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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

DH really is essentially a reskinned Paranoia.

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Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Glagha posted:

I've always enjoyed the fascist element to 40k but only because I kind of enjoyed the idea that humans are among the villains in that universe. That was before finding out that not everyone takes it that way. I took it as "oh cool how GRIMDARK that humans are the real monsters" but other people were taking it as "these jackbooted aryan supermen are so cool".

edit: Also why during my brief stint of spending money on the tabletop game I bought into Tyranids because they were the most sympathetic non-Tau faction. They're just hungry.

One of the things about the Tyranids that the Imperials consider to be an affront that can never truly be understood is that they can't hate.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Scion: Hero
Divination Ain't Easy

Orunmila is the Power of Divination. He is also called Ifa or Orula. See, for any serious fortune-telling, you need a trained diviner - a babalawo, for a man, or an iyalawo, for a woman. They will do a formal Ifa divination, in return for a cash offering. They use a divining chain strung with halved palm nuts or tosses nuts in a tray, matching the pattern to one of 256 poems they have memorized, then tell you how to proceed with your problem, as well as any sacrifices to please spirits you might need. Orunmila is the Orisha of Ifa divination, and he is the only one that speaks regularly to Olodumare. He is also close to Osanyin and Eshu. Orunmila rarely has flashy Incarnations. He usually wears a green and gold Nigerian agbada, and works as a babalawo. If he has time, he'll even do it for free if you recognize him and are polite. After all, he is the act of divination as well as its spirit. His Scions tend not only to be diviners but anything that needs a good memory. They are excellent detectives, pharmacists and university leaders, as well as advisors. Orunmila's Callings are Healer, Judge and Sage, and his Callings are Fortune, Sky, Stars and Wild.

Osanyin is the God of Herbal Medicine. He is also called Aroni, Ossaim or Ossange. Once, he hoarded his knowledge and his plants. When Orunmila complained to Eshu that he needed Osanyin's plants to do divinations, Eshu knocked over Osanyin's house. (He hadn't known Osanyin was inside at the time.) Osanyin was crushed, and is now only half his former size, and has only one eye, one arm, one leg, a giant deaf ear and a tiny hypersensitive ear, and a squeaky voice. But hey! He shares now. His symbol is the healer's staff, topped by a metal bird. His herbalism is the root of all West African and Afro-Atlantic magic, called rootwork. Root doctors were the medical, spiritual and cultural keystones of slave society, and often provided a better standard of care than, say, pre-Civil War New Orleans' white pharmacists. Osanyin hates Incarnating because his new body inevitably is struck by catastrophe, and waiting for that is nerve-wracking. Instead, he prefers to possess toys or dolls, granting them his nightmarish voice. He wants his Scions to master a field of knowledge, whatever they please, and share it with the World. Osanyin's Callings are Healer, Hunter and Sage, and his Purviews are Beasts (Birds), Epic Stamina, Fertility, Fortune, Health and Wild.

Oshossi, the Bowhunter, is also called Ochosi, Oxossi or Age. He is a quick, stealthy hunter, rarely seen but handsome. He was from Ketu in the Oyo Empire, from which many slaves were kidnapped and sent to Brazil. His symbols are the bow and arrow, often made of iron, and the huntsman's whisk. He gained a feather headdress and jaguar skin in the Americas, where bowhunting was associated with the Native Americans. He's still worried about being Fatebound into cultural appropriation. However, he also has the symbol of three parallel arrows, representing the strength of unity. He and Ogun fought all the time until Eshu made fun of them for not getting any hunting done, and they began to work together. Thus, Oshossi came to symbolize partnership between Africans and Native Americans, especially when slaves would escape into the rainforest, swamps or backcountry and worked with the natives to adapt. He also helped some native religious figures become Orisha to survive extermination by Europeans. Oshossi is a quiet, patient parent to his Scions. He listens more than he speaks, but his words are well chosen and memorable. His Scions are often multiracial, adopted cross-culturally or immigrants, and they tend to love exploration, no matter the danger. Oshossi's Callings are Hunter, Liminal and Judge, and his Purviews are Beasts, Epic Dexterity, Prosperity and Wild.

Oshun is the Goddess of Cool Sweet Water. She is also called Ochun, Yalorde, Oxum, Aziri, Ezili and Erzulie. When the Orisha first came to Earth, the men called a secret meeting over something no one remembers any more. Oshun found out and wanted to attend, but was turned away. She'd have cut her way in with her knife, but she decided instead to make a statement, revoking the human ability to bear children until the men apologized and offered her her favorite metals, copper, gold and brass. However, it took a gift of honey to finally appease her. She is the ruler of love and wealth as well as fresh water and the Oshun River of Nigeria. She has had sex with Eshu and Orunmila, learning divination as well, but is married to King Shango now. When she first came to the Americas she asked Yemoja to give her pale skin and golden hair, like a European painting of the Virgin Mary, to fit the dominant beauty standard. She has since lost patience with that kind of thing, and has become the pantheon's public face, using an Incarnation as a performer, businesswoman and philanthropist that she's held for the past 36 years. She is always surrounded by killer bees which defend her. Oshun loves her Scions, but she wants results. She wants you to network, dress your best, never settle. Become powerful, and once you are, heal the sick, help the poor and fight evil. Her Callings are Healer, Lover and Sage, and her Purviews are Beasts (Bees), Beauty, Fertility, Fortune, Frost, Health, Passion (Love), Prosperity and Water.

Oya Iyansan is the Goddess of the River Niger. She is also called Araka, Iansa or Avesan. She is the Tearer, and she is cold and dangerous. She guards the cemetary gate, and where her husband Shango is thunder, she is lightning and wind. The market is sacred to her, as are the bull, goat, pigeon and black hen. She checks her husband's ego as needed, and is the only Orisha who can stand up to Yemoja. At some point before, Yemoja guarded the cemetary and Oya the ocean, but Yemoja tricked Oja into swapping jobs and Purviews. Oya's grown into the new role, but has never forgiven Yemoja. She may not love war like Shango or Ogun, but she does like a good fight. She dresses in bright colors, like a superhero - capes included. She incarnates as a riverboat captain or meteorologist, always cloaked in storms and cackling with glee. She's a badass and exceptionally popular. Her Scions, like her, are flashy and without fear, able to speak truth to power and always looking good. One of the most famous of them is Omolara Muhammad, a Wall Street whistleblower who got fired for investigating a crime committed by her bosses. Oya Iyansan's Callings are Guardian, Liminal and Warrior, and her Purviews are Beasts (Bull), Epic Strength, Epic Dexterity, Death, Prosperity, Sky and Water.

Shango is the King Who Did Not Hang, also called Jakuta, Oba Koso, Hebiosso, Chango and Xango. Once, a king named Shango ruled the Oyo Empire, was the sexist man ever, wielded a great two-handed axe and could throw a rock so hard it hit like a thunderbolt. He was a god of divination, but he traded that for the power of drumming, dancing and sorcery. His favorite spell let him breathe fire, which he'd do whenever he got angry. However, Shango grew suspicious of even his most loyal servants, and his schemes to turn them against each other backfired. Finally, his servant Gbonka learned to counter the fire breath, and after Gbonka humiliated him, Shango went into the forest. We don't talk about what he did there; it upsets him. Shango wears red and white and has several wives, including Oshun and Oya. He Incarnates as politicians, drummers, b-boys and baseball players. Shango loves baseball. His symbols are the two-handed axe, the baseball bat, and the stones he throws. He has had many Scions, but they tend to die young. They get Visitations in their mid-teens, generally, and live fast and hard. The media tends to love them for their love affairs, high profile feuds and general chaos, and they love the spotlight. Shango's Callings are Leader, Lover and Warrior, and his Purviews are Artistry (Drums, Dance), Beauty, Epic Strength, Fire, Order, Passion, Prosperity, Sky and War.

Sonponna is the God of Smallpox. He is also called Obaluaiye, Ile-Gbigbona, Ile-Titu, Olede, Babalu Aye, Obaluaie, Omulu, Sagbata, Sakpata, and Sabata. It is said that he feasts with the fathers but strikes down the sons. One day, at the yam festival, he did not dance, for he was drunk on palm wine and has a cane. The people wouldn't stop bothering him, so eventually he tried. Someone crashed into him, he fell, and everyone saw his wooden leg under the cape he wears to hide his disease scars. They laughed at him, someone even made a song to mock him. And so Sonponna lashed out with his cane, and everyone came down with smallpox. For that, Obatala banished him to the forest, where he still wanders. However, whenever a mob or witch hunt comes for Sonponna or other pantheons call him a Titan, the Orisha close ranks around him. He is their brother. Sonponna wields disease as his weapon. Some say Olodumare cursed him with it as a punishment for his promiscuity, and that he died and Oshun had to bribe Olodumare to bring him back. Sonponna's Incarnations never show his face. Sometimes he's a doctor in a hazmat suit, a researcher, a Zen monk with a straw hood and shakuhachi. Despite this, he is nearly as popular as Ogun. Sonponna's Scions are frightening, unafraid of the worst of the World. They are home in shadow and chaos, going where no one else will, to solve problems no one else wants to know about. Sonponna's Callings are Healer, Hunter and Liminal, and his Purviews are Death, Earth, Health, Passion (Spite), and Wild.

Yemoja-Oboto is the Queen of the Sea. She is also called Olokun, Yemoo, Yemaya, Iemanja, Stella Maris, Lasyren or Mami Wata. She is the angered wave that smashes the bridge. In Nigeria, she is they - Olokun, the primal sea, Yemoja, goddess of the Ogun River, and Yemoo, the wife of Obatala. In the Americas, she is one. Most of the Orisha are her children, and she is a far more ready leader than her husband. Her wrath is terrible, and she is magnetic as the moon to the tides. She is very wise, and only Oya will ever stand up to her. Yemoja wears blue and white, and sometimes appears as a sailor or naval officer, but more often as a mermaid, and more often yet as a whale. Her symbols are seashells, anchors and violets. Yemoja's Scions are not all in positions of authority, but all of them are authorities. Yemoja is a good mother, and she tends to give her Visitation early and take an active role in her children's lives, complete with fussing over homework or resumes. This can often confuse the regular parents of these Scions, who often wonder why their kid heads down to the docks after school to take advice on club choices from a vaquita. Yemoja-Oboto's Callings are Creator, Guardian and Leader, and her Purviews are Beasts (Cetaceans), Epic Strength, Epic Stamina, Fertility, Frost, Journeys and Water.

Next time: The four parts of the soul.

Terratina
Jun 30, 2013


One thing I guess that falls by the wayside with 40k is the digs at Thatcherism. Then again, cool big dudes with guns fighting for their totally glorious nation sell well, right?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Is there still anti-Thatcherism in current 40k material, or did the devs lose the plot years ago?

This reminds me of the various official and unofficial attempts to make Roadside Picnic/Stalker into a game. Which you can do, but AFAIK none of them seem to be aware of the fact that the novel is about life in the crumbling Soviet Union.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Oh, one little cute thing from Gear I forgot: You get little trappings from your Chapter that do stuff like replace your basic combat knife with an elegant longsword (that is still slightly worse than a chainsword, but free) or give you little +3 bonuses to various stats. There are no actual rules for putting these things into custom Chapters, sadly, but we always just figured 'minor combat knife replacement/low tech ceremonial weapon' or '+3 to a stat' items was a good guideline.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Halloween Jack posted:

This reminds me of the various official and unofficial attempts to make Roadside Picnic/Stalker into a game. Which you can do, but AFAIK none of them seem to be aware of the fact that the novel is about life in the crumbling Soviet Union.

The STALKER video games seemed to get that a little- they just made the metaphor into a reality.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Halloween Jack posted:

Is there still anti-Thatcherism in current 40k material, or did the devs lose the plot years ago?

This reminds me of the various official and unofficial attempts to make Roadside Picnic/Stalker into a game. Which you can do, but AFAIK none of them seem to be aware of the fact that the novel is about life in the crumbling Soviet Union.
This is actually an angle I had not heard, but then the original books were written in the late 60s. Of course it is not incorrect, that was just a novel angle.


