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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

The line dev has said he doesn’t plan to ignore monotheists, but that will have to be a future supplement.

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Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

thatbastardken posted:

Does Scion at any point explain why monotheism exists? It seems kind of out of place, given that the world acknowledges the existence of many gods. So far it just looks like they wanted to dunk on Christianity for ignoring "reality".

efb

You can't have a recognizable modern world without Christianity. So that means that if you want an "all myths are true" setting you need to either:
A) Ignore it
B) Stat up Yahweh
C) Have him be someone else in disguise
D) Use it to make fun of Christians

From dev comments, they are going with A for the first book, with plans to go into something resembling B later on

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Given that the shift from henotheistic to monotheistic originally happened as a way to justify Yahweh's power in the face of an absolutely catastrophic and total military conquest (which would normally have been contextualized as Marduk beating the poo poo out of Yahweh and taking him prisoner) by claiming that, in fact, Yahweh was so powerful he had simply made use of the Babylonians as his iron rod of anger, it isn't impossible to me to think that religious philosophy could still develop in the face of apparently powerful but definitely not omnipotent Gods. It would be less likely, and I'm not certain it would eventually have fully taken off how it did (depends on an awful lot in Roman history). Things would not look how they do now, almost certainly, but it's urban fantasy. Most urban fantasy settings would likely logically have huge divergences from normal human history, but the point of the genre is usually 'roughly the same world but with gods/vampires/werewolves/snake people/whatever in'

As I said I'd be really interested in exploring the divergences in religious thought that would come from far more obvious and provable polytheistic divinities, but it's also important to remember that lots of people believe these things existed (or exist) in an already obvious fashion. The world is already shaped by plenty of sincere religious belief, having actual exceedingly obvious wizard powers would shift things, but people believe in their Gods without them.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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

Given that gods and their incarnations interacting with mortals on the reg subjects mortals to Fatebinding and gods to having their purviews and pantheons redefined by whatever they're up to at that moment, it makes sense that the setting big-g Gods don't necessarily to respond to prayers that much without trying to keep that poo poo on the DL.

As such, it makes sense that the response rate for prayers to Odin et al isn't necessarily better than "praying to YHWH and having coincidences align adequately." So for the layperson's day to day life, there's not really a lot of difference between the Catholic Church saying "our continued temporal successes are due to the Lord Jesus Christ being with us, come around on Sundays to hear more" and a Pantheon-focused religion's thanking Aphrodite and Zeus for whatever cool thing's going on with them that week.

Added bonus: You can invoke Jesus Christ, pray to Saint Christopher, and offer up a tithe to the triune lord, and there's no chance of getting Fatebound into reenacting some Old Testament poo poo. If you want religion for organizational purposes without the baggage of getting wrapped up in weird magical crap, the ones without Scion-Godly backing are actually a better bet than anything else.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

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

Mors Rattus posted:

The game as yet does not offer an explanation as to why monotheism has adherents; that said, the existence of Mammon as a deity suggests that you might be able to be the Scion of Saint Michael the Archangel. Probably not his kid, though - angels don't gently caress any more.

FATAL & Friends 2018: Angels Don’t gently caress Anymore

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Mors Rattus posted:

The line dev has said he doesn’t plan to ignore monotheists, but that will have to be a future supplement.

I hope it will handle that stuff better than their proposed Hunter Book of Judges concept, which sounded pretty bad from what little I saw of it.

RiotGearEpsilon
Jun 26, 2005
SHAVE ME FROM MY SHELF
I thought Yahweh/The Father was a Titan, and the Son and Holy Spirit were his jailers? Or something else amazingly blasphemous but kind of coherent if you squint at it, like that.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

RiotGearEpsilon posted:

I thought Yahweh/The Father was a Titan, and the Son and Holy Spirit were his jailers? Or something else amazingly blasphemous but kind of coherent if you squint at it, like that.

That was the 1e take on it. 1e had INCREDIBLY dumb takes on basically every pantheon/deity, so please ignore everything it had to say

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

RiotGearEpsilon posted:

I thought Yahweh/The Father was a Titan, and the Son and Holy Spirit were his jailers? Or something else amazingly blasphemous but kind of coherent if you squint at it, like that.

