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Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Halloween Jack posted:

Crushers are listed in the glossary in the back of the original Dune, and get a single off-hand mention in the narrative. But crushers and their Constructicon nature never play a role in the story at all. (Maybe in some prequel book I haven't read, Idunno.)

I'd imagine they use some form of the Holtzman shield tech, with multiple crushers enhancing and overlapping their shields, akin to the stunt Duncan Idaho pulls off during the Harkonnen attack, where he uses his personal shield unit, drops from a great height, and splatters a bunch of Sardukar while being unharmed.

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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Mors Rattus posted:

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?

Are sheep shearing contests a thing outside of Australia? Maybe the wizard needs to win a high-stakes sheep shearing contest, or recreate a legendary sheep shearing myth, which is an actual thing that people paint painting of here. It'd be cool in HeroQuest.

wiegieman posted:

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

Plus he's in New York, in the Marvel Universe. Cops see weirder poo poo than him daily.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 00:45 on Jan 7, 2017

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Count Chocula posted:

Plus he's in New York, in the Marvel Universe. Cops see weirder poo poo than him daily.

"Oh poo poo, a black guy!...

*opens fire*
...

...and he's also a vampire!!!"

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Blade's actually british.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




At this point comic book Blade works for the UK's official monster killing intelligence agency, which at one point repelled an invasion by Dracula, so yeah. I mean Movie Blade.

Serf
May 5, 2011




Shadow of the Demon Lord Part 4: Finishing up character creation and some rules

The chapter on Character Creation ends with a few things to put the finishing touches on your character. There are some suggested questions to ask yourself about you character. These include things like what they value, what they fear and hate, what secrets they may have and how they see the world.

Then the book moves on to talk about the first adventure. As mentioned, in SotDL, you start out as level-0 characters who go on a Starting adventure, after which you level up and pick one of four Novice Paths. Players are encouraged to use the Starting adventure to learn the rules of the game, and to keep track of what their character did and what they enjoyed doing. Was your character the one to take up a weapon or did you like engaging in combat? Consider the Warrior or the Priest. Did you like casting spells from scrolls? Magician could work for you. Stuff like that is pretty helpful I think, since you get an adventure just to nail down what you like doing. And due to how character advancement works in SotDL, you’re not locked into that choice forever even then.

One cool thing is that in a few Starting adventures I’ve read, there are Path Points. These are a hidden thing that tracks when players do certain things. If they sneak around and eavesdrop on people, they get a Rogue Path Point. If they pray to the gods or ask about the local temple, they get a Priest Path Point. When the adventure is over, you reveal the Path Points to the players, which helps them decide on how to proceed.

After this, they talk about Building a Group. It gives four goals for players to follow during the Starting adventure to ensure that they come out as a cohesive group ready to have more adventures.

Cooperation
Simply put: work together and you’ll succeed. You’re encouraged to help each other out and look for ways to build stronger connections between the characters.

Avoid Conflict
poo poo is scary at level 0. You’re not very good at fighting, and the enemies will rip you apart in short order. You want your character to survive, so you should look for creative ways around fighting and definitely not start anything with the other characters.

Find Gear
You don’t get much to start out with, and the book encourages players to make deals for gear, loot corpses, and poke around to find things to shore up their weaknesses.

Achieve Your Objective
Finish the adventure! This is a reminder to pursue the goal of the adventure and not let yourselves get distracted or sidetracked. This is to both get you to level 1 faster and prepare you to work towards completing future adventures and pursuing your goals.

And the chapter closes with the level advancement chart, which I think is cool. Shadow of the Demon Lord is full of a lot of modern design that I love, and one of the best things it has done is completely obliterating dead levels.



We haven’t been over the Paths yet, but suffice to say that you get something cool at each level for all of them. Even level 4, which is just your Ancestry, gets you some Health, and either a spell or a new talent.

Another cool thing is that the game has no XP. You level up after significant story moments, typically once at the end of each adventure. You also level up as a group, so no mixed-level parties. All in all I love the advancement system in SotDL, as you always get something interesting and you advance at the same time, meaning no one is ever left out when they level up.

Chapter 2: Playing the Game



This chapter starts off sensibly by telling the players and the GM that some things just happen. You don’t roll to walk down the street or to drink beer. Those things are assumed to succeed and there’s no need to roll for superfluous things. The dice only come into play when there is a reasonable challenge presented.

Time is also discussed as something that the GM and players don’t have to track meticulously during most parts of the game. A voyage could be just a short description of a few days passing, but a negotiation probably needs to be played out in real time. When combat happens, the game busts out rounds, which we’ll get into later in the Combat section, but I don’t think you’ll be very surprised by any of that.

Rolling the Dice
As mentioned before, SotDL uses d20s and d6sm with the occasional d3 notation for certain things. There are 2 types of rolls in the game: attack and challenge.

Attack rolls are, of course, rolls to attack an enemy. They are called for when attacking with weapon, or casting a spell that has to effect the target. Melee attack rolls use your Strength modifier, and ranged attacks use Agility. Spell attacks will usually use either Intellect or Will, and target one of those attributes on the enemy.

If you’ve played D&D or a retroclone before, you know how these work:
1d20 + modifier + other modifiers

Importantly, when you deal damage, you do not apply your modifier to it.

Challenge rolls are pretty much everything else. When the outcome of an action is uncertain because of extenuating circumstances and you’re not directly opposed by another creature, you make a challenge roll. This is for picking locks, eavesdropping on people, and for avoiding damaging stuff. The GM decides which attribute applies to the current situation. The target number for challenge rolls is always 10. Yep, no more DCs and fiddling with how hard things should be. You just want to roll over a 10. There’s also no critical successes, except with certain talents/spells.

The formula is identical to attack rolls:
1d20 + modifier + other modifiers

Get a 10 or above and you succeed. Get lower than that and you fail. Later on in the GM section Schwalb presents a somewhat interesting fail-forward system, but if I was running the game I’d go with my gut.

The book talks briefly about modifiers, but they are mercifully rare in Shadow of the Demon Lord. Mostly you just have the modifier from your Attribute and maybe rarely some static bonuses. Like most retroclones, these modifers are cumulative and have to be added all together.

But now we have the real interesting modifiers in boons and banes. Boons are things you get when you have and advantage to make a roll, and banes are for when the chips are down. When you roll with boons, you roll 1d6 for each boon. Then you take the highest of those numbers and add it to your d20 roll. So if you have 3 boons and you roll a 1, 2, and 5, you only add the 5. Banes work in the same way: roll your d6s and subtract the highest number.

If you have both boons and banes to a roll, they cancel each other out 1-to-1, so if you have 2 boons and 3 banes you just roll with 1 bane.

I really love the boons and banes system because, combined with the low and extremely limited modifiers, you get math that doesn’t have much opportunity for being broken. Boons aren’t set in stone, so you could get anything from a +1 to a +6 on your roll, and banes work the same in reverse. There are talents and spells that interact with boons and banes in awesome ways and I can’t wait to get to them.

Attributes
Next up is an overview of the four Attributes and their derived Characteristics. One good thing about this is that each Attribute only corresponds to one Characteristic, there’s no math aside from the occasional +1 conferred by an Ancestry or a Path.



Strength is easy. This is a combination of the Strength and Constitution scores from D&D and most retroclones. It tells you how much Health you have, it is added to your melee attack rolls, and you use it to push, pick up, and pull stuff. As is required for all RPGs of a certain level of crunch, SotDL has included this handy chart:



The number under the “Normal” column is what you can lift with no problem and the number under the “Success” column is the maximum you can lift with a Strength challenge roll.

Agility is basically just Dexterity. It is the baseline for how hard you are to hit, and it applies to ranged attack rolls. You use this for quick movement, jumping and rolling around, and slipping out of tight places.

Intellect measures how good your brainmeats are. It confers your Perception score, is applied to lots of rolls to hit with spells, and you use it for challenge rolls that deal with puzzles, recalling information, and for resisting mental effects like illusions.

Will is essentially Wisdom and Charisma rolled into one. It lets you know how much Insanity you can have before you snap, and you use it to resist getting Insanity in the first place. Some spells use Will for their attack rolls, and challenge rolls with Will are used to determine willpower and determination in achieving a goal.

Characteristics
These are derived from your Attributes, as seen above. They’re pretty simple, but each one has a few quirks that you might not be used to.

Health is basically your HP. But unlike HP you do not reduce it when you take damage. Instead, you increase your Damage score. If your Damage ever equals your Health… we’ll get to that in the combat section. When your Damage is equal to half your health you are Injured, which has no effect here, but some talents and spells consider it.

The reason Health is counted separately from Damage is because you can get penalties and bonuses to it. For example, the Berserker Expert Path gives you a +10 to Health as part of their Rage talent. Bonuses and penalties to your Health makes you easier or harder to kill, and reminds me of a more flexible version of temporary hit points. If your Health ever reaches 0, you die.

Healing Rate is how fast you can heal after an 8-hour rest. For most characters, this is your Health divided by four. Healing spells will cause you to recover HP equal to your Healing Rate or multiples of that value.

Defense is your AC. It might be increased by certain Paths, but mostly you get higher values through armor. Without armor, your Defense equals your Agility. The maximum Defense anything can have is 25.

Perception measures how well you see and hear etc. It is all of your senses rolled into one. It usually equals your Intellect, and most often comes up in challenge rolls, but some talents and spells target it or allow you to target it in your enemies.

Insanity is where we get into the fun stuff. This is a measure of how crazy you are at any given time. Building up Insanity is obviously bad, but nothing happens until you gain more. You begin the game with 0 Insanity usually and you can never have more than your Will score. You gain Insanity when you see bad poo poo going down. Some monsters cause you to gain it, other times you’ll get it from seeing something horrific or discovering That Which Man Was Not Meant to Know. When this happens, you make a Will challenge roll to resist, and on a failure, you get a little crazier!

