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Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


If Wormwood were to be published outside of RIFTS, it'd probably be a pretty interesting setting. As it is, it's RIFTS.

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Once Again, on...



quote:

After all, without powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal housewives, this game would just be about a bunch of bimbos in skintight outfits running aimlessly about.

I'm going to need a nice turpentine soak by the time I'm done with this. And maybe a trip down memory lane to finish that Robotech review I petered out on. But first...

Super Powers

Super Babes approaches powers in a way that's strikingly similar to Champions/HERO System in a couple of ways.
First, and possibly most importantly, they're generic. It's up to the player to determine the theme and (non-mechanical) special effects of their powers; this is spelled out before getting to the powers themselves, and points out that while it is possible to 'reskin' your powers after you've started out, that sort of thing usually only happens once a campaign.
Second, as noted in earlier installments, their range and areas of effect are listed in scale inches, and most, powers require the use of PP (or HTK) to activate.
Unlike Champions, or GURPS Supers, both systems available when Super Babes was printed, there is no capacity for mechanically altering skills, or combining them into cost-reducing arrays of related, but not simultaneously usable powers. If you want to be more than a one-trick pony, you're going to be spending a lot on powers.
Looking at some of the math, I suspect that Super-Babes's powers were derived from a more complex system, but with the effects of various modifiers (area effect, etc) baked into the description, and the math hidden. It would explain a few of the weirder cost values.

Blast - There are actually three different Blast powers, thanks to a workaround for the system's inflexibility.
The basic Blast power does 1d6 points of damage, at a range of 6", for 6 CP; each additional die costs another 6 points, and each inch of range another 2. Regardless of range, it takes 1 PP per die of damage to fire.
We're explicitly told that you can pull your punch, reducing damage dice (and PP cost accordingly). We're also explicitly told that for every special effect you want (for example, thunder and lightning), you'll need to buy separate Blasts, which I'm fairly sure you can't use simultaneously. Not that there's any real point: defenses aren't flavoured in the same way, and unless your GM's a prick, you shouldn't need to worry about your fire blast causing blazes. Then again, you're playing Super-Babes.
The Big Blast is an AOE blast that costs 11 CP per die, eats 3 PP at the same rate, and deals damage to a 1/2" radius per die of output. The wording is vague on whether you have to aim at a specific target or just an area, but if you hit, you deal damage to everything in the blast. The similarly vague wording gives no indication if you can reduce damage or blast radius, like you can with the regular Blast. Glancing at a premade sheet in the back, the indication seems to be negative... which makes this power both expensive and highly situational.
Brain Blast is a bastard that bypasses armor and damage absorption powers to deal damage straight to the target... but only if you have some kind of organic brain, which makes wholly mechanical Artificial Beings immune to this. Brain Blast is more expensive than its basic sibling at 8 CP per die, an extra 5 CP per inch of range (on top of its base 3"-- half that of the other two varieties), and takes 3 PP per die to fire it.

Blind

quote:

Gosh, whatever could this power do?
Apparently not summon 1d6 editors.

Blind produces an intense flash in front of the character's facing, that affects everything within 3" and 180 degrees. The book helpfully suggests digging out a 6" protractor. Everything in the area (friends too) needs to roll under MOVES on d% to simulate blinking at the right moment, or be blinded for 1d3 rounds. Anyone aware of an impending Blind attack gets to roll at double MOVES. Blinded characters are at +5 to be hit, but suffer -5 to hit anything within 1" (or 5 feet-- so we have a scale now), and a whopping -10 to actually hit anything at range. Blind's 75 CP to buy, and 10 PP per use.

Change Body is a comic staple, from the Hulk to Shazam: one character, two wildly disparate forms, possibly with different personalities and skillsets. This approach costs 50 CP and take 10 PP to activate, giving the character a mundane identity built on 150 CP; it must have an average of at least 7 in its primary stats, which eats a lot of those points, and you have to buy skills all over again. The mundane identity doesn't gain XP, unless you convince your GM that it performed heroically during a session, and gets the XP from that game. In the event that it does advance, it only gets 10 CP, and presumably 1d6 HTK.

Change Shape is like Blast, in that it's basically one power with four different under-the-hood modifications.
First is Become Anything Else, which costs a whopping 300 CP and eats 20 PP per go. It's also not precisely what it says on the tin, owing to the fact that you can only become things up to ten times or one tenth your weight... which the book seems to contradict by saying you just become a smaller (or larger) version of that object... which kind of complicates things, because when you duplicate something's form, you also duplicate its primary stats, but not secondary ones or powers. Would a roughly man-sized Galactus analogue still have his unbelievably high HEALTH score? Doesn't say. The only other clear drawback is that at some point in the past, you need to have touched whatever you're trying to change into.
Look Like Anyone Else works the same way, for 50 CP and 10 PP, but you just assume their appearance. You're limited in size and weight by your original mass.
Look Like Anything Else allows you to assume the form of inanimate objects, not just people, that are roughly your mass. This flexibility bumps the cost up to 150 CP and 15 PP per go. Seems a bit much for the ability to duplicate explicitly non-functional objects.

quote:

Stretching is a power that most people don't take seriously. Okay, so maybe we're among them.
That said, Stretching includes flattening and the character is so flexible that they take fully one half damage from kinetic force and nothing will ever actually break the skin. It doesn't say if this is a side-effect of having the power, or if it's only on when they're blowing the 2 PP/round to keep it running. Costs 125 CP, lets you stretch up to 1" (five feet) per ten points of HEALTH you've got. Dunno what's so funny, but I guess where some people think 'Mister Fantastic' or 'Plastic Man', I think 'Eugene Tooms'.

Claws, Spikes and Sharp Stuff is half a page that sums up to 'your melee attacks are armor piercing'. Doesn't affect Forcefeilds (sic), but for 20 CP you halve any of a target's Invulnerability, and for 40 you ignore it completely. Fringe benefits include having an excuse to cut through bonds, and make the effects of damage rolls sound more impressive, but it has no other mechanical effects.

Control is a heading that covers a handful of thematically related powers, bound by the common rule that two characters vying to control a target first have to have a contest of WILLs, after which the winner gets a shot at using the power.
Control Animals explicitly includes insects and reptiles, because people will argue definitions into the ground. Costs 100 CP, range is 6" plus 1" per point of WILL, and burns 2 PP per round, per animal you're controlling (up to a number equal to your WILL). Stats for animals are not given anywhere, and nothing suggests you can do anything like piggyback their senses, either.
Control Emotions is couched in warnings, given an optional limitation, and capped with an authors' aside that it's meant as a plot device power and included mainly for the GM's use. Requires physical contact, a Mental attack roll, then a battle of WILLs... and even if that works, it only does for 1 round for every ten points of WILL the attacker has. Fail the contest, the target realizes someone's trying to put the whammy on them, and gets a cumulative +5 bonus to resist for the rest of the encounter. If GMs find the power is being abused, it's suggested that they reduce its effect to a single type of combat die roll based on the sort of emotion invoked, to the tune of +/- 1 per ten points of the attacker's WILL, for the same duration in rounds. 'Hopelessness' is the example given, affecting damage rolls. Complex, limited, and kind of annoying for 200 CP and 15 PP per use.
Control Machines is the reason why you don't want to play a robot, because this power can only be resisted by cyborgs (at half WILL) or things that dump points into Defensive Power Block: Control Machines. Anything affected by this power can be forced to perform its normal functions by the Controller... which makes robotic Artificial Beings, modern computers and weapons, and even technological gizmos a huge liability for only 150 CP. Heavily dependent on WILL again, you can control one machine per ten points you've got, the range is 4" plus an inch at the same rate, and it costs 5 PP per round per machine.
Control Minds is the biggie. It costs 300 CP, has the same range as Control Machines, and costs 25 PP per round to keep running. The main block claims that range is 'straight line of sight', but gently caress it. A contest/battle of wills first requires a successful Mental to-hit roll, then a second action spent starting the actual contest. The contest itself requires all involved to roll d%+WILL, highest wins. A successful Control attack does not open any kind of telepathic communion, but it does let the attacker force the victim to act as they choose, on the victim's turn. The victim can try to resist by initiating another contest... which may or may not involve both spending their turns throwing percentiles at a cumulative -10 for the Controller, because this poo poo is not clearly explained.
Control Weather is elaborate and obnoxious, involving a table of random weather conditions by severity, areas of effect from 'local' to 'world', and a PP cost in hours equal to the area's value on the chart times the number of steps between your current weather and the target. This is annoying on a state scale (1d3 weather effects to determine and counter) but at 'country' and beyond it's assumed that you're dealing with all sorts of weather and have to calculate for six shifts on the chart. Weather shifts at one rank on the table per round, and once things are the way you like them... you can hit someone with the weather for your level d6 damage, after which the weather snaps back and you can do it all over again. Here's a table:


Costume Change needs no introduction, costs 20 CP, and take 5 PP to instantaneously swap your mundanes with your super-skimpy super-suit. Nevertheless, the writers caution you to seriously consider whether you really want this power or not, because...

quote:

Often this power will not easily fit within your initial character conception. And never underestimate the fun of desperately trying to find a phone booth to suit up in when trouble rears its ugly head...
I can't tell whether this is more 'my verisimilitude!' or 'my humiliation kink!'

