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Nov 9, 2011

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

Hedningen posted:

Do it, especially if you can do so legally. I'd recommend contacting the creators to see if they're planning on releasing a translated version, but the responses are so drat spotty. I know that I've got enough of Mutant:UA translated to at least get the basic material (Edited rulebook, plus the four guides to the classes and some of the Göborg campaign book and Zoology of the Zones) out, but Paradox didn't want poo poo to do with it, and Järnringen Förlag AB doesn't have a legit license any more, based off of the e-mail I've exchanged, so sorting out translations is a gigantic legal gently caress-up. Which is why I'm sad that these translations can never really see the light of day outside of personal games, and part of why I have to summarize a lot more when it comes to dealing with Mutant:UA stuff - there's still an outside chance you can obtain books, as opposed to Classic Mutant.

Always, always, always jump on a chance to release a translated work. At worst, it's good practice that other people can critique. At best, it's a good career move and something that gets you more translation gigs.

I should clarify that all I have is a barebones google doc with enough translated content to be able to play the game. It's nowhere CLOSE to being a complete or professional translation of the book, a task that is probably beyond my abilities.


Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!

Region B: The Rest

For the most part, the rest of Region B is fairly unremarkable. The hobgoblins don't have their own territory (in fact, there appear to be maybe a dozen hobgoblins in the entire Region, so one wonders how they were ever players at at all) and the only other faction is the rebellious goblins who are pretty much just as boring as the regular goblins.

Although the name of the section: "Heathen Goblin Rebels" is a great name for a band.

The North-East section of the dungeon contains theoretically "neutral" rooms mostly filled with monsters, but randomly some rooms will be under goblin control, others trapped by the bugbears despite the fact that neither team could reasonably hope to get to these areas. It's still pretty uneventful however except for B111, "The Killing Grounds"

B111 is like a perfect snapshot of what's wrong with the entire dungeon. It's poorly balanced, full of weird house-rules, awful editing, poorly implemented encounter conditions, little understanding of the rules, poor cartography, and hate for the PCs:

The room is a large chamber that blocks the way to the "untamed" section of Region B (and as mentioned it blocks access to the goblin's new "god"). The place itself has eleven!! encounter conditions:

Ambush, Concealment, Cursed [5], Desecration [6], Echoes [10], Fear [14], Fearless, Haunted, Hazardous Footing [16], Negative Energy, Unhallowed [4]

What does all this mean? Well, some are meaningless (for example, giving Fearless to an encounter that only includes undead) but essentially it boils down to this. Your enemies get +4 to Hide and Move Silently, all Will saves have +5 to their DC, undead get +6 Turn Resistance.

In addition, all PCs have to make a roll to resist being shaken (DC 14, turned to 19 by the Cursed effect), must move at half speed (or possibly suffer damage) and can't make free five-foot steps and clerics/paladins suffer -4 to Charisma rolls (mainly penalizing turning attempts even further). Oh, and if they stay in the room long enough they take 1 point of damage per minute. The concealment also gives all PCs a 20% miss chance against any non-adjacent monsters which can't be evaded because it's never actually described how it works (darkness, illusions, fog, etc).

If the room itself wasn't bad enough it contains six ghouls who are "corrupted" paladins. What's a corrupted paladin? Well, that's a good question because the writers don't seem to be very sure themselves. The ghouls have 4 HD, so it seems like they're 2nd level...but it's unclear what their actual class is.

They've got some inverted versions of the paladin abilities: dark blessing (Cha bonus to saves), Smite Good and detect good. They've also got an aura of fear, requiring PCs to make a second fear save upon entering the room except a DC is never provided (if it works like normal class abilities the DC would be 13, boosted to 18 by the Cursed effect on the room). There's no indication of the radius or duration of the effect either. However, they also have spellcasting abilities which a paladin shouldn't get for several more levels.

Because they haven't already screwed up the CR system enough, they apparently also have an additional +4 natural armor and Spell Resistance of 14. Despite all this they're supposed to be CR 3.

On top of everything they've got magical equipment: +1 unholy longswords and +1 unholy chain shirts (despite the fact that there is no such thing as unholy armor). So, in addition to everything already going against the PCs these guys have magic weapons that inflict +2d6 damage to any good characters. But hey, they could be really useful loot for evil-aligned players and even neutral character's wouldn't turn up their nose at a +1 weapon even if they never use it against a celestial. The WLD is extremely stingy with magic items so a magic sword, any magic sword, could be considered very valuable. Oh wait, never mind, their +3 equivalent magical weapons (and armor?) turn to dust after they die.

Because gently caress players, am I right?

Fortunately, there's no problem because this isn't an encounter the PCs could actually get to. The designers sealed this section behind a locked portcullis that they didn't seem to realize can only be opened from the wrong side and doesn't include any alternative passageways from within the Region.

So, what's next. Should I go based on alphabetical order into Region C or by level and go with Region E (the other level 4-6 Region)?

Feb 20, 2008

I'm a kitty!
Let's keep scaling by level.

Jul 19, 2012

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

oriongates posted:

+1 unholy chain shirts (despite the fact that there is no such thing as unholy armor).
You can but it only comes into play if you ever use the armor as a weapon, such as with armor spikes. But you can't have spiked chain armor, so you can have your Ghoul Paladins chest-bump the cleric and deal him 2d6 damage I guess?


So, what's next. Should I go based on alphabetical order into Region C or by level and go with Region E (the other level 4-6 Region)?

Go by level, that way the ridiculous encounter difficulty will only go up.

Sep 3, 2006

Grey Worm's Ken doll-like groin throbbed with the anticipatory pleasure that only a slightly warm and moist piece of lemoncake could offer

Young Orc
Let's go to E, because E is in my opinion the dumbest section of the entire WLD.

Oct 2, 2010

Unveiled Threats: Guns and Words

Most of this book can be done in one post, so I'm going to.

Chapter Two: Dealers of Death can be skipped if you don't care about guns, but there's some Chrysalis stuff buried in here! The pre-chapter fluff is about a couple of Chrysalis executives/Dhohanoids bringing weapons to Rapine Storm cultists, and then the chapter opens with a list of the top weapons manufacturers in the NEG.

Armorcorp: Armorcorp is known for their mastery of materials engineering high-tech defense systems, but they've moved into weapons. They're most responsible for the superconductors used in gauss and rail weapons. As mentioned in the core book, they are a Chrysalis subsidiary and supply the Rapine Storm with weapons.

Colt Springfield: These guys are an amalgamation of two companies (guess who!) that merged in 2035. They mostly do light weapons and their handguns are used by law enforcement and military agencies all over the world.

Electroarms Inc: The most successful defense firm in the NEG. They mostly deal in "high energy weapon systems" like gauss, particle and laser weapons. They work with other companies a lot and are so close with Armorcorp that a merge might happen eventually. The Eldritch Society is trying to stop it.

Fabrique Nationale: They focus on chemically propelled weapons and manufacturing really nice ammo for other people's weapons. Chrysalis Corp has a significant stake in FN too.

Heckler, Koch and Sig: They focus on chemically propelled weapons too. Recently they tried moving into energy weapons by undercutting Electroarms on a charge beam research contract, but an "undetected flaw" caused some weapons to explode and disable their mecha mid-combat. After that disaster they backed out of energy weapons and FN cut into a lot of their market share.

Norinco Inc.: Norinco is a terrible company that makes lovely versions of other people's weapons. Everyone laughs at them and wonders how they stay in business. The secret is to do a lot of business in parts of society where there's no paper trail! "It is most often Norinco arms that fall off the back of trucks and find their way into the hands of the Disciples of the Rapine Storm". :ohdear:

Steyr Mannlicher: They look like an old weapons first, but really it's a 30-year-old company using the name. They make all kinds of stuff.

Ultratech: Ultratech tries to make the most cutting-edge weapons systems, obtains loads of military contracts and tries to improve on Electroarms' designs because gently caress those guys.

After that are some new rules on electrokinetic (gauss and rail guns) and needler guns and increasing a weapon's rate of fire, but nobody cares. There's also a weapons catalogue stretching from pages 17 to 38 full of stats, fluff and art. It does a good job appealing to the kind of person who loves getting into loads of detail about guns but is too invested in the game to switch to a better system. Otherwise you can probably skip it, though there's some setting fluff buried in there. Norinco's purpose is basically providing cheaper weapons with worse stats so their fluff is hilarious; apparently Ultratech has tried to sue Norinco for ripping their style but "the Chrysalis Corporation is a difficult opponent in a court of law". Staggering incompetence suits Chrysalis!

Also armour but nobody cares. And bam, first third of the book down!

Chapter Three: Tools of the Trade is everyday tech. The pre-chapter fiction is about a xenomix girl who hangs out in a nightclub and uses sweet future technology to take pictures of guys, run a facial recognition search and look them up on "FaceSpace". From their profiles she learns their jobs, likes and dislikes, etc. and approaches a guy she shares some interests with. Then they literally just stand there rattling off profiles and make cracks about FaceSpace:

Unveiled Threats posted:

“So, Eric. What kind of motorcycles do you ride?” she asked, smile on her face.

He laughed. “You know, I don’t understand why we just don’t just hand out our FaceSpace profiles at the door.”

“Ain’t technology grand?” Kandry replied. “I’m Kandry, by the way.”

“And you’re a modern Nazzadi fusion dancer for fun, and an office manager for a plastic surgeon by day. You’re a fan of sushi and you prefer Human guys. I think we like some of the same music.”

Kandry had to laugh. “Nice to know that I was on your list tonight, too.”

That must be the most common pickup joke in 2086, I swear. Anyway, after Kandry closes the take by wondering what living in a world that had some privacy would be like the rest of the chapter is more futuristic gear. You can reattach limbs with a nanite-filled salve! Also everyone has a PCPU ("peeks"), which are basically smartphones, and there are a bunch of upgrades available like holographic projectors that do keyboards and monitors and such. You can even get an expensive upgrade that lets you send simple commands to the peek with your thoughts! The PCPU section's intro says the most common uses for peeks besides communication are games and porn, but luckily there's no special porn gear.

The Pharmaceuticals section comes with rules for addiction and withdrawl with Addiction Ratings, Safety Windows and Side Effect Ratings. It's mostly just reminding me that when drugs came up in Mortal Remains it turned out the writers were not experts. On the other hand I'm totally okay with that, so let's move on. There's a sidebar telling you you can dump the drug rules if drugs make you uncomfortable, a sidebar of drug slang, and then RULES! because what game isn't enriched by saves vs. alcohol?

The ones that might be worth noting: Arcanix boosts your spellcasting power, but if you use it and fail your test against side effects the GM Storyguide secretly rolls on a table and slaps you with a penalty instead, halted Orgone Ruach regeneration, 1 Insanity Point or any of those plus an instability that forms the next ritual they try (you roll in secret so you can spring that on them). Brainstorm helps burning para-psychics calm down. Catseye is a darkvision drug created by experimenting on Nazzadi prisoners during the First Arcanotech War (survivors tried to sue NazzTech, the human-owned company who makes it, but the courts decided they can't prove anything somehow). HGM/CoA is an anti-aging drug made by Loris-Tealsky Medical which halts aging, costs 10,000+Tn a week and is made of unknown chemicals through some arcanotech method. The NEG prohibits anyone working for them from taking it but other than that they are apparently okay with rich people taking magic mystery pills.

The section ends with Regen X-15A, a hilariously rare black-market medicine made by the Chrysalis Corp which can cure any physical ill by slapping rune-covered bandages on people. It doesn't say how it works, but it suggests that how it's made would make most people terrified and there are "rumours" that Regen X-15 will eventually turn the user into a monster (spoilers: it totally turns people into monsters).

The rest is stats for vehicles. Do you want to know how buses work? I don't. And just like that, we're on Page 71. Let's push on! :getin:

Chapter Four: Objets de Magie (sic) lists a lot of new magic spells. The fluff text is some magic professor giving a lecture, shouting down some know-it-all rich girl and doting on another student who turns out to be the professor's secret apprentice, arranged by his father who also wants him to learn an illegal spell that makes you more persuasive. Good times!

The chapter starts by pointing out that even PCs who can craft items shouldn't be allowed to start with one, but offers "new optional rules" - you can either just let them start with one like someone who isn't a jackass or make them purchase temporary items they can craft anyway at character creation!
So anyway, spells!

Animate Simulacrum lets you animate a doll or a sculpture or something else up to twelve inches tall, and give it commands. The ritual must be cast on an object that would be "capable of movement", and rocks aren't allowed.

Constitute Potion of Il-Sarr brews a potion that lets you hear super well and read people's thoughts for twelve hours, if you don't mind not being able to turn it off. Ritual requires a "fresh or frozen" mammal brain.

Constitute Restful Inhalant makes six doses of powder that can be used to put people to sleep. Soldiers can use it to get some rest despite nightmares! There is a paragraph about how it can be used to knock people out against their will with specific rules for doing so. Surprise, rules for wizard date rape! Did you actually read this far? Well here's your prize!

Craft Axin's Pass turns a pick, hair-pin, key or something into a "mystical lockpick". If you get your hands on the modern version, you can enchant a key card to bypass computerized and electronic locks instead. It can be used twenty times and can be recharged.

