the petitions of commoners on their behalf. Gods from Egypt’s historical dynasties stir something in the Arisen, but they can only identify a few of these (those featured most commonly in Irem’s religious epics) from the most ancient days.

Above all other gods, the Shan’iatu worshiped Azar, believed to be the predynastic form of he whom the Greeks named Osiris. Azar sent his divine bau-presence into Irem’s Pharaoh. The city itself was a monument to the god: Each of its pillars was a djed—a representation of the spine of Azar, the unifier of life and death. As the senate of sorcerer-priests ruled Irem under the Pharaoh’s ceremonial rod, the 42 Judges ruled Duat under Azar.

Under the scorpion banner and scepter-head, the Shan’iatu yoke and lash the tribes of Kemet into castes. Artisans, acolytes, laborers, and an ever-expanding body of soldiers push the boundaries of their territory outward, until the time comes when all under the Shan’iatu must be commanded as one, from a permanent capital. It’s said that the Shan’iatu never named the city they made, nor the empire it would soon lead, but later civilizations would call it Irem. Those who lived there merely called it the City of Pillars, after the sacred occult architecture it was built upon.
The Nameless Empire is born from fumbling tribesmen drafted to become artisans, bolstered with sorcery and secrets ripped from the world itself. Obsidian blades anointed with blood cut through bronze, figurines made with corpse-ash gain a false life. The Arisen, on the rare occasion they remember even a hazy impression of their time alive, remember moments like these most, for all were members of the craft-guilds of Irem.

That doesn’t mean some weren’t soldiers too, however. Every guild’s art was bent in part towards the militarization of the Nameless Empire, whether making arms and armor, or strange rites that make a simple pot rip souls from slaves, or an instrument that causes madness in the listener. Tribal identity is broken, their peoples scattered and reformed into legions. Tribes that refuse to join the City of Pillars are killed to the last child, and their very existence is erased from every graven record by the Shan’iatu.

After a hundred years of preparation, the Shan’iatu lead the Nameless Empire to conquer the known world.

quote:

Ethnicity and the Arisen

All Arisen once lived in the city they call Irem, thought to be in the Nile Delta, but they came from every part of the Nameless Empire. This doesn’t mean mummies belong to every conceivable ethnicity, however. No Arisen comes by blue eyes or blond hair naturally. The largest segment of Arisen resemble modern Egyptians, Libyans, and other North African populations, minus the influence of later European arrivals. A significant number possess Central African ancestry and the same overall appearance as modern Sudanese. A few hail from the Levant or Asia Minor, as these were tributary states governed by the Pharaoh’s early Akkadian and Sumerian vassals.

As far as the Arisen can recall, the Priests of Duat appeared to be of the same ancestry as their subjects, though this might have been due to sorcery, not birth.

The Arisen just don’t think about race the way modern people do. European colonialism, the slave trade, and the rise of “scientific” racism occurred long after a mummy’s living years. They rarely empathize with the thinking engendered by this history, and don’t classify people according to the races Westerners see. The Arisen recognize differences between the people of the Nile Delta, Nubians, Libyans, and the people of Asia Minor that might go unnoticed by Westerners. Unlike later dynasties, they do not attach any stigma or merit to these groups based on ancestry. As a rule, the Shan’iatu did not discriminate in their craft-houses; only skill and obedience mattered. To the Arisen, there were only two “demographic” groups: servants of the Empire and unconquered outsiders.

The forces of Irem march south, up the Nile. Tribes that appear useful are enslaved, while those more useful as corpses are butchered. In a year’s time, modern-day Libya and Sudan are utterly crushed, but when the Shan’iatu wheel north to Canaan, they hit an unexpected wall of resistance. The Ki-En-Gir were not an empire like Irem, but they have a professional soldiery, and seers to advise them. Though the Nameless Empire wields superior resources in nearly every way, the foresight of Canaan’s mystics force the conflict to a bloody stalemate. Irem sends generals and diplomats to the Ki-En-Gir city of Ubar, described as a cursed citadel where the veil between worlds is threadbare. When they come back, Ubar is gone, swallowed by the desert as if it never existed. Tribute begins to flow from the east after this Pact of Ubar, in gold, horses, and enslaved seers. The seers in particular are immediately brought to the Shan’iatu’s personal precincts, and are never seen again.

