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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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



Prestige Classes
One thing I neglected to mention last time is that the scout only has 3/4ths BAB progression, the same as a cleric. Meaning that there are only 2 classes that have full progression, the fighter and the barbarian. The removal of the bard, druid, paladin, and ranger also means that quite a few skill combinations are now missing. The combination of these two facts mean that most prestige classes aren't available until 7th or 8th level, at the earliest. The ones that aren't only have one entry path that restricts your build heavily. Slogging through 7 levels worth of mediocrity just to get a prestige class that's a nerfed version of a base class that they deemed "too powerful" is about as unsatisfying as you can get. But here we are.

A few general rules as far as spellcasting and prestige classes are concerned, any prestige class that requires spellcasting has full spellcasting progression. Any class that apes the paladin or ranger's spell list has 4 levels of casting spread across 10 levels like any other number of prestige classes from 3rd edition.


Beastmaster
Hit Die: d12
Requirements: Horde or Night Elf, Handle Animal 5, Survival 8, Animal Affinity, Toughness.
The only way you can get this class at 6th level is to take 5 levels of barbarian, and take Animal Affinity and Toughness. Both of which are contenders in the 'worst feat' contest. Also we see a recurring theme of "Anyone in the horde can do this but also night elves", this will come up again in later books.
What does this all get you? A Druid's animal companion.... as a druid of your Beastmaster level. Meaning you will never advance beyond druid level 10 and are basically getting a Ranger's animal companion. Though you can 'befriend' up to your Beastmaster level in HD in additional animals, but it's got a super easy will save to make, and you can only do so once per day. So your super-weak additional animals are probably going to die and you can't replace them.
In addition to your beasts, you can also grow fangs and claws, these eventually deal 1d6/1d8 damage for a medium creature .... if you're wearing light or no armor. Yes you can't use them if you're utilizing the medium armor proficiency this class gives you.

If you're willing to give up your rage progression and medium armor, you too can get okay-ish claws and a ranger's pet wolf. Ultimately this class doesn't really strike me as worth it.


Druid of the Wild
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: Night elf or Tauren only. Non-Evil Alignment. Knowledge(nature) 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks, Ablity to cast 3rd level divine spells.
Neither of those skills are class skills for the healer, so you're not getting into this class until level 8.
At first level you get a few things, first of all you gain medium armor proficiency and access to "Small martial weapons" whatever that means, but you also gain a druid's inability to wear metal armor, and the wording is vague enough that it also implies that you can't wield metal weapons. gently caress your scimitar and basically every night elf specific weapon in existence. You also gain the ability to spontaneously cast summon natures ally spells in addition to spontaneously casting cure spells, however "you can only spontaneously cast cure spells that your healer level would give you access to", because being able to cast mass cure serious wounds without preparing it is unbalancing somehow? And what happens when you run out of druid levels and have to start taking healer levels again? Nobody knows. Also, Wild shape finally rears it's ugly head, but in severely nerfed form. You're restricted to only 5 shapes, they're gated by level, and they're not all that good, capping out at a treant at character level 16, and the natural spell feat doesn't exist in this game.

Every other class feature the druid of the wild gets is either something like woodland stride or natures step, or something related to the fact that druids in the warcraft world can hibernate for years at a time. Their class spell list does expand substantially, adding in every spell from the 3.5 druid spell list that they didn't already have access to, as well as some new ones, so that's something at least.


Elven Ranger
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: High or Night elf only, alliance only, +5 BAB, Know(nature) 6, Survival 6, point blank shot, track.
So yeah, the only ways you gain access to this class are fighter-barb 9, scout 7, or scout 3/fighter-barb 3.

For jumping through those hoops you gain the ranger spell list.. and favored enemy... and the archery combat style feats.. Yes that means that you get 3 bonus feats that any archer worth their salt would probably have already picked up by the time the game deigns to grant them to you. Rapid shot is a great bonus feat at level 1, less so at level 8. The only unique features the elven ranger gets that a dnd ranger does not are the ability to use a bow as a quarterstaff in combat without damaging it, keen arrows, an ability that lets them ignore one monster's threatened area, and "arrow cleave" Which allows an arrow that kills an enemy to continue traveling and hit an enemy behind it. Which is so situationally useful I'm hesitant to call it a class feature and more an 'occasional bonus' They also get +10 feet per level to their range with bows.

I can sort of understand the druid being restricted to Night elves and Tauren only, from a lore perspective they were the only ones who trained under Cenarius. But I refuse to believe that the Elves are the only ones who figured out how to shoot things good with bows and hold racial grudges. So withholding a near carbon-copy of the Ranger class from most of the player races just because "only elves used bows in Warcraft 3" is stupid.


Gladiator/Blademaster
Hit Die: d10
Requirements: BAB +5, Bluff 2, Intimidate 5, Cleave, Power Attack.
Wait what? Actual reasonable requirements? Amazing. The class isn't that bad either. At first level you gain the ability to take your 5 foot step between cleave attacks, but that's your movement for the round. At second level you get the ability to inspire your allies as a move action... but it only lasts a number of rounds equal to your charisma modifier, takes your move action, and is only useable once per day. So unless you prioritize charisma as a fighter/barbarian it's not going to be that worthwhile. 3rd level gets you double your strength to damage with 2 handed weapons. 4th level gets you the ability to be invisible for a number of rounds per day equal to your gladiator level. 5/7/9th levels get you a use of "critical strike" that allows you to declare a 'critical strike' when you threaten a critical strike. if that crit confirms then you deal 1d4 strength damage in addition to the damage.... okay sure?

6/8/10th levels get you a use of Maximum damage, where you declare max damage before rolling to hit. 7th level gets you the ability to have mirror-image up for a number of rounds equal to your gladiator level.

So yeah it's the Horde Blademaster and it's honestly not terrible, and they didn't needlessly restrict it to be Horde only.


Horde Assassin
Wait what?

What!?

Oh god drat it!
The "differences" in question are a lack of any class skills that would potentially involve not killing people, like gather information, decipher script, or diplomacy.
This is one of the most egregious prestige classes for needlessly restricting things. Yup, only the horde has assassins, no independent assassins, and most DEFINITELY no assassins in the Alliance.


Hunter
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: Horde only, BAB+5, Survival 8, Track, Weapon Focus(Any Melee or Thrown)
Yup, the horde only counterpart of the Elvish Ranger, except the Hunter is a more melee focused character. It's also easier to get into, requiring only 5 levels of Barbarian and it rewards you quite well for those levels.

The Hunter gets access to the Ranger's spell list plus a few extras, including Bloodlust. Instead of favored enemies, the Hunter gets favored terrains, which aren't the Horizon Walker's thing, bonuses to Hide, Know nature, survival, listen, move silently, and listen checks while in those terrain, with additional stacking bonuses ala a hunter's favored enemies. Note there is no attack or damage bonus sadly. And rather than the Ranger's ranged combat style they get "weapon Combat Style" at 1st, 6th, and 10th level. which is Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Focus, and Greater Weapon Specialization in your chosen weapon as long as you stay in light armor. they also get +5 feet to the range increments of their thrown weapons for every level of Hunter. So they can either be a thrown weapon specialist or a melee specialist that can also throw good. If you took the barbarian entry to this class it's probably the latter. You get a couple more stealthy bonuses like +2 to hide and move silently just because, and the ability to use the hide skill in any natural terrain. And then, just because, they also get keen with their chosen weapon at 4th level, and an increase to their critical multiplier at 10th level.

So compared to the Ranger, they're a 10 level fighter replacement with pre-chosen feats, access to spells, and some unique features. Making them super stealthy barbarians who want to get into close combat as soon as possible so they can kill you with their 19-20/x4 Greataxes. And they've got some pretty nice character art.


Infiltrator
Hit Die: d6
Requirements:Alliance only, Bluff 8, Disguise 8
Ugh. Say hello to the Alliance equivalent of the Assassin. Except it is terrible in every way the Assassin isn't. Because they're Infiltrators, not killers. They get the Duelist's canny defense ability. a bunch of non-combat social abilities that amount to "Create even better disguises than disguise" and "Gather even more information than gather information". At higher levels they can cast suggestion and dominate monster, but the saves are based on charisma, meaning that this class relies on str, dex, cha, and int.

gently caress this class.


Mounted Warrior
Hit Die: d10
Requirements: BAB +5, Ride 8, Mounted Combat
First off, they get a paladin's special mount, sort of. It's got it's own abilities but the thing you can take away from this is "it's stronger than the Beastmaster's pet".

They get Expertise but they can only use it while mounted, bonus feats at 3rd, 6th, and 9th from an abbreviated list, the ability to negate attacks on their mount with ride attacks up to 3 times a round, natural stride while mounted, the ability to make very powerful charges +2 to hit and double your threat range) and... mounted leadership.

You can use a ride check to take control of any mount of the same species as your mount up to 1+cha times per day.

