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OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


Cythereal posted:

Flesh-Eater Courts

Let's get some Ghouls (but not ghosts in this case)

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Gatto Grigio
Feb 9, 2020



Talas posted:

Hedonites of Slaanesh

Flesh for the Flesh God, Drugs for the Drug Throne!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Age of Sigmar Lore Chat: Hedonites of Slaanesh



The Hedonites of Slaanesh crave sensation. Human and daemon alike, they all have the same drive: experience things. Feel things. And the stronger the stimulus, the better it is, regardless of the stimulus, because the Hedonites are addicts and burnouts, and they need the strength of it. They compete to perform ever more insane, outrageous acts in order to devote themselves to their imprisoned god. By seeking perfection without restraint, they believe they will grant power to Slaanesh, allowing him to work his way free. And the thing of it is, their plan is pretty good, for as simple as it is. If they can harness enough willful violence, wicked acts and hedonism, they can release Slaanesh from the bonds that hold him. They believe that by strengthening Slaanesh this way, he will be able to infiltrate the lands of his captors and turn their bindings back upon them without them noticing. Most importantly, because they remained devoted in Slaanesh's time of need, they are sure they will be rewarded, becoming as demigods on the power of a released Slaanesh.

Mortal Hedonites might begin as simple thrill-seekers and sensation junkies, but people who can control their desires aren't the people who become devoted to Slaanesh. Their addictions and needs take them over. They abandon everything safe, good and sane about their lives in pursuit of their desire. Eventually, only the desire is left. It is also important to note: open pursuit of pleasure doesn't particularly empower Slaanesh beyond a very basic level. It is the indulgence of secret and shameful vice that grants Slaanesh power, and it is these people who grow close to his worship, even if they don't intend to. It takes only a whisper from a daemon - and often not even that - to push them into obsession. Often, they may feel a few regrets...but again, the kind of person that listens to those regrets is not the kind of person that becomes a cultist. They quickly stop having any regrets as they get deeper into worship, pursuing their desires with a burning fervor.

The secrecy of vice is very important to the temptation of Slaanesh's cultists. Because they cannot talk to others about their needs, they can easily become fixated on them, hiding their indulgence even as it overwhelms them. This obsession, more than anything else, is the nature of Slaanesh. As the cultist's will is eroded by need and obsession, they indulge more and more often, and their addiction consumes them. They spiral entirely out of control, putting aside everything they once loved in favor of chasing their fix. At that point, they are largely beyond saving, as Slaanesh's grip on their soul is too strong. Once they discover themselves as a seeker of extreme experiences beyond all else, they often begin to transform, both mentally and physically. They may never speak aloud their new religion, but often it is sealed with blood - the blood of others, as the new cultist kills in order to protect their secrets and feed their addictions. Until that time, it was still possible, if unlikely, to break free. Once that kill is made, they are a Hedonite completely.

Some Hedonites are granted a reward in the form of physical mutations or magical powers. Typically, these new abilities make it easier for the cultist to wallow in their vices and perpetuate their addiction, creating a feedback loop of corruption. These mutated mortals are often hard to tell from Hedonite daemons, as their forms grow to perfectly match the sensations they desire, adapting to their cravings. They appear grotesque to others, but often clothe themselves in expensive, beautiful attire and shining jewels. They usually apply warpaint or cosmetics to enhance their appearance, even as their bodies are twisted and distorted by their mutations. Common mutations include wide, spherical eyes with immensely dilated pupils that appear to be perfectly and completely black, loss of the nose in favor of gaping olfactory pits that channel scents directly into the brain, or long and pointed ears that twitch in time with the heartbeats of those around the cultist. Long tongues, plush lips and snakelike extended jaws are also frequent, the better to consume delicious things and taste the pheromones of battle. Heightened sense of touch is also frequent, and with it an obsession with the physical sensations of touch - all kinds.

The daemons of Slaanesh are seen as divine avatars by the mortal cultists. They are formed of the same essence as Slaanesh himself, and by serving them, the cultists can get a glimpse of their Dark Prince. These daemons feel the same terrible need that Slaanesh does - the need to revel in sensation and to perform any kind of excessive act they can think of, and especially the need to instill those same desires in the mortals around them. Most of these daemons are thin, pale and, like their mortal servants, favor wearing expensive materials - silks, gems, tanned human leather. Fixation on owning things is, after all, as much a vice as any other, and vanity and narcissism are common among these daemons. They tend to be ambitious and self-obsessed, much as Slaanesh is, and their primary motivation is often simply increasing their own standing in the courts of the Hedonites - even if that means infighting, betrayal and lies as much as pursuit of perfection and the spreading of Slaanesh's will. The method doesn't matter, only the increase of their own rank and influence.

Daemons of Slaanesh frequently have multiple arms and inhuman limbs, typically sharp claws or crablike pincers. They usually have long, sinuous and prehensile tails, able to constrict around victims like a python and squeeze them to death...or able to gently tickle the most pleasant spots on the body. Their anatomy tends to take shape in response to the desires, drives and cravings that consume them. They do not hide their desires as their mortal servants do, but display them proudly, encouraging shame among their followers for being unable to do the same even as they know they must keep their own proclivities hidden in normal human societies.

The Hedonites love fighting in the same way they love any intense experience. Terror, pain, hope and bloodlust mix on the battlefield into a cloud of emotional highs so great that no Hedonite could resist. They find every aspect delectable, and the act of murder itself is an artform they admire. The aesthetic purity of a proper kill is to be admired, even if the emotions are the true feast. Indeed, many only posture at artistry, not actually caring about grace or beauty of strikes, and focusing far more on the sensation of ripping and tearing than on the actual skill of the act. Many fight with multiple weapons at once, including their own body parts, to maximize the feelings of movement and impact. Their leaders even go into battle on chariots with bladed wheels to spray themselves with blood even when they cannot strike.

Hedonites are typically so obsessed with their own personal paths to Slaanesh that they are unable to even empathize with or understand each other beyond the superficial. Anyone who does not share their personal priorities is an idiot or a barbarian, unable to appreciate true beauty and passion. But even more, they look down on their enemies - defined as anyone they happen to be fighting today - for being unable to appreciate the joy of madness and the ecstasy of pain and murder. What is most unsettling for their enemies, however, is that no matter how outrageous their acts, no matter how grotesque their bodies, there is an element of allure in the Hedonites at all times. What parts of them look human are always idealized, perfectly sculpted body parts, mixed horribly with bloody claws and ugly chitin. The mixture of horror and beauty can break those of weak will, sending them into a daze of disgust and admiration that makes them easy targets. The Hedonites consider this extremely entertaining.

The Hedonites tend to see themselves as rebels and pioneers, despite their shared agenda of transforming existence in the perfect expression of Slaanesh. In part, this is because unlike the other Dark Gods' servants, the vision of the Hedonites is not uniform, not a single mass of existence that is simply an annex of their god's realm. Slaanesh hates and fears boredom and uniformity, after all. He and his followers would have millions of different kinds of indulgence and debauchery, always pushing ever further, and each envisions an entirely different paradise. All have one major thing in common, though: they are realms of pure madness, without purity, restraint or goodness, in which any kind of decency is only seen as a failure and a death.