The Nameless Empire is at its height at this moment, growing fatter and richer with conquest, glorifying itself with ever-more imposing pillars and temples. It is now that all Arisen lived, and labored for the Empire, until the day of the Rite.

quote:

THE RITE OF RETURN
There is no work that day. The inner servants call him to chambers below the palace. They wash and perfume him in a fire-lit antechamber. They burn his clothes and then give him a linen robe. It is covered with strange hieroglyphs. Before proceeding to the great hall, they command him to drink a bitter, thick liquid from a black stone cup.

As he enters his lord’s vault, he discovers that Irem’s pillars transfix the earth; one of them passes through the hall. He finds he cannot feel his extremities. His solemn pace degrades into a crude shuffle. Sounds grow loud and strange, as if they’re passing through water. One of them is a chant that begins once they lay him on the stained slab.

He is surprised the chant comes from the mouth of one of the Shan’iatu. The hoarse growl seems out of place on his ageless face. His master looms above with a long, copper spike, and he feels so very thirsty.
Then the artisan’s vision fades into a terrible, white pain—the first of many.

The Arisen remember little of the Rite beyond this point, but all share the same memory. They walk westward, through an endless desert, away from a weak, red sun on the eastern horizon. They have none of the advice or rituals or protection later dynasties of Egypt would give to their dead, only an instinct to keep walking – and perhaps some places, demons, and incantations invoked during their ritual murder. Slaughterers, demons wielding impossibly sharp stone knives, stalk them through the wasteland. Beetles and snakes and locusts pursue them, biting at their heels. Firestorms roar through the desert, and every one must find a way to survive them or die a true death. Some bury themselves in the sands, others slather themselves in cold clay that the flames harden into armor, and others slice themselves open so the blood will put out the fire.



At the end of the desert is a colossal black iron gate, guarded by demons and demigods who force the Arisen through trials, riddles, and tortures that question the Arisen’s right to be here, to survive, to exist. Beyond this first gate are more trials, more agonies, and more gates, until the seventh gate stands before them, in a desert of crushed gems and lapis lazuli trees. Here waits Shezmu the Executioner, patron of the Nameless Empire’s army, who crushes the weak into blood-wine for Azar.

quote:

The traveler doesn’t know what happens to failures. He succeeds. Instead of attacking blindly or begging for an end to his pain, he answers with the highest magic. The words vary from one to the next, but they possess a common meaning: “This is who I am, and no matter what you do, my soul is unyielding.”

The Executioner steps aside.

Shezmu knows the petitioner, but it is up to the Judges to determine the exact parameters of his fate. Each of the 42 Judges demands to know more of his soul’s true nature. They test him with torture, trials, and visions of terrible scenarios. When one Judge touches the part of his soul that cannot break, it passes him to the next—and the next, until he stands face to face with the last Judge, who identifies that lone, immovable Pillar of spirit. The wanderer declares his nature before it. He knows this is his last chance to turn back—to accept dishonor and ouster from paradise rather than fulfill his role—but having won through to this very moment, he instead steps forward and pronounces his decree. In that moment, the final Judge knows the soul as one of the blessed dead, and that Judge becomes his patron for an eternity of service, whispering the secrets of his Pillar and of the magic within.

The traveler closes his eyes. When he reopens them, he is Arisen.

And…take a deep breath. There won’t be another plot dump quite that bad for a while. Because this book is so ridiculously front-loaded and dense, I’ll be ending the post here to prevent information overload, and because I'm nearing the character limit.

Next time: Unlife among the Living, the Guilds, and the Judges

quote:

LEXICON
The following is a sample of the core terms used in the world of Mummy.

ab: In the five-fold soul, the heart.

Affinity: A mystical imbuement that grants a mummy the quiet power to prevail at his purpose.

