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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


hyphz posted:

It's not a FATE derivative, it's a Sacred BBQ/Strike! derivative, from this very forum!

And thus it went full circle.

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SHY NUDIST GRRL
Feb 15, 2011

Communism will help more white people than anyone else. Any equal measures unfairly provide less to minority populations just because there's less of them. Democracy is truly the tyranny of the mob.



Doresh posted:

Why not? The more, the merrier. I think I'll just call her Rainbow Spark or something.

Perhaps Love Colored Spark?

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


TheTatteredKing posted:

Perhaps Love Colored Spark?

The universal magical girl color of love is pink, which seems to be the only one she doesn't have.

Though lengthening her name to Rainbow Seizure Spark might work. I can really imagine her colors going apeshit during her finisher.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 18:19 on Mar 5, 2016

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Count Chocula posted:

If you believe Velvet Goldmine, David Bowie and glam rock came from a magic green rock from space. That's pretty magic.

You've got your mother in a whirl
She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Fossilized Rappy posted:

This reminds me, are there any current RPGs out there that have tried to wrest back the idea of steampunk from the whole "just glue some gears on it" fad trend? Like, one with actual social revolution, anti-colonialism, and anarchism that dotted the real Victorian era?
I wrote a F&F on Unhallowed Metropolis (and I'm currently covering its spin-off setting book, Unhallowed Necropolis) that you can check out but I can't honestly recommend it for a few reasons.
1: the creators are massive Anglophiles who have made this grim city the main focus of the series.
2: It's not particularly steampunk, it's more coalpunk; coal burning powers the aetheric generators used for their super technology but they still use World War I era guns and weapons.
3: They do address actual Victorian values and mores but they don't do a hell of a lot about it.
4: The nation of Prussia is pretty steampunk what with being a nation of zeppelin-bound duelists and warriors but there's literally 0 rules for playing them.
5: It's not a very good d20 clone; a lot of class benefits come down to "free reroll if you fail".
6: It's an overstuffed gothic horror heartbreaker whose mechanics hinder it pretty heavily in my opinion.

I still love it because it fascinates me, though.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Infernal Player's Guide: Hell 2 You

The Djinn are relenetless, determined, handling important jobs...and yet they are often the last devoted to the cause. They rarely rebel, of course, as that would take too much effort. However, neither loyalty nor laziness accounts for why they are such favored servants - it's that they have no better options. They can be belligerent, whiny, dogged or apathetic. Beneath the uncaring exterior, however, each of them has the needy heart of a Cherub...but one purged of love and devotion, and left with nothing but their personal symphony to fill the voids. They no longer risk caring, or their instinct for devotion becomes an uncontrollable, humiliating and hurtful obsession. Asmodeus and Beleth represent Djinns among the Princes. Asmodeus obsesses over strategies and the Game, while Beleth has rid herself of all but hate and focused her obsession on humanity. Other famous Djinn include Azazel, Lucifer's personal secretary, Beelzebub, late Prince of Corruption, Charon, Kronos' ferryman, Iblis, Baal's standard-bearer, Nergal, Asmodeus' chief Renegade-hunter, Meserach, late Prince of Sloth, Nygon, Demon of Strangulation, and Tamiel, Demon of the Deeps.

Djinn are the Hellhounds, trackers and guards. They watch over people and places, sometimes protecting them...but not often. They're rarely good at it, as getting too involved risks dissonance. They make excellent hunters, however, as they can lead others to their attuned and then sit by as the attuned is beaten to death. Djinn also work in information networks, as their laziness makes them excellent watchers - many enjoy just sitting there and observing. Most of these are washouts, who serve as listening posts because they're not good at anything else. More reliable Djinn often have more responsibility, if not more action. They often camp out in angelic territory, silently watching. On a team, they serve as scouts and observers, sneaking ahead and attuning to things they want to track later. They also make good backup, as they make sure no one goes unnoticed - including their allies fleeing. Djinn have a lot of pent-up aggression, as well, so they like to fight against those they aren't attuned to, and they can be very tough and relentless, even if they're slow to anger. In Hell, their duties are roughly similar - managing gateways, watching things, and so on. They are notorious busybodies, following other demons around to keep an eye on them. Some Princes like to keep them prowling just to remind people that their acts might not be secret. It's hard to avoid contact in the hordes of Hell, and if a Djinn has ever touched you, they might have attuned. If a Prince has reason to suspect you, there is almost certainly a Djinn watching you and your Heart - perhaps openly and perhaps secretly.

Djinn often require a Role that allows frequent travel and access. Paparazzi is common, but any journalist or photographer will do. They're bad at deadlines, so they're usually freelancers. Some work as PIs or even bodyguards, possibly trying to pass themselves off as Cherubim if revealed as celestial. Djinn also gravitate to Roles that allow abuse of power - cops or IRS agents, say. They don't get good performance reviews, but they rarely care. Those that don't have to move much usually take dead-end jobs - busboys, janitors, clerks. They are surly, though they aren't always bad at the job. Djinn need not have jobs at all, however. Many like the Role of unemployed couch potato, collecting welfare or unemployment and spending it on video games. (They needn't eat, after all.) Those who truly don't care may even be homeless, where they are likely to clash with Shedim.

Djinn don't like other demons and they really don't like humans. Celestially, they are glowering, disdainful beasts. On Earth, they're fairly similar. They are afraid of getting close to others and avoid social gatherings when they can. Some have operated on Earth for a very long time without ever learning much about humanity. If they choose to interact, it's generally only superficially - large, anonymous gatherings. They rarely engage in Earthly pleasure. When not working, they tend to brood alone in the dark. Some call this a hobby. Others watch TV a lot, surrounded by filth. They like game shows, football and soap operas most. They also enjoy home shopping networks, and often order weird appliances or phony programs. They don't really care - it's not like the money was important. When they socialize, they are often unpleasant. They either don't care about appearances or are compulsive about them. They are the most cynical of Bands, and can always find something about humans to complain about. Others tend to avoid them, which suits them.

Djinn must normally touch something to attune to it, and then touch it again in (CD) days to maintain the attunement, rolling again to get a new CD to see when they have to touch it again. CD 6 means the same as it would on an initial resonance roll, but otherwise the only possible consequence is an Intervention. Some Djinn, however, find this inconvenient for long-term attunements, while others want shorter attunements for many different objects. While CD 6 lets them maintain an attunement indefinitely, it also makes it risky to sever. Djinn can attempt to modify the duration of any attunement by taking a penalty to their resonance roll. Each -2 to the TN alters the check digit by 1, either up ro down, chosen before rolling. CD cannot be reduced below 1 or above 6. However, the modifier always adds to the CD of a failed roll. If a Djinn cannot touch someone physically, they can attempt to make contact celestially, 'touching' them while in celestial form. However, this allows the target to resist with Will, adding Celestial Forces to the TN, even if they aren't aware of the Djinn. If they succeed with a higher CD than the resonance roll, it's treated as a failed resonance, and the subject automatically perceives the Djinn's celestial form.

Like Cherubim, Djinn sometimes have to find their targets before attuning. They're very good at it, even before they touch. Most are rather stealthy, to avoid being noticed, because their attentions are rarely desirable. They tend to be skilled at shadowing and very familiar with stalking laws. Their resonance is completely reliable while it lasts, and Djinn can triangulate with it just as Cherubim can.

Djinn gain dissonance in two ways. First, by harming their attuned, and second, by becoming too attached. There's just enough Cherub left to make hurting their attuned remind them of their original purpose, though they can let others do it. The greater risk is to become attached like a Cherub, when they try to de-attune and fail. Dissonance generated by harming an attuned can be removed by undoing all the harm that was caused. Physical harm is easy enough, but emotional harm is usually beyond a Djinn's means to heal. Dissonance from failed removal fades when the attunement does...but any dissonance gained in the meantime from allowing the attuned to be harmed will not. The Djinn may erase that dissonance in the same way Cherubim can, by undoing any damage the attuned suffers, as long as they're still attuned when they fix it. Djinn can also remove either type of dissonance by complete abstinence from any attachments. If a Djinn severs all attunements and loses themselves completely in their own symphony, they can enter a state of brooding complacency. For each week attuned to nothing at all, they lose one dissonance. It's easy, if they have no job, but most Princes won't allow them to be idle that long.

Djinn can't hurt their attuned, so they shouldn't attune to those that might attack or provoke them. Usually that's easy to avoid - just run and let your friends handle it. It can be a problem, however, when tracking an angel, Renegade or other threat. Generally, Djinn prefer to keep their attunement secret. It's harder, though, when they become obsessed. Then, they must protect their attuned, putting the attunned before their own interests. If they can do so in secret, that's fine, but they aren't good at that. They're not great guardians, and they hate themselves for allowing it, and hate their attuned for forcing it on them. The best way to avoid problems is just to be very careful about attunements - treat each as a posible hazard.

Common Djinn Discords include Apathy, an Ethereal Discord that requires a Will roll at a penalty equal to the level to take interesti n anything that isn't an immediate threat to your well-being, though fortunately your boss's direct orders count as a threat. Distracting Attunements is a Celestial Discord that makes it hard to concentrate when you have too many attunements. Subtract the level from your Celestial Forces, to a minimum of zero. You can attune to that many objects without penalty, but get -1 per additional attunement to all TNs. Obsessive-Compulsive is an Etheral Discord that is identical to the Cherubic Ritualized Responsibilities.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim: Annoyung, judgmental and so holier-than-thou it gives us a headache.
Cherubim: Their devotion is pathetic; it makes them vulnerable. It's only appropriate that humans portray them as fat children wearing diapers.
Ofanim: They're fast, but can't run forever. If we really want to catch one, we will.
Elohim: They just pretend not to care; we really don't. Is that why we live in Hell?
Malakim: Trouble. Get them before they get you.
Kyriotates: They're more annoying than the Shedim, but only half as ugly.
Mercurians: A baseball bat, some steel-toed boots and a Mercurian alone in a dark alley...now that's a fun evening.
Balseraphs: Just assume everything they say is a lie. Let them play their games, but don't get sucked into them.
Calabim: They never relax. If they look relaxed, they're probably about to smash something. Great to hang around with when angels come by, not so great if you just want to watch the tube.
Habbalah: They can make you feel things - mess with humans, stay away from us.
Lilim: They'll try to cheer you up, and then charge you for it. Sometimes you can get a free favor by helping them find some poor schmuck who owes 'em, though.
Shedim: Creepy, sneaky bastards. And pathetically ugly. See how smug they are when you catch them in celestial form...
Impudites: If we could suck Essence out of people, maybe we'd pretend to like them, too.

