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Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Wraith: The Great War is excellent. Wraith is by far the best written oWoD line.

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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 12: "Female gargoyles lay 3D6 eggs once every 10 months."

Gargoyle Empire

We start with some observations by Erin Tarn.

The observations of Erin Tarn

During her visit to the New German Republic, Ol' Victor Lazlo was called to visit a friend in Poland. For some unknown reason, he had Erin Tarn come along! Oh, Lazlo, when will you ever learn? So they pass near the ruins of a pre-rifts city, and Erin is like "Ooo, I want to explore it!" And Lazo is like "No loving way, those things are full of gargoyles." And then Erin Tarn just smiles her defective smile and Lazlo is like "Oh you have got to be loving kidding me."

But Erin is the protagonist and so they get out of their vehicles and go, and an unnamed wizard with them helps them out by turning them invisible. She sees some gargoyles in trees, just like she heard about, and suspects a lot of people have died when gurgoyles and gargoyles come down on them like drop devils.

As they approach the city, Erin starts to think this is a bad idea, but gently caress it, she doesn't actually stop or anything. Apparently every tree was "filled with scores of them" yet did not fall over. She saw some of them fight-playing and compares them to monkeys or birds, and figures their world has to be full of giant trees. As they get into the playce she saw that the gargoyles had built towers with debris or stuck buses into buildings to make new perches. Gargoyles are basically protrayed as having perch-mania, while their more monstrous allies make their homes underground. HOwever, it's more a community than any sort of civilization.

And so having seen enough, they're going home when they get blocked by a big gurgoyle brawl, and almost get caught by two gargoyles who almost sniff that out, but a gargoyle mage breaks up the fighting with some lightning and gives enough of a distraction that Tarn and Lazlo and the nameless mage can book it.

Erin compares them to a flock of birds, and though they struggle for dominance and food, they do work as a group. They're more instinctive than anything else, and don't really have any concept of loyalty beyond the flock - they don't have families per se. Oh, and they're omnivores (but of course they like humanoids), but they never cannibalize their own kind.

The Gargoyle Hierarchy


The Headmasters.

Basically, size and power determine hierarchy, unless you're a wizard; for some reason gargoyle mages are content to be second fiddle to gargoyle lords. Reasons? We don't need any loving reasons! So it's usually Gargoyle King or Queen > Gargoyle Lords > Gargoyle Mages > Gargoyles > Gurgoyles > Gargoylites. We'll find out what all those are in just a bit, though Kings or Queens are just bossier Lords. Sometimes gargoyles will let more powerful creatures boss them around if they're sufficiently powerful. When there's a struggle for power, it usually boils down to a rumble to determine who's strong. Oh, and humanoids generally don't count where leadership is concerned unless they can prove they have great magical powers.

Habitats


All gargoyle colonies are nudist colonies.

They like perches and heights, and suck at architecture. As such, they like forests, ruined cities, and mountains. Sometimes they built "totem poles" and "megaliths", by which Siembieda means "huge towers of crap". Often they have arenas (to fight in), lodges (for hunting), smiths (for metal), and hatcheries (in caves and tunnels).

Oh, and apparently a gargoyle female lays 3d6 eggs once every ten months; gurgoyles lay 4d6, and gargoylites lay 1d4. And assuming sufficient food - gargoyles don't seem susceptible to disease, nor do they seem to kill each other - with the amount of time gargoyles have been on Rifts Earth, they should cover every square inch of it. Bad math? In Rifts? Shock of shocks. If you don't can't understand regular ecology, maybe monster ecology is a bit much to write up.

The Empire

[quote="Rifts World Book Five: Triax & the NGR"]Despite all the references to gargoyles being like birds, they are not creatures of pure instinct and do have human-like intelligence.[/i]

This is making this hard to sum up when he does a one-eighty, folks. Or at least a ninety or so. In any case, it's pointed out that gargoyles are learning the value of technology, and so the Splugorth, the New Phoenix Empire, and mainly Mindwerks have been giving the Gargoyles new equipment. Basically, the gargoyles in Europe are starting to become more organized, and what's more, they lead themselves instead of following a demon lord or the like. This means they're growing at an alarming rate.

Their leader is Emperor Zerstrun, who is the major force in modernizing the European gargoyles. He's generically charismatic and saavy, and has been able to make alliances for technology, trading loot and services to his allies. Without him, the gargoyles are a bit dim and are likely to give up modernization. What's more, they're alienating their "demonic kin", whoever those are. Apparently, most demons see technology as dangerous, particularly because it might make the lowly gargoyles an actual threat to them. Even Splynncryth is starting to worry a bit about them!... well, the book can't really decide whether he's delighted or appalled, but at this paragraph in the book, he's appalled. But he's supplying them with weapons anyway. :v:

Now, more Infilitration!



... but can you spot the infiltrator? Can you?

Next: Disney's Gargoyles.

DoctorBright
Feb 7, 2012


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Wraith: The Great War is excellent. Wraith is by far the best written oWoD line.

Wraith was always my favorite of the old line, but also the hardest to find players for. Or maybe I should say, GOOD players for. I still remember one group I was in where they took being each others Shadow Guides as an excuse to CONSTANTLY dick over each other. In non-fun ways.

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Now, more Infilitration!

Someone's got a bad case of Cable Eye there.

Also, apparently the gun in his palm needs to be cocked? That's what I assume that "click click" sound is supposed to be.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

DoctorBright posted:

Wraith was always my favorite of the old line, but also the hardest to find players for. Or maybe I should say, GOOD players for. I still remember one group I was in where they took being each others Shadow Guides as an excuse to CONSTANTLY dick over each other. In non-fun ways.

Wraith was an interesting story bible, but I was never convinced that it was a particularly playable game. Things like the Shadow guides and even the little physical effects that taking up specific Arcanoi inflicted on a character were interesting literary ideas, but the latter were easy to forget about and the players I knew... well, you were more likely to have the Wraith ignore their Shadow (and the Shadow player get annoyed at being ineffective) or have a Wraith/Shadow pair continually disrupt the game.

That, and there was a stat named Pathos. I thought Banality was as pretentious as they could get, but apparently they were already sliding from their peak when Changeling 1e was printed.

deadly_pudding
May 13, 2009

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


Bieeardo posted:

Wraith was an interesting story bible, but I was never convinced that it was a particularly playable game. Things like the Shadow guides and even the little physical effects that taking up specific Arcanoi inflicted on a character were interesting literary ideas, but the latter were easy to forget about and the players I knew... well, you were more likely to have the Wraith ignore their Shadow (and the Shadow player get annoyed at being ineffective) or have a Wraith/Shadow pair continually disrupt the game.

That, and there was a stat named Pathos. I thought Banality was as pretentious as they could get, but apparently they were already sliding from their peak when Changeling 1e was printed.

