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

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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


I've heard that there was a novel in which all of the space marines are totally gay, but the book has been de-cannonised.
And that "dance moves for Warhammer " thing definitely fits that big sweaty merry men doing absolutely everything together narrative.:gay:

By popular demand fucked around with this message at 11:25 on Apr 28, 2018

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




marshmallow creep posted:

Do you mean the Imperium in general or do the gigantic post humans actually get out of their power armor long enough to gently caress?

The former in this case. Space Marines have had their sex drive neutered anyway.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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


If and when I play a 40k game I'd def have the Astartes be neuter post-humans who could have been from whatever gender before the gene therapy.
It's better this way.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

Cooked Auto posted:

The former in this case. Space Marines have had their sex drive neutered anyway.

They're still incredibly gay though. (They just can't express it via sex.)

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.
I kinda fear what we might get out of GW if they decide to try to be woke, like a chapter of Wakanda Marines, but on second thought that'd still probably be pretty awesome.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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


The Lone Badger posted:

They're still incredibly gay though. (They just can't express it via sex.)


That works for me too.
But are they gay for the Emperor though?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Re: pontiffs

Considering the Terratic Tome is a book about monsters that you have to kill, the MRA-ness of them is probably for shock value (now, if they were genderflipped and killed male followers of male gods, you'd have a straight up strawmonster) rather than a tacit approval of MRA-ness.

Now, the morality monsters would work of they were angels of some cthulhu monster that wants to feed on worship of humans. It doesn't really understand them and thus creates his critters that ape the servitors of the human gods, albeit in a bad way that betrays the alien nature of their creation.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.

JcDent posted:

Now, the morality monsters would work of they were angels of some cthulhu monster that wants to feed on worship of humans. It doesn't really understand them and thus creates his critters that ape the servitors of the human gods, albeit in a bad way that betrays the alien nature of their creation.

I swear that kind of thing sounds familiar, and is probably a great setting idea. Catherine came to mind for some reason?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
It's probably not that original, only the author managed to dodge it entirely.

I guess it really has a lot to do with how difficult it is to make truly universally disturbing monsters that would feel alien. Sure, I hate all the "monster lays eggs in you and they kill you when they hatch" critters, but you already have those floating sporemines in DnD and those stupid birds in Barrier Peaks.
Similarly, depicting them as gribblies is hard. Body horror is easy, tho. Maybe that's why the tits are there - as a reminder of something human? Maybe the monster are imitating metal album cover designs?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

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

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP

Ghost Leviathan posted:

Doesn't help that most modern 40k art is almost all Ultramarines or Cadians, since there's nonwhite Imperial Guard regiments (the Tallarn Desert Raiders are a mix of both sides in the British-Arab wars, and there's one army that's oddly enough likewise both sides of British-Zulu Wars, black guys in British Colonial uniforms) and the White Scars are generally shown as Asian, but they don't get much major canon focus compared to the anglocentric or even alien sides.

A few other non-white regiments:

Attilan Rough Riders - entire regiments of Huns with lasguns.

Kanak Skull Takers - dark-skinned cavemen regiments.

Maccabian Janissaries: Ottomans in space.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Index & Adventures Volume Two, Part 7: "But it has to seem natural and seamless so that your players get the feeling of having made the decision themselves."

This is where I just start to break down because nothing makes sense anymore.

Click here for Part 1 of the review!
Click here for Part 2 of the review!
Click here for Part 3 of the review!
Click here for Part 4 of the review!
Click here for Part 5 of the review!
Click here for Part 6 of the review!
Click here for Part 7 of the review!

Review Notes:
  • This part covers Part 2 (of 3) for the adventure "The OBERMAX Imperative" written by Kevin E. Krueger.
  • After the fact I realized there are "grave ghouls" that resemble the ghouls in this adventure - but they aren't undead, like these are. They just look undead. So the author still goofed and gave us D&D ghouls instead of Palladium ghouls.
  • All the mutant rats are named after philosophers! Like Ninja Turtles and artists, except far more forgettable.
  • The psychic power Carathrax uses is titled "Word of Command". It does not exist in the game save for this one usage.
  • Here's a google map of Colfax, Illinois, for reference. Just in case you want to know how just how farcical it was that Chi-Town was built on top of it, much like Old New York in Futurama. (Except here, it's not a parody or farce, it's supposed to be perfectly serious.)
  • Carathrax has over 1000 M.D.C. with his defensive spells because he's a special author darling. I'm guessing his 500 M.D.C. body armor was made out of favoritium.
  • The music used is "Hook, Line, and Sinker" by Apache Tomcat and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.


It's Carathrax!... or at least a leftover piece of art from Federation of Magic that subbed in.

Next: Can't disarm the bomb? Don't worry, the villain will do it for you, choo choo.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 13:05 on Apr 28, 2018

Skellybones
May 31, 2011




Fun Shoe

Cythereal posted:

Maccabian Janissaries: Ottomans in space.

Terror descends on a unsuspecting Imperial world as deathless traitor legions match up against loyalist guard. Who will win: the Large Sons or the Thousand Sons?

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Ghost Leviathan posted:

Basically while the Space Marines have vague, cartoonish trappings resembling various historical empires and militaries, the Imperial Guard definitely goes all-out on the cultural inspirations to the point of clearly aiming for crossover appeal to the historical wargaming crowd. IIRC, one of the more recent Guard regiments, the Arkhan Confederates, are analogues to the CSA with gray uniforms and racist overtones. (which just opens another can of worms, though I don't know anything about the context. And I'm pretty sure the Civil War is popular among wargamers and historical re-enactors)

:catstare:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

40k is a bad setting. Like I said in DH: You can make it good, but it'll be you doing it, not an inherent trait of 40k.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

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

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP
Fortunately, the Arkhan Confederates are cast explicitly as bad guys - they pop up as the evil Imperial Guard regiment in a novel centered on the Tau.

