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hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011
Just the monster here - Snuffles the God of Fortune and Happenstance appears to most passers by as an adorable puppy. To Kids and their Monsters, he looks much like the chimera of myth; it has three heads; one a serpent, one a lion and one a goat, has the body and legs of a wolf about three times larger than any wolf has any business being, and the tail of a scorpion, dripping venom. How does it speak, you might wonder? Easy; its goat head is telepathic.

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Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020
Adirel



Hides: Adirel is invisible except to those mortals he wishes to show himself to.
Favorite Thing: Smiting evildoers
Personality: Doctrinaire and unsubtle. Tends to speak in mangled KJV phrases (think Sam Jackson's Biblical "quote" in Pulp Fiction).
Abilities:
Flies with wings
Fights with sword
Protects with shield
Frightens with gaze/voice

Pththya-lyi fucked around with this message at 18:41 on Apr 21, 2013

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
Ooh, I've got one from a game I played in TG a while back! His 'Kid' was a pretty-much grown up urban fairy princess, so I don't think she really counts, so I'll leave him Kidless.

Mister Bubkes looks like a big, humped up pile of clothes, with pant cuffs for eyes and a white gym sock for a nose. It's bent at the heel, which makes it look like he got in a fight, but Mister Bubkes doesn't much like to fight. He likes to hide in plain sight, under the bed, which is where he gets his name from. ("Honey, there's bubkes under your bed!") He's a wise, weary-sounding old monster, with a voice like an elderly TV jewish gentleman, who loves eating dust bunnies (his Kid's room is spotless!) and trying to cheer his Kid up when they're upset or worried. They might go back to wetting the bed if they get too bad, and he can't fit an umbrella under there.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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

homeless poster posted:

No, there's only WIS/INT/CON powers, although it would kind-of maybe make more thematic sense (in a Gygaxian naturalism kind of way) to take the 3.X approach of mapping each discipline to a core stat. In practice, it would make them vastly inferior to clerics / mages who only need to pump their core stat to lay waste to every challenge in their path, while a Psionicist potentially has to roll straight 18s to approach usefulness.

To be clear, a psionicist is still heads and tails above a non-caster. It's just not the narrative dominating superman that clerics or mages get to be, which basically makes it the most balanced caster I guess.

2nd edition really had a lot less "caster supremacy" stuff, though, simply because it was so much easier to interrupt a caster by beating him over the head, and if you had a dagger or shortsword, you were pretty much likely to beat a caster in initiative every single round(initiative getting rerolled every round, and all that), plus fighters tended to have slammin' saving throws(again, just a roll-over, mages of higher levels did not make it more complicated for anyone to resist their spells unless you used some optional Player's Option rules), poo poo-tons of HP, rogues only had to beat their own chance of success when trying to hide and sneak up on a mage, the mage didn't get an opposed "spotting" roll to notice them(which would increase with his level), etc...

Clerics and mages are nowhere near "narrative-dominating supermen," frankly whenever I've run a 2nd edition game, even giving Mages a buff to be more useful at low levels(1 magic missile a day just isn't any fun), fighters have pretty much always been the ones doing most of the kicking rear end and taking names.

Psionics really never get overpowered in any sense, and often end up pretty weak, because unlike, say, Clerics, they never get to be much good at physical fighting to supplement their powers, but unlike mages and clerics, their powers can just outright fail(at best, with a 15 in the relevant stat, you have a 75% chance or so not to just blow your PSP's on doing nothing, since we're doing roll-under checks and I seem to recall few powers that improve your odds better than a raw roll, and a lot with penalties), or backfire(on a natural 20, you risk, for instance, disintegrating yourself). They actually got a slightly better treatment with the MAC/MThac0 system that I forget whether originated in Dark Sun or Skills & Powers. While I seem to recall you can get their version of Disintegrate either at first or within a few levels of it, keep in mind it eats up enough PSP's that it's the only thing you'll do all day, it can fail and it can downright backfire. A fighter's sword is unlikely to cut off his own head unless the GM is a jackass and gave him a cursed one.

RE, the Forgotten Realms review: All I have to say is that canonically Elminster has a magical space station and hangs out with Ed Greenwood on Earth. I think anything beyond that kind of pales in comparison.

On "Races of the Tatakama," I kind of think that the Amakaze are kind of cool. Not exactly STAGGERING SOCIAL COMMENTARY, but it's an interesting thought or idea that could maybe be really interesting with a bit of redesign. But then again, that's kind of par for the course with Field, pretty much everything he writes has that one little nugget of something super-sweet hidden in there.

When it comes to talking about using another system for TORG, the game that strikes me as most thematically similar would be Feng Shui(with all the cross-overing concepts and etc.), so maybe that'd be a good option.

Arivia
Mar 17, 2011
Forgotten Realms: Torm and Tyr and that other guy just like Torm and Tyr

More Powers!



Helm, He of the Unsleeping Eyes, is the lawful neutral god of guardians. He's always watching, and he never rests. You can never surprise him, and he knows pretty much everything through observation and deduction. It's very hard to trick him, and he never stops guarding whatever he's...guarding. Kind of creepy, don't you think? "IT NEVER SLEEPS. IT NEVER STOPS. IT IS ALWAYS WATCHING YOU. IT KNOWS WHAT YOU ARE DOING. ALWAYS." Panopticon God here is worshiped because his worshipers hope some of his good qualities will rub off on them, which means somewhere out there in the Realms is someone touching themselves to a holy symbol of Helm while thinking about police brutality. His temples are located close to great evil, so that they may guard against it. The example given is a temple outside of Darkhold, which, yep, sounds pretty evil.

Ilmater, the Crying God, is the god of endurance, suffering, and martyrdom. He shows up as a bleeding, broken man, his hands torn nearly apart but still useful. Ilmater is the willing sufferer who takes pain to spare another. Being lawful good, he has been known to visit people being tortured and take their pain for then, but only if they're good and are being unjustly tortured.

Lathander, the Morninglord, is the neutral good god of dawn, creativity, and the spring. Everyone makes offerings to him when they start a new project or make friends. When he appears, he shows up as a rosy mist. His priests wear pink or scarlet, sometimes trimmed with gold.

Leira, the Lady of the Mists, is the chaotic neutral deity of deception and illusion. No one knows what she looks like - her priests pray to altars holding nothing but air. She could be anything, anywhere. in a bit of 1e alignment focus, no one worships her but illusions because who else would be interested in deceiving others? On the other hand, a lot of people try to placate her before making important decisions. She is neutral, rather than evil, because she represents the "caprices of nature" rather than actual deceit (which goes to Mask, below.) Oh, and her name is pronounced LAIR-ah. Why do I mention that? Well...

Lliira, Our Lady of Joy, is spelled and pronounced almost the same. (LEER-ah, for the record.) Still, you really don't want to get confused. I imagine if you show up to a Leiran gathering dressed all in gay tones and singing happy songs to promote joy, they stuff you in a bag, throw you off a pier, and talk about how the city guard really needs to start giving better directions. Lliira is the chaotic good goddess of joy and dancing. (YES, this needs a goddess.) She is allied with Milil and Sune, and is worshiped at all joyful occasions. She usually shows up as a dancing, happy young woman. She cannot abide violence, to the point where a drawn blade is enough to drive her away.

Loviatar, the Maiden of Pain, is taken directly from the Finnish pantheon as detailed in ADVANCED DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS supplement LEGENDS AND LORE. That's pretty much all we get on the lawful evil goddess of pain and torture. Does it get as bad as you think it will? Oh yes.

Malar, the Beast Lord, is the chaotic evil god of bloodlust and evil beasts. He shows up as a great black beast with claws dripping blood. Hunters make offerings to him before starting chases, and he manifests in animals driven mad, enraged beasts, and man-killers. Berserkers like Malar, to the point that anyone who enjoys murder as a sensuous act worships him over Bhaal's cruel, calculated killing.

Mask, the Lord of Shadows, is the god of shadows but not darkness. Instead, he's the neutral evil deity of thieves. He appears as an unassuming young man with a magic cloak that lets him go invisible and disguise himself as anyone. His priests hold services in deep heavy vaults, dimly lit, dressed in heavy robes.

Mielikki, the Lady of the Forest, is the neutral good goddess of rangers and forests. She's also taken from the Finnish pantheon (didn't know that until reading it just now), and appears as a young maiden with leaves and moss for hair.



Milil, the Lord of Song, is the god of poetry and song. He's neutral good, and shows up as a charismatic man or elf with an enchanting voice. More frequently, though, he appears as haunting music in particularly beautiful places. He sometimes provides inspiration to his followers, showing them escape routes or nearby hidden treasure.

Myrkul, the Lord of Bones, is the god of death and the dead. He's neutral evil, and shows up as a cloaked, skeletal corpse. He appears frequently, speaking in a high whisper. His personal servants are known as "Deaths," like the ones that appear in a deck of many things. He can animate and control the dead, and he lives in the Castle of Bones on the plane of Hades.

Mystra, the Lady of Mysteries and the Mother of All Magic, is perhaps the most important deity in the Realms. She's the goddess of magic, predictably, and she concerns herself with keeping a magical balance across the entirety of the Realms. She often appears as a sparkle of light glowing in many different colours. She is said to have given the first teachings of magic to the races of the Realms, long ago. She is lawful neutral because magic is inherently neutral, yet holds to an internal order.

Oghma, the Binder, is the neutral god of knowledge. He's taken from the Celtic pantheon, and appears as a burly man carrying a yarting (a kind of harp, I think.)

Selune is pretty cool. Our Lady of Silver is the moon/the goddess of the moon (depending upon who you talk to), and is revered by anyone who works at night. Selune and Mystra have some sort of bond - children born under a full moon often exhibit magical ability. She's also worshiped by good lycanthropes who have come to terms with their condition (she's chaotic good, by the way.) Selune aids her worshipers by sending motes of "moondust" to illuminate darkness. Worshiping Selune often involves a "night-stalk," a solitary moonlit walk, and her priests often find "drops fallen from the moon," which they can make powerful potions with. These drops are said to come from the "tears of selune," shards in the sky that follow Selune the moon across the sky. Eventually, through the wonder of modern desktop publishing, Selune will grow a circumflex accent over her u.

Shar, Mistress of the Night, is the neutral evil goddess of darkness, night, and loss. The Lady of Loss is worshiped by those who lost someone dear to them, because she makes them forget: they forever feel the loss, but they eventually become inured to the pain. Shar is said to continually battle Selune, slaying her each new moon, and is worshiped by anyone who forsakes light for darkness.

Silvanus, the Oak-Father, is the neutral god of nature. Silvanus is taken from the Celtic pantheon, and his priests include both clerics and druids.

