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The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



To what extent are the Seers and the Abyss aligned with each other? The Exarchs originated the Abyss and the Seers work for them, do they try to keep it strong and present in order to help maintain the Lie?

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Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





The Lone Badger posted:

To what extent are the Seers and the Abyss aligned with each other? The Exarchs originated the Abyss and the Seers work for them, do they try to keep it strong and present in order to help maintain the Lie?

The official wording of the Exarchal injunction on the Abyss is to Ďregulateí it, I believe. Monetize the rot, exploit the horror, keep it carefully managed to the benefit of the Exarchs.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Joe Slowboat posted:

The official wording of the Exarchal injunction on the Abyss is to Ďregulateí it, I believe. Monetize the rot, exploit the horror, keep it carefully managed to the benefit of the Exarchs.

There is an Exarch of the Abyss: The Gate. It is believed that the other Exarchs fear the Gate, but that the Gate is in some way necessary to cause and maintain their supremacy. Seers are instructed very strictly to never worship the Gate, not that this always stops them.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




The Lone Badger posted:

To what extent are the Seers and the Abyss aligned with each other? The Exarchs originated the Abyss and the Seers work for them, do they try to keep it strong and present in order to help maintain the Lie?

It's unclear precisely what the Exarchs want even when they give specific commands, because their commands are delivered as oracular dreams interpreted by Special Big Boys. "Maintain the Lie and regulate the Abyss" could mean a whole loving lot of things. That said, according to the Scelestus write-up, the Seers are a little bit tolerant of Rabashakim (people who dabble in Abyss magic) but anyone who has gone fully on-board and corrupted their Nimbus or worse is slated for immediate murdercution by all parties.

Also, it's a roughly popularly accepted myth that the Exarchs originated the Abyss, because it's a Time Before fact and is therefore at best a "good guess." All the poo poo from the Time Before is intense levels of "entire sub-field of anthropology borne from half a finger-bone and a four millimeter square piece of broken pottery."

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 23:11 on Mar 27, 2020

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.

hyphz posted:

And, um, apart from that

Let's talk about the other monsters. I'm not going to give the stats for all of them, since this book is still actively being promoted. I will, however, give their descriptions and names, because many of them are.. um.. weird.

  • Bickerknockers are giant stick insects that look as if they're made of twigs and like to eat angry or fearful people, the angrier or more afraid the better.
  • Crystal Spiders are, well, giant spiders made of crystals. Their bodies are sought after by jewelry makers.
  • Eyrwulfs are blink dogs, except they're evil and they turn into mist. But they can't stay as mist for long, or they billow away completely and can't reform.
  • Funglions are creatures that look like lions made of mushroom flesh and breathe spores.
  • Ironphagous Drakes are giant lizards that will eat any kind of metal. This includes your armor, which they will reduce to flakes with their acid breath. They are not, however, at all interested in eating you, and small ones are tamed and used as vacuum cleaners by very bold blacksmiths.
  • Masquerades are ambush predators that can turn into any object and that want to eat you. Yea, ok, they're the Polymorph from Red Dwarf, but hey, that was cool.
  • Virago Sponges are spherical expanding sponges that also want to eat you.
  • Muskpatro are tiny creatures made of living moss that adopt caverns and attack those who harm them, and also hate anyone who forgets anything.
  • Okuloi are writhing masses of eyeballs of different types, which create different types of illusion. Mammalian eyes create illusions of harm happening to you; insectile eyes hypnotise you; and human eyes are the worst of all, because they instantly take advantage of your personal secrets. They know how well these work, and if they kill you, they will add your human eyes to their collection.
  • Owlbears are owlbears. Good ol' owlbears. Good ol', hang on, sapient owlbears. These guys have their own societies and you can befriend them, too.
  • Swordtusk Behemoths are giant mammoths with fur made from curly, wooly metal, and tusks that can't be melted by any flame.
  • Senvisaga are the other kind of doppelganger; they steal the faces and bodies of other creatures and play their role to the hilt until everyone they once knew is dead, then they move onto the next town.

