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a kitten
Aug 5, 2006



Clay-o-Rama


Special Powers: Each creation gets one special power. It may be from the list below, or it can be one you make up. If you make it up, it is recommended that you create a power that will affect modeling clay in some harmless way. (That means NO MICROWAVING!!!!!) The following powers may be assigned randomly by rolling dice or may be chosen by you to match the creature in some way. The "to hit" number for all powers that require one is 8.
    1. The Drop: Made in place of one normal attack. If a hit is successfully made, you then lift the target into the air and drop it 3'. Afterwards, the referee can decide the amount of damage based on what happened.
    2. The Bowl: This power works like the drop, except you roll the target accross the battlefield.
    3. The Poke: Made in place off one normal attack. When a hit is made, you poke the target hard with your finger, making a nice hole in it. The referee decides the amount of damage.
    4. Reshape One Limb: This power is used in place of a normal attack. If it hits successfully, the attacking player may alter the shape of any one limb of the target as he pleases. As referee, you should be ready to assign damage or altered powers because of this change.
    5. The Blob of Death: This power may only be used by a creature with missiles. The player may designate one of the missiles to be his Blob of Death. It is fired like a normal missile. If it scores a hit, you should take your fist and give the target one solid smash to show the effects of the missile. After doing this, the referee must assign damage based on the consequences. Only one Blob of Death per game is allowed.
    6. Rip Limbs Off: When the creature rolls an 11 or 12 on a normal attack, the player may tear one of his opponent's limbs off. Ah, that is, the player may tear off one of his Claydonian's opponent's limbs. Though this attack causes no damage to the target in terms of lost hit points, you should be ready to note any changes to the target's powers.
    7. Change Places: After a sucessful power roll, creatures with this power may change places with any opponent on the board, or may change the places of any two other creatures on the board. The power user may not move in the same turn that it uses this power. This power must be used in the movement phase.
    8. Move Out of Turn: Creatures with this power may move at any initiative point in the turn. They simply announce that they wish to move. They may not move in the middle of another player's move.
    9. Use Opponent as Missile: If all of an attacker's limb's hit a target, he may pick his target up and use it as a missile against a third opponent. The missile is fired normally, and the referee should assess damage to both the missile and the target. If the missile misses the target, the missile takes damage from the drop as assessed by the referee.
    10. Divide Self: This power should only be given to creatures that can easily divide into two sections. Each half has half the powers of the normal creature at the time of division. May only divide once.
    11. Borrow Power: In addition to all normal attacks, a successful hit by this creature allows it to use the special power belonging to the target, if the attacker wants to do so. The decision must be made immediately or the borrowed power will be lost until another successful hit is made. The player with this power should not be told what the powers of other creatures are; he can only learn this by observation.

Now that your excitingly colored blob/monster/ashtray has been created, here's the rules to actually fight.

How do I play the game?
Once all the players have created their Claydonians and have had powers assigned to them, have them gather around the playing area. Have the players space themselves at equal distances from each other. Each player should the roll three six-sided dice to finds his or her initiative number. Ties should be rolled off. Be sure each player notes his initiative number. After this is done, explain the What Do I Do, How Do I Move, How Do I Shoot, How Do I Attack, and How Do I Win rules to the players. Once everyone understands what is going on, begin the game.

What Do I Do?
The Clay-O-Rama is played in turns. A player gets to move his creation once during each turn. At several points during a turn, a player may have the opportunity to attack. Each player takes his move in the order of the initiative rolls, going from highest to lowest. The sequence of a player's move is as follows:
code:
1)Move your creation up to it's full movement.
2)Fire up to three missiles at targets of your choice.
3)Attack any creature to which your Claydonian is adjacent, provided you have attacks left to do so.
4)The other player (or players) may counterattack against your creature, provided they have any attacks left.
Each player follows this sequence in order of initiative, until the player is out of the game or the game is over.

How does my Claydonian move?
To move your creation, use your hand to measure the distance the Claydonian moves, starting from the front of the creature. If there is no discernable fromt, begin measuring in the direction the creature last moved. There is no terrain in the game (although you can add some if you like). Thus, except when turning, a creature will always be able to move up to its full movement.

UNIFORMITY RULE: Note that if some people feel that the hand-span measuring system is unfair or grossly inaccurate, you may then enforce the Uniformity Rule. The Uniformity Rule states that all distances will be measured by the referee's hand. However, this will slow down play of the game and place a great deal of work in the hands of the referee (ahem).

If a part of the creation comes off during movement, the player is allowed to put that piece back on his creation at no penalty. Falling apart is best done under combat conditions.

How does my Claydonian shoot?
At the end of movement, each player is allowed to shoot up to three of his missiles. A missile may only be used once. After it is fired, it is removed from play. If a player does not have any missiles, he may not fire any. To fire a missile, the player stands anywhere within 3-4' of his own position at the table. The player may not move to a different area of the battlefield; he must fire his missiles from the point where his creation BEGAN the game. After the player has his position, have him name his target (a specific Claydonian creation on the table). Players cannot attack a group of monsters, only one will do.

Have the player throw his missile, attempting to hit the target. Make it clear to the thrower that how hard the missile is thrown has NO effect on the amount of damage done. It is only the SIZE of the missile that matters. It is a wise idea to have someone stand directly opposite the thrower to catch long shots and bounces. If the thrower manages to hit his declared target, the missile has hit. If the thrower hits a different creature, the shot is a miss, no matter what happens. The attacked player is allowed to reattach any parts of his Claydonian that come off due to the missile's hits, unless a special power dictates otherwise. If the missile missed, the shot is no good.

If a missile hits a target, you must determine the amount of damage done by the missile. The base damage for a missile is one six-sided die for something about the size of a marble. Missiles smaller than this may do less damage. Missiles up to golf ball size do 2 six-sided dice damage, larger do three, and up to five dice damage at most.

How does my Claydonian attack?
Each Claydonian is assigned a number of attacks it can make in one turn, based upon the number of manipulative limbs it has. These attacks can be used as attacks or counterattacks. If a creation has used all its attacks, it may not make any more attacks (or counterattacks) for the rest of the turn.

If your creation is adjacent to an enemy creation, you may decide to attack. "Adjacent" is defined as being within the reach of your creation's arms. You may attack as many times as you have attacks, provided you have not used anyof your attacks to make counterattacks (see below).

To make an attack, you must announce your target and the dice of damage done by the attack (unless all of your attacks do the same amount of damage). Then roll two dice. If the dice roll is equal to or greater than your "to hit" number, you have hit your target with that attack.

After all attacks have been resolved against one target, count the number of dice of damage from all those successful attacks. Roll the dice and add them together to find the total amount of damage caused. The player whose creature was the target of the attack should subtract this amount from his creation's hit points. If the creation's hit points reach zero, the creation is dead (see Honoring a Claydonian Death).

How does my Claydonian counterattack?
A Claydonian may counterattack if it is attacked by another creation during the combat phase. To counterattack, the Claydonian must have a few attacks left and must survive the attacks of its opponent. It may only make counterattacks against the creation that just attacked it. The counterattacks are handled as if they were normal attacks. A Claydonian may use its special power in a counterattack.

What happens when my Claydonian dies?
(Or Honoring a Claydonian Death).
Ah, this particular question has plagued the Claydonian philosophers for centuries. Several scurrilous theories have been presented, including the concepts of drying out or being eaten by small children and dogs. However in watching the deaths of several Claydonians on the field of battle, a common belief has arisen. Most Claydonians feel that when one of their kind dies, a large hand reaches from the heavens and squeezes the Claydonian through it's fingers. This act is always accompanied by a horrible scream that echoes through the heavens. Some Claydonians wish their bodies to be examples for future generations and insist on drying, creating a nice statue to use as a memorial, centerpiece, or clay pigeon.

