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johntfs
Jun 7, 2013

by Cowcaster


Soiled Meat

So Lamentations of the Flame Princess put out a game/setting called Carcosa. Presumably this is the same Carcosa noted in Call of Cthulhu scenarios that feature the play, The King in Yellow. In practice it plays out as being a weird kit-bash of Conan and FATAL.

So, let's start with the "dice conventions." In Carcosa not only are Hit Points and Weapon Damage random, the degree of randomness in any given encounter is also random. Here's how this works: Whenever the PCs get involved in a battle, they first roll a D20. This tells them what kind of dice to roll for their hit points. 1-4: d4, 5-8, d6, etc. This happens every conflict. Meanwhile, whenever the characters or their enemies hit with a weapon they roll all six die types (4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20). The number on the d20 tells which one of the other 5 dice you read for the damage. So, if in a roll your results were d4=3, d6=1, d8=5, d10=9, d12=2 and d20=18, your weapon did 2 points of damage against whatever it was.

While the dice mechanics seem needlessly complex, class choices are very simple. You can play a Fighter or a Sorcerer and that's it. Sorcerers, btw, have the same attack bonuses as Fighters, which is good because their Sorcerous Rituals are completely useless in most encounters since they require elaborate preparations and usually take hours to cast. Generally, the rituals are all variants on a theme, Contact Thingie, Conjure Thingie, Banish Thingie, Bind/Control Thingie, Imprison Thingie and Torture Thingie. Contacting a Thingie lets a sorcerer communicate with it, presumably to gain knowledge, etc. Conjuring a Thingie calls it forth phyiscally. Banishing a Thingie forces it to flee. Bind/Control forces obedience. Imprisoning forces a Thingie to remain in some specific place until some other sorcerer calls it up again. Torture, well, tortures a thingie to make the Binding easier or automatic. Except for Banishing, all of these Rituals take hours of time, potentially age a sorcerer unnaturally and requiring the sacrifice of humans. Oh, and at first level, a Sorcerer starts with exactly none of them. All rituals have to be found in play.

There are thirteen races available for play. They're humans of different colors. Along with your somewhat normal Black, White, Red and Yellow are Jale, Dolm and Ulfire. There's really no other difference between them aside from color though their is the notation that the races can't interbreed.

All characters have one fairly low chance at gaining Psionics (they have to have at least a 15 in Int, Wis or Cha. 18s in all three stats still gives on a 12% of having Psionics). Assuming a character is doubly lucky enough to have psionics (once force having high attributes and once for making the Psi roll) he gets to roll a d4 each day to determine how many powers are available to him during a day. Further rolls are made to determine which of eight (Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, ESP, Mental Blast, Mind Control, Precognition, Telekinesis or Telepathy) are available. Psychic powers can be used a number of times per day depending on a character's level (take the character's level, divide by 2 and round up with anything 9 or above counting as 9). A 6th level character could use psychic powers 3 times a day. And that's any use of psychic power. If the guy got Clairaudience, Telepathy, Telekinesis and Mental Blast, he could use Mental Blast three times and that would be it, or use Clairaudience twice and Telepathy once, like that.

The book goes on to describe various tech treasure available which include anything from a blaster pistol to some bizarre pit that randomly creating oozing monstrosities.

There are a number of Sorcerous rituals to be found. Let's take a look at one, shall we?

The Ecstatic Rites
of the Subterrene
Blasts
invocation


These rites make possible the contacting of a primal
and feral subterranean god. The Sorcerer must obtain a
Dolm virgin female of 14 years as the sacrifice. He must
also acquire the erotic drugs and learning scribed by the
Snake-Men in their forbidden tomes. Lastly, the Sorcerer
must find twelve assistants (all of them male Sorcerers of
lower level than himself) and instruct them in the ways
of the ritual. In an underground cavern the Sorcerer, his
assistants, and the sacrifice inhale the drugs and begin
the rite. The Sorcerer and his assistants practice the
debased sexual acts prescribed by the Snake-Men upon
the sacrifice, which will lead to her death in 21–26 hours.
During this time the Sorcerer can receive revelations from
this feral god.


Now, the above ritual is the best example of why I despise this game. Read that thing over again and really let the implications sink in. If you want to contact this feral, primal, subterranean god, you and your 12 little sorcerer buddies need to kidnap a 14 year old girl and rape her to death over 20-odd hours or so. Meanwhile, this is all treated with the cold, gamespeak dispassion of any other spell. Amber rod, check. Silk, check. Okay, let's cast Lightning Bolt. Here: Drugs, check. Book of snake-man sex torture, check. Twelve other sorcerer dudes, check. Virgin girl we're gonna rape to death, check. Okay, let's do this thing.

The next part is a monster manual, followed by a bunch of encounter hexes and a sample adventure, but by that point I'd pretty much lost all heart and interest in this thing after the previous ritual and another one where you tie "a Purple female virgin of no more than 13 years and no less than 9" to a rock so she'll die of heatstroke and dehydration in the desert sun and you can torture a Violet Mist and make it do what you want. Oh, before she dies you also need to "obtain the weird copperish metal of the Snake-Men that, when melted, is merely warm to the touch" and be sure to "cover her naked body with the melted metal." At this point "Over the next 2–3 days the Sorcerer intermittently chants and performs cryptic signs while the desert sun claims the sacrifice." Presumably also over this time the dying 9-13 year old naked little girl is begging for her life, but gently caress it, that's no concern when you're trying to torture a Violet Mist, right?

So yeah, gently caress this game right in the empty hole where its heart should be. Don't give these people your money and discourage others from doing so as well in order to perform the Cashless Prisoning of the Empty Wallet and thus cause this game to sink from sight on the internet, ne'er to be seen by the eyes of men again.

johntfs fucked around with this message at 21:11 on Jun 9, 2013

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Church

Skipping over the logistics of running a physical monastery...the abbess or abbot is the ruler, spiritual leader and caretaker of the monastery. It is a position of great responsibility, and often abbots are particularly powerful, even in national politics, though it varies with the wealth and influence of the monastery. Strictly speaking, the abbot is first among equals and is technically a servant to all. The Benedictine Rule also clearly states that they must be fair and evenhanded. The abbot may have supreme authority, but the monks should be consulted over major matters to get their advice. The role of an abbot is held for life. The abbot is elected from the monks, and electoral disputes are common, with the pope often being called in as final arbiter. In 1210, King John of England notoriously interfered in the election of the abbot of Bury Saint Edmunds, refusing to accept the result and claiming the right to make the appointment himself. This is not especially uncommon among nobles, and it often proves disruptive and unpopular. Sometimes a bishop has the right appoint the abbot, and this is likewise unpopular. It is not uncommon, however, for the patron of a house to hold right of veto.

Once elected, the abbot effectively leaves the community of monks and is welcomed to their new house or even palace, where they are expected to live in style. They must deal with all guests, even nobles, in appropriate fashion, and he may well be their equal in status. Great abbots are princes of the Church, as powerful perhaps as a cardinal or baron in the local area, and may even command knights. The shock of the change is often unsettling for new abbots, especially as they must cope with the politics they thought they'd left behind. Abbesses run the larger nunneries in much the same way, and are extremely powerful women in the world. Indeed, it is one of the highest authorities that many women can aspire to. In either case, financial and administrative skills are very helpful.

Below them is the prior or prioress, the second in command (save in a priory, where they are in charge and the abbot rules the mother house). Their role can be hard to define but deals in many ways with administration and dealings with the outside. Often, priors and abbots are in dispute, which can well lead to factions and power struggles. The prior primarily handles dealings with towns, provisioning and administration, while the abbot deals with internal matters, politics and important outside affairs. It is usual for the prior to be appointed by the abbot, patron or mother house from the best monks of the monastery. Large houses may have a sub-prior as deputy, or even a third prior to assist the sub-prior.

Then there is the terrar, the land agent of the monastery, responsible for its lands. Nunneries are rarely rich enough to need one. If no monk of suitable skill can be found, a professional layman may be employed. It's a hard job, ensuring that tithes get paid, manors are productive and accounts are balanced. It also gives a lot of chances to steal from the monastery and build a fortune. Relatively few monks have the skills needed, so often the terrar, who is effectively the prior's lawyer and accountant, is an employee, though finding an honest one can be very hard. Magi might even be approached for the job, if they have a reputation for honesty.

The cellarer or cellaress is the provisoner of the monastery, ensuring regular supplies and overseeing the kitchens. It may also involve managing the orchard and garden, or for nunneries the laymen working for the nuns. The Benedictine Rule states that cellarers must be humble and obedient, yet they are often accused of corruption and secret gluttony. The bursar is common in smaller houses, combining the cellarer and terrar roles in one person. In larger houses which have both, the bursar oversees the internal accounts and stores of goods.

The infirmarian looks after the old and sick and cares for the general health of the house. They often must leave to gather supplies, and some use that as a chance to sin, while others become bitter and unfeeling. They almost certainly know apothecaries and more skilled doctors to call on. In nunneries, the infirmarian is also often an herbalist. The head of the novitiate oversees the novices, the sacrist handles the vestments, candles and incense as well as the sacramental host and wine, which they are sometimes accused of selling. That is a great sin and rarely actually done. The precentor provides music and chants, the porter answers the door (and traditionally is an aged man, that he might be ready at any time due to not needing to work) and the hostillar is in charge of the welfare of guests. This is who visitors most often deal with. Some abbots discourage visitors by making the most unpleasant monk the hostillar. The almoner has the task of distributing surplus food and goods to beggars. The chancellor is the librarian and arranges for the copying of books, and monks tend to make copies of pretty much any book they find, so they can be valuable to know for magi. And while many abbots are ordained, some are not, and such monasteries must retain the priest to celebrate Mass. In many monasteries there is at least one ordained brother, however. The nunnery also maintains a priest to handle Mass and confession, one of the few men allowed in.



Now, women. A nun's life is similar to that of a monk, as noted, but many nuns are forbidden to leave the nunnery or receive visitors. This suits many of them fine, especially the most pious, for they are eager to put aside worldly things, and others may have good reason to welcome seclusion for fear of unwelcome marriages or violent husbands. Almost all nuns are from the higher classes, and this has been true for centuries. The family tends to give a sizable donation to the nunnery, after all, so only the richer families can afford it. A few nuns are from wealthy merchant families, but most are nobles, even royals, and they can be quite influential. Within the nunnery, they have greater freedom than most women, with a few exceptions. They are taught to read and write Latin if they could not, and encouraged to craft work. Abbesses have even been known to be close advisors of the pope in some cases. But you know, playing a nun or canoness is still pretty restrictive if you aren't the abbess.

That's what beguines are for. During the early 13th century, a new way of life has begun for pious women around northern France, Flanders and parts of Germany, where there are far more marriageable women than husbands. These women, unable to marry or work a trade, did not want to cut themselves off from society and found a new way: dedicating themselves to prayer and good works. This has attracted many who do not wish to or cannot afford to enter a nunnery, yet wish to follow the religious life. These women are called beguines by some, although the name was at first a pejorative, so others prefer simply 'holy women'. They do not take formal vows and may leave at any time. They must be chaste as long as they are part of the community (or beguinage), and the work attracts independent spirits, for it is away to get out of the home without becoming a nun. Some married women even join, convincing their husbands to accet celibacy for a time so the two can join the lifestyle. Sometimes daughters are sent to be beguines for a while to learn manners and skills. Some beguines live with their families, others alone, and others with other beguines in a beguinage. At first, the Church ignored them, but this has changed. Now, a bishop must approve before a beguinage can be established. They tend to be urban and home to only a few women, who work to support themselves and have enough left over for alms. OFten, they are weavers or spinners, which can easily put them in conflict with guilds, since they prefer to avoid guild control. To counter this, they emphasize their spirituality and try only to do enough work to care for their needs and charities. Each community develops its own rules, and they often serve in hospitals or leper colonies, going out to help heal the sick.

History shows that beguinages will grow to need walls, churches, cemetaries and hospitals of their own, with houses for the beguines. One woman will lead them, but her position will be under annual review. She will appoint those responsible for each house, and any woman wishing to leave the beguinage for more than an hour will need her permission and must have companions.

A similar movement in Italy has led to women living as penitents, starting as an urban expression of the eremite lifestyle, and unlike beguines, their focus is on penitence and tends to be a permanent lifestyle. At first, only married or widowed women could join, but now others can as well. They practice fasting and other penitent activities, and tend to lack any real organization beyond holding some property in common. They are also called bizzoche, pinzocheri or continentes. They need permission from the local church and bishop, and lack any formal hierarchy. Recently, they have been receiving land donations from nobles that allow them to remain outside Church control. Their supporters seek forgiveness from sin by the prayers of these holy women, as well as social or political advantage. Beguine and penitent movements will soon spread through most of mainland western and southern Europe.

There are lady hermits and anchoresses, but they're pretty similar to the male ones. Women may also be holy mystics as easily as man can. (One of the more famous of these was Hildegard of Bingen, whose works are are amazing, if sometimes hard to understand, and whom many of Criamon are fascinated by. The study her work to understand the Divine.) Others include the recently deceased beguine Marie of Oignes or Hildegard's friend Elizabeth of Schonau, another exceptional writer. Priestly wives have been illegal since the First Lateran Council of 1123 and the ruling of Pope Calistus II, but in more remote areas, priests retain "hearth-mates" who are essentially wives, and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II has said that the offspring of clerical marriages must be provided for by their parents' estates, to prevent them from becoming burdens on the Church. Disapproval of these not-quite-marriages will get stronger over the next century, but at present they are only mildly disapproved of in more remote areas and practically expected in Wales or England. Women may also pretend to be men, as normal. This was seen in the case of Saint Hildegund or the legend of Saint Joan, the woman who was Pope John VIII for two and a half years in the 850s. No written records of Joan exist, however, and some say it is a recent folk tale, or even the invention of a demon seeking to stir trouble.

Next time: Potentially corrupt Orders.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

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

Oh my god, I take a single day (on a weekend!) off updating the contents, and what do I come back to?



I'm never leaving you guys alone again. (Oh my god there have been two more updates since I took that screenshot)

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Syrg Sapphire posted:

Oh my god, I take a single day (on a weekend!) off updating the contents, and what do I come back to?



I'm never leaving you guys alone again. (Oh my god there have been two more updates since I took that screenshot)

Sorry, making updates is one of the less labor-intensive things for me and something I actually enjoy doing as relatively mindless downtime activity. Which means the lulls of low-brain-activity time between jobhunt, class and prepping for Origins get a lot of updates written.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Africa: Part Five: "Set, the god of darkness and the sworn enemy of gods and men, is also considered the god of evil."

Now that we're done with the Horseman and their bugraping ways, we can finally talk about Africa - no? No. Now we talk about the gods of Egypt! (They're really from another dimension, they just franchise in Egypt.)

Gods of the Nile

This section has a helper for Siembieda in the form of Julius Rosenstein! Unfortunately, Julius may know aikido, but not quite so much about Egyptian mythology.

