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Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


I'll vote for Elves and Woodmen. I want to see how the game handles Tolkien-style Elves and Radagast is cool.



Character Focus, Part 2

Howls At The Moon

Apropos of loving nothing, werewolves! Or rather, lycanthropes, because the game very studiously avoids using the word werewolf. It also tries to provide a pseudoscientific justification for the whole thing, saying you're drawing mass from an extradimensional source, which I'm pretty sure was an Animorphs plot point. Anyway, at first tier, you're a genuine werewolf. You transform into a monster for one hour for five consecutive nights, attacking everything within short range. This is not actually a downside, because the roll to change back to your normal form is super easy and it takes up your action, meaning you can stand there doing nothing until you transform back. Game design! After you change back, you take a penalty to all your rolls, or a larger one if you don't kill and eat something while transformed.

At second tier, you can transform any night you want. The roll is a 50/5065/45 chance, but you can just keep doing it until you succeed. In further tiers, you get more stat boosts and transforming becomes easier, until you can do it automatically and don't take the penalty. Overall, you get a +11 to your Might Pool, +2 Might/Speed Edge, +6 Speed Pool, and +2 Armor.

I misread this earlier and thought it was better than it actually was. I missed the very important qualifier of "night", which means that there's either going to be a lot of thumb twiddling in your group or that you won't be using your powers much. So, eh.

Anyway, you get a watch chronometer for an artifact and your Connection is that you won't attack one other PC and they can calm you down.



Hunts With Great Skills

A ranger/rogue thing. Includes manhunters. You can track, sneak, and move. You get a pretty weak sneak attack-alike and the ability to mark targets, making you better at fighting them and tracking them. All of your abilities are Intellect-based, except for this winner, which is Speed:

quote:

You can run a short distance and make a melee attack to grab a foe of your size or smaller. A successful attack means you grab the foe and bring it to a halt if it was moving (this can be treated as a tackle, if appropriate). Action.

It is literally impossible to use this ability, because Numenera uses the usual tit-for-tat style of action management, meaning you would need to use an action when it's not your turn. Cook!

You get sneaky boots as starting equipment and your Connection is that one other PC saw you show "surprising mercy" to your target, and you hope that they'll keep it on the down-low to preserve your reputation as an ice-cold sociopath in the deer hunting community.

Leads

There are a lot of ways to handle the "my character is actually five dudes" problem that pops up in any game with summoners or leaders. D&D 4E has them using up your own actions, Apocalypse World has them as oddball weapons, Only War has them as cannon fodder ability enablers, there are a lot of interesting ways to handle it, and there's not really an excuse for not dealing with it these days.

Guess what Numenera does?

You get a constant companion that levels up with you and six weaker companions later on. If they die (they will die), you need to spend a whole two weeks recruiting before you can get a new one. You can also inspire, fascinate, and mind-control/persuade people. At 6th tier, you can ask the GM general questions about the outcomes of plans you make. All Intellect-based.

You get an artifact that lets you tag and track people, but only your followers will do it. Why? The process is "somewhat demeaning", so uh, yeah. Your Connection lets you dictate another character's background; they were once a follower of yours, but now you "think of him as a peer". Yay.

Lives in the Wilderness

quote:

Most of the time, covering yourself in natural smells to keep your scent from arousing suspicion in the wilderness is more important than bathing to keep yourself presentable to other humans.

You get training in all sorts of wilderness-type stuff, trap sense, and can forage for food for you and the other PCs. At higher tiers, you get more supernatural, and can pull information out of the woods, harry your enemies with nature, and protect yourself and the other PCs from all things nature. Intellect-based. Your Connection is that you feel contempt for another city-slicker PC.



Masters Defense

Shields, armor, and all things defensive. Gets the seemingly obligatory "stand still and do nothing but defend yourself " option, which sucks here as badly as it always does. You get a shield and your Connection is that another PC saved your life, and you feel indebted towards them. Really boring.

Masters Weaponry

Really boring.

Murders

Assassins and antisocial assholes. You get training in stealth, disguises, and poisons, a sneak attack-alike, a copy-pasted Glaive instakill move, and the ability to instantly hide after you kill someone. Speed-based. You start with a disguise kit and some poison, and your Connection is that another PC knows your true identity.

Rages

Barbarians! You get the obvious rage ability (which is fairly unimpressive), you're better at dodging when unarmored, you get a second attack when you roll a 17+, and you get a boring stat boost when Cook ran out of ideas. You also get an additional 5 Might points, but they can only be used as HP. Paperwork! Their best ability, though, is this:

quote:

If you successfully attack a target, you knock it prone in addition to inflicting damage. The target must be your size or smaller. You can knock down a target larger than you if you apply a level of Effort to do so (rather than to decrease the difficulty of the attack). Enabler.

No size limit, as long as you spend that Effort. Knock down a skyscraper with your axe!

Rage is weirdly keyed off of Intellect and that last power is Might. Your Connection is that you feel oddly protective towards another PC.

Rides the Lightning

Controls electricity. Gets a giant grab-bag of wizard powers, including lightning bolts, teleportation, a Speed boost, flight, and a wall of electricity. Intellect, of course. You can also charge devices (but not cyphers) or drain devices for points of Intellect, which isn't infinite power, but is a substantial boost over everyone else, particularly with the piece of equipment they get:

quote:

You have a bag of miscellaneous batteries and power cells. Whenever you find a new device that operates on batteries or cells (GM discretion), there is a 75 percent chance that the bag contains one that will power it if it depletes.

I mentioned depletion back in the Nano section, but it's basically the chance that your artifact will just completely crap out when you use it. This is, quite literally, the only way in the game to fix them. Stuck into a single character option. What annoys me about this is how clearly it was thrown in with exactly zero thought; there's a lot of talk later about balancing artifacts around their depletion, but you can just say "gently caress that" if you have this.

So, ugh. Their Connection is that another character can ride along with you when you're teleporting or flying.



Talks to Machines

With your braiiiiin. You can (de)activate machines from a distance, give a machine more power, make unintelligent machines like you, communicate with machines, and completely control machines. You also get a robot companion and an ability called "Robot Fighter" which I'm not going to spoil by describing. Intellect-based.

You get additional starting tools and your Connection is yet another "gently caress interparty cooperation":

quote:

Pick one other PC. That character seems to have a terrible relationship with machines—or at least the machines that you communicate with. If she is next to a machine that you interact with in a friendly manner, that machine is treated in all ways as being one level lower than normal (unless doing so benefits you or her, in which case the level does not change).

Goddammit.

Wears a Sheen of Ice

"Ice mages". You can cover yourself in ice for Armor, create objects out of ice, and get a bunch of ice attack powers in touch and area varieties. You can also eventually freeze an enemy solid with your touch. All Intellect-based. You have a weapon made of stronglass (figure it out) and your Connection is that your ice armor covers another PC if they're standing next to you.

Wields Power with Precision

quote:

Tier 1: Genius. Your Intellect Pool increases by 5 points. Enabler.

Tier 2: Training and Precision. You are trained in all esoteries. As a result, you reduce the difficulty of any task involved in the use of an esotery by one step. Enabler.

Tier 3: Enhanced Esoteries. Your esoteries that have durations last twice as long. Your esoteries that have short ranges reach to long range instead. Your esoteries that inflict damage deal 1 additional point of damage. Enabler.

Tier 4: Greater Repertoire. You can learn one additional esotery of fourth tier or lower. Enabler.

Tier 5: Greater Training. You are specialized in all esoteries. As a result, you reduce the difficulty of any task involved in the use of an esotery by two steps. Enabler.

Tier 6: Supra-Genius. [sic] Your Intellect Pool increases by 5, and your Intellect Edge increases by 1. Enabler.



Wields Two Weapons at Once

You can wield two light (eventually medium) weapons at once, attacking with both of them in the same turn. You can also make a single attack roll with both of them, defend yourself with them, distract your opponents, and make up to six attacks against different opponents. You start with an additional weapon and your Connection is that you've trained with another PC to the point where you get defense bonuses for fighting back-to-back. Actually cool and thematic!

Works Miracles

You can manipulate matter and time, which sounds exciting until you figure out that you're secretly a cleric. Your basic ability is that you can heal 1d6 points of any Pool, with the difficulty for the roll to heal them going up every time you use it. You can also cure diseases and poisons, let other people spend Intellect to heal if they touch you, and once per day, completely and totally heal a PC. You can also grant someone else an immediate action out-of-turn and reverse time:

quote:

You turn back time a few seconds, effectively undoing a single creature’s most recent action. That creature can then immediately repeat the same action or try something different. Action.

God, even limited time travel powers are such a pain in the rear end for book-keeping. Also, keep in mind that this takes an action, which means that this power is way more complex than it sounds. Imagine that the monster you're fighting goes first in the round and you go last. The monster moves up and attacks PC A, hitting them and taking them down. This, however, means that it moved into range of PC B and C, who attack it and kill it. You, going last, rewind the monster's turn to save PC A. The monster decides to move and attack PC B instead, so it doesn't get killed.

Now replay the entire round.



Works the Back Alleys

This sounds like a polite euphemism for prostitution, but it's actually thieves. You'll have to wait for later for creepy Numenera sex. Anyway, alley workers get training in all sorts of thievy stuff, contacts in the underworld, the ability to hamper a foe for a minute (sand in the eyes and all that), and the ability to narratively declare that there's a shortcut, secret entrance, or escape route if you're in a city, which is actually pretty cool. You start with light tools and your Connection is that another PC convinced you to leave your life of crime.

And that's it for Character Focuses! They are kind of a mess. Incredibly inconsistent tie-ins to other PCs, wildly varying power levels, and everything uses loving Intellect for some reason.

Next Time: "Equipment in the Ninth World is often much like that found in an ancient or medieval societies"

Tulul fucked around with this message at 11:54 on Dec 6, 2013

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Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


It's kind of amazing how Numenera really is just "Monte Cook fails to understand Dungeon World, Fate, tries to ape them anyway by bolting bits onto 3.x."

ibntumart
Mar 18, 2007

Good, bad. I'm the one with the power of Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen.


College Slice

Egregious Offences posted:

Alright, let's get this show on the road.

Glad you're doing this one. I'd like this game to get a bit more love.

Egregious Offences posted:

Before we move into Character Generation, I'm going to crib from the other TOR writeup and have you guys tell me what sort of characters, let's go with two of them, you want me to create. First things first, choose two cultures from the list.

My vote is for the Woodmen (because they're my favorite of the cultures) and the Elves of Mirkwood (because Elves in the books and the movies tend to be pretty powerful and I think showing how The One Ring handles Player Hero Elves would be worthwhile).

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

ibntumart posted:

My vote is for... the Elves of Mirkwood (because Elves in the books and the movies tend to be pretty powerful and I think showing how The One Ring handles Player Hero Elves would be worthwhile).

I'd also like to see this. Should serve as a good contrast to the Decipher game in which the answer was "yes, elves are better in every way, deal with it."

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


I'm for Woodmen and Beornings.

Also, the minor technical snafu that had been holding up the next post of Meikyuu has been resolved, so now I'm aiming to get through at least the rest of the Skills and the Common Items this weekend.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I'm also curious about how it deals with the Elf Problem, but I also like Beornings.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


I vote for dwarves and elves.

