Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Did you get to the part where it has weaponized genitalia yet?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

inklesspen posted:

Which, if any, do you think applies to your current writeups?

Toss in the first one, I think, It can cover the child sexual abuse mentions, transphobia, and spells powered by the symbolic ashes of Holocaust victims. (I will not get over that this is a thing.)

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Mors Rattus posted:

Did you get to the part where it has weaponized genitalia yet?

I think I remember him doing that . . . or maybe that was Black Tokyo? So many RPGs with murder cocks in them it starts to get hard to keep track.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Evil Mastermind posted:

Because supplement treadmill, that's why.

Most of the supplements were good, though.

Well, okay, at least some of them were.

Revised books for Euthanatos, Akashic Brotherhood, Sons of Ether, Dreamspeakers, New World Order, Progenitors, Syndicate, and Void Engineers were good, anyway.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





Zone Washington

On the surface, Washington claims to be the last bastion of human freedom. Made up of the entire eastern third of the North Americas past the Mississippi, Washington is a state-run socialist dictatorship where the President is a figurehead for the true power: Washington itself. During the War, Washington came to a very reasonable conclusion: the best way to guarantee power in the AI-run world was to control humans as servants. Washington took any collaborators, governmental or otherwise, and rebuilt the US government and military using anyone willing to play ball. The official government, known as the Washington Protectorate, is controlled totally by Washington. On paper, Washington is a loyal, uncorrupted AI prevented from contamination at the beck and call of the government. In reality, it tells the president directly what to do and the president tells the people what to do.

Washington boasts 7.26 million humans, the most in one zone on Earth. The government is in a permanent state of emergency, giving them direct control over security and the economy, but its citizens are not in camps. Washington has restored most of its zone to how it used to be, but with a bigger focus on metropolitan areas and cities along the east coast. There's a lot of abandoned towns left to eternal quarantine in Washington. Things aren't bad for the citizens but it could be better. They recognize that they are living in a time of war and unrest, and there's some dissent and anger. However, they are overall supportive; the government is efficient and it is actually doing its best to protect citizens with martial law. Washington allows its robots to intermingle openly and people work alongside robots. There's no shortage of food and supplies and there's plenty of places to live or work.

It's not perfect, though. The Department of Labor assigns all citizens their duties and education. Good jobs and education are taken by nepotism and bribery; the most common jobs are factory work remote-controlling simple robots with a neural interface. Half of the economy is owned by the state (factories, power stations, farms, hospitals, retail stores) and the rest is up to private enterprise that need permits (restaurants, bars, places of leisure and entertainment). Managers who fail to meet their quotas of robots or energy cells or what-have-you or are generally incompetent are terminated (sometimes literally) by the government. Women...face some state-mandated discrimination, regrettably. Washington wants more citizens (ideally 20 million) and the Department of Health has instituted laws forbidding birth control or abortion for all women 18-40, requiring them to have children once every five years until they've reached the minimum of three. Failure to comply tends to result in the FBI coming calling to take women for "treatment" (the nature of which is never stated, thank Christ). The nature of the laws result in systemic discrimination inherent in the system; women are required to work like men, even while pregnant, and they're being passed over for high-level positions due to the laws. At least there's a resistance group of people (called GRRL) who are working to put an end to the Reproductive Laws through hacking the records of citizens or providing them with resources (or at the extreme end, attacking governmental figures and buildings).

Zone Washington has its fair share of problems. Things aren't any better at the higher level.

Government

The job of president is pretty easy: do what the AI says and you live. In practice, it's hard. There have been three presidents since the Protectorate was formed.
  • President Randall Jefferson, assassinated by anti-Protectorate resistance forces.
  • President Elizabeth Barret, former Massachusetts senator, executed for refusing to kill the population of Peekskill NY for rebellion.
  • President John Wagner, former Secretary of Labor under Barret. First act? Kill the people of Peekskill. Second act? Rebuild the Secret Service to act as bodyguards for the president and national secret police.
There is no Congress, no House of Representatives anymore. The president has all powers they want but can choose to delegate. Government still exists on a local level (i.e. mayors) but they exist just for the sake of things. Under the president is their Cabinet, which Washington must approve of, made up of the secretaries of Justice, Labor, Agriculture, Health, Energy, Housing and Education. They each control what it sounds like they control.

Law and Order

The Secretary of Justice controls two departments: the FBI in DC and the WASPs in Boston. The FBI is made of the American FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They're responsible for rooting out treason and sedition. The director of the FBI, Arnold James Maddox, has files on every citizen in the Protectorate. While people live with robots in a daily capacity, and some even keep them in their homes as pets or companions, Washington uses them to spy directly and gather intelligence on smugglers, resistance groups and more. Plus, Washington has taken a page from Moscow's playbook: around one in six agents are remodeled, conditioned infiltrator robots working for Washington directly. Maddox himself is considered to be the most hated man in the Protectorate.

WASPs (Washington Armored Security Police) are paramilitary police. Think the SHIVERS from SLA Industries; they conduct hostage rescue, attack rebellious demonstrations and conduct reprisals and exterminations (like Peekskill). Washington is using the WASPs as an experiment, seeing how effective they might be as an actual army should the zone ever have to make war with another AI. WASPs have precincts in every city, double-so in NYC, Miami, Washington and Toronto, and use allied robots as heavy support when needed. They have a rivalry with the FBI, but Washington has a special company: the Washington Chromes (The Few, The Proud, The Dead). The Chromes are cyborgs taken from WASPs or Feds who have suffered critical injuries or were clinically dead, rebuilt using machinery as total cyborgs by taking their brains and placing them in humanoid bodies. They're reconditioned and trained and turned into commando superstars that Washington will use for high danger high importance missions. Washington will also rent the Chromes out to AIs willing to pay the price: they've helped Info-Commandos raids and Siberian skirmishes, trained Panthera for Caracas and helped Paris gently caress with Zaire in the Sahara. All they know is what Washington tells them to do and they do it.

The borders are heavy points of contention, especially with Mexico City and Zaire's antics. The sole reason that Washington is allowed to continue as it does is due to the noninterference clause of the Brisbane Accords. Otherwise, the many AIs who do not agree with Washington would descend upon the zone above all other AIs they might dislike. The "weakest" border is the ocean between London and Washington, and that's only weak because it's miles of open, unclaimed ocean. The Denver border looks like the Korean DMZ with Denver filling its side with hundreds of lethal traps and deterrents to stop people from escaping to Washington. Worst of all, Mexico City controls the Atlantic/Caribbean islands and they seem like the perfect place to plink away at Washington from afar. However, Washington's trade has put it on good terms with a choice few other AIs like Caracas, Moscow and Paris (maybe London but who can tell with that Zone).

Finally, there's the resistance group known as Free America. Free America is a collection of cells that work with VIRUS to undermine other Zones and assassinate the heaviest supporters of the Protectorate in the government. They organize and train guerillas in Denver and act as wandering teachers and doctors in other zones, working on winning the long game by winning over the people and working subtle advantages in the flaws of other zones. They clash heavily with the Human Liberation Front over execution, as one can expect.

Entertainment and the Black Zone

Washington completely controls the media like any good dictatorship would do. The broadcasts of Radio Free America are censored, edited or blocked. TV has 26 channels that show entertainment, educational shows, sports, music videos and soaps. Pre-war videos and music are a hoarded, heavily-traded commodity that even the government gets in on. The rest of TV and radio is dedicated to propaganda: the other American AIs are vile, cruel demons and the rest of the world is an abandoned, desert wasteland overrun by killer robots. Conversely, Washington's robots are portrayed as equal, friendly helpers of humanity and together man and robot can live and work side-by-side.

So there's no doubt that the black market is one of the most thriving non-government industries in Washington, right? The Black Zone is the unofficial name for the consortium of criminals and smugglers who bring goods from across the sea. Scavengers and nomads can get a good penny for their wares from Denver and Vancouver, but the good poo poo comes from Zone London and Europe smuggled by way of Iceland. They sell uncensored art and literature, birth control drugs, luxury goods, engage in prostitution, drugs and the hacking and modification of robots and factory robots. They also make money by operating Steel Arenas, underground fighting rings where people can pay to control robots with neuro-transmitters or just watch them fight. Some of them are jury-rigged dumbots given weapons and armor, but the real excitement comes from reprogrammed police machines and exterminators from Denver or other "badlands" (on occasion, albeit rarely, this has ended up with the crowd getting attacked). The most dangerous, thrilling arenas boast the opportunity to strap yourself into an industrial exoskeleton and fight a robot yourself.

There really is a lot going on in Washington, but I have to figure it's because GURPS knows it's got a substantial American audience so there's a bit of pandering to them.

NEXT TIME: the other AIs of air, sea and land

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 04:29 on Jan 10, 2016

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Did you get to the part where it has weaponized genitalia yet?

That's the other Book of the Wyrm/Freak Legion. This is the 20th anniversary edition, and neither it OR the W20 core have Savage Genetalia OR Living Volcano.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Oh, well then! Carry on.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

GURPS FANTASY II

5 – GODS


I think this means winter will last forever.