Let's just ignore that and bask in the glow of everything else that's good about this class. Because there's a lot that's good about this class. Moving on.

Paladin Warrior
Hit Die:d10
Requirements: Human or Ironforge Dwarf Only, Good only, Alliance only, BAB+5, Diplomacy 5, Know(Religion) 3, Weapon Focus(Warhammer), must be selected by an existing paladin and undergo special training.
And that good feeling is gone.

Remember how 3rd edition paladins were Multiple Attribute Dependent messes that were just less versatile fighters in any situation where they weren't fighting evil creatures? Well for some reason they decided to change all the paladin's class features from "Evil" to "Undead and evil outsiders only" They also lost their good Will save, and their special mount. The only thing they gained was the ability to turn outsiders, and do a greater turning once per day, and a power turning, which flat out destroys any undead/demons that are affected by the turning attempt, once per day. They don't even get any new spells.

They managed to make the paladin worse.


Priest
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: Non-evil, Alliance only, Know(religion)6, 3rd level divine spells.

Behold the diet cleric, all the spells with half the viability. So the Priest gains.... no armor or weapon proficiencies, not even with shields. They do gain domain spell slots, and the granted abilities of the healing and protection domains. Except they already *had* the healing domain because the healer is the only divine caster in the game. They also get a scaling bonus on saving throws against necromancy spells, turn undead, and the ability to cast suggestion a few times per day. They get a few extra spells but they're mostly "Things to use against undead and evil things".

This would probably be the de-facto prestige class for Alliance healers if the next one didn't exist.


Shaman
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: BAB+4, able to cast 1st level divine spells

Notice that this isn't horde only? Healers can get this at 7th level, one level after priest and one before druid. They gain access to Medium armor and shields. The spell list is much more useful than the Priest's as well, including a couple of useful healing spells, some damage spells, and the ever wonderful Bloodlust, which is haste with a +4 enhancement bonus to strength.

In addition to this they get weather sense... which is a bonus to survival checks to predict weather, and an elemental companion Which is a small elemental of the shaman's choosing, that eventually gains an extra 4 HD. Unfortunately if the Elemental dies the shaman has to make a dc 15 fort save or lose 200 xp per hit die of the elemental, and has to wait a year and a day before summoning a new one. At level 10 they can rebuke and control elementals.

You know, even with the liability of an elemental familiar, I'm going to have to say the Shaman is better than the Priest, increasing your AC by 4-6 points for free is fantastic, and the spells they get more than make up for the priests'... uhh.. class features that will probably never come up.


Warlock
Hit Die: d4
Requirements: Any evil, 3rd level arcane spells, must not have conjuration as a forbidden school.
EEEVIIILLL!

At level 1 the warlock gets a school specialty in Conjuration, whether they want it or not, meaning they need to give up 2 spell schools even if they're already specialized in conjuration or specialized in another school, even if they're a sorcerer. In return they get all the summon monster spells, the planar binding spells, and Flame Strike, because Kael'Thas had flame strike.

They can also summon an imp familiar, which is exactly like the familiar they could already summon, except they get demonic mutations if their familiar dies!
Sure.

Their main ability is "Improved Ally" which allows them to negotiate a service while using the planar ally spell for cheaper than normal. Except for the glaring problem of Warlocks don't get Planar Ally as a spell, it's a healer spell. Whereas Planar ally is negotiating a service in exchange for pay, Planar binding is holding a creature hostage until they agree to do a service for you. So this class feature does nothing.

They get augment summoning as a bonus feat, a free extend spell (which stacks with regular extend spell) on all conjuration spells. The ability to turn a planar ally into a cohort. and the ability to rebuke and command demons.

So yeah, even if the main class feature worked properly a 50% discount on planar ally spells still means that you're expending a large amount of resources for a temporary service. The fact that you get a giant pile of summon monster spells and they last forever are pretty great, but that's all you get.


Those are all the prestige classes that are included in this book, and only a few of them are good. The Warlock doesn't even function, the Infiltrator focuses on a part of the game that most people ignore because roleplaying, the Paladin and Elvish Ranger are somewhat insulting in that they're nerfed versions of vanilla classes that take more jumping through hoops to achieve, and the classes that are good seem to be skewed towards the horde for some reason.

Next up: Feats, or 'Everyone takes Leadership, right? That's a good feat, right?'

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 07:49 on Jan 10, 2015

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ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!


Kurieg posted:

Next up: Feats, or 'Everyone takes Leadership, right? That's a good feat, right?'

Yes, because two primary spellcasters is, in fact, better than one.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


I can't even get over how loving cheap the art in that Warcraft RPG is. This is literally "high-schooler's sketchbook during the 90's"-tier art. I also find it telling that about the only competently drawn female character, the Tauren, is also the only one that doesn't have her tits hanging out. Jesus.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Is this actual Metzen art? Is he really as bad at drawing as he is at writing?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones



I'm not actually sure how to intro this, I have no idea how bad it is, maybe it's a hidden gem. All I'm going by is the ATROCIOUS SCI-FI FURSONA on the goddamn cover, it promises the sort of badness I've been needing a fix of ever since I tapped out Chris Fields' more noteworthy atrocities. So, let's see what we've got waiting for us!

292 pages, 70-ish for the setting, about as many again for chargen, and then about 150 pages' worth of rules, pregenerated enemies and the like.

The Theme posted:

A quick page-through of this book will give you a general idea of what you’re in for in a HSD game, but only a general one: space fantasy, animallike characters, an apparent lack of humans, and the presence of a few creepy looking monsters, all pretty cut and dry. But, if this setting were only about being a fox person in a space suit, this book would be dramatically shorter. There’s much more in here than just that, and it’s in those nuances that even people who aren’t fans of the visual motif can find fascinating possibilities.

I think this may not be a hidden gem, as I read the very first page. It tells me about how this game is set after humanity destroyed itself, in the process replacing itself with cyborg furries, and how this somehow destroyed all old biases and reasons for discrimination.

quote:

Their old planet was leveled, as was the vast majority of its cultural history and heritage, and all the previous biases associated with slavery, racism, classism, sexism, and so many others that all grew out of thousands of years of human cultural growth and change were effectively wiped out as the old race died and the new race took its place. Are such biases gone forever? Of course not.

At least it admits that those things aren't going to be gone forever, but I'm feeling a strange sense of deja vu, product of roughly 2003, on the Portal of Evil forums, where an evangelical furry ranted to us about the amazing future that science was going to bring, when he could have a self-lubricating anus and catgirl slaves, because science was going to provide that, it was just around the corner, any moment now, a furry Utopia.

quote:

HSD is not about ‘getting in touch with your animal side’, as so many anthropomorphic systems encourage. You’re welcome to, if that’s the way you’d like to play it, but the setting is intended to allow you to get in touch with your human side instead. Not the culture you were raised in, or the history you’ve experienced; not whether you’re black, white, red, yellow, or polychromatic; not your geographical history or the wars your species has been in; your humanity. Just that. Devoid of the centuries of cultural momentum that currently governs our thinking and thrust into a brand new world with its own unique challenges.

Completely unlike all those other RPG's set in a world completely unrelated to Earth. So I guess this is gonna teach us all about love, friendship and the true meaning of Christmas.

But outside of acting like it's going to completely shatter the mold and blow our minds, HSD(I'm refusing to type out the full name any more than I absolutely have to, gently caress it) starts out with the same "what is an RPG"-section we've seen a thousand times. Explaining to newcomers to the hobby what roleplaying is, what dice are, what a GM does, Rule Zero and all that stuff. So I'm not going to recap it, and instead we're going to dive into the lore chapter.

LORE

The Lore section starts off by explaining to us that most historical conflicts are because we're too separated by geography to understand each other, and governments brainwash us, but thanks to the magic of the internet, people finally started realizing that those living in other countries were human, too. Except of course for the staunch conservatives who couldn't understand the wonders of being online and playing Mortal Kombat against your friends in Vietnam.

quote:

At first, this divide was a minor inconvenience. Acts and laws would come and go attempting to govern, censor or control internet based association. Most would be blocked or voted down by citizens more attached to their internet relationships than to their geographical ones, which only furthered the divide. When conflicts between nations arose, the situation grew dramatically worse. Now, communication between best friends suddenly became “consorting with the enemy,” and the public outcry was tremendous. As the world became more and more integrated, the chasm between the old regime and the people still trapped within it became more than many could stand. Civil unrest was on its way toward civil war when a new opportunity released the steam, if only to throw fuel on the fire later.


The Geomat? If that's a river or a road next to it in the lower right, I want to know how the gently caress it's mobile. It's also described as "battleship-sized" in the text, this looks a tad bigger.

