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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Halloween Jack posted:

The Garou are the least sympathetic protagonists in the oWoD. Their stance on every other supernatural race is "Kill them" or "dunno, might as well kill them, better safe than sorry y'know."
Well with the track record that the metaplot gave them, can you really blame them? Their only contribution to the week of nightmares was to have a pack show up and get their souls obliterated. But their points of view on every splat other than the Big Two is more nuanced, they like changelings, don't mind (revised) mummies, don't know about Demons, and as far as Ghosts the running command seems to be "Figure out what's keeping them here and give the poor bastards some peace."

quote:

The dumbest thing in Werewolf was the Seventh Generation, a Wyrm-worshiping cult of evil Republican lobbyists who are extra evil because they run child pornography ring, and was run by an evil Mountie. To quote one of the WW editors, "This is the World of Darkness, not the World of Liberalism," and they were quietly killed off with the justification that King Albrecht wiped them all out in a crusade.
7th Gen were a really bad idea, some cheap pathos to get "Look guys they're evil!" established early and often. But putting Albrecht in charge was probably the best thing the Werewolf line could have had happen to it, as he gave a good metaplot reason for the various tribes to stop pretending they're vampiresstabbing each other in the back quite so much and move on. If there's anything I learned from reading the "Rage Across" books, most of the plotlines in 1st edition could be transplanted almost effortlessly if you replaced "alpha" with "prince" and "pentex" with "Sabbat".


Halloween Jack posted:

How did they deal with the True Black Hand, anyway? Did they say that they had always just been one faction within the Sabbat, then destroy their ghost castle and kill most of them off?

I'm not sure if their level of control within the Sabbat was ever really defined, but they got rid of them in a way that made sure that no author could bring them back, ever.

See, when something in the physical world is destroyed, it can show up in the afterlife if it has enough resonance with something else that's died there, this is known as a relic. Dude gets stabbed with a knife, he has a relic knife in the afterlife. The main base of the "True" black hand was Enoch, the first city. Caine's first city, which was a ridiculously powerful relic because of all of the people that died there. So when the wraiths found out about it, they did the only sensible thing, they used an even more powerful relic on it.

Fat Man.

The resulting explosion destroyed Enoch, broke the prison holding the Demons at bay, and (I think) created the avatar storm somehow.

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sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth
My group tried to play Naruto D20 but it was so clunky we just got Ninja Crusade instead.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG

Kurieg posted:

I'm not sure if their level of control within the Sabbat was ever really defined
It was. The revised ST Handbook for Vampire (that covered the whole "Enoch goes boom" thing outside of a brief mention in the last Wraith book) explicitly said that all previous material on the TRUE BLACK HAND was the propaganda/fanfiction written by a tiny sect of elder vampires that even the other elders thought needed to chill the gently caress out and get out more. I can't quote it right now, but I remember it basically saying anything not expressly written or contradicted in the chapter is the Vampire equivalent of "my uncle works for Nintendo so I get all the new games before they come out."

The Nagaraja were pretty cool, though, once they got the Revised treatment and actually became playable*.

*IIRC they had the bizarrely-common problem in Vampire of "is supposed to have cool abilities, but they're on page XX and don't actually appear in this book"

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
The ghost if Fat Man or Little Boy can take care of a hell of a lot.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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


An October's Ending

The Everlasting is a modern fantasy game published in the late 90s, so it must convey its setting through fiction. The preview from my last post is a direct quote from the opening story, "An October's Ending." I wish I could tell you that the story was crammed with such self-ignorant excess all the way through, because that would have made for a so-bad-it's-awesome read. Instead, the story is plagued with all the common diseases of amateur fantasy writers, including awkward sentence construction, telling instead of showing, lingering on descriptions of characters' possessions, tedious infodumps about why these people have superpowers, narrating fight scenes as a sequence of turns in a game instead of people trying not to die, and introducing every character by describing them in terms of their hair and eyes and clothes. The story is fairly boring considering its body count, racked up with kung fu, gun fu, sword-fu, knife-fu, machete-fu, and lightning-fu.

The opening paragraph makes it clear that the Secret World is a Dark Fantasy 1990s where every major city has Seattle's weather and Mogadishu's crime rate. We are introduced to Marshall, a centuries-old immortal who is planning to kill an even older immortal named Josiff. Marshall breaks into Josiff's mansion (which is stuffed with priceless artifacts just like Duncan MacLeod's house in Highlander), murders all his domestic servants, hack'n'slashes his ghost guardians, and saves his game before the Boss Battle with Josiff. The fight is like something out of a Star Wars video game, with Marshall using his pearl-handled-knife-fu while Josiff prefers floating around the room shooting lightning and telekinetically throwing his very sharp antiques collection at Marshall. Marshall finally prevails when he stabs Josiff with knives made of gold, which are poisonous to Josiff. He reveals that a demon extorted him into killing Josiff under threat of eternal torture, and finishes him off. Aaand cut.

The next scene features Tom and Jennifer, a young couple on a road trip in Thomas' fully-restored candy-red GTO with white drag strips. Tom is a younger immortal on his way to a meeting of "the fellowship" in the wake of Josiff's death. He's just asked Jennifer to leave her life beyond and move across the country with him, but he hasn't told her he's an immortal yet. He decides that this is the time, and proves it to her by pulling off the road, leading her into a cow pasture, pulling out a handgun, and blowing out his brains--which he quickly regrows, such as they are. He then treats Jennifer, and us, to a long boring infodump about how he's one of the daeva, a race of immortals who were worshiped as pagan gods. Aaand cut.

Scene three is about Luther de Fontaine, who is just leaving his girlfriend's house when a mob of demon-possessed derelicts drag him into an alley and attack him with bricks and bats and brickbats and whatnot. Just when he's on the verge of death, he tears off his shirt, flexes, and starts hitting demons with the Atomic Leg Drop and such. The author interrupts this fight scene to explain that Luther is a quester, who joined a secret order in the 1800s and became immortal when he found and drank from the Holy Grail. After his Duncan MacLeod style flashback, Luther beats all the demons to a pulp with his bare hands. Then he goes home, calls his girlfriend, and eats leftover Chinese food. That's right.

Our last protagonist is Margaret the vampire, who has demon problems of her own. Specifically, a mob of them just burnt down her antebellum mansion and she's running for dear unlife. She flees into her ghul catacombs and sets some Indiana Jones style traps behind her, then runs through the catacombs to a room filled with roses to mask the stench of undead dudes, and asks sanctuary from a scabby gross ghul named Revis Frome. She spends the next day chilling out in the Nosferatu warrens ghoul catacombs listening to the demons scream as the ghuls find them and rip them apart. The book promises that this story will be continued in The Book of the Light.

Class, can you see what's wrong with this story? There are four vignettes, and only one of them concerns the characters covered in this loving book! Not only that, but it's the least eventful and informative out of all of them; a vampire asks a ghoul if she can crash at his pad for awhile, and we don't learn much about either of them or their kewl p0warz. This does not bode well for our heroes.



Welcome to the Secret World
Not a White Wolf game
We got elves and gargoyles
Plus we changed the name

Welcome to the Secret World
Of elegant decay
If you want some mysteries
Use Tarot cards to play


Next time, on The Everlasting: An overview of the setting, with so many sidebars and jargon words you'll think you're reading Immortal.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY

Houses of the Blooded

In case I’m being too subtle, let me be perfectly clear about one thing. The only way to maintain a Romance at its potential is with sex.

This is the Romance chapter. Still your hearts, we're in for a ride. The chapter opens with this quote from one of Wick's doomed highborn manchildren:

:pervert: posted:

Other people’s wives are like other people’s children. Fun to play with, fun hold, fun to tickle and fun to tease. But as soon as they start crying, you can hand them back.

Romance! It's dangerous, it's obsessive, it uses the same word the ven use for revenge, yadda yadda. It's asking for trouble, ven go head over heels for their lovers and act all stupid and poo poo. So why is Romance a capital letter Thing? About three hundred years ago, two nobles, Avreda and Ylvayne, fell for each other at first sight. Avreda was a composer, Ylvayne an older lady married to a guy going into Solace. Avreda composed his first great Opera the winter they met, dedicated to his "Winter Rose", and it was patently obvious the two were up to shenanigans. Eventually she was brought to court under charges of adultery, and she admitted her love for the composer, but refused to admit the consummation of the affair. The court ruled that adultery was a crime, but ~*love*~ was not. This new idea of ~*love*~ took off among the ven like corgi pictures on the internet, with a metric ton of pillow books and operas dedicated to poor ladies trapped in loveless marriages until the dashing Lover comes to rescue them. But no sex! That was illegal.