Apotheosis: A fabled state of being whereby mummies might either end or otherwise transform the cycle of death-and-rebirth to which they have chained themselves for eternity.

Arisen: A mummy or mummies created in lost Irem by the sorcerer-priests of the great guilds.

ba: In the five-fold soul, the spirit.

cult: Customary term for any group of mortals that has forged a bond with a mummy.

Deathless: All mummies who are not Lifeless.

Deceived: Mummies of the “lost guild,” they are of a different breed than the Arisen.

decree: One of five defining pronouncements an Arisen might make before the Judges of Duat; one’s decree determines which aspect of the five-fold soul guides a mummy throughout unlife.

Descent, the: An activity period, or life cycle, for a mummy; it could last a night, or it might last a year.

Devourer, the: In the mytho-religious worldview of the Arisen, the oblivion goddess Ammut, who devoured the souls of those whom the Judges of Duat had judged and found wanting.

guild: One of six mighty organizations in lost Irem, each led by a cabal of seven sorcerer-priests (q.v., Shan’iatu); the five modern guilds reflect the Arisen’s reconstructed visions thereof.

henet: The spiritual “repose” into which mummies fall when they must take their rest.

Irem: The Arisen nickname for the many-pillared city that was the seat of the Nameless Empire.

Judges of Duat: The 42 godlike beings who sit in judgment over departed souls; each Arisen pledges himself to the service of his people and his purpose before one of these 42 beings.

ka: In the five-fold soul, the essence.

Lifeless: Umbrella category of warped, less perfected visions of undeath than the Arisen.

Maa-Kep: The Arisen iteration of an ancient guild of laborers and spies led by seven sorcerer-priests who specialized in the creation of mystically imbued amulets.

meret: Customary term for an alliance among two to seven Arisen; denotes the group as a unit.

Mesen-Nebu: The Arisen iteration of an ancient guild of craftsmen and smiths led by seven sorcerer-priests who specialized in the occult transmutations of alchemy.

Nameless Empire, the: The lost, predynastic Egyptian civilization that gave birth to all true mummies.

Pillar: One of five aspects of the ancient soul—heart, spirit, essence, name, and shadow.

relic: A vessel containing distilled or refined Sekhem (or in rarer cases, substantial levels of unrefined Sekhem) and thus bearing both discernable mystical properties and an attached curse; found in one of five general forms (amulets, effigies, regia, texts, and uter).

ren: In the five-fold soul, the name.

Rite of Return: The single greatest feat of magic ever performed on Earth, it is the sorcery that created the Arisen and that binds its Sekhem to their souls so they can walk among the living.

Sekhem: The pure “life force” that gives both the Arisen and their occult traditions power.

Sesha-Hebsu: The Arisen iteration of an ancient guild of magistrates and scribes led by seven sorcerer-priests who specialized in the creation of the occult word.

Shan’iatu: The cabal of sorcerer-priests who ran the ancient guilds and created all mummies.

Shuankhsen: The deadliest of the Lifeless, they are mummies who have been lost to shadow.

sheut: In the five-fold soul, the shadow.

Sickness, the: Informal term for the occult miasma that settles over living mortals unaccustomed to the ancient power and dread presence of a mummy (q.v., Sybaris).

Sothic Turn: An interval of time coinciding with the end of the previous canicular period (about 1,460 years), during which all the Deathless arise unsummoned and seek out new purpose.

Su-Menent: The Arisen iteration of an ancient guild of funerary priests and ritualists led by seven sorcerer-priests who specialized in the creation of vessels of the shell.

Sybaris: Customary term for the Sickness, experienced in one of two ways: terror or unease.

Tef-Aabhi: The Arisen iteration of an ancient guild of architects and engineers led by seven sorcerer-priests who specialized in the creation of magical effigies.

