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Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.

Grimey Drawer

I like the ghosts thing. A nice little send off boost if your character perma-dies (or you just get bored of them).


Apr 21, 2010

I'll have you know, foxes have the finest call in nature

SynthOrange posted:

Hey, that's not a superpower. That's just a regular person power.

The extra stuff from being a pure Black Dog doesnt seem that great though.
Let's see you say that when you're at a nudist beach and really need to make a phone call :colbert:

For Black Dog Pures, there's a combo power that increases the Atk. Power (i.e. damage) of what it's comboed with by the difference between your total and current HP. The more beaten down you are, the stronger it is, and it can get pretty strong. Then you drop down to 0 HP. The other Pure power is a combo power that can make your lightning attacks target anyone involved in the combat. Each Syndrome only gets two Pure powers.

A lot of powers are just that, utilitarian combo powers that change the mechanics of other things. Not everything is made of cool in this game, a lot of it is just... numbers.

PleasingFungus posted:

Today I learned that in Brazil, "Calvin and Hobbes" was localized to "Calvin e Haroldo".
:doh: completely slipped my mind, and I even have the 3-volume complete set of that in English. Corrected.

Oct 30, 2013

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

Dragonlance Key of Destiny Adventure Path Book One, Chapter 3: The Shattered Temple

This is a rather infamous chapter in the Key of Destiny for its poor use of boxed text. Ideally boxed text should reveal just enough of the scene and then the PCs react. Going so far as to narrate the PC's action and thoughts, or when so much action is happening that the PCs are essentially standing around doing nothing, is a bad thing for writers to avoid. But we'll get to that later.

The Night of Betrayal was an incident which happened 700 years ago and expounds upon much of Caeldor's backstory. It's significant to the larger plot, and the writers do a clever job of the use of "spectral flickers." Basically shades of memory from the Ethereal Plane persist in the temple; not true ghosts, the emotions of that one night combined with the curse essentially replays the scenes again and again as illusions which cannot be affected by outside forces. Through this, the PCs witness the atrocities committed and Caeldor's depravity.

Long story short, Caeldor used to be a priest of Mishakal, Neutral Good goddess of healing, peacemaking, restoration, and growth. As he grew older he began to succumb to the ravages of age, something even Mishakal's divine magic could not prevent. Over time he grew bitter, eventually seeking out other gods who would help him. In the temple room of the dark gods, Chemosh, evil deity of Death and Lord of Bones, answered his prayers and promised him immortality. Caeldor accepted his offer, and his soul was cloaked so that none but Mishakal would know of his betrayal. He struck a deal with the ogre shamans of the nation of Blöde to strike Hurim. The siege began, and as the priests' forces fell to the army Caeldor struck from within, killing the high priest and spilling his blood on the altar of the Gods of Light to weaken their connection, and then summoning fiends from the Abyss to massacre everyone else, priests and ogres alike.

So Caeldor got so pissed about getting old, he massacred everyone he lived with and began the path to lichdom. Talk about a mid-life crisis!

Unfortunately if done normally, the result will be the Dungeon Master reading a story to the players, a story which they have no control over and involve NPCs talking to each other (there's not many things more awkward at the table when the DM talks to him/herself). On the bright side, this chapter's got a lot of good magical equipment for the PCs, and two interesting NPCs whose roles I enjoy.


The Shattered Temple was once a grand place, a pyramid-shaped sandstone structure hewn by dwarven masonry. Despite its location in an out of the way location, great care was given to its planning, as it was one of the few Istaran temples in the region and the Empire and Khurish people both take their religion very seriously. Almost all of the rooms succumbed to the ravages of age and no maintenance, but many of its magic rooms and traps persevere. It is now inhabited mostly by oozes, vermin, and the undead.

The complex is very large, but has little in the way of inhabitants both living and dead. For a dungeon it's rather empty, but it makes sense for this forsaken place.

The party gets a first taste of the spectral flickers at the entrance (ST3):


A loud shout rises on the air, piercing the calm night with an alarm. "Ogres!" Suddenly, the sound of heavy booted feet, followed by the echoing war of bloodthirsty warriors, drowns out the sound of the alarm as a horde of ogres tears their way up the temple steps. One burly ogre, his tusks wet with crimson blood, leads the pack, pausing long enough at the temple entrance to swing at the tall, smiling statue of Mishakal with a single mighty blow. Bending over, he lifts the cracked marble head of the goddess from the ground and hefts it over his head, releasing a booming warcry that is quickly picked up by the other ogres in the valley.

As far as flickers go, this first one isn't so bad. It's far enough away from the PCs for the events to transpire, and it's frightening enough to players who don't yet realize that it's an illusion. My party immediately fled into the temple, hoping that they could hold them off somehow.

Yet another flicker follows up in ST5, this time detailing the ogre leader slaughtering the first resistance of a priest of Paladine.


A young human, Khurish by the looks of him, dressed in loose white robes holds forth his right hand while his left graps the silver medallion of Paladine around his neck.
"Paladine, hear my word, grant me use of your holy sword!"
A glowing blade of the silvery light springs into being in the young priest's hand, which he holds with determination, if not skill.
An ogre turns the corner from the stairs and the young priest leaps forward, the silvery blade leaving a glowing trail of light in an arch as he shouts, "in Paladine's name!"
The ogre cruelly laughs as he brings up a booted foot, kicking the young man in the stomach...
"Kiss your god goodbye, little man," the ogre growls before raising his club overhead and bringing it swiftly down towards the priest's head.

I cut out a few lines but you get the gist of it. The boxed text reads like something straight out of a novel, and while it's very evocative to read, doing so out loud to players loses a lot of its feel. Especially when you do it again and again, with longer ones even!

Libertad's Notes: Personally I cut down a lot of the boxed text to the bare grist, generalizing it as a one-sided slaughter of carnage. I was more descriptive when it came to Caeldor, considering that he's the star of the show and the one I want my players to remember.

One of the doors in said hallway is a Mimic, but this one's far from a stereotypical monster. The mimic (who has no name), is actually part of a scholarly expedition. His partner's an aranea (spider woman) named Anasana, a scholar and worshiper of Chislev the God of Nature. They both figured that with the recent opening the valley that the curse had been lifted, but they were wrong. The room that the mimic is guarding is the former High Priest's Locutory, used by him and Anasana as a resting place in the Temple. Together they hope to find knowledge of what happened, and possibly a way to put the spirits to rest and lift the curse. Anasana's in the library (ST25), on the fourth floor.

I really like this addition; adventuring monsters who can be reasoned with and might cooperate with the PCs, and in part inspired me to try my hand at playable monster PCs with the Savage Species rulebook.

ST8 is the High Master's Locutory, filled with cobwebs and monstrous spiders and spider swarms. A tough fight for PCs without fire or area effect attacks, but the treasures in the egg cocoons include a few nifty magical items (wand of cure light wounds, some scrolls, and a swan feather token, among pearls and art objects).

ST10 A is a storeroom of food, with metal rods with permanent chill metal cast upon them to make the room cool; ST B is the other storeroom of the corpse of a former thief filled with a centipede swarm. He has an old map marking some secret doors with "X" signs and a wand of find traps (5 charges).

ST14 was the dining hall; there are many skeletons inside but no signs of battle. The doors were blocked up and an Ogre Mage cast a cloudkill spell to gas the inhabitants. The spectral flicker which occurs describes this event with 44 half-lines of text (the book's text fits into a small 2-column format), but still. ST15 is the kitchen home to a powerful Ochre Jelly which guards some more magic scrolls and a 1st-level Pearl of Power. This nifty item allows a spellcaster to regain one of their prepared spells they prepared and cast within that day (1st level only for this one)! The previous chapters were light on loot, but the Shattered Temple's really picking up now!

The hallways of ST16 and the third floor is home to a gelatinous cube. Anasana summoned the ooze to the Temple with her magic (there's no spell in the adventure or campaign setting which does this, it's a flavor thing) to prevent other monsters from bothering her. She effectively corralled the creature to the hallways by placing an alchemical solution known as oozebane in front of many of the doors and stairs. It's a powder that dries out liquids quickly and damages oozes the same way holy water harms the undead.

ST19 is the infirmary, its injured inhabitants slaughtered by the ogres. Another flicker details how a priestess held her ground before dying as the laughing ogres converged on one of the bedridden men, who now haunts the room as a ghost. In his delusions he'll attack the PCs perceiving them as ogres, but if anyone casts a healing spell upon him he returns to normal and casts a heal spell upon the party before departing on the River of Souls (The young priest stretches his hands as he turns his eyes to the heavens. "Light bringer, gentle healer, goddess wrap these heroes in your embrace, ease the suffering from their face.")

Our Introduction to Caeldor, one really bad dude

ST20 is Caeldor's chambers. In life he was a high priest, and since he was collecting and doing evil poo poo he put up a magical trap on it (Symbol of Pain) and placed a divine marking in the Ogre language saying "protected by the dark gods." An important flicker happens within:


A rather distinguished, coldly handsome middle-aged man with pale skin, piercing black eyes, and white-blonde hair, stands in the center of the room, apparently lost in thought. His body is lean, almost to the point of gauntness, and the pointed goatee on his chin gives him an almost sinister air, particularly when combined with the intensity of his features.

He's dressed in pitch black robes, with small ivory skulls decorating the hem. His hand is wrapped around the medallion around his neck as he gazes off into the distance. Suddenly, he nods his head and speaks in a low, whispery tone.

"Yes Chief Korblack, tonight is the night. I shall take care of the high priest and the temple's defenses. All you and your horde need worry about are the guardians."


The figure falls silent again, apparently listening to the Chief's response. "You may keep whatever treasure you find. Such things do not matter to my master or myself. Now I must go and prepare for the evening's... events. When you have cleared the temple above, meet me in the Shrine of Darkness on the lowest level. There you will receive the reward promised you."

The figure releases the Medallion from his grip, revealing a grinning skull motif. "Time to put on my last disguise." Speaking a chant, the black and copper robes bleed their color away until they're pristine white and blue, emblazoned with the symbols of Mishakal.


Leaning over, he pulls a black-bladed dagger out of [the chest]. It writhes like a snake as he tucks it among the folds of his robes and walks towards the door with purposeful strides.

The stuff I cut out was more talking with the ogre chief over preparations for the attack and him unlocking the chest with a spell. Caeldor's personal possessions are in his chest, also trapped with choking dust, of holy tomes and magic scrolls. But a secret compartment contains a tome bound in human skin detailing the rites of Chemosh, and a skull-shaped black candle (Neutral Evil Candle of Invocation), a block of Incense of Meditation. The candle's loving overpowered if you have an evil cleric in the group (or someone with a great Use Magic Device bonus), so I'd take it out just in case. Overall some really valuable stuff for 4-5th level PCs to find.

ST25's the library, home to Anasana:


"Well, it seems as if I am not the only one whose curiosity has been piqued by the temple's reappearance. Welcome, fellow explorers, my name is Anasana." Her voice is warm and heavily accented and her tone seems sincere.

Anasana will be happy to share information with the PCs, although she's keen on keeping hidden her true form (a spider creature). She's not interested in fighting to the death and will flee if she cannot overpower the PCs. She can tell them why the spectral flickers are occuring, and that there are guardian statues watching over the lower levels (she did not progress past them). If asked how to "cure" the place, she'll mention that removing the impurity is beyond her means, that it requires the Tears of Mishakal at the very least, a pair of artifacts lost since the Age of Dreams. They were said to be created by Goddess herself and fell to the earth when the first murder occurred. The Tears have the power to ease the spirits of the dead and grant them peace. They work best together, but rumor has it that one of the Tears has been corrupted by Chemosh's touch.

Guess which artifacts play a significant role in Book 2!

ST26 is a secret armory opened via a hidden panel in the wall. It has masterwork equipment, holy water, and a magic Bead of Force (it can explode and trap creatures inside a magical sphere).

Lower Levels

Floors Five and Six are guarded by a Permanent Guards & Ward spell, which locks all doors shut with an Arcane Lock spell, barring non-magical lock picking (although the ogres smashed through most of them). The Grand Hall is protected by two animated statues of the deities Paladine and Mishakal, who will part ways if presented with a medallion of faith of one of the Gods of Light. The spectral flicker here details the priests' last stand against the ogres. The battle's going against them, but suddenly out of the double doors burst forth a swarm of skeletal insects followed by a pair of devils wrapped in chains. Caeldor nonchalantly walks out from one of the shrines, unnoticed by the new monsters, and closes the door to the massacre which unfolds. He came from ST29, a shrine dedicated to the evil gods, clad in polished obsidian, terrible statues of the deities of darkness, and overall just looking all evil as gently caress. The surviving ogre chieftian makes his way in, talking to the statue of Takhisis/Tiamat telling that his brethren were betrayed. The statue comes to life and consoles him, telling that he will make up for it in the afterlife as a servant and that his revenge will come eventually. She looks over to where the PCs are, an evil smile on her face: "Yes, vengeance shall not come from my hand...but from yours!"


What a twist!

There's also a room for the Gods of Balance (Neutrality) and one for the Gods of Light. The magic in the shrine of Light does not work, having been desecrated by Caeldor's actions. The blade he used to kill the high priest lies on the ground. It's a cursed item which will try possessing the wielder, biding its time to kill one of the other PCs at the most opportune moment.

The spectral flicker shows Caeldor come into the room, a look of concern on his face. He tells the high priest that a traitor compromised them from within. Still kneeling in front of the shrine, he asks who. Caeldor kneels down and whispers into his ear, "me!" and stabs him in the back.

But the priest has one last trick up his sleeve, as he lay dying he calls upon the Gods of Light to sanctify the room, triggering a powerful gust of wind which nearly flings Caeldor out of the room as he jumps away in time. A young priest, a mere boy, is unnoticed and flees into the room shortly after Caeldor leaves, unable to heal the dead priest. He asks the Gods of Light what he must do; a soft chiming sound answers his prayers as he's bathed in light, and as if in a dream he walks away from the altar filled with new resolution.

The reliquaries and sanctums (ST32-35) don't have much except for a free Commune spell for Good-aligned Clerics once per year, and a secret reliquary (ST35) with two candles of invocation (Lawful Good and Chaotic Good) and an incense of meditation.

The young boy Neran confronts Caeldor in ST38, the Sepulcher.


The Betrayer stands before the large sarcophagus, his hands held high as he gazes up, his voice echoing through the chamber as he offers a prayer to Chemosh.
“Dark God of Immortality, He Who Stops Death, I devote myself to you, in body, in mind, in heart, and in soul…”
As the Betrayer repeats his prayer, he does not notice the door opening or the young acolyte entering with the glowing short sword in his hand. In the same vein, the young acolyte does not seem to notice the large skeletal creature lurking in the shadows of the crypt.
“Halt, Betrayer!” the acolyte cries out.
Startled out of his prayer, the Betrayer turns around, his eyes gleaming from behind his skull mask as he stares at the young man. Suddenly, the Betrayer begins to laugh, a cruel, mocking sound that causes the acolyte to tremble.
“Ahhhh, so you are the one who would face me, Neran? You have not even put on the white robes of Paladine what makes you think you can stop me from completing my ritual?” The Betrayer shakes his head, clucking his tongue.
“Ye…yes, Betrayer. I shall be the one who will bring you before the gods for Justice,” Neran replies softly, clenching his jaw as he takes a step forward, rising the short blade before him.


The fiend roars as the holy light blinds it. Before the fiend, or the Betrayer, can respond, Neran rushes forward at a dead run, the blade held forth as he skirts around the fiend toward the evil priest. Time seems to dilate, the moments stretching out as Neran lunges forward with his sword…
…as the Betrayer yells out a final, desperate phrase…
…as the fiend turns and swings is glaive toward the boy’s unprotected back…
…the Betrayer’s body jerks as the glowing sword pierces his chest with enough force that the blade embeds itself into the stone sarcophagus beneath him…
…Neran screams in pain as the fiend’s weapon slices through his spine, tossing him to the side where he collapses in a faint…
…the fiend roars in victory as he turns and swings his weapon once more toward the injured boy…
…Neran closes his eyes, clutching his medallion with a bloody fist and whispers something that only his god can hear…
…a brilliant explosion of light explodes out from the acolyte’s body, throwing the fiend across the room as a golden radiance infuses the walls.
As the blinding light fades, the Betrayer lays lifeless upon the sarcophagus, his body pierced by the holy blade. Neran lays on the floor, a peaceful look upon his features, his spirit already carried away to join with his god. And a fiend summoned by the Betrayer howls in rage as it finds itself trapped in a crypt by the last words of a hero who history would remain unknown for many, many centuries…

That blade used to kill Caeldor is the Shard of Light, a +2 Holy Short Sword and minor artifact. Its blade is transparent like glass, lit from within as if sunlight has been captured inside. Against evil creatures its bonus is +4, and deals double damage on a normal hit against the undead (and allows the wielder to deal critical hits against them!). Twice per day it can shed daylight as per the spell, once per day create a cone of light which dispels all illusions (true seeing), and can ignore nonliving matter once per day as it transforms into a brilliant energy weapon.

But before they can get the Shard, they must overcome the Bearded Devil, one of Caeldor's summons, within the sarcophagus. He'll spring to life and attack them as they pick up the Shard. He's a tough cookie, with a reach weapon and spell resistance, but a well-rested and prepared party can take him down without much trouble.

This adventure path hands out artifacts like candy. With the Shard and the Key of Destiny, our Priceless Artifact Count is at 2. In my campaign it was used by our Rogue, who immensely enjoyed its ability to pierce through heavily-armored defenses and be able to do something against the undead (I houseruled that Sneak Attack works against these creatures as long as he uses the Shard).

Once the PCs remove the Shard of Light, Caeldor's form crumbles to dust. His skull mask is his phylactary, which will teleport to a far-away safehouse of his if touched by a good-aligned creature. In reality, the sword kept his soul trapped and dormant, and in several days he will reform.

So Lothian hoped to guide the PCs here so that they would learn of the atrocities of Chemosh's minions and the location of a blade so that they might fight his minions better (Lothian knows that Chemosh has desings on the Dragon's Graveyard, but little beyond that). BUT, in so doing he inadvertently unleashed the spirit of Caeldor, now the most powerful minion of the deity on Krynn. Now that the PCs entered the Temple, Chemosh witnessed what they did, and guides Caeldor to build an army and retake the Temple in time, in addition to getting the Key of Quinari himself.