Craft Crystal of Mizrahar makes a mystical holographic recorder. You can make it something innocuous but magic can spot it.

Craft Distant Whisper makes a magical comms device. "While wildly useful, the New Earth Government has outlawed these devices, for they allow people to communicate with no outward signs that they are doing so. Thus, they have become the tools of terrorists and cultists, who have ruined it for everyone else." Ritual needs fresh mammal ears.

Craft Insect Claws enchants rings or gloves or boots or something that let you climb walls. Fortunately they are permanent.

Craft Oculus of Revelation makes a thing that lets someone wearing it see magic like they're using Eldritch Faculties. You invest Ruach in it when you make it and expend it for magic-seeing time. The ritual requires dead human eyes, but is legal.

Craft Shocking Totem enchants a small object so you can zap people. Combat rules!

Craft Amulet of Waveless Voice makes you more chaming when you talk to people.

Craft Figment Lock is like Glamour Lock but better. It can change your entire appearance! (Provided you are okay with the same height, weight, general body shape and gender.) You can give yourself tiger stripes or fire-engine-red skin or whatever though.

Craft Hidden Death makes a small object sprout magic knives whenever you want, for sneaky wizard shankings.

Craft Infernal Machine gives a computer (or a peek!) limited AI. They are super banned.

Craft Talisman of Fortune makes a good luck charm that lets you reroll dice a few times. They are banned in a lot of places (athletics competitions, schools, casinos, etc.), and only allowed if it wouldn't hurt anyone else.

Craft Traceless Pass makes an object (like jewelery) cause the user to leave no forensic evidence and not show up on recording equipment. People can still see and hear you and tell when you interact with things. Ritual needs the ashes of an executed criminal.

Bring Drinker of Blood is actually just another crafting spell that makes weapons do Hybrid damage and soak up blood. The weapons are marked with arcane symbols and very obvious and the OIS will disappear you if they catch you with one, but it's permanent. Ritual requires a live sacrifice at least dog-sized.

Craft Shroud of Shadow makes an invisibiliy cloak that basically copies a Shadow Tager's stealth power. It's permanent!

And just like that, the first 83 pages of this book down. Next time: A pleasant chapter, guaranteed to lift your spirits.

Nov 8, 2009


Ettin posted:

Next time: A pleasant chapter, guaranteed to lift your spirits.


Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!
Oh poo poo, I'd never read grognards.txt before and I just ran into a post ripping on my sig as an example of how terrible is. :saddowns:

Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade Chapter 2.5- (Some of the) Clan fiction

Bamboo Herbalists
Two ninja, Emi and Kino, are looking for flowers and snake eggs for some potions on someone elses land in the Triumph Province. Suddenly, they're beset by a punch of rattlesnakes swarming out of a nearby cave.

Kino jumps over the snakes to the gave and looks back to see Emi controlling the snakes (somehow) to attack each other. Kino heads into the cave and grabs some of the snake eggs, but when she comes out there are several times as many snakes as before and Emi has fallen unconcious (I assume from snake bites but the text doesn't say.) Kino jumps over to her and summons a wall of wood to hold off the snakes.

A ninja with a snake tattoo shows up. He tells them that they shouldn't have disturbed the secret snake nest and “an angry reptile cannot be stopped.” (He is a Recoiling Serpent, because he has a snake tattoo and also they are on Recoiling Serpent land and when he talks about reptiles he means his clan, does this make sense?)

Kino says that they were totally just leaving.

Snake ninja says no, they're not and a bunch of ten-foot long rattlesnakes smashed through the wood wall and attacks. Kino straps Emi to her back (?) and hops into the trees to flee, where the snakes pursue. She pulls out a potion she was saving to use against a “Golden Dragon” and throws it, releasing a corrosive cloud that dissolves the snakes down to the bone.

Emi will be okay, because curing snake venom is no big deal to the Brewers, and killing a donze giant snakes will make for a good story. “All and [sic] all... a good day.”

Blazing Dancers
Arisu is a 10-year-old girl and dazzled by her first festival in Daiwa (the empire capital, you recall). There is a particular performer she want to see and “she shivered with anticipation,” and gently caress every creepy-loving-game in this thread, especially everything by Chris Fields and CthuluTech for making that sound weird.

She's there with her dad and they sit down (somewhere) and watch some acrobats, some animal acts and trapeze artists who climb to the top of the tent (it was not mentioned that there was a tent earlier).

The final act is Odoriko Minori, who descends from the roof of the tent without any ropes or anything. “His muscles shines... and his costume shimmered,” and I'm imagining a super buff guy, covered in enough oil to fry a whole pig in and wearing the most ostentatiously glittery, sequined belly dancer outfit ever. “And now... the Destroyers dance!”

The other performers that were never mentioned before ask for volunteers and Arisu is one of the ten. Apparently tonight’s show is different because the volunteers are going to disappear.

Odoriko Minori starts spinning up into the air, then he loving catches on fire. He approaches each of the participants and they are swallowed up! Arisu closes her eyes when he comes to her and when she opens them, she's in a room as a trap door closes above her, with all the other volunteers. They're led outside to reunite with their families, except one old man getting dragged off.

Odoriko-san Mr. Odoriko seems to materialize in front of her and gives her an autograph (would this even be a thing?) Arisu asks what's up with the old man. Minori tells her he's been invited to a private party. As she leaves with her dad, Arisu can't tell if what she hears is partying, or screams, but doesn't dwell on it and enjoys the rest of the festival.

Grasping Shadows- I hope this is filled with all kinds of crazy bigot ninja assholery :allears:
The ninja Kunio watches his target wake up next to his concubine. He sneezes because her hair got into his nose. “It was quite touching.” He greets the children she gave him, eats some eggs and vegetables and gets dressed and heads to work.

He is a nobleman and second cousin of the mayor of a village he wants to take over someday. Work is boring public service crap and everyone sucks up to the man because he's expected to be important some day.

Leaving work, the man takes a carriage to visit his wife, whom has given him three sons but he doesn't love any more. Kunio has a moment of doubt. There's no time for moral quandaries though, he's got poo poo to do.

The man takes the carriage to a clearing and calls out some bandits he hired to “procure [some] merchandise,” but they decide they want all the money and try to attack him! He cowers and shuts his eyes, expecting to die, but when nothing happens he looks.

Two of the men are dead from kunai in the neck and the third is dragged into the forest, then there is the sound of cracking bones and choking on blood.

Kunio appears out of nowhere and basically tells the man gently caress those guys, killing you is my job.

2 stars out of 5, Kunio, you could have been way more :smuggo: about it.

Hidden Strands of Fate
At one end of a table is Lady Miyaka Aya, a politician's daughter that makes a lot of important deals in the Emperor's court. Her silk robes have patterns of dragons and tigers on it and this is an important detail, while the Blazing Dancers suddenly suddenly springs details relevant to the actual events going on you maybe four separate times. She is meeting with Ishikawa Ryota, a Hidden Strands ninja. He is wearing plain, unassuming robes.

She wants to know what he wants.

He says they have business they can “do together.”

She wants to know why it can't wait.

He says the Winter Solstice ball is tonight.

She says she knows and there's a super studly daimyo waiting for her to go with him.

He gives her a vial of poison, an undetectable one, that kills within minutes by stopping the heart.

She asks what she's supposed to do with that.

He says, her daimyo? Use it to kill him.

She says what, no way, that will ruin my position in the court.

He gives her an antidote and tells her to drink it, then apply the poison to her lips and kiss him, to make delivering the poison look as innocuous as possible.

She drinks the antidote and puts the poison on her lips and says this will erase her debt to him.

He says pfff, no way, it gets rid of half.

He gets up to leave, remarking off-handedly that he fixed the tear in her kimono while they were talking. :smuggo:

“Ishikawa Ryota smiled at another successful meeting and another dead politician to the cause.”

Living Chronicle
Kaede is speaking to her student, talking about the story of the clan founder by reading the kanji on her, and suddenly Living Chronicle history lectures have the possibility to get real weird. The history is about how the order decided, after the big tsunami wrecked the great library they decided to record the history on their members bodies rather than in books.

Her student asks if you can't lose a body as well.

Kaede is unruffled and tells the student that history is written down in many places, but it is devotion to the cause that lets you be chosen to have the history recorded on you...?

[qoute]“There is not a moment in history recorded in only one place, but it is through devotion to the cause that you can be deemed worthy to hold these momentous events yourself.” That doesn't sound like it answers the question.

The student asks what they are there to do. Kaede opens a door and there is a gagged man tied to a chair. Kaede tells her student to watch, and tells the man that he is the last of his comrades still alive and none of their message got through. She asks him what their plans are for snooping around the temple.

The beaten, bleeding man says, “Bando, One-Five-Seven.”

They seriously have him do the “Name, Rank and Serial Number” deal in their fantasy ninja game.

He refuses to speak, so Kaede puts her palm on his head and LITERALLY RIPS THE WORDS OUT OF HIS BRAIN and transfers them into a book. She gives it to her student to read.

“The war is coming and the Emperor knows we are a part of it.”

-1 out of 5 stars for the terrible, goofy anachronism, +3 star bonus for spooky brain loving making them the scariest clan yet.

Pack of the Black Moon
Eiji did some farm work, and now he's napping on the porch. Suddenly, Yukiko stars barking, running out of the nearby forest. There is some description about how she is a dog. Eiji pulls out his knife and calls out to whoever's out there.

The guy does the appear-in-a-swirl-of-leave deal. He tries to strong arm Eiji into giving up his land to his boss.

Eiji is unimpressed; the nice hat and boots he's wearing he got from killing the last guys who came to threaten him, and he's going to kill this guy and steal his gloves.

He can do this because he's totally a Pack of the Black Moon ninja and not just a farmer. He uses a wushu that turns Yukiko's fur into diamond, she rushes the guy, knocks him down and stabs the poo poo out of him with crystal spikes.

Eiji is disappointed he was killed with one attack like such a loving scrub. Taking off the guys gloves, he notices he has tattoos of the Reconcilers, whoever the gently caress they are, who don't work for criminals... aaaaand some strings detaching themselves from the body and retracting into the woods.

“And I would have figured a Shadow for this, don't that beat all.”


Alright, no more of this. This stuff is not good and none of your will care anyway.

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 08:59 on May 11, 2013

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011


HitTheTargets posted:

It's like 7th Sea all over again. Although, drat! That's a lot of different magic systems for a supplemental book.

My favorite are the Nightwalkers, and I want to find out more about them. The Night Battles looks like the main source for them in Ars Magica, since it includes 2 of the mentioned traditions.

Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)
Alternity: Expanding Your Horizons (PHB Part 8)

She found ultimate enlightenment. How are you going to level up today?

Alternity, it must be said, is not without its flaws. But there's one flaw that many players think exists in Alternity... When it actually doesn't. Namely, the idea that once you've bought your INT worth of Broad Skills, you can't buy any more. Let's flick back a bit and apply some basic logic, shall we?

”PHB, Page 33” posted:

Intelligence is particularly important to every hero because it determines the number of Broad and Specialty Skills he starts with

Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about levelling up. Levelling up is a matter of getting 5 + Your Current Level in achievement points, then you get the same amount of skill points, and any leftover achievement points go toward your next level. So for level 1, it's 6 points, but from level 1 to 3 is a further 15 points (7+8). Simple enough. Seeing as you can afford most broad skills in your class for 6 points, or a new level in a specialty skill plus a cheap new one, this doesn't seem too bad. Until you realise all the other natty stuff you can get, and stuff you have to pay for.

This is one of the areas where Alternity gets complicated, because everything except skills has a minimum level requirement... that's different for each class. For example, let's say Fred the Gecko and Grr'Arg want to up their stats. Let's say it's Willpower, because you can't level up already maxed stats, and they both suddenly feel they need it. You can improve a single stat twice, so long as it doesn't go over the racial maximum, but, to use our example characters, the first chance they'd get for Willpower would be levels 3 and 7 respectively. If it were Strength, it would be 6th and 3rd level for the first. Then they can do it again 3 levels later, if they so choose.

One thing that isn't mentioned on the whopping table, however, is Last Resort Points. Remember how you couldn't regain them naturally, you had to buy them back? Well, I hope you were paying attention to the book, because the cost is actually in the chargen section. Luckily, if you derp out, it does mention where to look (page 38). Also, something I forgot to mention, and the book only mentions it in passing in the Skills chapter. Remember I talked about natty skill rank benefits? You have to buy them.

Does this extra book-keeping and points drain detract from the game? A little. But at least the experience system isn't too harsh: Between 1 and 3 points per adventure (longer adventures are either cut into parts or give more achievement points... they're not monsters!), and then there's an extra 1 point apiece up for grabs for good roleplaying or doing something amazing. So, for the first few levels, you're generally levelling up every few sessions, and it's only at levels 10 and above that things slow down. That, of course, is compensated for by the higher SP bonus, so, overall, it's not actually as bad as you'd think.

The only crappy art I've found so far. No, it's not cell imaging, guys, it's a lovely Photoshop filter...

