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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Enemy Action
Part 14: Flyboy


Gollum's New Suit

Beelzebub, self-proclaimed Lord of the Flies, has been a rallying agent for generations of demons. He arrives from nowhere, inspires the local demons to drastic action, spreads chaos among many plans, and then escapes unscathed. He claims to be the oldest living demon in the world. In truth, he isn't a demon at all. Beelzebub isn't even one entity - he's a swarm of glassflies. Glassflies were created by the Machine as a surveillence mechanism against demons. Individuals proved hard to control, so the Machine networked an entire swarm together, enhancing their intelligence and understanding. This solved the initial control problems, but the swarm developed a sense of identity and went rogue. It nearly starved from lack of Aether before it ran into a demon, entering the demon's body and glutting themselves on its Aether - and, almost incidentally, taking over the body. Experience and freedom beckoned, and so now Beelzebub consumes new hosts, replenishing the glassfly swarm by implanting his larvae in mortal brains. He travels the world, seeking new experiences and disrupting plans of everyone he meets.

Beelzebub is a creature of pride and hedonism, a demagogue with a theatrical demeanor and a knack for fire-and-brimstone rants. On a personal level, he's friendly but overly familiar and rather patronizing. He's also a firebrand orator, seeking out the rebellious members of Agencies and goading them to take greater and greater risks. While he does make use of the chaos to take new hosts, that's really not what he does this all for. Beelzebub thinks disrupting societies is the best entertainment there is, y'see. The glassflies that compose Beelzebub's true body resemble horseflies at a distance, but close examination reveals their exoskeletons are made of literal glass, with eyes of faceted jewels and little diamond slivers for mouthparts. Their current host is a rusted demonic warrior whose form glows with a green aura. Beelzebub maintains multiple Covers, but his favorite is a wild-looking homeless man in a garish suit, since it lets him be crude and rude without risking compromise.

When outside a host, his swarm form requires massive amounts of Aether to survive, so he prefers to be in one - usually a demonic one, because they combine freedom and longevity best. He can use his host's Covers or demonic form, but slowly degrades their internal power and their power stat. He can abandon a host at any time, but usually only does so when he has preferable host to take over. His hosts, once he leaves, regain control of their bodies. They remember everything of the period when the flies ran the body. He can enter angels, but he can't control them without severing their connection to the Machine, turning them into Exiles. While inside an angel, he has an infinite amount of Aether to eat, since angels produce it naturally, but he suffers the angels Ban and Bane and must act to fulfill the Exile's mission parameters. He cannot control slivers at all.

Some demons think that Beelzebub, based on his actions, must be an angel. He appears where and when demons are strong, and when he leaves, all is chaos. They think he must be an angelic infiltrator, and might reveal a lot of he Falls. Obviously these efforts are doomed to fail, but the demons theorizing about it are right about one thing: Beelzebub has seen a lot, and he knows a lot about the Machine. If properly bribed or threatened, he could provide all kinds of intel. Some demons notice that his demonic forms change relatively frequently - something that shouldn't be possible, such as buying the abilities of other demons in exchange for giving them Covers. They tend to make the (incorrect) conclusion that he must be a master of pactbinding, to the extent that he can do things with Pacts that normal demons couldn't dream of, or that Beelzebub is a demonic organization rather than any single demon. In truth, Beelzebub can't make Pacts at all - he gets everything by just changing hosts. Others witness Beelzebub exiting his hosts as a swarm of flies, or see his maggots emerge from human brains to become part of the swarm. They become paranoid, convinced that the Machine can control insects and use them as spies. The Machine hasn't actually assimilated many insect populations...but glassflies are still in use in certain isolated instances. If it could reproduce Beelzebub in a controllable fashion, it'd have a terrifying new weapon.

Beelzebub uses his host's physical stats. He's very manipulative, smart and charismatic, plus superhumanly cunning. He's got a wide array of skills, though lying is the only one that's really amazing. He's very good at that. He can use his host's demonic form, and he's able to learn Embeds and Exploits. (Primarily, he uses this for social powers.) He's very good at sensing Aether and tracking it, he eats it to survive, and in a pinch he can consume parts of his own swarm-body to keep going...or he can eat the occult power of his demonic hosts to regenerate his swarm. He can try to take over a demon or angel, though it's not a great pool on either side - he's rolling 8 dice against what's going to be 4-8 dice on average, for demons or 8-10 dice at least for angels. He can only try once per day for a given host, though he has no knowledge of his host except that he can sense an angel's mission parameters, Ban and Bane. Outside a host - and he only ever has one at a time - he's a swarm of glassflies. He can spend Willpower to turn an angelic host into an Exile, and he can lay eggs in a knocked out human's brain, which hatch after a day. The victim then gets a burning hunger for glass and other inorganic material, which lasts several days before they eventually die. Beelzebub can spend Willpower to implant commands in their brains.


A very overprotective boy.

The Black Mastiff used to be a normal dog awaiting adoption, until an angel found him and took him in. The angel was questioning its role in the God-Machine's plan, and before its Fall it experimented by getting a pet. Fearing for its pet's life, the angel placed some Aether within the dog in the hopes that doing so would strengthen it and let it survive on its own if required. When the demon its master became never returned after the Fall, the Mastiff began to wander the city in search of a new owner to protect. Its perceptions were altered by the mass of energy within it, making it grow thicker and more muscular and causing its eyes to develop an eerie glow. It stalks homeless colonies now, seeking new owners and not realizing that it keeps trapping people in its lair and keeping them prisoner until they starve to death.

See, the Black Mastiff's plan seems benign at first. It's 300 pounds of very loyal defender and fluffy boy, after all. The problem is that it's very overprotective and has a very narrow view of how to protect someone. It responsd to all threats with aggression, and if it feels its owner is in danger, it is perfectly ready to drag them to safety and trap them in their home to ensure they're safe. It appears to be a massive purebred dog, five feet tall at the head and covered in thick fur and muscle. Its presence is intimidating, and despite its size it moves in near silence. It prefers to move under cover of darkness, keeping itself hidden as much as possible, but its massive appetite means it can frequently be found eating dozens of rats or breaking into grocery stores for food. It avoids fights if possible unless its owner is threatened. At that point it becomes a berserker with no compunctions about tearing people apart.

The Mastiff's reputation in an area tends to vary, because it doesn't just pick anyone it meets to protect. It's choosy about humans. Some it protects, most it ignores, some it attacks. Thus, in some places there are stories about a killer dog, and a few neighborhoods over it's just a big spooky thing. Legends about black dogs abound, especially in the British Isles, and the Mastiff's presence tends to cause a resurgence of these stories. It's Satan, or Satan's pet, or a hellhound, or whatever. However, there's just so many things that a rumor of an otherworldly monster dog could be to people in the know - werewolves, actual hellhounds, materialized spirits and so on - that the Mastiff may well be able to avoid people noticing it for some time just by not being any of those. Some demons think it's an angel - well, half of one. The corporeal form, guided by an immaterial mind in a case of an angel somehow being split in half. It's not, but it's plausible because angels sometimes take animal form.