Lemon-Lime fucked around with this message at 21:01 on Dec 6, 2013

Drakyn
Dec 26, 2012



I cut fearlessly against the grain by demanding dwarves of the lonely mountain, because Tolkien dwarves are not the same as Generic Fantasy Dwarves and I want to see how they pull that one off.
Oh and elves. For the same reason.

JohnnyCanuck
May 28, 2004

Strong And/Or Free


Show me a dreamy dwarf and a dour elf.

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013


So far Elves and Woodmen are in the lead, with Dwarves in second.
e: nope

Egregious Offences fucked around with this message at 21:27 on Dec 6, 2013

NewMars
Mar 10, 2013


Dwarf and Elf.

David J Prokopetz
Oct 21, 2008


Let's to for two human cultures - Bardings and Woodmen.

CottonWolf
Jul 20, 2012

Good ideas generator



Woodmen and Elves, for me.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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



Dragonlance Campaign Setting Chapter Five: Geography

Note: The main book and wizards.com do not have a full-size detailed map, instead splitting the continent into 8 sections. I found a collection of them here so that you won't have to download them.

This chapter examines each of Ansalon's major nations in alphabetical order, detailing things such as the system of government, major population centers and the most prominent races, and important sites. In early 3rd Edition, each nation in a D&D setting had an Alignment descriptor. Supposedly it was to show the moral leaning of the government's leaders, but in Dragonlance it indicates the general tendency of the people of the land, with the most common one first. So a nation which is NG, LN has Neutral Good people the most common, followed by Lawful Neutral people. The histories of the nation are brief, generally covering 5th Age events.

Abanasinia is a frontier nation in southwestern Ansalon. The region's indigenous population are the Abanasinian Plainsmen, who are based off of real-world Great Plains Native Americans (such as the Sioux). They are united under chieftians and united into a confederation after the War of the Lance to better protect their numbers. The realm also boasts a sizable community of settlers and their descendants, ranging from Ergoth to Solamnia and lands beyond. Settler cities are relatively autonomous, each having their own distinct forms of government, with the village of Solace being the most iconic.

In fact, Solace gets the largest write-up by far. In the original Chronicles it was where the Heroes of the Lance began their adventure, at the cozy Inn of the Last Home just as the Dragonarmies came to invade. Solace is a city of trees, houses positioned in the safety of massive branches which can be easily traversed so that you never have to set foot on the ground. Solace has a huge refugee population outside its borders, of people fleeing the tyranny of the Dark Knights and Dragon Overlords.



Balifor a region at the western end of Goodlund, and now encompasses The Desolation. The Red Dragon Overlord Malystryx transformed it into a volcanic wasteland of horrors, with only the most desperate and tough individuals remaining. The majority of its population are monsters such as ogres, dragonspawn, and draconians, but there are two small population centers, Port Balifor and Flotsam, on its extremities. Unlike the other Dragon Overlords who died, the region is not returning to its normal self, which greatly worries people.

The Blood Sea Isles dominated Ansalon's eastern end, and include the four isles of Saifhum, Karthay, Kothas, and Mithas. Its human inhabitants are the descendants of Istarians who found themselves stranded on islands after the Cataclysm, and adopted to sea life. A huge red storm the size of a small country known as the Maelstrom used to encompass the majority of open water, stifling trade, although it suddenly disappeared after the War of Souls.

Saifhum is inhabited by human mariners and pirates. It is a rocky island with little vegetation, and an extensive network of windsail-powered carts is used as a mode of travel. Mithas and Kothas are part of the Minotaur nation, who are a martial culture who decides most major events through ritual combat. They sail to Flotsam for supplies now and then, but prefer to raid Saifhum ships instead. The island of Karthay is an uninhabited land of hot, barren plains and tall mountains with rainforests at the top. It is home to the mysterous Kyrie, a race of winged humanoids who keep to themselves.

Estwilde is a forested, swampy nation in north-central Ansalon, to the west of Neraka and south of Nordmaar. It is a rural region, with most inhabitants living in tribal hunter-gatherer societies, and three powerful dragons claimed vast reaches of the realm for themselves. The 3 most common tribes are the Lor-Tai, who are good-hearted and peaceful, yet have an intricate system of taboos which prevents them from even speaking to outsiders or interacting with them in any significant fashion. The Lahutians live in the Lahue Forest, and practice cannibalism on outsiders; they are Chaotic Evil and view non Lahutians as no better than cattle to be eaten. The Mountain Barbarians are supposed to be bad guys, too, but the book poorly describes why they're bad. They're "surly and treacherous," trade with goblins and ogres, hate and fear the "strong-hearted" nation of Solamnia, and "lack the imagination to believe they need anything more than what their squalid lives offer." If anything they sound xenophobic more than anything.

Goodlund is the rest of the Desolation, and doesn't really have much more info than what Balifor provided. The major settlements are underground in ancient goblin catacombs, and includes a town of afflicted kender who make commando raids against Malystryx's remaining forces.

Hylo is a kender nation in the forested northern reaches of Northern Ergoth. Its natural terrain makes it a well-defended locale, with a mountain range to the west, open ocean to the east, empty wasteland to the north, and inhospitable desert to the south. The kender lived a trouble-free existence for centuries, being unaffected by the Cataclysm (yet saddened by the disappearance of the Gods). A huge population of afflicted kender refugees moved in and were accepted to the region, causing tension and strife between them and the "true" kender. The afflicted kender are distrustful and insist on shoring up Hylo's defenses, while the true kender believe them to be cursed (yet are still too good-hearted to oppress them). Interesting locations include the tree-city of Lookit, and a mysterious obsidian structure known only as "the Tower" which a bunch of true kender live inside. A magical sentience lives within the Tower, and nobody knows its true origins, but the "true" kender regard it as their best friend.

Icereach is less a nation than a region encompassing the far southern reaches of Ansalon. Composed entirely of arctic tundra, it remains mostly unexplored and is home to human nomads known as the Ice Folk, and evil walrus-men known as the thanoi. The two have warred against each other since the Cataclysm, and neither side is willing to give up; it's pretty much a way of life by now. Two white dragons, Cryonisis and Frisindia (both female wyrms) are the closest thing the land has to a superpower, and both claim western and eastern terrain as their domain. A few interesting places include the abandoned city of Frozen Past, the ruins of the huldrefolk (the first and oldest fey on Krynn), and the ruins of Icewall Castle (once home to Feal-Thas, the dark elf White Dragon Highlord of the Dragon Empire in the War of the Lance).

Kharolis is a nation of southwestern Ansalon which was once claimed by the Green Dragon Overlord Beryllinthranox. In recent years the Knights of Neraka took over the region and know rule the land under an iron fist. They hire ogre mercenaries to patrol the southern border along Icereach to keep back the Thanoi, but unbeknownst to them the two monstrous races plan on overthrowing them. They are also aided by human rebels who plan on killing them once they overthrow the Dark Knights. The Tower of Wayreth lies in the magical forest in the northern section of the nation, and the Thorn Knights built outposts in the wilderness and towns in search of the Tower. The Tower has yet to be found, and is not admitting any visitors (even other Wizards of High Sorcery).

Khur is a nation located in eastern Ansalon, to the west of Balifor and to the north of Silvanesti. It is home to the Khur people, who are based off of real-world Arabs and arranged into seven different tribes. Their nation is no stranger to foreign influence; back during the War of the Lance, the Green Dragonarmy of the Dragon Empire invaded the nation before being driven out. In recent years the Dark Knights have established alliances with certain tribes and cities, and an influx of refugee elves from Silvanesti has made life interesting. After recovering from being under the baleful eye of Malystryx, the region is undergoing a sense of unity, as Khurish tribes seek to put aside old hatreds in face of more pressing foreign influences. In addition to native Khurs, many citizens of the cities are the descendents of Dragonarmy officers, and so there's a sizable Nerakan minority in the nation.

Neraka is an inhospitable mountain nation in eastern Ansalon. It is a very old nation with close ties to Evil, first formed by travellers guided by visions from Takhisis to a fabled lost city. There they found the magically relocated Temple of Istar, originally under the ocean of the Blood Sea. The Foundation Stone inside it allowed the goddess to communicate with these travelers and grant them the gift of divine magic. Along with her favored children, the chromatic dragons, she formed a massive army out of these forces and set about conquering much of Krynn as the Dragon Empire. Even after the temple's explosion and the end of the War of the Lance, the region was still a stronghold of those swearing fealty to the Dark Queen, and the Knights of Neraka are a major presence her (in fact, they changed their name from Knights of Takhisis to this because it was their base of power on Ansalon). The capital city, Neraka, is a shadow of its former glory, its once-great temple filled with unknowable evils which keep even the Knights at bay. The nation's cities are filled with monsters who traditionally served in the Dragonarmies, from goblins to ogres to draconians, and as such is a more accepting climate for these groups.

Nightlund was formerly an eastern province of Solamnia. Once a fertile and peaceful region, it was cursed with twilight and gloom when its ruler, Lord Soth, failed to stop the Kingpriest and instead killed his wife on suspicion of infidelity. Cursed to be a death knight, he found himself the ruler of a nightmarish realm filled with undead in a godless world. The nation has remained this way until the War of Souls, after which the curse was lifted when Soth rejected Mina's offer to join the One God's army and was killed for it. It is now a fertile and bright land, but people still avoid it for its sinister reputation. One of the Towers of High Sorcery, the Tower of Palanthas, is located here (after being teleported away from the city of the same name), filled with undead guardians.

Nordmaar is a tropical nation in Ansalon's far north. It is a feudal kingdom of highland horsemen and home to great stone cities in its rainforests. Its people are known for valiantly fighting off enemy invasions, from the Red Dragonarmy during the War of the Lance, shadow wights during the Chaos War, and most recently a black dragon wyrm named Mohrlex who also rules a portion of Estwilde to the south. Nordmaarians are organized into tribes who are all ruled by a single king, and they have good relations with the nation of Solamnia to the west. Interesting locations in the region include a great giant rock shaped like a man riding a horse in the northeastern jungles, and a legendary shrine to Habbakuk known as the Fountain of Renewal in the swamplands (which is sought after by Mohrlex's forces).

Northern Ergoth is the oldest human nation located on an island off the coast of western Ansalon. Formed during the Age of Dreams, its empire once occupied almost all of western Ansalon before the Cataclysm flooded most of it. Despite these losses, Ergoth remained a relatively stable feudal nation. Its people are known throughout the continent as skilled mariners, and Ergothian merchants are a common sight through much of Ansalon. In recent years of the Fifth Age it's becoming the continent's preeminent cultural center, home to a fabled bardic college and a flourishing university and library in the capital city of Gwynned. Mina's crusade under the One God's banner never touched Ergothian shores, and its people welcomed the return of the deities along with mysticism, and the two groups put aside theological differences to support the empire. The nation's southern region of Sikket'hul is home to several towns of non-evil goblins, who keep to themselves but have some trade with the humans.