I've used a lot of its ideas as a pretty good jumping-off point for running Ghost games in other systems. The "spirit world" as a hosed up zone of reality that doesn't quite properly sync up to the physical world is pretty compelling on its own as a place to have adventures in, especially once you start populating it with plutocratic assholes who want to make you suffer for eternity in the form of money and/or furniture.

Shadow mechanic can take a hike, though.

Edit: I wanna elaborate on this, because it was a pretty cool campaign :shobon:
It's pretty system-neutral; I used HERO, but you can use anything really that's generic enough for PCs to be ghosts, with ghosty powers, and not have it be dumb like a D&D ghost. Ignore all the stuff in Wraith about character creation, especially fetters and junk. GM provides some fetters by fiat as part of the narrative, because nobody in the afterlife gives a poo poo who you were, and you probably don't remember.

PCs all blip into existence around one dead body. It's the body of one of the PCs- the others all have fetters to items left around the body. A weapon, a shovel, and abandoned vehicle, and so on. Nobody knows what happened. Everybody is disoriented. This is Ghost Trick the RPG.

After they solved the mystery and brought the culprit to justice using GHOST SCIENCE, it became Ghost Private Eye adventures, which was pretty great. They would zero in on some mortal experiencing supernatural trubs and then help them out. It was good from GM standpoint because you had situations that were neatly self-contained: here is a weird problem. Solve it. Try not to make it weirder. Or, make it weirder if that would be funny.

deadly_pudding fucked around with this message at 18:45 on Oct 15, 2013

Parkreiner
Oct 29, 2011


Bieeardo posted:

That, and there was a stat named Pathos. I thought Banality was as pretentious as they could get, but apparently they were already sliding from their peak when Changeling 1e was printed.

Forget Pathos, don't Wraiths have actual numerical ratings in Angst too?

I could never get into Wraith, it seemed pretty perverse to design a game about ghosts with emotional and physical ties to the living, in which interacting with the world of the living was considered the ultimate offense, immediately punishable by a literal fate worse than death (soulforging). It's notable that every Wraith campaign and supplement I am aware of was just all-Shadowlands all the time, but isn't haunting people and resolving your unfinished business the entire point of being a ghost?

And for that matter I could never buy that Stygia could even be the dysfunctional society it was when literally every single ghost had an insane maniac inside them held barely in check at best. So yeah, intellectually interesting setting, pretty poor implementation as a game.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


ThisIsNoZaku posted:

Also, apparently the gun in his palm needs to be cocked? That's what I assume that "click click" sound is supposed to be.

Presumably he's somehow revealing his weapons in that way. Not the best thing for a secret weapon, but as we'll see, this is hardly the best thought-out plan.

Bieeardo posted:

That, and there was a stat named Pathos. I thought Banality was as pretentious as they could get, but apparently they were already sliding from their peak when Changeling 1e was printed.

There's always Pathos' counterpart stat: Angst.

The first edition of Wraith is a real mess with some clever ideas. Later writers polished it into a gem, but that original printing beats all the other World of Darkness games for sheer confusing incoherency.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

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

Considering what a session of that game was supposed to be like, Pathos and Angst are probably the most accurate names they could have come up with. The game had both fairly oozing out of its ears.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Wraith also got some of the weirder LARP rules. I helped a friend look them up some years ago because he was helping out with a Vampire LARP plot involving a burned-down orphanage full of ghosts.

Turns out that the LARP version of the level 1 Haunting power, Stonehand Fist (or something similar), has a potentially infinite damage cap.

See, the way it works is you play RPS over and over again until you lose.

Then you do damage equal to the number of times you won.

DoctorBright
Feb 7, 2012


Mors Rattus posted:

Wraith also got some of the weirder LARP rules. I helped a friend look them up some years ago because he was helping out with a Vampire LARP plot involving a burned-down orphanage full of ghosts.

Turns out that the LARP version of the level 1 Haunting power, Stonehand Fist (or something similar), has a potentially infinite damage cap.

See, the way it works is you play RPS over and over again until you lose.

Then you do damage equal to the number of times you won.

Actually had that used on me at a recent vampire LARP... Didn't take me too bad, but it torped the Tremere Primogen. I've never liked using the actual rules for other supernaturals when crossing over...

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I think I gave myself brain damage to forget about the Angst stat. That one was almost self-parodying.

At one point I half wanted to run a Wraith LARP (Oblivion, wasn't it?) but the plan I had would have required an entire gymnasium and a maze of wooden room dividers for artifact walls, and sheets on cords for more permeable ones.

Everyone would have probably had post-it notes stuck to themselves, pointing out the physical effects that their assorted Arcanoi had wrought on their spirit forms, too.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


deadly_pudding posted:

Shadow mechanic can take a hike, though.

Well, the Shadow mechanic is probably its most interesting and distinctive element as a game. I've had fun with it, and Stolze's Better Angels which just came out is essentially a broader version of the same idea. Once you pull it, you end up with a different ghost game entirely, which is fine, but it's probably veering off from anything resembling Wraith.

Of course, for a bad implementation of the Shadow mechanic, look up Kindred of the East. Not that it's better or worse as far as mechanics go, but that it's a game so overloaded with mechanical systems and "wouldn't it be cool to have this?" that it just gets lost in the noise.

Mors Rattus posted:

Wraith also got some of the weirder LARP rules. I helped a friend look them up some years ago because he was helping out with a Vampire LARP plot involving a burned-down orphanage full of ghosts.

Given the usual rigor applied to rules in White Wolf games, Mind's Eye Theatre just adds an extra layer of incompetent rules design. It's like the Storyteller Game was translated to another language while all the translators were high out of their goddamn minds. Practically nothing in the system functions sensibly.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Given the usual rigor applied to rules in White Wolf games, Mind's Eye Theatre just adds an extra layer of incompetent rules design. It's like the Storyteller Game was translated to another language while all the translators were high out of their goddamn minds. Practically nothing in the system functions sensibly.

And now I'm imagining a chinese bootleg copy of an nWoD book badly translated a la Vietnamese Crystal or Backstroke of the West.

On a more serious note, has anyone done an F&F of Mind's Eye Theater? Because that sounds like a goldmine.

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 05:54 on Oct 16, 2013

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Given the usual rigor applied to rules in White Wolf games, Mind's Eye Theatre just adds an extra layer of incompetent rules design. It's like the Storyteller Game was translated to another language while all the translators were high out of their goddamn minds. Practically nothing in the system functions sensibly.

And it's possible to cheat like a motherfucker at their core mechanic. The hand gestures for rock, paper, scissors sound different from one another when slapped against the palm, so, standing back to back and even with a judge present, you could simply be a second slower than the other guy and never fail a contest. When my friends crashed a Vampire LARP event at the behest of a couple of the judges there, our rules lawyer friend picked up so hard on this.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Young Freud posted:

And it's possible to cheat like a motherfucker at their core mechanic. The hand gestures for rock, paper, scissors sound different from one another when slapped against the palm, so, standing back to back and even with a judge present, you could simply be a second slower than the other guy and never fail a contest. When my friends crashed a Vampire LARP event at the behest of a couple of the judges there, our rules lawyer friend picked up so hard on this.