Sune Firehair is the goddess of love and beauty. Sune is chaotic good, and appears as the most beautiful of women, always redheaded. If you please Sune enough, she will provide a charisma-raising potion. Sune's worshipers are often overly concerned with beauty, spending a lot of time working out and posturing, but their temples are some of the most beautiful in the Realms. Sune is one of the two goddesses I've always wanted to do something with (the other is Selune), but I've never actually played one of her paladins. Which is a shame, because they're rad.

Talona, the Lady of Poison, is the chaotic evil goddess of poison and disease. Talona appears as a blackened crone with a scarred face, and she is probably the same deity as the Finnish goddess Kiputytto.

Talos, the Destroyer, is the god of storms and destruction. Chaotic evil, Talos is the most fickle of gods, given to seemingly random fury. His worshipers hope by placating him that he will instead strike someone else, like worshipers of Chauntea. His description is kind of rad, so I'm going to quote it whole:

quote:

He is rendered as a broad-shouldered, bearded young man with a single good eye, carrying a bundle across his back. In this bundle Talos carries staves made of the first iron forged in the Realms, of the first silver smelted, of the first tree planted and grown by man, and others. With these staves he raises the winds, cleaves the earth, rends the sky, and wrecks his havoc.



Tempus, the Lord of Battles (or Foehammer), is the chaotic neutral deity of war. Everyone who battles prays to Tempus; they do so in hope of having their prowess elevated and their enemies cursed. He sometimes appears in battle as a giant man in bloodied, battered armor, always wounded. If you see him on his white mare, Veiros, you will win; if you see him riding his black stallion, Deiros, then you will know defeat.

Torm the True is the lawful good deity of duty and loyalty. Torm is the god of those who serve faithfully to protect others, and was once mortal, renowed for serving his king regardless of danger to himself. He is still a great fighter, serving Tyr. Many cavaliers and paladins committed to protection follow Torm. (Note: without looking up their giant writeups in a later supplement, I cannot honestly say what the difference is between Helm and Torm. And this is my FAVORITE CAMPAIGN SETTING. :psyduck:)

Tymora, Lady Luck, is the chaotic good deity of good fortune, luck, and victory. She's the favourite goddess of adventurers, who often depend upon her blessings to get out of tight spots. Still, she is fickle, and given to helping those who help themselves. She appears as a boyish woman with a crafty look on her face, and is known to appear as a halfling when they are common. Tymora can best any opponent in any contest once a day, and always makes saving throws.

Tyr, known as Grimjaws or the Even-Handed, is the lawful good god of justice. Tyr's worship is less than a thousand years old. "Even-handed" does not refer to his attitude towards trial, but is instead a black joke referring to his missing right hand. Tyr is probably the same god as in the Norse pantheon, but he only covers justice and not war.

Umberlee, the Bitch Queen, we already talked a little about earlier. Umberlee is chaotic evil, and is devoted to stirring up wicked currents that sink or crash ships on the Sword Coast. Umberlee commands the waves and the winds at sea, but prefers using the waves to push boats around and down them. Alternatively, she sends forth great sharks (or worse) to harry and destroy. Her title of Bitch Queen is only used when on dry land, and in hushed voice - so that Umberlee cannot use her wrath against those who wrong her so.

Waukeen, Merchantsfriend, is the neutral goddess of trade. She is about as new as Tyr, but became a quick favorite with merchants and traders. They pray to her for wealth, or at least salvation from financial ruin.

Whew. That was a lot of words about the Chondathan pantheon. But we're not done yet!

The Elemental Lords are the implacable, alien powers with domain over the elements. Hailing from the Inner Planes, they do not care for humanity or worshipers, and are only prayed to sparingly to drive off an evil deity. For example, you might pray to Istishia, the Water Lord, in order to calm Umberlee. The three others are Grumbar, the King of the Land below the Roots; Kossuth, the Lord of Flames; and Akadi, the Lady of Air.

The Beast Cults are prayed to by savages, nomads, and evil humanoids. They come in many different forms, including Nobanion the beast god, the cults of Lolth among the dark elves, and something called the Dragon Cult, which I've never heard of before.

There's a bunch of deities for dwarves, elves, etc, but they're pretty D&D standard, so I'll go over them later when necessary.

Then there's more powers from the Chondathan pantheon! Yes, really, it ends then it starts again. These are lesser deities, often only worshiped in specific areas or by very small amounts of people. They include:

Valkur the Mighty, who we talked about before. He's the god of sailors, often prayed to against Talos and Umberlee.

Siamorphe is the lawful neutral deity of nobility and noble blood. She represents the noble right to rule, providing that those nobles keep themselves fit to rule and rule responsibly.

Gwaeron Windstrom is a neutral good demigod who serves Mielikki. He is the god of tracking and interpreting woodland signs, and helps land travellers.

Sharess is a chaotic good aspect of Shar, a decadent power of lust and seduction worshiped in the festhalls of Calimshan, Waterdeep, and elsewhere. Sharess is worshipped in prolonged fests with scented baths, food, music, and other decadent pleasures. Her symbol is a pair of ruby red women's lips, worn at wrist and ankle on thin gold chains.

Hoar, the Doombringer, is the god of revenge and retribution. He is originally known as Assuran in the lands around the Inner Sea. When a murderer slips or is otherwise brought to unlucky death just after committing a crime, it is referred to as the "Hand of Hoar."

Iyachtu Xvim, the Godson, is the literal son of Bane. He does Bane's bidding across the Realms.

Moander is the long-forgotten god of decay and the circle of life. His faith died years before the erection of the Standing Stone and the settling of the Dalelands, and only his main temple in ruined Yulash remains.

That's finally it for gods. There's a section on godly relationships (who serves who, who hates who) that I'm not going to recap because holy poo poo was that a lot of words.

On the next page is a cool little table that breaks down what Powers are usually followed by what character class. For example, magic-users most often follow Mystra or Azuth. Of course, player characters can worship whoever they want.. Notably, it includes both professions and notes on what gods someone might seek to placate instead of specifically worshiping. For example, a midwife would worship Lathander but try to placate Myrkul against death for mother and child.

Ultimately, I really like the FR system of divinity. It turns out to have a lot of quirks that show up with time, but the idea of a rich and repeatedly accessible pantheon does a lot to put life into the stolid D&D god setups. You're not just stuck with one deity, but instead you pay attention to what is most important, and the how of that worship (do you pray to Tymora for luck to get out of this dungeon, or Selune for protection against the dark?) is a pretty cool roleplaying tool.

Next time: I can finally use the most prominent adjective in the setting!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
The Mental AC/THAC0 system was Skills and Powers, but it made its way into the later Dark Sun stuff as an optional rule. One of the Monstrous Compendium supplements I have had MAC and MTHAC0 marked in blue for all of the critters. While the concept behind that was good, the execution... Oh, Jesus.

PurpleXVI posted:

RE, the Forgotten Realms review: All I have to say is that canonically Elminster has a magical space station and hangs out with Ed Greenwood on Earth. I think anything beyond that kind of pales in comparison.

Elminster loves Earth beer, though I think it's mostly because bottling is such a marvelous convenience.

Ilmater is Finnish too; I think he originally showed up in Deities and Demigods.

Bieeanshee fucked around with this message at 18:45 on Apr 21, 2013

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Arivia posted:

(Note: without looking up their giant writeups in a later supplement, I cannot honestly say what the difference is between Helm and Torm. And this is my FAVORITE CAMPAIGN SETTING. :psyduck:)

Actually, the difference between Helm and Torm is pretty simple. Helm is the morally neutral god of law and guardians, no questions asked. Obey all orders without question and protect those who need protecting, whether you're protecting a unicorn or an injured demon, whether the order is to fight evil or terminate the people trying to overthrow a corrupt police state. Torm is the good god of loyalty and obedience - of loyally serving others and society with your life, but also refusing to obey evil laws and citing it as duty to question and change orders and laws that are unjust or evil.

Also, Sharess is the Forgotten Realms alias of Bast and Sekhmet, from the Egyptian pantheon.

Arivia
Mar 17, 2011

Bieeardo posted:

Elminster loves Earth beer, though I think it's mostly because bottling is such a marvelous convenience.

Ilmater is Finnish too; I think he originally showed up in Deities and Demigods.

Honestly, I think FR continuity is trying to forget Dale "Slade" Henson's work at all. (He wrote Realmspace, which includes all this stuff about Elminster's space station. Also, his space station includes a Frigidaire air conditioner. Sooo, yeah.) He messed up something very very important to Realms continuity, too.

I was honestly surprised by how many deities came from real-world pantheons. I knew about Loviatar and Oghma, but I hadn't read the deity section of the Old Gray Box before, so it was a little surprising. (Legends and Lore & Deities and Demigods are the same book, just two different printings with different names.)

@Cythereal: Fair enough about Helm and Torm, but shhhh about the other thing. I'm trying to save secrets for people so there's fun stuff to learn when I do Old Empires and Forgotten Realms Adventures.

Arivia fucked around with this message at 02:34 on Apr 22, 2013

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

oMage: Dragons of the East

The Magical Bureaucracy is organized on Confucian and Legalist lines, supposedly paralleling the Heavenly Kingdom of Jade. At the top, naturally, is the T'ien Kung to Huang Ti Wu Lung, the Heavenly Emperor of the Dragon Wizards, also called the Dragon Emperor Wizard. It is his duty to perform the rituals which appease the August Personage of Jade and also to act as his judge on earth, just as the Dragon is the judge of Heaven. If the last Dragon Emperor still lives, he is now well over a thousand years old. He is referred to solely by title, never by name. The true Dragon Emperor is lost in the Umbra, so the role is currently filled temporarily by Bai Beishi. His counterpart is the Feng Huan Huo Wo, the Phoenix Empress Wizard. She, also, has no name, just a title. She serves as the representative of Phoenix, Heaven's messenger, and she brings mercy to the Dragon's justice. She has reincarnated as her own daughter over 300 times, and her mastery of nature's cycles is shown in the skill of the Phoenix School. She is currently trapped in the body of an eight year old girl, and is temporarily replaced by Xi Zhuanji, a skilled Life sorceress and shapeshifter.

Next is the Hu Kuei Tsu Wu, the Tiger Lord Wizard. He is the Bureaucracy's general and lord of the Office of War. The current Tiger Lord, Choujingha Yuguo, is the heir of the Dragon Emperor. Despite the loss of Kun Lun, however, he refuses to claim the title, though he does hold a loose regency over the Wu Lung. The Tiger Lord is head of the Kuei Tsu, nine lords who oversee the Bureaucracy. The other eight Kuei Tsu manage the Offices of Education, Tradition, Treasure, Law, Records, Provisions, Intelligence and Religion. Each may use their sorcerers and possessions as they see fit to fulfill the duties of office. Currently, six are of the Dragon School and two are of the Tiger School. Below them are the nine Pu Chang, each a specialist in a field of magic that assesses lesser Dragon Wizards for promotion to the Chu Jen. Currently, the Phoenix wizard Moonflower is the only Phoenix School among the Pu Chang, who are otherwise split between Dragon and Tiger Schools.

