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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



wiegieman posted:

Humanis, or, the people so hated that you can auction off a list of their donors and live for a year off it.
It's just economic anxiety, don't you see. The REAL wicked people are the shadowrunners who stole the list!

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Haha, ANZAC.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.

Nessus posted:

It's just economic anxiety, don't you see. The REAL wicked people are the shadowrunners who stole the list!
The modern political situation really has given me a new appreciation for Humanis as an enemy faction in SR, it's true.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy: Tome of Corruption

Mutation: Chaos's best plan

Mutation is one of the most wicked and insidious tools of Chaos, and one of the ones I find the most compelling, because it relies on a very understandable, and very wrong, reaction on the part of its victims. Too much contact with contaminated materials, pollutants that might be mixed with Nurglite mischief, or Warpstone can produce mutation in both babies and adults, of any race (except Halflings, they're totally immune). Traveling through areas that have seen high doses of Chaos magic in the past can essentially irradiate a person, either causing them to change or causing their future children to have a higher chance of being born irregular. The key to the insidious nature of Chaos mutation came up back in Bretonnia, with the village of sane mutants living in the wood in Artois: Mutation generally doesn't do anything to the mind, nor does it actually seal someone's allegiance to the dark powers. BUT people who are allied to the dark powers almost always have mutations, because they handle the kinds of energies and materials that will cause them. Thus, people in the Old World believe mutants are all marked by, and in league with, Chaos, despite the fact that most aren't when they first change. Chaos uses mutation and the social reaction to it as a snare, a way to reach its net out and grab souls who otherwise would've had the sense to tell it no.

Many mutations occur in the womb. People who aren't aware they've been exposed to the damage Chaos energy can cause, who are still perfectly healthy and normal themselves, sometimes have children who come out 'wrong'. As you might imagine, many people have a hard time killing their own child, despite official policy. Even if the babe came out with a tentacle in place of one arm, three eyes, or some other dramatic deformity, parental love is a very strong force. The Hunters and the Priests say you have to hand such children over to be dealt with, that they're already marked by the Dark Gods, but many can't bear to do that. Thus, they abandon the children in the woods so they don't have to bear the responsibility for killing them, or hide them away in sewers or other dark places. The Beastmen of the wood scour the land for these changed children, and raise them to hate the parents who abandoned them; these bastards take especial pleasure in helping a 'recruit' return to kill their own parents. In the cities, these furtive communities of cast-off children are hunted by both Witch Hunters and Cultists, the Cultists to recruit, the Hunters to do their terrible duty, and this quickly turns them to bitterness and dark bargains. By treating this disease as a sign of immediate soullessness in children, and asking parents to do the unthinkable, the Old World accidentally creates a marginalized, abused under-class that can be exploited by Chaos's followers. What I like is that this isn't just my reading of it; this is the intent of the book. This is one of the few examples of Chaos taking advantage of a totally understandable set of human reactions to subtly cast its net out and do evil, and it's tragic and chilling. Much like Brets and losing children to the Fae, this is another of those tragedies that transcends class; nobles and peasants alike try to ward expectant mothers and pray to Shallya and Sigmar to protect their children and their household from being forced to make these kinds of choices.

Environment can also turn a healthy, normal adult into a mutant. Warpstone exposure is the most common, because it's wizard cocaine plutonium. Areas which saw great battles with Chaos or terrible sacks can be tainted unless they're properly cleansed by priests and wizards, and even then it might not take, like in the Kislevite city of Praag. Urban environments see the most mutation, both because Chaos intentionally targets those places and often tries to use cults to foul water supplies or spread warpstone powder mixed with ink or do other crazy schemes to get people to touch the wizard plutonium, and because there are so many people living in close proximity. If something is contaminated, it's much harder to contain in a huge city like Altdorf than it would be in a rural region. Sanitation also isn't great in the Old World, and so people are exposed to more pollutants and plagues in the city than they would be out in less densely populated regions. Areas that have been thoroughly sacked by Chaos often see all sorts of mutated wildlife and plant-life in an altered ecology that seeks to spread itself further. Cordoning off these tainted places, fighting the mutated animal drones, and magically clearing the blight and pollutants can make for good work for particularly brave Adventurers.

Sometimes, books can do it to you. Whether because of the aforementioned 'we mixed warpstone into the ink nyehahaha' plots by cultists (a cult seems to think of that one every month or so) or the way some books of magic become magical because of what they contain, some books really are dangerous. Reading them and handling them can do terrible things to a person. Under the great Temple of Sigmar in Altdorf, the cult quarantines the worst tomes and artifacts of evil, hiding away things like the ashes of Vlad and Isabella von Carstein or the terrible writings of the 'prophet' of Chaos, Necrodomo. Ever since some nameless Witch Hunter went crazy after reading one of the books down there and ran off to become Archaon, they've redoubled their precautions and wards. Sometimes they need one of these relics to uncover a weakness in a terrible foe, and when the priests study these things, the books try to escape. Sometimes one gets away to wreck havoc, and Adventurers need to be commissioned on the down low to find and recapture/burn the drat thing.

Magic can warp people more reliably than anything else. Even safe and sane magic can turn bad if it's overused or used for evil purpose, and even when magic isn't directly tainted by Chaos it can weird an area or a magic user. Almost all Magisters are shaped by the Wind they wield, though they'd argue these Arcane Marks are a normal part of the trade and not mutations (these show up in Tome of Salvation and Realms of Sorcery, as consequences for using a lot of divine or arcane magic). The Witch Hunters sometimes mutter that all Magisters are mutants and witches anyway, only to have licenses waved in their faces and Imperial officials warn them to focus on the real enemy; the Empire needs the Colleges and needs them badly. The Colleges try their best to instill respect for magic and care in their students, but there will always be young fools who push it too far and end up with something beyond the acceptable Marks. The Colleges try to deal with these cases internally; they don't want the Witch Hunters suspecting they're right about the wizards all along.