The Plains of Dust are a hot, arid region of south-central Ansalon which was traditionally a cold, arid region due to the disappearance of the Maelstrom. Traditionally nomadic humans related to the Abanasinians lived here along with centaurs, but a recent influx of refugee elves of both Qualinesti and Silvanesti put a significant strain on the region's resources. The elves, meanwhile, are disorganized and grouped into varying factions. Gilthas, a half-elf Qualinesti noble, does his best to settle disputes, but the more bigoted factions do not respect the word of a half-human. Some elves want to reclaim their homelands by force, while others desire aid from human cities and establish ties and favors with their peoples' skills. During the Fifth Age, two dragons from the same realm the Overlords came from ruled over much of the eastern Plains, and a group of centaurs and humans formed the nation of Duntollik to counter their threat. After the dragons' death, they are now the preeminent political group in the region.



We also get stat block write-ups and backstories of Gilthas and Linsha Majere, a Solamnic Knight instrumental in Duntollik's formation.

Qualinesti is a forested nation in southwestern Ansalon, the traditional homeland of the Qualinesti elves. In the Age of Dreams a faction of Silvanesti elves were tired of their peoples' rigid society and created a more tolerant and progressive nation in the forests to the west. They maintained good relations with humans and dwarves during the Age of Might, but their society underwent significant hardship in the Age of Despair. They had to flee their homes during the War of the Lance, when the Red Dragonarmy invaded. During the Age of Dreams their nation was conquered by the Green Dragon Overlord Beryllanthranox. Eventually they were provided information that the dragon was planning on killing them all, and some dwarves and sympathetic Dark Knights helped smuggle elves out before she could destroy them, leaving the warriors among them behind to lead a joint attack on the Overlord in the capital city. The battle resulted in the dragons' death, but her massive formed crashed into the tunnels below and causing the nearby rivers to fill up a new lake. The northern reaches of the land are claimed by opportunistic human bandits, with a never-before-seen alliance of goblins to the south, who are believed to be a new nation formed during the social turmoil.

Sancrist is an island nation off the coast of western Ansalon. Its eastern half is a mountain range inhabited by gnomes, their greatest city of Mt. Nevermind containing technology leagues ahead of any other on the continent. The western section of Sancrist is home to forest and Solamnic settlers, who created the new nation of Gunthar in this region. Castle Uth Wistan is its capital, and home to the grandmaster of the Knights of Solamnia. A vicious red dragon Pyrothraxus lives among the gnomes of Mt. Nevermind, who are more than happy to pay him wealth and riches in exchange for the rare opportunity to research a living dragon.

Schallsea is an island nation off the coast of northern Abanasinia. It is home to the Wemitowuk people, who are related to the Abanasinian Plainsmen. It is home to the Citadel of Light, a preeminent center of learning for mystics, and is undergoing repair after the Green Dragon Overlord's assault on the building grounds. The island is home to the Garden of the Dead, a traditional place of punishment for the natives to send exiles who committed crimes against the community. The tunnel entrance became closed at the start of the Age of Mortals.

Silvanesti is the oldest elven nation and occupies a significant portion of southeast Ansalon. For the longest time it was a major superpower, with a rich magical history and valiant warriors. It has always been an isolated nation, closing itself off from the rest of the world after the Cataclysm. The Dragon Empire viewed them as a threat and fought against them before the War of the Lance. In recent years a minotaur invasion strengthened by the presence of Dark Knights. The great cities were occupied by forces, its inhabitants forced out. The minotaurs forced out the Dark Knights shortly afterwards; despite the elves' worst fears, the minotaurs have not destroyed or razed the cities, instead using them as new settlements for their forces.



Solamnia is a large and powerful nation covering a great portion of western Ansalon. The Knights of Solamnia served as the governing body since the Age of Dreams, but during the Age of Mortals the Blue Dragon Overlord Khellendros took over the city of Palanthas and much of northern Solamnia with the help of rogue Dark Knights. The Knights still rule Palanthas, and although society continues, some hope that one day the Knight of Solamnia drive them out.

During the Age of Despair many peasants blamed the Knights for failing to protect them during the Cataclysm and overthrew many of their counties. But the Knights' respect was restored when they played a contributing factor in the War of the Lance fighting Takhisis' forces. Bolstered by Sturm Brightblade's examples during the War, the formerly traditionalist and hidebound order became more progressive and open over time.

Solanthus is Solamnnia's traditional capital, but Palanthas is its greatest city (the Waterdeep, the Sharn, the Greyhawk of Dragonlance). A port town surrounded by mountains, Palanthas managed to escape the Cataclysm relatively unscathed and became the continent's cradle of civilization. Its Great Library is run by clerics of Gilean, led by the enigmatic Astinus who attempts to write down the collected knowledge of Krynn. It was also once home to a Tower of High Sorcery, and the High Clerist's Tower (once a holdover from the Age of Might) was home to a pivotal battle during the War of the Lance.

A dwarven nation of Kayolin supplies Solamnia with gems and precious metals, and the two nations get along very well.

Southern Ergoth is nominally part of the Empire of Ergoth, but this once-temperate land has been occupied by the White Dragon Overlord Gellidus and reshaped into an arctic nightmare. A legion of ogres and dragonspawn enforce his will from the city of Daltigoth, and the Solamnic outpost of Castle Eastwatch entered into an alliance with elven communities to fight them. During the War of the Lance the Qualinesti and Silvanesti elves moved here, and enslaved the native Kagonesti elves to build new communities. All three elves still live in Ergoth, not necessarily getting along but sharing a common enemy against Gellidus. The Solamnic Knights guard the Tomb of Huma, the resting place of the legendary hero. A natural pool of dragonmetal, along with the lore necessary to build the Dragonlances, gives the Solamnics an advantage against the dragonspawn.

Teyr is a new nation to the north of Neraka, formed by and for draconians. During the War of the Lance draconians were created from the eggs of good dragons in an unholy ritual. Only the male eggs were selected, both for population control and for the Dragon Empire to better control them. A draconian general named Kang discovered the location of the female draconian eggs, and managed to capture them with the help of his regiment after the Empire's collapse. Emboldened with the discovery that they were a true race, they found an abandoned dwarven city to form a new society. From there, Kang created a new autonomous nation for his people. And they're non-evil, too! Teyr is a military government overseen by civilian leaders, and military culture abounds even though draconians are adopting "civilian" occupations and adjusting to relative peace. The nation is very well-defended, with military outposts along the borders.



Thoradin is a dwarven nation located in the mountains of Neraka. Its sole city is Zhakar, which was ruled by dark dwarves who went insane from an insidious and poisonous mushroom colony. A particularly outspoken dwarf, Severus Stonehand, disagreed with his people's decision to seal off their kingdom from the world in light of the Dragon Overlords' arrival. He underwent a religious pilgrimage, he returned to his homeland and mounted an insurrection against the Council of Thanes. With divine magic he discovered a cure to the Zhakar's mushroom plague, and through this he earned the eternal gratitude and goodwill of the people, along with a new seat in government. He signed a trade and military agreement with the nearby Knights of Neraka, supplying them with fine dwarven weapons and armor in exchange for protection from the nearby ogre nations of Blode and Kern.

On that note, Blode and Kern are not detailed in this book.

Thorbadin is a dwarven nation located in the mountains of Kharolis in southwestern Ansalon. It is the grandest of dwarven realms: eight great cities, vast expanse of warrens, fortified gates, and a cold underground sea, it is larger than many surface realms. It is governed by a council of Thanes who vote on issues, with a High Thane as the leader of them. Traditionally there's a thane for each dwarven clan, even the gully dwarves, but there is no Neidar Thane due to the Dwarfgate Wars 400 years ago. The dwarves bury their nobles and heroes in the Valley of the Thanes, an above-ground natural valley accessible by tunnels, and whose tombs are sealed with doors which blend into the surrounding rock.

After the War of the Lance Thorbadin opened up relations with the outside world and gained the Qualinesti elves as allies. Thorbadin's finest soldiers were instrumental in the death of the Green Dragon Overlord.

Throtl is a buffer nation between Estwilde (to the east) and Solamnia (to the west). It is mostly plains, with some bogs impeding travel. The region is home mostly to hobgoblins, whose form of government is a system of anarchy where they live in moneyless, leaderless communes where decisions and disputes are resolved via community debates and direct democracy. Just kidding, the writer's definition of anarchy means roving gangs of bandit leaders. The hobgoblins do little trade with others, instead raiding nearby settlements and fighting rival tribes for territory and resources. The nation's sole great city of Throt is unique in the region and consider the smaller tribes to the primitive savages. After the Chaos War, the primordial Gods' creations roam the countryside, a threat to everyone.

Thoughts so far: And that's it for listed nations of Krynn! The ones not detailed here are Kayolin (dwarven nation in Solamnic territory), and the ogre nations of Blode (swampland) and Kern (mountains, forests, and plains where ogres live in great cities rebuilt from the Age of Dreams). They have more detail in the War of the Lance sourcebook, which extensively details the Age of Despair.

Next time, Chapter 6: The Dragonlance Campaign! Detailing Dragonlance's iconic themes and how to create a unique and authentic experience!

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


I vote for Hobbits twice, because a game of The One Ring without a hobbit is like a gentleman without a monocle. It just doesn't work.

Dammit Who?
Aug 30, 2002

may microbes, bacilli their tissues infest
and tapeworms securely their bowels digest



Dwarves and Elves, please!

U.T. Raptor
May 11, 2010

Are you a pack of imbeciles!?



Libertad! posted:

Teyr is a new nation to the north of Neraka, formed by and for draconians. During the War of the Lance draconians were created from the eggs of good dragons in an unholy ritual. Only the male eggs were selected, both for population control and for the Dragon Empire to better control them. A draconian general named Kang discovered the location of the female draconian eggs, and managed to capture them with the help of his regiment after the Empire's collapse. Emboldened with the discovery that they were a true race, they found an abandoned dwarven city to form a new society. From there, Kang created a new autonomous nation for his people. And they're non-evil, too! Teyr is a military government overseen by civilian leaders, and military culture abounds even though draconians are adopting "civilian" occupations and adjusting to relative peace. The nation is very well-defended, with military outposts along the borders.


Kang is my favorite Dragonlance character

quote:

On that note, Blode and Kern are not detailed in this book.
I kind of figured they would be, if only because of Golgren. Maybe the books he's in weren't written yet when they made this book.

Dedhed
Feb 27, 2005


Mors Rattus posted:

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Lords of Men
Dukes (Dux, Duc) were originally war leaders. In France, it is the highest rank of vassal. Britain doesn't use it. Dukes are immensely rich and powerful, sometimes moreso than kings they serve. All Dukes are Great Nobles, commanding at least 75 knights, 75 sergeants and 750 infantry. Also, they probably have Vassals of their own. The King (Rex, Roi), of course, pays allegiance to no man except perhaps a pope or emperor. Originally kings were elected, but elective kingship is mostly dead in western Europe, especially after 1215, when William Marshal defeated the forces of Prince Louis, who had been offered England's crown. France is nominally elective, but it's traditional to force the electors to vote and acclaim the king's eldest son. Philip Augustus, the latest king, has not even bothered to do so because he is the most significant landholder in France after crushing many of his vassals and doesn't need to. A lesser noble can claim the crown, but effectively only becomes king when another significant power recognizes him as one - generally the pope.

I know this is old, but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megas_doux

Mind your manners when you meet the Mega Duke!

