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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MadScientistWorking posted:

Honestly it really depends on how much of a conversion you want with Rifts.

Yeah, I just mean having functional approximations of magic, psionics (if you want to differentiate it from magic), nonhuman races, mecha, and vehicles all together having one systemic party. Worrying about converting every fiddly bit would be madness - say, worrying about converting the different Titan robots from core (that are only mild variations on a theme), or fringe magical types like Herbalism or Rain Dances.

MadScientistWorking posted:

I know for a fact you can port of most of the moves from Dungeon World characters sheets on a 1 to 1 basis but I'm not entirely sure about Apocalypse World.

The two systems feel significantly different to me. They're only really similar in the sense that GURPS and Hero are similar, I think, two games that have similar aims but that come from different starting points and design philosophies.

MJ12 posted:

I think just like GURPS is neither particularly Generic or Universal, most universal systems (ORE, M&M, etc) actually have pretty strong biases as to what type of game you're going to play.

Yeah. GURPS is essentially a gritty low fantasy system (a reaction to D&D, really) that's been hacked ad infinitum.

occamsnailfile posted:

Then again at the point where I am now I kind of like reviewing Rifts more than the idea of really playing it again.

Some pies are better off in the sky, anyway.

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oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




One of my best RIFTS experiences was actually using BESM, tri-stat version. It's already geared towards a lot of what RIFTs wants to do (giant robots, ridiculous power levels, etc), but it's a lot simpler. Of course it's also ridiculously easy to break and very abusable...but then again so is rifts and at least BESM is a lot simpler. Of course I played with players who were new to rpgs so I could be sure that it wasn't going to be gamed too hard.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, I just mean having functional approximations of magic, psionics (if you want to differentiate it from magic), nonhuman races, mecha, and vehicles all together having one systemic party. Worrying about converting every fiddly bit would be madness - say, worrying about converting the different Titan robots from core (that are only mild variations on a theme), or fringe magical types like Herbalism or Rain Dances.
Functional approximations of magic, psionics, nonhuman races, mecha, and vehicles actually can actually mean an infinite number of things in Fate. Admittedly, if I'm going to invest this many words to the game I might as well do what I was always planning to do and actually do a complete writeup of the game as it stands today. Part of the problem is that if I were to go on I would essentially end up having to explain Fate Core anyway as you are missing a few key components like the fact that the game does mechanically differentiate between blasts but because its a narrative game more so than Mutants and Masterminds or GURPS it does so in a diametrically different way.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

MadScientistWorking posted:

Functional approximations of magic, psionics, nonhuman races, mecha, and vehicles actually can actually mean an infinite number of things in Fate. Admittedly, if I'm going to invest this many words to the game I might as well do what I was always planning to do and actually do a complete writeup of the game as it stands today. Part of the problem is that if I were to go on I would essentially end up having to explain Fate Core anyway as you are missing a few key components like the fact that the game does mechanically differentiate between blasts but because its a narrative game more so than Mutants and Masterminds or GURPS it does so in a diametrically different way.

I'd be interested in seeing it, I'm slowly reading my copy of Fate Core since I am in no danger of getting a game soon and sometimes it can be a little abstract (I know the Worlds PDFs are available to backers) so more examples of working in the system would be good. Also Rifts is funny.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Sparks! Explosions! And that's just my teeth grinding as I read...



The Part for the Guy in Charge

Actually, it isn't, despite the header. The actual Game Master's section starts fifteen pages later, which is good because this portion includes the kind of mechanics that it's usually better for players to be familiar with than not.

It begins by describing the confusingly named round, which again lasts six seconds during combat, and one minute outside. It wouldn't have killed anyone to better differentiate between them with names like... 'rounds' and 'turns', but on second thought, that might have required someone to actually edit this book.
In a surprising nod to fairness, they explictly state that powers used outside of combat drain PP more slowly, since a non-combat round is six times lo...wait. Is this rule based explictly on a stupid, built-in technicality?
No matter the reasoning, this rule is in effect to prevent sustained powers from being useless outside of a combat scenario.

Distance is at a scale of one real inch to five feet in game.

Non-combat movement is gently handwaved as movement in inches doubled, and written down in miles per hour.

Running is determined by your MOVES score, and any modifiers applied from Growth, Running (skill) or Run Fast, if this wasn't already self-explanatory. Moving half your maximum range or less counts as half an action, which is a weird case that will become slightly less so shortly.

Jumping (without benefit of poles or related powers) lets you go half your maximum movement horizontally, or one quarter vertically. No word on whether that requires a running start, which is probably for the best.

Combat

Oh, combat. Oh, boy.

First you figure out who's fighting. Straightforward enough. Initiative is determined with a roll of d10 plus one-tenth your MOVES, highest goes first. They note that time-sensitive hazards (ticking bombs, as their example) also get an initiative roll too. Identical results trigger roll-offs between the lucky contestants.
Everyone involved (except perhaps the bomb) can choose to wait. A waiting character can interrupt the initiative order at any time, simulating the villainous habit of lying in wait, or maybe throwing themselves into the path of danger.
Surprise is simple: if there's a chance that someone would notice a lurking attacker, they get a BRAINS roll on d20 to notice before the trap's sprung. Otherwise, the ambusher gets a free full round on the targets. No extra benefits, unless they're using a maneuver that grants one. GM's are advised to play surprise by ear, and play fair.

Normally a character can move up to one half their maximum range, then perform an action such as blasting, grabbing, soliloquizing, etc. A full-length move counts for your whole round, unless... you do it twice.

Doing it Twice is a weird little rule that ex-loving-plodes into a horror of extra moves with judicious use of martial arts and extra limbs. In essence it lets you double your actions in a round: normally one, which allows for move-attack-move maneuvers for regular characters, and a lot of die rolls for ones designed to take advantage of it in the most sordid senses of the word. It takes 3 PP and a MOVES roll on d20, which they note is easy for someone with high MOVES, but like a skill check it auto-fails on a 20.
For an innocently designed character this means you could:
  • Move twice your normal distance.
  • Move your full distance and take an action.
  • Move half your normal distance and take two actions.

...this is explictly multiplicative, not additive. They've walked straight into a sea of characters that will, at the very least, have four attacks per round 95% of the time.

What counts as an action? Activating a power, grabbing something, throwing a punch, that sort of thing. Deactivating a power or dropping an object doesn't count, which is nice. Not moving doesn't get you any mechanical benefits.

What about PP? Maintenance costs (if any) and regeneration are handled at the beginning of each character's round.

Actually hitting things involves consulting a chart that looks suspiciously like a 1E AD&D to-hit matrix, though this one skips and hiccups from one level range vs. 'hittability' level to the next. According to the authors, it's designed so that characters tackling an equal-level threat will have a 50/50 chance to hit. Taking cover or using specific maneuvers can bump things around, but why bother, given the enormous sacks of hit points these characters are carrying around?

Offensive Combat Maneuvers
...are where things get annoyingly complicated.

Punches are easy. Takes an action. Takes 2 PP. Deals d6 damage plus whatever modifiers you've got.

Attacks to Off-Balance are a fantastic way to piss off your GM! For only 1 PP, one action and a successful hit, you can deal -3 to-hit and -3 hittability to your target, and make them take +3 damage from the next hit that actually deals it. But wait, there's more! This maneuver is cumulative and you can get your friends in on it too! The penalties dissipate at the rate of 1/round, and vanish completely when you get around to whomping the poor bastard, but still.

Attack to the Rear isn't exactly a maneuver, per se, but it gives you +3 to hit. Backstabber.

Combination Attacks are a tried-and-true staple of the genre, saddled to a pile of lovely rolls that low-level heroes are hilariously unlikely to pull off. Because. Spend 2 PP for this, plus how many for Do it Twice and everything else you want to use for extra actions. Roll d20 under your level for each action. If you succeed with those, and all the actual to-hit rolls, you get to deal all the damage as one lump for purposes of defeating damage resistance and such. Multiple characters can combine too, a la Colossus and Wolverine or the Power Rangers, but that's another roll against your level again for everyone involved. If someone blows that one, they don't get to contribute.

Full Speed Strike is a flying punch, and that means dealing with those awful flight speed rules. Basically? You're ramming someone. You need to be moving at least 24", and if you're really fast, you deal double damage and take half of what's rolled yourself. If you're really, really fast, you quadruple your damage and take double what's rolled yourself. The writers claim this power can kill characters, but... no. Not likely.

Grappling takes up half a goddamn page to basically say the following: Grabbing is a to-hit roll, takes 2 PP and an action. Holding on requires neither. Breaking free is grappling in reverse, with the same costs, and forces each character involved to add MUSCLES to a d% roll with highest roll winning.

Haymakers just aren't worth the goddamn effort. It eats all of your potential actions and 3 PP, forces an initiative penalty and requires a successful roll against your level in return for... +1 to hit and double damage.

Hitting Things With Other Things comes complete with the half page Common Objects Damage Table, which provides damage potential for everything from bricks to aircraft carriers, and also HTK values... presumably based off those damage values. So the average human is as tough as a brick. Who knew?
First you've gotta grab something, as per grappling above. Then you've got to determine how heavy the thing is and whether you can lift it... which, hey! There's no clear rule for this! Awesome! And after all that, your super-strong character gets to deal even more damage.
There's also some half-formed rule for wear on improvised weapons reducing damage and HTK by one die per hit, which means tossed bricks disintegrate after one throw. Bravo.

The Love Tap is for taking out mooks. 2 PP, one action, only works on someone with no PP in reserve. Roll to hit, deal no damage, but force a HTK save on the target; if they blow it, they're knocked cold. Handy for capturing winded villains, too.

The Pop-Tart is another annoyingly complicated maneuver that your GM will adore you for. It takes 3 PP and three actions: a grab, a throw, and a punch. Strangely, the punch is against a Hittability of zero, which... is an automatic hit, according to the table. Maybe situational penalties apply too.
And because they don't think we can be trusted with sharp objects, the authors point out that this 'punch person into the air so they take falling damage' power doesn't work very well against characters that can fly.
Boiling down half a page of wank: deal punch damage, plus falling damage once you've figured out how high you threw them.

Pull & Punch takes three actions, which is going to require some dicking around, and 3 PP. Grapple, punch, and if the target doesn't escape the grab, you get to deal double MUSCLES damage because you... pulled them into your punch. Thank god I'm almost finished this section.

Strike for Effect is strangely named, because the only effect it produces is knockback. It costs 1 PP for every die of damage the attacking power deals, which must be spent before the to-hit roll is made. If you hit, you deal damage normally... then take it, divide it by five, round down and apply the result as the number of inches the target flies back (or up, if you're a bastard and did this with the pop-tart). If you're stopped short by something, you (and it) take 1d6 damage for every inch you should have gone further.
Apparently this one can be used to drive someone into the ground like a tent peg. While the ground apparently has an undefined amount of HTK per equally undefined portion of surface area and thickness, this is pretty much just cheap extra damage.

Throwing Things takes two actions, 3 PP, and involves grabbing and making calculations based on the weight of what you're trying to throw... which, again, isn't actually defined anywhere. Recall, this was printed when Yahoo! was just a collection of user-curated links, so determining the weight of weird objects could be problematic.
Objects under 3/4 of your max press can be hucked 1" per point of MUSCLES, and presumably do MUSCLES plus object's bonuses worth of damage; it's not exactly clear. Things that are heavier, but not beyond your maximum lift, only go 1/5 as far, and who knows what kind of damage they do.

Trick shots take two actions, 3 PP, and possibly a Bimbo Point if the GM thinks the shot is too outlandish. If the GM okays the move, the attack is made at -5 and will do no damage... unless you're trying to attack a carried Gizmo or the like.

Whip is... not what I expected. From the bonuses that Get Big granted, I expected throwing or some kind of sweeping motion. Instead... it's intimidation. For one action and 2 PP, you tot your PERSONALITY, level and FAME (holy poo poo, an actual use for this worthless stat!) together and compare it to a target's BRAINS plus d6. If the whipper's result is less than the defender's, poo poo happens. Equal or greater, the target loses an entire round considering. Double? The defender takes 1-3 whole goddamn rounds to do nothing but fret. And if it's triple, the defender meekly goes 'yes'm' and acquiesces.
While there's safety in numbers, it's not much: everyone affected by a single Whip gets a bonus to their roll equal to the number of people affected.
A sidebar explains that it isn't mind control, won't make someone do something they're diametrically opposed to, and is intended to convince thugs and half-mashed villainesses to stand down... which is unreasonably useful, because everyone, including the thugs, takes way too long to smack down otherwise.

quote:

But before we go on: aPlmost all these maneuvers have the vast potential for abuse, by both the GM and the players. A good rule of thumb for this system is USE IT-DON'T ABUSE IT!

Actually, a good rule of thumb for this whole drat system is 'leave it on the shelf where you found it', but I digress.

Defensive Combat Maneuvers

...Because what's an ungainly mess without more mess? Fortunately there are only two entries here.