The gesture for the bomb (win all ties, only beaten by scissors) is just a thumbs up so you could conceivably switch between it and rock without people noticing.

The rules are also pretty terrible without cheating. You're pretty much hosed in vampire if you're playing a higher generation vampire. Anytime you come against a lower gen, they pretty much win every time. In theory they shouldn't but that's under the false assumption that people will play balanced characters who don't have maxed out traits. Traits, physical/mental/social, are also one experience point according to RAW. There is no random chance as well outside of rock, paper, scissors. The lower generation vampire in question also probably has more retests than you and will win on ties. In theory this prevents people from using violence as a solution to their problems but in practice is just gives guys in poet shirts an excuse to be assholes.

The only game that actually had better rules than its tabletop counterpart was Changeling. This is mostly because it was written partially after the fact and in a coherent fashion. That still doesn't save it from the core problem with Changeling, no one has any idea what is going on or how this fits into the World of Darkness.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Negative traits were a joke, because if you tried to call one out that didn't exist, you'd take a penalty yourself. I knew one guy whose character had a bunch, and he played them, but it was subtle enough that most people didn't catch on, and the rest didn't want to run the risk. They knew this guy was sneaky enough to fake needing a cane, or whatever.

There was another guy loaded with Beast Traits, which should have left him going into Frenzy at the drop of a hat, and enough Derangements to make the Malkavians edge away, but he just never played them. Perks of sleeping with one of the head Storytellers.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR Part 13: "Few Europeans, other than gypsies and foreigners, will ever trust a gargoyle!"


It turns out the gargoyles are ruled by the Almighty Tallest.

Gargoyles & Gurgoyles

Anyway, gargoyles are considered to be demons, but that's slightly incorrect, but are really from another dimension. (The book still refers to them as "demons" repeatedly, though.) They're really common in Europe and China. (We'll see if that holds up in about twenty worldbooks.) Apparently they visited Earth before, which is why we make scary gargoyles! And now they're trying to take over the world.


Tail knives?

So, gurgoyles are smaller and don't have wings, while gargoyles do. And now they're playable as PCs! They're realy strong, angile, and tough, but not very bright or charming. Gargoyles actually have more M.D.C. than a dragon hatchling, while gurgoyles have somewhat less. They do mega-puanch with their punches, and gargoyles get a flying tackle that has a 75% chance of knockdown. They regenerate slowly, get basic sensitive psychic powers, and are really, really fearless. They get a bunch of wilderness and general skills, and use the same XP table as the psi-stalker, even though they're much, much more powerful. Oh, and they hate vampires, no reason given. Female gargoyles and gurgoyles, for the record, have no boobs (no gargoyles have nipples, we find out) and mostly just look slightly more feminine.

Gargoyle Lord


NGR troops or backup dancers?

One out every hundred gargoyles is born as a gargoyle lord and so gets gargoyle superpowers, and one out of every four or eight thousand is a gargoyle high lord, which are basically gargoyle lords of level 5-10. And some become ultimate high lords, like Emperor Zerstrun! They get higher attributes and M.D.C., can turn into stone (makes them tougher, but slows them down), turn invisible, turn to stone and invisible, breathe fire, and get some more skills.

Gargoyle Mage

This is a rare gargoyle that gets natural elemental powers over stone, and basically are earth warlocks (from Rifts Conversion Book). They're extra-rare - only 1 in 20,000 - and prefer to wear spooky cloaks and manipulate the gargoyle lords in fulfillment of ancient genre tropes. Sometimes they break free from gargoyle society and take over some poor dopes they can lord over, and generally tend to be more indepedent than other gargoyles.

In any case, they're the smartest gargoyles, if not the strongest. They can turn invisible, teleport, breathe fire, get to get a 4th level warlock, and a few extra psionic powers. It's not clear if they can learn more warlock spells, but can sense and speak to elementals, and apparently can learn druidic herbalism (but rarely give enough of a gently caress to).

Gargoylites


Thumbs up? Seems trustworthy.

These are basically mini-gargoyles at 3' high, and tend to be tricky and greedy instead of domineering or aggressive. They're valued as spies, but at the bottom of the gargoyle ladder. Still, though their attributes (other than Mental Affinity) are lower than other gargoyles, they can turn into stone, see in the dark, and turn invisible. Other than some extra rogue skills, they're really just wee versions of the other types. It notes that because their wings are small, they can't fly for over a half-hour before wearing out.

The Gargoyle as a Player Character

It notes that good-guy gargoyles are usually ostracized or exiled for being huge weirdos, and most European humans and D-Bees hate all gargoyles and they're likely to be treated as monsters or assholes or rear end in a top hat monsters. Also it notes Asians hate gargoyles too, not that such is terribly relevant here. In the Americas and Africa, though, they're not as feared, and can be outright citizens in the New Phoenix Empire or Atlantis. It's basically a long pass-agg treatise of "so you want to play a gargoyle? Well, have the hardest time ever."

Also, on a personal note, why would you ever play a gurgoyle or gargoyle, since you can play a lord, mage, or gargoylite? I mean, maybe you want to keep it real and not play a powerful character, but it's a bit silly to have them provide the option of playing the most powerful gargoyles ever and the wimpiest ever, too. Sure, gurgoyles level faster, but as covered in my original Rifts RPG review, it only matters in a very, very long-term campaign, and only slightly even then. A level 12 gargoyle lord will still outclass a level 15 gurgoyle by miles because of their inherent difference in power. I suppose gurgoyles have an easier time finding apartments, but that's about it.

And the climax of Infiltration!



Wait, why is the mage speaking in a different language? Wouldn't they all be speaking demogogian or whatever...?
Also, I love how the mindolar just sits back and is like 'skreeee'. How true, mindolar. How true.

Next: It's time to Rifts things up a bit with gargoyle mecha.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Alien Rope Burn posted:

The Gargoyle as a Player Character

It notes that good-guy gargoyles are usually ostracized or exiled for being huge weirdos, and most European humans and D-Bees hate all gargoyles and they're likely to be treated as monsters or assholes or rear end in a top hat monsters. Also it notes Asians hate gargoyles too, not that such is terribly relevant here. In the Americas and Africa, though, they're not as feared, and can be outright citizens in the New Phoenix Empire or Atlantis. It's basically a long pass-agg treatise of "so you want to play a gargoyle? Well, have the hardest time ever."