One of the more entertaining regiments is the Miasman Redcowls, known to the rest of the Guard as the Fire Skunks. Yes, really. They come from drifting atmosphere habitats of a gas giant, and are noted for their love of flame weapons that, instead of the traditional promethium used by the rest of the Imperium, use as their incendiary a highly volatile gas from their homeworld. Which apparently stinks to high heaven, to the point that other Guard regiments rather pointedly try to avoid Miasma regiments.

Cythereal fucked around with this message at 14:50 on Apr 28, 2018

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.

Halloween Jack posted:



Have you ever heard of Ron Edwards? He’s kind of a big deal. Author of the games Sorcerer and Trollbabe, among others, and co-founder of The Forge, where he published the infamous essays System Does Matter, Fantasy Heartbreakers, and More Fantasy Heartbreakers. Among others. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a Fantasy Heartbreaker, well, this is the F&F thread. Wait another page or two and it’ll come up.

It turns out that the whole time Edwards was discussing fantasy heartbreakers, he had a long-forgotten D&D homebrew, called Gray Magick, just sitting there in a manila folder. So he started a little project called the Heartbreaker Redemption Project on the Adept Press website, where he encouraged people to dust off their own heartbreakers and develop them. In 2014, Gray Magick was Kickstarted into Circle of Hands.


I'm excited to see where this goes.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats

Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

I've heard that there was a novel in which all of the space marines are totally gay, but the book has been de-cannonised.
And that "dance moves for Warhammer " thing definitely fits that big sweaty merry men doing absolutely everything together narrative.:gay:

That would be Space Marine by Ian Watson, and it is gloriously camp.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Space Marine is the most awesome Marine novel ever and I won't hear anyone badmouth it. It tracks the rise of three dudes from teen gangers on Necromunda to heroes and features eating brains for intel.
It's so perfect, Black Library didn't stop publishing it even when parts of it went non-canon.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats

You can buy it in ebook form.

https://www.blacklibrary.com/all-products/space-marine-ebook.html

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
Just replace the WH40K setting with the Incal/Metabarons setting. Problem solved!

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
I mean, one of the few redeeming things about 40K is the comparative lack of sexual assault so....

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007



That diorama notwithstanding, of course.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Midjack posted:

That diorama notwithstanding, of course.

And Sister Hat

U.T. Raptor
May 11, 2010

Are you a pack of imbeciles!?

Ghost Leviathan posted:

I swear that kind of thing sounds familiar, and is probably a great setting idea. Catherine came to mind for some reason?
Catherine was about a Mesopotamian god loving people over as part of a convoluted millennia-old plot to increase the human population.

Also the titular Catherine is a literal succubus and not all that related to the first thing.

Also it took place on a space colony, if the True Freedom (neutral) ending is to be believed.

Also iirc the whole game was a plot by the goddess Ishtar to find a worthy consort, which is you, the player (this is revealed after you beat the challenge mode).

Catherine is a good game, is the point I'm making here.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.

JcDent posted:

Space Marine is the most awesome Marine novel ever and I won't hear anyone badmouth it. It tracks the rise of three dudes from teen gangers on Necromunda to heroes and features eating brains for intel.
It's so perfect, Black Library didn't stop publishing it even when parts of it went non-canon.

A lot of chapters basically recruit from teenage equivalents of ghetto/favela gangs and it explains a LOT. Hell, the Third Street Saints wouldn't even be out of place as Marines.

Like, suddenly I'm picturing a Marine chapter that basically runs their chapter world like the biggest baddest gang and encourages brutal violence and poverty to create more recruitment prospects and that might actually work.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Ghost Leviathan posted:

A lot of chapters basically recruit from teenage equivalents of ghetto/favela gangs and it explains a LOT. Hell, the Third Street Saints wouldn't even be out of place as Marines.

Like, suddenly I'm picturing a Marine chapter that basically runs their chapter world like the biggest baddest gang and encourages brutal violence and poverty to create more recruitment prospects and that might actually work.
They never do clearly explain why Oleg is the way he is.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.
I mean there's a reason the famous portrait of Pimp Papa Smurf is barely an edit. Not sure whether to have them be outright gangstas or throw in Mafia themes to mix things up. Hell, probably not far from what the Marines are from the perspective of people who have to deal with them.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006

Ghost Leviathan posted:

A lot of chapters basically recruit from teenage equivalents of ghetto/favela gangs and it explains a LOT. Hell, the Third Street Saints wouldn't even be out of place as Marines.

Like, suddenly I'm picturing a Marine chapter that basically runs their chapter world like the biggest baddest gang and encourages brutal violence and poverty to create more recruitment prospects and that might actually work.

I still want to make the model of Third Street Saints Space Marine, where it's the marine armor but it has the Johnny Gat mascot head as a helmet.

The librarians are the Professor Genk head.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

Nessus posted:

They never do clearly explain why Oleg is the way he is.

Pretty sure 3 had a backstory bit for Oleg that showed him floating in a scientist's water tank or something so we know he's a secret Kremlin experiment.