I know its eastern. But its funny.

Drakyn
Dec 26, 2012



U.T. Raptor posted:

Kang is my favorite Dragonlance character
Same, and the only one I still recall with any fondness. Mostly because in a setting with a very, very, VERY heavy emphasis on morality (often led astray by D&D's lunatic alignment into Good/white vs Evil/black, as seen in Libertad!'s mentioning of "these elves are TOO good and that's why they're xenophobic racists," or "the NotSpanish Inquisition Empire was the result of goodness becoming too powerful"), it was very nice to follow the misadventures of a bunch of desperate deserter-fugitives who were searching for their own place in the world - not for any grand and preachily righteous reason, but because they wanted to live. Very much more real-feeling than almost every other struggle in the series, and this despite every character involved being a winged lizardman.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Drakyn posted:

Same, and the only one I still recall with any fondness. Mostly because in a setting with a very, very, VERY heavy emphasis on morality (often led astray by D&D's lunatic alignment into Good/white vs Evil/black, as seen in Libertad!'s mentioning of "these elves are TOO good and that's why they're xenophobic racists," or "the NotSpanish Inquisition Empire was the result of goodness becoming too powerful"), it was very nice to follow the misadventures of a bunch of desperate deserter-fugitives who were searching for their own place in the world - not for any grand and preachily righteous reason, but because they wanted to live. Very much more real-feeling than almost every other struggle in the series, and this despite every character involved being a winged lizardman.

Yeah, my favorite as well.

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

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


Transient People posted:

A minor, but extremely important note that Cyphoderus missed: The power that allows you to hand out a hell of a damage boost by being an awesome commander that Cyphoderus mentioned doesn't target an ally, it targets allies, plural. It only lasts for one turn, but Undefeated Genius (such is the power's name) is the single biggest damage buff in Double Cross by an absolute ton if you have more than one friend with you, eclipsing even 'ultimates' like the 120% powers, because it adds a maximum of 28 damage per attack (in game terms, this means that having a true blue Neumann leading a team is worth as much as sticking TWO CHAINGUNS on each ally that listens to him! ). For comparison's sake, the best Morpheus power for adding damage, Crystal Sword, works for the entire scenario but only adds 10 damage per item when used by a maxed out Purebreed, cannot be stacked with itself (so you have to spread it out or buff a Neumann who can dual or triple or gently caress it, even penta-wield poo poo), can only be applied to three weapons (so it barely beats a one-ally use of Undefeated Genius at best) and costs just as much ER as each Undefeated Genius use. When he said Neumann was the 'Warlord' syndrome, he wasn't kidding - the difference between having a Purebreed Neumann leading the troops and anything else is so colossal that they can easily turn any fight the entire party joins into a cruel joke at the GM's expense. This is a reasonable repayment for the fact that they're one of like two syndromes that has to pay a Feat- err I mean Power Tax to be able to do jack poo poo by their lonesome, but it's appropriate: It means that if you see Amadeus Cho leading a team of superheroes, you better get the hell out of the way before superior tactics roll you over. The mind is Double Cross' strongest weapon!
Goddammit, and so it is I completely glossed over it, my bad. Gonna add that to the preceding update, it's pretty cool!

JohnOfOrdo3 posted:

Out of interest, what's your preferred syndrome Cyphoderus?
Remember that Yu Yu Hakusho villain, the guy who could turn just about anything into projectiles and would snipe the main characters with thrown dice and coins? Who at one point shot a truck at the main character?
What I'm saying is, I'm very partial to Balor and Orcus, myself.

Speaking of...!




DOUBLES AND CROSSES 3.0

Syndrome Dossier, Part G

Salamandra

We learn in school that "fire" and "ice" aren't elements in a cosmic game of rock-paper-scissors, as games in general would have you believe. Instead, there's only warmth, and things either have that or don't. So cold and warm are just different ends of the same process. Double Cross takes this concept and runs with it to give us the Salamandra Syndrome, the one with both fireballs and ice blasts. DX is physics-friendly! Well, except for all the parts where it laughs at physics' face. But never mind those!

Let's talk Salamandra. The usual stuff is here. Fireballs, firestorms, firefists, firewalls (not the computer sort), fireblasts, firestuff. Ice has got the standard tricks: ice blade, insta-ice bridge for rapid movement, ice walls... there's also separate powers for going Human Torch and Iceman. These are all expected.

Things get interesting when the Salamandra gets creative. I mean, there are a lot of dick move powers in this game, but it's hard to find something more assholish to do than increase another person's brain temperature to make them dumber. Other cool tricks you can do are adjusting your own brain temperature to make you think better (I'm reminded of Detritus the Troll); burn away all the oxygen in an area, asphyxiating your foes; and get rid of any status effect by manipulating temperature, including freezing a disease dead inside your body.

At high Encroachment Rates, you can produce a whole lot of heat, and you can even use it to heal your wounds, in the most traditional "you can never defeat my burning spirit!!" sort of way. The Salamandra Pure-Breed has access to an armour-piercing attack that destroys molecular bonds by alternating between extreme hot and extreme cold, and a powerful barrier of flame that protects an ally from harm.

In the Simple Power department, we've got some boring stuff. Touch things and make them real cold, or create fire from your fingertips. You can be really good at temperature-dependent crafts like cooking and pottery and blacksmithing, and you can make yourself immune to fire or cold (though not combat powers). More interestingly, you can gain infrared heat vision, or perfectly adjust the temperature of the surrounding room – yes, being a walking air conditionating device makes the Salamandra the single most useful Overed. Finally, we've got a somewhat creepy power... it's called Cryopreservation, and does exactly what you think it'd do, leave someone in a permanent state of frozen non-decay.

quote:

This Power can only be used on Incapacitated characters, the dead, or the User himself.
Oooookay I guess it's cool if you want to Han Solo a particularly annoying recurring villain. Leave them hanging there in the UGN lobby for everyone to see. What's wrong with you?!

Solaris

This one was named after a "planet in a famous science fiction novel" and it's about being a walking meth lab. The Overed can synthesise all manners of drugs and chemicals in their body, both for external and internal use. Eddie Bravo defends that being high boosts fighting performance, so why shouldn't you?

There's not much to say here. Any possible effect that a mind-altering drug can have, you can bet your horses the Solaris has in their arsenal. You can boost your allies by administering the right kinds of stimulants; you can cripple your foes by giving them hallucinogenics, paralysing spores, and the like. Solaris isn't the greatest at direct damage, but it's filled to the brim with support powers.

There are some interesting powers worth special mention, though. The first of them is Tablet. Not content with spreading your chemicals via liquid (I imagine the Solaris is always spitting everywhere) or gas form? Make them solid and throw them at the goddamn target. Yes, this is a thing: you can produce a pill of agonising-illusions-inducing stuff and just... chuck it at someone. Another cruel trick you have up your sleeve is releasing pheromones that attract all manner of small animals and bugs to you. These serve the sole purpose of being a living shield against attacks. Way to loving go, man. The Solaris can also turn non-Overeds into mindless zombie creatures that follow their orders... I'm starting to think this isn't such a nice Syndrome...

The cruelty has only started! When we get to the high-ER powers, the Solaris is even more of a dick. Even the support powers are about overloading allies with excitatory stimulants and turning them into hyper-caffeinated death machines. Overdose is drastically increasing the dose of all powers used in a combo, and yes, you can use that on allies or enemies. Lastly, we have Spiralling Despair, a hallucination so powerful it will immediately cause Overeds to make an Impulse check to avoid letting their sociopathic Impulses loose, and it can very well cause non-Overeds to awaken the Renegade in response to the mental stress. poo poo, Solaris, you suck.

Pure-Breeds get the ability to produce their chemicals really fast, in the setup round of combat, and a power that recovers one use of another power by taking some time to replenish the biological stock of the chemical in question.

Simple Powers. Of course you can produce pheromones that cause people around you to go ecstatic ("even faint", the book says). You can change the taste of food! Make ungodly amounts of money by offering to make health food taste like hamburgers. You can produce nutrient-filled water Gatorade out of thin air. You can mess with bacterial microfauna, either your own (to improve your immune system, digestion, etc.) or outside your body. Be a world-renowned microbiologist or brew some loving good beer, your choice. You can use hallucinogenics to make a target believe you're really good friends. You can fill an area with a particular smell. Finally, there's Soundless Voice.

quote:

Communicate one's will to a faraway person through the use of hallucinogens.
I can't even begin to think how lovely that'd be for the other person. Imagine if the office didn't have memos, it had bad trips.

And that concludes the 12 known Overed Syndromes! To recapitulate, we went through:
Angel Halo, the light guys
Balor, the gravity guys
Black Dog, the electronic guys
Bram Stoker, the blood guys
Chimera, the wild beast guys
Exile, the body freak guys
Hanuman, the speed guys
Morpheus, the stuff guys
Neumann, the smart guys
Orcus, the poltergeist guys
Salamandra, the fire and ice guys
Solaris, the assholes chemistry guys

There is still one chapter of Syndrome Dossier left, however.

It will be the coolest chapter. No, really. It's my favourite part of Double Cross.

So tune in next time in Syndrome Dossier for... nah, I ain't telling just yet!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Cyphoderus posted:

Goddammit, and so it is I completely glossed over it, my bad. Gonna add that to the preceding update, it's pretty cool!

Also bear in mind Poison Fog is a game-changer for Solaris, since it lets you turn a myriad number of powers into "area (select)" powers. Take the Solaris power Berserk at rank 5, for example. It requires 80% enroachment rate, but that's a small price to pay when it can potentially add +10 dice to all of your allies' next major actions for a turn, and reduce their Critical Value to 6.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 02:30 on Dec 9, 2013

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

I'd argue it's a little weaker than Orcus' Keystone Formation, but on the other hand, Solaris has some insane bullshit up its sleeve that Orcus doesn't. It's a really, really nifty syndrome to be sure.

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013


Right, I've tallied up the votes and it's Elves and Woodmen. Gonna post one of them tomorrow.

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid


Cyphoderus posted:


Solaris, the assholes chemistry guys

I am laughing my rear end off from this one, I might need to make a recurring character who's one of these just to troll the entire party every session. You mission hand out tonight? Sure, just swallow this, sit back, and tell me all the new colours you see.

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

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




Generic Universal Double Crossing System

Chapter X: the Game Master

Our GM chapter starts fairly standard. It tells us what a GM's role is, and they are as much a player as the players. The game should be fun for the GM as well.

The first interesting tidbit here is we get to talk NPCs. DX separates NPCs in three categories:
Guests have full-fledged stats, like PCs. Use them for important characters, likely the ones the PCs will have to face head-on in battle. DX isn't anal about its NPC statblock: it outright tells you to give a Guest whatever stats, items, powers and Encroachment Rate you want.
Troops are a bunch of NPCs bundled together into one. In game terms, they are one character, with one stat block. In fiction terms, they're are a bunch of people. Use them for minion-type enemies and to make combat exciting by battling hordes of dudes.
Extras exist only in the game's fiction. Mechanically, they're irrelevant, and have no stats. They're the... well, the extras of the story. In game terms, what the Warding power does is turn all non-Overeds in the area into Extras.

