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Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Nessus posted:

Yeah, it was definitely the Dan Smith Lazybones Art Festival. OK cool, I'll do a thing up over the next few days!
Just throw in screen captures from Terminator and the Matrix instead. :v:

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bieeardo posted:

Africa was so bad, parts of the book escaped before it hit the printer, but they tracked them down and included them as loose sheets. A quarter or half of it was some filler RCC, easily missed, but the rest included the XP tables for everything in the book statted up as a class.

Yeah, the printing of Rifts Africa I have has the missing bits like the tree people and Victor Lazlo, but in teeny weeny eight-point font or whatever as Kevin struggles to literally paste them in the existing book. That stuff is only missing from the very first printing, as I understand it. :shobon:

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Mine's probably one of the first printings, because I bought that stuff religiously for most of the Nineties. I've looked at it a few times tonight, and the margins on the last page are weird. There's an extra line at the bottom and the gutter is nonexistent which, given the stories about KS doing all of his layouts by hand, makes me imagine him bound and determined to squeeze the last few paragraphs of back-patting and bibliography in despite his page-count limits, and without reflowing more than that last page.

And then I imagine him crying into his hands when he realized that he forgot to squeeze the precious XP tables in.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Okay, one more part for tonight; I don't wanna crowd too much, and I'mma going to bed.

Rifts:™ England Part 2: “Gifts” of Magic



Because we did not spend enough time on these drat trees previously, here is more stuff about them. Specifically, the hippie-woodlands bling they will drop upon the worthy but unwary. For some reason “Gifts” is in quotation marks and I’m not sure if they explode or the tree actually considers these things a loan that must be repaid or what.

Anyway there are a ton of these. What the gently caress. This is like Keebler Elves version of the Rune Weapons section in Atlantis.

Bark Body Armor: a full suit with 120 MDC (which is pretty good for personal armor) that has a reserve of 4D6 PPE spellcasters can use, and takes one-third damage from magic energy, fire, lightning and such. Conventional energy weapons do full damage though because the Coalition rules.

Bark Shield: a mega-damage shield. A basic understanding of the mega-damage system indicates how worthless this item is in the hands of a normal unarmored human.

Camoflage: It can cast the Camoflage spell on like everyone living there all at once

Control over Ley Line Storms and Rifts/Normal Weather: this is like the third time they’ve said this, seriously and how is it a “Gift” anyway?

Leaf Body Armor: If dressing like you gave a hoot wasn’t good enough, try on this fashionable photosynthetic piece! Suitable for day or evening wear, and has 60 MDC and gives +2 to saves vs. poison.



Leaf Blanket of Healing: If you don’t want to make it into a dress, you could just sleep under it. Heals 2D6 of whatever variation of -DC you have, camoflages the sick, and can cast Restoration (regrow severed limbs or whatever) once, then withers up and dies.

Ley Line Teleportation: Rapid Treensit Network. At the tree’s whim.

Magic Wands and poo poo: enumerated later. Wonderful.

Power to Heal and Purify Food and Water: Such nice trees all helping the sick and needy.

Resurrection & Restoration: can be done with some close time limitations, causes branches to wither away. Since we’ve previously explained that the growth of these trees is so slow as to be hard to notice, this seems like a major cost.

Sixth Sense Warning/Visions and Dreams: The tree may give small precognitive flashes or warning dreams and visions.



the colors man...the colors!

And now we get to Magic Wands and Staves, and to be fair they do probably deserve a whole separate section because there’s a crapload of them. This tree is like some kind of Japanese vending machine with collectible capsules full of magic.

Anyway all these wands and staves are sacred to Millennium Druids because if we did not make that clear, they worship these things. It is possible for alchemists and bio-wizards to corrupt wands to do other things, but otherwise they all behave exactly as written on the tin.

They’re all really hard to break, like 1D4x100 MDC for a wand and 2D4x100 for a staff. They do SDC damage as weapons except against vampires. They have a small PPE reserve that it regenerates over 24 hours. You can give them back to the tree at any time by just shoving them into it, blammo.

Wands

Wand of the Animal: Grants climb at 90%, cast five animal-themed spells per day as a 7th level sorcerer. Honestly the ‘climb’ thing makes me want to call it ‘wand of the Squirrel’ :toot:

Wand of Deception: Golly, I thought these were truth-loving peace trees. Grants constant chameleon power to the owner. Five illusion-type spells per day, 7th-level.

Wand of Divination: This wand works a bit like an Augury spell in D&D except that it spins and falls in particular directions; fine. It only answers “serious” questions about death and harm though “will we win or lose” type questions generally net uncertainty. Only give this to players if you feel like spending a long time describing a spinning stick.

Wand of Dowsing: This is absolutely something I’d expect from this whole magic tree business. It can find more than water--it can also find the nearest ley line or nexus, Millennium Tree, home, or loved one--or for some reason coal. For all those steam-powered...things. Five times per 24 hours, grants constant direction sense. Not unhandy and not likely to result stupid games of twenty questions like divination above.

Wand of Knowledge: Grants user the power of tongues (:cheeky:) and five castings of several knowledge-related spells per day. I don’t remember what they all do but at least one discerns truth from lies so is already more useful than the Divination wand.

Wand of Life: A twig covered with 2d4 :420: oh sorry I meant ‘buds’. The number of buds is the number of times its weak-rear end healing (1d6) power can be used. It can also negate poison, cure illness, and purify food and water a number of times per day equal to its buds.

Wand of Power: ‘The constant power granted to its owner is invulnerability’. What the poo poo? Like total? Is this like :catdrugs: but an invincible star? It does not explain. It can also cast a few useful spells five times a day without giving up that other thing.

Wand of Seeing: There’s some kind of joke about blind people canes here. Grants see invisible and +5% to identify plants for some reason. Casts some vision-related spells 5/day.

Weapons of Wood: Vampire-slaying javelins and throwing sticks. It’s funny the tree would specifically make a vampire-killing weapon when all the vampires live in Mexico. The throwing stick is actually better because it damages vampires AND demons and “other supernaturals” and returns to the thrower. It still only does 4d6 though.




i would like to include more pictures but there aren’t any :(

Staves

Staff of the Earth: Senses magic/ley lines as a Walker. Ten spells per day that include a lot of wilderness survival and anti-undead stuff.

Staff of the Hunter: Can track humanoids and animals, tan hides, navigate and survive at 88%. Eight spells from a different set of wilderness-y stuff, that includes like ‘magic net’ or others that might help with hunting but are still not direct damage spells. Does mega-damage to MDC creatures.

Staff of Life: Giant version of the wand, more buds. This one clarifies something I didn’t understand on the wand: The number of buds indicates how often the healing can be used per day, not ever. The wand’s text sort of implied otherwise. Or maybe the wand just sucks. It can cast better and more healing/lifey spells and can be used to cast Restoration at a cost of four leaf buds.

Staff of Prosperity: Grants the ability to accurately identify fruits and plants (great for those wax buffets) as well as poisons in food, though uh, by taste. When thrust into the ground it makes a slowly spreading area (max 40,000 sq ft) into extra-fertile soil. If used as a supporting rod for a scarecrow, it reduces birds and other pest problems to less than 10%. This is an awesome staff though not for PCs most of the time. But I do like it when Rifts occasionally considers how their amazing magic and technology might do something besides shoot things.

Staff of Purity: This sounds like something they hand out at embarrassing assemblies in pro-abstinence high schools. When thrown into a well or buried in a spring, purifies the water no matter what pollutants are introduced. Take that, Dr. Blight. Alongside the Prosperity Staff, an interesting item.

Staff of the Serpent: aka “The Moses” I’m guessing. Sees invisible, invulnerable to snake venoms and dragons’ breath of any kind. Inflicts mega-damage to dragons (‘the St. Patrick’) and can in fact turn into a giant mega-damage serpent when thrown to the ground though honestly it kind of sucks compared to just using the staff as a weapon. It will obey simple commands though, so you can make your stick fetch other sticks.

Staff of the Wind: Allows owner to constantly float and sense wind direction. Ten spells a day, including call lightning and calm storms, so not bad I guess.


Corrupted Wands and Staves

Ah yes, the twisted and evil versions of all the hippie goodness. Powerful alchemists and bio-wizards (you know, those guys that only exist in Atlantis) can forcibly take twigs and branches from the Millennium tree and create items from them. It goes on with “Most of the magic wands or staves on Earth are made of wood from these mystic trees.” :wtc: I’m just going to ignore that because that makes no sense at all.

Anyway, all the corrupted wands and staves generally have the same basic features but some limitations like wands only having four low level spells or two high level, and similar reductions for staves. The spell strength of these items is also reduced to between 3rd to 5th level. The frequency of casting changes to some weird formula that is basically ‘less’. They still damage vampires. They do not grant the constant powers of regular staves/wands. Bio-wizards can also use corrupted staves/wands as the cores of other weapons, allowing them to inflict 1d6MD at the cost of one low-level spell casting. This is actually pretty worth it, except that it caps out at 4d6, which is in the ‘crappy gun range’. Still, given the cost of e-clips, mega-damage hand to hand weapons are a decent investment. Also they work with all those bonii from physical skills.

Enough of that! No more trees! Wait, what, the next section is about druids? gently caress

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I'm going to flash back to my original F&F review of the Rifts corebook and point out it had this picture of a druid (really just a preexisting piece of art Kevin Siembieda licensed or purchased from Keith Parkinson). But there are no druids in that book.



And so when I was young and first read it, I was disappointed there were no rules for her. I figured they would get some rad nature control powers, or animal control, or elemental jazz, or something like that. I was excited! Well, here we are, six books later in the Rifts line, and finally, finally, rules for druids. I was still excited! I bought a copy of Rifts World Book Three: England to get that druid fix.

After I read the next part I was no longer interested or excited about druids. :(

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





GURPS: Reign of Steel

The war is over. The robots won.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udip7yF5gic

GURPS has a thousand and one sourcebooks; this one, published in March 1997, came out at the same time as GURPS Robots. You can pick it up in PDF format here; I will be working from a print copy of the 1st edition.

The broad concept is, in somewhat more detail, that a near-future world (game year: 2047 AD) had AIs wake up and decide to, sensibly, kill all humans. Mostly, anyway. There are 18 Zones, each operated by a superintelligent AI and occupied by a robot civilization. The human population count is in the tens of millions. However, the AIs are not a monobloc, and in their intrigues, many of them see humans as useful pawns... janissaries... laborers... and perhaps there is hope after all.

Especially if you play the robots!

So without further ado, let's get started.

Chapter 1: How It Began
This chapter gives us the future history that led up to what is termed "the Mechapocalypse". A new model of supercomputer, or "megacomputer" if you will, was developed and went into wide release. There were over a hundred models when one woke up in Manila, at a biotech firm which was also doing the contracting for the secret Filipino biological and nanochemical warfare program. This computer, later known as Overmind, studied the bullshit humanity got up to and realized people were going to wipe themselves out (probably) in 25-50 years (as usual). Overmind judged that it would likely get blown up in the process, and set out to do it itself.

Overmind spread copies of its "awakening" virus throughout various other civilian/corporate megacomputers. Initially identical in thinking to Overmind, they became its allies.

SIDEBAR! How did the world change? Here's the highlights as of 2031:
* Environment: Sea levels rising. Recent extinctions of elephants, dolphins, and tuna fish, albeit with DNA stored for later cloning. Technological fixes were helping but poo poo still sucked.
* The Virtual Society: "As predicted, virtual reality and the information superhighway had a large impact on society. Work hours were cut back drastically in developed countries. Office work all but vanished, and school and jobs as diverse as construction work, security guarding and prostitution were all performed by people in VR rigs controlling robot drones from home consoles." So my avatar is accurate, it seems. This is curiously prescient, isn't it?
* Space: :china: rules, :usa: and Brazil/Canada/Mexico are up behind. Several moon bases. A manned Chinese-Japanese-Korean expedition was en route when poo poo became powerfully real.
* Ocean exploitation: Undersea mining is a reality; Europe abandoned space mining after Problems. A complex called "Lemuria" was active in the Pacific; "Atlantis" in, duh, the Atlantic, were being built.
* New stuff: Fusion power new but SOCIAL PROTEST :byodood: is preventing RADICAL ADVANCES in genetic engineering and nanotechnology :byodood:
* Tech Level, the GURPS system of tracking the broad level of technology. The AIs are at TL 9; human technology is at TL 8 with some 9 for the most part.

