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RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

One reason why Chaos always loses those events is because despite GW wanting them to win, they know gently caress all about army balance and those campaigns usually fell in an off year for Chaos armybooks and codexes. The Daemons of Chaos army they released specifically for Storm of Chaos to swing the scale for Chaos was pretty bad to mediocre too and the majority of experienced GW players know the game better than GW and won't invest in something that won't win.

If anything the campaign was like End Times, a cash grab scheme where they get stores to buy up and promote models that won't be usable outside of a short time span and usually won't be tournament legal at that so they don't have to worry about balance. They just learned by End Times that giving players agency wouldn't let them have their grand narrative, railroad plot lines, and the smug satisfaction that their guys won.

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

One reason why Chaos always loses those events is because despite GW wanting them to win, they know gently caress all about army balance and those campaigns usually fell in an off year for Chaos armybooks and codexes. The Daemons of Chaos army they released specifically for Storm of Chaos to swing the scale for Chaos was pretty bad to mediocre too and the majority of experienced GW players know the game better than GW and won't invest in something that won't win.

I think my favorite piece of game design brilliance is that Chaos Knights are some of the best archers in the game statwise, yet don't actually have access to ranged weapons (apart from maybe a Champion with a throwing axe or something).

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

It'd be interesting if a Vampire game adopted the old, pre-Nosferatu trope of Vampires not being destroyed by sunlight but just being completely powerless in it.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Now if only Games Workshop had agreed with you...

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Loxbourne posted:

Now if only Games Workshop had agreed with you...

The guy who runs most of the WHFRP2e I play in has gone all the way up to the industrial era with it, with Nagash the Great Necromancer returning to face the meatgrinder of industrialized warfare with a wall of flesh as the dark Gods find new power in empty slaughter, pollution and disease, the new excesses of a guilded age, and Tzeentch and Ranald fight over the souls of communist revolutionaries.

They coulda done so much.

Serf
May 5, 2011




Shadow of the Demon Lord Part 2: More Ancestries

This time we're covering the Clockwork and the Dwarf.

Clockwork
Mechanical people, the Clockworks are described as being “made from metal plating, gears, wires, bits of spring, and cogs”. However, they are not of a scientific origin, instead being constructs to which souls ripped from the Underworld have been bound. Thus allowing you all the redundant cogs and gears that you want because it’s magic, you ain’t gotta explain poo poo. Clockworks are sentient beings and the magic that tethers their soul also allows them to manipulate their mechanical bodies - but only so long as their key is turned.

Clockworks all have a key located somewhere on their bodies that they cannot reach, and the key must be turned in order for them to function. Clockworks retain minimal memories of their past lives, and those who have more memories are often more traumatized by their new form and require more time to adjust.

Clockworks have the most unique character creation process of the core Ancestries. Their Strength is 8, Agility 8, Intellect 9 and Will 9. They begin with an innate Defense of 13 and a Speed of 8. For talents they are immune to disease, poison, sleep and fatigue, they have a Mechanical Body which means they do not need to eat, breathe, drink or sleep, but cannot swim and will sink to the bottom of any body of water.

They have a Key, which is assumed to always be cranked unless a couple of things happen. If a Clockwork is incapacitated, their key stops turning, and if they make an attack or challenge roll and the result is a 0 or lower, their key stops turning at the end of the round. When a Clockwork’s key is not turned, they become an object instead of a creature. Anybody who can reach your key can use an action to turn it, which causes you to become a creature again. If you were incapacitated, you roll a d6, on a 4+ you heal 1 damage and become a creature at the end of the round. On a 3- nothing happens.

At level 4, Clockworks get +5 Health and either learn a spell or get Grind the Gears, which allows them to take another action on their turn. When they do, they roll a d6. If the result is an odd number, their key stops turning and they become an object.

Clockworks have a more involved step after this, where rolling or picking from the following tables determines a lot about your Clockwork mechanically.



Finally we have the Clockwork Backgrounds, some of my favorites include “goblins captured you and almost took you apart for scrap materials. You have replaced your missing components with bits of wood, old weapons and other rubbish”, “you fell off a boat and spent 2 years walking to shore” and “you were one of 1d6 other Clockworks made at the same time. You hope to find them one day.” Also, in the Personality section, there’s a cute nod to Asmiov with “your maker gave you three commandments and you must obey them”.

Dwarf


Dwarves! These folks are always my favorite in any game, and Shadow of the Demon Lord is no exception. Here Dwarves are Tolkien on steroids. They live in cities under the mountains and toil away digging up gold, silver and gemstones, and they’re paranoid about people taking their stuff so they don’t make friends easily. They all have beards, moustaches or big muttonchops regardless of gender, and they’re short but dense people. They can put off outsiders, and their ancestor worship and belief in being constantly observed means they can seem very dour as they do not want to dishonor their clan.