Once again, Kev demonstrates how full of poo poo his "play what you want" claims are. And speaking of RPGs written by people who are full of poo poo, I've been looking back at my EH review and I've realized that there are 2 :psyduck: I missed in Character Creation. The Warlock Taint Gift gives you a Warlock Point which do not exist in EH (I think they might be trying to say Dark Magic Point) and Step 3 does nothing except give you a Fumble which doesn't exist in EH either. Should I bring these up in my next part or just edit them in to Character Creation?

deadly_pudding
May 13, 2009

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


AccidentalHipster posted:

Once again, Kev demonstrates how full of poo poo his "play what you want" claims are. And speaking of RPGs written by people who are full of poo poo, I've been looking back at my EH review and I've realized that there are 2 :psyduck: I missed in Character Creation. The Warlock Taint Gift gives you a Warlock Point which do not exist in EH (I think they might be trying to say Dark Magic Point) and Step 3 does nothing except give you a Fumble which doesn't exist in EH either. Should I bring these up in my next part or just edit them in to Character Creation?

Kev is full of poo poo, but it seems like one of those things that kind of boils down to the GM. D&D has PC stats for evil humanoids and monsters, too, but it's up to the DM to make the civilized world super racist toward them.

In D&D's defense, though, I guess it's big selling point isn't "PLAY ANYTHING, DO EVERYTHING," which is kind of the case with RIFTs.

"The party consists of a magical hobo, a man who has been permanently grafted into a Glitterboy, and a gargoyle! It's zany! FYI gargoyle player, this entire campaign will consist of you escaping lynch mobs because the setting is NGR."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


AccidentalHipster posted:

Once again, Kev demonstrates how full of poo poo his "play what you want" claims are.

deadly_pudding posted:

"The party consists of a magical hobo, a man who has been permanently grafted into a Glitterboy, and a gargoyle! It's zany! FYI gargoyle player, this entire campaign will consist of you escaping lynch mobs because the setting is NGR."

To be fair, the gargoyles are listed as an "Optional" Racial Character Class, but at the same time that label gets used for what feels like the majority of Racial Character Classes to begin with. A lot of what he says is understandable given they have this highly factionalized conflict in Europe, but the problem is the tone, where it's like "if you choose to play this you deserve to be personally punished". But earlier in the book they described a lot of D-Bee communities hating the NGR and favoring the gargoyles, but apparently he forgot about that part by the time it game to write up the gargoyle section. Another issue is having the gargoyles just be woefully generic baddies, when earlier it seemed there might be some grey area when the humans slaughtered them thoughtlessly. You'd think that would be a mistake. But it turns out the "mistake" wasn't the NGR just murdering them, but instead not slaughtering them all. So much for nuance.

:sigh:

Ultimately, Rifts is a game that provides no guidelines for what a party or campaign is supposed to be like. There's an unwritten assumption that players are wandering do-gooders and wrong-righters, but there's no discussion or idea of what the party balance is supposed to be like. Obviously, there's enough support to have Coalition or NGR military games too, but there are no discussions of how to run those, either. Siembieda just leaves it to GMs to do all the heavy lifting as far as campaign structure goes. Other Palladium Games at least provide adventures or GM advice, but Rifts mainly just gives a slap on the rear end and "good luck!"

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 20:33 on Oct 16, 2013

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Alien Rope Burn posted:


Ultimately, Rifts is a game that provides no guidelines for what a party or campaign is supposed to be like. There's an unwritten assumption that players are wandering do-gooders and wrong-righters, but there's no discussion or idea of what the party balance is supposed to be like. Obviously, there's enough support to have Coalition or NGR military games too, but there are no discussions of how to run those, either. Siembieda just leaves it to GMs to do all the heavy lifting as far as campaign structure goes. Other Palladium Games at least provide adventures or GM advice, but Rifts mainly just gives a slap on the rear end and "good luck!"

That is one of Rifts' strengths in my opinion. Want to play bad guys? Cool? Want to play worm infested aliens? Cool. Want to play scavengers being poo poo-on by everybody MDC capable? Cool. Rifts Earth is big enough and weird enough to handle it.

Sadly, the lack of any sort of vaguely usable rules set kind of maims that strength.

SavageMessiah
Jan 28, 2009

Emotionally drained and spookified



Toilet Rascal

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Wait, why is the mage speaking in a different language? Wouldn't they all be speaking demogogian or whatever...?

I always interpreted it as a spell being cast.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

That is one of Rifts' strengths in my opinion. Want to play bad guys? Cool? Want to play worm infested aliens? Cool. Want to play scavengers being poo poo-on by everybody MDC capable? Cool. Rifts Earth is big enough and weird enough to handle it.

Not seeing where having an actual gamemastering section would necessarily hurt that. The original Rifts GMing section was, "gosh, you should know about this from some other game, right? Um... have fun!" Granted, later books do actually introduce GM advice, but who knows if I'll ever get to them.

I'm reminded of the people that kept wanting to play hatchling hydras back in my high school days of running it. I could have used some advice about that. :(

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Alien Rope Burn posted:

I'm reminded of the people that kept wanting to play hatchling hydras back in my high school days of running it. I could have used some advice about that. :(

So how do those compare with the dreaded hatchling dragon?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR Part 14: "Since all gargoyles and gurgoyles can regenerate minor damage within an hour, few real monsters have any objections."

Gargoyles & Technology


"So, is that a... vibro... mace?

Gargoyles like technology now thanks to Triax blowing them up with technology, and so Mindwerks is giving them technology. What is Mindwerks? gently caress you, and buy Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks. That's all!

Methods of Recognizing EIRs

So gargoyles have developed means of detecting Enemy Infilitration Robots, such as:
  • Observation: Robots can be somewhat stiff and unimaginative, and sometimes show battle damage like a terminator after a fight. Alternately, having them not eat or be willing to torture an NGR baby are dead giveaways.
  • Psionics: Gargoyles can use psionic powers to try and detect robots, but since all gargoyles have the Mind Block power, it's usually just circumstantial evidence.
  • Radio Detection: Since some robot infitrators transmit back to base, gargoyles have gathered devices that let them detect and track radio signals.
  • Bloodletting: Another is the cut test where you cut a gargoyle to see if they bleed; apparently most of them don't mind too much since they regenerate. However, most EIRs have fake blood and regenerate.
Robots & Weapons of the Gargoyle Empire\

It notes that only Zerstrun's elite army of 50,000 gargoyles are armed with these weapons. First off, we have Gargoyle Body Armor, which provides 150 M.D.C. with a minor sneakiness penalty. Apparently few gargoyles wear it because they complain it's too confining. What's more, some gurgoyles use makeshift armor cobbled together out of enemy armor that has the same stats. :v:

Gurgoyle G-10 Power Armor

This is a full suit of power armor just for gurgoyles that apparently is easy-to-use; Power Armor for Dummies. The gargoyles get a variant called the G-11 that reveals their wings for flight. It roughly doubles the M.D.C. of a gurgoyle, and has special rules for blowing off the helmet and then the head. Naturally, this gives the gurgoyle less M.D.C. if you explode their head by shooting their helmet than if you shoot a naked gargoyle in the head. It only makes sense!