Plague is a specific means for Nurgle to spread mutation, and one of the most effective. Plague terrifies the people of the Empire. Yes, the Shallyan order has skilled doctors (comparatively) and miracle-working Shallyans can outright purge even the worst diseases from an individual. There aren't that many Shallyans who can work miracles, and the key there is 'from an individual'. The Empire generally resorts to cordons and quarantines to try to contain the spread of plagues, but these things are relatively ineffective without a real understanding of disease. Nurgle is forever there, in the quarantine zones, whispering to those suffering and dying that they don't have to end. He'll take away the pain and extend their lives...which will also stop the disease from burning itself out. Sometimes Nurgle's gifts will even render someone asymptomatic, just to let them travel more widely after the quarantine is lifted. There's a reason people living in an early modern society are goddamn terrified of Nurgle especially. The worst of Nurglite diseases cause horrific mutation and pain as they apply more and more pressure to try to force someone to accept him; if your PC gets the Neglish Rot and your GM doesn't let you either Burn Fate to make a miraculous recovery or get to a Shallyan with Cure Disease your PC is pretty much done, since it both checks to sap your stats every day, automatically mutates you every week with no save, and lasts for like a month without treatment. They might as well have written 'You die' as the disease's effects, and that gets to the problem with plague: Nurgle's scary as hell, but what are PCs supposed to actually do about this? Traveling through infested areas is basically a bunch of save or die (or save or suck) checks and even if you kill the source of the disease, it's already infected plenty of people by the time you usually notice it.

Possession also causes mutation but pretty much just kills whoever it afflicts. Possession is pretty dull. Once a demon gets hold of a person and overcomes their mind, if you can't get them to a good exorcist really quickly they're pretty much hosed. Demons love to possess people because it gives them a physical body, protecting them from warp instability. They also love mutating and hurting their new body just because they can. Demons are dicks. Cultists are sometimes stupid enough to let themselves get possessed on purpose, which inevitably kills the cultist who thought they were going to ascend to some higher level of being or something, which also gets at another problem we'll be seeing with Chaos: Chaos doesn't really do anything good for its followers. Chaos pretty much just dicks you over as soon as it can. It doesn't have much of a carrot, just a hell of a lot of sticks. A PC who suffers a possession attack by touching the wrong relic or whatever (never engage with Chaos relics, just burn them, nothing they can do is ever worth what they do to you) gets one WP test to resist. Henceforth, they have to make a WP test every day or the demon takes over and plays them instead, granting 1 Insanity point. If they get to 12 Insanity points, the demon destroys their mind and pushes them out completely, and can do whatever it wants with the body. You can find someone to exorcise the bastard before that and usually have a fair bit of time, but it still doesn't feel like an especially fun mechanic. We'll be getting a lot of that with Chaos's various 'You touched me now you're hosed' traps.

Also, and this is key to the social reaction to mutants, Chaos mutates its followers. If you're a cultist, a champion, or whatever, you're going to change physically (and mentally, but most don't realize that part and we'll get to that when we get to Chaos Warriors) over time. This is one of the reasons people believe anyone with mutations must already have signed their soul over to darkness. Cultists and champions, who are prone to sunk cost fallacies, come up with all kinds of reasons why their mutations are really good things, and that it's totally awesome that one of their legs just had a cage match with their other leg and now they have to hop everywhere on the one super leg, or how their brain just tried to escape their head and turned their skull into a point. Cultists mostly don't come off as very smart people.

Next Time: Dealing with your mutations.

ZorajitZorajit
Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...
Maybe it's just me, but mutation as it exists in Warhammer Fantasy (and to a lesser degree 40K) always felt like one of the weirder hangers-on of the setting. The presentation of it as being tied to chaos exposure reads like nuclear fallout fears. And I know, right now I may need to offer my apologies and condolences in hours or days; but for Warhammer to be so informed by the Cold War might be one of those things that hangs around as an artifact for future study.

From a more direct perspective, why does Fantasy need mutants on top of everything else. And why is mutation this random thing that just happens, oh well. Mutation and body horror can be great, but its almost always a personal thing. The loss of self and the corruption of the body. If Alien of The Thing breaks out across a population those stories are radically changed.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
Mutation is more important to the setting than the various stand-ins for Iberia and Scandinavia and so on, among other things.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

The main reason mutation really needs to exist in Fantasy is to allow for, uh, monsters and poo poo. It's a clever enough solution that also works with the Chaos paradigm and gives the PCs stuff to work with that's a lot more concrete and visible than personality shifts and afflictions and poo poo. Plus it's just classic Magic Does Weird poo poo. I don't particularly think they're going for some metaphorical hook outside of how the thing they made affects society.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Well, the warpstone-as-radiation thing is definitely intended but I think that came after mutation.

e: also, to give some idea of why skaven are so hosed up all the time - they eat this stuff.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.
This thread inspired me to go read the Skaven book and I can see what the guy upthread was bothered about. Individual Skaven are great, but the Skaven civilisation as a whole is depicted as super-powerful and unstoppable, with all the best toys and super-secret fortresses under all the cities and spies everywhere. You're left asking "why haven't they just taken over yet?"

Crazy mad-science mutant ratbeasts who'll get around to conquering the world just as soon as they SHOW THEM ALL is a great concept, I wish they hadn't dialled the under-empire up so high. It gives them more of a creator's pet feel than Chaos, to be honest.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP

Loxbourne posted:

You're left asking "why haven't they just taken over yet?"

Because they always backstab and sabotage themselves so there's no real narrative point to opposing them because they'll trip over their own feet in a frenzy of backstabbing the moment they start to really get anywhere, thus preserving the status quo with no input from the good guys required.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
People are being afflicted by what is, essentially, the remnants of an ancient industrial accident (the exploded gate at the north pole) and don't know it. No-one in-setting really truly knows how Chaos works as a form of radiation and pollution, but they might figure it out eventually, especially with the Colleges of Magic existing and codifying knowledge now. Mutations and their effects on society, and especially the way reacting to it with 'PURGE THE MUTANT, KILL THE DEVIANT, MAINTAIN PURITY AT ALL COSTS!' is actively counter productive, are one of the few interesting parts of Chaos as written.

The Slaan and Lizardmen *might* understand it better, but even then, they were essentially labor robots and tools that were never created for the work they've ended up having to do. And the Elves don't really know anything more than what they originally learned from the Slaan, so really, the only people who 'got' Chaos' actual nature as a force were probably the Old Ones and they didn't leave much record. They're also just not very important in the setting by default. Sort of a remnant of when they originally wanted more possibility of fantasy characters pulling out the occasional ancient laser cannon than where we ended up. You could do stuff with the Old Ones but by nature you'd be departing from the setting as written.

