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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!
When was it originally printed? If it's something grandfathered in from an older edition or something, or just generally enough years old, someone might honestly not have spotted it. Especially in Scandinavia, where there isn't as big a focus on anti-semitic representations because our far right tend to be busy hating Muslims instead of Jews. Alternately sometimes people just aren't aware that their go-to mental image for "sinister trader" is straight up a Jewish stereotype,

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SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013

PurpleXVI posted:

When was it originally printed? If it's something grandfathered in from an older edition or something, or just generally enough years old, someone might honestly not have spotted it. Especially in Scandinavia, where there isn't as big a focus on anti-semitic representations because our far right tend to be busy hating Muslims instead of Jews. Alternately sometimes people just aren't aware that their go-to mental image for "sinister trader" is straight up a Jewish stereotype,

This is a game that was first published in 2018. It's very inspired by old-school gaming, but it's not old itself.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3 hours!

Heliotrope posted:

Did these skins get updated for 2e? I ask because Bully is a stat replacement which is absent in the new edition. Also, what good stats does the Oni have? I'd assume a skin about bullying others would be Cold/Volatile.


This is a pretty bad move because it can force people to respond positively when you Turn Them On, which is something the game explicitly says can't happen.

Those are from the PDFs labelled MH2.

Oni Stats posted:

Hot -1 Cold -1 Volatile 2 Dark 1
Hot -1 Cold -1 Volatile 1 Dark 2

I can't speak for the author's mind other than to say that the Kitsune is supposed to have a non-standard dynamic:

quote:

Nine Tales encourages you to lie by giving away Strings any time you tell the truth. That isn’t all bad though, as people with Strings on you will use them, giving you more screen time. Lie enough and people might offer you XP to tell them the truth for once. This is the reason you don’t have a “mark XP” move. Use it to your advantage.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

Luckily, I *did* save your old avatar. Fucked around and found out indeed.
Honestly I feel like kitsune would be fine as a reflavoring of either werewolf or fae, depending if you wanted to go 'vicious, human-hunting beast' or 'creature that aids humans when it feels like it and repays its debts'.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3 hours!

Leraika posted:

Honestly I feel like kitsune would be fine as a reflavoring of either werewolf or fae, depending if you wanted to go 'vicious, human-hunting beast' or 'creature that aids humans when it feels like it and repays its debts'.

It's set up as the pathological liar archetype. I've run into those in real life, so this playbook speaks to me.

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!
Is there a decent map of the DSA gameworld? Might make it easier to get an idea of what things look like.

I'd also love more elaboration on Lizardmen hiding from their gods. It'd be funny to have a culture in a fantasy game that's deeply religious and spiritual, rituals and sacrifices all the time, except it's not to attract the gods and their favour, but instead to distract the gods and obfuscate the mortals' existence from them since they believe the gods to be dangerous, capricious assholes.

vuk83
Oct 9, 2012

SunAndSpring posted:

This is a game that was first published in 2018. It's very inspired by old-school gaming, but it's not old itself.

The 1st pic i remember from the drager of dæmoner, The Danish version of drakar och dämoner, from the early 90s. I think fria ligan is a continuation of that. Also alot of the art in the quick start at least I recognize from original d&d

Moldless Bread
Jul 10, 2019
I actually tried to include a map, but I couldn't get the image working.

There is a map at the Wiki Project. If you google, it's easy to find some english maps too, if some names don't line up.

https://de.wiki-aventurica.de/wiki/Datei:Aventurien2.jpg

As for the Lizardmen: You're description is basically correct. Gods are not a good thing in the lizard worldview. The priests job is half to placate the gods, half to draw their attention to them personally instead of the community.

I think "Doing something crazy elsewhere so the gods look at you and not your home." was a suggested character motivation for their culture.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

That's kind of great.

Moldless Bread
Jul 10, 2019
It absolutely is, and it is a shame half the continent wants to murder lizardmen on sight.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
It's probably because of the collateral damage from the gods punching down.

