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Erebro
Apr 28, 2013


Bieeardo posted:

While I prefer how Lost dealt with child characters being so awful in the Dreaming ("No, you're all infertile. Sorry. Ain't happening. And if you're Taken too young, or too old, you don't have the sense of self to return to."), that is loving hilarious.

"No. Werewolf does not screw werewolf. We are adamant about it this time. Remember that blurb about Fianna tearing violators of that tenet into pieces? That's poo poo nothing on what's in store for you hornballs."

Edit: It makes me wonder what kind of nightmare scenarios the writers dealt with that involved lovely metis players, or rape-happy Spiral hives to go from Apocalypse's 'Metis are deeply shameful, but shock troops for a war you're steadily losing don't grow on trees...' to 'NO. BAD.' With decent writing, it could be a compelling key to the mystery of just what the gently caress is up with the Forsaken. But... yeah.

Given what we've seen in the Children of Gaia reviews, I can hardly blame the writers.

They seemed to get over it in Forsaken Chronicler's Guide, though-one of the suggested setting hacks is making it so that The Wolf Can Cleave Where He Wants, Thank You, thus making it something like a game of familial intrigues, since werewolves having other werewolves as spouses isn't that strange, nor are feuds.

We also have a coupe child changeling characters floating around (Wild Sam in Grim Fears, one as a possible antagonist in Innocents, though I forget her name), but they're presented as exceptions (for example, Wild Sam's Keeper was as nice as the True Fae could ever possibly get and then some-his most traumatic experience was discovering his own grave when he was unceremoniously dumped back on Earth).

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Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




Bieeardo posted:

One of the Mage end-days scenarios suggested that the universe was coming to an end, and the only way that even some beings might survive the birth of the next was by being converted into spirits that would be utterly bizarre and inscrutable to the inhabitants of that next world. I've always had the suspicion that that is the prehistory of the NWoD, and that the True Fey, and the Pure, and the Whatnot are remnants of those older lines that are no longer capable of coherent communication, but are so primal and so marked by the history of those games, that distorted elements still manage to express themselves.

That's a definite thing in some lorehound's theories. Some posit that True Fae are what happened post-apocolypse to the elements of Entropy that once it was split into Fate + Death. By never having any ending, they can only live by creating further tragedy.

On that note, I promise to get back to C:tL, I've been editing what writing I have for readability.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


Erebro posted:

Given what we've seen in the Children of Gaia reviews, I can hardly blame the writers.
Given that they brought Phil Brucato back to write Changing Breeds, I think the writers are at least somewhat to blame.

quote:

They seemed to get over it in Forsaken Chronicler's Guide, though-one of the suggested setting hacks is making it so that The Wolf Can Cleave Where He Wants, Thank You, thus making it something like a game of familial intrigues, since werewolves having other werewolves as spouses isn't that strange, nor are feuds.
That seems a lot better, anything to actually get the tribes interacting with each other. Did they ever really go into detail as to how newly changed cubs find tribes, or how multi-tribal packs would normally form? What I remember from the core book was basically "Lone Wolves get killed, Wolves outside their territory get killed"

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 02:23 on Aug 9, 2013

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Ugh, I need to get my rear end back in gear for my ASOIF review. Hopefully I'll remember tomorrow.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kurieg posted:

The fact that they replaced the W:TA creation myth with "your great grandparents hosed up big time, everyone blames you, you're probably going to die as a result, good luck" also makes it hard for me to like it.

Not seeing the vast difference from Apocalypse? Given Apocalypse basically has the werewolves of the past be tremendous fuckups in every significant respect, the effect seems the same to me. By the time PCs enter the picture, things are roundly hosed and there's not much left to be done about it - hence "the Apocalypse".

In Forsaken the bad guys are dominant but the world isn't likely to implode; in Apocalypse the end of the world is treated generally as a foregone conclusion.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Not seeing the vast difference from Apocalypse? Given Apocalypse basically has the werewolves of the past be tremendous fuckups in every significant respect, the effect seems the same to me. By the time PCs enter the picture, things are roundly hosed and there's not much left to be done about it - hence "the Apocalypse".

Right, but the spirit world doesn't seem to blame them (at least Gaia and more importantly Luna don't), and the more you read about the other Changing Breeds you realize that a lot of them were just as responsible for the war of Rage as the Garou were(Bastet), if not more(Nagah). The guilt the Garou feel over their crimes in the past is largely self inflicted, and the current feeling among the younger Garou is "yeah, everyone hosed up, that's great, but everyone needs to pull their poo poo together now or we're all hosed," and you've got things like the Ahadi, and the Amazon Basin Coalition where the Changing Breeds and Garou are working together.

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying
Chapter 4 & 5: Abilities and Specialties, and Destiny and Qualities

Abilities are a combination of Attributes and Skills from other games. There's really nothing particularly interesting here.

The Qualities a character can get are divided into several groups.

Ability Qualities improve one of the character's Abilities.
Examples: Hardy (Ignore penalties to Endurance when healing); Head for Numbers (Add your Cunning to Status tests for household events and your family gains extra wealth); Furtive (Add your Agility to your Sneak tests and reroll any 1s on Sneak tests)

Fate Qualities represent a character's destiny and fate. Seems like the miscellaneous grab-bag category.
Examples: Lots related to social position (Brother of the Night's Watch, Maester, Head of House, Ward, Man of the Kingsguard); allies, subordinates and animal cohorts; supernatural powers like Greensight (Prophetic dreams), Skingchanger (Possess your animal cohort when you sleep); also Wealthy, Lucky and Night Eyes. Like I said, grab bag.

Heritage Qualities are related to your family and heritage.
Examples: Blood of the Andals (Super lucky), Blood of the First Men (Tough), Blood of Heroes(Exceed limit on one Ability), Blood of the Ironmen (Bonuses while at sea and while fighting), Blood of the Rhoyne (Agile and sneaky), Blood of Valyria (Commanding and fire resistant), Blood of the Wildlings (Resistant to cold and disrespectful of the social order). Also, Massive (really big).

Martial Qualities are advantages and special abilities in combat. (This is the biggest group, of course)
Examples: Fighting Style chains (Axe Fighter, Bludgeon Fighter, Braavosi Fighter, Brawler, Long Blade Fighter, Pole-Arm Fighter, Short Blade Fighter, Spear Fighter, Water Dancer), Tourney Knight (Bonuses in jousting), mass combat bonuses.

Social Qualities provide benefits and bonuses during Intrigues, in the same way Martial ones give bonuses in combat.
Examples: Adept Negotiator (No penalty from your disposition towards others, as long as you hide it from the subject), Favored of Nobles/Smallfolk (Bonuses with people with high/low status), Worldy (Bonuses to persuasion with people outside of Westeros)

Drawbacks are bad things the character has.
Examples: Debt (All prices are doubled), Furious (Your temper means you have to try and Intimidate in Intrigues and take a penalty for trying to seduce), Nemesis, Haughty (Your disposition against anyone of lower status or acting social unacceptably must be negative)

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 23:13 on Aug 10, 2013

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case





Return to the TOMB OF HORRORS Part 9: I call it "Lost Wages."

So when last we left our intrepid victims PCs, they had collected the Sunwand, a subtle but extremely potent magic item. Hopefully they will be able to figure out (with no instruction whatsoever) how it works and how to use it!
As a refresher, here's our map of Moil.


The PCs arrived at location 1. I detailed Tower 2, but that one's kind of a dead end. We'll next go to Tower 3-- the Tower of Chance! The bridge leads into an archway surrounded by chaotic groupings of Moilian runes, which turn out to be numbers. They're not magical or anything, and they're truly random and meaningless-- because this tower was a casino. Yup.


Location 3.2 is a pretty massive room that used to be a casino floor full of intricate gambling machines, presumably slots and the like. They're all smashed up. The room definitely used to be a bit luxurious-- there were mirrors on the walls (all now smashed) and there's all kinds of crumbled stone, wood and metal all over the place. If the PCs feel like picking through the remnants of slot machines, they can get some cashola (141 Moilian platinum pieces).

3.3 is a cabaret-- I guess Moil really was like Vegas. There's scattered furniture everywhere, except for a single table and chair that have been drawn up against a window. There's a wine bottle and a crystal cup on the table. Along the western wall there's a long, low counter: a Moilian bar. Ice is, of course, everywhere, except for the ominous human silhouettes where something pulled itself free. The ground behind the bar is littered with smashed glass; searching through it or walking through it in insufficient protective gear forces a Dex check or suffering 1hp of damage from cuts. There are three intact bottles of red ("Warren & Son's Merlot") among the wreckage. There's a secret compartment in the bar with an exquisitely crafted crystal glass, enchanted to protect the drinker from any ill effects of the fluid within, including poison, inebriation etc.

The table was drawn up by Desatysso when he passed through here nigh-on 20 years ago and hasn't been disturbed since. PCs can tell by inspecting the table: he scratched "Desatysso was here" into the table with his knife. The bottle contains absinthe, which apparently requires a saving throw vs. poison to avoid losing 1 hp per minute for 20 minutes. I'm pretty sure absinthe doesn't deal 20hp damage on a failed save; maybe I'm just higher level than I thought. There aren't any monsters or traps in here, which is not indicative of Moil as a whole.

3.4 is a private suite with a naked body on a shattered table. The body is in fact a Moilian zombie and animates when the PCs get close. When destroyed, PCs can search it to find a deck of Moilian playing cards and some money. 3.5 is very securely locked and labeled "Final Round Games." It contains a wooden table and six chairs, with a large stone chair against the west wall.

This was a high-stakes gambling room. Very high-stakes: the souls of the players. The game master sat in the stone chair, and losers were subject to the effects of the mirror of life-trapping set in the ceiling. Typically, they'd be set free by the winner in exchange for an oath of service for a set period. Anyone searching or looking up becomes aware of the mirror-- if you look up you see your reflection and must save vs. spell or be trapped in the mirror. The command word that frees prisoners has of course been lost for ages, and you can't remove the mirror without breaking it. Fortunately, breaking the mirror releases trapped occupants! Unfortunately, occupants include more than any trapped PCs. There are two Moilian zombies stuck in there (they are not utterly mindless, and are intelligent enough to be trapped) and a woman named Lerxst, a Moilian from before the curse days, who was trapped there by a card shark named D'wart (details!) hundreds of years ago. Lexst speaks Moilian and Orcish despite being human, and is initially very disoriented and frightened. She will accompany the party, though, not having anywhere to go, once she adjusts. She's a Level 9 thief, with some magic items (boots of spider climbing, short sword of venom +2, darts of homing +3) and decent abilities, and she's not evil, just chaotic neutral. She's not dressed for the cold, so she may need some help, plus she can't help too much with landmarks since the city looks very different from when she was last about (the towers are much taller, for one). She's very self-centered and won't give her life for the party or put their needs above her own survival, escape and enrichment. With Grunther though this party is starting to get a little bigger-- assuming he's still around (idiot almost certainly looked in the mirror if he made it this far).