Which is good, cool, and fun, of course, but don't expect there to be anything more about them in Tome of Corruption besides the mention at the beginning.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



LOCKE VS. CURVAL: LASHING OUT IN LONDON



Appealing to Curval's desire to take life and death into his own hands, Blangis based Curval's Dream Cage on an idealized stereotype of 19th century Victorian Britain like one does. This simulation is specifically based on a fantasized version of the East End, a maze of cobblestone, lovely buildings and fog lit by gaslights. Curval's Cage acts differently because unlike Blangis, Durcet and Levec he's a lot more proactive about wanting to kill the PCs (or in this case, kill Sgt. Chen Locke). We'll get into exactly how this functions after I explain the sights. Also worth noting: men appear in this cage wearing shoddy working-class duds while women appear wearing slutty, lurid dresses befitting prostitutes and streetwalkers. So there's that. Chen's not one to pass up a little bit of dressing up for her own enjoyment but this is just insulting.




There's no danger here until you start moving. Then the game, as they say, is afoot.


The policeman is an artificial, as are most of the fixtures of this Dream Cage. Because Curval is a more action-oriented individual, he doesn't really have any accomplices here to give him a hand (or steal a kill from him, or help protect him). Unless I say otherwise, assume the person at hand is an artificial. The policeman will run off blowing his whistle and dissolve when out of sight, doing nothing more than warning Peacemaker to get off the street. The victim is, in turn, an artificial which a Medical Knowledge check will make aware. This "dead" artificial is meant to set the mood and warn the PCs of what's in this simulation.


You can't actually enter this pub, it's all just a simulation meant to make you feel isolated and unprotected.


The streetwalkers are programmed with some rote lines but will engage in conversation if asked to. Their role is really just set dressing and you can roll to make them say stuff randomly.



They won't leave the pub and can't be convinced otherwise, mocking the PC unless they're hurt (whereupon they'll flee for their own "lives").


Simulated pig carcasses are hanging from the hooks, creating a constant trickle of blood that makes the floor slick and dangerous. Rummaging through the dark building and rummaging for three straight turns nets the PC a meat hook that functions as a shiv.


The tannery is a maze of vats and racks with sheets of leather functioning as walls. There's no real purpose to this place outside of acting as a shortcut between streets or a place to hide in the shadows and behind the leather.


The girls won't leave the boarding house and when the PC wanders by the matron can be seen comforting the hysterical girl. If you ask to enter, the matron will refuse and tell you to go elsewhere before locking the doors of the building which doesn't actually have any entrances because it's a simulation. Once the matron shuts the doors, the lights go off, the girls disappear and the building goes quiet.


The fake children peek out of windows and act worried and won't let anyone inside, claiming they saw the Ripper go east and that they saw four different women ask to get in but be turned away. That's really it to this area.


You can smash the bottle to get some shards of glass to use as improvised weapons.


You can hide behind the garbage or flip a coin to see if you can root through the heaps to see if you can scavenge weapons.




This is a cat burglar meant to be a red herring so the PC will mistake the burglar for the Ripper. His bag is full of fake goods and he'll remain cautious and quiet if monitored or attempt to run if pursued. If it comes to a fight, he'll fight. He's got a shiv but he's an artificial, meaning that it's easy to kill him and take the shiv.


This is another red herring and is just a lecherous street sweeper who will harass female PCs if they try to see if he's actually Curval. He won't follow PCs, content to remain at a distance and laugh drunkenly/cat-call.


This leads to Area 66.


Still leading to Area 66.


Despair check! She's a human woman by the name of Annie (#9841445) who was Curval's first victim this night and her wounds are so grievous she'll die ASAP regardless of treatment. Poor Annie was a daughter of a political dissident and was sent to jail when her dad refused to sit down and shut up. You can't save Annie, but you can save the other three women from the next three sections. Failure to save them means that you'll find their mauled corpses and have to make a Despair check.


Roll for turn order. If the PC attacks, they run a pretty good choice of killing Sally (#9941632) who is armed with a shard of glass and lashing out in a blind panic. Her Despair is super high but if she gets a chance to see she's not attacking Curval, she'll beg to follow Peacemaker. Abandoning her is a Guilt check, bringing her along means she uses accomplice stats and she's not great at fighting.


Marina (#9188270) was a Latvian child prostitute who was arrested and imprisoned along with a slew of other boys and girls who were made an example of by the PTM. She's grown into a woman (which is real funny: boys are allowed to be boys forever but a girl has to become a woman after 5 years of imprisonment) and she's not a particularly good fighter or great at defending herself. She only speaks Latvian outside of gestures and because she speaks loudly she runs a risk of attracting Curval once Peacemaker runs into her unless Peacemaker shushes her. If she joins, she has accomplice stats.


Despite Scarlett (#7663109) being named Scarlett and described as having red hair, she's got blonde hair in the art. Check it:




Originally a scam artist from an asteroid colony, Scarlett's got a good head on her shoulders. She's been in this simulation for a day but has figured out the rules and how to stay a step ahead of Curval. She's also been looking for someone capable to give her a hand with escaping and unlike Sally and Marina she's got some ability to fight. She'll follow Peacemaker as long as it's advantageous for her to do so, focused on protecting herself above all others.

RULES OF THE HUNT

For starters, the fog is so thick the PC can't see more than this diamond.



Which is meant to be moved over this map as Peacemaker roams London. Anything outside of the empty space is obscured by fog.



There's a separate map for Curval but I have enough maps as is. Peacemaker starts at 52, Curval starts at 66 facing westward on the map. Curval can't see bigger than the diamond of sight himself due to the fog and his movement is totally random. Every turn he can move up to six spots while Peacemaker moves her own six spots. There's some rules that inform his movement but it's normally up to a roll of the dice.
  • There are two main roads and a number of side streets. If Curval is on a main road, he will travel straight until he sees a side street.
  • When Curval passes a side street, roll 1d6. 1-2: he keeps going straight. 3-4: he takes the side street. 5-6: he turns around and backtracks the direction he came from.
  • When Curval passes an intersection of two side streets to choose from, the rules of above apply but on a 3-4 result another 1d6 is rolled to figure out which street he takes.
  • If Curval comes across Marina, Sally or Scarlett, he will spend his turn to automatically kill them as long as they're alone and there will be a loud scream that tips Peacemaker off as to where he is. Peacemaker basically gets a turn of free movement because when Curval is done murdering a victim he'll move once more on the next turn.
  • Because Curval can't see too far outside of the fog himself, this affects how he handles fighting the PCs. The moment he sees them he stops his random movements and goes in for the attack. If the PC runs, he follows. If he does not end his turn with the PC in sight, his random movements resume.
Curval is pretty dangerous thanks to the fact that he has Knife-Fighter, reasonable stats and extra health. Fortunately for Peacemaker, she's a legit veteran of urban combat and she's not alone.

