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  • Locked thread
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

It's kind of embarrassing when I played it that this is the first time I looked at the spell list, boy did I miss out.


Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid
I just can't wait to see someone cast Absolute Zero Clock to be able to cast Laundry Knights four times in the space of a second. Clean the poo poo out of everything :black101:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Rival Magic

You're probably sick of all those dudes the Order of Hermes doesn't know about. Well, they know about Soqotra. See, about a century ago, an Arabic text was written for King Roger of Sicily - yeah, that same one from the Augustans. It was an atlas. the Book of Roger. The book was translated into Latin, and it contained information on a small island in the Gulf of Aden of the Arabian Sea: Soqotra. The wizards of the isle famous...and famously do not ever leave. The island was originally unknown until an Egyptian merchant vessel crashed there and was aided by a golden serpent that called itself the island's king. The serpent told the merchant's rescuers that the isle was inhabited by 75 great serpents and one young girl, and sent him off with a cargo of gold, gems and incense. That girl is said by the Soqotrans to have been the first sorceress. Their sorcerers deal with the native spirits of the isle and use the plants and animals for magic. The magical history of Soqotra is a series of half-forgotten wars between magicians.

Eventually, the familiar spirits of the magicians of similar styles were able to negotiate truces, and four distinct but disorganized alliances ruled the island, each based on one magical style and the tree whose essence powered it. These were the ancestors of today's Soqotrans, the Aloe, Cinnabar, Olibanum and Myrrh Tribes. During the reign of Alexander the Great, Minoan priests of Zeus tried to colonize them, and many locals claim Alexander himself conquered the island on his way home from India. The King of the Olibanum Serpents made an army of local magicians to fight off the Greeks, but failed. Peace was negotiated. The original colony was reinforced by later Egyptian pharaohs, the Ptolemies. The Soqotrans have three different stories to explain where the priestly caste went.

Some say the priests refused to take Soqotran wives. Some say they all took Soqotran wives and went native. The third group says that their magic was religious, and when Saint Thomas converted the entire island to Christianity, they forsook their gods and magic. In any case, the Greek and Egyptian colonists helped systemize the magic of Soqotra and created the island's political structure, though a council of native magicians has replaced the priests of earlier eras. Soqotran magic may well have gathered knowledge from the other empires that briefly ruled it - Rome, Ethiopia, Axum and Oman were all, for a time, significant players in the area, and Indian traders regularly visit the island.

As of 1220, the magicians of Soqotra rule the island and a few surrounding isles, with the aid of the magical spirits that act as their allies and intermediaries, preventing the people from rebelling against their Gifts. Eight magicians are elected to the ruling Council of Tribes, communicating via spirit messengers and unGifted assistants, usually the descendants of other magicians. The magician caste is divided into four tribes, each of which has two council members, one chosen by tribal vote and the other chosen by random lot. Each tribe, in theory, is descended from one of the native traditions of magic, Aloe, Cinnabor, Olibanum or Myrrh, and commands (and is subtly controlled by) some of the native spirits. Each magician specializes in one of these areas, but it is not unusual to specialize in an out-of-tribe style, for adolescent mages are taught by all tribes. Magicians change tribe rarely, and only before getting a spirit aide.

Soqotrans, as a note, practice rap battle for prestige. The more poems you can recite from memory, the more prestige you have. Anyway. When the Council of Tribes meets, each wizard stays in a room from which they can see and hear all but cannot be seen or heard. Each uses an olibanum serpent as representative, and the ninth member of the council is the King of the Olibanum Serpents, who guides it when there is deadlock.

Each tribe of Gifted magicians meets rarely, and communicates via spirits, to prevent conflict due to the Gift. This allows the King of the Olibanum Serpents to control the flow of information, especially as each tribe is in practice led by a potent spirit who assigns lesser spirits as aides to the magicians. Magicians are taught not be each other, but the spirits. A child chosen by lot to serve on the Council of Tribes may not vote until the age of 21. (If their tenure ends before then, too bad for them.)

The Aloe Tribe is mostly women, and it is skilled in the magic of healing and repair. This tribe gathers vis from bitter aloes, harvested only in years of good weather. This allowed the weather-controlling Olibanum Tribe to defeat them in ancient times, but that animosity is long forgotten. Today, the Olibanum warriors greatly prize Aloe magic, for it allows complete, if slow, healing of injury. Aloe magicians live in the mountains all over the island, for the aloe trees are spread widely. However, as far as they know, their aloe is found nowhere off the island, so they tend not to want to leave. Their patron is the bennu, a sort of Soqotran phoenix, though the tribe claims that is a recent change and that their old patron was an elephant.

The Cinnabar Tribe are preservers, drawing vis from the cinnabar trees. These trees grow high above sea level, so the Cinnabars live largely high in the mountains. Their magic is defensive, and so is popular as a secondary skill in all tribes. So far as the Soqotrans know, cinnabar is found only on Soqotra, and this combined with their magic's purely defensive nature makes Cinnabar magicians hesitant to leave. They harvest cinnabar every two years, though not in any coordinated manner. In the time of the magical wars, it was more common to coordinate to power preemptive attacks. Their spiritual patron is a large red gecko.

The Myrrh Tribe us magic of history and strengthening. Myrrh is found only on the southern, inhospitable end of the island, where the Myrrh tribe often battle evil female jinn that cause sickness. They do this by calling on good female jinn or folk magic, and they have many faerie allies. The jinniyah, as female jinn are known, are their spiritual patrons, who entered a pact with the King of the Olibanum Serpents at the end of the magical wars. The Myrrh Tribe know Myrrh is found elsewhere.

The Olibanum Tribe use commanding magic, which controls other things. They dwell in the north, and are the most skilled warriors. Their spiritual patrons are the Olibanum Serpents, so they have much prestige. Each olibanum tree is guarded by a serpent, and the serpents dislike outsiders. This is why the Olibanum Tribe and many other magicians are hesitant to even speak to outsiders. The Olibanum Tribe are also the keepers of justice on the island, along with their serpents. Olibanum may only be collected one fortnight out of the year, and it is seen as a sacred act. Harming the olibanum trees, even by accident, is a crime. Olibanum, also known as frankincense off of Soqotra, is known to grow elsewhere, but they don't really care. It is said that the Greeks stole olibanum, and that was what started the war against Alexander.

Soqotran sorcerers are considered roughly magus-level in power. There are also folk witches on the island, but they are seen as criminals, especially if their magic causes harm to others. Witches, male or female, are exiled if convicted. All Soqotran sorcery, meanwhile, requires special incense rituals, which burn what the Soqotrans know as 'essential incense' but magi would call 'vis'. The Soqotrans do not know that vis comes in forms other than the incense they make from the trees. A perfunctory incense ceremony allows magic to be done, but has no benefits other than that. It is what you use when you have the bare minimum of time. Soqotran sorcery is able to divide pawns of vis into 'sparks', a tenth of a pawn. This is what fuels any Soqotran spell. A minor incense ceremony still uses only one spark, but more nonmagical incense. It is the equivalent of ceremonial magic, allowing the caster to use the Artes Liberales to benefit the spell, but it takes fifteen minutes. A full incense ceremony takes fifteen minutes and quite a few sparks and incense, but allows for the equivalent of Ritual magic. There is one weakness compared to Hermetic Rituals, though: the Soqotran sorcerer's spirit ally must be present for it to work.

The Spirit Ally has an Arcane Connection to its sorcerer, and any other spirit allies the sorcerer has. By touching the sorcerer, magic may be transmitted through it, allowing spells of touch range to strike much further away. (For example, your average olibanum serpent is 20 feet long.) The Spirit Ally may expend its power to empower the sorcerer and strengthen their spells, though only for magic related to the tribe the spirit represents. Spirits of all but the Myrrh tribe never offer aide without the King of Olibanum Serpents' permission, but the jinniyah of the Myrrh Tribe do not care for such things and will offer whenever they like, so long as the Queen of Myrrh, their leader, approves. The spirits also, as a note, have their own abilities that they may use to help out. For example, the red geckos may turn invisible and have a bite that warps people, as well as blood that warps people. Of course, each is tied to a tree and will die if the tree dies. (Only the jinniyah do not share this weakness.) The herons of light are the servants of the bennu, as are the dark night herons; either may serve a sorcerer. They can light fires, destroy minor demons and teleport. The jinniyah may enthrall people to their voices or entangle them in plants. Jinniyah appear to die when their tree is destroyed, but in fact merely become a different kind of faerie. The olibanum serpents are actually a sort of worm, a limbless dragon. They can grant the power to ignore sleep, read minds or control those who breathe their perfumed breath.

Aloe Magic restores things. It can dispel magic of the Aloe style or similar magics, heal people or animals, restore objects, regrow limbs or missing parts, return plants or animals to life, remove Flaws or restore lost Virtues. They can even duplicate objects by taking a piece of them and regrowing the object from that, which doesn't get rid of the old object. (Which, naturally, may also be restored.) This is called 'seeding', and it does not copy magical effects or living things - the living grow as corpses.

Cinnabar Magic preserves things. It slows aging, dispels magic of the Cinnabar style or similar magics, resists damage or disease or grants immunity to poisons, disease, deprivation or even materials.

Myrrh Magic commemorates things. It can dispel magic of the Myrrh style or similar magics, grant Virtues or bonuses to specific activities or grant Flaws or penalties to specific activities. It does all this by tying into stories and memories, drawing on traits of people in those to inflict onto people now.

Olibanum Magic commands things via verbal orders. The things need not understand the commands, nor even be intelligent, but they must be given commands. Olibanum magic cannot control minds, just bodies. It my dispel magic of the Olibanum style or similar magics and control movements of objects or living beings. 'Weather' counts as an object, though it is quite high level.

Soqotra, as a note, is also home to the syreni, a form of winged serpent that is particularly clever and may be tamed by magicians. Nice little things, really. The Order is aware that Soqotra exists and has sorcerers, but they're too far away to easily care much about. Ex Miscellanea has often considered trying to recruit them, but they have poor information on the island, believing the locals to be much weaker than they actually are. They also doubt the island's Christianity, given it appears to be ruled by a dragon, fairie and phoenix. House Jerbiton and Criamon are also interested in Soqotra, though less so.

The Soqotrans are more aware of the Order than they appear. The King of the Olibanum Serpents knew about the Founders but didn't want to send his people to find more about the Order. He knows the Order hunts magical beings for vis and are belligerent expansionists. Neither makes him like them. He believes that when the wealth of vis on the island is discovered, the Order will try to seize it by force, and so he has ordered his people to avoid contact with European wizards. The Soqotran leaders are aware, by and large, of the rough shape and structure of the Order, though they do not understand what or how the Parma Magica is done/

A Hermetic might study the Soqotrans in order to learn how to more easily bind Familiars, as the Soqotrans are not limited by the power of their spirit allies or their size. They might learn how to slightly improve their longevity rituals from Cinnabar magic. They may well learn the magic that allows the Soqotrans to tie a spell's duration to the burning of incense, or with much more effort the method by which a Soqotran may make a spell last in perpetuity. Likewise, they might learn how to preserve and store luck as the Soqotrans do, or how to subdivide pawns of vis into sparks to fuel magic helped by casting tools.

The End!

Choose: Choices are: the True Lineage Houses of Hermes and their secrets (Houses of Hermes: True Lineages), 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), the Church (The Church), 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).

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Let's go with Hermetic Projects.

General Ironicus
Aug 21, 2008

Something about this feels kinda hinky

pdf on DriveThru RPG

Part 7: How to play the drat game already

It's time for the chapter you may or may not have been waiting for! I could just link you here but that would be cheating. We're doing this properly, and there's game-specific detail to discuss. There are three very important things to remember about GUMSHOE rules. The first is that they're above all emulationist. Nights Black Agents has variant rules for four sub-genres of spy thriller, for crying out loud. Ashen Stars is all about being space opera television, specifically the gritty modern reboot of a 60s-era show that never existed. If you ever hit a roadblock or confusion just try to think of how things would happen in a show like that. The third very important thing is that every die roll is 1d6. The second very important thing waits below:

Chapter 6: GUMSHOE Rules

The central premise, innovation, and conceit of GUMSHOE is that as an investigation game whenever a core clue is present, and someone on the team has the ability necessary to discover it, they do so. No roll, no spend, and no chance of failure. The question is not whether they find the information, but what they do with it. Hatching a plan to bring space-Moriarty to justice is more interesting, fun, and dynamic than trying to figure out what he's up to and the dice saying you don't. This excerpt explains the idea pretty well:


You don’t see this because, in a story, failure to gain information is rarely more interesting than getting it. New information opens up new narrative possibilities, new choices and actions for the characters. Failure to get information is a null result that takes you nowhere.

In a fictional procedural, whether it’s a mystery novel or an episode of a cop show, the emphasis isn’t on finding the clues in the first place. When it really matters, you may get a paragraph telling you how difficult the search was, or a montage of a CSI team tossing an apartment. But the action really starts after the clues are gathered.

Players stil have to take some initiative. Walking into a room, demanding a clue, and walking out is no fun for anybody. to gather a clue you must: 1) get yourself into a scene where relevant information can be gathered and 2) have the right ability to discover the clue and 3) tell the GM that you’re using it. The request can be specific or vague, but must be made. Some things (passive clues) are obvious to skilled investigators and are revealed immediately. If there are bloodstains on the carpet, then Annie is not okay and the GM should say so unprompted. The passive/active division is a continuum that depends on the situation and group. Withholding passive clues or immediately giving active ones can help moderate a session's pace or pick up a group that's having a rough night. In any case the clue goes to the character most adept at finding whatever it is, measured by their current pool in the relevant ability, or else someone in need of a bit of spotlight.

So what are numbers greater than 1 for? Spends! You can spend points from your pool to get hidden, supporting clues, or to get clues in a more advantageous way. Being able to intimidate an NPC will get you his info, but spending Reassurance can get you the clue and an ally to boot. Generally if you want to get a clue better or faster, or declare a new fact about the story, a spend of one or two points will do the trick. Players are even encouraged to suggest their own extra benefits, though the decision lies with the GM. Spends can also represent an expenditure of effort, even when there's no chance of failure. This works for general abilities too. Think maintaining a surveillance operation or scaling a cliff.

General abilities aren't always automatic like investigative ones. When an outcome is in doubt you make a test. Tests should be reserved for dramatically important moments when failure can also be interesting, but a good episode should have plenty of those anyhow. A simple test is used when there's no active resistance. The GM sets a difficulty between 2 and 8 (it's 4 more often than not) and the player rolls a die. Matching or exceeding difficulty is a success. Before the roll you can spend any number of points in your ability pool and add them to the roll, but don't forget to do it before the die hits the table or it doesn't count you big cheater. The Difficulty shouldn't be directly revealed, but instead woven into the description of the situation. It's more fun that way. "If you decide to reveal numbers, and the designer finds out that you’re doing it, he might well tease you about it."

Important GUMSHOE note: In Ashen Stars you can make tests in abilities you don't have. There's also the Lucky Shot mechanic, where once per episode a character can spend up to 4 points from one pool on a test for an ability where they're rated 0. This requires unanimous consent from all the players, because it's once per episode, not once per episode per player. On a success, the player is also required to describe how their victory was a fluke, or due to background influence from the Laser with the highest rating in the ability used.

My 'get out of cave' pool is empty, but at least I can spend Geology to have witty banter with my new stalagmite friends.