Next time: The Empty Throne

Pussy Cartel
Jun 26, 2011





Lipstick Apathy



Cyberpunk RED, Part 1: Welcome Back

The book opens with Never Fade Away, a short story that originally appeared in CP2020, and right after that we get our first chapter...which is just a run of the mill "What's an RPG?" primer for people who've never played an RPG before, plus a glossary for all of CPRed's slang. Almost all of it is stuff that was in CP2020, but there are a few new bits of slang thrown in too.
Our first real chapter comes next: "Soul and the New Machine," which gives us an overview of both character creation and the game's roles.

For maximum attitude and edge, the game gives us three rules for roleplaying in CPRed:
Style over substance.
Attitude is everything.
Live on the edge.

Again, directly lifted from CP2020. This happens often enough in CPRed that I'm not sure I'm going to bother mentioning callbacks like this from here on out.
Who am I kidding, I totally am.

Roles!



First up, the Rockerboy. Always iconic, often tricky for GMs to work into scenarios (thought not as tricky as some other roles we'll get to). The description of the role still heavily emphasizes Rockerboys as rebellious punk musicians, but there's also a bit that explicitly talks about how the role fits anyone that relies on sheer personality, charisma, and celebrity, whether it's because they're a musician, a poet, a dancer, a politician, or a cult leader.
The Rockerboy's role ability in this edition (we'll get into how role abilities work this time around in the next update) is Charismatic Impact.



Next, we've got the Solo. The most basic of roles, the go-to for anyone who wants something quick, easy, and able to fit into pretty much any kind of campaign or scenario. Badass mercenaries, hired guns, and enforcers, whether they work for a government, a corporation, or themselves. You know the routine.
The Solo's role ability in this edition is Combat Awareness.



The -other- basic role that's a genuine cyberpunk archetype, but all too frequently unplayable in way too many cyberpunk RPGs: the Netrunner. Cybernetic hackers that plug themselves into cyberdecks and go head to head with black ICE and enemy hackers. Unlike previous editions, they're no longer able to hack remotely; now they actually have to get relatively close to whatever it is they want to hack, giving them all the more reason to stick with the rest of the party during scenarios. We'll get into that in the chapter on netrunning.
The Netrunner's role ability is Interface.



Every scifi game needs someone to tinker with all the guns and gear lying around, and that's where the Tech comes in. Engineers, inventors, and tinkerers par excellence. CP2020 had issues with Techs not being able to contribute all that much to a lot of campaigns, at least compared to other roles, especially in light of their old role ability. This time might actually be different!
The Tech's role ability this time around is Maker.



If people are getting shot, stabbed, and otherwise mangled, you need someone to patch them back up, and that's where the Medtech comes in. They're doctors and medics, not much more to it than that, really. They can put people back together, install cyberware, and pump people full of all the best pharmaceuticals. Medtechs have always been one of the hardest roles to work into CP2020 campaigns, and this time around they're more useful in a party, but maybe not for the best. We'll get there.
The Medtech's role ability is Medicine.



You can't have that omnipresent mass media and corporate panopticon without someone to direct those cameras in person, and that's where the Media comes in. Reporters of all kinds, with or without corporate backing. You could just as easily be Walter Cronkite or Alex Jones (though Alex Jones could just as easily be a Rockerboy). Medias get a little more to go with this time around thanks to their role ability.
The Media's role ability is Credibility.



Now for the one role that's always posed a bit of a tonal clash for a lot of CP2020 campaigns; the Corporate has gotten a facelift and is now called the Exec. Corporate sharks, headhunters, sociopaths with sharp haircuts and sharper smiles, the Exec is there for all your Bob Morton (or Patrick Bateman) roleplaying needs. They've also gotten a pretty serious change in the form of a completely new role ability.
The Exec's role ability in this edition is Teamwork.



The other role that was always a tonal clash for most CP2020 campaigns; they used to be called Cops, but now they're Lawmen. Whether they're employed by a government agency or a corporation, they enforce the rules and crack down on anyone that gets out of line. Judge Dredd, Robocop, really you're spoiled for choices. Again, like the Exec, the Lawman has gotten a completely new role ability this time around.
The Lawman's role ability in this edition is Backup.



Someone has to navigate the underworld and find all the right people for jobs, gear, services, or more, and that's the Fixer's job. Whether they're filling in as what Shadowrun would call a Mr. Johnson, or they've dug in deep enough to become crimelords all their own, Fixers know the right people for whatever it is you need.
The Fixer's role ability is Operator.



The Nomad is a role that's always been a bit particular to R.Talsorian's Cyberpunk setting, representing a parallel society of nomadic packs and clans that roam the highways and seas of the future, originally formed out of families and communities of people who'd wound up homeless and unemployed after serious economic crashes and societal collapses in the 90s and early 00s. They do odd jobs, sometimes criminal, sometimes legit, in order to get by and help keep their families afloat. Nomads used to play as second-rate Solos and their old role ability was largely underappreciated, but this edition's given them a new focus as vehicle-oriented types.
The Nomad's role ability in this edition is Moto.

After this, we get a brief overview of how character creation works this time around. CPRed gives us three basic options:
Streetrats (Templates): You pick a role, then roll once on a chart for that role that gives you an entire stat line. You get starting skills and gear based on your role, plus a bit of extra money on top of that.
Edgerunners (Fast and Dirty): A little more complicated, you pick a role and then roll once against that role's stat chart for each stat. You get a selection of skills based on your role, but get a pool of points to spend on the ratings of those individual skills. Finally, you get your gear based on your role, plus a bit of extra money to spend or keep.
Complete Packages (Calculated): You get a pool of points to spent on your stats, another pool of points to spend on whatever skills you want, and then you get a bunch of money to spend on weapons, equipment, and cyberware.

Honestly, while I can appreciate the effort they made to squeeze in a level of character creation complexity between Templates and Calculated, I'm not sure the Fast and Dirty method really warrants the weirdness involved in stat generation.

Next time, we'll take a look at character creation in detail, plus this edition's version of the classic lifepath.

Pussy Cartel fucked around with this message at 00:52 on Dec 3, 2020

Froghammer
Sep 8, 2012





Didn't Slaanesh literally just get broken out of their space prison in the newest loredump? I'm actually curious how that's gonna affect their cult

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Cyberpunk always had a weird issue where the sort of game it was supposed to be based on the characters you played. Like, there's definitely a game where you play a war correspondent and their professional bodyguards, a corporate suit and their team of fixers, Public Security Section 9, whatever.

But apparently you're supposed to play a rag-tag bunch of rockers, hackers, and wired-up gangsters who... do... stuff?

mellonbread
Dec 20, 2017


Some of these classes seem redundant. What's the difference, mechanically, between a guy in armor with a gun who fights for the side of crime, and a guy in armor with a gun who fights for the side of law? What's the difference between a rockstar and a media star? I've never read the classic Cyberpunk, so maybe the answer is obvious to fans of the old game.