Ten years later, Avreda composed a sequel where the totally fictitious lovers from the first Opera reunited and consummated the affair. Everyone was clutching their pearls again and Avreda was brought to the court this time, as the husband put him down for a charge of True Pain. Avreda declared that he was guilty, yes - guilty of subverting marriage, encouraging love, and being in love with Ylvayne, but alas they had never gone through and he would forever regret it. The court ruled in favor of the husband and Avreda was "publicly whipped, castrated, and then hung by the neck until he was dead. His body was then burned until nothing remained." His lover poisoned herself soon after. And since everything was so tragic and stuff, Romance became part of ven culture.

quote:

In the beginning, these affairs were completely chaste—a kiss was a daring gift, and if discovered, could lead to banishment, or even death. Then, as the concept of courtly Romance became more popular, the lady’s rewards became more… rewarding.

So now there are, no poo poo, Courts of Love that gather to debate the nature of love. They're pretty grognardy about it too, with constants debates on the proper procedure, where the man goes too far, etc. The discussions are purely theoretical, of course, everyone is talking about fictional lords and ladies that are most certainly not inspired by real life shenanigans. Of course, the courts also love trying to figure out who the actual lovers are in the fictional tales. Most courts are women-only, but some include male members. The greatest of them was created fifty years ago by one Shoshana Yvarai, and lovers from all over Shanri want to go there and share their tales. Romance is now a very ritualized thing like everything else in ven culture, with the lovers setting harder and harder tasks for each other to prove their worth.

So, actual Romance rules! Yes, there are rules for this thing. Traditionally it's the man's role to initiate Romance and the woman determines how far it can go (same-gender sex happens, but it's just for fun; no same-gender Romance and certainly nothing like gay marriage for ven), but the Game has escalated since then. Only one Romance can be held at the time. First, the Romance begins with The First Game, the initial flirtation. This is a test to see whether the ven involved are skilled enough to play the game. The initiator rolls a Beauty risk with wagers, if it succeeds the invitation is on. The potential partner then makes a Beauty risk of their own, with as many wagers as the first player made. They can also make more wagers in order to increase the Romance's Potential. This goes back and forth as they make further and further insinuations until one fails: their heart failed them and they missed a beat, fumbled their response, or some other unfortunate circumstance. The winner is the Prey, having won the right to be pursued; and the loser is the Predator, forced to prove their worth by keeping up with the Prey. The Prey's wagers plus half the Predator's wagers make up the Romance's Potential, the number of Seasons it can last. The Romance has a rank as well, equal to half its Potential, rounded up.


Wick can't help but be an rear end in a top hat even to his fake scholar colleagues.

The Romance is an Aspect. Its invoke gives bonus dice to a task set by the other lover; if the task cannot be accomplished, the Romance loses one rank. Its tag lets others take advantage of the lovers' feelings for each other, and its compel forces the lover to protect the Romance (not the other lover, mind you) It's also a Free Aspect. Lovers can also take the Lover's Leap for each other: if they're both in a scene and one is about to take an Injury, the lover jumps and takes the hit in full. Nothing stands in the way of a Leap.

The tasks the Prey sets for the Predator start off simple and become progressively harder. Of course, a Prey can start off asking for the impossible (and showing they either trust their lover's skill a whole lot or not at all), or asking for trivial stuff (because they have little regard for their lover's skill, or because they're testing them before setting a real task for them, etc.) Connotations! Successfully completing a task means the Prey must award alta, the rewards of the ~*game of love*~ to the Predator, and the roles switch. Alta starts off small, like small gifts or kisses in the hand, and it progresses in boldness and lewdness as the Romance goes on.

But Romances can't last forever. The Romance grows up in rank each Season after it begins until it hits its Potential, then it loses one rank per Season until it's down to zero. If no alta is granted by either lover in one Season, it loses two ranks as well. Romances can end earlier as well. The two honorable ways out are to accomplish a task and not ask for alta, or not assigning a task. Or it can end poorly: you can refuse to grant alta, thus giving your former lover the Vazhna Aspect. Vazhna are "savage lovers" that are pissed off at the very idea of love, and it can be tagged by opponents in matters of Romance or compelled to make the vazhna act cruel and heartless to lovers and Romance. The Courts of Love can also force the Aspect on a lover that ended an affair in a public, awful way.

When an affair ends the lover that was cut off gets the Heartbreak Aspect. Its invoke gives the heartbroken ven its rank in bonus dice to harm the one that hurt them, its tag lets opponents turn their anger against them, and its compel is, well, you know Wick's fascination for scorned, vengeful Dragon Ladies? That's about it. Heartbreak also has a rank (half the original Romance's Potential), which goes away at a rate of one per Season. Heartbroken ven can also start new Romances, but their rank cannot be higher than the Heartbreak's rank.

Those ven that play closer to the fire can turn their Romance into a Liaison. This can be done as soon as the Romance hits its Potential. When the ven involved cross the line, the Liaison's rank no longer goes down in rank with each Season, as long as the Liaison is "maintained." Being discovered at this point means breaking out the Revenge rules. The chapter ends with that lovely bit at the very beginning of this post.

I need a shower. Fun bits before I go: new Romances usually give more dice than old ones, so players will want to dump lovers all the time; and having Romances with your wife/husband is almost on the level of munchkining as far as Wick is concerned. Okay, it can happen, but it must be ~*special*~ and the exception to the rule. Romance in marriages is alien to the Wick.

Next: Dio kicks the Puppy Factory. Al throws a kegger.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?
Why in the name of Ormagoden's red hot tailpipe did Wick think that these rules would be a good idea for adapting into a grimderp Harry Potter game? And make it have pretty much zero player input when he did so?

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012

Traveller posted:

having Romances with your wife/husband is almost on the level of munchkining as far as Wick is concerned. Okay, it can happen, but it must be ~*special*~ and the exception to the rule. Romance in marriages is alien to the Wick.

It's kind of funny how the guy who rails against the concepts of honor and chivalry and etc seems to be totally onboard with the idea of courtly love.

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.
That's a really great word for anything Wick-made.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007

Cardiovorax posted:

That's a really great word for anything Wick-made.

I just remembered Wick's avatar on the RPG.net forums is a chibi anime version of himself making what's basically a huge :smuggo: face.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
Separated at Birth?

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
We should get a Wick thread because this is getting loving ridiculous.

Parkreiner
Oct 29, 2011
It was inevitable that a thread (partly) devoted to incredibly lovely games would have a lot of John Wick content. No different from the ongoing Rifts chronicles.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Serious lack of Kev pics here.

What I'm saying is post your Palladium-est Siembieda pictures.

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

Mr. Maltose posted:

Serious lack of Kev pics here.

What I'm saying is post your Palladium-est Siembieda pictures.

Okay...


Majuju
Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.
Seen there outside of his native habitat, small-town Corvette club car shows.

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

That is not at all what I expected Siembieda to look like.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Punting posted:

That is not at all what I expected Siembieda to look like.

He's had more facial hair in the past. I've never seen him during Rifts' heydey, though.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

He looks like a Tim & Eric character.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
Kevin after reading one of my reviews-



- if he ever read my reviews.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Kevin after reading one of my reviews-



- if he ever read my reviews.

It's hard to tell if he's shaking his fist in impotent fury or fist pumping in triumph.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Mr. Maltose posted:

Serious lack of Kev pics here.

What I'm saying is post your Palladium-est Siembieda pictures.



Kevin seen chillin' and thrillin' with fellow F&F luminary Eric Wuijzykjzyik. Want to step through the door into the convention hall? You can't, it's protected by an invincible invisible forcefield and guarded by invisible invincible ninjas. But for $1000 Kevin will piss in that water bottle and sign it for you.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY

AccidentalHipster posted:

It's hard to tell if he's shaking his fist in impotent fury or fist pumping in triumph.

One and the same in the Megaverse©

MalcolmSheppard
Jun 24, 2012
MATTHEW 7:20

Traveller posted:

You can lie on your rolls. You can LIE ON YOUR ROLLS.

Why would you do this?

No, Wick, seriously. Why the gently caress would you do this.

This is lifted directly from Vampire/MET LARP. It's the same rule. You don't have to declare all the traits you can use, and you can always choose to fail tests. Basically, you can lie as long as it reduces the bonuses you can bring to bear. (You can't lie and say you have better abilities, just worse, and you can't pretend to have any trait you don't possess.) This works in adversarial play because you're hiding your powers from another player. In MET it's so you can pretend to be a weasel until it's time to mug an important vampire and then go WELL ACTUALLY I HAVE 15 PHYSICAL TRAITS after leading him to a quiet spot. So it's a valid thing for PvP. It serves no purpose against GM-controlled stuff except as a signal that you're pretending to be weaker, which you can replace by saying, "I'm pretending to be weaker."

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY

The problem is that HOTB is not an adversarial LARP game where you can take people in private to shank them in the face, it's a tabletop game of quote-unquote cooperative storytelling with everyone's character sheets in the clear. Except, again, for the GM's NPCs.

Have a :wick: before we go on.

Houses of the Blooded

Break out the party hats

The following chapter is the Seasons chapter, the longest crunch section in the book.

quote:

Unlike other games — where the characters are perpetually stuck at the vague age of “about 25,” never growing older, the passage of time never ravaging their youth — in Houses of the Blooded, days, months, and years click by.