Which has some very original ideas, some unnecessary twists, and some old chestnuts. The book does mention that some monsters may inflict Conditions instead of dealing damage, but none of the monsters listed are actually described as doing so.


If you're going to have a short monster list, then might as well make it 75% rad as heck and 25% familiar favorites.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Mors Rattus posted:

There is an Exarch of the Abyss: The Gate. It is believed that the other Exarchs fear the Gate, but that the Gate is in some way necessary to cause and maintain their supremacy. Seers are instructed very strictly to never worship the Gate, not that this always stops them.

Well... the Gate doesn't actually follow the rules of standard Exarchate Prelacies, having instead a whole Abyssal Legacy, and the Gate is as shrouded in uncertainty as any other Exarch. There is no concrete certainty that the Gate isn't an Annunaki with a really, really scary approach. I mean, according to the followers of the Gate, the Gate is an Exarch who entered the Abyss... but the Seers' treatment of the Gate would track with either 'An actual hidden Exarch of the Abyss' or 'There's an Abyssal entity that claims to be a further Exarch and holy poo poo don't get that on your soul, tyrant gods forbid.'

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




So the Exarchs are large corporations that own tons of rental properties and squeeze tenants, and the Abyss is Capitalism.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





wiegieman posted:

So the Exarchs are large corporations that own tons of rental properties and squeeze tenants, and the Abyss is Capitalism.

I'd say the Exarchs are Capitalism and the Abyss is brutal exploitation. They like to act like they don't rely on it, but their thrones rest on it.

Tsilkani
Jul 28, 2013



Sorry for the delay in getting the next Infinity update out, work went to hell because a bunch of our call centers got closed down because of the virus, so I haven't had time during the day to do write-ups. I plan to get it done tomorrow.


I have all of the Modiphius 2d20 edition from when they had a bundle sale, and I kind of love the goofy-rear end setting. Just straight up over-the-top dieselpunk .

Pussy Cartel
Jun 26, 2011





Lipstick Apathy

Dave Brookshaw posted:

Yeah, so, the thing about the Abyss isn't that it's the tempting deal with evil powers - that's what selling out to the Exarchs is for (join the seers). It's that it's magical crack. The Orders try to keep it secret because of how destructive it is, abstinence doesn't work in a society of incorrigibly-curious egotists, and by the time yonder Rabashakim has realised his Antimonian Rote really isn't worth it, he's addicted - and a bad day from Joining.

Rabashakim are users, Nasnasi are addicts, Shedim and Autarchs are dealers, Baalim are producers, and Qliphoth are ODs.

I know a lot of people here are saying they don't see how the Abyss, with its absolute nihilism and misery and misanthropic paradigm can be at all addictive, but I can absolutely see how it would be for some people. Scelesti are basically accelerationist mages in the Nick Land mould. If you have a certain temperament then it absolutely is weirdly compelling and addictive to immerse yourself in absolute misery and nihilism, and the sense of perverse pride in supposedly knowing better than all the normies about how lovely the world is and how beautiful oblivion is or whatever would just make it more so.

It also absolutely makes sense that a lot of sensible, reasonably healthy people would find it absolutely incomprehensible.

In short, it's not simply addiction to a drug, it's addiction to a nihilistic world view that feeds ones most self-destructive urges in a perversely fulfilling manner. It's indulging in the thanatos, the death drive.

Pussy Cartel fucked around with this message at 03:31 on Mar 28, 2020

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



hyphz posted:

[*] Swordtusk Behemoths are giant mammoths with fur made from curly, wooly metal, and tusks that can't be melted by any flame.

Sacnoth?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


That was the one touch I liked a lot in Tome of Corruption: The learned, helpless nihilism that the people of the north turned into a point of pride as a coping mechanism. "The world can't be better, we understand this secret truth and are the only ones strong enough to admit it."

Which is also part of the appeal of that worldview for some people. Celebrating the 'strength' to accept hopelessness (which coincidentally also frees you of any responsibility to try to stop things getting worse or do anything to improve anything).

