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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

They actually have a quote from Renfield so good catch there. Doesn't make it any less ridiculous and dumb to take.


Jun 15, 2007

So how are Gigantisn and Strong Man different? Can they stack?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

Gigantism: You're bigger and stronger than most men and you can have up to Vitality 6. The big downside is that your lifespan is halved because of the extra amount of stress it puts on your body, you need to eat more than most people, you need a tailor to fit you and you cannot take anti-aging drugs.

Strong Man: You're BUFF. When it comes to carrying things or feats of strength, you get +1 Vitality to the roll.

So yeah, you can take them both together. You can also be a Mourner with Able Bodied and Focused Healing and know a Doctor with Healer so you can heal from issues in 1/8th the time most people would take, although admittedly that depends on damage and all the ways different wounds heal.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

I've picked up Transforming Mythic Europe. Interesting book! Pretty good, too. Once I can get good pictures or scanning of it, I will start writing it up.

Suffice to say that no, you cannot 'advance' the world out of Aristotelian physics. That's just how things work.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Chapter 10: Mysteeerious Worlds

This bullshit seems particularly apropos given Ningyou’s excellent Mage/Changeling sourcebook reviews. You know what? I’m just going to let the author dig his own grave:


Are things we take for granted as real actually part of everyone’s reality, or are they real only within our own minds? Think of how no two people perceive or recall things the exact same way – reality is colored by personal perception. Hallucinations, delusions, insanity, and imaginings may all be altered senses, but they are just as real to the person experiencing them as anything you have ever experienced.We cannot define a sense out of context, so there can be other senses, or perception ranges, beyond our own. The Reverie is the easiest extension of human senses into what lies Beyond.

The supernatural is all around us; we simply do not see it. Science, education,work, and dreary mundane life have dulled our senses of magick and put blinders on us that allow us to see reality as a set of parameters, not as limitless possibilities. With mundane pressures and the replacement of our own imagination by television, the innate magickal sense within us atrophies.Yet magick lies before us. There are things science cannot explain – wondrous, magickal, dangerous, mysterious, and exciting things. True magick exists within us in the form of imagination.
Yeah man, gently caress electricity! Indoor plumbing is for fags and going to school is gay! I wish I was a schizophrenic mumbling to myself in a pile of my own filth!

If I wanted to live in a squalid world ruled by bloodsucking monsters, I’d vote Republican.

Do you believe this guy dug up a horse for his Darknut cosplay?

In this chapter, we get an overview of the setting as most of its inhabitants experience it, and a presentation of the many alternate planes of reality. While it’s not nearly deep enough to run an entire campaign in the Underworld, it’s better than the stultifying infodump from the introduction and the scattered details from previous chapters, which paint the Underworld as part high fantasy setting and part Third World shithole.

The Real World is the world as experienced by normal people who have no contact with the supernatural. It’s a polite fiction formed by broad consensus, but everybody brings their own perspective to it--some people believe in angels but not aliens, and vice versa.

Most of the eldritch spend most of their time in the Real World, too, working jobs, paying bills, joining bowling leagues, taking yoga classes, buying Girl Scout cookies, watching "Survivor," picking up girls in bars without eating them, the works. The authors’ inconsistent vision crops up again here--haven’t we been told that the unliving dwell in covens of their own kind, or are loners? And that they try to fit in, but dress like goths and hired Morticia Addams to decorate their homes? What does a Dakini vampire say when his book club asks about the collection of human skulls and antique weapons adorning the walls of her palatial estate?

The Real World is contrasted with the Secret World. The Secret World is used synonymously with the Reverie, which is the baroque and awkward catch-all term for the supernatural creatures and happenings which are secretly all around us. (No wonder, since this game line has 19 types of playable bugaboo, plus all their servants, offshoots, and enemies.) The author discusses the Reverie as not just a catch-all for everything supernatural, but as a second layer of reality over top of our own. This layer is “thicker” or “thinner” in some places, making it easier to access other planes and work magick. Despite the fact that most eldritch spend most of their time preoccupied with mundane lives, we're also told that most eldritch still make their homes where the Reverie is strong.

Particularly sensitive mortals, called Sensitives or fantasts, posses the “active imaginations, open minds, and powerful wills” necessary to perceive the Reverie. Oh, bother. In the author’s defense, it’s made clear that this is more of a hazard than anything. Skeptics, scientists, and other boring people are less likely to perceive the Reverie. Children, the mentally ill, and hallucinogen users are also more likely to perceive the Reverie, but they aren’t well-equipped to deal with the Real World or the Secret one.

Eldritch sometimes “awaken” mortals by demonstrating their powers, or when they choose them as servants and companions. (For example, vampire drones.) Some of the awakened mortals who don’t become minions of the eldritch will become monster hunters. So what does it mean for a mortal to “awaken?” It’s strongly implied, but not stated plainly, that mortals will react to supernatural displays with mass hysteria or total denial, to the point that they can rationalize a battle between a dragon and a ghostly knight as a drive-by shooting. This is why eldritch don’t show off their powers in public, which also nets them Backlash points. (There’s no solid explanation for why flashing powers creates Backlash, which isn’t an in-setting concept like Paradox in Mage: the Ascension or Delirium in Werewolf: the Apocalypse. So it’s another encouragement for the Guide to employ Backlash as a stick to punish PCs for not propping up the assumptions of this house-of-cards setting.)

The different races of eldritch broadly perceive the Reverie in different ways. Angels see everything in accordance with the divine clockwork and whether or not it’s running smoothly. Dragons see things in terms of interactions of the primal elements. Questers see the world in terms of a battle between good and evil, while demons see layers of sin to exploit. The unliving--you know, the ones this book is supposed to be about--see the world through the eyes of a predator, and see everything in terms of its eventual decay and death.

The Inner Worlds

So how about them actual alternate realities that aren’t just symptoms of schizophrenia? I thought they would be simpler, but no such luck.

The first category of unearthly realm is the Inner Worlds, or otherlands, which are sustained by the minds of the living. They include the Astra, an astral plane of thought, the Dreamworlds, where living things go when they dream, and the Underworld, a “theorized realm where ghosts exist, but it has never truly been explored by the living.” (Despite being “theoretical,” the Underworld is the only realm that gets a lengthy description.) Living things usually only enter the Inner Worlds through their subconscious minds, so there’s no way to prove their existence or bring objects into or out of them. Since the Big Metaplot Event happened, physical portals into the otherlands have appeared sporadically, not to mention we know that ghuls can physically travel to the Underworld by hiking.

The Agarthic Spheres, collectively called Agartha, are alternate realities that one can enter physically. They’re fairly secure for those who control them, since you can’t just go hunting for one; you need a magick spell or key or to do something like turn the hands on the grandfather clock in Kaufman’s pawnshop to midnight at noon during a solar eclipse, or something like that. Agarthic spheres worth mentioning are controlled by cults and covens and government conspiracies and suchlike.

The book is so busy categorizing these otherworlds and talking about how to get in and out of them that it has no time to tell us about any of the Agarthic spheres. Except Faeryland, which is a wild land full of magical kingdoms. Thanks, I would never have thought of that myself. Instead, Everlasting actually does something right for a change, and spends most of the Unliving book's chapter on other realms describing...

The Underworld

“Little is truly known about the Underworld,” we are told, which made it a stupid idea to suggest setting entire campaigns there. The Underworld is sort of a way-station between the Real World and the Afterlife. Only a tiny fraction of people who die become Dead Souls; most pass on to the unknown Afterlife. However, anyone who dies leaves behind their astral body, too, so the Underworld is full of astral corpses. Many condemned are placed on cadaver duty, but the astral bodies never completely decompose, so we can safely assume that the surface of the Underworld is a thick layer of undead chum.

As discussed in the Dead Souls chapter, all those Dead Souls and astral corpses wind up in Ethereus, the “corpse of the Earth” and a depressing mirror of the real world. Ashy soil, overcast skies, and chilly air that always stinks of corpses are par for the course in Ethereus, not to mention the Black Storms that periodically bring rains of blood, bile, even more ashes, black frogs, black eyeliner, Olestra, all kinds of nasty stuff. It’s also lonely; the Earthbound are stuck in Ethereus, and besides them few ghosts make their home in Ethereus. Underneath Ethereus is a network of tunnels which leads to the labyrinth-city of the Iblis, which facilitates commerce between the ghuls and the Underworld.

Dammit, Jackson, there are no ringwraiths in this game!