Change Facing lets you make a BRAINS roll on d20 and spend 2 PP to turn 90 degrees. That is, just in time so that someone attacking from behind no longer gets their +3 bonus to hit. This can only be done once per round.

Cover isn't really a maneuver, but anyway. 'A little bit', characterized as hiding behind a telephone pole or an upright table, gives a -3 to hit. 'Halfway covered', such as standing behind a desk or the hood of a car, gives -5. 'Mostly covered', with only your head sticking out from behind a car, a corner, a hostage or the like, is worth a wacky -10 to hit. Finally, 'total coverage' grants a -14.
A sidebar points out that cover is usually effective only with ranged attacks, and that attacks that hit cover will often damage it (and its efficacy). Exceptions include things like playing whack-a-moleman.

Fighting Blind is not a maneuver. It's a status effect caused by things like a toon eraser wiping out your eyes, darkness, getting a bag pulled over your head, or the old sand in the face trick. At base, as noted in a previous update, being blinded gives a -5 to hit out to 2", and -10 beyond that... but there are mitigators. This takes a solid quarter of a page to explain, complete with slander against players who can't tell the difference between their awareness of the combat board and their characters'.
Means of mitigating the penalty for blindness are accumulative, but each one restates the penalties modified for that mitigator, so you have to do some backtracking math to figure the bonuses out in order to use more than one. Not difficult, but it could have been better.
Blind Fighting gives +5/+5, straight up. Being guided in some way by someone else is worth +2/+4. Good Hearing will give +1/+2, as will Smell Good, if they apply.

Damage From Normal stuff

And here we have a couple pages of what comes down to... squat. Or in Super-Babes lingo, 'guidelines'.

Acid deals damage based on concentration. Amazing. Acids that are strong enough to dissolve people or objects should average 1d6 damage per round.

Animal attacks will do between 1 HTK and 1d10. Their suggestion for a charging bull elephant is 1d20, as that should be enough to kill the Average Joe.

Atomic weapons vaporize everything within two miles, then 10d1% a mile out from there, less 1d% for every mile further out.

Characters can hold their breath for a very long time-- 1 round for every point of HEALTH, which is straight-up Guybrush Threepwood levels in out of combat scenarios. Once you run out of breath, your heart stops beating in 1d10 combat rounds, and there they repeat the resuscitation rules from First Aid.

Drugs are handwaved.

Electrical damage depends on voltage, which I'm pretty sure is wrong, but Super-Babes! 110v gets you at d6 per minute, 220v is twice that, a generic high-voltage line deals d%, and a transformer will deal multiple percentiles. You're a real rear end in a top hat, Megatron.

Exploding gasoline only deals 5 points per gallon when it goes up. This must be some pretty low-octane stuff.

Falling damage! d6 per ten feet, capping off at 35d6 because of terminal velocity. And there's wank about sorting out how fast a character falls, and an impressive typo that almost doubles the maximum possible damage from falling to 65 dice.
All this takes a full half page.

Fire deals 3 damage per round, whether you're alight or just passing through. Smoke inhalation deals another point a round, and you're effectively blinded by the stuff after a d6 rounds. Have fun!

Truly lousy weather can kill you: at 0 or 125F, you'll take 1 HTK an hour. Every 25 degrees past those extremes bumps the hourly hassle by 1 HTK.

Being hit by a car basically involves sorting its current and maximum speeds out and applying the ramming-while-flying rules... which isn't going to do much, because I'm pretty sure that cars don't have MUSCLES scores to back up a few piddly dice of damage.

Liquid nitrogen and similarly cold substances deal d% damage with each immersion, until the target is frozen solid. Presumably dead, too.

Poisons are suggested as plot devices, since they're usually fairly slow-acting, if still lethal. Lethal poisons deal at least 1 HTK per hour until the antidote's conjured up and used.

Radiation deals... 1d3 HTK per round at high concentrations. "Smaller concentrations may do as little as 1 HTK per day, or just plain give you cancer!"
Delightful.

Fatalities: How They Happen, How To Avoid Them. takes up, no exaggeration, a full page and a half of space. It's a valid concern: This is a game where PCs tote hundreds of hit points and can set themselves up to deal dozens of dice of damage; 'fine grained' is not a term that really fits here. It's also based in a Goldish Age superhero setting-- collateral damage happens, but people don't explode the way they would in an Ennis or Ellis joint. So it's definitely worth addressing.

"The Scientific Accident origin is almost designed with character fatality in mind..." Almost? The 'don't understand your own strength' option was barely a footnote. But anyway.

Here we're offered a handful of optional rules for keeping PCs alive, because apparently things get increasingly lethal with higher levels. In order:
  • Count Invulnerability twice, once a character is dipping into HTK.
  • Let characters go to -HTK before beginning the dying process, rather than cacking out at zero.
  • Have the player wipe their lips with the back of their hand, like Captain Kirk getting a second wind. No mechanical effect, but a signal to the GM to start pulling punches.
  • Know when to give up. Have injured villains cut and run (probably after doing something dastardly) or surrender, and encourage players to back off when their characters are teetering. Recurring villains, flimsy prisons and enemies more interested in showing one another up than killing them are pretty par for the genre they're trying to emulate here.

Next up are suggestions for dealing with PCs killing NPCs... intentionally, mainly. It's a fair topic, given that in the minds of a lot of players, and as presented in a lot of games, a target is something that you want dead.
  • Make sure everyone knows about the fatality rules and expectations. Don't be afraid to repeat it here and there. "This way they can't claim ignorance, and you can be sure that your wishes have been communicated effectively." Claiming ignorance makes my eyebrows rise, but the rest is surprisingly mature.
  • Talk to the problem player. This section must have been written by a guest author, there isn't even a suggestion of kicking the bum out of the game here.
  • Fiat! The body vanished! It was a Doombot! The Clone Arrangers have been notified! She was faking it! Classic excuses for villains not staying good and dead! Best used in moderation, lest the PCs start to dismember enemies, just to make sure.
  • Call the cops! Even this is qualified as being intended for serial offenders, with potential unpleasant side effects like 'lost Origin support' and 'stuffed in stasis cell'.
  • Finally, in the case of incorrigible asshats, they bring out a ten-dollar word and suggest "...ostracizing such an individual from the game" as an absolute worst-case solution, should all else fail.

Gamemaster's Section

For real, this time! Great swathes of this section are very basic campaign-building 101 ideas, so I'm going to be doing more glossing than usual.

There is tentative support for setting games outside 1993-contemporary AC Comics continuity. Golden Age is one suggestion-- Nazis, experimental super-serums, adventurers dragging red lines behind them as they travel the world... oh, and modern amenities would qualify as Gizmos. Whee. Westerns! ...populated mostly by Adventuresses. Alternate realities!
Yeah. Maybe a paragraph or two for each idea, and nothing particularly noteworthy or useful.

Villain campaigns are not recommended! They're an occasional thing, intended to break up the monotony of being good guys every week... or however often you play. Villains tend to be volatile and prone to backstabbing, so they suggest PC villains be in the employ (or credible threat) of a more powerful villain or Entity.
There's also a specific admonition against taking (currently) unused heroic sheets and pitting them against the active villains, because that kind of thing breeds out of character antagonism. It also makes the GM look like an asshat.

And right here, in a spot that's almost a footnote, they point out that NPC villains get XP the same way PC heroes do. This probably means they're going to be advancing a lot more slowly, unless you're taking them out to stomp on hapless heroes between sessions, or something.

The section on adventure ideas is profoundly lazy. 'Break an old villainess out'. 'Make a new villainess and weave an intricate plot full of detective work to find her... and retcon her in as the power behind the scenes.' 'Steal a movie plot.' 'Steal an adventure module from another game and repurpose it.' There's another section after that where they explain the concept of ad-libbing adventures.

Supporting cast, Law & Order, and Property Damage provide nothing more than what common sense or rereading earlier sections of the manual would.

NPCs

These come in a few flavours.

The Average Joe has 150 CP or less to spend, which generally means 10s in each primary STAT and a lovely 10 CP job. They have no PP, which makes them particularly squishy.

Cops, thugs, soldiers, government agents and the like are built on the same amount of points... but they get to calculate PP, can level up (gaining 10 PP each level) and have enough left over at level 0 to grab Fire One Gun. The PP makes them a lot tougher, and lets them use all those annoying combat moves the PCs have taken to.

Supernatural Entities range from elven wageslaves to Dread Nylonathotep. They come in four varieties, or 'Classes', which range in power from 150 CP to a bowel-shaking 3600. Class 1's are Magical Average Joes. 2's can pass (or be used as) PCs. Class 3's are the rough range where Supernatural Pupils' mentors come in. Class 4's are commonly mistaken for gods.

Aliens follow the same pattern, only they're classed by Type. Same as before, only the Type 4's are described as a short allusion to Galactus.

Stuff

Stuff is gear. Stuff is also basically confined to things peculiar to the Femforce universe, and takes up a lot of space to say very little, again.

Span-XX is... making me want to hit whoever thought that was a 'cute' name. Besides the stupid name, it's the in-universe excuse for costumes that don't tear, burn or otherwise come apart unless a Bimbo Event or the GM's penis decides they do. Basic superheroic costume material.
Surprisingly, given the obsession with money evinced early in the book, there's no cost per yard listed.
Neither are there costs listed for the page-long table of conventional weapons the next page over, either. While that may seem long, they've boiled things down to generic examples of weapon types. You don't really need four or five sorts of shotgun when everyone's flitting around and farting lightning.
Copping out, the authors suggest the use of catalogues to determine the cost of items, or just wing it. From personal experience, a lot of GMs will aim wide of the mark, so I'm a little less than enthused by that approach.

Bases are built with money. Specifics are left up to the GM, again, with basically a full page of fluff and chatter about sweet screw-all. Oh, and you can build Gizmos into them, at a rate of 5 CP worth of Gizmo for every CP invested. While regular Gizmos tend to break down when they get lonely for their owners, base-based ones are somewhat more accommodating.

Vehicles are like Bases, only smaller, and Gizmos built into them are considered Incredibly Obvious for purposes of the CP math.

Judgment calls! Waffling! Extraordinary circumstances! Precedents! This poo poo is self-explanatory!

Plot devices are things (or decisions) that break the rules in order to keep the story going. A super-gun that makes everyone Fall Down-- wait, sorry, that's the other cartoonish RPG-- is not a plot device, it's just lovely design.

quote:

Sometimes players will be unable to recognize or unwilling to accept a plot device for what it is. In that instance, GMs might want to fall back on GM's fiat and merely inform the players that it's a plot device and to leave it alone.
Normally I'd be inclined to let that slide, because I've been in similar situations, but gently caress you, Super-Babes. When your players are dead set against letting the plot device slide, it's time to back the hell up, not piss them off further with the Handwave of God.

Game Balance

quote:

What is game balance? Simply put, game balance is a gamemaster maintaining control of his campaign through a judicious use of power.
I really think this passage is Super-Babes at its most paternalistic. Vague statements two paragraphs later about knowing when to say 'no' and when to say 'yes' only reinforce the feeling.

The half page on distributing XP isn't bad. Listen to the players; if you're friends, they'll chat with you about the campaign sometimes. Good idea. "...And players will constantly try to weasel information out of the GM about..."

I can't even get a paragraph's break from this garbage. What. The. Hell?

"Avoid sudden rises or drops in campaign XP; like a patient in a hospital, the sudden shock just might kill them."

Just how loving fragile do you think your system here is, boys?

"Above all, be sure to maintain game balance."

I have no idea what this has to do with actually doling XP out.

Don't give out XP during the game. Be ready to calculate it at any given juncture, and make sure you do it before everyone leaves for the night, but don't give it out in the middle of game, even if someone is really close to leveling. Because gamers are loving mogwai or something.

Character Makeovers
...are not what they sound like, shockingly enough. The writers claim that it's a unique idea, but let's face it: that's bullshit.
Basically, it's a full-blown character respec. Just about everyone can probably name at least one superhero who's undergone a major rewrite or full-blown retcon.
With this being Super-Babes, there is of course an rear end in a top hat clause built in. First, you have to do it at a level-up. Second, you have to hash it all out with the GM, who (of course) reserves veto rights. Third, when you level up... you don't get the 50 CP you normally would. Why?



That's why. Thank you, Mr. Caruso.

And that's it for the core book! Except for a sample adventure which is next to totally useless-- it's a very vague framework, with references to high-level NPCs, and without even a sample combat to give new GMs an idea of how to run things or have a vague idea of how to set up a challenging fight scene.

And except for a few filled out character sheets. They're a rogue's gallery of heroines and villainesses across a variety of levels... none of which are anywhere near zero, which makes them a little useless for actual play.
They're also useless as guides for character design, too. In fact, there is no sample 'level zero' character in the book, whatsoever. Now, they repeat several times that you shouldn't try to shove everything you want into a starting character, because you won't have anything to advance toward. Sure, whatever, but... what about designing a competent character to begin with? What's a good starting stat for someone who's specializing in its traits? How many dice should a beginning Blast deal, and to what kind of range? These things aren't so much as suggested anywhere.