...they did what? Oh. Ew.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Hello, yes! Is being very good day for posting, no?
Huh, I must have missed that. I thought that their mention of Yahweh was when they were talking about that one secret society that took advantage of fatebinding, and mentioned that they apparently had a god from the middle east fatebound like crazy. Which, is, y'know, still pretty terrible, but kind of makes sense with fatebinding and the covenant. Less bad than him being a Titan, at least.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Wasn't that also a fanwork?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



RiotGearEpsilon posted:

I thought Yahweh/The Father was a Titan, and the Son and Holy Spirit were his jailers? Or something else amazingly blasphemous but kind of coherent if you squint at it, like that.
Well isn't that basically Zeus done over again?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

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

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP
Personally, I like the take the Dresden Files has - YHWH may or may not be all that he claims to be, but he is far and away the single most powerful god - both due to Christianity, and also significantly due to Islam. Some of the pagan gods have allied with him, some oppose him, but all respect his power.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Track I: How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?

So, we start with the dedications and credits, and I have to start with an admittedly petty criticism:



Legit, there's a time and a place for jokey credits, but it's hard to tell what here's fluff and what's a distorted actual credit. What the hell is "backup pixels"? Are editing mixers secondary editing passes? Why the hell are you using the word frontispiece instead of "Cover Art"?

Another thing; as you can see here, a bunch of this segment (especially the beta tester bit) has people with stage names that read as...well, the sorts of self-given stage names dorks who try to start rock bands in their 40s are really insistent you call them by. Again, petty, but it set a tone for me before I even hit the table of contents.

The dedications themselves are largely as you'd expect, with some legitimately heartwarming ones like thanking his mother for putting up with being his ride to concerts when he was growing up, and to someone for putting up with "my Richmond band days...especially the ones when none of us knew how to play our instruments." On the other hand...

quote:

Ashley Coyote Ward, my Beloved Feral Sweeteheart; her husband Brian Ward; their son Elijah; and all their Beloved Trybe.

"Beloved Feral Sweeteheart" is a new level of unsettling terms of endearment I've seen Brucato use.

(I wonder if their Trybe is called Qwest)

And this one just paints a very particular picture right out of the gate:

quote:

The DJs and station managers at WAVA and DC101 during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, for daring to play everything from Bruce Springsteen to Rick James to the Ramones to Judas Priest to Prince to Frank Zappa to Patti Smith and the B-52s on the same radio stations, back when it was all fairly new and before terms like “classic rock” existed. (Plus a hearty gently caress Y’ALL to the folks who bought those stations and ruined ‘em in the mid-80s.)

Now, this may be my lack of radio history knowledge showing, but the only band name in that lineup I'd be even mildly surprised to see getting broad exposure in that time period is Judas Priest. It doesn't really take daring and bravery to play Zappa in the 70s, man. I suppose the intent here is that it took guts to play them all on the same station...but "Top Charts Bands: The Movie: The Station" is not exactly an innovative idea, either. Looking it up, it was explicitly billed as an Album Rock/Top 40 station during this time period, which...yeah, that's about as safe as I can imagine a niche to be for a pop music station at the time. I'm also tickled to note that it's now a religious talk radio station, which may handily explain why Brucato has a grudge against a local FM station's format change strong enough to dedicate space in it in a passion project 35 years later.

Seriously, this isn't a shoutout to Wolfman Jack, or Casey Kasem, or Dr. Demento, it's a shoutout to one of the infinite mirror-shards of the Platonic Top 40 Station. Y'know, the ones that exist to cover one city, are manned by DJs that could be replaced by soundboards announcing the next block, and send you 400 spam emails a month if you accidentally sign up to their newsletter. And he's got enough vitriol over it changing format to, textually, yell "gently caress YOU" to back before the goddamned Berlin Wall fell?

That's what stood out to me. Nostalgia propped up by a petty grudge just off-stage. It wasn't quite as snappy of a summary of the entire product as I figured it was going to be, but it certainly covers a lot of ground.

Anyway. After that, we get a half-page dedication to his father (which does get a Dr. Demento nod in passing, and a few assorted comments we'll get to sooner or later), and a list of bands he's been in, including a note that there was a single attempt in old White Wolf days to make a company band via jam session, and it "sounded even worse than we expected." It was also named SküllGün, which, y'know what? I'll give them that one. That's a fuckin' good band name.