Most people in the Underworld are Dead Souls, but there are also angels, demons, and assorted others. There is animal life, including pale and unhealthy-looking versions of pigs and cattle as well as cats, rats, and birds.

Beyond Ethereus are the Dreadlands, the roughly Earth-sized “core” of the Underworld. The ankou send most Dead Souls who aren’t Earthbound to the Dreadlands, where they’re left on their own. Technology is valuable here, so Dead Souls whose life memories equipped them to conjure working tools are the most likely to find gainful employment. Many more will wind up as laborers and servants. Besides what the Dead Souls chapter told us, we know that the architecture of the Dreadlands looks like it was “designed by H. R. Giger and Anton Furst.”

Prince of the Land of Stench!

There are 13 empires of the Dreadlands remaining; a significant portion has been overtaken by the rakshasa, an invading force of malevolent spirits, and become the Forbidden Lands. When they’re not infiltrating the Dreadlandic empires, the rakshasa keep to themselves.

Shadoworlds are pockets of altered reality which change and move with the phantoms who create them. Within a Shadoworld, its creator is godlike and absolutely anything can happen, so there’s no reason to elaborate on that point again and again.

Of less interest to PCs are realms like the Chasm of Lost Souls, a five-mile-wide pit in a great ashen desert, which leads to a feared but unknown realm called Tartarus. Being tossed into the Chasm is the most severe method of execution the ankou have at their disposal--even worse than being sentenced to the Circles of Atrocity, which are pretty much Dante’s Inferno.

Remember, we’re parked in Lot B, next to the standing stones in Section That Dream Where Your Mother Threatens to Castrate You.

For some reason, the Underworld also contains Paridisio, the heavenly realm from which the angels “look down over all.” That’s quite a trick, since the ghuls travel to the Underworld by going deep underground. Paradisio doesn’t matter because only angels are allowed; it’s supposed to be a beautiful city of gold and white marble. There are, of course, rumours that the angels have let certain Dead Souls into their secret clubhouse, but come on--these are people who look down on the cosmology of Everlasting to say “Eh, not bad for gummint work.” You don’t want to be invited to their meetings.

There is neither a map nor a clear explanation of where these realms are in relation to one another or how one travels from one to another.

Next time, on The Everlasting: “Advanced guidelines.” Remember, there are no rules in this game. But if this game had rules, and you wanted more of them, this would be the chapter for it.

Sep 2, 2012


Ehdrigohr Part 2: We start out with a story, as is the norm for thematic RPGs, and as is completely appropriate for Ehdrigohr's theme. It's pretty good at setting the tone - LookingBoy --

Sorry, I need to interrupt this here. Because I have to tell you, one of my biggest pet peeves with RPG writing (and fantasy writing in general) is when someone pushes two words together and capitalizes both of them. It irritates me to no end. I mean, I see what the author was going for here, but it still bothers me. But yeah, if it bothers you, you're not alone. Anyway! Now that that's out of the way...

So LookingBoy and his friends are talking about going out exploring, but he needs to watch his sister Caje-Wi. There's a bit of a tone of foreboding, and then a Weaver (a traveling shaman and storyteller I'm thinking) arrives.

He's pretty mysterious, and he seems to either be a spirit himself, or else in control of the wind. He walks "the Path of the Owls" - I'm thinking we'll hear more about that.

That's really all there is to the story at this point; he shows up and starts his story, and they listen. I'm not sure if I should find this anticlimactic or not. :blush:

What follows is a brief rundown of Ehdrigohr. I'll try to summarize...
  • A long-ago war nearly destroyed the world, scattering all the people and breaking the land. There are no great places to live; even the best places are hellholes. It's no Athas, but it's not Fantasy Island, either.

    gratuitous Herve Villechaize picture

  • There's a lot of tribes, who've merged and separated over the centuries. They don't get along very well with one another.
  • Lurking in the shadows, in a hidden realm just beyond human perception, are unfriendly Horrors and spirits who corrupt the land and its people. There are ancient beings of power called the Sorrows who rule over these Horrors.
  • There are organizations who've banded together to rid the world of these evils. Most rever the Crows, but Owls, Jays, and Mourning Doves also work towards these ends.

  • Spider metaphors. Expect them. The Spinner and the Weaver (both basically spider gods) give individuals a chance to shape the world. However, if they relax too much, the Spinner and Weaver may choose their destiny for them. Those who turn to evil fade into creatures called Sorrowstain.
  • There's magic, and it looks like all PCs will use it, which is cool. Warriors, storytellers, and artists. I can't wait to check this out.
  • Oh, and it's not a sad crapsack 90's emo world because it's all about finding hope and making changes for the better, which is good because I'm not on board for another "everything is crap forever" setting. (Heck, even Dark Sun had more hope than some of the settings you goons are posting, and that's saying something.)

And then we segue into mechanics. As I said, I'm going to assume everyone has some level of familiarity with Fate, even if you don't know all the rules. The only weird bit is that for some reason +'s are called Graces and -'s are called Sorrows.

...and then we get into the Ehdrigohr-specific mechanics.

Power Level

Remember how this is a highly mythical setting with beings of great power walking the earth? This is how Ehdrigohr accounts for it. At its base level, it's pretty simple; most stuff is Common. For every Power Level above someone with whom you're in a conflict, you get a +1 on your die rolls for every power level you have on them.

If I use a Stupendous attack against a Common defense, I get a +3 on that roll. Which is easy enough, I suppose. I get what the designer is going for here, at least - a game with stuff of vastly different power levels (like this one) can use some sort of scaling mechanic. Power Levels make a huge math difference, though, and it's important to keep that in mind.

Everything has a power level; your characters do, weapons do, monsters do, tools, etc. You use the highest power level involved in the action. So, if you're attacking with a Grand spear but have a Common Fighting skill, it's considered a Grand attack. That part's easy. However, two levels of equal strength combine for a total of one level higher. This seems to indicate that for most circumstances, your characters would be considered Grand since you're probably Common and using Common tools, right? I don't get it, and I'm wondering if this was errata'd out.

Okay, so one more thing - if you Succeed with Style and you have a higher power level than your opponent (or if you spent a Fate Point), you get a Power Cascade. If it was a physical attack, you get Devastation, which can be used either to attack more or create collateral damage on the scene or environment, including shattering the ground and stuff, creating scene consequences you can freely invoke. For a Mental Attack, you get Awe; it can also go against other valid targets, or seep into the environment and create an Awe-related hazard. Finally, for Social Attacks it turns into Glory. Glory's pretty awesome, because the "environment" is tribes and family lines, so if you convince one dude really hard, you end up convincing (or shaming!) his whole drat family. :getin:

The rules here are kind of sparse, though. I hope he explains how to implement all this awesome stuff later, because this is pretty much exactly what I want from awesome characters being awesome.

Other New-Looking Rules

So along with this are rules to "Push Your Limits". I'm confused by this; you can spend a Fate Point (and take stress) to treat your action as if it were one power level higher. I'm just not sure why you would want to, seeing as you get a Power Cascade and a +2 for a normal Invoke, and it doesn't even give you any Stress. I think I'm missing something, so I'll reserve judgment, but I think this was left over after some revisions.

Finally, even if you're not trained in the Mysteries, you still have power in them. You can spend a Fate Point to invoke it. Again, I am thinking this will make more sense later.

Even the titty art in this book somehow feels classy.

And that's mostly it for the intro. Next up will be a kickass Creation Myth/History full of spiders!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
The more I go back and read old World of Darkness the more I think of Everlasting.

It's like all the 90s supernatural games start to congeal into one indistinguishable, loathsome mass.

Sep 10, 2003

peed on;

Alien Rope Burn posted:

The more I go back and read old World of Darkness the more I think of Everlasting.

It's like all the 90s supernatural games start to congeal into one indistinguishable, loathsome mass.
Everlasting just takes everything about oWoD and pushes it to 11.

One thing I've noticed in the writeups is that a lot of the stuff that was implied in oWoD (like "science bad!") is flat-out stated in Everlasting. It's kind of amazing; I guess the designer thought that the real problem with the WoD games was that they were a little too subtle about the point they were making.

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer
I began reading that opening quote from the last Everlasting update in Rod Serling's voice. A few lines in, it had attenuated into a nasal whine.

Jul 19, 2012

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

FMguru posted:

Everlasting just takes everything about oWoD and pushes it to 11.

One thing I've noticed in the writeups is that a lot of the stuff that was implied in oWoD (like "science bad!") is flat-out stated in Everlasting. It's kind of amazing; I guess the designer thought that the real problem with the WoD games was that they were a little too subtle about the point they were making.