Now, with that done, we move on to starting kit. This, ladies and gentlegoons, is a definite flaw... specifically, the starting money. On the low end, a Mindwalker starts with between 5 and 30 dollars (it uses dollars even when creds are more appropriate, just assume the usual “x monetary units” thing most RPGs do). At the high end? Diplomats, who get between 12 and 60 dollars. Yes, you heard that right: The highest amount you have to start a character with is 60 dollars (not counting the unreliable Filthy Rich bennie). You know what that will get you? A Briefcase. Or one day's cheap lodging, with 10 creds left over.

It will come as no surprise that many Alternity Gms either give signature kit or multiply this some for actual starting kit. In any case, there's nothing particularly noteworthy in either the kit or the weapons and armour chapter, so next time, we'll finish character generation for our two fictional goons, and take a look at how the core book deals with computers after that.

Jun 6, 2011

by R. Guyovich

Hedningen posted:

While we have the luxury of twenty-sided dice, I have never allowed their use when playing the original Mutant, because it just feels more old-school. If I'm gonna play an ancient game, I'm gonna be as grodnardish as possible in this write-up, and so if I roll dice for any sort of examples, I'll be doing it the old-fashioned way.
I like your style, man!

Also, if the rumors are true, there will be a third edition of Mutant Chronicles out sometime this year. Your write-up has certainly raised my interest in MC; back then I thought it was a cheap Warhammer rip-off. Clearly it has a lot more going for it than that.

Oct 29, 2011

ProfessorProf posted:

I should clarify that all I have is a barebones google doc with enough translated content to be able to play the game. It's nowhere CLOSE to being a complete or professional translation of the book, a task that is probably beyond my abilities.

Again, as previously mentioned, Ryuutama is officially licensed and being actively worked on and it is extremely likely that it'll be available in English by the end of this year. The translation was in a playable state before the Tenra Kickstarter even began, so I can't imagine it'll take too long once all the Tenra books are shipped out. I'm all for getting more foreign games in some kind of English version (and I hadn't even hard of Giant Allege before this thread, so thanks), but I think this one's in the bag.

Parkreiner fucked around with this message at 15:33 on May 11, 2013

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

VacuumJockey posted:

I like your style, man!

Also, if the rumors are true, there will be a third edition of Mutant Chronicles out sometime this year. Your write-up has certainly raised my interest in MC; back then I thought it was a cheap Warhammer rip-off. Clearly it has a lot more going for it than that.

I hope to god Matt Forbeck is involved with the new edition. He did most of the English editing and fluff work for the 1st edition and did a great job.

Nov 9, 2011

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

Ryuutama, Spring Part 3: Party Roles and Leveling Up

So in the last chunk of the book, we got through character class and type. However, that is not all it takes to make a party in Ryuutama! There are four special rolls that have to be distributed among the party: Leader, Mapper, Provisioner and Recorder. These roles carry special duties, both IC and OOC, for that player and character.

The Leader is exactly what the name suggests, the guy who makes the final decisions. Specifically, their job is to determine the party's next destination. In addition, during battles, the Leader records Initiative and keeps track of whose turn is coming up next.

The Mapper is tasked with the job of actually figuring out how to get from point A to point B. In addition to being the one who makes Navigation Checks to make sure you don't fall off course, they also keep and update a map of the world as you explore. Recommended for a character with high Wisdom.

The Provisioner's job is to make sure that you don't starve to death. Their job is to figure out how what food, water, and equipment you'll need as a party to get to the next town, and they keep the sheet tracking the expenditure of the party's supplies.

The Recorder has a less life-or-death job, but still one worth having around. Their job is to record a journal of everything that happens during the journey for posterity.

In a larger party, some characters won't have roles. In a smaller party, some will have to double up. They're not exactly heavy, so it isn't a huge problem.

Leveling Up! Rather than anything fancy like Burning Wheel or the like, Ryuutama uses a standard Gain EXP Gain Levels sort of system. However, Monsters are a very minor source of experience.

If you defeat any number of monsters, then the party gets XP equal to 10 times the level of the strongest monster. For each Dragon's Blessing you get, 50 XP. The big source, though, is simply travel - you get EXP based on the level of the most difficult combination of terrain and weather you traveled through that session, ranging from 100 to 500 XP.

Upon level up, you get 3 points to distribute between Max HP and Max MP, one additional point of carrying capacity, and something special based on the level:

Level	EXP	Bonus
1	0	N/A
2	100	Stat Increase
3	600	Preferred Terrain/Weather
4	1200	Stat Increase, Status Immunity
5	2000	Dual Class
6	3000	Stat Increase, Dual Type
7	4200	Preferred Terrain/Weather
8	5800	Stat Increase
9	7500	Seasonal Dragon Protection
10	10000	Stat Increase, Legendary Journey
Stat Increase: One stat goes up by 2, to a maximum score of 12.

Preferred Terrain/Weather: Pick one type of terrain or weather. When making any check with a difficulty based on terrain/weather in the chosen type, you get +2 to the roll. At level 7, you get to pick a second one.

Status Immunity: Pick one of the game's six status conditions (Poisoned, Sick, Injured, Tired, Delirious, Shock). You are immune to it.

Dual Class: Pick a second class, and get all the skills for that class in addition to your first one. You can pick the same class again, in which case you get +1 to all checks associated with those skills.

Dual Type: Pick a second type, and gain all the bonuses associated with it. If you pick the same class, you get the bonuses again - so, an Attack/Attack type would have +8 Max HP, +2 to all damage rolls, and proficiency in two additional weapon categories.

Seasonal Dragon Protection: Pick a season. The Dragon overseeing that season give you their protection. When you travel during that season, once per day, you can forego rolling a check and assume you rolled a 20 instead.

Legendary Journey: In the world of Ryuutama, there are a set of great secrets, treasures, or great mysteries of the world called the Seven Legendary Journeys. A traveler who has reached the level cap can embark on one of them as a final capstone to their traveling career.

Next: Items.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Count Chocula posted:

My favorite are the Nightwalkers, and I want to find out more about them. The Night Battles looks like the main source for them in Ars Magica, since it includes 2 of the mentioned traditions.

Bibliography says...Carlo Ginzburg's Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath and The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agragian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Claude Lecoteux's Witches, Werewolves and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages and Montague Summers' The Werewolf in Lore and Legend.

Ars Magica 5th Edition: City and Guild

Your average craft guild is not international, with the notable exception of the Masons' Guild. In the early 13th century, where most games start, guilds are general - blacksmiths all work together, no matter what their specialty. By 1300 or so, they specialize - there's now a Locksmith's Guild, a Horseshoer's Guild or a Nailmaker's Guild. In 1220, it'd be rare for even a large city to have more than 10 or 20 guilds. But by 1300, they'd have upwards of 100 to 500 in a similarly sized place, and even the smallest towns would have at least one guild. Service guilds, also known as professional guilds, started out for groups like doctors, lawyers and judges - specialized and expensive professionals who had the finance and knowledge to start a guild. It's until the 1300s that more lower class service guilds show up, at least in the real world - bleachers, restauranteurs, wetnurses, prostitutes and so on.

The Blacksmith's Guild is a common one, and potent one. Blacksmiths work in iron, you see, and iron is mystical. Blacksmiths are mystical. It's said that the blacksmith, besides being the strongest man in the village, is also the most virile. It's said that some can curse or bless with a touch, while others command the weather. And everyone knows that blacksmiths make you more powerful. They make tools, which make others able to perform fantastic feats. Even a child can cut down a tree with the right tool. Iron is the power to impose man's will on the world, and it is shaped by blacksmiths. That's why fairies shun the touch of iron - it is the human desire to reshape the world made manifest. Blacksmiths work iron, and really haven't managed to figure out the trick of steel and regulating steel production yet. They make all kinds of goods, especially farm tools...or the wire used by armorers to make chainmail. The noise of their shops is great, and the guild typically prohibits blacksmiths from working before dawn or after dusk, as well as giving special rules to follow to prevent fires from raging out of control. Blacksmiths' Guilds rarely require apprentices to submit an apprentice piece - just serve their time. The patron saint of blacksmiths is Saint Dunstan, whose feast day is May 19.

The Tanners' Guild works with offal and poo poo to make leather out of hide. The smell is horrible, so they must work outside towns, but the finished product is lucrative. Tanners tend to be cheery people with no particular idolization for the rich who buy their goods. They know, after all, that Genesis itself states that God is a tanner and that every piece of leather was once covered in poo poo. The guild inspects their work for safety and quality, checking for minute flaws, unnoticed hairs and tears from the knives. An apprentice must be able to produce a finished piece of leather before graduating. Tanners are also quite handy to know if you run a covenant because they are the guides to the waste disposal community and will happily help you deal with the muckrakers and other reviled but legal groups who deal in waste management. The patron saint of tanners is Saint Bartholomew, whose feast day is August 24.

The Glass Maker's Guild is an art and a craft, making the most fragile of goods. The best glassmakers in Europe live in the Serene Republic of Venice, where they get the finest Asian potash. Before Venice, Constantinople was the best, and before that, Imperial Rome. Glassblowers are meticulous, aloof people, by and large, with truly powerful lungs. It is magi who are the most frequent customers, alongside alchemists, seeking the alembics, flasks and containers that only a glassblower could make. Due to requiring many furnaces, glassmakers do not work within town limits, but usually in nearby forests, though the masters and journeymen will live in town and return each night, leaving the apprentices to watch over the shop. Apprentices are one to three years longer than normal, and an apprentice piece is required. The patron saints of glassmaking are Saint Luke (OCtober 18) and Saint Mark (April 25).

The Armorer's Guild marks the line between noble and merchant. Most merchants, and indeed most armorers, are forbidden to use the armor they create. You see, many cities restrict the legal wearing of armor to nobles and authorities. Armor is authority and wealth, because true power is force. However, as armies grow, the nobles often encourage the common folk to wear armor, and armorers have noticed the rise of merchant-funded armies. They must ask - will they sell to only those who can legally wear, or to any who have the coin? Chainmail, the finest armor they make, is typically not custom-fitted unless you're too big for a normal suit. Display pieces are rarely sold except to persistent buyers, though. An apprentice must be able to make a full suit of chainmail, which must be inspected for quality and to prove it's not a mere repair job. The patron saint is Saint Eligus (December 1).

The Clothier's Guild is powerful, for clothing allows people to show their status. The function of clothes is to make one's social class and job apparent, revealing the nature while hiding the body. Clothiers are very powerful in the new economy, as well. Every suit they make is tailored for a specific person, measured and fitted. Cloaks, on the other hand, are off-the-rack. Clothiers' Guilds typically allow women as apprentices and journeymen but not masters, save via nepotism. Apprenticeships are short, but there is a test of skill to graduate. Clothiers do not repair torn clothes. Their patron saint is the recently canonized Saint Homobonus, a Cremonan tailor who gave free clothes to the poor. His day is November 13.

The Shoemaker's Guild allows people to travel. Everyone needs shoes. They are also known as cordwainers, since they use cordwain, a leather from Cordoba. Shoemakers used to make their own leather, but the guild system typically means this no longer occurs. Medieval shoes are rather fragile, and most be replaced every few months. Most shoes are off-the-rack, not bespoke. Shoes are typically not repaired, either, though cobblers do exist. (A cobbler repairs but does not make shoes.) The Guild ensures that shoemakers do not sell secondhand shoes. Apprentices need not produce an apprentice piece. The patron saints are Saint Crispin and Saint Crispinian, who share October 25.

The Mason's Guild are hard workers, those who raise buildings. They are proud folk, and many sign their work, giving them a mystical connection to the things they build. Their craft is said to have been handed down by God to build his Temple, and they know the secrets of lifting and moving stone. They are the only craft guild that operates internationally, thanks to the time it takes to make huge works and the distances they travel. A master mason must understand all aspects of the work, everything that the hundreds of workers beneath them do, and so masons have grand reputations. They boost practically every economic sector just by being around, and they are all literate. Masonry apprenticeship is long, as a result. The job is quite dangerous, and accidents are common. The guild compensates for injuries and deaths of masters, but not lower ranks. Thus, many vagabonds and highwaymen are failed masons whose maiming prevents them from work. The patron saint of Masons is Saint Stephen (December 26), and the French have also adopted Saint Barbara (December 4).

The Bakers' Guild is important - everyone needs bread. Without bread, no one would have anything. Without bread, a city dies. Bread is nearly sacred. Highly literate bakers know that Jesus was born in a town named 'House of Bread', and all know that He offers His flesh as sacrament via bread. It is the highest honor to bake sacramental bread, and many saints also have special breads for their feast days. Apprentices do not have to do anything but serve out their term, and a baker's workshop is a bustling place, full of many apprentices and journeymen. The Guild examines the bread to ensure that only the allowable amount of dirt gets into it. The patron saint is Saint Honoratus of Arles (January 16), but in the coming years the bakers will also adopt Saint Elizabeth of Hungary after her death in 1231 and canonization in 1235. Her feast day will be November 17.