Interested to see where this review goes.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


mellonbread posted:

Some of these classes seem redundant. What's the difference, mechanically, between a guy in armor with a gun who fights for the side of crime, and a guy in armor with a gun who fights for the side of law? What's the difference between a rockstar and a media star? I've never read the classic Cyberpunk, so maybe the answer is obvious to fans of the old game.
So the old Cops in Cyberpunk has a Core Skill called Authority, which represented their, you know, authority. It gave you the ability to arrest people, hold them for questioning, and call in backup. More Authority didn't give you more police power, it just made you more convincing when you held up your badge and said 'you're under arrest'. While Solo was the only S-tier combat class where no one could compete, Cops were in the A-tier at least.

Fixers on the other hand had Streetdeal, which more vaguely represented your ability to gather secret information. So while the Cop and the Fixer on paper look pretty similar, with the cop being a bit more combat focused, the core skills gave them very different toolsets that they could use. A game with a Cop in it has the potential for them to just pull out their badge and try to arrest someone (and if they're hard enough, everyone let's them do it). A game with a Fixer on the other hand has a much more typical situation where your Fixer sets up a meeting with the gangster you want or whatever.

How the game was suppose to work if you had a Cop and a Fixer in the same party isn't very clear.

Pussy Cartel
Jun 26, 2011





Lipstick Apathy

The whole issue where the sort of game you play is largely dependent on the sorts of characters the players make is something that I think stems from what was an older school of game design. Cyberpunk feels more like a game that was designed to be a toolbox that can be used to create any kind of classic cyberpunk archetype, leaving it up to the GM and players to figure out the kind of campaign they want. The idea of making a game have a particular tonal consistency and specifically steering character concepts toward it feels to me like something that only started to come in vogue later, in the 90s and 00s.

As for Cop vs. Fixer vs. Solo and all that, the difference made by role abilities will be a lot clearer when I get to them. For what it's worth, Operator works a lot like Streetdeal used to, but with some added functionality. Backup, on the other hand, is a bit more different from how Authority used to work.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed


Froghammer posted:

Didn't Slaanesh literally just get broken out of their space prison in the newest loredump? I'm actually curious how that's gonna affect their cult

Not quite but an aspect of Slaanesh currently called the newborn did. Also Sigvald and a bunch of mortal troops are coming to herald Slaanesh's grand return.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Playing a corporate executive, the most cyberpunk thing.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





JcDent posted:

Playing a corporate executive, the most cyberpunk thing.

Taking down the system from the inside!

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





JcDent posted:

Playing a corporate executive, the most cyberpunk thing.
Roll +Corporate Attitude to:
* Leverage synergies
* Refuse to pay the runner team
* Do coke
* Staple and collate

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.


Now I'm picturing Patrick Bateman joining a runner team just because he's that bored.

Also, vaguely related idea; Pendragon, but you're giant robot pilots.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Ghost Leviathan posted:

Also, vaguely related idea; Pendragon, but you're giant robot pilots.

Not sure how much this really changes.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016







Tasha's Cauldron of Everything #3: Ha Ha! You expected more player options in the player's option's book!


Group Patrons
Last time on Tasha's Cauldron of everything, we went through the wacky power creep subclasses intermixed with hilarious garbage no one would use. The next chapter of the book is entitled "Group Patrons". Now, you might be wondering if this is like 3.5's affiliations where you could do quests to rise in rank and get free power. Nope! Now, I want to reiterate that this book has only four chapters so we have at least one entire chapter wasted on DM material. This is the second setting-agnostic player option book in six years. These are nominally player options in that you can join the Mafia or the University of Mystra or whoever and get some bonuses, but it's all written like the background stuff in the player's handbook where the DM can arbitrarily decide that that research is too advanced for your sage and now you'll never know the great reveal that the Big Bad Evil Guy is actually the DM's girlfriend's father.

I'll step through one example here: the Academy. There are six examples provided in of course, a random roll table - a boarding school, an arcane enclave (Hogwarts), a secret monastery (because local monasteries are just so passe), an elite institute (a "cutthroat academy of science or the arts"), a vault of secrets (the Dan Brown conspiracy people), and the museum of dreams (magical dream conspiracy thing???). Now, setting aside that the Vault of Secrets isn't an academy because it doesn't loving teach anything, the academy has an entire list of perks the DM can weasel out of. There's compensation to the tune of 1 gp a day or a 250 gp bounty for each "artifact or relevant discovery you bring back", research assistance if you "call in a favor" (how are favors generated? gently caress if I know!), resources that include "dangerous relics, magic items, spellbooks, gear, and the like" - but no actual rules for procuring, say, forbidden dark magic or even new spells for the party wizard - and a discount on the training rules in the PHB and Xanathar's I've literally never seen used. There's a little table of academy contacts ranging from bureaucrats to ghosts to flirtatious hot nerds and then a section saying "if the academy is your patron maybe you're a student or faculty member", and a list of quests. There's nothing really offensive about it, but where are the player options, exactly? This kind of crap keeps recurring through the section. If you work for an ancient being like a demon or a lich, you can maybe get some common magic items, but "the DM determines the available stock" before you start rolling. You can get advantage on research lore "related to your patron's interests". You can get supernatural gifts at 5th or 13th level I guess?

The problem with this section is that these aren't player options so much as DM options. The patrons of the world are not placed by players, they are placed by DMs. I suppose the players could all say "we want to work for Biggus Dickus the Dread Archmage" at the beginning of the campaign, but this necessitates the DM altering whatever they were going to run to either run Biggus Dickus adventures or just kind of have Biggus Dickus give these strange murder hobos free stuff for no reason. There's also the problem that there's no real insight here - yes, if you work for the Sovereign they might pay you for the privilege, but hilariously there's no advice around the ruler giving you land and titles like an actual medieval ruler would. This is all stuff people could easy extrapolate from genre media, and the game is marketed at people who read genre media! Here, I'll whip off a quick example of this poo poo.

Your patrons are space aliens who live in outer space and have UFOs, as I needed something that showed up in D&D and wasn't easily matched by the poo poo here. The six type of aliens are aliens who want to infiltrate society to learn, aliens who are preparing the planet for invasion, aliens who want hot dates with the local people, aliens who are seeking to uplift society technologically and ethically and are about to make their move, alien missionaries of an unknown god, and alien miners who want to keep their activities on the DL. The perks of working for aliens is that with DM permission you can get free rides in UFOs, you can get pieces of alien technology that the DM determines the stock of, you can get research bonuses as the aliens let you tap into their computers and surveillance nets, and if you get really boned in a boss fight you can pester the DM to have a UFO orbitally bombard a target. Your alien contacts are an alien psychologist who psychoanalyzes your foes, an alien engineer who builds you cool poo poo, an alien psionic thought projection, a D&D land alien worshipper, an alien starship AI, and a flirty alien curious about your land's native customs. The alien's quests are to do diplomacy for the aliens, eliminate someone who is about to expose the alien conspiracy, recover alien tech that fell into the hands of people who aren't supposed to have it, survey land for alien cities, and identify targets for alien abduction.

I made all that poo poo up in maybe...ten minutes? Look how easy this is. It's not very interesting, there's no real hook because it's all generic and there's nothing to latch onto, it requires much more from the DM than the players, and all of the features are that classic 5e "argue with the DM and maybe we can do this."

