Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Locked thread
Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Doresh posted:

Does anyone else finds it disturbing that the perfect capitalistic furry paradise future views large-scale manslaughter as "just another whacky monday evening"?

Well, you know. This setting is written by a shut-in nerd with no knowledge of history from what I can tell, so it shouldn't be a surprise that a monday night of totally uncritical Murderhoboing is the author's idea of normal.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

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

Kurieg posted:

My favorite is the Sniper using the stock on her rifle as a shoulder mount.


I chose a different path. I chose, MARS!

Speaking of obtuse furry bullshit. I'll be done with the first book of Warcraft d20 very soon (there's only enough non-lore material left for about one and a half updates) so I'm planning for the next book to review and I just realized that theres a very important book that Daeren never finished.

So what should I do next
A bunch of races and mass combat rules?
A new caster class designed around punching things and rules for even more mechanized bullshit.


or


We rehired a guy that we fired 6 years ago for being a creep who thinks he's a literal satyr to write a book on anthropomorphic animals, how were we to know it would be full of animistic bullshit and furries?

Changing Breeds is insane but Alliance/Horde is a clusterfuck, go with that.

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

Eh, the 1e WarCraft stuff is not good, but IMO it's a little unfair to talk about without covering the 2nd edition as well. I vote Changing Breeds.

(If you're sticking with Warcraft, go chronological. Pretty sure M&M references AHC stuff, and also AHC is a hot mess. My favorite being the troll race, with jungle trolls in fluff/the PC games being frail skirmish/ranged attackers who happen to heal up quickly, and in AHC being 9' tall regenerating musclebeasts who put Tauren to shame.)

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


I'm probably not going to be reviewing the Manual of Monsters just because it's mostly a lore book that also has monsters. It also has a slight problem in that it got almost zero distribution in my area. See, at the time White Wolf was *really* riding the OGL train hard, by that point they had released somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 unique monsters manuals. My FLGS distributor didn't even stock the manual of monsters because they just thought it was more of the same. I will probably point out the differences if they come up, Like Trolls not being properly statted. or AHC Pandaren not actually getting a level adjustment and therefore being broken as hell

In other news I'm working on the final write-up for the core Warcraft d20 book now, the Technological Device creation rules are built almost entirely on the "please consult your GM before proceeding" honor system. They also forgot to include extra zeros in the formula to determine device cost

It is glorious.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 22:10 on Jan 14, 2015

Jarvisi
Apr 17, 2001

Green is still best.


That albedo game actually seems pretty cool. Might try it out minus the furry poo poo. Or at least rip it off

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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



Everything Else worth writing about
The next chapter opens up with descriptions of Affiliations, whether you're alliance, horde, or independant. And introduces a concept known as "Affiliation Rating". A member of the alliance interacting with a member of the horde has an affiliation rating of 3, meaning that you take a -3 penalty on 'positive' social interaction rolls (Everything that isn't intimidate) and a +3 bonus on 'negative' social interaction rolls (literally just intimidate).

"But Kurieg" I hear you shout, "What if I want to play against type and have the noble tauren join up with the alliance?" Well, for each action you take that dispels some of your stigma, you reduce the affiliation rating by 1. This really seems like something they should have left to roleplay rather than mechanics because according to this a Demon just has to help a human farmer plow his fields 6 times and they'll trust him just as much as anyone else in the Alliance.

There's also the "Independent" faction which is basically just Goblins and people you shouldn't trust as far as you can throw... which also includes goblins.


Equipment
Each race has a special affinity to one of the special crafting materials. And gets a +1 bonus on any craft roll associated with it. Which is flavorful and all, but the racial distribution isn't very good. Dwarves, for instance, get a bonus to crafting items out of gunpowder. I'm not sure how that's supposed to work. Humans get Mithril, and the elves get Darkwood and Dragonhide. On the other side of the racial divide, Goblins get Adamantine, and Orcs get both Thorium and Arcanite.

Arcanite is basically distilled fighter heroin. An arcanite weapon gets a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls that stacks with magical enhancements. and a +1 bonus to it's critical threat range. If fashioned into armor it has a 50% chance to negate critical hits.

Dragonhide is leather mithril. It can only be used in leather armor and reduces the arcane spell failure chance of that armor to 0%.

Thorium was described before, sort of, but it allows wielders proficient in thorium weapons to multiply their strength bonus to damage. You can also make Thorium into metal armor but it counts as one size category heavier (To a maximum of heavy), you double the check penalty and spell failure chance, and reduce it's max dex bonus by 2. But you get dr 5/..+1? They must've missed this one when transitioning to 3.5

Next are the actual weapons you could build out of these fine materials.

None of them really stand out, other than the fact that they didn't scale any of the weapons up to large size, even the weapons used exclusively by tauren. Guns are here, which all take a standard action to reload. The Long rifle is a 2h weapon that deals 3d6 damage and a ragne increment of 300 feet. the Flintlock Pistol is a 1h that deals 3d6 damage with a range increment of 5 feet. And the Blunderbuss is an... approximation of a shotgun. It's got a range increment of 10, and you deal 2d6 damage in the first range increment, and 1d6 damage to everything else in a 5 foot wide line to the weapons maximum range. So kudos for them not having it just cease working at 15 feet. But 1d6 damage seems a little low as a spray.

Creating Technological Devices
Now the main event, how to create your own technological devices. This is a multi-step process that is as much working within the rules of the system as it is buttering up your Dm and convincing him to let you have your way with whatever terrible devices you've constructed. With all the finesse of the 3rd edition grappling rules.