Calabim are simple. They break things, and they're good at it. They like doing it. They are useful and loyal - they tend to be happy as long as they get to break things regularly. Morale is not a problem for them, and they are reckless and violent, serving not out of resentment for God or some dark vision, but just because they like hurting people. They embody entropy, and they only cause problems when you expect them to be patient, subtle or restrained. They are not inherently stupid, however. They can appear mindlessly brutal, and many aren't very clever, but they are as perceptive as any Band. They are quite capable of ambition and intellect, and the smartest know that letting others see them as thugs can be advantageous. Belial and Haagenti are Calabite Princes not known for great thinking, but they've both survived many plots against them, and Valefor is known to be subtle and clever, with few realizing how much damage he truly causes. Other famous Calabim include Demogorgon, late Demon of Destruction, who might have become the most powerful Calabite in history if Belial had not destroyed him when he tried to become a Prince, Eurynomos, Demon of Cannibalism, Forneus, Demon of Drowning, Furfur, new Prince of Hardcore, Murmur, commander of the damned souls in Hades, Sammael, Demon of Poison, Vephar, the late Prince of the Oceans, Xaphan, Demon of Arson, and Zimimar, Demon of Blizzards.

Calabim exist to break things andh urt people. They are sent only when at least the threat of violence is required. They can obey orders and even plan, but they don't handle tedium well for long. Most are kept in Hell until needed or given Roles that let them use their pent-up aggression between jobs...or allow them to wander around doing random acts of violence. They tend to be used as assassins, fighters or saboteurs. Assassination is rare- they're not very subtle killers, after all - but they're good at handling other celestials or causing headline murders. Combat is more common - Calabim are muscle, and good at it. And sometimes, well, you just need something destroyed or a breach made in defenses, or certain items dismantled. Calabim are very, very good at it, and their mere presence contributes to deterioration even if not ordered. They like minor acts of destruction, after all. In Hell, they have little to do besides fight and cause chaos, but they're too dangerous to send to Earth en masse, so each Principality has at least one spot known for roving Calabite gangs. They make poor sentries, but excellent combat guards when an alarm is sounded. They also work as demolition of old structures and builders of new ones. They are good ati t, and some Princes keep these projects going just to keep them busy. They're also good torturers, and they tend to enjoy torturing the damned for Essence, at least for a while...but if left to their own devices too long, they can start stripping souls of Forces, which is not usually intended.

Calabim rarely need Roles or want them. When they do have one, it tends to be one that requires little sociability, neatness or stability. Some act as musicians in rock bands, though they often need new instruments. Others are construction workers or demolitions experts. They also like Roles as pizza delivery or taxi drivers, as well as garbage men or organized crime muscle. They tend to think very little aobut human society. They understand Hell, but humanity is just a set of toys to break. Very little either pleases or bothers them. They like rock music, sports events, stock car racing, demolition derbies and tractor pulls, mostly because things break and people get hurt. The more violent, the better. Some enjoy mindless action and horror movies. Calabim hate rules and etiquette, though, particularly laws. The only rules they respect are those of Lucifer, Asmodeus and their Prince, and then only because they must. Some Calabim do appreciate the finer things in life, however. They like the satisfaction of destroying precious objects more than cheap ones...and they especially like breaking things that belong to others. Calabim do not need to act psychotic, however. Calabim can be quite calm...but even if they aren't actively destroying things, they're thinking about it, and they can kill you as easily as they'd drink a glass of water.

Calabite resonance is not subtle, but it's very potent. They also have a knack for all kinds of destruction. Any time a Calabite uses mundane methods to break something, a resonance roll will shorten the time or increase their efficiency, with CD reflecting degree of success. If an object has a specific weakness, including any Vulnerability, Calabim can make a Perception-based resonance roll at -2 to discover it, requiring a turn of concentration in which they cannot Dodge or take any actions. They also can't find weaknesses if they don't exist, and most people and objects do not have them. By concentrating for a turn and making a resonance roll at -4, a Calabite can destroy things more subtly. They do noramly damage, but the CD determines the subtlety. CD 1 is not immediately visible damage, but will be noticed quickly - a person will cough up blood and know they're hurt, an object will crack or warp soundlessly. CD 2 is not immediately visible and will become apparent only when examined closely. The living will have no symptoms beyond pain. Inanimate objects will subtly crack or deform if they aren't totally destroyed. CD 3 is hard to detect. People feel pain, but it requires a Medicine roll to confirm any damage, and even then, the origin is impossible to find. Objects appear unharmed unless examined closely. CD 4 means the target will feel pain, but only a thorough medical examination will reveal systemic shock - what most doctors would call a heart attack. They will be unaware of any damage. Inanimate objects appear fine if not destroyed, unless examined very closely, in which case there may be hairline fractures or erosion. CD 5 means the target feels a faint twinge with a Perception roll but has no visible injury to any examination, and is unware of any damage. Inanimate objects appear unharmed unless damaged enough to impair their function, in which case any malfunction will have no apparent cause. CD 6 means the target is entirely unaware of any injury unless outright killed, even at negative HP. Inanimate objects appear entirely undamaged even if destroyed, though they may fall apart at a tap.

The visible effects of normal resonance are up to the GM, but normally they manifest as general damage with no clear source. A Calabite's resonance field is invisble. Objects crack and crumble, people bleed and their bones break. The damage might reflect their Prince's Word if appropriate - Calabim of Fire, for exmaple, might cause burns. The victim is always aware that the Calabite is the one hurting them unless they use a more subtle resonance, however. All Calabim also have Discord, and they tend to not be bothered by it at all. They do get CP for their starting Discord, and it does not automatically go up or down if their Forces change, but any Discords they gain are often just more of what they had. Angry and Berserk are the most common, but other Calabim have Stigmata, Ugly or other Corporeal Discords. Few besides Crippled or Vulnerability actually bother them. Celestial Discords are rare among most Calabim, save for Gluttons, who get Gluttony often, and Lusties, who get Lustfulness often.

Calabim tend to deal with dissonance by just getting more Discord. They don't mind so much, unless it gets in the way of their job. Normally, Calabim only become dissonant if someone resists their resonance and they choose to absorb rather than redirect it. Most Calabim will only do so if there's nothing nearby that they dare to harm, which is why they tend to hate Roles. Human society, after all, can put them in situations where breaking everything isn't acceptable. They can self-resonate, however, and harm themselves - a viable option, if you can heal it and aren't about to fight. There is one way to get rid of dissonance, as well: a destructive spree. You must use your resonance repeatedly for (Corporeal ForceS) hours. Each use must have another follow it up within (CD) minutes, or immediately after it's possible to do so on a failed roll. If anyone resists during this time, obviously you must redirect and not absorb. There is no limit to how long you can continue the spree, except for how many things are around to break. Each (Corporeal Forces) hours removes one dissonance.

Any situation where a Calabite can't freely break poo poo is dangerous. Maintaining a Role, for example, is hard when poo poo falls apart all around you, especially when angels are nearby. They tend to avoid using their resonance at all in these situations...but they don't enjoy it. Calabim like breaking things when they want to, and restraint bothers them and makes them irritable. It gets worse the longer they have to be restrained. They are never used as diplomats save for intimidation value, and those who value their goods and servants tend to avoid Calabim socially. Fortunately, everyone is aware that this is how things are, so if you don't remember, you deserve what you get.

Common Calabite Discords include Aura of Entropy, a CElestial Discord that exacerbate's a Calabite's normal entropic radiation. Anything they touch takes (Discord Level) damage every minute - clothing, concrete on the ground, cars, whatever. Only celestial artifacts are immune. Good luck using any kind of electronics, too. Indiscriminate is a Celestial Discord that makes it hard to control your resonance, giving a penalty to the TN of resonance rolls equal to the Discord's level. If the roll fails, but only due to this penalty, the resonance still happens...but against a random target chosen by the GM. Pain is a Corporeal Discord that causes constant pain for the Calabite, reducing their Agility and Precision by the Discord's level and reducing the TN of any action requiring concentration.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim: Arrogant, pious jerks. You know where I'd like to shove their halos...
Cherubim: Stubborn creeps, they get in the way. They cry like babies when you destroy what they're protecting, though...that's fun.
Ofanim: Let me help you slow down. All the way down.
Elohim: I've seen what happens when they let go, and I like them better that way.
Malakim: They hate us. That's fine. You ain't earned your hooves until you've gone mano-a-mano with a Malakite.
Kyriotates: They just take a little longer to weed out. Start targeting their hosts and watch them get all panicky.
Mercurians: What a waste of skin. You want a sense of style? Personally, I like the color red...
Balseraphs: They talk too much, and they think they're special. If you let them think they're in charge, though, they'll usually stay out of your way.
Djinn: They're good at fetching things. Thye can't kill their victims, but they like to watch us do it. Go figure.
Habbalah: Angels? Whatever...we're all twisted freaks, but we admit it.
Lilim: They're cute. Their vessels are fun to play with, and fun to take apart. Watch your back, though - they can call in favors from all kinds of places, and sometimes their "mommy" gets involved...
Shedim: What they lack in skill, they make up in enthusiasm, and you can always tell where they've been. Hail Satan.
Impudites: Marginally less annoying than Mercurians. They're still too soft.

Next time: Whips and chains

Spiderfist Island
Feb 19, 2011


A few years back I made an abortive attempt at reviewing the 3.5 D&D supplement Magic of Incarnum. To be honest, I don’t remember why I bothered to start the review, or why I decided to drop it so quickly. So, I’m going to continue to not do that and try reviewing something else entirely.



Those shapes scattered around the title sure look like important things!


A History Lesson

So, let’s briefly pretend that it’s 1978. D&D is just 5 years old (depending on what metrics of where its existence as a Chainmail supplement ended and it being a “standalone” product began). The RPG industry is so new that it hasn’t yet been distinctly separated from the wargaming scene. The vast majority of new RPG products are responses to or collected houserules for D&D- a situation that continues to this day. In July 1978, one of these new RPGs debuts at the Origins convention. It’s called RuneQuest and is the first major product by Chaosium. Runequest proceeds to win several awards such as “Outstanding Miniatures Rules,” and had an unconventional setting, Glorantha, attached to the game.

The first edition of Runequest was, however, a bit… spotty. In the rush to get it out before Origins, there were numerous typographical errors, up to misspelling the company name as “Chasium.” After the convention, a second edition was written with minimal difference in the rules and with much better production values.

In late 2015, a successful Kickstarter occurred aiming to re-publish RuneQuest 2E as a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Chaosium. The republished version of RuneQuest 2E has the later errata directly included into the rulebook, but otherwise keeps the text the same. Since I am a lazy millennial who couldn’t be bothered to be born until after the Cold War ended, I’ll be using this new printing as the reference text for the review.


Why Review RuneQuest 2E?

RuneQuest is a pretty significant RPG for several reasons.
  • It’s the first major RPG to use a percentile system for basic target checks.
  • It’s one of the first RPGs to have any conscious attempt at a unified resolution system.
  • It’s the basis of the Basic Role-Playing system (BRP), which itself was used for Call of Cthulhu.
  • It’s one of the first victims of attempts at creating a verisimilitudinous combat system in a fantasy RPG.
  • It’s the first RPG set in the world of Glorantha, an obscenely detailed bronze age fantasy setting that somehow has managed to retain a devoted fanbase over decades.

In short, RuneQuest 2E is a time-capsule of the earliest days of the RPG industry and game design– it’s very much a response to D&D, but it has many design innovations of its own. All games made by Chaosium, and even all percentile-dice systems, trace their design lineage in some way back to Runequest.

