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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I don't get how that in the wahd of 2015 you still have "this is too evil to play" with moralizing that's only a short walk away from the anti-D&D hysteria. Nevermind how summoning and dealing with demons is a classical (if questionable) element of hermeticism, later games in the line had a far more interesting takes on the subject. Despite its other failures, dealing with demons in Kindred of the East was pretty cool in comparison. There were risks, of course, but it didn't instantly remove your character from playability. Then you have things like Demon...

It's sad that the 20th anniversary line didn't take what would have been a real opportunity to have games borrow innovations or world elements from one another. It's seems an obvious thing to do in retrospect, but genuinely improving anything ultimately isn't the mission statement of rehashes like this.

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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Nessus posted:

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



That can't be right. Mage is Stoner Philosophy: The Game.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Nessus posted:

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



Don't slander Ars Magica, they've been divorced from White Wolf and the World of Darkness for years.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Count Chocula posted:

That can't be right. Mage is Stoner Philosophy: The Game.

Given it has the Cultists of Esctasy, it would seem to be the stoneriest.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Do you know what I find really funny about the idea of the Nephandi being behind WWII and 9/11 is that if handled properly, which I assume it isn't, could actually be a col plot point. So going with the whole nihilism idea make it that they view living as suffering and so have dedicated themselves to putting humanity out of it's misery. So to do that they first need a tool capable of wiping out Humanity, and that is the atomic bomb. So they help start WWII but at most all they are doing is giving natural events a light push, and instead all their effort goes to developing nuclear weaponry and making sure that both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. have them. So now the Cold War becomes a constant game of theirs to finally push in just the right place for the dominoes to fall and nuclear war to occur. Obviously that plan keeps on failing so eventually they push to break up the U.S.S.R. to create a power vacuum that would eventually lead to a new global crisis to take advantage off.

By doing that the Nephandi benefit from not only having a clearer goal, but also become more interesting as instead of being evil for the sake of evil they instead view themselves as the people with the most noble intentions of stopping a dying animal from a prolonged and drawn out death.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Count Chocula posted:

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

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

Knight Rider, or a particularly wretched version of Ark 2, absolutely. The semi trucks do it, right there.

Tranquility has always reminded me of the video game adaptation of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, since the Mouth game came out maybe two years before ROS, but the classic Doctor Who connections really do draw themselves.

(I'm a fan of that Qlippothic Cybermen essay, too. Reminds me of reading Promethea in the bleakest possible way.)

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




That "outer gods/nihilists but who really cares" split is how everyone I knew ended up using the Nephandi, even if they stuck pretty close to the rest of the setting. For them to be organized into these distinct and weird factions when they're supposed to be so loving rare, even by WoD's inconsistent standards, was too much.

Hunt11 posted:

Do you know what I find really funny about the idea of the Nephandi being behind WWII and 9/11 is that if handled properly, which I assume it isn't, could actually be a col plot point. So going with the whole nihilism idea make it that they view living as suffering and so have dedicated themselves to putting humanity out of it's misery. So to do that they first need a tool capable of wiping out Humanity, and that is the atomic bomb. So they help start WWII but at most all they are doing is giving natural events a light push, and instead all their effort goes to developing nuclear weaponry and making sure that both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. have them. So now the Cold War becomes a constant game of theirs to finally push in just the right place for the dominoes to fall and nuclear war to occur. Obviously that plan keeps on failing so eventually they push to break up the U.S.S.R. to create a power vacuum that would eventually lead to a new global crisis to take advantage off.

By doing that the Nephandi benefit from not only having a clearer goal, but also become more interesting as instead of being evil for the sake of evil they instead view themselves as the people with the most noble intentions of stopping a dying animal from a prolonged and drawn out death.

If I recall correctly, cWoD was adamantly "Hitler was just human omg man's inhumanity to man!" Nephandi and Wyrm werewolves and racist regular werewolves and ultimate mind control Technocrats and whatever were just hangers on all the way to the end…somehow. Which might sound reasonable in light of recent tangents, but considering he's basically the only one who gets that sort of treatment it comes off as cheap edgelord posturing. Like many of oWoD's problems, it could've been solved by just having some goddamn restraint.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

Traveller, Book 1 - Characters and Combat

Traveller is a game by Game Designers' Workshop, released in 1977. Its tagline is "Science-Fiction Adventure in the Far Future". I picked this up from a Bundle of Holding, since it seemed interesting and I've not really read many sci-fi RPGs.

Introduction

The game talks about a common theme of sci-fi: that at some point humanity will have enough technology to travel across the stars and populate them, but at the same time that this expansion will cause communications to revert to the way they were during the 18th century. That is, news and messages would only go as fast as the ships carrying them.

The game has a boilerplate sidebar on required materials. Significantly, Traveller only requires d6 dice, and specifically only two per player. A calculator is mentioned as being an optional playing aid, alongside miniatures and other Traveller supplements.

The game talks about how you can play this solitaire: if you are "isolated by situation or geography", you control the characters yourself, implement the rules yourself, and react to the situations by yourself. Alternatively, you can "play" by simply using the books to randomly generate characters, starships, worlds and sectors. Maybe one day day you'll even get to use them in a group scenario! However, it also says that the game plays best if you have a "referee" to generate uncertainty and flexibility.

A basic "scenario" is described as resembling a sci-fi novel: characters are introduced, a goal is stated, and the adventurers strive to achieve that goal by the end of the session or evening. An example is using this Book 1 to generate characters, Book 3 to look for a "patron", the patron suggesting an expedition to the world of Sirius to recover fist-sized diamonds, then overcoming whatever obstacles lie between the characters and the diamonds. Campaigns then are simply scenarios stringed together if and when players become attached to their characters.

The referee is the person that creates the universe. The patron, Sirius, the diamonds, and the obstacles to acquiring the diamonds are all things that the referee needs to generate before the scenario begins.

Character Generation

All characters begin at age 18 with no training and no experience. A series of 2d6 rolls are made to generate the various characteristics of a character, and the game mentions that while it's possible to end up with an unsatisfactory character, that the player should stick by them regardless.

Characteristics and the Universal Personality Profile

The game has six characteristics:
Strength
Dexterity
Endurance
Intelligence
Education
Social Standing

These are generally self-explanatory, but the unique thing is how the game uses a number called the Universal Personality Profile to describe characters at a glance. A 2d6 roll will generate values between 2 to 12, and then supposedly various modifications to that roll can make it as low as 1 or as high as 15, so you can summarize a character's characteristics as a string of six hexadecimal characters. That is, someone with a 10 in their characteristics can be described with AAAAAA.

There's also a sidebar on how any Social Standing characteristic higher than 10 gives the character a Noble title, starting with Knight/Knightess/Dame and ending with Duke/Duchess at Social Standing 15.

Enlistment

Characters can choose to serve in either the Navy, Marines, Army, Scouts, Merchants, or Other in order to pick up skills and experience.

Each service has an Enlistment Throw, or a certain number that the player must meet or beat on a 2d6 roll in order to gain entry into that service. This enlistment throw can get some bonuses if certain characteristics are high. For example, joining the Navy requires an 8+ on a 2d6, and you get a +1 bonus if your Intelligence is 8+ and you get a +2 bonus if your Education is 9+. Those two bonuses are cumulative if both are applicable.

If the character fails at trying to enlist, they get drafted instead. The player rolls 1d6, and they go to one of the six services randomly.

Once you've enlisted in or been drafted to a service, you get to serve out a 4-year term of service, so the character ages by 4 years.

During a term of service, the player can try to be commissioned as an officer: roll 2d6 and pass a Commission number in order to become a level 1 officer and receive additional benefits. They can attempt this once per term of service, with the exception of draftees during their first ever term of service.

If a character gets commissioned as an officer, they can also try to rise through the ranks by rolling 2d6 and passing a Promotion number. They can do this once per term of service, including the same term where they became a level 1 officer.

