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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Godbound


It's the last chapter of the free version, covering your demigod's magical item needs.

Treasures Beyond Price

Talk to the hand.
Also this "Godwalker" doesn't actually appear in this chapter, but rather in the next one that's only in the paid book. I'm not complaining, that's a pretty awesome tease.

Artifacts, aka powerful magical (or magitek) items from before the Shattering, are exceedingly rare. Few have survive the Shattering and the thousand years since, and the ones that are still in working condition are most certainly not available in the open market. Kings and other powerful persons hoard them, only allowing them to be used by themselves or loyal subjects.
If a hero wants to get his hand on an artifact, he might just get one as a gift from one of the above hoarders. Most of the time though, he has to venture into ancient ruins and dungeons to find an as of yet uncovered artifact for himself.

Godbound and other beings capable of spending Dominion have another option: They can actually create new artifacts. Doing so is still a quest in and of itself, for the creation of such a powerful item requires celestial shards, which might just require a little venture into a piece of Heaven.

By whatever means the above hero gets access to an artifact, he better only use it as sparingly as possible, for all artifacts suffer from the One Ring Syndrome: Because they are fueled by divine energies not meant for a simple meatbag to handle, they will generally do weird stuff to a mortal's mind and/or body should he use it for too long. A slight exception of this are artifacts specifically meant to be used by the mortal champion of a divine being, in which case the drawbacks are a bit less severe.

Teasures and Wealth

This section starts with Godbound's Wealth system which I've already covered: Cash and other simple treasures are handled with a non-linear Wealth score, rated from 1 (richest man in a village) to 10 (an emperor).

The most interesting thing of note is that Godbound is pretty lenient in terms of PC-generated wealth. After all, the Word of Artifice can just create mundane objects from nothing, and the Word of Wealth can just generate gold and stuff. The book tells us to not worry about having those Words go wild (the PCs did spend some of their resources into being able to pull this off, after all), though they should be careful not to wreck the local economy. A purchase worth 5 Wealth per month is generally acceptable, and it really doesn't sound too bad considering that gives the Godbound the lifestyle of one of the richest merchants.

And for the GM who needs some quick ideas, you can roll up treasures on a couple tables. No actual wealth or anything, just descriptive stuff, like how the treasure looks, how it is guarded and who may want it.

Artifacts

Not only can Godbound not make use of the omnipresent +x bonuses found in normal d20 magical items, but artifacts don't have them period. If a mortal picks up an artifact weapon, he doesn't merely get better hat hitting stuff, he gets to play around with divine powers.

The way artifacts work is actually pretty simple: They're a container for Godbound effects. Mostly Gifts, but may also be tied more closely to a Word, allowing for Miracles, dispelling, and/or access to the passive effects gained form having a specific Word (which is really the only way to gain some kind of a +x bonus, as several Word bump up an Attribute).
Constant Gifts are always active, but everything else needs to be activate from the artifact's own pool of Effort, which works like normal Effort except that it is always committed for the day. Their usage is further limited because the Effort is solely for the Artifacts own Gifts and powers. They can't be used for the wielder's own tricks, and neither can the wielder use his own Effort to power up the artifact.
Furthermore, before one can even use the artifact's power in the first place, one has to commit Effort for the day to bond with it. Failure to do so requires one to wait 24 hours before trying again.

The cost of creating an artifact is paid in Dominion (based on which powers it has and how big its Effort pool is) and celestial shards (which is just its Dominion cost / 6, rounded up). The higher the Godbound's level, the more stuff he can put in a single artifact. The power of their Gifts is either derives from the creator's or wielder's level, whichever is greater.
A mortal hero might suffer sever repercussions from using an artifact, but boy is it worth it if if was created by a level 10 Godbound.

All in all, artifacts are a great way to gain extra utility, and work perfect to simulate stuff like Personas or Stands.
Still, just using the normal Gifts is easy, so each of the example artifacts presented in this chapter come with their own custom Gifts:

The City-Seed

A nifty little utility artifact created by a pacifist Made God whose people had to be constantly on the move from his crazier colleagues. If planted on the ground, it allows the user to "grow" buildings and infrastructure from the bedrock with Birth of the Metropolis. It can create enough buildings to accomodate 500 people per day, and even fortifications are possible.
Heart of the City is the lesser of this artifact's Gifts, and it lets the user keep watch over any city created with the Seed, as well as allowing them to communicate with anyone in there.

Mortal users must make Spirit saves each day. After three failures, their sanity takes a nosedive, and they become obsessed with expanding the city more and more.

Etheric Energy Node

These are the large nodes used by the Bright Republic to keep their cyberpunk going. Unsurprisingly, their main shtick is Rectification of Names, which stabilizes natural laws in a 30-mile radius and sends out wireless energy.
Their second function is called Focused Flow Control, which lets the user shut down devices inside the Node's radius, provided they haven't been hardened to work outside of the Republic.

The Etheric Energy Nodes are perhaps the most harmless for a mortal operator. The only danger they can run into is the Focused Flow Control, as that one requires them to pass a save-or-die Hardiness check to avoid getting fried.

Flute of the Joyous Tyrant of Bright Feathers

A flute created and used by the eponymous Joyous Tyrant, a Made God an extinct race of birdfolk. Its powers revolve around summoning birds to attack: Mistress of Sweet Song lets you communicate with avians or re-enact Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds by summoning every small bird within 50 miles to murder the crap out of any HD 1 creature or smaller Mob in the area. This takes 5 minutes to apply, though.
Alternatively, you can go for something more Princess-Tutu-ish and summon spirit-crows to auto-hit an already wounded target, at a cost of losing 1 Hit Point yourself.

Prolongued usage of the flute by a mortals makes them gradually lose their sense of individuality, accompanied by a growing joyous obedience to whomever they consider their superior.

The God-King's Resplendent Barge

A giant (700 by 300 feet) metal airship, likely created by a Made God and used by the eponymous God-King Zereus to overwatch his empire and smite rebels.

The Barge is not only pretty friggin' huge, but it also has an arsenal of four Gifts:
Adamant Keel not only allows the user to dispell Artifice powers, but also sets its combat stats (HD 30, AC 3, immune against non-magical attacks).
A Chariot of the God-King sets its capabilities as an airship (top speed 20 m/h, unaffected by non-magical weather, can carry up to 1,000 passengers, each with 500 pounds of cargo).
Ever-Renewed Hull cuts down on the maintenance costs as it allows the user to commit Effort to replenish HD (10 HD per 1 Effort, with the Barge having a pool of 5).
Rebuke Those Below is the Barge's main attack, a solar beam that hits everything in a 100-ft. radius for 5d6 fire damage.

The Impervious Panoply of Lady Yelem

Deadly and fabulous.

Yelem was yet another Made God, one that upheld the protection of her people above all else - that is unless she decided that sacrificing a "few" individuals to protect the greater whole was acceptable enough to drown her enemies in cannon fodder. She eventually met her doom at the hands of her thousand daughters, when she no longer had any soldier left to take a hit for her. Her armor might still be around, though.

The Impervious Panoply is an example of regalia armor, magical armor that looks far less impractical than it actually is. In the Panoply's case, this is represented with the Impervious Splendor Gift, a Natural AC 3 Gift (aka pretty good armor with the Saving Throw penalties associated with armor) that automatically dispells any attempts to change its appearance.
The main gimmick of this artifact though is A Stainless Hauberk, which lets the wearer no-sell damage by having an ally within 100 ft. willingly sacrifice himself.
Never A Drop of Red makes the wearer always look like he's in mint condition, and it offers another way to no-sell damage, this time limited to physical attacks and requiring Effort, but without a need for cannon fodder.

Mortal wearers will be hit with a case of the Emperor's New Clothes: They will become more and more certain of their own invincibility while everyone around them (at least mortals below 7 Hit Dice) will believe them.

The Red Sword of the Bleeding Emperor

A nasty blade made out of bone and gore, created by the cult of a Made God (unsurprisingly known as the Bleeding Emperor) whose members were really keen on cutting themselves to honor their ever-bleeding god. They were eventually assimilated by a group of hive-mind humans with beetle symbiotes. Pre-Shattering days were pretty weird.

The main feature of this sword is the badass Gift Red Hand of the Emperor, which lets the wielder hit everyone in sight with a single attack. Even a miss will cause 1 point of damage, and Mobs will automatically take an absurd 1d10+15 straight damage.
Remember 3rd edition's Locate City Nuke? Stand in the middle of a big city festival, and you'll have the Neutron Bomb Slash, with ludicrous amounts of gore.
To reflect the machostic nature of its makers, the sword also comes with the Font of Invigorating Gore, which lets you regain 1 Effort for the sword or yourself everytime you take 1/4 of your maximum Hit Points in damage.

Unsurprisingly, mortal wielders become obsessed with pain and suffering, eventually spending more time examining their own wounds than actually doing anything about them. They start each day with 1d6 Hit Dice in damage, so this can't reduce it below 1.

