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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



One thing we have to give Beast, though: Onyx Path still found some great artists.

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oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




You know, it wouldn't even take that much to "save" the Beast concept (although its still not great for traditional WOD style play), just don't completely vilify the Heroes. Both the Beast and Heroes are trapped in a cycle of reliving the old stories and legends that mankind has, essentially, left behind. The Beasts must inflict terror and horror on the helpless and the Heroes must spend their life in obsessive pursuit of their prey (ignoring things like family and friends in pursuit of their quest)...both are equally out of date: we don't need Beasts to teach us that there are dangers in the world and the problems of the modern world are too complex to be solved with a sword and a loincloth.

Half the problem with Beast's tone is the eye-rolling "victimhood" of the Beasts in the face of a society that just doesn't realize that the Beast is terrorizing and hurting people "for their own good".

oriongates fucked around with this message at 23:26 on Apr 10, 2016

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Count Chocula posted:

That's a really relevant theme/concern/skill for the modern world, though, and something that sounds fun to roleplay? Though I guess the Archtypes from Unknown Armies and the Words from In Nomine also encourage that.
My personal brand is demanding I defend Beast, but I'm not sure what angle to take. I will say that it taps into something real, a real fear and emotion teenagers feel. Or maybe it bugs me how many people see imperfect metaphors for outsiders and say 'I want to play the Man'.
Because it's not just an imperfect metaphor, it's an actively harmful one? "Man I sure would feel more sympathy for gays if they weren't supernaturally compelled to rape and murder." is not a theme you want to take away from the game.

quote:

The primordial dreams of humanity might not teach me Pivot Tables. But my dreams can tell me that if I don't take my job and my Excel skills seriously, I'll be hungry and alone, cast out from the tribe. Or they can rearrange the hard math of C++ into a metaphor I can understand, or at least provide a starting point for approaching it. The ancient Babylonians used math and record-keeping too.
Because beasts don't have the tools to use that, probably the best a Beast could hope for is to murder whoever gets the lowest grade on a test and keep doing that until the school's grades improve either through the law of averages or fear.
Or to capture the students and leave them in a Saw-Esque deathtrap that can only be solved through math. Either of which comes off as incredibly petty.

quote:

Have you read Julian Jaymes' The Creation of Conciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind? Beasts can be reflavored as the remenants of our divided Conciousness, when 'self-awareness' appeared in the form of external gods and ancestors to advise humanity.
No, but more to the point Beast never puts forth Bicameralism as a viewpoint worthy of debate because beast isn't that deep. It's not even very Jungian. The Primordial dream is a thing that exists, and fear is what shapes and populates it, but nothing else does, it's basically a greatest hits collection of all the worst things to have happened to people in the local area. The only reason it would start to reflect more esoteric concepts such as math or programming is because a Beast or Brood went through a lot of work doing some very horrible poo poo to shape it that way.

Daeren posted:

Kurieg, do you mind if I post my own dissection of Beast's mechanics alongside yours? I have little interest in taking a hatchet to most of the fluff, because that horse has already been beaten into a chili-like consistency you're obviously handling that, but of the many layers of Greek tragedy that make up Beast's existence, the mechanical failings stand out to me the most beyond the first impressions. It'll be a less beat-by-beat discussion of each power, and more about the bones of the rules, and how they interact with stated fluff. I found it perversely fascinating to sketch out the screw-ups that undermined its initial good design ideas.

Go ahead, though I was planning on addressing the points where the mechanics start describing or even undermining the story. I would only ask you wait until I get to a mechanic so we don't get ahead of eachother.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Kurieg posted:

Go ahead, though I was planning on addressing the points where the mechanics start describing or even undermining the story. I would only ask you wait until I get to a mechanic so we don't get ahead of eachother.

I take it you're already quite aware of Family Dinner then (though that's more the straw that breaks the camel's back). I was planning on letting you get to poo poo first already, so don't worry about that.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


oriongates posted:

both are equally out of date: we don't need Beasts to teach us that there are dangers in the world and the problems of the modern world are too complex to be solved with a sword and a loincloth.

I'm imagining a Beast and a Hero about to get down to a final battle after a harrowing chase/adventure when the door gets kicked down by a lawyer and the cops, who drags them both off to court for destruction of property, endangering bystanders, etc. Turns out giant squid and magic swords can't stand up to the legal system and a dozen tazings. Maybe that'd be a more fun game. Lawyer: The Legaling. Bringing mundane law to supernatural dorks before they tear up half the town.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Count Chocula posted:


My personal brand is demanding I defend Beast


Why? Why does it demand that you defend something that literally everyone around you is suggesting is horribly executed and providing concrete examples to support that?

