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Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




MonsterEnvy posted:

New version of the errata up and it got it's nerf.

A part of me is annoyed that Soulbound has by now gotten two erratas while the promised Wrath & Glory one is nowhere to be seen. I wish I knew what was holding it back.

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MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Cooked Auto posted:

A part of me is annoyed that Soulbound has by now gotten two erratas while the promised Wrath & Glory one is nowhere to be seen. I wish I knew what was holding it back.

Different Teams. Guessing the W&G one is smaller as it was not originally their system.

Though some implications hint it may be out on Friday.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




MonsterEnvy posted:

Different Teams. Guessing the W&G one is smaller as it was not originally their system.

Though some implications hint it may be out on Friday.

Yeah I figured it had something to do with general team size and them considering Soulbound to be their baby so to speak.

About loving time.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

Frobozz posted:

Take a look at Jerik's write-up of Deities and Demigods from this very thread:

https://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/jerik/deitiesanddemigods-1e/

For how far the rabbit-hole can go on this.

In certain cases Jerik is able to identify which (outdated and crappy) sources the writers got their mythology from. Fun read.

Thanks, man! It'll help me add some context as I go, probably.



The Outer Planes: Arcadia, The Seven Heavens, and The Twin Paradises

Arcadia (Lawful Good) is a peaceful, lush, strictly ordered, only slightly Orwellian plane that represents the concept of order bent towards the common good, meaning that despite the fact that the plane is a ways away from anything evil or chaotic, heavily armed militias regularly patrol the countryside looking for chaotic or evil intruders. While life flourishes here, it’s a form of life more in line with the local conception of order than with nature in the Prime Material; the trees have iron or precious metal bark, grow fruit that function like double strength potions if consumed, and grow in perfectly laid out grids, the animals are either communal insects or metal-furred mammals that never attack strangers but can detect illusions and act as guard animals, and brightly-colored flower patches that grow without being tended. You also get a lot of lawful and good creatures passing through and einherjar (which I’ll comment on later) manning the battlements. In theory, Arcadia is where lawful good creatures go to train for war, but it sure does come across as a creepy militarized pseudo-communist pseudo-utopia instead.

Two big Powers here; Clanggedin Silverbeard, The Father of Battle, and Marduk. The first is the dwarf God of war, the embodiment of the kind of general that prioritizes minimizing casualties and maximizing damage, and he lives in a fortified city built into a conical mountain large enough to house the dwarfven population of any given Prime Material Plane; its inhabitants spend their time training for combat and venturing off to fight evil and chaotic forces, especially Druegar. But that’s not Orwellian enough for Arcadia. See, Arcadia actually has three levels, only one of which is explored in the book; the only known portal to the second sits underneath his audience hall. Contained evil or jailed dissidents? You decide. I could also go into Marduk, but… rather than repeatedly stumble into the landmine of trying to cram real religions into Dungeons & Dragons or haphazardly cross reference it with Deities and Demigods, I’ll just note their presence, explain anything important about them, and move on. Apparently the two Powers get along pretty well, being similar divinities with entirely different pools of followers.



The Seven Heavens (Lawful Good) contains… seven heavens. Each has its own significance to certain places or cultures and all are laid out as a series of pleasant, sunlit mountains; you can find the portals between each layer at the top of any given mountain and near the base of the one above it. While various other creatures with powerful connections to law and goodness move around here, the most common inhabitants (other than people living in various afterlives) are Archons, Lawful Good spirits that come in Lantern (floating, semi-aware light ball), Hound (dog-shaped/dog-headed soldiers), Warden (bear-shaped watchmen with opposable thumbs), Sword (cat-headed angel :smugwizard:s), and Tome (raptor-headed walking reference desks) flavors. They tend to run chores for the gods here and defer to more powerful spirits, occasionally fighting against intruders or enemies of their God. The book tells us they rarely leave the plane, but I’ve seen enough Hound Archons mentioned in books elsewhere to doubt that.