The Chu Jen are the masters who control all Wu Lung within a city, regulating contact with the spirits there. Because of their duties, all Chu Jen must master Spirit magic as well as their specialty. They are also the trainers of the Sheng Shou. Chu Jen are sometimes called Sifu, but that's an honorific that can be used to describe any master teacher. Lesser tutors are called Sihing ('older brother'). Above the Bureaucracy as a whole are the Sigung, 'grandfathers', who wander the Tapestry as Archmages mastering the perfect magic. While the Pu Chang and their superiors hold great power, it is said that the Sigung have no equals in wisdom. Sadly, most seem to have vanished from the world.

Below the Chu Jen are the Nan Wu, full members of the Wu Lung who take care of day-to-day business. Each is assigned to a Kuei Tsu and progresses through nine ranks within that office. Usually, members of any school can belong to any office, but some, like the Office of War, favor their own schools. (In that case, the Tiger School.) Below them are the Ch'uang Shih, senior students of rough equivalence to Hermetic Disciples in power (or most starting PCs). Each is assigned a Sifu, but they have the right to direct their own studies and may freely learn from any loyal and skilled Wu Lung. The Ch'uang Shih are divided into nine offices and nine ranks as well, and belong to the office of their Sifu. To become Nan Wu, they must pass a Magical Service Exam that tests their ability to serve the office they apply for. Most Ch'uang Shih enter the same office as their Sifu, but it's not unheard of to choose a different path. Until becoming Chu Jen, a Wu Lung must pass a tedious exam to rise in each rank. After that, position is by appointment and intrigue.

At the bottom of the hierarchy are the Sheng Shou, the junior students who lead lives of constant study and service. Each belongs to a "chair" of the same office as their Sifu, since they are not considered officially competent enough to belong to the office directly. After a few years of unquestioning obedience and practice, a Sheng Shou is tested by their Sifu to see if they are worthy of becoming Ch'uang Shih. As an aside, while each office may require certain magical talents, the Wu Lung study magic according to the division set out by their leaders and the will of Heaven. The Magical Service Exams taken to become Nan Wu direct each Dragon Wizard to a School, which is both political and philosophical. Each acknowledges it's only part of the whole, but most Wu Lung use their offices to promote the interests of their School.

The first School is the Dragon School, Heaven's Judges. Those who excel at the exams are invited to join the Dragons, who lead the Wu Lung and act as liaisons between the Celestial Bureaucracy and China. From the lowest Sheng Shou to the Dragon Emperor himself, each forges a close tie to the spirit world. Skill in the Spirit art is honed by learning about the divine ministers. At first, a Dragon Wizard merely gives offerings to them, but superior Wu Lung eventually advise the gods themselves. In this manner, they gain power in the celestial offices. The Dragon School also handles the justice of the Bureaucracy. Just as Dragon is Heaven's Destroyer, so too does the Dragon School purge that which is corrupt from the order and from magical China in general. The Legalists of the Wu Lung naturally gravitate to that role. It is an eternal shame to the Dragon SChool that many of their number left the Wu Lung to join the Five Metal Dragons, and today, the most conservative Wu Lung make up the bulk of the Dragon School, plotting vengeance. All Dragons are men.

Second is the Tiger School, the Divine Generals. They are practical wizards, more for applied than theoretical magic. That doesn't mean they are not wise, just that they concern themselves with action. The Tiger School teaches its students to find the Tao in righteous action. Etiquette, strategy and swordsmanship are requires study in order to practice Ching in service to the Bureaucracy as a whole. Unlike Akashics, they do not learn physical skills to hone the self; rather, it generates the bravery necessary to serve. Their skill with the destructive power of the Five Elements is famous. They are the intellectual heirs of Sun-tzu, willing to do things that many would find brutal or immoral, but not without cause. In fact, the current Tiger Lord is famous for his arguments with the Emperor. The Tiger School commits itself wholly to the Wu Lung, but not for foolish or inefficient plans. It is said that the Tiger Lord supported the Phoenix School of women from its inception. Recently, the Tigers have allowed women into their own ranks as well. The alliance with the Akashics was also handled by the practical Tigers, who care more for the benefits than the philosophical divide. How long the Dragons will tolerate their eccentricities is unknown, but they seem to be dealing with it for now.

The Phoenix School, the Merciful Sorceresses, is last. Until the 1800s, only one woman belong to the Wu Lung: the Phoenix Empress Wizard, the immortal consort of the Dragon Emperor who reincarnates as her own daughter every 108 years. In the early 17th century, however, she shared her knowledge of the secrets of Life magic with a small group of female students, who became the Phoenix School. Today, they hold positions in every level of the Bureaucracy. They reward where the Dragons judge. They are skilled healers who use their talents for both Sleepers and the Wu Lung, manipulating fate by petitions to the Stove and Earth Gods that support mortal affairs. While many Wu Lung disdain these lesser deities, the Phoenixes prefer subtle magic to the powers given by the greatest gods.

The magic of the Dragon Wizards is guided by Li. Every magical spell begins by honoring the ancestors, particularly the ancestral shih. The shih is your link to Heaven and ultimately the one who decides the propriety of a magical work. After appeasing the shih, a Wu Lung often prays to the god whose portfolio contains the power they wish to use, which can be as simple as a quick promise to a city god when you want to make a door to escape through or as elaborate as a huge meal and gifts to persuade a Minister of Heaven to grant thunderbolts, flight or the secrets of life and death. Wu Lung often pay special devotions to a specific god as part of every ritual. For example, the Tigers venerate Kwan Yu, the scholar-general, and the Phoenixes worship Kwan Yin, the goddess of healing. Even the Yama Queen Tou Mu is given some respect; it's said that her horrors are a test of Li.

Wu Lung magic also uses traditional Chinese metaphysics. Before the Technocracy downgraded it to psuedoscience, they used these beliefs to describe physical and spiritual phenomena with scientific rigor. They say the T'ai Chi was perfect in the First Age, and as the world evolved, it divided and recombined. After the Three Ministers sprang from primal Yin and Yang, they set the universe into motion, which gave rise to the Five Elements, the eight trigrams and infinite variation. Writing and divination are both signs of the continuous reweaving of the Tapestry by these powers. As crude matter or irresponsible thought, Li manifests itself as Chi, a rough metaphysical force that may be tamed. Alchemy, feng shui and exercise attune the Wu Lung to imbalance and provide the tools to correct it. Similarly, the soul is made of two opposites, the Hun which is the part that remembers the Cycle and its place in it, which becomeS Shen when enlightened, and the P'o, the part that relishes the division of the T'ai Chi and seeks to fracture it further. It is not evil, per se, and having a P'o is absolutely necessary to understanding the world, but it does tend to ignorance and destruction.

After death, the Wu Lung say, the P'o can drag the Hun down to the Dark Kingdom of Jade, and the dual souls become Kuei, a ghost that must await reincarnation. If a P'o gained enough power in life, it devours the Hun and becomes a screaming spirit adrift in Hell. A very few are caught between these extremes and return to the world as one of the noxious Wan Kuei, or Demon People. Similarly, the Wu Lung differentiate between the fallen shen such as hengeyokai and hsien and the true shen who hold the ear of the August Personage of Jade. The Dragon Wizard's ancestral avatar, the shih, is obviously one of the latter.

Wu Lung magic ultimately comes from Li, but few Wu Lung would appease the ancestors without ritual foci. They can improvise, preparing charms ahead of time or carrying an assortment of coin, grain and papers for emergencies. Gunpowder, lead oxide and mercury are more exotic tools kept on hand by alchemists or others using Chinese metaphysics. The practice of Kuei Lung Chuan martial arts often serves as a focus for more spectacular Tiger School magic, like the ability to leap a hundred feet into the air or catch an arrow in their teeth. Fu, small paper charms brushed with Chinese characters and pictures, are often used to invoke Forces, affect spirits and alter joss. Portraits depicting gods or ancestors can call on their power and are often used as sacrifices. Genealogical tablets serve similar purposes, and every Wu Lung keeps them in their Sanctum to use in important works. Food and drink are also popular sacrifices, especially for Spirit magic. Writing itself is also a powerful tool to serve as a symbolic act of creation, as is use of the I Ching. Swords make for good tools to direct Yang energies, and the Wu Lung expertise in alchemy is matched only by the Order of Hermes' Solificati. By invoking the gods over concoctions, the Wu Lung may make longevity potions, healing potions or even mind control powders or explosive that work on spiritual realms.

By the way, the Wu Lung possess a Correspondence 4 rote, Tsuiho - the Fires of Heaven, which opens a portal to the sun's photosphere. The problems? Well, it's always vulgar, no matter what, and it takes a ton of successes, and it takes several hours and perfect chanting to do because of the Wu Lung paradigm, and also you need to ritually sacrifice your own life to the August Personage of Jade to do it. Sure, some Wu Lung might not believe they have to, but they don't get taught the rote. Yeah. Oh, and the Tiger School have their own special martial art, Kuei Lung Chuan or Dragon Spirit Kung Fu. It uses the jian and spear, and favors acrobatics and large kicks. They never teach it to outsiders, and it follows rules from the Kuei-jin sourcebook.

Next time: Crossdressing infernalist wizards.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Arivia posted:

Honestly, I think FR continuity is trying to forget Dale "Slade" Henson's work at all. (He wrote Realmspace, which includes all this stuff about Elminster's space station. Also, his space station includes a Frigidaire air conditioner. Sooo, yeah. He messed up something very very important to Realms continuity, too.

I thought there was a clear mention of it in Forgotten Realms Adventures, but the entry for Elminster's Evasion mentions his 'Safehold' as a dimensional bolthole. Much as I do like Spelljammer, I'm much happier imagining the old goatherd making his own pocket plane or repurposing one that's even older.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

(Perfectly angled golden pyramid in place of eyes, drooping snout with rows of sharklike teeth, HUGE peacock-tail wings with expressive eyes, claws and tail spikes, gills pour out hot desert sand at inconvenient times)

Djehuty, the Big Wise Canine Entity

Hides by transmuting its body into a friendly dog that followed Kid home.
Favorite thing: consuming written equations and scientific knowledge (eg, eating one's math homework)
Personality: extols on obscure mystical wisdom and the occult geometrical significance of the new cafeteria, encourages Kid to learn as much as possible and attain the Golden Crown of Ultimate Knowledge but is often disappointed with the subjects taught in school, addresses Kid as if they were the heir to the Pharaoh's throne being taught by a learned master scribe, seems to have a bone-deep rivalry with all cats and encourages Kid to stay away and NOT LEARN FROM THEM, becoming very hurt and envious when Kid plays with them or otherwise doesn't listen to its advice. Think the bizarre, questionable knowledge of Coach McGuirk along with his hamfisted, difficult-to-express desire to be a father figure. A Kid with a dad who disdains nerds and doesn't value learning would be a good match.

