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Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




SkeletonHero posted:

What happened to the Mork Borg review?

Need some good OSR to flush out the Zak S. stink (the stink of pants, freshly-shat in a Chik-Fil-A at Gencon) (allegedly)
Didn't it finish?

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


TK_Nyarlathotep posted:

Don't forget that their newest models are two editions old and just missed the boat on being metal, and some might still be finecast

-continues showing Exhibits until the court dies of old age-

:psyduck:

You sure you don't mean Disposessed?

sasha_d3ath
Jun 3, 2016

Ban-thing the man-things.

SkeletonHero posted:

What happened to the Mork Borg review?

Need some good OSR to flush out the Zak S. stink (the stink of pants, freshly-shat in a Chik-Fil-A at Gencon) (allegedly)

Tell you the truth, the deluge of negativity - both in what's reviewed and people's responses to reviews - kinda killed my enthusiasm for the project. Your question inspired me to get on with it though, so I've busted open the PDF and the word doc. Keep your eyes peeled!

sasha_d3ath
Jun 3, 2016

Ban-thing the man-things.

MÖRK BORG: A PRIMER
THE ART/DESIGN


This is just the credits page.

I loving love the art design in this game. Using a combination of original illustrations, public domain imagery, non-traditional layout styles, and loads of glorious fonts, it’s like the world is being communicated by the book itself rather than simply the words and art. Need an introduction to the setting? This is the first two pages of that chapter:


Lore!

The book’s general design is highly controversial, to say the least. Arguments range from whether or not it’s an obnoxious way for a book to look, to debates about the book’s accessibility. I was originally staunchly against the idea of the game being inaccessible - there’s a lot of resources online, so how can it be? - but certain parts of it are...problematic.


This thing on the right? Don’t do it.

I sincerely wish they’d do a plaintext version of the rules so that more people could get into it, because the graphic design is really fantastic but some people can’t read it. If they had plaintext, they could still admire it while having a way to actually like...process the text.


A pair of nasty monsters.

All that said, I like the way it divides itself into spreads rather than pages. It gives the images a dynamic quality, even doing things like suggesting the comparative size of the monsters on these pages. It sets a standard that many struggle to meet, but everyone who makes stuff for the game has at least tried (I think my stuff is coming along pretty nicely, for one!). Overall, I’m a big fan of the look of the game. I’d change the look of a few pages just a touch and make more accessible options to at least pass around (and I have!), but overall I like the look. It makes a shorter book with a lot more flavor, both of which are badly needed in RPGs.


The good: Colors! Strange designs! Cool fonts! Wow!
The bad: Don’t make text go sideways and upside down and stuff!! Stop it!!

Wow! This was really short, but that's kind of in keeping I guess. I've got a little category left, Usability. I’ll be using it to talk about ways I’ve used the game, ways I’d LIKE to use the game, and go a little over the community content license. Maybe hopefully I won’t wait several months between posts! Later on.

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!


I see they got the same editor as House of Leaves.

And while I appreciate that it looks like a metal album cover as much as possible, I agree, it would be nice to have a more easily readable version.

SkeletonHero
Sep 7, 2010

Skeleton War 2020


Good stuff, thank you for the update.

I think my favorite piece of design in the book is the weapons chart that is just some poor dude being hit with all of them at once.

Lemony
Jul 27, 2010

Now With Fresh Citrus Scent!


Hah, that sounds very appropriate. Like one of those old school medieval medical manuals with the Wound Man. At least, I think that's what they're called.

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006







Grimey Drawer

Mork Borg seems cool, thanks for continuing the review! I really want to dig the OSR weird and horrible style, but the few books I've had recommended were very, very clearly written by absolutely stunning geniuses who are furious the world doesn't respect how important random swearing, random edgy stuff like necrophilia-inducing magic and butchered reimaginings of superior literature are. It seems like half of them include a ham-handed "critic" monster (as seen in Blue Medusa) that just randomly calls things good art or bad art and attacks anyone who disagrees with them. I just about die from second-hand embarrassment every time.

The vibe I get from Mork Borg is who gives a gently caress, let's be metal as hell and drat the consequences. It's really refreshing. As long as it doesn't go down the above route I may check it out.

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006







Grimey Drawer

this was a double post

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


Speaking of overdue reviews, BrikWars part 5 is in the works. There's not too much left of Book 2, and I might digress and address some of the mechanical things and what I'd change. It's been delayed due to a few lovely weeks, but I'm getting in a bit of a better place to continue.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Age of Sigmar: Disciples of Tzeentch
Shapes Museum



The Transcendental Change are, like the Eternal Conflagration, big fans of mutation. Bigger fans, in fact, as they represent the Great Mutator aspect of Tzeentch. They do not use burning fire, instead focusing on the raw magic of transformation. They throw waves of alteration at their foes and their allies alike. They warp their own forms, the battlefield and more, remaking them to more closely resemble Tzeentch. They don't play favorites - everything is mutated, without exception. They claim this total and complete gifting of altered form makes them closest to the core nature of their god.



The Grand Cabal consider espionage and intrigue the greatest weapons. They represent Tzeentch's manipulative nature and love of ambition, seeking out those who desire power or seek to avoid their power being taken away. They play on jealousy and fear, encouraging paranoia and greed in their victims until they start conflcits themselves. They take great pleasure in infiltrating the Free Cities and filling them with internecine plotting. Their greatest foe is the Order of Azyr, which tries to solve their crimes and untangle their schemes, but because the Cabal have no real goal beyond causing conflict and encouraging ambition and paranoia, it's not easy.



The Seekers of Infinite Wisdom represents Tzeentch's own hope, his desire to observe and know everything. They are thieves and infiltrators, masters of bypassing security, breaking locks and stealing artifacts and lore. They don't care how hard it is - anything is worth risking if it gets them closer to total knowledge of existence. They obsessively seek out riddles to solve, mysteries to delve into and problems to understand. They're most fascinated by the mysteries of the Realmgate network and the aetheric void. They are, of course, prone to unsealing things that really should stay undisturbed, and they never care about the consequences.



The Legion of Fate attempt to perceive the threads of past and future, using their knowledge to manipulate the world to the paths that Tzeentch desires. They guide people away from their plots or towards whatever end they seek to achieve, wielding their understanding of the flow of time as a weapon. They are seers of immense skill and they admire Kairos Fateweaver as their greatest hero, seeking to match his understanding of causality and temporal flow. The Legion of Fate love nothing more than tricking mortals into damning themselves by manipulating them into having few other options.



The Lords of Dominion want control over others. They see all mortality as instruments to be played and puppets to be manipulated...though unlike some of the other Hosts, they're not as interested in subtle manipulation of causality or direct intrigue. Rather, theirs is the domain of mind reading and seizing the will of others. They see the greatest manipulation as the direct control of minds - anything else is a lesser form of control, hardly worth the effort. They also don't have any kind of greater goal or purpose towards the wars they cause or people they suborn. They do it purely because it's fun, and exercising their command of other beings is an end in itself.



