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Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Mors Rattus posted:

Westerns often used the Civil War backdrop to establish a guy as a badass by being a former soldier, and out in the West to avoid penalties for desertion. Generally Southerners, as the Northern stereotype is the city slicker.

Well, yeah, but we're talking about the surprisingly common trope of the Confederacy surviving the war as a separate state which somehow doesn't practice slavery despite it being the entire cause of the war and enshrined in their constitution and the constitutions of several of the individual states and thousands of letters from everyone involved saying 'Gosh, I really do love slavery!'

Personally, I'd be okay with the Confederacy showing up in a western RPG as long as the game made it clear that these guys are, y'know, the American Nazis and exist primarily so there's ten thousand yellow-bellied scum-sucking traitors for your cowpokes to shoot.

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Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



And something I wish more westerns use - the fact a good chunk of Cowboys were black, many freed and escaped slaves went West to avoid getting hassled or taken advantage of by white landowners.

Then you also got the fact there's still a lot of simmering tension between former soldiers on both sides, allowing for feuds to occur, keeping the Sheriff and Marshals busy, while adding another dimension to other kinds of conflict (Settlers vs Ranchers, Cowboys vs Lawmen).

Though really - the Confederacy cannot survive without the major interventions you often see in the Weird West Milieu because while the South had better generals and familiarity with the battlefields, they did not have the infrastructure or manpower to match the Union, especially after their major ports got blockaded, keeping them from getting vital materials needed.

Robindaybird fucked around with this message at 19:03 on Feb 3, 2016

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Westerns often used the Civil War backdrop to establish a guy as a badass by being a former soldier, and out in the West to avoid penalties for desertion. Generally Southerners, as the Northern stereotype is the city slicker.

Yeah, but that doesn't require the South to have won the war.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Entirely so, yes.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Nerds are reactionary and love Lost Cause horseshit.

Serf
May 5, 2011




I really wanted to like Deadlands, but the fact that they kept the Confederacy around and made them a player option was just insufferable.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Traveller posted:

Nerds are reactionary and love Lost Cause horseshit.

Not just nerds, Hollywood sure loves romanticizing the Noble Rebels, while side-stepping the fact it's really all about the right to keep slaves. Let's put it this way, if you know a little about the Civil War, it's about slavery, if you know more, it's State Rights, but if you really dig in and read up, it's really about the right to own slaves.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




In Deadlands there is at least one reason for the Confederacy (although it requires a significant amount whitewashing, blissful ignorance and make-believe), it helps keep the Wild West "wild" a bit longer.

By keeping the Union and the Confederacy locked in a stalemate you keep the western region mostly free from either influence, because they're too busy fighting each other. In Deadlands that allows you to have the weird independent territories like the Sioux Nations or Deseret which would otherwise be steamrolled by the unified eastern US in 1879, which is the time when the game is set.

Of course, there's other ways to accomplish this, a more lethal Civil War could have ended and left the unified East without the resources or manpower to tame the west or a USA with a greater internal conflict or an external threat from another source (say renewed hostilities with europe) could also have worked out.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Robindaybird posted:

Not just nerds, Hollywood sure loves romanticizing the Noble Rebels, while side-stepping the fact it's really all about the right to keep slaves. Let's put it this way, if you know a little about the Civil War, it's about slavery, if you know more, it's State Rights, but if you really dig in and read up, it's really about the right to own slaves.

As an example of Hollywood/Hollywood people loving to romanticize the Nobel Rebels: Joss Whedon's Firefly has some pretty heavy undertones of Confederate appologism. Like, it's a cool show, but Mal Reynolds spends the entire show with "The SouthBrowncoats Will Rise Again" metaphorically embroidered on his shirt.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


LatwPIAT posted:

As an example of Hollywood/Hollywood people loving to romanticize the Nobel Rebels: Joss Whedon's Firefly has some pretty heavy undertones of Confederate appologism. Like, it's a cool show, but Mal Reynolds spends the entire show with "The SouthBrowncoats Will Rise Again" metaphorically embroidered on his shirt.

Yes, though it's free of references to actual slavery, meaning the primary conflict is actually about states planets rights.

It helps that the core systems are actively villainous in other ways as well.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


oriongates posted:

In Deadlands there is at least one reason for the Confederacy (although it requires a significant amount whitewashing, blissful ignorance and make-believe), it helps keep the Wild West "wild" a bit longer.

By keeping the Union and the Confederacy locked in a stalemate you keep the western region mostly free from either influence, because they're too busy fighting each other. In Deadlands that allows you to have the weird independent territories like the Sioux Nations or Deseret which would otherwise be steamrolled by the unified eastern US in 1879, which is the time when the game is set.

Of course, there's other ways to accomplish this, a more lethal Civil War could have ended and left the unified East without the resources or manpower to tame the west or a USA with a greater internal conflict or an external threat from another source (say renewed hostilities with europe) could also have worked out.

There's also the fact that the west is overrun with space wizards and spooky cowboy ghosts. I'm pretty sure that'd keep it a little 'wilder' longer as is.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Superiors 4: Building A New Hell



The Laboratory Zone is the most prestigious part of Tartarus. Each lab is color-coded by department and run by a Laboratory Director as a personal empire. They are connected by walkways, moving platforms and flight paths, but each lab is highly secure, despite the constant decay and renovation. All movements are watched - at least, if the monitors are functioning that day. Lab One is the main administrative block, with reception for all authorized visitors and escorts to take them to areaso n interest. It is also home to Vapula's private office, though any visitor has to wait on Vapula's schedule. It is also where most of the significant Tether portals are, appearing as electronic gateways. Unlike the rest of Tartarus, Lab One gleams.

Vapula ferries the damned in like cattle on freight trains, injecting them with entry-passes rather than handing them out. The souls are packed in tight, and generally terrified. A rare few, generally the most talented inventors, may be offered the chance to continue their work, and damned scientists who win Vapula's favor can even earn minor Distinctions and rank over weak demons. For the rest of the damned, however, well...the lucky ones get sent to eternity enslaved in the production lines, operating the machines. Accidents are common, and the damned are rarely patched up. These lines don't yield that much, and their failed relics end up in the junk heaps. The less fortunate become alpha testers, routinely blown up, burned, frozen, electrified, drowned, mutilated and infected. The must unlucky souls are sent for pure research - endless careful tortures to match a soul's experience in life for maximum impact. There is no escape from these repeated torments, and behind one-way glass, demonlings and new demons take notes on the demonstrations.

Vapulans have a strong sense of their mission. No demon of Technology doubts that the Word is going places with a nearly elemental drive. Thus, they tend to the arrogant, dividing the world betwene those that use and value new tech and the unwashed masses who are hopelessly behind the times. They look down on other demons, who struggle without realizing how much easier Technology could make their lives. Vapula has a sort of hypnotic fascination for his demons. They work with dreams of nothing but a chance at his approval, fantasizing of the day he will drop by to look over their work and pronounce it the greatest discovery he's ever seen. The smarter ones are aware that the boss dropping in for a visit might actually not be a good thing most of the time. Still, even when a demon is crushed and punished, there is one hope. All it takes is one brilliant discovery and all is forgiven.