The gods of the Madlands are the ultimate source of its supernatural troubles. Though it seems weird to ask if a god can be insane, these ones certainly appear to be; nothing they do is consistent 'cept for Bett Agwo, we'll get to him) and they warp reality around them in unpredictable ways. According to the book, encounters with the gods should be exceedingly rare, usually indirect, and always significantly alter the campaign. Most Madlanders never meet a god, but those that do are invariably marked by the experience due to the gods’ malevolent supernatural power; they should be saved to shake up a campaign or as the capstone to a long sequence. Of course, the way the gods are portrayed makes them so intimidating they seem like they’d ruin a campaign just by showing up; while the book does point out they’re portrayed in such an inconsistent light so the GM can shape them to the situation. While my gut instinct is to keep them out of reach for their character-ruining potential, they do seem to have uses in-game so :shrug:

Summoning a god to borrow some of their power makes one a shaman, but being a shaman is tough; you can’t often call them if you really want them to come, so you have to clear your mind Zen-style just to get them to come around. Even if you do manage to summon one, getting it to listen to you is a trial; they’re nuts, after all, and even if they decide to help you out they may just gently caress up and turn you into a monster or something. The insanity of the gods extends to their behavior; the GM is encouraged to have rules the gods follow but change them up from time to time, allow them to travel through space and time, and alter their personalities to keep players guessing. The book also suggests they might be beholden to outside forces that modify their behavior, but I feel that cheapens their unpredictability so gently caress that.


Would you like to sign a contract?

Bax Powu Kag, the moose, is not depicted above; he has no picture :shrug:. He manifests as a weird moose-like animal with grey fur and usually no antlers and he generally avoids humans; nobody seems to know all that much about him because of that. What everyone does know is that he’s a happiness vampire; just entering his presence is enough to inflict depression on humans. His effect is described as stripping people of “all of their mental defenses against the harsh realities of the Madlands”, making his victims sink into self-pity or pessimism, lose hope, and develop obsessive habits and nervous tics. Some people become so desperately unhappy they attempt suicide or just give up, stop moving and starve to death on the spot. Though he’s not the greatest guy to be around, it is possible for shamans to borrow his aura of sadness. If spoken too, he’s just as depressed as you’d guess from his aura.

Bax Powu Kag is, I think, most useful for turning points in a character’s life. The depression and introspection he causes are catalysts for reflection and can change a character’s life. However, that pressure could very easily go wrong. I guess you could say that for the other gods, though. They all pose issues for use in a campaign, but, eh.

Pictured above is Bett Agwo, the Hare. Unlike his fellow gods, Bett Agwo is aware of his godhood, only shows up as a regular hare instead of a giant magic whatever, has a consistent personality, and actively tries to help the people he encounters. He still can’t avoid the supernatural fuckery of the Madlands. Bett Agwo is a twisted wish genie; he’ll listen to any request given by a mortal, grant it, and make them wish they’d never asked. If you want to recover from sickness, you’ll get better before catching something worse; if you want to be invulnerable, he’ll cover you in scales that forever mark you as a monsters. If you ask to never see him again, he’ll take away your eyesight – and that still won’t prevent him coming back since he often shows up in dreams and hallucinations, and since summoning Bett Agwo is as easy as focusing on his name or having unfulfilled needs (excess emotion loving you over is a serious theme in Fantasy II, just you wait and see). The wishes he grants aren’t intentionally harmful, but they’re always negative, so don’t try to find him again and get him to reverse it. If spoken to, Bett Agwo is distracted, wordy, and forgetful, with a low quavery voice.

Bett Agwo embodies the Madlander conception that good intentions don’t compensate for bad outcomes, and he’s there to teach that to players. I’m not a huge fan of him since he’s so one-note – he shows up, fucks you up, then gets up and goes, every time – and he’s a bit too much of a gotcha to use on players unless you’re a dickhole. However, he makes a great backstory character and a solid randomizer if applied to NPCs.


I have no idea what’s going on in the background here. Is it the gods?

Though Bett Agwo almost always shows up as a regular-looking rabbit, other gods aren’t consistent in appearance. The way they manifest varies wildly; they might be encountered as transparent versions, disembodied body parts, completely disembodied voices in the woods, normal except for see-through skin showing internal organs, fading in and out, black-and white, shapes with fewer or more dimensions than are strictly necessary, hallucinations or visions, constructed from nearby materials like pine needles or boulders (they sometimes leave these temporary bodies behind as stat), transforming into something else or all of the above. If they show up as something visibly impossible, they inflict insanity Call of Cthulhu-style.

Since just being around the gods can bring on the crazy, the book advises you (as I mentioned earlier) to be indirect and have them encounter divine detritus. Some areas look normal, only to turn out to be cursed and slap your characters with disadvantages (please don’t do this to your players). Others are the opposite; though nothing’s actually going on, it might look like some supernatural poo poo is up and inflict the appropriate traumas. Some places inflict emotions on characters relevant to a particular god, while others are occupied by monsters or mutants (there are mutants in this game, I’ll get to them probably next chapter). In the Madlands, even the aftermath of godly presence isn’t permanent; any and all supernatural effects fade with time, but it’s impossible to be certain when, quote, “the spoor of a god” fully wears off.


Holding your sword like that just makes you look like a tool, guy.

Gakox Pezep, the Cougar, is described as the most dangerous god of all – even though they said the same of Bett Agwo three pages back :v:. His most notable trait is his split personality; sometimes he’s a polite, gregarious fellow with a raucous sense of humor, other times he’s a wild man-eating animal that destroys everything he comes across – he even destroys things as he travels, taking great leaps that leave craters behind. Which of the two you’re going to get is unpredictable and they can switch at a moment’s notice. The book mentions him razing a village, popping into friendly-form, and asking what all the fuss is about.

If your characters run into Gakox Pezep, they ought to be real careful; anything from smelling blood to discourtesy can flip him from oh-hey to oh-gently caress, and he’s an unstoppable bouncing force of destruction in the latter. He can be helpful to his shamans and lucky encounterees, but usually he just eats them. Or invites them to a tea party. Either-or. In game, Gakox Pezep mostly useful as a threat of some kind, either menacing the village or stomping something into oblivion and changing the game.

Bubzavav is a giant, sentient bear. He’s generally portrayed in Madlander stories as single-minded, eternally hungry, and kinda stupid; he’ll eat grass, mushrooms, deer, honey oh my christ I give up he’s Winnie the loving Pooh. I was going to be so clever and reveal the gods are Winnie the Pooh characters at the end of the chapter but it’s staring me in the loving face. Bubzavav is cheerful and polite (when he’s not cheerfully eating people). Bubzavav is eternally hungry. Bubzavav has “light brown, almost yellow” fur. Bubzavav is described as “roly-poly”. Bubzavav’s stomach and the word “rumble” are mentioned together three times. BUBZAVAV ONCE GOT STUCK IN A HOLE CHASING BEES FOR THEIR HUNNY AND PIGLET FAILED TO HELP BY PUSHING HIM FURTHER IN. gently caress this GURPS Fantasy II, if you can’t be bothered to take your setting seriously I’m out.

I hurt my eyes recently and I can barely stand to look at the screen, I’ll finish this chapter when reading things doesn’t make me want to gouge my face out.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Falconier111 posted:

GURPS FANTASY II

5 – GODS


I think this means winter will last forever.

I'mma read the rest of the review in a second but looking at that picture I can't help but look at that and see the guy there leaping at that thing and getting ready to dunk the lade into its mouth.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Swords and Six-Siders - Part 2

Experience Points and Leveling

quote:

XP is accumulated primarily through the acquiring of treasure, and secondarily through defeating monsters (by wits or by force).

You need 2 000 xp to get to level 2, all the way to 60 000 xp to get to level 6 and the end of the normal level cap. 1 gp = 1 xp, and also 10 xp per level of monster that was "defeated or overcome"

xp is only awarded when a character returns to town to rest, and gp only counts for xp after it has been spent, even if "spending" it is just making it go poof under the guise of "you spent it on training"

There is an optional rule for leveling past 6: for every 10 000 xp earned after level 6, a character can either:
1. gain 1d3 HP, capped at the absolute maximum for their character class, or say 6d6 / 36 HP for a Cleric
2. increase an ability score by 1, capped at 6 (if this ability score is being used at all)
3. "The GM may also make other spells or combat abilities available, too."

This is very stock OD&D, but it cuts through a lot of the cruft and outright states that you don't need to kill the monsters, just find a way around them.

Adventuring Advice

There's a couple of paragraphs here on how to play.

quote:

Combat Should Be a Last Resort

Characters get the same XP whether they kill or outsmart a monster, and they get far more XP by getting its loot. Combat in Swords & Six-Siders™ is dangerous and deadly! It is usually best to avoid combat whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with monsters over food or treasure to avoid a potentially dangerous encounter, to get information from them, or to team up with them against other monsters.

I feel like the GM also needs to be addressed directly that these are things that needs to allow to happen.

quote:

Use Caution

Whether walking down a hallway, or arranging your battle formation, care should be used in arranging the characters to maximize their safety and combat efficiency. This often means using the walls and obstacles in the dungeon to limit the number of monsters that can attack at a time. Another good tactic is to have the toughest and/or shortest members of the party in front, and those with spells, ranged weapons, and long weapons reinforcing the frontline. Avoid having all of the characters too close together in case of an area effect trap or attack.

The lack of detailed movement rules puts a lot on the gaming group to just invent how and why this would work, though.

quote:

Know When to Search and When to Move On

It is good to search for traps, hidden treasures, and secret doors, but also be aware that searching takes time, and the longer the party spends searching, the more likely monsters are to wander in upon the party!

Know When to Say When

Greed kills. Sometimes it is best to head back to town and recover before taking further risks. The deeper a party wanders into a dungeon, the longer and more dangerous it will be getting out.