So yes, I can definitely see that point when applied to another setting's generic entropic nihilistic force. Which I suppose is the big strike against the Abyss from what I'm seeing of it: It feels like the same force you see in lots of other fantasy and urban fantasy.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 03:38 on Mar 28, 2020

Pakxos
Mar 21, 2020


Night10194 posted:

So yes, I can definitely see that point when applied to another setting's generic entropic nihilistic force. Which I suppose is the big strike against the Abyss from what I'm seeing of it: It feels like the same force you see in lots of other fantasy and urban fantasy.

Can you elaborate on how important the abyss/abyssal touched things are to a nWOD mage campaign? Like if they are just one tool in the toolbox maybe it is ok to have a generic 'hostile lovecraft not lovecraft' force of otherness for the people who like the generic stuff while over on this side of the toolbox is the really cool poo poo. I don't really know the setting that well, aside from the opinions of someone with a major axe to grind against nWOD in general, so I am not sure how easy it is to avoid dealing with the Abyss in an average game.

Pussy Cartel
Jun 26, 2011





Lipstick Apathy

Pakxos posted:

Can you elaborate on how important the abyss/abyssal touched things are to a nWOD mage campaign? Like if they are just one tool in the toolbox maybe it is ok to have a generic 'hostile lovecraft not lovecraft' force of otherness for the people who like the generic stuff while over on this side of the toolbox is the really cool poo poo. I don't really know the setting that well, aside from the opinions of someone with a major axe to grind against nWOD in general, so I am not sure how easy it is to avoid dealing with the Abyss in an average game.

There are enough things in the nMage toolbox to setup plenty of campaigns without ever mucking about with Abyssal threats. Pentacle mages, Seers, apostates, Nameless, cryptids, Tremere, Rapt, Supernal mysteries, other nWoD supernaturals, you're pretty much spoiled for choice.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


My only experience with Mage is the stuff I see here and Magechat over in the WoD thread. Any observations I make are strictly an outsider's.

Pakxos
Mar 21, 2020


Ok that's fair. And from the sound of it there do seem to be other antagonist forces to engage with on a meaningful level.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I AM A DEEPLY DECENT PERSON, WITH THE LOVE OF HUMANITY IN MY HEART


It's interesting how Chaos (warhammer version) /The Abyss/ Chaos (Glorantha version) all work.

In the first it is an intrusion from outside that must be defeated and whose worshippers are automatically bad throughout every single civilization because of all the murdering. The second is a foundational thing but is also nihilistic in a philosophical way and representative of a world corrupted, but it's worshippers seem to be knowledgable of this and also commit to seeing the world unmade. The third is foundational and neccesary for everything to exist and must be both pushed away and act as a source of oblivion as well as change, and it's worshippers are either very high minded, completely mindless or specifically respond to the norms of their own society by tearing them up. It's interesting to look at in any case.

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


wiegieman posted:

So the Exarchs are large corporations that own tons of rental properties and squeeze tenants, and the Abyss is Capitalism.

Amusingly, one of the Exarchs is Capitalism.

They're not really gone into in Nameless & Accursed, and no one's F&F'd Signs of Sorcery yet (where the Exarchs whole thing is examined), but the major Exarchs are Judgement, Nihilism, Violence, Atavism, Capitalism, Suspicion, Surveillence, Dogma, and the Great Man of History.

They rely on the Abyss to make people simultaneously (and Paradoxically) bound to their truths while ignoring them. The Abyss' "function" in the design of the Fallen World is to turn 99.9+% of humans into Sleepers.

Dave Brookshaw fucked around with this message at 09:14 on Mar 28, 2020

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

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






The Dishonored Roleplaying Game

a single-post F&F

New from Mophidius is the Dishonored Roleplaying Game, the tabletop RPG of the whale punk sneak-em-up video games.

This is not going to be an in-depth read. I bought this game in order to run it for friends and wanted to share my first impressions. I'm sure someone else will be along at some point to do a deep dive, but I'm not the kind of person who can do a 10-post in-depth F&F.

It's a very pretty book to look at, mostly because it's almost entirely illustrated with concept art from the games, and the layout is evocative of the in-game menus. The only new art is a comic-style example of play that... isn't good.