Now, Heavens:
  • Lunia, the Silver Heaven, is an ocean surrounding a single white mountain studded with small palaces and fortresses; their number, style, and occupants very from visitor to visitor, especially since occasionally one of them contains Bahamut (his palace bounces around the first four heavens, the Plane of Air and the occasional Prime Material).
  • Mercuria, the Golden Heaven, is basically where honored soldiers go after they die. Bahamut spends most of his time here, and you can find none other than Vishnu if you know where to look. No visual description except noting Vishnu’s portion looks like something out of Indiana Jones except the temple carvings memorialize victories over DnD monsters instead of human sacrifice or whatever.
  • Venya, The Heaven of Pearls, is an idyllic paradise that looks like what Tolkien wanted the Shire to be. Fittingly, the bulk of the halfling Pantheon either lives here or swings by to visit occasionally. Also Bahamut brings his palace here sometimes I guess.
  • Solania, the Electrum Heaven, is a mountain range under a silver sky studded with monasteries and shrines to various demigods; occasionally people who are really desperate for answers can make their way up here to look for advice (especially since two Chinese gods with helpful portfolios live here). Moradin runs his Great Forge underground, warming the entire plane with runoff heat and pumping its smoke to the surface, where it morphs into a pleasant mist around the mountains; he has his own dwarf heaven here that puts a heavy emphasis on crafting instead of warfare. Also Bahamut shows up sometimes.
  • Mertion, the Platinum Heaven, is a sweeping plane marked by castles and the occasional black dome; its inhabitants receive little description beyond “this is where paladins go”.
  • Jovar, the Glittering Heaven or Heaven of Gems, houses the bulk of the plane’s archons in a giant metal chamber studded with jewels. Theoretically, there is an archon ruling council that lives in a giant ziggurat here, but no one’s ever seen it.
  • Chronias, the Illuminated Heaven, has never been visited by anyone willing to talk about it. Rumor has it anyone who enters Chronias either has their soul purified and fuses with the plane or gets obliterated depending on their position on the alignment grid. If there is an Abrahamic God, it lives here. The book doesn’t commit.



The Twin Paradises (Lawful Good) consists of two parallel layers arranged… like in that graphic, basically, except the barrier between them close bright enough to serve as sunlight. Dothion is calm, peaceful, and pastoral, while Shurrock is similarly natural but much harsher on its inhabitants in terms of seasons and whether; the first serves as a peaceful paradise while the second provides a similarly happy experience with just enough challenge to keep things from getting boring. The natives, a mixture of humans, intelligent animals, and a variety of powerful good creatures, transfer freely between levels by either flying up to the border or climbing one of the mountains that punch through it, while being careful not to splatter themselves in case the reversing gravity catches them off guard. The magical underpinnings of that flight/gravity situation earn the plane this update’s only true :smugwizard:. Aside from the head of the Finnish pantheon and a Greek Titan, the plane’s most important divine inhabitants are the entire gnomish pantheon, who mostly live with the spirits of their race in their little patch of Dothion.

Next up, we start polishing off the good planes and continue to learn just how much DnD writers feel moral goodness means having animals around.

:smugwizard: Counter: 27.5

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Unsurprisingly, Celestia draws heavily from Dante's Paradiso.

Arcadia, I've described to players in the past as being a genuine 1950s sitcom interpretation of the world. It's a place of strict laws and tightly networked communities, but it's genuinely a place where there is no war, no crime, no prejudice, no want. And for what it's worth, the 3.5E Manual of the Planes, one of the few DnD books I still have, describes Arcadia's second layer as being the military base of the plane - the first layer is all civilian, the second layer is military.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Chapter 7: Battle, pt. 6



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 7: Battle



DEATH A THOUSANDFOLD

This side section is about my failed high school band that I created in an effort to impress goth sweeties various sources of non-combat death and damage!

Falling

2 damage per meter. You can make a AGI+Athletic roll against the full damage to just roll with it. Armor doesn't help.

Explosions

You only do full BOOM damage at the epicenter; it falls by 1 for every meter of distance.

:kingsley: Fire :kingsley:

Not only does armor not help against fire damage, it bursts into flames if the fire damage is twice the armor rating! You have to take it off or take 3 damage every turn.

Only Fireproof armor can help against fire and also be immune to catching fire - must be the major benefit of being a Hellvetic and wearing their cancer asbestos suit.

Drowning and Suffocating and Breathplay

You can hold breath for 1 round/4 seconds per point in BOD+Stamina; double that if you're not moving.

Are boy Johann has Body 2 and no Stamina, so he starts drowning after 2/4 rounds or 8/16 seconds

Once you start drowning/suffocating, you take 1 Ego damage (for water and smoke - “gasses from Spitalian labs” can go up to 4) per round – which means that Vocoding someone before pushing them into water can lead to fast drowning.

At Ego 0, you start dying and die in 3 rounds unless someone resuscitates you.

At Ego 8, if nobody throws sick burns at Johann before pushing him into the water, he can stay drowning for 8 rounds, which is 4/2 times longer than he can hold his breath

Strangling

quote:

If you are strangled with a garrote or bare hands, you will not only fall down because of a lack of air, but also because the brain’s blood supply stops. You lose consciousness within seconds.

I, uh...

You attack with BOD+Brawl (I guess the attacker can defend with the regular melee skills). Successful attack means 2 Ego points are lost per round.

The target can try to break out with BOD+Brawl or BOD+Force, with attacker having the choice of the same for to keep the grip.

At Ego 0, the same poo poo as with drowning happens.

Poison

Poison effects are variable, but many contact poisons have a Potency rating. Roll BOD+Toughness vs. the potency of the poison. Most poisons inflict 1 Trauma.

Diseases

Same as Poison, but you suffer the disease effects instead of simple Trauma.

Radiation

Probably the most trash description around, as you take 1 point of Trauma per minute in the hotzone (described as “at the core of the reactor.”) and that's it for the rules.