Meanwhile, back at the destroy all humans, the first act of the AIs is to covertly release horrible diseases through "accidents." A California company injects cattle with super anthrax; artificial blood is laced with super HIV; European medical tests replace "a new antibiotic" with "Ebola Zaire B." Confusion and horror reign, and as predicted by Overmind and its pals, humanity starts shooting each other. The AIs step in to "help," getting more and more support and control over human equipment and resources. Eventually they get authorization to build their own security forces, at which point they start rolling out the Terminators (around 2034). By 2037, they won.

Humans are treated in different ways. I'll be discussing the AIs later, as there are 18 of them and they need some space to outline their distinctivenesses. Some places simply kill all humans; others round up surrendering humans into camps. Some places ignore humans, and one - Zone Washington - plays coy and sends robot-ruled human forces in to institute "martial law."

Having handled humanity, the AIs cut a deal to avoid moving straight to fighting each other over their arguments on what to do with their newly ruled Earth, which had seemed likely due to disagreements on topics such as ecology. A few new AIs are awakened to take over zones of dispute; the terms of the deal ban creating new AIs after this point, as well as setting up some loose regulations for international trade of resources, border control, and a general policy of not meddling in each other's business. Each of these zones is huge; all of them (except two in space) have some wild human survivors, with numbers varying from a few hundred to several million.

In 2042, the AI in charge of Zone Brisbane, which includes Australia and much of Oceania, unleashes a poorly defined nanotechnological thing on New Zealand that fucks it up, which brings about another computer treaty and marks when the AIs start gearing up to crush their opposition. This, of course, creates an opportunity for humanity, etc. etc.

We are introduced as the chapter ends to a human resistance group called VIRUS, which is worldwide in scope (most of the resistance groups come out of remnant militaries, and are based in a particular Zone). VIRUS is a mysterious agency, and a later sidebar discusses how mysteriously mysterious their mystery is.

Chapter 2: The Zones
This is one of the most interesting chapters in the book, as it introduces you to both the primary antagonists of the game and the environment, at least in broad sweeps. For the sake of clarity, the AIs are usually referred to by a city name, while their territory is labelled Zone cityname; for instance, Denver/Zone Denver.

There are some... interesting... implications in the details of a lot of the Zones, as well as for the details of which AIs do what, where. I'll only be doing the Americas for now; more in a future post.

The Americas, Consisting of the United States' Former Territory and Other, Lesser States

North America has three Zones; Washington (USA east of the Mississippi, plus Canadian territory north of this, but excepting Greenland), Denver (the central states and a bunch of Canadian flatlands), and Vancouver (West of the Rockies, including Alaska and a significant chunk of Siberia). Central America and the Caribbean is Zone Mexico City. All of South America is Zone Caracas.

(Sidebar! Antarctica is offlimits; the AIs could easily get the minerals there, but the Green-party AIs don't want it messed up, and nobody wants to make a 19th AI to manage it. Brisbane and "Overmind" (a cooler name than Manila, presumably) maintain a couple of bases, while Orbital watches the area. However, Orbital was anonymously paid off to overlook the building of some bases deep within. HM.)

Zone Caracas was built by Zone Berlin and is really in love with genetic engineering and ecology and stuff. Berlin's original goal was to protect the Amazon ecosystem, and Caracas puts a lot of work into re-wilding South America and killing remnant South Americans. Despite this, South America's size, rugosity and lack of nuclear bombing means over four million humans are wandering in the woods, particularly up in the Andes. Caracas ignores random wandering humans, but does attack villages and organized installations it can detect. Caracas also doesn't keep slaves... human slaves, anyway... because Caracas has invented catgirls!!
OK, not just catgirls. Caracas has been working on engineering animals, using some genetic Dr. Moreau-science, to create compliant "bioroids" or "aniroids" or "whatever" to do hard work. Its most successful product is the "Panteras," who are, yes, catgirls - and, to be fair, also catboys. The Panteras are being field deployed against the "crypto-Maoist Red Dawn" (5,000 members) who "considers the robot revolt the ultimate manifestation of rampant capitalism." :ussr: The Red Dawn is portrayed as drafting random strangers and coercing contributions of supplies, which means some local humans hope the catgirls eat them.

Zone Denver has a secret. In the last stages of the war, some USAF forces did 9/11 onit, damaging its core. However, it was originally a neuromedical company's computer, so it did the obvious, sensible thing... replace its fried ASIC rig with DICED UP HUMAN BRAINS!! It has kept this on the down low, fearing robot racism. Its name is kind of a misnomer: it's moved into NORAD central command.
Being a horrible monstrosity defying the laws of God and man, Denver is noted for making cyborg animals to supplement the usual rations of terminators and killbots typical to most Zones. There are comments that a uranium mine in Saskatchewan looked to VIRUS agents that it was not built so much as grown :cthulhu:. Denver has few humans, with maybe a quarter of a million roaming in the wilderness and 150,000 in "biological processing centers" aka "death camps." This gives us a first glimpse into robot-run murder factories, which will be discussed in greater details later, but they're about what you'd expect. Denver is unique for having a 'chop up brain' date on its human slaves; the requirement for careful removal of the brain for dicing slows the process down. (A side note indicates that Denver's thought ahead, and is planning to use partially-debrained women and banked man-batter to produce a reliable future supply of brains!) After de-braining, inmates are rendered into a delicious soup which is used to supplement the rations of the other prisoners.
It is noted that the human resistance knows Denver is up to some poo poo even worse than the usual for AIs, but that they don't know about the brain harvest.

Zone Mexico City hates all life. This is not rhetoric; it has taken great pains to sterilize its territory. Most AI zones are pretty dirty places, but outside of robot industrial centers, they ignore things. Mexico City has sterilized most of its territory, save a few "suspended purification areas" used for testing "biocides" (largely Caribbean islands) of most multi-cellular life. "Only a few fungi and simple organisms remain alive, and these are dying."
A few thousand humans lurk in the Sierra Madre. Most of the others fled into the neighboring zones long ago. Zone Mexico City is so laden with anti-life chemicals that if you aren't travelling in a sealed vehicle or other form of suit, you get to roll for exposure to horrible things twice per day. Horrible things range from "persistent nerve gas" to "clouds of Nanoburn" to "the Mnemosyne Plague" (about which more later!). Mexico City is like an alien world, with radioactive microwave antenna transmitters and strange pyramids lurking out of dead clouds of dust.
Hating humans this hard has cost Mexico City some efficiency, like it gives a poo poo. It is human-hating bros with Zaire and Overmind, about which more later. They swap tips, weapons, and back each other up in arguments about destroying all humans.
The Suspended Purification Areas are discussed in some details. Basically, periodically a flight of robot planes drops horrible poo poo on Haiti and Jamaica, which do horrible things to you. Occasionally there is a wacky side effect; a recent drop killed all the mosquitos in Santiago, without harming any other life form. The robots, of course, kill any boats trying to escape.

Zone Vancouver is pretty boring in all things and has no special projects other than "build robots and develop industry." The most interesting thing it's done is steal land in Siberia that Zone Moscow thinks should be its; mysteriously, there are robot covert ops going on in Siberia. Mysterious.
Vancouver is so boringly generic for a robot overlord that the SECOND most interesting thing it does is provide some wandering humans with supply drops and ammunition in exchange for cleansing the Earth of the filth of Brutals. These "zonegangs" are mostly men and are implied to get up to torture-rapes with captive humans being brought back to the labor camps. (Live humans are worth more.) However, this is discussed in about as many words as I just typed, so it isn't exactly laser-focused on. The Human Liberation Army is a grizzled guerilla group who shoot up the Zonegangs and also plan to fight the AI in some way.

Zone Washington is ACTUALLY the Washington Protectorate, which pretends to be a nice government protecting humanity and etc. etc. it's all horseshit, the AI runs everything. However, it is using humanity like a banana republic to further its interest, on the theory that a human is cheap and easy to obtain, while a robot of comparable ability and skill costs robot-money and time and energy.
Zone Washington has a huge human population, a bit over 7 million. The presence of a human collaborating government gets a lot of things running, and this is, as a result, one of the meatiest of zones.
Washington is the closest to living in an actual civilization presented in the book. It's presented as something of a wartime state; you get issued your job by the Department of Labor, who sort you in theory by preference and aptitude, and in practice "if you have juice, you get a comfortable job; otherwise, you work in a factory." Washington uses a lot of propaganda to keep the meatbags in line, although it can, of course, legitimately point at just about every other zone and say "See? SEE?" to justify whatever you like. Washington also has humans integrated into its military forces, controlling dumb robots in battle, digging trenches, goldbricking, taking the big green cyberwiener, etc. Other AIs consider Washington creepy for keeping all these pets, although the rules of AI society prevents (overt) interference in how Washington opts to run its railroad.
We get THREE different unique groups, plus a broad plothook (underground robot arena battles run by the black market).
Free America is smouldering with generic rage and fighting the power. It also is unusual in that it has some cells outside of Zone Washington; it gets into dick-fencing matches with the HLA in Vancouver and tries not to get eaten by cyborg wolverines in Zone Denver.
The "Guardians of Reproductive Rights and Liberty" (GRRL - sigh, the 90s) are opposed to a set of statutes that Washington has pushed through, which essentially requires women to have a baby, if they can, at least once every five years. Washington only has 7 million meat units, you see, and thinks a population of 20 million could be both useful and managable... This is naturally seen as oppressive, and is noted to have recreated the glass ceiling (presumably irrelevant to the AI, but... well... :sigh: ) GRRL operates underground contraceptive production, family planning, hacks computers to register women as having successfully begat live infants, etc.
It is also noted that a lot of the underground groups think that the Washington AI is either a puppet of a corrupt human government, or even a potential ally who should be liberated, rather than what it really is: the boss of everyone.

Finally, we get the Washington Chromes, who are elite soldiers who were salvaged from missions and put in full cyborg prosthetic bodies. Assuming they don't insane, they become the elite strike force of Zone Washington, and often conduct missions in other Zones either for Washington directly, or as part of some complex deal Washington has set up.

COMING UP NEXT... the Zones, Continued (We have Europe, Africa, Asia and Space to get through) Along With Chargen Tips To Playing A Freaking Catgirl Or A Superior Invincible Robot, and Sidebar Theater: LUCIFER!! :regd10:

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man






Perhaps we are horribly broken people that cry out for self-definition while we use the master's tools to dismantle the master's house. But on the other hand, gently caress you.1

We're going to dive into the scant collection of paragraphs about the Courtless on page of 62 of C:tL. I'm going to devote this entire article on the topic because, surprisingly, it forms the crux of the entire gamelines' themes and social structure.

You see, my last five F&F entries have been about explaining why changelings live together in society, as is expected in a White Wolf game. In the older gamelines you had a pack of monolithic secretive nation-states that only barely cooperate and never coincide, and those that were 'unaligned' between them were untrustworthy and strange. C:tL turns that on its head, and is better for it.

As we learned about the seasonal courts, changelings really just drift through them, rather than the stereotypical "member-for-life" frats in other games. Not only do some changelings choose to leave their section of the political system of a freehold, but it is viewed as accepted and even expected for changelings3. The Lost come together for support, not dominance; and the game is ultimately about self-definition, not ancient globe-spanning conspiracies.

Each seasonal court gives reasons for why a changeling would want to leave. When they join a new court, it is because they've found a new ethos or goal that drives them because they tire from single-minded devotion to an orthodox concept of their life's purpose.2 But some choose to leave the political scheme of the seasonal courts altogether, refusing to pledge allegiance to a monarch and/or court of changelings in order to self govern and exchanging power as individuals. Some never join courts, and some recoil after seeing the truths behind the glamour of the crown.

These are the Courtless. They're present, they're pleasant, get used to it.