Well a lot of the "Science Bad!" was from the early line devs on Werewolf and Mage, mainly Bill Bridges and Phil "Satyrblade" Brucato.

If that second name sounds familiar, he's the one who wrote the nWoD Changing Breeds book, and Freak Legion. There were at least a few authors employed by white wolf who were pleased when he got removed as a line dev.

Though it might be a little tongue in cheek, it's not off by much.

Still, seeing where Steve Brown took it makes me glad I didn't play during the early 90s.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 06:30 on Jan 21, 2014

Dec 27, 2011

I can't wait for Spider-themed creation myth. Its been forever since I gave a crap about a new fantasy setting. :allears:

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
Although it was amusing to throw a fit over it, I'm less bothered by any of the prejudices in author's writing than I am by the mere fact that they decided to lay bare the cosmology of setting.

Any good setting, but especially a horror setting, requires mystery. Now, I'm the first one to point out that there's a difference between being mysterious and being merely confusing and concealing. There's also a difference between making sure your audience gets a joke and explaining it, which kills it dead. Rigorously explaining metaphysical mechanisms takes the super out of the supernatural, and precisely laying out the borders and boundaries of all the unearthly realms always feels like putting the setting in a little box. If you're actually going to tell me that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell, good luck getting me to care who lives and who dies. A stirring monologue about how every moment counts won't fix it. (For example, I had a hard time caring about "Supernatural" after season 5, which introduces the war between heaven and hell and has God appear onscreen. Am I the only one who thinks that once you do that, anything on a smaller scale is diminished?)

So I'm disgruntled about Mage being a part of the World of Darkness (since Mage has a way of subsuming the other games' cosmologies and categorizing them as some quaint little "paradigm") and I downright despise forum discussions about exactly where the Hedge meets the Supernal Realms or whatever. For the love of God, stop explaining the joke.

Aug 11, 2006

Cleanse them. Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin. Bathe them in the crimson of ... am I on speakerphone?
Fun Shoe
Got distracted again, but had to come back to at least cover one of my favorite bits of the series. Previous posts are collected here.

Chapter 9: John Tynes' Hastur Mythos

John Tynes posted:

Buildings shift, paintings change, lights flicker, statues mutate, but only in the presence of those Hastur has touched. Around them, Order is the jester and Chaos is the king.

This chapter starts off with a big sidebar explaining that this ain't your daddy's Mythos. But seriously, this is just meant to be how John Tynes interprets Hastur and the associated parts of the mythology. As such, much of this doesn't line up with what's in the other Call of Cthulhu books, or, in some cases, outright contradicts it. This isn't even technically Delta Green canon; it's just a set of concept you can optionally use for DG (or CoC, or whatever, really). Having said all that, let's look at how things are in this version:

-Hastur isn't a Great Old One, nor does he have sentience, or personality, for that matter. Hastur is the archaic name for the force we now tend to call 'entropy'. Seeing as how entropy is one of the fundamental forces of the universe, this does make Hastur pretty powerful, but also understandable. We know Hastur is destructive, but Hastur is also subtle. While there are, of course, cults to Hastur, this doesn't affect anything, any more than worshiping gravity allows you to fly. In play, one of Hastur's primary targets is the human mind. As it degrades, the chaos of the insanity left behind can foster a greater understanding of Hastur, though it's still the perspective of a madman.

-The King in Yellow actually is a diety of sorts, some sort of manifestation or avatar of Hastur. By name, he is the ruler of the lost city of Carcosa, but since he never speaks, little else is known about him. Some believe he was once a man who gained a transcendent understanding of entropy. Others think he was willed into existence by the belief of Hastur's followers. No one knows for sure.

-Carcosa is a strange ghost city that consumes other cities that become overtaken by paranoia and melancholy ('social entropy', if you will). Reality, as we understand it, doesn't apply here, so getting from point a to point b can be very tricky. Overall, the city has a Victorian appearance, though wandering around, you'll eventually encounter all kinds of incongruous styles. The city is dead quiet, but visitors constantly feel surrounded. It's unknown where Carcosa is, exactly (another planet? Another dimension?), but it's always night there, the sky is always an ashy grey, and the 'stars' are jet black.

-The Phantom of Truth is a strange entity wearing a robe and a "mask that is not a mask". His task is to possess the body of someone in a city on the brink and determine by his experiences whether the city will be absorbed into Carcosa or not.

Actually pretty creepy

-Yhtill was one such city that was absorbed into Carcosa. The city was ruled by a king, and turmoil over the end of the line of succession attracted the Phantom of Truth, who judged the city in the midst of a grand masquerade ball. All that remains now is the castle, which sits on the far side of Lake Hali. Inside, it's always midnight; the ball is always in full swing, and the Phantom is forever passing judgement. The events seem to reply whenever someone walks inside the caste.

-The Yellow Sign is old, old enough that no one is quite sure where it came from. All we know is that it's related to Hastur, appears to move if watched, and can unhinge the mind of anyone who views it.

-"The King in Yellow" is a play about the fall of Yhtill, written sometime around 1918, most copies were believed destroyed by the French government, but a handful survive today and seem to find their way into the hands of creative people. Reading the script drives the reader insane (or at least seriously disturbs them) and has the odd effect of drawing in others who have been touched by Hastur.

This is probably sounding awfully different from everything else Delta Green thus far, so the next section is all about how to work Hastur into an (existing) campaign in stages.

Stage 1 is Themes, where you subtly work in all the things Hastur represents. These include alienation (a PC being driven apart from the rest of the group), surrealness (inexplicable, dreamlike imagery), creativity (a PC being driven to create, or constantly coming across specific creative images), and aesthetics (familiar places taking on Victorian trappings).

Stage 2 is Manifestations, where stuff starts getting really weird. Some examples including a PC driving at night seeing white, glowing faces looking out of every window (which others in the car don't see), a PC seeing ghostly children playing in the midst of a pitched gun battle, and a PC finding an elaborate invitation to a masquerade ball while searching a location.

Stage 3 is Scenarios. Once the players figure out the weirdness is all related, it's time to run a scenario to start bringing things to a head. The book recommends Night Floors, an excellent scenario (now free online) which I will try to cover later. Any scenario run here will involve the players in direct opposition to Hastur and his agents. This is to give them a chance to learn some things about Hastur before...

Stage 4 - Carcosa. One of the PCs is absorbed into Carcosa, and the rest of the team have to try to get him back. The PC basically just up and disappears after an op, and searching for him just leads to more and more signs of Hastur's involvement. Once they figure this out, they'll need a way to Carcosa, which can be accomplished via spell, certain artworks made under Hastur's influence, and (of course) via a door in Club Apocalypse.

Carcosa will prove to be a confusing place, because it's reality isn't consistent, it's relational. In our world, a door is a door is a door, but in Carcosa, a door might be different if you get near it, or if you're angry, or if you just ate a hot dog. Its definition is based on the things around it, and, in turn, Carcosa's state subtly manipulates all things (and people) within it. This is all based on perception, meaning that watching something tends to make it somewhat more stable...but you can't watch everything all the time (and someone else watching something could make it stable for them, but not for you). Put simply, if you walk to the end of a street in Carcosa, then walk back, you'll find your starting place may have changed greatly, and repeating the process could change it again and again. This will make navigating very, very difficult.

One notable location the players may run into is the Whisper Labyrinth, a darkened maze under the streets of Carcosa. It is completely dark in here, and any investigator that loses sight of the others is immediately lost; even tying a rope around each other won't help, as it will simply be found looped around itself. In every wall of the Labyrinth are alcoves containing small opaque bottes. There appear to be tens of thousands of them throughout the Labyrinth, each noticeably different from the others. All of them, however, bear someone's name, and are sealed or corked in some manner. None can be opened, though, except by the person whose name is listed (3% non-cumulative chance per hour to find it). Should a PC find and open their bottle, they will hear a whisper that tells them something important about their past or future, and then, they will alsmot immediately find the exit to the Labyrinth. Attempts to take other bottles out will result in the PC going in circles again and again back to the alcove they took them from.

The Gallery of Shades is one of the largest buildings in the city, an enormous art museum whose layout and displays are ever-changing. All the artwork featured has one thing in common: it was all produced by an insane mind touched by Hastur, and will slowly have an effect on anyone viewing it. Any PC who botches a Luck roll will slowly start losing Sanity points, having gained a deeper understanding of the works held there. If the group attempts to leave, he will resist, violently if necessary. If the PC is taken out by force, they will become quiet and near-vegetative until the group escapes Carcosa. Should he be left in the Gallery until his SAN hits 0, a group of hooded figures will appear and the PC will leave with them, never to be seen again, while the rest of the group watches on, frozen and unable to act.