Also not that I don't love the saints but if I'm painting Space Marines into a gang it's gonna involve facepaint and baseball bats. Then I'll paint my scouts up like the Punks and my bikes up like the Gramercy Riffs.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 16:12 on Apr 29, 2018

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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

Ghost Leviathan posted:

Like, suddenly I'm picturing a Marine chapter that basically runs their chapter world like the biggest baddest gang and encourages brutal violence and poverty to create more recruitment prospects and that might actually work.

Not just violence and poverty, but also wealth and inequality, and cool rides you can bling out and stripper poles. Their civilization isn't advanced enough without stripper poles and sex lights.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Now I'm picturing the Marines putting lovely wraps on their armor and useless spoilers on their pauldrons.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



theironjef posted:

Pretty sure 3 had a backstory bit for Oleg that showed him floating in a scientist's water tank or something so we know he's a secret Kremlin experiment.

Also not that I don't love the saints but if I'm painting Space Marines into a gang it's gonna involve facepaint and baseball bats. Then I'll paint my scouts up like the Punks and my bikes up like the Gramercy Riffs.
A secret Kremlin experiment INVOLVING THE GENESEED?

I think the Eldar Harlequins are a better take for a Juggalo army. Or orks, obviously.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.
Unlockable Ben
Hey, wasn't there something I was supposed to be doing before my boss started giving me every random admin job they could think of?

Umm.. Oh, crap

Betrayal At House On The Hill, 13

(By the way, I've managed to find a game with even stupider plots than Betrayal, namely, TIME stories. I'm not sure if I should do that because unlike Betrayal, it will totally spoil the game. I don't know if that's forbidden or not.)

Hellbeasts
Trigger: Find the Dog in the Abandoned Room, Charred Room, or Furnace Room.

Wait.. all that time and we're just rehashing again? Yes, this is just Fly Away Home again. And since Fly Away Home itself was a rehash of Let Them In, that's 3 haunts with theme of hordes of nasty things flying into the house through the windows. The traitor for this one is the person with the lowest Knowledge other than the haunt revealer, which could result in an immensely awkward start if the heroes are close to each other. Also - and yet again - "Dog? What dog?"

I don't need to say much. It's exactly the same as Fly Away Home but the horde rules are different. Instead of the Bats having full monster stats, the Firebats are just tokens, which move around at Speed 3 and each deals 1 dice of physical damage to everyone in the room with them at the end of each traitor turn. The roll for movement is also the number of new firebats that spawn in the room where the Haunt started, and there's no limit.

What are the heroes trying to do? Perform an exorcism. Oh god, really? Yes, exactly the same exorcism as Let Them In, Wail of the Banshee, and The Abyss Gazes Back.

Also, the traitor's tome states that the traitor wants the firebats to drink the blood of the heroes, whereas the heroes' book says that the firebats burn them. I guess I shouldn't make much more effort writing up this haunt, because they certainly didn't make too much writing it in the first place.

The Heir
Trigger: Find a Spear in the Dining Room, Kitchen, or on the Balcony.

The player with the highest Speed, other than the haunt revealer, is currently holding the giant Romanescu fortune - but illicitly. The true heir to the fortune is one of the heroes, but the traitor doesn't know which one. He does know, however, that if the true heir sits on the throne in this house while holding the Romanescu spear and ring, they will take the fortune from them. However that works. One would have thought that it would make more sense just not to bring those people to the house in the first place, or to smash up the throne, spear or ring, or something sensible like that. Instead, the traitor has filled the house with assassins.

The traitor places the Statuary Corridor in their choice of location in the house - that's where the throne is. The haunt revealer picks another player to be the heir, and writes their name down on a piece of paper which only the heroes can see. The traitor meanwhile picks rooms equal to the #heroes to hide assassins in, and writes them down (and no, they have remembered to rule that they can't put an assassin in the Statuary Corridor). Whenever a hero moves into a room where an assassin is hidden, the traitor can choose to have the assassin strike; they deal 2 dice of physical damage and then are removed from the board. Whenever a hero dies, by assassin or otherwise, they must tell the traitor truthfully if they were the heir or not. If they were, the traitor wins. If the heir gets to the throne with the spear and ring, they win. Also, new assassins show up 3 and 6 turns after the Haunt begins.

This is another one I'm really not sure about. Just like The Resistence, it seems like an interesting problem, but I wonder if it turns out to be ultimately vacuous because of the sheer volume of hidden information. The traitor is almost certainly going to put assassins on the only available routes to the Statuary Corridor, and since if a single hero moves there they're obviously the heir, the players will have to go in groups - but that gives a random chance of the traitor choosing the heir anyway. Also, the number of heroes is oddly important, since it potentially limits how many routes to the throne the traitor can cover. If there are only 2 heroes, then the most damage that can be dealt by one round of assassins is 8, so if the heir turns out to be Ox Bellows, say, he could potentially just sprint for the throne without caring - although it'd be really risky. There is still however a potential random breaker in the Haunt, and that is the Ring. If the traitor gets the ring (or already has it), their best strategy is to run away, running past assassins as best they can.

Buried Alive
Trigger: Find the Spirit Board in the Dining Room, Junk Room, or Pentagram Chamber.

The Spirit Board spells out the message "BURIED ALIVE". See, the player to the left of the haunt revealer secretly kidnapped another (NPC) friend of theirs and buried them alive in the house, then cast a spell to make the others forget that they ever existed. (Then brought all of that person's friends to aimlessly wander around the house, for some reason.) The spirit board message just broke the spell, so now the heroes are looking for the buried person.

