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White Coke
May 29, 2015


Cythereal posted:

I consider it more Star Wars than Trek. Except instead of a beat-up old freighter that's still got plenty of tricks, you're smuggling and pirating from the deck of your very own Super Star Destroyer.

What if the Millennium Falcon was a Star Destroyer is an amazing idea for a game.

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RatEarth
Aug 7, 2017

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


Urban Jungle: Part 3

Now it's time to get into character creation, and doing it in Urban Jungle is a fairly painless process. Like I said in my last post, your four traits that are consistent across every character are Body, Speed, Mind, and Will. However, there are three other traits to allocate your dice to, and these are Species, Career, and Type. These can vary from player to player, and effectively act as your race and class. Each of these traits come with three skills that use their dice, as well as a set number of gifts (special abilities, your species and career give you two each, while your type gives you one). Your career and trait will also come with some gear, and your trait will come with one Soak, which is a special type of gift that's used to mitigate damage. Your Species trait indicates how good you are at doing the things you'd expect of that species, like cats jumping or weasels weasel...ing. Your career trait indicates how good you are at your job. Your type trait indicates how closely you relate to an archetype, and is new to Urban Jungle. These types can include things like Drifter, Hard-boiled, or Heart-of-gold, and all come with unique bonuses. You also choose a personality for your character, any one-word description that can encompass what they're like, which will let you take a d12 bonus to a roll involving that personality type. It also suggests that you write in some of the attacks your character has for quick reference. You can also pick a character's motto and goal (note: goals are suggested to be something doable within the scope of the campaign, so try not to put down "get into heaven"). Finally, you write in your character's Initiative (Mind and Observation dice), Dodge (Speed and Evasion dice), and Rally (more on that in the combat section; Will and Tactics dice), applying any bonuses given by gifts. And that's really all character creation is, unlike Ironclaw you don't choose more gifts during character creation, and skill marks to get more dice in skills are only a variant rule. Since it's pretty short and simple, I'll post some of the species, types, and careers below and get some character ideas from the thread, mostly to show off the character sheets (I like the layout a lot) and what a finished character looks like. The write-ups on the species are a lot shorter than Ironclaw, and they don't have the individual portraits by Chris Goodwin, sadly, so I'll just post the art and the species featured.

Species:

Alligator, Anteater, Armadillo, Badger, Bat, Cat


Deer, Dog, Donkey, Elephant, Ferret, Fox


Gecko, Goat, Horse, Jackal, Lion, Monkey


Mouse, Otter, Panther, Pigeon, Porcupine, Possum


Rabbit, Raccoon, Rat, Rhinoceros, Shrew, Skunk


Sloth, Snake, Sparrow, Tiger, Weasel, Wolf

The art also makes me remember early-2000s furry art, which isn't exactly a good thing. It's not poorly-done, per-se. It's just a VERY dated style. I'd still take this over Hc Svnt Dracones any day, though.

Anyways, the careers are pretty self-explanatory, with a few oddball ones. You have your actors, detectives, and doctors, and a few weirder ones, like agitators, tycoons, or politicians. Hell, you can even just be a bureaucrat pencil-pusher. The only times the book really brushes with anything that could potentially be creepy are the careers of hooker and libertine, but thankfully they're handled with relative grace and aren't just there to serve as fetish fuel.

Finally, you have your type. This is basically your character's overall archetype. I'll list these off, because they're a new thing to Sanguine's games.

Types:
Angel - Basically your innocent, light-hearted character. Naive, but unwavering.
Authority - Really anyone who might hold some government authority, from heads of research to cops.
Boss - People depend on you. Maybe a gang leader or a businessman. Might have followers, which are helpful minor characters controlled by the game host.
Broken - The guy who's been through hell and back. Maybe an ex-soldier or someone who's lost someone close to them. (Fun aside: You can literally make Batman if you choose this, and play a bat with the Masked Vigilante career)
Crooked - Petty criminals, thieves, and grifters.
Drifter - Wanderers and nomads.
Egghead - Inventors and mathematicians
Famous - Self-explanatory.
Hard-boiled - Your tough-as-nails guys, typical noir detectives.
Heart-of-gold - Someone who's gone soft over the years. Maybe an ex-criminal who's turned their life around, or a veteran who just can't bring himself to kill anymore.
Knight - A character with strong convictions and morals, determined to do what they think is right.
Loser - Misunderstood characters who are always told that they'll never amount to much in life.
Lucky - Also self-explanatory.
Old - A character with a lot of life experience who's also, well, old.
Partner - Play this if you want to be a dick and make your GM play whatever NPC ally you choose.
Quiet - Abides by the statement "Actions speak louder than words".
Rebel - Punks, beatniks, anarchists, and other people who don't abide by society's rules.
Rich - Characters with more money than sense. Thrill seekers willing to blow huge amounts for the next adventure.
Sultry - Smooth-talkers and charmers. Your traditional femme fatales and ladykillers.
Young - Another self-explanatory one.

These are pretty interesting and add a few more options for characterization. For instance, if you're an actor, you might be Famous, a Hollywood superstar, or Rich, washed up and wanting to get that spark of life back, or even a Loser, told to go into a real job, and that your crappy acting will never amount to anything.

Anyways, I want to hear some suggestions for characters, and I'll pick some of my favorites (if I don't get any, I'll just make my own).

Next time: Character Examples

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

White Coke posted:

What if the Millennium Falcon was a Star Destroyer is an amazing idea for a game.

That actually happened in one of the X-Wing Expanded Universe novels.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

ScolopaxMinor posted:

weasels weasel...ing.

It's what separates us from the animals!

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




gradenko_2000 posted:

That actually happened in one of the X-Wing Expanded Universe novels.

Solo Command is a great book and Aaron Allston is a great author. I'm waiting for somebody to run a Wraith Squadron game.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





wiegieman posted:

Solo Command is a great book and Aaron Allston is a great author. I'm waiting for somebody to run a Wraith Squadron game.

Was.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

ScolopaxMinor posted:

Anyways, I want to hear some suggestions for characters, and I'll pick some of my favorites (if I don't get any, I'll just make my own).

The tramp. I'm sure there's some sort of hobo career.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Some sort of gecko boxer, in a nod to the only good thing to come out of Hc Svnt Dracones.

Alternately an anarchist.

RatEarth
Aug 7, 2017

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


JackMann posted:

The tramp. I'm sure there's some sort of hobo career.

Not only is there a hobo, they get a bindle as part of their gear.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Give me a nebbishy dog accountant with the Hard Boiled type. He's found a small discrepancy in the road department's books, and he's gonna pull on that thread and unravel the whole drat city, and nobody's gonna stop him.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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



NS8: the Hallburning



This adventure is scaled for PCs levels 12 to 14. I made a Sliding Scale of Supernaturals in regards to the Northlands Adventure Path during my own campaign. Its creation was when I began noticing a bit of a divergence in magical tone and wonder as the plot continued, less like a steady increase and more like a roller coaster.

quote:

1-Game of Thrones: There are magic, and dragons, and undead, but they're hardly understood, outside of Westeros for the most part, and only show up when poo poo's about to get serious. From cultural osmosis I learned most of GoT's conflict are things that would be regular occurrences IRL.
2-The Witcher: There are nonhuman races but are segregated from mainstream society. People know about the existence of monsters and there's an occupation specializing in dealing with them although there aren't many Witchers surviving. Magic exists and is a powerful tool, but it's mostly in the hands of a few sorceresses and most problems are solved with weapons and alchemy.
3-Skyrim: The lands are home to all sorts of peoples, human and otherwise, in significant numbers. Magic is not a cause for alarm unless used to commit crimes and for sale by tutors and in books. Enchantment, exotic technology, and the like are available but mostly in the hands of the wealthy. Some creatures such as dragons and master vampires are the stuff of legend, and there was a time portals to hell were spawning all over the world but that's in the past.
4-Forgotten Realms: The Red Wizards have a countrywide divination system. Silverymoon has a mythal overseeing the city's defenses. The viking pirate city of Luskan has a council of high-level magic users with access to the highest tiers of magic. The southern nation of Halruaa is entering a post-scarcity utopia where 33% of its population are wizards. Waterdeep's infamous mountain dungeon is so renowned there are entire industries dedicated to serving the adventurer economy. Gods walk the earth.

Initially the first few adventures hovered around 1 or 2, with Wyrd of the Winter King shooting up to 3. Death Curse of Sven Oakenfist and Plague in Trotheim were rare 4s. When we come to the Hallburning, things slip back down to 1. The primary evil in this case is not fiendish cults, risen spirits, or the machinations of wicked mages but a more down-to-earth, human corruption. There are monsters in this adventure, but they are tangential encounters when it comes to hunting down the perpetrators of one of the worst acts one can do in Northlander culture:

The hall of Gundrik Arison, Jarl of Vestfemarken, was attacked by raiders at midnight. They blocked up windows and doors as they threw torches in the homes and barns of people lay sleeping in their beds. The jarl's wife Runa (not the one from Spring Rites) was the only survivor, bearing horrible wounds. After telling others of this terror, an emergency meeting of the Althing of Storstrøm Vale was called. Three of the hallburning's participants were captured and force to talk. They named the master of the deed as Cnut Anglison, Jarl of Østfold who long bore a grudge against the Arisons. The Althing ruled that the Anglisons were declared non-entities whose lands were open to raiding and Runa's brother Heinring Erikson of Roskiled offered five pounds of hacksilver for the head of each hallburner.

Cnut Anglison is guilty as sin, but Jarl Heinring is an accomplice. He long desired a greater share of his family's fortune, and made a deal with Cnut to burn the hall while offering to do his part to cover up his trails. Cnut would gain his revenge, and Heinring would inherit Vestfemarken through Runa. But with the ruling at the Althing, he double-crossed Cnut by helping capture the men who named and shamed him. This way, Erikson can inherit his family's lands as well as Østfold's. Our adventure begins as the PCs meet Heinring and Runa in their home in Trotheim. The word of the event spread far and wide so the party will at least have heard of it. They inform the PCs of the background and the reward (five pounds of hacksilver plus the Wave Sword, Heinrig's longship). They also get the chance to see some other bounty hunters in the hall who they can learn more information about by skill and magic.



What I Changed posted:

In the default plot, the involved parties are those the player characters have never heard of or met earlier on in the Adventure Path. The primary hook for the Hallburning is righteous justice as Northlands society is honor-bound to take action against those cowardly enough to slaughter an entire hall's inhabitants in such a way. So instead I made some major alterations to the Hallburning while keeping a lot of the encounters intact:

First off, I set the adventure in Hordaland and made Jarl Magnus Hrolfsblood the main villain of this adventure. He's a Lawful Evil feudal despot whose grandson is destined to be High Køenig and unite the Northlands. As NS10 has the Empire of the Huun invade the Northlands, and given how I tied them in with the Jomsvikings, I made it so that Jarl Hrolfsblood learned of their influence via what his son saw in the scrying pool back in Raven Banners Over Gatland. As the Køenig-to-be is still a child, Magnus took the matters of fast-forwarding the prophecy into his own hands. Since the Hrolf clan established a peace treaty with the Gats and Estenfird is too meager to put up a united front, the Jarl launched a false flag attack against Silvermeade Hall. The Hrolf Vikings wore Hrolfland-forged plate armor to look like Southlander knights, and Cnut Anglison was the leader of the raid. The idea was that a core contingent of forces would flee to the Tin Mines (a dungeon in this adventure) while the others discarded their armor and took strategic positions around Hordaland.