Skill Acquisition During Terms of Service

Each service has four 1d6 tables. To acquire skills, the player picks one of these tables, then rolls a 1d6, then gains the cross-referenced skill or characteristic increase. One of the four tables is always gated behind needing an Education of 8+.

The player gets to do this twice during their first term of service, then once per subsequent term of service. They get to do it again when they become an commissioned officer, and whenever they receive a promotion. One exception is the Scouts, which allow two skill rolls per term of service, since you cannot become an Scout officer.

There are also certain skills that are automatically gained simply for achieving certain ranks in a service, such gaining Rifle-1 just for joining the Army, and then SMG-1 for becoming a Level 1 Army officer.

Ending a term of service

At the end of every term of service, the player rolls 2d6 and must meet or beat the service's Survival number or else die. Some services are more dangerous than others: the Scouts need a 7+ on 2d6 to survive, while other services need only 5+. I guess this is the part I've vaguely heard about where Traveller can kill characters even during character creation. That said, there's an immediate follow-up optional rule where the failed Survival roll will only result in an injury and an early departure from the service rather than outright death.

At the end of every term of service, the player rolls 2d6 to try and meet or beat a Re-enlist number on a 2d6 roll. This is not the same as the Enlistment Throw, but tends to be easier than the initial enlistment. They need to do this even if they do not plan on re-enlisting, since a natural 12 results in them automatically re-enlisting based on the demands of the service.

Aging and Retirement

Since a term of service is 4 years, a character's age increases by 4 per term. After the fourth term of service, they're then 34 years old and aging effects start coming into play. This basically comes down to rolling 2d6 against a target number ranging from 7+ to 9+, or else suffering a reduction to Strength, Dexterity and/or Intelligence. As the character ages further, the target number becomes harder to beat.

If a characteristic is reduced to zero in this way, then another 2d6 roll is required, with a target number of 8+, or else the character dies due to age-related illness (yet another way to die before you ever get to play the game!)

Retirement and Mustering Out Benefits

A character can serve up to seven terms of service voluntarily, although they might end up serving even more if forced re-enlistment happens with natural 12's on the re-enlist roll.

Otherwise, a character is forcibly retired after their seventh term of service, and they can also voluntarily retire after a fifth term of service.

When a character leaves the service for whatever reason, they get to roll on Mustering Out tables. Similar to acquiring skills, you earn a certain number of rolls depending on your rank and number of terms served, then you either pick between a Benefits Table and a Cash Table to roll 1d6 on, and then you gain whatever the result is. Characters that retire also get an infusion of cash as retirement benefits.

Rather than try to go through each of the skills, I'm going to try my hand at generating a character and see what comes out.

2d6 roll for each of the characteristics

Strength: 4
Dexterity: 5
Endurance: 6
Intelligence: 5
Education: 7
Social Standing: 6

My endurance is good enough to give me a +2 bonus to Enlisting for the Army, so I try that

Enlistment roll: 2d6+2 from having high Endurance, need a 5+ to enlist = 7, success! Gain the Rifle-1 skill just for joining the army
Survival roll: 2d6+2 from having high Education, need a 5+ to survive = 13, success!
Commission roll: 2d6, need a 5+ to be commissioned = 6, success! Now a level 1 Army officer (Lieutenant), gain the SMG-1 skill for being a level 1 officer
Promotion roll: 2d6+2 from having high Education, need a 6+ to be promoted = 4, failure

Since this is my first term of service, I earn 2 skill rolls. Since I received a commission, I earn another skill roll, for a total of three. I don't have access to the fourth Advanced Education table, since I don't have an Education of 8+

I elect to roll once each on the Personal Development, Service Skills and third Advanced Education tables:

Personal Development: 1d6 = 4, Gambling
Service Skills: 1d6 = 1, Vehicle
Advanced Education: 1d6 = 2, Mechanical

End of term 1, age increases to 22.

Re-enlistment roll: 2d6, need a 7+ to re-enlist = 5, failed, forced to Muster Out

Since I completed 1 term of service and ended as a level 1 officer, I earn 2 rolls on the Mustering Out tables.

I elect to roll once each on the Benefits Table and Cash Table.

Benefits Table: 1d6 = 6, Middle Passage travel allowance
Cash Table: 1d6+1 from having the Gambling skill = 6, Cr 20 000

And so, on to the skills:

Weapon Skills

I'll get to combat at a later time, but essentially the basic idea is that you need to roll an 8+ on 2d6 to score a hit during combat, and one level of weapon skill acts as a +1 on that 2d6 roll.

Gambling

If it's a casino game, you can bet up to Cr 5 000 and need to roll a 9+ on 2d6 to win
If it's a private game, you can bet between Cr 50 to Cr 5 000 and need to roll an 8+ on 2d6 to win
Characters that have the Gambling skill can add +1 to the 2d6 roll, but the house always wins on a natural 2

Games can also be crooked, requiring a roll of 10+ to win, but if the character has Gambling-3 and rolls a 7+ on 2d6, they can detect it.
If the character has Gambling-4 or higher and they start rolling 9+'es, they may be suspected of cheating and be thrown out, so players can choose to "use" a lower skill level.

The game advises the referee to keep these rolls secret.

Mechanical

This means that the character is skilled in the use, operation and repair of mechanical devices. There are no specific guidelines for target numbers to be used, only suggesting to the referee that "fabricating a new main drive bearing as a starship plunges into a sun" would be harder roll than repairing a broken air lock hatch while in port.

Vehicle

This skill has multiple subdivisions representing different kinds of craft: ground cars, water craft, winged craft, hover craft and grav belts. This means that the character can use drive and operate such vehicles, and can also repair them.

I also earned a Middle Passage travel, which is basically a second-class interplanetary ticket worth Cr 8 000 and allows for 100 kilos of baggage.

Using a random name generator, we can then come up with our final character sheet:

pre:
Lieutenant Gerry Ackson     456576     Age 22     1 terms     Cr 20 000
Rifle-1, SMG-1, Gambling-1, Mechanical-1, Vehicle-Ground Car-1
I went into this book almost completely blind - all I knew about Traveller was that it was a sci-fi game, it was old, and sometimes you could die during character creation. What I found was that this book is remarkable well-written and organized. While I did rephrase and re-order some of the statements for my own convenience, I had no trouble at all grasping the rules and the core mechanic, and the only rule that was really out of place was the retirement benefits showing up several pages after it being mentioned.

The near-total lack of control over what your character ends up being is what it is, a product of its time and an acquired taste, but at least it isn't particularly difficult to do, and a whole character itself can be summarized in a few lines. I can definitely see people just rolling up characters over and over and seeing what comes out.

The core resolution mechanic is charming. 2d6 is dead simple, and it seems like the designer understood averages and bell curves and set the target numbers accordingly. By my count, there are less than 30 skills, and as can be seen from Mechanical, they seem broad enough.


That ends Part 1. The latter half of Book 1 talks about Combat.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


That Old Tree posted:

If I recall correctly, cWoD was adamantly "Hitler was just human omg man's inhumanity to man!" Nephandi and Wyrm werewolves and racist regular werewolves and ultimate mind control Technocrats and whatever were just hangers on all the way to the end…somehow. Which might sound reasonable in light of recent tangents, but considering he's basically the only one who gets that sort of treatment it comes off as cheap edgelord posturing. Like many of oWoD's problems, it could've been solved by just having some goddamn restraint.

If they had kept his entire inner circle human it probably would have been fine, but half of the vampire tribes claim Himler and Mengele amongst their numbers. According to the 1st ed Get tribebook, a lot of German Get worked with the nazis without up and going "hey we're werewolves how can we help" and most of them stopped once they found out about the Concentration Camps and that some Nazi Scientists were experimenting on Garou. (I'm not sure how? but they were apparently)

Also this exists.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




LatwPIAT posted:

Someone mentioned that Brucato talks a big game about social justice, but frequently lapses into antiquated descriptions.

That was me, and it's just more confirmation that his ideology is just a skin over a lot of ingrained prejudices.