How do I win?
This depends on why you are playing in the first place. If you are playing to have fun, you win if you get really silly. If you are playing to be competitive and to beat out everyone else, you win if your creation is the last surviving Claydonian on the battlefield. Since only one person can win the second way, it's a lot nicer to play for the first reason.

These are the rules for the Clay-O-Rama. Take them, have fun with them, be inspired to the heights of silliness, or feed them to your dog. Enjoy!



That's it, that's the whole of the rules. Get some playdoh, make a funny monster and fight that sucker to the death in one of the silliest games I've ever played.




Actually, while that was all for a couple of years, later it got an expansion pack of sorts. In the April 1989 issue of Dragon Paul Easton brought us Claydonia Conquers the World! Which gave us: more powers and a leveling system so that you can raise your critter from lowly clay goblin to be an overpowered, unstoppable death machine.

or he dries out, whichever comes first.

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quantum_squirrel
Aug 9, 2006


Green Intern posted:

The credits list two artists: Jon Morris and Manning L. Krull.

All of the art (except the logo, which is by "Fufu Frauenwahl") in my first write-up post is by Jon Morris, because I don't see it listed with Krull's stuff in his gallery.

I'll add the artist credits to the initial description.

Edit: Fufu Frauenwahl's gallery is awesome. They should have illustrated this whole book.

Well, Fufu Frauenwahl did all the illustrations .... for the shortlived German edition by the now sadly defunct indie publisher Disaster Machine Productions. I'll try to scan some illustrations.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

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



The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game

7: Scattershot

We're gonna go all over the place in the book this time, since there doesn't seem to be a real use to covering most of the Skills & Feats chapters when 99% of them are "it's D&D 3E". This post is the remaining 1%.

Skills

Something I forgot to mention in the Class posts - skill points are handed out very, very conservatively in this game. Only two classes don't get a base 4+INT per level, with 6 for Woodsmen, and 8 for Wanderers. Even if you're an INT-based channeler, this is gonna be chewed through real fast: Concentration, Weavesight, and, if you want to take the Aes Sedai prestige class, Composure are 3/(4+INT) out the gate, and then you're at the mercy of "oh god, will they make the aes sedai the diplomat?!" or other things you'll need to determine early.

There are three new skills which are channeler-only: Composure, Invert, and Weavesight.

Composure is a social skill: it's a check made to keep your cool and get certain bonuses from it. You can't take the skill without being taught your first rank, but afterwards, it's just practice. The suggested uses/DCs: DC15 - success grants a +2 bonus on Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate for 10 minutes in a heated social situation (an icy demeanor). DC20 - Fall asleep quickly, even if not tired. Partly handy if you're not going to get regular rest or are in trying circumstances, but this is mostly used for Dreamwalkers (which we will get to shortly...) DC25 - Remain comfortable in incredibly hot/incredibly cold temperatures, get +5 to Concentration checks against weather distractions. You're not protected from burns or frostbite or anything, but you don't SHOW any discomfort. DC20 in combat - +1 attack bonus for 5 rounds. Interesting skill, but seems reeeeeeal situational given the scarcity of skill points in this game.

Invert is the first opportunity I get to describe "lost" talents in this game. See, the Breaking and all of civilization being ground into the loving dust to start from scratch meant a lot of tricks were lost to time, kept in documents if you were lucky, or maybe rediscovered at some point down the line by one or another person*. But because characters learn them in the novels in time, or just because they're really, really cool things you'd want to see in a book related to this world, they're listed in here with a big "YO, GMS TAKE CARE" note in the form of the "Lost" keyword. Invert lets a channeler "hide" weaves as they cast them. Instead of letting everyone else see them and possibly learn your tricks, or find a tied-off spell you've left lying around, an inverted weave is invisible to anyone who doesn't have the Sense Residue feat. Make a DC(10+weave level) check when you're creating the weave to see if it inverts properly or remains visible. Not shockingly, you can't retry this without undoing and recasting the weave entirely.

* Another way to learn things from the Age of Legends, not recommended: survive a fight with the Forsaken, who can and WILL wield lost powers against you. This method is generally fatal, but it's the kind of thing that ends up teaching a few of these skills in the novels.

Weavesight we covered under channeler classes. I apologize again for dumping that huge explanation in the one post but it sorta needed to explain how you even learned spells in this game. Other things the skill can be used for are to determine if another person (of your gender) can channel, or to counter weaves another channeler is casting.

Feats

We're gonna cover two major things from this chapter: Channeling Feats, and Lost Ability Feats.

Channelers do not work like wizards. I think I've made this clear, but one of the crazier things they can do would be taking the Multiweave feat, which will allow you to make a (rather simple, actually - DC15) Concentration check to keep one spell maintained so you can cast another. It can be taken as many times as you like, so if you want to min-max like mad, it's indeed possible to be a channeler tossing out whirlwinds while you maintain the earthquake knocking folks off their horses into the wall of fire you cast at their feet as... You get the picture.

Sense Residue lets you do two things. First, you can make a skill check to notice weaves have been cast in the area recently (and a followup check to ID/learn the weave). The second we went into right above: it's the only thing that will even let you NOTICE inverted weaves.

Tie Off Weave is a cousin of Multiweave in terms of effect. If you "tie off" a weave, it'll continue to function without needing you to hold it constantly or be in the area. They will, however, end in time (your channeler level in days, minus 4x the weave's casting level in hours). To tie off a weave will consume an attack or move action. It would allow you to perform the same effects as a talented Multiweave channeler, but it'd take you a little bit longer since it wasn't simultaneous.

Lost Abilities are... well, these are sets of feats that basically let you be your favorite character from the novels. In a couple of cases this makes sense, but some of them... we'll get there. Anyhow. How you learn a Lost Ability is a) up to the GM (they are told heavily to really, really consider giving these to a character) and b) take two (or more, if you want to Dreamwalk) feats to earn the ability itself. See, all of them are actually a feat CHAIN: you take "Latent (ability)" at one level, and then the actual feat for it later. The "Latent" feats serve absolutely no purpose other than to gate these powers off further.

Dreamwalkers can enter (warning: apostrophe alert) Tel'aran'rhiod, the world of dreams. Sort of. There's "dreaming" by being asleep, and then there's being so deeply asleep that you might unintentionally enter the world of dreams*. Dreamwalkers learn to intentionally do so, because it mirrors our world in major ways and can be used to communicate with others in your sleep across distances, or scout out the world ahead of you (remember when I mentioned wanting to go to sleep when not tired? This is a reason to do so!). The problem is, a bunch of the stuff I just mentioned requires additional feats. Just taking "Dreamwalker" (the first non-Latent feat on the chain) will only let you enter it and choose where you 'spawn' (higher DCs if you don't know the area in question). Bend Dream will let you change your appearance/summon items, or, if you make a high enough roll against another dreamwalker's Concentration, lock THEM into YOUR rules. Dream Jump will let you travel the world of dreams instantly, from spot to spot. Dreamwatch lets you see into the non-Tel'aran'rhiod dreams of sleeping people (HUGELY risky if you do it poorly - if you ENTER them instead of just scrying, you're at their unconscious whim until they wake, every move requiring a Concentration check from you. EVERY move). Finally, and this is probably obvious, Waking Dream lets you stay loosely aware of the real world around you/hold conversations with people in the real world while you're dreamwalking.

* They straight up say that some people who die mysteriously in their sleep have dreamed themselves into Tel'aran'rhiod and fell off a cliff or got mauled by a dream-lion or whatever, killing them. Yes, that's right... IF YOU DIE IN THE (world of) DREAMS YOU DIE IN REAL LIFE.