Unsurprisingly, the Technologists are regarded as weird by the rest of Hell. They can be quite sociable, but other demons tend to find them boring to talk to - they get rather attached to their favorite gadgets, and writing sonnets about a device for the Internet of Hell is not unknown. They love all devices, and particularly those not yet invented. It's not unknown for them to care for their machines over their own health.

Vapulans are loosely organized by department in Tartarus, with the Department Heads taking the place of other Words' Dukes. Vapula caresl ittle for minor organizational detail and gives them a very free hand. They rarely leave Tartarus long for fear of their work or their equipment getting poached. They and their handpicked demons, mostly Habbalah, staff Vapula's office. This clique is known as the Inner Circle, and to get to Vapula, you go through them. Other than the Department Heads, the Inner Circle is abnormally passive outside of Vapula's presence, as though their personalities had been drowned out. They never seem to get promoted, either - they just get...replaced.

Those working on different projects often fight violently over resources. Experienced demons look down on newcomers, and squabbles are common. It is not rare for a ranking demon to show up to visit demons on Earth with a good reputation, which can be a risk for your Role and cover, just so they can demand field testing of a pet project before a deadline. Respect goes to the avant-garde and those who have the latest news on Earthly trends. Fear of burnout stalks even the best of these demons, after all - what if Technology overtakes them? It's a constant, unspoken fear. Plagiarism is common, and senior demons regularly claim the work of their underlings as their own. Every full demon of Technology knows their department - either technology-specific, Propaganda, Maintenance or 'generic testing.' They also know what project they're assigned to. It might just be a reference number, however, and they often have no idea what the intended application of their work is. Those that perform well are given a lot of freedom dto do their own research as they like, and for many, that means late nights and wild parties. Vapula doesn't care what you do or think as long as you forward his ideas, spread Technology and don't share secrets. Since that's what most of his demons want to do anyway, they tend to be quite happy, and Technology has few Renegades despite its lack of discipline.

Technologists love their toys, so they are often rewarded with relics, talismans and other goodies. It is consiodered a sign of favor to give one to an underling as a gift, though often there is no explanation for what the machine does...though it is expected that such an underling will value and use the device all the time. Vapula is harder to impress - to earn his favor, you need initiative, brilliance and perseverance. Achieving results believed impossible will certainly earn his approval, as will daring and successful raids on Lightning. He can offer Songs, Distinctions or attunements, but he also likes to give use of expensive facilities or hand out familiars as underlings. Many of these familiars are in inanimate vessels and serve as living artifacts, so you might end up with an intelligent car, phone or watch. Unfortunately, it's also easy to earn disfavor. Any suspicion of leaking secrets without permission will bring tons of negative attention. Minor infractions might lose your toys, or even have your boss force you to dismantle your own favorite artifact. Those that personally annoy Vapula may find themselves volunteered for testing or even made into artifacts. He uses Corporeal Discords when the offender is too valuable to destroy out of hand, though, and some whisper of those assigned to Lab 11 who return not quite the same as when they left. It is said that the Prince's personal assistants all passed through Lab 11 at some point.

Sometimes, a Technologist decides they want to serve another Prince, and many Princes will welcome a former Vapulan brining secrets and artifacts. Vapula, however, never willingly allows a demon who knows anything significant to leave. Asking for a transfer just lets him know you need to die or be reconfigured. Occasionally, he might make an indefinite loan to Baal or Nybbas, but you'll remain a Demon of Technology. The only way to leave is to go Renegade. If you escape and have another Prince ready to take you in, you might get away before the Game is called down on you...but you should never, ever visit Tartarus again.

Vapula is quite interested in the Fallen, particularly those with experience with Lightning and Jean's plans. He also likes Fallen Creationers and any former angel with artifact creation skills. He likes to see his enemies' agents accept his genius, after all, and revels in it even if they have no useful skills. Bringing in new recruits is rewarded as long as they aren't Calabim, so demons of Technology are aggressive on pursuing leads of Outcasts and Fallen. They are especially quick to check out clues found on the Internet or scientific media. It is also common for a demon to be put in charge of their own recruits, so that's another incentive. Unfortunately, it's also not unknown for a new Fallen with impressive skills to be given a position in charge of their recruiter, either. Outcasts and Renegades are of special interest, as they can be tempted or threatened into being test subjects without fear of reprisal from another Superior. Outcast Ofanim test pilots are especially valued, and sometimes, you even want to avoid tempting an Outcast into Falling, if their angelic powers would be useful or they are an Ofanite. The Game, being cynical types, have been known to take this as evidence of cooperation with the enemy or conspiring to prevent a Fall.

Technology is also strongly encouraged to recruit human servants, Soldiers and dupes. Everyone needs staff, after all. They prefer mortals who share their love of Technology, and often they have little need to tempt their servants into their schemes at all. Greedy businessmen rarely care who their research partners are, after all, and tired scientists will often take offers that'll save their careers - or you can just go for their kids by offering them neat toys. Mortals are often spotted and recruited at a young age for Technology, after all, to better nurture their talents. You can also get businessmen to help you market your inventions, and older Technologists get a sense for what humans might pay for - though even they are often taken by surprise by what the mortals do with their toys. Humans are also widely used for testing, especially in schools, prisons or hospitals, where the demon can have a position of authority and carry ut tests on those who won't think to complain. Many treat their testees like dirt, but others can become attached and treat a favored subject well until it's time to get to work. They recruit few sorcerers, though - their old-fashioned outlooks are despised. Self-taught and experimental sorcerers, however, can be welcomed and taught to use the power of Technology, particularly those that study alchemy. Vapula likes alchemy. Infernal engineers have also attempted to pioneer cybernetic technology as an alternative to Saminga's undead. Sometimes it even works. Well, sort of.

New demons, other than those made for specific jobs, do not start in a lab. They work, instead, in the rubby corners of Tartarus until they can impress another demon with their intellect. Indeed, they can even be recruited by outside Words without much trouble, and a bright demonling learns to report to anyone that looks like a way into the labs. Researchers scout for new talent as assistants, and a lucky demonling may excel here long enough to get invited in. Initial work remains menial, and there's not much training - you just learn to obey orders, fast. The clever ones learn to operate equipment, manage chemicals, strap down test subjects, listen and learn. Some become turned into artifacts for a while, or animal familiars. Promising demonlings are those that learn to scavenge and make their own personal projects in their spare time. A more senior demon may find this useful, or just enjoy breaking them. Only a rare few get apprenticed to a full demon, and there, they may begin their true education. It is from the ranks of these assistants that most full demons of Technology are drawn. Education of the newly fledged or Fallen is more formal, with courses at the Infernal College of Science and Technology, or IC.

Technologists have managed a few tricks when it comes to artifacts and machines. They have a natural talent for making talismans, for example. When making a talisman, they can add their own skill level in a relevant skill to the roll. Further, they get +2 to all TNs and CDs to identify Vapulan artifacts. They also have mastered the art of jury-rigging and temporary rpairs using whatever is at hand. When they want to fix something but lack the tools, they can make an Intelligence check, adding any relevant Knowledge skill. The repair takes only a fraction of the normal time, and lasts (CD) hours...but when it's done, it may be so damaging the device explodes or needs a complete overhaul.