Step 1: Determine the Technology Score
The Technology Score of a device is it's relative complexity. And it has to be below your Technological Limit which is 1+Tinker Level + Feat Bonuses. Technology Score determines the capability limits of your device but there's absolutely nothing preventing you from putting all of them at their maximum level. Other than the DM's Patience.
The craft DC to build the device is 15+Tech Score

Step 2: Define the Task
Go explain to your DM what you want the device to do. This determines the Task DC on a scale of 10-200. Note that no one is ever going to be rolling this, so using the term "DC" is confusing, and they even *acknowledge* that it's confusing to use the term DC, but they continue to use it anyway.

a DC10 task is described as "Washing dishes, irrigating plants, a simple repetitive chore" DC50 is "Devices that forge simple weapons, make tools, build walls, simple creative systems", DC 200 is "Move Mountains, Destroy Species, Control Weather, A World-Changing Development"

Note that there's absolutely no correlation between Tech Score and Task DC. You could build a TS26 device that washes dishes very well. And a TS1 dagger on a pair of legs that will eventually attempt to slit the throat of every single Orc on Azeroth.

quote:

One way you can persuade the GM to set a low DC is to provide a detailed description of how the item is expected to accomplish its task. If you can show that the task is easy, the GM has a good reason to assign a low DC. A Rube Goldberg style drawing is a wonderful way to prove that a task is not as difficult as it might seem.
Or, draw something horribly convoluted and confusing and refuse to let up until your DM lowers the score.

Step 3: Decide how Quickly the Item Operates
Now, the DM Determines the basic time unit for the task. combat rounds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months, depending on whatever unit seems most appropriate given the scale of the task and design of the item. The designer then chooses a number between 1 and 10, determining how fast or slow they want this object to work. Slower items are cheaper, faster items are more expensive. Items that work once and then self destruct are automatically Time Factor 10

Step 4: Determine the Malfunction Rating
MRs range from 0(Will never fail) to 5 (Will fail 25% of the time) Whenever the die roll to activate or attack with a weapon falls within it's malfunction rating, it malfunctions. Usually this means it just doesn't work but anything that involves gunpowder explodes in your face.

Step 5: Figure the market Value
And here everything falls apart. The formula they give for market value is
Tech Score X Task DC Value / (Time Factor + Malfunction Rating)
Using this formula a long rifle would only cost 25 gold, when in actuality they sell for 300.
Later on during the 'example build' they use the formula
Tech Score X 10 X Task DC Value / (Time Factor + Malfunction rating)
Which still only gives us 250 gold. but "The GM is encouraged to round up to reflect special circumstances" The crafting rules for mechanical devices are the same as anything else.

The example item is a little dry so let's try something else shall we? And let's break the brittle little system right over our knees.


The Railgun, Not Arnold.

So let's say I've got a bored level 20 tinker, with the Build Firearms feat, and a feat from a later book that increases his technology limit by an additional 2. So he's got a Tech Limit of 25.

This means I can do 25d6 points of damage per round. Firearms are a "Simple Responsive System" so our Complexity DC is 20. And since it's a railgun let's make it fire only every 10 rounds.
But the Technology Score says it deals 25d6 points of damage per round. And that's literally all it says because they didn't think this through. So once every 10 rounds My new railgun deals 250d6 points of damage with a first range increment of 1250 feet and a maximum range of 2 miles. It also has a market price of 475 GP. And because it's a TS25 device it has 25 hardness and 125 hit points.

Alternately for the low low price of 5000gp I could build a suit of power armor that gives me an effective strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and gently caress it, Charisma of 160, it can also move at a staggering 500 miles per hour and gives me an additional 25 AC for a total ac bonus of 110. Because they really did not think this through.


Magic and Spells
This book came out shortly after Chris Metzen found out that his new favorite word was CORRUPTION so there’s a few pages here talking about how corrupting and evil arcane magic is,and that all arcane casters feel the call of the demons lurking behind their awesome power. And that Arcane Magic is a drug, and that all high elves are addicted, and how Orcs suffer still from their demonic corruption.

Evil is 90% horns by volume, proven fact.

And then there’s immediately a sidebar stating “Yup, Arcane magic is super dark and sinister. But actually forcing corruption on your players against their will just for being a wizard is a giant dick move. So don’t do it.”


Divine magic on the other hand is great and good and glorious because literally every god (so far) is a good person who only wants good things so why isn’t everyone a divine caster yay holy light for everyone. Even the Trees and the Elements are good people who only want the best for you. Everything is good forever.
You know, unless you worship the undead, or the demons, or Deathwing, but Why would you do that?

Now we get into the spell lists. first of spells changed from 3.5, Including, interestingly enough, the planar ally spells. Which they are showing on the Sorc/Wizard spell list. And I’d say that that salvages the Warlock class, but it also says “Planar Ally spells can only summon elementals”. Meaning that you can’t summon and enslave a demon to do your bidding.

As far as new spells go there’s a spell for almost every spell that showed up in WC3 and TFT.


Bladestorm is here, even though that’s already replicated by a Gladiator’s whirlwind attack. More hilariously is that the spell is terrible. It’s a sorc/wis 3 spell. and you summon two magical longswords. Then you can take a full attack action to make one attack against each enemy within 5 feet. As a wizard, the class with the lowest AC that honestly has no business being in melee, give up your spell casting for 7 some rounds to maybe hit someone for 1d8+3 damage. Moving on.


Bloodlust is a level 3Sha 4Sorc/Wiz spell that gives the target an extra attack and +4 str for cl/rounds, it is a good spell.

There’s a lesser/normal/greater Death Coil chain that’s available to healers and necromancers which is basically inflict light/moderate/serious wound spells at 1 level higher and at close range.

Shockwave exists as a spell that replicates the actual tauren chieftain spell better than the feat from earlier. In that it shoots out a wave of force that deals damage and knocks people down, in a 10 foot wide path all the way out to the limits of close range. Get owned fighters, wizard supremacy.

Second Soul is a level 9 healer spell that’s essentially a raise dead spell contingent on the target dying. it raises them 2d4 rounds later but they lose a level.