Contests are the more complex version of Tests, used when there is an active resistance, generally a PC vs NPC struggle. Instead of trying to beat each other's numbers, both parties make Tests until one of them fails, losing the contest. The former is another thing called a Showdown, but those aren't used much outside of ship combat. The GM decides who goes first, but it's generally a matter of who initiates the contest by taking an action. The person who runs away is the first to roll in a chase contest, for example.

Fighting is a susbet of contests, and since you'll be getting into a lot of fights it has its own unique mechanics to deal with. All characters have a hit threshold which acts as the difficulty rating of doing damage in a fight. Beating the hit threshold allows you to roll a die, then add a modifier based on the weapon used, and remove that many points from your opponent's health pool. Failing a test roll in a fight means nothing; you're still in it, just wait for your next turn.

If your health pool drops to 0 you are now injured. The extent of which depends on how far below 0 you are. Roll a die to remain conscious, the difficulty is the absolute value of your health rating. You can spend on this test, but doing so reduces your health even further to the negatives. The other negative effects are:
0 to -5: Hurt, but not seriously. You can't make investigative spends and the difficulty of each test is increased by 1. This includes hit thresholds. Someone can restore your health by 2 points for each 1 point of Medic they spend doing so.
-6 to -11: You're hosed up. Time for another consciousness roll. Every half hour wihtout first aid you lose another health point. A 2 point Medic spend will stabilize you, but to recover you'll need serious medical hardware.
-12 or below: He's dead, Jim.

In the Combine, disruption pistols are everywhere. In one or two hits of NLD (non-leathal disruption fire) a target is rendered unconscious, or 'nulled'. Its a compromise between classic one-shot rayguns and more granular RPG combat. There are extra rules for cover, surprise, and range but they're just modifiers and don't need to be explicitly mentioned.

With all this spending, regaining your pool points is an important matter. Investigative abilities are restored at the end of every episode, or at the GMs discretion in an especially long multi-part case. The Health pool regenerates 2 points per in-game day of restful activity. Other general ability pools can be refreshed, 4 at a time, by characters taking a time out of a few hours of quiet, non-strenuous activity in a familiar environment.

Time in Ashen Stars is measured in several units. An Interval is the distance between uncovering core clues in different scenes. An Episode is the amount of time needed to complete a single case. Downtime occurs between episodes when the characters are managing their upkeep and landing new contracts, but the players are free to go home and not pretend to be spacemen.

At the end of an investigation each player gets 2 build points per session they played in to improve their Laser. There's no experience points, but you do improve with experience.

The chapter ends with a few pages on how to handle environmental hazards, from Alien Fungal Infection to Vacuum exposure. They have different effects depending on a mild to sever case, which provides a strong structure to build your own hazards around. They are all very dangerous and exciting but this is wordy enough already.

Next Time: Spaceships and lots of them

Spaceships. I promise there will be spaceships.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Hermetic Projects

Hermetic Projects is basically all about insane things that your wizards can spend a career trying to do. First up? The Burning City, a project designed to create a covenant in the heart of a volcano. Yeah. Volcano base. Or at least a volcano lab, or maybe just a trip into a volcano - it has rules that will be handy for all of that. Why, it asks, would anyone ever even consider this? Well, some Mystery Cults might require it for initiation. The heart of a volcano might have a very strong aura. A lab inside a volcano could take advange of the natural features for labwork. A magus might have a flaw requiring them to be near a volcano to do magic. A Magus who wants to study Ignem might suffer a flaw requiring materials related to fire and be potent enough to need, well, a volcano to study. A volcanic heart might contain potent vis, or a portal to a supernatural realm. And, of course, a volcano base is extremely secure - who the gently caress wants to assault a volcano? And maybe you're friends with fire elementals or whatever inside the volcano.

Now, where in Mythic Europe will you find volcanos? Well, the Greek island groups of Methana, Milos, Nisyros and Santorini are all volcanic. Italy has the Capi Flegrei, the Burning Fiuelds, about five miles of volcanic area near Naples, where the last eruption was 1158, when the crater Solfatara exploded. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in Europe, too, near the Sicilian city Catania. It last erupted in 1194. Lipari is an island near Italy that is volcanic, as is Stremboli. Vsuvius, likewise, is in Italy. It and Stremboli are both active but low levels pretty much constantly. And there's the islands of Vulcano and Vulcanello, whiuch are volcanic. In Iceland, there's Hekla, Ljosufljo, Reykjanes, Krsiuvik and Brennisteinsfjoll. Oh, and Ketla, though that's beneath an icecap, as is Eyjafjallajokull, and Bardardbunga is benath a glacier. Oraefajokull, the highest peak in Iceland, is a dormant volcano.

So, can you make a volcano? Yeah. Making a volcano, volcanic rock, lava or ash is Creo Terram. Volcanic fumes are Creo Auram. Causing or preventing an eruption is Rego Terram with an Ignem requisite. Controlling lava flow is Rego Aquam, and turning lava into something elsei s Muto Aquam. Moving volcanic ash in the air is Rego Auram, and talking to a volcano is Intellego Terram. Intellego Auram and Terram are also good for finding volcanos, by hunting for the scent of ash, generalized mapping, detecting volcanic rock or identifying volcanos in mountain ranges. Volcanic rock, of course, is an Arcane Connection to the volcano that made it, though not usually to the things inside the volcano.

Things to worry about : Lava! Molten lava is extremely dangerous, especially if it does more than just splash you. It will kill you very quickly. Armor has barely any defense against it, too. And of course there's boiling mud and water around volcanos, which are significantly less dangerous. The heat itself is quite nasty, though mages of Ignem will be able to ignore it. The poisonous fumes near the crater are very nasty, too. And of course, being caught in a volcanic eruption exposes you to lava, fumes, falling rocks, and burial by ash. You're going to want stuff like Rego Aquam with Ignem or Terram requisites to protect against lava, Muto Animal with Ignem requisites to change horses into creatures that can walk on lava, and Muto Corpus with verious requisites to transmute your own blood into lava, immunizing you to most heat-based damage. Perdo Auram can purge the toxic air, and Rego Terram or Aquam can control the volcano.

So, what first things first: to colonize a volcanic crater, you need ground to build on. You might build around the rim, but that's gonna have to be stabilized. You might create islands within the lava, using magic to cool them and keep the air safe around them. You might use magic to build things directly from lava, or build a flying building inside the crater. Such works require great magic, of course, but you're in this to win it, right? You might also design spells to harvest stone from the volcano's depths, as the minerals are quite valuable. Be warned, though, legend has it that several volcanos, including Mount Etna, are gates to Hell. You might have problems there. But hey, thermal baths! And beneath Vulcano or Vesuvius, there is said to be a forge of Vulcan. Very nice.

Of course, there might be all kinds of supernatural beings inside the volcano, but you can deal with them, right? Wards help. Of course, all of these magical things are often very costly, but there's great benefits to a volcano lab. You might well harness it to help study Perdo, Auram, Ignem or Terram, as well as making your lab more pleasant to be around. And a volcano can greatly assist in experiments - where else will you get the chance to test magic on the earth's own blood?

Next time: The Tower of Babel

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
With people doing Night's Black Agents and Ashen Stars, would anybody be interested in a review of Mutant City Blues? If you've ever read Powers, it's Powers. If not, imagine Law and Order but sometimes you can get a warrant to read people's minds and figure out how many perps were involved in a crime by what superpowers were used. Also crippling mental issues!

Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Glazius posted:

Ryuutama's spells are pretty great just because they seem a lot more like magic in a world where there's a lot of traveling.

poo poo, has D&D even got a magical umbrella spell?

One of the many potential applications of the floating disk spell.

Glorified Scrivener
May 4, 2007

His tongue it could not speak, but only flatter.

Cythereal posted:

One of the many potential applications of the floating disk spell.

Just make sure to cast the reversed version.

Also, thanks to everyone in this thread for renewing my faith in gamers on the internet. No, seriously you guys are awesome. I'm hoping to pick up the review of Dungeon Crawl Classics, if Capfalcon doesn't plan on finishing it, at some point in the future when my workload lightens up, i'm having a blast running the game for my game group.

Glorified Scrivener fucked around with this message at 00:00 on May 16, 2013

Sep 9, 2012
As a sneak peak of Argh...

One of the characters used to illustrate how dice-rolling works is named Muffy Von Helsing.

For whatever reason, I think that's the funniest thing.

Nov 10, 2012

Tribebook: Bone Gnawers

Chapter 2, Part 1

Scott Prescott, I know you can do better than this. See me after class.

In sum, the Bone Gnawers live on the fringes of society, avoiding the Weaver’s grasp, and are idealistically dedicated to equality and democracy for all. Of course, they’ve failed to actually promote these changes to the extent they would like. Other tribes may even consider their opposition to hierarchy as an easy excuse for laziness. Their life on the fringe doesn’t make them any easier to like: they smell, they look degenerate, and they often go insane. Theurges sometimes get lost in the barrier between the Umbra and our world, losing the ability to tell the difference between the two.

There are Gnawers who simply want to abandon the hierarchies of the Garou Nation and disperse. They still fight the Wyrm, though, making them the only line of defense in areas without many werewolves. All Gnawers are determined to survive and develop the talents necessary to do so. When all the other tribes fail, the Bone Gnawers may be the only ones with hope.

Before they change, Bone Gnawers still find themselves at the fringes of their society. The point of conformity and order becomes foreign to her. Wealth, success, all the rewards of conventional human life are worthless to the nascent Garou. The injustices of society make the cub angrier and angrier, until the RAGE boils over. After that, the discomfort of society only grows into a choking ozone miasma. But, they also have a way to at least more tangibly fight the corruption of the world.

Many Bone Gnawers aren’t born into the tribe, but their reaction to their First Change places them there. If a new werewolf shuns all society and gives in to the survival urge, he may be a good candidate for the Bone Gnawers. Some werewolves go insane at the First Change, becoming Lunatics, and the Bone Gnawers accept them too. Cubs lost by their kin-fetches (guardian spirits) may find themselves running into the arms of the Bone Gnawers. The Gnawers’ dispersal and large population often puts them into the position of the first Garou a new werewolf meets. Their reputation also sends them “problem cubs”, those new werewolves that the other tribes don’t know how to handle.

What happens when a werewolf gets an itch. Also, I love the guy in the lower right hand corner.

There are Bone Gnawer kinfolk, though. Throughout history, the Bone Gnawers have found themselves attracted to working class heroes. The worthy are inducted to their line. Social mobility being what it is, most Gnawer kinfolk are still proud members of the working class, or less proud members of the impoverished.

Why do the Bone Gnawers recruit so many cubs? Their Rites of Passage are a joke, and many members don’t even go to any tribal events. Many tribes accuse them of just fleshing out their numbers. There is some truth to this. The Bone Gnawers can call upon their rabble in times of need, and they will come. The rabble includes Garou with a variety of talents, most which involve violence and crime. It’s the Bone Gnawer secret weapon. It’s what makes the Bone Gnawers such effective shock troops and what makes them expendable.

Members of the rabble have it rough, especially those who are truly anti-social. Without a pack support structure, werewolves tend to fall into Harano, werewolf depression. To prevent this, rabble members often join impromptu packs to accomplish discrete tasks, like finding shelter or planning a convenience store robbery. They also use the Gift Tagalong temporarily assist other packs.
The stereotypical Bone Gnawer sept is based around an urban caern, but there just aren’t enough for those to be truly popular. Not any public park is going to be pure enough to open a caern. Even if you do have a caern, it’s difficult to open it or defend it in the middle of a city of millions of people. Nonetheless, they still exist, and there are some yet to be opened.

The Sept of the Green is one of the most famous and important Gnawer septs. Based in Central Park, it supports about 50 active members of the Gnawer. It’s led by Mother Larissa and it accepts any guest who asks for assistance, much to the consternation of the Get and Shadow Lords. The Sept of the Awakening in Washington DC supports itself on the spiritual energy of democracy and patriotism. It welcomes werewolves with a political bent, particularly the Black Furies and the Children of Gaia. They have a bit of a vampire problem, though. We’ve already talked about the Sept of the People’s Will. The Bone Gnawers there overthrew their Silver Fang sept leader and now run it communally.

Many Bone Gnawers fearful of the corruption of the city found septs in rural caerns. Often formed around families, the rural septs rely on communication between smaller cells across the country. They adopt the folk ways of their kin families and maintain connections between hundreds of septs.

Time for a scary story! Until a few years ago, the Sept of Dandelion Hill was a fairly anonymous caern overshadowed by other more famous Appalachian caerns. One Memorial Day weekend, a group of cliath from New York showed up at the Sept’s doorstep, looking for information on a fetish. They saw that the sept had a lot of fetishes of their own, predominately featuring carved bone. The guests were invited to a feast. The Ragabash of the tribe grew curious about her meal and investigated. She eventually found a shed, filled with desecrated human corpses. Over the next three days the pack was hunted down by the sept. One pack member managed to escape and alert nearby septs, who destroyed the Dandelion Hill Maneater cult. It turns out that the cult had killed over fifty humans and ate them. The echoes of those three days still persist in the Atrocity realm.

In case you can't tell, this werewolf has a corncob pipe. Ron Spencer is my favorite.

Most urban septs don’t have a caern to base itself around, so the tribe has invented its own method of finding space. While on the move, a group of Gnawers can find a place to stay the night. They consecrate it, forming a Stomping Ground. These Grounds will often be found in tent cities, underpasses, or anywhere else a gathering of homeless people wouldn’t be too suspicious. The spots are guarded carefully and urban spirits will let the werewolves know if anything is amiss. Humans are allowed inside these Grounds, and many valuable connections are made by offering this protection.

As egalitarian as they are, the Bone Gnawers still have elders that they respect. Anybody with the requisite renown can claim to be an elder, but they need to make that claim before a Bone Gnawer audience and have a majority accept their claim. Even if that audience isn’t exactly representative of the Gnawers at large, it still counts, although a successful elder will listen to voice of the people. Another good way to earn favor is to offer gifts. Generosity and compassion are among the top qualities the Bone Gnawers look for in elders, and generosity in the approval process indicates you’ll continue to act that way. Other tribes call this corruption, of course. Venerable elders are given the title Mother or Father, the only titles the Gnawers have.

Focusing on survival above all, Bone Gnawer war heroes are rare. There are those that do dedicate themselves to earning glory, though. These are known as the Rat’s Teeth, and your Bone Gnawer character is presumably one of them. Otherwise he’s loving around getting food in the city. That can be fun, but that’s not really what Werewolf’s about. Because of the Gnawer dedication to equality, earning respect as a Gnawer can be a challenge. Even if you’ve saved the city, you still have to live like the rest of the Gnawers and are subject to the same obligations.

Both the Gnawers and urban spirits participate in a complex economic system known as “Stuff, Loot, Junk, and poo poo.” Loot is really useful things that you find on the street. It can sell pretty well at a pawnshop. Junk is things that don’t really work or aren’t useful, but could come in handy one day. Spirits will do a lot for just the right piece of Junk. You don’t want to throw it out, but it’s not exactly Loot either. Stuff is in between Loot and Junk. It’s stuff that is yours. While not as useful as Loot, it’s part of your identity. Unlike Loot or Junk, you’ve claimed ownership of Stuff. You’re not going to part with it in a trade because it is yours. A gift of Stuff is a honored gift indeed, at least to a Bone Gnawer. poo poo is poo poo.