I think the "trailer trash" comment got overlooked because this book is garbage they've never been able to edit for poo poo the World of Darkness' ethos kind of lends towards that sort of stereotyping. As you said, it's really easy to end up with massively racist subtext or outright text when doing cosmic horror, and the same goes for the worst-of-all-possible-worlds vibe the old World of Darkness went for.

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



That Old Tree posted:

If I recall correctly, cWoD was adamantly "Hitler was just human omg man's inhumanity to man!" Nephandi and Wyrm werewolves and racist regular werewolves and ultimate mind control Technocrats and whatever were just hangers on all the way to the end…somehow. Which might sound reasonable in light of recent tangents, but considering he's basically the only one who gets that sort of treatment it comes off as cheap edgelord posturing. Like many of oWoD's problems, it could've been solved by just having some goddamn restraint.

Given the line' s canon of heavy supernatural involvement in politics throughout human history it'd be great if Hitler and Nazi Germany were at least partly consequences of all their cynical machinations that blew up spectacularly in their faces and got a whole mess of supernaturals killed as well. Like maybe they weren't behind the Youth Brigades or Kristallnacht, but they were party to the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, and the entire byzantine fuckfest of alliances that led to WWI in the first place.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Thesaurasaurus posted:

Given the line' s canon of heavy supernatural involvement in politics throughout human history it'd be great if Hitler and Nazi Germany were at least partly consequences of all their cynical machinations that blew up spectacularly in their faces and got a whole mess of supernaturals killed as well. Like maybe they weren't behind the Youth Brigades or Kristallnacht, but they were party to the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, and the entire byzantine fuckfest of alliances that led to WWI in the first place.

oWoD could be salvaged in a lot of places by having the supernaturals all be like 'YEAH! WE TOTALLY CONTROL THE WORLD!' and then the writing be more about how they're a bunch of deluded assholes clinging to the ears of the tiger of history as it scrambles about wildly without much heed for their wishes.

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013


If you ever thought your CT character lacked a certain... je ne sais quoi, you could always spring for the separate career-specific book.

Of course, this turns character generation into an unholy mess of cross-referencing charts to see what your character gets up to in every year of his term. After you check if he got into college, of course.
Some examples:

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Nephandi always struck me as way overplayed compared to Marauders, who strike me as being a much more plausible extension of the Awakened condition.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Kurieg posted:


Also this exists.



I'm not gonna front, I'd play this. :allears: Pulp horror supers against Nazis!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Traveller posted:

I'm not gonna front, I'd play this. :allears: Pulp horror supers against Nazis!

Operation Darkness: The RPG is and always should be an option.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Night10194 posted:

Operation Darkness: The RPG is and always should be an option.

I just googled this and how have I never heard of that game before?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Kurieg posted:

I just googled this and how have I never heard of that game before?

Because the game part is sadly, sadly not very good. My experience with it comes from Mors Rattus' LP of it years ago, and it looked janky as gently caress.

Still, it gave us the immortal line: "Last time, on Operation Darkness, Operation Valkyrie failed because we failed to account for Hitler being a Dark Wizard." and SAS Werewolves vs. Nazi Vampires. One good way to do Weird War 2 is to have the 'real' war happening as known and then have all the weirdos cancelling one another out on the sidelines.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Kurieg posted:

I just googled this and how have I never heard of that game before?

Because, sadly, it was a terrible game.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

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

Yeah, I remember there being a -massive- difficulty spike around the time the first nazi wizards show up, especially since my medic hadn't leveled enough to unlock his reanimator serum combat-resurrection yet.

(Why the hell would you only give XP for fights/kills in an TRPG with dedicated support troops? Even FFT knew better than that)

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Because, sadly, it was a terrible game.

Do you have a link to your LP of it handy? It's not on the archive.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



unseenlibrarian posted:

Yeah, I remember there being a -massive- difficulty spike around the time the first nazi wizards show up, especially since my medic hadn't leveled enough to unlock his reanimator serum combat-resurrection yet.

(Why the hell would you only give XP for fights/kills in an TRPG with dedicated support troops? Even FFT knew better than that)

More importantly, the way the guns interacted with the tactical gameplay was one of the best parts about the game and yet almost all the supernatural enemies could only be hurt by melee or special attacks and eventually all you fight is supernaturals.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 12h: Work Sites, Assets, Human Resources, and the Exit Interview

The next few chapters are pretty short, so I'm just going to cover them all in one big wrap-up post so we can finish up with the realm.

Chapter 7 is called Flash Points, and is the obligatory collection of "typical" adventure sites, with maps and a hook or two each. Nothing to spend a lot of time with, but let's run down what they have anyway.

First up is the John Woo staple, the Yakuza Armory/Safehouse. This is pretty much what you'd expect: a place for the Yakuza enforcers to hide out and gear up. Now that 3327 is effectively running the whole show, security's been beefed up from the old days of "a few scowly guys in sunglasses". Getting in quietly requires keycards and "invoices" from one of the Yakuza's cover companies. Getting in loudly involves the sorts of weapons you'd expect it to.

Taking a Yakuza warehouse can net you a lot of hardware, and maybe a drug shipment or two if you're lucky.


This place is very...rectangular.

The Rauru Block Headquarters isn't a generic location. In fact, the HQ is actually the summer home of one of the member CEOs. It's a nice, large two-story house up near the mountains in Osaka, and sadly doesn't have much by way of security. The only reason 3327 hasn't just killed everyone who lives there is because he's still in the early, subtle stages of the takeover.

quote:

An unknown percentage of Samayura's servants are actually corporate ninja, who serve as bodyguards to the industrialist and the other CEOs who visit the palace.
I guess people are acclimating to "corporate ninja" pretty well if Core Earth companies are starting to get them on the payroll.

Ueno Park is the Core Earth headquarters of the Shiki, who you may remember are the Marketplace-based eco-warrior rebellion. A bunch of operatives managed to come down the bridge and have set up shop in the area around the park.


Not that I blame them, the place is beautiful.

And that's a good thing, because the shifting of Japan's axioms has turned the park from one of the country's main tourist attractions into an area rife with criminal and gang presense. Currently control of the area is a tug-of-war between the Shiki and the gangs, with 3327 waiting for one side to wipe the other out so he can come in and mop up whoever's left.

Next up is the good old-fashioned Gospog Factory. As stated previously, 3327 doesn't rely on gospog like the other High Lords do; having giant monstrosities wandering around killing people doesn't really help the whole "secret takeover" thing, so he relies more on human operatives.

That said, 3327 isn't stupid. He knows how useful gospog are, so he's still making them. He's just doing it in a converted hydroponics lab instead of a giant field full of dead bodies.

Then there's the Sons of the Wind Temple, a.k.a. "the dojo you have the big martial arts smackdown at". It's in a suitably out-of-the-way place that requires a difficulty 15 climbing roll to get to, and even when you reach it you might think it was an old Shinto temple. There's really no reason to come here except to meet the Sons of the Wind and then get attacked by ninjas.

Lastly, the Izumo-Taisha Shrine is one of the oldest temples in Japan, as well as being one of the most important. Legend says that all the Shinto gods gather here every October, and given everything that's going on now that might actually be happening.

A number of Palanic priests have set up shop here, some from Marketplace and other converts from Core Earth. The Shinto priests who maintain the shrine allow the Palanic priests sanctuary, unaware that a lot of them have turned their back on their pacifist ways and are actually sneaking out to sabotage 3327's assets. 3327 hasn't made a move against the temple yet, because he knows better than to sent task forces to attack one of the most important sites in the country.


Now we go to Chapter 8, Miracles of Faith. The Spiritual axiom of Nippon Tech is just below that of Core Earth, so miracles are possible, but very hard to pull off. Back in the cosm, only priests of Palan were capable of performing miracles and even then it took years of training. In the realm, Shinto priests are finding themselves capable of performing miracles under the new rules.