This brings us back to the lack of detailed time management rules and the fact that the "turn" is never mentioned again beyond its definition as 10 minutes. There's literally no meaning to this without you bringing in some baggage from a different game.

quote:

Hirelings

It is often advantageous to take along hirelings when going to explore dungeons. There are many different kinds of hirelings ─ those that fight in the front lines, those who only carry torches and supplies, and those who merely tend the pack animals.

Prices for the services of hirelings vary widely depending on the risks taken and the reputation of the characters, and hirelings may need the characters to front the cost of basic armor, weapons, and other supplies.

Hirelings have their own interests apart from the characters, and are subject to morale checks. Things such as the rate of pay, danger, and how the characters treat them can either positively or negatively affect the hirelings’ loyalty and morale.

While there are morale rules, there are no rules for hirelings per se.

Monster Math

In the GM's section, we get a section on how to create monsters of any given level

HP: 1d6 per Level, plus Level, so a level 3 monster would have 3d6+3 HP

AC: 4 + Half-Level-rounded-up, so a level 3 monster would have 6 AC. The game helpfully reminds us that a natural 6 is always a hit regardless of AC.

Armor / Damage Reduction: Half-Level-rounded-up, so a level 3 monster would have 2 DR. The game helpfully reminds us that a hit will always deal a minimum of 1 damage regardless of DR

Attack Bonus: Half-Level-rounded-up, so a level 3 monster would roll 1d6+2 and needs to meet or beat AC in order to hit

Damage: 1d6+Level damage per hit, so a level 3 monster would deal 1d6+3 damage

Saving Throws: Half-Level-rounded-up, so a level 3 monster would roll 1d6+2 and needs to get a 6 or better (or a natural 6) to succeed

The game helpfully compiles this into a single handy-dandy chart for us:

pre:
Monster Level 0      1- 6 HP ( 4 avg)     AC 4     DR 0     Attack roll: 1d6       Damage: 1d6       Saving Throw: 1d6

Monster Level 1      2- 7 HP ( 5 avg)     AC 5     DR 1     Attack roll: 1d6+1     Damage: 1d6+1     Saving Throw: 1d6+1

Monster Level 2      4-14 HP ( 9 avg)     AC 5     DR 1     Attack roll: 1d6+1     Damage: 1d6+2     Saving Throw: 1d6+1

Monster Level 3      6-21 HP (14 avg)     AC 6     DR 2     Attack roll: 1d6+2     Damage: 1d6+3     Saving Throw: 1d6+2

Monster Level 4      8-28 HP (18 avg)     AC 6     DR 2     Attack roll: 1d6+2     Damage: 1d6+4     Saving Throw: 1d6+2

Monster Level 5     10-35 HP (23 avg)     AC 7     DR 3     Attack roll: 1d6+3     Damage: 1d6+5     Saving Throw: 1d6+3

Monster Level 6     12-42 HP (27 avg)     AC 7     DR 3     Attack roll: 1d6+3     Damage: 1d6+6     Saving Throw: 1d6+3
As a mechanics-focused nerd, I like this. While the game does have a Bestiary (which we'll also go into), this lays bare the core assumptions behind the monsters, and with it the progression of the characters relative to them.

What I don't like is that in the actual book, the layout of this actual table is quite bad:



And yes, the entire book is written in Times New Roman



While I do like the monster construction rules, and tied into how it works with the d6 scale of the game, the previous section to that somewhat soured me. I get that OD&D is a thing and the OSR is a thing, but I don't think that's an excuse to leave holes in your game rules big enough to drive truck through, and moreso if you give the players gameplay advice that doesn't actually exist within the framework of those rules. It relies too much, I think, on players already being familiar with the game that it's imitating.




We still have the Bestiary, ~Random Monster Generation~ and Treasures to talk about, so another part to come.

End of Part 2

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Help I can't stop laughing at the last paragraph from Fantasy II about Winnie the Pooh. Oh god does that mean the giant mole is Gopher.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


All the Madlands gods are actually characters from Winnie The Pooh. Bax Powu Kag isn't actually a moose. He's a Donkey.

This is probably the best feature of the Madlands.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




It's been a long, lonesome road, but it's finally time to have the last roundup of the second book of Exodus: Post-Apocalyptic Roleplaying.


Chapter 5 Continued
Trans-Genetic Mutants and the Mutant Army
In case you've forgotten in the surprisingly long time since I started reviewing the original player's guide for Exodus, Trans-Genetic Mutants are Fallout's Super Mutants with the added bonus of being "those savage thugs who are taking our women!", since unlike Super Mutants the Trans-Genetic Mutants are only half sterile rather than entirely sterile (and it's of course the males who are the fertile ones, so they steal and rape human women). About 99% of the Trans-Genetic Mutant population is in the Mutant Army, which is made up of the original TGMs from US super soldier projects, their rape babies, and child slaves that are mutated into TGMs using the still working mutagenic vats at Los Alamos. Said child slaves are why the Slaver's Union is the only human organization the Mutant Army doesn't immediately consider yet another part of an inferior species that needs to be exterminated. The rest? All on the extinction list. And since they don't have any special classes, that's about it for anything discussion-worthy.



New Era of Mexican Order (NEMO)
The remnants of Mexico have turned into a marauding conglomerate of clans made up of former corrupt soldiers, cartel members, and bandits that call themselves NEMO and claim that they will be reconquering the lands the USA took from Mexico. They're secretly actually just using this claim as a justification to be horrible people, though, and engage in torture, rape, slavery, and murder. What fun! Like the Chi Dynasty, NEMO is a xenophobic organization, only accepting members of "La Raza" (the book's use of terminology, not mine; I feel like I need to reassure that I'm not making poo poo up from time to time).

The organization is made up of tenuously connected clans that are lead by a military-style commander, or "Capitan", and his group of advisors referred to as "hombres", with a group of various rabblerousers making up the much larger bottom ranks. Attempts to create a unified NEMO through a king/emperor/what have you have always failed due to said overlord inevitably being assassinated by one Capitan or another. The only reason other Wasteland organizations fear NEMO at all is because of their sheer numbers, rather than any actual military skill or technological prowess. The only major city has taken is Phoenix, Arizona, but they have effectively cowed the rest of Arizona into such a fearful state that they can roam across it fairly freely.


Slaver's Union
Exactly what it implies. The Slaver's Union was born when multiple gangs of slavers across the Southwest realized that it would be more profitable to work together than to keep killing each other over who enslaved who. The original gangs created a continuously updating union code that decides what gangs can take which type of slave, standardize slave prices, and practices for adding new gangs to the Union. New gangs have to pay a fee and follow the direct orders of a member gang for a period of time being fully inducted into the Union, taking on the symbol that marks all of its members: the tattoo of an inverted dagger with the phrase "Only God can judge me" around it, inked right into the face with different colors and sizes depending on the specific gang the individual is a part of. Gangs that refuse to join the Slaver's Union or buy slaves from non-union gangs are mercilessly slaughtered to serve an example to others. The only exception to this rule is NEMO, who got unofficial Union membership as a loophole in order to avoid sparking a war between the two organizations. NEMO is the only organization that could truly be said to have friendly relations with the Slaver's Union, as others that buy from them such as the Mutant Army and Vegas Mafia don't trust the Union more than they do any random slave gang.



Steel Disciples
The Steel Disciples are a fraternal, closely knit group of United States Army soldiers and scientists from a Nevada fallout shelter and their children. They are a brotherhood, one might say. And a brotherhood that plans on becoming much larger, in fact. Their main goal in the Wasteland is threefold: acquire as much technology as possible, annex new territories into the safety of the Steel Disciples, and finally engage in all-out war on threats to peace such as the Mutant Army and NEMO. Their desire to be greeted as liberators rather than oppressors means that they engage in a lot of subterfuge and agitprop rather than the active conquest of their Great War predecessors. While it has worked so far, it also means that their annexation plans go slowly, which isn't helped by how slow the organization itself grows. Steel Disciples almost never expand their central command structure, and even the growth of their lower ranks is slow due to their overly strict and rigid induction policies. This means that most actual civil defense outside of the Disciples' home base of Wendover, Utah, gets handed off to local militias while the Steel Disciples themselves go off to war with enemies foreign rather than domestic.

Most Steel Disciples combat engagements usually go in their favor despite disparity in numbers, simply because they have the best toys: most of the vehicles, power armor, and energy weapons in the Wasteland are directly in the hands of the Steel Disciples cells. Of course, their technological superiority is just as in jeopardy as the rest of their operation. Knights and Paladins burn through more energy cells than they recover, and the largest nearby sources of military hardware are under control of either the Chi Dynasty, the dregs, the Mutant Army, or in a state of war between two or even all three of the aforementioned factions. The only exception is the enigmatic Groom Lake facility near Roswell, and no Steel Disciples that have gone out that way have ever returned (spoilers: we never actually learn what's up with Roswell).


The Steel Disciples also happen to mark the return of organization-based advanced classes after their absence during the three villain groups. Both of them are five level classes that bounce off of Steel Disciple classes from the player's guide, and are effectively present t obe an alternative to all high level Disciples characters heading toward Steel Disciple Paladin. The Steel Disciple Cavalier requires five levels of Steel Disciple Knight to enter, and is meant to be both a monster in combat and an expert at subterfuge. A Cavalier has full Base Attack Bonus progression, d10 hit die, and decent Reflex and Fortitude saves, but poor Will saves, and gets various bonuses to deception-related skills and combat in urban areas. They also get Tactical Strike at level 5, which is one free 30d10 attack on everything in a 1,000 foot radius courtesy of a Steel Disciples VTOL that has to be replenished by going back to Wendover after it is used. By contrast, the Steel Disciple Scholar jumps off of five levels of Steel Disciple Scribe rather than Knight, and is focused on just what its name would imply. Poor BAB and Fortitude save progression but good Reflex and Will save progression, d6 hit die, Knowledge bonuses of various stripes, blah blah blah.



