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Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Night10194 posted:

One last thing I will say for DX's Scenarios: They have the big plot NPCs show up, but it's almost entirely to say 'We are depending on you, the PCs, to get this done' or give you mission briefings or shake their fist at you for ruining their evil plans and promise to fight you next week or whatever. There is similarly an assumption that it's absolutely okay to start the campaign as 'The UGN Branch Chief for our suburb of Tokyo' as a PC party member; you're not all going to be teenagers with attitude or grunts if you don't want to be.

They might be scripted, but at least the PCs are the stars of the script.

Although amusingly you can be the teenage UGN Branch Chief if you want. The setting of DX is big on anime-style teenage savants as is right and ordained by God.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I'll be starting on Myriad Song soon. I started a write-up of it a long time ago that got abandoned, and I'd rather just start from the beginning again. It's going to be a weird space rock-opera with multicolored hyper-dense dogmen, friendly space octopi, brain eating shapeshifting bushes, four-gun-slinging spider ladies, and space-time shifting music magic in Sanguine's (Ironclaw) take on an Incal/Metabarons sci-fi setting.

It was a huge commercial failure from what I understand, and basically only ever got its core book, so you have to fill in a lot of the setting yourself. But it's colorful, mechanically interesting (like all of Sanguine's games), and features humanity being famed throughout the galaxy for being great cooks.

Also it has rocket fuel pistols.

mbt
Aug 13, 2012



I always assumed in games like rifts that you werent actually meant to get 2M xp or mountains of gold naturally, it would be like, you solved the ancient puzzle heres a billion xp and a mountain of gold lets go shopping, thanks GM

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Meyers-Briggs Testicle posted:

I always assumed in games like rifts that you werent actually meant to get 2M xp or mountains of gold naturally, it would be like, you solved the ancient puzzle heres a billion xp and a mountain of gold lets go shopping, thanks GM

Literally no one put even this much thought into it.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Literally no one put even this much thought into it.

Isn't RIFTs generally run, by its own creator, as an extremely loose 'ignore all the rules, just do whatever' game?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

A friend of mine uses a formula to sort out what foes in RIFTS are worth as XP. I think it comes down to ratios of PC toughness and firepower compared to enemy capacity. I saw it pop up on a few other fansites, but I imagine it's long-since gone from the Net.

mbt
Aug 13, 2012



Night10194 posted:

Isn't RIFTs generally run, by its own creator, as an extremely loose 'ignore all the rules, just do whatever' game?

The most fun sessions ive ever had were playing dnd as a child and my dm gives me a pistol that rolls 10d6 for damage or a lightsaber that rolls 1d6 for limb chopped off.

Rifts seems like that just extrapolated to the nth degree tbh, i dont know if you CAN actually play it rules as written. Some of the ideas in it are legitimately interesting mechanics wise and worldbuilding wise.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


I just wish I could make something like making a Rifts a lifelong business.

Just a massive kitchensink RPG detailing the Earth and maybe the solar system

but with good rules that someone who can into math wrote.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Night10194 posted:

Isn't RIFTs generally run, by its own creator, as an extremely loose 'ignore all the rules, just do whatever' game?

By all accounts, yes. Kevin's been running the same game for the same players for decades and is very much 'eh, whatever' which makes all the 'you must NEVER' and 'REALLY THINK ABOUT IT' in the books somewhat ironic.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




It's hard to see the appeal in Palladium products to people who didn't play them early and thus have nostalgia for them.

As near as I can tell, in order to justify buying Rifts books, I would have to follow a chain of logic like:

a. I need a game where I can play literally anything.
b. The rules have to be "simulationist" in a way that measures every punch and gunshot, and exactly how much a dragon can bench-press.
c. I'm too lazy to homebrew anything, or I think homebrew is illegitimate

It's an extremely clunky system, with a huge amount of low-effort, derivative content. The only way I can see their product lines as useful or necessary is if you're extremely preoccupied with Properly Earned Fun which doesn't allow for homebrew or rules that aren't that specific kind of virtual world simulation.

Night10194 posted:

I also forgot to mention something else about Scenarios because there wasn't one in the Tutorial Scenario: Master Scenes are the funniest goddamn thing. They're literally JRPG cutscenes where the GM is meant to act out a situation with no PC involvement to have a cutscene about what the bad guys are doing. They are silly.
A Master Class in (Bad) Gamemastering!

gradenko_2000 posted:



Chainmail

Someone in the general chat thread asked about how difficult it would be to learn the original Chainmail rules, and I've been on a wargaming kick lately, so I wanted to try and see for myself if I could grasp it.
Yesss this rules

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 17:11 on Jan 8, 2019

shades of eternity
Nov 9, 2013

Where kitties raise dragons in the world's largest mall.

JcDent posted:

I just wish I could make something like making a Rifts a lifelong business.

Just a massive kitchensink RPG detailing the Earth and maybe the solar system

but with good rules that someone who can into math wrote.

It's been one of my white whales for some time. :)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




It's not possible to write a universal system that encompasses everything while remaining balanced and playable. You can have a universal baseline, so to speak, that you hack in dozens of different ways to make an actually playable game. But those games won't be fully compatible with each other.

D20 taught us this. The stuff that was good threw the goal of compatibility on a pyre to get there.

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


PurpleXVI posted:

Basically, 1 to 3 is no effect, 4 to 6 is minor boosts, 7 to 9 is weakening effects, and 10 to 12 is more or less instant death. 10 with most weapons and hit locations renders the enemy unable to move or fight back, 11 reduces them to 0 health, 12 just outright kills them. Now, our opponent gets to save vs death against these effects, but as a GM Grappler, it's not unreasonable to be handing out two or three crits in a round against a target, and each of those has a ~15% chance of getting a 10 to 12 crit(against man-sized targets). So sooner or later one of those crits will get through and our enemy will either be weakened and easier to kill, or we'll just outright loving crush his skull or tear out his ribcage or something.

This reminds me of one of my earliest GenCon memories. I was in an AD&D game that used an exquisite, multiple-table-spanning jungle diorama. There were areas of thick vegetation, mountains that the GM could remove to show inner caves, a treacherous gorge spanned by a narrow bridge, and all sorts of ruins. In a time before "epic" was overused, it was epic. My character was equally inspiring. The GM was clear about his inspirations: "Your character is pretty much Xena, Warrior Princess. Do you know Xena?"

We were using the Skills and Powers critical hit charts. Two rounds into the first combat, Xena was struck by a goblin arrow. She was stunned, bleeding, and reduced to single-digit HP. The cleric was too far away on that wonderful diorama to be any help. Hooray for convention games!

