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Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Mortal Remains: Migou Project

The last chapter is Chapter Seven: Alien Alter Ego.

Mortal Remains posted:

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to peek behind the Migou curtain, you may want to explore their world more fully by playing a game where they are the Characters and focus. That’s what this chapter is all about – designing Migou or Migou-affiliated Characters and playing Migou stories.

Playing a Migou game can be challenging in the extreme. If your Characters are all blank Humans or loyalist Nazzadi under command of Migou that are supporting cast, things will be a lot easier. Any game involving the portrayal of Migou Characters is going to require a dedicated group that is willing to do a little extra work. It is not for the faint of heart.

Brace yourselves!

Mortal Remains posted:

First and foremost, anyone wishing to portray a Migou needs to understand that these creatures are not just Humans that look like alien insects. They are truly alien creatures. You will need to get inside their head to think like one and study its physiology so you can behave like one. The very least a player needs to be familiar with is the material in this chapter, combined with the information on p. 88-90.

Preferably, anyone wishing to portray a Migou will become an expert on all the Migou-related material in this book.

IMMERSION!

Let me summarise:

• In a Migou game, Humanity is the enemy. Hope your players are comfortable with that!

• The Migou don't have a language humanity can understand, so don't call them Steve.

Mortal Remains posted:

However, this is just a game. There’s no reason that you can’t decide to call things by the same things you’d call them as your Human self, simply acknowledging that the Migou have different “words.” Migou Characters will, on the other hand, still need to something to call each other. The communication the Migou use for individual designations don’t really match anything in the Human sphere. Calling Migou Characters by Human names such as Steve or Carol seems foolish. We recommend that you use something simple to differentiate your Migou Characters, such as numbers or letters. Some find that numbers don’t communicate enough individuality, so feel free to create your own unique alien naming convention. In the end, do whatever works for you but that also still satisfies the requirement of matching an alien mind-set.

• You don't have to be Migou! You can play Human blanks, or Nazzadi Loyalists. Just remmeber the Migou are in charge and can order Blanks to commit suicide. Also, you can maybe run a game where Blanks and Loyalists work with the Eldritch Society against the Children of Chaos. (If you are crossing your fingers hoping you hear much more about this idea, I have some bad news for you.)

• Migou still follow the rules for Fear but ignore certain sources, like Deep Ones and themselves, because they are used to them and don't give a gently caress.

Result #3 – Lose Bodily Control still applies, but there is no discomfort or embarrassment as the Migou only discharges its odorless vaporized waste.

• Some of the other Fear Effects are changed because Migou don't scream, drool, sob, etc.

• The Migou "do not often suffer from despair or consuming hatred, both of which are Human emotions". CthulhuTech doesn't know what "often" means.

• The Migou don't suffer from quite a lot of the same disorders. This section on how the Migou use Human insanity rules with things cut is long and boring and I feel like if they wanted to make Migou seem alien so bad they could bother to write up some new and actually interesting disorders but whatever.

• MY VERISIMILITUDE:

Mortal Remains posted:

Migou Characters In Other Games

You may be tempted to come up with some kind of reason that a Migou would have a change of heart and go over to some kind of non-Migou group, specifically so you can play a Migou Character in a New Earth Government or some other kind of game. Just so we’re clear – this never happens. The Migou are organisms that are deeply tied to their own species. They will not, under any circumstance, cooperate with or join up with members of other races or affiliations. If you want to play a Migou Character according to canon, you must play a game that revolves around the Migou.

I think my favourite thing about these asides is it doesn't even matter. People can and will make these Migou anyway. The writers just want everyone to know it's not real CTech if a Migou teams up with non-Migou.

Blanks and Loyalists working with the Eldritch Society to accomplish mutual goals is totally A-OK though.

Rules for making Migou characters work off the usual creation rules, only they have more free skills, some skills are changed or useless (they don't need Bureacracy because they are dirty communists, they're asexual so don't need Seduction, etc.), there's a list of Assets that get changed or dropped (Ghouls get Sexy Voice but not Migou? I see how it is), same with Drawbacks (they all start with Duty (3), which continues to be a Points For Doing Your Job trait), etc. It works. They bothered to make some new Assets too:

Sanctified (3): Instead of Outsider Taint, the Migou have specially bred a line of Tainted Migou. Sanctified get triple Orgone, always appear wasted or sickly because the line has been Tainted too long for random alien bullshit and the Migou don't mind them. You also suffer penalties which aren't listed here because they are in the Sanctified racial template.

Swift Winged (3): You can fly at full speed on Earth, instead of half speed.

Vivid Genetic Memory (1-4): All Migou have some genetic memory, but yours is better. They aren't complete memories, it's up to the Storyguide GM when they show up and you mostly just get interesting info and maybe a bonus to skills sometimes if the Storyguide GM allows it, but it's still cool. Depth ranges from a few generations at 1 to a few thousand years, tens/hundreds/thousands of years or millions of years ago when they first arrived on Earth.

Blank (4): A Drawback! You are a brainwashed human, and completely loyal to the Migou. You cannot refuse an order from a Migou, even if they order you to kill yourself.

After that are two racial templates - regular Migou or Sanctified. All Migou get genetic memory, flight, the ability to turn their hands into tools and some other frills that get repeated on both pages; the main difference is Migou get +2 Agility, +2 Intellect and -1 Strength, while Sanctified get the relevant Taint asset and +1 Agility, +2 Intellect, -2 Strength and +1 Tenacity. Oh, so the spell-caster's drawback is that he is bad at physical stuff. How innovative, I'm sure that will hold him back.

There are more Profession templates too! Battletroops, Mecha Pilots, Para-Psychics, Sorcrerers, Specialist (Arcanotechnicians and other experts) and Vanguards (Stealth and good with shotguns). They are too mundane to write up, so...


GM Storyguide section! There's some more information on how to roleplay a Migou verisimilitudinously (mostly covered already), a list of play styles you could try (mostly different kinds of games), and... this thing.

Mortal Remains, "NEG Infiltration Stories" posted:

The interesting thing about this kind of game, as noted earlier, is that it is a way to mix Characters loyal to the Migou with other kinds of Human or Nazzadi Characters. Perhaps they team up with agents of the Eldritch Society to fight the Children of Cha-os, or perhaps they team up with arcane investigators against the Esoteric Order. It can be an interesting and effective way to mix Characters from radically different worlds.

Not gonna lie, I still want to see how this works.

Themes! The themes of Migou games should be Desperation (as far as the Migou are concerned, whether the Cults or the NEG win the Old Ones will screw everyone over), Efficiency, The Group vs. The Individual, The Plan and Righteousness. If you squint really, really hard maybe you can play Alien Monaco.

Penultimately, we get some adventure hooks. Assimilate This is about Migou trying to assimilate Rapine Storm creatures - a Shabus Morgo and a Gug. A Desolate One might show up to attack the Migou (please come back, Doctor Cheng, you were the best), and fun times are had by all. Deep Trouble is about destroying an Esoteric Order manufacturing facility, and Not Giving Up Just Yet is about raiding an Engel training facility so they can capture ESI chips for study. (It also goes out and says that Migou will come up with their own Engels eventually, though I guess that is necessary to ramp up the danger in later books if they ever come out.)

The last part is an adventure. It is not very long, but it's definitely something. I'm going to go ahead and write it up today and finally close out Mortal Remains (almost a year after I started, gently caress this book). I can't use Athena and co. here, though, so someone give me some Migou PC ideas.

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citybeatnik
Mar 1, 2013

You Are All
WEIRDOS





pospysyl posted:

Next time: Bone Gnawers!



Easily my favorite tribe. Looking forward to this.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Ettin posted:

I can't use Athena and co. here, though, so someone give me some Migou PC ideas.

Take a couple of standard human character templates and turn them into Migou with little to no changes.

I.E.
Hardboiled Migou PI
Migou Martial Artist
Migou Surgeon

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.