The chapter ends with a section on being your own patron, which is just half a page on how you can use the running a business rules in the DMG and you could even - bear with me now, this is a revolutionary idea - have some sort of NPC who handles the bureaucracy and gives you adventure ideas! It's just Preston Garvey from FO4 or the millions of videogame examples. This would be a perfect place to put a "what happens if the PCs gain political power" section and maybe introduce some rudimentary rules for raising armies or taxes and what happens when Bob the Cleric declares a crusade against the Asmodean Empire. This isn't even outside of the scope of D&D, 1e and 2e made it clear you were supposed to get castles and guilds and followers when you leveled up!

The entire chapter isn't just a waste of space, its an insulting waste of space when you consider how reluctant the 5e team is to release any content. I have my theories as to why, but we're going to hold off on them and dive into Chapter 3, "Magical Miscellany".

Magical Miscellany

The section opens with twenty-one spells. Three of the spells - booming blade, lightning lure, and green-flame blade - are reprinted cantrips from other player books. We have the traditional disclaimer.

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything posted:

If you'd like to use any of these spells, talk to your DM, who may allow some, all, or none of them.

It's like the 5e team knows they can't balance for poo poo and needs to pass it off to the consumer. Now, I could go through all the spells individually, but by and large most of these spells are trash garbage that actively make you worse. I'm going to go through a few examples, because they really serve to show that this game has no idea what people should be doing at any given level.

Take the spell Black Blade of Disaster, now just "Blade of Disaster". This spell summons a sword that attacks people twice a turn for 4d12 damage, but criticals on a 18-20 and does 12d12 damage on a critical instead. It takes your concentration (of course) and for this powerful, powerful effect you have to spend a 9th level spell slot. Now, to put this into perspective, other ninth level spells let you become immune to damage, permanently transform enemies, mass save or die (mass polymorphing your enemies into quippers means they start suffocating and hit 0 hp without reverting), or pull any enemy to your current location so you can ambush and kill them (gate). This is just not good enough for me to ever consider taking it as a spell known for a ninth level slot. Why is this ninth level? Because it was ninth level in 3.5. What the developers don't seem to have realized is that no one cast it in 3.5 either, as it was competing with spells like Wail of the Banshee, Shades, and Shapechange - and that's just the PHB spells! The only real thing this spell has going for it is that it can pass through walls of force and kill people...but both spells take your concentration, and if you have two casters you can have one caster just cast sickening radiance or something first instead. Terrible.

Another awful spell is "Dream of the Blue Veil". This is a seventh level spell that lets you jump between campaign settings on the Material Plane, so you can go from Faerun to Krynn and maybe convince your DM that the Dragonlance campaign you're planning can totally have a drow and a warforged because some archmage hit them with this. It's also completely pointless, because the book provides a sidebar that people jump between campaign settings by casting Teleport. Really! This spell is a complete waste of everyone's time! It's a waste of page space, it's a waste of reader attention, and it's a waste of the dev's team's time to proofread this poo poo! Just add something new!

Lastly, I want to call out "Tasha's Mind Whip" because it's clear the authors have no loving idea what an offensive spell is supposed to do in 5e. The spell forces an Intelligence saving throw. On a failure the target takes 3d6 psychic damage, can't take a reaction until the end of it's next turn, and when it next gets a turn can only take a move, an action, or a bonus action (one of the three). On a success it just takes half damage. I am wracking my brain trying to figure out what the hell the point of this is. This is bad damage even by the anemic standards of 5e blasting spells. If the target is engaging your party in melee or has some kind of ranged attack it does not care about the effects. It's a highly situational and you just don't have the spells to burn on this worthless crap! Compare it to something like suggestion or levitate which can remove an enemy from the fight entirely. Sure, those latter spells take concentration, but they don't feel like a waste of a spell slot! Why is this here? It's so you can flashback to the old ego whip psionic power and clap like a seal because you get the reference.

Are there good spells in this? Definitely. The cantrips will all see use, especially mind sliver which inflicts save penalties and is defended against by an int save so you can combo it with sorcerer and become the unquestioned lord of save-or-dies. The book also includes some new summons, which instead of looting the monster books to see which developer hosed up CR the worst just give you stat blocks that you get a few customization options are. They all take your concentration to get one monster for up to an hour, and most of them fail the test of "why don't I just cast animate objects on these 10 daggers instead?" However, the undead summon is actually really good - it has an aura that poisons the target, and then every attack it makes paralyzes the target if they're poisoned. As these things get a number of attacks equal to half the level of the spell slot they're cast with, you can hit a legendary resistance monster with contagion or something and then force it to make multiple saves per round against paralysis. It uses your spell DC as well, which you can pump crazy high thanks to the new magic items in this book. Sure, there's a bunch of stuff immune to poison this combo won't work on, but if you can poison it, your new undead buddy can paralyze it forever. The rest of the summons do piddly poo poo damage and you just don't care, with the exception of the shadowspawn who can automatically lower adjacent creature's movement by 20, no save, allowing your entire team to kite all your enemies to death.

There's a section on spell personalization. They provide a random table you can roll on if you want your spells to look like barnyard animals. As everyone over the age of five understands they can describe their spells with unique visual effects, n no one cares, and they explicitly say you can't use this to make one spell look like another, so your darkness clerics are still spamming radiant damage.

Lastly, there's a ton of new magic items. It's kind of dubious as to whether this belongs in a player option book at all, as there's no actual way to guarantee that your PC gets the items they want. Sure, there's item crafting, but both iterations of it are "ask your dm if you can have this item", with Xanathar's Guide to Everything offering players the opportunity to argue over which monsters drop crafting material until the DM smugly informs them that unicorns don't exist on this continent and so they can't make black robes of the archmagi. The counterpoint to this is that this section makes spellcasters even more powerful if they loot it, and because 5e's guidelines on what magic items the players should have are a loud fart noise that sounds vaguely like "DM Empowerment". Clerics, sorcerers, artificers, wizards, druids, rangers, and bards all get magic items that add to their spell attacks and save DCs by up to +3, so expect to hear your mages attempting to stack more crap up to raise their spell DCs into the stratosphere so people just don't make their saves anymore. There are a surprising amount of items for wizards which are all various forms of spellbook which range from awesome things like imposing disadvantage on enchantment spells to garbage like looking like an undead. There are a bunch of items that proc when you cast a spell using metamagic, the best is probably the shadowfell shard that imposes disadvantage on a save and will cause endless arguments over whether or not you can apply it to the save against that particular spell. Fun for the whole family! There are a bunch of artifacts that need attunement that you will probably never see because i've never seen or heard of a DM just handing out book artifacts. There are a grab bag of tattoos that have varied effects most of which aren't super great but are kind of nifty. The vast majority of these items are to give spellcasters more evil power that they don't really need.