This review is a partially-blind read of RuneQuest 2E. I’m not going to go word-for-word over the rules and text, but I’ll do my best to summarize the mechanics and only quote notable passages. I'm also fairly familiar with some aspects of Glorantha, though I don't know how much of the setting has been changed in the years since RuneQuest 2E came out. It’s my goal to do a good job of highlighting the interesting and notable parts of Runequest while also clouding things with heavy editorializing.



Let's Read Page 3: A 40-Year Late Text Deconstruction

“Chapter I. Introduction” posted:

So, there are two ways nowadays to write a fantasy RPG introduction: you can either assume that the nerd reading this book is a well-seasoned with cheeto dust veteran of D&D and just halfass explaining what you do with this tome of inane scribbles, or you can try to describe what an RPG is to varying degrees of success.

This is 1978-79. The first option isn’t available yet. So, how well do Steve and Ray do at explaining what an RPG is?

”WHAT IS A FANTASY ROLE-PLAYING GAME?” posted:

A role-playing game is a game of character development, simulating the process of personal development commonly called “life.” The player acts a role in a fantasy environment, just as he might act a role as a character in a play. In fact, when played with just paper and pencil on the game board of the player’s imagination, it has been called “improvisational radio theatre.” If played with metal and plastic figurines, it becomes improvisational puppet theatre. However it is played, the primary purpose is to have fun.
That’s… that’s actually much better than what I was expecting. I think that the note the authors make about miniatures vs. non-minis play is even a little ahead of its time– it isn’t that long ago that wargames were the only thing in town, and that entire genre relies on the physical positioning of tokens. It’s not taking very long for RPGs to at least recognize that spatial abstraction in rules could work. It’s also interesting that the authors look at the game more as an acting or role-playing game than as a strictly tactical game. Of course, we need to see what the rest of the rules are like before we can really say if these ideas are the foundation of the game.

As a note: the next few sections are going to be mostly quoted verbatim, because they’re what I'm going to be using as the basis of how I review the rest of the book. I’ll try to keep it to summaries after this point.

”WHAT IS THIS ROLE-PLAYING GAME ABOUT?” posted:

RuneQuest is a departure from most FRP (as they are abbreviated) games issued since the concept’s introduction in 1974. Unlike most others, this game is tied to a particular world, Glorantha, first glimpsed through Chaosium’s board-games White Bear and Red Moon and Nomad Gods. Those who have not seen this world before will find part of it within these pages.

However, this game is not limited to Glorantha. The experience system, the combat system, most of the magic system, and the training/guilds system, and everything but the specific references to the world of Glorantha can be adjusted to fit any time and space with a minimum of hassle. We think you will find this system more realistic, and at the same time more playable, than any system you have seen before.
So, two paragraphs in and the book hypes up the fact that there’s a premade setting for the game. I think we can all agree that in 1978, the phrase “most FRP RPG games” in an RPG book was just a boilerplate way to say “D&D or Tunnels and Trolls.” In our heady modern era, the phrase just means “D&D” instead. D&D is interesting in that it technically didn’t have a “default” fantasy setting until 5E*.

Wait, what did that last sentence say?

quote:

We think you will find this system more realistic, and at the same time more playable, than any system you have seen before.
Oh dear. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.



Above: the world of Glorantha, which is the default setting of RuneQuest 2E: a system more realistic and at the same time more playable than any system you have seen before. This image of Glorantha is not allegorical.


Moving on!

”HOW TO USE THESE RULES” posted:

Read these rules very carefully. Read all the way through once. Then roll up a character and see how the rules apply to that character. Get together with some friends and map out some beginning scenarios, with no surprises to any one until you are sure of how the rules work. Then, your imagination is your only limit.
This may seem obvious but I’m glad that Steve and Ray went out of their way to say this outright. Even now, for some reason a lot of people don’t even bother to read the book for the game they’re running or playing. I’m not sure what a “beginning scenario” is in this case, but it’s good that even back in 1978 the designers understood that it’s best for everyone to understand what’s going on in the rules.

”HOW TO USE THESE RULES, ctd.” posted:

We have tried to make these rules easily understood by anyone interested in the concept, not just experienced gamers. If you are an experienced FRP gamer, take those portions you can use and ignore the rest. Like any FRP system, these can only be guidelines. Use them as you will.
However, I don’t like what the authors wrote here– the exact kind of person that should follow your rules to “read through the rules very carefully” are the people with experience. First off, they may assume that your game works exactly like the ones they’ve previously played, and proceed to misuse the rules. Second, they’re the ones who are in the best position to explain the rules to the newbies. I don’t see why encouraging experienced players to pick and choose from the rules is a good idea.

Then again, I may be looking at this from a completely different perspective– back in ‘78, AD&D was treading the new and dangerous road of “maybe everyone who’s playing Dungeons and Dragons should be playing the same game, rather than a chimerical mess of house rules connected sometimes only by a lineage of Xeroxes that got more blurry the further you were from Lake Geneva, WI?” Importing or mixing rule sets was just as common as it was today, and unlike Gygax, the RuneQuest authors seem to admit that RPGs are very much a medium where user and author contributions become extremely blurred.

Which is a great segue into this!

”FURTHER RULES” posted:

There are some questions left unanswered in these rules. We have attempted to provide a unified game system which can be played as is. Further supplements will ice the cake and expand on both how the game fits into the world of Glorantha, and how it can be expanded into other worlds.
We are interested in input from those who play this game. Players who devise cults, new spells, and new monsters are urged to write them up in terms similar to those found herein and send them to us. You will receive full credit for your creations and, of course, a copy of the supplement the contribution appears in.
Have fun.
Thankfully, unlike D&D, RuneQuest 2E is trying to keep all the core rules within one book. (Hey Gygax, hurry up on publishing the DMG! Do we really have to wait until 1979?) The fact that on the very first page the authors invite fan contributions and even promise a free copy of any supplement that uses the content is a good reminder of how the line between an RPG amateur and professional developer has always been extremely thin.

But ok, how do we play RuneQuest 2E, really?

”PURPOSE OF THE GAME” posted:

The title of the game, RuneQuest, describes its goal. The player creates one or more characters, known as Adventurers, and plays them in various scenarios designed by a Referee. The Adventurer has the use of combat, magic, and other skills, and treasure. The Referee has the use of assorted monsters, traps, and his own wicked imagination to keep the Adventurer from his goal within the rules of the game. A surviving Adventurer gains experience in fighting, magic, and other skills, as well as money to purchase further training.
The Adventurer progresses in this way until he is so proficient that he comes to the attention of the High Priests, sages, and gods. At this point he has the option to join a Rune cult. Joining such a cult gives him many advantages, not the least of which is aid from the god of the cult.
Acquiring a Rune by joining such a cult is the goal of the game, for only in gathering a Rune may a character take the next step, up into the ranks of Hero, and perhaps Superhero.
Ok, that ties some stuff up. It took until the last header on page 1 to actually describe how the game is played: one person is the Referee (GM), and the others are playing as Adventurers trying to gain enough power from their experiences to obtain a Rune. It’s surprising that the Referee/GM position has been given so little attention in how the game is described until now– before that everything was described in terms of the PCs. The Referee for Runequest is intended by the authors to be an “adversarial DM” type, though I don’t know if that’s just because that’s how D&D described the role or if they really want the Referee to prevent the players from getting them there Runes.

Speaking of which, most of you are wondering “What is a Rune and how do I Quest for it?” Well, I guess it’s time to actually look at the setting of Glorantha, which thankfully gets described starting on page 4.



… Wait, did I just spend all that time on one page?



Next Time: A Brief History of Time, or :catdrugs: :ducksiren: :kheldragar:



*Technically 3E and 3.5E pushed a defanged Greyhawk as the assumed setting, and 4E had the "Points of Light" not-a-setting setting, but 5E was the first to overtly say that "the Forgotten Realms is the default setting, eat it nerds."

Spiderfist Island fucked around with this message at 00:25 on Mar 6, 2016

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


So I didn't see it mentioned, but I'm pretty sure the guy who wrote RuneQuest was an actual anthropology student. So a good deal of what pops up in the setting and magic system are based off trends in ancient human myth cycles. And if it's anything like the 6th edition,it leads to how each magic system has a different feel but relies on core resolution mechanics.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



it's a hard roe but after a decade+ of consideration I stand by my judgment that Djinn #1, Calabim a very close but still #2 :colbert:

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


Black August posted:

it's a hard roe but after a decade+ of consideration I stand by my judgment that Djinn #1, Calabim a very close but still #2 :colbert:

Djinn sound great too but these write-ups are like horoscopes or Myers-Briggs tests: each one sounds like it was written about me. These demons are so deamonic just reading about them is loving me up. Calabim need a bit of work to be intereting but also sound really easy/fun to play.
Glorantha is one of those settings that just sounds awesome, and I'm glad it exists.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!






So, been a bit too busy and a little unmotivated to finish up the Statosphere book. Debated just dropping it and moving on but in the end I figured I should finish what I started, especially since there's basically only one long post's worth of content left. With that said, lets finish this!

The House of Renunciation

You may recall the House of Renunciation from the main Unknown Armies book, but Statosphere gives us a bit more detail. For those who don't remember: The House of Renunciation is a thing/place/force/entity/??? which consists of Otherspaces where humans are mentally broken down and transformed in ways unique to each of its potentially infinite Rooms. Each Room has a specific method and preferred "target" and they seem to recruit human agents who serve the Room (or vice versa, or neither) in unclear ways.

In the main UA book the Rooms of Renunciation where largely a mystery. You could see what they did but no one really knew the why of it. In the Statosphere book they're a bit more clearly defined. The House of Renunciation is there to drive the evolution of human beings. Not in the physical sense, but the philosophical, mental and cultural sense. It's there to screw with people's core beliefs and forcibly inject new ideas into you whether you like it or not.

The Rooms of Renunciation are sort of an inversion of the Archetypes. While Archetypes are formed by the conglomeration of human consciousness coming together and creating a unifying idea, the Rooms are created by the "friction" of human conflict and differing points of view. The way hundreds of people can follow the same God or philosophy but act in entirely different ways. The way one man's trash is another's treasure and one's war crime is another's Tuesday.

The Rooms are given power and purpose by the cognitive dissonance of the collective unconsciousness. The Rooms serve to enhance these differences, fracturing ideas and philosophies and forcing them compete with one another, the same way you'd break up a company that has become too large.

The Agents of the rooms are also given more explanation here. Each room naturally draws humans to serve it with each new Agent chosen by the previous Agent (or a fellow Agent, Rooms can be served by multiple Agents at once). The Room cannot choose new Agents on its own but it can guide its current Agents to seek out the right sort of people needed for an individual Room's purposes. All Agents are "processed" by the Room, much like its "victims", although in some cases the Agents may undergo an even more harrowing or strenuous trial. Often an Agent seeks out a replacement when the stress of working for one of the Rooms becomes too much and after successfully Renouncing the new Agent they simply leave, maybe taking the time to explain things to the new Agent before they go.