When you gain a point of Insanity, you become frightened for a number of rounds equal to your new Insanity total. Frightened means you take 1 bane to all attack and challenge rolls, and you cannot take fast turns in combat (more on this later). If you were already frightened, you instead become stunned, which is pretty self-explanatory.

Now, if you gain enough Insanity to equal your Will score, you go mad. This isn’t the end! In fact it’s not even close because Shadow of the Demon Lord is pretty lenient for a retroclone. Going mad means you roll a d20 on the Madness table and take the result you get. These can vary from “Death” on a 1, to “Sickened” which causes you to puke and poo poo yourself for a while, to “Rage” which gives you a boon to attack rolls and makes you do more damage to “Revelation” on a 20 which reduces you Insanity and gives you a permanent boon to all Will challenge rolls to resist gaining Insanity.

When you go mad, you reduce your Insanity score by 1d6 + your Will modifier.

Don’t want to go mad? Take a Quirk! This allows you to reduce your Insanity score by 1d6 + your Will modifier in exchange for getting a little weirder. This includes things like phobias, manias, and paranoia and such. You can only get 1 Quirk per rest, and the GM gets to choose it.

Corruption is also interesting. This is a measure of how bad of a dude you are. When you do a stereotypically evil thing like murder, give an innocent a disease, use forbidden magic etc you gain a point of Corruption. When this happens you roll a d20. If the number is under your new Corruption score you roll again on the Mark of Darkness table and get yourself a shiny new weird thing.

Options include:

“You never cast a reflection in mirrors”
“A weeping red eye appears in the palm of each of your hands”
“Your eyes become pools of darkness; in the dark they glow with an evil red light”
“You grow a second row of teeth in your mouth and a new row of teeth in an unexpected place”
“Once each week, a child within 1 mile of you sickens and dies”

There are four levels of Corruption that have escalating bad effects



Getting rid of Corruption ain’t easy. There’s no specified mechanical way of doing it. There is magic that can cleanse low levels of Corruption, but those spells aren’t listed in the book and are explicitly rare and exotic. The best way is to be a better person. By working to help others selflessly, you can shed some or all of your Corruption.

There’s technically no further penalties for having a high Corruption score aside from the fact that you’ll look hosed up and have some banes to social interaction. Non-mechanically, when you die, your soul will be sent to Hell, where devils will torture it for years to extract that sweet, sweet Corruption that they need to live.

Power is a measure of your magical ability. It is gained by following certain Paths, and determines thing like how many castings of spells you have per day and the effects of some Paths’ talents. You aren’t told this here, but following a pure spellcasting series of Paths the highest Power you can naturally attain is 5, and the highest level of spells in the game right now is 5.

Size is, as mentioned, how big you are. 1 is for human-sized people/things. ½ is half that, so these are your dwarves and goblins. 2 is twice as big as a human. It goes on like that for a while. The biggest creature I’ve seen is the roc, which is Size 25. From your Size you know how much space you take up and your reach. Bigger creatures have longer reach, like you might suspect.

And then there’s Speed, which isn’t linked to Agility but is instead its own stat. This is how far you can more, in yards, in a round. Most things have Speed 10, but there are faster and slower things out there. The game then gives a crunchy breakdown of how far you can move in certain time increments at that speed. This is the kinda stuff that I find rarely comes up in games, but is handy to have around when it does.

It looks like Goblin has won the voting, so I'll be rolling up a gobbo friend for us all and posting them in the next update!

Next time: Taking damage, dying, and social conflict!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Desiden posted:

I think this was another area where the writers never fully agreed on: what "a gothic-punk World of Darkness" actually meant. In some books, it was at most stylistic: it rained more, there was more statuary and decrepit buildings, but even if behind the scenes there was supernatural control, police were about as effective as they area in the real world, government about as functional, and "off screen" most of the world lived about the same as they do here and now. In other books, things deviated a lot more, supernatural badness and beyond the pale atrocity was lurking everywhere, and the "real world" was just a thin veneer that people regularly fell out of without a trace. The former tended to stress the need to really consider how you lived your life, as even minor feeding could lead to major complications. The latter tended to assume that a low level of supernatural activity was just background noise, and that you only had to watch out for really blatant actions in the public view.
:can: Well, since you brought it up... :can:

It's very hard to get a sense of the overall worldview in the WoD. Like, Vampire assumes the God of the Old Testament and the story of Genesis are true, but is cynical about religion. The "Gothic-Punk" World of Darkness is deeply anti-establishment, but reflects a sheltered white middle-class suburbanite's idea of what the outside world is like. The books are often guilty of ethnic stereotyping but ascribe some sort of mythical "authenticity" to minorities, to the point that ethnic stereotypes literally become super powers (e.g. WoD: Gypsies).

I believe that ultimately, these contradictory attitudes reflect a questioning of the worldview that mass media feeds to the hypothetical white, male, middle-class gamer. But it's mostly written by those same people, and manifests itself in, I hate this word, problematic ways, resulting in themes like romanticizing minorities and exaggerating fears of "urban super-predators" to the point of parody, intentional or otherwise.

When the WoD's worldbuilding became completely unmoored from what we'd recognize as day-to-day life, it should go without saying that a lot of that was just the inevitable result of a ton of writers working on a ton of books, in different product lines that shared continuity but were very different games. WoD monsters seem to mostly just fight each other. Sometimes that's because they're too rare and too self-involved to have much impact on the world at large. Sometimes there's literally a monster in every Pentex-produced consumer good, and monsters only fight each other because they already control everything and human society is just background noise.

Desiden posted:


While I wouldn't dispute things like the True Black Hand were high water marks for goofy blade/underworld-esque stuff over nightly angst, I think its important to remember that the latter was a part of vampire almost from the start. While you did have a focus on humanity and a local nightlife of places like Gary and Chicago with their collection of lost souls, you also had by '92 an adventure that was a globe trotting "dungeon run" to diablarize an evil elder to power up your characters. '92 was also when you got the first player's guide to the sabbat, which was in essence an alternate setting that pretty much tossed all the issues of humanity and the masquerade in the garbage and was focused on being a vampire army for Caine. And of course once the Sabbat antics were spelled out, then everyone else had to have their own badasses and special fighty stuff, because otherwise it was hard to see how the Sabbat hadn't wiped out everyone; influence with the police only gets you so far when the sabbat is apparently perfectly capable and willing to have shootouts with SWAT teams and then mass embrace them into ravening hordes. The whole personal horror element was still around, but I think it showed right from the get-go that there was no real inherent consensus on what a game about vampires MUST be about.

You're absolutely right (and thank you for your timeline of the relevant material). Neither Dirty Secrets nor any other book marked a single definitive turning point, I don't think; no single author has the power to do that unless they're also the line developer. Part of the reason people argued so fiercely about it, and sometimes still do, is that you couldn't really point to a guilty party, or even say for certain that the developers were now implying a different playstyle from what came before.

(It's amazing how, in the absence of GM advice that directly and consistently addresses the reader concerning playstyle, what is implied to the reader can be incredibly divisive. The rift between Shadowrun's writing and it's art made for a schizophrenic online fanbase. I got so tired of stuffy idiots whining that a Gibsonian dungeoncrawl game shouldn't have combat in it, ever, or you and your players are dumb babies.)

I think another part of the problem is that Vampire was breaking new ground for most gamers, and despite having a pretty drat good GM chapter, we were sometimes at a loss for what kind of adventures to run. It was easy to fall back on dungeoncrawlish stuff. (Remember how the 1st and 2nd edition mentioned the possibility of acquiring magic items, something that was quickly dispensed with after a handful were included in the player's guide?)

Dirty Secrets is an easy scapegoat/punching bag because so many things people disliked in the oWoD were, in one book, rolled up and layered on top of each other to an absurd degree.

quote:

That's part of what made the revised era so weird to me. I liked some of the changes and attempts to rein in a bit of the crazy, but a lot of it (particularly in vampire) seemed obsessed with the notion that once upon a time VtM was only focused on personal horror and existential angst and that somehow the game about playing made up living dead creatures *had* to be about that to be "realistic". Then of course on top of that, you *still* had elder lesbian ninja vampires having street battles in magical darkness because, just like in the beginning, none of the writing staff seemed to really have a consensus of what the point of the game was. All of that, I felt, was part of what made the first few nWoD offerings so bland and muddled. They weren't bad, but they seemed so intent on winning the debate about what VtM should NOT be that they didn't really try to consider what VtR was supposed to be on its own. Luckily later authors in 1st, and definitely by 2nd, seemed to put a lot more thought into giving the lines their own voice.
It was sort of like if The Godfather Part 2 had been made by a different director as a Hong Kong heroic bloodshed style movie, and then they tried to rein it all back in in the third movie without actually retconning anything.

Or, perhaps a better analogy: imagine if they made a new Mission: Impossible series modeled after the original, but it was set in the continuity of the movies, and acknowledged that yes Tom Cruise is still out there protecting democracy with kung fu.

Robindaybird posted:

and basically doing the vamp equivalent of sleeping with influential vampires - Rice's vamps are very... incestous, everyone knows everybody either through Lestat (because he's her pet character) or Armand. You almost never see a vampire that isn't connected to either one of them somehow.
This makes sense in Armand's case, because despite being one of the oldest vampires around, he's mentally arrested at the age of 14 and wants a Vampire Daddy, so he keeps collecting these bizarre relationships. But Lestat just has older vampires fawning about how he's "innocent," or something, which just seems to mean that he's amoral.

The Chad Jihad
Feb 24, 2007




Simian_Prime posted:

"Oh poo poo, a black guy!...

*opens fire*
...

...and he's also a vampire!!!"


Blade is demonstrably bulletproof and skilled at intimidation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjUpSuD-_2A

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

RentACop posted:

Blade is demonstrably bulletproof and skilled at intimidation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjUpSuD-_2A

The NYPD's worst nightmare: a minority they can't choke out because he doesn't need to breathe.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Loxbourne posted:

I once saw a decent Dune space game that used, of all things, the Babylon 5 Wars ruleset. It took the view that space combat was rare but the Houses did raid each other a lot.