Next time: Ha ha! We spent the last fourth of the player options book on stuff for the DM!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Age of Sigmar Lore Chat: Hedonites of Slaanesh
Horny Hell and Horny Jail

Before being captured by the aelven gods, Slaanesh was unique among the Chaos Gods in that he welcomed intrusion into his section of the Realm of Chaos. Where the other Dark Gods saw mortal intrusion as an annoyance, Slaanesh enjoyed watching people get tempted by all that he had to offer and all of the devious, subtle dangers that would consume them, slay them or break their minds. The many pleasures on offer all bear the taint of Slaanesh, wearing down the will to resist indulgence further and drawing those who partake ever closer to the mindset that pervades the Hedonites. Those who entered never left unchanged, even the ones that were able to resist the worst of the realm. Many never leave, even now, and most souls that enter the domain of Slaanesh become trapped for eternity.

The Realm of Slaanesh was and is still divided into six concentric rings centered on the Palace of Slaanesh. Each of the rings celebrates one of the Dark Prince's favorite vices, and while they may at first glance seem paradaisical, they should never be mistaken for pleasant places. Rather, they are traps. Each has a dark, hypnotic power over visitors, drawing them into the surreal landscape and offering them new sensations that will overtake them and keep them sealed within forever. Thus, they are not only celebrations of what Slaanesh loves, but also defenses against invasion. Even daemons of other gods have trouble resisting their call. The only way to reach the Palace of Pleasure at the center of the realm is to pass through all six circles, which requires willpower that surpasses that of most daemons, let alone mortals.

The first circle of the Realm of Slaanesh is Avidity, the land of unchecked greed. Immense heaps of gold sit in huge marble vaults, the ceilings of which are coated in gemstone mosaics. Metal ingots and shining diamonds litter the landscape, and the inhabitants scrabble for anything they can grab, claiming entire piles. Most of the wretched souls in the realm are starving, impossibly thin, and obsessed with the counting of their personal hoards. They can never manage it, for the piles shift and tumble at their touch, ruining the count and forcing them to start again, wailing and gnashing their teeth as they do. The paths are lined by gilded statues - some of them images of Slaanesh, some of them daemons and mortals that have been locked in expressions of ecstasy. Diamond dust trails lead to these statues, each of which was once a living being. Those who take the coins that lie around them with the intent to keep them are entrapped by Avidity. Some of them become the miserly, starving victims that count the piles, while others are transformed into the living statues of the pathways.

Beyond lies the second circle, Gluttony. The border is made of millions upon millions of golden teeth, mounted on the shores of a great lake of dark red wine. Within the lake are pale islands formed from the living bodies of giants, their backs linked by many bridges. The giants hold their hands up, keeping aloft massive tables that creak with the weight of fine food. Each island is covered in mortal souls, gorging themselves on meat and pies and wine and more, and yet no matter how much they eat, their desperate hunger is never sated. Along the shores, more seek to swallow the wine lake, and yet for all their thirst, they neither make a dent in the lake nor find themselves any less thirsty. These tortured souls are fat and bloated with food, their bodies crying out in pain even as they try to stuff more in, for their hungers never stop. The only true escape from their hunger is to eat so much, so quickly that they physically burst - at which point it is likely they will be picked clean is meat themselves.

The third circle, Carnality, lies at the other end of the lake, a land of gold light and soft beds of hay. Here, beautiful youths of all races, forms and genders frolic about, clad only in thin silks that cover little. They have an impossible sensual beauty, which shifts to match the desires of those who look upon them. Strange, thin beasts gambol about in the area, emitting a hallucinogenic musk that only increases the mutability of beauty to onlookers. These are not living souls, but simulations, false beings that sing and caress those who stray into their midst. They whisper of the many carnal pleasures they can offer, and their beauty conceals the vicious, needle-sharp teeth and bone-sharpened claws that they bear. Only those who can retain their wits and see through the hallucinations and illusions of Carnality notice the skewered limbs and severed heads that lie around them, the ultimate end of all who fall into the promises of physical pleasure, for eventually, that sweet release can be found only in death.

Those that make it through the soft foothills of Carnality enter the fourth circle, Paramountcy. Here, visitors emerge onto a high balcony, where the crowds below roar their love, their approval and their endless honor to the newcomers. Immense armies stretch out across an infinite plain below, kneeling to their newly arrived masters and awaiting command. Around the traveller, the forms of kings, nobles and master craftsman take shape, nodding along with all they say, while those who once gave them orders stare upwards at them in admiration from smaller balconies below. Travelers are endlessly urged to speak, to share their wisdom and bask in the glory of their own amazingness...but those who look into the eyes of the daemonic simulacra around them can see despair. Behind all of the promises of power and confidence lies a gnawing, horrible paranoia, an endless suspicion and a sea of doubt that will consume those who give in and accept the worshipful reverence offered them.

Passing through the balconies leads to a woodland, Vainglory. The mazelike web of forested passages smells of flowers, though the walls are coated in thorns. The breeze speaks whispers of the past of travelers, reminding them of better times, speaking of their great victories and triumphs. They praise the traveler for their will, their strength in conquering the first four circles and making it here, to the fifth. Playing up the pride of those who enter, the winds lead them further and further from their goals. Mirror-like ponds reflect viewers as the ideal versions of themselves that they strive to become. The beauty of these reflections is so great that those who are canny can spot the tormented souls of those unable to look away from their own reflections, held in place so long that the thorny undergrowth has grown about them and locked them still, the thorns digging into their flesh as the winds continue to whisper of how great their victories have been. The only escape is to focus on your failures and defeats, to reassert your own humility and remind yourself of your irrelevance. Only those strong enough to resist pride can find the paths straightening out for them and leading to the final circle.

The sixth and most dangerous, most beloved circle of Slaanesh's realm is Indolency. Here, an infinitely long beach stretches out before those who exit the forests of Vainglory. Choirs of beautiful, heavenly daemons sing lullabies, and the sea smells of wonderful perfumes and oils. Fatigue strikes at travellers, begging them to rest, to close their eyes for but a moment and accept the safety of the circle. They have gone far enough for now, and can always succeed when they awaken. The warm sun above calms the souls and the beach is always soft. To lie down here, however, allows the crashing waves to erode the will. Travelers can barely keep their eyes open...but they must, for if they can see beyond the soft light, they will notice the white sands are made from the bones of those who laid there, and that many still lie in comas of utter inactivity, wasting away until they too die and are crushed to sand by the tide.

If a trespasser can pass through Indolency, they will arrive at the Palace of Pleasure, the former home of Slaanesh himself. It is an impossibly tall castle atop a twisted, thin pillar of stone. Its towers are alive, and they move and entangle each other like a copulating mass of snakes. Within lie unimaginable, decadent luxuries. The Temple of Twisted Mirrors lies as a giant, circular hall around Slaanesh's sanctum. Each surface is covered in mirrors that infinitely reflect each other. Once, this area was used by Slaanesh for introspection, and the mirrors distort the images of those who look upon them in every possible way. Some reflections show angelic goodness, some horrific evil - all of the possibilities of what the viewer might have been, or still could be. It is overwhelming for a mortal, seeing the fractal forms their lives could take, and almost all mortal souls that have looked at the mirrors have found themselves lost within, reduced to screaming madness and, eventually, becoming but a ghostly mirage trapped in a mirror.