Agents can be drawn from any "level" of the Occult Underground: some were entirely ignorant of magick before they became an Agent and often remain ignorant of anything other than the Room itself. Others were Dukes or Lords of the Underground, including Adepts and Avatars and use the power of the Room to keep playing the secret games of the Occult Underground on an even higher level.

Renunciation
So what do the Rooms do? Well, the details vary from Room to Room but basically they force you into an existential crisis, forcing you to question your beliefs, values and the purpose of your life. This is called Renunciation. Mechanically, the Room changes your Obsession, many "reversing" or "inverting" it, but not always. But no matter what your new Obsession is it must conflict with the previous one in some way (for instance, someone obsessed with fighting might not become a pacifist but might realize that physical conflict is meaningless and become obsessed with philosophical or intellectual debate). This may end up changing your Obsession skill as well.

No matter what, Renunciation is a Rank-5 Stress check with the type of Stress varying depending on the type of pressure the Room puts on you (self is probably the most common obviously).

The Rooms:

four example Rooms are presented:

The Room of Cold Reflection targets the ruthlessly ambitious, those who are willing to "do what it takes" to accomplish their goals. When the ends justify the means, this is where the means come back to haunt you. That doesn't mean the Room is noble: the righteous are often just as driven as the ruthless. A crusader for a good cause may be brought here to see just what suffering their dedication has brought to family and friends or see those who've fought and maybe even died for what they believed was right.

The room tends to manifest at the top of a flight of stairs, and its door leads to a broad courtyard garden covered in snow. Around the garden are four walls with covered walkways and a hedge maze occupies the center. Snow falls from a starless black sky and a sourceless white light provides dim illumination. The walkway's roof is supported by columns in the vague shape of people and they can be barely heard to whisper unintelligibly.

There are six entrances to the hedge maze and the maze itself seems to change as you walk through it, opening new paths and closing others and seeming far larger inside than it seems to be from the length of the walkway. Footprints in the snow fade almost instantly once they're out of sight, making backtracking difficult. As the visitor walks through the maze they'll catch glimpses of a figure ahead of them: someone just turning a corner or barely seen through a gap in the hedges. This becomes more frequent the longer a visitor is lost in the maze. Eventually the maze will allow you entry to the Frost Garden at the center: a wide clearing of barren fruit trees and frozen fountains. Statues carved of ice and snow are positioned around the garden.

The statues are tableaux showing the weakest and most callow moments in the visitors life (or the futures they are creating for others with their actions). The frozen pools show similar shameful memories, where they pushed others aside or "did what they had to do" to succeed. In the center is a single, unfrozen pool: The Pool of Renunciation. It is unfrozen and does not show any kind of distorted reflection or shameful scene. But anyone looking at it knows one thing with absolute surety...drinking from the pool is a surrender. To drink means that you admit you were wrong, that you give up your goals...that the sacrifices you've made weren't worth it. They also know that drinking will set them free from the room.

No one is compelled to drink. They can wait as long as they want in the maze, in the garden or in the path around it. Although cold no visitors will ever freeze to death and there's plenty of snow to melt and drink to stave off dehydration. Of course, there's no food but you can last a long time without food, desperately alone in the cold garden of regrets and shame. But some are dedicated enough: the room may kill them but it doesn't break them and they die cold and alone clinging to their ideals. But most will drink in the end and they will come out with their passion and obsession quenched.

The current Agent of the Room of Cold Reflection is Cesar Castillo, a former plutomancer who ruined his life in the pursuit of money and magic (in general the Room of Cold Reflect is a great "remedy" for Adepts in particular). After being sent through the room he found his ex-wife and apologized and paid back everything he borrowed or stole from her. He's returned to his old job and (on the side) has teamed up with the Sleepers (although they don't know hes an Agent). After a long stay in the Room Cesar is actually quite reluctant to throw anyone else in and is more likely to try and appeal to targets in more gentle ways...but if nothing else works they get the full Christmas Carol treatment.

The Room of Heart's Burden Lifted is a place for those who have been beaten down by life too many times for them to get back up again. It offers a chance to exchange your life for someone else's. It especially goes for those who have been victimized by others (or feel like they have been).

There are three choices to those who enter the room: Travel somewhere new and start entirely fresh, let the room remake them into a whole new person, or die. Each choice is, as far as the Room and its Agent is concerned, a valid and respectable option: change your circumstances, change yourself or leave both behind and see what's behind door number 3.

The Agent of the Room, Dawn Miller, is a psychologist (who poses as a social worker when seeking out canditates and offers them "free counseling", providing the address of the room's current location. Before offering them "the choice" she does give them very thorough counseling, trying to remove as many Failed and Hardened Notches as she feels that they won't be able to make a valid choice until relieved of their emotional trauma. Once she feels the subject is ready they are offered the choice and once they choose they're given a few days to prepare and then are instructed to return to the Room at a later date and are granted their choice. Those who pick the first choice step out of the office in a whole new city or even country with only what they brought with them to start a new life. It's as simple as that.

For those who pick the second option there is the Rebirth Ritual. Dawn performs hypnotic regression (the subject must be willing) and makes a roll (which she can flip-flop). The subjected is transformed, with a better roll indicating a greater change: appearance, gender, age, ethnicity, etc. A failure means more counseling is required. Those who are successfully transformed are given a briefing on their new "life" and backstory and left to find their way in the world.

Those who make the third and final choice are taken to the Misericord Chamber. This is a simple room with a bed, decorated in whatever way the patient would find relaxing or pleasing. Once the patient is completely relaxed they die. Painlessly and easily. The body is transported elsewhere to be disposed of in whatever way the patient would have desired (including payment to a funeral home if need be).

In a lot of ways the Room of Heart's Burdens Lifted seems like it's purely benevolent and kind. However, one of the greatest cruelties of the room is that it only offers itself to those who don't need it. The Room seeks those who already have a way out but don't take it: victims who choose to stay with their abusers and those who tie themselves to misery out of a sense of obligation or fear. And of course, while the Room offers them options, it does not promise these will lead to a better life. Your new life (or lack thereof) will be different but it may not be better, especially if you lack the will and ability to better it yourself. Nor can you pick and choose what to leave behind...fleeing from an abusive spouse through the power of the room may mean leaving your children behind, an accomplished author crippled by addiction might be freed but doesn't get to keep his fame or fortune.


The Room of Ignorance is the room of the luddite and exists to remove a person's connections with (and dependence on) technology and science. In inspires self-sufficiency but also contempt for humanity's accomplishments and a desire to return to the state of nature, with all that entails. In particular it targets the shut-ins, the MMO addicts, the NEETs and anyone eager to replace a "natural" experience with a virtual or artificial one.

The "Room" is actually a forest glade, full of animals and pleasant sunshine. It is filled with calm and has the temperature of a warm spring day. Anyone coming inside can't help but feel that this is how things should be and that their "civilized" lives suffer in comparison to this eden. On all sides are overgrown, crumbling ruins and wilderness stretches beyond. All of the plants defy normal scientific identification, often bearing multiple different fruits on the same branch and with leaves and bark that match none of them. Compasses and any other navigational aids don't work here and the stars never match any normal configuration when night falls. The entrance to the room is an iron gate set in a cave and around it the ground is dead and barren. Animals refuse to approach the gate and die if brought too close against their will.

The Room of Ignorance is a bit more straightforward than some of the others and has three servants who are functionally a part of the Room: The Man, The Woman and the Father. If you think the Genesis metaphor is unsubtle now, just wait.

The Man and Woman both serve as a means to get people into the Room. The Man operates subtly with brute strength: he finds whoever the Room wants, grabs them and drags them inside then tosses them into the forest beyond the ruins. He viciously hates technology and lacks the ability to speak and hates even the complexity of communicating via gestures. He's got great physical stats and high combat skills and he's perfectly fine with killing those who block his way to his target or even the target themselves if they are too difficult to get into the Room. He also has a magic rock that makes anyone he hits with it a bit stupider (-1% to a random Mind skill).

While the Man is all about brute strength the Woman focuses on sex appeal and trickery. Unlike the Man she'll tolerate things like soap and clothing to help her ensnare a target. She'll usually play the role of Manic Pixie Dream Girl, suddenly pushing herself into her target's life and leading them into a wilder and wilder night until she finally lures them into the wilderness of the Room and leaves them stranded there. One of her most powerful tools is the Fruit of Sustenance: when she takes a fruit from any of the room's trees outside the room anyone else who tastes it finds it incredibly addictive and will do about anything to get another piece of fruit. This lasts for a month or until they enter the Room.

The Father guides both of them in their missions. He's a middle aged man with no teeth and a knee-length white beard. His mission is the eradication of all technological development and indeed all abstract thought of all kinds. If it was successful his plans would likely eliminate the Invisible Clergy, the Rooms of Renunciation and possibly magick itself as humanity would cease to be anything other than just another animal. Fortunately, his schemes are unlikely to ever bear fruit (something he realizes on some level) and in the meantime he does his duty of stunting technological advancements wherever he can. He has an artifact (a giant eyeball) that allows him to see through the eyes of anyone who has taken a bite out of it (such pieces regenerate). He uses this to keep tabs on the Man and Woman when they're out of the Room, which he never leaves. He also has a skill called The Voice of Ignorance, it can be used to force the Man and Woman to obey him (which is rarely necessary might happen if an Adept or Avatar hits them with some kind of whammy) and disables any tools or machine brought into his sight. Finally, if the Man or Woman dies he can call out to anyone previously Renounced by the Room and convert them into a new Man or Woman (erasing any previous memories or skills and simply remaking them into perfect copies of the previous Man or or Woman).

Those brought to the room become lost in the wilderness beyond the ruins and the Room warps space and time to ensure that they will never get back on their own and will never meet the Man, Woman or Father during their stay in the Room. Any tools (even something as simple as a chipped rock) fall apart and decay when they're used and so those trapped in the Room must survive completely on their own: no tools, no help, no guidance. They may spend years or even decades until the room breaks them but no matter how long it takes within the Room they will not age and will emerge a week after they entered. They will retain any parasites, malnutrition or similar problems they developed during their stay in the room however. Once they've been Renounced, victims of the room will eschew technology and any dependence on civilization. They may not go full "savage" but they'll invariably insist on living a self-sufficient lifestyle as a recluse or with others of a similar mindset.

Notably the Room is also a bit of a super-charger for Avatars of the Savage. Needless to say such Avatars would likely never be sought out as victims by the Room, but if they come across it the fruit of the room feeds them for a full day per piece, just like the Room's three Agents, and the spring near the entrance enhances their Avatar skill by 1d10% for a week. The water also can be taken out and causes any technological items it touches to malfunction or break down (it retains this power for 48 hours outside the Room).

The Room of Rusted Things targets the indifferent. Those who don't care enough to do anything, good or bad, of importance with their life. They're cosmic parasites, keeping reality from working as it should by consuming resources but contributing nothing to the Cosmic progress of the Invisible Clergy or the march towards the world's rebirth.