The traitor chooses a random basement room for the victim to be in (adding tiles to the basement until there are 5 tiles there, if necessary). Each turn, they roll one more dice than the previous turn, which represents the damage the victim takes. If it reaches 12, the victim dies and the traitor wins. Raw guessy math suggests that there will be around 5 turns before the victim dies. The heroes are trying to find and dig up the victim. In any basement room, a Knowledge 3+ room checks for the victim; the traitor must truthfully say if it's the burial room or not. If it is, any players can make a Might 4+ roll to help dig them up. Once a number of rolls equal to the #players is made, the victim is rescued and the heroes win.

Also, the Spirit Board has a.. rather peculiar effect. The heroes' book says they can use it to help find the burial room, but doing that is actually rather unlikely and probably a bad bet. When the heroes use it, they get to roll Sanity. On 3+, they can move any "explorer" 3 spaces (this presumably includes the traitor, which is a bit strange); on 5+ they can heal the traitor for 2 dice, and a 7+ finds the burial room. Once the burial room has been found, the Spirit Board is discarded.

This is just.. kind of strange. First of all, the rules state the person with the Spirit Board can't give it to anyone else. This is presumably to prevent players handing it between each other in order to use it multiple times in a round. But out of the standard 10 hero characters, 5 have Sanity 3, and thus can never (without stat buffs) hit the 7 threshold to find the burial room using it - and if they're the ones holding it, they mysteriously can't give it to someone who would be much better at using it. Secondly, finding the burial room destroys the Spirit Board which means that the victim can no longer be healed - because of the escalating damage where the healing does not escalate, it's of limited use later in the game, but finding the burial room early could actually result in the heroes losing (bear in mind the victim could die on turn 3 if the traitor is extremely lucky). But all of that's going to depend on how many rooms there are in the basement, which is effectively random, so.. well, it's a good idea, but it might just play out in a very disempowering way.

MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015

MonsieurChoc posted:

I still find it funny that the homeworld of the Ultramarines is the same as the name of a local garage chain.

I haven't been able to find any garage chains called "Macragge". Did you mean Ultramar?

White Coke
May 29, 2015

marshmallow creep posted:

Do you mean the Imperium in general or do the gigantic post humans actually get out of their power armor long enough to gently caress?

Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

I've heard that there was a novel in which all of the space marines are totally gay, but the book has been de-cannonised.
And that "dance moves for Warhammer " thing definitely fits that big sweaty merry men doing absolutely everything together narrative.:gay:

Angrymog posted:

That would be Space Marine by Ian Watson, and it is gloriously camp.

I meant the Imperium in general, but the Imperial Fists used to be super gay. They'd brand recruits on the rear end with the chapter's symbol (a clenched fist) and they would regularly use Pain Gloves to discipline members (pun not intended). The Pain Glove being a gimp suit that gets strung up in a harness and hooked up to a battery to stimulates pain in their entire nervous system.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

MightyMatilda posted:

I haven't been able to find any garage chains called "Macragge". Did you mean Ultramar?

Yeah, Ultramar.

Dallbun
Apr 21, 2010

hyphz posted:

The Heir

...

Whenever a hero moves into a room where an assassin is hidden, the traitor can choose to have the assassin strike; they deal 2 dice of physical damage and then are removed from the board.

I'm surprised that the assassins deal two dice of damage - I thought they just dealt one flat physical. I distinctly remember the heir getting the Armor and completely trivializing the scenario when we played it. Maybe they also had the Medicine Kit or something.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

Nessus posted:

A secret Kremlin experiment INVOLVING THE GENESEED?

I think the Eldar Harlequins are a better take for a Juggalo army. Or orks, obviously.

A juggalo army? Ain't you seen The Warriors? Can you dig it?

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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




Dominating the continent's far west, the Wasted West is is the result of magical warfare and pollution unleashing horrors into the world. It all started with the empire of Caelmarath whose human and tiefling citizens sought power the elves refused to grant, leading into the Black Sorceress' Revolt and the creation of eight split-off magocracies. After the Great Retreat, the human mages had no common enemy and turned upon each other from the resulting power vacuum. Much like an optimized 3.X spellcaster and a GM trying to keep pace, the various archmages engaged in a magical arms race. Ley lines were blocked and turned into energy sinks to summon otherworldly horrors known as Dread Walkers to Midgard. These beings were beyond the control of their would-be summoners; although they did a spectacular job in destroying enemy cities, their mere presence warped the surrounding land and threatened to spread beyond the magocracies to the whole world. The surviving archmages invoked a ritual known as the Great Slumber to slow down time around the Dread Walkers to a few steps a year. Now these invincible beings stand as living monuments to what was lost. As of today Allain is the only true surviving magocracy, and Barsella transitioned from mage-rule to a merchant's council.

We get a list of the other seven magocracies and where their ancestral lands lair in the current Wasted West. Andarre was a nation of giants who were enslaved by Caelmarath, and whose cities were destroyed by hordes of summoned shoggoths. Caelmarath was a decadent empire with strong ties to the Eleven Hells. In order to protect its people from the Walkers, a ritual froze the capital city in time and transported it to the far corners of Realms Beyond. Carnessa situated itself in the lush jungles of the southwest peninsula for unmatched access to alchemy and herbal ingredients. It wasn't long before they too fell, as the entire peninsula was taken over by alien plants. Cassilon was a cosmopolitan realm of giants and shorter races living alongside each other, only to be burned down by Caelmarath's devilish patrons. Molovosch was a floating island brought crashing into the earth by the the Dread Walker Ornis Ammos the Sand Bird. Uxloon was the spark that set the fire for the Great Mage Wars in the first place: a mad archmage summoned the aboleth-created monstrosity Isonade to accost Bemmea's shores. A multi-national alliance of mages known as the Fulgurate Society summoned a Dread Walker to destroy Uxloon in retaliation. Finally, Vael Turog was ruled by demonmarked archmages who overthrew the original government and sought to cripple enemy realms with magical plagues. Their bio-weapons escaped the confines of their laboratories into the surrounding countryside, thus spelling the death of their realm.