Room 3.6 has three windows looking out into the city and several frozen columns of ice, including one with a human skeleton in it. Trying to bypass it reveals its true nature-- a winter-wight, who says "Come to feel my cold embrace, my darlings?" and attacks. This is a very, very dangerous and powerful undead, and unlike the ubiquitous zombies is likely to pose a serious threat, especially if a PC catches on blackfire. There are more winter-wights later, fought in more hostile conditions-- this is just an introduction to this kind of undead.
Area 3.7 is an untrapped staircase that takes the PCs into the next level of the Tower of Chance. So is 3.8-- but this staircase contains a satchel resting on the steps. The buckle is trapped with a save-or-die needle trap (because of course it is); there's a hidden catch that opens it. Inside the bag are spell components for evil spells-- bones, skin, eyes, fear-sweat etc. In the intense cold the labels freeze-dried and flaked off. Very careful handling (ie not picking up) the satchel and visually observing it can remove the vials one by one and match them with their labels (requiring a pick pockets roll)-- otherwise the labels become hopelessly jumbled. If the roll was good enough one of the removed vials is "Corpse Dust (Acererak);" otherwise, that vial is mixed in with the others. There are plenty of vials with similar stuff ("powdered bone, corpse dust (mundane), funerary ashes, mummy crumbs") so it's tough to guess. There's a few random items in there, plus three potions of extra-healing, which are frozen solid and must be carefully thawed to work. This is the spell component satchel of Academician Drake from the Bleak Academy (remember him?) who lost it here in a scuffle with undead.

Area 3.9 is a large, mostly empty chamber and the other exit from the tower. The chamber contains some rusting iron wire sculptures of humanoids, the one remaining standing holding a stone tablet. This is covered in Moilian runes, saying "... and by which token you are accounted guests in the Tower of Chance" (the other statue had the first half of this sentence, which is now smashed).


3.10 is a cloakroom-- there are still some clothes in there. Two are woolen cloaks, one's a red poncho, and one's a white brushed leather cloak. That one is a robe of powerlessness., though casting remove curse on it before putting it on turns it into a handy robe of warmth-- you have to recast every time you take it off or put it on, though.

3.11 is a roulette room! There's a roulette table and a brass plaque on the wall, reading (in Common) "In games of chance there are risks to be taken/The winner is rewarded but the loser, forsaken." Acererak of course left that here, and of course it's a trap-- it's Acererak's Haphazard Wheel, as detailed in my earlier post. Suffice it to say that it is not to be hosed with lightly.

3.12 is a display room full of cabinets and shelves, all smashed up and shaken as though a giant had picked the whole room up. Only one item is intact: a glass-fronted curio cabinet in the southwestern corner. It's covered in ice, so you can't see inside, but glows golden from inside. This is one of my favorite rooms in the adventure. Acererak put this here to test adventurers to see if they were just greedy. The cabinet is magiced against x-ray vision and scrying (but not psionics, making them useful for perhaps the first time ever). Melting the ice to look through undoes the curse and fades the light. The cabinet is empty. Opening the door, on the other hand, has dramatic effects. Every source of light in the room, including the golden glow, is magically extinguished. A random party member must save vs. spell at -4 or be silently teleported 50 feet to the east, which leaves them dangling outside the tower; without intervention they will fall through into the Negative Energy Plane and be gone forever. Nice knowing you! If the save is passed, another member must save at -3, then someone at -2, then -1, then nobody has to save-- so likely at least ONE person is going outside. Relighting a torch, generating magical light or any means of creating light causes the cabinet to swing shut and resume a golden glow. Every time you open it this happens again.

Room 3.13 is a vault to hold valuables. It's lined with foot-thick steel plates, magiced against scrying, teleportation, or passing through them. Above the door is a symbol of death that will kill up to 80HD of creatures passing through the door who are unauthorized (like all of the PCs). The wheel that opens the door is locked, and the key is gone, and the lock gives you a -30% penalty to pick it, and also it has a symbol of insanity inscribed on it that will affect anyone with less than 120 hp fiddling with it. Man, that's a lot of security! Inside there's a fuckload of money. There's also a Moilian zombie, unfortunately, and this one's deadlier than most. It used to be the sentinel of the vault. In addition to Moilian zombie abilities, it has a sentinel mask and gauntlet of guard, both of which I described in a previous post. It can pew pew 10d6 damage energy bolts from its finger, has AC 0, and can see through almost all magical concealment. The vault, in addition to having more than 4000 platinum pieces, is a great place to hole up and recover, and it does open from the inside.

So that's the Tower of Chance. Tower 4 is the Tower of Portals, which used to be the hub o the Moilian transit network.

You can see there's not much of it left. The arch simply reads "Tower of Portals." Inside, it's hollow-- there are catwalks that the PCs can use to navigate. There's a bridge and stairway down to another exit.

4.2 is just the catwalk. It glows with its own illumination. 4.3 is a "Portal of Peril." It's a silvery metal arch filled with haze that makes it impossible to see through. Carved into the left-hand side is a circular depression with a humanoid palm print in blue tile. The symbols atop the arch read "Kainrath" in Moilian-- this portal used to transport people to city of Kainrath. Now, of course, it leads nowhere. Well, not nowhere. Walking through it takes you to a random location in the Quasielemental Plane of Vacuum, a place where there is... nothing. Without air pressure, you breathe out in one round of long continuous breath. After that you must make a saving throw vs. death every round with a -2 cumulative penalty per round until you die. You also bleed off 1 hp of heat each round-- it's deathly cold, but vacuum is a great insulator, so you'll suffocate before you freeze. The handprint actually opens the gate, causing a tremendous howl as all of the air (and everything else!) is sucked through due to the pressure differential. Everyone within 100 feet is subject to this (beyond that you can hold yourself back) and is swept towards the gate at a movement rate of 21. Within 100 feet, you can attempt a Dex check to grab something. If you fail, you get another chance-- make a Dex check at -4 to grab the edge of the archway. Anyone who grabbed something must make a Strength check every round or lose their grip. Items like ropes make an item saving throw each round vs. fire. You can re-trigger the palm print to close it or wait 10 rounds, when it closes automatically. Anyone who can fly will still be drawn in, but slowly-- at a rate of 3 per round, not 21 (since fly confers a movement rate of 18) and get a +2 on Strength checks to not be sucked in.

4.4 is another portal, inlaid with three symbols atop the arch-- a blue, a black, and a red-- and with three handprints: blue, black and red. This is the intra-city transport, and the three glyphs read "Tower of Health," "Hub," and "Periphery," respectively. This one still works. Pressing a handprint and walking through the arch takes you somewhere-- the Tower of Health is an interesting place (we'll cover it later-- it's Tower 7) and the Hub is an essential location for proceeding once you're done in Moil (it's Location 16) but the Periphery takes you outside the bounds of the parts of Moil that Acererak has preserved. You simply teleport into thin air and fall into the Negative Energy Plane, goodbye forever! Not touching any palmprints means the arch is just an arch and doesn't take you anywhere.

4.5 is a portal with a yellow haze within and a yellow palm print. This one takes you into a torture machine in are 6.7 in Moil's police station tower if you walk through it. Don't do that. Opening the palm print opens a two-way gate to Area 6.2, summoning the Moilian headsman-- a deadly foe, and one that will be described when we get to Tower 6. This portal is best not hosed with.

From here, the PCs can go to all manner of places-- the Tower of Chance's exit leads to a hub that can take you to Towers 11, 14 or 8, and the Tower of Portals exits into Tower 5. But I know where we're going: the best place of all!

Next time: A visit to the po-pos and my favorite room in any RPG, ever, ever!

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

Ah, blindly walking through portals as the key to plot progression. Now that's some Tomb of Horrors.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




Glazius posted:

Ah, blindly walking through portals as the key to plot progression. Now that's some Tomb of Horrors.

To be fair, you don't need to go through any portals. The entire adventure can be completed while skipping the portals entirely and just entering and exiting the tower. The portals are just a quicker, more dangerous route.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

That Moilian woman in the mirror of life trapping probably knows where they go-- or where they used to, at least. So there's that.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I Forgot To Hail King Torg


DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

Return to the TOMB OF HORRORS Part 9: I call it "Lost Wages."
Games > Traditional Games > FATAL & Friends 2: RPG Supplements, but not the good kind like you want.

(That said, I kind of miss the old days of D&D where adventures would have you run into things like the Moilian woman in the mirror and have the response of "sure, why wouldn't she follow you through the post-apocalyptic ruins of her civilization on the hunt for a demilich?")

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

I was tired of your red text


I'm now sad that the final encounter in the dungeon isn't Master Cylinder. You've made Tomb of Horrors even more of a disappointment somehow.

General Ironicus
Aug 21, 2008

Something about this feels kinda hinky


Sorry for the long break, I've been busy with a lot of other projects, some TG-related but mostly about my wedding. Time to get back in the space-saddle.




ASHEN STARS
Website
pdf on DriveThru RPG

Part 16:

Now that we have all the tools we need to run an adventure, it's time to learn about how. Players must feel so special having all their stuff front-loaded in books while GMs are always stuck in the back. It ain't fair I tell ya! This chapter is all about building adventures for your Lasers to enjoy and mysteries for them to solve. It also sort of doubles as advice for amateur fiction writers looking to emulate the same genres as the game. Elementary, my dear Kch-Thk!

Chapter 12: Running the Bleed

There are two major ways presented to build an Ashen Stars adventure and the difference is the amount of prep done before getting to the table. We'll start with 'lots'. Creating a mystery starts just like building a planet: set a premise and a dramatic twist. Then, fill them in with backstory in broad detail and determine whether the crew will start with a contract or stumble into trouble. Next comes complications, the specific opposition the Lasers face. This can range from concrete villains to abstract pressures that get in the way of victory. Tangential opponents (rivals, red herrings, wild animal attacks) can also give interesting complications to an episode.

Consult the personal arcs and connect one or two to the adventure. Your premise may already be based on one, but no adventure should go without featuring a personal arc as a b-story at least. At some point there should also be a clear choice that needs to be made between altruism and self-interest. Not everything needs to be a major moral quandary, a quick threat to Reputation will do, but it should still be present. If you do want a big one, exploiting friction between two PC's drives is a handy tool.



"Stick with me and I'll make you a star, kid" (he actually became a Starkid)

That covers the elements of the episode, now you have to arrange them into scenes. The intro scene is just what it sounds like, and you use it to get the players up to speed on all they need to know to start with. Core scenes are those that contain a core clue. These are important, because core clues are the information they'll need to solve the mystery. They should also point to where to find more clues, but you don't want them to be a hard sequence. Avoiding that advice is how GUMSHOE can become the railroad people are afraid it is.

Alternate scenes provide other information that can help propel the plot, but aren't necessary. They're more about context and additional detail. They don't have to lead to another clue if you don't want them to. Antagonist reaction scenes are when the complications strike back and attempt to impede the heroes' progress. Hazard scenes are like that, but with impersonal complications. Sub-plot scenes cover any progression not directly tied to the investigation, usually relating to someone's personal arc, a side deal, or a character just poking around the planet. The Concluison scene is the end of the investigation, and generally includes some major obstacle/action scene/final dilemma. There's also four pages of sample premises to build from that read like an episode guide to the best Trek spinoff that never existed.



In this sample premise, a man argues for his right to insert glow worms in homeless people's abdomens.

The second way to make episodes is on the fly. Think up a premise and a bit of backstory, then let your crew go nuts and try to keep up. I don't know if I'd recommend this, the whole section spends more time saying it's possible than that it's a good idea. There is good advice here though: react to input, never negate, push players forward when they lack a clear direction, deliver what your players want out of the experience, all that stuff. Robin Laws wrote the book, it's good advice to keep in mind no matter how you structure your game.

Your players may want (or expect) their episodic adventures to build into a series arc. There are a few setting points that lend themselves to that sort of story, notably the Bogey Conundrum and any of the Class-K aliens. Arcs should play out over several episodes, going from foreshadowing to a major Bleed-shaking event. Series and Personal Arcs can both bring in recurring characters. Rivals and enemies are pretty common choices, but an abiding emotional bond between PC and NPC is what defines a good recurring character, not their role.