Creation exists to satisfy the troubling mechanical questions behind the Artificial Being origin. For 250 CP and the loss of all of your PP for 20-level days, you may create new life... once per year. If you're a smartass and use a Gizmo to do it, the device blows up and you get to recoup its CP next level. Huzzah.

Density comes in ranks, each at 30 CP, and it's always on unless you took Body Change. First level doubles your weight, second doubles that, and so on. Each level also reduces knockback by an inch, and gives you two points of damage resistance. Thematic, useful if your GM (or players) like to pick up or shove their targets around, but Invulnerability is drastically cheaper by itself.

Dont Breathe (sic) is two and a half powers in one. It also has an apostrophe in the right place, outside the title, which makes me suspect these guys picked a font without punctuation for the important-looking bits.
Level 1 lets you breathe water for 5 CP.
Level 2 lets you hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to HEALTH plus WILL, for 10 CP.
Level 3 makes it so you don't have to breathe at all, and are even safe from the rigors of space, for 20 CP.
Oh, and what's this?

quote:

Don't Breathe:It's a short description, read it.
Someone was touchy, weren't they?

Extra Limbs come in pairs, and carry an entire extra plausible action per round. That is unless you want a tail: they come in singles. Extra legs only let you move additional times, but extra arms can presumably do neat things like 'pull triggers' if not 'throw fireballs'. Even at a fairly hefty 75 CP per set, you can probably find a way to annoy your GM with this in short order.

Forcefield is actually kind of neat. For 3 CP per point of damage resistance, and an ongoing cost of 1/2 PP per point, per round, you can shield yourself or a target within (uncertain range) against damage. You can also project it as a wall, up to rank inches away, with a surface area of 5' for every two ranks activated.
An actually useful sidebar notes that by blowing two bimbo points (ugh) you can bottle a target inside your force field; they have to deal twice its rank worth of damage in one hit to escape.

Flight is unnecessarily spergy! It costs 4 CP per 4" of maximum speed, but only costs a flat 2 PP to use, which is good because sorting out how fast you can go at any given point is a stupid pain in the rear end. You can fly at takeoff speed, 1/4 your maximum, without spending an action. It does require an action to accelerate to fighting speed, 1/2 of maximum and the fastest you can fight at (with just fists, or eyebeams too?) with reference to a rule we'll touch on later. Really fast (3/4 speed) and full speed take another action's worth of effort to reach, each. It also takes an action to decelerate for each stage, because insult was lonely and called injury over to play Super-Babes.
I was going to make a joke about stall speeds, but I'm not even sure characters can hover, rules as written.

Get Big (headache) comes in two flavours, the permanent Giantess and the fiddlier Growth, which they helpfully point out is not a tumor. Unless you're a Scientific Accident or Artificial Being.
Giantess costs 200 CP, and is the first place where it's explicitly noted that the big, expensive powers are supposed to be character-defining; the writers spend a whole paragraph pooh-poohing the idea of a giantess with energy blasts... which is just as well, because while the process cranks her height to 50' and multiplies both MUSCLE and HEALTH scores by ten, it also divides her MOVES by five, so she isn't going to be hitting or dodging poo poo. Giantesses get +8" movement (to cover for the loss of MOVES), +10 to the Whip attack maneuver (again, critically lovely MOVES), and basic Immortality. These stat changes also affect the secondary stats, so a Giantess is going to have scads of PP to soak up damage with. Stats bought post-chargen are similarly modified, so... holy poo poo.
The non-tumor edition of Growth works the same way, but in installments, and is reversible. Each level increases your height, MUSCLES and HEALTH one step in an arithmetic progression; each level beyond the first reduces MOVES by 1 and increases movement by 1", and gives a +1 bonus to Whip maneuvers. Growing takes 5 PP and an action per stage in either direction. What is probably under-the-hood math makes this fifty CP plus 30 per level.

Get Young Again is prefaced with a pointless paragraph about Ponce de Leon, and comprises two powers that are... really, ridiculously overpriced for their mechanical value.
Age Backwards makes you... age backwards. Like Merlin, or Mork from Ork. It's 100% a special effect that they still feel compelled to charge 20 CP for.
Become Younger reduces your age by 10 years at the cost of 100 PP per use, and can 'obviously' be used on others. 160 CP for a power that has no direct mechanical benefit, and that the GM is encouraged to make your life Hell with, if you're foolish enough to let slip that you can make other people younger.

Go Places is teleportation, dimension shifting, time travel... and the example they gave of a two BP buy because there was no teleportation power in the rules. It also carries another ranting 'weasel alert' instead of calmly stating that unless you take two BP, you can't use Super Senses and Line of Sight teleportation together.
Versions include Line of Sight, Anywhere You've Been Lately (which requires a roll under BRAINS on d20 to remember a location well enough to target), Anywhere on the Planet (as long as you have a vague idea where you're going), Anywhere in this Reality (as before, only at twice the CP and PP costs), Any Dimension (which involves going to Limbo, which is strikingly similar to AD&D's Astral Plane, and from there to your target), and finally In Time (which is a paragraph long, followed by three paragraphs of sidebar editorializing on why you probably shouldn't).

Healing comes in three varieties: one that transfers PP from one person to another at a 1:1 rate (scarily effective for giantesses, given it's only another 50 CP); one that burns PP to heal HTK at a 2:1 rate and has a chance to revive the unconscious if you give them 4 HTK or more; the third is mechanically identical to the other two combined, basically saving a line on the character sheet. A writer's comment suggests that GMs could allow this to cure diseases, but that characters who did so openly would experience golden goose levels of demand for their powers.

Hit 'em Harder rambles on about 'unsightly MUSCLES' for a paragraph, before stating that it lets you add an extra 1d6 damage to any one melee attack or maneuver. Possibly useful for a weapon Gizmo, but at 20 CP you're otherwise better off buying more MUSCLES.

Illusions begin with a bro-ish comment on women's ability to cloud men's minds. It comes in conventional variety, which is perceptible by eyes, cameras, etc and can deal 1d6 PP damage (per caster level) to people who fail in a contest of raw WILL vs. the caster's plus d%; those with reason to disbelieve get the d% roll too. Mental illusions are functionally identical, but with the potential to deal HTK damage as well. Both are AOE attacks with a base radius of 6" from the character, that can be upgraded by spending more CP.

Immortal characters don't age in either direction, and can only be outright killed by one specific means; examples given are 'specific ritual dagger through the heart' and 'conventional damage after failing to take your super-soldier vitamins for 24 hours'. Anything else, you get better from at the rate of 1 HTK per round. Base cost is 80, plus another 25 for each additional HTK/round worth of regeneration.

Invisibility comes in the same flavours of Illusion. Conventional invisibility affects only you and your costume (and possibly less, as the manual notes, at the tables of some GMs. loving ugh.) but it's basically foolproof and costs 175 CP. Psionic invisibility is cheaper at 35 CP, but only affects organic minds within a 6" radius; robots, security cameras and laser tripwires will register the character (and attack, if appropriate), but their minders will still ignore you if they're within range. Range can be boosted 1" per 10 CP spent.

Invulnerability is simple! For 5 CP, you get to resist 1 point of incoming damage! For every 5 points of invulnerability, you deal an extra 1d6 damage if someone picks you up and uses you as a club.
Naturally, as with the Costume Change power, the writers want you to think very carefully about whether or not this cheap, utilitarian power really fits your ~concept~. They do have a point, though: damage already seems to scale much more slowly than PP and HTK do.

Jumping lets you leap 5" for every 2 CP and 1 PP you throw at it. It's a far cry from systems that worry about how high you can jump, and how long you'll be airborne. Pity they couldn't have applied that to Flight as well.

Magic Spells takes the rules and tosses them out. For each 2 CP spent, you get 1 CP to put into a pool that you can use to buy any power, or augment any stat on the fly. Stats so modified explicitly do not affect your PP score. You can even have multiple powers up and running, as long as you have the CP in your pool. PP costs for concocted powers remain the same.

Mental Muscles cost 200 CP and require that your base MUSCLES never go above 21, or the game will shatter. For every level past one (not zero), your effective MUSCLES score undergoes an arithmetic progression: your melee damage and max press improve accordingly, but PP and HTK do not.

Move Things Without Touching Them sounds like something from a HoL supplement. It's telekinesis that must be flavoured in some way; while magnetism is called out in the long sidebar, with a note that most of the world is non-ferrous, no word is given to gravity control or even traditional telekinesis. Successful use requires a mental to-hit roll against a physical hittability, at which point you get to use your WILL in place of MUSCLES to move the object around, up to a range of 1" per 10 WILL, at a cost of 1 PP per 10 WILL. All that for 200 CP.

Pass Through Stuff makes you completely intangible to physical objects and all forms of energy at a cost of 20 PP per round. It also costs 200 PP, to keep the smartass value-- er, potential for unbalancing down.