Fortelling is... prophecy. I don't think I need to sum up why this thing is hugely problematic, you know what it does, and how it's a royal pain in the rear end in tabletop games. Don't give this to a PC.

Old Blood is funny as hell to me. In the novels, they usually just say that being strong in the old blood means you have a higher chance of manifesting old talents from days gone past. In the game, however, you roll a d6 and if it's a 1, you can call on your blood to give you extra skills, knowledge, or insight*. What the hell does this look like to other people, and how crazy do you look if you screw this up repeatedly? I'm imagining a random Woodsman just yelling at his veins now.

* Yeah, there's a dude in the books with similar abilities, but he ends up with it through a really, really poorly phrased deal with elves. Oh, wait, my bad, "Eelfinn". Who look like foxes. Yeah that entire goddamn subplot is weird.

Sniffers can smell violence*. Make a roll, you can track it with Search. Easier to do if the act was more terrible, harder to do the longer ago it was. It pretty much applies to crimes only, although "natural" violence, like an animal hunting or something, has a much less intense smell but does indeed show up for a sniffer.

* In the game. In the novels, it's said that Shadowspawn have a horrible stench to them which can tell you what kind they are if you've put together "X smell is Y shadowspawn" before, and where they've gone to track them.

Tree Wardens and Treesingers can only be Ogier. The former can heal trees or plants, or make them grow to an abnormally large size (once a month per tree, but it IS repeatable). The latter can "sing" to a tree to have it grow into a specific shape for them. It can make something as small as a staff, or as large as furniture or statuary. Handy stuff, and I kinda wish more of the Lost Abilities were in this vein - a cool trick that isn't going to be a full-on gamechanger.

Speaking of bullshit gamechangers: Viewing is seeing auras/prophetic images around people. This one has the Foretelling problem, and a lore problem given that a single person EVER has had this power.

secretly best girl fucked around with this message at 20:02 on Apr 8, 2013

Domus
May 7, 2007

Kidney Buddies


Gerund posted:

104A page of description (white text on black pages, pictures of a seedy bar) about the eponymous Alec Bourbon, a Winter changeling of a Tree-esque kith-
....

They come to some sort of agreement over a less-detailed pledge than would normally fly in games, but the benefit of it is that the bar's eyes and ears forget the important details, accept for a promise of A Year & A Day.
....
A rowan club that always helps with keeping his promises: Token. A spell to appear as a favorite Uncle: Wyrd-faced Stranger. A target that just had a birthday: prophecy/fate magic. An oddly-ruled and unfair guessing game: a nasty pledge. A body that turns into junk when he looks away: either the target was a Fetch, or Alec Bourbon is in league with a Keeper (I prefer the former conclusion). A beer that is only drank once or twice a year: some sort of re-gained clarity, or a certain aspect of a pledge-promise.


Ye gads. I know White Wolf just loves putting fiction in front, but has it really gotten this bad? At least in OWoD you could figure out what terms meant largely by context. Werewolf had comics, for christsake. gently caress them and their elitist bullshit way of writing books. If you want me to play your game, let me understand what the hell is going on. And make a book with rules you can actually look up, while you're at it. Why do they have to put such interesting story in such a horrible package? (end rant)

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


It's not that bad, Gerund is just pointing out what the things in the fiction would be under the actual Changeling rules. As far as I remember nobody in the fiction actually calls things Tokens or discusses Fetches and Wyrds except in context.

Mikan
Sep 5, 2007


Yeah, Changeling: The Lost is great at presentation and the nWoD in general isn't nearly as bad as the oWoD used to be about ridiculous opening fiction.

My Castle Falkenstein book is back in my collection while we're talking about games with lengthy openings. Someone else will have to chime in about some of the historical stuff because who cares but I am ready to write all about its literary influences and awesome design.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Mikan posted:

Yeah, Changeling: The Lost is great at presentation and the nWoD in general isn't nearly as bad as the oWoD used to be about ridiculous opening fiction.

My Castle Falkenstein book is back in my collection while we're talking about games with lengthy openings. Someone else will have to chime in about some of the historical stuff because who cares but I am ready to write all about its literary influences and awesome design.

Ready to assist! (I also have all the supplements)

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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








Chapter Two: The Tapestry

I'm reminded of some of the art from Magic's Kamigawa block, which makes sense, but is that guy supposed to be wearing a mask or is the artist just bad at drawing faces?

Yes, an entire chapter devoted entirely to the eastern spirit world, because it's completely different than the western spirit world. Even though Australia, Africa, South America, Europe, Russia, and North America all share one spirit world, the Hengeyokai get one all to themselves.
Why? Because gently caress you gaijin that's why

quote:

The spirit world yet lives in Asia in the beliefs and memories of the peasants and common people. Many still trust simple rituals and ancient charms more than science or technology.
Because the peasantry of Asia don't trust technology.
You know, Asia. With Japan and Hong Kong.
This is supposed to be a positive trait.

The Wall
The wall is the name the Hengeyokai use for their version of the Gauntlet. They state that there might be a few physical gateways into the umbra, perhaps in natural glens, or in the back of strange mystical shops, and that the western rules for the gauntlet do apply, but there might be some areas where the gauntlet is weaker due to all the people who just don't believe in that stupid old science.

The Mirror Lands
Mirror lands are what they call the Penumbra, which has "Frightening, confusing places, warping the physical world in most exotic ways", but the Hengeyokai have it figured out because they're 'wise'. Westerners, of course, are confused by the foreign symbology that is made real in the Mirror Lands. Also, people who are skilled in meditation or feng shui are able to feel the vibrations of the spirit world and sense disturbances in the Umbra.

The spirits of the Mirror Lands are stronger and 'more active' than their western counterparts, and the Hengeyokai need to take care in their dealings with spirits.

quote:

Although the awakened spirit of an antique family stool may seem irrelevant or harmless, it may well be a servant of the Dragon Prince of Wood, who would be quite offended if hengeyokai were to harm his proxy.
"Oh what's that? You didn't pay due deference to the toilet you just took a dump in? Well the prince of sewage is calling in some of his chips with luna and now every spirit in the umbra hates you."

The spirit realm is lit by both the moon, but also by ten suns. The largest of which is believed to be the "true sun", and the other 9 are "siblings, stillborn in the physical realm but not forgotten here." They also note that there's a swirling mist wall between the Russian Penumbra and the Mirror lands, and travel between China and Russia isn't possible. They don't mention it but it's also not possible between Russia and anywhere else, at this point in time, Baba Yaga is a bitch.

The Tapestry
If the Mirror Lands are the penumbra, the Tapestry is the near umbra. The Hengeyokai divide the mirror lands into the Yang and Yin realms, Yang described as full of "Life and Energy", Yin described as "Death and Darkness, domains of ghosts and demons". Yeah, people at White Wolf really didn't understand what Yin and Yang were, and reading Kindred of the East tends to give people who do some rather nasty headaches.

To get to the Tapestry, you can either follow moon paths or dragon tracks. But most of the tapestry is full of fog and mist which causes sounds to echo and scents to betray you. So to find your way out, find a Stork-Spirit.

So the rat finds a stork, the werewolf who just had an unfortunate encounter with a picador has apparently kidnapped a woman in her pajamas, and the Khan is giving some presumable wyrmspawn a knuckle sandwich.
What?


No seriously, a stork spirit. They have their own call out and a picture and everything. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but the only myth I can find online (due to western baby delivery myths) involves Chinese storks abducting worthy men and carrying them to heaven. Which I guess sort of fits? Just seems odd that they'd single stork spirits out as some kind of spiritual navigators par excelance.