Azran
Sep 3, 2012

And what should one do to be remembered?
The efaarit from Iron Kingdoms (weird-looking desert halflings) also work like that. They believe their gods are spiteful assholes and that anything bad that happens to them is because they drew their attention, so every single ritual to the gods is actually a way to stay hidden from them. Given it's a setting with very real gods and most of the bad poo poo that happens to them is incidental, the implication ends up being they are just a paranoid bunch.

Also they are scavenger Kender who hire themselves off as guides (and sharpshooters) to anyone who wants to cross the huge desert they inhabit but they will steal from you if they don't think you've paid them appropriately, since private property (instead of collective, tribe-wide property) is an alien concept to them. Efaarit own.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Azran posted:

but they will steal from you if they don't think you've paid them appropriately, since private property (instead of collective, tribe-wide property) is an alien concept to them.

Oh look, racist Roma stereotypes.

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013

vuk83 posted:

The 1st pic i remember from the drager of dæmoner, The Danish version of drakar och dämoner, from the early 90s. I think fria ligan is a continuation of that. Also alot of the art in the quick start at least I recognize from original d&d

Seems like it literally all comes from one guy who did a lot of illustrations for that game, Nils Gullikson, so quite possibly a lot of it is reused material.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!

Cythereal posted:

Oh look, racist Roma stereotypes.

I mean, if that's literally the only thing about them that recalls Roma stereotypes, is it really? The rest of it doesn't feel particularly Roma.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

After a Speaker vote, you may be entitled to a valuable coupon or voucher!



PurpleXVI posted:

I mean, if that's literally the only thing about them that recalls Roma stereotypes, is it really? The rest of it doesn't feel particularly Roma.
Wasn't the whole hangup with Kender that the authors of Dragonlance had to mentally square the needle between "non-evil... but steals and not for immediate necessities!"

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!

Nessus posted:

Wasn't the whole hangup with Kender that the authors of Dragonlance had to mentally square the needle between "non-evil... but steals and not for immediate necessities!"

I like how you say "the" hangup about Kender like there's just one thing wrong with them rather than everything. Generally they were characterized as basically being of goofy child-like intellect and stealing everything not nailed down "JUST BCUZ!!!! LOL!!!!!" essentially as a compulsive hoarding/gathering behavior rather than anything else, and also a guaranteed way to get you murdered at any game table where you declared you were going to roll up a Kender.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

After a Speaker vote, you may be entitled to a valuable coupon or voucher!



PurpleXVI posted:

I like how you say "the" hangup about Kender like there's just one thing wrong with them rather than everything. Generally they were characterized as basically being of goofy child-like intellect and stealing everything not nailed down "JUST BCUZ!!!! LOL!!!!!" essentially as a compulsive hoarding/gathering behavior rather than anything else, and also a guaranteed way to get you murdered at any game table where you declared you were going to roll up a Kender.
Yeah I meant the underlying thing that made them weird and distinctively problematic, instead of the default kind of problematic you would get from saying they're a race of shortass burglers and pipeweed fiends.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

Luckily, I *did* save your old avatar. Fucked around and found out indeed.
The biggest hangup about kenders:

1) child race, pure and innocent and anyone who hates a kender is bad, and the writeup goes to great lengths to hammer this in
2) incorrigible, constant thieves
3) despite being pure and innocent they know what a thief is, that it's bad, and that they should get mad and defend themselves if someone calls them a thief (they even have a list of favored retorts, most about as effective as 'I was just borrowing it')
4) oh also they will steal your poo poo

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!

Nessus posted:

Yeah I meant the underlying thing that made them weird and distinctively problematic, instead of the default kind of problematic you would get from saying they're a race of shortass burglers and pipeweed fiends.

Again, maybe I'm just misremembering them, but I really think that trying to tie them to anything "problematic" wrt Roma stereotypes is way off kilter. They're poo poo enough without being racist and it's really kind of a reach.