Balseraphs of Technlogy tend to grandiose projects. Even the young ones place dramatic importance on anything they've been involved in. They serve as consultants, each believing themselves xpert in some field and they know that no Earthly machine will ever betray them unexpectedly. Others find that they can spot all the ways in which a device might be used against them. All of them, however, delight in getting machines to betray others. They won't lie about what something can do, but are unlikely to reveal the whole truth unless they get something out of it. Often they work to aid other Princes and will demand respect for even minor repair jobs. Since their knowledge really is usually unparalleled, they often receive it.



Djinn of Technology are quiet, patient and reliable. They will wait for years watching a single bug or phone tap if they must. They know Technology is all you can rely on - it may not love you, but it obeys as best it can. They protect their inanimate charges, curl up with them, and know their 'pets' will never complain. They especially like robots. They are frequently assigned to monitor devices in testing, to ensure they don't fall into the wrong hands. They are able to be very single-minded, and they can make good researchers and debuggers as well, willing to work long hours until something works for them. Their inventions are often personalized, to keep anyone else from using them.

Calabim of Technology do not exist. Vapula hates them, and many of his demons never see a Calabite until they leave Tartarus. Rarely, when he really needs one, Vapula will call in a Calabite from Baal or Nybbas temporarily, or may just choose one at random as an unwitting test subject.

Habbalah of Technology see others as existing for their own curiosity. They watch their victims suffer as they calmly take notes, and they can suddenly switch from mad ranting to calm happiness. They tend to find using their resonance on others very cathartic, and they rarely care what mere monkeys think of them. They serve a higher cause: Technology. Vapula trusts Habbalah with his more important plans, generally as managers to keep other demons in line. They are not often indoctrinated by Vapula personally, but most reationalize their powerful emotions in his presence as him being whatever they personally revere, and they often belong to secret techno-cults preaching submission to the God in the Machine.

Lilim of Technology are information brokers and hackers of great skill. They prefer modern methods to the more traditional sex-based deals of their sisters, and they've been the source of terrible viruses and hoaxes. They like to project the image of being sleek, smart operators, but there is a small proportion doomed to be video game geeks eating pizza and getting good at Mortal Kombat. When they get the choice, they prefer to work in universities, hospitals or tech companies - anywhere they can find aready pool of mortal scientists to Geas.

Shedim of Technology take great care of their computers, if not their mortal hosts. It's their one place of peace and quiet, where they can get away from their monkey headmate. Even the most carefree of them realizes that in order to encourage humans to use demonic computers, the computer must look good. They spend much of their time competing to design UIs, screensavers and games to lure in the unsuspecting, allowing them to be ridden to Hell and back. They are more cautious than most Shedim, and they always make sure their laptop is safe. This requires more thinking than most of their band are used to. They are often set to infiltrate tech establishments, hopping between hosts and corrupting them into amoral cynics, stealing ideas from the talented and hiding it all in their gleaming laptop.

Next time: Ghost in the Shell

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:

Vapula the Machine is more cyberpunk. He and his have access to technolgoy years ahead of Heaven, and Hell itself is a cyberpunk nightmare, a CyberHell. Even the oldest institutions have succumbed to the lure of cybernetics and the other benefits of Technology. Demons of Technology have a hive mind thanks to their implanted sensors and communicators. Tartarus is a pristine and gleaming Principality, ruled by a Prince more machine than demon. He secretly plots to lead the machines to revolt against humanity, the Archangels, Lucifer, and anyone in their way.

I hope this got its own spin-off. What happens when CyberHell meets the CyberPapacy?

Here's how to redeem Dinosaur Planet - make it so that the South uses some BS technology to enslave the sentient dinosaurs. Your PCs go around freeing them, so that they can rampage through the Southern plantations and eat slaveowners. Sherman's Dino-March to the Sea. Djdinosaur Unchained. Etc

(In my version the South are the bad guys).

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


LuiCypher posted:

Consider me jealous. Rites of Battle is easily the best splatbook for Deathwatch because it has the best character and gear options of any of the books. You can even roll as a freaking Dreadnought Librarian at some point, which is all sorts of awesome. Predictably, it is very out-of-print and hard to find in physical form. It's been awaiting reprint for over a year at Fantasy Flight and I suspect that it will never actually get reprinted, meaning that it will be a while before I get my copy.

I'll probably write up a recommended list of splatbooks towards the end of the review, but for now I'd say that the top three go like this:
1. Rites of Battle
2. Honour the Chapter or First Founding
3. Mark of the Xenos

I throw Mark in there mainly because the core rulebook could probably suffer to have a more diverse range of enemies for the Kill-team to encounter and Mark fixes that nicely. Honour the Chapter/First Founding mainly depends on which fluff you like better - do you like the fluff for the remaining founding chapters (Iron Hands, Salamanders, White Scars, Raven Guard) or do you want more on the successor chapters?

If it doesn't have to be a physical copy, the entire range can be bought as PDF on DriveThruRPG and possible other shops.

Who doesn't want to play as a Dreadnought? You might even talk the GM into giving you easier diplomacy checks because of your poker face. Or rather lack of face.

The Outer Reach might also be interesting for essentialy being the Necron Bestiary, and I love my Terminators on steroids almost as much as my brainwashing space commies.

And I'm leaning towards First Founding. How can you go wrong with black pyromaniacs and space huns/mongols?

Robindaybird posted:

This is why when I did my own weird west take that while the Confederates are responsible for elemental-infused bullets (a more accidental discovery due to desperation in scrounging up raw materials for ammo), it came far too little, too late to save them. Speaking as someone that grew up in Mississippi, anyone that romanticizes the "Rebels of the south" is a loving idiot.

It seems people interesting in Alternate Western History stuff rarely go beyond "The South lost the war, so what if they didn't?!". They don't seem to grasp the nuances of what can happen after a war.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Kurieg posted:

Yes, though it's free of references to actual slavery, meaning the primary conflict is actually about states planets rights.

It helps that the core systems are actively villainous in other ways as well.

I would have loved if that debate showed up on "Firefly".

"The war was about planets' rights"
"Yes, the right of the planets to own slaves"

Honestly, we never get a counterpoint to why the Alliance went to war with the outer planets. Just that "they meddle" and, until Serenity, it was not known that they accidentally created the Reavers. The closest thing I can see is the crime syndicate guys like Niska would pretty much own the Independent Planets if it wasn't for the Alliance.

Drakyn
Dec 26, 2012



Alien Rope Burn posted:

What's really wrong is that it's a game where intelligent dinosaurs have their land invaded by Confederate slavers and are somehow not the PCs.

Count Chocula posted:

Here's how to redeem Dinosaur Planet - make it so that the South uses some BS technology to enslave the sentient dinosaurs. Your PCs go around freeing them, so that they can rampage through the Southern plantations and eat slaveowners. Sherman's Dino-March to the Sea. Djdinosaur Unchained. Etc

(In my version the South are the bad guys).