For those who don't want avian assistance, you can follow the dragon paths, which are "Well marked and appear to the discerning eye as roads inlaid with gold, jade, finely carved hardwoods, or other precious substances." with the type of inlay describing which dragon made the path, pearl means sea dragon, woods mean forest dragon, which means that these are the paths that literal dragons left behind, but not the zhong lung, different dragons, maybe.

There are also Sun and Moon paths, Hakken use the moon paths and Zhong Lung use the sun paths, the other Hengeyokai don't trust them as they change when the moon and sun rise and set, but the dragon paths are as eternal as the dragons who once created them, so different dragons then, definitely. Also the dragon paths not only lead to the yin and yang realms, but also to the western spirit realms, because gently caress you gaijin, that's why.

Spirit Courts
Apparently some of the Ministers of Heaven and Yama Kings still have their own courts which they rule like old feudal lords. Even some uncorrupted and honorable wyrm spirits hold court in this way. Most have palaces with great towers. All visitors must enter through a main gate, which is always guarded by powerful spirits. And most have water diverted from the great river of life and abundance flowing through their courtyard because nothing says opulance like diverting the forces of life itself just so you can water your plants.

quote:

Young hengeyokai should be warned: The nobles of the courts are tied to each other in many ways. If a hengeyokai should offend a lord in a spirit court, he may find himself facing the enmity of many Ministers. Proper behavior is exceedingly important to many of the spirits. At all times, a hengeyokai should be careful with what he says and how he acts in the courts of the spirits. By the same token, if a hengeyokai shows wisdom in her words and actions, she may earn the aid of not only the court she visits, but many others throughout the Umbra. It is worth noting that too favorable of an impression may lead to a prince offering to wed a hengeyokai, an offer that is not easy to escape without risking offense. Caution should be the wise one's guide.
Do poorly and you piss off the entire spirit world. Do too well and now you're married.

Yang Lands
"The Yang realms are places of light and power where many spirits allied to Gaia gather or hold sway. hengeyokai say that there are thousands of Yang realms, and that as shen become more enlightened they can perceive more realms." Apparently each Yang Realm has their own leaders, which are as powerful as Incarna, but in their own realms they might be stronger than Celestines. And, since we're unenlightened, here are the "most often perceived" Yang Realms.

The Realm of Fighting Spirits

incarnate, basically.

The place where unhallowed dead go to do battle. Tribesmen with sticks beat on tanks, Kamikazes drive into hordes of mongol cavalry, spirits tear each other apart and then pick up their missing pieces then move onto the next fight.

There are 3 main armies, an army marching under the banner of spider, an army marching under the banner of centipede, and... uhm...

quote:

An obstreperous throng of shapeshifters and eddies of energy form a loose third host. Though responsible for most of the turmoil and chaos, they do not fight under a banner and are as likely to attack each other as they are the other forces. These berserkers have limited technology, relying on rocks, spears, nails and teeth to overcome the enemy. Fighting animals serve in their ranks.
Okay then?

Umi, the Dragon Kingdom of the Sea
Apparently this kingdom covers the entire pacific ocean of the Mirror Lands, even though it's been established that the Tapestry is distinctly separate from the Mirror Lands. Hordes of Zhong Lung and Same-Bito serve him, some so old and ancient that they only exist as powerful spirits.

The most powerful servant, however, is GAJYRA!!!

quote:

The Dragon King's senschal Gajyra commands the denizens of the Dragon Kingdom. He is one of the few great dragons still awake; his power extends over the waters surrounding him and boils from his mouth in the form of fire that devours even metal and stone. Many whisper that nuclear tests in the Pacific have angered Gajyra beyond reason; other claim that Banes have seduced the Seneschal, leading him down a path of corruption.


It looks like Godzilla, but due to International Copyright Laws, it's not. Still, we should run like it is Godzilla, though it isn't.

But, oh no! It's been 50 years since the Dragon King has been seen in public. Apparently the Dragon Princess of Hiroshima was his lover, and he grieves over her loss. Or even worse, he was WITH her on August 6th! Or Gajyra killed him and his merciless nature is a testament to his guilt!!!

Also there are crabs

No, it's too obvious

The Mountains of Heaven
Flying spirits and Dragons live here. It's also apparently very close to the Moon, and you can use some of the pagodas and palaces here to travel almost anywhere in any umbra.

But oh no, some malady has afflicted the great dragon lords, what has happened?

quote:

Some of these spirit courtiers believe that a malady has afflicted the Dragon Lords and Princes of the Firmament, and whisper that Western thought seeping into the Realm has blinded or paralyzed the great dragons.
gently caress you Gaijin.

The Tiger Lands
Umm... There are tiger spirits here. Lots of them. There are other animal spirits too, apparently, but the Tiger spirits got here first and painted their names above the door.

The Gardens of the First Age
This realm is very hard to find, but if you find it it's essentially shapeshifter heaven. It's a memory of when the physical and spirit were one. If you meditate here Gaia may visit you personally and give you advice... or weapons?

The Goblin Jungle
Most shen avoid this area because it exists on the border of the Yang and Yomi worlds.

It is dark, you are likely to be eaten by a Nue.

Take every horror story you've ever heard about tropical jungles, and crank them up to 11, then put goblins and other nasty creatures in them.

Temple of the Ancestors
This appears to be an amalgamation of every ancestor homeland ever. To find it all you have to do is want to find your ancestors really really hard, along the way you'll stumble upon many "Tests of the Ancestors" to ensure that your heart, mind and body are pure, usually in relation to the Hengeyokai's auspice. Finally you arrive at someplace sacred to your family, then a guide shows up and takes you to a single meditating figure that is one of your ancestors. They talk with you a while, give you advice or counsel and maybe a gift. Then the guide returns, says time's up, and umbral winds carry the hengeyokai back to the Mirror Lands.

That just sounds like the worlds worst retirement home.


Yin Realms
These are realms of death and stillness, and since the Hengeyokai are creatures "distilled of purest life" are uncomfortable here.

No, white wolf, stop it.
Lemme just quote Wikipedia here.

quote:

Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and nighttime.

Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.
Note that Yang has negative aspects and Yin has positive aspects, neither one is wholly good or bad. They even get a lot of the symbology wrong. The ocean is in the Yang realm, and the Yin Realm has a desert.

The Cave of Centipedes
A dark cool place filled with Centipedes, worms, and the spirits of the dead. Kumo are also in here, and there are Yama Kings. If you venture deep enough you find the spirits of the recent dead, and if the Wyrm spirits kill them before they recieve their true judgement they are banished to the Wyrm's balefire torture pits for eternity.

Also don't light a lantern or you'll attract everyone in 30 mile radius.

Lord Spider's Web
Uhh, it's a giant spider web, but not metal like the Weaver's webs, these are like cobwebs. There are no native denizens in this realm, only dessicated victims. Apparently Lord Spider was once the lover of the Weaver and has left his realm in mourning since she won't sleep with him anymore.

Yeah.

Desert of Visions
Apparently this is the only place in the yin realms worth visiting for most Hengeyokai, because here they can recieve visions and guidance. The light of the moon is bright over the desert, but this isn't the nice moon. This is the harsh moon of castigation and the mere sight of her can push lesser minds into Harano. It's a place of solitude, and you will never meet another soul here. If you come here in a group you will be separated before you arrive. The very sands are made of silver, gold, fire, whatever will cause you the most pain. Time flows faster or slower, whatever causes you the most discomfort. You can never slay the spirits that taunt you, and all that does is prolong your suffering. Eventually once you've come to terms with yourself and the desert, you'll crest a dune and find an oasis. The waters restore all your gnosis and willpower and there's a dragon road to anywhere you want to go.
Apparently that's why people come here, the Dragon Roads let you go anywhere.