The Mastiff is a very cunning, strong, fast and tough dog. It's supernaturally good at fighting, it's scary and sneaky, and it can do all kind of stunts as well as forage and track well. It's fast, heals faster than normal, has skin tough as some armor, and its bite is really nasty. It imprints on its 'owners' and can sense when its owners leave the place it wants them to stay in. It can also track a scent over hundreds of miles, even if it's months old. You cannot get away from dog.

Next time: The False Life, the Would-Be Colony

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Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


Flail Snail posted:

Since the Matrix is just a bunch of dead technomancers, I suppose it could make sense.

Whoa.

Overdone jokes aside, what? Since when?

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

Gun Jam posted:

Whoa.

Overdone jokes aside, what? Since when?

5e? I think? I last played 4e so I'm not sure but I did catch this tidbit from our Shadowrun thread.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


PurpleXVI posted:

"Google! My leg hurts! There's bone poking through the skin! Is it broken?"

"Oh no, it's cancer. Now commencing radiation therapy."

Nailed it, that's exactly why its only a +1

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




hyphz posted:

We shall hear more about that section later on, too. Oh, and of course, it's apparently abusive to suggest that climbing gear might help you with the entire climb, not just the first few metres, but hey.
I think the issue they're suggesting you cut off at the pass is not "climbing gear helping with the entire climb" but "climbing up and down five feet of a wall, then using all the Edge on your hacking roll"

now, some might think this is a flaw with the whole "turning every bonus into Edge", but hey, we're not professional game designers, right?

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



EthanSteele posted:

This makes sense cos it's just connected to the sum of all medical knowledge NeoWebMD or whatever. Its good!

Considering that Caro was doing field medicine in Libya by watching YouTube videos, it's not that farfetched.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013




I like the good boy.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.


Zereth posted:

I think the issue they're suggesting you cut off at the pass is not "climbing gear helping with the entire climb" but "climbing up and down five feet of a wall, then using all the Edge on your hacking roll"

now, some might think this is a flaw with the whole "turning every bonus into Edge", but hey, we're not professional game designers, right?

I referred more to the text explicitly stating that you don’t get the Edge every time you climb.

As written, if you use climbing gear to get to the maglocked control panel then you are 100% entitled to use the Edge from having used climbing gear to help short out the panel. It’s the “pay it forward” mechanic from Sorcerer is used by someone who didn’t notice that even Ron is unsure about Sorcerer now.

hyphz fucked around with this message at 21:09 on Oct 7, 2019

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I support Goat Simulator: World of Darkness.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Flail Snail posted:

5e? I think? I last played 4e so I'm not sure but I did catch this tidbit from our Shadowrun thread.

Yeah, it happened during the switch over to 5e. It's really dumb.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Maxwell Lord posted:

You can also try to just lay someone out by bludgeoning them. You take a -4 penalty to your attack, and the target has to make a System Shock roll at half their normal chance to succeed, or get knocked out. (You also still deal damage, and it's not subdual.) It’s not clear how long anyone stays knocked out in this way.

IIRC, the bludgeoning rules are the only thing that's not ported more or less wholesale from AD&D 2E. I think Pondsmith just wanted to have rules for those times when the hero clonks a guard over the head to sneak into the villain's base.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


Selachian posted:

IIRC, the bludgeoning rules are the only thing that's not ported more or less wholesale from AD&D 2E. I think Pondsmith just wanted to have rules for those times when the hero clonks a guard over the head to sneak into the villain's base.

I do like that there's a bit in the beginning of the Characters and Combat book about bringing AD&D characters into Buck Rogers if you really wanted to. (I'm a bit skeptical about the claim that the AD&D characters will die horribly if they have to fight XXVc characters.)

Drakli
Jan 28, 2004
Goblin-Friend

Oddly enough, Demon is the only one of the C/WoD to trigger a "Why-did-they-use-that-word?" response from me, specifically with their use of Cryptid.

If sasquatch exists in the World of Darkness, is it a Cryptid (Aether-infused mutant animal) or just a mere cryptid (an undiscovered animal?) Or is it a cryptid that's also a Cryptid? Or is it some other kind of horror/spirit/hobgoblin/etc which is a cryptid, but not a Cryptid?

I know cryptid is an out-there word in common parlance, but it seems more relevant in a world/story where mystery creatures are so common.

I mean, at least no one's going to mistake Celerity for anything else. Except celery, (when I feel like bad puns.)

Carados
Jan 27, 2009

We're a couple, when our bodies double.


Drakli posted:

Oddly enough, Demon is the only one of the C/WoD to trigger a "Why-did-they-use-that-word?" response from me, specifically with their use of Cryptid.

If sasquatch exists in the World of Darkness, is it a Cryptid (Aether-infused mutant animal) or just a mere cryptid (an undiscovered animal?)

There are five different kind of Wildness Apes and they all have different powers and opinions about the others.


Don't ask a Bigfoot about a Wendigo, they'll never shut up.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Drakli posted:

Oddly enough, Demon is the only one of the C/WoD to trigger a "Why-did-they-use-that-word?" response from me, specifically with their use of Cryptid.

If sasquatch exists in the World of Darkness, is it a Cryptid (Aether-infused mutant animal) or just a mere cryptid (an undiscovered animal?) Or is it a cryptid that's also a Cryptid? Or is it some other kind of horror/spirit/hobgoblin/etc which is a cryptid, but not a Cryptid?

Demon's Introduction includes a half-page sidebar to clarify that there are like five different kinds of things called demons in the other Chronicles of Darkness books, and almost none of them are Demons.

Demon's not the first CofD gameline to claim "cryptid" as a specific class of being, either. The Mage corebook did that first.

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 02:25 on Oct 8, 2019

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Selachian posted:

IIRC, the bludgeoning rules are the only thing that's not ported more or less wholesale from AD&D 2E. I think Pondsmith just wanted to have rules for those times when the hero clonks a guard over the head to sneak into the villain's base.

Well, unless I'm misinterpreting something, there also seems to be this, which I thought was interesting:

Maxwell Lord posted:

A table gives THAC0s for the various PC classes and for NPCs dependent on hit dice: Warriors, Scouts, and creatures with d10 hit dice get the fastest progression, d8s get a middling progression that stalls out in later levels, and d6 progression starts very slow but ends up lower than the d8s.

That seems to imply that different monsters have different sizes of hit dice. Is that correct? Because if so, that's something that definitely wasn't in 2E—all 2E monsters had eight-sided hit dice. (Not counting those monsters that had a fixed number of hit points and didn't have hit dice at all.) Different hit die sizes for different types of monster wasn't a thing till 3E.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I think the use of 'cryptid' was primarily because of the God-Machine's role in the second edition overall as the unifying force behind random low-level weirdness, the vast conspiracy engine that is made up of all the weird little things you can't explain.

So, using cryptid to refer to creatures mutated by the Machine's radiation makes a lot of sense in that context - it's the thing that causes all those weird undiscovered or bizarre creatures, because it's the Generic Urban Legend fountainhead.