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


PurpleXVI posted:

I'm imagining a Beast and a Hero about to get down to a final battle after a harrowing chase/adventure when the door gets kicked down by a lawyer and the cops, who drags them both off to court for destruction of property, endangering bystanders, etc. Turns out giant squid and magic swords can't stand up to the legal system and a dozen tazings. Maybe that'd be a more fun game. Lawyer: The Legaling. Bringing mundane law to supernatural dorks before they tear up half the town.

Add in some psychic powers and you're basically just describing VASCU, The Best Hunters.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Daeren posted:

Add in some psychic powers and you're basically just describing VASCU, The Best Hunters.

Yeah, I was about to say that this already exists in the nWoD and it's pretty great.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Count Chocula posted:

That's a really relevant theme/concern/skill for the modern world, though, and something that sounds fun to roleplay? Though I guess the Archtypes from Unknown Armies and the Words from In Nomine also encourage that.
I like how your whole example here is basically "Maybe I can build my brand and get terrified into the power of crushing code for a modern tech job!" If the entire point is that you need to learn repetitive technical skills as your highest supernatural purpose in life, why not just play Technocracy Mage

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Daeren posted:

Add in some psychic powers and you're basically just describing VASCU, The Best Hunters.

VASCU are wonderful people.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Nessus posted:

I like how your whole example here is basically "Maybe I can build my brand and get terrified into the power of crushing code for a modern tech job!" If the entire point is that you need to learn repetitive technical skills as your highest supernatural purpose in life, why not just play Technocracy Mage

Also Unknown Armies doesn't spend the entire book fellating people who chase supernatural power like Avatars, it's actually the exact opposite where the book takes great pains to hammer home the notion that the people ensconced in the occult underground tend to be weird and very probably broken and not at all enviable even if they've grasped a handful of magical power and understand some of the secrets of the universe. Meanwhile Beast's entire message start to finish seems to be "How awesome are Beasts? So awesome."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Part 11: Adventures

GURPS Autoduel posted:

NOTE TO PLAYERS: This section is for GMs only; it contains sample adventures. If you aren't planning to gamemaster a GURPS AUTODUEL campaign, do not read the following section.

Yeah, players, this is a GM-only klubhouse!



Amateur Night

So, Amateur Night is the traditional starting Car Wars scenario. The idea is that drivers without cars can sign up for amateur night at the local autoduelling arena and are provided with cheap cars ("armed tin-foil wonders"). The winner gets to keep their car, and the surviving losers go home. Losers can try again twice more, but if you fail three times, you strike out, no more Amateur Night for you.

It goes into that waviers have to be signed, the ready room. For some reason, it notes that amateur nights have a minimum of four contestants, so any empty slot should be filled with an NPC. We get one sample NPC for use, a chauvinist white-supremacist jockheel by the name of Wade Brogden, who seems intended solely to provide reasons for the PCs to shoot him. PCs get the "Sargasso XL", a dull little number with decent armor that fires micro-missiles (not to be confused with the mini-missiles from a certain other game line). They also include the Bakersfield Amateur Autoduel Arena with a map to copy - it was presumed back in those days you'd have a bunch of graph paper to do that on. But-

GURPS Autoduel posted:

When redrawing this map, you can make it as big as you like! Just keep the proportions roughly the same, and you'll be ready to go!

- that's not helpful.

What next? A plot twist? No, the adventure warns against having plot twists like sabotage or the like. Instead, it wants a fair fight. Because this is now a PC PvP free-for-all. It's weird to look back at, since it's very possible (if not likely) that another PC could off another PC just by accident, unless everybody's going around just trying to shoot tires off. After the fight, medics will treat any injuries and the winner can keep their car or sell it back to the arena for money. It suggests having the usual post-game show chatter between the winner, and possibly temporary Reputation if they did well.

And then the PCs are on to their next adventure, even though they're not connected and just tried to kill each other. This is the kind of thing that makes sense for the board game version, since it's a good way to learn the game with simple, cheap cars that make for a fast session. But for GURPS Autoduel, it's a bit lacking. Thankfully, we have at least one other adventure.



Four on the Floor

This is an adventure intended for PCs with some experience and probably their own vehicles. A town - one it suggest the GM set as connected to at least on of the PCs - is being menaced by a group of raiders "Four on the Floor" who have been riding into town, attacking, looting, and then fleeing. The PCs will be hired by a man named Boyd Biggs who offers $60K (his life savings) to deal with Four on the Floor. He'll give them the royal treatment, a good room and hotel, while they come up with a plan to help defend the town. The locals will help out, but they mainly have just handguns and unarmed cars.

The fight itself is loose and notes how it should be run depends on the PC's defense plans, because somehow Four on the Floor is privy to their plans and will attack wherever defenses are weakest, and flee at any sign of a proper defense. Then, they escape over a bridge that collapses (somehow, it's not explained) as soon as they're over.

GURPS Autoduel posted:

In short, contrive things so that the bad guys get away; unless the PCs (or players) are idiots, they will realize that Four on the Floor knew precisely what to expect when entering the town.