Ettin posted:

The last part is an adventure. It is not very long, but it's definitely something. I'm going to go ahead and write it up today and finally close out Mortal Remains (almost a year after I started, gently caress this book). I can't use Athena and co. here, though, so someone give me some Migou PC ideas.

A Migou who's an NEG turncoat, because gently caress you, CTech developers.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Down With People posted:

A Migou who's an NEG turncoat, because gently caress you, CTech developers.

This. Oh and to add to Kurieg's suggestion, Migou schoolgirl.

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Kurieg posted:

Hardboiled Migou PI

Holy crap, I'm picturing that image of the Migou in the core, wearing a fedora and it is amazing.



Different Migou, but you get the idea.

Ettin posted:

I'm going to go ahead and write it up today and finally close out Mortal Remains (almost a year after I started, gently caress this book).

So how long until you get to Burning Horizons?

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 10:40 on May 4, 2013

berenzen
Jan 23, 2012





Ettin posted:

The last part is an adventure. It is not very long, but it's definitely something. I'm going to go ahead and write it up today and finally close out Mortal Remains (almost a year after I started, gently caress this book). I can't use Athena and co. here, though, so someone give me some Migou PC ideas.

Go and make yourself a Migoon, even if it's just for the terrible pun.

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012


A Migou with a phobia of other Migou.

You know you want to.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








An alcoholic migou who's looking to score some space mead.

END ME SCOOB
Mar 27, 2007

Like, I shoulda known the dog would smell it, man. I was way too high to bury him deep enough! I guess we gotta do this, huh? Alright, Scoob, get ready for my full power! DON'T HOLD BACK, PAL!

ZOINKS!



The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game

12: The Deadliest Mess

After the GM chapter is "Encounters", and oh man, this chapter is pretty broke in a lot of ways.


fuckkkkkkk

Challenge codes! Man, who the hell ever missed those? I sure don't. The worst part of this is that you may notice the only examples it gives are all PC-classed enemies, not, say, the creatures from the end of the chapter (who don't go above rank G, and only one is this high) or have good explanations of how to combine codes/enemies to classify them properly. Also, what size party are we dealing with here? Nowhere in the chapter does it clarify this. We continue to use A-I all throughout the chapter despite this, even for "hazard challenges".


This table still fills me with rage.

This is probably the highest damage listed in the game on this table. But again: nothing really explains when you should use one code over another. If you're at this for the first time, nothing is guiding you to an appropriate level for your crew that might just utterly wipe them. They seriously list this as what you should use for trap damage, the sole guide!

Then we come to the biggest oversight in the game as of this book: Poisons & Diseases.

See, both of them follow this format: a DC to resist them, then, if you fail that, an initial stat damage, and then a secondary effect (usually larger amounts of stat damage) if you fail a second saving throw later. In the case of diseases, they're a shitload nastier. First off, the secondary effect takes two saves if you fail the first - failing the second permanently strips you of a stat point*, instead of just damaging you in a healable fashion. You don't get over a disease as easily, as well: until you succeed at two saves in a row, you're still diseased. They also break up the diseases into "Type I/Type II/Animal-based/Spore-based"... buuuuuut nothing sums up what makes Type I/II distinct from one another, nor is there a list of diseases anywhere in the book. (Poisons have a table as well, but they're all named and in one place.)

* Animal and Spore-based diseases actually require THREE saves, because you can lose TWO stat points per day permanently, one each on different stats.

Oh, and there's no way to heal these offhand in the core book.

Until the Prophecies of the Dragon adventure book a year later, there was absolutely no way aside from making your saves to cure these. They mentioned that someone with Craft (herbalism) could do so but also didn't mention how it would do so or what could even be made with the skill in the base book. Similarly, the Healing talent had no weaves to fix these, and thus if you just sneezed on someone, you had a better chance to kill a PC than cutting them open - Aes Sedai were unable to stop your mad plan. (Same went for healing non-permanent ability damage: no weave until that book came out, you only got 1 point back a day AFTER you kicked the disease/poison.)

Next Time: Beastiological Studies

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Core

The Hermetic Oath itself is given in full in the book. Mostly, it boils down to: 1. Be loyal to the Order. 2. Do not ever try to take someone's magic power. 3. Don't kill other Hermetics outside a legally declared Wizard's War. 3. No revenge for Wizard's War. 4. Abide by Tribunal decisions; one wizard, one vote. 5. Don't endanger the Order, interfere with mundanes, deal with devils or molest the fae. 6. Don't scry on other Hermetics. 7. Train apprentices to obey the Code, and if they gently caress up, be the one to take them down. 8. Kill those who are outcast from the Order. 9. House Bonisagus is allowed to just come in and take your apprentice if they feel like it. In return, House Bonisagus must share their work with all.

In theory, the only sentence for Codebreakers is death. In practice, lesser offenses get fined, though death is the punishment for refusing to submit to the lesser punishments. Those who refuse to obey Tribunal decisions suffer the Wizard's March, in which the entire Tribunal casts them from the order, Renouncing them. Then whoever kills them gets to keep their stuff, so all sorts of people try it. The whole 'depriving another of magic power' clause is usually called on for offenses that fall short of physically attacking a wizard, like busting up a lab or killing the servants. Depriving a magus of resources, after all, deprives them of some of their magic power. The core meaning, though, is do not ever try to gently caress with their Gift.

The Wizard's War allows for a conflict between magi to escalate to open war, allowing the two magi to temporarily set aside the Code. You start a Wizard's War with a declaration of war which must arrive on the next night of the full moon. The war begins on the rise of the full moon and lasts until the full moon after that. Unjust or constant use of Wizard's War is discouraged, and occasionally those who declare war too often will be Renounced.

The clause forbidding interference with the mundanes is probably the most controversial one. You need to deal with them, after all, just to survive. Typically, the second part of the clause, 'and thereby bring ruin to my sodales' is brought in to excuse dealings that do not bring harm to other magi. Typically, that's permitted. Many precedents, however, have established that working as a court wizard is a violation of the Code.

Naturally, those who work with demons are ruthlessly hunted down and killed. Period. No arguments, no exceptions. Trying to destroy demons is acceptable, but frowned on - you just don't want demonic attention at all. The molesting-the-faeries clause depends on your definition of molestation. Since faerie areas are so full of vis, few magi will actually argue that running in, blasting faeries while you harvest the vis and then running away is 'molestation.' That's made it pretty hard to define, and rarely prosecuted. Usually it comes down to politics and whether other magi have suffered. Unlike the mundane and demonic clauses, however, friendly dealings with the fae are perfectly allowed. Note the lack of clause protecting magical creatures or other wizards; this is deliberate. Trianoma wanted the Order to be able to use force to compel others to join. Excessive interference, though, could still fall under 'endangering the Order by my actions' which is forbidden.

The rule against scrying on other wizards is surprisingly well-enforced. Tribunals have ruled it illegal to scry on non-wizards as well if, by doing so, you are using it to learn about a wizard's activity. Also, walking around while invisible counts, legally, as scrying. And ignorance is no excuse - scrying on a wizard you didn't know was a wizard is still illegal. Of course, there's rare precedent in the other direction, too, but most Tribunals are quite strict about the scrying law.

The apprentice clause, on the other hand, is barely enforced at all. Magi do not have to train apprentices if they don't feel like it, and the obligation to join a Wizard's March against your apprentice if they gently caress up is more social expectation than legal duty. However, the special right of House Bonisagus to just coopt any apprentice they like is enforced. So is the law stating that House Bonisagus research must be freely shared.