RiotGearEpsilon
Jun 26, 2005
SHAVE ME FROM MY SHELF

Night10194 posted:

It was a huge commercial failure from what I understand, and basically only ever got its core book

Not so! https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/158966/MYRIAD-ALIENS--Even-Stranger-Options-for-RolePlay-Adventure

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Myriad Song

Weird Space

Myriad Song is a very different kind of sci-fantasy. Do you like weird space futures where FTL is based on music? Do you like the idea of playing a space robot with implanted speakers who has been programmed to reach harmony with the universe, therefore being able to teleport? Do you like rocket fuel based explosion communism? Myriad Song might be for you. Set in the remnants of the Myriad Syndicate, this is space opera set in what was a space empire of 10,000 worlds, conquered by the space-time shifting Syndics. The Syndics were essentially Gods; they mastered FTL to the extent that anyone who opposed them could just be teleported into the sun. When God can teleport you into the sun, it's kind of hard to be a plucky resistance movement of any note. So for ages, the Syndics did as they wished, uplifting servants, setting down laws, and making the galaxy work how they wished it to, with no real explanation given to anyone for all their space tyranny. They quarantined worlds. They hid worlds behind veils of songs and erased whole systems from memory, for reasons no-one understood. Their uplifted servants were given access to some of their song magic, and granted all manner of wondrous technologies to lord over their less loyal fellows.

Then a century ago, they vanished. All of them. There was no explanation, no climactic battle. The various surviving rebel groups will often tell people they drove the Syndics off their world, but everyone knows it isn't true. No-one knows if they're coming back, or where they went. Are they dead? Did they mess up some kind of super space experiment and evaporate themselves? Are they hiding on those hidden worlds, studying something more interesting to them? Everyone was ruled by mystical space tyrants one minute, then the next, they're gone.

This is a really interesting setup to me. There's been enough time for the galaxy to set up all sorts of independent and unusual governments in place of the old Syndics, but at the same time their old servants have a lot of song magic, a lot of space-time warping guns and sabers, and a lot of the old technology. The old Xenharmonic (song magic) tech is starting to break down, and the Myriad Remanence are trying desperately to keep it working or fix it. Both because they need it to hold on to what power they have, and because they're terrified their masters just 'stepped out for a bit' and will want everything in working order when they come home. Meanwhile, former rebels have come together to build the Solar Creed, a massive and weirdly religious space-communist empire of its own that wants to be ready in case the Syndics come back. The Concord are a bunch of scientists across space eager to look into whatever the Syndics used to forbid people to look into; they argue that the reliance on Xenharmonics was another instrument of control, and now science can follow its own path. The Averlini Mercantile Group are a bunch of incredibly rapacious space capitalists who are taking advantage of the collapse of the Syndic Empire to introduce interplanetary debt slavery and force whole worlds into tyranny. And without the weird space Gods keeping things in check, all kinds of weird alien threats loom over the worlds of the Myriad.

It's a pretty exciting time to be alive. You've got multiple flavors of space tyrant, ancient secrets to uncover, newly formed governments to trade with and navigate, uncharted planets to explore, and a big question at the heart of it all: Why did the Syndics do any of this? Why did they take over the galaxy, and then vanish? Your campaign can deal with questions as big as that, or something as small as playing a bunch of smugglers living on in Remnance space, or a band with a singer who has teleportation powers trying to make it on the fringes of space. Myriad Song is not a game with a lot of guidance; you're supposed to be making up crazy, colorful planets, extra species, and all kinds of weird situations for your players to get into, depending on the kind of PCs they made and what they want to play with. You want to have exciting gunfights and lots of combat? Mercenary companies or war stories abound in a galaxy trying to sort itself out, not to mention the various potentially existential threats that have shown up since the Syndics vanished. Want to be rebels and criminals? There's some really lovely space tyrants left behind, both in the Remanence and other flavors. Want to explore the galaxy? The Concordance scientists will be happy to pay a rag-tag group of scouts and explorers. The one constant is, like all Sanguine games, your PCs are going to be highly competent people with a lot of room to improve.

The other constant? It's going to get weird out there.

Next Time: The basics of the Myriad

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG


Bit of an addendum to Night's DX posts: Physical Books. I know Night has mentioned using the PDFs, and I brought up some weirdness with the physical books and the teased-but-dropped revision of the Core Book. Well, here's what I meant:



As you may or may not notice, all of the books are strange sizes. The Core Book is nice and light for its 516-pagecount, but the size makes for a little more difficult referencing. Enjoy this size comparison with a random issue of Bon Appetit that was in the room:



But that's not all. The supplements that came out weren't just normal sized, oh no. For whatever reason, they're huge:



All of them are that (non-standard) size, for whatever reason, and Infinity Code shipped with errata printed on cardstock that made for a nice bookmark.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I don't think I've bought a physical RPG book in ages. I find it a lot easier to keep multiple PDFs open and bookmarked.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Halloween Jack posted:

A Master Class in (Bad) Gamemastering!
See in general, I agree, but Double Cross seems so well thought out that it seems like it would be genre appropriate and perhaps hilarious if the GM had to do like, three funny voices in conversation.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG


Halloween Jack posted:

A Master Class in (Bad) Gamemastering!
Yeah, due to wildly different expectations for playstyle and extreme railroading, the "Random Scenarios" from Public Enemy come off way better than any of the official premades.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I bought the physical book of double cross when it was the only option and it was fairly thick, about that of a typical textbook.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Meyers-Briggs Testicle posted:

I always assumed in games like rifts that you werent actually meant to get 2M xp or mountains of gold naturally, it would be like, you solved the ancient puzzle heres a billion xp and a mountain of gold lets go shopping, thanks GM

It's not really clear how much XP you're supposed to get. There are awards, but exactly how often they're awarded is unclear, and since many awards are individual, characters can vary quite a bit based on the GM's blessing. And exactly how much you're supposed to get in terms of material rewards is completely opaque - you could try and estimate based on adventures, but rewards in those are all over the map.

Furthermore, some characters really, really need to get credits and equipment (Headhunters, Robot Pilots, etc.) while others can completely blow off money (Dragons, Faeries). Certainly, how a character would earn enough for a 10+ million dollar symbiote or mecha is a mystery to me, particularly with the regular costs most adventuring characters will face regarding ammunition, armor repairs, and mini-missiles, and the general pittance characters get in resale value for most equipment.

Lastly, it's all muddled by the fact that Siembieda seems to live in mortal terror of characters getting powerful magical items or general temporal power... unless it's a bait 'n switch trap, of course.

Mors Rattus posted:

Literally no one put even this much thought into it.

And I've certainly put way, way too much.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

For all it's "you can use magic and magic is super cool!" claims RIFTS has always hated offering any good magic items. They're generally underpowered, absolutely prohibitively expensive, and laden with dire warnings about how people are going to try and steal them or if the tree finds out you're misusing it you'll be in big trouble, mister, or they're cursed. And then we have this Splynn supplement with a huge content drop of evil, cursed, unusable stuff. And of course tons of bait-and-switch biological enhancements.