Anyway, it points out that the Egyptian gods haven't reached their full potential on Rifts® Earth and so they kind of weak with their paltry 5,000 - 17,000 M.D.C. :rolleyes: Most of them have travelled across dimensions are are known on many worlds, and can draw upon those resources. There are two pantheons - the gods of Light (capital letter is theirs) and Darkness (ditto), and they fite. So, no more time for background, on to their radical powers!
  • They can draw power from ley lines and nexuseses.
  • Most of them don't care about Tattoo Magic. Nonetheless, it refers us to Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis for details! Buy this exciting book!
  • All of them are Stone Masters and can use stone magic. Buy Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis for more details on this exciting form of magic!* Come on! Buyyy.
  • Most of them have "a rune weapons", made by Thoth or the Splugorth. More info can be found after you goddamn loving buy yourself a copy of Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis, you loving cheapskate.
  • There's no connection to the Millennium Tree, but they refer us to Rifts® World Book Three: England for no apparent reason, there's a plug, buy it, enjoy it.
  • Necromancy... is not practiced much by the gods of Egypt. Still, you can find it by buying Rifts® World Book Four: Africa. This is an exciting addition to your game libr- oh, wait, that's this book.
  • Many of them have supernatural minions, like demons or monsters, which gently caress, buy the Rifts® Conversion Book, other book, you buy, buy, we hunger, buy, your blood, give us blood, buy.
* Actual excitement may not occur.

Man, I'm tired after all that shilling. All you need to understand the gods of the Nile only requires three other books! See, the fact that I've done these Rifts® books in exact order isn't on account of OCD! :shobon: Many of the books can make much less sense if you aren't familiar with the previous books in the line.

Look, I'll let Kevin explain it:

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

A Publishers Note about the many references to other Rifts titles. The world of Rifts is incredibly rich, expansive, and interwoven in concept and story. It includes numerous types of magic, people, places, cultures, aliens, monsters, and entire other dimensions. To reprint information about all these characters, places, and magics every time they come into play, seems pointless and would only add to pages of repetition and the cost of of a new book. The purchasers and players of Rifts Africa will find that three other books in the Rifts RPG series are necessary to play without having to make a number of modifications. They are the Rifts RPG, Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis, and Rifts Conversion Book. Rifts England and other titles can be helpful and but are not necessary to play. In many respects, Rifts Africa is a giant adventure sourcebook that brings together plot suggestions, hints, and elements from the last four products: Rifts Atlantis, Conversion Book, Rifts Mechanoids and Rifts England (as well as hinting at things to come).

The Rifts Conversion Book is probably mentioned most frequently because it contains over a hundred different monsters and demons who are often used by the gods as their minions and/or allies. This book also includes forty optional player races, the witch, warlock and diabolist O.C.C.s [there is no diabolist O.C.C. in the book, only the conversions for such - ARB], adult dragons and a variety of general conversion rules and data. I hope that the inter-dependence of these titles on adds to the depth, drama and enjoyment of the Rifts Megaverse.

Kevin, if you cut out the long-winded references to other books and the long-winded explanations as to why you're referencing other books I'm sure you could fit those rules in. :argh:

Now we find out what the gods' relationship is with other factions is. The subtle subtext to watch out for is: the Gods of Light are unbelievable pricks.
  • Humans: The gods consider humans as pawns, slaves, P.P.E. emergency rations, etc. We expect this from the Gods of Darkness, but the fact that the Gods of Light are still essentially just manipulative overseers too which makes them unbelievable pricks.
  • The Coalition States / The New German Republic: The Pantheon of Darkness, predictably, will aid evil people like the Federation of Magic or the Blood Druids against such high-tech humans. The Pantheon of Light, though, will likely see these genocidal fascists as just misguided and might subtly aid them, which makes them unbelievable pricks.
  • The Splugorth: Most of the Egyptian gods see the Splugorth as peers and generally stay out of each other's business aside from social gatherings and whatnot. But-

    Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

    Ra, Isis, Horus, and Thoth all know Lord Splynncryth quite well, although only Thoth can be said to really like him.
    - the fact that Horus is pal-ing around with a monstrous, racist slaver and conqueror makes him an unbelievable prick.
  • Vampires: Some of the Gods of Darkness like these bloodsucking blobs, where the Gods of Light don't like them very much. Ra in particular goes into murder-kill-death mode when running across vampires, but Isis and Horus have occasionally helped vampire intelligences escape to other dimensions rather than let them get killed by their godly bro. If you've read my review of Rifts® World Book One: Vampire Kingdoms, you'll know that this makes them unbelievable pricks.
  • Mechanoids: All of the gods hate these jerks. (The Gods of Light get off scott free on this one.)
  • Minions of the Gods: The gods have minions. Not much else to say, really. We'll get numbers on them later.

The Pantheon of Taut


The Pantheon of Taut just likes to hang around and chill.

Remember the worms of Taut from the conversion book? This is the pantheon. How are they connected? Picture me shrugging. Some of the evil gods can summon them. That's as close as an explanation as we get.

Set


His ears have tiny hats! :3:

First off is Set. He has 16,850 M.D.C. I'm wondering how Kevin came up with these really specific numbers. Is there a dartboard somewhere deep within the Palladium Books® HQ with M.D.C. values? Anyway, he's the god of darkness, god of evil, god of destruction, god of deceit, god of betrayal, and the god of fratricide. As you may guess, he's for thugs and against hugs. He likes to gently caress with humanity and ruin them because reasons. (There are no reasons.) Nonetheless, he gets worshipped by tools.

I'M THROWIN' NUMBERS AT YOU! P.P.E.: 6000! I.S.P.: 2950! Horror Factor 17! 20th level line walker and shifter! 12th level stone master, fire warlock and diabolist! Can teleport at 98%! The other 2% of the time, he's embarassed for 15 seconds and can just try again! Do they call it the "telefart" or what, do demons have a term when they suffer from momentary impotency over their control of all space? What about failing that 92% dimensional transport? "Whups, I just had a dim-dum!" Also he has priest powers like 90% chance to turn 2d6 x 100 dead! He can raise the dead at 70%, but only gets one shot! Wow! If they've been dead for awhile it can drop to 32% or 2%! "I cannot bring my favored priest back, I had... the raisey-whupsies." He has a suit of chain at 3000 M.D.C.! That's like a whole adult dragon's worth of M.D.C.! And he has 2d4 billion credits!

Whew.

He has a ton of psionics and magic, dear god, I'm going to be so tired of noting that, like every, every loving godly being I'm going to cover over the next twenty-one pages is going to be loaded down with enough magic and psionic powers to choke an Elminster. Set can teleport naturally or by spell. It also notes what psionic powers he has in the Palladium RPG®, like we are supposed to give a drat - I mean, it's not like it has they rest of the conversions to make it work. All of the other gods have similar pissy conversions for their magic powers to the Palladium RPG®.

Also he has Boat - Rowboat at 98%, Set is like a rocket on a rowboat, man, look at him go-

Oh, oh no, I can't going this stir-crazy this early on, I've got at least another dozen or so gods like this to get through. But, for gently caress's sake, why do you feel the need to go on about why Set doesn't use cybernetics! You do this for every supernatural monster writeup how every creature doesn't want cybernetics! We know, Kevin! We. Goddamn. Know. And for every deific writeup after this, you're going to be all "they don't want cybernetics" - thanks, I think we can work out a being with 16,000 M.D.C. doesn't want a 30 M.D.C. arm that's weaker than his pinky... joint. Any one of his pinky joints, stronger than a cyborg's arm.

Aaaaaaa- :aaa:

Uh. gently caress. Where was I?

Anyway, Set treats Anubis as his son, and likes Bes and Apepi. He's a swingin' god and likes to hang with Splugorth and demon lords. Also he has a disciple in Egypt named Pharaoh Rama-Set, which I'm pretty sure was a Fantastic Four villain, wait, that was Rama-Tut, forgive me. He's also helping out the European gargoyles because he wants their worship. He can summon jinns or worms of Taut. He has The Black Rod of the Four Winds - another greatest item, they're comin' out like candy in this book. It can shoot lightning, gently caress with the weather, create scary darkness (horror factor 10), and can beat on people for respectable damage. He also has The Impaler - see my review of Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis for that one, it's the sword with the crawly fingers where it can walk around then shoot magic bladefingers at people.

Like I said. Toyetic.

Anyway, this is a lovely and one-note boring rendition of a god, and just goes at it with the narrow view of him as a pure villain, when in fact at times he was worshipped as a heroic god or villainous god depending on Egypt's political climate. You could do some really interesting stuff with the varying interpretations he recieved throughout history, but instead he's a one-note monster who does evil because that's the alignment on his character sheet. It is, frankly, a typical Western view of him and it's boring. :argh:

Anubis


If no goatee you see, Anubis it must be!

You may think after Set "oh no, they can't just be making Anubis into a generic evil guy too", and I just want to say oh yes they can. He's the god of death! The god of transition! The god of the unknown! Anyway, he was the son of Osiris and helped kill him. Wait, kill him? Isn't that pretty much the precise opposite of his role in the myth, where he helps rebuild Osiris? Well, whatever. He's obviously way cooler as a generic necromancer with a puppyhead on.

And he commands an army of mummies! It's said people he kills come back as his mummy slaves. Oh, and he's eternally loyal to Set, because... um... I got nothin'. No particular motivation there, he just is. Anyway, he's often doing supervillain teamup with Set.

Nummmberrrrs 12,450 MDC 3500 PPE 1450 ISP 14th Level Necromancer 8th Level Diabolist and Stone Master 200 feet Nightvision 1d6 x 100 summoned rodents 98% turn dead 2000 MDC armor 60% computer operation 98% cook

Anubis wins all the BBQ wars of the gods with his mummy jerky and 98% Cooking skill.


Dear god, we're trapped in art... for the wrong book!!!

Powers! Turn invisible, summon Alu demons, healing touch, animate/control dead, CREATE MUMMY, stone magic, hydrokinesis, psi-sword, metamorphosis into any shape, look out, that bidet is Anubis oh too late now he's a sharkmonkey now you're dead poo poo, goddamn you sharkmonkey who is also an Anubis.

Anyway, he doesn't get along with Splynncryth. No reason! He's best friends with Rama-Set but we don't even know who this guy is yet. (Rama-Set is a separate guy from Set. Or Ra. Confusing, I know!)

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Note: Anubis is arrogant and cunning, but one of his failings is underestimating lesser beings such as humans.

Considering he has 269 times the M.D.C. of an elite Coalition trooper and can do a flawless impression of a bidet, I'm not sure he can underestimate them enough. I'm not sure that's actually possible. That's like saying "Genghis Khan is a dangerous fellow, but one of his failings is underestimating lesser beings like ladybugs."

gently caress, we aren't done yet, we're not done, he has the The Sword of Anubis. Guess what kind of rune weapon it is. I'll give you a bit. If you guessed GREATEST you are correct. It does middling damage for an unstoppable god-sword but it's a soul drinker that "also drinks the blood of its victims". Yeah, it's not enough that it gives you a 75% flat chance of instant irrevocable death, but it takes your blood just to be an rear end in a top hat.

Next: Apepi! He has the wrong name! Amon! She has the wrong sex! gently caress mythology, Siembieda's gonna Riftsify it!

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Part 1: Chapter 1's Appropriation Station

Welcome to Afrika Korpse, the Weird War II sourcebook that focuses on the North African conflict of the early war. This means we're going to be getting a lot of heat, sand, Italians, and Rommel worship. Like any journey, though, it starts with a step, and that step is of course the character options chapter.


Starting Packages
A list of regiments found in the Allied side of the North African conflict. As they are basically meant to be a quick list of items, skills, and feats for a GM to give a 1st level NPC from that regiment rather than any new game rules, we'll just skip past it.


New Skills and Feats
To start off actual new content, we begin with a few new skills. Entrench lets you roll to create cover, Observation and Assessment is a rather stupid skill that is basically a Spot check and Knowledge check rolled into one new skill, and Wireless Telegraphy lets you correctly use telegraphs and is thus probably the only of the three that is actually warranted as a new skill rather than new use of an old skill.

For new feats, there's mostly a lot of sand acclimation going on. Arid Acclimatization ups the lowest temperature considered to be extreme heat for you, Desert Defenses grants skill bonuses to Demolition, Hide, and Entrench in the desert, Desert Fox is the same but for Listen, Move Silently, and Spot, Sahara Lore is the same thing for Knowledge and Gather Information, and Find Water helps you more easily find water. There are a few interesting unrelated feats, however. The Elan feat grants a bonus to Will saves and melee charges while also lowering the penalties suffered when using pistols, shotguns, or sub-machne guns in melee combat, the Honest Face grants you a bonus to Diplomacy and Gather Information as long as you don't lie or deceive, and then the Gone Native feat....wait, the what?

"Weird War II: Afrika Korpse posted:

You exhibit an affinity for local customs, get along easily with natives, and know enough about their ways to pass yourself off as one of them, especially among those unfamiliar with their culture (although blonde hair and blue eyes might impose a penalty).

The feat would almost be serviceable for its primary use, which is a collection of skill bonuses when interaction with a culture you are innately familiar with. You could have called it Cultural Studies or something. But no, it also grants a bonus to duping non-native people who don't have the Gone Native feat because you're just that convincing as another ethnicity.

At least the weird feats this time don't have anything quite as awkward as that. Mine Sense lets you detect mines nearby but forces you to make a Will save or become paranoid and cower when you find them, Radio Head lets you hear radio transmissions telepathically but dulls your actual senses of hearing and sight, Rune Tattoo grants you a +2 bonus to any ability score other than Charisma but causes you to suffer a -2 Charisma penalty due to an unsettling aura about you, Solar Healing lets you heal faster in sunlight but deprives you of even standard natural healing in darkness, and Trembling Hands makes your hands shiver to warn you of a potentially dangerous action but obviously causes penalties to skills related to working with your hands during that time.


New Prestige Classes
  • Fitter: While this prestige class has piss poor Base Attack Bonus progression, it makes up for it with good Will save progression and abilities that focus on letting your character customize mechanical equipment, repair vehicles more efficiently, and even repair otherwise unrepairable critical failures to keep a vehicle going longer than it should be able to. You have to be Australian, British, or a New Zealander to take the prestige class, though, so apparently no other nations in the world have vehicle techs quite as good.
  • LRDG Officer: Rather than being a variant of the Officer base class, the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) Officer is a prestige class that doesn't really grant much more benefits than staying straight-up 20 levels of Officer. It grants bonus feats like an Officer, has average BAB progression and save progression for all three save types, has some extra bonus languages the regular Officer can't learn, and gets a +3 bonus to Listen and Spot checks against aircraft.
  • Minefield Engineer: These combat engies focus on demolitions and night operations, getting darkvision, the Elan feat's benefits for free, and the ability to call in specialized demolition vehicles known as flail tanks. They're otherwise pretty average.
  • Native Guide: This prestige class focuses on maxing out the benefits of the Gone Native feat. Joy. It keeps increasing the bonuses the Gone Native feat provides, grants the Lay of the Land feat for free, gives two ranks of sneak attack, and increases the character's diplomatic influence with the native people.
  • Signaler: You get access to a radio and high frequency direction finding equipment as your class features. Don't you feel special?

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

Next time, we go through the remaining three chapters of the book. Afrika Korpse is surprisingly short.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 8a: Bullet Lists of the The Nile Empire

So let's talk a bit about how realms are presented.

The core Torg boxed set came with a Worldbook that gave you the short form of each invading realm and what was going on in Core Earth. Unfortunately, the Worldbook didn't do a very good job really explaining what each realm was about. Each realm got about a dozen or pages, which was taken up by a list of various cities and the realm-specific mechanics. Even then, the mechanics were pretty light. There were maybe two or three new spells/miracles per realm, a couple of realm-specific skills, the cybernetics and pulp powers rules, and world laws for maybe two realms. The actual feel of each realm was limited to less than a page at the start of each section.