That said, there's really not a lot here, though. I might as well just run down the full list:
  • Bow Master gives you +3 to your missile weapons skill for a day.
  • Call Animals summons all animals (or one specific animal type) in a 600-meter radius. That's a third of a mile. That's a lot of animals. Note that you can't control or communicate with them without using other miracles.
  • Captivate requires you to speak for a solid minute, which will cause the targets to be unable to do anything but listen to the priest until he stops talking or the target is attacked.
  • The Death of Sound is an indie prog rock band a ridiculously overpowered miracle that cancels all sound in a 150 meter radius for five minutes. That's one and a half football fields. I'd imagine any benefit you'd gain from stealth would be negated by everyone in the building panicing because they think they all went deaf.
  • Detect Deception will allow you to detect all untruths for an hour.
  • Flame Burst causes an existing flame to explode to "20 times greater than the original source".
  • Ghost Walk lets the target do the walk-on-rice-paper thing, leaving no trace of passage. The target cannot be tracked with the tracking skill, but can be tracked with the detect miracle rite.
  • Pathway is divine GPS; you know the best route to any geographic location.
  • Purify Poison does what it says on the label.
  • Spirit Flight is basically "astral form". Your spirit is set free, allowing you to move around ignoring obstacles. You can't move more than 300 yards from your body without increasing the difficulty of maintaining the spell, and you can't interact with things in the physical world. You are completely invisible (except to detect miracle), and can interact with spirits. This lasts until you return to your body.
  • Spirit Quest just gives you +3 to Spirit-based rolls for an hour.
  • Staff of Palan gives the priest's staff +1 to its damage value.
  • Sword Master is the same as Bow Master, except the bonus is for melee weapons.
  • True Vision lets you see in the dark and detect hidden doors and panels.
  • Voices of Stone allows you to talk to rocks. It does not force the rock to actually tell you anything, which means you could cast the miracle and get nothing for it.
  • Wings of Sparrow gives you a whopping +1 to your dodge for an hour.

Oh, and there's a miracle that creates a whirlwind that flings stuff around hard enough to hurt people called Kamikaze. I mean, yes, "kamikaze" means "spirit wind" but come on you had to use that word? It's not like the associated baggage that comes with it isn't widely known.

Leaving that awkwardness behind we come to the Equipment chapter. Here we learn the current exchange rates ($1 = ¥140), and this is important because all the prices here are given in yen. They also give a table of how much the value of the yen will deflate over the course of the invasion because that matters. I mean, it's not like they did that for any of the other realities or realms. I'd imagine having Generic Fantasy World land on England and northern Europe did a number on the economy there, but I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the Asyle book about that.

Anyway, we get the usual list o' weapons here. The normal firearms don't have too much that's really worth talking about because it's all "modern guns, just a point or two better" stuff, although it's interesting to note that a bunch of guns publicly sold by the Kanawa Corporation's subsidiaries are made from plastics, which means they don't set off metal detectors. I'm sure that isn't causing worldwide problems.

The melee weapons section is actually a lot leaner than you'd expect. Yeah, there's the katana and the manriki-gusari are included, as they were in any 90's RPG that even mentioned martial arts, but apart from that you've got the shimsi sword (the smaller ninja katana), nunchaka, and throwing stars and that's it.

That's not to say there's not more weapons, it's just that they've been teched up a bit. So you have shock swords (always deal a K result on top of everything else), heat-seeking throwing stars, spring-loaded stiletto, and the EMP Sai that can knock out all electronics in a 10 meter radius for two minutes.

On the plus side, we do have power armor. Sort of.

quote:

Rijato Battlesuit: One of the most sophisticated suits of armor in the realm, the Rijato is solar-powered and equipped with wrist-blasters, magnesium flares, and magnetic repellors which allow it to fly. It is not intended to be worn, but can be controlled from afar via a cybernetic helmet. This armor is beyond even the Tech axioms of Nippon, and at present only the prototype is known to exist (it was stolen by its inventor before 3327 could appropriate it). It is not available on the open market, and there is no way of knowing if it could ever be duplicated.

Due to the strain of maintaining cybernetic control of the armor, for every hour in which the armor is in use, there is a -1 penalty to all of the controller's Mind-based skills. These skills can be returned to normal by resting for a number of hours equal to the time spent operating the armor.

The wrist-blasters do damage value 18(range 3-40/200/5OO), the magnesium flares are damage value 9 (range1-6/15/40-unprotected eyes only),and the armor can fly at a speed of 70 kmh.
I know it sounds more like a plot device than gear, but believe it or not there's a reason for this entry which we'll get to in a bit.

The improvement in technology has made the dream of "domestic robots" come true. At least, it came true for people who could afford the ¥2.1 million price tag. The Mitsubishi Home-Domo will cook, clean, perform household maintenance, and even provide early warning against gas attack! Sadly, they don't tell you what it looks like so I don't know if it's a humaniod robot or if it looks like something from Runaway.

The "Adventuring Gear" section has all the espionage gadgets you'd expect; electronic lockpics, grapple guns, tracers, signal scramblers, that sort of stuff. But the main attraction here are the "domestic" electronics.

Why? Because trying to predict technologies will never not be funny.

quote:

Zamftech Monolith: The RISC17-based Monolith computer features a single chip containing the 64 bit video coprocessor, floating point co-processor, and voice recognition processor. Comes bundled with touchpad, 32Mb memory, multiple output option module, including both color and tactile compatibilities and a 1 Gb optical drive. Memory can be increased to 256 Mb and up to seven additional optical drives can be daisy-chained to the primary drive.
I think that's supposed to be a desktop computer.

quote:

Misaki XE Laptop Computer: The hottest selling portable in Marketplace and Nippon, tlus unit features a fast RISC15 processor-a single chip containing the 16 bit video coprocessor, floating point co-processor, and voice recognition processor. Comes with 16 Mb memory, 100 Mb storage, and weighs less than four pounds.
Less than four pounds and 100 Mb storage? For only ¥120,000/$859? Sorcery!


I imagine it looks like something like this.

quote:

Sony Talkman: The latest revolution in cellular technology, the Talkman is a personal telephone no larger than a wallet. It can be worn on a belt or inside a suitcoat to receive calls at any time, and can also be used in conjunction with the Zamftech Personal FAX.
You can also buy scramblers and descramblers for your phone. Just remember to set it to "vibrate" before you infiltrate a Kanawa location.

quote:

Nintendo 32-Bit NES III: Nippon's most popular home entertainment unit, available cartridges include Zelda V, Ninjn Castle, Mega-Corporate Wars, Ronin Rampage, and Evander Holyfield Ten Count. Unit comes standard with stereo headphones and 6" 64-bit color display.
Remember when we cared how many bits a console had? :allears: Although I'm impressed that the NES III has a larger screen than a New 3DS. Just for the record, in 1991 the SNES had just come out in the states, and the original brick Game Boy had been out for about a year and a half.

Finally, at long last, we come to the character templates. There aren't that many templates for Nippon Tech or Marketplace, with the core set having a whopping two, both from Marketplace:

The Contract Ninja does bad things for money, but doesn't take pleasure in it. That said, he's not liking how a lot of his bretheren are starting to enjoy their work a little too much. Going against the clan made him a target, so now he's on the run and looking for...other options when it comes to employment. His tag skill is martial arts.


The Disgruntled Corporate used to work for Mitsuyana Industries, one of the companies on the wrong end of 3327's rise to power. She didn't like that; she also didn't like that working for the wrong company could get you killed by ninjas, assault teams, or street gangs for hire. Sick of seeing the downward spiral that is Marketplace "corporate politics", she put in her notice and headed to Core Earth to be a consultant. She starts with a Panasonic Currency Emulator ("manufactures copies of up to 1, 000 units of any paper currency per cartridge", not mentioned anywhere else, probably illegal as gently caress), some gadgets, a fake ID, and ¥5,000,000.

Those are pretty...dull, and point to the problem Nippon Tech's always had; the writers had no idea what characters would do there. Fortunately, the realm book added a bunch more options.

The Corproate Ninja used to work for the weakest companies. Not because of honor or a love of the underdog, but because the opponents put up more of a challenge. As the corporate war spread into Core Earth, he was approached by agents of the Rauru Block and hired to fight for them. This is just the Contract Ninja, updated with the stuff from this book.