I'm going to skip talking about most of the setting stuff because, well, it's Dishonored. It's got good GM advice (including the X-card), the setting material is decent (including details on the islands not yet featured in the games), each place is broken down into districts with story hooks and applicable factions, it's got a serviceable list of NPCs, and a sample adventure. To be honest, I can't think of anything interesting to say about any of it.

Rules-wise, it's a very odd hybrid of Blades in the Dark, Fate Accelerated, and a mostly-stripped-down version of Mophidius' in-house 2d20 system. The only 2d20 games I have to compare are Infinity and Mutant Chronicles, which are heavy bastards, and this is (mostly) pretty light. Light enough that I'd quite like to use it for those other games, because they're too heavy for my tastes.

Rules

The game uses Truths (which are pretty much Fate-style Aspects) to reflect things about people and scenes. They've got less flexibility than Aspects (no free compels, etc.) but in return I find they're easier to use. Truths can be beneficial: either letting you do something you couldn't without it, or reducing the difficulty of a test by 1. They can also be detrimental: increasing a difficulty by 1, or prohibiting doing something you'd otherwise be able to.

Dice-wise, characters have six Styles (literally the FAE Approaches: Boldly/Carefully/Cleverly/Forcefully/Quietly/Swiftly) and six Skills (Fight/Move/Study/Survive/Talk/Tinker). Add them together to get a target number, roll 2d20. Each one under the TN is a success, 1s are crits (count double), meet or beat the Difficulty (0-5, default 1) to succeed. Contests use opposed rolls, highest successes wins.

Extra successes create Momentum, a shared pool that players can spend for various effects - buying extra dice, creating Truths, or asking the GM for more information about the scene (which... why can't players just ask the GM in general?). 20s count as a Complication. Complications can create Truths that make things harder for the players, or they add two points to Chaos (basically the opposite of Momentum).

Characters also have Focuses (narrow specialisations), Talents (think Fate's Stunts), and Void Points, which they can use to fuel their Void Powers (more on that later), reroll any number of dice, and create or alter a Truth.

Character Creation

Character creation involves choosing a concept and a Faction to join (about which more later), selecting Truths (the two basic, plus up to two more Flaws, each of which immediately gives 5XP - the kind of flaw mechanic that I hate). Then set each Style and Skill to 4, mark that you've got 0 out of a max of 3 Void Points, and pick an Archetype.

Archetypes give +2 to 2 skills and +1 to one of two others (e.g. Assassin gives +2 Fight, +2 Talk, +1 Move or Study). You also get +1 to two out of three listed Styles, 8 points to split between two Focuses (min 2, max 6, five are suggested but not mandatory), one of four Talents (though any character can instead swap it for The Outsider's Mark if you want to interact with the special powers bit of the game), some basic belongings, and a contact.

Rambling!

Random thoughts about the rest of the game, in no particular order, and with a lot of my personal opinions baked in:

Tracks

Normally, one roll is enough to get what you want - take out a guard, get through a door, charm a password out of someone. In big situations or against significant NPCs, the game uses Tracks, which are kinda like specific versions of BitD's clocks - by which I mean there isn't a general use of Tracks throughout the game, they're only used in specific places.

The game mostly uses Tracks for Stealth and Intrigue (social stuff) tracks, but also claims to use them for Faction rank (except that's just a scale) and Bonecharm creation (more later). Stealth and Intrigue do have some rules, but they're both woolier than combat.

Equipment

Weapons and armour have tags (much like BitD), damage is static, as is protection. Equipment can be upgraded with a bunch of useful features, but each upgrade requires finding or buying Blueprints, in a holdover from the game that really deserved proper thinking about how to adapt rather than clunky dropping it in.

Factions

Every region in the game has a bunch of Factions you can be a part of. The problem is that they're all presented neutrally, assuming the players can align or join any of them. Which is a problem when they include clearly villainous organisations like "The Abbey of the Everyman" and "The City Watch". The whole idea of making an open-ended game in the setting leads to allowing the players to be members of the villain groups, which is frankly stupid.

Factions are supposed to have a Code, playing to which gives a character Void Points. Except none of them have a code spelled out; each has a rough description but what that means and what playing to it looks like is down to the GM. Earlier in the book, the way the Code is described makes it seem like a defined thing that's part of the faction write-up. No such luck.