Possession costs 700 CP and has unlimited, interdimensional range. Yeah. Like Creation, it's basically a plot device power that's included so the GM can dot his I's and cross his T's. It functions similarly to Control Minds, only once the possessor's inside it requires the GM to determine a means of ejecting them.
Each shot takes 50 PP (peanuts for something that could afford this). An entity must leave its own body in a comatose state to attempt possession, during which time it has Pass Through Stuff and is immune to anything except Mental attacks. Manifesting bodiless is taxing: a bodiless Possessor typically has 1d6 rounds in which to whammy someone before fading out and returning to their own body.

Power Block is another power that comes in two and a half varieties. For 60 CP, defensive power block renders you immune to a specific special effect that your own powers express; the example given is a lightning-hucking heroine who is immune to her own bolts, other people's lightning, and electricity in general. Magic, it's noted, is too broad an effect. For 80 points, you can be immune to a specific power that you don't have; this is the version referenced in the Artificial Being origin.
There's another 'weasel alert' warning GMs against allowing Defensive Power Block: Kinetic, before getting to Offensive Power Block, which lets you reach out 8" and force someone's power to go inert with a contest of WILL. You need to be aware that they have the power, and it will cost 20 PP per round. You can do it to yourself too, generally with no to-hit roll and at a cost of 5 PP per round. As the book says, '...for only 80 CP's it can be your character's very own.' Aww.

Psi Invulnerability is slightly cheaper than the regular stuff, grants you a +1 bonus to contests of WILL, and reduces damage from psychic sources like Brain Blast by one point per level.

Read Minds picks up the tired joke about women mucking with men's minds from Illusions. It's broken into three powers that basically build one upon the last. To hear thoughts, you need to make a mental to-hit check; if their WILL is greater than 1/5 yours, they can subconsciously (or consciously, if they can Read Minds too) force a contest of WILL to kick you out.
Basic mind reading just lets you listen for 30 CP and 2 PP/round, which doesn't do translation and only works in line of sight. Listen and Talk does translate back and forth, at a cost of 40 CP and 4 PP/round, again at LOS range. Party Line lets you act as a telepathic nexus for up to your level in targets within 6+level inches. That version weighs in at 60 CP, and 3 PP plus 1 for every target per round.
Read minds is accompanied by the picture of a woman fondling her helmet, while ranting about 'delicious throbbing power'.

Run Fast gives you another inch of ground movement for every 3 CP. No PP cost, and no arguments over flying starts.

Next the writers air their giantess fetish by asking 'Why on earth would anybody in their right minds want to be able to shrink?' The rule belies their disbelief as Shrinking is a pretty nasty little power. Get Small is like Giantess in reverse, with the same cost... only you keep your MUSCLE and HEALTH, but MOVES is multiplied by ten. Stuck between four and eight inches in height, you can be bottled like Kandor... assuming someone can catch you.
Shrink works like Growth, except that it costs 75 CP and 30 per level. That and it reduces your height by 6" per rank, increases your MOVES in an arithmetic progression, and reduces your end ground move by 1" per level past the first. Curiously, the always-on version doesn't.

Suck It Up is a fantastic way to make combat take even longer, a three-stage defensive power that lets you ignore up to your HEALTH in damage from a single attack, and convert it into PP... as long as that wouldn't put you above your PP maximum, at which point the rest comes back around as damage. Jesus H.
The first level lets you absorb one narrow form of energy (electricity, heat, etc). The second lets you soak up everything but kinetic and mental energy. The writing for the third implies that it only absorbs kinetic energy, so that while you won't take damage from a napalm grenade's preliminary explosion, it'll still burn you handily. Not sure the science works on that last one.
Force fields and invulnerability mitigate damage before Suck It Up comes into play.

Super Senses manage to be fussy by stating no two such powers can be used together... unless you pay double CP cost for every one you want to link together. Good Hearing lets you hear whispers at 10". Good Taste is two paragraphs of stupid jokes instead of saying 'you have an amazing palate for 5 CP'. See Everything just gives you 360 degree vision, so you can see your own rear end and everything else that isn't invisible within 8". See Far Away is a refreshingly simple take on telescopic vision, letting you see things that are far away (the Moon is given as an example) as if they were within 5'. See in the Dark . See Through Things is the most expensive at 25 CP, but lets you see through everything but one specific element (real, or real in the campaign) to a range of 12". Sensitive Touch lets you do things like read the date off a dime with a swipe of your fingertips. No word on using sandpaper as a torture device against someone with this. Smell Good suffers from one of their dumb jokes, and not mine. It's got a range of 3" and its efficacy is totally up to the GM. Can you smell emotions? Maybe. Can you smell the residue of old Player's Lights, and differentiate them from Pall Malls? Probably.

Finally there are Visions, which come in two sorts. Visions of Elsewhere are like D&D-style scrying: you must target someone you know, and roll under your level times seven on d% to receive one round's worth of vision. The GM can also force it to trigger, if the player involved is playing up the reclusive sorceress schtick too much. Cheap enough to take as a theme power at 40 CP.
Visions of the Past are pretty much useless, even for 30 CP. If the character has a reason to do so, and the GM figures something in the past could be useful without wrecking the adventure, the character sees a brief vignette of things happening. Otherwise, she blew her 15 PP on static.

Next Time: Skills!

Bieeanshee fucked around with this message at 03:17 on Sep 6, 2013

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

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

All that Rift stuff is really bad. Not even funny bad, just boring bad.

PleasingFungus
Oct 10, 2012

in my pope game,


Cardiovorax posted:

All that Rift stuff is really bad. Not even funny bad, just boring bad.

The Rifts Space(C)! stuff was fun, but yeah, I'm not really feeling Wormwood so far. Maybe we'll get some more dubiously-statted enemies & GMPCs soon? ~vesper-sama~

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Mutants in Orbit probably came off better than it did because I collated a lot of stuff that's a mess in the original book and skipped a lot of its science lessons. Having decent science is a rarity for Rifts, and it's useful, but it's also super-dry and my eyes start to drift when you talk about asteroid composition or solar winds.

One of the real issues with Wormwood is that it's based off of Timothy Truman's ideas, and you would hope that would mean lots of rad Truman art and writing, but you don't get that. Truman contributes like two or three art pieces beyond the opening comic (and no writing), and not to say Flint Henry isn't a decent artist - he is - but he's no Truman. (It also has an unfortunate amount of Siembieda art.)

Its main issue, though, is that it's just generically good versus evil, without much of a twist to it. We'll get some weird stuff that's better as the book goes on, but the base world is kind of a very generic fantasy plus "and then the ground is sweaty!" It doesn't really explore the whole living planet idea to the fullest extent it could.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 20:39 on Sep 6, 2013

JohnnyCanuck
May 28, 2004

Strong And/Or Free


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Mutants in Orbit probably came off better than it did because I collated a lot of stuff that's a mess in the original book and skipped a lot of its science lessons. Having decent science is a rarity for Rifts, and it's useful, but it's also super-dry and my eyes start to drift when you talk about asteroid composition or solar winds.

One of the real issues with Wormwood is that it's based off of Timothy Truman's ideas, and you would hope that would mean lots of rad Truman art and writing, but you don't get that. Truman contributes like two or three art pieces beyond the opening comic (and no writing), and not to say Flint Henry isn't a decent artist - he is - but he's no Truman. (It also has an unfortunate amount of Siembieda art.)

Its main issue, though, is that it's just generically good versus evil, without much of a twist to it. We'll get some weird stuff that's better as the book goes on, but the base world is kind of a very generic fantasy plus "and then the ground is sweaty!" It doesn't really explore the whole living planet idea to the fullest extent it could.
I wouldn't mind a quick review of that Rifter article mentioned earlier. If it actually "fleshes out" Wormwood - so to speak - it'd probably be a nice cap to the actual book review.

Parkreiner
Oct 29, 2011


I've always been fond of Wormwood just because of how weird an idea it is even for Rifts (paladins vs demons, set on Venom's home planet), and it was the only Rifts book I bothered keeping after I realized the system was hopelessly borked, but as with most things Rifts basically everything I liked about it is in Tenra Bansho Zero in much more playable form.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 9: “No high-tech facilities for mass-production whatsoever”



Wormwood has zero real industry. There’s no metal to mine, for one thing. They know what technology is and are prolific interdimensional traders, but they don’t make any of their own. They just make Wormwood stuff, which they can do with PPE expenditure mostly. Certainly the world does provide for a lot of basic human needs, but not really so much with writing utensils and paper, so that might be why they lost all their history.

People use a lot of techno-wizardry since that’s the only way to make magic wands without Millennium Trees apparently. They also have a fair number of Shifters and Temporal Wizards--which, the latter are quite useful but really defeat the idea of this being a sort of stand-alone book if you have to buy England to make the setting work right.

Wormwood does not have ley lines, so hope you didn’t roll a line walker. In fact, the absence of such is written as being profoundly disturbing to line walkers and druids and such, and you can almost see Siembieda hesitating over ‘roll on insanity table’ before thankfully not putting that in.

The absence of ley lines means that the planet is very difficult to discover by accident as well, apparently, but Erin Tarn sure managed it. Basically it’s in a ‘blind spot’, and this may be why Eylor from Atlantis has remained undiscovered by non-Splugorth as well. I always just went with ‘the infinitude of universes means it’s hard to reach a particular one’ and most dimensional teleporting requires prior knowledge of a place.

