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Robotic Folksinger
Jun 27, 2008

I guess a robot would have to be crazy to wanna be a folksinger



Um, I believe you left out the all important forensic accounting ability?


Also, I need better friends to play this with.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



oMage: Dragons of the East

So, what do these guys look like from the inside? The Zaibatsu and Taiping Tianguo are basically corporate, complete with board, CEO, etc. Both groups employ un-Awakened agents and workers, all of whom willingly accept post-hypnotic conditioning to avoid loss of company secrets. Technically, in fact, the companies owned by the two groups are openly traded, but of course they have agents monitoring the trades at all times and controlling all corporate developments. The Zi Guang, on the other hand, are a pyramid structure with one (always male) leader at the top, three beneath him, nine beneath them, then twenty-seven and so on. You rise only when someone else is no longer holding the post. The Saensaeng use military ranks, with four general leading them. The Miao Guan are divided into cells of 3-10 agents, guided by a main cell in Beijing. Individual achievement isn't promoted - group achievement and good group skills are. Rogue and independent agents tend to be terminated, often lethally.

Everything the Elemental Dragons do takes energy, but they're very good and finding energy sources. The Water Dragons find most of them, in land, water and, recently, atomic projects. They work to make machines to harness Chi and increase Chi energy, which powers technological machines. Chi can also be found in human bodies, and the Zi Guang routinely harvest Chi from the Asian population to keep fluctuations from harming them. The shen also produce Chi, and the Zaibatsu fund Strike Force Zero in an attempt to harvest it as well as root out shen. The Miao Guan have never revealed their Chi source, but most believe they, like the Saensaeng, harvest it from the earth or, like the Zi Guang, from human bodies. Unfortunately, the greatest Chi source in Asia goes uncontrolled: Tibet. The Zi Guang and Miao Guan are trying to understand the energies in Tibet, but in July 1999, the explosion of several neutron bombs in India and the Chi fluctuations they caused were a reminder to everyone that it's not safe work.

The Elemental Dragons also have one of the world's best financial networks. Naturally. It is "conducted Asian style" and apparently that means complete obedience and respect for superiors, and with negotiations done indirectly over long periods and out of view. The preferred method is called nemawashi, the ability to get projects approved before formal approval is given. In nemawashi, an executive approaches inferiors to see their opinions on a project. Any negative opinion dooms it, but indifference or positive opinion on all parts means the executive can then go to their superiors, who must informally approve the project before any formal proposal is made. If the nemawashi goes poorly, the proposal is rejected, and failure in nemawashi kills promotion chances. Projects done with outsiders are done via xuanxi, or connections. (Read: networking and bribes. Lots of them.)

So, what problems do the Dragons have? Well, let's see...the Sokkaiya, often mistransliterated as Yakuza, control all Japanese crime, but that's not necessarily bad. After all, they forbid any crime lower than a major felony on profitability grounds, so Japan is fairly free of muggers. The Sokkaiya is not, strictly, Technocratic, but the top members are aware of the Zaibatsu and assist them in keeping gaijin out. In response, the NWO (which owns and controls the Japan Sun newspaper) has told reporters to seek out and publish all evidence of Sokkaiya corruption, and the extent of it has shocked even the NWO. Some Japanese have grown suspicious of the Sun, saying not even the Sokkaiya could be that bad, which may be why the Sokkaiya lets them continue. The Chinese Tongs, on the other hand, are little more than brutal street gangs who, rumor has it, are controlled by the Syndicate, or at least given money by them. Of course, the Syndicate claims it isn't and that would be counterproductive, since the Tongs are not organized at all. They also deny involvement with the more organized Triads. The Tongs and Triads both room Asia freely, despite the Dragons' plans to remove the Tongs from existence. Such plans have made the local shen happy, usually, though those shen who use the Tongs often get upset when the Elemental Dragons come in to try and kill off some of them.

More problems? Well, a depression is hitting Asia - a big one. The Technocrats and Elemental Dragons seem to have slowed it or stopped it for now, but Indonesia's still in trouble. No one has an explanation for why it's happening, though some blame the Syndicate, since Singapore is still basically okay. However, the Syndicate's being affected, too, so their denials seem genuine. Chaos is also becoming more rampant, especially as Chi flow increases, and Chi is spiralling out of control. The Dragons believe this may be the cause of many of their problems. Further, younger agents are becoming less controlled by the older generation, and are even questioning the mind techniques of the Miao Guan, especially those used to control crowds. A few Taiping Tianguo have even begun defending the existence of some shen, alarming the Zaibatsu...and rumors persist, despite all efforts to end them, of two Saensaeng youth jumping ship for the Void Engineers. Some Elemental Dragons blame American movies and TV and are trying to create their own replacements, as well as trying to get the NWO to change the trend of American movies. So far, the NWO has ignored this. Other Dragons say such ideas are stupid and believe that more inward discipline and training will fix the problem, instilling more Confucian respect for hierarchy. Even so, modern pressure is eroding their structure, and agents continue to travel abroad and return with strange ideas, accepting the idea of a scientific worldview rather than a Chi-centered one and a hierarchy of merit, not tradition.

Oh, and then there's the insanity problem. Sleepers seem to be going nuts at random. Some argue they can be controlled and directed, in the same way Chi has been used to harness natural disasters in the past. Others say they're too dangerous and must be minimized. Some agents have even claimed that the Marauders of the West have infiltrated the Taiping Tianguo, though no one is sure how that could have happened. The Dragons believe that Marauders are caused by damaged Chi flows and improper balance, and that Marauders might be curable with technology and a proper Chi environment. So far, no one has proof, of course.

And what about the shen? The Dragons would prefer to exterminate them all as soon as possible, since they cause chaos. They lack the manpower, however, to do it. Thus, they tend to avoid confrontation and instead dispatch the un-Awakened to deal with shen threats, such as Strike Force Zero, the Korean Anyonghi Ka, Singapore's Agency 99 or the Red Fingers of China, who are all well-armed by both the Dragons and Technocrats. Still, some threats are beyond them, and in those cases, the Elemental Dragons will step in personally, with heavily armed strike forces...and even so, they hesitate. Agents are just too valuable. Tradition mages who show up as tourists are largely ignored by both the Dragons and Technocrats. The Akashics would be ignored if their insistence on control of Chi by mind and body alone weren't so dangerous, and the Virtual Adepts have disrupted critical operations with their pranks on the Digital Web, given the increasing reliance on internet trade. Steps are being taken to stop them. The Elemental Dragons know nothing of the Wu-Keng (but wouldn't see them as a threat if they did), but do closely watch the Wu Lung, whose rituals are dangerous. Fortunately, few Wu Lung exist and they have had their power broken anyway. Other mages are just not a problem, hiding in the wilderness, though some agents do go out to try and kill them as potential threats. These ops are not officially sanctioned and count as vacation time.

Stereotypes posted:

Traditions: People who try to control Chi solely with their minds and dangerous rituals endanger themselves more than they endanger us. Interfere with them only if they interfere with you.
The Five Metal Dragons: Watch. Learn. Surpass.
Marauders: Must be destroyed at all costs.
Nephandi: While we understand that good and evil are but two sides of the same coin, a coin with only one face buys little in any market. Remember, our goal is to increase not only the coins, but also the buying power for all people.
Wu Lung: Fools. Traditions should be followed, not worshipped.
Wu-Keng: Of whom do you speak?
Others: Who knows what is up in the steppes? Will it help you make a faster computer?

Famine has been striking Asia for years, despite the efforts of the Zaibatsu and Taiping Tianguo, and the Dragons spend a lot of time watching financial trends, weather, food supplies, politics and so on. Agents also spend a lot of time fixing the damage the shen and Mages do, and so it's no wonder that a lot of stuff gets past their radar, especially given their obsessive secrecy. They're also working to bring literacy to Asia with mandatory education systems and testing to identify potential Dragons...though only graduates of MBA or PhD programs are fully recruited. New agents are given training devised by the Miao Guan to increase mental and physical abilities, and most choose to undergo mindwiping to cut family and personal ties to better focus on the job. The Miao Guan run the main one, but the Saensaeng and Zaibatsu have each developed their own programs to prevent Miao Guan infiltrators. Every ten years, all Dragons are required to enter a new academic program or work on a group research project, and most Dragons have multiple postgraduate degrees. Asian Technocrats tend to do the same every 20 years.

The Elemental Dragons have no real desire to explore space. Or claim to, anyway, though the Technocrats fear the Zaibatsu might be up to something. They're more focused on controlling China, and fast - dark chi has been bubbling up lately, which is troubling. They would also like the Void Engineers to leave China. They have no real interest in North Korea, though rumor has it that a branch of the Zi Guang runs the place as a way to siphon off the nation's Chi (and life force). Japan has been a problem as of late, especially with the cultural hybrid they have going on. Taiwan is being ignored by and large, which may make it a good place for anti-Dragon sentiment. They are trying to conquer the mages of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan, and have recently been having a lot of trouble in Thailand. They use Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam as training grounds and places to field-test weapons on shen.

Moving on...equipment. Imagine anime, wuxia and sci fi slammed into each other hard enough to give concussions. This is one area where the Elemental Dragons are kind of really, really dumb, though the game tries hard not to admit it. They use, for example, the DoCo, a skin-grafted watch with an internet connection which can connect to the Digital Web or give out credit cards. They're very useful and they kill you if you remove them because of massive Chi fluctuation. Also they won't work for anyone but the first to use them. No Technocrat is ever allowed to use one.

You want dumber? The Imperial Tigers are the major guards of the Taiping Tianguo. They are tigers made of organic, liquid metal. No, really. They disguise themselves as metal objects and watch people, then attack. They are controlled by jade supercomputers that give them AI slightly dumber than most people. The Zaibatsu claim a few have gone rogue for no apparent reason, which the Taiping Tianguo deny. The Zaibatsu are right: these things are Paradox-generators without parallel. They just are too dumb. Too paradigm-breaking. The world is not ready for liquid metal tigers. They go insane with Paradox and tend to attack people for Quintessence. Great idea, guys. Oh yeah: and literally no one in the Elemental Dragons has figured out that this is a problem. No one.

Next time: Rules poo poo.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



General Ironicus posted:

Thank you! I planned to finish chapter 3 today but then things happened, so have a preview:


Neural Rewiring (Cybe): You can reshape your brain to recreate the thought patterns of historical experts. That means spending Neural Rewiring points to make spends for investigative abilities you don't have. The cost is the cost of the investigative spend you intend to make, plus one for using the Rewiring in the first place. The Investigative Abilities all belong to one of five past experts, and channeling them also brings an Emotional State your Cybe will exhibit for the next two intervals.

I want to make a Cybe now who constantly channels Poirot, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Batman, and Horatio Caine.

Nonstop personality swaps.

TombsGrave
Feb 15, 2008



Unfortunately, the CoC review is going to continue being delayed--we're prepping for a move and my books are packed up. It will continue, it just may be a while!

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord



POWERS & PERILS 4.3 Culture Book D & E (there is no E)

4.3.1 Dawana

Dawana go there? Naah, I Dawana.

...And now we head East. Waaay East. Over to the island of Lemasa which is basically Australia but also kind of Lemuria. And perched on the north coast is ... Tibet ? I am not an expert, so maybe someone can fill in the gaps here. Regardless, I don't think it sounds like Australia. Maybe it's where the Ascended Masters live?

Anyway, it was once part of Lema (the formerly dominant nation on Lemasa) until they found religion and seceded. They got re-conquered in a bloody war, and remained that way until Fomoria (we'll get to them...) conquered Lema. And then? The monastic orders took over. No, I'm serious - they formed a Council of Lamas and elected the first Holy Dawan.

Their life is their religion, now, and it's divided into three basic orders. There's the Holy Order, which is formal and contemplative and doesn't really proselytize. There's the Militant Order - basically Shaolin Monks who learn rear end-kicking and snow tiger style alongside "peace." And there's the Missionary Order which is like the Holy Order, but less strict, and they travel to convert others to their faith. Each Lama rules the lands about their temple, but the "Holy Dawan, the Lama of Dawana (say that five times fast), and the Lama of Dai Mound" can order the lesser Lamas around a bit.

Otherwise, the people are basically pacifists. Seriously - they do whatever is possible to avoid taking life, even in war or self defense. (They can kill animals for food, but that's it.) They don't even punish criminals; they shun them and hope they leave on their own. And if they're serious crimes, the offender is banished (so much for not punishing them?) until they do enough good to make up for it. It's kind of a breath of fresh air after most nations being huge assholes.

4.3.2 Dechat


Speaking of assholes! Dechat is a tiny little shithole tributary of the Cerulean Empire, stuck right up next to the Bal'sani (remember those bandits who assassinate you for stepping in the wrong valley?). It's a wretched hive of scum and villainy, only with fewer aliens and more dark alleys to get murdered in. Its economy is based on slavery, smuggling, and piracy. And trade, somewhere in there. It has four major and nine minor Pirate Lords who each get a percent of the nation's take, so apparently they're Socialist pirates? They can't be bothered to give a poo poo about religion, since they're so busy slaving and being dicks. That's probably a good thing; at least they don't practice any overt human sacrifice. See? A silver lining!

Anyway, the people of Dechat are also all assholes, "untrustworthy and sadistic hedonists who love treachery and seek corruption." There's basically no legal system other than what wealth and influence can purchase; everyone's on their own, and they know it. Oh, and ship owners' word is absolute law on board their vessels, so they can kill the whole crew if they want without punishment. So um... yeah, it's a chaotic shithole but at least there's no dark gods in play.

4.3.3 Dirillar


Dirillar's a former colony of A'Korchu, the totally-not-Melniboneans who live on sorta-Britain. After winning its independence, it was ruled by a council of Mages-

...Wait, stop. This is interesting. Looking back, apart from those crazy artifacts in Caldo, this is about the first the book has acknowledged there's magic floating about in the world. Dwarfs have been mentioned exactly once - again, in Caldo; and monsters a few times (mostly Caldo, again). And there have been a few mentions of shamans, but not in association with magic or spellcasting but Overall other than dark gods and the occasional Melnibonean, there's hasn't been much to indicate this is a fantasy setting as opposed to a pseudo-medieval one. Interesting.

Anyway, the council of mages is mostly notable because one of them by the name of Nilgeranthrib killed the other ones and ruled until he was deposed. He's still liching around somewhere, if I remember the Tower of the Dead mega-adventure, so it's pretty neat to put him in context. Anyway, he ruled until the Fomorians (them again) ousted him after a big civil war. And because of all that nonsense, Dirillar hasn't gotten over the hate and fear of magic in all forms. That's really their defining character trait - hatred and fear of the supernatural. Oh, and they want to make money, I guess, but mostly they hate magic.

They're the best blockade runners out there, since nearby A'korchu still wants to crush them to dust and tends to post ships to destroy their vessels. These blockade runners often become the Duke, because they're awesome.

You see, Dirillar is ruled by a Council of Thirteen, usually merchants, elected to eight-year terms. And a Duke, elected for life. In peace, the Duke has basically no power. In times of war, though, his power is absolute. They hold orderly elections, kind of, and any citizen can vote for a silver coin. (A hefty amount, for what it's worth; it notes that the candidates often buy quite a lot of votes.) Outside of this, their legal system tends to be weak, so most disputes are handled personally in duels. Or by vigilantes, which is kind of awesome and sounds like a fun campaign idea.

4.3.4 The Djakschil


There is nothing interesting about the Djakschil. Seriously, it's just a pair of barbarian clans in not-Siberia who mostly keep to themselves. The book doesn't even try to make them sound interesting.

4.3.5 Djanesborg


Djanesborg is totally--not-Denmark. Because it's also kind of Scotland. They were once barbarians living in the now-dead Empire del Nord, who got themselves all civilized after the Empire fell. They were ruled by a series of Dukes, until one was assassinated by a A'Korchu (them again) puppet. The Djanes took their land back from the Korchu, only to be invaded like three hundred loving years later in revenge. (Don't make A'korchu mad, in other words.) This war continued for years, until the Djanes enlisted help from our favorite Mary Sues of Caldo, including the Dagger of Caldo himself. Since then, they've been firm enemies of A'korchu, as basically everyone else is. They went so far as to establish a major colony on Not-Ireland to keep pressure on their foes from both sides.

It should be noted that the Djanes now are basically Vikings. It even says so in the book. Their chief god is Odin, but other Norse gods are worshipped quite a bit, too. They're obstinate, but loyal, and also utterly terrible to women, continuing in the general misogyny of the setting. This is what passes for philosophy in Djanesborg:

quote:

“Women are a warm fire, bringing pleasure to a cold and joyless night. A good lord or loyal sword-brother is food for a hungry soul. Fire is a comfort that may come or go, but will surely come again. Food is a need that powers the soul and gives meaning to life.”

...That's the Viking version of "Bros before Hos." Women are only protected by the fact that their man basically owns them. But ... um ... if a man "takes" a woman they are honor bound to provide and protect for her. So, Djanish women, don't worry! If you're not married and you're "taken" by an awesome Djanish man, the "taker" has to pretty much marry you, you lucky gal, you! (Foreign women and harlots don't count, fyi, and can presumably be "taken" at will.)

What puzzle me here is that this is (at least, as I understand it, and my understanding may be flawed) substantially worse than actual Viking women had it, what with shieldmaidens, valkyries, Sif, etc. So the typical, "versimiltude! realism! history wasn't nice!" defenses doesn't even work. Blargh, too depressing. Let's move on.

4.3.6 Donara


So with that bit of pleasantness left behind, we get to the utter peach that is Donara. Donara's kind of a totally-not-Italy. They're led by a Don who is supported by a council of Dukes. Those Dukes tend to have, in the balance of things, more power than the Don ... if you remember last post, the Duke of Pelara (a Donaran Principality) more or less owns the entire small nation of Chiros. Welp, he's basically in the driver's seat in Donara, too, unsurprisingly.