Now, DX is pretty awesome because it gives some concrete advice on how to stat up bosses. You know, for the climactic battle at the end. So many games leave that in the air, but DX puts its feet firmly in the earth and says: figure out how much damage your PCs deal, on average. Figure out how many turns you want your big battle to last. Give the boss HP proportional to that. Which is some great advice, really. It also suggests coming with a unique gimmick for the final battle.

One issue is that, since Encroachment Rate and use of Tituses are things that increase over time and can't be recovered, you can't stat up a final boss without knowing in what state the characters will be in going into it. So you have to plan in advance how many fights your Scenario will have. In a bout of common sense, DX suggests one fight during the main phase of the game, and the climax battle, no more. This will make for the best combination between roleplaying scenes and combat scenes, which are more complex to resolve.

The next interesting bit of advice concerns Loises. The Scenario Lois, the one the players get from their individual Scenario handouts, should be something that draw their characters into the Scenario: a client, a victim, a heroine, a rival, etc. Something important that I don't think I've mentioned yet is that it's possible to acquire more Loises during the course of a Scenario, up to a maximum of 7. DX suggests that new Loises come at the end of the last scene before the climax. It will serve to remind the players of what's at stake, and can even be the very person they're rescuing or protecting.

Scenario writing

Some very cool advice here, mostly because it's concrete.

It says a lot about DX's Japanese shonen inspirations when the very first thing the book advises you to do when writing a Scenario is think who the final boss is, and what are their objectives. The book gives you a list of suggestions for what the motives of the final boss are.

Then, you come up with a "Heroine", which is the name DX gives to a MacGuffin. It's the thing that motivates the player characters to take part in the Scenario: it can be anything they really want, from a piece of information to an actual damsel in distress.

Then it gives some ideas for the Opening scenes. These are the first few scenes of the game and correspond to Tenra Bansho Zero's Act 0. Each PC should, ideally, get one scene here that details how their character gets dragged into the events of the Scenario.

Since every time a character enters a scene they get their ER increased by 1d10%, there is an ideal amount of scenes in a Double Cross game. Ideally, by the end, the characters should be close to going Gjaum, but still be able to be saved by their Loises. DX suggests seven or eight scenes in the middle phase of the game, before the climax. Three things should happen in the middle phase: the PCs should meet each other and somehow agree to work together; some information must be sought after though an investigative scene; and there should be a trigger event: the "no way back now" scene that sets off the events of the climax.

Then there's the climax, which should be the easy part – this is what the entire Scenario is leading up to and it's the big setpiece you had in mind when you first read about Double Cross (I know you had one).

DX leaves the Scenario writing section with a warning to GMs: things will go sour, the players will be unpredictable. Don't try to plan ahead too much, and go with the flow. GMs shouldn't be bound by scripts. Then it suggests that new GMs use the pre-made Scenarios that come with the book, which are totally bound by scripts. Gee, Double Cross, get a grip.

Then we get some advice on how to distribute experience points, and a section of frequently-asked-questions regarding some of the less obvious mechanical gameplay interactions. A great idea that more games should do, really.



Troubles and Judgment Calls

The meat of the GM chapter is this, advice on dealing with problems not related to the rules. Every tabletop RPG rulebook should have a section dedicated to this.

It talks a lot about communication itself: it's important to be interested in what others have to say, and really listen to them. Be empathic and deal reasonably with the player's requests. More importantly, the GM is only one person, while the players are many. DX just goes ahead and says it's not rude to put one person on hold while dealing with another person. I love it that a game finally had the guts to go ahead and say it. As a GM, you should stay cool and collected and deal with things one at a time, or else you'll just confuse yourself, and the game suffers for it.

The next part is one of the best written things in the entirety of Double Cross, and some loving golden advice for new GMs, and even old ones. It talks about the divide between the players and characters, and how that line can get blurred when players use their own knowledge to influence their character's actions. It's great, and I will not be good at giving a summary of it, but I will transcribe this:

quote:

To be clear, all games have a metagame element. As long as two human competitors partake in human-like communication, this factor will always exist.
Some nice, direct anti-grog.

Then there's some advice on what to do if players guess the development of the Scenario. DX says this a great thing. Wait, stick with me for a moment: if a player guesses exactly where the GM's scenario is going, that means the player understands the GM pretty well. That is great! It means communication is happening in all the right manners. Also, when a player guesses where a scenario is going, that is an indication that this is what the player expects! Use it to know exactly what your players expect from the game, and play with their expectations in whatever manner you choose. See? When someone figures out right from the start that the client is a double agent, that is reason to rejoice, not to brood that your intricate plot was unravelled.

Enemies

The GM chapter is where the game's "bestiary" is located. There's stats for a bunch of different enemies. They are:

Troop-type NPCs, the minion fodder of DX combat. We've got police officers, riot police, army soldiers, Tindalos members, generic Overed agents, UGN special forces members ("Strikehounds"), False Hearts special forces members ("Moon Dogs"), and fodder low-ranking Gjaums.

Then we have regular enemies, with various flavours: melee, ranged, and defensive. An Overed terrorist and a Kamishiro Group Agent get individual entries. There's also a melee and a ranged variety of Gjaum.

We've got more powerful enemies with more elaborate statblocks: a powerful Balor/Black Dog Gjaum; a Gjaum who was a Bram Stoker's Servant until it grew and swallowed its master, it is now a giant blob who lives in the sewers and sucks human blood; an Overed with leadership skills and powers, a commander-type; a False Hearts version of a mechanised soldier who is both a cyborg and can transform into a Chimera battle-form ; an elite soldier of Tempest; a prototype mechanical Overed hunter employed by the Strangers. These are all very powerful foes who can pack a mighty punch.

And then we have Enemy Powers, which are, you guessed it: powers that can only be taken by NPCs. They're incredible. The next Syndrome Dossier update will focus on them, because I love them.

And with that, we're done with the GM chapter.

Next up: City N and the pre-made Scenarios!

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011



Cynical-Pop Meikyuu Kingdom Dungeon Theater

Chapter 4.1.2: Tour of Data - Advanced Skills (Dungeoneering to Esoteric)

DUNGEONEERING

A bit of survival knowledge, a lot more direct manipulation of the world at large. Still can't believe this isn't considered one of the Great Magics. Whose idea was that, anyway? Jobs: Daedalist, Hunter, Adventurer, Thief

    Trapper - Whether by personal experience, book learning, or an innate sixth sense, you have a preternatural ability to find what's hidden.
    Treasure (Good Time) - Monsters always keep the best loot hidden away, just gotta know where to look for it.
    Dungeon Construction (Road Construction) - Knock down a wall and walk through it. Simple as that.
    Sneak Through - An easier trick to manage when you can sink yourself through the floor and literally walk right under the enemies' feet (or feet-equivalents).
    Containment (Wall) - Being able to pull chunks of the floor up and into peoples' way is handy, too.
    Acrobatics (Hit & Away) - Still, one mustn't underestimate the value of being really, really fast.
    Earth Rend (Dungeon Prominence) - Pulling up a bit more than a wall, now. Maybe pulling down some of the ceiling, too, for good measure.
    Hidden Form (Stealth) - Remove yourself from the battlefield by momentarily integrating with the Dungeon Kernel. While useful in emergencies, the long-term effects of directly exposing a human body to the Meikyunification process are still unknown, but nobody's betting much on them turning out to be pleasant.

NEGOTIATION

One-stop shopping for all your interpersonal and social combat talkyskill needs. Jobs: Noble, Eunuch, Executioner, Merchant, Barkeep, Thief

    Scout - Pick an enemy in Combat and offer them their own bunk. You have to pay up front before you even make the Check, so it's much less cost-efficient than using the Negotiation mechanic, but if you've got the cash to burn, this is probably one of the better fires to toss it in.
    Connections - Get more done during Camp through the magic of outsourcing!
    Abet (Propaganda) - The Japanese name, as far as I can tell, is never used outside of court documents, so its meaning is very specific. The effect text lets you spend <Drive> to recover lost <Vox Populi>. The flavor text tells us that failure can hurt a Landmaker's credibility, but agitating the populace can increase their support. The artwork shows a guy in a crown flipping some lady's skirt. I have absolutely no idea how all of this is meant to fit together conceptually.
    Beg For Your Life (Cry Pardon) - Hardly the most dignified tactic, but when it comes down to bowing your head or losing it...
    Prestige - Rep so hard they can't even look you in the eye.
    Right Arm (Loyalist) - Haven't got much to add to the card itself, but I think it's interesting that "right arm" (migi ude) has the same connotation in Japanese as "right hand" does in English. That's all. Moving on.
    Split - Spread dissension among the ranks, and the enemy might just beat itself up for you!
    Sexy - [Beauty] is a passive benefit to being attractive, thus a General Skill. This one's for actively using it to your advantage, which requires a bit more know-how (or so I'm guessing).

USEFUL

That is, making yourself useful. Y'see? Jobs: Eunuch, Guard, Barkeep, Worker

    Combination Attack - Greater than the sum of its parts.
    Awakening Kiss (Blessed Kiss) - Ah yes, the old "Prince Charming", a classic for the ages.
    Indomitable (Gung-ho) - Loyalty makes you strong! So take off your shoes, for industry!
    Aggravation - Throw an enemy off their game with a well-timed taunt.
    Blitz Tactics - Historically speaking, I think there's more to a blitzkrieg then just moving around really quick, but that's all you get here. Doesn't prevent a Surprise Attack, pretty sure, but it can keep the situation from getting any worse.
    Date - Being able to have a romantic moment alone in the middle of a dungeon sounds like it'd take quite a bit of skill, indeed.
    Chained Attack (Alignment Attack) - Okay, boys, Routine 27! (Works every time. )
    What One Likes Best, One Will Do Best (Love Affair) - Mouthful, ain't it? Well, that's the straight translation, I didn't want to take too long trying to figure out a way to shorten it. Leave that for the professionals. After all, that's what they like best, right? So it all works out!

ENTERTAINMENT

Showbiz! Jobs: Noble, Happymancer

    Carnival - I guess I could see how turning camp into a bacchanal would make everybody forget all about the room they just got done mapping out the other day, but what I don't get is why you'd want to do it.
    Martial Music - Piper Bill would be proud.
    Impromptu - Like [Aggravation], only more directly inspired and possibly less aggravating.
    Combat Dance - Boogie wonderlaaaAAAAA THAT WAS MY FAVORITE ARM
    Spell-Song (Galdr) - Sing 'em into a swamp.
    Spirit Sound (Sonumen) - I dunno how either of the names relate to using the letters in someone's name to kill them, but the idea's awesome enough that who cares.
    Narcissist (Narcissism) - You love you.
    Mind's Eye (True Sight) - Your training in the theater allows you to see through illusions, apparently.

ITEM

Get the most out of your gear. Jobs: Medic, Merchant, Cook, Thief

    Big Bag - Double your carrying capacity. Never a bad idea.
    Shopping - They shall call you the Bargainmaker.
    Mend (Patch-up) - See? Good as new.
    Present - Here ya go!
    Weapon Mastery - Just watch out for tired archaeologists with guns.
    Economy - Use less, have more.
    Full Power (Full Efforts) - Work smarter, not harder.
    Partner (Fetish) - What, you've never named your car, even? It's not that weird!