Touch of Life is a temporary res spell, also a level 9 healer. You bring someone back to life for 1 round per caster level before they keel over dead again. So it's useful if not entirely functional.

Campaigns in Azeroth
The game gives some tips on how to run a "Warcraft" Campaign, an Alliance campaign should focus on diplomacy, on forging new bonds between the Night Elves and the rest of the alliance, and the exploration of the brave new continent that they find themselves on, so basically a default D&D Campaign. A Horde campaign should focus on the rediscovery of their lost shamanism and embrace of their new lifestyle and the heroes of their new society. This is a completely healthy idea that won't backfire when all of that repressed anger and lionized hero worship manifest as one man who nukes a neutral town off of the map just to prove that his balls are as big as his fathers.

There's more information about villain factions and what they're up to but most of it is either hilariously inaccurate or made up entirely out of whole cloth. So I'll go over that stuff once we get to the much better Dark Factions book, which was designed to tell you how to play as those assholes.

But that's all for the Warcraft d20 Core book. Next in publication order would be the "Manual of Monsters" but I don't know how to make a bunch of stat blocks and creature descriptions entertaining. I'll give you a teaser.

Yes, he has Teleport without Error as an at will ability. Yes, that means that there's no way for the party to actually kill him. Yes they thought this was fair. Also he has several mind flayer abilities for some reason.

Anyways, Next up is the Alliance and Horde compendium. Which is about 40 pages of new races and classes followed by 50 pages of material ripped straight from Cry Havoc with absolutely no apology.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

Kurieg posted:

Yes, he has Teleport without Error as an at will ability. Yes, that means that there's no way for the party to actually kill him. Yes they thought this was fair.

Is Dimensional Anchor still available to cast?

I mean, yes, that upgrades it to "must have specific countermeasure" but at least it's possible.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 11a: The Cyberpapacy


An ordained priest plugs a cable into a coaxial port installed in his temple in order to gaze upon the face of God. His mind interfaces directly with the GodNet, giving him access to every computer system in France. Digital angels watch over him as he works to seek out the forces of the Antichrist.

Gang members with cybernetic arms drag the bodies of their victims to a street doctor, who plans to extract the organs from the corpses to sell on the black market. They use the money to buy new guns and cybernetic upgrades so they can fight alongside the French Underground...for the right price, of course.

A "heretic" is trapped in cyberspace by the Church, his soul downloaded into an eternal prison of a computer chip. He will "live" there forever, unaware of anything until his chip is plugged into a body's cybernetic hardware. At which point, he will be nothing but a tool to strip skills and experiences from...unless he's strong enough to take over his host and seek revenge.

A woman suspected of witchcraft is tortured by the Church Police, who bind her hands and feet and plunge her deep into frigid water. If she drowns, she is innocent. If she does not, she will be burned at the stake. If she manages to keep her mind together through the pain well enough to summon her bound demon, things will go quite differently.

This is life in modern France, under the watchful eyes of the CyberChurch and its pope, Jean Malraux I.

The Cyberpapacy

Out of all the realities invading Core Earth, the Cyberpapacy is unique because it's an example of how powerful the High Lords actually are, and the kind of stakes everyone's fighting for.

France has been almost entirely taken over by a fanatical, warped version of the Catholic Church. The Church bears many similarities to the Roman Catholic church of the 16th Century, with the strong doctrines and the slaying of heathens (defined as "anyone who does not accept the Church as the rightful rulers in the name of God"). The biggest difference, of course, is the high technology. Cybernetics and virtual reality are not only commonplace, but are in fact part of church doctrine: cybernetics are the body of Christ, and to jack into the virtual computer network is to gaze upon the face of God.

In fact, the CyberChurch is so dangerous because they have such tight control over France's new technology. The church controls most places that can legally install cybernetics, so if you're not part of the church (or "accepted" by the church) and you want to get something installed, you're probably going to have to go to an illegal street doc and hope that he knows what he's doing, scrubbed the operating table in the past month, or isn't just going to strip you for parts as soon as he puts you under. On top of that, the CyberChurch controls all computer-based media in the CyberPapacy. Not just the normal computer networks, but also phones, radios, and TV broadcasts. France is off the global grid now, and the Church controls everything its followers watch, hear, and believe.

At the head of the church itself is Pope Jean Malraux I, the High Lord. Utterly fanatical, deeply insane, and ridiculously paranoid, he is convinced that God Himself has given him the mandate to conquer, and his church has spread out from his home reality of Magna Verita, moving across cosm after cosm. What is interesting, however, is that until the invasion of Core Earth, Magna Verita barely had a medieval level of technology. In fact, any "technology" more advanced than a horse-drawn plow was banned by the church.

So how did Malraux go from banning the printing press to cybernetic implants practically overnight?

To answer that, we need to talk about his home cosm of Magna Verita, and the cosm of Kadandra.

The world of of Magna Verita closely resembles Core Earth, and for a long time had the same developmental history. There are differences, of course; for example, Manga Verita is actually the center of the universe with the sun, moon, and planets revolving around it. But what makes Magna Verita different is the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

As on Core Earth, when Pope Urban VI was elected head of the Catholic Church in 1378, many of the cardinals rebelled and elected Clement VII as Pope. As a result, there were two popes at the same time: Pope Urban VI ruled from Rome, and Pope Clement VII was based out of Avignon. This eventually lead to the Great Schism within the church, and both popes actually excommunicated each other.

Just over 20 years later, a Church Council was convened and declared both Urban and Clement heretics. They elected a third pope, Alexander V, as head of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, neither Urban or Clement wanted to step down or even accept the power of the Council. Now there were three popes, each declaring themselves the true pope while decrying the other two.

For the most part, the history of the church up to this point roughly matched the church's development on Core Earth. Some of the names and dates were a little different, but it wasn't until 1415 that the main divergence point happened.