Factions also have Ranks, between 4 and 6 per Faction. Early in the book, the text reads "Each time you climb up a step in your faction's reputation track, you'll find yourself with a new set of powers to take advantage of." Except those 'powers' are never actually defined, half the time they aren't even alluded to in the rank descriptions, and are again thus entirely up to the GM.

It's all well and good calling the Factions out as important, but when you're hanging important mechanics off them, they need to be able to bear the load. It'd be better to have fewer player-facing factions and define the Code and powers of each Rank, which I intend to do before running this.

Focuses

Focuses deserve their own section. Every character has at least two, rated between 2 and either 5 or 6 depending on what bit of the book you read because Mophidius hasn't met a mechanic it can't gently caress up with lovely editing.

When a Focus applies to the roll, it increases the critical value by 1 - any die showing less than the Focus generates 2 successes.

So far, so fine. Except there are thirty-five of the loving things. When the rest of the game has worked hard to strip things back to six Styles and six Skills, having so many things to choose from is jarring, they make rolls clunky - now you have two target numbers to choose from! - and they mostly seem to be in the game to have a traditional skill list in what is otherwise a fairly light game. They're also needed to smooth out the dice math, but that speaks to an issue with the core of the game, which I can't be hosed to analyse.

When I run this, Focuses won't have ratings. Pick two from your Archetype to start with, each one gives an extra die. Boom, done. This makes them a bit more useful, yes, but also much simpler and closer to the structure of the rest of the mechanics.

Bonecharms and Powers

Bonecharms are kinda interesting? The game includes common, corrupted, and black bonecharms, with a selection of basic and advanced powers, plus drawbacks for corrupted ones. Corrupted are supposed to have advanced powers, except the section on basic powers notes that corrupted ones can have them. Editing, innit?

Everyone can use bonecharms, up to one per max Void Points (so three for a starting character). There's suggestions of using a Track if you want to make Bonecharms, but it's literally "each box is a task the GM thinks you should complete".

Like Blueprints for equipment, Powers are lifted and shifted wholesale from the video games, with almost no thought going in to adapting them to a tabletop RPG.

The way it works: when you take The Outsider's Mark, you work with the GM to select a suite of 12 abilities - six active, six passive - chosen from among 11 active and 9 passives in total. These are everything you can get. You start with "the basic form of" one of the 12, and buy the others with Runes, which you find as items in-game.

Your starting power is one "with a cost of no more than 2 Runes". Which is a strange thing to say, since none of the powers have listed costs. The section on "Learning and Enhancing Powers" takes two paragraphs to say that you can spend one Rune to gain any of the powers in your 12 that you don't already have.

If you're wondering what it means to enhance powers, or what the 'basic form' is that you have when you pick The Outsider's Mark, join the loving club. Whoever outlined the section clearly didn't bother spelling out what the powers needed to be in order to line up with the text of the talent. If I'd done that when I was a line developer I'd have been shot, and rightly so. It's just plain lazy, but then, the same can be said for this entire section

Personally, I think the Outsider powers material is garbage. Runes offer an orthogonal advancement track to XP that's only available to Marked characters, and is accessed by finding items in-game. Not only is it offering more powers for buying a single Talent, you still advance in every other fashion at the same rate as every other character! That's just loving lazy design.

A better system would involve Runes having some benefit to characters without the Mark, in order to give them a reason to be in the world, and to give everyone a reason to want them. It should also cost XP to use a Rune to gain a power - 10XP (maybe +5XP per two powers already known, round down) to learn, 5XP to enhance it. Characters can only have six powers total, out of the 12 possible. Each power would have a basic level plus 1-3 enhancements, to allow specialisation.

I'm massively hung over and I've already clearly put more thought into the powers system than the one in the book.

Editing

Excuse me while I remove myself from the pool of people Mophidius will ever hire, by being honest about the state of their book.