The players are free to come up with new plans and fend off any future assaults, but Four on the Floor will always be privy to their plans. See, it turns out they've been bugged (without any chance to notice, apparently). The PCs have to figure out they're bugged, but it doesn't really give any guidelines as to how they manage that. There's a random roll for PCs (7 or less on 3d6) to recognize Boyd Biggs' reputation as a former sports promoter. Further research can find out that Biggs is wealthy - too wealth to count $60K as a life savings, and that he probably arranged to have a wrestling match end in death. Those who remember the first part of this review might remember the wrestling death that triggered the blood sport craze, and this is that. During the trial that followed, Biggs turned out to be criminally insane, and was institutionalized for a time before getting out. He's a crazy guy who likes to set up bloody battles and find a good place to watch.

The best plan - because this adventure pretty well dictates this - is for the adventurers to use the bugs to lure Four in the Floor into an ambush. If they destroy the bugs, Four on the Floor will attack very cautiously as a result. Either way, they'll eventually have to uncover the gang's HQ and finish them off, though an ambush will help thin their numbers considerably. They can either capture and interrogate a member, or do a painstaking search. (Since Four on the Floor uses off-road vehicles, it doesn't seem like they'd be hard to track, but I digress.) When they get there and beat Four on the Floor, they'll find out that the group wasn't just bandits - they were hired mercs. However, Four on the Floor was hired by courier - they don't know their employer.

Biggs can be outed through the above information, and also the base Four on the Floor was operating out of is on land Biggs owns. It also gives PCs a tough Psychology roll to try and puzzle out his mental tics as well.

GURPS Autoduel posted:

He likes to play God and watch the carnage!

Did this guy get rented out from a Palladium book? Yeesh. In any case, the PCs will still get their money, since Biggs left it with a local attorney. "He's a lunatic, but he makes his payoffs." The PCs also get experience "appropriate to the length and difficulty of the adventure" a s well as the goodwill of the town.



Scenario Ideas

Mission of Mercy is where a town is menaced by a toxic spill that contaminated their, and the PCs are hired by Amalgamated Medical to provide an antitoxin to help the poisoned townspeople. (Their helicopter broke, apparently) They suggest, of course, putting random obstacles in the PC's way - bikers or raiders, an ambush by a madman who originally spilled the toxin, locals driven mad by the toxins, etc.

The New Blight proposes an older relative of a PC - a PI - died under mysterious circumstances. However, the body is recovered, and the PC is given their personal effects, including a key to a private mailbox that was put into storage when it wasn't paid off, but still recoverable. There they can find the detective's diary, which details a Dr. Edwin Myler, who performed mysterious experiments, and the PI was hired to find out about his shady activities, and it seems Myler might have been plotting to poison the world's food supply...

But yes, it turns out the Blight has an actual cause (only ever detailed in this adventure seed, AFAIK), Dr. Edwin Myler. The PCs can find more evidence, and try and stop him (operating under a new name) from implementing an algae-based version of the Blight to cause a new food shortage.

Wait, why is he trying to destroy the world's food anyway? Well, no time to explain, we're at the end of the book.

Other Stuff

We gets some pull-out quick reference charts, hex paper done at the Car Wars scale for copying, a map of Autoduel America, some "cardboard heroes" paper standees and GURPS-sized car counters, and that's the book.

Following this book are nine supplements - Car Warriors, a book of PC/NPCs with standees to use, Zombietown U.S.A., a zombie adventure that inexplicably contains rules to be adapted to either modern-day or the Autoduel setting, and seven AADA Road Atlas books, covering all of the United States minus Alaska and Hawaii, but also with Australia in there too. It's probably one of the GURPS settings that got the most support, only really being eclipsed by Transhuman Space (another strangely libertarian future).

It's interesting, mainly because it's one of those tradgame phenomenons that died out without much of an attempt at a revival - there hasn't really been anything truly like it since. Even RPGs with a strong vehicular element are a real rarity. That's not to say there haven't been attempts, but none of the successors have gained much of the fame or notice. And though Steve Jackson Games has started publishing it again, it's largely consisted of reprints rather than any new material. Personally, I'm still trying to work out why the Car Wars Card Game, of all things, got a reprint...

I also find it curious for its politics for the time it came out, championing Heinlein's "An armed society is a polite society.", a world where organized rule collapsed and it's up to individuals to take up maintaining the social order when government fails. Where gun control is represented by the maniacal EDSEL and the bloodsport promoters known as the AADA may well be the heroic knights of the setting. In that, it's not honestly that different from D&D worlds that depend on their roving adventurers to keep evil at bay, but it's far more curious when applied to our world.

But that's that, hope you enjoyed the look back, and drive safely!