The Seal of Ten Thousand Suns

An elusive black ring of unkown origin that has popped up all throughout history, usually as a herald of bad things to happen. This is because the ring can open or close any Night Road's seal (Bearer of the Black Key) and can even create new Night Roads (Wound of the World). And as mentioned before, this usually ends in a bunch of cosmic horrors nomming everyone.

Mortal wielder's will be continuously haunted by visions and suggestions from the Uncreated, as if this wasn't already obvious that this artifact mainly exists for Uncreated to troll people. The ring even makes the wielder aware of these capabilities when worn as a helpful remainder.

Items of Lesser Magic

Any magical items that is not an artifact is considered a Minor Magical Item, aka just about every magical gadget from other d20 games. This section even comes with short conversion rules.

We also get a complete list of magical stuff that just doesn't work on Godbound: numerical bonuses, extra actions, and healing items.

Godbound can create Minor Magical Items with simple Dominion expenditure and a bit of time to tinker around. The cost ranges from 1 for simple single-charge items to 8 for the most powerful of Minor Magical Items. Each additional point spend doubles the amount of items created. Since this would make outfitting entire armies with magical weapons and armor prohibitively expensive, Godbound usually opt to create that many items in bulk as a change, as their powers have an easier time operating on a large scale.

We also get a list of example items from Arcem:

  • Blood Compass: Feed this thing with 1 point of damage, and it'll point in the direction of osmeone you either love or hate.
  • Hardened Tech: An expensive procedure known to the Bright Republic that makes their magitek capable of working outside of their node's range.
  • Magnetic Guns: The firearm of choice of the Bright Republic, these are basically magitek coilgun with a big enough magazine for just about any firefight. Ammo can also be easily crafted outside of the Bright Republic as its just solid rounds of iron or similar metals.
  • Poppet: Humanoid doll constructs ranging in size from a teddy bear to a full-grown adult. Their role and behavior is hard-coded (meaning they can't learn new tricks and lack sentience), and around 1% of them are actually assassin models acting as sleeper agents. These ones will go out of their way to murder their owner and make sure to find a new one, for that authentic horror movie experience.
  • Regalia Armor: Already mentioned above. This is a simple enchantment just means that the armor's looks doesn't have to have anything to do with the armor's actual type and mechanical effects. You could have Light Armor that looks like a massive suit of plate armor with ridiculously large pauldrons, or Heavy Armor that's just body paint.
  • Womb-Drying Salts: If you feel like being a dick to a female rival, this taste and oderless salt will cause violent cramps that not only have a 5% chance of killing the victim, but will guarantee that she's now permanently sterile. Access to this stuff is heavily restricted and usually only allowed for use by prostitutes, but there are plenty of assholish heirs and other backstabbers who make use of it. There's also male version known as Spring-Stilling Powder.

Celestial Engines

The engines that make the world literally go round, and take care of other laws of nature.

In this section, we find out how to smash (requires a suitable Miracle and caused 5d10 damage to the attacker) and repair (requires Celestial Shards and the right Word) them.

Salvaging a destroyed engine usually grants 1d6 Celestial Shards. These are not only used for artifacts and enacting big changes, but can also be turned into Dominion if need be.

As the PCs are unlikely to go around smashing Engines to get Shards, they can also be found in dungeons and from shady dealers. Deceiving Godbound is right out of th equestion though, for they can recognize Shards on sight and can feel their presence if close by.

Wards

These primarily exist to make a Godbound's life harder, for they interfere with their ability to casually mess with their surroundings. A sufficiently warded town might require a good old-fashioned siege, or a bit of infiltration to find and destroy the ward's focus.

Aside from the previously mentioned Mundus Wards that make it more expensive to create changes, there are also Empyrean Wards for when you're really paranoid of Godbound and their ilk. Affecting a smaller area than Mundus Wards (no more than a village), they work like that passive abilities of Uncreated, forcing the Godbound to expend up to 10 (through rarely more than 4) Effort before he can actually commit Effort for their Gifts. If you don't have enough to overcome the Ward, you better get out ASAP.

(And no, wards aren't supposed to be used for ye olde "Punish players for taking overpowered options" mantra. They exist to explain why important locales have been relatively unaffected by divine shenanigans, and to offer a bit more challenge to the PCs when the situation calls for it.)

Next Time: Secrets of Arcem - let's take a look beyond the paywall. Aka let's look at Giant Robots and DBZ Kung-Fu.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:12 on Nov 3, 2016

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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!


You've really sold me on Godbound, I think I may actually get this RPG, give it a read on my own and try to run it.

Serf
May 5, 2011




Doresh posted:

  • Womb-Drying Salts: If you feel like being a dick to a female rival, this taste and oderless salt will cause violent cramps that not only have a 5% chance of killing the victim, but will guarantee that she's now permanently sterile. Access to this stuff is heavily restricted and usually only allowed for use by prostitutes, but there are plenty of assholish heirs and other backstabbers who make use of it. There's also male version known as Spring-Stilling Powder.

:stare:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Dead Reign posted:

I have given credit where credit is due. Josh and Joshua's names are on the cover, spine, and credits page. I rewrote almost every word of the book. I took the RPG in a different direction, changed the emphasis, gave the book a different voice, expanded on zombies and the setting ten-fold and I'm proud of the work "we" did to create an excellent new role-playing game. The Dead Reign RPG is a fun, intense, fast-paced game about zombies and survival. Enjoy.



Dead Reign Part 8: "Get down. Get down! They're bombing us! Bin Ladin's here...the terrorists are..."


It's pictures of zombies all the way down.

Insanity

Dead Reign posted:

Please Note: The inclusion of mental illness is not meant to belittle or make light of mental problems. I, personally, know a number of people who struggle with depression, anxiety, addiction, and bipolar disorders, among orders. Mental illness is no laughing matter and I'm proud of each and every one of my friends who haven't given up and fight to find balance and contentment in their lives. I have the greatest respect for the healthcare professionals who struggle equally hard to help these tortured souls. However, none of that changes the fact that having insanities in a role-playing game is interesting, and appropriate and fun to play. They are especially appropriate in a game that deals with horor, fear, survival, and monsters.

These are the words of somebody who knows that... "I didn't get it right, but what does it matter! It's just a game!" Well. We're also told "97%" of players use and enjoy the insanity tables and that they're "appropriate, realistic, and fun". How does it work? Well, when exposed to a trauma (there are guideliness, but it's ultimately a GM call, the player rolls and if they don't get a 12 or higher, they roll on random tables to see what insanity they get. The nature of the trauma doesn't influence this. So let's see what we get!
  • A mother sees her son eaten a zombie, and fails her save vs. insanity. She becomes "reborn", which reverses her alignment and makes her roll on the disposition table. Let's randomly roll her alignment to begin with: Principled. Instead she becomes of Diabolic alignment and turns into a "Wild Man" with no regard to her own safety or risk.
  • A man is tied out and left to be eaten by zombies by Retro-Savages, and narrowly escapes, but fails his save against insanity. He becomes a hypocondriac.
  • A child is captured by a death cult and gets to watch them spike a live baby into the sacrifice endzone, and fails his save against insanity. He gets a phobia... against... female zombies.
  • A woman chops off her own infected arm and survives, and fails her save against insanity. She becomes homicidal whenever she gets angry.
  • A kid remains isolated in a basement for years, surviving on canned food and well water, and fails her save against insanity. She develops a fear of animals.
  • A man is forced to murder all of his family after they're turned into zombies, and fails his save against insanity. He becomes a recluse and gains an aversion to crowds.
  • A woman is buried alive for several days and survives, and fails her save against insanity. Afterwards, she goes berserk when exposed to violence.
  • A man is half-eaten by zombies, but is saved and survives. He develops an evil "Hyde" personality that takes him over now and then.
  • A man combines mushrooms and the zombie apocalypse, amping up the scare factor and fails his save against insanity. Hey, it days "drug based hallucinations thare are particularly terrifying" count as a trauma, so let's see what we get. The character thereafter develops short-term amnesia when exposed to any traumatic stimulus.
  • A woman is possessed by the ghost and fails her save against insanity. Mind, ghosts in this game, but it counts as a traumatic stimulus listed, so maybe it does? She then becomes addicted to unspecific drugs that make her impulsive.
Therapy and counseling over a period of at least three months can cure madness, but the actual chance of a cure isn't doesn't depend on the medical skill of the psychologist - it varies between 30-39% for a total cure, but in the case of phobia there's a small chance of them getting worse and psychoses becoming phobias.

There's also addiction, which gives a random personality modifier regardless of the addictive substance (so you can be a coke addict that becomes withdrawn or get hallucinations from a cigarette). There's penalties for being "wasted" that are regardless of being drug that puts all your rolls into the shitter, and rules for going through withdrawal (takes 6 months for all drugs) and gives decreasing penalities that make you essentially useless but get more manageable by the third week.

Combat Rules

Dead Reign posted:

The Palladium system is relatively simple, quick and realistic. It has been thoroughly playtested, tweaked, and improved for years with great success. It is designed to be fast-playing and easy to understand.