Drakli
Jan 28, 2004
Goblin-Friend

I Am Just a Box posted:

Demon's not the first CofD gameline to claim "cryptid" as a specific class of being, either. The Mage corebook did that first.

I'll admit, that as popular as Mage is around these parts, it's always been too... rules/system-options dense for me to really dig into. It's a bit like trying to get into D&D 3.5/Pathfinder, except none of my RL friends are into it.


Joe Slowboat posted:

I think the use of 'cryptid' was primarily because of the God-Machine's role in the second edition overall as the unifying force behind random low-level weirdness, the vast conspiracy engine that is made up of all the weird little things you can't explain.

So, using cryptid to refer to creatures mutated by the Machine's radiation makes a lot of sense in that context - it's the thing that causes all those weird undiscovered or bizarre creatures, because it's the Generic Urban Legend fountainhead.

Fair enough; it makes sense. That said, I only just recently upgraded from the NWoD 1e to the CoD 2e core-book, and I was seriously thrown to see the God Machine as a baseline assumption.

Don't get me wrong, I really like the God-Machine as an Eldritch Horror story-building concept. If you want something that reads as alien, without being Purple Mango Crazy, the cold purposefulness of a machine that does what it was engineered to do without emotion, ego, or empathy is a chilling start. Even if some of the things it does seem mad, the unwavering determination of a literal Deus ex Machina lend them an assumed and ominous design. Also, that reality is an OS that can be restored to a previous version is the best rational for time travel I may have ever seen.

But, especially given the tool-kit approach of the Chronicles of Darkness, where you're encouraged to say 'Yes, werewolves, prometheans, and changelings, but no vampires, mages, or demons;" (or any combination of the above,) etc, etc... it feels odd that the default answer to why the supernatural exists is an occult-punk The Matrix

Carados posted:

There are five different kind of Wildness Apes and they all have different powers and opinions about the others.


Don't ask a Bigfoot about a Wendigo, they'll never shut up.


Now I really want to GM this scenario so loving bad.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


I'd really like someone more familiar with D&D 5e to do an F&F of Wendy's Feast of Legend.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





So, I wouldn't say the God-Machine is the default origin of cryptids, precisely. Just that, in games where the God-Machine exists, it's the reason you get cryptids. The God-Machine thrives on being both material and omnipresent, a sort of universal material conspiracy to oppress and exploit the world (it's capitalism, get it). So, if the Machine exists, that's what causes cryptids and here are some rules for that interpretation.

Whereas if I just want common or garden bigfeet, that's an ape with a glandular problem and is easy enough to stat up. Or it's a human precursor from the Time Before and Mages are super interested in it. Or it's a kind of spirit that Werewolves have to hunt. Or whatever.

But if there's a Machine, cryptids being a waste product makes sense. (Just like, if the Supernal exists in your game of Chronicles, then a lot of things in human history are intertwined with the rise and descent of symbols in the platonic overworld, and you can assume that all the goings-on of other supernatural lines must in the end have some Supernal resonance, because the Supernal is literally the base code for everything that's not Abyss).

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

Jerik posted:

Well, unless I'm misinterpreting something, there also seems to be this, which I thought was interesting:


That seems to imply that different monsters have different sizes of hit dice. Is that correct? Because if so, that's something that definitely wasn't in 2E—all 2E monsters had eight-sided hit dice. (Not counting those monsters that had a fixed number of hit points and didn't have hit dice at all.) Different hit die sizes for different types of monster wasn't a thing till 3E.

Skipping ahead to No Humans Allowed, that is indeed the case! (Even for the pure "monsters", the ones who don't have any human DNA.)

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


Thank you for introducing me to matrix 2: plane of dead lains.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Chapter 6: Character Creation, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 6: Character Creation


When doing an FnF, there's always the question of how detailed you want to go. Now, simply writing everything down is boring (and probably close to copyright violation), while going very abstract feels unsatisfactory. I'm striving for information level close to what Unhallowed Metropolis' FnF was, I guess.

Anyways, I'll strike an unhappy medium by detailing the character concepts requested by forum poster Nessus, as well as the Abomination, since it's terrible. I'll give a brief description for the rest.

Do remember that the +'s only raise the cap, not actually add to said stat.

0. Adventurer – you're doing the adventure thing because settling down is boring.

I. The Creator - The Magician in IRL tarot

quote:

Everything crumbles. Humans simply die. Only their buildings and inventions, the knowledge from their lifetime, survives. The need to leave their legacy, to keep their name from being forgotten, is what drives Creators. They are constantly working meticulously, seeking the biggest challenges to prove themselves worthy by mastering them. They build monoliths, construct defensive walls for villages, weld together pipes for irrigation systems, or consider the awakening of the Stream their life’s work.
Nothing motivates a Creator more than the desire to build a monument to his name through his endeavors.



+Agility, +(CHA) Arts, +(INT) Engineering

II. The Mentor – You seek immortality through being a link in a chain of mentors that continues through the ages. You hate people who use internet for cat pictures and not Coursera.

III. The Martyr – You're the Warhammer 40,000 Crusader or the war-like version of the Anabaptist Ascetic.

IV. The Ruler – A combo of a totalitarian dictator and micromanager. Your biggest fear is “assigning power and responsibility to others.”

V. The Seeker – The Hierophant IRL

quote:

Where do we come from, and where do we go? The questions of life and death vex the Seeker. He wants to unravel the mysteries of the world, dissect them down to the bones, ask questions no one has ever asked before—and answer them. What is behind the 2 to the power of 16 phenomenon? Where did the asteroids come from? What is the nature of the Primer? Was this really the first impact? The Seeker digs in the thicket of the past and in the labs of the present for explanations, but time is hot on his heels.

You're a player character! :derptiel:

+Intellect, +(INT) Artifact lore, +(INT) Science

VI. Healer – You want to fix stuff, be it wounds, broken tech or barren soil.

VII. The Traditionalist – The Chariot IRL

quote:

Order is safety; it separates the humans from the apes. It prevents humanity from wandering aimlessly and falling prey to the next pack of Gendos. Those who stay true to the traditions, honor the family and act accordingly, chase chaos from the world. Anarchy is anathema to the traditionalist. He implores people to look to the past when today’s questions are hard to bear. He clings to the ancient rules, never adapting them, no matter what happens. It would sweep him off his feet. He hates change, only wanting to guarantee continuity.

The Ben Shapiro archetype!

+Instinct, +(INT) Legends, +(CHA) Conduct

VIII. The Mediator – You’re a centrist diplomat who believes that “emotion should take second place to reason.” :decorum:

IX. The Hermit – The Hermit IRL

quote:

People chatter all the time, so much so that every thought drowns in the sea of spoken inanities that constantly surround us. The hermit does not want companionship. He dislikes everybody. He does not want to communicate and is not interested in the stories of others. In a group, he always flees to the fringe, needing his distance from the din of the world. Life as a loner is so much better. No responsibility towards anybody: being left to his own devices makes the Hermit happy. Only in absolute solitude does he find peace.