The Room is a junkyard under a brown sky. Some of the items in the junkyard are bits and pieces of the target's past (especially those symbolic of times that they chose inaction over action) while others simply represent the general apathy of modern life. The most striking thing is the money. Money is everywhere in the room, from every country or time period but the faces on the bills or coins aren't leaders but the faces of those the victim has pushed aside out of apathy or disgust. Anyone who enters instinctively realizes that this room represents the waste of their lives and serves as a hollow reflection of themselves. The doorway out rusts shut the moment you enter, with the handle crumbling if touched.

The victim is drawn to items they've left behind, forced against their will, and upon contact they relive the moments these items represent but from the point of view of those who were hurt or neglected by their inaction. The items can show visions of the past where the subject has neglected others, but they see things through the eyes of their "victims". It can also show exaggerated, horrific visions of the future that will be brought on by a subject's inaction, especially if the subject is party (via indifference) to things that will change the world for the worse.

After the subject has wandered through and been granted a vision by each and every item they're simply left alone in the room. They feel no hunger or cold and there's simply nothing to do. Nothing but sleep when you're tired. However, every time the subject sleeps something of "theirs" in the room vanishes. Some symbolic item or figure just isn't there when they wake up. This happens over and over until none of their icons are left and they're just alone in the room. Then when they wake up again the room itself is gone and they're in an empty plain. Then the ground vanishes, and then the sky.

The next time the subject sleeps their eyes vanish, followed by their fingers. Bit by bit with each night's sleep they disappear. Once they have completely vanished (which may take a very long time) they wake up in their home with only about ten minutes of "real" time having passed. Most take the event as a horrific nightmare or forget it completely, but it changes them. They become terrified of disappearing, becoming a non-entity with no influence on the world around them. For good or ill they want to do something with their life.

Those whose lives are too empty for the room to fill with passion become Agents of the room, capable of "reading" the junk in the room to find their next victims.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The First and Last Man

Statosphere doesn't just give the Rooms a bigger role, it also delves into the Count De Saint Germain himself. The First and Last Man. Of course, he's too complex a character to be boiled down to a static role, so instead it provides three interpretations of the Count. These might all be true at different times or versions of reality (or even simultaneously) or only one might be the "true" nature of the Count.

The Universal Superintendent

This version of the Count is a cosmic repairman. This version's age is tied to the invisible Clergy, with each Ascension aging him about a season. At the start of a new universe the first sentient beings gives birth to the Count and Ascends as the Mother and Father. The Count will appear to be in his 20s by the time society has started to form and the Archetypes are approaching the triple digits. By the time the penultimate space is filled he'll appear to be in his eighties.

Other than his age his appearance will "fit in" anywhere, looking like whatever ethnicity and appearance draws the least attention. He can choose not to transform if he prefers and even if he allows it the process is gradual. Sometimes he is a woman, but his appearance is universally average.

This version of the Count looks for the problems in the universal machine and patches them up. He occasionally does things "for humanity" but largely his purpose is to keep the cosmos ticking along and anything short of total extinction isn't that big a deal to him.

There's one thing that he can't do and that's be two places at once. Hence he is often willing to use normal humans as tools and pawns (usually unwittingly) when situations come up that must be addressed but can't be handled directly right now.

Notably, he's got a few enemies among the invisible clergy, although of course they'd never go so far as to try and kill him there's still plenty they can do out of spite. The Count knows a lot, but not everything. He's just as ignorant of what lies beyond the veil as any living person and he has no clue who or what the Cruel Ones are either. He knows all the members of the current Invisible Clergy. Since he cannot be everywhere at once he's unlikely to have a front row seat at most major historical events. He was in China when Jesus showed up and for most of human history he still only knows what other people have told him or what he's personally seen (which is a lot, but still only a fraction of the whole).

He's got Body 50, Speed and Mind at 60 and Soul at 70, which isn't too impressive but he can use every mundane skill at a rank equal to his stat. He also has a few special tricks. First, he's invulnerable. Nothing ever hurts him at all. He's not superman: he can't kick through steel or anything and he can be chained up but when an earthquake or one of his agents frees him he'll be just fine. He also knows pretty much every single ritual (and by extension has built up effectively infinite charges to use them). There's only a few things his rituals can't do: no ritual Blasts (that's adepts only), he still can't be in more than one place at once, he can't get a Major charge, he can't affect the Invisible Clergy directly and he can't kill himself.

He also an extreme polyglot and understands language well enough that he can learn any new language in about a month. He can also make very high-risk rolls: the GM rolls a single d10 and treats it as both the ones and tens place, meaning the result is a matched success or a matched failure. He can also pull a Ford Prefect and with eye contact hit them with the sheer scale of his existence. Effectively he can hit someone with a stress test on any gauge at any level he wants.


The Stormy Petrel of Apocalypse

This version of St. Germain fits right in with the "Cosmic Bumfights" theme of Unknown Armies. He's worn out, worn down, worn inside and worn up. He's just plain tired and doesn't really expect that there's much of anything anyone can do to save humanity (and thus reality) from itself anymore. He certainly doesn't think he can do it, but one thing he hasn't let go of is his sense of duty and so he keeps his face pressed firmly to the grindstone as it turns on and on.

Of course, one of the worst things you can do is inspire a bit of hope or optimism in him again, because if you manage to convince him that maybe something can be done to keep things running just a bit longer then you've just enlisted yourself. An inspired St. Germain will go to great lengths to try and save humanity from itself and unfortunately his allies don't last as long.

It's like the new Doctor Who, but instead of long-term companions he just has those characters he promises to save about midway through and episode and die about 10 minutes before the end.

At this point in his life the Count is mostly an observer. He keeps track of things in the patterns of highway debris, bus schedules and similar apparently meaningless information. He will, on occasion, intervene. This is largely minor...saying the right word to the right person about what's going on and where. Maybe he'll slash someone's tires, delay a bus, or call in a bomb threat or otherwise take a minor action to throw things just far enough out of sync. Only for the highest stakes will he ever actually tell those he's working with (most of) what's going on.

This Count is a student of human nature. At its best and its worst he knows people the way no other individual could. He knows the Clergy because they are/were human too. He used to think that the Cruel Ones were angels...now he has no real idea. Maybe angels are very different from what he expected, maybe they're some kind of byproduct of the Clergy. But he'll feed anyone any supernatural BS he thinks will convince them to do what needs to be done.

He has three main skills: Music, Maps and watching people die.

Okay, that's all putting it very loosely. "Music" in this case means that he's a gifted musician but what it really means is that he can talk just about anyone into anything. With a successful Soul roll (90%) he can convince anyone do to anything remotely reasonable or convince anyone to tell him anything they know. He can also speak and read all human languages

He's great with maps, but doesn't use them much because his sense of direction is perfect. What it really means is he can read the patterns and signs in anything. The swirl in his cup of coffee will tell him that a young girl in a small town is going to be murdered, stuffed with seeds and crucified in the woods. He knows just which 4 people in Florida need to die in order for Trump to be the next president of the United States. On a more mundane scale, this allows him to make a Mind roll (80%) to perfectly know the "lay of the land" (socially, magically, physically, or otherwise) and so long as there is a way forward he can take it. He knows the back entrance or the loose chainlink fence or the exact moment when the guy in the surveillance van is taking a leak.

Watching people die is perhaps his most accurately described skill. First, of course, he's immortal. Not in the invulnerable man of iron sense of the first Count, but in the sense that nothing lethal will ever happen to him. The bullet that kills him will miss, the killing curse is mispronounced, the car crash leaves him miraculously unscathed. It also means he's hardened enough (9 Violence, 9 Self) to do whatever needs to be done to get the job done. Sometimes he'll try and soften a blow or take a slightly more moral path...but most of the time its all about expedience.

He also can ride horses, tame dogs and keep bees.


The Diplomat

The final version of the Count is a politician. Appearing currently as "The Diplomat from Magonia" a country which won't appear on any maps but everyone is too embarrassed at not remembering it to check, or ask. He's everywhere at events of state and even those who never met him will claim to know him because it seems like it would be embarrassing not to recall this man. He's an older gentlemen and extremely dapper but no one would be able to agree on his exact ethnicity, of course no one would be so rude to speculate.

This version has the greatest resemblance to the historical/mythical Count De Saint Germain. He's the center of hundreds of rumors and wild speculation, he associates freely with the rich, noble and politically powerful and everyone listens closely to his advice.

Although the Count isn't purely a political animal (recognizing that the forces of magick and the Invisible Clergy are more important in the long run) he also recognizes just how delicate the forces of power are, especially between the Underground and the Sleeping Tiger. By keeping his fingers closely on the pulse of the leaders of the world he can not only keep tabs on major Cosmic or Global events (after all, if the Warrior Godwalker is bucking for ascension you can bet it'll cause ripples in international relations. The sort of ripples that leave smoking craters) but also to keep an out on whether or not the Trickster currently pretending to be the POTUS has been ousted by a Personamancer this month.

His personas change with the times (the Count De Saint Germain was a previous one, since discarded) and his current role as the Ambassador from Magonia is simply one in a long line of personas which he creates. Most of the rumors and stories about him are entirely fabricated.

He has a near-total grasp of current events, worlds leaders, military matters, demographics, etc and is well educated on world history and cultures and can fit into pretty much any society as a consummate gentleman of class.

He is capable of gaining access to more or less any social function without an invitation and is treated as a friend and confidante by all rulers and leaders of any nation in the world. He can spread rumors in much the same way as a Cliomancer, but with greater subtlety and control. He will not (although apparently he can) use magick on world leaders to compel obedience, apparently finding regular old social pressure or intelligence manipulation a more reliable tool.



And that's it, Statosphere is done and with that I have exhausted my supply of Unknown Armies books! In the interest of spreading more interesting and weird RPG stuff, what would people like to see next: The Whispering Vault or should I delve into weird 2nd edition Dark Sun stuff, I've had my eye on the Windriders of the Jagged Cliffs or the Psionic Artifacts of Athas for a while.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Calabim are easy when you hit upon the idea they're really mutable in form and style. Each one has a built-in unique Discord, which you have a dizzying array to choose from, and they're quintessential in demonic style, simply being 'destroyers'. So maybe Calabim of Fire are Balrogs, or Calabim of the Oceans are Deep Ones. You can get mythological with it, or adapt favorite stories, as long as the Calabite is demonic somehow. Calabim are basically the beginner's pick to let your imagination go wild. Plus a useful resonance, frequently useful Band attunements, and extra points from Discord.

Hell's crappy but reliable answer to anything and everything Heaven throws down with. And at Belial's level, Lucifer's idea of a celestial nuclear option.

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


Dark Sun!
I kinda don't like the Rooms of Renunciation being too explained, but now that Doctor Who has been pointed out they remind me of those Moffat episodes where alien tech leads to a weird choice. Like the one with the old version of Amy.

The first episode of Doctor Who would make a great UA intro. Two normal teachers follow a strange girl into a junkyard, where they meet an old man living in what was then a normal object, but there's something strange about it. Cue the trippy theme song, then hit them with the real UA weirdness.
The first episode aired after the JFK assassination in the UK.
The lost episodes, which are always surfacing as VHS tapes in dumpsters and forgotten archives, would be great Videomancer McGuffins. Maybe the Naked Goddess auditioned to be a Companion, but the tape was lost...