Wormwood instead has magic pulsing through its body like veins, beneath the surface. It takes several months (though not a die rolled number) for mages from ley line worlds to realize this; places that produce a lot of the symbiotes are where the veins are nearest the surface and can be tapped for magical energy like ley lines. Some of the symbiotic items produced by Wormwood also store PPE energy. The Forces of Evil have their own versions of these, and of course practice human sacrifice for all that juicy energy.

Obviously this means that ambient PPE energy is more abundant underground, though aside from food caves, Wormwood doesn’t seem to have a lot of caverns. There is a myth of an ‘inner world, deep within Wormwood’ but nobody knows how to find it, not even this book. Burrowing into the planet is difficult since it's an incredibly tough mega-damage structure.

Man this is a long dull text-heavy section. Next Kevin tells how each type of mage is specifically screwed:

Elemental magics are basically hosed. There’s no regular weather, no lava, the ground is not made of earth. Dust storms and stuff still work. But boy, if you had an evil elementalist, those people building houses out of expensive imported stone might be in for a surprise.

Psionics are not native to Wormwood--it doesn’t address the constant immigration to the planet or how those psionic genes might get passed, just nobody is natively psi. Travelers from other dimensions will sense that the planet is alive and so is most of the stuff it makes. They can’t communicate or bio-manipulate the planet. All range is reduced by half, duration by a quarter, some powers are nearly useless. Awesome.

Meanwhile, Wormwood symbiotes, crystals and stones don’t work in other dimensions. This seems like it’d limit the ability of Wormwood folk to export useful goods since the rest of what they have is basically solidified monster snot and weird homespun non-cotton. Wormwood-powered characters like wormspeakers who leave Wormwood also suffer power loss for leaving, which kinda actually sucks a lot for those classes. I mean Wormwood may be passably complete as a campaign setting but if you’re playing Rifts you are probably eventually going to go to Earth if you didn’t start there, and those classes are the more distinct elements of the setting.

And then we get to the single stupidest thing in this book.

All natives of Wormwood are mega-damage creatures.

That means humans. It has been discussed in the past how MDC is a dumb system and how you should just get rid of it entirely and so Wormwood is perhaps trying to do this. The problem is that these mega-damage humans still do SDC with their hands. Barfights must be very tiresome and plastic bags banned as murder weapons. They don’t get a lot of MDC either--you know how you’d roll for SDC starting out and then forget what the number was because it really didn’t matter at all against even the weakest gun in the game? Well it’s still that number. Physical skills seem to stack with this, for those few not specifically forbidden to take the good ones. And of course, if they travel to non-MDC worlds they become SDC, just like everything else. It’s really too late for this change to be made, if one is using MDC in general, and it isn’t well addressed. Someone pointed out earlier about how mundane grooming would be basically impossible, it's the old Superman problems again except folks don't have heat vision to cut their hair with. They also love the visual of hand-to-hand weapons and I admit that a knight riding around on a motorcycle with a sword is pretty neat, but mundane weaponry is not automatically mega-damage. Basically everything in the book is broken if MDC is used.

The second stupidest thing in this book: The language of Wormwood is Earth English. With 20th century slang. There’s some stuttering justification for this but it's really silly. Also demons of Wormwood speak ‘Demongogian’. Ugh. Book, stop being annoying and have more pictures.

Next: Dimensional Doorways

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


One of the biggest issues this raises is that means you can't get to there through a rift. The game is called Rifts, but this has none of those. You need magic or other esoteric means to travel there, so how did Erin Tarn even get there? I suppose you could make the argument for one-way rifts that lead to places where rifts aren't, but it's an awfully tortured justification to drag out. For that matter, how does Worldgate have rifts for her to travel home? Wouldn't those be some other form of dimensional travel?

It really should have been its own game rather than a Rifts book; at least later Dimension Books generally maintain some vague connection to the core setting, but this is even more divorced than Mutants in Orbit, which was intentionally divided away from the core setting. But it still had rifts.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

occamsnailfile posted:

Meanwhile, Wormwood symbiotes, crystals and stones don’t work in other dimensions.

This is what really killed Wormwood for me. It's bad enough that symbiotes shut down off-world, but the buggers shrivel up and die 1d6 (oh, Kevin) hours later. A nice double helping of 'gently caress you' to Wormspeakers and certain other OCCs.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 10: “Earth has always been a favorite trading zone”



So, it’s been made clear that Wormwood has a lot of extradimensional technology floating around. This section opens with “it is likely that some of the myths, legends, and stories regarding ancient gods, wizards, (and every other category of strange being listed afterwards including alien abductions) can be attributed to Wormwood.” I mean aside from every strange mythical monster and pantheon and chiang-ku dragon claiming to similarly be responsible for all of human history, really? They visited and traded with us regularly and we never noticed them back?

It follows this up by saying that both human and demon forces send not only scouts and traders but small armies even. Really. And Earth never recorded this as anything but a weather balloon. Ugh. Anyway, they have a bunch of Earth stuff, and probably not just Rifts Earth but alternate Earths because I guess they’re good at opening rifts to places and not being found easily in return. They raid and trade with basically every state that’s been named in the series so far though nobody, not even the Splugorth, has realized these indie-comic post-apoc raiders have more than a distinct visual style, they’re from another dimension that systematically visits Earth.

Supposedly there are four permanent rifts to Earth. The oldest and biggest connects to Lalibela in Ethiopia and has been open since 6000 BC. And nobody ever noticed it or the weirdos coming out of the mountains. These days of course that area is New Phoenix Empire who probably get on fine with the Unholy and friends. The second rift is in Calgary and a third in Romania, thus all the Triax gear. The newest is in Old Detroit’s ruins. There’s also apparently a rift to the dimension where the skelter bats come from because they’re not native bats? Okay, w’ev.


they are really mining the comic-vein heavily.

Temporary rifts are used all the time, though there’s ‘the usual limitation of having visited or knowing the target location’. Also the Unholy and Host can’t ever leave Wormwood () but they can send ‘raiding parties’ into Earth. They aren’t trying to work with other evil powers and worry about drawing the attention of alien intelligences. That would be a valid worry if the reaction of evil to evil in Rifts wasn’t generally to hi-five and drop a keg down for a party.

It goes on a bit about how raiding parties are super-stealthy and successful and suffer less than 10% casualty rates and nobody knows about Wormwood except Erin Tarn who is the first human to visit in 3000 years.

Since Erin Tarn opened the floodgates, now we get a few predictable reaction shots from Earth Powers who notice.

So now we’ll see how Earth-types who suddenly twig to the constant stream of undocumented travelers will react to this incursion. Some of them will be completely predictable. In fact, most of them will. That’s why I’m going to summarize heavily.

1. The Coalition: They’re going to freak out. Magic is evil. Wormwood is fulla magic. Discovering Wormwood will make them want to attack Tolkeen more. They certainly will not help the Wormwood humans because they are dirty mages living on a dirty mage world.

2. NGR: Like the CS, but less ‘dirty mages’ and more ‘don’t want to also fight the Unholy’. Though there is that permanent gate in Romania to worry about. It will also make them hate non-humans more because reasons.

3. Palladium World, because we totally care about it. They’d see it as a plane of hell or a demon domain (fair) but they’re from ‘a more noble and heroic age’ and so will be more likely to help, also they have touched magic and it didn’t bite them when they were a kid. Too bad they’re SDC.

4. Beyond the Supernatural/Ninjas & Superspies or other modern times: This is either ‘earth of the 1980s in Kevin’s head, which never ended’ or ‘some version of something like the real world’, depending on the setting. They’re going to be a little rattled at this ‘magic’ stuff, and those ultra-secret raiding parties will just keep on getting written off as conspiracy poo poo Wormwood folk become SDC but Earth folk do not become MDC, and getting back to Wormwood may be hard without a lot of human sacrifice because PPE is scarce.

5. “High tech worlds of science” are immediately likely to reject any concept of magic as nonsense and dismiss unknown phenomena out of hand, because that is how science works. It ignores quantifiable results unless they are labeled properly. Of course, once it is proven firmly, they have railguns.

6. Pantheons of the Gods: Since we’ve established that basically all gods are jerks, they will probably make everything worse by getting involved. Fortunately, they are stated here as basically having any and everything better to do and likely only minor godlings and the like will get involved, PS buy Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse, out in like a year or two.



And that’s it. Next is the people of Wormwood. Nothing about the Splugorth who might have kind of a nuanced is this worth conquering/this looks kind of difficult reaction, nothing about the New Phoenix Empire which has a permanent gate in the middle of its territory, no general ‘other intelligences’ responses--no vampires seem to have made it to Wormwood for instance, and this is a planet with no running water.

Also, and this is more interesting to me--it seems pretty easy to open rifts from Wormwood to places, which means that they really could make themselves a pretty tidy little trading network. Of course it also raises the usual security concerns that rifts themselves create in general, and might make Wormwood defense more complex than it already is. It’s just, you know, not addressed well or even at all in some important cases.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, I noticed when I was flipping through it myself that I was too quick to jump to the no rifts conclusion. Of course, exactly how there are rifts without ley lines is left as a mystery, I suppose. I imagine the absence of vampires could be credited to the same lack of ley lines - IIRC, vampire intelligences need a nexus to plop down on order to survive by supping down magic power, or drink a lot of blood.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 17:11 on Sep 9, 2013

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Well, they don't explain the rifting phenomenon against Wormwood's unique physics at all--I mean I'd be happy to say that the planet can open rifts with its own immense energies (living things generate PPE yanno) but the methods to control it doing so have been lost. That's if I were trying to write an interesting and consistent book.