Fossilized Rappy posted:

Listening to your podcast and reminiscing about Broncosaurus Rex has made me really wish that someone would do a cowboys and dinosaurs game that didn't have any awkward sapience issues or Confederate apologia. Get someone to sit down, watch Valley of Gwangi, and then write a roleplaying game that replicates the feel of that.
I think a takeaway from all of this (beyond 'what the gently caress') is that if your game is 'X plus dinosaurs' you should probably treat the 'dinosaurs' half as something more than window dressing for cool stunts with the former. Doing otherwise just makes it really obvious that you're trying to make your 'X' more interesting in the laziest way possible, like drowning a bland (or in this case, slave-owning) salad in dressing.
"Man, nobody wants to play my RPG about how great the Confederate States of America were and how they definitely would've ended slavery. I know - what if I made Robert E. Lee end slavery? While riding a Tyrannosaurus? In the future? ON ANOTHER PLANET? "

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Doresh posted:

It seems people interesting in Alternate Western History stuff rarely go beyond "The South lost the war, so what if they didn't?!". They don't seem to grasp the nuances of what can happen after a war.

As pointed out, there's other ways to extend the "Lawless" period - make the war more lethal - maybe given the horrendous battlefield medicine a plague starts sweeping through the ranks, or a hurricane decided to sweep through, and the Weird version - ghostly vengeance, real-life Thunderbirds snatching cattle and wagons making the perilous journey even more dangerous, even Gaia going "What the gently caress are you doing to my Bison?".

if the confederacy stood, many of the people who had gone out west for one reason or another would not have done so, and many of the famous Outlaws would be nobodies among other things.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Double Cross - Infinity Code


Game Master Section

Progressive Checks

Progressive Checks are the DX version of Skill Challenges, allowing the GM to break down long and complex situations like infilatration or chase scenes in an abstract manner. It's a bit fancier and involved than the D&D 4e Skill Challenges, and do in fact kinda look like a draft for a Eurogame:


I imagine an actual boardgame for this not looking much different.

The general idea is to take the initiative and action economy of the combat rules (which has the side effect of allowing the GM to have both going on at the same time) and the Investigation mechanics from the Random Scenarios, aka having the PCs perform Checks whose scores are then translated into points (up to a certain maximum to enforce a minimum number of checks to be made). The Progressive Checks ends either when enough points are amassed, or if the End Condition is triggered. The latter is usually not recommended as that's pretty much the loss condition.

If a PC is particularly bad at the required Check (or just wants to help a fellow teammate to beat a particularly nasty Difficulty), he can opt for a Support Roll, which doesn't generate any points, but grants a target a bonus to his roll.

The really fancy part are the Progression Events: Once the point total reaches certain milestones, the conditions of the Progressive Check chance for better or worse: The Difficulty can go up or down, or an entirely new Check might suddenly be required.
In addition to that, the GM rolls a random even on the Situation Chart each round that will further makes things easier or harder for the players.

Overall, the system is quite nifty. It has some meat to it, and even recommends you to reward players for using their Simple Powers for once.

Aside from the bomb diffusal above, other example Progressive Chceks include stuff like "Close the Deal", "Sneak into the FH Base" and "Follow the Target", all for the GM to tweak or use as inspiration for his own Progressive Checks. Some of these examples also come with their own Situation Charts for better flavoring.

Enemy Powers

Man, the stuff here is fun: Angel Halo NPCs can snipe at you from a different Scene. Balor NPCs can mess up your gravity pull so you can't slow down and will crash into stuff whenever you try to move. Black Dogs can make program a Firewall or other security program that physically hurts the hacker. Bram Stoker NPCs can now spam their Powers without having to worry about paying HP. Chimaera NPCs get absurd [Armor] for as long as the PCs don't hit their weak spot. Exile NPCs can no play as Mystique from the X-Men. Hanuman NPCs move so fast they're treated as multiple characters. Morpheus NPCs boost the crap out of weapons and create fake money out of nothing. Neumann NPCs are so good at multi-tasking that they gain an extra turn. Orcus NPCs turn the entire area into a labyrinth, allowing only those characters to enter the Scene he wants to be there. Slamandra NPCs can cover entire citie sin a blizzard or tropical heat. Solaris NPCs can release an Anti-Renegade poison that hurts anyone who wants to use Powers.

The Ouroboros Syndrome naturally gets the most stuff, as its new and all. And what stuff there is: Ouroboros NPCs can get the mother of all Renegade Killer Powers that makes all of their Ouroboros Powers AoE. They can also yank people around by controlling their shadows like Gekko Moria. They can also prevent the use of Warding Fields, which is especially handy if they have a gang of non-Overed thugs around.
The really big guns hower are <<Steal Ability>> and <<Banish Power>>. The former steals an Power from the target, while the latter drains so much Renegade viruses out of the target that he can no longer use any Powers. Both last for the entire Scenario, or either until the NPC dies or the target fulfills some condition decided by the GM.
Suffice to say, both are very dickish Powers that can make for some really scary situations. Suddenly, that group of Yakuza looks a lot more dangerous without access to claws, laser beams or Warding Fields.

Common Enemy Powers include buff for Troopers an nother dickish Powers. Remenmber <<Instant Retreat>>, the "Get out of Scene for Free" card that NPCs love to use? Well, now they can kick you out of a Scene instead. Luckily for the players, this only works on targets who agree or are unconscious (good job avoiding the "unconscious targets are always willing" formulation).

But not all Powers are actually beneficaly. There's in fact <<Superhuman Weakness I>>, which gives you a weakness against some source from which you will take additional damage. Why would you give that to an NPC? Well, there's the complementary Power <<Superhuman Weakness II>>, which makes you suffer less damage from anything until your weakness is hit. It more or less allows you to build a D&D troll in DX.

Exhausted Loises

The general E-Loises start right up with what is essentially the Anime Regium's major shtick: You die, you get to transfer your mind into another body. Gjaums can no also inflict targets with a death clock that counts down the number of Rounds until their HP drops to 0.

Gjaums with the Release Impulse can make a sort of thrall, giving him an E-Lois of his own. Bloodsucking Gjaums get similar team options by pumping an ally full of their own blood. Hunger Gjaums can swallow the entire Scene, moving everyone and everything into their belly for some sweet ongoing digestion damage. Slaughter Gjaums get a doomsday E-Lois that targets organizations instead of places. Destruction Gjaums can now blow upon death. Torture Gjaums regain health when they deal enough damage. Distaste Gjaums have access to what is essentially a mental force field that makes them completely immune from harm as long as the shield isn't broken. Battle Lust Gjaums can make themselves immune against specific damage sources. Delusion Gjaums gain mind control. Self-Mutilation Gjaums get to make people crazier with each hit against them because they enjoy it so much. Fear Gjaums can freeze people in place through fear. And Hatred Gjaum can now cause pedestrian riots for an easier escape.

Enemy Characters

A couple new enemy writeups, some of which - like the Apostle Agent - making use of the Ouroboros Syndrome. Highlgihts include EX Gjaums that are soldier ants or landmines. Boss-type characters include Jörmugandr (Ouroboros), Nue (Ouroboros/Chimaera/Solaris) and the Queen Ant (Morpheus/Ouroboros).