If the Stream was still around, going on an adventure instead of drawing endless comics about introverts would be breaking character

+Instinct, +(INS) Survival, +(AGI) Stealth

X. The Heretic – You want to break down religion/civilization/tradition just cuz.



Here's an adorable callback to break up the text.

XI. The Conqueror – You’re a real life WAAC, morale be damned.

XII. The Abomination – Jared Leto wrote this while working on The Suicide Squad:

quote:

Some people have seen too much. Something within them has broken, guiding their thoughts down strange paths. No one wants to be around them. The ways of the Abomination disturb those who meet him. His proximity makes them shiver. He sucks in the fright he awakens in others like mother’s milk. It nourishes and disturbs him, adding to his weirdness. He loves getting lost in fantasies and seeing the fire of fear burn in his opponent’s eyes. When others realize that he has shed any civilized emotions like compassion or responsibility, they see a feral beast looking at them through his eyes. Madness squats in the Abomination’s brain. He is a clockwork bomb without clockwork. Tick tock.

This is probably the most up-their-own-arse concept in the chapter, and we already have The Conqueror.

+Psyche, +(PSY) Domination, +(BOD) Toughness

XIII. The Destroyer – You break down stuff to make place for something new to grow – or just because you hate it. The book isn't clear.

XIV. The Chosen – You're a cult leader high on his own farts, so you’re Jordan B. Peterson and such.

XV. The Defiler – You're mad that others have nice things.

XVI. The Protector – You will protect whatever you're determined to protect unto death. Legally distinct from the Martyr because you don't need to deny yourself when not protecting stuff.

XVII. The Visionary – The Star IRL

quote:

When knowledge finally steps out of time and into the foreground of reality, the Visionary has already seen it. He sees the course of the future, thinks decades ahead, accuses unbelievers, and implores people to be reasonable. He hopes to pave the way for a better tomorrow. His intellect and his visions determine humanity’s progress.

You probably have shares in Boring Co.

+Charisma, +(CHA) Seduction, +(PSY) Cunning

XVIII. The Zealot – Like The Martyr, but for religion/cause rather than people

XIX. The Disciple – You would really love to fall down an endless Wiki hole.

XX. The Righteous – You have the nuanced world views and action plans of Rorschach.

XXI. The Traveler – The World IRL.

quote:

The Traveler must wander the world to grow by experiencing it and its people. He collects impressions and experiences like others collect Gendo skulls, but he does not keep them to himself. He spreads good and bad news, connecting the hinterland to the metropolis, linking Clans and Cults. He is restless; he longs for the road.

The descriptions get a lot shorter towards the end of the list, lol.

+Instinct, +(INT) Legends, +(INS) Orienteering

So that's character concepts! Some of them have very subtle differences between categories. Me, I'm not a fan, since this step seems very much like encouraging system mastery/working towards building a power character.

Next time: being in the reclamation business is a lot like being in a Cult

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Enemy Action
Part 14: Another Zombie Producing Thing


This one's a plant! nWoD has so many ways to do this.

Graveyard Bristle is a plant that brings the dead back to life. Sort of. Certainly the people that raise it think it can. It, uh...well, it started out as just a normal vine under St. Jude of Hellenia Chapel, home of an angel's cult. They were not particularly good caretakers of Infrastructure, though, and between poor maintenance and fights with demons, the area became heavily exposed to Aether. In one case, this caused the vines to grow large and tangled, which was ignored for a while until a gardener happened to bury his dead pet cat under it. Within days, a cocoon had formed, and not long after it hatched into a perfect replica of the cat in all respects. Now, those who raise the vine charge heavy prices to bury the dead under it. In truth, of course, the vine can't actually resurrect the dead, but they don't tell people that. The things born of the Graveyard Bristle do not have all of the memories they had in life - and worse, they inevitably go insane and become violent towards their grower. The gardeners call them the briardead, and once they kill those close to them, they die and melt into a blob of rotting plants.

Graveyard Bristle itself looks like a patch of thick vines with a stump in the middle and maybe some red sheen to the leaves. Oh, and if you can sense Aether it has Aether in it. It's hard to grow at first, but once it's there it's not going away. If a fresh corpse gets buried under it, it forms a cocoon that grows to, roughly, the size of the corpse. The briardead appear to be broadly the same as the original body they grew from, but have only fragmentary memories. Over several weeks they grow stronger and more vital, their skin turns gray-brown and the ends of their fingers become sharp and pointy. As their lifespan ends, they turn on anyone nearby and attempt to kill them.

Typically, use of Graveyard Bristle to "resurrect" the dead leaves everyone involved fairly traumatized even if they survive, so rumors about its abilities usually lack any kind of safety instructions or context. Desperate people grieving their losses might hear about its ability to raise the dead and have no idea of the side effects. The gardeners try to raise it without revealing it to the world, which means most specialized information that other people get on the plant is from old journals and notes, traded with friends or sold on the darkweb. The briardead, meanwhile, are not the people they were born of, and their strange, plant-based needs and urges rarely seem rational to their loved ones. The briardead themselves do not understand what's happening to them, and they are unable to explain why they feel "different" from when they were "alive." This only gets worse as they begin to wither and die and their unnatural anger starts to form. Some growers believe that they can be kept healthy by careful tending of the parent plant, but if so, it's not widely known.

The Graveyard Bristle itself doesn't have stats. It's a plant. It can't fight, it's not intelligent and it can't move. Briardead start out with the stats they had in life for the first few weeks, but if attacked or they start wilting, they rapidly gain speed and toughness, the ability to fight well, and sprout claws and the ability to fire off sharp thorns. They may or may not retain any skills they had in life due to their fragmented memories, and interaction with other people can help them remember more of who they were.


A very confused bug.

The Hatchling began life as a normal bug that happened to be nearby when an angel Fell. The newborn demon didn't last long before being taken out by hunter angels, and as the corpse began to rot, a beetle laid eggs in it. The Aether within the demon corpse killed all but one of the larvae, but that one just kept getting bigger and bigger. It is now large enough to pretend to be human, which it does every so often for a little while, but it much prefers to remain in its natural form: a half-insect monster man. It has no idea what it is, having consumed some of the demon's memories but not any purpose. It doesn't even know why it exists, and without an insect colony it's always super lonely. It wants to survive and reproduce, but it has no idea where to find fresh demon corpses on its own. It mostly hangs out near Infrastructure and other places where it can sense the Aether of demons and angels, hoping it can either find or make fresh bodies. The entire plan is super simple: find body, lay eggs in body, make a colony, have a home. Its idea of home is thousands of other bugs all around it, hibernating, feeding and expanding according to its nature. It is calculating, but essentially it thinks like a very smart animal. It is also ferociously determined, and it will fight very hard to protect anything it manages to make.

In its natural form, the Hatchling is a giant green bug. It's seven feet tall, walks on two legs and has fingers that end in stingers, plus two giant moth-like wings and extremely human eyes. It also has human toes. It can create an illusion around itself to appear human, but it doesn't really know what normal people are like, so it looks more like a very well-designed mannequin - perfect hair, everything in place, but none of its clothes can be taken off or even adjusted, its expression never changes and its skin and hair have a weird shine.