What if you're just playing "hot potato" with a piece of graphite? :iiam:

loving trash.

Spore Infestation

Check Chapter 9: Burn!

:flame:

No, not that kind!

:okpos:

There we go.

Entropic Growth

Remember the RG canisters that Spitalians detonated in a Spore field to see what happens? Well, this aggressive nanite poo poo is cured only by amputation, which costs you a point of BOD+Toughness if its a limb. Don't touch it! If you step into it, you get a permanent 4D loss on top of the amputation penalty.

The Raze

We have the rules for African murder plants! The Psychovore potency level determines the armor rating it can pierce. Most livable areas are surrounded by barely level 1 plants, deep jungle is level 3, Dhoruba and Cairo are full of level 5 poo poo.

Once you're infected, roll BOD+Toughness vs. Potency once per minute. Lose a permanent BOD+Toughness point if you fail. When Toughness runs out, it starts going into BOD. You also get 1 Trauma per minute. Only Anubians can help you now, though I would most likely rip up the char sheet before any help reaches me.

Healing

Since the THOUSAND DEATHS side-section is so long, healing gets dumped in the middle of it as a regular section.

Anyways, you heal 1 Flesh Wound per day. Once you're done with that, you can start healing 1 Trauma per 10 days.

Remember Falberg? That encounter with Usudis would lay him up for 14 days just to heal the Flesh Wounds and then 20 more for the 2 Trauma.

Granted, I've never been in a game that used passive healing rules ever, but I'm glad they're included here to suck.

Patched up

Since nobody cares about passive healing, you can use medicine to patch yourself up.

“To heal Flesh Wounds immediately after battle,” you roll INT+Medicine (2) and heal 1+Triggers in FW. This can only be done once.

Undamaged Johann can probably ace that roll, as he's rocking 8 dice in due to Int 4 Medicine 4

What if you're trying to do this not immediately after the battle? Well, gently caress you.

For trauma, you roll INT+Medicine vs. Trauma level. It takes 12 hours and removes 1+Triggers in Trauma. It can be attempted again 4 days later.

So yeah, it's a bit better than FFG's “and now we heal completely after every battle as long as we have a medic” and makes you pay a bit more attention to the effects of the damage that extend outside a single fight... but considering how fast you get hosed up and the death spiral of dice loss that wounds cause, it's not great.

On the other hand, it's a great way to ensure that every group will want to have a Spitalian and maybe even an Anubian.

Speaking of which, you can do the Anubian Imuit skin maneuver to save a dying person, but it takes a month.

And with that note, the chapter ends!

IN CONCLUSION

Yeah, the combat system in Degenesis isn't catching me. "Deadly" and "awkwardly explained" are not good traits in my book.

Next time: Chapter 8: Bazaar

JcDent fucked around with this message at 04:30 on Jun 23, 2020

Nemo2342
Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day





Nap Ghost

I just love the idea that Bahamut's palace functions as a kind of traveling shop, just appearing wherever you least expect it.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Nemo2342 posted:

I just love the idea that Bahamut's palace functions as a kind of traveling shop, just appearing wherever you least expect it.

That'd be something to drop into even modern campaign.

GM: Yeah, it's a typical strip mall. There's a Starbucks, Check-cashing place, Bahamut's Palace, a Smoothie King, and, oh, yeah, another Starbuck's. As you recall, the contact said to meet him in the second Starbucks.

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!


Arcadia got further into authoritarianism in Planescape proper, where it serves as one of the major power bases for the Harmonium. While the Harmonium is ostensibly Lawful Good, they lean far more on the Lawful than the Good, and have in several cases outright genocided Chaotic Good populations of elves or the like on the Prime Material.

2e Planescape also supports the "Second layer of Arcadia is all for military mustering"-idea, but again make it somewhat more sinister because the Harmonium is literally attempting to brainwash recruits with magical liquids to make them the perfect soldiers. Part of the reason for the great muster is also that they're literally trying to recapture the third layer of Arcadia because it managed to slip sideways to Mechanus, apparently because the Harmonium used the third layer as a brainwashing site for very evil and chaotic creatures, and between the essences of those kidnapped creatures and the extreme methods the Harmonium were using, the third layer suddenly wasn't Good enough to remain moored to Arcadia any longer.

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 14:45 on Jun 23, 2020

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



PurpleXVI posted:

Arcadia got further into authoritarianism in Planescape proper, where it serves as one of the major power bases for the Harmonium. While the Harmonium is ostensibly Lawful Good, they lean far more on the Lawful than the Good, and have in several cases outright genocided Chaotic Good populations of elves or the like on the Prime Material.