The Kashi Hacker is a Marketplace freedom fighter from a long line of people who've been fighting the corproate overlords. Unlike most of Kashi, she doesn't rely on sabotage and propaganda. Instead, she got a corporate position to gain access to the computer networks of the megacorps. When she learned of the Core Earth invasion, she got herself added to the project. Now, she uses her skills to aid the Rauru Block and diseminate information to Storm Knight groups. She starts with a hilariously clunky laptop, and her tag skill is science.


The Mega-Corporation CEO is from Core Earth, and knew something was off about Kanawa from the start. This caused him to become a bit of a business pariah as the companies he used to have good relations with started dancing to Ryuchi Kanawa's tune. Refusing to play ball resulted in one of his factories being bombed and the murders of a good number of his higher-ups. Now allied with the Rauru Block, his main contribution is in the financial sector. He starts with a Brooks Borthers suit, ¥1 billion, and (of course) his own megacorporation. His tag skill is business.

The Priest of Palan started out as a low-level office drone. Then he heard the words of Palan, the idea that all men were equal regardless of wealth or position, the idea that the world was beautiful once and could be again. In a moment of clarity, he left his company (costing them 300k credits on the way out because gently caress those guys) and joined the priesthood. And everything was fine until the Termination and thousands of Palan's faithful were wiped out. He managed to insinutae himself back into corporate life as a low-level beurocrat to get to Core Earth, and is now helping mobilize resistance. His tag skill is focus.

The Rauru Block Agent is, well, some guy with a gun. There's no real background for this guy, and his description boils down to "you see Japan going down the toilet and are fighting back". His tag skill is evidence analysis.


The Rijato Armored Warrior is the guy who developed and stole that power armor we read about back in the Equipment chapter. His tag skill is science.

quote:

For years, you were an integral part of the crack research and design team in a South Korean electronics firm. Shortly before the Possibility Wars broke out in various nations, you and your crew were working on plans for an armored battlesuit, something beyond the limits of current technology. So absorbed were you in your work that you took no notice of the purchase of your firm by the Kanawa Corporation.

Finally, it was ready, a prototype suit of armor that might never be duplicated. Devastating wrist blasters, magnetic repellors for flight, and various other devices made it virtually priceless on the open market.

Then the word came down from the 75th floor of the Kanawa Building in Tokyo: the Rijato belonged to the mega-corporation. You didn't want to see your work turned into a weapon of destruction. You slipped past the guards at the research center, altered the helmet so it would respond only to your mind, and stole the battlesuit.
Yes, he didn't want his suit of power armor with the wrist mounted blasters used as "a weapon of destruction". Because it'd have so many domestic uses I guess.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CISRRn3wolk


The Ronin is actually a samurai from Marketplace. He inherited the title from his father, but while traditionally a samurai would serve a master, he descided that being a free agent would work out better for him in the long run. This turned out to be a bad descision, because a contract from 3327 himself led you to kill the elderly mother of a Shiki leader. He then made the worst mistake of his life: telling 3327 he wouldn't complete the contract. This branded him a criminal with a sizeable price on his head, sending him into hiding until he learned of 3327's movement into Core Earth. His tag skill is melee weapons.

The Shiki is a street punk who's joined with other punks for mutual survival. Nobody cares about the lower classes in Marketplace apart from the Shiki group, and this kid was part of the front-line fighters who had to deal with MarSec and would raid warehouses for things like food. He was hand-picked to go to Core Earth, where he hooked up with other like-minded individuals. His tag skill is fire combat/

The Son of the Wind was living in a remote temple when the invasion happened, but could sense the change in the land. Calling together the Sons, he petitioned that the group should take up arms and fight the invaders. Unfortunately, most of the Sons felt that the best course of action would be to remain in seclusion rather than risk getting wiped out. Unwilling to stand by and do nothing, he left the temple and entered the world at large for the first time. Adjusting to things has taken a while, but he doesn't regret his choice for a second. His tag skill is martial arts.

The Yakuza Enforcer is one of the old guard. He was respected, feared, and wealthy. But then there was the takeover. The restructuring. All of a sudden he found himself working under a different daimyo and being sent to raid corporations and threaten businessmen. Which made no sense; what the hell did the yakuza care about electronics firms? A little digging revealed that Isei Sagato wasn't the one actually in charge anymore, and that the yakuza was being used as a blunt instrument in a much larger battle. He's still in the yakuza, but now he's doing a little...moonlighting on the side. His tag skill is fire combat.

And that, at long last, brings us to the end of the Nippon Tech book. So what does the future hold for 3327?

Within a year 3327 does manage to drop a second bridge in Sacramento, California, driving back the Living Land and making an enemy of Baruk Kaah. 3327 did this by uprooting Living Land stelae and quickly replacing them with Nippon Tech ones. To the outside world, this looked like the Living Land territory was just receding from around Sacramento for no reason. Dubbed "The Miracle of Sacramento", this spurred the stateside development of the Kanawa Corporation with the grateful backing of the American government.


For Torg, this is pretty mundane.

He also expands westward from Japan, dropping two more bridges in Japan and siezing Taiwan and South Korea. From there he begins moving into mainland China.

That's not to say it's all gravy for 3327. Tharkoldu agents, still pissed that he was responsible for their failure in Russia, begin sabotaging Nippon Tech stelae in America. As a result, Kanawa expansion hasn't been as fast as 3327 would like.

Unsurprisingly, 3327 doesn't have too many allies among the other High Lords due to the fact that he sells weapons to the good guys and has been doing the land grab trick. The only ones who'll have anything to do with him are Uthorion (who's so weakened he'll take any help he can get) and Mobius (who's crazy).

The early failures spur 3327 to begin striking harder, which is the first step on him being revealed as a High Lord. That revelation wouldn't come for about three years, but before then he starts expanding faster and further.

Then Tharkold will drop a bridge on L.A., and 3327 will suddenly find himself in a much shakier position.

---
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Nippon Tech.

I feel like Nippon Tech is right up there with the Living Land in terms of being a really interesting setting idea that falls flat due to bad presentation and lack of thought about what you'd do there. I realize that the 90's were a ways before we as a hobby started asking things like "so what do we actually do with this?". But even so, there doesn't seem to be any effort put into things apart from there being martial arts and megacorps.

I said this before, but Nippon Tech should be "Robocop and Judge Dredd by way of John Woo". All the elements are there: the out-of-control corporate culture, the huge gap between the haves and have-nots, the inbuilt crime drama and revenge story motifs.

But none of it hangs together. Each concept lives in near total isolation from the others, leaving everything feeling disjointed.

I remember someone saying that in the original Feng Shui that the Buro was included so that people had a place to get high-tech guns from, but the developers didn't expect that people would want to go to that juncture and hang out.

I get the impression that Nippon Tech suffered from the same problem. They needed a place for PCs to get weapons and high-tech gear, so they created this realm. But oddly, they didn't realize that if you make a region in your setting and earmark it as being important, then people are going to want to go there and learn more about it.

Ultimately Nippon Tech ends up being another example of Torg's biggest problem: good ideas, poorly implemented. And it's a shame, because who wouldn't want to play in the RPG equivalent of Sleeping Dogs?


NEXT TIME: A different reality! What will it be!?

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


theironjef posted:

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

Learning never stops. Though I think I've heart that title before in D&D Paladin context...

Count Chocula posted:

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

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

I get a "Terminator meets Maximum Overdrive" wipe from it. Either way, it's sound pretty rad.

Nessus posted:

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



Thanks. Now it's starting to make sense.

(He lied, blissfully ignoring Brucato's writing.)

That Old Tree posted:

If I recall correctly, cWoD was adamantly "Hitler was just human omg man's inhumanity to man!" Nephandi and Wyrm werewolves and racist regular werewolves and ultimate mind control Technocrats and whatever were just hangers on all the way to the end…somehow. Which might sound reasonable in light of recent tangents, but considering he's basically the only one who gets that sort of treatment it comes off as cheap edgelord posturing. Like many of oWoD's problems, it could've been solved by just having some goddamn restraint.