Utterance: A powerful spell invoked by a mummy through the power of his Sekhem.

vessel: An object that has either naturally accumulated or been artificially imbued with Sekhem.

vestige: A vessel containing only pure/unrefined Sekhem and bearing no mystical properties, but holding a great deal of emotional or spiritual value to one or more earth-bound souls.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I like that the lexicon is fully half as long as the rest of the post.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Mors Rattus posted:

I like that the lexicon is fully half as long as the rest of the post.

I'm not unconvinced that demon's plain language spy-talk lexicon where almost everything in the game is instantly understandable by the name alone wasn't in part a reaction to Mummy.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

jfc I know WW/OP books are long-winded as hell but that doesn't mean every review has to be.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Loxbourne posted:

I just want to give a shoutout to this book's downright creepy advancement mechanics. You're not even advancing terribly much in terms of in-game power, either (mostly the amount of time you jump by). The sheer degree of control-freakery and life-replacement in Continuum is shudder-inducing. Forget a group of friends, this is an RPG for cults.

I know the idea is to simulate the PC slowly coming to terms with an inherently somewhat alien civilisation, with the option of saying "gently caress it" and switching sides if it gets too creepy, but there are social limits and Continuum tramples them. I wonder if anyone has ever played it entirely RAW?

Didn't Continuum include some stuff that was the exact opposite of the usual "THIS AIN'T REAL" disclaimers?

Hostile V posted:

The main reason it's so bad is because you think it's, like, an epistolary guide to this universe, that it uses the premise of being a fictional document to draw you in and share the rules. In reality it's someone's "I REALLY BELIEVE THIS" manifesto but with rules to play it. There's no real literary wall in between the real world and the game, it's constantly in character and that makes it very confusing.
Yeah, that.

hyphz posted:

The original book had an advert for Narcissist in the back with the note "or maybe you've figured out who the real good guys are..". So maybe it was semi-intended.
I'm assuming that narcissist would have had a similar ad for Continuum in it. (It never came out, right?)

Halloween Jack posted:

Timemaster was a time travel RPG with a pretty fun, loose approach to time travel based on some simple laws. The adventures are based on aliens messing with the timeline and you trying to fix it. And there's no butterfly effect, so you have a lot of leeway to say, impersonate Napoleon.

The system hasn't aged so well, though; it's a Pacesetter game and uses the same house system as Chill.
I own a copy of the "Here's more advanced time travel stuff than just "go back, shoot aliens until problem is solved, come home"" supplement for that.

Not the core book, just the supplement. I've been tempted to review it occasionally, but I don't know what I'm missing from the core.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, Fate came from Amber, though it bears essentially no resemblance systemically.

A lot of LoGoS's balance issues can be fixed by a good GM (since it's a game of absolute GM authority) but the fact is you go through LoGoS and all the powers - and I mean all of them - key off of Psyche as their primary attribute (often with Endurance as secondary), with none mentioning Strength. Not only is brawn just less flexible than brains, it doesn't even have any options in terms of impacting the world beyond your fists. They at least make it the basic barehanded combat attribute, so it's a slight improvement over Amber, but it's like saying "In this version of 3.5, fighters get 4 + Int skills per level!" It's a improvement but not a fix.
Strength was for barehanded combat in Amber too, but there was like, no guidelines for where the dividing line between using it and using War was.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

I loved Mummy's art direction and I think it is world's better than the mummy books in OWoD but it is still one of the weakest NWoD game lines outside of Beast and maybe Geist.

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



The character group names are the worst offenders, in my eyes. The other CofD games typically, to some degree, either have proper names you have to remember, but which are pithy and tied to a more descriptive moniker (Vampire has Ventrue, who are Lords, and Gangrel, who are Savages; Mage has Obrimos, who are Theurges, and Moros, who are Necromancers), or just start from a descriptive name from which you can glean something about the characters in question (Changeling has Ogres, Beasts and the Fairest; Demon has Messengers and Destroyers, who may be Saboteurs or Integrators). They're not always quite that clear-cut, those are the ideal, but Mummy exceeds the worst in opacity by a pretty good degree.