2e Planescape also supports the "Second layer of Arcadia is all for military mustering"-idea, but again make it somewhat more sinister because the Harmonium is literally attempting to brainwash recruits with magical liquids to make them the perfect soldiers. Part of the reason for the great muster is also that they're literally trying to recapture the third layer of Arcadia because it managed to slip sideways to Mechanus, apparently because the Harmonium used the third layer as a brainwashing site for very evil and chaotic creatures, and between the essences of those kidnapped creatures and the extreme methods the Harmonium were using, the third layer suddenly wasn't Good enough to remain moored to Arcadia any longer.

3.5E keeps the idea that the Harmonium are based in Arcadia, but downplays the sinister stuff, and instead attributes the loss of the third layer of Arcadia to the formians, DnD 3.5E's mandatory hive-mind insects who replaced the modrons as the supreme Lawful Neutral extraplanar race, and presents a plot hook that the rest of Arcadia may similarly be in danger due to the expansion of the formians. They're not breaking any laws or doing anything wrong, but they're overrunning the plane and are far more Lawful than Good. A suitable crisis for PCs to get involved in.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Cythereal posted:

3.5E keeps the idea that the Harmonium are based in Arcadia, but downplays the sinister stuff, and instead attributes the loss of the third layer of Arcadia to the formians, DnD 3.5E's mandatory hive-mind insects who replaced the modrons as the supreme Lawful Neutral extraplanar race, and presents a plot hook that the rest of Arcadia may similarly be in danger due to the expansion of the formians. They're not breaking any laws or doing anything wrong, but they're overrunning the plane and are far more Lawful than Good. A suitable crisis for PCs to get involved in.

“These people are not doing anything wrong and are happily a part of society, but their presence is objectively making everything less good” is, uh

Not better than “people are doing actual bad things and that’s making things less good”

At all

Even a little

E: like please consider the implications of “your crisis you must solve is no one is doing anything wrong and everyone is getting along, but these people are just making things worse by existing”

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


D&D Good remains The Worst.

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!


Cythereal posted:

3.5E keeps the idea that the Harmonium are based in Arcadia, but downplays the sinister stuff, and instead attributes the loss of the third layer of Arcadia to the formians, DnD 3.5E's mandatory hive-mind insects who replaced the modrons as the supreme Lawful Neutral extraplanar race, and presents a plot hook that the rest of Arcadia may similarly be in danger due to the expansion of the formians. They're not breaking any laws or doing anything wrong, but they're overrunning the plane and are far more Lawful than Good. A suitable crisis for PCs to get involved in.

Is... is the threat of this adventure hook literally multi-culturalism?

Night10194 posted:

D&D Good remains The Worst.

I liked that Planescape tried to heavily imply that good intentions could easily give evil results if you thought you were always absolutely right and that there was only one correct way to see reality. The Harmonium genuinely means well, or at least most of them do(there's a subgroup that's definitely in it for the fascism and perfectly aware of what they're doing).

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 15:41 on Jun 23, 2020

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



PurpleXVI posted:

Is... is the threat of this adventure hook literally multi-culturalism?

Well, more that there's such a thing as too much social conformity, but...

Maybe I'll do a review of the 3.5E Manual of the Planes once Falconier is done.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



In fairness to the Arcadia/formians situation, it's not hard to see the appeal in "I want an afterlife without giant ants nibbling at the bottom of it"

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Soulbound
How To Be The World

Soulbound's GM section opens with an aid for their starter kit if you're new to GMing, but also what I think is one of the better explanations of the expectations for a GM. Yes, you run the NPCs and come up with the challenges, you help adjudicate rules and other social disputes. But your job is to come up with a world for the players to interact with, and your fun is contributive to everyone else's. The Soulbound GM isn't an opponent trying to win encounters, because that'd be pointless. The GM can just have monsters show up, after all, with no warning. It's not a game to win. Rather, the GM is there to challenge the characters so that the game is fun and exciting. There's a decently long discussion about setting expectations of play before the game begins and making characters together so that everyone's on board for each other. It's good stuff! There's also some advice keeping track of what skills your party takes so they don't get too much overlap but can still cover for each other, to reduce competition and prevent frustration at problems no one can actually deal with. It notes that a party that wants to be able to handle any situation probably wants to have someone that can heal, someone that can do area attacks and folks who can bypass or damage armor.

There's also a lovely table of probabilities to help you match a difficulty to a dicepool. It doesn't use statistical percentages, but it is at least decently laid out in a way that makes it easy to read. (It also doesn't factor in Focus, which can change the math a lot, just dicepool. Focus is real good for low success requirements generally.)


A good table.

Tonally, we are told, Soulbound aims for four main tones to be mixed and matched as needed: mythic, hopeful, tragic and dark. Seriousness and comedy in presenting each are important for keeping players engaged and having fun. The mythic tone is going to shine through when dealing with legendary heroes, God-beasts, the campaigning gods and ancient nations, and so on. For this, the game suggests talking about the long histories behind peoples, places and even individual creatures, and the massive scale on which they exist physically. Great and lasting sorcery is possible, and immense heroism is present. The mythic is especially in play with the Sylvaneth, the Fyreslayers and the sheer scale of Kharadron creation, as well as the ancient ruins of the Age of Myth.