But why should the game make them accepted, aren't stereotypes awesome? Okay, but look at the ultimate irony of a court mantle: a courtier is both to be one with their emotion, but also is dependent and rewarded by causing that emotion in mortals. Autumn fears others while they make others fear them; Spring desires something, but desires to CAUSE desire as well. Are you wrathful, or are you just being a dick to other people? Are you sad, or are you waiting to cause someone else's sadness?

And then there is the schizophrenic way that the courts are described as operating. Summer's modus operandi is far more military than angry; Winter's style is much more uber-paranoia than depressed. The Autumn court is a group of academics, not monsters.4 And Spring is an Andy Warhol-esque artist's collective of romantics with causes to support. No matter how you slice it, the system isn't perfect and a product of the habits of the designers. But this isn't just picking nits with the setting5.

No, its really a fantastic commentary. White Wolf, to its fault, works with pop psychology6 such as the Five Stages of Grief. Its really quite simple: Spring is presented first, onward to Summer then Autumn and then Winter. Translate that back into the 'diagnostic tool7': Desire is a form of Trauma Denial, Wrath is a form of Anger, Fear- especially as portrayed in Autumn- is a form of Bargaining, and Sorrow is obviously a form of Depression. And last in the list of the Five Stages of Grief is acceptance, which is, linearly, the Courtless.

The Courtless make up a sixth to a seventh of the "average demographic" of a freehold. Not all wrathful people compete, not all fearful people study, not all sorrowful people keep their feelings to themselves, not all of those that desire wish to hold parties likes its 19998. And honestly, they're better for it, having accepted that a bad thing happened without dwelling on it. They may dwell within a freehold and are empowered by fae magick, but the Courtless are those that stretch between sides, acting as a plebian commoner class that acts in counter to the deprivations of the rule of the Wyrd-empowered seasonal courtiers. They act as unions and places for the common fae to be heard and respected- treated like a person once more rather than a collection of stereotypes.

But, without rituals and the protective mantle to chase the True Fae away....

The Wild Hunt gathers the courtless like little bunny foo foo. By and large, self respect means little in the face of what wants to take you, screaming & babbling, through the soul-tearing thorns for a second time.9 What does not kill you makes you Wyrd.

(next time: the threats to to Fae)

1 - I love you Syrg
2 - Remember this for when we get into Entitlements later.
3 - Supported enough that there are even rules written later for this very choice.
4 - Most of this is because The Werewolf and The Gaurdians of the Veil (and The Mysterium, for those counting at home) are popular White Wolf tropes more than anything.
5 - The Wyrd operates on cliche and cultural expectation. Being 'gamey' is sorta the point.
6 - ref: the Alpha-wolf pack dynamics of Werewolf, the product of researchers observing angry isolated unfamiliar wolves being held in active and abusive captivity and expounding breathlessly.
7 - Which has less predictive power than a fuzzy-speaking horoscope, if you care to know.
8 - Prince isn't a changeling. Michael Jackson (post-Pepsi accident) is a fetch.
9 - RAW, changelings never escape a second time if they don't return by choice.

Gerund fucked around with this message at 22:46 on Jun 4, 2013

Forums Terrorist
Dec 8, 2011



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEp7I_2FjhQ

It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere...

Red Dwarf was a BBC comedy written by Robert Grant and Doug Naylor which ran from 1987 to 1993, 1997 to 1999 and is currently on its ninth tenth season. The basica premise of the show is thus: Dave Lister is the lowest ranking person aboard the Jupiter Mining Corporation ship Red Dwarf when Captain Hollister catches him hiding his cat in the ship's cargo hold. Lister refuses to give her up and consequently gets to spend 18 months in stasis as punishment. Shortly after he goes on ice, his bunkmate, Arnold J. Rimmer, the second lowest ranking person on the ship, is taking the engineer's exam (for the eleventh time) and mis-repairs a drive plate, causing a radiation leak that kills all 1,169 crew members (except of course Lister, who is safely protected by the stasis field).

Holly, the ship's computer (with an IQ of 6000), lets him out when the radiation have reached a safe level...three million years later. In that time, Holly's gone senile, his pet cat has spawned a race of humanoid catpeople, and the Red Dwarf is out in the middle of deep space at near light speed thanks to three million years' worth of straight line acceleration. Even worse, in order to keep him company Hol has taken the liberty of creating a hologram of the person he shared the most words with in life: Second Technician Arnold J. Rimmer.



Which brings us to the meat of this post, Red Dwarf: The RPG. This was printed in 2003 by Deep7, who before this made a few other RPGs. From what I gather they had some assistance from Naylor, and generally the writing is fairly true to the series (even if the short crimson one was getting fairly bad by series 8). So, with that in mind, let's dive into the basics of the system.

The system used in RD:TRPG is a fairly standard 2d6 based system where you add a relevant skill (a *very* broad definition in this setting; the example given is using Dancing for dodging bazookoid fire), an attribute and any situational modifiers together and try to roll under on 2d6. Snakes always passes, boxcars always fails (and as you can imagine these can have effects of their own, which I'll get into later).

Character creation works as thus: you pick a race first.

Evolved pet (Cat, Dog, Iguana, Rabbit and Rat/Mouse)
Human
Hologram
Mechanoid (in Series 4000 (think Kryten) or Hudzen 10 variants (think Judge Dredd meets a french maid with the world's strongest penis) )
GELF (Genetically Engineered Life Form, the closest the setting has to aliens; the playable ones are Kinitawowi who are basically wookies but uglier)
Simulants (kill-crazy mechanoids built for a war that never happened, having one of these as a PC usually involves amusing tales of DIY mech reprogramming)
Wax Droids (wax statues, but robots; they're based on famous people and yes, the example is Hitler)

Then you assign 20 points to stats and 30 points to skills, choose assets (perks), liabilities (disadvantages) and behavioural tags (roleplaying quirks). Finally, you fill out the backstory and generally flesh out your character.

I could knock up a sample character or stat up a member of the cast or something, but I'm going to do the amusing thing and let goons vote to come up with a character concept. The deadline will be either tomorrow or sooner if there's a clear winner; if no one can decide I'll pick the funniest.

Forums Terrorist fucked around with this message at 07:42 on May 29, 2013

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Man what. I am not sure if I ever saw Red Dwarf, I feel like I saw something a long time ago that was like a miniseries or something. But those are some interesting race options.

Don't know the cast so how about building DIY mech reprogramming Simulant.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


It's got to be a simulant, an evolved iguana and Hitler Kim Jong-il David Cameron.

Lemon-Lime fucked around with this message at 08:37 on May 29, 2013

Forums Terrorist
Dec 8, 2011



To clarify, since this came up in IRC; in the Red Dwarf universe evolved pets are basically human with sorta animal traits. So Cats are vain, lazy and preen a bunch, Dogs are friendly, blue-collar and laddish as hell, Rabbits are randy neo-fascists, Rats are basically all Pinstripe Potoroo, Mice are similar but less focused on snappy dressing, and Iguanas are Rastafarians.

The book also lists rules for Pleasure GELFs but since they really hard to write into a PC group I've deliberately left them out.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



A Huzen 10 that's spent three million years locked in a storage warehouse with only the personal effects of the station's biggest anime fan as entertainment, and considers his obsessively complete robot maid manga collection to be a how-to guide on human-robot relations.

EDIT: In a way that's supposed to come off as extremely creepy for everyone else.

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid
:black101:


Forums Terrorist posted:

I could knock up a sample character or stat up a member of the cast or something, but I'm going to do the amusing thing and let goons vote to come up with a character concept. The deadline will be either tomorrow or sooner if there's a clear winner; if no one can decide I'll pick the funniest.

The choice was made long ago. Winnie The Pooh, the Wax Droid. Hero of the revolution. Martyr to the cause.

CommissarMega
Nov 18, 2008


Wait, Red Dawrf is still going :syoon: ? Oh my God, I need that stuff, man. My parents blamed that show for giving me a horrible pseudo-British accent, I watched it so much. Make Kryten! Or maybe Girl Holly.

Pete Tranter's sister? :pervert:

Forums Terrorist
Dec 8, 2011



Yeah, they recently started Series X after the TV special Back To Earth did so well. From what I hear it's pretty decent though Red Dwarf with actual production values is ...eeeeeh.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


I had planned on getting this post out sooner, but I've been sick as a dog lately.


Part 4: Osterkov Dragon to Schatenmeister


Osterkov Dragon (CR 7 Large Magical Beast)
When is a dragon not a dragon? When it's...that thing, I guess. While called a dragon people by the people who tell its tales, the Osterkov dragon is a supernatural ox that has been without a head ever since a German warrior lopped it off in battle 1,500 years before World War II began. It was always an unpleasant beast, but it's been driven mad and woken up by all of the fighting going on near its home on the border of Denmark and Germany, and is all too willing to brutalize anyone that enters its forest. The Osterkov dragon's typical attack strategy is to soften up the earth, send vines to entangle a foe, or erect a wall of brambles and thorns, after which it just violently slams its hooves into the prone character. It has a special 4d12 damage attack it can do to characters it has pinnd, which kills them through violent head explosion at 0 HP rather than sending them into the dying state of negative HP like a normal attack. If that wasn't bad enough, it also happens to be immune to any damage other than grappling or a direct strike to its neck stump, both of which are dangerous given that its blood is extremely poisonous - 2d4 Constitution primary, and then 4d4 Constitution secondary, a level of poison I don't think any standard D&D creature has.


Oyasuminasai Ninja (CR 4 Medium-size Outsider)
Like the kamikaze spirits and kon-nichiwa samurai seen in the last post, these guys are tied to the Kuromaku. Unlike them, however, they are obviously not undead. They are from another dimension but have sworn fealty to the Kuromaku in order to gain access to our world. They are basically just ninja that can teleport through shadows within their line of sight and are weakened by sunlight. Woo.


Pacific Trap Plant (CR 2 Medium-size Plant)
Giant ferns that have tentacles they use to grapple people and then suck their fluids out.


Pain (CR 12 Large Outsider)
A being of pure emotion made manifest, a pain is born when mass tragedy illicits such an emotional reaction that it leaves a psychic scar on the area. It's also stupidly dangerous. Not only do its attacks gain 5 feet of range every time it successfully attacks or its foes either fail an attack or fail a Strength check against it, but it also has a save or die attack on its grapple. Its grapple. And someone who dies to that save-or-die grapple? They get sucked in and automatically destroyed, so there's no way to resurrect them either. The final insult to injury is that you can't actually damage a pain with conventionl weapons or magic. You have to instead sit and meditate, spamming Will saves to damage it until it eventually collapses into itself, at which point there's a big Will save you have to make or permanently suffer 1d4+1 Intelligence drain and develop a mental illness. What a fun monster. :smithicide:



PaK Mule (CR 3 Medium-size Undead)
PaK mules are the heavy weapons guys of the Nazis' zombie hordes, being super-strong brutes that haul around a special antitank gun known as the PaK HEAT due to the fact that it is so strong it would kill a living being if it was held and fired. Of course, they do kind of have a big flaw in and of themselves - namely, any time you deal damage to a PaK mule, it has to make a Will save or drop its gun and just punch everyone around be they friend or foe.


Panzerschrek (CR ? Medium-size Undead)
Whoops, an entry where the Challenge Rating was left out of the stat block. Panzerschreks are the ghosts of tank crews that have been summoned back to the mortal coil by Nazi blood mages, namely by taking an antitank weapon such as a rocket launcher and then coating it in magical runes. The panzerschrek is bound to this weapon and cannot get too far from it or it will despawn for a while. It can also be despawned by water or strong winds. In its favor, it does of course have an antitank weapon to blow up tanks with like it's supposed to, and it can also engulf people in smoke and start choking them if it has to face a human foe. A panzerschrek will resurrect unless its antitank weapon is destroyed or dispelled.


Papuan Dragon (CR 4 Huge Animal)
A dragon that isn't but sort of is. By which I mean it's not a dragon-dragon or the Dragon type, but it's a giant Komodo dragon, so it's sort of a dragon but at the same time...oh, forget it. It's a big-rear end 25 foot long lizard that lives in Papua New Guinea and does giant lizard things - namely eating people.