Wizard law is handled by Tribunals, formal gatherings of magi in which each magus votes on the issues. The Peripheral Code records all such votes and decisions. Legally, for a Tribunal to count, it needs at least twelve magi from at least four covenants, at least one of which must be a Quaesitor, who does not vote but does count as one of the twelve. You can vote by proxy, giving your voting sigil to someone attending on your behalf. The Tribunal is chaired by a Praeco, the oldest magus present, who cannot vote except to break ties but does have the right to declare order of business and, in extreme circumstances, silence or eject a magus. If the ejections drop you below quorum or deprive you of having a Quaesitor, the Tribunal ceases to be valid. At the end of a Tribunal meeting, the Quaesitor must certify it as valid, which is the main check against abuse by the Praeco.

The most important Tribunal is the Grand Tribunal, held once every 33 years and bringing in magi from the entire Order. It is always held at Durenmar, the domus magna (read: headquarters) of House Bonisagus and the birthplace of the Order. Each regional Tribunal sends three representatives, and the Primi of the Houses also attend. The Primus of House Bonisagus is Praeco, even if an older magusi s present, and the Primus of House Guernicus serves as presiding Quaesitor. The Grand Tribunal is for issues affecting the Order as a whole, and its decisions have a lot of weight. It is the only Tribunal with authority over the entire Order, and thus it is where inter-Tribunal disputes are handled.

The regional Tribunals, in theory, are composed of all the magi living in a certain area. The areas are roughly fixed by Grand Tribunal decisions, but the magi in them can change the name of the Tribunal at will and set membership requirements freely. In general, you don't change Tribunals if you go visiting, and different Tribunals may have laws on how long your visit can last. The regional Tribunals meet once every seven years, and the Redcaps are required to ensure that every magus in a Tribunal receives an invitation.



Next time: Dealing with people.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


An anti-social migou who speaks with a migerman accent and is more focused on his precious bodily fluids and conducting experiments on other migou to care about the plan. Oh, and he carries around a much smaller migou dressed in a terrible cat costume.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Mors, what happened to your awesome Ars Magica thread that described why you should join each clan? I love how detailed the game gets with research and publications.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Count Chocula posted:

Mors, what happened to your awesome Ars Magica thread that described why you should join each clan? I love how detailed the game gets with research and publications.

Still exists, the thread is here. No one's posted much in it though! That's why I'm doing this - to convince people the game is awesome.

Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Core

Your average peasant is terrified of wizards and avoids covenants. This is fairly reasonable; most covenants are in dangerous, magical areas. Also, the Gift rubs people wrong and people are rightly afraid of people who can turn them into toads. They may invent or adapt local legends about a covenant, which may well be entirely false. Isolated covenants may not even be known by the peasants, especially since they don't want to know. Most covenants do rely on peasants for food, just nobles and priests do, though. These peasants tend to find the magi creepy but will accept them as lords so long as they're treated well. (Indeed, they might be better lords than most - weather control, you know.) Typically a covenant will keep an unGifted official around to deal with them, and sometimes the peasants will even feel a degree of affection for "our" wizards, so long as they don't have to meet them often. Covenants are also a good sanctuary for people who don't fit society - women who want to be scholars or warriors, for example, serfs who seek freedom and so on. Typically, mundane people join a covenant more because they don't want to be somewhere else rather than because they want to be around wizards.

Officially, the Order and Church have no relationship at all. The Order is quite aware that God backs the Church and that they could wipe out the Order as a result. The Church is aware that the magi are powerful and at least some of them are good Christians. Their tendency to harbor heretics is bothersome, but as long as the magi keep out of Church affairs, the Church won't take official action. Individual clergy, though, run the full gamut, from believe that all magi are devil-worshippers to enthusiastic scholarly collaboration. Most covenants try to stay on good terms with local priests, though, usually via unGifted intermediaries. Tribunals treat interference with the Church as a serious crime, because, again, the Church could destroy them. Friendly or at least neutral relations are encouraged, and direct attacks lead to you being Renounced and killed before the Church can justify a Crusade.

Most nobles are aware of the Order, and any covenant will soon become acquainted with the local nobles. Most are also aware, vaguely, that the Order's wizards can't swear fealty to them, so they try to be slightly more subtle about it. Individual attitudes, as always, vary widely. Most covenants try to stay on good terms with the nobles, but most can't manage to win over everyone, so there's usually some tension. Few nobles are stupid enough to directly assault a covenant, at least, but any covenant that wiped out a noble for any reason would soon find itself before the Tribunals. The Code tends to rule that deals with nobles are fine as long as they don't involve service of permanent magical aid, though that's not a definite.

Magi tend to avoid cities, since the Gift pisses people off and most cities have a Dominion aura (more on that later) that dampens magical power and interferes with research. On the other hand, cities have scholars, merchants and resources, and even simple magic can support trade, so some covenants settle in cities. They tend to try and find a magical regio within the city, to get away from the Divine aura, and typically they serve as go-betweens for more rural covenants. For most magi, though, cities are for visiting, not living.

Also: can I sell magic items? At first, it was unrestricted. In 1061, however, a series of rulings made it illegal to accept money or goods as payment for arcane services from anyone who doesn't belong to a covenant. The rulings also said that any magic item sold to a non-magus member of a covenant must lose power, either via charges or limited duration. There are two major loopholes here: first, mundanes can pay via magic items or vis, though few have access to vis. The Order does love to trade temporary magic items for permanent ones, though. And hey, a mundane offered an item that will last for his and his son's lives may well trade a weaker but permanent item for it. The Quaesitores approve of this. The other glaring, likely deliberate loophole is this: nothing stops a mundane member of a covenant from selling an enchanted item or accepting commission to obtain a specific item. Thus, the main effect of these rulings is that you go through a middleman rather than directly.

Hermetic magi are not the only wizards out there, of course. They're the most powerful, sure, but some people have supernatural powers without the Gift, or the Gift without being Hermetic. Official policy is that all wizards must join the Order. However, it's rarely enforced, especially against weak wizards, priestly wizards or noble wizards. Powerful and isolated wizards are heavily encouraged to join, and may die if they refuse, but others are merely threatened if they cause trouble. Since non-Hermetics have no Parma Magica, this tends to work. There is one case where 'Join or Die' remains heavily enforced, though: if any non-Hermetic learns the Parma Magica or any other form of general magic resistance, the Order wants them in or dead. Period. Rulings on this have been essentially unanimous - the monopoly must be preserved.

Next time: Characters.

Audience participation time! I need three characters: a wizard of some variety. A non-wizard of some variety. A less important non-wizard.

Tell me who they are.

GimmickMan
Dec 27, 2011



A Mi-Go commander that spent all of its life analyzing human culture to come up with the most devious plan to use mankind against itself. Instead of treating loyalists or blanks like disposable tools, he instills religious fervor in them by claiming to be the one true deity that can prevent the return of those that would devour all.

He goes by the name of Megalon.

Alternatively, change some details around and go for Mothra.

GimmickMan fucked around with this message at 16:36 on May 4, 2013

Safety Biscuits
Oct 21, 2010



Mors Rattus posted:

The Hermetic Oath itself is given in full in the book.

I love that they've included court rulings and precedents clarifying the code. It's like the real Middle Ages, but cool.

Are there Scandinavian wizards in the Order?

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

A hot-blooded Migou cop on the edge that's swole enough to wrestle tagers, aviator sunglasses mandatory.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



House Louse posted:

I love that they've included court rulings and precedents clarifying the code. It's like the real Middle Ages, but cool.

Are there Scandinavian wizards in the Order?

Nope. The Scandinavian rune-wizards are doing their own thing and have actually kept the Order out of their lands pretty handily.

E: Actually, they're so good at it that the Order believes they're organized into some kind of Order of Odin which is mounting resistance and may be trying to invade, we need to stop them now.

(There isn't an Order of Odin. The Scandinavian wizards aren't organized at all. They just work really heavily with the locals, for Gifted wizards.)

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 17:25 on May 4, 2013

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Ettin posted:

The last part is an adventure. It is not very long, but it's definitely something. I'm going to go ahead and write it up today and finally close out Mortal Remains (almost a year after I started, gently caress this book). I can't use Athena and co. here, though, so someone give me some Migou PC ideas.