Dwarves get a 10 in every Attribute except Agility, where they have a 9. They get a +1 to Perception and a +4 to Health and their Size is ½ and Speed is 8. They can speak the Common Tongue and read, write and speak Dwarfish. They have Darksight, which lets them see in darkness perfectly within Medium range, and treat anything beyond that as lit. They get a Hated Creature which gives them 1 boon while attacking creatures of that type, and they have a Robust Constitution that lets them take half damage from poison and gives them 1 boon to challenge rolls to avoid or remove poison.



At level 4, Dwarves get +6 Health and either learn a spell or Shake it Off, which allows you to use an action to heal equal to your Healing rate and remove one of a few afflictions. This talent can only be used once until you complete a rest, which essentially makes it a Daily power. One of the complaints I have about SotDL is that it doesn’t borrow enough from D&D 4th Edition, and when it does, it borrows them in clumsy ways. The wording of the “once until you rest” talents is clunky and could’ve been executed with more grace.

Dwarves get a couple of interesting Backgrounds. I’m partial to “you sold your soul to a devil to gain wealth. The devil betrayed you and left you penniless. You start the game with 1 Corruption”, “the creatures you hate overran your home and wiped out your clan” and “you inherited a battleaxe or warhammer from an ancestor”. That last one sounds kinda lame, but real weapons are hard to come by as a level-0 character, and getting one for free is pretty sweet, even before you have a Novice Path.

Next time: the last 2 Ancestries, the Goblin and the Orc!

AnEdgelord
Dec 12, 2016



Honestly, and i say this as someone who loves Chaos as a faction, I think Nagash was the best part of the setting and should have ultimately usurped the chaos gods as big bad of the setting. A mere mortal, through sheer pragmatism and amorality, managed to ascend to become the most powerful practitioner of magic in the entire world, dunk on an entire empire of people, eventually ascend to godhood, and even up until the end times was consistently interesting as a character with his best bro Arkhan the Based.

I even remember how hopeful people were when End Times: Nagash came out and I think part of that comes down to how compelling the undead as a whole were for the Warhammer universe.

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

thelazyblank posted:

Did you use the Big drat Heroes book? I remember it helped a bit in terms of mechanics, but I can't remember what it actually added. It definitely didn't have mechanics that felt like the TV show.

This does remind me as part of my unwritten resolution to actually look at some old mechanics and see if they hold up better or worse after recently playing some Spycraft 2.0. Mainly, not trying to use everything all the time or calculating everything unless it might actually matter.

That being said, I doubt it's going to move the meter much. The Cortex Plus version in play is what I want from Space Westerns.

We did use the Big drat Heroes book. We weren't trying to play a campaign exactly like the show but a Space Western set during a Cold War where both sides were being randomly attacked by psychos.

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011



Polaris RPG(2016)
Part 3, Book 1, Chapter 1: The World of the Deep, section 1.2: Civilizations of the Deep


Opening fiction for this sub chapter is a pretty inconsequential two line bit about a Coral Republic citizen talking about how cool and beautiful their country is. After the opening quote we're told that the majority of settlements are not technologically advanced enough to maintain their own technology and must barter with larger and better equipped stations. Independence for these disadvantaged stations is guaranteed by the Sub-Marine States Organisation, a neutral committee located in, you guessed it, Equinox. To qualify, settlements have a few requirements that they must meet, which the book helpfully lists out:
1. The settlement has to produce something of value, mining or agricultural towns thus being the most common but exporting mercenaries is also ok. The SMSO is the final arbiter on what counts as "valuable"
2. The settlement must have a larger sponsor. The sponsor is obligated to protect the new settlement and supply the initial resources with which it is established and in return they get to seize the new settlement's entire wealth if the colony ends as a failure.
3. The settlement must consist of at least 100 individuals, which must include at least 10 fertile couples. These may be settlers from the sponsor state(as opposed to homeless divers just swimming up to Equinox...?)
4. The settlement must keep up a birth rate of 5 babies/year.

You might notice that the math for this doesn't quite work out especially if you consider that most of those children will also be infertile themselves.

5. Anybody with talent for the Polaris Effect must be handed over to the Cult of the Trident
6. The settlement has to send over a fertile couple to the Cult of the Trident for genetic research every month once they've reached 20% fertile population.