The history of Donara has a lot of small-scale conflict intermixed with amazing displays of sociopathy. I'll let the book tell this story because drat...

quote:

Under Don III (149DO-204DO, or 934SA - 989SA because gently caress consistent calendars, that's why) Donara committed itself to the destruction of Salaq. In the early years of his reign he took lands to the north, meeting little resistance. Emboldened by this, he invaded Salaq in force. The war that followed (963 - 980) was a bloody stalemate until Don’s own error (980) led to the rout of his army. After this debacle he was forced to sue for peace. It was granted when Don journeyed, alone and unarmed (in the robes of a penitent), to the city of Salaq and promised its king that he would never attack again. Don III’s pride was shattered by this humiliation. In the year 989, an old and bitter man, he committed suicide.

The reign of Don IV (989 - 1014) saw the defeat of Salaq through conniving and treachery. In the “Rape of Salaq” more than 60,000 Salaqi, including the entire royal family except for one girl, were killed or enslaved. The remainder of the population lived as exiles or became Donaran serfs. The victory was total and one of the bloodiest incidents in recorded history. On his deathbed, Don IV stated that his greatest accomplishment was the ruin of Salaq, which so successfully avenged his father’s honor.
So anyway, the current Duke of Salaq is a ball-less puppet of the Don, but his son for some reason is helping the "Star Society" rebellion. Like he's unhappy with the Donarans or something; can't guess why.

Anyway, in part because of this, Caldo more or less (correctly) thinks Donara's full of amoral idiots. Donara's tried to conquer them a few times, but no dice so far. (Caldo doesn't invade them because Mary Sues don't do that.)

As for personality and religion, Donara's basically an amalgamation of a bunch of different subjugated cultures. The Donarans themselves worship Lawful gods of War like Ashur. Other areas differ. But the book notes that most Donarans aren't sociopaths. Don IV certainly was, as is the current Duke of Pelara, but the majority (while still kinda violent) are rather honorable and moral. It's an incredibly rich country, and that wealth has actually filtered down to the citizenry (except, of course, for Salaq). To their credit, they only punish criminals who confess their crimes. But with one step forward and two steps back, they torture confessions out of accused people. This is supposed to be "proportional" to the crime they're accused of, but ... well, you know how that works. Once they're sure you did it, they will continue torturing you until you actually confess. Awesome.

The first adventure for Powers & Perils - the one in the box set, County Mordara - is set in Donara, so it's kind of a natural kick-off point for campaigns. Yay.


...and that's it for D and (by default) E. Next time, we cover the Fomorian Empire!

dwarf74 fucked around with this message at 04:00 on May 2, 2013

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Using the different in-fiction calendars in out-of-fiction descriptions of history is absolutely ridiculous.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


You know, I don't think that's a title. It seems like the country is ruled by a guy named Don.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



That is typically what the number after the name means, yes.

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

HitTheTargets posted:

You know, I don't think that's a title. It seems like the country is ruled by a guy named Don.
Yep, you seem to be right.... The army is called the Don Host which makes it all kinds of crazy.

quote:

After this victory, Don proclaimed himself Don I, King of Donara.

Edit:

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

Using the different in-fiction calendars in out-of-fiction descriptions of history is absolutely ridiculous.
Yeah, it's unbelievably dumb. I may have mentioned that a fan did a clean-up of sorts on it - it's what I'm copying text blocks from - and part of his effort was to rein in the calendar bullshit.

dwarf74 fucked around with this message at 04:49 on May 2, 2013

pospysyl
Nov 10, 2012

SO EMBARRASSING



Tribebook: Black Furies

Chapter 3, Part 1

All the Tribebook mechanics chapters are organized identically: first a guide to using backgrounds, then new gifts, and closing out with nifty rites and fetishes.

First, Background suggestions!

Allies: A lot of Furies are from other tribes, so they probably have friends from the tribe they left behind. Because they’re politically involved, they also have connections in left wing NGOs. Despite their mysticism, they don’t tend to have supernatural allies, not even the Wyld changelings.

Ancestors: Because the Furies are tied closer to human political history than most tribes, determining what era the ancestors you’re contacting are from is a good idea. Pretty good advice!

Contacts: The temptation here is to just have contacts with feminist organizations, but Black Furies are just people, except they’re also werewolves. Pretty much anyone could qualify as a contact to a Fury.

Fetish: While most werewolves use klaives, Furies favor fetish labrys, a double headed axe that the Gorgon Isthmene wielded. The Black Furies’ powerful fetishes are all from ancient Greece, and they should maintain that imagery. Modern fetishes tend to be useful tools. Surveillance tools are a good idea to better track down transgressors.

Kinfolk: Mostly humans, tend to worship Gaia. Basically dirty hippies.

Mentor: Predominantly crones. A retired crone is going to be more accessible, but less helpful in battle, while a working crone is going to be busy all the time. If a Fury’s mentor is from another tribe, it’s probably female. To have a male mentor would draw a lot of ire from other Furies (plot hook!).

Pure Breed: Not as socially helpful within the tribe. Higher Breeding will make you look more Greek and have your wolf form much more pretty. Men will also be nervous around you.

Resources: This varies from person to person!

Rites: Rites are pretty common among the Furies. Even starting characters are encouraged to know rites.

Totem: Furies don’t like male-ish totems like Bull or Grandfather Thunder. They also don’t like city spirits like Cockroach. Other than that, though, they’re fine with anybody.

Amazons of Diana: No real suggestions. They do tend to live near caerns if they’re sedentary, but many are nomads looking for Wyrm monsters to kill.

Bacchanates: As one of the more mystical camps, they have more mystical backgrounds, i.e. Fetish and Rites. Devoted as they are to traditional Black Fury ways, their Totems are almost always Pegasus or one of the Gorgons.

Freebooters: As nomads, they don’t tend to have Allies or Kinfolk, since these represent close, developed bonds. They do have Fetishes that they discover on their journeys or caern Rites.

Moon Daughters: On the other hand, Moon Daughters are all about the connections. They tend to have lots of dots in Allies and Kinfolk. They’re pretty mystical too, so they take Rites and Fetishes (although rarely fetish weapons). They’re also educators, so Mentor’s a good choice too.

Order of Our Merciful Mother: A lot of them take vows of poverty, so no Resources or Fetishes. They do have lots Allies and Contacts, built from spending time in communities.

Sisterhood: As information brokers, they have lots of Contacts, Allies, and Kinfolk they can call upon. Selling their info gets them a lot of Resources too.

Temple of Artemis: Don’t start as a member of this camp, you special snowflaker! Anyway, they don’t have Mentors because they already know everything they need to. As elders, they have higher Pure Breed and Rites. They also get access to nice Fetishes.
Next is the Gifts section. Now, before we look at the gifts in this book, let’s see the Fury Gifts in the corebook to see how they compare. They only have one unique gift at Level One.

Breath of the Wyld: The Fury creates a feeling of life, vitality, and peace in the target, refreshing them. The target gets a +1 bonus on all Mental rolls, but the difficult of Rage rolls is increased by 1. Taught by a servant of Pegasus.
The other two Gifts increase senses or the ability to find the Wyrm. These are good characterization, painting the Furies as mystical (Breath) or as hunters of the Wyrm or other transgressors.

The only new Level One Gift that all Black Furies can take from the tribebook is Watchful Eyes. The Furies need to find transgressors even if they aren’t of the Wyrm! Spending a Gnosis point and succeeding on a Perception + Investigation roll reveals where a transgressor might be, with a decent margin of error. Taught by an owl spirit. Another perception gift.

Amazons of Diana can take True Shot at Rank One. Artemis was good at archery and so are her followers. Spend a Rage and get +3 on your next bow attack. Artemis demands that her followers be virginal, though, so mothers and crones get +2. Flavorful!

Members of the Order can get Mother’s Touch, which is a Theurge gift. Sisterhood members, meanwhile, get Spirit Smuggler, taught by a raccoon spirit, which allows them to send a small item into the Umbra temporarily. This is good, but the Sisterhood is so poorly defined that I don’t understand why they get this Gift. edit: It's more reminiscent of the first tribebook. It would make sense that werewolf nuns can heal you, I suppose.

The core Level Two Fury Gifts are Curse of Aeolus (summons a fog, difficulty dependent on environment) and another sense boosting Gift, again establishing mysticism and hunting.

Any Black Fury can take Kali’s Tongue at Rank 2, a touch attack that stops healing or regeneration for a certain amount of turns, taught by a cobra spirit. They can also learn Stoking the Soul’s Fire from a wolverine spirit, which can refill your RAGE. These establish an angrier tone for the Furies.

An Amazon of Diana can take Flurry of Shots which grants a free bow attack. Kind of OP, although I’ve never seen in in play, but it’s taught by a Lune, so it could be really difficult to learn. Bacchanates can learn a Gift of similar strength in Rend, which takes away three dice from an opponent’s soak pool, even if it’s a solid object.

Freebooters can learn Messenger’s Fortitude, a Silent Strider Gift, and Omen of Power, which allows the Freebooter to find a caern or abandoned fetish within 20 miles, making it the signature Freebooter Gift. Moon Daughters, out of the generosity of their heart, can lend a Gift to another werewolf through the use of Spirit Loan, taught by a hen spirit.

Here’s a fun one: members of the Order can learn Truest Sacrament from a unicorn spirit. This Gift convinces faithful parishoners that Gaian ritual is natural. Basically, it brainwashes people into participating in the Gaian spirit cult. It’s Jack Chick’s worst nightmare!

The corebook Black Furies get more anger Gifts at Rank Three. Coup de Grace, a misnomer, doubles the damage an attack does. Visceral Agony doesn’t do any extra damage, but it doubles wound penalties for a certain amount of turns. The tribebook brings Barring the Will, which refills the willpower pool.

The tribebook also has Flames of Hestia at Level Three, which can purify food, people or spirits, and by “purify” I mean do 1 unsoakable aggravated damage per success. The Sisterhood gets the gift Winged Delivery, which summons a spirit owl to express deliver something at 100 miles per hour. I really think the Sisterhood should have been smugglers rather than generic information brokers, because their Gifts are actually interesting and tailored to that end.

The first core Gifts I don’t like for the Furies, Body Wrack just causes pain, stunning the opponent for several turn, and Wasp Talons allows the Black Fury to shoot her claws out of her arm. Cool, but also really loving weird. Body Wrack just seems awkward to use in a standard combat.

Only Crones get to use the Level Four Bolster the True Name, which refills your Gnosis pool. Such eldritch power must be kept out of the hands of the cubs! More usefully, Amazons of Diana can take Blizzard of Arrows which allows you to shoot every opponent you can see in one turn at no penalty.


What does it take to impress that werewolf?

The capstone core Gifts are Thousand Forms, which is freeform shapeshifting (most Furies shapeshift into pegasi) and Wyld Warp, which summon a whole bunch of Wyld spirits who then do whatever the Storyteller wants. Both of these are really evocative for the Black Furies’ worship of the Wyld, but I can’t see anybody taking Wyld Warp over Thousand Forms.

The capstone charms in the tribebook are restricted to camps, annoyingly. The Bacchanates get Storm of Mother’s Wrath, which summons a gently caress-off hailstorm that penalizes all physical dicepools by 3, except for you pack. Humans flip their poo poo when they see this storm and try to get out of there.

The Temple of Artemis gift Walk with Hades has some…interesting flavor text.

quote:

When Persephone entered the lands of the dead with Hades, her lover, her mother, Demeter, the harvest goddess, went in after her. As an aspect of Gaia, Demeter understood her daughter’s desire for Hades, but refused to let a powerful spirit remain in the deadlands for long. Eventually, Persephone acquiesced to return to the living realm, under the agreement that she could periodically return to Hades’ side, and could return to the Underworld, eventually.
Demeter agreed to this arrangement verbally, but eventually performed a secrete ritual to block her daughter from returning to the land of the dead.

I’m not sure whether the writers knew the story or they’re trying to be clever, but this is lame. The gift itself, taught by a follower of Persephone, who created her own paths into the Underworld, allows the user to enter the Underworld and talk to ghosts. I have no idea why they didn’t just use Orpheus for this.

Next time: No jokes about Fetishes please; that just really wouldn't be Rite. Also Merits and Flaws.

pospysyl fucked around with this message at 04:34 on May 13, 2013

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




dwarf74 posted:

Yep, you seem to be right.... The army is called the Don Host which makes it all kinds of crazy.

The Don Host, as in the Don Cossacks?

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011



Part 2: Classes for the Classless

Advanced Classes! Basically prestige classes in d20 form! Three of 'em!

The Chaste

Fields starts out the paragraph calling the Chaste Sisterhood "a warrior society older than Christianity by two millennium", then makes an attempt at more solid historical-fiction legitimacy by claiming Yang Kwei Fei, a legendarily beautiful Imperial consort in T'ang Dynasty China who was executed without charge to appease court politics, as their founding member. This combination only works if you A) didn't know who she was before, and B) don't ever bother to look her up, since she lived and died in the 8th century of the Common Era, by which point any fool could tell you Christianity was quite well established. I wonder if this wasn't actually supposed to be the Erinyes Sisterhood that's been mentioned a few times before but never detailed (since their missions are practically identical), then he saw the movie version somewhere and decided to change it. Whatever.

Anyways, Fields' version of history says that instead of being simply executed, Yang Kwei Fei was sexually mutilated - clitoris cut out and labia sewn together with golden thread - then cast out into the wilderness to die. But instead of dying, she achieved enlightenment through suffering, becoming "stronger than any woman she knew", and retreated up a mountain to meditate. Within a generation, an order of women had grown up around her, following her strictures of protecting women from natural and supernatural threats well into the modern age. Today, members just call themselves "The Sisterhood" (so I guess they are the Erinyes, but I can't be bothered to go edit the previous paragraph to accommodate this revelation), with the Chaste as their top elite. While the Sisterhood's rank-and-file remain whole, the Chaste have their sexual organs ritualistically removed in emulation of their founder. The power granted by this agony makes them the greatest martial artists in the Earth Realm, and the invisibility of their "mark" makes them ideally suited to blending in with the populace, only revealing themselves at the moment the trap is sprung.

Class features:
    Unchanging Hand Technique: Actually a feat requirement, but reprinted for convenience. By either defeating an opponent's Defense by 5 points or more with an unarmed strike, or spending an action point alongside a hit, you can either lock a shapeshifter into their current form, or force them to revert to their true form.
    Unchanging Hand Mastery (1st): 3 points instead of 5.
    No Lesser Agony (1st): Immunity to all pain and fear effects, and to harmful sexual feats or abilities; harmless or beneficial ones may be allowed or rejected at will.
    Living Weapon (1st): May make unarmed strikes even when their hands are full (since I guess the default is just punches and no kicks or such), and with no off-hand. Also deals extra unarmed damage, dice increasing every five levels.
    Decoy Deception (2nd): Add half your class level to Bluff or Disguise checks made to blend in with a crowd or appear weak and helpless.
    Iron Root Stance (2nd): "A Chaste’s will is so unbreakable she can root herself to the Earth." Bonus to resist grapples, trips, bull-rushes and suchlike.
    Eyrines Ironfist (4th): Guess that answers that, then. Unarmed strikes count as silver and holy weapons, and you may spend an action point for a cumulative +1 bonus to attack and damage for every rape the target has ever committed. No maximum limit.
    All Women Everywhere (5th): Cast Change Self at class level; only works to resemble humanoid females.
    Ironclad Soul (7th): Turn your whole body into metal? Sure, why not. A whole host of new immunities, plus hefty STR and Defense bonuses, at the bargain cost of lower land speed and a stiff penalty to Hide and Move Silently checks.
    Teaching Demons About Fear (8th): The Chaste are predators protecting the prey, and the whole of the Black Else knows them. All Undead and Outsiders in your presence are subject to a penalty-inducing fear effect, even mindless and otherwise fear-immune targets.

The Hanging Maiden

The Hanging Academy is a massive girl's school in the Tatakama, built around an ancient tree that is possibly different from the World Tree or possibly not. Staff are all rokurokubi, and students come from the Earth Realm, "non-conformists, outcasts, anorexic girls and rape victims, weak and belittled femininity in all its varied forms", drawn by urban legends about the place that have circulated among Japan's schoolgirls for generations, and graduation is at the end of a noose. Hence the name. The curriculum consists mostly of exercises designed to make the student's eventual death as aesthetically pleasing as possible (these hangings are big spectator events, apparently), but the biggest lesson comes at the end: the student is granted enlightenment while they're hanging, a unique insight into the nature of the World Tree and a free pass out of the cycle of reincarnation straight to a purer world. Some of them, though, are so profoundly changed by this experience that they rise again as oracles; these are the Hanging Maidens.

Y'know, for all the infodump on these things, it still seems kind of scarce with the actual info. I dunno. I guess my questions were answered, but I still feel like I don't know that much about them. Ain't gonna let it worry me too much, though.

Class features:
    Immortality of the Noose (1st): Creature type becomes Undead, with a few caveats. Maidens still have a soul, so they don't get the typical Undead immunity to mental effects; their Hit Die remains based on character class; cannot be turned or revoked by divine casters; destroyed at 0 HP instead of incapacitated, and can only be willingly resurrected.
    Play Dead (2nd): Spend an action point and specify a form of harm (from an energy type to a specific attacker or weapon). For the rest of the encounter, if you're destroyed by that method, you just collapse for 2D6 rounds, after which you hop back up with full HP.
    Dying Insight (4th): Gain a permanent bonus to any two Knowledge skills, which triples for 48 hours after you return from the dead. Also, when "dying" with Play Dead, concentrate on any one person known to you to receive a full psychic dossier on their location and state of being. For another action point, open up a telepathic channel with them, too.
    Artful Demise (5th): "As you die, you take direct control of your bodies final throes and dying tremors, shaping your last moments into a sensual performance that is impossible to forget." You can choose to either unnerve (all sentients watching make a WILL save vs. shaken) or inspire (all allied creatures get a WILL bonus equal to your CHA mod). Activates automatically with Play Dead.
    Maiden of the Dead Temple (7th): As a medium and mediator between the living and the dead, you get a bonus to Bluff and Diplomacy checks against sentient undead and souls in the afterlife. Also comes with a built-in optional side quest, where helping a spirit settle their mortal affairs while in the middle of another adventure is rewarded with an action point.
    Death and Life Entwined (8th): Drain levels while grappling. Use the life energy to either regain HP or convert it into temporary action points.
    Loving Execution (10th): Spend an action point during sex to let your partner use Play Dead for a single encounter. As a bonus, any lover who dies and comes back in this manner gets to reassign up to four skill ranks and retrain any one feat choice upon return.