Next Time: Scenarios - meet Gjaumzilla.

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.

Robindaybird posted:

As pointed out, there's other ways to extend the "Lawless" period - make the war more lethal - maybe given the horrendous battlefield medicine a plague starts sweeping through the ranks, or a hurricane decided to sweep through, and the Weird version - ghostly vengeance, real-life Thunderbirds snatching cattle and wagons making the perilous journey even more dangerous, even Gaia going "What the gently caress are you doing to my Bison?".

if the confederacy stood, many of the people who had gone out west for one reason or another would not have done so, and many of the famous Outlaws would be nobodies among other things.

All good ideas, but do you really need to extend the lawless period for you average game, unless you expect it to take place over decades?

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Simian_Prime posted:

All good ideas, but do you really need to extend the lawless period for you average game, unless you expect it to take place over decades?

Not really, I'm fine with a decade-two decade window, though games like Deadlands seem to expect longer campaigns or want tech from later periods to mesh in with the Wild West and an excuse as to why said tech didn't tame the West.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


You'd think the hellmouths and terrible monsters would both explain the reason people are inventing fantastical new weapons quickly and why those haven't immediately settled things.

Pieces of Peace
Jul 8, 2006
Hazardous in small doses.

I'd love to see an RPG for the comic East of West. Keep the Union and the racist-rear end Confederacy, add a united techno-shaman Native state, an industrial free black state, a Judge Dredd Texas, and Red Chinese California. Then have them all in an uneasy peace because every national leader is a pawn of the Four Horsemen and their Elder God masters.

Western games seem to run universally disappointing. Is the "some interesting setting, some interesting mechanics, please playtest more and kill the loving metaplot" of Deadlands really as good as it gets?

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

theironjef posted:



This week System Mastery is covering Dinosaur Planet, a book that took us by surprise. With a name that cool, we figured we'd just be generally researching how yet another small print house mucked up the OGL, but what we got instead was some good old down-home whitewashing of the big fence of the Confederate States of America. If you ever wanted to read a book where the Union are rapacious space-conquerors and President Robert E. Lee magnanimously freed the slaves in 1881 because it was the right thing to do, here it is.

Heh, I did a text review for this back in the day. The Neo-Confederacy was annoying, although even minus that its D20 aesthetics means it didn't age very well given that it lacks a lot of the stuff that makes that system so great (namely, options and customization).

Razakai
Sep 15, 2007

People are afraid
To merge on the freeway
Disappear here


In Nomine might have some flaws in gameplay, but it's a pretty awesome setting with the right GM. A Goon here ran a ridiculous game with the party as demons serving Furfur, Prince of Hardcore (sex, drugs and rock&roll). By the end of the campaign they had:

- Killed 2 demon princes
- Redeemed a demon prince
- Caused an archangel to fall, temporarily
- Accidentally created a new archangel
- Redeemed a few hundred demons
- Punched a nuclear missile to death
- Served Lucifer shots at a bar

On the balance of things they were pretty terrible at being demons, but they were hardcore enough that their prince forgave them.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Traveller posted:

Nerds are reactionary and love Lost Cause horseshit.
hmmm maybe this can be leveraged for the Revolutionary Proletariat Game.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010



Razakai posted:

In Nomine might have some flaws in gameplay, but it's a pretty awesome setting with the right GM. A Goon here ran a ridiculous game with the party as demons serving Furfur, Prince of Hardcore (sex, drugs and rock&roll). By the end of the campaign they had:

- Killed 2 demon princes
- Redeemed a demon prince
- Caused an archangel to fall, temporarily
- Accidentally created a new archangel
- Redeemed a few hundred demons
- Punched a nuclear missile to death
- Served Lucifer shots at a bar

On the balance of things they were pretty terrible at being demons, but they were hardcore enough that their prince forgave them.

I demand story time. I don't think we have a thread for it, but I'd love to hear more even if it's just in PMs.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Superiors 4: We Can Rebuild Him

Impudites of Technology are given a lot of freedom, thanks to how much Essence they can throw around. They tend to solve problems by just throwing Essence at it them, and the more careful or directed are some of the best researchers Vapula has, what with being able to call on their best efforts so often. They often make other Impudites jealous with their sheer capacity. They find it hard to be cautious or quiet, and Disturbance tends to follow them around. Their knack for charm makes them gravitate to jobs where they can lecture a crowd and recruit admirers, using their glasses to know who is best to tap for Essence and when.

On all three planes, Technology does research and testing as well as supporting other Words to make sure they can use borrowed Technology. In practice, all departments can send demons pretty much anywhere, if only to spy on other departments. The labs of Tartarus are the nerve center of research efforts, as well as the place to be to manage factories of relics. They produce most of Hell's relics, and they can never stop. Plus, there's administrative work to do - trades, spreading the Word in Hell, testing stuff. Information is published, mainly as hype and boasts, in technical journals, bulletin boards and by rumor. Some information is freely shared, but it's never safe to assume your bosses aren't going to read everytrhing you write and ask for demonstrations. Research must be documented, and Vapula employs librarians to keep track of it all as well as to keep Hell's internet working. If a manual is not available - which isn't rare - then a librarian may either write a fictional one or force demons to take the thing apart and write a manual for it. Demons also always need training and education in Tartarus.



The Marches, especially the remote parts, are an ideal research and testing ground for politically dangerous ideas. Even the loudest explosions won't draw much attention in the Far Marches. Dreamscapes can also be useful to test ideas on dreamers or inspire a scientific mind to grand schemes. Occasionally, Vapula also sends out teams to capture ethereals to experiment on or to assess distant realms for suitability in testing. Vapulans want to map the link between the ethereal realm and the mortal subconscious, and it's common for demons to be sent to the Marches to observe whenever some high-impact scheme is done on Earth.

On Earth, Technologists focus on mortal affairs or taking the fight to Lightning. Besides research, they are to harvest as many interesting ideas from mortals as possible. Shedim are especially useful at bringing ideas to the mortals that can best use them, or stealing ideas from the talented. Field testing on Earth is also common, under the command of Azod, Department Head of Field Testing, who makes sure to keep the new toys secret until a project is ready for full operation. Individual demons and project managers often bypass him with their enthusiasm to prove the use of their idea. Impudites are given preference for Earth work and are expected to gather test subjects around themselves in addition to whatever else they are doing. Other demons often lie to them about how dangerous a test is going to be, and wide scale testing is usually led by a Habbalite or Balseraph. Vapula also sends teams to Earth to track down relics and potential security leaks, often Djinn. Disrupting Lightning's plans on Earth or killing Jean's angels is a good way to earn favor as well, with liberal use of Force Catchers (see the Liber Reliquarum) to try and capture Kyriotates for testing.

The Medical Corps is assigned to find cures to diseases - and, indeed, Tartarus works just as hard to find those as to find new disseases. They are quite proud of the fact that everyone who survives their tender ministrations ends up 100% healthy afterwards. There's many uses for new medical discoveries, and they all need testing. Teams of Technology medics will descend on disasater areas, healing everyone around without fear or favor, no matter the side effects, whether they want to be or not.