The Hatchling is very young, but in its explorations it is sometimes mistaken for other things out there - mothmen legends, for example. It tends to kill witnesses if it knows they exist, having inherited the paranoia of the demon it was born from, but it doesn't always notice or catch everyone. Eventually it's probably going to get on a Hunter's radar. It produces a buzzing noise in its natural form that drives other insects crazy, causing them to swarm all over, divebomb cars, infest homes and in general be super aggressive and weird for bugs. It has not yet learned how to control this ability, but once it does it will have minions. Bug minions. It's also learning how to mimic emotions and actions in its human disguise, primarily by trial and error. It acts weird and gross a lot, watches everyone else to try and see how they do things, and does its best to stay quiet. It does stuff like 'order a burger, pour an entire bottle of ketchup and another of mustard on it, then eat it' or 'poke uselessly at a steak because it has no idea how to eat one.' If confronted violently for being a rude, gross weirdo, it would likely try to kill whoever accosted it and then flee the area forever.

The Hatchling isn't stupid by any means - it's actually very smart and cunning, plus inhumanly fast and super tough, it's just completely unsocialized, has no idea how humans work and is a giant bug. It can poison people with its stingers, can disguise itself, can fly, and eventually it'll figure out how to command insects. Oh, and it's very dodgy and its skin is better armor than kevlar.

Next time: The Enigmatic Pyre, the Tree of Knowledge

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Body Snatcher tree could be a great factory of deniable and untraceable one use assets if you could figure how to prime the clones towards assaulting a specific target .

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!


Nobilis 2E



Ye Propere Noune

So this next section is on how to be, motherfucker, a "Hollyhock God," which I will repeat is some aggressively twee bullshit in terms of naming, also yet another flower reference.

It is of course written in-character, because that's a great way to write one of the closest things this game has to something technical or rules-related. Or it claims to be written in-character, anyway, supposedly "Ianthe" writes it but it's in the exact same authorial voice as everything that's come before. So colour me loving confused.

Anyway, as much poo poo as I'm starting out giving this chapter, the description of the GM's "job" is actually one of the better ones I've come across. Essentially: make sure people have fun, figure out what each player considers to be fun and what sort of treatment of their character they enjoy(i.e. some players will happily see their characters vaporized and roll a new one, others will be heartbroken if they suffer any sort of permanent or even impermanent damage), be ready to tell vast epic tales but also be ready to adjust your plans if your players go off the rails, your success is more in your players' enjoyment than in your getting to tell your big fancy story.

It actually has some solid advice on how to describe and set a scene, lead with the big fancy description as the players arrive(so they know what they're dealing with and what props are there to interact with and bounce off), and then keep descriptions during the action more concise. There's more to it than that, of course, but I think this is the first RPG book I've come across that actually offers advice on this side of GM'ing. Usually the advice is almost purely concerned with the mechanical aspects, balancing loot, balancing encounters, how often to call for rolls, the appropriate lethality, etc. which are, to be sure, vital points. But being able to bring players into the mood of a game is just as vital, if not more. Players who are enchanted with the mood and setting will more easily forgive a rules kerfluffle or disappointment than someone who's only barely tolerating your description of Snacklord Retchup's Orichalcum Hotdog.

It addresses what's frankly very basic poo poo like how to deal with split parties and apportion screen time appropriately(i.e. evenly) to players which other RPG's seem to completely ignore. This chunk of text, I'll be honest, feels like it badly needs to be copypasted into every "how 2 GM"-section in every other RPG book out there.

quote:

Accordingly, you control how the story begins. However, you cannot control where it will go from there.Dictating the pcs’ choices is the canonical sin of the Hollyhock God. It will sentence your soul to the ninth circle of Hell.

It's funny to me because Moran wrote for Exalted which to me is a terrible game for precisely this reason, that it's laden with chances for the GM to interfere and tell players what their characters do. But I agree with this, I agree with this eight thousand percent.

So long story short, this part is well-written enough, and even has a joke or two that I actually smirked at, that it almost makes me forgive the idiot name for the GM that the book insists on using.

Ye Settinge

So, the setting. We've already hit a few pieces of it, this is simultaneously Real Earth and Occult Earth, also there's Yggdrassil, of which the topmost realm is Heaven and the bottom-most realm is Hell. And if you walk too far from Yggdrassil you enter the LANDS BEYOND CREATION which are probably a bad place to be. Then we're treated to a description of the four supergods that rule Earth.

They're Lord Entropy(whose description is hilariously edgy. "The touch of Lord Entropy is corruption, and so dark have been his deeds that his hands drip forever with blood." Is just the start of it. Ananda, who doesn't do anything but is real pretty. Ha-Qadosch who always votes for more stuff for himself. And Surolam who always votes for stuff to stay the same. Lord Entropy's the guy to blame for the GOD LAWS which are as follows: Don't fall in love, don't kill innocents, don't take orders from dogs(okay, it's "treat no beast as your lord", but that's basically the same. it's supposed to be an edgy way of going "don't do what humans tell you to do"), don't hide anyone from the god cops, do as your boss tells you, and don't sell out reality to the store-brand Abyssals.

It's actually kind of a shame that Nobilis is about playing the GRAND HIGH CONCEPT GODLORDS because buried in like, one incidental paragraph of text is a pretty cool game concept, Ananda's "Ombudsmen," basically a bunch of divine civil servants whose job it is to ensure that human society moves forwards and not backwards, wallpapering over cracks between the mundane and mythical, dunking on those who sabotage scientific progress(like anti-vaxxers and those who claim to have made advances they have not) and hunting down supernatural beasts that prey on those beneficial to the world. There's basically a role for every safeguarding any given part of society, and it seems a lot more approachable and playable than so many other things in this setting, with far more clearly-built goals and tasks.

An awful fuckload of words are spent on going: "the world is both as myth would have it and as science would have it at the same time, but no matter what happens in the myth world, it's always happening by-the-scientific-rules in the mundane world, unless a PC-tier or higher god does it, because then it happens in both worlds at once, is patently impossible and probably drives most of humanity immediately insane from having witnessed something supernatural. Also the dinosaurs were destroyed because one of them pooped near an angel which made him so angry he destroyed them all. I have no idea why the setting needs this little anecdote.

THE MYTHICKE WORLDE is basically like the world of Exalted where every object and force in the world, whether animate or not, has a spirit and some degree of sentience and personality as a result. Better hope your burger is into vore or that's gonna be one real loving awkward dinner.

Also in Nobilis, all cops are evil, this is written two lines before insisting that most cops truly do just want to "serve and protect." Also in Nobilis people, are more religious and by default this leads to more wars. That's one gently caress of a spicy take.