She ends up gathering up the three other women and holing up in the tannery after searching the slaughterhouse for a hook. Peacemaker entices Marina into speaking loudly to attract Curval's attention and then all four of them ambush him, viciously stabbing him to death with their improvised weapons.

Peacemaker takes his shiv and spits on his corpse for good measure before leading the three other women out of the cage.

NEXT TIME: the end of this whole sordid affair. The time: the 16th century. The place: I'unno, Italy maybe probably. The event: a masquerade ball. The fetishes: overflowing. The protagonist: Ice Queen.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
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Well, the older-generation Slaan, who worked directly with the Old Ones and who spend most of their time solving philosophical quandaries to better interpret The Great Plan, probably understand. But they also see the effort of thinking on a human timescale as profoundly difficult and the need to explain anything they do as nonexistent. Plus, the best of them cannot speak, being dead.

E: Like, I think calling the first- and second-gen slaan just labor robots sells them short. The slaan were devised as the organizing minds of the rest of the lizardmen, who needed to understand the greater ramifications of the plan, or at least parts of it, even if they didn't understand what the purpose of the plan was. But there are very few of either left, and Lord Kroak's in no position to explain anything.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Mors Rattus posted:

Well, the older-generation Slaan, who worked directly with the Old Ones and who spend most of their time solving philosophical quandaries to better interpret The Great Plan, probably understand. But they also see the effort of thinking on a human timescale as profoundly difficult and the need to explain anything they do as nonexistent. Plus, the best of them cannot speak, being dead.

Have you ever played Geneforge? There are interesting organic AIs there called Servant Minds that are incredibly intelligent and able to organize other biological robits and creations, build whole eco-systems, etc. But at the end of the day, as genius as they are, they're still expert systems who have to try to fulfill their orders, sometimes trying to do so well past when it was reasonable or useful. That ended up being how I see Slaan. They're sentient, very, very intelligent, very powerful, but all of it goes towards trying to accomplish the goal they were told to accomplish, in the task they were created to solve. At least, this is how I intend to run them for the Lustria stuff I'm writing specifically because it stops every plot from being 'Get it to the Slaan so they fix it' and makes it more 'Find a way to make this the Slaan's problem so they *can*.' if you're playing Skinks and Saurus.

It probably helped that the Geneforge Servant Minds are A: Really likable and neat and B: Frogs.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me

How the setting treats chaos also reminds me of some popular depictions of Shinto where there are clean and proper ways of doing things and doing anything else invites filth and corruption. Intent does not matter; did you do the thing wrong, or do the right thing but at the wrong time? Doomed.

I was playing the game Nioh a while back and there is a boss that shows up at one point that I think of when I think of Chaos. A noble woman lost her son and gives in to grief, and the intensity of her emotion and how deep she gives in to it warps her into an ogress, an inhuman creature with a kabuki mask face. The idea that you can become a monster if you become imbalanced, twisted out of human shape because your human nature was distorted works for me. I like that you don't need a cultist or voice in your head urging you; your fears, griefs, hates resonate with the winds or chaos to make that change to you. Folklore is full of stories where someone with a bad quality becomes a monster embodying that, like greedy people turning into dragons that horde more and more wealth. They are meant to warn communities from letting those qualities get out of hand in members of their group, but you know someone might just think, "gently caress, you mean if I just Scrooged a little harder I could become a dragon?"

I am not sure how to reconcile this idea of emotions and human nature resonating to create mutation with the idea that sometimes mutation just happens and isn't your fault. I just prefer that idea to the Chaos Gods, personally.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
I'm not sure what makes me madder; Victoriana being a whole game about Victorian England that doesn't understand Victorian England like at all, or AAH's WHORES WHORES WHORES WHORES WHORES

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy: Tome of Corruption

Please cut off the tentacle, I don't care what else happens.

So, how do people deal with the warping of flesh, considering the social stigma and state policy of 'kill all mutants'? Remember that mutation can happen to anyone, and sometimes it comes out of nowhere. "People are quick to condemn someone they don't know, or someone they dislike, but when the new mutant is a friend or family member they suddenly find it much more difficult to do the 'obvious' duty of handing them over to the Hunters." as the book puts it, which is a nice touch; it's easy to stick with standard Warhammer 40k-esque lines about purity and purging when it's a bunch of statistics, but this is dealing with a threat that can hit anyone, of any class, and when it happens to someone dear to you what seemed so sensible can suddenly feel much too real. As mentioned in mutation by birth, many parents leave their child somewhere 'safe', with folktales about how the Gods will take the babe back and the child won't suffer, or stories about how there are kindly groups of mutants wandering the woods who will take care of them (If you remember Madame Kalfon from the Vampire book, or the Knights and villagers in Artois, sometimes this is actually totally true). More often the child dies or is found by the Beastmen, and Beastmen are bad news. Beastmen hate everything. We'll get to Beastmen later in their own chapter, but they love taking in mutants to make them kill their own communities.

Other people try to hide what they've got. If it's simple, like six fingers on a hand or an odd mark in a spot normally covered over by clothing, they can live a pretty normal life. Similarly, sometimes a family will hide a mutated child someplace safe and keep them from the Hunters, raising them in secret. That can even work out, sometimes, but hiding someone in a boarded up room or attic is going to affect their sanity and development. Which in turn can lead to tragedy, escape attempts, or discovery. Worse, if a family is found hiding a mutant, and actively trying to keep it from the authorities...well, sometimes the Hunters can be very brutal people and in such cases the family is usually condemned with their child.

Other people seek treatment. If it's a growth or an extra body part, surely a surgeon can amputate it, right? This does work, potentially, but seeking out a surgeon who'll treat a mutant to hide mutation can be dangerous. Major surgery like amputation isn't safe. Some surgeons are traps, turning over mutants seeking help in return for rewards from the Hunters. And even if the surgeon is honest and skilled, getting an entire tail removed is painful, infection prone, and when working with altered anatomy, could cause all sorts of unexpected complications or death. After all, if the body is already twisted a bit, who knows what else got moved around in there? What might suddenly be vital when it wasn't before? You have to find someone with the actual Surgery talent to successfully remove a growth, extra limb, or other added body part, and they have to make a Heal check of difficulty set by the GM or else something is going to go seriously wrong. Still, getting rid of a mutation and living free could be worth the risk. But what if it isn't?