I was wrong, earlier. The average cup size in these sheets is a D, ignoring the fifty foot She-Cat robot (whose measurements are '?????') and The Black Commando (whose are listed as 'hey, he's a guy').

Sigh.

I've glanced over this book a few times over the years. I've become more aware of its skeeviness as time has gone by. I've always felt that, with some serious editing (getting rid of the editorial comments, eliding some sections entirely) it could work as a decent, low-impact superhero game. I was wrong.

The system is irredeemably awful. Entire stats can be safely tossed, whole systems deleted. The core of it all, the raison d'etre of the whole thing, puts the 'slug' back in 'slugfest'. This is what happens when you take AD&D 2nd Edition and circa 1990 CHAMPIONS books, shake them in the hopes of getting design wisdom to come out, then just kind of hybridize them when that doesn't work. Oh, and load it with commentary by the kind of person who bitches about 'political correctness' when they're asked not to be an rear end in a top hat.

...and we're done. So long, Super-Babes.

Only not.

I've got a short stack of Super-Babes supplements, and I'm going to touch on at least two or three. The first, because they had at least a brief brush with funny. The second, because it's just a horror of their brand of 'game balance'. The third... because I think it might have a sex offender bathmat in it.

What a wretched loving book.

FourmyleCircus
Sep 15, 2013


Bieeardo posted:

...and we're done. So long, Super-Babes.

Only not.

I've got a short stack of Super-Babes supplements, and I'm going to touch on at least two or three. The first, because they had at least a brief brush with funny. The second, because it's just a horror of their brand of 'game balance'. The third... because I think it might have a sex offender bathmat in it.

What a wretched loving book.

Two things... I'll do the adventure if you actually do this.

Secondly, you left out the best/worst part of those sections. The Cam and Marc Sez "sidebars". The Law one is kinda boring, just common sense. Your supers act like thugs? Sue them or put them in jail.

But the Stuff...

Summary: Players like getting stuff. Give them stuff. But not too much stuff. And remember to take away their stuff, but only do it on occasion so your players don't take you out behind the woodshed and redecorate your epidermis.

And of course, their comment on the absurdly powerful aliens.

Summary: Yes, we gave Cthulhu stats. Don't punch him. it won't work. Don't use him, because your players will want to punch him, and it won't work. And oh yeah, you shouldn't have too many of these.

I apologize for the crap scans, but I didn't want to damage my copy any more than it already was. I've got like, six pages about to fall out.

Demon_Corsair
Mar 22, 2004

Goodbye stealing souls, hello stealing booty.

MadScientistWorking posted:

Functional approximations of magic, psionics, nonhuman races, mecha, and vehicles actually can actually mean an infinite number of things in Fate. Admittedly, if I'm going to invest this many words to the game I might as well do what I was always planning to do and actually do a complete writeup of the game as it stands today. Part of the problem is that if I were to go on I would essentially end up having to explain Fate Core anyway as you are missing a few key components like the fact that the game does mechanically differentiate between blasts but because its a narrative game more so than Mutants and Masterminds or GURPS it does so in a diametrically different way.

I would love to see this. Rifts was my first game so it will always have a special place in my heart. And FATE is a system I love but never know what to do with it.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

FourmyleCircus posted:

Bieeardo's Shameful Secret

If you'd like to cover the adventure, go right ahead! I've never tried to run anyone through the system, so I'd probably just get even more frustrated and disgusted with it than I already am.

I couldn't even parse the first sidebar. I was already ill after everything else, and whipsawing back and forth between 'distract your players with new toys' and 'take the toys away' wasn't helping. The bit about Gizmos was just a restatement too, hooray for padding.

The ridiculousness of statting creatures on literally thousands of points comes back to the eternal 'Why?' of statting powers like the one the system claims is used to create Artificial Being characters: it's numbers and mechanics-obsessed, cargo-cult design. AD&D had stats for its gods fairly recently, Call of Cthulhu did too. Statting them out makes things look legitimate, even if there's no possible way the PCs are going to scratch them. So my brain just kind of glossed over that.

Nevermind that my usual mantra is 'If it has stats, it can be killed.'

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012


To be fair, AD&D did kinda expect you to try to murder pantheons.

Key word is "try."

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 23: “Progressive CR, also alpha”



More Forces of Evil. I appreciate that the forces of the Unholy have a little nuance (a tiny bit), some entities brought with them from other worlds who may not like it on Wormwood, or which made a really bad soul-selling deal and can’t get out of it. They’re still pretty one-note and often a bit overpowered in the MDC realm but we shall carry on.

Morphworms are next. They’re hideous evil monsters who feed on humanoids and mammals. They already know about Earth and are dimensional travelers. I’m going to leave out the section on how and how often they eat, the illustration is probably sufficient. Basically they go insane with hunger every seven days and remain constantly gross.


a worm that has worms

Despite berserker hunger, they are intelligent, just evil. They are called morphworms because they can shapechange, obviously. They usually disguise themselves as beautiful people to lure in the unsuspecting. They also have hundreds of MDC and can naturally dimensionally teleport to their homeworld or other visited world, though only twice per day at 70% which means they could actually fail and be stuck, rarely. A lot of them are allied to the Unholy because of the good hunting.

Next is the Ram-Bat who is apparently actually the goat guy in the left hand side of the Entrancer picture. They are the typically mean bullies who pick on the weak and prey on other intelligent life, durable as a heavy-armored warrior with supernatural strength but not overwhelming.

Then we get the ‘Rathos the Rumbler’ RCC. These are demons who love war, and their species name is ‘Rathos’ but humans call them ‘Rumblers’ because ‘the earth rumbles when they walk’. Apparently away from Wormwood they have limited earth magic. They more MDC than the Ram-Bats but a stupider name so that probably evens out. Both like to use weapons though the book keeps mentioning hand-to-hand weapons as if MD hand to hand weaponry weren’t kind of rare and weak.


sure, okay

Next is the Shade RCC. Unlike the apparently shout-prone Ram-Bats and Rumblers, these guys are calm and collected supernatural predators. They’re elite warriors and spies with natural abilities to turn invisible and shadow meld. They are tougher still than the Rumblers but don’t do much natural MD damage--they need weapons for that. They have psionics and a few natural magic spells, mostly the shadow melding and flying. They also take double damage from light-based attacks, including lasers.


i love the doofus grin

Now it is time for the Skelter Bats which featured in our intro story. They appear to be ‘part snake, insect, bat, and demon’, which, get off the drat fence will you? Anyway they’re big scary flying things that the Sky Riders use a lot because they’re easily bred and obedient and always ready to snap down at prey. They’re tough, they can pounce and riders often travel in groups.


i am the night

Sky Riders ride both the Skelter Bats and Feathered Serpents and perhaps other flying animals as well, since they don’t have the same telepathic bond with their mounts that the hound guys do. They’re prone to reckless stunts at least while others of their kind are watching, and love to show off. They like to pick up enemy fighters and sling them into groups of others, bowling-style, or snag them with a hook and drag them into obstacles or along the ground. They use vicious skyborn tactics and are all big meanies. Individually they aren’t extremely tough, but they travel in groups and ride more than one to a bat/serpent/whatever sometimes, and can wear armor and use weapons.

The Temporal Raider is given an entry but not stats--you’re told to see England for that, standalone GM. The Raiders are often independent and significant portion of them even work with the good guys, but they’re too useful to turn down and too individualistic to judge as a whole, apparently.

Lastly, we get the Worm Zombies, because as an evil invading army of demonic death, you gotta have zombies. They’re corrupted from Wormwood’s essence rather than being the other kinds of zombie Rifts has presented us with and can speak a few repetitive words like ‘you must die’ or whatever. They have 60-120 MDC from ‘armor’ which apparently someone with too much time and armor might put on them, and it’s extra-strange since they’re nine feet tall. They’re vulnerable to silver for some reason, and tend to pick up any hand-to-hand weapon nearby to attack with. Not a huge obstacle but strong enough to annoy.

Overall while I think these critters are overpowered (even with things like apoks around) they have a little more variety than a lot of the ‘is a sadistic supernatural monster’, with actual factional differences and monster races who may actually not automatically be serving the Darkness or may be working for their own agenda on the back of the Unholy, and not all of these sadistic evil monsters share the same culture--the Hound Riders in particular have their own thing going, and the Temporal Raiders actually have more of an explicable role in this book than in England even if that’s where they’re statted.

End of minions! On to Lords of Darkness! Only twenty pages to go!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MadScientistWorking posted:

Part of the problem is that if I were to go on I would essentially end up having to explain Fate Core anyway as you are missing a few key components like the fact that the game does mechanically differentiate between blasts but because its a narrative game more so than Mutants and Masterminds or GURPS it does so in a diametrically different way.

I'd love to see a writeup. I know it does distinguish it - I've been in FATE games of one sort or another continuously for over two years now - but in a narrative sense more than a mechanical sense. A lot of it comes down to how a GM wants to interpret a laser being different from a bullet, how your character build interprets it, or if your particular version of FATE has stunts or subrules for lasers or bullets. It's very functional in that way but it doesn't really favor the fetishistic lists of gear that old-school games like Rifts love so much. (Whether that's important to preserve in any sense is up to the reader, of course.)

In any case, if anybody actually wants to discuss conversions and their ilk further, the Palladium thread could always use a wake-up call.

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012


The current Bundle of Holding is Feng Shui.

Less than two days left!

EDIT: Thought I'd stick it in here since Feng Shui was pretty popular in the last thread.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 24: “The Host of Darkness (will seat you shortly)”



Okay, there’s a hierarchy listed here. The Unholy, High Lord Lesion, Lord Krikton Master of Parasites, Salome, and then the Host who are The Unholy’s species but serving him. The Host is the correct collective term for them, and they are the last of a dying breed (thank goodness) of supernatural monsters. Apparently they were never great at dimensional travel and thousands of years ago they got imprisoned in some limbo-like abyss dimension by one of the many other powerful evil multi-dimensional entities, but they never talk about it and asking them will get their eternal enmity.

The hedonistic pre-Host Wormwood people managed to open a gate to this pseudo-dimension and one of them allowed the Unholy to possess them, transforming them into a new shard of itself and setting it free. Each member of the Host who tries to escape has to find a willing host to give up their body, so trickery is involved, and having possessed and rebirthed, they are now native to Wormwood. It seems to be a specific curse from their imprisonment that they specifically cannot leave their reborn world. They also do not have a soul, so destroying their body simply ends them--none of this d-teleporting or drifting around as energy forms or whatever. I approve of this, though I am sure they will have long rambling bullshit for statblocks.

Also they apparently obey the Modron principle in that if three or more or present, one becomes the leader and the others start a hierarchy below. They cooperate rather than backstab, at least now, because they are few and dying and actually have a reason to be on each others’ side. There are 19 total hosts. Also, they can only gain one member every 20 years.

Of course, being so few in number, they’re immensely powerful. Well, pretty powerful anyway. They have 1D4x1000 base MDC which is dragon-league but not the crazy numbers they start slapping on gods and ‘alien intelligences’. They gain a few hundred if there are three or more, but it’s not for every three, just the once. The leader gets 4D6x100 extra as well. Also they apparently cannot swim--they drown, which is hilarious. Holy water burns them. Wormwood is perfect with its oceanless dryness. Half damage from magic fire and plasma.

Their big special ability is ‘the power to warp of shape nature’ which only occurs when three or more are present. It happens automatically, and basically starts shaping areas around them into a demonic appearance. One can see how this is a problem for Wormwood. Areas under Host control consequently all start looking more sinister than the weird gray-brown-pink living stone planet already does. They normally get a list of core spells in twisted landscapes they control, but on Wormwood they get a bunch of Communion spells instead.


i suppose baphomet had to be somewhere in any book mentioning the word ‘templar’

They have a bunch of psionics, some natural but actually fairly restrained natural MDC attacks, and no spell list outside of the Wormwood communion. That’s unusual but not really unwelcome, there’s enough to deal with there already. They also have a big hoard of treasure which they do value even if the rest of the planet doesn’t. They’re about 10-13 feet tall and look like the above. There are about 10,000 more of these trapped in the un-place where the Unholy came from.

So these guys are very strong, but I feel like PCs could work out a way to beat on them. At the least they don’t have the escape gently caress-yous of most other villains and while the presence of tens of thousands more is quite threatening, they’re not just biding their time until they want to overwhelm the last stand of goodness, they’re stuck. The overall dreariness of Wormwood’s prospects is kind of wasting the relative balance of these as enemies, I think, and their nature-twisting abilities ties neatly with Wormwood being a living planet who is being warped and infected by these beings.

Some individual members of the villainous host get some writeups. First is the Unholy; he’s awful and mean and lost his left eye in a fight with the Confessor (of course) and has sewn a patch into it as a reminder since it would grow back otherwise. He controls his minions well, and those who serve him revel in the power they have over others under his autocracy of raging evil. He doesn’t go out of his way to be sadistic but sure doesn’t hesitate to hurt things and has no hesitation in using humans like cattle.