I guess this is all right, but all the cool GMs end their episodes with a bald man giving a lecture on ethics.

Then the chapter moves into general GUMSHOE tips. First, a good session is one that balances the structure needed for an investigation and the freewheeling most players get into. The perception of railroading is harder to shake than the reality; in playtesting the groups most worried about railroading were actually those whose GMs did the most improvising. Any track may be the right track, treat your prep as a blueprint, the episode as played is the final product. Don't be afraid to cut to a new scene if the current one begins to drag and the important info has already been gleaned from it. Don't be afraid of pop culture references. They're going to be made so you might as well embrace them as a common shorthand.

The chapter ends with a quick example of play, but that can be skipped over because we'll be doing our own here in this thread in the coming weeks. That's right, all that's left of interest in the book is the sample adventure. Getting this update out now is somewhat bad timing because I won't be able to start that until next week, but be warned: there will be audience participation. (also feel free to shoot out quick character concepts in the mean time, even though I might miss them since this thread is about three-dozen games at once)

Next time: recruitment opens.


These guys are really excited for the sample adventure and hope they manage to get in it.

General Ironicus fucked around with this message at 22:37 on Aug 12, 2013

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

In Today's Thrilling Episode of...



I'm late. Also lazy and distractible and on vacation, but still. Late. Sorry to anyone who was actually reading this series.

We begin with a credits page, which surprisingly includes over fifteen playtesters whose names were legible on the NDA forms, and somewhat worryingly includes a special thanks to the lake County Sheriff's Department. It also refutes what I said about its providence in the first episode, by stating that it was published by Tri-City Games and Collectables, while being copyrighted and trademarked by that Selex Inc outfit, except where they used art copyrighted to AC Comics, which is everywhere-- and I mean everywhere. Open the book to any page and odds are better than not that you'll see super-cheesecake gamming back at you from one or both pages. With the exception of one or two unfortunate greyscale scans of a colour frame, it's all in black and white, There's a fairly even mix of art that looks like it was prepared for the book, and stuff that was obviously scanned from black and white comics, with the kind of attenuation and artifacting that being run through an old scanner tends to produce; the latter usually accompanies thematically related rules, which makes sense, but the accompanying dialogue fares as poorly as the line art.

The book doesn't have an index, though most of the last page claims to be an 'autograph section for your favorite AC celebrities'. Fortunately, the table of contents is exhaustive: their layout software scraped every last heading and sub-heading in the book. I say it's their layout software, because point values for everything but the super-powers are included in their related headings, and the end result makes for a particularly half-assed cheat sheet.

The layout in general is simple: two columns, occasionally broken by a page-wide table or piece of 'art', There's something about the font and type spacing that brings to mind printing essays off of an old inkjet-- it's got a rough, amateurish feel to it even before the rough, amateurish writing begins.

It all begins with an introduction that goes on for half a page about how excited they all are to be working on the project, and lets slip that they weren't the first outfit that Americomics tapped to create an RPG, but were the first to produce something saleable. Note that's 'saleable' and not 'playable'. And a section where they admit that they may not have caught all the glitches, and the proofreading might not be the greatest, and-- hey, that's what the credits page was missing: a proofreader! But they've got a mailing address for errata requests, Given that it's 1993, most geeks are still using their modems to dial into local BBSes; this is pretty decent for customer service, in these days. Then things take a turn with the list of things you'll need to play.

The 'conversational' tone mentioned on the back of the box is pretty much omnipresent, and for the first few paragraphs of the book it isn't too bad. It begins breathlessly excited, a lot like the preface of a RIFTS sourcebook... and much as those become strident when Kevin Siembieda wants to make a point about lasers being silent, or how drugs are bad, or people who don't like the RIFTS magic system are stupid, this book is prone to chiding and digression where tighter editing and trusting the players would have done them in better stead. I'll be pointing these out as I go on, of course, because some of them are real head-scratchers.

Case in point: Things You Need. This begins with logical things like pencils, folders for game-related sheets, and the like. It specifically calls out d20's, d10's and d6's, preferably two each of the first two and at least half a dozen six-siders; "If you can't find any of these, ask teh guy next to you who dragged you to this game. He's probably got enough to supply the room." I'm a little surprised that they didn't spring for at least 3d6 a 10 and a 20, since it's supposed to be an introductory game, but suppose that was probably cost-cutting, or driven by some worry about the comics being damaged by sharp corners.

"Beyond this is only our personal recommendation that you bring a 6-pack of some kind of soft drink, NOT beer; alcohol and RPGs do not mix well!"

Um, that's funny, because...

"You know what alcohol does to you, so we won't lecture you."

Er, you just did.

"Just take it from us, don't drink and game."

Whatever. This is unfortunately typical of a 'conversational' voice that happens to belong to a hovering older-brother figure who's invited us all to pretend to be all-American, big-boobied super-chix with him. It gets better, well, less awkward... until the next time the writer thinks you're going to try pulling a fast one with the rules, or sneaking a beer.

The game proper begins with 'What is a Role Playign Game? And How am I Supposed to Play it Anyway?' which shares half a page with a hovering pinup who has a lot of hair, almost as much boob window, and not a lot of clothes. It's typical stuff: what it is, how to play, do you play competitively, how do you win... and one that was particularly curious to me: is role playing evil?

To me, 1993 seems like a weirdly late date to be playing cover-your-rear end with the satanism connection. Mazes and Monsters and Dark Dungeons had been published a decade earlier in 1981 and 84, and around here that craze only really latched on with the Jehovah's Witnesses and assorted fundamentalists, all denominations of which were very thin on the ground. By this point people were already pretending to be vigorous, vampiric roshambo players in a surprising number of parks and basements. Then again, I've visited Florida all of once, and have spent most of my life in the bit of America's hat that keeps dangling into the Great Lakes. Maybe it's a cultural thing. Maybe it's just trying to convince parents that letting their sons play shamelessly cheesecakey superheroines is only as weird as letting them (ahem) read about them. This section is probably the most eloquently written part of the book, noting that anything can be taken to extremes or twisted out of proportion, and that those borderline urban myths who go all Black Leaf would have already been predisposed to seek escape from their lives. A few people do crazy things and RPGs get unfairly blamed. Somewhere, jazz music is laughing, and the nascent first-person-shooter industry has just woken up in a cold sweat.

Terminology follows. Since most of it is common to RPGs, most of the rest can be understood from context, and the rest pertains to certain game elements that want to be confronted and not just coyly flirted with, I'm just going to skip most of it. The section on die rolling includes instructions for rolling a d3, gets explicit if dividing and rounding is too difficult, and declares that class is dismissed! d6, d10 and d20's paragraphs all include the phrase 'ad infinitum' and that they are used to generate a random number between 1 and x; they call d6 out as a 'standard everyday monopoly type of die' (who knew?), d10 threatens a quiz (I thought class was dismissed?), d20's primary role is said to be determining success, and d100 actually tells you how to roll a d%. Each of these is only a paragraph long, but god drat they could have been shorter without the punchy school theme.

Oh, and then the page ends with the quiz they mentioned. Seriously. Only three of ten questions address things from the book so far ('what shape is 1d6?' 'which is the dice commonly used to roll 'to hit'?' 'When rolling 1d3, what would the number 2 indicate?') Less seriously, the final question is 'Why are you actually taking this quiz?'

Actually, I lied. The page ends with another column-length picture of another curvaceous woman striking an unlikely pose and showing a lot of decolletage, and me getting a sinking feeling that the 'funny' writing was added to plump the page length.

Next Up: I stop trying to write funnily and move on to chargen!

Bieeanshee fucked around with this message at 06:12 on Aug 13, 2013

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


Green Intern posted:

Inspectres: “Because it’s not just a vampiric infestation – It’s your vampiric infestation!”
Part 1



So hey, remember this? It turns out they made a movie.

Why?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 8e: Creatures, equipment, and characters of the Nile Empire.

When you get right down to it, there aren't that many distinctly Nile Empire-specific creatures. Drawing from the pulps as it does, most enemies will be humans. I mean, yeah you have things like asps and crocodiles and such, but most of the time you're up against an actual Bad Guy. That doesn't mean that there aren't weird Egyptian mythical whatsists out there.

Unsurprisingly, there have been a lot of mummies popping up since the invasion. A few were created in the initial axiom wash, but more have been created through established Nile miracles and magic rituals. They can be of either Inclination, and are always P-rated. They're pretty tough, too; they have Strength 17 and Toughness 21, which means they punch as hard as a sledgehammer and are really hard to hurt. They're also immune to fire damage and shock damage. They can also use their enbalming fluid as an acidic attack, which triggers when they're hit. Everyone withing a meter of a mummy that's hit automatically gets nailed by the damage value 15 acid that also melts weapons. Oh, and if you attack it in melee then you might get tangled up in its bandages, which makes a fun combo with the auto-acid.

And that's after it's awakened and moving around. When you awaken it, you're subject to its curse! The curse is cast with a value of 22, and inflicts the target with a year of "bad luck" that manifests as an inability to play Second Chance cards.

A more common threat in the desert are giant beetles. There's not much to these except that they're tough, they hit hard, they're about three meters long, and they always get initiative in the first round of combat.

Next we learn about how Mobuis uses his gospog. For those who don't remember, gospog are creatures that can be grown from corpses, and can be "replanted" to produce fewer, but more powerful, creatures. All first-planting gospog look like zombies, but the other generations vary depending on the realm they're grown in.

For the most part, Mobius doesn't use gospog too often. He prefers to deal with big threats on a more personal level, creating deathtraps and personal tortures. He uses first planting gospog more as slave labor than anything else, using normal human shocktroops for his mass combat. They're not really that powerful, and their main danger is their numbers.

Gospog of the second planting look like mummies with headdress, bandoleer, and assault rifle. Mobius uses these as his disposable troops and bullet sponges. His normal tactic with these gospog is to send in a wave or two of mummies to soften up the enemy before sending in the actual troops.

Gospog of the third planting take the form of mummified Siamese twins, and Mobius refers to them as his "clumsies". Despite being two connected bodies, clumsies only have one brain between them and can only use one set of limbs at a time. They're not that effective in combat (even though they wield spiked sceptres), but Mobius likes to use them to intimidate or freak out his enemies.

Gospog of the fourth planting are (again) mummies, but are more capable of operating solo. They're over six feet tall with glowing red eyes and desiccated faces. They are also capable of using death's dust, a spell that creates a large black cloud of dust that can stun you or put you to sleep. What's worse, anyone who's put to sleep can't wake up unless someone does a counterspell. Mobius uses these gospog as messengers, in the sense of walking into the good guy's camp, saying "Lord Mobius has a message for you" in a raspy voice, and laying into everyone.

Gospog of the fifth planting are, amazingly, not mummies. They look like the rotting corpse the seed was planted in. At least, their physical bodies do. Their spirits roam free, seeking out new corpses to animate since their "spawn point" body can't leave the field it was grown in. In spirit form, the gospog can't interact with the world too much, but when they possess a corpse they not only become rear end-kicking fighters, they can also cast miracles. Destroying the host body just frees the spirit, which can go out and find a new host. To completely kill a fifth-planting gospog, you have to find the original body and destroy that. Of course, that means fighing your way through a lot of Mobius' forces to get to the facility it was hatched at while constantly being pursued by the vengeful spirit, but hey, it worked for Brendan Fraiser.