The Slavers' Guild exists. It is forbidden by Church law to take Christian slaves since the 9th century, but non-Christian slaves are allowed. Slaves come from the Slavic lands, Spain, Africa, Constantinople and the Black Sea. Northern countries have few slaves, but there are many in, say, Italy. Slaves are property, without rights. The guild is small, since few areas are interested, and they are somewhere between a craft and service guild - they sell a product, but do not make it. The guild ensures that slaves are not old, crippled or sick. Remember - to these people, slavery is not immoral. Saint Paul taught that slaves should obey their masters, and the Church requires slaves not be abused. Some Pope have been ex-slaves. When the Church has sufficient power, it forbids slavery due to the potential for abuse. Fun fact: all Jews in England, legally, belong to the king. He can lease them out. Slavery is also common in Muslim lands. Those who wish to free slaves will find many allies in the Church - at least three orders of monks are dedicated to it.

Now, craftwork. Crafting and managing a workshop has its own complex subsystem, which allows for making money...and, for some, magic items. You see, there are some supernatural powers that only craftsmen can possess. The Eye of Hephaestus, also known as the Eye of Saint Dunstan, allows a crafter to tell the quality of an item merely by touching it, and even to tell if it has magic within it. Touched by the (Realm) means a craftsman has a bit of power in their blood - Divine, Infernal, Faerie or Magical. Whatever the case, that little hint of magic allows them to create, by raw skill alone, enchanted items. Not the most potent ones, of course, and they're limited to a handful of Forms which they may forge into items, but they can do it - and they're immune to Warping from the realm that gives them their power. Lastly, Crafter's Healing, the single best healing ability in the entire game. It allows a crafter to touch their tools to a wound, making a fairly simple roll. Success lets them reduce the wound by one level. It always warps the target a bit and is very tiring...but only on a botch does anything bad happen. (Specifically: the crafter suffers the same wound they tried to heal.)

As a side note - magi have a very simple spell that will defeat even the most sophisticated locks. Just, you know, fun fact.

Next time: Travel.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG

Part 5: High-level metaphysics; Everlaws, Axioms, World Laws, and how to circumvent them

Okay, now it's time to get to the interesting stuff: how the Torg mulitverse works and how realities interact. (spoiler: violently)

Every distinct reality is refered to as a cosm. Under normal circumstances sosms are all physically unconnected from each other with no way for people to move from one to another. Some cosms may be nearly identical, while others are completely unique. It's actually possible for two separate cosms to have completely different physical laws.

That was the multiverse for eons; each cosm evolving and changing by the actions of its inhabitants, and in turn shaping the people within it. But inevitably, someone had to throw the whole system out of whack.

Nobody knows who the first being was to discover other cosms beyond his or her own, but what is known is that this person created the first maelstrom bridge to travel between realities.

A maelstrom bridge is, well, a bridge created between two realities through a rip in space. People can walk back and forth over this bridge from one cosm to another.

The discovery of the maelstrom bridge led to the discovery of the bridge's side-effect: reality storms. It's a multiversal rule that two realities can't occupy the same space at the same time. When the first bridge was created and activated, the two realities began clashing the instant the connection was made. Violent storms destroyed the bridge and the surrounding area as the two cosms battled, and the expenditure of energy from both cosms was enormous.

Of course, it wasn't long before someone learned how to harness that power for their own gain. Which brings us to the topic of Darkness Devices.

Nobody's really sure where the Darkness Devices came from; all that's known for certain is that they're not native to the cosms they've been discovered in. The popular theory is that they were created by an ancient entity known as The Nameless One as a means to destroy creation itself.

Every Darkness Device is unique, and all are seemingly intelligent, if not self-aware, and have one universal purpose: to destroy. To this end, they seek out those who can not only aid them in destruction, but would allow their bonded master to create maelstrom bridges to other realities so they could suck those cosms dry of possibility energy. These possibility raiders destroyed countless worlds as they travelled across the multiverse.

The possibility raiders, eventually known as High Lords, had complete control over their cosms. Through their Darkness Devices, the High Lords were capable of altering cosms on a fundamental scale, stripping and altering the very possibilities that shaped that reality.

So how does one actually conquer another cosm?

As stated previously, you can't just drop a bridge into a new cosm and march troops into it. When the two realities meet, there's a huge storm that will destroy the bridge and everything in the immediate area on both ends. The trick to reality invasion is to create a realm, a sort of beachhead, in the cosm you're invading.

Prior to the full-scale invasion, a High Lord will drop a dimthread into the other cosm. Dimthreads are smaller maelstrom bridges that aren't intended to last for very long. It opens, drops off a few of the High Lord's possibility-rated agents, and is destroyed in a small reality storm. The agents are able to carry their own reality with them, and their mission is to plant artifacts called stelae.

Stelae have three very important functions. First off, when three stelae are set up in a triagle, they will form a boundary when a maelstrom bridge is dropped inside said triangle. This prevents the invaded reality from fighting back against the invading one, which "pours" down the bridge into the area defined by the stelae. Reality storms will still rage around the boundary, but the realm demarked by the stelae boundary will remain unaffected.

Handy diagram #1

Second, stelae will absorb the possibility energy of those people inside the realm. Normally, possibility energy flows from a person to their cosm and back again. But when that person is in an alien reality, the possibility energy that would normally flow to his cosm will instead be siphoned from him by the stelae and stored in the High Lord's Darkness Device for his own use later.

Handy diagram #2

Third, stelae can empower the nearby agents of a High Lord, shunting stolen possibility energy to them.

Once the realm is established, expanding it is simply a matter of planing more stelae outside the realm's boundary and pumping some energy into them. Stelae will always link up in triangles, and cannot connect to more than six other stelae at a time.

Ultimately, the High Lord's goal is to completely conquer the new cosm by spreading his own reality and supplanting the invaded reality with his own.


In order to capture an area, two conditions must be met: the unliving reality of the High Lord's cosm must be successfully introduced within the stelae boundaries, and living beings who live in that reality, or living beings who are prepared to accept that reality, must be present. For a standard stelae area, it is estimated that 25,000 beings must be from the invading reality, or must be natives ready to accept the new reality.

If the High Lord chooses a direct approach, armies or vast migrations of people from the invading cosm cross into the bounded realm as soon as the stelae are placed. Other High Lords are more devious, sending a greater number of agents to recruit natives prior to or just after the Bridge appears. These agents are often trained in rituals or processes for transforming converts, so they can help support the new reality.
Case in point: when Pope Marleaux was preparing France for invasion, he sent priests through months ahead of time to start converting people into the faithful of his particular brand of Catholicism. He managed to convert enough Core Earthers that, when he dropped his bridge over Avignon (which appeared as a road of light), everyone in the realm was prepped to accept Manga Verita's new reality. Baruk Kaah, on the other hand, just dropped a gigantic tree-bridge directly on Shae Stadium, sent troops swarming over, and called it a day.

As a High Lord expands the realm, new stelae-defined areas might not carry all of the invading reality through to the new part of the realm. Each zone (stelae-defined triangle) can be one of three types: pure, dominant, or mixed.

A pure zone contains one reality, period. Non-possibility rated people inside this type of zone will transform into inhabitants of the reality almost instantenously as their possibilities are ripped away. Possibility-rated characters need to create reality bubbles around themselves to be able to use abilities not allowed by this reality.

In a dominant zone, there are two realities in conflict but one has the upper hand. People in mixed zones will still be changed to the dominant reality, but the process is much slower. People from other realities can use their abilites without needing a bubble, but there can be consequences if you're not careful. Ords in this type of zone will transform eventually, but it could take weeks or months as the steale slowly drain them of possibilities.

Mixed zones are generally newly created zones. The two realities exist in a sort of equilibrium, but it's not a peaceful one. Mixed zones tend to be filled with reality storms as the two realities struggle for dominance. This struggle will also transform people into Storm Knights.

Speaking of normal people and transformation, this is an important bit of information to remember for when we get to the "How Do I Storm Knight" part of the review:


Eventually, an Ord in an alien pure or dominant area will be transformed into a close approximation of a "proper" denizen of that area. This transformation completely drains the character of possibility energy, as every iota of energy he possesses is used to survive the transformation. If a transformed character is later forced to transform again, he is destroyed.

Before we dive into the mechanics of how a reality operates, let's talk about Darkness Devices a bit more.

As stated, the ultimate goal of a Darkness Device is to destroy cosms, and to this end it will drain possibilities from a cosm and provide them to its High Lord.

Each Darkness Device is unique, and has its own "personality" and appearance. For example: Heketon, the Gaunt Man's Darkness Device, looks like a stone heart, whereas 3327's Darkness Device looks like a slim black laptop computer. Despite its appearance, a Darkness Device is immobile unless it choses to move. They're also drat near indestructable, with a Toughness of 200 (so -200 to your damage result if you try to attack it), and an effectively infinite amount of possibilities to spend. You could drop one in the sun and it wouldn't even scratch the paint.

On top of that, every Darkness Device has a few powers up its sleeve. These powers are common to all the Darkness Devices, and in addition each Device will have its own unique powers:
• They can transfer possibilities to their High Lord or any willing subject, up to about four points an hour.
• They can spend possibilities for their High Lord, getting around the "one point per action" rule.
• They can communicate with their High Lord or any being it has given possibility energy to.
• Scan a stelae-bounded area for possibility-rated people, and "mark" them with a power called soulstain that marks these people for the High Lord and his minions.
• Create stelae from scratch.
• Reverse the High Lord's aging (or the aging of someone of his choosing) for three years.
• Transfer itself to somewhere else in the realm or cosm.
• Adjust the axioms of the realm or cosm, moving them up or down as desired (although this takes a while). We'll talk about the implications of this in a bit.
• Increase the High Lord's stats based on how many realities he has conqured (1 reality = up to 7 stat points or 13 skill adds).
• The creation of gospog.

Gospog are a High Lord's renewable mook resource. They are mindless slaves specifically designed to kill people, and are barely alive in any traditional sense.

Gospog are created by planting special Darkness Device-created seeds in specially prepared "gospog fields". And by "specially prepared" I mean "a field of corpses". This field can be used five times, and each successive planting will generate fewer, but stronger, gospog. The first planting will generate 10,000 gospog, that look like traditional zombies and aren't much of an individual threat (although with that many, they don't need to be). Each successive planting will produce fewer but more powerful gospog, and their appearance and abilites wil vary from realm to realm. The fifth and final planting will only ever produce a single gospog, but it will be ridiculously powerful.

A Darkness Device can only be bound to one person at a time, and the only way to break that connection is to kill the High Lord (good luck) or for the High Lord to be transformed in a reality storm (again, good luck because High Lords generally stay put in their pure zones).

Of course, the point of doing all this is to get enough energy to become the Torg, the godlike ruler of the multiverse. This was the Gaunt Man's ultimate goal, and the reason he assembled his team of possibility raiders. But now that the Gaunt Man is trapped in a dimensional pocket getting destroyed and reborn every five seconds, the title is up for grabs and each High Lord is scrambling to get there before the others.

So now we understand how High Lords operate and what the Darkness Devices are capable of, and the types of rules and laws they can break. But what are those rules and laws, exactly?

The most important laws are called Everlaws, and they are universal to every cosm. In fact, they determine how cosms interact.


The Everlaw of One states that only one possibility from a set of two or more contradictory possibilities can become a reality at one time. In other words, a world in which you are going to die and stay alive at the same time is not allowed. Either you live or you don't.

The Everlaw of Two states that the living and the unliving are linked by the rules of their cosm, and this link causes possibility energy to flow between the living and the unliving. The living may use the possibility energy to create and change their world. Possibility energy is only generated when the living and unliving interact through the "axioms" of that world.

Basically, the Everlaw of One means that you can't exist in two states (or realities) at the same time, and the Everlaw of Two means that people are linked to their cosms through the flow of possibility energy. The Everlaw of Two is the weaker of the two laws, and as such it can be circumvented by Darkness Devices; this is how they drain possibility energy.

In addition to the Everlaws, each cosm is defined by its own individual axioms and world laws.

Axioms are the hard limits of what is currently possible in a cosm or realm. There are four axioms:
• The Magic axiom determines the level and types of magic possible in the cosm.
• The Social axiom determines the level if interaction possible between the cosm's inhabitants.
• The Spiritual axiom determines not only the types of metaphysical concepts available, but if miracles are possible.
• The Technologyaxiom determines the highest level of scientific development possible.

Each axiom is rated from 0 (completely impossible) to 33 (perfection). The axiom values vary from cosm to cosm, and are always in effect. If someone tries to perform an action that is not supported by the local axioms, that creates a contradiction and the Everlaw of One kicks in. This can lead to devices and abilities not working at all, or complete transformation in the worst cases.

As an example, Core Earth has a social axiom of 21.


Pluralism, the balancing of many factions within a government and society, is possible. More inhabitants of a nation are enfranchised. Vast bureaucracies may be spawned to handle the increased social complexity.

The Living Land, however, has a social axiom of 7.


Village/agricultural organization possible. "Kings" are possible. The concept of land ownership is possible. Unfortunately, so is the concept of owning other intelligent beings. Semi-professional military and militia formed for common defense can exist. A combination sound/pictographic alphabet may be developed. Trade, epic poetry and sports are invented.

When the Living Land invaded, not only did Core Earth weaponry (tech axiom 23) just flat-out stop working in the Living Land (tech axiom 7), the military units sent in were unable to function because, when the troops entered the Living Land zones, the concepts of modern military stucture stopped existing for them. It wasn't a case of them not being able to communicate with their immediate commander, they actually lost the ability to think "this guy is my military commander, representing a higher chain of command, and I'm supposed to listen to him."