ESOTERIC

Practically superpowers, these are the most advanced of the Advanced Skills. In order to learn one, three requirements must be met: you must have an Advanced Job (or in the case of Servants, just one Advanced Job will do); you must know a certain number of Advanced Skills from the Group(s) specified for each Esoteric Skill; and your current Job must provide access to at least one of the specified Groups.

    Sound-Cutting Sword (Sonic Blade), 1+ Melee - An attack so fast your sword actually slices through the sound barrier.
    Kill Zone, 1+ Ranged - Interrupt an enemy's movement by blasting the hell out of them.
    Overpowering Chant (Cry Chant), 2+ Astrology/Summoning/Science - Eliminate the middleman of spellcasting and buffet foes with syllables of raw magic.
    Beast Memory, 1+ Dungeoneering - You now know so much about monsters that you can become one whenever it's convenient.
    Alas, Cruel World (Les Miserables), 1+ Negotiation/Entertainment - When you sing, all the world stops to listen.
    Life is Sweet (Dolce Vita), 1+ Useful/Item - "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."

Yeah, it's not the weekend anymore and this is only one post. What can I say, I'm unreliable. Next time: loots!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


You've really got to appreciate that Double Cross really makes sure to remind people that this is a game where a bunch of people are trying to have a good time, and that meta is going to happen and you just need to handle it. I wish more games would be upfront about that part of gaming, because while it usually isn't an issue with a long-established group of close friends, rulebooks are generally written with the hope of introducing new people to the hobby and advice like that would've been loving golden for me when I was first starting to GM games.

SKBasis
Oct 27, 2007

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a hamster balancing Kirby on a parasol -- forever.

College Slice

Bitchtits McGee posted:

Mind's Eye (True Sight) - Your training in the theater allows you to see through illusions, apparently.

Not that mysterious, given Harry Houdini, James Randi, and the Mythbusters (two magicians-turned-debunkers and a pair of special-effects artists putting rumors to the test).

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013


Going alphabetically, Elves are first. So let's go with that.

Alright, with the disturbances in the Mirkwood as of late, the Elves have become even more reclusive than they were already, preferring to stay in their underground communities if not on patrol. With that in mind, Elven adventurers are a rare sort, and they don't leave their communities without a clear reason or motive to do so(thus, the Wanderer calling is rare and strange among the Elves). If some do leave, though, they either leave to fight against the Shadow instead of merely defending their own against it (Wardens), or to gather knowledge about the world and the Shadow that threatens it (Scholars).

Callings are, in this game, roughly equivalent to classes in D&D. Except they describe the character's reason they adventure and what they seek, not their profession. Each culture has two common callings, which are seen as reasonable within the group as a legitimate reason to become an adventurer, and one which is seen as a not so common reason. However, players are allowed to choose their calling as they see fit. Before we get to that, though, we have to discuss cultural blessings, starting skills, and backgrounds.

Cultural blessings are bonuses that cultures get that are unique to that culture. The Elves' blessing is "Folk of the Dusk", which means when they are in the forest, or underground, or it's night, Elves use their favored ability scores. For example, this means when they spend Hope to gain a stat bonus to a roll, they use the higher stat regardless if the skill is favored or not. Or if there's combat, the Elf uses his favored Wits score for determining his base Parry (this will be explained later).

Also, each culture has a group of skills they automatically have ranks and favored status in. "Alright, what do you mean by "favored"?" you're probably asking. It's actually kind of important, but when you are creating a character you underline skills that are favored, and these skills use your favored stat score when you spend Hope to get a stat bonus. In TOR, skill rolls do not automatically gain a stat bonus, unlike other games. With that in mind, Elves' starting skills are Awe 2, Athletics 3, Stealth 2, Awareness 2, Healing 1, Hunting 1, Song 2, Battle 2, Lore 3. They also choose from two weapon skill combinations: (Spears) 2, Sword 1, Dagger 1 or Bow 2, Sword 1, Dagger 1. The skill in parentheses is a "cultural weapon group", which means that it covers all spear weapons. Essentially, you have to choose between being sort of skilled with a larger group of weapons, or much more skilled in a single type of weapon (The skill says "Bow", so it only applies to the weapon "Bow", not any type of bow).
You then choose two traits, called Specialties.

Then, there are backgrounds. These help further develop your character by giving it stats, another favored skill and two more Traits, called Distinctive Features. Traits are very important in TOR, because they're the way characters gain Advancement Points. They also allow you to get an Automatic Action, or an Unseen Action. Automatic actions are fairly self-explanatory; it allows the character to automatically succeed at a skill check, given the Loremaster consents to it. Unseen action is a little more complex, because it means the player can essentially call BS at something the Loremaster is doing. To provide an example, lets say the Loremaster is trying to ambush the players. He says that "Oh hey look, orcs leap from the brush at the side of the road and the party is surprised ", but a player says that he has the trait "Wary" or "Quick of Hearing", so he would have the ability to detect them or not. The Loremaster agrees, and allows that player an Awareness check to see if he does notice the rustling in the bushes.

With that out of the way, we can get into chargen proper.

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013



First, a name: Nimrodel

Her Specialties: Since I'm working towards a Warden, let's make her good at surviving in the wilds of Mirkwood. So, Mirkwood-lore and Fire-making.

For her weapons skills, I think that the (Spears) 2, Swords 1, Dagger 1 group would be the best for a person who is trained to be a guardian of those who travel through Mirkwood.
Background: Wild at Heart. Not content with the strict military lifestyle that the elves have imposed upon themselves, she yearns for the days when their ancestors would run through the groves of Gildergreen the Great with the beasts of the wild. This background gives Nimrodel Body 4, Heart 3, Wits 7, meaning she's fairly average in strength and toughness, but of exceptional intuition. This background also makes Athletics a favored skill, and 2 Distinctive Features. For those two, let's go with Keen-Eyed and Nimble.

Now, her calling: Warden.

Callings give you a trait that is pertinent to the calling's purpose, Wardens get Shadow-Lore, Treasure Hunters get Burglary, and so on. You also get two favored skill groups, and you can choose two skills from those two groups to favor. But most importantly, you get a "Shadow-Weakness", which is a personality fault that the Shadow can slowly corrupt within you. Whenever you sink into despair and, eventually, madness, you slowly accumulate permanent Shadow points and faults like "Brutal", "Grasping" or "Uncaring". Each Shadow-Weakness has its own group of faults, which culminate in the player giving in totally to madness, unless they're an elf, in which case they leave for Valinor. Wardens, as they give into their "Lure of Power", they become increasingly hateful of the people they have sworn to protect, eventually becoming tyrannical in their methods.

Since Wardens have Personality and Survival as favored skill groups, let's choose Healing and Inspire to be our last two Favored skills.
Now, we create our favored stats. To do this, we add 3 to one stat, 2 to another and 1 to the last one. So, let's add the 3 to our Heart, bringing it up to 6, 2 to our Body, brigning that to 7, and 1 to Wits, bringing that to 7. After that, we get to allocate 10 points to our skills, both our Common Skills and our Weapon Skills, if we so wish. What's important to note, is that when you buy a skill, you add all the points together from your starting rank (0, if no ranks) to your desired level. So, it takes 1 point to go to one rank, 2 to rank two, 3 to rank three, etc, so to get to rank three in a skill, you pay 6 points (1+2+3). Weapon skills are the same, but they cost more. So, I'll spend 6 points to bring Inspire up to rank three, and 2 points to bring Heal up to rank two (it's already at rank 1, so we don't have to pay for that), and spend the last 2 points on raising Travel and Persuade to rank 1.

Alright, now we calculate Endurance and Hope, then we select our starting gear and calculate fatigue. Elves have a base Endurance of 22 and Heart of 8, and you add your base Heart stat to each. So, she has a total Endurance of 26 and Heart of 12. In TOR, if you have the prerequisite weapons skill, you start with a weapon that uses that skill for free. You also have one free suit of armor, and either a helmet or a shield. Helmets make it harder to be wounded in battle, and shields increase your Parry rating. So, I'll choose great spear, short sword, dagger, a mail shirt and a cap of iron and leather. You add the equipment's encumbrance together and mark it on the character sheet. In Nimrodel's case, that's 19 Fatigue.

And for the final step, we decide which of either Wisdom or Valor we prioritize. Increasing your character's Wisdom or Valor is the closest this game has to "leveling up", and every time you increase either stat, you get a Virtue or a Reward, respectively. Higher wisdom means your character prides her wits, knowledge and experience, while higher Valor means your character sees more value in bravery, tenacity and grit. They're also used to determine how resistant your character is to fear and the corruption of the Shadow. Essentially, virtues are like feats, they give your character a special ability or bonus to something. There are 6 virtues that are independent of culture, and each culture has 6 of their own virtues. Rewards are kind of like magic items, and like virtues, there are two types: general ones, called qualities, and ones based on individual cultures.

Being a warden, I think that Valor would be a good thing for more martial calling, and for her Reward, I'll choose the Cunning Make quality for her mail Shirt, which makes it lighter by 2 points of encumbrance, lowering her Fatigue to 17.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012



Part 3: Onward, to Adventure!


Environments
Being fantasy North America, Northern Crown has a high variety of habitats in spite of only being the eastern half of a continent. From bogs and hardwood forests to barren mountains and icy tundras, each entry of chapter three provides both a brief “in case you never learned about habitats” description as well as a random encounter table. Farmlands and urban areas have, unsurprisingly, the least diverse random encounters outside o human NPCs as well as those that have the lowest Challenge Ratings. On the other end, the highest contrast would have to go to the Great Lakes – in addition to various fish and game, you have the chance for encounters with giant water elementals, lake monsters, and even immense CR 20 gently caress-off giants.




Nations of Northern Crown
If you were more curious as to how the nations of Northern Crown are beyond the playable character cultures from way back when this review started, you’re finally going to get a look at them.


Carolingia: Nestled up in what we know as the Carolinas, the kingdom of Carolingia is known for its wealth and opulence. Fine quality guns (haha), rum, tobacco plantations, orderly towns with affluent citizens, and a king who loves going to the theater and dabbling in natural philosophy while his capable aides power the throne. Of course, not all that glitters is gold – Carolingia is built on the backs of Nyamban slaves and Keltic indentured servants who have begun to rebel and engage in guerrilla warfare if they can escape, its future kingship is in question since Charles II has no rightful heir and his brother James is seen by the Carolingians as a dirty Papist not worthy of the crown of an Anglican nation, the only First Ones the nation has not screwed up relations with have been the Cherokee, and attempts to take over Nueva Espania to the south have been fruitless in spite of the tons of privateers Charles has hired.


The Holy Commonwealth: The Holy Commonwealth has grown around its capital of Boston and has made a name for itself as a naval power in the region. It also happens to have no actual allies due to its theocratic governance where Cotton Mather of all people is one of the biggest of bigwigs, since Albians, Francais, Kelts, Nederlanders, and various First Ones nations all get dropped into the "sinful and untrustworthy" bucket while the Witchlings are actively tracked and killed by special witch-hunting militias that are always at the ready. There's also a fear of were-beasts, as Commonwealther privateers who attacked Vinland in retribution for Vinlanders sacking Boston in 1650 happened to return from that northern land with a lot of lycanthropy victims.