Are Crushers made up for the RPG or do they actually have a basis in the books somewhere?
Random raids seem to be pretty common, the Atreides took some Fremen along to do some punkin' on the Harkonnen before the big attack in the original novel.

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!


Nessus posted:

Random raids seem to be pretty common, the Atreides took some Fremen along to do some punkin' on the Harkonnen before the big attack in the original novel.

That suicide raid on the Harkonnen Spice hoards on Giedi Prime? That's the only one I recall.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.






Halloween Jack posted:

(It's amazing how, in the absence of GM advice that directly and consistently addresses the reader concerning playstyle, what is implied to the reader can be incredibly divisive. The rift between Shadowrun's writing and it's art made for a schizophrenic online fanbase. I got so tired of stuffy idiots whining that a Gibsonian dungeoncrawl game shouldn't have combat in it, ever, or you and your players are dumb babies.)

Thing is, both extremes work just fine in Shadowrun depending on what part of that very, very fractured society you run in. It can be Minority Report and Johnny Mneumonic and the Matrix, all without having to be untrue to the setting.

Now if you want to talk divisive, SR's issue is that the later editions went from focusing on gritty cyberpunk to an iFuture with hints of transhumanism and thus created a rift in the fanbase.

NutritiousSnack
Jul 12, 2011


PurpleXVI posted:

That suicide raid on the Harkonnen Spice hoards on Giedi Prime? That's the only one I recall.

Paul found Halleck during one of many routine raids in Dune

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Halloween Jack posted:

The "Gothic-Punk" World of Darkness is deeply anti-establishment, but reflects a sheltered white middle-class suburbanite's idea of what the outside world is like. The books are often guilty of ethnic stereotyping but ascribe some sort of mythical "authenticity" to minorities, to the point that ethnic stereotypes literally become super powers (e.g. WoD: Gypsies).

I believe that ultimately, these contradictory attitudes reflect a questioning of the worldview that mass media feeds to the hypothetical white, male, middle-class gamer. But it's mostly written by those same people, and manifests itself in, I hate this word, problematic ways, resulting in themes like romanticizing minorities and exaggerating fears of "urban super-predators" to the point of parody, intentional or otherwise.

I suspect it has to do with the influence of Objectivism on American punk. The punk in Gothic-Punk is not the anarcho-socialist, anarcho-syndicalist, socialist punk of the British punk scene, but those ideas filtered through individualist anarchism and Objectivism into what would become American punk; a cynical and nihilistic rebellion that puts the individual at odds with the an unfair society of sheeple, rather than the working class at odds with the state. It explains why the Gothic-Punk is so contemptuous of the poor and disenfranchised in the WoD, instead of rallying behind them. The poor are insufficiently übermensch, and therefore it is OK to use them as disposable snack.

And who better to sell your pseudo-Randian game to than the well-off white middle class, who've never needed food stamps or food kitchens, and have always had health insurance?

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011



Polaris RPG(2016)
Part 4, Book 1, Chapter 1: The World of the Deep, section 1.2: Civilizations of the Deep


Still with the Hegemony, they have the longest single lore text of any faction. Onto their society:
The Hegemony has a population of about 48 million people, the second largest after the Coral Republic and is tied for having the best technology with the other major nations. Their dominant religion is a cult of personality based around the Patriachs. They officially(here we go again with the limited perspective nonsense!) recruit from the most intelligent candidates created by the breeding centres and the general population believes them to have the Hegemony's best interests at heart. Below them is the High Admiral, the Patriarch's executor and in practice, the sole ruler of the Hegemony. The current High Admiral is Lord Viramis, an expansionist who views an orderly and obedient society as the highest good. He is also quite capable in personal combat with his custom made pure white suit of power armour. Most of Viramis' power is derived from the Prism, the Hegemony's intelligence service. Aside from a few recent events with regards to the Exeter Directive, the Prism usually follows orders from the High Admiral. The Prism is heavily subdivided with each department focussing on one specific task, such as include tracking down any form of dissidence, keeping watch over the fleet admirals, capturing fertile citizen who refuse to go to the breeding centres and providing "political counselling" to Hegemony dignitaries. Public safety is handled by the Security & Surveillance Action Forces, the Hegemony's powerful and numerous police force which also possesses many specialized intervention units. Aside from the intelligence service, Viramis also has his own personal army, the Pandora Cohort. The Pandora Cohort contains Techno-Hybrids, underwater commandos, saboteurs and spies and several highly trained and motivated infantry units, most of which are given combat drugs that inhibit emotions. Any regular Hegemony division will have some form of Pandoran unit attached to it when it is deployed.

This chapter has character art for a handful of important leaders per nation but the majority are Serious Looking Dude in Uniform so I'll only post each faction leader or otherwise notable ones.

High Admiral Viramis

Hegemonian society is heavily stratified with military officers at the top, followed by scientists and fertile males, who, despite their high status, have little freedom of movement. Next come the clergy and the aristocracy, which makes up the majority of the Hegemony's elite. The middle class consists of the Hegemony's many security forces, lower ranking armed forces members and labourers. For them, the quality of life in the Hegemony is relatively high due to it's technological base, provided they do not not attract negative attention from the government. The lower class consists of anybody who is deemed not useful to the Hegemony; criminals, intellectuals, the old and infirm, the sick or crippled. The Hegemony also practices slavery, with most slaves being prisoners of war or opponents of the Patriarchs and the High Admiral. Hegemonian society does not think ill of mutants, as long as their productivity is not impacted by their mutations. The lower classes are closely observed and those with no useful function are often conscripted into the armed forces or used as test subjects for medical experiments.

Fertile children are heavily guarded and are locked up in education centres until they reach maturity at around 18 to 20 years of age. After that age, most men are released and generally enjoy high social statues but are not allow to move too far from the fertility centres and must make mandatory deposits to the Hegemony's sperm banks. The most valuable individuals, either for research or productivity however are treated the same way as women and must remain in the fertility centres. Fertile women are imprisoned until age 40 and is used to produce children for the Hegemony. Hegemonian scientists have developed a way to induce the formation of monozygote siblings and most births are of an entire "litter" of identical children, most of which will be infertile and put up for adoption. The ones that are fertile will be brought to the education centres where the cycle will begin anew. Women who make it to the age of 40 are given a state pension and their own house, one of the few ways in the Hegemony to acquire one without being part of the nobility and inheriting it.

Despite the high efficiency of the Hegemony's reproduction program, the total birth rate is only barely above the death rate as the inhumane nature of the system causes many to flee and go into hiding and public opposition to the centres is so widely spread throughout society that the Prism and SSAF have been unable to root it out despite spending the majority of their resources on it. The Patriarchs seem to be partially sympathetic to their cause and one of the largest breeding centre opposition groups, the Pact of Hera, has been granted semi-legal status by them, much to the chagrin of the High Admiral.

Technology wise, the Hegemony leads in military sciences, specifically drones, molecular armour, weapons, Techno-Hybrids and warships. On the civic side they focus mainly on large prestige projects like the domed capital of Keryss and are a major contributor to the Cult of the Trident's space program.

Territory
The Hegemony runs high intensity resource extraction operations all over their turf, mining the majority of the world's Cylast, used to make hyperalloys and tri-terranium. Their food supply comes from coastal shallows where the soil is fertile and water pressure low but working here is a high risk operation due to atmospheric disturbances from the surface reaching down to the seabed and most of their electricity is obtained from geothermal power stations in the Mid-Atlantic ridge. The Hegemony is said to encompass twenty major cities and over a hundred smaller stations, although nowhere near that number are detailed in the book, most of which are located in their core region between Bermuda and the New England Seamount chain with their capital Keryss located at the Kelvin Seamount.

Keryss is formed by a giant one kilometer high dome made out of SapphireT, a material created by the Geneticians, which can be covered by a layer of molecular steel plates is case of an emergency and is constantly patrolled by maintenance drones looking for any cracks or other weaknesses. Although domes are a common design, what makes Keryss unique is that the entire city beneath the dome is based on the ruins of the pre-apocalypse surface civilizations found by the Hegemony's cross-surface military expeditions. The Hegemony projects an image of blue skies and starry nights on the inner surface of the dome and maintains small parks and forests inside with powerful ventilation systems providing a slight breeze to strengthen the image of a surface city. Keryss is a rich city with many amenities and is mainly populated by nobility and the upper middle class with it's slums located outside the dome in nearby sub-stations. Keryss also acts as a human shield for many of the Hegemony's military installations hidden below the domed city, which is repeated in it's metropolitan area where smaller townships are each built on top of a station of military or strategic value. Connecting Keryss with the rest of the Hegemony are large tunnels containing roads and high speed rails, with an offshoot into neutral territory providing a direct connection to Equinox. These tunnels are full of automatically closing airlocks in case of a breach and are constantly patrolled by the SSAF.

Outside the capital the Hegemony uses more traditional designs for their cities, scaled up pressure hulls or cities sunken mostly into the seabed. The hegemony also possesses the second largest commercial shipping sector and has a tendency to prefer bulk shipping with convoys of gigantic cargo vessel and military escorts. Speaking of which:

Armed Forces
Most of the Hegemony's military strength is concentrated into two gigantic cruisers*, the Atlantis and the Artemis. With their length of 3000 meters, width of 223 meters and height of 200 meters, these are the largest ship in the world, requiring a crew of 17.000 each. Aside from them, the Hegemony has many smaller cruisers and escorts, as well as a sizeable interceptor fleet but somewhat unusually, no other battleships. They also possess many Techno-Hybrids, seabed bound tanks and automated drones, with the latter defending the Hegemony's territory from numerous autonomous defence stations. The best trained of the Hegemony's foot soldiers are deployed in surface exploration or underground anti-Burrower units. The Hegemony's enormous military budget means most troops have high quality and well maintained gear and their armed forces are numerous enough to not require much in the way of mercenaries.