On Core Earth, the Council of Constance was convened and basically kicked all three popes out, placing Martin V as the true leader of the Catholic Church. On Magna Verita, however, Avignon pope Benedict XIV (who took power by poisoning his predecessor) refused to attend the Council. Instead, he funneled his not-inconsiderable wealth towards the king of France. The king used that money to buy mercenaries to bolster his military in their battles with England and King Henry V. The French forces won, and Henry V was killed in the conflict, driving England into civil war over the succession.

Benedict now had France's backing to be the one true pope, and through force of arms Benedict drove out the Council, declared himself leader of the church, sacked Rome, and gave control of England to France.

Over the next few centuries, the church expanded out of Europe bringing every country in the world under its aegis whether they wanted it or not. Northern Africa and western Russia fell quickly to Crusades, and it wasn't long before the Crusades reached the Americas.

quote:

Following much heated debate, Pope Countenance II decreed that the native peoples of the Americas did not possess souls and were therefore the same as animals. Millions of Indians were enslaved and worked to death by their masters. Belief in religious and racial superiority, and the blessing of the Pope, meant that little compassion was shown to the human “animals”.

History rolled on. Japan and China fell to the Popes. Africa was explored and the natives converted. India was quickly eaten up, and the Australias became outposts of the Papacy. By 1841, the Papacy ruled supreme.
In 1842, Pope Julian II rewrote the Bible to reflect "modern" thought. What it really did was espouse the superiority of the Church and confirm the earthly power of the clergy. It also brought technological advancement to a halt, because it was declared that anything that contradicted the Bible in any way was heretical and punishable by the forces of the Inquisition. Great thinkers and scientists such as Copernicus and Galileo were proven wrong, tortured, and killed as heretics.

quote:

Magna Verita is very similar to Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. Gunpowder is used in cannons and in primitive hand guns, but the main missile weapons are still the crossbow and bow. The Papal armies are composed of halberdiers and swordsmen, with large numbers of heavy cavalry in plate armor. Hand to hand fighting is the standard way of winning battles.

Only the telescope and the printing press have had an impact on Magna Verita. After an initial period of liberalism, during which thousands of heretical books were published, the Church began to destroy printing presses and published an Index of Banned Books in 1489. Anyone caught in possession of these forbidden books was accused of being in league with the Devil, and duly executed. Now, all presses are under the direct control of the Church. The evil of free thought has been expunged and God’s word holds sway.

This was the way of the world for about 400 years.

Just over 100 years ago, Jean Malraux was an Inquisitor working in the New World, hunting down, torturing, and killing those who thought they could escape the reach of the church. It was during his "divine work" that he witnessed a beam of divine light. It shone down upon him, revealing a glowing crucifix that spoke to him with the voice of God. It spoke about power and destiny, and about taking this world and others for his own.

And thus did the Darkness Device Ebenuscrux choose its High Lord.

Armed with the power of the Darkness Device, it wasn't hard for Malraux to rise up in the church's ranks and seize control of the whole organization, declaring himself pope and killing anyone who said otherwise. He renewed the wanning Crusades, destroying his enemies without mercy. Ebenuscrux fed Malraux's ego more and more, egging him towards the Device's own agenda: conquering and destroying other realities.

Malraux began creating Maelstrom Bridges in preparation of spreading the word of God to heathens in other realities.

quote:

Over half a dozen cosms have been destroyed to feed the Darkness Device and the Pope’s craving for religious purity. The Inquisition has tortured millions. Smoking, barren worlds are all that remain. Fire and blood have cleansed them of sin.

The Vicar of Christ has eradicated heresy and heaped millions of souls before the gates of heaven and hell. Fueled with vast quantities of possibility energy, the Pope and his Cardinals have extended their lives manifold.
It wasn't long before Malraux came to the attention of the Gaunt Man. Malraux crossed paths with Uthorion, one of the Gaunt Man's lieutenants and (at the time) High Lord of Aysle. Malraux was tapped by the Gaunt Man to aid in the invasion of Core Earth, and Malraux was more than happy to bring the heathens under his heel. Choosing France as the central point of his invasion, Malraux sent operatives there via dimthreads to prepare the French people for the word of God. Thousands were converted to the "true faith" as stelae were planted and prepared.

When the Maelstrom Bridge finally dropped in Avignon in the form of a giant bridge of light, the axiom wash began to destroy or transform all technology in France. Phones, cars, televisions, and computers stopped working. The faithful gathered around the bridge, waiting for their pope to save them from this decadent world and the failure of their technology at the supposed hands of the Antichrist. Malraux's plan was to wait until the initial axiom wash finished, let people panic for a while, then descend upon a literal bridge of light from Magna Verita to Core Earth to "save" them. This act that would cement the people's belief that his was their savior.

What Malraux did not expect was that he would be attacked by Storm Knights between realities.

One of these Storm Knights was Dr. Hachi Mara-Two, from the cosm of Kadandra. Kadandra was a reality without a High Lord, a high-tech world that had first learned the truth of alternate realities when they managed to fight off an invasion by Tharkold. Learning that Tharkold's next target was Earth, Hachi volunteered to take a one-time, one-way artificial dimthread to Earth to warn them.

When she arrived, however, the invasion had already begun. Tharkold had been repelled from Russia, but she landed in North America shorty after the Living Land's arrival. Far too late to warn anyone, she allied with a group of Storm Knights and ended up confronting Malraux on his maelstrom bridge.

Hachi Mara-Two knew that she would never see her homeworld again. To help her deal with this, she brought a dataplate with her that contained a virtual simulation of Kadandra to help ease her loneliness. She also had an item called a Jaz pack; jaz is a chemical that creates a temporary connection between a person's nervous system and some cybernetic systems, allowing people to access cybernetic technology without getting implants.