The realm sourcebooks did expand on things, but they kept to the general layout of the worldbook. Despite having more room to cover things, the focus remained on just providing a list of locations you can go to and about half a book of crunch. It's an odd design decision, and it makes it hard to cover things the way the books present them. All the stuff in my last post about Mobius's background and Terra were split between three books, for instance.

All that being said, let's take a look at the Nile Empire itself.

This is the map of the Empire at the default setting "start", about a month or so after the initial invasion. As you can see, Mobius has been pretty busy. He controls a pretty sizable chunk of Africa, and has gotten deep enough into Saudi Arabia to start being a threat to Iraq. We'll talk about how well that works out for all involved later.

Like all the High Lords, Dr. Mobius has come to Core Earth to oversee his forces personally. Of course, Mobius is a busy man and can't do everything by himself; that's why he has his five "Personal Advisors". These five people are second in power only to Mobius himself.
  • Ahkemeses is the High Priest of the Empire, and it's his job to read the omens and act on them. Even though he worships all the Egyptian gods, his first loyalty is to Mobius and is more than willing to break his religion's precepts.
  • Rama-Tet is the head of the College of Mathematicians and Mobius' grand vizier. Like all grand viziers, he has his own agenda and is more interested in his own goals than in what Mobius wants. He's also a powerful magician, again, like any grand vizier worth his salt.
  • Muab is the Royal Builder, and generally doesn't actually advise the pharoh. Instead, his focus is almost entirely on his work: building monuments to Mobius and running the Society of Engineers.
  • Teth-Net is the Royal Marshall and head of Mobius's military. Despite being totally loyal to Mobius, the High Lord has secretly implanted a poison bomb in Teth-Net's brain.
  • Felix Bannerman is the Imperial Accountant, and started out as a small-time hustler on Terra who happened to be very skilled at finance. He's not Egyptian, which makes him feel nervous around Mobius and the rest of the Advisors. Well, that, and the fact that he's skimming off the top.


Dr. Mobius, High Lord of the Nile Empire

Below the Advisors are the Overgovernors. There are ten Overgovernors, some of whom have been with Mobius throughout his reality-hopping career. Mobius shares the slowed aging with his Advisors and Overgovernors, so some of these folks have experience running things in other realities. Others are recuited from the invaded cosm.

Each Overgovernor has control of a different area of the Empire, and are allowed more-or-less total autonomy to run things as they see fit. They are picked by and report directly to Mobius himself, and every ten weeks they meet to discuss the state of the Empire as a whole.
  • Tanya Paterksi was a skilled spy back on Terra, and is a consumate planner. She's faced off against Nippon Tech forces on multiple occasions and won every time.
  • WuHan is Terra's equivalent of Fu Manchu; an oriental criminal mastermind who is fond of riddles and leaving hints for his enemies.
  • Lord Millon Avery is a Terran jewel thief and was an ally of Mobius back in Mobius's supervillain days. Avery got his position not by earning it, but by blackmailing Mobius shortly after his discover of the Darkness Device.
  • The Red Hand, born Michael Mayhew, was another of Mobius's old allies. Armed with an electro-gun and outfitted in a crimson zoot suit,
  • Natatiri was originally the servant girl of a former Overgovernor. She was having an affair with the Overgovernor, but when he insulted her honor she assassinated him. Dr. Mobius liked the cut of her job and promoted her to her master's former position.
  • Ramses is a fanatic warrior who is probably the only one of the Overgovernors who isn't plotting againt Mobius. He's slowly becoming aware that the other Overgovernors might not have Mobius's best interest at heart.
  • Seselek is the oldest of the Overgovernors. He is loyal to Mobius, but his age is catching up with him and lacks the energy to really carry out his duties. Even though Mobius has instructed the Darkness Device to slow Seselek's aging, the Kheferti Idol doesn't seem to like Seselek enough to keep him young. Smart money is on him being the next Overgovernor to die.
  • Herunut has been an Overgovernor since the first Empire, but is not seeing the glory of following Mobius anymore. Instead, he's seeing the suffering; in fact, his Inclination is starting to shift to Good and wouldn't need much to switch sides.
  • Lastly, there's Madib A1-Hebpsa. Madib is actually Mobius himself, divested of his usual costume. He uses this identity to keep an eye on the other Overgovernors and learn about plans against him. Mobius doesn't realize that Rama knows who Madib really is; Janya and Sesetek know one of the Overgovernors is Mobius in disguise but they don't know which one.
Below the Overgovernors is a structure of governors, advisors, governor's advisors, and bureaicrats.

Outside the structure of Mobius's followers is the military, which is mostly filled by shocktroopers, backed up by traditional armor units and weird science descructive devices.

The most dangerous of these devices is the reality bomb, a creation of Mobius himself that actually alters the axioms in a two-mile area around the point of impact turn it into a temporary pure Nile zone. They're the reason Mobius has been able to expand so quickly; his normal mode of operation is to drop a reality bomb in the approximate area he wants to plant a stelae, causing a breakdown of Core Earth technology, send in a few waves of stormtroopers to wipe out the defenders, then plant the stelae itself.

Nile Empire stelae, by the way, take the shape of jackal-headed idols. They can't be buried underground, so Mobius hides them in plain sight by putting non-stelae jackal-headed idols everywhere throughout the Empire.

Mobius does employ gospog, but he's not too fond of them because he tends to prefer more...personal methods of eliminating his enemies. Shockingly, Nile Empire late-planting gospog all look like mummies.


This is happening somewhere in the Empire at any given moment

Now that we've talked about the major NPCs, let's talk about a few interesting places to visit.

The biggest change in Africa is the Nile Basin. When the axoim wash happened, all the modern machinery used to control and take advantage of the Nile were destroyed, leaving the Nile in its more "ancient" state. The Nile Basin is still the main source of farmland in northern Africa, except that it's pretty much completely controlled by Mobius's forces. The reality shift also means that the Nile has a larger-than-normal amount of crocodiles and asps now.

The change in realities also affected the Sahara Desert, populating it with nomad tribes and peppering it with lost tombs, ancient forgotten cities, and hidden oases.

For example, the Oasis of Firrah lies deep in the Sahara desert, hidden behind burning sands and howling winds. According to ancient legends that are really only a few months old, Bela Firrah was an Arab trader who stumbled upon the oasis when seeking a source of water for his shady trade caravans. He sent out troop after troop of his men to claim it, but none of them returned.

quote:

The stories of what happened next are unclear in many respects. But it is said that along the way Firrah found the bodies of the earlier parties, all with their water flasks full, their trails a great circle, as if the sun had driven them mad. After many days of traveling, Firrah's party came in sight of the oasis. They whipped their camels into a gallop, but as they drew near, a fierce sandstorm arose. Blinded, their mounts in a panic, Firrah's men fled into the desert, never to be seen again. Firrah himself struggled to the water's edge, reached out and touched the sparkling blue liquid...

Firrah's body was found the next day by a nomadic tribe. His skeleton gleamed in the sun, the bones blasted clean by the force of the sandstorm. One finger was stretched toward the pool, a pool the nomads would not drink from out of fear.

This legend may or may not be true, as may the legend of the firtune of gold at the bottom of the oasis. Or it may just be a fable made up to scare people away from one of Mobius's projects.

The isle of Hespera in Lybia is another example of the types of changes an invading reality can bring, because neither the island or the lake it's in existed before Mobius's arrival and were created whole cloth by the axiom wash. The reality shift caused the legends about the "home of the Amazon warriors" to become fact, and transformed archeologist Hippolyta Kosmos into Queen Hippolyta. The transformation was Hippolyta's "moment of crisis" and made her possibility-rated as well as transforming her to Nile Empire axioms. Hippolyta has assembled women from the Empire and Core Earth to her side, and so far Mobius and the world at large are unaware of what's happening on the island. Despite her Good Inclination, she's not 100% convinced yet that she should bring the fight to Mobius, prefering instead to live peacefully on Hespera. That's not to say that some of her Amazon warriors haven't left the island to fight for the side of good, of course.

Scattered throughout the Empire are Weird Science Research Centers. These are where Mobius's forces develop their unique weapons and devices. Protected by minefields and artillery, these sites can be a treasure trove of new experimental gear for heroes brave enough to penetrate the defenses and defeat the squads of shocktroopers there. There's not much else to say about these facilities, even though the Nile Empire book spends five pages on WSECs, describing them in unnecessary detail.

The mixing of Core Earth and Nile Empire axioms has had more subtle effects on the landscape, such as the transformation of Egypt's network of gold mines into The Land of the Dead, a sprawling network of catacombs and caves that wind under most of eastern Egypt. These are the mines where Empire officials sentence criminals and opponents to, to spend the rest of their lives digging for gold for their pharaoh. Rumor has it that some of the caverns actually stretch halfway around the world to North America, and the extended cave network is a favorite hiding place for the Empire's many pulp villains.

Bringing things a little more character-level, we get some information on the major cities of the Empire.

Cairo has probably undergone the most significant change out of all the Core Earth cities, transforming into the embodiment of “30’s gangster noir city”, but with an Egyptian bent. Cairo has become a hive of scum and villainy, known for being a focal point of criminal activity and forbidden pleasures. Things have gotten so bad there that Mobius has pretty much abandoned the city to its own dark devices. Normally his shocktroopers act as a “police” force, but in Cairo there’s just a few token garrisons led by people who’ve fallen out of favor and that’s it. Cairo is most known for its sprawling black market, where valuables and weird science devices alike are available for the right price. The main forces for good in Cairo are the Cairo Clarion newspaper (which has moved underground due to being editorially against Mobius), and the The Living Truth Agency, which is one of the few non-corrupted private eye agencies left in the city (due to being secretly run by masked hero The Silver Scarab).

Thebes is the Imperial capital and base of operations for Dr. Mobius. Technically it’s a separate city from Luxor on the other side of the Nile, but the axoim wash caused the two cities to merge. Thebes/Luxor is also the location of the College of Mathematics, the Society of Engineers, the Temple of Osiris (which is the HQ of Super Battlegroup Mobius, the strongest military force in the Empire), and the Temple of Ra. The Temple of Ra is important because it houses a powerful artificial sun that is capable of firing a devastating energy bolt up to 100 miles away (damage value 55, explosive burst radius of 4000m).

Karnak is a city born in the axoim wash. Originally a small village, the reality shift caused the Temple of Ptah to be reborn in greater glory than it ever knew in “real” history. Nobody knows what’s inside the temple, because of a mysterious force that forces anyone who attempts to enter to flee in fear.

Khartoum is the second-largest city in the Empire after Cairo. Conquered by Mobius shortly after the initial invasion, Khartoum has become a major travel hub after Mobius had a huge train exchange built there.

quote:

The other tidbit that makes Khatoum interesting is the ancient Earth legend of a magical fire opal hidden somewhere beneath its streets. The opal is said give its bearer fantastic mind control powers .Mobius uncovered the legend shortly after his invasion and has had a team of mathematicians station in Khartoum looking for the opal for months.

Memphis has grown since the invasion for two reasons. First, Wu Han has built a “Chinatown” here, to facilitate his own schemes. The second reason is the existence of the Temple of Wadjet, a snake-worshiping religion that has sprung up among the Empire’s criminal element. Technically it’s in competition with Mobius’ worship of Sebek, but the High Lord lets them operate...for now.

Alexandria is the third-largest city in the Empire, and houses a few interesting locations such as the grand lighthouse on Pharos Island (a.k.a. The Lighthouse of Alexandria, which now works again), the grand coliseum where Wu Han runs his Roman-style gladiatorial games, and the Ur Guild building where mathematicians and engineers work their strange magics.

Lastly, we learn how Mobius gets along with his Middle Eastern neighbors. Spoiler: not well.

Ethiopia has pretty much disintegrated under Mobius' assault. The only reason Mobius hasn't just taken over yet is because the terrain makes it difficult to move troops in easily since his war machine wasn't designed to work at high alitudes. As it stands right now, Mobius keeps a few battalions on the Ethiopian border to keep them boxed in and to keep control of the Ethiopian gold and diamond mines on the country's border.

Dr. Mobuis was smart enough to realize early on that Israel was going to be a major threat, so he made it a point to move into their territory as soon as he could before they had time to assemble an effective defense. The western half of Israel is now under the Empire's control, but he's been unable to get in any further due to the Israeli forces not only putting up a better defense than Mobius expected, but also raiding into Empire territory.

Things are a little tenser with Libya. Remember, this game was written in the early 90’s, so Muammar Qaddafi was still in charge. The oil fields of Libya were an early target for Mobius, so Qaddafi made a bargain: if Mobius stopped trying to invade, accepted 45% of Libya's crude oil production, and give Qaddafi access to weird science weaponry, Qaddafi would not detonate the nuke he buried in the oil fields and irradiate the world’s main source of oil. Mobius has agreed, partially so he can concentrate on other battefronts, but also because he doesn’t know what a nuclear bomb is because they don’t exist in Terra or the Empire. Yet.

Lastly, there’s the Sudan. Sudanese forces have fallen back into a defensive position. Fortunately, they’re being supported by the Soviet Union’s “Soviet Psychic Group”, whose psychics have been able to predict attacks by Nile forces.


That’s enough of the fluff. It’s time to start banging our heads against the mechanics!


NEXT TIME: Pulp Powers and Gadgets...Torg style!

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Alien Rope Burn posted:

You may think after Set "oh no, they can't just be making Anubis into a generic evil guy too", and I just want to say oh yes they can. He's the god of death! The god of transition! The god of the unknown! Anyway, he was the son of Osiris and helped kill him. Wait, kill him? Isn't that pretty much the precise opposite of his role in the myth, where he helps rebuild Osiris? Well, whatever. He's obviously way cooler as a generic necromancer with a puppyhead on.
Even books that are otherwise pretty good about deities seem to have this huge hangup when it comes to death gods. Considering that you are reviewing what is probably the worst of the three RPGs involving Egypt being discussed right now, I can't say I'm really surprised that Rifts Africa does the same thing.


Evil Mastermind posted:

NEXT TIME: Pulp Powers and Gadgets...Torg style!
I'm hoping for robot scorpions as one of the gadgets.

Plutonis
Mar 25, 2011

lol



3D&T Alpha Part 1: The Hero (1 of 2)



This chapter starts with a nice introduction blurb for newbies to TRPGs, giving the primers on the concept of creating a character and giving you the option to either make something original or emulate a character from a videogame/movie/anime (which is a big thing on the system). First things first, new player characters start with a set number of points to spend on their creation. It has the following scale for the GMs to choose at their own discretion when setting rules for the CC.

Normal Person - Zero to four points, not recommended to PCs. Average people. They mostly have only one skill and can have one or two advantages or just a slight -1 disadvantage.
Newbie - A novice adventurer, they can also have up to -3 on disadvantages.
Fighter - Medium experienced adventurer, can have up to -4 points on disadvantages.
Champion - A veteran badass with a lot of experience. Up to -5 points in disadvantages.
Legend - Twelve points, with a maximum of -6 points in disadvantages. High powered level characters if you want to start things dangerously.

There are also rules for starting money, which is normally a 1d6 times 100 coins. A GM can fluff that on credits, zenny, what the gently caress ever he wants. An interesting mechanic is that some advantages and disadvantages can actually increase or decrease the amount of cash you start with, such as Good Fame, Patron and Genius increasing the money you start with and Haunted/Cursed, Monstruous, Uncultured and Insane decreasing it. You can even start with a character in debt due to this, and he'll have to use the loot he grabs on adventures to pay his debtors! Of course there's also the Rich advantage, which nulls the other modifiers and lets you start with a whopping 1d6 HUNDRED MILLION COINS!!! You can't buy stuff that gives you advantages with the cash generated by Rich, however, although any logistic problems the party might encounter will probably be made null.