He also has the one dimensional power that the Host possessed naturally: the power to create the Black Abyss, which is a dimensional pocket prison not unlike that which the Host themselves were trapped in. Normally they imprison a foe in stasis for 1D4 days per level unless put on a nexus, then it goes up into centuries--and if five or more are done at one nexus they block other rifts from opening. Only the leader of the Host and second in command can use this power. Shifters and temporal classes can find people trapped this way, and temporals can learn it as a spell. It costs 500 PPE and lists no save.

Otherwise the Unholy obeys the stat guidelines above, and tends to fight with a battle-stone enhanced scepter that does 2D6x10 and has he 6100 MDC.

Lesion is next, and he is The Unholy’s trusted advisor. He pretty much runs things day-to-day but does not aspire for the throne because evil is always loyal to evil. He has agents infiltrating everywhere, even the upper echelons of the Cathedral. He actually has a better scepter than the Unholy which is studded with like five different crystals and bloodstones.

Lord Krikton is the “Master of Parasites” and has a gift for further mutating creatures and made a lot of the parasites that so addle enemies with their pounce attacks. He’s also working on three new designs, “Material for a supplement perhaps, Hint, hint. The Editor.” . He hoards stuff more than other Host, is envious, and meaner even than the two in charge, which is to say Diabolic versus Miscreant. He actually does want to kill the other two ahead of him, but it’s hard. He’s unstable even by the standards of evil otherdimensional monsters. Also, he fights with a boom gun.

Then there’s Salome, Lesion’s sexy sorceress lady. They are, the book emphasizes, friends. On the one hand it is good to see a working professional relationship between opposite sex (ish, one is a giant goat-demon) characters. On the other hand they did make the only female villain sexy even if she gets pants. Anyway, there’s a lot of rumors about Salome, that’s she’s a Sunaj or something, but she’s not, she’s Lazarus Vespers’s old friend from school and was also not his lover. She’s power-hungry and cold and even the Host think of her as an equal. Except Krikton. Because he’s a dick. She also controls the demon goblins as their queen, having freed them from enslavement by an alien intelligence and they’re much happier now. She’s Aberrant, showing mercy to worth foes or whatever, and a 10th level Shifter with a bunch of symbiotes and magic weapons. Also unlike Lazarus she wears armor, though she still only has 155 MDC.


you have no power over me

And that’s it for the pre-statted NPC villains. The thousands of MDC on the Host guys would be tiresome to whittle down but is possible, or one could just reduce it of course, and they don’t have the reams and reams of spells and special abilities that some other entities do, nor are they stupid biblical-themed nonsense demons, aside from the Baphomet look. The four enemies detailed here actually have something approaching personalities, even if they aren’t fascinating character studies or anything.

The biggest problem I see with them is that they are specifically forbidden by curse to leave Wormwood, but if they win and conquer it all, the planet will die and so then probably they will too, especially since Wormwood is so specifically hard to dimensionally find and the Host have to work really hard to get their peeps out. So there's a flaw in their plan of conquest. Maybe that's why the Cathedral still exists at all, to be the Apple to the Unholy's Microsoft, a fig leaf for the Justice Department. Or maybe they don't realize the full extent of the damage their presence does to the planet. I actually like that their existence twists worlds around themselves in this context but it does mean they better check themselves.



Next: The Domain of the Unholy, not written by Erin Tarn.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Alright, total forums rookie here looking to post some write ups if anyone wants to read them. I'm planning on possibly reviewing this:

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/95492/Eldritch-High-A-Little-Game-about-Wizards-Witches-and-Warlocks

Originally but now thankfully Pay What You Want because this thing is 40 pages of John Wick not understanding the idea of playtesting. For me, this was John Wick shattering my Harry Potter dreams after promising me the Storygame moon with Blood & Honor. It's short, broken, and full of typical Wick ness (and even a little over far eastern culture).

For a palette cleanser, I'll probably give a brief look at (and do a quick compare/contrast with EH) the playtest rules for:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1842635065/the-robotic-age-rpg

I peeked at this because of the art and started backing after glimpsing promises of fully customizable roboparts with integrated future guns in a kickass setting. Please back it as well if you can.

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 02:39 on Oct 4, 2013

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




It's not often that you see the creators of a product tied to a big name company end up moving to a third party label to make more stuff for that same product: the Game Mechanics are a strong exception to this. Made up of a team of Wizards of the Coast contributors and freelancers including JD Wiker, Stan!, Monte and Sue Cook, Marc “Sparky” Schmalz, and Rich Redman that gathered forces after fears of corporate layoffs, TGM produced four major supplements (nine in PDF form, as they are split into parts as PDF) to the d20 Modern ruleset. And really, who better to start with for non-Fieldian d20 Modern guides than with the people who created it in the first place? Our first TGM title will aptly be the first one, the Modern Player’s Companion, a sourcebook comparable to the whole “Player’s Handbook 2+” idea Dungeons and Dragons went with. I will be reviewing them in the Modern Player's Companion and Modern Player's Companion II format the PDFs provided rather than as one single book like the print version, as this is easier than putting both into the same post more efficient given that they were printed as PDFs first and book versions second.




The Occupational Class of ’04
Occupations
It turns out that a book titled “Modern Player’s Companion” ends up focusing mostly on materials for the player. Shocking, I know. The first of these options you’ll end up getting are occupations. One of the big things about d20 Modern is that role is not tied to class alone. Occupations in a nutshell: in addition to base, advanced, and prestige classes, you have your occupation, which reflects what job your character did or is doing or what lot in life they happen to have. These grant you the choice to add extra class skills, feats, Reputation, and/or wealth on top of what your class would normally get. This means that while it's logical to have the Military occupation for a character who has levels in Smart Hero and Soldier, you could just as easily have the same classes combined with the Domestic occupation to make Peyote the War Gardener or whatever.

Out of the Open Game License-approved d20 Modern books from Wizards of the Coast themselves, we ended up getting a strong headstart with 33 occupations: Academic, Adventurer, Athlete, Blue Collar, Celebrity, Creative, Criminal, Dilettante, Doctor, Emergency Services, Entrepreneur, Investigative, Law Enforcement, Military, Religious, Rural, Student, Technician, and White Collar from the d20 Modern Core Rulebook, the Apothecary, Hedge Wizard, Novitiate, Psychic, Shadow Scholar, and Squire from Urban Arcana, and the Astronaut Trainee, Colonist, Drifter, Gladiator, Heir, Outcast, Scavenger, and Transporter from d20 Future. The Modern Player’s Companion adds seven more to the mix to patch up holes the creators saw in the occupation list.
  • Bohemian: You’re a hedonistic fellow who isn’t a fan of The Man, man. You get four extra class skills chosen from those social, crafting, or knowledge skills such as Bluff, Forgery, or Sense Motive, as well as a +1 bonus to your Reputation score.
  • Bureaucrat: One of the few occupations in the title I see as being kind of superfluous, as the Bureaucrat is more or less a specialized version of the White Collar occupation. The main difference is that while the White Collar occupation gets you two new class skills related to what you'd typically associate with desk work and offices combined with a +3 Wealth bonus increase, the Bureaucrat has the two new class skills but only receives a +2 bonus to Wealth, eschewing that extra +1 dough in favor of being able to gain either Educated or Renown as a bonus feat.
  • Craftsperson: This occupation is sort of the bastard child of the Creative and Blue Collar occupations, reflecting a character who works as a plumber, blacksmith, carpenter, or other individual who mixes creating things with lots of manual labor. You get two class skills that are chosen from a mish-mash of crafting- and knowledge-associated skills, the choice of either Builder, Creative, or Gearhead as a bonus feat, and a +2 Wealth bonus increase.
  • Domestic: Your job is to do everyday stuff for other people as a butler, maid, personal chef, or whatever. This manages to net you three class skills that are chosen from what are mostly either hands-on skills like Drive and Repair or intuitive skills such as Diplomacy and Gather Information, but also include a few oddballs like Hide or Concentration. You also get a +1 Wealth bonus.
  • Educator: Another one that seems kind of superfluous, as the Academic occupation from the d20 Modern Core Rulebook specifically states it includes "scholars, professors, teachers, and other education professionals". As with White Collar versus Bureaucrat, there's a tradeoff involved: Academic gets you a choice of three intellectual class skills and a +3 bonus to Wealth, while Educator grants two class skills, a +2 Wealth bonus, and the choice of either Creative, Educated, or Studious as a bonus feat.
  • Politico: Another one that seems like it would have fit with White Collar. Compared to the White Collar occupation, the Politico is pretty crazy: in addition to the two class skills and +3 Wealth bonus of the White Collar occupation, it also grants a +1 bonus to Reputation and the choice of Renown, Trustworthy, or Windfall as a bonus feat.
  • Tribal: You're part of an isolated tribe, crazy survivalist clan, or some other group that goes beyond even the scope of the Rural occupation. You get three class skills from a varied pool of potential skills associated with survival, intuition, or athleticism, a +1 Wealth bonus (why?), and the choice of Animal Affinity, Archaic Weapons Proficiency, Athletic, Guide, or Track as a bonus feat.


Advanced Classes
While I won’t be listing them out this time as they don’t really have any “shame, shame, overlap” I feel from some of the occupations, it is worth noting that d20 Modern’s OGL “core books” provided a total of 44 advanced (basically always10 level prestige classes that are usually meant to be taken at your fourth character level) and prestige (always 5 level....erm, well, prestige classes...that are meant to be taken around your tenth or eleventh character level) classes. Even with that many, they somehow managed to not really have an overlap problem with the advanced classes the Modern Player's Companion provides.
  • Adept: Like the Mage advanced class but don't want to be shoehorned into an Intelligence stat-buffing dork? Well, here's the class for you! The Adept is an arcane spellcaster that is Charisma-based rather than Intelligence-based and casts spontaneously rather than with a spellbook - sort of the d20 Modern equivalent of a Sorcerer to the Mage's Wizard.Unlike the poor Sorcerer, though, Adepts get more cool toys like their own familiar, no need for material components, and the ability to supercharge their magic to the power of spells three spell levels higher.
  • Criminologist:[/b] While detective-themed classes often jump off of the Dedicated Hero base class from what I've seen, the Criminologist stands out by actually being most easily accessed by the Smart Hero base class. In addition to contacts on the street and lots of shiny case files, one of the most interesting class features the Criminologist can get is one called Burning the Midnight Oil, which allows you to make a Will save to overextend your awake time in the game without suffering the fatigued condition penalty.
  • Dead Shot: This is the only class in the Modern Player's Companion that I'd say outright sucks. Other than two class features focused on added concealment miss chances and added ranged weapon damage respectively, all of the Dead Shot's class features are "here, have this class feature that works exactly like the feat of the same name."
  • Enforcer: While d20 Modern already has several hard-hitting melee advanced classes such as Martial Artist, Street Warrior, and Thrasher, the Enforcer is unique in that it is focused on both the social and physical aspects of being a crazy skull-cracker. While the Enforcer grants class features like increased melee damage and Barbarian-style rage, it also has ones that boost your Intimidate check by your Reputation score, and the capstone ability lets the Enforcer call in a mob of rough and tumble locals to help out in a brawl.
  • Gentle Warrior: A martial artist advanced class that, unlike the Martial Artist advanced class, focuses on dodging and counterattacking rather than brute force fists. On top of that, its capstone ability is the power to do a Vulcan nerve pinch...which would be more impressive if that ability hadn’t been made into a feat in d20 Future.
  • Opinion Maker: This advanced class turns you into a particularly compelling politician or pundit. And like an actual politician or pundit, the class is good at stacking the deck in its favor - one of the main class features is an increase to your Reputation score on top of the Reputation score by-level increase every class gets, and it just so happens that the Opinion Maker's other class features tend to focus on passing Reputation checks. These other abilities include getting a boost to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks against crowds of people (+2 for 16 or more, +4 for 15 or fewer), the mundane version of a compulsion spell, and free NPC lackeys.
  • Profiler: The Profiler advanced class takes the Gather Information, Knowledge (Behavioral Sciences), and Sense Motive skills and pushes them to a precognitive extent. This goes from identifying a criminal's motive to figuring out their relative character level and eventually to the capstone ability of the class - at 10th level as a Profiler, you get a check against 15 + the perp's total character level to figure out their appearance, education, income, criminal record, occupation, clothing habits, choice of victims, social skills, traumatic experiences, and basically everything about them. Of course, if you fail the check, you get a false of mix-of-truth-and-falsehood misleading mess that will probably get you rightfully accused of being a horrible person.
  • Survivalist: This advanced class is, unsurprisingly, all about using the Survival skill to survive in the wilderness. It's a nice class, but it's basically entirely hinged on your GM actually caring about environmental hazards and the harshness of nature