The Omukame


Were the beetleborgs even samurai? I probably got shows mixed up.

More like a race than a class, the Omukame are the earthly avatars of the Celestial Centipedes that guard the border between the Tatakama and the Black Else, preying on the Else's demonic spiders. They act as the samurai of the Tatakama, upholding the ideals of bushido, fighting with katana, wakazashi, and Phallic Spear. Yeah, remember that trick? Omukame are among the greatest warriors in any realm, chosen by Heaven to protect their mortal vassals in the Tatakama from incursions by the Black Else, and a major factor in their strategy involves swinging their dicks around. Fantastic.

Oh, and they don't work for free:

tsujigiri posted:

Their station gives them the right to claim any low-born girl they desire as a reward for their fine service, a privilege the centipede lords take full advantage of. Bawdy haiku and ukio-e commemorate passionate couplings between wandering Omukame and village maidens. Most of these legendary orgies last for days, and are celebrated in art and haiku long after the maiden involved has become a grey haired old matron.

FIIIIIIIEEEEEEEELLLLDS!!

Class features:
    Lustful Ronin (1st): Bonus to STR and CON for 24 hours after any sexual encounter with a sentient virgin female, willing or not. Also a permanent insight bonus to CHA-based skill checks against any woman who's previously "rewarded" you.
    Chittering Jade (1st): As part of the ritual inducting you as an Omukame, your body becomes covered in a greenish-black exoskeleton, shaped in a parody of traditional samurai armor (or, if Fields had really thought this through, vice versa). Hefty bonuses to defense that increase with level, and bonuses to Handle Animal and Survival checks involving "mindless vermin", which I guess would be insects? So why doesn't he just say "insects"?
    Endless Vitality (1st): Omukame "are trained to use their cocks with as much skill as they wield their katana, and are equally tireless when fighting with either". Use your Phallic Spear Technique at will, with no daily limit.
    Hundred Legs Strength (2nd): Add half your class level (rounded down) to all Climb, Jump and Tumble checks. Also, you can drop to all fours and sprout hundreds of tiny insect legs from your armor for a land speed bonus, but you have to drop anything you're holding to do so. Permanent spider climb effect at 3rd level.
    Scent (3rd): Use Survival to track by scent, and recognize odors as easily as faces. Veterans are notorious for their panty-sniffing habits. :ughhh:
    Blood and Venom (5th): Your blood is venom. Add a die of acid damage to all melee attacks. Spend an action point to bypass WIS mod points of DR, too.
    Phallic Razor (10th): Your "already impressive combat penis [...] can slice through an oni's armor like rice paper." Increased base damage, crit threat on 18+, and triple crit damage. Spend an action point to add the vorpal quality for CON mod rounds, instantly beheading your opponent on a crit. With your cock. How does a body write something like this with a straight face? It boggles my mind, it does.

Next time: Child's Play in reverse, vagina-mounted wave motion guns, and ponies! I can't wait!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I'm beginning to think that there's something to that old canard about RPGs causing insanity, because every time Fields comes up I suffer the irrational desire to track him down and beat him to death with a golf club.

Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

He's an ancient, obscure god. You probably haven't heard of him.




Bieeardo posted:

I'm beginning to think that there's something to that old canard about RPGs causing insanity, because every time Fields comes up I suffer the irrational desire to track him down and beat him to death with a golf club.

I'll drive.

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

Kavak posted:

The Don Host, as in the Don Cossacks?
It doesn't seem to be related... At least not directly. This guy's sources are all over the place.

So far, sexism aside, it's not really a bad setting, but it feels a bit too crowded for a lot of adventuring. Maybe I'll change my mind down the road.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I Forgot To Hail King Torg


Bitchtits McGee posted:

bonuses to Handle Animal and Survival checks involving "mindless vermin", which I guess would be insects? So why doesn't he just say "insects"?
I'm thinking he means the D&D Vermin type, except barring exceptions all Vermin are mindless and can't be trained with Handle Animal (I think?), so still FIELDS.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



oMage: Dragons of the East

The Elemental Dragon paradigm is essentially mysticism via technology, so they can't just use mystical rituals. They focus magic through technology, they just accept magic is a thing. The Zi Guang try to achieve biological perfection, personal harmony and social equality. They tend to be good diplomats, and focus on the Life sphere using agriculture, biotech, medicine, herbs and animal body parts. The Saesaeng are honorable warriors who adore the concept of war-as-art, culture, and glory. Their sphere is Forces, and they use swords, poetry, tea ceremonies and other cultural exhibitions to focus it.

The Miao Guan dislike technology, focusing instead on mental mastery and control of the minds of others. They are often viewed as psychics, and their focus is on how people are motivated and controlled. They focus the Mind sphere via sutras, books, math, torture devices, meditation and body language. The Taiping Tianguo are the most modern of the Dragons, reckless and daring. They love the modern world and everything in it, embracing the new Asia and understanding the nature of vice and how to bring order to chaos. They specialize in Entropy via gambling, daredevil tricks, weapons and various destructive tools. The Zaibatsu, well, they make machines. They seek to excise the strange because it is dangerous and to control the normal. They are a very corporate group, and they like to wipe out anything that doesn't fit their vision. They are masters of Matter via all kinds of high-tech gadgets.

Anyway, now we just get magic items like the Bangles of Infinite Acceptance, which make other people think that no matter what you do, you're still likable. We also get a list of Chantries like the Shaolin Temple, but frankly as I go through all this I realize it is actually not very interesting or funny. So, instead, we're just cutting it short here.

The End!

Next up, I plan to go through Ars Magica, though not in the detail I usually do. I'll be giving overviews of cool poo poo and character options, to hopefuly get more of you to want to play Ars Magica. I have a plan.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Erinyes fist strikes me as something that would just break the game the moment you took it in a Fields' setting. I assume any villain in the Fieldsverse has countless acts of rape under his belt, so EF just breaks the encounters and brings the player to infinite-damageville. The kid has watched far too much anime and not interacted enough with the world to realize his settings would be worse than a world crawling with Barker's Cenobites.

And I think golf clubs is being too nice, sand filled wiffleball bats would be more fulfilling.

General Ironicus
Aug 21, 2008

Something about this feels kinda hinky


Robotic Folksinger posted:

Um, I believe you left out the all important forensic accounting ability?


Also, I need better friends to play this with.

Thanks for the catch. It's been edited into its proper, alphabetical place. Forensic Accounting is good stuff.



ASHEN STARS
Website
pdf on DriveThru RPG

Part 5: Thirty-One ways to be awesome

Today we finish off Chapter 3 with another load of lists. By now it should be clear I'm mostly splitting it for how great the chapter title is. Every book should have a section called "What You Can Do". Today's list is General Abilities, which govern everything aside from gathering clues. There are some grey areas where something could be covered by a general or an investigative ability, but the question is whether you're doing it to seek a clue to the mystery or for another purpose. Some abilities have more in-depth mechanical explanations later, space combat for instance, but some of these skills will have descriptions of game mechanics attached. Once more unto the breach:

Chapter 3: What You can Do (part 3)

Athletics: The catch-all ability for physical exertions not covered by more specific things. Lasers whos Athletics is 8+ have a hit threshold of 4, while the rest have a hit threshold of 3.

Battle Console: The ability to shoot your ship's weapon arrays. More on that later.

Business Affairs: This is used to land your crew's new contracts and arrange side deals. Those are pretty cool mechanics to be described at a later date.

Communications Intercept: The general counterpart to Decryption, it's also a valuable tactic in ship combat.

Emotion Suppression (Balla): When your Balla PC encounters an emotional stimulus, the GM may ask you to make an Emotion Suppression test to keep your cool. There's an associated chart with difficulties ranging from suffering an insult to witnessing the death of a close friend. Difficulties increase by 1 if your personal arc is involved. Failure either leads the PC to take a self-destructive action, or to reduce their hit threshold by 1 and increase the difficulty of all general tests by 1 for the next two intervals.

Enhancement Integration (Cybe): This ability allows Cybes to avoid the consequences of failing to pay the upkeep on their cybernetic enhancements, and even to make use of enhancements that are offline with some effort.

Farsight (Vas Mal): You can separate your consciousness from your physical self to take a look at faraway places. There's a chart of difficulties based on distances ranging from 55m or less, to anywhere in known space. Psychic entities may sense you watching them, and if anyone uses Farsight on you, you will be able to sense them as well.

Filch: The sticky fingers/slight-of-hand ability.

Ground Craft: Not just the ability to drive, but the skill to pull of driving stunts and dramatic chases. Ground Craft include cars, jetbikes, hover skiffs, and anything else like that.

Health: Your Health pool is basically your HP. How that is reduced and how that effects you will be covered later.

Helm Control: The Starship piloting skill. It's used in ship combat, as well as navigating tight spaces in space.

Infiltration: You can sneak up on people, get around security, and open locks. Getting in (or out) when someone doesn't want you to is a special talent of yours.

Medic: The ability to help people feel better and refill their Health pool. Specifics are in a later chapter.

Migrate Consciousness (Kch-Thk): This is what you use to migrate your consciousness to a new body on your death. Successfully imprinting yourself on one of your backup bodies is a difficulty 4 test, +2 for every time you've done it in the series (campaign). If the margin of success is thin you pick up a behavioral tic for anywhere between the rest of the episode, to the rest of your life. The Kch-Thk player and the GM work together to determine the tic ,and suggestions range from distinctive speech patterns, to changing your drive, to having a strong new personality trait.



So far, there has been more art of jetbikes than starships. I approve.

Naval Tactics: Another dogfight ability, this one represents your Stratco's tactical skill. It can be used to make attacks, or to buy re-rolls for other crew members, or to fill your allies pools from your Naval Tactics pool one-for-one.

Neural Rewiring (Cybe): You can reshape your brain to recreate the thought patterns of historical experts. That means spending Neural Rewiring points to make spends for investigative Abilities you don't have. The cost is the cost of the investigative spend +1. The Investigative Abilities all belong to one of five past experts, and channeling them also brings an Emotional State your Cybe will exhibit for two intervals.

Pathway Amplification (Vas Mal): You can help your friends think. Once per episode you can pick another PC and an investigative ability they have. Your Pathway Amplification pool is added to their pool for that ability.

Phase (Durugh): The big reason to play a Durugh is for this very sneaky ability. You can walk through a solid object less than 10cm thick just by spending a point. Thicker barriers require a rolled test with difficulty increasing with the thickness. Anti-phase technology exists, and will increase the difficulty by 1-10 points. It's very expensive though, and if you encounter it you know you've found something suspicious. You can phase through with a certain amount of gear, but not with other people.

Preparedness: Rather than detailing every small bit of equipment, Preparedness allows you to simply have things when you need them.

Probability Override (Vas Mal): Your former mastery over destinies is now the ability to nudge local probabilities. If a character fails a general ability test you can spend 4 Probability Override points to give them a re-roll. If they succeed the second time the characters see the failure, then a quick time rewind before the success happens.

Psychic Vitality (Vas Mal): Every use of a Vas Mal special ability severely weakens them for a period of time, unless they make a successful Psychic Vitality test. The difficulty is either 4 or the number of points you spent on the special ability, whichever is higher. Failing loses you 3 health as well as making spends more costly and reducing your hit threshold.

Public Relations: My favorite! Your job isn't to solve mysteries, your job is to get contracts and complete them for money. It's an important distinction and Public Relations bridges the gap. Later we'll talk about the Reputation system and how exactly this works in play.

Resist Battle Frenzy (Tavak): Similar to Ballas' Emotion Suppression, when a Tavak sees a comrade seriously harmed they must make a test to not go into battle frenzy. Failing the test gives you regenerating health, a lower Hit Threshold, all attacks become lethal, and attacks have a chance to miss their target and hit someone else. The entry ends with a note on Tavak culture:

quote:

Although it originates in a genetic alteration your ancestors engineered into the species in the late 22nd century, honorable Tavak are obligated to describe this impulse as ancient and atavistic.

Scuffling: The hand to hand combat ability.

Sense Trouble: You've got a bad feeling about this. This ability gets you information, but its for information regarding impending doom, not the mystery plot. GMs generally tel the players what the difficulty is for a test, but for Sense Trouble the spends are always blind.

Shooting: This covers any sort of ranged weaponry. It's pretty handy to have, considering you're called a Laser for a reason.

Shuttle Craft: This ability covers sub-orbital vessels. It's the transitional ability between Ground Craft and Helm Control.

Surveillance: You are able to see without being seen. This covers things like stake-outs, tailing someone, and all that good detective stuff.

Systems Design: You are able to fabricate new devices.

Systems Repair: You can maintain existing devices. This is very important in ship combat.

Viro Manipulation: Viroware is a powerful and volatile tool in the Combine. You can alter, engineer, and relieve the symptoms of any viroware that's causing problems.

Next time: We shift into drives



I know I left that core clue in here somewhere...

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





Everybody Else

These are the rest of them. The swelling mass of humanity. The bit players in the drama that is your life. They can be allies or enemies. They can be a joke, or serious as a heart attack. An Everybody Else can very quickly upgrade into a Somebody Important. In short, everyone that isn't a player, is here.

Administrator
The head honcho of the school. Headmaster, Principal, Superintendent, whatever they're called, they rule the educational roost. Administrators who work in schools that know about the supernatural are generally a particularly savvy breed of dedicated educator. Definitely get these guys on your side, because you don't want to be their enemy.

Bully
Words or fists, the Bully has one goal in life, to hurt you. While they're more common among Elementary and Middle school, a High School bully is a big problem, as they trade in quantity for quality when it comes to pain and torment.

Cop
Like a Grownup to other Grownups. The first on the scene when things get ugly, most cops can't handle the supernatural. A few can. These guys are hard-boiled until they can crack diamonds. A cop who knows how to deal with the weird side of things can put the fear of authority into the Devil himself. Some probably have.

Your Crush
The girl (or guy) of your dreams. Tall, pretty, graceful, mature, kind, funny, cool, everything you've ever wanted. You can't get them out of your head, you turn into a babbling moron in front of them, and they otherwise totally dominate your life like nothing else. They also don't know you exist, and if they do you are most certainly a “good friend”. Your Crush can be a powerful motivator, and a powerful source of crippling emotional distress.



Drunken Clown
A party clown who drinks like a fish to get through the day. To Elementary school kids he's creepy, to Middle-schoolers he's an embarrassment, and to High-schoolers he's free entertainment who'll probably buy you a beer if you get friendly with him.

Fashion Nazi
A more stereotypically feminine variant of the Bully, the Fashion Nazi is a pretty, generally rich, girl who's better than you in every way, but especially in fashion. Think of every “popular girl” antagonist in crappy high-school movies and you've got it. Wears the latest designer fashions, belittles and torments you because you can't afford them, and generally makes life hell. Often accompanies by a group of Giggling Mean-as-Snakes Junior Harpies.

Gang Banger
Both scary and sad at the same time. On one hand he's a complete dorkwad, who dresses in clothes that don't fit him, uses slang he barely understands, and acts way tougher than he actually is. On the other hand he's also dangerously emotionally unstable, has a soaring inferiority complex, and his Big Bro actually is a member of a Gang. Generally best to avoid him, to prevent a familial vendetta if nothing else.

Geek
Most likely to be YOU. Ya NERD. Yeah, geeks are the brainiacs, roleplayers, computer whizes, hardcore gamers, etc. etc. etc. You get the idea. Having a Geek for a friend is a big help, 'specially if you need a computer hacked (Cracked!). Mind, be careful. Most Geeks have a pretty big vidictive streak from years of bullying, so make enemies of them at your own risk.

Gym Coach
Probably payed football in high-school, likely has some sort of knee injury, hates kids. Mind, the athletes are his golden-boys, but he likely loathes normal kids. They're all so whiny and lazy and weak. Nothing but insolence and lies to get out of running a few laps. Plus, the other teachers never respect him, just treat him like a sub-par substitute. A royal menace to anybody not on the Football team.

The Hood

Both the coolest and scariest dude on campus. The Hood is the typical serial troublemaker. Probably came from a rough home life, The Hood is in a permanent state of probation and suspension. While rarely actually evil, the Hood lacks any sort of restraint, common sense, or respect for law, which makes him rather dangerous. If he's your friend, he's an expert at breaking rules, committing mischief, and getting hold of things he shouldn't. This also means that he can get you into ridiculous amounts of trouble.

Janitor
Yes, the Janitor. Amazingly enough, this guy is the single most important man in a school. Because he Knows Things. What is he? A man who has seen all the world has to offer? An ancient sorcerer? And alien in disguise? A godlike being? Nobody knows. But, the Janitor will always appear whenever he is needed, to clean up barf or to dispense sage advice. Sometimes cryptic, sometimes straightforward, the Janitor is always unexpectedly helpful and undeniably mysterious. For some reason every Janitor (with a capital J) has an odd resemblance to Morgan Freeman or Sam Elliot.

Jock
The BMOC, Sports Star, Prince of the School. Highest of the social strati, chances are you never even interact with the Jock. If you do it's either due to a cross-clique friendship, generally inspired by you saving his lean bacon from some sort of abomination from beyond the stars, or because he's a bullying jerk. If the former type, the Jock is a powerful ally. He can act as a shield against schoolyard cruelty, provide a ticket to the best parties, and maybe set you up on a date with one of the Cheer Squad. If he's the latter, he's basically a Bully+. All the cruelty, but with the aid of the Authority on his side. You might be able to get a regular Bully in trouble, but nobody is going to suspend the star QB.

Older Brother (Or Sister)
The wise and supportive elder sibling, who, while sometimes annoying, always has your back. Often founts of sage, if sometimes incorrect, sibling advice, and always willing to back you up against a Bully. If you want an evil rear end in a top hat older sib, go with a Bully or Hood, depending on level of cruelty vs. troublemaking.



O'Malley the Anti-Drug Dog

Not-McGruff the Crime Hound. He's a guy who comes around to schools dressed like a dog in a trench coat and fedora like an old-time detective to give talks about why drugs are bad. His catchphrase is “Bark At Drugs!”, he gives out buttons, talks in a goofy cartoon voice, and is generally just your standard Public Service Announcement type mascot.