Njal, horrified at this as he just learned of the raid's target while on the longship ride, turned on his fellows and escaped with Runa while Jarl Inga and her husband died in battle. Sometime after, Jarl Magnus Hrolfsblood was in Halfstead, telling others of the dreadful attack by the Southlander "lobstermen" while en route to Hordaland for a trade moot. He intended to unite the people in a frenzy against the "foreign hordes." With his son presumably dead from the false knights (not a part of his plan but one he adapted to) and hoping to lead a glorious battle against the ones in the Tin Mines, Magnus would gain great acclaim for this deed. He'd have both the popularity as well as assembled forces necessary to take over the geographic trade hub of the Northlands. This would be but the first step of turning the region into one nation as a united front against the invading Huuns.

The three other groups of bounty hunters are meant to be possibly-recurring villains or allies through this adventure seeking to get their hands on Cnut first, although Javik is almost guaranteed to be an ally and the Ravensons are opposition by default. Even if the PCs gain Dorna's respect, in a later encounter she will merely try to capture and disarm them rather than kill them. A few encounters feature the bounty hunters, but if they are killed prematurely the next ones will not happen. Successful divination spells and skill checks can impart personal information about them.

Dorna Helsdottir and the Vicious Get: Dorna is Two-Face if he was a woman godi of Hel. She has a twisted sense of justice, more than eager to punish lawbreakers in her goddess' name but has no problem killing those who so much as get in her way. She has a skald partner by the name of Adevir Óddson fond of writing poorly-worded poems about her. The Vicious Get are a band of barbarian cutthroats who only follow Dorna and no other.

The Ravensons: This three-person adventuring party seeks to make their way up in the world by claiming the head of Cnut and his hallburners. They include two fighters, Silent Tor and Grondi (spiked chain, poisoned heavy sword), and an arctic druid by the name of Vigdís Snowfox.

Javik Wolfsblood: This is the Wolverine of the bounty hunters, a wild ranger who relies only upon himself and his trusty giant wolf. He was a childhood friend of Runa and secretly loved her yet respected her marriage to another. Javik's not in it for the money or reputation: he wants revenge, pure and simple.

What I Changed posted:

I only used Dorna Helsdottir for this. She had a pack of Advanced Winter Wolves instead of the Vicious Get, and I reworked Adevir to be an alchemist who throws runestones instead of bombs. She believed that Njal Magnusson was one of the hallburners and kidnapping Runa, so she sent her wolves to gradually wear him down as they went through the forest of Hordaland. The PCs convinced her that she was making a mistake, but once her wolves get a quarry nothing would stop them. She reluctantly let the party kill her wolves to save Njal. This encounter took place before the arrival at the High Pass but after visiting Eiderlec.

Storstrøm Vale



The PCs learn from Heinrig and Runa Gundrikswife that Cnut and his men are somewhere up in the Waldron Mountains. Specifically they are holed up in an Andøvan ruin which has an auto-fail to all divination and teleportation magic within a 1 mile radius, a classic Pathfinder standard of shutting down powerful magic instead of building adventures around their possibility. This is all so that the adventure can force the PCs to rely on mundane means of tracking a 175-mile trail. We even get a one-page description on Trondheim ponies if the PCs need some lent to them, and a possible setback if they do not keep constant guard over their mounts: one of the Ravensons breaks into their stables and absconds with their mounts.

quote:

The PCs may have the magical capabilities to chase down the Ravensons and overtake them before they get too far away, but remind the players that taking the time to do so only gives the other bounty hunter groups more time to get ahead as well. The missing mounts will not be recovered before morning, so the PCs just have to wait and hope to overtake the honorless curs on the road.

At this level, it's entirely possible for a Summoner to have a flying eidolon, for a Sorcerer or Wizard to set up Contingency spells, for a Druid or Ranger to have an animal companion powerful enough to cause a ruckus against some level 8-9 upstart adventurers, or any other number of means to ensure that a simple snatch-and-grab is unlikely to work for long.

Our next encounter involves a first meeting with Doran Helsdottir, who legally purchased a thrall who was working off a weregild so she can sacrifice him for good luck. Technically speaking Dorna is legally in the right, but the thrall was about to pay off his debt in full in 2 months. She will give the PCs an hour to replace him with a more suitable sacrifice, or if they persist she will order the Vicious Get attack the party to take them as sacrifices instead!

After this encounter resolves, Javik returns the PCs' stolen mounts to them. Although he is wary, he has a sense of honor and figures that the PCs would be a better bet in taking down Cnut than some desperate horse thieves. He refuses any offers to work together, stating that he hunts better alone and automatically travels faster than the PCs if they try to follow his trail.

The trail along the Saubd River to the mountains includes seven linear encounters. Two involve tangling with the Ravensons one of which has them sabotage a ferry's crossing, one involves a sudden snowfall, another a completely-unrelated band of Mongat raiders seeking to kill the PCs for loot and experience, and a possible ambush by Dorna Helsdottir.

One of the more interesting encounters involves a crag giant named Norgrun and his gorgimera pet who is scavenging the already-raided ruins of Østfold. He is a tough customer, capable of summoning earth elementals to help him fight. But in exchange for beating him, the PCs get the Regalia of Gunnlagr as treasure (chainmail, maul, and helmet) which can resize to fit them. There are also a pair of human children kidnapped from the hall of Eidrelec which is on the way to the mountains. Bonus Experience is gained for ensuring the children make it back alive.

What I Changed posted:

I had it so that the PCs encountered the crag giant among some Andøvan ruins in the Forest of Woe. He managed to capture Runa (the sorcerous daughter of Jarl Henrikson) for his stewpot when she and Njal got separated from the winter wolves. She replaced the two children, obviously, and the PCs went to Eiderlec on account that it was on the way to Halfstead and likely had other survivors of the burning of Silvermeade Hall.

Our last encounter for this chapter is in the village of Eiderlec, a small mining town ruled by Jarl Luthr Eider and his wife. The two children from the giant encounter are his niece and nephew. Whether they tell him or he guesses, the jarl figures that the party is hunting for the hallburners and reveals that his huscarls saw no sign of them around. He invites the PCs to stay for a spell. Unfortunately Cnut Anglison caught word through contacts that some bounty hunters are headed his way and sent out several warriors to burn down Eiderlec's village. Eight of them (a 10th level fighter and 7 7th-level Warriors) silently take out the village's lax security unless the PCs take precautions. They throw torches on the roof of the hall and wait for people to try and flee out the front door to slaughter them in a chokepoint.

This encounter has a series of round-by-round events of what happens if the fires are not put out, ending at round 20 when the roof of the hall collapses which causes instant death (no save) to anyone not immune to fire and able to survive without breathing. A captured raider confesses to Cnut's hideout. The PCs also get a hefty reward of 1,000 Experience for every member of the hall who survives the hallburning.

What I Changed: The Østfold warriors were changed to Hrolf Vikings (out of disguise), and Eiderlec had Hallbjorn's crew present. The party at this point knew that the Hrolfs were invading Hordaland but since they did not know why at the moment, the PC witch was reluctant to visit their hall and end up drawn into some propaganda trap hinging upon cultural honor. She instead spoke in Nûk to Hallbjorn's wife (an NPC of my own creation) about the false flag operation. They learned that the Hrolfs were planning to attack an abandoned tin mine in the Forest of Woe, so the PCs departed there. As they tipped off Hallbjorn's crew and used stealth to exit the village, an encounter was averted. The Hrolfs would have attempted to burn the hall to kill off the PCs given that the party's reputation and magical powers were well-known in the Northlands by now. Along with their connection to Silvermeade Hall, Jarl Magnus Hrolfsblood didn't want any loose ends.

The High Pass



This chapter of the adventure is two dungeons in one. The first is the High Tower which is part of the no-divination no-teleport crumbled Andøvan ruin. It looks over a pass which leads to an abandoned Tin Mine. There are watchers in the tower who will spot anyone during the day unable to conceal themselves, causing them to unload a boulder trap avalanche. If the PCs are on good terms with Javik Wolfsblood, he will come out of hiding. The ranger is willing share the information on the number of enemies and their placements around the tower as well as the entrance to the Tin Mines. He won't fight alongside them, but volunteers to create a distraction to draw away some guards.

The tower itself has two dozen wardogs near the entrance, a trio of hired hill giants, a 10th-level commoner servant with stunted cranial growth and a limp (along with unique special qualities to cover both), 15 Østfold warriors, and Cnut Anglison and his huscarl Hegi Einarrson. There's a secret door in the kitchen (given away by wafting scent of tobacco smoke) which provides an alternate means of going into the tin mines. If you can't tell, the opposition here is woefully undermatched for a party of low-teen-level characters who likely have magical aid. This, along with the heavy emphasis on riding by horseback and mundane tracking makes me believe that this adventure was originally meant to be written at a much lower level.

Cnut's minions will fight as long as they think their leader is safe, but the man himself is cowardly and surrenders to the PCs to face his judgment at the Althing. He is only doing this with the belief that Heinring will somehow acquit him. The adventure presumes that the PCs seek to take Cnut alive, and if they seem intent on killing him while in their custody he will activate his ring of freedom of movement to slip his bonds and escape.

What I Changed posted:

I excised the hill giants to include more Hrolf warriors (who had the same stats as Østfold warriors but wore full plate). Cnut in this scenario was having second thoughts about his role as "villainous Southlander" in the eventual plot to unite the Northlands. When the PCs show up and begin to effortlessly slaughter the false knights he decided that he wanted to die known as a true Northlander and surrendered to the PCs. He offered to use his testimony at the Althing of Halfstead against Jarl Magnus Hrolfsblood on the condition that he be allowed to engage in a duel than to be executed in bondage (a way to secure himself a spot in Valhalla as a warrior). I also made the secret room in the kitchen contain some exotic seeds from Southlander realms which were not present in Silvermeade Hall. Given that such valuables would not ordinarily be taken on a risky voyage to the Northlands, this served as a piece of evidence the PCs could present at the Althing of Jarl Magnus Hrolfsblood's guilt.

In this case the low-level opposition worked in my version. It let the party feel like big drat heroes and showcased how much they rose in power from the common crop of the setting. As one of the PCs put it, "we've fought giant monsters of the Beast Cult and the servitors of Althunak and Loki alike. A jarl mad with power is well within our means." Still, the threat of losing Hordaland to a tyrant as well as the personal nature of their grudge against Magnus Hrolfsblood kept things from feeling too low-stakes.

The mine entrance is concealed, and home to inhabitants all its own such as six wyverns, a carnivorous blob, some traps, and a small family of ogres and their herd of boars. Cnut Anglison has an arms-length relationship with three of the more experienced ogres (trio of Ranger sisters), so he stationed two of his huscarls to keep an eye on them. One's a level 12 barbarian, the other a multi-classed expert/rogue fond of strong-smelling pipe weed. Why so many dead levels in a crappy NPC class I don't know.

The Return to Trotheim



Jarl Heinrig dispatched 13 of his own men (who may or may not be with the Ravensons) to follow the PCs' trail. Their leader, Harald, hails the PCs peacefully. He has payment and a writ of ownership for the longship to give to the PCs as early payment. But if the PCs have no living prisoners, Harald and the Ravensons plan to ambush and kill them and collect the reward for themselves. But if Cnut plus any others are alive, they are nonviolent in their intentions and claim to seek to transport the prisoners back to Trotheim. The scowling faces of the Ravensons are meant to warn the party that they are planning to take credit for the work they done and spur them on. The adventure's all too happy to inform us that any mounts of the PCs are going to be in poor shape from arduous travel and may not be able to keep up. It's mentioned that they can get new fresh mounts at Eiderlec if they saved the jarl earlier.