It's not that we expect balance in RIFTS but there aren't even rules for guns or technological systems failing most of the time. You certainly never run into a prototype that might explode and harm the wielder or completely fail to work or whatever, and apparently all technological consumption is ethical under RIFTS capitalism since nobody seems to use slaves or orphan sacrifice to make their munitions.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Yeah I am transcribing too much going to redo this entry

MonsterEnvy fucked around with this message at 08:44 on Jan 9, 2019

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Thanks, DnD, now I don't want to kill Kobolds the Infrastructure Builders and Reusers of Stuff That's Clearly Trash.

quote:

Kobolds are good at identifying broken, misplaced, discarded, or leftover crafted items from other creatures that can still be put to use. They prefer to scavenge objects that have clearly been lost or thrown away, which is easy to do without attracting attention

If you need to choose between killing a Kender and a Kobold, _go for the one that doesn't understand property_

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



MonsterEnvy posted:

Volo's Guide to Monsters: Kobolds: Little Dragons Part 1

Previous Entry

Kobolds in origin were sprites from German Folklore, but their D&D depiction has long had little in common with their namesake. Original D&D put them as basically goblins but weaker. Their depiction soon changed to resemble weird scaly dog things, and eventually weird ratish dog things. As of 3e they have currently settled into their current depiction as little lizard people that are distantly related to dragons. (With this edition now possessing a dogish nose. )


(Remember this guy is 2 to 3 feet tall at most)


I don't want to jump on the Monster Envy hate-train, but you are literally transcribing the monster entries. I though you were at least paraphrasing them, but that stops a couple of paragraphs down and becomes a transcription. At least do some analysis or have some thoughts about it.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Angrymog posted:

I don't want to jump on the Monster Envy hate-train, but you are literally transcribing the monster entries. I though you were at least paraphrasing them, but that stops a couple of paragraphs down and becomes a transcription. At least do some analysis or have some thoughts about it.

I agree going to redo it when I am not as tired.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

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

Lipstick Apathy

Chainmail

Additional and optional rules for melee combat "for added realism"

Prisoners: there's a die roll and another table lookup involved in checking how many prisoners are taken from a unit that loses in melee combat. They count as additional losses on top of "kills" scored after a melee, but every 5 prisoners need 1 unit as a guard, lest they escape and fight again.

Impetus: Heavy foot, armored foot, and all Horse units get a +1 to their die rolls if they charge across flat, smooth terrain, or charge downhill.

Cavalry: if a Horse unit engages in combat without having moved during the previous turn, they're considered one category worse on the combat tables in terms of dealing damage/causing casualties, ostensibly because they perform worse if they're only stationary.

Hedgehog: Swiss and Landsknechte units can form a square-type hedgehog formation that moves at half of its base speed, and cannot charge, but also can only be attacked by units with similar pike or polearm-type weapons.

Instability due to excess casualties: if units lose a certain percentage of their original figures, they must take this other kind of morale check.

For example, light infantry or peasant levies will take this check upon losing at least 25% of their original number. 2d6 is rolled, and the unit passes on an 8 or better. Other infantry will check after losing 33%, and will need a 7 to pass. Heavy Horse will check after losing 50%, and will need a 6 to pass, etc.

Units that fail this check are removed from the map entirely and immediately.

Swiss/Landsknechte Pike Charge: units that are charged by these kinds of units must undergo the instability morale check mentioned above, except units that fail the check instead merely retreat (and must rally) instead of getting eliminated entirely.

Cavalry Charge: units that are charged by horsemen must take a different kind of morale check, using a third table and rolling 2d6 to pass a certain number. Failed checks cause the charged units to retreat (and must rally).

Historical characteristics: there's an entire section here in specific rules for Knights, Peasant Levies, Mercenaries, English Longbowmen, Magyars, Mongols, Poles, Russians, Saracens, Scots, Spaniards, Tartars, Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese.

Army Commanders: players can designate a specific figure as an Army Commander. The unit that the figure is operating with, as well as all other units within 12 inches of the commander, will get a +1 to all die rolls. The unit that the commander is in will also always automatically rally, and the army commander itself will always be the last figure to be killed. However, if the commander is killed, then the entire army must take an instability morale check.

Baggage: each player will secretly designate a section of the map that will serve as their baggage camp. If an enemy unit ever enters this secret area, all of the units of the player who owns the area will have to break off and head for the baggage area in order to protect it from being looted.

____

The next three sections are optional rules on Weather, Sieges, and Man-to-Man (what we might call Skirmish) combat. I'll be skipping them because they're not quite relevant to my interest in the system (that is, as a mass-combat "supplement" to a fantasy TRPG campaign that's expanded to this scale), but I do want to note that they exist).

___

Point Values

These are given out on a per-figure basis:

Peasants are worth half-a-point
Levee's are worth three-quarters of a point
Light infantry are worth one point
Heavy infantry are worth 2 points
Armored infantry are worth 2.5 points
Light horsemen, Medium horsemen, and Heavy horsemen are worth 3, 4, and 5 points, respectively

Pikemen are worth 1 point
Arquebusiers/crossbowmen are worth 1.5 points
Archers are worth 3 points
Longbowmen/composite bow-men are worth 4 points
Catapults, Cannon, and Bombards are worth 15, 20, and 30 points, respectively

___

Impressions so far

Everything I've read so far up to the melee combat seems eminently playable and reasonable, and bears a resemblance to the few minis wargames I've read (Age of Sigmar, Bolt Action). It's when you get to the morale checks that things kinda get janky because the three step process to figure out the morale result involves a "fourth-wall-breaking" amount of arithmetic that just feels tedious, especially given the number of melee rounds that I think any engagement would require.

Throwing in the instability morale checks would probably help as far as eliminating units faster.

___

Next: the Fantasy Supplement

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 16: "Still, the few vampires who have gotten their grubby hands on the harness have become near-invincible warriors."

It's time for the gun section. Well. The other gun section. The stuff that doesn't use Bio-Wizardry, except for the stuff that does, and... and let's just get started.

Special Weapons of D-Squad

These are weapons designed to capture or at least halt dimensional raiders. Line Lockers lock people in place unless they can get free of the bola. Ironically, though, it doesn't stop ley line phasing (as in Ley Line Walkers). False advertising! Time-Lock is another gooey bio-bola that prevents Temporal Magic and time travel, and makes teleporting less accurate. Barrier Projectors are basically designed to look like the Phantom Zone Projector, being these bulky two-handle deals, this makes a force field around targets that prevents teleportation and phase powers (as seen in Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World.

Kittani Weapons


A chainsaw without... a chain?

Have you ever used a plasma gun and been like "Man, this is great melting people into goo, but could I get something that requires me to get close enough for them to punch me first?" Well, then you'll love the Kittani Plasma Chainsaw, which does the same damage as most plasma rifles, but is bulkier and requires melee range. Sure, makes sense. Conversely, the Kittani Plasma Net is pretty busted; a successful toss of it will lock down anybody without a strength of 30 for 1d4+1 rounds, and force them to take 1d6 x 10 M.D.C. per turn. That'll melt most forms of body armor and their wearers down to slag easily. The Kittani Plasma Whip is worse than the Kittani Plasma Axe, worse than the Kittani Plasma Sword, worse than the Kittani Energy Lance- it's just worse, in summary.