Now, part of the problem with this setting is that Nobilis is, at least as it has been pitched so far, all about protecting Earth from the evil Excrucians that want to melt it all down for their ????? reasons. Except the writing also basically does its very best to make Earth sound like a shithole not worth saving. All cops are bastards, all religions are bad and promote wars, all human governments are corrupt because Lord Entropy sold them evil magical powers(and thus they're part of the Camorra) or the Excrucians control them. It's like, grats, you take down the Excrucians, that just frees up Lord Entropy to make the world poo poo on a regular basis. The game seems to be missing the elephant in the room which is that most players I can think of would go: "hm, this Lord Entropy fucko seems like an intense jackass, the world isn't really worth saving while he's around" and would definitely do their best to try and dunk on him and his plans, somehow, and the writing so far barely even seems like it acknowledges this as a reasonable or expected goal.

So there are also some non-Earth worlds to explore. Abaton: a hollow Earth whose gods experiment with weaponized words. The Acmonion Wood: where angels and devils handle their booty calls, excrucians try to burn it down to turn them all into incels and thus destroy their morale. Aelfscienne: it has elves. Dionyl: an early alpha for Earth full of sentient clothes. Jotunheim: a world of backwards farming giants that forge magic items, also the excrucians have almost destroyed them. Serpenthane: it's a big branch full of pretty things to keep Aaron's Serpents from trying to climb up to Heaven which isn't well-engineered enough to support their weight. There's some sort of joke in there, it feels like. Hell: is an unimaginatively bad place(lakes of bad, demons whip humans a lot and laugh, etc.), ruled by a truly incoherent philosophy that I can't tell whether is incoherent on purpose or the author trying desperately to make Lucifer sound cool. Heaven: is a Minecraft server for angels, forever chipping away at their voxel wonderland trying to get it just right and occasionally griefing each other when they disagree about it. they're much too busy to house any dead people, though, and just tell pure souls to go away, plz. also you can't get in unless you're like an 11 on the 1 to 10 scale of being pretty. The Wyld: Whoops sorry I mean "The Lands Beyond Creation," you find a way through the WEIRDING WALL of BLUE FLAME around all Creation and then you're in wacky chaosville where things are disordered for ???? reasons.

Exciting setting, isn't it? Honestly I feel like some parts of it are interesting but a lot of it rather just makes me feel "why bother?" and I don't feel it really conveys any of the sense of magical wonder that I feel it wants to convey, considering how often it harps on about the cool things the Powers can and do, do. The parts that try to be weird feel like cheap knockoffs or wackyrandom, and the parts that are interestingly weird, like Aaron's Serpents and the Divine Ombudsmen don't really feel like they've had a decent amount of detail given to them so far.

Next up: The book deigns to tell us what we're actually supposed to do in this setting.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





A strong entry in the hotly-contested race to spell "Elftown" in the most convoluted and pretentious way possible.

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!


It feels like the Hatchling is intended as purely an enemy, but at the same time its fundamental motivations are relatively innocent and pure, and at no point do they write "it attacks on sight, inscrutably, roll for initiative," so I feel like most PC groups, once they know what they're dealing with, would attempt some sort of peaceful resolution. Would demons have the necessary powers to create more of the Hatchling, i.e. give it a family/civilization, without needing a bunch of dead demons/angels for them to grow in? Then again, dead angels are kind of a thing that a lot of demons want, so they could also cut a bargain that they'll provide it with dead angels to lay eggs in it if it helps them.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Whether the Hatchling can reproduce without God-Machine-related corpses is up to the individual GM. Now, the other question is 'what the hell are you going to do with a hive of seven-foot paranoid bugs.'

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


The Holycock God must be a terrible enemy in FATAL 20th Anniversary Edition

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition

Post 11: Magic and Monsters

One of the standout bits of the core book for 1e is how extensive the monster manual is. 2e's core has enough stuff to get a game started, but you really need/want Old World Bestiary for 2e (which is fine, as OWB is one of 2e's best sourcebooks anyway). But 1e? 1e's got as many or more monsters, enemies, etc as you get in 2e's monster manual right here in the core book, and that's genuinely good value for a core game. Which is another thing that stands out about 1st edition: It leaves room for splatbooks and extra work, and even promises such things are coming, but you can absolutely run the game with just the core book no problem. It's a very complete book: Gear, magic, character rules, a fairly thorough published adventure in the back, a full bestiary, enough setting and history information to get started, and it does all that in about 300 pages. This is definitely a point in its favor as a published product.

Another interesting thing for me is that the stats are by and large pretty similar to 2nd edition's enemies. 2e alters some stuff, but they're mostly based on the same tabletop game and the same tabletop monsters, and much of what 2e adds in is giving monsters more skills and talents and a few more standardized special rules to bring them more in line with PC-style statblocks. This is also a function of how 1e and 2e treat making 'elite' monsters: 2e gives you creature careers to add on top of a monster's statline (giving them as many or as few advances as you wish from the Career) while 1e has a couple 'hero' and 'champion' templates you overlay onto a monster to give it bonuses. In general, 2e reflects the style of its time (remember it began work in 2002) where there was a general push to have monsters and PCs built from the same rules, and 2e was generally simple enough to make that actually work, unlike 3rd edition D&D, while 1e was happy to just give you a general stat-block for enemies and mostly leave them without skills otherwise. 1e also puts a lot of fluff in its monster entries, though it doesn't have the full range of fluff something like Old World Bestiary could.

Seriously, all the stuff about the various elf types? From the Bestiary section. Also, Beastmen were already sort of losers and jobbers for Chaos in 1e. 1e also had the Fimir, who were later removed because of their weird thing where they were giant lizard/turtle men who mostly raided to steal human women to breed with. Because one of 4e's general goals seems to be to put anything from 1e back into the game (with some work to update it), the Fimir are back in 4e but stripped of the weird 'they steal our women for sex and breeding!' nonsense and instead written as abductors and Chaos worshipers who kidnap anyone they can. Which is fine, because the rest of the Fimir fluff (they used to be favored of Chaos, but then it stopped taking their calls and now they consistently get tricked by demons who snicker and say sure, further my aims and I'll put you through to Slaanesh or whatever) is pretty fun once you strip out the creepy stuff.

Oh, also, Gnomes existed in 1e (and were again, brought back in 4e, for some reason). They seem to have been intended as the goblin to the dwarf's orc, so to speak. They're basically lovely dwarfs, being smaller, weaker, and even more surly. Seriously, their only description is basically 'dwarfs, but assholes and also shittier, and also dying out even faster and not at all important'. No wonder they were originally removed; they don't really do much besides kind of suck.

Giants were described as much more diverse compared to the sad alcoholics of later editions. They could be any alignment; good and wise giants existed. They also had really complex rules for falling over and falling on people if they were drunk. Ogres are as they have always been, obese but not actually evil despite their propensity for sometimes eating people after they win battles and prone to mercenary work. Instead of an attempted supersoldier against Chaos that never got finished, Ogres are just a stable mutant form of human. Orcs in 1e are described as a minor local issue; something that used to be a problem in the old days but that lacks the technology or organization to present a serious threat to the existence of human civilization.