Characteristics!

One of the things your starting points can be spent on are Characteristics, aka Stats. They make an outlier of how powerful you are, and to give you a sense of scale, normal humans have zero in all of those, with 1 being the humanly possible for someone. Two or more are already superhuman, which is the scale of a 3D&T adventurer. The Characteristics on the game are: Power, Ability, Resistance,Armor and Firepower. A starting character with 12 points can start with a 2 Pow, 4 Ab, 1 Res, 1 Arm, 3 Fir for example. One thing however, is that no starting character can start with more than five points in a single characteristic. (Which reminds me of the WW Storyteller system!)

Hit Points and Magic Points

Hit points are the meter for a character's health, and are normally calculated by multiplying a character's Resistance stat by five. Magic points work the same way, but they work as fuel for magical or supernatural abilities, or even to strengthen normal attacks if they have the correct Advantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages will be listed and explained later, but they are pretty much traits that can either cost or give you extra points on character creation. Instead of spending all your stuff in characteristics, you can spend a few points to grab some of those, and even get bonus character creation points by picking disadvantages to your character. There are also 'unique' advantages that are packed with a lot of smaller advantages and disadvantages, and pretty much serve to have you play as a non-human character, like a robot, dwarf or fairy.

Skills

Skills are special advantages that serve as a bunch of stuff your character knows about. Good to grab them if you want to play as something other than a fighting machine. There are eleven skills on this game, which are Animals, Art, Crime, Investigation, Language, Manipulation, Machines, Medicine, Sports, Science and Survival. More will come on the Skills chapter.

Magic

Some advantages also give a character the ability to use magic. Be a wizard, paladin, cleric, kung fu dude, you can use some cool spells. Of course, this only applies whether the GM gives you permission to include magic on the setting, and these rules can be pretty much ignored on non-magical ones. There are three kinds of magic in 3D&T Alpha, which are White, Elemental and Black. More will come in the Magic chapter.

Finishing touches

After the brief resume of those things above, the book now gives you advice on observing your character sheet and seeing if it works with the concept you made in your head, and also encourages you to ignore verisimilitude. If your character is a little girl with 3 Power, you don't need to change it because why the gently caress not? You might play with only rules, numbers and dice, but inventing stuff is the most fun part of the game, and 3D&T really makes a point of reminding you that. As a final touch, it also asks the player to make a drawing of your character or just grab a picture online to help you, the other players and the GM to know what he looks like.

Next: Building your character!

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

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



Yeeessss.

So, here's the thing everyone needs to know about 3D&T:

It's broken beyond measure. It has the single most obvious, most accessible "win everything" button in any RPG ever. Yes, it's even easier than writing "Wizard" on your 3rd edition D&D character sheet (it's less characters). However!

1. It was sold cheap. I have no idea about inflation and historical currencies, but the physical copy was definitely less than 10 dollars.
2. It was sold at newspaper stands. No going to some obscure local gaming store run by a weirdo; you could stumble across this RPG system when looking for some crossword puzzles.
3. It is super easy to learn. Fifteen minutes, tops, to make a character and learn how to play, and that's if you've never played before.
4. It overplays its anime and videogame aesthetic.

The net result? Back in early 2000's, this thing attracted droves and droves of prepubescent and teenage kids into the hobby. It defined a generation of Brazilian gamers. It was my first proper system, and I distinctly remember being 11 years old and playing 20 minutes at breaks between classes. It isn't a very good system at all and its entire Japanese aesthetic thing is kind of silly, but it doesn't matter. 3D&T is a loving lesson in marketing and keeping the hobby fresh, attracting new people. It was a concentrated pill against the model train ghetto that introduced RPGs to my entire gaming generation.

It's something a lot of games have a lot to learn from.

Plutonis
Mar 25, 2011

lol

Cyphoderus posted:

Yeeessss.

So, here's the thing everyone needs to know about 3D&T:

It's broken beyond measure. It has the single most obvious, most accessible "win everything" button in any RPG ever. Yes, it's even easier than writing "Wizard" on your 3rd edition D&D character sheet (it's less characters). However!

1. It was sold cheap. I have no idea about inflation and historical currencies, but the physical copy was definitely less than 10 dollars.
2. It was sold at newspaper stands. No going to some obscure local gaming store run by a weirdo; you could stumble across this RPG system when looking for some crossword puzzles.
3. It is super easy to learn. Fifteen minutes, tops, to make a character and learn how to play, and that's if you've never played before.
4. It overplays its anime and videogame aesthetic.

The net result? Back in early 2000's, this thing attracted droves and droves of prepubescent and teenage kids into the hobby. It defined a generation of Brazilian gamers. It was my first proper system, and I distinctly remember being 11 years old and playing 20 minutes at breaks between classes. It isn't a very good system at all and its entire Japanese aesthetic thing is kind of silly, but it doesn't matter. 3D&T is a loving lesson in marketing and keeping the hobby fresh, attracting new people. It was a concentrated pill against the model train ghetto that introduced RPGs to my entire gaming generation.

It's something a lot of games have a lot to learn from.

:hfive: there bro. It was my first system too, back in middle school in 2000/2001 when one of my goony friends showed me the good ol' Red version of the book and we started playing at my home like nerdy tweens would. It's really indeed not the best of systems when i look back at it but hell, Lil' Plutonis learned to play it in less than an hour, which is something no other tabletop managed to achieve in my personal experience.

Also the Japanese aesthetic thing was genius because if there's a place you can grab a lot of prospective new players is on the zillions of anime conventions all over Brazil. While there are tabletop spaces on every con i go, a lot of them have 3D&T, and most of them always manage to grab the younger and most eager kids who want to enter the hobby. Say what you want about Marcelo Cassaro or the Trio Tormenta, but the man managed to put a solid foot in the market.

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

I am afraid I was too slow on the Meikyuu character creation but if not

1, 2, 6, 1, 5, 1, 1, 1, 4, 2, 1, 2, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 5, 4, 1, 4, 5, 1, 1, 2

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:



Skull count +4. Skull total: 75

A lot of Rifts® concepts are wonderfully toyetic, but War is just pure monster toy. Skulls that detatch so he can throw them at foes? Throwing crossbonerangs? Stretchy mace? I can just see the blister packaging now.

God yes if I had seen that glistening in sweet plastic as a kid I would basically have exploded from sheer covetous longing. It's really too bad that the entire Horsemen plot is so weak.

quote:

And that's all you get. No origin, no background, no details, just boring killamajigs that are out to murder everybody because that's what it says in the script. They are boss monsters that will take ages for your average party to kill - and take not heroism to defeat, but sheer force of numbers and dice. They have no weaknesses other than the order you're supposed to kill them in (Famine, Pestilence, War, Death) and the fact that Millennium Tree weapons do solid damage against them (ten times normal, or about that of a Boom Gun, so you can just use a bunch of rail guns instead). Of course, Pestilence can specifically destroy Millennium Tree components and does extra damage against them...

They are literally sketches with (bad) statblocks thrown on. Only Death has a really interesting element - the fact he has to troll people into attacking him - but otherwise these are even duller than your usual Rifts® monster that just considers humanity an interdimensional delicacy. This is the big culmination of the Rifts® metaplot up to this point, following ARCHIE, the Mechanoids, and the introduction of Mrr'lyn. And - for all of their flaws - all of the villains above are more interesting than the Four Horsemen, who may as well be 8-bit videogame bosses.

Next: The evil bus has its next tour through the scenic Pantheon of Taut. Evil wears a puppy head!

And this is basically the summation of all the problems. I mean these mysterious evils have just appeared and started rampaging and basically everything in the world, even the bad guys, are going to oppose them--the Mechanoids are also kind of one-note murderbots but they at least have a backstory. And also a very specific hatred that actually creates some interesting dynamics in the setting. It's also of course convenient how Africa lacks any sort of organized power capable of really fighting them off well (aside from vague memories of Rama-sets to come, but isn't he on their side or something?) so we just gotta get some PCs up in there.

Though they would be pretty sweet 8-bit video game bosses.

quote:


Anyway, this is a lovely and one-note boring rendition of a god, and just goes at it with the narrow view of him as a pure villain, when in fact at times he was worshipped as a heroic god or villainous god depending on Egypt's political climate. You could do some really interesting stuff with the varying interpretations he recieved throughout history, but instead he's a one-note monster who does evil because that's the alignment on his character sheet. It is, frankly, a typical Western view of him and it's boring.


It is pretty much exactly that problematic and boring. And Anubis as another one-note villain. Godduh, Rifts. Pantheons did some better work with...some of the gods there but again they just usually drew the death/evil/whatever gods as shallow caricatures, along with turning some 'good' gods evil just to be sure there was always more evil than good or something. Since we can't go having nuance or conflicting interpretations of a being or whatever.

I also don't get the 'Pantheon of Taut' thing, as far as I can tell this is a term that Rifts made up. That and the whole 'pantheon of light and darkness' business. I mean there is conflict between order and chaos but it just wasn't that simplistic. Of course, the Pantheon of Light are unbelievable pricks, I guess just to further demonstrate the uselessness of Palladium alignments and perhaps 'alignment' in general.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

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




Lastly, we learn how Mobius gets along with his Middle Eastern neighbors. Spoiler: not well.

Ethiopia has pretty much disintegrated under Mobius' assault. The only reason Mobius hasn't just taken over yet is because the terrain makes it difficult to move troops in easily since his war machine wasn't designed to work at high alitudes. As it stands right now, Mobius keeps a few battalions on the Ethiopian border to keep them boxed in and to keep control of the Ethiopian gold and diamond mines on the country's border.

Dr. Mobuis was smart enough to realize early on that Israel was going to be a major threat, so he made it a point to move into their territory as soon as he could before they had time to assemble an effective defense. The western half of Israel is now under the Empire's control, but he's been unable to get in any further due to the Israeli forces not only putting up a better defense than Mobius expected, but also raiding into Empire territory.

Things are a little tenser with Libya. Remember, this game was written in the early 90’s, so Muammar Qaddafi was still in charge. The oil fields of Libya were an early target for Mobius, so Qaddafi made a bargain: if Mobius stopped trying to invade, accepted 45% of Libya's crude oil production, and give Qaddafi access to weird science weaponry, Qaddafi would not detonate the nuke he buried in the oil fields and irradiate the world’s main source of oil. Mobius has agreed, partially so he can concentrate on other battefronts, but also because he doesn’t know what a nuclear bomb is because they don’t exist in Terra or the Empire. Yet.

Lastly, there’s the Sudan. Sudanese forces have fallen back into a defensive position. Fortunately, they’re being supported by the Soviet Union’s “Soviet Psychic Group”, whose psychics have been able to predict attacks by Nile forces.

NEXT TIME: Pulp Powers and Gadgets...Torg style!

It's kinda weird, but the more I think about it, the Nile Empire really should have expanded more north and east. Mobius' reality bombs wouldn't have much of an effect on sub-Saharan Africa, since most of that region, especially at the time, was using about WW2 or early Soviet-era equipment, which, while not exactly a match for weird science, would be cutting-edge Tech axiom 21 stuff. That technical might change from a Toyota Hilux pick-up truck into a Studebaker, but that DShK or KPV in the bed isn't going to get any less effective. And the standard issue weapon for African warlords and militias around those parts is the AK-47, which is on the cusp of Tech axiom 21. Even if it wasn't, there's still plenty of StG-44s around there. WEG never stated out the RPG, but even it might fall on the same lines, since there's little difference between the RPG-7 and the RPG-2, which was originally a development off the German Panzerfaust. And there's always mortars and Katyushas, which seem to be the chosen artillery weapons in the Third World.

Meanwhile, Israel is probably the most technologically-advanced country in the region, followed by pre-invasion Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, not just with all Tech axiom 23 military equipment, but technology pervasive in everyday life. Even places like Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq would have probably about Tech axiom 22 level equipment, thanks in part to the Soviets dumping their '70s surplus on them. Mobius suddenly wiping out their high-tech armed forces would probably give him an easy march up to the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

ProfessorProf posted:

Delirious: Gotta lay off the sauce, man. Mental, reduces Wisdom by 2.

Love that icon. The graphic design in this game rules.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

It's kinda weird, but the more I think about it, the Nile Empire really should have expanded more north and east. Mobius' reality bombs wouldn't have much of an effect on sub-Saharan Africa, since most of that region, especially at the time, was using about WW2 or early Soviet-era equipment, which, while not exactly a match for weird science, would be cutting-edge Tech axiom 21 stuff. That technical might change from a Toyota Hilux pick-up truck into a Studebaker, but that DShK or KPV in the bed isn't going to get any less effective. And the standard issue weapon for African warlords and militias around those parts is the AK-47, which is on the cusp of Tech axiom 21. Even if it wasn't, there's still plenty of StG-44s around there. WEG never stated out the RPG, but even it might fall on the same lines, since there's little difference between the RPG-7 and the RPG-2, which was originally a development off the German Panzerfaust. And there's always mortars and Katyushas, which seem to be the chosen artillery weapons in the Third World.

Meanwhile, Israel is probably the most technologically-advanced country in the region, followed by pre-invasion Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, not just with all Tech axiom 23 military equipment, but technology pervasive in everyday life. Even places like Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq would have probably about Tech axiom 22 level equipment, thanks in part to the Soviets dumping their '70s surplus on them. Mobius suddenly wiping out their high-tech armed forces would probably give him an easy march up to the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

An AK-47 is, in fact tech axiom 21. Most artillery is tech 22.

Three things you have to remember, though:

1) Dr. Mobius is insane. It's not much, but there you go.
2) He's obsessed with Egyptian culture, and most of the desert isn't that well defended compared to, say, Israel. Remember, just seizing territory is a high priority.
3) As Nile Empire axioms and world laws flood over the desert, they're creating ancient tombs and lost cities he can plunder for magic artifacts. Much easier to do that than deal with enemy armies.

johntfs
Jun 7, 2013

by Cowcaster


Soiled Meat

Evil Mastermind posted:

An AK-47 is, in fact tech axiom 21. Most artillery is tech 22.

Three things you have to remember, though:

1) Dr. Mobius is insane. It's not much, but there you go.
2) He's obsessed with Egyptian culture, and most of the desert isn't that well defended compared to, say, Israel. Remember, just seizing territory is a high priority.
3) As Nile Empire axioms and world laws flood over the desert, they're creating ancient tombs and lost cities he can plunder for magic artifacts. Much easier to do that than deal with enemy armies.

You also need to remember that Mobius needs native supporters of his Egyptian Pulp Empire to activate stelae. The Persian Gulf countries are strongly Muslim and not that keen on bowing to an Egyptian pantheon - or Egypt in general. The Possibility Wars are as much if not more conflicts for "hearts and minds" than they are true military conflicts. Mobius' tanks, planes and troops are as much about the trappings and perception of empire as they are the reality of empire. A whole lot of Africa is a disorganized mess full of genocide and AIDS - and it was a lot like that back in 1990, too. Which means that Mobius' empire, with its implicit promise of some kind of law and order, will potentially be better accepted there.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Church

Satan tries his hardest to corrupt the holy. Nowhere is the spiritual battle of Europe more vicious than in the monasteries and nunneries. The Infernal prowls constantly, trying to find a way to lead them to damnation. They are potent soldiers of God, thanks to furthering education, preaching and supporting their communities, but if turned from God they are as powerful a force to drat. Temptation, heresy and false spirituality are the weapons of the Infernal in this war. Corruption is their goal, and it can take many forms. Vice is the most common, to be sure, followed by heresy and ignorance, folk belief and more. But corruption means something worse now: the direct charm of Satan and his minions. A corrupt order is one that is institutionally corrupt, fighting on the side of Hell.