The Lake of Hali is one of the city's larger and more notable landmarks. The lake's size and shape change subtly over time, and occasionally, its water will be replaced by a cloud-like substance (that nontheless rolls and drifts like water). Strange lights can sometimes be seen pulsing beneath the surface. When the lake's water is replaced by clouds, it's actually possible to travel under the lake, simply by taking a boat out and tipping the bow downwards. Under the 'mist', visibility is about 15 feet. PCs will periodically hear the rumbles of the ocean, and sometimes see enormous shadows passing nearby them. About 80 feet down, the PCs will see massive spires in the distance, and, should they not turn back, they will eventually see more and more buildings, until they at last touch down on solid ground. Should they get out and walk around, eventually, the fog will clear away, revealing...they are back in Carcosa, with the lake, once again water, just in the distance.

The final goal is the Palace of Yhtill, where the PCs will find their lost member amidst the strange and sad proceedings.

And that's about all for this book. The rest consists of a King in Yellow themed tarot deck, an appendix on psychic powers, a series of scientific papers on Mythos topics to be used as seeds/handouts, a couple of adventures (A Victim of the Art, the aforementioned Night Floors, and Dead Letter), and an enormous, comprehensive, and tragically out of date listing of major international security agencies. And that's that for Countdown, my favorite DG book. I don't have a copy of Eyes Only in PDF, so for convenience sake, I'll likely to the newest book, Targets of Opportunity, next, unless people would rather hear about some adventures.

claw game handjob
Mar 27, 2007

pinch pinch scrape pinch
ow ow fuck it's caught
i'm bleeding

InShaneee posted:

And that's that for Countdown, my favorite DG book.

I misread a single letter here and screamed.

Nov 26, 2012

InShaneee posted:

And that's about all for this book. The rest consists of a King in Yellow themed tarot deck, an appendix on psychic powers, a series of scientific papers on Mythos topics to be used as seeds/handouts, a couple of adventures (A Victim of the Art, the aforementioned Night Floors, and Dead Letter), and an enormous, comprehensive, and tragically out of date listing of major international security agencies. And that's that for Countdown, my favorite DG book. I don't have a copy of Eyes Only in PDF, so for convenience sake, I'll likely to the newest book, Targets of Opportunity, next, unless people would rather hear about some adventures.

I happened to be rereading this last night. It's really one of Tyne's better little pieces, even if it feels a little closer to UA than DG. After doing research on a Tarot-based game for the January contest, man, that Tarot deck is really creepy. It's just a mythos themed tarot deck, but it feels right for a weird artifact.

There was some good research done here, because the cards in the King in Yellow tarot have imagery that implies symbolism nearly, but not quite the same as the Waite-Rider-Smith deck, as far as my limited knowledge can determine. The differences are what really make it work, because they fit the them perfectly and yet are also super weird. The cards usually alter the imagery behind them while keeping the underlying theme intact, but in a twisted manner.

I don't want to go through them all, but, like, in the WRS deck there's only one Fool, who is pictured about to step off a cliff into the unknown, but in the King in Yellow deck it's a team of fools, with hidden features, who balance along the precipice, (probably) best representing an innocent Delta Green team.

"The World" depicts Carcosa with two moons. The card usually has meanings associated with completion and success. What's success for Hastur, but the replacement of Earth with Carcosa?

Also, The Emperor has been replaced with the King in Yellow, who usurps the final slot in the Major Arcana as a second Heirophant, above the World. That's just perfect.

Mimir fucked around with this message at 11:31 on Jan 21, 2014

Dec 12, 2011
Carcosa sounds like the Mad City from DRYH. It'd be interesting to combine aspects of the two in one game or the other. Make the Mad City slowly subsuming the real world or populate Carcosa with the lost who have become figments of waking nightmares that only wish to free the PCs from the prison of lucidity.

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer
I'm reminded of a discussion about Carcosa invading a shopping mall where the PCs are security guards, here. It's definitely influenced by Tynes and Night Floors, being on a DG community site.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Mimir posted:

I happened to be rereading this last night. It's really one of Tyne's better little pieces, even if it feels a little closer to UA than DG.
I must say that this is wholly appropriate. I could rant on and on about it, but the Carcosa/King in Yellow/Hastur meme has always occupied a very baroque fitting in the Lovecraftian mythos, with much focus on madness and decadence and very little on tentacled monsters.

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.
Strictly speaking, the Lovecraftian meme occupies a place in the King in Yellow's mythos. Robert W. Chambers precedes Lovecraft by a good thirty years. The cloud waves and the black stars are a nice little bit of attention to detail.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

FMguru posted:

One thing I've noticed in the writeups is that a lot of the stuff that was implied in oWoD (like "science bad!") is flat-out stated in Everlasting. It's kind of amazing; I guess the designer thought that the real problem with the WoD games was that they were a little too subtle about the point they were making.

I don't think it's so much implied as really inconsistent, basically "technology sucks unless you use it while riding a skateboard".

Dec 10, 2007


:psyduck: this sounds like whateverthehell is on that time-cube website.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Cardiovorax posted:

Strictly speaking, the Lovecraftian meme occupies a place in the King in Yellow's mythos. Robert W. Chambers precedes Lovecraft by a good thirty years. The cloud waves and the black stars are a nice little bit of attention to detail.
Eh, there really wasn't a "mythos." I mean, the "Yog-Sothothery" of Lovecraft and his friends was far less formal and more in-jokey than August Derleth or Chaosium would have us believe, but the trail from "Haita the Shepherd" to The King in Yellow is far more fragmentary, and Chambers' commitment to weird fiction was so wavering that the last story in The King in Yellow is a fluffy sentimental romance. Derleth was really the one who fully implemented "Hastur" into the Lovecraft mythos as a counterpart to Cthulhu, and he misses the point completely by casting Hastur as a tentacled alien god and making "The Return of Hastur" actually a story about Cthulhu. (Clark Ashton Smith tried to tell him that that was a stupid idea, but he didn't listen, because he was August Derleth.)

This confusion is understandable. It turns out that Cthulhu is so mysterious, even his high priest has to look him up on Wikipedia.

Dec 1, 2011

What is a soldier but a miserable pile of eaten cats and strange language?
Please, review Night Floors, that scenario is wonderfully creepy and odd.

Sep 15, 2006

Would anyone be willing to review Wraith: the Great War? It sounds like an amazing book, if the Shoah Wraith book is anything to go by.

Sep 2, 2012


Ehdrigohr Part 3a: The Great Telling at Onandag (Part I)

The very next section starts with some world-building. It begins with ... well, I want to say "creation myth" because it pretty much is. But since this is fantasy, it's also the world's actual history. I'm going to try to do this justice without just copying and pasting the whole thing.

sounds kinda ominous

The First Event: In the beginning, was Sni (or nothingness). Alone in this void was IlluvatarWhatMoves, described as a sound, though it was also Sni. Eventually, it decided to create by blending sounds together into song. This song split into two - the Spinner, which continues to create more song, and the Weaver which gathers the Spinner's song into a web. The pattern created by the Spinner and the Weaver encompasses reality, and at its edge is the Hoop, the web's foundation. It's impossible to talk about the time before, because this was the very first event - kinda like the Big Bang.

I told you there would be spiders.


It is said that there is a rhythm and sound that the Spinner makes as it spins forth strands of creation. It is said that this sound can be heard in the quiet of the enlightened mind. The sound is the rhythm of possibility, and so we name the whole of creation as this sound: Wey’o Heh’Ya. These syllables can be intoned individually as they do in mantras in Barata, or used for song without words as the Wiitjasa and Batu do in the Shil. In all cases, calling out the syllables of creation with our voices lifted to the sky creates new possibilities for the people. This is why these syllables are in our prayers and songs.

There is another sound, closer to us, that can be heard in the heart. It is the sound and rhythm that the Weaver makes as it gathers, loops, and pulls the threads of possibility to fashion the Great Web. This sound is the tangible and is how we name the world we walk in as people. That sound is Ehdrigohr.

The Second Event: So the Web stretches off in all directions, but it's kinda empty. WhatMoves started a new song of four parts and sang into existence the elements of Earth (Stone), Air, Fire, and Water. The Weaver gathered these parts together, and the world was started.