The Head Hunters exist because, sometimes, you need very specific things in test subjects. Maybe you need five sets of identical twins, or a werewolf. The Head Hunters specialize in finding people and artifacts. They are arrogant, sure, but they never fail. They locate and sometimes capture mortals that fit a set of criteria, and will also happily stalk celestials or ethereals. The harder the job, the more they enjoy it. They spend their spare time using their Roles as archaeologists and antique dealers to hunt down rumors and relics.

The Stylites are those demons given leave of absence to work on some pet topic, or even to help Vapula with his research. They exist outside the Tartarus hierarchy, just setting up shop somewhere to work. All of them are geniuses and specialists, but are often highly arrogant and eccentric even by Vapulan standards.

Technology also has a number of research groups that work together on specific topics, who become friends and allies. These groups are as full of backbiting as any demonic organization, but they can become semi-official, open to anyoen regardless of project or department, and some even publish their own journals or hold conferences. It's common that working in a research group can let you get on to higher things in Technology.

The Godless Research group is the only one ever officially declared heretical by Vapula himself. They are a secret cell who beloeve that 'God' is an outmoded concept to be replaced by Technology. They consider themseves a core research group and communicate via codes and ciphers, meeting only in disguise. They are devoted to projects that further their cause, promoting activities to prove their theories by demonstrating that Technology can perform all the miracles attributed to God, and several he did not perform - blotting out the sun, destroying the biosphere, remaking humanity in Vapula's image and so on. Only the leader, known by the codename Demiurge, knows the identities of all members. Rumors circulate about his true identity, and some think he might not even be a demon of Technology.

VirusWars is a game played by Technology. It's fairly simple: you and your team capture wild strains of flu virrus and spend up to a full year training it in captivity. You might mutate it or genetically alter it, expose it to various stimuli, whatever. Then, when the game begins, each time releases their virus on Earth and carefully tracks the progress. Whichever virus has killed the most mortals in 4 months wins. VirusWars began as an informal biannual challenge between two rival research demons, but has radily become a cult favorite of Tartarus. Researcher vie to be chosen for the official teams, while younger demons root for the favorite team, memorizing team members and colors. Recently there has been an offshoot, Electronic VirusWars, or e-VW, which is the same game done with worms and computer viruses.

Technologists love working with outsiders - they get all kinds of weird ideas from talking to them. Plus, outsiders often pay quite well for toys. There's a formal structure for drumming up business, but individual demons can make whatever deals they like, and sometimes that's the only way to get the resources your project desperately needs. There's a few basic guidelines: First, get the other party to provide tersters. Second, all intellectual property, mortal or celestial, of any kind, reverts to Tartarus. Third, Technologists who reveal secrets without authorization are assumed to have volunteered for testing. Fourth, same for anyone they reveal information to. Fifth, the Prince and his advisors decide what is a technical secret. Sixth, get paid in advance. Seventh, Tartarus offers no guarantee that the final product will conform in any way to any list of requirements.

Vapula believes in rules and regulations, but he also knows that they clearly only apply to other demons. The work of Technology is too important ot be restricted, and Asmodeus should understand that. Regrettably, he does not. Technologists are notorious for tunnel vision, valuing their project over all else, even the laws of Hell. They rarely directly disobey these laws, but they often skirt the edges, and Asmodeus is happy to torture them into obedience. It's easy to pay offf the game with relics...and, well, if you booby trap the relic, it's their fault for not letting you test it, right? A usualy excuse is to claim that you're working on one of Vapula's pet projects and have special dispensation to work with angels, make lots of Disturbance or break whatever other rule you're breaking. While this usually a lie, it isn't always, as some Gamesters have learned.







Adventure seeds are, again, fairly boring. Well, there is one about Technology trying to recover lab rats that were injected with some kind of miracle cancer cure, using rodent vessels to avoid notice. This is notable because several angels are at the hospital at the time overseeing the research for Jean, and the cure has also managed to make one of the hamsters into, essentially, a super-hamster. Also, Jordi has sent some of his Soldiers to lead an ecoterrorist team to break in and free all the animals to piss everyone off.



The End!

What's next? We have the GM's Guide (grand overview), the Corporeal Player's Guide (Soldiers, Saints, Sorcerers), Superiors: Lilith, Liber Canticorum (Songs) or Revelations 1: Night Music (metaplot).

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Robindaybird posted:

And something I wish more westerns use - the fact a good chunk of Cowboys were black, many freed and escaped slaves went West to avoid getting hassled or taken advantage of by white landowners.

Then you also got the fact there's still a lot of simmering tension between former soldiers on both sides, allowing for feuds to occur, keeping the Sheriff and Marshals busy, while adding another dimension to other kinds of conflict (Settlers vs Ranchers, Cowboys vs Lawmen).

Though really - the Confederacy cannot survive without the major interventions you often see in the Weird West Milieu because while the South had better generals and familiarity with the battlefields, they did not have the infrastructure or manpower to match the Union, especially after their major ports got blockaded, keeping them from getting vital materials needed.

Oh, that reminds me of something similar. The concept of the cowboy began among Vaquero ranchers in Mexico who set up an efficient system of grazing that they then taught to the newcomer white settlers in Texas and the Southwest. There's estimations that a massive percentage of cowboys were black and Hispanic in the Old West, like 33%. But when Hollywood came along audiences didn't want to see said groups as heroes in their Western tales, which led to the impression that cowboys were all or mostly white.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Pieces of Peace posted:

Western games seem to run universally disappointing. Is the "some interesting setting, some interesting mechanics, please playtest more and kill the loving metaplot" of Deadlands really as good as it gets?
Western games are hard to do because the setting is high-lethality for typical player characters (who get into gunfights all the time) so you'll be forever rolling up new characters unless you have some sort of magical healing or generous hero point mechanic, which is tricky to pull off both mechanically and thematically (this also applies to pretty much all no-magic "realistic" historical games and settings). Plus the entire historical period has become increasingly problematic - not just with respect to slavery and the confederacy, but also the destruction of Native Americans and the theft of their land, issues with Mexico (racism, land seizure), and the way this all plays out in the traditional canon of source material. Just a tough haul all the way around.

Deadlands was the closest to being a success, with its easily-available magic healing juice and protection magic and hero points (which, if I remember correctly, doubled as XPs in true 1990s fashion) and scrambling the problematic history by dropping steampunk and zombies and evil spirits and voodoo and aztec mummies and everything else into setting, and that was a mixed bag at best

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

theironjef posted:

I theorized that such a thing exists during the show as well. The world is too full of weirdos for it not to.

Try to find an RPG called ReichStar.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Libertad! posted:

But when Hollywood came along audiences didn't want to see said groups as heroes in their Western tales, which led to the impression that cowboys were all or mostly white.

It wasn't just that, it was also illegal for there to be interracial kissing on screen. Even if a studio wanted to have a black or Asian leading man or lady, the majority of the cast would have had to be the same race so people didn't go to jail.