It's important, the book tells us, to be sensitive and careful when running plots involving evil and heresy. Some people have very strong feelings about the medieval or modern Catholic Church, and you don't want make everyone mad. Everyone needs to be aware that the Mythic Church of Mythic Europe isn't real and does not reflect the real Church. Corrupt monks were a big folkloric idea in the 13th century, though modern ideas of what that corruption was may not apply. (Child and sexual abuse, nunneries as brothels and the torture of innocents did not feature widely in contemporary folklore, and date instead from 19th-century anti-clericalist movements.) By avoiding these more modern ideas, a lot of problems can be avoided. The favorite tales of the era were about monks and nuns eloping and being pursued by the Church, or of lax and gluttonous abbots oppressing the peasantry. Corruption should not draw on the imagery of horror movies. The pentagram is a symbol of the five wounds of Christ, though it certainly was used in magical practices. Animal and human sacrifice are not common motifs at all, and modern ideas of Satanism are massive anachronistic and inappropriate. Demons care not about blood and murder, but corrupting souls and magnifying vice and fear. Corruption is about temptation, moral choices and the lure of worldly gain. EVil is ultimately ugly and unattractive, and while it can appear sympathetic and appealing until you look deeper, it is in truth disgusting and offensive when understood fully.

Another area you might run into trouble is, well, heresy. Again: be sensitive. All major monotheistic faiths are Divine, even when reason would suggest they are in conflict. As a result, it can some hard to grasp that some ideas are wrong and spiritually damaging. You must be very careful in what you declare to be heresy that goes too far. The important concept is this: 'Where there is truth, there is error.' Demons lead people to sin by making them resigned to Hell or by making them deny the possibility of Hell...and also by subverting the truth, leading people to mistaken beliefs and wrong behavior that will eventually corrupt them. Heresy is a vital part of that process. What heresies are Infernal, however, is hard to judge. A heresy is only Infernal if it leads people to sin and thus damnation. Being wrong is not, in itself, enough. That wrongness must lead to evil acts. There are many heresies, some quite old, and most heretics are theologians who have made errors or who have been found to be in error following a ruling. The Church does not execute heretics; it does, however, often hand them over to secular governments, who very well may. This subtle distinction is not, perhaps, very comforting for those burned at the stake.

Most heretics are also not aware they are heretics. Ignorance is the problem, not deliberate refusal of truth. Some are certain that the Church is wrong and seek to reform it, while others merely think for themselves and via weak understanding of doctrine reach incorrect conclusions. Most heretics are faithful to the Church but strayed, or reformers who dispute some matter of doctrine. The only large-scale alternative to the Church that has arisen through heresy is Catharism - and it's important to remember, not all heretics are Infernal, and the majority serve the Dominion, with some even having True Faith despite being guilty of heresy. Heresy is disagreement with the earthly Church, not with God. Where heresy is genuinely Infernal, however, sacrilege and blasphemy inevitably follow. Desecration or abuse of the holy draws a very strong reaction in Mythic Europe, and that is where the Infernal prospers. Now, on to three potentially corrupted Orders.

The Order of Cluny began as a Benedictine movement in the 900s. The Burgundian monks of Cluny began a very strict interpretation of the Benedictine rule at a time when it was popular and widespread belief that monks were lax, venal and corrupt. The founder of Cluny, the Duke of Aquitane, chose not to exercise the usual influence a noble patron could hold over a monastery and instead made it free from mundane authority and subject only to the pope. The pope approved, and the monastery therefore now stands completely independent of diocese and local church. Freed from all authority, the monks of Cluny looked inwards, becoming a great force for spiritual rebirth and ascetic purity. Perhaps that freedom was dangerous and tempted the new Order of Cluny to pride, but for two centuries, they were a light for the world, sending out monks with the zeal of reformers, determined to cleanse the monasteries of laxity, corruption and filth. By its example, Cluny touched every religious house in western Europe, making them examine their fidelity to the Benedictine Rule. The papacy, seeing the accomplishments, sent monks out to other houses, and it is tribute to the zeal of these early missionary reformers that they often succeeded in bringing their high ideals into practice.

Because of their perceived purity, Cluny was popular with the laity and the Church, receiving much support and many bequests and endowments. It was that fashionable nature, in fact, that provided the seeds for Cluny's downfall, by the mid-12th century, Cluniac houses were often as rich as if not richer than Benedictine ones, and new reforming movements dedicated to poverty and ascetic zeal, such as the Cistercians, had developed and become more popular. The Cluniacs, long seen as the best reformers in monasticism, are in 1220 perceived as decadent and lax, and not, perhaps, unjustifiably.

Even as the austerity and rigor of the early Cluniacs has given way to wealth and time, they have developed their own strong traditions seperating them from the Benedictine Order. They are governed almost feudally, with the Abbot of Cluny at the top, holding supreme power. In each Cluniac monastery, the abbot or prior has strong control and imposes authority more than in most Benedictine houses. Cluny is the mother house, and those who left to reform or found monasteries swore 'vassalage' to Cluny, becoming daughter houses, sending out their own monks to found new daughter houses. An annual payment is made from each daughter to its mother, and monks are often sent the other way. It is a particular oddity of the Cluniacs that the abbots of the smaller houses take the title 'prior' instead, including every Cluniac house in England. This is a show of modesty, with the title 'abbot' reserved for the Abbot of Cluny and the largest houses. The prior also combines the duties of abbot and prior, reducing factionalism and maintaining authority. Abbots and priors in Cluniac houses are not elected, but appointed by the mother house or by Cluny itself.



While most religious houses are subject to Ecclesiastical oversight and visitation, Cluniac houses are not. The right of Cluny to answer directly to the Papacy was later conferred to its daughter houses (and their daughter houses), so they have very little supervision. Even papal legates, due to a bull of 1098, are forbidden to intervene in or examine a Cluniac house without direct papal instruction. Secular authority is weak, too. The claims of patrons beyond blessings and prayers, especially those involving privilege or influence, are strongly resisted, as is any tax. Cluniac houses stand apart, owing fealy only to their parent house and to Cluny. Visitations are sent by the Abbot of Cluny or his representative, but are extremely infrequent, on the order of decades.

The Cluniacs take Mass extremely often, with an opulence unlike any other group. The design of the Mass is meant for wonder and awe, not comprehension, and honestly, if it were a terrible profanation and black Mass, no one would be able to tell thanks to the theatrics of the Mass. Almost all Cluniac monks are ordained in order to perform the Mass, so corruption may be widespread. It might also be that the corruption of the Mass is more subtle, concealed more in the ornate ritual, and only recognizable to a theologian studying the rite. If the Cluniacs are the corrupt order, however, the perversions must be subtle and hidden, given their age. (Likewise, the liturgical hours are given more opulent ceremony than in Benedictine houses, and it is possible that these rituals have been corrupted. A Cluniac service takes twice as long as normal, and there's plenty of room for subtle corruption.) The Cluniacs are especially famous for their prayers for the dead. Their daily Masses are nearly always requiem or mortuary Masses, said in memory of the dead, and Cluniac monks who are ordained are almost exclusively ordained to officiate funerary rites. Cluniacs collect miracula, books of ghost stories and saintly miracles, and are particularly associated with ghostly miracles and ghosts. This is where much of their wealth comes from: wills that grant them money in return for the things the Cluniacs say will speed purgatory - prayers, mortuary Mass and alms granted in their name.



Many abbots of Cluny have gone on to become bishops, retaining affection for the order, and the papacy is also well-disposed towards them, making them influential in the Church. In the past, they were extremely wealthy, but in 1220, they tend to be in economic disorder due to the costs they keep - for example, hiring servants to do many duties due to their frequent prayers taking up time, and building large churches and chapels that must be maintained. As a result, the number of requiem Masses has gone down, especially as there are fewer and fewer Cluniac monks. Much of the money today goes to the Cistercians or the mendicant friars of Dominic, Francis and the Carmelite orders. Many houses are deeply in debt with Jewish moneylenders. It doesn't help that getting into a Cluniac order requires a journey to Cluny and a year there studying before taking vows. (Not all monks manage it, but it's the ideal.) Until taking the full vows at Cluny, a monk is not allowed to take part in chapter meetings and must often eat seperately from others and perform menial tasks.

Next time: The potential corruption of Cluny.

InShaneee
Aug 11, 2006

Cleanse them. Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin. Bathe them in the crimson of ... am I on speakerphone?

Fun Shoe



Countdown, Chapter 2 - GRU-SV8 (Part 2)

In 1947, news circled the globe of a downed 'flying saucer' allegedly recovered in Roswell, NM, USA (but of course, you've heard this one before). Just one day later, the US Army issued a retraction, and the story was quickly forgotten by most. Most, but not Josef Stalin. Stalin was currently throwing every resource available to him at finding out US nuclear secrets, and to that end he had spies all over the US, including near the nuclear-armed Roswell AFB. The story caught his interest immediately, and his agents were ordered to investigate. They were able to get little in the way of concrete information, but what little they did learn deepened the mystery: the craft was definitely not American, and the army had no idea what it was. Stalin needed to know more, but currently was losing trust in Lavrentiy Beria, current head of the NKVD (and also head of Stalin's occult research projects at SMERSH). Consequently, the operation fell to GRU, currently headed by General Sergei Shtemenko. Shtemenko loved his country, but distrusted Beria and hated Stalin. With Roswell, he saw an opportunity to create real change for the good of the country. He suggested the creation of a new unit to study the crash, answerable only to Shtemenko and Stalin, and 'disguised' as the unit Shtemenko ran from 1946-1948: SV8. Stalin agreed, and SV8 was given complete discretion to run clandestine operations. While SV8 never learned much more about the crash, their new compartmentalized system allowed them to hide their budget and operations from the NKVD and SMERSH, as well as allowing them to keep running in total secret following Stalin's death.

In late 1952, Delta Green launched Operation SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS, a strategic op to send a ten-man team (six agents and four guides) deep into the USSR to locate the SMERSH lab that was using Karotechia's 'resuscitated casualties' technology for Stalin's life-extension research, and to destroy the lab along with all their work. The insertion went off flawlessly, but some 200 miles north of Novosibirsk, the team encountered a Spetsnaz unit on maneuvers, and a firefight ensued. Two guides were killed, one soldier was wounded, and the survivors were handed over to the GRU. At the time, inter-agency competition was at an all-time high, so the GRU decided to keep their prisoners a secret until they were able to learn more. One week of brutal interrogations later, and the GRU learned all the details of DG's plans. At the time, the GRU was being headed by General Mikhail Shalin, who had served with SV8 during WWII and had witnessed the 'resuscitated casualties' firsthand (and thus took the idea of an undying Stalin very, very seriously). He came up with a plan: the DG survivors would be re-equipped, smuggled into Novosibirsk, and allowed to complete their mission. Shalin assumed that the SMERSH agents guarding the research facility would kill most of the team, but SV8 would position snipers outside should any DG agents attempt to escape upon completing their mission. Two months later, the DG team was successful in penetrating the facility, killing the lead scientists, and destroying all of the chemical-producing equipment. SV8 shot and killed two DG agents as they fled the facility, but after sifting through the rubble, one was left unaccounted for (a US Army colonel who successfully fled the country and later filed a report concerning the strange behavior of his captors). Deprived of the facility's life-extending chemicals, Stalin died in 1953. While this was a relief to Shalin, during the subsequent confusing at the Kremlin, Lavrentiy was able to search Stalin's personal effects and take possession of his partially-translated Necronomicon.

The reshuffling of departments following Stalin's death offered an opportunity for SV8. Using repurposed Spetsnaz units and personnel lists stolen from Stalin's personal effects, SV8 launched a highly successful campaign to wipe out SMERSH for good. All told 282 agents were executed, 740 were captured, and only 7 were never accounted for. SV8's first priority was 'justice': the 656 captured SMERSH field agents were herded to an open field, marched into mass graves, and summarily shot (the SMERSH agents, having come up with this procedure, put up little resistance). What was left was 84 researchers, which SV8 was interested in re-purposing to their own ends, a concept which quickly proved problematic. Surveying the team, they found again and again that anyone who spent any time working with the Necronomicon ended up insane or dead. In the end, Shalin made the call to execute the remaining researchers and banned further study of the alien sciences known as 'magick' to ensure SV8 was never corrupted as SMERSH and Karotechia were.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, SV8 turned back to their 'holy grail': Roswll NM. A decade later, they'd learned almost nothing new, and lost 16 agents in the process. This was because MJ-12 had become aware of the Soviet's interest and used their counterintelligence arm (Project GARNET) to brutally deal with any agents that got too close. However, MJ-12 saw a possibility for a more permanent solution in 1972, when Project REDLIGHT's attempt to reactivate the craft nearly destroyed the facility in a catastrophic explosion. MJ-12 correctly guessed that the Soviets would have noticed the explosion, as well as the large-scale cleanup effort that followed. The final piece of the puzzle was Henry Watts, an aerospace engineer at nearby Nellis AFB. Over the course of the next two years, Watts was 'allowed' to learn a variety of false information about Roswell, then fired with a black mark on his record and a ruined credit rating. SV8 had no trouble finding Watts who, now disgrunted and drinking heavily, was eager to 'get back' at his former employers. Watts told SV8 that the only craft MJ-12 possessed had been destroyed in the explosion, and lacking a research project, MJ-12 had been disbanded. Watts had no proof to offer, but two days later, he turned up dead in an apparent CIA hit; SV8 was convinced. To this day, SV8 believes that the US has ceased its extraterrestrial research, and that MJ-12 is no more (ironically, SV8 also never learned of the official dissolution of Delta Green, and still believes them to be a legitimate government organization).

The end of the Cold War and the breakup of the USSR meant hard times for SV8. Decreasing international tensions meant a dramtic slashing of GRU's budget, crippling SV8. It's been 8 years since SV8 hired on any new members; most of the existing members were let go due to budget cuts, and the few remainders often go months at a time without seeing a paycheck. SV8's modern intelligence and field capabilities are pitiful, with most of what they're able to successfully accomplish owing to favors from retired officers that still hold some political clout. About the only thing SV8 does have going for it is its vast Mythos-related library, seized from Stalin, SMERSH, and later the vaults of the KGB. This does NOT include Stalin's Necronomicon; while SV8 successfully retrieved it during SMERSH's liquidation, it was lost in 1944 when it was naively used as bait to trap a group of Russian mobsters who were looking to purchase it. Retrieving the Necronomicon remains SV8's largest standing operation. Aside from that, their mission remains as it always was: protect Russia from the paranormal threats they don't even know exist.

...And that's about it. No dark secret at the heart of the organization this time, just a bunch of actual do-gooders who are now on the verge of vanishing due to budget cutbacks and the continued need for secrecy.


Next time: Russia's own occult threat, Skoptsi

InShaneee fucked around with this message at 03:20 on Jun 10, 2013

Synthbuttrange
May 6, 2007



I love that through no planning (I think?) three seperate RPG books are visiting Africa at the same time.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


America: secretly run by aliens.

Britain: secretly run by aliens.

Russia: the last bastion of the resistance.

That makes a nice change from Cold-War-era Western propaganda, I have to say.

InShaneee
Aug 11, 2006

Cleanse them. Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin. Bathe them in the crimson of ... am I on speakerphone?