Mummy's Guilds each have two poetic proper nouns, one in Egyptian (faux Egyptian?) and one in English, and they're not terribly descriptive. I'll be damned if I can remember off the top of my head which Guild is Maa-Kep, the Bearers of the Engraved, and which is Su-Menent, the Shepherds of the Chamber. The other axis, the Decree, comes later in the book, but it isn't better. Don't expect those five parts of the soul to be referred to by what they are in English again much.

quote:

The Arisen know the basics of their existence—their origins in predynastic Egypt, their positions as servants of the ruling elite of the Nameless Empire, and their instincts to rise, serve their cults, and reclaim items of power. But they don’t know the full story of their creation.

The Storyteller knows.

That last sentence is, at best, misleading.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



Lynx Winters posted:

jfc I know WW/OP books are long-winded as hell but that doesn't mean every review has to be.
Shhhh it was good. And better to get the biggest Mummy exposition dump out of the way up front, as befits that game.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Proper Noun Disease is unfortunately an affliction that all WoD games suffer.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

If words are food, proper nouns are a garnish. Some games are garnished with them. (Demon is a ham sandwich with no mayonnaise.) Mummy is tomato basil soup with no tomatoes, so it's effectively an entire bowl of ground basil.

Mummy has a lot of incredible writing but nobody really bothered to work it together into a sensible, gameable whole.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




It hurts more because I know what they're trying to do, they're trying to convey that there's this whole culture that has its own jargon and everything, but they do it so poorly. The depth is fake.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


One of my "favorite" things about Mummy is that they opted for a very traditional World of Darkness political setup where there are large, organized political factions that everyone is a member of, and each city has a Nomarch (read: Prince) in charge of everything. Despite the fact that mummies are asleep for decades at a time, and also were all created at the same time and are theoretically of equal power, and also every individual mummy commands a secretive and shadowy cult. It's a little busy.

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


As someone who never had any interaction with the World of Darkness games, I'm really enjoying these running looks into what is probably the single broadest RPG franchise. As with Beast, Mummy doesn't immediately stand out to me as fulfilling a common fantasy - who has ever said "man, gently caress vampires, what I really want is to get some BANDAGES up in this piece," but the idea of warrior-spirits trapped in a cycle of reawakening sounds kinda promising. I know the answer is probably none, but how much mechanical support is there to the idea that you're slowly recovering pieces of your past lives? I can see a neat character creation system where you establish what you remember and what you're good at by describing a specific memory when faced with a challenge during the current story.

edit: also interested to see what, exactly, a group of players does - and how it justifies them sticking together.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Kellsterik posted:

One of my "favorite" things about Mummy is that they opted for a very traditional World of Darkness political setup where there are large, organized political factions that everyone is a member of, and each city has a Nomarch (read: Prince) in charge of everything. Despite the fact that mummies are asleep for decades at a time, and also were all created at the same time and are theoretically of equal power, and also every individual mummy commands a secretive and shadowy cult. It's a little busy.

I feel like this is a bit iconic of the entire nMummy experience. The elevator pitch, if you can dig it out of all the jargon and pretension, is really attractive, but then the books (mostly the core) won't just shut the gently caress up. It feels like fanfiction of itself.


BinaryDoubts posted:

As someone who never had any interaction with the World of Darkness games, I'm really enjoying these running looks into what is probably the single broadest RPG franchise. As with Beast, Mummy doesn't immediately stand out to me as fulfilling a common fantasy - who has ever said "man, gently caress vampires, what I really want is to get some BANDAGES up in this piece," but the idea of warrior-spirits trapped in a cycle of reawakening sounds kinda promising. I know the answer is probably none, but how much mechanical support is there to the idea that you're slowly recovering pieces of your past lives? I can see a neat character creation system where you establish what you remember and what you're good at by describing a specific memory when faced with a challenge during the current story.

edit: also interested to see what, exactly, a group of players does - and how it justifies them sticking together.

There're some okay Memory mechanics, but they could've very easily been much, much better.