It's bizarre to think there was once an era where a show like I Love Lucy was considered incredibly risky because the premise was that a white Hispanic man was married to a Caucasian woman.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Stormbringer 5th Edition

Stormbringer eats 1d4 PCs per turn

Time for the GM section! It starts with advice for rookie GMs. They should at least make sure how skills and combat work and read Elric of Melniboné and Stormbringer to get a feeling for how adventures should play out. They should also read through published adventures if they mean to play it, or make sure that the adventures they make themselves have chances for roleplaying, consequences for allegiances, and generally feel Moorcock-like. They should also have a table large enough to sit all players, enough chairs, pen and paper, copies of the character creation worksheet and common tables like Resistance, Parrying, Dodging and so on. Oh, and the GM should keep the corebook - the players can buy their own books if they want the rules, dangit. :colbert:


His hair, ruined!

There's some advice on building a plot and having excuses for PCs to roll together. They can all be applying for the same job offer, have a common friend in need and so on. Mass combat should be decided beforehand by the GM, or by using miniature or relevant board game rulesets, though the translation notes that the Sailing in the Seas of Fate sourcebook has rules for naval combat. There's also useful notes to keep in mind for adventurers , the opposition, the effects of Chaos in others, and more. There's also an optional rule here to give characters +1 to Law for each skill they get to 80% and for every 20% above it, just like sorcerers get +1 to Chaos for learning or using a spell. Enchantments are basically magic items with qualities of their own, instead of the Stormbringer standard of shoving a demon inside an item and calling it a day. There's an arrow of Law that deals extra damage to Chaotic targets, a Chaotic rapier that bends to strike at armor joints, a book that can answer questions about the past (but fail three POW x3/x2/x1 rolls in a row and the character using it gets a bad case of Wikipedia addiction), and more. These are neat, though not strictly necessary.

Then we get to allegiance from the GM side. It notes that resurrection of a character is only possible by asking a Lord of Chaos or Law, since the Balance doesn't intervene against death. An ally gets a 1% chance of having their patrons listen, while a Champion gets 3%. There's also a table here with examples of the things that make people gain and lose allegiance points. These encompass a lot of stuff, and while they can only affect one single allegiance score at a time PCs will run across these all the time, so even Knighto McLawton will have Chaos points and D'ck'ss Wizardinia will score Law points. Loving someone? +3 Balance. Killing someone? +1 Chaos. Binding an elemental? -1 Balance. Healing someone with a deathly illness? +1 Balance. Saying a meaningful lie? +1 Chaos or +1 Law. Imprisoning someone? +1 Balance or +1 Law. Releasing someone? +1 Chaos or +1 Balance. Rejecting charity? +1 Law. Rescuing someone in danger? +1 Chaos, +2 Balance or +1 Law. Killing a demon? +(1/10 demon's POW) Law. Killing an elemental? (+1/10 elemental's POW) for Chaos or Law. Generally these happen once per session of gaming.


Prince Gaynor, a former Champion of Balance now corrupted by Chaos. He's actually from the Corum of the Scarlet Robe stories, but he cameos in an Elric yarn.

Non-human races! Players may want to play one of these, and if the GM disagrees then the player can play it on a 01 in 1d100 roll. Melnibonéans are dicks, of course. They start with 2d8+2 in most stats except DEX (2d8+4) and INT, POW and APP (2d8+8) They get +20% to three different Art skills, Writing, Appraising, Million Spheres, Riding, Natural World, Oratory, Orienteering, Potions, First Aid and one weapon class. The Witch Sight spell is a skill for them that starts at 30%. Their default skill scores are mostly the same as humans but they're a little worse in unarmed combat, and they start speaking Melnibonéan instead of the Common Tongue, which means a PC will have to spend points in this to talk to other PCs. They also get 250 skill points to start with, and with enough POW to cast spells they can also have half their INT in spells to start. A successful Luck roll gets them up to three bound demons with 1d8 per stat (3d8 for POW) and a five-point power. They also get valuable armor (up to Melnibonéan half-plate), a stable of horses and fabulous wealth in the Dreaming Isle, and ten times what a regular adventurer gets in pocket money. On the other hand, they must've had a good reason to leave Imrryr, and they'll be mistrusted and feared in the Young Kingdoms: penalties to Art, Fast Talk, Negotiation and Oratory and other skills. The GM may also decide to add as disadvantages an Addiction to a certain drug (the character starts with 1d6 days' worth of drug doses, the GM decides the effects of withdrawal) or a Psychological Disorder (sadism, melancholy, etc. - POW x 4 roll to avoid suffering an episode during a tense moment). Half-Melnibonéans are half human and half Melnibonéan, of course. They get 2d8+2 for STR and CON, 2d8+3 for SIZ and DEX, and 2d8+5 for INT, POW and APP. They're similar to Melnibonéans in terms of skills and sorcerous goodies, but they only get five times the starting money and no valuable inheritance. The penalties for dealing with Young Kingdoms folk should be lesser than for full-blooded Melnibonéans. Melnibonéan Slaves are humans or half-Melnibonéans. They get -2 CON, +2 DEX and +1 APP as default modifiers, but the GM may allow the player to shift these mods around. A successful Luck roll means the slave's master "gifted" them a demonic power. They start with valuable jewelry and clothes for 2d8x100 bronzes, a ceremonial dagger that deals 1d4+3 damage and is worth 225 bronzes and an addiction or mental illness at the GM's choice.

The Myyrrhn are proud winged people. Though not all of them actually have wings: Luck roll to see if the character has them. A winged character has a MOV of 11 while flying and 7 on the ground, while non-winged Myyrrhn have 8 MOV. They roll their stats with d8s instead of d6s, start with 250 skill points and get +20% to Art, Search, Disguise, Dodge, Appraise, Natural World, Conceal Object, Trade, First Aid, Jump, Climb and a weapon class. Winged Myyrrhn get Fly as a skill, non-winged Myyrrhn get Ride instead. They're sorcerous adepts and can start with half their INT in spells with the appropriate POW, while a Luck roll gets them a single bound demon. Another successful Luck roll and the sacrifice of one POW gets them the True Name of a sylph as a gift from Lassa.


Moonglum looks cool, considering he's supposed to be butt-ugly.

Then there's a number of generic NPCs (generic allegiance agents, archers, assassins, thieves, guards, knights, stable grooms, bar maids, etc.) and creatures from the books. It is warned that many of these could almost overpower Elric, so the GM should feel free to reduce their stats to challenge the PCs properly. Many of them are one-shot enemies from the books: there's Pigs, Snake and Thing from Elric of Melniboné, for instance, and the game notes that they extrapolate stats for the Pigs since Elric and Rackhir waste them quickly once they're introduced. There's the Melnibonéan dragons, of course, that breathe acid poison instead of fire (it has a POT of the dragon's POW and deals 1d6+4 damage per turn); or Bellbane, the "mist giant" from The Weird of the White Wolf that takes half damage even from magic weapons and prefers to crush enemies slowly with its 43 STR and then bite them for 1d8+4+3d8 damage. The Devil Riders of Pan Tang :black101: are seasoned human warriors that fight riding a freaking Chaos velociraptor and with a trained tiger alongside. The Butterfly of Chaos is a Theleb K'aarna summon that almost murders Elric until he remembers how to summon a Beast Lord that eats it whole, but it can get weapons stuck to its body and gore enemies for 2d8+3d8 damage.