*these were referred to as battle cruisers in the history section and given how other factions possess battleships that are explicitly smaller than the Atlantis-class, probably a better classification for them. To it's credit, the book doesn't use the term "dreadnought" for ships that are very obviously not dreadnoughts.

Next up: Chapter 1.2: Civilizations of the Deep, Hegemony personalities and locations

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



LatwPIAT posted:

I suspect it has to do with the influence of Objectivism on American punk. The punk in Gothic-Punk is not the anarcho-socialist, anarcho-syndicalist, socialist punk of the British punk scene, but those ideas filtered through individualist anarchism and Objectivism into what would become American punk; a cynical and nihilistic rebellion that puts the individual at odds with the an unfair society of sheeple, rather than the working class at odds with the state. It explains why the Gothic-Punk is so contemptuous of the poor and disenfranchised in the WoD, instead of rallying behind them. The poor are insufficiently übermensch, and therefore it is OK to use them as disposable snack.

And who better to sell your pseudo-Randian game to than the well-off white middle class, who've never needed food stamps or food kitchens, and have always had health insurance?

I always assumed this was a knowing jab at the player characters' pretenses to moral superiority (and at least for the Carthians in Requiem, I'm pretty sure it is). No matter how loudly you may proclaim your sympathies with the working class, you are still the privileged beneficiary of their subjugation on top of being a literal blood-sucking parasite. When the chips are down, you're far more likely to side with the vicious apparatus of vampiric society and the Masquerade than the humans they (and you) prey upon, even though those things are loving you too, because actually CHANGING things to help the proles would require real and painful sacrifice on your part.

This isn't to excuse all the terrible poo poo in the oWoD, only to say that I can't tell how much of it was a flawed premise vs. the writers taking a good premise and loving it up.

Serf
May 5, 2011




Shadow of the Demon Lord Part 5: Damage, Dying, Getting hosed Up and More!

We start off talking about Damage. Damage is a number that slowly goes up, and if it ever equals your Health, you fall over like a sack of potatoes. Damage can have different sources. These sources aren’t explicitly codified anywhere, but like a lot of retroclones you are asked to just use common sense. Fireballs do fire damage, spears do piercing damage and so on. Some creatures gain resistance to different sources of damage, and rare talents allow characters to do the same.

When you take Damage, you add it to your Damage number. Half damage requires you to round down. AoE attacks roll damage once for all targets, and extra damage, whether in extra d6s or flat bonuses, is added cumulatively.

There’s no system of penalties or wounds in SotDL, and you fight at full strength until your Damage equals or exceeds your Health. If you ever take damage equal to your Health total you die instantly. The effects of getting too badly damaged depends on whether you’re a creature/NPC or a PC.

When Damage equals or exceeds Health, the part where you fall over is called incapacitation. For creatures/NPCs they either die immediately or become unconscious for 1d3 hours, GM’s choice. PCs become disabled. While disabled, you are defenseless, which makes your Defense 5, and you start making fate rolls. A fate roll is a 1d6. On a 1 you start dying. On a 6 you heal 1 damage and become impaired for 1 minute. Any other number has no effect. If after 3 consecutive turns you are still disabled, you instead become unconscious for 1d3 hours and stop making fate rolls. When you wake up, you heal 1 damage and are impaired for 1 minute.

While dying you are unconscious and keep making fate rolls. On a 1, you die. On a 6, you move back up to disabled. This continues indefinitely.

Healing damage is pretty simple. You can get health back from items/equipment, talents, spells, and good old fashioned resting. A period of rest lasts for 8 hours, and you can’t do anything strenuous during that time. At the end of it you heal damage equal to your Healing Rate. You can rest for a full 24 hours to heal damage equal to twice your Healing Rate. Notably, you cannot get in more than 1 rest per day unless you take the full 24 hour rest, this is presumably to prevent you from using 3 rests in a row to get back 3 instances of your Healing Rate.

Dying is what you would expect. A creature becomes an object when it dies and the soul departs the body. Normal souls head to the Underworld where they slowly lose their memories and then are reincarnated. Corrupted souls get dragged to Hell where they are tormented by the Corruption-eating devils, but will also eventually be reincarnated. Powerful magic can bring a soul back to the body, if used in time. When a creature returns from the dead, they gain 1d6 Insanity.

If your character dies and isn’t resurrected, you get a health potion for your next character.



Afflictions
These are the things that will gently caress you up on a temporary basis. Plenty of things dish these out, and they’re basically SotDL’s status effects. I’m going to go over each one and their effects briefly.
  • Asleep is self-explanatory. You are prone and unconscious, and it takes an action or damage to wake you up.

  • Blinded creatures treat everything around them as totally obscured (3 banes to hit/interact), other creatures get 1 boon to hit their Defense/Agility, all Perception rolls based on sight fail, and their Speed becomes 2.

  • Charmed creatures see the person charming them as a friend and ally.

  • Compelled is your domination/mind control. On each round’s fast turn, the compelled creature has to either use an action or move, and the creature that compelled them makes all decisions.

  • Dazed means you can’t use any actions.

  • Deafened means you can’t hear, and any Perception rolls using hearing automatically fail.

  • Defenseless sets your Defense to 5, and you can’t defend yourself. All challenge rolls using your Attributes automatically fail.

  • Diseased forces you to make all attack and challenge rolls with 1 bane.

  • Fatigued creatures make all attack and challenge rolls with 1 bane.

  • Frightened means you make all attack and challenge rolls with 1 bane and you can’t take fast turns in combat.

  • Grabbed is… well, it’s grabbed. Like all systems, SotDL has complicated grabbing rules and I ain’t gonna get into them right now. Basically if you’re grabbed, you get dragged along, and can escape using Strength or Agility challenge rolls.

  • Immobilized sets your speed to 0. All attack rolls against you have 1 boon.

  • Impaired means you make all attack and challenge rolls with 1 bane.

  • Poisoned makes you, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, make all attack and challenge rolls with 1 bane.

  • Prone means you are lying on the ground. You can use a move to stand up, and all rolls made with Strength or Agility take 1 bane. Creatures that can reach you with melee or ranged attacks get 1 boon, but those that can’t take 1 bane.

  • Slowed forces you to only take a slow turn in combat, halves your Speed and prevents you from getting bonuses to your Speed.

  • Stunned means you cannot move or take any actions. You fail all challenge rolls, and creatures attacking you get 1 bane.

  • Surprised forces you to take an automatic failure on all challenge rolls and you can’t take any actions or more.

  • Unconscious creatures have a Defense of 5 and cannot use actions or more, and fails all challenge rolls.
You can have multiple instances of the same Affliction, and the effects to not stack. But you have to remove each of them individually. So if you’re poisoned from being bitten by a snake and from an assassin’s arrow, you have to make challenge rolls or use items to remove both of them before the effects go away



Range
SotDL can be played with theater-of-the-mind combat, using rough maps, or it can be played on an explicit grid. Ranges are defined in terms of yards, and can be used as hard measurements or more loosely.
  • You: this is just for effects that target yourself.
  • Reach: anything you can reach with your hands, so an adjacent space. Larger creatures have more reach.
  • Short: 5 yards
  • Medium: 20 yards
  • Long: 100 yards
  • Extreme: 500 yards
  • Sight: anything you can see
Obscurement
There are three levels of obscurement that impose penalties to looking into these areas.
  • Partial: Rain, light snow, and some fog. This imposes 1 bane.
  • Heavy: a downpour, heavy snow or thick fog. This gives 2 banes.
  • Total: a whiteout. This imposes 3 banes.
These levels of obscurement then translate to levels of illumination.

Lit areas impose no penalty.
Shadowed areas are considered partially obscured.
Dark areas are totally obscured.

Roleplaying
I won’t be going over this section in a lot of detail, as it has a lot of basic information that anyone reading this thread is gonna be familiar with. It encourages players to make decisions in keeping with their character’s background and personality, and to keep in mind any connections they may make either before the game or during it. It does have three interesting things, though, the optional Character Bonds system, the rules for Social Conflict and Fortune.

Character Bonds should be familiar to players of Dungeon World. You get a positive bond with one other PC and a negative bond with another. When a character that you have a positive bond with grants you a boon and you roll a 1 on it you can reroll it and use the new result. When a character you have a negative bond with grants you a boon and you roll a 6 on it, you must reroll an use the new result.

Social Conflict is a system for getting people to do what you want with words (sometimes). What I like about it is that it is very streamlined and covers most situations that would normally be determined by skills like Diplomacy and Bluff. When you try to change the behavior of an NPC, the GM will ask you to make a Challenge roll against one of their stats depending on what you want to accomplish and how you try it. I’ll go over each goal in brief, describing the roll and the possible result. If you ever roll a 0 or lower, the creature does the opposite of what you want.

Befriend
Will vs. Will
This will cause a creature to become friendly towards you, and may give you 1 boon on further social interactions with them if the GM says so.

Deceive
Intellect vs. Intellect
This will cause them to believe a lie until it is shown to be false.

Intimidate
Will vs. Will (Strength vs. Will if using physical violence)
This will get them to do whatever it was you were trying to force them to do.

Persuade
Will vs. Will
They will do what you were asking them to do, within reason.

Taunt
Intellect vs. Will
You get them angry, which could cause them to attack, lose their cool, or just become openly hostile to you.

Fortune is a status effect that the GM hands out for good roleplaying, having a good idea and sharing it with the group, if you pull off a remarkable stunt or just for making the game more fun, exciting or interesting. When you have Fortune, you can spend it in a couple of ways to represent good luck:
  • You can turn a failed d20 roll into a success
  • When someone else rolls a d20, you can spend Fortune to give them 2 boons
  • When anyone is rolling a d6, you can spend Fortune to replace the roll with a 6
Once you spend Fortune, you do not have it anymore until you are awarded it again by the GM.

Okay, so now we get to create our Goblin!