I feel like this isn't quite the 21st century that most of the rest of us are living in, where aggressive censorship is the last resort of a few, autocratic states and most governments don't try to legislate who you can talk to online, or what you can say to them, unless it involves something that's illegal in the physical world, too. But anyway, there's a New Opportunity! Coming along, it's the GeoMat(tm), a giant, mobile factory that can core raw materials out of the ground, 3D printing to make just about anything(including new copies of itself, I suspect 3D printing magic may be HSD's version of Eclipse Phase's nanotechnology magic) and is effectively self-contained. The description of it, is followed up by this paragraph:

quote:

In stark contrast to the stationary mountain that is Government, there was the fluid river that is Business. In the free market, businesses could turn and twist and adapt, market themselves for different audiences, sympathize with different needs, and operate without the same tethers that bound so many private citizens. Theirs was the power of money, without which government could not sustain itself. Money bought leniency within the rule, and the simple greed of capitalism portrayed a sort of bizarre purity next to the holier-thanthou declarations of principles made by most governing bodies before they charged into some act of violence, conquest or general dishonesty toward their own citizens or others.

Well yes, obviously, who has ever heard of business involved in deceit or violence? This makes perfect sense and is a completely believable description of the real world.

quote:

The knowledge that an entity was motivated purely by a desire to increase their profit margin in return for goods and services was refreshing next to the slew of lies, scandal, deceit and violence disguised as moral allegations and broad declarations of right and wrong that dripped from government bodies.

Hc Svnt Dracones, an accurate description of human psychology and behavior. I know I'm certainly more well-intentioned towards entities that I know are going to gently caress me over, rather than ones that may be benevolent! But anyway, because the humans of HSD have terminal brain damage, they all love the corporations and swap national loyalty for brand loyalty, moving to Corptowns built by the Geomats. Also the Geomats were environmentally friendly, too! Because a mobile strip-mining operation totally isn't going to poison huge swathes of the countryside or anything. Mind, these things also apparently changed the entire world, but I'd love to see one of these loving things trying to move around in Europe. Sure, in America, there's plenty of free space to strip mine, lots of empty space to move around in, same for most of Asia, Africa, South America... but I know that in Europe, at least, you'd never have that loving thing far enough from a settled area not to be poisoning their water supplies or wrecking their roads, power lines, water lines, etc. when rumbling across them. But all the world's just one big homogenous blob, here. Every place loves corporations and benefits from Geomats

But, you know, CORPTOWNS, obviously now you get corporate citizens, they get corporate education, etc.

quote:

Corporate education would leave a person in debt, but not impossible debt. Citizens that played the game could see light at the end of the tunnel, and it was reachable, unlike the old days of company stores. When the system was actually working, it worked beautifully, and corptowns shone like diamonds amongst the comparatively undereducated populations around them.

"Okay, so we're going to acknowledge that the corporations might be mean, too, but at least they're way more efficient than governments, and more HONEST about being mean, and people have better chances with them!" I'm going to almost be surprised if there isn't a line about how the trains in the Corptowns always run on time, this is leaning dangerously close to some people's worship of fascist/autocratic figures for being strong/efficient, even if they're dishonest/amoral.

quote:

Space exploration long sat fallow due to an overall lack in returns. It was a curiosity, a public showing, but to most governments, not much else. That changed with the second generation of GeoMats, which were designed to operate in vacuum and under varying degrees of pressure. They were originally intended to work in watery environments to help alleviate the growing population of Earth by building out into the ocean, but when faced with environmental complaints and activism groups concerned about the potential impact on Earth’s largest feature, the corporate entities of the world turned their eyes skyward, and hit upon a new idea.

Why would we need to build into the OCEAN? We've got SHITLOADS of empty space on land, goddammit. Do these people even know anything? And operating undersea and in space aren't quite the same thing. Not to mention, like I've said, Geomats are described as battleship-sized. Getting something the size and weight of a battleship into loving space, isn't a minor loving accomplishment, and there's no mention of any new technologies that would make it workable. No warp gates, no space elevators, no big honking mass drivers.

I realize this may seem like silly nitpicking, but I'm treating this like the Wraeththu RPG, when it pretended that its mutations were scientifically somehow viable, rather than just saying "TECHNOBABBLE!" or "IT'S MAGIC!" This goddamn thing is really trying to present itself as a believable path the future might take, so I'm going to put it through the wringer. But anyway, let's pretend this makes even a whit of sense. Now the corporations are going to Mars! They establish colonies on Mars! And then...

quote:

For the first time in history a company was created completely outside geographical government ruling, as no nation had yet established recognized control over any territory on another planet. By merging and splitting off from their parent corporations, this new entity severed its ties to any Earthlocked contracts, and refused to continue paying taxes to the nations from which their employees originated. It sent Earth’s political machine into an uproar, and made several very wealthy people in very tall buildings smile slyly as their Corp-loyal populations cheered this first decisive blow against the ancient sleeping dragon of government from which they had originally fled.

This is described as about two years since Mars settling begins. I'm sure these colonies are entirely self-sufficient and won't just horribly starve as governments embargo any attempts to send them food supplies. But maybe they just use the magic of 3D printing to print Martian dust into pizza or whatever the gently caress. Also yes, I'm sure that people would cheer and praise corporations for refusing to pay taxes. Now, yes, sure, this is their corp-indoctrinated population, but one of the very first things the book told us about was how The Internet was freeing people from old, nationalist indoctrination. Is it somehow not able to free people from corporate indoctrination? Hmmm. It's almost as though the authors might have a bias here.

Also I suspect that legislation on outside-of-Earth territoriality would be fast-tracked and sorted out as quickly as possible the moment someone started mentioning the idea of off-world colonies. Gah, none of this makes sense.

I'm four out of twenty-ish pages of "History" in, and there's already this much stuff that strikes me as poorly-thought-out trash. I think I'm going to need to put this down for a moment.

Next time, more lore! We're going to get to the bit with the GENETIC MODIFICATION that makes the super furries that will inherit the Solar system(not Earth, though, Earth is totally hosed, because this wasn't cribbing enough from Eclipse Phase). I wonder whether it's going to make any actual biologists/chemists froth as much as Wraeththu did.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

The first edition of the Warcraft RPG is an indefensible goddamn mess, but I actually like a lot of what they did for the WoW RPG. :shrug:

Night10194 posted:

Is this actual Metzen art? Is he really as bad at drawing as he is at writing?
Pretty sure the giant "SAMWISE" in the corner of every image would that it is not Metzen.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


AmiYumi posted:

Pretty sure the giant "SAMWISE" in the corner of every image would that it is not Metzen.

A couple of the pieces have Metzen signatures, though, like the very first line-up of races.

Platonicsolid
Nov 17, 2008



It sounds like the HSD authors read 80s cyberpunk distopia without getting the 'dis' part. And with furries.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


I've been avoiding most of the Metzen artwork because it's terrible. Everything in the classes update has been Samwise's work. Unfortunately at this time Metzen was still in charge of the art bible, which meant that most women didn't know what shirts were and the Night Elves were a race of amazon women. Metzen was also directly involved in the Alliance and Horde compendium and the Manual of Monsters so don't expect things to improve until later. Here's the Metzen art I've been skipping




The basic rule is the further removed you get from Metzen, the more likely it is that the women will be properly clothed, and the more likely it is that the art will use proper shading and line weights. Unfortunately since they recycled a lot of art from earlier editions you'll occasionally run into something truly ridiculous like a woman dressed only in straps or a rogue in a unitard.

ThisIsNoZaku posted:

Yes, because two primary spellcasters is, in fact, better than one.
They don't care about or mention your cohorts. They care only about the hoard of 300 followers you have following you around constantly packed into a 10+cha radius sphere around you.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



PurpleXVI posted:

I feel like this isn't quite the 21st century that most of the rest of us are living in, where aggressive censorship is the last resort of a few, autocratic states and most governments don't try to legislate who you can talk to online, or what you can say to them, unless it involves something that's illegal in the physical world, too. But anyway, there's a New Opportunity! Coming along, it's the GeoMat(tm), a giant, mobile factory that can core raw materials out of the ground, 3D printing to make just about anything(including new copies of itself, I suspect 3D printing magic may be HSD's version of Eclipse Phase's nanotechnology magic) and is effectively self-contained.

This comes off reading like that Professor Frink bit from The Simpsons where he predicts that computers within 100 years will "computers will be twice as powerful, 10,000 times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them." It ignores the very populist idea behind 3D printing and even the Eclipse Phase's Cornicopia Machines, that everyone will eventually have access to these machines and have the freedom to build anything they need and what that entails. If we all want to build assault weapons, we can, or we can build our own drones, or build dildos, there's nothing stopping you.

Also, I love the fact that these giant mobile factories are just devouring everything, because even that's counter to what 3D printing is about, since you could theoretically recycle waste plastic and additive manufacturing would produce less waste to begin with, since you're not having to make lost casts, etc.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

quote:

Why would we need to build into the OCEAN? We've got SHITLOADS of empty space on land, goddammit. Do these people even know anything? And operating undersea and in space aren't quite the same thing. Not to mention, like I've said, Geomats are described as battleship-sized. Getting something the size and weight of a battleship into loving space, isn't a minor loving accomplishment, and there's no mention of any new technologies that would make it workable. No warp gates, no space elevators, no big honking mass drivers.