Following the former nations is a sidebar on Void Speech, which takes double the normal time to learn (in both time and language slots) and can imposed the frightened condition on those who hear it for the first time on a failed Wisdom/Will saving throw. However, PCs who converse with a fey or alien creature in the tongue risk gaining short-term madness if the communication carries on for more than 10 minutes. It's a cool idea, although the DC is set to 11 for the fear debuff and only works once. For this reason you should be taking the language for role-play over mechanical reasons. We get descriptions on the various still-living mortal and monstrous servants of the Dread Walkers, such as the evil satyrs known as selang, worm-like dorreqis whose alien pipings and cacophanies can drive mortals mad, and servants of the corrupted goddess Bacchana who's now the Lovecraftian Black Goat of the Woods.

METAPLOT: Members of the Black Goat's Flock came together to open a rift in the sky and summon a treelike Dread Walker known as Y'gurdraketh on the Allain-Arbonnese border. Not at the best of terms, the mages of Allain and elves of Arbonnesse blame each other for the monstrosity's appearance. Unsurprisingly this lead to an increase in raids and skirmishes between the two nations.

MOAR METAPLOT: Braagezz, a new Beloved Leader of All Goblins armed with ancient vril machinery, is uniting more dust goblin tribes under her control. She promises that the goblins will conquer the entire Wastes and already controls most of the tribes. She is preparing for war from her base at the Mercurial Tower.

The Western Wastes



The opening text of this section notes that mere travel through this region should be anything but normal. Travelers superstitiously shield their eyes from the shapes of Walkers on the horizon, ley lines are broken and make using magical powers unpredictable, fields of doors stand on their own as remnants of a destroyed town, coagulated bloodlike lakes pose a hazard, and aberrant monsters occupying the crumbling ruins of towers and cities are but a few descriptions to showcase the unknown dangers. A list of the 10 Dread Walkers follows along with their locations and physical descriptions. I won't cover them all for the sake of word-space, but I'll include a few macabre examples such as Ashkharak and Gorthoga: the former a massive skinless humanoid with leechlike heads fighting its slug-shaped rival. Kb'r'ck is a mass of interconnecting crystal shards encasing the petrified remains of animals, plants, and people. They all surround a central nucleic mass which does not move so much as grow. Uthul-Vangslagish's discordant wailing can be heard from miles away, its thousands of tentacles ending in fluted openings. Various communities of dust goblins, cultists, and brave alchemists live around the Walkers to harvest resources out of the time-frozen abominations' flesh and/or to make religious offerings.

The next section covers magical mishaps in the Wastes: in fact, every time a mage casts a spell of 1st level or higher in a region without a stable ley line (basically anywhere but Allain or Barsella), they risk an unintended side effect on a roll of 1 on a d10 (or d8 for teleportation spells) covered in the below table:



There's a 50% of a the spell not working at all, and a 40% chance that it works yet comes with a negative side effect. And one of those can potentially separate the caster from the rest of the party by a great distance! There's a 10% chance that it will beneficial. Although it appears that the mishaps will not trigger often, given how many spells a PC casts over the course of an adventure this is akin to how "critical fumble" rules hurt PCs more than NPCs when in the Wastes.

The Supernatural Storms can both occur on their own as freak weather and as part of a magical mishap. They include the nonlethal yet annoying smagnetic storms which render metal arms and equipment virtually useless, to deadly gravity quakes which fling people into the air along with pelting rocks and pebbles. The grinding boneshards splinter into those unable to find shelter and deal damage over time. Perhaps the most debilitating are the time storms, which can age a character 1d10x5 years on a failed save and can end up being permanent if not cured within 24 hours. The time storms also bestow the effects of a revivify (5e)/breath of life (PF) spell on those who died within its vicinity. The zombie fog turns corpses into zombies whose movement is limited to within the fog, while heavy air threatens to fatigue breathing characters.

Brief entries on strange landmarks around the Wastes provide adventuring opportunities, such as a castle-sized ooze known as the Hungering Cocoon filled with swarms of fetal creatures, or fields of eyes which appear as blue flowers from a distance but shoot strength-draining magical rays at those who trod upon them. I particularly like the Boils of Sarresh, bladder-like seedpods filled with air which dust goblins use to create floating traps and hot air balloons. The Seat of Mavros is a shrine to the war god and a popular pilgrimage site for religious and secular warriors. Its location in the Wasted West is quite appropriate, as the journey is a dangerous one. Clerics of Mavros stand at way stations along the route, doing little to directly aid travelers yet dutiful in retrieving the corpses of pilgrims. This is to ensure they have a proper burial rather than having their flesh and bones appropriated by alien horrors. The Seat has a sprawling tent-city around it with many arenas and dueling centers, along with crusty old veterans willing to impart learned wisdom. Finally we have the write-ups of the Waste's twin forests, the Roatgard whose warped trees are people transformed into agonizing plant shapes by an order of druids, and the Silk Thicket which gets is name from the horse-sized spider-monsters known as the chelicerae. These monsters learn the secrets of magic by devouring the brains of spellcasters, making them doubly dangerous to adventurers.