WhatMoves sang a whole lot more songs - sixteen this time, forming what amount to the gods of Ehdrigohr, created as caretakers for the world. WhatMoves more or less put itself into these beings; they could also sing, though not as potently as WhatMoves, unless they combined their voices together. Only a handful get named here:

M’pya Toh Who Moves-the-Sky; Bryahd Who Shapes the Earth; Brokk Tends the Fire, Counts the Winters; Myndil Dreamer of Ways, Tradition Maker; Creu-Wri Keeps the Flow, Tradition Keeper; Ok'o-wi Transformer of Ways, Tradition Breaker; Shou Bringer of light, Revealer of Truths; and Hahn-Wi Tends the Darkness, Guides the Way.

Their first song was Love, and the witnessing that all beings are kin.

The WhatMoves puts up its figurative apple tree in this garden. He told the sixteen to wait for his return, and that nobody should ever come to look for him in the space beyond the Hoop of the World, because it was worried that would be too terrible for them. And then he started the Hoop turning - time - and traveled away.

The Third Event: So now that the Hoop is turning, it's no longer Sni. The world was pretty empty, so the Songs started to shape it. Some worked to grow plants, others to grow animals, and the last group brought forth the four Peoples. All the Songs helped, but four in paritcular took the lead and created their peoples in their purest ideals.

And then Ok'o-wi, who was among the closest to WhatMoves in her knowledge, made a critical choice. In her curiosity to understand the Song of WhatMoves, she decided to violate its command and seek its council directly. She went for a moment beyond the Hoop, peered into Sni, and called for WhatMoves. Something answered.

Myndil found her weeping, and asked what strange song she was singing. She called it Sorrow, and refused to speak of it with him, only saying not to venture beyond the Web. He told her he didn't much care for this new song, and she agreed - she didn't either, and she had learned other new songs that she did not sing.


“What manner of song do we not share with each other?” was Myndil’s response. Ok'o-wi thought and then offered that she would call them Secrets. Sorrow is a secret that is hard to keep, offered Myndil. You should not keep these Secrets to yourself. Songs are meant to be shared. No, countered Ok'o-wi. Secrets are different. They belong to me. Myndil did not like these secrets. He thought they dis-eased Ok'o-wi but he let her have her way.

These are what are called the First and Second shames. Because the other Songs could not help Ok'o-wi for lack of 'medicine,' they turned their backs on her. They broke the circle and let her slip into darkness. That was the First Shame. Myndil tried to help her, but he didn't ask the others for help. That was the Second Shame. Because of these shames, Ok'o-wi was not healed, and Sorrow was brought to the world.

--Pausing for a minute here. I like this turn on the normal "temptation" myth because it puts responsibility on Ok'o-wi's community - the other songs - to help her. She looked beyond the Hoop into Sni, but they didn't help her deal with the consequences. It's a nice turn on what's so often a misogynistic trope of a woman being tempted and turning to evil. It also puts sharp focus on how important community is to Ehdrigohr, and how families are expected to look after their relatives. Okay! Back to the story.

So let's go back to the Four Peoples. Before they were awoken, the Weaver and Spinner spoke to the Songs. They liked what they had seen, and so created their own Fifth People, called the Iktom, beings of the Weave and Flow who would patch up the Weave's pattern wherever it was breaking. They would control the Essences - magic, I believe. The iktom were awoken first, and got the world put into order for everyone else.

The Brokkur, the Children of Brokk Who Tends the Fire, woke up first. They were "beings of earth and rock, fire and smoke, sky and thunder, and water and ice." The Iktom led them to the mountains, where they tended to the foundations and sky. They founded Holtabrokku, deep caverns through their mountains, which fostered trade.

The Ok'o-wibiyrn, the Children of Ok'o-wi Transformer of Ways, Tradition Breaker, were "beings of wood and earth, water and light, tenders of life and able to encourage things to grow in new and wonderful ways with their songs." They lived in the forests and oceans, tending to the plants, the tides, and the changing seasons. They founded Bruszathis, a grand floating nation that stretched into the deep oceans. Its capital was Lindra-ill. They were very powerful, and were second only to the Iktom in the Mysteries.

The Creuwryona, the Children of reu-Wri Keeps the Flow, Tradition Keeper, were "creatures of Wind and Principle, Fire and Will," who apparently spread far and wide to help the other Peoples. Unlike the other races, they did not found a great nation and instead served as mediators - Revered Wise Ones for their province, maintaining harmony among all.

And finally, the Myndilkin, or Men, Children of Myndil Dreamer of Ways, Tradition Maker, had some of the gifts of all the other children. They were led to the "Shil" - I'm thinking the big continents on the map - where they "started great nations, danced new rhythyms, soothed the heart of the earth, and celebrated the thunders in the sky." They founded O'Makota, the first nation of man, which existed in your typical Utopian peace and harmony, from deep into the earth to high in the skies.

So while all this was going on, two more Songs - M’pya Toh Who Moves-the-Sky and Bryahd Who Shapes the Earth - fell in love and started having progeny instead of making Peoples. These children were incredibly powerful, in some ways more and in some ways less potent than their parents. They had four children, the Thunder Brothers, who were sent to reside in the corners of the world for directions.


Okay, so remember Ok'o-wi's Sorrow? It started making her unable to Sing in partnership with the other Songs. They were uncomfortable with her strange dissonance. She started to withdraw from them, and only Myndil really kept close. Because he was the Tradition Maker, he helped all he could, but didn't know how to stop her transformation.


“What is it that draws you away from the others?” he asked of her.

“There is something growing in me. It is a song I don’t understand. It leaves me feeling unseen and unseeable. It causes me to be and sing in strange ways. I want to belong, but belonging brings pain; and I want to stop singing, but fear I will fade.”

“What is this strange song that disturbs you so?” prodded Myndil. “Name it and we will help you to find its place.”

Rage filled Ok’o-wi’s face as she turned and spat, “I named it before and I name it again as Sorrow! It has many faces and many ways it grows. It is mine. Mine to understand. Mine to resolve. You must respect this if you are my relative.”

He respected her wishes, and simply walked with her.

The Fourth Event: The Peoples began to reproduce and spread, as Peoples tend to do. All was not completely harmonious - the Creuwryona still had jobs as mediators, after all - but overall stuff was pretty okay. Except, as you might expect, from the Ok'o-wibiyrn. They kept secrets, refusing to share their songs and discoveries with the other Peoples. And, inevitably, they became jealous of the Myndilkin's dominion. They wanted land, not just sea, but the Myndilkin spread so fast, they had already claimed all the coastline.

The Men offered to share, but the Ok'o-wibiyrn weren't happy with that. 700 years later, an Ok'o-wibiyrn named d'Ral Sha-Er (or WatchesShadows) was born. She headed her own ship by the time she was 20, ruled her clan by 35, and an entire province by 40. Her province, Xyris, bordered one of the Myndilkin kingdoms, Othase, which was rich and fertile.

So her logic was that Ok'o-wibiyrn were older than men, and that therefore they got dibs on basically whatever they wanted. She called "dibs" on Othase's farmlands, oh and also the people who worked on them could still be slaves or something and Othase could, you know, buy back their own crops. Brilliant plan, really, and I can't understand why Othase resisted.

Remember the Creuwryona? Well, this was basically their whole job, so Othase's council contacted Viltoshius, who called a peace council together, very UN-like. The Myndilkin sent representatives. d'Ral Sha-Er sent a messenger telling Viltoshius to check himself before he wrecked himself. Othase was given 10 days to comply, or else.

So remember, this was before "war" was even really a thing, so the High Council sent ambassadors directly to Xyris. As you might expect, they were imprisoned, and Xyris decided to call "dibs" on the entire kingdom of Othase. She'd enslave all the Men and her people could live large on the backs of their labor. Her armies assembled and invaded.

The Songs were still active in those days, so Myndil and Creu-Wri approached Ok'o-wi and said, basically, "Hey, could you tell them to quit it?" She, however, had gotten just as jealous and bitter as d'Ral Sha-Er and decided that Myndil didn't have her best interests at heart, at all. So not only did she refuse to intervene, she sent visions to all the Ok'o-wibiyrn telling them to follow d'Ral Sha-Er's lead. No longer a victim of circumstance, the War of Sorrows began, known as The Fourth Shame.

The War of Sorrows started when the Xyrian forces started to move, only to get intercepted by Viltoshius and Farugran, his mate. They tried to redirect d'Ral Sha-Er's forces, but they were expecting something more or less like this, and the Creuwryona were defeated and captured, leaving the army to attack Othase. Othase had already basically retreated to neighboring kingdoms, so the remnant were captured or enslaved, pretty much with no Xyrian losses whatsoever.