Abilities: shoot burning sand from gills, consume knowledge by sticking tongue into people's ears to lick their brains, teleport by wrapping itself and Kid in massive wings and disappearing in a puff of feathers, hypnotize with ray of golden light from mind-bending pyramid head

Wanna play this game now, this is fun!

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012
Alas, I have not a scanner, and my concept is not one that I can write very well.

I might mock something up in paint, though...

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid
:black101:
When I was playing in Arashiofordo3's game of Monsters, I had four giant sentient chess pieces which hid in my characters chess set (He was the head of the chess club) the four of them were Queen - who tried to subjugate and rule everything, when that failed she executed them with an axe. Knight - A cavalier sort of chap who kept leaving gifts with my characters name on for various women, he also said "HaHA!" a lot. Bishop - the voice of reason and had useful - heal, so was always welcome. And Rook, who was a giant steampunk castle statue who spawned pawns out of his gates and the only sound he could make was to toot like an ocean liner fog horn. All the same monster, all entirely legal under the rules. It was awesome.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

Evil Mastermind posted:

The "current" Freedom League does have the next-generation versions of Johnny Rocket and Siren. According to the Freedom City sourcebook (the first edition of which is probably the best superhero citybook I've ever read), Dr. Tomorrow vanished three days after VJ Day in 1945, and Centurion died fighting Omega, the setting's Darkseid-equivalent.
Yeah, I forgot to mention it, but there is at least a minor rundown of what happens to Golden Age Freedom City characters in their "future". Most of them consist of either "go see Freedom City Sourcebook" or " :iiam: ", though, so I didn't really take the time to write them down.

The only really noteworthy one is that apparently the second Crimson Katana may have made a new blade out of the Human Tank's corpse. :wtc:




Appendix: Group Fighting
The final bit of Mutants and Masterminds: Golden Age is the Field Battle Rules. The FBR is a system set up to allow for a handful of heroes to fight entire armies without having so many foes you lose your marbles keeping the tab on hundreds of NPCs. It does this by condensing a whole group of individuals into a single stat block whose power is based on several factors. Unit size ranges from a squad of 10 inividuals to an army of 20,000 to 50,000, providing a "Force modifier" of +3 to +14 depending on size to attack, damage, and Toughness, while the quality of a unit green, trained, or veteran has its own specific bonus to the attack, damage, Toughness, Defense, Initiative, and Morale of the unit. It's not the only mass combat rules Green Ronin Publishing has done, but it's probably the most straightforward.

Final Thoughts
Mutants and Masterminds: Golden Age in a nutshell: it certainly isn't a bad sourcebook, but it caters to a very specific crowd. It's for the crowd who wants data on the Golden Age or military feats and rules. It's not for someone who wants to do a faux-Golden Age like Watchmen unless they happen to also have Iron Age, it's not for people who want a lot of shiny new powers, and it's definitely not for people who can't take a fair amount of cheese and homages.

----------------------------------------------------------

Next time: Well, there's a fair amount I want to do sooner and later. D&D in World War II, a myriad of post-apocalyptic settings, Japanese monsters, extraterrestrials, Maztica, maybe something from GURPS, the list goes on and on...

I should probably finish up what I started and do the bestiary for Supernatural: the RPG first, though.

petrol blue
Feb 9, 2013

sugar and spice
and
ethanol slammers
Hold onto your boffers, cos poo poo's about to get real... Or, at least, live action, and that's near enough the same thing, right?

Live action? Boffers?

Live-Action RolePlay (LARP, or LRP) is where you dress up as characters, then go running around and hitting people with foam weapons ('boffers' in the US). I won't go into more detail here, this is TG, you probably know this already. What nearly all of them have, though, is fighting. And where there's fighting, there's books to tell you how to do it. And where there's pretend fighting, there's pretentiousness.



Let me honest here: I don't want to give the impression that I'm good at LARP-fighting. I'm not. The entire reason I have this book is because I'm not. I'm also not good at fighting with real weapons - I did a year or so of viking re-enactment, that's the sum total of my knowledge. I don't want anyone to get the impression that I think I'm better at it than the author, or anyone capable of picking up a sword two times out of three.



Well, by the end of this thing, I might have to go back and revise that disclaimer. Hell, if just owning the book makes me a better fighter, I'm sure to be a modern samurai by the time I'm done.

Our author has clearly had a decent amount of practice, and has started a club just for fighting (as opposed to playing a full LARP). A quick google tells me it's based at Durham University, and runs from 1pm-3pm on sundays, if anyone's in the area. I napkin-mathed that to about 3000 hours of practice if we assume he makes up for missed sessions with actual LARPs, so I figure I can cut him some slack for calling himself 'one of the foremost fighters' - with that much practice, he probably is drat good. Enough to kick my arse, anyway. The 'fighter' part I have a bit more issue with, it does imply a certain belief in how serious these foam boffers are, but I can understand using it for the sake of brevity.

As a side note, those runes on the Northern Fight School's logo? They're Tolkein-based, and the best guess I can make at a translation is "leef geeerneest" (that's not a typo with the three 'e's). I think it might be gibberish, but I can't be sure, it might be in elvish or something. Any tolkein-goons have any idea if that sounds like something in one of those languages?

Well, whatever, it's not as important as the contents, right? :eng101: I mean, I'm going to learn over 30 practices and thrilling games. Wait, in a 240 page book, there are 30 practices? Well, I suppose 8 pages each means they can go into lots of detail, fine instruction on technique, that's a lot more reasonable than I'd thought at a glance. Not to mention, I'll learn how to train others, and learn kata... and grading... :eng99:

This book is going to be hella pretentious, isn't it?

The Reason, the Wisdom, and the Reading

These are the three seperate prologue chapters. They're mercifully short, but the names alone give a certain suggestion as to how the book's going to go - Proper Nouns, and lots of them.

The Reason posted:

I hate writing. But sometimes there is no-one to fight. I hope my discomfort with the task will ensure a pleasing brevity to the material.

I decided to write when I found I had forgotten something I once taught. Some would say this is due to me getting older. I would say it is due to the sheer enormity of knowledge I have developed. In this one thing I may not be entirely correct. But I doubt it.

...Oh do gently caress right off.

As first words in a book go, those hardly fill me with confidence. Typing it out, I can only assume this was written jokingly, because surely no-one's arrogant enough to write that with a straight face? Right? :ohdear:

If you think I'm being unfair by taking this as a sincere sentiment, the rest of the book reads as a serious (if flowery) instruction book, so it seems a very sudden change of tone if it is one, from a man who describes himself as 'one of the foremost fighters in live roleplay'. Let's not forget that what he means is 'really good at tapping people with foam batons'.

'The Wisdom' tells us that everyone fights differently, to work on our strengths and weaknesses, and to fight lots. Fair enough, can't really argue with that.

'The Reading' simply states that the book doesn't have to be read in order, or equal attention paid to every part. Which I guess would make sense, except I'm a beginner. A total novice. So, shouldn't the book be teaching me how not to impale myself before I work on swinging from chandaliers? As a general rule, most sets of instructions I've seen in my life have a definite start, middle, and end, and screwing with that order really doesn't work out very well.

Terminology

This is where the book really comes to life. You see, Mr. Wright likes giving things names. A lot of these things already have names, but apparently those names aren't good enough for the Northern Fight School. Names like 'arm' and 'leg'. Boring, everyday, non-kung-fu names.



Right-handed? Nope, you're fire-handed.

Imagine, if you will, a trembling neophyte at the school, barely able to hold his foam sword above his beardline. He looks to his new master, who instructs "Strike with your Fire to my Stone!" The student pauses, thinks for a few seconds, and unfolds a bit of notepaper. With a grin of newfound understanding, he solemnly taps the master on the leg with his boffer.

Needless complexity seems to be a trademark here, and as someone hoping to learn from the book, having to decode a simple instruction really isn't going to make my job easier.

A couple more highlights from the glossary include:

Terminology posted:

Dragon Plane: The space a sword passes through during a Dragon Strike.

Tunnel: The space formed by a straight line from between the attacker's right shoulder and any point on the defender. If the attacker points with a straight armand they are pointing at the defender, their arm is in the Tunnel. If they are pointing past the defender, their arm is outside the Tunnel

Don't worry, though, I'm sure it'll all become clearer as we read on.

To be continued..?
I'm aware this book is a bit different to most of the books on here, but it fell into my hands and after about half an hour, I figured the best/only use for it was here. The naming of everything, the self-aggrandisement, the sheer loving pretension, it demanded a writeup.

Before I write any more, though, I wanted to check the goonmind's reaction: is this too off-topic for a writeup here? Would people like more discussion of larp-fighting in general, or should I stick to dissecting the book? Also, does anyone know any good synonyms for 'pretentious'? I think I'll be needing them.

petrol blue fucked around with this message at 22:40 on Apr 21, 2013

jadarx
May 25, 2012
I'm going to have to stop with my review of Houses of the Blooded. I don't have the time to make reasonable updates and frankly don't have the writing skills to make them interesting.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Chapter 6: Birth of the Youngest

Leather Wrappings and a fishnet shirt? What?

This chapter opens up with Uncle Hu and Mei-Fei Quan waiting outside of a San Francisco(?) apartment. Eventually the door is opened by a woman wearing "bright blues and dark yellow - flowing, filmy skirts; a loose, elegant blouse; a long brocade fest left open." and "skin the color of old ivory, her eyes perfect almonds, jet-black, shadowed by long lashes." Mei-Fei describes her as the most beautiful person. Anyways, she and Uncle Hu hug and converse for a while, completely ignoring Mei. Though eventually they invite her into the apartment and Uncle Hu introduces her as "Sondok, Queen of Silla." Silla being one of the ancient kingdoms of Korea that has been defunct since 935 AD. She responds with "I was never Queen of Silla. I am Kitsune, I am Kataribe, I am Sondok at the moment." then tells her it's time for dinner since she's going to need her strength; "we open your eyes tonight."

A Bed Time Story
We then transition to that night, Mei is exhausted from whatever happened, and Sondok is telling her a story. Specifically the story of Bai Mianxi, the first Kitsune.
Bai Mianxi was sitting in her house in Henan(a province of China) when a white rabbit ran into her house, hopped up into her lap, and bit her paw, then ran away. Mianxi assumed her fox shape and chased after the rabbit until all four of her feet were red with blood. The chase went through, in order, Vietnam, the Taklimakan Desert, Beijing, Mongolia, and Sichuan. As she ran through Sichuan she could hear her consort Prince Inari laughing at her plight, and then she lost the rabbit.