Except for the fact that he's a total and utter enigma. See, nobody knows who O'Malley is under that costume. If it is a costume. Nobody ever remembers hiring him, though they must have, right? I mean, why else would he show up at schools to give presentations? He also has this weird habit of just... appearing. You and your bud Keith were talking about where you might be able to score some weed and the guy just... appears out of nowhere, gives you a big lecture about why Drugs are Bad, and then vanishes again. Anytime anybody so much as thinks about drugs he shows up, and it's getting pretty freaky. You sometimes catch him rummaging through lockers, and just staring at kids from some shadowy corner, but you can never get close enough before he just vanishes again. One night you saw him out of your bedroom window, just standing on the street looking right at you, but he was gone by the time you reached your front door. Once, you just told your Monster to eat him, cause he was weirding you out way too much. But your Monster had no idea what you were talking about, I mean, there's nobody there.

Parents
They just don't understand. Well, at least to you it seems that way. They're severe, restrictive, blind, dumb, totally lame, and just a giant pain in the rear end to deal with. So, you keep them in the dark as much as possible, so that their inherent lameness doesn't infect all the cool stuff you do.

Of course, this is all (mostly) bullshit. Your Parents do love you (at least those using this sorta template do) but yeah, raising a kid is hard. They're trying to instill a lifetime of experience into your little head, while at the same time trying to understand all the new stuff that kids these days do. Plus, they remember wiping poo off your butt, so it's kinda hard for them to consider your mature “adults”.

Paparazzi
They might work for a newspaper tabloid, or a crappy newsite. They may run a blog for conspiracy theorists and UFO watchers, or be a professional reporter looking for the Next Big Scoop. Whatever they are, the Paparazzi are always way too nosy for their own good. A standard encounter involves having to shake a Paparazzo tail, or retrieve a vary compromising photo of Snargothrax, before he ends up on CNN.

Random Crazy
Crazy old smelly guy who lives in the alley. Talks in cryptic gibberish, always asks for change, and is slightly scary cause you never know when he's gonna go nutso with a rusty old kitchen knife. Crazy's are generally a nuisance, sometimes a threat, and, rarely, a help. See, most Crazy's are crazy because their mind was blasted to ribbons by the supernatural. So, they can act as a sorta Weirdness Radar, able to sense freaky things going on that less... sensitive people might never know. Or they might just start ranting about how Rush Limbaugh is talking to them through their teeth and try and gut you with a bean-can.

Teacher
Teachers come in two varieties. One is the burnt-out time clock puncher. These guys don't give a flying fart about “education” and see themselves as professional babysitters. Generally hate the little snot-nosed brats and just want to make it through the day without committing suicide in the teacher's lounge.

The others are the Dedicated Educators. These guys and gals don't want to educate you, they want you to learn. While oft unnapreciated, these guys will stop at nothing to take care of the kids under their care, and make sure that they leave the class better than they came in.

Obviously, most Kids don't appreciate either one, and see them generally as really terrible second-parents that just exist to keep them from doing the really important stuff, like riding bikes or making out under the bleachers.

Trenchcoat Mafioso
The scariest thing in the world for mundane kids. Crazy, twitchy, probably on medication that he never takes, always angry, and one of these days is gonna bring a gun to school and teach everyone a lesson. Generally seen on a Breaking News report where people wonder how it could have happened, and what made such a nice boy do something so horrible.

Younger Sister (or Brother)

The annoying little twerp who totally embarrasses you in front of your friends, drives you totally crazy, and tags along even when they're not supposed too. But no matter what, you're the only one allowed to pick on them.

Next Time: Campaign Jumpstarts

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Chapter 3: Gods and Monsters
This chapter is dedicated to basically everything that isn't a spirit or from the Big Upstairs/Downstairs and has the most non-show creatures of any of the chapters as well. The title calls them "cryptids", even though that term has a more specific use than just "monster", but whatever. The chapter also has the gods, which the author explains the reasoning for:

The Guide to the Hunted posted:

Now, you might think that your average pagan forest deity belongs in the same crowd as demons and angels, and you might be right. But in our experience, one man’s god is another man’s immortal cryptid with a narcissistic personality and too much spare time. If it ain’t from Heaven or Hell, some hunters say, then it’s just another bogeyman
Take that, non-Abrahamic theistailures

In seriousness, though, this does admittedly fit in with the spirit of the show. Supernatural has proved time and time again that if somebody has worshipped it and it's not the Abrahamic god, the Winchesters (or, in the case of the infamous episode Hammer of the Gods, Lucifer) can and will kill it.

Before getting into actual monsters, there are a few new monster-unique traits given, just as the angels got new tricks.
  • Attuned to Nature: The creature in question is insanely good at surviving in the wilderness. A d2 in the trait or higher gives them a bonus to scavenging food and water, d6 or higher adds a bonus to Plot Points spent before making Trait-related rolls, and d12 or higher further ups the creature by making it unable to be lost in the wilderness, always capable of finding any food or water that is around, and the ability to calm hostile wildlife.
  • Enhanced Movement: Various non-human movements, such as brachiation, fish-like swimming, gliding, or flight.
  • Enhanced Sense: Non-human levels of sense, including scent tracking, darkvision, echolocation, or the ability to "feel" the presence of others nearby.
  • Longevity: You multiply human lifespan by the die size of this trait to determine the creature's long lifespan. Having d12 or higher means the creature is more or less an ageless being.
  • Animal Enmity: Animals get nervous or aggressive around this creature for some reason. The trait can be taken in d2, d4, or d6 die, an the size of the Trait die is a penalty to any rolls made to calm or handle animals.
  • Eerie Presence: Like Animal Enmity, but with humans.


Changeling
The Lore: If you didn't know, fairies in old folklore are complete assholes. One of the many dick moves in their arsenal is replacing a human baby with a changeling, a fairy that looked like the stolen child but had the intellect and often creepy nature of the fairies. In Supernatural, however, they're weird lamprey-faced monsters who abduct children and replace them so they can suck on their parents' precious essences.

The Game: While they have average Strength (or above-average in the case of adult changelings) combined with high Vitality and Alertness, their Agility and Willpower attribute scores are low and their Intelligence attribute is at the abysmal bottom of the barrel. They don't really need to be smart, though, as they have a hefty dose of skill dice put into Covert-Disguise and Influence-Persuasion. They are also incapable of being killed by any type of damage other than fire, even forming into two new changelings if you attempt to bisect one. The only saving grace is that their true forms are revealed in reflective surfaces and killing the adult of a changeling nest gets rid of all of the slimy suckers at once.

The Show: A nest of changelings appeared as the main monsters o season 3, episode 2: The Kids are Alright.


Chupacabra
The Lore: El chupacabras, "the sucker of goats" - pretty much always Anglicized as "chupacabra" with no S - is a vampiric monster from Latin folklore since at least 1995, though some have claimed that reports existed even earlier than that. The original reports are of a Gray alien-like figure with spikes running down its back that may or may not have patagia for gliding, while in the good old US of A the legend has mutated to instead have hairless coyote-like canines as the chupa's true form. Supernatural: the Roleplaying Game goes with the former but adds its own twist, stating that all chupacabras are from the de Luyandos, a Puerto Rican family that have been cursed with the chupacabra form after an occultist in their family tried to skimp out on a crossroads demon deal.

The Game: In their cursed form, chupacabras have high Agility, above-average Vitality, Strength, and Alertness, but have lower-than-average Intelligence. Their armored hides and extreme speed and athleticisim make them hard to hit, but they typically try to go right in for the kill anyway. A chupacabra that doesn't feed on blood regularly suffers damage from a rare virulent form of lymphoma that plagues the de Luyando family.

The Show: Chupacabras are mentioned twice in the series - season 2, episode 3: Bloodlust and season 4, episode 6: Yellow Fever - but never actually seen or fought by the Winchesters. This allowed for the RPG creators to go insane with their creative side, at least.


Crocotta
The Lore: The crocotta is a creature from Roman legend, described by everybody's favorite crazy naturalist Pliny as a wolf-dog with teeth that can break through anything and the ability to mimic human voices, and was most likely inspired by hyenas. Supernatural decided to add the ability to take human form just to make them a bit more dangerous.

The Game: In addition to shapeshifting and voice mimicry, the crocotta has the ability of "Psychotelephony", allowing it to speak through telephones and computers, even if they are not plugged in, not on a network, or actually just toys that look like a phon or computer. Its attributes are nothing to write home about, being either average or just above average, but its social skills and aforementioned supernatural powers make it a dangerous foe to those who can't Willpower roll their way out of danger.

The Show: A crocotta was the main villain of season 3, episode 14: Long-Distance Call.


Djinn
The Lore: Genies, the beings of smokeless fire, who you have probably heard of in at least some capacity. They are somewhat nerfed in Supernatural, going from beings of cosmic power on a level similar to angels and demons to instead being blood-suckin monsters that have a hallucinogenic poison that puts the sufferer into a dream state of their greatest desire.

The Game: Djinn have average Intelligence and above-average...well, everything else. They're also ageless, knowledgeable, and have a decent skill with the old fisticuffs. They pretty much always attempt to get into a grapple to release their poison. Most damage is reduced from Wound to Stun, with the exception of a silver blade dipped in the blood of a lamb.

The Show: Djinn have appeared in four episodes of the show, the first and most memorable appearance being in season 2, episode 20: What Is and What Should Never Be.


Ghoul
The Lore: In Arabic folklore, the ghoul is a vile shapeshifting genie that feasts on the corpses of the dead and the unwary living alike, being capable of taking many forms from hyena to human. The versions in Supernatural have no direct connection to genies and have a very specific form of shapeshifting in the form of taking the guise of the last person they have eaten.

The Game: Ghouls have the attribute scores of the person they impersonate, with the exception of having a supremely high Agility score thanks to their flexible bones and swift reflexes. They also have ESP, a good amount of stealth and personal skills, and fast healing. The only way to put them down for good is to destroy their brain one way or another, which is still easier than most of the rather convoluted ways you have to kill monsters in the Supernatural RPG.

The Show: Ghouls were the main villains of season 4, episode 19: Jump the Shark, and made a brief later appearance in season 6, episode 10: Caged Heat.


Jersey Devil
The Lore: The Jersey Devil is one of those popular pieces of old American folklore, a horrendous demon-like creature that supposedly dwells in the New Jersey pine barrens. Supernatural: the RPG decided to actually tie it to another legend entirely. In this book, the Jersey Devil is deemed to be a manitou, Algonquin spirits of many forms of creation.

The Game: The Jersey devil is kind of dense, having low Intelligence, but makes up for it by having very high physical attributes, traits that let it move fast and take a lot of damage, amazing stealth and survival skills, and brutal claw attacks. It is also pretty much immortal - you can get enough Stun points on it to down it for a while and a member of the Lenape (Delaware) tribe can use an ancient Native American ritual to banish the manitou, but the only way to kill it is by cutting down its Life Points with a special and very hard to make consecrated Lenape weapon.

The Show: The Jersey Devil has never appeared in Supernatural, but was used as a red herring for the actual (and far more stupid) monster of season 7, episode 9: How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters.


Mothman
The Lore: Mothman was a freakish winged humanoid entity that terrified the residents of Point Pleasant in 1966 and 1967. As with the Jersey Devil, Supernatural: the RPG decided to fuse it with another monster. To be more accurate, with monsters - it declares Mothman to be part of an entire species of interdimensionl winged humanoids that also include the garuda of Hinduism and Buddhism, the harpies of Greece, and the tengu of Japan.

The Game: Mothman and others of its kind have entirely above-average attribute scores, induce fear in animals and humans, have multiple forms of precognitive abilities, can tirelessly fly at nearly 100 miles per hour, and possess rather sharp claws. On the plus side, it doesn't really want to fight so much as get back to its home in the space-between-spaces, but its disorientation from crossing dimensions unwillingly has made it a bit ornery.

The Show: Mothman has never been seen or mentioned in the show, nor have the garuda, harpy, or tengu.


Rakshasa
The Lore: Rakshasas are a supernatural warrior race from Hinduism, having man various forms and usually being both magically adept and rather evil.

The Game: Rakshasas have above-average Agility, Vitality, and Willpower combined with a supremely high Intelligence attribute score, making it a swift and clever foe. It also has limited invisibility - that is, it suffers a point of Stun damage every turn it stays invisible, meaning that it must eventually go visible or pass out - as well as claws with a poison that deals 1 point of Stun damage each time it hits a foe. Furthermore, like so many monsters in Supernatural: the Roleplaying Game, the rakshasa does not take Wound damage unless you use a very specific weapon, in this case one made out of brass.

The Show: A rakshasa was the villain of season 2, episode 2: Everybody Loves a Clown.


Rugaru
The Lore: The rugaru, or rougarou, is a Louisiana folktale of a cursed werewolf-like creature with vampiric tendencies and a fear of frogs and church bells. The version from Supernatural is instead a genetic mutation that leads to tremendous hunger for raw meat and a transformation into a raw-skinned cannibal if the rugaru eats human flesh.

The Game: The rugaru has human stats with a +1 die size increase to all attributes except for Intelligence, which instead gets decreased by 3 die sizes. They also have keen senses of smell and strong punches, as well as fast healing that is bypassed by fire. Not the toughest monster in the game by far, but still at least a bit of a challenge for weaker hunters.

The Show: Rugaru appear or are mentioned in five episodes, with their very first appearance and full-on starring role being in season 4, episode 4: Metamorphosis.


Sasquatch
The Lore: Good old Bigfoot. Well, sort of. The name of this entry is a red herring, as it's actually about draugr, a form of undead from Norse mythology. Again, sort of. Basically, this entry is about an elemental force animating the fused body of an animal and a human that the book decides to call both draugr and sasquatch for some reason.

The Game: The draugr-sasquatch-elemental-thing is not particularly bright, but makes up for it by having Strength and Vitality attribute scores into superhumanly high die sizes. It's also swift, intimidating, and tough, and fire or ripping it apart is pretty much the only way to destroy the body for good. And even when you destroy the body, the elemental spirit that animated it will just hang around for a few decades until it finds a new suitable corpse combo.

The Show: Sasquatch has been mentioned in the show a few times, but always as an example of one of the very few paranormal entities that doesn't exist in Supernatural's lore. I guess that's why the RPG's creators decided to find a very weird way around that.


Siren
The Lore: In Greek mythology, sirens were bird-women that lured sailors to their doom with their melodic songs. In the Supernatural universe, they are instead corpse-like creatures with a glamor effect and euphoric mind control saliva.

The Game: The only high attribute score sirens have is Intelligence, the rest being either average or (in the case of Strength) below average. They do, however, have very high social skills and the whole saliva thing. Like many monsters we've seen before, they can convert damage from Wound to Stun unless it's a specific type of damage, the specific type in this case being a bronze dagger that has been coated in the blood of the siren's current love slave.

The Show: A siren was the main antagonist of season 4, episode 14: Sex and Violence.


Skinwalker
The Lore: Skinwalkers are from various Native American mythologies, individuals that can take on the form of an animal by wearing its pelt. This is what Supernatural: the RPG treats them as, while when they eventually appeared in the television show they were more or less just werewolves capable of shifting at will and maintaining their reasoning.

The Game: The skinwalker is a human with psychic powers, knowledge of using a paralytic heart-affecting poison called corpse powder, and being able to take on an animal's physical attributes combined with their mental attributes by shapeshifting. They don't have resistance or "Wound to Stun" immunity when it comes to damage, but do have a specific weapon that hurts them even mroe tahn other weapons - anything doused in white ash.

The Show: Skinwalkers appeared in season 6, episode 8: All Dogs go to Heaven. Since this book was written during season 4, though, that was far in the future and doesn't match up. Whoopsie.


Spring-Heeled Jack
The Lore: Spring-heeled Jack is one of several strange springing figures in relatively recent folklore, beings that seem to have a trickster-like nature and the ability to spew fire and leap great distances. In Supernatural: the RPG, it is stated that Spring-Heeled Jack is an item rather than a monster, being a demon-crafted suit that grants its abilities to the wearer at the cost of making them lustful and crazy.

The Game: Wearing the Spring-Heeled Jack suit grants the wearer some damage reduction, amazing leaping powers, silver claws to use in combat, nocturnal vision, and the ability to spew out a six foot trail of blue fire. While the suit itself is indestructible, the person inside isn't, so you can certainly kill the current Jack to get rid of the problem for a while.

The Show: Spring-heeled Jack never appeared in Supernatural.


Werewolf
The Lore: You know what a werewolf is.

The Game: When the full moon brings out the werewolf changes, the human character suffers a -1 die size penalty to Intelligence but gets a buff of +1 to the size of all physical attribute dice and +3 to the size of the die for Alertness. They also have claws and teeth to do a fair amount of damage and spread their lycanthropy and the ever popular "Wound damage becomes Stun damage, so you can't kill it without a specific weapon" trait. As you could probably guess, the way to wound the were is with the tried and true silver weapon.

The Show: Werewolves have been seen twice in the show and mentioned three other times.


The Old Gods
The Lore: Superntural: the RPG classifies gods in three varieties - lesser, greater, and elder. Lesser gods are minor deities from various mythologies, greater gods are pantheonic deities, and elder gods are Cthulhu and other incomprehensible star things from the beginning of time.

The Game: Oddly enough, in spite of mentioning these three types of deities, none of them are s tatted out. Instead, the only stat block in this section is for Trickster spirits. While having stats - pretty high ones at that, with superhuman-size multiple Intelligence dice - Tricksters are more or less nigh omnipotent forces of nature that or meant to be plot points rather than actual foes.

The Show: Lesser and greater gods have appeared in various episodes of Supernatural, all but one of them having been killed. Elder gods have never shown up unless you count the Leviathans from season 6, which I don't. As for Tricksters...yeah, only one of those appeared in the show, and he just turned out to be an archangel playing dressup as an old god, so I'm not sure I'd count it either.


The Cryptid Campaign
It's basically a normal campaign type re-described. Woo, glad they took time to write these paragraphs.