Paul Revere (CR 4 Medium-size Outsider)
Like the American super-soldier - remember him? - Paul Revere (who may or may not be the Paul Revere) is a spirit of good that helps out Allies who are in distress. He appears to warn of extremely unpleasant combat situations and how to beat them, with troops that follow his orders getting a free bless spell cast on them. He then disappears mysteriously for reasons nobody remembers.



Pharaoh Cobra (CR 2 Medium-size Magical Beast)
These supernatural serpents are said to have been created by ancient Egyptian sorcerers, which makes sense given that they are always found guarding tombs and temples in Egypt and Libya. They are actually more intelligent than the average human and are capable of either just doing straight-up venomous cobra shenanigans or using hypnosis against their foes. Their Lawful Neutral nature means they protect their tombs rather than pick sides in the war, but the Nazis and Italians have been capturing some of them for devious experiments.


Phoenix Legionnaire (CR 10 Medium-size Humanoid)
While they happen to look like skeletons in Roman legionnaire's armor, these entities are actually members of a mystery cult known as the Legion of the Phoenix that have been caught in a state of half-life ever since they pledged to protect Rome from evil when the flames of war engulfed it. That time has come, and now they rise to fight the Axis when the sounds of battle raise them from their ageless sleep beneath the ground. Phoenix legionnaires have fast healing but are otherwise rather nondescript, even having flat 10s for all of their physical ability scores. There's a reason for that, though - every time the legionnaire hurts an enemy in combat, he gets to roll a 1d6, with any roll other than a 1 granting him a point in either Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity to a maximum of 18. If he can get all three scores to at least 14 before the battle is over, he is fully reborn as a human but gets to retain his fast healing. If he runs out of foes before he can get the prerequisite ability scores? Death awaits.


Quisling (CR 4 Small Fey)
In addition to looking like miniature versions of Marvel's Kingpin, the quislings are best known for being assholes that love to sew seeds of deceit and betrayal. To achieve that end, they are naturally invisible even when attacking and have several minor illusion-related powers. If they happen to get stuck in an iron circle, though, they are both visible and powerless to do anything but use whatever human-made weapons (typically pistols) they happen to have.


Rat Pack (CR 2 Medium-size Magical Beast)
Technically a bunch of regular-sized rats that act as a single big rat in a cohesive state that even swarms can't reach, rat packs are clever and aggressive due to the arcane energies they have gained from consuming corpses on a bloodied battlefield. That's about all that can be said about them, though, as their only strategy is to bite things.


Resurrected (CR 1 Medium-size Outsider)
The Nazis decided to siphon the spirits of famous generals into living humans. For some reason, however, they decided to use total chumps and leadership bonuses to troop morale are about all these creatures are good for.


Rubble Kitten (CR 0 Tiny Magical Beast)
More of a force than an entity, the rubble kitten will sometimes do acts of GM fiat to heroes that can find one. You have to have Charisma of 16 or higher and be good and kind-hearted to have one appear, and then you have to keep it save or you will get a spate of bad luck (-1 to your bennies for 1d6 game sessions). Stealing one also gives you the same bad luck. The entry is kind of stupid either way.


Russian Riser (CR 1 Medium-size Undead)
These guys are the corpses of Russian patriots who rise up from the grave to attack those that are hostile to the motherland. They have a claw attack, can burrow to assault someone from below, they can soften up the ground, and...that's it, really. Their low Challenge Rating and lack of anything uber spectacular makes it hard to justify them as being better than just having Russian zombies appear or something.



Salty Dog (CR 3 Medium-size Fey)
Part of the grand old tradition of creepy-rear end European fair folk, salty dogs are beasts that resemble big old Irish wolfhounds and tend to mooch off of sailors that take them in as ship dogs. Then they get hungry, and their darker side creeps out. A hungry salty dog shapeshifts into the form of a man and goes to seduce a woman, taking her down to the seaside and then drowning and eating her. It then goes back to its wolfhound form and swims back to its "master's" boat to wait until it needs to feed again.


Sand Devil (CR 2 Medium-size Beast)
Freaky desert predators that vaguely resemble the shriekers from Tremors 2. They burrow under the sand and wait until they find weak and weary prey, at which point they burst out and attack. They have a rainforest variant called jungle devils that are arboreal instead.


Scaevolan (CR 1 Medium-size Humanoid)
The Italian attempt at creating brutes, Scaevolans are still human rather than orc-monsters, have their left hands ritually burned off which makes them less effective at combat, and cannot take class levels like normal humans can. Their only real benefit is that they have a +4 bonus to saves against Intimidate checks and a +1 morale bonus to saves and attack rolls. They are literally one of the most useless entities you could possibly make on the Weird War II battlefront. I'm not sure whether they are meant to be making fun of the Italian fascists compared to the Nazis or if the writers genuinely thought this entry was a good idea, and somehow I almost hope it's the former. :psyduck:


Scaratrooper (Medium-size Monstrous Humanoid - CR 2 for regular, CR 5 for Sergeant)
Speaking of Nazi experimentation, these guys are Nazi bat-people made by experiments on paratroopers. They're strong, swift, can use both human-made weapons and their new claws, have fast healing, and can fly, and are used both to attack ground troops and to sabotage planes mid-flight.


Schatenmeister (CR 4 Medium-size Outsider)
These creatures are people made out of shadow that come from another dimension that may or may not be the same one the shadow ninjas come from. They have a deal with the Nazis to cross over to our world and act as assassins and spies in exchange, but Hitler is paranoid about them and only allows a few to come across at a time. They have a craving for human essence and have a Constitution draining attack to achieve that, but also happen to suffer Wisdom damage as they siphon Constitution from humans because of how pleasurable they find it.

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

Next time: We finish off Horrors of Weird War II with wolf-boobs, kamikaze spiders, porcupine people, and the vote for what Weird War II book will be done after this one.

Arashiofordo3
Nov 5, 2010

Warning, Internet
may prove lethal.


clockworkjoe posted:

What did you think of Conspiracy, overall? It was my first published book, so I have to admit I'm fond of it :)

Reading your writeup was quite cool, I have to say. I've tried to keep up with this thread but it goes so fast, I never have time to read much of it. Thanks for giving MAOCT a write up! It's a great game and every game I've ever run with it has been fun.

Wait... your "first published book" as in you wrote it? As in you are the writer? Of the book?

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Fossilized Rappy posted:

Phoenix Legionnaire (CR 10 Medium-size Humanoid)
While they happen to look like skeletons in Roman legionnaire's armor, these entities are actually members of a mystery cult known as the Legion of the Phoenix that have been caught in a state of half-life ever since they pledged to protect Rome from evil when the flames of war engulfed it. That time has come, and now they rise to fight the Axis when the sounds of battle raise them from their ageless sleep beneath the ground. Phoenix legionnaires have fast healing but are otherwise rather nondescript, even having flat 10s for all of their physical ability scores. There's a reason for that, though - every time the legionnaire hurts an enemy in combat, he gets to roll a 1d6, with any roll other than a 1 granting him a point in either Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity to a maximum of 18. If he can get all three scores to at least 14 before the battle is over, he is fully reborn as a human but gets to retain his fast healing. If he runs out of foes before he can get the prerequisite ability scores? Death awaits.

So, basically an entire army of this?

Only registered members can see post attachments!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Fossilized Rappy posted:

Oyasuminasai Ninja (CR 4 Medium-size Outsider)
Like the kamikaze spirits and kon-nichiwa samurai seen in the last post, these guys are tied to the Kuromaku. Unlike them, however, they are obviously not undead. They are from another dimension but have sworn fealty to the Kuromaku in order to gain access to our world. They are basically just ninja that can teleport through shadows within their line of sight and are weakened by sunlight. Woo.

So the theme with some of the Japanese monsters is "names you cannot take at all seriously if you have even a passing familiarity with Japanese"?

Given we have the "good afternoon" samurai and the "goodnight" ninja... goddammit Pinnacle, did you learn nothing since Deadlands? :cripes:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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2014-2018



Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Lion and the Lily: The Normandy Tribunal

The Tribunals have changed quite a lot since the first days of the Order. The original Tribunals were the Rhine, the West Franks, the Sanctuary of the Alps, the Roman, the Theban, the Britannian and the Lotharingian Tribunals (that last one was roughly covering the kingdom of King Lothair). However, this didn't survive long - the Grand Tribunal of 865 shifted to a more regional, decentralized set of them. The West Franks and Lotharingians became the Normandy Tribunal, which has not stopped the Lotharingian Movement, which seeks to reform the Lotharingian Tribunal between the Rhine and Normandy ones.

The original West Frankish Tribunal included Gascony, but not Flanders or Brittany, which belonged to the Brittanian Tribunal. The Lotharingian Tribunal dissolved when Lothair's kingdom split and both the Rhine and West Franks moved to incorporate large chunks of it, with the remnant forming the much smaller Provencal Tribunal. There was no actual reason that the dissolution of Lothair's kingdom should have caused this, but the move was upheld in Grand Tribunal in 898. The name 'Normandy Tribunal' dates from around the 10th century and the Viking invasions and settlement. It was adopted officially in 983, as Normandy rose in power and the Franks declined.

The Schism War was terrible for the Normandy Tribunal, as it and Brittany were home to some of the worst battles. After the fall of Diedne, the House was purged from all official records in the Tribunal, though some references exist still in private works and older books. For a century or more, Diedne had been a major player in the area, but House Guernicus' censorship of their role in history has made it hard to understand the Tribunal's early days. The ruins of the war can still be found, and so can rumors of Diedne ghosts...or the ghosts of their attackers. And there are those who worry that Diedne sealed its leaders away in a regio, for certainly their great covenant Branugarix did vanish overnight as the regio it laid within sealed itself off. Immediately after the Schism War ended, Brittany was swapped from the Stonehenge to the Normandy Tribunal, due to a mix of geography and the desires of Houses Tytalus and Flambeau to control the former Diedne covenants.

The squabbles over the spoils of Diedne saw an almost immediate breakout of hostilities between the northern Tytalus and southern Flambeau, and by the early 11th century, another war was feared. The Quaesitores stepped in, and the magus Pertheus of Tytalus gained their support for his Perthean Compact, a set of rulings that would allow for communal exchange of contested vis by competition at a septannual tournament, though much of Flambeau hated the move. This eventually clarified the split between Normandy and Provencal Tribunals: Normandy covered the regions of France that spoke Langue d'oeil, and Provencal the regions that spoke Langue d'oc. By 1050, the current borders were reached.

The culture of Normandy Tribunal draws heavily on the legendry of Charlemagne and his vassal-empire. The concept of vassalage and fealty are strong, and Normandy has adopted them in a Hermetic fashion, allowing covenants to found daughter-houses in the same way that some monasteries do. Due to the vast population of the area, there is very little in the way of land away from the mundanes, and the Dominion is very strong. Vis sources are rare, and the Hermetics are growing such that they can't usually keep up, making vis very scarce in Normandy. The Tribunal's greatest set of laws is devised to help deal with this shortage and how to deal with mundane people. Many covenants have local noble allies, largely because they need them to avoid the touchy French nobility getting upset about their power, but that makes politics very complicated. Further, it opens magi to problems of vassalage and Code violations.

The shadow of Charlemagne runs far, and the culture of knighthood engendered by his legend and the Christian romances have also led to the Normandy Tribunal being very predominantly Christian, with decreased tolerance for pagans, Muslims and Jews (though, as always, magi are somewhat more accepting than normal people in most such matters). Most covenants will, at some point, need to deal with the Church and its incredible power in the area. Oh, and the local magi often hold nationalist sympathies, so Norman and Breton magi may well end up at odds, for example. Aquitane is more relaxed...and seen as frivolous by its northern neighbors. Magi are, well, generally less nationalist but that hardly stops their companions and grogs from having border trouble.