The Forbidden Lands
This is very close to a Yomi realm, but it isn't. Apparently it contains echos of all possible horrific apocalyptic futures. The Yama Kings and greater banes come here to gloat. But there are a few flowers here and...

quote:

The sunsets are made more colorful by the polluted skies and multicolored clouds.


Personal Realms
Apparently each spirit of each individual creature has it's own spirit realm. The stronger your spirit the greater your spirit realm. There's no guarantee you'll ever find your own personal ream, and there's no guarantee that it even exists.
Inside your Personal Realm are all your hopes, dreams, desires and fears. By overcoming the challenges therein you can conquer your own spirit, which... give you extra gnosis?
sure

Dragon Lines/Caerns
Caerns in the east are more potent than the west because they're maintained by kin as well as Hengeyokai, and they're older. But war between the Shen has drained most of them.
Probably the biggest difference is each Caern has it's own domain in the mirror lands, which is the court of the caern's spirit.

Unfortunately the constant war for their favor has driven some Caern Spirits insane, demanding blood sacrifice or asking for impossible things like the heads of all of the Yama Kings. Sometimes they attack the members of their septs for displeasing them.

And with that we're done with this chapter.

Up Next: Character Creation, and how you can't actually do it without two to three other books.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


It's amusing to see Hengeyokai and Arrows of Indra being done at the same time, because they both fall into a very similar fallacy: adapting real-life mythology to fit an established set of game metaphysics rather than playing to the strengths of the mythology itself.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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





Remember that the first bit of non-character non-comic writing in the book was "All Asian mythology is wrong." Then the rest of the book goes on about how steeped in tradition Asia is and how the spirit world is stronger here because the people still believe. They're trying to resolve the book's theme of Asian Exceptionalism with their own understanding of the myths and it gives me this really uncomfortable sense of reverse racism.

Thankfully the Revised version of the Beast Courts is much less "gently caress You Sunset Person", with only one real reference to western racism (The "let mercy guide you" tenet doesn't apply to westerners, but it also doesn't apply to anyone who isn't a member of the courts or an ambassador to the courts) and a mention that anyone who wishes to devote themselves to the Ways of Emerald Virtue, be they German, Japanese, American or otherwise is allowed to do so.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Fossilized Rappy posted:


Chapter 3: Optimized Hitler-Punching

As stated before, Mutants and Masterminds uses the concept of "power levels" instead of classes to inform how much points you can buy stuff with. This chapter starts off by noting the different power levels that a Golden Age game will have. Long story short: a fair range of them in multiples of two. Power Level 6 action movie-type heroes, PL 8 "punch stuff really good while wearing tights" heroes, PL 8 Flash/Green Lantern/etc.-type heroes, and PL 12 Superman/Captain Marvel-type heroes are all Golden Age staples, and the book notes that most hero team-ups of the era tended to actually have at least one representative from each power level. These heroes are most likely going to be putting their ranks into physical skills rather than mental skills if you are looking for what the book calls "authentically retro characters". Brawn was supposedly as popular or more popular than brains in heroes of the time...or so this book tells us, at least.

...

Yet again, we have a section that begins with talk about what is and is not good for the "authentically retro character". First off is a no-go on psychic powers and anything too super-sciencey. Why? According to the author of this little tome, the first is because mesmerism was almost always a villain trait in the Golden Age, while the second is because kids at the time were unlikely to understand what things like vibrating super-speed or spatial distortion were. I'm sure that obscure Golden Age heroes known as the Flash and Dr. Occult might disagree on at least two of those points. Second, you should have powers related to punching things. Punching things is always better in the Golden Age. Third, you should only have a few drawbacks, if any, as the heroes of the time were meant to be larger than life. As for new powers, there aren't any. Sorry if you wanted some.

...

Hero Archetypes
Last, but not least, are some free archetypes for you to use. These can be used as either NPCs, pre-made PCs, or as springboards for your own character designs. We have - in total in M&M: Golden Age:
  • Masked Adventurer: This is pretty much straight-up classic Batman or the Green Hornet, being an archetype for a wealthy guy who moonlights as a vigilante.
  • Mystic Adventurer: A character who gets magical powers from a supernatural object, like the original Alan Scott Green Lantern.
  • Omnipotent Mystic: An uber-powerful Superman-level magician who is somewhat detached from humanity. I'm honestly not sure who this one is a reference to, as characters like Dr. Occult have more in common with early Harry Dresden than Dr. Manhattan as far as jobs and power levels go.
  • Patriotic Hero: Captain America, the Fighting Yank, US Jones... The archetype of an all-American human of peak perfection was very much an in thing during the Golden Age, and it's no surprise it ends up in the book.
  • Retro Gadgeteer: The archetype of flying rocketeers and the like, such as the comic book character Bulletman or the serial story character Commando Cody.
  • Superhuman Hero: Superman, if you somehow couldn't guess.
  • Two-Fisted Adventurer: The spiritual ancestor of Indiana Jones. These individuals specialize in Hitler-punching to an extent that only Patriotic Heroes can dream to match.
  • War Hero: An action-adventure stylization of an otherwise normal soldier, such as Blackhawk and the Blackhawk squadron.
I think I had basically the same feeling as you; reading this I thought that it was mostly right, but just...off. You're totally spot-on about heroes based on vaguely-explained mental powers or cutting-edge science being a staple of the Golden Age.

What I find most striking about Golden Age heroes is that you have a whole lot of guys who are at a Batman/Captain America level, and a surprising number of guys who have the vast, poorly-bounded powers of the Spectre and the Black Widow, and actually not a whole lot of guys in-between. Captain America, the Black Marvel, the Black Terror, the Detroyer, and the Blazing Skull were all guys whose powers were basically "really good at punching out gangsters and Nazis," but not so tough that they couldn't be knocked out by a surprise attack or an accident, so they can be tied up and the story can actually have a dilemma.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Kind of tempted to write up Dragons of the East, the Mage Asia book.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


Are you sure just one book is enough for you?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Kurieg posted:

Remember that the first bit of non-character non-comic writing in the book was "All Asian mythology is wrong." Then the rest of the book goes on about how steeped in tradition Asia is and how the spirit world is stronger here because the people still believe. They're trying to resolve the book's theme of Asian Exceptionalism with their own understanding of the myths and it gives me this really uncomfortable sense of reverse racism.

Thankfully the Revised version of the Beast Courts is much less "gently caress You Sunset Person", with only one real reference to western racism (The "let mercy guide you" tenet doesn't apply to westerners, but it also doesn't apply to anyone who isn't a member of the courts or an ambassador to the courts) and a mention that anyone who wishes to devote themselves to the Ways of Emerald Virtue, be they German, Japanese, American or otherwise is allowed to do so.
I don't mean to be a pedant but I think the term that encapsulates what you're talking about is "romantic racism." I'm going to go ahead and call out White Wolf as the undisputed masters of it; as evidence I submit WoD Gypsies, Tradition Book: Akashic Brotherhood, Kindred of the East, Hengeyokai...

It's like they dump a bunch of stern warnings on you about how you shouldn't make assumptions or believe stereotypes about other cultures, then they immediately indulge in the most fanboyish assumptions and stereotypes they can get away with. Have you ever seen Steven Seagal's Marked for Death? He devotes a couple scenes to showing that Jamaica and its culture have been overlooked, stereotyped, and exploited by richer nations, and for the rest of the movie he's waging war on patois-speaking, dreadlocked Jamaicans who deal drugs and practice voodoo.

Holy Jesus gently caress, nobody's done WoD: Gypsies! I'm calling it; hello next review.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Just spent the last few weeks reading through the massive original thread. Hilarious stuff mixed in with some actually useful information regarding RPGs I have never heard of before.