The stars of the popular fifth-column television program, The Mi-Gou Amigos, who got lost on their way to a con and mistakenly believe the adventure setting is just a really elaborate stage set-up.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Bitchtits McGee posted:

The stars of the popular fifth-column television program, The Mi-Gou Amigos, who got lost on their way to a con and mistakenly believe the adventure setting is just a really elaborate stage set-up.

The Three A-Migous?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Tasoth posted:

The Three A-Migous?

"You thousand sons of a motherless black goat!"

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord



POWERS & PERILS 4.4 Culture Book F, the Fomorian Empire


So far, we've seen two kinds of empires. The first one, the Empire of Ced, is basically just a small country dreaming of its days of former glory. The second is the massive and rich Cerulean Empire, mostly contiguous, rich, and enormous. The Fomorian Empire is a third kind - the sort the sun never sets on. Its Kingdoms are scattered all over the map ... and we'll check in on all of them. In addition to the Ten Kingdoms, it has a Principality, which will be another story altogether... It may not be the biggest or most powerful Empire in the Perilous Lands, but it's among the most important and most widespread.

While each of the Kingdoms has something of its own personality, by and large, it's a Lawful nation and most are not altogether terrible neighbors. And most of the Kingdoms share some commonalities, including a shared religion and language; if there's a Common Tongue (hah, of course there's no common tongue, this is Powers & Perils!) it's Fomorian. And it's got a neat history, with actual, like, magic and stuff.

Less than a thousand years ago, Fomoria was an island subjugated by A'Korchu. The Korchi were huge assholes, like normal, so the Fomorians' chief god, Enki, intervened. See that big lake in the middle of the island? Apparently there's a Spirit there. Enki woke that spirit up, which caused earthquakes and basically killed or drove off all the Korchi. After this, he cloaked the Island in mist for 10 years. He set up a "golden stele" with a code of laws - I'm thinking Hammurabi here - and raised up ten Kings among the natives. A long as they obeyed Enki's laws, they would prosper.

Within two centuries, every King (or I'm guessing their heirs?) had carved out a Kingdom of their own somewhere in the world. And then ... they mostly stopped expanding. Mostly.

4.41 Fomoria


Fomoria proper is a big rocky island with a central lake. Also under its direct rule is a mainland colony, Fort Inan. There's a few large cities - including Fomoria itself - and somehow 730,000 people live on the island. It's got some quirks, as you'd expect... The island's almost impossibly rich, as befits the seat of a globe-spanning empire. One of the sources of its wealth is right in the middle of the lake; see the Island of Mirdan? It's the only known source of ORICHALUM (the book capitalizes it; no idea why). Oh, and see the little blue-green patch right outside the city? This is something called the Fertile Circle, an area of land where 60,000 farmers use advanced irrigation techniques to feed basically the entire island.

It's not just rich, it's powerful, too, with vast armies and the most impressive (though not the largest) fleet in the world. 150 warships (with at least 50 triremes or quadremes), 50 huge troop transports... it's a good thing they're not focused outwards, because they'd be a pretty substantial threat. As it stands, it's more than enough to keep that creepy A'korchu away.

Want to visit Fomoria? Well, be prepared to use the local coinage. And those coins, no surprise, are made (at least in part) of Orichalum. Visitors need to convert all their coinage; failure to do so is a pretty serious crime. So try not to bring your life savings unless you plan on staying for a while.

Fomoria needs that gold and silver, you see, because they make yearly sacrifices to the Spirit of the Lake. Unlike many island nations in the Perilous Lands, this sacrifice is of riches rather than, say, virgins or something. There's a rumor that well over a million gold is resting at the bottom of the lake now, but every Fomorian knows it's ... well guarded.

Legally, it's pretty drat advanced, all things considered. You see, Fomoria has remembered that this is a fantasy world rather than actually like Europe, so they don't torture. Instead, they rely on evidence gathering backed up by the use of magical interrogation techniques. Mind reading, basically. Yep, it's kinda Big Brothery, but when the alternative is what we've seen so far...

Oh, and the King? Basically an enforced shut-in. He gets to leave the Palace once per year on a pilgrimage to make the above-mentioned sacrifices at the lake. Otherwise, the only people he ever gets to see are his family, other kings, high-ranking military officials, and the high priests of Fomoria's temples. Sounds kinda lovely, really, so let's move on to the second Kingdom!

4.42 Aredan


Aredan is in the far southeast of not-Africa. It's a relatively inoffensive nation, but nearby Shurikal is devoted to wiping them out. It seems what is now Aredan used to be part of Shurikal, and most of the natives were Shurani, so it doesn't seem unreasonable they'd be kind of holding a grudge? Anyway, it's been engaged in this war for centuries. As a result, 2/3 of the inhabitants are female because clearly ... women can't fight or something? Come on, book. This is Fantasy Eurasia, not the real thing! If you can fight, you too can live in a Fomorian Kingdom because they need the help.

Otherwise, they get along well with most other Fomorian Kingdoms (especially nearby Ashudan). However, they hate the principality of Port Doman... and more on them in a second.

4.43 Ashudan


Ashudan is an archipelago Kingdom off the coast of Aredan, and hence off the coast of not-Africa. It's almost embarrassingly wealthy and secure - kind of a fantasy Dubai - so it's gotten a bit spoiled. They have no major enemies, except Shurikal by proxy and the regional pirates. Their 50+ warships tend to keep them safe enough.

4.44 Atler


Atler is somewhere around where not-Portugal should be. They're fairly peaceful and inoffensive, but their presence on the penninsula offends A'Korchu. The Korchi have raided Atler on occasion, which has caused strain between them and the very nearby Kingdom of the Islands because ... they're kind of in the way and should maybe do something about all these raiders? They have a paltry 10 warships, and has close ties with nearby Xan.

4.45 The Kingdom of the East


The Kingdom of the East is almost a little sub-Empire; the King even considers Fomoria itself to be kind of irrelevant. They're way off around where not-Malaysia and not-Australia are, so they're pretty well separated from all the other Kingdoms and kind of go their own way. We've heard about them before, in the entry for Chunrey.

The original Kingdom was based on the island with Pildan on it - Hunki Island - but soon expanded to Tyan. They competed for trade with the Lemasans, until Lemasa had enough and did crazy stuff like massacre everyone on Tyan. This was back in the early days of the Empire, back when all the Fomorians still got along, so the collective Empire sent its military might to utterly annihilate Lemasa. It then occupied ten islands and Lemdan on the Island of Lemara itself.

So that's where things stood for 50 years, until the immensely powerful Katai (not-China) decided to start raising the Fomorians' rent. Still flush off their victories, the Kingdom of the East fought back and invaded in turn. That led to the Fomorians conquering a whole stretch of the mainland, around what was then Coasa and is now Ocedan. After a hundred and fifty years of relative peace, they allied with Chunrey to attack Katai; this war ended when Chunrey made peace with Katai without consulting their allies (thus showing some hints of how they play the KoE and Katai against one another).

About two hundred years after the original conquest, the hereditary Duke of Coasa/Ocedan invaded the Kingdom of the East. This didn't go so well for him, and the Fomorian Kingdom ended up with the entire peninsula plus a few more cities. Immediately after this, opportunistic Chunrey invaded the Kingdom, thinking they had their pants around their ankles. This ended predictably - with Chunrey losing more land and the Kingdom growing bigger.

The moral of the story is, "Don't gently caress with the Kingdom of the East."

Since then, they've had less luck. They couldn't conquer anyone else, and even a pretty good plan to conquer Lemasa fell apart when their allies reneged. So for about 200 years, it's just been content with its domain.

Now, all isn't sunshine and roses in the Kingdom of the East. Most of its lands have been relatively recent conquests, and as a result only about 20% of its total populace is native Fomorian. Those Fomorians tend to be terribly racist; only Fomorians can be citizens, and non-citizens have a much harsher system of justice. Simply put, they think the natives lack their intelligence, insight, and divine fortune. They'll probably be surprised when an inevitable rebellion breaks out.