As I've called out elsewhere, and is only to be expected from Mophidius, the editing is absolutely loving atrocious. I know it's expected, but it's actually painful for me to see a book be released in this half-finished state. I don't care why the editors and developers let the book out to the public when it's clearly unfinished, but I hope they're embarrassed. I spent years as a developer for Onyx Path, I know how hard it can be, but I'd only give a book this bad the OK after a serious brain injury. Hell, I put more effort into my posts here.

The errors cover both what I think of as developer/line editor work - making sure various rules work in the ways they're described, that the mechanics mesh, and core elements don't have the structure of candyfloss - and copy editing, such as sections having the wrong titles and spelling/grammar errors. It's embarrassing that this text got as far as layout without a whole lot of these issues being called out. It makes the game feel like shovelware, thrown out because they got the licence and has to produce something rather than lose it.

Which is a pity because it's also clearly something that's got a lot of potential and that I'm sure everyone who worked on is proud of and wanted to make as good as it can be.

Conclusion

Despite my gripes, I want to play this game. Let me be very clear about that. This isn't a hate-read, this is what stood out to me as I went through it. If someone proposed running it straight from the book, I'd happily sit down and enjoy it. Dishonored TRG has enough potential that I want to run it, and I have friends who are familiar enough with the video games to want to play. That's why I've noted what I'd change throughout, along with my gripes.

As I said near the start, it feels like a hybrid of FAE, 2d20, and Blades in the Dark. and that's a good thing. I really enjoy it as a system! But someone who really should have known better has glued in some of the worse bits of Shadowrun: Anarchy, and that's gonna have to be excised before I can run the game.

Is it disappointing? Yeah, kinda. I'm sad that it isn't better, but that's because there's so much potential. I pretty much want to turn what's in the book into a finished product.

It's that or I go back and write a not-Dishonored supplement for BLACK SEVEN.

DigitalRaven fucked around with this message at 13:27 on Mar 28, 2020

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I wonder why editing is consistently such a problem for RPG books? I suppose they tend to be very long technical documents, so it can be difficult to do.

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

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




Night10194 posted:

I wonder why editing is consistently such a problem for RPG books? I suppose they tend to be very long technical documents, so it can be difficult to do.

That's one part, along with most writers and line developers not being technical writers.

I have more thoughts, but I don't want to get into them here as I don't know how specific they are to the companies I've worked with. Also, I'm not sure if this is the right thread to get into them. Then again, I don't know which would be. Thoughts?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I'd love to hear anything about that, it's interesting stuff.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




DigitalRaven posted:

That's one part, along with most writers and line developers not being technical writers.

I have more thoughts, but I don't want to get into them here as I don't know how specific they are to the companies I've worked with. Also, I'm not sure if this is the right thread to get into them. Then again, I don't know which would be. Thoughts?

F&F bears many much less relevant tangents on the regular and it's mostly fine. But General Chat might be more appropriate if you still don't want to talk about it here.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Might also be good for Industry Chat seeing as how it involves the...industry.

Not gonna lie, little surprised at the mechanics for Dishonored. I was expecting it to just use the same d6 pool system as Tales and Mutant.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


Dishonored would probably have Star Trek Adventures as its best 2d20 System comparison; both games use "Six skills/attributes, six styles/divisions, roll 2d20 and roll less than or equal to (Skill/Attribute) + (Style/Division) to score a success, extra successes bank Momentum," but it's a little more stripped-down than STA. Focuses work differently; in STA, either a Focus applied to your roll or it didn't, and if it did, a d20 scored two successes if it rolled less than or equal to your Division score (Security for firing a phaser pistol, Conn for flying a runabout between two buildings, Engineering for "adjust matter/antimatter intermix in the warp core and cross your fingers that this thing doesn't explode," and so on.)

I like the idea of Dishonored's Void powers, but I definitely agree they're half-baked. No room for improvement/upgrading them? No Rune costs (despite mentioning Rune costs as a thing?) That definitely needed a second pass through editing/design.

And, uh, if my math's right and I did character creation correctly, your character's finalized attributes are slightly weaker than some of the basic NPCs.

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

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




That Old Tree posted:

F&F bears many much less relevant tangents on the regular and it's mostly fine. But General Chat might be more appropriate if you still don't want to talk about it here.