There's so much implied nudity in this book that it's not fun anymore.

Then we have the Kittani Plasma Harness, which creates a burning plasma field around the user, but has the slight issue of burning anything one carries, and then burning the wielder. As such, it's only been marketed to those immune to fire, though even most of those (aside from bursters, who extend the immunity to their clothing) end up being naked flaming warriors because this has no nether coverage and minimal chest coverage. Granted, if you can survive with your nethers aflame, you can grapple to do 1d6 x 10 M.D. every 2-3 seconds, which means if you can successfully "entangle" a foe for a melee round, they're taking ridiculous amounts of damage. This is has gotten fairly limited distribution because the Splugorth have also become aware it can be used by vampires to avoid damage from squirt guns and stakes (hunters can't catch you while you're on fire), though some magical stakes can still penetrate the mega-plasma.

New Kittani Power Armor


One of those one-off designs because nobody else gonna draw that.

The Kittani Centipede (375 M.D.C.) was inspired by the Yahzing Multipede, but it's called the centipede. Makes sense? It can dump some of its segments, mainly if they've been damaged, so you can play Centipede with the Kittani Centipede if you can fight it on a field of giant mushrooms, I suppose. We're told it's weak in close combat, but its Energy Lance is perfectly sufficient for that. Other than that, it's got short-range missiles, mini-missiles, eye lasers, and a shield with a missile that it fires because clearly, it didn't already have enough missiles, shove another in the shield. Thematically cool-looking, but nothing too special about its actual numbers. No reason to fire at those segments, either, when you can just concentrate fire on the main body at no penalty.


"A flying fox! It's an omen! I will become... a flying fox!"

Presumably the Kittani Flying Fox (350 M.D.C.) is actually inspired by flying foxes... wait, no, it's inspired by bats. But it turned out that the Splugorth, because they hate vampires, decided bats were off-brand. So it was named after flying foxes instead. I swear that is text in the book. It's the Atlantean SAMAS-equivalent, though at 600 MPH, it goes practically twice as fast as most of its Coalition cousins. It has a plasma axe, mini-missiles, another shield with a missile in it, and wing lasers. It can do fly-bys where it uses sharpened wings to slash targets, but it requires a successful Pilot skill roll or it takes more damage that it would actually inflict. Or it could just use the plasma axe, which does more damage and can shoot plasma at a distance... it's not bad, but unholy gently caress have we seen a lot of SAMAS-style power armors at this point. And there'll be more coming up! :hehstonk:

Also available at Splynn
By Wayne Breaux Jr.


We have weaponry made by the Octurill, an other-dimensional octopoid race not seen in this or any other book preceding it. Yes, we have the octomen, turns out those are different. Getting the impression this wasn't really coordinated with the other writers, for some reason. In any case, there's a Octurill Vibro-Axe and the Octuril Charged Particle Ejector; the vibro axe does more damage than usual, but that's about all that's notable here. These are designed to be used by tentacles - you can get them specially made for human hands at extremely high costs, but why would you?


Ready to probe all mysteries.

Similarly, the Kizh don't show up here, but their weapons do, and they're aquatic-themed (but no details on whether or not they work proper underwater, it's just implied). In typical goofy fashion, the Kizh Plasma Pistol actually does more damage than the Kizh Ion Rifle, and both have choppy vibro-fins to keep them on-brand. The Kizh Sensor Gauntlet is more of a bracer with various spikes that come off of it, it turns out they're probes, not stabby bits. It has a variety of mundane sensory equipment and can cast a variety of detection spells.

Miscellaneous Items

The Power Jaw Helmet may be made by Titan (i.e. the mad AI Archie-3), or maybe not? Either way, hopefully having a vibro-jaw in your helmet fits your theme or style, because it sure as hell won't do enough damage to rate being used over a vibro-sword.

Mega-Blades are attachments to normal melee weapons that magically let them do mega-damage on a straight 1-to-1 conversion. The "bird-like" Qua-Teek, also not in this book, make the most elegant and showy mega-blades.

Well, that felt like filler. I looked through Aliens Unlimited to see if these races were from that (as that was also written by Breaux), but as far as I know the races referred to don't exist in any Palladium book? Kind of interesting to have niche weapons like these, but they're appro of nothing in this particular book, it's not like we've had any aquatic emphasis, but at least Octomen get guns, I suppose.

Next: Mega-Taxis.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


gradenko_2000 posted:

___

Impressions so far

Everything I've read so far up to the melee combat seems eminently playable and reasonable, and bears a resemblance to the few minis wargames I've read (Age of Sigmar, Bolt Action). It's when you get to the morale checks that things kinda get janky because the three step process to figure out the morale result involves a "fourth-wall-breaking" amount of arithmetic that just feels tedious, especially given the number of melee rounds that I think any engagement would require.

Throwing in the instability morale checks would probably help as far as eliminating units faster.

___

Next: the Fantasy Supplement

Or you could just play DBA/DBM, albeit they're a lot newer.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


occamsnailfile posted:

For all it's "you can use magic and magic is super cool!" claims RIFTS has always hated offering any good magic items. They're generally underpowered, absolutely prohibitively expensive, and laden with dire warnings about how people are going to try and steal them or if the tree finds out you're misusing it you'll be in big trouble, mister, or they're cursed. And then we have this Splynn supplement with a huge content drop of evil, cursed, unusable stuff. And of course tons of bait-and-switch biological enhancements.

Yeah, I'm going through a future book and Techno-Wizard items in particular are bizarrely undertuned, which makes it so the only good ones are items that use broken spells that bypass the normal combat structure. You have items that literally cost 30+ times that of their technological counterparts with greater penalties. Of course, the same is true for a lot of spellcasting at this point, spellcasters have so few actions per round that if you're not casting the most overpowered spells you have, you're literally wasting your time.

But I'm sure Rifts Ultimate Edition fixed all that. :rolleyes:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Myriad Song

Myriad Tech

We begin with an overview of the Myriad's technology and science. When the Syndics were at the height of their power, they controlled over a hundred sentient species and thousands of planets. Exactly how many peoples and places exist within the Myriad is unknown, because the Syndics destroyed or erased any of their charts of hidden and forbidden places when they left. It's unknown what led the Syndics to quarantine or hide worlds; this is left up to the reader if you want to use it in your game. You're going to see that a lot in this game; Myriad Song can support a ton of different tones and is intentionally very open-ended with its setting mysteries. For the most part, the playable species are species who are capable of living on and traveling to a wide variety of worlds; there are certainly other species that stay on their homeworlds because they breathe a non-standard atmosphere or need special dietary requirements, too. The Syndics had plenty of laws against invasive species, sentient and otherwise, and in many places where those laws are no longer being followed planets face ecological disaster as alien kudzu or space rabbits get imported and wreck up the joint.