The hopeful tone is meant to reflect the devotion that many people in Age of Sigmar have to making something better, and the joys they feel that counterbalance the pain and sacrifice they suffer. It is important to the game's feel that, despite everything, things can get better, and your PC can be the one that makes them better. One person matters, and their deeds can matter for everyone. This tone comes to the fore when dealing with NPCs that are selfless and focused single-mindedly on improving some aspect of life. People arereally trying, and they often trust in each other to keep trying. Your PC's allies shouldn't easily betray them. The Stormcast, Devoted of Sigmar, Collegiate Arcane and Free Peoples in general are meant to embody hope.

The companion to hope, however, is tragedy. Victory is possible - but sometimes, the cost of victory is terrible. Misfortune comes easily, and when things can go wrong, they often do. The life of a hero is not a calm or easy one, and sorrow and resignation are frequent in the NPCs around you. Suffering and pain can turn even the factions of Order into their own foes if they give in to despair. This feeling is most frequently reflected in things like the often-doomed stands the Stormcast make, the pain the Idoneth suffer and the melancholy grief that characterizes the undead enslaved by Nagash.

The final tone, darkness, is another counterpoint. Age of Sigmar is larger than life, and while that means heroic idealism can change the world, it also means that evil can, too. Chaos, the Daughters of Khaine, the Scourge, the Darklings and the painful soul-hunger of the Idoneth are all intended to evoke the darkness in Age of Sigmar. Selfishness and a focus on survival over all are hallmarks of NPCs meant to tap into that darkness, taking characters that might be good and causing them to be cruel or vicious. Unlike hopeful NPCs, they will assume the worst of others, ally or enemy, and dark tones can also show up in having PCs choose between two bad outcomes or in seeing the destruction that spreads when they do not intervene.

A sidebar notes that even with all this, what matters most is your table, and if you want to change the setting, you should. You want everyone to be comfortable and having a good time, and that matters far more than maintaining the mandated tone of the setting if it would result in something that ruined that.

Next time: Doom and gloom.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It's sort of a shame that table is done as 'very easy' etc instead of percentage chances, but putting actual tables of 'this is what the odds look like' in your GMing guide is genuinely good practice.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Cythereal posted:

3.5E keeps the idea that the Harmonium are based in Arcadia, but downplays the sinister stuff, and instead attributes the loss of the third layer of Arcadia to the formians, DnD 3.5E's mandatory hive-mind insects who replaced the modrons as the supreme Lawful Neutral extraplanar race, and presents a plot hook that the rest of Arcadia may similarly be in danger due to the expansion of the formians. They're not breaking any laws or doing anything wrong, but they're overrunning the plane and are far more Lawful than Good. A suitable crisis for PCs to get involved in.

That’s actually a pretty hosed statement; do they also suggest that the PCs build a wall to keep the vermin out?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Midjack posted:

That’s actually a pretty hosed statement; do they also suggest that the PCs build a wall to keep the vermin out?

I didn't realize what other people twigged to, that it's suggesting multiculturalism or whatever is evil, and for that I apologize. :(

I'm at work right now so I can't check, but I will when I get home. IIRC, the adventure hook is more that the formians take social conformity to a dangerous extent: they're a hive mind, in that sci-fi/fantasy 'expand and assimilate' way, so PCs could try to bring the formians more into not forcing everyone to be like them. It's not that they're foreign to the plane that's the problem, it's that their mentality is literally tipping the philosophical power of the plane towards absolute Law.

Still likely problematic, but I'll give it a more thorough look when I get home.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E



The Outer Planes: Elysium, the Happy Hunting Grounds, Olympus, and Gladsheim

Elysium (Good) is full of souls and spirits that cannot be compelled and powers that judge requests for help stringently; it’s just too nice here for anyone to do anything mean. All four layers sit along the banks of the Oceanus, a slow, broad river that connects Elysium, the Happy Hunting Grounds, and Olympus; it takes a few days travel up or down the river to hit the next level. As a rule, the river banks are always fertile and packed with people and spirits, transitioning to plains and eventually mountains as they go farther out, but most gods hang out on the banks because there is more to do there. And a ton of Gods live here, including representatives of six separate pantheons. Most of them have fixed realms, but those that do tend to move them around from time to time; others, like the Hindu sun goddess and Japanese moon god, move periodically through all four.
  • Amoria is in the layer the Astral and adjacent Outer Planes connects to; it’s fertile, beautiful, and very natural. Isis and Ishtar both live here. While portals open to other planes in dark caverns here, the easiest way to get to another plane is by riding the Oceanus into the Happy Hunting Grounds; after a few days travel in the right direction, the river goes underground for 10d10 turns before popping travelers out there.
  • Eronia looks like Amoria except the riverbanks are stone and tall; still surrounded by life, though. The heads of the Sumerian Pantheon live in a mountain chain here.
  • Bellerin is a mass of marshland and river islands that spread 10 miles from the bank in both directions. Lot of big, important extraplanar cities and nations set up shop here.
  • Thalasia is a broad ocean that serves as the source of the Oceanus; a lot of dead heroes live on the islands here, as well as Bragi, the Norse Herald God (he commutes to the rest of the Pantheon in Gladsheim once a year).