And then we get The Obligatory "Brucato's Stuck In The 90s And Has To Put A Satanic Panic Proof Sidebar In" Sidebar, Guest Starring D.A.R.E.. (Emphases his own, this time)

quote:

DUDE, SERIOUSLY!

Although rooted in the real-life music business (a sort of fantasyland wedged firmly in between the Faerie Realm and Hell), Powerchords is a work of fiction. Oh, there’s plenty of material in here that’s part of recorded history and popular lore, but all that stuff about lifethieves and rampaging hordes comes right out of my shaggy little head.

Because I trust y’all to be smart folks, I blur the lines rather consistently between the fictional Powerchords setting, your gaming table, and whatever passes for reality in the music biz. Don’t make me regret that because you couldn’t tell the difference and so you decided to find a club called No Exit or track down albums by Bordan Grant. They don’t exist except in the shared hallucination between these covers.

And speaking of hallucinations, don’t do drugs on my account. Really, DON’T. I’m not a member of the Just Say No Brigade, but as someone with a fair amount of first- and second-hand observation and experience in the realm of recreational psychoactives, I say this firmly: This poo poo can gently caress you up.

If you decide that you have to try partying like a rock star, just remember that’s how so many rock stars wind up broke, dead, or trying to kick King loving Kong off their idiotic backs. Be smart, be informed, and stay the hell away from meth, coke and heroin. Knowing what we know these days, you’ve gotta be a moron to even touch that crap.

On a positive note, learn an instrument. Seriously. Even if you’re not gonna cause Miyavi to lose sleep over competition from you, pick up a musical instrument and take some time to learn how it works. I promise you it’s more productive than playing Rock Band (much as I love playing Rock Band), and it can change your life in ways you’ll never expect.

Okay – putting away the soapbox now. The book’s waiting for you...

It wasn't until not all that much later in the book when I started getting certain vibes that this sidebar started to rub me the wrong way. When I first saw it, I just laughed it off as "oh Brucato, you scamp, now tell me the one about the Nephandi," and moved on without a second thought. Rereading it though?

This was a Kickstarter project for 100 people, presumably with billing information included. I can't imagine the target demographic of this game shot much lower than, like, age 25, considering how much 70s-80s knob-slobbery is going to be involved.

Why is this written like it's addressing a 15 year old?

No, legitimately, why? Is he convinced it needs to be there in case The Youths get a hold of it via DriveThruRPG or piracy? He says he respects the intelligence of the audience reading it, but if so, why is he reiterating the ancient, hackneyed thing about how The Magic Isn't Real (Sidebar Later In Book Going OR IS IT??? To Be Determined). If it's legitimately talking to the young or impressionable, why is it cracking a joke about Reagan era social policies they're never gonna get?

Come to think of it, why is Brucato seemingly insisting that the primary reason people become addicts is that they're idiots? There's a whole loving truckload of reasons people pick up a smack habit, and "they havent heard the Good News of Druggie Christ" isn't usually the primary one.

Gah. Let's just turn the page and-



Ahh. So we're going right out of the gate with the "not getting the point" here, I see.

(In fairness, he brings up Reservation Blues a few more times through the book and shows slightly more of an understanding that it is a book about the monstrous callousness of the music industry and its tendency to industrially abuse, dismantle, strip-mine, and eject minorities that enter it...but only secondarily to its Deal with the Devil aspects being more literal.)

Anyway, the next few pages are a stretch of in-character fiction that I'm not going to do piece by piece because there'll be much better/worse targets for that later. I can sum it up as follows: "Being on stage is hard as gently caress because you have to keep going if you screw up and you don't get do-overs or breaks. This guy and his band-" oh Jesus, I'm literally interrupting myself train of thought style because I forgot about this and I have to call this one out.

quote:

We all want badass nicknames, right? Especially those of us riding this rock-n-roll beastie, we want to be legends. Not the people our parents made us, but the gods we christen through our own awesomeness. We’re not Heimie loving Witz but Gene loving Simmons, Henry Goddamn Rollins, not Henry Lawrence Garfield. I’m not Gregory Phillip Oliver – I’m Ravenwolf Grigori.