Up next are three "normal but larger" animals; apes, scoprions, and tarantulas. Nothing really interesting here.

Which brings us to the Terran Martians.

Yes, way back in the realm of Terra, there are Martians. Some have managed to get to Core Earth and the Nile Empire through unknown means, though. When just walking around, they look like normal humans except that instead of bellybuttons they have these weird diamond birthmarks, which sounds like something from a bad movie or show or something whose name I can't remember. Their true forms are insectile, with two pairs of arms (one pair with pincers).

quote:

Although the reasons are unknown, it has been noted that Terran Martians always travel in groups whose size is some power of two (2, 4, 8, 16, etc.). They refuse to travel in groups whose size is not a power of two. Note that 20 is one, so Martians can travel alone. The number four seems to be of particular importance to them. Many things that they do have a "four" theme to them. If you were to meet one, he might say "hello" four times, or shake your hand four times, or both.
Every Martian comes equipped with a Magna-Ray Gun (damage value 23), X-Ray Lenses, and a Rocket Cycle.

In the Terra book, it turns out that Czar Nicholas II of Russia was in fact a martian, and may have been since 1917. Martian forces seem to have taken over Russia, and are currently laying waste to Budapest and infiltrating the United States and England, but no information is really given on their short- or long-term goals. They're pretty much relegated to "just another generic threat", which is a shame.

Lastly, there are Walking Gods. Another side-effect of the axiom wash, walking gods are actually guardians of ancient tombs, who just happen to take on the appearance of Egyptian gods. They pretty much lay dormant in a crypt until a seal is broken in some way. Once that happens, the Walking God awakens and will do its damnest to prevent anyone from entering the chamber it's guarding.

Four walking gods are stated up: Anubis, Bast, Sebek, and Set. For the most part their stat blocks are pretty similar. They can't leave the chamber they're guarding, are immune to shock (except their heads, which take +2 shock), and are always P-rated. Sometimes they can have magic spells or miracles, other times they might have artifacts or pulp devices. Either way, they're designed to pound characters into greasy smears.

The Anubis version is the worst, with his minimum of 15 Possibilites, his ability to slow opponents, and his greatsword that hits harder than an assault rifle. Sebek can grind opponents between his crocodile jaws, Bast gets a scarab with a half-dozen built-in spells, and Set just has a barbed spear that always inflicts an automatic "K" result when it hits on top of everything else, meaning it's really good at knocking PCs out.

The last chapter of the Nile Empire book is *Equipment*, and for the most part it's a list of things you could buy in the 1930's-equivalent world. There's a few things I want to point out, though.

Money in the Empire is a new denomination created by Mobius. The base "unit" of money is the gold royal, which is about the size of a dime and minted from 14K gold alloy and stamped with the Eye of Horus. The current rate of exchange is 1 royal is about $10 American. There are also crowns which are worth 1/20th of a royal, and farthings, which is 1/100th of a royal.

Taxation is a flat 20% of the (legal) money you earned in the previous month; unsurprisingly, this hits the lower classes harder than the upper classes and has the added bonus of "punishing" Good people who won't break the law to make some cash on the side. There's a very distinct middle class in Terra, but at least those folks are better off than the slaves.

Weapons and armor are pretty much what you'd expect for a pulp reality. The bullwhip is introduced in this book, along with special rules for entangling and disarming foes, as well as swinging over pits.

Remember designing pulp gadgets? Well, we find out here how much that costs in royals.

First off, every system costs at least 50 royals. For systems with a value higher than 15, the cost can increase up to 60 to 400 royals, or from 600 to 4,000 royals for a value of 20, and up to 6,000-40,000 royals if the value is higher than 25. Oh, and if it's a weird science device (which is probably is)? Multiply that cost by 6 to ten.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, there's no guidelines or anything about how you determine where on those price spreads things should fall.

A booster has the same cost as the system it's boosting, and compensators cost the same amount as the boosters they're compensating for. So if a system costs 2,000r, then each booster attached to it also costs 2 grand, and every compensator costs 2 grand as well.

Possibility capacitors are 500r a pop, but power plants can go for a little as 10r, maybe up to 100r. Caps cost 5 crowns a pop for small gizmos, but can get as high as 500r for large devices. Yes, you have to pay for the loving caps. Adaptors cost 10% as much as the largest system attached to it, and subcomponents cost 5% as much as the system they're making up.

Short forn: pulp gadgets are expensive as hell, and you're better off starting with one instead of trying to build or modify it later, because again they seem to think pulp power and devices are too powerful compared to other abilities. Unfortunately, the only way the designers can seem to fix this is by making them cost-probitive on multiple levels.

The only "pulp device" you can just buy is the Rocket Ranger Battlesuit, which was invented back on Terra during The Great War. The battlesuit gives its wearer STR 14 and TOU 19, +7 armor (max 23), flight 11, and mega-sight. On the downside, they give a -1 penalty to your Dexterity and related skills, and the suit tends to overheat causing a fatigue result to do 1 extra stress.


The Rocket Ranger Battlesuit.

Interestingly, there's no price listed for the battlesuit, nor is there a blueprint. The only way to get one is to a) find one or b) use the "Rocket Ranger" character template, which starts with one. Also, they're only made back on Terra so finding one in the Empire is going to be tricky, at best.

There's also a few military vehicles listed, like the *MK1 Aperehen*, which is a tank with a weird science-based machine gun cupola. I'm not really sure why the gun needed to be created by weird science, since it just seems to be a normal heavy machine gun, but whatever. Nothing really exciting here, which is surprising given Mobius' flair for the dramatic. You'd think there'd be like...lighting tanks and stuff, but really they're just normal tanks, jeeps, and planes.

The book closes up with a listing of new character templates. For the sake of completeness, the Nile Empire character templates from the core set's Worldbook are:
  • Fast Hero: You grew up reading the pulps, and saw an advertisement for "enhancement research" in the back of one. Naturally, you signed up, and after a few months the eggheads figured out how to give you the ability to fly. What they neglected to tell you was that you were expected to use your power in service of Mobius. Needless to say, you disagreed with that. You get the flight power at 15, but don't have a tag skill.
  • Gadget Hero: Growing up, you were the kid who was always reading scientific journals and playing around with assembly kits. You got involved with the initial research into weird science, but didn't realize until it was too late that you were being funded by Dr. Mobius. Your understanding of technology expanded right around the same time Mobius created his first maelstrom bridge, and you've been fighting his forces ever since. This template was created before there were gadget rules, so you have a belt that gives you one of the following powers at value 17: dazzle, flight, invisibility, fog screen, mega-hearing, ultra-sight, xray eyes. Tag skill is scholar(science).
  • Tough Hero: You know the drill; there's scum out there in the streets, preying on the innocent. Sometimes you need someone who's not afraid to get his hands dirty cleaning it up. Starting gear includes half a ham sandwich, a pack of gum, and a checking account with a minimum balance. World-weary receptionist is optional. Your tag skill is unarmed combat.

The Nile Empire book adds:
  • Amazon: A Core Earth college student who was on Hespera when the axiom wash happened. Now transformed to Nile's reality, you're now a skilled warrior-philosopher with some nice blessed gear. You also have two super attributes for an overal +4 to STR and +2 to DEX, with an adventure cost of 6 Possibilities, and the flaw that if a man taunts or tricks you and you suffer a setback from it, you lose the stat boots. Your tag skill is melee weapons.
  • Dark Hero: Your loved one was killed in a bank robbery, so you grabbed two pistols, dressed all in black, and made them pay. Now you dole out .45mm justice on a nightly basis. You have the option of starting with either darkness, fear, or fog screen, which you learned from monks in Tibet. Your tag skill is either stealth or intimidation.
  • Engineer: A former member of the cult of Khem (the guys who resurrected Mobius), you followed him through the various realities, building facilities for his forces for promises of wealth and power, not to mention not getting killed by the rest of the cult. After a while, you realized the promises were empty and that you couldn't just keep your head down any more. Your tag skill is engineering.
  • Egyptian Princess: Your father and grandfather were both members of the cult of Khem, your grandfather being one of the people who resurrected Mobius. Unfortunately, you were dragged along for the ride when Mobius began conquering other realities because your father received a favorable sign from the gods. Turns out that the sign was faked, and your family was tricked into Mobius' service. Time to make up for the mistake. Your tag skill is egyptian religion/
  • Jungle Lord: Your parents were anthropologists in Ethiopa when the axiom wash hit, and they were both killed by Mobius' forces. You managed to escape into the jungle, where you were found by Ooorook the gorilla and her tribe. They took care of you, trained you, and taught you to communicate with the creatures of the jungle. Armed with your newfound strength, it's time for a little revenge. You start with the animal friend power, and your tag skill is maneuver.
  • Mathematician: Another former Khem cultist, you were really just an apprentice to one of the full-fledged cult members. Dragged along when Mobius began creating his new Empire, it wasn't long before you realized that Mobius' promises of glory were just that: promises. You managed to escape the pharoh's clutches and now try to make amends for your past. Your tag skill is mathematics.
  • Mystery Man: You're from Terra, where you grew up incredibly rich and incredibly bored. Then all these costumed heroes and villains started popping up all over the place, and you thought, "I say, that sounds fun!" You had the money to afford the best training and to travel the world learning amazing techniques, and it wasn't long before you were thwarting the bad guys. It wasn't long before it stopped being a game and became something you genuinely cared about, so when you learned that Dr. Mobius hadn't actually vanished but travelled to a new world, you leapt at the chance to follow. You can start with a pulp power if you want, and your tag skill is disguise.
  • Old Professor: You were never the heroic type until the maelstrom bridge dropped while you were on a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean with some colleagues. You were caught in a reality storm, which caused your ship to crash on shore just as Mobius' troops were establishing their territory. You were captured, but managed to escape when the same storm destroyed your captors. It wasn't long before you realized that reality was different, and that the old laws of physics aren't what they used to be. Now you've got a whole new field to discover. You start with a few gadget parts: four system components, five boosters, four adaptors, two caps, and two possibility capacitors, which is all actually worth a small fortune. Your tag skill is weird science.
  • Private Detective: You spent ten years of your life as a cop walking a beat. But you butted heads with your corrupt superiors one to many times, and found yourself kicked off the force. Now you work for yourself. One day, a dame came in asking you to investigate the mysterious death of her father. Turned out is was one of those masked weirdos by the name of Mobius. You didn't realize there was more to him than a headdress and evil laugh until you learned he'd skipped town, and by "town" you mean "reality". You met up with a bunch of masked types who were going to follow him, and you agreed to come along. Your tag skill is evidence analysis.
  • Rocket Ranger: Rocket Rangers were created during The Great War on Terra (WWII hasn't happened there yet). They're a international police force of the with a strong moral code, and you're the exemplar of that force. To quote the book, "You're almost too good to be true. Everyone likes you, and it's no wonder; everything about you is nearly perfect. You always know the right thing to say to make people happy, and you don't suffer from a single negative personality trait." Your only piece of starting gear is a Rocket Ranger Battlesuit, and your tag skill is flight/
It should be pointed out that some of these templates are "Terran Expatriates", which really didn't mean anything at the time since the Terra book wouldn't be out for like two years so there's no mechanical difference between transformed Core Earthers, Nile Empire natives, and Terran Expatriats as far as this book is concerned. For the most part, the Terran characters are heroes who've followed Mobius to Core Earth, or are former members of his cult.


The Mystery Man. "Whe needs armor when you have dense body hair?"