The answer is obviously 'bootstraps'.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Over/under on how long it takes for this game to reach peak dragon dongs?

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


It'll be either in character creation or whstever stunts/powers/skills this game has.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



The Deleter posted:

It'll be either in character creation or whstever stunts/powers/skills this game has.

Extra Dong (+10CP)

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


Young Freud posted:

Extra Dong (+10CP)

Compulsove Masturbation from Cthulhutech but as a character advantage.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


I certainly hope this game doesn't have arbitrary restrictions like "furrytaurs can't be mecha pilots". If my fursona can have wrist-mounted chainguns, I won't let him be stopped by setting canon.

And wouldn't it be loving crazy to live in a city built, run and owned by Starbucks? Or McDonald's?

Kurieg posted:

I've been avoiding most of the Metzen artwork because it's terrible. Everything in the classes update has been Samwise's work. Unfortunately at this time Metzen was still in charge of the art bible, which meant that most women didn't know what shirts were and the Night Elves were a race of amazon women. Metzen was also directly involved in the Alliance and Horde compendium and the Manual of Monsters so don't expect things to improve until later. Here's the Metzen art I've been skipping

This whole Warcraft character style in general is a bit weird. It's a bit like if Rob Liefeld would make character designs for some kind of Saturday Morning Warhammer cartoon. Ony "a bit like" because Warcraft artists know how to draw spines and feet (or at least how to keep them consistent with the rest of the body's grotesque proportions).

Anyhow, I've been lurking here for a while now before getting an account, and meandering about nerdy RPG stuff looks fun. Sooo, anyone interesting in Thrash, the spiritual homebrew successor to that Street Fighter Storyteller Game?
Or while we're at d20 and sci-fi stuff, how about some Stars Without Number, the Traveller meets OD&D (or another old edition) game?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Doresh posted:

And wouldn't it be loving crazy to live in a city built, run and owned by Starbucks? Or McDonald's?
[...]
Anyhow, I've been lurking here for a while now before getting an account, and meandering about nerdy RPG stuff looks fun. Sooo, anyone interesting in Thrash, the spiritual homebrew successor to that Street Fighter Storyteller Game?

First: You can say 'loving', the word filter's just for people who don't have accounts.

Second: :justpost:

NutritiousSnack
Jul 12, 2011


The censorship thing online is something I actually I see how a sane and non stupid person would think of. Between things like Snowden leaks, the massive overreach SOPA attempted and the current overreach attempts, the strategies to take down Tor and the deep web, and even stupid sexist poo poo like the UK porn ban "aka banning face sitting and female ejaculation".

It's hyperbole, but it's born out of rational fears and hyperbole is necessary for speculative fiction to work.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Hc Svnt Dracones
It was a lion, and it had wings.



Still Lore

quote:

That is, until the wild card arrived, walking cautiously out into the sun from the dark confines of one of the many bio-research labs that now littered the planet.

It was much smaller than a GeoMat, couldn’t reshape a mountain or boil rock into iron, and sustained mostly on fish and raw meat.

It marked the beginning of the end of the world.

It was a lion, and it had wings.

So whoop, OUTTA NOWHERE, hyper-awesome genetic research just happens. And dudes can just graft HAS_WINGS=YES into lion DNA and it flaps its way across the landscape eating people. Apparently, though, this level of genetic expertise hasn't come with any sort of wide-ranging, society-affecting consequences, like designer-babies, vat-grown organs or other things that vastly prolong human life. No, this avenue of research just made a beeline for WACKY PETS, and after making a Sphinx, it's apparently easy enough to also make "Griffins, dragons, hydras, all the marvelous beasts of myth and legend." Because identifying the necessary work to add feathered wings to a lion means you just need to copy-paste that genetic code to an alligator and you've got a dragon! Right?

Biology 101, sheeple.

And of course, while outraged, the governments are helpless before the CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY and can't do a drat thing about it when they decide to make hybrid monstrosities.

quote:

Before the governments of the world could so much as finish their gasps of shock and outrage, a brand new, multi-billion dollar industry was created. Clothing, accessories, custom pens and care-giving tools, and millions of requests for more elaborate and impressive creatures surged through the internet in an unstoppable wave of commerce.

Which leads to this quote I still have trouble parsing, I'm not sure if it's implied that the clothing, pens, etc. were somehow also genetically grown, or whether they just need to point out that HSD humanity is such a bunch of loving suckers that they're now feeding their corporate overlords with billions upon billions of money's worth of merch. The quote's not that bad, though, it's just a breather before the part that's going to make every biology major's head explode.

Ready?

quote:

It was only a matter of time before some overzealous geneticist activated bipedalism in animals and tipped the final scale. To many, those bounds had long since been ground into dust, but this marked the inescapable truth. The first line of bipedal animals had human posture and anatomy paired with the animal-like dedication of domesticated pets, and the implications were too blatantly obvious to ignore.

Just a matter of "activating" that one line of "WALK UPRIGHT"-genetic code and BAM, now you've got fursonas walking the streets! And obviously the VERY FIRST GENERATION also look like humans have tits, no time for fuckups and intermediary generations that are shambling, drooling, damaged monstrosities. Nope, instant jump to something you wanna spank it to, just to make the moral outrage and claims that this whole thing is for dogfuckers seem even more absurd.

quote:

Sexual exploitation, abuse, allegations of bestiality and moral outrage, and to top it off, ludicrously high demand filled the media coverage of the day.

...

To some populations of the world, the new races were accepted as a logical progression of scientific expansion and the perfect companions for the elderly or infirm that needed loyal and constant companionship and something with the ability to manipulate their world. Up until now, that task had been delegated to helper robots, and this seemed a vastly superior alternative. Others were so disgusted by what they took to be blatant hedonism and hubris that they opened hunting up on the creatures, and piled the corpses up on their owners’ porches to show the community who owned them to begin with. On more than one occasion, the owner’s corpse was piled with them, with all mannor of profanity scribbled on their naked bodies. Lobbyists be damned, something had to be done.

This gives me a really strong Lifers vs Wiccans(I can't even remember what they're loving called, now) vibe, the conflict from Otherverse: America. Because one side here has some genuine worries, the fact that people are creating a servitor species which have short lifespans, yet apparently are smart enough to serve in care positions for the elderly and infirm, and sexual characteristics, but are suggested to also lack the self-awareness and will to say no to someone who's their "master" or "owner." Yet there's no acknowledgement that any of these concerns have any kind of legitimacy, only vivid descriptions of the maddened extremes that the "conservatives" go to.

But, anyway, the governments finally get off their asses and, quite sanely, ban having any of these loving monsters outside of Corptowns, or making new ones.

quote:

forcing corptown citizens to cloister further into their private utopias and watch as progress was crushed by the overbearing weight of stagnation.

Right back to describing Corptowns as utopias, so much for the brief moments of admitting Captains of Industry as having flaws! Also, you know, maybe the Corptown citizens could just own up and admit that this latest "progress" was loving skeevy and creepy, then they could leave their towns with no worries. "Thankfully," someone mails all the project files to the Mars corporations. And having nothing better to do, and certainly no resource shortage, because why would a young colony on a barren world have that(no years are really attached to this, but since the first "sphinx" was to celebrate Martian independence from Earth's governments, and the Martian colonies existed some two years before that, I'm going to guess it's not much more than a decade onwards), they're clearly the greatest place in the world to start producing a population of limited-intellect creatures that can't really contribute, only consume.

Hilariously, the message attached to the data was "save them." The Mars colonies look at it, go, "Hmmmm... they're gonna be kinda retarded and useless. So how about we do something entirely different, that's not going to actually save the original designs?"

The original hybrids were animals combined with other animals, and some novel genetic code, these new ones are literally just human fetuses with bits grafted on while they grow in vats, which raises a whole bunch of OTHER ethical questions about what right someone has to alter an unborn child for the sake of their own amusement, aesthetic preferences or corporate profit.

quote:

MarsCo chose to approach the problem of intelligence from a different direction: they would turn the human into the animal, instead of the animal into the human. By manipulating cloned human “blanks,” or genetic fetuses built from scratch, and endowing them with the same appearance and features of the previously abolished species of bipedal pets, MarsCo reset the evolutionary clock and emerged with something new.

...

Armed with the full set of from-scratch genes at their disposal, MarsCo removed vestigial organs, improved the efficiency of critical organs to help increase lifespans, integrated various stopgaps to combat common health problems and even developed a muscular maintenance enzyme that would combat atrophy in low gravity environments and allow for the rapid adaptation between one world and another. Body heat maintenance was assessed so the presence of fur wouldn’t cause the instant smoldering of the person it belonged to, and secret communication to prominent genecorps who supported the plan helped fill in the blanks in the science to ensure that the experiment would succeed on the first attempt, out of fear that they may not get a chance at a second try. As Mars’ terraforming operation entered its final stage, the first non-human sentient race known to man was created. Due to the nature of their development, Vectoring human evolution down a dramatically different pathway, the new species were called “Vectors.”