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

Next time: we have the second to last chapter, dealing with magic and cursed items.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 23:09 on May 2, 2013

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I swear I haven't abandoned Eldritch Skies, but with all the good stuff being covered for F&F right now, I never find the time to actually write for it myself.

pospysyl
Nov 10, 2012

SO EMBARRASSING



Squick ahoy!

Tribebook: Black Furies

The Black Fury Rites are all secret, so if your non-Fury character starts with one, you’re a special snowflake. Of course, a lot of these rites are particularly well suited to lady characters. I’m really not sure the other tribes would want some of these Rites.

The Rite of Motherhood initiates a Maiden into, well, Motherhood. The new mother needs to break out of her chains to get to her child. Hopefully that child is still alive, or this could be a really gross initiation.

The Rite of Acceptance allows a werewolf from another tribe join the Black Furies. Doing rite stuff for a few hours summons Pegasus (or at least an avatar). Impressing Pegasus with your Etiquette or something allows you to join the tribe! If you don’t, you have to do a quest. If you botch the roll, you can’t join the Furies.

Soothe the Scars is magical domestic abuse therapy. It calms down the victim and allows her to move past and heal with incense and New Age or “children’s music”. I’m sure Raffi does wonders for helping people through domestic abuse. It prevents Wyrm spirits from possessing victims and helps them through the healing process. It’s a Level Two rite, which seems high.


Let the healing begin.

The Fertility Rite! Okay, this one is pretty bad. It’s meant to fix the wombs of those who can’t conceive children anymore or increase the chance of conception. To do this, the lady has to strip, lie down, and be anointed with the menses of a fertile woman. It can be used on men too, but I have no idea why a Fury would use it on a man.

Meandering Path is a Freebooter rite that allows them to find a suitable place for a caern in the wilderness. It’s a pretty tricky series of rolls that doesn’t necessarily give you a specific caern spot, but that makes sense. Finding caerns is supposed to be difficult. The Order of Our Merciful Mother is developing a similar rite for cities.

Bearing the Caern is like the rite Building the Caern, but it uses the birth of a newborn. The child becomes a superbaby, immune to the Delirium and spiritually connected to the new caern. The baby’s healthier, and is often raised in the caern. If the birth goes well, it’s a good omen, but if it’s messy, it’s bad. This is actually really cool for the setting and there could be plenty of stories prepared about its use, but I have no idea why a group of player characters would take this rite over the more general purpose Building the Caern, as they’re both Level Five rites.

Wasn’t that scene in Game of Thrones with Melisandre and the shadow baby cool? With Birth the Fire Warrior, your Black Fury can do the same thing, only instead of being a shadow, it’s a Fire Warrior. Inspired by the Aztec myth of Coatlicue giving birth to Huitzlipochtli, the Aztec god of war, to protect her from her rebellious children, this rite allows a Fury to go into labor for ten minutes, then have her loins explode with fire, producing a warrior to kill all your enemies. Cool!

Python’s Trail is a little more low-key. Derived from the practices of the Oracle of Delphi, the Fury gets high and receives a vision of the past, present, and future. She can analyze a loved one’s timeline, her own history, or a more general prophecy. To get anything useful from these visions demands a lot of successes.

Avenge the Innocent is the rare rite of punishment that is used predominantly on humans, rather than Garou. With some tangible and spiritually significant artifact from the target’s crime, the Fury can burn it and summon a hippogriff spirit to age the target one year per day until he dies. Pretty dang metal, especially since the target doesn’t even need to be present, or even known to the Fury. The crime in question can range from a murder to a bad divorce settlement.

Curse on Household is an even worse curse. It’s reserved for really bad transgressions: murder, rape, cannibalism, or parental incest. The curse doesn’t affect the targets themselves, but their children, their children’s children, and so on. You can be specific about how the curse proceeds down the line. You can also decide when the curse will take effect. It doesn’t necessarily need to occur at birth. The curse can be anything bad: chronic schizophrenia, hauntings, inability to keep a job, bad luck, or a skin condition. The curse must have a fulfillable condition to lift it, but it can be something really improbable. It requires a pretty easy roll, but it’s a Level Five rite. The two punishment rites are among the best I've read. They really evoke the kind of spiritual horror that this game should have.

Rejuvenate the Soil is an Autumn rite that produces better crops in the next year. Kind of step down from the previous rites, but it’s Level One.

The following Rites can only be performed by certain age roles. The Rite of Pure Breeding helps a Maiden divine whether a certain mate would be good to breed with. Free the Wayward Child allows a Mother to kick her son out of the tribe using an anointment of tears.

Curse of the Crone is, of course, a Crone rite for philanderers that renders a male target sterile and shrinks his dick off. Activating it uses a physical artifact from the target, anything from an article of clothing to his semen. It can be undone, though. Less ludicrously, Find the Scythe allows a Crone to divine how a target will die.

Totems! These mostly come from Greek myth, natch.

The Muses collectively act as a totem for Black Fury packs. They used to serve individually, but there aren’t enough Furies to do that nowadays. They teach their charges art and manners, boosting a Social attribute and Performance, Expression, or Enigmas for each pack member. Each member of the pack should be closest to a particular Muse. Calliope likes poets (Expression), Clio serves historians (Enigmas), Erato makes erotica (Expression), Euterpe likes instrumental musicians (Performance), Melpomne inspires tragedians (Performance), Polymnia favors sacred poetry (Expression), Terpsichore inspires song and dance (Performance), Thalia likes comedy (Performance), and Urania favors astronomy (Enigmas). I really like the Muses, so I’m glad to see their inclusion. Muse packs need to devote their lives to art and protect free expression.

The Gorgons now serve as totems separately. In-universe, the pack must choose to follow the Gorgons, but the specific member will choose the pack. Out of character, the players can just choose the Gorgon.

Euryale is a hardline feminist. As a Ragabash, she encourages her followers to act against patriarchal norms. As the oldest Gorgon, she supports the classic Fury belief that women are superior to men and should subjugate them. She really likes lesbians and slut walks. Followers get the Gifts Kangaroo Leap and Fatal Flaw and +3 to intimidating men. Euryale packs can’t include men or participate in male-led septs unless the sept leader defeats the pack alpha in single combat.

Helena is more equitable than Euryale. In fact, she’s often hard on women, placing some blame on the mother if the father abuses her children. She’s most devoted to the truth, however, and will punish only the most culpable party. Following packs get the gift Name the Spirit and bonuses to Charisma and Investigation, as well as a Wisdom renown. Her packs must have equal membership of males and females.

Isthmene is the youngest and prettiest Gorgon. She’s the Ahroun of the group, and she doesn’t like backtalk. She hates it when her older sisters condescend to her. Her followers get bonuses to Glory, Rage, and labrys wielding. They’re also immune to fox frenzy. Their ban is that they have to beat up any male that insults them.

The whole reason the Gorgons were split up is because of Medusa's disappearance, but for some reason she still has her stats laid out. She hates men even more than Euryale. She’s even upset that male metis are allowed in the tribe. She grants the Gift Inspiration and bonuses to Craft and Honor, but she doesn’t allow her followers to even speak to males.

Stheno is the most devoted to finding Medusa as the one who holds all the Gorgons together. She doesn’t like men, but she supports Helena in the sisters’ fights. She grants Strength of Purpose and bonuses to Stamina, Strength, and Wisdom. Her followers can’t refuse a request to fairly judge a case, especially if it’s between a man and a woman.


I don't know what's going on with that lady in the back.

Panther hasn’t taken a new pack of Garou followers for a long time, so taking her at chargen would have to take some pretty strong justification to the ST. She grants Eyes of the Cat and lowers all rolls involving stealth, grace, or balance. Her followers can ask favors of Bastet, but Get of Fenris and Red Talons hate them. Panther demands that her followers protect all cats and spend a month in the Amazon once a year.

Themis was the Greek god of justice. She kept balanced between the Triat, but in recent times is stuck between the Wyld and Weaver. Her realm is now in the realm of dreams, giving her the sobriquet “Dream-Weaver”. Her followers are devoted to justice and tend to be older Furies. Each of her children get a permanent Wisdom renown and bonuses to Enigmas and Gnosis. Her Galliards get Dreamspeak. Everyone gets prophetic visions. She won’t let Glass Walkers follow her, nor can her followers ever learn Glass Walker exclusive Gifts. She’s the most expensive totem in the chapter.

Before we delve into Fetishes, it’s important to lay out the stats for the signature Black Fury weapon, the labrys. It’s difficult to wield, but does an impressive amount of damage even unenchanted. Wielding two at a time is extraordinarily difficult and boosts Intimidation rolls.

First up is fertility charms. Of course. They boost fertility. Next is a quiver of silver arrows. They deal more damage than regular arrows and deal aggravated damage to werewolves. Cavern Torcs allow a Fury to see anything within a certain distance.

The Sisterhood gets a cool fetish: the Coin Reader. It can discern the last seven people who touched a given coin. Again, the Sisterhood gets cool tricks, but they’re so varied that I can’t figure out their role.

A Bow of Artemis boosts hunting rolls and all Archery rolls, but only a Maiden can use it (remember, Artemis). A fetish labrys is just like a regular labrys, but it deals aggravated damage. Pandora’s Box can trap Bane Spirits. A Labrys of Isthmene is just like a fetish labrys, but it grants the use of Spirit of the Fray.


Eerily prophetic

There are only five Lashes of the Furies. They do decent damage and leave distinctive permanent scars. They can also reveal the sins of those they strike. The Bronze Labrys, the most powerful fetish in the book, does slightly more damage than a fetish labrys, grants a free Block, and gives extra Gnosis to the wielder.

The first merit here is Unusually Fertile. Of course. It doubles the likelihood of getting pregnant after intercourse! Caern Child is the child that was born with the Birthing the Caern rite. Basically you’re the chosen one of a given sept and you get all the benefits and costs, spiritual and social, that entails.

The only flaw of the book is Infertile. Of course. You lose a point of honor renown and can never learn Mother gifts.

Next time: Sample and famous characters! “Phear my l33t skillz bizatch!”

pospysyl fucked around with this message at 02:10 on May 3, 2013

citybeatnik
Mar 1, 2013

You Are All
WEIRDOS





pospysyl posted:

Curse on Household is an even worse curse. It’s reserved for really bad transgressions: murder, rape, cannibalism, or parental incest. The curse doesn’t affect the targets themselves, but their children, their children’s children, and so on. You can be specific about how the curse proceeds down the line. You can also decide when the curse will take effect. It doesn’t necessarily need to occur at birth. The curse can be anything bad: chronic schizophrenia, hauntings, inability to keep a job, bad luck, or a skin condition. The curse must have a fulfillable condition to lift it, but it can be something really improbable. It requires a pretty easy roll, but it’s a Level Five rite. The two punishment rites are among the best I've read. They really evoke the kind of spiritual horror that this game should have.
How on earth does that even make sense thematically-wise for the tribe?

Not the royally loving someone over, that's perfectly understandable and, as mentioned, metal. It's the part where the tribe that's "oh we must protect the weak and punish the guilty/males!" just up and goes "Well sorry Tabitha but since your grandpa ate your grandma in more ways than one YOU'RE going to be punished as well". It just seems like something you'd find in another tribe is all.

Unless we're going to go with "the Black Furies are idiots and are sowing the seeds of the very corruption they seek to fight" which is perfectly understandable.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


citybeatnik posted:

How on earth does that even make sense thematically-wise for the tribe?

Not the royally loving someone over, that's perfectly understandable and, as mentioned, metal. It's the part where the tribe that's "oh we must protect the weak and punish the guilty/males!" just up and goes "Well sorry Tabitha but since your grandpa ate your grandma in more ways than one YOU'RE going to be punished as well". It just seems like something you'd find in another tribe is all.

Unless we're going to go with "the Black Furies are idiots and are sowing the seeds of the very corruption they seek to fight" which is perfectly understandable.

Hubris. Look at stories like Medea and Oedipus Rex. The parents sin, got their family nailed with a curse and then it all comes back upon their children. It plays right into the Greek aspect of the Furies as it invokes a heavy sense of tragedy.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Isn't the entire point of Werewolf that every tribe sows the seed of it's own idiotic destruction, but why change horses midstream?

pospysyl
Nov 10, 2012

SO EMBARRASSING



Mr. Maltose posted:

Isn't the entire point of Werewolf that every tribe sows the seed of it's own idiotic destruction, but why change horses midstream?

Ding ding ding. The targets have the opportunity to shake the curse, but the concerns of werewolves are so far removed from reality at that point that it's unlikely they'll ever be able to fulfill the conditions.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.

To the people reading the Wheel of Time writeup: I've got the next update "ready", it's Prestige Classes. This thing's ludicrously long-winded and dry, though. Should I:
- cut it down to just the interesting ones, summing up the others in a brief fashion with perhaps a "class is based on X character from the novels" where needed?
- split it into two updates (5 per update)?
- compare/constrast all the channeler prestige classes as one, do the others in their own second post? (I kind of lean towards this one myself since there's a LOT of overlap in the former)

edit: Hell, while I'm asking questions like this, since it's easier now instead of later: does anyone actually give a drat about the sample adventures/the adventure book? Those are full of a lot of "nope, this is uncanon" moments thanks to later novels but are designed to let a party go through the background of books 1-6 or so. I have no opposition to summing them up when we get to the end, but don't know if there's enough of an interest.

secretly best girl fucked around with this message at 11:14 on May 3, 2013

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


The last option sounds like the best one for the PrCs. For the adventure, I wouldn't mind a brief overview (with you pointing out which bits were retconned) if it's interesting.

Arivia
Mar 17, 2011



Syrg Sapphire posted:

To the people reading the Wheel of Time writeup: I've got the next update "ready", it's Prestige Classes. This thing's ludicrously long-winded and dry, though. Should I:
- cut it down to just the interesting ones, summing up the others in a brief fashion with perhaps a "class is based on X character from the novels" where needed?
- split it into two updates (5 per update)?
- compare/constrast all the channeler prestige classes as one, do the others in their own second post? (I kind of lean towards this one myself since there's a LOT of overlap in the former)

edit: Hell, while I'm asking questions like this, since it's easier now instead of later: does anyone actually give a drat about the sample adventures/the adventure book? Those are full of a lot of "nope, this is uncanon" moments thanks to later novels but are designed to let a party go through the background of books 1-6 or so. I have no opposition to summing them up when we get to the end, but don't know if there's enough of an interest.

I think comparing the spellcasting classes separately is good, and then please do the adventures since I know nothing about Wheel of Time and it would be interesting.

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


Syrg Sapphire posted:

To the people reading the Wheel of Time writeup: I've got the next update "ready", it's Prestige Classes. This thing's ludicrously long-winded and dry, though. Should I:
- cut it down to just the interesting ones, summing up the others in a brief fashion with perhaps a "class is based on X character from the novels" where needed?
- split it into two updates (5 per update)?
- compare/constrast all the channeler prestige classes as one, do the others in their own second post? (I kind of lean towards this one myself since there's a LOT of overlap in the former)

edit: Hell, while I'm asking questions like this, since it's easier now instead of later: does anyone actually give a drat about the sample adventures/the adventure book? Those are full of a lot of "nope, this is uncanon" moments thanks to later novels but are designed to let a party go through the background of books 1-6 or so. I have no opposition to summing them up when we get to the end, but don't know if there's enough of an interest.

Long winded and dry? Sounds like the books they're based on . Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed that series, but it was incredibly long winded... Also, I reckon the third option is probably best.

pospysyl
Nov 10, 2012

SO EMBARRASSING



Tribebook: Black Furies

Chapter 4, Part the Last

The last chapter does two things: describe sample and important splat characters and provide a summary of what the splat’s all about. Here, the authors state that Black Furies aren’t about rejecting males (they have brothers, so that’s completely ridiculous! Why would you think the tribe that doesn’t allow men in it is somehow defined by that choice?), but rather about their mysticism and their society. They are in a bound sisterhood, so they have important spiritual connections. Let’s see how the sample characters mess that up! They don't!

Omega Female

quote:

I don’t understand. Why shouldn’t I submit to him? Doesn’t he outrank me?


Ron Spencer's on art duty for this chapter, and I gotta say, he's risen to the challenge of drawing a non-badass werewolf quite well.

A wolf-born New Moon, everyone knew this character was different, but hated and feared her. She wasn’t treated as well as her fellow pups. She got food after everyone else, and life sucked, but she accepted her lot because someone has to be the omega. This, of course, is not how wolf society works at all. There’s an alpha, the oldest and most reproductively successful wolf, and everyone else. Wolf society isn’t hierarchical at all and most Werewolf books actually recognize that.

The First Change happened when a beta female beat the character up when she was shot down by the alpha. Even though she knew to resist (ugh), the character felt her RAGE and she killed that wolf. She ran away until other Black Furies found her. They were upset because she killed a wolf kin (even though Garou are rare enough that it should really balance out but whatever), but she was accepted into the tribe anyway. She learned quickly out of fear of rebuke, but werewolf society is confusing! Everyone gets to breed? (Again, the alpha wolf doesn’t stop anyone in the pack from having sex because it would be dumb to stop kin from producing more kin to help hunts.) Some people are better than others? (Why would this be confusing to her?) Asking questions is the Ragabash way, but she feels uncomfortable doing it. What an empowering archetype.

The character sheet is well thought out, even though she would probably be better suited with higher physical than social stats. Her RAGE is low, though, and her Talents are spread a little thin.

Computer Witch

quote:

Phear my l33t skillz, bizatch!
:facepalm:


Oh, I'm going to hate you, aren't I?

She grew up in the suburbs, which didn’t help her spiritual connections. Her mom was nominally interested in nature, but she was also kind of lazy. Her dad was into technology. He encouraged her interest in technology. When she discovered the Internet, she loved all the information she could get from it, but hated the porn and piracy. She totally hacked the hell out of the bad sites. Her First Change happened when she found a bondage porn site. She flipped a poo poo and destroyed her computer. Her parents managed to talk her down and call up the Furies. I don’t care what anybody says, this First Change reverses my opinion on this character and makes her my favorite.