But, ha ha, you know what? I don't think anyone's reviewed Dragonlance for F&F yet. So once I'm done with Nobilis, I'll dig it up and we'll find out if there's enough comedy in there to sustain a review and it's not just piles and piles of Deepest Lore.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

"Doesn't understand personal property and so steals all the time" is one of those fantasy tropes that needs to die in general. It always sucks.

Rand Brittain
Mar 25, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."
Particularly since it amounts to "is effectively unable to understand simple concepts even after having them explained."

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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

Leraika posted:

The biggest hangup about kenders:

1) child race, pure and innocent and anyone who hates a kender is bad, and the writeup goes to great lengths to hammer this in
2) incorrigible, constant thieves
3) despite being pure and innocent they know what a thief is, that it's bad, and that they should get mad and defend themselves if someone calls them a thief (they even have a list of favored retorts, most about as effective as 'I was just borrowing it')
4) oh also they will steal your poo poo

Really, it's number 1 here that's bad. If they were merely hypocritical irredeemable dipshit thieves they'd just be annoying, but having them be Word Of God 'Good' and everyone knows it and anyone who kicks a kender for stealing their food is an Evil Person is just absolutely galling.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

PurpleXVI posted:

Again, maybe I'm just misremembering them, but I really think that trying to tie them to anything "problematic" wrt Roma stereotypes is way off kilter. They're poo poo enough without being racist and it's really kind of a reach.

But, ha ha, you know what? I don't think anyone's reviewed Dragonlance for F&F yet. So once I'm done with Nobilis, I'll dig it up and we'll find out if there's enough comedy in there to sustain a review and it's not just piles and piles of Deepest Lore.

Out of curiosity, are you planning to review the novels, the general setting books, or the "Chronicles" adventures?

I reviewed the 3rd Edition conversion of the campaign setting. It was set in the "current year" 5th Age rather than the classic Chronicles adventures.

I also had an abandoned review of the Key of Destiny Adventure Path.

Toshimo also planned to do a Let's Read of the original trilogy novels, but it too was abandoned.

Azran
Sep 3, 2012

And what should one do to be remembered?


I think the concept the writers were going for (gotta admit, maybe using Kenders as an analogy was not the smartest move on my part) was that they are super-opportunistic because of the harsh living conditions in the Bloodstone Marshes (the aforementioned death desert these dudes live in). So if it looks like you're not going to make it or you're not going to be able to pay their rate, well they don't give a poo poo.

At the same time Warmachine/Hordes isn't exactly subtle with their Not!Russia, Not!France, etc. I like their specific takes on certain fantasy tropes but there's very much a thread of unfortunate implications or tiresome tropes like the Skorne being a whole society based on pain, suffering and slavery to the point where everyone is basically evil all the time, or the Trollkin being Scottish noble savages.

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!

Ahem, okay.

gently caress the books, I read some of them and just having that knowledge in my brain hurts. I'll reference them as appropriate, probably while crying and sobbing.

I was thinking I'd just review the basic 2e AD&D setting and maybe some of the adventures, maybe compare them to how things played out in the books, etc. in case they make any concessions to actually keeping poo poo playable and not completely railroaded. I'm partially stunned by how many loving Dragonlance .PDF's I actually have in my trove.

I also never realized I had a .PDF for the "Fifth Age Dragonlance" thing they did where TSR apparently made a non-D&D Dragonlance game that looks kind of narrative and rules-light, being card-based rather than dice-based.

Berkshire Hunts
Nov 5, 2009

Ratoslov posted:

Really, it's number 1 here that's bad. If they were merely hypocritical irredeemable dipshit thieves they'd just be annoying, but having them be Word Of God 'Good' and everyone knows it and anyone who kicks a kender for stealing their food is an Evil Person is just absolutely galling.

If you think this is bad, wait until you find out about the Word of God ‘Good’ slave-owning elves

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010

Ratoslov posted:

(Friggin' kenders)

You know, I just remembered that kender were part of the D&D Fifth Edition Next playtest's final packet. Because it was a playtest, they didn't really get too much into the whole "kender are good and pure and if you kick one you're a Lying Liar From Hell Who Lies."