There're actually a pretty decent handful of "things for player groups to coalesce around" for a throwback-y WoD book, though that might mostly be due to the supplements. I don't remember clearly.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


BinaryDoubts posted:

As someone who never had any interaction with the World of Darkness games, I'm really enjoying these running looks into what is probably the single broadest RPG franchise. As with Beast, Mummy doesn't immediately stand out to me as fulfilling a common fantasy - who has ever said "man, gently caress vampires, what I really want is to get some BANDAGES up in this piece," but the idea of warrior-spirits trapped in a cycle of reawakening sounds kinda promising. I know the answer is probably none, but how much mechanical support is there to the idea that you're slowly recovering pieces of your past lives? I can see a neat character creation system where you establish what you remember and what you're good at by describing a specific memory when faced with a challenge during the current story.

edit: also interested to see what, exactly, a group of players does - and how it justifies them sticking together.

There's more to Memory than you'd expect, and you can absolutely do that scenario in-play, but I don't think there's any mechanics for that exact scenario. As for having a group of mummies hang together...it gets messy. They do try, but trying to make a game around six people who can hurl meteors out of the sky for a few weeks and each individually have a cult of servants is as fiddly as it sounds.

As for the longwindedness and density of the post...yeah, mea culpa, but nMummy is probably the most longwinded, proper-noun-heavy game ever printed for either World of Darkness. If I truncated any of that post, I'd have to go back and explain some of it again later. The first stretch of Mummy is smashed together like a novelty snakes in a peanut can, and once I have some breathing room to actually editorialize and properly review stuff like the mechanics I will gloss over a lot more at a time.

I Am Just a Box posted:

The character group names are the worst offenders, in my eyes. The other CofD games typically, to some degree, either have proper names you have to remember, but which are pithy and tied to a more descriptive moniker (Vampire has Ventrue, who are Lords, and Gangrel, who are Savages; Mage has Obrimos, who are Theurges, and Moros, who are Necromancers), or just start from a descriptive name from which you can glean something about the characters in question (Changeling has Ogres, Beasts and the Fairest; Demon has Messengers and Destroyers, who may be Saboteurs or Integrators). They're not always quite that clear-cut, those are the ideal, but Mummy exceeds the worst in opacity by a pretty good degree.

Mummy's Guilds each have two poetic proper nouns, one in Egyptian (faux Egyptian?) and one in English, and they're not terribly descriptive. I'll be damned if I can remember off the top of my head which Guild is Maa-Kep, the Bearers of the Engraved, and which is Su-Menent, the Shepherds of the Chamber. The other axis, the Decree, comes later in the book, but it isn't better. Don't expect those five parts of the soul to be referred to by what they are in English again much.

This is honestly the biggest surface-level problem with Mummy. Mummy's terms for everything are so detached from the immediately graspable nature of what they're talking about that it's like trying to decipher the Swedish Chef's rambling until you commit enough of them to memory, because the game sure as gently caress isn't going to waste time reminding you who's who and what's what past the first 30 pages.

This only makes things worse when you realize they actively forgot to give some things explanations later in the book, so you might be looking for a term or a mechanic they explained once, or you might be in an endless reference loop looking for something that never got printed, and you'll only escape when you glean enough from surrounding references to infer what they're talking about even is.

(Lifewebs and vestiges :argh:)

That Old Tree posted:

I feel like this is a bit iconic of the entire nMummy experience. The elevator pitch, if you can dig it out of all the jargon and pretension, is really attractive, but then the books (mostly the core) won't just shut the gently caress up. It feels like fanfiction of itself.

:agreed:

At heart I can't really hate Mummy - in fact, I have a guilty admiration for it - but most of the books in the line need to shut the gently caress up and get out of the way of their own subject matter. Sothis Ascends is the only one I remember as having clear and evocative writing through almost all of it, but we'll see how that stands up when we get back to it.

Free Cog
Feb 27, 2011




Thank you for starting your Mummy: the Curse F&F, Daeren. It's a game I like quite a lot, warts and all. I have a lot of wonderful memories from my three year campaign of it, though I would find myself tweaking and toying with the system often to try to counteract the jankier parts of the system.