Just. God. loving bottle this paragraph and slather it all over me, this is the good poo poo, this is what I signed up to review this expecting. It's so loving wretched, I adore it, it's perfect. It'd be hilarious in a different way if it was intentionally schlock, and I'm sure Brucato would say it is, but then I go back and look at the dude giving himself like four nicknames in the Dedications section and laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

Anyway. Lurid descriptions of Concert Mojo, passing mention that it took "three years and a half-dozen bands" before people would call him Ravenwolf Grigori without laughing, more Gene Simmons dick sucking (get used to this), descriptions of the girl drummer of the band as bitchy and refusing to use the name Grigori without a sneer/using his real name to annoy him in a weird "is this a deadnaming take" sort of way, then OH NO! THINGS GO WRONG! and a fly buzzes down his throat as he's doing a death metal growl and he pukes all over the place. Then...man, I'm going to have to call this bit out too, huh?

quote:

In the back of my head, I hear [Henry] Rollins lecture me.

“Nothing can go wrong,” he says. So I swipe my hand across the back of my mouth, shake my hair out, and roar like a furious god.

That scream rolled up out of someplace primal, some inner pit of molten lava that remembered every insult, laugh or fumbled word I’d ever suffered through. Every night I’d coughed up lungs after singing my throat raw. Every hot-chick date that slid through my fingers after the wrong words jumped off my tongue and ran across the table screaming “LOSER!” Every ounce of sweat I’d baked off under bright stage lights. I roared for every person in that crowd, channeling THEIR pain, THEIR hate, THEIR defiance at a world determined to make them small.

And I got them back.

And I turned it around.

He pulls the song back together, crowd goes wild, girl drummer gives him a sarcastic toast as "The Frog Prince" instead of praising his glories after the party ("what a bitch" is the immediate followup), wrap on "I suppose even legends need a healthy sense of humor."

Okay, so, to go back a bit, you see that bit in the callout? The part where all women's rejection were simultaneously their faults for misunderstanding his fumbled advances and only a little his fault for screwing up in the first place? And how that immediately segues into not just humiliation, or a desire to do better, but pain, hate, and defiance at the whole world out to make them feel lesser? How he mantles other people and uses them as a reflection, justification, and outlet to feel better about that? How the only woman in his band is constantly belittling him and dismissing his talents alongside this?

There's a reason I took a while to write this post. It's because this book is loving crawling with little bits and pieces like this, slivers of something vile staring up from that darkness behind the ink daring you to write it off as just your imagination. I tend to try very hard to give the benefit of the doubt to people's work not reflecting on them absent clear reasons to think otherwise, but this time, with a project so nakedly personal and meaningful to the author, and the author having next to nothing in the way of editors removing questionable content, I can only have my alarm ring so many times before I stop hitting the all clear.

Especially because the start of the next update is going to have the most :stonk: bit of in-character fiction in the entire goddamn book.

To wrap up, we have a short little pitch-summary of the game itself. I've kind of gone over everything you need to know already, and most of the rest is easily intuited/guessed (Creation is magical, everything is the reverberation of the first Big Bang/chant/note/whatever), but here we get the first statement of what the game is about, what you do.

quote:

Save Me (From Myself)

No matter what sort of character you play, that character faces a simple yet implacable challenge: Save the music from itself.

Save the music? What’s there to save? Music is everywhere, as close as your laptop or the nearest set of speakers. Anyone can make music these days. Stardom’s as close as a TV show or video game.

And that’s the problem. Because when something magical becomes commonplace, its magic goes away.

Mystery becomes trivia, and glamour’s just another game. “Keeping it real” becomes a pose based more on appearances than talent. Rebellion’s a commodity for the Establishment to sell.

What, then, can an artist do to make music miraculous again? Has music’s Age of Heroes passed away, and is everyone in its shadow doomed to keep riffing on someone else’s tune? Or can you find the key – musical or otherwise – that opens the door to a fresh, exciting age? Will you become a sonic shaman or a disposable hero? In Powerchords, music matters. The trick, then, is to find out how to bring its power back.

I feel like this speaks for itself. Frankly I'm more interested in seeing the inevitable wave of expected reactions from posting this.

Yes, I added the link, before you ask. He doesn't have that much self-awareness.