I'm pretty sure "Trilobites Rock" is an in-joke, but I can't place it. Can anybody else give a hand?

Loot, Stuff and Junk have spiritual uses. In the Umbra, dilapidated items become better, more platonic forms of what they are. A broken umbrella may become a shield against acid rain spirits, or a ratty overcoat may become a badass trenchcoat. Loot forms are better than Junk forms, for the most part. Stuff has the best forms for its owner, so Gnawers will hold on to their Stuff. Theurges find Stuff the most useful, since they can personalize their Rites with them. A material component for a Rite can be exchanged for something that fulfills the same metaphysical purpose. The Rite of the Questing Stone, for instance, can be performed with a compass and wire, rather than a rock and string.

Next time: Sleeps-with-the-Fishes and friends

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012

What Did You Get For Christmas?

This chapter is meant as a quick guided single-session game to serve as an intro to MaOTC. It doesn't. It's really really bad at that, and it's either really easy to completely derail, making the whole “pre-packaged adventure” thing useless, or to just be boring because your players don't do what the module says. It also assumes you're using the pre-made characters that go with the adventure, and it actually doesn't work without them. So, it's absolutely useless except as a short choose-your-own adventure game with exactly the right number of players. What it does do well is give some examples of how the various antagonists and enemies in the game could play in a real session.

The setting is a generic middle school in Anytown, USA. Your group of players have just got back to school from Winter Break. You used to barely know each other, but now you have been brought together by the shared bond of getting a Monster for Christmas.

The adventure comes with several sample characters:
  • David D. Davidson: The Hood Juvenile delinquent and wannabe gangster. He's raised by his Grandma, which is the only reason he stays in school. His monster is Baby Tick-Tock, a giant porcelain baby-doll full of clockwork and extendable razor-blades.

  • Jane J. Johannsen: The Nut Girl who's a... little bit more than unhinged. Her monster is The Trashman, a humanoid figure with black plastic skin and a heart of garbage.

  • Marvin M. Marshall: The Brain A smartmouthed nerd and proud outsider. His monster is Connie, a flying Orthocone (Those squids with the long pointy shells) with a sadistic streak.

  • Peter P. Peters: The Jock The friendlier breed of jock. His monster is The Team in I, an entire team of Zombie football players that join together to form a single giant zombie football player.

  • Susan S. Sherman: The Princess The popular trendy girl who all the boys drool over. Her monster is Lucinda, who masquerades as her new-stepmom. She looks like a Texas beauty queen and is full of acidic black slime.

  • Walter W. Wilson: The Narc Teacher's pet and school rat. His monster is The Watcher from The Corners of Time, a sentient smoke-cloud from another dimension.

Now that we got the cast (Remember, it assumes you play with all the sample characters) we can begin! Each “encounter” is split up into it's own little section, so I'm doing the same thing.

This is the “Meet and greet” part of the adventure. All the kids got back from Winter Break, and this is where they meet. This is the point where they establish inter-party relationships and get to know each other. They also learn that all of their other classes have brand new teachers, and somehow they all have new schedules, the same new schedule. There's also a surprise presentation by O'Malley the Anti-Drug Dog, who weird all the kids out, especially since their monsters can't see him. When they get out of Homeroom to head to their next classes, they end up...

Persecuted By The Anti-Drug Dog
While the Kids go to their lockers, which have been reassigned to be all in a row, O'Malley appears at the end of the hall. The hall is empty of other kids, and the lights start flashing on and off, with O'Malley getting closer every time it goes dark. A sudden freak thunderstorm rolls in to add to the mood of cheesy-horror. O'Malley barks out his trademark slogan “Bark at Drugs” and goofy cartoon laugh in a hollow booming voice, like a busted megaphone in a trashcan, as he slowly gets closer and closer... until either the Kids run, or confront O'Malley. If they run it just skips to the next scene, if they confront him though... he takes off his head to reveal some kid who explains that O'Malley paid him to wear the costume and walk around the school for the day. He even has an old tape-player with recording's of O'Malley's voice. If he sees a Monster he just flat passes out cold and wets himself. Either way, the Kids end up getting caught by the bell, and running into Mrs. Pale, the Assistant Principal on their way to class. Ms. Pale tuts at them, and drags them over to her office for a dressing-down.

Assistant Principal Pale's Office
When they reach Ms. Pale's office, the GM should make sure that the players are aware of how different it looks from when Mr. Rich, the previous Assistant Principal was there. It's incredibly neat, and totally devoid of decoration. The only things on Ms. Pale's desk are all the kids Permanent Records, and a large bowl of hard candy.

Ms. Pale give's the character's a vicious dressing-down, attacking them with her Putdown skill. The Kids can defend, but will have some trouble, seeing as Ms. Pale is an Excruciator. This is one of the parts where the adventure falls apart, as there is no instructions as to what to do if the Kids let their Monsters attack Ms. Pale, which means the GM is going to have to rob the players of agency, a big time nono. Otherwise, it's just an opportunity to meet Pale and get some Shock damage. It will also make the monsters royally pissed at her, and will necessitate rolls to keep them under control.

One weird thing is the bowl of candies. They're actually Excrutiator eggs, and if a kid eats one, then they'll take a 10d called shot against their Guts when it comes time to pass the newly hatched bouncy baby terror-squid. Monsters just barf.

After Ms. Pale's speech, the kids are sent on to their next class. While on the way, they pass their lockers and notice the new school Police Officer searching through their lockers. Officer Agent Taupe is a poorly disguised MIB, and this is a good time to introduce him. Next is more free-form, with several “rooms” all leading up to Lunch, which is the mid-point of the adventure.

Science Class
Meet Mr. (DOCTOR!!!) Frank Stein, your new Mad Science Teacher. This is where the GM can ham it up acting like a mad scientist. Stein will scan the Monster Kids with some sort of gizmo that looks like the PKE meter from Ghostbusters. Also an opportunity to discover that Stein keeps a case of Plutonium under his desk. After this you can go to another class, or choose to skip to Lunch.

English Class
A problematic class. See, the new English Teacher is Susan's Monster Lucinda, so this room doesn't work if you aren't using the sample characters, and causes issues about how one of the character's monsters has probably been gone the whole adventure. They find out Lucinda has KO'd a Mary Kay cosmetics salesman and webbed her up with bubblegum under her desk. She wanted her adorable pink car. So, the kids now get derailed into getting this lady out of the school and to a hospital while dodging the blame. This is once again, leads to a bunch of unplanned things which is kinda, y'know, crap for a pre-planned adventure obviously meant for newbie Gms. This leads to another class, Lunch, or Billy's Candy Van and Tissue Samples if the kids go outside.

Mr. Mago is a tall skinny Canadian guy who knows absolutely nothing about American sports, but quite a bit about black magic. He makes the kids dance the Circled-Square dance of the Elder Gods. Kids get headaches and the Monsters feel queasy. If they don't want to dance, Mago sends them to take a lap, which makes the Monsters even madder.

Any classes you haven't taken come next, or the two special events, or right to lunch.

Black Vans and Tissue Samples
One of the two “outside” events. Taking advantage of the Kids being on their own, the MIBs led by Officer Agent Taupe make a move, screeching up in a big black van covered in antennas and jumping out armed to the teeth with weird gizmos. One MIB per student, wearing Monster Detecting Goggles and wielding Multi-Probes. They try to tag the monsters and kids with the probes to get DNA samples, and bail if one of them goes down or they tag half the Monsters/Kids. This is the first “combat encounter” and actually acts as a not-bad intro to the system. Afterwards you get Class, Billy's Candy Van, or Lunch.

Billy's Candy Van
When the Kids are outside, they'll inevitably meet billy, either just randomly or when he comes to the rescue after the MIB encounter. If you get into the van, he speeds away with you still in the back. He'll babble incoherently and offer candy, and if you turn it down he'll start throwing drugs at you. Some of the drugs will end up stashed on the kids without their knowledge. If the kids try and leave, Bugnutz comes out, as, obviously, Billy is a classic Creepy Guy. If Bugnutz starts getting beat by the Kids monsters, he'll grab Billy and bail out of the van, laving the kids to walk back to school for Lunch.

A character development section. Monsters get to wander around and cause mischief, and the Kids each meet a former friend from their old, pre-Monster peer group to get some development and conflict.

The Office Again
After Lunch you'll get called into Ms. Pale's Office again for a second eating-out due to shenanigans in your classes so far. This goes the same as the first Office session, except that Ms. Pale has some new different files on her desk, stamped with big red CONFIDENTIAL marks. This is another issue, as if the kids don't get a peek at these files, they won't really know what to do next in the adventure. If they do, they'll get some suspicious but vague info about the missing staff members to prompt them going to check on them.

After leaving the Office the kids are supposed to go to one of the old staff-members houses after-school. They can go to one or several, and I don't really have an issue with this section except that there's a chance they won't even realize they need to do this.

Mr. Rich's House
First is the former Assistant Principal. Mr. Rich's house looks abandoned, as Mr. Rich has barricaded himself inside, due to being reduced to a paranoid psychotic wreck. The house is full of jars of pee and empty food cans, the lawn is overgrown, trash is everywhere, it's a disaster area. Turns out Ms. Pale is living inside the body of his ex-wife, and used that to get inside and plant an Excruciator in his septic tank to keep an eye on him. If the kids try anything the beasty rips out of the toilet, and the kids end up having to fight it while dodging shattering jars of week old-urine. Ew. He'll freak out about Monsters, but will calm down, and even befriend the Kids in exchange for them helping get rid of Ms. Pale.

Ms. Ashe's Apartment
Ms. Ashe is the school Counselor, and the one who signed off on all the staff changes. All the hostile weirdness forcing her to approve of everything broke her fragile little mind and left her comatose. He's retreated into repetitively cleaning her house over and over again. She needs to be convinced everything was a hallucination brought on by her diabetes, because if she realizes the truth she'll be gone forever into Crazytown.

Coach Rodriguez's House
The house just looks a little well... melty from the outside. When the kids open the front door they find a portal to an alternate dimension where trees are made out of meat. The Kids can't go in, but the Monsters can, giving them a solo op, where they have to save Coach Rodriguez from a pack of vicous Bush-Wolves. Meaning wolves made out of bushes, obviously. When they get him out Rodriguez goes off to get annihilated on whiskey and will consequently forget the whole thing. To close the portal in his house the kids'll either have to pass a Brains+Remember of 8 to recall some mystical mumbo-jumbo Mago was muttering in Gym, or to defeat Mago and undo his magics.

Mr. Jackson's House
The former science teacher is strapped into a Surgomatic machine in the basement, making it a race against time to get him free before his brain is placed into a jar, but the Kids'll have to get past Brotron the Robot first. If he gets de-brained the Kids'll have to go about finding a new body for the brain-in-a-jar, and if he gets saved he starts on the road of Mad Science himself.

Wrapping Things Up
The finale where the Kids return to school and corner the faculty. They get there to find that the Big Game that night has been set-up as a trap for them. IF they go they get into a big honking super-fight. Billy and Bugnutz crash in on a crazy rage fueled hate-bender for society, the MIBs try and keep everything calm by hosing the place down with psychotropic drugs and memory wipers while they blast everything spooky with stun-guns and shock-prods. Dr. Stein shows up with Brotron and a live Nuke to go out in Atomic Style, Mr. Mago tries to steal one of the Kids Monsters, and Ms. Pale will shed her disguise and reveal her horrific tentacled glory to the faculty.

“Just quit squirming in there! People will see!”
“How could that be worse than them hearing you talk to your backpack?”
“I don’t want anyone to know you’re in there.”
“People will just think you have a puppy or something. I WISH you had a puppy in here. Your science book tastes like butt.”
“I have science second period! Don’t eat the book!”
“What am I supposed to eat? Your Literature book just made me hungrier. And now I have to make boom-boom, too. Any chance we can hit the can before home room?”
“No, we’re late already. They assigned me to a different room, and I have a different schedule, and none of my friends are in any of these classes....”
“Sounds weird. Sounds—hey, it sounds like someone is messing with you! I could, you know, go talk to the principal for you. I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of thing that friends do for friends,
right? Like, I could pull off his limbs until he gave you back your classes, and then you could show me were to hide the body. We’d be total BFFs if we shared a murder!”

“No! No more killings! God, we’ve only known each other for like a few days, how come we’re best friends now?”
“We just are. You know how you can smell bacon cooking, and you know there’s a delicious plate of crispy, smoky goodness waiting downstairs?”
“Well, it’s like that for me with friendship. You smell like bacon, kid. And... great, now I made myself hungrier.
“Me too! I had to skip breakfast this morning, on account of what you tried to do to the cat.”
“So you understand how I’m feeling! Can I eat the science book then?”
“Well, all right. But just quit squirming.”

And that's all she wrote! After this is two excellent chapters about Gming and Playing RPGS by Greg Stoltze, but I won't cover them because, well, it'd be a bit pointless, yes? And that's the end of the Monster's and Other Childish Things Completely Monstrous (Or Pocket for the E-Book and paperback) Edition.

Next Time: Curriculum of Conspiracy

Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade- Fighting Styles
Hot on the heels of the skills, we get the section on fighting styles. Now we start getting into some nitty-gritty of the system.

Every player character in Wu Xing knows martial arts. Each style is based on an animal, and gives a bunch of modifiers in combat. This is the primary way you determine your combat statistics.

Selecting Styles
Every clan has two fighting styles they teach. A player chooses one to be the character's Primary style; the other is the character's secondary style. All other styles are Outside styles and only become accessible by purchasing a Gift.

Ronin get the shaft, having only a Primary style.

Fighting Styles are purchased with the same pool of points as skills. Hmm, not a fan.

Styles have different costs depending on if they're a Primary, Secondary or Outside style.

Primary styles cost 1 point per level from 1 to 10 and 2 points per level from 11 to 15.
Secondary styles cost 1 point from 1 to 8, 2 from 9 to 13 and 3 the rest of the way to 15.
Outside styles cost 1 point from 1 to 5, 2 points from 6 to 10 and 3 points from 11 to 15.

So not only do you need to spend character resources to get extra styles, you're still hobbled because of the increasing cost to improve them. Better hope you really like your clan styles.

The book tells GMs to be leery of characters maybe getting too many levels in their fighting styles. It suggest capping Primary styles at 8 and Secondary and Outside at 5 in character creation.

Actions per Round
Every character gets 2 actions each round in combat. They can get more.

Every style lists it's best and worst areas. Some players might think certain styles are totally balls, but nothing could be further from the truth! The DGS (an acronym I've never seen before but I assume refers to the system) is designed so that you combine styles to fit your play style. That sounds alright.

For example, the Crane style has low damage, so a character might get Hawk style to make up for it.

Weapon Use
Each style has a weapon associated with it and characters know how to use both weapon associated with their clan styles (Ronin get the weapon from their one style, plus any one of their choice). You suffer a -4 penalty to any checks you do with a non-proficient weapon. Every character also gets shuriken proficiency free because it's a loving ninja game.

Fighting styles have a bunch of techniques you can learn that give you bonuses. You get one technique free from a style at levels 5, 10 and 15, and you can get more through a Gifts.


Bear Style

You will give him the high five if you're smart.