Terratina posted:

One thing I guess that falls by the wayside with 40k is the digs at Thatcherism. Then again, cool big dudes with guns fighting for their totally glorious nation sell well, right?
I am to a certain extent not surprised that the anti-Thatcherism in the 80s britwave stuff fell by the wayside because it was so fundamental and ubiquitous to, like, everything, that especially foreign audiences would have just taken it as a form of ornament.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



The whole Horde rules were one of the things I did actually like in the one brief DW campaign I ran. Made things suitably epic.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Halloween Jack posted:

Ironically, WFRP has funny quotes, whereas 40k is known for fascist/inquisitorial stuff played straight.

I take it you haven't had much experience with 40k orks.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

The Northlands Saga Complete



The Northlands Saga Complete is a Norse-themed sword-and-sorcery campaign setting and adventure path. Made for both Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry (OD&D retroclone), it is a far-ranging epic inspired by the culture and folklore of the Viking era, and for the past year I have been running it for a weekly Sunday group. Although like any level 1 to 20 Pathfinder campaign it has its system-related warts, it helped create a campaign that has been lots of fun like no other, and with all the notes and work I’ve done on it I decided to make an in-depth review.

First, a brief history of the publication. Back in 2011 when Skyrim was the next big thing and the hills were alive with the sounds of thu’um, Frog God Games began working on a playtest for a Viking-themed adventure. One of the chief writers, Ken Spencer, was an archaeologist and history teacher with a deep passion for medieval Scandinavia and its legends. He sought to create a setting which borrowed heavily from that region’s cultural aspects, and four adventures were made in total for this new setting. But the line was put on hold for five years until a successful KickStarter produced a massive book, including not just the original adventures but eight new ones and an expanded setting to boot.

The Northlands Saga Complete is split into two major sections: the Northlands Saga Campaign Guide and the Northlands Saga Adventure Path. After that are several appendices of player handouts and maps (both player-friendly and GM eyes’ only versions), pregenerated player characters, and a bonus stand-alone adventure. We are going to cover the Campaign Guide here first.

Hagalaz, Hail!



This is the introductory chapter covering the overall feel of the world, the regions’ history, and a discussion on Kennings (compound expressions with metaphorical meanings often used in poetry). Basically the Northlands is part of the wider Lost Lands campaign setting published by Frog God Games, but the influence of the rest of the world is minimal enough that the Northlands may as well be on its own for most games. The Northlands is a low magic sword-and-sorcery style realm where most of civilization are villages at best and the largest city is about 4,000 people strong. While some magic is socially acceptable in the form of cunning women and folkloric charms it is rarely understood and almost never a regular occurance. The setting has fantasy races, but is humanocentric in a Ravenloftian vein where dwarves and elves are isolated, halflings and gnomes don’t exist at all in the region, and cannon fodder baddies tend to rival Vikings, cultists, and various kinds of giant-kin instead of kobolds, goblins, and orcs.

The Northlands proper is sits on the northern reach of Akados, the major continent of the Lost lands, and the southern reach of the arctic continent of Boros. It has a Meditteranean-style geography where a central North Sea dominates the center and the various lands circle around it. Due to this, sea travel is a vital aspect of life for most people if only due to trade.

History

The region has been home to thousands of years’ worth of immigration, with the ethnic Northlander humans the most recent arrival (about 800 years ago). The first settlers were the Andøvans, who mastered bronze-working and whose cultural legacy is only known via the large amount of haunted mountain ruins and barrow mounds left behind. They went to war against invading trolls and lost, causing their culture to cease to be. A thousand years later the next group of settlers were a tribe of elves known as the Nûk who were on a religious pilgrimage. With the forest the only place unclaimed by the numerous trollish tribes they and settled there in secret.

1,500 years later, a tribe of humans known as the Uln arrived and unsuccessfully warred against the trolls. They went further north and settled into newly-discovered city ruins. For a while they lived well, but then some people stumbled upon buried texts dedicated to the demon lord Althunak, Lord of Ice and Stone. In a short time his growing cult plunged the cities into bloody war. The Uln driven from the cities soon became the Ulnat, the fantasy counterpart-Inuit people of the Northlands. Althunak's cult held sway for a time until a hero, Hvran the Half-born, earned the trust of several tribes and led a band of mighty warriors. They fought a great battle against the demon-god himself, and Hvran sacrificed himself to trap Althunak beneath a frozen lake.

150 years later a group of Hel worshipers were contained in a walled-off peninsula after years of continuous war with a greater empire. There was a dude named Swein Sigurdson who thought that Hel had it all wrong, so he fought and escaped with like-minded people into the not-Underdark. In these dire depths Swein received a vision from Wotan, head of the Æsir, who told him of a new place to settle and to follow the tunnels north. Traveling through the Under Realms for months they finally found light in what is now the Northlands, and fought a war against the trolls there. The humans won, the giants were driven off, Swein Sigurdson was declared the High Køenig, and the society of modern Northlanders came into being.

TL;DR Barrow-building humans fight and lose against trolls, elves migrate to the forests, the not-Inuit defeat not-Sauron, not-Nordics are led by Odin through the Underdark to the Northlands and drive off the trolls. And if you’re wondering what the deal with the seeming disconnected events is, they tie into the later campaign to various extents. Especially Althunak who is more or less the BBEG of the Northlands Saga.

Kennings

Along with a pronunciation guide on Nordic spellings not present in English, the last section of the introduction discusses the concept of kennings, or word pictures expressed by skalds and reciters of oral traditions. Quite a bit of in-game text and NPC conversation makes use of such kennings, although not overly so (mostly important and well-spoken NPCs). Basically they are ways to paint a picture of common concepts via metaphors, references to godly traits, and the like. It gives a sample list of common kennings as a means of using them in your own campaign. Although I admit that I did not use this often, I did enjoy this personal touch in spite of the "blood-worm" jokes spawned.

Word on Pronunciation posted:

Pronunciation of words from a Nordic base is no easy task to a non-Nordic tongue, and many of the place names, and names of gods and heroes are just that. They are not, for the most part, intended to be a true rendering of Norwegian or even ancient Norse words and names, but they are meant to convey that flavor. As a result, there are some spelling habits that are perhaps strange to the eyes of many gamers. As a result, we’ve included a little bit of a pronunciation guide, though it is no way meant to be a didactic or exhaustive discussion of the subject in any real-life context. It merely explains the conventions we have used in the Northlands Saga. As with anything game related, they are there for you to use or ignore as you see fit.

Of immediate note is undoubtedly the fact that many names end in an ‘r’ that do not normally do so. This final ‘r’ of Nordic origin is often left off in Western renderings, but to lend the air of legitimacy to our Northlands setting, we have opted to go for the older, more obscure spelling. However, in general the final ‘r’ is silent unless it follows a vowel, so that ‘Thor’ is still ‘Thor’, but ‘Grimr’ would be pronounced ‘Grim’. In the case of ‘Baldr’, however, conventional use would still pronounce it ‘Balder’, so this rule is far from absolute.

For vowels, ‘Æ, æ’ is usually pronounced like ‘eye’ or ‘ay’; ‘Á, á’ is pronounced like ‘ow’; ‘Ö, ö’ and ‘Ø, ø’ are pronounced like ‘oeh’, and the other accented vowels are held longer. Unaccented vowels usually have their long sound. The letter ‘Ð, ð’ is called ‘eth’. It is pronounced as a ‘th’ sound and is sometimes used interchangeably with the letter ‘Þ, þ’ (called ‘thorn’ and also pronounced with a ‘th’ sound).

While these hints by no means create a fully authentic pronunciation in terms of real ancient Nordic and Germanic languages, they will help you to catch the intended flavor and feel. However, if it is easier, just use the spellings for the look of them and make your pronunciations whatever is simplest for you. Use them as best fits your tastes.

Kennings posted:

Common Kennings of the Northlands

Alfar dwimmer: magic
Baldr’s bane: mistletoe
battle-dew: blood
blood-ember: axe
blood-worm: sword
breaker of rings: Køenig or jarl
Corpse-ripper: the dragon Nídhöggr, chews
upon the corpses of murderers, adulterers, and
oath-breakers
easer of raven’s hunger: generous leader
feeder of ravens: warrior
Freyja’s tears: amber
Hanged God: Wotan
Frigg’s thread: gold
icicle of blood: Sword or spear
Loptr’s favor: fire
Loptr’s mead: lies/deception
mind’s worth: courage/honor
moon distaff’s thread: silver
Rán’s hammer: waves
raven harvest: corpse
ring-giver: Køenig or jarl
sea-steed: ship
shame of swords: shield
Sif’s hair: gold
sky-candle: the sun
slaughter-dew: blood
Slayer of Giants: Donar
spear-din: battle
swan of blood: raven
sword-sleep: death
wave-cutter: ship
wave-swine: ship
wave thread: sea serpent
Wotan’s children: raven
weather of weapons: war
whale road: sea
wolf-hearted: coward, oath-breaker, one
without mind’s worth
wound-hoe: sword
wound-sea: blood



Chapter 1: Mannaz, The Peoples



The chapter starts off by mentioning that in terms of D&D races the Northlands is not as varied as the typical setting or other places in the Lost Lands. Only humans and Nûklander elves have any significant population size (with a few half-elves around), and the few dwarves around are relegated in small communities in the two largest towns. Halflings, gnomes, and elves of other tribes are individual foreigners if they come into the region. Orcs, half-orcs, goblins, bugbears, and gnolls are virtually absent, but replacing their niche are all varieties of giant. Just about every type of Monster Manual giant can be found in the Northlands along with some new ones in this book, and there are many varieties of trolls. The setting mentions that giants in the Northlands are always of Evil alignment, and giant and troll-blooded people merely have it as a strong tendency rather than an inherent trait. Funny enough, although the pre-generated PCs include a dwarf and are kind of a big deal in Norse mythology, they don’t get a write-up in this chapter at all and are more or less “invisible” in the adventure path. :(

There is a brief entry on languages, with some interesting notes: one, there is a “Common” tongue but it’s spoken far south in lands once dominated by an expansive empire and so isn’t a language you start play with automatically. The lingua franca of ethnic Northlanders is Nørsk, with the written version known as Runic and treated as a separate language because literacy is rare and effectively an art all its own. Andøvan is now a dead language, and Nûklander, Seagestrelander, and Ulnat are spoken by their respective cultures. Two demonic cults, the Beast Cult and the Children of Althunak, use Beast Cult Sign Language and Old Uln as secret code tongues respectively.

The Northlanders are the most populous human cultural group in the setting and you guessed it, fantasy counterpart Scandinavians. Although no strangers to battle, most Northlanders live an agricultural lifestyle of growing crops and animal husbandry. Still, their economy is supplemented by warfare, trade, and raiding and almost every family owns several weapons for self-defense and chainmail if they’re well-to-do. They have a hierarchy of social classes ranging from thralls (slaves, usually foreigners or those in debt), freemen (majority of Northlanders), and jarls (leaders who have enough wealth and goodwill to get the other social classes to pledge their lives to them). Northlander social structure is not ironclad; thralls can buy their freedom, and in some lands a jarl’s influence is tempered by democratic assemblies known as Things and can fall out of influence if their competence falters.

The rest of the section is rather wordy, but I can point out a few interesting things: Northlanders don’t use horses for warfare, as they are meant for travel. Many Northlander realms have a social gathering known as a Thing where every person can cast a vote for matters of laws, crimes, and public works projects. There is a cultural tradition known as laws of housing where a guest and host have mutually-beneficial social contracts. Religion is a low-key affair where local priests known as godi are a part-time local position. Actual spellcasting clerics and druids are very rare specialized godi who forged a bond with a specific deity. And kinship is broken up into small extended familes, with are part of a clan akin to a widely extended family which can be far-flung. The heads of families and clans have the same rights and duties as a jarl, and two of the realms (Gatland and Hrolfland) use the family/clan social system as the basis for their society.

Next up are the Nûk or Nûklanders, elves who are more or less fantasy counterpart-Sami. They are the descendants of a persecuted cult whose god said that he would lead his people north to a bountiful land. After several civil wars encouraged them to move thousands of miles to the promised realm, they found that their dream destination was far from hospitable. Betrayed, the people turned against the more devout followers and leaders in a night of slaughter and forsook worship of the gods in favor of calling out to the spirits of nature.