Five Nations: The Five Nations are a confederacy of five First Ones nations. The Cayuga, Mohawk, Onandaga, Oneida, and Seneca, as well as the recently added sixth member in the Tuscarora, are a major power that has both diplomatic and military clout. Garacontie of the Onondaga, the most powerful member of the Five Nations, is a shrewd man who has been playing the big chess game with the Uropan colonists, gaining valuable trade and advisers while simultaneously stroking the egos of each colonial nation about their hatred of whatever other ones they may hate. There are two conflicting groups within the Five Nations, however, which has started to cause tensions. The separatists are a group that want the Five Nations to stop expansion and drive the Uropan nations from Northern Crown soil, while the expansionists wish to swallow up other First Ones nations against their will if they don't wish to join the Five Nations in order to create a wide-spanning continental empire. Expansionism has already caused the Huron and Suskehana nations to go to war with them, and the Woodland Confederacy to the south is becoming increasingly wary.


Naumkeag: The city-state of Naumkeag, the Witches' City, is basically the shadowed reflection of the neighboring Holy Commonwealth. They came over in search of freedom for their own religion just like the Commonwealthers did, rely on the sea for much of their livelihood as the Commonwealth does, and hates the Commonwealth just as much as the Commonwealth hates them. They can’t really expand but aren’t going to contract either, given that Commonwealther attacks against the city itself are prevented by the fact that the governing coven can create huge walls from the very earth and control the weather on a whim. There are some Witchlings of Naumkeag that don’t feel defense is enough, though and plan to drive the Holy Commonwealth into the sea by gaining the aid of the Pawtucket First Ones nation’s sorcerer-king and wearing down the Commonwealthers’ spirit by engaging in terrorist attacks using summoned demons.


New Sweden: New Sweden is a colonial nation at the mouth of the Delaware River, ruled by Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus’s daughter Cristina. The colony is made up of a handful of Swedes who desired to move to a new land and adopted Francais and German refugees from the Uropan wars of religion. Sound like it’s not a big deal? It isn’t, except for in the eyes of the Nederlanders, who want the Delaware River for their trading empire.


Nieu Nederlands: Speaking of the Nederlanders, their colonial nation in the new world is Nieu Nederlands, stretching along the Hudson River. It is a colony entirely made for the purpose of profit rather than expansionism, specifically placed to cut off the southward spread of the Francais fur trade and put those pelts in the wallets of the Nederlanders. The weirdest facet of Nieu Nederlands is its leader, Pieter Stuyvesant – rather than being religiously intolerant as he was in real life (indeed, the capital of Nieu Amsterdam is said to be “filled with the languages of many lands and the prayers of many faiths, all enjoying relative freedom in a majority Dissenter population”), Northern Crown’s Stuyvesant’s flaw is instead being seen as a warmongering buffoon by his subjects due to his desires to expand Nieu Nederlands beyond its current borders. The only successful campaign he’s managed to muster up is an attempt to take New Sweden, but otherwise the only military actions on the Northern Crown continent are those that may happen in the future. Carolingia and the Holy Commonwealth both want to annex Nieu Nederlands, the Espaniards want to wipe it off the map entirely, and the Sophians are trying to convince Stuyvesant to cut ties with the Nederlands proper and join the Republic of Sophia.


Nouvelle France: The nation of Nouvelle France spans the length of the St. Lawrence River Riviere du Canada all the way to Great Lakes, its largest cities being the fortress of Quebec and trading hub of Mont Real. Its history is one written by founder Samuel de Champlain, who in the Northern Crown setting was a badass adventurer who singlehandedly fought off wendigo armies, lake monsters, and a legendary uber-giant, all in order to found the new colony for his homeland. Nouvelle France is now a powerhouse in Northern Crown, both economically and militarily, and the nations to the south are all rather nervous at the fact that its huge standing army is eying up the entire length of the Espiritu Santo River. Colonists have already settled at its mouth to create the city of Nouvelle Orleans, but in between it and Nouvelle France lies the Woodland Confederacy, who aren’t about to cede their land without a fight.


Nueva Espania: The Carib Sea islands, the colony of La Florida, and several small colonies in Southern Cross are the domain of the nation of Nueva Espania. Its armies have stomped smaller native nations into the dirt and its prisoners toil to bring forth silver and gold from the earth, while missionaries from the Catholic Church use its lands as a stepping stone to proselytize further west. While the empire backing the nation is strong, at this point things are getting a bit rough for the colonies, to say the least. Francais from Nouvelle Orleans sabotage attempts at westward expansion in La Florida, the mighty Aztec and Inca empires in Southern Cross still fight the Espaniard army to a standstill that costs the military more and more each year, pirates and privateers from all over the Atlantic and Carib target its precious shipping lanes, and attacks from the undersea kingdom of the sea devils have become more and more frequent.


Republic of Sophia: The Republic of Sophia is an independent nation formed by Chiron Franklyn and Philathelias Jeferson in what was the Virginia colony in our colonial world. All of the wealth and opulence of Carolingia, but with a democratic republic government, no slaves, friendship with undisplaced local First Ones nations, some of the brightest natural philosophers and wizards in the world, and limitations on expansionism (any Sophian offshoots are stated to be “rogue nations”). Their only rivals are those who hate their freedom (Carolingia) or who mistake the actions of rogue Sophians for the Sophian majority (Nouvelle France and the Woodland Confederacy). You should be proud to be American Sophian.


Vandalia: This is technically cheating a bit, as Vandalia is only briefly mentioned in the Northern Crown Gazetteer in the above section on Sophia. The actual nation write-up for Vandalia appeared in an issue of Game Trade Magazine, but I’m not about to review a whole unrelated magazine just for a minor supplement to this, so I’ll just plop it down where it probably should have been in the first place. Vandalia is a rogue nation, established by Jeferson's former secretary Aaron Asaph Burr somewhere on the western side of the Mountains of Smoke. Burr's kind of crazy and established an autocratic nation of evil natural philosophers, terrorist, and spies because he wants to have an inland empire really, really badly. His greatest tools are the Vandalian Confidential Service, spies who must have a psionic knack in order to join the service.


Vermont: Snuggled closely to the eastern coast of Lac Champlain, Vermont is a nation founded by a Sophian defector by the name of Ira Cole, who thought that Sophia wasn’t Sophian enough because it still had even tenuous ties to Uropa. So Cole took his group of what the book calls “militant Deists” (hate all forms of organized religion other than their own, which posits that peaceful contemplation on the rational forces of the universe is the only pathway to finding the nature of God) headed north, plopped down on the shores of Lac Champlain, and told the local Coureurs “hey, you’re technically part of Vermont now and get protection from your foes, but you can stay and keep doing what you’re doing”. Cole has only one big plan for expansion, and that’s to take Mont Real in order to cut off one of Nouvelle France’s valuable fur trade assets and cause enough dissent for Francais freethinkers to start a laborers’ rebellion. If you couldn’t guess, Cole doesn’t like Nouvelle France at all.


Vinland: There’s not really much to say about Vinland that wouldn’t be repeating statements about the Vinlanders. It’s ruled by a jarl, there are great halls with chieftains who lead thanes, lots of sea raids of other nations along the Atlantic coast of Northern Crown happen, and...that’s about it, really.


Woodland Confederacy: A gathering of First Ones interior nations such as the Choctaw, Kikapo, Miami, Ojibwa, and Shawnee, the Woodland Confederacy initially began as a united front against the Francais and Five Nations heading further south than they already had but grew into a general confederacy whose uniting cause was “Uropans, ”. Things are starting to get out of hand, however, as a small group of extremists has risen up that actively track down and kill Confederacy members who adopt Uropan ways of life in spite of the Confederacy’s leader Tecumpease trying to quell them. Many of the member nations are also starting to wonder if the Cherokee were had the right idea in not joining the Confederacy, given that it seems like the Shawnee are hoarding an inordinate amount of political power compared to everyone else.



Uropan Nations
The second portion of the chapter on nations deals with the actual nations of Uropa, rather than any of their colonies. These tend to be given more in the context of their leaders than their lands. Why is this? I'm not sure, maybe because they were assumedly close enough to the real world history of the nations in question to do so.


Albion: As stated in the entry on the Albian themselves, Albion is ruled by Gloriana, daughter of Queen Elizabeth and the fairy king Oberon. This is a two-edged sword for the nation – on the one hand, it allows for trade with the fey realm (which the Albians refer to as Elfland) and the mysterious mirage-coated Blessed Isles of the Atlantic. On the other, there are more than a few nations that see fey and demons as two sides of the same coin, and accuse Gloriana of having infernal pacts. Gloriana’s main goal is to get on the good side of the Kelts, who were spurned by her mother, and troll King Felipe II of Espania as much as possible by screwing with his fleets.


Denmark: Denmark's heavily fortified coastal cities along the Baltic Straits allow them to extoll a fairly heavy charge for Uropan ships trying to pass through. Sweden would really like to own those straits, but so far no luck on cracking the cities' defenses.


Eire: One of the two lands of the Kelts, Eire is the one that is more receptive to (but still wary of) Albion at the time. It's most known for its fairy-touched people and its refusal to leave ancient pagan religions behind.


France: One of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, rivaled only by the Republic of Sophia, France’s freethinkers and natural philosophers have given it prosperity and power. King Louis XIV, like Queen Gloriana, has a pretty big disdain of King Felipe II and likes to drive plenty of rusty nails into his holdings. Some of Louis’s machinations against Felipe include prodding Cimarron revolts in the Carib Sea, giving discreet aid to the Ottoman Empire, and instructing his subjects in Nouvelle France and Nouvelle Orleans to join with each other along the Espiritu Santo River to create the nation of Louisiana, which would fully block the Espaniards from making any westward progress.


Habsburg Empire: The Habsburg Empire is made up of Austria, Espania, and Germania and is currently under the rule of King Felipe II. Felipe is about as stubborn as they come, deciding that a century of rule isn’t enough, and spends vast amounts of money to hire expert alchemists to keep him alive so that he can continue to further his imperial causes. Felipe isn’t really broken up over how much his empire has crumbled in Northern Crown and Southern Cross, instead focusing his hatred on the Uropan “infidels” in the Ottoman Empire and Albion.


Malta: The island of Malta is run by the Knights of Malta, formerly known as the Knights Hospitaller. They basically spend their time harassing Turkish shipping lanes. They also deal with the corsairs of northern Nyambe, which is a topic we'll probably eventually cover given that it is referred to as the third in the Northern Crown "trilogy" in some advertising material.


Ottoman Empire: Speaking of the Ottoman Empire, here they are. Sultan Mehmed IV wants to further expand his empire into the Habsburg Empire, Poland, and Venice, but hasn’t had an luck so far. Still, having a sprawling empire that’s doing pretty well for itself isn’t so bad, even if your only friend happens to be some Francais guy who only wants to do back door deals with you to screw over the Espaniards.


Poland: Poland is a strong nation in eastern Uropa that is best known for its hussars that wear distinctive wing ornaments. The winged hussars have helped push back the Ottoman Empire and the city-states to the northeast, and the nation is on at least good terms with the Habsburg Empire.