Anyway, this has ion blasters (dinky damage), concealed back mini-missile launchers (coff bullshit coff), vibro-claws (dinky damage), and a vibro-axe (dinky damage). We get no art for it, but apparently it looks like a less stubby version of the Gurgoyle G-20.

Speaking of which!

Gurgoyle G-20 Avenger Combat Robot


On the left, the G-20, on the right, Tekkaman Axe (from Tekkaman Blade).

This is the bigger, tougher version of the G-10 that's a robot vehicle instead of power armor. Even though they're larger, the axe and claws still do the same damage, though it does more damage in hand-to-hand. In short, there's about as much :effort: in this robot as there is in this paragraph. Oh, and technically this is the robot the NGR fights in the first comic, only it should be nearly twice their height even though it's presented about the same height.

Gurgoyle G-30 Wrecker Combat Robot


On the left, the G-30, on the right, Tekkaman Evil (from Tekkaman Blade).

And this is the biggest gargoyle robot, which is actually piloted by two gurgoyles - a pilot and a gunner, and sometimes a gargoylite supervisor. Presumably, the latter just provides the brains. Anyway, this is the toughest gargoyle bot, but it's only average to tough compared to human bots. It has an ion cannon that is certainly not a penis, mini-missile launchers left undrawn, and has two electrified flails it can retract. The electrified flails can weaken normal foes, and take out sensory systems for those in armor or power armor. (Robot vehicles just take damage.) It also has wings, but can't fly! It can use the wings to cut you, tho, if you don't give it your wallet right now.

Gargoyle Weapons


The Grenade Mace: for opening the world's biggest cans.
  • Spikes & Blades: Apparently gargoyles often wear spikes to stab people with that give them bonus damage. How they manage to make them tough enough to take Mega-Damage hits is not explained.
  • Blaster Knuckle Spikes: Brass knuckles that add damage and even more damage with a generic energy burst. Since it stuns a bit, I guess it's electricity damage, but it doesn't say.
  • Wing & Tail Blades: Like the spikes & blaes, but now on wings for fly-bisections.
  • Blaster Neural Whip: This is an electrified whip (I sense a theme) that will stun normal humanoids something fierce unles they have full body armor, but only dazes mega-damage creatures.
  • Gargoyle Firebrand Spear: This is a techno-wizard spear that goes red-hot and sets crap on fire, in addition to doing big damage for melee. May be an Ghosts & Goblins reference, but probably not.
  • WR-12 Giant Ion Pistol: This is a energy pistol designed for giant humanoids, but you wouldn't know it from the lovely damage or lovely range it has. In case you're wondering, this isn't the gun from the comics even though we have no art for it; it describes a "short shoulder stock". It also for some reason has the "WR" designation, even though that's used for Triax non-military weapons.
  • Gargoyle Grenade Mace: This unwieldy mess can hit with spikes, blade, or launch a grenade. There's also a Gargoyle Laser Mace that is the same, but shoots a terrible laser for better range but much worse damage.
  • Super-Eight Pistol Mace: No camera involved. Instead, this is a mace that can fire explosive bullets out the tip for alright damage... if it fires all eight at once, anyway. Not too super.
  • WR-100 Giant Laser Rifle: An embarrassment. Once again, it has the "WR" designation for Triax non-military weapons. Maybe Triax supplies crappy, low-damage weapons like this to troll gargoyles. It's the only explanation. (And it's not the gun from the comics, since it has a "telescopic sight".)
  • WR-200 Giant Rail Gun: This is a rail gun (once again, without a power source) that, despite being much larger, does no more damage than the average rail guns used by borgs and their ilk in the corebook.

The Super-Eight: Optimal trigger placement.

It also reprints some Kittani weapons, and they're just as boring as the first time they were printed!

Now we begin the denoument of the worst assassination plan ever:



Actually, gargoyle mages don't have any useful powers for detecting cyborgs that regular gargoyles don't have, though the book insists otherwise. :ssh:

Next: All of mainland Europe in eight pages.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


wdarkk posted:

So how do those compare with the dreaded hatchling dragon?

They have no shapechanging or flight, and are about as smart as a dog, but instead have:
  • Invisibility and (crappy) teleporting.
  • Eight attacks per round as a base.
  • Seven breath weapons, including poisonous vapors, psionic evil eye, or a cloud of slumber that all save-or-suck.
  • A "breath of death" that even harms people inside sealed vehicles or suits, doing S.D.C. damage directly to the pilot.
  • Because of an oversight in the Conversion Book, hatchlings are given the same attributes as adult dragons. Therefore, they get a strength of around 43, a prowess of about 21, hell, they even get an average beauty of 14. :v:
  • As if that wasn't enough, they get additional free combat bonuses. They don't miss very much, in general.
  • They even have a Horror Factor of 17.
They're pretty ridiculous, but chiefly their ability to damage any pilot through their armor, or paralyze unarmored foes for minutes at a time reduces any combat to a farce, unless you exclusively throw robots against them or just have high-tech foes kite them outside their range... or otherwise just turn combat into a "rocks fall" situation.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Alien Rope Burn posted:

They're pretty ridiculous, but chiefly their ability to damage any pilot through their armor, or paralyze unarmored foes for minutes at a time reduces any combat to a farce, unless you exclusively throw robots against them or just have high-tech foes kite them outside their range... or otherwise just turn combat into a "rocks fall" situation.

Sounds like a typical Rifts PC to me.

In other news, I've had some unexpected vacation time dropped in my lap and instead of doing something sensible like enjoy myself, I've been working on my Eldritch High review. Since nobody seems to care enough to comment on my retroactive :psyduck:s I've edited them in to my previous parts. The Headmaster chapter is really long but it's more "skim-able" than other chapters so I don't think I'll need to split it.

goatface
Dec 5, 2007

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

I remember it being shit.




Grimey Drawer

I would say you are writing a review, not an exhaustive line-by-line dissection of the book. Don't feel that you have to cover every single idiotic point the writer decided to shove in.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


goatface posted:

I would say you are writing a review, not an exhaustive line-by-line dissection of the book. Don't feel that you have to cover every single idiotic point the writer decided to shove in.

Maybe, but I like going in depth and I'd feel like a slacker (well, more of a slacker) if I didn't at least go in depth enough to let you understand why there's a second Unlimited Psyduck Works.

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 18:01 on Oct 17, 2013

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Welp, I've had this thing just sitting in a txt file for over an hour so I may as well just double post. Hold on to your asses rear end holders, it's time for

John Wick's Eldritch High

PART 5: HEADMASTER

It's almost over.

This is essentially the Gamemastering section and it opens by telling players that they shouldn't be reading. Fair enough.