STEP 1: Determine Initiative

So, you roll 1d20 and add your bonus from Physical Prowess. In case of a tie, both people re-roll their dice. However, a "Sneak Attack" or "Long-Range Attack" automatically wins initiative. What if there are two Long-Range or Sneak Attacks? Well, work it out yourself! You re-roll initiative every round. It doesn't mention it here, but you get a certain number of attacks per round you can "spend" on attacks or defense.

STEP 1: Attacker Rolls to Strike

Attacks roll 1d20 plus bonuses (from Physical Prowess, weapon proficiencies, hand-to-hand, class bonuses, etc.). A roll of 4 or higher is needed to hit, but unless it exceeds the Armor Class of anything they're wearing, you subtract the damage from the S.D.C. of the armor (or do no damage, in the case of zombies). Unmodified 20s always hit and do double damage, unless the defense does a Parry or Dodge that rolls a 20.

STEP 3: Defender May Parry, Dodge, or Entangle

Parrying doesn't use an attack, but Dodging does use up an attack (clear terminology, there). Roll 1d20 plus bonuses (from Physical Prowess, hand-to-hand skills, etc.) and try and tie or beat the attack roll. Parrying, however, can only be used against melee attacks, and you waive all bonuses if you try and parry a weapon bare-handed. Dodges can be used against anything. Entangling lets you snare the attacker's weapon or arm with the same roll, only this element is pretty well forgotten and almost nothing provides a bonus to it. It doesn't mention it here, but the person grabbed has to make a dodge against the entangle roll to break free, but when they do it in the combat order isn't mentioned.

STEP 4: Attacker Rolls Damage

You inflict damage equal to your weapon damage + Physical Strength damage bonus for melee weapons, and just plain damage for ranged attacks. Damage is dealt to S.D.C. unless the target has that depleted, at which case it goes to hit points. You can attempt to "Pull Punch" and do less damage (as little as you wish), but you have to roll an 11 or better to do so.

STEP 5: Defender May Attempt to roll wth Impact

If the attack was a blunt weapon or explosion, you can roll 1d20 plus bonuses (usually from skills or classes) to try and tie or beat the attack roll. If so, they do half damage. No rule against zombies rolling with impact, for the record.


"If you're gonna die, die with your boots off?"

Combat Sequence

... is confusing. As written, basically the highest initiative person attacks, and then whoever they were attacking gets to go, back and forth until their attacks are used up, then the next person goes. The game presumes that fights essentially break out into duels, which doesn't seem likely in a horde of zombies vs. survivors scenario. However, he suggests pausing after 1-2 attacks each round and switching to the next player to build "cliffhangers" and "excitement", but it also seems to imply that the GM might want to just blow off the initiative order entirely. It's worth noting that the actual combat sequence is pointedly unclear and this is my most generous interpretation of it.

Hand to Hand Combat

Hand to Hand skills give bonus attacks (even for firearms, apparently) and a variety of combat bonuses that are level-dependent. If you don't have a Hand to Hand skill, you get bonus "non-combat" actions that can only be used for actions unrelated to attack or defense like picking up an item or driving or whatever. It's not well defined. We get "Basic" which is some undefined basic skill in fighting, "Expert" which is supposedly what cops, soldiers, and "thieves" learn. "I rob houses, it's really helped my right swing." We have "Martial Arts" which is even better and gives you a bunch of special moves. There's "Assassin" which I guess is what you get at the Hitman Academy, and it has slightly fewer attacks and more damage. Lastly, there's Commando, which is the most badass because it lets you do a dodge without using an action... wait, no, it gives a bonus to "Automatic Dodge" but doesn't grant that ability. Oooops. Palladium.

You can get get special moves from these like a "Body Block" (50% chance to knock people down, more if you're extremely strong), Body Flip (does damage and makes your opponent "lose" the initiative, whatever that means, and eats an attack of theirs), a "Critical Strike" (a widened crit range), a "Death Blow" (does damage directly to hit points, but costs two attacks and requires a specific range to get the damage, like 18-20, doesn't work on zombies), "Karate Kick" (more damage), "Leap Kick" (does even more damage, costs two attacks), "Paired Weapons" (lets you do two attacks for the price of one, but you then have to spend actions to parry for the rest of the round), "Power Punch" (doubles rolled damage for the cost of two attacks, doesn't count your damage bonuses, a fat sack of crap), "Simultaneous Attack" (lets you give up your defense to hit your foe at the same time), and others.

Horror Factor

When a foe has a "Horror Factor", it means they're scary. You have to roll a d20 + bonuses (usually from Mental Endurance or your class) and equal or beat it. If you fail, you "lose initiative" (doesn't really detail what this means, again), lose an attack, and can't defend against the creature's first attack that melee round. It notes that GMs can assign a Horror Factor to a situation (like the scene of a sacrifice) as well arbitrarily.

Perception Rolls

One of the few really new mechanics since my Rifts review, this lets you make Perception rolls to notice things. It's rolled with a d20 plus bonuses (usually only from classes written up after the mechanic was devised, no attribute improves it). The difficulty is 4 for something "easy", 8 for something "moderate", 14 for something "challenging", or 18 for something "difficult". Noticing a zombie takes a hilariously high 15, and it's 17 to notice somebody sneaking up on you. If you have a skill like Detect Ambush or Prowl, this can modify the roll into a roll-off between the two characters involved, with a +1 for every 10% of skill you have. This seems to mean a zombie trying to sneak up on you will actually have much worse odds than if they don't? It's not clear, since there seem to be two mechanics for the same thing.

Ranged Combat

Dead Reign posted:

These rules are fun, fast and easy to use while reasonably simulating gunplay.

You need a weapon proficiency to do aimed or called shots with a gun. Specifically, Physical Prowess and Hand-to-Hand bonuses (save for the extra attacks) don't apply to modern weapons, but presumably apply to bows and the like? It's not clear. In any case, weapon proficiencies grant you a growing bonus (around +1 to +7 depending on the weapon) as you level up. You can do an "aimed" shot that adds +2 to hit but takes two attacks. Any called shot has to be an aimed shot, but waives the bonus unless you use three attacks. Firing bursts halves your attack bonus, and firing "wild" (like from a moving vehicle, losing a Horror Factor roll, while running, etc.). There's penalties for hitting somebody moving, called shots are required to hit anybody partially behind cover, etc.

You can only dodge gunfire, but only count bonuses for Physical Prowess or from your class, not from skills. You're -10 to dodge a gunshot within 10' and -5 to dodge if it's within 50'.

We get a tirade about how you might accidentally shoot a friend or bystander if you're not careful, but there are no rules for this and can move on.


About the only Bradshaw art I like is the jokey stuff.

Game Rules for Zombie Combat

A lot of this is just reiterating stuff from previous sections (Palladium doesn't use chapters to organize its books), also noting it that's deliberate, at least, that survivors have more attacks than most zombies and to make sure the players use up all their attacks. It reiterates you should switch players between actions but there's no guidelines for this.

We also get told that you automatically hit if your gun is pressed right up against a zombie's body, but there's no actual guidelines about how survivors get to do that. It suggests that you force a d20 roll on the player (auto-miss on a 1, crit on a 20) as if this game didn't have enough dice rolls in combat. If the gun is only about 2' away or less it gets +7 to hit the main body or +3 to strike at the head or neck (by RAW this is meaningless because those rolls ignore all bonuses... but the intentions are clear, at least?). At 15' or less you get +2 to shoot the body and +1 to strike the head, neck, or limb.

Finally we get a suggestion that if a player has a question there isn't a specific rule for, you just roll d20, a 1-10 means no and an 11-20 means yes. "... it is fast, fun, and fair." Is it?

We get a long section on various game terms, and sandwiched in there are rules for vehicle crashes, a diatribe on how death is handled (players should work up backup characters and should "take it calmly", but that a good GM should offer PCs options to avoid dangerous situations), being knocked down, skill rolls (roll under their percentile value), Sneak Attacks (sneak up using Prowl or an ambush, avoids any active defense and the attacker "has initiative").

Dead Reign posted:

I've killed plenty of characters as a G.M. Some of the deaths were spectacular and worth of a heroic poem, and other times the character just played dumb or take a dangerous risk and paid the ultimate price. It happens, and often adds to the drama of the story.


This beautiful piece is printed in B/W almost too small to see, probably because I think it has a Glitter Boy in it.

It finishes a section pointing out it's largely compatible with other Palladium games and that if you want magic or psionics, you can incorporate them from Beyond the Supernatural. In general, the rules are done more tightly than previous Palladium games from the last century, but it's still a mess that requires the GM to fill in a lot of gaps in the system.

Next: 30 pages about skills.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Does Siembieda's arm ever get tired? I mean, the dedication he shows in being able to jerk himself off constantly is amazing

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


You just know that without Palladium, he'd ended up cranking out Heartbreakers.