Sure whatever. The ven measure time just as we do, with four seasons per year. I guess Wick doesn't need to write those volumes on ven timekeeping after all! The ven year begins in Spring rather than Winter. One season lasts around 90 days. For each Season, characters can get involved in up to three Stories (adventures). More than that and the Narrator may judge they can't spend time handling other important stuff. Each Season also has a modifier of its own: Spring adds +1 to any Romance that begins in the season, or +1 to the potential of any Art created during it; Summer lets one region per Province make an additional Resource; Autumn gives all PC nobles one extra action; and Winter makes all regions roll one extra Trouble die because Winter sucks.


Let's talk about Regions! They're the building block of the Provinces ven own. Ten Regions to one Province. Regions are an abstract, unspecified amount of land.

quote:

(I like abstract. Gives players room to be creative with their stuff. If you want to be more precise, there are a ton of other games with similar systems that deal with specifics. Use those.)

You copied the same line and pasted it in Blood and Honor, jerk. Bad form! Regions can be civilized (there are roads, tax collectors, some population and a measure of protection) or wild (still ork-held); they have a type and rank, as we saw during chargen; and they're rated by Loyalty and Security. As a Baron/Baroness, starting characters have one Province mostly under their command, and to rise in noble rank they need more Provinces. Three Provinces for a Count, nine for a Marquis, eighteen for a Duke! You also need nobles of lesser to help you rule your lands, and apparently Barons need three Knights to rule their barony? Could've mentioned that in chargen, Mr. Wick. Could've also mentioned chargen characters start with one Resource from each Region they begin with.

Seasons go by in order, with four Phases per Season:

  • Planning: this is where the noble orders around their Regions and tells them what to do. A Region can produce one type of Resources available to it (so a Mountains region can produce Stone or Metals, but not both at once); Villages and Cities can produce Goods with available Resources, but they must have been collected during the previous Harvest, so you can't use the Resources you commanded to extract on the same Season. Certain Vassals and Holdings can take special actions at this point.
  • Trouble: each Region creates a certain amount of Trouble determined by its type. Forgotten Ruins? No Trouble. A quiet Farm? A little Trouble. A bustling City? Hella Trouble. Dice are rolled for each region during this phase, and if any die rolls 1 the region is Troubled and provides no benefit until the Trouble is quelled. If any regions are still Troubled when this phase rolls around, all of them roll an extra Trouble die as unrest spreads through your lands.
  • Actions: here is where the characters start getting poo poo done. Each characters gets one Season Action + half their Cunning, rounded up (I hope you didn't take Cunning as a weakness!) Vassals can take actions in your Domain as well, up to their rank. You can also send Vassals or even go yourself to help another Domain, but it costs an extra action on top of things. And finally, your spouse can take actions in your Domain as if they were you. This phase is also where the Stories take place. The GM can also judge that one Story takes a complete Season to run, or that a series of short Stories can fit in one Season. You can save up actions to use in and between adventures.

    quote:

    That’s about enough time. Maybe a little too much, maybe a little too little. Maybe just enough to make you worry you’re not getting enough done. I hope so. That means I’m doing my job.
  • Finally, Harvest. First, Resources from the Planning phase are collected, and then they may be added to the Castle Stores. Any Resource not used or stored by the end of the Year rots away. A small Castle like starting characters get stores three Resources, with larger Castles storing more. Note that there are no rules at all to enlarge a Castle, I guess this means increasing the Castle region's rank? :psyduck: Then Improvement (either personal or upgrades to your regions, vassals and other property) happens, and finally your spies come home to tell you what they found out.

The Resources are:

  • Food: feeds your followers.
  • Herbs: need those for Sorcery and some narcotics.
  • Industry: bolts of cloth, tanned leather, etc. Need those for Goods.
  • Lumber: essential to build Holdings.
  • Luxuries: this comprises both Spices and Wine. Increase the loyalty of Regions and vassals.
  • Metals: need it to pay upkeep on Personal Guard and Swordsmen, and for certain Goods.
  • Poison: for poisoning, duh. And to make yourself immune to poison.
  • Stone: like lumber, essential for Holdings.
  • Trade: a special Resource that can't be stored, but can be used to trade one Resource harvested during the previous Season for another. So a Region that produces 2 Trade can trade 2 of your Food for 2 Lumber, that sort of thing.

So what can we build? Holdings! That's a Season Action to begin building, and two Seasons to complete. And you need to spend another Season Action to continue building during the second Season, so 2 actions total. A region can only have one Holding building at a time and can support one Holding per rank, and you can only use one action for building. So if you're building two things at a time, you have to choose what progresses that Season.

  • Art Gallery (Castle): adds one rank to any Art you create, lets you throw Art showings.
  • Dam (Plains, Forest, Farm, Hills, Shoreline, Swamp): the region can now produce Food. If it already could, it now produces an extra Food per season.
  • Game Reserve (Forest): an extra Food per Season. You can hold Hunts.
  • Garden (Castle): +2 to one Beauty risk per Season. Only one of these per Province.
  • Garrison (any urban region): Increases Security by 1, one less Trouble die.
  • Gymnasium (Castle): +2 to one Strength risk per Season. Only one per Province.
  • Marketplace (City): the City may produce Trade.
  • Mine (Mountains or Hills): one extra Metal or Stone per season, depending on what the Region is producing.
  • Opera House (Castle or City): you can sponsor Operas.
  • Port (Shoreline or City): one free action per Season to trade Resources with another ven.
  • Road (any rural region): one less Trouble die.
  • School of Etiquette (any urban region, also seriously?): +2 to one Cunning risk per Season. Only one per Province.
  • Shrine (any Region): you must specify a Suaven and have a Relic of them before building this. You don't have to spend Style to call on the Suaven.
  • Silo (Farm): you can store up to three Resources here.
  • Stadium (City): "Stadiums provide your people with entertainment, making them happy and keeping their minds away from their miserable lives." Damnable ven jocks! :argh: +1 Province Loyalty.
  • Swordsman Academy (any urban region): +2 to one Prowess risk per Season. Only one per Province.
  • Temple (any urban region): you need a Shrine in the Region for at least a year. It replaces the Shrine, increasing the region's Loyalty by 2 (it says it replaces the Shrine's benefit, but it says nothing in the shrine's description re: loyalty), and you can visit the Temple as an action to increase your Devotion to that Suaven in 1 per Temple built.
  • Theater (any urban region): you can now sponsor Plays.
  • University (any urban region): +2 to one Wisdom risk per Season. Only one per Province.
  • Warehouse (City): stores up to 5 Resources.
  • Winery (Plains): +2 to one booze-rageCourage risk per Season. Only one per Province.

You can also conquer a Region owned by the enemy. First, you have to spy on them: your Spy Network can look at as many Regions as ranks it has. That tells you the Region's rank, improvements and the presence or absence of enemy vassals. You still have to burn an action to do this even if you find out about the region through a story. The following season, you spend an action to send your Personal Guard in. The region's Loyalty goes down a number of ranks equivalent to the Guard's rank. The region is useless when occupied, and once it hits zero it's yours with a new Loyalty equivalent to the Guard's rank. Of course the enemy can send in their own Guard to kick out yours: rank vs rank rolls, the winner stays, the loser leaves with one Rank less. You can only send one Personal Guard at any single region, but Secret Armies can do everything Guard can and they don't count as Guard for this.

You can Create Art as a Season Action. First, gather one Resource appropriate to the Art (Food counts for banquets, and Wick chides us for thinking otherwise as the dumb McDonalds-eating Americans we are), with Luxury substituting if you can't come up with anything. Then, a Beauty risk, with wagers. You fail the risk, the muse has failed you. You make it, you make a Rank 1 Art. Any wagers go into the Art's Potential, which means we can spend one action per season to improve the Art's Rank up to its Potential. So if Dio makes a 2-wager Risk to build a sculpture of The World, he can spend the next two Seasons perfecting the statue until it's a Rank 3 Art. This also requires one extra Resource per Season. Finally, you can show off the Art at any social event, but you want to do it at a Party. When you show off the Art, you get Style equivalent to its rank + the Party's rank. You can bank Style on it too, up to its rank. The artist can give it a positive Aspect: any ven that looks upon the Art and spends one Style can acquire the Aspect, which has a rank equivalent to the Art's rank. This aspect has only an invoke that gives dice relevant to what the Art is meant to inspire: let's say The World is meant to inspire Ambition, then any ven inspired by it can roll 3 extra dice for risks involving climbing in station. The Aspect loses one rank per Season, and you can't be inspired by the same Art twice. Finally, the artist gets the Art's rank in bonus dice for any risk involving their fame or reputation. As before, one die is gone per Season. You can't upgrade Art, that's "Lucasism."