It's also kind of 3 or 4 mini-chapters so I'll actually use headers for once to prevent retinal bleeding.

Stories

This section starts with Wick saying that he hears the phrase "Nice idea. What do you do with it?” all the time and how he had a real problem answering that question with this game, so he had his players answer it for him. I'd say that this sounds like a ploy to shift blame, but we all know that John-boy can never admit to a mistake, especially to himself. However, I will say that Wick most likely did the actual writing for this chapter because this is where the biggest examples of his brand of :smug: show up.

We start with "Metaplots & Personal Stories" which is actually surprisingly good. Metaplots here are thankfully the campaign story arc instead of the publishers deciding that for you and Personal Stories are subplots focused on the individual players. It says that the GM should come up with a metaplot that spans the entire years and involves the entire school and that he should let the players decide the premise for their own Personal Story that involves mostly just them and lasts either a semester or a year depending on how long you want it to last. This is actually a rather nice way of handling things aside from the relatively rigid timeframe but even that helps support the "Harry Potter" feel and keeps the pacing even. I like it.

Of course this couldn't last because the next part is "Bullies" and my god does this section suck. There is absolute ZIP on what to do with bullies in the story, just a long rear end tirade about how ubiquitous bullying is and how it reflects the darker side of human nature and blah blah blah. I mean seriously look at this poo poo

quote:

You don’t need to study for endless hours to know how to threaten someone when they’re alone in the bathroom. You just grab a couple of friends with equally low moral character as yourself, wait in the stalls until some pipsqueak comes in and then you hold his head in the toilet until he can’t breathe. Then, you take whatever money he’s got on him and tell him he’d better hand over anything else his folks send him or he’ll get more of the same.

Because this is so much more important information than how a GM could incorporate bullies in to the game without killing the fun. :smug: And why gently caress would kids need money in a magical pocket dimension boarding school that provides everything for them for free? There are no shops to buy anything at! :psyduck: It gets worse. Wick then goes off on a tangent about how "bully" is too soft of a word and how we should use the word "criminal" instead. Seriously.

quote:

“Bully” is the wrong word. It’s a harmless word. It’s something you call a friendly dog. “Here, Bully! Who’s a good dog?” No, I don’t think “bully” really works for me anymore.

No, you aren’t a bully. You’re committing assault. And that makes you a criminal. :smug:

And still not a single story hook or word of roleplaying advice. gently caress you Wick.

Next is "Dating" which rambles a fair bit about how drama comes from characters making bad decisions and how hard it is to enforce drama in a roleplaying game because players want to avoid that. Thankfully this isn't a pointless tangent and actually leads in to some decent advice on how dating is excellent drama fodder because it makes bad choices so appealing and skews priorities. The suggested way of kicking off major drama is to l;et the player get attached to their love interest, then endanger the love interest. Stock but effective, and it outright states that scarring, maiming, and killing are totally unnecessary, just the threat of danger should be enough which is a welcome idea. The section finishes up by saying that this kind of story isn't for everyone and that it's best used when the player picks "dating" as their Personal Story.

Of course Wick fucks this up with a sidebar labeled Romance Ven Style where he includes romance rules borrowed from Houses of the Blooded. How they work is that when a romance is started it gives the characters involved a Romance rank with each other which they can add to their Pull whenever they make a Risk involving their partner. It starts at rank 1 and goes up by 1 either at the end of every semester or at the end of every week depending on how fast the GM wants things to go and caps at 5. Once it hits 5, it starts ticking down (presumably at the same rate, but it doesn't say) until eventually there's a messy break up. Whichever side gets dumped gets the Heartbroken trait until either the end of the semester or until they reach Rank 3 in another romance. Heartbroken costs you a Bang whenever you make Risks and costs 2 Bangs whenever you make Risks while your ex is present, but gives you 3 cards on all Risks to hurt your ex. This mechanic is stupid not only because of the missing rules for decrease rate, but also because it has no rules for what happens if the rank drops to 0 without a breakup, the option to have another Romance cure your Heartbreak is useless because it takes to long to work unless it's a fling, and because it gives players no say in how their romances develop. Why would you ever use these loving rules in ANY game? :psyduck: The real cherry on this poo poo sundae is the last sentence in the sidebar.

quote:

Ain’t love grand? :smug:

gently caress you Wick.

Next is "Exploration" which is short and has a nice little plot hook of doors that can lead to other worlds but were declared too dangerous and were magically locked with riddles to prevent students from loving with them. No advice on what to do with this hook, but a good hook nonetheless.

Next up "Finding Out Grown-Ups Make Mistakes". It starts by talking about how Wick loves David Fincher (the guy who directed Fight Club) but how most people don't know that he got his start with Alien 3. Apparently Fincher compared his experiences working on Alien 3 to when he found out that grown-ups lie. That's… certainly some trivia. Anyway, this sub-section is another hook. Basically, have a PC get framed for something, then have a trusted and well liked teacher end up deciding to believe the evidence instead of the PC, and finish with new evidence showing up almost immediately afterwards that clears the PC's name. Overall, this hook seems rather weak and lacking in potential.

Next, "Lost Magic (finding out the Academy only knows a little of what is out there)". God what a mouthful. Anyway, this section mentions how discovering new kinds of magic could make for good drama before immediately launching in to an explanation about Transmutation. Transmutation was a Course in playtesting (hah!) that was cut because players kept Transmuting their enemies into soap bubbles and Wick couldn't think of a clever limitation to prevent this. However, he cites having to open and close your hand as an example of a balancing factor for Conjuration despite the lack of explicit size limits making it little more than a flourish and as you'll soon see, John-boy did come up with a clever way of limiting it. How do you miss something like that? :psyduck: The sub-section then gives the story hook of Transmutation being discovered and the school banning it for being too dangerous. The school works by Fullmetal Alchemist rules (no changing mass or composition), can't effect an object more than once, and only last for an hour plus an additional hour per Bang spent. It also has a corruption mechanic where the more you use it the more inhuman features you acquire. Essentially, it's a Dark Magic (I'll get to those in the next section) and while it can certainly end fights pretty quick, other Dark Magics are more badass. It advises GMs not to explicitly tell the players about the corruption mechanic right away but to make it clear that using Transmutation is having some ill effect on them. This is actually a rather nice segment but I still have to question why Transmutation couldn't just be moved to Dark Magic and have this section talk about introducing players to Dark Magic.

Moving right along, we have "Parents" which is pretty simple. It mentions how you could tell stories about parents trying to interfere with a PC's life as a student but doesn't elaborate on it because apparently Wick didn't realize that the PCs are essentially child soldiers. What it does elaborate on is a hook of daemons tricking a PC's parents in to running off to someplace dangerous with promises of “I can bring you to your child”. It gives them a clear goal, a personal attachment to the problem, and even a feeling of responsibly for the whole mess if done right. There's also mention of maybe having the parents be staff and it concludes by saying "ask your players about their parents" and I always support GM/player cooperation. An alright sub-section if a bit myopic.