This is all well and good, but given that the PCs have Cnut Anglisson (or evidence of his death) they can just as easily overland flight/teleport/etc back to Trotheim and the adventure does not take this into account. The next encounter involves Harald planning to execute Cnut (much to the bewilderment of his soldiers and the betrayed Ravensons) and any other hallburner prisoners. Whether the PCs get there in time (and whether or not they can save and ally with the druid survivor) is based on whether or not they gained fresh mounts. If Cnut is dead, a captured warrior will confess to Jarl Heinrig's plot, overcome with guilt over his leader's dishonorable actions. If Cnut is taken alive, he realizes that Jarl Heinrig had no intention of clearing his name, and is willing to cooperate fully with the PCs if they let him die "with a sword in his hand" when the time for sentencing comes. Choosing to honor this grants the party bonus Experience as an appeal to their mind's-worth.



Hillfolk: Holmgang by Merlkir of Deviantart

Once the PCs get back to Trotheim, a crowd begins to stir. An angry one who wants justice to be done and execute Cnut right then and there. Heinrig and Runa Gundrikswife come forth, and there's some social skill checks throughout to calm the crowd, to detect odd body language from the jarl, and whether or not they can call for an Althing for a trial first. Jarl Heinrig and Runa will be very insistent on arguing against this plea, and the PCs have several modifiers they can use as a bonus (saving Eiderlec from a hallburning, showing off the Regalia of Gunnlaugr, etc). There is a "last chance" check to do if they fail at first, but if they fail again a Nonstandard Game Over happens as the PCs will either have to fight every able-bodied warrior in Trotheim and become outlaws or let the prisoners in custody be killed; no testimony against Jarl Heinrig will work until several months later in the spring.

But if an Althing is called, Cnut and the hall burners are put into custody, and Jarl Heinrig will have an assassin disguised as a thrall to poison their food. The encounter after that is the Althing proper, where Jarl Heinrig makes his move:

quote:

“Yes, I’m sure they’ll have quite the story to tell, one worthy of the fireside in the dead of winter when the birch logs burn high and the drinking horns run low. The drunken ramblings of boastful braggarts. I’m sure we’ll all be highly entertained, and the skalds will sing of it for years to come.

“Unfortunately, what I see is a group of foreigners who come to us for a very simple task. Capture a band of outlaws and bring them to justice. Do they do it because they love the Vale and its hard-working people? Do they do it for love of the aggrieved widow who is my sister? No, they do it for silver and a fighting ship in its prime, the last vestiges of wealth from an old woman who has lost everything else.

“Ask them. See if they did not already collect the hacksilver promised for the heads of the outlaws. See if they did not already claim the writ of my sister’s hand for title to the longship Wave Sword. The truth of it is in their eyes even now. No, I know what this is about. They seek to get at the golden goose. Where the wealth of one jarl has been tapped, the wealth of another can be claimed. I’ve had my own men looking into this crew of so-called heroes; I’ve had young lads listening at their doors at night as they went about their chores.

“These cowards wish to finish the ruin of my beloved sister, from whom they have already taken the last of her worldly wealth, and they wish to implicate me in order to get at mine. It is not enough that Runa Eriksdottir must forfeit the work of our father’s hands, no, in their eyes Heinnrig Erikson must as well. And will their bellies for gold be full then? I think not. Then which of you will they lay their greed-filled eyes upon? Nay, these are not heroes of the Vale, they are leeches of the swamp, come to the Vale to bleed us dry in our hour of need. “You there, heroes! You would name me false before the assembly of my own people. I say to you that this will not stand before gods or men. I challenge your champion to the holmgang where the All-Father and his brood can declare the truth of our grievances.”

The assembled Althing is stunned to silence by Jarl Heinnrig’s bold — even brash — words. The silence stretches as low murmurs begin to grow and all eyes turn toward you.

There's so much wrong with this. If this adventure is not being played as a stand-alone, the PCs saved the very city this Althing is in from a horrible plague, in addition to their many other deeds. The immediate declaration of the holmgang is stated by the adventure to be a "trap" so any opinion or ruling of the assembly is nullified due to calling upon the gods. This goes against the Northlands Saga Campaign Guide's rules for the Thing, where a holmgang in a dispute grants half the opposing votes to the winner. And what if one or more of the PCs is a godi of Wotan? Can his holy status counter this?

But that doesn't compare to the anti-climactic ending.

The final encounter of this adventure is a holmgang between Jarl Heinrig and one of the PCs who rose up to the challenge. Heinrig himself is a multi-classed fighter/rogue of 13th total level. He is optimized for sword-and-board fighting and focuses on sundering the PCs' shield rather than going for direct kill with an adamantine longsword (which ignores hardness). But if the PCs' Combat Maneuver Defense is so high, he'll change to lethal tactics. The crooked jarl is also a cheat, having taken a potion of bull's strength beforehand and has a druid within the crowd ready to silently cast warp wood or heat metal on the PCs' shield. Heinrig will declare any obvious magic in this fashion to be the will of the gods, which many in the crowd fall for. Even if caught the judge's lack of magical experience is not enough to declare the duel a forfeiture.

Given that Heinrig isn't going for a kill, it seems that he's trying to disgrace the PCs and have them declare outlaws, right?

Nope! The adventure removes all sense of agency and choice by having a literal Deus Ex Machina to occur. It does not matter if the PC is on the verge of losing or if they're about to win. The goddess Hel intervenes as she possesses the widowed Runa, condemning Heinrig for his crimes as her face takes the visage of the goddess herself. Grabbing a nearby spear she throws it at his throat, ending Heinrig's life.

So in the end, Hel will kill-steal your boss battle and more or less dispense judgment that everyone accepts. The adventure concludes by having Heinrig's longship, the Wave Sword, granted to the PCs along with potential opportunity for the party to claim Cnut or Heinrig's halls for themselves.

What I Changed posted:

Throughout the adventure I provided several opportunities to gather evidence against Jarl Magnus Hrolfsblood; his son Nja's testimony, the lack of kingdom emblems upon the plate mail, the presence of armor markings upon Cnut's skin from the plate mail, as well as the exotic seeds in the tower's kitchen. I had the PCs roll Diplomacy vs Magnus' Perform Oratory to see how many votes they got; there was no need to call for an Althing, as one was already convened in regards to the "Southlander threat." 80% voted in favor of Magnus' guilt, so in order to push himself from 20% to 60% he challenged the party to holmgang. He had a bearskin cloak to use as the arena between the hazel posts, but I allowed the PCs to pick any hides of previous monsters they slain during the Adventure Path. The chose the skull of the Jotund Troll whose mouth was propped open.

I also added customized special moves based upon the advice and fighting styles of a duelists' companions recollected from past adventures. The d20 rolls were made by the appropriate players rather than the duelist, allowing the group a sense of input in the otherwise one-on-one duel.

Our troll-blooded barbarian/rogue won the Holmgang, and the PCs' earlier speech to avoid retaliation against Hrolfland (placing the justice on their jarl) worked as Njal ordered his Vikings out of Hordaland with little consequence.

Concluding Thoughts: The Hallburning is rather weak. The plot is railroady and Cnut's testimony (nor that of other NPCs) does not matter at all given Heinrig's outburst. When it comes to the level of magic at a high-level party's disposal the adventure either does not take this into account or autoblocks it in the case of the dungeons. It's unconnected nature and rather low stakes in comparison to prior quests feels at odds so late in the Saga. The addition of yet another ship (albeit one with superior stats) feels a bit redundant given the PCs had plenty of opportunities to gain vessels of their own earlier in the campaign.

On the plus side, things really pick up again in NS9: Daughter of Thunder and Storm!

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 04:39 on Apr 10, 2018

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Ratoslov posted:

Give me a nebbishy dog accountant with the Hard Boiled type. He's found a small discrepancy in the road department's books, and he's gonna pull on that thread and unravel the whole drat city, and nobody's gonna stop him.

I second that.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012



He is, of course, a bloodhound.

thatbastardken
Apr 23, 2010

strewth


a terrier

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Make him a mutt, idiots look down on him but he's a lot smarter and better at survival then all of them.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Make him a mutt, idiots look down on him but he's a lot smarter and better at survival then all of them.

I second this - why should pure breeds get all the fun? Also, a mutt actually fits the hard boiled flavour a little better; pure breeds should be the high society types.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




"You should reconsider your investigation, I can't be your guard-dog"
"Guess I'm just too old to learn new tricks"

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case





oh noooooooooo

I haven’t touched my old EU books in a decade and a half but they were a huge part of my childhood. RIP

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


The SenZar review isn't abandoned, but will be delayed because I've sent the book off to be professionally scanned and OCR#d. The paperback binding was already starting to come apart just from me browsing the book, and I wanted to preserve it since it wouldn't just be a simple matter to get a fresh copy one day.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Rogue Trader

No Hiver would ever have been a Scavenger, that's just unrealistic

So, there's a sidebar that fixes my problem with the origin system, though it does it in a very counter-productive way. It says, essentially, you can ignore the dumb adjacency rule if you WANT but you should make sure your player has a convincing background and is a really good player who can handle such a wild character concept as, say, a Death Worlder whose past experience was being a professional mercenary or a Hiver who grew up a scav. You know, staple archetypes of the setting, which are obviously wild and out there PCs. Why, if we ignored the adjacency rule we could have an Astropath (psyker) whose motive *isn't* Endurance or a Rogue Trader motivated by something other than Prestige! That could just be madness in the hands of a non-advanced group.

All sarcasm aside, once you remove adjacency the concept of the Origin Path is fine. Later books will add to it and give you more options, and the ones in the core book are a little limited, but the idea of having a mechanical path from Homeworld to Background to What Got You Into Space to What's Gone Wrong For You to What Drives You Now is a decent idea for portraying an experienced PC. Some of the options are so mechanically bad I can't see someone ever taking them, but the concept is sound.

We start off with Birthright: What sort of class and life were you born to? Scavenger is our first option, meaning you grew up in deprivation and hardship in an underhive, the lower factory works of a forge, the outcast decks of a ship, etc. You get your choice of +3 WP or Agi, Resistance (Fear) or Unremarkable, and gain d5 Insanity or Corruption from the awful stuff you witnessed on the streets. A Scapegrace was born a criminal or outcast, not necessarily as poor as the Scav but living among hive gangers, entertainers, travelers, or other people the Imperium finds suspicious. You get Sleight of Hand for free and +3 Int or Per, plus d5 Insanity or Corruption. A Stubjack was born to war, possibly the child of an Imperial Guardsman on deployment (Fun fact: You remember Imperial Commissars? The big hatted guys who shoot guardsmen for falling back? One of their canonical duties is caring for the babies and children Guardsmen from their unit have out at war, a duty they by all accounts take very seriously. I mostly wanted an excuse to point that out) or the child of a mercenary. You've known how to kill from an early age, getting +5 to WS or BS, a -5 to Fellowship, d5 Insanity Points, the Quick Draw talent, and Intimidate. A Child of the Creed was born into the church and lived there their whole early life, surrounded by piety and faith. They get +3 to WP or Fellowship, Unshakeable Faith (The Reroll Failed Fear Tests talent, super good to have), and -3 WS. A Savant was born and raised by gentle nerd-adepts, surrounded by parchment and the Imperial equivalent of being middle class. They get either the Logic skill or Peer (Academics) (+10 to dealing with fellow nerds, for knowing their gentle ways) and +3 Intelligence or Fellowship, but -3 Toughness. Finally, Vaunted characters were born to wealth and privilege, living a lifestyle of extravagance and decadence, such that they actually gain the Decadence talent (drugs and drink don't negatively affect them much) and +3 Agi or Fel, and -3 Per and d5 Corruption.