The Terra sourcebook itself did add a few more templates. Technically they're all from Terra, but there's nothing to really stop you from using them as Nile characters.
  • Adventuring Archaeologist: You've spent the majority of your life in one hole or another in some corner of the world or other, digging up relics of the past. Of course, this is on Terra, so that means that sometimes you have to deal with ancient curses, magical artifacts, and Nazis. But we all know that just makes it more fun. And yes, you do start with a fedora. Your tag skill is science(archaeology).
  • Beat Cop: In a world of super-villains, jetpacks, rogue sorcerers, gangsters, spies, and lord knows what else, there's gotta be someone looking out for the common man and protecting him from the threats beneath the notice of the superheroes. That's you. Your tag skill is scholar (local neighbourhood), which may be the most useless tag skill ever.
  • Ex-Gangster: You used to own these streets. People paid you tribute and gave you respect. Now these wingnuts are coming in with their capes and their ray guns and they don't know nothing about respect. The sure as hell didn't respect you when they vaporized half your gang. That was a pretty loud wake-up call. Maybe it's time to take a look at what you're doing. If people are paying you for protection, then shouldn't you be protecting them? You did buy a super-strength serum from some scientist, just so you could play on the same level as the capes (super attribute TOU+3), and your tag skill is petty crime.
  • Government Spy: The fact of the matter is that every government will have at least one enemy. Therefore, every government will have people it uses to fight back against those enemies. That's where you come in. Armed with a few hidden gadgets, a tux, and a rock-solid ego, you get the job done. Stopping terrorists, thwarting Martians, getting the lovely scientist's daughter, and looking drat good doing it. You start with a device that boosts your stealth by 3, and a pair of dark vision goggles. Your tag skill is espionage, of course.
  • Pro Pilot:: If it's got wings, you can fly it. Your father was a pilot in the Great War, and you grew up at his knee. The war was over by the time you were old enough to fly, but nowadays there's plenty of would-be conquerors out there, and if you're lucky, they've got some forces you can dogfight with. You do start with a plane; you can either have a two-seater fighter or a junky old passenger plane. Your tag skill is air vehicles.
  • Pulp Sorceress: You were a normal student, bored with your mundane classes. Then you met the Old Man. He sensed power in you, and took you under his wing and taught you the ancient secrets of sorcery. You learned how to bend the world to your will, but before you could learn why you were chosen to learn these abilities, the Old Man vanished. Guess it's time to forge your own destiny. You get a few pre-designed spells, and your tag skill is pulp power (sorcery).


And that brings us to the end of the Nile Empire, at least for now. We'll revisit the Empire later once we have a better view of the war and can talk about the overall timeline of the Torg game line.

I like the Nile Empire, of course. Why wouldn't I? It's straight up Nazi-punching pulp, with weird science and lost magic, expect that instead of Nazis you have Egyptians.

But the Nile Empire really brings a focus onto a large problem with Torg in general: the mechanical weight. There's three new magic subsystems, which don't really add anything to the magic system except more rolling. Heck, the whole engineering magic system doesn't even need to be there, because it's a style of magic that's tied to a specific location in a game where the expectation is that the characters travel the globe all the time.

And while I like pulp powers and making gizmos, the multiple costs are ridiculous. Having to constantly pay out in Possibilities is unnecessary, and in fact works against you in the long run since Possibilities are also your save-your-rear end points and your XP. Building powers into gizmos is even worse, because there's a game currency cost in Possibilities and an in-game cost for materials. And pulp sorcery just makes everything more expensive anyway.

What makes the "balancing" mechanics worse is that pulp powers aren't that much more powerful than magic or miracles, but I guess they're considered more powerful since you don't have to roll for power use or worry about backfiring when you cast spells. But still, there's a pretty big difference between using "you have to make a skill roll" and "you have to keep re-buying the power" in terms of balancing mechanics.

The overall tone of pulp powers is pretty wonky, too. They go through this whole thing about how pulp powers aren't supposed to be "super powers" and some powers were only included to be built into devices and how role-playing is supposed to be more important than roll-playing, but then every powered Nile character after that is a tights-and-cape wearing superhero. It's like they couldn't keep their own tone consistent, which is another overall problem we'll see in other books.

And we'll see the Empire again too. It's pretty clear that it's a favorite of the writers because most published adventures will at least set foot in the Empire at some point. Hell, they did a whole book on Terra, the pulp home reality, even after it's long established that you can't get from Core Earth to Terra. It's also the only "home reality" that gets its own stand-alone book. Now, it makes sense for the other realities to not get treated as separate, because the home cosms are more or less the same as the realms on Core Earth. That being said, it's part of the favoritism that the Empire gets that a lot of other cosms did not (*coughLivingLandcough*).

But for now, we leave Mobius' artificial sun in our rear view mirrors, smiling at the memories of thrilling adventures and shaking our heads at the stupid mechanics. Where will we head next? Find out...

NEXT TIME: The vote for the next stop on the world tour!

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Decide What To Read Next For TORG


Now that we've finished up with the Nile Empire, what realm should we cover next?

  • Orrorsh, home of the Gaunt Man, Victorian horror, and the Ecology of Fear?
  • Nippon Tech, ruled by Number 3327, a.k.a "Ryuchi Kanawa", a world of corprate espionage where your personal worth is calculated to the penny?
  • The Living Land, where the lizardman Baruk Kaah has turned a quarter of North America in primitive jungles where technology fails, and leads an army who see pain as a religous gift?
  • The Cyberpapacy, where Pope Jean Malraix I has combined futuristic cybernetics and netrunning with a 16th century Catholic power structure?
  • Aysle, where Lady Pella Ardinay leads the forces of Light against former High Lord Uthorion and the forces of Darkness across a fantasy realm?

Vote nowish!

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


It wouldn't be TORG without the Cyber-Papacy.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



One of the interesting things about one of those templates is that the image of the Tough Hero is actually a woman. Supposedly an Egyptian woman who has been transformed by the Nile reality into the Spirit.

Also, I vote Cyberpapacy.

Baofu
Jun 15, 2007



I vote for Living Land.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Orrorsh has some seriously hosed up monsters, but I've got to go with the Cyberpapacy because it's an amazing example of what High Lords can get up to with Axiom shifting.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

One of the interesting things about one of those templates is that the image of the Tough Hero is actually a woman. Supposedly an Egyptian woman who has been transformed by the Nile reality into the Spirit.

Also, I vote Cyberpapacy.

Thanks for reminding me; I was going to post the picture of the Tough Hero but I forgot.


You hit by...a smooth criminal.

She's not transformed though; her home cosm is the Nile Empire.

One other thing of note is that the engineer's background states that your interest started when "you were a boy", but the picture looks like a 60-year-old woman. I'm not sure if that's really progressive or just a miscommunication with the artist.

(Oh man, I have to remember to talk about the art when I get to the later books in the line. That's a mess.)

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


Cyber-Papacy definitely.



Evil Mastermind posted:

One other thing of note is that the engineer's background states that your interest started when "you were a boy", but the picture looks like a 60-year-old woman. I'm not sure if that's really progressive or just a miscommunication with the artist.

Or one of their tech-creations really didn't work the way they wanted to.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:


You hit by...a smooth criminal.

She's not transformed though; her home cosm is the Nile Empire.

To be honest, a lot of the early books really didn't make that definition. I know in Cyberpapacy that a few of those templates are transformed Storm Knights, at least in the fluff, because that's the only they could get their cyberware (like, and I'm spoiler tagging this not to ruin the surprise, the Senior Citizen and the Cyberlegger).

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Oh man I just found the Japanese Nile Empire cover.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Orrosh sounds sufficiently Ravenloft-esque, I'd love to hear that.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006




Yeah, I posted that Flickr when WTF D&D? did an article on TORG covers.

Since we're going to do Cyberpapacy, might as put up that (best) cover...



homeless poster posted:

Orrosh sounds sufficiently Ravenloft-esque, I'd love to hear that.

Orrorsh is great because it's an acronym for "Horrors".

But yeah, I'm not sure what we should do after Cyberpapacy. I love me some Orrorsh and I'd like Asyle because of that freaky loving world map. Asyle's interesting because you'd think it would be just a D&D rip, but it's not. The fact that everything is based off perception (which is why it has a freak loving world map), which makes the most powerful class of magic is illusions.

Nippon Tech would be cool because of racism.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 19:49 on Aug 14, 2013

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


That Nile cover is straight up a Jojo's Bizarre Adventure RPG book.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Wow. So that's what Jet Black was doing before he got that gig on Cowboy Bebop.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

Nippon Tech would be cool because of racism.

I'll admit that Nippon Tech is one of my favorite realms. Where the Cyberpapacy is basically Cyberpunk/Shadowrun except you replace megacorps with the 16th century Catholic Church, Nippon is Cyberpunk without the cybernetics.

It is pretty much an artifact of the times, though. In the 90's, the Japanese companies coming over here and buying up companies and land and whatnot was actually a valid concern and something that was pretty common.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

I'll admit that Nippon Tech is one of my favorite realms. Where the Cyberpapacy is basically Cyberpunk/Shadowrun except you replace megacorps with the 16th century Catholic Church, Nippon is Cyberpunk without the cybernetics.

Well, you still have megacorporations in Cyberpapacy but they exist (like God's Word Industries) or continue to exist at pretty much the whim of the theocracy. I do love that a corporation can openly commit crimes against the Church, but pay indulgences to be forgiven. It's so great.

Hypocrisy
Oct 4, 2006
Lord of Sarcasm



Orrosh please. I am curious about the Gaunt man so I assume that book will have a bit about him.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012



Chapter 3 Part 1: People

Let's play a game: Find the least disturbing thing about this image.

Australian Aboriginals
In a short paragraph before we get into the meat of this section, the book posits that the Europeans "found them unfit guardians of Australia" which I think is attributing too much to their thought process. However since they absolutely have to demonize these guys "This view was plainly a lie, and some among the Europeans, particularly Garou Kinfolk, perceived the truth."

Before the Invasion
Aboriginal society was based upon the belief that spirit, land, and people were linked, and must live in Harmony. Their culture was rich in song, poetry, painting and dance. They also, apparently had no chieftains, instead decisions were made by those "with the most experience or were held in high respect" which sure is a funny way to dance around calling them Chieftain. But you know, I just don't think that we're extolling the virtues of the Aboriginals enough.

quote:

Spirit, land and people dwelt in harmony, with few territorial disputes, no master-slave relationships, and no class divisions.

quote:

Life was good to the Aboriginal people. They worked less than any European peasant to achieve the necessities of food and shelter. Child labor was virtually unknown, and children were given time to explore their world through play. Men hunted for meat while women provided vegetables. Many items in their diet would have been considered luuries in Europe.

quote:

The tribes cared for the land, ensuring that no creature bred out of proportion. Bushfires were started to encourage new plant growth. Waterholes were dug so that animals would revitalize a depleted area. These actions were motivated by a deep concern for the health of the land.

quote:

All Aboriginal tribes and families could trace their origins to the Tjukurka, the ancestor-sirits of the Dreamtime. Many aboriginal people thus shared the powers of the Tjukurka. Some could call storms, kill over a distance by pointing the bone, use telepathy to pass information in conjunction with smoke signals, cure illness, will their own deaths, talk with animals of the bush, and move silently and invisible. Certain rare individuals could enter the Dreamtime.
There we go.