Nûklanders primarily live in the forests and tundras of the Northlands’ northernmost reaches and beyond as nomadic reindeer herders. They have some limited trade with the Northlanders of Estenfird and are on generally positive terms with them. Nûk societies are governed entirely by direct democracy councils (the concept of one person commanding many is a strange concept to them). Their society also greatly distrusts arcane magic, and practitioners face exile or death if they cannot conceal their talents. Druids, oracles, and rangers are the most common classes, with fighters rarer but when they do show up make for amazing cavalry with war-trained reindeer.

In game terms Nûklanders share the racial traits of Pathfinder elves, save that instead of gaining typical enchantment/sleep resistance and spell resistance/spellcraft bonuses they get cold resistance 5 and the silent hunter trait (reduce stealth penalties for higher speed by 5 and can use Stealth while running at -20). This is not exactly a bad trade-off, and overall I found cold damage more common than enchantment and sleep.

The other human ethnic group detailed in this chapter are the Seagestrelanders, and I am unsure what real-world culture they are meant to replicate; my closest guess are Celtic peoples. The term “Seagestrelander” is a catch-all for the hundreds of warring tribes that live between the southwest shores of the North Sea and the southern plains of the Sea of Grass. Most of them live within the forests of their namesake and the coastal shores, with expansion blocked off by natural geography. They are mostly farmers, herders, and fishermen and their lands are poor in mineral wealth. As Northlanders have metal goods, they are willing to trade their iron weapons and armor in exchange for amber, gold, and slaves. This last commodity exacerbated the violence among the Seagestrelanders themselves and with Northlanders as well. Rival tribes sell off prisoners of war, and Northlander vessels come to raid as well as trade.

Seagestrelanders build their villages around god-trees, the stumps of massive hollowed-out trunks where idol representations of their deities are placed. Funerary and worship rites take place here, and Seagestrelander spellcasters gain automatic Maximize Spell on all spells cast within 30 feet of a god-tree. Magic is even less common among them than the Northlanders, but when it does show up they are almost always honored regardless of their type of magic. All spells, arcane or divine, are viewed as gifts from the gods.

Seagestrelander characters are usually of the martial variety. The section mentions that Seagestrelander PCs will face difficulty in the Northlands, as the vast majority of them are thralls and generally assumed to be such by the populace. It mentions the idea of a slave PC, but doesn’t go in much on actual advice beyond being a “role-playing challenge for experienced and mature groups.” Interesting thing is, slavery and thralldom isn’t really touched upon in the adventure path, and demographics-wise thralls make up a very small portion of the population (one to five percent in places and almost never past ten percent). It's more or less a vague backdrop of the setting.

Although not detailed here, one human ethnic group I wanted to touch on are the Ulnat or fantasy counterpart Inuit. They live in the Far North, an arctic region beyond the Northlands dominated by tundra and mountains. Like the Northlanders they are a heavily maritime people, relying upon the sea for their livelihood. They are a society of hunters and trappers because their native environs are unsustainable for agriculture, and their main method of transportation on land are sled dogs. The sourcebook does not make much mention of their religious and cultural traditions beyond the fact that the heroes who overthrew the Cult of Althunak are buried in small tombs with their prized possessions.

The Giant-blooded are one of the 2 entirely new races of the setting. They are like half-elves or half-orcs in that they are a hybrid people living among a more dominant culture. Giant-blooded are either the product of a human-giant union or more rarely two human parents (a recessive trait). Giant-blooded infants are usually killed at birth, and those who are spared are relegated to the fringes of society. A few jarls keep giant-blooded around for their great physical strength for both farming and warfare purposes, but others treat them as freak shows to show off to entertain guests. Giant-blooded rarely if ever appear among the Seagestrelanders, and given the Ulnat’s geographic position are unknown among them. They are quite likely to be adventurers on account of societal prejudices and innate wanderlust pushing them to move.

Stat-wise giant-blooded are almost entirely built to be melee warriors. They have +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity, and -2 Charisma. They are Large, have a Reach of 10 feet and speed of 40 feet on account of their large frames, and to offset the size and Dexterity penalties to AC they have +1 natural armor. Low-light Vision is their only ability not explicitly “muscle-based,” so if you’re going to be giant-blooded your role is more or less determined for you unless you’re going for a self-imposed challenge.

The other new race are the Troll-blooded who are much like the giant-blooded save they are even rarer, more physically monstrous, even more vilified, and have a strong persistent hunger that is a drain on larders during wintertime. Those not slain at birth are either hidden away from the rest of society or treated as expendable thralls to be thrown in battle against one’s enemies. Troll-blooded adventurers become so mostly to find a means to satiate violent drives and their hunger (the book notes that heroes eat well no matter their ancestry).

Stat-wise troll-blooded are melee-friendly, but not as much as the giant-blooded. They have +2 Strength, +4 Constitution, and -4 Charisma. They are Medium size and have darkvision to a range of 60 feet, along with a pair of claws that deal 1d4 damage and the Ferocity trait which is similar to the half-orc’s save that you are staggered when you fall below 0 hit points. In line with their heritage, their last two traits are the ability to safely eat any organic substance and immunity to ingested poisons from this. Their weakness is fire, and take 1 more point of damage per damage die from fire-based attacks.

Troll-blooded are a bit more versatile than giant-blooded on account that their racial traits are a bit all over the place. Their claws and ability to eat anything are very situational, but ferocity is effectively a free Diehard feat. The Strength and Constitution bonuses are nice, although the giant-blooded’s natural reach is a more attractive option for melee types.

Classes



Picture from bobkehl of deviantart and not in the book but did not want this to be too wall of texty

Although technically covered in the Northlander section, there an in-depth discussion on classes. Unlike many other settings Northlands has classes which are “banned” or at least heavily discouraged or changed around. The realm is more or less Early Middle Ages/Viking Era in technology and aesthetics: alchemists, cavaliers, gunslingers, inquisitors, monks, ninja, and samurai are almost invariably foreigners from the Southlands (catch-all term for everyone south of the Northlands). The book notes that the PCs are meant to be heroes of an epic saga, and should be able to break the mold via a good backstory of how they came upon these strange traditions.

Classes which are reflavored for the setting include Barbarians, who are holy men and women of Wotan (Odin) who struggled with violent impulses but learned to tame their inner fires via divine guidance. They are either Bearsarkars or Ulfhanders, new archetypes described later in new rules in Chapter 4. Bards are known as skalds and well-respected for their inspiring abilities and knowledge of history and culture in spite of their arcane powers (which they try to disguise as “natural ability”). Clerics and Druids are a rare sort of godi who made a pact with a specific deity to carry out their will. Nûklander druids are an exception, who don’t worship the gods but instead call upon the spirits of nature to grant them power. Fighters are perhaps the most common PC class among the Northlands in general, but Monks are typically seen as having a near-supernatural control over their bodies and distrusted. Paladins are all-female spear maidens who pledged their services either to Baldr, Donar (Thor), or Wotan (Odin) but are seen less as holy warriors but rather defenders of home and clan whose abilities are derived from the blessings of wyrd (fate). Rangers are the next most common class after Fighters, usually of the non-magic-using archetypes (I don’t know if any such exist in Pathfinder beyond 3rd party). Rogues are surprisingly rare, the justification that theft is a major crime, there are not many locks and mechanical traps save in the ruins of the Andøvans, and what “organized crime” exists in the Northlands are less thieves’ guilds and more bandits, raiders, and the Jomsvikings who are decidedly more martial in nature. Arcane spellcasters of all stripes are exceedingly rare to the point of only being known in myth and legend these days. When encountered most people assume them to be dangerous, and summoners are particularly hated for belief that their minions come from the Ginnungagap (primordial cosmic void) or the creations of demons and giants. The only two exceptions to this mistrust are the aforementioned bards and cunning women, an all-female sorcerous bloodline supplemented with healing powers. Both of these disciplines are well-respected professions. Seagestrelanders are more open and view magic of all kinds as blessings of the gods, whereas Nûklanders outlaw all types of magic save non-deific druidism.


And so ends our first chapter!


Next up is Odal, the Lands!

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Night10194 posted:

At which point the Dreadnought arrives, unbidden, eager to help.

The Dreadnought is also wearing a tuxedo.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


The Lone Badger posted:

The Dreadnought is also wearing a tuxedo.

Nah he's disguised as part of the waitstaff.

"EVEN IN DEATH I SERVE...DRINKS."

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




The Lone Badger posted:

The Dreadnought is also wearing a tuxedo.

Tuxedo paintjob, helpfully applied by the Raven Guard members of the local watch-fortress.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



If anyone asks, we're ogryn nobles, not Astartes.

We're on a mission from the God-Emperor.

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


Libertad! posted:

The Northlands Saga Complete



This is very cool. I love seeing APs and settings get dissected.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Feinne posted:

Nah he's disguised as part of the waitstaff.

Or possibly as one of the walls.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

BinaryDoubts posted:

This is very cool. I love seeing APs and settings get dissected.

Thank you for the vote of confidence. In spite of its KickStarter and high praise from Endzeitgeist, talk about it has been rather rare in the tabletopsphere.



Chapter 2: Odal, the Lands



This is a big-picture view of the Northlands' eight major regions, along with known lands beyond. With the exception of Hrolfland, they are more akin to geographic regions than unified kingdoms, with most lands a political patchwork of ever-shifting alliances between jarldoms and tribes. Or in some areas like Estenfird there are entire territories unclaimed or lost to the wilderness. As you can tell by the mountainous divisions in the map above, most regional trade and travel is done via ship and the peaks make for good natural defenses against invasions by land.

A constant throughout this chapter are Technology Levels. Frog God Games books rate regions by a general progression of societal inventions and organization, from Stone Age all the way to Industrial Revolution, but the only Technology Levels in the Northlands are Stone Age (Nûkland, Seagestreland, mountain tribes in Hrolfland), High Middle Ages (Hrolfland and Hordaland), and Dark Ages (everywhere else). This is not a cosmetic choice; a region's technology level determines what items you have access to including at character creation. As it would be easier to cover what you cannot buy and what's most useful for PCs, Dark Ages settlements cannot fashion adamantine or mithral equipment, half-plate and full plate, tower shields, composite longbows, greatsword, lances, bastard swords, crossbows, and rapiers. High Middle ages grants access to all the aforementioned save full plate, tower shields, bastard swords, crossbows, and rapiers. And you are not going to find gunpowder or firearms anywhere. Stone Age characters get the rawest deal, only able to get hide armor (not even leather), and their only weapons of choice are daggers, javelins, shortbows, and spears. And forget about any kind of special weapons materials!

Finally, there are no "magic item marts" in the Northlands. No settlement has listed numbers of magical items for purchase. Owners of such things treat them more akin to heirlooms and are given to trusted people for favors and services. Godi and cunning women capable of magic use their spells to tend to their local villages first and tend to have a barter economy (a cunning woman may give you a potion if you hunt down some pesky wolves or restock her larder of rare herbs). Although in line with the setting's relative rarity of the supernatural, it does not work for the Pathfinder system of progression. The Adventure Path tries to compensate for this by loading the PCs down with oodles of treasure, magic items, and various artifacts, but all it really does is encourage party spellcasters to get magic item feats and make the weapons they'd want to get anyway (spell prerequisites can be ignored for crafting by adding +5 to the crafting DC). If you run the Northlands and don't want magic-marts, I suggest you use Pathfinder's Automatic Bonus Progression so the boring yet necessary attack/saves/etc boosts are inherent parts of a character to leave room for the more novel items. Or instead of a "mart" let PCs use their loot to "buy" magic items via a network of alliances and gifts from grateful families and villages saved.


First stop is Estenfird, the farthest and newest Northlander colony. It is a frontier even by the region's standards, and they are peculiar for their odd form of government. There are no warlords or jarls, with the only semblance of governance direct democracies at the local Things, with the Althing at Three Rivers for the regional level. Most travel in this territory is via one of the many rivers, and the vast amounts of untamed land encourage many settlers and homesteaders to make a new life here. Estenfird is still a dangerous region. The mountains are home to all kinds of monsters, the region is famed for its giant animals, and the growing influence of the Beast Cult of Shibauroth is growing to the point that Estenfird's only hope to counter is a united force (a hard sell to the people's anarchistic bent).