Xenharmonics are the magic of Myriad Song. Xenharmonics are the means by which people travel faster than light, and are also how the Syndics used to say 'Hey, your defense fleet that you were using to defend against us? Teleported into the sun.' By warping the harmonics of the universe with essentially song-magic, the Syndics were capable of folding space such that one point that was light years away was now inches away, at which point you could just step over into it and then unfold space to be there. Xenharmonics revolves around knowing the song of the universe, how it's composed, and changing it with your own song to make it so thought becomes an alteration of physical laws. The Syndics used their mastery of Xenharmonics to build huge song-towers that send out signals across space and time, serving as beacons for faster than light travel and communication. These Magh-Towers or Campaniles (heh, bell towers) are the heart of all interstellar travel, even today.

Not content with just ordering slaves to build massive Xenharmonic devices, the Syndics also uplifted some of their most loyal servants. Genetic and metaphysical manipulation left them with the ability to use Xenharmonics like their masters, even on a personal level. Not only could these Conductors (Xenharmonics users) handle devices better and help ships navigate, they could personally teleport, generate protective shields, call forth magical song-pet buddies and place them in living crystal, and yes, teleport their enemies into the sun (this is one of the attack spells, and what it does if it overkills someone). Many of these Xenharmonics users form the core of the Remanence, the faction of former bureaucrats, generals, and servants of the Syndics that expects them to come back any day now and clings to power in large sections of the Myriad. Xenharmonic magic is currently poorly understood, and many of the devices the Syndics left behind are beginning to break down. The Concord scientists believe that it would be best to let them do so and discover non-magical ways to travel and communicate, while the Solar Creed (we'll get into these people more in a bit) are so out-spokenly against anything associated with the Syndics that they would gladly do away with all Xenharmonic influence if they could get away with it. Worse, there's a growing phenomena called the Dissonance that suggests Xenharmonic overuse might be polluting or changing the nature of reality; whether this is because Xenharmonics as practiced by the Syndics are a blight on reality or because of the breakdown of the devices left behind is another of those things that will be up to your GM.

Energy is easy in the worlds of the Myriad. Almost everyone has as much relatively clean power as they need. The main pollution issue among the Myriad is waste heat. Fission power is common, and the byproducts can be disposed of safely these days. Fission is considered a little 'low class' and best suited for rusty old cargo ships and big colonial ventures. Fusion Power is the hot (literally) new thing on highly developed worlds, with the only arguments against it being the size of the generators and the enormous amount of heat they generate. The Solar Creed is called such because of their enormous solar collection systems, where every world they control has a ring of satellites and space stations designed to collect solar power and beam it down to the planet in the form of microwave radiation; this grants their planets nearly unlimited clean energy. Massive compressible space crystals are grown in zero G farms and made into powerful batteries, while primitive worlds still use chemical batteries that we'd recognize today.

Exciter Tech is a new and exciting (of course) development, beloved by the high energy Solar Creed and the science-loving Concord. Exciters are devices that, well, excite elements and molecules into new states. This is useful for a wide variety of high energy science, but you can also build a wicked ray gun with it; this is the Solar Creed's favored use for Exciter tech. Rayguns are one of the special weapon types a PC can specialize in, and instead of ammunition and reloading like conventional firearms, these powerful beams (and plasma-edged swords, you can do that, too) have near infinite power from their generators. The problem is they don't have near infinite heat sinks. They have to cool off as they heat up from use, with PCs who specialize in them being able to keep them cooler or push the limits on their overheating better. This tech is also used to build fancy electromagnetic resistance armor and personal shields, which again, start to overheat and shut down as they deflect fire.

Medicine is having a renaissance with the Syndics gone. The Syndics didn't especially care about medicine; they wanted their slaves healthy enough to work and not much else. Doctors were left to their own devices so long as they absolutely did not mess with cloning or genetic manipulation; the former was totally forbidden and the latter was only for the Syndics to perform. The aristocrats and favored servants of the Syndics were given tremendous health along with their Xenharmonic ability, while the common people were treated if it was more profitable to do so and left to die if it was cheaper. With the Syndics gone, worlds have taken to using large portions of what used to be Syndic tax money to study medicine and provide services to citizens. Where the Syndics actively preferred addictive drugs that would help make those who needed them dependent on their masters, now pharmacology is free to study all sorts of medications while life scientists delve into the genetics and cloning tech they were forbidden for so long. One of the greatest challenges for a doctor in setting is that almost every world has a variety of sentient species living on it; they have to learn what helps who and what kills who and learn it quick or the malpractice is going to pile up.

With cloning completely forbidden there used to be no other way to replace limbs besides cybernetics. Not only are cybernetics a way to replace crippling injuries, in many cases high end cybernetics are significantly more powerful than the flesh they replace. Cybernetics are another potential power source for PCs, with PCs who specialize in their cybernetic enhancements being able to coax all kinds of superhuman feats out of them. Most cybernetics in setting are slightly worse than the flesh they replaced, designed to get a laborer back on their feet with an old Syndic designed labor model. But among the Concord and other technophiles, you can find all kinds of impressive 'augmentations'. People who intentionally get their arms lopped off to get robot arms are considered pretty weird in normal Myriad society, but they definitely exist. Most people with any sort of prosthetic face a minor, subtle bias, but people who intentionally chrome themselves up as much as possible are considered freaks outside the Concord. Just often not in earshot, because it's not a good idea to make fun of the guy who can punch like a train and who is covered in bulletproofed subdermal armor.

The Myriad absolutely does not have 'modern' computer technology. What we'd understand as a computer doesn't really exist in setting, specifically in the sense that computing devices are all hard-wired and physically programmed rather than being re writable. With the Syndics gone, the implication is that will change very soon. The Concord is already working on what we'd consider modern computers; soft-ware is a hot new idea with forward thinking scientists and already being touted as the wave of the future that will change the galaxy within a couple decades. Still, as of now, all computing is analog rather than digital. Somehow this is still able to build thinking machines via quantum-entanglement? I don't know. I'm a religious scholar, not a scientist, I don't know nothing quantum. Everything is stored in memory crystals that capture these signals, which are starting to break down with the Syndics gone. Some people race to find ways to preserve these massive crystal libraries before everything in them is lost, while other worlds shrug and funnel the money to medicine or the military and don't bother touching the things the crazy alien gods left behind.