Next we get Why Are You In Space. It starts with Tainted: You are either a mutant (can spend 200 of your starting EXP to choose your minor mutation instead of rolling), Insane (-1 Fate (!!!!) or -3 Fellowship, +2d10 Insanity, gain Peer (The Insane) and +3 Toughness) or a heretic (+3 WP, gain Enemy (Ecclesiarchy), meaning -20 to Fel dealing with them), which all sort of suck to have. You might also be a Criminal, starting with your choice of Wanted Fugitive (Enemy (Arbites), meaning Judge Dredds everywhere hate you, but Peer (Underworld)), Hunted By A Crime Baron (+3 Per but Enemy (Underworld) as space mafia try to kill you), or Judged and Found Wanting (-5 Fellowship, start with a poor Cybernetic implant to represent the piece that was cut off of you, can pay 200 EXP to make it Common or 300 to make it Good). Again, mostly surprisingly negative! A Renegade gains Recidivist (Concealment skill for free, Resistance (Interrogation), and Enemy (Arbites)), Free Thinker (+3 Int or Per, -3 WP, Enemy (Ecclesiarchy)), or Dark Visionary (d5+1 Insanity or Corruption, Dark Soul talent (easier to avoid Malignancy from CP gain), and one Forbidden Lore of your choice). You might be bound by Duty, either to the Imperial Throne (+3 Willpower and ONLY if this puts you to 40 WP, The Armor of Contempt talent, which lowers Corruption gains, -10 to all Interaction skills with non-Imperials), Humanity (+3 Per or Int, -1 to group Profit Factor due to you being charitable and not-poo poo), or your Dynasty (Gain Rival (Other Rogue Trader) and -3 Toughness, but +1 group Profit). You may be a Zealot, with Blessed Scars (+10 Intimidate, -10 Charm, gain 1 Cybernetic of Poor Quality that you can spend EXP to upgrade like before), Unnerving Clarity (-5 Fel OR d10 insanity, +5 WP), or beloved of the faithful (Peer (Ecclesiarchy), +5 Fellowship, -5 Toughness). Finally, you might think you were Chosen By Destiny, gaining Seeker of Truth (Hated by the Ecclesiarchy or Academics, -3 WP, gain the useless Foresight Talent so eh), a Xenophile (+10 to interact with aliens, possibly really useful in this, the game where you might meet and talk to aliens, for -5 to WP to resist alien wiles), or Fated for Greatness (+1 Fate (!!) for d10+1 Insanity). As you might notice, most of these are a majorly mixed bag. Also a lot of them make you a crazy person.

Next you get something that went wrong for you during your life. A Trial and Tribulation. The Hand of War means you fought in a long and bitter war, giving you a Weapon training of your choice or the ability to get up as a free action and Hatred against whoever you were at war against. It also gives you -10 to Interaction tests with them and 'you will react violently against them given the chance, with a WP save to think better of it' so yay. You may have been Press Ganged into space, giving you a skill of your choice and a Common Lore of your choice, but a violent aversion to being caged that requires WP to avoid reacting violently against anyone suggesting they might take your freedom (These kinds of 'drawbacks' are never annoying, no). You might have survived Calamity, getting through a space apocalypse of some kind or a major coup, giving you Light Sleeper and either Nerves of Steel (Reroll failed Pinning tests) or Hardy (Always lightly wounded for purposes of healing), but your experience as a space hobo impoverishes your group to the tune of -1 Profit. You may be Ship Lorn, having survived your prior ship exploding or getting hulked. No-one would ever take this one as it gives you either the Survival skill or Dark Soul talent plus the ability to roll twice and take the better when spending Fate to heal, but a -5 to all Fellowship tests with space-farers and -1 Fate. You may have been on a Dark Voyage that uncovered all kinds of space evil, gaining either a Forbidden Knowledge of your choice or Resistance (Fear) from having already encountered space villainy of the blackest sort, but d5 Insanity from terrifying space experiences. Finally, you might have a dramatic High Vendetta with another highborn doomed manchild, gaining Die Hard (Reroll failed bleed out tests) or Paranoia (+2 Initiative) and Inquiry. However, you are the epitome of the Doomed Highborn Manchild and will brook no offense of your person, meeting it with violence and vendetta unless (you guessed it) you pass a WP test.

Finally, we have your Motivation. What drives you most in your quest for space riches. Endurance is self-explanatory and gives a measly, insulting +1 Wounds. Fortune means you love luck and money in equal measure and have plenty of both, gaining a mighty +1 Fate. VENGEANCE means you want someone dead, gaining Hatred against their kind. Renown means you want to be one of those people with giant 80m statues on the top of hives, gaining Air of Authority or Peer (Choose One). Pride means you are driven by your sense of self-worth, and either gain a fantastic Heirloom Item or +3 Toughness. You have to roll for the item, but they're all good: Either a Best Archeotech Laspistol (A very capable and neat little sidearm), a Best blessed Chainsword (Still a very capable melee choice), an ancient seal that gives +10 to Interactions with Imperial authorities, a Best suit of blessed Carapace armor (AV 7 and blessed is pretty nice), or a true relic of a saint that gives a +20 to Interact with the Ecclesiarchy. Finally, you may be motivated by Prestige, which insists it is totally different from Renown, and gives Peer (Choose one) or Talented (Choose a Skill).

The idea of Origin Path is fine, the execution is a bit of a mixed bag. I can't see anyone ever playing a Ship Lorn, for instance, or taking Endurance when they could take Fortune or one of the more interesting ones. The many 'make a WP save or do something stupid' Trials are also annoying when you remember everyone in your party has a full origin path, so you've got a lot of room for accidental friction and non-functional parties with competing Doomed Highborn Manchild urges.

And let's be clear: Rogue Traders are some of the ultimate Doomed Highborn Manchildren.

Next Time: Classes. Oh, god, these are not going to be good.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Scion: Hero
Hail, Conquering Hero

Octavian Gaius Caesar is a Scion of Divius Iulius. His birth was foretold by a comet that shone brightly for seven days, and he was marked for greatness from birth. However, it'd be easy not to guess - from a young age, he devoted himself to gaining power via crime and violence. Now he is 20, and he is the ruler of a massive and complex criminal empire, but his ambition remains undimmed. He plants to be better not only than his father, but the great Alexander as well, and intends to emerge from the shadows to take the entire World by force by the time he is 30. If pressed, he'll claim that this is to protect humans by unifying them and preparing them for war on the Titans, but he's not especially sincere. (He also serves as one of two examples of how to make an enemy Scion as part of the Antagonist system, using Tension in place of Legend for any Legend costs.)

Asher is a Scion of Anansi. He grew up in Harlem, in poverty, but is now a famous lobbyist for the tobacco industry. He sees the World as his plaything, now that he's got the power to do what he wants rather than starve. He collects wealth and Relics by any means available, even if that means stealing from or tricking other Scions, and so he's frequently at odds with fellow Scions. He never kills them directly, but he's more than happy to lead them into danger. Still, he vastly prefers they survive, as he enjoys having embarrassed and vengeful godlings after him for some reason. He's sworn that he'll never be powerless again, but he's more talker than fighter. On the other hand, he has plenty of fighting friends to call on.

The Sphinx is a species native to the Middle East. Greek sphinxes are famous for their riddles and their danger, but Egyptian ones were more known as temple guardians, and several great statues were built that still survive in Egypt, most notably in Giza. The Assyrians knew the sphinx as the lamassu or shedu, protective gods associated with the stars and zodiac. Lamassu sometimes had a bull body rather than a lion, or sometimes a combination of both, as witnessed by the prophet Ezekiel. Sphinx are, sadly, quite rare - for a lot of modern history they were regarded as dangerous beasts and either driven off or hunted nearly to extinction. Surviving populations exist in the more rural areas of the Middle East, particularly in Egypt's Red Sea Hills, the Armenian Highlands and the Caucasus Mountains, where their wisdom and intellect has allowed them to survive what other apex predators couldn't.

Vampires...well, they're vampires. Abominations that have clawed their way from the Underworlds to violate the natural order and feed on the living. They tend to be exceptionally weird, being more folkloric vampires than pop culture ones. Undead in general tend to have unnatural hungers, and they range from stupid as hell to extremely clever. While they can come off as friendly, they still feed on people, and tend to view them as food first, people a distant second.

Yaoguai is a kind of catch-all term for beings that have been twisted into strange monsters by their pursuit of immortality. Most Yaoguai are Daoist mystics as well as monsters, though not all - some have stolen the tools they used to become not wholly mortal, and don't really understand them. They come in many forms, from beastmen to fallen gods to living skeletons, but they all share the same goal: become immortal gods. The Shen are open to rehabilitating these creatures, at least in theory, but when you're fighting one, it can be hard to spare them in the heat of the moment.

But, you ask, what about legendary critters I can play? If they aren't Scions, odds are their Legend probably caps at 4, and they can't learn Boons. So there's that. We get new Knacks for the supernatural critters found in Origin, first.

Immortal Kitsune
Endless Masks: You may assume any human, animal, plant or inanimate shape, up to the size of an elephant, though your stats, weight and Scale remain the same in any form.
Kitsune Tsuki: You may curse someone with the Fox-Possession condition for days based on your Legend. This makes them ravenously hungry, especially for tofu, but otherwise lethargic, getting +1 Difficulty to any action requiring force or concentration. This resolves either when it times out or when the victim spends a night in the company of a dog, whichever comes first.
Tableau: You may imbue 1 Legend to create a convincing illusion that transforms a room into any appearance you like, which you do not need to occupy to maintain the illusion. However, if you do not choose to maintain the imbued Legend, the illusion reverts the next day.

Immortal Satyr
Panic: You may spend Momentum to make the Field you are in terrifying to those of lower Tier. All beings of lower Tier flee as quickly as possible, and will not return for the rest of the scene. You explicitly can't give anyone immunity to this.
Too Clever: When engaging in a nonviolent contest with someone else for defined stakes, you can spend 1 Legend to make your dicepool the same size as theirs for the contest, applying all modifiers after this happens.
Hair of the Goat: You are totally immune to all poisons and venoms. You may spend 1 Legend to mix whatever liquids you happen to have around into a dose of antidote to any poison you know of.

Immortal Wolf-Soldier
Exemplary Deed: You can spend Momentum to grant your dicepool to an ordinary mortal that supports your cause for one action. They get Enhancement 1 on the roll, but can only ever receive this blessing once in their entire lifetime.
Champion of the Cause: You may replicate one Heroic Knack from Guardian, Leader or Warrior, chosen when you take this. You can take this multiple times, taking a different Knack each time.

Immortal Therianthrope
Lycanthropy: You may imbue 1 Legend to take on the shape of a large, predatory beast, chosen when you take this. In animal form, your unarmed attacks have the Lethal tag, you gain an extra Bruised slot, and you get the benefits of the Apex Predator knack. You must make a Resolve roll to resist the urge to hunt for a scene, or to return to human form before the end of the scene.

Immortal Cu Sith
Guardian Dog: You may replicate one Immortal Knack from Guardian, chosen when you take this.

Next time: Centaurs, Kinnara, Nuckelavee, Naga, Troll-Blooded, Oni

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy



Pathfinder Unchained

New Disease and Poison Rules

These rules replace the normal rules for diseases and poisons.