The Unbound Flux represent the madness and anarchy of Tzeentch's thought, the releasing of that which should not be known. They want to destroy minds and souls, burning away reason and spreading erratic, violent action. They are masters of unleashing the darkness within people, for they believe the truest change is that which is internal. They seek to create works that unleash madness in the masses, to let loose things once bound and to forever stain the world with sin and darkness because it is the most profound of changes.

Next time: Cult classics

Ego Trip
Aug 28, 2012

A tenacious little mouse!




Mork Borg is my favorite art project that you can play.
It's okay as a game, but that's not the point.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Mork Borg I picked up as a layout reference first and as a game second. It's a fine game, it has neat ideas, the writing is strong in its sparsity, but it's chiefly a great example of all the things you can do with layout. (Not that you should do all the things it does, but as a reference for ideas, it's really strong.)

sasha_d3ath
Jun 3, 2016

Ban-thing the man-things.

I've ran around a dozen sessions of it now and it is very bare-bones, meant to be added to rather than subtracted from, but overall I very much like it and its very much in my wheelhouse. It gives me the same visceral "get everyone together and stop giving a gently caress about PC deaths and being nice" feels that Paranoia XP gave. As for its take on the classic OSR edgy horror/weird vibe, yeah, I love that it fully embraces it as purely an aesthetic rather than as a means of conveying how brilliant and misunderstood the authors are. It's very short on obvious "take thats" (despite the core book being edited/localized by Pat Stu of Blue Medusa (ugh) and Silent Titans (ugh) fame), and it really feels like a well-communicated world despite lacking in detail. Someone should maybe do a guide for prospective GMs who might take Borgs as their first game because of the aesthetic, but might not know how to run a game - the GM advice is very sparse (nonexistent).

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Mork Borg's aesthetic is not for me, but the design is beautiful. Do they do print versions? I've only seen PDFs for sale.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Halloween Jack posted:

Mork Borg's aesthetic is not for me, but the design is beautiful. Do they do print versions? I've only seen PDFs for sale.

https://freeleaguepublishing.com/en/store/?product_id=4529866506377
You can buy the printed version via the Free League store, and you get a PDF as well at the same time,

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Age of Sigmar: Disciples of Tzeentch
Promises of Power

Most Arcanite cults form around hopes for power, glory, immortality and lore. Before the Arcanites, the Slaves to Darkness were quite powerful in the Age of Chaos, and their many conquests, particularly in Chamon, helped further Tzeentch's plans. However, the worship of these Chaos tribes was not enough, and Tzeentch rewarded his most loyal, most ambitious and most well-hidden with greater gifts of magic. These days, most Arcanites conceal themselves with illusion or exist in hidden cults within other societies. Some have done so for generations, but most of them are actually quite young - Arcanite cults rarely last very long, with a few exceptions, once they go public. The elder ones tend to hide out in wild lands or places with high magical power, but others hide within the Free Cities themselves.

While the Arcanites prefer to remain hidden most of the time, when they believe the time is right to strike, they use overwhelming magical force. Their primary soldiers are the Kairic Acolytes, who wear face-concealing masks and hurl arcane bolts with ease. Most Kairic groups exist in secret in other societies, concealing their true forms even when dealing with each other. When working with other Arcanites, they appear to be muscular, idealized and perfect in body, and these illusions are only ever dropped when no one can see them, so that even their fellow Acolytes never know their true identities. This ensures that the cults are harder to eradicate if one member is discovered. These cults and cabals are usually led by powerful Magisters, and all members aspire to great skill in magic. Most Arcanite cults are utterly certain they will master Chaos's power and will never fall to it, and most are arranged in hierarchical mystery cult structures, learning new secrets as they advance.

Those who show promise are granted magical books, artifacts from the Crystal Labyrinth to improve their spellcasting abilities or the service of mutated birds known as Vulcharcs, which consume magic. Tzeentch's instructions to the cults generally involve manipulating the world around them to move things in ways he finds pleasing. They research dark magic, burn down key neighborhoods, frame various people and so on, often working to cause rifts or feuds among the forces of Order. When they need to, the Kairic Acolytes gather in groups to pool their magic together, empowering their spells or blades. When open battle is needed, they are often aided by Tzaangor beastfolk.

Who actually leads a cult can vary wildly. The Tzaangor elites are not uncommon among Arcanite leadership, their birdlike forms reflecting their innate tie to Tzeentch. Their Enlightened, Shamans and Skyfires often ride the Discs of Tzeentch, daemonic mounts that allow them to fly through the air. Other cults are aided by massive Ogroid Thaumaturges, warrior-sorcerers of an ancient species who call up Horrors as easily as they smash walls. When a human leads, it is practically always a Magister risen from the Kairic ranks, armed with magic that can transform and destroy mortal lives. Rarely, it may be a Fatemaster, a warrior granted power to control their own destiny in battle.

Once they have fought, Arcanite cults usually attempt to go into hiding again. They retreat to their strongholds, using illusion and disguises to cover their tracks. The human members attempt to fade back into normal society, returning to clandestine plotting. The Tzaangors raise cairns and flux shrines to prepare for the next assault, while the human members attempt to become manipulators once more. Of course, going unsubtle is very risky, and many Arcanites end up dying each time they do it, but their daemon summoning and collecting of arcane lore can always attract more ambitious power-seekers as they await Tzeentch's next command.

Fundamentally, each cult is built around a single leader, a powerful spellcaster favored by the God of Change...at least for now. Usually, these will be a Magister, Tzaangor Shaman or Fatemaster who leads the apprentices in learning magic and the ideals of the cult. For example, the Cult Esoteric was a secret order founded by the mage Tri'chlan in Hammerhal Ghyra. He had sold his soul to Tzeentch in exchange for knowledge of magic, becoming a Magister whose form was mutated to become more potent. He used illusion to hide his body and infiltrated the Grand Academy, a temple of learning in the garden district. He made contacts with those who were frustrated by the rules imposed on them by the Collegiate Arcane and Eldritch Council, those who wished to study or command the power of Chaos energy.

Many would-be cultists were rejected for lacking conviction or sufficient ability. Those who joined the cult were granted the masks of the Kairic Acolytes and brought into training. He made them complicit in murderous acts against the Sylvaneth, ensuring they would not betray Tri'chlan. The Magister led them in daemon worship and the hunting of Dryads and other forest spirits until killing for Tzeentch came naturally to them. Once their damnation was assuired, he would reveal to them the power of sacrificing humans as well, teaching them vile magic that could be drawn from the killings. Eventually, the Cult Esoteric grew large enough to have many Magisters and powerful spellcasters, recruiting new Acoyltes into service. They became quite powerful, though much of their effort had to go into hiding themselves.

And like most such cults, they eventually ended. Tri'chlan's order grew too large and risked exposing themselves. Thus, he split them into a number of groups - a common act in cults, always in multiples of nine - and sent them out to start their own Arcanite groups, such as the Cult of the Blessed Transition and the Eldritch Cult. It comes easily to most Magisters to break off and form their own cults - only the ambitious are drawn to Tzeentch in the first place, after all. As they rise through the ranks, they seek the praise of their masters, and when they become the masters, they seek the adulation of their servants. The smallest cults may contain less than a hundred people, including noncombatants, but the largest can span thousands. The leadership is known as a cabal, which frequently has a number of summoned daemons on hand assisting them.