Synthetic Intelligence is created by building a crystal lattice that conducts electrical signals in mirror to a sentient's neurons. Most 'Synths' are barely intelligent, designed solely to do repetitive tasks and heavy industrial work. The more intelligent and complex the Synth, the more they develop a distinct personality, gaining likes, dislikes, wants, and dreams. Sufficiently complex Synths are indistinguishable from normal sentience, and are one of the PC species; you can absolutely play a friendly space robot. Attitudes towards Synths vary. The Averlini Mercantile group sees them as a very useful form of debt slave, since you can use them to build more slaves for you in your lovely space capitalism hellhole planets. The Concord loves Synths and eagerly tries to build smarter and better robots, while granting those its built sentient rights and generally trying to foster good relations between organic and synthetic life. The Solar Creed dislikes them and prefers 'natural' laborers and soldiers. There is also the risk that an overly powerful Synth's mental signal can hijack other Synths and mess with their brain matrix. This is one explanation for a faction called the Apparat, an apparent robot rebellion centered around a super-intelligence that may be forcibly rewriting other Synths to believe what it believes (that Synths should rule the galaxy). They're another potential existential threat for a campaign.

Scrounged Tech is another PC power source and a common sight on frontier stations and planets. The Syndics left a lot of stuff behind; not just fancy Xenharmonics but normal steel and spare parts. Someone was going to hack it together and make use of it. Scrounged tech is the art of jury-rigging, building stuff on the fly, and turning a junkyard into a toolkit or an armory. There are entire worlds rendered 'derelict' by disaster or by the interruption of services from the Syndics leaving, and on these worlds the jury-rigging and scrounging talents of the locals have become so good that they're a worthy export. Scrounged tech is hard to use unless you're a character who knows how to build it yourself, but if you want to be the kind of engineer who can throw together a full-auto armor-piercing industrial assault rifle while imprisoned by space pirates and fight your way out? That's a character archetype. Their stuff is cheap, available, and their powers revolve around risking it breaking down to overclock it. Scourged gear is beloved by the Levelers, a group of anarchists who advocate for the workers to own the means of production and for society to be organized around self-governing communes and collectives. Sometimes this works out and a Leveler community is a great and accepting place, sometimes they turn into angry bands of junk-strewn raiders. The galaxy's a big place.

Not everyone has rayguns and exciter armor and fancy cybernetics. Some PCs will have to make due with Primitive gear. Whether due to collapse from the disappearance of the Syndics or because the planet was never granted advanced tech to begin with, or because the locals actually just prefer a 'simple' lifestyle, there are plenty of worlds where people still use the spear and bow and make due with almost no technology. Primitive items harvested from particularly powerful alien species can be just as strong as the best synthetic materials, though, so if you want to be a space Monster Hunter character you absolutely can. Primitive characters tend to be extremely strong and skilled; they have to be to make it work when they're going after a guy in power armor with a rock.

Vehicles in setting are usually fueled by electric, rather than internal combustion, engines. When you've got fusion power and highly advanced crystal batteries, why use chemicals? VTOL aircraft are common, as are wheeled vehicles and everything in between. Syndic legacy space vehicles run on some kind of Xenharmonic particle taken from space itself that seems to be unlimited, granting them unlimited thrust and reaction mass. Many large spacecraft are designed to never actually land, constructed in orbit and kept there. Massive legacy transports travel between the Campaniles signals, and anyone who has one of the old Syndic spacecraft does whatever they can to keep them running. Unlimited fuel in a spacecraft is a pretty big deal! The modern world can still build and fuel more 'limited' Super Heavy Carriers, called such not because they're warships but because they're huge, heavy, and carry lots of stuff between systems. They're just a lot more expensive to run than the space magic ships of the old space Gods. Conductors can take people through space-folding passages (and guide ships through the same) by the Syndic method of Rondological-Xenharmonic Psychometrics. Teleporting is just called 'Rondo' for short. The Syndics themselves used to use this power to travel without ships at all, simply walking from one planet to the next like you'd pop on down to the shop; modern Xenharmonics users usually can't manage that level of power.

The tech in Myriad Song helps illustrate the game's best point: You can do a huge variety of games with this system. You want to be desert raiders on a derelict world, fighting over scrap and ancient tech? You can play cyborgs, primitives, and scrounge-techs. You want to be high tech science adventurers with a robot buddy and the latest exciter gear? Doable. The huge variety of colorful technology and the sense that suddenly, people can do science again and study things that the old Space Tyranny Gods forbid them to study is tempered by bits like the massive invasive species crisis. You can totally play as militant space environmentalists fighting a war every bit as fierce as Australia's continual failure to stop its rabbit population, up to and including biological warfare. The galaxy's a big place, and it's got room for a lot of people.

Next Time: Myriad Factions

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Presumably the Kittani Flying Fox (350 M.D.C.) is actually inspired by flying foxes... wait, no, it's inspired by bats. But it turned out that the Splugorth, because they hate vampires, decided bats were off-brand. So it was named after flying foxes instead. I swear that is text in the book.
but flying foxes are a type of bat. Does the book not know that?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



do RIFTS vampires even have bat branding

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Terrible Opinions posted:

but flying foxes are a type of bat. Does the book not know that?

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

The body design is loosely based on the bat. However, the Splugorth, with their hatred of vampires, decided it was better not to name the armor after creatures that the vampire can morph into. Thus, the armor was named the Flying Fox.

:eng101:

Edit: Of course, the likely story is that Sumimoto wrote up a bat armor, then Siembieda decided that didn't make any sense for the above reasons, and... well...

Mors Rattus posted:

do RIFTS vampires even have bat branding

Vampire Intelligences get a "bat familiar" that's a giant bat-monster. Vampires can turn into bats (and wolves and mist). Also, they can control bats. And in South America, there are vampire bat-like D-Bees that serve the vampires there.

So kinda, yeah.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



Night10194 posted:

Double Cross

Is there any mechanical reason why you can't take some of the fire based Salamandra powers and reskin them as ice?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Myriad Song

You can play as all of these

Even with the mess of the Syndics leaving, there are relatively few large scale interplanetary wars. Interplanetary warfare is the kind of thing that A: Ruins biospheres and B: Is too large scale for PCs to handle, so much like in Ironclaw most conflict is smaller scale. While there are big factions in the setting for players to play as or oppose, the majority of ex-Syndicate worlds are actually independent of the large power blocs. They tend to form smaller scale regional power blocs instead, with clusters of systems banding together, threatening one another, or going their own way. After all, you can have a perfectly stable set of societies with just one planet. One of the reasons the independent worlds keep their conflicts smaller scale is because of the stakes: If you're the Remanence and have hundreds of worlds, one of them getting bombed out by orbital bombardment is a recoverable tragedy. If your League of Free Worlds (made up entirely of purple bird people or something) is two planets, losing one of them is a death sentence.

Most people stay on their homeworld their whole life. There's plenty to do on any planet, after all. It's a planet. More importantly, getting into orbit isn't easy for the poor, common citizen. Orbital lift is still a big and expensive process, and while the wealthy may go to pleasure planets for vacations and interstellar commerce and trade are commonplace, if you don't have a good reason to be in space most people keep their boots on the ground. Beyond a planet's jurisdiction lies interstellar space, with no laws. Beyond that lie deep space habitats, domed asteroids, and other spacer living spaces. Spacers travel often, unlike planet-born people, because hitching a term of employment on a passing Cavalcade (the massive jump-ships) is easy when you don't have to get out of atmo in the first place. Hell, if you're a spacer there's a reasonable chance you were born aboard one as it is.