Beyond the Temple are the old sanctums and throne rooms from which Slaanesh once ruled. These were once well appointed, full of the echoing screams of tortured souls, tormented for the pleasure of their daemonic masters. Now, they lie empty and forgotten, filled only with the lingering scents of past orgies and festivals. Slaanesh's lair lies empty, for he is trapped in the Ul-Gysh, chained and bleeding. Even the daemons have largely abandoned this place, save for the most loyal of Slaanesh's retainers, who still await his return. There is no reward for those who resist the Six Circles and survive the mirrored hall. There is no god to fight, no daemons to slay. There is only an empty fortress, an abandoned throne, and a bunch of daemonic butlers that hope their king will come home eventually.

Next time: What Actual Hedonites Are Doing

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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MonsterEnvy posted:

Not quite but an aspect of Slaanesh currently called the newborn did. Also Sigvald and a bunch of mortal troops are coming to herald Slaanesh's grand return.

Yeah, it's not totally clear at the moment if the Newborn is Slaanesh reborn, or is New Slaanesh, or is just an immensely powerful harbinger of Slaanesh's escape. All we know is the daemons felt its birth and came to meet it, and that it's probably bad for everyone, and that Sigvald is returning as Slaanesh's champion with what look to be entirely new and unique units for the Hedonite forces to field, a whole new sculpt for himself (which is very similar to his old art, but bigger, hotter and with horns) and things are gonna get crazy.

I'm hoping for some inter-Chaos fighting over this, because Archaon has notably never received Slaanesh's blessing, and Sigvald and Archaon have some old grudges between them.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Pussy Cartel posted:

The whole issue where the sort of game you play is largely dependent on the sorts of characters the players make is something that I think stems from what was an older school of game design. Cyberpunk feels more like a game that was designed to be a toolbox that can be used to create any kind of classic cyberpunk archetype, leaving it up to the GM and players to figure out the kind of campaign they want. The idea of making a game have a particular tonal consistency and specifically steering character concepts toward it feels to me like something that only started to come in vogue later, in the 90s and 00s.

As for Cop vs. Fixer vs. Solo and all that, the difference made by role abilities will be a lot clearer when I get to them. For what it's worth, Operator works a lot like Streetdeal used to, but with some added functionality. Backup, on the other hand, is a bit more different from how Authority used to work.

Yeah, I got gifted a copy of Cyberpunk Red over Thanksgiving and I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it. I feel there's way too much old stuff that won't come up in game and makes it feel like I'm reading a Kevin Siembedia RIFTS book. The book feels like it's 200 pages too long.

I'll hold my tongue on the Special Abilities but I disappointed already that they got rid of Nomad's "Family" special ability and a lot of role abilities feel like they're tripping on each others.

sasha_d3ath
Jun 3, 2016

Ban-thing the man-things.

Mors Rattus posted:

Yeah, it's not totally clear at the moment if the Newborn is Slaanesh reborn, or is New Slaanesh, or is just an immensely powerful harbinger of Slaanesh's escape.

I personally think it's a piece of Slaanesh that she managed to throw out of the box she was stuck in during one of the times the lid was open so Morathi could poke her with a stick.

Pussy Cartel
Jun 26, 2011





Lipstick Apathy

Young Freud posted:

Yeah, I got gifted a copy of Cyberpunk Red over Thanksgiving and I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it. I feel there's way too much old stuff that won't come up in game and makes it feel like I'm reading a Kevin Siembedia RIFTS book. The book feels like it's 200 pages too long.

I'll hold my tongue on the Special Abilities but I disappointed already that they got rid of Nomad's "Family" special ability and a lot of role abilities feel like they're tripping on each others.

Rules-wise I think Red is an overall improvement on 2020, but some of the role abilities need work, and they wasted entirely too many pages on a detailed description of the world (and Night City) in 2020, and maps of Night City across the decades, which is pretty useless for a game that's actually set in 2045. It's a seriously baffling decision I'll cover more in depth when I get to that chapter.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Pussy Cartel posted:

Rules-wise I think Red is an overall improvement on 2020, but some of the role abilities need work, and they wasted entirely too many pages on a detailed description of the world (and Night City) in 2020, and maps of Night City across the decades, which is pretty useless for a game that's actually set in 2045. It's a seriously baffling decision I'll cover more in depth when I get to that chapter.

That sounds like a concession for people who want to adapt their existing libraries of 2020 with the new rules. Possibly also an attempt to boost interest in the old books, which RTG still sells on their website.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Sounds like lovely editing to me.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


To be clear, despite the many flaws, I'm a huge fan of literally every version of Cyberpunk.
I love CP2020/2013, with the lifepaths and the 'iuno, you figure it out' ethos when you've got a rockerboy, a cop, a fixer, and a corporate rolling up for a classic shadowrun.
I love Cybergenerations, where you basically play Bang Babies/New Mutants/Runaways, teenagers with computer-themed superpowers.
I love Cyberpunk 3.0, where it's not cyberpunk anymore, it's transhumanist post-apocalypse - one of the 'altcults' are Disney theme-park workers who use animatronic drones.
I fully expect to love Cyberpunk Red and all the call backs and references to the older editions, and I'm really excited to learn if they kept the Lifepath system in place.

But I also understand why I can't get anyone to play any of these games with me.

Pussy Cartel
Jun 26, 2011





Lipstick Apathy



[bCyberpunk RED, ]Part 2: Birth of the New Model[/b]

If you've ever played CP2020 (or CP2013, or Mekton, or the Witcher, or anything else using Interlock), then you're pretty familiar with how stats work in CPRed. There are, however, some differences this time around.
Intelligence (INT) is how smart you are.
Willpower (WILL) is how well you handle stress and pain.
Cool (COOL) is basically how charming, magnetic, and impressive you are.
Empathy (EMP) is how well you can relate to and connect with others.
Technique (TECH) covers your fine motor skills and ability to handle tools and do fine work.
Reflexes (REF) is how coordinated you are and how good your reaction time is.
Luck (LUCK) is used to nudge rolls; it basically acts as a pool of points that can be added to rolls, and that refreshes at the start of each session.
Body (BODY) is how big and tough you are.
Dexterity (DEX) is broadly how athletic you are.
Movement (MOVE) is how fast you are.
The first change from earlier editions is that we've dropped Attractiveness and added Dexterity and Willpower. This is a pretty good change overall because Attractiveness in CP2020 was the ultimate dump stat; not only was it devalued by players more interested in combat, but it was also the only stat that could be augmented all the way up to the max, and really, really cheaply, too. Adding Willpower means Cool no longer covers things like resisting torture and the like, and adding Dexterity is supposed to reduce the importance of Reflexes (but it doesn't work out as well as they probably intended.)

The other big change here is that the unaugmented attribute cap in CPRed is 8, rather than 10. Now as changes go this is pretty minor and wouldn't really be worth mentioning...except for the fact that the Cyberpunk RED jumpstart kit that was released last year uses an attribute cap of 10, and the pregen PCs in that kit all have at least one stat at 10. It really feels like this change was something they made at the last minute in the game's development. This becomes even more obvious in the next part of character creation, where the tables for derived stats show basic stats up to 10.

Back to character creation. Stat generation for character creation method 1 uses separate tables for each role, each with ten complete statlines. You just roll 1d10 and use the provided statline for your character.