Of course they were taught all they know by the Bunyip, and since the Aboriginals were so in tune with the spirit, they were never subjected to the Impergium, so they don't succumb to the Delirium "unless their traditional culture and spirituality have been eroded by white society and its rules." Yes, apparently listening to pop music and obeying laws is enough to instill centuries of genetic memory and fear.

Aboriginals Today
Aboriginals can be divided into two rough groupings, those who live in the cities, and those who live on the reservations.

quote:

Child mortality rates are 400-500 times higher in the reservations than in the white community. Malnutrition and alcoholism are common. The Aboriginals, on the advice of the white community, have changed their diet, foregoing the healthy meats and vegetables of the bush for Coca-Cola and junk foods. Diseases such as leprosy, tuberculosis and glaucoma, virtually unknown in white communities, are common on the reservations. It is expected that AIDS will become a severe problem among the outback Aboriginal communities unless drastic action is taken.
Leprosy is bacterial and would have to be introduced to the population, it's virtually unknown throughout real world Australia today. The same thing with AIDS, doubly so since they wuld be unlikely to mingle outside their own population if they're on a reservation. Glaucoma is genetic and being put in reservations wouldn't do anything to that.


And then this image is just, here. It's like someone traced a jeans ad and then opened up photoshop and hit the 'more goat' and 'more wolf' filters repeatedly. And then told SCAR to draw it.

Urban Aboriginals have it similarly bad, being "unfairly targeted by the authorities as breeding grounds of criminal activity", and a majority of the prison population are Aboriginal in origin. Also, the laws from the 1960's that granted rights to the Aboriginals have not been passed yet.

The Squattocracy and Aboriginal Protection Board have systematically wiped out all Bunyip Kinfolk. Tribal elders that remember the Bunyip believe that the Rainbow Serpent itself prevents any new Bunyip from being born, and will continue to do so until all outsiders have been killed or driven from Australia's shores.

Non-Aboriginal Australians
This is another dry and relatively unoffensive chapter with one exception.

quote:

Australia's distance from England, and the vast spaces early settlers had to traverse in order to visit one another, encouraged self-sufficiency among the Australians. The Australian tradition of mateship was thereby founded. A mate is one's best friend, someone for whom you would die and who would definitely die for you. Mateship originated in the harsh conditions of the outback, when a man had to depend on his mate for all things. Mateship has been described as sexist and homoerotic, an expression of non-physical love between men who have been taught to believe that any form of tenderness, even toward a best friend, is unmanly and un-Australian. The bond of mateship endures today, even between total strangers, whos use of the word with one another indicates that they are men united against the world, and often against women. "Mate" is a code word, admitting its user to a secret society, a fraternal order. Just as mateship suggests all men are equal, it also suggests women are unequal. Derision and exclusion sometimes extend to anyone who is perceived as different, whether sexually, physically or racially.
I don't even know where to start, so I'll just move on.

The Garou Tribes
This section opens informing us that there are a grand total of 350 garou in Australia. Which seems like the author took the rough ratio of 1/50,000 garou to humans and just applied it straight to Australia’s then-current population without accounting for the fact that the garou-human ratio includes Asia, Africa, and South America where Garou are almost non-existant (and account for over 75% of the world’s population). The total combined with the tribal makeups and the ‘tribe exclusive’ Caerns we saw in the last chapter means that there are a few septs out there with maybe 1 or 2 active defenders, if that.

Black Furies
"The Black Furies have suffered immense guilt over the death of the Bunyip, now correctly perceiving it as a shameful atrocity." Jumping straight to atrocity are we, don't want to try out mistake or tragedy first? The Black furies are most at home in the outback, spurning the 'filth choked cities'. The first Black Furies arrived around 1800, since they were worried that, "as the traditional defenders of the wyld places", if they weren't there the environment would suffer. Of course, to the Black Furies 'environment' doesn't include people, and they 'culled what they saw as unnecessary numbers of Aboriginals'. This rightly pissed the Bunyip off, and they resisted the Black Furies advances into their territory. This 'insult to their pride' goaded them into backing the War of Tears.

After the war they were appalled at where their "tendency for violence and pride" had led them. Since then they've tried to avoid violence, working with the Children of Gaia to guide humanity to a more peaceful relationship with Gaia. To this end they schemed to give Women the vote in 1902, er, wait, what?


Organization
There are about 25 Black Furies in Australia, concentrated in Arnhem Land and Kangaroo Island, though there are some in intertribal packs. Stand out members not given more detailed call outs include Circe Chisolm (Oh come on) who is 'regularly beset by visions of the apocalypse', and "The Lupus Ahroun Ball-Biter, who leads a rogue, nomadic Black Fury pack against rapists." Of the remainder, "Most Australian Black Furies subscribe to the Temple of Artemis camp, though the Amazons of Diana have considerable support. Freebooters ply their trade in search of Bunyip fetishes and lost caerns." I think when you number less than 10, it doesn't count as 'considerable support' anymore.

So to summarize, of the 25 Black Furies in Australia, fully 1/5th go around biting the nutsacks off of rapists, some(let's say four or five?) wander around trying to find Bunyip things that were left behind, and there are a few other ones divided amongst urban packs, so there are maybe ten Black Furies left to guard their two Protectorates on opposite sides of the continent.

Of the other tribes, they're closest tot he Children of Gaia("whom most Black Furies uphold as paragons of Garou behavior") and the Glass Walkers, who both thought the war of tears was a load of poo poo. They remain distant from the Get and Talons, but hate the Shadow Lords for stealing Tazmania from them.


Wungala Rose: Rank 4 Homid Philodox
Wungala is a small aboriginal woman, bent with age, she hopes to "educate the whitefellas" and her own people to make peace between them.

She was born in 1931, the child of a young Aboriginal maid and a greek-born shepherd who "carried the Garou Gene", of course, since she's a Black Fury, after her dad knocked her mom up, he disappeared. And then she was fired from her job because she was pregnant. As she grew up she realized that her tribe no longer loved the land and each other like they once did, instead turning to alcohol and being ravaged by disease. And again, since she's a Black Fury, her mother was killed by her uncle in a drunken rage, shortly after this the Furies showed up and spirited her away. She's now the leader of the Arnhem land Furies, and on the Jindabyne Council. She's devoted much of her attention to improving the lot of women in Australia, setting up women's shelters and the like, and trying to unite Aboriginals and the "whitefellers" in harmony against the Wyrm.


Voula Kostikidas: Rank 3 Metis Theurge
Oh this can't be that ba

quote:

Metis Disfigurement: Hermaphrodite
Oh

quote:

Image:In her Lupus Form, Voula is a gaunt, black, male wolf with burning green eyes. Her Homid form is that of a tall, olive skinned woman in her late teens, with long black hair, a thin face, and pain-filled green eyes. In Crinos form, Voula is hermaphroditic, with a woman's breasts but male genitalia.
Wow, what? So not only is she a hermaphrodite she changes genders with her forms? I'm suddenly glad the description didn't go into Glabro and Hispo.

quote:

Roleplaying Notes:You hate yourself, and compensate by inflicting that hate on other people. You are cold, detached and cruel. Do not hesitate to resort to violence in order to convince others to follow your orders, although your remorse is always great when violence gains control of your actions. Take every opportunity to revile the city and the weaklings who inhabit it. Although you hate the city, you hate yourself more, and so remain within it's confines, trapped in a vicious circle of self-loathing
Good lord, White Wolf, you don't need to self stereotype that much.

Anyways, Voula is the child of a Kangaroo Island protectorate Fury, and a Red Talon father. She's already despised by both for being a metis, but the Black Furies hate her because of her unique deformity. They kicked her out as soon as she was old enough to fend for herself. She eventually found herself in Melbourne, and took shelter in the Fitzroy Gardens, where she was visited by a vision of Artemis herself! She saw herself leading a pack of outcasts and re-opening the dormant Bunyip Caern where Fitzroy Gardens now stand. To that end she's created a suitable pack, but she thinks she'll lead them into disaster. She sublimates these fears by bullying and abusing her pack.

quote:

Although she has dwelt in Melbourne for many years, she hates the city; as a Black Fury, she knows that her true place is in the wilderness. Spurned by her tribe for not being a true woman, she feels that she must live a life of shame, and what place is more shameful for a Black Fury to inhabit than the heart of a metropolis? Wracked by guilt, tortured by doubt and self-hatred, Voula lives only for the fight against the Wyrm.



Bone Gnawers
Bone Gnawers are fairly common in Australia, all things considered, breeding with dingos and... wild dogs, which isn't possible according to the rules. They've integrated themselves into working-class Australian culture, and as such are huge sports fans, and love beer. Remember Porkchop? The first Garou who landed on Australia? She was a Bone Gnawer, and of course the Silver Fangs hated her because she was a "provocateur" who held dreams of Bone Gnawer equality. Her preaching during the trip to Australia on the first fleet gave her more followers than they liked, so the Silver Fangs assigned them all to scout the interior, hoping they'd die. Of course they returned with maps and news, forcing the rest of the Garou to at least acknowledge their usefulness. They were scouts and combatants during the War of Rage, and after the truth was revealed declared a tribe-wide year of mourning, after that they were done. "We made a mistake and will remember it for the rest of our lives. But this doens't mean we should live our lives in the shadow of that mistake. We survive."

There are about 40 Bone Gnawers in Australia, more than half live in Sydney where they have the Hobo Caern in the old hotel. Others remain mostly in the cities. Notable Bone Gnawers include the Metis Ragabash "Choco-Loco", who tricked a powerful Vampire into waking up an hour early and walking into the sunlight, killing himself, which again doesn't really mesh with the rules here but sure. Homid Galliard "Carn-the-Pies"(I'm guessing this is a Football reference?) who is a fanatical Collingwood Football Club supporter. And Square-Eyes, a Metis Philodox from Perth that should probably be a Glass Walker(that's literally what it says). Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords hate the Bone Gnawers because they're hopelessly inferior. Red Talons and Fenris see them as decadent weaklings, but give them respect when it's due. The Fianna love them, because by loving them they piss off the Silver Fangs.

There are two unique camps in the Australian Bone Gnawers, Fans and Idealists. Fans are giant hooligan stereotypes, they adorn themselves in the colors of their chosen Football or Rugby team, disdaining rival Fans, only letting the contempt wane after a good fight and a beer, and then they're friends until the next week's game. Idealists are the followers of Porkchop, but they seem to have taken the letter of her teachings rather than the meaning. Rather than elevate the state of the tribe they want to elevate themselves first hoarding money and goods rather than junk. The Silver Fangs dismiss them as nouveau riche.


Terrifying Monster Mother Pasta: Rank 4 Homid Ragabash
Mother Pasta also has a unique Fetish, the Bowl of Perpetual Pasta, which is basically exactly what it says, though it's always slightly overcooked.

Maria Condotta came to Australia from Italy in the late 1940's with her parents, after her father got a job on the Snowy Mountain Scheme. A number of Bone Gnawers lived amongst the laborers and realized that she was Garou, and took her into her tribe shortly before her first change. Once there she was... what

quote:

After her transformation, Pasta, as she was now known, stayed in Jindabyne for many years, marrying a Kinfolk boy and working closely with the Bone Gnawer representative of the Jindabyne Council. Father Meat-and-Three-Veg was also the leader of a large Sydney Bone Gnawer sept; as he grew older, he groomed pasta to inherit his position
That deed name raises questions I do not wish to have answered, ever. Moving on.

quote:

Unknown to all, Mother Pasta has become unhinged by grief over the death of her husband five years ago. Her great love of pasta has been replaced by a growing desire for human flesh, ideally that of small children. She has practiced stalking children as they walk home from school, as well as street kids. To date, she has not yet put her fantasies into action, but it is only a matter of time. Although a suitable successor exists, in the form of Melbourne's Scratches-at-Fleas, it would be difficult to convince him of his worthiness. Meanwhile Mother Pasta nods and smiles, all the while coming closer and closer to acting out her insane fantasies.
Okay then, I guess the creepy picture was intentional.