Each cult tends to favor a specific aspect of Tzeentch. The Cult of Oracles focuses on Tzeentch as gifter of prophecy and omens, using their magic to predict the future and using that knowledge to manipulate those around them. The Cult of the Thousands Eyes prefers Tzeentch as the concealer of secrets, hiding themselves and using magic to manipulate the minds of others. The Cult of the Transient Form worships Tzeentch as the bringer of mutation, altering their bodies and those of their foes to achieve their goals. Each one thinks itself the most superior and correct group worshipping Tzeentch, and while they don't fight each other often, it's not unknown. Personal power struggles are exceptionally common, too.

Typically, an Arcanite cult will have three to nine covens, distinct groups of worshippers, which will then be subdivided into three sects each. Going over nine covens means the cult's going to split apart - nine is the sacred number, and having more than nine covens is deeply unlucky. The castoffs will take a new name and identity, though often with shared iconography to the parent cult. The cabal will often leave much of their ritual work to the covens serving them or to the work of bound servants, such as the Curselings, also called the Eyes of Tzeentch. These are wizards bound to daemons known as Tretchlets, which alter their bodies and whisper advice to them. Tretchlets are exceptionally good at detecting deception and revealing secrets, so Curselings make great spies and testers of new members, consuming the souls of those they deem unworthy. Sometimes, a Gaunt Summoner will appear and take command of a cult, either permanently or temporarily. There are only nine Gaunt Summoners, and every Arcanite will bend knee to them - they are the greatest of Tzeentch's mortal servants.

Each Gaunt Summoner rules over one of the Silver Towers, massive fortresses of magic that shift and move across the realms, spreading Chaos energy and mutative magic. These part-daemon wizards are able to alter the landscape itself and defeat entire armies with their magic. While each is loyal to Tzeentch, however, they have been bound into servitude to Archaon the Everchosen, who discovered all nine of their true names and enslaved them. They would dearly love to be free of their second master, but until they can find a way, they are forced to use their prophetic talents and illusions to aid Archaon in conquering the universe. Tzeentch seems fine with this, even though the Summoners definitely aren't.



The Cult of the Transient Form worships Tzeentch as the Great Mutator in hopes of ascending to greater form. They point to the existence of the Horrors and their splitting ability as proof that it is possible. Most human members dream of being reborn as Tzaangors, whom they believe are closer to Tzeentch in both body and soul. It's entirely doable, too - though typically a Kairic cultist has to die for the Change-Gift to be visited upon them. When they die, those judged worthy have the flesh remolded as they rise again in new life as Tzaangors or other monstrosities. The cult's leadership want more, though, than mere rebirth as beastfolk. They want to become true daemons, not mere mortals. They believe themselves devoted to the Path to Glory, but in truth, it is the physical act of mutation that fascinates most of them, and they will never be satisfied being stuck in any singular form.



The Pyrofane Cult take joy in destruction, wielding magical flame to cause unstoppable chain events of massive death. Their fires do not mutate nor cause growth in the manner of the Eternal Conflagration host, tho - they just destroy and propagate themselves. Their Kairic Acolytes hurl blasts of flame in wide sheets, using massed fire to take out the foes of the cult. Few enemies can survive against endless flames for long, after all. Tzeentch gives them blessings for fighting his foes, allowing their fire to leap from body to body like lightning or allowing the leaders to merge the flames of their minions. The leaders of the cult are granted the power to wreath themselves in corruptive, sentient flame that destroys arrows and magical blasts before it can harm them. The Pyrofane Cult are absolutely certain that only in fiery destruction can Tzeentch's true glory be seen.



The Guild of Summoners, more commonly known simply as the Guild, gather to share daemonological secrets and rituals. Most of the members join after summoning minor daemonic familiars - living books, fish with legs, tiny Brimstone Horrors, and so on. The ultimate goal of the Guild is simple: summon nine very specific Lords of Change into the world. The Guild's ranks cross societal strata, and members only know each other by their cult names, hiding their identities under large and ugly masks. They believe that when they manage to complete their plans, they will control the Lords of Change and bind them to provide wealth and power. In truth, they are already the servants of those they seek to master - the Exiled, a group of Lords of Change fallen from Tzeentch's favor. The only way for the Exiled to return to their once great position is for all nine to be summoned to the same place at the same time by mortals. So far, it has not happened, despite the Guild's best efforts. They've managed three, five, sometimes even seven Lords of Change at once, but all nine has never been possible. Each year, their methods are refined and made better, and they hope they will soon manage the task if they can cause enough mayhem and death to harness for the summonings.

Next time: Big Bird

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


BrikWars 2020 Part 5 - Creatures, Squads and the Things that Kill Them

I'm back from the dead and ready to talk about more BrikWars! We need to polish off creatures, and then we can end with Squads and Field Hazards.

Creature Uncomforts (that's not a word probably)
The Creatures chapter kind of doesn't go over anything we couldn't already figure out. It tells us about Minds again, and gives us a handy chart of Action Dice probabilities. It also gives a list of things a creature can do depending on if it has horns or arms or teeth or whatnot. It also says you can staple a second Mind onto a creature, giving it a second action dice. That's fun! You have to upgrade each mind separately though.


We also cover the Medik. Bringing creatures back to life is probably against the spirit of BrikWars. But the Medik's healing is random, with their patient having to have limbs amputated based on the roll (and a crit failure resulting in decapitation, which is death for most minifigs). There's also a table there for what amputations do to a creature. Mediks can also stick bandages on wounded creatures to recover size damage.

Then we get a big list of creatures that one could field. These cover a wide range of stuff. There's Vermin, which are the little one piece creatures like the spiders and bats. They roll a d4 on everything and any amount of damage kills them. There's a handy table for any general kind of animal you might need that you can pull the stats from, which is pretty neat! And then we get to...

Okay, look. The game was made in the mid 2000's. This, in nerd culture, was the age where the Star Wars prequels were committing the crime of being bad movies based on a property nerds had instead of having a personality. So in this list of premade "monsters", we have the Jaw-Jaw, a race of "Dungans" that eat poo poo. They have a move where they can regenerate limbs from eating poo poo. Jaw-Jaws have been around since the early days of Brikwars alongside Dimmies (an analogue of the Timmy minifig from the Time Cruisers sets - I'm not sure what thoughtcrime he's supposed to have committed). But the poo poo-eating ability is new. I don't have anything clever or insightful to say here. It kind of speaks for itself. I'd have linked an image but the image is of a Jaw-Jaw menacing a poo poo-splattered minifig and I don't want to.

Also Brikthulhu is here but he has no stats because lol Cthulhu. Real wet fart for a chapter ending, huh?


Image by Azmi Timur

No Fig Left Behind
So what if you have a poo poo-ton of minifigs? What if you want to reenact Helm's Deep in Lego, but don't want to bother tracking every single soldier at once? Then my friends, Squad Combat is for you. To make Squads, you grab all the minifigs you want in a squad and stick them on a baseplate. The game recommends a 4 by 4 stud area for each minifig and a 4 by 8 area per horse, so a squad of 5 Deadly Spacemen would fit on 8 by 12 plate. Or a long conga-line. I don't know what you want to do.