Queegol the Fang
Strength 8, Agility 12, Intellect 11, Will 8
Perception 11
Defense 12
Health 8
Healing Rate 2
Size ½, Speed 10, Power 0
Damage 0, Insanity 0, Corruption 0
Languages: Common (literate) and Elvish
Professions: merchant, law
Immune to disease and charmed
Iron Vulnerability
Shadowsight
Sneaky

Goblin Age: 9 (11 to 25 years old)
Goblin Build: 8 (Wiry)
Goblin Distinctive Appearance: 8 (You have a tooth growing out of your forehead)
Goblin Odd Habit: 9 (You refuse to wear shoes)
Goblin Background: 3 (You accidentally got your entire tribe killed)
Goblin Personality: 5 (You try to rise above the filth and squalor of your people and do good in the world)

Profession: 2 (common), 14 (merchant)
Profession: 1 (academic), 9 (law), literate in Common
Wealth: 18!! (rich)
Interesting thing: 16 (a bag filled with curiously fleshy rods)
Personality: 19 (noble), 15 (stingy)
Equipment: dagger, noble’s clothing, cloak, 1 week of rations, a waterskin, a healing potion, a pouch containing 11 silver shillings, a personal servant, a guard and a three horses with saddles.

Queegol began her life inauspiciously. She was born a poor goblin and lived among the trash heaps, scavenging shiny objects just like her parents had always done. She had a sharp mind and sharper reflexes, but her natural inquisitiveness is what caused her to unleash doom upon her people. She was fond of books, and taught herself to read. One day, the goblins broke into a rusty iron safe that had been forgotten deep in the junkyard. Inside was a leathery tome that they urged Queegol to read from. She did, and in the process used an incantation that suddenly loosed a demon in the middle of the goblins’ small settlement. She was the only one to escape, leaving the book and the slavering demon behind her as she fled to a distant city.

Once there, Queegol her calling among the oligarchy as a lawyer. She studied the laws and regulations of the city extensively, and used her strange goblin orthogonal thinking to defend the common people, turning the law back on those who would use it to hurt others. She became well-known and respected. People called her The Fang for the tooth that grows from the middle of her forehead, which was damaged during her escape from the demon and now looks like a jagged fang. Her law practice thrived as she took on cases all across the city, with people paying her in donations, and eventually she amassed a store of wealth that most people can only dream of having.

Now she travels from city to city, providing her services to any who can afford the pittance she asks for. She has a few employees that help her out, and her stingy nature promises to grow her wealth even more as she seeks out new opportunities to help others.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!


6: “The rest of the group will have to find a way to rectify this, while the DM plays the character for a while.”

For this update, I’m going to focus on artifacts that probably should not be given to players. This is just from my review of the artifact’s ability, we’ll see if the book agrees.



The Codex of Infinite Planes is a massive tome that takes at least two strong men to lift. The covers are made of pure obsidian and the pages-illuminated with strange writings in forgotten languages-are made of lead hammered so thin that they flex like paper. While it has a finite mass and volume, the codex has infinite pages, as there is always one more page. We’ll come back to that point when we discuss the powers.

The Codex’s history is pretty vague. No one knows who made it, although it’s also known as Yagrax’s Tome. The first mention of the codex is of a tyrannical wizard-priest that used the codex to control an empire until the artifact backfired and destroyed both. More recently, an archmage named Tzunk found the Codex before disappearing shortly thereafter. The book suggests that DMs can use the book to introduce high level PCs to adventuring on the Outer Planes (this came out before Planescape), but that it shouldn’t be left with them for long. Alternatively, PCs may need to use the book to halt some manner of fuckery a wizard brought about.

The powers of the Codex are triggered by reading the right page. The Codex’s base power is that it can open a portal to any plane, demiplane, or prime material world. However, the codex does not have an index or table of contents. So how the codex can be used is a mystery. Maybe the PCs need to find the evil wizard-priest’s research notes, but the book doesn’t say. The only other known power is to summon a greater fiend to serve for 24 hours (1/month). For random powers, the Codex gets 4 from Major-SLPs and 4 from Minor-SLPs.

Table 25-Major Spell-like Powers: 73, 15, 71, 50
  • 14-17: Cast cause serious wound (3/day)
Table 26-Minor Spell-like Powers: 16, 79, 43, 33
  • 16: Cast contagion (3/day)
  • 32-33: Cast enlarge (3/day)
  • 42-43: Cast flame arrow (5/day)
  • 78-79: Cast sleep (5/day)

The artifact’s curse is that every page read has a cumulative 1% chance of triggering “an awful fate”. What this entails is up to the DM, but the entry gives suggestions like irreversible madness, the arrival of a major Tanar’ri, 10-mile radius cloud of deadly poison (no save), “or worse”.

Suggested Means of Destruction
  • It cannot be destroyed, only safely hidden where it can cause no harm
  • Every page of its infinite pages must be read
  • One page of the book opens a portal upon the book itself, wiping it out from existence.



The Crystal of the Ebon Flame is a flame-shaped diamond that, when touched gives off “rays of light and darkness” as though a fire was hidden within the gem. It’s origins are nebulous. Over the centuries, cults have formed around the Crystal, but these eventually disperse when the locals get sick of their poo poo and drive them into hiding. The campaign suggestions revolve around this cult, though we don’t get any information on this organization.

The owner of the Crystal of the Ebon Flame can cast shades 2/day. The Crystal also gets 4 powers from the Minor SLP table and 1 from the Major SLP table. Each of these powers is activated by gazing into the crystal for 1d4 rounds. The Crystal’s curse is that everyone within 30 feet of the activated Crystal, including the owner, must make a save vs spell or be affected by the spell fire charm. Characters charmed this way have to make a second saving throw, and if failed they are put under the effect of a permanent suggestion spell that attempts to convince them to become a devoted follower of the Flame’s cult. The wording on the curse is pretty bizarre, because it’s a spell effect and yet by using the word “attempt” it implies that even after two failed saves a character can just say “Nah, I’m good :v: “ Maybe it’s trying to be like the parts of Lord of the Ring where the Ring is a persistent temptation but never actually takes a person’s free will until they purposefully give in? :shrug: Setting that aside, the fact that this check has to be made with every use makes it unusable by players.

Table 25-Major Spell-like Powers: 70

Table 26-Minor Spell-like Powers: 24, 73, 64, 4
  • 4-5: Cast bless (7/day)
  • 23-24: Cast create food and water (5/day)
  • 64: Cast phantasmal killer (3/day)

Suggested Means of Destruction:
  • It must be melted in the core of the Earth
  • It must be shattered on the Para-elemental Plane of Ice
  • It must be crushed beneath Thor’s hammer



The Death Rock is a vaguely heart shaped black rock that pulsates and exudes a palpable aura of evil. The Death Rock’s origin is that it was torn from the heart of a great salamander that was being worshipped by an evil cult. I remember when I first read this book I only knew about salamanders from reading a “Big Book of Reptiles” in grade school, so I was pretty confused about this story. The book suggests that the DM should use the rock to tempt his players. I’d blast the tone of adversarial DMing, but that’s been done in other F&F entries. Instead, I’ll comment on how the Death Rock misses the mark on how to tempt someone into doing something they normally wouldn’t do.

The Death Rock’s power is that it lets its owner cast necromantic spells as a necromancer of his or her level. The player gets the better of his own class or a wizard class, which basically means some Saving Throws get to be better. If a player is already a wizard, then his or her spell slots are doubled, but these extra spells must be from the necromancy school. The curse is that to activate and maintain the artifact’s powers, the character’s closest companion must be claimed each week as a zombie slave. If this is not done, the artifact vanishes, never to be seen again. The problem is that there is no gradual build up on what a PC must sacrifice to have this power, no free hit to get them hooked. Instead it goes straight to “kill another party member”, and no group with any cohesiveness is going to fall for this. Any group that would is either doing it on a lark or wasn’t going to last past the first session anyway.

Suggested Means of Destruction
  • It must be burned in the Flames of Pure Truth
  • It must be used to slay a god of death
  • It must be given to a man who was never alive



The Iron Flask of Tuerny the Merciless is a heavy urn that’s small enough to be carried in the palm of a hand. The history starts off by telling us that “In all of human history only one man has epitomized the essence of pure evil, Tuerny the Merciless”. Which explains why he’s never mentioned again in D&D products. Tuerny was basically a Villain-of-the-Week that’s hoisted by his own petards in the end. In his case, he devised the Iron Flask as a way of controlling a greater Tanar’ri, but in the end the Tanar’ri turns against Tuerny and drags him to the Abyss. A chain of events that surprised no one. The campaign suggestions for the Iron Flask is to keep it away from others or convince others not to use it.

The Iron Flask contains one of the following Tanar’ri: a nabassu, glabrezu, marilith or nalfeshnee. Amusingly, the 2nd Edition Monstrous Manual that I had only had the stats for mariliths. But thankfully we have the Planescape Monster Compendium to fill in the gaps. Once per day, it can can be released to wreak havoc for up to 8 hours. If it’s killed the Tanar’ri instantly returns to the flask. The Iron Flask also has 2 random powers from the Offensive Powers table. The Iron Flask’s curse has a cumulative 5% chance of triggering each time the flask is used, or if the Tanar’ri is released but isn’t told to kill anyone. When triggered The Tanar’ri turns the user into a dretch and drags him back to the Abyss. And because that wasn’t enough the Iron Flask causes artifact transformation that turns the owner Chaotic Evil and instilling the desire to conquer and destroy everything (alright, I guess transformation can change personality too, I’ll stop harping on it).