My reply was more than half the length of my review; I took it to the chat thread

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It was quite interesting to read, too. Thanks for doing it!

Gatto Grigio
Feb 9, 2020



Mors Rattus posted:

That said: being a nasnas does have some hefty mechanical benefits. It's just, the actual experience of Abyssal Mage Sight is horrific; it's only a tempting offer if you don't consider the part where you literally have nihilism and suffering overlaid onto your senses at all times.

It worked out pretty well for Raistlin! :q:

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Having finally gotten Signs of Sorcery to read, I quite enjoyed it overall. Iím not going to step on Morsí toes and F&F it, but, I will say that there are three things in it that really bugged me:

1. Path-locked phenomena. I realize this is part of the setting metaphysics, but by locking certain phenomena and magical elements to Paths, it makes it very difficult to use them with a standard cabal. Itís the Decker Problem but for magical phenomena, even more so than usual arcanum differences; in general, Iím not a fan on a gameplay level of Mysteries that are locked to a specific Path completely.

2. No new Servants of the Throne. I adore the awfulness of the Seers of the Throne book from 1e, and bringing back the Hive-Souled and the Myrmidions is nice, but I was really hoping for a new variety of Servant of the Throne. Grigori and Hollow Ones have all been extremely useful to me in running games against the Seers (I didnít use the Myrmidions and Hive-Souled but it wasnít for lack of rules). Getting another weird human like Servant would have been great, theyíre a top tier part of mage.

3. Iím just not compelled by the Scrutiny subsystem for Mage Sight; this is really minor, since thereís more than enough playable Mage Sight content without getting into that subsystem, but I feel it has to be noted.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
I Can't Think Of A Second Nasnas Pun

So, what actually mechanically changes for a Nasnas? Well, yes, what Path Yantras they use and how their Mage Sight manifests, as discussed before, but there's other changes. First, because Joining replaces Wisdom, a Nasnas cannot attempt to contain Paradox at all, even with non-befouled magic. They cannot inure themselves to spells, either, though they retain any prior inured spells (and always risk Paradox when using them). Joining is lost the same way Wisdom is if the Nasnas loses their soul, but it does not return by itself. Which makes temporary soul removal probably the easiest way to lower your Joining deliberately. I'm not sure that's intended.

At Joining 5+, a Nasnas' Nimbus is permanently Abyssally tainted - well, permanent until their Joining drops under 6, anyway - and any normal lapse of this taint instead causes them to gain a Beat (or Willpower, for NPCs). This also causes their Nimbus to make all other mages' spells cast within it less safe than usual, and the higher their Joining, the easier it is for their Nimbus to reach along their sympathetic connections.

When using the symbols of their Dur-Abzu, a Nasnas gets a higher Yantra bonus the higher their Joining is. They also no longer need to make a roll to befoul spells, spend no Mana to befoul Praxes and spend only 1 Mana to befoul normal spells. Further, they can't be debilitated by their befoulings. This is probably the biggest power jump. However, any Paradox anomalies they cause last longer based on how high their Joining is. Abyssal Mage Sight, on top of all its prior noted effects, allows Nasnasi to identify each other on sight, what Abyssal conditions anyone is suffering form, and roughly how high their Joining is if they have it. They can also perceive the Elder Diadem as a crown or jewel that pulses with strange static and impossible shapes. We'll get to the Elder Diadem later.

A Nasnas can also keep Paradox they have successfully controlled inside their Pattern, storing it for later use. This Paradox can be spent to worsen the Paradoxes of other mages nearby, and vanishes at the end of each chapter if not used. Vanished Paradox deals damage to the Scelestus, though - resistant damage, so it can't be healed magically. Stored or controlled Paradox can also be spent (with a point of Mana) to upgrade damage dealt by spells to aggravated. Lastly, Nasnasi are able to convert their Rotes into befouled versions in any Arcanum they have at 3+, and can, when they master an Arcanum, created new befouled Rotes for it.