(If it matters, the kender stats were:

* +1 Dexterity and Charisma.
* Small size.
* 25 foot walking speed.
* You are immune to the frightened condition.
* You can taunt an opponent with a Charisma (Performance) vs. Wisdom (Insight) opposed check; if your opponent fails, he must move towards you as much as possible and attack you (with disadvantage.) If he succeeds, he's immune to this for 24 hours.
* If you need a nonmagical item, roll 1d4. It's in your backpack if you roll a 1; otherwise, you can't search for that item again until you spend one day in a town or city.
* You are literate and fluent in Common and Kenderspeak.)

Nothing here about putting the boots to kender or how they don't exactly grasp concepts like "Swiper, no swiping" or "personal property" or "the penalty for theft is cutting off your hand, but if it's your first offense, they usually just cut off a finger or two."

Zereth
Jul 9, 2003



Leraika posted:

The biggest hangup about kenders:

1) child race, pure and innocent and anyone who hates a kender is bad, and the writeup goes to great lengths to hammer this in
2) incorrigible, constant thieves
3) despite being pure and innocent they know what a thief is, that it's bad, and that they should get mad and defend themselves if someone calls them a thief (they even have a list of favored retorts, most about as effective as 'I was just borrowing it')
4) oh also they will steal your poo poo

1 + 3 seem a little bit contradictory :thunk:

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado


Berkshire Hunts posted:

If you think this is bad, wait until you find out about the Word of God ‘Good’ slave-owning elves

Didn't Dragonlance's backstory have a full on repressive fascist empire that was still somehow Lawful Good?

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Omnicrom posted:

Didn't Dragonlance's backstory have a full on repressive fascist empire that was still somehow Lawful Good?

Yes. And the gods sunk it in a magical cataclysm when its leader the Kingpriest (who was still canonically Lawful Good btw) wanted to enslave the gods themselves and had people worshiping him instead of his patron deity in the Empire's last days.

The moral of Dragonlance's story is that the Neutral deities/Enlightened Centrism is the best and most tolerant option.

Said Cataclysm also brought untold suffering even to people outside the Empire, but some of the more obscure sourcebooks hint that if the Kingpriest was successful one out of three living organisms on the planet would spontaneously perish. The Dragonlance gods settled for a more localized genocide over a lesser version of the Thanos Snap basically.

Edit: Which btw is actually great story fodder and a means of understanding why both people are resentful of the Gods today while also understanding why the Gods did such a terrible thing, but the canon books don't even acknowledge this and somehow view only mortals at fault. I guess it's hard to view the actions of 'holy' deities as evil when you come from a conservative Christian background; it's a trend I've noticed among said subcultures, Mormon, Evangelical, or otherwise.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 08:58 on Nov 18, 2019

Gantolandon
Aug 19, 2012

Omnicrom posted:

Didn't Dragonlance's backstory have a full on repressive fascist empire that was still somehow Lawful Good?

AD&D was notoriously bad with its own alignment system. The most egregious example is Duke Rowan Darkwood from Planescape, the leader of the "gently caress you got mine" faction. Aside from causing the Faction War, he notoriously seduced the (16 years old) factol of the Mercykillers, married her and sold them to some fiend slavers after she gave him control over her own faction.

His alignment according to his stat block? Chaotic good.

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!

Libertad! posted:

Yes. And the gods sunk it in a magical cataclysm when its leader the Kingpriest (who was still canonically Lawful Good btw) wanted to enslave the gods themselves and had people worshiping him instead of his patron deity in the Empire's last days.

The moral of Dragonlance's story is that the Neutral deities/Enlightened Centrism is the best and most tolerant option.