Wait a moment. What?

"As Mars’ terraforming operation entered its final stage"

I realize that they're being very vague about the timeline, and that it could've been five years, ten years, maybe twenty years since the first settling, but it's described as though all of this happened rather quickly. And even if we're gonna be very generous and say that Mars can be terraformed at all, it's definitely not gonna be terraformed enough to be human-habitable on anything resembling a short loving timescale, or with the resources of only three small colonies when, apparently, all Earth's major governments are opposed to them, and still maintain enough strength to enforce their legislation with regards to hybrid monstrosities on the Corptowns. Goddammit, loving, poo poo.

Oh, yeah, and, I guess the "science" reminds me an awful lot of Wraeththu. "UH THEY MADE THINGS MORE EFFICIENT, THAT'S HOW THEY WORK."

They also made a breeding population of fursonas at first and steered and organized their breeding, which also isn't creepy or abusive or anything like keeping slaves, or anything. Totally not loving weird, yo.

But anyway, cue the whole "THIS IS CREEPY, BURN THE ABOMINATIONS"-theater again, except this time the pro-furries are busting out the SICK BURNS.

quote:

Others argued that this was the realm of God, and humanity did not possess enough responsibility as a race to foster a new one. That too became a trick pedestal to stand on, as humanity certainly seemed to possess enough responsibility to kill a race. The sheer level of extinction on Earth was evidence enough of that.

...

Governments played the long game, and built their societies to endure under singular principles for the duration. The very presence of this new species would cause such a dramatic shift in those principles that many feared a general collapse. Vector phobia gripped mass populations, fueled by campaigns for support among their governments, as though the very presence of one of them on Earth would result in a viral collapse of modern civilization.

I literally do not understand half of that second statement. I'm not sure what the hell they mean about "Governments played the long game, and built their societies to endure under singular principles for the duration," but I guess it's meant to be something about how national governments don't tolerate dissent, because earlier there was a bit about how innovative and embracing of all new and awesome things the corporate governments were.

But anyway, the Martians keep sending Earth videos of happy furry children, which pisses everyone off. Nationalist militias raid corptowns, corporate militias and secury forces raid suburbs, both sides declare war. All of Earth's nations join together and organize an economic policy to guard themselves against the corporations crashing everything... and then the corporations crash everyone's economies within seven months and this is enough to make half of all the pro-nation forces defect or switch sides just for food and medicine for themselves and their families, because somehow corporations, without standing militaries or military traditions, manage to hold out for over half a year despite being scattered across Earth in widely spaced enclaves, and Earth's nations can't manage to stockpile food and medicine for their armed forces and their families for half a year's time.

What's Mars doing during all of this? Making more furries, because that's what really matters, I guess. Also it turns out that a couple of casual mistakes in genetic work don't create drooling, downsy fursonas, but instead makes "taurs." Yes, cat-taurs, lion-taurs, all the loving furry something-taurs you can think of was because someone was sloppy at coding his fursona.

quote:

One wave was nearly completely lost when the bipedalism gene sequence utterly failed to express, and MarsCo was forced to try an experimental living-mutation technique to save them lest over three hundred fetuses be lost. The emergency save allowed the growing bodies to complete their gestation, but resulted in sentient beings that were completely animal in appearance. The irony of the accidental creation of a subspecies with human intelligence and an animal body from science that resulted from the destruction of a subspecies with animal intelligence and a humanoid body was lost on no one.

I love that even though they care so little for the rights of self-determination of the unborn to gently caress around with them prior to their birth, just aborting them when they're clearly gonna have grievous birth defects isn't acceptable, instead they're going to try EXPERIMENTS that are gonna leave them hosed up forever. Wonderful. It's sure gonna be great having a human mind but no loving opposable thumbs or ability to stand upright or, you know, generally exist in a human environment or manipulate human tools. Woo! Go Mars! THESE ARE OUR HEROES, GUYS!

quote:

By late in the second year of open war, corptowns were fighting back, building buffer zones around their territory to avoid falling victim to long range shelling. To the armies outside, they were now aggressively expanding, and lending legitimacy to the long standing rumor that all of this was just one more trick to destroy the traditions and values of the countries in which they existed. Civilians who refused to leave their homes as the corptowns reached outward to the surrounding cities were captured and imprisoned, or quietly disappeared.

More imprecise writing! Who was disappearing these people? Were the corporations kidnapping and executing people who refused to vacate territory for them? Or were the nations killing people simply for not being afraid enough of the corporations? This poo poo cannot possibly have had an editor. Anyway, Earth's nations still can't get their poo poo together economically, because corporations are ~just so dreamy~, so they decide to use nukes.

Thankfully the corporations have TECHNOMAGIC defenses so they can just "redirect" ICBM's, somehow. Just how much of the loving Earth is corporate-owned, anyway? It's stated that the corptowns are all bottled up after the first furries pissed everyone off, but apparently they've got enough territory that even multiple successful nuclear strikes, despite the redirects, don't break their back. Also they're literally why the Earth gets nuke-hosed, because they force the nations to throw four times as many nukes at them, because three out of every four get "redirected."

The responsible reaction to Earth becoming a nuked-out wasteland is just to jab people up with random, animal-like mutations in the hope that a half-labrador or a half-tiger will be able to survive a nuclear war better than a human. Are there even any living things particularly resistant to nuclear fallout outside of some insects and, I guess, some molds/fungi? So far we've been told that the only "vectors" made have been mammals. So good luck surviving nuclear fallout because you've got a pretty mane of hair. Somehow, though, despite a NUCLEAR WAR GOING ON, there's still enough orbital lift capacity to shuttle most of these people to Mars until the nationalists smuggle a nuke on board one transport and blow up the spaceport on Mars.

quote:

Mars continued on alone, its doors to space now closed and too hindered by trying to support its local population through barely established agricultural systems to attempt to repair its damage or lend Earth any support.

GEE, MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE SPAWNED A COUPLE THOUSAND EXTRA MOUTHS TO FEED JUST TO MAKE A POINT, YOU CHUCKLEFUCKS.

Despite all the nuclear war, though, the Earth is largely surviving, and the corps are getting their asses kicked, but then someone, some loving idiot, releases a MAGIC TECHNOVIRUS. Called Hydra.

quote:

It transcended digital communication, almost as though it could step behind the 0’s and 1’s and simply move electromagnetism to where it wanted.

It takes it literally an hour to hijack all of Earth's nukes, and then it just starts firing them all off until Earth is glassed. Simply because.

And after Earth gets snuffed out, there's still, like, ten loving pages' worth of "lore" to go through. This is gonna hurt.

EDIT: Also, just so everyone knows, I haven't been ignoring any art, this book just basically has none. It's practically nothing but walls of loving preachy text.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Personally I think the swear filter enhances the humor of Purple's posts.

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


Expecting furries to try and create a sensible timeline and build a world that doesn't take liberties with science and basic facts is like expecting the sun to turn blue. Ain't gonna happen.

Honestly if I wanted to play s hosed-up furry in an RPG I'd wait for Eclipse Phase Fate Edition. Or reconsider my life choices.

The Deleter fucked around with this message at 23:30 on Jan 10, 2015

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


I feel this setting missed a golden opportunity for some Pokemon ripoffs. Who needs animalistic sex slaves if you can make your own fire-breathing pet?

PresidentBeard posted:

Personally I think the swear filter enhances the humor of Purple's posts.

I lovin' love swear filters. They just add a certain something.


In due time :chord:

Doresh fucked around with this message at 23:24 on Jan 10, 2015

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Jesus loving Christ, I feel like Bowman when he entered the Monolith, only it's a city spanning black replica of something off of Bad Dragon. Almost all the military thought seems to originate from Call of Duty and not, much live everything else, reality.

P.S. If you had the capability to simply insert a phenotype into a genome with little effort to produce legit chimera, the rest of the scientific world would want to know how you did it because that's some disease ending, world changing level poo poo right there.

homerlaw
Sep 21, 2008

Plants are the best ergo Sylvari=Best


The furry stuff is eclipsed by the egregious libertarianism , like there are these huge factories devouring everything in their path then just making all the garbage corporations want, and this is a good thing. Jesus this is the most hardcore anarcho-capitalism that I've ever seen.

The Deleter
May 22, 2010


It reminds me of Total/Planetary Annihilation's premise of resource-devouring self replicating machines, or the World Devastators from Rogue Squadron, or basically anything that's meant to be a superweapon or a bad thing. And not, you know, a good one.