I second that with the right developer, a second edition of the game could be something real special. There's experiences in that game unlike any other CofD game, and it'd be great to have a version that could really bring those out in a more modern, accessible way.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Is it me or do Vestiges literally not do anything? They get this elaborate writeup that keys into virtue/vice and several meticulous examples written up, but none of it goes anywhere.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Kellsterik posted:

Is it me or do Vestiges literally not do anything? They get this elaborate writeup that keys into virtue/vice and several meticulous examples written up, but none of it goes anywhere.

Daeren posted:

This only makes things worse when you realize they actively forgot to give some things explanations later in the book, so you might be looking for a term or a mechanic they explained once, or you might be in an endless reference loop looking for something that never got printed, and you'll only escape when you glean enough from surrounding references to infer what they're talking about even is.

(Lifewebs and vestiges :argh:)

You're not wrong. They don't do anything except as hideously expensive Pillar batteries, RAW. I'll get into what I think they're supposed to do when we get there.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Rand Brittain posted:

Mummy has a lot of incredible writing but nobody really bothered to work it together into a sensible, gameable whole.

That was my overwhelming impression running it. There's loads of cool bits and pieces in there, but they're just slapped together with no real guiding vision or concept or understanding of how the game works.

Initiative, especially. There's at least two places where powers add dice to initiative, which is not how initiative has ever worked in WoD.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Mummy reminds me of Darklands and its insistence on using made up Olde English for any and all names.

Thuryl
Mar 14, 2007

My postillion has been struck by lightning.


Zereth posted:

I'm assuming that narcissist would have had a similar ad for Continuum in it. (It never came out, right?)

It was never completed. A draft version exists, but it seems pretty unplayable even compared to Continuum.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.


Unlockable Ben

Thuryl posted:

It was never completed. A draft version exists, but it seems pretty unplayable even compared to Continuum.

I think the only other thing that came out for Continuum was Further Information, which is mostly known for its bizarre attempt at a metaplot twist (something like "actually, time travel is many worlds based, but because of the effect on morality our particular time travel implants force you to be always tied to our one timeline and Frag is what happens when you try and leave")

I wonder if there's be a Primer game where time travel is scary and experimental and terrifying. It probably wouldn't work though because the only conclusion would be "don't time travel."

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


I ran a one-shot of Mummy: the Resurrection once. One of the players was a detective named Dick Steel and it started on top of a burning Zeppelin, so we didn't exactly play it straight.

It was fun.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Continuum, man, what a pile of wank.


Rand Brittain posted:

If words are food, proper nouns are a garnish. Some games are garnished with them. (Demon is a ham sandwich with no mayonnaise.) Mummy is tomato basil soup with no tomatoes, so it's effectively an entire bowl of ground basil.

And I want to take this post and frame it, because it made me laugh.

Daeren posted:

There's more to Memory than you'd expect, and you can absolutely do that scenario in-play, but I don't think there's any mechanics for that exact scenario. As for having a group of mummies hang together...it gets messy. They do try, but trying to make a game around six people who can hurl meteors out of the sky for a few weeks and each individually have a cult of servants is as fiddly as it sounds.

Six Final Fantasy bosses trying to hang out together but all their wings and halos and poo poo keep getting stuck in each other or accidentally bapping someone in the face. And their attendant cults are shouting to have their master's hymns heard over the others'.

But I guess, in that case, if they're hard to play together... how do their power levels support them hanging out with, say, Vampires or Mages at certain parts of their Sekhem cycle? I mean, yeah, I know, cross-splat play in anything made by White Wolf/Onyx Path is an absolute joke, but sometimes it's more absurd than in other cases.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Could the mummies unify their cults and register as a religion for tax purposes?

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Nessus posted:

Could the mummies unify their cults and register as a religion for tax purposes?

VASCU plot hook ahoy!

Mummy has a lot of interesting stuff in it but seems impossible to play with more than one person, like Promethean but ten times worse. I understand presentation is one of the issues here, but I don't know how you'd rectify that without a CoD version.