Maneuvering squads depends on who their slowest member is, and size bonuses, momentum and other size-derived stats depends on their biggest member. They can't end their movement in places where the baseplate can't fit, but they can take movement through any small gaps the squad members can fit through. Their big advantage is that it's much easier for them to take Combined Actions, where they all roll their dice in a big bucket together. Additionally, members can take individual actions or step off the baseplate if they need to. Damage done to a Squad is allocated by their controlling player, obeying all normal targeting rules, unless it's a single shot or comes from a specific location like an explosion.


This Combined Action becomes deadly if accompanied by an Officer. Whilst an Officer is an incompetent piece of poo poo, they have the terrifying ability to use their action to Coordinate the members of the squad they are in. This bump up their action die to a d8 maximum if they are doing the same thing. This means if the five Deadly Spacemen earlier are with an Officer, and they shoot at a target, they are rolling 5d8s and can potentially add a ton of bonus damage dice to their fusillade. Additionally, the Officer is carried along with the Squad if they Coordinate a sprint. There is NO REASON TO NEVER TAKE AN OFFICER if you're taking squads. That ability is bugnuts.

Squad close combat is a little more involved than normal. If you stay back and out of the way, poking with spears, that's a skirmish, and only the attacking mini-figs roll. Anybody in the rear gets to stand there and do nothing. If the baseplate contacts the target, however, then a Full Engagement begins. There, every squad member gets a crack at the foe regardless of where they are on the baseplate. But they can't attack any other target unless they disengage, and ranged attacks from outside can hit anybody involved.

There's not much else to go over here, except for a weird combat priority thing that wasn't present before. Grabs and Shoves resolve before any real attacks - with Grabs pulling people to the closest edge of the baseplate - allowing you to pick on any grabbed or prone minifigs.

The thing that stands out to me is that, whilst Squads make the movement of many minifgures less of a chore, they don't abstract any of the interactions. The minifig is still the basic object of interaction, and putting them in a Squad doesn't abstract that away. You're still going to be throwing a bunch of dice around and making saves/etc at a minifig level. You've kind of turned the game into a much simpler Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I'm gonna save my thoughts on how to abstract some of this in a summary at the end of the review.

This Mine is Mine
Chapter F defines a way to do field hazards. Essentially, it's in two parts - a Field, which is of a certain size, and then Hazard dice, which represents the type and effect of the hazard. Everybody knows where Hazards are - they are open information, which is nice. Hazard options are:
  • Smoke - always on, nobody can see into, out of, or through the Field.
  • Exposure - effects like fire, lava, acid etc that just do damage. You can have between 1 and 4 dice depending on how gnarly the hazard is. Exposure damage also drains Power from vehicles, reducing it by 1" for each die of damage.
  • Difficult Terrain - slows a unit's movement by d6 inches - there are lots of different subtypes to this but I wouldn't bother.
  • Concealed Hazards - mines, etc. Here you gamble how many inches you're going to move, and then roll the unit's action dice against that number. Rolling under means they immediately take damage.
  • Energy shields - hooked up to a projector somewhere in the Field, these provide a level of Deflection against a certain type of damage die (for instance, a small shield wall would provide deflection against anything that rolled d6 damage).
These options, at base, all seem fine and decent way to cover any kind of hazard you'd want to use. There is, however, an excruciating section where they go over fire damage and how to catch fire and how to emulate fires spreading, and honestly, who cares? Who has the time to do this? Who's making these rolls in the middle of a game? Delete this section. Rework it. Something. Anything. Please.

There's a section on traps but it's nothing.


Then we end on the Scout, a specialist that can roll a d8 when interacting with Field Hazards and Traps, never sets off Concealed Hazards, and can mark targets. They seem like they'd be kinda cool to play with when playing with Field Hazards, and not really a big deal otherwise. In fact, their ability to know where anything in their field of view is might be terribly annoying if you've made some cool stealth minifigs.

Book 2 really opens up the underlying engine and shows how everything works. That's the part I like the most - how universally and easily it covers every possible creation one could make. However, like Book 1, it's bogged down by math, by repeating ideas except "this is bigger so it gets more", and by deciding to emulate things in as much detail as possible rather than abstracting things away. Again, if you don't want people to get bogged down in rules, why write so many rules? Just skip the intermediate step!

Anyway, that's BrikWars. Mostly. There'll be a brief intermission where I do the thing my stupid brain does and attempt to "fix" the problems, because I have Amateur Game Designer Syndrome, and then we'll go over the Campaign system.

Next Time - like Lego, we can take it apart and build it different.

The Deleter fucked around with this message at 23:50 on Nov 4, 2021

Lemony
Jul 27, 2010

Now With Fresh Citrus Scent!


The Deleter posted:


Okay, look. The game was made in the mid 2000's. This, in nerd culture, was the age where the Star Wars prequels were committing the crime of being bad movies based on a property nerds had instead of a personality. So in this list of premade "monsters", we have the Jaw-Jaw, a race of "Dungans" that eat poo poo. They have a move where they can regenerate limbs from eating poo poo. Jaw-Jaws have been around since the early days of Brikwars alongside and Dimmies (an analogue of the Timmy minifig from the Time Cruisers sets - I'm not sure what thoughtcrime he's supposed to have committed). But the poo poo-eating ability is new. I don't have anything clever or insightful to say here. It kind of speaks for itself. I'd have linked an image but the image is of a Jaw-Jaw menacing a poo poo-splattered minifig and I don't want to.

If I recall correctly, the whole Dimmy thing was because the Time Cruisers range was near universally hated by Lego fans. In an era where the average quality of set design had been decreasing, Time Cruisers felt like a blatant cash in way for the company to try to move some pieces that were overstocked. The sets sucked and mostly just consisted of random chunks of other themes smashed together in the laziest possible way. The Timmy character had a slightly stupid looking face, so he was picked out as sort of a broad shorthand for the dissatisfaction of the fanbase.

It's been awhile, so I may have some details wrong. I could be misremembering how bad the sets actually were for instance. Regardless, both Dimmys and Jaw-Jaws are juvenile in the worst ways and did not age well.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Lemony posted:

If I recall correctly, the whole Dimmy thing was because the Time Cruisers range was near universally hated by Lego fans. In an era where the average quality of set design had been decreasing, Time Cruisers felt like a blatant cash in way for the company to try to move some pieces that were overstocked. The sets sucked and mostly just consisted of random chunks of other themes smashed together in the laziest possible way. The Timmy character had a slightly stupid looking face, so he was picked out as sort of a broad shorthand for the dissatisfaction of the fanbase.

It's been awhile, so I may have some details wrong. I could be misremembering how bad the sets actually were for instance. Regardless, both Dimmys and Jaw-Jaws are juvenile in the worst ways and did not age well.

You're pretty accurate. The Time Cruisers sets weren't universally bad (their big laboratory has a pleasing MST3K-set feel to it, and their villains were kinda fun with a time-travelling ghost train), but the range was just incoherent 90s wackiness. The bit about shifting overstocked bricks has always been cited as the reason for the range, but Lego also sacked their entire design team around that time and decided to train up newer and cheaper replacements. This alone accounts for the painful weirdness of mid-90s Lego.