The Kingdom of the East has almost no relations with the other Kingdoms. They'd probably be just as happy if the rest of them fell into the ocean at this point.

4.46 The Kingdom of the Islands


The Kingdom of the Islands is almost just an offshoot of mainland Fomoria. It occupies the islands between Fomoria and Atler. Apart from their 60 warships, there's not much to say. Atler resents them because of the aforementioned A'Korchu issues.

4.47 Musira


Musira occupies the forested coast off the West coast of not-Africa. It's a rather poor Kingdom, and is frequently raided by the nearby tribes, despite ostensibly being at peace with them. They are resentful of the richer Kingdoms. Some radical elements would prefer to revolt; they think they're being kept largely defenseless to make them a more attractive raid target than the richer kingdoms to the north, like Xan. Oh, and they hate/mistrust foreigners.

4.48 Port Doman


So, because Perilous Lands is much like a kinda-sorta real world, you knew eventually we'd run into some ... sensitive ... issues. And, given all the misogyny kind of floating around in the setting, I'll bet you were all wondering how Perilous Lands would deal with serious issues of race and the ugly history of slavery! (I mean, after all, the rulebook lets you buy child slaves) Well, Port Doman provides the first hint of an answer. To the setting's credit, it's at least not intentionally offensive so much as completely oblivious. Like, it knows that bigotry and slavery are bad things, but it just doesn't reach any conclusions beyond that.

For example, the book over and over again refers to "the blacks" and "whites." Given that it was written in 1983, I think this is kind of normal? Please correct me if I'm wrong. but it's kind of jarring nonetheless. And it has absolutely no problem in making adventures that - not even joking here - consist of adventurers killing dark-skinned, jungle-dwelling, spear-wielding, demon-worshipping savages.

...Back to Port Doman, because I'm sure we'll have plenty more opportunities to revisit this topic. Port Doman is around where Ghana should be, but it looks more or less like South Africa during apartheid.

Unlike the rest of the Kingdoms, Port Doman is a principality. It was established first as a trading post but later as something more after a Fomorian General was raised to Princehood after dealing with the local (black-skinned, naturally) barbarians. Once established, they played their enemies against one another by supplying weapons to both sides, until they were the only real force in the area. Gradually, they converted some of the locals to their religions, and enlisted their help in enslaving their fellow tribesmen.

And that's where we are right now. Port Doman has been gradually becoming more and more evil and depraved for centuries, and is one of the chief sources of slaves in the world. Only about a third of the inhabitants are white-skinned Fomorians; the rest are (mostly) native slaves with a handful of not-yet-enslaved natives. But really, they might as well be slaves already because...

quote:

The Fomorian justice system applies for non-blacks. Blacks in this land, free or slave, are without rights. A fomorian can do whatever he pleases to them. If his action damages a citizen’s property, he must pay that person damages. Blacks who are found guilty of any crime are enslaved. If they are already a slave, or the crime is major, they are sold outside of Port Doman. The basic status of blacks in this land is only somewhat better than that of a valuable animal.


To their credit, the rest of the Fomorians don't really care much for Port Doman anymore. Two Kingdoms - Aredan and Shestar - are even working to get their charter for self-rule revoked so they can put an end to Port Doman's horrible policies.

So now's a good time to talk about...

4.49 Shestar


Shestar is just slightly down the west coast of not-Africa from Port Doman. They didn't start out much better than Port Doman is now; they made an agreement with the then-dominant Nylasi Empire (the same Empire Port Doman helped tear itself apart). After the Empire's fall, Shestar gleefully annihilated a bunch of natives and took their land to expand 1further. They still want to expand, but they've found a bit of enlightenment since those days and pretty much feel just terrible about all that murder.

They are currently good allies with the nations surrounding them, and both Fomorians and natives expect equal treatment under the law. So that's better at least? Also, they hate Port Doman and wouldn't mind maybe annexing it.

4.410 Vahear


Vahear is off (and actually on) the East coast of not-Africa. They're pretty horrible, usually, both "arrogant and hedonistic." They're stuck between two big powerhouses - the Cerulean Empire (who we've seen) and the Rogizini Empire (not yet). Both kinda sorta want Vahear's island for themselves and the Fomorians out of their back yard. They also are best buddies with the Lemasans, because see that Olphar bit on the map on not-Africa's mainland? That used to be a Lemasan colony. Those pirate dickheads in Dechat are also not big fans, because the Vahearans more or less curb-stomp any of their pirate craft who come within their range.

You see, Vahear may be disliked and hard to deal with, but their fleet of 120 warships (40 of which or more are ships of the line) make them a bit hard to ignore. Also, they're allied with Bhamotin, Teos, and No'mal.

Interestingly, there's a note stuck in near the end:

quote:

NOTE: In the near future a war may break out. The participants will be Vahear, Bhamotin, the Rizeela, No’mal and the Bal’sani, on one side, and the Rogizini Empire, the Cerulean Empire and Dechat on the other. (The main battlefields in the war are likely to be Dechat, Olphar, Bhamotin and the seas.)

So, kinda neat. It gives you plot hooks.

4.41 Xan


...and we round up our tour of Fomria with Xan. Xan's a bit of a weird Kingdom with no clear parallel. While on our world, the Straits of Gibraltar link the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean, the country of Xan is stuck in between the Sea of Tears and the Endless Ocean. Unsurprisingly, its chief industries are Trade (since they have access to both the Sea and the Ocean) and mining (because mountains, duh).

Because they are in good position to piss off both the demon-worshipping Climans and the demon-worshipping A'Korchi, they are a very militaristic and aggressive Kingdom. They don't seem to mind slavery, though, since slaves are a big sign of status. They're an extremely powerful Kingdom, second only to Fomoria proper, and are closely tied with all the other nearby Kingdoms except Musira. Who, we noted earlier, resents Xan's wealth.

So... that's Fomoria. With one more exception. Because this is Powers and loving Perils, we need more rules!

Consult this simple chart to determine what one Fomorian Kingdom thinks of another one, and how likely they are to come to their aid!


Don't ask me if you read across or down. I dunno.

Whew. We're done.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


dwarf74 posted:

And it has absolutely no problem in making adventures that - not even joking here - consist of adventurers killing dark-skinned, jungle-dwelling, spear-wielding, demon-worshipping savages.

Didn't D&D do basically this exact same thing, about the same time or a bit earlier, only with the (questionable) self-consciousness to make it about orcs instead?

MalcolmSheppard
Jun 24, 2012
MATTHEW 7:20


Bitchtits McGee posted:

Didn't D&D do basically this exact same thing, about the same time or a bit earlier, only with the (questionable) self-consciousness to make it about orcs instead?

You guys should get your hands on a copy of Orcs of Thar. There's some epic racism in that, like the yellow goblins and red goblins standing in for . . . well, guess. It's the one Gazeteer I don't regret losing, and I used to have the one with the island ruled by a reality show for adventurers, whatever it's called. Ierendi?

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Well, what the hell, time to throw my hat into this ring. It's time for....



Official Website
PDF on DriveThruRPG

Part 1: Jason Bourne Versus Dracula

Night's Black Agents is an espionage thriller game which, as the banner on its website is very keen to tell you, was written by ENnie Award winner Kenneth Hite. Ken is perhaps best-known for his Lovecraft-related works--in fact, this is his second game using Robin D. Laws' GUMSHOE System, after 2008's Trail of Cthulhu. Night's Black Agents takes the action from the Mythos-infested 1930s to the seamy criminal underworld of present-day Europe. It's a world of organized crime, of burned ex-intelligence agents and of vampires.

Yeah, that's right. Vampires. And no, not the metaphorical kind. The secretive, blood-drinking, secret-masters-of-a-vast-conspiracy, really-don't-like-it-when-ex-spies-poke-into-their-business kind. You poked your nose into their business, and now you know they're out there. Oh, and they know you know.