She was furious, and spent some time screaming in rage. Eventually she stopped and tried to figure out how to explain to Inari that she has lost the fox, step one would be to wipe all the blood off of her paws, so she went to a nearby well. She started washing her hands in the bucket when she saw the rabbit curled up on the surface of the water at the bottom of the well. So she pounced it.

And she landed a sparkling white path, on two legs. Surrounded by the loveliest garden she had ever seen. Eventually she was approached by a stranger, who was first a gold and silver fox, then a two legged fox like herself, and then a human. This person welcomes her to Heaven.
Bai Mianxi thinks she drowned in the well, and laments how the other ghosts will laugh at her, but the other person says that she must hurry or be late for her audience. Bai Mianxi gets all prim and proper and wonders why she is granting an audience to anyone. The person rebuffs her and tells her that she is being granted an audience by her sister, Gaia. The other person, now identified as the Silver Lady (AKA, Luna, the moon. Who was probably also the Rabbit earlier, Japan thinks there's a Rabbit on the Moon making rice cakes the same way Europeans think there's a Man in the Moon) leads Bai Mianxi into Gaia's court, and tells her to be on her best behavior, as Mianxi's elder siblings have made Gaia quite short tempered. She must kow-tow upon entering and never raise her eyes, or Gaia will be angry at her presumptuousness.
So Bai Mianxi walked inside, and no one knows what the inside of Gaia's court looks like. Not because Mianxi adhered to Luna's rules, but because she was smart enough not to tell anyone that she hadn't.
Since she's a Fox.
Anyways, she kow-tows angrily ("Kow tows were things other foxes made to her, not something she did herself") and sits there waiting, since she had the sharpest ears amongst the animal kingdom she should obviously hear Gaia before she arrives.
She doesn't, of course, instead hearing a voice that is "loud in her heart and terrifyingly quiet in her ears."

quote:

This is the end of your childhood. From now on, you and your people must work, and fight, and serve Us as dutiful sons and daughters. There are too many of you, you are breeding left and right - you are almost as bad as our child Man.
You anger Heaven; you defer to no gods; you upset the local spirits with your tricks. There are legions of angry human ghosts here to petition me, saying you steal from and mischief their descendants day and night - We approve of that, but you must accomplish more, and leave alone those few who do still revere Us.
We have spoken. Go. Your aunt will instruct you.
Mianxi panics, and starts asking Gaia questions, saying that they're small and weak, and run instead of fighting. They shouldn't be held accountable for breaking Heaven's rules since they were never told them. And that they shouldn't have to grow up since they were never told that they were children, so they didn't enjoy it as much as they should have.

Then she tries to make a bet with Gaia, saying that they should have a wrestling contest with their pet praying mantises. Her mantis being a thin stone painted green. But Gaia rebuffs her saying that Coyote already tried that one. She tries to tell her a secret but Raven has already told her the secret. She tries to show her a powerful magic spell but Cat already knows it and taught it to Gaia.

Now Bai Mianxi is panicking, she was the first kitsune, and she led other foxes to speech and wisdom. Now they're all going to be punished for her crimes. So she offers to fight Gaia's mightiest champion to buy off the Doom from her people. Gaia tells her No, as brave as she is and as noble as the sacrifice might be, her champions would destroy her. And Gaia did not allow her to wake to intelligence just for her to commit suicide by wolf.

So Bai Mianxi declares that since Gaia already has everything a Fox can offer her, she's off scott free. Feeling suitably smug, she raises her eyes to look at Gaia. She only gets as far as the hem of Gaia's robe, which is described as cobwebs and flame, with a green serpent writing between them. The web snuffed out the flames. The flames burned the edges of the web. And the dragon bit the cloth with his teeth and mended it with his claws. Then her eyes started to hurt and she fell unconscious. When she came to again her nose was pointed at the floor "where it belongs", and she felt the hand of Luna stilling her trembling hands.
Gaia spun around them in a harsh whirlwind, screaming. "They will betray Us! They will forget Us! We have had enough of Our Self destroyed by Our Own children!"
Luna asks Gaia to wait, and places her hand on Mianxi's back which pieces with icy pain, and tells Gaia to look into Mianxi's heart. At which point she faints again, she awakens curled up in Luna's lap, and Gaia is no longer ready to tear her apart.

I like the art in this chapter. I do

quote:

"We shall let you have your chance, little Fox." Gaia's voice was endurable once more, even tender. Bai Mianxi trembled in the Silver Lady's arms, and began to weep.
"We have for you three promises. Obey Us and Our sister Luna, and one day you will be best at something. Fight hard and We will help your people survive, even through the Sixth Age that is to come. Serve Us well, and in the last Ages of the world, we will give your people back their freedom."
"Leave Us now - We would sleep."

Then Luna carries Mianxi from the room since she's still too shaken up to walk away with dignity.

There is a lot here that won't be explained until later, but I like this story. She lets her hubris get the best of her and is called to task for her transgressions. She tries to trick her way out of service and is told that she can't because there's someone better than her. And when she gets smug about it she gets the metaphysical poo poo kicked out of her. There's quite a few lessons to be learned here, but it boils down to "There is always someone better than you, and they will hand you your rear end if you're a smug self-important rear end in a top hat, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to be the best you can be." The problem is that, well, this is still Hengeyokai. The previous chapter told us that they are special simply because Asia. The Rules and some of the text will not shut up about how awesome Kitsune are while the other paragraphs talk about how humble Bai Mianxi has become and how well she attends to her duty.

But first, the history of the world, kitsune version.

The Ages of the World

The Age of Gaia
All was Gaia. This was boring. Gaia decided to make children.

The Age of Birth
From her flesh she made the earth and yang things. From her blood she made the seas and yin things. From her afterbirth(:gonk:) which was both she made the things that are both. A litle she put aside in case something else needed making. She yanked out her own eyes and set them in the sky as the sun and moon. Her teeth and claws became stars.

Afterwards Gaia felt weak. Since all that was left of her was her bones and womb. Luna saw this and decided that she would care for her mother the best way she could. By taking her bones and putting them in her womb. Helios would watch over her by day and keep her warm, and Luna would keep watch at night. This became the earth. Gaia remained silent for a long time and then she died. Helios turned black with Rage and luna turned her face away in despair. But then she heard a cry and turned her face back and saw that Gaia's last act was birthing a new Gaia. The Gaia that Was became the Gaia that Is.

The Triat

So with all the yin things and yang things and everything else that Gaia had created and made spirits and other creatures. But they couldn't control them as control didn't exist. They couldn't destroy the creatures without use as destruction doesn't exist. And the creatures couldn't reproduce as that didn't exist either. Three great spirits approached Gaia and offered to help. Spider had invented Control, Dragon had invented Destruction, and an Elemental spirit invented sex and fertility. They showed Gaia how the new magics work and she granted them leave to oversee creation. At that point she was tired and slept.

The Monkey-Plague
One night Luna looked down upon the earth and saw many fires spread across Gaia. Too many to have been started by lightning, and too small to be doing the job fire is supposed to do which is cleaning old growth to make room for new. She looks closer and sees naked monkeys where it is too cold for monkeys to rightly be, so she screams to gaia to wake up.

Gaia opens an eye and see this.

Hiiiiiiiii!

Gaia screams for Wyrm Weaver and Wyld, and asks them what this creature is that holds the power of their three offices. Weaver tells them that they are Man, and that Gaia made them herself "just after Mammoth and before Manatee" apparently they're incredibly adaptable and the triat uses them in their work. Gaia says that if she wanted Mankind to have shiny bones around their necks she would have created them with shiny bones around their necks. In fact she's reasonably certain she did create something with shiny bones around their necks, the, uhh. "Golden Bone-Hummers" :stare:.

quote:

"Ah... They were old-fashioned. These monkeys can do all of that, and more - now that we have taught them what we know," said Weaver.
"Their time had passed. I take things when their time is done," said Wyrm. "I had Man get them out of the way."
"Gone!" roared Wyld. "Gone-Gone-Gone-Gone-Dead!"
Gaia is obviously angry, so Wyrm offers to destroy Mankind, but Gaia says that enough damage has been done, and killing Man won't bring the Bone-Hummers back. Instead the triat must take their gifts away from mankind. But they can't, they can't turn back time any more than Gaia could, also the Wyld still isn't entirely sure what exactly it was that it did. Meanwhile Luna laments what a creature 'cursed' with all three of the triat's gifts would do.

Hengeyokai
Luna ponders that this whole thing was probably the Weaver's doing, and picks up a handful of mankind and a few other creatures to compare them.


I won't make the joke. I won't.

quote:

Man stank, had terrible fur, bad hearing, useless claws, a feeble sene of smell, poor sight, not much speed, no teeth worth mentioning and little humor. All of the other animals were better at the things that counted - or, that had counted up until now - and a lot more sense.
Luna turned her silvery eyes to the Three. "Why did you have to use monkeys?"
Gee thanks Luna :smith:

Anyways, as long as mankind exists, Luna figures that gaia will need guardians to guard her as she sleeps. So she takes the best of mankind and the best of the animals and wrapped them together with pieces of the Afterbirth that Gaia #1 saved, and bound the wrapping with a silvery strand of her hair. She makes Wolves, Ravens, Cats, Bears, Sharks, Dragons, Rats, Snakes, but not foxes. Not yet. Then she tossed them down to Earth to teach man to avoid weaver things and wyrm fires. She spoke to each of them of their duties, but then whispered to them to keep watch over the Triat, of course they didn't hear her.

Shen
She had leftover humans and animals once she was done. The humans whom she had touched still heard her words and became the Shamans. the Animals she had touched and the plants she had plucked them out of became the spirits of Gaia. And the creatures her hair touched as she bent down became Hsien, which are apparently beholden to Luna alone.

The Triat Wars
So Wyrm was pissed, he thought that Gaia had judged him unfairly for what was obviously not his fault. Why were Bone-Hummers(Book, stop using that name, please) more important than his feelings? He didn't understand what was wrong with the Weaver's idea of making mankind useful. And he hated Gaia and Luna for scolding him. Weaver just watched the new hengeyokai until she was distracted by the Wyrm's raging. Wyld just spun in place asking for forgiveness until Gaia said "Yes".

The weaver whispered in the Wyrm's ear, spinning threads around him, trying to harness his anger. She wove around the weakest parts of the Wyrm first, Duty, Judgment, Filial Piety, Sanity. Only once those were done did she try to wrap his Rage. It didn't work. She tried to escape but the webs were so strong they held her in place too, and she went mad. The Wyrm's thrashing cut into the weakest parts of him until all that was left was destruction and rage.