She got through orientation just fine, but her interest in computers was scandalous. Computers are the tool of the Weaver. It’s why it has webs. When she demonstrated how easily she could find rape porn and snuff peddlers, though, the local Furies supported learning computer spirit magic. Unlike the Glass Walkers, she forcibly binds technology spirits rather than befriending them. She’s not a great fighter, but she has good insight into Weaver and Wyrm spirits. Her roleplaying notes recommend that you use pseudo-sorcerous lingo like “hex” or “virtual pentagram” to build up your witch status.

Quote aside, I was pleasantly surprised by this character. She’s pretty cool. She’s physical tertiary, which isn’t great, but she hasn’t dumped any important stats. I would argue that she has too many points in Contacts when she would need more Resources, but that’s not a huge complaint.

Modern Day Atropos

quote:

Too late for prayers now, sonny-boy.



Strangely . She grew up in a hick town. She didn’t go to college and married out of high school. Domestic abuse was pretty high in the area, but she found a good man and had several children. Her life was pretty boring, but she was an avid reader in anthropology and folklore.

Her First Change happened in her fifties. Her youngest was coming to visit her with her new baby, but they were hit by a drunk driver. The driver in question was the judge’s brother, so he got off easy. She flipped out and probably murdered the drunk. The Furies found out and took her in. She took to Garou life easily. She’s devoted herself to taking care of minor problems like mortal criminals so that the Furies can focus on the major ones. Taking care, of course, usually means murder. She knows the evil that lurks in men’s hearts and will totally put a battle axe in your face, but she’s also still very motherly.

I love this character. She has the physical stats she needs to fulfill her concepts, although she could do with more Dodge and Melee. Just switch some points out of Crafts and into Melee and she’d be among the best sample characters the tribebooks have to offer.

Oracle

quote:

Hear the words of Gaia’s dreams, proud child of Stag! Do not set foot on the battlefield without girding thy loins with the armor of wisdom, or else you throw away your life! But wield the weapon anointed for thee, and they foes will fall as wheat! A great doom lies over they meeting with the Black Children, and Death waits at thy heels with bared white teeth! Ai! The vision passes…I can see no more…


Organization XIII now accepts werewolves.

As a metis, her mother was cast out to perform an atonement quest. Because she died on the quest, the Furies never spoke of her, unsure of whether she was absolved or not. She was treated pretty well for a metis, and the local Mistress of Rites took her in and trained her in her practices. She became an expert in interpreting the Python’s Trail visions, but she was passed up for filling her mistress’ role when she died. She offered to take her skills elsewhere. She never learned the Python’s Trail rite, but she could still make up oracular visions.

A basic false oracle archetype, but it works. Again, physical tertiary, which is bad for a Galliard, as there’s limited opportunity for her to use her increased RAGE. She’s pushed up Rituals and Rites, so she’s got that down.

Soldier of Our Merciful Mother

quote:

Hail Mary, full of grace. Hear the prayer of the warrior who kneels before you. Bless me, sacred Mother, in my battle and forgive me for the blood I must spill. Have mercy on the souls I free from their corrupt bodies. Amen.


gently caress yeah, Ron Spencer!

Of course the only representative sample character from a camp is from the best camp. She had a lot of brothers and sisters growing up. Her parents had to work hard to care for all the children, so her grandmother was mostly responsible for raising the family, and she did a great job. Her grandmother was very faithful and the Soldier inherited that devotion. She worked hard in Sunday School and tried to live her life to the standards of Christianity.

In high school, her junior prom date tried to rape her, but she hulked out. She still feels guilty about it and does a lot of penitential work. This isn’t to say that she thinks she deserved the attack or anything. She now works with the Order as a warrior with faith. She’s not a member of a convent as her RAGE is too high, but she does her best to live a Catholic lifestyle and avoid excess pride.

The character’s evocative, but she doesn’t have the stats to back it up. Her Attributes are fine, but she doesn’t have enough combat abilities. She needs to concentrate her ability dots to truly support her concept.

Leukippes


Featuring Angelina Jolie

One of the greatest Furies, Leukippes was a great Scythian archer. She lead the Furies of her nation to overthrow the Assyrian Empire. Her greatest exploit, though, was defeating the sorcerer Kamisos. He was a false (or not) devotee of Apollo, but truly served the Wyrm and hunted down Greek werewolves. Leukippes and her pack infiltrated Kamisos’ revel and slew him. She’s used to demonstrate the power of infiltrating Patriarchal institutions subtly and the danger followers present rather than the religions themselves.

Guilieta Hidden Road




Guilieta was a Ragabash working during the Inquisition to rescue accused witches. She was religious and her First Change may have occurred on a pilgrimage. This didn’t shake her, though, as she eventually came to influence in the Church and a member of the Order. She first tried to stop witch hunts, then directed them towards proper targets. Her actions supported the nascent Sisterhood, and to this day the Order and the Sisterhood fight over her legacy.

Electra Shieldslayer



Born Electra Stavrakis, she was from South Carolina during the sixties, a very contentious era to be raised. She participated in feminist movements and Changed during a demonstration gone bad. Although she doesn’t do much political activism nowadays, she focuses on raising awareness from sept to sept. Her cause of choice is the Amazon campaign, but she has trouble motivating other Garou to get involved. She’s made progress in developing local allies, but the Balam want her to depose Golgol Fangs-First for someone more kind to Bastet. Her stats are kind of low for Rank 4, but she knows a lot of Rites and Gifts. She really is built around social motivation rather than brawling, but she exists in a warzone.

Mari Cabrah


"This right here? It's a head.

She’s a signature character from the novels! She worked with Jonas Albrecht to protect Evan Heals-the-Past and formed a pack together. They had adventures, resulting in Albrecht reassuming the throne of the Garou Nation. She’s gotten some notice too, communing with Pegasus and handling a lot of powerful fetishes. She now works in New York as a vigilante. Her main rival is Kula Wiseblood, who accuses her of being soft and a bleeding heart werewolf liberal. She doesn’t really work with other Black Furies, and other werewolves doubt her competence, which works just fine for her when she proves them wrong violently. Incidentally, she’s the Black Fury illustration in the corebook. Although her stats are primarily built around asskicking, she’s a Theurge, and she knows every Rite she can or at least how to learn it.

The Manslayer


The first ever wereowl.

A Black Fury serial killer, she’s murdered at least 150 men, most likely many, many more. The people she’s murdered aren’t deserving either; she’s torn apart entire strip clubs. Despite her excess, she’s still considered a Black Fury, meaning Pegasus at least tacitly approves of her actions, which really isn’t helping Fury PR. Pegasus refuses to comment, making matters even worse. The Furies are divided on what to do with her. Some say that she needs to die while others believe she can be saved. Nobody knows who she is or how she’s managed to evade notice. She might have supporters across the Black Furies or even in other tribes, or she might be a rogue Black Fury faction. Basically, she’s a walking plot hook.

And on that note, that’s Tribebook: Black Furies! Final verdict? I liked it. The history section is useless, but the other chapters have cool, evocative material. Usually the last chapter is the weakest in a White Wolf splatbook, but this one really stands on its own. There are epic plot hooks to sink into, and the Furies certainly feel more necessary than their core entry makes them out to be. They're not just feminists; they have an active role in human society in judging crimes, more so than the other tribes, and they have a devotion to mysticism that rivals the Uktena. They feel fully realized. If we’re going to judge the book on whether it makes Black Furies more playable or interesting to enact, I’d argue that this one does. It’s certainly not the best Werewolf has to offer, but it’s decent, and it could have been a lot worse than that. But next time, we’re going to look at a book beyond decent.

Next time: Bone Gnawers!

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


Let's clear our palates of the horrendous taste of 90s World of Darkness and enjoy some nice Eberron:



Eberron, part 4: the world outside of Khorvaire


This is probably going to be a fairly short update as I’ll be covering these in very little depth – since these are mostly monoracial cultures, it's hard to go over them without dipping into the info I'll be giving in the races post.

Argonnessen

Here be dragons, and that is as much as anyone knows – Argonnessen is where the dragons retreated to contemplate the “draconic prophecy” tens of thousands of years ago, and they haven’t been seen since. The shores of Argonnessen are guarded by roving bands of barbarians who worship the dragons as gods and prevent anyone from heading inland to what they consider sacred places.

Sarlona

This is the continent where humankind was born. Nowadays, it is far more interesting for being where Riedra is.

Riedra is a human nation rules by the Inspired, a eugenically-bred caste of humans specifically designed as the perfect hosts for the quori (the nightmare crabs who inhabit Dal Quor). At the top of the Inspired ranks are those who are actually possessed by quori right this instant, with any non-occupied host as their servants. Below them are everyone else, and the Inspired rule with absolute control.

Riedra itself is an oppressive, totalitarian, feudal state where the populace are encouraged into submission via religion and genuinely believe that the “Path of Light” followed by their Inspired masters is the road to divine relevation. Most of the non-Inspired live in small, self-sufficient farming communities which exist to support the cities in which the Inspired caste reside. Riedra controls much of the continent of Sarlona, although there are a few pockets of resistance.

The catch is that the quori, as I mentioned before I started this series, are trying to conquer Eberron to prevent the changing dreams of its inhabitants from destroying them and remaking the Plane of Dreams in a different image – Riedra is the lynchpin of their efforts and they are doing their very best to spread their influence to the rest of the world.

Xen'drik

Roughly 40000 years ago, the giants were the pre-eminent civilisation in the whole of Eberron. They were unparalleled masters of the arcane arts and generally king of the heap, with a civilisation that boasted more technological marvels than modern-day Khorvaire has ever forgot. All that changed when the Plane of Dreams, Dal Quor, became coterminous with Eberron.

This allowed the aforementioned nightmare crabs to physically invade Eberron in an attempt to subjugate all life. Needless to say, the giants didn’t particularly approve of this and so fought back, culminating with a magical ritual so powerful it permanently moved Dal Quor out of orbit so it would never come close to Eberron again.

Unfortunately for them, the magical backlash from this ritual devastated Xen’drik and reduced their cities to rubble, and then to make things even better for them, the dragons (the other powerful empire of the day and self-appointed keepers of the cosmic prophecy that allegedly lists everything that will ever happen) decided to crush them into the ground for messing with the cosmology like that. Oh, and then the many thousands of elven slaves they kept as a menial class rebelled.

Nowadays, Xen’drik is a continent of dense jungles dotted with massive ruins, many of which contain lost treasures of the giant empire from before its fall, guarded by deadly traps and arcane constructs. A few giants still live there, reduced to scattered, savage tribes, fighting over the land among each other and with the new masters of the continent – the drow, who consider themselves the true heirs to the giants’ secrets and the real paragons of elvenness in Eberron (and are not FR/Greyhawk drow; more about that in the next post).

Though it’s only been rediscovered comparatively recently (in the last couple of centuries, with the Last War proving a bit of a distraction), there is a lot of interest in Xen’drik both because of the potential benefit of rediscovering giantish magic (it’s rumoured that the art of elemental binding came from Xen’drik originally, although no one is exactly clear on how since it’s been around for a while) and because as a former magical wasteland, there are a lot of dragonshards there for the picking.

From a game perspective, Xen’drik is pretty much there to let you mount expeditions to unknown jungles fraught with peril and hiding temples full of traps and treasure, so you too can play Fantasy Indiana Jones.

Aerenal

When the giants’ elven slaves rebelled against their one-time masters, the portion of them who didn’t stay to try to eke a living out in Xen’drik followed their leader Aeren to a new continent to the North-West of Xen’drik. They named it Aerenal in his honour, and became the Aereni (after escaping with a lot of magical knowledge from the giants).

There isn’t a huge amount that’s known about Aerenal itself, but there’s a bit about the Aereni. Aerenal has an exceptional affinity for necromantic energy, and as a result, death doesn’t seem to have much of a hold over there. The Aereni discovered rituals to make use of this early on, and much like Karrnath, they are a subversion of the “undead = always evil” trope that you normally have in D&D.

For the Aereni, if you die but your skills were of use to the nation, you get brought back as a “deathless” – who retain all of the memories, skills and personality they had while they were living, but have the advantage of being able to shrug off wounds, ignore diseases, not need sleep, etc. Aerenal itself is ruled by a parliament of the mightiest deathless called the Undying Court. The Undying Court is somewhat special in Eberron, in that they are one of the only factions who are into truly long-term (we’re talking thousands of years) planning, alongside the dragons. They’ve also managed to attain enough magical power that they are actually a deity able to grant miracles, which is pretty special in Eberron given that the gods do not have any contact with their followers (bar the Silver Flame), let alone physically manifest on Eberron.

Yes, you can make an Aereni elf cop who is a paladin of the Undying Court.

Next time: half-werewolves, half-doppelgangers and half-nightmare-crabs

Lemon-Lime fucked around with this message at 00:01 on May 4, 2013

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Core

So, I'm going to try to be more concise than usual. But hey, let's talk about wizard history. I'm going to be skimming the mechanics, largely because I want to make you fall in love with the setting. The system is decent but not amazing or really exceptional in major ways. European wizards are organized, largely, into the Order of Hermes. There's around 1200 wizards total in the Order, divided into thirteen Tribunals across the continent. They are more potent than any other single group of magic-users in the world, as far as they know, but they cannot hope to challenge, say, God.

Anyway, magic wasn't invented by the Order. It's existed ever since civilization began - the Gifted, as magic-users are known, have always found ways to use it. Often they ruled over those without the Gift for a while before the envy, suspicion and hatred caused by their tyranny and the natural effects of the Gift destroyed them. They didn't usually organize - there's three real reasons why. First, the Gift naturally encourages others - including other Gifted - to mistrust you. Everyone was a traitor eventually. Second, no one had magic resistance, so whoever struck first usually won, and everyone knew that. Preemptive strikes were the order of the day. Finally, each wizard understood magic in a different, often incompatible way, and little could be shared easily.

Enter the Roman Cult of Mercury. They managed, barely, to exist as a group of Gifted by not meeting in person often (and so avoiding the effects of the Gift), save for when they performed the great rituals that were their most potent tool. Further, the Cult said that anyone who killed a member of the Cult would be hunted down and killed by the rest, which they enforced strictly to reduce the use of preemptive strikes. Last, the Cult of Mercury had a number of magical effects that could easily be taught or learned, even by someone who already knew many, so they had some motivation to share knowledge. However, suspicions did grow within the Cult that some were hoarding to strike against the rest, and soon after the Western Roman Empire fell, the Cult tore itself apart. Magic entered a dark age, which it would take three centuries to emerge from.

Jump to 300 years later, we meet Bonisagus, the founder of the Order. He is, without doubt, the greatest magical genius ever to live. He made two discoveries, either of which would have made him a scholar remembered forever. The first was the Parma Magica, a defense from magic which also shielded the user from the effects of others' Gifts. Behind a Parma Magica, you could talk to other Gifted without automatically starting to hate them, and with little fear of sudden attack. However, it took Bonisagus' student, the already potent Trianoma, to realize the potential of the Parma. It could make a society of magi possible, in which differences could be resolved and no one got murdered. (Much.) Bonisagus, already working on a unified theory of magic, was happy to just go along with Trianoma on this.

Trianoma traveled across Europe to find the most potent wizards. Her Parma Magica made her immune to their attacks, and her own power left many in no doubt that she could defeat them. Some ran or hid, but others listened to her ideas and agreed to meet with Bonisagus. From the discussions they had, Bonisagus drew much knowledge. He used the Cult of Mercury's traditions to develop Formulaic and Ritual magic, and from the druidic outcast woman Diedne he learned to create spontaneous magic. From Verditius, he learned to bind magic into items, and from Merenita the art of binding animals by magic. From each of the eleven who came, he learned something, and to each he taught the Parma Magica.

The end result was the second great discovery of Bonisagus: the theory of Hermetic Magic. In 767, the thirteen wizards gathered in the Black Forest at Durenmar, swearing to the Code of Hermes and creating both the Order and the first Tribunal. The first magi are always the Twelve Founders, though there were thirteen; Trianoma refused to be equal to the rest, claiming position beneath them in order to mediate struggles. Each of the Founders established a House; the current House Ex Miscellanea came later, and the thirteent at the start was House Diedne. House Diedne was bonded by an ancient pagan religion, which it soon became the dominant force in.

The Order grew rapidly, with the True Lineages recruiting apprentices organically, the Mystery Cults initiating recruits among the friendly and the other Houses by other means; Merenita, not yet a Mystery Cult, recruited those who loved the wilderness. Diedne sought those who followed its religion. Jerbiton sought those of high cultural standards, even approaching Charlemagne. And Flambeau and Tytalus magi simply crossed the continent with an ultimatum for those they met: Join or die. Within 40 years, the Order dominated the magical landscape of Europe.

They still do, but they've had their share of problems. In the early 9th century, for example, the wizard Damhan-Allaidh (pronounced Dahvan Allath), a potent and evil British wizard, led an organized resistance against the Order. Rather than face them in open combat, his followers cursed them, harassed them, used traps and hired mundane killers. For years, this worked well, and some thought the Order would be stopped outside Britain. That's when Tytalus sent his apprentice, Pralix, to defeat Damhan-Allaidh. She was cunning, and with a series of raids and battles she was able to defeat the wizard and convert many of his followers. However, as the Order prepared to welcome her, she sent a message: Pralix was establishing her own Order, the Ordo Miscellanea, to compete with the Order of Hermes and keep it strong. Flambeau wanted war, but Tytalus was impressed and negotiated a settlement. In 817, the Ordo Miscellanea joined the Order of Hermes as a thirteenth House, Ex Miscellanea.

In the meantime, House Tremere had been building its power, with Tremere himself in close control of it. Through use of the magical certamen duel and careful alliances, the House seized control of several Tribunals, and was ready to take more. When the eleventh Founder died, leaving Tremere the only surviving Founder, he was ready to dominate the entire Order. However, an unknown group broke the minds of his closest lieutenants. This event, the Sundering, also shattered the power structure Tremere had built. Tremere met with the Sunderers, or perhaps their agents, and an agreement of some kind was forged. Tremere died soon after, but the House has kept to the agreement and never since tried to take over the Order.