The Crotch
Oct 16, 2012

by Nyc_Tattoo


PurpleXVI posted:

I'm imagining a Beast and a Hero about to get down to a final battle after a harrowing chase/adventure when the door gets kicked down by a lawyer and the cops, who drags them both off to court for destruction of property, endangering bystanders, etc. Turns out giant squid and magic swords can't stand up to the legal system and a dozen tazings. Maybe that'd be a more fun game. Lawyer: The Legaling. Bringing mundane law to supernatural dorks before they tear up half the town.
"You want John Smith the kraken, and I am JOHN:SMITH the flesh and blood Person, and while a kraken can be tried under admiralty law, a Person can not."

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Valatar posted:

We have that greater power. It's generally referred to as "the law". While it doesn't make as much of a feel-good ending if the abuse survivor doesn't Rambo out and pull themselves up by their bootstraps, the fact is that many aren't in a position to save themselves and at the end of the day being saved by a greater power is a preferable outcome to more status quo. I'd want them to seek ever how much therapy it'll take for them to reach a point where they could save themselves, but it's more important to get them out of a dangerous situation ASAP and work on the details later instead of hanging back waiting for them to maybe someday do something and hoping they don't get killed in the interim.

I agree with your point and wholly support it in the real world. But in the context of 'Beasts teaching people through their nature', the beast would probably be more powerful symbolically if instead of just murdering the person who is being predatory and saving people incidentally, it taught them how to self actualize, or that they're not alone and there are others who will stand with you. The concept of beasts only hurting bad people and making the world better still leaves them out of touch or distant from why the bad people are considered bad people. And writing a game that deals with you being a magic social worker and psychiatrist trying to save people is probably going to handle victims of abuse and the systems that arise in those relations poorly.

Additionally, the backstory makes the Dark Mother sound like she's pissed that she taught her lessons so well that humanity taught them for her. So now she's sending in her children out of spite. Which doesn't seem all that paternal to me.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Kai Tave posted:

Is there a game so lovely that you won't go to bat for it?
I don't think he defended Bliss Stage.

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



A game about supernatural, kinda-shapeshifter kinda-monsters that lurk at the periphery of civilization, bringing back the world's magic and teaching humans valuable lessons.

Another game about the same, only with lots of violence, abuse, revenge-porn, and general :whitewolf:

Golden Sky Stories really is the last nail in the coffin of Beast's reasons to exist, isn't it.

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


Thesaurasaurus posted:


Golden Sky Stories really is the last nail in the coffin of Beast's reasons to exist, isn't it.

In Golden Sky Stories, the only combat is against less impressive game systems :v:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


There will be a constant push for people to try and "fix" Beast because it's an official World of Darkness release and therefore it is part of the canon and all the Legos have to fit together! They wouldn't release a kit where the Legos don't fit! We have to make it fit! :eek:

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




I can understand the impulse at least, since there's usually some kernel of a good idea in a game that could be salvaged with better rules or writing. Thing is, I'm still not sure what Beast really adds to the WoD that the other lines don't already do, and better. Spending effort fixing it seems like it would be time better spent working on a Vampire or Changeling game or whatever. :shrug:

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Also it's a personal thing, but I hate all of those monsters that are totally x monster from mythology but look like normal humans for "reasons". It's some hardcore bullshit that is pulled in tv shows for budget reasons, but tabletop games have no excuse. The "real" monsters in your fictional world should be those monsters not xmen whose theme sorta ties into those monsters.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


It works with things like vampires and changelings and werewolves, but with dragons and cthulhus it feels like a cop-out to me.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


So, with Alien Rope Burn's GURPS Autoduel review driving off into the sunset, I wanted to chime in about Car Wars one last time.

Car Wars was the second RPG I ever played, right after DnD 2nd Edition, way back in grade school. It with the same circle of friends from DnD, who had our parents drive us in and met to play every other weekend or so.

I don't like Car Wars very much.

It might have been that it was introduced to me at just the wrong time, as a bunch of sprogs we were struggling with the math required for vehicle maneuvering, it may have been that the jump from 'cooperative storytelling' to 'competitive tactical tabletop wargame' was a big gap to jump. Could have been any number of other things.

I have issues with the setting, which feels like it wants to have its cake and eat it to, combining the postapocalyptic desert full of raiders and bandits but also the huge arena fights, suburbs, associations and vehicle factories. I have issues with starting characters being thrown into the ameteur autodueling leagues where they're likely going to get killed off and get only (an optimistic) 3k from pawning their busted-up car, the highly lethal combat when Gold Cross will run you several sessions worth of cash for a one-off resurrection...

Car Wars functions fine as a tabletop strategy game, where players get handed a car and let loose on the highway or arena, but I don't think it works as a role-playing game.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Crasical posted:

Car Wars functions fine as a tabletop strategy game, where players get handed a car and let loose on the highway or arena, but I don't think it works as a role-playing game.