The Happy Hunting Grounds (Chaotic Good), also called the Beastlands, consists of three levels (differentiated only by their skies) almost entirely inhabited by animals from across the Prime Material Planes (all of which have minor stat bonuses); every climate and ecosystem from across the plains has its equivalents here, including a few that don’t exist anywhere. Most of the animals are intelligent and many are smart enough to use magic (sometimes up to :smugwizard: levels); they collectively pack enough firepower to drive out any Powers that aren’t powerful versions of animals that tried to set up shop here. There really isn’t much to say about it, it’s just the Animal Kingdom.



Olympus (Chaotic Good)… well, it’s Mount Olympus, but it also contains the Elvish Pantheon; most members of both live peaceably in a series of adjacent realms on the top layer. A few oddballs from other pantheons kick around on other layers, but for the most part those two pantheons dominate the plane between them. The place is full of animals, mostly the sort of things you’d find in ancient Greece with substantial stat bonuses; not the sort of intelligence you’d find in the Happy Hunting Grounds, though. Neither group cares too much about interlopers (who can come and go through floating crimson disc portals or along the Oceanus), but anyone who sticks around tends to be caught and dragged before someone important to explain themselves.
  • Olympus or Arvandor (depending on which species you ask) is a mountain range covered in forests, untended agriculture, and temples. The vast majority of Olympians and Elven gods live here, though a few stragglers can be found elsewhere in the Outer Planes. The giant mountains that house both pantheons are positioned just right so that they can’t see each other. While the terrain resembles that of ancient Greece, everything here is larger-than-life; the hills are enormous, the trees are giant, and the animals are huge.
  • Ossa/Aquallor is a giant, waste pool the Oceanus empties into; most of the minor deities around here live inside sinkholes in the riverbed. Poseidon and his Elven equivalent hold court in their own palaces on this level.
  • Pelion/Mithardir is a giant desert covered in either white sand or snow, depending on local conditions. If it wasn’t for the sand/snow, it would be as inhabitable as the top level. No one is entirely sure who lived there, but the gods seem to agree somebody inhabited the level before they drove them out. These days it’s pretty much abandoned.

I must say, I can understand the Chaotic part, but hearing the Olympians described as fundamentally Good kind of weirds me out.



Gladsheim (Chaotic Good) belongs entirely to the Norse Pantheon. It’s the entire Norse religious system (as understood at the time of writing) wedged into a plane, just with Bast, Lakshmi, and some demigods from other groups floating around. The connection between plane and Pantheon is so dense I’d end up having to break my rule against going into historical religions to explain it; even the plane’s three layers come directly from Norse mythology. So screw that. I compared it with later versions of the plane and it looks like they ended up extracting almost everything the book talks about here, switching it out for stuff with the same theme and feel, so you aren’t missing much anyway. Just know that Yggdrasil is present in this plane and stretches across the cosmos into the lower planes (as does the base of Mount Olympus, for that matter).

I’m going to go ahead and call this update here because the next planes mark a huge tonal shift from the upper planes; everything goes much stronger into fantasy than into afterlives and human gods. In the next plane alone the :smugwizard: Counter is going to climb. So next time we start our journey into the Evil planes after passing through Limbo, which is like entering every elemental plane at once.

:smugwizard: Counter: 27.5

Falconier111 fucked around with this message at 21:34 on Jun 23, 2020

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



I'm home now, so the deal with the Formians and Arcadia in the 3.5E Manual of the Planes:

Formians are 3.5E's replacement for the modrons as the native extraplanars of Mechanus, the LN plane. They're pretty generic hive mind bugs where all the drones are technically sentient but slavishly obedient to their queens, who obey ancient and complex protocols and rituals that govern behavior between queens. They believe it's their destiny and birthright to expand across all planes and all realities until everything and everyone is Formian. Visitors are not tolerated in most Formian hives, as Formian society is built around absolute obedience and conformity.

In Arcadia, the plane used to have a third layer, and it was overwhelmingly populated by Formians - so much so that they shifted the balance of the layer away from Lawful Good to Lawful Neutral and the layer merged with Mechanus. There are a five hive-cities on the first layer, where they are a source of paranoia to the other Arcadians who have no desire to see the rest of Arcadia meet the same fate as the lost third layer. There's a bit of detail about one of the hive cities, noting that the formians make a big show of how open and non-expansionist they are, looking much like any other city... while not telling anyone about the vast and growing subterranean tunnels filled with Formians under the city.



So... take that as you will.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



That's pretty loving gross, really, especially since...they're not being expansionist, they're living in caves that no one else is using and which they presumably dug themselves, they're completely peaceful and they seem to have harmed no one.