Feats
There are a total of 26 new feats in the Modern Player's Companion, of which five are expansions on the Dodge feat tree and another five are reprinted from the gun nut equipment sourcebook UltraModern Firearms. While some of the feats are pretty boring or straightforward things such as Bull's Eye (spend an action point to automatically confirm a critical hit with a firearm), Haggle (you can lower or raise the price of an item you are buying/selling by one Purchase DC if you make a successful Bluff or Diplomacy check), or Improved Dead Aim (a +3 bonus on a full round of aiming a gun shot over Dead Aim's +2 bonus! ), there are some interesting ones worthy of note.
  • Collector: Your nerdiness pays off, as you gain a +5 bonus on Wealth checks to pull something related to your hobby out of your rear end for narrative convenience. Getting this feat is probably the only time having 5 ranks in the Knowledge (Popular Culture) skill will ever actually pay off for you.
  • Cross-Training: Having second thoughts about your initial ability scores? Have an enforced "must roll your ability scores in order" rule from an rear end in a top hat DM? Then this is the feat is for you, allowing you to lower one ability score by 2 to gain 1 ability score point in two unrelated abilities.
  • Expert Advice: Your basically wrote the book on a subject, and your fame isn't unwarranted. You get to exchange the bonus from an ability score to a skill to instead be your Reputation bonus, which is pretty drat useful given how much you can boost your Reputation bonus with the right class compared to ability score modifiers. A good example would be a Charismatic Hero 3/Opinion Maker 10 with an ability score of 18 (the typical upper limit for a human): an 18 in Charisma is a +4 ability score bonus, while that same character has a Reputation bonus of +16.
  • Good Impression: Basically the opposite of Expert Advice, this feat is you bullshitting people into thinking you are an expert at things instead of actually being one. You make a Reputation check against the opponent's relevant Knowledge check (or general Intelligence check if they don't have the skill in question), and if you're successful you get a bonus to Bluff checks against them on the subject.
  • Martial Arts Weapon Proficiency: This feat requires the Combat Martial Arts and Defensive Martial Arts feat, but grants you proficiency with three exotic melee weapons. Now, this may not sound quite so good at first, but when you think about it the normal route for the same results would be taking the Archaic Weapons Proficiency feat followed by taking the Exotic Melee Weapon Proficiency feat three times (one for each weapon). You're saving a feat slot in the end and arguably having better entry feats for it anyway.
  • Moonlighter: This is perhaps the most interesting feat in the entire sourcebook. You can only select this feat at your first character level, but it lets you select a second occupation and grants you the bonus skills, Reputation bonus, and Wealth bonus it grants on top of the ones from your normal occupation. The only thing you don't get from the second occupation are bonus feats, but d20 Modern isn't exactly a system where you are jonesing for bonus feats anyway.
  • Star Employee: Another feat that augments your occupation. Taking Star Employee grants you a +1 bonus to Reputation and Wealth as well as letting you gain another bonus skill from your occupation on top of the number of bonus skills it already grants.




Notes and other GM fun
Class Combinations
Arguably something for GMs looking for NPCs more than the players, there is a section in the Modern Player's Companion that introduces what the designers call a class combination. This is basically a "recipe" on specific base classes, talents, and feats to combine together to make a specific character concept instead of trying to head straight for an advanced or prestige class. The recipes provided are for an archaeologist (Smart/Dedicated with a few levels of Charismatic spattered in), bouncer (Tough/Strong/Charismatic), counselor (Dedicated/Charismatic with a few levels of Smart), entrepeneur (Charismatic/Dedicated with a single level dip into Smart Hero to get more skill focus), lawyer (Smart/Charismatic with a couple of levels in Dedicated), lay clergy (Dedicated/Charismatic with one level dip in Tough Hero to get the talent Remain Conscious), pro athlete (Strong/Fast with a couple of dips into Tough), Reporter (Dedicated/Charismatic), and rock star (almost entirely Charismatic Hero, but with three one-level dips: a level in Fast Hero to get the talent Evasion, a level in Dedicated Hero to get the talent Empathy, and a level in Tough Hero to get the talent Second Wind).


Equipment
While there are a few modern amenities eschewed in the d20 Modern Core Rulebook such as laser pointers and duffel bags that get their stats here, the brunt of new equipment in the Modern Player’s Companion is made up of survival gear. Canteens and flasks, rain gear and waders, and fishing gear are all given for those adventurers who happen to not stay in the city all the time. Perhaps more relevant, however, are the idea of equipment packages. These are quick-select packages for a specific starting occupation that have a list of items for standard Wealth and further items added at Wealth bonuses of +5, +7, and +9 – they’re stated to be used for quick player character creation, but I could see them being just as good for fast NPC gear. The occupations that get listed equipment packages are Adventurer, Criminal, Law Enforcement, and Technician.


Notes of note
While technically not a segment unto themselves, this post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the designer’s notes that are found in green text blocks scattered around the title. These are "why did we do what we did?" posts on the design process of d20 Modern and include such topics as the purpose of occupations (I already explained this), why having a combo of base classes instead of heading into an advanced class may be better for your character concept, and the reasoning behind what is made an advanced or prestige class feature versus what is made a feat (wider access [feats] vs. exclusivity [class features]).

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

Next time: the Modern Player’s Companion 2.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 17:57 on Oct 4, 2013

Majuju
Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

Has anyone done a good send-up of D20 Modern core? It's not on the wiki, and it deserves one! Not to mention the other associated settings, etc.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?



Do you mind posting some of the funnier pictures with their captions? I remember there being a few gems, like the one with the Archaeologist and the Rock Star nerding out together over a skull.

Majuju posted:

Has anyone done a good send-up of D20 Modern core? It's not on the wiki, and it deserves one! Not to mention the other associated settings, etc.

I played the hell out of Modern when I was in high school, so I could probably do that. I'm a forums rookie though, so if you would all rather I start with something small like John Wick's Eldritch High or just let someone else handle d20 Modern and Eldritch High, I'd be cool with that.

And since I'm a shameless whore for RPG Kickstarters even when I'm just a backer:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1842635065/the-robotic-age-rpg

The Robotic Age! Transhumans and cyborgs and androids, OH MY!!!

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 19:04 on Oct 4, 2013

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts:™ Dimension Book One: Wormwood Part 25: “Wouldn’t be a Rifts book without a geography lesson at the end too”



So we’ve detailed the Host and their minions, now we talk a bit about where they live and what they rule. According to this, there are “a dozen demon cities and scores of human cities” under the Host’s domination, as well as tons of ghost towns and ruins and stuff, slowly being absorbed back into Wormwood.

But first we need to talk about the Free Cities because Erin Tarn didn’t go to all of them and so couldn’t write on it. Worldgate was explained, apparently others exist in the Unholy’s overall territory but have to fight tooth and nail to stay free. There are some random numbers you can roll for population, armed force levels, and percentile breakdowns of citizenry as well as common buildings.

Then we get to the dominated cities which are “60%” completely lost to despair, though they might quietly ignore freedom fighters hiding among them. We get another population breakdown which includes secret temples and wormspeakers, and another list of common buildings that includes all the vices this time, like drug dens and slave pens. It then goes on with another generic city breakdown for the “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing City” meaning a place that only pretends to be obedient but is being all French Resistance about it.


hey look, another picture of the Confessor

Then they talk about typical demon city, which is any place inhabited mostly by monsters though it could be one or two types or multiple, depending on what books you own I guess. Humans in these cities are slaves or quislings.

Now we get to the named locations, starting with the capital of the evil empire, Charun. It is a “typical demon city” which means it is with spikes and horns and doors that look like fanged maws and such, both from deliberate sculpting and that thing the Host does to their environments. The Unholy’s palace is described and it kinda sounds like Dethklok’s ship with beaten-down slaves and sharp points everywhere, and another of the Host is named as high priest of evil--Kaanker, who is female but not statted past ‘9th level’. It also describes some of the palace defences, which are unsurprisingly tough, but include a treasure room like a proper dungeon. The city itself was really only mentioned in passing, but then, where else are PCs going to go? Oh, also it has 3.5 million residents which is equal to like half the unconquered human population.

Atala is Lesion’s city and full of more demons. Apparently a “Lord Mar” is governor of the region, the cities, and “the Goblin Gate and the Mountain of Skulls” which sound like local demonic tourist attractions. The Goblin Gate is actually Queen Salome’s kingdom apparently, and plays host to both the demon goblins and an uncommon number of free but evil humans. Also the Confessor used to live here, which might lead to some awkward meetings.

The Unholy Desert is named for being close to Charun and being 110 degrees all the time. It also mentions the 400-year old wreck of an otherdimensional spaceship that crashed in it, which would actually be a neat thing if it weren’t inaccessibly situated in the heart of enemy territory. The Mountain of Skulls is a resin mountain that no longer flows and instead has become a massive ossuary. There’s also “Rock Ridge” which is apparently a battle saint mount occupied by an evil dragon calling herself “The Rock” which will make me snicker every time I think about it. She’s statted out a bit but not very interesting, and has a bunch of monster friends from the Conversion Book, buy now.



The Valley of Spires is a huge foresty cluster of Wormwood’s stone-pillar trees, Krik Lesion is an evil human priest who named himself and the city after his masters, Demon Bridge is a permanent rift that only opens to evil dimensions on a random table, Kriktonspire is exactly what it sounds like. There are a few other demonic or dominated cities named, and they’re mostly unremarkable though many either occupy the sites of Battle Saints or are rumored to. Oh, and Lalibela, that permanent rift in Ethiopia that nobody ever noticed.

Following that are experience tables, character sheets, and ads for Rifts miniatures and the base Palladium role-playing game because everybody loves converting to MDC and back. And that’s Wormwood.

I feel like this review in general has been super-wordy but it’s hard to avoid when explaining some of the relatively complex concepts of the world. Wormwood’s basic idea is kind of neat, if weird, but the christian imagery feels extremely out of place. There are also things that aren’t adequately explained about the Cathedral and human territories “of Light.” Like the entire religion that the Cathedral is supposed to be--we have no theology for them, aside from We actually learn more about the governance of the Unholy than the humans in places and the non-economy is nonsensical. Also, why do these people not build or at least designate roads? I understand they don’t have pack animals but they know what cars are and the planet is mostly flat and easily traversed.

The villains and monsters are a bit better articulated than the general “is a vicious supernatural predator” that dominates other Rifts antagonists, though not by a whole lot. If you filled in some gaps and scaled back the despair a few notches you could run a decent campaign with Wormwood, though you will definitely need other books in the Rifts line. Stand-alone my rear end.

Also, this book really highlights why the MDC system is stupid and broken, with all the swords and maces and other SDC weapons in the hands of naturally MDC humans and monsters, and buildings made of naturally MDC living planet alongside those made from SDC stone from other worlds. I know that a lot people who might or ever have run a Rifts game ditched or in some way modified MDC in general and I wish to recommend that all others who may still play the game should adopt this policy. To run Wormwood you’d pretty much have to.

I considered doing some Wormwood theme revamping in the Palladium thread but that's really a lot of for something that I wouldn't actually use for any other purpose. A single simple change is not making Wormwood symbiotes and etc fall off and die the second players leave the planet, because that was really just needless. More importantly, you'd have to develop the Cathedral's actual theology and how it differs from the Wormspeakers and why. This is an unbelievable gap that we're just supposed to Christian-assume in I guess. The Truman art in the book is good, there's just not much of it, and the Flint art is okay and kind of different in look from the typical look, but Siembieda also contributes his usual linework along with all that writing. The book really would have done better as a separate game, though then it probably would have ended up in a Conversion book someday anyway. The setting has some possibilities but they are often crushed under the weight of poorly thought-out material.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


AccidentalHipster posted:

And since I'm a shameless whore for RPG Kickstarters even when I'm just a backer:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1842635065/the-robotic-age-rpg

The Robotic Age! Transhumans and cyborgs and androids, OH MY!!!

As with many things, there's a thread for this!

Majuju posted:

Has anyone done a good send-up of D20 Modern core? It's not on the wiki, and it deserves one!

But who would take on such a terrible curse? Even I haven't been able to get myself to look at Pathfinder supplements after writing it up.

deadly_pudding
May 13, 2009

who the fuck is scraeming
"LOG OFF" at my house.
show yourself, coward.
i will never log off


Majuju posted:

Has anyone done a good send-up of D20 Modern core? It's not on the wiki, and it deserves one! Not to mention the other associated settings, etc.

Hrrrrrrg. I have the core books, but I don't wanna

I'll... I'll really think about it.

Majuju
Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

Fear not, friends. I shall shoulder this terrible burden. I shall become the very embodiment of Moondog Greenberg, Tough Hero.

deadly_pudding
May 13, 2009

who the fuck is scraeming
"LOG OFF" at my house.
show yourself, coward.
i will never log off


Majuju posted:

Fear not, friends. I shall shoulder this terrible burden. I shall become the very embodiment of Moondog Greenberg, Tough Hero.

Godspeed, Moondog.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Alien Rope Burn posted:

As with many things, there's a thread for this!


But who would take on such a terrible curse? Even I haven't been able to get myself to look at Pathfinder supplements after writing it up.

Thanks for the tip!