Strong: Roll Weak: Initiative
Weapon: Mace
"Bear fighters are heavily trained in upper-body techniques and generally taking a hit. Their style revolved around ignoring damage while delivering devastating blows to their opponent. however, students of the Bear are often slower to act as they put a lot of thought into each move."

The Bear techniques are:
Fierce Strike- Take +3 Speed penalty to an unarmed attack to inflict Lethal instead of Non-Lethal damage. Take this technique again to reduce the Speed penalty to +1.

Demoralizing Roar- Let out a huge roar and make a Charm + Intimidation roll with a +5 bonus. All your opponents must make Fear checks or suffer a -5 penalty to their next action or reaction. Take this again, and they also lose an action if they fail.

Snatching Salmon- You can attempt to disarm an opponent without having to grapple them first. (I don't know how grappling works yet in this system, but I bet being able to avoid doing it is a blessing. :allears:) This disarm is a Speed 5 action and has a -4 strike penalty, and taking the technique a second time removes it.

Stomp- If you have the High Ground against an opponent, you get a bigger Strike bonus (a whopping +8 instead of +4) and +3 damage as you plant your foot right in their loving face.

Thick Skin- You're so tough, your skin counts as armor, giving you Armor 2/0 (vs Non-Lethal and vs Lethal respectively). Buy this technique up to two more times to increase both ratings by 1 each time.

Crane Style

So loving majestic.

Strong: Extra Actions Weak: Damage
Weapon: Staff
"Crane fighter training focuses on developing balance, poise and the ability to deflect an opponent's blows. Their style uses a balance of blocking with the upper body and attacking with an array of kicks, while simultaneously avoiding any direct strikes. While truly dangerous, Cranes are more known for a thousand quick strikes, [rather] than single destructive attacks."

The Crane Techniques are:
Arrow Deflection- You can use Parry against arrows at a -8 penalty instead of -12. Buy an additional time to drop it to -4 nd a third time to eliminate it all together.

Deflecting Throw- You can perform a special block as a Speed 5 action where you throw your attacker on his rear end. Parry with a -4 penalty and if you succeed, throw them half your POW, rounded up, yards away and prone.

Iron and Silk- You've learned how to parry weapons unarmed. Reduce the penalty for parrying without a weapon to -4 (from -8) and eliminate it all together with a second purchase. A third purchase actually gives a +4 bonus.

Leaping Dodge- You jump out of the way of an attack as a Speed 6 action, dodging with a -4 penalty but moving a distance equal to your Movement away.

Push Hands- Push a guy. Speed 4 and -4 strike and if you hit you knock the target prone POW yards away and inflict you base damage. Each additional purchase increases the damage by 2 and reduces the strike penalty by 2, for +4 damage and no strike penalty.

Crocodile Style

Look at this lazy rear end in a top hat.

Strong: Health Weak: Extra Actions
Weapon: Ax
"Crocodile fighters focus on enhancing and conditioning their bodies for optimal performance. They choose their strikes wisely and prefer to defeat opponents through grappling. This style uses mostly upper body techniques but also subtle kicks as well. They do not act often but make it count when they do."

The Crocodile Techniques are:
Creeping Movement- Gain a +3 bonus to Stealth, and opponents suffer a -3 penalty to resist a Surprise Attack from you. Buy up to two more times to increase both modifiers by three each time.

Fierce Strikes- As the Bear Style technique.

Snapping Strike- Make an attack as Speed 9, with -4 strike. If you hit, inflict an extra 5 Lethal damage AND automatically start a grapple. This attack can't be parried.

Thick Skin- As the Bear Style technique.

Twisting Pain- This give a special maneuver you can use while grappling. At a -4 Grapple penalty, you claw the poo poo out of the person you're holding and toss them. If they fail their "Grapple Reaction," damage them with a +2 bonus and throw them up into the air.

Dragon Style

The most fictional of fighting styles.

Strong: Parry Weak: Dodge
Weapon: Sai
"Dragon fighter focus on mastering close combat while utilizing a balance of various punch and kick techniques. They are known for taking on multiple opponents at once, deflecting every attack at them and digging into their opponents with a ferocious spirit. Dragons are weaker in ranged combat, however."

The Dragon Techniques are:
Adaptive Blocker- Starting in the second round of combat, you get a +2 bonus to Parry as you learn to use the environment to adapt your defenses to counter your opponent. Any penalties an attack against you gets from cover is increased by -2 as well. Buying this technique increases both modifiers by 2 and this can be done twice.

Dragon's Tail- You plant your hands on the ground and use your legs to sweep everyone around you off their feet as a Speed 6 action. You make an attack and everyone in close range makes a Balance check; on a failure, they're knocked to the ground. Buy this technique again to get a +4 bonus to the strike roll, and a third time to increase it to +8.

Flailing Body- Grappling sucks. That's why you take this technique and get a +4 bonus to Dodge attempts to initiate grapples and +2 to Grapple reactions and the Break Grapple action. Buying this technique up to two more times doubles the Grapple reaction and break grapple bonuses each time.

Quick Recovery- Getting up from the ground is now a Speed 2 action, instead of Speed 4.

Whirlwind Assault- If you attack multiple targets in the same rounds, you suffer no penalty. (Normally it's -2)

Eagle Style


Strong: Dodge Weak: Grapple
Weapon: Bow (Our first ranged style)
"Eagle fighters exceed in the elegance of ranged combat. They take advantage of speed to launch quick attacks from a distance, but are certainly not weak in close combat where they primarily use kicks. Their style falters against grappling maneuvers, making many Eagles keep far from their opponents if at all possible."

The Eagle Techniques are:
Flying Strike- Need Leaping Dodge. As a Speed 12 action and by spending 1 stamina, you jump into battle. Move your full movement, make an attack with -4 strike but +6 damage and then move your full movement distance again.

Focused Strikes- Reduced called shot penalties by 4. Increase reduction to 8 with a second purchase and 12 with a third.

Leaping Dodge- As the Crane Style technique.

Pressure Points- Required Focused Strikes. You can inflict your base damage with a Touch action. (Looking up a Touch action, it's a Speed 1 attack with +2 Strike but doesn't hurt the target because you're "just" touching them) Extra purchases each give a +2 damage bonus, to a max of +4.

Multi-Throw- The ranged style's only ranged-related technique :shrug:. Throw 2 kunai or shoot 2 arrows as one action, with a -4 penalty to Throw. A second purchase lets you throw/shoot 4 projectiles and at up to two targets (implying the base level is both attacks against one). A third lets you divide the attacks among four targets.

Hawk Style

Think up your own caption
Strong: Initiative Weak: Health
Weapon: Spear
"Hawk fighters focus on quick, hard strikes to take down their opponents. They are primarily mental combatants, strategists that can pick out weak points easily to make their mostly punching strikes matter. This style focuses less on physical conditioning than others, often leaving their bodies weaker."

The Hawk Techniques are:
Focused Strikes- As the Eagle Style technique.

Piercing Strikes- Gain Armor Piercing on your attacks, gaining 1 AP for every -2 to Strike or Throw you take.

Precise Strike- Take a -4 penalty to all your actions and reactions in the first round, but gain a +2 bonus to all your attacks from round two onward.

Spear-Heel Strike- A special spear attack. At Speed 7 and with a -6 Strike, you hit one target with the tip of your spear and a second with the heel. This is normally two attacks, both at a -10 penalty; with this technique you make one attack at -6 and use it for both attacks. These attacks gain +3 damage. A second purchase reduces the strike penalty to -3 and increases the damage to +6.

Whirlwind Assault- As the Dragon Style technique.

Horse Style

So majestic, so... adhesive.

Strong: Stamina Weak: Throw
Weapons: Chain
"Horse fighter train to emulate the epic endurance of their namesake. They focus primarily on precise kick attacks or keeping their distance while their opponent slows down from fatigue. While they are strong workhorses, they are also weak against ranged fighters."

The Horse Techniques are:
Damaging Block- Parry as a speed 4 action, at a -4 penalty. If successful you inflict "+1" damage to your attacker. (It doesn't say what to use for the base damage). Increase the damage to +3 on the second purchase and +6 on the third.

Endurance Running- You trained through endurance running, gaining 2 extra stamina points and +4 movement. Get two extra stamina and 4 more movement with each additional purchase, to a max of 6 stamina and +12 movement.

Horse Kick- You plant your hands and plant your heels in your opponents chest like the style's namesake animal. This speed 7 attack inflicts +7 damage and if they fail a balance check, they're pushed back POW yards. Double this distance each extra purchase of this technique, up to twice your POW.

Precise Strike- As the Hawk Style technique.

Stomp- As the Bear Style technique.

Monkey Style

He does not need that gun to loving end you.

Strong: Throw Weak: Strike
Weapon: Kunai
"Monkey fighters are trained to master tumbling and ranged combat. They focus on quick, rolling attacks, striking with punches and kicks to throw their opponents off balance while keeping control of their range. They are versatile and adaptive combatants, but are weak in close combat."

The Monkey Techniques are:
Ground Fighter- Opponents lose the High Ground bonus against you. (So High Ground also includes attacking a prone target while standing.)

Multi-Throw- As the Eagle Style technique.

Quick Recovery- As the Dragon Style technique.

Rolling Attack- You learn to end a tumble with an attack and can combine your Movement with a "Light Strike" at Speed 4. A second purchase lets you Full Strike and move for Speed 6, and a third allows a Strong Strike and move for Speed 8.

Rolling Retreat- A rolling attack in reverse; Dodge and move half your Movement as a Speed 4 reaction, with a -2 dodge penalty. A second purchase lets you also stick a Light Attack in there for Speed 8.

Snake Style

This happens every 3 seconds in Australia.

Strong: Grapple Weak: Roll
"Snake fighters are masters of close combat, both in keen strikes and subduing through grapple maneuvers. They primarily use hand attacks (known for the snake-like stances), but do not neglect their kicking ability. They focus on taking their opponents out quickly, but are not adept at shrugging off damage."

The Snake Techniques are:
Coil and Strike- A Speed 10 action. Wait this long without using Movement and taking a -5 penalty to your reactions and you are rewarded with a +10 Strike bonus and +3 damage to your attack.

Creeping Movement- As the Crocodile Style technique.

Focused Strikes- As the Eagle Style Technique. (Starting to get kinda samey here, game)

Poison Resistance- Get +4 to resist poison and a +2 to Holistics(poison). Double these bonuses with a second purchase and with a third you are straight up immune to all poison and the Holistics bonus increases to +6. (This is a technique in the snake-themed style that the snake-themed clan has no reason to take :shush:)

Pressure Points- As the Eagle Style technique.

Tiger Style

Something something tiger stripes

Strong: Damage Weak: Stamina
"Tiger fighters are blatant powergamershouses, conditioning their bodies and dealing as much damage as possible. They focus on punches, using intensely painful claw-style strikes that many opponents fear. While they are strong, they tire quickly as they put so much effort into each attack."
The Tiger Techniques are:
Damaging Block- As the Horse Style technique.

Fierce Strikes- As the Bear Style technique.

Pain Resistance- In any round where you would have a Pain penalty, make a Moderate (20) Pain check. On a success, ignore your Pain modifier for the round.

Thick Skin- As the Bear Style technique.

Tiger Claws- Make an attack, at +3 Speed and -4 Strike. On a hit, you claw the bastard, inflicting half damage but gives them a -2 Pain penalty for one round. A second purchase lets you choose to either double the penalty or extend the duration to two rounds. (I think it lets you choose, anyway)

Wildcat Style

I don't like cats very much.

Strong: Strike Weak: Parry
"Wildcat fighter focus on quick and close strikes, hoping to defeat their opponent before they get the change to act. They utilize punches and kicks equally in swift succession, one right after the other. They are great at launching attacks, but their style leaves openings which detracts from their ability to deflect incoming blows."

The Wildcat Techniques are:
Adaptive Dodger- As the Dragon Style technique.

Focused Strikes- As the Eagle Style technique.

Lands on Feet- As a Speed 2 reaction, make a Moderate (20) Balance check whenever you would fall or be knocked to the ground to keep your feet. Does NOT work against the Trip Grapple Action. (:shrug: Grappling :shrug:)

Pounce- Get +3 to Strike and +1 damage on your first action if you act first in a round of combat. An extra purchase increases these to +6 strike and +2 damage, and a third grants +9 strike and +3 damage.

Whirlwind Assault- As the Dragon Style technique.

After all that is the section on Gifts and Drawbacks, and it's just a big list of crap, so I'll put that off for another day. After that is calculating all your poo poo, and then xp and character advancement, and that will be the end of Chapter 3.

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 07:11 on May 16, 2013

Oct 10, 2005


pospysyl posted:

Why do the Bone Gnawers recruit so many cubs? Their Rites of Passage are a joke, and many members don’t even go to any tribal events. Many tribes accuse them of just fleshing out their numbers. There is some truth to this. The Bone Gnawers can call upon their rabble in times of need, and they will come. The rabble includes Garou with a variety of talents, most which involve violence and crime. It’s the Bone Gnawer secret weapon. It’s what makes the Bone Gnawers such effective shock troops and what makes them expendable.
It should be noted that it's implied in a number of other sources (including the Apocalypse book IIRC) that this hands-off approach is also loving over the Bone Gnawers big time, with a lot of the rabble being Maneaters, Wyrm-tainted, or some other flavour of "has a good reason to avoid Garou society".

Nov 9, 2011

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

Ryuutama, Spring Interlude: Sample Session, Part 1

Ryuutama Rulebook posted:

GM: Well, then, let's begin the Ryuutama session. Today's game master character is a blue dragon by the name of Aster. His true form is a secret, but he's watching over the party from somewhere close by.
A: A blue dragon means this is a human drama scenario, right? What's the blessing?
GM: The scenario blessing is Tale of Kindness. To start off, let's quickly introduce the characters you created. Starting from you, A!
A: My character's name is Leo. He's an 18-year-old Technique Type Merchant. He has dark hair and fair skin, he's short but carries a huge backpack, creating the feeling of a wandering shopkeeper. He's traveling to learn the skills he needs to become a proper shopkeeper. He talks in a Kansai accent.
GM: What kind of goods is he selling?
A: Food items, mostly.
GM: Got it! Now, B.
B: My character is Haruka. She's a 16-year-old girl, a Magic Type Farmer using Spring Magic. For her Side Job skill, I took Music from the Minstrel class. She has semi-long blonde hair, and gives the feeling of someone who's spent a lot of time out in the sun. She's from a town famous for its wheat. She's traveling along with her white dog Custer to find her older brother. She's the party mapper and recorder!
A: Oh yeah, Leo is the party leader and provisioner, I forgot to mention that.
GM: Very good! Today's story will be of a party of two travelers. With that, let's begin. It's the beginning of autumn. Amidst a sprinkle of light rain, Leo and Haruka are walking along a road in a grassy field, with trees in the distance showing the colors of fall. It's a little after noon.
A->Leo: You can't go through fall without any mushroom hunting! I wonder if there are any good mushrooms around here I could sell later. (laugh)
B->Haruka: Please don't sell anyone poisonous mushrooms by mistake. (laugh)
GM: Two travelers, passing the time talking about mushrooms... but how are you feeling today? Condition Checks, please!
Leo: Right! Uh, so that's Strength and Spirit dice? (roll) 4 and 3, so my Condition is 7.
GM: So today, Leo is feeling fine, walking down the road cheerfully.
Haruka (roll) Oh, no! I fumbled! (sweat)
GM: Haruka, on the other hand, didn't sleep very well last night, and is still feeling poorly. You fumbled, so pick one attribute and reduce it a grade.
Haruka: Reduce it a grade?
GM: For example... Haruka's Spirit is 8 (rolls 1d8), so if you reduced it a grade it would be 6 (rolls 1d6), and that's the die you'd use for today.
Haruko: Got it. Then, I'll reduce my Spirit to d6. (sweat)
GM: And then, the party is awarded a Fumble Point. Make sure to record it on your character sheet so that you can make good use of it later!
Leo & Haruka: Okay!
GM: Coming up next, a Travel Check to see how rough your journey is. The terrain is Grassland, which has a value of 6, and the weather is Rain, which adds 1, so the difficulty is 7. Both of you, roll Strength and Agility together.
Haruka: Can I use one of my songs from my Music skill?
GM: Which one - Grasslands, or Rain?
Haruka: Rain. I'm going to use it now. (roll) 9, a success! Haruka sings the Candy Song♪ Allies get +1 to this check♪
Leo: That doesn't have anything to do with rain! Now, (roll) err, my result is a 6... with the +1 bonus from music, it's a 7. That was close!
Haruka: Yay, I helped! I got a 9, so we're both okay!
GM: Two travelers, walking comfortably down the road. However, as you're walking, there's a split in the path up ahead! To make sure you know the right way, we'll need a Navigation Check. Who's the mapper?
Haruka: That's me! Just in case, I'm going to use the beginner spell Arrow Compass. Magic Check is (roll) 8, a success!
GM: From Haruka's spell, a sign appears, with an arrow pointing the way to your destination!
Haruka: Then, let's follow that arrow!