Now, the rest of the Ok'o-wibiyrn all heard about this. While some felt that this wasn't so much a great thing to have happen, and that maybe they should think about ... apologizing, maybe, and giving all the Othase their stuff back? They were outnumbered, though, and the jealous Oko's decided it was their destiny to rule over all of Men's kingdoms.

Soon enough, the West coast of Ehdrigohr was conquered in a series of bloody conflicts. The Creuwryona kept trying to help, but it was pretty well past time for negotiation, and they ended up captured more often than not.

And that's where we ask, "But where were the other Songs in all this? Why weren't they helping?" And the answer is, they wanted to, but Ok'o-wi did some pretty bad stuff to make sure they couldn't. She had sought out the Spinner, you see, and more or less lulled it into friendship, or maybe seduction of some kind. She took some of the Spinner's seed and some of the mysteries of its womb (because it is no gender, and all genders). :aaaaa: She then used those to become pregnant, went into hiding, and gave birth to children just as powerful as the Songs themselves.

Now look, as a rule I'm not in favor of rape in my settings, even hermaphroditic spider-rape, but I'm going to give Ehdrigohr a bit of a pass here in that (1) it makes sure we know that this is Not Good (it is considered the Fifth Shame, and "created the divisions that would "separate the song of love", and (2) this is a creation myth and this sort of thing is all too common in tales of this nature. Fortunately, I've seen some other stuff in Ehdrigohr which reassures me that the author isn't in favor of this sort of behavior.

Anyway! The Spinner went to the other Songs and told them what had happened. Angry, M'pya Toh called a council, where Myndil told what she knew about Ok'o-Wi's secrets. He gave a name to the dissonance that Ok'o-wi created - "Evil." All the other Songs except for Creu-Wri decided to go to war with Ok'o-wi, "unravel her, and then sing her back into a harmonious manifestation." Creu-Wri, on the other hand, thought they had no right to do that, and thought they needed to seek out WhatMoves. The other Songs were entirely too pissed off to listen to this, and took action.

M'pya Toh sent the Thunder Brothers to fetch Ok'o-wi and bring her to justice. She said she'd go with them - but only if they could beat her child in combat. They said, "Eh, whatever," since they were the creations of the Iktom and extremely powerful themselves. They cracked their knuckles, and got taken completely by surprise as Ok'o-Wi's son Yyah erupted from the ground and kicked all their asses. Because she wasn't twisted enough already, this was a big turn-on for Ok'o-wi, who lusted after her child. When the Thunderers retreated, she got busy with him before they were even out of earshot. :huh:

The other Songs were now even more disgusted and pissed off when they heard about all this, so got ready to go into battle, themselves. Brokk made some weapons, though he wouldn't fight himself. The only one still abstaining from the war effort was still Creu-Wri, who decided to seek out WhatMoves himself. Instead of calling their sister Ok'o-wi as ShapesTheLife, they called her Unkhte WhoIsEatenByPassions. Her children were the Unkhtehyla.

While all this was going on, d'Ral Sha-Er took over all of the "Council of Leaves and Mists" who ruled her people. Ok'o-wi started talking directly with her, feeding her madness and megalomania. She started conquering all the Kingdoms of Man, until they were pushed all the way past the Brokkur's mountains. So, they started fighting the Brokkur too, in addition to the Myndilkin and Creuwryona.

Upon seeing his children suffering, Brokk removed them from the world where they could continue working on their arts and machines.

Artist's rendition of the Brokkur

Not all of them, though - some of the few they had captured who survived captivity, they twisted into beings called the n'Dar-k'de, who transformed anyone they touched into their component elements. Those Creuwryona who were captured were likewise transformed into Cripcraws, sent to seed the world with lies instead of wisdom. Not just some Creuwryona - all of them; they were exterminated without Creu-Wri's protection.

With the help of Yyah and S'apela (her second-born Unkhtehyla), Ok'o-wi started to capture the mighty Iktom and twisted them into the dangerous and powerful Ferralak, who didn't just kill their victims but tore them out of the Weave entirely. Very Balefire, I suppose.

Three among the Unkhtehyla - Garu’Mkai BreakerOfSouls, Miktlan FlaysTheFlesh, and S’apela WhoTwistsTheMind (apparently after he got done helping mom capture Iktom) started to twist the remaining kingdoms of Men from the inside. They convinced a good many to work with the Ok'o-wibiyrn, others to kill their own kind, and still others to sow further discord. The only reason they survived was that they bred too fast for the Oko's to exterminate them as they had exterminated the Creuwryona. Not only that, future generations started to get stronger.

By 1000 years after the Fourth Event, that promise of growing strength reached its full capacity in the powerful Weavecallers. Defenses were organized, and the Myndilkin worked with the Songs to fight off Ok'o-wi and her Horrors, all the while growing more fractious. The world was on a crash-course for annihilation.

Around then, Creu-Wri gave up the hunt for WhatMoves (or maybe took a break) and found all his People either killed or perverted.


Creu-Wri cried out in grief. He looked upon the Songs as they warred both upon the heavens and on the earth and cried again. He saw that the Children of Myndil were now fighting among themselves and would eventually bring about their own extinction, and cried again. Lastly he looked upon the horrors promoted by Unkhte and her brood, and cried again.

Four times he cried, to the four directions. None heard his cries save the Thunderers who came to see him. They had tired of the fighting and sought another way. They joined with Creu-Wri and cried to the Mover. Four times they cried as a whole, and four times the heavens shook. The thunder was so great that all things stopped and looked to Creu-Wri and the Thunderers. For a moment the fighting had ceased and the world was silent.

Garu’Mkai, Miktlan, and S’apela sensed trouble, and disappeared from the battlefields and lands, along with their people. In the silence all could hear the rumble of something answering the cries of Creu-Wri and the Thunder Brothers.

The Mover had Awakened.

...and holy crap that was a LOT longer than I expected it to be, and there's still a lot more left, so I've turned this into Part 3a and I'll be finishing the rest up in another post.

dwarf74 fucked around with this message at 05:03 on Jan 22, 2014

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013
So, yeah...
I realized that I'm not going to be able to finish TOR any time soon, due to the amount of content to go through and the fact that I don't really know much about it besides a few read-throughs.
However, not all is lost, for there is something I can do a F&F of (not to mention much more experience with): Traveller. First post will be up in a bit.

Public shaming for me not thinking my TOR writeup out is perfectly fine. :ohdear:

Egregious Offences fucked around with this message at 03:59 on Jan 22, 2014

Oct 14, 2011
You're not the first, you won't be the last.

claw game handjob
Mar 27, 2007

pinch pinch scrape pinch
ow ow fuck it's caught
i'm bleeding

Egregious Offences posted:

Public shaming for me not thinking my TOR writeup out is perfectly fine. :ohdear:

I've never finished a single thing I've started in here. It's fine. Chill.

Dec 12, 2011

dwarf74 posted:



Welp, yet another thing to buy with no time to read.

Sep 2, 2012


Tasoth posted:


Welp, yet another thing to buy with no time to read.
I'm looking at how much longer this book is and :eng99: I'm on 40 of like 350.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

dwarf74, just so long as the mechanics are not literally more than halfway into the book, don't sweat it, just take it step by step.

Sep 2, 2012


pkfan2004 posted:

dwarf74, just so long as the mechanics are not literally more than halfway into the book, don't sweat it, just take it step by step.
They are ... scattered. Mixed in with setting details. I'm not escaping that easily!

I'm enjoying the hell out of it so far, though.

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013

Part One: Introduction
Mongoose Traveller, that is!

So, what's the difference? Not much. MT takes the old system, makes a few tweaks and leaves the game's traditional feel and aesthetic unmarred. Fans of the original system (well, that I know) like it, and it stays within the standard universe that the original game was in (Third Imperium, pre-Rebellion).

Anyway, the book opens up on a quick explanation of the game and the universe it's set in, who does what, some examples of types of adventures/campaigns the Referee (GM) can throw at the Players, the basic mechanics (2d6 + Dice Modifiers (DM) vs. a Target Number (TN), an example of play (where the Players happen across the drifting husk of the Beowulf and investigate it. :spooky: is found within.), and a breakdown of tech levels (TLs). Then it's off to character creation!

Before we go into that (because it's 11:30 at night here, I don't have the time to roll up a character), I'll explain a bit of the background stuff.