The Age of Legends
Wyrm and Weaver went insane together, and tried to make servants the way Luna had made the Hengeyokai, but they could never get it quite right, instead making many different kinds of Bakemono. Ten wyrm spirits realized that their boss was distracted so they set out to conquer the world. They became the Yama kings and warred against gaia. Humans fought on the side of Gaia, and strong spirits heard their prayers and helped, the humans worshiped them as Gods. The strongest of the spirits started buying into the worship and created the Wan-Xian out of their favorites. Eventually the mortals won and the Wan-Xian were were told to watch over the prisons of the Yama-Kings.
After the war the gods wanted to make things easier for themselves to keep track of, so they split the world into the Yin realms, Yang realms, and the Mortal World.

The Age of Testing
The gods made a mistake when they created the Wan-Xian, they didn't tell them about the Wyrm, and of Corruption. He tempted them with flattery, sloth, decadence, greed, depravity, ostentation, and Lies. They opened the gates of Yomi wide and looked out upon the world believing themselves its masters.
The Weaver in the mean time sent a great servant amongst the humans to tempt humanity. That servant was Progress, and Mankind Loved it.
While Progress was doing it's job, the weaver sent thousands of smaller spirits to walk upon the wall that the gods had created between the mortal world and the world of spirit. gradually thickening it.
The Wan-Xian did their thing and told the Hengeyokai that their neighbors were dicks and the War of Shame happened. Gaia was woken by the war, saw the destruction that was happening, and decided to birth one last child.

The White-Faced One
Yup, Bai Mianxi. She was a very clever fox. Eventually she found that she was more clever than anything else ever. She could even hear the spirits and listen to their wisdom. While everyone else was doing their very best to kill everyone that wasn't them. Mianxi was just being a dick to everyone, finding more foxes, and training them how to be like her. Then she got bit by a rabbit and leapt down a well.

The Age of Darkness
She only spent a year in heaven, and when she came back her court was destroyed and Inari was missing. There was only one fox left, Burrs-in-the-Ears. He told her how the rest of the foxes had fled in her absence, and couldn't remember where Inari had gone except vaguely West. She wanted to chase after him but first she had a job to do. Burrs-in-the-Ears became Fire-Splits-the-Sky, the first pupil of Mianxi, and together they trained many other foxes in the new ways, only once there was a rank 5 fox of each of the new auspices did Mianxi leave to follow West.

The Fifth Age
As she traveled west, she ran into the other shen. First she found a Wan-Xian. She asked him how they were fairing nowadays, but he flushed red with rage. She smelled that his blood was no longer his own and that his dead skin covered rot. "The Wan Xian are no more little fox. Spare me your insults." They had become the Kuei-Jin.
She found three ghosts on the side of the road, and she asked them how the honored heroes of old were fairing. But they were not heroes, they were trapped because their families could not afford to bury them properly. The Old Heroes were gone.
Then she found two Hsien, bereft from the moon, who knew nothing of their heritage or of Inari.
Then she came across a Shaman who offered to find Inari for her if she would only tell him her Name. Finally she came to Nepal she climbed the highest mountain she could find that she could pray to Luna and ask if she was on the wrong path. There she encountered a Raven and a Tiger, who told her that they were all that was left of the Defenders of Gaia in those mountains. The rest were dead.

Um, hi over there.

Bai Mianxi wept, knowing that whatever small discomforts she had suffered meant nothing compared to the suffering of Gaia. So she prayed to Luna "I will use no more time searching for my love or my destiny. Forgive me for wasting these years looking for the Prince. What would you want me to do my lady?" to her surprise, Luna answered. "The time was not wasted, dear niece. The journey let you see what harm Yomi has caused your Mother and her servants; also you traveled in the right direction. Now we command you to leave the mountains for India. We wish you to spend time assassinating dynasties which Heaven no longer sees fit to rule. Many of them do not exist yet; you may be at this some time."

The Death of Empires
The opening to this part puts it better than I ever could.

quote:

Now Bai Mianxi proved herself not merely the First, but the Best. Little Kitsune like us may destroy an evil person - a politician, a ruler, a dictator, a Wyrm-sotted tyrant - and be proud to call the deed our own. Bai Mianxi executed nations, and left the populace living
Why couldn't the book be about crazy regime destroying foxes working through the various human societies to kill the corrupt heads and helping those who were still good? Nope, as the first chapter tells you, the Kitsune are the courts, and completely inseparable. That's because of Prince Inari

The Prince Inari
I just said that, book.
Anyways, somehow Inari had also come into training as a Kitsune. He sent the elders among his court to the Hakken through a horrible storm of his own creation, forcing grandfather thunder to grant him an audience. He sent the most chatty Kataribe to the crows to gossip. He sent the youngest and most legend hungry kit to the Dragons. He sent the least scrupulous of his Eji to fight with the Nezumi and gain their trust. He sent the most attractive of his Doshi to the Khan and they fell for her. Finally he sent the kindest of his Gukutsushi to tend to the last dying Okuma in Japan. They became friends and the Bear said that he hoped one day the Kitsune would be trusted.
He didn't send anyone to the Snakes, but said that the Kitsune were to afford them all the courtesy in the world should the snakes seek out the Kitsune.

Words
:words: er, no, wait, that's actually the title of this section. Apparently Paper is magic, and the greatest creation of the Fourth Age. Since paper is earth, air, fire, and water, it's apparently quite holy. And since it's fragile and easily torn asunder, spirits don't mind being bound into it for short periods of time. Somehow though, as magic as it is, only Kitsune have figured this out. and they refuse to tell anyone else.

Theft
Foxes steal, eggs, berries, hares from traps. That's just what they do. And Gaia and Luna had to know this when they were created. Luna for her part doesn't really care that their thieves. Because they aren't the only ones. Ravens were bandits, and the Cats were also great thieves. They could even steal gifts from the other Hengeyokai. So that's what the Kitsune stole.

They stole theft.

And they were very very good at it, stealing every Gift they could get their hands on.

One day two Doshi came upon a sickly black wolf that was performing divination with the entrails of a human corpse. They loved it so much that they decided to start practicing it themselves. Then they noticed that their breath stunk of centipede venom. They were very contrite, of course. Going to all the spirit realms and asking for forgiveness for what they had done. Eventually they found an old wolf who would give them an answer, but not the one they wanted to hear.

"Yomi is everywhere, a little of it is even in ourselves. Some have more of it and are eaten from within until there is nothing but Yomi left under their skins. Like the wolf from whom you stole your latest trick. In doing so, you invited Yomi into yourselves, and it is making itself comfortable."

They asked if there was a way to make Yomi leave, as they had already had all their kind swear oaths to never steal gifts again(Note this, this is important). But the Wolf said there wasn't, but if they were very very lucky and if the world was allowed to turn into the next age. Maybe Gaia would be strong enough to chase Yomi away from their souls.

After this Sondok bids Mei farewell, as she needs to go meet her next teacher.

Modern Times

Wei and Hu find themselves in a restaurant someplace that isn't really explained. He hands her a bowl of rice and tells her to stick her chopsticks in it, straight up, and leave it there. She hears a whisper on the wind and she's surrounded by an odd Fog. Eventually a young man walks up to her and starts talking in horribly broken English. "Little girl, rude to do this is. You sticks from food take, no? Settle up, Hu, You dine with me tonight. Bring your girlfriend, yes?" Yeah, this is the new tale teller. The last few pages are written like this.

"You listen well, little girl-fox. I was born underground, you know? I don't do the monkey-chatter the way some folks can. Strong, silent type me. But the ladies, fox or monkey, they like that, so nothing wrong there you know?" This guy's name is Blackfoot, because he doesn't wear shoes. He's a Gukutsushi and a lone fox. He's here to tell about the modern day.

East
Just to show you how bad this is.

quote:

East is always empires. East is always dynasties. Communism? Empire! People's republican army; imperial troops; no difference. Mao Tse Tung; Son of Heaven if there ever was one. And the Red Army children, they worshiped him just like any god's son. You find me one difference between Cultural Revolution and the Duke of Chin's purges; I give you my lunch.
The east also has "poor people looking to get out from under fat rear end of emperor." some of whom might actually still remember Gaia and can be woken up, and if they're too far gone to Wake you turn them against one another so that a good man can take their place.

West
A whole bunch of words that boil down to "Democracy is Empire. Only differences: You get coup on schedule in democracy." also he talks about "Marco Polololololo".

The Sunset People
They ruin it for everyone. And watching Kuei-Jin rip apart a Kindred is hilarious.

Weaver
The west brings the Weaver and that's the worst thing ever.

The Age of Sorrow
It's going to suck, but Mei is a Kitsune and they're the best things ever so they're gonna fix it somehow.

Up Next: Mei makes it to the beast courts and meets the living embodiment of :smug:

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012

petrol blue posted:

STUFF

Not to mention, I'll learn how to train others, and learn kata... and grading... :eng99:

STUFF

Funnily enough, the katas might be the best idea in there; the general concept (i.e., get poo poo into your muscle memory) is used in pretty much every physical performance (dance, martial arts, theatre, etc, etc).

Now let's see how pretentious this guy is going to make muscle memory sound.

And, by the way, I think that kung-fu names should be used more often... but naming limbs like that is just stupid.

petrol blue
Feb 9, 2013

sugar and spice
and
ethanol slammers
Oh, just wait till we learn the 'chasing the dragon' attack, and THE ULTIMATE ATTACK. I'm gonna be so far over 9000, etc.

And trust me, you'll be satisfyingly disappointed by the Kata.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011
Is it just me, or is the concept of learning any form of swordplay, including LARP swordplay, from a book, just a little bit daft?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

hectorgrey posted:

Is it just me, or is the concept of learning any form of swordplay, including LARP swordplay, from a book, just a little bit daft?

It's just you. Books are actually the only remnant we have of, for example, a lot of European practical fencing, but those books are manuals good enough to actually rebuild the styles from.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011
Yes, but didn't the people involved in translating those books into their current form already have some grounding in other martial arts? I'm talking about completely from scratch...

vuk83
Oct 9, 2012
More sword fighting

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012
In response to your question, dice the book. Use your fire hand against the, er... what pretentious term did he replace book with?

petrol blue
Feb 9, 2013

sugar and spice
and
ethanol slammers
I'm not even sure what you're saying anymore. For each word you use, a hundred True Names appear in front of my eyes, each more pretentious than the last, I feel like I'm about to leave the matrix into a land of hipster robots and urban primitive white samurai.

And I've only just reached 'basic strikes'.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk


PurpleXVI posted:

2nd edition really had a lot less "caster supremacy" stuff, though, simply because it was so much easier to interrupt a caster by beating him over the head, and if you had a dagger or shortsword, you were pretty much likely to beat a caster in initiative every single round(initiative getting rerolled every round, and all that), plus fighters tended to have slammin' saving throws(again, just a roll-over, mages of higher levels did not make it more complicated for anyone to resist their spells unless you used some optional Player's Option rules), poo poo-tons of HP, rogues only had to beat their own chance of success when trying to hide and sneak up on a mage, the mage didn't get an opposed "spotting" roll to notice them(which would increase with his level), etc...