Because each settlement starts out with a 20% fertility rate, does that mean the Cult expects them to hand over 1/10th of their reproducing population on day 1? Polaris is a game that's not very good at math, something we'll be seeing quite often once we get to the actual rules

7. The settlement must hand over any discovery related to genetics to the Genetic High Council in Equinox.
8. The settlement will be considered independent of it's sponsor after a year and be a nation of it's own after 10 years or if a cache of Genetician tech is discovered.
9. The settlement can't have an army or send envoys to the SMSO or GHC until it's gained independence.
10. The settlement needs to contribute to the SMSO's space program somehow.

Spoiler: No country ever bothers with this crap and just makes their own colonies on their own time.

Now before I start the actual nation write-ups, here's the map with the actual borders on it from the last two pages of the book:

Five major states(+Equinox), seven minor ones and a fuckton of independent settlements(see the other map). Major factions get detailed overviews of their history, society, territory and persons of interest, followed by a description of all their towns and stations while minor ones only get a short blurb and the settlement list. After that there are the landless factions like the Fellowship of the Watchers and the unaffiliated cities. All settlements get this stat block and description, of varying length and relevance, like this:

And I do mean ALL of them. There are 141 settlements in the book, +1 for the one featured in the example adventure in book 2, which is not in here.

Anyway, let's start with the first major nation,

Hegemony


For some reason horizontal flags fell out of favour after one of the many apocalypses.

The Hegemony directly controls most of the north-western part of the Atlantic but like any good militaristic expansionist state, their fleets range across the globe. They possess great mineral and agricultural wealth and are rich enough to line their entire border with sea forts.

History:
The history of the Hegemony starts with Karl Paramar of the large and wealthy Hatteras station, then part of the Azure Alliance, leading the Azurean fleet against the Geneticians. When the Alliance fell apart, Karl's grandson Yvan proclaimed himself admiral. The Paramar family had a problem though and that was sterility, causing a bloody succession crisis in Hatteras when they finally died out. The military faction won and for the next 20 years, admiral Trenton greatly expanded the Hegemony's armies, before committing suicide in 301 as a result of carrying a dark secret with him. His successor, admiral Keryss, decided to start a big war against basically everybody around them, leading to the formation of the Red League to oppose them out of various ex-Azurean microstates, which lasted until a ceasefire was signed in in 339. Keryss died a few years later in 346, with his son Olmon becoming the new admiral. Olmon was a mutant and generally considered a simpleton but he proved to be surprisingly good at statesmanship, which may be attributed to a hidden force behind the throne pulling his strings. Under his rule, Hatteras started to focus on farming, fertile families were given preferential treatment while mutants were forced into menial jobs and the armed forced. Based on scraps of pre-apocalypse history, Olmon reintroduced titles of nobility and reformed the societal elites into a true aristocracy. A new capital, named Keryss in honour of Olmon's father, was build as a giant domed city, in which pre-apocalypse surface conditions were recreated. Olmon also crowned himself Emperor in 357, but that resulted in him getting assassinated on his second day on the job.

The next year, the navy and the council seized power in the leaderless nation and installed the Patriarchs as government. The twelve Patriarchs never leave their palace and only communicate to their underlings in the form of holograms, always wearing face concealing masks when they do so. The reinstate the office of the High Admiral, now their representative on day to day matters. In 361, Hatteras scientists found a Genetician depot and after several months of brutal warfare against it's automated combat drone defences later, the Hatteras fleet finally gained access to it's content. The Red League didn't like their arch enemy getting all the cool toys and declared war against the depleted nation together with it's numerous allies from the Pirate Kingdoms. After a year of initial success for the Red League, the Hatteras scientists managed to bring the Genetician ships from the depot online and crushed the invading fleet. The depot also contained the tools to create Techo-Hybrids, merman cyborgs infantry that can breathe underwater. By 370 the counter-attack had passed the pre-war borders and the Red League was forced to accept an unfavourable peace treaty. Hatteras and the territory it had acquired in the war would henceforth be known as the Hegemony. Five more years of conquest followed until the destruction of both the Hegemony's and the Red League's fleets at Equinox. After the Admiral's Council, in which the Hegemony was forced to return several captured cities, the Patriarchs changed tactics from open warfare to intrigue for the next 150 years.

In 548, the current High Admiral, Viramis, came to power and ordered a great shipbuilding project, creating two battle cruisers that are currently the largest ships in the world. With these, the Hegemony attacked the state of Fuego Liberdad, hoping to acquire a genetician superweapon from an ancient vault as part of something the Patriarchs call the Exeter Directive, a scheme that would wipe out the Red League, Coral Republic and Cult of the Trident. Although the battle outside was a disaster, the Hegemony managed to escape with the weapon. After the war, Viramis discovered that the weapon would not only destroy the Hegemony's enemies, but also the Hegemony itself and all life on Earth and ordered the cancellation of the Exeter Directive. Large sections of the Prism, the Hegemony's secret service, openly disobeyed the order and continued working on the weapon. Around this time, the Hegemony's underground settlements encounter the Burrowers again and the Hegemony is swiftly pushed out of the underground. Viramis then starts a purge of disloyal elements of his own forces, while the Patriachs begin openly ordering troops loyal to themselves around into a new wave of expansionism, circumventing the High Admiral completely. Currently, the Hegemony is embroiled in a secret civil war between the Patriarchs and the High Admiral.