In an attempt to distract Malraux, Hachi attached her dataplate to the jaz pack and jammed the whole contraption into the pope's body. The jaz pack caused Marlaux to experience the contents of a dataplate: a full simulation of a world with cybernetics, high technology, and a world-spanning computer network people could plug their minds into directly.

And with the visions of another world thrust upon him in the space between worlds, he was transformed.

quote:

“Lo, I was bathed in the light. It flooded me and illuminated my soul. Though I was struck blind, I could see with eyes that looked upon a new earthly paradise. There the sins of the flesh were controlled by machines. No longer did mortals fear the betrayal of their own flesh. I looked and saw that it was good.

“I wandered with only my faith to comfort me. Then I knew what I must do. I knew that the Lord had chosen me a second time to do his work. The Cross floated before me. I merged with it and prepared myself for the task ahead.

“I walked upon the celestial bridge. The strength of the Lord poured through me. With each step I took the Lord imbued the bridge with new power. Its blinding white light was replaced by sparkling lines of circuity that erupted from my feet. I watched the cyber power streak toward the Earth and transform His chosen land of France.

“It was then I knew change was indeed upon us. My coming heralded a new age: The age of the Cyberpapacy. As His envoy upon Earth, I took up the burden of redemption and became the Cyberpope.”
Once he reached Earth, Malraux used the power of his Darkness Device to change his realm's tech axiom. Originally, the tech axiom was 15, albeit one where most of what was possible was forbidden by the church.

quote:

Metal plates used for printing; printing press possible. Crude firearms possible; ballistics invented. Steam power possible. Magnetism and electricity connected. Cut-glass process invented. Telescope, microscope possible. Basic mechanics of physics understood. Atomic nature of matter proposed and possibly accepted. Barometers invented; crude weather prediction begins. Probability theory invented.
Malraux adjusted it up to 26, making cybertechnology possible.

quote:

"Living computers," personal energy weapons, "slow" interstellar travel, self-aware robots, memory chips and cyberware possible, nanotech appendages for enhanced functions, teleportation possible, mind-boosting processes allow psi functions which mimic magic.
When the new axioms washed across the realm, devices that had been rendered useless in the initial axiom wash (referred to as The Collapse) started working again. Not only that, new discoveries were made in rapid succession. Cybernetics were developed, and became commonplace. Though originally reserved solely for members of the Cyberchurch, illegal street doctors quickly set up in the corners of France to implant devices in anyone who could afford it, no question asked.

The internet and other communication systems came back up, but were transformed as well; with the new advances in cybernetics, people were able to connect their minds to directly to the net. What the first netrunners found was that the local network now existed as a group of connected "realms", and was populated by angels and demons fighting an eternal war. In the middle of it sat Ebenuscrux, having moved itself to this virtual reality. The power of the Darkness Device had transformed the internet into both a virtual reality simulation and a sort of "pocket reality" that exists alongside the Cyberpapacy.

This is the GodNet, and it is the second battlefield the war for France is fought on.

Cyberpope Jean Malraux, High Lord of the Cyberpapacy


Cyberpope Malraux is power-hungry, corrupt, fanatical, and thoroughly paranoid. He sees heretics and enemies everywhere, and truly believes that God Himself has given him the mandate to conquer. He likes to think that he is a "father figure" to the people of France (he's called "Père Jean" in the media), despite the fact that he is clearly and unapologetically oppressing them. After all, violence in the service of God is not a sin.

Malraux has also rewritten the Bible, "updating" it to take his new beliefs and the new technologies into account. One of the central tenets of the Cyberpapacy is that cybernetics are the "body of Christ". As a result, every actual member of the chuch has some form of cybernetics. The only real exceptions are those operatives who must operate outside the Cyberpapacy (because they risk disconnection), but if anything it makes them more fanatical because they feel the need to prove their devotion without the hardware there to do it for them.

Malraux's overall agenda actually hasn't changed much since his "ascension", and pretty much boils down to one single bullet point:

1. Bring the world under his control and convert everyone to CyberCatholosism. Every single thing he does, long-term or short-term, is to bring this world (and every other) under his "benevolent" control and save their souls. If that means becoming Torg, so be it. But for Malraux, this is a secondary consideration; he really doesn't care if he becomes the Torg or not. What matters is that the righteous shall be saved, and that the heretics will be "saved" via flame and sword and high-powered rifle. The tech surge has added many news tool to his arsenal, such as the "faith chip" that makes people loyal to the church whether they want to be or not. Until he can easily install these chips into the entire population, he makes do with propaganda broadcasts over the national TV networks, showing how he and he alone is capable of protecting the followers of the CyberChurch against the forces of the Antichrist.

It's also worth pointing out that Malraux is pretty much the only High Lord who's delusional about his place in the world. When you get right down to it, all the other High Lords are quite aware that they're the bad guys in this equation. After all, they're the ones who are invading other worlds, subjugating the population, draining the world of Possibility energy, and leaving it a dry husk. Malraux, on the other hand, thinks he's saving people in that old-school Inquisition way. This causes a certain amount of eye-rolling behind his back from the other High Lords, especially when Malraux calls them heathens to their faces.

Axioms
Technology: 26 (formerly 15) - As stated, the Cyberpapacy's new tech axiom makes things like cybernetic limbs, chipware implants, and netrunning possible. Originally, the tech axiom was 15 but most sciences that were possible at that level were forbidden by the church. Now, the church embraces the new technologies. Fortunately, the gap of the change between the old and new axioms was pretty short, so most of France's technological infrastructure was still in place when the tech surge happened and hadn't transformed yet.

It should be pointed out that the new tech axiom has also flowed back up the bridge to Manga Verita. But while the tech level has increased, almost nobody knows it. Malraux has sent agents back home to allow technology to progress at a pace of his choosing, but the actual inhabitants don't realize anything has changed (yet) and are still operating at a feudal level. Malraux's smart enough to realize that an increase in tech back home will destabilize his power base, so he's keeping a tight reign on what the folks back home will learn.