A cosm's axioms can be changed by its inhabitants, although this is a slow process. For example, let's say we have a group of Core Earth scientists all working on some new technology. While they research and push the boundaries of knowledge, they're subconcously spending possibilities and channeling them into the cosm itself. When they do enough research (and spend enough possibilities), the tech axiom will increase by one, and what is possible in the cosm will expand accordingly.

Unless you're a High Lord, in which case you can use the Darkness Device to alter a cosm's axioms at a much faster rate. This is what happened when Pope Marleaux created the Cyberpapacy; the tech axiom there was originally around 7 or so (smelting metals and oil lamps were the highest "tech" possible"), but Marleaux used his Darkness Device to crank it up to 26 (cybernetics) in a matter of weeks.

Where the axioms describe how a reality works, world laws are about how the reality operates within the structre of those limits.

Think of world laws as the "narrative physics" of a reality; they map out the overall tone and feel of the reality.

Some world laws are passive, meaning they're always in effect. One example is Nippon Tech's Law of Profit, which states that the wealthier someone is, the less goods and services will cost them. "The rich get richer" isn't just an economic theory, it's built into the fabric of that reality.

Other world laws are active, which means they have to be invoked by that reality's inhabitants. The prime example of an active law is the Nile Empire's Law of Action, which lets the invoker spend two possibilities on a roll instead of one.

I'll get more into axioms and world laws once I start talking about the individual cosms, but this is getting pretty long already so let's leave some stuff (like where Storm Knights come from) for:

NEXT TIME: Storm Knighting 101!

Oct 29, 2011

Evil Mastermind posted:

When the Living Land invaded, not only did Core Earth weaponry (tech axiom 23) just flat-out stop working in the Living Land (tech axiom 7), the military units sent in were unable to function because, when the troops entered the Living Land zones, the concepts of modern military stucture stopped existing for them. It wasn't a case of them not being able to communicate with their immediate commander, they actually lost the ability to think "this guy is my military commander, representing a higher chain of command, and I'm supposed to listen to him."

The reality mash-up bits of Torg are kind of a pain in the rear end in play, but they lend the game a lot of its character. It was both aggravating and amazing when my Nippon Tech martial artist disconnected in the Living Land and was horrified to discover his nunchucks were too high-tech to function. Not that I had any idea how to visualize that.

The party also included a giant flying telepathic starfish that we insisted wear a fez on one of its arms so we'd have a "face" to talk to.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Parkreiner posted:

The reality mash-up bits of Torg are kind of a pain in the rear end in play, but they lend the game a lot of its character. It was both aggravating and amazing when my Nippon Tech martial artist disconnected in the Living Land and was horrified to discover his nunchucks were too high-tech to function. Not that I had any idea how to visualize that.

Well, that's really what I've been saying all along; the setting and metaphysics of Torg are insanely awesome, but the system is the clunkiest thing you could every hope to try and run.

Just as a case in point, the Living Land has a tech axiom of 7, but nunchucks are a tech 9 item, so they stop working. Whatever that means.

Never mind that the Living Land's tech axoim is actually higher than the realm is described as having.

This is the tech axiom summary from the Living Land sourcebook:


The low Technological axiom of the Living Land makes only simple tools and weapons possible. Remember, the Tech axiom limits what a character can think of to solve a problem. A character from the Living Land with a high intelligence will be able to heal someone with primitive medicine, but could not perform brain surgery no matter what his skills, because thinking to that degree is simply not possible.

This is what's possible for a tech axiom 7 reality:


0—No technology is possible.
2—Fire making is invented. Small stone tools are possible.
3—Advanced stone tool making possible. Animals may be domesticated and bred. Spears and clubs are state-of-the-art weapons. Armor made from animal products possible. Rafts and small river craft appear.
5—Agriculture invented, but still practiced largely as a dietary supplement to hunting and gathering. Calendars based on easily visible phenomena maybe invented. The wheel or axled rollers first used for transportation. Fishing vessels (four or more beings, muscle powered)appear. Arithmetic may be invented.
7—Metal is first smelted, alloys of softer metals appears. Potter's wheel appears, plow speeds agriculture. Glass, cloth, wine invented. Sea worthy ships are possible. Swords and daggers state of the art weapons. Bows are possible, but only with enough punch for small game. Oil lamps invented.

If anything, the Living Land should be tech axiom 3 to jive with all the fluff for the realm.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: City and Guild

There's three main travel methods in Mythic Europe. First, sea travel. It's the cheapest per mile and the fastest method for long trips. River travel is the second, about twice as expensive due to smaller ship size and more crew per ton of cargo. Road travel, the last, is eight to twenty times more expensive than sea travel and far more difficult. Travelers typically use a mix of means - sea travel to a port, then inland via river, then roads to the final destination, say.

Roads originally used the Roman highway system, but it's been all but destroyed by time. Now, tracks follow more natural pathways, and harder ones. Dirt roads are little more than trails that can accomodate beasts of burden in good weather. Light carts can sometimes manage, in flat and dry areas. Gravel roads are uncommon, but well-suited for beasts of burden in all weather, and light carts on relatively level ground on clear days. Many gravel roads have drainage ditches. Paved roads are rarest, and suited for carts even in bad weather. Bridges in general are very rare, and primarily made of wood. Stone bridges, which all but guarantee safe passage over a river, are so rare that any stone bridge built will soon have a town spring up around it. In stormy weather, trade routes will make surprisingly large detours to find a working bridge.

Near large cities and along major routes, there's an inn every eight miles or so, which is about a third of a day's travel. Inns make for good stops, with food and water for mounts and travelers. Small inns are basically just a big house, and you share the bed with the innkeeper's family. Larger inns, especially in cities, are far less crowded, and often more expensive. Some places where a stop is needed are not good places to live, though. These stops tend to be served by Church-run hospices as an act of charity. Locals are paid to guide travelers and maintain the area. Hospices are usually short on funds and send out questers, begging monks who request funding from the rich and powerful. City inns provide a number of services, on the other hand - storage, moneychanging, witnessing bank transfers, serving as matchmakers for merchant buyers and sellers, translation in some cases and even working as a hiring agency for travelers' guides and workers.

Rivers are a vital part of trade, serving to connect cities and providing economic opportunity in rural areas via unmapped tributaries in which resources can be found. Of course, all major rivers have folklore, some of which might be true. They say the Elbe is haunted by Frau Wode and her Wild Hunt, while the Po is where the sun god Phaeton drowned, but his body was never recovered. The Rhine is haunted by the doom-singing nymph Lorelei, and the Rhone's endpoint at the Camargue Delta is haunted by a ghost horse which kidnaps wicked children to keep in its larder.

Carts are the mainstay of land transport, though the smaller carts can barely handle any real cargo at all - perhaps a single barrel of wine. These are two-wheeled carts, pulled by perhaps three horses at most. Four-wheeled carts take six horses, and can usually handle twice the load, but they take good roads and bridges to be of any use. The largest carts are far more expensive, requiring smooth, paved roads but pulling nearly two tons of cargo apiece. Land transport has fewer manpower requirements than ships - one man can handle three beasts of burden, though every cart will need a driver, and typically a second driver for long distances, alternating with the first and acting as a guard.

River barges are the main river transport, and they vary in size with the rivers. ThE Thames barges or the buss can manage coastal travel and carry around 20 tons without much draft. It's got around eight crewmen and can even do local fishing. The cog, on the other hand, is the main trade ship of the Atlantic and the northern seas, designed to settle flatly at low tide so it can be unloaded to carts. Most cogs can carry 20 tons, but some larger ones can manage five to seven times that, and are also used for war. Bulk grain ships are larger yet, but cogs that can handle more than 240 tons are exceedingly rare. A handful of men can manage a 20-ton cog, while a dozen can handle a 100-tonner. A 240-ton cog would need upwards of 18 crewmen. The galley is an oar-driven ship with one mast, popular in Italy and the Byzantine empire. Galleys have crews upwards of 160 men, which limits their cargo space a lot - they typically can't manage more than 20 to 30 tons, usually luxury goods. They run out of food and water about once a week, and need to be refilled. Their main advantages are speed regardless of wind and large crews that discourage piracy. Still, even in the Mediterranean, galleys are less than 5% of shipping. They cost a lot and need lots of crew. The main ship of the Mediterranean is the nef, a Roman design using Arab rigging with up to three masts. They carry between 20 and 100 tons of cargo. A handful of ships in the area can carry even more - Genoa, for example, has two ships used to bring goods from Cyprus which carry around 250 tons apiece, and Venice has two similary-sized grain ships that go to Egypt each year. The largest ships of the area can handle 800 tons, but these are exclusively grain barges run by cities, not merchants. Most traders prefer fleets of smaller ships to spread out risk.

It's a nice boat.

A river barge manages 8-10 miles a day - higher as it goes downriver, lower as it goes upriver. Strong currents widen the gap. Most road cargoes manage 15-25 miles a day. A merchant with a light load on a horse might make 24. Coaches for travellers make 18-24, with faster speed being less comfortable. A skilled courier riding hard can make 30 miles a day. A sailing ship will make 60-80 miles a day, but larger ships are far slower and depend on weather. A bad wind can stall you for weeks. A courier who changes horses and has a steady supply might make up to 90 miles in a single day. As an aside: it's bad luck to sail with a wizard aboard, so traveling magi are best off hiding their power if they don't want to pay out the nose and hurt morale.

Next time: Markets and fairs.

Dec 13, 2011

VacuumJockey posted:

I like your style, man!

Also, if the rumors are true, there will be a third edition of Mutant Chronicles out sometime this year. Your write-up has certainly raised my interest in MC; back then I thought it was a cheap Warhammer rip-off. Clearly it has a lot more going for it than that.

Is this the edition of Mutant Chronicles that was set some two hundred or so years in the future of the original setting and everyone is using steam powered starships and equipment? Because if so, my inner grognard says gently caress them.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine

Evil Mastermind posted:

This is the tech axiom summary from the Living Land sourcebook:

Wait a second, even at tech level 3 you could perform brain surgery! Neanderthals were cracking people's skulls open and not killing them for ages. This book may in fact be racist against cavepersons.

Oct 29, 2011

Evil Mastermind posted:

Well, that's really what I've been saying all along; the setting and metaphysics of Torg are insanely awesome, but the system is the clunkiest thing you could every hope to try and run.

If you do any of the cosm books, I hope you do Aysle first and post copiously from the insanely convoluted spell creation rules.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Racing through this one a bit but today I have little else to do while at home.

Ars Magica 5th Edition: City and Guild

The market's a very important place - you get any food you don't make yourself there. Almost no one is truly self-sufficient. Markets can bring people in from up to seven miles away - the distance that is still reasonable to leave, do business and come home all in one day. In most small towns or large villages, the market is once a week, always the same day. Larger towns will hold market twice a week, and a city may have some form of market every day. In theory you need the lord's permission to hold market, but in older villages or towns, this is often ignored. In all but the smallest markets, sellers will pay a toll, based on whether they are going to carry their goods or use a booth or stall. Depending on if some public works need doing, there may be an added tax. Market sites have been in use for centuries, in many cases. Often markets are on Sundays, but a recent trend has moved away from that due to complaints by churchmen and preachers. In many places, the market is open only for the mornings, ending at noon. In some places, the market is marked by a cross, and in places where the traders pray before the cross before the market opens, just trading is more likely due to Divine auras, while on the fringes, greed and swindling are more common, away from the cross.

A new market too close to an old one can kill the old market and the toll it earns. Indeed, a new sponsor may choose to charge no toll for a few years just to ensure this happens. More rarely, a market is killed by war, when a ruler may order that all food that would go to market instead becomes supplies for the army in the area, or to supply a feast for visiting nobles. Moving on...not all markets are blessed by the Divine. Particularly in areas of Greece and Italy where the Church is weaker, some markets remain pledged to the god Mercury/Hermes. Where a market cross would be is a herm pillar or standing stone, with a fountain into which superstitious traders pour a libation of oil. These markets bear a magical, not divine, aura, which makes the goods appear more vivid and attractive though it doesn't help encourage just trading. A few ancient Roman temples within markets actually hold magical regiones, within which the temples remain active, usually selling some kind of magical service for as long as they can keep the Church from finding out and destroying their magical aura.

The most attractive market for some, though, is the Infernal market, which appears where there is good chance of corruption. This market is run entirely by demons and their agents. The goods look better than they truly are, and they are cheap enough to be afforable, but not suspiciously so. Tempting samples are offered free when someone seems on verge of a fall. The things on sale may be the result of sin, such as forged documents or stolen goods, or inducements to sin. Visitors may be sold things meant to arouse envy or lust, to buy things they don't need so they can deny them to rivals or to overindulge and gloat over bargains. Games of chance and skill in such markets tend to end badly, until the debtor must pay with sins - or souls.

Fairie markets are not uncommon, but usually hard for normal people to find. You need to know where and how to look. A fae market may or may not appear to be like a human one at first glance, and the goods on sale vary from odd variants of common items to strange and bizarre things that are normally not traded. Of course, with the fae, appearances are always misleading, and they become annoyed at obvious attempts to pierce their glamours. They have odd ideas of what counts as a fair trade, and negotiations can be bewildering. They tend to have little interest in coin, preferring odd things like golden hair, service or unspecified favors. (Don't go for unspecified favors.) It is best to avoid eating faerie food, as always.