As for d20 Modern... *looks ashamedly at my rpg collection*

EDIT: Apparently Majuju is gonna be handling d20 Modern. I guess that means I'll be reviewing a Wick product. Yay?

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 20:11 on Oct 4, 2013

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


occamsnailfile posted:

More importantly, you'd have to develop the Cathedral's actual theology and how it differs from the Wormspeakers and why. This is an unbelievable gap that we're just supposed to Christian-assume in I guess.

Siembieda has the weird thing about how he wants to use Christian mythology from time to time, but never wants to admit to the existence of Christianity or reference in any way. So you have the weird things like the fact crosses repel vampires... because, that's why! Holy water hurts them, but how do you make holy water? Who knows? Siembieda is deliberately very cagey about bringing up religion, unless it's an evil cult of some sort. It isn't until Pantheons of the Megaverse that the existence of religion is really delved into, and then only in the most general and handwavey terms. I get the impression he was really, really worried he'd end up on the 700 Club, even though that would have been generally beneficial to Rifts' profile.

BerkerkLurk
Jul 22, 2001

I could never sleep my way to the top 'cause my alarm clock always wakes me right up

Later of there were exceptions, of course: Warlords of Russia had an Orthodox Priest OCC, which had some mild powers associated with it. Create holy water, create sanctuary, maybe exorcisms, that sort of thing. Similarly New West had the Preacher, which had that and maybe limited Sharpshooter powers. Not that I'm arguing the point.

Before I started reading this thread I would have sworn humans born on Wormwood had natural Supernatural Strength because nothing else really makes sense. But then if being born on a magical planet gives you Supernatural Strength, it doesn't get much more magical than Rifts Earth, now that I think about it.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Siembieda has the weird thing about how he wants to use Christian mythology from time to time, but never wants to admit to the existence of Christianity or reference in any way. So you have the weird things like the fact crosses repel vampires... because, that's why! Holy water hurts them, but how do you make holy water? Who knows? Siembieda is deliberately very cagey about bringing up religion, unless it's an evil cult of some sort. It isn't until Pantheons of the Megaverse that the existence of religion is really delved into, and then only in the most general and handwavey terms. I get the impression he was really, really worried he'd end up on the 700 Club, even though that would have been generally beneficial to Rifts' profile.

I really doubt that Rifts would turn up on the 700 Club even if it spent twenty pages of its core book telling the player to convert to Christianity. Though I would love to see whoever hosts the 700 Club (I've never watched it) hold up a copy of Rift's core book and say how its a good example of christian literature.

For reference, here is the cover of the core book:

Covok fucked around with this message at 22:12 on Oct 4, 2013

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, you don't need to educate me on that particular game line, because it's time for Rifts FATAL & Friends Review Book 11.

Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR posted:

Warning!

Look, it's time for me to level with you, Rifts.

Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR posted:

Violence and the Supernatural

There's also profanity.

Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR posted:

This book may be inappropriate for young readers.

The word "poo poo" is used later on in this book.

Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR posted:

The fictional world of Triax & the NGR is violent, deadly, and filled with supernatural monsters. Other-dimensional beings, often referred to as "demons", torment, stalk, and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, gods, and demi-gods, as well as magic, insanity, and the supernatural are all present.

I wasn't put off by your bad math, fascist apologism, or romantic racism, Rifts...

Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR posted:

Some parents may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.

... but now you have exposed me to a four-letter word.

Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR posted:

Note that Rifts, Triax and all our role-playing games are works of fiction! NONE of the monsters, characters, magic, or depictions are real. None of us at Palladium Books condone nor encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drug, or violence.

I can never be pure again.



Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR Part 1: "One would spawn six more, and from those six, another dozen."

High-Tech Notes

So, Mr. Siembieda informs us this is a long-delayed book, but goes into his usual assertion that the longer a book is delayed, the better it must be! Apparently it was envisioned as a short project (ha ha) but they had too many ideas (of course). And, of course, he wouldn't even think of editing them out. So we're going to see a sequel book called Mindwerks that has the rest of the European material that didn't fit in here. It's noted here as "NGR Sourcebook 1" but will see publication as "Rifts Sourcebook 3" instead.

Really, though, this book is the baby of Kevin Long. He worked for well over six months on the art, and it shows - if you've enjoyed his armor, mecha, and vehicle designs in my previous reviews, this is a feast. It's really his swan song on the line - though he'll do work on later books, none will have the sheer amount of dedication he shows on this book. I hope you folks like robots! Because it is time for all the robots.


But does it have enough guns?

We also get a schedule of future books! Here's what's listed, and when they actually came out:
  • Rifts Conversion Book Two: Pantheons of the Megaverse: Listed for April 1994. Published on time.
  • Mindwerks: Listed for May 1994. Published in July 1994.
  • Rifts Mercenaries: Listed for "early summer" of 1994. Published in August 1994.
  • Rifts South America: Listed for "late summer" of 1994. Published in October 1994.
  • Rifts Dimension Book II: Phase World: Listed for "fall/winter". Published in December 1994.
  • Rifts Anthology Novel: Listed as "being compiled" in 1994, but Tales of the Chi-Town Burbs would not see publication until fourteen years later in 2008.
Also mentioned but with no dates listed are: The Juicer Uprising (published in March 1996), Coalition / Chi-Town Sourcebook (published in July 1996), The New West (published in May 1997), and Rifts Undersea (published in June 1995).

So we can see Palladium actually stuck to most of their dates back then. How did they do it? Well, most of their books that hit their dates all have one name that's coming up in the very near future for Rifts: CJ Carella. But not just yet. This is a double-Kevin joint, and it's time to breathe deep.

Next: Erin Tarn eats sauerkraut.

goatface
Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.




Grimey Drawer

Shin missiles have always confused me. Why would you put missile launchers on the part of the robot most likely to be behind cover?

neonchameleon
Nov 14, 2012





goatface posted:

Shin missiles have always confused me. Why would you put missile launchers on the part of the robot most likely to be behind cover?

Because you can fire the missiles straight up and use their guidance controls?

Apparently they point forward. I got nothing.

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid


goatface posted:

Shin missiles have always confused me. Why would you put missile launchers on the part of the robot most likely to be behind cover?

Because when you're in a robot badass enough to have shin missiles, you're supposed to stride at the enemy. Not stand behind cover. You should be laughing as bullets bounce off your armour, all the while kicking missiles at everyone.

The other reason I guess could be as anti vehicle weaponry against infantry vehicles. If your robot is big enough then they should be at just about the right height to fire without you having to look down to aim with the guns on your upper torso.

JohnnyCanuck
May 28, 2004

Strong And/Or Free


When I was a teenager, my mother took a close look at the RIFTS corebook cover, and I proceeded to get no end of grief for the visible nipples on the Alteran Blind Warrior Women.

Telling mom that it was alright because they're actually parthenogenic didn't seem to help, for some reason.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


goatface posted:

Shin missiles have always confused me. Why would you put missile launchers on the part of the robot most likely to be behind cover?

There is a reason behind it, but you're thinking along the wrong lines. But I'm not going to spoil it, other than to say one needs to think like an artist to puzzle out this mystery!

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


AccidentalHipster posted:

Do you mind posting some of the funnier pictures with their captions? I remember there being a few gems, like the one with the Archaeologist and the Rock Star nerding out together over a skull.
Sure, I'll add 'em at the beginning of the Modern Player's Companion 2 post as soon as I start that.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

But who would take on such a terrible curse? Even I haven't been able to get myself to look at Pathfinder supplements after writing it up.
Does this mean I can snipe Pathfinder Bestiary 2 through 4 from you after I'm done with The Game Mechanics' supplements?

Majuju posted:

Fear not, friends. I shall shoulder this terrible burden. I shall become the very embodiment of Moondog Greenberg, Tough Hero.
Moondoog Greenberg: daredevil, bruiser, spaceman, and true 'Murican hero.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR Part 2: "They are clean faces but not all are smiling."

The New German Republic through the eyes of Erin Tarn
Compiled from letters by Erin Tarn
Fall, 103 PA


Letters to whom? Sent how? We don't have a mail service in this world! Well, those questions will go unanswered. Instead, we're looking back into the Tarnoscope again to get a Tarn's-Eye-View on things. This takes place in the same year after her bumbling about in Rifts World Book Four: Africa (adventuring is a strong word to use for what she does). Certainly, the world doesn't seem to have been destroyed by the Horsemen, so that's a thing.

They arrive from the Mediterranean into southern Europe, and she's shocked that the wilderness isn't filled with monsters. It's not really clear who she's traveling with, but she isn't alone, at least. They get harassed by the occasional monster, but only run into gargoyle soldiers once. At one point near the spooky Black Forest they get assaulted by a "tectonic entity made of leaves, sticks, and stones". Look out, adventurers, it might knock on your armor and ask nicely to actually be able to bash your head in with a rock!

As they go north, they run into signs of battles. Some are "the size of a football stadium". I'm not sure your audience knows what football is, Ms. Tarn. In any case, they saw lots of signs of warfare, but no actual warfare. Apparently the gargoyles wipe out communities they have no use for, so there weren't ruined villages - the were basically patches of rubble where villages once were. Yes, there's a war going on between the New German Republic and monstrous gargoyles, though that isn't really spelled out until the next section.

Wilderness Villages

First off, before we even get to discussion of these villages, Tarn points out how hard the D-Bees have it. Apparently the NGR has turned their back on them, so sometimes they turn to thugs and despots for protection. It might suck under a superpowered dictator, but it seems to be preferable to being made into gargoyle lunchables. So, once again, we have points of light sort of thing around the NGR, where you have tiny kingdoms and villages, generally around 500 inhabitants... I... really? Anyway, they fight amongst themselves. Tarn points out some of them are as bad as the Coalition or the NGR when it comes to hating outsiders, and she flags irony on that. That's not really irony, actually.

I know a writer is using irony wrong, sound the alarm.

Or maybe I'm just too cynical to consider it irony.

Rifts World Book Five: Triax & the NGR posted:

Gypsies and bandits who prey upon demons and/or humans are frequently revered as heroes.

Gypsies? Ut-oh In any case, many D-Bees consider both the NGR and Gargoyles bad guys. Tarn feels super-bad, because in America, humans and non-humans can coexist, and on Wormwood, she was hunted by the Unholy, but could find common ground with humans their allies. But near the NGR, people are likely to presume she's an NGR citizen, and thusly a terrible oppressor. Basically, it's the first time she's been hated for her race by people she doesn't have any real reason to dislike, and she's extra double-plus depressed.

But things are gonna get better in the NGR!

Arrival to the New German Republic
The Village
of Kobernburg


Though there's no guardposts or patrols that showed she was in the NGR, the farmlands and the villages are clean and modernized that Tarn realized she was there. Even though she was just so frustrated by their policies, she goes on about how pretty it is. Kobernburg is the first place she visits, and even though everything is all like something out of Country Living, she learns the cobblestones and streetposts are actually made out of a high-tech ceramic. Wait, why would you make cobblestones out of ceramic in modern times, that's the most inane thing-

... so. Even though everything looks peaceful, she notices some giant robots marching around, as well as signs of communication dishes, people listening to headphones, hovercycles, etc. However, people were wary of Tarn as an outsider. (Granted, given the number of shapechanging monsters, I'm surprised they just let people in, humans or otherwise, without an internal organ check.) The food was very good, though!

The Military Base

Victor is still with them, though this is the first point that's established, so Tarn is nervous when a giant robot stops them. After all, Victor is a wanted man. Also famous. But after being led to the local military base, she's surprised to see that it doesn't seem like much, but it turns out most of the facility is actually underground.

Victor uses some fake papers and some fake racism to get them past the checkpoint. The local colonel gives them a brief tour, and Tarn is really impressed and says so. But when some soldiers salute the colonel, they drop a magazine, and there's an advert with a young woman dressed in only a Coalition flag and holding a copy of one of Erin Tarn's book. The colonel is really apologetic, saying that it's become common to display Tarn as a naked blonde girl, and hopes they didn't offend her sensitive American eyes. Tarn is embarrassed beyond belief while Victor teases her.

Rifts World Book Five: Triax & the NGR posted:

I am flabbergasted at my cult-figure status. It seems I am the Marilyn Monroe of the New German Republic, only more scholarly and more voluptuous (if you can believe that! Really!!).

Way to gild the lily, Siembieda, with another episode of "Everybody loves Erin!"

Erin wishes she wasn't an adventuring outlaw, so she could collect her royalties and be a rich superstar, but at heart she doesn't want to be famous. (And to be fair, it bears reminding her first book was published from her writings without her permission, so that fits.)

The Big City

I... this is a lot of Erin.

Some of the biggest cities turn out to still have pre-rifts buildings standing, though generally after being restored and repaired. Munich is the first one she visits, and it has some skyscrapers, but mostly is a sprawl combining many different architectural styles. Apparently Munich has as a lively atmosphere and a lot of touristy stuff to distract her, though she notices that Triax has one of its largest facilities here. There's a laundry list of everything she finds I'm mostly skipping. Oh, and most of the local transit is public transit and bikes. She stays here for three months (with what money?) and she really enjoys it.