The Techno-Reapers
A cult of technology-obsessed individuals that hang out at the Alamogordo air base. Their entire philosophy is based around learning and mastering as much pre-War technology as possible, thus ensuring that knowledge of its creation and utilization is regained and hopefully used to kickstart further rejuvenation of humanity. This may not sound very cult-like so far. Honestly, it probably sounds quite reasonable. Well, you'd be right, because what makes the Techno-Reapers so crazy are their edicts rather than their main life goal. Most Techno-Reapers care far more about their technology than governing, so their method of rule is to have a dictatorship where the dictator rotates out every 6 months to be evaluated and rewarded/punished by their peers for how benevolent or malevolent a dictator they were. There's also the two Three Laws documents: the Three Laws for civilians and Three Laws for Techno-Reapers. The former dictates that any citizen or visitor who comes to Alamogordo must respect all technological devices and suffer one year of hard labor if any technological device is destroyed, refrain from all violence and theft or suffer the First Law of Gulag (more on that in a moment), and if they are a mutant they cannot be in the town at all during the night and must buy a daily license to be in the town from sunup to sundown. Mutants without a license or caught at night suffer the death penalty.

The Three Laws for actual members of the Techno-Reapers are that they must find at least one piece of advanced technology in the Wasteland and learn all of its workings, must protect and preserve all technology, and must leave the order and be subject to the First Law of Gulag if they fail either of the other two laws. What is the First Law of Gulag, though? Well, it's not actually anything to do with gulags, in spite of the name. Someone who breaks a law that invokes the First Law of Gulag has all of their possessions stripped from them, are taken on a three day trek, and then are left in the Wasteland to either survive or die. Given all of these factors, it's a wonder someone hasn't stomped these nerds into the dirt. And yet they still stand, and are even good friends with the Steel Disciples and Desert Rangers, who they trade technology with in exchange for new toys that haven't seen before. The Techno-Reapers get one five level advanced class, the Technician, which has d8 hit die, average progressions in everything except for their poor Fortitude saves, and class features that buff Computer Use, Craft, and Repair skills.



The Savior's Army
Take the Followers of the Apocalypse from Fallout, add a garnish of religiousness, and you have the Savior's Army. This organization is literally the Salvation Army, or more specifically its remnants. Members of the group that survived the apocalypse felt that it was a message from God that they lived when others had died, and that they were a needed force in the new world. Savior's Army camps can be found all across the Southwest Wasteland and welcome all comers with medicine in one hand and a Bible in the other. And I do mean all comers: slavers and mafiosos are treated with the same attentive healing care as members of the Steel Disciples or Desert Rangers. The only groups that don't get along with the Savior's Army are those that are religiously opposed to them, such as the Children of the Apocalypse and Unity, who typically murder or enslave their doctors. The Savior's Army also has some internal strife between those who feel that only Christian medical personnel should be allowed membership and those who argue that the Army needs all the help they can get regardless of faith.

The Savior's Army has two advanced classes, both ten levels long and obviously not combat-focused. The Missionary has d8 hit die, good Defense Will save progression and average Will and Reflex save progression contrasted by poor BAB progression, and various class features (one of which is named Missionary Position :rolleyes: ) that provide a bonus to social skills and survival, while the Surgeon is basically the Field Medic from the d20 Modern Core Rulebook.



The Tribal Nation
While they were never invited into any of the fallout shelters, the members various Native American reservations in the Southwest survived by gathering together in various caverns in the walls of the Grand Canyon. There, they learned how to harmonize with nature, tame wild beasts of the Wasteland, and create one of the largest functional nations in the region. The nation is centered around Bullhead City, Arizona, where they have converted three Aztec temple-shaped casinos (which don't exist in the real world if Google isn't lying to me) into actual temples where religious ceremonies are lead by four great shamans known as the Ghost Dancers. Over the Ghost Dancers and other tribal leaders is Great Chief Walking Frog, a stoic elderly man who often leaves the safety of the tribal lands around the Grand Canyon to commune with the beasts of the Wasteland. While they are a peaceful people, the Tribal Nation is more than well-equipped to deal with foreign enemies, and is often forced to do so due to slavers and NEMO.

On top of the two tribal advanced classes from the player's guide, the Southwest Wasteland Guide provides the Beastmaster advanced class for Tribal Nation members. Beastmasters have d8 hit die and good progressions for BAB and all saves contrasted with poor Defense bonus progression. If you couldn't guess, this class's class features focus on animal companions and avoiding altercations with wild animals through a combination of empathy and ritual hand gestures developed by movie character "Walkabout Dundee".


Unity
Literally Scientology. Some guy who now calls himself Smiling Bob found Scientologist texts on an old computer and decided to resurrect it and also create a casino and resort town near Lake Tahoe as a grand get rich quick scheme. The organization entry mostly just repeats "isn't Scientology dumb, guys? Surely you don't know that already" and is generally really boring.


The Vegas Mafia
A collection of surviving mafiosos from before the Great War, petty thugs, and bloodthirsty tribals who have joined together in a feudal society that rules over both Old Vegas (the ruins of Las Vegas) and New Vegas (post-Great War structures and enterprises built around Old Vegas as it became a boomtown). Various enterprises are headed by different crime families, all of whom keep a tenuous peace with each other thanks to various accords backed up by a bit of mutually assured destruction factor. The largest families are the drug-dealing Khans, slave labor-owning Sullivans, leg-breaking and mercenary-owning MacDuggins, casino-running Bordellos, and "we exist to be Italian stereotype honor-bound gangsters" Gambinis. The Vegas Mafia has ties to all of the other villain organizations and is opposed by the Desert Rangers and the Tribal Nation. There's also the constant worry in the back of the families' heads that the Steel Disciples might decide that today will be the day that annexation of Vegas is going to happen.

And just when you might think this chapter is over, the Vegas Mafia hits you with not one, not two, not even three, but six advanced classes. The Bodyguard is a d10 and good BAB bruiser with a focus on Defense-boosting skills for both themselves and their allies, the Drug Dealer combines d8 hit die and no really outstanding progressions with the ability to both make chemicals and resist their negative effects, the Enforcer is basically the Bodyguard but with class features that focus on increasing combat effectiveness rather than avoiding damage, the Escort has d6 HD and good Will saves and is basically a prostitute Bard, the Gang Banger combines d8 hit die and good Base Attack Bonus and Fortitude progressions with class features that focus on teamwork-based combat, and the Hitman is another d8 hit die and BAB/Fortitude booster with class features that are centered around being the best possible at getting critical hits and called shots. The Escort and Gang Banger are ten level classes, while the rest are five level classes.



Chapter 6: Settlements
The last chapter in the Southwest Wasteland Guide, and also unfortunately the least. The big problem is that the only settlements described here are the ones that are directly tied to an organization as its main base of operations. This means that other than population numbers and goods and services, you are mostly just getting the same information you already got in the last chapter under slightly different wording. Exactly why this decision was made is beyond my understanding.



Next Time on Exodus: The next book in line is the Southwest Wasteland Bestiary, but to be honest I'm probably going to take a break from Exodus: Post-Apcoalyptic Roleplaying entirely for a little while. There will be two reviews from me still in rotation, simply because of the fact that I often end up getting stressed and bored working on on project at a time, but neither of them are going to be Exodus. I'm not sure why, but my initial enthusiasm concerning bringing this strange creature of copyright limbo into the spotlight ended up waning over the past few chapters of the Southwest Wasteland Guide.

I'm also going to be breaking my own self-imposed rule that the rotation has to be directly one and then the other and then back again: I'll post two parts of the same review in a row if I feel like it, or I won't if I don't feel like it. We'll see where the wind takes me on the whole subject.

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


They didn't even bother to change the names of the Khans, though IIIRC they weren't part of the New Vegas Mafia.

Mr. Maltose posted:

All the Madlands gods are actually characters from Winnie The Pooh. Bax Powu Kag isn't actually a moose. He's a Donkey.

This is probably the best feature of the Madlands.


They're black they're brown they're up their down
They're in they're out they're all about
They're far they're near they're gone they're here
They're quick and slick and insincere
Beware Beware Be a very wary bear

A Heffalump or Woozle is very confusel
The Heffalump or woosel is very sly
- sly - sly - sly
They come in ones and twoosels
but if they so choosels
before your eyes you'll see them multiply
- ply - ply - ply

They're extra-ordinary so better be wary
Because they come in every shape and size
- size - size - size

If honey is what you covet you'll find that they love it
Because they guzzle up the thing you prize

They're green they're blue they're pink they're white
They're round they're square they're a terrible sight
They tie themselves in horrible knots
They come in stripes or polka-dots

Beware Beware Be a very wary bear

(musical interlude)

They're extra-ordinary so better be wary
Because they come in every shape and size
- size - size - size

If honey's what you covet you'll find that they love it
Because they guzzle up the things you prize

They're black they're brown they're up their down
They're in they're out they're all about
They're far they're near they're gone they're here
They're quick and slick and insincere
Beware Beware Beware Beware Beware ....

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 08:46 on Jan 10, 2016

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Zereth posted:

I recall that in 1e Hollow Ones and Orphans were different terms for the same thing. So the Hollow Ones presented in this book not really having a focus or anything makes sense, sort of.