The Kingpriest was explicitly being tricked by Takhisis into turning the EMPIRE OF GOOD into an EMPIRE OF FASCISM, and when he completely failed to get the point(and their emissary intended to get there and stop the whole insanity instead decided to go insane because of the power of Elven Vagina), the gods of good dropped a burning mountain on the capital, crashing it into the depths of the Abyss. So right up till the point where the mountain flattened him, the Kingpriest was thinking: "man, these ideas sound a bit suspect, but clearly this is what The Forces of Good want of me! I am an okay person :)" At least, that's the best argument I can come up with for why they'd still keep him LG in alignment.

I'm re-reading some of the DEEP LORE here to make sure I'm remembering right, btw, and I'm coming across some really dumb poo poo. Apparently the Kender, despite being PURE AND CHILDLIKE, intentionally cause a global economic crisis through mass market manipulation just to get tax exemptions in Istar. What the gently caress.

Gantolandon posted:

AD&D was notoriously bad with its own alignment system. The most egregious example is Duke Rowan Darkwood from Planescape, the leader of the "gently caress you got mine" faction. Aside from causing the Faction War, he notoriously seduced the (16 years old) factol of the Mercykillers, married her and sold them to some fiend slavers after she gave him control over her own faction.

His alignment according to his stat block? Chaotic good.

Alignment was handled a bit different from game to game in the AD&D franchise, though. In many cases, it was treated as a "these traits and actions are universally good or evil"-thing. If I remember my Planescape right, it was a lot more in the direction of "this is how this character perceives themselves." So it didn't mean that Rowan Darkwood was a good person, it meant that he had convinced himself that he was a good person, whether that means doing right by the rest of the world with tough love, or that all's fair in war, love and business and so he couldn't really be held responsible for causing thousands of deaths and untold suffering. This is also why angels from Mt. Celestia in Planescape are capable of remaining Lawful Good despite committing the occasional atrocity because in their minds "the ends justify the means, I am totally doing this for the long-term goals of universal goodness."

Gantolandon
Aug 19, 2012

PurpleXVI posted:

Alignment was handled a bit different from game to game in the AD&D franchise, though. In many cases, it was treated as a "these traits and actions are universally good or evil"-thing. If I remember my Planescape right, it was a lot more in the direction of "this is how this character perceives themselves." So it didn't mean that Rowan Darkwood was a good person, it meant that he had convinced himself that he was a good person, whether that means doing right by the rest of the world with tough love, or that all's fair in war, love and business and so he couldn't really be held responsible for causing thousands of deaths and untold suffering. This is also why angels from Mt. Celestia in Planescape are capable of remaining Lawful Good despite committing the occasional atrocity because in their minds "the ends justify the means, I am totally doing this for the long-term goals of universal goodness."

The problem with that interpretation is that pretty much everyone, except for fiends, should be good in that case. Why would Lhar, the guy who have overseen a massive soup kitchen expansion, be chaotic neutral? What makes Skall, who wants pretty much the same thing as every single Dustman, neutral evil? The not-factol of the Revolutionary League, one of the most sanctimonious and self-righteous factions, is neutral evil for some reason, even though his stated goal is to free everyone from the faction tyranny.

Also, objective measure of good and evil does exists in Planescape – when Harmonium decided to set up death training camps in the third layer of Arcadia, they crashed it into Mechanus because it was too evil for even the lawful goodish plane. But the Fuhrer Composer is still considered lawful good, despite the fact that he knew and fully approved this operation.

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!

Gantolandon posted:

Also, objective measure of good and evil does exists in Planescape – when Harmonium decided to set up death training camps in the third layer of Arcadia, they crashed it into Mechanus because it was too evil for even the lawful goodish plane. But the Fuhrer Composer is still considered lawful good, despite the fact that he knew and fully approved this operation.

The Planes are shaped by belief, though, so that could happen just because a sufficient amount of onlookers considered it to be a neutral setup(or outright evil but balanced by those who considered it to be good).