City Gangs & The Unmutuals

Though crime is low, there are gangs, and Erin is extra-frowny at the idea of human supremacist gangs. Apparently these are softcore gangs compared to the hardcore crime in the Coalition States, and mostly just do petty crimes and vandalism. However, a number of gangs are actually underground political groups, like human supremacists, d-bee advocates, anarchists, hippies, etc. Victor has hooked up with one called the Unmutuals for Free Thought, who are actually really huge for gang, and has branches and imitators in other cities. The Unmutuals champion a vague sort of free thought, which apparently clashes with the NGR, who are... about... unfree... thought? It's implied that the NGR tries to control people in a fascist fashion, but doesn't really evidence it. In any case, the Unmutuals are part of the NGR's top most wanted groups, mainly because they champion d-bee rights (not that d-bees are allowed to join, apparently). Lazlo in particular is focused on trying to educate d-bees and protect them from the NGR and its citizens.

After saying this and giving all sorts of details, she notes she doesn't want to say any more for fear of risking them.

Honestly, this is probably the best of the Erin Tarn bits so far. It's clunky but actually is a bit nuanced, with a minimum of bumbling this time around. Of course, Erin sticks to her usual habit of writing in the most self-centered fashion - we barely get a peep about who she's actually travelling with, which feels kind of weird throughout. Don't worry, it's not that great. She'll be back to play a rousing game of Idiotball later.

Now, the only art in this section is used from other books or actually copied from later on in this same book, so let's start our special feature, the annotated adventures of Sir and Kid, in "First Timer"! This the first Rifts comic we get, and I'll be posting it up page by page with my annotations every day.



I mean, they're ground-pounding power armor pilots, as we'll see, not flying high. So why...?

Next: The New German Republic! Wait, weren't we just there?

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 19:57 on Oct 6, 2013

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


They're probably wearing pressure suits because the artist used aircraft pilots as the basis for the uniform designs. He probably didn't know their function wasn't necessary for the type of work the characters were going to be in. He likely just saw this type of suit in his reference material and either thought it was standard, worked for the theme, or simply looked cool.

I suppose another possibility is that, unless I'm mistaken, Palladium games worked on a macross and Robotech game. I've never seen the show, but I do believe that jet or flying robots are common in it. So it could be a port of suit designs from the prior game.

Majuju
Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

Alternate answer: it's the filtration system for their stillsuits. Isn't there a section in the core book about how Glitter Boy pilots can survive inside the suit for like 2+ weeks, using recycled & filtered air and piss?

goatface
Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.




Grimey Drawer

Those are their portable dialysis machines.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Portable air conditioners, like the Glitter Boy pilot suit has.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011



Cynical-Pop Meikyuu Kingdom Dungeon Theater

Chapter 3.4: blah blah kill blah

Try as you might to get along with everyone you meet, sooner or later you're going to run into the hard truth that sometimes the only way to keep things civilized is to whip out your sword and start lopping off heads. When this happens in the game, the screen goes blurry and zooms in as the music changes into something more uptempo, signaling the beginning of Combat.


No translation necessary. I totally didn't notice the little note in the corner of each side's Encampment until I linked the image, and apparently the PDF guy didn't see it either. Looks like it's just a rules reminder, anyway, not a big deal. I'll just point out which one.

First thing’s first: set up the Battlefield, pictured above. The GM sets up their Monsters and any Combat Traps on the dark half of the board, arranged according to the scenario (if unspecified, they're placed at will); the PCs are set up on the light half according to the formation decided on in the Dungeon Phase setup or the most recent Camp. The book emphatically states at this point that no revisions can be made at all once the Court has restarted the Dungeon Phase. The implication seems to be that, unless rearranged in Camp, PCs start a new combat in the same Battlefield positions they were in at the end of the last combat, even if that leaves them in the middle of the enemy's Encampment. However, even after double-checking the original text, the official errata, and the Meikyuu Kingdom FAQ, I can't find anywhere that actually makes that EXplicit, so either there's something in the Japanese that's flown over the heads of two translators so far, or there's no implication at all and I'm missing something obvious because I'm a big dumb dummy dope.

Whatever the case, there's one more preparatory step, and that's checking for a Surprise Attack. A Surprise Attack means that the enemy gets to take one free Full Action before Combat begins proper. This occurs if either of the following conditions are met:
  • Insufficient Information - If you enter a room without knowing the number of Monsters in it and the Monsters there are Hostile, have a Court representative make an (Adventure Check) / [20 - total number of Monsters in the room]. If the Check fails, Surprise Attack.
  • Caught From Behind - If Combat starts with any Court member's marker on the enemy's side of the Battlefield, Surprise Attack. This is the other factor behind my previously discussed assumption, as there doesn't seem to be any other way for this to ever happen.

As with the rest of the Dungeon Phase, time in Combat is measured in Cycles - here called Rounds - which follow a repeated sequence until an end condition is met. The first part of the Round is the Tactical Check, basically a group initiative roll. A representative of the Court makes a (Wit) Check with a Difficulty equal to the highest <Evasion> among the Monsters present; if the enemies are NPCs made using PC data instead of card data, substitute [enemy's highest (Wit) + 7] as the Difficulty (NPC enemies can also make Co-Operative Checks to increase the Difficulty by one point each).

If the Tactical Check passes, the Court gets to take their Full Actions first, and vice versa. Full Actions consist of two parts, a Move and an Action, which must be resolved in that order. Which characters take their actions in which order isn't so rigid, BUT! Once one half of a Full Action has been taken, the other half must be completed before another can start. So you can't say, for example, move your character up, let another one move out of the way, then blast the whole Area with a Skill and let the other guy move back to where they were. Either you go first and they soak some of the damage, or you let them go first and lose the position. Strategy!

(Note: none of what follows from here to the end of the Round is at all mandatory. If there's no other option that looks good, you can Pass either one or both of these steps. Even if you Pass on them both, though, you'll still wind up Spent at the end, so maybe think twice about it.)

Move is exactly what it sounds like: move your character forwards or backwards 1 Area on the Battlefield. However, it's not always as easy as that. An enemy in the same Area will always try to Obstruct you from moving past them. If the number of Allies also present is greater than the enemies' total <Valor>, the line cannot hold and you can move past them freely. If less than or equal to, you're successfully boxed in and can't move past them in either direction, unless you sacrifice 1D6 <Staff> to hold them off while you and the rest Break Through to the other side.

After you've moved (or not), take your choice of Action.

Attack is the most basic, which makes it the most complicated. Follow the steps:

  • Select a Weapon - If you have one in your Item Slots, you'll probably want to use it now. If you have many, single one out in particular. If you have none or just feel like playing on Hard Mode, you can improvise any Item into a Range 0, Power 1 Melee Weapon.
  • Determine Range - All Weapon Items have a Range printed on their cards. Range 0 are Melee Weapons, and can only be used to attack targets in the same Area as you. Ranged Weapons can target anyone up to their Range in Areas away from you, but only if that Area is currently being lit by a {Star Fragment}.1
  • (Determine Lethality - If you want to keep the target alive for whatever reason and are using a Melee Weapon, you can declare the attack to be Non-Lethal at any time before making the Hit Check. Past that point, it's assumed you're going in for the kill. Making a Non-Lethal Attack reduces the Weapon's Power and the target's <Evasion> by 2 points, and renders the target Unconscious if it reduces their <HP> to 0 or less. This isn't actually part of the basic attack procedure, they stuck it at the end of the chapter under "Special Combat Rules" because how often is it really likely to come up, but I'm moving it up here and you can't stop me nyah nyah nyah.)
  • Make the Hit Check - Roll your (Valor) against the target's <Evasion> (while in the opposing Encampment, increase the AV by 2). If successful, proceed to the next step; if it's a Total Success, roll on the Critical Hit Table first, and then move on. If it fails, you've missed and your Action is over; if it's a Total Failure, roll on the Fumble Table and take your licks before passing on to the next in line.
  • Determine Damage - Deal [Power of Weapon used + total <Hostility> for the target] points of Damage to the target. If you want them really dead, you may spend an amount of <Hope> up to your (Valor) to add 1D6 points of Damage per. Factor in any Damage-reducing Items such as {Armor} or Monster Skills such as {Shell} (rather confusingly rendered by the PDF as "Cortex" ), and subtract the total amount left over from the target's <HP>. (Note the difference, there: Damage may be lessened, but if an effect says it reduces <HP>, that's sapped directly and there's nothing to do but hope you've got some left.)

This seems like a good time to discuss what happens when a Character's <HP> is reduced to 0 or less. Depends on the character: Monsters are automatically considered irretrievably Dead, while PCs and Major NPCs get to roll on the Mortal Wound Table for a chance at survival. The odds of coming out of that roll merely Unconscious are pretty good, too, though it'll either cost you something or take a Check to pull through. Unconscious characters are considered Spent, cannot perform any Aid or Interrupt Actions, and have their <Evasion> set to 7; if an Unconscious character takes even one more point of damage, they move down the list to Dead. Dead characters are everything Unconscious ones are (except for the <Evasion>, but who's going to want to hit a dead guy?). Dead PCs or Major NPCs must be revived by using a {Restorative Herb} or {Grail} on them before the Ending Phase is complete, otherwise too much time will have passed to save them and it’ll be time to roll up someone new.


This post is getting kind of wall-of-texty, so here's a picture I found of an Ogrekin dressed up as the guy from the box art of Munchkin.

If you're the non-violent hippy type or there’s nothing near enough to hit, there are a passel of Support Actions, too.

  • Move Again - durr
  • Evacuate - As above, but you pick up a "Dead" or "Unconscious" character from the same Area and carry them along with you when you go. It doesn't specify a direction, but I reckon things'd have to have gotten pretty desperate if your plan hinges on taking a dead guy to go and see the ones that most likely made him dead in the first place...
  • Exchange Items - Give what you've got to and/or take what you need from one Allied character in the same Area. Only limit is one character per Action. Well, and your Item Slots.
  • Investigate - Searching for Traps again. Same rules as in Camp, with the exception that only specific Objects may be targeted while in combat.
  • Disarm - Again, basically the exact same rules as before. The difference here is that you can only target Combat Traps set by the enemy while you're in the Area with it, unless you're in the enemy's Encampment, in which case you access their Master Control Panel or something and can attempt to disarm ANY trap that's been discovered! Doesn't help you with discovering them, though.
  • Other Actions - As usual, Support Actions from any available card data may be performed as long as the text doesn't specifically exclude usage in Combat, and flights of imagination are encouraged but will require GM approval before being accepted as reality.

One final option which doesn't fit neatly into any of those categories is effecting a Full Retreat. This can only be done if all Allied characters are present in your own Encampment. Make an (Adventure) Check against the enemy's highest <Evasion>. If it succeeds, all enemy characters are removed from the Battlefield and combat ends (I can't find any official mention of anything particular happening if the Check fails, but common sense would seem to dictate that it would leave at least the character making the roll Spent, and the Round would continue from there). Fleeing PCs must move back to the room they came from, so retreat is flatly impossible if a Trap or somesuch has closed off that Passageway; Monsters, on the other hand, have the home court advantage of being able to scarper off to any room the GM likes. (Incidentally, this is what's printed on the Battlefield.)

After both sides have fully resolved all their Full Actions, it's time to take a headcount. If both armies still have at least one member standing, start a new Round over back at the Tactical Check. If the whole of one side has been removed from the Battlefield due to death, unconsciousness, retreat or surrender, combat ends and the other side is declared victorious. For the purposes of having anything left to talk about, we'll go ahead and assume it was the PCs who won.

The loot you earn from the defeated enemies (surrender counts as defeat, retreat does not) is determined by rolling on the Treasure Tables, which are divided by Level ranges. You can roll one of two ways, which must be decided on before the dice are actually thrown: enemies can be taken individually, and you roll on the Tables whose Individual Level range corresponds to each enemy's Level; or, groups of identical enemies may be lumped together, and you roll just once for each group according to the Tables' Total Level range. Higher Level ranges have a better chance of snagging Rare Items, but if you're trying to farm out some Materials, rolling individually a bunch of times would improve your chances there.

After clearing the loot screen, the game shifts back to the Dungeon Phase at the point of setting up Camp, unless the room you just cleared included the Dungeon Boss, in which case the scenario is cleared and the game moves back to the kingdom to wrap up any loose ends and (ideally) use your newly won wealth to expand your influence. Next time: that stuff I just said! I can't wait!

1 - What the book doesn't tell you here is that the majority of Ranged Weapons have a disadvantage built into their effect text: if the Hit Check is successful and there are multiple characters in the same Area as your intended target, the one you actually hit is chosen at random. I guess this is to discourage players from making a meat wall out of one or more Knights and having the rest of the Court safely plink every threat to death from behind them.

Bitchtits McGee fucked around with this message at 17:33 on Oct 6, 2013

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR Part 3: "Unknown to the NGR, they were being surrounded by powerful evil creatures."