So I figure I might try to contribute as well, and I did just get ahold of a copy of the Hercules and Xena RPG, definitely one of the more obscure games out there and (given the subject matter) it's likely to be utterly terrible or a work of pure genius.

PleasingFungus
Oct 10, 2012

in my pope game,


Halloween Jack posted:

I don't mean to be a pedant but I think the term that encapsulates what you're talking about is "romantic racism." I'm going to go ahead and call out White Wolf as the undisputed masters of it; as evidence I submit WoD Gypsies, Tradition Book: Akashic Brotherhood, Kindred of the East, Hengeyokai...

It's like they dump a bunch of stern warnings on you about how you shouldn't make assumptions or believe stereotypes about other cultures, then they immediately indulge in the most fanboyish assumptions and stereotypes they can get away with. Have you ever seen Steven Seagal's Marked for Death? He devotes a couple scenes to showing that Jamaica and its culture have been overlooked, stereotyped, and exploited by richer nations, and for the rest of the movie he's waging war on patois-speaking, dreadlocked Jamaicans who deal drugs and practice voodoo.

Holy Jesus gently caress, nobody's done WoD: Gypsies! I'm calling it; hello next review.

Well, actually..

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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2014-2018



HitTheTargets posted:

Are you sure just one book is enough for you?

I managed it when I did Kindred of the East!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




No fair. I was looking in the "W" section.

TheRagamuffin
Aug 31, 2008

In Paradox Space, when you cross the line, your nuts are mine.


oriongates posted:

Just spent the last few weeks reading through the massive original thread. Hilarious stuff mixed in with some actually useful information regarding RPGs I have never heard of before.

So I figure I might try to contribute as well, and I did just get ahold of a copy of the Hercules and Xena RPG, definitely one of the more obscure games out there and (given the subject matter) it's likely to be utterly terrible or a work of pure genius.

This can't not be amazing.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

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

Halloween Jack posted:

No fair. I was looking in the "W" section.

Sorry. I moved all the stuff under "oWoD"/"nWoD" into better slots for it, alphabetically. I was never consistent enough with it to make it worthwhile.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Halloween Jack posted:

I don't mean to be a pedant but I think the term that encapsulates what you're talking about is "romantic racism." I'm going to go ahead and call out White Wolf as the undisputed masters of it; as evidence I submit WoD Gypsies, Tradition Book: Akashic Brotherhood, Kindred of the East, Hengeyokai...

Which is too bad, I really like some of the game elements of Kindred of the East or Hengeyokai better than the core games, but they're unable to treat the cultural material well. Of course, with Werewolf's splats as they are, casual racism is kind of hat-in-hand as it is (Fianna, Get of Fenris, Silent Striders, Wendigo, etc.).

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!






So, I picked this up a couple of weeks ago after rewatching the Hercules and Xena series on Netflix and I remembering just how terrifically insane and cheesy they were. So, needless to say I was excited at the prospect of trying out the RPG, based on West End Game's d6 system, but I honestly had no idea what to expect from it. Could this be everything I wanted Scion to be: The adventures of long-haired, barely dressed demi-gods as they battle gods and monsters and occasionally engage in spontaneous dance marathons? Then again, it's a late 90's licensed RPG...this could go really poorly.


The contents

This is a boxed set, it's got two books: The Hero's Guide and The Secrets of the Ancient World, three adventures (including one "solo" adventure), and a GM's screen...because everything had a GM's screen back then.

The set also comes with 6 custom dice, using chakram's and hydras instead of numbers. The set I bought didn't include them, which is fine since it would have been a pain to try and share them among an actual play group.



The Hero's Guide

The Hero's Guide starts with the usual "what's an rpg" section where we learn that, like just about everything else, the role-playing game was apparently invented by Salmoneus who serves as the "voice" of the game throughout the book. It gives the thing a goofy, conversational tone which is certainly appropriate to the subject material.

We then move on to character creation. You're given the option to simply select a "hero template" (basically a pregenerated character from the back of the book) and simply add a name, a Unique Possession, and 10 skill points. But lets take a look at the full process:

First, you pick a Hero Type. This is sort of like a class, except it doesn't actually do anything. I'm serious about that, nothing at all. Each one has a list of important attributes and typical skills but you aren't given any sort of bonus to these, or required to purchase any of them. You could make an Archer with no Marksmanship skill or a Warrior without any fighting skill...which may be considered very appropriate. However, there's about 7 pages of these Hero Types and most of them are just various synonyms for "fighter".

Next comes Race, which can be Human or something completely awful. Humans are completely average, receiving no bonuses whatsoever, but that still makes them better than the other races. Centaurs get superior strength and toughness and a big boost to speed and have to make a willpower roll every time they attack or go berserk and start trying to kill everyone around them, friend or foe. Nymphs are pretty but slow (speed, not smarts) and are tied to a specific environment (rivers and lakes, forests, seawater, etc) and within their environment they get bonuses, outside of it they wither away after two weeks. Satyrs are the best non-human race, they're only a little bit slow and they have improved awareness...oh, and a reputation as a race of hairy-legged rapists.

I'd suggest sticking with human.


After that we have Attributes and Skills and a brief explanation of how they're used. This the only d6 system game I've been exposed to but I understand it uses a variant of the core system anyway. Basically it's a dice pool system, you add your relevant Attribute and attached skill together, roll that many dice, and anything over a 2 is a success. You count those up and compare them to a static difficulty or an opposed roll. All rolls are open-ended because one of your dice will be a Wild Die, which explodes on a roll of 6, but on a roll of 1 it'll take away one of your other successes. So someone with 3D Reflexes and 2D Fighting rolls 5d6 to see if they hit someone. Simple enough.

There's 8 Attributes (Coordination, Endurance, Reflexes, Strength, Awareness, Charisma, Knowledge and Mettle) and boatload of skills. The skills are given a brief description, but none of the specific skill rules are explained here (that's apparently in the Secrets of the Ancient World book), except where they are (like Jumping and First Aid).

We finish up with a few extras: Body Points (ie hit points), Character Points (which can be used to improve your character or to add up to two extra dice to a roll), Fate Points (used to double the number of dice you can roll for one check), your starting Fame (or more clearly, your lack there-of). There's also mention of something called the Hero's Challenge (attaining the highest level of Fame by defeating a god or goddess in combat), some personality notes and a Unique Possession (which is really just a normal possession that you get for free).

Then we've got Specialties (ie focused uses of certain skills) and Special Moves (combat tricks). Specialities are pretty simple, you can just buy up a particular aspect of a skill at a cheaper rate (such as purchasing a bonus to Swords instead of a bonus to Fighting in general), while Special Moves are a set of pretty specific combat tricks that can be bought, based on actions we've seen in the show. Half of them are just "do half damage and knock your foe down", but some range from very lame (possibly inflict some fire damage or possibly injure yourself) to crazy powerful (double damage on an Archery attack or the ability to instantly KO an opponent if you beat their defense roll by more than 2-4 successes.

Then we've got Advantages and Disadvantages. They're optional and involve gaining or losing skill dice in exchange for a disadvantage or advantage. Much like Special Moves they're mostly mediocre with the occasionally overpowered (1-in-6 chance to be able to ask for divine intervention, without limit) or pointless (for 1 skill point you can buy a +1D bonus to a skill...whu?). Mostly ignorable.

The chapter ends with Deeds (feats that make gods more or less likely to like you) and rules for improving your character.