Next up: Chapter 1.2: Civilizations of the Deep, more Hegemony stuff

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Maxwell Lord posted:

It'd be interesting if a Vampire game adopted the old, pre-Nosferatu trope of Vampires not being destroyed by sunlight but just being completely powerless in it.

That's basically what I'm doing in the Savage Worlds version of Nocturne. Vampires can walk around during the day, they just take fatigue and all of their powers cost double to use.

Anyway, new Sgt Nerd post is up!

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





And we're already seeing the problem with multiple apocali in action.

Instead of being able to look at the Hegemony and go "They are derived from this modern basis, they have these things from our world they are interested in, and now you have a rough emotional connection to them", you get a lot of bullshit that just amounts to the current crop of assholes double-crossing each other like they're temping for Cobra with no particular reason for the players to care.

Also, the obsession with controlling fertile couples is really skeevy, even aside from the math problems. That's straight up Immortan Joe bullshit, only without the cool slogans, and from factions I think we're supposed to think are the good guys?

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011


The thing the Hegemony maps closest in real world history is Napoleonic France, with the Red League being Britain.

They're also not the protagonist faction, that's the Coral Republic(they of "wiped out the two greatest fleets at the same time without a single casualty by being bestest of friends with the wizards" fame). We haven't gotten to their society section yet but the Hegemony are by far the most amoral of the few factions that are not the designated Obvious Baddies like the Black Sun or the Deep(being respectively the wizard UN's evil twin nazis and underwater daesh).

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I've only mentioned Polaris so far to pick on it, but actually it seems pretty cool in a lot of ways, and more focused on playability and player buy-in than Blue Planet.

Maxwell Lord posted:

It'd be interesting if a Vampire game adopted the old, pre-Nosferatu trope of Vampires not being destroyed by sunlight but just being completely powerless in it.
This is something I am seriously thinking about doing if I run Vampire again. Since Requiem is very much build-your-own-lore anyway...

Speaking of which, I may review Damnation City if Mors doesn't want to do it. It's one of the best supplements for any game, ever.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Go for it. I'm not anywhere near as big a fan of it as some others are - I think that about half of it is decent, and the other half kind of blah. It certainly does mark the turning point for Requiem from 'okay' to 'great' though.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Cool, but not until I review the long-abandoned Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand! :black101::drac::black101:

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Halloween Jack posted:

Cool, but not until I review the long-abandoned Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand! :black101::drac::black101:

I listened to RPPR After Hours episode on Dirty Secrets, and didn't quite get why it was so bad in comparison to what the rest of WoD was like.

Then I listened to their play through of the sample adventure and how :siren:Jack Carter:siren: was making 5 attacks a round with 24 dice each attack, I was like ":stare: Ohhhh"

Cinnamon Bear
Aug 29, 2016

by FactsAreUseless


I can't remember since its been so long, but wasn't it Damnation City that gave us BvD?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Yes.

When I say that Damnation City was the turning point, I mean that there's literally a point in the middle of the book where you can see the directional pivot. BvsD is before that point.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cinnamon Bear posted:

I can't remember since its been so long, but wasn't it Damnation City that gave us BvD?

BvD?

What the hell does that mean?

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

A super-edgy vampire game where you'd embrace a baby and send it to fight a ghouled dog. Baby vs. Dog=BvD

Mr.Morgenstern
Sep 14, 2012



Night10194 posted:

BvD?

What the hell does that mean?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



^ ^ ^ Yowza.


Guys, the previews of Torg Eternity that Ulisses Spiele have been releasing are making me hopeful that the game might actually be...good?

I don't know if I can handle this. :ohdear:

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Speaking of fan darling games being brought back by Ulisses spiele, apparently they now have The Fading Suns rights

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

unseenlibrarian posted:

Speaking of fan darling games being brought back by Ulisses spiele, apparently they now have The Fading Suns rights

Well the original ruleset was awful so they have nowhere to go but up! The background was cool though.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


unseenlibrarian posted:

Speaking of fan darling games being brought back by Ulisses spiele, apparently they now have The Fading Suns rights

For a moment there I thought you were talking about Monte Cook's Obsidian Shaft and was very confused and alarmed.

Serf
May 5, 2011




Kurieg posted:

For a moment there I thought you were talking about Monte Cook's Obsidian Shaft and was very confused and alarmed.