What really bugs me with Wormwood being so secretive is the way they very clearly have rifts, lots of them, and nobody else seems to have noticed. There isn't an embargo about talking to outsiders from the Cathedral, nothing like that. The closest we get is the Unholy being 'wary' about other supernatural evils, and the Host is in kind of a vulnerable position compared to some other menaces but we'll get to that later.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


JohnnyCanuck posted:

I wouldn't mind a quick review of that Rifter article mentioned earlier. If it actually "fleshes out" Wormwood - so to speak - it'd probably be a nice cap to the actual book review.

To be honest unless there's a lot of call for it, I'm focused on the next Rifts book write-up (and then, the book after that which even terrifies me), which is proceeding apace. I've always avoided trying to reference too much in the later game line because to some extent I prefer to review the books as incomplete and flawed as they were upon release. That, and something like the "The Wormwood Addenda" articles in The Rifter 42, 44, & 46 are written by Braden Campbell, and serve as an expansion rather than any sort of revelation. If people really want it I can dig it up when I find a gap, but I already have an immense amount of material in front of me.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


I say skip it. RIFTS is at its best when instead of emulating one genre, it mashes up twelve of them. And adds guitar shredding.

InfiniteJesters
Jan 26, 2012


HitTheTargets posted:

I say skip it. RIFTS is at its best when instead of emulating one genre, it mashes up twelve of them. And adds guitar shredding.

Now I'm sad that there is no metal band that has used RIFTS for material the way Bolt Thrower used Warhammer 40k.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

That conjures horrifying images of Siembieda trying to do a really earnest Sleazy P. Martini impression.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 11: “An Atmosphere of Terror”



So now we get to learn a little about the people of Wormwood. Good grief this book is taking forever. I mean trying to describe a whole setting is going to be but this is a bunch of Kevin-ramble sparsely broken with recycled panels from the intro comic. Enough bitching, on to the people of Wormwood.

The Unholy is a brutal dictator who tries to destroy and terrorize any who disobey. Here the Unholy is being presented as the de-facto ruler of the world as ‘all organizations and churches are illegal’ which must again be according to the Unholy, about whom we know little except that he’s evil etc. Humans who submit to this reign of terror are allowed a poverty-stricken fear-filled existence, dissidents are crushed, and rebels killed. There’s a sample speech that the Unholy would make but I’ll spare you.

All of this sounds fine for territories under the control of the Unholy, but didn’t we have an extended section called “the Kingdom of Light” which is the biggest part of the map and for which we were given an extended geography? Didn’t Erin Tarn even specifically note when she was taken out of the “Empire of Darkness?” Rifts, goddammit.


also, leprosy is in fashion

Average citizens have apparently mostly given up the fight and fallen into despair. They don’t interfere with the Cathedral and other Champions of Light but they don’t help them either, they’re too beaten-down. The only help they’ll provide is indirect, deniable matters like leaving a barn door (for what livestock? they went on about this specifically!) unlatched or otherwise things they can remain ignorant about.

Basically PCs can’t expect much direct help from the people, but they won’t go out of their way to turn them in either. Of course, some humans have turned to serve the Darkness directly (about 25% it says) which is unsurprising, and they’re rewarded with better broken worn-out stuff than everyone else. Most well-to-do merchants and village leaders and stuff are turncoats like this. Of course they are. This is actually more information about the government of the region than Erin Tarn chose to provide us with, though she did specifically avoid the towns. There are of course those who serve with the demon hordes directly as warriors, priests, assassins, etc. They’re still second-class demon-citizens but some can rise high in the ranks. Of evil.


an original Siembieda, how nice

This is a short post but the Cathedral section is next, and it’s very wordy and also explains to us how the good guys are themselves also bad.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 12: “Champions of Light”



So there are a few who still fight the Unholy though the last section really really made it sound like this is a lost cause, pack up and move off-planet guys. I mean Rifts is prone to overpowering the bad guys and making everything sound scary and miserable but that part was written like we didn’t just read an extended geography of areas not dominated by the Unholy. Way to keep a consistent tone.

Anyway, There’s some lists of classes which we shall address in turn, including other awesome classes you can play from the core and England books including the Vagabond and Wilderness Scout, because those are real classes with real potential. If one were running a Wormwood-native campaign the class list is okay I guess, but almost a quarter of it is from England (Knight, Temporals) which is kind of a problem.

Now we get a big boldfaced heading for The Cathedral. “The social and political orientation of the people on Wormwood is religious, spiritual and mystical.” Everyone is very because they’re in a magical place with churches in it and if you worship the church the non-sentient planet will help you? Religion is a powerful game theme but this pseudo-christian stuff just seems out of place and chosen to try and visually draw in the audience of Rifts rather than creating something that seems like a living entity.

Anyway the Cathedral is all the bad stereotypes of Catholicism armed with giant robots and motorcycles. There used to be other churches and religions but they all got et or corrupted. The Cathedral believes this is the Great Tribulation and that they are being tested. They use a lot of religious language to describe things like blessed/damned and pure/corrupted and etc. No mention is made of what god they actually worship and what afterlife or reward they seek from their trial. Really, it's the height of Christian chauvinism to just assume we can figure out their theology, and just throwing all those crosses and stuff on things does not actually make clear what they're doing. At a guess I would say Truman wanted more explicit religiosity and Siembieda cut it because he doesn't want to get lumped in with all those devil games teaching kids real magic.

“The Cathedral functions as a secret (and not so secret) network of resistance fighters”. Yeah, not so secret. Like, having a giant campus in the middle of a city? But supposedly the Cathedral has a bunch of spies for justice all over everywhere, maybe even in the highest circles of the Unholy. The Unholy keeps conquering stuff, but the Cathedral’s little circle of resistance fights on. The Unholy sends spies and plagues and stuff back, and basically being openly good results in an endless torrent of bad coming for you.


this is actually from the Apok section since they got like four images and this section has none

This means that some communities (who are not the ‘most people have given in to despair’ from the previous section I guess) just quietly work against the monsters who torment them. Secret bands of heroes roam the land, sheltered by these undercover supporters. Earth scholars might think of Zorro and Robin Hood because everything comes back to 20th century pop culture.

But all is not good in goodland! There is darkness within the Cathedral. You knew that from the beginning because this is a Rifts book and there are no good guys who are not secretly evil or don’t at least have their thumbs crammed firmly up their asses. Sometimes both! In this case it’s church leaders who want temporal power and manipulate this whole endless war on terror to get it. Questioning them of course results in gaslighting and manipulation against the speaker, leading up to branding them traitors and so on. Our heroes Lazarus Vespers and the Confessor are among such dissidents, in case you didn’t pick that up.

This next bit is puzzling. “Social Positions, Power & Money” okay. It explains that the value of a person by human beings is generally based on their position within that society. O...okay. “Material goods have little effect on a person’s place in that society.” I mean, it’s true that Wormwood provides for a lot of peoples’ physical needs but it is hardly post-scarcity. Monsters rule much of the world but they only get hate, not respect.

Then it goes on about standing a little bit. A high priest is the absolute highest social rank one can achieve (so about that ‘Kingdom’ thing again--) with the possible exception of a “sainted” hero. High priests are like kings, spiritual and political leaders, but there seem to be more than one of them. Average people jump to serve them, and of course, such power breeds corruption. We are not told how many of these there are, or if they form a college, nor do they seem to name a battle pope.

Regular old non-high priests are second only to the high priests (awfully flat hierarchy) and they’re leaders and heroes to their communities. Sure, sure, fine. They have a lot of healbot powers it sounds like, and can manipulate the Wormwood to bring food and water and house people and the like. Now see, if the Cathedral worshiped the living planet, that would make total sense, but it has not at any point told me that they do.

After priests are wormspeakers who are...somehow different from priests but also manipulate Wormwood directly. Then we get ‘True Champions of Light’, which are hospitallers, techno-wizards, and templars, in that order.

Then there’s basically all the regular OCC classes, and then average citizens starting with elders, parents, children, and then single adults. Sorry childfree, you’re just not worth as much as their spawn.

Then below that are the temporal classes, D-bees, non-humans generally. Even the Vagabond gets put up in the middle class which is weird given their uselessness and general vagabondery. And absolutely everyone hates the apoks unless you’re Erin Tarn and just don’t know any better.

It also appears that most trade is done via barter, which is strange for an old and well-developed civilization. The credit already stretched credibility but this ‘to each according to their rank’ thing is worse.

The hierarchy is repeated in chart form and then we start going through the OCCs.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 9b: Movers and shakers

I've said the before, and I'll probably say it again, but the worldbooks are very poorly organized. The Cyberpapacy book gets into the major power groups before it actually gets into the locations of the realm itself.

Although I suppose in this case, it makes sense. Unlike most of the other realms, the Cyberpapacy has a lot of different organizations operating in its name and inside its borders.