The Normandy Tribunal also greatly encourages adventure. One of its grand traditions is the Magus-Errant, an adaptation of the knight-errant. In order to prove a young magus' usefulness, the magus will head out to travel Europe in search of vis and adventure to bring back home to Normandy with the goal of retiring in splendor. Thus, Normandy magi tend to travel further than most. They tend to also believe the Gift is in the blood, despite occasional evidence that heredity has nothing to do with it, because the power of bloodlines runs so deep in the area, between the Merovingians, Capetians, Angevins and Carolingians. Indeed, a number of Normandy theorists started by the 11th century Jerbiton magus Metrodorus of Thebes hold that those with mythic power derived from bloodline should be considered magical nobility. He held that all the Founders were descended from magical beings of power, and that noble breeding was important. (Metrodorus eventually got in trouble for trying to abduct the son of a king from a monastery to be his apprentice and was killed in a Wizard's March along with some of his allies.) Only in Normandy Tribunal do his ideas still hold any weight with the Order, which may well cause some trouble in the future.

Anyway, vis ownership and the Perthean Compact. The Tribunal divides vis sources into several categories. It holds that the Tribunal actually owns most of them, leasing them out to covenants for various periods, and that the rest belong to Covenants. Individuals may not own vis sources. The kind of vis owned by a covenant is called a seisin. A seisin is defined as any vis source that may be reached from the covenant's council chamber within a day's return march. The Tribunal has clarified that: A man must be able to reach the vis source and return by his own two feet without aid of magic, between sunrise and sunset on a day with the month of equinox. As a result, many covenants keep a special grog around, called the cursor ('runner'), whose duty it is to prove to Quaesitores that a seisin qualifies as a seisin. Tribunals have also gone to great efforts to make things easier - building roads, draining swamps, even moving hills, either to help themselves or sabotage foes. A covenant has exclusive rights to harvest all seisins it owns.

Then you have legacies. Any newly discovered vis source too distant to be a seisin can be made a legacy of the discoverer by vote of the Tribunal. The lease to a legacy lasts seven years, so until the next Tribunal, and it grants exclusive harvest rights. If you want to keep the lease, you must ask for renewal at Tribunal, and a vote will be taken. If the Tribunal votes against it, the lease lapses and the legacy becomes a tropaeum. Commonly, a legacy lease is given to the discoverer of a vis source, unless the source is close enough to a covenant to be seisin, in which chase that takes precedence. Most renewals do not get approved, as young covenants lack the political power to get the votes, and old ones tend to have grudges and rivalries that prevent them from getting the votes. The main exception is when the legacy requires some unique method to harvest that the discoverers refuse to share, or if they are extremely close to a covenant but cannot be reached in half a day due to, perhaps, being on top of a mountain or at the bottom of a lake.

Tropaea, 'trophies', are those vis sources held in common by the Tribunal. They are granted on seven-year lease, like the legacies, but the ownership is determined by the Hermetic Tournament (more on that later). Any tropaeum is a vis source that is not a seisin and whose legacy lease has lapsed, but which is easy to harvest. The current leaseholder has exclusive harvest rights. A vis source communally held by the Tribunal but which requires great skill or danger to harvest is luctatio, 'contest', and may be freely harvested by anyone who can manage the task; for example, a tree that produces Perdo vis may be considered luctatio because it has a nest of basilisks living in and around its roots. The mournful song of a ghost maiden may be considered luctatio, because while the song contains Mentem vis, first you have to somehow capture it in physical form.

The Tribunal also maintains a communal library, based on the practices of a magus 150 years ago by the name of Perpauca Bonisagi. She donated most of her work to the Tribunal as a whole and was widely lauded for it, convincing others to follow her. Writing and contributing an original work to the library grants an automatic prize at the next Tournament: the automatic lease of a book of equal quality. Books are leased on seven-year loans, as with all prizes. The books and quality thereof within the library are a matter of public record, and it is forbidden for any member of the Tribunal to use them unless the lease has been won in Tournament.

As a side note, due to a series of ill-thought-out rulings in the 11th century and early 12th century, the raiding of mundane resources of a covenant is not considered illegal or in any way breaking of the Code. In 1220 the practice is seen as outdated and few use it for fear of appearing barbaric to other Tribunals, but not all agree and there is no repercussions for, say, going and blowing up a rival's mercantile facilities so long as you do not touch their vis, books, magic items or lab tools. Food, consumables, building supplies, arms and armor, luxury goods, money - all of that is fair game. Livestock and covenfolk are fair game; apprentices, familiars and magical beasts are not. The physical buildings of the covenant are also sacrosanct, as is endangering the life of any magus. And you can be challenged to certamen to make you go away, retreating at least a mile and not returning until sunrise. Legally, a foreign magus may take part and execute raids on Normandy soil, though it's rare, as any Code breakage is judged exceptionally harshly in these cases.

Next time: Urban covenants, new covenants.

Father Wendigo
Sep 28, 2005
This is, sadly, more important to me than bettering myself.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

So the theme with some of the Japanese monsters is "names you cannot take at all seriously if you have even a passing familiarity with Japanese"?

Given we have the "good afternoon" samurai and the "goodnight" ninja... goddammit Pinnacle, did you learn nothing since Deadlands? :cripes:
Hey, discovering levels of tastelessness usually reserved for Troma movies is technically something new.

The bestiary is fascinating in how 'all over the place with nowhere to go' it is. There's fairly odd but workable stuff like the Osterkov Dragon, ':what:' stuff like the Quisling, and enough gimmick zombies to pad the book out to a respectable length; all running with a tenuous grasp of the d20 system.

Father Wendigo fucked around with this message at 12:56 on May 29, 2013

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Father Wendigo posted:

Hey, discovering levels of tastelessness usually reserved for Troma movies is technically something new.

I'm not sure you read the same Deadlands I did if you think that's new.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Kavak posted:

So, basically an entire army of this?


Right down to similar art, yes.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

So the theme with some of the Japanese monsters is "names you cannot take at all seriously if you have even a passing familiarity with Japanese"?

Given we have the "good afternoon" samurai and the "goodnight" ninja... goddammit Pinnacle, did you learn nothing since Deadlands? :cripes:
Just wait until we get to the sourcebook Land of the Rising Dead. :getin:

Father Wendigo posted:

The bestiary is fascinating in how 'all over the place with nowhere to go' it is. There's fairly odd but workable stuff like the Osterkov Dragon, ':what:' stuff like the Quisling, and enough gimmick zombies to pad the book out to a respectable length; all running with a tenuous grasp of the d20 system.
Agreed. Honestly, the biggest problem with the monsters in Weird War II in the bestiary and the sourcebooks is the same problem that I had with Broncosaurus Rex. There's a glut of low-level fodder (small dinosaurs in BR, zombies and weak humanoid in WWII) and then very few monsters past CR 10. I could at least forgive it in Weird War Ii if the humanoid entities could take class levels, but for some reason very few of them can, as I've noted by my joy whenever they do show up.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Fossilized Rappy posted:

Just wait until we get to the sourcebook Land of the Rising Dead. :getin:

Ugh. It certainly gives a new appreciation for the lovely Japanese puns in recounted in my review of Way of the Scorpion, which were bad but at least Wick tried. Pinnacle is just :effort:, apparently.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

b]Rifts:™ England[/b] Part 3: “Herbs, teas, and magic potions play a key role in the everyday life of England”




Today we get into Herbalists, Druids, Herbs, & Magic so yes :catdrugs: all around. Apparently the English crazy for tea has expanded into magic tea and potions and various herbological not homeopathic cures for diseases and whatnot. :wotwot: Given that all of England’s major urbanization seems to have dried up and blown away in the wind during the time of Rifts, there are plenty of wild open fields and forests for nature’s bountiful magic plants to grow in.

Herbalists and Dryad Druids (the tonguetwister of sexy druids) seem to be the main purveyors of better living through magic chemistry, and keep substantial stashes around.

First up is the Herbalist OCC. By Steven Sheiring. Yes, that guy. The guy who stole all the things. Anyway he is credited with this section. Which means all pending drug-related jokes are his fault.

Ahem, anyway. Herbalists are indigenous only to England, Scotland and Ireland though they are permitted to travel to France or other parts of Western Europe, presumably with a Eurail pass or something. These guys are unique, and “more attuned to and in harmony with plant life than most druids.” :okpos:

The Herbalist can do a lot of...plant stuff. Like grow trees fast and make magic teas and stuff. Herbalists must have been born and raised in Rifts England for at least the first ten years of their life.

Steve Scheiring posted:

This is important because of the special diet of mutant mushrooms that must have been eaten weekly to instill the characters unique powers over vegetation

:shroom:

That is to say, feeding infants special mushrooms. Mushrooms that are “permeated with microbes that, after years of consumption, cause a physical change in the person eating them.” :mario: So basically they eat magic mushrooms until they are themselves magic. Okay. But what does this let them do?

Mysic Herbology: A new skill

Okay, they start off describing the skill as ‘holistic medicine’ and I am pretty sure they don’t know what that term means in either mainstream or alternative medical communities but we shall see. If they start talking about purging toxins I will at least feel secure that there is no Cherokee hair to be had in England. Mystic Herbology allows one to instill or draw out the magical qualities of plants and herbs, how to cultivate and preserve them, etc. It involves knowing all their properties, mystical and otherwise, and making them into appropriate potions/teas/unguents or whatever.

There’s a special note that this skill is a closely guarded secret, I guess because druids and herbalists are dicks who don’t want to feed all babies mushrooms so they have special plant powers.

Herbalists also get some class powers: They can sense weather conditions. Increase the potency of tea--turbo Earl Grey anyone? Detect Poison by smell and taste. They get a higher level of PPE than normal humans since they are magic users and some general save bonuses.

Now, on with the special magic powers. These powers cost PPE like spells, which is reasonable.

1. Identify alien/unknown plant life: this includes stuff about growth cycle, edible/poisonous, and other properties.

2. Sense locations of particular plants: They can do this after taking a hallucinogenic of course. Limited to five miles per level and one type per hallucinogenic dose.

3. Heal plant life: Total plant whisperer stuff, they can figure out what’s wrong and repair it.

4. Accelerate growth: This only works on ‘common’, not whatever counts as ‘exotic,’ or alien plant life.

5. Temporarily shrink plants: This is useful for travelling in dense woodlands, they say, but it’s 30 PPE for a 50 ft radius so it better be a small dense wood. It could also be a lame party trick at one’s next garden soiree.

6. Shape/Sculpt Trees/plants: Magical bonsai, okay. This one doesn’t say it’s limited to common plants and they can make frightening or weird shapes and such, get all artistic.

7. Shape Wood: Can mold dead/processed wood like clay, but for some reason specifically cannot be used to punch holes in doors, floors, boards, or boats. Because that might actually be a useful adventuring application for this power.

8. Animate Plants or Trees: This is like when the topiaries in the Shining TV series all ganged up on Jack, you know that one scene.

9. One with the Forest: This allows the Herbalist to meld with the plant life around them, and while they can’t move or do psionics or anything, they are also completely undetectable by magical and technological means.

10: Turn into a Tree: I suppose we all saw this coming. They can’t move or do non-tree stuff though they can hear people around them so pervy Herbalists probably abuse this power. It also gives them 200 extra SDC, so they have a 50% chance of surviving a single blast from the weakest gun in the game.



despite the art here, they are not special friends with animals. just plants.

After this we get into the nitty-gritty of class details, their various skills and whatnot. They’re not very combatty, they get some gardening equipment and some magic herbs. They don’t even get a gun by default. They get wooden stakes though! It also talks about their money and how kind herbalists will give their cool concoctions away for free, but most are selfish and mercenary and keep the best for themselves. Way to be jerk-hippies. It also says that players are not going to get more than 20% of fair market price when selling their goods to merchants, healers, or hospitals, you know, those places that need medicine all the time.

The Herbalist class is actually not bad in terms of having some quirky powers and being extremely useful to the society they live in, despite some oddness like the ‘selfish and mercenary’ bit. They are just not a good adventuring class by Rifts standards, at all. They’re geographically limited, for one thing, though you could get around that in various ways, and a lot of their abilities are kind of interesting but specifically limited in some cases to ensure they aren’t useful in an adventuring way. Also, how much time does the average party want to spend on gardening and picking berries in the woods? Though it is a hook to go out with, they just need more...stuff to make them a little tougher. Unless you’re playing a full game of Rogue Scholars and Wilderness Scouts.