Social: 18 (formerly 13) - The social axiom is a little lower than Core Earth's, due to the fact that the only accepted form of government is the theocracy. Between the Darkness Device staunching development and the fact that they've been unopposed for centuries, the church does not adapt to change well. This is causing a few problems with the tech surge and related effects. In fact, until the recent raising of the social axiom ideas like "personal liberty" weren't possible, but between the Tech Surge and mixing with Core Earth's reality things have actually changed without Malraux's permission. This has allowed something new to occur: rebellion against the church itself. Ideally, the church would want to get the social axiom back to its old levels, but Malraux doesn't seem to want to tamper with the axioms again. Still, the lower social axiom has helped keep people under the thumb of the church and beholden to the theocracy.

The social level is also responsible for the plodding, bureaucratic nature of the church. Those in power are corrupt and complacent, and (again) don't respond well to change. As a result, the CyberChurch isn't really in a position to deal with rebellion because large-scale rebellion has never been possible before.

Spiritual: 14 - The spiritual axiom is higher than that of Core Earth, allowing miracles to be performed. It's not as high as you might expect, however, because in reality faith in God has been replaced by fear of the Church. Even with visible proof of divine power in the form of miracles, people see the Church as a thing to cling to in fear rather than as a way to be better people.

Interestingly, the Cyberpapacy's spiritual axiom is only the fifth highest out of all the realities in the core set; the only two that are lower are Core Earth's and Nippon Tech's.

Magic: 10 - Magic is possible in the Cyberpapacy, but it's not very advanced, especially when compared to realms like the Nile Empire or Aysle. Minor conjurations and the alteration of living things is just barely possible. Unsurprisingly, "witchcraft" is forbidden in the Cyberpapacy, but magic is actually becoming widespread thanks to the sudden availability of mass communication and the ability to transfer knowledge over the GodNet.

World Laws
The Cyberpapacy as four World Laws, none of which have really affected or been affected by the Tech Surge. Only three of them really matter in actual play, though.

The most important one is the The Law of the One True God. It's pretty straightforward: the catholic God is the only true god, He is the only source of divine power, and any other form of worship is heretical. In game terms, this means that people of any faith other than Cybercatholisism have a hard time performing miracles in the Cyberpapacy. The further away the caster is from "core" Cyberpapal doctrine, the harder it is for him to cast a miracle. For instance, a "normal" Catholic priest would have a +1 to his difficulty, a Jewish rabbi would have a +3, and a Buddhist monk would have a +6.

The Law of Heretical Magic is a bit of a double-edged sword. It makes magic more difficult to cast (since it's forbidden), but at the same time makes it more powerful (because it's "powered by evil"). The difficulty of casting any spell in the Cyberpapacy is +3, but a successful spell has its final outcome increased by 5. If you suffer backlash, however, then it's possible an actual demon will show up to try and possess you. Price of sin, I suppose.

The Law of Suspicion means that strangers are not trusted, and everyone is, if not guilty until proven innocent, is at least under close scrutiny. Heretics and agents of the Antichrist are everywhere, after all. Attempts to use the charm or persuasion skills are easier to resist, but at the same time trying to intimidate or taunt someone increases your effective skill by 3.

The Law of Ordeal is part of why the Church is in change, and works thus: "In the Cyberpapal view of the world, the choice of a priest to accuse a character morally obligates the character to prove her innocence through a trial by ordeal. Failure to take the trial is an admission of guilt, and not incidentally, heresy." There are four types of ordeals: having your arms thrust into boiling water, being submerged in frigid water, burning, and trial by combat. If you're actually guilty, then surviving these trials is more difficult, but if you succeed you're considered innocent. If you fail, you're either dead or will be killed as punishment. This is the one that really doesn't work, and feels like it was added solely because they needed a fourth World Law. When Storm Knights get caught during missions, they're not arrested, they're shot at.

Ultimately this all results in a world where suspicion of heresy is enough to get you burned at the stake, where street gangs get cyberarms and implanted guns and pretty much rule the city streets, where angels and demons clash in cyberspace, and where the Church is in every computer, every television, every phone. The Cyberchurch sees all, knows all, and forgives nothing.

But don't worry. As your body is punished, your soul will be saved. And doesn't that make all the pain worth it?

Think carefully before you answer. You are being watched. For your own good, of course.

NEXT TIME: The cyberstructure of the CyberChurch!

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


quote:

Following much heated debate, Pope Countenance II decreed that the native peoples of the Americas did not possess souls and were therefore the same as animals. Millions of Indians were enslaved and worked to death by their masters. Belief in religious and racial superiority, and the blessing of the Pope, meant that little compassion was shown to the human “animals”.

I'm... sorry... what?

Littlefinger
Oct 13, 2012


wikipedia posted:

A substantial party believed that these new found peoples were not truly human. This party speculated that since Christendom was not permitted by God to become aware of their existence and thus bring the Gospel to them until so late, it was only because they were not human or possessed no souls, so they could not attain salvation. The New Testament says that the gospel has been preached to all nations;[4] since the gospel had not been preached to the Native Americans, perhaps they did not count.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublimus_Dei

Yeah, this was an actual debate within the Church. :smith:

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kurieg posted:

I'm... sorry... what?

Basically the Chuch on Magna Verita was/is incredibly racist. The Church was made by White People for White People, and if you declare that those Not White People aren't really people, then you can do whatever you want to them without even worrying about little things like morality. You don't even have to save their souls because they don't have them.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Littlefinger posted:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublimus_Dei

Yeah, this was an actual debate within the Church. :smith:

I didn't know this was a thing. I obviously looked some stuff up but once the divergence point happened I figured events were varying pretty far off course.