In the late tenth century, House Tytalus went too far searching for challenges, seeking to control demons and becoming corrupted. They tried to corrupt the rest of the Order was well, but one of their own alerted the Quaesitores, and the ORder went to work purging the diabolists. The Prima of House Tytalus, Tasgillia, was the most prominent target of the purge, but the House lost many of its members and has never again recovered its former size. Just after that, at the turn of the millenium, the Order began to descend into anarchy. The corruption of Tytalus made everyone paranoid about secrets, even without the Gift's provocations. Many disputes became deadlocked in Tribunal, and most Tribunals had no quorum, with each magus hiding in their own covenants. Magi who felt threatened resorted to the Wizard's War and even to illegal raids. The Quaesitores, Redcaps, Bonisagi and others interested in keeping order were stretched thin and could not force it on people. The anarchy grew, and it seemed as if the Order was over.

That's when House Tremere declared war on House Diedne, who had always been somewhat distant from the rest of the Order, which was largely Christian, unlike the pagan Diedne. Rumors of their dark rites followed the corruption of Tytalus, and few trusted the Diedne. Cercistum, the Primus of Tremere, called on the Order to purge Diedne of "diabolism," and Houses Jerbiton and Flambeau soon joined them. Many other wizards joined the war, and none publically supported Diedne. Seizing the chance, the Bonisagi and Quaesitores summoned an emergency Grand Tribunal, at which House Diedne was declared Renounced, and it was made the duty of all Hermetics to destroy them. The war was bloody and destructive, and House Diedne was wiped out, though its leaders were never found. The Order believes them dead but fears some fled to a magical regio, biding their time and hunting for revenge.

With Diedne destroyed, the Schism War ended and the Quaesitores were able to enforce the Code of Hermes, using the uniting of the Order against a common foe to convince the other magi that they never wanted such chaos again. Once again, law ruled the Order. Since the Schism War, the Order has existed in relative peace. The year is now Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ Twelve Hundred and Twenty, and the last living magi who could remember the Schism War are either dead or passed into Final Twilight, and memories of the dark times are fading.

Next Time: The Houses of Hermes

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.



The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game

10: Channeling Out, Channeling Out

The GM chapter is, overall, nothing special. There's a lot of advice on how to run a game, be careful what you houserule without thinking it through, you might break something, it's not you-vs.-players, so on, so forth. Clearly the game was assuming that somehow people were going to come into this from the novels without already being the kind of turbo-nerds who are familiar with tabletop games. But it also has prestige classes, or, to put it more appropriately, "So You Want To Be (Character Name Here)".

Channeler prestige classes are all very, very alike, and I honestly don't know why they didn't make one (maybe two) and go "choose who your boss is - take appropriate feats as a result". Here are the things which are identical between them!

  • All require the following skills to enter: 4 ranks Composure, 4* ranks Weavesight, 8 ranks Concentration.
  • All require the following feats to enter: Multiweave, Sense Residue, Tie Off Weave**.
  • Level 1 gets you the Iron Will feat, plus (your class here) Presence. The presence feat is just +4 on Intimidation checks.
  • Aes Sedai and Windfinders share the same progression table (stat-wise), as do Asha'man and Wise Ones.
  • All of them, although at different levels, will end up with "(type) Control" and "Improved (type) Control" bonus feats, which grant +5/10 to overchanneling on weaves of (type).
  • Every one of them will gain one extra Affinity somewhere in their levels.
  • Each class just adds to your prior channeling class in terms of calculating bonus weaves. Initiate 3/Aes Sedai 3 just means "Initiate 6" in terms of weaves per day, they always add to the prior one and do not grant weaves of their own.

* Asha'man only need 3 ranks of Weavesight. Also, I don't think I need to point this out, but Asha'man is the only prestige class male channelers can take, the others are all female-only.
** Wise Ones do not need Tie Off Weave.


Now the differences!

Aes Sedai are what 99% of the world are going to think of when you hear of channelers. As a result, most of their specific skills are related to that notoriety: they gain a Noble-like ability to call in favors when abroad (better success rate in larger cities than country shacks), and gets the most generic bonuses of all channeler prestiges. Their Control skill is just "within your Affinities", they will gain an additional Talent as they level, and their bonus effect is being able to channel as if they had +2/4 (7th/10th level) WIS on any weaves.

Hilariously enough, there's actually nothing in the class description that says you need to pick an Ajah or swear on the Oath Rod, so if you tricked the dude who doesn't know WoT into GMing, you can get away with a lot more than your usual Tower-trained channeler. "No, it's cool, Steve, nothing in the rules says I can't lightning this dude a bit to get a better deal."


Okay, this one is just embarassing.

Asha'man are living weapons. Period. As a result, they combine the Aes Sedai's formal standards and progression methods with an all-out offensive approach to channeling. Their Control skill is "Offensive Control": +5/10 when overchanneling on weaves "that target foes directly, or include them in their area of effect". But in addition to this, they gain Asha'man Combat Casting (which DOES stack with standard Combat Casting...): +5/6 on Concentration checks while channeling. They end up with the Resolve feat as well, so an effective +2/4 on WIS when channeling.

Probably the most 1:1 book-to-RPG prestige class - these dudes get run through Magical Boot Camp and learn how to kill. They also have the only non-channeler requirement to join (you need to know how to use a sword), but gain every simple/martial weapon proficiency as a bonus, which is ALSO non-standard for channeler classes. Seriously, though, you're not training as one of these dudes if you want to become a healer.


Not from this chapter, but it IS marked as a Windfinder from elsewhere in the book.

Windfinders, if you recall, were a Sea Folk ranking, with one on every ship. But! They weren't always channelers. The book points this out and goes "...but you obviously don't wanna be those guys, right? Right." and the prestige class is just for casting as a result. Windfinders have two specializations: weather magic and multitasking. They gain 3 bonus Multiweave feats through levelling (meaning that you'll be able to handle 5 MINIMUM at max Windfinder), and their Control is +5/10 to work on weather-based weaves. However, they also get a rather abusable trick along the way: "(Improved) Open Sky" allows you to double, and then quadruple, the range and area of weather-based weaves.

Keep in mind what this involves: even if we just stick to the Cloud Dancing set of weaves, you've got the power to create flesh-stripping winds, create up to 200 feet of lightning storms at a time, or flash-freeze/burn people in an instant. (No, really, the Warmth weave can do this, allowing you to instantaneously change the temperature to under 15 degrees/above 135 degrees at level 3.) If you want to get nitpicky, some of the Elementalism stuff seems like it should be allowable too (Current, Move Water, Whirlpool), which gives you even more potential to be a world-destroying witch queen.


I swear to god that they didn't wear anything this gaudy in the novels, and the other art I found backs this recollection up. Only thing the book has, though!

Wise Ones, finally, were the Aiel's channeler corps, despite, again, not every Wise One being a channeler (but every Aiel channeler being a Wise One). Same thing applies - channelers only in the prestige class. They get the same generic "Control" as Aes Sedai, an extra Affinity, and then all of the dreamwalker feats. Well, alright, not Waking Dream. But otherwise, they are straight up the only ones who get any Lost skills with such ease/no downside in the entire book.

Next time: Those Dudes What Use Swords

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Core

All right. Twelve Houses! Used to be Thirteen Houses, but the Diedne are gone forever now. The Houses fall into three groups: the True Lineages (Bonisagus, Guernicus, Mercere and Tremere) who are all made of wizards trained by wizards trained by wizards and so on up the line, all of them tracing back to the House Founder. They don't take people in after apprenticeship. The Mystery Cults (Bjornaer, Criamon, Merinita and Verditius) allow anyone to join by being initiated into the cult, teaching the cult's Outer Mystery and allowing the student to perhaps learn the deeper, more mysterious secrets they keep. The final four are the Societates, Ex Miscellanea, Flambeau, Jerbiton and Tytalus, and they're based on common interests. It's pretty easy to get into a Societate after apprenticeship, and those who feel they don't fit their master's House often do. Hell, Ex Miscellanea will take anyone who can speak a little Latin, knows a little magic theory and has the Gift. Oh, and they'll teach you the parts that you don't know. You can only be in one House at a time.


House Bjornaer cares about animals and the bestial side of humanity. Each Bjornaer is able to take on the form of an animal, known as the Heartbeast, and understanding the Heartbeast and the nature of animals is perhaps more important to the Bjornaer than Hermetic theory. Due to the Heartbeast, the Bjornaer are incapable of forming a bond with a Familiar; many view the Familiar as a substitute Heartbeast for other magi. Many are wary of the Bjornaer, as they love the bestial side of man and descend from a Germanic rather than Roman magical tradition.


House Bonisagus descend from both Bonisagus and Trianoma, though Trianoma was of course Bonisagus' student. They are split into two subhouses - the followers of Bonisagus, who focus on theoretical magic and pushing the bounds of Hermetic theory, and the followers of Trianoma, who focus on Order politics and keeping everyone from killing each other.


House Criamon is a secretive House, devoted to an obscure philosophy. The Criamon disdain simple power, and are known to tattoo themselves with arcane symbols. They are an enigma to other magi and have little interest in politics. They themselves seek the Enigma, some form of mystical experience which has something to do with discovering the true nature of the Wizard's Twilight and magic itself. (Wizard's Twilight, as a note, is what happens when magic goes wrong - you are trapped in an otherworldly realm for increasingly long periods and can't escape until you understand the experience. The Final Twilight is the one that never ends for you.)


House Ex Miscellanea are large, diverse and profoundly disorganized. Originally founded by Pralix to be a rival to the Order, they joined as a House of their own. They accept any kind of wizard, some of which are only nominally Hermetic, and the other Houses often derogatorily refer to them as hedge wizards, though most are just as skilled as any other magus. Magi of the House tend to have very little in common, with each tradition in the House having its own strengths and weaknesses.


House Flambeau tend to specialize in fire magic or pure destruction magic. They aren't subtle, mostly, and they're highly aggressive and fierce. They often cause trouble for the rest of the Order and frequently anger normal people. On the other hand, their utter fearlessness and destructive power make them perfect for when the Order needs martial skill.


House Guernicus descend from the Founder Guernicus, who believed the Order needed strictly enforced rules. They are the judges of the Order, investigating lawbreakers and trying cases against them. They believe that without their work, the Order would collapse to internal conflict. They are sometimes called House Quaesitor, for quaesitor is the title of those magi who are investigators. The House largely accepts only the apprentices it trains, but you can be invited to become a quaesitor - it's one of the highest honors in the Order. You just don't get to join the House. Quaesitores are often called in to investigate possible crimes or mediate disputes. Their work is valuable, and they are traditionally paid a donation of a few pawns of vis, raw magic in physical form, as recompense.


House Jerbiton is focused on the mundane world, and sometimes takes the duty of keeping the Order on good terms with the nobility and Church. They are often from noble backgrounds, skilled artists or craftsmen, and their Gift tends to grate on other sless, compared to other magi. Many believe the Jerbiton are too closely tied to mundane powers to be trusted, and the Jerbiton sometimes fear that the other magi have become too isolated from humanity, risking conflict. They try to heal the rift and also pursue aesthetic and philosophical knowledge as well as politics.


House Mercere was founded by a magus who lost his magical powers, assuming the role of messenger. All members of House Mercere, Gifted or unGifted, are considered magi by the laws of the Order, and all spend 15 years in apprenticeship even if they lack the Gift. Mercere are often called Redcaps for their badge of office, a red hat. They are permitted to attend Tribunal, but only the Gifted may vote. Many of them are not Gifted, though some are. Most of the House is descended from Mercere by blood, and from one of his two apprentices by training.


House Merinita focuses on the world of the faeries, and they tend to be rather eccentric. They are often isolated from other magi, except to defend the fae. They do not care for the mortal world, preferring to try and solve the many mysteries of Arcadia. Other magi know very little about their mystery cult, but they have powers of faerie magic.


House Tremere are planners, strategiests and control freaks. They focus on strict hierarchy, with superiors controlling lessers, and care quite a lot about dignity. They are seen as very sensible and stable, bringing strength and courage when needed and doing little when peace is best. They descend by training from Tremere, and accept no outsiders whatsoever. Their founder invented the Certamen duel, and they remain amazing at it. A magus of Tremere holds their apprentice's voting sigil until defeated in a duel, and if someone who doesn't have a sigil has an apprentice, they send that up the line to whoever holds theirs. As a result, House Tremere's votes are bloc votes, held by a small number of magi.


House Tytalus seek to master all forms of conflict. They love innovation of all kinds and are always in some form of struggle, testing the strengths and weaknesses of those around them. They believe in constant change and challenging the status quo, even if you'll lose. They once went too far in this, as we know, and fell prey to demons. Ever since the execution of the diabolist Tremere, the House has not been trusted very much.


House Verditius are enchanters. None are better. All of them, pretty much, also suffer from the same flaw as their Founder: they can't cast formulaic magic without the aid of tools. Despite their skill in enchantment, other magi sometimes consider them inferior as a result. Their mystery cult is quite potent, though, and very valuable both to other magi and to the unGifted for the items they create.

Next time: The Laws of Wizardry

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.



The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game

11: Prestige is Overrated

Okay, now these start getting a little silly.


The most nonsensical table in the book.

Blademasters are probably one of the more lore-heavy classes but drat if you aren't gonna want to just write down effects instead of power names on your sheet. See, all of those nonsense phrases written on that chart above are, in fact, sword forms which come up in the novels! But we never really hear what a single one of them IS, just names and sometimes "X counters Y". Let's play a game: I'm going to name these, you guess what they do before hovering over the spoiler!
  • Parting the Silk: Instantly deal max damage on a hit. Have to roll for Power Attack/Sneak Attack/other bonus damage still, though.
  • Increased Multiplier: okay this one you probably know, raise your crit multiplier by 1.
  • Superior Weapon Focus: also a bit obvious, add +1 to anything you have Weapon Focus with.
  • Eyes of the Crane (yes, it's a typo on the table): Delay your attack for the round. If someone attacks you, you can spring the attack at a +2 attack/damage bonus on them. Will also stack with Parting the Silk.
  • Hummingbird Kisses the Honeyrose: You gain the Improved Critical feat. No, really. Not even "something akin to it", just take the feat.
  • Heron Spreads His Wings: Whirlwind Attack is now an attack action rather than full action.

Commanders are what Nobles become if you're more of a leader than a rich prick. Most of your abilities are going to come down to your CHA bonus, and you can buff allies (getting them to do things like travel faster, fight better, or just not get hit). Their final skill, "To The Bitter End", lets anyone within 30 feet of the Commander fight while dying without any issue, finally keeling over at -10HP.


Gee, I wonder what this guy does.

Gleemen are bards. Travelling bards, court bards, but they're entertainers and most are going to have some sort of instrument they play, and maybe an extra trick or two they can pull out for a tough crowd. It's pretty close to what you'd expect from a bard: they get Gleeman's Lore early on to ID things or pull out information that folks might not commonly know, they can distract folks in battle for an attack bonus, and the rest of their levels are all "take X as a bonus feat" or "you play a song that buffs allies/debuffs enemies".

Thief-Takers, in a nutshell, are bounty hunters. It's a little more complicated than that, but basically they're mercenaries you can hire to track a thief, or use shady skills for more honorable purposes. Think of them as Thief-Plus: they get higher Sneak Attack bonuses, can begin choosing skills that they can instantly take 10 on (even in rough conditions), cripple an opponent to deal (temporary) stat damage, or roll away from a lethal strike to lessen damage/reposition themselves. They can even get to where they can disarm One Power-fueled traps at higher ranks. Pretty drat good.


A "color-changing cloak" on a Warder.

Warders are the men bonded to an Aes Sedai. You really aren't gonna find anyone who gets trained harder in the art of weaponry and (physical) fighting than these guys. That said, they're basically just a Fighter prestige class (get a bunch of Cleave feats!) aside from their DEX-based dodge bonuses as they level (immune to flanking, reaction bonuses, etc.). They also have cloaks which are basically camoflage in drat near any environment. I don't think anyone ever really explains how these things are made? Maybe it's Power-wrought, but it's just the kind of thing that you only get from the White Tower, and having one without being a Warder is a huge red flag to anyone who knows what it is.


Prerequisite: lovely Grooming

Wolfbrothers are the other big prestige class to get Lost skills, but they take it at a huge cost. First off, their requirements are flexible. You need Animal Empathy (8 ranks), Listen (5 ranks), Spot (5 ranks), Wilderness Lore (5 ranks), and the Animal Affinity + Latent Dreamer feats... or you can ignore up to 3 of these for 1d6 points of Madness per requirement you skip.

That's right, Wolfbrothers (and, for the record, you can also be a Wolfsister, no gender lock) are the only non-male-channeler class in the game to use the Madness stat! You don't risk the rotting illness, but instead, every time you level up, the GM rolls another d6 to raise your stat, and it represents how much of your consciousness you've lost to the wolf-state. Hitting too high a level will render you feral entirely, but keep in mind, the higher it gets, the more things can trigger you to just flip your poo poo outta nowhere.

Now, that said? Wolfbrothers are a drat solid class. There really isn't an underwhelming level bonus for these dudes at any point. One level in this class will net you the power to talk to wolves telepathically (for a 10 mile x your level range - note it just says YOUR LEVEL, not "your Wolfbrother level") and perfectly identify all plants you ever see and any effects they have with unerring accuracy, as well as instantly identify if a source of water is safe, or in any way tampered with (poisoned, polluted, cursed, etc.). One level. Take a second and suddenly you gain low-light vision, the ability to smell things at a massive range and get a bonus to tracking, and golden irises which grant you a permanent +2 to Intimidate. Third level? You can physically enter the world of dreams. Fourth lets you start calling a pack of wolves to your aid at any time, fifth lets you smell the emotions of the people around you (bonus to Sense Motive and you can just take a Spot check at DC15 to instantly tell someone's emotional state). 6-8 are the "quiet" levels (stat bonuses, tracking bonuses), then 9 nets you an enhanced regeneration, and at 10th, you get a buffed Call Wolves, no longer needing to make an Animal Empathy check to win them over, summoning larger amounts, and they'll obey you even to the death.

Wolfbrothers are pretty loving keen.