Short one this time, Next Time: Playing As Mutants, expanded mutations.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014

Cythereal posted:

Because they always backstab and sabotage themselves so there's no real narrative point to opposing them because they'll trip over their own feet in a frenzy of backstabbing the moment they start to really get anywhere, thus preserving the status quo with no input from the good guys required.

Except that while they backstab and sabotage themselves so they're not a setting ending threat, in the small scale where PCs operate, they're capable of doing obscene amounts of damage. Stopping a Skaven plot to assassinate a politician? Because yes, Skaven succeed at that. Skaven plot to take over a small town with a death ray? Sure. It's when Skaven start doing huge, long term, setting shaking stuff that their issues really get in the way, and even then they can do a lot of damage before they self destruct violently. Enemy incompetence is not an excuse to just sit around and do nothing to try to mitigate the effects.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
One thing I will say for Tome of Corruption is that it gets across how painful a lot of the stuff Witch Hunters get up to is. Both for the Hunter, and the communities they affect. Being an Imperial Witch Hunter is a terrifying, awful job and the people who are psychologically okay with doing some of the stuff they're expected to do are often pretty damaged people. A Hunter going crazy and becoming a murderous fanatic that the PCs or someone else needs to put down is far from uncommon.

The picture for a Hunter taking a mutated child from his parents has the man look like he's as much on the verge of tears as they are, he's just trying to hide it under his hat.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Night10194 posted:

Have you ever played Geneforge? There are interesting organic AIs there called Servant Minds that are incredibly intelligent and able to organize other biological robits and creations, build whole eco-systems, etc. But at the end of the day, as genius as they are, they're still expert systems who have to try to fulfill their orders, sometimes trying to do so well past when it was reasonable or useful. That ended up being how I see Slaan. They're sentient, very, very intelligent, very powerful, but all of it goes towards trying to accomplish the goal they were told to accomplish, in the task they were created to solve. At least, this is how I intend to run them for the Lustria stuff I'm writing specifically because it stops every plot from being 'Get it to the Slaan so they fix it' and makes it more 'Find a way to make this the Slaan's problem so they *can*.' if you're playing Skinks and Saurus.

It probably helped that the Geneforge Servant Minds are A: Really likable and neat and B: Frogs.

I became frustrated with Geneforge too quickly to get far into it. My view of Slann and the Lizardmen as a whole is more informed by their sourcebooks for the minis game, though I'm at least two editions out of date on those. In those, the Skinks make it clear that the Slann can be people, in the sense that they care about their own appearances, but are not to be bothered with things on anything less than the grandest of scales. A Skaven incursion into a city isn't a Slaan problem unless It threatens the Slaan themself. Hell, the fullscale invasion of Lustria by the Norscans isn't a Slaan problem most of the time. Slaan problems include: Daemons, geological events, the Great Plan, mass exodus by the undead, direct military threat to a vital holy place. Anything less than these things is something they will become very annoyed at being bothered with, to the point of possibly killing the messenger.

Like, the bit where a Skink keeps an Imperial diplomat from being able to try and set up a trade treaty with the Slaan he meets is literally from the chapter fiction, including the Skink explaining that the Slaan would have killed the diplomat if he'd actually translated accurately, because the Slaan's mind is on far more important things, like the philosophical interpretation of the nature of weather, in order to better understand the Great Plan.

Which is to say: yes, they are genetically engineered for a purpose, but they're not robotic in the pursuit of this purpose to the exclusive of all else.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
I suppose so. I only became interested in the Lizards at all pretty recently, since they always felt tangential and my experience is almost entirely with the RPGs and the stories an old friend used to tell me about his own Lizardman army, so my view of them probably comes from a bit of a game of telephone and some other stuff that grabbed me some.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Hello, yes! Is being very good day for posting, no?

I mean, it's still not good, but this is definitely the best of the dream cages, at least that we've seen. It does have me wondering, though, even aside from the actual content, how do they imagine you running this at a table? You're splitting up the party for prolonged individual scenes. That's a whole lotta sitting around watching someone else wander through Nazi Fetish Hellscape.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Their old fiction bits are pretty amazing. The Skinks are in general very entertaining - they're extremely clever and are basically the ones actually running things, because not a single Slaan has the patience to focus on anything as mundane as running a city, and the Saurus are a purely military institution. Like, a Saurus can be very intelligent, even quite friendly, but they are absolute pants as adminsitrators, so that's why skinks are around. (Also, to man ranged weapons, as the Saurus have never actually managed the trick.) And, well, the Kroxigor are basically big dumb idiots that like to hang out with their tiny, smart older brothers. The Empire and Cathay have each 'discovered' the Lizardmen at least three times but the paperwork keeps getting lost or the explorers die on the way home.

Norsca has just decided to try and murder them without talking because lizards riding dinosaurs terrify the gently caress out of them. The Amazons have reached something of an accord with the Saurus, tho, and sometimes help them out.

E: Slaan also occasionally have the bad luck to find a slumbering Daemon as they project their minds across Lustria. This has been the cause of more than one Slaan going insane and dying as they lost the psychic war they were waging with the Daemon whenever their focus fell on the Daemon's tomb.

E2: A problem they could probably have solved if they'd gotten the lesser Lizardmen involved - but often the Slaan doesn't notice it's going on until it becomes too embroiled in the battle to call them to go mobilize.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 19:56 on Aug 9, 2017

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

The Lord of Hats posted:

I mean, it's still not good, but this is definitely the best of the dream cages, at least that we've seen. It does have me wondering, though, even aside from the actual content, how do they imagine you running this at a table? You're splitting up the party for prolonged individual scenes. That's a whole lotta sitting around watching someone else wander through Nazi Fetish Hellscape.
You're supposed to run them either one at a time or jump back and forth between them.



My only real problem with this notion is the fact that, mechanically, three of the four Cages happen simultaneously and Berlin does not. Berlin requires three hours minimum to pass inside of it due to bathhouse or cabaret shenanigans. So, like, in universe it's completely feasible for 3/4 Dream Lords to be dead and the party to have cleared out the rest of Elysium and then have time to figure out whose clothes belong to who, what to do with the people who were rescued, etc. and for whoever ended up in Berlin to emerge like "hey what did I miss?" three hours later. Alternately the rest of the party blundering in to save them ahead of time and kill Nazis or use the library computer to shut down the holodeck early.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.
Fallen Rib
The "roll-for-atmosphere" bit is just so telling about the authors' design sensibilities.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Mors Rattus posted:

Their old fiction bits are pretty amazing. The Skinks are in general very entertaining - they're extremely clever and are basically the ones actually running things, because not a single Slaan has the patience to focus on anything as mundane as running a city, and the Saurus are a purely military institution.
The Skinks, The Slaan, and Saurus were pretty good, but I still think Kaleidoscope was the superior British psych-folk band. Very underrated.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy: Tome of Corruption

So you want to go play as those guys in Artois, eh? Here are the rules you'll need.