Method 2 still uses the same tables, but instead of rolling once and taking the entire statline, you roll ten times, once for each stat. I'm not really sure why they bothered with this method at all, and unlike the other two methods, it can create (slightly) over- or underpowered statlines for characters, but not by very much at all.
Method 3 is straightforward. You get a pool of points (62 by default) and spend them on your stats, with a minimum of 2 and maximum of 8 for each stat. There's also a small table showing alternate pool sizes that GMs could allow their players to use, ranging from 50 to 80 (wouldn't recommend that last one, but hey.)
We also get a short paragraph of "GM advice" that's lifted right out of CP2020, advising GMs to just outright kill the characters of any players that get too far out of line in making powerful characters.
Yeah, okay.

We also get secondary stats: Hit Points (based on Body and Willpower), Death Save (based on Body), and Humanity (based on Empathy). HP is pretty self-explanatory, Death Saves are made to stay alive when you're close to death, and Humanity is the stat we all know and hate. There have been some changes to how Humanity is lost and regained in this edition that I'll cover in the medical chapter. Some of it's good, but some is pretty questionable.



Before getting to skill generation/selection, we get a list of all of the game's skills along with a brief sentence describing each (but not the role abilities). The game makes sure to point out that some skills are considered hard, meaning you have to spend twice as many points to raise them as other skills. I won't go into all of the skills; the list is similar to the one in CP2020, but shorter, with the devs having made the smart choice of condensing skills as much as possible and getting rid of cruft. But there are still some really weird choices in the skill list; exactly how many players are ever going to pick something like Lip Reading?
There are also some other weird development choices on display here that I'll get into in later chapters when they become more relevant.

Anyway, skills are rated from 1 to 10 (assuming you actually have a given skill), and at character creation players are restricted to a max of 6 in any one skill. Every character also gets a minimum of 2 in each of a number of skills that it's assumed basically any person can be expected to pick up while growing up, and also automatically get 4 in their native language. The basic skills include the likes of Athletics, Education, Perception, Persuasion, and others, and helpfully includes Language (Streetslang), CP's equivalent of common in DnD.

Method 1 characters get their skills picked out for them based on their role. Method 2 characters are a little more involved; they get the skills themselves picked out for them based on their role, but instead of having a pre-selected rating for each skill, they're given a pool of 86 points to spend on the skills picked out for them; they're required to spend at least 2 points on each of the basic skills mentioned earlier.
Method 3 characters just get that pool of 86 skills and can then freely pick whatever skills they want, though again, they're required to put at least 2 points in each basic skill.

I'm not crazy about this, to be honest. Instead of giving players 86 points and then requiring them to spend 26 of those points on their basic skills, it would've been better to just give players a starting value of 2 in each of those skills and then given them a pool of 60 points to spend. Especially since the 4 points every character gets in their native language isn't included in the 86 skill points they get; those 4 points in your native language are automatic and "free".



Next, we get a listing of weapons, armour, and other gear, but it's a redacted version of the full selection of gear presented later in the book. Right after that comes gear selection for starting characters.
Method 1 and 2 characters get a bunch of weapons, armour, and ammo selected for them based on their role, plus 500eb of spending money, and on top of that a selection of clothes, cyberware, and miscellaneous gear, also based on their role.
Method 3 characters instead get 2550eb to spend on weapons, armour, cyberware, and other gear, and another 800eb to spend on fashion and "fashionware," which is a category of mostly-cosmetic cyberware (with an exception or two).
Each character also gets a home and a lifestyle. Most characters start out living in a rented cargo container in either a combat zone or decaying suburbs, and live off kibble. First month is free for both. Execs, on the other hand, start out living in a rent-free corporate conapt in a corporate zone, and live off good prepak, the first month of which is free.

I appreciate that they made lifestyle and housing costs more upfront than in CP2020. I knew way too many players back in the day who completely neglected housing and lifestyle costs when creating new characters, and housing costs were more granular and, by extension, complicated in CP2020. This puts lifestyle costs a little more in line with how Shadowrun does it.

Next: Lifepaths. Instead of just trying to describe them, I'm gonna show them in action, and to do that, let's get some reader participation. Give me three character concepts and I'll make each one (and run them through the lifepaths), using each of the three character creation methods.

Pussy Cartel fucked around with this message at 00:52 on Dec 3, 2020

Pussy Cartel
Jun 26, 2011





Lipstick Apathy

Tibalt posted:

To be clear, despite the many flaws, I'm a huge fan of literally every version of Cyberpunk.
I love CP2020/2013, with the lifepaths and the 'iuno, you figure it out' ethos when you've got a rockerboy, a cop, a fixer, and a corporate rolling up for a classic shadowrun.
I love Cybergenerations, where you basically play Bang Babies/New Mutants/Runaways, teenagers with computer-themed superpowers.
I love Cyberpunk 3.0, where it's not cyberpunk anymore, it's transhumanist post-apocalypse - one of the 'altcults' are Disney theme-park workers who use animatronic drones.
I fully expect to love Cyberpunk Red and all the call backs and references to the older editions, and I'm really excited to learn if they kept the Lifepath system in place.

But I also understand why I can't get anyone to play any of these games with me.

I still love CP2020, and Cybergeneration, and I've even grown to appreciate Cyberpunk 3.0. I already appreciate what RED's trying to do, and I think I'm gonna like it a lot, but these are definitely crunchier games than some people like, but hey, different strokes.

Tibalt posted:

and I'm really excited to learn if they kept the Lifepath system in place.

:getin:

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Lip Reading is amazing in the older ones at least. Can't always rely on augmented hearing to get you through!

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Billy Billionaire, an augmented street samurai who looks like a FDNY calendar model and has a soft spot for the geeky hacker type.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Pussy Cartel posted:

Next: Lifepaths. Instead of just trying to describe them, I'm gonna show them in action, and to do that, let's get some reader participation. Give me three character concepts and I'll make each one (and run them through the lifepaths), using each of the three character creation methods.
Riss Sagiri, a pissed-off rockergirl with an excellent haircut and a grudge against overmilitarization of the street.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Literally Cyril Figgis from the first season of Archer. The most nebischy buttoned-up office drone you can manage.

mellonbread
Dec 20, 2017


Dolan Hegisistratus, the sleazy suit with a cheap suit and an expensive gun.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Pussy Cartel posted:

Next: Lifepaths. Instead of just trying to describe them, I'm gonna show them in action, and to do that, let's get some reader participation. Give me three character concepts and I'll make each one (and run them through the lifepaths), using each of the three character creation methods.

Reyes Bustamante, an Exec who comes from a "low" nouveau riche family and as part of his faux tough guy schtick he uses his resources to insert himself into actual street-level shenanigans. He is fiercely loyal and fearless because that's what's expected of him, but this only holds up if he's got at least a little backup.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Naomi Watts, a bony public watchwoman Lawman with a long coat and glasses, whose authority derives from a mandate issued by the local community worker's council that can be instantly revoked in a direct democracy vote of no confidence. (No relation to the actress.)