Looks like someone hosed up big time. :ironicat:

Anasana will be intrigued to hear of what they discovered, but will personally disturbed at the events. Regardless, she'll choose to remain until the PCs leave, after which she and her mimic companion will leave as soon as possible.



As you finally reach the fresh, open air outside you feel a burden has been lifted off your shoulders.

"You have found it," comes a soft voice from behind you, a voice you've heard before. Turning around, you see the strange apparition of the young girl Uleena, who stands there gazing at you with those strange blue eyes that know too much.

"You must hurry, for the sands of time are slipping away swiftly... the shard of light is a key, a key that will allow you to find what you seek in the ruins of a city that once felt no fear, but now lies beneath a shadow of fire and death..."

Without waiting for a reply, the young girl turns and disappears into the depths of the temple, leaving behind only a faint scent of lilac floating in the air.

The ruined city of which she spoke is Kendermore, once the home of the Kenders before Maylstryx the Red Dragon Overlord destroyed it. The once-fertile region around the city has been warped by the dragon's magic into a barren wasteland known as the Desolation. The Mikku tribe the PCs reunite with can tell them as much, and will offer to escort them to the port city of Ak-Khurman, where from there they can sail to Port Balifor which stands at the edge of the Desolation.


At this point, the characters may being feeling manipulated, and may actively begin rebelling against being forced to go somewhere as dangerous as the Desolation and Kendermore. The may wish instead to pursue a different track to reach the Desolation, cutting through Khuri-Khan and Delphon instead of crossing the Bay of Balifor.

The Mikku will suggest that not only is Ak-Khurman the closest city of any kind, it is held by the Legion of Steel and thus friendlier to the PCs, as it is rumored that the Khan is seeking an alliance with the Knights of Neraka.

If Shroud escorted the characters through the Shattered Temple, he will depart from the characters here, choosing to remain in the ruined valley for awhile longer. Alternately, if Shroud did not go into the Shattered Temple with the characters, once they emerge outside, he will eagerly approach them, wanting to know everything that happened within. As the characters leave, they will see the kender nightstalker gladly heading into the ruined temple, seeking out some ‘ghosts’ of his own to talk to.

This is indeed an alternative route, but truly rebellious PCs might wonder why they're going through all the trouble in the first place. One of my groups began to tire of the goose chase, but they went on because what are they supposed to do, just give up? Although it's understandable, given that there's no sense in writing a huge portion of the adventure which may not be used, and the PCs are wanted by the Dark Knights in Pashin, after all (word could've traveled via carrier pigeon of them as fugitives).

Thoughts so far: The Shattered Temple's spectral flickers need to be either altered or remade so that the PCs don't feel like they're just watching the DM read to himself. That, and the Candles of Invocation need to be removed as they can be really powerful in the wrong group. Otherwise it's a fine dungeon crawl with good rewards your PCs might enjoy.

Next time, Chapter Four: Across Sand & Sea. Port towns, rough and tumble sailors, seafaring, and urban adventure shenanigans!

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 04:56 on Nov 15, 2013

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011

PleasingFungus posted:

Does this mean that someone has to be at watch at all hours of night, or else the kingdom will be destroyed when everyone goes to bed?

Have you ever seen in those olde tyme movies where they have that one guy pacing around the streets at night, ringing a bell and shouting "TWEEEEEELVE O' CLOCK, AND AAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL'S WEEEE-EEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLL!"? Now you know why.

Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?

Cyphoderus posted:

For Black Dog Pures, there's a combo power that increases the Atk. Power (i.e. damage) of what it's comboed with by the difference between your total and current HP. The more beaten down you are, the stronger it is, and it can get pretty strong. Then you drop down to 0 HP. The other Pure power is a combo power that can make your lightning attacks target anyone involved in the combat. Each Syndrome only gets two Pure powers.

A lot of powers are just that, utilitarian combo powers that change the mechanics of other things. Not everything is made of cool in this game, a lot of it is just... numbers.

After trying out my copy of Double Cross with my group a bit I'd say this game's one weak point is the large number of powers that just give kind of samey bonuses. Of course Double Cross has really cool fluff for almost all the powers with stuff like making a gravity well to distort distance or sucking attacks in to a black hole. If I'm reading "Rollback" right, it gets rid of Bad Statuses by rewinding time on yourself. :science: Can you tell that Balor is my favorite syndrome?

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 18:12 on Nov 15, 2013

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

Part 4: Fancy Feats and Exotic Equipment
We're nearly done with the player's guide for Northern Crown, meaning we're so close to getting to the Gazetteer sourcebook, where the metaplot gets involved and you start having things like how the wendigos brought about the Ice Age, Paul Bunyan existing and being hated by everyone other than other woodsmen, and how we are simultaneously on a spherical planet and atop a giant world-turtle. Still, we aren't quite there yet, so I won't get ahead of myself here. Let’s soldier through these character options.

Nothing of consequence to see here. All of the noted skills are just new subsets of the Craft, Knowledge, Profession, and Read/Write Speak Language skills.

Ah, feats, always there to provide features you want to limit by capability rather than class. Most of them here aren’t really worthy of note, such as new weapon proficiencies, feats that make a Natural Philosopher’s inventions sturdier/faster/some other minor stat alteration, or crafting feats for new types of magical item. There are at least a few particularly interesting feats worthy of actually noting, though, so it’s not all in the “useful but bland” category.

Ancestry Feats: Are your origin powers not enough for your character? Fear not, as there are several sets of feats that allow you to have even more than just your standard culture. The Two Worlds feat, for instance, lets you take all of the traits of a second culture other than its spell-like abilities or free feats – for instance, a Cimarron-born Sophian could take this feat to gain both the Sophian culture traits as well as the Cimarron bonuses. The other sort of ancestry feats are of a more esoteric sort, allowing First Ones characters to gain the powers of the ancient father-spirits Bear, Turtle, and Wolf. These come in trees that start with a standard feat that grants some minor skill and save bonuses, an “advanced” version that grants you some form of spell-like ability (animal summoning for Bear and Wolf, turning your skin into a shell for Turtle), and finally a “heroic” version that lets you shapeshift into an embodiment of your spirit-father (dire bear for Bear, dire wolf for Wolf, and giant snapping turtle for Turtle) once per day.

Combat Feats: While normally not something to write home about, there are a few interesting combat feats added in Northern Crown. These include Close Order Drill (reach through an occupied space with your polearm to hit a foe in the 5 foot square beyond the obstruction, even though you normally shouldn’t be able to), Force Majeure (you’re so drat majestic that you can make enemies frightened or unable to move), and Surefire (your guns aren’t complete and utter poo poo in inclement weather).

Knacks: What are knacks? Well, they technically don’t actually appear until the second to last chapter, but they are mentioned in the feats chapter so I’m going to briefly state what they are – namely, knacks are minor supernatural powers you innately have thanks to the feat. The fact that they have the same name as the innate supernatural powers in the similarly American frontier-themed Tales of Alvin Maker is totally coincidental and not at all homage. Totally. :ninja:

Take this in. It's one of the few images that isn't blurred and/or over-lightened to hell and back for reasons unknown.

New and Improved (?) Combat
Okay, enough about feats, let’s get to talking about punching stuff in the face...or fencing and shooting, as the case may be. The brunt of this is on guns, something that traditional D&D doesn't usually cover. And spoilers, guns are absolute donkey poo poo in Northern Crown. How poo poo? Let us count the ways.
  • Firing one, or even being near someone firing one, gets you a -4 penalty to Listen checks for an hour.
  • Reloading takes five rounds for a matchlock gun or four rounds for a wheellock or snaphance gun. Even the Rapid Reload feet only merely takes one round off of that time.
  • The misfire chance of a gun increases drastically based on weather, with heavy rain netting you a misfire chance of 1-6 with a matchlock or 1-4 with any other gun.
  • Damp powder is even worse, giving a matchlock gun a 1-8 misfire chance and any other weapon a 1-10 misfire chance. Remember what :freep: taught you if you want to live, Northern Crown soldiers!
  • What kind of damage do you actually get for all that effort? 1d8 to 1d12 for any gun that is feasible for a person to be holding! Congratulations, you take four or five rounds to do as much damage as a bow-wielder could do in two.

Now you see why that quote from the author in the intro post was relevant. I can understand primitive firearms being more unwieldy than modern firearms. I get that, I'm not expecting d20 Modern levels of firearm expediency. But seriously, when even some certain Pathfinder designers' hatred of guns doesn't make them nerf early firearms as bad as you do, there's something wrong with the picture.

I guess I should probably talk about fencing before we get on too long a rant about firearms. Fencing exists? That much I can say truthfully. There are some specific moves granted by the Fencing feat that let you give yourself minor bonuses to other parts of combat at the expense of your attack roll, but otherwise it's standard D&D combat.

Commerce and Cannons
Chapter eight is our last chapter before we get into the openly paranormal end chapters of the core Northern Crown book. Aptly enough, it starts out discussing the most earthly of things possible - money! Have you ever wondered what a black or what wampump bead, pound, doubloon, or ducat was worth in fantasy-money? Fear no more, as there is a chart that shows you just how much gold/silver/copper pieces the currencies of the First Ones, English-derivatives, Espaniards, Francais, and Nederlands are. There are also prices listed for beaver and deer pelts for those enterprising traders in the wilderness.

As for actual gear itself, In addition to a lot of reprinted items from standard D&D, there are also nine new pieces of armor, two new shields, twenty-two new weapons (thirteen of these being firearms), and various new goods and services such as canoes and tattoos. While firearms have already been discussed and noted for their lacking qualities and many of the Uropan armors are "metal plate armor variant X", I'll give a brief note on some new armors and weapons worthy of note.
  • Blowgun: 1d3 piercing damage isn't exactly something to write home about on its own, but the big draw of the blowgun is the fact that its darts are easily poisoned and are a bit less conspicuous than arrows.
  • Turtle Plate Armor: A First Ones armor from the southeastern swamps, turtle plate armor is made by lashing the shells of giant snapping turtles together. It's not exactly the best heavy armor you can get, but what's cooler than wearing a bunch of dead turtles on you?
  • Long Rapier: The signature weapon of the Espaniards, the 2d6 piercing damage-dieling long rapier is considered unsporting and worthy of being confiscated if openly displayed in most countries. That doesn't detract from the fact that having a rapier that can potential deal more damage than a greatsword is pretty spiffy.
  • Smallsword: A little sword that deals only as much damage as a knife but has a greater critical threat ratio, scoring a critical hit on a roll of 18-20 as opposed to the 19-20 of a knife.
  • Swansfeather Rest This is technically just a shortspear, but it's a shortspear that can double as a musket rest! Convenient if you ignore the uselessness of firearms.
  • Buff Coat: As useful as leather armor, but with the added bonus of making you look as stereotypically Uropan as possible


Next time, we finish up the main Northern Crown book with the supernatural trio of magic, psychic knacks, and mad science!

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 19:58 on Nov 27, 2013

Jan 6, 2012



Dracs i donjons

It's adventure time here in Almogavers. Adventures for this game are described as first, second or third era adventures, following the descriptions from the background chapter. The sample adventures in the book are all first era, but could be adapted for the others.

The first adventure, The Tower of Wisdom, takes place after the Almogavers take Philadelphia from the Turkish. The game can actually begin during the battle itself, and the book suggests using mass warfare rules taken from somewhere or making Roger de Flor roll against the Turkish commander to play out the battle, but it seems kind of pointless as the adventure assumes no TIME PARADOXES happen and things go as they did in history. So, the adventure actually begins with the Almogavers looting the city. The PCs are actually expected to take part of the looting; the Almogavers are mercenary troops after all. They are, however, highly disciplined, and no bloodshed will be allowed (explicitly, there will be no rape and no murder, gently caress you "realism" grogs). The PCs should be able to get around 10 gold pieces for their efforts. After a couple of days of rest, the PCs will be ordered by their commander to escort a wealthy Venetian trader from Philadelphia to the shores of the Aegean Sea, where a ship is waiting for him.

The merchant, Marco Talafallus, claims to be a close friend of the PC's commander (which should put the fear of God into them) and explains that the route they're meant to follow isn't too dangerous, but there may be Turkish bandits prowling around. The PCs will get 5 gold pieces each for their troubles. The journey should take around five days, with Marco riding a cart and bringing five mules loaded with goodies, and servants to tend to them. The PCs get to do the journey on foot :toot: The journey shouldn't be hard, but the GM may throw a Turkish ambush in the works if they feel like it. After the PCs fight off the bandits (or one day before arriving if nothing happened), Marco reveals the true goal of his journey. There is a strange Tower near their location, used as an university by an order of monks with friendly relations to the Order of the Great Meteor. The children of the most important families of the Byzantine Empire go to that place for learning, and studying at the Tower confers a measure of prestige. The Tower has a library with precious, rare books, and its greatest treasure is "the most important book of the Order of the Great Meteor"! The merchant has an interesting offer for the book, and he's willing to pay 100 gold pieces (200 if they push it) to the PCs if they go to the Tower and find the book. The Tower is a ziggurat-shaped building five stories high, with around twenty guards to give any robbers trouble. The PCs can try kicking the door and dealing with all of them, climbing the Tower from outside, or infiltrating it through a well outside the Tower that leads to the underground river that the Tower uses for water. There's also an electric trap and an alchemist to deal with! :ohdear: There's some fancy loot in the library, including the book they're searching for and a load of treatises on all skills, alchemy and magic grimoires, but when the PCs return to where they were supposed to meet with Marco they'll find the merchant dead: the crew of the ship that was waiting for him decided to keep his goods for themselves. A note near his body mentions the offer for the book (1000 gold pieces) and a place: Frangokastello.

Tower of Druaga it ain't.

The second adventure, The Donjon, takes place in the isle of Crete, currently Venetian domain. The PCs try to figure out how to rejoin the Company while they stay at a local inn run by Callos de Malveure, a former adventurer that traded his sword for an innkeeper's apron a long time ago. While the PCs drink and eat, a group of Alans mercenaries not particularly friendly to Almogavers will start making a ruckus and throwing insults their way: if the players forget they're headstrong Catalan mercenaries that take no poo poo from no two-bit mercs, the Alans will jump them. They're more than the PCs by one man, but as soon as one of them dies or takes a Severe injury they'll flee the inn. As the PCs try to calm down the innkeeper, a mysterious stranger will walk into the inn, with a heavy bag of gold and a knife at the hilt. The stranger will search around then ask the innkeeper in Italian about the mercenaries he was supposed to meet: the innkeeper will explain, and the stranger will then ask the PCs if they care to join him for one round of drinks. Prosper the Norman merchant speaks Greek with a heavy French accent, and he says he was supposed to hire the Alans for "a little job with nothing to lose and a lot to win." A day and a half from Frangokastello there is a guard tower (which he calls "donjon" using the Frankish term) long time bereft of soldiers. Only an old man and his servant live there. Some time ago, Prosper came upon an old scroll that claimed that the treasure of Belisarius, the greatest general of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, is there. The job is simple: go to the "donjon", eliminate or force the tower's denizens to flee, take the treasure and return. He's willing to pay half of the treasure's value in gold, and he'll give the PCs a minimum amount of money for supplies. Too easy? If the PCs ask around in town, they'll learn that the old man of the tower is rumored to be a powerful sorcerer, and that aside from his hunchbacked servant there is an evil, ferocious creature, covered in thick black fur. None of the locals would even sleep near the tower for all the gold in the world. If the PCs still go, they'll find the "donjon" to be ruined and seemly uninhabited, but it's still an imposing sight. If they stay and watch it for one night, they'll hear a terrible scream, like that of one of Hell's own damned...

The truth is less spooky, though. The old man was Ezanah, a wise Ethiopian vital mage that had to leave his empire's capital due to politics. As a Christian, he took shelter in Crete rather than Muslim lands. His general lack of social life, his creepy servant and the gorilla that he brought from Africa as a baby gave the tower an aura of mystery and legend that suited him just fine, as he wanted to be left alone to his studies. He even enhanced the mystery by barring the tower's gate and making his servant use an underground passage to go in and out so that people thought he could walk through walls :ghost: and letting the gorilla run loose from time to time. But Ezanah was dying of old age, and not all his magic could help him - which is why he needed the last vital magic ritual, Change Bodies, which coincidentally is the one the PCs stole from the Tower of Wisdom. Ezanah died before he could get his hands on the book, and the grief-stricken gorilla killed the servant in a fit when he tried to bury his master's body. The donjon is spooky, but the greatest difficulty the PCs will have is actually getting inside, navigating the ruins, and then dealing with the poor gorilla that will defend its master's body to the death. Aside from his library (again, the loot is treatises and stuff) the PCs will find Ezanah's diary in Greek, and they'll realize Belisarius' "treasure" is nothing but Saint Bartholomew's wooden bowl, given to him by Justinian. The bowl is magic (7 luminous magic points for the Dispel Magic power) and could be of interest for philosophers or sages, but not for rough mercenary types like the PCs, and certainly not for Prosper - who will be convinced the PCs tried to keep the real treasure for themselves.

Temple of Elemental Evil it ain't.

The third adventure, Beyond the Sea, is actually meant for one or two characters and can take place in all eras, but it can be run as a continuation of The Donjon. The PC(s) are aboard the Santa Caterina, a Catalan merchant ship on a trip to Constantinople. Its captain, Aleix "The Crow" Ginesta is a seasoned sea wolf, but as he has never navigated the eastern Mediterranean the trip is considered "risky" by Catalan bankers. The Santa Caterina will make several stops, and just as it leaves Candia (modern Heraklion) in Crete ends up in the sights of a Genoese galley, all too willing to jump a slow Catalan cog. Captain Aleix knows he can't let the ship get captured, so he does everything he can to flee the Genoese (jettisoning cargo, full sail, finally pointing at the island of Karpathos) trying to make the chase last until night. The Genoese draw closer and closer and the sailors are freaking out, but fortunately the Genoese lose time trying to recover the jettisoned cargo. Note that so far the PCs get to do nothing in this longass cutscene. Finally night falls, and since night sailing is pretty much asking for trouble the Genoese captain settles for the cargo the Catalan cog lost and lets them flee. The ship sets sail to Olympos, but alas! The island they're close to is not Karpathos, but Rhodes. Not that anyone on the ship knows about it!