That's because Car Wars is a tabletop strategy game, and not a role-playing game. Battletech also has rules for pilot advancement but nobody seems to confuse it for an RPG.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!






Psionic Artifacts of Athas part 3:
Slightly More Interesting Artifacts


Now we're almost done with meta-plot junk (There's still the Scourge of Rkard but at least that's a respectable magic sword) so lets get on with the artifacts!



The Planar Gate

Guess what, in this book, this is the first actual psionic artifact and it is one of only two psionic artifacts. That's right, in a book titled "Psionic Artifacts of Athas" there are only two actual psionic artifacts. There's a couple more artifacts that have psionic effects (the Dark Lens or the Mindbender Orb) but they're still explicitly magical artifacts that interact with psionics.

The Planar Gate is something that wouldn't be very impressive outside of Athas. You see as the "Multiverse" of D&D became more interconnected via series like Planescape and Spelljammer the differences in Athas became a bit starker...why didn't it have any Gods when they're everywhere in the rest of the universe, why don't the Sorcerer-Kings just open up doors to nicer places and leave this ruined world behind? Why does their magic kill plants?

Well, apparently not linking Athas to the rest of the multiverse was just unthinkable so the explanation became that Athas was simply cut off...its crystal sphere is completely impermeable, totally blocking Athas from Spelljamming and the Outer Planes are "insulated" from Athas by a demi-plane unique to Dark Sun called "The Black", sort of a poor-man's Plane of Shadows, and the souls of the dead in Dark Sun go to another demi-plane called The Gray, which also serves the function of the Ethereal Plane. As a result, spells that communicate with or reach out to the Outer Planes are extraordinarily difficult to pull off, to the degree that most mages, priests and psionicists don't even realize these other planes exist.

The Planar Gate was designed by master psionicists of the Green Age who did learn of the Outer Planes and had a desire to learn more about them. The Gate resembles a giant mirror and was constructed by the city of Giustenal, before the city was sacked by the sorcerer-king Dregoth. When Dregoth was slain by his fellow sorcerer-kings to keep him from completing his transformation into a true dragon and returned to life as an undead, he continued to use the mirror (hidden in the caverns below Giustenal) as a research tool. Having learned about the truth of the Outer Planes and the other worlds in the Material Plane Dregoth has learned about the existence of true gods and seeks to transform himself into one (something that is fortunately impossible in Athas).

The Gate is sentient, possessing an artificially created psionic intelligence to control its powers and generate its own psionic power points...well, in theory because the book never says how many PSPs the gate actually has! This is pretty important since the Gate uses up one PSP per round to keep itself focused once a destination has been "set"...so I guess the Gate can display an image for anywhere from a few minutes to....maybe an hour (assuming it has more PSPs than the Dark Lens itself). A PSP per round doesn't give you a lot of time. The Gate has an INT of 15 and can speak psionically in the languages of the ancient Green Age and the language of old Giustenal. It's not one for idle talk but it has no problem explaining its function and purpose to those who ask. The Gate is neutrally aligned and doesn't judge those who use it, as far as its concerned serving Dregoth is perfectly fine. However, it does see itself as purely a tool of learning and research and will refuse to help someone pursue acts of true evil or conquest (something Dregoth has carefully avoided).

To actually get the Gate to focus you've got to use the Clairvoyance power (using your own PSPs) and maintain the power yourself until the gate successfully zeroes in on the plane you want. If its a plane the Gate knows already then you can ask the Gate to find it for you (which takes 1d6+1 rounds) but if you're trying to find a plane the Gate doesn't know about then you have to pick a number between 1 and 100 then keep rolling 1d100 each round until you hit the number you picked (paying the cost to maintain your clairvoyance power each round).

Once its focused you can use the Probability Travel psionic power to use the Gate as a portal to the plane in question. Again, you pay the cost in PSPs yourself. Once you're through the gate you can see the return portal as a shimmering light that is invisible to everyone else and can use Probability Travel again to go back through. Of course, if the Planar Gate runs out of PSPs then you're effectively trapped in the other plane and probably can't get back to Athas (although odds are good you're "stranded" somewhere nicer). Which makes the fact that they completely forgot to tell us how many PSPs the gate has even more important. 100 PSPs means the gate only holds for 10 minutes...so even if the gate has twice as many PSPs at the Dark Lens it could only stay open about an hour and 40 minutes.

Oh, and there are also absolutely no rules for "targeting" the Gate...considering the other Planes are infinite and all the benefits of gating back and forth are pretty limited if you can't control where you'll end up. I wouldn't be surprised if the ancient researcher notes on the Gate pretty much consist of things like "Plane # 5: looks like a nice field, I saw a rabbit." and "Plane #2: looks like a horrible place, lots of pointy things in the distance. I think I saw a bird, but you know an evil bird."

The Gate has no powers or functions beyond that.