To be continued. Next: The actual game mechanics in detail.

Quinn2win fucked around with this message at 02:35 on May 31, 2013

Oct 14, 2011
That looks pretty fun. I'm really hoping for the translation to come out relatively soon - I want to give this company my money...

Aug 6, 2009
My half of Eberron hasn't died, by the way; I'm just snowed under with work. :( I'll get to the next post (religions, since Kurieg did races) ASAP.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Hermetic Projects

So, you’ve read about the Tower of Babel and you decide, screw it, I’m going to ubild a Great Tower, and this time I’ll do it without pissing off God and while exemplifying the best of humanity. Okay, sure. This is a great idea. Let’s make sure you understand what you’re getting into. Your standard for big, amazing buildings is either cathedrals or Italian towers. You know what goes into that? Educated architects, for one. You need someone who can just design the thing before you even start. So find a good architect and pay him well, because he’s going to be drawing up plans for a few years.

Now that you have your plans, you’re going to need raw materials. That’s the most expensive part of any building project – and that’s saying something. This is why stones are carved in the quarry as much as possible – it makes them cheaper to transport. Then there’s the falsework – the scaffolding, centering and shoring that you get rid of when you’re finished. That stuff all needs to be built, too. And then there’s the craftsmen and crew. Even a cathedral is the work of an army. Your average cathedral takes 400 masons, 200 stonecutters and quarrymen, 50 smiths and carpenters, 100 assorted other craftsmen and artists and 2000 laborers. You have to feed and house all of them.

But before you can do any of that, you’re going to have to find somewhere to build the drat thing. The most obvious spot for a nice, secluded Great Tower is, of course, the ruins of Babel. But, well, first you have to find Babel. All that anyone knows is that it was in the land of Shinar, between the Tigris and Euphrates. That’s it. And the ruins are likely to be home to either a Divine or Infernal aura, possible the ghosts of the last towermakers, and quite possibly a Divine curse preventing language from working or poo poo from being built. But hey! You can overcome all that, right?

Okay, maybe you’d prefer something simpler. If you want to build the biggest tower ever, why not build in the mountains? Tons of raw stone and you start up high already. Of course, the elements are against you – it’s hard enough just to survive in some high areas, let alone build a supernaturally huge tower. Then you have the logistics of procuring all non-stone materials. Then you have to attract, supply and retain a workforce in a remote location. But hey, maybe you’ve got a mountain town nearby, and maybe you’ll use magic to protect the tower and keep the supplies coming. Hell, why not build the thing in a volcano?

Or maybe you prefer the idea of a secluded island tower, away from the scrutiny of either mundane people or the Order. Of course, you’ll have to get the raw materials there. And the workforce. And it won’t remain secluded for long – once your tower is tall enough to cast a shadow over the horizon, someone’s going to notice.

So maybe, instead, you’ll build the thing in a regio! After all, a regio may well be set up to help support the magic you’re using for the towe anyway. On the other hand, the workforce are likely to not appreciate the strange cosmology of regiones, and the Tower itself may well become warped by the magical aura. Plus you might ruin the place by destroying its natural splendor and beauty, destroying the regio. Oops.

But hey, why not just build the drat thing on an open plain? Sure, you’re going to be seen as a direct challenge to mundane authority. Sure, you’re going to terrify, anger and annoy the mundanes. Sure, the Order may get very annoyed with you for doing that. But it solves all those other problems, right?

Okay, let’s just assume you’ve found a site. Now you’re going to want to get the Order’s support, because they’re definitely going to notice what you’re doing. The Great Tower is not exactly a subtle project. You’ll have good luck in places like the Normandy Tribunal, where tradition is not as big a deal as, say, the Greater Alps Tribunal. The British Isles and the Stonehenge, Loch Leglean or Hibernian Tribunals have plenty of wilderness to use, so they might be good. Same for the Novgorod or Levantine Tribunals. But, well, you still need to play politics.

But let’s assume the Order’s okay with your plans now. You need to have some idea of the scale of this project. We’ll assume your tower is 2000 feet in diameter and probably going to be several thousand eet tall. The Lincoln Cathedral, a 500 foot building that is one of the tallest in Europe, was started in 1092 and will not be finished until 1311. The tallest peaks in the Alps are over 15,000 feet tall – and the Great Tower is meant to be bigger than that. This is a multigenerational project.

You’re going to need very strong foundations, likely stone columns sunk in earth, with more pillars being added around the area as the tower grows, to support its height. Supporting pillars, towers and buttresses will be needed. You’re going to need staging areas to allow materials to go up and down the tower, plenty of balconies for observation or other purposes…and how long is this going to take? Well, let’s assume your average master mason. He might manage 80 feet a year. A mason with twice the skill of such mere masters might double that to 160. A supernaturally skilled perfect mason isn’t going to get more than 240 feet. This is a very longterm project. And God help you if it gets damaged by storms or fires.

Plus you’ll want to give the place an aura, which will likely attract all sorts of supernatural beings to poke around. Hope you’re ready for that.

But hey, at least you can use Creo and Rego magic to help construct the tower, conjuring up stone or even smaller towers to help build the place. There are even spells you could design to conjure up sections of the Great Tower itself, fully formed. They won’t be easy, though, and if you gently caress up…well, don’t gently caress up. Easier to just help the mundane craftsmen with enchanted cranes or conjuring mundane stone and other raw materials, or using magic to carve the stone. It’ll still take time, but at least you’ll cut down on manpower needed. And hey, maybe you’ll invent magical elevators or guardian gargoyles to help protect the place. The great heights will be proof of your power and give access to areas of the sky never before seen by man, for use in experiments. Plus it’ll make it easier to use scrying magic, since you can see so far and thus call up visions from anywhere you can see. Very handy.

Just, uh, expect this to take centuries.

Next time: Magical Boats

Nov 8, 2009


Wapole Languray posted:

  • David D. Davidson: The Hood Juvenile delinquent and wannabe gangster. He's raised by his Grandma, which is the only reason he stays in school. His monster is Baby Tick-Tock, a giant porcelain baby-doll full of clockwork and extendable razor-blades.

  • Jane J. Johannsen: The Nut Girl who's a... little bit more than unhinged. Her monster is The Trashman, a humanoid figure with black plastic skin and a heart of garbage.

  • Marvin M. Marshall: The Brain A smartmouthed nerd and proud outsider. His monster is Connie, a flying Orthocone (Those squids with the long pointy shells) with a sadistic streak.

  • Peter P. Peters: The Jock The friendlier breed of jock. His monster is The Team in I, an entire team of Zombie football players that join together to form a single giant zombie football player.

  • Susan S. Sherman: The Princess The popular trendy girl who all the boys drool over. Her monster is Lucinda, who masquerades as her new-stepmom. She looks like a Texas beauty queen and is full of acidic black slime.

  • Walter W. Wilson: The Narc Teacher's pet and school rat. His monster is The Watcher from The Corners of Time, a sentient smoke-cloud from another dimension.

Notice that the PCs are references to the kids from The Breakfast Club. Don't you
Forget about me
Don't don't don't don't

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012

Pththya-lyi posted:

Notice that the PCs are references to the kids from The Breakfast Club. Don't you
Forget about me
Don't don't don't don't

Note that those lines of the song? Literally in the book. The author chooses to base them around the Breakfast Club because the theme song is just that catchy.

Nov 5, 2010

Warning, Internet
may prove lethal.

Pththya-lyi posted:

Notice that the PCs are references to the kids from The Breakfast Club. Don't you
Forget about me
Don't don't don't don't

I've never noticed that before... would probably help if I watched The Breakfast Club.

Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.
My desktop rig is finally back on-line after the big move, so it's time for more...

Official Website
PDF on DriveThruRPG

Part 2: How to Recognize Different Types of Draculas From Quite a Long Ways Away

Delving into our first chunk of actual, factual game mechanics, it's time to start talking about abilities. As you may have read in the Ashen Stars write-up, GUMSHOE divides abilities into Investigative abilities, which are never rolled and thus never fail, and General abilities, which are rolled and therefore can fail. Today, we'll be talking about the former category.

Investigative abilities are the key plot-driving mechanism in GUMSHOE games. You never have to roll them--instead, if you declare you're using an Investigative ability and there's a relevant clue to be found, you find it. Easy peasy. These abilities still have ranks, though, which you can spend to get additional information, or more likely other benefits. We'll talk more about why in the next chapter, but Night's Black Agents gives more attention to using Investigative spends being used to gain yourself a concrete tactical advantage rather than the ancillary clues a lot of other GUMSHOE games emphasize.

Assigning these abilities during character creation is a two-step process: first, the Director reads down the list of Investigative abilities and makes sure at least one PC has at least one rank in each. Then the players get to spend the rest of their build points as they like. Again, the book reminds you that you can save these points and assign them during the game for those "why, of course I'm an expert on rare-earth metals" moments. We're also told you can spend these points on Tag-Team Tactical Benefits, which we'll learn about on p. 110. We also get an optional rule for trading build points between players at a rate of 1 Investigative build point to 3 General build points (or vice versa). A nice option if you've got, say, one player who wants to play a super-genius analyst who's useless in the field and another who wants to play Brock Samson. It's generally not a good idea to let people trade in their free Cover and Network points under this scheme, though, because those abilities are hugely useful to everybody. Even Brock Samson needs to be able to call a guy who can hook him up with knives and muscle cars in a strange foreign land.

Before we get into the abilities themselves, we get a short sidebar on which investigative abilities are important (all of them, but it's more important that the whole group has coverage in every ability) and how many points you should put in them (generally, even 1 point represents a serious professional, with 2-3 points representing one of the top people on the planet). A couple of Investigative abilities have additional effects based on number of ranks; those you might want to buy more in, but generally 3 ranks is more than enough investment in any one ability. I really like this sidebar, and more games, especially ones with point-buy character generation, should present their benchmarks in such a matter of fact way.

Now, the abilities themselves. There are 39 of these buggers, divided into three categories: Academic, Interpersonal, and Technical. The categories are just for players' benefit; there aren't any actual rules that reference them. Each ability gets a brief description and a list of the sorts of information it can uncover for you. I'm going to blitz through these fairly quickly so we can get to the General abilities, where things will start to diverge more, rules-wise, from Ashen Stars. You'll note that there is no ability that explicitly covers lying--like any good spy, you're assumed to be lying your rear end off 90% of the time, and GUMSHOE in general cares more about the approach you take than it does about whether you're lying or not.

The abilities are:

Accounting (Academic): Following the money, wherever it goes.

Archaeology (Academic): Being Indiana Jonesa competent, responsible student of ancient cultures, architecture, etc.

Astronomy (Academic): This is a really weird skill to include unless your game features vampires from outer space. It kind of feels like a holdover from Trail of Cthulhu that was missed in an editing pass and

Stuff you can do with Astronomy posted:

  • calculate flight paths for ballistic missiles or rockets

Oh I see. Carry on, Night's Black Agents.

Bullshit Detector (Interpersonal): The ability to tell when somebody's lying. Also, as previously established, the best skill name in any RPG ever.

Bureaucracy (Interpersonal): Wringing some measure of efficiency and service out of governments, large corporations, dread churches of blasphemous gods, and that sort of thing. Contains this delightful passage:

Bureaucracy posted:

Bureaucracy is not a catch-all information gathering ability. Bureaucrats wish to convey the impression that they are busy and harried, whether or not they actually are. Most take a profound, secret joy in directing inquiries elsewhere. When characters attempt to use Bureaucracy to gain information more easily accessible via other abilities (such as Research), their contacts simply lose the request and go to lunch early.

Yeah. If you want somebody that will stick their neck out for you, that's a use of Network.

Chemistry (Technical): On a scale of 0 to 3, how much Walter White are you?

Seems legit.

Cop Talk (Interpersonal): Get the fuzz to like you. Has nothing to do with knowing anything about criminal investigation or even basic deductive reasoning. But you can talk to cops like a champ.

Criminology (Academic): Your ability to successfully be the lead of your own Law & Order spinoff.

Cryptography (Technical): Code-making and code-breaking. So specific it doesn't even get a bulleted list. Probably still pretty useful.

Data Recovery (Technical): Pulling useful electronic data, be it from a trashed hard drive, a real-time satellite feed, etc. Also contains my single favorite "stuff you can do" in the entire game:

"Stuff You Can Do With Data Recovery posted:

  • miraculously find detailed, high-resolution images within a blurry video image or pixilated JPEG (Not )

Diagnosis (Academic): Figuring out that holy poo poo, that guy's got ebola. At 2+ ranks, you might be an actual doctor.

Electronic Surveillance (Technical): Spy on people with digital gizmos, and also find other people's digital spying gizmos. For a modest spend, you can be Batman at the end of The Dark Knight.

Flattery (Interpersonal): Not just your rear end-kissing ability, but also your ability to size people up and identify areas of pride or personal shame. Required groundwork for all truly epic trolls.

Flirting (Interpersonal): No, it's not here for you to make a 3-point spend so your character can bang Scarlet Johansson, Jesus Steve, stop being a creepy gently caress. Flirting lets you win cooperation from people who find you sexually attractive, size up someone's romantic tastes, and (my personal favorite) look at a group of people and figure out who's sleeping with who and who they actually want to be sleeping with.

Forensic Pathology (Technical): Like Diagnosis, but for dead people.

Forgery (Technical): Remember how I mentioned earlier that some Investigative abilities have special rules depending on how many ranks you have in them? Forgery is the first one of those. You can take a crack at forging anything (and spotting counterfeits, of course) with sufficient spends, but in addition, for every point you have in Forgery, you get to pick one specific thing, like Serbian passports or blue-period Picassos. Your forgeries of those things are flawless, 100% undetectable as forgeries (although even a 100% perfect passport with no matching reference in an electronic database will get flagged pretty quickly). Also, counterfeiting: It's probably impossible, given the PCs' assumed resources and the technical requirements of printing money. In more cinematic games, it might be possible to counterfeit a few thousand dollars, euros, etc., but it will likely bring down more Heat (about which, more later).