For some reason they assume a PC who starts out as a mutant had to be human, instead of an elf or dwarf, because 'those races destroy tainted offspring on sight'. As opposed to the humans? Elves and dwarfs aren't that fundamentally different in their attitudes about murder, and elves even have a specific, entire extra God of murder for the crime of killing another elf or doing dark things and a lot of their problems happened because Malekith couldn't bear to see his mother executed. I'd expect elfs would be pretty vulnerable to not wanting to murder their very few children. Anyway, a character who starts as a mutant replaces their Human Talents with Flee! and their Gossip with Concealment and Silent Move. If you gained a mutation in play, 3d10 days later you'll need a Toughness test not to pick up a second one due to the corruption of Morrslieb, the Chaos Moon, the next time it decides to come full. This feels pointless, and if you succeed it doesn't happen again until you gain another mutation in play. Mutations have a new stat attached to them called Fear Points. If you have 1 Fear, you gain Menacing. If your mutations total to 2, you get Unsettling. 5, Fear. 10, Terrifying. The GM is advised to make mutations even more fearsome than just adding up their listed Fear Points if the combination of mutations sounds totally metal. Characters roll on a d1000 (yes, 1000) table for mutation, rolling 3d10 for the 1s, 10s, and 100s, unless they're followers of a specific God, in which case they roll on a smaller d100 table.

I am not going to list all the mutations here. Part of the reason for the d1000 is so they can make the occasional, wholly beneficial mutations relatively rare and some of the more 'standard' ones like 3 eyes or whatever much more common. And yes, some of the mutations are totally beneficial. For instance, Massive Intellect has no outward signs and instantly adds +2d10 Intelligence to a character. Or Weapon Master gives +d10 to BS or WS, your choice, as you unlock a great killer instinct in your soul. Some of the mutations are unplayable, like Boneless (Your skeleton runs off to try being undead and leaves you with nothing, that's the description) and some have no actual gameplay effect but to mark you as a mutant (like gaining feathers). Actually trying to play a PC who rolls repeatedly on the d1000 table is going to be very tough, though you can always spend a Fortune point to reroll once. Constructing a mutant PC from the list could actually be pretty fun, though. In general, mutations are meant to be more of a bad thing that sometimes gives you weird benefits. Similarly, if a character gains more than TB+d10 Mutations ( determined the first time you gain one, increasing with Toughness Bonus if you become tougher) you become a mindless, ruined Chaos Spawn. Part of the 'metagame' of a Chaos Champion game presented later is trying to gain Rewards (much more beneficial abilities) in order to gain enough of them to ascend to demonhood before you pick up sufficient mutations to degenerate into a Spawn. Because the Gods are dicks, every Reward has a chance to turn out to be just another mutation.

Chaos Spawn get their own subsection, but they're weird, unskilled bags of hit points and mutations that aren't much of a threat unless they get really lucky or you get really screwed on your fear saves.

We've also got some new Insanities for if you gain IP from mutation, but most of them translate to 'This will get worse until you can't play your PC', demonstrating why the IP system isn't very good. The only awesome one is False Wizard. You've come to believe you're a wizard. You go everywhere in a pointy hat, carry a wand, intone spells that do nothing, and act haughty. This is great. Followers of Tzeentch love to kidnap and experiment on people with this insanity so as to give them real magic, and then study the differences between what they THOUGHT wizbiz would be like, and what CRAZY WIZBIZ actually ends up being like, because they think it gives insight into the nature of magic.

One of the problems with mutation in general is that with so much variation, while you've got a lot of weird and even cool options, you're unlikely to end up with a cohesive character after more than one or two. And unless you're actually playing Chaos or Norse PCs, or some weird edge case where you're a group of sane mutants, you're probably not going to be able to walk around in public after a lot of these. And some of them will outright destroy your PC in one roll. They're just too random and all over the map.

Next Time: Cults: The Suckers of Chaos.

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!

Halloween Jack posted:

The Skinks, The Slaan, and Saurus were pretty good, but I still think Kaleidoscope was the superior British psych-folk band. Very underrated.

Is there an actual list somewhere which parts are inspired by what british subculture thing?
I seem to faintly remember orks being just Manchester Hooligans both based on accent and behaviour
but stumped beyond that, mostly due to my lack of context for 70s and 80s britain.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
It's a lot simpler in Age of Sigmar; all the hilariously stupid names are inspired by a single intellectual property lawsuit.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that
The mutation thing strikes me as similar to the book Elantris. In that book, there's an ancient ruined city that used to be full of super magic beings, but something broke and they all went twisted and wrong. The only catch is that normal people would sometimes turn into said super magic beings, and that didn't stop when it all broke. So everyone has to face the fear that one day with no warning whatsoever they could wake up and be twisted into something hated and inhuman. The book itself actually opens up with a noble changing overnight and his family having to cover it up and pretend he died while dumping him in the city.

ZorajitZorajit
Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...

Halloween Jack posted:

It's a lot simpler in Age of Sigmar; all the hilariously stupid names are inspired by a single intellectual property lawsuit.

Is that the same lawsuit as this one that threatens to mildly inconvenience their massive licensing deals of an allegedly flagship property? I know they had a row a few years back about their claim to "Space Marine" around the time they stopped using the phrase "Imperial Guard." I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Age of Sigmar was related to one of those debacles as well.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

ZorajitZorajit posted:

Is that the same lawsuit as this one that threatens to mildly inconvenience their massive licensing deals of an allegedly flagship property? I know they had a row a few years back about their claim to "Space Marine" around the time they stopped using the phrase "Imperial Guard." I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Age of Sigmar was related to one of those debacles as well.

No, he's referring to the Chapterhouse debacle (which is the "row" you're referring to). GW sued a small one-man company that made space marine shoulderpads; hilariously, a bunch of car companies weighed in pro bono to defend as the precedent GW were trying to set would have rendered all aftermarket car part sales illegal. The two sides eventually settled, but not before the judge issued a declaration that GW's existing IP protection strategy was worthless.