Like, the only reason it is at all bad is because Formians Are The Borg in other areas, There Can Be No Peace With These Ant People.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

That's pretty loving gross, really, especially since...they're not being expansionist, they're living in caves that no one else is using and which they presumably dug themselves, they're completely peaceful and they seem to have harmed no one.

Like, the only reason it is at all bad is because Formians Are The Borg in other areas, There Can Be No Peace With These Ant People.

With the side effect that if the Formians continue to expand and grow out of control, they'll shear the entire layer out of Arcadia and add it to Mechanus. That's how Planescape rules work, and the 3.5E Manual takes some cues from Planescape.

Which... might be even worse, really.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

For those that read Jerik's review, I found out writing this that the Manual of the Planes uses the first version of Deities and Demigods, Legends and Lore. It's so old it predates outdated supplements.

Cythereal, you can do that review if you want to, man. It might offer some interesting contrast towards what I laid out. Just try not to outpace my review. I don't want that kind of pressure :v:

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Falconier111 posted:

Cythereal, you can do that review if you want to, man. It might offer some interesting contrast towards what I laid out. Just try not to outpace my review. I don't want that kind of pressure :v:

I may after you finish yours, I was just addressing this bit.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Cythereal posted:

With the side effect that if the Formians continue to expand and grow out of control, they'll shear the entire layer out of Arcadia and add it to Mechanus. That's how Planescape rules work, and the 3.5E Manual takes some cues from Planescape.

Which... might be even worse, really.
How much of this poo poo was Avellone's invention, anyway? I know he's the big name associated with Planescape but I wasn't sure if he just wrote the famous visual novel or if he was involved in the design of Planescape-as-such. (I know DiTerlizzi was like the signature visual of course.)

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Nessus posted:

How much of this poo poo was Avellone's invention, anyway? I know he's the big name associated with Planescape but I wasn't sure if he just wrote the famous visual novel or if he was involved in the design of Planescape-as-such. (I know DiTerlizzi was like the signature visual of course.)

The original Planescape designer was Zeb Cook. After the big D&D satanic panic, 2nd edition stripped out all the references to actual gods/demons, and even got rid of the terms angel/demon/devil, etc. Cook was basically told, "Hey, come up with a new campaign world focused around the planes of existence, and find a way to make them actually interesting places to be." So he created the idea that the Outer Planes are all shaped and formed by belief, and that if enough people believe strongly enough, the outer planes actually get shaped to fit that belief. So with that, he created the factions, with the idea that if belief shapes reality, the big struggle is going to be between different factions all trying to convince everyone their belief is the right one. And with that, he created Sigil, the idea of a big, neutral, "safe" city in the middle of the planes, where all the various factions and alignments and extraplanar races can meet without killing each other. And since Sigil was safe, that was where low level parties could start and just do city stuff, without having to worry about all the :smugwizard: stuff to keep from dying that Falconier111 is laying out.

Zeb Cook left TSR not too long after Planescape was released,and it was taken was taken over by Colin McComb and Monte Cook. McComb left a few years later, and Monte Cook basically took over sole design stuff for it.

As far as I know, Avellone's only relationship with Planescape is that he designed the computer game Planescape: Torment after Interplay bought the rights to make a video game for it.

If you're asking about art stuff for Planescape, DiTerlizzi and Robh Ruppel did most of that stuff.

Epicurius fucked around with this message at 22:41 on Jun 23, 2020

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

Everyone posted:

That'd be something to drop into even modern campaign.

GM: Yeah, it's a typical strip mall. There's a Starbucks, Check-cashing place, Bahamut's Palace, a Smoothie King, and, oh, yeah, another Starbuck's. As you recall, the contact said to meet him in the second Starbucks.

One of the appendices has rules for statting out a 20th century Prime Material so :v:

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Mors Rattus posted:

That's pretty loving gross, really, especially since...they're not being expansionist, they're living in caves that no one else is using and which they presumably dug themselves, they're completely peaceful and they seem to have harmed no one.

Like, the only reason it is at all bad is because Formians Are The Borg in other areas, There Can Be No Peace With These Ant People.

Given the "vast and growing network of tunnels" they seem to be somewhat expansionist. Not violently so (for the moment) but they do seem to be expanding. And while the Arcadians might be worried, they're not worried about multiculturalism per se. They're worried because one of those multiple cultures is very much monocultural in nature. And if they expand/terraform enough of Arcadia there will be no other cultures aside from that of the Formians.

Presumably the point of the crisis is that the PCs need to try to find some relatively reasonable Lawful-Goodish compromise instead of going with "thin-the-herd"/"slaughter the lot of them."