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Unknown Armies was always one of those systems I'd never find the time or heart to play, but I still love reading the material for ideas or the fun of it. RPG safariing.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Overall I definitely prefer the vaguer Rooms from the UA core book. In the core they were more like places that developed unexplained symbosis with their Agents but at that point it was up to the agent to figure out how they worked (if they could) and what to use them for.

This version makes it clear that the Rooms are the ones with the agenda and the drive and the Agents are at best partners. At worst they're nothing but extensions of the Room (like the Man, Woman and Father)

The effects are also a lot more absolute. In these Rooms (except the Room of Hearts Burden Lifted) the choice is pretty much change your belief to match the Room's or die (not even that in the case of the Room of Rusted Things, apparently there is no choice there).

The Otherside Room from the corebook showed you the worst of what your belief's had to offer but the experience could leave you completely bereft of any belief, believing the opposite of your original stance or make you even more hardline than before. The results were less predictable and left more room for free will.

oriongates fucked around with this message at 04:25 on Mar 6, 2016

SHY NUDIST GRRL
Feb 15, 2011

Communism will help more white people than anyone else. Any equal measures unfairly provide less to minority populations just because there's less of them. Democracy is truly the tyranny of the mob.



I love the description of the worn down Saint Germain in the book. From the ill fitting suit that looks like he wore it to his father's funeral, which happened a long time, to the dangerous glint in his eye when someone looks like they could do some good.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




TheTatteredKing posted:

I love the description of the worn down Saint Germain in the book. From the ill fitting suit that looks like he wore it to his father's funeral, which happened a long time, to the dangerous glint in his eye when someone looks like they could do some good.

Yeah, out of the three Count's he's the one with the most character. The sort of guy who might make a great protagonist in a novel or a weird movie. The other two fit the Count's role as "mysterious GM Ex Machina", but the hobo-Count is my favorite.

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


Black August posted:

Unknown Armies was always one of those systems I'd never find the time or heart to play, but I still love reading the material for ideas or the fun of it. RPG safariing.

Have you brought any UA ideas into In Nomine? 'You Did It' seems like it wouldn't fit with angels and demons, but stuff like the Demon of Bong Water and angelic obsessions could fit. If for some reason you wanted to merge the settings, you could have Words replace Archtypes, and humans generate Angels and Demons by believing and following them.

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


oriongates posted:

Yeah, out of the three Count's he's the one with the most character. The sort of guy who might make a great protagonist in a novel or a weird movie. The other two fit the Count's role as "mysterious GM Ex Machina", but the hobo-Count is my favorite.

I can't help but see him as Tom Waits in...everything really, but especially Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. I guess he could be the setting's John Constantine in a pinch, but I'd rather leave that to the PCs.

Hypocrisy
Oct 4, 2006
Lord of Sarcasm



Wait...who are the Cruel Ones?

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Count Chocula posted:

Have you brought any UA ideas into In Nomine? 'You Did It' seems like it wouldn't fit with angels and demons, but stuff like the Demon of Bong Water and angelic obsessions could fit. If for some reason you wanted to merge the settings, you could have Words replace Archtypes, and humans generate Angels and Demons by believing and following them.

Nah. I was going strong in my own direction along with my remaining two players for the last 50% of the campaign, I had influences and plenty of surrealism inspired by material like Unknown Armies and Mythos horror, but all of it was strongly focused on a more mythic and mystical flavor to the setting, with the contrast and brightness knobs set all fiddly.

For system conversions, I don't got the energy no more. I stick entirely to GURPS now, and maybe will try to blend In Nomine with GURPS Ultralite someday for fun.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003



Hypocrisy posted:

Wait...who are the Cruel Ones?

Magog ain't nothin' to gently caress with.

Old Testament Style

:unsmigghh:

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Hypocrisy posted:

Wait...who are the Cruel Ones?

You're right. That's exactly the question.


Serious answer, they're something that came up in the core book and are one of the big mysteries of the setting. The one thing no one knows for sure is what awaits us in the afterlife. We know that souls exist after death because there are demons and ghosts and whatnot which are the souls of the once living who can't let go of the world and pass beyond the Veil. We don't know what happens to any of the other souls who do pass beyond. Demons also talk about "The Cruel Ones" as entities that they fear...but that's pretty much all the book will tell us. It's theorized they might be angels or archangels or the only truly non-anthrocentric beings of the universe...but no one knows.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Tasoth posted:

So I didn't see it mentioned, but I'm pretty sure the guy who wrote RuneQuest was an actual anthropology student. So a good deal of what pops up in the setting and magic system are based off trends in ancient human myth cycles. And if it's anything like the 6th edition,it leads to how each magic system has a different feel but relies on core resolution mechanics.

That was Greg Stafford, who created Glorantha and founded Chaosium. I don't think he was part of the rules design team for RQ, though.

Also of note: besides writing RQ, Steve Perrin is also a founding member of the SCA. So you can see where the desire for more realistic combat rules comes from.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Sparks of Light


A Magical Girl's Life

Magical girls are officially known as Sparks, though both the book and characters in this setting just call them magical girls, and I'll stick to that as well. "Spark" is also used as a verb to describe the process of being chosen as a magical girl. The name comes from the Light, the benevolent goddess who recruits magical girls by giving them a fragment of herself.
There do exist magical boys, adults and even animals, but they're not really the target audience for the Light.

A magical girl's source of power are Bonds, her relationships with other people. It's like the Social Links from Persona, except instead of allowing you to summon stronger gods and demons, it makes your witch punches stronger.
One can actively draw out extra power from a Bond in case of emergencies, but doing so will put a srain on it. Your former BFF might just downgrade you to a normal friend if you don't spend more time with him/her ASAP. In extreme cases, a Bond can actually shatter, and now your BFF doesn't remember you anymore.

The most important Bonds for a magical girl are those formed with her Nakama, which includes the Light itself, the other PCs, and whatever Court (aka splat) she is in.


I'm pretty sure the person in the background is a dude. I'm not so sure about the rest.

Light Armor & Soul Weapons

A magical girl's costume is known as Light armor, made out some kind of magical not-mythril fabric. These used to look like actual armor, but then those pesky anime came around and ruined everything for everyone - which is exactly how I would imagine this to happen. Or where the magical girl shows inspired by actual magical girls?! Hopefully not, cause the first explanation is more hilarious.
Additionally, magical girls have a Soul weapon, which can be pretty much anything, be it a buster sword, wand or electric guitar. Unlike Light armor, Soul weapons have to be earned, though every PC seem to already start with one.
The rest of the book seems to call these weapons Soul tokens, so I guess that's the actual term.

So, let's revisit our current roster for Soul weapons/tokens:
  • Doki Doki Happy Witch Puncher Punch-Witch-chan: Armwarmers of Witch-Punching.
  • Mysterious Masked Rider Megumin: A belt with a couple switches that all seem to revolve around powering up her kicks. May or may not come with an announcer voice.
  • Rainbow (Seizure) Spark: A technicolor staff that definitely has an announcer voice and apprently thinks it's the onboard computer of a giant robot.
  • Sanlossa, Emissary of Cuddlethulu: The Nekonomicon, which is actually just a binder for her Love Cards (I'm don't actually know anything abou the cards in Cardcaptor, but my extensive knowledge of early Yu-Gi-Oh! should be more than adequate)

The Bad Guys

When magical girls have to transform in order to save the day, it's usually because one of those guys: the Dark (dark magical girls and other villains), the Yomi (monsters who typically hang out with the Dark, though not always willingly), or the Twilight (which isn't explained yet, but I suppose they are Chaotic Neutral d-bags).

Secrecy

In a day and age of smartphones, Youtube and a celebrity culture that is pretty good at effing up child celebs, it has become paramount for the identity of magical girls to stay secret at all costs. They are therefore protected by powerful magic that messes around with memories and any kind of footage, and entire groups of magical girls are tasked with fixing collateral damage caused by monsters and essentially play Men in Black to convince bystanders that they really didn't see a girl in a pink dress punch a giant monster through an entire mall. Standard stuff for this kind of setup.

The GM has a couple choices when it comes to how serecy works with the bad guys. The default assumption is that it works for everyone, so neither the PCs nor the villains have an easy time figuring out who's behind the frills or leather, respectively. You can also go the standard magical girl anime route where secrecy only works on normal dudes. Sadly, there is no mention of the classic "The bad guys know who the girls are and which school they visit, but they don't actually do anything with it" trope.
The GM also has to decide on whether or not the Dark use a secrecy effect as well or if they don't care about it at all.

Magic

Good magical girls naturally use Light magic. It gives them the classic magical girl wuxia package (long jumps, being able to stand on light poles...), grants the vital panty shot protection buff, and allows them to pull off purifications, aka energy beams. More experienced magical girls get to teleport around and undo whatever stuff the bad guy has done.

One bit of this standard Light magic package is also my least favorite part in the book: magical girls age very slowly - or more specifically: They can decide each year whether or not they feel like getting older (and it is assumed they rarely do, though it apparently becomes ever so slightly harder to resist each time).
How can they still live a normal life if they spend decades in ther teenager years? Well, magic. Nobody in school will find it odd that the same group of girls as been in the same class for the last 20+ years, and if they used to be the firstborn among their siblings, their family just believes they were the youngest all along.
This is pretty odd in a game where the characters are powered by relationships. Maintaining a Bond with your former childhood friend who is now your teacher is just weird, not to mention the huge amount of reality-alteration necessary for this to work. I'd rather just go "Your magical girl persona never looks older than 18 or so" and be done with it.

The two main limitations of Light magic is that you can't do anything sneaky with it (so no good magical ninja girls for you; you have a cute dress with ribbons and everything and by God, you're going to show it off to everyone), and you can't heal someone or make him less of a jerk if he is not willing. Sure, you can apparently brainwash or straight-up reshape reality so you can stay in middle school forever, but you can't turn a bad guy good by punching or beam-spamming him hard enough (though isn't that the basic concept of Nanoha, and sometimes Pretty Cure?). Or maybe that's just for irredeemable villains, which makes sense I guess.

The Dark has two main forms of magic: Harvesting magic allows them to extract whatever kind of energy or MacGuffin they need from civilians, be it dreams, hopes, or metaphysical flowers. They also make heavy use of Shadow magic, which is all about sneaky stuff. Essentially, bad guys can instantly appear out of nowhere and flee just as fast if things don't quite work out as they intended. Other than that, the Dark can basically do anything that the plot demands.

The magic power of Yomi isn't particularly subtle, and they're mainly about causing natural disasters.

Next time: Pure Hearts - including those Courts which I think are inspired by Princess: The Hopeful.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 15:06 on Mar 6, 2016

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.


Unlockable Ben

Doresh posted:

One bit of this standard Light magic package is also my least favorite part in the book: magical girls age very slowly - or more specifically: They can decide each year whether or not they feel like getting older (and it is assumed they rarely do, though it apparently becomes ever so slightly harder to resist each time).
How can they still live a normal life if they spend decades in ther teenager years? Well, magic. Nobody in school will find it odd that the same group of girls as been in the same class for the last 20+ years, and if they used to be the firstborn among their siblings, their family just believes they were the youngest all along.