One note before we begin: General Ironicus is already doing a great job writing up Ashen Stars, which also uses the GUMSHOE System, so I'm going to try not to get too redundant with his review. As such, while I still plan to go chapter-by-chapter through the game, I'm mostly going to focus on the differences between Night's Black Agents and other GUMSHOE games. I'm also going to be aiming for major audience participation, if there's enough interest: we'll be doing examples of character creation, vampire creation, and conspiracy mapping all driven by goon consensus.

Now, let's go dark, shall we?

Introduction

Silly vampire, you say grace before the meal.

The book kicks off with a section called Tells, where Hite lays out the basics of the game. The GM role is called the Director, and it's her job to design both the vampiric conspiracy the players' agents will be going up against and the vampires themselves. That's right, rather than giving us a canned style of vampire story, Night's Black Agents has a robust system for designing your own vampires, from corpse-eating ghouls straight out of Balkan folklore to classic Dracula flavor to Necroscope-style alien parasites. We'll get to all that a bit later on. We also get a quick run-down of the "stock" campaign arc:

Night's Black Agents: Introduction posted:

Throughout a typical Night’s Black Agents campaign, the agents:
  • Uncover the extent of the vampire conspiracy, mapping its branches and personnel.
  • Survive attacks by the vampires or their minions and pawns
  • Discover the vampires’ weaknesses and true nature
  • Detect and prevent ongoing and ad hoc vampire or conspiratorial operations
  • Weaken the vampire conspiracy by striking at its main branches or key personnel
  • Finally, destroy the vampires at the heart of the conspiracy

Skipping over the stock "the story happens at the table, not in the Director's notes" and "what's in this book" sections, the Introduction ends with a discussion of the four gameplay Modes. Night's Black Agents defaults to "spy action thriller," but much like Trail of Cthulhu before it, provides four different levers to fine-tune the experience to what you want. Each of the four modes has an icon associated with it; throughout the text, rules designed for that mode are called out with that icon. For this review, I'll be following that same convention. The four modes are:

Burn
Burn mode focuses on the psychological toll all the lies and violence and self-deception inflict. Here, isolation and despair are every bit as dangerous as ex-KGB wetworkers or ninth-dimensional bloodsucking parasites. Sources of inspiration include the Bourne movies, TV shows like Alias and Callan, or the novels of Graham Greene.

In Burn mode games, agents' Stability ratings are capped at 12 and more things can cause Stability loss. No, we don't exactly know what that means yet. Also, the likelihood of someone quoting Nietzsche goes up by 15% per session.

Dust
Dust mode drops the game's action from cinematic hyper-reality to something grittier and more "realistic." Because in a game where vampires secretly control the Afghani heroin trade, being able to shoot two guns at the same time is just implausible. Inspiration here are more grounded espionage TV series like Rubicon and The Sandbaggers, films like Three Days of the Condor, or the novels of Anthony Price and Charles McCarry.

In Dust mode games, agents' Health is capped at 10, you don't get to pick an MOS, and most if not all of the cherries you get for having a rating of 8+ in General abilities. You can also restrict or outright eliminate the Thriller combat rules. Since we haven't really been told what any of that means yet, we're forced to assume that DARPA has weaponized Michael Jackson's dance moves.

Mirror
Mirror mode is all about paranoia. Everybody has a hidden agenda, most of which are themselves in service to an even hiddener agenda, and trusting the wrong person nets you a shallow grave in the foothills of the Caucasus. Everyone is the wrong person. Inspiration is, unsurprisingly, extensive: John Le Carré’s George Smiley novels, classic spy movies like Ronin, even the Mission: Impossible films fit here. Most Mirror mode games incorporate at least one additional mode, sometimes more than one. Le Carré’s work tends to be a combination of Mirror and Dust, while Alias combines Mirror and Burn Modes (with a little bit of Stakes, which we'll get to next).

In Mirror mode games, your contacts are more likely to turn on you when you least expect it, and you can never even be sure of the loyalty of your own teammates. To that end, Mirror mode uses a fairly straightforward but potentially nasty mechanic for Trust and Betrayal, which will come up later in the rules.

Stakes
Stakes mode is a little bit of an odd duck--mostly, it's described as being for games where the stakes are higher than mere survival, in the vein of Bond films or Clancy novels, but the only rule that gets called out for Stakes mode here is that agents in Stakes mode have Drives which motivate them--but in the very next sentence, it says Drives should be used regardless of mode, so... Stakes mode gets a few callouts later in the rules, mainly focused on how things work if your characters are still actively working for larger intelligence agencies rather than being free agents.

And that's it for the Introduction. Next up will be the Characters chapter, where we'll learn exactly how much parkour we need to outrun a bat. We'll also design a cell of vampire-slaying burned-out ex-spies to showcase the rules, and that means it's audience participation time! Submit your ideas for spies you'd like to see punch a Dracula in the face, and I'll pick between three and five of them to build out as player characters. You can also vote for which, if any, modes you'd like to see used for the audience participation segments. (If you want to vote for a vanilla, unmodified game, vote for "thriller.")

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

Bitchtits McGee posted:

Didn't D&D do basically this exact same thing, about the same time or a bit earlier, only with the (questionable) self-consciousness to make it about orcs instead?
Yeah, don't get me wrong, D&D's fantasy racial stuff with entire evil races who are automatically killable is troublesome at best. But when your adventure is about killing real-world Western stereotypes of actual Africans I think you've crossed a different line. (It's Site 1 in the Site book, too! So like I said, we'll revisit this again.)

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

GimpInBlack posted:

Well, what the hell, time to throw my hat into this ring. It's time for....



Official Website
PDF on DriveThruRPG

Part 1: Jason Bourne Versus Dracula

Night's Black Agents is an espionage thriller game which, as the banner on its website is very keen to tell you, was written by ENnie Award winner Kenneth Hite. Ken is perhaps best-known for his Lovecraft-related works--in fact, this is his second game using Robin D. Laws' GUMSHOE System, after 2008's Trail of Cthulhu. Night's Black Agents takes the action from the Mythos-infested 1930s to the seamy criminal underworld of present-day Europe. It's a world of organized crime, of burned ex-intelligence agents and of vampires.

Yeah, that's right. Vampires. And no, not the metaphorical kind. The secretive, blood-drinking, secret-masters-of-a-vast-conspiracy, really-don't-like-it-when-ex-spies-poke-into-their-business kind. You poked your nose into their business, and now you know they're out there. Oh, and they know you know.

One note before we begin: General Ironicus is already doing a great job writing up Ashen Stars, which also uses the GUMSHOE System, so I'm going to try not to get too redundant with his review. As such, while I still plan to go chapter-by-chapter through the game, I'm mostly going to focus on the differences between Night's Black Agents and other GUMSHOE games. I'm also going to be aiming for major audience participation, if there's enough interest: we'll be doing examples of character creation, vampire creation, and conspiracy mapping all driven by goon consensus.

I really love the settings for the GUMSHOE games (especially Night's Black Agents). I hate the rules however.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I really love the settings for the GUMSHOE games (especially Night's Black Agents). I hate the rules however.

There are definitely a few odd bits I'm not a huge fan of. What in particular do you hate about it?

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


GimpInBlack posted:

There are definitely a few odd bits I'm not a huge fan of. What in particular do you hate about it?

I don't hate it, but the rules for health and damage in GUMSHOE seems a bit contrived. That fact that being at or below zero isn't necessarily a bad thing is kind of off from the way most health systems work and I could see someone who isn't used to it fumbling it.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

I really love the settings for the GUMSHOE games (especially Night's Black Agents). I hate the rules however.

This is me. I like the critters they wrote up for Esoterrorists, Ashen Stars looks like a decent setting, and I can hardly say 'no' to anything Mr. Hite's written... but every time I've read the rules over, Gumshoe has come off as awkward as gently caress.