The ship unfortunately crashes against rocks by the shore and starts sinking quickly: it's now up to the PCs to find something to hold on to and fight off the maddened sailors as it's Everyone For Himself O'Clock. Three Swimming checks (PCs do know how to swim, right?) will take them to the nearest shore: Rhodes. Once the PCs figure out where they actually are, they should try making their way to the city of Rhodes, where there are consuls from all the major trading powers, Catalonia included. But to get there, they must pass through the village of Kastellos. The people of the village use to loot all the ships that end up wrecked near them, and they will kill or finish off any survivors they find. They're not too interested in letting anyone get to Rhodes, as that will bring about law enforcement and some awkward questions about the things they have looted from the wrecks. It's up to the PCs to fight their way through or flee and hide, but their gear will be at the bottom of the sea most likely :argh: Eventually the PCs will come across a small cave where they can lose their pursuers, but because this adventure is not assholish enough yet it will lead them to a nest of vipers over half a meter long each. Should the PCs manage not to get bitten to death and take out the vipers (silently-ish!) they'll come across an old wall that, when taken down, reveals treasure! Perhaps icons from the Monastery of Atramitis, not far from their location; or a trio of scrolls that, when translated from Greek, reveal the journey of a ship to three mysterious islands that we would later know as the Azores, not "officially" discovered until 1432. It's up to the GM to decide what the PCs will find behind the wall, depending on their proclivities. Finally, the PCs will be able to get to Rhodes and ask for help: before 1309, the corrupt Byzantine administration will care little for them, but after 1309 the island will be under the Hospitallers and they'll be quick to help the PCs. Either way, the authorities will send men to Kastellos to deal with the looted cargo and, in the case of the Hospitallers, arrest some of the villagers for murder. Anyway, gently caress this adventure.

Shadow of the Colossus it ain't.

The last adventure, A Cry In The Night, is first era only. The Emperor and part of his court have gone to Bursa for their hot spring baths, leaving in Constantinople just the Pinkerne (royal steward), the Megadomestikos (commander in chief of the garrisons) and other lesser functionaries. And strangely enough, the Emperor's own son and co-Emperor, Michael, returned to Constantinople soon after leaving with the Emperor. He's actually setting up the final touches for a cunning plot against the Emperor, gathering loyal cronies and troops to take over the city and proclaim himself the sole Emperor of Byzantium. All that is left is persuading or eliminating the Pinkerne, the Megadomestikos and the Patriarch of Sophia. For whatever reason, the PCs are hanging around the Valente aqueduct late into the night. Taking a turn, they'll come across a woman, wearing little more than a cloak around her body. A Perception check will tell them she's scared to hell and, if they don't show hostility, she'll beg them for their help once she notices they're fighters. Sobbing, she'll tell them she was at her lover's house when they heard noises in the first floor. He made her escape through a ladder and went to check: once she heard sounds of fighting, she fled the scene. She won't answer anything about her identity or that of her lover though. The fighting seems to be over by the time the PCs get there, but they'll find a man bleeding to death in the bedroom. With his waifu crying over him, the man (Anastasi) will beg the PCs to "save... the... Megadomesti..." and then he'll dramatically die... unless the PCs can roll some First Aid, in which case he can tell them he is Anastasi Fieromonte, Pinkerne to the Emperor, and they are to warn Megadomestikos Emili Porrano at the Fortress of Seven Towers. The PCs will have to hustle!

As they make their way through the city, they might notice there are no night patrols, which should tip them off that shenanigans are afoot. When they get to the Fortress, they'll hear fighting from one of the alleys near it, with one man in Imperial garb fighting off four hooded goons. That's the Megadomestikos, and he'll identify himself as such if the PCs don't take the hint. The PCs should have little trouble dispatching the assassins, but they'll find nothing on their bodies. They will be able to tell they're military sorts (and wearing guard weaponry to boot); if one of them survives, he will say little of importance: they only know the names of some officers they know from secret meetings. All that these goons know is that they had to kill the Megadomestikos, but they assume whoever is running the show must be someone very important. Emili will demand that the PCs follow him into the Fortress, where the guard (loyal to him) will recognize him and have a surgeon brought to him. If the PCs tell him the whole story, he'll put two and two together and tell them he thinks there's a plot to remove the Emperor from office. If one of the killers was interrogated, he'll have the troops near the fortress swear again the oath of fealty to the Emperor, and he'll have Megadux Roger de Flor summoned to get extra hands against the plot. The Almogavers will be tasked with replacing the city guard and arresting the known conspirators. Roger will congratulate the PCs in person for their efforts and order them to guard the Hagia Sofia, where nothing bad is expected to happen. They get there without any incident, but while they're informing the Patriarch of the current events a number of armed men burst into the temple - followed by some of the "loyal" troops that came with the PCs! The leader of the rebels is the Domestikos (commander) of the city wall, and if the PCs win he will flee for the palace. A chase begins through the city, but the GM is expected to let the Domestikos reach the palace with the PCs hounding his steps... only to find him dead at the hands of Michael himself. He will claim he had to kill him in self-defense: a Perception check will reveal he's lying but hey, it's the word of the freaking co-Emperor himself. Once the Emperor returns, the subsequent investigation will reveal the Domestikos was the sole ringleader :v:. As for the PCs, they will receive public thanks from the Emperor, and they will be offered the position of city guards if they so wish.

And, with a bestiary of creatures mundane and magical and a list of generic NPCs, that's the end of Almogavers! :toot:

Traveller fucked around with this message at 04:39 on Nov 16, 2013

Jan 6, 2012


Hey, what the hell.

Bellfahle Magic Academy

Brought to you by MS Paint

So, there's this site called J-Comi that hosts out of print manga and books. It's the brainchild of Ken Akamatsu, creator of Love Hina and Negima if that tells you anything (of course it tells you something, you weeaboo~). Turns out, it also hosts a few TRPG-related downloads, like the original Ryuutama, a supplement for Golden Sky Stories, cyberpunk RPG Metal Head and this thingy right here. I wonder what's it about?

"A TRPG that anyone can play." Presumably it involves an academy, magic, and questionable proportions.

But before we dive into that:



(Quick and dirty scanlations, I know. I'm not one of those fancy groups with credit pages, goddammit! Read right-to-left, as is the custom in Nihonland.)

Next: zany adventures!

Feb 15, 2012

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

Traveller posted:

Next: zany adventures!

This game will have to be extremely loving charming to make me not hate it's guts after that introduction. :colbert:

Dec 27, 2011

I can't wait until it bears its fangs and turns out to be grimderpier than Eldritch High.

Oct 30, 2013

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

Intermission: Dragonlance 101

As Key of Destiny is closely tied to the world of Dragonlance, I feel it necessary to expound upon the setting. Already I've made mention of various people, places, and events which hold significant weight in the campaign setting.

Dragonlance Lexicon is a very useful and navigable wiki, sustained by a community of devoted fans.

The Five Ages

The world's history is divided into Five Ages by scholars. The Age of Starbirth was before the rise of civilization, beginning with a conclave of primordial entities known as deities working together to create the world of Krynn. During this era the spirits are given physical forms, creating the first dragons, elves, ogres, and humans. The Gods of Light grant them the ability to enjoy life's pleasures, the Gods of Darkness ambition and desire, and the Gods of Balance free will.

The Age of Dreams details the beginning of recorded mortal history, and sees the rise of the earliest civilizations. Lots of stuff happens in this era. Ogres, elves, and humans founded the first civilizations; the Graygem of Gargath (housing Chaos' essence) is cracked and unleashes wild magic into the world, resulting in the creation of many new monsters and races; elves war with dragons in the First and Second Dragon Wars, and the first mages use their magic against the serpents. The horrific loss of life from unrestrained magic leads to them forming the Order of High Sorcery, to act as a stewardship and regulator of those gifted with arcane magic to ensure Ansalon's safety. Takhisis attempts to conquer the continent with an army of dragons during the Third Dragon War, but is banished from Krynn by the legendary knight Huma Dragonbane and the silver dragon Heart.

The Age of Might sees the rise of the human nation of Istar, protected by the clerics of Paladine during the Third Dragon War. The elven nations impose an isolationist policy, while the dwarves forge underground kingdoms and war with the ogres. Istar becomes a theocracy and Ansalon's major power. In the Kingpriests' zeal to wipe out Evil, the church enacts increasingly oppressive measures, from enslaving "evil" races to outlawing arcane magic and worship of the Gods of Balance, and even managing an order of mind-reading inquisitors to punish those thinking evil thoughts. The Gods of Light become increasingly disgusted with this state of affairs, withdrawing their divine aid and spells, but they do not change. Eventually the Kingpriest views the Gods themselves as tolerating evil and sets forth on a magical ritual to ascend to godhood himself. Paladine sends thirteen prophetic warnings to the people of Istar, all of which are mistaken as the work of Evil. Istar's crimes are punished when the Gods of Light send a meteor down upon their capital city. Landmasses are torn asunder, freak weather spreads across the continent, innumerable lives are lost, and all the Gods withdraw their affairs from the world. This horrific tragedy becomes known as the Cataclysm.

The effects of the Cataclysm are felt for nearly four centuries in an era known as the Age of Despair. The Empire fractures into independent nation-states, plague and famine is endemic, governments and infrastructures disintegrate, banditry is rampant, and starvation among the dwarven nations leads to the Dwarfgate War as a significant portion of the above-ground population is denied entry into the nation, as food supplies are low. These exiled dwarves are now known as the Neidar (Nearest), or hill dwarves.

Takhisis brings the sunken temple of Istar to the surface and uses its Foundation Stone as a divine conduit to the world. As it is not whole, she cannot manifest on Krynn. She is the first deity to bring divine magic to mortals in this era, and her forces bring law and order to significant sections of eastern Ansalon under the banner of the Dragon Empire. Supplemented by magic, monsters, and dragons, they become an international power and set about conquering the rest of the continent. This event, which comes to be known as the War of the Lance, is part of the original Dragonlance Chronicles. The Heroes of the Lance bring knowledge of the Gods of Light and Balance back to Krynn and discover the secrets to forging the mighty Dragonlances. Eventually the Heroes lead an army against the Empire, kill Emperor Ariakas, and prevent Takhisis' summoning into the world.

The Empire dissolves, but the Blue Dragonarmy manages to hold onto a significant portion of territory. Ariakas' son creates an order known as the Knights of Takhisis and begin conquering much of Ansalon. The Irda ogres break open the Graygem of Gargath in desperation, unleashing Chaos into the world. Forces of good and evil alike are destroyed the primordial gods' spawned minions, and they unite against the monsters in an event known as the Chaos War. Eventually Chaos is banished from Krynn, and Takhisis moves the Material Plane away amid the confusion. Now she is the only deity with a connection to Krynn, beginning the Age of Mortals.

The Age of Mortals sees the absence of divine and arcane spellcasting, now that the Gods are gone. New forms of magic are discovered after Chaos' release, which draw upon one's inner power. They are primal sorcery and mysticism, respectively. No longer are mortals dependent upon deities for magic. Five titanic dragons from a neighboring plane enter Krynn and begin conquering significant sections of it. Takhisis takes the form of the One God and instills her power in a mortal named Mina, who joins the Dark Knights as a cleric and leads their forces against the Dragon Overlords and kills two of them with the aid of divine magic and a dragonlance. Raistlin Majere uses a time-traveling device to form a link to Krynn and help the Gods return. They strip Takhisis of her divinity, making her mortal, but so too to Paladine to keep the Balance. Takhisis attempts to kill Mina in anger but is killed by an elf in love with Mina. Mina takes the goddess' corpse in her arms and leaves, swearing vengeance upon the elven race. Clerical and wizardly magic return to the world (although primal sorcery and mysticism still remain), and only two Dragon Overlords yet live.

Knightly Orders

The Knights of Solamnia are a chivalric order which has ruled the nation of Solamnia since the Age of Dreams. They are dedicated to the service of the Gods of Good and the protection of their nation and Ansalon, and produced some of the greatest heroes upon Krynn. They live by the ideals of the Oath and the Measure. The Oath is "Est Sularus oth Mithas," or "My honor is my life." The Measure is a set of instructions and rules on how to live the Oath. The Knighthood is separated into 3 orders: the Crown, the Sword, and the Rose. The Crown is the backbone of the order and teaches, loyalty, obedience, and assists in the training of squires. The Sword is comprised of warrior-clerics, crusaders, and teach courage, heroism, and faith. The Knights of the Rose are tasked with the Order's administration and exemplify honor, wisdom, and justice.

The Knights of Takhisis have been discussed above in the first intermission under the "Villains" section.

The Legion of Steel is a knighthood formed around the Chaos War. They are dedicated to justice and mutual aid, holding the sacrifice of Steel Brightblade as a role model. Steel's adoptive mother, Sara Dunstan, received a vision from her deceased son to form a new knighthood to protect the people of Krynn. She drew upon the ranks of Solamnic and Dark Knights disillusioned with their order's failures and sought to not repeat their mistakes. They are the "Neutral" knighthood of the game, and are less hierarchal and more open to roguish activity.

Wizards of High Sorcery

This organization is one of the most dangerous and venerable in the world of Krynn. It was formed under the guidance of the 3 Gods of Magic, who then taught mortal apprentices the art of High Sorcery. Wizards were split into 3 separate orders, each following one of the three Gods and wearing uniformed robes. They are the White Robes, Red Robes, and Black Robes. Wizards as a whole are governed by a Conclave of mages from each order, and they established five towers to aid in the learning and teaching of magic. Only the Tower of Wayreth still stands after the Age of Might. In order to prevent high-level spellcasters from running amok, the Order sends a message to any wizard of sufficient power (5th level or higher) to visit a Tower and take the test. If they refuse, they must never progress beyond simple basic spells or be branded a renegade and be hunted down by the Wizards. Failure in a Test often means death, so it is never taken lightly.

The Wizards do not regulate or impose these standards upon Clerics, who are instead managed by their respective deities. Wielders of primal sorcery (sorcerers in 3rd and 4th Edition parlance) are viewed as potential threats to magical stability, and are expected to join the Order and take the Test if they attain sufficient power or become Renegades. The Red Robes are the most conciliatory towards primal sorcerers, viewing them as an interesting new avenue of magical attainment.


The 3 original races are elves, ogres, and humans, the children of the Gods of Light, Darkness, and Balance respectively. Ogres are like their standard monstrous counterparts: stupid, large, and brutish, cursed to have their ugliness match their hearts. A reclusive civilization of good-aligned ogres known as the Irda live on a chain of islands to the north of Ansalon. They are more cerebrally-inclined and have a knack for all kinds of magic.

Humans are the most diverse group in terms of physical appearance and culture. Generally they are separated into Civilized (urban, agricultural) and Nomadic humans, although these are more indicative of cultural background than technology levels or population sizes. For example, the Khurs are generally considered nomadic but have several great cities.

There are five major ethnic groups of elves. The proud, authoritarian Silvanesti, their close cousins the more opened-minded Qualinesti, and the hunter-gatherer and druidic Kagonesti. The aquatic elves are the Dimernesti and Dargonesti, who live amid the waves and can transform into seals and dolphins. Dimernesti live closer to the surface amid coral reefs and sometimes trade with port towns, while the Dargonesti are extreme isolationists.

Silvanesti elves are technically good-aligned, but they exemplify many of the worst tropes of elves in fantasy fiction. They are arrogant and insufferable, viewing everyone else as lesser people, tried to "domesticate" their Kagonesti cousins through slavery, and are more concerned with isolating themselves as the world outside burns instead of trying to make it a better place. Later 3rd Edition supplements made them Lawful Neutral in alignment, because let's face it, being "good" is really stretching it.

There are Goblins, who aren't much different from their counterparts in other settings, believed to be the intermixing of elf and ogre blood.

The Dwarves remain largely the same, underground, clan-based, heavily bearded, and distrustful of wizards. They were created by the Graygem's wild magic from greedy gnomes. They are separated into mountain dwarves (inhabitants of the underground kingdoms), hill dwarves (those living above), dark dwarves (exiled mountain dwarves who are generally evil and very pale-skinned), and gully dwarves (said to be the crossbreeding of gnomes of dwarves, very stupid, and live in squalor all over Ansalon).

Minotaurs were a race of exiled ogres transformed into anthropomorphic bulls by the Lawful Evil god of vengeance, Sargonnas. Before the Cataclysm they were the slaves of dwarves and Istaran humans, but won their freedom after hard-fought battles. They live amid the islands of Mithas and Kothas as warriors and sailors, valuing an intricate system of honorable combat. In recent years they sought to expand their empire eastward beyond Ansalon, and into Silvanesti and other realms of eastern Ansalon.

Gnomes mostly live on the Isle of Sancrist. In the Age of Dreams they used to be human worshipers of Reorx, but were changed into their new forms as a curse for arrogance. Now they live on the Isle of Sancrist in a technologically advanced society. They are the archetype of the absent-minded professor, consumed with desire to expand their knowledge via all manner of field-testing, yet often experiment for the sake of it without regard to future consequence. They are one of the "comic relief" races of Dragonlance.

Kender are short people created by the Graygem when curious gnomes examined it. Kender have inborn traits of intense curiosity and fearlessness, with no concept of private property and a love for travel. Their most annoying habits include the picking up objects to examine known as "borrowing," only to forget about them later, leading to 28 years of disruptive player behavior justifying PC actions as "role-playing." They're the 3rd comic relief race.

Draconians were created from the eggs of metallic dragons in an unholy ritual. They are humanoid dragon-people with latent traits of their metallic brethren, and served in Takhisis' army during the War of the Lance. They managed to gain their independence after discovering the location of female draconian eggs, and one of their generals Kang defected and formed the draconian nation of Teyr. The eggs of chromatic dragons created the "Noble Draconians," good-aligned and much rarer counterparts.

Draconians' signature abilities are their Death Throes, activated upon their death which can include an explosion of poisonous gas or flames, turning to stone and catching bladed weapons inside, and similarly inconvenient effects.

I might include more setting stuff, but I feel this covers a lot of the major setting points for now.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 23:26 on Nov 16, 2013

Oct 23, 2013

Still the least awful magic school game reviewed here.

Character Types, Part 2

Onto Nanos!

They're wi-

First line of the entry posted:

Nanos are sometimes called mages, wizards, sorcerers, or witches by the people of the Ninth World.

Well okay then.

Nanos are named for the nanotech (or nano-spirits) that are omnipresent throughout the Ninth World. They use numenera to work their mojo and by nature tend to be intelligent and knowledgeable. In society, the peasants tend to be afraid of them because they're mysterious assholes. Some of them are solitary ("like the wizards of fable"), others gather in schools. In the party, they stick to the back because they have glass jaws and they're the smart guys of the group. Some of them are clerics, too, because they claim to represent gods and whatnot. You know all of this.