Table 28-Offensive Powers: 2, 15
  • 15: Cast power word: stun (1/day)

Suggested Means of Destruction
  • The user must imprison 99 other greater tanar’ri in the Flask
  • It must be filled with the tears of 1,000 orphaned children, which melts it
  • The Flask must be filled with earth from every battlefield Tuerny fought on



Now we get to the dumbest artifact in this book: Kuroth’s Quill. The quill is a white feather with a gold nib. The history of the artifact starts “during the Age of Veth beyond the Wasted Lands” with an apprentice mage named Baalice who accidentally killed his friend Julian and then spent his entire life (and then undeath) trying to find a way to undo his gently caress-up. So being a lich, he creates a quill that casts unlimited wishes, and this works out as well as you might expect. Eventually Baalice realizes he’s just making poo poo worse and decides to destroy it. Before he can, a thief named Kuroth breaks into his tower and steals the quill. Kuroth figures out the quill’s power, so he rewrites reality so that Baalice believes the quill to be lost. Then a bunch of irrelevant stuff happens that’s supposed to give examples of the Quill’s powers, I suppose. To the book’s credit it at least realizes that giving players unlimited wishes is a bad idea, but doesn’t take it a step further and conclude “this artifact shouldn’t exist, like, at all”.

So Kuroth’s Quill casts whatever it writes down as a wish. This ability cannot be used more frequently than once every 12 hours (6/week), which contradicts how it’s used in the history section, but whatever. This is the 2nd Edition version of the spell when DM fuckery was the most encouraged.

quote:

:shobon: "I wish for a staff of the magi
:smug: "Well the staff appears in front of you, along with the evil level 25th mage holding it. Roll for initiative.”
You know the drill. Kuroth’s Quill, however adds one more component: the player has to actually write down the wish, and any misspellings, sloppy writing and smudges get added to the list of bullshit you have to deal with. There’s one other issue, and that’s the Quill has a minor power of drawing and/or writing “infallible descriptions” of what the writer sees and speaks on command. So...why can’t this be used to write down the wishes? The other powers are that the Quill grants comprehend languages, any non-literate character that holds the pen gets the read/write proficiency for 1d4 hours, and it functions as a potion of treasure finding but this only works once a month.

Suggested Means of Destruction
  • The words “Kuroth’s Quill was never made” must be written on a chalkboard with the Quill 100,000 times
  • The lich Baalice must be located, his memory of the pen restored, and it must be returned to him
  • The Quill must be taken back in time and given to the apprentice Julian at the moment of this death



The last artifact for this update are the Teeth of Dalhvar-Nar. This is a set of 32 red dragon teeth: four 6-inch incisors, two 18-inch upper fangs, two 12-inch lower fangs, four 8-inch canines, eight 6-inch canines, four 4-inch bicuspids, and eight 2-inch molars. The Teeth were once a part of an ancient red dragon named Incendrax who was tearing poo poo up until 13 archmages tracked the dragon down and the two sides blew the gently caress out of each other, leaving only Incendrax’s teeth behind. The teeth were eventually found by a cleric named Dalhvar-Nar. Dalhvar-Nar discovered that by dropping a teeth into the ground, it would summon a monster that followed his commands. Dalhvar-Nar eventually did the whole Gollum act, if Gollum was instead a dragon otherkin. The book is pretty clear on this being an NPC artifact “unless the DM wants an anti-social, treasure-hungry, miserly PC wreaking havoc upon the entire campaign”. I’m beginning to think I should have done a passive aggressive advice counter for this review, but I’m too lazy to go back and check my previous entries.

A character holding any of the Teeth is able to detect the exact number and type of all gems and precious metals within 60 feet. Having any teeth allows the character to speak the language of red dragons and “the tongue common to all evil dragons.” Possessing any of the teeth grants a character immunity to all forms of fire. The invoked powers are tied to the specific teeth. To activate a non-molar tooth it must be thrust point first into the ground. The molars are activated by physically planting it in a hole 2 inches or deeper. Both can only be used on soil (clay, dirt, sand, etc). The non-molars summon a monster(s) 1d4 rounds after being dropped. The monster(s) serve the user for 30 rounds as Per the monster summoning I. After use, these teeth return to the set of teeth after 1d2+1 days. The molars take 1d4+1 rounds to bury and cover, after which they imbue the character with a spell-like ability. It’s unclear whether this is a permanent ability or a one-time use.

The monster summoned depends on the type and size of the tooth. The 18-inch upper fangs each summon one 7-HD remohaz or three 15-HD fire giants; the 12-inch lower fangs each summon three 7-HD wyverns or four eight-headed 6-HD hydras; the 8-inch canines each summon six 4-HD fire toads; the 6-inch canines each summon 1d10 2-HD lizard men; and the 4-inch bicuspids each create a 60-foot diameter wall of fire 20 feet high and lasting 20 rounds. For the molars, the DM is supposed to roll a 1d8 and consult the following table:


The Teeth’s curse is pretty detailed. The owner immediately becomes chaotic evil and cannot bear to be separated from the Teeth for a moment. Over the course of five weeks, the owner takes on the behavior of an ancient red dragon, including going out to live in a mountain cave, “controlling” swathes of territory, and feuding with gold dragons. Dragon dildo is optional, I assume :smaug:. If this character can be kept away from the teeth, he returns to normal after 1d4+2 weeks. It says that the character loses all his dragon traits as he recovers, even though the Artifact doesn’t actually turn its owner into a dragon or draconic humanoid.

Suggested Means of Destruction
  • Allow the Teeth to soak in 32 doses of sweet water for 1,000 years, whereupon they will rot away
  • Pull all the teeth of a conscious ancient red dragon and replace them with the artifacts without explaining what you are doing.
  • Bathe the Teeth in the breath of 32 different types of dragons within 32 days.

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 20:11 on Jan 7, 2017

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Note that in the 1E DMG, the Teeth of Dahlver-Nar were D-N's own teeth ... and to use them, you had to put them in your mouth, where they would "graft [themselves] in place of a like missing tooth." So yeah, if you got the full set you had to knock out all your teeth to use them.

Spiderfist Island
Feb 19, 2011


And in 3.5 D&D, the Teeth of Dhalver-Nar were unique minor magic items (I hesitate to call them artifacts since they were not super powerful) that each corresponded to one of 31 vestiges in the Pact Magic system, giving you a 1/day or at-will spell associated with that vestige. 3.5 Dalhver-Nar was a guy who obsessively went out of his way to collect every single one, replacing his teeth with theirs... and then at some point ascended out of existence to join them as the 32nd vestige, appearing as a man made of teeth and gums with a bloody, toothless mouth when summoned. 3.5 Pact Magic still is super cool even a decade on.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


The abilities of the not-pact-magic teeth are a reference to an old greek myth where you planted dragon's teeth in the ground and they sprouted fully armed and armored warriors.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Kurieg posted:

The abilities of the not-pact-magic teeth are a reference to an old greek myth where you planted dragon's teeth in the ground and they sprouted fully armed and armored warriors.

That's my favorite Harryhausen scene.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Spiderfist Island posted:

3.5 Pact Magic still is super cool even a decade on.

So much interesting fluff, all for one mediocre 3.5 class nobody will ever play.

Serf
May 5, 2011




Because I'm bored and pretty excited about this game, it's time for more...


Shadow of the Demon Lord Part 6: Combat!



When the swords come out and blood has to be spilled, we bust out the rules for combat. Like most games, combat is one of the most important parts of the game session, and thus is where time and positioning are most closely tracked.

The first thing you have to do is establish the battlefield. This can be as rough or as detailed as you like, but people should have a reasonable mental picture of where they are in relation to the enemies and each other, and the locations of any important things in the area. Shadow of the Demon Lord fully supports the use of a grid and miniatures, but can also be played completely without those things. Personally, I don’t know of many games with crunchy combat that I could play without a map and minis, so I like that SotDL can be played that way with relative ease.

We start off with a description of awareness. If one side is unaware of the other when combat begins, they are all considered surprised until the end of the first round.

How a Round Works
There’s no initiative in SotDL. Instead, rounds are broken into fast turns and slow turns. When a round begins, the players decide who will take fast turns and who will take slow turns. Unless you have an Affliction or other effect that says otherwise, you can pick either kind of turn. The GM decides what kind of turn each creature will take as well. Then, players go first during the fast turn, then the GM goes. After that, the players go first in the slow turn, and then the GM goes. Then you end the round. If there are still hostile creatures around, a new round begins.

Basically a round looks like this:

Fast turn
Players
🔻🔻🔻
GM
🔻🔻🔻
Slow turn
Players
🔻🔻🔻
GM
🔻🔻🔻
New Round

When the round ends, the GM resolves any effects that last until the end of the round. When an effect says it lasts for 1 round, it ends at the end of the round after the one during which it was cast. Combat ends when all the creatures on one side run away, surrender or die.

A fast turn is one in which a creature can either use an action or move, but not both.

A slow turn allows a creature to use an action and move up to its speed. It can use the action at any point during the movement.

Move
Pretty self-explanatory. You can move up to your speed when you move, but there are some special considerations in terms of how you’re moving and what you might be doing while moving.

  • Balance: to move across a treacherous area, like slick ice of a narrow walkway, you have to make an Agility challenge roll. On a failure, you stop moving for the round. On a 0 or below, you might fall down!
  • Climb: climbing is considered difficult terrain, which reduces your Speed by half. And if there is something making life more difficult, like ice on the rocky handholds or grease on the rope ladder, you will have to make a Strength challenge roll, possible with some banes. On a failure, you stop moving for the round. On a 0 or less you will probably fall.
  • Crawl: while prone you can crawl along at half your Speed. You can voluntarily drop prone without using a movement, but standing up costs you your move.
  • Fly: if you can fly, you can move up to your Speed in any direction you wish. If you are rendered prone or your Speed is reduced to 0 you will fall. You may have to make Strength challenge rolls in order to fly in turbulent conditions.
  • Jump: yes, there are rules for jumping both vertically and horizontally, using Agility challenge rolls for both.
  • Ride: there are lots of rules to riding that I won’t get into here, but they are pretty comprehensive.
  • Swim: water and other liquids count as difficult terrain, and you may have to make a Strength challenge roll in moving water. Armor imposes penalties to swimming and Clockworks cannot swim at all.
  • Teleport: this works how you would expect. You ignore difficult terrain and obstacles and appear where your teleport would take you.

Action
Here we’ve got the meat and potatoes of your combat, covering all the non-movement actions you can take during a fight.