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


Max Force, about-to-be-ex-cop with nothing to lose.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Age of Sigmar Lore Chat: Hedonites of Slaanesh
Can You Eat Ideology



The Invader Hosts are the majority of the Hedonites these days. Their primary goal is conquest - any kind. Those who just want sensation love the stimuli that fighting provides them, of course - deafening sounds, bright lights, hope, despair, pain and murder. The Invaders get plenty of all of that. They are by far the most war-focused of the groups still devoted to the cause of Slaanesh. They love the moment of the kill, the beauty and joy of taking life. Their love of it, the rush it brings them, is what really makes them terrifying, because they do not negotiate nor give quarter as a warlord with more practical goals might. Unlike those Hedonites obsessed with vanity, they cannot be flattered to buy time. Unlike those obsessed with authority and adulation, you can't even surrender to them and hope for mercy. The Invaders simply want to kill you because murder gives them a rush, and they'll chase that dragon even to their own deaths.

That said, the Invaders do, on a larger scale, want to seize land. Not for any real goal, mind you, but to give them a place to defile and corrupt when battle is not available. They are despoilers, laying waste to everything they find, and they are very proud of leaving nothing useful behind. They are not mindless in their slaughter, as Khornates are, and do not do it without thought or care, as Nurgle might. Rather, they see the devastation they cause as an artform, with the land and the people themselves as their canvas and violence as their implement.

In the pursuit of violence, the Invader Hosts focus their worship on relics that were used in the past to achieve some of Slaanesh's greatest victories. Some of their leaders are known to wield these terrible artifacts as weapons against their foes, or even summon up the greatest of them - the Dreadful Visage, a living mask once worn by the Dark Prince himself. Where they go, they leave carefully and painstakingly dismembered corpses in a deliberate way, creating horrific art. Some focus on symmetrical patterns, such as spirals or whorls of severed limbs planted in a field, while others prefer the aesthetic of moving severed heads between bodies, entangling corpses by swapping their parts, or by arranging the bodies in a way as to suggest the victims died in the midst of a dance. This is both a form of entertainment and worship for the Invaders, a celebration of Slaanesh's own desires reflected in their chosen medium.

Invaders tend to see themselves as the traditionalist Hedonites, engaged in the most standard and historic form of worship. They think that if they can just conquer and despoil enough of the Mortal Realms, they will empower Slaanesh and give him the terrible strength required to free him from his binding chains. They number in the millions across the Realms, and boast possibly the highest number of daemonic forces among the Hedonites. They have changed very little in their practices even with Slaanesh vanished so long ago, and some even deny that he's actually missing. That kind of Hedonite tends to believe the entire 'missing god' business is a giant hoax by one of their rivals to try and undermine their connection to Slaanesh, and reason that because Slaanesh's daemons are sentient extensions of his will, it would be impossible for Slaanesh to be gone if so many daemons are still around.

Due to their sheer nubmers, there are many leadership figures among the Invader Hosts who see themselves as the natural conquerors of all, and they all hate each other, seeing them as rivals to be pulled down if stronger and crushed if weaker. In more peaceful periods, their competition over influence and control tends towards the subtle, favoring complex schemes and assassination plots rather than direct confrontation, as a mirror of the intrigues that once ruled the Palace of Slaanesh. When they march to war, however, the Invaders cast aside any pretensions of subtlety and simply escalate to vicious shouting matches with each other, cursing each other out and coming up with inventive, vile and abusive things to call each other as their armies clash.

Most Invader Hosts are led by a Keeper of Secrets. These daemons believe themselves to be the prophets of Slaanesh, given the duty of spreading the Prince's teachings and reshaping the land to suit his tastes. While they can, in theory, cooperate with each other and often form alliances of convenience that seem to work out in the goal of empowering Slaanesh, they are unable to put their hatred of their rivals aside very long. They are simply unable to be selfless, even in service to the god they are devoted to, and so such alliances inevitably fall to insults, backbiting and competition over who can be the best warlord and supreme ruler. When a leadership figure, daemon or otherwise, is finally slain, their followers are generally seized by the nearest rival. Any power that belonged to the slain warlord is transferred with it, though it is unclear if this transfer of mystic power is natural or a manifestation of Slaanesh's favor. That's a point of theology that the Hedonites often debate, as they certainly can tell that some among them are blessed in some way and have survived dozens of challengers. The idea that this is mere luck is hard to swallow.

Next time: I AM SLAANESHTACUS

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Midjack posted:

That sounds like a concession for people who want to adapt their existing libraries of 2020 with the new rules. Possibly also an attempt to boost interest in the old books, which RTG still sells on their website.

Guess what? Outside of lore and stuff, a lot of it is incompatible now. Like they complete redid the weapons so that they're genericized in a bad way. They turned them into D&D "Longsword +1" with a brand name for roleplaying purposes and no longer have an unique stat line.

PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012




Young Freud posted:

Guess what? Outside of lore and stuff, a lot of it is incompatible now. Like they complete redid the weapons so that they're genericized in a bad way. They turned them into D&D "Longsword +1" with a brand name for roleplaying purposes and no longer have an unique stat line.

Sounds kind sad. I know the thread has seen a bunch of discussion on how exactly this kind of simplification ("Light Pistol", "Heavy Pistol") with keywording, modding, or other standardised variants actually covers most of the relevant crunch granularity of most gunporn games, but I still enjoy the shopping list aspect of it...

SkyeAuroline
Nov 12, 2020



PoontifexMacksimus posted:

Sounds kind sad. I know the thread has seen a bunch of discussion on how exactly this kind of simplification ("Light Pistol", "Heavy Pistol") with keywording, modding, or other standardised variants actually covers most of the relevant crunch granularity of most gunporn games, but I still enjoy the shopping list aspect of it...

For games that only go so far into their setting in the actual setting blocks, gear and the discussion around it can establish setting flavor/detail. It's a nice little way to do things without having to add too much. (That said, don't be Ops and Tactics, please.)

megane
Jun 20, 2008





It's fine to have a bunch of guns if they're actually different. The opposition to gunporn isn't that they put fifteen light pistols on the list, it's that 12 of them are just straight-up numerically inferior to the remaining three, and those three are functionally interchangeable, meaning that the fun of shopping immediately boils down to "pick one of these three, and no, it doesn't matter which." If you can only think of one statline that makes sense for a light pistol, then you should just use it, instead of nudging the numbers around a bit and pretending it makes a difference.

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Pussy Cartel
Jun 26, 2011





Lipstick Apathy

PoontifexMacksimus posted:

Sounds kind sad. I know the thread has seen a bunch of discussion on how exactly this kind of simplification ("Light Pistol", "Heavy Pistol") with keywording, modding, or other standardised variants actually covers most of the relevant crunch granularity of most gunporn games, but I still enjoy the shopping list aspect of it...

That right there is one of the beefs I have with Cyberpunk RED. At the very least they could've included templates representing specific manufacturers like Arasaka or Militech or what have you that could be applied to weapons in order to give them particular bonuses and penalties, something sort of along the lines of Borderlands, but they didn't even do that. It's just generic weapons, except for a few very specific weapons from CP2020...which they just treat as generic weapons with one or two small modifiers. But I'll get to that.

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