Nasnasi are no longer able to summon Supernal entities, but in the place of this they are able to summon Acamoths and Gulmoths from the Abyss. While such entities can be called forth with normal Paradoxes, that kind of summoning has absolutely no control over what manifests. Deliberate summoning gives you some control over that It works the way normal Supernal summomning would, but uses Joining in place of Arcanum rating, as the Abyssal entities lack innate Arcana. Abyssal entities also have an easier time remaining in the world than Supernal entities do, as Acamoths are able to sustain their Essence in the manner of Goetia, while Gulmoths can sustain it as spirits do. Unlike Supernal summoning, getting other mages involved won't help or hurt much - but sacrificing the life or soul of a normal mage can be used to make the summoning easier. Also, causing Paradox won't make it harder - in fact, it's harder if you haven't caused Paradox recently.

Above Nasnasi are Autarchs and Shedim. Mechanically, these aren't especially different from normal Nasnasi, however. Autarchs are those Scelesti that found Abyssal Legacies, while Shedim are those who found Abyssal Nameless Orders. They are functionally identical in how the Pentacle Orders treat them: kill as soon as possible. It is entirely possible to be both an Autarch and a Shedu, and both tend to actively recruit Sleepers and Sleepwalkers into their cults and try to recruit other mages to become Scelesti. Joining an Abyssal Legacy requires Joining 2+, and starting one requires Joining 4+. Abyssal Legacy Attainments are usually based on befouled Rotes, and unlike normal Attainments, they do risk Paradox as if they were Befouled spells. Any Scelestus that loses Joining and regains Wisdom loses all ability to use their Abyssal Legacy if they joined one, but they are still unable to join any other Legacy, as their nature has been twisted and broken irreparably.

Next time: Baalim and the Elder Diadem

Gatto Grigio
Feb 9, 2020



Mors Rattus posted:

Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
I Can't Think Of A Second Nasnas Pun

Whoís World of Darkness is this? (The WoD is yours, the WoD is yours)

(I know itís a cheat since itís Chronicles now)

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Mors Rattus posted:

Night Horrors: Nameless and Accursed
I Can't Think Of A Second Nasnas Pun

Lil' Nasnas X

(Gonna take my horse to the Old Man's abode.)

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

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




That Old Tree posted:

Lil' Nasnas X

(Gonna take my horse to the Old Man's abode.)

:perfect:

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Yeah I feel like I have to withdraw my concerns about Scelestus design in the face of such majesty.

Froghammer
Sep 8, 2012





That Old Tree posted:

Lil' Nasnas X

(Gonna take my horse to the Old Man's abode.)
I almost spit tea at my computer you bastard

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Night10194 posted:

I wonder why editing is consistently such a problem for RPG books? I suppose they tend to be very long technical documents, so it can be difficult to do.

The best explanation I have is that the writers know how the system is supposed to work and feel and function but tend to fall short in the "explaining that stuff in print to other human beings." There's plenty of times where I've written something (an opinion post, a bit of fiction, an explanatory post for an RPG) and what was in my skull was a perfectly logical and coherent. And when I look at it again, there's missing words, weird punctuation and otherwise something that looks like it was posted by one of those infinite monkeys with typewriters who completely failed to produce the complete works of Shakespeare.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Gatto Grigio posted:

It worked out pretty well for Raistlin! :q:

If I recall correctly, Raistlin lost or drove away everyone he ever cared about and ended up getting torn to pieces in the Abyss by the Queen of Darkness, so... not really.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Dave Brookshaw posted:


They rely on the Abyss to make people simultaneously (and Paradoxically) bound to their truths while ignoring them. The Abyss' "function" in the design of the Fallen World is to turn 99.9+% of humans into Sleepers.

Does that mean that without the Abyss everyone would be a Mage? Because that sounds... bad.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





The Lone Badger posted:

Does that mean that without the Abyss everyone would be a Mage? Because that sounds... bad.

No, but everybody would be able to witness magic without having their minds broken and tearing a hole in the reality we use to live and exist in.

E: also itís theorized in-setting, and implied reasonably strongly, that becoming a mage used to be a teachable skill rather than an act of divine intercession. The Abyss is why the Watchtowers need to exist to Awaken people.

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Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


The Lone Badger posted:

Does that mean that without the Abyss everyone would be a Mage? Because that sounds... bad.

Everyone would be a Sleepwalker.

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