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


I also glossed over the fact that the Monsters section has an entry for "furfigs", which are any minifigs with animal heads.

sasha_d3ath
Jun 3, 2016

Ban-thing the man-things.

The Deleter posted:

I also glossed over the fact that the Monsters section has an entry for "furfigs", which are any minifigs with animal heads.

[audience boo-ing]

DressCodeBlue
Jun 15, 2006

Professional zombie impersonator.

Halloween Jack posted:

Mork Borg's aesthetic is not for me, but the design is beautiful. Do they do print versions? I've only seen PDFs for sale.
In addition to the online option posted above, it's also gotten pretty good LGS saturation, at least around here. Heck, a friend of mine who doesn't even play TTRPGs got a copy at GameStop because they thought it looked neat.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



The Deleter posted:

I also glossed over the fact that the Monsters section has an entry for "furfigs", which are any minifigs with animal heads.

4chan contamination detected. Deploying countermeasures.

Otherkinsey Scale
Jul 17, 2012

Just a little bit of sunshine!



I'm kind of enamoured of this table. Sometimes, you try to dig a bullet out of someone's leg and end up removing their head. That's just a fact of medicine.

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


Otherkinsey Scale posted:

I'm kind of enamoured of this table. Sometimes, you try to dig a bullet out of someone's leg and end up removing their head. That's just a fact of medicine.

It's one I would definitely keep. How do you expect minfigis to do precise surgery with those clip hands? They're doing their best!

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




I can only picture the Medik as the one from Team Fortress 2.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Otherkinsey Scale posted:

I'm kind of enamoured of this table. Sometimes, you try to dig a bullet out of someone's leg and end up removing their head. That's just a fact of medicine.

Let the spirit of Dr. Liston be with me.
He sliced into the patient with such enthusiasm that he swinged and injured a spectator and another spectator collapsed of shock. All 3 died later.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Age of Sigmar: Disciples of Tzeentch
Harvey Birdman, Daemon at Law



The Lords of Change are beings of profound magical power. They can tear open reality with a mere gesture or send forth gouts of mutating wyrdfire, wielding far more spells than any other greater daemon. They have no blood - rather, magic flows through their bodies in liquid form. They pride themselves on their cunning and hold themselves apart even from other daemons, seeing them as mere pawns to play with. Their wings allow them great mobility in battle, and no Lord of Change ever fights except on their own terms. They prefer to use magic and trickery rather than fighting whenever possible, though their talons are still quite potent as weapons and their skin matches favorably against most armor.

Regardless, their greatest weapon is neither their spells nor their physical nature - it is their minds. Each one is a curious but utterly cold and callous being, driven only by knowledge and their own desires. They meddle with mortal affairs out of boredom, treating humans as little more than ants to play with. They are ancient beings, but they love the new and the changed, enjoying when the world breaks or when they can reroute a life - or a kingdom - onto some new path that will harm reality. They love the ambitious and the hopeful most of all, offering them power so that they may endanger themselves and others. They are the closest things in existence ot Tzeentch himself, unpredictable and excellent at understanding the plots of others. However, they do have weaknesses. They are compulsively manipulative, often messing with people far after their plans are actually complete. Indeed, many of their centuries-long plans have been foiled because they wouldn't stop loving around as the plans neared fruition.

Often, the Lords of Change function as Tzeentch's generals. They are excellent tacticians, aware of many, many different strategies and possible futures. When they choose to get up from their planning and go out personally, they are excellent field leaders, as well. In theory, they are divided into nine hierarchical ranks with amazingly complex titles. In practice, the relative standing of each rank fluctuates wildly and the only thing that can be trusted is Tzeentch's personal favorite gets to add 'Exalted' to the front of their titles. Even that won't generally last very long, though - the criteria to earn favor with the Changer God is impossible even for his greater daemons to figure out and often seems entirely arbitrary. (It may, in fact, be entirely arbitrary.)

The most powerful of the Lords of Change is definitely Kairos Fateweaver. He has seen things even Tzeentch has not, for Tzeentch dares not enter the Well of Eternity that lies in the depths of the Impossible Fortress. It is a place where much knowledge is stored...but it is also an infinite pit and an unsolvable puzzle, the only thing Tzeentch cannot decipher. Kairos was set to learn the Well's secrets on his master's behalf - by being thrown into it. He spent a seemingly infinite time within its depths, and when he emerged, he was not the same daemon. His soul had split into two parts, represented physically by two vastly different heads. Those heads can now see things even the god cannot.

Kairos' right head can perceive all possible futures with total clarity, and his left head perceives the past with perfection, cutting through all lies and biases. Neither is capable of seeing anything in the present moment. Kairos also lacks the ability to perceive the passage of time in the same way other beings can. He can only see what has happened or what might happen. For countless centuries he sat at Tzeentch's right hand, whispering to his creator the secrets he saw coming or the truths he understood of the past. However, Tzeentch sometimes grows quite tired of his creation's cryptic insights, especially because Kairos loves the sound of his own voices and never shuts up. When this happens, Tzeentch sends Kairos out into the Mortal Realms, ostensibly to find some lost artifact or accomplish some goal.

Fortunately for Kairos' foes, he is not immune to attack. His visions of the futures that may come are powerful, but they don't reveal themselves fast enough for him to dodge or counter everything thrown at him. On the other hand, he's better at magic than any other Lord of Change, and his spells are nearly unstoppable. His future-seeing head also keeps him alert to any possible chance to twist the fates of his foes or to reveal their weaknesses, and his past-viewing head is always turned to find the failures and secrets of his enemy.

Under the Lords of Change are the Heralds of Tzeentch, more potent than Horrors and designed to lead them. They are granted the gift of independent thought and clever wit, to better direct their less intelligent cousins, and their forms are far stronger and more resilient. Each is a potent sorcerer that can call forth the pink and blue fires of change, and many improve their ability by collecting magical books and scrolls to extend their spellcasting knowledge. Their presence bolsters the power of other daemons, mutating them into stronger forms by the power of their aura.

A Herald that is gifted a Disc of Tzeentch to ride is known as a Fluxmaster. They move across the field with speed, leaving the world behind them masses of raw ectoplasm. Often, the Fluxmasters serve as the scouts and messengers for his hosts, or they lead packs of Screamers into battle in the air. Others lead Horrors from above, using their greater vision to direct the little bastards at the best spots to annoy foes. The ones granted a Burning Chariot are called Fateskimmers, instead. Usually, these rides are for the Exalted Flamers, but a clever Herald can easily steal one for themself, earning the title. The Fateskimmers direct their chariots across the battlefield, cackling as they go and hurling dark sorceries with abandon. Those that want to prove themselves as masters of war will head directly into the fray, smashing into enemy lines at speed, while the more cautious ones lurk around the flanks, tossing orders to the lesser soldiers and sending blasts of magic at vulnerable foes. They occasionally lead entire lines of Burning Chariots, forming a very potent aerial cavalry.