Dust Goblins


Most of Midgard's goblinoid peoples live in the Western Wastes, and the book seems to use the terms "goblin" and "dust goblin" interchangeably. There's no indication if the latter are a regional race to their own, or merely a cultural nickname. Based on the text I presume they're one and the same. In times long past goblins used to live beneath the mountains near the Ironcrags, but the unearthly weather patterns over the former magocracies allowed them to migrate to the surface world. Goblins organize into semi-nomadic units comprised of tents and wagons, and many make a living scavenging relics and natural resources from the Waste's ruins and unnatural terrain. Many worship the Dread Walkers as gods, and a social class of spellcasters utilize the creatures' time-slowed twitches and movements into their auguries and prophecies. There are attempts to find ways to communicate with the Walkers via musical instruments such as drums and flutes, although there's been no appreciable progress in this regard. Beyond magic a few goblins discovered ways to utilize vril technology which their chieftains use to ensure other races will not underestimate them.

We return to Braagezz, who look half-machine thanks to grafted vril prosthetics. Beyond her rising status we cover the eight known tribes, all of who congregate in the eastern portion of the Wastes. Their names are those gifted to them by human explorers, and they are loathe to share the names they use for themselves with outsiders. We've got the Bloody Tusks with monstrous war mounts; the Bonewraith cannibals whose last leader was a goblin mummy; the Dust Diggers with unmatched understanding in vril technology and whose encampments look like war machines; the Ghost Heads who have just as much undead members as living ones; the Maimed Ones who offer amputated body parts to the Dread Walkers in exchange for prophetic revelations of the universe's secrets; the River Rats who menace the bodies of water along the pilgrimage routes to the Seat of Mavros; the underground Sand Bird's Disciples live beneath the Dread Walker of the same name and raise nests of parasites and domesticated stirges for food and warfare. Finally the Scarlet Rovers are one of the most militarily-experienced tribes with assassins and bodyguards who sell their services to others.

Countries and Realms

The Green Duchy of Verrayne is a far eastern country in the Wastes. A fragment of former Caelmarath, it's ruled over by a monarch appointed by the druids of the Oaken Ring. The Duchy relies upon allied goblin tribes and the druids for defense. Supplementing their efforts are nine castles and fortresses lining the border operated by the vigilant Order of Seekers. Arcane magic is heavily distrusted in this realm, and the druids of the Oaken Ring made a pledge to restore the Wastes. They care fully for the ends of this pledge and perform many brutal deeds to accomplish the means: inflicting soldiers with lycanthropy to give them a combative edge, human sacrifices to hold the wasteland taint at bay, and using the entrails of pegasi and unicorns for divinations are but a few of their desperate tactics. In spite of these pursuits, the villagers of Verrayne live a relatively peaceful life and worship of the nature gods predominates their communities.

The Grand Duchy of Bourgund is a small yet orderly city-state overseen by an order of White Knights. The Duchy's famed for its perfumes, whose creation is a closely guarded secret and those who threaten to betray this are put to death. The history behind the preponderance of perfumery is the nearby foul-smelling massive corpse of Zhergthoth, the only Dread Walker killed by mortal hands with the honor of that falling to the White Knights. The city's streets are clean and slums non-existent as the government uses funds to insure that every citizen has a reasonable quality of life. However, laws are strict and wizards constantly scry the populace for signs of trouble. It's not unknown for White Knights to suddenly teleport into an area where a crime's about to be committed.

As for the White Knights, they are a military order who have a deal with the Magocracy of Allain. Mages of low promise, desperate straits, or scored the lowest on tests in Bemmea's schools swear an oath of loyalty to a single White Knight. As part of this oath they forge a bond with a suit of armor worn by said knight to act as a magical conduit between the two. The Knights' primary duties are ensuring public order in the city, protection of trade caravans and outlying villages, and killing rampaging monsters from the Wastes. Unfortunately it's been generations since the original Knights who felled Zhergthoth and many of their number are now more bureaucrats than warriors. The mages responsible for aiding their bound charges live in Mageholme Citadel, a gilded cage where wizards oversee their charges in well-appointed scrying cells. Most wizards learn both arcane and divine magic as part of their duties, and the most talented earn the title of Mystic Theurge (a Pathfinder/3.X prestige class).

METAPLOT: The White Knights of Bourgund are an order who shares a magical bond with Bemmean mages. Bonded armor allowed a connected mage to impart spells to a knight, communicate with each other across great distances, as well as letting the mages scry on them. But the mages were held in check by a magically-compelled oath to that specific knight. This relationship carried on for a time, but a traitorous mage known as Daiquianis subtly manipulated the connection into tricking his knight's court to travel into a green dragon's hunting territory. The knights did not survive, freeing Daiquianis and 12 other mages from their bonds, letting them escape the prison of Mageholme Citadel to return to Allain. Now other wizards feel a loosening of said shackles and distrust among the knights is growing. You know, I seriously have to ask how Daiquianis managed to escape the Citadel, what with it being highly-secured and magically-warded.

Mechanics: In the 2012 setting the Armor Bonded Mage was a wizard archetype which basically made a free suit of masterwork armor as an arcane bond. Said wizard could impart personal and touch range spells on the wearer at longer ranges (unlimited at 9th level), along with limited uses per day of scrying, unlimited telepathy, and spell resistance to the wearer of the wizard's Caster Level +5. I do not see an upgraded version in the Pathfinder/5th Edition sister system supplements. I do like the concept, but and it's a shame that 5th Edition does not have one.