  • Attack: we’ll explain this a little more in-depth later on, but this is for using weapons and casting attack spells.
  • Cast a utility spell: we’ll go over utility spells in the Magic chapter, but these are your spells that don’t hurt enemies.
  • Concentrate: some talents and spells require you to concentrate to maintain them, and this is how you do it. If you take damage or gain Insanity while concentrating you have to make a Will challenge roll. If you fail, your concentration is broken.
  • Defend: while defending, all attack rolls against you have 1 bane, and you get 1 boon to all actions to resist attacks until the end of the round.
  • End an effect: just lets you end an effect you started (usually a spell)
  • Find: lets you make a Perception challenge roll to find hidden enemies and objects, targeting their Agility.
  • Help: you can make an Intellect challenge roll to grant 1 boon to any ally within 5 yards.
  • Hide: you can hide when you’re not being observed, using an Agility challenge roll. You remain hidden until you reveal yourself or an enemy hits you with an attack roll, taking 3 banes. While hidden, you make all attack rolls with 1 bane against the Defense or Agility of creatures you are hidden from.
  • Prepare: this allows you to prepare a triggered action. You specify a trigger, like “when a creature moves into my reach, I will attack it” then, when an enemy does this before the end of the round, you can perform whatever action you specified, and you get 1 boon to the roll.
  • Reload: lets you reload your weapon if it needs to be reloaded, like crossbows and guns.
  • Retreat: you can move up to half your Speed without triggering free attacks.
  • Rush: this lets you move up to twice your Speed
  • Stabilize: you can make an Intellect challenge roll to help an incapacitated creature within reach. You get 1 bane if they’re dying. On a success, they heal 1 damage.
  • Use an item: also self-explanatory. You can do things like light a torch or pull an item out of a bag.

Free attacks are a kind of triggered action everyone uses. When a creature within your reach moves out of your reach, you get to make a melee attack against them for free.

Minor actions are things that don’t take up a regular action. This is stuff like dropping a weapon or opening a door. You can usually do 1 on a fast turn and 2 on a slow turn, but it’s up to the GM.

Making Attacks
Now we’re talking! This covers the primary ways in which you’ll be dealing damage: melee, ranged, items, spells, and attacking attributes.

Melee attacks require you to pick a target and make an attack roll. This usually uses Strength, but could use Agility if the weapon has the finesse property. If you hit their Defense, you deal your damage. SotDL also has different kinds of melee attacks baked in and open to everyone:



Ranged attacks are the same as melee attacks except they use Agility by default. However, unlike melee combat, ranged combat has to deal with cover in some cases,

  • Half cover imposes 1 bane
  • Three-quarters cover imposes 2 banes
  • Total cover means the target cannot be attacked

Attacking with two weapons isn’t advised. You can use one attack to either hit a single enemy with both weapons or two enemies with one weapon. For the former, you roll with 2 banes and if you succeed you add the damage of your off-hand weapon. The latter imposes 3 banes to both attacks.

When you attack with an item, you go by the rules that item has, which we’ll see in Chapter 6. Attack items are things like acid and oil.

Attacking with spells is covered in Chapter 7, but usually they require an Intellect or Will roll against one of the targets Attributes.

Next we get to the section on attacking Attributes, which is a sort of informal stunt system. These are broken down into a few actions that cover most of the basic ways in which you can attack an enemy for bonuses and advantages.

Disarm
Strength/Agility with 2 banes vs Strength/Agility, whichever is higher
This causes the enemy to drop one thing that they are holding.

Distract
Intellect vs. Intellect
This forces the enemy to make its next attack or challenge roll before the end of the round with 2 banes.

Escape
Strength/Agility vs. Strength
This is how you escape from grabs. On a success, you break free and move half your speed without triggering free attacks from the enemy who had grabbed you.

Feint
Agility vs. Perception
When you do this, you either get 2 boons to attack the enemy’s Defense or Agility until the end of the next round or moving does not trigger free attacks from them.

Grab
Strength/Agility vs. Agility
Succeed and you’ve got ‘em grabbed!

Knock Down
Strength vs. Agility
You get 1 bane for each point of Size the creature has on you, and 1 boon if they are smaller. If you succeed, you knock them prone

Pull
Strength vs. Strength
This is how you move people around while they’re grabbed.

Shove
Strength vs. Strength
You get 1 bane for each point of Size the creature has on you, and 1 boon if they are smaller. If you succeed, you push the enemy 1 yard away, plus a number of yards equal to your Strength modifier.

Charge
This isn’t a usual maneuver in that is an attack against an enemy’s attribute. Instead it allows you to move up to your Speed and make an attack at any point during the move. Until the end of the turn, you take 1 bane to all attack and challenge rolls.

You can also try to attack any object or item held by another creature. When you do this, you take 2 banes, and not all objects can be destroyed. For example an arrow cannot damage a sword.

The chapter then ends with a chart of banes imposed in common situations. These are mostly repeated from other parts of this chapter, but it’s nice to have them all in one place.



And that’s it for Chapter 2! Those are the basic rules for how to play Shadow of the Demon Lord. Chapters 1 and 2 could be used to run a Starting adventure no sweat.

Next time: The Novice Paths, and Spradley finds their calling!

Darksaber
Oct 18, 2001

Are you even trying?


I have a question about Fragged Empire and this is the most active thread talking about it, so maybe someone will know. Do Farren Blasts actually have a cost, and can you change them after character creation?

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:

The punk in Gothic-Punk is not the anarcho-socialist, anarcho-syndicalist, socialist punk of the British punk scene,

Which is ironic, since The Damned, one of the first British punk bands, could easily be called 'gothic punk'. Or The Birthday Party, who were Australian but got big in the UK. oWoD kinda struck me as more Industrial than punk.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

unseenlibrarian posted:

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.
Did you ever write up anything for Zero Point? If so I need it badly.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

SirPhoebos posted:

I remember when I first read this book I only knew about salamanders from reading a “Big Book of Reptiles” in grade school, so I was pretty confused about this story.

But... but salamanders are amphibians. What backwater school lumped them in with reptiles? I'll fight the scalawags!

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.

Halloween Jack posted:

Did you ever write up anything for Zero Point? If so I need it badly.

Sadly, this was like...15 years ago, I don't even have the basic notes for it anymore.

Kemper Boyd
Aug 6, 2007

no kings, no gods, no masters but a comfy chair and no socks


Thesaurasaurus posted:

I always assumed this was a knowing jab at the player characters' pretenses to moral superiority (and at least for the Carthians in Requiem, I'm pretty sure it is). No matter how loudly you may proclaim your sympathies with the working class, you are still the privileged beneficiary of their subjugation on top of being a literal blood-sucking parasite. When the chips are down, you're far more likely to side with the vicious apparatus of vampiric society and the Masquerade than the humans they (and you) prey upon, even though those things are loving you too, because actually CHANGING things to help the proles would require real and painful sacrifice on your part.

This isn't to excuse all the terrible poo poo in the oWoD, only to say that I can't tell how much of it was a flawed premise vs. the writers taking a good premise and loving it up.

Idk, that would require oWoD to be smart and thoughtful, which it really isn't. It pretends to be it, tho.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

SirPhoebos posted:

[*]Bathe the Teeth in the breath of 32 different types of dragons within 32 days.

This is a really awesome concept for a campaign. Like Pokemon with blast furnaces!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

unseenlibrarian posted:

Sadly, this was like...15 years ago, I don't even have the basic notes for it anymore.
I thought it was just a Mass Effect campaign sketch for Strike!, don't tell me you done time traveled.

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.

Oh! Zero Point the Mass Effect thing.

I think I did races-as-origins and minikits for paragon and renegade.


http://unseenphil.tumblr.com/post/136934203653/origins-for-zero-point-part-1

http://unseenphil.tumblr.com/post/137088928093/zero-point-origins-part-2

http://unseenphil.tumblr.com/post/137155189508/zero-point-champion-and-badass-minikits

Also a build for a martial artist striker as a vanguard (Weeping willow stance is basically your shotgun: Increases your basic attack reach, pushes people around and knocks them over. Flickering Flame stance for vanguard charges as well the striker mobility options, and Tempest stance for the vaguard nova/explosion stuff.)

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Darksaber posted:

I have a question about Fragged Empire and this is the most active thread talking about it, so maybe someone will know. Do Farren Blasts actually have a cost, and can you change them after character creation?
You'd probably be better off asking on the official subreddit, since Wade himself posts there a lot. I think the idea is that you still have to pay out during creation (call it the cost of the bonding ritual), but I don't know about changing it after the fact.

Serf
May 5, 2011




Shadow the Demon Lord Part 7: The Novice Paths

Once you finish your Starting adventure, you level up and gain your Novice Path. The four Paths map pretty well to the classic D&D retroclone standbys. You’ve got the Magician, the Priest, the Rogue and the Warrior. Each time you level up in your Novice Path, you gain some specified bonuses. These can include increases to your Attributes or Characteristics, more languages/professions, more magic or new talents.

There are optional rules includes for a Group Identity. This is a shared background that ties your group together and gives them a reason to remain a party. You can pick an Identity or roll a d6 if you want to see how your group can come together.



Without further ado, let’s get into the Novice Paths themselves.



Magician
This is Shadow of the Demon Lord’s take on the magic-user. They are very barebones, offering the widest spell variety and choice of any of the Paths in the game, the Magician allows you to fill in the blanks of the class however you like. No two Magicians will ever be the same, just because of the sheer number of magical traditions and spells you can choose from.

One thing to note is that in Shadow of the Demon Lord there is no divide between arcane and divine magic. Magicians can learn the Life tradition and cast healing spells just like Priests, and Priests are likewise not barred from taking destructive spells exclusively.