First, it creates a 6-step track:
Healthy - Latent/Carrier - Weakened - Impaired - Disabled - Bedridden - Comatose - Dead

Then, it defines:
* penalties for every step of the track
* the saving throw DC against the effects of the poison/disease
* the frequency of the saving throws against the effect (failing it means moving down the track by 1 state)
* how the effect can be cured (besides the usual cure spells)

For example, let's take the Demon Fever disease:

* when you're Weakened, you suffer from the Sickened and Fatigued conditions
* when you're Impaired, you suffer from the Exhausted condition, plus whenever you take a Standard action you have to pass a Fort save or you lose your turn
* when you're Disabled, you suffer from the Disabled condition, plus you lose 1 HP whenever you take an action
* when you're Bedridden ... you're bedridden. You can't move or act on your own and can only converse
* when you're Dead ... you're dead
* the Fort DC against this disease is 18
* you make a Fort save against it once per day
* you can Cure it (i.e. move UP the track by 1 state) by making two consecutive successful saves

And then as an example of poisons, let's take the Id Moss poison:

* when you're Weakened, you take a -2 penalty to all Intelligence ability checks and Intelligence-based skill checks. You also get a -2 penalty to the save DCs of all your Intelligence-based spells, and you cannot cast your highest level of spells
* when you're Impaired, you also no longer gain bonus spell slots from having high Intelligence, and any ability pools that are based on Intelligence are no longer increased by your Intelligence. The save DC penalty increases to -4, and you cannot your your two-highest levels of spells
* when you're Animalistic, you suffer from the effects of the Feeblemind spell
* when you're Comatose ... you're comatose.
* when you're Dead ... you're dead
* the Fort DC against this disease is 14
* as with all poisons, you take HP damage as soon as you're exposed to the poison, whether you successfully or not. The damage is equal to the save DC, minus 10, and then divided by 2, or in this case 2 damage
* you make a Fort save against it once per per minute for 6 minutes
* you can Cure it by making a successful save

There's a fairly extensive list of diseases and poisons of varying potencies and potential uses, and sometimes they play around with the mechanics: some effects don't go beyond the third or fourth track (and so can't kill you), while some effects can only be cured by magic, and some effects have (near-)permanent effects even after they've been cured.

This section I would say accomplishes some of the goals that it set out for itself: because the effects no longer just inflict stat penalties, they're both easier to integrate into the game without needing to do a lot of derived-stat-math, and the penalties can be both gentler at the early onset and harsher at the late stages. This sort of progression is also more intuitive to deal with, and dare I say realistic, but in a good way. It divorced itself from the D&D 3rd Edition model of diseases and poisons, and is arguably all the better for it.

What it does not address is the relative power of spells like Neutralize Poison and Cure Disease and Heal to simply remove most of these effects completely. High-level spellcasters that are willing to put in the effort will not have a problem dealing with most diseases and poisons unless they're shackled/limited in some other way. Overall, I'd say these rules are well worth using.


EDIT: As Alien Rope Burn later pointed out, a version of these rules were included in Starfinder. That makes two so far (the other being the Revised Action Economy) that Paizo took from this book and carried forward into their later work.

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 06:50 on Apr 11, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Rogue Trader

A complete misunderstanding of an older system

I should note you also roll at this point to see how much starting profit you have and how badass your starting ship will be, but I'll cover all that when we get to gear and ships when it will actually mean something. Suffice to say if you started with a Cruiser or something you're going to be so poor you have trouble buying a lasgun.

Rogue Trader's class system is the first really bad part of the system. We begin with a really stupid idea: You start with 5000 EXP, but can only spend 500 of it. This is to 'balance' you against cross-play with Dark Heresy; they estimate an RT character starts at about 5000 EXP for a DH PC. Also, you remember how Ranks in careers were really quick early on in DH? That isn't the case anymore. Rank 1 is from 5000 to 7000 EXP, and as we'll get to later, the expected rate of advance is 500 EXP a session. When I ran the game, my PCs actually ran out of things they wanted to buy in Rank 1 outside of stat-ups before they finished the rank. Ranks start costing more very quickly; in DH, if a character didn't get, say, Swift Attack until Rank 4 they could count on getting there in 8-10 sessions. Here, if you go by expected EXP (I imagine most groups increased EXP gain, especially if they only met once a week) you'd need to be playing for a long while before you got access to it. I make this point because a lot of really important talents and things are locked behind Rank 4-5 without much thought of how much further away that is than it was in DH. Your character will be very limited in what they can do at low ranks, and the starting talents and skills aren't expansive enough to make you feel like the badass Master of the Universe you're supposed to be.

Also, for some reason, they changed the costs on everything. Every skill and Talent outside of some rank 1 ones that are mostly reprints of your starting skills costs 200/500 now (Most of Rank 1 is actually just stuff you already start with). Stats cost the same. I THINK the intent was to promote higher stat growth by making them relatively less expensive compared to skills and talents. But it also screws up the whole 'an RT PC is a DH PC with 5000 EXP' when EXP has a different value for the two PCs types. You can't use assumed EXP total as a cross-platform balancer when you keep changing how much an EXP point is worth!

The first class is the Actual Rogue Trader. You have to have one, and the book suggests you should probably only have one. This is the actual captain and holder of the Warrant of Trade. They come with the ability to use every non-exotic pistol and melee weapon, but won't learn to fire a rifle until Rank 4. That's right, your Rogue Trader can never learn how to fire a Lasgun until rank 4. The Universal Weapon Talents are just weird. They also come with a bunch of leadership and talky skills, and they're good at WS, Intelligence, and Fel while being poor at Str and Toughness. They're basically a more confused Scum from DH if the Scum was also bad at stealth. In general, the classes are very confused about how they'll actually play. Like how RT sort of wants to be a dashing melee specialist and talker, and while they're good at talking, the poor Str and Tough and the fact that no-one gets, say, a second attack in melee until Rank 4 at the least as well as the availability of exotic and powerful firearms kind of pushes the entire game towards guns. Talent-wise the RT is probably the 'best' melee specialist, but they don't have the stats to back it up and lots of other expensive stuff is going to push them not to buy those stats. They also learn more Exotic Weapons than other classes, which is fine. They also get some ship-boosting talents, and a special ability where they give an ally +10% to one check per round as a free action since they're good leaders.

Oh god, the poor Arch-Militant. The Arch-Militant is meant to be the grizzled badass captain of the ship's military forces. What they are is basically a 3.5 Fighter. They get a special ability to get +10 to hit, +2 damage, +2 Init when wielding weapons of one 'class' (The game never specifies anywhere if this is Melee/Pistol/Basic/Heavy or if it's, say, Bolt Weapons, Las Weapons, etc) and are good at BS, Str, and Agi while being bad at Int, WP, and Per. They are absolutely terrible in melee, gaining a confused mishmash of hand to hand combat abilities despite their high Str advance. They start out able to use any non-Heavy, non-Exotic weapon except Flamethrowers, those are special for some reason. They never really learn to do anything but fight, and aren't useful for leading troops. The thing that's galling is they aren't even especially good at fighting. The Guardsman in DH had its flaws with its WP weakness and inflexibility, but by God if you put the Guard in a situation that just required brute force, they could do it. The Arch Militant's BS and Agi are useful for gunfighting, sure, but it won't be until Rank 5 before they can really dual-wield pistols or gain critical talents like Mighty Shot. They don't even learn to do commando poo poo. You're just a dumb, poorly built trigger-puller with no toughness, leadership ability, and you never even get a second melee attack until rank 8, never even getting a 3rd one. Friends don't let friends play Arch-Militants.

The Astropath Transcendent has a totally new Psy system and is also the ship's main communication system. They're good at Int and WP, bad at WS, BS, and Fel, and they're generally very knowledgeable wizards. They're also soul-bound to the Emperor, which explodes their eyes, but they can see fine without them and are immune to further blinding. There's really nothing wrong with their class, and their Psy is much more limited than a DH Psyker; since they're Astropaths, they only learn Telepathy, Telekinesis, and Divination magic in the core book. Gone are the many Minor Psychic Powers, as well. You just get a few big powers. Most of their powers for combat were kind of weak compared to just using a gun and got buffed significantly in later errata. They use a Psy system similar to one in Deathwatch rather than the one in Dark Heresy. There's nothing really wrong with this class; it's knowledgeable and it's got decent psy, and that's all its trying to do. Their special is being able to make their Psy a bit safer (roll a d10 and add or subtract it from the Perils table) and big bonuses against possession. They only start out with Telepathy and can only learn additional psy later.

Oh boy, here comes the Explorator. The Explorator is one of the most powerful classes in the game. This is the turbo-techpriest, and every single group I've ever heard of has some hyper-badass heretek Explorator (Pick your flavor: Grafting Tyranid bits on for bio-power or Loves Them Some Necrons) somewhere in it. They're good at Strength, Toughness, and Intelligence and bad at Agility, Perception, and Fel. They get all kinds of tech skills, heavy cybernetic augmentations and powers, and this is the book that introduces 'extra Armor just for being a Techpriest' talents. They'll eventually be a better melee fighter faster than the Arch Militant. They can also probably outshoot him due to Machinator Array making them stabilized and hyper-strong for heavy and exotic weaponry. They're also, you know, useful for something other than pulling a trigger. The Explorator starts with 2 cybernetics as their special, and can spend 200 EXP to increase either to Good, or 400 to make on Best. One of the Cybernetics they can start with can give them Unnatural Str x2 if it's Best. Another can give Unnatural Intx2. They can start with laser eyes. A Best Cortex Implant (the hyper-intelligence one) is supposed to be the kind of thing even an RT will have trouble affording. With time, your Explorator will be an amazing physical powerhouse who has a ton of cybernetic magic and tech skill. They oil their giant cannon implants with the tears of Arch Militants.

The Missionary is kind of an odd man out. They're Cleric from DH, but without the flexibility and with a strong focus on hand to hand combat and flamethrowers. Good WS, WP, and Fel, bad BS (Don't need BS to aim a flamethrower!) and Intelligence. This despite starting with Medicae and being implied to be a team medic. They're a lot like the Cleric except they get the Faith Talents from the Sisters, which we didn't have time to cover. Faith Talents let you spend Fate to do extra miracles, or burn it to do crazy over the top holy manifestations of righteous power. Unlike a Sister, they don't get to choose which Faith talents they buy and when. They're also missing a lot of the Sisters' best group-buffing ones. Faith talents are cool, but the Missionary is missing most of the best ones. And you already have a high fellowship face character because you needed to have a Rogue Trader. You're going to be missing some classes in a party (There's 8 classes and most groups are 3-5 players) and Missionary is a strong candidate for being one of them.

I hate the Navigator class a lot. You're the warp-sensitive mutant who can see the ship through an annoying random encounter subsystem. That's your main job on board. Otherwise you're not good at much besides generic 'knowledgeable space wizard' stuff and a handful of magic powers that are generally pretty awkward to use. They're good at Int, WP, and Per, bad at WS, Agi, and Fel, and they beg the question every time you set out: If this person dies, we are stranded, so why the hell is our irreplaceable genetic aberration whose family charged us more money than two Presidentss to assign them to us out there getting shot at? It's a class more easily relegated to an NPC, and it doesn't bring anything to the table besides occasionally making a few special rolls in transit to see if something zany happens. They can absolutely melt people to ash by opening their third eye and showing them the Warp, though, so I guess there is that. Just, uh, warn your buddies before you do it. And even then you might kill your allies.

Alright, I've been hard on the classes, but in concept at least, the RT version of the Adept kind of rules. The Seneschal is the competent middleman on the ship who actually knows where all the money is, and who is also an able spy and action accountant. I'm not kidding, the class picture is a well-appointed man descending on a commando rope with his quill stuck between his teeth. They are the quiet man or woman who actually runs most of the business side of things while the Rogue Trader struts around and waves their power sword for the holo-picts, and they're good at Int, Per, and Fel while being bad at Str and WP. They're competent enough with a gun (and hilariously, can start with an anti-tank microwave pistol hidden under their robes) and excellent at all the skills needed to be a know-it-all spy and skillful business manager. Their special class ability gives them +1 DoS on Inquiry, Commerce, and Evaluate tests (They know business, and they know what everything is worth) and lets them spend Fate to automatically succeed a Lore, Ciphers, or Logic test regardless of difficulty, in the minimum time required, with the best result. If you need someone to know things and actually run your stupid interstellar trade empire, the Seneschal is a pretty neat update to make an Action Adept.