Wasn't Hitler like the only thing without any supernatural involvement?

Either way, pretty silly to make everything a giant nihilist conspiracy. Humans have always been dicks to each other. They need no weird mages to help them out.


This is what the WoD should be all about.

Night10194 posted:

Still, it gave us the immortal line: "Last time, on Operation Darkness, Operation Valkyrie failed because we failed to account for Hitler being a Dark Wizard." and SAS Werewolves vs. Nazi Vampires. One good way to do Weird War 2 is to have the 'real' war happening as known and then have all the weirdos cancelling one another out on the sidelines.

I thought his head got transplanted onto a giant killbot.

LornMarkus posted:

More importantly, the way the guns interacted with the tactical gameplay was one of the best parts about the game and yet almost all the supernatural enemies could only be hurt by melee or special attacks and eventually all you fight is supernaturals.

What a shame. Does anyone know if there are any Weird War (or rather Weirder War) mods for Silent Storm?

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

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




Traveller posted:

I'm not gonna front, I'd play this. :allears: Pulp horror supers against Nazis!

If it's wrong to want to play Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos as werewolves as drawn by Ron Spencer then I don't want to be right.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




RULES, PART 1

As established, NBA is a GUMSHOE game, so the first part of this is about the GUMSHOE engine and how to use it. The first and most important part of this is Clues. You're solving a mystery and unraveling a conspiracy, so you need to find a lot of clues. However, the book puts this in big, bold letters at the top of this section:

quote:

Intelligence operations are not about finding clues. They are about interpreting the clues you find.

This is sort of the core idea of GUMSHOE. Think of it like a Sherlock Holmes mystery: Holmes never accidentally overlooks clues. The clue-finding isn't the meat of the story, it's the setup. The fun part, the interesting part, is putting the clues together to uncover the truth. So, in GUMSHOE, uncovering clues isn't a matter of 'if', but of 'how'.

So, to get a clue, you must do three things: Get into a scene where there are clues, have the ability needed to find a clue, and use the ability. It is never dependent on the die roll. If I say "I use Chemistry to test the blood sample for silver", I get that information. If I use Notice to search the alley for hidden objects, and the killer discarded his knife in the alley, now I have the murder weapon. It's that simple.

Okay, maybe not exactly that simple. Depending on the level of desired player skill necessary, the Director may offer some clues automatically via 'passive' use of investigative abilities. There's a lot of guidance about how to rework all of this to avoid having to call attention to the game rules by saying specific ability names during play. Some clues can be found without using abilities, if all that's needed is a simple search.



As mentioned before, every ability is a pool of points. With investigative abilities, these points are spent to get further information, beyond the main clue, effectively giving your character a brief moment in the spotlight. The more points you spend, the more details you get. Even if you spend all the points in your pool, you still have the ability, so you can still get basic clues for it.

The book gives this nice example:

quote:

“What do I know about Montreuil?” you ask. “I have 3 points in History.”

The Director answers: “It began as a monastic settlement around 780 A.D. The monastery was the main draw here until the French Revolution, when it was shut down — this is probably one of the old monastery complex buildings. Plus, it’s where the French film industry began in the 1890s.”

“That seems pretty sketchy. I’ll bet there’s more going on here, if only because this was once consecrated ground. Ideal vampire turf... I want a full information dump on this place; can I spend 2 points of History to get it?”

“Uh, sure,” the Director says. She actually has two pieces of information, labeled as 1-point spends for Occult and Architecture, but History works, too, with a bigger spend. She gives the Architecture spend first: “One of the designers of Notre Dame was Pierre du Montreuil; he may have built other works of sacred architecture in his home town for the monks.” Which leads into the Occult information: “Certainly a dissident sect of Freemasons thought so when they took over a 12th-century building in Montreuil as their cult center in 1791. The Ordo Sola Obscura, the Order of the Obscured Sun. They vanished during the Occupation.”

“Wait,” you say: “Obscured Sun? That’s got to tie into the camera obscura, which means that film thing probably leads somewhere too. Plus, who likes an obscured sun more than vampires?”

Now you have three more leads to follow: the career of Pierre du Montreuil, who may have built sorcerous or ritual crypts; the Sola Obscura and their possible heirs in modern France; and any vampiric involvement in the film industry in Paris. Plus, you’re pretty sure there’s a medieval crypt under here just boiling with dark ritual power: “Everybody get those sun lamps out; when we find it, we’re going into that crypt on full UV.”

The Director says “That’s going to take a lot of power,” as she adjusts her notes to reflect that the sorcerous darkness in the crypt has lost the element of surprise.

So, having the ability at all means that you can get all the floor-level clues, but putting more points into it means that you get more time in the spotlight as your specific expertise extracts more clues out of the situation. Ideall, these bonus clues won't be necessary to finish the operation, but will give you an advantage down the line.

Now, not everything you do in the game is clue gathering - most of the rest is Tests. These are more like traditional skill checks, with a random chance of failure. Every roll in GUMSHOE is of the form 1d6+X, trying to match or beat difficulty number Y. X is the number of points spent on the test - you can always roll a flat 1d6, but if you're doing a Driving test, you could spend 2 points from your Driving pool before rolling to instead roll 1d6+2. Doing so would reduce your Driving pool, but not your Rating in the ability - if you get a chance to Refresh the skill, you would regain the 2 lost points.

Failure, as in any good storygame, doesn't necessarily mean failure. It may mean success, but with a cost - you fail your Digital Intrusion test, and you still get the data, but one of the enemy hackers managed to pinpoint your safehouse location before you could disconnect. If you really do fail, though, then it's sometimes possible to retry - but only if you spend more points on the second attempt than you spent on the first.



The game is nice enough to offer multiple distinct forms of teamwork rules, depending on the kind of action. If two people are working together on something, they can Cooperate. One is designated as the leader, and spends points on the roll as normal. The other is designated as the assistant, and spends points in his relevant ability as well - however, his benefit is reduced by one. So, if the assistant spends 3 points, he increases the roll by 2, not 3.

If a bunch of people are doing something difficult together - the classic example being sneaking into a building - they can do it via Piggybacking, where one character acts and multiple characters benefit from it. Each person trying to ride on the leader's roll pays 1 point from a relevant ability pool, then the leader rolls as normal - if they succeed, everyone gets to ride that success together. If someone doesn't have the ability, or is out of points, they can still piggyback, but it increases the leader's difficulty target by 2.

If it's not a Clue, and it's not a Test, it's probably a Contest! That means two people are acting in opposition to each other. If one of them is an NPC, the simplest way to do it is just as another Test - if they beat Difficulty X, then they reach the detonator first. More cunning or powerful enemies can be represented by higher difficulties to overcome.

For more important or nuanced conflict, though, you want a Full Contest. In this, each character acts in turn, rolling the relevant ability against a difficulty number of (usually) 4. The contestants keep rolling in turn until one fails the roll, at which point the other wins. If the situation is unbalanced, one may have a higher target number than the other. It's an unusual system, having both sides rolling against the same flat difficulty, but because it always costs points to boost a roll above 1d6, neither side can hold out forever.

There's one kind of contest, very common in the genre, that NBA goes to great lengths to lovingly recrate: The Thriller Chase. Car chases! Parkour pursuit through crowded streets! Knocking over fruit carts!



Chases work a little different from Full Contests. First change: Point expenditure is done in secret and revealed simultaneously. Once both sides have revealed their points spent, both roll as normal. Then, instead of ending if somebody failed, the results are applied to the runner's Lead. Lead usually starts at 5 - if it reaches 0, the runner is caught. If it reaches 10, the runner escapes.

Each turn, the rolls made by the runner and the pursuer affect the Lead. If runner succeeds and pursuer fails, Lead goes up by 2. If pursuer succeeds and runner fails, Lead drops by 2. If both succeed or fail, you compare the margins of success. If the pursuer won by more or lost by less, Lead goes down by 1. Otherwise, it goes up by 1. Repeat, with gradually escalating flavor elements (catwalks, conveyor belts, open-air fish markets, pairs of oblivious people carrying huge sheets of glass across the street), until the runner escapes or is caught.