Probably not the right time to remind everyone that Godbounds with the right Fertility Gift can cause miscarriages with but the snap of a finger. Godbound can be both very epic... and a bit like an episode of South Park if everyone's a demigod.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 22:46 on Nov 3, 2016

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



Doresh posted:

Probably not the right time to remind everyone that Godbounds with the right Fertility Gift can cause miscarriages with but the snap of a finger. Godbound can be both very epic... and a bit like an episode of South Park if everyone's a demigod.

Although it only takes one to make loss, it sounds like.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





CHAPTER FIVE: Anatomy of a Zombie

Special Zombie Combat Mechanics


Before we talk about our friend the walking corpse, there are some rules that are different from combat against living people. For starters, unless the zombie has a specific weak spot the players can make a called shot at, where the damage lands is randomized. Instead of Life Points, they have Dead Points and zombies also don't have Endurance; they can just keep going until they fall apart. Another thing to note is that there's no bonus to slashing/piercing damage against the undead.
  • Head: if the head isn't the weak point of the zombie, 20 points of damage applied to the head in one hit will decapitate the zombie. A headless zombie loses its bite attack and probably has issues with finding its prey. Any damage less than that is simply subtracted from the zombie's pool of Dead Points, so sufficient DP damage to the head without blowing the head clean off will eventually kill the zombie.
  • Arms: 15 DP damage in a blow causes the zombie to lose an arm. Losing both arms means they can't claw, punch or perform fine manipulation, plus they get -2 to bite attacks.
  • Legs: zombies also lose their legs with 15+ DP damage, giving them -2 to all attacks and halving their speed. Zombies missing both legs can only crawl around at Speed 1 and take -4 to all attacks.
  • Torso: the torso contains the Heart and the Spine which can be specific weak points. If they're not selected as weak points, then the torso generally just takes hits until the DP of the zombie is exhausted and it's put down for good. Taking 20 DP in one hit knocks the zombie down and forces it to get back up. Or it doesn't get back up and it just crawls. It will probably get back up, costing it a turn to get on its feet.


Some zombies just don't have weaknesses, or maybe the PCs have other fun toys at their disposal like an industrial press, a barrel of acid, a crematorium furnace or a woodchipper. 200 cumulative damage from a slashing weapon will mince/shred the zombie until it's no longer able to function anymore. Alternately, 100 cumulative damage inflicted by any non-bullet, non-weapon damage will also destroy a zombie. These rules really only apply if the zombie has no weak points at all; a quick dunk in a bathtub full of acid will make short work of a zombie with a head weakpoint by eliminating the limbs until its head contacts the acid.

YOUR BASIC ZOMBIE



The basic zombie is based on the Romero-style shambler. The -2 intelligence means that the zombie can't speak, use tools, learn or solve problems. You can inflict damage anywhere and take it down in no time at all and it can only really attack with bites. It's only a threat in large enough numbers. The right side of the box indicates specific info about the zombie: how much it needs to eat, what it needs to eat, how strong it is. You pick an appropriate option for each of those to build your zombie and each option adds or subtracts points to a total that you can use to measure the relative power level of the zombie compared to your players.

The process of building a zombie is as follows:
  • Choose the Weak Spot.
  • Choose how the zombie Gets Around.
  • Choose Strength.
  • Choose Senses.
  • Choose Sustenance.
  • Choose Intelligence.
  • Choose Spreading the Love.
  • Choose Special Features.
  • Add the points together to figure out the power level of the zombie so you can judge how to fairly put one up against your players. It's not stated but I'm pretty sure you can also increase the zombie's Attributes and also give them skills on a point for point basis.
Let's get started!

Weak Spots

Changing the weak spot is a good way to mess with your more savvy players or add diversity to the enemies you throw at them. You can give zombies more than one weak spot, subtracting 1 point from their power level for each additional weak spot.
  • All (0): You can hit the zombie anywhere and it loses DP. Dead Points are calculated the same way you calculate Life Points.
  • None (+10): The zombie can't be destroyed outside of 100 points of non-weapon damage or 200 points of slashing. Limbs can still be cut off and it can still be decapitated, but the head will still be biting and the limbs will wiggle towards prey to attack.
  • Brain (+6): The zombie has 15 DP concentrated in its head and destroying anything else won't stop the zombie. It's a -5 to hit the brain, but a good enough hit can drop it ASAP.
  • Heart (+7): The zombie has 15 DP concentrated in its heart and, again, destroying anything else won't stop it. It's a -6 to hit the heart .
  • Spine (+5): 15 DP are in the spine and it's -4 to hit the zombie's spine from the rear or -5 to hit it from the front.
  • Fire (-5): The zombie takes double damage from fire and burns quicker than a normal corpse does and needs less heat. There's a slight errata issue in that picking fire as a weak point doesn't say anything about the zombie's DP, which makes me consider two options. Either the 100 damage rule still applies but the zombie now takes double damage from fire, or you calculate DP like normal and they take double damage from fire. Either way, they're not flammable enough to immediately fall over and die; they can still walk around and attack until they're ash. This can be problematic if one manages to grab you while on fire.
  • Chemicals: The zombie takes double damage from chemical weaponry or 1d8 damage per turn from a chemical that doesn't normally do damage (such as rock salt, say). This is -1 to -10 points that are roughly determined by the type of chemical, how destructive it is, how it's delivered to the zombie and how easy it is to get the chemical. A controlled substance that can only be delivered by needle dart would probably be on the low end while loading a shotgun with rocksalt or a Super Soaker with ammonia would be on the high end of negative points. This also has the issue of not saying how many DP they should have.
  • Blessed Items: The zombie takes a flat double damage from being attacked with a blessed item, such as bullets coated with holy water or a mace blessed by an Inspired ally. This is also variable of negative points depending on the type of object, type of blessing required and delivery method. The downside of this weakness is that the damage is abstract because of the variety of weapons this could be and again, I don't know if this counts as 100 points or a DP scenario.
Getting Around

Here is where the game starts introducing special features for the zombies that aren't necessarily exclusive to how they get around. The first three choices here, Slow and Steady, Life-Like and The Quick Dead are just the flat basics of how your zombie moves and are mandatory to choose from. Everything after that is an optional special feature.
  • Slow and Steady (0): the downside is that the zombie moves slower than an average person does when walking and can't run, ever. The upside is that the zombie still never needs to stop and rest. The zombie gets Dex 1 and Speed 2.
  • Life-Like (+3): Running threatens the zombie's balance, but it can move fast enough to do the next best thing: power-walk at a reasonable pace. Dexterity 2, Speed 4.
  • The Quick Dead (+10): The zombie is capable of running constantly, never needing to slow down because it never gets tired. They look a little funny in motion up until the fact that they're running sinks in. Dex 3, Speed 18.
  • Burrowing (+3): The zombie can dig its way through sand or dirt. Not the fanciest power in the world, but as previously mentioned it makes for a hilarious surprise.
  • Leaping (+3): The zombie can jump 12 feet forward or 6 feet straight up, regardless of how fast it normally moves. This also makes a great surprise for the PCs.
  • The Lunge (+3): Grants +2 to Initiative in close combat representing the zombie dashing forward to take its prey by surprise.
  • Aquatic (+2): Some zombies either sink like a rock or get stuck at the bottom of a lake. These zombies swim, gaining Swimming at 2 and a Speed of 3 in water.
  • Climbing (+2): A mix of dexterity, strength and inability to feel fatigue means the zombie can climb three feet per turn and get Climbing at 2.
Strength

Like choosing mobility, the first four choices are Strength options and the rest are special abilities.
  • Ninety-Pound Weakling (-3): Strength at 1 and no real muscle mass. Still dangerous in high enough numbers.
  • Dead Joe Average (0): Strength at 2.
  • Strong Like Bull (+5): Buffer than the average corpse, Strength at 4.
  • Monstrous Strength (+10): Legitimately superhuman strength abounds at Strength 7, giving the zombie the ability to punch through walls to get at its prey and rip doors from their hinges with ease.
  • Damage Resistant (+5): Something about death makes the flesh tougher for this zombie, meaning that all attacks that aren't fire or chemical do half damage even if the zombie has a weak spot. In the case of a zombie with no weaknesses, they effectively will have to take 400 points of slashing damage to be destroyed.
  • Flame Resistant (+1/+3): At its basic level, the zombie takes half damage from fire. At the second level, fire doesn't hurt the zombie, period. No being a wiseass and picking the fire weakness to pair with this.
  • Iron Grip (+10): The zombie gets an effective Strength of 10 for gripping and grappling and even if the arm is severed it won't let go of its prey.
  • Claws (+8): Nothing like a little claw/claw/bite for your monster. Claws deal 1d6xStrength damage in melee, plus they pierce armor and deal slashing damage to living flesh. Claws can even pierce thin metal.
  • Teeth (+4): Iron Grip, now in oral treatment form. The jaw latches on and won't let go unless the head is destroyed or the zombie runs out of flesh to gnaw. It's a -3 to hit but it deals a constant 6 damage per turn as long as the mouth is attached.
  • The Hug of Death (+8): -2 to connect with the hug but the zombie has Strength 10 for grappling, dealing 1d4x10 damage per turn when the hug is established. Even if the zombie is killed, the corpse will still be attached (just not hugging) and the victim will have to be cut loose.
Senses