The Something Awful Forums > Discussion > Games > Traditional Games > FATAL & Friends 2017: Monte Cook's Obsidian Shaft

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Kurieg posted:

For a moment there I thought you were talking about Monte Cook's Obsidian Shaft and was very confused and alarmed.

Why? They'd probably do a better job as well.

chiasaur11 posted:

Also, the obsession with controlling fertile couples is really skeevy, even aside from the math problems. That's straight up Immortan Joe bullshit, only without the cool slogans, and from factions I think we're supposed to think are the good guys?

And you'd think surviving underwater would be hard enough on its own, without the setting making a huge deal out of fertility.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Doresh posted:

Why? They'd probably do a better job as well.

True but you wouldn't get the bespoke Monte Cook experience where you get one of nine collectable medallions and have Monte mail you sweet nothings every month.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 15f: Grimoires and Prayers

quote:


It is with tremendous pleasure that we of the Academy of Four Towers present the following excerpts of Pixaud’s Practical Grimoire, perhaps the finest grimoire known to the kindred. While legends of Pixaud vary considerably with the house and class of the teller, most versions agree that Pixaud was the second dean of the Academy of the Four Towers, and a contemporary of Throrvald. He began the grimoire while an adjunct conjuror with the academy. After his disappearance, such illustrious names as Throrvald, Voiny, Westermass, Eloini’nar and Coltershiv watched over subsequent editions of the grimoire. My compatriot Kenipat and I are honored to have been chosen to compile and annotate the current edition of the Grimoire, and it is our fervent hope that this edition shall not tarnish the deservedly sterling reputation of these volumes.
—Zelephest of the Four Towers

The next two chapters are the obligatory lists of new spells and miracles. The spells are presented as being taken from "Pixaud’s Practical Grimoire", which is the chapter title, an in-setting book, and also the name of the actual Torg supplement that had even more spells.

Since this is just a chapter o' spells, and the next chapter is a chapter o' miracles, I'm just going to pick a few highlights from each.

There are a lot of spells here, and the descriptions can get...weird. People who remmeber old Shadowrun supplements will recall how some books (like the old Street Samurai Catalog) had commentary by in-universe characters as part of the item descriptions. They kind of do the same thing here, with the two afforementioned wizards Kenipat and Zelephest providing a little extra background on some of the spells.

To make things even stranger, there's a sidebar that states that Pixaud's Practical Grimoire is indeed an item in the game, kept in the Arcane Academy of the Four Towers and that only students are allowed to learn spells from it. But the chapter implies that all the spells in this chapter are from the Grimoire, and as such you can't just learn them without having access to the book. But if that's the case, and they're not easy to get, why include them or put that limitation in place?


A wizard throwing an object physically? What's next, shouting hands back on?

Whatever, let's just get rolling.

Every spell gets a normal stat block, but also describes the little ritual actions you need to perform to cast the spell. Some of these are really embarassing.

Arm of Air is your basic move-stuff spell. The caster creates, well, an arm of air that can move about 50 feet away from the caster and has an effective Strength of the spell's effect value and lasts a minute. It can't perform anythign that would require a Dexterity roll, so it could pull a lever but not lift the keys off a guard's belt.

Bullet is the basic attack spell. You cast it on a metal object about the size of a coin, and after making a sling-whirling motion with it the caster shoots the object at the target at high speed. The spell's damage is about the same as a .44 Magnum, although with the spell you have to worry about backlash and looking silly when you cast it.

The awkwardly named Cast Lasher requires the mage to "pantomime the effects of backlash", and increases the backlash values of the target's spells.

Detect Folk Evil is a consequence of the whole granular magic knowledges system. It's a detect evil spell, yes, but because "natural intelligent races" and "unnatural intelligent races" are two different concepts as far as Torg is concerned, this spell only works on humans, dwarves, giants, and any race with the concept of a racial society. This means that the spell will not detect, for instance, a demon or actively hostile undead being.

Enchant Bow is a lot of work to increase a bow's damage value.

quote:

To cast this spell, the mage should take a piece of armor and heat it until it begins to grow soft. He then puts an arrow into the bow and fires it at the armor, which it will easily pierce. He must repeat this action several times, while reciting the proper incantation. When he is done, the bow will fire straight and true and cause great damage to the enemy.
Kenipat — Again, wizards should beware of copies of this spell. If the stave of the bow absorbs the enchantment, but the string does not, it may snap at a crucial moment. In addition, some versions of this spell increase the strength wonderfully well, but destroy the weapon’s accuracy to the point where even the best archer cannot hit the broad side of a Fomorian.
The "Enchant Bow" spell working on the stave of a bow, but not the bowstring, feels like a textbook rear end in a top hat GM move that must have happened in a Torg game once.