Humans being divided into Norsemen, Old Worlders, Arabians, Steppe Nomads, and Orientals is a bit of a sign of the times, though they all have the same stats. Southeast Asia in Hams World is described as 'populated by stone age headhunting barbarians' while Nippon and Cathay are 'ordered civilizations', which is a little oh dear. Arabians are the Ottoman Empire. PCs are all assumed to be Old Worlders: Westerners. None of the stuff you get in later editions about how it's fine to play someone from Araby, etc. Have I mentioned this was written in the 80s.

Oh, and there used to be Half Orcs, and they were as terrible as Half Orcs always are, hated by everyone for being mixed race. They were 'originally kept as slaves' by human societies that have decided since they're not worth it since they're too dangerous, and some have decided they should just be exterminated instead. Yeah...I don't know how or why that trope became so pervasive in fantasy for awhile.

Our Strong Rat Sons the Skaven were already recognizable as modern Skaven. They're what happened to the rats that lived in the Old Slaan cities when everything exploded, and now the Strong Rat Sons are out to gnaw away the entire world while screaming and dying in droves. 4 Great Clan, Council of 13, GREAT HORNED RAT, all of it was already there in 1986.

Original Vampires had a massively annoying set of subsystems where they had to eat magic points from people by taking their blood and then spend magic points to be active. They were a hell of a lot harder to kill back in 1e, too. The vamp template was +30 to most things, +20 to all the mental and social stats, +3 to S and T, +3 to Attacks, and +15 Wounds, plus you had to take them out with magic weapons or their weaknesses to actually put them down. A vamp who was taken out with a magic weapon would go down, but wouldn't die; they could get back up if someone gave them blood. They also became immune to sun if they were dormant, though you could burn the body/behead them to finish them off. If left dormant too long, they would rot away and die like a normal corpse. It was wild. They also had all the weaknesses but all of them had all their strengths. Oh, and Chaos God symbols didn't do poo poo to them back in the old days.

Speaking of magic weapons, this is a good place to put this, since you actually needed magic weapons like in D&D to put down some monsters in the old days. 1e is, I think, the only of the percentile WHFRP games that actually expected PCs would get magic treasure in the course of most campaigns. They're in the core book, in detail, and the advice is to 'keep them rare enough that they elicit excitement, but not so rare that players despair of finding them'. So you were actually supposed to get them in 1e, as opposed to 2e saying 'It's insanely rare that anyone in the setting has more than 3 actual magic items' and 4e barely talks about them outside of temporary enchantments and spells. Also interesting is that most of the items in 2e are adaptations of the random magic weapon and item tables from 1e; the Chaos Weapon table contains adaptations of almost every weapon trait in 1e, for instance. Given magic armor can do stuff like give you 'armor +3' and thus give you +3 DR, or weapons can do things like double your damage, magic items can be as crazy as they've always been in Hams. They've always felt like they struggled to find a place to slot in, and 1e is no exception; considering that, I'm not that surprised later editions made them rarer and assumed PCs mostly wouldn't deal with them. Though I think that caused its own problems.

Almost every weird monster published in other sourcebooks in WHFRP2e is already in the 1e bestiary. Once you start getting to the big monsters, you encounter a genuinely interesting game design conceit: Like a lot of games of the age, monsters have attacks like 'claw, claw, bite' or whatever. In 1e, that's actually deployed to a useful effect: Those attacks have facing restrictions for the monster, and divide up its attacks to ensure it can't focus all its many attacks on one PC at a time. So say you're fighting a Dragon, because you're apparently suicidal and want to take on something with DR 9, 59 Wounds, 6 attacks, Str 7, and that generally isn't even evil or hostile. The Dragon has 4 Stomps, a Tail Lash, and a Bite. Stomps can be made in any direction, the bite is front facing only, and the tail lash is only to the sides/rear. Some monsters have genuinely weak facings, because you're expected to surround them and you're intended to be using a battle map. The Dragon is so dangerous because they don't really have a 'weak' facing, but other monsters do, in an attempt to put a positioning element into fighting big boss monsters and to keep them from just picking one PC each turn and focus-firing them. It's a neat idea that really wasn't carried forward into 2e (which wanted to simplify things) or 4e (which instead uses these as the only source of multi-attacks for monsters, to let them fight parties).

Also interesting to me that even in 1e, the whole 'dragons are mostly decent and intelligent beings who will leave you alone unless you gently caress with them' thing was already there. Though I personally enjoy the later addition of 'Also, moving the planet's orbit hosed them over and some of them are really justifiably bitter about that'. I like Hams dragons, they're rare enough to be novel when they show up and they're usually fun.

Original flavor Chaos Warriors were still highly skilled, dangerous soldiers (though not as tough as later versions), described by their distinctive plate armor and their propensity for 'helmets that are often elaborate to the point of bordering on impractical'. Even when humankind falls to the powers of cosmic destruction, their desire for totally sweet hats remains.

In general, 1e has a wilder and wider variety of monsters and potential enemies because there was more of an urge to put every standard fantasy monster into the setting at the time. A lot of this stuff got moved out of the setting as things solidified in later years, and some new things got moved in; overall I think no-one really misses elementals or half orcs. Still, the very thorough and very complete bestiary is a great thing to have in a core book for a game. It's colorful, it's got lots of extra fluff, and it's got a few really unfortunate sections because it was written in the 80s. Still, on the whole, it's in keeping with the rest of the book: Surprisingly solid.

Next Time: Wrapping Up

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

PurpleXVI posted:

They're Lord Entropy(whose description is hilariously edgy. "The touch of Lord Entropy is corruption, and so dark have been his deeds that his hands drip forever with blood." Is just the start of it. Ananda, who doesn't do anything but is real pretty. Ha-Qadosch who always votes for more stuff for himself. And Surolam who always votes for stuff to stay the same. Lord Entropy's the guy to blame for the GOD LAWS which are as follows: Don't fall in love, don't kill innocents, don't take orders from dogs(okay, it's "treat no beast as your lord", but that's basically the same. it's supposed to be an edgy way of going "don't do what humans tell you to do"), don't hide anyone from the god cops, do as your boss tells you, and don't sell out reality to the store-brand Abyssals.

Ananda got an expanded description in this edition (as do his Chancel and the ombudsmen), and Surolam gets an expanded description in 3e. The joke is that the upcoming fourth edition will have to complete the quartet by explaining what Ha-Qadosch Berakha is all about.

quote:

An awful fuckload of words are spent on going: "the world is both as myth would have it and as science would have it at the same time, but no matter what happens in the myth world, it's always happening by-the-scientific-rules in the mundane world, unless a PC-tier or higher god does it, because then it happens in both worlds at once, is patently impossible and probably drives most of humanity immediately insane from having witnessed something supernatural.

It's actually a PC-only problem. Imperators don't disrupt prosaic reality because whatever they do is, by definition, the ordinary way of things. 3e gives few more details on this — basically, the engine that runs "prosaic" reality is starting to strain because the science behind everything has gotten so complex and it now has to keep track of every goddamned atom everywhere, so anything that abruptly changes the world by magic may or may not get explained away.