The most common Heralds, though, are the Changecasters, who don't have mounts and are more known for their mutative magic. They are more often forced into menial, boring jobs than their mounted brethren, which they tend to resent - being an artifact guardian is just not very fun, for example, and neither is repairing the Crystal Labyrinth. However, they are most often found at the head of a pack of Horrors, herding their maddened little charges around and keeping them from running off to play pranks. (Pranks are fine, but there's usually something more important to be doing.) They are still quite potent spellcasters, and despite their gangly and often comical appearances, they are pretty capable in a direct fight. Their greatest power, of course, is the ability to turn people into mutant slime.

We also get a side note - Discs of Tzeentch are daemons, too, though not independent ones any more. Each one was once a Screamer, a sort of daemonic sky-shark we'll talk about later. The Screamers are animalesque and bad at obeying complex orders, but that's what corrective mutation and transformation is for - it makes them more easily bound to another's will. Their bodies are hardened and flattened into steely discs of flesh that can carry a rider quickly. The method of their flight varies - some use a cushion of magic, others extend ectoplasm tendrils or beams of anti-reality that push against the world. All of them have a number of appendages and nodules - sometimes pseudopods, sometimes eyestalks, sometimes cutting blades, but all useful weapons for striking on hte fly. Only the most skilled and determined spellcasters can bind a Disc, so most of them are in the command of Heralds. A few rare humans are granted use of the things for battle, though, and of course the Tzaangor have a knack for it. It grants them great speed and maneuverability, allowing them to cross the battlefield in seconds.

In terms of unique and named daemons, first up we have the Blue Scribes, P'tarix and Xirat'p. They resemble Blue Horrors in shape and temperament, but are bigger, more potent and far more self-aware. They ride around on a particularly large Disc of Tzeentch, with the express purpose of recording every spell and incantation in existence. They don't trust each other at all and are always watching to ensure the other doesn't betray Tzeentch, because P'tarix can write magical language automatically but cannot read at all, and Xirat'p can read the writing but cannot understand it. They always end up fighting over what they hear, at least until enemies show up. At that point, Xirat'p starts randomly reading from the scrolls they have on hand while P'tarix stabs people with his magical quill, made from the feather of a Lord of Change.

The pair are said to be some of the most ancient daemons in existence, and legend has it that they come from a time when Tzeentch ruled over everything, even the other Chaos Gods. His brtohers became jealous of his power and shattered Tzeentch into infinite shards, which fell into the universe. This, according to this story, is how magic entered the world and became usable by mortals. Thus, according to believers, the Scribes were made to reassemble every spell in existence, so that Tzeentch might reclaim these soul-splinters and become once more the most potent being in all realities. Why a pair of jumped-up Horrors? Well, a Lord of Change would obviously betray its master, so therefore, pick some Heralds, who happened to blue. In theory, the two should be able to manage the task, given infinite time - they are immortal, after all - but so far, it's not going so well.

Then we've gt the Changeling, a truly unique being designed to be the perfect trickster. It can assume any form and exists to deceive, maliciously harm people and spread disasters. Not even the other daemons know the true form of the Changeling, for even when untransformed it hides itself in a cloak and heavy cowl. It's likely the daemon cannot itself remember what its original form looked like, either. It prefers to manipulate others rather than fight directly, assuming whatever identity will best help it. It can impersonate any living being, of any size, so it's quite good at it. Most recently, it posed as the architect Valius Maliti, who helped design many Cities of Sigmar. It used the man's form to spread lies and disinformation, hiding local disasters underneath the cities it helped to build or making note of particularly ambitious people to point cults at later. It excels at spreading chaos and internal warfare, and it has even caused wars all by itself. While the Changeling isn't fond of fighting, it will do so when the time comes to abandon its disguise. It can hurl spells easily, and its weapon is the Trickster Staff, which assumes the traits of the strongest weapon near it.

Other daemons are rather less intelligent. For example, Flamers are almost animals. They are strange even by daemon standards - huge tubular beings that sprout bitey mouths and faces that scream out the last sounds made by their most recent victims. They do not have feet, instead possessing a weird sort of fungal skirt which inhales air and then contracts, expelling it allow the daemon to leap across the landscape in a burst of weird aethetic color. They aren't pretty when doing so, but they move rather fast and can jump over most obstacles or bounce across water. They are barely sentient beings, but extremely dangerous due to their love of destroying things.

The exceptions are the Exalted Flamers, who possess significently more ability to process independent thought. They are the leaders of the Flamers, insofar as Flamers can be led, and they exude magical power from every inch of their body. The reason both types are known as Flamers is due to their logn, flailing limbs. Each one ends in a toothy stump that shoots raw wyrdfire - pure magical flame that burns the senses, the soul and the body. Strange shapes move in the warpfires they light, which tend to burst back into life after being put out. The fires often take the appearance of living beings around them, mimicking the death throes of the dying in a disturbing manner before fading away when they run out of fuel. Exalted Flamers are also found commanding Burning Chariots - large metal discs attached to Screamers, which they use as platforms to spew fire down from.

Screamers are essentially flying manta-sharks that ride on winds of magic. In the Realm of Chaos they primarily survive by feeding on lost souls, but they gather in numbers to break through into the Mortal Realms, targeting those they sense have displeased Tzeentch. They aren't any brighter than normal sharks, but they're plenty vicious, diving in to attack with their toothy, lamprey-like jaws. Even monsters have to be careful of a shoal of Screamers, as each is more than able to tear out large chunks of flesh with each bite. They are, as noted above, the core components of Discs of Tzeentch, too.

Horrors of Tzeentch are little more intelligent than Flamers or Screamers, but they often seem more anthropomorphic. They have many names - Whirling Destroyers, Bouncing Squealers, Cackling Flames. Their shapes are weird, changing things that blur together and take on masses of color. The pinks ones, naturally referred to as Pink Horrors, are known for glowing brightly and laughing a lot. They twirl and cartwheel around constantly, as this generates magical energy across their bodies. In large numbers, they are able to produce enough magic to summon wyrdfire, which they then throw at people. When slain, a Pink Horror laughs and explodes, splitting into two ectoplasmic halves that become Blue Horrors.

Blue Horrors are much more sullen than Pink Horrors, being born of death and destruction. They are cold and malicious beings, always scowling and sneering as they move across the field. They join their "parent's" group, helping the other Horrors fight, and their voices are deep and baritone. They don't laugh much, but instead grumble and mutter constantly. They can conjure fire as their larger brethren, but theirs is blue rather than punk, and they are often freezing cold instead of burning hot. It's still raw magic, though, and does unpredictable things to living flesh. When the Blue Horrors are slain, they burst in a deep groan, and two new daemons spring forth - bright yellow ones called Brimstone Horrors, which immediately attack whoever killed their "parent." Brimstone Horrors are extremely vindictive and spiteful beings, having died twice, and never stop trying to throw fire or bite at foes. They're quite small and prone to climbing up enemy legs and trying to set them on fire from inside their own armor.

Next time: Cultists.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


By popular demand posted:

Let the spirit of Dr. Liston be with me.
He sliced into the patient with such enthusiasm that he swinged and injured a spectator and another spectator collapsed of shock. All 3 died later.