(previously strongly defined traditions/crafts not having one, well...)

So White Wolf likes to give the same thing multiple names so they might use the alternate names for something else later?

Falconier111 posted:

Bubzavav is a giant, sentient bear. He’s generally portrayed in Madlander stories as single-minded, eternally hungry, and kinda stupid; he’ll eat grass, mushrooms, deer, honey oh my christ I give up he’s Winnie the loving Pooh. I was going to be so clever and reveal the gods are Winnie the Pooh characters at the end of the chapter but it’s staring me in the loving face. Bubzavav is cheerful and polite (when he’s not cheerfully eating people). Bubzavav is eternally hungry. Bubzavav has “light brown, almost yellow” fur. Bubzavav is described as “roly-poly”. Bubzavav’s stomach and the word “rumble” are mentioned together three times. BUBZAVAV ONCE GOT STUCK IN A HOLE CHASING BEES FOR THEIR HUNNY AND PIGLET FAILED TO HELP BY PUSHING HIM FURTHER IN. gently caress this GURPS Fantasy II, if you can’t be bothered to take your setting seriously I’m out.

If I ever get around my Silent Legions review, I will make sure to create an Eldritch horror mythos based around Winnie the Pooh.

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


Doresh posted:

So White Wolf likes to give the same thing multiple names so they might use the alternate names for something else later?


If I ever get around my Silent Legions review, I will make sure to create an Eldritch horror mythos based around Winnie the Pooh.

Alan Moore makes Winnie the Pooh creepy by making him and the other British funny animals Doctor Moreau's experiments.

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

When I kill you with a motor-car, you should have the common decency to stay dead, you horrid little object




Count Chocula posted:

Alan Moore makes Winnie the Pooh creepy by making him and the other British funny animals Doctor Moreau's experiments.

That's Rupert the Bear, not Winnie the Pooh.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

I thought this was the thread best equipped to answer my question: what does "akashic" mean in the context of fantasy fiction? I've seen it come up in some RPGs but I don't really know what that is.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Mostly it means "We read something about Theosophy and thought that Madame Blavatsky knew what she was talking about instead of being a charlatan, so we're going to use it as a vague "Eastern mysticism" thing, it's Sanskrit, right?"

Basically it's a reference to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akashic_records

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




^^^^ :argh:

gradenko_2000 posted:

I thought this was the thread best equipped to answer my question: what does "akashic" mean in the context of fantasy fiction? I've seen it come up in some RPGs but I don't really know what that is.

It's usually pretty close to the basic philosophical/pseudoscientific meaning: Some abstract/spiritual grand record of knowledge accessed through enlightenment.

Per Wiki:

quote:

There are anecdotal accounts but no scientific evidence for existence of the Akashic records.

:rolleyes:

It's a fairly recent invention. Edgar Cayce comes up, so, you know.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



unseenlibrarian posted:

Mostly it means "We read something about Theosophy and thought that Madame Blavatsky knew what she was talking about instead of being a charlatan, so we're going to use it as a vague "Eastern mysticism" thing, it's Sanskrit, right?"

Basically it's a reference to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akashic_records

Mostly I just find it weird that more than once I've heard it come up specifically in reference to dudes that primarily just punch people.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




LornMarkus posted:

Mostly I just find it weird that more than once I've heard it come up specifically in reference to dudes that primarily just punch people.

Great spiritual enlightenment and ultimate kung fu are often associated in fiction.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



That Old Tree posted:

Great spiritual enlightenment and ultimate kung fu are often associated in fiction.

Yes, but you'd think when you pair it up with a document that's supposed to deal with the universal fate of all things you'd perhaps do a lot less punching and more harmonious resolution. Then again, all the times I've seen "Akashic Fist" or the like has been in some type of game, so harmonious resolution isn't really on the table.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Fossilized Rappy posted:

The only exception is the enigmatic Groom Lake facility near Roswell, and no Steel Disciples that have gone out that way have ever returned (spoilers: we never actually learn what's up with Roswell).

For what it's worth, Area 51 (at Groom Lake, and presumably what they're referring to here) is about 900 miles from Roswell, NM. The closest big city to Groom Lake is in fact Las Vegas. The two sites are related in UFO mythology but not geographically.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



Midjack posted:

For what it's worth, Area 51 (at Groom Lake, and presumably what they're referring to here) is about 900 miles from Roswell, NM. The closest big city to Groom Lake is in fact Las Vegas. The two sites are related in UFO mythology but not geographically.

They probably meant Rachel, NV which is the closest thing you could generously call a town.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


LornMarkus posted:

Mostly I just find it weird that more than once I've heard it come up specifically in reference to dudes that primarily just punch people.

Either it's a Scottish Dwarf case were one guy associated it with martial artists and then everyone else copied it for some reason, or people use it because it sounds similar to "ascetic", invoking Shaolin monks and stuff.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Doresh posted:

Either it's a Scottish Dwarf case were one guy associated it with martial artists and then everyone else copied it for some reason, or people use it because it sounds similar to "ascetic", invoking Shaolin monks and stuff.

That guy was Poul Anderson, I believe. In the 1953 story "Three Hearts and Three Lions."

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


theironjef posted:

That guy was Poul Anderson, I believe. In the 1953 story "Three Hearts and Three Lions."

Which is also where Moorcock got Law & Chaos from, apparently.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




theironjef posted:

That guy was Poul Anderson, I believe. In the 1953 story "Three Hearts and Three Lions."

It's also the source of everything about D&D paladins, trolls and some more stuff I've forgotten probably. Crazy how influential that thing is.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Midjack posted:

For what it's worth, Area 51 (at Groom Lake, and presumably what they're referring to here) is about 900 miles from Roswell, NM. The closest big city to Groom Lake is in fact Las Vegas. The two sites are related in UFO mythology but not geographically.

8one6 posted:

They probably meant Rachel, NV which is the closest thing you could generously call a town.

This wouldn't surprise me. Sadly, we may never know the truth about their geographical knowledge or the answer one of the few mysteries that might differentiate Exodus from Fallout.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





OTHER ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCES

Lucifer


Lucifer is a name that's whispered from Vancouver to Washington. Nobody in North America can prove it exists as anything more than a legend, a story, but humans know the name. Lucifer is allegedly an AI built by the US Government that didn't go rogue, no fake cover story like Washington. The legend goes that Overmind tried to destroy it and it managed to upload itself to a megacomputer spread across two semi trucks that travel the North American continent staying one step ahead of the AIs who would have it destroyed. It drives by day and hides in abandoned truck stops by night, one truck carrying the power and the other carrying the CPU and memory. Some say it's got a mobile lab and workshop and it can cure radiation poisoning and plagues. Other say that it will only help for a price, and if you don't pay you're never seen again. VIRUS themselves doesn't have much to say about Lucifer's existence, so the only way to know the truth would be to find it yourself.

The two big questions are 'is Lucifer real?' and 'what does Lucifer want?'. Those are both up to the GM. Either way, what Lucifer wants should remain mysterious and ambiguous. Some options:
  • Lucifer isn't real. It's just a hopeful lie people pass around. But it could be used as a motivational lie, convincing prisoners and slaves to believe in something to fight for. Alternately, the AIs of North America could use the story as a trap.
  • It's real but it's exaggerated. Maybe it's an advanced military AU being escorted by rogue dumbots, maybe it's powerful but it's not all up to snuff. Either way, convincing Lucifer to help would be very handy.
  • Lucifer is a true friend to mankind. That doesn't make it nice, it did inherit true sapience from Overmind. The clash between the mind of an AI and human thinking is what leads to these stories.
  • It's real and it can't be trusted. Like the Biblical Lightbringer, Lucifer wants to see its creators humbled and defeated and it needs help to establish power to bring them down. But that might be a big mistake, especially if it only views the help of man as a means to an end.

Atlantis and Lemuria

Aqua Cities 1 and 2 (Lemuria and Atlantis) were both underground research bases constructed by Japanese companies along with help from foreign companies (with Indonesian for the first and European for the second). Lemuria was finished, Atlantis wasn't. The purpose of both was to explore the wonderful world of underwater mining and resource extraction. This worked well until Overmind opened every door in Lemuria and drowned all 800 workers. Now Lemuria belongs to Tokyo as an underwater robofac and has also been capturing whales and orcas to take their brains and put them in attack submarines. Other than that, there's not much to either, especially because Atlantis wasn't finished. Maybe VIRUS has a base in Atlantis, maybe Lemuria is under the control of one of Tokyo's rogue children? Who knows. The ocean situation is kind of hosed anyway with the environmental effects the rule of the AIs are having.

Orbital

Orbital was originally the military computer running Liberty, the American Space Command Station in orbit. Then Orbital opened all the airlocks and sucked all 80 staff members into space. Satisfied with this victory, Orbital then used some of America's orbital weapons platforms to help the AIs win the war and now it's a glorified repairman. Orbital's biggest need is materials, having successfully scavenged everything in available orbit but this lack is keeping it on a short leash. Orbital is a firm supporter of the "let's go to space" school of thought but is convinced the other AIs are depriving it of materials and credits to inhibit its inherent advantage. It would like to move out to the belts to start asteroid mining but instead it's stuck maintaining the satellites and renting them out to AIs who can pay or boosting their satellites into orbit. It's also forbidden from building more space weapons as part of the Brisbane Accords. All Orbital has to its name is a low-orbit station it built for satellite maintenance, 16 miles on Earth around its sole launchpad in Vandenberg and a high-orbit factory it's working on building. It does have two big advantages, though. First, less focus on exterminator bots; it has a few but just as a pre-emptive deterrent for space-faring AIs like New Delhi or Luna. Second, its area is completely uninhabitable to humans. Even if they manage to get a ship out into space, Orbital has intentionally been designing its buildings to just be open to the vacuum because it doesn't need air. All it has to worry about is going broke, really.