For most people in Mythic Europe, the height of excitement is the fair, where strange things can be seen, new people met and new and unusual goods acquired. Fairs are by and large exempt from guild laws about who can sell what, too, and all sorts of luxuries are on sale. Redcaps frequent all the largest fairs, passing on messages and learning gossip as well as gathering vis. These fairs have a tent marked off as a Mercer House, where all magi are welcome and magical trades can be done. If the owner of the fair is also the local lord, it may well take place within a town itself, taking over properties for a time and congesting the town. If the owner can't do that, a fairground outside town will be erected, becoming a temporary second town or city. Town governments and fairs tend to be antagonistic, since the fair usually has the right to shut down the town's commerce during its hours, forcing the townsfolk to buy and sell at the fair, instead.

The great trading routes of Europe run on fair cycles, moving from one fair to the next. The most important of these at present is the Champagne Cycle, in which goods move from England to Flanders to Scandinavia to the Baltic to Italy to Provence to Flanders again to Bohemia to the Baltic once more and then to Iberia, all in a great cycle. The reason it's so important is that the courts of Champagne have given guarantee of personal security to all merchants and their property while at or traveling to or from the fair. They'll even pay you for goods stolen from you in transit. The reason this works is that they prohibit use of the fairs by anyone whose ruler refuses to help them keep this guarantee or pursue debtors. Fairs are held for six weeks at a time, usually, with two weeks break between them. Champagne fairs allow only setup during the first week, then ten days for cloth trading, 11 for leather trading and 19 for all other goods, followed by a few days to settle up accounts.

There's also the Five Fairs of Flanders, in Lille, Mesen, Ypres, Torout and Bruges, held between February and November. They're built on river trade of cloth. Similarly, the great fairs of England help bring in goods from the continent and offload British wool to Flanders and sell cloth to the people of England. The most important fair for magi, however, is the Hermetic Mid-Summer Fair, held in early June by the Greater Alps Tribunal. Here, magi can trade for vis, books, magic items and more. The Quaesitores hold auctions on the fourth day of the fair, and all exchanges must be in barter or vis. There is little hospitality at this fair, of course - just fields provided for tents, for the most part. Feasts are held to begin and end the fair, and all visiting magi are invited. Games and contests are arranged to keep the non-magi who come occupied while the magi do their business.

Next time: Merchant companies.

Jul 9, 2003

Parkreiner posted:

The reality mash-up bits of Torg are kind of a pain in the rear end in play, but they lend the game a lot of its character. It was both aggravating and amazing when my Nippon Tech martial artist disconnected in the Living Land and was horrified to discover his nunchucks were too high-tech to function. Not that I had any idea how to visualize that.
... His stick tied to another stick stopped working.

He was unable to hit people with a couple of sticks.

Aug 14, 2000

Zereth posted:

... His stick tied to another stick stopped working.

He was unable to hit people with a couple of sticks.

The perils of attaching a metaphysical definition to technology.

Oct 2, 2010

Unveiled Threats: The Happy Sunshine Post

So, Chapter Five: Ancient Objects. It's a pretty cool chapter! The items in here are powerful artifacts, the kind adventures are based around. Let's run through them!

Anakhara Stone

The Anakhara Stone was allegedly brought to this dimension by Bakhi to tempt people in ancient times, until someone realised it was a bad idea and stole it. Fast-forward to now and the artifact has been discovered in a hidden temple in Rapine Storm lands by treasure hunters (Arudiny and Johnny Fiveaces Hendrik in the pic, stars of the pre-chapter fluff). They probably still have it or whoever hired them killed them for it, or something. A lot of people are looking for it, and there's a chance the Bakhi made copies.

So what does it do? Well, if you touch it it drains all your Ruach Orgone, then immediately cures all your diseases, accelerates your healing rate and takes five years off your age. You can use it again when your Ruach Orgone has regenerated, as much as you like, though it will only take you to your physical prime (about 21). The catch is it's addictive, and using it makes you want to use it again. Also, if you suffer Stone withdrawl, you age ten years a week until you're at double what you started. Also, each use makes you Test against gaining an Insanity Point, and if you use it for a year and fail a Hard Tenacity Feat Test you become a liche. The Stone will preserve your body then but if you're away from it you decay fast. In general, touching this Stone is a bad idea.

Also Ghasts, Spawn and other monstrous races can use it without problems because gently caress you that's why.

Circlet of Ghabbaz

This thing has come up before, in the Core Book and Damnation View. It gets expanded here! It's an ancient circlet the Children of Chaos needed during the rape furry adventure.

Unveiled Threats posted:

The power of the object is as such that even someone picking up the intact Circlet would not be aware of the artifact’s power. However, the magics that power it would have an impact – the individual in question’s sex drive would kick into overdrive for at least the next 48 hours.

In short, such a person needs to succeed at a Hard Tenacity Feat Test or spend all his energy seeking a willing sex partner. He is willing to couple with anyone who says yes, regardless of his normal standards.

I feel like we dodged a bullet.

Anyway, this thing has showed up a few times in the past, but recently it's been assembled by the Chrysalis Corporation - who lost it during the events of that adventure like a bunch of chumps. It's probably either in the Underground or the hands of Congregation of the Earth Mother survivors.

So what does it do? Well, if you're wearing it when you bone someone of the opposite sex, or a wizard wears the circlet while watching you bone (no, really), you are guaranteed to conceive. You will probably get more than one baby. The pregnancy is smooth and has no complications! If it's a mortal and a Horned One you get "a litter twice the size", which you can carry because magic. Finally, someone who knows how to really use it can heal any wound, cure any disease and extend your lifespan.

The problem is that the Circlet is intended for use by followers of Sweet Shub. Specifically followers who are assholes. Transmogrification rituals become easier to cast and harder to resist, and it makes rituals like the Congregation's Call the Soul's Beast super easy. Finally, with a lot of power - 200 Orgone Ruach from young people - you can cast Commune with the Beyond to get a guaranteed direct pipeline to Shub-Niggurath.

Karytyk Crystal

This is a suitcase-sized piece of ~mysterious technology~. It's got some kind of scanner, a recorder and a chemical sniffer, some kind of screen thing, and some kind of data ports nobody has figured out how to use. The Crystal is basically a universal translator - any kind of language in any form can be translated into something the user understands.

The Chrysalis Corpration found it on Callisto, back when they weren't Chaos-run. When they launched the Hermes Project and put FTL communication satellites around the solar system they took the chance to explore a few places before the NEG could, and totally excavated some Jovian moon ruins. These days Chrysalis uses it to decode Migou transmissions. It was probably built by the Elder Race.

(This is actually expanded material from Ancient Enemies, as is the next thing. I'm sure you guys will live though. :ssh:)

The Nexus of Amazoara

This is a "complicated clockwork device" discovered in "secret catacombs beneath Paris". It was once owned by the middle-ages sorcerer Loic Bontecou, but it is definitely older and probably a Great Race creation. Chrysalis has it now.

Basically it predicts natural disasters. You set it on a map, wind it up with a key and it rolls over the map before pinpointing locations of upcoming disasters and projecting an image with the disaster and a star map to give its approximate time and severity. It took them years to figure out what it did, and the breakthrough came when a researcher planning a family vacation happened to put a map near it. They mostly use it to protect their assets and mount relief efforts before anyone else can to make themselves look good.

There might be others that predict weather patterns, or natural resources, or people! The drawback is if you use them the Hounds might come at you. The Children of Chaos are only protected by Nyarlathotep. If a player uses one to peer through time, he rolls a d10 and they show up on a 1.

The Rictus Knife of Ephrates

Another furry adventure item! It's an sacrificial knife from an ancient civilisation called Ephrates that got wiped out by magic. It came into the hands of the liche Julien Roux, who sold it to the Chrysalis Corporation - except in that adventure the Tager PCs intervened and stole it away, only to discover the Children of Chaos didn't really need it and their victory was illusory. Oh yeah, and this book retroactively revokes it for anyone following the metaplot:

Unveiled Threats posted:

While locked safely away in a magically protected vault in Seattle, the artifact somehow has disappeared. Whether the Rictus Knife was stolen or if it was simply taken by an unscrupulous party within the Society is unknown. However, rumors say that it has once again found its way into the black market, for those with a large enough pocketbook and dark enough urges to seek it.

Basically, most sacrificial knives channel the victim's Orgone Ruach into a ritual, but this one amplifies it. Torture your victim for four hours, cut their heart out and bam, you get three times the Ruach! You can also shank people and steal their "Ruach/Orgone". God drat I love this naming convention.

The Skull of Tears

It's a human skull "shot through with spidery black veins of an alien substance". Sometimes it cries blood, and if you touch it you suddenly feel super cold. Nobody knows how old it is. Spooky! The black stuff exists in more than four dimensions and seems to be a projection from Outside. It might be alive. Legend says that this is the skull of "a serial murderer and sadist" from the dawn of Man, and it might be connected to Gurathnaka. The skull is connected to N'athm, who might have made it and probably have it again after it caused a mess in Los Angeles and disappeared.

Being near the skull (in the same house, or maybe next door) causes sanity-eroding nightmares like you're using a N'athm as a body pillow - succeed at an Average Insanity Test or gain an Insanity Point. Staying really close eventually causes waking hallucinations. If you're a dream magician with "questionable moral fiber" or the right kind of jerk cultist, though, it will make your Dream or Transmogrification magic much easier, cheaper, potent and harder to resist. The N'athm are immune to its effects and can use it to give intense insanity-causing nightmares - Challenging, this time - to anyone within a city block.

Worse, they can amplify their power when loving with a single person. Instead of needing a piece of their body they only need to have seen him, and can plague him with terrifying nightmares - Hard Insanity Tests every day. It is basically a time bomb for assholes. Nothing seems to block its power.

It is probably the worst thing in this book.

The X'an-Tuum Violator

Haha no I was just loving with you.

Everything past this point is spoiler-blocked, so reading it is your fault.

Unveiled Threats posted:

According to its most primitive steam-driven plans, the Violator appears to be a massive engine, with varying phallic probes on automated articulated arms and intravenous stations around nine reclining chairs – each designed to hold and restrain a Human being. It is designed to be built above a ritual space, functionally raining down whatever it collects onto the spell below.

So yeah.

Unveiled Threats posted:

However, the few madmen who have actually built this device have created something more advanced. The X’an-tuum Violator found in the 1940’s was built on internal combustion principles, powered by a gigantic airplane engine. The automated articulated arms with phallic probes were more advanced, as the victim was suspended in such a way that he could be positioned in any way the sick operator desired.

Yeah, that reason.

Unveiled Threats posted:

It is obvious to anyone upon even casual examination that it is a sick device designed for some kind of torture. Either that, or it is a sex machine for the extreme fetishist.


This thing was invented by some Swiss guy 250 years ago who said he go visions from beyond that dictated everything (hence the weird name), and eventually the authorities found his notes and executed him. Eventually the plans found their way to the Nazis, who built one under the Dachau concentration camp. The Allied soldier who discovered it destroyed it immediately. Lately there have been "rumours" that the Disciples of Death's Shadow have built several, rumours which specify locations like "just north of the Los Angeles arcology".

What does it do? Well,

Unveiled Threats posted:

The X’an-tuum Violator is a disgusting machine that is designed to induce emotional states in victims, via drug interactions. They are then raped by the machine’s various probes to gather Ruach.

By "manipulating powerful emotions and combining that with stimulation and sexual energy" raping them, the Violator drains its (up to nine) victims of Ruach Orgone. Victims produce double the usual Orgone though, and with nine people you can get up to 180 at once. Using the machine forces you to succeed at a Hard Tenacity Feat Test or gain an Insanity Point, because you are literally operating a Nazi rape machine. Victims have to make the Test or get 2. After the third time they're strapped into the machine they start having to make Tests or die. Also, if you need Orgone badly, you can just have the machine rape everyone to death over a period of six hours for up to 360 Orgone.

Thankfully they at least had the sense to say you can destroy it.

It just occured to me that the drug section got a sidebar that talked about how drugs are much more complicated in real life with all kinds of consequences, and if you find the whole idea distasteful you can just remove it. What the Violator gets is art. Takes up the whole right side of a page. Luckily it's a pretty big machine and the people are mostly outlines; the most detail you get is breasts on a couple of rape victims.

Enjoy your palate cleanser.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth
I've been waiting for so long for The Violator. It's maybe the worst thing in the entire line, it has literally no reason to exist in the book, not even able to hide behind the 'well it's HORROR, duh!' like the fish-rape adventure because it's so over the top stupid there's no way any group who 'encounters' it doesn't just go 'what the gently caress is wrong with you, Jerry, we close the door and walk away never to speak of this again'.

Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!

Ettin posted:

The X'an-Tuum Violator

Haha no I was just loving with you.

Everything past this point is spoiler-blocked, so reading it is your fault.

Get thee behind me, CthuluTech.