It's interesting to look at the Cyberpapacy nowadays given recent world events and concerns like religious terrorism and surveillance states.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Evil Mastermind posted:

Basically the Chuch on Magna Verita was/is incredibly racist. The Church was made by White People for White People, and if you declare that those Not White People aren't really people, then you can do whatever you want to them without even worrying about little things like morality. You don't even have to save their souls because they don't have them.

Yeah but, the way you wrote it it sounds like they left Africa and Asia mostly alone other than conquering them

Littlefinger posted:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublimus_Dei

Yeah, this was an actual debate within the Church. :smith:

Ahh... well.. that explains it.

Yet another reason to hate the pre-vat2 church I guess.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kurieg posted:

Yeah but, the way you wrote it it sounds like they left Africa and Asia mostly alone other than conquering them

That's my fault; I didn't talk about the Crusades on Magna Verita, which were basically "the Church stomps all over everyone around Europe, Mecca and Jerusalem were burned to the ground, Jews either had to convert or die, everyone else is just killed".

It is really strange that the Native Americans get called out like that, though.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Kurieg posted:

Yes, he has Teleport without Error as an at will ability. Yes, that means that there's no way for the party to actually kill him. Yes they thought this was fair. Also he has several mind flayer abilities for some reason.

That's accurate. He can teleport around all he wants and when he finally dies in the canon players can't do it (he just chuckles and kills everyone near him simultaneously), it's basically his ghost dad and a godly super paladin that lock him down for a minute. It's bad RPG design though!

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


It's also worth noting that at the time that Arthas was published epic rules for players did not exist. Those didn't come out until Shadows and Light about a year later.

And yes he's hilariously vulnerable to dimensional anchor but what are the odds you actually prepare that against the undead superpaladin necromancer the first time you fight him.

After that he can probably kill you with hundreds of 50 hit die undead.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



It's always so depressing that when RPGs want to make important unkillable NPCs they give them ridiculous stat blocks instead of just saying "this guy is immortal and eternal. Don't bother to fight him."

Babe Magnet
Jun 1, 2008


I think it's cool, because then you get to try and figure out ways to actually kill them

Esser-Z
Jun 3, 2012



Polymorph Any Object is still a spell in this, right? Could you not, with a bit of luck, simply permanently transform the Lich King into a harmless rodent?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Which is the Vampire book that gives Caine a statblock of "The PCs lose?" I know it's not Gehenna.

Esser-Z
Jun 3, 2012



Technically, you can still beat him. You just need to create a situation where you both lose!

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

Evil Mastermind posted:

That's my fault; I didn't talk about the Crusades on Magna Verita, which were basically "the Church stomps all over everyone around Europe, Mecca and Jerusalem were burned to the ground, Jews either had to convert or die, everyone else is just killed".

It is really strange that the Native Americans get called out like that, though.

Was TORG an American-published game? It'd make sense to pay some attention to how America was treated.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Kurieg posted:

Yeah but, the way you wrote it it sounds like they left Africa and Asia mostly alone other than conquering them


Ahh... well.. that explains it.

Yet another reason to hate the pre-vat2 church I guess.

Sublimus Dei was the Pope declaring that of course they're people and you're all deluded idiots for enslaving them. This is actually a relatively consistent historic position of the Vatican - prior to the discovery of the Americas, there were actual discussions within the church about whether, say, the supposed dog-headed men of India (or wherever they thought these dog-headed men were that century) had souls and, thus, needed to be saved. (Answer: Yes.)

The Church has consistently ruled that, yes, if it talks like a man, it's probably a person and therefore has a soul and all of the rights and needs that go with it.

Lightning Lord
Feb 21, 2013

$200 a day, plus expenses



Halloween Jack posted:

Which is the Vampire book that gives Caine a statblock of "The PCs lose?" I know it's not Gehenna.

Based on this thread, it's either actually a Ravnos in Berlin By Night who was pretending to be Caine, or just an old joke.

I don't mind Caine being invulnerable so much, because trying to kill him is probably the most boring thing a VtM game can be about. Even ones about vampire swordfights on the moon. Now granted oWoD had it's share of robbing PCs of agency, but I can live with that example. Invulnerable Justicars though, not so much. I'd rather play up the whole "all of Caine's endeavors are tainted" aspect if I'm going to use him anyway.

Lightning Lord fucked around with this message at 18:28 on Jan 15, 2015

Esser-Z
Jun 3, 2012



Lightning Lord posted:

Based on this thread, it's either actually a Ravnos who was pretending to be Caine, or just an old joke.

I don't mind Caine being invulnerable so much, because trying to kill him is probably the lamest thing a VtM game can be about

Now, as Hunter game on the other hand...

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


The thing about the Lich King is that he was supposed to be unbeatable. And in fact he basically was, even in the MMO. He had multiple opportunities where he could have wiped you off of the face of northrend as he encountered you multiple times as you kept on unravelling his plans. But that was all part of his gambit. He was planning on raising you all as his lieutennants, and he didn't want just strong ones, he wanted the strongest. ones that could maybe beat him if he restrained himself. But as you are almost ready to deal the killing blow he casts mass slay living no save. and begins raising you as a new undead army. The only reason it fails is because he kept Tirion Fordring around encased in ice to gloat over his defeat. Tirion breaks free and shatters Frostmourne before raising you all from the dead to finish the job.

If he had settled for "Strong enough" rather than "Strongest Possible" he would have won.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Glazius posted:

Was TORG an American-published game? It'd make sense to pay some attention to how America was treated.
Yes it was. That affected the game in other ways, like how every cosm except Aysle ends up landing on the USA at some point.

Lightning Lord posted:

I don't mind Caine being invulnerable so much, because trying to kill him is probably the most boring thing a VtM game can be about.
It was sort of a default game design assumption back in the 90's that the PCs were just going to beeline towards every major NPC and kill them so of course you need full stats.

Babe Magnet
Jun 1, 2008


If he'd have killed Tirion he'd have won, no matter how strong we were.