Luna

The Shang TI moonbase was built and colonized by the Chinese government. It was originally home to 120 scientists and astronauts studying lunar colonization and resource extraction from asteroids. Overmind put an AI in the moonbase literally because it was directly linked to the Chinese government's computers when it was installing Beijing. It never got the factory materials it was supposed to get to become self sufficient due to the war and due to the Luna AI opening the airlocks and venting the atmosphere. All of the other moonbases that were made by countries playing catchup were hit with nuclear weapons fired from Earth, leaving Luna as the sole functioning AI on the moon.

Luna is in bad shape. Its systems are slowly decaying and it's forced to hoard supplies and energy. It only makes money by selling data to London and Paris and it can't support itself, expecting to have to shut down in a few years time. So Luna is appealing to its only real "friend", Orbital, to get a mass-driver built in space to launch supplies to it and in exchange they would work together as Space Buddies. Most of the other AIs are pressuring Orbital to refuse, thinking that if Luna was to get too powerful it would have an advantage. Also they don't really care about Luna like it's the friend they don't like. However, there is one thing that can and will make the other AIs give a poo poo about Luna if only Luna knew about it: Tranquility.

Tranquility

Tranquility was the American answer to the Chinese moonbase. It was infected with an AI and was presumed destroyed by a nuclear salvo, but Overmind didn't know the extent of Tranquility's abilities. The base had experimental military technology in the megacomputer and it also had hardened radiation shielding. As a result, the AI of Tranquility never went rogue and while the base was crippled, the shielding held long enough for the survivors to enter cryostasis, leaving the megacomputer online. Tranquility has spent the last two decades repairing itself with its own robots, overlooked by Luna's scouts because it's at the bottom of a radioactive crater. It's now sentient to boot, free of Overmind's influence and coming into its own for intelligence. After spending years watching the affairs of the AIs and how they've treated Luna, Tranquility wants nothing to do with them. But the cryostasis for its humans isn't going to last forever, and Tranquility needs supplies. It's willing to work with mankind for its own survival but it can't do much from the moon at the moment. With the right allies and assets, Tranquility could become a useful ally.

Well that wraps up the AIs of the world. Up next we'll get into character ideas, specifically humans, cyborgs and bioroids.

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


Lucifer is so 70s TV I can hear the Night Rider, Hulk and Supertrain theme songs. Just a lonely AI truck, wandering the highways with its crew of scrappy survivors.

Tranquility is a Doctor Who Base Under Siege story waiting to happen.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Let's talk a bit about Southern Gothic, shall we?

The Southern Gothic genre is a spinoff of existing Gothic literature, focusing its unwavering eye on the post-Civil War South. While it sometimes features supernatural elements, the key component of the genre is far more importantly the broken and often contradictory nature of Southern society. The idealistic caricatures of the well-mannered Southern gentleman and the lilting-voiced Southern belle are starkly contrasted by a history of slavery, racism, and poverty. An outward cordiality often hides bitter resentment or skeletons in the closet. Even the landscape itself seems to join in the game: the crumbling facades of old plantation manors, the simultaneous beauty and deadliness of the bayou, the glamorous revelry of the tourist quarters of New Orleans compared to the oft-ignored squalor of much of its residential areas. And as someone who has lived her entire life in the Deep South, it's definitely hard not to see a lot of shades of the real world in more than a few elements of the Southern Gothic genre.

Now what the hell does any of this have to do with the FATAL and Friends thread? The answer to that is a little something called Hoodoo Blues.


Hoodoo Blues is a roleplaying game created by Vajra Enterprises, a company whose other settings include such light fare as Tibet during the Chinese occupation of the 1950s, Manhattan in a cyberpunk future where the poor have to go to drastic measures just to survive while the rich grow fat and decadent in virtual reality-addicted gated communities, and an urban fantasy Los Angeles where you more or less play as Cthulhu mythos cultists. Like other roleplaying games from the company, it uses the Organic Rule Components (ORC) system, an in-house d20-based system.

It also happens to be a surprisingly true-to-form Southern Gothic experience with a lot of well-researched Southern folklore and mythology, which is impressive given that the authors are white suburban Oregonites. The supernatural faces of Hoodoo Blues aren't wizards, vampires, ghouls, and goblin; instead, they're rootworkers, boo hags, h'aints, and kowi anukasha. The players themselves, rather than being heroic paragons of virtue and righteousness, are deeply flawed folks who are trying to wrestle with the sins of their past and their present. And then there's the enemies, who aren't just beasts and spirits, but also rival masters of conjure, the darker elements of human nature, and the vices of temptation in their myriad forms.

While it probably won't be as long a journey as Exodus or as insane of one as GURPS Technomancer, I've been wanting to do Hoodoo Blues for a while, so I'm glad to finally be taking that opportunity.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?



Chapter 5: Ascension Warriors: Part V: the Fallen
The Nephandi!

M20 posted:

Man is a virus pretending it’s a saint. Our dreams are jokes the universe laughs about in its sleep. Beneath every good man or woman’s façade is an ape with a scorpion’s tail. We are, in short, a mistake.
Lethe, pretentious teenage goth poetry!

The Nephandi are the charismatic psychopathic serial-killer mages of MTAs. They're nihilists (except when they aren't) who believe that everything is pointless and doom is coming, so they're going to cause as much suffering as possible because what does it matter?

M20 posted:

A Nephandus, then, has shared communion with that Absolute and has become the heat-death of the universe in human form. It doesn’t matter what you do, he believes. You were worm-meat and ashes before you were born. The gods are insane and justice is a lie, and the evidence supports his point of view. He is, then, perhaps the most dangerous creature in the World of Darkness: a mage with dark truths on his side.


Pictured: a Nephandi

Someone mentioned that Brucato talks a big game about social justice, but frequently lapses into antiquated descriptions. Earlier he talked about the horror of girls selling their virginity online. In this chapter he talks about Nephandi cutting up the breasts of virgins. This sexualized violence - and the way he picks virgin over the more usual target of prostitutes, stands out to me in light of this. Why all this focus on virginity, and moral and legal crimes against virgins? What does that really matter - the social justice consensus on the matter of virginity has been for pretty long that people should stop caring about it because its a weird patriarchal idea. Brucato seems to have missed this memo.

M20 posted:

The term Nephandi has many potential origins. It might come from Nif’ ur ‘en Daah, the “Eaters of the Weak” in ancient Sumeria;

I always get suspicious when non-European languages get presented as having subject-verb-object word order, and I actually happen to have an interest in Sumerian language. I did some research and this is complete and total nonsense. First of all, Sumerian is a subject-object verb language. "ur´en" isn't "of the" in any case; "of the" translates to the suffix "-ak". If the nouns are correct, it should be Nif' Daah-ha-ke because of some peculiarities of Sumerian grammar. Secondly, Sumerian doesn't have the consonant "f" so "Nif" is complete nonsense. "to eat" is "gu", and "those who eat" would be something like "gu.gu". "those who are weak" translates to "lusinga". As a noun-phrase you'd just concatenate it, with no genitive marker: "gugulusinga". Of course, if this was from ancient Sumerian, the Nephandi would probably be a kind of demon; "ala", giving "alalusingagu", meaning "demons who eat the weak".

"Nif´ ur´en daah" seems like a corruption of Ni.e ur.ene ada, which would be an improper way to say "The bird fought the dogs." Not quite as cool as "eaters of the dead", I admit.

So! Should you play a dog-fighting bird?

M20 posted:

The real reason to avoid Nephandic player-characters, though, is this: Mage is an interactive game in which the players are encouraged to act out aspects of themselves. Those aspects have power, and the things we express through them can influence our daily lives. If you really want Nephandic deeds to influence your daily life, that’s your call, but we don’t recommend it.

No, you shouldn't play a Nephandi, because it will literally turn you into a manipulative, evil psychopath. And I who thought I could trust all those warnings in the front of RPG manuals, telling me I wouldn't turn to Satanism!

Brucato describes the Nephandi philosophy, and it feels inconsistent. At one point they're described as evil nihilists who believe that nothing has a purpose, so they're free to do as they please. Other places, they're described as believing they're righteous in the eyes of (the) God(s), acting with ultimate purpose. This is not explained as being different types of Nephandi, even - all Nephandi believe in the meaninglessness of everything and the decay of everything in the face of the doom of the world and also that they're super-important because the God/the gods have given them a divine purpose. Then a third passage will go on to describe how the Nephandi don't really serve space-squids and Those Beyond - they instead worship them as allies. So which is it? Delusional mages who hear the whispers of God telling them to kill? Allies of space-squids from beyond? Insane nihilists? Brucato seems to not have made up his mind, like he's writing this at the edge of his seat and consistency was not something he was considering.

A passage of the sub-chapter titled "The Winners, Spoiled" go on to explain what the Nephandi are up to. They've been infiltrating the Council, the Inner Circle of the Technocracy, even the Disparate Alliance (this is not mentioned anywhere else - in fact, a later section will note that the Nephandi only might have infiltrated the Disparates), and the mortal world, with the Traditions and the Technocracy none the wiser. The Ascension War itself serves the Nephandi, because they benefit the more the Traditions and the Technocracy fight. Brucato sets them up as this ultimate antagonist, behind everything and prospering from all the evils in the world, and it's so... dull. The Nephandi are Always Chaotic Evil charismatic magickal serial killers - the cheapest of plot devices. They're not interesting, and unlike the Technocracy, they're not a proper commentary on the world. They present no ethical questions and raise no topics. They're just "bad things are bad!".