Of course, The Avignon Papacy sits at the top of the whole shebang. They've been in charge of Magna Verita for the last 600 years, and Malraux has been in charge of the Papacy for just over 100 years now. Below the Cyberpope is a more traditional papal power structure, but there's little doubt about who's calling the shots.
The papacy consists of a number of sub-organizations. First and foremost is the College of the Way, which is (technically) composed of 60 cardinals. In actuality, there's only 40 cardinals at the moment. Of the original 60 cardinals, half were outside of France when the Tech Surge hit. Of the 30 cardinals that were at "Ground Zero", things were a little rough. Only 16 of them are left: two fled from the Cyberchurch and are in hiding, six were found to be heretics and were installed into spirit chips, two went back to Magna Verita to oversee the cosm, and four cardinals are permanently trapped in the GodNet.


The College's purpose is to manage the rest of the organization for Malraux so he can concentrate on higher concerns, or to act as remote "managers" for the outlying areas of the realm. All the remaining cardinals are completely loyal to Malraux thanks to a combination of belief and special surgeries.

Church finances are handled by the Apostolic Chamber. It's main purpose is to collect taxes and tithes from around the Papacy and manage these funds in the fight against the Antichrist and his followers. The Chamber has benefited greatly from the Tech Surge, having moved from rooms full of scribes with abacuses and hand calculations, to rooms full of hackers manipulating national finances.

The Chancery is responsible for the management and dissemination of Papal decrees. In the light of the tech surge, they're also responsible for keeping a record of citizens with legal cyberware. Of course, if you don't have legal cyberware but still want to join the church, you can buy indulgences. Joining up with the church's fight against heresy simply involves going to a Chancery-approved location and getting your information recorded by the Cyberchurch.

Of course, if you want to grease the wheels a bit, you can pay to have your sins absolved. The going rate for a minor crime is a thousand francs, but large-scale public heresy can cost you up to 25 million. Still, how can you put a price on not getting arrested by the Inquisition?

The Cyberchurch's legal and bureaucratic needs are handled by The Penitentiary. This branch handles punishments of "smaller" heresies such as not paying your taxes or failing in your job for the church. They're also responsible for converting heathens, due to their ability to know how far you can go when dealing with said heathens before you commit heresy.

quote:

Père Jean is not one to deny the chance of salvation to his people. Everyone, including Jews, Muslims, the godless and heretics are given a chance to convert. This is a sign of the Cyberpope’s magnanimity. Admittedly they are treated as second-class citizens, who will be ultimately contained within ghettoes and watched carefully to ensure that they embrace the Cyberpope’s teachings completely. Even heretics who willingly confess their heresy and repent are accepted back into the fold. But those who cling to their heretical beliefs are shown no mercy. They are rooted out by the Inquisition.

The newest branch of the church is the Council of Monitors, who are responsible for monitoring activity in the GodNet. They monitor the GodNet for suspicious or illegal activity, and send Church Police forces to arrest hackers.

At least, that's the idea. Unfortunately, Papal tradition gets in the way.

See, when suspicious activity is detected, what is supposed to happen is that a virtual messenger is sent to Babel Central (the church's "core" in the GodNet), giving word to the Council. But there's two problems with this.

First off, and we'll talk more about this later, the GodNet operates at normal human speeds. It's not like Shadowrun or Cyberpunk where a decker can spend two virtual hours hacking a system and in meatspace it took five minutes. If you spend two hours hacking a system in the GodNet, then that takes two hours in meatspace too. Yes, there are virtual vehicles and shortcuts, but it still takes time.

The second problem is that, according to six centuries of Papal tradition, the messenger has to stop at each data exchange along the way to Babal Central to inform the Abbot Monitor there of six things: where he's going, who he's delivering the message to, who the message is from, how long the message is, which exchange he just came from, and which exchange he's going to.

Then, once a week, the Monitor Abbot sends other messengers to each exchange he's connected to with a list of who arrived, where they were going, and so on. The Abbots compare this information with each other to make sure that all the original messenger's information was legit.

It's a very primitive method of error-checking, and wasn't too bad back home where everything was done on paper and on foot, and you got maybe two or three messengers a month and didn't need an answer right away. Now, though, they're monitoring information across an entire self-contained internet.

As you can imagine, the hackers had a field day with this. Any illegal activity wouldn't even be noticed for at least a week, making it pretty easy to run rings around the Cyberpapal security systems.

Cardinal-Priest Roger-Bernard, head of the Council of Monitors, realized that this set-up didn't work any more, and got special permission from Malraux to create virtual "seals" that allow messengers to just move through exchanges without having to stop and announce themselves. This has made it possible for the Council of Monitors to actually deal with hackers in "real time", making the battle against these heretics a little more even.

Moving on, we come to the Cyber Council. Headed by Malraux himself, the Council is a collection of scientists and industrialists gathered to advice the CyberPope on the best way to exploit cybernetic technologies. The members of the Cyber Council are the richest people in the realm outside the actual church hierarchy, and are also under the closest scrutiny.

Remember how I talked above about how there are four Cardinals trapped in the GodNet? Well, three of these GodNet Cardinals were actually sucked in during the creation of the GodNet and have transformed into virtual archangels. The fourth Cardinal, Cardinal-Bishop August-Challier, entered voluntarily and acts as Marlaux's Legate in cyberspace. August-Challier is abitious, and sees his existence in the GodNet as a way to expand his own power. He's smart enough to not make any overt moves against the CyberPope, especially since the other Cardinals are still fiercely loyal to Malraux.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: The Inquisition.

quote:

The Cyberpapacy is geared towards ensuring the subjugation of the flesh to the spiritual will of the Pope. In practice, the Pope is an absolute monarch with the power of life and death over all his subjects. Ultimately, the Inquisition is the body which ensures that society conforms to the Pope’s wishes. Anything else is classified as
heresy.
The Inquisition has been running into problems since the invasion. Back in Magna Verita, the church was in complete control so there was no opposition to the Inquisition and they got away with literal murder in the name of God. Suspicion of heresy by the Inquisition was enough to condemn someone, and nobody would resist. Now, in this new world (where the axioms are different), people are capable of fighting back, and even other members of the church are questioning them.

Needless to say, the Inquisition is having none of this. As far as they're concerned, the church should be the ultimate basis of society and the people within are just there to serve the church. Breaking a law is a direct act against the church, and forfeits your rights as a member. Questioning the church or its methods is "intellectual arrogance" (because you're questioning the CyberPope) and is to be burned out. The church is the extension of God's will, and the Inquisition seeks those who would dare to go against God's will or lead others astray without mercy. Nobody but the CyberPope himself is beyond the reach of the Inquisition.

Guidance for Inquisitors posted:

“Either the heretic confesses and is proved guilty, or he refuses and is equally guilty on the evidence of witnesses. If a heretic confesses the whole of what he has been accused, he is unquestionably guilty of the whole; but if he confesses only a part, he ought to still to be regarded as guilty of the whole, since what he has confessed proves him to be capable of guilt as to the other points of the accusation.

“Bodily torture has ever been found the most salutary and efficient means of leading to spiritual repentance. Therefore, the choice of the most befitting mode of torture is left to the Judge of the Inquisition, who determines according to the age, sex, and the constitution of the party....

“If, notwithstanding, all the means employed, the unfortunate wretch still denies his guilt, he is to be considered as a victim of the Devil: and, as such, deserves no compassion from the servants of God, nor the pity and indulgence of Holy Mother Church: he is a son of perdition. Let him perish among the damned.”
From the Inquisitor’s Black Book
The Tech Surge has made the Inquisition's job much easier. Access to widespread monitoring devices and the GodNet has made weeding out heretics much easier, and this has made CyberFrance a very dark place. It's common knowledge that the Inquisition is watching and waiting for you to make a misstep, and this has created a culture of paranoia and fear throughout the realm.

So what exactly is considered "heresy?

quote:

“Every human being must do as the Cyberpope tells him. To act otherwise, is to fall into heresy.”
Cyberpope Jean Malraux I

Heretical Acts:
† Showing disrespect to the Cyberpope and his decrees.
† Eating meat on Fridays.
† Omitting Easter duties.
† Not attending church.
† Reading false Bibles — only the Malraux Bible is true and holy.
† Speaking ill of a cleric.
† Saying it is a sin to persecute for sake of conscience.
† Committing sacrilege, blasphemy, sorcery, or witchcraft.
† Licentious behavior.
† Refusing to pay taxes.
† Sloth in the service of the church.
† Possession of a forbidden book.
† Possession of unsanctified cyberware.
† Accessing the GodNet without the clergy’s permission.
† Living in or visiting Paris, the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.
† Harboring heretical thoughts.


The lower ranks of the church have been affected by the tech surge as well. Cyberpriests and cybernuns exist both inside and outside the GodNet; some were pulled in involuntarily (and permanently) by Ebencrux during the GodNet's creation, others took up the vows later and operate mainly in the real world. No matter how they operate, cyberpriests and cybernuns are the "workforce" of the church, and have jobs in most of the branches of the Papacy. They tend to have large amounts of high-end cyberware and are more resistant to cyberpsychosis than most.