Scratches-at-Fleas: Rank 3 Lupus Ahroun
Wow, he has actual not horrible art, sure it looks more like a puppy than a wolf but I'll take it.

Fleas grew up on the streets, and even then he was a social animal, sharing scraps with weaker dogs and snarling and barking at dogcatchers long enough for others to escape. It was during one such confrontation that he underwent his first change. One claw separating the Dog Catcher from his legs, the other ripping open his truck and freeing all the doggies. Now he applies his philosophy to humans, helping those who cannot help themselves, the homeless, helpless, and infirm. He is often called upon to help spring new cubs from places they might currently be being held, like hospitals, prisons, and Asylums. He's very popular as a result but also modest and self deprecating.

Children of Gaia

quote:

Since the War of Tears, Australia's Children of Gaia have rejected violence out of hand, disdaining all who are dominated by Rage. They are aloof, arrogant and patronizing in their attitude toward "Gaia's fallen children," as they call their fellow Garou. They alone among the Garou are closest to the Mother, the Children smugly assert. The Children of Gaia exploit the guilt of the Australian Garou, and always manage to make the other tribes feel that their penance is inadequate.
Children of Gaia portrayed as sanctimonious rear end in a top hat hypocrites: Check.

The Children of Gaia were early immigrants to Australia, after Raymond Love-of-the-Goddess died as a convict laborer, the Tribe came to the continent in droves, since they hate that kind of stuff. At first they spread out amongst the different penal settlements to try and minister to the suffering as best they can, but they realized it wasn't working, "In 1864 they were instrumental in ending transportation of convicts to the colonies." It doesn't explain how, they just were. After that they turned their attention to the suffering amongst the Aboriginal people, of course the Bunyip didn't approve of this, so the Children found themselves fighting a two front war against the Bunyip and the Aboriginal Protection Board. The more impetuous members of the tribe joined in the War of Tears, but once they found out the Black Spirals were involved The entire tribe in Australia swore to never raise a paw in violence again. They're Werewolves, that's dumb as hell. I guess they must never frenzy, ever, or have Ahrouns or Galliards in their tribe.

For the past Century they've busied themselves healing the wounds inflicted upon the Garou by the war of Tears. Some think that the only way to combat those scars are by confronting them, so they've embraced psychology and psychotherapy. Others joined the church and are chiefly responsible for the Anglican and Uniting churches admitting women into the priesthood. And since they're the Children of Gaia, they also lead the protests that greeted the soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. Since those days they've kept in touch with the counterculture and green movements, and the book would have you believe that they are the sole reason the green movements are even able to function.

"Some 20 Children of Gaia" are in Australia, and most of them dwell in the Nimbin Protectorate, though there's apparently one pack in the Daintree rainforest. Other children serve in multi-tribal packs, but they're invariably outcasts from their tribe, since they are "Ronin who have turned to violence", except that's not how being Ronin works, if you're Ronin you don't have a tribe, or renown, and other Garou would be loathe to interact with you nonetheless form a pack. They're probably just misuing the term because it's easier than saying "Oh yeah they're Children but we really don't like them because they like punching things too much. Want another hit?" Speaking of, important Australian Coggies include Stewart "Sweet-is-the-Morning', a Ragabash drug dealer who, because of his belief that mind altering drugs will increase humanity's love for Gaia, seeks to spike Adelaide's water supply with LSD. There's also the Galliard Kirsten "Songs-of-Harmony" who is a folk singer that travels up and down the east coast, and the Ahroun ronin "Love-Is-a-Bloody-Claw". Most Coggie Aussies are, unsurprisingly, adherents of the Patient Deed camp, but there are "A few followers" of the Imminent Strike. They work closely with the Black Furies, Fianna, Glass Walkers, and Bone Gnawers. And against the Silver Fangs, Get and Red Talons, and they are always quick to remind the other tribes that a Red Talon started the War of Tears.


Innana, Voice of the Goddess Rank 4 Homid Theurge
The Roleplaying notes include "You have a short attention span" "You tend to randomly start practicing Tai Chi at unusual moments" and "Tell others to 'relax, flow, and feel the Goddess'". Also her gift list includes "Smell of (Wo)man" and she has one of the most punchable faces in the book.

Innana was born "Crystal" to a hippie parents in a mudbrick house in Nimbin. She was raised on a steady diet of peace, love, and marijuana. She always heard voices wispering on the wind, and saw quaint creatures peering through the windows promising to take her to faraway places. When she changed it didn't really bother her that much. As a Garou her visions became more vivid and frequent, and as such was chosen to be the Voice of the Goddess for her sept. Unfortunately her visions often contradict each other, and she doesn't have the skill to decipher them, so she just accepts them as they come and changes her opinions accordingly.

She's considered eccentric by the other members of the Jindabyne Council, which probably has something do with the fact that she dances naked every morning on the hilltops of nimbin to honor Gaia, and that she fumigates the Jindabyne meetings with cheap incense, or that she keeps trying to feed the other council members pot brownies and tofu. "She is neither insane nor simple-minded, but just clouded by the strength of her visions."


Cernonous, Arm of the Goddess: Rank 4 Metis Theurge

His mother was Serbian, his father Filipino, and both were CoGs. They believed that their love was not unnatural, because love is of Gaia, not of the Wyrm, and Cernonous was raised in a loving home. So it kind of came as a shock when most of the rest of the Garou nation subjected him of prejudice and scorn. He eventually learned that his horns were what marked him as unnatural to other Garou, so he did what any sane Garou would do.

He went to College and became a Geneticist to try and figure out a way to splice out his Metis taint.

Wait what?

quote:

Years of study taught Cernonous much, and under the name Curwen Nostrum, he became one of the rising stars in Australian genetic research. The answer to his quest still eluded him, however, and Cernonous began shunning humans and Garou alike in favor of furious research and heavy drinking. Late one night, while staggering along Bondi Beach singing drunkenly to the stars, Cernonous received a vision of Gaia. He saw the Goddess dancing down a path of moonlight reflected across the waves, a Thylacine fawning at her feet. Since that day Cernonous has devoted himself to bringing back the Bunyip.
Cernonous is trying to clone the Thylacine back to life, and in doing so he hopes to also find the Bunyip gene and bring them back as well. The only living Garou he's told about his plans is Darius Winchester, the current Silver Fang king who's funding him. If the Red Talons found out what he was doing, they would probably kill him. Of course his research is also being monitored by the Progenitors of the Technocracy, hoping to claim his results for themselves.

His dedication to the Goddess brought him to the attention of his Tribe, and the unanimously elected him the Arm of he Goddess of the Nimbin Protectorate, unfortunately this also makes him a part-time member of the Jindabyne Council whenever Innana is too high to attend. He hates the time he has to spend away from his work, and he hates Innana whom he sees as a naive flighty airhead. He has experienced bigotry first hand, and believes the rest of the Garou Nation incapable of knowing Gaia's love as he does, so he spends most of his time on the Council reminding everyone that the War of Tears happened, and that they're all assholes by extension.


Diem: Rank 2 Homid Ragabash

A refugee from Cambodia that fled Pol Pot's regime shortly before his first change. He was contacted by some Cambodian Garou that claimed him as their own, but he fled before he changed, and was taken in by the Children of Gaia. What does Diem do, you may ask? He's a nature photographer. Hoping to increase the love of Gaia by taking pictures of nature, and what is more beautiful in nature than a Garou in Lupus form? Also he feels conflicted, like he doesn't belong in Australia. So he's planning a trip back to Cambodia in the near future.

I think this guy is supposed to be a plot hook, but he's completely uninteresting despite their attempts to make him otherwise. He also doesn't have a single combat ability, even Innana had at least 1 dot of Brawl.

Fianna

The Fianna have been strong on Australia since it's founding, and have long involved themselves with it's politics, earning them significant power and the ire of the Silver Fangs. Fianna Kinfolk arrived before the Garou themselves, as most of them were guilty of political crimes against the English. Bridget of the Flashing Eyes arrived in 1795, and was incensed at the treatment of their kin by Ear Blaze, which sparked their revolution. Since their rush to judgement lead to the death of an entire tribe, they've been more impartial and careful in their decision making process, which of course the Shadow Lords mock them for.

There are 35 Fianna in Australia, divided between Gariwerd and Hunter Valley, the current Righ of Australia is Fingal Flashing-Claws, who is starting to show his age (being born before the first World War). Other 'important' Fianna include the Lupus Galliard Colleen "Foe-of-Despair", who's stirring songs can lift the deepest Harano. and the Homid Philodox Dermot Millane, who fought in the War of Tears in a past life, and can tell tales that bring tears to the eyes of the fiercest Ahroun. Presumably if these two were to talk to each other, the universe would implode. The camps are all well represented other than the ones that are more concerned with their homeland. The Whispering Rovers camp is particularly prominent, and one pack made of camp members roams the country as the Irish folk band known as "The Rovers".

As far as their relationships with the other tribes, they blame the Red Talons and the Get of Fenris for the War of Tears, the hate the Silver Fangs for being the Silver Fangs. Australian Fianna are "more Mature" than their cousins elsewhere, and their relationships with other tribes are "excellent", even apparently with the Shadow Lords, even though they were also sort of very responsible for the War of Tears.


Bartholomew(Yes that is a man) Wise-in-the-Ways-of-the-Wyrm: Rank 3 Homid Theurge
James was born in northern Scotland to an Irish Mother and a Welsh Father, "the quintessential Celt." He emigrated to Australia when he was 16, prior to his first change. After a relatively painless transition, he began a dashing career of raids on Wyrm Tainted areas and Spiral Caerns, retrieving stolen fetishes or trapped spirits. Though one day his lust for glory got the better of him, disguising himself as a Spiral he raided a Silver Fang caern for a stolen Fianna fetish, and in the process he killed a young Silver Fang girl named Amanda Grace-of-Gaia. After that, James was dead, and Bartholomew was born.

He was horrified by the lengths he would go to for glory, but was still driven to find things, so now his life's work is to catalogue all the spirits of the Dreamtime, to better understand them and to try and convince them to work with the Garou instead of against them.


Fingal Flashing-Claws: Rank 5 Homid Ahroun
The youngest son of a family of working-class Irish Australians, Fingal was born in 1910. Despite the large gap of years between him and his father, he was always treated special. Why is that, you may ask? Well because his father was Crushes-the-Wyrm-as-Grapes-beneath-his-Paws, the Righ of Australia, and Fingal was the only one of his children who changed, so he was being groomed to succeed him. Instilled with reverence for his tribe, guilt over the bunyip, and Hatred of the Siver Fangs.

After his father was slain before his eyes, he took his seat on the Jindabyne council, where he fights a constant battle, both politician and physical, against both the Wyrm and the Silver Fangs.

quote:

Recent advances in technology frighten him, and in such matters he defers to the Glass Walkers, whom he considers allies against the Silver Fangs. It is partially because of the Glass Walkers' advice that Fingal has not acted to stop the spread of industry and technology in his protectorate.
Get it? Because he's old?

Fingal now wishes for nothing more than to die in Ireland, a land he has never seen. His son is a braggart who will probably succeed his father one he passes on, but he's less a fighter and more a boaster and sings exaggerated tales praising his own glory.