Fun Shoe

Lemon Curdistan posted:

Russia: the last bastion of the resistance.

That makes a nice change from Cold-War-era Western propaganda, I have to say.

They still get to play with the trope, though. SV8 has done such a fantastic job of flying under the radar that they're virtually unknown, even in the intelligence world. As such, Russia's reputation in DG's spy world leans more towards SMERSH and their horrific necromantic experiments.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


SynthOrange posted:

I love that through no planning (I think?) three seperate RPG books are visiting Africa at the same time.

I take objection to this.

It won't be until a fair deal later in the week that Rifts Africa will actually discuss Africa. :v:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Africa: Part 6: "Even if vaporized or having been blasted to -300 or more M.D.C., the creature will reappear at full power 48 hours later and be out for revenge!"

Apepi the Immortal


Even gods can be slack-jawed yokels.

I'm guessing they mean Apep the evil serpent, not Apepi the pharaoh. Whups. In mythology, even Set opposed Apep, because of Apep's "eat the gods, all the gods" sort of attitude! This version? He's a thug for Set. :geno:

Oh! But there's a twist! See, he's immortal. Oh, sure, you may wonder "what does immortality even mean for a dragon that can take an average of 50 nuclear bombs to the face before dropping?" Well, see, even if you nuke him 50 times - and that is the number 6900 M.D.C. comes out to at this point in the game line - he auto-regenerates from any and all damage in 48 hours. You can turn him into dragon slurry and throw it into the sun and he'll still be back. There is no known way of killing this darn dragon. Set didn't drink the potion, though, because it makes you batshit crazy. (I dunno, it seems a small price to pay for utter invulnerability, but that could be my gamer brain talking.)

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

... most practitioners swear that such a potion is the fabrication of myth and has never existed - legend has it that Set has two more vials of the potion.

That's an awfully specific legend! :raise:

Anyway, Apepi is just the Leroy Jenkins of the Taut pantheon and is always just all-out attacking and ignoring harm basically because he's a tremendous suicidal showoff. Oh, and he's completely loyal to Set for giving him immortality, and if Set is ever killed, Apepi will chase them down and kill them (PCs, this means you) for basically forever. Apparently, Set is also the only thing that keeps Apep from being (yet another) murder-obsessed killamajig. He doesn't like Anubis... because, and likes Bes... because, and hates Ra because Ra can't stop killing him.

So right uh 8th level "spell caster", how lazy is that, poo poo, that isn't even a class in any Palladium Books®... book, he has priest powers for no loving reason, uh, he regens about 8 M.D.C. a second, he can cast Warlock spells even though he has no Warlock levels, look these statblocks are pure bullshit and I'm worn out.

He hates technology and mecha and loves Rama-Set, who the gently caress is Rama-Set, we just know he's Set's flunky, we won't get any details for literally another hundred pages or so. Also:

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Apepi doesn't really care that much about worldly gains and collects valuables mainly as a means to attract the foolish and greedy or as a resources to purchase information and hire assassins. To this end he has a small treasure-trove worth about 200 million credits.
Translation: "He doesn't care about money so he has collected enough money to buy out most small city-states." :psyduck:

Oh, and if you're wondering what kind of Palladium® dragon is he's just an unknown mystery dragon and there aren't any other dragons like him.

Amon the Hidden One


Well, not entirely hidden.

Wikipedia posted:

Amun-Ra in this period (16th to 11th centuries BC) held the position of transcendental, self-created creator deity "par excellence", he was the champion of the poor or troubled and central to personal piety.

Wikipedia posted:

The victory accomplished by pharaohs who worshipped Amun against the "foreign rulers", brought him to be seen as a champion of the less fortunate, upholding the rights of justice for the poor. By aiding those who traveled in his name, he became the Protector of the road. Since he upheld Ma'at (truth, justice, and goodness), those who prayed to Amun were required first to demonstrate that they were worthy by confessing their sins. Votive stelae from the artisans' village at Deir el-Medina record:

"[Amun] who comes at the voice of the poor in distress, who gives breath to him who is wretched..You are Amun, the Lord of the silent, who comes at the voice of the poor; when I call to you in my distress You come and rescue me...Though the servant was disposed to do evil, the Lord is disposed to forgive. The Lord of Thebes spends not a whole day in anger; His wrath passes in a moment; none remains. His breath comes back to us in mercy..May your ka be kind; may you forgive; It shall not happen again."

Wikipedia posted:

As Amun-Re he was petitioned for mercy by those who believed suffering had come about as a result of their own or others wrongdoing.

Amon-Re "who hears the prayer, who comes at the cry of the poor and distressed...Beware of him! Repeat him to son and daughter, to great and small; relate him to generations of generations who have not yet come into being; relate him to fishes in the deep, to birds in heaven; repeat him to him who does not know him and to him who knows him...Though it may be that the servant is normal in doing wrong, yet the Lord is normal in being merciful. The Lord of Thebes does not spend an entire day angry. As for his anger – in the completion of a moment there is no remnant..As thy Ka endures! thou wilt be merciful!"

You know, usually I think people make too much of a big deal of mythology being mixed up and altered for fiction. After all, the old priests and storytellers were always changing their own stories up, you get a god like Amun, who gets mixed up with Ra and you get a new god called Amon-Re or whatever, it's no big deal. Making Anubis into a generic dog-headed zombie king doesn't annoy me on that front, really. It's just boring. It's taking the personality out of a mythological figure to just have him be a punching bag for PCs (or more likely vice-versa). And you know what? Even that's not so bad about what we're about to deal with. I throw the mythology up front so you know that Amon-Re was a champion of the distraught and helpless. This is the equivalent of taking Baldur and making him an lady moll for Loki. Basically nothing of the original mythology remains but the name.

:sigh:

So this Amon the Hidden One was the most beautiful of the Gods of Light, but when she tried to hit on Osiris, he blew her off and everybody laughed at her. So she betrayed Osiris to Set and Anubis (how, it doesn't say) and so she was responsible for the war between the Gods of Light and Darkness that continues to this day!

... women. Amirite, guys? :v:

Anyway, Thoth blasted her face with special magic accidentally in a fight and disfigured her in a special way not even the gods can fix, and so she's bitter and wants to torture and deform people... because, you know. That's what people do when faced with tragedy. Well, at least she has a motivation. It's a lovely, sexist motivation, but it's a step up from all these characters are evil for no apparent reason, and... nnngh, okay, I was trying to be fair, but honestly this is just as dumb and crummy, it's a woman who just cares about her looks causing eternal evil basically because she couldn't cope with being rejected even once.

She's the god of fear, horror, discord, bitterness, vengeance and "all that is ugly", loves monsters and is favored among "ugly non-humans". Because, I guess, the megaverse defines beauty by humanity. (It's the same theme we saw in Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis.)

10473 MDC, can vomit flame (yes, it uses the word vomit), can control vermin, is a fire warlock, diabolist, and stone master, can play the flute at 98% "very macabre and eerie tunes", can operate a computer at 60% so she can keep posting to hotornot.com, has a bunch of biowizardry items from the Splugorth to make freaks (it refers us to "Rifts Atlanitis" for these, which sounds like a skin condition), and she gets on well with Splynncryth. Apparently this Splynncryth fellow is like the social toast of the evil god town, since everybody has a goddamn opinion on him.

She has a rune dagger which is lesser that is a drinker of souls that sigh drinks the blood of its foes too. She also has an enslaver which is discussed back in my Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis review.

She also super-hates technology and destroys it whenever possible. Set has had to slap her down for trying to blow up their allies' stuff. No motivation is given for this attitude.

Goddamn it. I still have three more Gods of Darkness to go. :smithicide:

Next: The rest of the overpowered god-villain parade!

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 12:40 on Jun 10, 2013

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

Are there any black people in africa?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


FedoraDefender420 posted:

Are there any black people in africa?

Oh, yes! Lots of them!

Not that they have names or particularly matter as far as the metaplot goes, but, you know. They're certainly there.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts very often gives population breakdowns of 'human' and 'various other forms of not-human' and it's very nice to think we're all over our racial hangups but the Coalition is sometimes accused of white supremacy since they're always drawn as such. From a country that had rapidly changing demographics before the Rifts came.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Church

Suppose the Cluniacs are the corrupt order. If they are, Hell has won a major victory - they have corrupted one of the holiest orders and, due to the order's lack of oversight, done so in a way that is near impossible to notice and purify, especially with the authoritarian nature of the Cluniacs. Let us posit a history that includes their corruption. If it existed, it would go back to Odilo, fifth Abbot of Cluny. In his time, a vision of purgatory is granted to a hermit, and it is said to have led to the increasing emphasis on celebrating requiem Mass and building chantries. A small number of monks, thinking so much about the torments of the next life and the likelihood of damnation, begin to wonder if there might not be a better way. As ghosts begin to be seen more and more, the monks suffer a crisis of faith. The 12th century author William of Newburgh wrote quite a bit about the revenant dead, and the rise of the dead led to the formation of the Ex Miscellanea tradition of Donatores Requietis Aeternae. The Cluniacs, masters of the rites of the dead, are frequently called on to say Mass for them in order to keep the dead content and speed their souls along; yet, if corrupt, they are in fact partially responsible for these rising dead.

The vision that might have corrupted the Cluniacs is, then, one of the oldest in the world: it is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven. The Cluniacs saw the endless vistas of cruelty and horror and some began to question doctrine. In the 12th century, the defrocked priest Beter of Bruyes preached a heresy claiming that baptism should only be for adults, that only the New Testament was Divinely inspired and that the rest of the Bible was the work of men alone. He said that the true Church consisted only of the body of believers, and that there was no need for churches. He burned crosses, preaching them as nothing more than a torturer's tool, a bizarre way to commemorate the Christ. He denied the value of the sacraments and the physical nature of Christ, gaining popular support but Ecclesiastical condemnation.

At this time, the reforming abbit of Cluny, Peter the Venerable, led the Cluniacs against Peter of Bruyes, preaching orthodoxy. Yet, in the process, the Cluniacs were exposed to heretical belief. Peter the Venerable wrote of his foe's beliefs: the good deeds of the living cannot profit the dead, for beyond this life there is no room for merit, only retribution. The challenge to the Cluniacs was plain, and some felt there might be some truth to it. How could they know if their prayers actually did anything? One of the doubters was the monk Henry of Lausanne, expelled from the Cluniac Order for teaching the Petrobrusian heresy. His own beliefs, known as the Henrician heresy, flourished for some time, spreading among the Cluniac houses despite the best efforts of Bernard of Clairvaux and Peter the Venerable. Little is known of the content of the Henrician heresy, but if the Cluniacs are corrupt, then the exact moment in the 1140s, the rise of Henricianism, marks the point when they were corrupted, after Peter the Venerable died. When he fell, Cluny was the first to rot.

Faced with the challenge of proving that the fates of the dead could be affected by the living, there were two options. First: physically enter purgatory. They tried; two brave and devout parties of Cluniacs secretly set out to enter Purgatory via Mount Etna or the place in Ireland known as Saint Patrick's Purgatory. Both successfully found and entered Purgatory, or so it is believed; none of the Etna party returned alive, but two of the Irish party did. These two, a knight and monk, had been seperated on entering. The knight Owein told his story to Henry of Satrley, who had it verified by the visionary Marie of France, and the tale is now well-known, warning of the horrors of purgatory and telling Owein's pious resistance of temptation. The monk, Gobert of Eze, had a different experience. He was driven mad by what he saw, confused by evil spirits, and lacked the will or faith to resist. He sought out a necromancer to learn the sorcerous arts, hoping to control the dead that followed him and begged to be saved. When he returned to Cluny, he told the monks who had doubted that Henricianism was false, but also of the horrors he had seen, and the truth he could demonstrate with necromancy. When an impious noble died and was brought to Cluny, Gobert and his followers deliberately corrupted the funeral rites to deny the man Christian burial - a grave sin if ever there was one. They attracted demonic attention, and their necromantic rite succeeded, for that night the noble's shade appeared to them and swore service, as the demons would serve when they died.

Thus it was that the Cluniac houses were turned to the worm and to corruption, venerating Satan in the hope of reward and power after death. As the Cistercians grew in popularity and the Cluniacs grew low on funds, they felt strongly that God had turned His back on them, and more and more were corrupted by false teaching. The hierarchical nature of Cluny has allowed the monks to go among them, corrupting them in sequence, quietly killing those who resist. This would have been impossible still, were it not for the support of the demonic duke of Hell, BaalBuruth, who supervises the plan and whose special delight is the corruption of monks. He has a great army of deceivers working for and controlling the Cluniacs, and has even given then the True Names of some of his rivals, to better allow the Goetic monks to control them. (Or, perhaps, they are not True Names; either way, the demons appear cringing and fawning.)

Should they exist, the Corrupt Cluniacs favor the Goetic Arts of Ablating, Binding, Commanding and Summoning. Some also use the supernatural power of Corruption very effectively. Their usual method is to convince certain wealthy and powerful sinners that the only chance at salvation lies in supporting the Cluniacs financially and politically, producing ghosts if needed to prove their point. The Cluniacs have an uncanny knack for seeing unconfessed sin, thanks to the help of their demonic allies, and their goal is to strengthen their own position in Hell. They do so by teaching a fear of death and judgment and evoking despair rather than piety, a false reliance on indulgences and support of the Church militant (in the form of the Cluniacs) rather than genuine repentance and trust in God and the Sacraments. A common trick is for a Cluniac confessor to claim no confession is needed, for he can see the secrets of the heart. They subtly pervert true doctrine and encourage wrong belief, but their ultimate betrayal is the perverted Sacrament, for even a corrupt priest performing correct Sacrament would still be under power of the Divine, yet the Cluniacs deliberately use corrupted and sacreligious rites. Those given last rites by them often walk the earth as ghosts, bound and enslaved by the monks they trusted or delivered to waiting demons.

The Corrupt Cluniacs have corrupted many rites, including the Mass, into blasphemous inversions that profane the holy and create infernal vis. While only a small number are in the Goetic conspiracy, they have power over the whole order, and nearly all the abbots are in on it. The rest are merely corrupted by the Infernal auras that now grow up within the Cluniac houses, giving in to minor vices, sins of the flesh and especially impiety. The abbots tarnish the auras specifically to encourage this, using demons to discover what dark secrets might best tempt. They also bind the ghosts of those who mistakenly trusted them into objects, which they then use in several ways. The prior of Thetford has experimented with binding ghosts into murals of their lives, using them as eerie watchers. In some cases, tomb effigies have been bound with the spirits of the dead family buried there, to guard the tomb by animating the effigies. Others are bound into keys, rings or doors. The monks are not mindlessly cruel; rather, they desire to enhance their status in Hell by showing demonic qualities in life. They are also very careful never to allow any attempt to corrupt the burial of anyone who is even slightly holy or died in a state of grace, lest God take His vengeance.

A very small number of Cluniac monks are innocent, pious and struggling to reform the order. They know that something is horribly wrong, but they are isolated and scared. With the authority of the abbot ensured by the Cluniac Rule, few manage to cause trouble, and bishops and even papal legates have no way to investigate their claims, even claims of terrible and demonic black Masses, worship of demons or the walking dead. Those who are obviously dangerous and incorruptible are sent to Cluny, where they vanish or die, or exiled to small cells where three or four monks live in some unhealthy backwater, away from the rest of the order.

Should you desire the Cluniacs to be the corrupt order, the hard part will likely not be discovering their corruption but doing something about it, for almost no one holds any authority over them, and convincing the pope to investigate won't be an easy task, given how well-connected they are.