At the start of a round, the runner can try to escalate the chaos of the chase - charging into oncoming traffic, jumping a fence into a railway yard as trains barrel by, anything that makes everything scarier. This raises the difficulty of everyone's next roll by 1; if they fail, the chase difficulty drops back down to its original level next turn. Otherwise, it stays where it is, and the runner could choose to raise it again. If both succeed at the raised roll, then the runner can choose to lower the difficulty, but only if the pursuer agrees.

Attacking is possible during a chase - the most obvious case for this is the passengers in a car chase shooting at the other car. I won't go over all the details of it yet since we haven't even hit the combat chapter, but there are rules for jumping from car to car, shooting out tires, using investigative abilities creatively to influence the chase, ramming other cars... there's even rules for passing the wheel to an NPC so that you can jump onto another car or steady your rocket launcher through the sun roof. This poo poo is thorough.

A couple abilities have extra cool cherries based on lavish description during action. Athletics 8+ gives you the "Parkour" cherry, which lets you refresh 3 points of Athletics once per chase by throwing out some kind of lavish description of the moves involved, like "With a flowing passe muraille, I step up off the fire escape, grab the parapet, and flip myself onto the roof." There's a similar rule for Driving/Piloting ("The characteristic stiff suspension of my Jaguar XKE keeps the center of gravity low, putting all the torque into cornering."), and later for Clancy-esque gun porn monologues ("As I fire one of its trademark bursts from the HK UMP, I take a deadened, existential solace from the soulless blankness of its polymer casing.").

If multiple pursuers are chasing one runner, they can Cooperate on the rolls (this is the only circumstance when more than two people can use Cooperation rules). If the multiple pursuers are a swarm of mooks, instead just give them more points in their ability pools to represent the added manpower. If the police crash a chase between two other parties, it becomes two chases at once - the pursuers in the original chase are now also the runners in a second chase where the police are the pursuers. You should probably try to avoid this scenario unless you like some complicated bookkeeping.

Next: Violence.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Doresh posted:

Thanks. Now it's starting to make sense.

I still don't get that chart :saddowns:

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


It's interesting to see a Mage the Ascension review and a Night's Black Agent review going side by side. I wonder how NBA does on the "trivializing real world horror by tying it to supernatural horror" axis once we start getting into setting details--I don't think the writers ever go straight up "vampires caused the Yugoslav Wars", but it can be a bit awkward to read sometimes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Kurieg posted:

Do you have a link to your LP of it handy? It's not on the archive.

It never got archived because I let it die before the final mission out of sheer frustration. Sorry! I could probably dig it out but you'd need Archives.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


I do have archives so that's not a concern, I'm just a sucker for dumb alt-history particularly if it involves Werewolves.


Kavak posted:

I still don't get that chart :saddowns:

Neither do I, so don't worry.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Doresh posted:

Wasn't Hitler like the only thing without any supernatural involvement?

Pretty much. One of the best ?jokes? they ever pulled was having like five different supernatural conspiracies claiming Rasputin as their own. That kind of sarcastic self awareness was refreshing sometimes.

Likewise Nazi-hunting Aryan werewolves.

quote:

Either way, pretty silly to make everything a giant nihilist conspiracy. Humans have always been dicks to each other. They need no weird mages to help them out.

oWoD always had trouble with just what kind of monster everyone is supposed to be. And, I mean, that's fair enough; it's decades old and was written by a grojillion different people with varying levels of editorial oversight. It just seems like these nostalgia editions also can't pick between "fix what was busted" and "but it's part of the legacy maaaan."

quote:

This is what the WoD should be all about.

Also yes this.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Kurieg posted:

I do have archives so that's not a concern, I'm just a sucker for dumb alt-history particularly if it involves Werewolves.


Neither do I, so don't worry.

It's a Barkley: Shut Up and Jam Gaiden reference.

That's exactly as dumb as it sounds.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

That Old Tree posted:

oWoD always had trouble with just what kind of monster everyone is supposed to be. And, I mean, that's fair enough; it's decades old and was written by a grojillion different people with varying levels of editorial oversight. It just seems like these nostalgia editions also can't pick between "fix what was busted" and "but it's part of the legacy maaaan."

Some people found it a bit dry, but personally I didn't mind V20 too much. It took all the things that were in Revised and catalogued it into one definitive edition that includes pretty much everything you need rules-wise and most things setting-wise. It doesn't exorcise the racist underpinnings of legacy stuff, but a lot of it is toned heavily down and its understandable that central features of the setting remain. It's not perfect, but it's a very useful tome of all things VTM Revised. M20, on the other hand, fails to collect all things MTAs in a single volume, doesn't include everything you need to even play the basic game, and at the same time sees fit to include a plethora of things that wasn't there in the first place, like the Disparate Alliance. When M20 starts to meddle with the setting, all claims to immunity from criticism it has from things being legacy disappear entirely.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Kavak posted:

I still don't get that chart :saddowns:

I don't actually either, but I take it over Brucato's writing.

That Old Tree posted:

Pretty much. One of the best ?jokes? they ever pulled was having like five different supernatural conspiracies claiming Rasputin as their own. That kind of sarcastic self awareness was refreshing sometimes.

Maybe he changed his splat each time he respawned?

That Old Tree posted:

Likewise Nazi-hunting Aryan werewolves.

Even Aryan uberwolves can be productive members of society.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man






So beautiful I had to push it over

We all mourn in our own way; I've decided to mourn David Bowie's passing by hitting writing more about C:tL, because one of the two Contracts involve the rockstar/androgynous Fairest seeming, and he's a major part of one of the touchstone references to the game1.

Ogre Seeming - Contracts of Stone
I wish this had a better name, as Stone reminds me too much of the element. One of the major combat Contracts that are all about punching things really, really hard and very little else.2

Might Of The Terrible Brute
A reflexive - as in immediately adding to your roll- roll of Wyrd plus strength with successes stacking to strength at the cost of a Glamour. There's a nice reference to The Princess Bride in the catch (fighting multiple opponents barehanded). Because this strength doesn't stack with Armor of Elements, you'll see a major divide in your combat monsters because of these two parts.

Ogre's Rending Grasp
Kinda, sorta useless way to bash down a door by reducing its durability before going in on its structure.

Display Grandiose Might
Add your Wyrd to your strength for a scene- as long as you don't use it for combat or breaking an inanimate object. The catch explains what this clause is for: becoming a show-off athlete or demonstrative brute. Also good to toss your little buddies over a wall.

Gluttonous Feast Of Health
A major self-heal. An hour of gorging yourself on foodstuffs turns a single aggravated or two lethal into two bashing damage. Anyone who has been around a Werewolf game can tell you that this sort of ability to heal yourself allows players to risk damage and then come back by the next session or time-skip fully ready to go hurl themselves at danger again.

Red Rage Of Terrible Revenge
You hulk the gently caress out, Werewolf style. Each success adds to your initiative, stamina, strength, armor, and non-agg wound penalty ablation. Lasts a combat scene.

Fairest Seeming - Contracts of Vainglory
The "charm person" of the Contracts. Hardly as subtle in most applications, these Clauses are all about using your personal dynamism as a hammer to get your way. Also interestingly, your striking looks merit is not completely useless; you add your "appearance bonus" to the contract roll. Importantly, these clauses allow you to drop your Mask w/o actually hurting your Clarity.

Mask Of Superiority
Wyrd befuddles a target with an aura about you that makes you seem important; perhaps you are a celebrity or a worker's superior many-times-removed or someone "who knows what they're doing". While the Wyrd doesn't inform you who you appear to be to anyone you talk to3, you are given a flat success to attempts to boss the target around.

Songs Of Distant Arcadia
Add your Wyrd to expression & persuasion for the scene.