Four levels of Perception modifiers followed by more special abilities.
  • Like the Dead (0): Can't see worth a drat, can't touch, can't smell, can barely hear. The zombie can really only see blurry outlines of moving things and not much more than that, relentlessly chasing after a moving target and not noticing the open manhole. For some reason, it can tell the difference between a target of interest and another zombie. Perception set at 1.
  • Like the Living (+1): The zombie can see just as well as you and me, but the kicker is that they're capable of feeling pain. Perception 2 and 10+ points of damage sustained from one attack stuns the zombie, making it miss its next turn to recover from the feeling of pain.
  • Like a Hawk (+2): Still feels pain and is still affected by it, but Perception 3.
  • Like Nothing You've Ever Seen (+10): It takes a lot of stealth to get past this zombie, giving it Perception 7 to notice things. It still feels pain at least, so that rule applies.
  • X-Ray Vision (+Perceptionx2): The zombie's super vision is capable of seeing through up to 3 feet of unshielded material and its total power lets it see up to Perceptionx10 yards.
  • Life Sense (+Perceptionx2): The zombie can sense living prey up to Perceptionx10 yards no matter what's between it and a meal.
  • Scent Tracking (+Perception): The zombie is capable of following scent trails up to a day old, giving it a minimum 4 bonus to Tracking rolls. Water or rain is a good way to hide your scent.
  • Infravision (+Perceptionx2): The zombie is capable of seeing fluctuations in temperature up to Perceptionx10 yards away. This has drawbacks, though. For starters, sufficient sources of heat can attract the zombie's interest. Second, if the temperature is high enough outside, it's possible for the walking dead to get warm enough to pass for human again and register as a target to each other.
Sustenance

Sustenance is broken down further into two subcategories: how often the undead need to feed and what they need to feed on. General rule of thumb for the former is that the zombies that need to feed more actually need to eat less and the ones that go longer need to eat more.

While we're here, let's talk starvation. If the zombie can't get its food, it loses a quarter of its Strength daily until it hits 0. When Strength is 0, the zombie is weak enough to barely move. They can't die from starvation, but they're much less of a threat when starving.
  • Daily (0): The zombie needs to get 10 ounces of its meal a day. If they can't, they starve starting the next day.
  • Occasionally (+2): The zombie has to eat 16 ounces over the span of three days or go three days and gorge on the fourth. Day 5 without food is when starvation kicks in.
  • Weekly (+4): The zombie needs to snack on 24 ounces during the span of a week or wait six days and feast heavily on the 7th. Day 8 is when they start to starve.
  • Who Needs Food? (+8): Sometimes these zombies just don't need to eat tangible things or they just don't need to eat. If they "feed" from a special circumstance (like sunlight or magic energy in a certain area), they starve on the next day if cut off.
  • All Flesh Must Be Eaten (0): Any part of the body will do.
  • Braiiiiiins (-3): The main problem with needing to eat brains is that you better hope you're smart or strong enough to get the skull open first.
  • Sweet Breads (-3): Delicious, nutritious organs are on the menu. The zombie has an appetite for one organ in particular.
  • Blood (-2): The bigger the hole, the faster you feed.
  • Soul Sucker (+5): The zombie needs to feed on Essence through a physical attack. This is generally fatal because not all zombies are smart enough to just take what they need and come back the next day to feed on the same supply. The zombie drains double its Willpower in Essence but only really consumes half of that (so its Willpower). Each Essence point is worth 1 ounce of food.
Intelligence

Intelligence differs because by default the zombie is Dumb As Dead Wood, giving them -2 Intelligence and the inability to do much more than move around and pick themselves up. This section really just offers ways to add or augment its base of DADW in different ways.
  • Language (+1): The zombie is capable of speaking its native tongue, although don't mistake being able to speak for actual intelligence. The zombie gets Language 5.
  • Tool Use (+3 per level): Tool Use comes in three levels. Level one means the zombie can use melee weapons, doors, basic mechanics. Level two means the zombie can use slightly more complex items like guns. telephones and switches. Level three means the zombie is smart enough to multi-task or do complex things like drive a car or use a computer. Each level gives Intelligence 1/2/3.
  • Animal Cunning (+2/+4): The zombie gains the instinctive skills an animal, able to learn from mistakes and experiences , gaining Intelligence 0. Level 2 means the zombie gets Intelligence 1 but can only act on the same level as a smart animal, pawing open doors or using pack tactics. Tool use is plain out, meaning it's sub-primate intelligence.
  • Teamwork (+4): Somehow, despite not knowing how to speak to each other, all zombies in a 20 yard range have a strange psychic bond that lets them work together and coordinate.
  • Long Term Memory (+5): These zombies can actually learn in a human sense, gaining Intelligence 2 for the purpose of memory and the ability to actually learn skills.
  • Problem Solving (+15): The zombie gains Tool Use 3 for free and Intelligence 2 for problem solving, not memory or language. Having Problem Solving means that the zombie can slowly regain its old mental faculties, though the memories might be lost for good.
Spreading the Love

How is zombie formed? You can modify these three or make their own. There's also the choice of "Nobody Loves Me" from later books where the zombies are just plain incapable of making more of their kind.
  • Only the Dead (-2): Zombies are only made when a victim dies by the hands of another zombie.
  • One Bite and You're Hooked (+2): A simple scratch or bite seals the victim's fate if they can't get medically treated in time. This doesn't have to be an immediate thing; there's a later example in the book of a disease that takes around 5 years for an infected victim to turn.
  • Bury the Body (-2): The zombies have to treat or prepare the fresh corpse in some way to get more of their kind, like rolling them into a barrel of nuclear waste or placing it in the cursed tomb of the abandoned church on the hill.
Special Features

These don't fall under any sort of banner and make good finishing touches or alterations for special enemies.
  • Acid Blood (varies): The zombie can't use its ability offensively, it's just a hazard of trying to engage it in melee. The acid does X damage per turn, X being the variable power the GM picks. Worth noting is that the zombie flesh can't be melted by the acid blood and the book says it's perfectly possible to cobble together a suit of flesh armor to become immune to more acid blood.
  • Diseased Corpse (+3): In addition to being a walking abomination, the zombie carries some kind of illness with it. Touching the zombie without protection runs the risk of infection.
  • Noxious Odor (+5): Going within 6 feet of the zombie is a bad idea. The smell forces Constitution checks to resist passing out from the stench or being overcome with retching.
  • Nest (varies): There's something living in the body of the zombie, likely some kind of angry insect that automatically helps the zombie in melee range. The parasite does damage per turn equal to the variable chosen and the attack bypasses armor.
  • Spitter (varies): Getting this stuff in your eyes is a bad idea, blinding the victim for 1d4 hours unless they can get to an eyewash station or a strong enough hose. The zombie can hawk its spit up to half its Con in yards and deals damage per turn based on the variable power (armor is ignored if the face is specifically targeted).
  • Spew Flame (varies): Downside of this breath weapon is that it can only fire it once every six hours. The fire deals damage per turn equal to the power level and can go up to Con range in yards.
  • Detachable Body Parts (varies, usually more than +10): The zombie can force a part to disengage and act on its own, using severed hands to creep through small spaces and unlock doors or turning guts into smothering bed sheet assassins. Cost depends on how creative the zombie can be.
  • Explosive Personality (+2/+5): The basic level of this means that the zombie explodes over a 4 yard radius but doesn't actually hurt, it just forces a Fear test until you get used to it. The higher level deals d6 damage to everyone within the radius and a Fear test for everyone who sees it happen.
  • Regeneration (+2/+5): This only really regenerates DP as opposed to missing limbs or holes in the zombie. The lower level gives the zombie back 1 DP per minute while the higher level gives the zombie 1 DP per turn.
SAMPLE BUILT UNDEAD

I'd love to stat up the zombie intestines from Brain Dead/Dead Alive but they're unfortunately one-note.

iZombie Max Rager/Utopium Zombie
STR: 2 (7)
DEX: 3
CON: 4
INT: 3
PER: 2
WILL: 3

DP: 15 in the head only
Speed: 18
Essence: 17
Skills:
Variable
Language: Local 5

Weak Spot: Brain (+6)
Speed: The Quick Dead (+10)
Strength: Dead Joe Average (0)
Senses: Like the Dead (+1)
Need to Feed: Weekly (+4), Brains (-3)
Intelligence: Language +1, Problem Solving +15, Long Term Memory +5
Spreading the Love: One Bite and You're Hooked (+2)
Stolen from Another Book: Mind Eating (+13, zombie can gain certain skills and memories temporarily for three days after consuming the brain and some other skills/memories permanently)
Cheatsy Homebrewing: Raging Out (-8, inflicting 10 points of damage doesn't stun the zombie. Instead it has to make a difficult Willpower test to resist raging out, dipping their Intelligence to -2 while granting them temporary Monstrous Strength for a scene), Where Is My Mind? (-10, inability to feed instead permanently starves the zombie's Intelligence at the rate of 1 point per month. When Intelligence dips to -2, the zombie is permanently Raging).
Attribute Adjustments: +4 Con, +1 Perception, +3 Will.
Points: 42

The iZombie zombie has the danger of being as smart as a human, but their biggest liability is their dwindling humanity and the fact that they can't always control themselves when faced with a fight. They're a dangerous enemy one-on-one.