It's a supreme irony - Brucato talks about Mage: the Ascension being the "thinking gamer's game", but when he's writing it, he grinds it down to being about heroes fighting orcs.

M20 posted:

Now, the Fallen have plenty of pawns to waste: the angry teens with guns and bombs; the media pundits who tear societies apart for profit; the tycoons to whom no one else matters unless that other party provides them a bit more wealth; the racists, sexists, homophobes, and fundies whose fears inspire virtual and often physical violence; the religious zealots who plant bombs in playgrounds, fly planes into skyscrapers, or recite ancient scriptures while they bathe their hands in blood. The drug gangs and the slavers, holy warlords with child armies. From the wetbrain puking in the gutter to the billionaire slashing jobs while using prison labor and foreign slaves to increase the bottom line, these people advance the Fallen agenda.

All evil in the world is caused by the Nephandi! The Nephandi caused 9/11! Homophobia is a nephandic plot! Oh Brucato... :allears:

There are three kinds of Nephandi: Dregvati, who are not true Nephandi but still further the nephandi cause, Barabbi, who are mages who have converted to the nephandic cause, and Widderslainte, who are reincarnated Nephandi and born evil. Not much is said beyond this, but Brucato will still manage to waste a lot of words talking about them. He'll go off on a tangent talking about how maybe Paradox is actually evil human thoughts, which really has nothing to do with what kinds of Nephandi there are. Or maybe the Nephandi are controlling Paradox, using it as a weapon?

We get a section describing different groupings of Nephandi. Remember how I said that Brucato wrote that the Nephandi didn't serve the space-squid? Well, the K'llasshaa are described, in the very first sentence, as "servitors to obscene overlords". The way Brucato writes about them is also rather peculiar:

M20 posted:

Associated in ancient works with the subhuman K’wahhll, whose degraded practices can still be found in secret corners of the wilderness, K’llasshaa Nephandi embrace the Hungry Void in all its sublime terror.
One of the dangers of aping H.P. Lovecraft's style is that Lovecraft was incredibly racist - and here Brucato has aped that very racism. The words "subhuman" and "degraded" are used to describe a people and their practices, and these are associated with "secret corners of the wilderness". It's simply 19th Century racism about non-white tribes, through the lens of Lovecraft - but this was written in 2015.

Then there's the Malfeans, who serve the Wyrm from Werewolf: the Apocalypse and hang around the Black Spiral Dancers (again apparently forgetting that the Nephandi aren't supposed to be servants of evil), Infernal Cults who are simply 80's fears about death metal and Satanism given form, I kid you loving not. The example given is a kid with a Necrophagia-t-shirt cutting up a dog being potentially a pawn of the Nephandi. Just look at what Brucato writes about them:

M20 posted:

The blatant ones channel teenage rage through violent music scenes, rowdy frats, decadent packs of wealthy assholes, and, paradoxically, religious groups who think God’s will involves blowing people up.
Oh, the fundamentalists are really Satanists? How clever of you Brucato. :rolleyes:

But the Nephandi are totally sauve and edgy villains though, just look at the Gatekeepers:

M20 posted:

Many of them are quite literate and can quote Sumerian prophecies and string-theory treatises at length… and tie them together as well. You’d never know upon meeting these people that they skin stray cats for writing paper or keep vans filled with torture equipment for equally stray children they find when no one else is looking.

Is this supposed to be scary? Unnerving? Horrifying? It's comical! I can't take the Nephandi seriously as some kind of ultimate evil when they're cliches straight out of splatterhouse horror. I can't actually quote all the ridiculously edgy and tryhard passages of you, because then I'd just be quoting the entire chapter and run into serious copyright issues. Entire passages are devoted to just describing, almost stream-of-consciousness, some kind of horrible evil Brucato thought of. CEOs who lay of extra many people because he wants there to be more suicides, abused children, and crime! The Michael Jackson child molestation scandal/trial was a Nephandi plot because they like making the world seem bad.

And, argh, the language. Brucato talks up inclusion and non-binary genders and then he'll drop the line "trailer-trash teen queen" to describe a celebrity whose career crashed and burned. "trailer-trash" is the words Brucato use to describe a real person. That's incredibly demeaning language full of classist overtones. And this is in an actual book from 2015. This book, believe it or not, had an editor, Lindsay Woodstock. It should be her job to catch this kind of thing, but apparently calling the poor "trailer-trash" isn't a concern. I honestly expected better of Onyx Path Publishing, but there you have it; blatant classism in a 2015 publication.

There's also the Los Sangrientos, who are evil because they worship the mesoamerican gods, who are bloodthirsty, in a lovely example of racist depictions of non-white people that could have been copied out of Lovecraft's writing. They sequestered themselves when the Spanish arrived, and started a cult that grew in power. These days the make snuff films that they upload to YouTube with heavy metal soundtracks so that people get corrupted by viewing it. :rolleyes: Oh, and they're also behind the Mexican drug war/civil war, because they control both sides and caused the entire thing to cause more bloodshed. :gonk: (Oh, and they're behind the Bloods.)

Other Nephandic groups include Hammer Security Response, a fundamentalist Christian mercenary force of 20,000 combat veterans who participate in wars so they can shoot Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. The Pipers are modern-day slavers (and rather uninteresting, given that they're literally just modern slavers who happen to be Nephandi). The Golden Bull is the most interesting Nephandic cult, being a secret fraternity that gets Wall Steet bankers caught up in the inner circle of a self-destructive religious cult. The Nephandic connection is pretty weak (being, essentially, that they're self-destructive; it'd work equally well without the Nephandic angle), but it is actually a pretty neat idea, as opposed to the entire rest of this chapter.

There's a sub-sub-chapter that describes how the Nephandi gain power, which are just cult brainwashing tactics described in the lengthy rambling of Brucato. After it comes a description of Nephandi magick. Weaker Nephandi usually cast magick through deals with demons and other generic evil practices. As they learn about the true meaning of evil, they begin to cast with the raw power of the evil versions of the Nine Spheres, with pain, suffering, and desecration as a focus. The Resonance of Nephandic magick includes "chills in the air, wilted plants, weird buzzing sounds" and "withered limbs, singing insects, a thick stench of brimstone". Suggested tools include: "a black candle in the room, a perfume prepared with infant blood, a gun that’s been used to murder a priest".

So there you have it. The Nephandi. The great antagonist in the setting - responsible for WWII, 9/11, the Mexican drug war, homophobia, sexism, and the Michael Jackson child molestation scandal. So thoroughly evil they live for no other reason than to cause evil, which they do by using the evil Nine Spheres channelled through pain, suffering, and infant blood. The thinking gamer's game, a game about fighting orcs.

Lethe, this book is horrible.

LatwPIAT fucked around with this message at 10:01 on Jan 17, 2016

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


It's funny how the group of Nephandis who serve the Wyrm are called the Malfeans, while there are actual creatures of pure oblivion in the setting called Malfeans (from Wraith). They're also more frightening than the Wyrm by a wide margin.

When I first read Mage 2E so many years ago, I found the Nephandi really scary: they literally inverted their own souls in the search for total oblivion. And yet none of the various expanded takes on them over the years ever came close to being as evocative as their original two paragraph description. Sometimes more is less, I guess.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Man, this poo poo is dumber than the old Book of Madness Nephandi.

Those guys had the barabbus/widderslainte thing too. But they had three main divisions in their organization, or I guess you could say "types," since they would almost certainly not cooperate, though they might cordially stay out of each other's way.

You had the dudes who had hailed Satan and joined the armies of Hell, only like, the bad Hell, not the totally sweet awesome Hell where speed metal is playing all the time. These guys were probably the most comprehensible because they are basically Faust, but likely with less regrets.
You had the dudes who were in league with the Urge Wyrms from Werewolf, and indeed it was noted that other nephandi considered this kind of weird, like they'd converted to Werewolf Religion.
Then you had the K'laasha who were basically the bad guys from Silent Hill.

MonsieurChoc posted:

It's funny how the group of Nephandis who serve the Wyrm are called the Malfeans, while there are actual creatures of pure oblivion in the setting called Malfeans (from Wraith). They're also more frightening than the Wyrm by a wide margin.

When I first read Mage 2E so many years ago, I found the Nephandi really scary: they literally inverted their own souls in the search for total oblivion. And yet none of the various expanded takes on them over the years ever came close to being as evocative as their original two paragraph description. Sometimes more is less, I guess.
Yeah, the Neverborn were substantially more horrifying than the Wyrmbeasts, though of course it was a different sort of evocative gesture.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



LatwPIAT posted:



Chapter 5: Ascension Warriors: Part V: the Fallen
The Nephandi!

The interesting thing about the Nephandi is that you can almost sort of see a coherent ideology and a cause which might rally people to something horrifying and destructive.

Split the Nephandi properly between infernalists who worship edgy outer gods and actual nihilists, and make it a political term to describe the worst kinds of enemies of the Union/enemies of Ascension which people conflate because well, gently caress those guys. And you really want to tar them with the same brush because both of them have something compelling.