Portugal: Portugal’s wide-spanning trade empire is one of the only ones that travels into the lands to the east, which has earned it the enmity of the Nederlanders and the Espaniards, the latter of which have only left Portugal alone due to centuries-old accords.


Scotia: Unlike Eire, Scotia is still very much antagonistic toward Albion, and has the strength to remain independent. Its highlanders and spellcasters are lead by Kieran Scot, an immortal witch with plenty of power.


Sweden: Gustavus Adolphus, a seemingly immortal warrior who miraculously recovered from almost certainly fatal injuries on the battlefield (which did, in fact, kill him in real life), is the leader of the Dissenter nation of Sweden. His primary obsession is with spreading the dissenter faith and taking Germania from the Habsburg Empire, and doesn't really care much about the colony of New Sweden. To Gustavus, that minor Northern Crown holding is basically a sandbox for his daughter to learn how to be a ruler, though I imagine the citizens of New Sweden living in fear of the Nieu Nederlands war force might think otherwise.


Teutonia: Apparently feeling the Knights Hospitaller had the right idea, the Teutonic Knights of Germania also founded their own small nation that straddles the sea near the borders of Poland and Lithuania. They hate pagans and wage war against Lithuania in the name of God, though more than a few Uropan powers think they're just hungry for power and using religion as a convenient excuse.


Venice: With bases dotting the Adriatic and Mediterranean Middle Seas, the Republic of Venice is a a powerful trading nation in Uropa and the near east. The Habsburg Empire has encouraged piracy against the Venetians to weaken them and take their trade routes for Felipe, but so far the Venetians still cling to life, their war fleets fending off pirates in the west and Turks eying Crete in the east.


Powers of the Far East
The last section of the chapter on nations discusses mysterious Asia. Little is known about these lands for the people of Northern Crown or the readers, as Asia in the alt-history setting never got a book like Northern Crown and Nyambe did. Still, what we do know is given right here, so let's run it down.


Cathay: The Portuguese currently have a trade monopoly on the silks and fineries of Cathay, a land in turmoil due to the emperors of the Ming dynasty breaking against each other in spite of the foreign threat of pirates from Japan Xipangu.


Moghul Empire: The rulers of the subcontinent of India, the Moghuls are wealthy and powerful. This, of course, has attracted attention from the various Uropan powers. The Portuguese have already made inroads as they tend to when it comes to Asia, and Albion is not far behind with its establishment of the Albian East Indi Company. Denmark, France, and the Nederlands are currently in hot pursuit of that same sweet treasure line.


Muscovy and Novgorod: The extent of Russia at the current time in the setting, though settlers are starting to pour eastward into the seemingly endless steppe and forest. Albion holds the trading monopoly with Muscovy and face the treacherous waters of the icy north to gain rare furs and timber.


Xipangu: The mysterious and isolationist island nation of Xipangu is the toughest nut for the Uropans to crack. Even the Portuguese only have limited trading rights and the emperor of Xipangu refuses to give them a contract insuring exclusive monopoly. Xipangu also happens to have pirates that, as mentioned before, harass the eastern seaboard of Cathay.



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Next time: the gazetteer chapter of the Northern Crown Gazetteer. I had planned to have it along with this post, but I had forgotten how long it actually was, so it’s going to be placed on its own.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 19:29 on Dec 14, 2013

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013




Chapter 7: Equipment

Last chapter of character creation! This is a short one. Numenera aren't covered here; they're stuck into their own section. What's covered here is all of the mundane stuff.

First up is Currency!

quote:

Thanks to the mining and metallurgy of the prior worlds, and their ability to create anything they wished (or so it seems, anyway), no metal is rarer than any other. People in the Ninth World have no concept of gold, silver, gemstones, or even diamonds as being valuable due to their scarcity. Such materials are valuable based on their beauty or usefulness alone. Most civilized societies use generic coins commonly referred to as shins. Shins are usually metal but can be made of glass, plastic, or substances that have no name. Some are jagged bits of interesting material or small, coinlike objects (such as highly decorative buttons from a machine), and others are properly minted and stamped, with writing and images. No minted coin in existence today comes from a prior world—no coins survive from the ancient races, if indeed they used such currency at all... Because shins are from the Ninth World, they rarely turn up in old locations. Occasionally, explorers of ancient or forgotten sites find a smattering of items—buttons or doodads—that can be salvaged as shins.

The paragraph that wasn't dumb was omitted. So, yeah, the Ninth World runs on Fallouts bottlecap economy, but not tongue-in-cheek. Point, laugh, move on.

Also, having a single unit of currency is pretty dumb when a meal, a knife, and glass of wine all cost 1 shin, but that's much more forgivable for the sake of not being a pain in the rear end.



Next is Materials! Numenera has a bunch of special materials, you will not care about any of them. The opening paragraph has a few gems, though.

quote:

Most objects built in the Ninth World are made of wood, leather, cloth, stone, glass, or metal. Smithies and forges can produce high-quality steel objects, but they generally work in iron or bronze.



If you can produce steel, why the gently caress would you be making bronze? Just for shits and giggles? Remember, on this exact same page, we were told that "no metal is rarer than any other".

quote:

Unlike gold or gemstones, some of these materials are indeed recognized as being rare, but none are valuable for their rarity alone. Ninth Worlders are too practical for that.

Smugly misunderstanding economics, alright.

The actual special materials are adamant silk (stronger silk), azure steel (stronger steel, also blue), molded foam (styrofoam), organic stone (stone, but grown), pliable metal (bendy metal), shapestone (stone-like ceramic), stronglass (stronger glass), synth (plastics, and I'm quoting here), and synthsteel (stronger plastic). Like I said, boring.

It then notes that shopkeeps might charge more for exotic materials if they directly improve the functioning of the item, but they normally don't cost any more. This directly contradicts the point right in the same section about some of these materials being rarer, but whatever.

Encumbrance

Numenera doesn't have an encumbrance system! If the GM decides that a character is carrying too much, it suggests two options. If they're lifting something over a short distance, make them roll Might, and if it's over a longer distance, assign Might and Speed penalties. Fairly sensible, really.

Equipment Lists and Prices

quote:

Equipment in the Ninth World is often much like that found in an ancient or medieval societies but can be far more advanced. For example, a simple tent or bedroll might be constructed of synthetic fiber that makes it entirely water-resistant as well as far lighter and warmer than cloth. A chainmail hauberk could be made in whole or in part from glassy links that are harder and lighter than steel.

numenera.txt

Monte Cook conceives a setting, far flung in the future, where ages of countless miracles have passed. Where people live among the bones of dead civilizations, seeking to grasp a tiny fraction of the power they grasped. Where the world is vast and dark and mysterious and wondrous, and you can only hope to shine a light in the darkness so that a better world can be made.

He then throws that poo poo in the garbage and makes D&D: 1,000,000 AD edition, but holy poo poo did you see that chainmail, it's made out of plastic!

Armor! I've already bitched about armor, so to recap, it's an hourly drain on your Might and gives you a permanent Speed penalty while you have it on. The penalties are fairly small, but I hate keeping track of these things and the only reason for it is ~realism~ which gets my goat. Comes in light, medium, and heavy varieties, which provide 1, 2, and 3 points of Armor, respectively. Light and medium also get "special" varieties, which add 1 to their Armor values but are much more expensive.

You may be wondering, at this point, how exactly pricing fits into this fairly simple scheme.



Some things cost less, some things cost more, it all does the same thing, and the weapon and armor lists boil down to a fat load of nothing. That's how.

Next we hit weapons. Light, medium, and heavy, dealing 2, 4, and 6 points of damage, if you don't remember. Crossbows, longswords, polearms, yada yada yada. The list takes up most of a page and you could probably write 90% of it on a blind guess. There are a few unique weapons, though they all suck. Let's pick an example out of the hat and go with the verred!

quote:

Verred: This weapon resembles a sword with two forked blades. It is short and useful in defense as well as offense.

A) I have no idea how to visualize this. There's not a picture, obviously.
B) It does 4 damage, because it is a medium weapon, and that's it.

If your weapon system is granular and supports lots of options, you should have lots of weapons. If your weapon system is so simple I can explain it in a dozen words, you should not have lots of weapons. Duh.



After weapons, we hit the big-rear end miscellaneous section, some of which is actually kind of interesting! It's divided into two sections, other and special. Special equipment are things that mostly aren't made in the present day, but are common enough that they don't count as numenera. I'm guessing, by the way, the line between what's weird normal equipment and what's an actual piece of numenera is never spelled out. I'm not going to recount the backpacks, matchsticks, and compasses (twice in different sections, for some reason). Stuff of note:

Explorer's Pack: Not actually interesting, but everyone gets one, so I feel I should mention it. Contains rope, rations, clothes, torches, and a couple of other adventurery things.

Floatstone: Antigravity rock! It has a virtual "negative" weight of ten pounds. Stick it to anything lighter and it'll float away.

...

Wait, how the gently caress do you get ahold of a piece of this, then?

Memory Ants: Probably the coolest thing I've seen in Numenera so far, which is a little sad. It's a jar of ants that when released, run over a page of text, and then return to the jar. After that, give them some ink, and they'll recreate the page before dying. Weird, interesting, and useful.

Shaper Key: A wad of putty that when stuck in a lock will take on the shape of that locks key.

Uh. That's it. Okay, actually less interesting than I remembered. Oh well, with that, we are done with character creation!

Next Time: Rules! Oh boy.

Tulul fucked around with this message at 00:01 on Dec 11, 2013

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer


This seriously screams He-Man to me. So... D&D: One Million AD, yeah.

ibntumart
Mar 18, 2007

Good, bad. I'm the one with the power of Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen.


College Slice

Tulul posted:

There are a few unique weapons, though they all suck. Let's pick an example out of the hat and go with the verred!

A) I have no idea how to visualize this. There's not a picture, obviously.

I'm pretty sure Cook is thinking of Zulfikar (also more accurately transliterated as Dhu 'l-Fiqar), a sword famous in Islamic tradition as belonging to 'Ali. The name means "bifurcated" and is usually depicted as a sword that starts as one blade and winds up with two blades (often curved outward) at the end.

GimmickMan
Dec 27, 2011



Memory Ants are so neat that they feel really out of place in D&D 1,000,000 AD edition.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



I think the worst whiplash I've gotten is any page with Double Cross and Numenara on it. Its really hard to go from "everything in here sounds cool and has passion and is modern even if the math is a little more complex than I like" to "D&D but the chainmail is plastic and Wizards are ever more supreme"

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




By the way, I haven't abandoned Everlasting, it's just that the next chapter is bigger than the last two put together.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


TK-31 posted:

Memory Ants are so neat that they feel really out of place in D&D 1,000,000 AD edition.

They're the kind of far future technology that Numenera should be 99% about, rather than 1%.

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Barudak
May 7, 2007



Lemon Curdistan posted:

They're the kind of far future technology that Numenera should be 99% about, rather than 1%.

Yeah I think thats the big problem. When your game setting goes up against Thundarr the Barbarian and comes up wanting you've really done goofed.

Then again Thundarr has an episode where the ape people of are using left over animitronic King Kong parts and dark magic to build their God a mortal body so they can conquer what is presently the San Fernando Valley.

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