Dead Heat Zombies
STR: 2
DEX: 3
CON: 2
INT: 3
PER: 2
WILL: 2

DP: N/A
Speed: 18
Essence: 14
Skills:
Variable
Brawling: 3
Guns: 3
Language: Local 5

Weak Spot: None (+10)
Speed: The Quick Dead (+10)
Strength: Strong Like Bull (+5), Damage Resistant (+5), Flame Resistant (+3, immune to flame)
Senses: Like the Dead (+0)
Need to Feed: Who Needs Food? (+8)
Intelligence: Language +1, Problem Solving +15, Long Term Memory +5
Spreading the Love: Nobody Loves Me (-5, taken from the Zombie Master's Screen)
Cheatsy Homebrewing: So Don't Delay, Act Now! (-15, the zombie has an expiration date that will cause their unlife to immediately end when the clock hits 0. In this case, it's 12 hours from creation), They're Better Fresh (-5, the zombie is dumber if they're raised after they've been dead for a while).
Adjustments: +1 PER, Guns: 3, Brawling: 3, +2 Will
Points: 46

Poor Roger Mortis. He's an incredibly dangerous foe to go up against a human enemy due to the fact that he can just shrug off anything thrown at him short of a special chemical bath (and even then). He'd make one hell of an undead Terminator if it wasn't for the fact that his unlife has limits. Something this powerful but this doomed could make for a pretty tense short-form game based around playing keep away.

NEXT TIME: the rest of the sample zombies. It turns out that zombies can in fact get the ability to fly thanks to big-rear end wings (admittedly this is only available through the Zombie Master's Screen).

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


quote:

Detachable Body Parts (varies, usually more than +10): The zombie can force a part to disengage and act on its own, using severed hands to creep through small spaces and unlock doors or turning guts into smothering bed sheet assassins. Cost depends on how creative the zombie can be.

Sweet, you can make Stubbs The Zombie.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Kurieg posted:

I will probably review the Beast part of Dark Eras when that's finally released since being the one person who can stomach this game enough to hate review it is the superpower that I never actually wanted but this review is done. Get thee behind me Beast.

Onyx Path Publishing posted:

Current Projects > Expected Release Dates>FALL 2016 (OCTOBER/NOVEMBER/DECEMBER)

BTP – Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes: This antagonist book for Beast: The Primordial features examples of Heroes, as well as Beasts that have undergone their Inheritance and become lurking monsters or terrifying supernatural forces-to-be-reckoned with. Because Beast has a focus on crossover, some vampire, werewolves, mages, etc. will be included and described in story terms. 128 pages. PDF/PoD.

Enjoy your break while you can?

Also Hengeyokai: The Changening is an interesting idea, the Promethean story was really good.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




I am actually pretty impressed that OP is still pushing out Beast material. Is there actually an audience for this somewhere?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



ZeroCount posted:

I am actually pretty impressed that OP is still pushing out Beast material. Is there actually an audience for this somewhere?

Kickstarter obligations.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011
I MIGHT BE A DECENT PERSON BUT I'M ALSO DEEPLY, DEEPLY STUPID AND SHOULD NOT BE REPLIED TO

Doresh posted:

You just know that without Palladium, he'd ended up cranking out Heartbreakers.


Probably not the right time to remind everyone that Godbounds with the right Fertility Gift can cause miscarriages with but the snap of a finger. Godbound can be both very epic... and a bit like an episode of South Park if everyone's a demigod.

Oh come now, every ancient fertility diety gets to cause permanent sterility a few times.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kevin Siembieda posted:

I apologize to Palladium fans for the rancor of some people looking to create controversy where there is none, and cause pain where it is not warranted.

Sincerely,
Kevin Siembieda
Publisher, Writer & Game Designer

© Copyright November 13, 2008 Palladium Books Inc. All rights reserved.

Rifts®, The Rifter®, RECON®, Splicers®, Palladium Books®, Phase World®, The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game®, Megaverse®, Nightbane®, The Mechanoids®, The Mechanoid Invasion®, Coalition Wars® and After the Bomb® are Registered Trademarks of Palladium Books Inc. Dead Reign, Heroes Unlimited, Beyond the Supernatural, ‘Burbs, and other published book titles, names, slogans and likenesses are trademarks of Palladium Books Inc., and Kevin Siembieda.



Dead Reign Part 9: "This is the ability to make the opposite sex melt with desire."

Skills are % based, usually from 15% to 98% (so a margin of error always exists), and based on your class. As aforementioned, each class has its Occupational skills (fixed skills, often with a bonus), Elective Skills (skills selected by the player, but with some categories gaining a bonus based on your O.C.C.), and Secondary Skills (skills selected by the player with no bonuses). Some others, like Physical Skills, grant bonuses to physical attributes, secondary stats (usually S.D.C.), or combat rolls. Similarly, Weapon Proficiencies usually grant a bonus ot attack with the weapon in question. Each character is assumed to have basic math, proficiency in their native language, and the ability to drive a car. (Even Extreme Sports Baby.) A few skills are more restricted unless the class notes it - a lot of advanced Electrical, Mechanical, and Medical skills, any Military skills, a couple physical skills (being an Assassin or a Commando, mainly), and some heavy modern weapon proficiencies. Secondary skills are even more restricted, though the listing starts to get really arbitrary there - why is W.P. Slingshot not available as a secondary skill, but W.P. Axe or Chain are?

:iiam:

Skills level with the character, and their starting % (usually between 20% to 60%, or more like 30% to 80% for a class skill) is specific to each skill in question, and the amount they improve by is also to specific to the skill. This is part of what makes character creation in Palladium so onerous, because these aren't included in the skill listings under the class, requiring you to write down all your skills and any applicable bonuses, then cross reference it with the skill list, then take any physical skills and total the bonuses you get from those, and do the same for weapon proficiencies, and some skills grant bonuses to other skills as well... it's the kind of thing that would be fixed just by putting the reference table in a more accessible area, standardizing skill percentages, nixing cross-skills, or including the base skill rating under a class' skill list, but no. It does none of that.

Skills can be penalized by around -5% to -75% (!) based ond exhaustion, bad tools, distractions, a "pressure situation" like "working in front of a superior, critic, or pretty girl". A lot of the more severe "pressure situation" penalties (like "important to get the job... done right" or "failure means there will be serious consequences") seems like they'd come up a lot in a game like this, and starting skill odds are pretty bad to begin with. Doing thing while "scared" or "seriously wounded" can pretty much kill most chances of using a skill at all. There's also a penalty for trying to use unknown or alien technology, but that doesn't exist in this game. Ooops. It's also not clear that if you would have skill bonuses that push you over 100% if that would negate penalties, or if something would be above 98% with bonuses it's capped there.


Most of the art in this section is reprinted from the Rifter article, so this is the "new" stuff.