Opera is a special Art, requiring both a Luxury and another Resource. It must be based on one or more of the Seven Fools we saw earlier, and ven watching the Opera can spend a Style to get a Free Aspect related to the Fool(s) in the Opera. Theater plays are... uh. No rules for them at all! :psyduck:

You can also explore the archipelagos of Shanri in order to expand your Domain. This requires that your starting Province be explored in full. Spend a season action to go down to one of your wild regions with a band of guards: this lets you determine what the wild region actually is. The exploring and developing of the region only finishes during the Harvest phase, though. Once your first ten regions are civilized, you can go outside! You can explore additional regions the same way, but they only count as a Province when you have another ten, with at least one of them a Castle. Building a Castle is done the same way as exploring a region, but it costs three Lumber and three Stone on top of the action. You can also explore forgotten sorcerer-king Ruins... but that comes later. PCs have to do their exploring themselves.

You can make new Contacts. Just pick any ven you know (vassals don't count) and spend an action. You get one free action in a Contact's domain, you can spend a Style for two bonus dice to protect a Contact, and you can spend Style to refresh their Aspects.

Personal training! You can use an action to learn an Advanced Maneuver for dueling (rather, the instructor spends an Action on you), or to add an Aspect to your Sheet. Unless Wisdom is your weakness! Remember the limits on Aspects at chargen? Dio is boned in this regard. You can also train your Vassals to upgrade their rank, spending as many actions as the vassal's new rank to do so. But you can only use one vassal training action per Season.

You can quell Trouble in a region. Just spend an action and all the Trouble there is gone.

You can develop a Region, which repeats the exploring regions rules for extra confusion. You can also increase a region's Rank in one per Season. Urban regions have special rules! Building a Village costs an additional 1 Lumber and 1 Stone, and improving its rank costs more Lumber and Stone. The Village cannot produce anything if it's being improved. If you improve a Village region up to 3 and spend three Lumber, three Stone and three Luxury, it becomes a City at Rank 4. There's a mention of a Town region in the Holdings list but it doesn't show here or anywhere else. :psyduck: Villages and Cities have Craftsmen that turn your Resources into stylish Goods. The Craftsman has a rank equal to the Village, and can make up to their Rank in Goods, so a Village 3 Craftsman can make three Rank 1 hats, one rank 1 hat and one rank 2 cloak, etc. Only one Craftsman per Village, but a City can have up to four of them - one rank 4, one rank 3, one rank 2, one rank 1. The exact Resource that is turned into Goods depends on the nature of the object being built. Guidelines? Industry for clothes, Metals for weapons, you figure it out.

You can research Sorcery rituals, with one action and one Herbs. :science:

You can transport Resources from a Province to another Province or to another Domain. It costs one action to do so, and as a free action you can transfer one Resource or Goods to a Contact.

You can hire a Vassal. They start service at rank 1, and you can improve them in turn. They need at least one Food per Year as payment, and they can be paid more in other Resources to keep them from getting bribed. Vassals also get fancy titles if you want - ven like pleasant sounding stuff. Master of Flowers instead of Master Poisoner, etc.

quote:

(I’m personally fond of “High Lord Protector” myself.)

Cromwellian jerk! Anyway, there are regular Vassals, Vassal Bands (groups of men, ten per rank) and Master Vassals (actual NPCs). As a rule, Vassal Bands cannot be Assassinated and Master Vassals cannot be Bribed. Vassals have one Aspect per rank as well because we're not doing enough bookkeeping. Most Vassals get one Season Action per rank relevant to their role. You can even name other PCs as Vassals, but if they have prerequisites you must fulfill them all the same (so, Rank 3 Personal Guard before Al can name Dio his Swordsman).

  • Artisan: creates Art. Each Artisan has a specific field of expertise.
  • Apothecary: creates one dose of Poison or Narcotics. Can also immunize you to one Poison.
  • Caravan: moves Resources around.
  • Court Scholar: can research up to their rank in sorcery rituals.
  • Craftsman: they make Goods! You can hire one to work in your Castle as well.
  • General (master): requires a Rank 3 Secret Army. Can lead your troops.
  • Herald: can raise Loyalty in your regions by one rank/season/region, or roll against an enemy region's Loyalty to reduce it in 1.
  • Maid/Valet: men have valets, women have maids. They're essentially walking Style repositories, storing Style up to their rank. You can use that style as long as they're in the same region as you.
  • Master of the Road (master): requires Rank 3 Roadmen. Can quell Trouble in a rural region or explore unknown regions for you.
  • Master Spy (master): requires Rank 3 Spy Network. Helps with Espionage actions.
  • Mayor: quells trouble in their assigned City, can store up to 2 Resources per rank.
  • Personal Guard (band): your legal goons. They can learn Advanced Maneuvers!
  • Roadmen (band): your wandering knights. They uh... exist? Doesn't say they can actually quell Trouble or anything.
  • Secret Army: your illegal goons. Only one per Province, and only you or your Seneschal can train them. They can do anything your Personal Guard can do, but their maximum rank is the number of Farms you own in the Province, and each Season they must be hidden in one of your regions. An enemy that happens to spy on that region learns of your Secret Army.
  • Seneschal: requires Rank 3 Staff. Can quell Trouble anywhere in your Domain, increase a Vassal's rank, or even increase a region's rank.
  • Sheriff: can quell Trouble in an urban region.
  • Spouse: not exactly a Vassal, but still listed for reference. Can take any action you can.
  • Spy Network (band): spies!
  • Staff (band): the people that keep your Castle running. Having any Staff means there never is Trouble in your Castle. The Parties you throw have their rank capped by the Staff's rank.
  • Swordsman (master): requires Rank 3 Personal Guard. Can assist the Personal Guard, accept duels for you, and spend an action to add their Prowess to Security. They can teach you one Maneuver per season.

Loyalty! It's how much your people care about you. The more Loyalty, the better. Your Domain (Province/individual Regions) has a starting Loyalty of 1. You can increase Loyalty by giving Luxuries (Spices or Wine) to either a single region, raising its Loyalty in three, or to an entire Province, raising it in one. If any region hits 5+ Loyalty, they produce one extra Resource that doesn't need to be the one they're already tasked to produce. If at least half the regions in one Province have 5+ Loyalty, the Province's Security increases in 1. If a region hits 10+ Loyalty, it produces two extra Resources, and if at least half the regions in one Province have 10+ Loyalty its Security increases in 2. Vassals also have a Loyalty score (but not NPC Vassals), which is equivalent to their Rank and can increase by gifting them Luxuries.

Espionage! You need at least a Spy Network to get up on shinobi shenanigans. An espionage action has a rank, equivalent to the rank of the Spy Network + the Cunning of any PC or NPC helping the spies. To spy on an enemy Province, the action must defeat the Security of the target Province, which is equivalent to the Spy Network present there (or zero if there's no Spy Network opposing espionage.) Spy Networks can also use an action to add their rank to a Province's Security.

Spies can:
  • Assassinate Vassal: tricky! This needs a Master Spy. First, the basic Espionage Action roll is made, then the Master Spy alone makes a roll against the Province's Security, then a Cunning risk against the target Vassal's rank, then one last roll against Domain Security + the rank of the local Spy Network. Pretty hard! If the Vassal wins the roll they survive, and if the Master Spy fails the final roll they're captured. PCs are explicitly immune to assassination this way.
  • Bribe: Espionage Action vs Vassal rank roll, and you need to give them as many Luxuries as 2 x their rank. If it succeeds, the Vassal's Loyalty is reduced by one, and a Loyalty 0 Vassal is a traitor that can either cross over to your side or stay as a double agent and report on any actions they're commanded to perform.
  • Cause Trouble: Espionage Action vs Province Security. If it works, a region is in Trouble.
  • Interrogation: automatic success, the Master Spy can investigate up to their Cunning in Vassals. Any traitors are discovered and executed, replaced by a Vassal of one rank lower.
  • Sabotage: you can destroy an enemy Holding. But you must know it's there first.
  • Spy on Region: of course. You can learn a number of facts up to your Spy Network's ranks + Master Spy's Cunning: the resources the Region is producing this Season, the Holdings present or under construction, its Security, its Loyalty and if there is a Secret Army.
  • Spy on People: you can spy on PCs, Vassals or NPCs. If successful, you can learn one of the following: what season actions the target took, one of the character's invokes/tags/compels, or the rank of one of their Virtues.
  • Tyrant: Master Spy only. You can squeeze your people even beyond what ven usually do, extracting one extra Resource from a number of regions equivalent to the Master Spy's Cunning, but their Loyalty automatically is reduced to 1.