Finally we get the Void Master, another confused class that has an amazingly powerful special ability and nothing else. They're meant to be the hardened NCO or duty-officer who runs the helm, guns, or sensors of the ship. They get good BS, Agi, and WP, poor Fel and Int (despite being, you know, an officer). Their class abilities are a wide mishmash of piloting and maybe some shooting and stuff, but they aren't really good at much outside of space-ship crew stuff. They'll generally be a mediocre fighter with an array of random skills, but the reason you bring one is that their Special lets them reroll failed tests aboard a starship. They pick what they're good with: Small Craft (Piloting checks), Helmsman (Maneuvers, rerolling failed tests without needing Fate on this is huge), Gunner (BS tests, which is a huge goddamn deal) or sensor officer (Eh, still useful). They only get that one thing. You take this class for what they can do on a ship; the character will be pretty meh everywhere else, and probably very bored.

So yes, classes are a weird mishmash of confused ideas that take a very long time to feel competent and generally don't live up to their fluff. Also the Techpriest will become an angry God and the accountant is probably the most competent person on the ship.

Next Time: A note on Skills and Talents before Gear.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


gradenko_2000 posted:

This section I would say accomplishes some of the goals that it set out for itself: because the effects no longer just inflict stat penalties, they're both easier to integrate into the game without needing to do a lot of derived-stat-math, and the penalties can be both gentler at the early onset and harsher at the late stages. This sort of progression is also more intuitive to deal with, and dare I say realistic, but in a good way. It divorced itself from the D&D 3rd Edition model of diseases and poisons, and is arguably all the better for it.

What it does not address is the relative power of spells like Neutralize Poison and Cure Disease and Heal to simply remove most of these effects completely. High-level spellcasters that are willing to put in the effort will not have a problem dealing with most diseases and poisons unless they're shackled/limited in some other way. Overall, I'd say these rules are well worth using.


Once again, I agree entirely. That said, at lower levels (where the game was already more balanced and, in my opinion, more fun anyway), it makes both poison and disease more dangerous and more interesting to deal with. Especially if (as I would generally recommend, you just tell the PCs what they're experiencing instead of outright telling them that they're diseased).

Speaking of D&D 3rd Edition...

D&D 3rd Edition - The Core Books

Part 13: Characters (Part 2)

So we continue this chapter by moving straight into the variant rule that allows for multiclassing at first level. Basically, each player class has a 0th level - it is BAB 0, +1 to your good save and +0 to your bad ones, fewer spells if it's a spell casting class, and fewer class abilities. The Fighter gets their level one bonus feat here - which kinda makes sense, since 0 is technically an even number. Other classes get some level based abilities here (with their level counting as 0). The wizard only gets bonus first level spells for high intelligence or specialisation, with none otherwise, while the Cleric only gets their domain spell as a first level spell. Basically, you pick two classes to be apprentice level in, and add all of the class features you get for apprentice level. You pick a primary class for hit points, class skills and skill points (so a Fighter/Rogue would start with either 10 hp and 8 skill pointss or 6 hp and 32 skill points. At second level, you roll the hit die of your secondary class and gain its skill points (and class skills for the level), in addition to gaining everything else needed to be a full fledged first level character in both classes.

Next, we come to levelling up. By default, it's assumed that so long as the PCs have access to civilisation of some description, they can do all the training and research they need to level up. That kind of stuff is largely assumed to happen in the background, so that once XP hits the right point, no further training is needed to level up. The first variant rule for this is requiring training to increase skills and/or gain feats - including the requirement to pay someone to teach you. Honestly, I wouldn't do this - it screws over the Fighter and the Rogue quite heavily while only being a minor inconvenience at most to everyone else. Another variant is how new spells are learned - a Sorcerer might need to make a deal with some inherently magical being to learn how to use their own innate magic, while a Wizard might have to spend time and money researching the spells they would normally get automatically on levelling up (though naturally they still don't need to roll for them). A third is to make everybody spend time and money getting training in order to gain a new level - this should not be combined with either of the others, since the price given includes such training. Alternatively, time may need to be spent in generalised downtime to level up (either a day per level, or just 1d4 days). The final variant listed here is that of fixed hit points - instead of rolling, you take precisely half the maximum (so Fighters get 5 hp instead of rolling a d10). While this is slightly below average, it's far better than potentially rolling significantly below average.

After this, we get the rules for creating a character above first level. This is easiest to do by creating a first level character and increasing them level by level. There is also a table of starting money for higher level PCs - 900GP for second level PCs, going up to 760,000 GP for 20th level PCs. Remember that all spells added to your spell books take up space, cost money to acquire and cost money to add to the spell book - a Wizard with access to most of the spells on their list will have a small library of spell books, and as such will not only need a travel spell book, but will need somewhere to store all their main books and will have spent a significant amount of money on all of those, reducing the amount of money they have left for magical items. Speaking of magical items, it is recommended that instead of giving the players a level to gen at, you instead give them a number of XP - this allows spellcasters to create their own magical items, but as such they will start at a lower level than other members of the party. It also makes it easier to deal with XP penalties for weird multiclassing combos.

This is follwed by a section on how the various player characters fit into society. Members of a PC class are amongst the most capable people in the world (or at least have the most potential) - a level 1 Fighter is easily the match of a level 2 Warrior, for example. The difference, for the most part, is a matter of training. Training is what separates an Adept from a Cleric or Wizard; a Warrior from a Fighter, and so on. Training isn't everything, of course - someone with INT 6 will never be a Wizard, for example - but anybody can become a member of any class (presumably becoming a Sorcerer would involve there having always been the potential, but some training being or awakening of power being required for the first level to be taken). The following descriptions of how classes otherwise fit into the world are direct quotes:

Barbarian posted:

Barbarians have no place in civilised society - that's the point. In their own tribal society they are hunters, warriors and war chiefs. but in a civilised community, the best they can hope for is to join Fighters' organisations and fill a Fighters' roles. Often, Fighters from a civilised society will not follow a Barbarian leader unless he's somehow proved himself worthy of their loyalty. Barbarians of legend often aspire to gather those like them and found their own tribe, or even their own kingdom.

Bard posted:

Bards serve as entertainers, either on their own, singing for their supper, or in troupes. Some Bards aspire to be an aristocrat's personal troubadour. Bards occasionally gather in colleges of learning and entertainment. Well known, high level Bards often found Bard colleges. These colleges serve as the standard educational system for a city as well as a kind of Bards' guild where they can find training and support.

Cleric posted:

Most Clerics have an organisational structure build right into their class. Religions have hierarchies, and each Cleric has hisplace within it. Clerics may find themselves assigned duties by their churches, or they might be free agents. Clerics can serve in the military of an aristocrat sanctioned by their religion, or within some autonomous church-based military order established for defence. A high level Cleric can hope one day to be the shepherd of his own congregation and temple, although some become religious advisors to aristocrats or the leaders of communities of their own, with its people looking to the Cleric for religious and temporal guidance. Clerics often work with Paladins, and virtually every knightly order has at least one Cleric member.

Druid posted:

Druids are often loners. They cloister themselves deep in the wilderness in sacred groves or other areas that they have claimed for themselves, sometimes working with a single Ranger or a group of Rangers. Druids sometimes organise themselves in loose affiliations. On rare occasions, Druids sharing a particular focus may organise themselves as a tight knit order. Sometimes creatures such as satyrs, centaurs or other fey join these groups as well.

All Druids are at least nominally members of Druidic society, which spans the globe. The society is so loose, however, that it may have little influence on a particular Druid.

Druids assist, and sometimes even lead, small rural communities that benefit from their wisdom and power.

Fighter posted:

These characters often serve as mercenaries or officers in the army. The sheriff in a small town might well be a Fighter. Common soldiers and guards are usually Warriors.

Fighters may be loners or may gather to form martial societies for training, camaraderie, and employment (such as mercenary companies, bodyguards and so on). High level Fighters of great renown typically found such societies. A Fighter of common birth can also hope to become an aristocrat's champion one day, but those with aspirations to true greatness plan on earning their own grants of land to become nobility in their own right.

Monk posted:

The tradition of Monk training started in distant lands, but now has become common enough that local people can go off to monasteries and learn the spiritual and martial arts. In large cities, Monks learn their skills in special academies. Monk often serve the monastery or academy that trained them. Other times, however, htey may join a different monastery or academy. A high level Monk with a good reputation can even foudn her own monastery or academy.

Only on rare occasions does a Monk find a place in society outside her monastery. Such monks can become spiritual advisors, military commanders, or even law enforcers. A unit of Monks in an army or in the local constabulary would be feared indeed.

Paladin posted:

Paladins are knights, working for their church or within a knightly order. Qualifying for an order is often difficult, and membership always requires that the Paladin follow a specific code of conduct. These orders sometimes allow non-Paladins as members, with good aligned Rangers and Fighters being the most common sort of non-Paladin members. No Paladin organisation exists long without a Cleric for support, advice, or leadership, however.

Paladins can serve in the military of an aristocrat sanctioned by their religion, or within some autonomous curch based military order established for defence. A high level P{aladin might seek to rule her own domain (to bestow her just benevolence upon the masses), establish her own temple where none existed before, or to serve as the trusted lieutenant of a high priest or worthy aristocrat. Paladins in such service are often called justicars or something similar, implying that the Paladin is in charge of dispensive church sanctified justice.

Ranger posted:

Rangers often seclude themselves, wandering into the wilderness for long stretches of time. If they aspire to leadership, it is often as the warden of a small frontier community. Some Rangers form loose knit and often secretive organisations. These Ranger groups watch over events in the land and gather to exchange information. They often have the best view of the grand picture of everything that occurs. High level Rangers aspire to found their own Ranger societies or to establish and rules new communities, often those they have carved out of the wilderness itself.

Rangers and Druids often work together, even sharing the same secretive network. Sometimes a Ranger group includes a few Druids, or vice versa.

Rogue posted:

Rogues may serve in armies as spies or scouts. They can work as operatives of temples or as general troubleshooters for aristocrats, having attained these unique positions because of the versatility of their skills and abilities.

Frequently, however, Rogues gathertogether in guilds devoted to their area of expertise: theft. Thieves' guilds are common. The larger a city is, the more likely it is to have a thieves' guild. The populace and the constabulary sometimes hate these guilds. At other times, they are tolerated or even accepted, so long as they don't allow themselves to get out of hand in their work. Acceptance is often gained through bribery in politically corrupt areas.

Sorcerer posted:

Sorcerers, to the general populace, are indistinguishable from Wizards. They often fill the same roles in society, although they rarely join Wizards' guilds, since they have no need to research and study. Sorcerers, more than Wizards, keep to themselves. Sorcerers are more likely to hand about the fringes of society, among creatures that other people would consider monsters.

Conversely, some Sorcerers find that military life suits them even better than Wizards. Sorcerers focused on battle spells are more deadly than Wizards, and they often are better with weapons. A high level Sorcerer might aspire to the same sorts of goals a Wizard would. Despite their similarities, their differing approaches means Wizards and Sorcerers find themselves in conflict more often than they get along

Wizard posted:

Wizards can serve many roles in society. Wizards for hire are useful to the military as firepower (some armies employ entire units of Wizards to blast the enemy, protect troops from danger, tear down castle walls, and so on). Or a Wizard can serve the community as a well paid troubleshooter - someone able to rid the town of vermin, stop the levee from bursting, or foretell the future. A Wizard can open a shop and sell magic items she creates or cast needed spells for a fee. She can aspire to serve an aristocrat as an advisor and chief Wizard, or even rule over a community on her own. Sometimes, the public fears a Wizard for her power, but more often than not the local Wizard is a highly respected member of the community.

Wizards sometimes gather in guilds, societies or cabals for mutual research, and to live among those who understand the endless fascination of magic. Only the most powerful and famous of Wizards have the reputations necessary to found permanent establishments, such as a Wizards' school. Where they exist, Wizards' guilds control such issues as the price and availability of spells and magic items in a community.