And they're also presumably growing seriously bored in school repeating the same material they already know over and over again.. but at the same time they must be racing ahead of their classmates and potentially being put in the gifted program..

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


hyphz posted:

And they're also presumably growing seriously bored in school repeating the same material they already know over and over again.. but at the same time they must be racing ahead of their classmates and potentially being put in the gifted program..

And that's why you should let yourself age normally until you're out of school so you can spend the next century or so as a NEET.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters (and Magical Girls Who Are Bored of Intro Classes).

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, this sounds a little more like Princess than I was hoping for. I'd like to see a straightforward magical girl game without any swerves, but I guess this isn't it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Infernal Player's Guide: Highway to Hell

Habbalah are whirlwinds of painful emotion, maintaining stability with a network of lies that let them believe they remain angels and serving God. When they were Elohim, they could understand themselves. Now, they maintain their own stability only by fracturing others to convince themselves they are strong. They must convince themselves that they serve God, that their Prince (knowingly or not) serves God, and wrap themselves tightly in self-delusion. Vapula is the only major Habbalite Prince. Other famous Habbalah inclaud Caimael, the first Habbalite, Ben-Japheth, Demon of Student Discipline, Nurbis, Demon of Mummification, Vathek, Demon of Jealousy, Kame, Demon of Fast Food, and Izkriath, Demon of Blame.

Habbalah are obsessed with punishing those they see ask weak. The Princes capitalize on this nature, assigning them to individuals or groups. Those on Earth are typically charged with 'testing' someone to destruction, capitalizing on their emotional and psychological weaknesses to destroy their minds and lives. Because the Habbalah believe they serve God, the more careful Princes use careful misdirection to help them justify their works to themselves. The less devious ones allow them to produce their own justifications - it's hardly as though the Habbalah have trouble doing so. They justify their lives by destorying others, and enjoy little more than watching victims tear themselves apart and destroy all they hold dear. They see it as culling the weak, telling themselves that the truly strong or worthy would have survived. Of course, this is simply a lie, and everyone knows it. In Hell, Habbalah work as intelligence gatherers and torturers. They use their resonance to get other demons to tell them things. Where an Impudite can befriend others, Habbalah can rule over the emotional extremes, fracturing a mind with love and hatred and confusion. They also take joy in punishing the weak and pitiful emotionally and physically, and while it's not necessarily common, some Habbalah love physical torture to aid in their emotional breakage, using physical pain to weaken the mind's defenses.

Habbalah work well in any Role that deals in emotions or psychology, and they often change Roles to adapt to their assignments, so rarely hold them at high levels. They are often found as counselors, entertainers, funeral directors, prostitutes, psychiatrists, psychologists, strippers, maids or secretaries. They understand human society well, and know that all of it is quite fragile. Humans are emotionally weak, and with the right wrench in the right place, it all comes tumbling down. As it should, if it is not strong. The Habbalah enjoy a lot of Earthly society, particularly emotionally charged places like nightclubs, sporting events, legislative centers and strip clubs. They are often friendly in conversation and overtly sexual, but they are always searching for weaknesses to exploit. They disdain other demons, and often need to be ordered not to use their powers on allies, for their own safety. Even so, Habbalah get killed by other demons fairly often. They, unlike most demons, are rather displeased by the social degradation of the 20th century. They like societal taboos, which encourage repressed feelings and guilt.

The Habbalah resonance allows them to unleash a maelstrom of emotion. They may also attempt to use the resonance to sense the emotions of others, but they are handicapped at doing so. They can make a Perception-based resonance roll, identical ot the Elohim resonance...but they must name the highest possible check digit they can possibly get on the roll, taking it as a penalty to the TN. Habbalah may also enhance existing emotions rather than inflicting new ones, but they won't necessarily know what emotions they've boosted until after. They do this with a resonance roll at a penalty equal to the target's Ethereal Forces, but the target's Will to resist is penalized by the Habbalite's Celestial Forces. The GM decides the exact effects, and they last for (Total Forces) hours, fading slowly over time. The resonance is otherwise normal, reducing the demon's choice of Intelligence or Precision by their Ethereal Forces, and backlash will enhance the Habbalite's current emotions if they are resisted.

The ability of the Habbalah to use a hobbled version of their old Elohite resonance provides some justification to their delusions. However, when doing so, they can never sense the reasons for the emotions of others, and can never use the more sophisticated resonance tricks of the Elohim. Still, their knowledge can make them dangerous even when not inflicting emotions on others, especially when they pair it with their resonance to take advantage of a target's real feelings. They hardly need to use it to inflict emotions, but it's handy for telling how a target might react to a certain emotion.

Habbalah gain dissonance when they absorb a resisted resonance without suffering backlash - often because it'd risk their cover or control. They may remove a note of dissonance by returning and affecting the original target with the intended emotion, but this is not always possible. They may also remove dissonance by spending an entire week affecting the emotions of everyone they get in close contact with, either via their resonance or simple psychology.

One of the big problems Habbalah have is knowing that they are angels...in Hell, surrounded by demons who call them demons. The frequent urge to punish other demons must be resisted, for survival. Demons often complain about their arrogance, delusion and bad habit of stress-testing everyone nearby. Wiser Habbalah, those who survive the first few years, learn to 'understand' that God clearly intended them to be in Hell, and that demons are part of the punishment of the weak. They learn to tolerate other demons and work with them, punishing others when assigned to work with a team. In general, they enjoy the company of other Habbalah most, as they understand and do not mock each other.

Common Habbalah Discords include Mutilation, a Corporeal Discord that causes their celestial scarring and tattoos to manifest on their vessels, at first as faint and concealable marks, and later as obvious, garish and painful-looking. The Discord reduces all reaction rolls by its level and makes it easy to identify them. Pity is an Ethereal Discord that causes sympathy for others, subtracting its level from all resonance attempts, or double when the resonance would actively cause pain or trouble for the target. Unshielded is a Celestial Discord that makes the Habbalah feel the emotions of others, including those they inflict. Whenever around someone feeling a strong emotion, they must make a Will roll, minus the Discord's level, to avoid sensing the other's feelings and manifesting the same emotion, as if their resonance had backlashed. If dealing with a crowd, they roll for each person they come in contact with, individually and concurrently.

Stereotypes posted:

Seraphim: They believe that they hold the monopoly on truth - they delude themselves, as they do not realize how necessary we are.
Cherubim: Their protection of the weak impedes our duty. They need to be enlightened, or removed.
Ofanim: Their haste can frequently be fanned into some useful emotion. Failing that, avoid them - they condemn us with their customary lack of thought.
Elohim: Stop deluding yourselves. Let me show you the true way, the true path in service to the holiest of the holy. You blinker yourself and do not understand.
Malakim: They are strong, and act in accordance with their honor: I can appreciate this, and will test them all the more for it. Perhaps they are worthy.
Kyriotates: They lose themselves among their hosts, and become as weak as they. They shall be tested in their hosts, and stand or fall with them.
Mercurians: They spend their time living among and catering to the weak, and displaying their own weakness. They shall be punished like the mortals they mimic.
Balseraphs: They dare to call us liars, when they are tangled neck-deep in their own lies. If I had pity, I might pity them.
Djinn: They do not care for the weak and for their victims. I applaud this.
Calabim: Calabim are the destruction which follows punishment; their entropy shall tear apart all that is unworthy of survival.
Lilim: They believe themselves perceptive because they can offer a being his wishes. We go deeper, and touch the heart. Tolerate their folly where necessary.
Shedim: The Corrupters are also necessary, as they bring out the evil that lurks in the souls of many, and show they deserve their punishment.
Impudites: Petty, mortal-loving fools no better than the Mercurians. They encourage weakness, but we scourge it.[/b]

Lilim are the least numerous major Band, but disproportionately represented on Earth. Lilith likes quality - every Lilim is made with 9 Forces, and so the Lilim rival Balseraphs and Habbalah for arrogance, though they are better at hiding it. They are made Free, with the choice of either serving a Prince or owing Lilith. She'll happily trade the Geases immediately, of course, or use Forces given by a Prince to try to make a Lilim that wants to serve them. If a Lilim chooses to bind themself immediately, the Prince usually pays Lilith, but the Lilim owes her nothing. Those that start Free and change their mind later still owe her, however. Lilith also tries to get small Geases on all Lilim. Free Lilim look down on the bound, but envy their security. Bound Lilim smother their mixed feelings with claims that they freely chose their allegiance and that even Lilith choose partisan safety over suicidal neutrality. Asmodeus sees the Free as loose cannons, and even the Game doesn't know all they do. Famous Lilim include Ephesus, the first Lilim to Redeem, Shiza, the first Free Lilim to Redeem (who died fighting Legion), Staciel, Demon of Intrigue, I'm Going to Hell, Demon of Gambling Debts and prize racehorse, and Ashley, the most recent Renegade to try and work with the ethereal gods, who got caught and killed live for all of Hell to see.

Lilim are tempters, not fighters. They work as spies, corrupters and diplomats, and often serve as peacemakers in their demonic social circles. They prefer covert power, leaving 'leadership' to more overt demons. OFten, they are 'bought' for periods of work, Geased to serve a Prince for a time. Lilith expects them not to be used as cannon fodder or easily abandoned. If they die corporeally in the course of service, their temp Prince is expected to replace their vessel when they emerge from Limbo or send them Essence while they're there, as long as they didn't gently caress up. While a Lilim bound this way isn't bound by dissonance conditions, they will gain dissonance from the Geas to act as a servitor of that Prince if they go too contrary to their temporary master's Word. Some Princes fudge on vessel replacement, but most don't, for fear of the Lilim going on strike. Lilim are a scarce resource, and so rarely seen in Hell, given their value on Earth. They tend to be executive assistants, hostesses and entertainers there, or favor-brokers, either for themselves or for Princes. They are also used as internal security, detecting the Needs of other demons. The Need to be hidden as a Renegade is pretty damning, after all.

Lilim have many possible Roles. They like to be nurses, cooks, prostitutes, lawyers, teachers, cops and neighbors. They prefer to be attractive and tend to be the center of attention. They like Roles thatl et them 'help' people, building large Geas-webs, but will take on other Roles if they must. They do not like Roles that enslave others unfairly, except their own Geases. They are nearly as human as Impudites and Mercurians, enjoying corporeal pleasures. They like 'fun' humans, and understand most human motivations, if in terms of enlightened self-interest. To them, friendship is an association of mutual benefit, families are there so parents are cared for in old age, and so on. They appreciate the value of keeping bargains, and while they don't expect it in others, it does impress them when it happens. They also understand the desire for freedom. What they don't get is altruism, or putting principle over comfort. They get motives of revenge or making a point, but 'the right thing to do' escapes them entirely.