Forbidden Knowledge is about the Wizardiest you can get. You know poo poo, so you can do stuff. That's about it. Psionics is actually a pretty neat idea; you can psychically interface with technology, letting you turn on toasters with your mind. Ports and Plugs is the headtubes option; stick all sorts of cybernetics into your body. There's also the table of Connections and they still aren't that interesting.

Now, the mechanics.

First tier Nanos start with the following stats: Might Pool 7, Speed Pool 9, Intellect Pool 12, Effort 1, Intellect Edge 1, and a Speed and Might Edge of 0. They get six points to dump into their Pools, as usual.

They also get these for free:

Expert Cypher Use: They can carry three cyphers.
Practiced With Light Weapons: Duh. Using medium or heavy weapons increases the difficulty of the attack by one or two, respectively.
Numenera Training: You get training in the numenera skill and "can attempt to understand and identify its properties". Nothing on whether that's part of the skill or the ability.

For starting equipment, they get clothes, a weapon, a book about numenera, and 4 shins. Also, three cyphers and one oddity, GM's choice.

Esoteries are what Nanos call their powers. They are basically


Similar in appearance to the way a fabled wizard might seem to cast spells

People who are not nanos sometimes call them spells

well okay then

Anyway, you get two to start. You have to have a free hand to use them and you can end them whenever you want. They get the same deal regarding new powers and swapping as glaives do. They are (costs in here, shortening Intellect to Int):

Hedge Magic (1 Int): Prestidigitation by a different name. I'm not actually complaining, it's a good way to sweep minor magic stuff into a single category.

Onslaught (1 Int): You do 4 points of Might damage or 2 points of Intellect damage to a single target within Short range. Remember that you can do this for free all day because of the Edge rules, so there's pretty much no point to actually carrying around a weapon. This is also the place where it started annoying me that Cook didn't just put in an Attack keyword onto the powers, because I had to flip around for a while to figure out whether or not this required an attack roll (it does).

Push (2 Int): You can push something (creature or object) up to immediate range. Has to be your size or smaller, can't be nailed down, and it has to be within short range. It is also super literal; you can only push. No opening a pull door or pulling a lever towards you.

Scan (2 Int): You scan a 10-foot cube. If there's a creature in it, you get it's level. You also "learn whatever facts the GM feels are pertinent about the matter and energy in that area". There are some examples, but there's absolutely nothing concrete about what you should tell your players. See how much you can con your GM out of!

Ward: +1 Armor forever.

Second tier Nanos just get an esotery, which is a word I kind of hate for some reason. They have:

Adaptation (2+ Int): You're the smuggest person around when mountain climbing, for 28 hours. Why 28 hours? It will be forever before it explains this, but the day is 28 hours long. Although adaptation apparently means "not dying" and little more in Monte Cook's world.


As a result, you can breathe safely, the temperature doesn’t kill you (though it might be extremely uncomfortable or debilitating), crushing gravity doesn’t incapacitate or harm you (though, again, you might be seriously hindered), and so on.

Or maybe it doesn't. Or maybe it does. Stop putting loving "might" statements in the rules, Cook!


In extreme environments, the GM might increase the cost of activating this esotery to a maximum cost of 10 Intellect points.


Anyway, the GM should require as many Int points as it would normally do damage, which basically means it just shifts your HP around. This esotery can't deal with you getting shot in the face or anything of the like.

Flash (4 Int): I am going to say this is Fireball and you are all going to pretend to be surprised. The range is close and it deals damage up to an immediate area. Does 2 points of damage, but that can be increased with Effort.

Hover (2 Int): You can float up to your short distance as your action. The fact that you have to use an action doesn't matter all that much, because momentum exists for this power. Spend an action and you can go upwards forever, where forever is ten minutes, because that's how long this power lasts.

Mind Reading (4 Int): You can read the surface thoughts of a target within short range for a minute. The connection is broken if you or the target move out of range. Technically an attack, I guess? I really can't tell.

Stasis (3 Int): You freeze a target within close range for a minute. They are immune to everything, can't be moved, and can't do anything. Drop this on the villain in the middle of his speech, it'll be hilarious.

Third tier Nanos get Adept Cypher Use, which lets them carry four cyphers at once. Also, an esotery:

Barrier (3+ Int): Creates a 10x10 wall of force for ten minutes that you can put anywhere. It's a "level 2 barrier" and if you're wondering what that means, I can't tell you, because the word "barrier" is never defined in the book. I can only assume it means it's a level 2 roll to break through it, which is pretty lovely. You can strengthen it by one level per level of Effort, though.

Countermeasures (4 Int):

SRD posted:

You can use dispel magic to end ongoing spells that have been cast on a creature or object, to temporarily suppress the magical abilities of a magic item, to end ongoing spells (or at least their effects) within an area, or to counter another spellcaster’s spell.

Energy Protection (3+ Int): You choose a "discrete type of energy you have experience with" and protect yourself from it. Numenera does not have categorized types of energy, so see if your GM will let you get away with kinetic energy. You get +10 Armor for ten minutes or +1 Armor for 28 hours. A suit of hyperadvanced power armor gives 6 Armor, for reference. Applying Effort lets you protect more targets that you're touching, two for each level of Effort.

Sensor (4 Int): You create an immobile, invisible floating eye for 28 hours. You can use an action to project your senses through it while it's up, even if you're off on Mars.

Fourth tier Nanos get an esotery:

Invisibility (4 Int): Lasts ten minutes, you're specialized in Speed and stealth tasks while you're invisible, and it ends if you do pretty much anything besides walking. If your ten minutes aren't up, you can just reactivate it for free, though.

Mind Control (6+ Int): You touch a target and get complete and utter control of it's actions for ten minutes. The creature doesn't remember anything from the period where you took control of it. Normally it only applies to level 2- creatures, but you can apply Effort on a 1-to-1 basis to increase this.

Regeneration (6 Int): You restore Might or Speed points, either adding six to the Pool or setting it to twelve. It takes a round per point and you need to remain in contact with the creature for the whole time.

Reshape (5 Int): You can change the form of matter, up to a 5-foot cube. Spending a single action means you make crude changes (punch a hole in a wall), ten minutes and an appropriate crafting roll lets you make more delicate changes (fashion an iron wall into a sword). Anyone with an ounce of imagination can find a thousand uses for this thing.

Slay (6 Int): You touch a level 3- target and they die. If you touch another PC, you dick, they move one step down the damage track.

Fifth tier Nanos get Master Cypher Use, which lets them carry five cyphers at once.

Absorb Energy (7 Int): You touch a cypher, artifact, or "another kind of powered machine or device" and suck out its energy. If it's a cypher it becomes useless, if it's an artifact you roll it's depletion (more on that later), and if it's anything else it's up the GM. You gain 1d10 Int points for this. Remember that you'll probably have an Intellect Edge of 5 by this point, so it's not actually as stupid as it sounds. You take some damage if you go over the limit of your Intellect Pool.

Now, let me skip ahead 15 chapters and show you something.

Chapter 19: Artifacts posted:

Filtration Straw
Level: 1d6
Form: A long, narrow synth tube
Effect: Water that passes through this tube is purified. Most liquids other than water drawn through the tube
come out as water (or mostly water).

There are 20 Artifacts with that Depletion score, which is a whopping 1/5 of them. What does it mean?

Same chapter posted:

A depletion entry of “—” means that the artifact never depletes


(Also: exciting bonus preview of how fun the titular numenera are.)

Dust to Dust (7 Int): You disintegrate a non-living object smaller than you. You have to touch it and it has to have a level less than or equal to your tier. You can disintegrate part of it, if the GM gives you the okay. You will not take this, because it is not infinite power.

Knowing the Unknown (6 Int): You ask the GM a question and you get a "general" answer. The GM assigns a level to the question, depending on the obscurity and difficulty of the question. Now let me show you something I hate:


Generally, knowledge that you could find by looking somewhere other than your current location is level 1...


You may take this power, if you prefer infinite knowledge over infinite power.

Teleport (6+ Int): You teleport anywhere on Earth that you have been to or seen. You can apply Effort to bring other people along, for three people per level.

True Senses: You can see in the dark, up to 50 feet, constantly. Also, "you recognize holograms, disguises, optical illusions, sound mimicry, and other such tricks (for all senses) for what they are." Magicians can get hosed.

Sixth tier Nanos may choose one of the god-like powers from the following:

Control Weather (10 Int): You can control the weather. Indoors, it can only create minor effects (mist, small temperature changes, and so on). Outdoors, it can still only create "normal" weather, so no hurricanes or the like.

Oh yeah and you can deal six points of damage to everything within a 1000 feet for ten minutes without an attack roll.

Move Mountains (9 Int): You can move mountains! Except that is a lie. You "can collapse buildings, redirect small rivers, or perform other dramatic effects", but that is also kind of a lie. What you can actually do is push ten tons 50 feet. That might actually collapse a small building, but I don't think you could shift anything but an anemic stream.

Traverse the Worlds (8+ Int): If you were being a waggish gently caress, you might refer to this as teleportation, except greater somehow. Good thing I'm not that, then!

Anyway, this lets you teleport anywhere. The only criteria is "knows it exists", with the GM deciding if you have enough information. You can spend Effort to bring other people along, same as Teleport.

Usurp Cypher: Choose a single cypher you have that has a duration longer than instant and you destroy that cypher and gain its effects continuously. Guess how many cyphers make no goddamn sense when used with this ability! :v:

Notable stuff you can get that doesn't require a GM ruling: Automatic teleportation whenever you get hit. Make anyone you punch lose their next turn. Armor 10 against fire. +4 Armor. Constant vertical flight. A level 6 companion. +1 Intellect/Might/Speed Edge. Training in any skill. Complete immunity to metal weapons (it can't come within ten feet of you). Constant Adaptation. The ability to be a loving ghost who can still make mental attacks. The constant reduction of the difficulty of a physical task by three steps. A 100-foot radius sphere around you where no one can make any kind of attack without a level 9 Intellect defense roll while they're in there or for 1d6 rounds afterwards. -2 difficulty steps for any defense or attack roll. The ability to breathe water.

And it's over!

Monte Cook, ladies and gentlemen!

Next time: Not thieves, believe it or not

Tulul fucked around with this message at 01:19 on Nov 17, 2013

Sep 9, 2012

Hooray for keeping the noble tradition of Wizard Supremacy, Monte!

Not that I really expected anything else, but still. Usurp Cypher looks like it blow pretty much everything else out of the water.

EDIT: How would people feel if I reviewed the Quickstart for a game? The game proper isn't coming out for another year, and I'd be doing it as well when it comes out, but I kinda want to review the quickstart as a teaser.

Jul 20, 2012

Good ideas generator

Tulul posted:

Usurp Cypher: Choose a single cypher you have that has a duration longer than instant and you destroy that cypher and gain its effects continuously. Guess how many cyphers make no goddamn sense when used with this ability! :v:

Notable stuff you can get that doesn't require a GM ruling: Automatic teleportation whenever you get hit. Make anyone you punch lose their next turn. Armor 10 against fire. +4 Armor. Constant vertical flight. A level 6 companion. +1 Intellect/Might/Speed Edge. Training in any skill. Complete immunity to metal weapons (it can't come within ten feet of you). Constant Adaptation. The ability to be a loving ghost who can still make mental attacks. The constant reduction of the difficulty of a physical task by three steps. A 100-foot radius sphere around you where no one can make any kind of attack without a level 9 Intellect defense roll while they're in there or for 1d6 rounds afterwards. -2 difficulty steps for any defense or attack roll. The ability to breathe water.

The 100-ft radius with no attacking would be hilarious, because, in my reading of it, that particular cypher also applies to you. You'd literally become the love wizard. And any time you ran into a level 10 monster everyone in the area would instantly become totally and utterly screwed. Well, even more screwed than they'd be under those circumstances normally.

Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?

Traveller posted:

But before we dive into that:



Looks "promising". Are we gonna follow the zany escapades of Sir Naps-a-lot and Airhead McLoveinterest throughout this TRPG?

TK-31 posted:

I can't wait until it bears its fangs and turns out to be grimderpier than Eldritch High.

I don't think anything could be more grimderp than EH.

Jan 6, 2012


You guys just can't handle the :japan:, for shame.

AccidentalHipster posted:

Looks "promising". Are we gonna follow the zany escapades of Sir Naps-a-lot and Airhead McLoveinterest throughout this TRPG?

Are we ever.

Bellfahle Magic Academy

Doesn't get more anime than this

On with the introduction! In A World brimming with magic, where spell casting mages can do anything (caster supremacy from the get go :argh:) there is an academy where those children that are meant to become mages go to study. This is a TRPG ("tabletalk RPG", Japanese parlance for a pen and paper tabletop RPG) where players play the role of students of Bellfahle Magic Academy, learning magic and having ZANY ADVENTURES. There's an explanation on what TRPGs are, how the book is laid out, and the other things we'll need to play aside from the book: pen, paper, and a number of six-sided dice.

And just like that, we're thrown into a replay! Replays are cleaned up logs of actual RPG sessions. Japan really likes these, to the point that popular replays are sold independently of the games they're based on. This one is called The Disappearance of the Magic Academy, and starts with the GM explaining the setting to their new players. This world, Promacia, is a magic-rich land where magic lights go up at night and people use flying brooms instead of bicycles. Then they go to character creation, by which they mean just picking up pregens.

The gang is:
  • :black101: Ein El Ralzack: Heir hto the noble Ralzack family of the Vashlan Kingdom. His family has slid into ruin, however, and he is studying to become a knight and restore its name. A hotblooded, justice loving young boy - look, he's got main character written all over him. Kind of a goof though. His specialty is the fighting arts.
  • :angel: Remina (Remi) Crochett: daughter of a wealthy merchant family. She is half-foreigner, so she has striking silver hair and green eyes, rare among the locals. As a single daughter, her father raised her in a very sheltered way, so she doesn't quite get how the real world works. Still, she's pretty genial and easy going, and doesn't act like a shy highborn girl or anything. Her specialty is healing magics.
  • :cool: Chris Catlan: she comes from a poor household, and wants to become a first-class mage to help her mom lead a better life. She has a grown up, sarcastic tone to her, but she's a kind girl really. She's always trying to keep Remi out of trouble and her specialty is searching and perception magic.
  • :ninja: Raius Stilton: his grandpa was a master thief notorious through the kingdom and he looked up to him, but his father wanted to keep him on the straight and narrow and had him apprenticed to a mage to keep him out of grandpa's influence. Now an Academy student, he has no real future plans other than enjoying his school life. He's knuckleheads with Ein since old times and though Ein tends to drag him into trouble, he sticks with him because the shenanigans they get up to are fun. His specialty is ???

Left to right: Chris, Remi, Ein and Raius.

And the game begins! It's homeroom time for Class 1-A and the teacher is nowhere in sight, so the kids are goofing in the classroom as they are wont to do. Ein is still head over heels for Remi, Chris and Raius give him a hard time about it because kids. Then the teacher arrives, Professor Clayton, and cheerfully dismisses everyone early - except for our gang. Bummer! Clayton leads them to the teacher's lounge and introduces them to one Mr. Aslem, who tells them the sad story of his bedridden daughter Sera, who can't go to school but always watches the gang walk by every day. He asks them to go pay her a visit: Chris and Raius aren't too convinced but Ein and Remi drag them along. And off they go to Aslem's fancy mansion to visit the poor girl! First Impression rolls are made (remember, this is a RPG replay so we're told all the rolls people are making) and Ein rolls well, so Sera takes a shine to him, while Remi and Raius get more normal rolls. Chris, on the other hand, rolls poorly and her player fluffs it as Chris disdaining the "poor" girl living in a much better place than the one she grew up in. Still, Sera introduces herself and the kids start talking about life at the school, the town and all those things she doesn't get to see. Before long Aslem shows up and asks Sera to excuse herself: she wants to continue chatting, but her face turns all sorts of funky colors and Aslem cuts things then and there. He apologizes to the kids outside the room, and explains that Sera has some form of congenital illness that makes even the least effort potentially deadly. Chris grumbles something about not even getting a souvenir; the GM scolds her but says they still got to have tea and cake. :3:

The following day, the kids are going to school. They walk in front of Sera's house, and Ein performs a knightly salute for her: she waves back. They're a little late, so they pick up the pace... but suddenly their surroundings shimmer, and when they recover their senses they find everyone around them is gone, except for the four of them. Remi grumbles that everyone just warped in rather than being late, but Raius says that no one knows that kind of powerful magic. Maybe everyone's hidden? Nope, says Chris. The four get to the Academy, but there are no signs of anyone inside. The bell is ringing without anyone near it, but that's okay, it's a magic bell :v: Raius says he'll leave a note on the desk and then go search for people in town, while Ein observes from the academy's rooftop. Chris summons a familiar, and we're told PCs in Bellfahle all have one "special item" each, like Chris' magic pigeon familiar. Remi goes to town with Raius. The GM says that Ein sees no one in town from his vantage point, but the town walls seem to be kind of blurry; Chris gets in contact with her familiar Uriel and asks it to fly to the Academy, and using its eyes she sees people in the streets and classes beginning at school, but Uriel can't find her. She figures out that's not the real Academy they're in and worse, they're late for class.


Remi and Raius, meanwhile, actually spot someone in town. Raius wants to stay back and watch first, but Remi ruins the element of surprise. The figure turns around and as it turns out it's actually Sera, somehow out of her room and in her pajamas. She looks pale and about to faint, and when Raius calls out to her she passes out. Remi casts a Diagnose spell on her but fortunately it was just the strain that made her pass out, and the GM tells her Sera will recover once she has some rest. Remi easily lifts her from the ground as she's wearing a magic bracelet that doubles her strength (!) They go back to the school and the four meet and share notes. Raius shares Chris' concerns about being late for class. He figures Sera has something to do with all of this but they really won't know anything until she wakes up. And she does after they shake her up a bit! Raius asks her what she was doing in town, and she says she woke up at night, finding it hard to breathe, and that the mirror in her room started glowing with a red light. She lost consciousness, and when she woke up it was morning and there was no one home, or in town for that matter. The gang remembers there was an antique wall mirror in Sera's room next to her bed. Chris figures that they're all somehow inside the mirror world and Ein suggests finding the mirror. The Gang of Four + Sera go to her room and Chris casts Magic Sense over the mirror. Hint: it's magic! So is the space around them, actually. She follows up with some Magic Analysis and finds out that the magic in the mirror is some form of space control power. She decides she can trust Raius with this important information!