Robbing players of their agency is what Blizz is all about. When we kill guys, they're not really dead, when we finally kill kill a guy, someone else steps in and does it for us.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Don't get me started on Garrosh.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Babe Magnet posted:

If he'd have killed Tirion he'd have won, no matter how strong we were.

Robbing players of their agency is what Blizz is all about. When we kill guys, they're not really dead, when we finally kill kill a guy, someone else steps in and does it for us.

Ah, I see they went to the Deadlands school of "let the players watch NPCs win for them" design.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

Evil Mastermind posted:

Ah, I see they went to the Deadlands school of "let the players watch NPCs win for them" design.

Hensley has eased up a lot on that approach to be fair. Granted, Deadlands is a stylistically brilliant and mechanically awful game even without that extra bit of 'gently caress You!' to the PCs.

Babe Magnet
Jun 1, 2008


I get why they do it, for lore reasons, because it sucks to have some legendary badass be downed by a bunch of random assholes, but there's got to be a better way.

Deadlands owns, I love reading about it but I only ever got to play for like an hour. Played a bandito with a coachgun, and the only time I ever fired it I nuked a guy from point blank and turned him into a fine, red mist. It was a fun introduction into the game, and now no-one will play it with me.

Babe Magnet fucked around with this message at 18:49 on Jan 15, 2015

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Evil Mastermind posted:

Ah, I see they went to the Deadlands school of "let the players watch NPCs win for them" design.
You got me started on Garrosh

With Arthas they let you deal the killing blow. Deathwing not so much. Garrosh you beat him down until he's about to get killed but Varian steps in and goes "no, let him stand trial for his crimes instead."

At said trial Garrosh escapes, murders a bunch more people, then escapes into an alternate past where he raises up a ludicrously large army to come back and get revenge against you for stopping him the first time. You FINALLY track him down and are about to bring the full might of your own personal army to bear in obliterating him and Then thrall pops out of nowhere and goes "Lol Honor duel" and kills him in a cutscene.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Hensley has eased up a lot on that approach to be fair. Granted, Deadlands is a stylistically brilliant and mechanically awful game even without that extra bit of 'gently caress You!' to the PCs.

Well, the stand-around-and-watch-NPCs-do-everything stuff didn't happen too much until the Hell On Earth/Lost Colony transitional adventure, where literally half the adventure was PCs trying not to die during a huge-rear end war while NPCs killed each other and Hellstrome sucked the Reckoners into a ghost trap.

It's pretty funny to note that HoE Reloaded starts after all that poo poo went down.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Lightning Lord posted:

Based on this thread, it's either actually a Ravnos in Berlin By Night who was pretending to be Caine, or just an old joke.

I don't mind Caine being invulnerable so much, because trying to kill him is probably the most boring thing a VtM game can be about. Even ones about vampire swordfights on the moon. Now granted oWoD had it's share of robbing PCs of agency, but I can live with that example. Invulnerable Justicars though, not so much. I'd rather play up the whole "all of Caine's endeavors are tainted" aspect if I'm going to use him anyway.

Esser-Z posted:

Technically, you can still beat him. You just need to create a situation where you both lose!
One of the Vampire devs--I don't have time to search RPGnet to remind me who--said that Ventrue was actually the big winner. He was killed a long time ago and never came back, and since Antediluvians can't really be killed by anyone who isn't also a rules-transcending power, he just waited out Gehenna. And most of human history in the process.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

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

Halloween Jack posted:

One of the Vampire devs--I don't have time to search RPGnet to remind me who--said that Ventrue was actually the big winner. He was killed a long time ago and never came back, and since Antediluvians can't really be killed by anyone who isn't also a rules-transcending power, he just waited out Gehenna. And most of human history in the process.

It was Justin Achilli, who's always said that the Ventrue are basically Clan #winning.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Babe Magnet posted:

I get why they do it, for lore reasons, because it sucks to have some legendary badass be downed by a bunch of random assholes, but there's got to be a better way.

The FFXIV solution is to have the PC not be 'some random rear end in a top hat', but in fact the single most important person i nthe world. (The rest of the party, story-wise, are treated as 'the buddies that you, the World-Saving Hero, have gotten together to help you out.')

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Evil Mastermind posted:

Well, the stand-around-and-watch-NPCs-do-everything stuff didn't happen too much until the Hell On Earth/Lost Colony transitional adventure, where literally half the adventure was PCs trying not to die during a huge-rear end war while NPCs killed each other and Hellstrome sucked the Reckoners into a ghost trap.

It's pretty funny to note that HoE Reloaded starts after all that poo poo went down.

I wouldn't say that - I mean, Devil's Tower still exists, and you're never really meant to beat Stone.

gently caress Stone, by the way.

It's possible to beat him, but the GM's guide explicitly encourages using Stone and the Hell Cows to keep players in line.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Mors Rattus posted:

The FFXIV solution is to have the PC not be 'some random rear end in a top hat', but in fact the single most important person i nthe world. (The rest of the party, story-wise, are treated as 'the buddies that you, the World-Saving Hero, have gotten together to help you out.')

This is more or less what WoW: Warlords of Draenor does, except when it suddenly doesn't. Hanging with Khadgar/Chromie to deal with that whole "Gul'dan is alive" thing. Khadgar is the greatest. "Ordinarily I wouldn't ask you to assault a fortified moving train - ah, no, that's not true. This is exactly the sort of thing I'm going to need from you. All the time."

It's just that whenever anything tangentially related to Orc Jesus happens, Metzen fucks it up.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



The Draenor fix was pretty nice. Having the quest-givers in any given zone basically acknowledge you as their visiting boss is pretty great.

I also dug the dialog you get from your garrison personnel manager, who says like "Yeah, I was active and busy during the whole Deathwing thing, you probably never ran into me because I'm the sort of person that gets her own poo poo done."

  • Locked thread