SynthOrange posted:

Welp, it was nice knowing you all. :smithicide:

I didn't read it, because I actually have some self restraint. :colbert:

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 01:56 on May 12, 2013

May 6, 2007

Welp, it was nice knowing you all. :smithicide:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: City and Guild

Starting late last century, the commercial networks of Europe changed drastically. New mines became viable, and metal became more common. The economy went from agrarian barter to use of money more often. This monetarization is accelerating, allowing nobles to settle their courts in the cities and the cities to expand. If current expansion continues, by 1300, cities will be ten times their current size, a size unknown since the falle of Rome. Cities breathe silver, as the saying goes, and by silver they live. This has led to the rise of a new type of person, a person who lives with risk and lies outside the standard societal divisions. These people are those who can reach into a city's lungs and pull forth their golden breath - the merchants.

A merchant company, also called a house, is a financial relationship formed between a handful of merchants usually related by blood or marriage. Many companies originate in a father and his sons. When the father dies, each son gets a share in the business, a partnership. The partners then select one of their own to manage the daily affairs: the capo, as the Italians call them. Capos often dispatch agents, sometimes called factors, to other cities to manage the partners' interests there. These are often sons of the partners. Some very rich people are partners in multiple companies at once. This structure is found throughout Europe, though the capo is known as a master in England or a chef in France. Any kind of merchant may work for a company, or a corporate body like an abbey or covenant. They receive a share of their profits, but generally less than an independent trader would make. On the other hand, there's far less risk.

And yes, a player can be a capo, though the game warns against allowing too much wealth from taking over the game. More commonly, a player will be a factor or a merchant adventurer, perhaps as a partner in a company. The least affluent form of merchant is the urban merchant, who lives in a city and sells wares at the market. Urban merchants are retailers, selling goods to the final consumer. They're handy for covenants to know and hire, as their homes make good accomodations for covenant agents and good resupply points for expeditions. Experienced merchants have little political power but often have excellent contact networks and information gathering skills. A poor urban merchant is merely a peddler, buying a basket of stock each morning and selling it throughout the day in the streets. It's barely better than begging. Your average merchant rents a house and sells staple goods with high turnover rates. Their lifestyle is precarious, for all their funds are in their stock, and loss of stock can be ruinous. A wealthy merchant will own their own home, trading out of a store near the market which they might own as well and most rich merchants trade in unusual goods for richer clients, or hold a monopoly on some commodity in their part of the city.

A local carrier is a merchant that follows a single route, carrying a stable commodity for many years. It's lucrative in places where a carrier or a small group of carriers have a monopoly on the right to transport a good. In other areas, carriers tend to supplement their income with craftwork, theft or day labor. Local carriers often travel together in caravans, often with pilgrims, to ward off banditry. Some serve nobles or monasteries, and most independent carriers are happy to work for some larger group like a covenant in exchange for a cut of the profits from the journey. An important variant of the carrier is the waterman, who ships goods along rivers and fords, as well as carrying passengers. In cities lacking bridges, like Venice or Paris, the Watermen's Guild is often powerful. A poor local carrier will typically have a single pack animal and may not even have a home, wintering in inns or with relatives and doing craftwork to pay for their stay. The average carrier can manage a four-wheeled cart, but will typically divide this onto pack animals due to poor roads. They may have a family and a rented home in a city, or a modest home in a small village on their route. They won't have any paid servants but may have family helping them. The wealthiest carriers run caravans of a dozen carts or so, or may own a coastal trading ship. Each will have a home with servants in a city, and often a warehouse and a second source of income. Some carriers are bigamists, with families and wives in two different cities on their route.

The merchant-adventurer is a speculator, generally supported by a crew and often a patron or company. They tend not to be very experienced, but they'll own a ship or caravan, often based out of a home port where the merchant lives. Essentially, they are like a carrier in most ways, save that they don't keep a regular route - they buy up goods and find places to sell them, traveling around as they desire. They are expected by their home cities to also act as naval defense when needed for only the richest cities have true warships.

The factor (derived from the Latin factotum, 'person who does everything'), also known as an agent, governor or administrator, oversees a company's assets in a city with a great deal of local autonomy. A factor may also be an independent trader managing multiple caravans or vessels rather than working as a merchant-adventurer any more. All factors have large, nice homes with a few servants and likely bodyguards - to fail to do so earns a poor reputation. The wealthier a factor is, the more opulently they will live, but rarely as extravagantly as their funding might allow. They don't like to seem overly spendthrift to their superiors, channeling excess wealth into private enterprises or charity. A covenant often has use for independent factors, acting as a company would towards them and allowing them to handle the covenant's financial business.

There's an entire sidebar on the dirty deeds merchants get up to in their competition, with rumormongering rules, bribery and piracy guidelines, assassination and sabotage...oh yes, there's room for lots of intrigue among merchants. Especially at the levels of factors. The Capo themself is the head of a merchant company, and typically does not travel often. They set grand strategy, appoint factors and play politics. They determine the culture of the merchant company and often act as factors for the headquarters. Others are primarily politicians and allow deputies to handle the actual business. Covenants cannot use capos, per se, but may enter mutually beneficial relations with one - after all, a capo can do favors for them with their immense (if diffuse) power. They're also one of the few people in Europe who can just straight-up pay for magic items in coin rather than trade in favors.

As for what the Order can do for merchants...well, frankly, it should be obvious. They can create commodities directly, manufacture goods by magic, use mental magic to help haggle, reduce crew requirements on a ship, shrink trade goods for easier travel, reduce travel time with magical aid and even replenish food and water without need for stopping by use of magic items - though this can hurt crew morale, as it cuts down on shore leave. And that's besides all the Roman innovations in business that magi might reintroduce, such as better business correspondence, pooled capital via permanent companies, deposit and investment banking, Roman-style travel insurance or more.

All that's left is nitty-gritty details on trade goods and costs, so...

The End!

Choose: Choices are: the True Lineage Houses of Hermes and their secrets (Houses of Hermes: True Lineages), the power of God and its impact on you (Realms of Power: The Divine), Mystery Cults (The Mysteries, Revised Edition), the Mystery Cult Houses (Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults), more depth on Covenants (Covenants), the lost magic of the past (Ancient Magic), the Societates Houses (Houses of Hermes: Societates), France (Lion and Lily: The Normandy Tribunal), academic life (Art and Academe), the realms of magic and magical beings (Realms of Power: Magic), the Faeries (Realms of Power: Faerie), nobility (Lords of Men), other rival spellcasters of the world (Rival Magic), the Church (The Church) or the Middle East (Cradle and Crescent), Germany (Guardians of the Forests: The Rhine Tribunal), a book on various grand goals a magus might have (Hermetic Projects) or Greece (Sundered Eagle: The Theban Tribunal).

Rulebook Heavily
Sep 18, 2010

by FactsAreUseless
I posted this in the old thread, gonna post it again.


"H.P. Lovecraft, Notes on Writing Weird Fiction posted:

I choose weird stories because they suit my inclination best—one of my strongest and most persistent wishes being to achieve, momentarily, the illusion of some strange suspension or violation of the galling limitations of time, space, and natural law which for ever imprison us and frustrate our curiosity about the infinite cosmic spaces beyond the radius of our sight and analysis. . . .

. . . In writing a weird story I always try very carefully to achieve the right mood and atmosphere, and place the emphasis where it belongs. One cannot, except in immature pulp charlatan–fiction, present an account of impossible, improbable, or inconceivable phenomena as a commonplace narrative of objective acts and conventional emotions. . . .

. . . Atmosphere, not action, is the great desideratum of weird fiction. Indeed, all that a wonder story can ever be is a vivid picture of a certain type of human mood. The moment it tries to be anything else it becomes cheap, puerile, and unconvincing. Prime emphasis should be given to subtle suggestion—imperceptible hints and touches of selective associative detail which express shadings of moods and build up a vague illusion of the strange reality of the unreal.


"Matthew Grau, Cthulhutech Guy posted:

In Lovecraft's day and age, he had to be nuanced. It was required by the social norm – he couldn't print the kind of stuff we print. Nowadays, people are so desensitized to pretty much everything that you have to take it to a level that will be disturbing the current time.

In the 20's, people were terrified, sickened, and disturbed by the picture of the ghoul you get at the end of Pickman's Model. To have that same reaction now, the character would have to walk in on a ghoul eating the baby while Pickman painted it. People forget how deeply desensitized they are now.

Let's be honest, in addition to that, people in the US, a country founded by Puritans, have a problem with sex. In Europe, you get OJ commercials with topless girls. In the US, that sort of thing would put 60% of the country so up in arms someone would die over it. Many people here believe that seeing naked breasts is more dangerous and disturbing than watching someone blow the back of someone's head off.

I notice that no one has commented on the maiming, torture, murder, cannibalism, etc, etc, that is a part of CthulhuTech, because sick violence is an accepted part of US culture (and in many other parts of the world). If the Violator was a torture device, one that slowly flayed and dismembered its victims over time, no one would bat an eye. There would simply be no conversation about it, and people would already be using one in their games. But because it has sex and rape in it, some people up in arms. That seems like a double-standard in my book. It makes no sense to me to be offended by violent sex when you take torturing other people to death and them eating them in stride (and may even think it's cool).


Welcome to the epitome. This is what the authors did: double down and write a goddamn Nazi Rape Machine.

You know, in the spirit of Lovecraft.

Rulebook Heavily fucked around with this message at 03:54 on May 12, 2013

Jan 30, 2012

Really Madcats

Zereth posted:

... His stick tied to another stick stopped working.

He was unable to hit people with a couple of sticks.
The way I'd interpret it is that you are no longer able to understand that your nunchucks are a weapon - at best you could hold both halves in one hand and use them as a club.

Oct 2, 2010
Unveiled Threats: Bonus Palate Cleanser!

Peep this thread on the CthulhuTech forums.

Stabby Mc Stabsalot posted:

So, I was flipping through the book and I came to the magical items section. Then I came upon the X'an-Tuum Violator.


What kind of mind invents somoething like THA?!?! 0_0

You people need to stay far away from me! I have a gun, and I know how to use it!

I'm just kidding. Love the book though. Nicely done guys.

Jack posted:

Writers come up with terrors because they're supposed to for certain projects. Some of the stuff I came up with working on the various hell-like places for Exalted and Kindred of the East for White Wolf was vile. I mean, that was the point- it was hellish and terrible. I was recently reading Dead of Night 2nd Ed. and again, some of the "this emulates the splatter horror genre" or "this is supposed to be unrelenting alien infestation horror" bits are freaking creepy.

I suspect, and of course I could be wrong, that some of the reason this stands out a bit in Ctech is because the other big Cthulhu games often (not always but often) play down some of the clearly physically horrific stuff that is implied or outright stated in many of the stories (new and old) this all comes from. But C-techs anime, mecha, and military themes seem to encourage and even necessitate more detail in the terrible things the monsters are doing.

But to me they were always doing it in the indescribable shadows of the Mythos. For example, the Deep Ones always wanted to spread their unholy seed and convert any humans they did not devour to come live with them under the sea in the what can probably best be described as "Clive Barker presents HR Giger's the Little Mermaid." This was, with some slight variances, always the plan. It's just that in 1930s pulps you didn't say things quite so bluntly as one does in a setting book for an rpg in 2010 (but hey, for those who miss the subtly remember we also get so much less racism and the like).

I know a few folks get all bent out of shape over this stuff (not so much in this thread or even on this site) but I admit there's a part of me that appreciates horror that includes the truly horrible. Especially in action-horror- since it becomes something to fight.

In fact, I think you can generally go farther into the crazy with action horror because "Oh hell no! We have to stop that. No really, get me a cannon and a machete!" is often a viable option. It's harder, at least in my experience, to pull that off in settings and stories where the protagonists have less of a chance because then it just becomes this weird spectacle of crazy.

sunphoenix posted:

LOL... oh... don't get me wrong... the next time my players need to infiltrate a "Dionysus Club", they will probably find ...for the more 'exotic' and ... "wicked" of entertainments in the club is a lottery for a 'not-so-'random patron, especially a 'Newbie' to win a 'prize'. The 'winner' is taken into the basement and placed into a X'an-Tuum Violator under false intentions totally unprepared for the experience to have their... 'session' holographicly displayed for the patron's amusements.

I'm sure their are settings and they turn it up to max for 'virgins', a real 'Scream and Cream' fest...

sunphoenix posted:

Too True... always... as 'sticky' subject...

Stabby Mc Stabsalot posted:

Haha! Zing!

zero posted:

Have yet to get Unveiled Threats so I dunno what the thing looks like, but just reading what you've been saying so far, I'm reminded of the special machine Munchausen uses to summon the Kyo-O in Urotsukidoji 2.

KjetilKverndokken posted:

Yes, i was waiting for it, a thread on the book, if someone has read it - up on, and someone is already complaining aout the item, that ctech is just a ig rapegasm or whatever....


sunphoenix posted:

{Sigh}...they have missed the entire point.
Honestly... if we had the technology to make something like that device... SOMEONE WOULD DO SO...

Just human nature.

Darkeus posted:

Again, very interesting.

It does go with the theme of the game but....

Very Hentai in other ways, not like that is a horrible thing...