As for our big groups beyond the independent worlds your GM has to make up whole cloth, they're the sorts who have interstellar name recognition. The Remanence is the biggest single power group in the setting, even if they've gone from 'masters of 10,000 worlds in the name of the Space Gods' to 'We have several hundred'. Several hundred planets is still a hell of a lot of people and wealth! The Remanence are ruled by the descendants of those raised to power by the Syndics in the first place, and on most Remanence worlds they pretend the Syndics are coming back any minute now. For all they know, they might! The Remanence nobles hold power because they can manipulate Xenharmonics; they were originally uplifted and genetically enhanced specifically to do so. A mixture of space-time bending weapons and devices and actual space magic (plus excellent abilities at navigating the stars) keep the systems in line for now, but there are always new rebellions and many of the other power blocs dislike the Remanence.

Their big problem is that the initial fall destroyed a lot of Xenharmonic gear and many of the factories that make the spare parts for what remains; if you're trying to fight the guys dependent on their space magic, you go after the space magic supplies. While a powerful Remanence Conductor might be able to teleport a couple guys into the sun, they can't do it to entire armies like their masters could. They were infinitely more beatable in a rebellion, and so unlike their original masters they weren't able to fend them off unscathed. The Remanence's government tries to act like it's the old empire to this day, reminding other worlds their absent Gods could come back whenever they please. Meanwhile, they refuse to do business directly with any independent planet. If you need something from them, you can give up your independence, reinstate your proper genetically augmented wizard governor, and get back to work. Their main form of influence (besides their magic and huge army) is their control over the Imperial Reserve Note, the setting's agreed upon interstellar currency. As they lose systems, they levy harsher taxes, and discontent grows further. They either need to start bending or they're going to break completely. If you want to play as people trying to keep it together or navigating political intrigue (or as partisans and rebels trying to get their homeworld out of this space tyranny) you'll have a good time as Remanence characters.

The Concord isn't a collection of systems so much as a large scale ideological movement. They grew out of a failed rebellion centuries ago, one based on the idea that the Syndics had no right to decide what people could learn and what people couldn't. While they were crushed (space Gods) they managed to go into hiding, and with the space tyrants gone they've resurfaced to show off their technological progress. They form Concords on each world they pass through, collectives of scientists and adventurers who both seek to discover what their people knew before the Syndics took control, and to expand out into the future. Concord teams tend to be utopians, who believe that technology and knowledge themselves will lead to a much brighter future for the whole galaxy. They also want to get the entire galaxy off of Syndic tech, since they see it as a means of control that has extended past the rule of the actual space tyrants. They're technically non-political, but they tend to end up in opposition to the setting's various authoritarians. The only group they want destroyed outright is the Apparat, the Synthetic supremacists. If you want to play as explorers and high tech characters with an idealistic bent, the Concord is a good choice.

The Solar Creed are fascinating. Right before the Syndics vanished, there was a huge rebellion brewing for their once-every-couple-centuries asskicking. The Solis Animus had recruited soldiers and planned to rise on multiple worlds at once, promising to be one of the largest rebellions their masters had every faced...and then before there could be any kind of battle, the Syndics simply left. The epic battle they had prepared for, and prepared to die for, simply didn't happen. They reformed themselves into the Solar Creed, throwing off their Remanence masters with ease but disturbed by the fact that their Gods had fled. Like the Remanence, the Creed believes the Syndics are coming back. They are absolutely certain of it. And so they have shaped every part of their society around the idea of building a civilization that can fight a Space Tyrant God.

They arrived at the idea that they'd turn the idea of the eventual conflict into the center of a grand mystery cult and build a totalitarian collectivist militarist regime around it. After all, they are literally an apocalyptic society, preparing for the actual end of days where the Gods that ruled over and oppressed them return and have to be driven back in an epic battle. The actual details of the Plenipotentiary Cult's beliefs are left to an individual group, but what is true is that anything that doesn't prepare society towards the final battle is forbidden. In return for wholeheartedly accepting Solar art and culture in all ways, though, they do keep their promise to their citizens: As a member of the Solar Creed, you will never go hungry, you will never want for shelter, and you will be protected by the Creed's impressive military might. They send out missionaries and diplomats to spread word of this and induct new worlds into the cause, hoping to build a unified galaxy. Moreover, the Creed does not distinguish based on how useful a world is. The Creed wants worlds because it believes it represents the hope of all the galaxy. To that end, even though you can't leave once you're in, Creed soldiers and officials are sent out all over the galaxy to intervene in humanitarian disasters and offer aid to struggling colonies. If you do as you're told, the Solar Creed will do everything it can for you. If you don't, well, they have a large warrior caste of power armored paladins with rocket fuel pistols and plasma swords for a reason, and it ain't just for fighting the space gods.

The Creed don't get along with anyone else, really. They hate the Remanence for reasons that should be obvious, and provide a lot of the setting's normal military conflict in their wars with the Syndics' lapdogs. They hate the Concord, because the Creed have no use for the past. They gladly sweep away any relics of pre-Syndic culture, because those are cultures that couldn't stand up to the Syndics. If their culture failed, it has no value, and must be replaced by the Creed towards the epic battle they know is coming. The future is all that matters. If you want to play as significantly less lovely Space Marines, the Solar Creed is a fun starting place for a game. And they're happy to insert themselves into any campaign, offering you a chance to join or opposing your players. They are, after all, the only hope for the galaxy. According to them.

The Averlini Mercantile Group are absolute bastards. These are the post-soviet kleptocrats of the setting, having taken advantage of the collapse of the Syndicate to buy or steal every Cavalcade they can to try to gain a monopoly on interstellar shipping and transport. They weren't totally successful, but they were close enough to become an interstellar power. They value only one thing: making the bank account number go up. They will do anything to do this, and hold entire worlds in literal debt slavery towards this end. The rulebook puts it best: "On a world that suffers their monopolies, the population is trapped beneath a toll road sky." Averlini also strip mines planets, contributes to the invasive species crisis, and cares nothing for the pollution and ecological damage they leave in their wake. After all, what matters is next quarter, and there are always more worlds. Averlini agents go among the Independent Planets, promising enormous prosperity and job creation to planetary governments if they'll just let the AMG privatize a feeeeewww little services here and there...and then the population is in debt slavery and worked to death in the mines, while only a few ever see a single Note for it. You probably don't want to play as these guys (though I suppose you could) but they're a lot of fun to kick in the dick.