Next time: The Cistercian Order

Plutonis
Mar 25, 2011

lol



3D&T Alpha Part 1: The Hero (2 of 2)

Building a character!

So, this is the second part of the first chapter, and it comes with a neat example of character creation that people can use as a guideline for their own concepts. It illustrates pretty neatly the whole process, which is why I'm highlighting it here.

Step 1: Concept.

In this stage you just need a basic idea of your character, be it a simple sentence or a whole background ready. In this example we have Tasha, the youngest daughter of a demon family who was bullied by her sisters and sold by one of them to a dragon. She then escaped and became a Mage apprentice.



That's what we have now! Now, while you can grab the unique advantage "Demon" that comes with the other Race advantages, the book says that you could play that concept without doing so, and having the whole demon thing as just an aesthetic effect.

Step 2: Points.

Remember the point step scale I told last? Well, that's the part the GM points which one you'll use in this campaign. While it states that someone's first game usually will have people with only 5 points, we are using 12 on this example.

Step 3: Characteristics.

Let's now choose those with the 12 points we got. Since Tasha is a scrawny thing that was bullied by her stronger siblings, she's starting with 0 Power. Grabbing 1 could be nice too, but it's better to economize for now. Now while she's not that strong, Tasha got some pretty quick wits and moves, and thus starts with Ability 4 (Ability IS the god stat of the setting much like Dexterity is on D&D. Kinda funny how the book even acknowledges how it's the most important characteristic too). As a Magic user, we want her to have a good amount of Health and Magic points, so she also has 3 Resistance. She also took a magic amulet from the Dragon who enslaved her that gives her some magical protection, therefore we also will give her 2 Armor. And to make her not completely useless in a fight without magic, Tasha can also shoot some fireballs with her demonic power, thus we also will give her 3 Firepower.

Step 4: Advantages.

So, we have a 0P, 4Ab, 3Res, 2Ar, 3FP array. That's 12 points already, but no worries, we can still grab some advantages. Since we are making Tasha a Magic User, we are grabbing useful abilities to her, such as Black Magic (2 Points) and Mentor (1 Point), which gives her access to all the initial spells and three bonus ones respectively. She also gets to be tutored by a NPC that she could rely on the future and Extra Magic Points (1 Point), which increase her maximum of MP to 25. Upon choosing her starting spells, she notices that costs only 3 PM and would deal a bunch of more damage than her normal Firepower attacks, and thus she backtracks and reduces her FP to one.

But her total points are still 14! Which brings us to...

Step 5: Disadvantages

We are now grabbing disadvantages to help Tasha go back to a 12 points total. Since she's a demon, people look at her funny, so Bad Fame (-1) is a good pick. That leaves us to another one, however, but upon reviewing her backstory, we can see that Tasha's history would leave her with some trauma of Dragons and Demons, thus we grab a subset of the Insane disadvantage, which is Phobia: Dragons (-1).

Step 6: Revision

This is where you look back at your stuff and think on whether your sheet should be editted or not. Want to grab the Demon unique advantage? Grab more disadvantages so you can min-max more? Cut an advantage you think won't be that useful? Up to you, but we are continuing with our stuff for now.

The following steps 7 and 8 deal with GM approval and adding quirks to your RPing. It shows you how your GM could nitpick stuff on your character sheet and demand for edits and some roleplaying tips to add to your character's personality and backstory.

And finally, we have the last part of the first chapter, which outlies the roles the characters can take on combat. Be it the Attacker, Leader, Controller and Tank. And while the system lacks classes per se, it gives you a bunch of good characteristic and advantage choices for whatever combat role your character wants to fulfill in the party.

Next: NUMBERS!!!

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



occamsnailfile posted:

Rifts very often gives population breakdowns of 'human' and 'various other forms of not-human' and it's very nice to think we're all over our racial hangups but the Coalition is sometimes accused of white supremacy since they're always drawn as such. From a country that had rapidly changing demographics before the Rifts came.

Isn't Director Bradford at the Lone Star complex, essentially the third most powerful man in the Coalition, an African-American? I seem to recall he's drawn like Terrence Howard.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Young Freud posted:

Isn't Director Bradford at the Lone Star complex, essentially the third most powerful man in the Coalition, an African-American? I seem to recall he's drawn like Terrence Howard.

That and Jericho Holmes is a rad black coalition soldier. His picture is on one of the color splash pages in the Ultimate Rifts book.

edit: He's actually General Jericho Holmes.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 16:37 on Jun 10, 2013

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Young Freud posted:

Isn't Director Bradford at the Lone Star complex, essentially the third most powerful man in the Coalition, an African-American? I seem to recall he's drawn like Terrence Howard.

Yeah, he is. He honestly always felt like a derivative mashup of Baxter Stockman and Doc Feral from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness RPG to me, only more evil (and those guys were pretty drat evil). He's definitely one of the most evil baddies in the setting,

But most of the Coalition is pretty white, as far as I recall. I think there may have been exceptions here and there, but for example, all of Desmond's underlings are white, and it's only in the bandit section later that we see some hispanics and native americans. Lone Star in general is real ripe for a FATAL & Friends writeup for a variety of reasons, but that's over fifteen books away from where we're at with the game line.

I think they're just old guys from Michigan that write what they know and don't think too hard about their unconscious leanings. As we get into Africa proper it's clear that Siembieda means quite well, and actually did some research, but is going to fall pretty hard into the fallacy of romantic racism.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



I'm more looking forward to how they just skipped a page and so we didn't get stats for Tree People or whatever. Just whoops oh well more room for weird Simbieda inserts about how C.J. Carella did a great job but really this is all based on Kevin's idea from a bar one night, buy Rifts: Manhunter yo!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

theironjef posted:

buy Rifts: Manhunter yo!

I did. :negative:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Church

The Cistercian Order, like the Cluniacs, were born of zeal for reform and a desire to return to the original Benedictine Rule. At the end of the 11th century, a group of French monks from several houses left their houses. All of them were reformers and all had found the Cluniacs too lax and decadent for their tastes. These monks of good birth and education formed their own community at Citeaux, dedicating it on March 21st, 1098, the Feast of Saint Benedict. They took off incredibly, and by 1220 there are 400 Cistercian monasteries across Europe. They prefer wilderness areas and focus on manual labor while strictly observing the Benedictine Rule, and are widely seen as exemplars of piety and devotion. Ironically, this has led to considerable donation of wealth from the laity, who now often regard the mendicant friars as the reformers and the Cistercians as the fat and lazy monks. The Cistercians are on good terms with the Knights Templar and a number of other military orders, primarily through the efforts of one (now deceased) particularly active Cistercian, Bernard of Clairvaux, who led the Cistercians in preaching the Second Crusade.

The Cistercians are generally closer to the Benedectine ideal than the Cluniacs, and they are known as White Monks, for they wear white in contrast to the black of the Benedictines and Cluniacs. They tend to have monasteries in beautiful wilderness areas, far from human habitation. It is not especially uncommon for a traveller lost in the wilderness to stumble onto the paradisic gardens and fields of a Cistercian monastery. They do not run schools or provide welfare, as other orders do, and instead focus on their own spiritual retreat from the world. Some say they hide secrets in their isolation. Many of them are illiterate, and formal study is not nearly as stressed among Cistercians as the other orders. They are more interested in agricultural improvements, manual labor and construction work. They have begun employing lay workers to help on their farms, giving rise to monastery villages that will expand into towns. Their principle is simple: to work is to pray. Stories of demons raising their monasteries overnight are probably just a tribute to their hard work and ingenuity, as well as the fact that their churches look magnificent.

Like Cluniac houses, the Cistercians stand independent of the ecclesiastic structure, answering only to the papacy. However, they have a strong system of visitation, with each daughter house being visited annually for thorough inspection by the abbot of the mother house. Unlike the Cluniacs, the Cistercians are not hierarchical. Rather, the abbots gather at Citeaux every autumn for the annual chapter meeting, make policy decisions and are remarkably democratic and reminiscent of a Hermetic Tribunal. They even have a sort of peripheral law in the form of the Institutiones Capituli Generalis of 1203. In recent years, these meetings have become fractious, arguing over interpretation and aspects of their rule, with the unity of purpose that once marked the early Cistercians being lost.

Ironically, given their criticisms of luxury, the hard work and skill of the Cistercians has made them immensely wealthy. Their English sheep flocks are highly profitable, and with the money has come accusations of luxury and corruption. They show few outward signs of wealth, for while magnificent, Cistercian abbeys are always austere, almost devoid of decoration. So no one's entirely sure whether they actually use the money. The Cistercians have produced Saints Bernard, Malachy of Armagh, Almeric and Stephen (the founder), as well as two popes and dozens of bishops and archbishops y 1220. They are currently in favor with the papacy and have considerable influence. And, while the Dominican friars are gaining dominance as the premier fighters of heresy, the Cistercians are no slouches, either, often leaving their monasteries to preach against heresy among the laity. They are vital to the efforts against the Cathars, and continue to collect and read questionable texts in order to root out heresy.

So - rich monks, away from the world, friends of military orders...they'd be perfect targets to corrupt, no? Who better to corrupt than the Church's watchdog? If the Cistercians are the corrupt order, it is likely very recent, and indirectly the result of the Blessed Joachim of Flora. See, Joachim was a young man from Norman Sicily who undertook a piligrimage to the Holy Land. There, he was caught up in some form of tragedy which he never revealed. Escaping with his life, he fled to Mount Tabor, the site of Christ's transfiguration, and meditated for forty days and nights during Lent. A Divine light came to him, and he felt understanding suffuse his body and mind. Convinced of his own authority, he headed back to Italy to preach. When the Church tried to stop him, he entered the abbey of Corazzo in Calabria, becoming a Cistercian monk and, in 1158, an ordained priest. He rose to be abbot, but some say the Cistercians refused to accept Joachim and his monks, while his admirers say the rejection was due instead to the poverty of his abbey rather than any heretical ideas. The truth seems to be that they did actually receive Joachim and later attempted to distance themselves from him.

After petitioning the pope for relief of duties, Joachim wrote the three books that would make him famous. The Church was hesitant to endorse him until studying the books, but his good relations with Popes Urban III and Clement III allowed him to complete his work largely unsupervised. In 1200, he completed the works, dying before Pope Innocent III could formally read them for orthodoxy. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 was called partially to denounce some of his ideas, including his famous idea of the three ages of the world, but most of his theology is still orthodox. (More of it will be condemned in 1255, according to history, largely due to disciples claiming his name but not his actual beliefs.)

Joachim has become popularly known as a prophet, though he always denied being one and claimed that his Divine understanding was merely related to the mysteries of scripture. The Church reads scripture on numerous levels, including literal, spiritual, typological (that is, foreshadowing the future) and allegorical, so while his conclusions may be contentious, his method of interpretation need not be. Joachim's fame goes beyond those who read his books, though - Richard the Lionheart was fascinated by him and consulted with him on the topic of the end times before setting out on the Third Crusade. Roger of Howden records that Richard was told that Saladin was not the Antichrist, but the sixth of seven great persecutors of the Church, and that it was Richard's destiny to drive him from the Holy Land and retake Jerusalem. If this is so, it was certainly a failed prophecy.



In the twenty years following Joachim's death, his followers have become known as the Joachimite and have adopted even stranger beliefs, such as those of the infamous Brethren of the Free Spirit. Many believe they will produce a pope from their ranks, though some say he will be of the Franciscans and that his death will bring in the age of the Antichrist. Others say Emperor Frederick II is the Antichrist, while others say it is Saladin. The most dangerous group believe that pope will be the Antichrist, and the Church the whore of Babylon. Some claim they have received prophecies from the obscure Irish Cistercian Saint Malachy, but no known prophecies of Saint Malachy have ever been recorded, even in the writings of his close friend Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. All of these "prophetic" interpretations agree on two things: Joachim received Divine illumination (and his followers often claim the name 'illuminated ones' or 'illuminati'), and the end of this age will come about in 1260. Many expect the Revelation of Saint John the Divine to play out.

So where do the Cistercians get corrupted in all this? Well, remember, they oppose heresy. They took a great deal of interest in the writings of Joachim of Flora. It was the Cistercian Abbot Tino of Gradara who first became fascinated by them at the papal inquiry of 1200. As he read, Tino became illuminated, seeing the truth in the words and receiving the gift of prophecy. As a boy, he had been rescued from Infernal heretics, but his revelation of Divine truth led him to see that these heretics had been, in fact, truly free and participating in the Divine grace of the Age of Spirit yet to come. It was not sin that bound mankind, but fear of sin, for grace abounds and so the more one sins, the more grace there can be, and the more of God's spirit infuses the world. Further, he realized that he was of God, and God dwelt in him, and thus the distinction between himself and God was false. The realization of Godhood led him to explosive mystical experiences, in which he realized that the Divine was in everything.

Tino did not reject the world as corrupt, but instead teaches that one should celebrate it and realize the Divine immanence in everything, even the base. He set a chamber pot on the altar and praised it, and when this did not provoke a reaction from God, he received another revelation, that he must find more converts to bring about the realization of the eschaton by bringing God more fully into the world of matter, a process he named immanentization. So, yes, Tino's goal is to immanentize the eschaton and bring about the end, along with a utopian age of love and peace ruled over by his order of spiritual mystics, the Illuminati, which he has hidden within the Cistercian order. In the last 20 years, he's made shocking progress, far more than even he predicted, in converting abbots (and hence entire Cistercian houses) all over the order. Hundreds of monks are now loyal to his ideals, and many are receiving confirmatory secret visions of their own.

While they are not formally a mystery cult, there are three rough degrees of initiation. The lowest are those who have been exposed to the teachings of Joachim, accept the idea of the coming end of the age and believe the Church corrupt. Many are fervent disciples of the second group, those who have received illumination and experienced visions and prophecies of the events to come. This second group has already cast off the shackles of Church teaching and feel liberated enough to break their vows, scorn the symbols of office and work towards the end of the age and the ushering in of the Age of the Spirit. They secretly commit venal sin to demonstrate their freedom and state of grace. The final group is the inner circle, who meet at the castle of a sympathetic noble at Saint Croix in the Dordogne each year before the general chapter meeting in autumn. Here, they celebrate obscene rites and deliberately indulge in horrific sin to demonstrate their complete liberation from sin and their eternal state of grace brought on by their gnosis, their secret wisdom.

They receive 'spiritual gifts', Maleficia taught to them by their Unholy Tradition. The inner circle alone celebrate Lucifer the Light Bringer, and believe that the Antichrist will be a Divine figure that will liberate the world and usher out the decadent and stagnant era of the Church. They believe that disobedience was man's original virtue, and this inner circle of some twenty abbots and a handful of nobles are a genuinely dangerous group, willing worshippers of the Devil, believing the Devil to be a servant of God. They do not regard themselves as Infernalists or demon worshippers; they see, instead, their liberation from morality and embrace of sin as a sign of their own spiritual liberation and godliness. A few have noted the similarity between Corrazo, Joachim's original monastery, and Chorazon, the city where it is traditionally held that the Antichrist will be born. It was this fact that first alerted Tino to the realization that Joachim was the Antichrist, which he immediately took on board and adjusted his theology to fit. Some of his disciples now perform black pilgrimage to the ruins of Chorazon in the Holy Land, in hopes of further revelations. Recently, they have been instructed that the Franciscan Friars should be subtly recruited, and some tentative connections are being made.

So yeah, if the Cistercians are the corrupt order, they are the motherfucking Illuminati.