Servetus
Apr 1, 2010


Thuryl posted:

It was never completed. A draft version exists, but it seems pretty unplayable even compared to Continuum.

Unfortunately I got rid of my copy of the Narcissist draft at the same time I got rid of Continuum. There were some weird diagrams that tried to depict how splitting off other timelines through changing past events was supposed to work. It was a bit weird, but honestly seemed less wanky than Continuum.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




Mummy has an insanely cool atmosphere and central idea so far. The reverse power curve is dope. But boy oh boy do they even bother trying to put in advice for running a Mummy in a cross-splat game? That sounds loving bonkers.

Ominous Jazz
Jun 15, 2011

Big D is chillin' over here
Wasteland style


Mummy sure throws a lot of heat at Brendan Fraser's The Mummy right out the gate despite it being the first thing a lot of people think of when you say mummy.

Edit: when you run your WOD Monster Mash one shot for Halloween, your players will choose mummy last and that is a guarantee

Ominous Jazz fucked around with this message at 14:53 on Oct 19, 2016

Serf
May 5, 2011




Ominous Jazz posted:

Mummy sure throws a lot of heat at Brendan Fraser's The Mummy right out the gate despite it being the first thing a lot of people think of when you say mummy.

The Mummy is my personal model for how an adventure game should go in pretty much all situations.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos



Update: I couldn't finish it.

Mors, I am impressed for you actually having gotten through it.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


hyphz posted:

I think the only other thing that came out for Continuum was Further Information, which is mostly known for its bizarre attempt at a metaplot twist (something like "actually, time travel is many worlds based, but because of the effect on morality our particular time travel implants force you to be always tied to our one timeline and Frag is what happens when you try and leave")

I wonder if there's be a Primer game where time travel is scary and experimental and terrifying. It probably wouldn't work though because the only conclusion would be "don't time travel."

So basically the Inheritors like the fact that they're the big kids on the block and intentionally ensure that all other forms of time travel are limited to the timeline that allows them to be brought into power.


Yeah that sounds pretty dystopian, just the Narcissists are kind of... weird about it which makes it difficult to see them as the good guys.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Everytime I see a WoD review I say to myself, "Humbug, you may like some unrelentingly lovely games and design philosophies, but at least you dodged that bullet". I played OG Vampire twice in 1990-91 and that is it.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

One thing I like about Continuum is the attitude both sides have to their future selves.

Continuum characters respect their future selves as they are probably more powerful, are certain to be more experienced, and generally kick rear end. They're heavy artillery. There are some very fun rules for the impact of future Awesome Stuff your PC will eventually do.

The incomplete Narcissist rules suggested that Narcissists do the exact opposite. Your future self is clearly a total loser who hasn't transcended existence or broken away to rule his own timeline-universe yet. Since you know you'll be supreme grand hot poo poo, and since you and your buddies alter your timelines on a whim, you should treat your older self like the lovely failure he clearly is and that you will never ever be. Honest.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Kavak posted:

VASCU plot hook ahoy!

"Mr. Darius, we have evidence to suggest that, despite appearances, you are in fact a nonliving spiritual entity, between three and seven thousand years old, and that you have acquired the clandestine personal services of approximately 280 religious followers, who refer to themselves as... hm... 'the Cult of Everlasting Night?' Can you confirm these facts?"

"YOU DARE QUESTION THE IMMORTAL SERVANT OF HEAVEN? I HAVE SEEN EMPIRES RISE AND FALL; A MORTAL SUCH AS YOU CAN DO NOTHING TO THREATEN ME."

"Well, that's very nice, sir, but you see, under article 27 subsection 4 of the Jameson Act, religious organizations over one hundred members in size are required to register with the IRS, using form 965 stroke B, which must be countersigned by a notary public and on display at local government offices for at least six months prior to..."

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


"Stroke" is a Britishism (we use slash), but otherwise yeah.

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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Also if mummies are saddled with cults by default, I'm imagining some mummies who don't want to put up with that poo poo, and are desperately trying to stay at least moderately anonymous while their fanclub tries to track them down.

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