Remi: "What about me?"
Chris: "Can I rely on you?"
Remi: ...*shakes head*
Chris: "For one second, I had hopes. Stupid me."

Ein is ready to break the mirror, but the GM calls for a Perception check! Dice are rolled and everyone but Remi notices that someone was watching them from outside, through the window! Raius and Chris go outside to chase the peeping tom while Remi stays behind and Ein has the bright idea of jumping through the window. Sera's room is in the second floor. His Agility check fails and we are introduced to the concept of Damage! 24 damage for Ein, to be precise. :ohdear: Remi is fortunately there to cast Healing Finger on him and patch him up a bit, and while she's bringing him back inside Raius and Chris chase the mysterious stranger. Agility checks are made, but they can't catch up... and Raius decides to throw a stick at the intruder's legs. It's okay, he's got a Lucky Stone! He gets an autosuccess on one ability check per day and he uses it to great effect. The fleeing man crashes to the ground and the kids catch up. However, Ein calls from behind, and strangely it's the GM that's talking for him. It is strange, since Ein is not an NPC and the real Ein is with Remi now, but since Raius and Chris don't know that the players have to play along for the moment. The GM calls for Perception checks and they make it, so the kids hear the sound of a sword being drawn... "Ein" tries to sword at them, his eyes bloodshot. The kids dodge in time and Raius uses Telekinesis to take his sword away. The GM makes an Evade roll for Fake!Ein, but blows it and he is disarmed. Raius questions him at swordpoint, and Fake!Ein only says he was this close to killing them. The kids decide to go back to Ein and Remi but not before Raius tricks Fake!Ein into taking the sword, only to knock him out at the last moment. He figured that the real Ein would fall for that after all. (Ein's player does the "someone's laughing behind my back" routine.) While they were busy with the fake, however, the mysterious man disappeared...

While Ein is totally pretending it didn't hurt that much, "Raius" returns to the room. He says he came in first and that Chris will join them soon and hey, can't you see her by the window? Perception checks are made and while Remi is busy searching for Chris, Ein feels MURDEROUS INTENT behind him. He turns around and uses his special move:


Helpfully provided by his special item, the Bracelet of the War God :black101: The GM asks for an Agility check to shoot in time and once Ein nails it, he rolls to hit! Also a success and "Raius" is pushed back by the blast.


Ein: Remina, did you see it?
Remi: I still can't see Chris... (still hasn't noticed)
Ein: *bummer*

Fake!Raius is still standing and Ein figures out he's a fake. Time to break out the combat rules! We don't get a full explanation of them yet, however, only that though Ein is the better fighter, the dice are not with him and he misses, while Fake!Raius nicks him a little - and with the damage he already took from the fall, he's dangerously close to getting knocked out. And bam, Fake!Raius whacks him again and he's down for the count :ohdear: When he's about to finish Ein off with his own sword, Remi suddenly remembers she's there and punches the fake through the wall and outside the house :black101: The real Raius and Chris return, hauling along Fake!Ein, and once Remi patches up Ein again they interrogate him. After asking them not to be so wary (he's back to his senses, honest!) he says there is a spirit that was trapped in Sera's mirror, and that it trapped humans inside it to assume their appearances in the real world. Chris checks with her familiar Uriel and yes, there is a pretty girl in the real world version of the house. Fake!Ein explains that it was because of the real Sera that the gang got stuck inside: she has the knack for magic and unconsciously she worked it to have them come to save her. The spirit felt the intruders in its world so it had the reflections try to eliminate them. He mentions the gang could easily go through the mirror and return to their world, but as for Sera, as long as the spirit is out there... The kids resolve to beat the spirit and get Sera back to the real world.

And out there, Fake!Sera is waiting for them! She's not letting them escape now that they know about the mirror world. Ein is perfectly happy with that, he wants to get in a fight. He :black101: at the spirit while Raius backs him up with magic, while Chris and Remi, uh...

:sigh: posted:

Remi: Do your best!
Chris: Ein, I won't forgive you if you get knocked out again!


Their attacks seem to have no effect on the spirit, however. Raius figures out the mirror is the spirit's weak point and tells Remi to destroy it, but the spirit won't let them: the real Sera appears in front of the mirror, and they can't destroy it without harming her. She is wielding a sword and attacks anyone getting close to the mirror, while Ein is once again about to be felled by the spirit's attacks :ohdear: But while our hero is tanking damage like a boss, Raius uses Telekinesis again and disarms Sera, while Remina tackles her and Chris strikes at the mirror barehanded. The mirror doesn't break, though, and Ein is (again!) knocked out. The three remaining kids strike at the mirror until it starts breaking, and the spirit is suddenly scared to crap and begging them to stop. Raius gets the spirit to agree to release Sera, and heal her body to boot. It does and flees the scene! Mr. Aslem finally bursts into the room after hearing all the ruckus, but the gang explains while a brand new Sera hugs her dad :3: The kids get Aslem to vouch for them before their teacher, who was already on the loop through Chris's familiar. The kids won't get an absent mark on their records as long as they write a report on their ZANY ADVENTURE. :toot:


Remi: "today i met a monster inside the mirror. it was bad."
GM: That's something a grade school kid would write!

And that's the end of the replay! Things we've learned: no wonder Ein is an idiot, the guy takes serious brain damage like every other day. There are fates worse than death by mirror demons, like being late for class. And the Academy is an open carry school. How do you like that for grim, Wick? :smug: At least we're done with these kids hahahaha gently caress no

Next: You need to defeat two more Background Demons before you can reach the Rules Continent.

Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

Maybe it's weird, but the more JRPGs I read, the more I dig the idea of Replays. It fixes a problem that I shouldn't have but do with way too many games of going "the setting looks neat, but how do they expect me to run this?" and gives some concrete examples of how often they expect you to call all those "at the GM's discretion" rules. Ideally these would be better explained in the rules themselves, but I think we all know at this point how likely that is.

Plus, Replays serve an important function more and more Western games seem to lack: showing off the fact that at least one group of gamers playtested this poo poo. :(

Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?

I'm loving this so far. :allears: Speaking of things I love...


Today, we shall be giving life to a robot.

Step 0: Concept

Like any good RPG, Dungeons: the Dragoning starts things off by telling you to start with an idea to work towards. I have asked the thread for a concept that shall so perfectly show off everything that this system has to offer that this write-up shall be declared the new gold standard not just for the thread, but for all literature!

Xelkelvos posted:

A Mithril Promethean Tau Tech Priest of the Omnissiah

Eh, close enough. We'll make her female because all robot people must be feminine and call her something long and silly because she's a Tau. How about Fio'shas'ui T'au Kais Ukos?

Yeah, that's easier to type out.

The game also helpfully reminds you to check with your group to make sure your characters can work together and that the GM approves of everything.

Step 1: Starting Scores

Next step is picking out our starting Characteristics and Skills. The game asks us to divvy up points among our Mental, Physical, and Social Characteristics World of Darkness style by prioritizing them as Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary (6/4/2). Then, we're supposed to do the same for our Skills (8/6/4). We won't be doing that because I hate soybean trading. Instead, Pepsi will be using this

We'll be using Mid Power and still be coming out 600 XP ahead of a 100% min-maxed standard character creation. I get the feeling that LawfulNice was a bit overworked when he made this.

For Pepsi's Characteristics, we'll primarily be pumping up her Intelligence to 4 (the highest we can go for Characteristics at character creation before modifiers), putting some emphasis on Willpower, Dexterity, and Composure, and letting most of the other scores languish at 1 or 2. For skills, we'll be investing mostly in Mental, but Pepsi will grab Drive and Pilot so she can take the helm, Persuasion and Scrutiny so she won't be utterly bored during talky bits (and for other reasons that will soon be clear), and Ballistics so she can shoot. Most will be at 3 (the highest we can go for Skills at character creation before modifiers) but a few are lower. Don't worry, I'll show the end results eventually.

All in all, this leaves us with 600 XP, which I'd say is close enough to 10% of 5200 to be permitted to carry over.

As a quick aside, whenever a Characteristic or Skill hits 4 you get a free Specialty of your choice. I'll go over them in Chapter 3, but for now, Pepsi has an Intelligence Specialty in Book Learning.

Step 2: Race

There are a dozen races in the core book and even more in Book 2, but for now, we just need to know about the Tau. The Tau race gives Pepsi a +1 to either Intelligence or Composure (she picks Intelligence of course), a +1 to Common Lore and Persuasion (both of which were purchased at 3 for just this reason), the Racial Power of Fall Back (which lets her retreat whenever a melee attack whiffs her), and a Size of 4 (which'll be important later).

Since her Common Lore and Persuasion are now 4, Pepsi gets Specialties in them. She gets Tech and Conversation respectively.

Step 3: Exaltation

Now, for Pepsi's Exaltation. Again, there are a lot of these so we'll just glance quickly at the Promethean. This gives Pepsi a generally robotic body with all of the benefits and drawbacks that entails like immunity to Fatigue, Poison, Starvation, etc, but no natural healing and a slight penalty to talking to mortals. It also sets her Power Stat as Generation and her Resource Stat as Pyros. This'll all make sense eventually. I promise.

Step 4: Starting Class

Class are a thing here, but they're less like traditional classes and more like a series of advancement options that tell you what you can invest XP in, kind of like in Dark Heresy except you can change class tracks at almost any time. Pepsi starts with Mech-Wright, and like a good herald of the Omnissiah, she already has the necessary ranks in Academic Lore, Craft, and Tech-Use to qualify.

Step 5: Backgrounds

Backgrounds are pretty much what you think they are. They're "I'm part of the world" benefits just like in World of Darkness or Exalted and can only be bought during Character Creation. If you want more, you need to earn them through roleplay. You start with 7 dots to spread around as you please (capped at 3 unless you spend XP), so Pepsi gets Holding 2 to get herself a smuggling spelljammer, Wealth 2 to give her a decent income, and Inheritance 3 to give her plenty of good gear at character creation.

Step 6: Alignment

Alignment is… interesting. It works a bit like World of Darkness Morality, but each god has a different Hierarchy of Sins. I'll get in to it later, but for now, just know that Devotion in your chosen god (or other form of worship) starts at 6. Pepsi pledges herself to the Omnissiah who demands that she do things like make herself as machine-like as possible and seek to understand ancient technology, but doesn't care if she hangs out with Khorne worshipers or kills someone so long as she has a logical reason to do so.

Step 7: Experience

Normally, you'd get 600 XP to throw around things like increasing your Power Stat or improving your Characteristics and Skills above the normal caps, but since Pepsi used Experience Point Buy, she gets… 600 leftover XP to do the exact same thing. Okay. What the book doesn't tell you until later is that you can take up to 2 Hindrances for 100 extra XP each. Since Pepsi is a Tau, and thus new to the galaxy at large, she takes Clueless and Law O' the Stars. She's an obvious tinhorn and she won't shoot anyone in the back, but she gets a cool 200 XP out of the deal. She spends all 800 XP on her Feats and Assets, giving her Racial Feats Farsighted (+3 to Resolve and +5 to Mental Defense) and Move and Shoot (+5 to Static Defense when she does just that), her Promethean Asset Mithril (letting her spend Pyros to make Full Actions into Half Actions), Mechanicus Implants (which gives a host of lesser benefits), Sound Constitution (+1 HP, this is better than it sounds), Luminen Charge (she's a living battery), and Weapon Proficiency: Basic and Armor Proficiency: Medium (guess).

Step 8: Equipment

Here, you get to pick one of 5 packages to determine your gear as well as cash in Backgrounds like Inheritance. They're keyed to the 5 different Japanese Elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Void) and are… vaguely thematic. If I had to guess, Air is the "mage" package, Earth is the "soldier" package, Fire is the "tech-guy" package, Water is the "officer" package, and Void is… Matrix? I dunno. Pepsi just grabs Fire and uses her Inheritance Background to pick up a Good Pulse Rifle and a Good Mind Impulse Unit.

Step 9: Finishing Touches

The last step is determining those little side stats that nobody cares about during Character Creation but mean a bunch during play.

Size is how big you are and is determined by your Race. Pepsi's is 4.

Static Defense is your basic "roll this to hit me" stat and is equal to 10+([Wisdom+Dexterity]*3)-(Size*2), so Pepsi has 17.

Hit Points are how hard it is to kill you and you get (Willpower+Constitution)*2 of them. Pepsi has 11 thanks to Sound Constitution.

Mental Defense is a mental version of Static Defense and is 5+(Composure*5), so 25 for Pepsi thanks to Farsighted.

Resolve is mental HP, and is Willpower+Composure, so 9 for Pepsi (again thanks to Farsighted).

Speed is you movement rate in meters, and is Strength+Dexterity, only a 4 for Pepsi.

Resilience how you resist damage (you divide damage taken by Resilience) and it's ([Size+Level]/2)+1. Since you round up for this, Pepsi gets 4.

Lastly, Hero Points are special points that can be spent for powerful effects that I'll explain later. For now, they're like Fate Points from Dark Heresy. Pepsi starts with 2 just like everyone else.

Aaand that's it! Character done! Yeah, there are things like backstory and personality to worry about, but those are simple enough. Why don't we look at what we've made.

Fio'shas'ui T'au Kais Ukos aka "Pepsi"


Level 1

Generation 1
Pyros 3/3
Devotion 6 (Omnissiah)

Static Defense 17
Hit Points 11/11
Mental Defense 25
Resolve 9/9
Resilience 4
Speed 4
Size 4
Hero Points 2/2
Armor 4 (5 on the Body)


Intelligence 5 (Book Learning)
Wisdom 2
Willpower 3

Strength 1
Dexterity 3
Constitution 2

Charisma 2
Fellowship 2
Composure 3


Academic Lore 3
Common Lore 4 (Tech)
Craft 3
Forbidden Lore 2
Medicae 2
Perception 3
Tech-Use 3

Ballistics 3
Drive 2
Pilot 3

Persuasion 4 (Conversation)
Scrutiny 3

Feats and Assets
Armor Proficiency: Medium
Luminen Charge
Mechanicus Implants
Move and Shoot
Sound Constitution
Weapon Proficiency: Basic

Law O' the Stars


Holdings 2
Inheritance 3
Wealth 2


Heavy Wrench (club)
Las Pistol
Flak Vest
Data Slate
Bag of Random fiddly bits
Robes (Good Quality clothing)
Good Pulse Rifle
Good Mind Impulse Unit

I like it.

Next Time: I start explaining some of this poo poo

And for those wondering about that comic, it's a gag manga about RPG playing high school girls called Quick Start. Someone translated it here

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 12:30 on Nov 23, 2013

Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!

Some more junk about A Song of Ice and Fire
Chapter 9: Combat
The combat system for A Song of Ice and Fire RPG is pretty generic D&D derived stuff. It's divided into rounds, each person gets a turn during a round and they can take a “Greater action” or two “Lesser actions.”

A bunch of abilities are important in combat: Agility for defense, initiative and dodging, as well as weapon damage; Athletics for defense, movement speed and damage with weapons; Awareness for defense and noticing things; Endurance for Health and the number of “injuries” and “wounds” you can take, healing and resisting poison; Fighting for attacking with hand-to-hand weapons; Marksmanship for attack with ranged weapons; and finally Warfare “to gain the tactical advantage” in the game's own words.

Your Combat Defense is the number enemies need to roll on their attacks to hit you and is made up of your Agility + Athletics + Awareness + “Modifiers” (like for shields) – Armor penalty.

Health is Endurance x 3, and as long as you have any left, you suffer no ill effects.

Your movement is 4 yards, +1 yard per 2 bonus dice in Run or -1 if you have an Athletics of only 1. You also lose 1 yard per 2 points of Bulk the items you're carrying have.

Armor has three stats: Armor Rating; Armor Penalty; and Bulk.

Armor Rating is how much damage the armor subtracts from hits you take.
Armor Penalty is the amount the armor slows you down, applying a penalty to Agility tests and defense.
Bulk is how unwieldy and clumsy the armor is, as opposed to its weight. In this section, the game adds that when you Sprint, your speed is equal to (your modified movement x 4) – total Bulk.

Each weapon described the Specialty their wielder uses when attacking with them as well as a minimum number of bonus dice needed to use properly. For each die short of the necessary training a character has, they suffer a -1D penalty.

The game has two pages of weapons, grouped into axes, bludgeons, brawling, fencing, long blades, pole-arms, shields, short blades, spears, bows, crossbows and thrown.

Damage is based on either the Athletics or Agility of the wielder, plus or minus a modifier. This is the number of damage dice rolled on a hit.

Qualities are a bunch of descriptors and special abilities weapons have:
Adaptable is usable in one or two hands, gaining +1 damage two-handed;
Bulk adds its rating to your Bulk while wielded;
Close Range gives the weapon a 10 yard range;
Defensive gives a defense bonus when you don't attack with it;
Entangling can trap your opponent;
Fast let's you strike quickly, giving a bonus when you make Divided Attacks;
Fragile causes a weapon to break when you hit too hard;
Grab lets you seize an opponent on a hit and keep hold of them;
Impale pierces into your opponent, possibly sticking inside their body and allows you to pin against a wall or the ground with your weapon.
Long Range gives a range of 100 yards;
Mounted inflicts a -2d penalty if not used from horse back;
Off-Hand adds it's rating to the damage of your primary weapon when you make a special two-weapon attack;
Piercing reduces the protection from armor;
Powerful gives an extra die of damage for any bonus dice in Strength the wielder has;
Reach weapons lets you hit enemies 3 yards away, but inflicts a penalty against closer targets;
Reload makes a Marksmanship weapon require an action to reload before it can be used again;
Set For Charge Only means a weapon can only be used in the Set for Charge action;
Shattering weapons destroy weapons, shields and armor when they hit hard enough;
Slow weapons can't be used to make Divided Attacks;
Staggering weapons prevent the opponent from performing Greater Actions with powerful enough blows;
Two-Handed inflicts a -2D penalty if not used with both hands;
Unwieldy inflicts just a flat -2D penalty to rolls with the weapon;
Vicious weapons always kill anyone they reduce to 0 or less Health.

Combat takes place in the following steps:
In Step One, the narrator describes the environment including participants, the terrain and visibility.

In Step Two, the narrator determines the awareness of the character's of each other. When a hidden character attacks someone they've surprised, they gain a +1D bonus.

In Step Three, initiative is determined. Everyone rolls Agility, using their Quickness bonus dice. Arranged from the highest to lowest total, this is the order of initiative for the battle.