Next time: The Vallumbrosian Order.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 18:02 on Jun 10, 2013

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
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Ars Magica 5th Edition: The Church

The Vallumbrosan Order is one of the smaller monastic orders, found in Italy, Iberia, France and Germany - and mostly in Italy, really. They were founded in the 11th century, deriving from Vallombrosa, 'the shadowy valley', the mother house of the order in the mountains of Florence. The order was founded by Saint John Gaulbert, whose story is fairly well known. When one of his relatives was murdered, John set out to avenge them and found the killer in an alley. As he was about to strike him down, the murderer dove to the ground and made the shape of the cross, begging for mercy in the name of Christ. Saint John put down his sword and let the man go. He walked him, troubled, and stopped at a church to pray. As he prayed, the crucifix bowed its head to him, and he realized he'd done the right thing. From that day on, he was changed, and he chose to enter a monastery. As with most succesful monastic orders, the Vallumbrosans were reacting against the luxury of Benedictine life and were far more austere and strict in their application of the Benedictine Rule. So austere, in fact, that they failed to attract many novices and only began to spread to more monasteries after they lessened their strictness a little.

The order appeals to the extremely ascetic, and some would go so far as to call them masochistic. This has given them a reputation as spiritual superpowers, but from the start there have been rumors and controversy. The Vallumbrosans, like the other two orders, are descended from the Benedictines, but are quite distinct. They were brown habits and are never, ever found outside their monasteries, aside from the abbots, who are occasionally found in company of the pope. While the Cluniacs and Cistercians have general ecclesiastical influence, the Vallumbrosans do not. In fact, the vast majority of the clergy and other orders dislike them. This is because the Vallumbrosans are extremely close to the pope and the papal curia, giving them a lot of pull directly with the papacy and nowhere else.

Vallumbrosans may not own any property at all, and live in total poverty, apart from their clothes and sandals. Which, of course, belong to the order. They are silent at all times, and even sign language is kept to a minimum. Those who break this code of behavior are flogged heavily, and they practice self-flagellation as an ascetic mortification of the flesh. The monks survive on the barest minimum of food and sleep, and only the toughest can last very long. They are dedicated completely to prayer and devotion, forbidden to perform any kind of manual labor whatsoever. As a result, a class of lay brothers exists to farm and perform labor for the Vallumbrosans, living alongside the monastery but not taking vows. Similarly, there are Vallumbrosan nuns who dwell outside the monasteries and do cooking and other work for the monks.

The Vallumbrosans are rigorously enclosed, and the monks never leave their monasteries for any reason, under any circumstance. They only exception to this is the abbot; their abbots travel often on monastic business and can be found around the papal court. Even the lay brothers are excluded from the chapter and chapel of the full monks, who live in almost total seclusion. Visitors are discouraged and no guest quarters exist, though the lay brothers will put up guests on behalf of the monks. Communication with friends and family outside is heavily discouraged.

It may be tempting to make the Vallumbrosans the corrupt order, simply because they are a small, secretive group that attract controversy and are unpopular with most clerics. This is tied to their work in the second half of the 1000s, which are little known now, 150 years later, save by those who specifically research it. Essentially, in the middle of the 11th century, a scandal erupted in Florence regarding prominent Churchmen buying and selling Ecclesiastical offices. You know, the sin of simony. A party formed against the corruption, headed by the monks of Vallombrosa and specifically by one monk named Peter. Fighting broke out between the two factions, and the Vallumbrosan monastery of San Silvi was burned down. Since that time, firs have been a common problem for the order, and some suspect a curse, though in fact the fires are usually caused by novices breaking under the strain.

When the Bishop Peter Mezzobarbo demanded his accusers face trial, Saint Robert, the founder of the order, ordered the monk Peter to face trial by ordeal. Peter passed completely unscathed through a huge bonfire, and the case was decided in favor of the monks. From that day on, Peter was known as Peter Igneus, and the bishop was shamed and confessed to his sin. The Vallumbrosans, however, have been rather unpopular ever since.

If the Vallumbrosans are corrupt, they are a group of diabolists, those who have signed pacts with the devil for worldly power. Such people, however, are the opposite of extreme ascetics, and yet all investigations of Vallumbrosan monasteries will find them as austere and frankly terrifyingly disciplined and devout as rumor would suggest. This is because it is the lay brothers and the nuns who are the diabolists. The monks within are genuinely pious, with the sole exception of the abbot, who is generally a diabolist working for demons. Once incarcerated in the monastery, the monks undergo terrible privation, meaningless tasks and dreadful hunger, cold and fatigue, until at last their will snaps. Then, and only then, are they given the chance to sign a pact with the devil and become diabolists. Those who do are given power of some kind or remission from weakness, and they join the community of lay brothers.

Within a few months, these lay brothers are permitted to leave and seek out fortune in the wider world. Most choose to stay in the debauched and diabolic community of lay brothers and nuns that serve the monastery. If they leave, they have seven years in which to find someone else to sign the pact, or they die and have their soul claimed by hell. Those who succeed receive another seven years of grace and more power from Hell. The demon who has masterminded this particular deception is Varriar, Lord of Discipline. When in human form, he passes as a Vallumbrosan abbot named Curtaigne. Abbot Curtaigne moves freely among the order's houses, but has influence far beyond them. Wherever he may promote masochism and false pride in suffering among monks, there he can be found, and likewise in any monastery in which just spiritual authority gives way to brutality and sadism. Varriar can often be found in human form as a guest subtly encouraging these horrors. He is determined, however, that none should die of privation and torture (and this become martyrs). Rather, he seeks to break the spirit and cause the tortured to curse God and rebel.

Next time: The Knights Templar

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Africa: Part Seven: "Both have incredibly strong personalities that sometimes even Bes cannot control, which only adds to the carnage (he seldom minds)."

Anhur


Secretly terrified from the looks of things.

Anhur is a lion-headed god of war who-

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

He serves Set as a military advisor, commander in chief and assassin, hence his nickname, the Slayer of Enemies. For the most part, Anhur is a free agent that does as he pleases.

:allears: Oh, Siembieda, I love your ability to contradict yourself without even needing more than two sentences.

Anyway, he's actually supposed to be honorable and show respect and courtesy towards brave or noble warriors, and backstabbers get his frontstabber. And yet, somehow, he is the patron of mercenaries, assassins, and diabolists, all of which are pretty defined by being sneaky, murdering fucks.

Hey, remember how War was a super-fast regenerator and there's a note that saying even though the horsepersons' MDC is lower than gods, they're still a threat because they regenerate much faster? Anhur has more M.D.C. than War and regenerates four times as fast. But let's not blame Kevin alone... let's blame:
  • Julius Rosenstein, the co-writer on this section.
  • Alex Marciniszyn, "senior" editor
  • Thomas Bartold, editor.
  • James A. Osten, editor.
Goes to show you what five sets of eyeballs on a book are worth... presuming they are editing and not just playing paper football all day and collecting a paycheck, which is starting to seem more likely now that I'm on book #8 of the Rifts® line and the same slipshod editing is coming up every time, and it's the same three guys that get credited over and over.

Numbers! 7470 M.D.C.! 1230 P.P.E.! NO I.S.P.! Horror Factor 16! 15th level warrior (not a Rifts class), 15th level headhunter (even though he has no cybernetics), 10th level ley line walker, and 5th level diabolist and stone master! Dimensional Teleport 53%! Resurrection 33%! (Himself? Others? :iiam:) Pilot Hover Vehicles 98%! 3000 M.D.C. armor! 2d4 x 10 million credits!

He's good friends with Styphathal of Atlantis (evil dragon rear end in a top hat) and Zandragal the dragon-god (I'm guessing from the Palladium RPG®, and almost certainly an rear end in a top hat), he also knows Joker of the Palladium RPG® and you know what, who gives a gently caress, we have no idea who these people are without digging into an entire other game line, if I'm eight books into a game I should have some goddamn idea of what it's talking about and I only have the faintest. :(

Anyway he's thinking of helping the New German Republic because he likes humans and it might be more fun to fite Set. Rama-Set (that jerk again) is loyal to Anhur but Anhur doesn't like him too much. He knows Splynncryth but doesn't really have an opinion, which makes me wonder why word space is being used to note this. Oh, and he likes to use gremlins! It refers us to the Rifts Conversion Book. Again. (It actually refers to it way more than I'm mentioning, pretty much in every godly entry under the "minions" section.)

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Minions:His loyal 10,000 ramen are among his favorite and most trusted minions.

Salty. He's got The Scepter of Bedevilment, a grrreatest rune weapon (not as great as Frosted Flakes, tho), that he can use as an animated weapon to have fight on its own as the laziest war god, and also has a magic bow that fires extras, and a boom gun that he loves (even though rules-wise he gets thrown on his rear end by it), and rocket launcher armbands like Destro. Also he has a mini-missile launcher which only he can handle, even though your average Coalition soldier lugs around a regular missile launcher just fine.

Ammit the Beast


Dammit, Ammit!

Instead of just being the great punishment of the underworld, this is just a god-monster at the shallow end of the Gods of Darkness sunnin' pool, Anubis' attack gator. He's also the god of assassin and predators and depair and lycanthropy and werebeasts. Yes, an Egyptian crocodile god is a god of European and South American bear, wolf, and jaguar shapeshifters. Sure, makes as much sense as the rest of this. He's loyal to Anubis and has no other discernable personality.

Number attack! 5000 M.D.C.! 1000 P.P.E.! 750 I.S.P.! 10th level fighter (this is not a class) and 4th level necromancer! Summon/control 1d4 werebeasts! Where are they summoned from? Who the gently caress knows! Electrokinesis! It's an electric gator! It can turn into any shape, like a gator shirt, and then it eats you from the shirt inside-out! It has Dance at 88%! It's a monster on the ballroom floor!

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Note: Ammit tends to greatly underestimate humans and D-Bees.

I don't know why you wouldn't take any people who call themselves "D-Bees" seriously!

Bes the Depraved


Maybe it's the hat that turned him to evil.

Wikipedia posted:

Bes (pron.: /bɛs/; also spelled as Bisu) is an Ancient Egyptian deity worshipped as a protector of households, and in particular, of mothers and children and childbirth. Bes later came to be regarded as the defender of everything good and the enemy of all that is bad.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Bes the depraved is a disciple of evil, and often associates with Set.

Wikipedia posted:

Normally Egyptian gods were shown in profile, but instead Bes appeared in portrait, ithyphallic, and sometimes in a soldier's tunic, so as to appear ready to launch an attack on any approaching evil. He scared away demons from houses, so his statue was put up as a protector.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

He is a hideous, bearded [Do you see a beard? I don't. - ARB] dwarf with a crown of feathers. Bes delights in torture and cannibalism.

Wikipedia posted:

Since he drove off evil, Bes also came to symbolize the good things in life - music, dance, and sexual pleasure.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Bes fought alongside Ra and the other Gods of Light until he gave in to his darker more savage emotions, followed by insanity.

Wikipedia posted:

Bes was a household protector, throughout ancient Egyptian history becoming responsible for such varied tasks as killing snakes, fighting off evil spirits, watching after children, and aiding (by fighting off evil spirits) women in labour (and thus present with Taweret at births).

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Insanities: Psychotic murderer, sadistic (likes to hurt/torture others), obsession: cannibalism, obsession: danger - takes needless risks, phobia: terrified of Osiris (including those who wield his petrified body parts).

Wikipedia posted:

Another theory, connected to Bes's role in both the protection of children and women in labor, is that Bes is the figure of a miscarried fetus.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

A pair of rune daggers called Mee and Fea... Mee is sadistic and hates women and children. It is most often used as an implement of torture. Fea is a paranoid schizophrenic that with delusions of grandeur, trusting no one (including Bes and Mee).

Wikipedia posted:

In the New Kingdom, tattoos of Bes could be found on the thighs of dancers, musicians and servant girls.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

M.D.C.: 6000

Which is more interesting? You decide.

Next: Osiris - you can wear his skull as a hat! Ra - he kills vampire blobs with a dog! And introducing Thoth - Mary Sue of the Gods!

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

oh my god did they really make him a cannibal pygmy they did oh god

A male patron deity of childbirth is interesting, I actually didn't know that about Bes but it's been a while since I've read much Egypt, particularly past the big Osiris/Horus/Set stuff.

I also find the references to the Conversion book less annoying than the ones to Atlantis--like the Conversion book could be considered the necessary Monster Manual addition to the core--I mean. Well. Sort of, there was an awful crapload of filler in there too. But it was at least supposed to be a go-to reference manual and contained more stat-sets for enemies than the Core, which had to spend a lot of time laying out machines and giving climate and population figures and and other vital data.

It's the endless parade of toys from Atlantis that's more :stare: since that really is a book you can completely skip if you don't want to deal with it. At the very least, Stone Mastery should be repeated in Africa if we're going to deal with this much Egyptian bullshit. There's also the suggestion that these gods are still actively worshipped or hold power over stuff like Ammut with shapeshifters which is going to get really weird in each successive book with other pantheons added in. I don't think they ever explained why these divine beings want worship or what they gain from it--some of them are blood-drinking assholes but they don't generally need to do so to survive which the various 'Alien Intelligences' do. The Celtic ones in England were just a looming monster plot, like Mechanoids but deformed giants, they didn't even seem to care about human participation really.

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



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Ammit the Beast

Number attack! 5000 M.D.C.! 1000 P.P.E.! 750 I.S.P.! 10th level fighter (this is not a class) and 4th level necromancer! Summon/control 1d4 werebeasts! Where are they summoned from? Who the gently caress knows! Electrokinesis! It's an electric gator! It can turn into any shape, like a gator shirt, and then it eats you from the shirt inside-out! It has Dance at 88%! It's a monster on the ballroom floor!


I don't know why you wouldn't take any people who call themselves "D-Bees" seriously!
This just unintentionally became my favorite write up for any monster in an RPG. It's just so bouncing-off-the-wall silly I can't NOT love it!

Plus, how could you not love someone with a smile like this?

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Nostalgia4ColdWar
May 7, 2007

Good people deserve good things.

Till someone lets the winter in and the dying begins, because Old Dark Places attract Old Dark Things.


Oh God, Pepsi the Immortal Douchebag.

After War's humiliating defeat at the hands of my Temporal Warrior he sicced Pepsi on us. Every loving week. Every time he got this 'clever' look on his face we knew we were about to attacked by Pepsi because... well... we couldn't actually kill the son of a bitch. So we did stuff like a permanent Carpet of Adhesion inside a pocket dimension and throw him in a cesspool, shrink him and sell him as a magical rune statue, poo poo like that.

He's soooo loving annoying. No personality, no characterization, just basically a generic dragon bad-guy that you can't get rid of, who right in the rules says he constantly tries to defeat those who once defeated him.

So basically he's a trailer park bully who never goes away.

Then Thoth, that rear end in a top hat. He's the reason we came to Africa, we did this big adventure to gather up greatest relics to fight the Four Horsemen, and when we managed to retrieve them from the ancient African vault, Thoth and his butt-buddies were there. They tried to have us turn over the relics 'for the greater good of the goodly races' instead of keeping them. One person did give them over, our sweet natured Ley Line Walker, and Thoth immediately destroyed all of the items she gave over. When I was asked to give over the gauntlets and rune-sword as well as the magical/technowizard items of my own design, I was kind of "No thanks."

Africa will always give me a bad taste in my mouth because of Pepsi and Thoth and the rediculous poo poo we haven't gotten too yet.

Still, loving the write-up, Alien Rope Burn.

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