One of the western mountainous regions is Gatland, settled by the Gat clan who chose to settle here 300 years ago in protest of the Things which were rising up as a popular form of government. Here the Gat clan is ruled by autocratic jarls part of the extended family. The Gats get along like a heard of cats and even their eldest patriarch leads them informally. Gatland's spoil and terrain makes for poor farming, which caused the people here to become the best fishermen and sailors in the Northlands. In fact, there are many Gats who gave up farming completely to make a living as full-time merchants and vikings! The Gats are the sworn enemies of the Hrolfs, and their centuries-long feuds became such a fact of life that nobody recalls the real reason for its origin.

Hordaland is the relative center of the Northlanders and its most cosmopolitan. The town of Halfstead is the largest settlement in the Northlands, and the nominal Køenig is a 10-year-old boy whose father passed to illness last year. This has made for divisive politics, as there are some who feel that the former ruler's adult bastard son is a better choice while others insist the seat should be held by the boy and wait for him to come of age as the legitimate ruler. And the Gats and the Hrolfs both prize Hordaland's strategic center and seek to to bribe, manipulate, and threaten jarls into favorable deals. Most of the peninsula is heavily forested, but in the deep center is the Forest of Woe with an evil reputation of ruins, giants, and strange fey. There is also the Barrow Lands, a place home to the restless dead.

Home to the other powerful clan of the Northlands, Hrolfland is a different beast than the rest of the Northlands. For one, its ruler Jarl Magnus Hrolfsblood exerts a far tighter reign over the lands. There are no Things or Althing to contest his rules, and the local jarls are more or less subservient to his will. To more effectively fight the Gats, Jarl Magnus employed and built upon technological innovations from Southlander realms, including the building of the first castle in the region, siege engines, and even crossbows and even mounted cavalry. In a way, Hrolfland is approaching a more feudal form of government; too bad its ruler is Lawful Evil.

Nûkland is a region where Northlanders and humans in general are the minority. The evergreen forests and tundra stretch for an unknown length, and huge hardy animals such as mammoths, bears, and woolly rhinoceroses. Although not quick to go to war, the Nûk firmly stated to the Northlanders of Estenfird that encroachments into their domain will not be tolerated. The elves' strange home features a sole river somehow unfrozen which flows from unknown lands and Mount Helgastervän, which is said to be home to a dragon of enormous size known as the Great Serpent. Legend holds that further north, are World's Edge Mountains where beyond them is nothing but the void. Those who cross are said to be able to sail the stars to the domains of the gods.

Seagestreland is the other not-technically-Northlands-but-is place. It is a heavily forested region where even vikings tread lightly, and its only permanent settlement is the tiny trading post of Dnipirstead which acts as more or less a "gate town" to the rest of the region. In some cases Seagestrelanders come here as part of a trade moot, and sometimes merchants from even farther lands.



Storstrøm Vale is home to the oldest continuously-settled domains of the ethnic Northlanders. It may not be as technologically advanced as Hrolfland, nor have the trade advantages of Hordaland or the legendary sailors of Gatland, but what earns it universal respect is being the heart of Northlands history and culture. It is home to the Hall of the Hearth Stone, the most sacred godshouse of the Northlands, and it is here some of the greatest heroes have been buried. Politically the Vale is divided into various jarldoms governed by a Køenig whose position is determined by a vote at the Althing. The Althing meets once every 10 years, and is host to some of the most vicious politicking in the Northlands. Storstrøm Vale is also home to Trotheim, the only other town of significant size in the Northlands.

Last but not least is Vastavikland, a realm which breeds extra-tough people. It is home to the tallest mountains in the Northlands with just enough gold to make people desperate. Mount Reik is an active volcano which sees many mages come to it for sorcerous experiments, and just about every inch of land in the whole of Vastavikland is vulnerable to earthquakes. The people are warlike even by Northlander standards, with every Køenig and jarl's ascension the product of ritual combat, and just about everyone is encouraged to be a warrior. The Althing does not have much authority, given that most disputes are settled between individuals and families via duels and revenge-killings.

Topping off this chapter is a collection of places and things which make for good adventure material. Jomsburg Island is home to the Jomsvikings, an amoral band of mercenaries feared across the Northlands. The three lairs of the Daughters of Skuld are located across the Northlands, and heroes who earn their favor can receive great boons. The Tomb of High Køenig Kraki Haraldson, home to the man who united the entire Northlands under his banner, is said to hold the legendary sword which will make its wielder the next High Køenig of all the Northlands. We have miscellaneous hooks for Black Dragonships crewed by undead vikings, the Hearth Stone which is rumored to be the home of the first Northlanders who followed Swein Sigurdson into this new land, and lands beyond such as the Duchy of Monrovia whose mounted knights are a match for even the mightiest vikings.


And thus we end our bird's eye view of the Northlands.

Next up is Ansuz, the Gods!

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 07:04 on Mar 29, 2018

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Scion: Hero
Got Soul?

In Yoruba tradition, the physical body, or ara, is the home of the soul, which has four components. There's the emi, the breath of life, which is granted by God of his own primordial essence at birth and is recalled at death. Then you have the ori, literally meaning head, which is your personal destiny, determining the course of your life and interacting with fate. You have your personal orisha, which determines your mythic nature and attributes, and your egan, the actual immortal spirit that goes to Heaven when you die to eventually reincarnate or become a revered ancestor. In the Dahomean/Haitian tradition, on the other hand, your soul has two parts: the gwo bon anj, which is identical to the emi, and the ti bon anj, which does the job of all three other parts together. The ti bon anj can undergo up to 13 reincarnations, punctuated by trips in the spirit world or the forest, before it merges with Godhead.

The Orisha and Loa represent the universe with the cross-in-circle. The World, called aye in Yoruba, is the market, where humans and spirits meet and bargain and have fun. On death, all egun, regardless of morality, ascend to Heaven, the home of the spirits. In Yoruba this is called oyun, and in Kreyol, Ginen. It's a nice place, but even the Orisha admit that the spirit world is less interesting than the mortal one. Most spirits are pretty eager to reincarnate, typically into their old family but a few generations later. Major heroes, world leaders, religious masters and other important people prefer to hang out in orun as ancestor spirits, called egungun in Yoruba, and to possess performers during festivals in order to give their descendants advice and judgment.

The holiest place in the World is Ile-Ife, in the Ogun State of southwestern Nigeria, where the Orisha first descended from Heaven. Oduduwa's Scion still rules from the palace there. However, the actual center of Yoruba religion isn't in Africa, but Sao Salvador de Bahia de Todos os Santos in Brazil, known as Black Rome. See, the shortest slave trading route was from Angola to Bahia, and it became a hub of American Yoruba, Dahomean and Kongolese culture and people. It is the source of the religion candomble and the arts of capoeira and samba. Other important locations include Oyo, the capital city of Oranmiyan and Shango, in modern Benin. Many West African rivers, as well as rivers in places such as London which have large West African populations, are home to an Orisha, ranging from a great and powerful one to a small one.

Olorun/Olodumare/Olofin is God Almighty, the Primordial of the Orisha, and is also called Mawu or Bondye. See, the Yoruba and Dahomean faiths are, technically, monotheist. Olodumare is God, generally agreed to be the same as the Abrahamic one, and he lives alone in Heaven. His form, thoughts and nature are alien even to the Orisha, and only Orunmila interacts with him with any regularity. He's God, after all. His business is his own. The Orisha have no Titans whatsoever. Indeed, the Orisha and Loa don't believe Titans exist. They worst thing to ever happen to them was done entirely by humans. While they've fought amongst themselves, the closest they had to Titanomachy was Oduduwa beating up nature spirits at the start of time, and no one else even remembers that. The Orishas tend to associate Titanomachy with one ethnic group crushing another. Titan, they say, is a racial slur used by privileged pantheons against those they don't like, to make their allies fight their enemies. The archfoes of the Orisha, instead, are evil wizards and witches. These are entirely normal humans who curse and sicken the innocent. The worst of them are subtle and quite powerful, blending in or turning into animals to do their evil. In the Americas, the most notable are the Night Doctors, who abduct black people that society forgets, subjecting them to horrific experiments that turn them into monsters, infecting them with diseases like syphilis to see what will happen, or pumping them full of experimental and dangerous drugs.

The Orisha have many religions - Candomble, Lukumi, the Shango Cult, others. Wherever you find Yoruba, you find aborisha, followers of the Orisha. Typically, the religion isn't even formally named. It's just what you do. The first big export of the faith from West Africa, though, came with the slave trade. The slavers forced their captives to give up their ancient civilizations and traditional faiths in favor of Christianity, and so the Africans developed deceptions to preserve their ways, using the names of saints and religious figures as ciphers for African divinities. Santa Barbara, for example, became a name for Shango because a popular lithograph involving Santa Barbara showed a tower being struck by lightning. It kept the whites from realizing what their slaves were actually doing. West African religion, though, relies less on ideas of faith or membership. Few aborisha ask if you believe in the Orisha. Do you need faith in a spirit that pops into your head to chat every week? The pantheon has occasionally entertained the idea of neo-pagan interest, though it makes them understandably nervous. Still, you don't need to formally affiliate with any religion to take part in most ceremonies of the Orisha. The common joke is that many aborisha showed up because they smelled good food in the sacrifices, then stuck around for the religion. You can be Muslim aborisha or Catholic aborisha fairly easily, and in fact, the Yoruba King has always had a palace imam. That guy's a big deal in Yorubaland, too.

Common Followers of Orisha Scions include capoeristas, who often invoke the Orisha to protect them from danger, or Ijapa, who is a magical tortoise that likes to steal things and can turn human or ninja-turtle-shaped. He's a decent guy for a trickster, at least. Guides include Egun - your ancestral spirits, who you really should listen to - or an Ifa Diviner, who can tell your future. One of their most famous Relics is Eshu's Red-and-Black Hat. It's red on one side and black on the other, and when he wore it, the villagers couldn't agree. Half of them said it was a really great black hat, the other half a really great red hat, and they started fighting each other to prove who was right, until Eshu came back to laugh at them, and almost incidentally teach them to respect other perspectives. Sacred drums are also a common Relic, used to call spirits. They could easily be a drum machine or ghetto blaster, too.

The Orisha are generally creeped out by the Teotl. See, the Teotl were similarly marginalized, but they weren't changed by it - they're still aggressive and like human sacrifice, both vices the Orisha gave up a looooong time ago. They get on much better with the Manitou, who only fight the worst Titanspawn. Oshossi tries his best to understand and respect native American culture, and Eshu has a great social media back-and-forth with Nana'b'oozoo and Sun Wukong. The Manitou are trying to convince the Orisha to be friends with the Kami, but the Orisha don't like how close the Kami are to the Deva, who they really don't like. They see the Deva and Theoi as privileged at best and racist warmongers at worst. (Except for Oduduwa, who uses the word 'Titan' like normal people use 'jerk.') They aren't huge fans of the Yazatas, either - they're pretty sure that if the Yazatas had won that fight, they'd be just as bad as the Deva. People keep assuming the Orisha and Netjer know each other or are related; they're not, and they don't. Beyond that, they tend to rank other pantheons based on how easily they can be talked out of Titanomachy. The Manitou are down, the Shen have a lot of deep-seated prejudice but agree in theory even if they don't want to annoy their friends the Deva. The Tuatha and Fomorians are almost familial, which has left the Tuatha more sympathetic than they'll admit, but some are coming around. Of course, some of them would be incredibly angry if they knew Eshu was happy to hang out with Bres the Beautiful and talk politics, too.

The great weakness of the Orisha is systemic racism and religious intolerance. West Africans are often accused of idolatry by monotheists as well as all kinds of other problems. Hell, most aborisha descend from slaves and still face overwhelming prejudice, violence and economic injustice. In the US, the Hialeah City Council (in Florida) passed a 1987 injunction against animal sacrifice, literally demonizing the aborisha of the local Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye. The local priest, Ernesto Pichardo, sued the state of Florida in a landmark case that went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the church and prohibited states from outlawing animal sacrifice. Sonponna himself was called as an expert witness.