Clerics and mages are nowhere near "narrative-dominating supermen," frankly whenever I've run a 2nd edition game, even giving Mages a buff to be more useful at low levels(1 magic missile a day just isn't any fun), fighters have pretty much always been the ones doing most of the kicking rear end and taking names.

I think this might be a situation where we have to agree to disagree. Some of what you mentioned is only going to occur under optional rules circumstances (weapon speed affecting initiative), and other things seem like the traditional "well it wasn't a problem for my group so it must not really be an issue" kind of logic. For example, you mention that a level one warrior class will be have poo poo-tons of HP and slammin' saving throws. This is all well and good, until you consider that mages can cast both grease and sleep at first level. Per the AD&D 2E PHB, a first level fighter could feasibly have 15 HP, and their Save VS Spells would be 19. Assuming that a mage is able to cast grease on an area including the fighter, he has a 1 in 10 chance of not falling flat on his rear end for 4 rounds - plenty of time for the mage and his allies to take care of the assailant. Instead, the mage might cast grease specifically on the fighter's weapon, giving him again a 1 in 10 chance to actually hold on to his weapon and use it in combat. A fighter without their preferred weapon is a pretty toothless tiger. And, sleep doesn't even give a target a saving throw, it just straight checks for HD and then knocks your rear end out for 5 rounds. At a minimum, a first level mage with 11 INT is going to put the first level fighter and his first level best friend down for the count, and a first level fighter has literally nothing he can do against this unless he happens to be an elf or a half-elf.

I know that's just one very specific example, but wizards and clerics were the kings of tough poo poo mountain even in 2E. Anything that can turn invisible, open any lock, fly, stop time, teleport, automatically detect all forms of invisibility, have contingencies prepared for whatever kind of clever situation they can come up with, and still fry a bitch with a fireball doesn't have a lot to fear from the stabby man. I mean, if a first level mage was taking mage armor and magic missile as their first level spells, they were basically doing the DM a favor by intentionally hamstringing themselves so the rest of the group didn't get completely left behind in terms of utility.

Anyway, that's why it seems to me that Psionicists were such a disappointing caster equivalent class. Sure, they still had way more utility than a non-caster, but they got completely dusted by clerics and mages, which would have otherwise been the classes they are measured against in terms of overall utility.

EDIT: And really, all of the above is a moot point anyway. 2E classes were not really intended to be ranked against each other in some kind of PVP arena, it's way more useful to look at how much they can contribute to the success of an overall adventuring party. No argument from me that fighters were pretty decent to have around for a few levels until the casters started to get their legs under them, but a party of two mages and two clerics is ultimately going to be way more useful than a party made of the iconic four classes. Four dudes who can turn invisible, open any lock, fly, stop time, teleport, automatically detect all forms of invisibility, have contingencies prepared for whatever kind of clever situation they can come up with, and still fry a bitch with a fireball are just way more effective.

Freaking Crumbum fucked around with this message at 01:20 on Apr 22, 2013

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Kurieg posted:



Chapter 6: Birth of the Youngest

I like how the East quote suddenly mentions the Spanish Republican Army. :v:
I would just assume he meant the People's Liberation Army which is the actual name of the Chinese army.

Tasoth
Dec 13, 2011
I already submitted my monster drawings earlier in the thread. I even circled some bits for you.

As for M&OCT, you could potentially port a setting over to Sorcerer after the kids hit maturity. Since they grew up, their monsters grew up (instead of what the setting has happen) and the tone of the game changes immensely.

Domus
May 7, 2007

Kidney Buddies

hectorgrey posted:

Is it just me, or is the concept of learning any form of swordplay, including LARP swordplay, from a book, just a little bit daft?

It's like learning cooking from a book. You need to actually do the stuff the book says, many times, to learn. But there's no reason a book can't guide you along. Far from ideal, but possible. The real question is, why not just take up fencing? Then you can have a real life teacher, which is ten times better. Sure, it's not exactly the same, but if you learn both saber and epee, you're gonna be just fine compared to your average LARPer. Plus, you can explain your hobby to others without being horribly ashamed.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Well, for one, your average LARPer uses shields. And fencing trains a set of rules into you that won't apply at all.

That said, if you want to learn from a manual, use one that is written in a language normal humans can understand.

petrol blue
Feb 9, 2013

sugar and spice
and
ethanol slammers

Domus posted:

The real question is, why not just take up fencing? Then you can have a real life teacher, which is ten times better. Sure, it's not exactly the same, but if you learn both saber and epee, you're gonna be just fine compared to your average LARPer.

Yes and no.

The reason I got hold of the book is because there are big differences between fencing (or any 'real weapon' fighting) and larp combat - larp sword are bigger, lighter, and I'm not trying to actually run the other dude through with my weapon.

That is - what I was hoping for was an examination of the differences between real fighting and larp 'fighting'. As an example, the only 'real weapon' fighting I've done was viking re-enactment. In larp, shields are far better, because you don't have to worry about foam axes hooking over the shield and pulling it away, or (based on one terrifying moment) a loving DANE AXE splitting a 1" thick wood and metal shield in half.

As you might have guessed, the book hasn't mentioned these things.

Ah, I can't resist, I was gonna save this up but...

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk


ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: 2ND EDITION - The Complete Psionics Handbook

Chapter 2 - PSIONIC COMBAT OR THIS ENTIRE CHAPTER EXISTS TO EXPLAIN HOW THE TELEPATHY SCHOOL EFFECTS COMBAT


Click here for the full 634x898 image
Whatever the gently caress is going on here is 100% more interesting than actually playing with the rules for Psionic Combat.


Did you read the summary for this chapter I wrote for the alternate title? THIS ENTIRE CHAPTER EXISTS TO EXPLAIN HOW THE TELEPATHY SCHOOL EFFECTS COMBAT! That's it. Why wasn't this instead included in the chapter that covers the telepathy school (Chapter 7) Steve? :argh:

The entirety of chapter 2 exists to detail precisely what happens when you attempt to use the telepathy school of powers against an unwilling target. If you use these rules, you are effectively playing an entirely different game that has been sloppily bolted onto the top of AD&D's already bloated system. I can only wildly speculate that Steve Winter wanted to publish his own RPG entirely focused around psionic spies who battle by mind controlling each other but couldn't find a publisher, and yet somehow got lucky enough to be given carte blanche to write the psionics rules for TSR's flagship brand.

I'm obviously kidding; even back when the D&D brand was being managed by TSR, the rule of the day was bizarrely slavish obedience to whatever systems and rules had previously existed before for no other reason than "that's how Gary wanted it guys". In this case, despite the fact that Steve assured us in the intro to the book that this wasn't just a reprinting of the rules for Psionics from the prior edition of D&D, he basically fumbles his attempt to turn them into something approaching a system that would be fun and easy to use so badly that he might as well just have photocopied the rules straight from a previous printing and called it a day.

Okay, so in addition to Sciences and Devotions, Psionicists also get access to Psionic Attack and Defense modes. Defense modes are gained passively through leveling like most every other class feature, but Attack modes are exclusively Telepathy powers that you can only learn by selecting the Science or Discipline that corresponds to the Attack mode when you gain a level and are given a limited number of powers to choose from. These powers are generally poor choices outside of psionic combat (spend 1/3 of your first level PSPs to deal 1d8 damage 55% of the time!) and really only serve to make the act of actually making telepathic contact against an unwilling target as unwieldy as possible. Not to be outdone, the Defense modes have literally NO utility outside of psionic combat, and still have an associated failure chance; it'd be like if a fighter's armor had a flat percentage chance to just not loving function, at random during a given round.

Here's what's supposed to necessitate all this ridiculous horse poo poo - Guy A wants to use a telepathy power on Target B. In order to use any of the other powers from the telepathy school, you first have to use the contact power, which is basically like asking someone permission to root around in their noggin. If they're not psionically active and they are aware of psionic intrusion and they spend their entire action for the round trying to resist your contact, the best they can do is make you 10% less likely to succeed at breaching their mind. But, if Target B is a fellow Psionicist, then Guy A and Target B get to engage in a battle of wills that will surely bore the other players at the table to tears, take entirely too long to accomplish what a single roll could resolve, and ultimately prove to be of little point given what piss poor utility the actual powers a psionicist has access to produce.

Anyway, Guy A and Target B can both choose to use one of five Attack modes (Mind Thrust / Ego Whip / Id Insinuation / Psychic Crush / Psychic Blast) and one of five corresponding Defense modes (Mind Blank / Thought Shield / Mental Barrier / Intellect Fortress / Tower of Iron Will) to try and outmaneuver each other. Both psychic combatants roll their power checks and the winner is the person that rolls the highest will still rolling under their actual power score. Ties go to the defender, and a character that only engages in psychic combat can make two attacks in one round (because there has to be some kind of saving grace to this poo poo I suppose). Every successful attack gets the victor one "finger" into the defender's mind, and once you've got three successes you've managed to force their mind to accept your contact so that you can then attempt to do to them whatever you wanted to do in the first place. Or, you could just disintegrate their skull, but hey don't let me tell you how to have a good time.

Now, why would you ever want to do this? Well, what if you're a Psionicist and you need to sneak past the sole guard to get into the goblin king's treasure horde, but oh no, it turns out the guard is also a psionicist? No big deal, you might be thinking, I'm a telepath who knows the invisibility devotion, I'll just disappear and walk right by that chump! Well, not so fast there friend. See, the psionic devotion invisibility doesn't function like the equivalent mage spell of the same name, oh no. Instead, the invisibility devotion works thusly:

The Complete Psionics Handbook, page 86 posted:

Psionic invisibility differs significantly from magical invisibility. To make himself invisible, the psionicist must individually contact each mind that he wants deceive [sic]. Once they are all contacted, he makes himself invisible to them only. He can still see himself, as can anyone who was not contacted. . . . Invisibility is a delusion affecting one or more select characters, not an illusion affecting everyone. The only real change occurs in the mind of the psionicist's targets.

Cool, you're not actually going to turn invisible, you're just going to trick the guy in front of you into thinking you're invisible. The ability notation also mentions that you still make noise and still produce odor, so you're going to want to bathe thoroughly and take off all your clothes before attempting this feat. But, let's assume for the moment that the goblin guard is deaf and lacks a functional nasal passageway; you've still got to turn invisible to get past him. Thanks to the fact that you have to contact his mind first, and it's already been established that he's also a psionicist, now you get to waste a bunch of your PSPs (minimum of nine assuming you use the cheapest Attack mode three times and receive three consecutive successes, plus the cost of the invisibility devotion itself) waging a psionic battle against your foe, and basically eliminating whatever stealthy approach you were going for as he's going to become immediately aware that you are somewhere within his line of sight, as all of the psionic attack modes can only be used within line of sight. On top of all that, you're going to spend somewhere between 1/2 to 1/4 of your starting PSP pool, and each attack that you make is going to have at best a 15% chance of just outright failing, not even adjusting for the odds that you might make a successful power roll but the opposing guard might make a higher successful roll (which basically negates your attempt for that round).