The Third Imperium is the second iteration of the old Imperial system created by the Vilani (humans from Vland), after the collapse of the Rule of Man (or the Second Imperium), which was ruled by Solomani (humans from Earth). The first one was taken over by the Solomani during a long string of interstellar wars against the Vilani, ending with the Solomani conquering their empire. The second one, on the other hand, imploded under the strain caused by the Solomani's expansionism and reforms of the old Vilani caste system. After the Long Night (pre-Third Imperium interregnum), Cleon of the Sylean Federation uses his political power as the Grand Duke to reinstate the old Empire, ascending to the Iridium Throne and crowned as it's first Emperor. A few hundred years later, and you enter the game's setting.

Being an Empire, the Imperium has a feudal-ish system of kings, dukes, knights, etc. However, upward mobility is much more common in the Imperial Nobility, and low-born citizens can rise to power through military or public service. Of course, they aren't going to get as high up as those lucky sods who were literally born into their position, but it's a start. Also, to keep the Bureaucracy from imploding, planets are given quite a bit of leeway as to how they are ruled by whatever authority rules them, as long as they stay on the right side of Imperial law. The High Law can be condensed into 4 central rules: Don't mess with trade, don't mess with taxes, don't mess with the Emperor's stuff, and no nuclear weapons. The Imperium will tolerate small wars between the worlds, as long as it doesn't get too out of hand, or if someone starts using nukes.

Anyway, that's it for the introduction and a bit of background. Sample character next week!

Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.

Pinball posted:

Would anyone be willing to review Wraith: the Great War? It sounds like an amazing book, if the Shoah Wraith book is anything to go by.

I've got the book, I could do it after I finish Shoah. Which I'm going to do any day now. I'm just going to pick up the book, read up about Babi Yar and Aushwitz, and post it here maybe tomorrow. Or the day after.'s just so drat depressing. :smith:

Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!

Region M: Whole Lot of Nothing

The second Region within the mid-level range, designed for levels 9-12. It's tucked away in the upper left corner of the WLD, and honestly odds are pretty good that most groups won't find it. After looking through the WLD you'll find that there are really only two types of Regions: There are the claustrophobic regions consisting of 100+ rooms, connected by corridors and put together with the same amount of planning as a randomly-generated dungeon and then there are the Regions that consist of a huge, mostly empty, space, with occasional caves or rooms scattered around the edges. Region M is the second type.

Region M is basically one huge cavern, which is somehow still a part of the dungeon. For some reason, after carving elaborate hallways and structures throughout the bedrock in the rest of the dungeon the celestials apparently just decided to frak the hell out of this area, leading to a huge, unused section of the dungeon, full of rubble and rocks and the source of the lava flow that has split the place in two since the various disastrous earthquakes.

This region's pretty much just kind of "here". there aren't any significant threats to the safety of the WLD or the world, any special treasures or prizes to be won. This is pretty much just space filler because they needed another region to complete the 4 x 4 grid.

For some reason the designers of this section decided that entries should be numbered starting from the NW corner (the only part no one can enter from). Just to make things more awkward.

The Great Lava Flow
As mentioned waaay back in the intro (, the lava isn't really lava...or it sort of is, sort of isn't. It's basically just a big mass of magma and steam mephits, constantly rubbing up against one another in an inappropriate fashion. Depending on how you interpret the extremely vague description the mephits either make up the lava entirely or they simply live inside of it and somehow the presence of hundreds or thousands of these burning hot imps make the lava colder and safer rather than the other way around. This means that a 9th level party with Resist Elements cast on all of them will likely be able to swim the lava river with only a few minor burns. Throw on a Protection From Evil and the mephits won't be able to bother you either.

There are a few minor places of note along the lava river: the source (which is about a mile off the edge of the map), a lava whirlpool, and, believe it or not, whitewater lava rapids. Given that the lava is so mildly dangerous and the fact that they decide they need swimming hazards for lava you have to wonder why not just make it a river? That way they wouldn't have to come up with some bizarre reason why it's "safe" and they wouldn't have to shove all the water-themed creatures into a couple of regions where no one is likely to go.

There are also a couple of islands in the lava. Refuse Isle: an island where the drow magically dump their trash. Because apparently its easier to pile your trash on an island in the middle of a lava river rather than just tossing it into the lava itself. Apparently this island in the center of lukewarm lava is the ideal place for a pair of shambling mounds to thrive. Then we've got the Eternal Beacon where Earthblood flows up and is ignited by the lava ("you mean oil?", "I mean Earthblood!"). The fumes generated by this are several times deadlier than the lava itself. Finally we have Static Island where we have 12 shocker lizards who have, according to the text, been trapped here for centuries. You know, I know they decided not to worry about anyone having to eat or drink in the WLD but they never mentioned that it makes anyone ageless...meaning that these must be the most inbred lizards ever.

The Valley Of the Demon Wind
This dramatically named section is the portion of the cavern on the far side of the lava river. This area is full of high winds that apparently are actually the product of a crazy air elemental named Aphnitern. Apparently Aphnitern was some kind of evil air elemental godling that was trapped in the dungeon and has since gone insane. This fellow is an Elder Air Elemental with 48 HD. Keep in mind that the PCs are supposed to only be around 10th level at this time. This qualifies as probably one of the more lethal encounters in the whole dungeon, compared to the PCs level. Just like the longtail encounter from Region A the only thing that makes it remotely survivable is that the "tactics" suggested by the writers are among the worst possible. There's also one 32 HD roc and two 26 HD rocs. Because apparently 3 normal rocs was just too easy an encounter for a group of PCs climbing a cliff.

And of course, the WLD continues its fine tradition of not understanding that PCs need magical equipment in order to be remotely effective. For instance, there's a treasure cache in the valley which includes a rusty masterwork short sword, a broken ruby (both pieces worth 250 gp now) and a non-magical ring with the name of an ancient king on it that would be worth 10,000 gp to a historian...which makes it completely useless when trapped in the dungeon. There's also a 5,000 gp diamond that at least might be used for a spell component...if you happen to search in just the right place in this huge open expanse. The only real reward for these extremely over-buffed encounters is a decent magic battle axe and a suit of enchanted leather armor.

Despite the name, the main feature of the valley is actually a mountain, the Dark Crown, where a Cloud Giant Cleric lives with a group of Arrowhawks. The cloud giant isn't instantly hostile and apparently is looking for a way out of this Region. How he has failed to find his way out of what amounts to a single giant cave that takes up maybe 1 square mile is not explained. It's worth noting, if the PCs do fight him the only treasure is another masterwork weapon, a few 50 gp gems and a wand of mirror image with 11 charges.

Finally we've got 6 Greater Air Elementals, former followers of the "demon wind", making this another extremely tough encounter for PCs who are probably just stepping into level 10. As a reward there are a few random gems of minor value, a suit of +1 chainmail and a masterwork shield.


There's apparently a ledge here. There's not actually much indication of where this 80 foot ledge is supposed to be, what it separates and why we care. There's the ruins of a watchtower which serve no purpose but to waste time, something explicitly stated in the description. There's a pile of rubble with a leather lace hanging out which only serves to lure people there so it can collapse. Despite the fact that this trap could only have been placed intentionally the rubble trap guards nothing, has no purpose and is not even close to anyone or anything that might have set it. It's just a bit of utterly random "gently caress you".

Death Canyon
Quite the name. Looking at the map it's worth noting that their depiction of a "canyon" is basically identical to the mountains nearby. Can you find the canyon?

Despite the dramatic title the only things here are some random monsters: some belkers and achaierais. One of the achaierais has 18 HD, because adding more hit points long ago replaced creativity in the WLD. Their lair contains art objects that are, as always, worthless to anyone trapped inside a giant dungeon plus some even more useless coins. The only actual "treasure" is a scroll of fireball and web (hey, remember way back in the intro when the designers said web spells should be banned and claimed there wouldn't be any in the dungeon?).

There's also some Xorn's (who have 21 HD, just because) protecting a "spring" of Earthblood, which is basically the mountain crying because the celestials hurt it so much making their dungeon. Although the earthblood itself is caustic and mostly worthless (it'll burn as a torch for days at a time...woooo) However if you ignite a large enough quantity of the stuff it becomes pretty much the most toxic poison gas known to man (DC 32 fort save or you take 6d10 damage +2d6 con damage).

The Open Plain

Apparently this area extends several miles to the north, making it larger than the entire rest of the dungeon. It contains absolutely nothing other than random encounters, some more belkers, some bones, and a 30 HD xorn.