The Church Police are the church's military arm. Monty Python references aside, they're dangerous because for all intents and purposes they're crusaders. Front-line combatants and hit squads who don't feel the need to even pretend to be secretive, the Church Police are the CyberChurch's strong, sweeping arm. When the CyberChurch wants to make a show of force, these are the people they send in. Related to (but separate from) the Church Police are the Hospitallers, the elite warriors who are used for more advanced or important operations.

So that covers the CyberChurch itself. There are still a few more major factions operating outside (or against) the church.

For starters, there's a large number of priests who came over from Magna Verita who were horrified at the Tech Surge and the sudden changes in the church. Refusing to "upgrade" and escaping the Inquisition's hands during those first few confused weeks, these preachers travel around CyberFrance proclaiming that Malraux is, in fact, the Antipope and has been corrupted by the forces of darkness. They're half-right about that, anyway.

Witchcraft was practised back on Manga Verita, and some sorcerers have managed to get to Core Earth to escape the Inquistion and help stop Malraux. They're finding their work difficult, partially due to the way magic works thanks to the Law of Heretical Magic, and partially because the Inquisition has all these video cameras everywhere.

The French Armed Forces have pretty much collapsed. Then the original axiom wash happened and all their technology stopped working in the face of the invaders, commanders scrambled to sieze any supplies before they were transformed. Then the Surge happened, causing their equipment to start working again, but by that point the armed forces had splintered into lots of small individual forces. Some of these forces gained higher technology thanks to the Surge, and used their advanced weaponry to seize supplies from former allies. Some military units have joined forces with the CyberChurch since they're the current governing force, while others have set themselves up as warlords or brigands, taking advantage of the confusion in the outlying areas of the realm. Some units have set themselves up as the "Militia of Paris Liberté", defending the main hardpoint inside the Cyberpapacy.

One group that's sort-of allied themselves with the Church is the Hands of God. The HOGs aren't so much an organization as a loose confederacy of neo-facists, survivalists, and right-wing groups. Their main unifying traits are a hatred of foreigners, a return to "traditional values", and a desire to wipe out Jews, blacks, and other undesirables. Shortly after the Tech Surge, Malraux sent agents to these various groups to supply them with funding and advanced weaponry. He managed to get the various groups organized (so to speak) and to point them at Paris. HOG members tend to be pretty collateral with their damage, espousing their values and saying they're trying to save France while shooting innocent bystanders and blowing up buildings with rocket launchers. They're mainly used by Malraux as a distraction from his own operatives that has the added benefit of wearing down his enemies' defences. The only reason the HOGs aren't as much of a threat as they might be is because they engage in as much in-fighting as they do attacks against everyone else. In the grand scheme of things, they're cannon fodder. Dangerous cannon fodder, but cannon fodder nonetheless.

It should come as no surprise that the Roman Catholic Church is in a bad place right now. The elements of the Roman Catholic Church that were in France were, unsurprisingly, crushed by the invasion. At first, they declared that the invasion was a hoax, but the Collapse, Tech Surge, and appearance of the CyberPope forced that view to change. The Roman Catholic Church in France actually supported Malraux's inauguration as CyberPope due to the axiom wash, and many more joined later as they saw actual miracles being performed by the CyberChurch.

Outside of France, things are a little different. The RCC is in direct opposition of the Cyberpapacy; they see the Cyberpapacy as a complete abomination, a society where the word of God is twisted, corrupted, and enforced at gunpoint. Those RCC priests who have braved heading into France to speak against Malraux have vanished in one way or another, and the RCC is reluctantly coming around to the idea that they need to approach this in a more militant manner. The RCC's position is further weakened by the fact that Italy (and therefore Rome) is cut off from the rest of Europe by the Cyberpapal realm, leaving them badly isolated.

And last, but not least, is The Resistance.

quote:

With the overthrow of the legitimate government of France, the Cyberpope looked set to impose his will without opposition. But many refused to meekly accept the fate that lay in store. Liberals, socialists, communists, trade unionists, nationalists, dissident Roman Catholics and members of heretical religions, have banded together to oppose the Cyberpope. They have established a Resistance Movement that seeks to halt and turn back the spread of the Cyberpapacy.
The Resistance is not organized in a traditional sense, instead being composed of hundreds of independent cells. Each cell works in secret from the others in order to minimize threats if a cell is compromised or captured. Communication is handled through physical dead drops, messengers, or the "wilder" sections of the GodNet. The actual headquarters of the Resistance is located in Paris Liberté, a Core Earth hardpoint and the largest in the Cyberpapacy. Outside of Paris, though, each cell is pretty much on its own. Malraux's smart enough to set up false Resistance cells throughout France, and has managed to infiltrate a few more through skilled agents, capturing the loved ones of Resistance members, and bribery. Still, the Resistance has managed to hold its own against Cyberpapal forces because, as stated previously, the church isn't completely used to the idea of people rebelling against it yet. It wasn't until the Tech Surge and the mixing of Core Earth's, Kandara's, and Magna Verita's axioms that it was possible for anyone to openly rebel against the Avignon Papacy.

The church may have high technology, heavy weapons, and control over the internet, but for the most part they still think in their old, established ways. Look at the example above about the messengers, for instance. It took a lot of time for someone to realize "hey, maybe we don't need to have a messenger stop at every single exchange, do an infodump, then not check his credentials until the end of the week", whereas someone native to Core Earth would realize what a bad idea that was and come up with a workaround in a matter of minutes.

The Cyberpapacy has numbers and high technology at its disposal, but at its core it's still a large organization that hasn't had to deal with change or a serious rebellion for over 600 years. Not only are they being opposed by people for what might as well be first time, the rebels and heretics are people who not only can embrace change, and who have a better understanding of technology (having grown up with most of it), but who did this once before against a facist regime and were pretty drat good at it.

Viva La Résistance, bitches.



NEXT TIME: CyberFrance!

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

One group that's sort-of allied themselves with the Church is the Hands of God. The HOGs aren't so much an organization as a loose confederacy of neo-facists, survivalists, and right-wing groups. Their main unifying traits are a hatred of foreigners, a return to "traditional values", and a desire to wipe out Jews, blacks, and other undesirables. Shortly after the Tech Surge, Malraux sent agents to these various groups to supply them with funding and advanced weaponry. He managed to get the various groups organized (so to speak) and to point them at Paris. HOG members tend to be pretty collateral with their damage, espousing their values and saying they're trying to save France while shooting innocent bystanders and blowing up buildings with rocket launchers. They're mainly used by Malraux as a distraction from his own operatives that has the added benefit of wearing down his enemies' defences. The only reason the HOGs aren't as much of a threat as they might be is because they engage in as much in-fighting as they do attacks against everyone else. In the grand scheme of things, they're cannon fodder. Dangerous cannon fodder, but cannon fodder nonetheless.

There is also something that comes up in the fluff that the HoGs are useful idiots that will eventually be disposed of. I believe their cyberware has cut-outs and they receive cranial bombs whenever they go under the knife.

Evil Mastermind posted:

The Cyberpapacy has numbers and high technology at its disposal, but at its core it's still a large organization that hasn't had to deal with change or a serious rebellion for over 600 years. Not only are they being opposed by people for what might as well be first time, the rebels and heretics are people who not only can embrace change, and who have a better understanding of technology (having grown up with most of it), but who did this once before against a fascist regime and were pretty drat good at it.

And, with one of the template characters, this is literally the truth.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

And, with one of the template characters, this is literally the truth.
That template is honestly my favorite Cyberpapal one, and is probably one of the best in the game.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

That template is honestly my favorite Cyberpapal one, and is probably one of the best in the game.

I'm a little partial to the Cyborg Infiltrator from Tharkold myself, but that's because it's such an obvious Terminator reference.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Torg has always been weird with the pop culture references. It's worst in the modules where act/scene names were references or puns or something. They seem to want everything in Torg to feel serious and high stakes then you get a scene in the Nile Empire called "State of De-Nile" or you get attacked by CyberCatholic schoolgirls or something.

I can't remember if I talked about this in the last thread, but WEG's writers were not funny but kept trying to do comedy games. I mean, their fluff is wooden as hell at the best of times but when they try to make jokes it just becomes embarrassing.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


They scored with Ghostbusters and kept trying to get water from a well that was never that wet to begin with.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

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



Clapping Larry

Evil Mastermind posted:

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: The Inquisition.

Abstinence from meat on Fridays is of course a long-standing part of canon, having been instituted back in the mists of history in 1966, while the Church's knowledge of torture as an ineffectual practice that at best produces lies is a much more modern discovery, only hitting wide circulation in the space-age times of 1376.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Mr. Maltose posted:

They scored with Ghostbusters and kept trying to get water from a well that was never that wet to begin with.

I kinda wish they had fleshed out a scenario in the base book with the retirement home as the center of a cult that's looking for a way to bring back the Really Old Ones, which I imagined looked like Wayne Barthowe's Old One, but moving around with a walker and being senile and partly deaf in one ear pod.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


I just really wish they fleshed out Ghostbusters in general. Now there was a good game.

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

West End published Paranoia, TORG, Aircav, Junta, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Shatterzone, and Blood Shadows. They had a knack for interesting non-licensed settings. Of course they also had all the licensed stuff like Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and all the craptacular Masterbook line.