Next time: yo for fuckin real though about that content warning, keep it in mind

copperpauper
Oct 1, 2012

Flexible, Conductive, and Really, Really Poor.
In the Beginning, there was sound. and it was the sound of a whiny creep. good luck man, this book seems like a living nightmare.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
Anyone can make music by clapping, chanting, stomping or many other rhythmic activities, and we've done so since before recorded history. To suggest the democratization of music is killing its soul is the epitome of old White Wolf anthropological rear end-backwardness. Christ.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:
Is he putting forth Miyavi as someone to be emulated or a demon to be defated?

Bieeardo posted:

Anyone can make music by clapping, chanting, stomping or many other rhythmic activities, and we've done so since before recorded history. To suggest the democratization of music is killing its soul is the epitome of old White Wolf anthropological rear end-backwardness. Christ.

It's not even that, it's "I am imploring you, child who is buying this book despite the fact that I'm writing it for an audience smaller than my graduating class of 40 years ago, to become a musician and return it to a time when it was things I liked, and not things that you like."

megane
Jun 20, 2008



Whoa, yeah, man, what the world really needed was a book written by an aging white guy about how women minorities young people uncool losers have taken over this thing, and we need to go back to how it was in the Eighties, when white guys like him awesome badasses were in charge. What a fresh and vital perspective.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

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

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP
What's popular sucks because being popular means it has no soul and is dead.


Christ, I can smell the unkempt beard and unwashed fedora.

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS

megane posted:

Whoa, yeah, man, what the world really needed was a book written by an aging white guy about how women minorities young people uncool losers have taken over this thing, and we need to go back to how it was in the Eighties, when white guys like him awesome badasses were in charge. What a fresh and vital perspective.

Obviously the role of women, minorities, and marginalized groups is to sit on a pedestal to be fawned over as "real" and "magical" by middle aged white guys who haven't moved out of the 90s. But not to make music on their own. Where's the authenticity in that?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Yeah, if you're getting warning signs from a deeply personal passion project someone has worked on for 7 years on a subject dear to them, those warning signs are probably real.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED

Night10194 posted:

Yeah, if you're getting warning signs from a deeply personal passion project someone has worked on for 7 years on a subject dear to them, those warning signs are probably real.

Especially when you run them past a few people who are qualified to screen for those warning signs and all of them do this independent of each other:

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool

Toilet Rascal
Explicit Elitism is a pretty rare thing, I’m shocked by it whenever it comes up but I really shouldn’t be if it’s the Old Mage/werewolf guy.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time

I sure love media where the one female character is a bitch because she doesn't put up with the guy's delusions.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
Or advances, presumably.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora
This is the good poo poo I read this thread for.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time

Bieeardo posted:

Or advances, presumably.

Of course.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Leraika posted:

I sure love media where the one female character is a bitch because she doesn't put up with the guy's delusions.
Here have some relevant listening material for Daeren's review.

http://www.idontevenownatelevision.com/2015/04/22/029-wild-animus-w-tim-faust/

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee

Man... Now I want to play a game where you're a blues musician who is trying to stay one step ahead of ol' Scratch, using mojo and music.

This is mostly a separate thought.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003



Daeren posted:



Track I: How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?
I like how he lists two musicians who ahve stage names that still sound like actual names a person would have under normal circumstances, just more "marketable" than their real names, and then Grigori Ravenwolf as if they are remotely comparable.

... Wait, no, I checked, and it's "Ravenwolf Grigori". Which sounds even less like an actual name than the way I'd remembered it.

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?

Zereth posted:

... Wait, no, I checked, and it's "Ravenwolf Grigori". Which sounds even less like an actual name than the way I'd remembered it.

Ravenwolf Grigori is an uncommon card from a bad MtG ripoff.

DicktheCat
Feb 15, 2011

Thuryl posted:

That certainly popularized it, but it's originally from obscure 1985 Japanese RPG The Screamer. (While it has a fan translation patch now, that particular bit of Engrish was in the Japanese original.)

Thank you, because jesus have I been wondering forever.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:
I have mastered the secret musical fire!

Will you gently caress me now Girl from high school?!?

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Tibalt posted:

Man... Now I want to play a game where you're a blues musician who is trying to stay one step ahead of ol' Scratch, using mojo and music.

This is mostly a separate thought.

My brother did exactly that in Unknown Armies. If memory serves, he was trying to find Big Rock Candy Mountain, which would be the only place he would be safe.

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.