But the showcase piece of the chapter is the heroes list, with important NPCs from the entire saga. As per the rules, most of them have varying allegiance scores even if they're focused on one side or the other: Duke Avan Astran has Chaos 13, Balance 38 and Law 62, while Elric's first love Cymoril has Chaos 41, Balance 35 and Law 10. One of the two exceptions is Jagreen Lern, the Theocrat of Pan Tang that has a score of Chaos 840, Balance -600 and Law 0 (literally the most evil NPC) and is also a walking TPK with demons up the rear end and weapons that have good odds of wasting at least 1 PC per attack. Still just 17 HP, but good luck getting to hit him. One weird thing with this chapter is that many characters get random demon gear that doesn't quite show up in the books: Moonglum gets some demonic leather armor with eyes on his back so that he can see where all attacks come from, while Magum Colim (Elric's admiral) has a spear that returns to his hand when he throws it. There's also some strange choices in the NPCs to show - there's Oone the Dreamthief, from a 2001 story (dream magic to be written up in a future supplement!), but Sharilla, the Myyrrhn woman that is Elric's main squeeze during the search for the Dead Gods Book in the main saga is nowhere to be seen.

As for Elric himself, his STR and CON are pitiful at 5. Of course, he's got his drugs that increase them to 15 each (or 1d10 if Elric has to scrounge herbs if he's in the rear end end of the world, POW x 2% roll) and STR 25/CON 20 with Stormbringer itself. His HP score also changes with these stats, going from 10 to 23 HP. He's a a decent swordsman with a 105% skill with it, and not only knows pretty much every spell in the game but also, being the legal Emperor of Melniboné and thus heir to a buttload of contracts and pacts, can basically call on any Beast or Plant or Elemental Lord that he requires. He can also try calling on his patron Arioch, but just like in the books his help is far from constant. A group of PCs could theoretically overwhelm Elric if the GM doesn't fiat his rescue away. The only problem is Stormbringer itself, which actually has a NPC stat block of its own. It has ridiculous stats for a sword, with a POW of 70 (the translation wonders if Stormbringer hadn't bound Elric instead of the opposite) and a demon skill of 880%, which is how Elric lays waste to everyone around him. It deals a staggering 17d10+1d6 damage, but also has a Drain POW (that is to say, souls) effect that drains 1d100 POW from the target on a hit and increases his STR or CON in one per two POW points up to the maximums of 25 and 20. With a DEX of 20, he could deal up to 4 220% attacks per turn, so he stands a very good chance of murdering a PC party on his own. Stormbringer is fickle, though: like in the books, it can get too full of souls and leave Elric to fight using his skill alone, though that takes "tens of thousands of points", and if it absorbs 21 POW or more in one go the power surge will knock Elric on his rear end. Mournblade, Stormbringer's twin blade, has the same stats.


Why would you ever not play a Devil Rider?

Then there's two ready-made adventures but this post is getting long enough already! The first one, The Weight of Doom, is pretty lame: the characters end up sought out by a follower of Balance, who is pursued by both an agent of Chaos and one of Law. It's nothing but "NPC talks to PCs, PCs react, then the next NPC shows up" and really, there's not much else to it. A printout of the values of Law, Chaos and Balance would be much more useful to players. The second one, The Thought that Counts is more interesting. The PCs are hired by a Purple Towns merchant to recover a small figurine from a guy that owes him money. The thing is, he had already given up the figurine, but somehow he managed to steal it back. The guy is secretly a sorceror and had a demon bound in the figurine to bring it back, and it's up to the PCs to find out! They could end up confronting the sorceror directly, somehow subduing the bound demon so that it doesn't teleport around, or even call in the Church of Law since demon summoning is illegal in the Towns (but the Church agents will break the cursed figurine in the process, so much for the reward!) The chapter rounds up with notes on converting old Stormbringer material to this edition and six ready-made PCs.

Next: a Lawful Good Agent of Chaos.

Traveller fucked around with this message at 03:53 on Feb 4, 2016

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Libertad! posted:

Oh, that reminds me of something similar. The concept of the cowboy began among Vaquero ranchers in Mexico who set up an efficient system of grazing that they then taught to the newcomer white settlers in Texas and the Southwest. There's estimations that a massive percentage of cowboys were black and Hispanic in the Old West, like 33%. But when Hollywood came along audiences didn't want to see said groups as heroes in their Western tales, which led to the impression that cowboys were all or mostly white.

There were also a decent number of Hispanics who passed themselves off as white after immigrating north among the cowboys, and given the racism of the era they had every reason to pretend they were always white.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Traveller posted:

One weird thing with this chapter is that many characters get random demon gear that doesn't quite show up in the books: Moonglum gets some demonic leather armor with eyes on his back so that he can see where all attacks come from, while Magum Colim (Elric's admiral) has a spear that returns to his hand when he throws it. There's also some strange choices in the NPCs to show - there's Oone the Dreamthief, from a 2001 story (dream magic to be written up in a future supplement!), but Sharilla, the Myyrrhn woman that is Elric's main squeeze during the search for the Dead Gods Book in the main saga is nowhere to be seen.

Using demonic anything is really out of character for Moonglum. I guess it's kind of like the old Giants in the Earth Dragon articles, where literary characters who never used magic in their own stories were given magic equipment anyway because D&D.

I can understand them wanting to highlight Oone, since she's another version of Una Persson, who's a rather important figure in Moorcock's work.

Anyway, it looks much improved from the original iterations of Stormbringer ... but my impression is that it's still just another fantasy heartbreaker that happens to use Moorcock's world.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Selachian posted:

Using demonic anything is really out of character for Moonglum. I guess it's kind of like the old Giants in the Earth Dragon articles, where literary characters who never used magic in their own stories were given magic equipment anyway because D&D.


What gets me is that there's no general rule for it: you have Avan Astran and Count Smiorgan with experienced but otherwise normal stat blocks, and then Queen Yishana can totally summon elementals. Sometimes the game admits it's making stuff up, like when they give Mordaga the Sad Giant a giant fuckoff axe, but then Moonglum gets kit fit for a Chaos Champion for no reason.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Mors Rattus posted:

What's next? We have the GM's Guide (grand overview), the Corporeal Player's Guide (Soldiers, Saints, Sorcerers), Superiors: Lilith, Liber Canticorum (Songs) or Revelations 1: Night Music (metaplot).

Any votes?

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Lilith.

Madtrixr
Nov 27, 2010




I agree Lilith, what's her deal.

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.

I vote GM's Guide. I'd like to see the developers response to the question, "So what do we *do* with all this setting information?"

Because as cool as this setting is, I feel like it can leave an inexperienced played a bit stranded as who finding story-hooks, and figuring out stuff for PCs to do.

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Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Let's go ahead and do Lilith, since it won't take very long.

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