Speaking of stupid casting rituals, Fighting Whirlwind has what may be my favorite casting ritual:

quote:

The magician spins himself around once while exhaling to make an ever louder whooshing noise.
Always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

Folk Repelspell increases the target's resistance against spells that use the folk knowledge. I just mention it because I like the spell name.

Freeze Time is an impressed spell that generates a sphere up to 40 meters (130 feet) in radius where time just stops for everyone except the caster himself. Only 10 people can be affected by the spell; if an 11th person walks into the effect the whole thing collapses.

Invisibility does what it says on the label, but has the weirdest mechanics description.

quote:

The effect value is compared to the recipient’s Toughness on the Power Push table. To this result nine is added. If the final result equals or exceeds the target’s Toughness, then he is rendered completely transparent to light.
"To this result nine is added." That's certainly plain language used by humans.

Multiple Images is basically Mirror Image, except that it doesn't tell you how many images you make when you cast the spell. Prepping the spell requires a room full of mirrors, so it's not exactly something you're going to be able to use day-to-day.

Open Lock basically lets you use your spellcasting skill instead of a normal skill to pick a lock.

Plant Shackles is...well...

quote:

To put this incantation to use, the caster takes five blades of grass (or whatever plants are nearby) and drapes one across both wrists, both ankles, and his neck. When he mutters the correct words and specifies the target with a hand gesture, the plants within range will begin to writhe and wrap themselves about the opponent. They will hold the target in their leafy embrace for up to one hour, with a strength equal to the effect value of the spell.

Kenipat — This spell was discovered by dwarf magicians in Upper Aysle, shortly after the establishment of House Vareth. It has proved to be of limited use to Land Between dwarves, as the plant life in that area consists largely of mushrooms and mosses, which are not effective in the context of this spell.
I'm trying to come up with a joke for "leafy embrace" but I'm coming up blank.

The Ritual of Perception Preparation increases your Perception value. I'm sure there was a shorter name they could have come up with.

The opposite of the above is Snail Wit, which decreases the target's Perception. To cast it, you point at the target and say "two plus two is, um, uhhh...", which feels more like something you'd say to reduce the target's intelligence, but whatever. I love that these spells require the caster to act like a doofus.

Telepathy is another does-what-it-says-on-the-label spell, only, you know Torg-ier. Casting the spell requires either a hair from the person you want to telepath to, or an object used by your intended target for at least a year. Likewise, to recieve thoughts back the target also needs the same thing for the caster. And again, because this is Torg, they tell us how quickly the message transmits because God knows we need to have that value (it's 1000m/round, in case you're wondering). At a kilometer it takes a round to send a message, and at six kilometers it takes a minute even though the spell's default max range is one kilometer. Oh, and while communicating you can't do anything else but concetrate on the spell.

And before we move on to miracles, I want to point out how impractical the ritual requirements are on some of these spells. Like with Multiple Images; prepping the spell requires a room full of mirrors. But this is supposed to be a game about globetrotting adventure, and rooms aren't really know for their portability. Why it couldn't be something like "meditate between two mirrors for 20 minutes" is beyond me. All it does is make it drat near impossible to prep the spell unless you happen to be close to your base of operations.

Or with Telepathy; having to have an item of the other person and not being able to do anything but "talk" are just annoying hurdles that just serve to make the caster's life more difficult for no real reason. I mean, it's not like a player didn't already have to deal with skill levels and paying out and backlash and poo poo to get the spell in the first place.

That said, I really do love the goofy-rear end somatic components for some of these spells. Just the image of a wizard in a fight twirling around, calling someone dumb, and pretending to throw things in order to cast their spells just makes me smile.


Pictured: wizards

Anyway, miracles.

Miracles, oddly enough, do not have the same insane creation system as spells. In fact, there's no rules for miracle creation anywhere in the Torg line. It's a pretty odd omission, especially given how there's creation rules for pretty much every other drat thing. On top of that, there's no mention of any in-universe tomes of miracles, or commentary by famous clerics. Funny, that.

Regardless, the only real tie between the Ayslish gods and the miracles available is that some specific miracles are only available to people who worship the gods of honor, and some are only availble to the followers of the gods of corruption.

When you cast Banish, you compare your faith skill to your target's skill, and whoever has the lower value has to flee. This can be embarassing when you cast it and you end up being the one who flees.

Beauty increases your Charisma by 3...when dealing with the opposite sex of your race. When dealing with people of the same gender, their base attitude drops one level on the relevant table. What makes this one even more of a collar-tug is that it's not forbidden for a follower of the gods of honor to use magic to make themselves more sexually attractive.