The Barrows

This area is the home to a "city" of driders and their drow slaves. However, it basically takes up about 1/5th of the whole region, making really more of a glorified summer camp of spider-people, at least compared to all the other settlements in the WLD. Basically these guys are the remnants of the drider and drow from Region I. While the open areas to the north are full of overpowered monsters with inflated HD this area is fairly boring, with just regular driders, some invisible servants and a few drow.

The one thing you would hope to find at a place like this might be some nice loot, unfortunately the WLD continues to disappoint here. The most valuable object are daggers of venom carried by...oddly enough...drow slave-guards. The driders themselves use mostly non-magical equipment but apparently they arm their slaves with magical armor and weapons. At least their most "trusted" slaves. There are a few nicer magical items here and there...but I've got to say I hate it when designers of mega-dungeons throw in enchanted weapons of the type least likely to be used by characters: enchanted longspears, greatclub, or double weapons are all excellent examples of this annoying trend.

For the most part though I found this area even less compelling than the big empty wilderness. You've got a a group of evil monsters who have enslaved...a bunch of equally evil humaniods. They sit in this distant corner of the dungeon, bothering no one else and just slowly dwindling in population until eventually they go extinct. The only reason to get involved is just a general "kill them, take their stuff" mentality or perhaps a desire to just put the whole lot of them out of their misery.

This also has one of the longest freaking room descriptions in the dungeon: M65, the laboratory of a drider sorcery. describing it takes four drat pages. If it takes that long to sum up the contents of a single room then you are over-complicating things.

Finally the developers mention that you might decide to include a way out here. Seems a bit anti-climatic considering that at this point PCs are just getting into double digits...and if you do let them leave good luck convincing anyone that they should go back inside.

oriongates fucked around with this message at 11:06 on Apr 21, 2014

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.
Empire Of Satanis:

The Actual System Bits

We don't get to learn the basic mechanics until we are almost a third of the way into the book. :downs:

Basic mechanics!

EoS runs on a dicepool system. You take the appropriate attribute and skill for what you're trying to do, add them up and roll that number of d6. The highest number you roll is your result. If you roll a 6, then you keep the 6 and roll another die, adding its result to your total. You repeat this until you stop rolling 6s. You'll be trying to reach a target number decided by the GM:


easy is a 4, doing something average is 7, something complex is 10, challenging is 13, and unimaginable is 16

In addition, the GM can give you a +2 to bonus for actions in accordance with your Colour Sphere, or for giving your actions elaborate descriptions that are in accordance with your Colour Sphere. That'll be fun to think about, when we get to the Colour Sphere chapter several updates from now.


Combat works completely different. Step by step:

1. Character with the highest Agility goes first.
2. Determine Attack Numbers and Defence Numbers. This is done the same way as any other dice pool, except you then roll a d6 for each one and add the result.
3. If your Attack Number is higher than their Defence Number, they take damage. This is soaked by their Endurance and inflicted on their Vitality.
4. Process repeats until the deadness takes hold.

This is really awkward and it works this way because Dishaw is a grognard. Magic gets yet another system, which will be covered later.


The character attributes are:

Will: Confidence, control, leadership and the attribute for resisting magical effects.

Magical Aptitude: What you use to magic people.

Theoretical Knowledge: Abstract thinking and book smarts. Also important for Nightmare Technology and Candy Land Magic.

Practical Knowledge: Anything that requires hands-on experience.

Cunning: Being a tricky bastard.

Charisma, and also the luck attribute for some loving reason.

Brute Force:
Physical strength.

Dexterity, and also the attribute to max out if you want to fight people.

Stamina and constitution. The 'armour' attribute that you use to soak damage.

A derived attribute, determined by adding 6 to your Endurance. It's your health and functions that way.


Then there's the skills list. It's an enormous monster of a thing, coming out as 65 skills all up. Most of them are your standard poo poo like Climb and Melee Weapons, so instead of listing them all, I'll just mention the interesting/stupid ones.

Aberration Empathy:
Like animal empathy, for demon monsters.

Assassin's Art: Lets you study an opponent for five rounds to do double-damage. This is a trap option, because your opponent will be attacking you for those five rounds. Increasing it isn't worth it, because it only decreases the time by one round per point and there's a much better skill you should be saving for.

Disguise: How the gently caress is this meant to work when one of the races is a toad-infested tree?

Dreadful Exaltation:
One of a handful of oddball magicky skills, this one lets you bring an object of worship to life. Whatever it is will do its best to fulfil your commands. Higher results make it better at follow your commands (not explained) and determines how long before it goes back to sleep (not explained).

Lightning Attack:
Get an extra attack per day for each skill level. This is really good, but it's not The One True Combat Skill.

Lets you see in complete darkness. More importantly, lets you see 'the secret darkness that resides in all things'. Once you see something's inner darkness, you can transform it into something else. This doesn't work on Fiends and transforming objects in Sha-la requires a Complex success. If you fail, you can't try to transform that thing again for 24 hours.

Depending on how good your roll is, this might let you project your sense a distance or let you literally be omnipresent. I can see this being a pain in the rear end to adjudicate, and the book offers no advice.

Priest Of Satanis: Lets you heal 1d6+1 Vitality as many times per day as your skill level.

Priest of the Dark Current: Lets you double a Fiend's attribute for 1d6+1 rounds blah blah blah skill level. What's the Dark Current? Never explained.

Quivering Palm: Getting a complex success lets you knock out someone for 1d6+1 minutes. Also a trap option, because that's all it can do and it's not the One True Combat Skill.

Ritual Dance: Do a ritual dance for the Old Ones. Dancing for an hour and getting a Complex success will give you a dice re-roll. 'An unimaginable result might attract kindness from a stranger who give you shelter, food, and a night with his daughter.'

Rune Casting: Get vague prophecies about the future. Dumb, trap option, no advice given on how to run this.

Seduction: I'm singling this one out because its entire description is:


Wooing the opposite sex.

loving amazing. Darrick Dishaw, Venger Satanis, transcendent intellectual and High Priest of the Cult of Cthulhu, in his game about playing alien monster demons, can't think of a form of sexual interaction other than penis + vagoo. :downsbravo:

Speak Language:
Each level lets you speak another language. There are many languages in K'Thana, such as

Sphere of Colour-Borrowing: This confusingly-named skill lets you temporarily borrow someone else's Colour Sphere. Each skill level lets you hold onto another Colour Sphere. The game doesn't tell you how long you can do this and more importantly doesn't make you roll to use it, this skill is good to divert points into after maxing out the One True Combat Skill.

Terrible Insight: You can see into the near future! Each skill level gives you an opportunity to alter the immediate future. Difficult to adjudicate, and it makes Rune Casting look even dumber.

Two Weapon Fighting:
Does what it says. Taking this skill at level 1 gives you a whopping -3 Attack Number for each weapon. You have to get it up to 4 before you can make those sweet, unhindered double attacks. Might be good to invest in after the One True Combat Skill.

Unmentionable Stare:
Roll Attraction + this skill to make someone run away screaming. The Tshahg's Umentionable Shriek works the same as this.

Void Saber Combat:
:frogsiren: THE ONE TRUE COMBAT SKILL. :frogsiren: A void saber is a lightsaber – not kind of like a lightsaber, it's exactly a lightsaber. You invest in this skill, because unlike other weapons which add nothing, a void saber gives you +2 to both your Attack Number and Defence Number. And since it keys off Agility instead of Brute Force like most weapons, it's more cost-efficient too!

Water Breathing:
This skill doesn't let you breathe underwater, it just lets you hold your breath for a really long time, gently caress this game is stupid.

Whispers in the night: This is a streetwise criminal contacts skill hampered by an awkward name.

Next: Social Standing! Hideous Paradise! Dishaw goes full retard!

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
Aren't void sabers like, anti-lightsabers that work the same way by sucking anything they touch into a void? A chartreuse void?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

I'm just waiting on this aforementioned Candy Land Magic.

Feb 15, 2012

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

pkfan2004 posted:

I'm just waiting on this aforementioned Candy Land Magic.

Me too. I hope it's nothing but smiles and unicorns and spells to summon all the nougat you want! :v:


Sep 15, 2006

MonsieurChoc posted:

I've got the book, I could do it after I finish Shoah. Which I'm going to do any day now. I'm just going to pick up the book, read up about Babi Yar and Aushwitz, and post it here maybe tomorrow. Or the day after.'s just so drat depressing. :smith:

I've been to Babi Yar. 'Depressing' is an understatement.

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