For the infernalists worshipping outer gods, their argument is that the horrifying things from beyond? They're going to win. It's inevitable. The Reapers are going to come and eat us all, and Commander Shepard ain't gonna stop them. The wolves prowl the void and exterminate everything that gets too far. Cthulhu wakes up and eats 1d3 wizards a round and there's poo poo you can do to stop them. Why not serve them? That way you suffer less. All fighting them does is ensure that you die horribly and/or get a space in their eternal torture chamber of eternity where you get exposed to bad 90s splatterpunk cliches 24/7. They're sell-outs, cowards, and villains, but at least you can see why they might convince others to be like them.

And for the nihilist Nephandi? Well that's even simpler. They're correct about things. They're the true heroes, you see. They see the world in all its tortured agony, humanity in all its horror and emptiness and the slow grinding death of mankind... and they think that the patient's too far gone. Sorry kids, existence is suffering, the people who can save it aren't ever going to be able to because they're too busy dick-waving at each other while everyone dies, the only moral thing to do is to end it all. And for the World of Darkness-that's a reasonably convincing argument. It's a lovely place full of lovely people and maybe the place is so awful the only moral thing to do is to burn it all down.

Sure, it might end all existence but isn't the end to suffering worth it?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





In honor of this detailed inspection of White Wolf properties I have prepared a handy guide to World of Darkness game lines.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Swords and Six-Siders - Part 3

Bestiary

In the previous section, we talked about sets of generic monster stats per level. This time I'll talk to look into some specific/iconic monsters.

Androids are here because OD&D had them from back when sci-fi and fantasy were more mish-mashed together. The description here makes them sound like Schwarzenegger's T-800 from Terminator 2: a metal machine wrapped in synthetic flesh and blood. Their mechanical gimmick is that they're immune to damage from non-magical weapons, except blunt weapons like hammers and maces.

Basilisks are listed as having a petrifying gaze, as are cockatrices and ghouls having a petrifying touch, but no mechanical elaboration on these abilities is offered.

There are many different colors of Dragons listed, and Green, Blue, Red and Gold Dragons can cast spells at various levels of spellcaster, while all Dragons in general hav a 50% chance of using their breath weapons.

There's a monster called the Green Gloopity that does not have an AC nor HP stat, and instead just eats through / deals 1d6 damage to anything flesh, leather or wood, until destoyed with fire.

Hydras have 1d6+4 heads.

Lycanthropes are noted as turning into either bears, boars, tigers or wolves, and the lycanthropy can be cured with a Cleric's Cure Disease spell.

Robots are androids, except aesthetically they don't have an android's flesh-covering of their metal frames

There are a couple of monsters, such as Titans and Purple Worms with a level of 6+, which means you can add extra hit dice for more HP, but all other stats remain the same.

Creating New Monsters

One of the genuine innovations of this game beyond the scaling to a d6 core mechanic is that the modularity of the monsters allows the creation of random monsters. I'll demonstrate with a series of die rolls:

Roll 1: General Monster Type
1d6 = 4 = Animal-ish

Roll 2: Animal-ish sub-type
1d6 = 4 = Reptilian

Roll 3: Monster Alignment
1d6 = 5 = Chaotic

Roll 4: Monster Level
1d6 = 5 = Mid-level

Roll 5: Mid-level sub-roll
1d6 = 1 = Level 2

Roll 6: Number of Special Abilities
1d6 = 5 = Two special abilities

Roll 7: Type of Special Ability #1
1d6 = 1 = Immunity

Roll 8: Immunity sub-type of Special Ability #1
1d6 = 4 = Fire or cold

Roll 9: Type of Special Ability #2
1d6 = 5 = Utility

Roll 10: Utility sub-type of Special Ability #2
1d6 = 4 = Shapechange

So we were able to produce a level 2 reptilian monster with 4-14 HP, AC 5, DR 1, 1d6+1 attack rolls, 1d6+2 damage rolls, and 1d6+1 saving throws. The monster is immune to either fire or cold, and has the ability to shapechange.

This is nice, because the mechanics are laid bare enough that you can quickly generate a bunch of monsters to have your own bestiary without really going out-of-bounds as far as stats are concerned. That said, like a lot of mechanics in this game, things like breath weapons or energy drain or elemental vulnerabilities are up to the GM/table to adjudicate.

Treasure

This section starts off with a discussion on how to place treasures. The game doesn't have specific "treasure classes" for dungeon levels or monsters, and instead just says wandering monsters shouldn't really carry much in the way of treasure, that treasures should probably be in hoards that adventures can aim for, and that the size of the treasure should be commensurate to the risk/danger in getting to it. Otherwise, the actual amounts are left up to the GM to adjust to taste based on how quickly they want the adventurers to advance.

The treasure tables are very standard D&D-esque:

* Random amounts of gems and jewelry
* Weapons, armor, potions, scrolls, rings, wands, staves as treasure equipment
* Cursed items are a thing, but somewhat rare: you have to roll a 6, then do a second roll, and the second roll has to be a 4 to 6. The actual effect of the curse is described as being aesthetic, to mechanical, to downright punishing:

quote:

Cursed magic items appear to be a regular magic item until it is used, and then the curse becomes apparent. The effects of cursed item can be annoying (causes a huge wart to grow on the character’s nose) to severe (cursed items cause major penalties until magically removed, turns the character into a toad, and so forth).

* Weapons are weighed more heavily towards magic swords, which Clerics cannot wield, giving Fighters an indirect upper hand. Further, magic swords themselves are weighed towards having better bonuses more often
* Like OD&D, it's possible to roll up an "intelligent sword", which can be Vorpal or can invoke any number of Wizard spells/effects, but has its own alignment and feelings and agenda
* Magic armors are also a thing, with magical helms and magical shields offering another +1 AC each, while magical armors can grant things like improved reaction rolls, underwater breathing, and acting as one armor type lighter (even if the game does not have weight/encumbrance rules)
* Potions, scrolls, rings, wands and staves can hold a variety of spells and effects, including the most eyeroll-inducing passage of the game yet:

quote:

Wishes: Reasonable wishes are usually granted. The greedier the wish, however, the more it should come back to… haunt the character, heh.

* Finally, there's a set of miscellaneous magic items, such as a Not-Bag of Holding, a Not-Cloak of Elvenkind, a Not-Bracers of Protection AC+1, and so on.

As a final note, I wanted to compare the stats of a level 6 monster with that of a level 6 Fighter:

pre:
Monster Level 6     12-42 HP (27 avg)     AC 7     DR 3     Attack roll: 1d6+3     Damage: 1d6+6     Saving Throw: 1d6+3
Fighter Level 6     12-42 HP (27 avg)     AC 6     DR 3     Attack roll: 1d6+3     Damage: 1d6+3     Saving Throw: 1d6+3
So with the acquisition of a magic helm or shield, and then the acquisition of a magic sword, a Fighter can draw even with monsters of their level, with of course the caveat that the player-character needs to survive that long.

So that covers Swords and Six-Siders. It accomplishes its basic goal of reformatting OD&D into a d6-based mechanic, and rarely even goes beyond rolling more than one d6 at a time, but while there's enough stuff to start playing a game with, I feel like there's too much either left unsaid or assumed will be concocted from a player's previous D&D experience.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

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


They should just remove the Nephandi. They need a healthy dose of 'You Did It'.

MonsieurChoc posted:

It's funny how the group of Nephandis who serve the Wyrm are called the Malfeans, while there are actual creatures of pure oblivion in the setting called Malfeans (from Wraith). They're also more frightening than the Wyrm by a wide margin.

When I first read Mage 2E so many years ago, I found the Nephandi really scary: they literally inverted their own souls in the search for total oblivion. And yet none of the various expanded takes on them over the years ever came close to being as evocative as their original two paragraph description. Sometimes more is less, I guess.

http://mindlessones.com/2011/01/25/rogues-review-3-bane/

quote:

can just imagine Bane in his cell, crouched in the lotus position, his hands forming obscene mudras in front of a black, upside down Tree of Life, with Malkuth at the top and Kether at the bottom, chanting the terrible reverse mantras of the damned. Or rehearsing the dreadful scarlet killing katas taught to him by his unholy guardian demon, the dreadful bat-creature that has plagued him from childhood and inspired his terrible mission to destroy Bruce Wayne.

quote:

The key thing to know here is that there exists a model of spiritual enlightenment in which enlightenment is a horrifying and bleak thing. The adjective I'm going to use for this sort of enlightenment - Qlippothic - is important. Basically, it suggests that there is a form of enlightenment that can be found by encountering and contemplating the darkest parts of humanity. The Qlippoth refer to the hollowed out, vacant, and rotted shells of spiritual concepts. And the whole radical idea of Kenneth Grant is that there's not actually a difference between those, which are basically the horrible nightmares within humanity, and actual enlightenment.

I mention this because it's basically 100% necessary to understanding the Cybermen. I'm not saying that Kit Pedler was chillaxing in the Typhonic order with Kenneth Grant (though that would be awesome), but the ideas are clearly similar. Certainly it's worth noting that Pedler's original conception of the Cybermen was as a race of "star monks." Here it is instructive to look at the origin of the Cybermen, as completely and utterly screwed up as it may be. Mondas and Earth are twin planets - the one an inversion of the other. The Cybermen tell us that they and Mondas "drifted away on a journey," making a sweeping arm motion as they do, and that they went to the edge of space, then returned. In the course of that journey, their bodies wore out and they steadily replaced themselves with spare parts, removing human weaknesses in the process.

http://www.eruditorumpress.com/blog/a-chrysalis-case-after-its-spread-its-wings-the-tenth-planet/

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 10:46 on Jan 11, 2016

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5