METAPLOT: A dozen huge monoliths of crimson stone stand around Bourgund's city. No mere statues, they are the sleeping forms of powerful giants created by Aurgelmir. It's only due to a religious order of Marena which keeps them from awakening. Sir Markus Alavaine of the White Knights sought to awaken the giants in pursuit of fame and glory under justification of ending their looming threat permanently. The plan went disastrously, and it was only due to a group of brave adventurers and the suicide of a Red Sister of Marena to redo the binding spell. Sir Markus was merely demoted for this, but he's resentful for this disgrace.



The Magocracy of Allain is the most-detailed entry in the Wasted West chapter. Not only are they the last surviving magocratic country in the region, their lands have a stable ley line which prevents the magical mishaps common elsewhere in the Wastes. The populace of Allain are not all mages, but they are veterans to the unfamiliar and unknown. Tieflings are common even among human couplings. They will never forget the dire prices paid in the Great Mage Wars, and spellcasting tutors emphasize pupils to use their talents to undo the damage to the land and not tread the path of their ancestors. To ensure that those with supernatural talent fall into trained hands, invisible hounds capable of sniffing out magic-users prowl the country for child prodigies. An unseen dog's howl in a village is often viewed as a sign that a child's been chosen. Although they are more common here than in other realms of the Wastes, arcane spellcasters of Allain keep a low profile: mundane cloaks are the bare minimum for disguise. Some of this is to avoid advertising their power and thus attracting rivals, but some of them do it to conceal hideous growths gained from dangerous experiments or infernal dealings.

Allain's government is the Ninemage Council, a gathering of powerful spellcasters of differing alignments and magical traditions. In spite of their name one seat is empty: this is to honor the memory of representatives from Vale Turog, Caelmarath's ancient ally. The magocracy's laws are labyrinthine and complex, muddled by pages of mundane rules of governance mixed in with ancient pacts wrought by otherworldly entities. There's a lot of frivolous laws rarely enforced (using palindromes in common speech), but there exists a cottage industry of law enforcement who fines citizens and foreigners for violation of some obscure rule.

The capital city of Bemmea is a settlement in the middle of the sea. A single land bridge accessible to the mainland via low tide. In fact the tides are artificially controlled by magical alterations to the weather so that the mages do not have to rely upon the mercy of nature to control entry to their city. Bemmea is tiny in area, yet its high towers house multiple living quarters for its residents along with lodges, laboratories, schools, and social clubs. The town's defenses hide in plain sight, from water elementals living within pools to golems made of cobblestone lying in the streets. The roads actually form complex glyphs when viewed from an aerial perspective. The Bemmean economy revolves around magical goods and teaching, and quite a few "discount scrolls" on sale are class projects and poorly-graded graduate experiments. The amount of magical academies number in the dozens, ranging from one-on-one tutorships to actual classrooms. Most apprentices begin training around ages 12 to 14 and finish their studies after a decade. Although tutors closely monitor their charges, there exist rivalries between students and the tedium of study's broken up with all manner of lodges and fraternities.

Several of Bemmea's more notable features include the Labyrinth of Carreult, an ever-changing maze which can shunt one along the ley lines to anywhere on Midgard save the Western Wastes. As no magic functions within its halls, it's used for duels between mages using only fists and staffs. This is for those who wish to resolve disputes, but want to avoid punishment for magical combat. The Smoldering Library's arcane fires still burn as they consume vile, tainted lore, while the Grifyn and the Kimera hosts Pokemon-style summoning fights where spellcasters pit conjured creatures against each other for prizes and bragging rights. Meanwhile, smashed glyphships destroyed during the Great Mage Wars hold unclaimed creatures amid dangerous sea life.

The other major city of Allain is Tintager, the Iron Metropolis. A border town guarding against the Arbonesse elves, its high walls and hard soil prevent even the toughest of weeds from growing. The only actual plants are cold iron feyward trees artificially smelted and formed to counter elven magic. Tintager is a dumping ground for unwanted tiefling children and disgraced Bemmean mages. Entire foundations of Tintager are formed from cold iron, and weapons and armor of this material are omnipresent.

METAPLOT: The summoning of Y'gurdraketh got elves and mages sweating bullets. The Dread Walker originally wandered nowrthwest over the course of several months before stopping in a grove containing an ancient monolith. The abomination effortlessly slaughtered detachments of Arbonnesse scouts and Allainian mages while suffering no noticeable damage. Both groups are keeping tabs from a safe distance as a result, and cultists are already making pilgrimages to the grove to offer Y'gurdraketh sacrifices.

The town of Maillon was originally a Bemmean neighborhood famed for its alchemical works. The place smelled terribly, so the Ninemage Council banned the trade and teleported the district into nearby swampland. The alchemists do not begrudge the Council for this; on the contrary, the marshes are home to rare and valuable ingredients, and the town's undergone economic prosperity for its wares. A lot of the old buildings are sunken into the swamp, so boathouses, gondolas, and stilted platforms comprise a majority of newer homes. The Bottle Market sells cheaply made potions of inconsistent quality which are praised by poor villagers and adventurers on the budget, or scorned by "proper" alchemists. A half-sunken laboratory of House Stross lairs in a rotting structure which can only be reached by boat. It holds all manner of vril artifacts, a portal to the Stross Library in Castle Shadowcrag, and monstrous oozes. We get a half-page description of alchemical hardwoods sold in Maillon complete with beneficial mechanics: wands fashioned from decaying corpsewood trunks provide a +1 on attack rolls when casting necromancy spells, shields made from Dampwood grant resistance from fire damage, scroll veneers can press residual ink onto a second page for spellbooks and scrolls, and Shrieking Planks built into furniture or building foundations will let out a piercing shrill when it detects nearby creatures of a specific type.