The last 3 sub-sections are super short and are just plot hooks so I'll just skim over them. "Protect the School" is about daemon's infiltrating the school, "School Rivalries" is about student exchange programs causing a culture clash, and "Shadowrealm Spills" is just "Protect the School" without the organization or subtlety on the Daemons' part.

Dark Magics

This section really shows how few fucks Editor *glances back at credits* Emily Woerner gave. Those Dark Magic Points (called Dark Magic Taint once and only once in this section) you've been earning from learning Dark Magic are finally explained and they're pretty much an alternate version of Willpower. They can only be used for Magic Risks, but they double your Pull instead of adding 3 and they are much cheaper to obtain as shown back in Homework. What's more, every time you use Dark Magic (including using Dark Magic Points) you draw a card (called Flipping here and nowhere else) and if it comes up as a face card, you gain another Dark Magic Point to make your spellcasting super boss. Dark Magic Points refresh between sessions just like Willpower. They also, um

quote:

Flip a card. If the number is equal to or lower than your DMP, you become a Warlock.

And no, Dark Magic Points are not abbreviated as DMP anywhere else. I may not be the best at editing myself, but I don't make mistakes like the ones in this section. Why were they demanding :10bux: for this again? :psyduck: Oh, and not only are there no rules for when to test for becoming a Warlock, becoming a Warlock does absolutely nothing! :psyduck: :psyduck: Lastly, Dark Magic Points also give you Dark Traits (basically cosmetic daemonic mutations) every time you earn one.

The individual Dark Magic Schools each have a specific thing that they can do and instead of a limitation like regular schools, have a Daemonic Trait (which are most likely Dark Traits given a new name) tied to them. The first is Chaos which I'll save for last because it is just insane.

Next is Curses which lets you announce a task and make it cost a Willpower Point for you target to do that task but gives you flaming eyes. I think that once they spend the Willpower the curse is lifted but it doesn't say and it doesn't really matter because every Bang you spend makes it cost and extra Willpower Point for your target to fight the curse and there's no rule against stacking curse so you could easily make it impossible for your victim to ever shake the curse.

Necromancy let's you create an unguent that lets you either see ghosts, speak with the dead, or animate zombies but makes you look like Cesare from "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari". The unguent must be made from the skin and bones of corpses and the zombies last until either sunrise or sunset, whichever comes first.

Then, we have Nihilism which creates a passive aura that forces everyone around you to have to spend an extra Bang per rank you have to succeed on Magic Risks but makes your facial features fade away. You can also attack magical items with Nihilism to destroy one charge per Bang you get. If you're French you can use Existential Nihilism as well (which I've already stated makes no sense) which let's you remove your opponent's Bangs with your own instead of adding details during Opposed Risks whenever your opponent tries to cast a spell at you. Since this is a new function of an Nihilism and not a separate Course and it stacks with regular Nihilism, this means it's nigh impossible to casts spells directly at you.

Finally, we roll back to Chaos for something truly mind bending. Chaos let's you make things spontaneously happen by asking “What are the chances...?” then stating the event but makes you look like you're glitching out of existence. There is no limitation on what you can ask so while the examples include things like making guns misfire and winning the lottery you could potentially make all of your grades in to perfect 100's or turn your enemies into soap bubbles. If turning enemies into soap bubbles was an explicit example of why Transmutation was made an optional story hook instead of a regular Course then why the gently caress would you let Chaos get a free pass? Our darling Daisy could just spend a few weeks studying Chaos magic and use it to not only win her bad boy love interest's affection, but also become God-Empress of Witchkind! And this could all be fixes by making the revised Transmutation a regular Dark Magic and making Chaos a story hook because then you could keep it out of player's hands if you wanted, make the drawback GM fiat and thus potentially actually punishing, and prevent it from feeding in to itself by earning you extra Dark Magic Points! This school is so stupid in so many ways that I have to award another one of these.

And so, as I pray, UNLIMITED PSYDUCK WORKS


Shadow Watch

Let's just wrap this up. This section is where we finally found out about the mysterious Shadow Watch we've been hearing so much about! What are they? An alternate option to playing a wizard student. They're just students who can't use magic. And I'm not sorry that I spoiled this in Character Creation. They're the exact same as regular students except they get 3 Electives instead of 1 and instead of Magic they get Chongfen which is a single course, works like a wire-fu version of Arcane Athletics and Wrestling, and gets a 3 card bonus when opposing mundane versions of Arcane Athletics, Weapons, and Wrestling. The Shadow Watch is also completely immune to all magic but can still be indirectly effected by it such as being carried by a magic carpet that someone else is commanding. Wouldn't that mean that the Shadow Watch is better suited to fighting daemons (who are pure magic) and wizards should be scouting out new students instead of the other way around?

Other Stuff

The last few sections are just the Oath that all students affirms every time they have a meal (it's your basic "With great power come great responsibility") and some optional rules that let you either remove cards from your deck for extra Bangs, make Demerits actually hurt by having them temporarily remove high value cards from your deck, and let you earn extra Homework Points by being a good roleplayer.

Finally, I'm through with the longest chapter in this book and the rest is just a bunch of dull character sheets and NPCs from the :airquote: Playtest :airquote: so I won't be covering those unless someone nags me to. So, for our final tally of awfulness, we have:

:smug: total: 10 (3 this chapter)
:psyduck: total: 36 (6 this chapter)
Unlimited Psyduck Works total: 2
Pages read: All of them! FREEDOM!

Next time (if there is one), FINAL THOUGHTS, or Yes, I'm still griping about the :10bux:

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 00:58 on Oct 18, 2013

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I don't feel like interrupting my fantasies of giving Wick a swirlie long enough to scroll back to the first entry, but I thought parents were brought along for the ride (and the eventual mindwipe), partially because they were prime targets for dark forces fuckery.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Bieeardo posted:

I don't feel like interrupting my fantasies of giving Wick a swirlie long enough to scroll back to the first entry, but I thought parents were brought along for the ride (and the eventual mindwipe), partially because they were prime targets for dark forces fuckery.

Yup. The parents plot hook assumes that wisking the parents along twas all for boners. And let's be honest, hiding from Shadowrealm entities in a school in the heart of the Shadowrealm is pretty stupid no matter how many overworked teachers and kung-fu teenagers you guard them with.

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 01:36 on Oct 18, 2013

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Wick's "life is pain" ethos is extra-problematic, once again, we're talking about playing a kid - or at least a teenager - in an inherently punishing world. What's the fun of being a teenage wizard if it's being just a versimilitudey child soldier? It's trying to be Harry Potter with a sneer, and sounds pretty charmless as a result.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

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

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Wick's "life is pain" ethos is extra-problematic, once again, we're talking about playing a kid - or at least a teenager - in an inherently punishing world. What's the fun of being a teenage wizard if it's being just a versimilitudey child soldier? It's trying to be Harry Potter with a sneer, and sounds pretty charmless as a result.