So...it was at about this time that something began nagging at me and I began to have a sneaking suspicion, one that would not be confirmed until the next chapter...The Ancient World (no, not the Secrets of the Ancient World, that's the other book, this is apparently the ancient world sans secrets)

Catfishenfuego
Oct 21, 2008

Moist With Indignation


Kurieg posted:

They're trying to resolve the book's theme of Asian Exceptionalism with their own understanding of the myths and it gives me this really uncomfortable sense of reverse racism.Japanese, American or otherwise is allowed to do so.
Pretty sure that's just regular ol' racism.

Domus
May 7, 2007

Kidney Buddies


Mr. Maltose posted:

It's not that bad, Gerund is just pointing out what the things in the fiction would be under the actual Changeling rules. As far as I remember nobody in the fiction actually calls things Tokens or discusses Fetches and Wyrds except in context.

Oh. Well, uh, my bad then. Gerund, for those of us who haven't yet read the NWoD rules, can you make it clearer what things are in future chapters?

TombsGrave
Feb 15, 2008



Apologies for the lack of Call of Cthulhu updates, but I'm in a different state right now. With any luck I'll get the next part up by the weekend though!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Which is too bad, I really like some of the game elements of Kindred of the East or Hengeyokai better than the core games, but they're unable to treat the cultural material well. Of course, with Werewolf's splats as they are, casual racism is kind of hat-in-hand as it is (Fianna, Get of Fenris, Silent Striders, Wendigo, etc.).
Fianna? Well, I guess I don't want White Wolf slandering My People as besotted football hooligans, except that I became one.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

I was tired of your red text


Fianna had a lot of dumb 'Oi faith and begorah aren't the magical emerald isles just pure magic and whimsy' poo poo in it. It's far from the peak of racism in White Wolf but I know a few Irish people who got annoyed at it.

Also I'm almost positive in some book a Fianna implied the REAL tragedy of the English occupation was the ~magic if Ireland~ got damaged or something.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Was it the revised Fianna tribebook where every last talen was an alcoholic drink?

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Halloween Jack posted:

I don't mean to be a pedant but I think the term that encapsulates what you're talking about is "romantic racism." I'm going to go ahead and call out White Wolf as the undisputed masters of it; as evidence I submit WoD Gypsies, Tradition Book: Akashic Brotherhood, Kindred of the East, Hengeyokai....

Holy Jesus gently caress, nobody's done WoD: Gypsies! I'm calling it; hello next review.

The academic term is Orientalism. It was coined to describe things like exotisized harem paintings but works just as well for these RPGs.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


oriongates posted:

So, I picked this up a couple of weeks ago after rewatching the Hercules and Xena series on Netflix and I remembering just how terrifically insane and cheesy they were. So, needless to say I was excited at the prospect of trying out the RPG, based on West End Game's d6 system, but I honestly had no idea what to expect from it. Could this be everything I wanted Scion to be: The adventures of long-haired, barely dressed demi-gods as they battle gods and monsters and occasionally engage in spontaneous dance marathons? Then again, it's a late 90's licensed RPG...this could go really poorly.

This is very important to me: are there rules for dealing with your evil goateed counterpart from another dimension?

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Which is too bad, I really like some of the game elements of Kindred of the East or Hengeyokai better than the core games, but they're unable to treat the cultural material well. Of course, with Werewolf's splats as they are, casual racism is kind of hat-in-hand as it is (Fianna, Get of Fenris, Silent Striders, Wendigo, etc.).

Yeah, Fianna Revised has it's issues. They're so Oirish it hurts, and their take on the first tenet of the litany and Metis is basically the inverse of every other tribe, to the point that looking it up for reference just to make sure made me a little uncomfortable.

Get Revised goes a long way to try and patch up a lot of the nastier stereotypes they had in 1st and 2nd edition. Their intro fiction basically amounts to Fenris himself strolling up to the tribe, smacking them upside the head and going "Stop thinking that physical prowess is the only thing that matters you assholes." And there's a bunch of side bars to address the more damning stereotypes.

SS Revised I never read since the tribe never really appealed to me.

Wendigo revised, however, is pretty much a cesspit.

Plague of Hats posted:

Was it the revised Fianna tribebook where every last talen was an alcoholic drink?

There are only 3 of them, but Yes.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!






Part 2: The Wussiest Heroes

That suspicion I mentioned last time was confirmed almost as soon as I started the next chapter, The Ancient World, because this is where they have write-ups of NPCs and upon reading this I realized an awful truth:

Starting PCs are really, really lame.

The NPC section starts with stats for Hercules and Xena. The characters that this game is based off of and, presumably, the characters you were interested in emulating in play. Well trust me, there's no chance of that. At all. Both characters have truly ridiculous amounts of skills and Special Moves. However, it's amusing to note that their Attributes are built using the same rules as starting characters. That means everyone gets 24 Attribute Dice, with the minimum being 2, Average being 3 and human maximum being 5. So, that means that everyone, Hercules and Xena included, have only enough Attribute points to be "average" at everything, so if they're going to be superior they'll end up inferior in some other way. So that means that both Hercules and Xena are mostly average, and a bit stupid (Knowledge 2), and Xena is a weakling (Strength 2). Their massive skills make up for it in most cases but it's still an amusing flaw in the system.

Well, maybe I'm expecting too much. The two main characters are meant to be pinnacles of the game and maybe it's not unreasonable for them to be something to work towards rather than starting at that power level right out of the gate. So...what sort of character can we emulate as a starting PC?

How about Iolaus? He's a badass in his own right, heroic and competent. Definitely a worthy starting PC. Let's see his stat block...nope. Not going to happen. He's not Hercules, but he's still got over 15 times as many skill points as a starting PC.

uh...Gabrielle? C'mon, this was released during Season 3, she can't have gotten that competent yet...nope. She's much weaker at only 6 times the number of skill points as a starting PC. Next is Salmoneus, with only 4 times a starting character's Skill Points

So...is there anyone who is roughly approximate to a starting PC? Yes. Yes there is:



At only 5 points higher than a starting character Joxer The Mighty is only slightly better than your starting PC. So much for playing amazing heroes.


Well, how fast can characters advance? Perhaps it's a game where you can start as a fresh-faced farmboy and rise to be a great warrior before too long? Taking a quick peek into the Secrets book for the guidelines on gaining character point's it's suggested that each adventure should be worth 5-20 character points. Just for kicks lets assume you play once a week, complete one adventure every 2 weeks and are rewarded with 12 cp on average. Seems more than fair.

Raising a skill takes an amount of cp equal to the new total times 3. So raising a skill from +4D to +5D takes 15 points. Hercules has a Fighting skill of +12D. Assuming you start at +3D, that's a total of...((insert math here))...216 character points. So, just to equal one of hercules skills (and not including the Brawling Specialization he has, an extra 30 points) it'll take 18 adventures just to equal one of hercules skills. That's 9 months of fast-paced, non-stop play. The thing is, he still has a couple of dozen more skills, some of which are just as high or higher than his Fighting.

Starting characters have 10 skill dice (maximum of 3 dice in one skill)...Hercules has a total of 228, plus 6 specialty points and an arbitrary number of special moves. In order to begin play at something approaching his power level you would need to give starting characters between 600-1000 character points. Not only would character creation be incredible tedious and take forever, but specialized character's could easily break the system in half. Reaching that power level during play would take years of back to back weekly gaming.

So yeah, not only do you not start out nearly at the power level of the show's characters, but you have very little hope of actually reaching it.


Next: Finishing up the Hero's Guide and starting on the Secrets of the Ancient World.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


Bedlamdan posted:

This is very important to me: are there rules for dealing with your evil goateed counterpart from another dimension?

If not, I would be very dissappointed.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kurieg posted:

SS Revised I never read since the tribe never really appealed to me.

The revised tribebook honestly isn't bad, I'm just remembering art like this, where every third Silent Strider looks like an extra out of Cleopatra. (And the 1st ed. version of the tribe also continued White Wolf's love affair with magic gypsies.)