The Curse of Arthuk imposes a -2 penalty to all the target's physical skill rolls and a -1 to mental ones for a year and a day. The only way to break the curse is to have the original caster remove it, or for another cleric to beat the original spell effect total by <SCENE MISSING>.

Fertility can make a one kilometer radius of earth fertile enough to grow crops, even if the land's inclination changes. While useful, not something I can see getting a lot of use in play.

The oddly specific Illusory Dragon lets the cleric appear as a "fierce dragon" and get an intimidation bonus. I'm glad they specified that the dragon would look "fierce".


A cleric casts the "draw aggro" miracle.

Inferno is the Flame Strike equivalent, and is a little less damaging than a 15mm cannon.

Mental Link is like the telepathy spell, except you don't need hair, both people can move around and do things, and there's no "broadcast speed". So...yeah. Sure.

Passing Shadows doesn't do what you think it does; it lets you see into the past of an area.

Sanctum is another of those not-as-useful-as-they-seem-to-think-it-is spells. When cast, it creates a 20 meter radius zone that is sacred to the cleric's religion, centered on the target person. Anyone who attacks the target has the attack's difficulty increased by the cleric's faith adds...but only if they're the same religion as the caster. So if a cleric of Dunad (god of honor and "goodness") casts this miracle, he's only protected from being attacked by other followers of Dunad, but not from the followers of the various gods of corruption, or non-religous foes.

Trap makes one trap undetectable by non-magical means. Using this level of skulduggery to trick your foes is apparently okay with the gods of honor.

Warrior Madness can be cast on willing or unwilling targets, and turns said person into a whirling engine of desctruction. They get +3 to their Strength, Toughness, and melee and unarmed skills. In addition, they can't be affected by attempts to trick, intimidate, or otherwise misdirect them. Snapping out of the frenzy needs a willpower roll.

quote:

This miracle does not actually cause muscles to grow larger, but simply allows the target character to operate at peak ability.
Glad they clarified that. Oh, and once you've been affected by this spell, there's a chance you'll snap back into berzerker mode in later fights; in combat you have to make a willpower test with a difficulty of (8+number of combats you've been in since getting hit with the spell) to avoid flipping out. If you want, though, you can voluntariy snap into berzerker mode volintarilty.

And...that's kinda it. It's just spells, not much left to say. So I leave you with this excerpt from the actual Pixaud's Practial Grimoire supplement of an actual honest-to-God Torg spell you can spend your hard earned XP on.



NEXT TIME: The Monster ManuHandbook

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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So, I'm trying to find any time where someone might reasonably choose to use that spell even in the hands of like some peasant folk wizard, given that using it requires you to already have shears on hand. Wouldn't it be easier to just use the shears?

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011


Halloween Jack posted:

I've only mentioned Polaris so far to pick on it, but actually it seems pretty cool in a lot of ways, and more focused on playability and player buy-in than Blue Planet.
Polaris is the exact opposite of focused on playability once we get to the actual rules. The setting is fairly neat whenever the book isn't talking about how Conscience, the Eye or Cyrull are the real threat and all of humanity's petty squabbles are mere distractions. My biggest problem is that Tessier tends to forget that a GM needs to know the motivations of the supernatural forces to include them into a game and ends up writing a generic spooky note instead. Take a look at the Hegemony and it's internal power struggle; we know what Viramis is and wants, he's a fascist that wants to militarily expand his country. We know what his endgame is, which is purging the disloyal sects of the Prism and killing or marginalizing the Patriarchs. On the other side of the conflict we know gently caress all about the Patriarchs, other than that they once tried to kill all life on Earth. They're a complete black box in terms of thought processes and motivations. Why didn't they just kill and replace Viramis when he discovered the plot? Why are they even trying to exterminate all life in the first place? Only Tessier knows and he isn't telling us.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

theironjef posted:



Hey folks, we just posted our most recent review, this time of the licensed game built to accompany Babylon 5. You remember that show? It had the almost-Bruce-Willis security chief and Rousseau from Lost wearing a shell on her head? It's called The Babylon Project and you should check it out.

You say the die system tends low, but it's actually no different from d6-d6 in terms of output spread. It just gets there in a weird way.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

SirPhoebos posted:

I listened to RPPR After Hours episode on Dirty Secrets, and didn't quite get why it was so bad in comparison to what the rest of WoD was like.

Then I listened to their play through of the sample adventure and how :siren:Jack Carter:siren: was making 5 attacks a round with 24 dice each attack, I was like ":stare: Ohhhh"
The problem with Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand isn't even so much the special snowflake NPCs, or the new and better kewl powerz, but that the book overall is emblematic of the things people are talking about when they criticize WoD metaplot and the "superheroes with fangs" direction the line took for awhile.