Yeah, if you wanted a better take on that, go read The Magicians instead.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Syrg Sapphire posted:

Yeah, if you wanted a better take on that, go read The Magicians instead.

Yeah, I think you could do a Life During Wartime or the like, certainly, but there has to be some stakes, some point to the whole thing. It's not that you can't do young adult fiction turned grim, but you have to be going somewhere meaningful with it rather than just doing it to be smug.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book Five: Triax and the NGR Part 15: "These are the denizen that haunt Europe."

A Quick Overview of Europe



So officially, the New German Republic covers all of Germany and the Netherlands. It's a notable force in Poland and has struggled over areas across Eastern Europe. Most of the "Monster Zones" are to the south and / or east of the NGR.

We get some population statistics which include such howlers as 1% dragons (1 in 100 people is dragon or equivalent), and 0.1% gods or alien intelligences (so, 1 in 1000 sentients). gently caress, Siembieda, just... think about... numbers, someday? Promise?

Apparently the supernatural is all over the place (after all, 1 in 20 sentients is a faerie), and there are all sorts of monsters, refugees, explorers, etc. Like with America, most of Europe is untouched wilderness, and most of the population are D-Bees (humans are a second). rear end in a top hat monsters are everywhere and so adventurers and mercenaries can make a living mopping them up. It notes that a lot of evil baddies are used to lording over peasants or just being able to pop heads with magic and so they won't be prepared for a full company of adventurers showing up with actual force.

France & Spain

The French Alps are claimed by the Gargoyle Empire, but the rest is wild. Paris is lorded over by non-Imperial gargoyles, and the Blood Druids. The Blood Druids are said to be in control of France and Spain, but in reality they just seem to be a relatively small cult. Oh, and stone megaliths on the French coast are now alive with magic. Kevin has nothing meaningful to say about Spain; it's wilderness! Moving on.

Italy

There have been a lot of little wars popping up for control of Italy, but the creatures taking over most prominently are the Wolfen from Palllaaaaadiiummm World (and Rifts Conversion Book) who are taking over because Romulus and Remus and it is a mythology joke. They're psuedo-Roman in their tactics and some people think that Romans got rifted to their world and the wolves robbed their culture blind. Others say those people are full of poo poo.

Romania & Hungary

There are rumors that there are vampires in Romania! The gypsies say there are, and a few have shown up here and there. A wide variety of factions are vampire hunting around here, most notably Altantean extermination squads. In reality there has been a vampire intelligence, Vladapar, who has been trying to create enough vampires to gain a foothold, but they keep getting killed and so he hasn't been able to make enough to jump to this dimension.

Poland

Many old cities are filled with monsters, but humans are mostly centered around Poznan. Most of them are freaked out survivors who will basically blow the poo poo out of any monsters or anything hat looks like a monster or that it might be turning into a monster. Wilderness folk are generally super-paranoid and aloof as well, because loving monsters, monsters everywhere, monsters in my soup, gently caress man, you don't know man, you don't know.

The City of Poznan - Poland

Though below the tech curve compared to the NGR, they do have enough high-tech to get by (mostly provided by a subsidiary of Triax). The wealthy live in opulence underground, while the surface dwellers basically live in polluted crimeopolis. Cybernetics, Juicing, and drugs are common, as are gangs, drug dealers, and cyber-snatchers. However, they're more tolerant than th NGR, even if you look mostly human. We get a breakdown of their military, which mostly consists of mercenaries. The NGR also has two armored divisions stationed here and nearby.

Wroclaw - Poland

This is another industrial city, but it's mostly rural and not so monster-menaced.

The Gargoyle Empire


"Hugs!" "No hugs!"

The Gargoyle Empire claims Germany (!?), Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, northern Italy, northern Yugoslavia, and the Alps, but mostly they're centered out of the Swiss mountains, Austria, northern Italy, and northern Yugoslavia, and the Alps. They're relinquished Poland to the Brodkil, giving them the evil fistbump, and are allies and they love each other in an impure manner.

Gypsies

Usually found around France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, and Russia. Wherever there are rubes to rob, no doubt.

The Brodkil Empire


The stylish Brodkil accessorizes the shoulders but leaves the loins to cloth.

Or "northern Czechoslovakia and southwest Poland". Mostly they've just backed up the gargoyles, and most NGR forces figure they're pussies who aren't a serious threat. However, the Brodkil are smart (well, smarter than gargoyles, anyway), and have been biding their time and gathering technology and numbers to strike. They also have the backing of the (not detailed in this book) Angel of Death and (also not detailed in this book) Mindwerks, who have augmented a lot of Brodkil into borgs or crazies. And so the Brodkil dream of killing all humands and becoming the #2 empire in Europe. We get a reprint of their stats from Rifts Sourcebook, as well.

Gene-Splicers

These are recent arrivals who are mysterious ugly humanoids and are masters of genetic engineering. They like to make monsters and freakish mutants... because? To be continued in Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks. gently caress you, readers!

Notes Concerning Non-Human Good Guys & D-Bees

We get details on a number of other forces.
  • The Simvan Monster Riders are here, and are generally respected as fearless warriors, some are good and some are bad.
  • True Atlantean Undead Slayers wander around killing monsters, and are often heroes of small wilderness communities.
  • Psi-Stalkers are all over, particularly in monster-ridden areas. Regardless of their moral leanings, they generally are seen as heroes because they hunt monsters. Some form packs and often they stake out territories.
  • Splugorth minions have been sent to help and watch over the gargoyles, but they're also trying to find out more about the various other forces here.
  • The Coalition has representatives and spies, mostly around the NGR.
  • Temporal raiders and their apprentices sometimes become protectors or despots.
We also get a note that the Mindwerks book will have a lot more information! Obviously it was more important to reprint the rules for explosive arrows for the third time in the Rifts books. Who cares about backers behind the main antagonists in the book when you can reprint tracer arrows again?

We get a summary of German terms - which I'll just show you unexpurgated. My German is limited largely to "fliegende kinderscheisse", so I'll leave :words: here for readers to pick at:



And the conclusion of "Infiltration"!



Next: The mystery of the missing gargoyle cocks! Wait, no, I'm just kidding, we are done, done, done. :D

NihilVerumNisiMors
Aug 16, 2012


Well, his German translations are really really literal.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

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

NihilVerumNisiMors posted:

Well, his German translations are really really literal.
"Awful" is the word you're looking for. Glad to see Siembieda's German is as good as everything else about him. "Überkavallerist," what a wonderful abomination of a word.

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Aramoro
Jun 1, 2012






Surely there are no more Rifts books left? Please say there are none left.

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