Excrucians have their own version of this problem which you might describe as "better" or "worse" depending on your perspective, and which will appear for the first time in Glitch.

quote:

Also in Nobilis, all cops are evil, this is written two lines before insisting that most cops truly do just want to "serve and protect."

I've mentioned before to Jenna that lawyers just giggle bitterly when they see "guilty until proven innocent" presented as a meaningful variation on our legal system.

quote:

Now, part of the problem with this setting is that Nobilis is, at least as it has been pitched so far, all about protecting Earth from the evil Excrucians that want to melt it all down for their ????? reasons. Except the writing also basically does its very best to make Earth sound like a shithole not worth saving. All cops are bastards, all religions are bad and promote wars, all human governments are corrupt because Lord Entropy sold them evil magical powers(and thus they're part of the Camorra) or the Excrucians control them. It's like, grats, you take down the Excrucians, that just frees up Lord Entropy to make the world poo poo on a regular basis. The game seems to be missing the elephant in the room which is that most players I can think of would go: "hm, this Lord Entropy fucko seems like an intense jackass, the world isn't really worth saving while he's around" and would definitely do their best to try and dunk on him and his plans, somehow, and the writing so far barely even seems like it acknowledges this as a reasonable or expected goal.

This is similar to some of the comments I've seen on the premise of Glitch. Honestly, I don't think Jenna thought it was necessary to explain why people might want to save the world? Or why they might struggle against Lord Entropy's rule? It's kind of obvious.

You could probably put a lot of thought into Nobilis' exact position on this, because I don't think Jenna really approached it from the position that the world has to be objectively good for people to want to save it, whether that's because she's a person with a lot of troubles or because she's been watching a lot of Kino's Journey. You'll probably see it even more in Glitch, where the protagonists have given up on ending the world even though they absolutely don't think the world is good.

The Nobilis setting is generally one with a lot of exaggerated goods and bads, where angels build beautiful neighborhoods that evildoers cannot touch, and monsters live in schools (or are their principals). Sometimes this comes across a little flat because the basic details were written in the late 90s and show a lot of influence from the White Wolf of that period.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

(A while back there was some discussion about whether Lord Entropy's Estates ought to be changed up a bit, given that he's kind of laser-focused on being the Designated rear end in a top hat while most other Imperators, even terrible ones, tend to have a bit of random weirdness stuck in there like being the Fallen Angel of Tears, Fears, and Dogs.

I also sometimes wonder if the Windflower Law really gets used that much given that most GMs aren't really up to running an exciting courtroom drama.)

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



If you keep getting similar complaints telling you a thing is a problem for people, have you considered that perhaps it is actually a problem for people?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


More RPGs need to include creative writing advice in their GMing sections. The more people acknowledge that GMing is a creative writing project in addition to everything else, the better.

That said, Hollyhock God and Aelfscienne. Really.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:45 on Oct 8, 2019

Serf
May 5, 2011




Night10194 posted:

More RPGs need to include creative writing advice in their GMing sections. The more people acknowledge that GMing is a creative writing project in addition to everything else, the better.

i was surprised at how many people vehemently deny this and hate the idea of the gm using a homemade setting or coming up with their own adventures. and there's people who go even further than that and think that anything beyond the most basic fantasy trappings is useless and stupid

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!


Mors Rattus posted:

Whether the Hatchling can reproduce without God-Machine-related corpses is up to the individual GM. Now, the other question is 'what the hell are you going to do with a hive of seven-foot paranoid bugs.'

If you need help moving I'm pretty sure they could carry around some couches like no one's business. Also presumably if you're a Demon the answer is "get them to murder more Angels and laugh from the sidelines."

Rand Brittain posted:

This is similar to some of the comments I've seen on the premise of Glitch. Honestly, I don't think Jenna thought it was necessary to explain why people might want to save the world? Or why they might struggle against Lord Entropy's rule? It's kind of obvious.

I mean, yes, you want to save the world, it's where you keep all your stuff. But the whole "Excrucians ending the world"-thing feels very... distant, like nothing that's likely to happen in any meaningful way tomorrow or next week or even next month. Meanwhile, things are repeatedly pointed out as being megashit garbage dozens of times right now, and the rear end in a top hat responsible for it is, compared to the Excrucians, very much in sight. You know where he lives, you know who works for him, you know his methods. And the book, at least up till this point, does not seem to encourage or acknowledge that the PC's might want to turn Lord Entropy inside out and toss him to a clutch of Aaron's Serpents.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Serf posted:

i was surprised at how many people vehemently deny this and hate the idea of the gm using a homemade setting or coming up with their own adventures. and there's people who go even further than that and think that anything beyond the most basic fantasy trappings is useless and stupid

This is nuts to me, as well. I don't think I've ever heard of people getting mad about people writing their own adventures before, though; I know there are groups that primarily play pre-published stuff but I usually thought that was a matter of 'writing our own stuff takes ages and we have jobs/just want to meet up and play' which is perfectly reasonable.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I feel like the fact that he's Lord Entropy, God of Evil, and the guy who outlawed love... why do you need to spell out 'hey you might want to overthrow this bastard'?

That just seems incredibly redundant with literally everything about him that you've described. And 'our faction is really lovely but also there's an existential threat' is a pretty standard 90s kind of plot, where you have to balance overthrowing Evil McAwful with not letting the world end.

E: I should note, I have not read much Nobilis at all, but I do enjoy Chuubo's which is a sort of sequel game. In that, the Excrucians basically won and now there's a number of mythical locations floating in unreality and you're starring ina Studio Ghibli movie set there. Lord Entropy quit (and autodismembered?) and left a teenage sequel to run the local high school and as far as I can tell we're all glad he's gone.

So I'm sort of working from the assumption that either getting rid of Lord Entropy is not going to change the outcome of the war with beautiful nullity, or if it does, it might help you actually win to convince everyone that the world deserves to exist (once it's no longer ruled by Lord Entropy).

Joe Slowboat fucked around with this message at 16:02 on Oct 8, 2019

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Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

PurpleXVI posted:

I mean, yes, you want to save the world, it's where you keep all your stuff. But the whole "Excrucians ending the world"-thing feels very... distant, like nothing that's likely to happen in any meaningful way tomorrow or next week or even next month. Meanwhile, things are repeatedly pointed out as being megashit garbage dozens of times right now, and the rear end in a top hat responsible for it is, compared to the Excrucians, very much in sight. You know where he lives, you know who works for him, you know his methods. And the book, at least up till this point, does not seem to encourage or acknowledge that the PC's might want to turn Lord Entropy inside out and toss him to a clutch of Aaron's Serpents.

Well, it's kind of on a dial? Really, I feel like a lot of this kind of thing is inevitably on a dial, along with things like "how many hunter angels does the God-Machine have in your city? A lot? Maybe none? Are you currently under siege by the Sabbat? Has your Keeper found you yet?"

People can totally foment rebellion against Lord Entropy if they want to, but it doesn't have as much focus as the war against the bleak and pretty gods of emptiness.

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