The Virtues of the Orisha are Tradition and Innovation. Old African values are what kept the aborisha and vodouisant communities going against oppression and genocide, but their faiths would not be anything like they are without change and innovation. The Orisha and Loa risked their very identities to safeguard the old traditions, preserving their martial arts, medicine, magic, songs, stories and language, among other things. However, the Yoruba tradition of mighty kings and their paternalistic rule doesn't tend to sit well with younger generations. Tradition can empower and grant benefits, but also leave you inflexible and fearful of change. Innovation's effects can't be denied, either - the Orisha have been given new identities, rituals and herbs. Ogun has songs about guns and railroads, Shango uses a baseball bat! However, gaining the new often means giving up the old. Capoeira develops new flourishes and songs, but the jogo de navalha, the razor game, is almost forgotten, and the ultimate technique of Mestre Pastinha, the Cat's Leap, may already be lost. The conflict of old and new is one that the Orisha face constantly, trying to balance innovation, preventing cultural appropriation, preserving tradition and figuring out how important syncretism is now that the faith no longer needs to be concealed.

The signature Purview of the Orisha and Loa is called Gun or Cheval. The Orisha and Loa possess people, willing or sometimes not, to communicate with their people, typically as part of a religious ceremony. Haitians say that the ti bon anj of the possessed makes way for the other spirit, letting it use their body and intellect to advise others and take part in physical pleasures which are hard to get in Heaven, like tobacco and booze. Thus, Orisha and Loa Scions also have the power to project themselves into others, draw down spirits or detect and fight possessions.

Next time: Please Sign In Triplicate For The Shen

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




I remember hints that Scion has some feature of Australian Aboriginal religion? That might be... interesting, since being basically at least as badly hosed over as Native Americans, Australian Aboriginal culture tends to be obscured, often deliberately and probably understandably secretive, incredibly varied across an entire continent, almost forgotten, and really, really complicated. And tends to become briefly in vogue among mainstream Australians every 20 years or so only to be forgotten all over again just as quickly.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Inescapable Duck posted:

I remember hints that Scion has some feature of Australian Aboriginal religion? That might be... interesting, since being basically at least as badly hosed over as Native Americans, Australian Aboriginal culture tends to be obscured, often deliberately and probably understandably secretive, incredibly varied across an entire continent, almost forgotten, and really, really complicated. And tends to become briefly in vogue among mainstream Australians every 20 years or so only to be forgotten all over again just as quickly.

There is currently no Aboriginal pantheon, and frankly it'd be very hard to do one respectfully, which is kind of the watchword because, yes, a lot of Aboriginal faith is built around sacred and unshareable secrets.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

The Book of Iron Might, by Mike Mearls

Battlemind Feats

This is the second set of feats included in the book. They're supposed to represent some kind of supreme intellectual capability - not quite psionic, but verging on it. As far as flavor is concerned, they all require one of the three mental stats as a prerequisite, and the DM is supposed to set it up that these feats can only be learned via a master's teachings, to create a sort of narratively mythic feel compared to your bog-standard Power Attack or Weapon Specialization.

There's also a special rule that the player needs to decide and commit to taking a Battlemind feat two levels early. That is, if they want to learn a Battlemind feat at level 3, they need to make that decision at level 1 (and presumably shouldn't change their mind). The trade-off is that the feat has a minor benefit called a Method that they gain as soon as they make this commitment.

Clarity of the Warrior's Mind - Wis 13
This is a temporary, limited-use feat that makes you immune to all fear and mind-affecting effects
Method: Gain a passive/permanent +2 bonus to Will saves against fear effects

Talent of the Poised Strike - Wis 13
When making a Listen or Spot check to determine if you are surprised or not, add your BAB to your Listen/Spot check
Method: Gain a +1 bonus to Listen and Spot checks

Stance of the Prowling Tiger - Wis 13, Talent of the Poised Strike
Add half your BAB to initiative checks
Method: You know if the place you are in was the site of a battle. How far back in the past you can sense this scales with your BAB, starting at 1 day with BAB+1, all the way to 10,000 years at BAB+20

Strike of Persistent Sundering - Wis 13, Power Attack, Improved Sunder
Whenever you hit an object with a melee attack and damage it (that is, deal more damage than its Hardness, which acts as damage reduction), you reduce the object's Hardness by 1, to a minimum of 0.
Method: You gain a +1 bonus to all damage rolls versus objects

Resolve of the Steel Mind - BAB+3, Int 13
When rolling for initiative, you can roll twice and take the better result
Method: Once per day, you can set your initiative roll to 10 if you don't like the result.

Avatar of Carnage - BAB+5, Cha 15, Intimidate 8 ranks
This is a temporary, limited-use feat that lets you force all enemies within 60 feet to make a Will save. If they fail, they take a -2 penalty to attack rolls and checks, or a -1 penalty if they have more HD than you
Method: Gain a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks

Eye of the Warmaster - BAB+6, Int 13, Combat Expertise
Once per round as a free action, you can designate an enemy as the target of this feat. When you do, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls against them. Every time that enemy attacks you while being the target of this feat, the bonus increases by +1, up to a maximum of +5.
Method: As a full-round action, you can study an opponent and gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls against them. You can do this multiple times to multiple enemies, but it requires a full-round action each time.

Strike of Perfect Clarity - BAB+12, Int 13, Eye of the Warmaster
As a standard action, you can designate an enemy as the target of this feat. If the enemy attacks you before your next turn, you can make an attack of opportunity against them before their attack resolves. The strike does triple damage.
Method: As a full-round action, you can designate an enemy as the target of this Method. On your next turn, any attacks you make against that target deal double damage. You can only use this Method once per encounter.

Tactics of the Mind's Eye - BAB+12, Int 13, Combat Expertise
This is a temporary, limited-use feat that lets you enter a battle-trance. While you're in the trance, you can make an attack roll whenever you are targeted by an attack, a touch attack, a disarm attempt, a trip attempt, or a grapple attempt. If your attack roll is higher than the enemy's attack, their attack misses. You can use this ability once per turn as a free action.
Method: When you are attacked by an enemy for a number of rounds equal to [5 - Int modifier], you know if they have any of the Combat Expertise, Improved Grapple, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, or Weapon Focus feats.

Impressions

Like the Arcane Battle feats, these are actually quite interesting, since they're targeted / triggered / activated abilities with significant effects. The initiative boosting feats in particular are quite powerful relative to standard 3e fare.

The use of the word and rough concept of "Stances" also suggests that this is the primordial soup of what would become the Stances in Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords ... and would further develop into the Stance mechanics in 4th Edition's PHB 2 (particularly as Barbarian Rages) ... and would even further develop into the Stances in 4th Edition's Essentials classes.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



FMguru posted:

DH really is essentially a reskinned Paranoia.
Just replace "Friend Computer" with "The Emperor" and "commie mutant traitor" with "heretic" and you're like 80% done.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Evil Mastermind posted:

Just replace "Friend Computer" with "The Emperor" and "commie mutant traitor" with "heretic" and you're like 80% done.

I mean, half of any list of "heresies" is going to include "being mutated by Chaos" anyway.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle: Part 9

Better heavy weapons than the heavy weapons guy, better melee than the melee guy, same armor, easier system. What could go wrong?

First we get some more fluff about Marine Librarians. As you can probably guess, they're masterful warriors who are also powerful wizards and very wise but eager for battle, as is par for the course. They are obviously way better wizards than human wizards, according to the fluff, where we get a ridiculous quote about 'If man's mind is his greatest weapon, how much greater of a weapon is the mind of a SPACE MARINE!?!!!' and plenty about how few of them survive their training and how it's even worse than normal Psyker training. For once, though, all the talk of how a Librarian is one of the most deadly warriors in existence is absolutely not hyperbole; Librarians are *crazy* powerful mechanically. Psy use is carefully monitored because a Marine who is a psyker is, by nature, a mutant. Too much psy mutation in the Geneseed leads to Inquisitors asking pointed questions, and it gives us another excuse to have Marine chapters shoot a bunch of children to prove they're hardcore and grimdark, which is apparently critical for 40k. I am really looking forward to getting to Realm of Sorcery after all this because holy hell will the Imperial colleges in Fantasy be a relief after the endless drudgery and misery-porn of 40k Psykers.

One thing I haven't made clear enough after all this time is how much the Imperium relies on divination. Whole Marine chapters or armies are founded and equipped based on tarot reading. Now, given the Tarot is psychically linked to the Emperor and Warp, this is slightly less insane than it sounds, but divination is one of a Librarian's chief duties because it is considered an essential part of an army's general staff in setting. Librarians are also the main keepers of a Chapter's history and lore, hence the name. Being exceptionally powerful by Psyker standards, Librarians are also capable of serving as long-distance Astrophatic communicators over interstellar ranges. These intelligence, record keeping, and communication duties are actually considered more important than their ability to explode people with their brains, which is fair enough. It is, interestingly, primarily the low-ranking Lexicaniums (which is probably where a Librarian PC starts) and then the very high-ranked Epistolaries and Chief Librarians who actually go into battle; mid-rank Codiciers are powerful enough to do the communication and intelligence work competently and not as awesomely powerful as Epistolaries, so they mostly stick to the less glamorous duties. By the same token, Lexicaniums are expendable and still learning, and so a bit of experience in direct combat can do them good. Once again, at every rank we are assured that Space Marine wizards are the best wizards ever. Also, Black Templars refuse to have Librarians (but still have to rely on human Astropaths and Navigators, much as they hate both) and the Space Wolves have functionally exactly similar but 'different' Wolf Priests.

I've mentioned before that Librarians are broken. Part of that is going to come from the new Psy system. Psy no longer works on an Xd10+Modifiers vs. Casting Number kludge of trying to repeat WHFRP2e's magic system. Instead, you cast spells with a simple Focus Power tests, which are done by taking a WP-0 test that auto-fails on 91+. You also get to add +5% to your chances per point of your Psy Rating. You only invoke a mishap if you cast 'unfettered' (using your full PR) and get doubles on the focus power test, otherwise the Spooky poo poo and Bad poo poo tables are very similar to DH. More importantly, you now have two new options. Fettered Psy halves PR (round up) but ensures you absolutely cannot suffer any mishaps on your spell. Pushing ensures you will roll on the mishap table regardless of your Focus Power roll, and gives you a rank of Fatigue if you roll doubles, but adds +3 to your PR for the spell. I will also note that the worst results on the Perils of the Warp table are now more focused on the Psyker; if you accidentally summon a powerful Daemon Prince it will ONLY attack the Librarian until it is defeated or the Librarian is on the ground burning Fate (or dead) and then vanish, so no more accidental TPK result (though a DW Killteam has way better chances from the start of killing that thing than a DH Acolyte Team did of taking on an Unbound Daemonhost).

Let's also take a moment to talk about the Librarian's Force Weapon melee weapon. They get their choice of a Sword or a Staff, with the Sword having +1 damage and +2 Pen (d10+2 Pen2 base) relative to the Staff's d10+1 Pen0. The sword is a better weapon, the Staff adds +15 to Invocation tests (If a Marine spends a full round Invoking before casting, and succeeds a WP test, they gain +1 PR on the spell next round). Both add the Psyker's base Psy Rating to both Pen and Damage, which is good, since you start at PR3 and gain 1 PR a rank up to PR10. But that isn't why they're so insane. Any time you damage a target with a Force Weapon you can invoke a Focus Power test (which you can choose to use Fettered, so you have no reason not to do this every time you damage someone) as an opposed WP test. If you win the opposed test, for every DoS you scored you immediately inflict d10 extra damage that ignores any and all DR. So every single melee attack that deals any damage is now also a chance to inflict a bunch of un-saveable d10s of extra damage, and the Librarian is absolutely the second best melee fighter in the game as is just by Talent and Stat access. All your Librarian needs to do is buy a jump pack and suddenly they're better at the Assault Marine's job than the Assault Marine will be.

Now, the actual powers are interesting, in that they're expensive to buy and you only ever get the common 'Codex' powers, then a handful of unique Chapter powers. Created Chapters use their First Founding Chapter's magic. Powers range from a simple 'fire a heavy flamer but with Penetration determined by PR' to 'Do PR in d10s of damage, at a Blast radius of 2xPR, with Pen of PR' AoEs, to summoning a giant Warp tornado that flies around sucking people into space hell, to calling down a massive orbital bombardment earthquake once per day with a radius that can be measured in over a kilometer. Powers can, and do, outdamage the Devastator's single-shot heavy weapons. They can also buff themselves to crazy heights, adding things like an extra parry per-round that doesn't count against the limit of parries, or adding even more PR-to-Damage-and-Pen, or buffing WS or Str through the roof. Librarians will take people apart in all forms of combat, and if that fails for some reason, they're still a Space Marine and still running around in power armor with bolters and everything.