Surely the 3D printing method would gel better with the hardcore capitalism? A soldier sticks a credit card into a vending machine on his APC and it prints out his gun and some ammo. People order things online and it's 3d printed into existence in their homes. Anything could be made cheaply and instantly! But instead we get good old hollywood genetics and world devouring factories.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Why do people think a tabletop game is a place to espouse their crackpot fringe political leanings? A Sci-Fi Fursona game is gonzo enough on it's own, but all that hardcore Libertarian crap....

Red Metal
Oct 23, 2012

Let me tell you about Homestuck



Fun Shoe

hmm yes why would someone want to live out their fantasies in a medium custom-built for escapism

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Red Metal posted:

hmm yes why would someone want to live out their fantasies in a medium custom-built for escapism

Well, the point of any RPG world setting is to generate story ideas, usually which are done through conflict and tension. If everything is happy-go-fucky for furry player characters, then why play the game instead of running a furpile or a circle jerk?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Red Metal posted:

hmm yes why would someone want to live out their fantasies in a medium custom-built for escapism

Not every RPG is escapism, though, in fact I'd say that most aren't, unless the players make it so.

Keep in mind, we've got ten pages of PLOT and LORE left, I'm sure that'll set up some FASCINATING TENSION for the Space Furries, especially because if I remember right we've got, like, seven hundred years' worth of time to cover in that span. Considering that they've spent twenty pages covering about two decades, I'm sure it'll be greatly detailed.

DisgruntledFerret
Aug 27, 2013


To be fair, it might be escapism on the part of the creator, but it is also "give me money for this escapism".

Waffleman_
Jan 20, 2011



Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


:allears: Oh yes Marsche, please tell us about how Escapism is unhealthy while you gleefully murder people by the hundreds with your own personal army. That game had the most batshit plot.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


It was perfectly serviceable except for Marche's unending desire to recripple his younger brother.

NachtSieger
Apr 10, 2013




Kurieg posted:

:allears: Oh yes Marsche, please tell us about how Escapism is unhealthy while you gleefully murder people by the hundreds with your own personal army. That game had the most batshit plot.

:colbert: Marche did nothing wrong.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



NachtSieger posted:

:colbert: Marche did nothing wrong.

Luso was the better protagonist and had the better game. :smugbert:

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Glazius posted:

It's been a while since I've played it, but that's actually an available perk for Ghoul troopers in Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel. The idea was that you'd get fruit regularly from the tree but the implementation was bugged.
It would be kind of neat as a perk/feat in this case as well. It's just that, for whatever reason, they decided to drag it into a full five level prestige class. But we'll get to that when the time comes, for now it's just time to actually start this thing. Apologies to Fallout veterans that will probably be annoyed that I am doing all this in a very "as if you haven't heard of this" tone.






Survivor's Guide Introduction
The introductory chapter of the Exodus Survivor's Guide is split into two segments: an overview of the setting's backstory, and “the Basics of d20” that tells you what the six ubiquitous ability scores and sizes of dice are. Since the latter needs no real explanation, the former is the obvious avenue to start with.

The background of Exodus is perhaps the point where it divorces itself from Fallout the most. While it retains the divergence of history around World War II and the ultimate war being between China and the United States, Exodus adds a few extra players into the nuclear game that would not have really been part of the whole Cold War theme of Fallout 1 and 2. The biggest is that Exodus is a world where 9/11 and the Iraqi occupation occurred, and the countries of the Middle East end up being thrown into the mix. While China and North Korea attack Russia, Japan, and Alaska, Iran nukes Tel Aviv and most of Europe. This is followed by sudden Islamic armies “from Algeria to Pakistan” all rising up in unison to create some convoluted war hivemind that is in turn nuked by the United States. The world ends on December 12, 2012, thanks to the escalating war.

Humanity survives thanks to the vaults (or shelters, or Freeholds: the name varies across the books) of Project Freehold. Created in the 60s by the Army with the supervision of a group known as Rad-Tek, the vaults also happen to be where the origin of the setting name comes into play.

“Never heard that line before” posted:

The sky darkened and sirens sounded as the children of god fled into underground shelters, built by man as an escape, an Exodus, from his own destruction decades ago. Twenty years later, when the shelters opened, the survivors resurfaced to find a new world: one of desolation, one or survival, one with the same goals as the old world for...war never changes...

Long story short: in the time between the vaults closing and their doors unlocking, those who managed to survive in the world above became the post-apocalyptic menagerie of raiders, slavers, cults, old world-coveting technophiles, and idealistic philanthropists looking toward a better future. Beyond the vaults being opened in 2032, it's not really considered important what happened between the vaults closing and the setting's present of 2044. Not important enough to note in the intro, at least.



Chapter 1: Character Creation


Playable Races
There are three playable races in the Exodus Survivor's Guide. One is the omnipresent thing that is reading this very sentence, and the other two are other familiar faces.
  • Human: What is there to even say about humans in a setting ostensibly based on an alteration of the real world? They're here, they're varied, and they have the same benefits of extra skill points and a second starting feat as in most d20 system games.
  • Ghul: Corpse-like mutant humans that were exposed to an ungodly amount of radiation, resulting in their rather startling forms. Due to having been around for a long time thanks to being radiation-fueled mutants, they tend to be well-versed in old world technology, coldly neutral, and wary of "smoothskins" (yes, Exodus kept that particular fantasy epithet) who might be up to something stupid yet again. Mechanically, ghuls are not going to be winning any marathons or fistfights: ability score modifiers of +2 to Wisdom but -2 to Strength and Dexterity combined with 20 foot move speed is a pretty notable handicap on that front, and they instead focus on durability and versatility as their benefits. On the durability side, ghuls are completely immune to the effects of radiation, a +2 to Fortitude and Will saves, and an average lifespan of 300 years. Versatility comes in a secondary free bonus feat like a human and the ability to make either Computer Use, Craft (Electronic, Mechanical, or Structural), Knowledge (Engineering, History, or Technology), or Repair a permanent class skill. Your skilled nature is offset by the fact that you gain an extra bonus feat every four levels, rather than every three levels like humans or Trans-Genetic Mutants. The race's name also happens to be listed as product identity for the setting, by the way, in spite of simply being the traditional Arabic spelling of ghoul.
  • Trans-Genetic Mutant: 7 or 8 foot tall muscular brutes with green, gray, or yellow skin, the trans-genetic mutants were the results of military experimentation in California, New Mexico, and Utah before the Great War, and now terrorize the wasteland as part of the Mutant Army. Being the Super Mutant analogues, it should be no surprise that Trans-Genetic Mutants have a +4 to Strength and +2 to Constitution that is contrasted by a -2 across all three mental ability scores. These ability scores are backed up with the powerful build special quality (count as size Large for things like grappling or wielding particularly sizable weapons), damage reduction 3 against all physical damage types, a +4 to saves against disease and radiation, an immunity to Low or lower ranks of radiation, and a bonus feat that must be selected from various physical combat and endurance-related feats such as Brawl and Run. Really, other than being mentally deficient, the only downside to being a TGM is that you suffer a -4 to attack rolls with Small or smaller weapons, and I doubt many mutants are weeping about their lovely pistol skills when they can haul around Gatling guns.