In Step Four, everyone takes their actions. They can perform the following actions:
The actions are all very generic, except in a few places:
Divided Attacks, allows you to divided your attack dice among any number of targets.
Two-Weapon Attack inflicts extra damage if you have an off-hand in it.
Combining Attack, combines both a Divided and Two-weapon attack.

When fighting while mounted. you use your Mounts movement in place of your own, gain a bonus die against on melee attack rolls against unmounted targets and gain a +2 bonus to damage if your mount is a trained combat mount and didn't move that round.

Repeat until the combat ends.

Defeat and Consequences
When someone is reduced to 0 health, they're defeated and the person who drops them decides what happens to them.

Death is the obvious one.
Maiming permanently reduces one of the victim's skill ranks by 1.
Ransom means you're hauled off into captivity and held prisoner until your friends or family can scrape up the cash or a valuable prisoner of their own to trade for you.
Take the Black forces the victim to abandon their position and join the Night's Watch.
Unconscious causes them to be knocked out and left for dead.
Yielding allows the victim to voluntarily lose in exchange for being allowed to decide the consequences, ala concessions in Fate.

A character can also burn a Destiny Point to change the consequence they suffer.

Damage and Recovery
Any damage a character takes in excess of their Armor Rating is subtracted from their Health.

Characters can reduce the damage they take via Injuries and Wounds.

Injuries reduce the damage by your Endurance, but inflict a -1 penalty to all your tests, and you can't have more Injuries than your Endurance.

Wounds are more severe, eliminating all the damage from an attack, but each causes a -1D penalty. A character dies if they have Wounds equal to their Endurance.

A character recovers all their health after a fight, and makes Endurance tests every day to heal Injuries, and every week for Wounds, with the difficulties determined by how active the character is while healing. A basic success heals one of either type, and every degree of success to heal Injuries heals an extra one, while it take two degrees for each extra Wound.

If someone heals a hurt character, the result of their Healing test replaces the subject's Endurance roll.

Tournaments are the big football events of Westeros. Everyone loves watching them, and hosting them is a common way for noble houses to earn prestige.

Three common combat-related events at a tournament are archery contests, grand melees and jousts.

An Archery Contest is a series of increasingly difficult Marksmanship rolls.

The Grand Melee is just a giant brawl.

In a Joust, both competitors armor up, get on their horses and slam lances into each other to try to dismount each other. Each player makes a Fighting (Spears) test against the other's passive Animal Handling(Ride) value. On a success, the hit character must make an Animal Handling (Ride) test to avoid being knocked from the saddle, with a better rolls forcing a higher difficulty.

You can also cheat to try and injure your opponent or kill his mount.

Advanced Combat
The game provides some optional advanced rules.

Critical Hits
If your attack roll double or more than your targets Combat Defense, you get a Critical and inflict some additional effect based on how many sixes are rolled. The results range from bonus damage, causing automatic wounds or injuries, or outright killing the target.

The opposite of criticals, Fumbles occur whenever all the dice on a roll come up 1. The effects of a fumble can be striking yourself or an ally with your weapon, breaking your weapon or losing your grip on it, blinding yourself or losing your balance.

Interrupting Actions
In the normal rules characters can delay when they act, but can't interrupt other characters. With this rule they can.

Battlefield Tactics
You can forfeit your initiative roll to coordinate your allies to make a Warfare (Tactics) test. On a success, you give a bonus die to all your allies' initiative rolls; you, however, go last.

There are rules for fighting unarmed, damaging objects, bonuses for attack from high ground and penalties for attacking sprinting targets, and more.

Advanced actions include reckless and cautious attacks, trampling, knockdown and knockout and disarming.

Reach weapons get some more involved rules. A weapon's reach quality determines the optimal distance they can attack at, in yards. You can hit someone on yard closer, or farther, at a penalty. If you fight with two weapons with different Reaches, that's another penalty.

There's some "attack of opportunity" rules.

Fatigue lets you push yourself during the fight to receive a one-time bonus, but as a longer-term penalty. This lets you ignore your Armor penalty for one round, ignore a single Wound or all Injuries or get an extra Lesser Action, while you take a -1 test penalty for each point.

Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats

I was going to do a new Nightlife post, but have misplaced my book. Fortunately, my hosue is very small, so it shouldn't take more than a day to find it. Meanwhile, please refresh your memories with the material covered so far:

Character creation and Kin, Part 1
Bring out the d10s. No, MORE d10s
The Wyght stuff. Or Kin

Bonus content Detailed character creation from my old and lovely attempt at a blog.

I think the proper post is going to be combat and other game mechanics.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

AccidentalHipster posted:

Yeah, that's easier to type out.

What's the name of this manga again? I was looking for it the other day but couldn't remember the name.

Apple Mummy
Oct 11, 2012

It's called 'Quick Start!!'

a kitten
Aug 5, 2006

Evil Mastermind posted:

What's the name of this manga again? I was looking for it the other day but couldn't remember the name.

Yep, Quick Start!! is its name and it's totally unlicensed and likely to remain that way forever, so you can read it here.

e: forgot the very important exclamation marks that are so popular in comedy manga lately

a kitten fucked around with this message at 19:09 on Nov 17, 2013

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Thanks folks!

Dec 23, 2012

Amechra posted:

How would people feel if I reviewed the Quickstart for a game? The game proper isn't coming out for another year, and I'd be doing it as well when it comes out, but I kinda want to review the quickstart as a teaser.
Let me guess: It's a really short, railroady adventure and about half of the rules you really need are missing?

Sounds like a job for this thread! :haw:

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011

A quick preface before I begin this beguine: the whole rest of the Kingdom Book, and the majority of the Dungeon Book after it, is made up of data cards for all the Skills, Items, Monsters and cetera. The data parts are competently represented in the /tg/ PDF translation, but without the artwork and flavor text, not to mention its usage of the often bewildering official English names, it's not always clear just what each card is meant to be depicting. So, for the rest of this write-up, I'll be giving my own take on the original Japanese card names first, followed by the English version used by the PDF in parenthesis (unless they turn out to be identical), and an ideally brief summation of what they are rather than what they do. Alright? Alright.

Cynical-Pop Meikyuu King:frogsiren:WAIT HOLD IT STOP DA MUSIC:frogsiren: Maybe this doesn't actually need to be said, but I'm gonna say it anyway just so I'll know it's not gonna come up later: The names I come up with will aim to be more literal than localized, and either way, any similarities that might possibly exist between them and what winds up in the published Lanternworks version will be completely coincidental. Alright? Alright. Okay, for real this time.

Cynical-Pop Meikyuu Kingdom Dungeon Theater

Chapter 4.1.1: Tour of Data - Advanced Skills (General to Science)

Skills! They’re what you do. Three kinds, two of which we've already seen: Class Skills, half a dozen specialties for each of the six Classes; Job Skills, a singular ability granted by membership in one of the available Jobs; and Advanced Skills, covering everything else.

Advanced Skills are separated into twelve Groups: General, Melee, Ranged, Astrology, Summoning, Science, Dungeoneering, Negotiation, Handy, Entertainment, Item, and Secret (more precise definitions will be provided in turn when we come to them). Each Job has a list of one or more Skill Groups associated with it, which determines the pool of Skills you can initially choose from when your character gains a level. However, there are some Facilities coming up in a couple of posts that will let you expand on that list or change Jobs and switch it out completely. (Note: when switching Jobs, if your old one had a Group that your new one doesn't, you do NOT lose any Skills you've already learned from that Group, you just can't learn any new ones. Or relearn ones you had at the time but later forgot due to Retraining or some similar effect.)

Every Action has a Type, as well, which determines when and how its effect can be used: Permanent (always "on"), Assist (any time certain conditions are met), Interrupt (as before, but supersedes any and all Actions before it), Support (user's turn to act in Dungeon Phase or Combat, Exhausts on resolution), and Planning (user's turn to act in Dungeon or Kingdom Phase, Exhausts on resolution). These terms aren't limited to Skills, and anything that produces an effect will have at least one of them on the card somewhere. There are also six predefined Targets (Single, Self, Court, Kingdom, Room and Item) but they're pretty much self-explanatory so I won't bother.

But enough talk! Have at you!


As the name might imply, Skills from this Group don't require any particular knowledge to pull off. In fact, more than a few of them seem more like the sort of personal traits that might be called "Feats" in some other games, but hey, Skills work too. Jobs: All

    Introduction (Step Forward) - You... step forward, and, uh... introduce yourself. I know, this "what they are" business is off to a lame start, but just like some of the names come out identical, sometimes there just isn't anything to add to what's already there. v:v:v
    From The Heart (True Romance) - What you feel for them is a pillar that cannot be shaken. :allears:
    Big Eater (Belly-god) - You have one of those endless anime appetites, as seen in protagonists such as Son Goku of Dragonball or One Piece's Luffy D. Monkey (if you'll pardon me for repeating myself :rimshot:). The Effect Text only mentions using multiple Recovery Items at once, but the Flavor Text heavily implies immunity to the "Fat" Status, at least as a penalty for overeating. Which got me thinking: the original text for the Thinking On Your Feet entry from the last post mentioned "reinterpreting flavor text", so maybe it counts for more than just fluff in this game...? But I digress.
    Forced March - Time is an implacable foe, and the only way to fight it is to keep moving.
    Massacre (Savage Killing) - Slice off a few body parts to show you mean business.
    All Units, Charge!! (Assault Force) - zerg rush kekek(ry
    Beauty - Beautiful people have better luck than the rest of us, it's a scientific fact.
    Hot-Blooded (Punk) - "There's a reason why you lost... one simple reason. You pissed me off." :kamina:


Techniques and maneuvers for the up-close-and-personal types. Jobs: Warrior, Executioner, Adventurer

    Heave (Hoick) - Somebody in your way? Move 'em.
    Iron Arm (Knock Back) - Somebody in your way? Make 'em move.
    Cover (Shield) - Somebody in the way? Keep 'em safe.
    Charge - Nobody in the way? Make good use of the space.
    Rush - Somebody in the way? Make 'em wish they weren't.
    Jump - Are you in the way? Well, get out of there, stupid!
    Dual-Wield (Double Arm) - Why else do you think you have two hands?
    Parry - *clang!*


Techniques and maneuvers for the ones safely behind that last bunch. Jobs: Warrior, Guard, Hunter

    Aim - Hit what you're pointin' at.
    Rapid-Fire (Blaze Away) - Two bullets are better than one.
    Phantom Bullet - Your gun can now fire ghosts instead of bullets.
    Covering Fire - Not a lot to talk about these past couple of groups, eh?
    Sure-Shot (Dead Eye) - :zaeed:
    Point Blank - ...until you see the whites of their eyes.
    Preemptive Strike (First-Strike) - Hit 'em before they know there's a fight on.
    Hawkeye - Hit 'em before they can even see you.


No Nancy Reagan stuff, here. You've got the stars trained to jump on command. Haven't gotten to the lore chapter yet, so I still don't know exactly what's up with that, but the cards don't lie. Jobs: Astrologist, Magician

    Starlight - Star bright.
    Shooting Star - When I said "jump on command"? Not just a figure of speech.
    Horoscope - Okay, so maybe a little Nancy mixed in for flavor. But still.
    Astral Sword - Not quite a sword made of stars, but a sword covered in stars, which is about as good and a lot easier to keep a grip on.
    Asterism - A beacon of hope in the darkness.
    Time Cheat (Mock Clock) - Apparently, the movement of the stars directly governs the passage of time in the Million Dungeons, so if you can tell them how to move... :psyduck:
    Star Wars - No, it's not her husband this time. Not that beardy nostalgia-wanker either. It's about assigning everyone their own personal star to predict the enemy's movements for them.
    Stargazer - So, stars control the weather, too, I guess. Man, I have got to get around to reading that chapter, because seriously what the heck is going on with these things.


Teleportation and monster control. Sounds simple, gets fancy. Jobs: Magician, Summoner

    Delivery - Call up reserves from home.
    Major Shift - Phase Door by any other name.
    Banish (Retransmit) - As above, only externally targeted. There's probably a name for that spell, too, but I can't remember it. Probably getting Phase Door wrong, too. Meh.
    Transfer - This is where things start to get tricky: teleporting wounds from your own person to another's.
    Use Monster (Alias) - Bind a monster to your service, then call it up at will to do your attacking by proxy. I guess citizenship could be considered a form of payment.
    Possession (Download) - As above, but you only summon the monster's mind.
    Familiar - When you send monsters out to Gather Information, you can have them rough up whatever you find while they're at it.
    Change of Address (Remover) - For your last trick, make a whole building appear out of thin air! Didn't Copperfield do that once?


In case you'd forgotten, in the Million Dungeons, science is considered a form of magic. :science::respek::black101: Jobs: Magician, Professor, Medic

    Synthesis (Composition) - "I can create... a knife gun."
    Analyze - If you can see it coming, you know where not to be when it arrives.
    Multitask - Seems more like a General Skill to me than anything requiring a scientific method, but hey, ain't my game.
    Revive -

    actual flavor text posted:

    "C'mon, you, get up!" "He can't hear you. His eyes have rolled back, see?" "Nonsense, he's just fine. Ain't ya!? (*elbow drop!*)" "GYAOOW!!" "Well hey, look who's awake."
    Drilling (Weave Material) - The card describes a sort of FMA-style recomposition deal. Why the Japanese name refers to "regimented training" is beyond me, but that's what it says. :iiam:
    Anti-Magic Formula - To clarify my earlier statement: science is considered a form of magic by everyone except the scientists. In fact, kind of a touchy subject with them, so careful what you say, unless you're just looking to get your ear lectured off.
    Boosting Formula (Boosted Science) - The exact opposite of the previous Skill, a formula to make magic work even better. Sometimes they get along okay with their fellow wizards. :unsmith:
    Logic Attack (Logical Blast) - Kill someone with a well-crafted argument. :pwn: A well-crafted argument that takes the form of a bolt of pure energy, granted, but still. (Also, as a bit of trivia, the Japanese word used here to mean "reasoning power" was apparently originally coined to refer to "The Force" in the original translation of Star Wars IV, but subsequently dropped in favor of transliterating the English word. Coincidence?)

Halfway's a good place to stop, seems like. Next time: from walking through walls to hitting your opponent with vowels! I can't wait!

Sep 9, 2012

Siivola posted:

Let me guess: It's a really short, railroady adventure and about half of the rules you really need are missing?

Sounds like a job for this thread! :haw:

Actually, no, precisely the opposite.

It is possibly the least railroady adventure I have ever read.

Dec 23, 2012

...Now you really gotta F&F this thing. C'mon, don't leave me hanging here.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011

It's a sheet of paper. Written on it are the words: "THINGS HAPPEN."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Amechra posted:

EDIT: How would people feel if I reviewed the Quickstart for a game? The game proper isn't coming out for another year, and I'd be doing it as well when it comes out, but I kinda want to review the quickstart as a teaser.

Who do you think you are get out get out. :argh:
Seriously, though, just post.

Sep 9, 2012

OK, fine, its just a little game about

I'll get an actual review started up within the week.

Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.

Grimey Drawer

Looks like a freemium game.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine

Nope sorry Fairy Dressup Adventures own and I hope the game lives up to the premise.

Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

Hey, you know what this thread hasn't had in a while?

Apologies to Ettin, hope you don't mind

The game line seems to be in a rough place at the moment; the last plot book was PoD-only, everything else is getting delay after delay. Lo and behold, a "book" came out earlier this year! ...with such little fanfare I actually had no idea it was released until weeks later, when someone idly referenced it in a question! ...also it's 16 pages, 4 of which are blank! Let's take a look at: Cthulhutech: Racial Insecurity [Fetch]

Spoiler warning: I kind of like it, despite my best efforts. :stonklol:

So, after the cover (which is the same Fetch picture as the core book but flipped for some reason), the "book" opens with the Cthulhutech standard short fiction. This one is "Bean Corp", a bit about a Tager pack (and their Fetch companion) stumbling into - ugh - a cult of Horned Ones. You know, the furry rapemonster things from Damnation View? Everything goes to hell when the Fetch decides to derail the Cthulhutech Rapemonster Railroad Experience™ (which is described in-text as "a furry's wet dream") by grabbing a can off a shelf and yelling "I HAVE THE BEANS!" It comes off as an edited transcript of an actual session, because that "breaks the spell" on the rest of the party as they start laughing and making similar declarations of "bring me the beans!" and "impart unto her the beans!" as the storytellercult leader fumes and yells at everyone for being idiots and ruining everything. Anyway, it does a pretty good job of letting you know that adding a Fetch to your game will turn your Cthulhutech sessions into monkeycheese bullshit instead of :tvtropes:, which works for me.

Next time: the six pages of actual content!

Jan 6, 2012


Bellfahle Magic Academy

Gotta cram for those midterms

The following chapter is divided in two sections, both written "in character" as it were. The first one has Ein and Raius reading through the Academy's guide for new students. They are welcomed by Academy headmaster Appentsera, blah blah blah congrats on passing the hard tests and joining the Academy, blah blah blah first step to being a mage, something something train your body, mind and magic, etc.

The Academy was founded "many hundred years ago" by famed scholar mage Harman, who obtained permission from the ruler of the time to build "an institution of learnings for the propagation of magick throughout the worlde." The Academy grew and gained more and more students until a hundred years ago it was moved to its present location at the royal capital and an even fancier campus was built for it.

Really loving fancy.

In ancient times, only a small fraction of the population could wield magic, as mages kept their knowledge for themselves. As mages behaved like, well, mages (no sense of right or wrong :science:) and carefully hid their lore, magic was on a decline. Harman, the first modern mage, didn't care for this situation too much, which is why he came up with the idea of the Academy. Magic is something anyone can do with practice, so he figured that if the idea spread both baseless fear of magic and the conceitedness of wizards would go away. By giving mages a place where they could exchange knowledge, magic could be revitalized. Anyway, young sports, that's the pedigree of the Academy so take your studies seriously!

The Academy's curriculum covers magic (duh!), particularly its origins and means of work, but also teaches martial arts, liberal arts, sciences and many other subjects. The ideal mage does not just know magic, they are Renaissance People of sound mind and body. There are four years in the Academy, with students progressing from one to the next after a year of study and good grades. Honors students can be fast-tracked to higher years as well. Each year is further divided in classes of 36 students each, with around 5 classes per year. Each class has one assigned head teacher from their first year onwards. Lessons are from Monday to Friday, with each lesson lasting one hour. There are 30-minute recess periods between lessons and three lessons per day.