THE BLOOD RED FEZ – PART THREE

Lil Wayne – Fix My Hat


The investigators have a couple days – maybe longer, if they choose to delay their trip – to investigate the Fez before they set off. As well as finding out more about the Children of the Fez, this gives them the opportunity to start putting together their very own tome, Apocrypha of the Fez. This is a collection of writings sourced from old manuscripts that describe the Blood Red Fez and its uses. I'm a big fan of the concept of the investigators getting to make their own contribution to the Mythos. In addition, creating the Apocrypha gives them access to the spell Arrest Fez Decline, which will surely prove invaluable if someone actually puts it on. This simple spell costs 5 POW to cast but keeps the target at the same level of Fez degeneration for 24 hours.

But before they hit the books, they'll probably want to check out the room where Pook breathed his last. The gentleman who paid for it went by Mister Leeds. Of note among the detritus in the room are a couple of attempts to translate the glyphs on the Fez (which includes the phrases 'rising from the past' and 'dominion over all'), Turkish ferry ticket stubs from Constantinople to the nearby Princes' Islands and a notepad with an impression of writing on it. It's possible to use that to make a rubbing, revealing an address in Shoreditch. It belongs to Bentley Burnham, one of Menkaph's cronies.

Burnham is a criminal, a blackmailer who works as an enquiry agent for London's underworld. He's a real piece of work, a petty sadist who enjoys terrifying young women but avoids anything like a real fight unless he's got hefty backup. He also has a set of fake press credentials to justify being in weird places. He's been hired by Menkaph to clean up after the cult and keep an eye on any investigators who come snooping around. He's packing heat, but if the investigators confront him as a group he'll tell them everything he knows about Menkaph – sadly, not much. In addition, he'll be sure to inform Menkaph about the investigators as soon as he can. Well, assuming they don't kill him.

Alternatively, they might run into him while they're checking out Pook's apartment. If they do catch him here and they're not already familiar with him, he'll try and flash his press card to get out. Otherwise, Spot Hidden in the apartment finds his journal, which details his pursuit of Menkaph. This is where they can find mention of the fez collector, including his address in Rotherhithe. Menkaph's goons killed the dude and it's being investigated as a burglary/murder, so investigators will have to get past the cops to check the place out. In the wreckage of the collector's cottage they can find a ledger mentioning The Whispering Fez and a letter from Menkaph offering 100 pounds for the tome.

That's pretty much it for London. One way or another, Burnham follows them out of London, also planning to board the Orient Express so he can report them to Menkaph. If they catch him, he claims to be on his way to Stuttgart to cover a story. It seems unlikely to me that most players would be willing to let him walk away from this encounter alive, if they can possibly manage it.

back on the loving train again

The Orient Express! You should know how this poo poo works by now. This is a similar set-up to Blue Train, Black Night but with a few crucial differences. For starters, the investigators don't have their imminent death hanging over them, so that's nice. In addition, there's no insane fuckery that can happen on the train on the level of the cathedral car or the Living Engine, though poo poo will definitely pop off if the investigators haven't sorted out this mess by the time they get to Constantinople. In addition, Menkaph isn't hiding – he's right there, acting in the open, confidently eating meals in the dining carriage within spitting distance of the team.

The list of passengers going to Constantinople is as follows:

Aileen Macgregor: A Scottish suffragette reporter for The Woman's Herald. She's concerned about the treatment of Armenian Christians in the Ottoman Empire, as well as the treatment of women there. Things are about to get a lot worse for the Armenians, but until then, Macgregor feels like she has a chance to find out some answers and make a difference. She's a potential ally for the investigators.

Karla Minkoff: Companion to the Countess Razumosky and utterly loyal to her. Proficient in hand-to-hand combat and first aid. Unsurprisingly, she has no sympathy for anarchists or other political revolutionaries. She may be willing to help the team out if they get injured, assuming that it doesn't bring danger to the Countess.

Egorov: A quiet and polite man, servant to Count Razumosky. In actuality, he is a Czarist spy and is currently on a mission to Constantinople. He is on his way to assassinate Vizier Sedhi Bey, an advisor to the Sultan with anti-Russian tendencies. He is an expert at quiet murder. He's a potential ally if the Count is in danger. The book suggests that if the investigators find out his true plans they might find it despicable enough that they'll make an enemy of Egorov. I contest that they probably won't give two shits.