Also, a high level Librarian can get a Psychic Hood, which lets them cast actual counter-spells to stop enemy psykers from using Psy by making a Focus Power test that imposes -10 to the enemy's casting check per DoS. The hood also grants +5 to all Focus Power tests anyway. If the Librarian is just trying to stop a Psy attack on themselves, a successful Focus Power test will just negate the psy being used on them, immediately.

The only reason people don't quite notice how broken Librarians are is because EVERYONE in Deathwatch is insanely powerful. A more forgiving and useful Psy system (which honestly isn't a bad thing, the DH one was a mess) combined with very powerful offensive and buffing powers (and squad buffing powers, for some chapters) combined with getting the probably-best-melee-weapon-in-the-game by default and being extremely good at both Psy and Melee makes them insane warrior-wizards who will likely be one of the strongest characters on any squad that has a Librarian. In any other game they would completely wreck the power curve. Here, it's noticeable but they don't quite run away with the show, despite how insanely good they are.

Next Time: 7 chapters in, the basic rules of the game. Mostly repeats from DH. Until we get to Squad Mode. Oh boy, Squad Mode.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Scion: Hero
What If We Ran The World

According to China's Shen, in the primordial chaos that was before the World was made, the giant Pangu was born in a cosmic egg. When it hatched into the heavens and the earth, Pangu held them apart by his expanding body, and when he died, his body became everything, and the insects that lived on him became the first humans. Later, the Jade Emperor, one of the Three Pure Ones that set Heaven and Earth in motion, organized the Shen into a great court, which evolved into an immense bureaucracy that covered every spirit in China. The Shen, more than any other pantheon, are organized. They may argue over philosophy or rule or responsibility, but they firmly believe that the entire World would be better off as part of their bureaucratic system, even that system's bloated, corrupt in places and often thinly spread. The rest of the pantheons tend to be more concerned with the fact that the Shen have a reliable history of offering jobs to Titans once they're beaten.

Chang'e, the Immortal in the Moon, is also called Heng'e and Changxi. She is celebrated every autumn, on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month - the Mid-Autumn Festival, when mooncakes are shared and parents tell their children the story. After the Excellent Archer Hou Yi shot nine suns from the sky, the Queen Mother of the West, Xiwangmu, gave him the Elixir of Immortality. When he became a cruel and selfish tyrant, his wife, beautiful Chang'e, stole the elixir and fled to the moon, where his arrows could not reach. She lives there even now. Some say she takes the form of a toad or rabbit, pounding the elixir with her mortar until it is needed, while others say the rabbit is her friend, one of the few immortals of the moon. She represents the choice to do what you want or believe in, even knowing you might be alone if you succeed. (Except, again, for the rabbit.) Her Scions, like her, have a reputation for being flighty or selfish, but Chang'e holds that this is a sexist viewpoint - she's just a woman who knows what she wants and takes it. Her most famous Scion is Kaguya of Japan, the bamboo princess of the moon. She rarely has flashy Incarnations, preferring to appear as a Chinese woman of Han descent with billowing traditional robes that shine faintly silver. She is cheerfukl and welcoming, but likely to ask more personal questions than you like, just like your parents at the family gatherings. Chang'e's Callings are Healer, Lover and Trickster, and her Purviews are Epic Stamina, Beasts (Rabbit, Toad), Health and Moon.

Confucius, the Model Teacher for Ten Thousand Ages, is also called Kong Qiu, Kong Fuzi or Zhongni. He never wanted to be a god, and he was easily the most surprised when he woke up after death to find he was one. He'd encouraged his students to avoid thinking about gods and spirits as much as possible, and it's only after his death that the Rujia, his scholarly tradition, really got big. This system, known as Confucianism to the west, focused on a government led by a charismatic and perfect gentleman, structured like a family. It dominates a lot of Asian thought even now, and during the Neo-Confucian period, he got deified due to some confused beliefs. He's not happy about it. His philosophy focuses on the family over all - family comes first, even before law. It might be expected that he expects a lot from his Scions. He tends to Incarnate as wise or high class people, but never at the top. He's a non-tenured professor of a hard topic, a second-string socialite or a government middle manager. Inevitably, he has many students, and Laozi or other Daoists often sneak into his entourage to piss him off, as his temper tantrums are often enlightening and always hilarious. While strict Confucianism would never call him a god, or anything more than a revered sage, it hasn't stopped thousands of people from worshipping him daily. He often sends his Scions to tell his cults he's not a god. Sometimes, it doesn't make it worse. Confucius' Callings are Judge, Leader and Sage, and his Purviews are Artistry, Order and Passion (Filiality).

Erlang is the Merciful and Miraculous King, the True Lord and Illustrious Sage. He is also called Li Erlang, Yang Jian or Governor Zhao Yu. He is the Jade Emperor's nephew, but his great pride means he's rarely in Heaven, as he feels he would not be respected or paid attention to as the greatest warrior there. Instead, he mostly hangs out at a temple dedicated to him in Jiangsu Province, where he most famously raised an army of heroes to beat Sun Wukong's monkey army. It started as a field battle which Erlang won, then a kaiju duel which Erlang won, and then a transformation battle which Erlang won. It ended when the Monkey Kong turned into Erlang, infiltrated his forces and temple, and was finally defeated thanks to Laozi helping Erlang. Monkey's fine with this; Erlang is less friendly. Erlang is good with any bow or crossbow, but his favorite weapon is the Three-Pointed Double Edged Blade, which he uses alongside his loyal Howling Celestial Dog to fight demons. He has a third eye that pierces all deceptions and shoots thunderbolts, his body is immune to almost any harm and he can transform into countless forms. His ego is only somewhat larger than his actual skillset. He loves to be the hero, and his Incarnations are often found trying to upstage everyone around them, doing great adventures and rescuing people. He loves to compete with his own Scions, and his Visitations often end in duels or tests of worth as a result. Erlang's Callings are Guardian, Hunter and Warrior, and his Purviews are Epic Strength, Epic Stamina, Forge, War and Water.

Fuxi is the Ancestor of Humanity, also called Paoxi, Baoxi or Taihao. He is a giant snake with a human head, and he's always been about caring for humans. He can also become a humanoid dragon-man, if he wants hands. After the great floods, Fuxi made it his mission to remake humanity. He married his sister Nuwa and invented the many practices and tools needed to keep mortals alive in the World. This includes fishing nets, writing, musical instruments, law, calendars and the I Ching. He technically retired from his post at the Ministry of Health a long time ago, and should be out enjoying his retirement with a pension and his sister-wife, but he can't keep himself at home. He still comes in to work every day, though he has no official duties, to advise and give ideas to the other Shen, some of whom appreciate this and some of whom find him extremely annoying. Everyone seems to know him, wherever he goes, though not always by name - he's just the guy who works here, does something important. Fuxi's Scions are innovators in all kinds of fields, and are often the type of people to unironically use the word 'disrupt.' Fuxi is a busybody and often shows up in their lives to help, even when they've assured him he's not needed - mostly because he's lonely and bored, but also because he, like his Scions, believes he can solve anything. Fuxi's Callings are Creator, Hunter and Sage, and his Purviews are Artistry (Musical Instruments, Writing), Beasts, Fertility, Forge, Fortune, Health, Order and Sun.

Guan Yu is the Divine General. He is also called Yunchang, Changsheng, Shouchang, Marquis Zhangmou, Duke Zhonghui, the Lord of the Magnificent Beard, Guan the Holy Great Deity, God of War Manifesting Benevolence, Bravery and Prestige, Protector of the Country and Defender of the People, Prow and Honest Supporter of Peace and Reconciliation, Promoter of Morality, Loyalty and Righteousness, and Sangharama Bodhisattva. His green armor strikes fear in his foes, his Green Dragon Crescent Blade can slay dozens in a blow, and his beard is majestic. All revere him, most loyal of all the men of the Three Kingdoms, and his image is everywhere, to guard health and fortune. He is loyalty over all. None of Cao Cao's gifts tempted him from Liu Bei, and he sees his role as general of the Shen as a chance to instill a loyal spirit in the troops. He's got no time for unjust wars or petty warmongers - divine might must be used to help others. Wherever he goes, he is ready for action. His Incarnations are often protectors or commanders of all kinds, not always martial. He's not afraid to be angry, but he never lets it control him. He isn't pushy with his Scions, but will show his approval or disapproval frankly and openly. If one does not uphold his standard of honor, he will often ask another Scion to go convince them to change. He's slowly coming to realize how much toxic masculinity has affected him. Guan Yu's Callings are Guardian, Leader and Warrior, and his Purviews are Epic Strength, Epic Stamina, Artistry (Historic Fiction), Order, Passion (Loyalty), Prosperity, Sky and War.

Guanshiyin Pusa, Who Perceives the Sounds of the World, is also called Avalokiteshvara, Hayagriva, Guanyin, Kannon and Cundi. They are a bodhisattva, postponing their own enlightenment to help others. The original Mantle of Guanyin was Avalokiteshvara, the lord of compassion, but they are also Cundi, the 18-armed monster on the lotus throne, who is called on in the Om Mani Padme Hum. The Chinese loved them so much they deified them, which has rather confused Guanyin - they're not really a traditional god, and those don't really exist in Buddhism the way they do in other faiths. Divinity exists, it's just not that important. Guanyin is the most popular Buddhist in the entire World, even beating out the Tathagata. They struggle to give their Scions enough attention because they're so busy answering prayers and showing compassion to all of Great Vehicle Buddhism. They expect compassion from their children over all else - Scions exist to spread the blessings of godhood, they say. Guanyin views godhood as a kind of weird privilege, which should be used to help mortals in need. They prefer humble Incarnations - fishermen, mendicant monks, sex workers, and of course omens in the form of eyes, hands or faces. They are often guarded by Guan Yu himself, and of course their faithful white parrot. Guanyin and their Scions are all likable and skilled diplomats, and often take point when the Shen need someone to deal with others. Guanshiyin Pusa's Callings are Guardian, Healer and Sage, and their Purviews are Epic Stamina, Deception, Health, Journeys, Passion (Mercy) and Water.

Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, is also called Gongsun, Xuanyuan, Youxiong and Zhongyue Dadi. He ruled over China from 2697 to 2597 BCE, controls the center direction and the element of earth, and is the father of civilization, master of bears, commander of animals, author of numerous classics, inventor of the calendar and clothing, and husband to Leizu, goddess of sericulture. Lightning in a clear, starry sky presaged his birth, and he has four faces, all of which could speak even in infancy. Early in his reign, he fought against Chiyou and Yandi Shennongshi, slaying Chiyou, but allowing him to be deified so that his services to the World would not be lost. Later, he set an example for the Shen in sparing Yandi Shennongshi, father of chiyou, and instead making him a servitor rather than punishing the Flame Emperor. Thus began the tradition of adopting defeated foes. Huangdi has had so many Scions that the only commonality they all share is greatness. They include the legendary heroes Gun, Yu, Zhong and Li, the gods Shujun and Yuqiang, and even entire ethnic groups, like the Huantou and Miaomin. Any Scion of Huangdi knows that they have dozens of relatives still active, ready to advise and trade favors. Huangdi remains reserved and deeply concerned about the Communist government, but as a Daoist he prefers not to get directly involved. The Cultural Revolution hit his pantheon hard, and many still haven't forgiven the Communists. However, they've recently sent representatives to sacrifice and take part in rites to Huangdi, whom they acknowledge as the founder of their culture. Huangdi's Callings are Creator, Leader and Sage, and his Purviews are Beasts, Death, Earth, Forge, Health, Order, Prosperity and War.