The Gate is also exceptionally easy to destroy. It can simply be broken (AC 2, 100 HP) with ordinary attacks. It'll explode violently (10d10 damage within 100 yards) if targeted with an actual Gate spell, and it'll destroy itself if it finds its been used for evil or destructive purposes.



The Psionatrix

The second actual psionic artifact and another creation of the Green Age. There's a line in the description claiming that it is a "fusion of magic and psionics", like the Dark Lens but not only does it have no magical abilities it also predates Rajaat, meaning magic didn't exist when it was created.

The Psionatrix is pretty much exactly what you might think: it's a powerful source of psionic abilities and power points. It featured in an adventure called Dragon's Crown where a powerful psionicist amplified one of the Psionatrix's powers to suppress psionic abilities (its not clear why) and at the end the psionatrix gets destroyed by a magic item called the water hammer. Yet another wrecked artifact...at least the Psionatrix isn't completely wrecked: its largest shard retains a fraction of its former power. But still, almost half of these artifacts have already been destroyed!

The original Psionatrix provides unlimited PSPs to anyone in contact with it and access to all psionic attack and defense modes. It also doubles the range of all psionic powers. and "all MAC scores are halved for chances of success" I can honestly say I have no idea what that means. I know what MAC is...but its just like normal AC in second edition ranging from 10 to -10...what does "halving" your MAC mean? Once per day it can inhibit psionic powers within 1 mile, quadrupling the cost of all psionic powers and "all MAC rolls are doubled" Again, I don't know what that means...there's no such thing as a MAC roll and even if there was how would "doubling" the roll work...that's...that's just not how any rules in D&D work. The psionic dampening effect also drives Thri-kreen into a primal state, shutting off their higher mental functions and reducing them to mindless pack hunters.

The psionatrix also provides some psionic powers: all around vision constantly, blink 3/day, displacement for one hour 1/day, project force 1/day and protection from magic for one hour 1/day. Plus three random Powers from Psionic Devotions, one from Psionic Sciences and one from Protections.

The lesser version contains a reservoir of 100 PSPs every day, and gets access to Ego Whip and Mind Blank. Its dampening field is much weaker, only 100 yards wide and lasting 1d2+2 minutes. It triples the cost of all psionic powers and is merely uncomfortable for thri-kreen. It still grants All-round vision, blink 3/day, displacement for one hour 1/day, and protection from magic for one hour 1/day. It gets two random powers from Devotions and one from Protections.

The only way to destroy the psionatrix is with the Water Hammer (no information on what the hammer does beyond that), which will reduce the original version to the lesser version and destroy the lesser version completely.



The Scorcher

And now we come to the sister blade of the (much cooler) Silencer of Bodach. Just like the Silencer the Scorcher was Rajaat as a gift to one of his Champions: Myron the Troll Scorcher. The sword is made from an unidentifiable red metal and the handle is wrapped in the hide of an ancient fire drake and a a tooth from that same drake adorns it. Black flames wrap the sword when wielded in combat.

Myron, the bearer of the Scorcher apparently betrayed Rajaat, questioning his purpose in the Cleansing Wars. Rajaat discovered Myron's treachery and killed him, recruiting Hamanu to replace him. After Rajaat was killed Hamanu kept the Scorcher until Dregoth started showing signs of completing his dragon transformation. Unwilling to deal with two all powerful Dragons the lesser sorcerer-kings gathered to slay him. The Scorcher was used to strike the killing blow against Dregoth. Apparently the rest of the sorcerer-kings got worried by just how powerful the Scorcher was too so they had it cast into the Silt Sea and erased it from history. The sword stayed at the bottom of the silt sea for centuries until it was swallowed by a silt horror, which was subsequently killed and the blade retrieved by an ex-gladiator.

The Scorcher isn't sentient but it is eager to serve a purpose, for good or evil. If it is in the possession of someone who doesn't have a driving purpose then it will conveniently become lost or it will call to those within 30 miles who might make use of it.

The sword is a +3 longsword but if it is wielded by someone with a Strength of 17 or more it has the speed of a short sword. It also inflicts an additional 1d4 damage from the black flames if it hits its target. The bearer of the Scorcher has immunity to mind altering spells and imposes a -5 to MTHACO rolls for mind-altering psionics. It also grants immunity to fire. It also completely ignores magical defenses, which makes it (like the Heartwood Spear) one of the best tools for busting through the magical defenses of sorcerer-kings.

The sword also has special powers depending on the alignment of the wielder. Lawful owners can treat the sword as a Vorpal weapon, neutral owners can treat it as a sword of wounding and chaotic owners treat it as a sword of sharpness. It also can slay living against an opponent struck 1/week, blur constantly while being held, true seeing 1/day, wall of fire 1/day, cast cure serious wounds on the wielder 3/day, and a constant protection from both good and evil.