There's also a completely unnecessary chart the indexes the relative usefulness of each Attack mode versus each Defense mode because someone somewhere decided that poo poo should matter, but again it's not anything you will ever reference unless you need to use a telepathy power against another psionicist. Given all of the effort it takes to loving accomplish that goal, I'd probably be more inclined to adopt a disintegrate on sight policy with regards to other hostile psionicists.

IN CONCLUSION: Do not ever ever ever use these rules. Drop Attack and Defense modes from your game entirely. If you absolutely need to include in your fantasy elf game rules that simulate one guy attempting to forcibly use telepathy skills against another guy who might need to resist the intrusion, just have Guy A make a power check with the contact devotion, and if he's successful then have Guy B make a save vs spells or something. Maybe give Guy B a penalty to the save if Guy A has significantly more hit dice than Guy B or whatever seems appropriate. gently caress, literally anything could have been easier than this complete and utter rules abortion.

NEXT TIME: Chapter 3 - Clairsentient Sciences and Devotions OR WHAT, YOU THOUGHT PSIONICISTS GOT TO SCRY AND DIE TOO? LOL N00B

petrol blue
Feb 9, 2013

sugar and spice
and
ethanol slammers


Part 2 - Hold the Non-Pointy end.

After wading through the covers, the forewords, and the terminology, we're finally ready to learn how to hit someone with a foam bat!

The Art of the Single Sword posted:

Before I begin telling you how a fighter should stand and how they should hold their sword, how they should attack or defend and how they should think I would first say that everyone must find their own style within the art. What is set down here is a good form that I have found useful and effective over many years and which I have taught to the people I have practiced with. I see my form in the way they fight, but they do not fight as I do. Take the knowledge written here and then adapt it to suit yourself. Be aware of the Why as much as the How and you will find your own truth. Then test it in combat.

Fighting tests the truth.
Christ, man, I just want to hit people with foam bats a bit better!

This chapter has it's own contents page, just in case you couldn't face flipping back a few pages to the main one. We start with a...

Description of the Sword

Usually up to 42" (which seems the standard for 'one-handed weapon' in larps, I couldn't tell you why - it's not just this book, though), may 'as easily be a mace or a blunt stick'. OK, sure, these aren't real weapons, you don't need to swing them like the real ones, so it doesn't matter if it's a sword or an axe

NO AXES PROLE posted:

Axes, hammers and flails of the same length are more unwieldy and sufficiently different in their application that they merit a seperate treatment. I do not deal with them here as I have yet to find sufficient merit in them to warrant their use over a good sword.

So a mace (big lump of metal on a stick) is more like a sword than an axe (big sharp lump of metal on a stick)? Bear in mind that these 'weapons' are mostly made out of foam, and a five year old could happily swing them. Not that it matters, they're all obviously weapons for the poors who can't afford a katana. Next we move onto ..

Grip

Standard 'hold it like shaking hands' until..

really? posted:

An alternative hold is to grip the handle with a fist. This is a stronger grip and an easier hold to begin with until sufficient finger and forearm strength has been developed to be comfortable in moving to a thumb grip [the book's name for the standard grip]

Now, I'm not sure, but that doesn't seem quite right to me. Sounds like a good way to learn a bad habit and then have to unlearn it. Next, we move onto finally loving swinging at someone

Stance

Turn a bit sideways, don't cross your legs or stand like you desperately need a slash, and so on. "This is sword position is known as guard position or moon parry." Cool, I'm parrying without even moving, I'm already pretty badass. Plus, I can type words in a sensible order.

There's an interesting part about what to do with your spare arm: in larp-rules, you tend to have hits by location or just total hits - meaning that taking an 'injury' to your arm is often preferable to getting hit in the torso, so the book suggests holding your arm in a 'sling' position (like a broken arm sling) to protect the torso. A pretty decent idea, I think, except you'll look like a complete tit. Other options suggested are 'keep it behind your back to hide it' and 'keep it behind your back for balance' (as in a fencing posture). These options are called (of course they have a Name, don't be stupid) 'the Three Waters'. 'Sling', 'Libran' (the fencing one) and 'Hipster' (behind you and out of the way, though not many people have heard of this one). And finally, we're on to... Nah, just kidding, first we have to

Learn to Parry

why can't I just hit them? posted:

There are three basic parries, Moon parry, Mountain parry, and Sun parry.
To decode, the parries are 'keep sword where it naturally sits', 'move it to the other side of your body', and 'turn the sword so it's horizontal, and lift your arm a bit'.

But even the first simple parry (ie, 'do nothing') will protect us from "a straight hit such as a Dragon strike". We might actually have to move to 'a wider position' to defend against "an enveloping strike, such as a Tiger strike". Glad that's cleared up, then. Now, it's OH FOR FUCKS SAKE I JUST WANT TO...

Advanced parries

Earth, Stone, Star, Sky, Reverse Sun, Back, Moon-on-a-Stick... BACK parry?! Yep, before we've even swung a sword, we're being taught how to step through someone and bring our sword round to defend without looking.


I'm starting to see why we're told to read this book out of order...

Think we're at 'waving our boffer' yet? Bollocks are we. Guards ("don't stand with the sword up your arse"), Movement ("Learn to hammerslide"), I'm just going to skip them because... Well, they're kind of reasonable, honestly, and also I've got massive blue balls about learning how to hit someone. The section on how we should think seems to have gone awol, and while I'm sure it would have been comedy gold, I'm glad because...

Now, finally, finally we're onto poking people with our foam sword...

Woah there bigshot, hold up a goshdarn second... posted:

One thing our chucklefuck author didn't mention in the 'what is a sword' section is anything about larp weapons. In particular, how they're constructed. This is relevant when we get to striking because of one very important difference between larp combat and a real swordfight. That is, you're only meant to gut the neckbeard in front of you like a fish in one of those situations.

Most larp weapons are constructed of a solid core (usually a fibreglass rod) surrounded by stiff foam. All the painting and carving, the making it look kinda-like-a-real-weapon-if-you-squint is just icing on top of that structure. For a clearer idea of how they're made, check out this guide.

Why is this relevant? Because your nice safe boffer has a fibreglass rod inside it. If you were to grip that rod tightly and stab someone with it, it could penetrate that nice soft layer of foam and impale someone for real. This is a Bad Thing, and is why only specially-constructed weapons are allowed to stab, and many systems don't even take a chance with those. Because, let's face it, would you trust a larper who told you their weapon was specially-constructed and extra-safe?

This is why the book doesn't teach you how to stab, although it's not discussed. Safe strikes swing the blade, chopping rather than thrusting, because the rod won't be forced through the foam (and into someone else) that way.

Next time, I swear we actually get to swing our nob-extension.
Did I mention we're 30 Pages into this book? If it seems like I'm going slowly, it's just because your Sun is Willowing my Stone Libram. 1/8th of the way through, and we've not even seen how to swing a weapon. On the other hand, we've learnt advanced parries, so I guess on average, we're doing ok...

Young Freud
Nov 26, 2006

Oh come on, me and my friends boffered each other with PVC pipes occasionally wrapped in foam and covered with stretched socks or duct tape. We did thrusts all the time.

Even with the weird corkscrew rapier one we derisively called the Dildo, which was just built for thrusts (because it was covered in at least three or four layers of duct tape, except the end which had seven or eight layers and the only foam was on the handguard and the pommel).

Arivia
Mar 17, 2011

petrol blue posted:

Next time, I swear we actually get to swing our nob-extension.
Did I mention we're 30 Pages into this book? If it seems like I'm going slowly, it's just because your Sun is Willowing my Stone Libram. 1/8th of the way through, and we've not even seen how to swing a weapon. On the other hand, we've learnt advanced parries, so I guess on average, we're doing ok...

It's okay, I'm still on page 19/192 of my first Forgotten Realms book after five updates and will still be after six. We all take different approaches. Me? :suicide:

petrol blue
Feb 9, 2013

sugar and spice
and
ethanol slammers

Young Freud posted:

Oh come on, me and my friends boffered each other with PVC pipes occasionally wrapped in foam and covered with stretched socks or duct tape. We did thrusts all the time.

Personally, I agree. However, in bigger games (the one I went to a month back had over a thousand people) you can't trust everyone, so you have to play it cautiously.

I think the bigger risk is that of 'hurting someone else who gets all bitchy and then gettting arrested for assault' more than 'being hurt'.

Regardless, I'm reviewing a LARP book, so I'm gonna present things as they're viewed by most larpers. The 'weapons' do have a solid core, and that's something people might not know, so I'm going to mention it.

petrol blue fucked around with this message at 03:08 on Apr 22, 2013

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011
Hold on, that's the kind of poo poo you use LARPing in America? drat, here in the UK we use poo poo like this:

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012




Buglord

Domus posted:

The real question is, why not just take up fencing? Then you can have a real life teacher, which is ten times better. Sure, it's not exactly the same, but if you learn both saber and epee, you're gonna be just fine compared to your average LARPer. Plus, you can explain your hobby to others without being horribly ashamed.
Way back, before kids and grown-up jobs and mortgages, I used to fight in a... well, it was more a boffer combat sport than a LARP, since our "characters" amounted to a fake name and funny clothes.

It was mostly beating on each other with padded weapons. (Really, that's it - none of this class or level or magic stuff. It was all about hitting the other person in the right way before they hit you. Full force swings, padded weapons, shield bashing, wrestling, etc.) And several weekends a year, we'd go camping with 500 other people doing the same thing, only with a lot more beer, pot, and sex.

I don't think they would have let me use my spear in fencing. :)

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

hectorgrey posted:

Hold on, that's the kind of poo poo you use LARPing in America? drat, here in the UK we use poo poo like this:



Depends on cost. And what you want to do. The one time I went to a LARP event with my LARPing friends, I decided I was going to be a gimmick character - a farmer who took up adventuring because his farm went to hell. They made me a boffer shovel out of PVC pipes, duct tape and foam, it was pretty great.

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petrol blue
Feb 9, 2013

sugar and spice
and
ethanol slammers

Easy there, tiger, we've only just learnt how to hold the drat things!

I agree though, I was looking at some vids while writing this, and 'boffer fighting' seems to be a very different thing to 'larp fighting'. American boffers are horrifically unsafe, from what I've seen, but it's largely balanced out by the incompetence of the adorable XXXL white samurai who swing them.

e: At some point during this, I'm gonna include some pics of the hilariously oversized swords swung around in the average LARP. Buster Sword ain't got poo poo on these things. (Because if it's just foam, you can make your faux-schlong as long as you want!)

petrol blue fucked around with this message at 03:24 on Apr 22, 2013

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