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

The problem the Arcadians have with the Formians is that the Formians are all Lawful Neutral naturally, and, since planes can shift based on belief, the increasing population of Lawful Neutral creatures on a layer of Arcadia is shifting it into Mechanus. This sort of thing happened in Planescape in 2nd edition a lot, because in Planescape, the idea is that there's this pure neutral plane in the middle with the various alignment planes around it. Connecting the alignment planes to the neutral plane are these "gatetowns". The problem is, since they were on the border, the alignment of the other plane could sometimes bleed over to the gatetown and, if that town became strongly enough aligned with the other plane, it would absorb the town and a new gatetown would form. (This sort of thing happens in the game Planescape:Torment. Your party visits the Gatetown of Curst on your way somewhere else. When you get back, this big bad guy has shown up, and the force of his personality and evilness has shifted the town into the lower plane of Carceri.)

The problem with this, especially in the case of the Formians, is, as Mors has pointed out, the implications, because it's very easy, if one is so inclined, to draw an analog with racist and xenophobic theories of "racial replacement"in the real world, ie., we have to keep the Mexicans/Muslims/name the group you hate, out, otherwise they'll pollute our culture with their foreign ideas. And given that, especially in the past, D&D has said that certain species are ALWAYS of one alignment, and if it's moral or immoral to kill goblin babies and all the other stuff that's been gone over ad nauseum, and the tendency of racists to glom onto certain segments of RPG culture and impose real world analogies onto it, while I don't think its what TSR intended, there can be problems with it.

Arkondis
Jan 3, 2020


Night10194 posted:

It's sort of a shame that table is done as 'very easy' etc instead of percentage chances, but putting actual tables of 'this is what the odds look like' in your GMing guide is genuinely good practice.

It's surprising to me that more games don't include this sort of thing somewhere in their corebook. Die pool systems in particular are a bit harder to eyeball the odds of success so having a basic guideline I can refer to as a GM or player is really nice.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Epicurius posted:

The problem the Arcadians have with the Formians is that the Formians are all Lawful Neutral naturally, and, since planes can shift based on belief, the increasing population of Lawful Neutral creatures on a layer of Arcadia is shifting it into Mechanus. This sort of thing happened in Planescape in 2nd edition a lot, because in Planescape, the idea is that there's this pure neutral plane in the middle with the various alignment planes around it. Connecting the alignment planes to the neutral plane are these "gatetowns". The problem is, since they were on the border, the alignment of the other plane could sometimes bleed over to the gatetown and, if that town became strongly enough aligned with the other plane, it would absorb the town and a new gatetown would form. (This sort of thing happens in the game Planescape:Torment. Your party visits the Gatetown of Curst on your way somewhere else. When you get back, this big bad guy has shown up, and the force of his personality and evilness has shifted the town into the lower plane of Carceri.)

The problem with this, especially in the case of the Formians, is, as Mors has pointed out, the implications, because it's very easy, if one is so inclined, to draw an analog with racist and xenophobic theories of "racial replacement"in the real world, ie., we have to keep the Mexicans/Muslims/name the group you hate, out, otherwise they'll pollute our culture with their foreign ideas. And given that, especially in the past, D&D has said that certain species are ALWAYS of one alignment, and if it's moral or immoral to kill goblin babies and all the other stuff that's been gone over ad nauseum, and the tendency of racists to glom onto certain segments of RPG culture and impose real world analogies onto it, while I don't think its what TSR intended, there can be problems with it.

Essentially, while I get the problem for Arcadia, the takeaway from all this is that in-game alignment, especially on a planar/species level just sucks rear end and leads to "good" characters opting for exterminationist policies. If "all orcs are evil" then the only non-evil orc is a dead one. If your game can reasonably lead to the "heroes" taking their cues from Mein Kampf, your game has some problems. And D&D definitely has some problems.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Yo, if it all goes down, I just want to say to everyone here I've really enjoyed writing for you all for years and I've loved reading about weird RPGs here. This is seriously one of the best Tradgames things on the internet and it's been great.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Hoping Lowtax just gets ousted and the Mods/Admins take control of the Site.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I'm a lovely person who deserves to be happy!


If this all goes down I want to say thanks for everyone's hard work in making and writing good stories on these forums.


Also wanted to say thanks for the awesome Warhammer stuff Night.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




I wish I'd read everything in this thread, but I want to let anyone who ever posted anything ever that you did something that's worth celebrating.

Goonspeed you magnificent people.

Ego Trip
Aug 28, 2012

A tenacious little mouse!




Thanks for all the :words:. This thread has been a daily read for years.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Omnicrom posted:

I wish I'd read everything in this thread, but I want to let anyone who ever posted anything ever that you did something that's worth celebrating.

Goonspeed you magnificent people.

Yes! Thank you to everyone who posted here. There are whole games I'd have never played if not for people publicizing them here, like DX and Feng Shui.

atal
Aug 13, 2006

burning down the house

I never post but I've had years of fun reading the content in this thread and if this ship is going down I wanted to say thanks to anyone who has taken the time to post a dumb RPG review.

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Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



If I got at least one person to purchase the itch.io bundle with my reviews, they'll have been worth it. :unsmith:

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