Serperoth
Feb 21, 2013


GimpInBlack posted:

And that's it for the Introduction. Next up will be the Characters chapter, where we'll learn exactly how much parkour we need to outrun a bat. We'll also design a cell of vampire-slaying burned-out ex-spies to showcase the rules, and that means it's audience participation time! Submit your ideas for spies you'd like to see punch a Dracula in the face, and I'll pick between three and five of them to build out as player characters. You can also vote for which, if any, modes you'd like to see used for the audience participation segments. (If you want to vote for a vanilla, unmodified game, vote for "thriller.")

Hm. I wouldn't mind a Greek vampire hunter. In this economy, he's a full-time vampire-slayer, after being an informer against the junta (of 1967). His position within the ranks of the soldiers (in order to inform) gave him a spot close to the action when the attack on the Polytechic, and it haunts him to this day. Smokes a lot.

Safety Biscuits
Oct 21, 2010



Mors Rattus posted:

Nope. The Scandinavian rune-wizards are doing their own thing and have actually kept the Order out of their lands pretty handily.

E: Actually, they're so good at it that the Order believes they're organized into some kind of Order of Odin which is mounting resistance and may be trying to invade, we need to stop them now.

(There isn't an Order of Odin. The Scandinavian wizards aren't organized at all. They just work really heavily with the locals, for Gifted wizards.)

Thanks, that sounds intriguing.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


Mors Rattus posted:

Next time: Characters.

Audience participation time! I need three characters: a wizard of some variety. A non-wizard of some variety. A less important non-wizard.

Tell me who they are.

A French wizard who tears bleeding teleportation holes in reality. A Spanish knight with tons of panache. An Englishman who does useless Bard crap.

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Next time: Characters.

Audience participation time! I need three characters: a wizard of some variety. A non-wizard of some variety. A less important non-wizard.

Tell me who they are.

An seafarer turned Criamon, driven mad by his studies of Wizard's Twilight; a well-meaning priest, friend to wizards and shunned by the Church; a Germanic warrior, a devil with a sword and vengeful against nobles.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




Giant Allege Part 7: Clients Dig Giant Robots

Mecha!



A mech is defined by a Form and two Armaments (ARM). All of these are rolled randomly on tables. Starting with the Forms, there are 11; roll two dice, and determine your choice based on the value of the first die (123 or 456) and the second die (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6). If you roll 456-6, then you get to pick one freely.

The above is the first Form, number 123-1, Swordman. The most common type of Giant Allege on Gear's Rock. Specializing in sword combat, this Form gives you the option to select the ARM "One Sword, One Blow" as one of your two ARM slots before you randomly select.

I'm actually not going to post pictures for all of the Forms. Not because they're less than fantastic, but because I want to maintain some motivation for you folks to actually buy the PDF if you really like it.

Form 123-2 is the mighty Armorman, an unassailable fortress of absolute defense. If you get the Armorman Form, then you can choose to equip either "Absolute Shield" or "Armor Curtain" in one of your ARM slots before randomizing equipment.



Form 123-3, the Barbarian is a totally radical and violent Allege Form dedicated to trying to wipe out the enemy in a single blow. Continuing in the trend of equipment-based Forms, this robo-mohawk-sporting Allege lets you select either "Axe Bomber" or "Peerless Spear" as one of your ARM slots before randomizing equipment.

Form 123-4, the Pankration is a massively strong Allege Form that requires no weapons of its own, fighting instead with absurdly huge fists. It can select "Do Through", "Hand Red Arm", or "Joint Break" as an ARM before randomizing equipment.



Holding the title of Probably the Stupidest-Looking Form, 123-5, the Gunman is a long-range fighting quick-draw Form. Same game as the last four, selectable ARMs are "Lightning Speed" and "Bullet of Light".

Last of the equipment-based Forms, the 123-6 Ballista is an absurd mech covered in guns from head to toe. This long-range bombardment type mech can provide either "Seaside Reach" or "Missile Shower" as its ARM.

Which brings us into the more functionally interesting Forms, the ones that actually have different stats! Starting with 456-1, the Trooper is a centaur-shaped Form with a lance for a hand. It gets a +1 bonus to Initiative roll results, but a -1 penalty to Defense roll results.



I said that the Ballista was absurd and covered in weaponry, but it's downright tame compared to 456-2, the Tank. Huge, clunky and invincible, the Tank gets -1 to Initiative, but +1 to both Attack and Defense roll results.

As we move into even less humanoid mechs, 456-3, the Beast, is shaped like a giant robot dog covered in improbable swords. A truly primal four-legged beast mech, this Form grants +5 to base Quick and Break, but forbids all equipment.

In the same category as Justice the Giant Allege, 456-4, the Harpy is the only flying Allege Form. Lightning quick but light, the Harpy gets +5 base Quick, but it can't be made with a Cost over 10.



Last on the list, the 456-5, the Insect is about as far removed from humanoid mecha as we're going to get. It's much sturdier than that design makes it look, getting a +5 bonus to Armor, but can only equip one ARM.


Once the Form has been selected, it's time to randomly generate all undetermined ARMs! That's two slots, minus any slots either filled by special options from the Form or flat-out removed by the Form. For each, roll 2d6 and consult yet another huge list. Each grants a special ability and comes with a snappy(?) one-liner.

1-1: Lightning Speed. As available to the Gunman. This can be triggered only once. When activating, you automatically win your next initiative contest. If two people use it at the same time, they attack simultaneously.
"Just like a flash of lightning. Too fast for any eye to follow."

1-2: Drill Do Rill. One-off item activated before rolling Initiative. Any Attack rolls you make this turn have their results doubled.
"People who say that a drill is a man's romance have no faith in themselves. Why don't you go out and show 'em how it's done?"

1-3: Howling Ring. One-off item activated before rolling Initiative. Automatically win Initiative, deal 2 damage to the enemy's Quick, and immediately end the turn.
"It's bad luck to fire it off as a recital. Did you know that speakers can be lethal weapons?"

1-4: Do Through. As available to the Pankration. One-off item activated before rolling Initiative. This turn, apply your attack roll result directly to your enemy's Base Armor.
"Here, adjust the direction of your power a bit. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, right?"

1-5: Tornado Vortex. Can be used twice instead of once. After initiative, subtract your attack roll result from the enemy's base Quick.
"There are none standing on this Earth who can defeat this Soldier of Fortune!"

1-6: Queen's Whip. Two uses again, activated before rolling Initiative. This turn, any damage you do affects the enemy's Quick instead of their Armor.
"All men are masochists. No matter how they show off, their breath goes wild once they're under my heel."

2-1: Smoke Mock. Two uses, activated before rolling Initiative. Reduce your opponent's Initiative dice pool to half, rounded up.
"Just because this smoke rises doesn't mean there's a fire."

2-2: Hammer Price. One use, activated before rolling Initiative. If you win Initiative, your final damage roll is set to your current Break.
"If you've got time to think, then you've got time to settle everything in a single blow."

2-3: Missile Shower. As available to the Ballista. Two uses, activated before rolling Initiative. If you win Initiative, then roll 10 additional dice on your attack.
"If they're good at dodging, give them no place to dodge to. There isn't anyone who can stay dry in the rain, right?"

2-4: Sticky Net. Two uses, activated before rolling Initiative. Your opponent rolls five fewer Initiative dice.
"Eww, what the heck?! It's gross to get covered in sticky white fluid!"

2-5: Reverse Solar Generator Beam. One use, activated before rolling Initiative. If you win Initiative, your final damage roll is set to your base Break (before adding pilot stats).
"I'll stop you with all my heart! My Allege's soul is on fiiiire!"

2-6: Seaside Reach. As available to the Ballista. Two uses, activated before rolling Initiative. This turn, you can't be Counterattacked.
"What's that? There's no way to strike from the far side of the ocean? Sorry, but this kid is special."