We get a half-page detailing the whole "coming of the Rifts" bit again, but it turns out Germany survived devastated but not destroyed because... uh... reasons, as they say, and so they rebuilt themselves as the New German Republic.

Rifts World Book Five: Triax & the NGR posted:

With 50% of its factories and 84% of its technology preserved, Triax was instrumental in the rebuilding of Germany.

Ugh, percentages. We don't get any reasons or descriptions, just that a lot of their technology survived. Because. Hokay. Anyway, their corporate structure kept them together, and they were able to survive and rebuild. Though they hid from the world at first, their ability to defend themselves drew people to seek them out as saviors or allies. And rather than freak out, Triax took charge and started to work towards rebuilding Germany. The end result is that even more than the Coalition States, the NGR is a reflection of what a pre-rifts civilization was like.

Eventually, they contacted the Coalition States during the early years of the CS, but it turns out Triax way ahead of them technologically. It's not clear how they found out about them, mind, but it happened! During this time, the rest of Europe was still overrun by monsters for the first part, but the NGR was unaware of how bad it was... even though they knew stuff about America. Because! REASONS!

The Bloody Campaign

The NGR, locally, only had trouble with the Black Forest (because it's filled with monsters, because... uh, the Brothers Grimm and it sounds spooky, I guess). Occasionally monsters would cause a ruckus, but the NGR became old hands at monster hunting. And so they decided to wipe out all the monsters in Poland, to try and start driving them back. And they did that with the "Bloody Campaign". Bam. They also fought some vampires from Romania and destroyed them, too. The big mistake they made was assuming all the monsters were brainless, so when they started hearing about a Gargoyle Empire, they didn't care. Then swarms of Gargoyles blotted out the sun one day, screaming "Remember the Bloody Campaign!"

Oooops.

A lot of Germany's neighbors fell, including Poland, which got taken over by hordes of Brodkil demons. Evil reigned over most of Europe, as it does to this day.

The Birth of Human Supremacy

Pretty much everybody but the NGR got owned, who lost under 10,000 people and wiped out around 400,000 gargoyles in return. A lot of refugees fled to the NGR, who came to the conclusion that they couldn't take in everybody, so they told the d-bees to go back to where they came from. Those who didn't listen were shot. Local d-bees who lived in the NGR protested, and so they were thrown out or shot, too. Some loyal d-bee NGR citizens were allowed to build border towns, but they were left entirely to survive on their own resources.

The NGR - 103 P.A.
The Battle Continues


And so the NGR has survived as a first-world country of sorts, fighting an ongoing war for 60 years. In addition, new baddies, like the Gene-Splicers (not appearing in this book), Mindwerks (not appearing in this book) and the Angel of Death (also not appearing in this book), and the New Phoenix Empire (from Rifts World Book Four: Africa) have aided the Gargoyles with technology and the like. The gargoyles are starting to really appreciate technology after it's murdered them so well, and so are starting to pick up things like guns, explosives, and vehicles. There are rumors that the gargoyles also have giant robots, but certainly that's nonsense! (It is not nonsense.)

A Call to War

The NGR realizes the Gargoyle Empire is getting more powerful, and so has been building up their military and propaganda. They require healthy refugees (of "reasonable age") to put in eight years in the military to become citizens, and all male citizens of the NGR at 17 have to join the military (for five years) or work for Triax's war manufacturing facilities (for six years), and females are "strongly encouraged" to do so. People are given benefits to stay on as well. In addition, they're seeking out an alliance with Coalition States for non-military aid, though the CS has been waffling on whether or not to provide it. Pretty soon the NGR is inclined to go on with its offensive whether or not the CS opts to aid them or not.

The Coalition States & The NGR

The Coalition States, being led by a bunch of paranoid maniacs for the most part, has sent over plenty of representatives, but also spies, too. The next part is from the report of one such spy, "Intelligence Operative G15". Smile for the cameras, G15!

Summary Report
From Intelligence Operative G15


I'm gonna summify this:
  • The NGR is much more technologically advanced than the CS.
  • Triax and the NGR government are basically lock-step with each other, and Triax isn't an autonomous faction like Emperor Prosek fears.
  • The NGR is really, really more advanced than the CS.
  • NGR doesn't have a hidden agenda behind allying with the CS; they really want to protect and aid all of humankind.
  • The NGR is probably holding back some of their advancements from the CS to gain leverage.
  • The NGR is facing an immense supernatural threat, one that will get a lot worse if they fall.
  • The monsters the NGR fights are organized and use technology.
  • G15 has found out about the Unmutuals, and is going to try and get Victor Lazlo to let him in.
Good luck, Intelligence Operative G15! :usa:

The Quest for an Alliance

You know, I'm struck that it keeps going on about the possibility of a CS / NGR alliance. We haven't even found out what sort of government the NGR has. (Presumably a republic, but the USSR had that in their name, too...)

Anyway, Triax has given the CS some tidbits of technology, but has also been willing to sell to independent kingdoms, but that has upset Mr. "With-Us-Or-Against-Us" Prosek, who has declined a formal alliance as a result. Geez, Prosek, you'd think they'd e-peed in your cereal. They're also worried about getting dragged into an overseas war, even though non-military, thinking that might spur Atlantis to work against them (wait, how does the CS know poo poo about Atlantis?) or otherwise bring the war home. In addition, as mentioned, the Coalition States is run by paranoid maniacs who wouldn't trust their hand to scratch their rear end.

Another Perspective

The truth is that the Coalition States are way more secure than the NGR and don't have that much to worry about; a major supernatural offensive would also draw the aid of other independent kingdoms. They basically have no idea how good they have it. In addition, Atlantis isn't likely to declare war on anybody unless directly attacked, since Splynncryth is a weasely opportunist who likes squeezing every bit of profit and amusement he can out of the war. (Splynncryth has never been depicted with a twirly tentacle-mustache, but is canon now as far as I'm concerned.)

The Motives of the NGR

Geezus, we're still going on about this? The NGR wants an alliance to prove they don't stand alone and try and shake the resolve of their foes. (I'm not sure why the gargoyles would care, not even knowing about the Coalition, but I guess the NGR is being blindly optimistic.) It would also give them a supply line in their conflict. Lastly, they want to team up with the Coalition to reclaim the Earth for humankind.

The Terms of the Alliance

The basic terms of the initial 8-year alliance would be:
  • A non-aggression agreement that also formalizes joint trade.
  • Limited Triax arms exports to the CS, Northern Gun, and the Manistique Imperium (the latter two under the Coalition's oversight).
  • An exchange of technology and science.
  • Practically unrestricted exports of food and supplies to the NGR.
  • Mutual access to trade routes, with military escorts provided by the hosts.
Embassy for the Coalition States

The NGR has built a fancy embassy for the CS, and Chi-Town and the Free Quebec have their own embassies... where? It doesn't say where, yet we get exact breakdowns of their diplomatic forces in excruciating detail. Wherever they are.

Free Quebec & The NGR

Free Quebec has been pushing for an alliance with the NGR, going so far as to offer the secrets of the Glitter Boy's laser-resistant armor, in exchange for cybernetic technology, having the NGR build a bunch of new Glitter Boys (a full dozen dozen) for Free Quebec. In addition, Triax has promised to send a good five dozen suits of their redesigned Glitter Boy as well.

Of course, since Chi-Town has never gotten any of Free Quebec's juicy Glitter Boy technology, they're all up in arms over the whole thing, but Free Quebec points out the Coalition State terms don't actually restrict them from doing what they do. Still, Prosek is hopping mad. Of course, Triax agreed to the whole thing to try and jealousify the other Coalition States into signing up for alliance, which seems to be working. Prosek, predictably, has ordered new buckets of puppies to kick from the highest tower in Chi-Town as a response.
well not really but it seems in-character enough

Ugh, that's enough about the Coalition States, thanks. We're done with that. Back to the actual subject of this book!

Triax
Industries
Manufacturing & Technology


A megacorporation in the true sense, Triax has a monopoly on arms, a near-monopoly on robotics, and is dominant in industrial and household technology as far as the NGR goes. Their CEO acts as the country's Vice President, and many of its higher-ups also hold government positions. (Where do they find the time?) Most citizens are content with this, since Triax has produced effective leadership, and what's more, many citizens will choose Triax over other brands. In addition, Triax has sold outside of the NGR, supplying arms to other human communities in England, Greece, and America. However, America is a lot more hazardous to try to ship to, and there are some companies like Wilk's or Northern Gun that can compete with Triax mainly due to being established brand names in America.

Elements of Society
Cities & Technology in general

Though technologically sophisticated, the NGR is more suburb and sprawl than centered around their main cities. This is for several reasons:
  • Tall buildings and concentrated populations are vulnerable to attack.
  • They have an abundance of space, but also have built underground in some cases as well.
  • There's been a deliberate attempt to keep a "village and chalet" sort of look because... reasons. Reasons! So many reasons they cannot list any.
Electronics are really common, and they even have a "communication super highway" (the World Wide Web you're on wasn't a widespread consumer technology at the time of this writing, to be fair), and you can get all sorts of information and media on it.

Education

... is common in the NGR, where 90% of the population is literate and has a high school degree. This worries the Coalition, because they fear people who can read. It details a number of skills all citizens get, which probably would have been better near the character creation session, so NGR PCs, don't forget! You get Basic Math! Woo! It also implies they still speak German in addition to Euro, but Euro seems to be the dominant written language.

The Calendar

It notes the NGR still uses the old calendar system, so they mark it the year as 2389. It also clarifies the apocalypse began in 2098, and the new calendar used in America (PA, or Post Apocalypse) marks 2286 as year zero.

Cybernetic Augmentation

Augmentation is common and legal; only weapon systems and the like are restricted at all. About 65% of the NGR has some form of cybernetics, but most of it are just things like computer jacks, hearing aids, internal computers, etc. It lists that 10% of the population are partial borgs and 15% are full conversion- wait, what? One in four people? No, more than that - it turns out that doesn't include the military cyborgs! I think having that many cyborgs would probably have a more profound impact, but as usual it's just a throwaway number without much consideration for the implications.

M.O.M Conversions are Illegal

Basically, crazy technology is considered dangerous and inhumane, so it's tracked down wherever it pops up, and often offenders are shot on sight, or have their implants forcibly removed, which can cause permanent mental damage or death. It also points out that a lot of the monsters that can use crazy technology (particularly the brodkil) have been doing so, making it the face of the enmy.

It notes that a lot of the MOM technology is coming from Mindwerks, which was a company once bigger than Triax, but was ruined when it turned out that MOM technology was making people crazy. Ooops. People didn't think the company survived, but somebody using its name - supposedly a woman called the "Angel of Death" - seems to be supplying the brodkil of Poland with technology.

Juicer Technology

... is not illegal, but generally discouraged. It notes that 88% of the people in the NGR avoid it. The problem is that now we have a corellary that 12% of people are using juicer technology, which is a loving epidemic by any stretch. But one thing that's important to note is that the NGR has low-impact juicer technology that won't kill you later on, so it's unclear how many of those 12% are due to die in a few years.

Law Enforcement

A lot of words note that the actual enforcement of the law is much like the 20th century, only d-bees get the book thrown at them. War criminals get the military thrown at them. Outside of the NGR, there's no notable law enforcement. And that's all there is to say!

D-Bees of the NGR
The D-Bee Population of the NGR Today


A large number of d-bees live in the wilderness in and around the NGR. A small number are allowed to live in villages or cities, but are considered second-class citizens, and are forced to register and make monthly reports to a local "Office of D-Bee Affairs", and the main penalties are imprisonment, execution, or exile. Often d-bees are persecuted and suspected of crimes unjustly as well. They're also paid far less, roughly a quarter of what a human would earn.

The Outskirts of the NGR

Factory towns exist on the outskirts, but most of them are small villages, often guarded by the military or a local militia. There are regular patrols that visit each village, and are quick to respond to emergencies - though hardly quick enough in the case of certain monsters.

D-bees are often forced to live in the "Monster Zones", and the NGR often ignores them, or worse, treats them a hostiles, and the innocent are often caught in the crossfire. The only real benefit is that most are so insignificant as to avoid the attention of monsters or bandits. Still, they're always at risk. A surprising amount understand why the NGR acts as it does and will aid it, but many are deeply bitter towards the NGR. This bitterness has created a number of gangs and bandits that prey specifically on humans. However, some bandits just act out of desperation instead of hatred.

And sometimes gypsies help out these poor communities, because they're such a swell people. They do this by helping defend them... and by robbing them less.

The Monster Zones

This is where the NGR is likely to shoot anything that isn't human, though some units are more merciful and try to avoid having d-bees caught in the crossfire... and some are likely to shoot anything that isn't human.

Once again, all the art in this "chapter" (Palladium, for whatever reason, never uses chapters) is reused from other sources. But at least we have time for part two of "First-Timer"!



Winking is something you do to imply a hidden meaning, Toothpick, not when you're out-and-out insulting somebody and pointing at them. Why are you such an rear end in a top hat, Toothpick?

Next: Triax Armor! It's time to start the military parade!

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