The only surgery with a 300% fatality rate. I'm legitimately impressed.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

By popular demand posted:

Let the spirit of Dr. Liston be with me.
He sliced into the patient with such enthusiasm that he swinged and injured a spectator and another spectator collapsed of shock. All 3 died later.

"Time me gentlemen!"

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




Kairos Fateweaver by virtue of being in the pure Daemons list is also a character in 40k, iirc.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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









Magic is the first sourcebook for Nightlife, published in 1990.

Besides that, though, it introduces...a lot of the content you’ve seen already. As far as I can tell, a lot of the content that was added to the corebook between the first and third editions was just information from Magic. That includes a lot of the sections on factions, gangs, musical groups and antagonists. But that’s interesting in itself, because Magic fleshes out some parts of the corebook setting that feel incomplete--namely, the Twisted Dimensions and human antagonists like Target Alpha.

But set that aside for now. The book is titled Magic, because it introduces magic spells and a new type of Kin, the Sorcerer.




Magic, Part 1: The Subculture of Magic


There are two types of magic-users: Witches and Sorcerers. Witches aren’t suitable PCs, so let’s just get them out of the way.

Witches are humans who form groups called covens to perform magical rituals. Most spellcasting costs Survival Points, and since Witches aren’t Kin, they don’t have lots of SP nor easy ways of regenerating it. Pooling their efforts allows them to spread the cost around, so they can only cast the kinds of spells that involve lengthy preparation.

Witches aren’t harmless, since a lot of magic rituals work like Vancian spells--once you prepare them, they’re “stored” and you can cast them at will. But they’re much less capable of instant boom-bang magic as Sorcerers, and they’re fragile. Some witches cast spells to extend their natural lifespan, but when they die, they die.

Covens are vaguely described as having a New Agey culture, with a very rigid structure: a coven is made up of 13 couples, with one couple leading. Thirteen covens make a Clave. How do they maintain these strict numbers? Like I said, it’s vague. Witches have a monopoly on the rituals that create magic items, so you’ll have to deal with a coven if you want an enchanted Uzi.


Sorcerers are humans whose experimentation with magic spells has transformed them into a type of Kin. They get the functional immortality, resistance to disease, and ability to return from death dozens of times. This is necessary to make them a PC option, since Nightlife assumes a degree of hack-and-slash gameplay.

Sorcerers Drain life force by touch, and Drain is the only Edge they can use. They don’t need to Drain to live, but it’s a practical necessity because magic costs SP. Sorcerers can cast Ritual Magic like witches, and they can also use Street Magic, a type of instant spell that can be cast on the fly, much like D&D sorcerers.

In short: Nightlife imagines D&D Magic-Users as psychic vampires.

There is actually a third type of magic-user called a Crowley. “Crowley” is a slang term for mortal friends of the Kin, but real Crowleys are a special kind of Sorcerer.

Crowleys are Sorcerers who dedicate their lives to researching new magic spells. This isn’t something you can do part-time. It requires decades of study and millions and millions of dollars. They put it like this: to create a spell that makes someone’s eyes explode, you have to understand the structure of the human eye at least as well as an optometrist.

Being a Crowley requires several occult and research skills at 70+, fluency in several dead languages at 80+, and several scientific skills at 60+. To conduct research you need a library of hundreds of occult texts, each of which typically costs $250,000 or more, plus a biochemistry lab which costs about $5 million. Sorcerers and covens buy most of their spells from Crowleys, with cash, and you can see why they need the money.

To put it in D&D terms, this is “At level 9, the wizard may build a tower and hang around instead of adventuring” stuff. Crowleys are the Sorcerers’ equivalent of Elder Kin.


Roots of Magic

There are two kinds of magic, which are actually four kinds of magic, which are actually five kinds of magic.

Herbal or Root Magic is the art of using plant and animal products for magical effects. Root Magic creates either consumable potions and liniments, or amulets with minor but persistent effects. Talismanic Magic creates magic items, particularly enchanted weapons, which many Kin are eager to get their hands on.

Street Magic is similar to Sorcerers’ casting in D&D. You can cast any Street Magic spell you know on the fly, as long as you can afford the SP cost.

Ritual Magic is similar to “Vancian casting” in D&D. You have to spend hours performing a ritual, which gets longer and more involved for more powerful spells, and spend SP. This “stores” the spell for later use, and there’s a limit on how many spells you can store.

Ritual Magic is further divided between White Magic and Black Magic. White Magic draws power from nature, and consists of spells that heal, protect, and turn things into stereo systems. Black Magic draws its power from the Twisted Dimensions, and consists of spells that control minds, reanimate the dead, and summon badass motorcycles.

The origins of magic, like the origins of the Kin, are lost to prehistory. Early humans discovered mystical ways to manipulate nature for their own benefit, and those arts developed into White Magic and Herbal Magic. In the distant past, large groups of magicians could manipulate whole climates, but those rituals have been lost, and no modern faction can mobilize enough casters anyway.

When the first Daemons escaped to our world a few millennia ago, it literally opened the door for spellcasters to start channeling energy from the Twisted Dimensions and loving around with demons, using skulls as candleholders, listening to really inept thrash metal, etc. Those experiments evolved into Black Magic.

Street Magic is the newest kind of magic, and it was invented more-or-less by accident in the early 20th century. When mountebanks and pseudoscientists started becoming widely known, the Crowleys of that era went into overdrive trying to verify or debunk their claims. In an ironic twist, they ended up inventing the powers that those charlatans falsely claimed to possess. It’s an interesting and original take on magic.




Creating Sorcerers

As a type of Kin, Sorcerers get +10 Willpower and +3 Magic Ability. Magic Ability is a new Basic Ability only possessed by spellcasters. Some spells require a successful MA test to cast, and it determines the range, duration, etc. of many spells, as well as the number of ritual spells you can store.

Like all Kin, Sorcerers are functionally immortal, immune to most diseases, and can return from the dead many times. The only thing that will permanently kill Sorcerers is the same method that works on almost any Kin: burn them to ashes.

Sorcerers can’t use any Edges besides Drain. Their only special vulnerabilities are to “meteorites or other extraterrestrial objects” which do double damage and increase the SP costs of spells. Weird. Sorcerers also have to avoid eating salt, which cuts their MA in half for 24 hours. (Unprocessed foods don’t have enough salt to matter.)

Humanity affects a Sorcerer’s talent for White or Black Magic. Every 10 points of Humanity above 50 gives a bonus to White Magic and a penalty to Black Magic, and vice versa. That’s the only significant effect that Humanity has on Sorcerers.

Although Sorcerers are supposed to have become Kin by experimenting with spells, you don’t start with any. I’ll get back to that later.

This book repeats a few pages of character creation info from the corebook, and it’s frankly a waste of space. It’s as simple as this: ordinary human schmucks are generated with 2d10 in their Basic Abilities. “Exceptional” humans, i.e. PC caliber ones, get 4d10 just like Kin do. An ordinary schmuck who gets Infected and becomes Kin gains the extra dice in their Abilities, while an exceptional human doesn’t. Simple, right? But they waste a lot of space making this abundantly clear, because 80s games had to have that “exhaustive technical manual” feel.