  • Basic Magic: taught by Professor Clayton. Theory and practice of magic, mental exercising.
  • Physics: taught by Professor Harts. The other force that rules the world aside from magic :science: Mostly theoretical, also the prof seems to be a stickler.
  • Magic Studies: taught by Professor Antram. Magic theory, not much else to say about this.
  • Biology: taught by Professor Matock. The mysteries of life! This involves experimentation, so I guess there are magic frogs that bitch when you dissect them wrong or something.
  • Social Studies: taught by Professor Civre. History and geography. No magic!
  • Art: taught by Professor Sevel. Let your ~*artistic sense*~ bloom through painting, sculpture, and magic.
  • Music: taught by Professor Bomon. Singing, instrument playing and more magic! The prof is a terrible stickler and if you don't like it you can scram.
  • Etiquette: taught by Professor Cure. Polite speech, motherfucker! Always needed, particularly in this rude age.
  • Home Economics: taught by Professor Pelje. From cooking to sewing, all the things you need to know to run a house. And magic to help with that.
  • Health: taught by Professor Elishel, who also doubles as the school nurse. Teaches medicine and healing magic. Also the prof will kick you out of the nurse room if you come for a papercut or some other minor poo poo :argh:
  • Divination: taught by Professor Tyurerie. Deals with perception and magic for finding things. Crystal balls and all that jazz.
  • Martial Arts: taught by Professor Banon. No word on whether he's a Race. Teaches magic for self defense and war. "The basis of martial arts is the heart: a heart that won't lose." :black101:
  • Physical Education: taught by Professor Bles. Mages tend to be scrawny nerdy jerks so they can use some exercise. Nerds. Also covers ball games.
  • Riding: taught by Professor Vashlan. Horses are man's best friend.

Sweet terrain tables!

There are also special lessons off the classroom, particularly those dealing with magic that doesn't work indoors (like weather control) or those that need access to nature like art sketching or animal observation. The Academy also hold an "outdoors school" week in August. Speaking of months, the school year begins in April and is divided in three three-month periods, September-December (after the August summer break) and January-March. There are exams halfway through the trimesters and at the end of each. The exams are both written and live, with the students demonstrating proficiency in magic before a teacher.

As for the Academy itself! It is built over a bunch of hazel trees, 30 meters above the ground. The trees are enchanted so that magic that simplifies magic working is sealed, so no magic cheating for Academy students. There's a magic teleport circle that works as the entrance and exit. There's a garden, a bell tower, a teacher's lounge (entrance forbidden for students!), rooms for the different classes including a "Strategic Research Room" for Martial Arts classes because the kids need to get their Warhams on, a flying astronomical observatory, a school store with everything from stationery to magic implements, a library with an underground section that holds books that can only be perused with the headmaster's permission, sports grounds and separate dorms for boys and girls (with running water and air conditioning!). Also there's an old wing of the school that's very deteriorated so like, don't go near there you drat kids.

Ladders are for muggles.

Students should not abuse or misuse magic. They must wear the school's official uniform and crest while in Academy grounds, and formal dress uniform for special occasions like the beginning and end of the school year and graduation. They get Saturdays and Sundays off, as well as holidays and April 10 because that's the school's anniversary. Classes begin on April 7! The guide also comes with the class schedule for our guys. No, seriously.

Mondays: Riding or Home Ec, Basic Magic, Martial Arts. (Gender segregation? gently caress this!)
Tuesdays: Medicine, Social Studies, Craft.
Wednesdays: Divination, Etiquette, Magic Studies.
Thursdays: Physics, Phys Ed, Art.
Fridays: Biology, Music, Free Study.

That bit at the end says "Free Study" has no assigned subject and thus players can use it however they see fit. Also, there's no "Craft" class on the guide (or anywhere else in the book anyway) so I dunno.

Things we've learned today: this is total escapist fantasy, only three periods and no classes on Saturday? Come on!

Next: let's ruin a date.

Oct 2, 2010

AmiYumi posted:

Apologies to Ettin, hope you don't mind

Sure, I'm still picking up the series when I have some free time though! :v:

Oct 30, 2013

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

Dragonlance Key of Destiny Adventure Path Book One, Chapter Four: Across Sand and Sea

Now that the PCs have the Shard of Light, they must reunite with the Mikku and make the trek across the Burning Lands to the port city of Ak-Khurman. The nomads are chilling out in a scenic citrus grove right by an oasis, and are more than happy to meet the party and ask them what happened. Asmara in particular will be interested in their information. The tribe as a whole cannot accompany the PCs, but they can lend the assistance of two skilled scouts, Kalid and Qatan (two 4th level Rangers). "Besides, it would be well for us to hear news from our friends in Ak-Khurman."

The region between the oasis and Ak-Khurman is a giant salt flat known as the Burning Lands. In times past it used to be a salt lake which supported some life, but after the Red Dragon Overlord Malystryx wrought changes to the region of Balifor, the lake dried up and now crossing it is incredibly dangerous. There is no plant or animal life in this area, and it reaches 120 degrees farenheit during the day and near freezing temperatures at night. Random encounter wise, there's not much except for an allip (undead entity of a man wracked with guilt for betraying his family), an azer smelting crew deriving metals from the flats (dwarves from the Elemental Plane of Fire, not immediately hostile), mystics of Sirrion (god of fire, passion, and the arts) searching for a legendary pillar of divine fire, and an elven family near death and in need of water and shelter. Peacefully dealing with the last 3 encounters (and helping the elves survive and getting them to Ak-Khurman) awards experience points. I overall like these encounters; they're a nice change from the combat in the Shattered Temple, and can earn the PCs some temporary assistance from the people.

The port town of Ak-Khurman's a small cosmopolitan city ruled by the Khan of the Mikku tribe. For a time it served as a port of call for sailors, pirates, and merchants, but in recent years it's faced major changes. Resistance against Dark Knight domination made the place a haven for the Legion of Steel, and surges of elven and kender refugees from Silvanesti and the Desolation respectively resulted in some more hardship. However both groups managed to adjust well enough where in other places they'd face extreme discrimination.

Basically the main objective is for the PCs to find passage on a ship to Port Balifor. There are three ships with three captains available at the point they arrive, and helping out one of the town's factions can help them obtain passage. Naturally these are tied into the town's random encounters. For ease of reference I'll detail them together.

Additionally the city's lighthouse is home to the Red Robe Wizard Zoe Left-Hand. She operates a magic shop and can thus buy and sell related equipment to the PCs, and help administer a Test for mages seeking to join the Wizards of High Sorcery (although this is not detailed within the adventure path).

The Legion of Steel: The Legion's official headquarters in the region is a converted warehouse. Legionnaires act as a supplementary law enforcement and regularly patrol the city. Sir Lional is currently in command of the division, but can't help out the PCs for a ship unless they're members or they help him deliver a letter to Elijayess Moonshadow (an associate of his in Port Balifor), in either case he can pay half the cost for travel. He'll trust the PCs more if they helped out the rebels in Pashin, as word of their exploits spread.

If the PCs encounter a Legion patrol in a non-hostile manner in the city, a group of Dark Knight spies will attempt to attack and kill them. If they help the patrol fight them off, their reputations among the faction will improve.

This way's the easiest of the three to obtain a ship, although the whole cost will not be alleviated.

The Khan: Kenji Mikku is a shrewd politician, but Dark Knight threats, the creation of the Desolation to the east, and factional Khurish politics has left him a paranoid man. He won't meet with the PCs, and his daughter Chatomi Mikku deals with all guests. She won't give the PCs anything unless she has incentive for them to leave town. On that note...

One of the random encounters involves a lost girl no more than six years old. She'll approach a random non-threatening PC crying, saying that she's lost in town and doesn't know how to get back home. In reality she is Niesme Mikku, the Khan's youngest daughter. Tired of the restrictive house life of a noble's daughter, she finally managed to elude the House Guards while out in town and does not know where to go now once she escaped.

PCs can recognize who she is with a successful Knowledge (Nobility) check, or if the Mikku scouts are still with them they'll remark that she looks a lot like the Khan's daughter. Regardless, the House Guards finally track her down and try to forcefully separate her from the PCs.

The PCs can manage to avoid being branded as kidnappers by not immediately taking up arms, explaining the situation to them, etc, and talking their way out of it by convincing the guards of their trustworthiness (successful Bluff or Diplomacy). In such a case Chatomi will be grateful for the PCs' help and extends her father's gratitude by paying for a week's worth of lodging or passage across the Bay of Balifor.


At night, the PCs run across a murder. A merchant's dead body is tossed out of a second story building. Three figures with silver robes jump down and tell the PCs that they can leave no witnesses. They are the Silver Shadows, Chatomi's legion of spies and assassins who deal with threats to Ak-Khurman covertly. If the party already met Chatomi, she will be present and tell the PCs to not mention this incident to anyone and will let them leave. In reality the merchant was planning on selling government secrets to the Dark Knights, and had to be eliminated. Otherwise the PCs must fight the Silver Shadows, who are multi-class Barbarian/Rogues. They're the toughest encounter, all being 4th level and good attack and damage, but have little in the way of hit points. But other Silver Shadows will keep trying to attack the PCs for as long as they stay in town.

Regardless of the outcome, he PCs staying in town is a hindrance to Chatomi, and she'll want them to leave town as soon as possible and grant them passage on a ship for a 20% discount (if they approach her at the Khan's Residence).

Rand Lucas the Information Broker: Rand is a mystic in town who's trying to arrange a trade deal between the local elven merchants and the nation of Kalaman out to the west. Unfortunately he's angered some business interests in town and is being roughed up by a pair of half-ogre goons. He'll be grateful to the PCs for saving him and will take them to his office, which is little more than a sparse room at Ghanima's Inn and Smokehouse. He knows every major merchant in Ak-Khurman and will be more than happy to arrange passage on a ship at 15% discount (he's sincere, if a little shifty). If they mention passing into the Desolation, he'll tell them to find a kender in Balifor by the name of Kronn Thistleknot.

Fun facts: Rand Lucas is detailed as a human in his stat block in the adventure, but the Dragonlance sourcebook Dragons of Krynn mentions that he's actually a Brass Dragon in disguise. On a related note, the Red Wizard Zoe Left-Hand is actually a divine aspect of Lunitari, Neutral Goddess of Magic (also in another sourcebook, Holy Orders of the Stars). The NPCs in Key of Destiny have quite interesting histories beyond this adventure, if you know where to look!

The PCs could try getting on-board one of the three ships themselves without a recommendation, but competition for space is fierce among the city's merchants and they'll need to pass a successful Bluff or Diplomacy check to convince them that they're worth their time.

Libertad's Notes: This is a nice, open-ended challenge which leaves some room for error in case the players mess up one of the quests. Clearly helping Niesme find her way home is the best option money-wise, but it's the most prone to misunderstanding and might earn the PCs trouble with the law. In my campaigns one group managed to earn the Khan's favor by returning the daughter, the other group helped out the Legion of Steel by delivering the letter.

Other random encounters in Ak-Khurman include a violent duel between two merchants (business dispute) in the elven district (PCs earn experience if they help capture the duelist who dealt the wounding blow), a stampede of camels and livestock who broke free of the marketplace (deal damage to anyone in their path, PCs earn experience if they save or shield bystanders from the herd), and a press gang looking for additional "help." They're not going to Port Balifor, and if the PCs lose against them (highly unlikely, 6 2nd-level Warriors) a Legion Patrol drives them off and takes the PCs to the fortress to heal them.

Port Balifor's a rough and tumble port town on the west side of a mountain range which protects them from the worst of the Desolation. It's a smuggler's den which over the years has been occupied by the Dragonarmies, Dark Knights, and most recently the forces of Malystryx. The last one in particular brought great ruin as red dragons flew by breathing fire on houses and smashing buildings for sport. The locals got tired of rebuilding every few months and discovered a network of massive sea caves in the cliffside with the help of the dwarven community. Huge sections of town were left in ruins as they went to live in these caves, and the refugee population of afflicted kender made residence in what is known as "Gloom Town." The neighborhood is filled with traps and they never bothered to rebuild the homes, not wanting to alert the dragons that anyone was living there.

The Dark Knights operate openly in Port Balifor, but even then they avoid large sections of town, keeping close to their headquarters in night patrols. There are no random encounters per se in town, just Dark Knight patrols spread throughout (who will give the PCs trouble if they contain good-aligned clerics, minotaurs, elves, robed wizards, and other enemies) and kender traps in Gloom Town.

The PC's ship glides past the rotting docks and jetties into a large sea cave lit with lanterns. The town sheriff, a kender named Harlowe Barstoole, keeps watch over any newcomers and makes a note of the PCs. They'll meet him later in the town's only inn, Hope's End (which the ship captain recommends they stay).

Harlowe is an afflicted kender, robbed of his childlike wonder and constant desire to "borrow" things due to the immense trauma of Malystrx's siege of Kendermore. He is the closest thing the town has to an authority figure, and he's cut down men and ogres several times his size.


Harlowe is an afflicted kender with a scar over one eye and short, spiked yellow hair. He dresses in a black overcoat and carries a hefty serrated falchion in a scabbard on his back.

Spiky hair and big swords? What's this anime bullshit doing in my D&D?! :argh:

At this time Harlowe will be trying to find out the PCs' intention for visiting town. He doesn't want them drawing attention or causing trouble, as he's got enough on his plate already. If the PCs make mention of their mission in any fashion (the letter to Elijayess, traveling to the Desolation, etc), he'll tell them that he can keep the Dark Knights off of their backs and give them directions to Gloom Town. If the PCs set out into Gloomtown without directions, are being hunted by the Dark Knights, or otherwise in trouble, will be surrounded by a team of Kender:


Like gray ghosts in the darkness, you are suddenly surrounded by a dozen short, hooded figures, some of whom have short swords drawn, others merely standing on top of barrels with hands on their hips.

"You're in danger," says one in a faintly high-pitched yet clipped voice. "There are Dark Knights everywhere." The figure throws back his hood, revealing the face of a kender with tattoos along the lower half of his face that seem to cover scarring of some kind. It gives him a strange, savage look, quite at odds with the wide eyes and gently pointed ears.

The other kender look around, as if listening for something, and then the leader lifts his chin. "My name is Blight Thistleknot. You should come with us." With that, he and his gang slip into the shadows.

drat, since when did Kender become so grim? But seriously, I think that using afflicted kender was a good choice; it downplays the race's most annoying qualities and makes players more sympathetic to their plight. In fact, I like how the adventure only sparingly uses "true" kender, with the victims of hardship (Kelwick and Mayleaf in the intro, the refugees) being the afflicted ones. It's easier for players to sympathize with them when they're not acting as hyper-energetic "borrowers."

Alternatively the PCs can find the way themselves by earning the trust of Gloom Town's community with successful social skill checks and dropping the name of Elijayess or Kronn. Either way they find themselves at the ruins of an upturned land wrecked ship, the Peryton.


You are led by the kender, climbing over fallen planks and timber frames, through the hole in the side of the shipwreck. Within, lanterns and hanging sheets of canvas form a sort of warren of dimly lit rooms and offices, where other kender sleep, throw dice, carve scrimshaw, and converse over maps and charts. The largest of these makeshift rooms offers a magnificent view of the bay through a series of portholes, and a desk made from a brightly painted wooden door supported by barrels.

A grizzled, serious-looking kender with iron-gray hair looks up from a bundle of hand-drawn maps. Beside him a well-muscled Wilder Elf in a red cloak looks on silently.

"So," says the kender, removing a lit cigar from his teeth and exhaling smoke. "Are ya here to join the cause?":clint:

It's like all the kender in this chapter just got a serious Badass Upgrade or something.

Kronn's "cause" is basically reclaiming the lands of the Desolation from the remaining forces of Malystryx (who scattered into separate groups upon her death). He's enlisted the help of experienced Kender veterans and Elijayess, the elf, to scout the land beyond the mountains every week. His son, Blight, convinced him to remain in Port Balifor after one-too-many dangerous encounters which nearly claimed his life.

I did enjoy role-playing Kronn Thistleknot as an NPC. He's definitely a no-nonsense type who's seen too much, yet he retains an engaging personality which I built upon in his dealings with the party.

He'll ask what the PCs intentions are, and as long as he can confirm that their efforts will be beneficial to his cause he'll offer to help them. He lends them the assistance of Elijayess and gets set to work for the next half-hour preparing equipment and provisions for their upcoming journey. If the PCs give the elf the note from the Legion of Steel (which is just a routine report on activities in the area), he'll nod and accept it and go about his business. "You're in good hands with Elijayess," Kronn tells them. "Fella's got something on his mind, but he aint' never let it get in the way of the cause."

The PCs are given two weeks worth of food and water (they'll need it!), a pair of tents, bedrolls, and other supplies. Once they're ready to depart Elijayess will lead them out of town without delay, up the shoreline slope and the mountain trail beyond.

With the addition of Elijayess, this brings our count of Temporary DMPCs up to 2 in this adventure path. The Mikku scouts are too brief and undeveloped in characterization to count.

Thoughts so far: This chapter isn't as eventful as the Shattered Temple, but it's definitely no less interesting in its sidequests. The variability of encounters and difficulty in obtaining ship passage and access to Kronn means that the Chapter length will vary wildly depending upon how competently your PCs perform the tasks. The open-ended nature of the chapter, combined with the opportunity to sell the loot they've gotten from the Temple in town, and the cool-as-ice kender NPCs are definite high points.

Miscellaneous Notes: Elijayess always struck me as an NPC with more going on than meets the eye. When I first got Key of Destiny, he was just a guide for the Desolation, but his character hinted at something more.

Turns out I was right. Elijayess Moonshadow was the PC of Kevin Lamb, a Dragonlance writer, back in the 80s. His backstory was that of a Kagonesti elf whose people's lands were taken by the Silvanesti and enslaved by them in turn. He fought against them when trying to free his enslaved sister, but failed and had to leave his homeland for the safety of his people.

According to what I heard from Dragonlance fans and what I read in the sourcebooks, the Silvanesti cruelty towards his people isn't that far off from the backstory.:ohdear: Need I remind people that the sourcebooks treat the Silvanesti as good-aligned.

Additionally Elijayess was meant to play a larger role in Price of Courage, including killing Gellidus, but this plan was refused as the PCs were meant to be the stars of the show.

In the meantime, Kevin Lamb had a bunch of artists in the industry commission art for his character. Here's the one originally meant to be the cover of Book 3: Price of Courage:

Next time, Chapter 5: Post-apocalyptic kender cities and insane dragonspawn!