And at the end of the Year, characters Age. Roll 1d6 at the end of the Year. These are your Age Points. Once you get 60 of them, you progress to the next Phase of your life. When you do, erase all Age points. As mentioned during the Blood and Honor review, this may mean ending up with some highly wonky ages for your characters (codgers over 200 years old, or 69-year old Spring children) If you hit 60 Age Points at the Winter of your life, you enter Solace. There are also pregnancy rules because who doesn't love making random rolls when two ven bump uglies :v: but the most :psyduck: side of this is that ven pregnancies last one Season and children mature at double the age of human children, so an eight-year old ven sprout is basically 16 years old. Maybe it's the literature cheating to get more characters on stage sooner, or maybe the sorcerer-kings wanted their servitors to grow up that fast. A 16 years old ven becomes a Rank 1 Child Vassal, equivalent to a Spouse. They can train just like other Vassals and eventually become NPCs. If you move to another Phase at the end of the year, you can change around your name, gain new Aspects, a new contact, or turn the contact into a Friend. A Friend gets three bonus dice to put you or your relationship into danger, but you and your friend get to keep all wagers in a contested roll (remember, even helping each other is a contested roll in HOTB)

All your Provinces lose 1d3 Loyalty at the end of the Year, and all unused Resources not moved into storage spoil. Winter is also when you throw Parties! :toot:

:pervert: posted:

Every Season, ven throw parties. They throw small, private parties and huge raucous, indulgent bashes. Food, drink, sex, dancing, flirting, singing, sex, hunting, duels, bloodshed, sex, revenge.

A Party's size is capped by your Staff's rank. You need Rank 3 Staff and a Seneschal to throw a Rank 4 Party. Which means Al can't actually throw a party at all, because somehow he has a Castle but no Staff to man it! :smith: You need a banquet to feed your guests. 1 Food, 1 Wine and 1 Spice gets you a rank 1 banquet, which can feed your guests for one night. Bigger banquets (and thus, longer parties) require more food, booze and spices. Guests must bring gifts for the party host exactly equivalent to the Party's Rank, and parties are usually announced a year in advance so that people have time to procure suitable gifts. In parties, you can trade resources freely with other guests (up to the Party's rank) and Romances that start during a party add the Party's rank to its potential. Except that the sample given adds the Party's rank directly to the Romance's rank, so you may end up with a Romance bigger than its potential? :psyduck: There are also special Events you can hold, but never more than one per Party night.

  • Art Show: requires Art Gallery. You saw how this worked for Art.
  • The Hunt: requires Game Reserve. Participating ven get the Hunter free aspect for the rest of the Party, that only has an invoke for three bonus dice when tracking down an enemy or taking down an enemy that you tracked: guests can spend one Style to keep the aspect for a number of Seasons equivalent to the Party's rank.
  • The Opera: requires Opera House. You can show Operas for your guests! You need an Opera libretto to show, of course.
  • The Wager: requires Rank 2 Castle. A Wager is a bet by two or more ven on some seemingly random outcome, with at least three ven from different Houses (at least one must be from an uninvolved House) to make it legally binding. The Wager's winner gets whatever the stakes were, plus the Party's rank in Style points. Only one Wager per night.

But no Theater plays! I hope I got things mostly right. The rules here seem to be kludged together from different drafts, and edition didn't catch all of the revisions made to them. And at any rate, they seem overkill detail for a game where you're one roll from death at any time.

Next: the Tomb of Spooky. Also, :doom:

Traveller fucked around with this message at 23:02 on Oct 30, 2013

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!

Traveller posted:

The following chapter is the Seasons chapter, the longest crunch section in the book.

All of this sounds nearly fun, sort of like a more :smuggo:, landed gentry version of Ryuutama. I think if someone else re-wrote this without the focus on You are always one roll away from death! :black101: and Everything must be regimented! Especially sex! There is no such thing as love!, this could be a pretty fun game.

That's one of the frustrating things about Wick's game design oeuvre. He's got some good game design ideas, but he doesn't give a crap about mechanical balance and he gets :smuggo: all over everything.

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012
You know, the accelerated aging explains a lot about the Ven.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.
Part 3
An Antechamber of the Damned: The Theresienstadt Ghetto




Wikipedia Article for people who want to be depressed. :smith:

In 1944, an International Red Cross delegation arrived at the Theresienstadt Ghetto, worried by the rumors of something horrible happening in central and eastern Europe. They went away satisfied that the rumors were unfounded: what they saw there was a perfect "model ghetto", with well-maintained streets, a flourishing artistic community, children playing in a park, with good food and all run competently by a council of Jewish Elders, the Judenrat. This was all, of course, a big lie. As soon as the Red Cross left, the living conditions became as terrible as they were before and it resumed it's true purpose: a waypoint on the railroad leading to Auschwitz, Dachau and other Death Camps. All in all, 35 000 died in the camp, due to disease, hunger and mistreatment. Of the 15 000 children who passed through Theresienstadt, only 100 survived.

What remains in the Shadowlands is a phantom copy of the camp, looking like a wound in the surrounding country, complete with bleeding walls. The wraiths who live there, calling themselves the Ghetto Circle, have decided to transform the place into a site of healing for the dead, not an easy task. The nearby Small Fortress, used by the SS for torture and execution, is the site of a Nihil, a hole in the Shadowland leading to the Tempest and serving as a gateway to the Spectres who live there. Thanks to the work of the Ghetto Circle, it is much smaller than before, but it remains a constant threat. Here's a map of the camp:



Town meetings take place in the Church. The Hospital house those who died of disease, with Doctor Holvenbach acting as their spokesperson, a responsibility he takes very seriously. The old Judenrat quarters host what passes for city administration. There's a few factions in the camp: the largest are the patients, led by Doctor Holvenbach. They often dictate policy because of that. Some resent the majority for their power,e specially since their leader is German. There is also fear of the Doctor's Redemption program, his still unsuccessful attempts to redeem people who became Spectres. The smallest and most hated group are the Red Cross wraith, members of the IRC who visited Theresienstadt and are now Fettered there. Their inability to see what was really happening has not be forgiven by many.

Some of the most important NPCs are described, with stat blocs. Butterfly is the ghost of a young street painter who died after her drawing of what was going on in the camps was discovered during the lead-up to the Red Cross visit. Her nickname came from the children living in the camp, for whom she would draw butterflies and other happy things. Now, she mostly stays silent, and draws constantly. She draws strange murals, sometimes hopeful, sometimes full of despair, reflecting her deep connection with the Haunt. Her passions include convincing people of her connection with the spirit of the camp and helping others with her drawings, as well as finding the children she used to watch over. Her Shadow, however, tells her no one cares about her "special connection" and wants to convince her she should sacrifice herself for the good of the camp. Solomon Eisenfeld is the leader of the camp, and a Rabbi who was on the Judenrat when alive. Sent to Theresienstadt because of his fiery sermons contesting the Nazi regime, he put in charge of selecting who would be sent east to the death camps. This job destroyed him inside, until he found himself deported in 1944. Now, he seeks to earn forgiveness and does his best to protect the ghetto wraiths, despite many still hating him for what he did. His Shadow, on the other hand, wants to rule with an iron fist and break the covenant with Stygia, as well as convince him that he is a horrible leader. Dr. Richard Holvenbach was a proud german, born during the Second Empire under Bismarck. His brother died during WWI and he found himself on the wrong side of the Versailles Treaty frontiers, but he never stopped hoping that the land would return to Germany. When it happened, he was initially quite happy and enrolled as an army Doctor. His whole world crashed when he was affected as camp doctor to Theresienstadt. Seeing the horrors perpetrated by his countrymen, he did his best for the prisoners of the camp, even trying to talk to one of the Red Cross diplomat who did not believe him, until he died of cholera in 1944. He now represents a large group of wraiths who look up to him, remembering the good things he did in life, and leads the camp's Redemption program. His passions are to redeem Mortwights (wraiths who became spectre instantly upon reaching the Shadowlands) and represent his constituents. His Shadow passions are to sabotage the Redemption Program and sow dissension within the Ghetto Circle. Jean-Claude Leclerc is the Red Cross diplomat who didn't believe Dr. Holvenbach. Such horrors could not be possible! He died in 1947 of intense alcoholism, and joined the Ghetto Circle soon afterward. His passions are to Gain acceptance in the Ghetto, find the SS who lied to him and get even, and to help his fellow IRC wraith. His Shadow Passions are to Find the SS ghost and lead them to the camp, discredit Holvenbach and bring Spectre into the Ghetto. Aaron Dahlcek was one of the carpenters who originally built the camp, lured there by the false promises of the "model ghetto". That illusion did not last long, and he soon saw the camp he had helped build become a house of horrors. He died during an escape attempts, two weeks after the Red Cross visit. While he hates the camp for the memories it brings, he is helped by the friednship he has formed with Butterfly. His passions are to protect Butterfly and help Holvenbach with the Redemption program. His Shadow wants to abandon Butterfly and to convince Aaron that by helping build the camp he is responsible for what happened in it.