High Society (Interpersonal): The James Bond-like ability to get into all the best parties and look like you belong there.

History (Academic): You know about old stuff.

Human Terrain (Interpersonal): Knowing your way around, not in terms of geography but in terms of culture, politics, religion, and other things most people would call "the human element."

Interrogation (Interpersonal): Getting people to tell you things they might not want to tell you but that you want to know. To use Interrogation, you actually need to have the target in custody, or "in a situation evocative of constraint and punishment." So, tail your mark to a BDSM club, I guess.

Intimidation (Interpersonal): Making people scared of what you can and will do to them.

Languages (Academic): Another special case skill. All agents start out speaking at least accented English and their native language. Each point spent in Languages gives you additional, cumulative languages. They add up fast: at 3 ranks, your character speaks nine languages, plus your native tongue and English. Polyglots ahoy! Ancient languages are okay too, but probably not any occult, secret, or otherworldly languages that might crop up. You can also spend one language slot on "lip reading," thereafter you can read lips in any language you speak.

Law (Academic): Knowledge of legal procedure and precedent. At 2+ ranks, you are (or can impersonate) a bar-certified attorney.

Military Science (Academic): The history, equipment, and best practices of dudes shooting other dudes in the face on a professional basis.

Negotiation (Interpersonal): Wheeling and Dealing, Tom Haverford style.

Notice (Technical): The obligatory Spot skill.

Occult Studies (Academic): You know about wizards 'n' poo poo. Even if your campaign includes magic outside the purview of weird vampire powers, this skill alone doesn't give you the know-how to cast spells. Also, depending on the tone of the game, this skill may be supplemented or wholly replaced by Fringe Science, for maximum Walter Bishop.

Occult Studies includes a detailed study of the Corpse Worm Fairy

Outdoor Survival (Technical): Your Bear Gryllsitude.

Pharmacy (Technical): :catdrugs:

Photography (Technical): Your ability to take useful pictures, video, etc. Also includes my second favorite "what you can do" in the book:

"Stuff You Can Do With Photography posted:

  • develop film if you’re, like, stuck in 1967 or something


Reassurance (Interpersonal): Whoa, easy there buddy. This is all a big misunderstanding, so just put down the gun andKICKTOTHEFACE.

Research (Academic): The catch-all "look poo poo up in a library/database/newspaper archive" ability.

Streetwise (Interpersonal): Kind of like High Society, but on the streets. Also a good skill to use when you want to buy an old Soviet nuclear warhead from a Bulgarian real estate mogul.

Tradecraft (Interpersonal): Cool Spy Tricks 101.

Traffic Analysis (Technical): The ability to take a vast amount of data and sift through it for patterns or meaningful coincidences.

Urban Survival (Technical): Is that dumpster hot dog still good? Also navigating a city without looking like a tourist, spotting tourists and other jackasses who stand out like sore thumbs, and general "I know this city like the back of my hand" type tricks. Incidentally, for every rank you have in Urban Survival, indicate one city that you really do know like the back of your hand.

Vampirology (Academic): Knowledge of vampires--including how to tell the real deal from psychopaths or Goth wannabes. Generally speaking, nobody will start with this skill, since the default assumption is that the agents learn of the existence of vampires during their first mission.

And that's it for Investigative abilities. This update has already gotten pretty long, and the next one is going to be about the same, so I think I'll hold the rest of the sample character creation till the last post on Chapter 1 and do the whole rest of the process in one go.

Nov 10, 2012

Apologies to Syrg for not providing titles for my updates! I'll do so from now on.

Tribebook: Bone Gnawers

Chapter 2, Part 2

Quickly, now, the auspices! Ragabash are clowns and criminals. Their humor hides their devious dealings! Theurges are either crazy seeming urban shamans or compassionate healers giving their services to the needy. Bone Gnawer Philodox are more engaged in human politics and welfare than their tribal counterparts. They make the democracy of the Gnawers possible with their mediation. Galliards are slam poets and street performers connecting the Bone Gnawers to their human charges. Ahroun specialize in underhanded tactics. They swarm their enemies with sneak attacks, wearing down the enemy to save their strength for survival. More aggressive Ahroun Gnawers specialize in terrorism.

If Rob Liefeld could draw, this would be his interpretation of a spear.

Homid werewolves still shun human society, but are the most adept at existing at its fringes. They keep to their human forms, all the better to not arouse suspicion. However, werewolves can’t regenerate in their breed forms, so Homids are especially eager to join Umbral adventures or pack raids in order to slough off some of the ravages of living on the street. Contrary to popular opinion, Metis aren’t really treated any better in the Gnawers than in other tribes. As outcasts, there just tend to be more Metis in the Gnawers than in any other tribe, and they’re treated as such. Lupus are never born from dogs. Some Gnawers have experimented with it, but it’s an embarrassment and never works. Many Lupus are bred in captivity, but they are still full wolves, with all their instincts. Some wolf kin travel into the city to live, scavenging and sneaking. A recent flood of urban Lupus is causing some Gnawer leaders concern.

The Bone Gnawers can’t take the Pure Breed background at chargen, so to speak. Because of all the people they’ve integrated into their breeding stock, there’s no such thing as a Platonic Bone Gnawer. Because of this, there isn’t a purebred upper class among the Bone Gnawers that can get respect with other tribes, yet another thing demoting the Gnawers to second class status in the Garou Nation. Gnawer kin can be found in among ethnicity. This means that a Bone Gnawer might find himself kin to another tribe. For instance, a nineteenth century Gnawer might later join the Fianna, meaning that many present day Fianna can find a Gnawer on their family tree and vice versa. The Gnawers tend to leave behind illegitimate children. Some rationalize this, claiming that a true Bone Gnawer can survive such adversity. There’s pushback against this attitude, of course.

Most Bone Gnawers devote some of their time and energy to promoting certain causes. Communities of likeminded Gnawers form camps. Some have formal structure while others just share common ideals. Many camps actively recruit Gnawers to help in their projects and cause, while others are secret societies, usually involved in crime.

Rat Finks:


Sleeps-with-the-Fishes, a Ragabash informant, can give you a tip or two:

“You want facts? We’re going to play a little game. You ask me a question you want answered. I’ll tell you what I want to know in exchange. If you want the truth, it’s going to cost you. Now, write down what you want…take it to the fourth bathroom stall in the O’Tolley’s restroom…stick your question to a piece of chewing gum…and leave it inside the toilet paper roll. One of our rat-spirits will contact you.”

The Rat Finks are information traders. Gnawers tend to have contacts with many menial laborers: janitors, temps, clerks, waiters, etc. The Rat Finks can get a lot of information from these contacts, and they put it to work. They may help plan corporate raids on the basis of some particularly sensitive piece information. More often, they’ll play it more subtly, spying on a target company to see what it’s up to.

As implied the representative quote, the Finks’ trademark is unusual transmission methods. They have a complex system of codes and buzzwords and even more ways to get a message to someone who needs it. They might send codes via personal ads, a child’s clothing, street signs, or even Goldbergian instances of random happenstance.

The Rat Fink connection network isn’t limited to Kin. The Ratkin and Corax can be taught Fink codes to be inducted into the loop. In return, they can learn some especially juicy secrets. Even some Nosferatu are allowed in the circle. The Finks are less likely to trust other tribes, especially the Glass Walkers. No Walker is ever allowed to learn the Finks’ secrets.

Most Gnawers participate in the Finks without actually becoming a member. They’ll be called upon to do some cryptic task or to gather some information, usually by an unexpected source. In return, they may find themselves with better political success. Certainly they’ll have access to some very privileged information, or at least very privileged sources. Few Gnawers are actually full members of the Rat Finks.

Frankweilers: Frankweilers are the guardians of museums, public libraries, anywhere that has free or cheap admission and is devoted to education or culture.They’re named after From the Mixed-Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler, a book where two children live on their own in a museum after hours. The Frankweilers tend to live and stay within a one or two block radius of their preferred cultural hotspot to protect it.

The Frankweilers were originally known as the Theatre Lupine and although they focus less on the high arts today, they still avidly participate in showing classical theatre to the caerns, giving a very unique flavor to their traditional Garou stories. Some Frankweilers take on their theatre personas everywhere they go, becoming quixotic classical heroes. They even take on the names of famous literary characters.

The camp is known for being great educators and public advocates. They teach literacy or ESL, participate in health awareness programs, or even act as pro bono lawyers. They tend to be college dropouts or unlucky humanities majors. Where the Wyrm tries to prey on malaise and despair, the Frankweilers fight it.

The Hood:


For a protection racket, the Hood ain’t half bad.

The Gnawers are known to have a secret network of untraceable criminals. In every city, a Bone Gnawer elder can call upon some identitiless shmuck with no name to do whatever dirty deeds need doing. The Hood are one particular wing of this anonymous culture. They pledge to rob the rich to give to the poor, like their namesake. In name, the Hood acts separate from the rest of the tribe, but elders will still award them renown for their illicit activities.

The Hood does three things: hunt down and mark the filthy rich, with an emphasis on filthy. Wyrm taint often goes along with wealth. There are plenty of exploitative assholes who aren’t involved with the Wyrm, though. Even the Glass Walkers are sometimes targeted by the Hood. Then, they give their earnings to charity. It only goes so far, though, as their money comes with strings attached. Behave poorly and you earn the Hood’s wrath. The last activity of the Hood is to protect the homeless by any means necessary, but they only save the homeless worth saving. When the Hood helps someone out, they’ll stick around to make sure he stays safe, both from enemies and from himself.

Deserters: As the Apocalypse draws near, many Gnawers are trying to find ways to escape Earth before it all blows up. These Gnawers are experts and navigating the Umbra, spending more time there than many spirits. They plan and execute voyages farther into the Umbra than any other werewolves. They look for a way out.

It seems, though, that there is no way out, and many wayward Deserters are coming home. All their time in the Umbra has left them detached from the world, and now they’re even more homeless than the rest of the Gnawers. They’ve seen the things man was not meant to know, and they refuse to talk about it. Many have gone insane. They can’t recognize the artifacts of material life anymore. They do retain their extensive knowledge of the Umbra, though, and can be vital resources for any Umbral adventure. They may join other packs, but they’re liable to jump out into the Umbra for exploration.

Road Warders: The name says it all. These Gnawers explore the roads, seeking out Wyrm creatures to slay. They sneak aboard buses and trains, and they’re masters of hitchhiking. Unlike the Silent Striders, the Warders don’t really have a destination in mind when they travel. The journey is their only purpose. It makes them unreliable messengers or diplomats, and they refuse the jobs anyway. Their adventures on the road expose them to a variety of connections and friendships that can be valuable on their next excursion. They have a tendency to show up at Bone Gnawer septs just when they’re needed, bringing news of Wyrm threats or other pressing matters. Werewolf hitchhikers is what I’m getting at, here.

This guy looks trustworthy enough to let into your car.

Hillfolk: Hillbilly werewolves! These guys live down south and in Appalachia. They reject all modern technology, instead perpetuating the folk traditions of their chosen people. All the standard hillbilly stereotypes are applied to the Hillfolk. They’re seen as inbred and backwards. They do indeed drink moonshine, but the Hillfolk prefer “true moonshine”, infused with Wyld energies and too potent even for the Fianna. They scare off any “revenuers” (tax collecters), leading to stories of cannibal rednecks. Living close to fae strongholds, they develop lots of changeling connections.

The Swarm: While Rat is a totem of war, the Gnawers prefer sneakier tactics, to the disdain of the other tribes. They prefer guerilla tactics and sneak attacks to the Silver Fang duels. If the Wyrm isn’t going to fight fair, the Gnawers reason, why should the Garou? They aim to survive to continue the fight rather than seek glory or honor.

The Swarm are the masters of this fighting style. Worshippers of the Rat God, Rat’s true war aspect, they lie in wait secretly, waiting for the opportunity to fight for the tribe’s survival. When Gnawer elders encounter a situation that can’t be resolved with diplomacy or subterfuge, they call upon Rat’s Teeth, and when they do they strike hard.

Members of the Swarm often receive a personal vision from the Rat God, filling them with unquenchable bloodlust. They can act as sleeper agents in other packs, even devoting themselves to other pack totems, while still committing acts of urban terrorism and attacking vital targets.

That was the camps! Gotta say, these camps are great. There’s not a really boring pack among them. While the Sisterhood in the Black Furies can be made exciting with a little bit of work, every camp here provides flavorful character hooks. The Hillfolk are the weak point here, since while werewolf hillbillies are cool, it’s not exactly fertile ground for characterization. Still it’s better than the Amazons of Diana, whose hook was literally “We fight the Wyrm,” in a game where the Wyrm is the primary antagonist.

Next time: "You would speak of culinary habits..."

Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Alright, the Frankweilers sound legitimately cool. I would definitely want to play one of those. A champion of free and universal access to art, education, and learning, fighting for community theater and to bring hope to masses with kickass giant wolf powers?

Bone Gnawers in general sound a lot less insufferable than pretty much everything I've seen from White Wolf.

claw game handjob
Mar 27, 2007

pinch pinch scrape pinch
ow ow fuck it's caught
i'm bleeding

pospysyl posted:

Apologies to Syrg for not providing titles for my updates! I'll do so from now on.

It's not a problem, honest, if anyone ever WANTS me to add some, just say so.

Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!

pospysyl posted:

This guy looks trustworthy enough to let into your car.

I knew a guy many years ago who was a big Werewolf fan, who had big sideburns that went almost to his chin like that. It struck me just now that there might be a connection there. Also, kind of an rear end.

Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade- Gift and Drawbacks
The game gives us a helpful reminder that different characters are different.

Characters can get Gifts and Drawbacks- good things and bad things, respectively. These are bought (or give) Bonus Points (BP). Each Gift/Drawback has a point value, some have a range representing a sliding scale of effect, some have different versions for different points.

This section also tells us that BP can be spent on Attributes (2 BP for 1 attribute point) or skills (1 BP for 1 skill point) or you can give up Attribute and Skill points for BP. You can get up to 10 BP from Drawbacks and Attribute/Skill sacrifice.

Some Gifts and Drawbacks are only available in character creation and you can' buy Gifts/Drawbacks that contradict each other. The game gives an example of Perfect Memory and Absent Minded as a bad combo.

The game gives a giant list here, so buckle up ladies and gentlemen. The numbers after the name is the BP value.

Adaptive Element (3)- You suffer less penalty for activating Wushu that conflict with your Elemental Soul.

Ally(1-5)- Someone willing to help you. More points makes them more powerful and they like you better. The examples are a "completely aloof martial arts instructor" (1), a "friend [you] can ask for a favor occasionally" (2), a "childhood friend that lets [you] stay in their home when [you're] down on your luck" (3), a "best friend that helps with anything they can" (4) and a "brother or blood brother willing to sacrifice things in his own life for [you]."

Ambidexterity (3)- Eliminate the -4 off-hand penalty and if you use both hands to do different things at the same time, the penalty is reduced by 2. While wielding two weapons, you can attack with both at an enormous -8 penalty on each, and also a -2 penalty when making a single attack. These are some super terrible dual wielding rules.