Skills are divided up by category, so I'll tackle them one at a time:
  • Communication Skills (18 skills): This originally was just communications technology (derived from older military games where radios were a big deal) but now includes some things like writing, languages, or some arbitrary social skills (Barter, Performance, Sing, etc.), making it a mashed up skill category.
  • Domestic Skills (11 skills): Though this is usually "skills not useful to adventurers" category, I suppose things like Brewing, Cook, Fishing, and Recycle might see new use in this specific setting. Still, I'm not sure Housekeeping or Wardrobe will ward off the zombie menace.
  • Electrical Skills (5 skills): For electricians and computer repair experts, as if those two skills are actually related. (Tangentially, yes, but not usually.) There's "Basic Electronics" and "Electronics Engineer" which do the same thing, only the latter skill is better and only available to certain classes. It also includes "Robot Electronics", which would be interesting if this game had any robots or rules for them. I guess you could fix up Roombas or something.
  • Espionage Skills (14 skills): Has the vitally important Detect Ambush and Detect Concealment skills, but Disguise, Forgery, Impersonation, and Undercover Ops aren't as much use against zombies. "Look at my ID! It says ZOMBIE." Well, Forgery starts out at 20% success rate anyway. Also includes being a Sniper, for some reason. I guess only spies know how to snipe; the military seemingly doesn't teach it here.
  • Horsemanship Skills (3 skills): What used to be "Cowboy Skills" in Rifts, because once there was a supplement with cowboys in it. We get rules for horses slapped into here, and you can get melee bonuses and special attacks while on horseback (but not motorcycleback, you can only do charge attacks from a horse). The various uses of the Cowboy skill (herding, roping, lassoing) take up a half-page. There's also a skill for Exotic Animals, in case you want to ride a llama or elephant against the zombie horde. It helpfully gives the penalties for riding demonic horses should, you know, be playing a different game.
  • Mechanical Skills (9 skills): Vehicle repair, locksmithing, making weapons or ammo (separate skills, yes), or "Robot Mechanics" for those who want to make drone strikes on zombies. There's "Basic Mechanics" and "Mechanical Engineer" once again that cover the same field, only the latter is just better if you have it available.
  • Medical Skills (12 skills): This includes everything from First Aid to Paramedic (same skill, latter's better), and Medical Doctor for some reason requires at least four other skills as prerequisites, and many skills here require 2-4 prerequisites. Did you know Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science are separate skills? Well, they are in this bloaty bloat bloat of a system. Also includes some more alternative medicines like Brewing: Medicinal or Holistic Medicine. Lastly, this is where you'll find your CSI skills.
  • Military Skills (14 skills): Includes select military vehicles (helicopters, jets, APCs, tanks), knowledge of camouflage, demolitions, "Military Etiquette" (there is no regular Etiquette skill), detecting traps and mines, etc. A catch-all of military stuff that's not already covered by other categories.
  • Physical Skills (23 skills): As mentioned before, these often grant bonuses in addition to or instead of having a % chance of success. Hand-to-Hand skills often cost as 2 or 3 skill picks, which considering how ridiculously good they are is a bit cheap. Boxing remains the god-skill it always has been (grants a bonus attack), though Acrobatics and Gymnastics have been nerfed into the floor (they used to grant +1d4 to Physical Prowess apiece, now it's only +1) since they were one of the reliable ways of buffing your combat bonuses. Still, it's possible to boost a fast character quick enough to be superhuman (if not much) by stacking skills, and those looking to survive more than 2 or 3 zombie punches can buff their S.D.C. here. Also includes "Prowl", the essential skill for sneaking past people, including the undead. It starts at 25%. :v:
  • Rogue Skills (17 skills): Your various criminal skills from picking locks to streetwise to gambling and so on. The skill percentages in this section are particularly abysmal, usually around 20% to 30% - the game really, really does not want you to do "bad" stuff, apparently. Notable is Safecracking, which gives a penalty if you don't have a decent Mental Endurance (because Mental Endurance applies to being perceptive here and nowhere else), or Seduction, which is about the only social skill that's boosted by a high Mental Affinity or Physical Beauty... by a paltry amount. It starts at 20% and being the most beautiful, most charming person anybody could ever be up that to 28%.
  • Science Skills (16 skills): Hard sciences (astronomy, botany, chemistry) not including physics, and soft sciences (anthropology, psychology) not including sociology. Also, Parapsychology is a science! Also so is developing Artificial Intelligences, so you can develop the AI that informs you the only way to eliminate the zombie infection is to eliminate the source: humanity. Thanks, Mr. AI. If only I had a better than 30% chance to develop you correctly, Mr. AI! Well, this explains Ultron.
  • Technical Skills (24 skills): Your catch-all "civilian professionals that don't fall into any other category" category, from dog breeding to firefighting to gemology to history to meditation to rope works. Yes. Use Rope is back, but now you only have a 30% chance to tie that knot. Palladium characters: "I have to tie my shoes at least 3 or 4 times before I get it right, and I'm a professional. Velcro is popular in our world." Also, Whittling is here. "Ever since the zombies arrived, I've had a lot more time for it."
  • Transportation Skills (16 skills): Vehicles, from canoes to skateboards to water skiing. On, and cars and planes too, I guess, anything non-military. Also has a newer "Combat Driving" skill that gives bonuses while fighting from a vehicle and reduces a lot of the penalties. Still, "Water Skiiing & Surfing? "Our secret to survival is that zombies can't surf, ho-dad!"
  • Weapon Proficiencies (22 skills): This is divided into ancient weapons (which gives you bonuses to strike, parry, or sometimes disarm, often on entirely different advancement tracks) and modern weapons (which just grants bonuses to hit and negates nonproficiency penalities). It also throws in a number of random rulings like weapon ranges, damage, and ammo, and very simplified burst rules (you can't do spread attacks, just expend more ammo for more damage). There's also Paired Weapons for doing paired attacks, Grappling Hook for batmanning, and Trick Shooting for doing fancy stuff like firing from a moving vehicle or one-handed, but it shakes its finger and reminds us this is a very rare skill and you can't use it with a bazooka.
  • Wilderness Skills (13 skills): Your roughing it sort of skills, but also includes herding, fasting, and... dowsing. "... by using a divining rod or my more scientific and logical means." I'm pretty sure only one of these works unless we're playing Beyond the Supernatural, but maybe there are two types of magic in this world, Brulyx ceremonies and waving a stick at the ground.


Where's the 3-page writeup for this with four concealed mini-missile launchers, Palladium? My heart is broken.

Yes, that's right, the game has well over 200 skills, with a more than a fair deal of redundancy and niche garbage. I mean, I'm sure somebody can come up with a use for Whittling & Sculpting, but I wouldn't count on it to save me from slavering hordes or angry cultists, but maybe your little carved pony will touch the heart of a "retro-savage". Just maybe.

Next: The creators return, and we finish this.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

I figured that a modern approach to 80s/90s-style massive skill lists with super-specific skills would be treat them as 13th Age-style Backgrounds.

Like, okay, maybe your character has a Sculpting skill, but you can roll it in situations where the hand-eye coordination of being a sculptor would come in handy, or maybe as a way to pull an NPC relationship out of your rear end: he was a patron of yours! Or maybe you can justify always having a hammer-and-chisel with you, that sort of thing.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Crasical posted:

Enjoy your break while you can?

An antagonists book is likely to be an incredibly dry read(and review) and isn't likely to make the sweeping changes and/or generalizations that the Dark Eras book or Storyteller's guide will.


ZeroCount posted:

I am actually pretty impressed that OP is still pushing out Beast material. Is there actually an audience for this somewhere?

Mors Rattus posted:

Kickstarter obligations.

It's this, they more or less have to. There are ways out but it would tank them with Kickstarter and as we've seen with the fiction anthology good writers can still make compelling stories when they don't need to slavishly adhere to the "WE ARE TEH GOOD GUIZ WE TEECH LESSINS" message.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gradenko_2000 posted:

I figured that a modern approach to 80s/90s-style massive skill lists with super-specific skills would be treat them as 13th Age-style Backgrounds.

Ultimately, the intent of skill systems like these is to simulate a person's sum total education, though Palladium's skill system isn't even particularly good with that. It's particularly weird with classes like Hound Master or Shepherd of the Damned where your previous occupation has been "deleted" in five months in favor of your post-apocalypse occupation.

Kurieg posted:

It's this, they more or less have to. There are ways out but it would tank them with Kickstarter and as we've seen with the fiction anthology good writers can still make compelling stories when they don't need to slavishly adhere to the "WE ARE TEH GOOD GUIZ WE TEECH LESSINS" message.

There are also people who legitimately like it and excuse its flaws under the blanket of "moral relativism" and the like. While it's gotten a heavy scathing on a lot of the popular RPG forums, it's also not hard to find positive reviews of it. Hell, all the reviews on rpgnow are ★★★★★.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


From the fact that it has absolutely no add-ons, I'm starting to get the sense Myriad Song really didn't sell well.

This disappoints me a little. I'm having a good time running it. I'll have the rest of the races up this afternoon and then maybe get into the setting.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


The problem with DTRPG at least is that you can't review a product unless you bought it from them. Yet somehow people had put out 5 star reviews before the game had even come out.

And rpg.net had drunk the Beast kool-aid before the game even came out because BHM is/was a mod there and drove off all his critics.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Kurieg posted:

And rpg.net had drunk the Beast kool-aid before the game even came out because BHM is/was a mod there and drove off all his critics.

This is just a flat-out lie. Partly because RPGnet mods don't do this, and partly because RPGnet has been just as negative about Beast as anybody.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


People were being probated for mod-talkback for disagreeing with him.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Alien Rope Burn posted:

There are also people who legitimately like it and excuse its flaws under the blanket of "moral relativism" and the like. While it's gotten a heavy scathing on a lot of the popular RPG forums, it's also not hard to find positive reviews of it. Hell, all the reviews on rpgnow are ★★★★★.

In fairness, you have to buy/own it to rate it on DTRPG. The people who didn't like it got out during the KS and aren't gonna buy it.

E: I was around for the Beast stuff on RPGnet, and people were not modded for disliking it. I should know, I was really outspoken about it. A very large contingent of posters were, as well.

People were modded for tone, because there ain't nothing RPGnet likes more than policing tone.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Mors Rattus posted:

In fairness, you have to buy/own it to rate it on DTRPG. The people who didn't like it got out during the KS and aren't gonna buy it.

Well, yeah, it is self-selecting. But at the same time, it's a number greater than 0.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Like I said, one of the reviews was written before even the early backer copy came out. Most of the reviews there are from people who had a sunk cost in the game. And I have no desire to spend 20 bucks to save people from themselves when I've already done three reviews of it elsewhere.