The chapter ends with three story ideas:
- The characters are part of an attempted redemption of a Mortwright that goes horribly wrong, causing the subject's destruction. They are now accused of sabotage, and must clear their name by finding out what went wrong.
- Eisenfeld tells the characters of his suspicion that there is a mole in the camp working with SS ghosts. He cannot help the players in their investigation, however, as suspicions about his dealings with the Stygian representative are on the rise.
- The situation blows up between holvenbach and Leclerc, causing the Red Cross wraiths to leave. Eisenberg and Dahlcek are worried they might do something self-destructive and send the characters to find them, but even if they do they must deal with holvenbach and Leclerc... and their Shadows.

Next: Behind the Wall

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?

Traveller posted:

Houses of the Blooded

Break out the party hats

So I'm guessing Dio is the most boned due to the stupid Wisdom cap on Aspects. Speaking of Dio, I didn't see him "kick the puppy factory" like you said he would.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012


Hellcats and Hockeysticks: Skills and Skill Rolls: The prettiest player wins ties.

Because I forgot them, Chapter 2’s Real Tales of Delinquency involve a girl and her friend starting a riot at her 6th form Christmas party while dressed as a devil and an angel, respectively, and another who got revenge on the guy who kept calling the cops on her and her friends when they were hanging out by the local fish and chip shop by tearing up his neighbor’s lawn and leaving the shears they did it with on his doorstep, which lead to the neighbor punching the guy in the face.

Chapter 3…

Winston Churchill posted:

I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.

Queens of the Stone Age’s “No One Knows” posted:

We get some rules to follow. That and this, these and those. No one knows.



…Brilliant.

H&H uses D6s and only D6s. For skill rolls, the dice pool is whatever your rank in the applicable skill is + 1. Rolls will only ever use one skill, with the HM deciding or giving the player the choice of which to use if a task could feasibly fall under one or more skills. The book encourages players to be whiny rules lawyers about this.

quote:

You are also allowed to whine and cajole the Headmistress into letting you make use of one of your other skills, if you can make up a plausible reason why it might apply. In fact, instead of specifying a particular skill, the Headmistress might ask you to 'make her an offer' and suggest the skill you think suits the action best.

Either way, most rolls are tested against this difficulty chart:



If one or more dice comes up equal to or higher than the difficulty of the roll, you win. To even have a chance at succeeding at an “Absurd” or “Impossible” task, players can trade in dice from their pool to add 1 to the result of every die that they roll at a rate of 3 to 1. (So 3 dice for a +1 bonus and 6 for +2.) You can also spend a Willpower point to add a die to the pool at a rate of 1 for 1, with a maximum of 3 on a single roll.

So theoretically, assuming you have a 5 in the skill the roll is for, you burn all 3 Will points, and you spend the 6 dice to get the +2 for an Impossible roll, you still only have a 1 in 6 chance on 3 dice to succeed. I really don’t understand why those two difficulty ranks are there. They’re obviously for things that a character should not be able to do or that the HM does not want you doing. The book says that you can also use this mechanic to “perform easy and even tricky tasks with little difficulty", but I’m not sure how I’d feel taking from what is essentially my health bar to perform easy rolls.
For non-combat opposed rolls, the appropriate skill or skills is decided, the difficulty is decided, and whoever has the most successes wins. Of course, if that doesn’t do it, there is a specific set of actions you can do to figure this out.

quote:

If you need to know who does best in a contest, you add up the amount of dice that count as a success for each contestant, and the highest wins. If there is a tie, the highest skilled character wins. If there is still a tie, the prettiest one wins (of course it isn't fair, but let's face it, that's what happens.) If you can't decide who is prettiest (character or player) then you can either call it a tie and roll again or just roll 1 die each and the highest wins. Of course, if one of you failed and the other succeeded, the result should be obvious.

For some opposed rolls, the book points out that it would make more sense for one of the players to roll and set the difficulty. In this case, the number of dice that come up as a success for the defending player becomes the number to beat. If the opposing player rolls an equal amount, it’s an “almost” success. (e.g. They catch a glimpse of the hiding character.) If the roll comes up a draw, the HM just picks whoever they think has the most advantage.

quote:

We discovered in playtesting that sometimes both sides of an opposed roll might get the same number of successes reasonably often. When this happens a lot, it can drag on somewhat. So before the challenge commences the Headmistress should decide which side has 'the edge'. This edge might be because one side has better skill, or a home advantage or even better quality weapons. It might be anything that could give them the smallest advantage but isn't important enough to warrant extra dice. When a draw occurs the side who has 'the edge' wins that round.

If all the dice come up as a 1 (which only happens if you have 1 or 2 dice), the roll is a botch and all manner of horrible poo poo that the HM can think off happens because “your character basically becomes the Headmistress's bitch.”

For instances where the players want to attempt a failed roll again… the book just says that the HM can think of an appropriate penalty up. But the general accepted rule is to increase the roll difficulty by 1.

Next is detailed explanation of the various skills and what they do. As it has been noted, St. Erisian’s is not a normal school. So they can learn things that are vaguely related to the subject of the class in question that help turn the game into a more traditional RPG.

Art – Painting, sculpting, and making forgeries of paintings and sculptures that are much better than yours so you can sell them for money. Used by Fixers.

Biology – Knowledge of the natural world and how to corrupt it by making frankensteinian monsters and the like. Also, first aid. Used by Scientists.

Chemistry – Make drugs and explosives. Used by Scientists.

Computer Science – Use computers and be a leet haxxor. Used by Nerds. There’s a massive sidebar after the description about how your players might use this skill to get really creative with in-game solutions, since a lot of stuff is run by computers, and that you should put a limit on it if you need to.

Craft, Design, and Technology – Woodshop, autoshop, and anything involving mechanics skills. Used by Nerds and Scientists.

Current Affairs – Info gathering on anything from actual global politics to what color clothing some rich shithead is fixating on this week. Used by Fixers and Coquettes.

Drama – Acting and disguising one’s self. Used by Sweethearts.

Economics - Shopping, selling, haggling. Used by Fixers and both sets of exchange students.

Electronics – Used for repairing anything that it is not a computer or involves micro chips in some fashion, since the write up emphasizes the importance of knowing how they work. Used by Nerds.

English –Persuation as well as lying. Used by Sweethearts, Prefects, and Coquettes.

Games- Games is divided into 3 sub-skills: Team Sports, Track and Field, and Marksman. The first is the stat used for all forms of melee combat, including unarmed combat; the second is used for non-combat related physical abilities such as running, jumping, climbing, and stealth; and the last is used for ranged weapons, including thrown ones. All three are used by Hockeygirls, Track is used by Goths and Ninjas, and Team Sports is used by all exchange students.

Geography – Wilderness survival skills and the ability to track others, as well as weather forecasting and the standard knowing the capitals of countries stuff. It mentions that St. Erisian’s likes all of their students to have such training, which is probably why all of the younger girls live on the school grounds in tribes. No clique specializes in it.

History – Military and political (Michiavelli is specifically mentioned) history, as well as legal tactics because again, as long as it’s even vaguely related to the subject, St. Erisian’s students can learn it. Used by Prefects and Samurai.

Home Economics - "The kitchen is an underestimated place of wonder and delight to any girl. This is not because of the influence of Mrs. Beeton, but because kitchens contain both fire and knives." Covers the usual Home Ec. subjects plus potion and poison making. Used by Goths.

Languages – Speaking languages other than English. Every point after the first lets the character speak an additional language, with no restriction on which languages the player can pick. (The book suggests Klingon, as it is easy to swear in and intimidate someone with.) There is a sidebar concerning foreign students and their mastery of English. One can either just assume they speak English fluently, or have them have 1 point for heavily accented and possibly broken, but passable English skill, and 2 for fluentcy. Used by no one.

Leadership – Leadership skills as well as torture and interrogation tactics… and tying knots, because “we don’t want anyone getting away”. (This would work a lot better under Geography, but you know, game about girls being jerks…) The book recommends forcing players to spend Willpower if they ever get into performing “Jack Bauer’s fanatical little sister” levels of interrogation. Used by Prefects.

Maths - Covers the usual math topics as well as investment and betting techniques. Fun Fact: The school is mostly funded by a stock portfolio run by the 6th form students. (It would probably also work better under Economics…) Used by Nerds.

Music – Knowledge of music genres as well as composition. Also functions the same way as the Languages skill, except each point lets you play an instrument. Used by Goths.

Needlework – Sewing, lockpicking, and knowledge of the fashion world. Used by Fixers.

Observation – Not a class, but it’s here because Peregrine couldn’t think of a class subject to put this under. Used by Hockeygirls, Coquettes, and Exchange Students.

Physics – Build traps and design things that fall under the CDT class, as well as gently caress with the laws of nature, including the Space-Time continuum. Used by Scientists.

Religious Studies – Knowledge of the occult. (“Demon summoning is tricky, as Satan really doesn’t like his boys hanging out with ‘those bloody girls’.”) Want to play a magic user? Dump points into this skill. Used by Goths.

Social Studies – Used to “read” people, as well as knowledge of psychology, detecting lies, and seducing people. Used by Sweethearts, Prefects, and Coquettes.