Matthew Grau posted:

And yes, you can blame the Violator on me. However, as you can infer from the tone in the book, I am as disgusted with it as you are. After all, this is a Lovecraftian game. It would be disrespectful of me to not go there.

zero posted:

Well, that, the adventure with the Horned Ones and the Beckon the Unexpressed spell (with the caster having the Medical skill *cough*school nurse from Bible Black*cough*) can go to make a massive h-theme campaign if wanted...

Matthew Grau posted:

The reality is most people are going to have an opinion about material that is likely to be considered offensive – that is very nature of offensive material. (And gamers, in most cases, are even more opinionated than non-gamers – that is part of the passion that is the greatness of the hobby.) I could point out numerous analogs in other fiction, games, or movies – even video games. They happen as a part of dark art, usually where appropriate. And there are always people who disagree.

CthulhuTech is a dark, messed up universe, as we all know and love. If every book was filled with nothing but horrible offensive things, then I would worry (and get my head checked). However, there is call sometimes to remind people of the dark end of the street and those are the parts of CthulhuTech that are like the Violator. For every person who is wildly offended by it, there is another who already has an idea of how they're going to use it in an adventure.

I'm sorry there are those out there who find it offensive or mishandled. However, the Violator was edited by no less than two other people besides myself before we sent it to press. We knew it was offensive (how could it not be), figured people would get the Overfiend homage, and thought it was handled in an adult fashion.

There are more than 120 pages of other content in Unveiled Threats. It's easy to ignore the Violator. Please take a moment to enjoy the rest of the book.

ThunderWave posted:

Skywalker posted:

I think perhaps the main reason is that this is the fourth time something like this has happened in a CTech book.

Only fourth? Every time I've seen it come up, it's been tasteful. Well, as tasteful as violation can possibly be. I've seen much much worse in other gaming books. You want to talk about obsession with violation, why don't you go talk to the creators of FATAL. They have some explaining to do.

martian_bob/9084021 posted:

Anyhow, here's my two cents. The Violator isn't my favorite thing in the book, sure, but all of the folks bitching about how it's not Lovecraftian or subtle enough need to take a breath and remember that this is a game where you can use your giant living robot to punch a Star-Spawn right in its stupid face.

After a moment of quiet reflection, one may notice that there is a difference in tone between this and, say, "Pickman's Model" or "The Color Out Of Space". Oh, it is a subtle and nuanced shift indeed! But for those who take the care to note the intricate contrasts, the distinction is apparent.

Stabby Mc Stabsalot posted:

For the mana? Really? I thought it was a device for making porn movies....


*Quickly stashes the camera and directors chair*

Honestly? I don't find the device offensive at all. In fact, it fits right into a setting with people brainwashed to serve as prostitutes, and all the other insane insanity that goes on in C-Tech. For some reason, when I read it, the device just seemed particularly *ahem* kinky to me.....

sunphoenix posted:

...hmmm need hot butter, some mud... 2 gallons of KY Jelly, one blonde, one brunette, one red head {better make that two}, one Amlati Xenomix, and a White Sidoci Xenomix with Project Emotion and Magnetism... heck go for broke throw in a Bubasti and a mind-wormed 'controlled' Vassiamon just to spice it up a bit...

... hell sounds like a night to remember!

...better have an intensive care unit ready...

'Don't care if a do Die!!!'

Urotsukidōji references: Respectful to Lovecraft.

Oct 29, 2011

Angrymog posted:

The way I'd interpret it is that you are no longer able to understand that your nunchucks are a weapon - at best you could hold both halves in one hand and use them as a club.

I asked if I could cut the cord and convert it into two clubs, or maybe just use the bizarrely-immobile contraption itself as a club, but decided to just start punching and kicking fools.

Then I got grappled by a cyberdemon, fell into a pool, and started drowning while being choked out. Torg is a hell of a drug.

Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!

Ettin posted:

Urotsukidōji references: Respectful to Lovecraft.

gently caress.

Rulebook Heavily
Sep 18, 2010

by FactsAreUseless

Ettin posted:

Urotsukidōji references: Respectful to Lovecraft.

When the devs claimed the game was a fusion of Lovecraft and Anime, they helpfully failed to specify what kind of Anime. And now we know.

Mors: For a vote, I'd like to see Realms of Power: The Divine. I'm not at all up on divinity in Ars Magica aside from the basics.

Rulebook Heavily fucked around with this message at 03:19 on May 12, 2013

Jan 26, 2012
I never thought I'd want to ever read Bliss Stage again, but at least its rules aren't a complicated oldschool mess like this and it doesn't have a loving metaplot.

InfiniteJesters fucked around with this message at 03:21 on May 12, 2013

Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.

Rulebook Heavily posted:

Mors: For a vote, I'd like to see Realms of Power: The Divine. I'm not at all up on divinity in Ars Magica aside from the basics.

I'm down with that. Mors, cleanse this thread of its unholy taint.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth

Rulebook Heavily posted:

I posted this in the old thread, gonna post it again.



Welcome to the epitome. This is what the authors did: double down and write a goddamn Nazi Rape Machine.

You know, in the spirit of Lovecraft.

Gah Pickman's Model wasn't scary because of the picture, it was scary because the entire point was that his subjects were real! It was supposed to make you think that maybe the 'insane artists' you occasionally see aren't insane at all. How can you right a Cthulhu RPG and not get even the base idea of why his stories were scary?


Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Realms of Power: The Divine

Okay, we're going to have to define some terms here. First: The Divine. The Divine is above all else, transcendent. Its nature touches all monotheistic faiths - any faith that allows for a single Universal Creator who is Good and Right. None are entirely right, none entirely wrong. The Divine stands above all things, omnipotent. It could, if it wished, utterly destroy the forces of Hell, Arcadia and the pagan gods of magic. God chooses, for reasons known only to Him, to allow these realms to exist, despite the ceaseless conflict between Heaven and Hell. The truth of the Divine realm is so transcendent that not even angels can fully grasp it. What can be known, though, is that the Divine seeks to better all people and save their souls. It wants people to seek it of their own free will and has created many worldly structures for that purpose - the Chuch, the Talmud, the Caliphates. These institutions are human, imperfect, both pure and corrupt, sincere and hypocritical. They hold power, so they attract the ambitious and impious. But they are also devout and holy.

The Divine aura is one of the most common auras in Mythic Europe, in the form of the Dominion. The Dominion aura is generated by the presence of believers. Holy sites unconnected to human worship instead are said to have Empyreal auras. However, unlike most auras, the strength of the Divine fluctuates due to its relation with human faith. (Interestingly, heretics like the Cathars and Gnostics also generate Dominion auras.) Within a Divine aura, awe at the holy and guilt over sin are stronger. The truly pious can even be intoxicated by this feeling most commonly at pilgrimage sites and during holy periods, obsessing over the holy sites and feeling the need to be alone to meditate on the nature of the holy. Gifted and magical beings feel differently - their power is assaulted by Divine auras, and they tend to suffer headaches, short temper and other pains. Further, they feel weak and insignificant. Despite this, they can still feel the euphoria associated with the Divine, reverence and unearthly joy. It is a mixed feeling. The fae are upset by the Divine, finding it confrontational, laying bear their true natures and making them question their purpose. Despite this, some faeries find the honesty and truth of the Divine comforting. The Infernal alone hates and fears the Divine without any positive feelings. They hate the light, truth and love that saturate Divine auras, making them feel self-loathing and dread. However, they often visit these areas to spread wickedness.

Most Divine beings are angels, but not all. Saints, unicorns, phoenixes and other beings possess Divine natures. Most of them live within divine regiones, interacting with humans only when they must. The most famous of these are the Nephillim, the descendents of angels. They were giants who existed before the Deluge, known as the Mighty Ones or Earth Born. They were said to be 300 cubits high - about 500 feet. Most were corrupted by the Infernal, and all were drowned in the DEluge save two pious Nephillim who rode upon the Ark of Noah. Most Nephillim now live within Divine regiones, and are not so huge as their ancestors. Many remain Divine, though many have also fallen, like their forebears, to the Infernal. They possess angelic qualities, but weakened by flesh and time. They do not age, but will eventually die, even if it is after millenia. They are immune to sickness and disease, but most eat great amounts of food to avoid going into comas and starving to death. They may procreate with humans, each other and giants.

Angels, however, remain the most common Divine beings. Angels are spiritual in nature, holy and possessing near-perfect knowledge of God. They are the messengers of God, beings of perfect intellect and life, free of corruption, death, matter, gender and age. All angels exist for a purpose, and all angels have always existed and always will. No new angels are made. The highest three Choirs of angel never leave Heaven unless they must for a mission. The next three divide their time between Divine regiones and Heaven, and the three least exalted Choirs have the most to do with the world. Angels serve God unwaveringly, but do have a certain independence when not acting on His orders directly, and the more potent angels can colocate. And no, you can't play an angel.

Angels are not infallible, it should be noted. They also possess free will, but as beings of pure intellect, they have complete judgement and are beings of pure goodness and holiness, so they always act in accordance with God's will. They are perfectly good, so their choices are always freely chosen to be perfectly good. They do not seek worship and will correct those who try to worship them. They do not answer prayers, but may intercede on behalf of a saint, particularly the Virgin Mary, who receives many requests for aid. Still, unless acting directly on behalf of God, an angel is fallible, can be wounded or even destroyed and is not truly immortal. In theory, an angel could disobey God and Fall, but this has never happened except the once, when Lucifer and a third of the Host Fell. All remaining angels have already made their decisions.

Angels do not possess senses as humans understand them. Rather, they take direct understanding from their surroundings by virtue of angelic intellect, using this awareness to move and act. They act directly upon the forms of a thing rather than the species or sensations generated, so illusions cannot fool them. They have complete understanding of a thing, not limited by senses, though they cannot read minds. They are unaffected by darkness and illusion, and their senses may not be targeted by magic, though wards can stop them from 'sensing' what is within the ward. They only other ways to stop an angel's senses are to kill it or trap it within a ward. Angels move by teleportation, instantaneously. They take up no space, for they have no bodies. If they take on physical form, they can still teleport but usually choose not to. Angels speak all the tongues of man, but only do so when in physical form. Otherwise, they communciate via illumination, spiritual expression which speaks directly to the soul. However, illumination is easily blocked by magic resistance, so they often have to speak physically to magi or others who resist magic. Every angel possesses both a common name and a True Name. Knowing an angel's True Name gives immense power over it as well as an Arcane Connection. Such names are not so well known as the True Names of demons, but some, particularly the Zoroastrians, were able to discover and record some of them.

Angels are not completely immune to Hermetic magic. While in physical form, they can be targeted and warded against by the Form that corresponds to their nature, and in spiritual form can only be touched by Mentem or Vim. Angels are, however, immune to pain, damage and fatigue in spiritual form, and are always immune to magic that would make them act contrary to their nature. Angels can be destroyed permanently by being stripped of their Divine might, but only a few angels have been destroyed, ever, and none by Hermetic hands. Angels cannot be summoned nor compelled by Hermetic magic, though they may choose to answer a summons if they want to. Some traditions, like the Jewish Merkavah, appear to be able to compel angels to answer a summons via their True Names. Most Hermetic magi tend to believe angels are fully immune to magic, or at least significantly protected against all forms of it.

We then get some angel stats, but they're for GM use. So let us, instead, talk about holy character options. On the Companion level, you can play the angel-blooded or a practitioner of holy magic, as well as wielding a relic. Relics are extremely potent. On the Mythic Companion level, you can play a Nephillim. Nephillim are all extremely strong and tough, bearing the blood and power of angels and the ability to sense holy and unholy power. They know much of the Divine realm and all speak Hebrew at least on the rudimentary level and all grow to potentially immense size over the centuries. They age very slowly indeed.

Some characters are so holy that, just by prayer and example, they can can inspire others to goodness. Either they perform good deeds, or pray and use Confidence. In either case, however, they require spiritual authority over those they inspire. Everyone who lives within a bishop's bishopric is under their authority. A parent has authority over their children, a teacher over their students and a host over their guests. Temporal authority works to cover anyone under your command or rule, and those who are inspirational may pray over anyone willing to listen. However, this blessing only works on those willing to listen and think about what they see, so this can be refused without cost.

Any character with Confidence may expend it to try and call for God's aid via prayer. This is not to be taken lightly, however, and it can cause divine wrath if used without need. It is, after all, very presumptious. Still, using this prayer can provide a vital boost to the character's skills, as God grants strength and power to accomplish hat was prayed for. Those with spiritual authority may invoke this blessing for their followers, as well, by praying on their behalf.

Secular and religious leaders are divinely appointed, ruling by the will of God, so they benefit from the Commanding Aura, so long as they were crowned or anointed via the proper religious ceremonies. God protects them from harm and grants them magic resistance, as well as making anyone without magic resistance feel naturally deferent to them. Note that royals must be crowned by the Pope, Patriarch or other proper religious authority. Religious leaders must be installed properly, and have greater protection from God. Wives of rulers or religious leaders gain the benefits as well. Rulers also commonly bear divine relics. If one of these leaders is excommunicated from their faith or similary sanctioned, the Commanding Aura is withdrawn from them but only if the ruler accepts the sanctions as valid. It is God, not the clergy, that make this decision, after all. As a result, the Commanding Aura is rarely actually withdrawn, as most rulers will consider themselves to be in the right most of the itme.

Next time: Miracles and Faith.

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