Familiars, also called Imps, are a unique benefit of being a Sorcerer. (Witches can have them too, but nevermind.) A familiar is an ordinary animal that’s been enchanted to bond it to a Sorcerer and grant it magical powers. To create a familiar, you just need the animal, a White Magic spell called Bonding, and a ritual lasting several days. You can make any kind of animal into a Familiar--a goldfish, a rhinoceros, anything. Most Sorcerers choose something stealthy and unobtrusive.

The ritual requires you to transfer some of your Magic Ability and Survival Points to the Familiar, permanently! You have to spend at least 2 MA, giving your Familiar a MA score of 5, and after that the Familiar gets 2 points for every 1 you spend. You can increase the animal’s other Basic Abilities by spending SP 1-for-1, with a limit of 5 points in each Ability. You can’t make a bunny rabbit tougher than a tank. It’s wise to give them a boost, though, since a dead Familiar takes all your points with it. You can have multiple Familiars if you can pay for them.

Every familiar has one White or Street Magic spell that it can cast at will, at normal SP cost. On top of that, when you’re near your Familiar you “share all Abilities and SP.” I’m not sure exactly how that works out, but it does mean your magic pet rat doesn’t die if it gets stepped on. You get the animal’s “natural abilities” as well, but the book is also very vague about what that means.

Your Familiar obeys and understands you empathically, but that’s it. It’s not intelligent, can’t talk to you telepathically or otherwise, and you can’t see through its eyes or anything like that.


So how do you get new spells? You buy them. Sorcerers won’t share their spells, because they paid good money for them. If the PC group is made up of Sorcerers, there’s nothing stopping you from sharing spells. But it’s much harder to learn a spell that wasn’t designed specifically for you, so spellcasters pay Crowleys to do just that. And Crowleys have bills to pay.

When you have a spell formula, you have to spend day after day making MA Tests to actually learn it. Every point of SP cost imposes a +10 penalty, and using someone else’s spell is a flat +50 penalty. You get a bonus if the spell was designed by a Crowley with a very high research skill (100+) and a cumulative bonus for each day spent in study. But if the spell is potent and you don’t have a custom formula, you could get stuck doing nothing but studying a spell for weeks.

Spells have a base cost, usually ranging from $1,000 to 5,000 with a few going much higher. But when a Crowley designs a spell for you, they charge an additional $100 for every point they have in their research skill. So a Crowley with a skill of 120 (which will give you a -20 bonus to learn the spell) will charge $12,000 on top of the base cost. Spells are loving expensive!

Nightlife has hard-and-fast rules for how much money you can make at a job (Skill times $10 a week) and expects you to track ordinary expenses in exact dollar amounts. If you’re playing with Sorcerers, there’s a big incentive to do stuff like run a business or act as mercenaries of some kind. But spells themselves also make great “treasure” in a game that doesn’t have a lot of ideas for why you’d go dungeoncrawling.

Spells also have a Max Humanity cost when you learn them. It’s usually just a few points, and rarely more than 10. Spells don’t cost Humanity to cast, so it’s not a big deal.





So you’ve bought a spell, and you’ve learned the spell. How do you actually cast a spell?

You can cast any Street Magic spell you know by paying the SP cost. Easy.

Ritual Magic spells, Black and White, require you to perform an hours-long ritual and spend SP to store the spell. Ritual Spells have Ritual levels, I-V, thtat determine the length and complexity of the ritual. But the limits on storing spells are simple: the total SP cost of your stored spells can’t exceed your MA. There’s no “spell slot” system.

Oh, right, you wanted to know how to actually cast a spell. It’s extremely simple. You can cast any spell you have prepared at will, in a single combat turn. Spellcasting is considered a “Do something that isn’t a Combat Skill or an Edge” action, so it comes last in the initiative order. This offsets the save-or-die potential of some combat spells.

Nightlife explicitly dispenses with most of the limits that Dungeons & Dragons puts on spellcasters. There are no magical tools, ingredients, activation words, or “somatic components” required. Getting hit before you get your spell off won’t stop you from casting.

There are rules for maintaining spells that have persistent effects. For every spell you have maintained, any spell you cast costs +1 SP. The only thing that can make you drop your spells is losing consciousness.


Next Chapter: Rituals and Spells

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 17:53 on Nov 6, 2021

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Finally, rules for magic-casting cat!

However,

Halloween Jack posted:

Your Familiar obeys and understands you empathically, but that’s it. It’s not intelligent, can’t talk to you telepathically or otherwise, and you can’t see through its eyes or anything like that.

boo this game designer, I want my own Salem!

Pvt.Scott
Feb 16, 2007


Snake-neck is an unfortunate side-effect of using magic, affecting nearly 3% of all practitioners.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Halloween Jack posted:

There are two kinds of magic, which are actually four kinds of magic, which are actually five kinds of magic.

Just going to say that I like this line a lot.

thatbastardken
Apr 23, 2010

strewth


By popular demand posted:

Let the spirit of Dr. Liston be with me.
He sliced into the patient with such enthusiasm that he swinged and injured a spectator and another spectator collapsed of shock. All 3 died later.

he cut of his assistant's fingers while amputating a leg at the thigh in 28 seconds, you mean. don't sell the man short.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



thatbastardken posted:

he cut of his assistant's fingers while amputating a leg at the thigh in 28 seconds, you mean. don't sell the man short.

The man was an enthusiastic advocate for anesthesia later in his career, performing the first public operation using modern anesthesia in 1846.

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

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




By popular demand posted:

Let the spirit of Dr. Liston be with me.
He sliced into the patient with such enthusiasm that he swinged and injured a spectator and another spectator collapsed of shock. All 3 died later.

Liston was a legit great doctor, though... before anaesthesia (and the acceptance of surgical hygiene being important), one of the best indicators for survival was how quickly the affected limb was amputated, and he was one of the fastest. He'd be done with the knife and in with the saw in seconds. Yes, one surgery had a 300% mortality rate, and yes he once got so enthusiastic at removing a leg in under 150 seconds that he accidentally removed the patient's testicles. But he performed hundreds of amputations, also went around the poor parts of Edinburgh treating people that other doctors claimed were untreatable (on account of being poor) and saving lives.

Also, he fair battered pervy weirdo Robert Knox. Gotta give him props for that.

wikipedia posted:

In writings on Liston, he is portrayed as a man of strong character and ethics, which was the source of some of his confrontational style. In one case, he confronted a medical colleague (Dr Robert Knox) over the treatment of a young woman (Mary Paterson) who it later transpired was murdered (see Burke and Hare murders), with Knox thought complicit in the murder. She was in Knox's dissecting rooms within four hours of her death, and kept in whisky for three months before dissection, during which time she was essentially on voyeuristic display.[24] Liston's response is documented in a letter from him:

According to Liston, he saw Mary Paterson's body in Knox's rooms and immediately suspected foul play. He knocked Knox down after an altercation in front of his students – Liston assumed some students had slept with her when she was alive, and that they should dissect her body offended his sense of decency. He removed her body for burial

DigitalRaven fucked around with this message at 15:27 on Nov 7, 2021

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By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




I'm definitely giving this guy's biography to a player as inspiration if I get to run a steampunk/ weird west campaign.

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