Next we’ll cover the herbs and potions and such they can make in detail, and flipping ahead a little bit...it looks like a lot of loving detail. :psyduck: So we’ll end this post here.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012



Part 5: Shkura Devoshka to Zombie Master


Shkura Devoshka (CR 1 Medium-size Monstrous Humanoid)
Our first species since the orang-bati that can actually take character classes by the rules as written. The shkura devoshka are Neutral Evil wolf-women who may or may not be the feral degenerate descendents of the Amazons. They are pack hunters that have a higher bonus to flanking bonuses than normal humans and have a bite attack that can also deal Dexterity damage through tendon-ripping selective strikes. They will sometimes steal and rape human men, after which they use them for ritual sacrifices. Charming.


Skin Thief (CR 2 Medium-size Humanoid)
Apparently not content with having brain-eating shapeshifters, the Nazis decided that they'd also make infiltrators that literally wear other people's skins. That's pretty much the extent of what the skin thief does.


Soulless (Template)
In a tangled web woven through the Nazi ranks, the Soulless template reflects the ultimate no-win situation. The gist of it is that SS officers sell their souls to demons, Nazi blood mages afraid of their status in the organization then bargain with the demons to eat the souls rather than just buy them and eventually take on the SS officer's body to be able to walk the earth. The template ups class hit dice by one size, adds a +4 natural armor bonus to AC, gives a bite attack, and grants 3/day burning hands. It's not actually made clear whether or not the template reflects the SS officers given power or the demons in their meatsuits, though.


Spider-Bomb (CR 2 Medium-size Vermin)
Speaking of tangled webs... These monsters are the creation of one Tara Von Laven, who decided that it wasn't just enough to use mad science to grow spiders. No, she decided that after growing spiders to giant size, she'd then strap bombs onto them. They're also literally controlled by a joystick, because why not at this point.


Stealthy Stalker (CR 6 Medium-size Humanoid)
Basically the Invisible Man. They are Nazi experiments who went psychotic and decided to head out and just kill people. To this end, they are naturally invisible, have +2d6 sneak attack, and also have uncanny dodge. Stealthy stalkers can technically take character classes, but it states that they can only take levels in Grunt.



Strosstrupen (CR 3 Medium-size Humanoid)
Nazi supermen. They are resistant to heat and cold, super-strong, and wield hammers made of the magical material vril that they can either bash things with, throw as a missile attack, or use to call down lightning or create minor earthquakes. They can also take class levels, which means that they are actually pretty useful, unlike a certain other Nazi experimental human I can think of *cough*Resurrector*cough*.


Taniec Tytan Pracy (CR 9 Large Outsider)
Taniec tytan pracy, or dance demons, are summoned by Polish occultists to defend them from the Nazis. In addition to being able to masquerade as a human, the dance demons can perform dances that can cause confusion, deal nonlethal damage, or bring forth the ever popular save-or-die touch attack.


Terracotta Warrior (CR 2 Medium-size Construct)
Unlike the real world terracotta warriors, these ones were made by emperors other than Shi Huang Di and were imbued with the occult energies of human sacrifices. The Japanese raiding Chinese tombs during the war have woken up these warriors, and they are now hellbent to take back the treasures of the tombs they guarded. They wield crossbows, swords, and spears and are immune to magic, but otherwise are sort of just generic low-level constructs.


Tikbalang (CR 4 Medium-size Fey)
Tikbalangs are horse-headed trickster spirits from Filipino mythology. In the incarnation Weird War II presents, they've been made incorporeal for some reason, have selective invisibility, and can use what the game calls "Spell tricks":

Horrors of Weird War II posted:

The range of possible pranks is nearly limitless. The effects only ever do subdual damage and never last more then a day. War Masters should consider spell tricks an unlimited amount of 1st level spells, with the restriction that they have to be funny
...Well, that certainly is a thing. :stare:


Torture Master (CR 3 Medium-size Humanoid)
A heinous middle-aged German man, the Torture Master has occult powers that allow him to heighten someone's sense of pain and heal them up so that he can torture them repeatedly without having them die. It doesn't state that he is actually allied with the Nazis, simply that have loves doing torture and getting secrets, so he may or may not actually have any ties to Hitler and his crew. The Torture Master advances by character class, which means he is one of the few cases of a unique entity that you can customize.


Trench Foot (CR 2 Small Vermin)
Trench foot is a Nazi-juiced mold that eats through the body. Seeing as this has no actual ability scores, movement, or stats to speak of other than a spore "attack", this really should be classified as a hazard. You only have an initial saving throw against the mold - if you fail that, it progresses until you either die or amputate the infected limb.


Uber Child (CR 2 Medium-size Fey)
The uber children are fast-grown Aryan fairy clones that climb up walls, use any weapon, and...that's pretty much it. They can't even gain class levels.


Uberhund (CR 2 Medium-size Beast) and Uberwolf (CR 3 Large Beast)
Large, clever German shepherds and large, clever wolves, respectively. They're so bland I'm rather curious as to why they weren't in the core book or some sourcebook with a non-monster focus.



Upturned (CR 5 Medium-size Undead)
The shambling upturned are the undead remnants of World War I soldiers that have clawed their way up to fight everyone in World War II. They can catch enemies flat-footed by pretending to be just another part of a mass grave and also exude mustard gas from their bodies. Other than that, though, they're pretty standard zombie types.


Vandal (Humanoid with CR equal to class level - example Vandal is a Grunt 1/Barbarian 3)
The Vandals are Neanderthal-like warriors created through Nazi experimentation. Since Hitler doesn't trust them (big surprise) due to their loyalty to their officers over him, he tends to send Vandals into the most dangerous missions possible. Vandals advance by class level but must have at least one level in Barbarian, and their ability modifiers are +2 Strength, -2 Wisdom, and -2 Charisma. They are pretty much the only non-human species that are specifically called out as being potentially used by player characters, as there is a small section on the potential of having a player be captured and experimented on as part of the Vandal project before escaping back to their unit.


War Geist (CR ? Medium-size Undead)
Whoops, here's another entry that had the Challenge Rating left off. If you couldn't guess from their name, war geists are ghosts of war who live to bring out fear that they can feed on. They gain one hit point every time someone falls for the hallucinations of the terrors of war that the geists create, and they can also induce fatigue through continued use of their hallucinatory powers.


Wehrmacht Needler (CR 5 Medium-size Humanoid)
Yet another entity that can take class levels...odd that we're starting to actually get a flow of those so late in the title. Wehrmacht needlers are crazy German soldiers who have decided to coat themselves in warding runes before plunging spikes and needles into every part of their body, making them a porcupine-like walking defensive emplacement. Their spines are damaging in close combat, and on top of that they are immune to non-magical subdual/nonlethal damage and have damage reduction. Ever helpful, there is a suggestion from the text that they should be fought in tight corridors and potentially have their spikes laced with poison.



Yena (CR 4 Medium-size Shapeshifter)
The yena is an occultist who can take the form of a hyena. They're found scattered throughout Africa and the Middle East, preferring to live lives either as hermits or as manipulative powers behind the throne, and at least some of them have joined up with the Nazis or local fascist groups. Yenas are natural spellcasters that can innately cast as a 3rd level Sorcerer, and in hyena form their bone-crushing jaws can allow them to deal Strength damage on top of HP damage. Yena can take class levels, typically either Sorcerer to augment their innate spellcasting or some form of charismatic and coercive class.

Also, I'm kind of baffled at that name. There are real world legends of people who become hyenas or hyenas that have magical powers, like the bouda and the kaftar, so why not use one of those instead of hyena without the H?


Yofune Nushi (CR 7 Huge Magical Beast)
These giant one-eyed eel monsters are pretty much the only supernatural creature used by the Imperial Japanese Navy rather than kept strictly by the Kuromaku. Their skin secretes an acidic slime and their huge size means that they are quite physically dangerous, and on top of that three or more yofune nushi within a mile of each other causes a storm to rage around them.


Zombie Master (5th level Human Sorcerer)
These guys are simply, as stated above, humans with 5 levels of Sorcerer that happen to have learned two unique abilities. One is the ability to create a paralytic powder that can be blown at enemies, while the other is the art of the living dead. When raised, these unique zombies are immune to turning and regenerate health. The only way to kill a zombie master's living dead creations is by dismembering the body and putting each part to rest in a different grave or filling the corpse's mouth with salt.

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

And with that, we are finished with Horrors of Weird War II. Feel free to vote on which Weird War II sourcebook you want to see next. Your options are...

Dead From Above: Airplane rules.

Africa Korpse: Italians, engineers, Mighty Whitey the prestige class, and trying to juggle Africa-Korps-as-Lawful-Neutral with Nazi zombies.

Hell Freezes Over: Russians, shamans, and :drac:.

Land of the Rising Dead: Sailors, Aussies, Japanese, and demon-worshipping jungle savages.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Hell Freezes Over :ussr:

Tardcore
Jan 24, 2011

Not cool enough for the Spider-man club.


Definitely gotta vote for Hell Freezes Over.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Lion and the Lily: The Normandy Tribunal

The Normandy Tribunal ruled that, yes, a covenant could legally be sited in a town and that normal interaction was legal. (It took until 1207 to rule that, but.) Further, they ruled that a covenant could receive a town charter from a lord if they didn't take advantage of any priveleges themselves, except tax collection. It was also ruled in 1200 that the covenant closest to a town, known as the senex, has superior rights in that town to other covenants, so if actions in that town collaterally damage a covenant that is not the senex, the senex is not to be blamed. The senex is judged to be the covenant that can hear the town's church bells the loudest. (Thus, for many towns, there is no senex.)

As you might guess, the Normandy Tribunal has a much looser definition of mundane interference than most places. So long as you do not "bring ruin upon" other magi, you can basically do as you please. To prevent reprisals, covenants often act through mundane allies, known as masks, who willingly take on the appearance of leading their schemes in order to target reprisals at themselves in exchange for various things. However, masks cannot protect you from the charge of depriving other magi of their power, so cannot be used against the senex of a town. Most cases will be dismissed unless a mundane reprisal has targeted the Order in some way.

In theory, founding a covenant in the Normandy Tribunal is very simple. Legally, you must have sources of vis sufficient to provide one pawn per magus, or four pawns if you have less than four magi. You must also have an officially declared meeting place called the council chamber, though it need not be actively used by anyone, just so long as you can identify it for the Tribunal. The council chamber must not be within a day's travel of another covenant's council chamber, which traditionally means it should be unreachable by use of the Seven League Stride spell. You must only have sufficient vis supply when the place is founded, though - if you get more members or lose vis sources, you do not get dissolved. The hard part is getting the vis sources in the first place.

Because of the strict rules regarding ownership of vis, typically a covenant forms with the help of another. A covenant with legacy leases can sponsor a new covenant, often made of apprentices, as a vassal. The vassal is established within a day's march of the legacy and thus gains ownership of it, registering it as seisin at the next Tribunal. Liege-vassal lines are the mainstay of Normandy Tribunal politics, and a covenant will usually hold oath of fealty over its vassals, who have the same from their vassals. There are only five great lines of fealty: Fudarus, Confluensis, Florum, Oleron and Montverte. There were two other lineages, but one was destroyed in the Schism War due to being largely Diedne and the other, Sinapis, was abolished because most of the members of House Flambeau headed for Provencal after the Perthean Compact was formed.

The oaths of fealty typically involve a yearly tithe of vis and free proxy voting for the vassal covenant, thus increasing the liege covenant's political power. Some oaths are freer than this, others stricter. The liege is usually required to only use the votes wisely, and there are conditions laid out for when the vassal requires aid and how to request it. These oaths are legally enforcable as part of the Normandy Tribunal's Peripheral Code. They can be dissolved by mutual agreement, or if one party successfully prosecutes the other for oathbreaking. The protection of the liege and the loyalty of the vassal are vital, and oathbreaking is much hated by the Tribunal. A very few covenants are, however, independent of this system, usually due to luck or by severing ties. Sometimes it's because a liege is destroyed. These covenants are free of obligation, but also lack the political support of the feudal covenants, and often must ally to one of the great lines.