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 07:42 on Nov 18, 2013

Oct 23, 2013

Character Types, Part 3

The third and final type is the Jack, which is surprisingly not a thief, despite the prominent picture of the someone picking a lock.

Jack comes from "jack of all trades". Factotums, going back to the D&D well. Their entry is a whole load of "they do lots of different things!" and that is pretty much everything you need to know about Jacks.

For backgrounds, they get Born Lucky, which is about genetic superiority for some reason, School of Hard Knocks, which is what it sounds like, and A Cobbled Jumble, which means that you have a bunch of different power sources instead of just one. Connection chart is still here, still isn't very interesting.


First tier Jacks get the following stats: Might/Speed/Intellect Pool 10, an Edge of 1 in a stat of their choice and Edge 0 in the others, and Effort 1. They get the usual 6 points to throw in their Pools. They also get these abilities for free:

Cypher Use: They can carry two cyphers.
Practiced With Light and Medium Weapons: Self-explanatory.
Skills: Free training in a skill.
Flex Skill: You can choose a new skill (except attacks or defenses) at the beginning of each day and gain training in it. You can't use it to upgrade a skill to specialized.

For starting equipment, you get clothes, two weapons, light armor, an explorer's pack, light tools, and 8 shins. You also get two cyphers and one oddity, GM's choice.

Jack special abilities are called Tricks of the Trade and there is a metric ton of copy and pasting. I'll list which abilities are copied with the original class in parentheses and then cover the unique ones. The usual choice (one per tier) and replacement rules apply. You get two of these to start, and they are:

Bash (Glaive), Hedge Magic (Nano), Pierce (Glaive), Practiced in Armor (Glaive), Skill with Defense (Glaive), Thrust (Glaive), and Trained Without Armor (Glaive).

Jacks don't get anything unique at first level.

Second tier Jacks get training in a skill and one of the following:

No Need for Weapons (Glaive), Push (Nano), Reload (Glaive), and Ward (Nano).

Brute Finesse: The only lockpick you need is your fist :arghfist:. You can spend your Might points on non-combat Speed rolls as if they were Speed points.

Experienced Adventurer: You can apply a level of Effort to a task to gain a minor Effect, even if you didn't roll a 19 or 20.

Third tier Jacks get training in a skill, Expert Cypher Use (three of them), and a Trick:

Hover (Nano), Mind Reading (Nano), Onslaught (Nano), and Skill with Attacks (Glaive).

Enhancement (4 Intellect): You get a +1 to Edge for any stat for ten minutes. You can only have one version of this up at a time.

Fourth tier Jacks get training in a skill and one of these:

Lunge (Glaive), Slice (Glaive), and Spray (Glaive).

Analytical Combat: You can spend Intellect points on combat Might or Speed rolls as if they were points from the appropriate Pool.

Transdimensional Weapon (3 Intellect): +1 damage and you can attack targets "that can only be affected by special transdimensional effects". This is also the last unique ability that Jacks get, so enjoy it.

Fifth tier Jacks get skill training and Adept Cypher Use (up to four now).

Feint (Glaive), Snipe (Glaive), Successive Attack (Glaive), Targeting Eye (Nano), and Mastery with Defense (Glaive).

Sixth tier Jacks get skill training and a Trick.

Energy Protection (Nano), Invisibility (Nano), Parry (Glaive), Spin Attack (Glaive), and True Senses (Nano).

And that's the end of the most :effort: class.

:words: About the Type System

Up until now, I've been trying and failing to present the types as somewhat free of commentary. So, I obviously think the types are flawed. I should probably note that we're not done with character creation; there are still a couple of steps left. Still, types are the keystone that you build your character on, with everything else being some sort of modification or addition to them. Also, pretty much all of my complaints will apply to later chapters, so it's not like I'm going to magically change my mind in Chapter 5.

So what are the problems?

1) Wizard supremacy

Let's just get this one out of the way. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it, because if you're familiar with D&D 3.5 and all of the arguments therein you can probably recite this one by heart. FightersGlaives can deal damage, yes, but that is all they can do. A WizardNano can freeze enemies, control the terrain, heal the rest of the party, and kill enemies just by touching them. Nanos have options, which is what is really fun in play.

This leads me into point two:

2) "You don’t earn XP for killing foes or overcoming standard challenges in the course of play. Discovery is the soul of Numenera."

That quote is enshrined in a box at the start of the second chapter. Numenera constantly reminds you that it is all about the exploration.

So, how do the classes measure up?

Jacks are pretty decent. They get a lot of skills to play around with, some fun (if pasted) abilities, and can definitely contribute.

Nanos are definitely good. They can pull knowledge out of the air, protect the party from danger, fly, and do a dozen other extremely useful things.

Glaives are total poo poo. They have 34 special abilities. Every single one of them is about combat. Literally the only thing they get that is non-combat related in their entire class is training in a physical skill and the worst cypher use progression in the game.

Numenera is supposed to be a game about exploration, to the point where fighting things is usually an unrewarding endeavor. So, why, then, is one of the three classes entirely focused on it?

3) Even the "good" classes are kind of crappy.

Even the Nano and the Jack are distinctly tinged with "how do I beat people up?" Most of the Jack's special abilities are copied from the Glaive list. The Nano is better, but the main focus of a lot of the abilities is still how much damage they do or how they modify attacks. For example, the only thing Control Weather tells you is how much damage you can do with it, not that you could, say, force a difficulty 3 check to remain standing in the winds.

4) A failure to engage with the title of the game.

In a game called Numenera, I sort of expect it to be about numenera, you know?

Well, guess what, play a loving Nano. They are the only ones who engage in a major way with the core conceit of the game. They're the only ones who can identify them by default, they carry the most cyphers, and their special powers come from numenera.

Glaives don't get an artifact weapon that levels up with them, or special abilities dealing with using ray guns, or the ability to wear some sort of power armor, or anything at all. A Glaive could spend their entire career bumbling around in plate armor carrying a longsword.

5) A lack of imagination.

Holy poo poo the types are boring. Nanos are by far the most exciting and even then most of their ability list is some manner of generic fantasy magic. I've already ranted about Glaives and Jacks are just the two classes slapped together with a couple of pokes taken at something original.

They're just not interesting, which feels like an incredibly critical failure in a game that is supposed to excite your imagination.

Next time: Charming people are morons

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012


Plague of Hats posted:

Chart Count: 7
List Count: 7
Duplicated Charts or Lists: 1 (oh, just you wait)

Wow, that was a really boring section. I hope the next one is more entertaining. Stick around for Chapter III—Book Part II: Subsection 6.0 • +13xp for 'E' critical hits vs. babies and invalids!


kill points - # hits against enemy x severity of hits + # spells cast + # successful back flips = total xp per encounter

This is gonna be a little short because it's the last section of this part of the book. I could've crammed it in at the end of the previous post, but it was already getting kind of long.

Anyway, allow me to editorialize a little bit. :spergin: Run Out the GunsRolemaster has a slightly unfair reputation. If you've heard of the game before you've probably come across the terms "Chartmaster" or "Rollmaster." The thing is, Rolemaster and its derivatives have a core resolution mechanic that's honestly pretty simple. It's certainly not exceptional for its day. The problem comes from the authors of these games doing their level best to make their games appear needlessly arcane. There are something like 30 core skill categories in Rolemaster Standard System, each with their own individual maneuver table. But each of these maneuver tables are just flavorful reskins of the same chart, over and over. The authors just never come out and explain this, and they rarely if ever dole out advice like "you don't have to flip around to each optional subsystem, just wing it!" In my personal gaming I have little patience for people who act like they can't handwave or house rule something without the author's permission, but this is clearly a thing that needs to happen in RPG books.

After decades spent with the Elves or alone in the wilderness, Strider falls in love with a rock.

That brings us to the subject of this update: Experience in MERP. This is one of those parts of ICE's games that is written in a completely indefensible way. This is accounting sheet bullshit. In a game system full of optional bells and whistles that rarely tell you they are optional, this is an incredibly important subsystem that just up and tells you "Here is how it is. This is where fun comes to die." I may beam not at all overstating things; these four pages are a loving black hole of tedious, unnecessary math.

We of course begin with some boilerplate explanation of experience points, then dive directly into…


Note: The suggested experience points awards are guidelines, and the Gamemaster should feel free to modify them whenever common sense indicates that they are out of line.

Note: All of these totals may be multiplied by 4 if the activity has never been performed before by the character, by 2 if the activity has only been performed once before, and by 1/2 if it has become routine.

You have seveneight types of experience points, listed in order as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7. :smith: At the end of every fight everyone gains a number of experience points equal to the number of hits points of damage that they lost. Per the table above, you also gain experience points for each critical hit inflicted on a foe "regardless of effect." This seems to imply that even if they have a power to make them immune to your critical hit, you gain the experience. The very next sentence then says these points "are modified depending on the state of the foe and the combat." So, uh, whatever.

The last :black101: specific experience point type are Kill Points, with a page-spanning chart. Like most of the larger charts, it's a handy reference for a deceptively simple formula. If you kill something that is the same level as you, you get 200xp. For each level by which your foe's exceeds yours, you get +50xp. The reverse applies if you kill something lower-level…unless you hit a soft floor of 150xp or are killing something that is level 0. Stepping down past 150xp you lose 20xp until you hit 110xp, then you start losing 10xp per level of difference. Except if your opponent is level 0, in which case you're losing as much as 150xp (level 1 killer vs. level 0 victim) or as little as 45xp (level 10 killer).

But wait, there's more math! The number of Kill Points the killer/defeater of an enemy gets is reduced by the number of experience points that have been/will be handed out for each critical hit dealt to that enemy. This means that PCs fighting roughly on-par opponents will be getting potentially bucket loads more experience as they whittle away at them with tons of critical hits, and then the extra reward for delivering the killing blow ends up being jack poo poo. To offset this the book suggests GMs give out bonus experience for defeating really tough enemies, because otherwise why would you use this loving stupid subsystem?

Let's not forget that you should be multiplying these numbers by 1/2 if you're a serial murderer, and we're playing a game where the experience difference between levels is measured in the tens of thousands. (Oh, had I not mentioned that?) Have fun erasing 14,870 and rewriting 14,872 on your character sheet!

Oh, do you not know what maneuver difficulties are? Well sorry, your princess is in another chapter.

The fourth kind of experience point award is for maneuvers in general. You get experience based on the difficulty for successfully executing a static or moving maneuver. Static maneuvers tend to have pretty clear-cut success/fail delineation, but moving maneuvers do not. Like everything else this will be explained in detail later, but as a quick summary, the moving maneuver chart gives you a sort of percentage rating of how much of your maneuver you've accomplished. You're 80% done crawling up the cliff, you're 150% done jumping to catch a tree branch (i.e., you succeeded so well you caught a higher branch than you were aiming for). So how does that work into the experience awards for maneuvers? It doesn't. You just get a flat amount of experience if you succeed with 100% or more. :argh:

You get 0xp for succeeding at a Routine maneuver, which is great since the only reason the GM should be making you roll those is because he's hoping your dice screw you with an automatic failure.

Experience award type number five is Spell Points. You get 100xp per spell cast, -10xp for each character level you have above the spell level. Oh, did you not know that spells come in levels, or whatever? Another chapter, etc.! For some reason the dead simple formula for this type of experience is presented to us here. I think this is the only time they do that in the whole book, and it is also the least necessary time to do so.

Experience type #6 is "Idea Points". This is where the GM just chucks experience points at the players for "ideas, plans and suggestions" of theirs that "prove useful." You do this by totaling all the FIGHT experience points plus maneuver points, halving that, and then distributing whatever number you come up with for their good ideas. That sure sounds like fun! We are treated to an example of awarding Idea Points to the players of the sample adventure from before, where the PCs bumble onto some Orcs in an abandoned tower.

Drogo gets more Idea Points than anyone because he "performed new actions each turn and essentially made a good choice each turn." That sounds a lot better than "scouted, scouted some more, then fumbled an attack on a fleeing Orc." Nári and Agonar get close to the same amount because they both just sort of stood there waiting to kill poo poo. Leanan of course gets much less than anyone else, because she was a greedy poo poo. This game is about killing Orcs and then looting their treasure, ya idjit.

The second #6 on our list are Travel Points. You get a base of 1xp per mile traveled by land, or per 10 miles by sea or flight, x0.5 when in civilized regions, x2 or x3 for increasingly dangerous areas. Exciting stuff, I know!

Number 7Number 8 are "Miscellaneous Points." Yep.

The final two sections explain how much experience each level requires and what happens when you go up a level (the usual bullshit). Level 1 requires 10,000xp and characters start at level 1, so everyone starts with a giant, unnecessary number on their sheet. Each level up to 5 requires 10,000xp more, and each level thereafter requires 20,000xp up to level 10.

The whole book is written with levels 1-10 in mind, with a few exceptions here and there, like the formula to determine skill ranks beyond those available at level 10. Of course, if we get to any of the supplements you'll see how well they stick to this implied range of gameplay. (Spoiler: Most NPCs are at least level 20+, and they enthusiastically stat up long-dead Elven kings as level 150.)

Chart Count: 5 (total: 12)
List Count: 0 (total: 7)
Duplicated Charts or Lists: 0 (total: 1)

Tune in next time when we learn how actions work in How I blew my Running Moving Maneuver roll and ran -40' for 10 seconds.


Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

Hey y'all, I went on vacation for a week, but here's another d20 Modern thing! Also re: discussion several pages ago, feel free to archive this tripe wherever you'd like.

d20 Modern Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook - Part 5

Chapter 1 - CHARACTERS Finale

Last time I polished off characters and went over the Wealth system. This update it’s about experience, leveling, multiclassing, and skills.

Gaining Experience and Levels


Your character’s growth is metered by their XP gained. Experience points are accrued through overcoming challenges (combat or otherwise) and when you’ve accumulated a sufficient amount, you gain a level. Pretty straightforward! If you somehow manage to gain enough XP to pull off two levels at once, well, tough, because you lose any extra XP and are set 1 short of your second level-up.

When you do ascend to that next lofty level, a bunch of numbers go up. You can choose to gain a level in your current class, or multiclass into a new one. Once you’ve decided what class to take, you inherit whatever bonuses they have at that current level for base attack, defenses, and saves. If you’re achieving a multiple-of-4 level, you also raise one of your ability scores by 1, and if it’s a multiple-of-3 level, you get a feat too (which can be any feat, not just a class bonus list one). You gain skill points, and accrue a bunch more action points, and lastly, make a Profession check to attempt to increase your Wealth bonus.

Probably the important thing here game-wise is that you only gain more action points upon leveling up. This means that if you have class features or feats that require you to spend an action point to perform them, that you have to meter them out specifically between your level-ups (which can be completely impossible to pace), but you at least get a healthy quantity per level.


Multiple single-class characters. Hey, wait a minute!

So you don’t necessarily feel like your character needs to be the pinnacle of cat burglary, or that your research scientist has hit the gym sufficiently to merit some Strong-ness. d20 Modern allows and potentially encourages multi-classing, allowing your character to dabble in a couple of basic classes with the hope of either shoring up their weaknesses, or creating a combo-build monster-person.

Chapter 2 - SKILLS

So along with a number of mechanical stats related to how good you are at punching and shooting things, or how easily you can confuse a bad guy, characters in d20 Modern receive a pile of skill points to allocate towards a (frankly ridiculous) array of skill options that help flesh out your non-combat capabilities. As mentioned previously, class skills are limited based on what hero levels you have as well as what’s granted by your chosen background.

Skill checks are pretty easy to make: 1d20 + your skill rank + ability modifier +/- miscellaneous modifiers. You compare your result to a Difficulty Class, and if you meet or beat the DC, you succeed at your skill check. Skill checks can also be opposed (Move Silently is opposed by a Listen check, for example). As you advance in level, you gain skill ranks (again determined by your class), but DCs scale accordingly, so it’s sort of a zero-sum game.

DCs range from easy (DC 5, climbing a knotted rope), to nearly impossible (DC 40, “track a trained commando through the forests of Brazil on a moonless night after 12 days of rainfall” using Survival). There are also opposed checks, where your opponent makes a skill check using, say, Spot to counter your Disguise check, or opposed Drive checks to represent a car chase. Assuming you don’t hit your DC, you can generally try again, assuming you’re doing something for which there is no immediate negative consequence. Failure by 5 or more means you trigger said negative consequence (tripping an alarm or loving up a lock you’re disabling, for instance), though. There are the standard take 10/take 20 options, too, assuming no extraordinary consequence for failure.

The rest of the Skills preamble involves bonuses and penalties for things like adverse conditions, superior trade toolkits, or other circumstantial benefits or hindrances. d20 Modern also includes a skill synergy system: having a number of ranks in certain skills gives you a bonus to others, which is kind of cool!. Next there’s a full-page table (!) summarizing every one of the skills in the game. For reference, there are forty-one main skills, and three of those (Craft, Knowledge, and Perform) have 29 unique sub-areas, bringing the total to 70 total entries in the big list. For sake of (moderate) brevity I’m not going into too much detail on any of them. However, here’s some quick fun notes on certain skills.

Climb (Str) includes specific bonuses for climbing inside air vents!
Computer Use (Int) covers almost two full pages on how to roll dice and pretend you’re hacking.
Craft (chemical) (Int) lets you make an infinite number of small IED-type explosives (1d6/5’ radius) for free at a rate of 1 per minute (or 1 per round if you’re feeling lucky).
Craft (everything else) (Int) has its most basic DC set at 15 - it’s easier and cheaper to make a bomb than its detonator, or a bookshelf.
Diplomacy (Cha) has extensive rules for bribery.
Forgery (Int) has the GM make checks for you so you don’t know how good a job you did until it’s too late!
Gamble (Wis) allows you to sidestep normal Wealth progression and become a HIGH ROLLER.

Moondog Greenberg: weird ink, weirder arms.

Handle Animal (Cha) lets you teach snakes and sharks verbal commands like ‘Attack!’ or ‘Fetch!’ (Moondog, stop trying to make fetch happen!).
Hide (Dex) requires Move Silently (Dex) to make stealth happen - skill taxes all around!
Knowledge (Int) has fourteen subcategories including arcane lore, current events, tactics, and theology.
Survival (Wis) only lets you track people/animals if you also spend a feat to be able to do so.
Treat Injury (Wis) allows you to heal people, but that means 1d4 hit points to someone once a day without having to perform extensive surgery (which is a pretty involved process). More on healing later!

I am going to cut it a bit short here, and tackle Feats as a separate post. So those are coming up next!

Majuju fucked around with this message at 16:28 on Nov 27, 2013

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