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



oriongates posted:

So yeah, not only do you not start out nearly at the power level of the show's characters, but you have very little hope of actually reaching it.

This reminds me a lot of the DC Universe game (West End's D6-System-based supers game, not to be confused with the DC Heroes or DC Adventures RPGs or the DC Universe Online MMO). Forget Superman or Batman, creating a PC who was on the same power level as Robin was nearly impossible.

I don't know if it was just because the D6 System is poor at handing high-powered characters or because someone at West End had a weird idea of what players wanted in their starting characters.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Selachian posted:

This reminds me a lot of the DC Universe game (West End's D6-System-based supers game, not to be confused with the DC Heroes or DC Adventures RPGs or the DC Universe Online MMO). Forget Superman or Batman, creating a PC who was on the same power level as Robin was nearly impossible.

I don't know if it was just because the D6 System is poor at handing high-powered characters or because someone at West End had a weird idea of what players wanted in their starting characters.

West End, for whatever reason, had a habit of turning any NPC with a real name into impossibly beefy power houses. Their Star Wars sourcebooks were particularly notorious for it. loving Luke Skywalker from the period of A New Hope had the equivalent of years of experience points from regular play under his belt. The likes of the Emperor had skill levels that weren't even described in the game.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Bedlamdan posted:

This is very important to me: are there rules for dealing with your evil goateed counterpart from another dimension?

Sadly, no. It's for the best though, given Hercules' stats the Sovereign would turn your PCs into a paste in short order.

Amusingly, a fight between Hercules and the Sovereign would almost certainly end up with a double KO. Hercules has a huge damage bonus, but not an incredible supply of Body Points (25 is the highest possible for humans) and a good Stay Up skill (letting him fight on after reaching 0 BP). So both will almost certainly take each other to 0 BP and then keep fighting until one fails their Stay Up skill roll, followed shortly after by the other.

So that's fairly accurate at least.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!






Part 3: finishing up the hero's guide

So there's not much left in the Hero's Guide. After NPC stats there's a short section telling you about the greek gods, and a section on gear. The equipment is kind of a mixed bag. It's got plenty of shout-outs to the show (like the breast dagger) and swords come in the short, long, serrated and squiggly varieties (squiggly is the best). On the other hand there's again a depressing amount of "realism" here. For example, the chakram has a chance to injure you on a bad roll and unarmed combat is probably the worst thing you could ever do. It's got no damage bonus, meaning anyone in armor will ignore most of your attacks and even if you can hurt them it will take forever to take down even a weak opponent, plus it's got no Speed bonus making it slower than even two handed swords. Stop getting your stupid realism in my RPG about models fighting CGI monsters!

The book ends with a set of pre-genned sample heroes (also featuring the only original art in the book).



--Secrets of the Ancient World--

This is the game-master's guide basically, it's also where the actual rules for fighting and skills are. The book starts with a section on running the game. It seems decent enough but honestly I haven't done anything other than skim sections like this for over a decade now, so I'm not going to delve into it now. After that we come to a few rules for running the game.

The first part of this chapter is rules for creating more experienced characters, on the level of Xena or Hercules, which is great! Also a bald faced lie! This alternative starts you out with 30D for skills, giving you still less skills than Salmoneus. Although since this (presumably) removes the 3D skill cap you can quite easily break the game by dumping all your points into combat or defensive skills (giving your character +15D to +20D Dodge makes you basically untouchable for instance), at the cost of being narrowly focused.

There's also talk of the Hero's Challenge, allowing you to become a demi-god (which really only means being really, really famous). It's here I note that Fame doesn't actually do anything. It's a measure of how well known you are but there are no rules governing how this influences people who know about you, or even how likely it is that a given person will have heard of you. Past Fame 30 the reputation descriptions stop being helpful (can you guess who is more well known: a Vanquisher, Vindicator or Hero?) and the number itself doesn't really mean anything unless you wanted to get into some kind of notoriety dick-measuring contest.

Then there's a list of possible Powers and vulnerabilities, like super-strength, durability, Achilles' heels, etc. There are no guidelines for assigning these abilities and the book flat out states that they should be given out purely at the GM's discretion. Again, this just doesn't seem right when you consider the source material...shouldn't there be actual rules in place for if a character wants to play a half-god, spirit or other supernatural being? Even some general guidelines would be nice.

Then we come to the actual skill mechanics. Most of them are unremarkable, although some are way too specific (such as Remember or Resist Disease) which is obviously an attempt to make up for the fact that you can't improve your Attributes in play but it just creates further problems given the relatively low amount of skill dice available to PCs. Many of the difficulties and examples are fairly arbitrary (did you know it's just one step below Heroic difficulty to craft leather pants?)

Next we've got a section on creating adventures. Like the GMing section this fairly generic and not worth commenting on.

After that is the rules for combat. Fairly serviceable, although I absolutely hate any system that requires the players to declare their defenses ahead of time and take multi-action penalties in order to use their defensive skills. The battle rules do contain one great thing: the range chart. This game features my favorite range chart ever:



I love it, it's simple, easy to understand and quick to use.


Later I'll finish up the Secrets of the Ancient World with their gods and monsters section. I'll skim the adventures but I get the feeling they're probably fairly generic and not terribly interesting.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Wait, wait, wait. So the game about a show where the main character almost never uses a weapon except against CGI monsters and just throws mooks around bare-handed (Mooks who mostly wear armor, it should be noted), throwing armor-wearing mooks around bare-handed is basically impossible?

...I am just gonna go read the "Diana, Warrior Princess" RPG, as that's almost certainly a better Herc and Xena game than the Herc and Xena game, even if it is about Princess Di, her spunky sidekick Fergie, and features Teddy Roosevelt as an on-again/off-again romantic relationship.

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oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




unseenlibrarian posted:

Wait, wait, wait. So the game about a show where the main character almost never uses a weapon except against CGI monsters and just throws mooks around bare-handed (Mooks who mostly wear armor, it should be noted), throwing armor-wearing mooks around bare-handed is basically impossible?

...I am just gonna go read the "Diana, Warrior Princess" RPG, as that's almost certainly a better Herc and Xena game than the Herc and Xena game, even if it is about Princess Di, her spunky sidekick Fergie, and features Teddy Roosevelt as an on-again/off-again romantic relationship.

Hercules can manage it mostly because of his obscene Strength (he gets a +10 to damage due to his divine strength) and massive Fighting skill. That lets him KO a 10 BP mook in one punch, or take down any other human in a couple of hits (the maximum human BP is 25). So it's fine if you're the son of Zeus, not so good for everyone else, who'll get a bonus of +1 or +2 to damage and otherwise just inflict damage equal to the number of successes they score on the attack (so between 2-4 damage on average, minus any armor. Leather armor takes off 2 damage from every hit).

Ironically, since they're based on actions in the show, the existing special moves are pretty much exclusively kicks and punches, and on top of that most of them inflict half damage in exchange for a knockdown. so brawling special moves might let you "stun lock" an opponent in exchange for never doing any significant damage. But constantly tripping your opponent while your allies stab them to death seems a little...unheroic.

The exception is the Head Bash (a headbutt) move, which not only has a base damage like a weapon (3), doesn't suffer any penalty to attack (unlike most other Special Moves), and if you inflict more than 5 damage then you instantly knock out the opponent for a number of turns equal to the number of successes you rolled on the attack. So, considering that everyone gets a +1 damage bonus from Strength that means that a successful Head Bash is an instant KO against anyone without armor (base damage 3 +1 Strength bonus +1 minimum success).

This means that probably the most successful H & X character is probably going to be Doctor Headbutt

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