In Dirty Secrets..., we're introduced to the Black Hand, but told that there's actually a False Black Hand and a True Black Hand. And even the True Black Hand has factions, with secret histories connected to mages and wraiths and werewolves, and on and on. This is an example of adding complexity without really introducing new meaning. Tons of "lore" that rewards buying supplements and obsessively memorizing information, but doesn't reward analysis.

I find the metaplot, and the attendant action-movie excesses, to be especially grating when it comes to Vampire because it puts the core conceit of the game (drinking blood) into the background. Like, some late-era Vampire sourcebook would go on and on about some Tzimisce conducting horrible Grand Guignol experiments in a secret laboratory, or how this Clan has a squad of super-commandos, and I'm like, okay, but where do you get your supply of human blood night after night?

(Requiem, by design, has a real hard-on for never letting you get away from that central concern. Like okay, you're an Ordo Dracul wizard, you want to perform weird experiments to transcend your state of being and blah blah blah. But first thing's first, you have to establish a Kindred Mafia so that you can get your nightly blood supply without too much fuss. You have to deal with that before you can accomplish anything else.)

Anyway, back to the classic WoD. What this points to, over time, is moving from dealing with conspiracies as subject matter to actual conspiracism—there’s always another layer to the onion, another shadowy level of control, and everything is connected, etc. I don’t believe that this happened because White Wolf was actually helmed by kooky conspiracy theorists. More likely it was just the emergent result of managing a large line of books with a lot of writers. All of them want to leave their mark on the franchise, and some will inevitably fail to understand the overarching themes. (In which case, Dirty Secrets... may be the exception that proves the rule: I’ve read that it was written by a freelancer on his way out, who would go on to author The Everlasting series. Yep. Unless I'm mistaking him for a different Steven C. Brown.)

In this light, it’s not surprising that Vampire (and a lot of people’s Vampire games, I’d wager) practically forgot about its characters needing to drink blood—let alone what blood-drinking means on a thematic level. In keeping with the overall attitude of not trusting the reality of the world around you, they imitated the attitude of Blade and The Matrix where normal people are nonentities and just scenery. (Notice how Blade operates in secret, but he walks around dressed like that? And fights cops in broad daylight with no fear of repercussions?)

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 19:06 on Jan 5, 2017

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

I can think of few (i.e. none) ways in which 1d6-1d6 is preferable to 2d6 with the numbers scaled up.

One thing that struck me though is that the hit location grid in Babylon 5: Long Title would work better without the to-hit penalty for extremities. Because a slight miss to the torso region just results in a hit to the head, or arms, or abdomen or whatever, while a slight miss to the hand is probably a complete miss, there's already a far higher chance of hitting with a shot to the chest than with a shot to the hand.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Evil Mastermind posted:

Beauty increases your Charisma by 3...when dealing with the opposite sex of your race. When dealing with people of the same gender, their base attitude drops one level on the relevant table. What makes this one even more of a collar-tug is that it's not forbidden for a follower of the gods of honor to use magic to make themselves more sexually attractive.

I forget, does the main book have a seduction skill with similar restrictions?

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Kurieg posted:

True but you wouldn't get the bespoke Monte Cook experience where you get one of nine collectable medallions and have Monte mail you sweet nothings every month.

Then pardon me for my rash comment. I have yet to see the light.

(And I guess Ulisses Spiele would probably not produce something nearly as riff-worthy.)

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!


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Well the original ruleset was awful so they have nowhere to go but up! The background was cool though.

I think that's not true in any way. The basic resolution mechanics were nice and simple, and I hope they don't screw with those too much(except maybe to make the optional D20 damage/armor resolution table the standard), the only thing you can really complain about is that the skill list is a bit bloated and that dex was a bit of a god stat, with Strength and Endurance perhaps needing to either be rolled into one or to have a greater role in combat. But that's more "generic 90's design flaw" than "awful." In terms of awfulness it's got nothing on, say, StoryTeller.

In general the worst complaints about many of the rules are more down to presentation than what the rules actually are. Stuff has a bit of a problem of being more scattered around than it should be, for instance, and while there have been multiple editions of the game, none of them have actually addressed this issue at all, instead of just being extremely minor rewrites or dragging stuff from some of the supplements into the core book(not a bad idea either).

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

My impression of Fading Suns system-wise was always "Slightly overcomplicated Pendragon" which is what I wound up using for it for at least one game.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



SirPhoebos posted:

I forget, does the main book have a seduction skill with similar restrictions?
No, there's actually no seduction skill. Technically there's charm, but that doesn't have modifiers for gender/orientation.

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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Blade getting arrested (when it's not a vampire conspiracy) is really boring. That's why he doesn't get arrested.

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