Lilim can use the Celestial Song of Affinity to track those whom they have Geases on, though they rarely do it for anyone but themselves. Anyone with the ability to spend Essence consciously may also, if they wish, promise an unspecified favor to a Lilim. They need only exert their will, no roll needed, and the Geas will manifest. A Lilim may also take a penalty to their resonance roll to detect specific classes of needs - sexual, monetary, or whatever - or to confirm an obvious need. (It's really annoying to know someone has to be rescued from kidnappers but be unable to detect it by resonance.) For obvious needs, it's -2 to the TN, and the Geas's level remains locked to the check digit, but the need will always be detected on success. For a class of needs, it's -1 for a large class ('something physical') to -3 for a more specific ('something Discord-related) or even -6 for a specific, non-obvious Need. If the modified roll fails, it's the same as a normal failure. If the roll succeeds but no such Need actually exists, the Lilim gets nothing but can try again immediately.

Lilim are all very selfish, and to them, 'freedom' means 'I will do anything to stay free, so gently caress you.' They keep track of who owes what to whom, even unofficially, and are constantly aware of all their debts and potential debts. They expect other Lilim to reciprocate even unofficial favors, though not other demons. They know people well, and while they can't trade Geases the way Lilith does, they can pledge to invoke Geases for the benefit of others, allowing for long webs of favors. They're very happy to do the same for humans, taking advantage of mortal influence to find the power brokers and get their help.

Lilim gain dissonance when they try to get a return favor and fail. This imbalance disrupts their personal symphonies. The typical fix is to get a Geas later, or, if that fails, do another favor and get a Geas for that. That erases the dissonance. If this fails, however, Lilim can also try to rebalance by gaining favors from others without fulfilling their Needs or pledging their own service. If you get something for nothing, and the level of the Geas you could have gotten before is matched, you lose the dissonance - either in one big favor or several smaller ones that add up. Dissonance gained by resisting a Geas is lost when you finally fulfill the Geas, even if it's in a way the Geas-holder did not intend.



The best way for Lilim to avoid dissonance is to be careful with targets - don't pick those who have strong wills and can resist. Your other main problem, then, is when conflicting Geases are called in at once. You can get another Lilim to bind herself to save one of your Geases for a favor, to avoid that dissonance. Alternatively, convince the person you owe to reword or cancel their Geas. Abusing Geases to deliberately cause dissonance is rare, as Lilith gets angry when she learns about it.

Common Lilim Discords include Generous, an Ethereal Discord that requires the Lilim to attempt to fulfill any Need they discover as if Geased to do so unless they make a Will roll with a penalty equal to the Discords level, every (Discord's level) days, with each failure causing an additional note of dissonance on top of any from not obeying the Geas it mposes. If the Geased Need is fulfilled, the Geas gained in return is normal. Chained Geases is a Corporeal Discord that causes all Geases equal to or less than the Discord's level to manifest physically as unbreakable chains on the Lilim's corporeal form. They don't hinder movement and can be hidden...but they look like slave-bracelets or slave-collars, and they can't be removed ntil the Geases are fulfilled. Plus, cleestials can recognize them as if they were relics. Deteriorating Geases is a Celestial Discord that causes all Geases owed by the Lilim to decay in value over time, according to the Geas interval chart at the Discord's level.

Stereotypes posted:

"Okay, Mother doesn't tell us that much, but a girl picks things up. Pay attention - if I have to repat this, you'll owe me. First time's practically a freebie, 'cause we're sisters."
Balseraphs: "Aside from their lies, they're okay to work with, if you can ignore their little delusion that they're nobility when Hell's just full of 'em."
Djinn: "These guys are the best - they hate Shedim almost as much as we do, and they all have an intense hidden desire to be cuddled and cared about."
Calabim: "Depends on the Calabite; some are nicer than others. Hand them something to tear up, and they're happy. But don't get too close in a fight, or let them dump out your purse."
Habbalah: "Annoying lunatics. They'll try to upstage a girl anytime they can - in looks, clothes, cars, lovers...and claim they're angels! They're as snooty as Balseraphs, and just as plentiful!"
Shedim: "No one has Needs as vile as Shedim! Never try your resonance on one, or you'll want to wash your head out with a flamethrower. But we all check one anyway. You'll be sorry. I sure was."
Impudites: "Almost as easy to deal with as humans, but sometimes they get a little casual with your Essence."
Seraphim: "More snooty than Balseraphs. They'll mess with our deal-making, too, telling everybody all the truth and more. Remember, when around a Seraph, don't lie."
Cherubim: "Their greatest Need is to protect the object of their attunement. Look for it carefully - they get overprotective if they think you're targeting them or their fixation."
Ofanim: "It's hard to make eye contact with 'em! They're always hyped! Weird, though - they've gotta be free to move around, even more than Free Daughters do."
Elohim: "They're slippery - even if you catch a Need, they can refuse when you try to give it to them. At least that won't backlash us. But they're the most likely to just talk to you. All that 'objectivity.' Spooky."
Malakim: "They're beautiful, but they want us dead, like any other Hell-born. Run away fast, and hope they're the kind that can't hit first or shoot you in the back."
Kyriotates: "It's no surprise they Fall into Shedim. Taking over people's bodies - is that any way for angels to behave?"
Mercurians: "The hardest to spot via their Needs, since they're so like humans. Fun at parties, but don't forget - you're not human, so they can hurt you."

Next time: Corruption

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, this sounds a little more like Princess than I was hoping for. I'd like to see a straightforward magical girl game without any swerves, but I guess this isn't it.

Yeah. The whole age thing is weird, it's added for no drat reason. Magical girls in standard genre media age just fine, it's just not part of the show's...thing, usually, to show them past their main age group. Precure's had a few 'graduated' ex-Cures before, though, like in the first one they imply that Cure White's grandmother used to be a Precure as a young woman (and she retains Cure-level super strength).

And of course they straight-up remove the possibility of, say, Kaitou Jeanne or Saint Tail.

E: And now I want to play in a Saint Tail game. Maybe use Leverage for it? An Asuka Junior-type could be the Hacker if you don't use magic for that, you'd just have to finagle it so he has already decided that the thieves are on the side of justice. Seira works well as Mastermind, Meimi herself is the Thief...

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 19:38 on Mar 6, 2016

SHY NUDIST GRRL
Feb 15, 2011

Communism will help more white people than anyone else. Any equal measures unfairly provide less to minority populations just because there's less of them. Democracy is truly the tyranny of the mob.



Black August posted:

Unknown Armies was always one of those systems I'd never find the time or heart to play, but I still love reading the material for ideas or the fun of it. RPG safariing.

I'm not confident enough to run it and no one else is running it for me to get a feel. It is my white whale.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.


Unlockable Ben

TheTatteredKing posted:

I'm not confident enough to run it and no one else is running it for me to get a feel. It is my white whale.

It's not too bad to run, but your players have to get it. Like most games with gritty combat, your players have to be prepared to experiment with other things, otherwise they'll blast through regular opponents with their likely-superior stats until one day they lose initiative, die, and start complaining.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, this sounds a little more like Princess than I was hoping for. I'd like to see a straightforward magical girl game without any swerves, but I guess this isn't it.

Not really sure how that'd work, to be honest, since the plots are usually rather unstructured..

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Hostile V posted:

Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters (and Magical Girls Who Are Bored of Intro Classes).

I don't think there actually is anything like that in the setting, which is a bit of a missed opportunity.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, this sounds a little more like Princess than I was hoping for. I'd like to see a straightforward magical girl game without any swerves, but I guess this isn't it.

Oh well, if the actual mechanics are sound, I might apply them to my "It's standard magical girl stuff, except there's a whole lot of them around because wizards/fairies/whatever keep barfing up transformation items" setting.

I guess a secret society can't be avoided in this kind of game unless the PCs truly are the only ones around, but these Courts just scream White Wolf.

Mors Rattus posted:

Yeah. The whole age thing is weird, it's added for no drat reason. Magical girls in standard genre media age just fine, it's just not part of the show's...thing, usually, to show them past their main age group. Precure's had a few 'graduated' ex-Cures before, though, like in the first one they imply that Cure White's grandmother used to be a Precure as a young woman (and she retains Cure-level super strength).

HeartCatch has had Cures running around for at least 400 years. And then you have those crossover movies, where everyone always looks exactly as old as back when their own show aired.

hyphz posted:

Not really sure how that'd work, to be honest, since the plots are usually rather unstructured..

I dunno, the "monster of the week" format is pretty formulaic.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Doresh posted:

And then you have those crossover movies, where everyone always looks exactly as old as back when their own show aired.

You could always do "the person ages, the transformed form doesn't" but that can be creepy in its own way.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



In fairness, the crossover movies just seem to assume they all take place concurrently, even when this would make no sense, because the crossover movies exist largely for fans to go 'oh man this is pretty' rather than to make any sense at all.

SHY NUDIST GRRL
Feb 15, 2011

Communism will help more white people than anyone else. Any equal measures unfairly provide less to minority populations just because there's less of them. Democracy is truly the tyranny of the mob.



hyphz posted:

It's not too bad to run, but your players have to get it. Like most games with gritty combat, your players have to be prepared to experiment with other things, otherwise they'll blast through regular opponents with their likely-superior stats until one day they lose initiative, die, and start complaining.

I'm more worried about them "not getting" the tone of the setting. The fun is found in the wealth of detail. And I'm not selling my friends on a game by handing them the book and asking them to read everything.
Well that and I've heard running at Street level isn't a great idea, if only to start out. There's a lot to introduce.

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

Spiderfist Island posted:


HOW TO USE THESE RULES, ctd.posted:
We have tried to make these rules easily understood by anyone interested in the concept, not just experienced gamers. If you are an experienced FRP gamer, take those portions you can use and ignore the rest. Like any FRP system, these can only be guidelines. Use them as you will.


This paragraph though is where a lot of gamers in my generation gained the philosophy of 'yeah the rules are broken, gently caress it we'll just fix them with house rules'. I love tinkering with complex systems so rules-lite games are a lot more boring to me, and this love goes back to this paragraph from RQ.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Well, there tends to be a tendency in nerd adaptations to overdefine things, and Sparks seems to be falling into that. Hopefully the system makes it easy to get around that, though...?

hyphz posted:

Not really sure how that'd work, to be honest, since the plots are usually rather unstructured.

I'm not sure what you're getting at; most magical girl shows follow a relatively strict formula even compared to a lot of genre shows.

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


wdarkk posted:

You could always do "the person ages, the transformed form doesn't" but that can be creepy in its own way.

Depends on when the transformed form stops aging / how far back the rejuvination goes. Having an old lady turn into an 8-year-old girl is just weird, but merely having her restored to peak physical condition is fine IMO. This is also probably what's going on with Kamen Riders and Sentai guys.

Mors Rattus posted:

In fairness, the crossover movies just seem to assume they all take place concurrently, even when this would make no sense, because the crossover movies exist largely for fans to go 'oh man this is pretty' rather than to make any sense at all.

I go by tokusatsu logic: Unless its an anniversary season that actually acknowledges the previous teams, they don't really exist in continuity. What happens in crossovers stays in crossovers.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:40 on Mar 6, 2016

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