PleasingFungus
Oct 10, 2012

in my pope game,


Glazius posted:

Abstinence from meat on Fridays is of course a long-standing part of canon, having been instituted back in the mists of history in 1966

Er.

quote:

The Friday Fast is an Eastern Orthodox,[1] Roman Catholic, and Anglican practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays. According to Pope Peter of Alexandria, the Friday fast is done in commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday.[1]

quote:

Pope Peter of Alexandria was Pope of Alexandria (300–311)...

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Yeah, Fish Fridays have been a Catholic thing for a long, long time. It may not have been double plus official stamped by a Pope until 1966, but that doesn't make it nonexistent before then. We even have Papal dispensation that calls beaver a fish for the relief of missionaries working with First Nation groups in the 16-1700s.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Mr. Maltose posted:

We even have Papal dispensation that calls beaver a fish for the relief of missionaries working with First Nation groups in the 16-1700s.

Well, it certain tastes like fish.

Punting
Sep 9, 2007
I am very witty: nit-witty, dim-witty, and half-witty.



And there was also one that allowed for penguin as well, for some of the Antarctic expeditions.

Domus
May 7, 2007

Kidney Buddies


Evil Mastermind posted:

I can't remember if I talked about this in the last thread, but WEG's writers were not funny but kept trying to do comedy games. I mean, their fluff is wooden as hell at the best of times but when they try to make jokes it just becomes embarrassing.

Hey, Paranoia is hilarious, just in a cynical, soul crushing sort of way. Just like GlaDOS from Portal.

Poland Spring
Sep 11, 2005


Domus posted:

Hey, Paranoia is hilarious, just in a cynical, soul crushing sort of way. Just like GlaDOS from Portal.

Honestly GlaDOS is quite possibly the closest example in a game to Friend Computer that I've seen, if a little bit more overtly homicidal. Just a smidgen.

citybeatnik
Mar 1, 2013

You Are All
WEIRDOS





Mr. Maltose posted:

We even have Papal dispensation that calls beaver a fish for the relief of missionaries working with First Nation groups in the 16-1700s.
And yet for some odd reason we couldn't get them to wave a hand and go "yeah, sake and rice balls totes work for communion".

But that just served to give us the possibility of running a L5R game where every PC is a crypto-Catholic so there is that.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

The idea of a cybercatholic is funny and 90s as gently caress, it doesn't need jokes to support it. It's like Warhammer 40k, it needs to be played straight so that humor can emerge from it.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 13 “OCCs of Wormwood”



Now we get into the OCCs for Wormwood. I read this book when it came out but I barely remember anything about any of these, Wormwood just never stuck out much to me. Hopefully they’ll be less utterly forgettable than the druids from England.

First up is the Priest of Light. These guys (the text uses ‘he’ exclusively though no gender exclusion is listed) used to be scholars and healers and spiritual leaders. These days they’re also warriors. The priest can commune with the Wormwood and manipulate its substance directly, so they’re also civil engineers and pest control. Most Priests of Light are stated to be ‘good and compassionate’ individuals who go around helping people. Their theology, what makes them ‘priests’ in particular, is not explained.


in final fantasy tactics, one of these would be the female version

They get some PPE like a caster, but they can’t draw energy from ley lines aside from Wormwood caves of power. They can use blood sacrifice or offerings from other priests, and they have to meditate and pray to use a lot of their powers and restore PPE at a decent rate. They get 20 extra MDC, plus 1d6 per level. They get a list of powers which we’ll go into later, a smattering of skills, including Lore: Wormwood, a new (and obvious) skill. For some reason they get 1d4 wooden stakes and a mallet with their equipment, along with a few weapons, and lists off some types of armor without saying which they get. They don’t use or know much about cybernetics and don’t use symbiotes aside from "the summonables."

Next is the High Priest, which is an NPC class. Oh, here they say there’s a ‘congress’ of priests who operate as the Cathedral’s ruling body. That would have been good to know in the section about the Cathedral. Most major cities have one high priest, those whose territory have been conquered are generally in exile and/or leading freedom fighting units. Obviously, the Cathedral Stronghold has the most. They’re usually 9th level or higher and make laws, administer justice, and lead armies. Okay, that clarifies some things about the governance if not the theology.

Most of the high priests are good with about 10% outright bad apples. Their stats are mostly like regular priests with some small MDC and PPE bonuses and some extra abilities.

The Wormwood spells will be discussed later, but a lot of them are not combat-oriented. The priest in particular gets a short, set list and then is supposed to get more as they level, but leveling in Palladium games is long and tedious. Gaining spells is almost the only case where it even adds a lot. A lot of characters get relatively little besides skill percentages and maybe a combat bonus here and there. They're pretty much vital to Wormwood communities being able to exist at all (remember, half your food is summoned grubs) but aside from that we don't know what their religion is or why they dislike symbiotes or anything else about them.

Next is the apok, our friend from the cover. These are servants of Light who fell to Darkness and then came back out again. Because of this turncoatness they are viewed with great suspicion even though they are deeply self-sacrificing and repentant. I can’t say I entirely blame people for viewing them with some suspicion.


the dress code doesn’t help

The text states that they 100% cannot be bribed or turned from the Light again, which--well I hate using absolutes, even if these guys might be truly repentant. Also, some of them sass the corrupt elements of the Cathedral and that doesn’t win them any favors. The apok are hated and feared by the Unholy above all others because they dress scarily I guess. To become an apok, a character has to pray and meditate, then step into a ‘life vat cauldron’ and then restart as a 1st level apok, getting their mask, and their alignment will change to Principled or Scrupulous--which you thought would have been a prerequisite. It is estimated there are fewer than 1000 of these wandering around, not a big surprise.


totally on the side of good

Statwise, the apok gets some decent PPE but will never use blood sacrifice even of “the most foul villain” which suggests some questionable aspects of the Cathedral’s justice system. They get +40 native MDC and the usual 1d6 per level. They have a static list of Wormwood powers though it’s a big list. They’re immune to Horror Factor, possession and mind control which is actually pretty significant. They also have supernatural strength.

The Demon Mask they all wear is a sign of their repentance (sure, whatever) and each is unique. The mask is supposed to give some hint to their past crimes, but I’m not big on my skull mask heraldry (phrenology?). The mask cannot be forcibly removed. They gain Horror Factor 16 to all demons of Wormwood, and 10 to good aligned characters. Their attacks all do double damage to all supernatural beings, Wormwood or otherwise. This is all attacks, including ranged weapons, and even SDC weapons do MDC to supernatural beings. They also get +1 attack per melee, to initiative, and +200 MDC with 10X faster healing and the mask cannot be destroyed.


yes we know who your favorite child is, godduh

They get a normal spread of skills though they rank among the many, many classes forbidden to take Acrobatics. Maybe nerf that skill instead of just banning it? Again they have wooden stakes and mallets. A bunch of knives and swords, two weapons of choice and one magic weapon of choice, says they usually use ancient/magic weapons exclusively which totally makes sense when those do the least possible damage that gets doubled. Also they can only wear light leather, padded or resin chain mail but ‘mostly for show’ because why wear more armor when you have a skull mask?

They aren’t forbidden cybernetics, they just don’t usually have them since Wormwood doesn’t produce them natively. They also will never use any symbiotes but the Battle Saint or Orb. They don't need a lot of enhancement but the one area where they might get it is specifically blocked. However, they don't lose their powers for leaving Wormwood, so there's that.

This class is pretty buff, and while they might not be able to take down a dragon on their own, they could certainly put a hurt on a lot of fairly tough enemies. The double-damage thing in particular just screams for a railgun. 200 + 40 + armor MDC is pretty significant for what PCs can get, especially as starting characters, and they can regenerate a lot of that total. The downsides are everybody hating and fearing you but murderhobos don’t need no friends.

That’s enough for this one, next up are Monks, which might be their own post, and Wormspeakers.

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

Payndz posted:

The best ToH story was when someone came up with a way to instakill Acerak using his own magic items, and the DM couldn't believe it could be that easy. Gygax happened to be at the tournament, so the DM asked him if was a legit kill; his response was pretty much "Yup, I didn't think of that, so it's cool."
I am time traveling way backwards here in preparation for finally finishing off Powers & Perils (I lost a big effortpost several months back, did a VADER NO!, tore out some hair, and dropped it out of anguish ) but just in case you're wondering what this Konami Code is that you can use to kill Acererak...

You use the Crown and Sceptre. You know, the one that disintegrates the wearer if you touch it with the "wrong" end?

Oh, and after I'm done with that, (which may be setting some kind of record, though I doubt it) I might write up Testament. For if you want to play Israelites vs. Canaanites using D&D 3e rules.

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J Miracle
Mar 25, 2010
It took 32 years, but I finally figured out push-ups!

I like the Apoks a lot because its such a specific thing, like you have to be a bigshot dude with the Light and then go over to the Unholy and then repent and then step into a life vat. It's like, the Confessor has that as a backstory but then it turns out there's like a thousand more dudes like him out there. Also I agree about abusing the doubling, I mean get some old-school SDC rifle that does 2d6x10 damage or something and go to town.

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