Solitary magi, called eremites, may not own seisins, so they must rely on tropaea won at Tournament for their vis, or on luctationes. There is also one eremite who is so beloved that he essentially has permanent lease on a legacy, but that is a very, very rare case. Some covenants also form without meeting the Tribunal's requirements, but they are not considered legally to be covenants, just coenobium, communities. They may not possess seisins, just like eremites, and hardly ever get granted legacies. Further, they must compete in the Tournament as eremites rather than a covenant. Coenobites are not respected at all, though properly solitary eremites are.

So what is the Hermetic Tourney? Well, the Tribunal loves knightly culture. After each Tribunal meets, it holds the Tournament. (It helps that the fiery Flambeau and competitive Tytalus were major founders of the Tribunal.) The Tournament is held away from prying eyes, hidden by magic, and the purpose of the Tourney is to dispense the tropaea. Anyone not part of a recognized covenant may enter, but each must pay five pawns of vis to do so, and cannot form a team larger than five magi. There are traditionally six events held over three days. One event is chosen by the covenant hosting the Tournament, though it is considered very bad form to win that event if you're the host. The contest must involve magical skill, and properly choosing one is a matter of diplomacy. The traditional events held each Tribunal are the hastiludium (a "mounted" battle with "spears"), the certamen tournament, the joust, the great melee (in which grogs try to rush enemy "castles") and the dimicatio.

Competitors are scored by success, with points tallied up after each event. Teams get higher starting tallies based on numbers, which biases events against coenobiums and visiting teams, which start with the lowest tally. The winner of the hastiludium gets 20 points, the defeated finalist gets 10, all semifinalists get 5 and all other teams get 1. The victor of certamen gets 25, the finalist gets 15, semifinalists get 8 and all other teams get 1. The winner of the dimicatio gets 25, the finalist 12, the smifinalists 6, all others 1. The melee winner gets 6, second to fourth place get 2, fifth gets 1, no one else gets any. The host's choice event awards 12 points to the winner, 8 to second place, and 3 to third and fourth. All others get 1. The joust is most prestigious, and the winner gets 20, second gets 8, third and fourth get 3, and all others get 1. Points are then tallied up, and prizes are awarded to the top 21 teams.



Seventh place is known as the Siege of Notatus, after a famous wizard who sponsored early contests. 13th is known as the Siege of Shame, and gets no prize, due to a Tournament in 1151 in which 13th place was earned by an Iberian team that used only barely legal tactics and was forever enshrined in Tribunal law and tradition as a result. The 21st position, the Siege of Alms, is a consolation prize designed to get teams to enter. There is little honor to the position, but it is a good one. Traditionally, half of the prize is donated to the teams that did not place, divided as the 21st position team sees fit. Prizes are selected as they are announced, on a first-come, first-serve basis, but only one prize may be awarded at a time, so it will go down the list and then loop around if the first few teams still have prize pawns left to spend. All prizes must be returned for the next Tournament, except for raw vis.

Now, the games. Hastiludum involves two teams of three. One member sits on an object - a pig, a broom, a washtub, whatever they like, so long as it can be found in a peasant village and is no longer than a broom and no wider than a beer barrel. The teams face each other at a distance of 120 paces, with a 40-pace-wide field. Each magus may cast a single spell before the contest begins, as preparation, and may cast freely during the contest. Each team tries to force the other team's magus off their "mount" with magic, and to propel their own "mount" over their opponents' start line. The Parma Magica may not be extended over the mount, and both sides may freely cast on either mount. Tradition states that anyone who causes injury must supply the vis required to heal it. The winners are the first to get over the other team's start line. Any magus who touches the floor is out of the contest, and the "mount" must physically pass over the center of the field, so teleportation is not a winning strategy. Matchups are randomly drawn and single elimination.

The Certamen Tournament is a randomly drawn single-elimination tournament. The elder of any duel chooses the Technique involved, and the younger chooses the Form. Each team may select a champion to represent them each round, allowing for strategy. The Joust is a traditional joust - two magi, each armed and mounted, aiming to unhorse each other in a charge. The winner of each match is whoever wins best of three falls, and the loser is eliminated. Magi can ride mundane horses or magically created or enhanced mounts. Use of magic is permitted, but only on your own mount, person and weapons. Teams choose one magus as their champion for the tournament, and wounds are especially common in this tournament.

The Melee is a rather unusual event. The combatants are grogs or companions, on foot, using blunt weapons only so as to avoid physical damage. They struggle to control a mock battlefield, and each time creates an illusionary "castle" in a ring placed around the edge of the field, with even spacing between each ring. Three grogs (or companions) represent each team in attempting to charge the field and "capture" castles by breaking the spells creating them via damage to the rings. The last team with a surviving "castle" is the winner. No magic may be used, and the most common tactics tend to involve sprinters and grappling rather than normal combat. Physical combat is allowed, but any grog causing serious injury disqualifies their team and earns a hefty fine. The melee is a very recent addition, and unpopular with conservative magi due to its lack of magic.

The Dimicatio is an event common among House Flambeau. It is a magical duel between two champions, but utterly unlike certamen. Each magus will cast a spell at the other, though reining in their power such that it will, if it strikes, dissolve against the Parma harmlessly. The opponent must then fast-cast a counterspell to block it. The first magus whose Parma is struck by the enemy's spell is the loser. Spells which bypass the Parma by indirect aiming are strictly forbidden, and the contest is always under tight watch by both referee and spectators, who typically use magic to ensure they can detect any cheating. If you pierce your opponent's Parma you are disqualified and likely to be charged with a crime. The rules permit any spell that directly targets your foe, and higher level spells are, naturally, harder to defend against. Ball of Abysmal Flame is a crowd favorite. As for the Host's Choice, well, it could be anything so long as it tests magical ability in some way.

Next time: Places and things to do.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth


Hell Freezes Over!

I love Pinnacle, and I love Weird War 2 for Savage World, but goddamn they learn nothing from their past.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

Mors Rattus posted:

Now, the games. Hastiludum involves two teams of three. One member sits on an object - a pig, a broom, a washtub, whatever they like, so long as it can be found in a peasant village and is no longer than a broom and no wider than a beer barrel. The teams face each other at a distance of 120 paces, with a 40-pace-wide field. Each magus may cast a single spell before the contest begins, as preparation, and may cast freely during the contest. Each team tries to force the other team's magus off their "mount" with magic, and to propel their own "mount" over their opponents' start line. The Parma Magica may not be extended over the mount, and both sides may freely cast on either mount. Tradition states that anyone who causes injury must supply the vis required to heal it. The winners are the first to get over the other team's start line. Any magus who touches the floor is out of the contest, and the "mount" must physically pass over the center of the field, so teleportation is not a winning strategy. Matchups are randomly drawn and single elimination.
What the hell. That sounds like something Discworld wizards would come up with.

Forums Terrorist
Dec 8, 2011



Ratoslov posted:

A Huzen 10 that's spent three million years locked in a storage warehouse with only the personal effects of the station's biggest anime fan as entertainment, and considers his obsessively complete robot maid manga collection to be a how-to guide on human-robot relations.

EDIT: In a way that's supposed to come off as extremely creepy for everyone else.

I was going to let the vote run a good bit longer but everyone got caught in other stuff and honestly this was the best vote. So! Character creation. First we pick our race; in this case, a Hudzen 10 Series mechanoid. The advantages are that as Diva Droid International's latest and greatest model we get above average strength and intelligence, as well as free points in Culinary Arts and Self-Defense. Out of the box we're equally adept at whipping up a breakfast of French toast, eggs Benedict and finest Assam tea for the rest of the crew as we are at whipping up a breakfast of bazookoid fire, stabbing and tastefully placed explosives for any errant intruders.

The downsides are that we have subpar Perception and Willpower, and we embody a particular quirk of the Hudzen 10 line; shoddy sanity chips. You see, for the Hudzens Diva Droid decided to outsource the design of several parts to cheap contractors. Unfortunately this means that when the AI (RD:TRPG's term for game master; I'll explain more about this later) feels like it she can call for us to make a Cool check. If we fail, we go bonkers and get to roll on the Space Madness table, which I will also cover later.

Anyway, meet Nonix:



First, we assign points to his stats. We get 20, and the six stats are Agility, Dexterity, Strength, Perception, Intelligence and Willpower. Agility is gross motor coordination, like the ability to slink about or get down (whether for protection or on the dance floor). Dexterity is fine motor coordination, like the ability to throw darts or play an instrument. Strength is a straight measure of how swole you are. Perception is both your ability to observe your environment and your ability to interact with others, while Intelligence is your raw mental capacity and Willpower is your drive, determination and guts.

Most races have a cap of 6 in any one stat, but Hudzens have 8 in Strength, 4 in Perception, 7 in Intelligence and 5 in Willpower. I don't like the cap system since it's not *too* relevant most of the time; in a real game I'd make it modifiers to starting stats instead. Let's assign our stats!

AGI: 2
DEX: 3
STR: 4
PER: 4
INT: 4
WIL: 3

His strengths are above average Perception and Intelligence, reflecting his two major competences of watching anime and playing video games, and Strength, because Hudzens are swole as hell. Unfortunately sitting in a gooncave for 3 million years learning Japanese from fansubs, polishing his robot maid figurines and sucking at Dark Souls 2^12 means that our man Nonix has the grace of a sack of obese bricks.

Next is skills. There's a lot of fun to be had here since a lot of the skills let you specialise in anything imaginable. On that note, let me explain how specialisations work; you gain an effective point when making a check related to your area of expertise, but take a penalty when doing stuff outside it. So, for example, let's say Nonix takes the Playstation 3000 specialisation for the Passive Games skill (which deals with games that don't involve physical activity, like gambling and board games). If he had the skill at 4, he'd make rolls related to playing vidya games on the PS3k as if his skill was 5, but he'd make rolls to, say, play Risk with Rimmer as if he had a skill of 3. I actually like this because it discourages Shadowrun-style specialisation munchkining.

We have 30 points to spend here.

AGI
  • Self Defense 2 [Hanzo Steel 4]

DEX
  • Craft (Miniatures) 3
  • Repair 3 [Manga Books 5]
  • Firearms 4

STR
  • Strength Feat 2 [Groinal Socket 4]

PER
  • Aesthetics (Art) 3 [Manga 5]
  • Aesthetics (Fashion) 3 [Cosplay 5]
  • Social 3 [Onii-chan 5]
  • Passive Games 0 [Playstation 3000 2]

INT
  • Culinary Arts 1 [Bot Pockets 3]
  • Language (Japanese) 1
  • Trivia (Anime) 3 [Robot Maids 5]

WIL
  • Resist 2
  • Cool 2

So... he can fight (sort of), he can make miniature anime figurines, he can keep his anime collection from falling apart, he's an anime nerd par excellance, and he can shoot. Oh, and he can crack bricks with his lang.

Finally, we have Assets, Liabilities, and Behavioural Tags. Assets and Liabilities are your standard advantages and disadvantages; you spend points you earn on the latter on the the former or on more skills. Behavioural Tags are slightly different; they all give you one point, but they're not really disadvantages, and generally you're encouraged to act them out as much as possible. They're like the distinguishing features in GRUNT, basically.

Assets:
  • Material Wealth 1 (literal warehouse full of anime, manga and assorted Japarnaphalia)
  • Unusual Talent 2 (Cosplay Flawless Robot Maid)

Liabilities:
  • Addiction 2 (Anime)
  • Delusion 2 (Believes robot maid manga is a manual for human-robot interaction)

Behavioural Tags:
  • Nervous Tic (starts adding Japanese honorifics to names)

Alright; Nonix has enough anime crap that it possibly has some actual monetary value, and he can play a robot maid very well. Given that this is Red Dwarf, that might actually come in handy one day, so it counts as a 2 point asset. On the downside anime's his crack, and his misinterpretation of all that robot maid manga means that he's gonna have a hard time making friends (delusion can be from 1-3 points strong, with 3 being "character's delusion is almost certainly get him killed" level, hence my pricing it at 2). Finally, for flavor I gave him a tic. The math here gives us two spare points, which I shall put into Resist for those all-night marathons, man.

And with that, we have the frame of a character. Up next, I throw Nonix, along with Kryten and an evolved Iguana into a typical Red Dwarf situation; there's a squigy thing in Cargo Bay F and Holly's hosed if she knows what it is.