That's what triggered the Astra Militarum renaming, the rapid shift to 7th Edition 40K, and the removal of a load of old characters and units from codexes. It was probably a major push behind the Age of Sigmar changeover too; the factions that got squatted were the ones based on historical stuff that couldn't be copyrighted.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
Yeah, my understanding is that the judge all but told them their case had no merit and they would be in a significantly worse position if they didn't drop it. Nevertheless, they persisted.

So in the aftermath, every title that couldn't be trademarked, like "Space Marine, " "Imperial Guard," and "elf," were changed. This is why all their new stuff has names that sound like they were rejected by Magic: the Gathering developers.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!

The GW lawyers, as part of the suit, tried to claim trademark on arrows, roman numerals, and the human skull.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



BANCROFT VS. BLANGIS: COMBAT IN CASTELLO CORMANO

Castello Cormano is a Gothic castle in barren mountains above a desolate, defoliated forest. The world is permanently midnight save for flashes of lightning. Blangis rules the castle as Prince Prospero, keeping the world in a perpetual costume ball in an endless party based on a Poe story he loved to read as a child. That's right: this entire scenario is based on "The Mask of the Red Death", reinterpreted by a sadistic idiot who misunderstood the entire premise of the story. They pretend they're the last people alive in a world ravaged by plague, living like it's the last night of their life because Blangis is a vapid idiot.



This is the shortest segment of the bunch. It is also the most inappropriate. I'm just gonna put a heavy blanket content warning on reading any further if you're uncomfortable with scatological fetishes, implied sex with animals, unrelenting sexual content, eating a live human being and drug abuse. I will also heavily caution you against reading this at work. The next module will be a lot less sexual and a lot less gross. Anyway, this all begins with Ice Queen entering the Cage.


Paloma insists she's repentant and wants to help. Spoilers: this is part of Blangis' plan. If the PC agrees to trust them (Ice Queen agrees through gritted teeth) then Paloma unlocks the cell to let her out. The spiel is that Paloma can no longer stomach working for Blangis and she wants the PC's help to take him down. In reality, the situation is that Blangis wants the PC to witness all of the debauchery going on here for his own gratification and Paloma is lying her rear end off. So is Ice Queen, mostly thanks to Sixth Sense.


Paloma insists that Ice Queen wear the Harlequin costume but it doesn't fit. The costume is part of Blangis' plan and for reasons that amount to "gently caress You, That's Why" his plan to be able to recognize Ice Queen is immediately derailed. Because Paloma doesn't really know the intricacies of the plan besides "lie to Ice Queen", she throws up her hands and says "fine, wear the one that fits". The only one that fits is a red-hooded robe and cowl, big enough to cover her and also hide her face.

Ice Queen has had a pretty good education thanks to her privileges of birth. She recognizes the costume, the masquerade, the castle. The next five minutes are spent with Paloma trying to get Ice Queen to snap out of a state of genuine laughter about how dumb this is that's occasionally peppered with biting insults. Ice Queen dons the Mask of the Red Death with a pleased smile and Paloma lays her GUARD PUZZLE onto her.





The two patrols have set routes. They constantly repeat their route. Ostensibly this is so Ice Queen can sneak around without getting caught. In reality the purpose is to make Ice Queen see every event that there is to see. If the player can't figure out the GUARD PUZZLE's answer, the GM is told to have Paloma just spell it out. I have included the answer below.


I marked the answers myself with the black font.


Welcome to the big gimmick of the castle. Blangis has put his know-how as a chemist to further use to brew up a hallucinogenic liquid that easily evaporates and creates a thick mist that coats the floors of the entire castle. The moment you enter this room you have to make a Will check with a +2 Penalty to avoid getting high. Side effects of the drug are: hallucinations, delirium, laughing fits and -1 to Prowess and Reflexes for the next 12 hours. The biggest side effect is that the hallucinations hide the true nature of each chamber. You can make a Willpower check in each room to see things as they actually are (which you'll just inherently see each time if you succeed the check against the drug). Part of Blangis' plan is that the PC will be so drugged up, they'll do things they wouldn't normally do because they don't know what's really doing on and it'll debase and humiliate them further for his own amusement and to try and bring them over to his side of things. I'll be including the details for both what is seen while high and what is seen while sober and for the purposes of this adventure...poor Ice Queen will unfortunately go sober, smart enough to recognize chemical threats when she sees one and use the mask of her costume to protect against the drug. Also of note are the free real drugs you can take as party favors: three doses of Kaleidoscope, one dose of Tranq, three doses of Redline, two doses of Frenzy, three syringes.



All three of them are drugged accomplices. If there's no intervention, the two men pick up the woman and throw her off the balcony where she'll die on impact (or if you're hallucinating she'll "fly away"). The castle is actually using the 30 foot height size of the chamber and as such the system is lethal enough that the impact will kill her. Not stopping them from doing this is a Guilt check and the men won't even acknowledge that she's dead. The situation is rectified by Ice Queen dragging the woman off the balcony and slapping the poo poo out of the men until they flee before shoving the woman back into the blue room.



Blangis has hardcore coprophilia and coprophagia and the book explicitly says he loves watching people eat his own poo poo. Yes, it's all his. You can't convince the revelers to stop and Ice Queen just doesn't even try, immediately rushing over to the next room once she enters because god there are just some things you can't unsee. The only other interesting thing is that the shields here can be used as riot shields.



It took me. So long. To realize that she's not having sex with the hog. The thing is the phrasing between the high state and the sober state with the former having ambiguous phrasing and the latter saying she's riding his back like he's a mechanical bull. The hog is artificial, the partygoers are accomplices, nobody is going to stop Ice Queen from passing through. They're all just distracted with the "drunken sex party". Ice Queen is sure there's a point to this room but she can't find it. Is she supposed to be loving the hog? Are they perhaps too high and stupid to figure out what they're supposed to be doing? She's just glad that she's no longer in the green room and very quietly makes her way to the next one.



The five men and the woman are all high and this is just an erotic roleplay scenario. They'll just continue with the roleplay unless Ice Queen intervenes who, of course, doesn't. She mostly just mouths "the gently caress is this?" as she keeps to the back of the room. It's also mentioned that you can take the priest's dagger to use as a shiv. Ice Queen does in fact take the shiv when the priest is too distracted with being high and horny and leaves the room, further baffled by what the gently caress she's seeing.



The six guests at the feast have to be fought off to protect the woman. They use accomplice stats and will flee the party if they take one hit. You can also use the utensils as shivs or smash the bottles to make glass shards. Ice Queen rolls up her sleeves and smacks around some more drug addicts, using the priest's knife to cut the pregnant woman free. After a moment of consideration, she hands the pregnant woman a knife to defend herself and drags her along with the ride to make sure she's safe. Ice Queen does not ask how or when she got pregnant. There are many things she's found out so far this day and she really doesn't need any more at the moment.