The town of Cassadega was formed around the remains of an old Ankeshel ruin, and its citizens tirelessly devote themselves to restoring old vril technology. They repaired arc-cannons which were used to great effect against elf raiders, and they learned how to create charged batteries responsible for giving vril items their power. A bustling industry in rare and valuable vril items are being sold out of Cassadega.

Mechanics: In short, vril is sci-fi technology nonmagical in nature. Such items are expensive and require rare materials found in Cassadega and Ankeshelian ruins to charge them. The Worldbook includes 4 examples of vril technology: a Cassadegan Coil Rifle which is basically a railgun, the ammo needed to use it, Vril Batteries which contain charges for vril technology, and the Vril Lightning Baton which can shoot a bolt of lightning whose damage increases the more rounds spent "charging" a shot: 1d4 if fired immediately, 3d4/6d6/10d4/15d4 for 1-4 rounds of charging.

The Ghostlight Forest is our final entry in the Magocracy of Allain. The woods are infested with will-o-wisps who tempt travelers into getting lost, along with territorial dragons, man-eating plants, and vampiric mists which sap the vital fluids of sleeping campers. There's a grand shine to the Goat of the Woods here, along with an end-times-preaching blood mage giant and his army of slaves. Finally, there are moss-covered standing stones whose glyphs are capable of laying to rest the ancestral spirits plaguing a haunted giant, but only if the correct ritual is performed. That last part will be particularly important for our next country.



The Haunted Lands of the Giants are a forlorn wasteland populated by the larger denizens of the old magocracies. Although physically powerful, the greatest threat plaguing them is not the myriad horrors of the Wastes but the bodies and souls of their now-dead ancestors. The bones of many giants lair across the lands due to battle and enslavement during the Great Mages Wars. Every giant is haunted by the spirits of their kin, draining their vigor and constantly pestering them to lay their desecrated remains to rest in the cairns and tombs throughout the land. The amount of spirits who haunt a giant differ, and some come later in life, but they will come eventually as long as their bones remain unburied. The spirits can even possess a giant, and their animated bodies may rise to walk the land to perform strange rites with no obvious purpose. Now most giant cities are in ruins. Gangs and warbands lucky enough to have buried their ancestor's bodies the only ones with enough energy to rule over their peers. There is a brisk trade in amulets believed to ward away spirits, yet only a few are truly effective.

The Barony of Trenorra is a bandit kingdom comprised of humans, goblins, and hill giants lucky enough to be unhaunted by their familial spirits. The three cultures get along peacefully enough, although Bemmean mages and their allies are unwelcome due to their history of enslaving giants. The Barony's south is home to a huge feature known as the Wall separating the jungles of the peninsula from overwhelming the rest of the land. Known as the Gardens of Carnessa, the magically-bred flora within the greenhouses quickly overwhelmed the magocracy, its inhabitants now dead and replaced with all manner of shambling mounds, assassin vines, and similarly-themed creatures.

METAPLOT: In the jungles of Kush in the Southlands, there lairs an entity known as the Green Walker. It threatened to consume the people of Kush before a gathering of druids magically slowed time around it, much like the Dread Walkers here. Now its twin has been discovered within the Gardens by the elfmarked adventurer Tavereen Windrider. Dubbed Veth-Shoon, there are multiple theories as to how this dangerous twin arrived, but it created dozens of Bodysnatcher-style Vine Lords to go beyond the Wall and infect more people into its hive-mind.

Our final destination in the Wasted West is Barsella, the so-called City at the End of the World. Its economy relies upon the dangerous sea trade of the Western Ocean and is a common launch point for merchant expeditions into the islands of the unknown west. The city's no stranger to land-based adventuring, and quite a few guilds fund journeys into other areas of the Wastes if it will bring treasure and trade back into Barsellian coffers.

METAPLOT: The Western Ocean was once nearly impossible to navigate due to the magical influence of the goddess Mnemnosyne, but with her imprisonment by the oracles of Hecate many more ships are successfully making return trips to the city. They're flush with exotic goods and artifacts, enough return investments a hundredfold and resulting in an economic boom. However there is no consistent explanation of the islands of the far west. Sailors truthfully admit hundreds of different destinations on the same sea route, ranging from burning islands to ghost ships and leviathans. This does little to assuage the worries of financial sponsors. Barsella's streets are laid out to mimic an aboleth glyph connected with the presence of strong ley lines, and an order of geomancers devote their abilities to preventing this boon in the Wastes from decaying too quickly.

Thoughts so far: Another strong chapter, just about every entry in the Wasted West can generate several adventure-worthy plots. Given how overused Lovecraft's monsters are, I have to give Midgard props for making its own godlike Dread Walkers instead of borrowing the Great Old Ones wholesale, notwithstanding the Black Goat of the Woods. The alien weather, terrain, and dungeons/wilderness locations do much to showcase that the West is completely, perhaps irreversibly scarred by magic. The cities of Allain manage to be both high magic and appropriately creepy without becoming standard high fantasy. The giants' ancestral curse is prime adventure material: "find my grandfather's bones, which may or may not be animated as undead, and bury it within this haunted cairn." The pilgrimage to the Seat of Mavros is a good way to encourage PCs to visit this realm, and the otherwise bright and shiny duchies of Verrayne and Bourgund have an underlying brutal government to show that this ain't no Magdar Kingdom or idyllic fantasy countryside.

Our next chapter covers the Grand Duchy of Dornig, a forest kingdom which contains the last true remnants of elven culture on Midgard!

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
The Dread Walkers remind me of the very slowly encroaching Powers of the Night Land.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5