Also on the Darker Days thread on the OPP forums we had a "Self Professed MRA" come out of the woodwork who says that the book is hilarious and he'd love to play "the bad guys" and put down all those terrible beasts.

So, you know.

Good Job Matt.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Kurieg posted:

Also on the Darker Days thread on the OPP forums we had a "Self Professed MRA" come out of the woodwork who says that the book is hilarious and he'd love to play "the bad guys" and put down all those terrible beasts.

So, you know.

Good Job Matt.

I saw that too! It's vindicating that someone else was weirded out by that.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Mors Rattus posted:

In fairness, you have to buy/own it to rate it on DTRPG. The people who didn't like it got out during the KS and aren't gonna buy it.

E: I was around for the Beast stuff on RPGnet, and people were not modded for disliking it. I should know, I was really outspoken about it. A very large contingent of posters were, as well.

People were modded for tone, because there ain't nothing RPGnet likes more than policing tone.

I was banned for saying I didn't like that there was now a Beast chapter of Dark Eras when Eras I liked better could have used the pagecount (and then I was perma-banned for reacting strongly to that bullshit in emails to the admins, admittedly not my greatest moment).

Then again, saying 3rd or 5th edition D&D was bad got you probated/banned for Edition Warring, but saying 4th Edition was bad went unmoderated.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



MonsieurChoc posted:

I was banned for saying I didn't like that there was now a Beast chapter of Dark Eras when Eras I liked better could have used the pagecount (and then I was perma-banned for reacting strongly to that bullshit in emails to the admins, admittedly not my greatest moment).

Then again, saying 3rd or 5th edition D&D was bad got you probated/banned for Edition Warring, but saying 4th Edition was bad went unmoderated.

I could see that happening as a ban for trolling/trying to start poo poo, since mentioning Beast basically turns a thread into an argument about Beast.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Mors Rattus posted:

I could see that happening as a ban for trolling/trying to start poo poo, since mentioning Beast basically turns a thread into an argument about Beast.

More or less, yeah. It's still bullshit, and I'm still bitter.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Rand Brittain posted:

This is just a flat-out lie. Partly because RPGnet mods don't do this, and partly because RPGnet has been just as negative about Beast as anybody.

RPG.net is in a situation where game developers are being heavily protected from being called out on their bad decisions and behaviour, while simultaneously game developers (a plurality of which are basically from the same company) are the ones enforcing those rules. As a forum it's basically undergone regulatory capture, where industry people are writing the rules for protect the industry. BHM got away with comparing his critics on Beasts to MRAs on a forum that is as anti-MRA as they come!

It's very difficult to be truly critical of something when speaking too harshly about something is illegal according to opaque and inconsistent rules. Legitimate anger is blunted and silenced. RPG.net can't be or have been as negative about Beast as anybody, because of how its rules are designed to prevent negative tones.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

MonsieurChoc posted:

Then again, saying 3rd or 5th edition D&D was bad got you probated/banned for Edition Warring, but saying 4th Edition was bad went unmoderated.

At the person who actually handed out all those bans, this is also bullshit. I don't even like 4e that much.

It never fails to astonish me how many people are unable to follow RPGnet's very simple rules (don't make personal attacks, don't make group attacks) and assume a grand conspiracy when they get smacked with the newspaper.

quote:

It's very difficult to be truly critical of something when speaking too harshly about something is illegal according to opaque and inconsistent rules. Legitimate anger is blunted and silenced. RPG.net can't be or have been as negative about Beast as anybody, because of how its rules are designed to prevent negative tones.

Somehow I managed to be pretty loving negative about Beast without breaking any rules. In fact, over the next few pages, several mods quote me approvingly.

It's almost as though it's very simple to phrase any sane critique in a way that isn't personally insulting and thus doesn't violate the rules.

Rand Brittain fucked around with this message at 17:39 on Nov 4, 2016

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Josef bugman posted:

Oh come now, every ancient fertility diety gets to cause permanent sterility a few times.

They don't hand out their gift for nothing.

On a more lighter note, focusing the crap on the Passion Word and only making non-lethal attacks (should be easy enough to justify if you smite with Passion), you can totally make Princess Tutu.

(The tutu is Regalia Armor.)

Kurieg posted:

It's this, they more or less have to. There are ways out but it would tank them with Kickstarter and as we've seen with the fiction anthology good writers can still make compelling stories when they don't need to slavishly adhere to the "WE ARE TEH GOOD GUIZ WE TEECH LESSINS" message.

I just want my 2e Hunter, dammit.

(Though I guess 1e plus Mortal Remains works too?)

Doresh fucked around with this message at 18:00 on Nov 4, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



1e plus Mortal Remains is basically a hack. It works, but isn't that great.

I'm worried about 2e hunter, though, because its dev wrote the single least inspired, most boring, and most generally bad Dark Era for Hunter - Salem, which is just the least subtle, most obvious possible take on everything and adds nothing new or cool.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


I have to ask, what was the timeline for Beast's development? I know that when the Kickstarter for it began, there was a lot of backlash and as a result the Beast devs promised to revise it. Was the final draft released during the Kickstarter, or did they promise a fix and only release it after the KS was done? Was the final version of the product available to KS backers before it closed? And did they delay the Kickstart or at least open and close it when they promised revisions?

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


Doresh posted:

You just know that without Palladium, he'd ended up cranking out Heartbreakers.


Probably not the right time to remind everyone that Godbounds with the right Fertility Gift can cause miscarriages with but the snap of a finger. Godbound can be both very epic... and a bit like an episode of South Park if everyone's a demigod.

It really is OSR Exalted! :haw:

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Bedlamdan posted:

I have to ask, what was the timeline for Beast's development? I know that when the Kickstarter for it began, there was a lot of backlash and as a result the Beast devs promised to revise it. Was the final draft released during the Kickstarter, or did they promise a fix and only release it after the KS was done? Was the final version of the product available to KS backers before it closed? And did they delay the Kickstart or at least open and close it when they promised revisions?

  • Beast Kickstarter comes out and is completely funded within a few days
  • Complaints start to come out from people who've actually read the text
  • Press release stating that they've heard the arguments and have taken them to heart and will revise the text
  • First chapter of revised text is released publically
  • Kickstarter ends.
  • Time passes, additional revised chapters slowly trickle out.
  • Kickstarter backers get their pre-final copies, grammatical and formatting changes are made with their feedback.
  • Beast is officially released to everyone.

So to answer your questions: No. Yes. No. No.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


Kurieg posted:

  • Beast Kickstarter comes out and is completely funded within a few days
  • Complaints start to come out from people who've actually read the text
  • Press release stating that they've heard the arguments and have taken them to heart and will revise the text
  • First chapter of revised text is released publically
  • Kickstarter ends.
  • Time passes, additional revised chapters slowly trickle out.
  • Kickstarter backers get their pre-final copies, grammatical and formatting changes are made with their feedback.
  • Beast is officially released to everyone.

So to answer your questions: No. Yes. No. No.

Yeah, it's more than a little hosed up to promise a changed final product and then give us the passive-agressive nonsense that was Beast's revisions.

Looking at you, evil comatose child later retconned into actually being a Beast and Therefore Good.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


My dream antagonist splat would be Meguca: The Suffering.

Bedlamdan posted:

It really is OSR Exalted! :haw:

With less bullshit. The paid version even comes with short conversion guidelines, while being very vague about what system the book actually means. Crawford did the same with the Call of Cuthulhu conversion guidelines for is Silent Legion book, but I find it particularly funny here for some reason.

One of my favorite bits is a paragraph that basically translates to "Screw Charm prerequisite chains".

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


Doresh posted:

My dream antagonist splat would be Meguca: The Suffering.


With less bullshit. The paid version even comes with short conversion guidelines, while being very vague about what system the book actually means. Crawford did the same with the Call of Cuthulhu conversion guidelines for is Silent Legion book, but I find it particularly funny here for some reason.

One of my favorite bits is a paragraph that basically translates to "Screw Charm prerequisite chains".

Overall I like it, and I'd definitely get more out of it than Fate or MHR hacks or Monte Cooke's Cypher game about adventuring demigods.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Bedlamdan posted:

Yeah, it's more than a little hosed up to promise a changed final product and then give us the passive-agressive nonsense that was Beast's revisions.

Looking at you, evil comatose child later retconned into actually being a Beast and Therefore Good.

Well to be fair, as far as their kickstarters tend to go they peaked early and not as high as other games before went. And I imagine OPP in general and Matt in specific have lost some goodwill with the community. Scion 2e seems to have gotten through okay (Mostly because it's rather open and inclusive without denigrating anyone and they seem to be earnestly trying to represent various mythologies in a positive but realistic light), but I'm somewhat worried about the backlash that might hit Deviant.

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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Loving the Dead Reign but there's a special place in my heart for the Simbieda posts. Did he just apologize on behalf of his obvious jerk detractors? I could read his sad passive aggression all day.

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