Backgrounds
Sort of a weird hybrid of race and occupation, potentially taking traits from both such as ability score modifiers or class skills (of which you just gain a full list rather than having to select one to three like with an occupation), backgrounds are selected alongside both of those character features at level 1. These backgrounds are meant to be reflect a character's cultural origin, but a fair number of them feel like they should just be an available occupation instead of their own thing. Either way, let's go through the list.
  • Chi Descendant (Human-only Background): The first background is one of those that actually does seem like it should be a cultural marker rather than rolled into the occupation system. Characters with this background are part of an enclave of Chinese-Americans who survived the Great War and came to rule San Francisco in the new world. The Chi are a strange combination of eastern Asian cultures that have samurai, Mongol-style horse archers, and kung fu masters all in a feudal city-state, and this nature spreads to a somewhat eclectic mix of bonus class skills: Balance, Barter, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, and Tumble. Chi characters also gain Armor Proficiency (Light) and either Acrobatic, Blind-Fight, Brawl, Defensive Martial Arts, or Dodge for free.
  • City Slicker: The character comes from a relatively well-to-do city where education and some modicum of technology remain. Barter, all Craft skills, Gather Information, Knowledge (Civics, Streetwise, and one of the character's choice), all Perform skills, and any Profession skill are all bonus class skills for the City Slicker, and they get Personal Firearms Proficiency as a bonus starting proficiency.
  • Cultist: You are in some manner of cult, surprise of surprises. Cultist characters get Gather Information, Knowledge (Occult, Streetwise, and Theology & Philosophy), all Perform skills, any Profession skill, and either Read/Write Language, Speak Language, or all Craft skills, as well as Archaic Weapons Proficiency as a bonus starting proficiency. It also doesn't really matter at all, because in the very next book (the game master's guide) for Exodus they turn around and go "the Cultist background doesn't actually matter at all, have these separate backgrounds for specific cults".
  • Feral Child: A Mowgli style character, raised by the beasts of the wilderness. This is the first time the pseudo-race half of the backgrounds equation comes in, as in addition to gaining Balance, Climb, Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), and Survival as bonus class skills, a Feral Child character gains a +1 to Strength and Dexterity but -1 to Intelligence and Charisma, +4 to Survival checks, and is both illiterate and unable to speak at character level 1.
  • Freed Slave: Exactly what it says. Freed Slave characters get a +1 bonus to Constitution and have Craft (Structural), Handle Animal, and Profession (Butler, Cook, Farmer, Laborer, Guard, Maid, and Prostitute) as added bonus class skills. They also have two downsides, in that they are illiterate at character level 1 and have a slaver's brand that imposes a -1 penalty to Charisma-based skill checks if it is visible. There's no exemption for dealing with other slaves when it comes to this penalty, which is something I would have thought would make sense, but whatever.
  • Gangster: While the background flavor text is worded to indicate it's tied to an organized crime syndicate like the mobs that are big in Las Vegas, the lack of a distinctive raider background seems to indicate that this is meant for those types of character as well. Gangster characters get Archaic Weapons Proficiency, Personal Firearms Proficiency, and Armor Proficiency (Light) as free bonus feats, as well as Barter, Bluff, Disguise, Intimidate, Forgery, Gamble, Gather Information, Knowledge (Street and Underworld), Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, and Spot as extra class skills.
  • Mutant Defector (Trans-Genetic Mutant only background): Like Fallout's Marcus, this character defected from the Mutant Army and struck out into human territory. Mutant Defector characters gain Archaic Weapons Proficiency, Heavy Weapons Proficiency, and Mutant Armor Proficiency as bonus proficiencies and Climb, Craft (Structural), Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (Geography and Tactics), Listen, Navigate, Search, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival. Mutant Defectors also get mutant-sized combat fatigues, which makes them the only background that gets free gear out of the deal.
  • Radiant One (Ghul-only background): These guys are so irradiated that they illuminate the area around them. They're so bright that they might even be considered glowing ones, you could say. :v: The obvious thing that Radiant One characters gain is their glowing aura, which creates a 20 foot radius that acts both as strong illumination and a Low rank radiation source. They also gain Archaic Weapons Proficiency as a bonus proficiency and Computer Use, Craft (Mechanical), Repair, and Survival as bonus class skills.
  • Shelter Dweller: A character who comes fresh out of one the vaults that actually worked as they should have, instead of either failing or undergoing freaky government-approved experiments. The Shelter Dwellers are extremely clever due to their vault members having "spent entire generations in isolation" (in spite of the 20 year time period that Exodus has compared to the timeline of the Fallout universe, whoopsie!), and gain a +1 bonus to all Intelligence-based skill checks rather than a straight up Intelligence bonus. They also get Archaic Weapons Proficiency and Personal Firearms Proficiency as bonus proficiency feats, and the expected techie-themed bonus class skills of Computer Use, all Craft skills, Diplomacy, Knowledge (Engineering, History, Medicine, Science, and Technology), all Perform skills, Repair, and Research.
  • Survivalist: Both small wasteland communities and weird lone wolf prepper types are under the umbrella of this background. Survivalist is probably as good as Gangster on the free treats front, gaining Archaic Weapons Proficiency, Personal Firearms Proficiency, and Armor Proficiency (Light) as bonus proficiencies, either Guide or Track as a bonus starting feat, and Climb, Craft (Structural), Handle Animal, Hide, Knowledge (Geography), Navigate, any Profession, Ride, and Survival as bonus class skills.
  • Techno-Reaper: The only cult that managed to get its own background before the errata that the GM's guide provided, the Techno-Reapers are obsessed with technology. While they are ostensibly based on a Fallout Tactics enemy group called the Reavers, the book emphasizes that they care more about technology than religion, so they are clearly different from other cults and thus deserve to get their own background type sooner rather than later. They get Archaic Weapons Proficiency, Personal Firearms Proficiency, Armor Proficiency (Light), and Armor Proficiency (Medium) as bonus proficiencies, and have Computer, Craft (Electronic and Mechanical), Decipher Script, Disable Device, Knowledge (Science and Technology), Repair, and Search as their extra class skills.
  • Tribal: Wilderness tribes with little to no technological skills. For whatever reason, while so many other backgrounds get free Archaic Weapons Proficiency, the Tribals of all people don't, meaning that a Techno-Reaper is better with a spear off the bat than a Tribal is. Tribals also start out illiterate and with a broken form of English due to their isolation from the rest of the world, again betraying the fact that the timeline for the setting was once longer than it is now. In any case, what Tribals do get benefits-wise is Track as a bonus feat and Climb, Craft (Structural), Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Perform (Dance), Profession (Cook, Farmer, Hunter, Laborer, and Guard), and Survival as bonus class skills.
  • Urban Survivor: The beggars, scavengers, and general ignored underclass of cities as opposed to the City-Slicker's post-apocalyptic middle class. Urban Survivors get a +4 bonus to Survival checks in urban areas, Personal Firearms Proficiency as a bonus starting proficiency, and Barter, Bluff, Gamble, Gather Information, Knowledge (Civics and Street), Profession (Drug Dealer, Mechanic, Merchant, Messenger, and Prostitute), and Sleight of hand as bonus class skills.
  • Wanderer: I won't even joke about this being "last, but not the least". Wanderer is straight up one of the best backgrounds for a combatant or survivalist character. You get all the proficiencies the Techno-Reapers get, a bonus feat selectable from Endurance, Great Fortitude, Guide, Iron Will, Low Profile, Lightning Reflexes, Renown, Toughness, or Track, and the bonus class skills of Bluff, Gamble, Gather Information, Knowledge (Geography and Street), Navigate, Profession (Guard)

I think the major problem with backgrounds as presented here is twofold. One is that more than a few of them honestly feel like there is no reason for them to be differentiated from the occupations system. Two is that they honestly feel a bit too strong for their own good. Occupations let you select a few bonus class skills and maybe a bonus feat, while backgrounds just dump them on you en masse. There's no reason for a wilderness character to be Tribal over Wanderer unless you are really set on having Profession (Farmer) as a class skill or something, as there's no limited selection involved. To play the comparison game, another post-apocalyptic d20 Modern book, Darwin's World, has a background system as well. Most of these get one bonus skill from a list and two bonus feats from a list, as well as some other perk: for instance, a Tribal background character in that game gets to start play with a free mastercraft archaic weapon, while a Hedonist (Judge Dredd-style society) background character gets three bonus class skills rather than one.




Character Classes
If you are familiar with d20 Modern base classes, ignore everything about them other than that they are 10 levels long and have a system of "bonus feat at odd levels, talent at even levels". In a tradition that is admittedly closer to Fallout, you get to customize your class. Rather than take levels in Fast Hero or Tough Hero, you choose what progressions you gain, which then determines how many skill points you get. For instance, you could make a character that has full Base Attack Bonus progression, good Defense bonus progression, d10 hit dice, and one of two "Great" category saving throw options (either one poor saving throw progression, one average one, and one good one, or three average ones)...but then you are incapable of gaining any skill points other than those you'd get from having a positive Intelligence modifier. You could also go the opposite way and be a complete noodly loser with poor BAB, Defense, and saving throw progressions all around, d4 hit dice, and 10 skill points (plus Intelligence modifier of course) per level.

There are also two preset classes given. The Aggressive character gets d10 hit dice, 2 + Int modifier skill points, a full Base Attack Bonus progression, one good saving throw and two poor ones of the character's choice, and an average Defense bonus progression. The Defensive class, on the other hand, gains d8 hit dice, 5 + Int modifier skill points, average BAB progression, two poor saving throws and one average one of the character's choice, and a good Defense bonus progression. Also, rather than getting a number of Action Points (renamed Karma Points) per level equal to 5 plus half their character level like d20 Modern base classes, it's 3 plus half their character level. Custom classes do the same, it's not a variable option.

Oh, and you may noticed that I didn't mention and class skills, feats, or talents. That's because there aren't any. Any custom class gets access to all the talents and feats in the game, and has three class skills referred to as Tag Skills. Because that's what they were referred to as in Fallout, of course. This does explain why backgrounds let you have so many bonus class feats, but I think it's a weird way of handling it. Why not just add more Tag Skills, or just ignore the idea of Tag Skills entirely and say you get X amount of class skills to choose from? You lost the Fallout license, Glutton Creeper, there's no reason to still hem that close!