Laozi, the Old Masters, is also called Li Er, Lao Dan, Boyang, Taiqing, the Grand Supreme Elderly Lord, the Universally Honored Virtuous One and the Daoist Ancestor. The Laozi is eighty-one short poems with commentary, originally divided into the Way Classic and the Virtue Classic, but now combined as the Daodejing, the Way and Virtue Classic...also called the Laozi, the Old Masters. It is in theory about politics, but it has been expanded in application to everything from martial arts to medicine to magic. It advocates an approach to life centered on putting forth as little effort as possible to achieve the greatest effect, in accord with the true nature of things. No one is actually sure who wrote the poems, as the Old Masters obscure their identities as much as possible. Some say it was just one court official, perhaps an archivist or astrologer, who wrote it down while riding a water buffalo to the west. Others say it was the Incarnation of the Heavenly Lord of Way and Virtue, who is one of the Three Pure Ones. Laozi allows all stories to spread, as their favorite Incarnation is actually a large collection of Chinese grandmothers, dressed for whatever time period they like, who bicker constantly. Laozi's Scions tend to be women of humble birth, who excel in subtle roles, the power behind the throne. Traditionally they would end up as Daoist priests, often around the Wudang Mountains. Laozi's most notorious child, however, is the White Eyebrow, the Shaolin monk who researched Daoist black magic and was expelled from the Temple, then betrayed them to the Communists, resulting in one of Shaolin Temple's many destructions. Laozi's Callings are Leader, Sage and Trickster, and their Purviews are Epic Stamina, Artistry (Poetry), Chaos, Darkness, Health, Order and Water.

Next time: Prince Nezha, Nuwa, Sun Wukong, Yandi Shennongshi.

RatEarth
Aug 7, 2017

I didn't say that.
but it'd be funny if I did


Halloween Jack posted:

Is there still anti-Thatcherism in current 40k material, or did the devs lose the plot years ago?

I haven't really kept up with 40k lore for a long time, but I'm going to say that they probably have dropped that when 40k started getting more openly serious and less goofy. I hope I'm wrong, since it'd be pretty cool if they kept up the sort of satire of what has become largely the current state of a good chunk of the world.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


40k's official fluff has Guilleman coming back to life and leading a second great crusade and this being a 'good' thing, so no, it hasn't kept up any kind of satire in the official stuff nowadays. It's gone way heavier on 'actually fascism is cool and fun'.

RatEarth
Aug 7, 2017

I didn't say that.
but it'd be funny if I did


Night10194 posted:

40k's official fluff has Guilleman coming back to life and leading a second great crusade and this being a 'good' thing, so no, it hasn't kept up any kind of satire in the official stuff nowadays. It's gone way heavier on 'actually fascism is cool and fun'.

I started ignoring the 40k fluff when I started to see less "what the humans are doing is horrific and very, very stupid" and more "yeah, this is fine. Be like these guys." Disappointing to see that they've basically gone all the way in the second direction, pretty much killing any nuance and interest I had in the fluff. Feels like they're pandering to the worst kind of 40k fan.

Der Waffle Mous
Nov 27, 2009

In the grim future, there is only commerce.


Night10194 posted:

40k's official fluff has Guilleman coming back to life and leading a second great crusade and this being a 'good' thing, so no, it hasn't kept up any kind of satire in the official stuff nowadays. It's gone way heavier on 'actually fascism is cool and fun'.

I mean half of Guilleman's characterization is "WHAT THE gently caress GUYS THIS ISN'T HOW THINGS WERE SUPPOSED TO WORK WHAT THE gently caress ARE THESE FLYING ROBOT BABIES DOING EVERYWHERE???" but whatever.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



and the whole 'wait, we should fight with the Sisters of Battle since they got really good skills and stuff' 'I got a better idea, how about we wear them as hats'

TyrsHTML
May 12, 2004

There is a difference between "you can have sex with anything" and "Anything can have sex with you".

He also came out of his talk with the emperor when he finally made it back to earth with a very distinct "ok gently caress that guy" attitude. He was very shocked to learn that; no daddy doesn't love you and frankly doesn't really give too much of a poo poo about humans in general.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



Scion: Hero
Born From An Egg On a Mountaintop

Prince Nezha, Marshal of the Central Altar, is also called the Third Lotus Prince and Nataku. He's one of those people everyone feels strongly on. You love him or hate him, never any in between. His mother was pregnant for three a half years before giving birth to a ball of flesh, which his father split open to reveal a youth that could already walk and speak, and who had a magic ring and bolt of cloth. By the age of seven he was almost six feet tall. He killed the third son and the bodyguard of the Dragon King Ao Guang, then committed suicide to repent and became a god of healing. His teacher, Taiyi Zhenren, made him a new body out of lotus roots. Now, he rides the Wind-Fire Wheels, using his Universal Ring and Red Armillary Sash to show off and impaling his foes on his Fire-Tipped Spear. Nezha is proud in a somewhat different way than Erlang. Erlang knows he's hot poo poo - Nezha is badass, but he also knows he's not as badass as Erlang or Sun Wukong, so he has to work harder. His office is always licensing his likeness and story to various projects - TV, movies, games, the works - in exchange for partial creative control and some sacrifices. Nezha doesn't especially care what his Scions do, as long as they do it loud enough for him to notice. Start fights, save orphans, cure a cool cancer. He wants you to make him jealous, because that's how he knows you're his. Prince Nezha's Callings are Guardian, Trickster and Warrior, and his Purviews are Epic Stamina, Artistry (Animation), Health and War.

Nuwa, the Snake Goddess Who Mends the Heavens, is also called Nugua. She is a serpent with a woman's face, and she could have been or done anything, such was her wisdom and power, but she chose to care for humanity. When the pillars holding the sky collapsed, all was chaos. Danger was everywhere, and only Nuwa could stop it. She patched the sky with colored stones, cut off a giant tortoise's legs to hold it up, fought off a black dragon, dammed the flood with reed ash and, because she couldn't reproduce normally with her husband Fuxi, she made humans out of mud, though sometimes bits fell off, causing disabilities. She taught them arranged marriage and invented wind instruments. Today, Nuwa is a Divine Sovereign, alongside Yandi Shennongshi and her nominally-retired husband-brother. She serves as a liaison to humanity due to the massive amount of prayers directed to her. She hears and even tries to respond to most of them. This commitment to the people can bring her into conflict with more ruthless Shen such as Laozi, who see humans as useful but not vital, and she once saved humanity when her father, the Jade Emperor, sent the God of Plague to cull them. Because her natural form tends to freak people out, she often Incarnates as an older woman in traditional Han clothing. Nuwa's Scions share her love for humanity and her lateral thinking skills. Her Callings are Creator, Guardian and Healer, and her Purviews are Earth, Fertility, Forge, Health, Moon and Sky.

Sun Wukong, the Monkey Awakened to Emptiness, is also known as Miao Min, Ton Ngo Khong, Heng Chia, Son Ogong, Sun Gukong, Son Goku, the Monkey King, the Great Sage Equalling Heaven, the Protector of the Horses, Sun the Novice, the Victorious Fighting Buddha, Clever Stone Monkey and That Damned Macaque. He was born from a stone egg on the Mountain of Flowers of Fruit, and was ruler of all apes and monkeys. After studying under a Daoist teacher, he caused chaos in Heaven, stole the immortality pills of Laozi, erased his name from King Yama's records and was a general problem until the visiting Tathagata Buddha trapped him under the Five Elements Mountain for 500 years. Then, he was tricked by the Tang Priest Xuanzang into being a bodyguard, alongside Pigsy and the Sand Monk, and went to India to fetch the Tripitaka scriptures. For his devotion, the Tathagata made him the Victorious Fighting Buddha. Depending on who you ask, either the Monkey King is proof that the Shen can, in fact, rehabilitate anyone, or proof that their policy of rehabilitating monsters is a terrible, terrible idea, or both at once. No one can deny his talent, however. His favorite outfit is the elaborate costume made to represent him in the Beijing Opera, though he also often appears as a totally normal monkey. His Scions tend to be as tirelessly noble as he is, and as irritating and puckish. Sun Wukong's Callings are Liminal, Trickster and Warrior, and his Purviews are Epic Strength, Epic Dexterity, Epic Stamina, Artistry (Opera), Beasts (Monkeys), Chaos, Deception, Journeys and War.

Yandi Shennongshi, the Flame Emperor and Divine Farmer, is also called Sinnong, Than Nong, Entei, Shin'no, Five Grains Emperor and Medicine King. He is the god of agriculture and medicine, ruler of the southern direction, the summer and the element of fire. Once, he was two gods - Yandi, the Flame Emperor, and Shennong the Divine Farmer, but Huangdi merged them into a single Mantle for administrative reasons. Yandi ruled half the World, but he warred on Huangdi and lost. Huangdi showed mercy, however, and assigned the Flame Emperor to serve under and eventually become Shennong, in recognition of his genius. Shennong has a dragon's head and a man's body, as his parents were dragons. By the age of three, he knew everything about agriculture, invented various farm tools and taught humans how to grow crops. He discovered the Five Grains - rice, two types of millet, beans and wheat - and invented Chinese medicine by carefully tasting every plant, which nearly killed him many times. Yandi Shennongshi's Scions generally excel in multiple disciplines but are usually tied to the land. Their father encourages them to care for the common people's needs as well as fighting evil. He especially likes to see them convince a Titan to change sides, if possible, and to go above and beyond. Don't just feed the hungry - revolutionize agriculture. Don't just heal the sick, cure cancer. Any cancer. Take a chance. It's worth it - it worked for Yandi, didn't it? Yandi Shennongshi's Callings are Healer, Leader and Sage. His Purviews are Epic Stamina, Artistry (Storytelling), Fertility, Fire, Forge, Health and Prosperity.

The character 'tian' refers, in Chinese, to Heaven, the sky and the weather, which are fundamentally all one. Heaven is where the gods live and work, up in the clouds. Other pantheons tend to put their Otherworlds away from the skies directly, to avoid getting hit by spaceships, but the Shen love being part of the World. How else would they manage the weather? The paperwork would be even worse than it is. As a result, jets in China that fly high enough must avoid hitting the clouded pagodas of Heaven and can often see the mystic serpents and star spirits dance back and forth. There were even a few crashes until Nuwa built an Air Traffic Control Constellation. Heaven can be accessed via sky ladder or certain mountains.

The Mountain of Flowers and Fruit, Huaguo Shan, is in Jiangsu Province. It's mostly occupied by talking monkeys and apes, and is the birthplace of Sun Wukong. It is officially an independent principality ruled directly by the Monkey King and his primate officials, who meet in the Water Curtain Cave. They also grant asylum to any demon that comes there and manages to impress the monkeys...and also has the emotional strength to survive being surrounded by the monkeys all day. Every time the Shen come seize control of the place, the monkeys welcome them with open arms, then annoy everyone until they wish they'd never come. Sun Wukong always mysteriously disappears for the duration of these conflicts, usually hiding out in cafes around Nanjing and watching the chaos on Snapchat. Eventually, the 'invaders' leave, and everything goes back to normal. The place survives largely on tourist revenue, and is one of the few places in the world that people go to get pickpocketed deliberately.

Womanland, or Nuguo, is another independent principality, this time in southwestern China. It was first recorded because the Tang Priest, Sun Wukong, Pigsy and the Sand Monk stopped there. The place is populated entirely by women, and records show that the Tang Priest and Pigsy drank from Pregnancy River, the source of all new births in Womanland, and had to visit Abortion Mountain to prevent whatever might have happened from happening. Yes, really. Both are real places. Honest. The Queen of Womanland proposed marriage to the Tang Priest, who agreed and then ran away. Ever since, Womanland and Heaven haven't had the best relations. While the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit exists in a kind of perpetual past time (but with cell phones), Womanland is a technologically advanced microstate within China. There is a Communist attache in town, but she has very little power or influence, and the Queen is pretty firmly in charge. For most of Chinese history, when Confucian patriarchy dominated, Womanland has existed as a counterpoint and salve to those tendencies.

The Shen underworld is Diyu, shared with the Deva, Palas and Kami. Yanluowang and his nine judges (that's King Yama, who has citizenship in the Shen pantheon as well) process the ghosts as they come, assigning them to one of thousands of afterlives, or decide that they died before their time and annul the death. Many dead never reach Diyu, however. Many remain behind in the World, invisibly, as tutelary Shen of groups or places. It's mostly those with more Buddhist tendencies who get directed to the more regimented afterlives. The largest city in Diyu, the Dark Capital, looks like a thousand-year-old Chinese metropolis, complete with a citadel housing the Courts of Hell, and of course the administrative records. It was from these that Sun Wukong removed his name, along with every other ape or monkey on the Mountain, when he caused all his chaos.