It's a balcony. That's it. This is all there is. Real glad this thing is here. Really ties the whole architecture together.



Regardless of intoxication, Blangis makes his move and the following happens.



"I have so many questions!" shouts Ice Queen as Blangis transforms into the final boss of this scenario while everyone else flees the yellow hall in a panic. Absolutely nobody has the nerve to fight back, leaving this battle to an angry Ice Queen (who rips her mask off to see better) and a terrified, naked pregnant woman. They take advantage of the (as-written) ability to disarm the guards and take their halberds (1d8 damage) to fight with.

Well, Blangis' old stats are out the window. Let's take a look at the stats for this new Demon!

FLENSOR

A Flensor is what happens when a particularly depraved person (cough Blangis cough) slips into complete and total moral oblivion. The transformation process is completely unknown to the victim (and boy do I use the phrase victim loosely) outside of strange dreams. Or sometimes the person does know and embraces it. Hard to say. Anyway, when the Flensor is under sufficient stress or duress, their skin explodes off their body and they take their true form: a skinless, perfectly flayed human body with a light accent of fire dancing across their musculature. The process can't be stopped and if they happen to know what they are and want to avert the change, the only way out is suicide.



Flensors are an immense pain to fight. Their melee attack is dangerous and the scarring damage it leaves is a giant pain and fighting them in melee is dangerous thanks to reactive flesh armor. These would be forgivable. Unforgivable is the Seductive Charm ability which gives the Flensor the ability to immediately shut down combat by turning the opponent into a sex slave that lasts for days. Like this doesn't even really compare to the rest of the bananas nonsense we've been through, really, but it's still an important detail and a completely awful one because it has no limitations. And give it regeneration. Why the gently caress not. So yeah, this thing is a nightmare and it's meant to be fought solo unless the extra players are sent here. Ice Queen is definitely up against a tough foe that her pregnant helper can't really help with.

Let's set the scene. The last of the Lords has had his flesh melt off to reveal the demonic body beneath. Paloma is crying over her sister's corpse. The revelers are fleeing. Ice Queen and her helper steel their weapons.



The Blangis-Flensor immediately keels over, dead. For those who didn't notice, the non-human stat blocks are still broken.



Ice Queen lets out a sigh of relief as her helper lets out sobs of joy. The two of them drop their weapons and stumble out of the Cage, naked but alive and immediately meeting up with Peacemaker, the "prostitutes", Jackpot and the teens. The accomplices stare in horror and Elysium goes into a panic. With their leaders dead and unable to protect them and with guilt gnawing at them, the accomplices and servants (including Paloma) flee with all of the valuables they can. Mildly disappointed by the fact that they didn't really get to fight their way to safety, everyone breathes a sigh of relief and they start inspecting what was left behind and what else is around in Elysium.

Three hours later Buzzkill and Bad Habit (and Talbot and Helga and the rest) burst out of their cage with guns in hand and are immediately calmed down by the rest of G-Unit and given their duds. In the interim, the others dealt with the Ghost in the Machine and hiked back to their hideout in the abandoned cell block to explain what happened to Beth, Soapbox, Tama, Doc and Pincushion. With the help of their superiors, they relocated everything (the food, the medicine, the supplies, the components) to Elysium and are in the process of turning it into a new base. While Elysium may not last as a base, it's certainly got more room than the cell block and it's got functioning electricity (which Tama immediately goes to town with, using her components to see what she can do with it).

So for now, this is where they'll rest and try to figure out what to do next...and what to do with all of the people they've rescued from the cruel, stupid and perverted machinations of the LORDS OF THE DREAM CAGES.

Time for rewards! -1d6 Despair to everyone and you get 200 BP plus more doled out based on the following:



Worth nothing is the fact that this game absolutely doesn't explain how the relationship between the characters via Criminal Mastermind works. So I'm just gonna say that because they're both technically controlled by the same player according to the wording, both get BP!

FINAL THOUGHTS:

C'mon like I really have anything else to say about this hunk of garbage. The one thing I will say in its favor is the fact that Elysium is by far the most visually evocative setting so far based on the description and fixtures alone. This is mostly because I have been in both malls and YMCAs and I can imagine what they look like combined. Outside of that, this mission is absolutely pointless and irredeemable. It does nothing to tie into the larger story and it is relentlessly offensive in many new and exciting and boring ways. I like this module because it sucks so hard and commits to sucking so hard the way only something incredibly stupid and motivated can possibly suck.

This module is also basically the last of the stupid homage modules. After this one, things take a gigantic shift back in the " We're Serious And We're Invested In The Core Concept" direction we saw in the first two modules (really can't say that about the third, definitely can't with this one). So the NEXT TIME we return to Abandon All Hope, it'll be to catch up with characters we've met before and make a return to Sanctuary when we dig into the SINS OF THE PAST.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 18:26 on Aug 10, 2017

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*

Hostile V posted:

This module is also basically the last of the stupid homage modules. After this one, things take a gigantic shift back in the " We're Serious And We're Invested In The Core Concept" direction we saw in the first two modules (really can't say that about the third, definitely can't with this one). So the NEXT TIME we return to Abandon All Hope, it'll be to catch up with characters we've met before and make a return to Sanctuary when we dig into the SINS OF THE PAST.

Yup, that's a d20 holdover alright. The one where you want to throw the characters against e.g. a mind flayer but they're only level three so you have to come up with several levels' worth of pointless filler before they get to the actual story. Adventure paths in particular are really bad for that.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


Castello Cormano, that is such a deep cut!
I checked the movie and it is just as stupid as I thought.

The Skeep
Sep 15, 2007

That Chicken sure loves to drum...sticks
I forgot to bring it up back in the Berlin area, but if Levec's got resistance hiding out in his holodeck, why not just turn the loving thing off for a second?

Also: His Hitler patch disappears between the portrait shot and the comic panel, which means he apparently gave himself a holographic mustache.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


Fighting a holographic, bisexual Hitler sounds so much more interesting than that poo poo.

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



The Skeep posted:

I forgot to bring it up back in the Berlin area, but if Levec's got resistance hiding out in his holodeck, why not just turn the loving thing off for a second?

Also: His Hitler patch disappears between the portrait shot and the comic panel, which means he apparently gave himself a holographic mustache.

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