These descriptions, of course, are always subject to change. These are defaults only, and changes from these defaults are explored in Chapter 6: World Building.

After this, we get the section on guilds and organisations. It is simply a short section pointing out that if a guild exists for whatever it is you do for a living (for example if you plan to open up a magic shop and there's a Wizards' guild), you'd best be a member. Guilds typically offer training and equipment at discounted prices, lodging, information, hiring opportunities, contacts, legal benefits and some level of protection to their members, and they typically insist that anybody doing that job be a member of the guild. Not all organisations the PCs may join need be based on class; some may have members of many classes working together to a common goal.

Next, we get a side bar on how the Leadership feat works. Basically, you have a leadership score equal to your character level, modified by your Charisma modifier. So long as you have a leaderhip score of at least 2, you can attract a cohort (an NPC who joins the party at a lower level than your PC). If it is 10 or higher, you gain a number of followers - eventually this can become a small army with officers of up to 6th level. A cohort gains XP equal to half the XP that the PC gains, and levels up independently to a maximum level of one lower than the PC.

The leadership score is also modified by how the character behaves (aloof or cruel leaders, for example, tend to end up with fewer followers, while fair leaders tend to end up with more). Having a familiar, Paladin's warhorse, or animal companion reduces your effective leadership score for the purposes of attracting a cohort, as do getting a cohort of a different alignment or getting your cohorts killed. Meanwhile, moving around a lot and getting followers killed reduces your leadership for the purposes of having followers (leading to desertion from your army), while having a stronghold of some description increases it. Also, you can get special cohorts; for example, rather than a level 8 human cohort, you might attract a Unicorn to your side.

We also get a side bar on how animal companions work. A Druid or a Ranger may cast Animal Friendship to gain an animal companion - but they are just animals. As such, they need to be trained using Animal Handling in order to learn the various tricks they need in order to make themselves useful.

Finally, we receive a section on building NPCs. This section is largely tables, a list of feats and class features for NPCs of a given class and level, and a note on the difference between Elite (maximum hp at first level and 4d6 drop the lowest for stats) and Average (roll hit die for first level hp and 3d6 for stats) NPCs, noting that some members of PC classes may still only be Average by these definitions.

Well, that took a while - sorry for the delay, I had a con to GM for. Next up, we have chapter 3: Running the Game.

RatEarth
Aug 7, 2017

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


Urban Jungle: Part 4

Last time we looked at the process of making a character, so this time we'll look at some finished characters. This will be a good opportunity to show off some of the gifts and skills as well. Forgive the lovely formatting, I did these in MS Paint.

Leraika posted:

Some sort of gecko boxer, in a nod to the only good thing to come out of Hc Svnt Dracones.

There was a prize fighter career, but I thought athlete would be more appropriate since it gives you the Wrestling gift. I put his d8s in Body and Career, since he's a famous (which also happens to be his type) luchador, so he needs to be strong and good at what he does. I put his d4 in Mind, since years of getting hit in the head have left him a little slow. His name is Martin Rodriguez, but when he puts on the mask he becomes El Gecko. He carries the gear that comes with being an athlete (rough outfit, towel), and I replaced the thing that comes with the famous trait (which can be a makeup bag or comb) with his trademark mask. Most of his favored skills involve fighting, but I opted for climbing in athletics since he's, you know, a gecko. I also decided to make his favored use for deceit disguise, since he hides his true identity with the mask. Most basic gifts don't need to be recharged, so sadly we can't really go over that, but it's fairly simple and self-explanatory. He has a flashy personality, being one of the forerunners of lucha libre in the United States, so if he's doing anything that might involve being flashy he can opt to take a d12 bonus, which is used up until he takes a rest (8 hours and a meal). He gets the Climbing and Coward gifts from his species. Climbing gives him a d12 bonus to any rolls where you're trying to climb something, and removes any die limitations (basically, if you're trying to do anything while climbing, your die size to do that thing is limited to either d4 or your highest athletics die, and this applies to other situations like swimming as well). Coward doesn't necessarily mean your character is a coward personality-wise (certainly, El Gecko never backs down from a challenge!), but rather it gives your character a bonus d12 to dodge and to scramble away from danger (scrambling is an action explained later) when they're panicked. You can become panicked any time, either by using you panic soak or, since you have the Coward gift, simply stating that you become panicked at any point in combat. So, you could feasible roll your dodge, come up short a success, and choose to become panicked to roll your bonus d12. Being panicked comes with several drawbacks, which we'll go over when we get to combat. He gets a d12 bonus to rallying his allies and public speaking since his type gives him the Leadership gift. His career gives him the ability to use a d12 to assist instead of a d8 with the Team Player gift (those years of tag-team wrestling paid off). He also gets the ability to use specific wrestling attacks, which I listed in the attacks section (most of that will make more sense when I get into combat). His type gives him an additional soak, a -4 to damage that recharges after rests. His main short-term goal is to beat his bitter rival Bobby "The Beast" McKinzie in the ring, finally cementing himself as the best wrestler in all of San Dorado.


Leraika posted:

Alternately an anarchist.

JackMann posted:

The tramp. I'm sure there's some sort of hobo career.

I decided to combine these two ideas into one character. Willie Davis is a vagrant by choice, pretty much what we'd consider a crust punk by today's standards. His d8s are in his will and type, since he's determined to bring down the current system, and his d4 is in species, since he doesn't think your species should define who you are. He's a coyote with the rebel type, a devoted anarchist. His goal is to take out a crooked official, whether by violence or some other means. His favored use for athletics is sprinting, since he's always chasing trains, his favored use for negotiation is with criminals, since there are a number of other rebels in their ranks, for observation it's initiative, since he's always ready for a fight, and for presence it's vs authority figures, since his raw hatred for them is intimidating. He wears a rough outfit, carries his bindle (no 20s hobo would be complete without it), and his type lets him carry around a manifesto, so he chose The Conquest of Bread, which is a turn-of-the-century anarchist work. His type also gives him two soaks instead of a soak and a gift, so he can take a -2 that recharges every hit, and a -2 that recharges every scene (about five minutes game-time). His personality is zealous, and his species gifts let him use brawling attacks and take a bonus d12 to tracking someone or covering his own tracks. His career gifts are Streetwise and Survival. Streetwise gives him a bonus d12 to recognizing the criminal element in society and to gossiping to find out about criminality, plus he can buy illegal goods at 50% of the cost and sell them back at 10% of the listed cost, instead of the usual 5%. Survival gives him a bonus d12 to any rolls involving wilderness survival, like finding food or water, or to create shelter. I listed his special brawling attacks in the attack section.


Ratoslov posted:

Give me a nebbishy dog accountant with the Hard Boiled type. He's found a small discrepancy in the road department's books, and he's gonna pull on that thread and unravel the whole drat city, and nobody's gonna stop him.

Patrick Burrowes is a hard-boiled bloodhound-terrier mix bureaucrat who thinks he's found the conspiracy of the century. His d8s are in mind and career, since he's a pretty smart guy and a drat good accountant. His d4 is in body, because he can't do half the stunts they pull in the detective movies he watches, despite him telling you otherwise. After all, he's just an accountant. A lot of his favored skills involve shooting, since he enjoys shooting for sport (and practice for any potential shootouts that might come from his investigation, again, he watches too many detective films). He swims at the public pool in his spare time, since it's one of the few means of exercise that doesn't leave him on the ground wheezing in five minutes. One of the few things all the detective-based media he consumes has taught him is blackmail, and the more people hate him the harder he's willing to press them for information. His type also gives him two soaks, a winded soak that he can take an action in combat to recover and a hurt soak for -3 damage. Like Willie, he also gets the Brawling and Tracking gifts. However, his career gives him Bribery and Research. Bribery gives you a d12 bonus to any roll involving, well, bribery. It also means that you don't automatically offend someone (and immediate give them a bad Opinion of you) if you fail to offer an illegal bribe, like those without that gift do. Research gives you a d12 to any roll where you might have access to a large body of information on the subject, like a library or dossier. I listed his pistol under attacks, just to show what a ranged attack write-up looks like. He gets to wear a fancy work outfit and carry his pocket pistol and stamp pad. His trait also gives him a hip flask, since no hard-boiled character would be complete without it.

Eventually you can get more gifts through character progression, but this is what your baseline starting character might look like. As you can see, there's a lot of ways to fit the mechanics into your character's own backstory and personality (like with favored uses), which is one of the reasons I love this game and Ironclaw so much.

Next time: Character Interactions and Combat!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Scion: Hero
I Am Large And Drunk

Classical Centaurs reject city life and exist for the open plains and hills. They don't try to be anything they're not, and they don't trust others easily, but are not cowards. They never flee. They are rough types, good with animals and farming, but when they drink, they become violent, passionate and dangerous. They'll fight just about anyone, break things and steal things, because drunk centaurs are a huge problem.

Heroic Centaur
Lash Out: You can use your hooves as a weapon with the Bashing, Melee and Worn tags.
Tireless: On relatively level ground, you can run indefinitely without tiring.

Kinnara resemble centaurs, but they are not like them at all. Theirs is the way of love, dance and song. This isn't just lust, either - every kinnara loves deeply, just one person. They are gentle, tender lovers who prefer to avoid violence. They are refined beings, with a love for good food, good music and elegant dance from all over the world. They love culture almost as much as their beloved. While their lovers are alive, they are always close and would do anything to protect them. If their lover dies, they become resentful of others in love until they can find someone to replace the lover - not an easy task, given the depth of their love.

Nuckelavee are hideous. They might be mistaken, at a distance, for a centaur - but up close, it's clear that they aren't. They have transparent skin, webbed feet rather than hooves, and plant life burns away where they walk. Their skin is coated in a deadly poison, except when they are in water, which renders it harmless. This is why the nuckelavee tend to deal with sailors and fishers - it makes them feel less monstrous, for they are safe unless angered enough to stalk the land.

Heroic Nuckelavee
My Mother, The Sea: You can breathe underwater, ignore underwater Obstacles and can swim as fast as you run. Your Poison Skin stops working while underwater.
Poison Skin: If you touch someone or are touched barehanded, you are treated as having the Toxin quality.

Naga are either snakes that become people or people that become snakes; they neither know nor especially care which. In human form, they grant wealth and fertility to those they consider worthy, and as snakes, they hunt out mysteries underground. They tend to prefer living underground or at least in the shade, though they do not fear the sun. They tend to become lazy on hot days, but that doesn't mean they're slow.

Heroic Naga
Fertile Touch: You can bless a human that asks you to do so. If they are pregnant, their child will come to term healthy and there will be no complications. Otherwise, they are guaranteed to have a child the next time they have consensual sex, even if the pairing wouldn't usually be able to have kids. This works on anyone that could theoretically bear or conceive a child.
Hidden Treasures: Once per session, you can produce up to $500 in gems or precious metals. If you do not give them to someone else by the end of the scene, they vanish.

Troll-Blooded are the descendants of full trolls. Their human blood allows them to pass for human most of the time and tempers their trollish instincts with control, though they tend to be rough-looking folks. They know that their nature would be unwelcome if revealed, so they usually try to hide and control it so that people don't come after them. Fortunately for them, most people never realize that they inherit cunning and wisdom from their trollish family, not just raw strength, so when they are revealed, they can often handle it.

Heroic Troll-Blooded
Deceptive Strength: While you are not any larger than a human, you are treated as a Scale 1 being.
Spiteful Rebuke: When someone deals you a -2 Injury or worse, you may spend your next action cursing them with Cunning+Occult. If you succeed, they become paralyzed by fear for several rounds based on your Presence.