Animal Companion (3 or 2)- You have a special pet. The pet knows three commands. Dogs, birds and horses are common companions. This only costs 2 BP for a member of the Pack of the Black Moon to get an extra dog.

Attractiveness (1-5)- You are really hot. Get +2 to Charm tests per level (except Intimidation).

Born Wrestler (4)- You're a super good grappler, getting +2 Strike to Initiate Grapple actions, +2 Grapple, +1 Stamina and +4 Health.

Cat-Like Balance (1-5)- Get +2 to balance for each level.

Chi Hoarder (2 or 5)- You can hold extra chi for longer. 2 BP lets you safely hold 4 excess Temporary Chi for 30 minutes, 5 BP lets you hold 6 excess for an hour. After these times pass the chi becomes dangerous again.

Class (1-5)- Social class and lifestyle. The classes are Commoner (0), Land-Owner (1), Artisan (2), Merchant (3), Warrior (4) and Noble (5).

Artisans get an extra Arts specialty; Merchants get a Persuasion specialty in Haggling or Negotiation; Warriors get an Athletics or Acrobatics specialty of their choice; Nobles get a Deception or Empathy specialty.

Combat Technique (3)- You get a new combat Technique.

Connections (1-5)- You have influence with some group. The level represents both how much influence you have and how useful the group is to you. The game then says to roleplay using your connections. :shrug:

Directional Sense (1)- +4 bonus to Survival or Travel involving navigation.

Double-Jointed (2)- +4 to Acrobatics checks involving flexibility.

Duel[sic]-Wielder (3)- Reduce the attack penalty for two attacks by 2 and double the Parry bonus granted by "the weapon." Plus, they suffer no penalty for making one attack while wielding two weapons.

Enduring (1-5)- Gain an extra Stamina points per level.

Favored Wushu (3)- Choose an extra General Wushu to become favored, reducing it's cost from 2 BP per level to 1 per level.

Fearless (1-5)- Get +2 to Fear checks per level.

Follower (1-5)- You're someones boss and they do what you tell them. The follower gets 5 Skill points per level of Follower and have all Attributes at 4. They'll leave if you treat them bad enough.

Giant- You're really big. Gain +8 Health, +3 to Lifting, +1 Stamina, +2 Fortitude and +1 Base Damage. Suffer a -2 penalty to Agility involving manual dexterity and clothing and armor costs +1 Class .

Good Reputation (1-5)- You're well regarded. More points spreads your rep over a wider area. A certain social circle at (1), village wide at (2), city wide at (3), empire wide at (4) and worldwide at (5).

Hard to Kill (1-5)- Each level gives +2 to Death Checks and +1 health.

Home Turf (4)- Gain +2 to Stealth, Knowledge and Survival checks on "[your] land."

Improvisational Fighter (3)- When you use Improvised weapons, the penalty is -4 instead of -8, and if it's like a weapon you're trained in there's no penalty.

Increased Initiative (1-5)- +2 to Initiative per level.

Iron Will (1-5)- +2 to Insanity checks per level.

Library (1-5)- You have a bunch of books, giving +2 to Knowledge (research) rolls per level. The amount of books this represents range from a shelf (0) to an entire library (5).

Light Sleeper (3)- You are fully rested from four hours of sleep instead of seven, you get +2 to checks against Unconsciousness from knockout or exhaustion and you only need to roll to not fall asleep if you get less than two hours of sleep.

Lucky (3, 6 or 9)- Reroll 1 Natural 1 per session for 3 BP, 2 Natural 1s for 6 BP and 4 for 9 BP.

Masterwork Weapon (3 or 2)- You have a super well made weapon. It gives +2 to all checks and +5 Durability. Cost only 2 BP if the character is of the Warrior class.

Natural Brawler (3)- You are "born with hard knuckles and the fill [sic] to fight." +2 Strike, +1 Parry and +1 Base Damage.

Natural Marksman (3)- Double your range on Hurl Weapon actions and get +2 Throw and +1 damage on ranged attacks.

Outside Style (2)- You can buy an outside fighting style.

Pain Resistance (2, 4 or 6)- Get +2 to Pain checks and reduce Pain penalties by 2. Increase each modifier by 2 for each extra level.

Perfect Memory (3)- You never need to make a Memorize check to remember something (except when you do, where you get a +5 bonus).

Poison Resistant (1-5)- Get +2 to resist Poison per BP. Recoiling Serpents can't take it.

Punctual (1)- You have a really good internal clock, gaining a +2 bonus to things that involve precise timing.

Quick Draw (2)- You perform Draw Weapon actions at half speed, rounded up.

Quick Healer (6)- Heal twice as fast, recovering 10 Non-lethal per hour of rest and 6 per hour of light activity. Heal the same amount of Lethal damage, except per day instead of hour.

Rank (1-5)- You have a position of influence or authority in some organization, gaining a +2 bonus to Persuasion per level inside that group. Higher levels come with more responsibility.

Sharpened Senses (2)- Pick sight, hearing, touch and smell/taste. Gain a +4 bonus with the chosen sense(s).

Sickness Resistance (1-5)- +2 to resist disease and +1 Health per level.

Sprinter (1-5)- +2 Movement and +1 Health per level.

Strength Training (4)- Due to physical conditioning, you get +5 health, +5 to lifting rolls, +1 Stamina and +1 Base Damage.

Summoner (6)- You can summon one of the Celestial Animal breeds. You can spend a pint of Permanent Chi of either type instead of paying the BP cost.

Tough (1-5)- You can take a lot of damage, gaining +3 health per level.

Weapon Expert (2)- You are really good with one weapon, reducing it's Speed by 1. Extra purchases drop this even further, to a minimum of 0.

Weapon Training (1)- You're trained in an extra weapon, no longer suffering the non-proficiency penalty.

Wushu Specialist (4)- You're really good with one type of wushu, gaining +2 to activation checks with it.

Yang Master (3)- You get an extra point of Yang chi, to a maximum of 10.

Yin Master (3)- Like Yang Master, but grants Yin chi.

Absent-Minded (4)- Unperceptive and forgetful, you have a -3 penalty to Memorize and Discipline (Concentration checks) and -2 to Perception.

Addiction (4)- You're deep in an addiction to some damaging substance. You lose 2 stamina or 3 health in character creation. You need to partake every day or suffer -3 to all rolls; this penalty doubles after "a few" days and more than a week without, you need to make Tough (30) Insanity checks or be driven to get the drug no matter what.

Bad Reputation (1-5)- The opposite of Good Reputation, you're poorly regarded for some reason.

Big Mouth (2)- You're a chatter box and must make IQ + Discipline checks to avoid blabbering an inopportune times.

Bleeder (3)- You take 6 Lethal damage per round from bleeding, instead of 3.

Blind (6)- You're completely sightless, automatically failing any sight-based checks and suffering -15 to all combat checks. (Why would anyone ever take this :psyduck:)

Chi Deficient (5 or 10)- You find molding either Yin or Yang chi harder. You cannot use the Mold Action in combat for that type and spending Stamina requires 2 points for each point of Chi. The 10 BP version means you're deficient in both types.

Combat Fear (1-5)- You're a scardey cat, afraid of combat. Take -2 to Initiative per level.

Compulsion (3)- You suffer from kleptomania, pyromania or OCD. You need to make a Moderate (20) Insanity check to resist the compulsion.

Curious (2)- You love sticking your nose into stuff. You need to make Insanity checks of a GM determined Difficulty to do the smart thing, rather than the interesting one.

Deep Sleeper (3)- You need nine hours of sleep per day, taking a -2 penalty to resist unconsciousness and have to roll to stay asleep from less than seven hours of sleep a day.

Disfigured (4)- Something has rendered you horrific looking, causing you to automatically fail any checks based on how you look.

Easily Poisoned (1-5)- For each level, you suffer a -2 penalty to resist being poisoned.

Emotional (4)- You're easy to get riled up. You need to succeed on a Moderate (20) Insanity check to keep your cool, or Tough (30) in especially stressful conditions.

Enemy (1-5)- Someone really hates you: an annoyance (1), an equally capable enemy (2), a dangerous enemy that may have ties to an organization(3), an enemy able to threaten the entire squad (4) or the head of an entire criminal or military organization (5).

Graceless (1-5)- Your clumsiness inflicts a -2 penalty per level on Balance checks.

Illiterate (1)- You can't read.

Kid (3)- You're super young. You lose 1 Stamina and 1 Base Damage and can carry only 15 pounds per level of Power. Adults don't take them seriously. But if you perform the Take Hit Reaction (instead of trying to avoid getting murdered) your attackers needs to hit a 12 instead of 10.

Lecherous (2)- You love sexing. Take a -2 penalty on Charm checks with good looking people and a -4 to resist being seduced.

Lifesaver (3)- You can't bear seeing others in pain, and must succeed on a Tough (30) Insanity test to resist helping someone in need.

Obese (4)- Being super fat. -10 to all Athletics and Acrobatics checks and lose 1 Stamina per round just for being in combat. Also gain a +10 bonus whenever being super heavy is helpful.

One Arm (4)- Having a single arm cuts your carrying weight in half and inflicts a -4 penalty to Parry and Grapple.

One Eye (4)- Being reduced to a single eye causes a -4 penalty to Perception (Sight) and -2 to combat checks.

Pacifist (4)- You refuse to start a fight with another person and will never kill someone.

Paraplegic (6)- You've lost the use of your legs and need a wheelchair to get around. In the wheelchair, your Movement is reduced to your Power.

Phobia (3)- You are afraid of something fairly common. Whenever you're exposed to the object of your phobia, make a Moderate (20) Fear check or flip the gently caress out.

Poor Hygine (1-5)- You're smelly and gross, suffering -1 per level to checks involving looks or presence and trackers get +2 per level to track you by smell.

Poor Senses (2 or 4)- Pick a sense, like the Sharpened Senses Gift, but instead you have a -3 penalty to Perception tests involving the sense, but it can be mitigated with corrective measures. For 5 (:shrug:) BP, the penalty is -7 and can't be fixed.

Scrawny (1-5)- Being small and frail, you get -3 Health per level.

Shy (2)- Being so shy and demure inflicts a -3 penalty to Persuasion (Oratory) and possibly someone with higher station or that they have feelings for.

Sickly (1-5)- Prone to sickness, you have -2 to Fortitude checks to resist Disease and Infection and -1 health per level.

Skill Deficient (3)- Pick one skill you're really bad with. You have a -4 penalty with the skill and all it's specialties and can't get more than 4 levels in it.

Skittish (1-5)- Your paranoid disposition causes a -2 penalty to Fear per level.

Slow Healer (4)- You take a long time to heal, regaining 2 non-lethal per hour of rest and 1 per hour of light activity, or 2 lethal damage per day of rest and 1 with light activity.

Speech Impediment (2)- Some sort of lisp, slur or stutter inflicts a -4 penalty to any checks involving speaking.

Unattractiveness (1-5)- Your ugliness inflicts a -2 penalty per level on Charm tests that involve looks. No combining with Disfigured.

Unlucky (3, 6 or 9)- The opposite of Lucky, forcing you to reroll Natural 20s.

Untouchable (4)- You are a member of the untouchable class. You are disallowed from ascending to a higher social class and have a -5 penalty with social checks involving anyone who knows and cares about your social status (which is most).

Wanted (2)- Someone is hunting you and you have to be on the look out for bounty hunters and informants.

Ward (3)- Someone has need of your protection, like a sibling or something.

Weak-Willed (1-5)- Take a -2 Penalty to Insanity checks per level, because you go crazy by not having enough willpower (unless it doesn't actually represent your ability to resist going nuts, in which case why name it Insanity? :shrug:)

Weak Stomach (3)- You have a really queasy stomach, forcing a Moderate (20) Vigor + Fortitude check to avoid vomiting or fleeing when exposed to blood or other disgusting stuff.

Wushu Dunce (3)- Pick one of your Favored Wushu and suffer a -3 penalty to it's activation checks.


Finally, we get Calculating Sub-Attributes

Health is how much injury you can withstand. Health is equal to ((POW + VIG) x 2) + 10

Stamina is your ability to push yourself to your physical limits. Starting Stamina is equal to VIG, plus any bonuses from Skills, Gifts, etc.

Other Traits
Vs. Balance: AGY + Acrobatics + modifiers
Vs. Fear/Awe: INS + Discipline + modifiers
Vs. Poison: VIG + Fortitude + modifiers
Vs. Disease: VIG + Fortitude + modifiers
Vs. Pain: INS + Discipline + modifiers
Vs. Insanity: INS + Empathy + modifiers
Vs. Death: VIG + Forititude[sic] + modifiers
Vs. Unconsciousness: VIG + Fortitude + modifiers
Memorization: IQ + Discipline + modifiers
Carry/Lift Weight: 25 lbs per POW / x2
Strength Check: POW + VIG + modifiers
Max Hold Breath: 20 seconds per VIG

Combat Bonuses
Fighting Styles- There's big summary tables at the end of the book.
Attributes- Get damage from POW; Strike, Throw, Parry and Dodge from AGY and Stamina from VIG.
Skills- Get Initiative, Dodge and Parry bonuses from Acrobatics; Strike, Throw and Grapple from Athletics; Health bonuses from Fortitude.
Gifts/Drawbacks- Whatever they give you.
Elements- You special element from your Elemental Soul

Initiative Bonus
AGY + IQ + modifiers.

Walking- Cover POW + AGY feet with a Move Action.
Running- Move POW + AGY x 20 yard per minutes. Some other rules about running through rough terrain, etc.
Jumping- Jump POW + Athletics + 10 feet horizontally and half that vertically. Jump 25% father with a 10-foot running start.
Climbing- Climb half your Movement freely. Roll AGY + Athletics to move faster. Failure means you're stuck and a critical failure causes you to fall.
Swimming- Half your normal movement with Athletics 1 or higher. Rolls are needed in rough waters.
Chasing- In a chase, each person rolls 1d20 + Movement. Add or subtract the difference between the rolls, depending on who won, to determine the lead.

I'll finish this chapter with the XP and character advancement section a little later, which marks the end of Chapter 3.

Mar 1, 2013

You Are All

pospysyl posted:

That was the camps! Gotta say, these camps are great. There’s not a really boring pack among them. While the Sisterhood in the Black Furies can be made exciting with a little bit of work, every camp here provides flavorful character hooks. The Hillfolk are the weak point here, since while werewolf hillbillies are cool, it’s not exactly fertile ground for characterization. Still it’s better than the Amazons of Diana, whose hook was literally “We fight the Wyrm,” in a game where the Wyrm is the primary antagonist.
"Redneck werewolf" is all the characterization you need. :colbert:

What I like about the camps as presented in the book is that they're more groups of like-minded people banding together to accomplish something, as opposed to a route to game-breaking rites, fetishes or gifts and/or a type of "prestige class". As Night said, they just come across as less insufferable and more just "kinda awesome".

I'll also admit that I never thought of tribal Pure Breed as an expression of the "platonic ideal" of a particular tribe. The Bone Gnawer's lack of it suddenly makes much more sense when seen from that angle (it also explains why the other cosmopolitan tribe, the Glass Walkers, likewise lacks it). That's a neat characterization that I hadn't thought about before.

Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!
I got my Tenra Bansho Zero books today. Maybe I'll do those next.

Oct 18, 2004
Ghost Fog Sabre Deluxe!