3-1: Accelerator. Two uses, activated AFTER rolling Initiative. Add one to your final Initiative result.
"Speed is all about equipment, you say? Try giving this baby a ride. I'll scrape you off the cockpit afterwards."

3-2: Redo Motion. Two uses, activated after rolling Initiative. Your opponent rerolls their Initiative, and can't use any Initiative-altering ARMs this time.
"It's a complete do-over... but only for you."

3-3: Flash Grenade. Two uses, activated after rolling Initiative. You reroll your Initiative.
"Are you ready? This is my ultimate attack! Keep those eyes peeled so that you can witness its glory!"

3-4: Diving Earth. Two uses, activated after rolling Initiative. The turn ends immediately.
"Oho, it's rare to find people who sprout from the earth."

3-5: Joint Break. As available to the Pankration. One use, activated before rolling attack. This turn, your damage is inflicted on the enemy's Break.
"I live for the sound of my opponent's call for surrender."

3-6: Melting Acid. One use, activated before rolling attack. Instead of rolling for damage, you reduce the enemy's Armor by half.

4-1: Hand Red Arm. One use, activated before rolling Initiative. If you win Initiative, then your attack's damage reduces the enemy's Quick, Break, AND Armor.
"Oraoraoraoraoraoraoraora... and one more for the road!"

4-2: Bullet of Light. As available to the Gunman. Two uses, activated before rolling attack. Instead of rolling, your attack roll is set to 4.
"Oh, this is no good. I was aiming for a counter attack, but that's not going to be possible."

4-3: Never Ending. One use, activated before rolling attack. Don't roll attack this turn. Instead, restore all attributes to their maximum values. The enemy can't counter.
"There it is! That's the face I wanted to see! Kyahahahahaha! This party's just getting starteeeed!"

4-4: Power Charge. Two uses, activated before rolling attack. Don't roll, and instead roll double dice next turn. This turn, the enemy can't counter.
"Don't be so impatient. The ideal path is to understand that Process is Success!"

4-5: One Sword, One Blow. As available to the Swordman. Two uses, activated before rolling attack. Double your attack dice.
"A sword has dreams, hopes, and will of its own."

4-6: Peerless Spear. As available to the Barbarian. Two uses, activated before rolling attack. Add to to your attack roll result.
"This tip of this spear can cut a flying crow in half. That's why it's called Crow Cutter. Can you believe it?!"

5-1: Thunder Wall Break. One use, activated before rolling attack. Roll attack dice equal to your team's Budget.
"He turns every enemy he points at into ashes. There's no running away from this."

5-2: Perfect Foresight. Two uses, activated before rolling defense. Even if you fail your defense roll this turn, you can counter as if you succeeded.
"Trials begin and end with receiving and countering your opponent's arguments. Let me show it to you know: The Windmill Hypothesis!"

5-3: Axe Bomber. As available to the Barbarian. One use, before rolling attack. Double the final result of your attack roll.
"If I cut their body deeply enough, they'll explode. That's what it means to be number one in power."

5-4: Greek Fire. Two uses, activated AFTER rolling attack. Set your attack roll to 3. The enemy can't defend.
"Of course, this won't pierce the defenses of every Allege, but against a human, it's unstoppable."

5-5: Photonic Barrier. Two uses, activated before rolling defense. Set your defense roll result to 4.
"Such an attack won't be able to break through my photonic barrier. Wh-What's this? My barrier... is falling apart?!"

5-6: Armor Curtain. As available to the Armorman. One use, activated before rolling defense. Your defense roll automatically succeeds, but you can't counter.
"Whatever villainous legal attack I must endure, this armor curtain will weather it for three days and nights!"

6-1: Perfect Shield. As available to the Armorman. One use, activated after rolling defense. Double your defense roll result.
"So you think your weapon can reach me? How adorable. It's my turn now..."

6-2: Heavy Low Tension. One use, activated before rolling Timing. Every roll in this battle is made with a maximum of ten dice.
"Too bad, but I'm already used to this!"

6-3: Sonic Low. Two uses, activated when dealing chip damage. Inflicted damage is set to 3.
"You're tryig to stop a monster. Did you think you could come out unharmed?"

6-4: Zero Range Battle Skill. Two uses, activated when an enemy uses an ARM. The ARM's activation is canceled, but the usage is not expended.
"True terror is fighting at range zero. None of your weapons will help you here."

6-5: Death Trap. One use, activated after your enemy successfully attacks. Next turn, you automatically win Initiative, and your attack is doubled that turn.
"How naive, child. Do you still believe that a trial can be won using skill and heart alone?"

6-6: Zombina System. One use, activated when you're defeated. Your Armor is set at 0, and you can continue to fight until you take damage again.
"If I lose here... then all your lies will become truth. That alone... That alone, I cannot stand for! UWOOOOOOOOH!"




And that's it! The entire 28-page rulebook. I don't have any particular closing words for this game, aside from that I'd like to play it at least once, so here's the back cover:



That was fun. I think I'll do Great Ork Gods next.

Quinn2win fucked around with this message at 00:22 on May 5, 2013

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


quote:

"There it is! That's the face I wanted to see! Kyahahahahaha! This party's just getting starteeeed!"



I love all the oddly-worded but earnest taglines, thank you so much for posting them.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Night's Black Agents sounds cool. Can you use it to run a John Le Carre game without the supernatural nonsense?

I prefer Mirror, and I suggest an ex-IRA hard man who got left out after the last peace settlement. He still fights for the Irish people against the imperialist empire of English vampire.

Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

Night's Black Agents ideas:

A poker-faced twig of a Lebanese woman who does unspeakable things with a knife.

A fat goony computer nerd ('cause it's not really an F&F PC concept list until someone suggests a goon).

Literally Brock Samson.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


dwarf74 posted:

Yeah, don't get me wrong, D&D's fantasy racial stuff with entire evil races who are automatically killable is troublesome at best. But when your adventure is about killing real-world Western stereotypes of actual Africans I think you've crossed a different line.

Oh aye, P&P's dishing out some next-level nonsense. I was just trying to remember the name of this module, which some persistent Googling for "orcs afro" has revealed to be Drums on Fire Mountain. Guess I don't really know anything about the contents, but that cover art does not instill confidence.

GimpInBlack posted:

And that's it for the Introduction. Next up will be the Characters chapter, where we'll learn exactly how much parkour we need to outrun a bat. We'll also design a cell of vampire-slaying burned-out ex-spies to showcase the rules, and that means it's audience participation time! Submit your ideas for spies you'd like to see punch a Dracula in the face, and I'll pick between three and five of them to build out as player characters. You can also vote for which, if any, modes you'd like to see used for the audience participation segments. (If you want to vote for a vanilla, unmodified game, vote for "thriller.")

Ugh, vampires. Never mind me, though. The "frustrated/disillusioned Christian priest fighting against the hidden darkness" character type is a favorite of mine. Seems like he'd fit right in with a Burn campaign.

ProfessorProf posted:

"Eww, what the heck?! It's gross to get covered in sticky white fluid!"

Oh, Japan.

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Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

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




Mors Rattus posted:

Next time: Characters.

Audience participation time! I need three characters: a wizard of some variety. A non-wizard of some variety. A less important non-wizard.

Tell me who they are.

Here's 3 of the top of my head.

Wolfgang Krieger, highly intelligent and inquisitive german wizard of House Criamon . He's a pretty devout religious man looking to find the link between God and the Gift. Richard Breten, his grizzled sergeant-at-arms (ex-mercenary) and veteran of whatever conflict occurred around that time. Gilles LeBlanc, his mild-mannered but personable steward and chief gopher for village/city supply runs.

Syrg Sapphire posted:

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.


The White Tower has a Ter'Angreal that prints out the cloth iirc.

edit: yeah here it is http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Fancloth_ter%27angreal

Hipster Occultist fucked around with this message at 02:04 on May 5, 2013

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