Its curse is that the wielder of the sword remains fixated on their purpose (no rules are provided for this) and each wielder is subject to a different, random curse from the Curses table. For perspective this can range from "goofy" curses like swapping gender or suffering deafness so people have to shout to be heard to awful ones like terminal diseases or progressive total amnesia.

Suggested means of destruction are shattering the Scorcher against the Silencer or feeding the blade to a water drake.



Scourge of Rkard

The Scourge of Rkard is the younger sibling to the Scorcher and the Silencer...and its a metaplot item! The Scourge was made for the Dragon himself, Borys of Ebe. The name came from when Borys overthrew Rkard, the last Dwarven king (and the last bearer of the Belt of Kings). Somehow Borys lost the Scourge (what the hell is with the Champions and completely forgetting they are the frigging masters of magic and not remembering how to cast a simple spell to find the all-powerful artifacts they keep misplacing?)

The sword was apparently being kept by the dwarves of the village of Kemelok, who are also the keepers of the Belt of Kings. During one of the less memorable Prism Pentad books Rikus was lent the Belt of Kings and the Scourge to fight the armies of Urik. At the end of the battle he returned the belt to the dwarves but was allowed to keep the Scourge. At the climax of the Prism Pentad series Rikus is locked in battle with Borys, the Dragon. During the fight the Scourge snaps in half at which point it inexplicably begins to ooze a black substance which conveniently kills Borys.

That's right, yet another god-drat artifact that is already destroyed!!!

Oh well...at least this one comes with rules for actually fixing it.

The Scourge is (or was I guess) a two-handed bastard sword +4 (+6 vs sorcerer-kings) which can be used one-handed if you have a Strength of 20 or higher. It can also damage creatures from the Shadow World (I guess they mean the Black, there is nothing in Athas called "the shadow world) and inflicts double damage to them. It acts as a vorpal weapon and cuts through any wood without effort and any obsidian weapon it touches will shatter (magical ones get a save).

It also enhances the bearers hearing...for some reason. It gives an increase of about 100 times normal, allowing you to hear sounds up to a mile away.

If the sword is broken its two pieces will leak black ichor which consumes whatever they come into contact with, it is only possible to stop this by burning the ichor away if done within a minute of exposure. If the pieces of the sword are held together for a month they'll mend themselves.

The sword can be used to inspire allies, granting a +2 to hit/damage and saves for one battle or until the wielder falls in battle. This can be done once per day. It also functions as a +2 ring of protection while held and makes the wielder immune to poison.

The curse of the sword is is that if the wielder ever comes into contact with any of the other sorcerer-kings they must make a Save at -5 to avoid just attacking them outright and fight them to the death (to the wielders death, since the Scourge has none of the impressive defenses or offensive abilities of the Scorcher or the Heartwood spear). Additionally if the Scourge ever is used to slay a dwarf again its original purpose: the death of dwarves, will be revived. For each dwarf the wielder slays there is a 5% cumulative chance that the wielder will start a crusade of extermination against the dwarven race.

suggested means of destruction are to bathe it in the waters of Rajaat (who's water now). Place it in the bottom of the Silt Sea for a decade (that's...pretty easy) or have it melted down by a pure-hearted dwarf.



And there we go that is all the full-fledged artifacts in the book! After this is an incredibly dull few pages of randomly generated Powers. I'll spare you them and instead I think I'll give a summary on some of the things the book should have included, the much better written Artifacts from the Book of Artifacts: the Silencer, the Psychometron, the Obsidian Man and the Rod of Teeth.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Asimo posted:

I can understand the impulse at least, since there's usually some kernel of a good idea in a game that could be salvaged with better rules or writing. Thing is, I'm still not sure what Beast really adds to the WoD that the other lines don't already do, and better. Spending effort fixing it seems like it would be time better spent working on a Vampire or Changeling game or whatever. :shrug:

I think you could do something with the Primordial associations.

Stories. History repeating itself. Make both Beasts and Heroes tragic figures-things which are chained to an endless cycle of death and rebirth. Beasts being part of the monomyth-things which exist to create Heroes, which create Beasts in turn... somehow. Being trapped in an endless karmic cycle, and trying to do what good you can before you die.

It might be a worthwhile story to attempt, even if it doesn't work.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Lynx Winters posted:

That's because Car Wars is a tabletop strategy game, and not a role-playing game. Battletech also has rules for pilot advancement but nobody seems to confuse it for an RPG.

Well, it's one of those games that existed inbetween tabletop strategy and role-playing game. Car Wars occasionally had adventures in Autoduel Quarterly like "Badlands Run", "Telethon", or "Nightstrike" that weren't just scenarios for a tabletop dustup - they were straight-up RPG adventures. (They were even called "role-playing adventures", so there's not much room for doubt.) The other adventures that were published for it - Convoy and Mean Streets - were programmed (i.e. CYOA) adventures, but they also outright suggest you could run them with a referee / gamemaster conventionally as an option. Car Wars eventually added a spread of skills worthy of most RPGs, as well. It was never a "full" RPG by its own admission, but doing adventures with it was viable and supported, if flawed for a variety of reasons.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I just want to be able to turn into a dragon and fly around skyscrapers, okay.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




I enjoy that the Beast's veneer of "teaching" is being compared to the rule of law, because nothing is a better argument for the legal system than being compared to those that abuse children extrajudicially, even killing them, because of a decision made by a single person.