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

I got my Tenra Bansho Zero books today. Maybe I'll do those next.

I say go for it! I'm still waiting on mine, but I ran one campaign with the PDFs and had a lot of fun. The game has a lot of interesting features that should get more exposure.

Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God
Man a big Bear style guy that is giant, good at brawling and strong. No idea if they could grab all of Giant, Natural Brawler and Strength Training.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

Part 4: The Return of Ghost Tank
Chapter 7: Magic
If you somehow couldn't guess from last chapter's prestige classes and the fact that this is an occult war setting, Weird War II does indeed have magic. As with its source material, Weird War II's magic is divided into the arcane and the divine (retooled as miracles and rune magic) - unlike standard D&D 3.0, however, both have a few catches. We'll cover miracles first, as they are covered first in the chapter.

A miracle is the form of divine magic utilized by Chaplains. While the spells are pretty much the same as those cast by a D&D Cleric, they only go up to 5th level total and are cast in a different manner. The Chaplain doesn't need a holy symbol, but instead must make a loud proclamation to his deity over the course of the time it takes to cast the spell, then make a check with the unique Prayer skill at a DC of 15 + twice the spell's level. If the check succeeds, the spell is cast, while a failed check means God's got you on the answering machine line and you're out of luck. Furthermore, successfully invoking a miracle or botching a Prayer roll with a natural 1 fatigues the Chaplain's body, dealing nonlethal damage equal to 3 times the spell's level (1 for a 0-level spell, as they aren't left out).

As for arcane magic, it takes the form of rune magic, based on old Germanic and Norse runes. Both Allied Adepts and Nazi Blood Mages harness the power of runes to fuel their ancient and dangerous form of magic. To cast a spell with run magic, you must have studied and understand the specific runes tied to a specific spell. The casting and fatigue is pretty much on the same rate as miracles, but replacing the Prayer skill with the Spellcraft skill and invoking the meaning and inscription of the rune rather than performing prayer. You can choose to skimp out on either the talking or the rune carving part of the spell, but doing so increases the Spellcraft DC by 10. Runes can be carved straightforward or made into a dark "merkstave" rune to perform darker or opposed facets of the rune. The specific runes are as follows.
  • Fehu: Fehu, the cow rune, is associated with the goddess Freya, the dwarves, material wealth, and fire. It is a rune of material possessions, bounty, and creation, while its reversed or merkstave form is that of poverty and loss, failure, greed, atrophy, cowardice, and bondage.
  • Uruz: Uruz, the aurochs rune, is the rune of the earth and the powerful triad of Odin, Thor, and Loki. It is a rune of physicality, being associated with strength, speed, and good health or made merkstave into weakness, impulsiveness, and disease.
  • Thurisaz: Thurisaz, the giant rune, is a rune of Loki and the giants. Its nature is that of cleansing through fire, purposeful destruction, and strife, while its merkstave is that of helplessness, compulsiveness, and evil thoughts.
  • Ansuz: Ansuz, the rune of Odin, is unsurprisingly associated with Odin. It brings with it insight, wisdom, visions, and compelling oratory, while its merkstave is that of delusion, confusion, and manipulation.
  • Raidho: Raidho, the wagon rune, is associated with both Thor and the Norse people as a whole. Its meaning is that of travel and progression of the journey of life, while its merkstave is stagnation and death.
  • Kenaz: Kenaz, the beacon rune, is tied to Freya, Heimdall, the dwarves, and the fire giants of Muspelheimr. It is a symbol of transformation and light, while its merkstave is the taint of disease and uncontrolled instability from chaos.
  • Gebo: Gebo, the gift rune, is used as a mark for the folk heroes Sigurd and the valkyrie Brunhild, as well as Odin himself. To invoke gebo is to bring gifts and ties of relationship, while its merkstave manifests greed, solitude, and ties merely of obligation.
  • Wunjo: Wunjo, the rune of glory, is associated with the divine realm of Asgard and to the gods Baldr and Odin in particular. Its purpose is for joy, fellowship, and peace, while its merkstave brings discord, sorrow, and the rage of the legendary berserkers.
  • Hagalaz: Hagalaz, the hail rune, is tied to Ragnarok and its instigators, as well as to Hel and her cold realm. It is a rune of weather in its unchanged state, while its merkstave embodies natural disaster, suffering, and the hollowness of loss.
  • Nauthiz: Nauthiz, the rune of need, is typically associated with Freya and Skuld. Its meaning is of endurance, overcoming conflict or restriction, and survival in general, while its merkstave stands for slavery and base desires such as hunger and the need for shelter.
  • Isa: Isa, the ice rune, is associated with the frost giants and the kingdom of Niflheimr. It is a rune of challenges and steadfastness, while its merkstave enforces blindness and illusion, deceitfulness and treachery, and stealth.
  • Jera: Jera, the harvest rune, is tied to Freya, Sif, and Thor. It is the rune of peaceful times, and its merkstave manifests setbacks and ill-timed events.
  • Eihwaz: Eihwaz, the yew rune, is associated with the world-tree Yggdrasil and both sides of life with Hel and Odin. Protection, reliability, and strength are the marks of this rune, while its merkstave harkens acts of confusion and weakness.
  • Perthro: Perthro, the dice rune, is associated directly with Freya and Freya alone. Her rune focuses on uncertainties, hidden knowledge, and prophecy, while its merkstave reflects addiction or ignorant stagnation.
  • Algiz: The rune of protection, Algiz is tied to Heimdall and the ranks of the valkyries. Its symbology is warding of the body and the soul, while its merkstave is unseen danger and removal of magic.
  • Sowilo: Sowilo, the sun rune, is associated with Baldr and the German goddess Sunna that gives our bright orb its name. It is a rune of vitality and success, while its merkstave is justice and revenge.
  • Teiwaz: Teiwaz, the rune of Tyr, is associated with its namesake god. Honor and victory in battle is its forte, while the merkstave of the rune reflects failure and missteps in speech.
  • Berkana: Berkana, the birch rune, is associated with Berchta, Frigg, and Idunna. It is a rune of fertility and growth, and its merkstave is one of lack of control or carelessness.
  • Ehwaz: Ehwaz, the horse rune, is associated with Freya and the magical horse Sleipnir. It is the rune of change, loyalty, and movement, while its merkstave is one of deception and betrayal.
  • Mannaz: Mannaz, the rune of humanity, is tied to Midgard. It is a rune of human intelligence and self-awareness, while its merkstave is that of manipulation and loss of senses.
  • Laguz: Laguz, the water rune, is associated with Njord and Jormundgandr. It is the rune of water, dreams, and the unknown, and its merkstave reflects confusion and madness.
  • Ingwaz: Ingwaz, the earth rune, is one of the gods Freya, Nerthus, and Thor. It is tied to the home and male fertility, while its merkstave is impotence and pointless nomadry.
  • Dagaz: Dagaz, the day rune, is tied to Baldr, Heimdall, and Sunna. Its meaning is one of clarity and neutrality, while its merkstave signals the end or completion of something.
  • Othala: Othala, the property rune, is associated with all-seeing Odin and the nine worlds that sit upon Yggdrasil. It is a rune of inheritance, order, and prosperity, while its merkstave is of poverty, slavery, and ill will.

So, just what do all these runes actually mean in practice? The 0- through 5th level spells the Adept or Blood Mage attains are the same as a Wizard or Sorcerer, but are tied to specific runes, the number of runes increasing with complexity. For instance, while casting the spell light only requires calling upon the power of Kenaz, casting wall of iron requires the combined runic symbology of Algiz, Othala, and Teiwaz.

Chapter 8: Haunted Vehicles
For some reason, this gets its own chapter rather than being part of the bestiary chapter later on. A haunted vehicle is basically sort of like a class that can be taken by a vehicle that has gained intelligence from a ghost that haunts it. Each level allows the hanted vehicle to pick up a special power that can vary from damage or spell resistance up to becoming invisible or raising the dead. By paying experience points, a player group can have a haunted vehicle (or even a small squad of haunted vehicles if you are willing to pay the hefty price) as a companion NPC for their group.


Next time: we get to the thickest chapter in the book, the gamemaster's section! Oh, and there's a small bestiary-before-the-bestiary-book too.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Hermetic Projects

The Hermetic Shipyard is a project to produce other projects. Shipbuilding is a bit, important industry in Europe, one that is done by educated men. Ships are extremely valuable, and many covenants need ships. There's currently only one Hermetic shipwright out there. Why not do better than him? Build a shipyard and make magical ships. Your average nonmagical shipwright's an educated, literate fellow with a deep understanding of wood an dmetal, though generally they are not carpenters themselves. They head the team of craftsmen that make the ships. Your average shipyard needs water access, space for craftwork, maybe some docks. Certainly some slipways. You;ll need some rope and sailmaking facilities, too. Very specialized trades.

And you need to know how to build a ship. There's two main methods: first, the clinker-built ship, which has overlaping planks, allowing the ship to flex more along its length. This is good for rough waters and common in the north. The other kind of ship, more common in calmer waters, is the carvel-built ship, which has a smooth hull with plans butting against each other. Carvel-built ships can be larger, but are often heavier and slower. Your ship's hull is generally treated as a single entity, with any upper works like fore and aft towers being seperate - you can do the same with enchanting.

Now, you've decided to make your shipyard. You will need a location. Ideally, it has land for drydock that is protected from storms and tides, but has easy and direct access to the water. You will also need strong supply lines - you'll be using ungodly amounts of wood, iron, canvas, rope and other materials. You probably also want a magical aura, which typically means away from cities and towns. At least Rego Terram, often with Aquam requisites, will help you reshape rivers and inlets, as well as drain marshes. Or, I guess, you can make it away from the water, but that means you need a way to get your ships to the sea. Magic is possible, but very expensive.

But okay, you have a place. Now you need your craftsmen, and getting them on board is always a challenge for the Gifted. But let's assume you can do it. Now, you need a lab in the shipyard - and a big one. After all, you can't enchant poo poo outside a lab. And most labs are not made to contain something as big as a ship. Building and designing that will take time, but it's doable. Now the rest of the shipyard needs to be built, and any local shipwright's guild is going to notice it and become involved. Shipyards can't really be disguised - they're neither subtle nor really like any other form of workshop.

Now that you're set up, it's time to build your boat. You can, of course, make it with your mundane team. That's not too bad, but time consuming. Or you can build the thing by magic, so long as you have the raw materials to craft it from. This won't be easy magic, but Rego Herbam (with a Terram requisite for the nails and such) can do it. Magic can handle carpentry, and without even vis - after all, you're just transforming what exists into a constructed form. Or, if you feel like spending a lot of vis, you can use Creo magic instead, and just conjure the boat into existence whole cloth. All of this is doable.

But now you need to enchant the ship. The book provides plans for the construction of the Hermes, a magical boat designed to go...well, in any place normal boats can. Without much need for a crew. It's a useful thing to make, even if you're really after flight or such. After all, once you make it once, all your notes for the enchantments are available, and you can remake it much easier. The ship, once finished, will be able to reshape itself, taking on the form of a clinker-built ship or carvel-built, or even different kinds of ships. It will always rest level in the water, and it will navigate itself on command. It can even steer itself with a strong magical tiller, and change its own sails. You will probably also want devices seperate from the ship itself to command the winds and waves, and to prevent fires.

And then, once you've built it, you can use the plans for later, more outlandish ships. Ships, perhaps, which dive beneath the waves, sinking on command and granting those aboard water breathing, sailing along the undersea currents. Or ships of the sky, which fly through the clouds. The flying one is, in fact, easaier than the underwater one. None of it is easy, of course - but once you're done, you will be the finest shipwright in the world. Of course, magic can create ships from other materials, too - there are spells that can be made to turn a building into a ship, or to create a ship from sand.

Next time: The ultimate Wizard's War.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Haunted vehicles get their own chapter because a Weird War game without rules to play The Haunted Tank isn't a Weird War game worth playing.

Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten
Can you make a haunted B-17 that's virtually impossible to permanently destroy?

Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade- XP and character advancement

This being a pretty traditional game so far, it has a traditional advancement method: characters earn XP from play and spend it to increase their abilities.

After a Session
Characters earn 1 to 5 XP per session, depending on what they do:
Showing up to Play
Get 1 XP for playing.

Get 1 XP for bringing your passion into play in an interesting way.

Get 1 XP for taking charge and acting leading the party.

Memorable Moment
Get 1 XP for doing something awesome and cool.

Morale[sic] of the Story
Get 1 XP if you learned an important lesson from the game.

After a Story
At the end of a "Story," a story arc, the players get 1-5 extra XP.

Spending XP
This is a "story game" so you need to be able to justify the stuff you spend XP on.

1 Attribute point = 10 XP
1 Skill Point = 5 XP
1 Bonus Point = 5 XP
Permanent Chi = 9 XP
Favored Wushu = 5 XP per level
Non-Favore[sic] Wushu = 10 XP per level

The chapter ends with a reference for character creation and an example. Let's summarize:

Step 1: Choose Concept, Choose a Passion, Choose an Elemental Soul and write down your Chi and choose a Clan.
Step 2: Distribute 30 points for Attributes
Step 3: Get your starting skills and spend30 + IQ points to spend on skills and fighting styles.
Step 4: Choose 5 levels of Wushu from your clan favored wushu.
Step 5: Spend 10 Bonus Points, or 12 for Ronin, and gain up to 10 extra from Drawbacks.
Step 6: Calculate sub-attributes and combat bonuses

Wait a minute, something looks off.

That's right, the first place we find out how to get our character's Wushu is in the character creation reference at the end of the chapter.

Great job there, guys. :colbert:

There's a sample character creation, but we'll skip it; I'll make a character later.

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 03:39 on May 18, 2013

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

wdarkk posted:

Can you make a haunted B-17 that's virtually impossible to permanently destroy?
While you'd need to get Death From Above, the aircraft sourcebook, to have the B-17, you very well could. If you leveled it up to Haunted Vehicle level 9 out of 10, you could have full ranks in all three of its anti-destruction capabilities, giving it damage reduction 30/+3, spell resistance 20, and the ability to heal 1d20 points of damage to itself every minute.

I doubt any sane GM would allow it, but it would be glorious.

Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten

Fossilized Rappy posted:

While you'd need to get Death From Above, the aircraft sourcebook, to have the B-17, you very well could. If you leveled it up to Haunted Vehicle level 9 out of 10, you could have full ranks in all three of its anti-destruction capabilities, giving it damage reduction 30/+3, spell resistance 20, and the ability to heal 1d20 points of damage to itself every minute.

I doubt any sane GM would allow it, but it would be glorious.

Out of curiosity how much HP would it have at that point and how much damage would a maximum-velocity crash deal?

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer
How about a B-17 that turns dead occupants into flesh-eating zombies?

Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

Bieeardo posted:

How about a B-17 that turns dead occupants into flesh-eating zombies?

What system is best to roleplay totally rockin' boobs and thrashing guitar licks?


Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

wdarkk posted:

Out of curiosity how much HP would it have at that point and how much damage would a maximum-velocity crash deal?
A B17 is stated to have 200 HP, and a crash is stated to deal 20d6 damage. That's a max of 120 HP or average of 60 down from the crash, but the theoretical haunted B-17 bomber would live to take a few minutes healing back up.

Bieeardo posted:

How about a B-17 that turns dead occupants into flesh-eating zombies?
Sadly, not without GM fiat.

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