Alright, yeah, not all of them are defensible, but at least alignment generally doesn't have much of an associated mechanic in 2E except for Detect [bad person/good person] spells.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Spire and Black Magic and Strata

Post 1: Yes, I know someone already did this

Spire was already reviewed, yes. I would never have heard of the game without that review, and wouldn't have bought it without that, either. But I feel like writing about Spire, and I've got the expansion book so I can add something extra to this in addition to retreading ground that Lazyangel already trod (quite well). Plus, I think I can bring something to the table in writing up a bit on Spire: I don't usually play or run games like Spire. I am normally a very traditional GM and player. I tend to play games with pretty conventional structure and rulesets. I don't really play a lot of heavy narrative games. Spire is a narrative game (though it has a few more standard RPG-ish conventions than, say, Powered By The Apocalypse style games) about drow rebels rising against the high elves (aelfir) who have conquered their fantasy mega-city. I think a sort of outsider's perspective on what it's like to adapt to a more narrative game and how well Spire's rules and book help a GM and group to do that has a little value.

Plus I just want to talk about how the book constructs its setting and characters, because it does a fantastic job of it and really deserves recognition for it. Grant Hewitt and Christopher Taylor did an excellent job of giving the exact right amount of detail; everywhere you go in the book, there's an exciting plot hook or an evocative idea, but all of them are left just blank enough for you to do your own thing with them. I talk a lot about how RPG fluff writing is about delivering writing prompts to the reader; Spire does this in spades. This book has a very, very high density of passages where you come away going 'I want to write about that' or 'I want to play as that'. The art adds a lot to this, too; there's a very consistent and sinister aesthetic to the art in Spire that really gives you a good feeling of how the city looks, while leaving enough open to your imagination.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first thing Spire does right is its portrayal of the drow, the principle characters you'll be playing as. Drow are one of the most embarrassing things in D&D, full of crazy racist implications and weird dominatrix fetishization. The drow in Spire are an excellent re-contextualization of the concept. For one, they're not evil. Nobody is just 'evil' in Spire, that's part of the point. They're not even sinister, really. They do a lot of stuff we might find weird or creepy, especially if you're an arachnaphobe, but it all has reasonable explanations. You see, Spire's drow are burned by the sun thanks to an ancient curse (no-one knows where the curse came from, the high elves say they did it to the drow ages ago but there's evidence the drow and high elves were never the same species). They also don't have live birth like normal mammals. Instead, they lay eggs, which are then tended to and carefully fed transfused blood by a priesthood of part-spider Midwives devoted to a spider goddess that helped the drow have children. They're a heavily communal and family-based people, living in dark places and farming mushrooms and insects, and worship a triune Goddess called the Damnou in her three aspects. They're a little weird to a human, but the drow are just another people; they're not super sinister, nor are they written as perfect wonderful saints. They're just people, like everyone else in the setting.

Plus, this is a setting that pulls off 'spider-blooded mutant priestess who has horrific transformation magic' as a holy defender whose commandments drive her to defend the defenseless and who spends as much time healing people and taking care of babies as ripping people apart with swarms of magic spiders. The weird spider priestess Midwives are the game's equivalent of a Paladin in most fantasy settings, and they rule. Basically every PC class does. We'll get to why.

They're also brutally oppressed (at least, here in the Spire) by the aelfir, their supposed cousins from the north. Spire itself is a massive super-city founded by who knows what long ago. As an example of what I love about the writing for this game, they give a ton of possibilities for what Spire is: Is it a musical instrument forged by a God and the thrum of life in the city is the song it's playing? Is it a tendril of some ancient being from beyond that got cut off and stuck here? Is it the beacon that brought the Gods to the world, a great signal-fire of life and activity? Or is it just a really big building? I love that last option being included among all the weird poo poo. It used to be the capital of a powerful drow nation until it was conquered by the aelfir 200 years ago. Aelfir are dicks, basically. They're extremely powerful at magic, their society is weirdly distant and strange, and they're obsessed with art. To the point that they completely despise nature. Everything in the world needs a high elf in it, you see, and a high elf can improve anything. That tree over there? Needs to be bound with magical chains so it'll grow in exactly the direction the aelfir artist wants it to. Because it's better now, because an aelfir did something to it.