How do you get to Heaven? Mostly, you climb one of the Wuyue, the Five Sacred Mountains: Mount Song in Henan Province, Northern Mount Heng in Shanxi Province, Mount Tai in Shandong Province, Southern Mount Heng in Hunan Province, or Mount Hua in Shaanxi Province. Each mountain has a grand temple at the top, and almost always has a very long line indeed. If you're able, you must climb every step. If not, there's a chairlift, but you have to stand in line for that, too. Once inside, the local demons that staff the processing centers must be presented with a petition on one of the available forms, plus a bribe provided via one of the helpfully provided bribery shrines. Petitions done by hand in fancy calligraphy or with very good bribes, like your grandma's pork buns, tend to be processed much more quickly. Once your petition is processed, you head into Heaven, where you probably get lost, because all of the signs are written in seal script - a recent improvement from bronze script. Attempts to cut in line get you thrown out by ogres with iron cudgels. There are other sacred mountains to various traditions, of course. The Wudang Mountains are home to the most important Daoist temple complex in the World, for example, the Wudang Clan.

Next time: Kung Fu Treachery.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle: Part 10

Breaking the action economy is always a good idea, right?

So, for the most part, the rules work exactly like in DH. Down to wasting a ton of page space on exactly how far a Marine can scamper and jump or how absurd of weights you can lift (the average Marine has an unencumbered carry weight of 1350kg in their armor, 675 outside of it, or 'why are we bothering to record this'). Most of it doesn't bear repeating, as a lot of it has changed relatively little from either DH or even WHFRP2e.

Instead, we're going to be spending a lot of time talking about Solo and Squad mode, the main new subsystem for Deathwatch and something I'll admit I only now think I understand, despite running and playing this game. You see, the book does a terrible job of describing how these things work, and its something that really could've done with more examples of play, more signposting, etc. Possibly they could have done that rather than wasting page space on 'how many meters can your Marine jump from a standing point vs. a running start', but I digress.

Marine Squads get something called a Cohesion Rating, as chosen by which PC you choose to be a squad leader at the start of your deployment. You get Cohesion equal to the leader's Fellowship Bonus, +1 per rank of the Command skill they have (+3 at Command+20), +1 if they're Rank 4, and +2 if they're Rank 6. Certain armor histories and other factors, like letting an Ultramarine command the squad (gets you +1) will also increase Cohesion. Cohesion is important because it powers absolutely all of your Squad Mode powers. Your party can lose Cohesion if a character takes a heavy hit from a sniper rifle, explosive, or a weapon specifically noted to attack Cohesion. You can also lose Cohesion via Fear; the whole fear system now attacks Cohesion instead of forcing you not to act, because Marines are immune to that level of fear but can get shaken up anyway. If your squad is reduced to 0 Cohesion they will automatically all drop back to Solo Mode. You gain Cohesion by completing mission objectives or spending 1 point of Fate for 1 point of Cohesion.

By default, a Marine is in Solo Mode. Solo Mode gives some passive buffs and some minor, but significant powers you can use once per session or once per combat, like temporarily boosting your Strength for one round. This represents you focusing on your personal abilities and being a crazy warrior-hero; all the Solo Mode buffs are for the individual Marine only and don't use any group resources. You cannot use any Solo Mode buffs while in Squad Mode. To get into Squad Mode, you can immediately say you're rolling d10 vs. Cohesion if you want to join a Squad action someone is calling right now, and if you fail you lose your next turn (then enter Squad Mode the turn after). Otherwise, you just spend a turn switching into Squad Mode and then you're in.

When in Squad Mode, you have to stay close to other Marines using Squad Mode or you'll drop out. Any Marine can spend some actions during their turn, spend some squad Cohesion, and call a Squad Action, but each PC can only take or benefit from a single Squad Action per turn. Squad Actions will let you act outside initiative order, make concentrated attacks, etc. You get a limited pool of Codex Squad Actions that anyone can call, regardless of Chapter, and then Chapter Squad Actions that ONLY MEMBERS OF THAT CHAPTER can benefit from or call (unless you have a TacMarine who has the ability to get everyone else to benefit from their Chapter actions, use optional rules from Rites of Battle to eventually develop better teamwork, or have a couple Deeds that will let you let others use your Chapter Attack or Defense action at a cost). There is a very loving important detail about Cohesion spending that is only mentioned once: Once you have paid for a Squad Action, the SAME SQUAD ACTION will not cost any Cohesion to call again for the rest of the mission. This is REALLY loving IMPORTANT and I will reiterate, is only ever mentioned once.

Squad Actions are things like Bolter Assault: Every PC who participates can, outside their normal actions, make a Charge movement then fire a single shot from a bolt rifle or pistol, or throw a grenade. This costs 3 Cohesion, so you'd think you couldn't do it often, except that after you've paid the 3 cohesion once you can just keep Bolter Assaulting for free. Some of these are even Free Actions to call (like the aforementioned Bolter Assault) and many will get better as your Rank improves; in this example you can eventually fire bursts while advancing, which is insanely good. You only have access to a limited pool of these abilities decided by what 'oath' you took before the mission and who is in command, but once you realize you can do these repeatedly they become insanely powerful. This is something my play group didn't realize for ages because again, it is NOT WELL SIGNPOSTED. Again note you cannot combo these abilities: You can only benefit from one Squad Action between your current turn and the start of your next turn. Some abilities can also be sustained and left active without the original caller needing to pay additional actions during their turn.

These are, thus, extremely powerful abilities. Things like Bolter Assault and Furious Charge will let you become extra-mobile and essentially take full move and attack turns, outside your turn order. Some will let you trade your Reactions (dodges and parries) with one another, letting a Marine who is, say, fighting a multi-attacking hyper-boss in melee get extra active defenses while the others use their armor to soak fire from lesser enemies. Some of the Chapter ones will do things like, say, letting a Blood Angel (and any other Blood Angels) just get +10 to WS, Str, and Toughness (multiplied for Unnatural, and up to +20 at Rank 4) or let a Dark Angel keep up suppressive fire on targets while still continuing to take their normal turns. You can move through cover without triggering enemy overwatches. You can buff your cover. You can hate demons so much they can't do poo poo to you. Squad Abilities, once you realize you ONLY PAY FOR THEM ONCE A MISSION are extremely useful.

They are also mostly unnecessary! You are insanely powerful as is, and amping up to 'and the Marines also take extra turns and are very fast and all' is cool, but we played without realizing the 'only pay once' thing for several campaigns and still never found that we were often that seriously challenged in combat. When you are already this good, you don't need the crazy tactical edges you get from Squad Mode. They're a good, cool idea (though I despise how they actively encourage all being from the same Chapter unless you took specific bonuses or variant rules introduced in another book) that you will rarely find you actively need, and that will mostly let you crush combat encounters a little harder than normal. They're also absolutely atrociously badly described in the main book. They really, really needed more 'in-motion' examples because there's nothing like this subsystem in any of the other games in the line.

Finally, we get a description of mission prep. First, you pick who your leader will be (usually a TacMarine with high Fel). You then pick your Oath. Your mission Oath will determine which Codex Squad Mode abilities you have access to and give some other little bonuses. Your Leader is also important because the Leader can make themself and everyone in close range enter Squad Mode without needing to roll as an immediate, free action once per mission.

The Oath of the Astartes gives you +2 Cohesion and some tactical maneuvering/reaction sharing Squad options. You have to be a TacMarine, Dev, or Assault Marine to select it.

Oath to the Emperor gives +10 WP for the mission, and requires the leader be an Apothecary, TacMarine, or Librarian. It also gives you some focus-fire abilities as your Squad options, and a regroup move.

Oath of Glory gives everyone +1 Renown after the mission per objective you complete, letting you progress to better gear faster if you win. It requires an Assault or TacMarine leader. It lets you move quick, bolter assault, and charge into melee as squad moves.

Oath of Knowledge requires a Librarian or Apothecary (No TacMarine for once) and either lets your Librarian reroll any psychic mishaps for the mission or grants everyone +10 BS/WS against a specific type of enemy, like Orks or Tau. It gives you a bunch of digging in and defensive Squad moves.

Oath of Loyalty gives you a +10 to resist Cohesion damage and +1 to all Cohesion challenge d10 rolls, requires an Apothecary or TacMarine, and gives you a bunch of defensive and fire-soaking Squad abilities.

Oath of the Weapon is for Devs and Techmarines only, granting allies the ability to reroll failed confirmation rolls for Fury and ensuring no guns jam or fail during the mission. It also grants tank-busting and fire-support Squad abilities.

There's also a lot of pointless 'you could roll for a mission complication' stuff that will mostly be handled by just planning out the mission in most groups, as well as a pointless victory points system for determining if your mission is succeeded or failed, which again, won't come up for most gaming groups since 'did you succeed or fail' will usually be based more on 'is the enemy commander assassinated' or 'did the thing you were defending explode' than an arbitrary 'kill markers' system.

Next Time: Combat, at last.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


TyrsHTML posted:

He also came out of his talk with the emperor when he finally made it back to earth with a very distinct "ok gently caress that guy" attitude. He was very shocked to learn that; no daddy doesn't love you and frankly doesn't really give too much of a poo poo about humans in general.

The emperor can talk?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





DalaranJ posted:

The emperor can talk?
Well psychically I assume. I don't know all the fluff but I gather this Gulliman guy is one of the original space marines who were all like Junior Emperors anyway.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Some guy on the internet had this theory about the meeting of the big E and rowboat girlyman:

https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/723729.page;jsessionid=AE3B3D33A7A0E4E69F276BC798EDD546#9314624 posted:

If we are to use the last time someone entered the Golden Throne room to have a private chat with the Emperor as a meter, we can assume he asked Guilliman to reinforce the theocratic rulership of the Imperium or maybe, maybe the Emperor has finally realised that any healthy monarchy requires a strong dynastic rule. Guilliman needs to produce children from a formal union (not a million little bastard). Logicaly, it would be a long awaited marriage with Saint Celestine (a possible reincarnation of Saint Katherine who was also the last person who had talked to the Emperor before Guilliman). Since Guilliman doesn't know anything about women, let alone, sex, marriage and child rearing, the Emperor needed to have a daddy talk with, which was, of course, incredibly awkward since the Emperor has demonstrated that he is a terrible father, a bad teacher and extremely ignorant on anything that touches women. Thus, Guilliman got out of there confused, a bit mortified and very happy to throw himself in any sort of wars in an attempt to delay the inevitable day of his marriage (he might try to bring back one of his brother in an attempt to deflect such a high responsability to him instead).

As far as I'm concerned this is canon.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



I liked the fluff that history and it's records have got so messed up by the imperial bureaucracy and probable Inquisitorial revisionism over the past 10K that there are about half a dozen rival calendars, over which wars have literally been thought and as far as Guilliman can tell it could be anywhere from the early 40th millennium to well into the late 41st.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Thinking about it, I think the thing so weird to me about Deathwatch is, of all the 40kRP games, it has the most meaningful tactical options in combat and then presents a system where you kind of don't need any of them because you're an unstoppable badass who can face-tank to victory in most reasonable circumstances, unless your GM is spending an enormous amount of time on prepping every combat to be the slaughter of thousands and even then the base system doesn't really work that great for making things 'hard' at that level. It's like why no-one *really* minds the Techmarine and Librarian being unstoppable: You're all unstoppable! They don't invalidate the other PCs by being slightly more unstoppable. It really, truly tries to give you all kinds of cool options to work with, but then you're so powerful they don't really come up as necessary in normal play. You don't have to game the system because the core gameplay is relatively easy.

It's fantastically weird in that combat becomes, as someone said, this weird stress relief thing where your Marine knows what they're doing and why, and is a murder-machine, but then gets stymmied by all kinds of other dramatic situations and interpersonal disputes and trying to decide where to fight and when. The main challenge of most DW campaigns isn't killing the boss, it's picking the right boss to kill at the right time for the right reason.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 22:19 on Mar 28, 2018

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TyrsHTML
May 12, 2004

There is a difference between "you can have sex with anything" and "Anything can have sex with you".

DalaranJ posted:

The emperor can talk?

He had some psychic communion with him while praying in front of his corpse for a full day.

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