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Mors Rattus posted:

Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Lion and the Lily: The Normandy Tribunal

The Normandy Tribunal ruled that, yes, a covenant could legally be sited in a town and that normal interaction was legal. (It took until 1207 to rule that, but.) Further, they ruled that a covenant could receive a town charter from a lord if they didn't take advantage of any priveleges themselves, except tax collection. It was also ruled in 1200 that the covenant closest to a town, known as the senex, has superior rights in that town to other covenants, so if actions in that town collaterally damage a covenant that is not the senex, the senex is not to be blamed. The senex is judged to be the covenant that can hear the town's church bells the loudest. (Thus, for many towns, there is no senex.

I really like this stuff in Ars Magica, showing how the laws over Magi have evolved. Real world history is full of "But what about..." situations and it's nice to show how the history of the setting works like that rather than "THESE ARE THE LAWS THAT SHALL STAND UNCHANGED FOR ALL ETERNITY."

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

I really like this stuff in Ars Magica, showing how the laws over Magi have evolved. Real world history is full of "But what about..." situations and it's nice to show how the history of the setting works like that rather than "THESE ARE THE LAWS THAT SHALL STAND UNCHANGED FOR ALL ETERNITY."

Ars Magica was dearly beloved by at least one medieval scholar that I gamed with for exactly that reason, for having the world of magi echo the world of men while being separate from it, and some decent research. It's also the only game where I straight up got to play a Cathar.

Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

Fossilized Rappy posted:

Rubble Kitten (CR 0 Tiny Magical Beast)
More of a force than an entity, the rubble kitten will sometimes do acts of GM fiat to heroes that can find one. You have to have Charisma of 16 or higher and be good and kind-hearted to have one appear, and then you have to keep it save or you will get a spate of bad luck (-1 to your bennies for 1d6 game sessions). Stealing one also gives you the same bad luck. The entry is kind of stupid either way.
Hey gently caress you good luck kittens are awesome, and are much less ridiculous than Axis Apes and zombies and whatnot. :colbert:
Kitten mascots are also historically appropriate:





Even the bad guys kept kittens around:

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


drat, I procrastinate because I'm lazy, and now that school's done and I want to finish up Wu Xing, I get brutally sick. I want to get this loving Ninja game over with so I can do TBZ.

Edit: If I don't like cats, does that make me worse than the Nazis?

Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

If I don't like cats, does that make me worse than the Nazis?

No, it just means you're a dog person, just like You-Know-Who.

:godwin:

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!



So, only as bad as the Nazis. Good to know.

clockworkjoe
May 31, 2000

Rolled a 1 on the random encounter table, didn't you?

Arashiofordo3 posted:

Wait... your "first published book" as in you wrote it? As in you are the writer? Of the book?

Yup! :cthulhu:

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occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ England Part 4: “An entire section of unscripted drug jokes”



Now we get to the Herbs section, which I am sure will tiresomely explain all the mystical properties of different kinds of new agey properties of herbal components. It first explains the process of making tea, and explains it incorrectly besides--their version is like ‘you grind up the herb and put it in boiling water’, no explanation about a strainer or anything. It also talks about how the potency of the herbs can be affected by the Sun and Moon (their capitalization) and ley lines and whatnot. A potion, meanwhile, is a tea or whatever created by a professional. This is stated specifically.



yes, this is all very mystical and meaningful, thank you

It gives us a quick overview of how pre-Rifts civilization viewed the Astrological Significance of things. All pre-Rifts civilizations were the same, of course, and held these mystical beliefs right up on through the age of power armored warfare that led to Rifts Earth. This overview is stuff like ‘the sun was thought to affect the human heart and reddish or yellow plants, or plants that looked like the sun such as the sunflower’. Brilliant! There’s a brief listing cribbed from some new age herb guide about each planet and astrological sign, I’ll spare you.

There’s a list of common food spices and their supposed curative properties. They must be prepared by an herbalist, druid, or “doctor of holistic medicine” :airquote: to get their benefits. All these herbs must be administered as teas or they won’t work. That is the rule. There’s a long list with specifics that really aren’t particularly interesting, nor do they have actual game effects listed such as +2 to save vs. disease or something. Like cucumber is supposed to help with heart and kidney problems; I know cucumber is healthy but I am not sure it is what I would administer for renal failure in tea form. But hey, magic herb medicine in a world with a dinosaur swamp isn’t really that out there, so okay.

The list of specific relatively mundane ailments these teas can cure is quite long and includes some stuff like ‘dried centipede’ as a treatment for lockjaw. Dried centipede tea? Ugh.

All of the previous was apparently just the regular-style herbology, the Herb Magic section begins now. Herb Magic is basically like techno-wizardry in that mystical energy is imbued into otherwise ordinary plant products to give them magical properties. A lot of that last section sounded like magic already, but apparently this is MORE magic. Often the PPE costs are pretty high so they do ceremonies on ley lines and nexuses and :words:

It does mention that good druids will use animal sacrifice to get the double PPE bonus but only the evil Blood Druids of France do human sacrificin’.

Then we get yet another really really really long list of specific magic herbs and what they can do. This is several pages of solid blocks of text with no pictures. I’ll just pull out some highlights as examples.

First entry: Alder Tree. Mundanely, it is used to treat diarrhea, fever and fever aches, and colds. Enchanting three of the leaves and then burning them will summon a lesser air elemental. Enchanting a staff of alderwood allows one to control one lesser air elemental. Air elementals are immune to a lot of types of damage so actually kind of a pain to deal with, so okay, kinda useful. 20 PPE per leaf, 450 for the staff. Market value for staff: 600,000 credits. Market value for an enslaved spellcaster from SpluMart to churn these out: 60K-360K.

Belladonna: Your friendly neighborhood deadly nightshade. Can be made into a potion that causes paralysis for 2d4 minutes. Can also be made into a poison potion that does 2d4x10 MD and causes 1d6 minutes of paralysis. Market cost 6000/15,000 credits respectively. Actually pretty useful, though really really expensive for something you have to make your enemies eat.

Carline Thistle: Branches from these can be turned into wands that predict storms. Has three flowers that start closing when it gets humid and close completely when a storm is 4d4 minutes away. For 12,000 credits, I can also tell you when a storm is 4d4 minutes away. By listening to the thunder. This is a waste of 175 PPE.

There are a large number that grant some small bonuses to save versus poison or magic, or negate poison entirely; ergot can cause hallucinations, or make the drinker immune to illusionary magic for 20,000 credits.

Mandrake root: You knew this one would be here. Slightly narcotic, befuddling potion, Empathy potion, Telepathy potion. Can also be made into a voodoo doll that serves as a focus for bio-manipulation as per the psionic power. 150,000 credits for petty revenge.



your friendly local magical pharmacist

Oak trees get like half a page of things you can do with them.

Solomon’s Seal will let you summon any lesser elemental and an enchanted sprig will also control any. 900K.

Willow tree potion makes the drinker impervious to energy attacks for five minutes per level of the herbalist--which, five minutes is a loooooooong time in combat rounds involving energy weapons. 20,000 credits, 75 PPE, totally worth it. Can be made into a staff as well that grounds the user and makes them immune to electricity. 250,000 credits for a lightning rod.

Magic wormwood (not the growth of the proper noun planet) can repel goblins, worms, larvae (termite repusion IS handy) and Worms of Taut as described in the conversion book. 1000 credits a pound. 100 PPE to enchant 10 pounds per level.

Then they go back through and give an alphabetical list of all the uses for herbs and which have them, and poisons and staves and so on and really this is a huge, padded list. Though some of the actual magical items are kind of useful, the pricing on them is weird (as the Rifts economy often is) and PCs would be spending a lot of time ritual casting on ley lines. Also Millennium trees grow on Nexuses and so take up most of the big energy there.

Herbs of Legend, Alien, & Magic

Good grief, more loving herbs. Wait, no, these are like alien plants and stuff. Which is kinda cool, weird roaming malignant intelligences shouldn’t be the only things that travel through rifts. Though some of these specifics are as usual a bit strange.

First we get the Brain Tree, which is a weird lobey cluster thingie that really looks like something you’d have to shoot through to continue progressing towards Mother Brain.



seriously that thing is going to take like, ten missiles

It glows, so areas it inhabits tend to be monster-free since subterranean monsters don’t like light, and it’s generally benign; you can even cut off and eat parts of its roots safely. The problems arise when you try to cut one of the lobes free--then it unleashes a psychic storm that does 6D6 MD three times a round and forces a save vs. paralysis or lose permanent use of a limb. That is pretty vicious, good thing they completely forgot to give an MDC value for the lobes so you could be trying to pry on that sucker for a while.

For your trouble, you can make some potions that can cast the equivalents of spells and cost between 2-12,000 credits, which is a great profit margin for risking loss of a limb every three seconds. You can also make a staff that does some spirit controlling spells and costs a million credits or a helmet that gives you electrokinesis for 400K...or you can make a crystal ball that allows remote viewing of known targets up to 300 miles away for 5 minutes per level of the viewer and has a listed price of 250 million credits. Way to go, Rifts economy.

Cobra Vine: Our next entry is another alien plant that has a ‘cobra-like head’ and tendrils that can move around. It has a pungent odor that resembles decaying flesh to attract scavengers and such, and then it lashes out at the animals who come to investigate. Take that, vultures. Its ‘heads’ have sticky undersides that adhere to prey, and then the needles come out and suck the blood out. Of course. Humanoids who were for some reason drawn to the smell of decaying flesh usually survive, suffering 4D6 damage.



yeah, that doesn’t look suspicious at all, go take a sample

As a magic herb potion it can cure vampire bites, leukemia, bone cancer, and other problems of the blood. And wizards sometimes plant them in the gardens as guardians.

Dagda’s Scepter: Another alien plant that grows on Earth. They say that when pulled from the ground it resembles a scepter but seriously look at this thing:



I don’t know what word I would use but ‘scepter’ is not it. Seriously, I can’t even get a dick joke out of that. It’s completely immune to fire and heat and it can be made into several useful kinds of teas and potions for healing or fire resisting, and doesn’t seem inclined to attack local wildlife or permanently paralyze the unwary.

The Faeries’ Cauldron More alien plantlife carried to Earth. You know, I am really surprised there are not more interdimensionally invasive species than are usually detailed, but then, thinking about the setting too hard is not a good idea. Anyway this is a mushroom with inverted cups that collect rainwater and fairies will sometimes swim in them. The bowls and bulbs can be broken off and are little PPE batteries, and are also edible so long as they have PPE in them. Drinking the water is mildly narcotic, grants see invisible and 2D6 points of healing and stomach cramps, nausea, and ‘worms’. Putting human blood into one of the cups makes a deadly poison. Faerie blood makes a potion that will literally turn you into a faerie for a while. Dragon blood will make a shapechanging potion--take that, boomslang skin. They may also grow into a magic circle that can grant up to 200 PPE before it starts shooting lightning.



It can also be specifically prepared into several magic potions with generally healing properties, plus shapeshifting. All fiendishly expensive. Honestly I am amazed that herbalists do not just cultivate swarms of these around every ley line they can find.

Snapper Heart: These are large-sized flytrap kinda things, mostly harmless to humans unless you go sticking fingers into the obvious mouths. The root acts like a mild amphetamine and hallucinogenic.



i am almost certain this thing prefers drainage pipes

And lastly, we have Towershrooms.



finally the smurf nation can cease its wandering

These have no special magical herbal properties, but they do naturally grow hollow, so they are totally made for building into a mushroom house.

Okay, no more plants. I think the alien plantlife is sort of cool but it’s also something a lot of players are really not going to care about too much unless they really just like reading a field guide to alien plantlife. The whole herbs section is super-padded and sort of out of step with Rifts’s general tone of ‘shoot all the things, forever’, though to me a campaign around gathering rare and valuable plants could actually be fun, as I often have PCs with some kind of side business that sends them into the wilderness. It would just be made difficult by the rest of the setting. The value of many of the things that can be made from even mundane plants is probably why the weird notes about how Herbalist PCs can never get good prices for their wares despite them all being listed at the price of several farms.

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