No'iri'n Ni Dhonaill: Rank 3 Homid Ahroun
No'iri'n is a troublemaker, even amongst the Garou she doesn't fit in, questioning assumptions and beliefs held for millenia. After her right of passage she returned to Melbourne only to find it held no attraction for her anymore, so she left and joined the Tower Hill Sept. Unlike most Ahroun she isn't a mindless killer, though she's a decent warrior. And unlike most Fianna, she doesn't despise the Silver Fangs. She believes that the fued between the tribes diverts their rage from the Wyrm. She also thinks that the Garou need to stop wallowing in self pity over the death of the Bunyip, since mourning what is lost ignores what can still be saved.

She's a huge proponent of Aboriginal land rights and similar issues, which has made an enemy of the Red Talons and Get of Fenris. She speaks her mind at all Fianna moots and has a growing following amongst younger members, she's in the running for the Righ of Australia, in her own mind if nowhere else.

Get of Fenris
Australian Get are extremists, their savagery and blood thirst are only exceeded by the Red Talons. They hate humans, and want to instate the Impergium in Australia to make mankind fear them again "as they should." They are linked with National Action, Neo-Nazis, and 'similarly distasteful movements'. The get deny any guilt for the War of Tears, which 'blinds them to further wrongdoings'. Right now their main concern is the fact that other Garou, even their best friends the Talons, breed with dingos, diluting the purity of their wolf blood.

Though individual members showed up as early as 1800, the tribe didn't show up in force until the gold rush of the 1850s when news of humanity's expansion into the untamed bush rallied them to action. Led by Jarl Thorstrom Blood-Drinker of the Swords of Heimdall, they arrived in force to take charge of the 'improperly guarded continent'. His first action was to stir up racial dissent on the gold fields, inciting riots and then slaughtering any Chinese miners that they could find. Thorstrom fell trying to take a Bunyip Caern, and his succesor Black Ivan fanned the flames of the War of Tears to get revenge. Even after the truth got out, he refused to admit fault. "Even if the Bunyip had not been of the Wyrm, the could have been, now or in the future. Best to destroy the potential contagion now lest it spread."

Their numbers were weakened as many warriors fell during the War, their refusal to breed with Dingos didn't help, nor did the fact that the Australian climate is about as far from Germany's that you can get. Despite their disdain for the 'weaker' tribes, they participated in the first Jindabyne Council thinking it would be a one-shot occurrence. Their belief was that they would passionately argue to introduce the Impergium in Australia, the other tribes would think it was an awesome idea, and put the Get in charge of Australia. They said no, the get were flabbergasted, and accidentally agreed to join the council full time. Right now their only real allies are the Red Talons, diluted through dingo blood they may be, and the Shadow Lords. Bone Gnawers and Glass Walkers are hopelessly corrupt, Black Furies and Children of Gaia are weaklings, Fianna are Cowards for rescinding their judgement against the Bunyip, and Silver Fangs are already Wyrm-Tainted and should be destroyed, they just need to convince the other tribes first.

There are about 20 Get in Australia, divided amongst the Mjolnir's Thunder, Glorious Fist of Wotan, and Swords of Heimdall camps. Note that when I say that, understand that I mean "Suicidal nutjobs that seek death in glorious battle no matter the collateral damage", "An all Lupus camp who think that humans are only good for food", and "Nazis, not neo-nazis, straight up 'worked with the SS' Nazis". Notable get include Hans Dieter, a Homid Ragabash who leads National Action, the European Lupus Theurge Sings-of-War, who seeks to oust the Jarl, believing that no Woman, especially an ape, should lead the Get of Fenris, and Hrothgar Bloodfang, a gay Homid Ahroun, rejected by his family and tribe and currently living in Melbourne.

You know what, I'm going to review Get of Fenris: Revised after this, we need to showcase a good Revised book and the tribe deserves better than "Nazi nazi nazi skinhead kill the Chinese and the gays".


Carla Grimsson: Rank 4 Homid Philodox
The Get representative on the Jindabyne Council, she's got pure Nordic heritage even though she's been born and raised Australian. She was born in rural New South Wales before it got engulfed by Sydney, she's disturbed by the spread of suburbia. She's a determined campaigner against immigration into Australia, because of this she's often lumped in with the younger racist members of her clan. "Carla is not a racist and in fact has worked hard to temper her colleague's aggression against the Aboriginal people, who she believes have every right to be in Australia(as much as any human can claim that right). What Carla fears is the remaining Australia wilderness will be eaten up by housing as more and more refugees come to Australian shores. For the moment, Carla, bitterly wearing the mantle of racist, argues against immigration at the Jindabyne Council." She's not a racist, honest, some of her best friends are Aboriginals, she just hates those damned foreigners.

Glass Walkers
The Glass walkers were involved with the European invasion from the earliest days, seeking freedom from the stifling rule of England's Silver Fangs. They sought to build an experimental urban colony in harmony with Gaia constructed according to the ideals of their tribe. But the other tribes came along too and shot that idea down before it even started, so they simply integrated themselves into the various colonies as they were founded.

The War of Tears gave them an opportunity to increase their power. Kanakis, a recently arrived Glass Walker and a ruthless politician, had previously sought to contact the Bunyip, without success. Eventually he finally tracked one down and attacked him until he revealed that "not until the Garou had found the balance that the Bunyip themselves demonstrated could there be meaningful communication between the tribes." Shortly after this he found out that Grayflank had been murdered, he was firm in his belief that the Bunyip weren't responsible, but he only made a token effort at best to stop them. He knew they wouldn't listen and by keeping aloof of the conflict he could improve his tribe's station. After the war, Kanakis formed the Jindabyne Council. After the Council's formation, the Glass Walkers formed the Board, a group of Glass Walker executives that rapidly advanced their power by controlling Australian economy and disparaging those who had participated in the Bunyip genocide. After World War 2, the Board rose to prominence to the determent of those involved in Organized Crime. Even though the Children of Gaia found links between some Glass Walker holdings and Pentex, the Glass Walkers were able to jettison millions in assets without losing much influence.


There are about 40 Glass Walkers in Australia, most of them live on the Eastern Seaboard cities and Perth. Each of Australia's major cities has a Don or Lord that sits on the Board, which runs the tribe much like a Corporation. Most of them are concerned with increasing their own wealth and prestige, though some want to figure out a way to get revenge on the Children of Gaia for making them lose money. Younger Glass walkers want a decentralization of power, since it's very much a 'rich get richer' situation. Among these are the Homid Philodox Dances-with-Cursors who is an anarchist. The Metis Galliard Sings-through-Wires who is a pirate radio DJ, hijacking programs and playing back bushland transmissions. And Tuft, a "no-nonsense lupus Theurge, ambitious but patient", and that is all we are given on Tuft.

The City Farmers and Urban Primitives camps are on the rise in Australia, much to the horror of the Board who are more traditional. Their only real allies amongst the tribes are the Bone Gnawers, who are useful lackeys, and the Fianna, who are allies in the political arena even if they conceal their true goals from each other. They hate the Silver Fangs, Get, and Red Talons, and some harbor a grudge against the Children of Gaia.


Teeth of Titanium: Rank 3 Lupus Ahroun

Born Bloody Teeth, a Red Talon, he was captured during a raid against Perth's technomancers by Iteration X. They took him out to Autochthonia, a Mage Horizon realm that's basically super awesome magic tech land, and experimented on him for months, finally implanting him with a living mechanical entity which slowly and painfully turned him into a cyborg. He escaped and returned to his pack, who subsequently tried to kill him. He escaped from them only to be found by the Glass Walkers. They were fascinated by his condition and adopted him, renaming him Teeth-of-Titanium. He's served the Glass Walkers faithfully since then, and has risen to become the Lord of Perth, earning a seat on the Board.

His struggle to master the machine has left him bereft of genuine emotion, and separated him from his bestial nature. He's a dedicated foe of the Technocracy, understanding their evil the way no other Garou ever could, and he rules Perth with an un-ironic iron fist, anyone who gets in his way is soon met with an industrial accident.


Mariko Ten: Rank 4 Homid Ragabash

Mariko Ten came to Australia as a young girl, accompanying her father who was a high-ranking executive with Toyota. He had been appointed to oversee a Sydney production plant, unfortunately he was so good at his job that he was headhunted by Pentex. It was only through luck that the Sydney Glass Walkers abduct her before her father and his new friends arrived home to share dinner. To this day Mariko hates Pentex and it's pet Black Spiral Dancers, her father still hunts her but her position and power have allowed her to elude him. Her intelligence and determination allowed her to master Garou society and she swiftly climbed the rungs to become the Glass Walker Lord of Sydney. She has many connections among the Yakuza(she's Japanese, you see) and the Sydney Bone Gnawers, including Mother Pasta.

She's obsessive and demands absolute respect from everyone she meets, including her own pack, and has been known to order the execution of people who transgress her. She also has a pathological fear of transforming out of her Homid form. She despises the wolf within her, and does her utmost to suppress her Garou nature. She prefers playing CDs at moots than the 'primitive' drumming and howling.


Don Mephisto: Rank 4 Homid Philodox

He was born in Italy, and spent some time after his first change running with a wild wolf pack in the Abruzzi Mountains before returning to human society and taking a position within the Italian Glass walkers, earning extensive Mafia Contacts. He was appointed to his current position after the death of the previous Don of Melbourne, and has proven to be quite adept in the position. He's actually fairly well liked amongst the Garou in Australia, except amongst his own Glass Walkers.

His position on the Jindabyne Council is more or less secure, though, as he's one of the few Glass Walkers earthy enough to not offend the Garou of other tribes. He uses his natural flamboyance to assuage fears and pass himself off as something of a buffoon, and has even managed to get a few Get and Red Talons to at least tolerate his presence. He's troubled by Mariko and her Yakuza contacts, but he's fairly certain his own Mafia friends will be able to keep him safe.

I'm going to have to split this into two posts since I'm bumping against the Character Limit.
Up Next: Red Talons through Wendigo and Others

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 17:00 on Aug 15, 2013

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

homeless poster posted:

Orrosh sounds sufficiently Ravenloft-esque, I'd love to hear that.

I vote for Malraux and the Cyber-Papacy, but Orrorsh has the biggest High Lord dick move in it with the whole use of the Victorians.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I can't remember, has someone touched on the OWoD End Times books? Because Cernonous there has a starring role in one of the Werewolf scenarios...

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


quote:

She's considered eccentric by the other members of the Jindabyne Council, which probably has something do with the fact that she dances naked every morning on the hilltops of nimbin to honor Gaia, and that she fumigates the Jindabyne meetings with cheap incense, or that she keeps trying to feed the other council members pot brownies and tofu. "She is neither insane nor simple-minded, but just clouded by the strength of her visions."

This is pretty normal Nimbin behavior.
I think the Nazi Silver Fang are so you can play 'Romper Stomper with werewolves'.
'Feral' is Aussie slang for crust-punk types. I hope that shows up on the book.

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...



Kurieg posted:


Terrifying Monster Mother Pasta: Rank 4 Homid Ragabash
Mother Pasta also has a unique Fetish, the Bowl of Perpetual Pasta, which is basically exactly what it says, though it's always slightly overcooked.


And the award for "Statements Which Are Positively Horrifying Outside of Context" goes to...

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Ladies and gentlebeings: the original creepypasta.

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Drakyn
Dec 26, 2012



I'll vote for Living Land because dinosaurs.

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