Level 1 Magician
Attributes: +1 to two
Characteristics: Health +2 and Power +1
Languages/Professions: You become literate in all the languages you know and add one academic profession of your choice.
Magic: You get four choices, and with each choice you can either discover a magical tradition or learn 1 spell from a tradition you already know.
Cantrip: When you discover a new tradition you get an extra level 0 spell from it (all traditions have 2 level 0 spells, and you get one when you discover it, so this talent means a Magician always knows all the level 0 spells for any tradition they learn).
Sense Magic: A spell all Magicians get for free, does that you’d think

Level 2 Magician
Characteristics: Health +2
Magic: You get two choices, discovering a tradition or learning a spell with each.
Spell Recovery: You can use an action to heal damage equal to your Healing Rate and regain one casting of a spell you’ve learned. You can do this once per rest.

Level 5 Expert Magician
Characteristics: Health +2 and Power +1
Magic: Discover a tradition or learn one spell
Counterspell: You can counter spells you see other magic users casting with a triggered action, causing them to take 1 bane to the attack roll and you get 1 boon when resisting it.

Level 8 Master Magician
Characteristics: Health +2
Magic: Discover a tradition or learn one spell
Improved Spell Recovery: You get back two castings of a spell per use of Spell Recovery now.



Priest
These guys aren’t clerics, there’s a path for that later on. They’re hardier than Magicians but have less spell variety in return. They’re more like junior clerics, but when we get into the Expert Paths you’ll see that they have tons of ways they could develop and branch out, so if you want to start working your way up to a druid, paladin or a spiritual berserker, Priest is where you want to start.

Priests in SotDL don’t derive their power from the gods, who are distant from the world. Their power comes from within, but the faith they follow shapes their thinking and magical practices, and therefore the traditions they can learn. Each god/pantheon has a few choices to make on that front:



You’ll notice that every religion has Life as a tradition. This is to make sure all Priests have access to healing magic, which almost exclusively comes from the Life tradition.

Level 1 Priest
Attributes: +1 to two
Characteristics: Health +4 and Power +1
Languages/Professions: You can become literate in one language you speak or add a new language. You get one religious profession.
Magic: You discover one tradition associated with your faith. Then you make two choices, discovering one tradition from your faith of learning one spell any tradition you know.
Shared Recovery: You can use an action to heal damage equal to your Healing Rate, and then allow a target within short range to do the same. You can do this once per rest.

Level 2 Priest
Characteristics: Health +4
Magic: You make two choices, either discovering a tradition from your faith or learning a spell.
Prayer: You can use a triggered action when a creature within short range makes an attack or challenge roll to grant them 1 boon on the roll.

Level 5 Expert Priest
Characteristics: Health +4, Power +1
Magic: Learn one spell from your traditions.
Divine Strike: When you use Prayer to grant 1 boon to an attack roll, the attacker also deals 1d6 extra damage.

Level 8 Master Priest
Characteristics: Health +4
Magic: Learn one spell from your traditions
Inspriring Prayer: When you use Prayer on someone other than yourself, you make attack and challenge rolls with 1 boon for 1 round.
Improved Shared Recovery: you can use Shared Recovery twice per rest.



Rogue
Probably my favorite Novice Path from a design perspective, the Rogue is geared towards letting you go in any direction you want later on. You can get better at killing enemies, becoming a skill monkey, becoming the ultimate thief, or even branching out into a magic Path. Rogues also have a strong core design focused around making them better at attacking, making your attacks both more reliable and harder-hitting. Rogues are the glass cannons of lower level characters.

Level 1 Rogue
Attributes: +1 to two
Characteristics: Health +3
Languages/Professions: You can either speak a new language or add a new common, criminal or wilderness profession.
Nimble Recovery: You can use an action to heal damage equal to your Healing Rate and them move up to half your Speed without triggering free attacks. You can do this once per rest.
Trickery: Once per round, you can make an attack or challenge roll with 1 boon. If you use this to do an attack roll, you get 1d6 extra damage.

Level 2 Rogue
Characteristics: Health +3
Exploit Opportunity: Once per round, when you roll above a 20 on an attack roll and get 5 more than the target number, you can take another turn before the end of the round.
Roguery Talent: You can choose a Roguery Talent (see below)

Level 5 Expert Rogue
Characteristics: Health +3
Dirty Tricks: Whenever you make an attack roll with 1 boon, you deal 1d6 extra damage.
Rogue Cunning: You can use Trickery twice per round.

Level 8 Master Rogue
Characteristics: Health +3
Roguery Talent: You get another Roguery Talent (see below)

Roguery Talents

  • Backstab: Once per round, when you make an attack with a basic or simple weapon with at least 1 boon, you deal 1d6 extra damage. You can take this twice to deal 2d6 extra damage.
  • Magic: You increase your Power by 1 and discover one tradition. Then you can make two choices, discovering a tradition or learning a spell with each. If you take this again, increase your Power by 1 and discover another tradition or spell.
  • Skirmish: You can move up to half your Speed, without triggering free attacks, and make an attack with 1 bane that deals 1d6 extra damage. Take this again to move your full Speed.
  • Subterfuge: you can use an action to make an Intellect attack roll against a creature’s Intellect. If you succeed, they are charmed for 1 round. Take this again to get 1 boon to the roll and affect creatures who can’t understand you.
  • Threats: You can use an action to make an Intellect attack roll against a creature’s Will. If you succeed they are frightened for 1 round. If you take this again, your attacks against that creature deal 1d6 extra damage.


Warrior
We all know and love the Warrior. This Novice Path is all about one thing: dishing out damage while taking punishment and remaining on their feet. There isn’t a lot to the Warrior’s design, but there doesn’t have to be, as the Expert and Master Paths later on give you tons of variety and flavor, while the Warrior makes sure that no matter what direction you choose to go, you’ll always be a reliable source of damage and a sturdy tank.

Level 1 Warrior
Attributes: +1 to two
Characteristics: Health +5
Languages/Professions: You can add one common, martial or wilderness profession.
Catch Your Breath: You can use an action or triggered action to heal damage equal to your Healing Rate. You can do this once per rest.
Weapon Training: When you attack with a weapon, you get 1 boon.

Level 2 Warrior

Characteristics: Health +5
Combat Prowess: Weapon attacks deal 1d6 extra damage.
Forceful Strike: When you roll above a 20 and exceed the target number by 5 on an attack roll, you deal 1d6 extra damage.

Level 5 Expert Warrior
Characteristics: Defense +1, Health +5
Combat Expertise: when you attack with a weapon, you either deal 1d6 extra damage or you can make another attack against a different target before the end of the turn.

Level 8 Master Warrior
Characteristics: Health +5
Grit: You can use Catch Your Breath twice per rest
Combat Mastery: When you attack with a weapon, you either deal 1d6 extra damage or you can make another attack against a different target before the end of the turn. This is cumulative with Combat Expertise, but each attack must have a different target.

And that’s it for the Novice Paths! Now that we’ve been over them all, Let’s talk about which Path Spradley would likely head into. Spradley knows they’re big and slow and not that good with people, so when they are thrust headlong into a life of adventure and excitement, they do what comes naturally: they pick up a weapon and start smacking people with it. Before long, they find that they have a knack for this, and take it up as a way to defend themselves.

Spradley is following the path of the Warrior, and to represent this, we make the following changes: +1 to Strength and Intellect, + 5 to Health, they’ll get the Mercenary profession, and get the Catch Your Breath and Weapon Training talents. Additionally, they get a battleaxe and a large shield.

Spradley Sprocket
Strength 12, Agility 8, Intellect 11, Will 8
Perception 9
Defense 15
Health 17
Healing Rate 4
Size 1, Speed 8, Power 0
Damage 0, Insanity 0, Corruption 0
Languages: Common (Literate)
Professions: Folklore, Religion, Mercenary
Immune to disease, poison, asleep and fatigued
Key
Mechanical Body
Repairing Damage
Catch Your Breath
Weapon Training
Gear: Battleaxe, large shield, basic clothing, backpack, 1 week of rations, waterskin, tinderbox, 2 torches and a pouch with 2 copper pennies.

Spradley has a few more miles on them. During their quest to decipher the message written inside their arm, they fell in with a band of mercenaries who made good use of their mechanical muscle. Spradley learned the way of the axe and shield, and fought well among the humans and orcs they traveled with. They blew their pay on books, learning more about the history of the clockworks and their heritage, and studied up even more on folklore, especially that of the golems. Spradley believes they are close to finding out the truth, traveling to more and more cosmopolitan cities in search of a scholar who can help them understand whatever secret is etched into their own body.

Audience Participation

We’ve been over the Novice Paths, so it’s time to decide on what Queegol will become. She’s traveling around, working in various cities and towns, which just makes it easier for her to get sucked into a world of adventure along the way. Take a look at the Novice Paths and let me know which one you would like to see Queegol enter into.

The choices:
Magician
Priest
Rogue
Warrior

Also, I want to leave you all with a teaser for Chapter 4: Expert Paths. Shadow of the Demon Lord’s character advancement system is one of my favorite things about it, and Expert is where things really start to open up in terms of character diversity and build choices. So here are the Expert Paths in the core book, to give you an idea of what’s coming up.



Next time: The Expert Paths!

Serf fucked around with this message at 17:42 on Jan 8, 2017

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



Queegol's obviously a Magician. You don't haul yourself up by your goblin bootstraps like that only to have to get your hands dirty later.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

Queegol's obviously a Magician. You don't haul yourself up by your goblin bootstraps like that only to have to get your hands dirty later.

Or a Rogue with a magic focus.

And boy, do i also love this class system so much.

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.

Kinda gives me an FF Tactics vibe, with basic jobs, then slightly better ones, and then even better later.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Let's go with Priest - strike down the unbelievers with the holy power of the law

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Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

Just got the book and I'm liking what I see, aside from how many times genitalia pops up in the random charts. Imagine the mood of a table when after killing an innocent man, you roll a 16 and your dick falls off.

Edit: seriously dog why is the Demon Lord so obsessed with making dicks fall off, why would you come up with Desires End

E: the aesthetic of this game is primarily masks and dicks

Wrestlepig fucked around with this message at 01:57 on Jan 9, 2017

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