Kapok: Menkaph's servant and bodyguard, totally loyal to his master. He's been given instructions on how to proceed with the Blood Red Fez should something happen to Menkaph.

Scott Myers: An English dilettante with an interest in the occult. He quickly fell under Menkaph's influence and was persuaded to don the Fez. Now he's going through all the stages of Fez degeneration and is on his way to becoming another zombie.

Elizabeth Myers: The newly wed wife of Scott. Her Paris honeymoon has rapidly turned into a nightmare. Every day she sees her husband's health worsen and every night the Fez whispers to her. She spends the entire trip weeping and being shepherded by Menkaph, who plans to either sell her in Constantinople or put a Fez on her should something happen to Scott. He's tried to persuade her that Scott's merely ill and that she's being hysterical but she knows something hosed up is going on.

Hieronymous Menkaph: The man himself, posing as a spiritualist complete with opera cape and twirly moustache. He hopes that looking like he's about to tie a little girl to some train tracks will allay suspicion. More interestingly, he's very clearly and visibly wearing another Blood Red Fez, yet seems to be acting just fine. No mention of SAN loss for everyone in the dining carriage though.

Count Rudolph Razumosky: A Russian autocrat who is travelling with his wife in an attempt to win back what he believes are her waning affections. He is a snobby noble who does everything in his power to justify the Russian Revolution. If he finds out about Egorov's true nature, he will be extremely angry not because he disagrees with the Czar but because he does not think his servants should be allowed to keep secrets from him.

Countess Irina Raumosky: The Count's wife at half his age. She is just generally bored of her (wealthy, luxurious) station in life; even sleeping with the Count's cousin is losing its appeal. She does actually care about her husband and doesn't want to hurt him if she can avoid it. She's hoping the trip east will give her some perspective.

Pytor Trubosky: The Count's cousin and the Countess' secret lover. He's fond of both, but as an impoverished gentleman used to gambling and women, he's happy to use either of them to sustain his lifestyle. He's a social gadfly but the Count finds that amusing.

Henri Peeters: Our buddy is back! :3: Henri, alive and well, is the conductor for the Constantinople car. What he lacks in Dreamland demigod powers he makes up for in impeccable service. He has the same catchphrase that he uses in the Dreamlands. He immediately took a dislike to Menkaph for his untoward manner with Mrs. Myers. He will be very friendly towards the investigators and, with the right tip, will perform services beyond the call of duty.

Next time: bon voyage! Again!

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Kurieg posted:

I have mastered the secret musical fire!

Will you gently caress me now Girl from high school?!?

"im not old! im not old!" i continue to insist as i slowly shrink and transform into a sex pest

To go back to an early part of the review, Brucato knows so little about transpeople from my experience that there's no way he even knows what deadnaming is. Unless this book is going places beyond the ones you've already made clear as a content warning...

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.

Kavak posted:

"im not old! im not old!" i continue to insist as i slowly shrink and transform into a sex pest

To go back to an early part of the review, Brucato knows so little about transpeople from my experience that there's no way he even knows what deadnaming is. Unless this book is going places beyond the ones you've already made clear as a content warning...

Isn't he like obsessed with this idea of changing gender as like a weird mystical/fetish experience

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Down With People posted:

Isn't he like obsessed with this idea of changing gender as like a weird mystical/fetish experience

And he thinks transfolks are a mystical third gender, right.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED

Kavak posted:

"im not old! im not old!" i continue to insist as i slowly shrink and transform into a sex pest

To go back to an early part of the review, Brucato knows so little about transpeople from my experience that there's no way he even knows what deadnaming is. Unless this book is going places beyond the ones you've already made clear as a content warning...

That one was entirely possible to just be me reading too much into it because this book basically has me on edge at all times now.

Down With People posted:

Isn't he like obsessed with this idea of changing gender as like a weird mystical/fetish experience

More accurately he's the sort that believes that gender essentialism is real, that gender essentialism is often a fundamental part of magic, and therefore transpeople are mystically empowered superbeings that can access the magical affinity of Both And Sometimes Neither, mumble mumble sacred transgressions mumble mumble 3.x gestalt multiclassing but irl

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Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?
When will you youngsters learn that mass market appeal is killing your soul, unlike my heroes Bruce Springsteen, Rick James, the Ramones, Judas Priest, Prince, Frank Zappa, Patti Smith, and the B-52s!

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