Traits
Traits are an optional ability you can take at character level 1, and you can have up to two of them or as little as none at all. Traits are simultaneously a benefit and a drawback, and there are enough of them that I'm going to have to bring out the list text option again.
  • Afraid: You're paranoid about something and constantly alert, which gives you a +2 to Spot checks but -1 to Initiative due to your hesitation.
  • Beautiful: Too sexy for this world, you have a +1 bonus to your Charisma score and a +3% boost to Reputation with a specific group but are likely to be targeted by jealous NPCs and slavers. Hopefully you don't have a too vindictive GM. You may note that a percentile boost to Reputation sounds odd, and you'd be right, as Exodus replaces d20 Modern's Reputation score with its own system. We'll get to that later in the chapter.
  • Big and Dumb: You get a -1 penalty to all mental ability scores and a -5 penalty to your base speed, but get a +3 boost to Strength.
  • Bloody Mess: Literally pointless. As this was before Fallout 3 and New Vegas were things that existed, Bloody Mess was purely a cosmetic trait. And you know what? Here it is too! It simply tells your GM to describe any kills you make in a particularly gruesome manner.
  • Book Smart: You are a nerd. +1 to Intelligence and all Knowledge skills are class skills for you, but a -1 penalty to all attack rolls.
  • Bruiser: Your slow but brutal strikes mean you have a -2 penalty to Initiative but a +3 bonus to melee attack rolls.
  • Chemical Reliance: Thanks to being a druggy, you are 10% more likely to get addicted to a chemical substance. If you do get addicted, though, you gain a +10 bonus to Fortitude saves to resist the side-effects of withdrawal.
  • Chemical Resistance: The above, but opposite.
  • Clumsy: You suffer a -1 penalty to your Dexterity score, but get an extra Karma Point.
  • Extreme Personality: Thanks to your nature as a caricature of humanity, you have a +1 bonus to Charisma. The downside is that earning infamy with any group increases at double the normal rate.
  • Fast Metabolism: You heal hit points at twice the normal rate, but suffer a -2 penalty to Fortitude saves against poison and radiation. Not a bad tradeoff, really.
  • Fear the Reaper (Ghul Only): You get bonus feats at the same progression as a human, but you die at 0 HP rather than -10. Not so good a tradeoff as the last one.
  • Flexibility: A straight up -1 to Strength but +1 to Dexterity. Why not just put your ability score that way in the first place rather than take a trait that does the same thing?
  • Gifted: You get +1 to every ability score, but only gain half the usual skill points per level.
  • Good Natured: Like Book Smart, but the bonus is to Charisma-based skill checks rather than Intelligence.
  • Ham-Fisted (Trans-Genetic Mutant Only): Your big, meaty fists deal 1d6 lethal damage with an unarmed strike, but you suffer a -2 penalty to Dexterity-based skills that involve your hands and a -4 penalty to attack rolls with non-heavy weapon firearms.
  • Idiot Savant: Your Intelligence score is limited to 6, but you gain a +5 competence bonus to either a Craft skill, Demolitions, Disable Device, a Knowledge skill, or Repair.
  • Jinxed: For some reason, you apparently want the GM and the game itself to poo poo on you. Your Karma Points only get refreshed every other level, and when you or anyone else gets a 1 on an attack roll you/they have to spend a Karma Point to negate a random bullshit effect (ranging from the weapon being dropped to it damaging the wielder) from happening.
  • Kamikaze: Improved Initiative is a bonus feat for you, but you never get Dexterity or dodge bonuses to your Defense. Because apparently just taking Improved Initiative as your first level feat is too easy in your opinion.
  • Large Body: You are tall and heavy, gaining a +1 to Strength, but suffer a -2 penalty to Dexterity. Given that I can't think of any feat or talent that relates to your height or weight, I can't imagine this ever being a good idea over just favoring Strength over Dexterity when you pick your ability scores in the first place.
  • Lucky: This is an odd one. You get an extra Karma Point, but if you ever expend all of your KP you gain the Jinxed trait until you regain at least one KP.
  • Night Person: You get the low-light vision and light sensitivity species traits. In addition, you have a +1 to Spot checks at night or in dimly lit areas contrasted by a -1 during the day or in bright light.
  • One Hander: You get a +1 to attack rolls with one-handed weapons at the cost of -4 to attack rolls with two-handed weapons.
  • Physically Fit: Yet another straight-up ability score exchange trait, this time +1 to Strength and Constitution at the cost of -1 to Intelligence and Wisdom.
  • Sex Appeal: You have a +2 to Charisma-based skill checks with the opposite sex, but -2 of the same with the same sex. What's that? "Ho-mo-sexuals?" What are those?
  • Sickly: You have a +2 to Wisdom saves, but -1 to Constitution.
  • Skilled: While you have a +1 to all skill checks, you gain your level-based bonus feats every fourth level (or every fifth if you're a ghoul).
  • Small Frame: Oddly enough, rather than being a pure reversal of Large Body, this one has a +1 to Dexterity but only a -1 to Strength. Instead of that extra penalty to Strength, you have a -5 to your base speed.
  • Super Genius: +3 to Intelligence, but -1 to Charisma and Wisdom.
  • Tech Wizard: You are more at home with machines than men, which means you suffer a -1 to Wisdom-based skill checks at the benefit of a +1 bonus to Computer Use, Craft (Electronic), Knowledge (Technology), and Repair skills.

Or, to TL;DR that, not all traits transfer well from Fallout to d20. I have the feeling I'm going to be saying this a lot, but when doing an adaptation from one game to an entirely different form of game, you usually have to take a look at things and realize that a 1 for 1 transfer won't work. That's why it's called an adaptation.




Occupations
There aren't that many new occupations present here, so thankfully we've got a reprieve from long lists. All of the occupations from the d20 Modern Core Rulebook except for Celebrity, Emergency Services, Entrepeneur, Rural, and White Collar are present, as are as the Drifter, Outcast, and Scavenger occupations from d20 Future. Blue Collar has been renamed City Worker and Creative has been renamed Creative Artist for whatever reason, though. For completely new occupations, there are a total of seven. Bison Herders are any rancher-type character and get two bonus class skills chosen from Barter, Craft (Structural), Drive, Handle Animal, Navigate, and Ride. The rather confusing No Occupation occupation lets you have any two skills as bonus class skills, making it one of the best "occupations" in spite of being meant for a layabout or indecisive character.

Raiders are wasteland gangsters that get two class skills chosen from Climb, Gamble, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Move Silently, Search, Spot, and Survival, which is contrasted by the city-dwelling Wise Guy who gets two class skills chosen from Bluff, Demolitions, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Forgery, Gamble, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (Civics, Occult, Street, Tactics, or Underworld), Listen, Move Silently, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, and Spot. They're also both kind of strange given that the Criminal occupation from d20 Modern core hasn't been removed in favor of these specialized variants. You could also argue that Slaver, with its two bonus class skills chosen from Barter, Bluff, Forgery, Gamble, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (Street or Underworld), and Sense Motive, might also qualify as a variation of Criminal.

Similarly questionable are a pair of military specialists that are added without the removal of the Military occupation. Ranger is a wilderness survival type, gaining Track as a bonus feat and two class skills chosen from Balance, Climb, Handle Animal, Hide, Jump, Listen, Knowledge (Geography or Nature), Move Silently, Navigate, Ride, Search, Spot, Survival, and Swim. Soldier, on the other hand, is almost entirely the same as the still present Military occupation, save that it loses Climb and Swim as potential class skills but gains Intimidate. :iiam:



Next Time
Geeze, chapter 1 isn't over yet? We'll finish it off with talent trees and the new Reputation system, then get into chapters 2 and 3. Find out why some of those Knowledge skills don't sound familiar even if you know d20 Modern, learn who really runs Barter town, and question a feat that gives you access to an unwritten GMPC.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 04:46 on Jan 11, 2015

fool of sound
Oct 10, 2012


LornMarkus posted:

Luso was the better protagonist and had the better game. :smugbert:

That game was weird in that the plotline that felt like the central story and had the most plot-relevant missions (the foreign syndicate, I don't recall the name) wasn't the main plotline, which just sort of meandered around for most of the game.

Rohan Kishibe
Oct 29, 2011

Frankly, I don't like you
and I never have.


Why are Furries always such crazy right-wing nutjobs? I mean, I want to say it's because of the brain damage but I haven't done the research to back that up.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

Mr. Maltose posted:

It was perfectly serviceable except for Marche's unending desire to recripple his younger brother.

Remember all those the times the hero of a story was enraged that his younger child brother desperately wanted to cling to a world where he was not only not a cripple but an active and respected part of 'normal' society for the first time in his life, and constantly demanded his child brother face the facts that he'd always be a gimp shunned by society?

Then he did the same to a girl his age who I don't remember if she was like abused or whatever but she clearly had something going on to make her feel life wasn't living as it was and while that's not an awesome place to be literal escape into a real alternate world that you're eager and willing to be a part of isn't the same as just reading fantasy books all your life and never doing anything or whatever.

All those heroic stories.

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Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Fossilized Rappy posted:




Survivor's Guide Introduction

God it drives me nuts when people make RPGs based on a video game property, and spend more effort in converting every video game mechanic into rules instead of focusing on silly things like "tone".

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