Oni are...well, were people who made many bad choices in life. Or maybe they were animals that liked eating people. Both routes exist. Now, they can choose - either be the monsters everyone sees them as, or try to break the cycle by punishing those who are truly wicked. They can never pass for normal, however. They hunger for flesh and are innately cruel in their actions, and everyone that sees them knows they are a threat. Their skin is red or blue, and they often have tusks, horns, extra toes or fingers, or other obvious monstrous traits.

Heroic Oni
Innate Cruelty: Any weapon you use gains the Brutal tag.

Werewolves...well, you know what they are. And you know that silver burns them. Everyone knows that. Some werewolves are cursed with their nature, while others choose it. Whatever the case, they change into a monstrous wolf under the full moon, hunting for pleasure and hunger. While some werewolves hate what they do in their wolf form, part of them always craves the times when they run wild.

Nagual Shapeshifters are not werejaguars. They are sorcerers. They perform dark deeds in the night at the behest of others, and they are paid well for it. They almost never work for free, and everyone in their community knows that, so the wise give them gifts even when asking for nothing. They often believe it protects them when the nagual is hired to gently caress with them by a neighbor. The nagual shapeshifters are shrewd bargainers, and are definitely not above revealing what a rival has paid them to get a price raised.

Heroic Nagual Shapeshifter
Nagual Shapeshifting: From sunset to sunrise, you can transform into a specific animal, chosen at chargen - a bat, a snake, a rabbit, a dog, a deer, a monkey, a jaguar or a vulture. In that form, you cannot be told from a normal animal, and you gain all movement and attack abilities of that animal, though you keep your own stats.
Wary Beasts: Unless compelled by magic or Legendary creatures, normal animals avoid you and will never attack you. This can reveal your nagual nature if someone makes an Occult roll, however.

Next time: Aje, Nagual Sorcerer, Wu, Aos Si, Jo-Gee-Oh, Yaksha, Jiaoren, Nixie

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


I mean I think part of the problem with Rogue Trader is that yes, Rogue Trader characters are theoretically supposed to be really powerful yet at the same time in the grand scheme of things they're NOT. Like at best they're bad dudes FOR HUMANS which means they're likely to get clowned on by aliens that are significantly better than humans at something.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


I mean, to be fair, you're basically the East India Company, except in space. The main reason that the main British army ended up in places like India and China was that groups like the East India Company went in, hosed things up for the locals, got hosed up in turn, and called for backup from home. If the player characters are doing the lion's share of the fighting themselves, there's a decent chance they're playing the wrong game.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Feinne posted:

I mean I think part of the problem with Rogue Trader is that yes, Rogue Trader characters are theoretically supposed to be really powerful yet at the same time in the grand scheme of things they're NOT. Like at best they're bad dudes FOR HUMANS which means they're likely to get clowned on by aliens that are significantly better than humans at something.

Part of this is the different way 40kRP handles scaling. Like, say you're a Str 4 model on the Table Top Wargame. In Fantasy RP, that means you have a 40-50 Strength, like a mook Chaos Warrior. In 40kRP that means you have UNNATURAL STRENGTH and double your Strength Bonus. The idea of a racial bonus as a literal doubling of competence/power rather than a statistical edge not only causes problems with the game's own scaling system, but leads to stuff like the basic Ork Boy in the old DH bestiary having like d10+10 Pen2 Tearing (d10+7 Pen2 Tearing when not charging) with a TB of 'gently caress your lasgun' behind it.

Which then leads to creating weapons and gear that will bypass that or close the gap. Which when applied to the exceptionally frail human PCs, kill them instantly.

E: Also, yes, one of the other problems we'll be seeing is you're playing a game where you're essentially a very powerful and possibly murderous corporate board, but you don't actually have many mechanics related to saying 'Jeeves, go and commit some treachery for me' or 'Ah, deploy the legions, I shall watch from my mobile oppression palace'. All the game's actual mechanics are based around you 3-5 guys going down as an away team to get up to stuff, with very little mechanical support for what to do with the tens of thousands of indentured soldiers and troops and spies and poo poo you're supposed to have.

Normally I wouldn't have a problem with this (I totally don't mind Swashbuckling Heroes Deal With Things Themselves), except that almost every objective is related to your massive commercial empire and the game's fluff is constantly reminding you that you're a mighty, hyper-wealthy noble with legions of soldiers and hordes of agents.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 17:32 on Apr 10, 2018

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I feel like pretty much all the 40k RPGs need to have their mechanics smashed and crushed down to something that's about as simple and linearly scaled as, like, some version of Basic D&D or Gamma World.

Impermanent
Apr 1, 2010








drat WHFRP with Gamma World's (D&D 4e ed) ruleset and card system would actually be dope as hell and exactly good at the kind of thing people want out of that kind of system.

Piell
Sep 3, 2006

Grey Worm's Ken doll-like groin throbbed with the anticipatory pleasure that only a slightly warm and moist piece of lemoncake could offer



Young Orc

Impermanent posted:

drat WHFRP with Gamma World's (D&D 4e ed) ruleset and card system would actually be dope as hell and exactly good at the kind of thing people want out of that kind of system.

WHFRP3 was kind of like this

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Like, I see the *logic* behind Unnaturals. You have them because in WHFRP2e, I have played a PC who has a higher Str and Tough score than a Dragon. The difference being that character is still significantly weaker than a Dragon due to lower attacks per round and having 20 Wounds instead of 60 and no fire breath or special rules about multiattacking while doing other things and flying. But still, they thought the idea was silly, and so wanted to introduce a way to say 'this character is really strong' without just giving them a 70% strength. But it doesn't end up working out, because A: They already give the Unnatural character a higher % strength. And B: They make the scaling go crazy.

Secondly, the huge jump in power between weapons that are Str 5 or less on tabletop and Str 6 or higher is because if you get hit by a very big gun in the TT game, it has a rule where if you don't have a preventative special rule yourself, it just kills you instantly, no Wounds involved. So the designers seem to have reasoned anything Str 6 or higher on TT should have very good odds of obliterating a PC in one hit, thus massively jumping up their damage. The problem is again, this is kind of horseshit for an RPG as it is but also that now that you've established how insanely powerful AT weapons are, there's nothing to discourage using them on PC sized targets AND you've locked yourself into making tanks like, DR 40. Which then creates a situation where nothing but the most dedicated AT weapons can hurt vehicles, which really hosed with encounter design if your players chose 'we have a tank/APC' in Only War. So every encounter needs to include those if they did that to be a threat, except again, those weapons will obliterate PCs and there's nothing discouraging them hitting a PC.

It's bad decisions all the way down. WHFRP2e has a system where even a very powerful enemy has very low chances of *one-shotting* a geared up PC outright. Like, I have a PC at moment who, with a magic greatsword, does Damage 9 Impact. Against, say, an average knight in full plate, this is 1-10 damage, reroll, take best. This is a weapon on par with a siege weapon by their own stats, wielded by a legendary warrior, and it will probably take a few good licks to kill the average Imperial knight with it. The equivalent in 40kRP, for a human PC, would be Sister Kayla Julian in the first DH game I ran. With her Power Greatsword she did 2d10+4+2 for Crushing Blow+Strength, Pen 8, with a 50 Str and Power Armor for +20. So she was whacking a person for 2d10+13 Pen8. Against someone like herself, who is, you know, a legendary warrior (TB 4, AV 8 Power Armor, 20 Wounds) she would be taking 11-29 damage in one blow, with good odds of killing herself outright.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


Halloween Jack posted:

I feel like pretty much all the 40k RPGs need to have their mechanics smashed and crushed down to something that's about as simple and linearly scaled as, like, some version of Basic D&D or Gamma World.

This would be nice, as the setting is, at least, interesting.

RedSnapper
Nov 22, 2016


Night10194 posted:


Normally I wouldn't have a problem with this (I totally don't mind Swashbuckling Heroes Deal With Things Themselves), except that almost every objective is related to your massive commercial empire and the game's fluff is constantly reminding you that you're a mighty, hyper-wealthy noble with legions of soldiers and hordes of agents.

I GM'd Rogue Trader once and this was my players' line of thought from the get go. Anything that couldn't be solved by a threat of orbital bombardment was solved by actual orbital bombardment. And whenever things were too sensitive for mass drivers they just sent in a strike group.

In effect, each player ended up with two characters: the regular RT crew for fancy balls and chats with the Inquisitor/ Arbites, and the poor sods that got sent into all those derelict spaceships and Necron ruins.

The latter team was paid in tomatoes and strawberries form the ship's arboretum..

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Which would be fine if the game actually had extensive mechanical support for it. My problem is less the idea of 'The away team of redshirts, whose lives suck to enable these lovely nobles' and 'The lovely nobles'; that's a cool idea for an RPG. But the game is written entirely with the expectation that those two people will be one and the same, despite its fluff leaning a lot towards 'You'll never get away with this treachery!' 'Get me away with this treachery, men.'

Which again is really loving odd when you send your *Navigator*, the most precious and totally irreplaceable member of your crew, who if they get shot in the head you are absolutely stranded and not able to do FTL anymore, down to get shot at in an underhive.

E: I wish they'd focused more on mechanics for leveraging your position as their way of showing you're 'high power' rather than thinking 'high power' meant +5 to all stats and starting with a power sword.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


Night10194 posted:

Normally I wouldn't have a problem with this (I totally don't mind Swashbuckling Heroes Deal With Things Themselves), except that almost every objective is related to your massive commercial empire and the game's fluff is constantly reminding you that you're a mighty, hyper-wealthy noble with legions of soldiers and hordes of agents.

I would definitely consider stealing the faction rules from Stars Without Number for this kind of thing - the PCs tell you what their orders are for their faction, and between sessions you work out how that goes (since these things take time).

Edit:

Night10194 posted:

E: I wish they'd focused more on mechanics for leveraging your position as their way of showing you're 'high power' rather than thinking 'high power' meant +5 to all stats and starting with a power sword.

Agree entirely.

RedSnapper
Nov 22, 2016


Yeah, RT is a fun idea but the execution is profoundly stupid.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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2014-2018



Night10194 posted:

Which would be fine if the game actually had extensive mechanical support for it. My problem is less the idea of 'The away team of redshirts, whose lives suck to enable these lovely nobles' and 'The lovely nobles'; that's a cool idea for an RPG. But the game is written entirely with the expectation that those two people will be one and the same, despite its fluff leaning a lot towards 'You'll never get away with this treachery!' 'Get me away with this treachery, men.'

Which again is really loving odd when you send your *Navigator*, the most precious and totally irreplaceable member of your crew, who if they get shot in the head you are absolutely stranded and not able to do FTL anymore, down to get shot at in an underhive.

E: I wish they'd focused more on mechanics for leveraging your position as their way of showing you're 'high power' rather than thinking 'high power' meant +5 to all stats and starting with a power sword.

I feel like literally the only way to do this at present is to just throw together a list of Dark Heresy characters who serve as Away Team Meatshield, but that still leaves Team lovely Noble with little to do with their time and mechanics.

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Night10194 posted:

Which would be fine if the game actually had extensive mechanical support for it. My problem is less the idea of 'The away team of redshirts, whose lives suck to enable these lovely nobles' and 'The lovely nobles'; that's a cool idea for an RPG. But the game is written entirely with the expectation that those two people will be one and the same, despite its fluff leaning a lot towards 'You'll never get away with this treachery!' 'Get me away with this treachery, men.'

Which again is really loving odd when you send your *Navigator*, the most precious and totally irreplaceable member of your crew, who if they get shot in the head you are absolutely stranded and not able to do FTL anymore, down to get shot at in an underhive.
I'm completely fine with Rogue Trader running on the same logic as Star Trek TOS, with the rationale that you could never shame your illustrious lineage by having minions do everything.

No, my problem with pretty much any 40k game is that the process of actually creating a character just sucks the enthusiasm right out of me, especially for such a deadly game.

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