Veterinary – Animal training and care, as well as actual veterinary skills. The book notes that this skill can be used to heal human targets in place of Biology, but that the difficulty rating should be higher. Used by Swethearts.

Up next: Combat rules and taking damage.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY

MonsieurChoc posted:

Part 3
An Antechamber of the Damned: The Theresienstadt Ghetto




Wikipedia Article for people who want to be depressed. :smith:


:smithicide: gently caress everything.

AccidentalHipster posted:

So I'm guessing Dio is the most boned due to the stupid Wisdom cap on Aspects. Speaking of Dio, I didn't see him "kick the puppy factory" like you said he would.

It was a long post! And he made a Za Warudo sculpture, what do you want from me?

Also, the exact reason why Dio is boned is in the next chapter. It's the Wickest loving thing.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

Traveller posted:

:smithicide: gently caress everything.

Cheer up, I haven't gotten to Auschwitz yet.

... :suicide:

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?

Traveller posted:

It was a long post! And he made a Za Warudo sculpture, what do you want from me?

Also, the exact reason why Dio is boned is in the next chapter. It's the Wickest loving thing.

Kicked puppies of course! But the reason behind the boning will suffice if it's super . If it's not too big of a spoiler, if stripping all forms of player contribution from the Ven Romnance rules and then shoving them in to a magical high school drama like Eldritch High equals 1 , how many would you say this boning is?

Amechra
Sep 9, 2012
I just read MonsieurChoc's post.

All I can say is that I'm glad I'm not reviewing it; I'd be bawling like a baby at by the time I got to Theresienstadt.

MalcolmSheppard
Jun 24, 2012
MATTHEW 7:20

Traveller posted:

The problem is that HOTB is not an adversarial LARP game where you can take people in private to shank them in the face, it's a tabletop game of quote-unquote cooperative storytelling with everyone's character sheets in the clear. Except, again, for the GM's NPCs.

Well no, not necessarily. The book explicitly discusses playing in "Diplomacy mode" where the game is VampLARPlike PVP. It's a useless rule for NPCs since it can be replaced with "make extra poo poo up to make the antagonist more challenging." But yeah, this seems to be a wacky design goal given the cooperative play language elsewhere, and not so much guidance along the lines of "use this for PVP play." The "you'll figure it out" bit is kind of irritating here, because if you don't play MET you probably have no idea what the hell this is for, and if you do play it, and know the section of Laws of the Night where they describe exactly the same rule and why you might use it, it's not an emergent discovery at all--it's kind of a "big ups to my LARPers!" in-joke thing.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY

MalcolmSheppard posted:

Well no, not necessarily. The book explicitly discusses playing in "Diplomacy mode" where the game is VampLARPlike PVP. It's a useless rule for NPCs since it can be replaced with "make extra poo poo up to make the antagonist more challenging." But yeah, this seems to be a wacky design goal given the cooperative play language elsewhere, and not so much guidance along the lines of "use this for PVP play." The "you'll figure it out" bit is kind of irritating here, because if you don't play MET you probably have no idea what the hell this is for, and if you do play it, and know the section of Laws of the Night where they describe exactly the same rule and why you might use it, it's not an emergent discovery at all--it's kind of a "big ups to my LARPers!" in-joke thing.

Blood and Honor also has a "we'll be utter dicks to each other, we won't be crybabies when we lose, etc." Cutthroat Mode, but that game still doesn't have the lying rule. Even Wick figured out it was not a good idea, shoutout to MET rules or not.

Anyway!

Houses of the Blooded

At least Elric could handle himself in a mass brawl

The Sorcery chapter! Yadda yadda, highly illegal, ven are still butt deep into magicks, the Serpent pushed to make it illegal to make themselves stronger, you know this already. Sorcery works with Rituals. To make one work, you just need knowledge of the ritual, sacred herbs and enough blood. In game terms, you take one Injury and spend 1 Herbs to use a ritual. To learn one, you spend one season action and 1 Herbs.

  • The Blooding: the ritual that makes a ven Blooded. All Houses have different versions of this ritual. Target ven becomes Blooded and gets the +1 to their new House's Virtue. Ven can only be bound to one House.
  • The Circle: the sorcerer cuts their hand or wrist, make a mark on a door, then locks it down behind them, leaving some blood on the lock. Until the next dawn and as long as the door is closed, nothing from the INVISIBLE WORLD :ghost: may enter!
  • The Corpse: this one is bad mojo. Really bad mojo. Even the ven go "whoa dude". Spill blood over the lips of a creature's corpse and it comes back! Everyone that sees the walking corpse can tell automatically it's bad and unnatural. The corpse is an Rank 6 ork with the traits Blind Spot, Claws, Fangs, Muscle, Regeneration and Rhino Hide. What do these mean? Narrator eyes only, chump. The Corpse lasts for one season before breaking down.
  • The Curse: the sorcerer wounds themselves and screams at a target. They may wound themselves up to five times before the ritual kills them. When using a curse, they must scream at the target a "You will never" or "You will always" curse: You will always lie to your loved ones, you will never hold your father's sword again, etc. The curses are Aspects with ranks equal to the injuries the sorcerer took. If the target breaks a You Will Never curse, they get a free aspect others can tag to gain bonuses equal to its rank; if they go through with a You Will Always curse, they can invoke it to gain dice equivalent to its rank to fulfill the curse.
  • The Eye: only the Serpent know this ritual. Other Blooded that demonstrate knowing it end up at "mysterious ends." The sorcerer cuts their hand and puts the wound over their left eye, and for the rest of the night they can see any orichalcum items or active rituals on a subject. Their left eye is a flat crimson red without pupil for the duration of the ritual.
  • The Familiar: the sorcerer feeds an infant beast their blood for a season. Eventually, they forge a powerful bond. The sorcerer always knows the location and general emotional state of the beast, and it can share a day's worth of sight and hearing with its master. If the familiar dies, the sorcerer takes a Rank 3 Injury.
  • The Mirror: it requires an orichalcum mirror that takes three Seasons to make. The ritual requires the sorcerer to hold a personal item of a ven over the mirror, then bleed on it: this lets them spy on the item's owner. The mirror counts as an Artifact.
  • The Oath: the magic oath of legend. All ven involved take a Rank 3 Injury to provide enough blood to sign the oath, with all three names. Oath companions can spend one Style to gain three dice to protect each other, they can spend a Style to know each other's emotion (or if they're dead or gone into Solace), and they can spend a Style to know the general direction and distance to each other. Anyone that betrays the oath's terms breaks the oath for everyone, and they get the word "traitor" tattooed on their forehead for a year and a day. Not exactly the greatest hit at parties.
  • Orichalcum: a mystic metal. It requires 2 Metal (silver and gold) and a Rank 3 Injury, but the blood does not need to belong to the sorcerer. This makes 1 Orichalcum Resource. The orichalcum ritual is very rare, so rare that it can only be learned during an adventure, and so valuable that (get this) anyone that gives away the ritual gets the Dolt aspect. I guess Wick's intention is that it should come with a heavy debt attached but still, :stare:
  • The Puppet: you need to know a ven's full name to perform this ritual. Peasants don't have secret names because we haven't pooped enough on them. The sorcerer cuts their hand, then the target's hand, and then they fall to the ground as they possess the target. If the sorcerer's body is injured, they instantly return to it, and if it is killed they remain trapped in the puppet. Lasts until sunrise.
  • The Quill: mix some Blood and ink in an inkwell and stir with a quill. Until dawn, nothing written with the quill and ink can be a lie.
  • The Rose: bleed a little on a rose's petals and set it on a table. Four people may sit and the table, and no one can spy on their conversation. Lasts until dawn, the rose is removed or someone stands.
  • The Sword: to make Blood Swords, of course. This requires 1 Orichalcum and a blacksmith's assistance or for the sorcerer to be a blacksmith themselves (rare as ven nobles pride themselves on not knowing how to craft poo poo). The sorcerer takes a Rank 1 Injury per Season as they work on the sword (minimum 1 Season of work). If they're making the sword for someone else, the eventual user must provide the blood for the forging. Only the ven for whom the sword is forged may use it, though sometimes their children can use it too. A sword provides bonus dice equal to the Seasons used in its forging, up to the Wisdom of the sorcerer. A blood sword may cut through iron (3 wagers), stone (4 wagers) and even other blood swords (5 wagers), but this makes them bleed and maybe even weep? Spooky! They count as Artifacts.
  • The Twins: in ven culture, twins are double extra spooky villainous. They require a ritual to be born in fact! Whatever it does, it's terrible and involves blood and bodily fluids :gonk:, and if the sorcerer is pregnant then she will have twins. Twins have the Twin aspect: invoke for 3 bonus dice when protecting each other, tag for 2 dice to any social risk against the twins, and compel to act creepy and untrustworthy. They may also kibitz with each other without spending Style. You will not believe what kibitzing is.
  • The Tulpa: a dangerous ritual. This creates a creature that can take the form of any ven, and that actually believes itself to be that ven - but they never imitate it perfectly, they have no personality and small mistakes like eyes the wrong color or crooked teeth. This requires an item belonging to the target ven, and a Rank 2 Injury. Lasts until sunrise.
  • The Vendetta: the sorcerer and a fellow ven swear to kill each other over a knife that has tasted Blood of both. They get a Vendetta aspect they can invoke to gain dice only when they're trying to murder each other. But if a Season passes and they don't fulfill the Vendetta, they get a Rank 1 Injury as a growing pain in the chest. The Injury grows in one rank per Season they've not killed each other.
  • Mimic Artifact: the ritual mimics one of the Artifact benefits. Lasts until dawn.