Splendor Of The Envoy's Protection
You gain an additional +2 to striking looks, and as long as you don't harm anyone or brandish weapons4 ordinary mortals can only block your path instead of attack you; important people5 must roll Resolve + Composure to attack you. Material media cannot capture your true form and mortals will consider your Mien to be a charming costume or person rather than supernatural.

Mantle Of Terrible Beauty
Roll Intimidate + Wyrd v Composure + Wyrd; anyone (other than those in a Motley Pledge with you6) within 3 yards per Wyrd (now or until the end of the scene) either take -2 to attack/harm, or must flee and cannot spend willpower to gain a bonus to rolls/resistance. Also, you get a +2 to intimidate.

Words Of Memories Never Lived
This is a very complex Clause to try and sum up: you perform as an extended roll for each minute, and anyone within earshot (50yds) and they get an idea as you describe implanted into their minds as if it is a fresh memory- lasting until the next sunrise. Examples given are calming a mob or creating one- but this is essentially a classic 'charm person' with everything that describes, and soooo, yeah.

Next time: Court Contracts.

1 - Jim Henson's The Labyrinth
2 - In fact, most of the bonuses/penalties to your clause roll are there largely to reward sudden Leeroy Jenkins actions and punish sneaky silent thoughtful ones.
3 - Meaning the strength of this Clause is partially your ability to cold-read and partially your ST's interest in role-playing the NPC.
4 - I'd like to define harm in the non-physical sense as well and weapons as anything dangerous in my games, but allowing someone to light a match or command someone to attack isn't the worst thing to allow, and actually by-the-book allowed.
5 - nee' Supernaturals, but lets be real.
6 - We'll explain this later, but imagine your party or group of special friends- and remember, you can have more than one Motley Pledge but they ALL protect from this Clause.

Gerund fucked around with this message at 21:45 on Jan 11, 2016

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Half of the Camarilla claimed Rasputin as one of theirs at least, and they assigned him to the Corax in the back of some V:DA adventure book (Transylvania Chronicles?). I think that latter one was an easter egg.

Malkavian Rasputin transubstantiating Communion wine to blood, and muttering about how 'these midnight Masses are the only thing keeping me alive' remains my first and favourite.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Kurieg posted:

I do have archives so that's not a concern, I'm just a sucker for dumb alt-history particularly if it involves Werewolves.


Neither do I, so don't worry.

http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3408280

Here you go, then.

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

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




Bieeardo posted:

Half of the Camarilla claimed Rasputin as one of theirs at least, and they assigned him to the Corax in the back of some V:DA adventure book (Transylvania Chronicles?). I think that latter one was an easter egg.

Malkavian Rasputin transubstantiating Communion wine to blood, and muttering about how 'these midnight Masses are the only thing keeping me alive' remains my first and favourite.

Rasputin was one (or more) of a Brujah, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Ventrue, Follower of Set, Shadow Lord, Cultist of Ecstasy, or Puppeteer according to various books.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





DigitalRaven posted:

Rasputin was Russia's greatest love machine. It was a shame how he carried on.

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Double Cross - Public Enemy


Professor Caudwell and his war

The history of Professor Alfred J. Caudwell begins during his early 30s (aka a few months after the Renegade Liberation), when he worked as a research scientist for an American university. One fateful day, a colleague asked him for help with the autopsy of a strange corpse showing some very odd mutations.
Not only did the mutant corpse disappear a few days later, but also all research data. And both his colleague as well as anyone else who knew of the corpse had no memory of it. Caudwell was just about to accept tha the had just imagined stuff, but his young daughter had overheard the conversation between him and his colleague.

So Caudwell started investigation, making use of whatever connections and resources he had available. He tried to cover his tracks, but eventually he couldn't help but feel that someone was watching him. When he tried to get himself and his family out of town, he got hit with a case of "Rock falls, everyone dies".

No, seriously:

quote:

While on the highway, an object "randomly" came falling out of the sky and hit Caudwell's car, killing everyone inside...
I can't help but think the object in question was a piano. Or a 10-tonweight.

Since he awakened as an Overed either before or because of this little accident, Caudwell managed to recover from his injuries. Leading his mysterious enemy to believe that he did die, Caudwell went unterground in the bad parts of town, starting a vigilante career.
On his quest to find out what the hell was going on so he could take revenge for the murder of his family, Caudwell came across other Overeds. None of them lead to the murderers as they were all just simple criminals or confused civilians like himself who had just awakened. On the plus side, he managed to find enough like-minded Overeds to create the Guardians, a street-level superhero team that fought criminal Overeds because the police couldn't.

Among these heroes were Jonathan Lancaster - who would later inherit the Lancaster Corporation - and Bernard Blum, the father of Axis member Therese Blum.

After three years of playing heroes, their true enemy finally made himself known. And as you probably guessed, this enemy was False Hearts.
Having more resources, knowledge and experience, False Heart opened a pretty hefty can of whoopass on those Guardian amateurs. Many were killed outright or turned into Gjaums trying to hulk out enough to survive the onslaught.
Still, all these sacrifices allowed the remaining Guardians to bring down FH's main Executive Cell of North America.

After this hard-earned victory, Caudwell began writing a thesis on the Renegade virus, borrowing heavily from the FH data they had captured. Unsprisingly, pretty much all the Renegade- and Overed-related terms originated from False Hearts.
It was also this thesis he sent to Earth's government, which would eventually lead to the birth of the UGN about a year after this little battle for North America.

Over the following years, it dawned on Caudwell that his vision of a peaceful co-existance between Overeds and normies didn't look like it would happen anytime soon, what with the various governments being ungrateful jerks who only tolerated Overeds because they were kinda required to stop FH and rampagin Gjaums.

Five years after the UGN's founding (aka 11 years ago), Caudwell and two of the original Guardians (including Bernard Blum) died when experiments in an animal research facility in New Zealand got a bit out of hand thanks to the Renegade.
If the UGN wasn't so shocked about the death of their father figure, they might've noticed some weird things surrounding this whole event: No documents of any kind existed about this supposed facility, and it was so throughoutly annihilated that no evidence or bodies could've been salvaged.

As seen in the previous book, Caudwell caused quite the urpoar with his sudden return through a worldwide broadcast that cost the UGN an arm and a leg to cover up. He had also de-aged back to his 30-year-old self - which could explain why his Syndrome is always listed as unknown, because who knows what exactly he did to himself.

(Wait... oh crap, that isn't actually Caudwell on the cover. That's Kyoji "Diablos" Kasuga, whose bio paints him as a recurring boss character / eternal loser. Very strange to put him at center stage, which is probably why I got them confused in my first post <_<)


This is Caudwell. Dude knows how to wear a monocle.

Note that the UGN wasn't the only ones shocked by his return. Despite himself claiming to be a FH member now, he didn't actually contact FH beforehand. He just invited himself into the club, declared himself leader of FH Japan by destroying any Cell that didn't bow down to him, and he had the gall to hand out the Master Wraith title to several of his own men, some of which claim to be his children.
The Liaison Lords were naturally pretty pissed about Caudwell just walzing in and taking over parts of FH, but before they could decide on any counter-measures, Central Dogma stopped them in their tracks with one of his rare direct commands: "Central Dogma authorizes the actions of Professor Caudwell".

This command has since splintered both FH (what with Caudweel taking over their Japanese Cells) and the Liaison Lords, who are torn between their loyalty to Central Dogma and Caudwell apparently being allowed to do as he pleases. Some believe Caudweel and Central Dogma are actually working together, but others fear that Caudwell might weaken FH as a whole.

So what are Caudwell's plans? Well, there's the already known "I want to tear down the UGN and everything it stands for" part. He despises what the place has turned into, and several older members had the same feeling and have left the UGN to join him.
Another goal of his appears to rely on some mysterious item he's after. Some kind of "grail" or "vessel" located somewhere in Japan, which is the main reason why he took over the FH Cells there. Nobody knows what this is all about, but it probably has something to do with the Renegade virus... *foreshadowing to next book*

Next Time: Enemies and Alliances - with special guest appearance by SCP-682's brother.

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