Nothing screams horrific points of view louder than trying to grant legitimacy to poisoning children with no appeal, process, or judicious use of force.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Well yeah Beasts are Carrie's abusive mom. Trying to teach someone not to use their evil powers with regular abuse.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Terrible Opinions posted:

Well yeah Beasts are Carrie's abusive mom. Trying to teach someone not to use their evil powers with regular abuse.

Well, Beasts are more like Carrie, punishing all the wicked high schoolers for picking on the different kids.

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


Edit: That's a great way to sell Beast.

quote:

The only reason it would start to reflect more esoteric concepts such as math or programming is because a Beast or Brood went through a lot of work doing some very horrible poo poo to shape it that way.

Wait, math class wasn't already invented as a form of supernatural torture? Coulda fooled me.

I don't so much like defending these games as defending the ideas and metaphors behind them. Many of them talk about things I can relate to, which I guess is the point of White Wolf, and my first reaction isn't "I wish I was the Technocracy/the witch hunters/The Law".

There was a Supernatural Law comic strip that ran for ages, BTW.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


There are no good ideas behind the current incarnation of Beast.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy


Have they said how much material Beast is getting? I can't really see this getting more books and support than Geist.


Wasn't Athas not connected to the multiverse due to Dark Sun characters starting at higher than level 1? It seemed like the devs were worried about the implication that these post apocalyptic supermen could overrun Sigil. Also, easy access to water and other stuff but defiling wrecks things regardless of where they come from.

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


Aren't there Dark Sun halflings somewhere in Baldur's Gate 2? I think they're part of the Wizard's Strongehold Quest.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

Have they said how much material Beast is getting? I can't really see this getting more books and support than Geist.

What's mandated by the Kickstarter and that's about it, unless BHM seriously pushes for it. Which he probably will. :negative:

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

Have they said how much material Beast is getting? I can't really see this getting more books and support than Geist.


Wasn't Athas not connected to the multiverse due to Dark Sun characters starting at higher than level 1? It seemed like the devs were worried about the implication that these post apocalyptic supermen could overrun Sigil. Also, easy access to water and other stuff but defiling wrecks things regardless of where they come from.

It's Sigil, though. Post-mortality supermen roll through there all the time, and they behave if they know what's good for them.

Like, a single planetar could conquer Athas.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Night10194 posted:

There are no good ideas behind the current incarnation of Beast.

There are some, but mostly it's in the mechanics, and most of those have more than a few stumbling blocks in their way.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Count Chocula posted:

Aren't there Dark Sun halflings somewhere in Baldur's Gate 2? I think they're part of the Wizard's Strongehold Quest.

Yeah, also some knights from Krynn. It's a vehicle that can travel through the planes. Not a Spelljamming ship though because it's a sphere and doesn't work on those principles.

wiegieman posted:

It's Sigil, though. Post-mortality supermen roll through there all the time, and they behave if they know what's good for them.

Like, a single planetar could conquer Athas.

It's TSR era, "No really, this is simulationist." AD&D. After thinking about it, I'm sure the respective devs behind the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance were more worried.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Scenario Ideas

Mission of Mercy is where a town is menaced by a toxic spill that contaminated their, and the PCs are hired by Amalgamated Medical to provide an antitoxin to help the poisoned townspeople. (Their helicopter broke, apparently) They suggest, of course, putting random obstacles in the PC's way - bikers or raiders, an ambush by a madman who originally spilled the toxin, locals driven mad by the toxins, etc.


Literally the plot to Roger Zelany's "Damnation Alley". Like to a T. Hell Tanner has to make the drive through Damnation Alley because air travel between states is almost impossible due to freak storms caused by environmental damage from the apocalypse.

Terrible Opinions posted:

Also it's a personal thing, but I hate all of those monsters that are totally x monster from mythology but look like normal humans for "reasons". It's some hardcore bullshit that is pulled in tv shows for budget reasons, but tabletop games have no excuse. The "real" monsters in your fictional world should be those monsters not xmen whose theme sorta ties into those monsters.

When you put it like this, I keep thinking that Beast is White Wolf's answer to Monsterhearts.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 03:19 on Apr 11, 2016

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Daeren posted:

There are some, but mostly it's in the mechanics, and most of those have more than a few stumbling blocks in their way.

Beast should have been Onyx Path Presents Dragon's Dogma, The Cycle of Eternal Return.

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