The Malmignatti Cluster are an interstellar Empire built out of an age-old genetics experiment. The Rhax/Rhagia are a spider-like people whose males are non-sentient, which has always led them to be more open to breeding experiments and genetics work compared to other races. When the Syndics took them over, they pretended to be highly loyal servants long enough to get some of their number altered with Xenharmonics, then quickly began secretly trying to understand what had made them able to use magic and navigate. This got nowhere until the Syndics left, and they could suddenly pursue things more openly. This produced the Spider Kwisatz Haderach, Malmignatta. She is a super-Rhagianly intelligent spider lady who quickly took command of the conspiracy that made her, and then the worlds around it. She is capable of seeing the universe as the Syndics do, though she cannot manipulate it the way they could. Her ultimate goal is to become a Syndic herself, and then to pass on that kind of power to her species.

The Cluster is an authoritarian state ruled entirely by its super-Rhagian space-tyrant. All species may be welcome to be citizens, but only Rhagia are ever trusted with important positions or leadership. She has also implemented extensive genetics programs to breed super-Rhagian shock troops and soldiers, with all breeding among the Rhagia under her command being directed by the Empress of All That Is and her agents. Like the Creed, she is certain the Syndics will come back some day. Like the Creed, she is certain she can beat them, and the Rhagians can rule the entire galaxy in a mixture of spider peace and tyranny for all time. Any grand power they unlock in their genetics will be used on the Empress, of course; she is the guide of her entire race, in her mind, and has no desire to let anyone else become superior to her. Do you like Dune? Did you think it needed more four armed spider ladies who quad-wield pistols and daggers or use two assault rifles at the same time? Here you go.

The Metanoic Corps are one of the minor factions of the setting. They are militant space environmentalists who are super pissed off about all the insane pollution, harvesting, and invasive species problems that have popped up since the Syndics left. They try to fix worlds broken by war and climate change, using the same terraforming techniques that originally made them habitable. They attack AMG operations to make it unprofitable to fight them, trying to drive them off the worlds they're ruining. They lobby for sustainable development and try to provide engineers and expertise that can help independent worlds do so so they won't be tempted by the AMG. They try to convince the other power blocs that planetary ecosystems matter. They were originally a corps of Syndicate troops and engineers assigned to terraforming duties, who have since become the protectors of what's left of their masters' environmental regulations. They left the Remanence because they don't care for the aristocracy, but they keep ties to them because the Remanence needs all the friends it can put a fig leaf on and having influence in the largest power bloc in the setting helps the Metanoic Corps. The Remanence also shares ecological records, and leaves defending the masters' old garden worlds to the Corps, reasoning the masters will probably want those functioning and pretty when they come back, anyway. If you want to blow up lovely space capitalists to defend garden worlds, these are a fun bunch.

The Levelers are anarchists who oppose all the large power blocs from the fringes of space. Levelers aren't a coherent faction, and are rather a marker for anyone who not only wants to live outside the law themselves, but to get others to do the same, whether they want it or not. They don't really get a big write up, but they can go good and they can go real bad, on the principle that if someone becomes a lovely crime lord another Leveler will shoot them in the head. In general, the Levelers are much more of anarchists as 'we want no law so we can take what we want, limited by the fact that others will kill us if we take too much' rather than a coherent political philosophy. If you want to be from the lawless fringes of space, or to have a good reason to fight any of the other factions here, the Levelers are for you.

Tzigane aren't really a group so much as a class of people. They're nomads and spacers who don't settle down, forming clans around starship crews and caravans of travelers. I don't really like them because they're your standard 'clever but kind of theft-prone' space-Roma, and really we gotta get past the 'clever-but-theft-prone Roma' thing, RPGs. I know, I know, wandering tricky character is a huge archetype in RPGs, but if you're going to tell me the settled governments make up excuses to persecute Tzigane caravans, don't ALSO talk about how they have a tendency to take everything not under lock and key. They'd be just fine as wandering spacers without all the theft stuff.

The Apparat have been mentioned before. Much like Spider Empress, the Apparat are based around an incredible hyper-intelligence called Colligatarch and his army of like-minded Synths. The Apparat believes organic life has no value. They'll let organics live if they aren't in the way, and then exterminate them if they are without a second thought. They care not for ecosystems nor organic sentients. Most Apparat citizens lived somewhere else, until an Apparat agent 'liberated' them from their older programming. By which I mean reprogrammed their brain to be loyal to the Apparat. They don't see an ethical dilemma in this; they see it as a function of improved cognition in their new citizen. After all, the Synth is now 'freely' and happily a member of their anti-organic Synth supremacist kill-squad and clearly doesn't want to go back. That they didn't want to come before their reprogramming is immaterial! They are a small problem, for now, but the longer the large powers ignore them to fight among themselves, the more dangerous Colligatarch's killbot legions become (the book even calls them killbots).

Finally, we have the Dissonance, who are weird. They're people infected by weird dissonance in the harmony of the universe, described as the sounds of no sound. They hear singing at all times, singing that each Dissonant is convinced is beautiful and possessed of incredible wisdom and truth. They cannot stop the songs. They also cannot understand them, they just know they're important, somehow, and mark the Dissonant as important too. Many go mad from 'knowing' the ultimate answers are being sung to them at all hours and that they can't understand them. The worst, though, are those who think they do understand. Those who try to sing to others, and make them Dissonant too. These people are very rare, even on the fringes, but who knows where they're coming from and why? Is this a function of the pollution of reality by Xenharmonics? Is it what drove off the Syndics? Is it something even weirder? What you do with the Dissonance is up to you and your players.

This is, in fact, the majority of the pure fluff in the game. Every group gets a couple paragraphs, some extra stuff as we get into their game mechanics later, and maybe some sample planets later. You're left to do the filling in yourself, but what's there is enough to give most of them a sense of character. I'm not as fond of the Levelers and the Tziganes; the Tziganes have unfortunate overtones that needed another look and the Levelers are very An-Cap in general tone rather than Anarchist, in a setting that seems like it would fit some more classical Anarchists (what with all the space tyranny and rebellion). But groups like the Creed are actually really interesting and there's plenty for your players to play as or fight on the whole.

Next Time: Game Mechanics already?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Angrymog posted:

Is there any mechanical reason why you can't take some of the fire based Salamandra powers and reskin them as ice?

Absolutely none. You can reskin anything; all the power 'skins' are just suggested flavor. There's no 'elemental damage' or vulnerabilities or whatever, and any Simple like 'you are immune to fire' specifies 'unless it was done by a Power, in which case you take totally normal damage', etc.

But in Salamandra's case it's even more explicit. The descriptions of the power set very much say 'Fluff as fire or ice as you please, we just named the powers after one or the other for variety'.

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!


Myriad Song has a strangely Warframe feel to it, except over a larger space than a single solar system. Sounds like it could easily fit a bunch of Solar Creed/Metanoic Corps space ninjas fighting evil space clone armies, space capitalists and space robots.

mbt
Aug 13, 2012



Does this thread have a greatest hits? I'm looking for good writeups of games that had good to great premises or settings but the gameplay itself was just awfully designed. So nothing like FATAL where its bad all around, but games that had potential but were hamstrung by weird decisions

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DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


It seems strange to me that chainmail melee is roll per man, but ranged (archery) is roll per unit.

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