Oh, and they all wear masks all the time, to make it easy to disguise yourself as one and go among them and do spy stuff. They also don't actually know their own mask etiquette, but none of them will admit it, so they keep writing dozens of books about what kinds of masks are appropriate for what things and then try to get by on panache and presentation. Again, completely perfect for a game about shadowy resistance figures.

Because that's what you do in Spire. You're drow, the aelfir rule your country and force a minimum of 4 years of slavery on every drow for the 'privilege' of living on their sufferance, and you have decided this is bullshit. By default, you are assumed to be members of a radical religious sect devoted to Lombre, one of the aspects of the Damnou goddess, who is often depicted as the goddess of Revenge. You are meant to be Ministers of Our Hidden Mistress, hidden rebels who work against the aelfir in a seemingly impossible struggle to free the Spire. I don't actually find the Ministry of Our Hidden Mistress very important, and actually kind of dislike them as the assumed framing; something about them feels off to me. I think it's the way the book continually talks about how much they'll sell you out in a heartbeat and how they always seem to have the resources to gently caress over a PC, but not to actually give you any backup. I'm also just not that fond of declaring all PCs are directly linked to one of the religions. I understand the need for an elevator pitch/immediate thing that links the party together; this apparently started as a Dark Heresy hack so having an Inquisition probably wasn't a stretch. I just find it works fine to say 'You are people who are part of the Resistance or will shortly find themselves thus; what do you hope for and what pushed you?' instead of always using the Ministry. Being rebels is enough.

Another fun thing about Spire right off the bat: It is not a static fantasy setting. At all. For one, as soon as the gun was invented, everyone all over the world recognized immediately they wanted guns, so even though you'll see magic crossbows or longbows around the Spire and people often carry swords and knives, you can also find repeating rifles and revolvers. Humans invented guns, guns took off. Same with other tech. Magic is also absolutely everywhere in the Spire, so common that it takes the place of or supplements technological development. No-one lives for thousands of years, either; the aelfir wish they did, but most of the time they can manage 200. Drow live about 120 years. Elves are unusual in that they don't age past adulthood and just die when they die, but they don't live millennia like in most fantasy settings. Humans are human. Gnolls are the other major species and we'll get to them in a bit. Not having tons of ancient immortals around is a conscious choice and helps keep the setting feeling like it can change and move forward more readily. There's also lots of nice implied stuff about the rest of the world, but the book focuses heavily on the Spire itself, because the entire game is intended to take place there. It's certainly big enough to manage it.

Next Time: The Rules Can Be Explained In Five Minutes

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 17:44 on Nov 18, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

I admit I'm doing this partly so I can tell people about the Inksmith, who has now joined the Knights of the North Docks as one of the PCs I simply must play some day.

The expansion added a pulp fiction wizard whose magic lets them do things like knock people out with one punch without seriously hurting them. Because that's how it works in stories!

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Night10194 posted:

I admit I'm doing this partly so I can tell people about the Inksmith, who has now joined the Knights of the North Docks as one of the PCs I simply must play some day.

The expansion added a pulp fiction wizard whose magic lets them do things like knock people out with one punch without seriously hurting them. Because that's how it works in stories!

I would expect nothing less from the game that lets you ignore bad things because you're so good looking that bad things just don't happen to you.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.
Aren't humans in Spire the tinker gnome/tech bro equivalents who have a great sales pitch and end up causing incredible catastrophe?

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Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



Ronwayne posted:

Aren't humans in Spire the tinker gnome/tech bro equivalents who have a great sales pitch and end up causing incredible catastrophe?

They're the Indiana Joneses - the gun was based on digging up ancient (probably Dwarven?) technology and messing around with it. A lot of humans live in arcologies they moved into because the former inhabitants all vanished mysteriously long ago (there's strong Morrowind Dwarves energy in it).

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