The popular senvu Swordsman ritual that binds sword and user as one? Nowhere in sight. :v:

Anyway, Artifacts! The doodads the sorcerer-kings left, they're powerful! And nasty! So nasty that most of them are traps. These are not your dad's magic items. This isn't Jack Vance or Harry Potter. These are Artifacts of doom! No, seriously, in literature carrying an Artifact is sign of certain doom. I hope you see where I'm going with this.

First, you must raid sorcerer-king Ruins. Like the Tomb of Spooky that is conveniently in Al's Domain. Part of these rules is actually in the Seasons chapter but I chose to bring them up here, since Ruins matter more for magic purposes. Ven may explore a Ruin once per season with an action, giving it one rank per expedition. When it hits Rank 3, it's empty of any possible goodies and it can be replaced by a normal region, or it can be turned into a Puzzle House: essentially, a Ruin turned to ven habitation. They can hold any size of Party, even Rank 5 Parties (!) but they're difficult to navigate. Ven that enter a Puzzle House roll their Wisdom against the House's 6 dice. The ven uses their wagers to find their way around the House, while it uses its wagers to force the ven to get lost. While exploring a Ruin, the ven grab whatever looks shiny and/or powerful to bring back home. Most will be rubbish, but every now and then they find something good. Each Season, the Ruin produces Artifact Points equivalent to its rank. Going with a ven party into an adventure to explore a Ruin (dungeon crawl, woo!) doubles the Artifact Points. Players divvy up the points as they deem fit.

While exploring the Ruin, spend a Style to "find" an object. Then, you can research it. Wisdom risk with wagers, with success indicating the Artifact has a Potential of 1 + wagers made. Then you may spend Artifact Points to give Values (special powers) to the Artifact, up to its potential. This is a one-time offer: once you've spent Artifact Points, the Artifact is set for good. So let's say Al raids the Tomb of Spooky-- nah, the Tomb of REAL Spooky, a Rank 2 Ruin. Because he's not an idiot, he sends in a bunch of disposable peasants first. Cunning! :v: Al finds himself a weirdly shaped wand and brings it back home. Because he went in alone, he gets 2 Artifact Points as loot. He rolls a Wisdom risk and the GM decides to let him use one of his nerd Aspects for three bonus dice. He makes his roll with 4 wagers, so the wand has 5 Potential. Alas, he only has two points to spend. Looking over the Value list, he decides the wand is a Key to further sorcerer-king secrets, and it is a Leech, allowing him to steal Style from other ven. Cool!

Except that it's not cool, because Al is now Doomed. If a ven owns an Artifact, the GM can at any time after they make a roll declare DOOM! by pointing and screaming at the player. The roll is considered to be 9, no matter what they rolled. Just short of the TN of 10. The Doom may only be invoked once per Phase, but still: the GM can, whenever they feel like it, declare the character to be hosed beyond help. And Blood Swords count as Artifacts. Hell, let's see what Wick has to say about it!

quote:

A skillful Narrator will wait for the right time to hit you with your DOOM! He’ll cultivate a villain for months. Picking away at your ambitions, your desires. He’ll screw with you and screw with you and screw with you until you can’t take it anymore and then you’ll challenge him to a duel. With your cool Blood Sword. Because you’ll want every advantage you can get. And then, you’ll know why having a slew of Artifact is a bad idea.

I'll give it 4 of 5, Alex.

And that is why Dio Brando is hosed. Not because he's a gigantic bastard, not because he's stepping on someone else's toes, but because he got a piece of gear that the fluff says every single duelist worth a drat in Shanri owns. Because he tried to measure up to the game's power level, the GM is specifically encouraged to gently caress him over. By the way, it's the GM that calls for DOOM. Not the players. Of course they would not be able to call Doom on the NPC duelists with their Blood Swords. That would be bad form. :argh:

Here's the Values list. I don't feel like writing more for tonight.

  • Aspect: the Artifact gives the user a free aspect. You will know its invoke, but maybe not its tag/compel.
  • Drink: the Artifact thirsts for ven blood. For every Rank of Injury you take from the Artifact, it gives you one die for a specific kind of risk.
  • Face of Shadows: spend a Style for each ven you want to forget you when you leave their presence. They don't forget what you did, just who you were.
  • Farsight: SIGHT BEYOND SIGHT. Wisdom risk, if successful the ven gets a vision. This works somewhat similar to a contested risk in that the ven and the Artifact trade wagers to define the vision, with the Artifact always getting the first wager. The Artifact has as many wagers to use as its rank.
  • Key: this unlocks the deepest and most dangerous secrets of Shanri! Purely plot device.
  • Leech: if another ven spends Style to tag or compel an Aspect, the user may steal the Style. This value can be taken up to three times and the artifact can store as many points as the times this value is assigned to it.
  • Sharp: usually a weapon. Any Injury this artifact deals takes an entire Year to heal.
  • Subtle: this Artifact can be hidden without any chance of being found.
  • Swift: spend a Style for three bonus dice during the Strike Bid.
  • Terror: the Artifact projects Terror at a target. Rank 3 Terror, plus any Style points you spend. You don't know how Terror works.
  • Vampire: this always appears as a weapon. If you inflict a Rank 5 Injury on someone, spend a Style and steal one of their Aspects for the rest of the Season. You must know the Aspect's name and one of its invoke/tag/compel. Otherwise, it's the victim's choice.
  • Vulgar: spend a Style and you can use one Ork Trait. You don't know how Ork Traits work.
  • Watchful: this object watches a room and whispers everything it sees to its owner. You need to spend 1 Style and bleed a Rank 1 Injury for each hour you want the object to record stuff.
  • Whispers: the Artifact whispers things! Spend a Style and a Rank 1 Injury to learn a ven's invoke, tag or compel from one of their Aspects. You must know their public and family names, and if you know their secret name too you can learn the entire Aspect. Only works one time per Season for a particular ven.
  • Wicked: almost always for weapons. Spend a Style and deliver an extra rank of Injury per successful strike.

Next: Populous?

U.T. Raptor
May 11, 2010

Are you a pack of imbeciles!?

Kurieg posted:

I'm not sure if their level of control within the Sabbat was ever really defined, but they got rid of them in a way that made sure that no author could bring them back, ever.

See, when something in the physical world is destroyed, it can show up in the afterlife if it has enough resonance with something else that's died there, this is known as a relic. Dude gets stabbed with a knife, he has a relic knife in the afterlife. The main base of the "True" black hand was Enoch, the first city. Caine's first city, which was a ridiculously powerful relic because of all of the people that died there. So when the wraiths found out about it, they did the only sensible thing, they used an even more powerful relic on it.

Fat Man.

The resulting explosion destroyed Enoch, broke the prison holding the Demons at bay, and (I think) created the avatar storm somehow.
That is amazing :allears:

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
I like the Artifact rules. They remind me of Elric, and the old stories. Just save the Doom for the end of a campaign or character. The 'lie about your strengths' thing is straight out of Princess Bride's "I'm not left handed" scene, and could lead to cool moments in games with lots of intra-party conflict. The Ven themselves, though, are obnoxious as hell. They remind me of post-TOS Klingons or the version of Arthurian legend presented in Pendragon.

scissorman
Feb 7, 2011

How absolutely ridiculous
Ramrod XTreme

Traveller posted:

Houses of the Blooded
Did he even playtest this (and not just with his probably masochistic group)?
Because this kind of stuff would make me want to punch the DM.


Count Chocula posted:

I like the Artifact rules. They remind me of Elric, and the old stories. Just save the Doom for the end of a campaign or character. The 'lie about your strengths' thing is straight out of Princess Bride's "I'm not left handed" scene, and could lead to cool moments in games with lots of intra-party conflict. The Ven themselves, though, are obnoxious as hell. They remind me of post-TOS Klingons or the version of Arthurian legend presented in Pendragon.

Expect in those stories cursed artefacts are rare; here it sounds like DOOM is an everyday event.
Does the book even tell you that you're doomed when allowing you to buy artefacts during character creation?

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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN
I just think 'every artifact carries power but also a terrible curse' is a perfect fit for a certain kind of story, and its one HOTB is trying to tell. You don't fill a setting with bloody operas, doomed romance and revenge if you want people wielding +3 Swords with no consequence. Epics work partly because of the doomed ending.

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