Next Time: Serious Flaws

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


Incidentally, a spoiler from either book 13 or 14 of the series that the Wheel of Time RPG is based on (don't read if you're planning to read the books): The only person in the books who ever went insane as a wolf brother actually chose to become feral, because his human life was so utterly poo poo. Naturally, this occurred after the RPG was written, so the people who wrote the RPG had no idea that that would be a thing...

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


Halloween Jack posted:

I swear I haven't abandoned Eldritch Skies, but with all the good stuff being covered for F&F right now, I never find the time to actually write for it myself.

I JUST realised we're close to a year since I started Mortal Remains.

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ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade Part ++TheLastOne
Chapter 2: Clans Part 1

As mentioned before, there are lots of different Ninja Clans scattered all over the place, but the book describes the 10 most prominent and powerful.

Bamboo Herbalists
Other Names: Ika Clan, Brewers, Healers
Stereotypes: Border-Crossers, Scientific, Great in Emergencies


Everyone likes the Herbalists because they are ninja doctors, using wushu and knowledge of plants and crap to heal injuries and cure diseases. They've practiced it for so long that they've become resistant to poison and illness and live longer.

Everyone hates the Herbalists because they love to wander through other peoples territory to collect plants and other things for their medicines, in many situations without the consent of the owners of the land.

Nearly every member of the clan has joined up with the Lotus Coalition.

They like to wander, explore and learn. All the great discoveries in herbalism were made by them and they earn a lot of money selling potions they make. Herbalists take only a few students over their lifetime, usually close friends or family. An Herbalist becomes a full member of the clan when they create their first potion.

Herbalist character gain a free specialty in Holistics, which, skipping ahead to the skills chapter, is the games Heal/Medicine equivalent.
They start with the Dragon and Bear fighting styles and their favored Wushu are the clan-specific Way of Caring Hands (Healing stuff) and the general Wushu Way of Wood (Plant powers) and Way of Beasts (Animals)

Their Clan Gift is Strong Like Bamboo- they age one year for every two after puberty and gain bonuses against Poison, Disease and Insanity and can go longer without food, water or sleep.

The Clan Drawback is Thrill Seekers- They enjoy adventuring and don't worry about the danger.

Each clan also has a White Wolf-style what this clan thinks of the others section:

In the words of Ichastuko no Kino posted:

Blazing Dancers: “Man, they put on a good show! Now if only they could be as effective in this war, we'd be set. I hope they keep trying.”

Grasping Shadows: “I wish there was a potion to remove the stick from their butts, but alas.”

Hidden Strands of Fate: “Maybe they're hiding something and maybe not. Either way, they throw one hell of a party.”

Living Chronicle: “Write this down. 'Inaction is Death.' Now read it back a few times and reflect.”

Pack of the Black Moon: “I tried to take a hair sample from one of their ninja dogs and the owner tried to bite me. I've heard of bonds with your pet, but...”

Recoiling Serpents: “They try to keep the good stuff from us. For being so big and bad, they sure are lax on their border patrol.”

Virtuous Body Gardeners: “I like these guys. They jump right into combat without and thought and make us look really good when we come in to save them.”

Wardens of Equilibrium: “Trying to control too many things. They'll never learn, so we'll just sit back and watch.”

Will of Iron: “We break a lot of rules. Just don't let them find out.”

Ronin: “Say hello and you may learn something new... or make a new enemy. One way or another, it'll be exciting.”

Lotus Coalition: “We joined to fight the Empire, not solve marriage issues. Still, it's probably our last chance at survival.”

The Empire: “Too many restrictions. Now you have to deal with us all and it's not going to be pretty.”

Blazing Dancers



Other Names: Odoriko Clan, Dancers, Flame-Spitters
Stereotypes: Stylish, Performers, Clowns


This clan started in the Land of Exalted Flame, where they take their religion super-mega-seriously. They were famous and performed a political and religious satire in front of the king, which was seen as blasphemous and as a result they were exiled across the Great Desert, the first time it had ever been crossed. They started up again in the Empire, eventually establishing the Wu Ji theater to train performers/ninja. They shut it down after the Ninja Crusade started as a show of solidarity with the other clans and they are pretty much 100% behind the Lotus Coalition.

The clan was famous for their performances and they still train some individuals even after the closing of Wu Ji. The most promising are brought into the clan as ninja.

Where I said they're all for the Coalition? Turns out that's a lie. A lot of Blazing Dancers actually think they should just up and leave the Empire; it's not their country and they have no reason to care about what's going on in there. The clan leadership is very much for standing fast in the Ninja Crusade, though.

Blazing Dancers gain a free specialty in Performance and the Monkey and Wildcat fighting styles.
Their Wushu are the Way of the Immaculate Show (Performance and agility-related abilities), Way of Fire (Guess what this one does) and Way of Movement (this one too).

Their Clan Gift is Stage and Sound- They can create auditory and visual illusions as part of their performances and story telling. Sounds kind of weak after “Live twice as long and never get sick.”

Their Clan Drawback is Disrespected- Everyone sees them as a bunch of goofy entertainers and not “real” ninja.

In the words of Odoriko Minori posted:

Bamboo Herbalists: “Good guys to have a drink with. Their crazy adventures are not for the faint of heart, so they're right up our alley.”

Grasping Shadows: “They hate us without reason. Seems that's just how they treat everyone though. Just smile and nod.”

Hidden Strands of Fate: “All style and no substance. Like other nobles, they laugh and applaud without really getting the meaning of it all.”

Living Chronicle: “We run in different circles, but I've seen them watching us lately. Kind of creepy.”

Pack of the Black Moon: “The dance of friendship comes so naturally to this clan. Sometimes, though, the dog is the better dancer.”

Recoiling Serpents: “I've heard stories, but they are even more menacing in person. Their dance is death incarnate.”

Virtuous Body Gardeners: “They dance to the beat of their own drum. I like that.”

Wardens of Equilibrium: “Not usually the kind we'd associate with. They can't decide which dance they want to do, but accept help willingly.”

Will of Iron: “A Smith laughed at one of my pirouettes, so I made sure my foot connected with his jaw. He couldn't hit me back because he said it was just. Ha!” (What?)

Ronin: “A kind word goes a long way, especially with these ninja. The favor will come back to you in the end.”

Lotus Coalition: “Our chance to make a difference, even if we have to endure some of the graceless.”

The Empire: “They have so much and now they want it back. Sorry... No refunds.”

Grasping Shadows
Other Names: Kumori Clan, Shades, Shadows
Stereotypes: Assassins, Traditionalists, Bigots


The Grasping Shadows are one of the first clans ever founded, and one of the three from then that is powerful and influential, along with the Hidden Strands of Fate and the Recoiling Serpents.

They had surrendered to the Hebi Clan (the snake guys) to avoid annihilation way back when, but when the Izou Empire showed up to smash them, the Grasphing Shadows signed right up. With their power over darkness they officially became the Imperial Assassins, killing rebels and the Emperor's political rivals. After the Emperors son died and he tightened his grip on the ninja , they switched sides, but when they went to the other clans to look for allies, they found a bunch of incompetent nitwits who refused to accept their training in the ways of being proper ninja (ie, cold-blooded murder). They have some relations with them because of the Ninja Crusade, but they don't like it.

The Grasping Shadows are the Ninja's Ninja, masters of stealth. People living in their territory who are useful to the clan can live prosperous and peaceful lives, but those that oppose them vanish. To join the clan fully, one must single-handed commit an assassination.

Not only do the wish to bring down the Empire, the Grasping Shadows also would like to destroy the
“lesser” clans like the Blazing Dancers, Virtuous Body Gardeners and some Wardens of Equilibrium. They respect the Hidden Strands of Fate and Living Chronicles due to their shared respect for tradition.

Grasping Shadows get a free Stealth specialty and know the Eagle and Monkey Styles. Their Wushu are the Way of Ebony Clutches (Shadow Powers), Way of the Unseen and Way of Water.

Their Clan Gift is Heightened Training- Every ninja character starts with some skills (Discipline, Legerdemain (sleight of hand stuff), Stealth, Survival and their primary fighting style) for free. Grasping Shadows characters, because their training is so strict and rigorous get these starting skills at a higher level out of the gate.

Their Clan Drawback is Ninja Pride- They loathe pretty much every other clan, especially the foreign clans and especially especially the Blazing Dancers.

In the Words of Kumori Kunito posted:

Bamboo Herbalists: “One of too many foreign clans to claim permanent residence here. But they can heal, so we can't afford to lose them.”

Blazing Dancers: “Assassination can be a metaphorical dance, but not a literal one. We've no use for frivolity.”

Hidden Strands of Fate: “1000 times better in form than other ninja, but 1000 times as misguided as well.”

Living Chronicles- “Keepers of the past are to be respected and protected before anyone else.”

Pack of the Black Moon- “Dismiss them. We command darkness itself and they... use dogs.”

Recoiling Serpents: “The most despicable ninja today. Their wushu should have been deemed forbidden long ago. You are wise to fear them... do not hesitate to strike one dead if need be.”

Virtuous Body Gardeners: “Overzealous, with nothing to stand for. The fools are flashy, but will get us killed by focusing on their own agenda.”

Wardens of Equilibrium: “The universe has a way of balancing itself. You are not needed in the equation.”

Will of Iron: “These honorable warriors are our opposites, but are quite useful for drawing attention from us in battle.”

Ronin: “One false move and you're dead. Never forget that.”

Lotus Coalition: “Maybe we can teach the other clans a thing or two so they'll survive after all this is over.”

The Empire: “It's been a long time coming.”

Hidden Strands of Fate
Other Names: Aisato Clan, Strands, Thread Bearers
Stereotypes: Manipulative, Secretive, Untrustworthy


One of the trio of elder clans, the Hidden Strands has existed for over 600 years. In those six centuries, nearly every change of leadership has been precipitated by a coup. A history and culture of lies, deceit and double- and triple-crossings leaves every Hidden Strand untrustworthy and untrusting. The Lotus Coalition originally didn't want to let Hidden Strands members join because of this, but relented after three of their leaders were assassinated (pretty much everyone suspects the Strands but no one had any proof) and they decided that with all of them looking out for each other, the Strands wouldn't be in a position to do anything.

The Strands always close ranks against outsiders, however; a Strand will always stand by a fellow Strand against non-clan members.

The clans territory, west of the Imperial capitol, is threaded with chi-imbued strings that set off traps or alert them to the presence of intruders. Their training programs are brutal and cut-throat, with children taught from a young age to be manipulative and deceitful. Ninja initiates are trained to be self-reliant and refuse to ask others for assistance and their graduation to become full-fledged ninja requires them to compete against their fellows; the more amoral and ruthless their tactics, the more likely they are to be selected for full Ninjahood and deaths almost always occur.

The Strands hate fighting for territory and are tired of holding back the Empire. The clan leaders also hate the ninjas tradition of living in secrecy that the other clans adhere to. They were the ones who gave the Empire the information they needed for their original strikes against the other clans and to this day they sometimes provide aid to the Empire. The upper echelons plan to use the Ninja Crusade to wipe out the other clans and, with the open acknowledgment of the Emperor, claim the entire Empire as their clan territory.

Hidden Strands of Fate gain a free specialty in Deception and their clan fighting styles are Crane and Horse.

Their Wushu are their clan-specialty Way of Spun Threads, Way of the Unseen and Way of Metal.

The Clan Gift is Imbue Threads- A Hidden Strand can imbue any kind of thread with a bit of Chi and gain the ability to control it mentally, allowing it to be used as a weapon as well as tricks like tying itself in a knot and assorted others. The description says that the strands must be imbued before had to be usable in any wushu, but there is no description on how long it actually takes, so I guess it just defaults to “inconveniently long,” so lots within the clan keep the threads wrapped around their forearms or elsewhere on their bodies.

The Clan Drawback is Betrayers- The leadership of the clan is corrupt and pretty much 100% against the goals of the Ninja Crusade. Whenever a Hidden Strands goes on a mission, they might get side missions, a la Paranoia-style Secret Societies, to do whatever the clan leadership wants, up to and including purposefully sabotaging the mission to cause it to fail.

Here's the whole thing:

quote:

Their leadership is quite corrupt. During missions that they believe are for the progression of the Lotus Coalition, any character might receive an order that seems contrary to their original objectives. This could mean retrieving something in secret from a research site, relaying names and placed back to their superiors, sabotaging others in their squad or even purposefully failing the mission altogether. These requests start off small and grow in intensity as the Strand rises in the ranks and grows closer to the clan leaders. Of course, disobeying orders means another Thread Bearer quickly takes the character's spot.

I'm going to say it straight up: As written, this clan is pretty terrible for PCs. By default being from this clan is to be that guy who plans from day one to betray the party to the big bad. It's one thing to give them different goals from the other clans and the Coalition itself (that's a good engine for drama in the story), but the clans goal is literally to destroy the Lotus Coalition from within- the secret missions you're given diverge more and more from the goals of the rest of the party as you move up the ranks and it explicitly states if you refuse to perform a mission, the clan will go out of its way to eliminate and replace you.

This is like putting a NWO anti-UN conspiracy theorist in charge of a UN peacekeeping mission. This is like putting one of those Maoist college kids in charge of your corporation. This is like where you do yet another thing as a third example, where doing that thing will have the opposite result of the result you want.

This sets up the obvious “gently caress you, Ninja Dad!” character arc, only this will cost you your entire clan support structure.

In the words of Ishikawa Ryota posted:

Bamboo Herbalists: “Useful to have around in a pinch, but an annoyance at any other time.”

Blazing Dancers: “drat these puppets can dance... and they think they don't have any string attached.”

Grasping Shadows: “They know our ways and still consider us allies. We'll keep them around and take special joy the day we rip them apart.”

Living Chronicles: “As long as they keep us looking good to history, I'm pleased with their presence.”

Pack of the Black Moon: “So cute with their backwater drawl. Gain their loyalty quickly, before someone can poison them against you.”

Recoiling Serpents: “They may have physical power, but we've beat them before and can do it again. Though, their ruthlessness must be revered.”

Virtuous Body Gardeners: “They make me laugh with their desperate need to be relevant. It'll be even funnier when they realize they aren't.”

Wardens of Equilibrium: “Ha! Convince them that fate hands in the balance and then prove the opposite.”

Will of Iron: “They are fueled by blind justice. IF they step out of line, hand them their eyes so they can match their credo.”

Ronin: “Effortless to trick and no clan to protect them. Too easy.”

Lotus Coalition: “Not exactly our cup of tea, bu we'll be damned if they have a party we're not invited to.”

The Empire: “We would've backed the Emperor on any decision except the Ninja Crusade. He chose wrong.” (Except. oops, turns out the Strands actually do back the Emperor, whether they know it or not!)

Living Chronicles

Other Names: Rekishi Clan, Codices (Codex), Historians
Stereotypes: Quiet, Knowledgeable, Distant


A long time ago, there was a group of monks that lived in seclusion, who were asked by a aging feudal lord to create a history of his land. They created a beautiful manuscript and were kept on to record everything that occurred in the court for posterity. They did this many times in many different places, until the order of monks was in place in noble courts across the land. As they spread across the land, they also copied any manuscripts they found and sent the home to the Land of Crashing Waves to be kept in the Grand Library.

In their research, they learned of ninja and the ways of chi manipulation, eventually teaching themselves wushu to aid in preserving their knowledge. An accident occurred when they used wushu beyond their control, destroying their accumulated lore and killing many of their members.

After this, the Living Chronicle was formed, with the elders of the order declaring that from then on, when members witnessed important events, the record of it would be tattooed on their own bodies and after death they were preserved using secret techniques. They joined the Lotus Coalition as simple historians but evolved into strategists.

The Living Chronicle as monastic order vs as ninja clan are closely intertwined. Only a small portion of it's members wield chi-manipulation and the ones that do are kept secret. The order is spread nearly everywhere to serve its purpose as recorders of history. Most places have laws against harming members of the order and the ninja use their mundane brethren as camoflague.

The primary goal of the clan is the collection and study of knowledge and they originally were neutral in the Ninja Crusade. However, although there is no proof of ninja members of the order, the Empire has attacked them, confiscating their books and sometimes destroying the bodies of members with important tattoos. They have joined the Ninja Crusade to protect their store of knowledge.

A Living Chronicle gains a free Knowledge specialty and is trained in the Crane and Hawk fighting styles. Their favored Wushu are the Way of Kept Lore (powers related to knowledge and reading and writing), Way of Water and Way of Movement.

Their Clan Gift is Long View- The order imbues its members with a rather philosophical view on death, knowing that after they die the knowledge they have collected with not be lost. This gives them a bonus resistance to fear and awe, and their background of extensive study lets them start with three free languages and once per day, they gain a big bonus to any skill check.

The Clan Drawback is Sheltered- Members of this clan don't get out and deal much with people. Additionally, they write down pretty much everything they see and hear, which is a terrible way to keep secrets.

In the words of Arai Kaede posted:

Bamboo Herbalists: “Watch them closely. They hold the key to life itself.”

Blazing Dancers: “Resourceful and entertaining. We hate little use for them, but they are a fine addition to the world.”

Grasping Shadows: “Their history is marred by heinous acts and history always repeats itself.”

Hidden Strands of Fate: “Our records on this clan fill several bodies. They're at the center of every major catastrophic event in ninja history. It scares me to think what is to come.”

Pack of the Black Moon: “Born from blood and survival through companionship. Keep their loyalty, as it could save you one day.”

Recoiling Serpents: “The Coils are a huge historical influence. Their arrogance and vengeance is legendary. I fear they may outlive us all.”

Virtuous Body Gardeners: “There is a shift in the wind and it's coming from the Inks. They are the ones to follow.”

Wardens of Equilibrium: “Personal balance is a good thing, but it cannot exist forever in the world. History will show that these ninja at least tried.”

Will of Iron. “A warrior's path is fun to record, but don't get in their way.”

Ronin: “They come and go. We wait for them to do something phenomenal.”

Lotus Coalition: “The perfect chance to see if this will really work. If history is right... not likely.”

The Empire: “They have grown corrupt as evidenced by this war. If can only get worse without intervention.”

The book has an illustration for each of the clans, but very little of the art is available easily online and I don't have a scanner, so you all get to miss out.

Next I'll finish up the last five clans and the Ronin.

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 06:04 on May 4, 2013

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